Also, I know that the more prevalant Twitter icon around the internet is this guy:
I think I can whip out a bunch of first impressions all at once. Let's see how it goes:
Mutemath - Odd Soul
This album is a new Mutemath. I liked the old Mutemath. I also really like the new Mutemath. Just keep making music, I'll keep listening.
Man Overboard - Self-Titled
I like it. Don't love it. If Transit define what I am excited about from the "newer" bands in the genre, Man Overboard are what I've grown out of. I still like the sound, think they do it well, but it's not really all that exciting to me. I think that's really what it boils down to in how my musical tastes have changed over the years. I need more time to think about what that "it" factor really is ...
Chuck Ragan - Covering Ground
For people complaining that Dustin Kensrue hasn't released another solo album -- start listening to Chuck. New album rules. Great lyrics. Manly vocals. Folksy tunes.
Oh, and pick up the new Astronautalis album tomorrow. You'll love it.
I was asked recently how I see AP.net as different from the countless other "music blogs" out there today. The answer is simple: I have always wanted this website to be a destination for people to talk about music, not just be talked at about music. That's why the current, and future iterations of the website go into the entire process thinking about how could the reader, the member, best gain value from the features. I want the discussion to revolve around what the readers are interested in and yet allow staff or "power users" a tad more control over how the conversation gets steered; without it dominating the landscape. Otherwise I'd have moved this thing to livejournal years ago, blogger after that, wordpress a few later, and tumblr now.
This website was built because I like talking about music that hits me. About bands that reach me on a different level. There are hundreds, thousands, maybe millions of bands making music each year - but only a handful that move me. It's those occasions that the tunes hit my ears and I have an emotional reaction that I live for. It's the feeling I am hoping for each time I hit play on a new album. It's that pause between the button being pushed and the first notes where these hopes live. The idea that something is about to stir. That these are the notes I'll be listening to for months. The songs I'll relate to. The songs I'll sing along to when no one is watching. The songs that will forever be tied to memories and moments in time.
It's rare when reality matches expectations.
But when it does? Oh what a sight.
I just finished listening to the new Transit album for the first time. It reminds me of that feeling I got right after I first heard "Reach for the Sun" (by The Dangerous Summer), that feeling of "yeah, they get it" and "this is going to be the soundtrack to lives" and "thank God there are still bands making music like this; emotional, raw, and catchy - without being filled to the brim with party/dance/synth/autotune/beat/gimmick/neon/swoopedhair/whatever."
It's familiar while feeling new. Nostalgic while fresh.
If we've gotta put a genre on it (blah, people know how I hate that), then it's the best pop-rock-punk-ish album I've heard this year. Yep, went there. It's got, the "it" factor. And this is coming from someone who went in with virtually no expectations. And it took less than half a song for me to reach over and slide the volume up. By the chorus of the second song I was thinking about bands I listened to growing up, and how these guys could have opened for early Brand New, Midtown, Saves the Day, NFG and been right at home. By track 6 I was finding small lyrical gems I hadn't heard in this genre since Fall Out Boy. By track 10 I was realizing that this is one hell of a year in music. By track 12 I was clicking that little "repeat" button on the bottom of iTunes to make sure it played again and hoping the first listen feeling lasted. Hoping that this is one of those albums I let become part of my life. It's been a while since something in this genre struck that vein. I like talking about music that moves me. Some people like what I like, some people don't. Some people like when I'm excited about something, some people call it over-hype. Some people get me when I talk about being knocked on my ass by a song. Some people don't. But I know that out there, right now, there's someone waiting for these songs. There's someone that this album is going to change their life for, like the moment I first heard Blink 182 or MxPx. I honestly believe that. Someone will have broken up with a girl in late September, this album will somehow find their ears - and they'll be better for it. That's why I love music. That's why I love this kind of music. And that's why I write about it.
Album hits stores October 4th. Pre-order that sucker here.
A friend recommended "The Devil in the White City" and I started reading it this weekend. So far, it's really good. Just thought I'd post a book recommendation, I'll post more as I work my way though it (when I have time that is). Check it out on Amazon.
More staff let into the "pre-beta" new AP.net testing server last night. Most of the coding and functionality for the new website is completely done. Can not thank Anton and Garett enough for all of their help; the website has improved 10x over from their comments and suggestions. It's weird ... it's like my child has gone off to his first day of school, and now is running around on the playground. Time to fix up some bugs, and then work on permissions and optimization.
I basically put everything I could think of that I was listening to in high-school into a playlist. Why? Because why not.
I know I probably missed quite a bit of stuff, but trying to think of stuff from that far back is hard, and makes me feel old. Soo, um, here's a walk down memory lane. Hit up the replies and give me some other suggestions of stuff I probably was listening to -- or you were.
I like to read -- unfortunately I get to read far less for pleasure than I'd like. Between catching up on happenings around the web (RSS is my lifeblood) and staying up to date / reading business books ... there's not a whole lot of time left for pleasure reading. However, I've caught a few moments in the past few weeks to start reading some of Dennis Lehane's Private Eye books (the characters from the awesome movie "Gone Baby Gone") and have been really enjoying them.
Ever since I started this website the primary goal has been to develop the ultimate platform for keeping people informed about their favorite bands and introducing them to new ones they may love. With AP.net 3.0 I feel like we are very, very close to seeing that goal realized. We've grown a lot in the past 10ish years ... but I feel like this is the culmination of what I've wanted this website to be since I first sat down and starting talking about music. It finally feels whole.
With that - there's been a secondary goal: support other like minded individuals and try to create a way that all involved can prosper. Now with AP.net 3.0 being close to done, some of this new goal is being put into action ... I want to help provide for others tools and resources what I wish I had when I first started. I want to help incubate the passion of other like minded music fans. We've got the best staff on the planet, and there are other blogs/websites out there doing some good stuff too ... and my goal is now to take all of this to a new level. I remember talking about a "next level" when I changed the website to be about a variety of bands and not just Blink/MxPx. I remember thinking it could be a voice in the community -- I think we reached that goal. Now it's time to aim for the next.
Honestly the first impression I get of Radiosurgery (which I promise I will type "Radiosugary" a hundred times in the next few months) is that it reminds me of Self-Titled. I think that may be the production/mixing coming through -- but I hear it in the song writing a little bit as well. I think the single's the weak link and "Summer Fling, Don't Mean a Thing" the highlight (the hook is what pop-punk should be). At this point these guys are as close to a sure thing as I can think of in the genre. They are exactly what they are, they do it damn well, and that's all there is to it. There will always be a soft spot in my heart for this band, I've been listening to them for fricking years, and they're one of a handful of bands yonder that I still love to listen to -- and have massive amounts of respect for. With all the band drama these days, all the bands breaking up and changing members and throwing hissy fits ... these guys are a model to emulate.
"What did you say as I walked out the door, awooaooh, did you want me back?"
Been finalizing one of the last sections of the website ... the "articles" section. Basically articles are going to be handled in a completely different way on the new website. Instead of just posting things in the forums -- like we've done in the past, which is kinda weird because it's just duplicating a post really. The news post and the "article" post are basically the same. I figured that we should have a separate way of doing "articles" and features. Something that allows more flexibility. Full on custom HTML if needed, extra info, the works. Besides another pass at the search features on the new website (they're way better than before, but still need another look) - this was the last section that needed to be "created" for the new website. It was the last portion that I hadn't touched or fixed up yet. So, it's nice to be closing in on that being done.
Real talk: Butch Walker writes ridiculous sing-along pop songs so easily it should flat out embarrass the bands trying so hard to be catchy and fun. The Spade is what countless bands have been trying to write the past few years, and haven't come close.
For Rdio's one year anniversary -- we were asked to put together a playlist of our favorite songs we "discovered" this past year. The staff and I had a whole lot of fun with this one. I'm putting it here first, and then I'll make a news post about it next week. Some great stuff to check out.