The Rock Lovers' Label

By Andy_Argyrakis
Posted: Tue, 03/03/2009 - 16:54

album promo image for The Rock Lovers' Label

By Andy Argyrakis, senior music editor,

With spring right around the corner, the album release cycle is slowly but surely coming out of winter hibernation. Leading the pack in rock is the Tooth & Nail label group, which includes hard rock division Solid State and vertically tinged imprint BEC Recordings. Hereís a look at the family's four top titles hitting streets in the not-too-distant future (if they haven't already dropped).

August Burns Red is black
After spending last summer on the Vans Warped Tour, August Burns Red expanded its audience beyond just Solid State faithful and into the secular metalcore scene. Fans on both sides of the fence are sure to devour the upcoming Lost Messengers: The Outtakes (which dropped February 24), covering a bunch of B-sides and demos from 2007's Messengers.

Even with all the excitement surrounding the rarities release, the band is moving forward full-steam-ahead on its next proper studio project and seems quite confident at how it's shaping up thus far. "Our new record is going to push us to our limits as musicians and performers," confirms guitarist JB Brubaker. "We've written parts faster than anything we've ever done before, as well as slower, and this record will be a little more dynamic than our previous two. These new songs are still crazy heavy though and full of all the bells and whistles you've come to expect from an August Burns Red record."

Topically, the yet-to-be-titled project will fall somewhere in between the group's faith-based audience and seekers from all associations. "One thing we try to do lyrically is call the listener to action to take control of their life," confirms Brubaker. "We are taught at a young age the difference between right and wrong and that is something we all forget about. We try to write our songs so you can read the lyrics and relate to what is being said."

FM Static's more than a side project
Take a look at the liner notes of an FM Static CD and youíll find the familiar faces of Thousand Foot Krutch's frontman Trevor McNevan and drummer Steve Augustine. But just because alternative rock act TFK is the band's day job doesn't mean FM Static should be brushed under the rug as a mere punk/pop side project. In fact, the forthcoming Dear Diary (out April 7 on Tooth & Nail) marks the groupís third full-length disc, but by far, its most ambitious to date.

The self-admitted concept collection will encompass a series of diary entries about a boy growing up through high school and then heading off to college. Along the way he faces a lot of questions about faith, fitting in and falling in love for the first time. "This record is an adventure – it's fun and serious on the same album," McNevan tells "Ultimately, I hope people like the songs and the story and can relate to some of them along the way. We're going to tour this record, so look for us at summer festivals and hopefully on a fall tour. This band TFK keeps asking us to come out, so we'll see what happens."

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Last summer, pop/rock foursome Jaymes Reunion released The Fine EP on BEC Recordings, marking the first national splash for the California-bred band. A return trip to the studio has warranted the full-length Everything You've Been Looking For, which drops May 19 boasting a diverse sphere of influence from Switchfoot to Paul McCartney and even The Bee Gees on occasion.

"It's a very '70s pop influenced [album] but with an updated sound," echoes frontman Cameron Jaymes. It's a round-up of songs that are about everyday life – the emotions and thoughts that happen and how they affect us as people. I believe this is a record that [has messages] people can identify with and can feel like they know us, because we are just like them."

Family Force 5 remixed and reloaded
Speaking of specialty projects, quirky dance rockers Family Force 5 are putting a second spin on 2008's delectable Dance or Die disc. Coming May 19, Dance or Die With a Vengeance will encompass several remixes from the original collection, while adding a handful of brand-new studio tracks.

"If Dance or Die was Rocky, Dance or Die With a Vengeance would be Rocky II," suggests guitarist Derek 'Chap Stique' Mount. "Well, it would actually be more like Rocky IV because it had a better soundtrack and because Sylvester Stallone was significantly more muscular in Rocky IV. Plus, I really like the fake-looking beard he grows while training in Siberia. There's something very Family Force 5 about that beard!"

In all seriousness (or at least as serious as the fun-loving fellas can get), this upcoming edition puts a fresh coat of paint on already infectious tunes. "For those seeking something new or different, there are a few 'whoa's' that might satiate your appetite," he continues. "The album offers listeners an opportunity to hear what Dance or Die might have sounded like if the five of us wrote the album with The Secret Handshake, The Toxic Avenger, Danger Radio, Ultraviolet Sound, Depeche Mode and Journey."


About the Writer

Andy Argyrakis is a Chicago-based entertainment writer/photographer who appears in the Chicago Tribune, Illinois Entertainer, Daily Journal, Concert Livewire, Hear/Say Magazine and Image Chicago (to name few). His record label writing credits include Warner Brothers, Atlantic, Curb, EMI and Universal, with additional photo credits for Fuse TV, Live Nation, Nikon, Pollstar, Celebrity Access, Paste Magazine, and He's also the author/narrator of "Access Matthews" (an audio CD tracing the career of Dave Matthews Band) and spends considerable time on tour, including outings with Arlo Guthrie, The Guess Who, Madina Lake (on Linkin Park's Projekt Revolution) and Gospel Music Channel's very own "Gospel Dream" (where he served as season one judge).

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