The Rebellion Lost (garage pop punk), Astoria, Queens punk act stream “Out of Focus” EP (Review)

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Our friends in The Rebellion Lost are finally back at it again with their “Out of Focus” EP! The EP officially released on October 4, and I have to say, not only have these guys shown an enormous amount of growth since their first EP “Punch Drunk” but this new EP is really just a great listen on all fronts.

“Last Call Kansas City” was a strong choice for the opener because out of all these tracks, I think it sounds the closest to the “Punch Drunk” and succeeds in preserving a little more of that familiarity. Despite that, it is an almost textbook example of garage-pop punk, which even though TRL has so clearly grown lots, I suspect that will always stay the same about TRL.

“All The Way To The Grave” digs a more blues oriented, walking rhythm, and to me, is the strongest track on the EP. Not only is it the track that sets itself apart the most, but it seems to me that this track utilizes all the roles in the band very well, and shows that a lot of time and heart went into the development. I’m also just a sucker for a blues-y and minor key melody. Sue me.

“Old Wounds” once again returns a sound that is a little more in line with “Punch Drunk,”  but I think what seems different here to me in a simple fact of better lyrical quality. This EP not only here, but also overall, hits a kind of lyrical quality that is just a step up from “Punch Drunk.” Combined with a more fine tuned approach instrumentally, it just creates a better aural quality for the listener.

“Out of Focus” (previously reviewed here) although not a surprise to me, did have a surprise attached to the end. A whopping, extra, acoustic track, attached to the end of the track kind of surprise. Despite the fact that without listening through the entire file it would be impossible to know this is a two for one situation, it was a very pleasant surprise. Despite the fact that I have no formal complaints about this EP, I will complain that I wish that this two for one was just separated into two. I genuinely think that this acoustic track is strong enough to stand on its own and would do well to have a title– maybe I only partially want that so I don’t have to say “the extra track at the end of Out of Focus” but that’s besides the point.

Overall, I am happy to note that the “Out of Focus” EP shows tremendous growth and showcases 4 (sort of 5) excellently put together tracks. Well done TRL!

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Old City (Philly area producer) on recent mashup MF Doom (hip hop) x Doom (UK Punk) “Black Bastards”

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After a successful drop of hip hop/ punk mashup EP “Black Bastards,” Justin Mayer and THISISWHEREIAMALIVE had a chat about the release. Blending elements of hip hop lyricist MF Doom, and UK punks Doom, Mayer combined the two to jive and play with each other. Check out what he had to say about the release, and stream the EP at the bottom!

1. Give us a little background on yourself! (How long have you been working in the music industry, etc).
My name is Justin Mayer, I’m a producer from Philly. I used to be a promoter, shows and afterparties in punk, ska, and hardcore in New Jersey and Philadelphia. I started promoting when I was about 16. This is my first official release of any music.
2. Where do you find and draw creative influences from?
My influences are fairly eclectic: I listen to jazz and classical, hip hop and punk rock, skinhead reggae and dance music. I draw on anything for inspiration and think alot of about genre blending, taking the drums from this and the baseline from that.
3. Did you find it difficult to make these two starkly different genres combine on your “Black Bastards” EP?
Not at all. I was first shown it would be possible to blend vastly different genres by Girl Talk’s All Day where Gregg mashed up both Fugazi and Rihanna, Missy Elliot and the Ramones. Girl Talk empowered me, showed that it would even be possible to blend punk music with other genres. I read up on Girl Talk and how he made those mixes, went and downloaded (Adobe) Audition later that week – misremembering the name of the program that he uses which is called AudioMulch but by the time I found out about it I had gotten fairly used to Audition and that’s what I’ve used ever since – that’s how I make all my mixes.
4. Regarding the video for “Air Crimes,” why did you choose to use Charlie Brown animations?
A couple of reasons really, the germ of the idea came from a friends Facebook page. They had changed their header image to a picture of Pig Pen with the crust band Doom’s logo superimposed over him and I thought it was funny: Pig Pen as a smelly crust punk kid. Immediately, I remembered that MF DOOM sold these shirts with Charlie Brown wearing the metal-face mask, and that there were a bunch of Wu-Tang lyric Peanuts strips, so it all seemed to click. There are a few videos online of people synching up stock Charlie Brown clips to music, Pay To Cum by Bad Brains and Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic by the Police – alot of the clips from the Christmas music special.
I downloaded every episode with Franklin it, all the musical episodes, and a few with Pig Pen and started chopping the clips up while learning Adobe Premiere. Franklin didn’t have too many speaking roles but I mapped out all the Franklin clips where he was talking but his head wasn’t moving around so I could put the mask on him without too much effort.
5. How do you think this EP reflects your artistical identity, and talents as a musician and producer?
This is a good reflection of where I’m at now and a hint of where I’m going. I’m working on a larger scale record and this Doom mashup was something of an aside from that. I’m collaborating with other musicians, punk guitarists, jazz drummers, a few vocalists. The Doom mashup was a novel idea and I’m happy I got a chance to do it justice.
6. How has the feedback been for the EP so far?
It’s been great! It’s sort of a niche thing of course, punk fans have been really positive. It’s definitely made for them. Hip Hop heads used to listening to DOOM flow over some smooth vintage cartoon clips might be in for a surprise though. Most criticism has been ‘why blend the two’ or the ‘sounds like two records at once’ response which people-that-dot-like-mashups have to mashups, period. Win some, lose some.
7. Would you be interested in creating another mash up like this in the future?
Probably not. This was a fun thing to have obsess me, but I’ll likely move on to other projects. I have a half dozen other projects to start, alot of musical ’theories’ to test out.
8. How long did it take you to create this EP from start to finish?
Good question, about two months. I did the first song in two nights, basically downloading all the free DOOM acapellas I could find and did a few match-tests to a couple Doom songs. When they clicked, I built the instrumental under the acapella bar by bar. I went back and listened to the Doom catalogue, tried Acapellas atop their most popular songs (this ‘formulaic’ effort by the way rarely ever works), but at the end chose songs that showed a little more range to the band and where I could blend more of the band’s vocals in with MF DOOM’s. I continued to tweak the mixes here and there until the night I released it.
9. Where did you get the idea to do a rap/ crust punk mash up?
It was a novel idea I had – mainly off the wordplay – ‘what If I mixed Doom and Doom?’. I had thought of mixing the rapper Prodigy with the big beat band The Prodigy but nixed it pretty quickly. The first mashup I really ever heard was that Linking Park/Jay Z. It’s a guilty pleasure – as in I’m embarrassed about how much I like it. I later got into Danger Mouse’s catalogue, his early production work with Pelican City and mashup mixes before hearing Grey Album. There’s a mashup called Jay Z at Studio One I’m into, a mashup called Leftover Kanye, and of course Wugazi was a big inspiration.
10. If you could do one thing differently on the EP, what would it be?
Nothing. Aesthetically, if you produce up punk rock too much it starts to lose it’s value. If it’s too clean, I’m not into it. In a perfect world – if I had access to the Doom master tapes –  I’d use different songs or bring out the band’s vocals better, but this is the record I wanted to make and I’m very happy with it.

Quincey Price (solo drummer) on background, fun facts, and YouTube covers

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Upcoming 22 year old drummer, Quincey Price hailing from York, Pennsylvania recently came onto our radar to have a little chat. Currently a TRX Cymbals endorsed artist and posting drum covers on YouTube in his downtime, he has added a forty day national tour as well as a two week west coast tour to his repertoire after launching his drumming career only a year ago. Check out what he had to say!

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your background!
QP: First I’d like to say that I’m so stoked for this opportunity, I 100% dig what you guys are all about.  I’m 22 years old and I live in York, PA. I have one brother and two cool dogs, I enjoy watching sports (hockey and soccer) and my favorite food is pizza! 
 
Growing up we were  poor, and Mom struggled to raise us on her own. Even though  murder, drugs, prostitution, and gang violence was a consuming factor in my day to day life, my mother made a way, God made a way, and music made a way for a better life. Moral of the story always stay true to your values and work hard because nothing is impossible. 
 
I started my drumming career last year after I decided to leave college. Right after I left, I stared doing national and west cost tours. I’ve been endorsed by TRX Cymbals and have currently been playing a bunch in my area and for a beautiful church called LCBC. 
 
 
2. How long have you been drumming? 
QP: I have been drumming for about 6 1/2 years 
 
3. How did you get into drumming? 
 
QP: I’ve always felt a connection to music. In middle school my uncle snagged a beautiful Ludwig kit and needless to say I played it more than him. But that only lasted a month.  Then freshman year of high school came and then I was like, “I want to drum” so my mother bought me my first set and I taught myself how to play. I would spend hours listening to music, and then playing to tracks, watching YouTube videos and just experimenting ideas. 
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“Quincey has an incredible presence on stage and you can really feel the emotion and dynamics of the song he’s playing. No matter what song it is, he’ll get you excited about it.” – Andrew Greer LCBC church
4. How do you decide what covers you will post? How long do they typically take to learn, film, and create? 
QP: Honestly it’s unorthodox. I give myself a week to decide on a song and learning it. I’ll look up top charts on iTunes, I’ll ask friends for suggestions, or I’ll just pick a random song.
An example of how I learn a song  would be my  most recent cover I did of “Still Alive” by Red. I decided on what song to do on a Wednesday and then filmed it on a Friday. So, I can learn a song in two days or longer. I want to always push myself, (or maybe I’m lazy when things pan out on the longer end) but I honestly think it depends on the situation.
When filming I’ll do a couple practice runs and then we will typically do one to three takes and choose the best take. My buddy Christian Orellana has a killer studio so he gets all of the editing mixing and mastering done in a week.
 
5. What are your aspirations short term and long term for your drumming career?
 
QP: Short term goals would be to tour consistently.
Long term would be to make a stable living with my drumming, but ultimately to be a good human being in the process of doing bigger and better things.
 
6. Are there any significant upcoming plans you have in store for the rest of the year? 
QP: I will be playing at a leadership conference in Washington, D.C.,  might join the hillsong church squad and more 
 
7. What is your favorite genre to play? 
 
QP: My favorite genre to play is probably pop punk (The Wonder Years, Hotel Books). Some rap here and there, and sprinkle in some country and rock! 
 
8. What is one fun fact about yourself? 
QP: One fun fact about me….. I try to be funny but it doesent work out most of the time.
Oh, I don’t have a gallbladder
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9. What do you think your greatest strength as a drummer is?
I’m passionate and emotional- I speak through my drums.
 
10. Greatest weakness?
 
Me vs. me will be my biggest fight. 
Check out his YouTube channel below, and make sure to give him a shout on social media!