I've started a blog entitled "Four Chords & Seven Years Ago." While the name may seem cheesy, the intent is anything but that. What I hope to accomplish is to open your ears (and mine) to something that you may not have heard before in hopes that it will drive you to explore music. I'll be grabbing people within the industry to contribute weekly. Head to the replies to read the first installment, which is an introduction to the feature and I talk about Down To Earth Approach.
“Well, I've been listening to my gut since I was 14 years old, and frankly speaking, I've come to the conclusion that my guts have shit for brains.”
If your first instinct is that this came from your new favorite Tumblr-core hype band, I want to hit you over the head with a baseball bat. I’m (slightly) kidding of course, but hopefully I have your attention. It’s from the fantastic film High Fidelity, and if you haven’t seen it yet, I highly advise you do. Right away.
If you don't recognize that quote, perhaps I’ve already proven my point. Prior to writing this introductory entry to “Four Chords & Seven Years Ago,” I was really torn about how to introduce this new editorial to the site. While the name may be cheesy, the intent is anything but that. As a teenager, I was a young, hungry, and impressionable music consumer (I still am), and I was constantly searching for new music to listen to. Perhaps at the tender age of 23 I sound jaded, but I observe a general disinterest among the new generation of music listeners to scratch beneath the surface and search for the inspirations of their current favorite acts. For example, someone that is fan of The Wonder Years might find an appreciation for The Get Up Kids, as Soupy and The Get Up Kids singer/lyricist Matt Pryor exhibit a similar heart on your sleeve writing style that unmistakably and individually define them.
During my middle and high school years, I turned to various outlets, publications, and recommendations including MTV, FUSE, AP.net, my friends’ blogs and music players, Purevolume, MySpace, etc. This lead me to stumbling across a wide array of popular bands that ranged from blink-182, Simple Plan, UnderOATH, Thursday, and many others. As these mediums now continue to evolve, we have an unlimited access to music through YouTube, Spotify, Rdio, Pandora, iTunes Radio, and any other digital streaming and hosting service out there.
As I got older, I began to delve deeper into the music I fell in love with. I feel like every day I learn about a new band or a different influence behind an artist that I connect to. It created a better appreciation for what my favorite performers were doing. Their writing styles, melody structures, the nods to the past, there was someone that had to have paved the way for what I was currently listening to. It didn’t always click for me, but at times I found myself latching onto an artist I would’ve detested had I not been previously exposed to listening to a relevant artist.
“Four Chords & Seven Years Ago” will not be a fire & brimstone lecture of “you kids have terrible taste.” Quite frankly, that idea is uttered among every generation and I find that notion to be nonsense. Tastes are completely subjective and I’ll almost never tell someone they’re wrong for liking a certain artist. What I hope to accomplish is to open your ears (and mine) to something that you may not have heard before in hopes that it will drive you to explore deeper down the rabbit hole that is…music. In addition, I’ll be calling upon others to weigh in with an artist from generations past that expanded their listening perspective.
So, let’s get started. The inaugural band to be featured is Down To Earth Approach. I first heard of DTEA through the Vans Warped Tour 2004 Compilation Disc which featured the single “Exhibit Of The Year.” At the time my musical rotation included New Found Glory, blink-182, Simple Plan, and other heavy hitters, but these bands were a steady diet of fast-paced, pop-oriented tracks. This is one of the first times I had heard something melodic with an emo twist that wasn’t a slick pop song. There was something raw and rough while still maintaining a catchy core. I wanted more and the band’s first full-length, Another Intervention, provided just that.
It’s not as if DTEA was a garage band that stumbled onto the scene. The band was signed to Vagrant Records, who was one of the hottest independent labels out there. With a venerable “who’s-who” of giants including Rocket From The Crypt, Saves The Day, Senses Fail, The Get Up Kids, and Dashboard Confessional, along with a crop of newcomers that included Emanuel (who we’ll hear about in a later installment) and City And Colour, Down To Earth Approach was on the fast track to success. Touring with the likes of Circa Survive, Say Anything, Saves The Day, and Moneen, the band was receiving the attention and development it deserved.
Shortly after the release of their second record, Come Back To You, the band decided to call it quits. Although they had a short career, Down To Earth Approach holds a special and nostalgic place in my music library. For me, Down To Earth Approach was a gateway band. This opened my eyes and ears to other emo-rock acts of the mid-2000s like The Early November and Hot Rod Circuit among others. Even listening now, I can hear huge similarities to bands like The Get Up Kids and Superchunk. Another Intervention allowed me to delve into a grittier, more emo and rock sound versus the polished and produced records I was used to.
To the members of Down To Earth Approach - thank you. Although I never got to see you play live, your music has left a permanent impact on my tastes.
To those that decided to read this to the end - thank you. I hope this is the first installment of many that will talk about artists that need to be heard.
Cool feature. Always thought that DTEA was one of those bands that disappeared before they could fully realize their potential. I know I saw them play once but I can't remember what tour it was on. Houston Calls maybe?
Definitely one of those bands that way too many people unfortunately aren't familiar with.
These guys are from my town. I've seen them countless times in Batavia, anyone on here know of Main Street Coffee? Come Back To You was such an incredible maturation of sound for them, its still one of my favorite discs. I would always play it when I would get into Batavia off of 90 coming home for a break from college. This band will always be important to me (their posters and lyrics still hang up in my room).
I found this band in 2006 and my brother was like "You like this band? I heard them on a comp 2 years ago." ha ha. They were one of the first bands that got the ball rolling with me. I still listen to them time to time even though I'm not really a fan of this type of music anymore, nostalgia aside they still hold up well in my book. I wish they wouldn't of ended so soon.