CD Review: Fake Names

“Fake Names”

Fake Names

Epitaph Records

Tracks: 10

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Fake Names’ self-titled debut gives a nod to early UK Punk and Power Pop as well as the seminal groups from which the members emerged. Consisting of Brian Baker (Minor Threat, Dag Nasty, Bad Religion), Michael Hampton (S.O.A., Embrace, One Last Wish), Dennis Lyxzén (Refused, INVSN), and Johnny Temple (Girls Against Boys, Soulside) “Fake Names” is being released via Epitaph Records and includes 10 infectious tracks produced by Michael Hampton and Geoff Sanoff.

From the albums new wave tinged opener “All For Sale” to edgier tracks like “Brick” and “Lost Cause” the debut offering from punk super-group Fake Names is a fun and fresh listen that packs a familiar feel courtesy of the bands well known line up. Clocking in at just under 30 minutes the album is a balance of sounds and influences which make up for the short run time. Tracks like “Darkest Days” and “Weight” were personal stand outs as they contained some really cool guitar riffs and sounds that I just kept going back to for multiple listens.       

I always find it interesting when groups like Fake Names come about as often times they showcase different sides of the musician involved. This album definitely gives you those moments while still offering the right amount of familiarity. Each member turns in a solid performance making it seem as though the band has been performing together for a long time. During this unique time in the world the debut offering from Fake Names is just what you need to lift your spirits. From its cohesive song structures and catchy choruses this is an album that will certainly brighten your day.

Track Listing:
1.     All For Sale
2.     Driver
3.     Being Them
4.     Brick
5.     Darkest Days
6.     Heavy Feather
7.     First Everlasting
8.     This Is Nothing
9.     Weight
10.  Lost Cause




Today, punk rock supergroup Fake Names share “First Everlasting,” from the band’s forthcoming album. The band – which includes Brian Baker (Minor Threat, Dag Nasty, Bad Religion), Michael Hampton (S.O.A., Embrace, One Last Wish), Dennis Lyxzén (Refused, International Noise Conspiracy, INVSN), and Johnny Temple (Girls Against Boys, Soulside) – will release their self-titled debut record on May 8 via Epitaph.

“It’s a more existential song, about taking a look at yourself and accepting the role you’ve played in your own life,” he Lyxzén about the track. “It’s about growing up and moving forward, and learning from past mistakes and failures.”


In early 2016, Brian Baker and Michael Hampton met up at Hampton’s Brooklyn home to play some guitars and see “if anything shakes out”. Friends since first grade, the two guitarists ended up writing four songs that day, and closed out the session deciding to continue the collaboration and get a band together to play the songs live as soon as possible.

Baker and Hampton recruited Johnny Temple (another elementary school alumni) to play bass. Later that year while Baker and Temple were performing at Chicago’s Riot Fest, they ran into Refused frontman Dennis Lyxzén (also on the bill) and spontaneously asked if he’d be interested in joining their new band. To their amazement, he said yes. The band gelled, and they started to record music that winter.

Co-produced by Hampton and Geoff Sanoff (A Perfect Circle, Jawbox), Fake Names’ self-titled debut gives a nod to early UK Punk and Power Pop as well as the seminal groups from which the members emerged, yet remains modern and pertinent, with infectious melodies and vocal harmonies complementing Lyxzén’s heartfelt vocals and thought-provoking lyrics.

1.     All For Sale
2.     Driver
3.     Being Them
4.     Brick
5.     Darkest Days
6.     Heavy Feather
7.     First Everlasting
8.     This Is Nothing
9.     Weight
10.  Lost Cause

Fake Names is Michael Hampton (guitar/vocals), Johnny Temple (bass), Dennis Lyxzén (vocals) and Brian Baker(guitar/vocals).

Kansas City Film Critics Circle names “1917” Best Film of 2019

“1917,” Sam Mendes’ look at a secret mission during World War I, was named the Best Film of the Year by the Kansas City Film Critics Circle.  The film also took home honors for Mendes’ direction and for its cinematography.  “1917” and “Us” were the only film to receive multiple awards, with “Us” star Lupita Nyong’o being named Best Actress while the film was chosen to receive the Vince Koehler Award for the year’s Best Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror Film.

Each year the Kansas City Film Critics Circle, the second oldest critics organization in the United States, votes on their choices for the groups James Loutzenhiser Awards.  2019 marks the 54th time the group has passed out its awards.  The South Korean film “Parasite” was named the year’s Best Foreign Film while “Toy Story 4” joined the first three films in the series by also being named the year’s Best Animated Film, an amazing achievement.

Below is a complete list of the winners of the 54th Annual James Loutzenhiser Awards

  • BEST FILM:                                        “1917”
  • FOR BEST DIRECTOR                      Sam Mendes for “1917”
  • BEST ACTOR                         Adam Driver in “Marriage Story”
  • BEST ACTRESS                                 Lupita Nyong’o in “US”
  • BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR           Joe Pesci in ‘The Irishman”
  • BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS        Da’Vine Joy Randolph in “Dolemite is My Name”
  • BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY     Rian Johnson for “Knives Out”
  • BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY      Greta Gerwig for “Little Women”
  • BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY Roger Deakins for “1917”
  • BEST ANIMATED FEATURE           “Toy Story 4”
  • BEST FOREIGN FILM                       “Parasite” – South Korea
  • BEST DOCUMENTARY                    “Amazing Grace” and “Apollo 11” (tie)
  • FOR THE BEST SCIENCE                “Us”
  • FILM  
  • BEST LGBT FILM                              “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”      

Media Mikes Names The Best of 2012

“Cloud Atlas” and “Lincoln” each took home two awards when the staff and readers of Meda held their end of the year voting. “Cloud Atlas” was named Best Film of 2012 while composers Reinhold Heil, Johnny Klimek and Tom Tykwer shared the award for Best Original Score for the same film. Tykwer also served as a co-writer and co-director of the film.

Steven Spielberg earned Best Director honors for his work on “Lincoln,” as did Daniel Day Lewis, who was named Best Actor for his portrayal of the title role. The winners are:

BEST FILM – “Cloud Atlas”

BEST DIRECTOR – Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”

BEST ACTOR – Daniel Day Lewis, “Lincoln”

BEST ACTRESS – Helen Mirren, “Hitchcock”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – Leonardo DiCaprio, “Django Unchained”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”



Lions Lions’ Jon Kay and Josh Herzer chat about new album “To Carve Our Names”

Post-hardcore band Lions Lions are back with a brand new full length release titled “To Carve Our Names” and Media Mikes caught up with bassist/vocalist Jon Kay and lead vocalist Josh Herzer to talk about the new album while the band was playing in Rochester, NY this past month.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us a little background on the formation of the group?
Jon Kay: Lions Lions formed after bands we were previously in broke up. Josh had gotten a hold of me through AIM when that was still popular and told me that I was going to be in his new band. I knew Josh’s work and what he was about so I said ok right away. I knew for me that this would be a good direction to go in. Josh had already been working with one of the bands previous guitarists writing songs but we couldn’t decide if we were going to have a lead singer or not. We almost started out as a 3 guitar piece band. Things started to fizzle and one of the guitarists left so we started looking for our original lead singer Danny. It seemed like people in the band started dropping left and right at that time. We went through a bunch of lineup changes and toured out to the west coast. We were playing in Reno which is where Josh is from and he had been a fan of our band and knew about us when we were playing out there. He found out we were looking for a singer and just sent us some tracks he sang on with his old band. We asked him to fly out to Boston and try out. He came out and we wrote 2 songs right away. Josh didn’t even have a return ticket when he came out. Our newest guitarist Isaac was the second guy we tried out after we started looking for someone new. He was a huge fan boy in the beginning but he was something we could shape. When he gets on stage he knows what we are all about and he just gets it. He has been right there with us as soon as things got going.

AL: How would you describe the band’s new album “To Carve Our Names”?
Josh Herzer: The new album to me is sort of a culmination of everything the band has done prior. The first album was sort of post-hardcore minus the screaming vocals. The following album was much more breakdown oriented and heavier. My first EP in the band was essentially a pop-punk album. This record was literally whatever we felt like doing at the time. There are dark almost metal type songs on there as well as acoustic songs. This album has all of our influences and everything we have done in the past combined in to it.

AL: What was the writing process like this time around?
JH: Long.
JK: It was very, very long. When we started working on songs everyone was doing separate things on their own. I wrote a few songs with a friend of mine and presented them through email. This was before we all lived together. We wrote quite a bit away from each other as it was kind of tough to hook up with each of us living in a different part of New England. Most of us have the gear to work on songs that way so it was basically an email thing back and forth. When it came time to send stuff to the label they asked us for some things with a little better quality. We ended up going in and working collectively on songs with a friend of ours from the band Our Last Night. He helped us critique the songs. We did a couple different versions of pre-production with one being live and the other two differing in quality.
JH: Pretty much from the time that we finished our EP in late 2010 to the time we recorded this album in October of 2011 we had been writing. There are still probably 5 or 6 tracks that were recorded that didn’t make it on the album. We wrote a lot and had to re-write a lot. The initial batch of songs the label didn’t like so we re-worked those and also wrote a new batch. It was pretty nuts but we are very happy with the end result.

AL: With having so much material how did you choose what was going to be included on the album?
JH: A lot of it had to do with our producers Shep Goodman and Aaron Accetta. They looked at everything we had and used their experience to decide which songs had the strongest qualities. We just laid everything out and said what we thought about each track. We all had input on which songs we liked the best. We also wrote/recorded two new songs while we were in the studio.

AL: Do you think you will ever release the tracks that weren’t included on the album?
JH: It’s possible. One of the tracks is actually out on ITunes as an exclusive. That song is called “Drifting”. We may look to do a 7 inch as we want to do something on vinyl.

AL: What was the idea of ending the album with a softer song as opposed to the more traditional idea of closing with a more upbeat song?
JK: It’s sort of a past experience thing but also our producers suggested it. We figured it would be a safe choice as our record “From What We Believe” included an acoustic track that was placed I think two tracks before the closing song. People made quite a few comments asking why we did things that way. We have never really been strong on how a record should be laid out. We always talk about it but how do you figure out an exact formula?
JH: Ending with a song like that is sort of a typical thing in our genre. We really liked that song and I felt starting the album off very high energy and ending very relaxed was a cool thing.

AL: What do you feel makes Lions Lions stand out from other in the same genre?
JH: I feel as though the stuff we play is sort of throwback and nostalgic to the early 2000’s Victory Records type stuff. That’s the stuff we like a lot. I guess our take is sort of a newer version of what that stuff was. I guess we are sort of old in that sense. Those were the glory days for us that have just withered away.

AL: What are the bands plans for the rest of the year?
JH: We have most of July off and have actually started writing our next full-length album. We are going to relax for a little while until our next tour starts in August. We will be playing with Day Trader, Such Gold and Silverstein.
JK: We want to be out there touring.

CD Review: Lions Lions “To Carve Our Names”

Lions Lions
“To Carve Our Names”
Hollywood Waste Records
Producer: Shep Goodman and Aaron Accetta
Tracks: 11

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“To Carve Our Names” is the latest release from the post-hardcore band Lions Lions. The album is being released via Hollywood Waste Records and features 11 tracks that were produced by Shep Goodman and Aaron Accetta. Lions Lions consists of Joshua Herzer- Vocals, Brandon Davis- Guitar, Jon Kay- Bass/Vocals and Isaac Vigil- Guitar. Together the band puts forth their own blend of melodic infused hardcore which I felt had a really upbeat feel.

The albums opening track “Milestones” set the stage perfectly for what was to come with the following 10 tracks. Tracks such as “Grounded” with its anthem like choruses and the acoustic filled “Our Colors” were personal stand outs for me as I really couldn’t find a bad song on the album. The album features a straight forward production which is something I like to hear when listing to an album in the genre. I would have liked the album to have ended on a more powerful track as I feel the difference between a good album and a great album is a solid finish that leaves the listener wanting more.

Fans of bands like A Day to Remember and Silverstein will surely want to pick up a copy of “To Carve Our Names”. The band will also be out on tour this summer in support of the album so be sure to be watching for dates in your area.

Track Listing:
1.) Milestones
2.) The Undertow
3.) Stable as Stone
4.) White Flag
5.) The Right Steps
6.) Carry On
7.) Losing Balance
8.) Grounded
9.) Rescue
10.) Letting Go
11.) Our Colors