Tag Archives: riffs

New Releases = More Tunes

My two favourite band are both releasing new albums this month. This makes me extremely happy, not only do I adore their music, but it also means I get to buy music that’s current and wasn’t released a decade ago.

As with most upcoming major releases, singles have been released prior to both album’s launches. This is what I wanted to talk about. Hearing either song inspires me to pick up my guitar and get writing again, they both overwhelm me with a crushing need to play music and perform in front of an audience again. After listening to both the other night on spotify, I sat down with my guitar until I wrote something. It’s not much at the moment, but it’s got enough ideas and potential to bring together an entire song.

Anyway, let’s look at the bands!

Rise Against – Help Is On The Way
Since I was given Revolutions Per Minute for my birthday by my best friend some 5 years ago, I have become obsessed with Rise Against, buying every album, EP and going to every show I can possibly get to.

Their new song is taken from the album Endgame, which is released on 14 March 2011(sounds like a trip to HMV during my lunch break on Monday!)

There’s something about the opening riff that captures my attention, but unfortunately the majority of the song sounds like rehashes and reused harmonics from songs off their previous album, Appeal To Reason. Not a bad thing, but it’s not as good as their early stuff. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the rest of the record is like.

Sum 41 – Screaming Bloody Murder
These guys were my favourite bands until I discovered Rise Against. Sum 41’s music was some of the first rock I listened to, and Motivation was probably the first song I learnt to play in it’s entirety. Needless to say, they hold a special place in my heart.

The album is out on 29 March 2011. The first single is also the title track.

In contrast to Rise Against’s single, this is very different to anything that I’ve heard from Sum 41 before. It makes me wonder in which direction the album will go in. Each record the band have put out changes their sound, often going from pop-punk to metal and back.

The song however, feels rather disjointed, almost as it it was written in a studio and riffs were attached to each on a computer, rather than by sitting down with a couple guitars and seeing what worked.

That’s not to say I don’t like the track, the solo was a particular highlight, but given that the album has been repeatedly delayed you have to wonder what the band were doing all that time. Let’s hope the rest of the album has more polish.


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Mental Japanese New Wave Band? Yes Please!

I absolutely love Polysics!

Had the privilege of seeing them at The Garage way back in June 2006. That was one hot and sweaty gig.

The lead singer, being Japanese and all, wasn’t all that good at English. His crowd interaction consisted of him shouting
“We Polysics! You… UK!” much like the native little fat kid you meet on holiday who tries to communicate with you before running off with your frisbee.

Give the man his dues though, he speaks much better English than I do Japanese. That’s probably because I have learnt all my Japanese from JWOW. Here’s a nice example of JWOW for you:



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Poor Housekeeping

I haven’t written a new post for the blog in over six months, and haven’t updated in even longer. For completeness sake I will post the last entry I wrote, even though it is unfinished (I didn’t even finish my sentence!).


Despite my lack of updates, a lot has happened with the band. I say a lot, but actually nothing has happened, which means that somethings are changing. Unfortunately, none of this is for the better.

Firstly, band practices are becoming less and less regular. In fact, we haven’t had a full practice (full! ha! there’s only three of us!) since the last practice that I moaned about. Jacko and I have sat down together and written some new stuff, but this is only in my front room. I’ve told him that I’m unhappy with the rate of progress

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Finding a Singer – Adverts and Auditions

After the last practice I told the other guys that I would put an advert on Gumtree. Although I have written the advert I haven’t yet posted it, and instead have replied to a few postings.

Had one response almost straight away for a guy that is keen to sing, so we are meeting him tomorrow. This one is a dude and has been in other punk bands before. Another Gumtree find, but this guy seems really keen!

Nothing really got going with the girl that I mentioned in previous posts. Every time we invited her along to her a jam she wouldn’t make it. We’ve pretty much given up hope there, until she asked if we wanted to jam on Sunday. Think I’ll have to let her down, but not sure how to say it.

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Song Writing – Making Beautiful Music

Me and Jacko have been making beautiful music together this evening. We finished, had a cigarette, kissed me goodbye and then he left.

We started writing a very different style of song this evening. No power chords, but instead jangly open chords and a slow, but very cool riff. We didn’t finish it, but this will be one of the ones that we will keep going back to and adding new ideas to. It’s a lot of fun to play songs that are completely different from any of our others, makes me feel like we’re discovering a sound.

But what has gotten me very very excited is a song we wrote last week. We didn’t add anything to it this evening, but just played it through. This is a standard Jacko-Sherlock number. I’m not going to lie to you; it’s awesome.

I’m excited about this. I’m excited about adding drums, bass and vocals to it. I’m excited about playing it with a full band. I’m excited about people listening to it. I’m excited about playing it on stage.

This feeling is why I play music. The knowledge that we, we, Jacko and Me, created this. A song that, we feel, will make people dance, mosh, jump up and down, sing along. That’s a great feeling. You will never get that feeling from Television or Computer Games. This is why I’m in a band.

You’ll have to excuse me if I milk this, but these sort of feelings don’t come around very often, and I have to make the most of it.

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Meeting the Singer – Auditions In The Beer Garden

I met up with the girl I mentioned in the last post. We went for a drink in a local and sat in the sun. She was really nice, very friendly and chatty, and down to earth, a real person. When we started the band, Jacko and I both stated that we want people who we can get along with, being in a band is a pretty expensive hobby (there is very little money to be had, lets not kid ourselves), and we want to have fun with our friends. Well, I think she would fit the bill.

My only concern at this stage is her voice. Obviously I didn’t make her audition in the middle of the beer garden, but I checked out her previous band’s myspace when I got home. Don’t get me wrong she can sing, and has a lovely voice. But will this fit the hard and fast punk that we play? I’m not too sure.

Who knows? She may be up for something a bit heavier. Or she might not even want to sing for us when she hears our stuff.

Hopefully she will be able to match the sound we’re carving out, and hopefully our songs can build a platform for her vocals to stand on.

Either way, I hope I have made a new friend. She writes and records solo albums all by herself, and although being new to the city like I am, she has friends here, so it would be cool for us to all hang out together. Time will tell.

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When I was a wee little student we were always told about the evils of plagiarism. If you don’t know what plagiarism is, let me tell you; it’s a bit like terrorism for academics. Someone who plagiaries (plagiarist?) steals the ideas and concepts from one academic/scientist/whatever and passes them off as their own.

Thinking about it, that’s nothing like terrorism. If anything, it’s intellectual property theft.

Anyway, this was drilled into me during my three years as a wannabe social scientist, and two years on, I am finding it hard to shake off. I don’t find this a problem at work (dog eat dog…I’m not very popular in the office), but it is a problem when I’m writing songs.

Countless times I’ve discarded a perfectly good riff because it sounds like an Offspring song. It always seems to be The Offspring as well. I’m not the biggest fan in the world, nor do they inspire me to write (although hearing Original Prankster when I was 13 made me want to learn to play the guitar, but that’s a different story).

I spent quite a while last week writing an intro riff, when I was done I though “Bugger, that sounds like Kids Aren’t Alright”. I played the riff to Jacko later on in the week when we met up to write some new stuff (we actually met up to finish an older song, we never finish them, just jump to the next) he noted the similarity, but said not to worry about it. He reasoning was that there is a limit to how many riffs you can write, and playing the sort of music we play, you bound to sound like somebody else.

He’s got a point. If you are a SUM 41 fan (I am! New album out this year, yes!) you may remember back to to 2002 when Still Waiting was released (first single off Does This Look Infected), the whole music press and community were up in metaphorical arms because the main riff from the single was ripped off from Dammit I Changed Again by, yep, you guessed it, The Offspring!

Maybe it’s because The Offspring have been around for so long now, people can’t help but rip them off.

Oh well. If SUM 41 can get away with it, so can I.

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