Sight & Sound

Revisiting Emo: This Afternoon’s If We Gave Up Now

afterSometime in 2002, I received This Afternoon’s third full length, If We Gave Up Now, from now defunct label Emplane. Revisiting this release some 11 years later, it’s interesting to revisit my initial thoughts on the record when I wrote the review of it (back in 2002).

Here’s how I initially described the band; “mid to late 90s almost Midwestern indie rock influenced punk. There are catchy hooks, heartfelt vocalizations with a distinct mid tempo rock feel. You can compare them to the likes of Texas is the Reason, the Enkindels and maybe some early Elliott.”

It’s a pretty accurate description upon re-listening to the release. I do however, have to note that while I originally said that some of the longer song lengths tend to feel like “four hours of driving through Kansas,” their effect today is a little less draining. Almost as if a four hour drive through Kansas really isn’t that bad. Maybe it’s just the decade in between, but I seem to appreciate the slower build up, the more languid song structures, and the less than urgent demeanor in which the music unfolds- much more than I did back in 2002. Texas is the Reason is probably the closest recognized sound This Afternoon emulates, and while the paced approach to songwriting may not appeal to every post-hardcore enthusiast, If We Gave Up Now may just surprise a few.

It just takes a little time. Have a listen:

“Made By Make Believe”
Made By Make Believe

“Stop-Sign Racing”
Stop Sign Racing

Sight & Sound

Listen to the new Polar Bear Club song “Upstate Mosquito”

Rochester/Syracuse post-hardcore band Polar Bear Club have released the first song from their upcoming new album Death Chorus titled “Upstate Mosquito”.

The album is due November 19th on their freshly signed-to label Rise Records (who have signed almost every band under the sun in the past few years). Death Chorus is the follow up to their 2011 album Crash Battle Guilt Pride.

Are you feeling this new jam? What happened to their vocals? Where’s all the gruff?

Album Reviews, Music

Review: Taking Back Sunday – Taking Back Sunday

There is great cynicism towards Taking Back Sunday– easy targets, drama kings- all are part of the conjecture volleyed towards them in the many years since their breakthrough 2002 album Tell All Your Friends. A band burdened by such weight would normally crumble- and it looked like they did when members Shaun Cooper and John Nolan left just a year later. Yet through the albums that followed, most notably the follow up Where You Want To Be and good portions of their major label debut Louder Now, the band proved every bit capable of turning any/all of the drama into the kind of emotionally histrionic songwriting they’re known for.

That is the crux of Taking Back Sunday– jagged edge rock guitars, post-hardcore sensibilities and that flair for the lyrical dramatics found in etched in your high school notebook over and over again. After seemingly hitting the skids with New Again in 2009, the band’s latest (and first with both Nolan and Cooper back in the lineup) fits somewhere in proximity to Louder Now. Its inexactness comes from much of the songs present as being some of the best material they’ve done since 2002/2004 but with the kind of sonic production that came with Louder Now.

A good many of the songs here rely on soaring choruses (the great single “Faith (When I Let You Down)”), biting dramatics (“Who Are You Anyway”?) and the kind of flair they exhibited in great tracks from their past like “This Photograph If Proof (I Know You Know)”. In fact, much of the album is like one “This Photograph” after another, which in the case of Taking Back Sunday, is a really good thing. Taking Back Sunday strips away the narrow scope of New Again and amplifies the core of what made them who they are into 10 (of the 11) succinct tracks. Only the opening “El Paso” seems like a slight stretch; relying instead on a messy, frenzied palette (look guys, you don’t need to show you “rock hard” at this point).

Sounding like a band truly comfortable in their skin once again, Taking Back Sunday is terrific, proof that growing up musically is terribly overrated. It’s great to hear this band old again. (Warner Bros.)


Silverstein debut new track from Transitions EP

Having recently signed to Hopeless Records, Canadian post-hardcore act Silverstein have now debuted the first new material from their upcoming EP Transitions.

The band spent the majority of their career on Victory Records, releasing four full length albums with the label. They recently announced their split from the label and landed on Hopeless. Their first release will be the Transitions EP, due out digitally tomorrow. A full length is expected some time next year.

You can check out the first sample, the song “Sacrifice”, on their Facebook page.


We Came As Romans “move on and grow” on new video

Post-hardcore act We Came As Romans have debuted the brand new video for the track “To Move On Is To Grow”. The fresh track is expected to feature on a new album, set for release some time next year.

The video was directed by Dan Dobi, who has in the past worked with Paramore, Gym Class Heroes and Set Your Goals. The band will be traveling down to Australia next year as part of the No Sleep Til Festival and have announced a headlining European tour with Miss May I and The Word Alive.


Rival Schools performs new songs for The Fly

Reunited and on the cusp of releasing their new album, post-hardcore group Rival Schools recently performed a few new tracks for British mag The Fly. Performing “69 Guns” and “Shot After Shot”, the band stripped down the tunes to the very basics for these acoustic renditions.

You can check the performance of “69 Guns” below.


Funeral for a Friend DOA on new Serpents for Solitude video

It looks like Welsh post-hardcore act Funeral for a Friend are taking a page out of the dead handbook (or at least, Weekend At Bernie’s) for their new video.

The track, “Serpents for Solitude”, comes from their latest EP The Young and Defenceless, a precursor to their next full length album tentatively scheduled for release next March.

The band’s last full length was 2009’s Memory and Humanity which came out on Victory Records/Roadrunner. No word as of yet which label will handle their upcoming new album. Check out the new video below.,t=1,mt=video