All posts by Brian Wells

About Brian Wells

Writer of news and novels, album reviews and artist profiles. A seasoned concert photographer who has lost the ability to attend a concert without bringing a camera.

Knuckle Puck cancels upcoming tour

Chicago band Knuckle Puck announced today that they will be canceling their upcoming Europe and United Kingdom tours.

Vocalist Joe Taylor released a statement, citing mental health as the reason for the tour’s cancellation. You can read his entire statement below.

The tour, which brought along Tiny Moving Parts and Movements, was expected to kick off at the end of this month with a stop in Hasselt.

[AltWire Review] Monster Treasure ‘II’

The NorCal punk rock band's sophomore album sounds like a mix between Silversun Pickups and Nirvana

Last year, NorCal punk rock band Monster Treasure showed up on the scene with their self-titled album that was released on Leisure & District. Earlier this month, the band released their follow-up album, II.

The first half of the album is a fast-paced journey through fuzzy feedback and indie punk-rock. The vocalists do a good job of balancing each other out in nice melodies that juxtapose with the rest of the heavily-distorted tracks.

It really isn’t until the middle of the album that the band starts to shine. Tracks like “Buttercream” and “Candy Sun” use a nice balance of feedback and fuzzy guitars that show a diverse range of sound from the rest of the album. The sixth track, “Leave,” comes on strong with fast drumming and good feedback on the guitars. The vocals are clean and understandable and balanced nicely with the rest of the music.

When the album reaches the eighth track, “The Fall,” is when we really help to see what this band is all about. The track uses fun, fuzzy, distorted guitars for a nice intro hook. At about the two minute mark, the steady drums under the feedback are replaced with a faster, pulsing drum. Strong vocals come in after, although they can be a little hard to hear due to the feedback.

The energy is lost in the last two tracks, “So What” and “Come Over.” Nothing about either track really stands out, except that they feel almost underproduced compared to the rest of the album. In “Come Over,” the vocals are hard to hear over the distorted guitars.

Overall, the album wasn’t bad. Most of the album feels like a hybrid between Nirvana and Silversun Pickups, which is a good combination, but there’s nothing about the album that really stands out to me. I’ll definitely be interested in seeing where this young band goes from here.


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[Altwire Photos] Self Help Fest Detroit

The inaugural Self Help Fest Detroit was held in Sterling Heights last weekend.

Detroit parties. Hard.

And that’s exactly what the inaugural Self Help Fest Detroit was.

The festival took place Oct. 7 at the Michigan Lottery Amphiteathre in Sterling Heights, on Detroit’s north side. Performers included Rise Against, A Day To Remember, Pierce The Veil, Underoath, Falling In Reverse and more.

The lines to get into the festival were long, and some attendees complained about missing the bands they wanted to see because they were stuck in line. The Facebook event page was full of angry (and funny) comments about the lines.

It was an unusually warm October day, that ended with a sudden rainstorm as Rise Against took the stage at the end of the night.

Those that battled the lines and braved the elements were treated to one hell of an awesome show.

Check out or photos below! And for more info on the fest including tickets and future dates, visit

Photos courtesy of B.M. Wells Photos

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[Concert Review] Falling In Reverse at 20 Monroe Live

Falling In Reverse had a night off during their stint at the Chicago Open Air Festival, so they booked a show at 20 Monroe Live in Grand Rapids, Mich.

All photos by B.M.Wells Photos.

After performing at the Chicago Open Air Festival, Falling In Reverse stopped by Grand Rapids, Mich. to play a show at 20 Monroe Live.

Local metal acts Spirit Breaker and Of All We Cherish both played loud, powerful sets to help set the mood for the headliners. Both sets were full of crowd surfing and mosh pits.

Of All We Cherish opening for Falling In Reverse.

Of All We Cherish opening for Falling In Reverse.

Falling In Reverse exploded onto the stage with the fun, groovy track “I’m not A Vampire,” and followed it up with their latest single “Superhero.” They powered through an awesome set that consisted of singles such as “Loser” and relatable anthem “I’m Bad At Life.”

Even live, frontman Ronnie Radke’s voice has such an insane range. His voice bounces back and forth from low and throaty screams to high-pitched emo-pop faster than you can keep up. His stage presence is something in and of itself: He’s constantly back and forth across the stage, headbanging and bouncing and jumping and spinning.

There was also a lot of interaction with the crowd. He made jokes with people and at one point asked everyone to sit on the floor and explode to their feet during “Bad Girls Club.”

Towards the end of the set, the show took an unexpected pause due to a medical emergency in the crowd. Ronnie urged the audience to give space and bring water to the injured concert-goer while the venue’s security and medical staff handled the situation. After about 15 minutes, local paramedics arrived and took the girl out.

The EMT’s and the venue’s staff handled the situation great. Huge shout-out to all of them for calming the crowd and dealing with the emergency with care and professionalism.

After about 20 minutes, the show resumed. The band returned to the stage with the same energy they started the set with. They kept powering through the show with singles “Bad Girls Club,” “Fuck You And All Your Friends,” “The Drug In Me Is You” and ended with “Just Like You.”

Falling In Reverse at 20 Monroe Live in Grand Rapids July 15.

As the band left the stage at the end of the show, Ronnie joked about giving someone his shoes.

“Nah, I’m not giving you my shoes,” he said to someone in the audience. Several seconds later, he threw the bright orange kicks into the audience.

Unfortunately, despite the cries and chants from concert-goers, there was no encore.

This was an unorthodox show, but it was fun and energetic and awesome in so many ways. Even despite the last-minute nature and unexpected situations that occurred during the set, it was definitely an awesome show.

[Album Review] Punk Goes Pop Vol. 7

The seventh edition of 'Punk Goes Pop' is set to release later this week.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with Punk Goes Pop, it’s a pretty simple idea: Take a bunch of punk rock groups, have them record covers of chart-topping pop songs and throw it together on an album. In the past, we’ve seen bands such as Bayside, Motion City Soundtrack, Yellowcard and more turn pop hits into ear-crushing rock singles. This time around, the compilation album will feature covers by State Champs, Dance Gavin Dance, New Years Day, The Amity Affliction and more.

One thing I noticed about the album is that at times, some of the singles feel like the band tries too hard to force the conversion from pop to punk. For example, Dance Gavin Dance’s cover of Bruno Mars’ “That’s What I Like.” The drums and guitars work well to mimic Bruno Mars’ funky pop sound, and at times the clean vocals on the track sound pretty close to Bruno. When Jon Mess comes in with the distorted vocals, he sounds really out of place.

Another track that falls short is Capsize’s cover of Drake’s “Fake Love.” Daniel Wall’s vocals work in their own tracks, but in this cover he’s sloppy and sounds like he struggles a bit with the faster tempo that comes and goes in Drake’s track.

The tracks that do succeed at the conversion are fantastic. One track that nails this is Andy Black’s cover of Adele’s “When We Were Young,” featuring Juliet Simms. Both artists have great voices, and they work well on this cover. They do a good job swapping out Adele’s melancholy piano a capella with guitars and drums that don’t diminish the original feel of the track.

Another cover that worked out well is Grayscale’s reimagining of Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself.” Collin Walsh and Andrew Kyne’s vocals work well to bring Bieber’s young, boyish sound to the punk rock field, while the rest of the band work well to emulate the fun pop beat. Unlike the original track, the chorus in Grayscale’s cover actually sounds different enough from the verses that I can distinguish which is which without having to know the words.

A few other tracks that were surprisingly pleasant were Boston Manor’s cover of “Heathens” by Twenty One Pilots and Seaway’s reinvention of “Closer” by The Chain Smokers featuring Halsey. The album ends with an awesome cover of Martin Garrix and Bebe Rexha’s “In The Name Of Love” by Too Close To Touch.

All in all, this is a solid entry to the franchise. Like past entries, Punk Goes Pop Vol. 7 has a lot of really solid tracks and a few that fall short. While some of these bands are no strangers to the punk rock fraternity, it’s cool to see a few new names pass the ‘Punk Goes Pop’ test, a rite of passage done by many well-established punk acts.

Punk Goes Pop Vol. 7 is set to release July 14 on Fearless Records. In the meantime, check out The Amity Affliction’s cover of The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face.”

Falling In Reverse released a video for "Superhero" today.

Falling In Reverse release music video for ‘Superhero’

The single comes from their latest album 'Coming Home.'

Earlier today, Falling In Reverse announced on their social media pages that they released a music video for the single “Superhero.”

“Superhero” backs the emotional deepness and big, orchestral hooks on their latest album, Coming Home.

Fans of the Netflix series Stranger Things will definitely want to check this one out. The video follows a group of kids who devise a plan to build a spaceship to escape real-world problems: An alcoholic father, the school bullies, football coaches. The video opens with an ’80s-style synth sequence and letters floating together like the Stranger Things intro and ends with the kids sneaking out on their bicycles in the middle of the night to blast off into outer space.

The video is directed by Ethan Lader.

Related: Falling In Reverse releases “Coming Home”

The single comes off Falling In Reverse’s latest album, Coming Home, which was released in April by Epitaph Records.

For Falling In Reverse tour dates, merchandise and news, visit their website.

Phantoms release ‘There Were Once Birds That Sang’ Video

The single comes from their upcoming EP, 'Screaming on the Inside.'

Phantoms, the four-piece post-metalcore band from Jacksonville, Fla., just released a music video for the single “There Were Once Birds That Sang,” off their upcoming EP Screaming on the Inside.

The track focuses on the feelings and emotions about the loss of love. In particular, it focuses on the thoughts that happen right after: Over thinking, self-blaming and even self-hatred for allowing it to end. The lyrics “Do you hear their lovely song” represents the memory of love.

According to Phantoms drummer Patrick Gale, the single was their most technical song they’ve written together as a band.

“This song to date was our most technical song we’ve written together as a band,” Gale said in a press release. “The video turned out far better than any of us could have imagined. Joey [Durango, director] went above and beyond our expectations for a music video and he absolutely killed it. Moving forward we want to embrace a harder sound to try and push ourselves to the limits as musicians and we think this song conveys that to our fans. We hope you enjoy the new song and music video!”

Phantoms’ upcoming EP, Screaming on the Inside, is set to release on Aug. 11 via Outerloop Records and is available for pre-order here.

Phantoms is Joe Deak (vocals), Anthony Moten (guitar), Patrick Gale (drums) and Quincy Jones (bass).

Modern Chemistry release new single ‘Tripping Over You’

The New Jersey rockers have released their second single off their upcoming LP.

In anticipation of their debut LP, New Jersey rockers Modern Chemistry released their second single, “Tripping Over You.”

The single carries a heavy emotional weight, using slow, sad verses that build into a huge, powerful chorus.

“This is one of my favorite songs we’ve ever made,” vocalist/guitarist Joe Zorzi said in a press release. “I actually wrote the chorus years ago. I always loved it, but never found the right place for it. I started working on the verses and prechorus of this song and all the sudden, it just fell together perfectly. I think Brendan (Hourican)’s guitar work really stands out on this track, with the ambient drones throughout and that huge, spacey chorus lead.”

The single comes in anticipation of their upcoming LP, Everything In Gold. Since forming in 2012, Modern Chemistry has self-released three EP’s including 2016’s Dreaming Adjacent, which was produced by Taking Back Sunday’s Adam Lazarra. Everything In Gold is also being self-released and will be available July 7. Preorders are available here.

Check out the music video for the first single from the upcoming LP:

Modern Chemistry is Joe Zorzi (Lead vocals/guitar), Brendan Hourican (guitar/backing vocals) and Jesse Slachman (drums/backing vocals). Catch them on tour this summer with Taking Back Sunday and Every Time I Die.

Forever Starts Today signs with Third String Records and release new video

The video is the first single off their recently announced EP 'Always Hope.'

Forever Starts Today, the power pop-punk band from Austin, Texas, recently announced that they have signed to Third String Records.

In a press release, the band stated that “Signing with Third String Records is such an incredible honor and amazing opportunity. Beyond opportunities to play events like So What?! Fest, Third String is well integrated all over the country, and we cannot wait to make the most of our opportunities to meet and interact with friends and fans from all over. We look forward to seeing what Mike, Blake, and the rest of the Third String team have in store for us!”

In addition to the news of their signing, the band also announced that their debut EP, Always Hope, will release Aug. 25. The album is being produced and recorded by Joseph Milligan at ORB Studios in Austin and mixed/masted by Paul Leavitt.

According to the band, Always Hope will explore some of the tougher things in life such as losing loved ones, abuse and cutting ties with toxic relationships. The album will tie such topics together in a positive way.

“If you listen to our new record, you will hear that we draw inspiration from everyday life,” Forever Starts Today said in a press release. “We tackle a wide range of topics on Always Hope, but it can really be summed up by saying ‘this is what it means to go through life in your 20’s, in today’s world.’ We didn’t shy away from any of the more intense topics either.”

To celebrate, Forever Starts Today released the video for “Optimist,” the first single from their EP. The track shares the frustrations that come from trying to help someone who can’t help themselves.

Forever Starts Today is Christina Murphy (lead vocals), Nathan Dunn (guitar and vocals), Troy Hirschhorn (guitar), Kyle Salaga (bass) and Nicholas Turner (drums).