Well hello there new song Sufjan! You’re giving us such pleasure. Who needs a proper video, when you can have a great new song and watch the small waves coming in at a stoney shore. This is the Sufjan we all started to love with his first albums. Heartwarming stuff!
Every band should deserve some sort of creative freedom. Every band should be granted the possibility of moving their sound in a different direction. Music is art nevertheless. And it’s an expression of artistic freedom to change the sound. ‘Hyperview’ should not come as a surprise to any fan of Title Fight. But if this is the direction the band is going, then I must admit that it’s not a direction that I will follow.
I feel the most alive when it’s all falling apart
Winter is approaching quite relentlessly these days. And while the days have more or less become nights the city is becoming increasingly bleak. I was talking to a friend the other day and he was saying that winter depression hasn’t hit him yet. For my part, I’m trying to comfort myself at home more than I would during summer. And I’m naturally adjusting my listening habits. Courtesy Drop have just arrived in time for this change! Their new EP Stabilize is just what you will need, when the cold and dark nights are coming your way!
I know that we haven’t talked about pop music in quite a while. I mean, we all do love our indie, punk, noise or whatever influenced bands that play the crappiest venues all to be able to release some tunes recorded in their bedrooms or garages via bandcamp or on small run vinyl. But from time to time there is an urge and a void that can only be filled by massive pop tunes. Tacky hooklines that block your ears for days and nights, one-liners that make you long for a relationship with the girl of your dreams (yes, there are lines in Modern Baseball’s songs or even in Blink 182 songs that will be similar, but let’s face it, it’s just not the same!). And they are mostly graced with audacious production and mostly sung by stunning girls.
It feels like time is flying by. We’re already in the middle of june and all the albums and bands we’d like to write about we can’t write about because we are all caught up in our day-jobs. So this post is paying a tribute to three albums that I’ve been listening to constantly for the last couple of months. I guess it’s fair to say that they all have a similar background but all go their own ways. They’ve nearly all been released this year (sorry Modern Baseball was in October last year) and they are all quality records!
Modern Baseball – You’re Gonna Miss It All
There’s hardly been an album that set me back to my teenage days quite as much as this one. I know, that they’ve been around some time now and the whole college rock, pop punk and emo revival thing have been going strong for a few years now, but Modern Baseball’s new album is part of the cream of the crop! It’s just a couple of awkward dudes singing about love and loss wrapped in sugar coated anthems. I still find myself smiling at various parts during the album or remembering exactly how it was when I found myself in the same situation back then. I never went to college in the US but the video to “My Graduation” is so full of memorable moments of teenage complexity that you can’t help but scream: “Yes, yes, you’re right! That’s exactly how it was!”. Wonderful, just wonderful!
The album is out now via one of our new favorite labels: Run For Cover! You can (and should) pick up your copy here!
The Hotelier – Home, Like Noplace Is There
Not so long ago this band was known under the moniker The Hotel Year. “Home, Like Noplace is There” is their second album and their first on Tiny Engines. Please listen to this one! The opener sets the tone with sweet guitar picking, a roughened voice that reminds me of Jawbreaker and Saves the Day at the same time. Before the feedback guitars turn in the massive chorus of “ohs & ahs” makes for a delightful tension build-up. The four boys from Worcester, Massachusetts have recorded nine brilliant anthems, put them on a record and gave them to everyone who’s looking for loud punk played with a lot of heart. There are quite a few moments that will remind you of Title Fight, but they are less straight forward. There are moments that has nonchalantly borrowed from the early Rise Against, but without the politics. There’s always a great balance between hardcore energy and pop melodies.
For me this has been one of the big surprises in 2014 so far. I haven’t got tired of the songs yet which is always a good sign. And I’m sure I’ll stick to the album for the remainder of the year. Especially with summer in good spirits now, this could be the perfect soundtrack for your trip to the lake, a barbecue or just to making out.
The album is out now via Tiny Engines. You can pick up your copy here.
You Blew It! – Keep Doing What You’re Doing
This was probably the album I struggled most with. Released back in January on indie-favorite Topshelf Records, I needed to digest it for quite some time. I was a massive fan of predecessor “Grow Up, Dude” with it’s fragile structures, dissonant guitars and crackling vocals. The only downside back then was the thin production and the vinyl version – that sounded even thinner as I wrote here.The songs and lyrics though, blew me away. “Keep Doing What You’re Doing” has been quite a step away from the raw qualities of its predecessor. The production is a lot cleaner, the songs a lot less dissonant and raucous. While this was one of the qualities that I loved most, after almost half a year now the album has grown a lot on me. They could potentially take the band to another audience and also remind me of what Jimmy Eat World or Get Up Kids did with their sophomore albums. I can really recommend this album to all fans of good pop tunes with a punk edge. And a quality that hasn’t vanished are the lyrics. My word – I feel like I’m 14 again – or 18! Brilliance!
The album is out via Topshelf Records. You should pick up your copy here!
I spent the summer in Barcelona in a desperate attempt to improve my Spanish. I ended up going out a lot more than I ever did before, I probably drank a lot more than I should have, I didn’t sleep as much as one should have over the course of my time there and I probably improved my English more than my Spanish. But I also met a lot of great people. This trip was the reason for me to go to study in the UK and for why I am where I’m at now.
During one of the days, I was talking to Dan, one of the great people I met, about music. I bought the Killers first record at Fnac and he kept on raving about how good the album was. He then went on and on about this new US band he just saw in Manchester. His eyes were shining so brightly when he recalled it in his memory. He was talking about We Are Scientists.
I never saw myself as an outsider. Even though I grew up in a small town and had a very distinct taste in music, I always had a good bunch of friends. To this day I tend to get along with most people I meet. Maybe this has caused me to have a strange relation to hardcore. From time to time I love to pull out “One with the Underdogs” from the shelf and mosh through my flat. Gorilla Biscuits are obviously as integral to my record collection as “After the Eulogy“. But maybe I’m missing the bad childhood, the growing up in the big city or the fragmentation and isolation at school to fully delve into posi-core or NYC hardcore.
I was far more interested in political hardcore because that is what you are supposed to listen to when you are young and see yourself as a politically interested young kid. Once you get tired of empty slogans and taking yourself and the music scene way too serious, you start looking for something else. That’s when I turned to self-reflective music, Rites of Spring, Poison the Well and the likes. I got what they said and I could connect to them as a kid making the first steps into adulthood.
I think its this past that I get reminded of a lot, when I first listened to La Dispute, Touché Amoré or when I listen to Frameworks now. Loom is a brilliant album and full of all the things I love about hardcore. It’s angry, it’s loud, it’s fast, it has the right amount of breakdowns, it is that tad bit experimental and the space the songs are given only add to the destructive qualities of the songs. The vocals are pissed off and mournful at the same time. The whole production reminds me of late 1990s Florida-New-School (think Morning Again) infused with Bane’s punk attitude and the chaotic structures of Circle Takes the Square.
In the end it’s a modern hardcore album that reminds me a lot of my own past. It is so emotional that at times it’s hard to digest. But it’s moving like only a few others. Maybe it has all the aggression that I’ve been missing in the new La Dispute album without falling into a deafening pit of noise. It’s beautiful like the friend you always loved but never dared to tell. It’s an album to listen with the volume turned to 11!