All posts by ken

ISSUES’ Tyler Carter Releasing Debut Solo EP ‘Leave Your Love’ in Early 2015 via Velocity/Rise Records

tyler_carter_cover_artISSUES front man Tyler Carter will release his debut solo EP, ‘Leave Your Love‘ in early 2015 via Velocity/Rise Records.

The 6 song EP was produced by Tyler’s ISSUES band mate Ty “DJ Scout” Acord.

Check out the video for the lead single “Georgiahere and a stream of ‘Tears On The Runway (feat Nylo)here.

Pre-orders for the EP have launched on Merchnow and iTunes.

ISSUES recently wrapped up their headline stint on the Journeys Noise Tour and will support Pierce The Veil and Sleeping With Sirens on a world tour this spring.

The band’s self-titled debut LP, was released in February 2014 via Velocity/Rise Records, and landed in the Billboard Top 10 in its week of release.

Tyler Carter ‘Leave Your Love’ EP Track Listing:
1. Sophisticated
2. Leave Your Love
3. Georgia
4. So Slow
5. Tears On The Runway, Pt. 1 (feat. Nylo)
6. Find Me

Velocity Records
Rise Records


The Chimpz Official Video “California”

thechimpznews1L.A. Rap Metallers “The Chimpz” are extremely happy to announce the release of their Official video “California, their single off the new Self-titled EP, produced /  mixed /  arranged by the award winning Ryan Green (NOFX, Bad Religion, Megadeth, Jay Z, Usher). The song is about life in California (obviously!) …but it is also about following your dreams and working hard to obtain the lifestyle in which you desire.

When you see this video, you will know exactly where they are coming from and why the have so much love for the State of California. The Chimpz hope that this video will entice the rest of the world to come to their home state and experience what they get to live and experience everyday.

The Chimpz Official Video “California”:

This video was so much fun and really crazy to shoot. It was shot in 4 days in six locations including Downtown L.A.(special thanks to Styliztik Jones), in North Hollywood, Venice Beach, County Line Beach and a secret spot off of P.C.H., all which included some pretty difficult shoots because of factors such as traffic, parking, wind, lighting, and tricky weather. But thanks to our director and camera crew, we were able to pull it off!

Special thanks to our director and director of photography Michael Valentino. To Eric Pacheco for assisting in the filming and bringing all his fun gopro toys! Editing and post production by Shawn Lyon and Michael Valentino. We had an amazing cast and crew and the energy from our fans and extras was overwhelming and very much appreciated! This video is for you ChimpzNation! We love you and appreciate all of your continued support!

~The Chimpz

For more information visit:
The Chimpz Official Website


Youth In Revolt Release “Dead Inside” Single and Video

5Youth In Revolt has released the bold and honest new single “Dead Inside” available now on iTunes. The song depicts the undeniable complexities of fighting one’s own demons, as vocalist True Arahill explains:

“‘Dead Inside‘ is a very personal song about my struggle with alcohol addiction. It tells of how I am unable to escape the grasp that alcohol has on me even though it is hurting myself and the others around me. For anyone else struggling with addiction, I understand your pain.”

Download the single via iTunes:
Watch the lyric video for “Dead Insidehere.

Youth In Revolt - Dead Inside (Lyric Video)

Youth In Revolt – Dead Inside (Lyric Video)

The band released their debut EP Love Is A Liar’s Game on June 17, 2014 followed by the release of acoustic renditions for “There For You” and “Love Is A Liar’s Game“. Their contribution of “Royals“, originally by Lorde, for Punk Goes Pop Vol. 6 has been well received as a stand-out-track on the compilation album.

Youth In Revolt have toured with the likes of Crown The Empire, Slaves, Capture The Crown, and Ice Nine Kills and will start 2015 on Palisades’ Mind Games CD Release Shows along with For All I Am and Aspire.

01/02 – Nutley, NJ @ Radiant
01/03 – Williamsport, PA @ The Ground Floor
01/04 – Kent, OH @ The Outpost
01/06 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall
01/08 – Springfield, VA @ Empire
01/09 – Howell, NJ @ Gamechanger World
01/10 – Albany, NY @ Bogies
01/11 – Providence, RI @ Simon’s 677

Connect with Youth In Revolt online
Instagram: @YouthInRevolt_Band
Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter


Betrayal Recording New Album with Producer Cameron Webb (Pennywise, Sum 41, Alkaline Trio)

betryal_photoLP To Be Released This Spring via Mediaskare Records

Los Angeles, CA’s BETRAYAL have entered Maple Studios in Orange County, CA to record their new album with producer Cameron Webb (Pennywise, Sum 41, Alkaline Trio). The album will be released this spring through Mediaskare Records.

“After countless road blocks and some members changes, we dug into our roots to write the record that we’ve wanted to write for so long,” stated guitarist Sean Chamilian. Adding, “Having Cameron work with us on this album is so exciting for us. He’s worked on so many great records that have inspired the sound of our new record and we felt he was the perfect guy to help us capture the sound we envisioned.”

One of those roadblocks mentioned was the departure of vocalist Brendan Foley, who was forced to step aside due to a reoccurring medical condition that affected his vocal chords. Stepping in is longtime friend of the band Gage Armstrong, whose voice perfectly compliments the band’s new sound direction.

I think the lyrical content comes from me looking into my past and truly just being upset and angry.” Armstong added, “When we were putting together this album I was going through a lot of personal issues with my family and just life in general, so writing really helped me release and come to terms with all the hatred and angst that I had built up inside of me. It helped put things into perspective that my life is ok, and I’m going to be ok.”

To let fans in on the recording process, Betrayal is sending pictures and video clips using SnapChat. Fans can access these exclusive photos and clips by adding the band’s user name BTRYLBAND.

Betrayal is:
Gage Armstrong (vocal)
Sean Chamilian (guitar)
RJ Shankle (drums)

Mediaskare Records


Five more bands announced to Vans Warped Tour 2015 lineup

vwt15_3It’s Week Three of Vans Warped Tour Announcements. The long running tour is slated to commence June 19th in Pomona, CA, concluding in Auburn, WA on August 8th.

Here are the five additional bands who will be hitting the road on the Summer of 2005:

As It Is • Beautiful Bodies
Crossfaith • Fit For A King

Further lineup announcements will be take place once a week (every Wednesday), so head over to the Vans Warped Tour Website now and stay informed!

Vans Warped Tour Official Home Page


ENSIFERUM: Finnish Folk Metal Collective To Release New Full-Length This February Via Metal Blade Records

1208Finland’s favorite folk metal collective and recent Metal Blade signees, ENSIFERUM, will unleash their sixth studio album this Winter. Titled One Man Army, the predominantly analog-recorded offering was tracked between September and November of this year with award-winning producer Anssi Kippo (Children Of Bodom, Impaled Nazarene, Entwine etc.) at Astia-Studios in Lappeenranta, Finland.

Elaborates ENSIFERUM bassist/vocalist Sammi Hinkka of the sessions, “The recording process was long, hard, rewarding and full of incredible moments. Instruments were actually played and left as they were instead of creating tracks from hundreds of different takes, moving them to the grid and modifying things. Of course computers were used but overall we made everything as analog as possible. Listeners can experience a better sound and natural groove, something that we think most metal albums lack these days. Overall, the album sounds much more like a band playing live rather than ‘midi-metal.'”

Commended by Outburn for songs that are consistently “epic” in scope with a “reliance on catchy melodies,” ENSIFERUM’s One Man Army serves as the follow-up to 2012’s lauded Unsung Heroes full-length and boasts the stunningly detailed, mythological cover craftings of renowned illustrator, Gyula Havancsak (Annihilator, Tyr, Elvenking, Stratovarius etc.).

“On the new album, we took many things musically to the next level so we decided also to try something new graphics-wise,” relays Hinkka. “Gyula Havancsák did a phenomenal job! For the first time it was really nice to be more involved with designing the cover and all details. Our humble gratitude to Gyula for all the patience and really amazing results. We couldn’t be more satisfied!”

As a precursor to the release, ENSIFERUM unleashed the fittingly-titled “Warmetal” for public consumption. Composed by Demonos Sova of Finnish black metal unit, Barathrum, the track is available on the covermount CD of the current issue of Germany’s Legacy Magazine.

ENSIFERUM’s One Man Army will be released via Metal Blade Records on February 24th, 2015. Further details, including track listing and additional teaser hymns to be unveiled in the coming weeks. In the meantime, 70,000 Tons of Metal voyagers will be able to catch ENSIFERUM live next month before they kick off a massive European trek, wielding their swords alongside Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum. See confirmed dates below.

1/22-1/26/2015 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise – Miami, FL
2/27/2015 Pakkahuone – Tampere, FI
2/28/2015 Rytmikorjaamo – Seianajoki, FI
3/06/2015 Lutakko – Jyvaskyla, FI
3/07/2015 Nosturi – Helsinki, FI
w/ Insomnium, Omnium Gatherum:
3/11/2015 Zeche – Bochum, DE
3/12/2015 Rockfabrik – Ludwigsburg, DE
3/13/2015 Backstage – München, DE
3/14/2015 Masters of Rock Café – Zlin, CZ
3/15/2015 Club 202 – Budapest, HU
3/16/2015 Szene – Wien, AT
3/18/2015 Live Club – Milan, IT
3/19/2015 Les Docks – Lausanne, CH
3/20/2015 La Laiterie – Strasbourg, FR
3/21/2015 Z7 – Pratteln, CH
3/22/2015 Ninkasi Kao – Lyon, FR
3/23/2015 Le Bataclan – Paris, FR
3/24/2015 O2 Academy Islington- London, UK
3/25/2015 Patronaat – Haarlem, NL
3/26/2015 Hedon – Zwolle, NL
3/27/2015 Biebob – Vosselaar, BE
3/28/2015 Tivoli – Bremen, DE
3/29/2015 Grünspan – Hamburg, DE
3/30/2015 Vega – Copenhagen, DK
3/31/2015 Göta Källare – Stockholm, SE
4/01/2015 Sticky Fingers – Gothenburg, SE
4/02/2015 Inferno Metal Festival – Oslo, NO
End Tour
8/13/2015 Rockstadt Extremefest – Rasnov, DE
6/19/2015 – 6/21/2015 Hellfest – Clisson, FR
7/30/2015 – 8/1/2015 Wacken Open Air – Wacken, DE
8/06/2015 – 8/8/2015 Party San Open Air – Schlotheim, DE
8/09/2015 Bloodstock Open Air – Walton-On-Trent, GB
8/13/2015 – 8/15/2015 Summer Breeze – Dinkelsbühl, DE
8/13/2015 Rockstadt Extremefest – Rasnov, RO


ENSLAVED Announces North American Headlining Tour!

enslavedotur2015The long ships will return to North America once again when Norwegian-progressive-extreme-metal-Vikings, ENSLAVED, embark on their headlining tour this upcoming March! “Some days are greater than others,” commented guitarist Ivar Bjørnson. “Announcing the release of our new album In Times at the same time as a North American tour, both in early March 2015, makes for one hell of an event horizon. We’ve had such great tours in the US and Canada the last years; we simply cannot wait to come back! Ah, this can’t get much better. Hey, wait – masters YOB has accepted our invitation to be special guests, and ECSTATIC VISION is supporting. Now, there’s an amazing package for you (that’s what she said)!”

3/05/15 San Diego, CA – Brick By Brick
3/06/15 Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theatre
3/07/15 San Francisco, CA – Slim’s
3/09/15 Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theater
3/10/15 Vancouver BC – Rickshaw Theatre
3/11/15 Seattle, WA – El Corazon
3/13/15 Salt Lake City, UT – Bar Deluxe
3/14/15 Denver, CO – Summit Music Hall
3/16/15 Minneapolis, MN – Mill City Nights
3/17/15 Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall
3/19/15 Toronto, ON – Opera House
3/20/15 Montreal, QC – Les Foufounes Électriques
3/21/15 New York, NY – Gramercy Theatre
3/22/15 Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
3/23/15 Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Soundstage
3/24/15 Boston, MA – Sinclair

intimescd1In Times, the thirteenth studio album by ENSLAVED will be released on March 6 (Europe) and March 10, 2015 (N. America). The album was produced by band members Ivar Bjørnson, Grutle Kjellson & Herbrand Larsen together with Iver Sandøy. Mixing was completed by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios in Örebro, Sweden. Hand-painted artwork was created by long-time collaborating artist and “sixth ENSLAVED member” Truls Espedal.

The track listing for In Times is:
01 – Thurisaz Dreaming
02 – Building With Fire
03 – One Thousand Years Of Rain
04 – Nauthir Bleeding
05 – In Times
06 – Daylight

Photo by Tim Tronckoe

Photo by Tim Tronckoe

Main recordings for In Times took place at Duper Studios to Solslottet Studio in Bergen, Norway with additional recordings sessions at Conclave & Earshot Studios (presided over by ENSLAVED members Larsen and Ice Dale), and Ivar Bjørnson’s Peersonal Sound Studios. Additional experimentation and sonic exploration was conducted deep in the woods of Valevåg south of Bergen where a mobile studio recorded additional sounds.

Visit ENSLAVED online at:


The Ready Set: A Report from The Outsiders Tour

jordanready1jlThe Ready Set and Metro Station traveled across the country, co-headlining The Outsiders Tour, bringing their fans together for an exhilarating celebration of pop music.  Performing songs from their latest release The Bad & The Better (Razor & Tie Records) as well as a terrific selection of old favorites, The Ready Set captivated the crowd at the House of Blues in San Diego.  We caught up with The Ready Set’s Jordan Witzigreuter on this, the last night of The Outsiders Tour to find out more about a few of the new songs, his thoughts on being on the road and heading for home, working with Metro Station producing one of their songs, giant Japanese inflatable cats, and other cool and casual topics.  Read on…

How has this tour been with Metro Station, what are some of the highlights?
It’s been awesome. Probably the highlight so far was the Anaheim show and New York, they’re always just the most, I don’t know, heavily anticipated because we have so many people and friends, people who work with us who come out to all the shows. Every show has been pretty great, it’s been a good time.

readyset4jlSo now the tour has been going for about a month now, it’s just about over. What goes through your mind when a tour like this is coming to an end?
It usually feels a lot shorter than it was by this point. That’s always like – well, it’s a real quick feeling thing. Kind of excited to go home and kind of bummed out just because I want to keep going. It hasn’t been that long, a month really isn’t too bad so it feels short. But it was fun.

Compared to Warped…
Definitely a lot easier than Warped.

What was it like producing Forever Young for Metro Station and is that something you want to do in the future?
Yes. I try to do as much of that stuff as I can when I have free time. It was cool that it worked out. I made a bunch of stuff and sent some ideas over to them and then they just came by, worked it out and did it in a day. It was super chill and fun so it’s been cool. We’ve been playing that song live every night and I’ve been going up and doing the bridge part that I did on it.

readyset1jl“Are We Happy Now?” – what inspired the lyrics?
It’s kind of about not stopping to smell the roses and being so caught up in the future or whatever is going on in your head that you don’t take anything in that’s going on right in front of you, you miss a lot of things. It’s about the tragedy of that being the case and trying to become more aware, and present and take things in and actually experience the good things that are happening.

“Freaking’ Me Out” What freaks you out?
I don’t know. A lot of stuff. That’s one of those songs where I made up this scenario in my head, meeting somebody randomly at something and, I don’t know, connecting with them and not really seeing them again after that and just having them disappear and – thats what that song is about.

readyset2jlDo you still enjoy playing the older songs, such as “Love Like Woe” and “Young Forever?”
Yeah, it’s fun. It’s more about the crowd. I always want to play the songs that people want to hear. Whatever gets the most reaction from people is what I like playing, it hasn’t really gotten to be annoying or anything. I definitely enjoy it.

Has B.o.B. heard or commented on your cover of “Airplanes”?
I don’t know. I doubt if he heard it, and if he did I don’t know if he commented on it.

Has Paul McCartney heard your cover of “Wonderful Christmas Time”?
JW: [laughs] I’m gonna say probably not. I always forget that I did that cover, it kind of snuck out. Nope, no comment from Paul yet.

The Celebrity EP, where did those songs come from?
They’re all just about random celebrities. I kind of picked people and wrote songs about them. I did this little jingle thing about Taylor Swift a long time ago, that ended up getting a lot of press, a lot of people heard it and it was kind of for a joke. So I thought maybe I’ll do a full little EP and just give it away. If you bought the album when it came out you’d get it for free. Kind of like, a fun little just whatever, fan piece thing.

What can one expect from a The Ready Set show?
A lot of movement. A lot of lights and big Japanese cats. We’ve got these giant inflatable lucky cats – one’s you’d see at a Sushi restaurant. We have a very Tokyo thing going on stage. It’s been a while since I’ve headlined. It’s good to be able to play a full hour and fit a ton of songs in there. We’re doing older stuff, and a bunch of songs from the new album.

readyset3jlYou didn’t bring those cats on Warped Tour…
I know! I actually didn’t get them until this tour, I don’t know what to do with them after the tour, I’m going to keep them with me and find a use for them. Maybe I’ll just put them in my house and they’ll just be giant, inflatable cats in my house.

When you look back on your album Tantrum Castle, what do you think of it now?
I think it was very definitive of my state of mind at the time. I think it was me figuring out how to write songs. Me, figuring out what I wanted to be and what I wanted to sound like. The whole sentiment of that album is getting out of my town and touring and leaving, starting to do this. I think it was a pre-emptive thing, almost. There’s a lot of things I listen to on it that I still like a lot, there’s a lot of melodies and things. I was writing songs for a very different perspective. It was just off the top of my head, whatever came to mind, that’d be it. I really didn’t think about anything. It’s harder to do that now. I’m a lot more critical of myself than I think I was. It’s cool to hear what my first natural idea would be for something. I just don’t write songs that way as much anymore. It’s nice to hear how I used to do stuff.

outsidersWhat is your favorite CD of 2014 and why?
That’s tough, actually.   (Jordan checks through his cell phone for ideas.) There’s an EP that came out this year, that I like a lot, it’s from a band called Panama Wedding and the EP is called Parallel Play. I really like that a lot. That’s probably one of my favorites. I’ll go with that one until I find something else. Everything I like came out in 2013 [laughs]. The new Copeland album came out, well I don’t know if it’s technically out yet. I think it’s out in two days, it’s really good. That’s probably my favorite.

What’s up next after this tour?
I’m going to go home and just write a ton, try and do a new album and write with a lot of other people / artists for side things. Then going to try and do more international stuff, if it works out. Then, I don’t know. One day at a time for me.

xmastour1What are you looking forward to the most about playing your acoustic show on Dec 17th at The Mint?
I’m excited because it’s going to be a lot of our friends just hanging out. All the bands that are playing are friends with us and people that I’ve been around with for years. It’ll be a cool little family reunion. The Downtown Fiction and Metro Station are both playing, it’ll be fun. Nice little swaray.

Two weeks off, then you see everyone again.
Yep. [laughs]

Do you have any messages for your fans in the LA area?
Yeah, thank you guys. Always. For listening to my music and supporting me and coming out to shows. Hopefully if you came out to a show on this tour you enjoyed it. If not, we’ll be back around soon hopefully next year.

Be sure to catch The Ready Set at The Mint on December 17th.  This all acoustic show also features Metro Station, The Downtown Fiction, Trevor Dahl, Up In The Clouds and a DJ set from Goldhouse!

(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)

The Ready Set on Facebook



highwire_top10_2014And it’s time for another Highwire Daze Top 10 List of 2014, compiled by Editor Ken.  Containing everything from the most infectious of pop punk to the nefariously evil strains of black metal and beyond, it was certainly a wild and varied year – at least when it came to what Highwire Daze Online was covering throughout the last 12 months.  All selections are in alphabetical order this year. The full length CD’s were especially difficult to compile, starting off with a list of over 70 in all!  And the EP’s definitely unveil promising artists of all genres that you should be on the lookout for in the New Year.  And now, presenting Editor Ken’s Top 10 of 2014…

The Top Ten Full Length CD’s of 2014

amberiand1Magic Forest by Amberian Dawn (Napalm Records)
The Finnish melodic symphonic metal band Amberian Dawn has released Magic Forest, one of the most spirited, enchanting albums of the year.  Featuring the participation of new vocalist Caprice and a rock solid collection of musicians, Amberian Dawn commence on the next great chapter of their brilliant career.  Highlights include the Abba-like inflections of Cherish My Memory, the sweepingly dramatic title cut Magic Forest, and the gorgeously operatic Green Eyed.  Here’s hoping Amberian Dawn make it to the States next year to present their wondrously glorious songs. (Amberian Dawn on Facebook)

arricar1Wavefunction by Arrica Rose & the …’s (pOprOck records)
With several albums and EP’s to her credit (including the Lucky EP which was on the Top 10 last year), Arrica Rose remains one of the most vastly underrated performers on the Los Angeles scene today.  Wavefunction is a stunning collection of songs, divided into two parts – one on the lively pop side and the other much darker and introspective in scope.  Love You Like That and California On Repeat should be all over the radio airwaves, which her imaginative cover of the Roy Orbison classic In Dreams will haunt you almost as much as the rendition that appeared in the movie Blue Velvet.  A vinyl release only (also on Itunes and limited edition CD).  (Arrica Rose on Facebook)

crowntheres1The Resistance: Rise of the Runaways by Crown The Empire (Rise Records)
The Resistance: Rise of the Runaways presents a future so bleak and hopeless, there is almost no redemption in store for anyone.  “I could wait in the dark for someone to come and save me,” the chorus to Initiation implores at the album’s grim beginning.  Songs such as MNSTR, Machines, and Rise Of The Runaways demonstrate the band’s exciting sense of dramatics.  And then after the bleak expulsions of The Phoenix Reborn, the grand finale ends on note of all out chaos with Johnny’s RebellionCrown The Empire remains one of the most imaginative metalcore bands on the scene today.  (Crown The Empire on Facebook)

delain1cdThe Human Contradiction by Delain (Napalm Records)
Dutch symphonic metal band Delain has unleashed an intensively dramatic album with The Human Contradiction, packed with memorable songs that will haunt your senses long after the disc spins to its staggering finale.  From “the murder of crows” presented within the epic confines of Here Come The Vultures to the unforgettable choruses found within Sing To Me and Army Of Dolls, Delain has clearly composed one of the most vibrant albums of the year.  Charlotte Wessels expressive, unforgettable vocals and the masterful work of the various musicians render this one a genre classic.  (Delain on Facebook)

downfiction1Losers & Kings by The Downtown Fiction (Fearless Records)
This certainly seems to be the year The Downtown Fiction are slated to hit the big leagues, especially if their winning sophomore release Losers & Kings is any indication of what’s in store for this band. The best pop punk summer album since Yellowcard surfed effortlessly through the streets of Ocean AvenueLosers & Kings by The Downtown Fiction presents 12 solid tracks of wildly infectious tunes. After three EP’s and a previous full length entitled Let’s Be Animals, expect this new champion to roar into the hearts and minds of many a music fan.  (The Downtown Fiction on Facebook)

foralliam2No Home by For All I Am (InVogue Records)
No Home is For All I Am’s second full length recording – and first with their new label  InVogue Records. Six Souls kicks the disc off on an overpowering note, with vocalist Aria Yava screaming “I’m fucking losing it” with a fiery intensity, and the shattering sense of urgency permeates throughout the entire recording.  As in life, there are no easy answers to the bitter problems and personal demons that consume us all. And in spite of its many bleak conclusions, No Home is a gripping auditory adventure through the turbulence of the heart and mind that is not to be missed.  (For All I Am on Facebook)

fragilem2Fragile by Midge Ure (Hypertension Music)
The vast and glorious career of Midge Ure features time spent in such notable bands as VisageUltravox and Thin Lizzy. The artist is also known for being the co-writer / producer of the Do They Know It’s Christmas? single for the Band Aid charity project with Bob Geldof in 1984.  Midge Ure also has a distinguished solo career, with Move Me being his last effort of original material released in 2001. Clearly demonstrating that all wonderful things are worth waiting for, Fragile is a fragrant bouquet of goodness that should enrapture both ardent fans and those discovering the magic that is Midge Ure for the very first time.  (Midge Ure on Facebook)

suspiriangh1Suspiria by Nightmares (Rise Records)
Based out of Atlanta, GA, Nightmares is a vibrant collective ready to break out on the national scene in a colossal way. The most exciting and imaginative release Rise Records has presented since Crown The Empire contemplated love at in the end of the world on The Fallout, Suspiria by Nightmares is a stunning debut that is not to be missed. With a lot of the songs named after legendary horror movies combined with hard hitting lyrics and spiraling melodies, Suspiria is a rocking post hardcore journey sure to dazzle the senses of even the most jaded of music critic.  (Nightmares on Facebook)

romuvos2Romuvan Dainas by Romuvos (No Colours Records)
No Colours Records is an absolute legend in the underground metal arena, with such notable acts as Graveland and Nargaroth on their notorious rooster (as well as releasing Dimmu Borgir’s landmark debut album For All Tid). Their releases are pure adventures in sound, and Romuvan Dainas by Romuvos is a stunning addition to their already impressive catalog. The mastermind behind Romuvos is Vilnius, presenting imaginative tales from the days of knighthood and other bewitching Pagan subjects.  While Viking-era Bathory and latter day Falkenbach may be cited as references, Velnias weaves his own mystical sound into the proceedings, and the results are phenomenally breathtaking.  (Romuvos on Facebook)

zgardcon1Contemplation by Zgard (Svarga Music)
There’s black metal, there’s Pagan metal, there’s epic metal – and then there’s the grand and majestic tapestries of the mighty Zgard -combining the three influences, coming up with a masterwork that is absolutely stunning to behold.  Contemplation is the fourth magnum opus presented by Zgard from the mystical and troubled Ukraine, seven absolutely visionary tracks that will set your imagination in flight. Yaromisl is the mastermind behind Zgard, and the compositions he has bestowed upon the world at large present a thrilling auditory odyssey that you’ll want to revisit time and again.  (Zgard on Facebook)

The Top Ten EP’s of 2014

definedadage1Defined by Adage (Pavement Music)
Epic hooks and soaring vocals clearly send Adage into the stratosphere and beyond.  This modern rock collective has issued the high flying Defined through Pavement Records, featuring five powerhouse tunes that should gain the band a good deal of notice above and beyond their Winston-Salem, NC hometown.  With an EP this thrilling, it should be exciting to see what sonic adventures await the listener on a full length Adage manifesto.  Fans of Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace will be over the moon when encountering what Adage has to offer the world at large.  (Adage on Facebook)

welikeyouWe Like You by Animal Cloud (Self-released EP)
Animal Cloud is certainly one of the most unique bands on the Los Angeles music scene today, featuring masked individuals delving into a sound of the future that is wondrously endearing.  Their original compositions such Future Receiver and What If are spacey and intriguing, and their haunting rendition of Angel of The Morning is sure to set your imagination in flight.  Featuring Keith Tenenbaum and Trevor Lissauer amongst its membership, Animal Cloud dares to be completely different, and the results will enrapture you like an arcane dream.  We like Animal Cloud and so will all music aficionados looking for something fun and obscure on the LA music scene.  (Animal Cloud on Facebook)

imtehonewhoI’m The One Who Changed by At Our Expense (Self-released EP)
At Our Expense is a hard working collective from the San Fernando Valley who has found themselves on national tours, and has self-released their own recordings over the last few years. Amazingly unsigned at this time, At Our Expense combines the melodies of punk punk with the vibrant intensity of post hardcore – unleashing an auditory exhibition of sound that will captivate the senses.   I’m The One Who Changed shows a band approaching the height of creative prowess, and more than ready to take it on up to the next level.  (At Our Expense on Facebook)

goldenrose1Golden by Delta Rose (Self-released EP)
What a treat it was to see a band like Delta Rose on Warped Tour a few summers ago.  Invading the Ernie Ball Stage, their rambunctious brand of rock and blues is captured perfectly on their self-released Golden EP.  From the jazzy inflections on Chew, on to the swampy overtones of One Is Too Many, and the concluding heartfelt Stones-like Ten Long Years, this Los Angeles based band present six timeless songs that will rock your world.  With a super charismatic vocalist and exceptional musicians playing songs that will remain in your head for ages, a journey on the hard rocking Delta Rose is mandatory listening for all.  (Delta Rose on Facebook)

eviloatjep1Anno. 1666 by Evil Oath (Self-released EP)
We all kneel for Satan’s arrival,” screams the opening testament on Anno. 1666 and with a line like that, you clearly understand the dark entreaties ahead.  Based out of the Nederlands,Evil Oath is a foreboding Black Metal collective ready to leave a lingering impression upon the world at large. Their combustible debut Anno.1666 has been independently released, unleashing an unholy blast of sonic devastation for all whom encounter its malevolent reveries. With the gates of hell wide open revealing such a supremely diabolic masterwork, we’re destined to hear a lot more from the depths of Evil Oath in the diabolic year ahead.  (Evil Oath on Facebook)

manmade1Undeniable EP by Man Made Machine (Self-released EP)
After one well received full-length debut album “Become” on Razor & Tie Records (produced by Chad Gray and Greg Tribbett of Mudvayne/HellYeah), Man Made Machine from Phoenix, AZ found themselves launching headfirst into DIY mode.  The result is the supremely hard hitting Undeniable EP, clearly showing a band at the height of their creative energy.  Songs such as X-Rated, Fight For You, and Bringing Hell will surely launch a whole new chapter of rocking goodness from this hard working collective.  A grand new chapter commences…  (Man Made Machine on Facebook)

postiveboard1The Positive & Negative by My Cardboard Rocket (Self-released EP)
Many actually were introduced to A.J. Garces last year, as he traveled across the country on the Summerfest Tour as a support guitarist for Keep It Cute. Now a solo project has been launched with the moniker of My Cardboard Rocket – and judging by what’s ignited on the debut EP entitled The Positive & Negative, expect Garces and his pop rocking project to shoot straight up into the stratosphere. The Positive & Negative by My Cardboard Rocket  contains five wildly infectious tunes that will remain embedded in your head long after the music spins to its grand finale.  (My Cardboard Rocket on Facebook)

rippipep1Ulvaja by Rippikoulu (Svart Records)
The prodigious Rippikoulu from Finland has been deathly silent since the 90’s, when they released two demos that shot them into an underground legend status. It’s been 21 years, but now Rippikoulu has been gloriously unearthed, and the results are absolutely staggering in scope. This is doom metal of the highest order, relentlessly bleak and morbidly beautiful. Ulvaja may only be three deep cuts of obscure melancholy running a total of 18 minutes in length, but the splendor found within these breathtaking masterworks is wondrous to behold.  (Rippikoulu on Facebook)

OpenHouseEPOpen House EP by Second To Last (True Records)
All I want is to be loved and to give love back,” is the poignant chorus on the gripping Dressed In Black – the track that kicks off the five songs on the Open House EP by Second To Last.  On the more introspective side of the pop punk spectrum, Second To Last from Lodi, CA has delivered a short yet heartfelt collection of infectious tunes. The talented trio who make up Second To Last are Tyson Evans on vocals and guitar, Mike Fairbrace on guitar and vocals, and Russell St Clair on bass. Expect this band to take off in a big and wonderful way, especially if they continue to release tunes this memorable.  (Second To Last on Facebook)

LoveIsAGameLove Is A Liar’s Game by Youth In Revolt (Outerloop Records)
The recent collaboration of Fearless Records and Outerloop Management is resulting in some promising bands well worth seeking out. The new creation known as Outerloop Records has now unleashed their next great discovery – a five piece collective known as Youth In Revolt from New Jersey. Love Is A Liar’s Game is Youth In Revolt’s debut for the label, a thunderously solid EP that should garner the band a good amount of notice. Fans of acts such as Sleeping With Sirens and Memphis May Fire are destined to encounter a new favorite when checking into what the inspiring Youth In Revolt has to offer. Expect a slamming full length from these guys in the New Year! (Youth In Revolt on Facebook)

And thus concludes another strange journey into Editor Ken’s 2014 music collection! See you all on the strange highways of 2015!

(Compilation by Ken Morton)


The Downtown Fiction: At the Final Night of The Outsiders Tour

thedowntowncardpic1The Outsiders Tour with co-headliners The Ready Set and Metro Station was spinning to an end, with the final show being at the House Of Blues in San Diego, California.  The Downtown Fiction supplied direct support for the entire run, and undoubtedly gained a ton of new fans in the process.  Their Fearless Records debut Losers & Kings is the pop punk album of the year, filled to the brim with wildly infectious anthems such as Somewhere Out There, No Generation, and Santa Cruz.  Just prior to their set, we sat down backstage with the entire band to discuss some of the songs from the new album, their thoughts on this last night on the tour, messages for their West Coast fans, and other rockin’ topics of intrigue.  Read on…

downtownsd1Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in The Downtown Fiction and what’s your favorite song on the new album?
Cameron: My name is Cameron Leahy and I play guitar and sing and I think currently my favorite is “Big Mistakes.” It’s a song we close with on the set. It’s just a cool song for all of the different inspirations that blend. There’s a cool piano part that I really love, that’s very danceable. Then there’s this verse that’s very sonically empty and lets the vocals come up, but there’s still this rocking chorus. I really like that song. A lot of diverse elements.

Kyle: My name is Kyle Rodgers, I play the drums. My favorite song is “Don’t Count Me Out,” which is a nice rocky song. It’s got a rad riff in it and those are the two elements I like in rock songs.

Wes: My name is Wes Dimond, I play guitar in The Downtown Fiction. I’d have to say currently, my favorite is “No Generation.” It’s a real fun song, it’s got a cool jammy verse and it goes into a fun heavy chorus. I like playing it live.

David: I’m David Pavluk and I play bass and sing backup vocals and my favorite is probably “Kiss My Friends,” it has a sweet bass line, which I really enjoy playing live. It’s crazy hard, but fun. Then, the chorus is super powerful and rocky, fast and the song is pretty much over in a flash but it’s a kick in the face of rock.

downtownsd4So how has this tour been going so far and what have been some of the highlights?
Kyle: It’s been awesome so far. I think we’ve done a good job at reaching a lot of new fans, it’s been good for us monetarily. We’ve got some good merch out there, some new merch we’ve had designed. The shows have been really well attended, and a lot of fun. A lot of good music on this tour.

David: I think one of the highlights was playing a couple of nights ago near LA, in Anaheim and a lot of people came out. We had management come out and they got to see what we’ve been doing on the road for the last few weeks. We’re getting near the end of the tour, everything is really polished. House of Blues has a great sound.

downtownsd2The tour has been going on for about a month, just about over. What goes through your mind at this stage of the tour when everything is about to end?
Cameron: It’s a really good feeling, usually by the end of the tour you’re most prepared with the set and familiar with it. You just feel so comfortable at that point, it’s almost muscle memory. So, at this point it just feels like we’re a well polished machine. It’s always bittersweet because it’s also the end.  You wish you could almost keep going, but we’ll be going more in the spring.

David: I’d say we’re definitely ready for a break but not too long of a break because this is what we like doing and we want to get back out as soon as possible. Hopefully we’ll be able to do that soon.

What does the title “Loser and Kings” mean to you guys?
Cameron: The record, a lot of it is about empathy for others through self-examination. You realize, oh, we’re all losers and kings in some ways. We’ve all been through these different strifes and troubles and all have come out on the other end of it. So, a lot of it too is about looking back at your childhood and saying, how the hell did I get here? It’s a loose theme, but I think it brings your perspective to a new level when you start to think about it in those terms, oh everybody’s going through the same thing.

What’s the story behind the song “Santa Cruz”?
Cameron: I wrote the song about my skateboard. I got a longboard on my birthday, I was born in Santa Monica. Moving back to LA was another part of what I think influenced the record a little bit. That childhood nostalgia, that reexamination of your life comes from revisiting a place you once were from. So we’re transplants, we’re not from – i can say I was born there but I’m not from LA, not really. I lived in Virginia. “Santa Cruz” is about – the skateboard is just this vessel for all of that examination. It was for me, it became a big part of my life where I was taking this Santa Cruz out all the time. Between us going surfing or something, it’d be a lot of cruising around. The area I lived in for a while had these really smooth hills and roads, I’d go out at night and it would just inspire the song. I thought it needed a song. It was very natural, though. Didn’t take much thought.

downtownsd3“No Generation” is almost a punk rock anthem. What inspired it?
Cameron: I wrote that one with Martin from Boys Like Girls. I had known him for a while. Yeah, its just a cool rock song.  I always think of The Who in the title, it is a little Who inspired. Not musically, but the sentiment. I think it was just one of those songs that, again, it was very effortless.

David: That one is really fun to play live as well. I’m always mentioning our live show because that’s a big part of the band and a big part of how when we went to record this record.  We had that in mind of how it’s going to sound live. We even have an outro, it’s pretty rockin’ for that song. We’re not playing it on this tour, unfortunately. We have in the past, you’ll hear it again soon.

If The Downtown Fiction could open for any band, either now or from the past. Who and why?
David: My answer is Weezer and Foo Fighters. They’ve done tours in the past together, but put The Downtown Fiction on that show. That’d be a sick rock show.

Wes: I think it’d be cool to open up for Queens of the Stone Age, actually. That’d be so rad, that’d be a real rocking tour. I feel like we could play and keep up. I think it’d be fun.

Kyle: I’ve said this before, but Led Zeppelin just because opening up and being able to watch them every night would be insane.

Cameron: Man, that’s a tough one because there are so many bands where you don’t feel as if your band would fit on the bill even though you’d love to open for them. But, because I’ve been obsessed with this band Deerhoof and I play them all the time, relentlessly but they’re so crazy and out there that i’ve gotten obsessed with them. But I don’t think we’d be able to fit with them very well.  Another band that sort of fits the vein of “doesn’t fit with anyone at all” is Devo. I feel like they have their own, they’ve carved out their own terrain, they’re their own thing. That’s another thing I super admire, in Devo. Theyre so punk in the fact that they play like robots. They play – they’re so solid, such a solid band. There’s nothing more punk to me than a band that just is totally on, every beat is so punchy. They’re a huge inspiration.

downtownsd5How about a cover of “Girl You Want”?
Cameron: Kyle and I have jammed that song, we have a rehearsal cover but there’s another song called – not even going to reveal it, maybe we’ll do the other one I’m thinking of. But we’ve done “Girl You Want.”

Do you have any messages for your fans out here in the Southern California area?
Cameron: Yeah! Come out to the shows and check out the new album. I think that – not that it’s not relatable to everyone, but I think there’s something even special for West Coast people to hear on the record, because we made it on the West Coast. It has this very open feeling that sort of makes me think of standing by the ocean. I don’t know what makes me think that it should be played by the ocean but – it has that feeling, that sentimentality from coming from being born there, I guess.

Kyle: I guess yeah, come to the show and thank you very much for following the band and checking out the new record and continuing to support us. We really appreciate it, we love you guys.

Wes: Thank you so much. I feel like we have an awesome following on the West Coast, it’s really fun seeing them out at shows because they’re so energetic and fun. I think there’s a totally type of energy when we come out here, I can feel it every time we play these West Coast shows. Including the show in Anaheim, I’m really excited for the show tonight here to finish off the tour, I think it’d be a good one.

David: I agree with everything everyone said, that was great. Come see the record live, we really enjoy playing it and we hope you’ll enjoy hearing it. So get ready for a rocking show and next time we tour. Thank you all again.

Be sure to catch The Downtown Fiction at The Mint on December 17th.  This all acoustic show also features The Ready Set, Metro Station, Trevor Dahl, Up In The Clouds and a DJ set from Goldhouse!

(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)

The Downtown Fiction on Facebook