I first heard of The Antlers earlier this year because of a random recommendation online, and was hooked upon the first listening of their debut concept album Hospice. I've gone back and listened to one of his three EP's, In the Attic of the Universe, and have confirmed that The Antlers are here to stay. Luckily, within the last couple months, their album starting popping up on all the music review sites with reviews talking about how they were going to be on their albums of the year lists. Both releases have the same kind of ambient/soundscape interludes and soft vocals, which at times take a surprising turn to an incredibly high falsetto.
Hospice is an overload of emotions. The music and lyrics drag you through one of life's most tragic situations: a loved one battling cancer. It's a horrible experience that I hope none of my closest friends or family will ever have to go through, especially after I heard this album. It's not an easy album to get through, especially if you think about the people in our own lives. The perspective switches back and forth from the patient to her husband, from rage to love, and from denial to acceptance. It's a beautiful album, with a beautiful message. True love is worth anything.
Most of the time, when you're a sponsored amateur skateboarder, tearing your ACL is one of the worst things that can happen to you. The good news it that Jason Lytle started focusing on his second love: creating music. He's been around since 1992, and finally became well known in the late 90's. He wrote all the music and lyrics, recorded all the instruments, and produced every song on all of their major releases. In my opinion, he's one of the best musicians of the last decade. Due to personal and financial reasons, the "band" (his friends who would tour with him) decided to call it quits after their last album "Just Like the Fambly Cat". But that didn't stop Jason. Three years later, he releases one of the best albums of the year this last May, "Yours Truly, The Commuter".
Grandaddy's sound is hard to describe. They have so much material that they can fit in multiple genres: acoustic, alternative, pop, electronic/ambient, hard rock, country, and the list goes on. Most of the songs talk about how we depend on technology too much, and that we need to get back in touch with each other and nature, especially on The Sophtware Slump album. And there are even a few songs that I consider to be some of the best love songs I've ever heard, but not in a happy way. They describe more of the seedy underbelly of love: longing for someone, love lost, and loneliness. Usually I'm not into these kind of sappy songs, but they helped me cope with the normal teenage problems that we've all been through, and I can't deny that nostalgia now. They also have some songs that I believe are just meant for fun. Songs that point out things in life that are just there to enjoy: animals, skateboarding, road trips, the mall, and all kinds of adolescent mischief; just some great pop/alternative songs.
Each album has its own emotions attached to it, and they're all great, but here they are in my order of favorite to least favorite:
The Diary of Todd Zilla (all their styles are covered in this fantastic album, check it out first)
The Sophtware Slump
Yours Truly, The Commuter
Just Like the Fambly Cat
Under the Western Freeway
Listen to some of these songs and let me know what you think:
For the Dishwasher
At My Post
Rear View Mirror
Where I'm Anymore
He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's the Pilot
Underneath the Weaping Willow
OK With My Decay
The Warming Sun
Birds Encouraged Him
Even though that beard is epic, he's too far gone to save now, along with my hopes for someone with a high profile in Hollywood to try to use their celebrity status to spread good music.
Luckily, Dead Man's Bones album was released. The band consists of Ryan Gosling, Zach Shields, and the Silverlake Conservatory Children's Choir. The album sounds like they were trying to create a kind of score for all those 80's cheesy horror movies that make us all warm with nostalgia. The lyrics have a theme of death (obviously), not in a scary kind of way, but with more of a fascination with all things death. The music is mainly piano and drums based, but driven by backing vocals from the children's choir whose ages span from eight to fourteen. Ryan's vocals are slow and deep, and fits perfect with the style of music. There are some catchy, upbeat songs thrown in throughout the album, but the better songs are the slow ones.
I'm looking forward to more music coming from them, and hopefully some kind of tour. I can't really compare them to any other bands out there, but that shouldn't hold you back from checking them out.
If you like these songs on their myspace, you'll like the album:
In The Room Where You Sleep
My Body's A Zombie For You (my favorite)
Flowers Grow Out Of My Grave
Is it that big of a surprise that they would be my first choice? Where do I begin? Maybe I should start on February 7, 2002:
My brother, his friends, and I were going to Club 412 to see Beloved and Norma Jean tear the place apart with their (then) face-melting metal-ness, and I was pumped. Unfortunately, some other alternative band I had never heard of was after Beloved and before Norma Jean, which would deplete my metal moshing stamina. Sadly, I decided to just sit on the side stage and check them out in order to keep my perfect concert viewing seat for when Norma Jean came out, not expecing anything out of the ordinary. Ever since hearing the opening notes of Bullet To Binary from the album [A->B] Life, it's been a love affair.
It's hard to imagine that that was almost eight years ago, and that they are still blowing me away every time I listen to their albums. The primary reason they're my favorite band is the lyrics. The subjects that are covered are the ones that are most important to me: God, love, relationships, death, life, and hope.
Growing up in the household that I did, it was difficult to express exactly how I felt all the time. I couldn't really turn to my parents because I didn't want them to think that I've "drifted away", and I couldn't turn to my friends because those were the few times that I enjoyed and I wanted to keep it that way. I believe that I was meant to find mewithoutYou when I did. I needed the affirmation that there were others who were having problems with the same things as me. I don't want to sound like some kind of emo kid here, but it was the truth. I was reading/hearing things that made perfect sense to me and helped me understand life and love and God on a whole new level.
Now, even without considering the lyrics, the music itself was something to talk about. They've gone from the post-hardcore sound of [A->B] Life, to the alternative/rock sound of the albums Catch For Us The Foxes and Brother, Sister, and then to the almost acoustic/folk sound of It's All Crazy, It's All False, It's All A Dream, It's Alright...
Even though their sound has changed quite a bit from when I first started becoming obsessed with them, it always seemed to fit what kind of music I was starting to get into. For example, in the time between Brother, Sister and It's All Crazy..., I listened to the acoustic/folk album Neutral Milk Hotel - In An Aeroplane Over The Sea (another highly recommended album) for the first time and really loved the sound of it. Then, hearing of a mewithoutYou album that was highly influenced by them made me more excited than I was for any other album ever, and it didn't disappoint; it's still my favorite of this year by far.
I think that no matter what type of music you like, what beliefs you have, or what type of person you are, that there is a mewithoutYou song for you.
I'm going to list the albums in order of most favorite to least favorite, but that by no means that the last one isn't worth checking out. That album is still better than 90% of my whole music library:
1. Catch For Us The Foxes
2. Brother, Sister
3. It's All Crazy, It's All False, It's All A Dream, It's Alright...
4. [A->B] Life
Here is a handful of songs that you should check out from each album:
The Sun And The Moon
Messes Of Men
Allah, Allah, Allah
The Cure For Pain
I know this was a long post, but i don't care. I could go on for hours talking about how much mewithoutYou means to me. There's a reason they're my favorite band, and hopefully they'll become one of yours as well.
When it comes to music, I love to share and talk about it almost as much as enjoying it myself. Every time I hear something new, I can't help but tell everyone I know about it as soon as I can in hopes of them liking it as well.
So I've decided to start posting information about new music that I'm enjoying, as well as some of my favorites, online. I'm hoping that this will introduce some of my friends to hear something new and interesting that they might not have ever heard of, and hopefully get some recommendations for myself. I plan on posting an entry at least once a week that will have two sections: new music and favorites. They will include the artist information, genre, and links to music and music videos if their available.