Polar Bear Club, Tegan & Sara cover Bad Religion

SPIN Magazine and MySpace have announced the release of a Bad Religion tribute album titled, Germs Of Perfection: A Tribute to Bad Religion.

The compilation will feature artists like Canadian indie popsters Tegan & Sara, post-hardcore act Polar Bear Club,  Ted Leo and more and it set for free digital release October 19th via MySpace.

MySpace has a couple of the tracks streaming now, both of which can be heard below. The first is Tegan & Sara covering “Suffer” followed by Polar Bear Club’s rendition of “Better Off Dead.”

Bad Religion are releasing their much anticipated new album, The Dissent of Man, today.

On astute user on MySpace left this rather amusing comment; “No offense to the artists involved, but wouldn’t a better title be: How Could This Album Be Any Worse?: A Tribute to Bad Religion.” From what we’ve heard so far, it’s 50/50. But at least it’s free. We are however, unsure if this talented singer/songwriter will appear on the compilation. She’s better than Tegan AND Sara.

Tegan & Sara – “Suffer”

Polar Bear Club – “Better Off Dead”


Johnny Depp, Gore Verbinski team up for The Lone Ranger

Collaborators on the Box Office conquering series The Pirates of Carribbean, Johnny Depp and director Gore Verbinski are teaming up bring to the big screen a new adaptation of The Lone Ranger.

Deadline Hollywood is reporting that the movie would have  Jerry Bruckheimer in the producers seat while Depp would saddle up as … Tonto.  No word as of yet who will be named as the Lone Ranger.


This Verbinski related news gives us an excuse to post our favorite Verbinski moment, and it has nothing to do with making films.

Back in the day, Verbinski was of course, a member of short-lasting punk rockers Daredevils, whose other members included Bad Religion guitarist and Epitaph head-honcho Brett Gurewitz. This was the one single/video they made. It’s better than the last Pirate of the Caribbean film.

Featured, Interviews, Music

From the Heartland: An interview with the Blacklist Royals

Nashville, Tennessee: the heartbeat of American rock n’ roll and one of music history’s bastion cities. Steeped in tradition and iconic figures, its landscape is the home of some of the most memorable moments in music history. From the prominence of homegrown country music to rockabilly and traditional rock, the denizens and artists who ply their craft within its borders continue to be some of the most passionate in the nation.

The Blacklist Royals are a fine product of this Nashville brewery; distilled in rock n’ roll’s rich history and sharpened by punk rock’s sneer, they are both the present and future of this past. We recently spoke to drummer and founder Rob about their recent touring, their terrific album Semper Liberi and what their city’s (and genre’s) history means to them as they continue down the rock n’ roll highway.

How was the tour, crowd reception good?

Rob: The tour was great! It was our first tour in Canada, and it went really well. We were out with Orphan Choir, who are an amazing band and dudes, so it was a blast. Toronto, Montreal, and KOI Festival had great crowds and we met a lot of really cool people.

What were some of the best memories of the recent run?

Rob: The memory that will stick with me the most is from our day off in Toronto, a crazy drunk girl at The Bovine Sex Club beat the shit out of this girl who worked our show the night before, then attacked Nat and Alex as well! Part of me wanted to stop her, and part of me couldn’t help but want to watch some random maniac drunk bitch try to fight everyone in the bar for no reason. I think what started the whole thing is that Alex told her she was pretty, haha! She chased us all the way back to the van! Canadian girls are intense.

Did you guys all get along?

Rob: We get along great most of the time, regardless of our different personalities and the obvious tensions of being on the road constantly. Alex can definitely get a little wild sometimes, and since Nat and I are twins and have lived/played music together our whole lives we can get into it the way brothers do. But we all love each other and love being out on the road experiencing life and getting into all kinds of fucked up misadventures together, so it works out well.  Right when I think we don’t get a long I watch other bands we tour with interact and realize we are a lot closer than most.

Semper Liberi is one of our favorite records of 2010. In our review, we said, “It’s all about the feeling, the essence, and the movement of what made the likes of Johnny Cash, Elvis, Chuck Berry and their kind so memorable.” Your city of Nashville is steeped in such a rich rock n’ roll culture, how much does rock n’ roll history influence your songwriting if any?

Rob: We are definitely students of rock and roll history, and it is a bigger influence on us than anything else. Nat and I grew up on 50’s and 60’s music, and moved to Nashville years ago in hopes of connecting with the things that made early rock and roll so great and real. So I definitely agree it is all about feeling. Semper Liberi was honestly kind of a concept album to us, an attempt to make a punk rock oldies album, but still keep it relevant. Classic rock and roll has been and will always be our bands compass, no matter where we go from here.

AUDIO STREAM: “Howling at the Moon”
Blacklist Royals – Howling at the Moon (from the album Semper Liberi)

What are some of the important topics you consider as influential when it comes to writing the songs?

Rob: We write a lot about what we know, like life on the road and of course love songs. But we also had some songs about social issues on Semper Liberi such as “Jolie Blonde” (a re-working of the unofficial Cajun national anthem about hurricane Katrina), “Church Bells are Ringing”(about a mining disaster in my home state of West Virginia) and “American Hearts”. For the next record we have been writing much more personal songs, which are a little different from the straight forward rock and roll lyrics on Semper Liberi but still completely Blacklist Royals.

What is the natural progression for all of you now after Semper Liberi?

Rob: Well like I said, we are trying to get more real with our songwriting, more personal. We tried to make the songs on Semper Liberi more general so they were more accessible, but now we want to really take it to street level and sing about topics that we weren’t ready to cover with that record. But at the same time we want the songs to be even MORE hook oriented, and I am really excited about what we’ve been coming up with so far. Jamie, Alex, and Eric bring a lot of different influences and ideas to the table, so I expect our next record to be a real step up.

Paper + Plastick are a relatively new label- although Vinnie is no stranger to this- was it a natural choice for you to sign with them?

Rob: Definitely. Matt Drastic (who produced out record) is Less Than Jake’s tour manager, and turned Vinnie on to the band. Those two dudes have believed in us more than anyone ever has, so I couldn’t imagine being in better hands. They’ve really done a lot for us and P+P is becoming a really awesome label as other labels seem to be dying around them, so I am stoked to see what the future holds.

You guys are playing The Fest next- do you prefer these massive festival settings or do the open roads and endless rock n’ roll halls appeal more to your sensibilities?

Rob: It depends what time slot we get at the festivals, haha! They can be really amazing because we get to play to audiences that maybe haven’t seen us, or that generally wouldn’t go out to a show we play at a random shitty bar on a weeknight in their towns. So festivals are great, The Fest especially! It is always my favorite weekend of the year, and I have no doubt anyone who makes the trip down to FL will see us running around all night acting like idiots.

What are your plans after The Fest?

Rob: It is kind of up in the air right now. We are trying to work out a tour in November, and probably take December off. At the start of the new year there are a lot of cool things in the works including Europe, Canada again, and a Paper + Plastick tour with some of our awesome label mates. Basically we are just going to continue touring our asses off until people have no choice but to notice us.
Semper Liberi is out now via Paper + Plastick

Album Reviews, Highlights, Music

Review: Jimmy Eat World – Invented

Jimmy Eat World have always come across as artists whose authenticity isn’t tangled in the typical blueprints of critical music appreciation. Their appeal, one long standing and global, rests on values outside of these norms (the kind the Robert Christgaus and Lester Bangs of the world harp on about) oft associated with socially affecting music. Yet one could argue that Jimmy Eat World have indeed been on the forefront of a socially viable brand of music. It is because their music is about moments and not about revolution, about heart and not art, that the praise languished upon them is from the thousands of people who fill their venues through an emotional connection and not by some witty journalist with a furrowed brow.

Their music, from Static Prevails and Clarity, to Futures and Chase This Light, is described by the one word critically acclaimed music cannot be; “beautiful.” It is not angular, or blunt or transient. It is patient and refined. Invented, their latest, is by all accounts, beautifully executed sentimentality. Histrionic in its words, its aural accompaniments are all about chasing that uncontrollable chemistry that happens within each and every one of us. The best place to begin is at the very apex- the title track “Invented”. It is the moment in which the long awaited build reaches its crescendo and over its seven minutes plus, the shimmering acoustics and the whispered vocal hum become a firework of sharp guitars, dynamic percussions and that unforgettable emotional incandescence we’ve seen in “Table For Glasses” and to a more compact extent, “For Me This is Heaven”. In “Littlething”, they embark on the kind of lyrical introspection that has become the hallmark for the band. Writing words on frosted windows with lines like; “Just a little thing / buried in the other things / burning away, from inside / could you be with me tonight?” to the backdrop of orchestral harmonies and melodies best suited for moments when snow is falling on your driveway.

“Evidence” plays out like a mid-paced “Big Casino” while the first single, “My Best Theory”, is the band at its most unorthodox. Its skittering beats and rhythmic dissonance is the closest they’ll ever get to angular songwriting. In “Movielike”, they dissect the realities of big city life for all those who seek fortune and happiness within its monolithic walls; “Nothing movie-like / Nothing magic / People just tire to fight the constant battle / Waiting to see a sign? / Then you’ve seen the best already.” And while its content is anything but, the song itself is in sharp contrast to its disappointed outlook, and in essence, very much like its namesake.

Introspection, life and love are the cornerstones of the Jimmy Eat World manifesto. Be it sad heart musings (“Cut”) or recollections on those pioneering instincts of post-school restlessness (“Coffee And Cigarettes”), their connection to listeners continues to be this bond. They are the principal protagonists of their genre and Invented is its most important expression since Something to Write Home About. Beautiful and stellar, these Jimmy Eat World songs always sound like they’re written amongst the stars. (Interscope)

AUDIO STREAM: “Movielike”
Jimmy Eat World – Movielike (from the album Invented)


Trailer watch: Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt in ‘Wild Target’

The trailer for British comedy Wild Target has made its way online. The movie stars the great Bill Nighy as Victor Maynard, an assassin whose life is shaken when he is inexplicably drawn to his intended target (Emily Blunt).

Directed by Jonathan Lynn (My Cousin Vinny, The Whole Nine Yards), the movie co-stars Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Rupert Everitt and Eileen Atkins. You can check out the trailer below.

The movie looks promising; superb comic timing (Nighy looks brilliant), aesthetic flair (Blunt) and both subtle and over the top laughs. We will for now, ignore critical reception thus far, and trust the quality cast and its “Britishness” to get it over the line.

Originally based on a 1993 French film, Wild Target opens in North American cinemas October 8th.



Stephen Fry joins cast of Sherlock Holmes sequel

British actor, comedian Stephen Fry has joined the cast of the upcoming Sherlock Holmes sequel. Reports coming in have confirmed that Fry will play the other, lesser known Holmes, Mycroft (Sherlock’s less famous older brother).

The sequel will see Robert Downey Jr. return as the titular character while Guy Ritchie will once again helm the project. Slated to start shooting later in the year, Fry had this to say about his upcoming role;

I’m playing Mycroft in the sequel to the Sherlock Holmes film Guy Ritchie directed with Robert Downey Jr., and that sort of part is fun, but just once in a while to play a genuine all round sort of lead figure with complexity and tragedy and wit and all the sort of things that Oscar [Wilde] had was a once in a lifeftime thrill.”

We have read and re-read that quote and we are honestly unsure whether he’s thrilled about playing Mycroft or whether he’s saying playing Mycroft is the nice break he gets from playing more in-depth characters. On another note, no one on Earth has been named Mycroft for several hundred years now.

Nonetheless, Fry is a great addition to the cast. We look back fondly at our favorite piece of Stephen Fry casting; as General Melchett.


Peter Jackson angry at Aus/NZ unions for delaying ‘The Hobbit’

Filmmaker Peter Jackson is up in arms over Australian/NZ unions calling for a boycott of the planned Hobbit movie, slated to film in New Zealand. The Australian Labour Union has expressed concern and has called for actors and workers of the movie to forgo work as it is a “non-union production.”

The Age is reporting that some of the film’s cast, including Sir Ian McKellan, Hugo Weaving and Cate Blanchett are on board with the boycott. Jackson however, has stated he will not take such threats lightly and may move the production of the film from his home land New Zealand all the way to Eastern Europe.

Deadline Hollywood has Peter Jackson’s full statement in which he has written;

This is a grab for power. It does not represent a problem that needs a solution. There will always be differing opinions when it comes down to work and conditions, but I have always attempted to treat my actors and crew with fairness and respect. We have created a very favourable profit sharing pool for the non-Union actors on The Hobbit — and now the Union is targeting us, despite the fact that we have always respected SAG conditions and residuals.

I can’t see beyond the ugly spectre of an Australian bully-boy, using what he perceives as his weak Kiwi cousins to gain a foothold in this country’s film industry. They want greater membership, since they get to increase their bank balance.”

The much delayed movie is the long-awaited prequel to Peter Jackson’s cinematic masterpiece The Lord of the Rings. The Hobbit was to be directed by Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy) but due to scheduling conflicts, dropped out of the project. Filming was to begin next year but with this delay, who knows.

Enough of this nonsense. Just make the film already.