Exclusive: Life On The Sideline EP announcement, music video premiere

Since releasing Honesty Is A Dying Breed two years ago, Life On The Sideline has remained active on the road and is now ready to unveil its upcoming EP, Never Settle. To kick things off, we're premiering the music video for the band's new single, "Echo", which tells the sad story of a young girl reminiscing times spent with her deceased partner. While not a pop punk song per se, it's as catchy as one with an infectious chorus that you'll inevitably get stuck in your head. The band's sound could be compared to that of Transit's and The Early November's. Fans can pre-order the EP on iTunes and CD here, before it's released on June 7th. […]

Sunday, December 29, 2013

End of Year Lists: MTS Collective Staff, Pt. 1

We hope you've all had a great holiday so far! To close off the year, we'd like to share with you our staff's picks of the year, starting with two of our writers, Joseph and Josh. Share your thoughts and personal choices in the comments section! Click the Read More… link to view the lists.

Joseph Tucker, Writer

Albums of the Year

1. Pentimento - Inside The Sea (Paper + Plastick Records)
What I like about this record is that it was made so perfectly that each song could have its own interpretation based on your situation. Pentimento has been a band that has left the interpretation of them and their music totally up to their fans. This is one of the most emotionally-raw albums I have ever had the joy of listening to. If you do happen to pick up this record (which I hope you do) know this; State Champs lost their top spot on the list after I re-listened to this record.

2. State Champs - The Finer Things (Pure Noise Records)
This record embodies pop/punk (which isn’t just about cats and pizza) and is arguably the best record of all time in this genre. From the level of diversity in every song to the thought-provoking lyricism, this album is one that future generations of musicians show every journalist and say “This is what shaped my sound, this is what made me love music".

3. Firestarter/Old Again - Split EP
I have been super passionate about Old Again ever since I interviewed them earlier this year. Their sound is refined and their lyrics are brutally honest, which is just what I need when I’m in a tight emotional spot. I had little idea who Firestarter was before this split, but afterwards I went and bought all of their records, including the acoustic versions. If either had been paired with any other outfit the chemistry between both bands and songs would have never been there. The one thing that makes this record great is the fact that the two bands coagulate so well.

4. Old Again - Broken People EP
I think this is the only time that i have put a band on a list twice, but Old Again’s early-March release just couldn’t be missed. Broken People is the result of a lead vocalist seeing that people in this day and age just lack empathy and compassion and, for one person in particular, love. An ugly society has made for a beautiful record that is very relatable to anyone who listens to it. Broken People is a shoe in for any future “classic records” list.

5. Knuckle Puck - The Weight That You Buried EP
Joe Taylor and the rest of the crew that make up Knuckle Puck pack so much aggression in their music, but not the type that makes you angry. The aggression shown in their performances and in The Weight That You Buried isn’t the kind that is associated with hardcore acts, but the aggression that goes into making a completely honest record. Influences like New Found Glory and The Movielife can be heard in their sound, but collectively Knuckle Puck has a sound all their own, which transfers into The Weight That You Buried, making it a top record for 2013.

6. Real Friends - Put Yourself Back Together EP
I can honestly count on Real Friends to give a piece of themselves to me with every record of theirs I purchase. "Bony knees and sleepy eyes" were back on everyone’s mind with this release and the lyrics from these songs showed up multiple times on my Twitter feed being used to either win a girl over or trying to forget one. There is no other album out there that can have this sort of delivery to its audience. You can literally cry to this album as much as you can sing it to that special someone and that makes it valuable in my eyes.

7. The Story So Far - What You Don't See (Pure Noise Records)
I have never been disappointed with any of The Story So Far’s records and What You Don't See is no exception. The band has always had a sound that many have tried to match, but to no avail. Parker carries so much emotion in every track that it is impossible to not get attached to the music. With raw tracks like “Things I Can’t Change” and “Stifled”, this album should always be one you come to!

8. The Wonder Years - The Greatest Generation (Hopeless Records)
After listening to Suburbia, I thought that no matter what this band couldn’t do any better - I’m so glad I was wrong. With tracks like “I Just Want To Sell Out My Funeral” and “An American Religion”, which pour out melodic riffs and crashing hats complete with the signature tones that remind us of suburbia and tales of childhood, this is a hard album to ignore.

9. Home & Away - Still Breathing EP
St. Louis is home to a group of dudes that produced an album that would catch any true pop/punk fan's eye. Still Breathing is full of unique subject matter and comes complete with ringing guitars and rough vocals, which are used to weave stories of happiness as well as heartbreak and disappointment. At the end of the day, this record has all the components to be on this list and deserves to run with the best.

10. Backslashes And Bad Ideas - There's No Place Like Home EP (Harbor Records)
Even though it is last on this list, it is far from a bad album. This record is littered with reasons why it should be noticed. From the insanely-inspiring intro to learning about Josh’s bad life choices (listen to the record and you’ll get it). this record gives us great music coupled with amazing lyricism that in the end hits the spot.

Josh Jurss, Writer

Here are some of my personal favorite releases from 2013 in alphabetical order. Unfortunately, I, like many others, suffer from a disease called “time” that makes it impossible to listen to every possible record of the year. Therefore, my favorite record of 2013 will probably be revealed to me well into 2014. At the moment, these are my favorites.

Albums of the Year

August Burns Red - Rescue & Restore (Solid State Records)
I wasn’t expecting much from this record, so I was pleasantly surprised. August Burns Red is a band that stays original in a stale genre that doesn’t consistently produce mind-blowing material. It’s not quite Constellations, but Rescue & Restore is an album that’s putting August Burns Red back on the right path.

Captain, We're Sinking - The Future Is Cancelled (Run For Cover Records)
I had never heard or listened to anything by this band previous to this record. It’s one that took some time to grow on me, but it became my favorite record of this year. The record is by no means flawless, but the emotion and lyrics completely overwhelmed me. I have a strong feeling this record will continue to grow on me and I hope Captain, We’re Sinking begin to gain the following they deserve with superb music like this.

Chance The Rapper - Acid Rap
I don’t listen to much hip hop. The only reason I heard Chance The Rapper’s newest album was because I had to do a booze run for a party my work was having and it was the CD being played by the guy who drove us to the liquor store. Chance The Rapper is bringing something different to the rap game and this mixtape really shows that the genre can be successfully taken to the next level.

A Day To Remember - Common Courtesy
This record isn’t close to being the best record of the year by any means, but it gives me nostalgia for high school and it’s probably the best record this band could produce. Plus, the fact that it ever saw the light of day was surprising. A Day To Remember made a fun record that contains a lot of energy and a lot of your typical pop punk themes. This is where I come from. These are my friends. Don’t cross me or else you’ll have to deal with them too. Yeah, this record is definitely on here for the nostalgia and fun factors.

Dads - Pretty Good EP (6131 Records)
This record is exactly as good as the title. Though, it’s not as excellent as last year’s American Radass (This Is Important), which was my #2 album last year. Dads is a band with great potential and I never quite know what to hear from them. Usually, it’s something I didn’t expect, but exactly what I wanted.

Deafhaven - Sunbather (Deathwish, Inc.)
This record was brought to my attention by a status update from a friend I rarely talk to on Facebook. I liked that status. I liked this album more. Not often do I truly believe a black metal album exceeds my expectations or produces greatness, but Deafheaven truly created something great with Sunbather. It is the first black metal album to ever make an end of the year list for me.

Dowsing - I Don't Even Care Anymore (Count Your Lucky Stars)
Dowsing have gone on and off my lists all year. They won’t make my top 10 albums of the year, but they certainly could have. In my review of this album, I wrote, “Each song propels the listener forward through the album, ending the entire listening experience so soon that it feels as if it was always a memory”. This is also the problem with the record. I barely remember listening to this and I know I haven’t spun it since the week I was obsessed with it, but it’s still something that, for a week of 2013, meant the world to me.

Frank Turner - Tape Deck Heart (Xtra Mile Recordings)
Frank Turner is one of the great songwriters of the past decade. I pre-ordered this record with high expectations and for the most part, they were met. Very few songs this year made me sing along like “Recovery” and even fewer commanded my attention like “Fisher King Blues” did.

The Front Bottoms - Talon Of The Hawk (Bar None Records)
Put this record under the category of "Albums that drew me in based on artwork". Beyond that, this record contains some of the best songs of the year (see "Au Revoir (Adios)" and "Twin Sized Mattress"). That being said, there’s also quite a bit of immaturity and lackadaisical lyric-writing on this record.

Silverstein - This Is How The Wind Shifts (Hopeless Records)
This is the best Silverstein album since 2005's Discovering The Waterfront. It basically made my list for giving me the same feeling that I had the first time I ever listened to the band.

Silverstein/August Burns Red - Four Minutes Being Cool EP (Hopeless Records)
Both of these bands made my list for their full-length records, so it’s not terribly surprising that this made the list as well. Two great bands covering two of my all time favorite bands - yes please. My friend picked up a copy of this for me on Record Store Day and I’m eternally grateful.

The Swellers - The Light Under Closed Doors (No Sleep Records)
Great hooks. Great songwriting. Great band. Rock 'n' roll.

Their/They're/There - Self-Titled EP (Polyvinyl Records)
This album is great in every way. The songwriting in each song is stellar. A dream team of musicians: Evan Weiss, Matthew Frank, and Mike Kinsella are making beautiful music together and have me impatiently awaiting more music.

twenty one pilots - Vessel (Fueled By Ramen)
Simply some of the best lyricism and songwriting of the year is displayed throughout the entirety of this album. Not to mention the song “Car Radio” is one of the most emotionally-gripping songs I’ve ever heard. On top of that, the gents on the album cover are the band members’ grandfathers. You stay classy, twenty one pilots.

The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die - Whenever, If Ever (Topshelf Records)
This record is exactly like Dowsing’s. Whenever, If Ever is a superb album that I condemned to the prison of forgotten albums that I call my iPod. This is the record equivalent to me of Matt Damon’s character in the Ocean’s 11 remake. To quote Mr. Clooney, “He’s got to like you, then forget you the moment you’ve left his side".