Feature / Music
Pass The Mic: Record Labels and Artists on 2008

Words: Michael • October 16, 2010

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Vultures United (Jordan Salazar)

What are your top five albums that were released in 2008?

  1. Vampire Weekend (XL Recordings) One of the most original sounding bands I've heard in a long time. Some people tag them as a hipster/yuppie New York band and they might be right, but there are not many bands that can sound like Paul Simon and infuse catchy as hell-indie rock. Plus, I'd bet money these dudes come from a punk rock background. It's basically just the most refreshing thing my ears heard this year.

  2. The Night Marchers - See You In Magic (Vagrant Records / Swami) Debut album from this band featuring members of Hot Snakes, Rocket From The Crypt, Sultans, Burning Brides, Tanner and CPC Gangbangs. Gritty and thumpy garage rock with a bit of pop in there. Basically, if you like Hot Snakes and/or Rocket From The Crypt, these dudes sound like a mix of both with more dirt.

  3. Be Your Own Pet - Get Awkward (Ecstatic Peace! / Universal Records) A more punk rock/garage rock version of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. This is actually their last record. They broke up soon after it came out, which is a shame. If you like fast, original sounding garage/punk (sorta) with the best female vocals since Karen O., this is your band.

  4. Fucked Up - The Chemistry Of Common Life (Matador Records) Next to Joan Of Arc, probably the hardest band to like and be a true supporter of. The thought of some of the things Fucked Up does sonically, bugs people. And they might be right, but it doesn't bug me. These dudes push the idea of making hardcore and punk into something all their own. Although I think their last full length "Hidden World" was a better record overall, this ones definitely good. Check it out and don't judge it on your first listen. It gets better every time you hear it. Think Black Flag meets Sonic Youth meets being Canadian, meets being into mind control.

  5. The Loved Ones - Build And Burn (Fat Wreck Chords) I think this band should be huge. Like Green Day huge. They definitely have the talent, and "Build And Burn" shows that their songs are catchy enough. You hear all this stuff about bands like The Gaslight Anthem and The Hold Steady being "Americana-influenced punk rock" or "Springsteen-inspired punk rock" and how great both bands are. I personally am not a fan of either bands and I think Loved Ones fits the bill better and have a lot more originality than the 2 mentioned above. Some of the things those 2 other bands sing about is kind of embarrassing and a total obvious rip-off of Mr. Springsteen. What separates The Loved Ones is you do hear "The Boss" influence in their sound, but you hear a lot more than that in their tunes. The fact that they're more punk sounding than either of the 2 bands helps too. And last, they sing about things that are real and current. The other bands sing about things like they're living in the 60's and try to push the Americana influence a bit too much. I don't want to hear dudes close to my age singing about cornfields and "the road". That's what Johnny Cash and Chuck Ragan records are for.

What band did you discover in 2008 (can be a brand new band or an older band) that had an impact on your life? What made them significant?

I discovered the new Blake Schwarzenbach band (the dude from Jawbreaker/Jets To Brazil) called The Thorns Of Life and actually got to see their second show at a dirty punk house in Brooklyn (I'm from the West Coast and was on my honeymoon). My cousin The Captain saw a random post on some message board somewhere, texted me the address and my wife and I went on a subway adventure, and found the house/show. I'm a big fan of both Jawbreaker and Jets To Brazil, so to witness this show (after Blake not doing music for so long) was a big deal. Many-a-friends back home are still jealous. The songs were simple, amazing pop punk songs. Blake clearly went back to basics and proves yet again that you don't have to have super technical songs to make them incredible and catchy.

How will you remember 2008? (In terms of music)

Probably the best year for our band. Highlights would be playing The Fest 7 in Gainesville, Florida on Halloween weekend, touring England with The River Card and touring the West Coast with Gallows and Cancer Bats. Definitely all good dudes and probably the best times we've had as a band. Also in 2008, we had two solid releases ("Dirt Hearts" & "The Healers") that our band is proud of. Not only are we proud of the music, but both were originally released on our own record label (The Pirate Record Company.) So it's a good feeling to kind of do things on your own terms and make stuff happen. Also, on an even more personal level, I got to sing and be on a Bullet Treatment 7" record, which was pretty bad ass. Thanks to Chuck @ Basement Records for that and for re-releasing "Dirt Hearts"!

Vinyl record sales saw a significant increase this year while hard copy sales continued to dwindle. Is this a return to the glory days for vinyl or just a phase? Explain.

I think maybe vinyl selling as much as it is, is a phase. But people have always been buying vinyl you know? I think just the recent sales spike may be a phase. I mean, in the early 90's when I first got into punk as a middle schooler, Blink-182 had 7" records and people bought them up. It's just always been around and always will be around. I think maybe the popularity just may be a phase but vinyl is forever. Watch the movie "High Fidelity" for proof.

What was the most memorable moment for you in 2008? (Can be in terms of anything)

I got married to my beautiful girlfriend of nine years and moved out with her. The wedding was pretty amazing too.

What can we look forward to from you in 2009?

The debut full-length for Vultures United will be out in early 2009, hopefully. I'm doing a side band that's more of a Descendents sounding pop-punk band that I'm not at liberty to speak about yet (I know, I suck.) We don't have a name yet but I can say that it's going to be amazing. Just the line-up itself is impressive. And last, hopefully a bit of spastic touring here and there (in Europe and the East Coast U.S.)

What three records are you looking forward to most in 2009?

The new Gallows album, hopefully a debut album from The Thorns Of Life, and a definite debut album from the band Obits (the singer dude from Hot Snakes/Drive Like Jehu)'s new band. Apparently, Sub Pop Records is putting it out!

Homepage: http://www.myspace.com/vulturesunited

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