A few weeks ago, I received an online advance of The Ghost Inside’s Epitaph debut Get What You Give. I wasn’t able to spend much time with it as I was out of town, but I could tell from my few listens that this album was gonna be a jam and a half. Then early last week, I received a physical advance of the record and I immediately ripped the seal on it to play it in my car and really dive into it. Let me say this: if you were a fan of Returners and you were a bit wary of first single “Outlive,” don’t worry – Get What You Give shreds. Personally, I thought “Outlive” was a barnburner of a song and it fits in perfectly with what TGI is trying to accomplish on this album. It’s produced by A Day To Remember’s Jeremy McKinnon, but don’t let that scare you. He does a great job of maintaining TGI’s signature sound while sprinkling some nice melodies throughout (“Engine 45” and “Dark Horse” come to mind, with the latter having the perfect balance between sing-along catchiness and dick-ripping brutality). This album keeps up the intensity throughout - “Thirty Three” and “Face Value” are certain to be some of the heaviest songs of 2012. Overall, The Ghost Inside’s Get What You Give is the kind of hardcore album that requires you to bust out your mesh basketball shorts and bring the mosh – regardless of where you are.
When I got the news alert that Beastie Boys' co-founder Adam "MCA" Yauch had lost his battle with cancer, I didn't know how to immediately react. While he was diagnosed with cancer over 3 years ago, I always believed that Yauch would beat it. I soon realized that we'd lost a true pioneer, innovator, and legend not only in the hip-hop world but in all of music. I never met the man, but I'd be lying to you if I didn't say that his group, NYC's Beastie Boys, didn't impact my life. It was 1998's Hello Nasty that helped an awkward middle school Drew find some inner confidence and the ability to laugh at one's self. That album begun the obsession, as I delved into their back catalog and made immediate connections to such classics as Licensed to Ill and Paul's Boutique. Those album had a certain danger to them, an immediate swagger that I found so appealing as I went into my high school years. I felt like I was progressing as a person at the same time that MCA, Mike D, and Ad-Rock were growing as musicians as well as people. It was a long six years between Hello Nasty and the release of their classic To The 5 Boroughs, which presented the Beastie's as hip-hop's elder statesmen. MCA's deep raspy flow was as good as ever, as the trio balanced their witty lyrics with pointed commentary on the current situations in our country.
There was no doubt that Yauch was the most talented member of the group. Mike D and Ad-Rock played off his raspy rhymes perfectly, as he set both emcees up perfectly. He never took the spotlight of the group however, focusing his efforts on film, directing, and humanitarian efforts with the Tibet Freedom Program as well as other post-9/11 efforts in NYC. His film production and distribution company Oscilloscope Laboratories has become a major player in the independent film scene, distributing acclaimed films such as Oren Moverman's The Messenger, Kelly Reichardt's Wendy and Lucy, Banksy's Exit Through The Gift Shop, and many others. Yauch wanted to entertain but also educate. The man who once fought for our rights to party had dedicated part of his life to fight for the rights to speak out and have the same civil rights as every one else. Rest in peace MCA and thank you for impacting the lives of people everywhere, no matter how big or small.
This is probably my favorite record in my collection right now. Beautiful tri-fold packaging and full size liner notes. Not to mention the two 12 inch records are 180 gram resulting in a clean, crisp sound. Highly recommended.
I was sent a little 4 track preview of The All-American Rejects upcoming album Kids in the Street, and I must say I'm impressed with what I've heard so far. I have never been the biggest AAR fan. I enjoyed a few cuts off their first two albums, but their last album was a disaster to me. So I was a little wary going into my first listen, but after a few listens, I can safely say these songs are some of my best AAR songs I've heard and I think the album will appeal to fans of late 90s/early 00s pop rock.
The first song I listened to was the one the band premiered a few weeks ago: opening track "Someday's Gone." Really enjoyed Tyson Ritter's vocals on this and liked the energy behind it, as it reminded me a bit of Green Album era Weezer. The title track is a mid-tempo jam that flows in the vein of The Killers circa Day and Age, as eerie synth and keys add some texture to the track. Sounds like something that would be the soundtrack to a group of friends road tripping through a dry valley.
The final two songs that were sent to me are the two that impressed me the most. "Bleed Into Your Mind" starts out scarcely with a lot of cool/weird noises happening in the background. It really highlights Ritter's vocals as his voice gradually rises throughout the track. It's definitely one of the weirder AAR tracks in recent memory but it sounds great and they pull it off well. But my favorite of the batch is the five minute "Gonzo." It's another track that begins quietly with a lightly strummed guitar line and drum beat. Ritter's breathy vocals are urgent ("it's better this way/it's better this way/gambling with life/it was our turn to play"). I can see a lot of people enjoying this song, whether they're AAR fans or not. It's very cool and it's another example of the band pushing their boundaries instead of just settling for another top 40 hit and remaking "Give You Hell."
Even though I've only heard 4 of the (I believe) 13 tracks of the album (I hear great things about "The Beekeeper's Daughter"), I think it has the potential to be the best AAR album to date. Our mysterious leader Jason Tate has heard the entire thing and he has stated that it is their best work, so that should make a lot of people excited. I'll say this, if you gave up on the band like I did because of their last album, you need to give this album a shot when it releases. I think a lot of people will be surprised by this release. I know I was.
We'll all look the same someday and even now the robot starts to think. I wonder what it dreams
Thursday was much more than just a band to me. They were my friend through the speakers, their music was the one confidant I could always trust. High school is never easy for anyone. There was plenty of bad moments for me in high school. Like everyone else I had my ups and downs and, also like everyone else, was looking to something to relate to, something to identify with it, something to celebrate. I found that something one afternoon after coming home from school. As a 15 year old, I didn't feel much responsibility to anything, so instead of beginning homework, I turned on MuchMusic (what many of you know today as Fuse) and was zoning out to a pathetic stream of music videos. I was about to turn off the TV when I heard that drum intro. You know what I'm talking about. The urgent beginning to a song called "Understanding (In A Car Crash)" by this band named after the fifth day of the week immediately caught my attention. The screams, the passion, the crude chaotic nature of the music video, it was all there and I was hooked. After the song I immediately dialed up my AOL internet to find out more. They were on this small label called Victory and their new album had come out in October. Being 15, I couldn't drive yet but I had my temp license so I waited for my mother to come home from school and then begged her to let me drive to Best Buy to get this Full Collapse. She relented and an hour later I had the album in my hands. Little did I know that this would be the album to change my life. Needless to say, it was the only album I listened to for the rest of 2001 and early 2002 (before a band named Taking Back Sunday released their debut, if it wasn't for Thursday, I would probably have not discovered that band that early). Everything about Full Collapse is fantastic. It's heavy, it's dark, the lyrics and vocals were impactful, it had everything you wanted in a post-hardcore album. Because of this album I met my two best friends in high school because they noticed a crudely drawn dove logo that I drew on my backpack with a magic marker. My musical palate is what it is today because of Full Collapse.
since I replaced the I in live with an O, I can't remember who you are...
My friends and I were ecstatic when we heard the news that Thursday would be releasing their new album War All Time Time on a major label in the fall of 2003. We loved the eerie video and tone of Signals Over The Air and were anxiously counting down the days till we would drive to the record store to pick it up. Little did we know at the time the hell Island and Victory put Thursday through during the process, but at the time we were stoked when they debut in the top 10 on the Billboard. "It was about time other people recognized their greatness" we told ourselves and others. We never cared if Thursday was our little band, we wanted everyone to be affected and touched by their music. Indeed, a mini moshpit starting in my friend's Dodge Neon when the opening of "For The Workplace, Drowning" came pouring out of his crappy speakers. It was a moment of pure bliss and I'll never forget that feeling of the pre-download days of going to the store and ripping the plastic off to hear your favorite band's album.
There is blood on the tracks tonight and rust inside our veins. Will it ache every time I hear the storm running behind me?
Two Thursday albums were released while I was in college. I was changing as a person and learning new things about myself and what I believed and so on. Typical college kid stuff. This time would also deliver some endings and new beginnings for my favorite band. In 2005, they released their final record for Island, the atmospheric A City By The Light Divided, which was the first indication of the tonal shift in Thursday's music. While there was still some classic Thursday ("At This Velocity" and "We Will Overcome" two of the better examples), the band started to experiment a bit more with their sound by including some interesting post-rock work that mirrored The Appleseed Cast. It was polarizing at first, but I grew to love it over time. The album underperformed compared to the sales of their previous albums, but I never loved the band more as I appreciated them growing as musicians and pushing their boundaries. They'd leave Island and eventually signed to punk powerhouse Epitaph Records, which re-invigorated a lot of fans knowing that the band would finally have the label support they always wanted. What emerged was their most underrated album to date.
First we're cut from the cloth in perfect shapes. Then we're tied in a knot and we're left to fray
Thursday's Epitaph debut Common Existence released during the final stages of my college career. Released in the dead of February, it was a perfect album for the cold darkness that was settling outside. If A City By The Light Divided was about rediscovery (as I was finding myself at the time), then Common Existence was the band maturing in their music, as my friends and I were on the verge of graduation. This album harkened back to their older albums, as it was a bit more brash than its predecessor. It still maintained the moodiness that was introduced on A City By The Light Divided, but it was a bit more refined. On “Resuscitation of a Dead Man,” vocalist Geoff Rickly sings, “Can you feel a pulse?/It’s been stopped for so long./Let’s restart it!” And that's what it felt like on this album, that Thursday had finally found their true sound and were progressing towards something spectacular.
A mere 7 months ago I wrote this about their latest (and ultimately final) album No Devolución:
I'd been listening to Thursday for over 10 years now, I feel like I'd grown up with them and matured with them at the same time, and this album was no exception. In fact, I'd go on to say how this is Thursday's best release ever, as they took numerous chances and dared to push their boundaries. This album is incredibly deep, textured, and moving - from the gentle haunt of "No Answers" to the triumphant battle cry of album closer Stay True, this album is the culmination of an illustrious career of a band who never coasted, never took the easy road, and always challenged themselves and their fans. I wouldn't have wanted to go out with any other release, as this is the closest we'll get to a flawless Thursday record. What started as something I shared with others (Full Collapse) ended as something that felt personal to me and only me (No Devolución).
12:03. Our last goodbye
And so this day will be remembered as one of the most bittersweet of my life. While I am incredibly sad that Thursday is no longer, I am thankful and grateful to Geoff Rickley, Tom Keeley, Tim Payne, Steve Pedulla, Tucker Rule, and Andrew Everding for always being there for me, for challenging me, for inspiring me, and giving me the best music someone could ever ask for. I'm thankful that Thursday has left me 8 great releases (the six albums, Five Stories Falling, and the 2007 retrospective), as they are something I'll always cherish and hold in high regard, passing down to younger music fans for years to come. What began in basements and VFW halls turned into something much bigger, inspiring countless bands and even more fans. I know Thursday said thank you to us today in their statement, but I wanted to write something to show my appreciation and thanks for them. Their music is the reason I have this passion for other music and why I write. Thank you for changing a 15 year old kid's life and sticking with him throughout his young adult life. There will never be another Thursday and nothing will ever replace them for me. Thank you from the depths of my heart.
Some things run deeper than blood. No answers. No answers when you're not around.
That was my first reaction after hearing the first 45 seconds or so to opening track "Acid Rain." Immediately I could tell This Is Hell had created something special in their genre, and one of the best albums in 2011. You can hear it in Travis Reilly's unforgiving screams or Rick Jimenez's outstanding guitarwork. This isn't your typical hardcore release, this is straight up thrash metal and it will destroy you. From the pulverization of the title track to the insane "Mi Nombre," Black Mass shows off a lot of different styles. No riff sounds the same, Reilly has expanded his vocal range, and each track has something unique to it.
Everyone loves to complain how viral marketing is dumb and that the product never lives up to the hype. Well this time they are wrong, This Is Hell has made an album that will exceed your expectations and then punch you in the nose. All rise for the Black Mass.
I've been checking out that Burning House website (where people submit photos of what they'd take with them if their house was burning down) and it got me thinking about what albums I'd take with me. Here are those albums.
(from top to bottom)
Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Death Cab For Cutie - Transatlanticism
Deftones - White Pony
The Hold Stead - Boys and Girls in America
Garden State - Music From The Motion Picture
The National - High Violet
Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
The Postal Service - Give Up
Saves The Day - Stay What You Are
Brand New - Your Favorite Weapon
Taking Back Sunday - Tell All Your Friends
Thursday - Full Collapse
Tegan and Sara - The Con
The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Underoath - Lost in the Sound of Separation
Every Time I Die - Hot Damn!
Sigur Ros - Takk...
Thrice - Vheissu
Bon Iver - Bon Iver, Bon Iver
The only guidelines I set for myself was that I could only choose one album from a band's discography and to keep it around 20 albums. I feel like out of the albums I own (granted I had 300 albums stolen from me when I was 18), these were the ones that best described the person I am today. It was tough to just narrow it down to this many albums. So I pose the question to you: what albums can you not live without?
okay take the albums from this list:
Thursday - No Devolución
Eisley - The Valley
SIMS - Bad Time Zoo
Adele - 21
Defeater - Empty Days and Sleepless Nights
Title Fight - Shed
James Blake - James Blake
Childish Cambino - EP
Mansions - Dig Up The Dead
Maritime - Human Hearts
Moving Mountains - Waves
Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math
The Antlers - Burst Apart
Bon Iver - Bon Iver, Bon Iver
City & Colour - Little Hell
Touché Amoré - Parting The Sea Between Brightness and Me
Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
The Dangerous Summer - War Paint
Washed Out - Within and Without
Theophilus London - Timez Are Weird These Days
The Swellers - Good For Me
The Wonder Years - Suburbia I've Given You All And Now I'm Nothing
August Burns Red - Leveler
Active Child - You Are All I See
Stray From The Path - Rising Sun
Beirut - The Rip Tide
Thrice - Major/Minor
The Horrible Crowes - Elsie
Deas Vail - Deas Vail
Jack's Mannequin - People and Things
New Found Glory - Radiosurgery
Into It. Over It. - Proper
The Devil Wears Prada - Dead Throne
M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
Owen - Ghost Town
Kevin Devine - Between The Concrete and Clouds
Saves The Day - Daybreak
not to mention upcoming releases from St. Vincent, Mastodon, This Is Hell, Childish Gambino, Drake, Astronautalis, Polar Bear Club, La Dispute, Feist, Transit, Florence and The Machine, and blink-182.
now take all those albums and try to make a top 10 list. Hell, try to make a top 15 list! It will be impossible to do so this year. I already know what my AOTY is, but following that will be hard. Here's to future migraines.
recent breakups and band drama (The Graduate, Alexisonfire, Set Your Goals)
new August album discussions (Hawthorne Heights and Butch Walker)
short fall preview (New Found Glory, Say Anything, Thrice)
what's new in the news
It's kinda cool that the artwork to People and Things is a pretty good representation of the album's sound. The vintage look of the art is exactly what this album is: a pop throwback. A lot of Americana/Petty influence fused into Andrew's wonderful storytelling and pop sensibilities - with tracks "Hey Hey Hey" and "People, Running" being prime examples. The music here is very layered and thick, some nice dark melodies. "Television" may end up as one of my favorite Andrew songs, and "Hostage" and "Platform Fire" are fantastic slices of piano-pop. Everything gets stripped down in the delicate "Restless Dreams," which is just Andrew, an acoustic guitar, and some well-placed strings near the end. The album closes perfectly with the uplifting "Casting Dreams."
What's so great about Andrew McMahon is that he never writes the same record. This record is a complete 180 from his debut, and it takes the skeleton of The Glass Passenger and fleshes it out completely on People and Things. If you're expecting another Everything in Transit, I'm sorry, you'll be greatly disappointed. But if you've been enjoying the progression Andrew has been making as a musician, then you'll appreciate this record so much. Pop doesn't get much better than this.
just a heads up, for now on until the new site, I'm only going to be scoring my reviews in .5 increments and not pay any attention to the categories. So if I give an album a 7.5, then it'll get a 7.5 for all categories (vocals, production, etc). It's like splitting hairs trying to rate each category into something you want that represents the actual score, so I figured this would be easier.
this weekend I'll be posting reviews for:
There For Tomorrow
and maybe Bomb The Music Industry!