Thursday, November 12, 2009

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popwreckoning updates

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MxPx Releasing 6 Song EP Nov. 17 After 5 Year Wait

Posted: 12 Nov 2009 09:00 AM PST

After a wildly successful 17th anniversary summer, complete with a fan "favorites" live broadcast performance, the punk-pop gurus of Bremerton, WA are back at it again. Now, MxPx are set to release Left Coast Punk, their latest EP (the band's first in five years), through their very own label, Rock City Recording Company. MxPx LCP_Photo By_Jered Scott_SMALL

MxPx has always been the harder-and-faster variety of punk playing bands, the band coined the phrase "Left Coast Punk" as a simple way to describe their sound, and those similar, residing from the Left Coast. It is that particular sound that is evident within the new tracks and MxPx vocalist and bassist, Mike Herrera felt the name just seemed to fit, "It just made sense to use the term, it's been around awhile, something I believe we coined, but it perfectly describes the clash of pop sensibility with the fast and hard playing that we are known for."

That clash of sounds is what hardcore MxPx fans will get; however the band did add in a melodic soft touch on a couple of tracks including the first single, "End," a tribute to some great punk and rock shows of the past. Using a style of play not performed by the band very often, melodic and fast, mid tempo and powerful, but fans will notice the signature MxPx sound. Other tracks, like "Broken," carry a more serious, personal tone, a rhythm that drives the lyrics – peering deep into feelings of being, well, broken inside. And then there's "Desperate to Understand" featuring classic MxPx style lyrics about lifting each other up and by sound alone, "One Step Further" kick starts the EP with its fast tempo, while the lyrics delve into becoming a better person.

Left Coast Punk is the band's fifth EP, but the first to be released through the band's own label, Rock City Recording Company. The band admits there is more work at hand, but Herrera puts it all into perspective, "It was about time we took this leap into the darkness, after all, we’re musicians, there’s no retirement in punk rock." With that new leap of faith, the band will be releasing the standard 6-song EP through major online digital retailers. As a bonus the band will be releasing a limited edition physical version of the EP as a 10-track CD, which includes an additional 3 instrumental tracks (a first for the band) and "On a String," a previously unreleased demo track. With only 500 in the limited edition run, each copy will come with an autographed poster, and will only be available on the band's website:

First single, "End" will debut on Friday, November 13 on the band's MySpace page: at 9 am PST.

MxPx is Mike Herrera (bass/vocals), (guitars) and Yuri Ruley (drums). In the span of 17 years, the band has sold over 2.5 million records world-wide and is ready to continue that success as they release this EP as well as their special Christmas album, set to be released this holiday season.

Track List:
01. One Step Further
02. Desperate to Understand
03. Broken
04. Shanghaied in Shanghai
05. Hopeless Case
06. End
**Includes all the tracks listed above, plus the below**
07. One Step Further (instrumental version)
08. End (instrumental version)
09. Broken (instrumental version)
10. On a String (previously unreleased demo from LCP sessions)

MxPx: website | myspace

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Download Hurricane Bells ‘This Year’

Posted: 12 Nov 2009 08:00 AM PST

Hurricane Bells‘ just released debut album, Tonight Is The Ghost, digitally  on Vagrant. The band is Steve Schiltz from Longwave’s solo project and he’s already gathering attention from getting a b-side on the “it” soundtrack of the year: New Moon.

Check out his video for “This Year” here:

Then download it here by right clicking here: .“This Year”

Hurricane Bells: myspace

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The Swell Season – Strict Joy

Posted: 12 Nov 2009 07:00 AM PST

It's almost not fair that the U.S. never got to experience Glen Hansard before 2007's "Once," because as of 2009, he has a 15-year history of making great bluesy-folk Irish rock with his band The Frames. And his experience mixed with 21-year-old Czech songwriter Marketa Irglova's unsullied piano and vocals, the two once again creative a dynamic and poignant album, Strict Joy, following their 2007 Oscar win for "Falling Slowly" from the film "Once." On their second record together, The Swell Season has expanded their musical and emotional repertoire without going too far out of their original intention. swell

Strict Joy opens on a bluesy Van Morrison-like tune, "Low Rising," which was an odd choice to open the album, as its somewhat repetitive melody doesn't hit me with a strong sense of what the album is going to encompass. And to be honest, the rest of the album doesn't sound a whole lot like "Low Rising." It's a cool instance of showing the breadth of Hansard and Irglova's songwriting, but I would have embedded it in the record as a nice change up, and started the record on track number two, "Feeling the Pull," as it sounds to me like a sunrise. Like waking up to a sunny day with frost on the windowsill. That shows more what the album is – joyful, but still with those cold moments.

"The Rain," "Feeling the Pull," "High Horses" and "The Verb" provide the upbeat core of Strict Joy, which is what makes it different than The Swell Season's first effort in 2006. This album isn't nearly as melancholy, although it does have its moments. Stand out-tracks include the choir-laden acoustic ballad "In These Arms," "Fantasy Man" led by Irglova's slow lilt, and the Frames-esque throwback "Paper Cup," which features a great guitar solo that almost sounds like Spanish finger-picking and Hansard's soulful rasp.

Strict Joy also features a diversity of instruments and mixing, with more strings, harmonica, and even some more high-tech mixing on "Two Tongues," and an almost Celtic-folk vibe on "I Have Loved You Wrong." Strict Joy shows how an unlikely pairing can come together in such a way that makes perfect sense. Hansard and Irglova don't sound like a couple of people who just got together to make music, they sound like they've been making music together for much longer than you'd expect because of Irglova's age. But that may be just a sign of the group's musicianship and undeniable chemistry. Strict Joy isn't quite as fresh as the Swell Season's first effort back in 2006, which people forget preceded "Once," but just as beautiful. I'd like to see where they go next, now that the songs aren't as strongly ingrained in our minds as the story of "Once," whether it is fact or fiction.

Track Listing:
01. “Low Rising”
02. “Feeling the Pull”
03. “In These Arms”
04. “The Rain”
05. “Fantasy Man”
06. “Paper Cup”
07. “High Horses”
08. “The Verb”
09. “I Have Loved You Wrong”
10. “Love That Conquers”
11. “Two Tongues”
12. “Back Broke”

The Swell Season: website | myspace

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