Category: punk


This weeks Bands You Should Know takes us back to Chicago once again for another local band that I am a fan of, Kill Hannah.  Some of you may already know Kill Hannah because of their 2006 track, Lips Like Morphine.  The song hit 37 on the US Modern Rock Chart.  The other song they are known for is “Kennedy” which was featured in the show Jack & Bobby.  Sadly though, that has been the only single they had that did chart, which I think is a shame because I think they have a rather unique sound.
They also prove that sometimes a break up is a good thing.  Devine had been dating a woman named Hannah while in the band In a Jar UK.  Eventually Hannah and Mat split.  Mat decided to print up some stickers with “Kill Hannah” on them to put on the band’s 7” records.  Eventually in 1993 Kill Hannah was born.
Kill Hannah has had songs in movies, tv shows, toured the world and even opened for acts such as Papa Roach, AFI, Jane’s Addiction and 30 Seconds to Mars.  Hell, they even appeared on Last Call with Carson Daly (ok, granted nobody watched that show but still).  So it’s a bit strange to me that they’re still stuck on the runway and haven’t quite taken off.  They even hold the record for most sellouts at The Metro in Chicago.  The band currently consists of Mat Devine, Dan Wiese, Greg Corner, Elias Mallin and Michael Maddox.
Kill Hannah’s music is classic 90’s rock with a bit of industrial and electronica thrown in, there’s a hint of Stabbing Westward that comes through, though Kill Hannah isn’t quite as heavy.  The band looks like an emo act, super tight clothes and pretty hair, but thats all they share with that genre, the music is far better than almost all of those acts.  In fact, if I had to guess, I would think some of those bands looked at Kill Hannah and ripped off their style.  The guitar work is great and there are some nice electronic sounds here and there also.  The drums are pretty solid and Devine’s vocals are rather unique.

The band has released  8 studio albums, some self released and hard to find, so far and plan on recording a 9th in 2012.  The band also toured the UK in March of 2012 and is playing Wicker Park Fest in Chicago this July 28th.  If you’re going to be in Chicago, check them out, if not check out one of the 6 albums below.


The Beauty in Sinking Ships (1996)

Ah, the first album, sadly I no longer can find my copy, and can’t find a copy anywhere.  In fact, to be honest, it was self released and I have no idea how he got it.  it seems to be extremely rare and hard to find.  So all I can tell you is from memories of the day, I had been out of highschool for about a year and a buddy of mine, Bill knew I was a fan of Stabbing Westward and thought I would like Kill Hannah also.  He was right, like I said above the style was similar, Stabbing was harder rock to me then Hannah, but I thought Kill Hannah’s vocals and lyrics were slightly better.  Of course back then I never bought the album, I just copied his onto cassette tape, which I have since lost or thrown out because, well, I haven’t played a cassette tape in about 15 years.  If I ever find it or find a copy, I’ll revise this section.

Here Are the Young Moderns (1998)

This is basically the exact story as above, Bill played this one for me as well, but I have no idea where my cassette copy of his is.  I was able to find 2 of them, both used, on Amazon…for 129.99, which to me is a bit much since most of the tracks are available on two other albums. Hyperactive, Get Famous and Nerve Gas can be found on American Jet Set, the next album.  Stunt Pilots, Hummingbirds The Size of Bullets, Love Sick, Sleeping Like Electric Eels and Kill Hannah can be found on The Curse of Kill Hannah.

American Jet Set (1999)

This is the first Album I bought.  It’s a great album and I’ve listened to it many times.  In fact, you can actually still find this one, but its out of print and pretty rare.  You may be able to get it digitally on itunes or Amazon, but I haven’t checked.  I also love the cover, reminds me Throughout the album you can hear great vocals, great guitars and drums and a great use of keyboards.  Yup I said keyboards, and they’re used properly.  Like I said in the section above, 3 of the tracks are from the last album.  Most of the tracks are pretty solid, but I will admit that the song Get Famous, is a bit, well cheesy maybe, well lyrically anyway, although it still sounds pretty good.  My favorite tracks off of this album are All That He Wants (American Jet Set), Nerve Gas, Sick Boy, Los Angeles and A New Medicine.

For Never & Ever (2003)

For Never & Ever is the first major label debut for Kill Hannah.  Released under Atlantic Records and Produced by Sean Beavan, it’s the album that spawned the single “Kennedy” which was featured in the TV show Jack & Bobby.  It has a more refined and clean sound, but it still has the same power and sound that the other albums all had.  It’s kind of like waxing a Ferrari, the car looks good anyway, but it looks better with some shine.  The guitar work and drumming is as good if not better then previous efforts and the vocals are still solid.  The lyrics are deeper and more meaningful, which usually happens with age and experience. My favorite tracks off of this album are Kennedy, 10 More Minutes, New Heart for Christmas, From Now On,  Raining All The Time, Unwanted and Is Anyone Here Alive?

The Curse of Kill Hannah (2004)

In 2004 The Curse of Kill Hannah was released.  Curse is pretty much a best of, from 96-98.  Not really sure why it was put out, but 4 of the tracks were from Here are the Young Moderns and 1 from The Beauty in Sinking Ships.  I don’t have the album so I really can’t say much about it other then it seems to be rare also, as is most of their early stuff.  You can find it on Amazon, ranging in price from 13 to 30 dollars.

Until There’s Nothing Left of Us (2006)

3 years after mild success with For Never and Ever, Kill Hannah released Until There’s Nothing Left of Us.  It was the 2nd major label release, again on Atlantic and Roadrunner in the UK.  Unlike the last album, recorded in LA, Kill Hannah came home to Chicago to record this album.  Recorded at Groovemaster Studios and Produced by Johnny K and Sean Ray Molino it spawned the song Lips Like Morphine, which hit 37 on the US Modern Rock Chart.  The album itself reached 8th on the Top Heatseekers chart, but only 178th on the Billboard 200.  Once again the album was polished and sounded more atmospheric than the others and also a bit more glam rock and some tracks are a bit poppy, but it still sounds great.  Even with the minor changes when you hear it, it’s still easily recognizable as Kill Hannah.  In fact even though its a slight departure (extremely slight) from the other albums, It’s one of my favorites.  My favorite tracks?  You know I’m just going to say the whole album, not because I’m lazy, but because I think its that good.

Wake Up The Sleepers (2009)

Wake Up The Sleepers is the latest release from Kill Hannah and was released in 2009.  It was also the album that marked the return to a independent label, leaving Atlantic for Original sound.  While they “left” for an independent, Original Sound is still an affiliate of Universal.  The album itself builds on what they started with Until There’s Nothing Left Of Us and expands that sound a bit more.  The production is top notch and as good as anything out there.
Too me, most of the tracks are a bit on the mellow side but still sound good.  There is a bit more of an 80’s new wave and electronic vibe to some of the tracks on the album.  The lyrics are a bit deeper and there are a few guest artists (Benji Madden, Amanda Palmer, Chibi and Matt Skiba)  Personally I think Amanda Palmer was well worth it, but Madden was kind of a throw away for me.  All he did was some harmonies, he wasn’t really featured much.
A lot of the other reviews I have read for this album praise and say it’s the best Kill Hannah album ever, I disagree, I Like it and think it’s very solid, but not the best.  For me, I guess the best is a tie between Until There’s Nothing Left Of Us and American Jet Set.  As for the best tracks on this album, well here they are.  Radio, New York City Speed, Living in Misery, Tokyo (Dance In The Dust), Mouth To Mouth, Vultures (Be There For Me), Acid Rain and Laika.

Conclusion

Since the mid 90’s when I first heard Kill Hannah they have continued to evolve but kept their sound.  I think they have gotten better with age and with a new album supposedly coming out in 2012/2013 the future looks bright.  So if you’re looking for something new that you’ve never heard check out Kill Hannah, and thanks for reading!

-JP

 

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Most of you may have noticed that I the bands I have featured here aren’t real heavy hard rock, until now.  I love rock, especially hard rock and metal and this weeks band is one of that fits that category perfectly.  Blue Gillespie.  The first time I heard about Blue Gillespie was at the 2011 Chicago Wizard World.  We were at a panel for Torchwood, the Doctor Who spin off. The two members of the cast that were on the panel were, Garetth David Lloyd, who until he was unjustly killed off in season 3, played Ianto, and Kai Owen, who plays Rhys.  Both guys were great and had a ton a fun, they even gave money to two audience members for beer.  During the conversation, Garetth mentioned his band, Blue Gillespie, and their upcoming plans.  So after the panel we went downstairs and they were signing stuff and he was also selling the cd’s so the wife bought it and he signed it.

So when we got home, we opened it up and threw it in, I was impressed, I liked it.  So I decided to find out a little more about the band so I looked them up.  This UK foursome was formed in 1997 with Gareth Lloyd on Vocals, Anthony Clark on Guitar, Rhys Bryant on Bass and Nick Harrison on Drums.  The name Blue Gillespie represents a “character” comprised of all 4 members inner struggles and anger.  The band is used as a way for them to clear their alter egos of darkness and anger and for them to become more positive.  Prior to the first full length album, Synesthesia, The band had released 2 EP’s.  Cave County 1 and Cave County 2, with the latter being more of an acoustic record.  They received mostly positive reviews and got great reactions at their live shows, which they live for.  As of this writing, their second album has been released, Seven Rages of Man, which was inspired by the Shakespeare speech from As You Like it.  We’ll start with the first full length album…..

Synesthesia 2010

This is the first full release and was met with plenty of critical acclaim from all over the world.  It is full of loud guitars, great bass and pounding drums.  The vocals help complete the package matching the band perfectly.  It all comes together for a nice tight Hard Rock/Metal package just right for anyone that likes the genre.  To be honest, after seeing Lloyd on Torchwood, it was hard for me to believe that those vocals were coming from him, but they do and it’s awesome.  The lyrics are great, somewhat dark, but that’s what you would expect from a band like them so it’s just right.  In fact its almost like a Blues band went metal….and kept their lyrics.  Its dark, brooding and moody and it’s great. The album is full of great tracks, not even kidding, would I recommend a one hit wonder to you guys?  Of course not.  The opening track, Beat Oven, is a great beginning and the album just goes like a freight train headed downhill with no brakes after that.  My favorite tracks? Well, I thought you’d never ask…..Beat Oven of course, Sugarglass, Skinned, Growsome, Making Sound, Black Waltz, and Paradox & Time Knot.

Seven Rages of Men 2012

Seven Rages is the Sophomore album by Blue Gillespie, but unlike a lot of Sophomore attempts this one is as good if not better than the original.  The album was mixed, mastered and co produced by Skindred guitarist Jeff Rose.  Like I mentioned above, its structure is inspired by Shakespeare’s Seven Ages Speech from As You Like It.  The album explores the depth of rage incorporating Shakespeare, Greek tragedy, modern philosophy and even mythology as influences.  Making a Metal opera almost, I say almost because Metal is awesome, Opera, well, sometimes I suppose.  The album contains different locations, characters and differing levels of anger and rage.  The album follows them from birth to death, complete with a prologue and an epilogue.  The tracks are all excellent and the same quality from the last album is there, in fact it’s probably a bit better.  The tracks sound great stand alone, but listened to in order give the listener a great experience….if you like Metal.  The best tracks? Well, if I have to choose it would be…..The Mewling, Interlude 1, Effervescent Youth, Sullen, Grim Determination, Interlude 2, The Misanthropist and  Epilogue.  Yup, that is almost the whole album, and with good reason, it rocks.

Conclusion

Blue Gillespie was influenced by great bands such as Tool, Portishead and Down and the influences show in their work.  They are a great Hard Rock act and from what I’ve seen on the internet and heard put on a hell of a live show.  They truly enjoy what they’re doing and it shows on both their albums and live.  So if you like Metal, give them a shot, their official website is http://www.bluegillespie.co.uk/ and you can even listen to their albums on there.  Thanks for reading, now start listening!

-John

All biographical info was gained from http://www.bluegillespie.co.uk/

The Fold from left to right, Matt Pittman, Dan Castady, Mark Rhoades and George Castady

In a world where fabricated autotuned pop has become the norm, this week’s Band You Should Know defies that.  This week we finds us in my hometown, Chicago, to talk about a local band, The Fold.  This Power Pop Rock foursome and on very rare occasions fivesome was founded by brothers Dan and George Castady  back in 2005.  It was shortly after Dan’s stint in another local Chicago act, Showoff, where he was the drummer.

Dan left Showoff and pulled a Dave Grohl, becoming a guitar player and vocalist, and did a damn fine job at it.  The current line up of the band consists of Dan Castady on lead vocals and guitar, George Castady also on guitar, Drummer Mark Rhoades, Matt Pittman on bass and at times during some rare live shows, Joe Martin on guitar, although usually he’s working the merch table.  Together they form one of the best Power Pop Rock (I say Pop Punk but what do I know) bands that most people haven’t heard of.  They also happen to be one of the best group of guys you’ll ever meet (yes I have actually met them)
They released their two earlier albums, This Too Shall Pass and Secrets Keep You Sick,  on the Indie label Tooth & Nail, but decided to go their own way for their third full length studio album, Dear Future Come Get Me.  We’ll start with the first release, This Too Shall Pass….

This Too Shall Pass 2006

This Too was released in 2006, a mere year after their formation.  Even in this, their first label release, the lyrics are excellent, the vocals sound great and the guitar riffs and drumming is top notch, and this is only the first release.  The style is similar to maybe Jimmy Eat World or Fall Out Boy, well without the pretentiousness of Fall Out Boy.  Their lyrics are easy for the average person to connect with and show that they are just like us, the everyday person.  They like hanging out with friends, have loved and lost and have been through life events like the rest of us.  Its just a great, solid, enjoyable first effort that you can listen to straight through.  Since I always pick some favorite tracks, here they are….Gravity, New City, Going For My Lungs, Evermore, Stay, We’ve Been at This, Surrounded and I Believe You.

Secrets Keep You Sick 2007

Coming hot on the heels of their last well received album, Secrets, shows them grow and mature both lyrically and musically. Just like their last album, The sing what they know, and those things are what most of us can relate too.  The lyrics are more complex as is the music itself, but it still has the sound that I love from the first album.  Its a good all around second effort and won’t disappoint.  It’s upbeat and listening to it always makes me feel that no matter what happens, others have been through it and everything will work out.  As with the first album it’s very easy to listen to the whole album all the way through…..multiple times.  My favorite tracks are….. Medicine,  Your Secrets Keep You Sick,  New Skeptic, Closer, Down In Doubt and Living, Hey Rebekah, Castrophe!, and Revisited.

Dear Future, Come Get Me 2011

Well, it was 4 long years (give or take an ep or Christmas song) before The Fold released their 3rd Album, Dear Future, Come Get Me.  It was well worth the wait, because quite frankly it might be the best album they have put out to date.  It not only showed more growth lyrically and musically, but also showed how much they had matured as not only artists but as people as well.  I guess you could say The Fold grew up, then again I’ve seen and heard of some of their antics so I won’t go that far.  If you get the album from their website, you get 2 bonus tracks.  They’re parody tracks, one is Every Band in the USA, a Miley Cyrus parody which is really well done and fires shots at the autotuned bands that are so popular these days (Yeah, I’m that old that I’ll use a phrase like these days) and manufactured pop music.  And you know what? It’s great because finally someone stands up and calls them out.  The other is Can’t Stop Twitterin’, a Weezer parody and a great track about the Twitter craze and the people that twit about every little thing.  Oh and there are also a bunch of other great tracks, such as….File Under Ground (Take Me In),  Hold on,  Red Wine, Dear Future, Seventy Five Outgoing Calls, Sink or Swim, I Know Where I’m Going and Neverender.
Dear Future wasn’t just an album title, but a statement by the band.  For this release they left their label and are making the music they want on their terms and doing a damn fine job of it.  The album is also a look towards the future and the future looks bright so far.

Conclusion

The future indeed looks bright, in the last year they’ve done the theme for the 2012 Denver Broncos, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carolina Panthers along with the tv show LEGO Ninjago.  Oh and probably most importantly, they also wrote the theme song for the Chicago Cubs that is used at the opening of every WGN radio broadcast, it’s the most important because they’re huge Cubs fans.  They also have a new EP on the way this summer.  Did I mention they also have some great videos on their youtube channel www.youtube.com/user/TheFoldMusic also make sure to check them out at www.thefoldrock.com.  So if you like non synthesized real, genuine fun punk pop rock please check them out and enjoy!

-John

 

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