William Beckett/Sam MillerBy Marleigh Flowers

William Beckett/Sam Miller
By Marleigh Flowers

William BeckettBy Marleigh Flowers

William Beckett
By Marleigh Flowers


Photo: 5SOS Facebook

By Jazmyn Griffin

Punk and pop listeners alike took to social media to argue and defend their respective genres as the August cover of Alternative Press was released to the public.

The magazine stirred controversy with its choice to feature breakout band 5 Seconds of Summer on its cover. While avid fans of the band supported the choice, many subscribers were skeptical about their place in the issue. It sparked a great debate, mostly online, about a question many have yet to figure out: are 5SOS worthy of the “punk” title?

When you break down what exactly a punk band consists of – counterculture, harsh sound and raw, emotional lyrics – 5SOS just don’t match up.

The group’s self titled album went #1 in the U.S. on pop charts, got new pop fans to follow them and received regular airplay on most pop stations. It’s no secret that 5SOS is a pop band. Every song on the album contains lyrics directed at a girl, an ex-girlfriend in some and a heartbreaker in others, with guitar riffs, catchy choruses and heavy bass. Though legendary pop punk and pop rock bands like blink-182, All Time Low and Green Day inspired the group, there is one glaring difference – the lyrics.

Blink-182 wrote songs not only about heartache and youth, but also explored heavier topics like death, grief and depression in tracks like “Adam’s Song” and “I Miss You.” All Time Low has tracks dedicated to those who committed suicide and about self discovery and acceptance like “Weightless” or “Lullabies.” These topics are absent in 5SOS’ current songs. Punk is about emotion. It evokes emotion, addresses issues fans face and ultimately creates an atmosphere that lets people know it’s OK not to be OK. The closest thing to raw emotion 5SOS gets is “Amnesia,” an acoustic number where pop undertones still run through.

In 5SOS’ case, the members’ use of instruments makes them unique in the mainstream, but the music itself sets the band apart from the punk world. Their rock roots too are not typical of the mainstream sound Capitol Records tends to put out, and it will be interesting to hear the band’s future releases.

Until then, I’m calling 5 Seconds of Summer a pop band.


Mac DeMarco
By Taylor Hanson


By Vanessa Meschke

As the new school year rolls in and you move into yet another dorm or apartment with new roommates, expect problems to arise before you hit your cohabitation rhythm. Some may need to work out who showers when or what time to get up. Others may need to cut foods from their diet because of roommates’ allergies.

Most annoying of all, though, might be dealing with the clashing music interests. The roommate may have every Justin Bieber CD on their phone or posters of Taylor Swift covering the walls, and you might want to scream as music that makes your ears bleed is blasted over your favorite albums. We’ve compiled a list of advice for getting along with your roommate and their potentially horrendous music choices.

  1. Wear headphones. It’s simple, it’s effective, but it can also be a pain in the butt. Headphones don’t allow free movement around your room and can also be hard on the ears after many hours of use. It’s not the best solution, but it will keep both you and your roommate listening to your favorite tunes without having to hear each other. Bonus: an excuse not to talk to them.
  2. Make a playlist together. For example, my roommate loves country music. I REALLY hate it. We made a playlist together, though, with 10 of my favorite songs and 10 of hers to put on when we’re in the room together. This works very well for bonding with your roomie. On the down side, you’ll need to listen to music you don’t like half the time.
  3. Put on a neutral radio station. While you may both hate it, it once again gives you and your roommate something to bond over and gives the power of choosing music to someone else.
  4. Say no to any music playing while you both are in the room. Again, far from ideal, but if nothing else is working, it might be the only option that keeps you and your roommate from plotting each others’ mysterious deaths at night.
  5. Work out a schedule for who gets to play their music when. Let one day be your roommate’s to choose the tunes and the next day be yours. Remember that compromising is key and it doesn’t make sense for your roommate’s music day to be the day they have class from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Hopefully, these ideas give you an idea of how to start settling the music war with your roommate. Keep in mind that your roommate is still a person despite their horrific playlists and they deserve to listen to their music just as much as you do. On that note, try to learn to enjoy living with your roommate because you’re stuck with them for the next year. Enjoy college!


Photo courtesy of My Silent Bravery

By Shandana Mufti

My Silent Bravery’s Matthew Wade answered a few questions for ABScream Media about the injury that led him to music, his latest release, Diamond From Coal, and the top venues on his bucket list. Read on to see what he had to say!

ABScream Media: 300 shows between 2009 and 2011. Wow. How many are you at now? All national, or have you done some international shows? What city or country is top on your Places to Play bucket list?
Matthew Wade: I have slowed down my horses a little and switched my focus on quality over quantity for shows. I lost track of how many live shows I have performed, but am grateful to all the people who have come out and seen a show over the years. All of my shows have been in the U.S. to date, but I have brought my guitar with me on some personal international trips, where I entertained, but not necessarily with a ticket price at the door. I am eying some international shows in 2015 and hope to tour overseas in the near future. I would say the top of my bucket list is in my back yard, I would like to play the TD (Boston) Garden and Madison Square Garden.

ABS: You just added another six shows to your list with Tyler Ward last month. How were those shows? Do you see familiar faces pop up when you return to cities now?
MW: The shows with Tyler Ward were awesome. Tyler was great to have us on the tour and the crowds each night were awesome. We really had a blast. We do see some familiar faces pop up which is a great feeling but we are always happy to play to any fans, old or new!

ABS: What was the sports injury you overcame before pursuing music? If not for that injury, do you think you’d be a musician?
MW: I was travelling in Australia and working out in the gym and ended up herniating a couple of discs in my neck. The injury led me to do a lot of soul searching for pain relief which led to me to spirituality, more specifically Kabbalah. As a result of my studies in Kabbalah and working on myself, I realized I wanted to give back to the world at large and music was the vehicle I wanted to use to help spread a positive message. I think everything happens for a reason.  My injury was the biggest challenge of my life so far, but from the biggest challenges also come the biggest blessings. The injury helped me recognize it’s important to pay it forward and help others. I want to create music that inspires, helps, and motivates others to overcome their challenges.

ABS: You’ve explained your album name, Diamond From Coal, as being about the pressure needed to form diamonds from coal where the coal is hard work and the diamond is the music. For you personally, is this album a diamond? Why or why not?
MW: To me personally, this album is a diamond. I worked really hard on it and am very proud of it. It may not be a perfect diamond. Most diamonds do have flaws.  But I am certainly happy to put this one on display and let people be the judge of whether it sparkles or not.

ABS: The list of people you’ve worked with on your music includes Matisyahu, Grammy winners, people who’ve worked with Aerosmith and Jennifer Lopez and Jason Mraz – big names. As a DIY artist, is it a concern that the big names might overshadow your own?
MW: No. I am a big fan of learning, and what better way to learn than from some of the best in the business.

 ABS: You’ve received a slew of accolades from notable sources including Billboard Magazine Discoveries, been #2 on the YouTube Most Popular page, been added to MTV.com rotations and more. What has meant the most to you?
MW: I am grateful for all of the opportunities and blessings I have been fortunate enough to receive in this very difficult business. Right now, I am really excited and humbled by how well this new album was received by the fans, as it recently debuted in the Top 40 of the iTunes Singer/Songwriter Best-Sellers chart and in the top 20 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases!

ABS: What’s driving you forward? What’s next?
MW: I have always been motivated and ambitious. As mentioned earlier, I feel it is one of my life missions to help inspire and motivate others. I have a large desire to share my music and the positive message I believe it contains with the world. I am hoping to do it on an even bigger scale and reach millions of people.  Next up is some tour dates this fall with Anna Nalick and a release of a new single and video for the song “Forever”. Following that, I have a remix project which is slated for early 2015.

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