Get Up Kids leave Vagrant, will self-release new album

The Get Up Kids have officially ended their tenure on long time label Vagrant Records and will be self-releasing their brand new album. Speaking to AltPress, front man Matt Pryor disclosed the reasons for leaving their label home since 1999’s seminal Something to Write Home About, saying;

We had a really great relationship with Vagrant, but felt that with the proverbial rebirth of the band, we wanted to start our own label. Do everything ourselves like we did in the beginning.”

The band have unveiled the title for their upcoming record, There Are Rules, which will see home on the band’s own Quality Hill Records. The release is expected January 25th, 2011.

Certainly a loss for Vagrant, but an established act like the Get Up Kids who are untied to a major label deal would see the benefits of complete control of their album in today’s industry climate. It will be interesting to see who ends up distributing the physical release- the only real hurdle independent bands have in this day and age.

There Are Rules will be the first new Get Up Kids album since 2004’s Guilt Show. We enjoyed the Simple Science EP and it’s more experimental tones, and as unlikely as it is, we can all still hope for more material that sounds a little more like this.

There Are Rules tracklist:
01. Tithe
02. Regent’s Court
03. Shatter Your Lungs
04. Automatic
05. Pararelevant
06. Rally ‘Round the Fool
07. Better Lie
08. Keith Case
09. The Widow Paris
10. Birmingham
11. When It Dies
12. Rememorable

Album Reviews, Music

Review: Moneen – The World I Want To Leave Behind

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

Album Reviews, Music

Review: Dashboard Confessional – The Shade of Poison Trees

Dashboard Confessional’s biggest hit was arguably 2004’s “Vindicated,” a song fitting for its place on the Spider-Man 2 soundtrack with its larger than life emotional histrionics and perfectly crafted melodies. It was a summer song of love and hope, anger and despair, and everything that seemed to embody Dashboard Confessional, and in a sense, Chris Carrabba himself, as a songwriter. Yet, he was unfairly characterized as emo’s poster boy, pegged as that soft-spoken, but talented songwriter who wrote “Screaming Infidelities” over and over again until the strings would inevitably unravel. Confirmed by the able but rather flaccid sounding Dusk And Summer last year, it appeared as if Carrabba had done everything he could in “full-band” format- writing some great radio tunes, playing out the stadiums, landing a prominent spot on a big movie soundtrack and entering at regular places on hit charts. The connection seemed lost, at least from an audience’s stand point- the songs were there, but the once prominent affinity between singer and listener appeared rather lifeless.

So how does Carrabba rekindle the magnetic relationship between his songs and his throngs of listeners? Well, as cliché as it first sounds, returning to his roots has produced some truly wondrous results. The Shade of Poison Trees is the first time since 2001’s The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most that Carrabba has appeared without the distinct air of trying to sound as big as possible, and what’s most clear upon listening is how connected he appears again. From the opening strums of the rather dapper “Where There’s Gold,” Carrabba’s songwriting once again takes center stage- literally, as all the enhancements of his more recent work are all but gone. Replacing the loud guitars and in-studio twiddlings is this re-found envy of every heart-sleeved boy dreaming of writing that perfect song for that (not so) perfect girl.

Songs like the achingly beautiful “The Shade of Poison Trees,” and the fuller sounding “Clean Breaks” and “I Light My Own Fires Now,” prove that he really doesn’t need anything but himself and a guitar to write a great song. Even on the tracks where Carrabba reaches for more conventional ground (like the peppy single “Thick As Thieves” or the U2-sounding “The Rush”) he is able to find the right balance between pop and lonely bedroom melodrama. Carrabba has always had a more caustic tone to his writing- straying away from more conventional lyrical overtures and formulaic expressions of love and bitterness- and it once again takes shape on his latest; see the refrain in “Where There’s Gold”; “Where there’s gold / there’s a gold digger.” Similarly, the album’s most interesting track is an example of Carrabba eschewing his own blueprint- shifting the viewpoint away from first person narrative to more observant of outlooks in “Matters of Blood and Connection,” a tale about a charlatan who parades with the working class while hiding his/her true blue blood upbringing. Its anecdote is sound; “With daughters and sons of privileged elite / The fortunes from shipping and industry / The futures in yacht clubs and tales / So why do you speak with that accent now / Everyone knows you’re moonlighting here” and a welcome curve from the conventional Dashboard lyrical imagery.

Musical growths aside, the best parts of the album are undoubtedly the moments that are most personal. It seems as if Carrabba has once again found his place in his craft. The deeply personal songs, like the aforementioned “The Shade of Poison Trees,” and the grand closing of “The Widows Peak,” perform in unison with his more outreaching numbers- working seamlessly together. The Shade of Poison Trees is stellar, and the best work Carrabba has done since The Swiss Army Romance. (Vagrant)