Thursday, April 24, 2014

Avril Lavigne Releases "Hello Kitty" Video Before Tour with Backstreet Boys

>> Let's talk about Avril Lavigne, shall we?  I grew up listening to her music, as many people my age did.  Her songs were an angsty combination of pop punk and radio-friendly rebellion. Whenever I was mad at my parents I'd blast her Let Go album at full volume, feeling like I was hosting a very small and safe revolution within the confines of my bedroom.  While it looks juvenile in hindsight, in reality she was trying to do something at the time.  She was jumping around wearing neckties and heavy eyeliner singing about saying "See ya l8r boy" to all the Sk8er Bois around, but there was somehow a purpose there. Songs like "Complicated," "Losing My Grip," and "I'm With You" had a point - love and life are tough but you can make it through.  Now, she's not necessarily a motivational speaker but she was trying to do something different.  It seemed like I had someone to turn when I didn't fit in with the popular kids, or the rich kids, or with my family or anywhere.  She was having fun and she let me have fun in my wanna be punk, wanna be rebellious, safe way.  She actually got me through a lot of middle school angst.  A lot of angst, and I know I'm not the only one who can say that.

>> Flash forward to 2014.  She's married to the singer of Nickelback and making some weird decisions.  Personal life aside, Avril has taken a new approach to getting attention.  Where her pop hit "Girlfriend" was sugar sweet with a bite, the new single "Hello Kitty" is trying to be so sweet that it's nauseating.  There are moments when Avril screeches in an attempt to either hit a falsetto, or simply to show the enthusiasm of an excited teen girl - either way, it sounds forced each time.  There's a combination of fairly generic but catchy pop rock elements unexpectedly broken up by some dubstep at the chorus before immediately returning to a pop focus.  It doesn't quite make sense, and yet I can't get it out of my head (even though I really, really want to).  This song doesn't seem to have a purpose other than to be the track people can't escape, whether they're listening to it or listening to people bitch about it.  While the rest of the album isn't 100% this style, this one song has generated more buzz than the tracks previously released from it.  Whether or not it's good buzz, it doesn't matter. Avril has been trending on Facebook and Twitter since the video's release, and I think that was her intention. (Especially with a tour with a boy band starting in a week? I don't think it's a coincidence.)

>> Of course there are images related to Hello Kitty everywhere in the video (aka a lot of pink), and direct references to the cartoon icon in the lyrics, but what hurts Avril here is basically everything else.  First, let's talk about her attempt at playing guitar.  If she can play, and if she's playing on the track, cool. That's totally cool. But the way her "playing guitar" is shown in the video is sloppy and done as an attempt to give her some edgy rockstar credit that really can't be earned in a video for a song called "Hello Kitty."  Then we have the settings.  There's a candy / cupcake shop that matches her loud skirt, tons of pastels and images associated with youth, innocence, and fun.  There's a sushi restaurant in which we see Avril getting served a plate of sushi, and then that's the end of that - it's basically a scene to add to the Japanese theme of the video and to show how excited Avril gets about sushi, apparently. The video includes a lot of smiling, hair flipping, and jumping from Avril, and some stiff, mechanic moves with pained expressions from her 4 back up dancers.

>> Because of the obvious Japanese theme, people have been calling the video racist and appalling, among other things.  Now, I won't agree or disagree with that, but I will show you Avril's response to those claims of racism (below).  She's claiming that the theme of the video came from a love of Japanese culture and fans she's met from Japan, and by that logic she succeeded in capturing it - maybe it captured her experience with Japan.   She doesn't think she did anything wrong, and instead hopes that everyone will keep watching the video, which most likely, we will - whether it's due to curiosity, respect, or because your friend told you to.  Either way, you're engaging it.

>> Regardless of your reactions to this song (or Avril's reactions to other reactions), Avril will be touring with the Backstreet Boys starting May 3rd. Check the full list of dates below.

Backstreet Boys + Avril Lavigne 2014 Tour Dates:
May 3 – Moncton Coliseum Arena – Moncton, NB

May 4 – Halifax Metro Centre – Halifax, NS

May 6 – Rogers K-Rock Centre – Kingston, ON

May 7 – Budweiser Gardens – London, ON

May 8 – Frist Ontario Centre – Hamilton, ON

May 11 – MTS Centre – Winnipeg, MB

May 13 – Mosaic Place – Moose Jaw, SK

May 14 – Enmax Centre – Lethbridge, AB

May 16 – Scotiabank Saddledome – Calgary, AB

May 17 – Rexall Place – Edmonton, AB

May 18 – EnCana Events Centre – Dawson Creek, BC

May 20 – Rogers Arena – Vancouver, BC

May 22 – WaMu Theater, Seattle, WA
May 24 – Sleep Train Amphitheatre – Sacramento, CA.
May 25 – Shoreline Amphitheatre - Mountain View, CA

May 28 – Viejas Arena, San Diego - CA

May 29 – The Forum, Los Angeles - CA

May 30-31 – Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino - Las Vegas, NV

June 2- Isleta Amphitheater - Albuquerque, NM

June 4 – American Bank Center Arena - Corpus Christi, TX

June 5 – Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion - Houston, TX

June 6 – Chesapeake Energy Arena - Oklahoma City, OK

June 7 – Starlight Theatre, Kansas City - MO

June 9 – CenturyLink Center Omaha - Omaha, NE

June 10 – Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul - MN

June 11 – FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island - Chicago, IL

June 13 – Klipsch Music Center - Indianapolis, IN

June 14 – First Niagara Pavilion - Pittsburgh, PA

June 15 – Riverbend Music Center - Cincinnati, OH

June 17 – DTE Energy Music Theatre - Detroit, MI

June 18 – Darien Lake Performing Arts Center - Darien Lake, NY

June 20 – Xfinity Center - Boston, MA

June 21 – Susquehanna Bank Center - Philadelphia, PA

June 22 – Nikon at Jones Beach Theater - Wantagh, NY

 - Kate Russell

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Hawthorne Heights 'The Silence in Black and White' 10 Year Anniversary Tour Dates

>>  Hawthorne Heights is currently out on the European leg of The Silence In Black and White 10 Year Anniversary Tour, which will run until early May.  For those of you in the US, the tour is coming your way starting May 22nd.  In celebration of the anniversary, the band will play this album in its entirety at each show.  The updated list of dates for both legs of the tour can be seen below.

>> Can't wait for the shows?  Hawthorne Heights recently released an acoustic version of their classic album The Silence In Black and White to further celebrate the album's 10 year anniversary.  You can download it through iTunes here.

The Silence in Black and White 10 Year Anniversary World Tour Dates:

Remaining Europe dates:
April 23 @ MTC, Cologne, Germany
April 24 @ Magnet, Berlin, Germany
April 25 @ 1210, Stuttgart,Germany
April 26 @ Chapeau Rouge, Prague, Czech Republic
April 27 @ Stadtwerkstatt, Linz, Austria
April 29 @ Viper Room, Vienna, Austria
April 30 @ Kulurkeller, Gleisdrof, Austria
May 1 @ Backstage, Munich, Germany
May 2 @ Traffic, Rome Italy
May 3 @ Live Forum, Milan, Italy
May 5 @ Batofar, Paris, France
May 6 @ Logo, Hamburg, Germany
May 7 @ Helling, Utrecht, The Netherlands
May 8 @ Kamikaze, Mechelen, Belgium

U.S. dates:
May 22 WHITESBURG, KY @ Summit City
May 23 DAYTON, OH @ Rockstar Pro Arena
May 24 HOWELL, MI @ Bledfest
May 25 GIRARD, OH @ The Crawlspace
May 26 NITRO, WV @ Next Level Sk8 Park
May 27 KNOXVILLE, TN @ Longbranch Saloon
May 28 TUPELO, MS @ Goodtime Charlies
May 29 LITTLE ROCK, AR @ Juanitas
May 30 LUFKIN, TX @ Standpipe Coffee
May 31 - DALLAS TX @ Dallas Music Fest

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Photo Finish Record Store Day Exclusives

>> Photo Finish Records will be releasing some exclusive 7" records for Record Store Day this Saturday, April 19th.  Visit to find a participating record store near you!

Photo Finish RSD Exclusives:

- Kate Russell
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Monday, April 14, 2014

Hit The Lights Sign to Pure Noise Records

>> After announcing their upcoming Skip School, Start Fights Tour, Hit The Lights have signed to Pure Noise Records.  The band plans to release a new album produced by Kyle Black (Comeback Kid, Set Your Goals) in the fall.

>> Nick Thompson of Hit The Lights had the following to say about their signing, "We couldn't think of a better place to be than with the Pure Noise crew for our new record. We’re proud to be a part of the roster and excited to make more music!

>> Don't miss HTL on their upcoming Skip School, Start Fights tour with Major League and more!  Check the dates below and get your tickets here.

Skip School, Start Fights Tour (w/ Major League, Light Years, Brigades, July)
May 30 – Asbury Lanes – Asbury Park, NJ
May 31 – The Chance – Poughkeepsie, NY
June 1 – The Palladium (Upstairs) – Worcester, MA
June 2 – The Space – Hamden, CT
June 3 – Montage Music Hall – Rochester, NY
June 4 – Altar Bar – Pittsburgh, PA
June 5 – The Foundry – Lakewood, OH
June 6 – Magic Stick – Detroit, MI
June 7 – Subterranean – Chicago, IL
June 8 – Woodland Tavern – Columbus, OH

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Music Obsession Featured on Haulix

>> Hello everyone!  Something exciting happened earlier this week, and I figured I'd share with everyone.  James Shotwell from a great site called Haulix asked me some detailed questions about how I got the idea for this site, what I've done with it so far, what I want to do with it in the near and distant future, and more.  If you've ever wanted to know more about my early days as a music fan or what drove me to put my love for music into writing, or about the specific platform I use and what I plan on doing as technology advances, this is the best way to learn.  I've posted a small bit of the content below, but you can see the full feature at .

H: Having a passion for music discovery and discussion is one thing, but taking steps towards establishing a corner of the internet dedicated to your interests is another level of commitment altogether. When did you realize your love of music was a bit more extreme than everyone else?

K: When I started finding bands that weren’t as “mainstream,” music based conversations became harder. I’d ask friends if they had heard of this one band and when they hadn’t, where could I go with that? After having that failed attempt at a conversation numerous times, I started realizing that this was more important for me than it was for the people around me. Music became my cause and I wanted to pursue it and give a voice to those bands nobody had heard of yet, but that deserved to be heard. I was a little crusader for the smaller bands because of endless conversations where nobody knew what I was talking about. That’s how this whole thing started. I realized my ‘obsession’ with music was stronger than most people’s, and I felt I needed to do something with it.

- Kate Russell

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Conditions Announce Final Shows

>> Conditions  announced details for their last shows as a band on their Missing Hours Tour.  They will be playing three shows in June with A Loss For Words and Alive in Standby.  A quick message from the band and the show dates can be seen below.

We are happy to announce our LAST SHOWS EVER! It’s going to very bittersweet, but we hope to see as many of you as we can! Thanks for 8 great years, let’s end it right. 
6.5.14 - Philadelphia, PA @ The Barbary
6.6.14 - New York, NY @ The Marlin Room at Webster Hall
6.7.14 - Richmond, VA @ The National

- Kate Russell
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Friday, April 4, 2014

Hit The Lights Announce "Skip School, Start Fights" Tour

>> Recently, Hit The Lights have been performing their album Skip School, Start Fights in its entirety at a few sporadic shows.  To spread the love, the band will be heading out on tour to share the album show experience with fans in various cities.  Starting May 30th, Hit The Lights will head out with Major League, Light Years, Brigades, and July through June 8th. The full list of dates can be seen below, and tickets are available here.

Skip School, Start Fights Tour Dates:
5/30 - Asbury Park, NJ @ Asbury Lanes
5/31 - Poughkeepsie, NY @ The Chance
6/01 - Worcester, MA @ The Palladium (Upstairs)
6/02 - Hamden, CT @ The Space
6/03 - Rochester, NY @ Montage Music Hall
6/04 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Altar Bar
6/05 - Lakewood, OH @ The Foundry
6/06 - Detroit, MI @ Magic Stick
6/07 - Chicago, IL @ Subterranean
6/08 - Columbus, OH @ Woodlands Tavern

- Kate Russell
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