20th Anniversary Remastered and Expanded Reissue Of Classic Aquabats Album, The Fury Of The Aquabats!

In the late ’90s, the band known as The Aquabats decided to tread fresher territory previously paved by Devo in the ’70s. Using a core of Punk, Ska, Surf, and Rock n Roll, The Aquabats created a style that belonged exclusively to them. One time band member, Travis Barker, who would go on to play for Blink-182, was known as The Baron von Tito. Along with the leader, The Bat Commander!, the Orange County-based band went on to enjoy a nice following of fans.

On April 20, the band will reissue their popular 1997 sophomore album, The Fury of The Aquabats! To celebrate the album’s 20th Anniversary, the band has planned a remixed and remastered expanded edition. The new edition will expand by four bonus tracks, including the previously unreleased “Hockey Fight!”.

This 20th Anniversary reissue of The Fury Of The Aquabats! will be released on CD, DD, and neon green vinyl 2LP.  A limited edition and signed 2LP blue colored vinyl is planned for April 6.  Of these, there will only be 1500 copies. A limited edition red color 2LP set is only available in 1000 copies. The LP releases will include DD.

The Fury Of The Aquabats!The Aquabats
(* Bonus Tracks)

01. Super Rad!
02. Red Sweater!
03. Magic Chicken!
04. Fight Song!
05. Cat With 2 Heads!
06. The Story Of Nothing!
07. Captain Hampton And The Midget Pirates!
08. Martian Girl!*
09. Attacked By Snakes!
10. Idiot Box!*
11. Powdered Milk Man!
12. My Skateboard!
13. Phantasma Del Mar!
14. Lobster Bucket!
15. Theme Song!
16. Play Doh!*
17. Hockey Fight!* (Previously Unreleased)

 

Review: Sweet Unknown – Erika Wennerstrom

For years, we have been blessed with the music of Heartless Bastards. And while the band has largely been a vehicle for the compositions of Erika Wennerstrom, it was the complete package that made the music so much fun to listen to. And with a gorgeous front to sing the songs, with a unique voice, the whole experience was a fine one.

Several years back, the band decided to take a hiatus with no planned return date. This spurred the engine of Heartless Bastards into overdrive, deciding to rightfully jump into the pool of solo waters. As a result, Erika Wennerstrom has journeyed a long, long way to provide a new energy. That energy is found in the stunning new album, Sweet Unknown.

The title is a borrow from a previous lyric (“Could Be So Happy”) and easily provides an apt title for her new venture, a place she hasn’t been to before. And nor have we. But I’m here to tell you, the air is indeed sweet to breathe.

Sweet Unknown has nine new Erika Wennerstrom songs. The music on this new album are rich, professional, and powerful tunes. You get a feel that she is in a zone of her own. And if that’s the case, then I welcome the new face of Heartless Bastards as Erika Wennerstrom, the solo artist.

In an age of a thousand releases a week, it’s important to recognize the better ones. Sweet Unknown, if I may borrow a line, is without question, an album of ‘extraordinary love’. Sweet Unknown is Grammy territory!

The Co-Op Communique: Who We Are and What We Do

The Co-Op Communique: Who We Are and What We Do

The statement is the most frustrating one there is for anyone who writes about music creates music or is a committed fan of music: there’s no good music anymore.

The truth is that there’s plenty of good music, new music from brand-new artists, out there, but it’s harder to find. In fact, at no other time has there been so much new music waiting to be found, but you have to do a lot of work to find them.

Why is that? I’m not going to demonize the “Music Industry.” It is the easiest target with the bully pulpit of market share. We know that should Beyonce decide to put out a surprise track today, its existence will suck all the oxygen out of every other music-related conversation taking place in the larger media landscape. Still, it goes deeper than that.

Music fans are more siloed and separated than ever before, sometimes by choice but mostly by chance. When is the last time a peer suggested a new artist to you and you listened? Odds are, not recently because we don’t necessarily have those sorts of conversations anymore. Life is so complicated, much more complicated than when we were in our teens and twenties and our identities were frequently and intrinsically tied to music. Occasionally something new gets through, but I’ll bet this doesn’t happen too often.

There are cost hurdles on both sides that further complicate the matter. Most artists do not have the financial ability to – let’s be frank about this – shove their new product down your throat. Most consumers can get everything, or almost everything, as a free stream, and streaming services are not particularly friendly to throwing new concepts at the listener. You’ll get your playlist, but everything on there will be determined by a mandate to keep you on that list. Free plays are paid with advertising, so no curve balls, please.

That’s why fun playlists are, sadly, never challenging (or peppered with surprises).

The artists cannot pay. The audience has grown used to not paying. These are complicated parameters to navigate. In 2015, I made a decision to do something about this. While the Internet has made music marketing harder in some ways, it’s made it easier in others. Working in conjunction with Bandcamp.com, I was able to gather a great team of people together to help with an idea I had.

“Gather” is such a definitive statement, and misleading. I mentioned what I intended to do and people I communicated with jumped in and ran. The Co-Op Communique came together thanks to the will and support of folks like Matt Crosslin, editor of the Down The Line webzine; Mike Indest, host of the Down The Line Basement Tapes podcast; Craig Ellis Bacon, editor of the Radio Eclectic webzine; Dan Pavelich, from the Vandelay Records label; Ray Gianchetti from Kool Kat Records; Keith Klingensmith from Futureman Records; Matthew Rowe from MusicTAP; Gary Wien from New Jersey Stage; Lazlo from BlowUpRadio.com; and the list goes on (my apologies if I missed you).

But what were they signing on to? Here’s how it works. I try to gather as many artists as possible on our annual compilation with the intent to expose one artist’s fans to other artists’ music and expose their fans to others. It is a “rising tide lifts all boats” kind of approach. There are other compilations out there of this sort, but most charge people to buy/download the collection, and also charge the artists to be placed in the collection.

We don’t do either. Charging the audience dissuades them from trying it, which in turn destroys the main goal of introducing new music to them. At the same time, the usage of an artist’s song on the compilation is rather a sacrifice for the artist already. It’s not right to then ask them for money to be a part of it, so we don’t do that. Their contribution is their “pay in,” as it were.

That’s The Co-Op Communique. It’s our way of fostering that peer-organized conversation we all used to have. The listener can either stream or download the collection for free and then easily find those other new artists that grab them. We place their website addresses, Bandcamp pages, Facebook page URLs, etc., right in their song profile.

What we ask artists for:

• A WAV of your most “crowd-pleasing” song, something you feel would draw listeners to a larger body of work
• Listing of writers/performers on the track
• Publishing company name associated with the song (if any)
• Royalties association connected with the song (if any)
• Most importantly, links where listeners can follow to find more – your website or Facebook page, Reverbnation page, Bandcamp page, etc.

Learn more about Co-Op at our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CoOpArtsAndCommunity/

Once you’re a part of Co-Op, we’ll continue to support you, year after year. Check out previous editions of the Co-Op Communique and follow up with these artists today:

https://coopcommunique.bandcamp.com/album/the-co-op-communique-volume-two

https://coopcommunique.bandcamp.com/album/the-co-op-communique-volume-three

https://coopcommunique.bandcamp.com/album/loves-labours-loosed-a-co-op-communique-flash-compilation

We have established a Patreon campaign for Co-Op. We’re searching for other organizations to play an important role, keeping the compilation free the artists to participate and for the audience to experience. As the executive behind Co-Op, I want to keep things free for both the artists and downloaders and that is our operating mission.

If you’re not an artist but want to support our efforts, or you are involved with a business or organization that would like to take advantage of sponsor opportunities as a patron of Co-Op, you can make a real difference today at: https://www.patreon.com/CoOpCommunique