When you talk about the things that happened throughout the year in music, one of the most exciting things is the list of bands that made a huge impact in their first year of relevance. But just like every band has a beginning, every band will inevitably have its end. This was no different in 2014, where we saw our fair share of bands come and go. While some bands don’t ever quite get the sendoff they’d hope for, The Garden Statement wanted to make sure that we paid our respects to some of the bands that inspired the show/blog in the first place. We’ll do the best we can to give these bands the dignified eulogy they deserve, and you’re more than welcome to share your thoughts on the bands in the comments! Enjoy!
Even as I write this, after the final hours of twilight have faded from their career, I’m finding it difficult to properly describe what Foxy Shazam’s music sounds like. Their turn from chaos-core to glam-metal worshippers garnered comparisons to The Blood Brothers and even Queen throughout the course of their career, and their schizophrenic live presence was a spectacle that everyone hopefully experienced at least once. There was never any way you could pin them down into one specific category, and that fact alone made them even more endearing and interesting. It seems like the sand finally found its way to the opposite end of the hour glass for the band, but not before they made their fair share of noise.
Swan song: The song that seemingly only they would be able to write, “I Like It.”
Ask any band that’s currently relevant in the punk/pop-punk genre, and they’ll sing the praises of Hostage Calm. Their ability to throw an old-school doo-wop feel into a punk song was unheard of when Please Remain Calm came out, and it sent a shock to the system of the scene. No other band at the time was brave enough to blaze such an uncharted path, but Hostage Calm did with a bold attitude and something to stand for. Thanks to the “I Support Same-Sex Marraige” shirts that concertgoers flocked to their merch table for at shows, the band helped to spread an important message of equality across the endless miles they’ve trekked over the last few years. Punk rock music has always been about standing up for what you believe in, and Hostage Calm did just that. And that’s how they deserve to be remembered.
Swan song: The track that inspired one of the most iconic band tees of this generation, “Ballots/Stones”
Perhaps they never got the attention or backing they deserved from Fueled By Ramen, perhaps the emo/punk bubble had burst on mainstream radio, or perhaps they didn’t have the magic of the rest of their labelmates, but for whatever reason, The Swellers never got the shot people thought they would. Always revered as a band that worked for every inch they were given, The Swellers fall into the same boat as Hostage Calm, where they were always very respected, but it never amounted to much buzz throughout the scene.
Swan song: What many will revere as their best song (pun intended): “Best I Ever Had”
The Dangerous Summer
If anyone says they were surprised when turmoil among members of The Dangerous Summer finally claimed the career of the band, they clearly weren’t following the band closely enough. There were nearly a dozen separate times the band appeared to be done for good, but somehow they righted the ship long enough to put out three stellar full-lengths. To quote my good friend Craig Ismaili, “The Dangerous Summer were a great band, but they were terrible at being a band.” Long will I ponder what The Dangerous Summer could have been had they just learned to stay out of their own way. Alas, now all we have left of them is their music, and maybe that’s for the best.
Swan song: A song that has inspired countless people the band reached over the years, “Never Feel Alone”
Allow me to preface this by saying that there is no way I will ever be able to bid farewell to Anberlin with anywhere near the amount of eloquence, passion, and tenacity that Craig already did. But this is an article about influential bands that broke up this year, and since Anberlin did call it quits in 2014, I am forced to do my best. If you haven’t read Craig’s post on how thankful he is for the band, you really need to. As far as I’m concerned, Anberlin were always a band you could count on. They always pushed themselves on their recordings, never settling for the same sound on two consecutive albums. They were always going to deliver a powerful live performance, filled with hits like “Godspeed,” “Self-Starter,” and countless others. They always did everything with a sense of resposibility and professionalism, never lashing out at fans, the press, otehr bands, or each other. And for their final act, rather than going out with a whimper, they chose to close out their careers with a “Vitcory Lap.” One last album, one last summer on Warped Tour, and one final World Tour in the fall to say goodbye to all they touched. They went out with dignity, grace, and unparalleled respect. For a band whose final words on record were “We’ll live forever,” Anberlin certainly made sure that those words would be proven right. Godspeed, Anberlin. I don’t think we’ll ever see another band like you.
Swan song: The only song that could possibly fit here is “*fin.”
Bands will continue to come and go in 2015, but that won’t make writing posts like these any easier. Let this post be a reminder to you to support the bands you love in any way you can, because you’ll never be too sure when they’re going to be gone for good.