Thousand Foot Krutch have been around in some shape or form since the Mid-90s and come with a full arsenal of catchy and powerful pop-laden crunch fit for everyone. The band just released their second full-on live album entitled, Untraveled Roads, this month. The band are road dogs, touring incessantly, playing in front of huge crowds of adoring fans. This past summer they took their first ‘break’ from the road during their 20+ year career as musicians. Lead singer, Trevor McNevan, was nice enough to take a few minutes to speak with us about the new live record, and the inspiration, love, and joy the band receives from their fans that fuel their work.
Thousand Foot Krutch Release Live Album – Untraveled Roads
Creating an impactful, meaningful live album has always been a challenge for rock bands. For every legendary Live At Fillmore East or Live At Budokon, there are just as many forgettable Who’s Lasts and Tokyo Dome Live In Concerts littering the cutout bins. TFK’s upcoming live release, Untraveled Roads manages to avoid the pitfalls experienced by The Who and Van Halen, and they deliver a damn good live album.
As I looked back on the 2012 rock landscape and reviewed the year’s best rock music, I realized that I’ve definitely become more of an Indie Rock fan over the past few years. 2012 brought us lots of great Indie rock, but we also heard some rocking albums in the mainstream. You may see a few albums here that you’re not familiar with, but I implore you to check them out. You’ll open your ears to some killer new rock, and impress the hell out of your friends. (After each selection, you’ll find a link to check them out on iTunes as well as our recommendations if you just want to grab a few tracks off of each album).
So, here are the Farmer’s Dozens in reverse order. The two dozen best rock albums of the year:
Bonus Selection: Each farmer’s dozen comes with a bonus, so here are two: Grouplove, Never Trust a Happy Song and The Black Keys, El Camino. Both of these albums would be at the top of our 2012 list… if we had not already recognized them in 2011. Here’s our Top Rock Albums of 2011, to see what else we visionaries were thinking last year.
23. Lovedrug, Wild Blood – These Indie rockers out of Ohio are powered by Michael Sheppard’s unique voice and a nice Kickstarter campaign. Best tracks: “Premonition” and “Ladders.” Read our full review
21. Green River Ordinance, Under Fire – Great rock ‘n roll harmonies from this quintet out of Forth Worth. They offer up a diverse selection of tunes on another self-funded effort. Best tracks: “Dark Night” and “Lost in the World.” Read our full review
20. Mumford and Sons, Babel – A nice follow-up to their hugely successful 2009 release Sigh No More for these barrier-breaking folk rockers. Best tracks: “I Will Wait” and “The Boxer” (Simon and Garfunkel cover).
19, Dinosaur Jr., I Bet on Sky – The Massachusetts Alt-Rockers continue to put out solid Alt-Rock with their distinctive brand of guitar rock. Every song is good on this one. Best tracks: “Rude” and “Pierce the Morning Rain.”
18. Luke Dowler, Polarized – Dowler’s music offers raw vocals with an urgent passion, mixed with poignant lyrics about world affairs, relationships and deep personal faith: Good stuff from Big Sky Country. Best tracks: “Polarized” and “Gun.” Read our full review
17. Jack White, Blunderbuss – White breaks away from the shackles and structure of his former band mates in The White Stripes and Raconteurs and it works nicely. Best Tracks: “Love Interruption” and “Trash Tongue Talker.”
16. The Shins, Port of Morrow – Fantastic lyrics, beautiful harmonies and rock and roll that just oozes likability I just wish these New Mexico natives would put out album more often than every four years. Best tracks: “Simple Song” and “It’s Only Life.”
15. Muse, The 2nd Law – The band, built for stadium rock, took some chances on this, their sixth release. This stuff is nothing like what we’ve heard from them before, but it is intriguing and captivating. Best tracks: “Madness” and “Survival.”
14. The Gaslight Anthem, Handwritten – Talented New Jersey rockers who offer up their most polished record to date. Strong heart felt rock and roll with excellent lyrics. Best tracks” “Too Much Blood” and “45.” Read our full review
13. The Killers, Battle Born – Brandon Flowers and the band never disappoint. One of the year’s best produced albums and it shows the band moving in a more mature direction. Best tracks: Runaways” and “Miss Atomic Bomb.”
12. Neon Trees, Picture Show – Everybody talked about “Everybody Talks,” but this album was much more than one hit. Tyler Glenn is a future superstar and highlights his broad talent throughout the band’s third album. Best tracks: “I am the DJ” and “Everybody Talks.”
11. Django Django, Django Django – Hip, cool, groovy, rock ‘n roll with an oddly familiar feel considering this is the band’s debut. Mixes the best of the sixties, eighties and modern times. Best tracks: Default” and “WOR.”
10. Metric, Synthetica – From the opening lines of “Artificial Nocturne,” where Emily Haines offers “I’m just as fucked up as they say,” this album demands your attention. Some deep introspective tracks disguised as excellent pop rock songs. Best tracks: “Youth Without Youth” and “Breathing Underwater.”
9. Thousand Foot Krutch, The End is Where We Begin – The songs are positive Christian rock but these guys don’t slam you over the head with their beliefs. It’s solid, active rock music that any hard rock fan will enjoy. A very diverse selection from a band returning to their Indie roots. Best tracks: “War of Change” and “All I Need to Know.” Read our full review
8. The Wallflowers, Glad All Over – Jacob Dylan continues to evolve as a musician and has never sounded better than he does now. Excellent music with soulful vocals on a selection of tracks guaranteed to grow on you with each listen. Best tracks: “It’s a Dream” and “Reboot the Mission.”
7. The Drowning Men, All of the Unknown – They’re back with their second full-length album release, their first on Flogging Molly’s Borstal Beats label, which builds on the success of their fantastic debut album Beheading of the Songbird, and shows the talented quintet continuing to grow. These Indie rockers remind me a bit of the layered harmonies of Arcade Fire, with a clear West Coast U.S. bent. Best Tracks: “A Fool’s Campaign” and “Lost in a Lullaby.” Read our full review
6. Green Day, ‘¡Uno!‘ – Billie Joe Armstrong needs to be recognized as the prolific rock songwriter he is. He and his longtime band mates never fail to put out good music and this is another prime example. A great fresh punk/pop sound from our favorite So Cal trio. They released three good albums this year, this one was the best of the bunch. Best tracks: “Oh Love” and “Let Yourself Go.”
5. Fun., Some Nights – So much more than “We Are Young.” This masterfully produced album is a great vehicle for the talented vocal stylings of Nate Ruess and is packed with memorable addicting ditties. Jack Antonoff and Andrew Dost round out the trio and lend their voices to create impressive harmonies throughout. On Some Nights, Fun. has developed a unique sound and carved a nice niche in today’s Alt-Rock landscape. Best tracks: Why Am I the One” and “Carry On.” Read our full review
4. Of Monsters and Men – My Head is an Animal. This talented Icelandic band has taken advantage of the revitalized interest in folksy rock courtesy of Mumford and Sons, but have kicked it up a notch. Great, fun rock songs with amazing boy/girl vocals and meaningful lyrics; as well as a few tracks that are strictly fantasy adventures like the addictive “From Finner.” Best tracks: “Mountain Sound” and “Little Talks,”
3. River City Extension, Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Your Anger – The second release from this talented octet out of New Jersey is a musical and lyrical journey well worth a listen. It’s a folk rock/Americana album packed with original sounds and with each listen a different track stands out. Joe Michelini, the band’s singer and guitarist is the primary songwriter and he takes us through a varied collection of memories. He offers: “Half of this record is love songs, and the other half is ‘I’m sorry that I fucked up’ songs,” and he writes about both in a compelling way. Best tracks: “Glastonbury” and “Ballad of Oregon.” Read our full review
2. Bruce Springsteen, Wrecking Ball – I had just about written off the sage of the Garden State, but this is one of Springsteen’s best efforts in years. The music is superb, and the lyrics even better. It’s a bitter, but honest look at what Corporate Greed and idiot politicians have done to his country, and Springsteen pulls it off by surrounded the words with excellent music At times, he evokes memories of the E Street Band’s greatest anthems, at other times he has us heading down an entirely new path, such as the Celtic rock feel in the fantastic “Death of My Hometown.” Best other tracks: “We Take Care of Our Own” and “Wrecking Ball.”
1. Shinedown, Amaryllis – I loved “Bully” the moment I heard it and was pleasantly surprised to hear the excellent diversity on the rest of the album. It’s aggressive, powerful, passionate rock that’s impossible to put down. The Jacksonville based band has only put out four albums in their decade plus together, and each one has gotten just a little bit better. Rolling Stone hated the album, which in itself is proof that it’s mainstream rock for the masses. Amaryllis is one of the best hard rock albums in years and it’s packed with great songs. Best tracks: “Unity” and “I’m Not Alright.”
There you have it – the best rock albums of 2012, according to me. Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section.
The Summer doldrums are over. Lots of excellent rock headed Central Florida in the next month or so.
8/30, Flock of Seagulls – Hard Rock Hotel – The latest installment of the 2012 Velvet Sessions schedule. This band is so much more than a one-hit wonder, and you already know how much we love the Velvet Sessions venue. We’ll be there.
8/31, Cowboy Mouth – House of Blues. These guys are absolutely great live. Good music from The Big Easy, and one of the best front men in rock music today. Here’s our interview with the aforementioned drummer/singer to whet your appetite: Fred LeBlanc Interview.
9/1, Seven Mary Three – The Garage Bar at Rte. 46, Stanford
9/2, Pepper – House of Blues
9/5, Bombay Bicycle Club – The Social
9/7, Owl City – The Beacham
9/8, Thousand Foot Krutch – Disney World’s Night of Joy. We love this band’s latest album, The End Is Where We Begin.
9/8, Reliant K – Universals Rock the Universe
9/15, Citizen Cope – House of Blues
9/15, Matt Hires – BackBooth
9/15, Swellers and Strung Out – The Social. Excellent hard rock from Swellers.
9/15, Chris Isaak – Hard Rock Cafe
9/18. Go-Go’s – Hard Rock Cafe
9/19, Guided By Voices – The Beacham
9/20, Green River Ordnance – The Social. Touring in support of their latest album, Under Fire, which is a damn good listen. We’ll be there.
9/22, Atari’s – Will’s Pub
9/22, Ian Anderson – Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre – The front man from legendary Jethro Tull is a musical genius
9/23, Jackie Bristow opens for Euge Groove – Plaza Theatre – We love Jackie Bristow and her fantastic Kiwi-Country voice. Check out our recent concert review.
9/27, Metric – Hard Rock Cafe
9/28, Night Ranger – Epcot – This show requires park admission and they play through 9/30.
9/29, Adam Ant – Hard Rock Cafe
9/29, John Waite, The Romantics, Modern English – WMMO’s Downtown Concert – these are usually excellent shows from classic rockers, and they are FREE! We’ve seen Waite a few times recentlyand he’s excellent live. Check out our review.
9/30, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes with Clay Your Hands Say Yeah – The Beacham – Nato Bardeen loves the band, so they must be worth checking out, right?
9/1, Sublime with Rome, Matisyahu, Pepper – English Brothers Park, Pinellas Park
9/13, Citizen Cope – Jannus Live, St. Petersburg
9/13, Strung Out and Swellers – State Theatre, St. Petersburg
9/13, Shinedown, Godsmack, Staind, Thousand Foot Krutch. Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival – 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheater
9/14, Arrested Development – State Theatre, St. Petersburg
9/14, Elton John – USF Sun Dome. This seems like a nice opportunity to see Sir Elton in a relatively small venue.
9/15, Grand Funk Railroad – Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg. A rare area appearance from an under-appreciate rock band.
9/16, Chris Isaak – Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg
9/19, Go-Go’s – Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg. Do they still have the beat?
9/20, Ataris – Crowbar
9/23, Blondie and Devo – English Brothers Park, Pinellas Park
9/23, Ian Anderson – Ruth Eckard Hall, Clearwater
9/24, Stevie Nicks – Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg
9/25, Florence and The Machine and The Maccabees – USF Sun Dome
9/30, Metric – Ritz Ybor
8/31, Against Me! – Cafe Eleven, St. Augustine. This band out of Gainesville is excellent live and has a big sound.
9/6, Black Joe Lewis – Jack Rabbit’s. We got to see them earlier, a fun live band.
9/6, Train – St. Augustine Amphitheatre
9/12, Citizen Cope – Ponte Vedra Concert Hall
9/13, Chris Isaak – Florida Theatre
9/16, Strung Out and Swellers – Freebird Live
9/21, Ian Anderson – St. Augustine Amphitheatre
9/22, Blondie and Devo – St. Augustine Amphitheatre
9/25, Stevie Nicks – St. Augustine Amphitheatre
9/25, Adam Ant – Freebird Live
9/30, Joe Cocker – St. Augustine Amphitheatre. One of rock’s biggest legends and most distinctive voices. Always puts on a great show.
The End Is Where We Begin, the latest effort from Thousand Foot Krutch is a nice diverse album from this talented Canadian trio. After more than a decade of successfully recording on major labels, the band has gone back to the Indie route, one of an increasing number of bands funding their release through a Kickstarter campaign, where the bands many fans actually become part of the creative process.
As is often the case when bands return to their Independent roots, we hear Thousand Foot Krutch playing their music the way they want and taking advantage of the increased creative liberties. It’s a sound that’s true to their core and it works extremely well.
The sound on The End Is Where We Begin is quite varied, at different times provoking thoughts of Linkin Park, Egypt Central and Red Hot Chili Peppers. The songs are positive Christian rock but these guys don’t slam you over the head with their beliefs. It’s solid, active rock music that any hard rock fan will enjoy. You can almost characterize it as old-school Creed, only with a bit of raw passion and more of an edge; good stuff with diverse songs that highlight the threesome’s talent and versatility.
There are a handful of hard songs best categorized as aggressive rap-rock, with “Down” and “The War of Change” two prime examples. “Light up the Sky” is another tune from this vein, and one that is the most likely to become a radio hit. You’ll recognize a few of these from ESPN and EA Sports highlight reels.
“I Get Wicked” is an excellent hard-driving song with catchy guitar riffs and some fun memorable lyrics. “Let the Sparks Fly” is the best of the harder edged tunes. It features great guitar, the powerful freight train drums of Steve Augustine and fantastic vocals from songwriter and guitarist Trevor McNevan. “The End is Where We Begin” and “We Are” are two other solid rockers with excellent vocals and nicely layered guitars and bass from McNevan and Joel Bruyere respectively.
On the softer end of the spectrum, “All I Need to Know is just a great track featuring pristine acoustic guitar and mandolin and tender vocals from McNevan. It’s a beautiful song that should be a hit. “So Far Gone” has a similar feel and is another nice foot-tapping acoustic gem.
All told, The End Is Where We Begin, is a broad selection of powerful, passionate rock from a veteran rock band getting to do things their own way, and it works exceptionally well. Check it out on iTunes below, and let us know what you think.
Alright, I’m back with my semi-regular look at must have music if you want to impress your friends. Most of the stuff is new, but once in awhile I’ll throw an olden nugget to impress you. You know how this works a RARA’s Dozen’s worth of cuts to choose from.
Let’s start with three very diverse videos:
The Live Aid Set – Queen: This is an old one, in case you couldn’t tell by the fact the lead singer died twenty years ago. Still get goosebumps remembering watching this concert live and the amazing fan reaction, despite the fact that we were staring at a big screen at JFK stadium while Queen played Wembley across the Atlantic.
Vehicle City Blues – The Swellers: This was a previously unreleased track from their Good For Me sessions recorded at The Blasting Room. It might remind you a bit of Propagandi. Released as a 7″, it sold out all 1,000 copies before it was delivered.
Enough of the eye candy, now here’s some ear candy. These links take you to iTunes where you can either sample the song or take that RARA’s Farm leap of faith and snag a few:
When I Write My Master’s Thesis – John K Sampson – Something new from the former lead singer of Propagandhi (when’s the last time you read an article with two Propagandhi references?) and The Weakerthans. Reminds me a bit of Death Cab For Cutie. This one will be a hit.
Quiver – Davie Allan & The Arrows – Our next cut is a lost nugget from the 60’s. It’s great surf rock from an under-appreciated guitar virtuoso. Most 60’s surf rock was great, this is greater.
Monarchy of Roses – Red Hot Chili Peppers – The latest single off of I’m With You, the same album that gave us the 2011 Song of the Year. This one has got a cool psychedelic vibe. Definitely a hip new feel for RHCP.
Headlights – Morning Parade – Here’s a cut off of this British quintet’s self-titled debut album. Rock fans of all genres will dig this one and find it hard to shake from your memory.
What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had to Go This Way) – Wolf Parade – Another favorite on Sirius XM’s The Verge. These Canadians made lots of great music, including tihs quirky tune from 2010.
This Summer -Superchunk – These Indie rock veterans prove that there are some cool rockers from the heart of ACC basketball territory, Chapel Hill, NC. This one features some punk flashbacks and killer guitar work.
Summer of ’89 – Butch Walker and the Black Widows – Walker is a great producer (like Lit’s latest) and a damn good artist, too. This is a fun little ditty that throws in a few gratuitous Bryan Adams’ references as a bonus.
Fire It Up – Thousand Foot Krutch – This one is a few years old, but it’s a great one to blow out the speakers Canadian Christian Rock style…
Wasted Days – Cloud Nothings – Cleveland Rocks! This one is eight plus minutes of raw, powerful, miserable rock ‘n roll. It’s great stuff, too, from one of today’s most interesting new acts.
Loro – Pinback – A cool song to chill to. My son turned me on to these fellows from San Diego. Worth a listen.
Rock On – Cretin