Friday, November 27, 2009

Carlisle-This Means Everything To Me

No big explanation today, Carlisle is a band from Florida that plays great Emo/Hardcore with a great sense of melody. I like this band a lot. I hope you do too.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Lync - These Are Not Fall Colors

Sometimes I go on downloading blitzes and some of the albums that sound really interesting get lost in the shuffle of other stuff, and I forget about it. Lync's These Are Not Fall Colors is one of those records. I'm not sure where it came from and I had never heard of the band until a few days ago. Lync was indie rock band from Washington in the early 90's. Super noisy guitars and angular rhythms drew comparisons to bands like Drive Like Jehu and Fugazi, which I would agree with, but Lync also had a great pop sensibility to them. The songs are intense and awash in noise, but under all of it are great hooks. Check it out if you dig 90's emo or grungey indie rock. No essay on this record...sorry (Or you're welcome...not sure)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Life With Out Buildings - Any Other CIty

Life Without Buildings was a band from Glasgow, Scotland that existed for about 3 years in the early 2000's. They played very catchy, poppy post-punk/indie-rock that reminds me of bands like Ghosts & Vodka or American Football (maybe not as technical) but the thing that sets them apart is the vocals. Vocalist Sue Tompkins rambles/shouts/raps over the music, sometimes stuttering on one word for a few bars, sometimes repeating the same line over and over. The lyrics seem very loose and sometimes seem to be almost nonsensical which really integrates them in as a part of the soundscape the band creates. The songs are deceptively simple, and upon first listen may not hook you, but after a few listens I'm definitely digging this record quite a bit. The only issue I have with this record is the song "Sorrow" which sort of floats off into a different direction of the rest of the songs, and really stands out as the weakest track. Check out the Songs "The Leanover" and "Young Offenders", they're both fantastic and will likely be stuck in your head for days.

(PS. I'd love to hear what people think of this, good or bad. It's an interesting record, but one that not everyone will love.)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ettil Vyre/Tipping Canoe - Split

I've found that whenever I try and write a "review" of these records, they come across somewhat corny and don't really give any insight to why I love them so much. So in true form, I'm going to ramble on about some seemingly unrelated situation and hope that it vaguely relates back to this record. Deal? Ok good.

In high school, after "discovering" emo for myself I would scour the internet and message boards trying to to find bands that sort of fit the bill. I would hear about bands like Godspeed You Black Emperor, City of Caterpillar, Saetia, Planesmistakenforstars and others, and they all had this sinister, dark aesthetic going for them and when I heard the music I was always so blown away by how noisy and angry they were. I had always felt the punk rock/radio shit I listened to was somewhat contrived and didn't represent what I wanted in music. Much like the Corta Vita record I wrote about a few days ago, I was drawn to the secretive and dangerous aspect of emo/hardcore. It was incredibly passionate and pissed off, music my Mom would hate. Over the years I sort of lost that feeling when listening to new emo records. It wasn't that the music had lost it's edge, more so that I had grown accustomed to it and it wasn't new to me. I still loved it, but I wanted to have that feeling of discovering some dark, scary secret record again.

That's how this split feels to me. It's noisy, somewhat lo-fi, pissed off and scary (although the cover suggests otherwise)...and I'm in love. Obviously this record has been out for a number of years, and has probably been jammed by hundreds of kids, but to me this was like opening a box from my teenage years and going "WTF! Where did this come from!?". I haven't really felt this way about a record in a while.

Ettil Vyre holds down the melodic side of this split, with tons of slow, meandering parts that explode into vicious heavier parts. The vocals go from spoken word to a very guttural shout that reminds me of Who Calls so Loud or Funeral Diner. In fact the 7 songs that Ettil Vyre offer up definitely have a Bay Area emo sound going on (Portraits of Past, Indian Summer, Funeral Diner, Etc) despite being from Massachusetts. Very intense and noisy, but at times you can pick up on a Sinaloa vibe. (Which makes sense, members went on to form Sinaloa).

Tipping Canoe is actually how I found this record. I had been looking for their stuff based on a Last.Fm recommendation stating Tipping Canoe sounded like Shotmaker. I didn't really get that vibe from them. Shotmaker is very bass heavy and thick sounding, where Tipping Canoe has more of a trebley, tinny sound. Vocally they are reminiscent of City of Caterpillar, with an almost snotty post punk sound to them at times, other times being very vicious and and frantic. I really dig the drums, very punishing and heavy, but slip into almost danceable grooves at times. Neato!

Download!! It's awesome. I highly doubt this is still in print, but I could be wrong.
~AB (Another essay! Sorry. I talk too much)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Heads Kicked Off - S/T 7"

This was a 7" that I randomly bought on tour, and was so glad I did. I don't know much about them other than what's in the liners, and that's not much. Doesn't say where they're from or anything.

But, I bought it anyways, and it's awesome. It's not anything groundbreaking but it's played hard and fast and passionately. Crust/Grind at some of it's finest. The songs are short and abrasive and move between traditional swedish style crust to a slightly more modern grind kinda vibe (more along the lines of Phobia).

This is ripped straight from the 7" so I apologize how it can sometimes sound a bit compressed and not as loud as would normally be desired.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lion of the North/Mans - Split

Lion of the North and Mans are two emo/hardcore bands from Indiana. They represent the new style of emo-skram-hardcore that has been gaining a lot of popularity in the last year or so. This split is pretty fantastic, so I'll try and break it up by band.

I would say Lion of the North is a bit more accessible than Man's. They play a really fast, somewhat chaotic brand of emo that will appeal to hardcore kids and the emo nerds. Lion offers up 2 songs for this split, which is good, because I'm not sure a single song would hold it's weight against the Man's side of the split. Without sounding to down on this band, the songs are very structured and play out as pretty standard screamo songs. Don't get me wrong, they're fantastic songs, and I would have loved to see this band live, I just think the songs would have really stood out with a bit more experimentation. Fans of Loma Prieta, Mihai Edrisch, etc. will dig this band.

The second side is really why I uploaded this split. Mans offers up one track, "Look At What You Did You Little Jerk", and it's become one of my favorite songs in this genre. The vocals are completely frantic, moving between shouts and high pitched screams. Lots of treble and squeally distorted guitars, held together with a grooving bass line and drum-line-esque snare rolls. I'm not too sure what the vocalist is saying in the opening parts of the song, but the lyrics in the final couple minutes of the song are surprisingly upbeat and positive. "Well we are not incomplete. We stand on two legs and won't bury our heads in the sand.....As long as we keep moving forward, we're alive! As long as we keep moving forward, we're alive!". It's in this part of the song that one of the bigger surprises comes....a horn solo (trumpet I think) laid over the screaming and bass. Cool! (PS. Huge props to whoever can name the reference in the song title. HA!)

Anyways, it's a solid offering by 2 bands that sadly broke up too soon. Lion of the North put out The Compass Calls EP and if you dig their songs on this split you'll definitely enjoy that EP. Man's put out a variety of splits and demo's, most of which I'm having trouble tracking down. They have 2 demo's up for download on their Myspace, but I was only able to snag one. It's pretty poor quality, but the songs are decent and the Slint cover is worth having. (I don't think the demo really holds it own against the track on this split though, which is unfortunate)

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Corta Vita - S/T Tape

When I first started going to shows, punk rock seemed like a secret club that I had been let in on....that may seem elitist, but I was a kid who had no knowledge of independent music other than Blink 182's Dude Ranch. I had never been to a concert, and my love of music was solely based around listening to CD's on my walkmen and playing air guitar when no one was looking. Hall shows were a complete culture shock to was gritty and felt dangerous.

Calgary's Corta Vita were a band that definitely added to the mystique of danger I had built up around the punk scene. I had heard rumors of their live show being absolutely destructive and vicious, where no one's personal space was safe and you were likely to get a mic in the face or a headstock in the gut. To be honest, I don't remember the first time I saw Corta Vita or whether I was physically abused at the hands of the band, but I remember really loving what I was hearing. They played a genre of music that at the time I had never heard. It was loud, abrasive and weird, and I would later start to associate it with bands like City of Caterpillar, Shotmaker and Drive Like Jehu. In reality, Corta Vita was probably my first brush with emo music, so I guess I'll be forever indebted to them.

Anyways, I came across this tape rip from a great blog, The Calgary Cassette Preservation Society, who have taken it up on themselves to try and document Calgary's independent music scene's love affair with the cassette tape. (Sorry to the people who run the blog for reposting this link. If you're interested in Calgary punk rock and rock n' roll, check the blog out, it's pretty amazing the amount of stuff on there)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tamiroff - Last Songs

I don't know much about Tamiroff other than they are a band from Rochester, NY and may or may not be active still. They play twinkly emo/indie rock stuff. It somewhat reminds me of bands like Gameface, Promise Ring, Counterfit and to an extent American Football. Somewhat technical, but very melodic and catchy. They also have this cool mid 90's radio rock vibe going on, like Gin Blossoms, although saying that may turn people off a bit. This EP is called "Last Songs" which leads me to believe this band is now defunct. Blood Alley would definitely be the stand out track for me, lots of great noodley guitars and start stop riffs. Groovy.

This record is pretty safe and clean, nothing to groundbreaking or edgy but an enjoyable listen for a lazy sunday afternoon or when you're looking for some good pop rock emo stuff.

(I went back and listened to Gin Blossoms again, and the vocals in Tamiroff definitely have this vibe at times. RAD!)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

MewithoutYou - A to B Life

I had a hard time deciding whether I should upload this record or not. On one hand, it's on a bigger label, something I'll stay away from as much as possible on this blog but on the other hand it is a record that I feel too many people either don't know, or have passed on. (Largely because of the stigma attached to Tooth & Nail Records, a Christian Music Label and MewithoutYou's label). A to B Life is and has been one of my favorite records for the past 5-6 years. I listen to it almost daily.

To simply label MewithoutYou as a Christan band is somewhat shortsighted and unfair. Yes, they are Christians. Yes, they play Christian festivals and are signed to a Christian Label....and yes, they sing about Jesus. But where MewithoutYou distinguish themselves from other Christian music is they are not content with just believing in God and they are not evangelical. They are constantly questioning why they believe, if they should believe and whether they'd be happier not believing.

I've told this story many times, and many people reading this, have likely heard it, so please bear with me. It is part of why I love this band so much, and incredibly important in understanding what kind of band they are and more importantly what kind of lyricist Aaron Weiss is.

MewithoutYou played Harvest Moon, a now defunct Christian Music Festival in Edmonton a few years ago. Normally I wouldn't have gone, but I had to see this band so I braved the Festival. MewithoutYou took the stage, and played through a few songs. I was really impressed at their stage presence, the band tearing apart their instruments at a furious pace, singer Weiss dancing and careening about. In the middle of their set the guitarist experienced Guitar troubles of some sort. (Broken String? Bad Cord? I'm not sure) and Weiss began to address the audience as they rectified the issue. At first it was the usual banter. "How are you guys doing?" "Is everyone having fun?" etc etc. A young kid, maybe 15 years old yelled "Praaaiiise Jesus" from the back. Everyone cheered. It was at this point that Weiss could have acknowledged the comment, reaffirmed their love of Jesus, and quite honestly, he would have won the crowd over completely and probably sold double the merch that night. (Cynical? Maybe.) Instead he challenged the notion of praising Jesus. Here was a man, signed to a Christian label, standing in front of hundreds of rabid, young Christian teens hanging off his every word...and what words come out of his mouth? "Why would I praise Jesus? Jesus ruined my life." A few people clapped, obviously not recognizing what he had just said, a few kids stood there dumbfounded. He continued, "If I didn't believe in Jesus, I could act without consequence. I could act selfishly and drive a nice car and own fancy clothes...but because I believe in Jesus, I am not allowed these simple pleasures". It was at this point that I was dumbfounded. He was telling these kids that he was unable to be happy because of his belief in God, and while I understand he was talking about just trying to be a good person in the eyes of God, it made me realize how complex Weiss was. He easily could have taken the bait that night and no one would have thought less or more of him. I respect him so much for not taking the simple route.

Anyways, that aside, I guess I should talk about the music seeing as that is why people are here. This record is frantic and intense and an absolutely exhausting listen. Weiss rambles and shouts eloquently, moving between screams and whispers as if he's 2 people. The music itself is hard to label, at times touching on emo and hardcore, other times venturing into garage rock territory, and even at times have a quiet shoegaze vibe to them. I hate trying to describe this record...people just need to listen to it. If you like it, please please please look into this band more. Every record they release is completely different and unique, and definitely worth owning.
~AB (Sorry about the essay)

Friday, November 6, 2009

One Last Wish - 1986

Everyone probably knows this band already, and like usual I'm the one late to the party, but if you haven't heard One Last Wish, listen up!

One Last Wish was members of Fugazi, The Faith and Rites of Spring, and obviously sound a lot like Rites of Spring with Guy Picciotto taking up the vocals. It's widely stated that emo bands owe Rites of Spring for helping create the genre but One Last Wish definitely helped bring a lot more melody and pop structure to emo music. The pop influence is evident in songs like My Better Half and This Time, which are bouncy and catchy as hell. The guitar solos in My Better Half even sound vaguely J. Mascis-esque. That isn't to say this record is tame by any means, Picciotto still shrieks and howls over noisy, dissonant guitars, and the bass and drums are still driving but there just seems to be a softer, catchier vibe.

This records was recorded and mixed, but the band broke up before it could come out. At the time, Dischord had begun to get a reputation for releasing a lot of records by defunct bands, so 1986 sat in the vault until 1999 when it was finally given a proper release. Definitely a must for fans of Rites of Spring, Fugazi, and Dischord Records.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Pine - S/T

The Pine was a band from Bakersfield, CA that played melodic indie rock/emo in the same style as bands like Evergreen, The Hated and Mineral. I think what I love about their s/t is the production of it. The guitars are very washed out and noisy, and the drums have a very distinct sound, making the record seem a lot older than it actually is. (Not a bad thing, the drums are actually very reminiscent of Rites of Spring or Moss Icon records).

Now here's the thing with The Pine, the thing that tends to polarize people on this band; the vocals. On first listen, I can almost guarantee you'll hate them. Nasally, whiney, with a bit of a drawl, not unlike Mineral's Chris Simpson or dare I say Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins. If I had one complaint about this band, it would be the vocalist's inability to come up with a variety of vocal patterns, and he has a tendency to slip into the same rhythm for a majority of the songs.That being said, don't write this band off on first listen, because the vocals are just another part of what make this band great. They are painfully honest and vulnerable, and certainly add to the texture of the record.

This album is not for everyone, but if you can get into it, it's definitely worth having, especially if you're a fan of Midwest style emo. The Pine released quite a few records, including an Acoustic CDR, a split with La Quiete and a split with The Saddest Landscape. As far as I can tell, a good majority of their records are out of print, but if you're lucky enough to find them, make sure you pick them up.