The Truth About “Punk Goes”

For several years now there has been a series of albums released that picks a genre. Contributors to these albums perform covers of songs from the specified genre.

I am, of course, referring to the “Punk Goes” series of albums.

Pop, Metal, Country, Rap and Hip-Hop (or “Crunk” as they refer to it as), and even the ’80’s have all received the “Punk” treatment. But have they  really?

Now, usually when one says “Punk” images of brightly colored Mohawks, facial piercings, denim vests with band patches, and skinny black jeans comes to mind.

Something like this

Apparently, whoever is in charge of the “Punk Goes” series thinks otherwise. To them “Punk” means the bubblegum pop punk bands like All Time Low, Never Shout Never, and We The Kings. I’ve skimmed through each album, and didn’t see one legitimate punk outfit on a single one of them.

Though to be honest, I’d hardly expect to see any respectable Punk band like G.B.H., OFF!, DOA, or Screeching Weasel lending their time and talent to such an effort. In fact, most of the albums like the “Punk Goes Pop” series is the polar opposite of what punk is about.

The closest to a legitimate punk band making an appearance on these albums is actually on “Punk Goes Pop vol. 1” (surprisingly enough) and that’s Slick Shoes covering “Candy” by Mandy Moore. That’s actually an enjoyable one, the same goes for Further Seems Forever’s rendition of the N’Sync hit “Bye Bye Bye.”

I say all this because the majority of it is terrible. Just downright awful. However there are a few notable exceptions that are rather enjoyable. That being said, however, not a one of them is punk. In fact, a couple are actually Metalcore.

Take, for example, August Runs Red. They make an appearance not once, but twice throughout the “Pop” series, first covering Britney Spears’ debut hit “Baby One More Time” and then Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” on a more recent release.

Then there’s one of my favorite post hardcore bands, The Ghost Inside, making an appearance on the “Punk Goes 90’s” album covering P.O.D (I know, when was the last time you heard that name?) with “Southtown.”

So yeah, there are a couple of good covers here and there, but enough to warrant these albums constant release over the last decade? Nah. I wouldn’t even bother purchasing one in it’s entirety.

Three Year Tease

I’m going to do something a little different with this post. While reviews aren’t necessarily out of the ordinary for me, I usually review an entire album, concert, or festival. What I’ve never done before, however, is review a single song.

I will now though!

“Red Cold River” is a  single that was released on January 5th and is available to buy and stream.

A few days ago the veteran Hard Rock band Breaking Benjamin released a single entitled “Red Cold River.” It’s the first thing we’ve seen Ben Burnley and company put out anything since the 2015 “Dark Before Dawn” which, incidentally, was their first full length studio album since 2009.

Let me start off by saying that I love the band Breaking Benjamin. I was in Junior High when they released their first album “Saturate,” and I’ve been a fan ever since. They were one of my first major concert experiences, and quite frankly they’ve maintained consistency in their sound. Sure there are a few changes here and there, but I would liken Breaking Benjamin to Megadeth in that they found their sound early on, and they’ve perfected it.

This latest single, in my opinion, is good. It’s really good. The band has stepped up the aggressiveness of their sound, and really dialed in the hard rock aspect. Much like “Dark Before Dawn,” this song, I feel, really channels lead singer Benjamin Burnley’s frustration with the way things are.

Burnley has a gift for writing songs that effectively express defeat and frustrations while not coming across whiney or sinking in to the (shudders) “Emo” category.

A few people I know write off Breaking Benjamin as a “Bro” band, which I can understand how they can have that perspective, however I don’t believe they’ve taken the time to actually sit down and really listen to their music. While obnoxious “Bro” bands like Theory of a Dead Man (grimaces), Buckcherry (feels nauseous), and Nickleback (dry heaves) write the same sounding songs about sex, partying, and excessive drinking; Breaking Benjamin songs tend to have more substance and have an air of intellectuality.

“Red Cold River” starts off in typical Breaking Benjamin fashion, and then immediately launches into an aggressive yell , heavy guitars, thundering drums, and chest-pounding bass. From beginning to end, “Red Cold River” is a hard-hitting and heavy song. While it in and of itself is a satisfying listen, it’s left me wanting more music from the band. I’m hoping that the release of this single and the tour they’re on is a signal for a new, full-length studio album.

I suppose we’ll just have to see what the band has in store for us this year.

My Top 10 Favorite Albums of 2017

Well, we made it. 2017 is about to end, and my oh my what a year it’s been! Truthfully it feels like this whole year has just blown right by me, and I can hardly believe its already over!

Before I wax poetic, however, let’s get to the reason we’re here: to talk about all the awesome music that came out this year! From farewells to triumphant returns, 2017 was an overall pretty great year for music if you think about it. So I wanted to take a moment to share with you my annual top 10 favorite albums that came out this year!

Ready? Here we go!

10. Broken Social Scene – “Hug of Thunder”


Featuring all 15 original members of the ever shifting Indie rock band Broken Social Scene. The album features fantastic instrumentals, soothing vocals, and the songs constantly feel like they’ll explode into streamers and confetti at any given moment. I’ve been a fan of this band for many years, and I’m glad to see them release another really solid album.

9. Born of Osiris “The Eternal Reign”


Now this album technically came out 10 years ago, but this 2017 reissue sees an epic overhaul to the death core band’s already intense release. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve been on a huge metal kick lately, and Born of Osiris has been right at the forefront of that binge. I’ve always been impressed with their combination of melodic and technical musicianship, and the intense vocals that both sing and scream, I feel, really sets the band apart from others in the genre. “The Eternal Reign” gives us a fresh introduction to an already familiar sound, and if you’re into metal you should look into this one.

8. The Flaming Lips – “Oczy Mlody”


I talked about this album at the beginning of the year in a previous post, so my readers are already familiar with my opinion of this one. While previous releases were layered with heavy distortion and white noise, “Oczy Mlody” is more atmospheric and broad with it’s sounds and electronics. Lead singer Wayne Coyne’s vocals, as unique as always, remains calm and subdued like in previous releases, however the accompanying music actually matches the calmness throughout most of the album. Something that long-time Lips fans haven’t seen since the 1990’s.

7. Alice Cooper – “Paranormal”


Another album I’ve already gone over in a previous post. I’ve said what needs to be said about it. However, I still wanted to include it in this list because it’s definitely worth checking out and, like every other Alice Cooper release, is a lot of fun.

6. He Is Legend – “few”


I’ve long felt that He Is Legend is a very under appreciated band. I’ve loved every one of their previous releases, and “few” was a successful crowdfunded effort. You get a feel of 90’s era rock/metal throughout in that you can head bang but also really enjoy the vocals. I think this North Carolina band should get more recognition than they do, especially for all the effort they put into every album. And clearly their fans would agree.

5. AFI – “AFI (The Blood Album)”


I have to admit that when AFI released the single “Snow Cats” prior to the album’s debut, I was really worried we’d have another “Crash Love” on our hands. Thankfully the two additional singles that followed, “White Offerings” and “Aurelia” put that fear to rest. Sure, AFI isn’t anywhere near the band they used to be, nor does it look like we’ll ever see a true return to form on that front, but they’ve at least been releasing enjoyable music. I was satisfied with 2013’s “Burials,” and this album was played on a regular basis for quite a while after it’s initial release. With tunes like “Still A Stranger” and “Hidden Knives,” I was pleased to find that there are solid tracks on the album aside from the singles.

4. Flogging Molly – “Life is Good”


I love Flogging Molly. I love all their albums, I love watching them play live, and I even love all three T-Shirts I have of theirs. “Life is Good” is the first full-length album release the band has put out since “Speed of Darkness” six years ago, and in that time frame you can really tell how the band channeled their every day, blue collar roots. Simultaneously folksy and driving, like previous albums, “Life Is Good” is an enjoyable and relatable listen from start to finish.

3. PVRIS – “All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell”


It’s a rare occurrence these days to see band have a sophomore album be more successful than an already successful debut album, but PVRIS did just that with this one. Of all the albums on this list, I must admit this one impresses me the most. With darker fueled themes of anxiety and heartache, lead singer and guitarist Lynn Gunn channels the soaring vocal stylings of Florence + The Machine and combines it with the PVRIS sound we heard on their first album. “All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell” is definitely one worth checking out.

2. Foo Fighters – “Concrete and Gold”


Foo Fighters is one of those bands that have proven time and again that they can basically do no wrong when it comes to their albums. Each one has been full of memorable hits, and “Concrete & Gold” is no exception. Even with the official addition of a full-time keyboard player, Foo Fighters serve as a constant reminder that Rock is not dead; it’s thriving.

1. Queens of the Stone Age – “Villains”


Come on, are you really surprised at my number one pick? My readers and YouTube subscribers were probably already expecting “Villains” to be at the top of this list. This album has seriously not left my car since I got it, and I have yet to tire of it. The band has a knack for changing up overall sound of each of their albums, and yet every single one has that undeniable Queens of the Stone Age feel to it. “Villains” kicks off with the amazingly catchy “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now” and dives right into the album’s first single “The Way You Use To Do” without missing a beat. The second single, “The Evil Has Landed” which is subsequently my favorite song on the album, has this amazingly catchy and driving end to it that makes you want to get up and dance! I can’t dance, but it makes me want to nonetheless. So yeah, “Villains,” check it out.

Well there you have it. My favorite albums of 2017. It’s been an…interesting year to say the least, but we saw some fantastic music this year and I’m optimistic about 2018 because of it.

What are some of your favorite albums from 2017? Let me know in the comments below, and don’t forget to follow me on YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram to see all the fun things I’ve got planned for the coming year!

A Quick Update

I wanted to give you a quick update on what’s going on with That Music Junkie. As you may have noticed, it’s been slightly quiet around here lately. Aside from the Instagram post about the passing of AC/DC rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young (R.I.P), it’s been relatively quiet over here.

It’s been for a positive reason though! I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from my YouTube videos, and I really enjoy making them. So, I’ve been putting more of a focus on. that.

Now, my YouTube channel IS specifically That Music Junkie, and will coincide with this website. So don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere! I still plan on having written articles post on here, and I’m currently trying to plan out what will be written and what will be made into a video.

I have a few posts written up and ready to go, but I’m trying to decide if I want to make them into videos or not.

With the holidays coming up, it might be a bit more difficult to get content up on a consistent basis. However I will be making more of an effort to keep my various social media updated. You can follow me for news, updates, and interactions on the here:






That you for your continued support and patience! I’ve got a lot of exciting things coming your way, so stay tuned!



The Sky is A Neighborhood

I think something we can all agree on as of late is the questionable integrity of the music industry. All of the big labels seem to be forgoing legitimate talent in order to capitalize on trends. Quantity over quality I suppose.

The latest strike against the big labels comes from Atlantic, who recently gave a record deal to the “Cash me outside” girl, who is 13 years old and has absolutely NOTHING to do with the music industry prior. She’s a trend, and Atlantic just wants money.

Seems like a rather dismal and defeatist way to start a post, but all is not lost! We’ve seen a turnout of some pretty decent albums so far this year from bands like The Flaming Lips and PVRIS. Last month we saw a heavy hitter from the Rock re-enter the fight with Queens of the Stone Age releasing their fantastic album “Villains,” and now we have another contender coming in swinging.


Foo Fighters have released a new album.


Dave Grohl and the gang are back with “Concrete & Gold,” further proving that good rock music is still alive and kicking.

Now, I must make a confession here: I was skeptical when I saw a promotional picture of the band prior to the release of the album. I saw a new member, and he’s a keyboardist. As my friends know, I’m very skeptical about bands officially adding keyboardists. Nothing agains the musicians themselves, however usually when an established rock band adds one their sound changes to more of a generic pop sound.

Thankfully, this was not the case.

Foo Fighters have had keyboardists playing with them in the background for years now, but never officially added one to the lineup. Upon further examination of the photo, I realized I was looking at Rami Jaffee. Rami was part of the Wallflowers, and has worked with acts like Coheed & Cambria, Soul Asylum, and even Stonesour.

So, that kind of put me at ease.

Now that the album is out and I’ve listened through it about ten times already, all my worries have gone out the window. Grohl knows what he’s doing. He always knows.

There’s no trace of over-synthed beats and loops, no “uhn-tiss uhn-tiss” dance beats, and NO dubstep drops to be seen. No, “Concrete & Gold” is a legitimate Foo Fighters release from beginning to end.

The Foos have an amazing knack for expanding their sound, while simultaneously staying true to themselves. You hear a track like the single “Run,” and you think to yourself “Yep, that’s Foo Fighters alright.” Then you hear a song like “Dirty Water” and it sounds like someone took the best elements of Foo Fighters and mashed it together with the best elements of Metric and blessed us with this tune.

It’s actually funny. I was watching the Foo Fighters’ documentary “Back and Forth” and I kept saying “Oh man, I really like that song” and “Yeah that one too!” Throughout the whole thing, and the I realized something: there really isn’t any Foo Fighters songs I dislike.

I thought that was kind of odd, since there’s usually something by bands I don’t like. For instance: most of the recent releases from Smashing Pumpkins, and some of the songs off of Interpol’s self titled album. And that’s saying something because I love BOTH of those bands!

So I asked around to some of my musician friends, and was surprised to hear they all pretty much agreed with me. It seems like the Foos can do little wrong when it comes to their albums, and this one is no exception. It’s a little different, but it’s still undeniably a true Foo Fighters album.

Check out “Concrete & Gold,” the band’s ninth studio album, available in stores and online now.

Why I Hate Pop Music

My readers often ask me why I avoid talking about Pop music, and why I never discuss Top 40 or who is on the cover of Rolling stone this month. So I think it’s time I finally address this subject.

Pop music has been around since the first bands and singers took to stage. It’s one of the oldest genre stylings beyond classical. It has endured decades, and it dominates the airwaves to this very day.

And why not, right? I mean, Pop is usually fun and you can dance to it.

But I hate it. That is, I hate the modern day version of Pop music.

I blame the Boy Band movement of the late 90’s/Early 00’s. The choreographed, overly hair gelled groups haphazardly thrown together by record companies trying to capitalize on the smiley, bleach-haired teen heartthrobs ripping off real R&B artists in an effort to make more of that almighty dollar.

In doing so, they flooded the market with cookie-cutter groups that became increasingly difficult to differentiate as they all ended up sounding the same, and thus the death of quality Pop music was set in motion.

Gone are the days when a Pop star can write a meaningful song and it get airplay. Nope, instead we get stuck with factory made “music” that’s meaningless and devoid of any substance.

Seriously! Look at most of the Pop songs being shoved into our ears today. What are they all about? Partying. Butts. Advocation of infidelity. Greed. Butts.

It’s just all so shallow and meaningless.

That’s not to say Pop music of the past has been so altruistic, but artists like Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Prince, and so many others wrote songs that you could dance to while simultaneously having actual meaning behind them.

Despite all this, Pop thrives and dominates. But for what purpose? So the next pretty blonde white guy or girl can have a big hit, and then quickly get shoved aside for the next one? That’s what I’m saying, it’s devoid of substance.

It’s not just the bubblegum dance side of Pop either. Every sub-genre of Pop is just as bad. Pop Rock? A joke that no real rock fan takes seriously. Mainstream Rap/Hip-Hop? That’s been reduced to repetitive Trap beats and whatever the hell Mumble Rap is. Don’t even get me started on Pop Country. That genre is the most trite and morally questionable of them all.

Now, I listen to pretty much everything. That’s why I chose the name The Music Junkie. So I do, in fact, listen to Pop must, just not modern stuff. Basically anything 90’s (which was a golden era across the board if you ask me) and older. I realize this post may come across pretentious, but for the sake of journalistic integrity I decided to not sugar coat things and answer truthfully.

The Evil Has Landed

Last month acid rock pioneers Queens of the Stone Age released their seventh studio album entitled “Villains.”

Being a huge fan of the band, I had pre-ordered the vinyl release and did my first video of me unboxing my order. (You can see the video Here )

There are few albums that I immediately fall in love with. It usually takes me a solid three or four listen through to really evaluate it and gauge how much I like it. This was not the case with “Villains.”

I had so much hype and anticipation built up for this album upon receiving two of the songs to listen to early. The first single off the album “The Way You Use To Do” as well as “The Evil Has Landed.” Man oh man, was I not disappointed.

I immediately loved both songs, and upon receiving the album I knew it was going to be added to the favorite list. From the the opening track “Feet Don’t Fail Me” with its Led Zeppelin-esque sounding guitars and bass work, to the punctuated “Domesticated Animals” all the way to the ending track “Villains of Circumstances,” this album is probably one of the most solid and well-produced ones to be released this year.

QotSA is one of those few bands that changes up their sound enough to where no two albums really sound the same, and yet they maintain that signature Queens of the Stone Age feel. I attribute this to the constant lineup change. The band is always changing up members, but this is due to a revolving door policy and not drama. Each member brings in a new flair, and it only enhances the band’s legacy.

I feel like that really shines through on “Villains.” The co-operative guitar energy between frontman Josh Homme and QotSA veteran member Troy van Leeuwen is so solid and on point, that the addition of guitarist Dean Fertita enriches the overall sound in a way that feels completely natural.

Overall, “Villains” marks a fantastic addition to the band’s already impressive discography, and I would highly recommend to veteran fans and newcomers alike.

Check out “Villains” available now in store and online.

The Master of Shock Rock is Back


LOT happened in that year.

Man landed on the moon, The Beatles released “Abbey Road,” as well as gave their final live performance atop Apple Records, and let’s not forget Woodstock.

Something else happened of major significance in the year 1969, however. Something that would literally cause a major change in music History.

The album “Pretties for You” was released.

It was the Psychedelic debut album from vocalist Vincent Furnier, lead guitarist Glenn Buxton, rhythm guitarist Michael Bruce, bassist Dennis Dunaway, and drummer Neil Smith.

Or, as they were more known as, Alice Cooper.

2017. A full forty-eight years after “Pretties for You” was released, and Alice Cooper (Furnier’s adopted alias and now solo outfit) has released his 27th studio album entitled “Paranormal.”

10 brand new songs, 2 new songs with some of the original members, and 6 bonus live versions of Cooper classics 

This album, I’ve got to say, rocks pretty hard. The album has a harder feel to it, yet still rings true to the classic Cooper sound.

What impresses me the most about Alice Cooper is that very fact, actually. A lot of these guys that have been around 30-40+ years have a tendency to sound less creative, they sound generic, and often times downright cheesy. *cough* Aerosmith *cough* Yet Alice Cooper stays true to form while simultaneously adapting to the changing world around him.

Sure, there are a few tracks that feel slightly cheesy, but then again name me an Alice Cooper album that doesn’t have at least one track like that. Come on now, it’s Alice Cooper. The Godfather of Shock Rock. The Villain of Rock ‘n Roll. I think we can make an exception here.

Let’s not forget that he still puts on amazing and theatric stage shows, while his younger counterparts have grown lazy and scaled theirs back. *cough* Marilyn Manson *cough*

Will “Paranormal” stand the test of time and go down as one of Cooper’s masterpieces? Most likely not. Is it still worth listening to, adding to your collection, and a legitimate addition to Alice Cooper’s 40 year legacy? Absolutely.

It Really Isn’t Dead

This last weekend I had the privilege of attending It’s Not Dead Fest 2 in San Bernadino, California, and I gotta say it was an amazing experience.

I feel like those who say “Punk’s dead!” have clearly never been to a punk show before. It was quite the site to see punks of all ages gathered in the Glenn Helen Amphitheater and forming large circle pits while acts like Reagan Youth, Guttermouth, and the legendary GBH played their sets hard and fast.

I’ve written in previous posts that it’s a special feeling when you get to see one of your favorite bands play live, and it was that same feeling I relished when OFF! took the stage. Seeing Keith Morris up there yelling out his lyrics while the band tore it up was easily the highlight of the day for me.

What was really great was seeing newer acts like The Interrupters playing alongside  punk and ska veterans like The Selecter, The Adicts, Buzzcocks, and Rancid. It was truly a unique experience. I’ve been to other music festivals before, like Warped Tour for example, where the bands were so diverse fans butted heads or even avoided each other altogether.

This was not the case with It’s Not Dead.

Whether you were their to see Dropkick Murpheys, Mad Caddies, or even Me First & The Gimme Gimmes, everyone got a long and had a good time. It was a weird sort of Punk paradise where everyone got along to express their love of the genre as well as their disdain for the current administration. This is not a political blog, however, so I will not be diving into that territory!

All in all I can say, with confidence, that punk most certainly is not dead, you just gotta know where to look for it.

In fact, there are two big events coming up in October where you can see for yourself. Ye Scallywag! on October 21st will feature such acts like Pennywise (who are fantastic live, by the way), The Vandals, and The Adolescents, and I, personally, am looking forward to attending Fat Mike’s Punk ‘n Brew Fest on October 28th in Huntington Beach. NOFX, Bad Religion, Goldfinger and more will be rockin’ the stage while attendees get to enjoy various craft beers.

Sounds like a damn good time to me!

So ignore what the radio and MTV ( whatever that even is anymore) tells you. Punk, and honestly Rock in general, is not dead. It’s alive and well, and still going strong after 30+ years.


For Info on Ye Scallywag! check out the website Here

For info on Punk ‘n Brew, click Here