Okay. So I've been in a two month blogging coma. But give me a break, my laptop is totally f-ed.
I thought it'd be fitting to erupt from this interlude with guns blazing, so I'd like to introduce you to a brand new punk act that I've only known for a short time myself, a group that's as tight as they are melodic. The band: Latin for Truth.
Who the hell are these guys, anyway? Somehow, it took Latin for Truth three EPs, a collection of demos and a full-length before they popped up on my radar -- a signal that I don't mind bragging is quite attuned to the burgeoning pop-core scene. Apparently, the band has encountered a few setbacks over the last year or so and has decided a redefinition is in order.
LFT mixes tight, quick drum tracks reminiscent of Anchors for Arms, melodic vocals a la No Use for a Name, MXPX- and Gatsby's American Dream-like chord progressions, and an urgency that is all their own. This is a band that would make Lifetime proud.
Even better: LFT's new (rebirth) EP, We Are Sick of Not Having the Courage to Be Absolute Nobodies (name taken from a Salinger essay), is available for free digital download here. A full-length, already titled Youth Crew Blues, is due out in 2010.
I'm going to be looking for good things from these guys in the future. Check 'em out.
After about two weeks of some hardcore listening, it's pretty clear to me that Manchester Orchestra is neither British nor orchestral. Still, there's something defiant and clear-cut in the band's hodge-podge of influences, something clearly defined that helps the Atlanta natives stand-out against the backdrop of pretentious indie rock permeating the music scene as of late.
Manchester Orchestra's recently released second label-backed full-length Mean Everything to Nothing is as ironic as the album's title. MO front-man Andy Hull has cited a diverse list of influences for the sophomore offering, from Foo Fighters to Nirvana to Death Cab for Cutie. What ultimately emerges is a concoction of Smoking Popes-esque vocals, big Motion City Soundtrack hooks, Get Up Kids pianos, anthems and lyrics that would make Matt Skiba jealous, twangy Hot Rod Circuit riffs, Hold Steady honesty, and a definitive sound that is quite oft compared to the evolved stylings of Brand New (who ironically enough discovered MO).
In a recent Alternative Press article, Max Bemis even weighs in: "On the upcoming Say Anything record, I was inspired a lot lyrically by [MO's] Andy [Hull]...They are the band who will push kids to write and listen to better music."
METN is exactly that, displaying rich soundscapes of indie-emo explosiveness that bridges genres without spreading itself too thin. Universally relatable and widely acclaimed, METN debuted at #37 on the Billboard charts -- and it's easy to hear why. METN will identify a far better direction for the wayward world of indie music.
The entirety of Mean Everything to Nothing is currently streaming at Manchester Orchestra's MySpace. What nice guys.
"Are you the living ghost of what I need? / Are you giving me the best of me? / We will see." - Manchester Orchestra, "Shake It Out"
In high school, I hated science so much that I never took a college course in any of the major disciplines. In fact, I think I took some sort of blow-off geology class to fulfill my gen-ed credits. But for the first time, science has touched me in a way it never has before. The science of musical cohesion, as exemplified by unsigned but innovative five-piece post-hardcore outfit The Rise of Science.
I found these guys randomly through Alternative Press' AP&R section, and I have to say "bravo" to the indie mag. The Rise of Science are stunning, employing Moneen-esque guitar riffs, high-pitched, raw vocals a la Coheed and Cambria, aura-building melodies that build brighter hooks than Circa Survive, and an essence that would turn Anthony Green...well, green (with envy, of course). Yet, TROS encapsulate a beauty that is rare for an unsigned band. In fact, I'm almost enraged at the fact that these guys are not signed to a huge deal. I've yet to come across such an impressive band that I've never heard of.
I don't have any tracks to share on the site, but please do me, them and yourself a favor and go check these guys out. They just got in a van accident for f@*#'s sake!
And definitely check out their cover of "Desperados Waiting for a Train."
"I can't pin my lungs and bite my tongue / Induce what I might soon forget." - The Rise of Science, "Short Comings Can Be Incomplete"
Whoever thought of mating anger with happiness blew my f@#%ing mind. I'm of course talking about the affectionately-labeled "happy hardcore" (or "melodic hardcore" to those keeping official track), a trend that is catching on in a big way. You've probably already noticed this burgeoning movement erupting through bands like Set Your Goals, Daggermouth, Four Year Strong -- and of course the band that began the movement in the first place, Fall Out Boy. Don't act so offended, hardcore kids.
Expect to hear a lot about the next up-and-coming act in metalcore, a five piece from Florida called A Day to Remember. These kids can rock, and they've got the melodic hardcore world by its tail with their new release, Homesick.
Yep, here comes another bastard-child analogy to try to put the band's sound on the level. Think Bullet for My Valentine (fresh off a recent fling with My Chemical Romance) meets Fall Out Boy, falls in puppy love, elopes to Vegas and is wed by Set Your Goals, who have the authority to marry following a mix-up at the state department. The resulting offspring would sound a lot like ADTR.
Homesick makes me feel simultaneously comfortable and violently ill. ADTR masters the art of hardcore with an ecstatic flair, utilizing some of the most radio friendly riffs I've heard from a hardcore act. The screaming borders on death metal; the drums are oddly dumbed down. But the edge is there in a big way...and so are the hooks. They could have called this album The Next Big Thing in Underground Music and it would have turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Final summation? A Day to Remember will top my chart as the next music act that I love to hate, drawing in an audience most hardcore bands won't be able to relate to but keeping me interested with their catchy, edgy tracks. They stand as a reminder that even hardcore can be relatable to a wider audience while solidifying the death of gang vocals. RIP.
Here's a track from the new album, Homesick, for your listening pleasure.
If I had any actual clout in the music industry, I would give Propagandhi the award for Best Supporting Caste.
Okay, no need to be tongue and cheeky when the punk rock/experimental thrash vets have already done so for me. But for the love of all that is unholy, I can't understand how Propagandhi keeps doing it. For their fifth full-length studio release, Propagandhi has opened up the flood gates of socio-political lyricism and musical complexity that rivals even Strung Out's more recent work.
This is not punk rock anymore, my friends. Propagandhi has introduced us to something seriously profound...elevated...something that transcends the breadth of former label Fat Wreck Chords' entire collection. Therefore, I'm happy to announce that this release is backed by Canadian label Smallman Records, a much more consistent and forward-thinking home for the evolutionary punkers.
To be frank, Supporting Caste doesn't really do anything that much more spectacular than Potemkin City Limits (2005) or even Today's Empires, Tomorrow's Ashes (2001). Nothing beyond solidifying Propagandhi's stranglehold on the punk rock industry, that is. But Supporting Caste does stand out in and of itself, offering original, poetic, and unique punk rock fury supported by metalesque complexity that can't quite be defined as metal, either. Is Propagandhi the musical equivalent of social progression? Depends on how bleeding heart liberal you are. From a purely technical standpoint, Propagandhi represents a musical future that doesn't exist, a future that has yet proven ungraspable by the rock and roll landscape of today's standards.
Supporting Caste is beautiful, with more reliance on catchy intricacy than gushing, blazing hardcore compared to the band's past albums. Tracks like "Supporting Caste," "Tertium Non Datur," and "Dear Coach's Corner" stand out, even though they spin back to back to back.
The album borders on pretentious; then again, hasn't that always been Propagandhi's calling card? I mean, I have to admit...they know far more about social doctrine and humanist philosophy than I might ever hope to learn. Pretentious or not, I really could care less. Supporting Caste will be spinning on my playlist for awhile.
Supporting Caste drops on March 10. Check out a couple of older Propagandhi tunes below.