This is the first chronicle of what will hopefully be danman and I's long term project. With so much fantastic music being released this year, we decided to make a point of trying to keep up. Every week we both pick an album to listen to, and over the course of the week we discuss our thoughts. This idea owes a lot to anamericangod and drew beringer's podcast. Although we aren't nearly as renowned as they are, hopefully our ideas are worth considering.
My Choice: Mutemath - Odd Soul
The hype around this album is what initially piqued my interest. Aside from Drew Beringer's flattering review, the album was also promoted by Max Bemis. I had heard a few songs off of Armistice and nothing had really stuck, but I respect both Max and Drew's opinions so I figured I should give the band another shot. Before I downloaded the album I youtubed the first single, Blood Pressure. I was smitten. The song is fantastic lead single and it showcases what makes MUTEMATH great. The key word here is rhythm. This band IS rhythm. The title track exemplifies this. Everything is tight, from Paul Meany's bluesy, Black Keys-esque vocals to Todd Gummerman's diverse licks to the slick grooves of Darren King and Roy Mitchell-Cardenas. This is music I want to see live, because regardless of whether it's your normal style of music, it would be undeniably impressive to see performed. However, MUTEMATH is not perfect. This album has fairly large commercial appeal, and this is reflected in the production, which is fairly polished. Even the distortion of Meany's vocals is more Strokes than Brand New. See Heads Up for proof. My other complaint is length. For starters, as danman mentioned, this album is long. While you can argue that this is more bang for your buck, as a piece of art I cant help but feel that this album wouldve have benefited from cutting a few of the more forgettable tracks. All Or Nothing really doesn't do much for me, nor does One More. However, even more irksome is the length of some specific songs. Danman cites Prytania as a standout track. I don't share this opinion. This song is extremely repetitive and not in a good way. It's also about a minute and a half too long. Despite this though, the album is worth checking out. Allies, is fantastic as are the funkier parts of Equals. I'm a sucker for hand claps. The organ in Cavalries is a great throwback and the chorus is huge and eerie. Finally, Quarantine is fantastic. The possibility of seeing this song live alone is worth checking out the band. Overall, MUTEMATH hit more than they miss, and while I wouldnt give this album 95%, I would say it's about a four star album. It would have scored higher if it wasnt so damn long.
Danman's Choice: I Am The Avalanche
This was an interesting choice by danman. Neither of us had listened to IATA before, and I would say that we really don't listen to much true-to form pop punk. To clarify, I mean the kind where there's arguably more punk than pop. Dan seem to really enjoy this record. I like it, it won't end up in my top ten, but it's worth checking out if you're a fan of the genre.
As Dan said, Holy Fuck is a huge opener. While it's not the catchiest song on the record, it's a good indicator of what's to come. Fast, guitar and drums driven music with Vinnie Caruana's heart on sleeve lyrics. I will say that I'm not a huge fan of Caruana's lyrics but again, they are quite similar to the lyrics you find in pop punk. As well, not everyone has to be John Lennon or Bruce Springsteen. This album is supposed to be a fun record, as evident in This One's On Me or the darker Amsterdam. The former is one of my favorite songs. This isn't to disparage Vinnie. He does touch on serious issues, and it works sometimes such as Casey's Song. I would just argue that the better songs are less serious or more interpretive. Is This Really Happening is a great punk love song, as is The Brooklyn Dodgers. I mean, whatever happened to them anyways? I love how there's a sense of setting in this record. I Am The Avalanche proudly display their New York roots and I just think thats cool. It's great when songs have a sense of history. However there a couple missteps on the album. Dead Friends and The Place You Love Is Gone are both a little uninspired, though the former tries. They just didn't do anything for me, but I can see why people would like them. Title is a solid back catalog track, but it's not something I would be anxious to see live. The Gravediggers Argument however is. I'm undecided on Gratitude. I don't think it's a great closer but I love the closing Avalanche United chant. Overall i'd say this album falls in the 70-75% range. I would lean closer to the latter score.