Being a Weezer fan is difficult. I avoid being the fan that begs for a sequel to Blue or Pinkerton, but with albums like last year's Red, you have to kind of wonder what made Weezer change so much. As for the Raditude clips, I like them. I wish I could love them, but for now, I like them (which is way better than what I could say for Red) Sure, hearing Rivers, in his 40's (?) and with a family, sing about hitting up the clubs ("Can't Stop Partying"? Really now?) is extremely cringeworthy, but it made me realize something about Weezer.
Have Weezer ever truly been loved by their fans at any point?
Sure, Blue Album was a hit, but it came out in the same time as albums like Pearl Jam's Vitalogy and, in general, the tail-end of the grunge era. Basically, they were the oddball nerds that sounded like nobody at the time. Pinkerton was hated from the get-go because, again, they were the oddball nerds that sounded like nobody at the time. From then on, Weezer made albums that showed consistent change from one to the other, whether they impressed fans or not with the new sound. Sure, hearing clips like "Love is the Answer" on this new album could make me lose faith in all music (I just...I...I don't know how to really describe the noises I heard, but they weren't good. At all.), but I can't help but think this clips for this album fit the Weezer mold perfectly. Once you get over the fact that they will never make a Blue 2, it's easy to find that these songs, compared to a lot of bands out today, sound really good for a band that's been at it for 17 years.
If you have the random desire to travel to Massachusetts, you need to stop at the Newbury Comics in Norwood. I've seen one other in-store show there (Therefore I Am) and the store and show were both unbelievable.
I honestly had never really heard Set Your Goals' music before, so I came more for the sake of draining my wallet on music. I ended up buying their new album and really digging their set. They opened with the title track, and the songs I can remember the titles of were "Echoes", "Like You to Me", "Gaia Bleeds", and the album closer, "Our Ethos". The crowd was unbelievably enthusiastic for an instore, which, because there's a ton of merchandise everything that could get easily broken, usually means not a lot of movement. There were the set of ridiculous fans that knew every song by heart and kept trying to run into bookshelves and guards, but I loved the fans making the show just a little more lively and jumping at the band and singing the songs. Therefore I Am, even though they're super-local and get a ton of respect around here, didn't even get this kind of enthusiam. Even though I'm reading a ton of hate on this new album, I'm definitely enjoying it. I hear a lot of New Found Glory and Movielife influence in this and just that good, "old school" pop-punk sound that New Found Glory couldn't recreate on their new album. Absolutely recommend this album and band; I'm probably extremely late on the bandwagon, but they're definitely going to get huge off at least one single from this album.
Fun, but ultimately pointless, story: I had an awful project I had to do earlier in the week for a Religion class. Before I continue, this is not a fun, "question faith and God", kind of Religion class. This is a "let's analyze an out-of-date textbook and read a story from a Chicken Soup for the Soul book as a prayer" kind of class. The project was to use a prayer template and write a conversation-style prayer using the template. Songs were allowed in the project.
Naturally, I enjoyed the thought of blasting Jimmy Eat World or something into the halls of my Catholic school, but my partner thought, to accent the peaceful nature of prayer, to add flute and woodwind music. Considering this to possibly be the final time I could have music in a Religion project, I chucked his idea of meditation music out the window for two songs I thought could fit the deep-thinking mold, but would not include any instrument of or like the flute:
"Where I Want to Be" by The Dangerous Summer
"Bring Back Love (Year 2020)" by Ace Enders and A Million Different People
Both ended up being a huge successes, other than my teacher cutting the Ace song a little towards the end because the presentation was too long. The class wasn't quite as excited as I was with the songs, as it's a Religion class and nothing (I mean NOTHING) could make it very exciting, but I thought it was worth sharing.
Anyone recommend songs I should have played instead though? I added both songs last minute, but if anyone thinks they've got something better (if anyone can relate an AC-DC song into a religious lesson, you'll make my day), leave a comment.
It came in a blaze of glory unseen since before Y2K. The '98 Dodge Neon Sport, shining in its pollen-coated blue exterior and anomalous interiors, which could only be described as the after effects of a confetti monster vomiting all over the seats, rolled to the front of my house. It looked mildly outdated, a little early for the green, eco-friendly craze of cars coming over the the next decade after it. But that made it a cougar (older female on the prowl for young men, not the animal) compared to them, built better and an old friend with the road. The key is put in and begins to purr mildly, the horn a gentle squeaking noise, saying "I may sound weak, but I will pummel every Prius on the road like an entire roller derby team." Her lack of a CD player and lever-operated roll-down windows made the experience seem less enjoyable, but her neon-party interiors suggested otherwise. She was ready to party. She was ready to be my first car.
I named her Bernadette. She just looked like a Bernadette.
This is, so far, one of my favorites this year. It sounds very much like M83's Saturdays = Youth from last year, which was a good album but had a couple of self-indulging, over the top moments that took the 80's theme way too far into weird techno land. This album takes a little Peter Gabriel influence and all the 80's themed instruments and beats you can think of (Phil Collins-esque electronic drums? Check.) and makes a less abstract, yet completely enjoyable, record that sounds authentic enough to be on the soundtrack of every trenchcoat-wearing outcast boy trying to woo a love back by holding a boombox to her window. Favorites thus far are the single, "Wish", "Good Intentions", and "Last Time". Definitely buy this; I might even buy it on vinyl if and when it comes out. This one's gonna be making its home near the top of my AOTY list this year.
Honestly, I really wish I didn't read the review for Reach for the Sun. It's having a Lydia effect on me.
What I mean is when Lydia's Illuminate came out to much acclaim on this site last year, I was excited. The MySpace songs sounded great, so I took a chance and bought the hard copy of it. I listened to the first few tracks and I liked it...then it went downhill. I couldn't help but notice every song sounded way too similar after a while and ruined it for me. It's a decent album, but the acclaim made it sound like it was one of the best albums this decade, which it was far from.
Although Reach for the Sun isn't having quite as catastrophic of an effect on me, I'm really beginning to hear a lack of individuality for each song. The first three songs start out great; catchy emo sounding like Jimmy Eat World circa Clarity/Bleed American with some seriously uplifting lyrics. But after a while (with the exceptions of "Surfaced", "Reach for the Sun", and "Northern Lights"), the album really just keeps sounding like essentially the same song to me. The album as a whole is good for a long bike ride or to get a positive boost from their really-relatable lyrics, but I'm not feeling that 95% rating that the site and users gave. It's way too over the top and, even if it might make my AOTY Top 10 list, it won't be an Album of the Year for me. I'd say this is a solid 84% or so, definitely worth downloading some songs.
In Spring 2010, I plan to put on a show in Massachusetts for the sake of having something interesting go on around my hometown. As of now, the show's obviously in its earliest planning stages and I'm trying to gather how much of a budget is needed to bring 3-4 bands in. If your band is in the MA/RI area, is really good, has merch they want to sell (we want to get the word out on good local and indie bands), and won't be total rockstars and ask for a ton of money to play, please leave a comment or leave me a message at my art blog's MySpace here. If you know of a band who might be in the area next year or is local to Massachusetts or Rhode Island, also leave a comment or message.
I'm really sorry for vagueness on all of this. I am not booking anyone now (although whoever sends anything in will definitely be considered for the show), but that process is down the road and I really need to know prices of bands to get a good idea of how much we'll need to spend. This is open to all bands who can haul themselves to Southern Mass as well (I need to get distance factored in for bands further away)
For the people that still enjoy the idea of owning a physical piece of music rather than a bunch of iTunes files and crap, today was a pretty awesome day. Record Store Day has been something I've been looking forward to for a while, even more so after I unearthed my parents' legendary collection of vinyls last week. I basically jump to any excuse for going to a record store, but there were freebie EPs and compilations all over my local Newbury Comics, making it the equivalent of musical heaven (minus the fact that the Manchester Orchestra free EP was completely gone by the time I got there) I managed to grab a couple albums and EPs:
- Awesome free compilation with Anberlin and Owl City on it
- Fall Out Boy's Take This To Your Grave (never heard it before in my life, bought it on a whim; very good buy on my part, probably the second best FOB album in my book)
- Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (everyone tells me this is one of the best modern records to own on vinyl, will listen later tonight)
- The Gaslight Anthem's Live at Park Ave. EP (it's considered an EP, but it's the size of a 12-inch, so I'll include it here. Great EP, these guys, as always, know what they're doing. Brian's voice sounds as good as the album, glad I got the last copy in the store)
- Blink 182's They Came to Conquer Uranus (got it in see-through blue, pretty funny/awesome EP)
- Kings of Leon's Use Somebody/Knocked Up (Lykke Li Remix) (KOL is always good, but remix got kind of annoying fast, might grow on me, but just seemed weird replacing Caleb's vocals with whoever this Lykke Li chick is)
- Anberlin's Feel Good Drag/Blame Me! Blame Me! (Remix) (probably the worst-sounding single out of all the freebies, sounds like it was ripped from MySpace onto a really bad tape-recorder; the remix of "Blame Me!" is pretty much the same song except shorter. Love you, Anberlin, but this was a disappointment...)
Overall: Great haul today, bought nothing but vinyls. I was almost going to buy the new P.O.S. album on CD, but opted against it for FOB. It's scary how expensive the Radiohead EPs were ($20 for a three song EP; sorry, I like Radiohead, but not that much) and how much Mutemath's was (again, 3 songs, $15. What?!) I think I got a pretty fair deal though on everything, anyone else get anything?
I've seen countless threads blow up with the mention of a certain Brokencyde in the title. People have blogged, commented, and shown all way of voicing their hate for this band, myself included. They truly are a new low in music in which I've never experienced in my lifetime, and yet, a friend or two of mine, plus thousands of scene kids, are in love with this band for "being fun, not serious", as one of my friends worded why she liked them. Several artists have even spoken out against them, and all it seems to do is fuel Brokencyde's act.
How do we make a band like this disappear from the public eye?
Yeah, that's right. Don't post stories on them, don't comment on them, nothing. They're like Mogwais from Gremlins when it comes to fame; the more attention (water) and threads devoted to them (food after midnight) they recieve, they grow into more of a ugly, sinister monster. I would love to see this take effect because, although it won't necessarily make them disappear completely, it will diminish the amount of popularity, good or bad, they recieve. Thoughts on this?
So recently, something has piqued my interest greatly, to the point of digging in the good old world of my attic for hours: vinyl records. I was too young to really have vinyls in my life, so I figured I'd play some catch up now. I learned from Newbury Comics that National Record Store Day is on April 18th, and since my iPod has been on the fritz and I have nothing better to do on vacation, I went into each of the attics in my house (two) and found probably over fifty 12-inch records and probably somewhere between a hundred and two hundred 7-inchs, plus a busted, but extremely fixable and good quality record player. Fortunately, relatives came up and brought with them a working record player and I can listen to the dozens of Fleetwood Mac and Elton John albums my parents once listened to.
First record I put on though: Meat Loaf's Bat Out Of Hell. Go buy this record. Imagine the most zany, grandiose rock opera ever. Multiply by a hundred. That pretty much sums up this album. Then, I put on the classic album for trenchcoat-wearing loners just looking for love and a jukebox to hold up to a girl's window, Peter Gabriel's So. I love this record. "Red Rain", "Sledgehammer", and, of course, "In Your Eyes" are the best. He is so wacky in the way he makes music; there are billions of artists now doing weirder things with music, but I just get the sense he wanted to be and was regarded as a quirky, experimental artist. Definitely deserving of its immortal status as a classic album of the era. After jumping through several singles (A copy of the transmissions from the Moon landing in the 60's, "Dream On" by Aerosmith, and an scratched up, skipping version of "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen), I got to what has been one of my favorite records thus far, Fleetwood Mac's Rumours. There's truly something magical about this record. The cover shows this sense of elegance mixed a sense of humor (what are those bells symbolizing between the guy's legs?) and the album just feels joyful and right. Although it's old enough to include my mother's added touch of writing her (maiden) name on the cover, done to keep her brothers and sister from stealing it (and they would too; gotta love my big, weird family), the pictures inside on the lyrics sheets feel timeless, as if each crazy picture of the band sticking their heads out the window of a car or laughing and playing on stage are of friends and not of the rockstars that Fleetwood Mac truly are. It's weird too how some of the songs are already engrained in my head on first listen, so much so that I could sing them (poorly) aloud word for word. They've become such legends of the FM radio that each time a song of theirs were on a station on any various family road trip and ride to the grocery store of my childhood, they would become secretly engrained in my brain. It's also weird to know that during this record's creation, each member was divorcing or breaking up with someone (most within the band) because it truly is an empowering and almost happy record in a sense. Definitely buy this record. It is so worth it and I guarantee you'll feel a little happier after listening.
Overall, I actually love vinyl. There's something calming about the hiss and crackle as the music begins, almost as if the record's being played next to a fire. It's fragile and somewhat mystical watching the needle fall into the grooves, broadcasting music as it spins. It'll be interesting to buy new records and play them, just to continue something my parents bought when they were my age. If anyone has any suggestions on a record I should buy, definitely put a comment in on it.
Fairly recently, I started logging back into AbsolutePunk after forgetting I had an account for a good year and a half. I honestly don't know why, I just did. As I began digesting all the news and forums again, all the familiar, almost signature people and things that come with being on this site came back to me: people posting catty, sickeningly sarcastic comments towards each other and hopeless bands (paging Metro Station...) who just seem to be unanimously hated and trashed, that guy who has the "Max Bemis smoking" avatar who apparently is some kind of legend, and of course...Brand New. In this giant sea of music snobs, sarcastic know-it-all's, and plain old music lovers, Brand New seems to stand as this Messiah of a band, the perfect mix of "pop-punk" roots with more mature lyrics and creativity than most pop-punk bands out there now and in past decades. Sure, I've seen crazy fanbases, but never have I seen so many influenced by one band.
If you were to ask me if I had heard of Brand New about a year and a half ago, about the same time I started coming on here, I wouldn't have the slightest clue about who they are and what their music sounds like. Truth be told, I couldn't say I really knew them up until very recently. (I promise my long-winded-ness will go somewhere, but for now, bear with me)...
To be specific, I worded my knowledge of Brand New as "heard of them, never heard them", which is a delicate way to say "their name sounds kind of familiar, but I have no clue who these guys are and most likely will never listen to them". I was immediately turned off by how the same people on here who overhyped them were the people trashing other artists and just being plain old dicks because...well...it's the internet and they can say what they want to. Plus, after hearing some songs off The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me on MySpace, I was even more unimpressed: they sounded very unpolished, rough, and just kind of bland (edit: I'll give them some credit, the only song I really like was "Sowing Season"; I download and have listened to it many times and it freaked/freaks me out for some reason, and I love it for that reason) In my own way of being a snob, I labeled them as kind of a scenester band, a band that got hyped by a couple people and snowballed because it was/is cool to like them.
I know, I've basically spent a couple paragraphs poking fun at the mini-society in which I'm posting this blog to, plus I haven't really reached a point. I almost hate saying this because of all the build up of annoyance against them, their music, and/or their fanbase, but I completed my album and got all of Deja Entendu (I had "Quiet Things..." only) and, well...it's pretty good, I guess. Actually, it's really good. It is truly a great album and worthy of the hype. There. Listening to songs like "Sic Transit Gloria", "The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot" and "Guernica" for the first time a couple of weeks ago, it definitely hit me that, yes, this band deserves some recognition for actually messing with the pop-punk formula and writing some good stuff.
But still, I don't get it. They're pretty good, sure, but I really don't understand the ultra-hype around Brand New. They have hit such a nerve on this site that it's almost a requirement as a member on here to worship them. If their name is mentioned in a review or even in a comment, it cause a flood of adulation from not a couple, but most members on the site. The million dollar question here is, they're good, but what caused them to become THIS hyped? Who is Brand New to you?, "you" being a reader basing your judgement solely on your feeling of the band and not what the entire community feels. I feel like I'm missing something here and maybe someone with more knowledge of the band or of AbsolutePunk could fill me in...
Seeing as I usually write a whole paper, including thesis and footnotes, whenever I make a comment on a heated debate on AP.net, I'll blog it this time.
This post is in response to anamericangod's "The Scene is Dead" first of all. If you haven't read it, go here first. Basically, if you're lazy, he just describes the decay that has occurred in music with bands playing without feeling, which, to some extent, is true. He also discusses the effects of MTV and MySpace promoting talentless acts, which again, is kind of true. But I think his last two statements are extremely incorrect:
"The scene is dead.
Long live the scene."
First of all, the term "scene" has been used so incorrectly, I almost don't know what it means anymore. The scene was killed by MTV, the scene is abused by 12 year old girls on hormone-highs, etc. From what I believe, a scene is a group of bands/musicians who play a certain, although not exact, style or genre of music to express how their feelings on love, the world, their jobs, and whatever has meaning to them. A scene is not wearing certain kinds of clothes, denouncing the credibility of any and all bands outside of the general scene of music you prefer, or following ever opinion and political belief the band throws at you. It's a band making noise about everything they believe in and stand for and for an audience to relate to the music in a deeply personal way. I think the problem today, which probably prompts post like what anamericangod made, is that scenes are becoming more like trends and are cast into two types of molds:
1. Bands that play mindless, scattered music (in my eyes, everything from Mindless Self Indulgence to Brokencyde) or bands that play mindless pop/rock (NeverShoutNever! and his five other bands) that get fans just because they're fun to mosh to or have good style, regardless of what the music sounds like.
2. Bands that are trying to revive this boxed-in scene of kids dressing and believing in the same things because it's what they grew up with, thus producing hatred for the 1st kind of scene that I mentioned and everyone that is not part of their scene.
The problem of these scenes are that they're controlled. They've become marketed, with stores like Hot Topic promoting these bands and their scenes. Even this website contains a lot of people who worship bands like Brand New and all simultaneously drool at new bands like Lydia and Bon Iver; meanwhile trashing some bands with humorous, yet vicious, jabs at them. Scenes aren't supposed to be like that. That's what cliques are. In my eyes, a scene should be you and a bunch of friends going to shows that you believe hold meaning to you. No trashing other bands or people because it isn't really worth it. It's about being in a room full of people feeling connected with the same band you are. I believe where anamericangod contradicts himself is when he denounces that, even though there's some good bands out there, there's not enough to revive this grandiose image of a scene. There are plenty of bands out there with talent, and enough to make your own niche/scene. You just have to go past all the MySpace-adored bands and actually LOOK for them. This site is all about promoting fresh music, and it's a fantastic site for that, but you have to honestly search for bands not by how they act/dress or what kind of people like them, but if you like them, their music and if you feel something deep when you listen. Sites like this hinder that slightly when they make a joke of other bands and make almost unacceptable to listen to those bands. That is what's partly killing the scene, a lack of individuality!! It makes no sense to make fun of bands without personality or individuality when we promote these same indie bands over and over on End of the Year Best Of lists and creating a mass group of people who, in turn, lose their opinion and just follow what any Jason Tate or Pitchfork Magazine says is a great band. Go ahead, like Metro Station for all I care; if it has meaning to you, then go for it.
Basically, no long live the scene. I personally hope the scene we've all come to know dies a horribly painful death. It promotes a lack of individuality, therefore breeding kids who make soundalike bands. Don't like a band for being Punk, Pop, Indie, Metal, Christian, or whatever, like them because you feel they're good and relate to you and your life's struggles. I think with the music industry drowning in itself, there isn't a better time to reinvent the scene. Go out, don't listen to whatever angry rant site or magazine tells you to listen to, form a scene of bands that, in your eyes, are great.