Ten years ago, The Used exploded onto the modern alternative rock scene with their edgy and emotionally-charged debut album, The Used. Led by versatile frontman Bert McCracken”a vocalist who’s sweet and smooth pop voice can be easily turned into an ear-shattering scream” the group made a name for themselves with singles like “Taste of Ink” and “Box Full of Sharp Objects.” The Used saw further mainstream success with their subsequent records, In Love & Death and Lies For The Liars, as their shows became bigger and bolder than ever before. In 2010, they released Artwork, a strongly negative and dark album on which the band had struggled for creative control.
Never ones to quit when the going gets tough, The Used decided to take matters into their own hands and go DIY for their upcoming release, Vulnerable. Both McCracken and guitarist Quinn Allman took the time to meet up with us at SXSW in Austin, TX, to discuss the new album and how the band has grown, musically and personally, since they first began.
OS: You just returned from Soundwave in Australia. What was that experience like? How did the fans respond to the new single?
BM: It was amazing. It was the biggest, craziest festival. I mean, there’s like, one million bands on it, I think? 1,200,000 bands? [laughs] A lot of metal bands, so for a band like us¦we kind of had to watch where we walk and not get beat up by all the metalheads. But it was so fun. We’re just doing I Come Alive right now from the new record, since it’s not out yet¦but the feedback we got was amazing. Australian fans are fucking crazy.
OS: I hear that from a lot of people, that fans overseas are so much more excited¦
BM: It’s weird…England and Europe and Australia are really crazy.
OS: You’re about to put out your brand new record, Vulnerable, and you’ve taken a DIY approach to this release. Can you talk about the advantages and disadvantages of releasing your own record?
BM: I guess the only disadvantage is we have to do pretty much all of the work ourselves. We teamed up with Hopeless to handle the distribution of the record, which is really cool. They’re really on it. I’d say the advantages are¦everything else in the whole world. We get to do whatever we want with our own music, we get to create the type of things we want to create, no one can tell us what to do or how to do it, we get to make our own music video the way we want to make it¦I mean, just 100% creative freedom. It’s incredible.
In an interview with Oprah Winfrey on Oprah’s Next Chapter, Lady Gaga announced her decision to sever all communication with the press.
“I do not intend to speak to anyone for a very long time,” she says, stating that it was just as much a personal choice as it was a creative one. Following the success of her latest album Born This Way, the singer has chosen to lay low in 2012, instead focusing on a new album and an overseas tour, as well as her Born This Way Foundation.
As for her own media consumption? “No press, no television,” says Gaga. “If my mom calls and says, ‘Did you hear about?’ I don’t want to know nothing about anything that is going on in relation to music. I shut it all off.”
Let’s face it, sometimes the past should stay dead. But when an awesome artist fades from popularity, their fans later wonder, Where are they now? You may not know it, but many artists you’ve loved in the past are still hard at work writing new albums or preparing to tour once more. Fortunately, you now have Second Coming to reintroduce some of your favorite acts of the last few decades and give you the scoop on what you can expect from them in the future.
THEN: As we know, the early 90’s saw an alt rock explosion. Singer-songwriter Ben Folds jumped into the fray with a band of his own, Ben Folds Five. An indication of Folds’ off-kilter humor, the band was actually a trio (an in-joke unsurprising to anyone who knew that Folds’ first band, Majosha, released an EP called Five Songs About Jesus, which included four secular tunes). The band’s self-titled debut LP garnered them a significant amount of buzz upon its release in 1995, but it was their sophomore effort, Whatever and Ever Amen, that spawned the hit “Brick.” Though they went on to record a third record (and most of a fourth), but decided to “amicably” split up in 2000. Folds, of course, went on to rock the suburbs with a successful solo career, but it seemed as though the world had seen the last of the Five.
NOW: In 2011, Ben Folds Five reunited once more to record three tracks for Folds’ compilation album, The Best Imitation of Myself: A Retrospective. A few months later, Folds announced via Twitter that they would be writing and recording a brand new album: “It’s happening fo sho – Day 1 in studio with Robert and Darren through March #NewBenFoldsFiveRecord.” Looking ahead to the rest of 2012, BFF are slated to headline New York’s Mountain Jam, as well as perform a set at the legendary Bonnaroo Festival in Tennessee. The new record’s title and release date are still TBA, but we’re excited to hear what they sound like thirteen years after their last album.
Who could forget the wild video for “Underground?”
Those who attend the Citadel in South Carolina get a double dose of ROTC and regular academic courses, so it’s understandable that many spend their free time studying. But not Sean Waterman. The former cadet skipped the books and headed straight to open mics around Charleston, guitar in tow. And he hasn’t stopped playing since. Waterman’s music is largely acoustic fare. Every once in a while you’ll get a whiff of an electric guitars or keys, but for the most part it’s just a man, his voice, his axe and his heartache. Wrong is a dreamy, dusty affair made up of cascading guitars and Waterman’s languid vocals. Unlike the sharp metallic edge that the name implies, Aluminum is all gossamer and ether, while Sour Patch Girl delivers lustrous swirls of acoustic and electric strings. If Waterman has applied any small part of his military background to his songcraft, then it’s clear what the command is: at ease.