Back when we spoke to Hayley Williams in 2005, we couldn’t possibly imagine the massive scope in which her band’s music now encompasses. It never hurts publicity to be on the soundtrack to a hit cultural phenomenon, and it only bolsters your credibility when your tours and records are both received with much affection. Yet Paramore, and Williams in particular, never seemed to let go of their humble selves- whether it is during MTV interviews, in front of thousands of people, or plastered across the internet- it all comes across with a genuine tether.
The mind of the artist it seems, can be a terrible, terrible place. Both Jesse Lacey and Vin Accardi, primary songwriters for Brand New, and one time artisans of pop-driven punk songs, have reached the proverbial fork in the road where an artist struggles for definition. Their craft has progressed in a forward motion since Your Favorite Weapon, honing their material into some of the best in bitter emotional introspection highlighted by albums (depending on who you ask) described as the genre’s apex (2003’s Deja Entendu in this case). Progression then, was inevitable, 2006’s The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me proved that they could fuse together their painful heart sleeves with more cerebral rock; venturing away from standard chords for more esoteric territory. Yet while they did dispose of the “pop punk” element of their sound, their melodic streak kept intact- and we got songs like “Jesus Christ” and “Archers” and the rather magnificent and provoking “Limousine.”
This brings us to Daisy, a record with distinction of being both beautiful (“At the Bottom”) and a complete directionless mess (“Noro”, “Be Gone”). Perhaps this cloud in which we all reside in has Lacey and Accardi thinking that progression and forward thinking is the only way towards Continue reading
Holy fuck. On the rare occasion an album justifies such colorful adjective, it is fitting that the miscreants involved are the best tongue-in-cheek hardcore outfit around today. Never one to take themselves overly serious, Evergreen Terrace come pummeling through on their fifth studio album with distinction. You see, hardcore faces a lot of critical introspection, with it being such an urgent subgenre, people tend to get angry when you don’t sing about something “important.” So goes Evergreen Terrace, with all their Big Lebowski, Simpsons, Fight Club, and Family Guy references, giving hardcore a less than subtle middle finger without sacrificing the genre’s necessary urgency. A Day To Remember try to do this but sound far too saccharine, and bands like Four Year Strong and Set Your Goals forgo it all completely. So it leaves Evergreen Terrace, who at this point come across like Strung Out on speed. “Almost Home (III)” and “Enemy Sex” is razor sharp; melodic hardcore’s picture perfect amalgam while “Mario Speedwagon” breathes a stellar uniformity between having to be brutal and accessible at the same time (killer ax solo bro).
God forbid a melodic hardcore band write an album with actual melodies. Missteps aside (“We’re Always Losing Blood”), Almost Home is a galvanizing album. And if you spend all your time watching talking cartoon dogs and flamboyant megalomaniacs hellbent on killing their mother, here it is in layman’s terms; this album absolutely smokes, a contender for the genre’s album of the year. “Holy fuck” indeed. (Metal Blade)
Distilling the sometimes wondrous cavalcade of footnotes that most people become in the industry has proven far more difficult than I thought. The endless parade of asskissers, charlatans, and poseurs provide plenty of material, but I’ll start with this one suit I met at last year’s ARIA Awards (the Australian Grammy awards, which in itself, is a whole other ball of wax).
For the most part, my ARIA experience was a fairly amazing one- I for one would have never expected myself to attend such events anytime soon and I was extremely grateful for the opportunity to hobnob with celebrities, fake a red carpet appearance, and generally pretend for a day to be self-important. Anyway, back to the douchebag, I was pre-drinking before the official ceremony began with a few of our artists and a manager who for whatever reason, knows a lot of people in “the biz.” Through him I was introduced to this giant monkey in a suit, someone that absolutely reeked of complete utter toolishness. His $5000 suit looked like a $5 suit and his obnoxious attitude absolutely stunk every time he opened his mouth… you know, just incase everyone he talked to forgot every few seconds that he was a big shot at [MAJOR LABEL]. Other than the giant planet-sized egos waiting to be ushered in to the ceremony, I couldn’t possibly think of anyone I would want to hang out least than this guy. Seriously man, maybe you should get “I’m the shit at [MAJOR LABEL]” tattooed on your shiny bald head…
…and really, it was the way he said it too. That really got to me. If you’re wondering why the major label game sucks so much and why the mainstream music industry is such a giant turd, it’s because of this guy.
We are not often left mesmerized by the sound of an artist dangling closely to such melancholy. Not in this day. Sadness and heartbreak are preludes to sedation, and we often find the closest anesthetic. Yet when Moneen tear at the very fabric of introspection (“Great Escape”, “Redefine”), we are left moved, to the core and with utmost honesty. Like their newly abbreviated song titles, The World I Want to Leave Behind is succinct, compact, and decisively more concise than their previous efforts, distilling the frenetic but sometimes messy energy of The Red Tree. Breaching adult-contemporary (“Believe”), breaking down tempos with glorious acoustic textures (“Waterfalls”), while maintaining the urgency found on their earlier work (“Hold That Sound”) are steps towards greater prosperity; and let those yammering about the lost sound of Are We Really Happy Who With We Are Right Now? and The Theory Of Harmonial Value be the only ones worried about this new found grandeur.
Moneen sound better, their songs more accomplished, and the connection in which their lyrical content finds harmony with their music is something worth lauding. The despair in Bridges’ vocals are comparable to that of the anguish felt in Continue reading
This past Wednesday I went to the local Melbourne studios for Triple J radio (Australia’s national “youth” radio station) with one of our artists and recorded a few songs that included a hip-hop refix of the Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind?” (the Pixies are conveniently touring Australia early next year)
So far the response has been great and we’re yet to hear the backlash of indie snobbery and the usual half-brain anti-Australian hip hop sentiment (for the life of me I will never understand this, but more at a later date).
Here’s the audio stream of the event that included an acoustic rendition of his current single, and of course, the Pixies redux:
Much like the Cobra Starships and the 3OH!3s of the world, Boys Like Girls don’t shy away from the massively accessible and commercially viable dance elements of rock music. While the aforementioned tend to build on a strong dance-influenced foundation, BLG tend to be a rock band with disco swagger and pop gloss. Lead-off single “Love Drunk” is great- like “The Great Escape” and “Hero/Heroine” from their 2006 self-titled album, it’s a great hook, and a nutshell demonstration of their appeal. Songs like “Heart Heart Heartbreak” and “She’s Got a Boyfriend Now” spit the same vibe, and aren’t bad by definition, but it’s what comes after that tends to be bland at best. Taylor Swift tags along in “Two Is Better Than One”, a completely forgettable mid-tempo ballad Disney would have a tough time considering.
The rest of Love Drunk is of the same ilk. Nothing really reaches the same Continue reading