Jake from Ellington let me hear five rough mixes from the band's upcoming full-length and it's good stuff. Normally, this is the sort of pop music that isn't typically my forte -- but it's undeniably invigorating and vibrant.
Let me just say that with all this crap in regards to Runner Runner... take a lesson, guys. This is how you make exuberant pop music laced with synth and big guitars about girls and parties. Believe it or not, you can actually mention that shit and not sound like you're talking to 15 year old females.
If All Time Low and Hellogoodbye were super awesome, this would be their baby. All Time Low's knack for hooks, Copeland's vocals, Hellogoodbye's sound, Dashboard's maturity and maybe a touch of Cartel for good measure. That's what it all sounds like, if it were blenderized.
Much like Mercy Mercedes' record, it's a mammoth pop album drenched with melody -- no rough edges, no aggression (some mild 'tude here and there): just big hooks, barrels of fun and tight production. (Matt Malpass = genius) The keys really lift the record, and the harmonies are outstanding.
Just keep your ears peeled. If you like melodic pop-rock that emphasizes the pop in a good and meaningful way, with a real mature attitude that J-14 will probably gloss over.
Don't worry -- from what I've heard so far, no autotune overload or anything like that. I think people should dig this though -- not as soft or flighty as their last two EPs. Much poppier and zestier; it's like Chex Party Mix on tape!
Too much good music coming my way lately. Off With Their Heads hasn't left my ears all day. It is precisely the sort of record I have needed over the past few days. Love the lyrics and melodies. If Face to Face's Trever Keith fronted a melodic hardcore band... this is what it would sound like.
I also have to hand it to Steel Train for becoming a new obsession, as well. Mark my words: it's 2010's Dog Problems. The sort of jubilant pop music that you don't need to feel guilty for enjoying. Definitely a classic blend of what has made good pop music so timeless.
House of Heroes has impressed me, too. It doesn't top their last album, but when it comes to making strong alternative pop-rock tracks, these dudes know what's up. Reminds me of Switchfoot, Jimmy Eat World and Acceptance. A bit uneven in spots, in terms of what kind of album it wants to be. Still, you won't get a majority of it out of your head. The last song is a tad too preachy for my sake, but I'm just going to go ahead and interpret the "constant in my life" being a song about Desmond Hume.
You know what band is as rad as popsicles? Authority Zero. I'm a pretty simple guy when it comes to the punk rock music I like, and this is something that is going to be a blast to play loud during summer. Cannot wait to cruise around Seattle with Stories of Survival on the stereo.
And if you need more reasons to enjoy old-school pop punk... give the Dopamines a listen. Hooks are so catchy, my ears need a condom.
Frankly, I have way too much music coming my way. My seven picks for the Absolute 100 (coming this August!) were incredibly tough to widdle down. Somehow I did it, and I keep finding music I want to include.
Don't let my cool bragging fool you. It's a tough life I lead.
Not exactly sure how I feel about myself or my listening habits at the moment.
I am currently giving Mercy Mercedes' new record, Believe It, a spin and while it's catchier than whatever sexual transmitted disease you can find... it's also very synth-heavy. And frankly, my ears AREN'T USED TO THAT!
Now, I don't necessarily have a set bias against synth-heavy music (hey, I like my fair share of '80's pop), however in this day & age, it's just not usually my thing. It reminds me a bit too much of Owl City and bullshit like that. Hell, I can't be expected to keep all these keyboard-happy bands apart. As far as I'm concerned, a majority of what I spy on It-Leaked is perpetually stunted-growth pop music.
Mercy Mercedes' last EP was not something I enjoyed. Don't really remember any specifics, I just recall turning that one off after one casual listen. This new album is best described as (and I am stealing this from Joe DeAndrea) "Cartel with synthesizers." I swear, Will Pugh has to be singing on here somewhere.
You take that whole synth thing off the album? No question that any pop-punk fan would eat this up like . The middle of this record is very heavy on using said keyboard instrument and I'm just not sure how I feel about it yet. Thankfully, the band dropped the neon imagery get-up, and after comparison, a few of the older songs re-recorded here sound infinitely better (in case you wanna know, two of the EP's tracks were re-recorded for the disc).
Yeah, this is kind of a stupid post/point to make, but this is sort of a big deal to me. I don't find myself listening to music this unabashedly poppy, yet so goddamn catchy, from a band I previously dismissed. Apologies for being redundant, but I simply feel kind of weird listening to. Probably because I'm so punk, bro.
Now back to my regularly scheduled Crossfade addiction.
If you like sports and want to hear me write something that isn't about music, I have a new blog that you can follow along with/bookmark/look at when you're bored or high here.
Simply put, it's one man's opinion on today's biggest sports headlines without chewing the fat. No holds barred, no censors, blah blah blah. It's fucking fun to read, okay? And it won't be all about Seattle sports either. I'll pretty much rant about everything, whenever I want.
Sound cool? Please, read along and join in on the fun. If it sounds lame and you'd much rather pluck the hairs off your ass all day... go ahead and do that. I'm just going to keep doing other stuff.
I tend to update my life more often through 160 characters at a time over long-winded blog posts. So if you love me and I love you (and don't we already?!), follow me so you can hear rude opinions, vulgar insights and shameless self-promotion.
Introduction: As the decade comes to a close, I thought it would be cool to relive the past ten years and discuss my favorite selections from the years 2000 until this very year we are in right this second!
Now, to preface this, these are not my all-time favorite albums or what have you -- these are merely my top picks for "Album of the Year" from 2000 to now. Each week, I will post another year and another album, just to start up a little reminiscing and get some talk going around the water cooler... or Facebook or forums or wherever the hell you talk casually with friends. Or you can just read it and that's it.
First on the list...
2000: Alkaline Trio's Maybe I'll Catch Fire
Some people prefer early Alkaline Trio: dark, gritty, fast and unapologetic. Seriously -- listen to how pure and raw their sound is on those first three records. Not to mention how deeply disturbing and painful Matt Skiba's lyrics are. For what is technically their second release (count the self-titled compilation if you want), Maybe I'll Catch Fire is slowed down but still oozes with some of the best overall work the band has provided in their ten-plus years together.
Read like the best entries from a lost diary, every word Matt Skiba squeezes out articulates his own hostility and sadness, his own distress toward his own self-worth, and every phrase cuts like the dull side of a bloody knife (I'm not nearly as gifted with harsh wordplay, so bear with me). Some songs echo lost romance ("You've Got So Far To Go") and then wish it all away with distinct sentiments of a "go fuck yourself" variety ("Radio"). As a cohesive work, it's honestly one of the smarter punk releases of all-time.
How can you not sit with jaw wide open as you listen to Skiba nearly cry out when he says, "You won't catch me behind the wheel of a Chrysler ever again" on the eulogy "Fuck You Aurora." What's so wonderful about a track like this is it captures all the gut emotion of a tragedy and puts it all into words that are poetic because they don't sound concocted -- they sound instinctive, which is what creates a bare-knuckled approach to early Alkaline Trio material. "She Took Him to the Lake" is a horrific tale of insipid lust and what more can you say about "Radio," a track that literally stands on its own as an anthem of love, hate, murder and misogyny all in four minutes? Jesus, when Skiba rips his vocal chords on the chorus, you actually feel uncomfortable for who he is singing to ("I'VE GOT A BIG FAT FUCKING BONE TO PICK..."). Plus, is there any better opening line than, "Shaking like a dog shitting razorblades"? Deeeee-lish!
The band obviously moved on in a slightly more mainstream sound after their third release, but their obsession with so-called "gothic" themes and lyrics hasn't changed all that much -- it just isn't as grounded or off-the-cuff as it comes across on this record. In ten songs, it hits all the right notes of a darker-themed world than all the pop-punk, nu-metal or boy bands ever achieved when this was released. Edgy, sincere yet still very melodic, it was just different from everything else coming out at the time -- something we hadn't seen since perhaps the late-80's alternative boom.
In a year that saw fine releases from At the Drive-In, The Juliana Theory and (on a lighter note) New Found Glory, Alkaline Trio took all the ingredients of what made those records special, and blended them together for one of the more infinitely honest albums to come out this decade.
Next week: Year 2001! Will it be the high-school anthems of blink-182?! The breakthrough of Jimmy Eat World?! The humble beginnings of some band named Brand New?! The answer might actually surprise you...
I had an awkward moment of staring at someone who I thought I recognized today. Whenever that happens, I always feel like an idiot.
I was in the line at the post office earlier and there was a guy in there who looked exactly like Alex from All Time Low. Given that their tour schedule runs them through this area around today (I checked), it very well could have been him. He gave me a look, but I think it was because I was looking at him like, "Is that the dude from All Time Low in the post office? In Ellensburg?! What the hell..." This isn't exactly a city people just stop by for kicks. If somebody knows him, they should confirm whether or not this happened or my mind is playing tricks on me.
Random, but I kind of wonder if he recognized me because I tend to talk a lot of shit about his band and their friends. I guess I'm a little critical of the band, but hey -- they have a few pretty good guilty pleasure hooks I think are worth jammin'. Nothing personal? Right?
Do all bands, managers and publicists expect every album review to be full of praise and positive marks that label it the "best album of the year"? That's the feeling I get whenever I write a review for any album that's under 80% on the ol' scorecard.
Example: Raditude. The score is hardly a representation of my feelings for Weezer or the album itself. Do people even read anymore? Skimming is all fine and dandy, but don't just glance over it, be shocked by the numerical score and come up with your assessment of what I think.
Each reviewer here spends a lot of time writing these reviews, listening to both good & horrible albums, and hoping to get a fair word out on what their opinion/critique is.
There are certainly exceptions for when a low score matches my sentiment (Bowling for Soup, Plain White T's), but why give an album high marks that doesn't deserve to be called creative, long-lasting or worthy of any true distinguishing high grades? That doesn't necessarily make the album suck, it just isn't on the same plane as album's that spend more time on themselves over making party-rock.
In my eyes, Raditude will be an album I listen to on shuffle ... Thrice will be one I listen to as a whole. See the difference? Doesn't mean I hate the album, it's just not cohesive enough to sit with anyone. Subtle differences that people seem to always fail to recognize when I write. Just... read the damn thing and try to put your own personal bias on the shelf for a few short moments and see where I'm coming from.
I stand by the assertion that the score itself means far less than what I actually write. Hopefully you can think like that from now on, too.
Finished my reviews for Weezer and This Time Next Year. Always hard for me to give Weezer a low score seeing how long I have adored their music, but Raditude is just a "filler" album: it's fun and pleasant but warrants no critical points for doing anything worthy of true merit. This Time Next Year just loses steam over time. I absolutely loved it back in August when I first received it, but as the months go by, there's just much better pop-punk being made. Still enjoy the album, just not as much as I initially did.
Expect reviews for the following this week (and weekend): Nothington (whoo!), The Larry Arms (yeah!), Strung Out (finally!), Dead To Me (meh!), Dashboard Confessional (not sure yet!), We Shot the Moon (not bad!) and Anchor Down (pretty good!) (plus two others from punk bands not many are familiar with outside of, say, Canada).
Excited to pick up the Foo Fighters' deluxe edition of their greatest hits comp. I really just want the DVD that comes with it since I already own all the albums. "Wheels" has become one of my favorite songs of the year. In terms of favorite singles... I think Weezer will win that. I'm still madly in love with "If You're Wondering if I Want You To (I Want You To)." It's fucking addicting as hell.
Gonna be working hard on getting my meathooks on Joey Cape's album here in the coming weeks. That's my goal for the month. Can I do it? Yes. Yes, I can. I am Chris Fallon damn it.
Oh, and in case you were curious... I cannot decide which album I am looking forward to most in 2010: Jimmy Eat World, Butch Walker or The Gaslight Anthem. How in the name of fuck can I choose between those three?! If 2010 is half as good as 2009, I'll be satisfied. My current top 10 for 2009 is almost narrowed down... give me another month. I can't figure out where to put a few selections. I just love some of these albums like they are my children.
Listen to Adam Carolla's podcast. I love that man and his rationale. I'd like to have a beer with him one day. Dan Patrick can come, too. As long as he brings Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison.
Here's to Philadelphia ousting the Yankees (probably won't happen) and to the Seahawks salvaging what's left of that sinking ship season they are struggling in. I miss the Sonics.
It is cold here. I think I should warm myself up with some Curb Your Enthusiasm and a blanket before sleep... or what little of it I get. Goodnight CFaithful.
2009 has been a busy year for my ear canals. How in the blazes am I expected to choose a favorite?! IMPOSSIBLE! My top ten is going to switch hundreds of times before I settle. Lucero may be my top pick, but Thrice and Rx Bandits are hanging in there, too. Propagandhi is still a dark horse contender.
Now that the year is reaching its end, I don't have too many albums left to be excited for. Sure, the Lawrence Arms and NOFX are releasing nifty EPs, but as for full-lengths, there are only a couple more coming out I want to listen to.
Joey Cape (obviously!), Motion City Soundtrack, Dead to Me, Weezer (even though "I'm Your Daddy" is one of the worst songs I've heard from them) and even Dashboard Confessional. I'm not as excited for Say Anything as I would have been four years ago, but I'll admit "Hate Everyone" has grown on me with every listen. The "rapper in the Lexus" part always gets me.
I'll be reviewing Weezer and DC once I hear them. I'm one of the biggest Weezer nerds/defenders in the world, so you'll be getting a very honest opinion from a harsh critic. I think they might be the only band I have every recorded song of... at least I think I do.
Now all I have to do is sort my end-of-the-year list and see what to look forward to in 2010. I think Jimmy Eat World will be topping my "most anticipated" list. Seriously, could they ever do anything wrong?
Not really allowed to say who this is, but this song has been in my head for weeks now. Reminds me of my girlfriend, who has always had this effect on men (including lucky ol' me). I can't transcribe one or two words in the chorus, however, the words are so sweet and simple, I couldn't help but share. When the band or artist in question release said album, I think you'll enjoy it, too.
To know her, is to love her. I'm going undercover to catch a glimpse, but not get caught. But to see her could be worse if I don't get my head straight first. On second thought, I guess I'm not.
She's almost brighter than the sun; seems to me to be unfair, when you consider everyone who pales when they compare. When they compare...
Can't hold a candle to her, 'cause all the moths get in the way. And they'll begin to chew her inside _____ until it frays. She outshines anyone who ever might dare to bask in the same candlelight.
Oh please don't seat us in the back with all the insects and the trash. She is the lady, I'm the tramp. Collecting stares from pairs close by, then flutters in the butterfly. You're just a moth drawn to the lamp.
She's like an ancient artifact, something you're lucky to have found. She'll pinch the nerves in all the necks when she turns those heads around. Those heads around...
Can't hold a candle to her, 'cause all the moths get in the way. And they'll begin to chew her inside _____ until it frays. She outshines anyone who ever might dare to bask in the same candlelight. Who may dare to bask in the same candlelight!
She's almost brighter than the sun; seems to me to be unfair, when you consider everyone who pales when they compare. When they compare...
Can't hold a candle to her, 'cause all the moths get in the way. And they'll begin to chew her inside _____ until it frays. She outshines anyone who ever might dare to bask in the same candlelight. In the same candlelight!
Imagine Dillinger Four getting together with the Ramones to play Kerplunk! with the production style of post-Goddammit Alkaline Trio.
Catchy melodies, definitely hearing classic influences all over this one. However, I really dig it. Fat Wreck scores again. "Write It Down" is my current favorite. Comes out September 1st. Check that shit.
Reminds me of a faster Yellowcard mixed with Midtown, circa Save the World, Lose the Girl. Lots of highly-condensed energy in a short amount of time. Pleasantly surprising and easy to listen to. Should easily please melodic punkers and pop-punkers alike (much like Broadway Calls and The Swellers).
I'm beginning to think the classic style of pop-punk -- the kind we all know and love -- is either coming back around of going through a real hot streak.
Like My Everest on hyperspeed, The Swellers have basically tightened their sound and matured as vocalists & songwriters for their Fueled by Ramen debut. At nearly 40 minutes, you've got some songs that will bring in swarms of new fans ("Fire Away," "Sleeper"), anthems ("Feet First"), some old-school-feelin' pop-punk jams ("Do You Feel Better Yet," "Welcome Back Riders"), speedy skate-punk ("2009," "The Iron") and even a song that approaches six minutes in length! My favorite of the demos I heard early this year, "Sleeper," is even better than I remember, and if "Fire Away" doesn't get them some exposure, it will surely be a crime.
All in all, this album sounds fantastic (more bands need to hire Mark Michalik) and if you enjoyed My Everest... this one will not disappoint.
Yes, I love the new Brand New track. I listened to it a number of times a few days back, and I love how deeply raw & aggressive it is. Like a sequel to "Sowing Season," it contains some memorable lyrics over a flurry of static noise and screams. Love it.