Giving the Drummer Some: Travis Barker debut set for February

With much of the talk centered solely on the upcoming blink-182 album, it is easy to overlook the solo work of the respective members. Drummer Travis Barker, no stranger to the world of hip hop, is releasing his debut solo album in February; several months ahead of the speculated release date of blink’s new work.

The album features Barker collaborating with noted names in hip hop, including confirmed guest spots from RZA, Raekwon, Tech N9ne and Bun B while Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello features on the new single “Carry It”. Several other guests rumored to be appearing include Chester Bennington, Slash, Rick Ross, Game and Lil’ Wayne.

The video for new single “Carry It (ft. RZA, Raekwon, Tom Morello)” can be seen above.

The solo album, titled Give the Drummer Some, is scheduled to hit stores February 2011 and features production from Barker, The Neptunes and DJ Khalil.


New Blink-182 album due next May/June?

In a recent blog post, Blink-182 bassist Mark Hoppus has divulged some new information regarding the long awaited new album.

Hoppus hopes the new album will be delivered to the label some time next April or May, and aims to have it released in stores not long after. Perhaps June or July? It’s possible. He goes on to say they are currently working on about 10 new songs for the record and that some of the ones he’s written take a similar tone to that of “Wendy Clear” and “Going Away to College” (from their 1999 album Enema of the State).

Here are his words about the direction of the new material;

We’re working with the better part of ten or so songs at this point.  There’s still a long to way to go before the album is done, but already it seems like the songs are both taking a step even further than we took on the last album, while also going back to the sound of some of the earlier albums.  And the ideas keep coming.  Yesterday I worked on the basics of an uptempo, catchy progression; kind of in the vein of Wendy Clear or Going Away to College.  We’ll see how it comes together…  The Americana, country-type song that I’ve written about before is now in its third incarnation, and I think it gets better with every change.”

And on the tentative release date of the new album;

We want to deliver the record in April or May, for release very soon afterward.  That’s our goal.  That’s what we’re all working toward.  That being said, the only thing more important to us than getting the record out in that time is getting a GREAT record out.”

Thanks Mark. Please make sure Tom does not get ahead of himself. That would be great.

Music, Videos

blink-182 post studio update on new album

Taking time from his busy schedule as co-host of his own Fuse TV show A Different Spinblink-182 bassist Mark Hoppus recently posted a studio update regarding the anticipated new album. Speaking briefly about some recent recording and songwriting, Hoppus takes viewers on a very short look at the studio including some old equipment being used. No concrete secrets about the album were revealed however.

blink-182 reformed in early 2009 and have been touring and writing the follow-up 2003’s self-titled album. Not too long ago Tom Delonge commented on the possible direction of the new album, boasting the inclusion of drum n’ bass, indie rock, and stadium rock.

We recoiled in horror.

We wrote about it too, and elicited a response from the less than erudite portion of the blink-182 fanbase. We stand by our comments.


New Blink 182 album is going to suck

With much anticipation comes great responsibility, a concept, perhaps, lost in the mind of one Thomas Delonge. With Blink 182’s expected reunification fulfilled, their post-Enema of the State fans rejoiced at the prospect of new material, a follow-up to their diverse and musically challenging self titled 2003 album (which we thought “highly” of). But for those who grew up listening to Cheshire Cat and Dude Ranch, there was trepidation and fear that all the nonsense that came with the U2-flirting of Angels & Airwaves would permeate and seep back into the songwriting they hinted at in 2003.

Unfortunately, news has come out that the new Blink 182 may indeed sound like an Angels & Airwaves album pumped through dance club speakers trying to fill a stadium. This all according to guitarist Tom Delonge, who in a recent interview with Rock Radio stated;

“The record will be very modern, relevant, fast and fun. It’ll be a mixture of drum’n’bass, indie rock and stadium rock. I can’t say we’ve done that before, but you can see the tip of the iceberg on the last record. Anyone who listens to my band Angels and Airwaves will know where I sit musically. If you imagine that, mixed in with what the other guys do in their spare time, you get it. It’s going to be a really great collaboration of the best of three different genres of music.”

Drum & bass? Stadium rock? Horrifying. Absolutely horrifying. One can only hope that this is just Tom being Tom but alas, as anyone who has heard AVA (which, coincidentally isn’t all that bad- and fitting for that band) can attest to his fulfilling of great prophecies to mixed results.

This is all truly distressing news, dashing hope that childhoods and good times would be recaptured- a return to glorious fart jokes and songs about being stuck in trees with your pants down. Life is serious, difficult, and sometimes trying to make sense of it all is a necessary artistic endeavor … but sometimes you just need to write a song that’s 100% bullshit free.

We’re happy that Blink are back because it means, at the very least, that Mark and Travis won’t do another +44 album, but Tom, don’t lie, we’ve seen recent video of you on tour, you still crack the dumb jokes and act like a child- so why don’t you write songs like you still do? You were the best at it. And sometimes being good at one thing is more than we could ever ask for.

Less “Down”, more “Dammit”.



Album Reviews, Music

Review: Blink 182 – Blink 182

The bud that grows, once juvenile in its infancy, blooms into petals of nature’s flowery discontent. And once again, discontent’s ire has fueled the desire for growth and torturous change. The one-time jewels of latrine culled pop punk, Blink 182 have finally gotten to their heads that yes, 30-year-old men singing about being stuck in trees with pants dropped ankle high while purporting questions of age, is just as silly as the color-by-numbers music in which such verse was served upon.

Indeed, 1997’s Dude Ranch was truly a fine moment. The apex point in which pop punk’s most capable manifestation met the lucid charm of potty humor and the stricken heart of teenage romance. With the anthemic push of radio hits “Dammit” and “Josie” and the pinpoint emotional accuracy of gems like “Waggy” and “Apple Shampoo”, Dude Ranch was undoubtedly the soundtrack to a many growing soul, and will remain a modern pop punk triumph. However, as they say, lightning rarely strikes twice and as this San Diego trio fought to contain the energy, they could do no better than the pitter patter slump of meager after-showers and dreary weather.

The multi-platinum selling Enema of the State, while the height of the band’s commercial success, suffered greatly from mediocrity trying in all its earnest to show signs of energetic life while pushing itself up the charts. It thrust Blink’s Teen Beat allure into stratospheres seen in punk’s new acceptance only once back in 1994. And like those previous bands who struggled to shed their image of cover friendly models, Blink’s supposed return to “darker, heavier roots” was an embarrassing presentation that juggled more adult topics while trying to tell the kids, “We’re still cool.” Rightfully so, the painfully titled Take Off Your Pants and Jacket exhibits a band who schizophrenically flailed from painting a picture of America’s troubled parenting situation one moment and then the next, on to the conundrums of the first date. It was the distinct low point for a band who once sang so expressively, “Watching your house fade away in my rear view mirror as I drive away / wishing that I could take back all those words that meant nothing that I didn’t say,” the woe of not understanding love’s embryonic stab.

So with their new eponymous (or untitled, whatever) album, Blink 182 have taken their misdirection to a whole new level. With Tom Delonge manning most of the song writing duties (seemingly still afflicted with a bad case of “sideprojectism”), the majority of the tracks, like Boxcar Racer’s album, confusingly juxtapose artistic rock tints with shades of the up-tempo mannerisms found on Cheshire Cat and the aforementioned Dude Ranch. “Obvious” moonlights as heavy rock mangling before launching into very familiar territory while “Violence” boasts what could very well be (discounting that Macho Man CD) this year’s most inept 01:17 period of a song – stagnant synthesizer beats layered with clicking and fidgeting followed by its gung-ho dive into percussion heavy punk riffs before stalling into static … and sure enough, that ridiculously gauche finger-snapping-like clicking again.

Perhaps if there has been one consistent aspect of the group since Enema of the State, it would have to be the animatedly charged drum work of Travis Barker. The much textured, sonically charged dynamic that settles into the backbone comes into full fruition – Barker is given his cleanest palette yet; and his work is one that shines conspicuously. Unfortunately, it does lead to the album’s biggest downfall. Barker’s ability to experiment and successfully traverse into more rhythm and blues oriented styles is a concept completely lost on both Delonge and Mark Hoppus. So Barker has to lead the charge so to speak, driving countless songs (“Always”, “Stockholm Syndrome”, “I Miss You”) into more acceptable fields. When Delonge and Hoppus are given center stage, the results are disastrous. Witness the drudgery that is “I’m Lost Without You”, over six minutes long and rife with mid tempo sludge of pining and cumbersome words of being alone.

The album’s most welcome moment comes in the form of guest vocalist Robert Smith of The Cure. “All Of This”, while musically simplistic, boasts that plaintive echo evoked by Smith’s voice – and the track works on many levels, easily becoming the best work Blink 182 have done since “Pathetic.”

In regards to budding growth, Blink has shed many a wilting petals. Moments on the album are crystalline in their attempt to don new, more credible skin. However, it would seem, for the most part, their efforts at reconfiguration are far too little, far too late, leaving Blink 182 to writhe in spectacular unimportance. (Geffen Records)