Bad City – Welcome to the Wasteland
Release Date: August 23rd, 2010
Record Label: Atlantic Records
It was February of 2010 when the ultimate musical blue balls occurred. Powerspace decided to call it quits. Even though I was less than impressed with their debut full-length, I still adored their EP, Houston, We Have a Party back in 2006. I rocked it all throughout 8th grade. When I heard new songs that were played live and a change of direction from dance-pop to hard rock for their follow-up, I was eagerly awaiting the new record. Titled American Machine, it became one of my most anticipated albums, even after constant delays. But alas, with the announcement of the break-up, it meant there would be no American Machine. Sad face.
Turns out, Powerspace wouldn't technically go anywhere. Months later, Bad City formed which included all members of Powerspace with the exception of vocalist Alec Cyganowski. It was nice to know that they had a new project going but part of me (okay, all of me) was still bitter that I'd never get to hear the album I waited so anxiously for. This was prior to realizing that Bad City's full-length, Welcome to the Wasteland, essentially WAS American Machine, as this is what it probably would have sounded like. Most of the songs on the album were even written as Powerspace songs. I ended up coming to terms with them breaking up when I finally heard Welcome to the Wasteland. It was clear that ending Powerspace was the best thing they could have done.
Though I was of a fan of Cyganowski's high pitched vocals in Powerspace, it didn't seem like they would have translated well into the material that would become Bad City. Luckily they managed to enlist Thee Armada vocalist Josh Caddy, who ends up complementing Bad City's musicianship relatively well. Guitarist Tom Schleiter is easily one of the most talented in the scene. It was evident on Powerspace's The Kicks of Passion, but Welcome to the Wasteland allows him to truly shine. Some songs even give off a Smashing Pumpkins-esque vibe. A lot of credit however needs to go to producer Johnny K (Plain White T's, Disturbed, Sevendust). His spot on production makes the record sound absolutely massive with every riff and hook. "Showdown in Central Park" opens the album and immediately shows what Bad City is all about - soaring choruses, electrifying melodies, and songs made to blow out the speakers of arenas. Even with the ballad "Fire in the Pouring Rain", no intensity is lost. Welcome to the Wasteland finally reaches its boiling point on "Look Out!", a ferocious number with a hard-hitting hook that's bound to become a fan favorite live.
It becomes more apparent with each listen of just exactly why Bad City exists and Powerspace doesn't. Even though the reason may not be because the two seperate sounds couldn't co-exist under one name, it doesn't erase the fact that, because of Bad City, the slate is clean. They're no longer tied to a name that made music catering to a younger crowd, or a label which had bands that teenage girls wrote creepy fanfiction about. Instead they've crafted an album for all ages - something I can oddly even see my dad rocking out to. Although the Powerspace era may have ended along with my 13 year old self, the Bad City era begins along with my sudden new adulthood. Change isn't a bad thing.
The fact is, Tom Schleiter and Kevin Kane are the only band members remaining from The Kicks of Passion. Adding Jake, Max, and Josh completely changed the sound and the band. Bad City not only has produced the most powerful music I've heard in years, but their live shows are fantastic, and perfectly complement the album! I liked Powerspace, but this isn't Powerspace.
this album is fantastic, and as much as i loved alec and his voice, idk if it would have worked as well for their new sound. i think josh pulls it off better, but i guess we'll never know. i would really like to know what alec is up to these days though.
and lol at the link to my video. i haven't watched that in so long, brings back memories. i fucking loved that tour