Haven't done one of these since 2011 since I've been so out of the musical-loop. I got back into it this year, which has been great.
1. Prawn – Kingfisher
2. Henrietta – The Trick Is Not Minding
3. The Hotelier – Home, Like No Place Is There
4. Dikembe – Mediumship
5. Microwave – Stovall
6. The Jazz June – After The Earthquake
7. Tigers Jaw – Charmer
8. Charlie Simpson – Long Road Home
9. My Iron Lung – Relief
10. Bad Luck – Cold Bones
11. Single Mothers – Negative Qualities
12. Joyce Manor – Never Hungover Again
13. Moose Blood – I’ll Keep You In Mind, From Time to Time
14. Have Mercy – A Place of Our Own
15. Pompeii – Loom
16. Every Time I Die – From Parts Unknown
17. Gameface – Now Is What Matters Now
18. Hostage Calm – Die On Stage
19. Circa Survive – Descensus
20. Copeland – Ixora
21. Seahaven – Reverie Lagoon: Music For Escapism Only
22. The Xcerts – There Is Only You
23. Future Crooks – Future Crooks In Paradise
24. Aaron West & The Roaring Twenties – We Don’t Have Each Other
25. The Menzingers – Rented World
26. Free Throw – Those Days Are Gone
27. The Copyrights – Report
28. The American Scene – Haze
29. Transit – Joyride
30. Taking Back Sunday – Happiness Is
Best album from 2103 I missed: Grandview – Everything Between Paint And A Wall
$500 a month plus electricity. 1 bedroom, a gigantic dining room and gigantic living room, plus kitchen and bath. It's in great condition. Nice carpets, recently painted, newish kitchen appliances (came with microwave, dishwasher, fridge, etc.). And it's only about a block and a half from my school. And not even on a shady part of town, score.
Copied & pasted with a couple of edits from my blog last year haha:
These are my top 50 favorite records and 10 favorite EPs to be released this year. It was such a ridiculously good year for music; this was almost impossible to make. Please don't mistake "favorite" with "best" as many people tend to do, 'cause I'm not claiming that my opinion is any better or more informed than your's or anyone else's. I like to do this every year to look back on later and help me remember the year in music; I think it also lets some people hear about records and bands they might not otherwise hear about or know of, so maybe you can find yourself a really great album in here. Feel free to share your thoughts.
According to my iTunes and last.fm, I've listened to around 140 albums that were released this year and almost 100 EPs. That might not seem like very many compared to someone who reviews albums and whatnot for a living, but I still feel like it's quite a bit of music, so this was a tough list to put together. I made a list of 100, narrowed down to 80, then 60, and finally, 50. It was not easy.
This is going to be more of a "list", with fewer explanations than last year, mostly because I can't really devote another 3-5 hours to writing everything out. I just got done with finals week; I'm done writing essays for a while haha
Here we go...
TOP 50 FAVORITE FULL-LENGTHS OF 2010
1. Look Mexico "To Bed To Battle" - I've "loved" more albums this year (as opposed to "really really liked") than I have in the past several years. There's been so much music to love in 2010. But out of all of it, this is the one album I kept coming back to, the one I couldn't get enough of, no matter how many times I revisited it. It is a perfect pop rock album.
2. Crime In Stereo "I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone" - This is the first album in the year that really floored me. Such a fantastically dark, brooding masterpiece. It's really a shame they broke up.
3. Comeback Kid "Symptoms + Cures" - I'm not one who likes a lot of hardcore, but every year, there's ONE hardcore release that really takes hold of me and I just can't get enough of. This is was my hardcore record of the year. It's almost opened some doors for me, where I've actually listened to and thoroughly enjoyed significantly more hardcore albums this year than I have in the past, and this list will reflect that.
4. Tigers Jaw "Two Worlds" - If this had come out earlier in the year and had more time to sink in with me, it would probably be higher on this list. This album is everything I love about "this" style of music.
5. Bayonets "Bayonets" - The bands who made 2 of my top 5 favorite records this year have broken up. This is the second. These guys were just hitting their stride, had yet to peak. Here's hoping they decide to make time for more music along with their school commitments.
6. We All Inherit The Moon "13 Song Import" - The first "post-rock" band to ever really stick with me. A beautiful, moving album.
7. The Xcerts "Scatterbrain"
8. The Republic of Wolves "Varuna" - Hasn't had a lot of time to sink in yet, but I'm really loving it.
9. Sundowner "We Chase The Waves"
10. Happy Body Slow Brain "Dreams Of Water" - Much better than his work in Taking Back Sunday.
11. Four Star Alarm "The Siren Sound" - After 2 years in limbo, FINALLY saw the light of day, and the wait was totally worth it.
12. Punch Brothers "Antifogmatic"
13. Nightmares For A Week "Don't Die" - Once this sinks in a little more, it'll probably be in my top 10. So so so good.
14. Far "At Night We Live" - Jonah Matranga never lets me down.
15. Atlantic/Pacific "Meet Your New Love" - Neither does Garret Klahn, for that matter.
16. AM Taxi "We Don't Stand A Chance" - Made up for the Gaslight Anthem's "American Slang" being a bit of a letdown.
17. Circa Survive "Blue Sky Noise" - I still love Anthony Green. "I Felt Free" is probably my favorite song of the year.
18. The Reign of Kindo "This Is What Happens"
19. Lakes "The Agreement"
20. Jimmy Eat World "Invented" - I liked it a lot, but it didn't hold a candle to "Futures".
21. Frontier(s) "There Will Be No Miracles Here" - So great to hear Chris Higdon's voice again. Here's hoping he doesn't disappear again.
22. Hellogoodbye "Would it Kill You" - Biggest surprise of the year. They ditched the auto-tune, and the cheesiness actually became pretty charming. They won me back.
23. Bars Of Gold "Of Gold"
24. Bad Books "Bad Books"
25. Death On Two Wheels "Separation Of Church & Fate"
26. Terrible Things "Terrible Things" - At one point, I was obsessed with this album, but its staying power was severely lacking.
27. Motion City Soundtrack "My Dinosaur Life" - I liked EIIKM better, though I know I'm in the minority there.
28. Wolves & Machines "Ailments" - Liking it more and more with every listen.
29. The Motel Life "Retreat"
30. Ra Ra Riot "The Orchard"
31. The Seams "Spanish American"- Another band I was really getting into that called in quits this year. Lame.
32. Kills & Thrills "Liars"
33. Good Old War "Good Old War"
34. Dead Confederate “Sugar”
35. I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House “The Sounds Of Dying”
36. Marianas Trench “Masterpiece Theatre (Re-Release)” - Doesn't totally count since it was originally released in '09, but it's a re-release in the U.S., so I'm counting it. It has some ridiculously catchy moments.
37. Conditions “Fluorescent Youth”
38. Smoke Or Fire “The Speakeasy”
39. Athletics “Why Aren’t I Home?”
40. Washington Square Park “Self-titled”
41. Brightwood “Elementals”
42. Fuck, I’m A Ghost “Self-titled”
43. Weezer “Hurley”
44. Middle Class Rut “No Name No Color"
45. Cary Brothers “Under Control”
46. Tim Kasher “The Game of Monogamy”
47. Death In The Park “Death In The Park"
48. The Great American Beast “Domestic Blood”
49. Make Do And Mend “End Measured Mile”
50. New Medicine “Race You To The Bottom” - Okay, yeah, it's a terrible terrible album by a band that used to be awesome. It's my guilty pleasure of the year. Take away all of my scene points, if you must.
MOST DISAPPOINTING FULL-LENGTHS OF 2009
1. The Graduate "Only Every Time" - Don't get me wrong, it's a good album. But it was not what I was expecting at all and didn't really hit me. I'll probably revisit it next year and adore it.
2. The Gaslight Anthem "American Slang" - Pretty much the exact same sentiment as the above album.
3. I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody's Business “The World We Know” - My least favorite Ace Enders album to date. Indescribably underwhelming.
4. Showbread “Who Can Know It?” - The nail in the coffin for me being completely over this band. Bring Ivory back and I'll care again.
5. Margot & The Nuclear So & So’s “Buzzard” - "The Dust Of Retreat" is a classic; this is just a mess.
TOP 20 FAVORITE EPs OF 2010
1. Seahaven "Ghost"
2. Tigers Jaw/Balance & Composure “Split”
3. Empires “BANG”
4. The Get Up Kids “Simple Science”
5. Blackpool Lights “Okie Baroque”
6. Banquets “Nothing Is Fucked Here”
7. I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody's Business “Dust’n Off the Ol’ Guitar”
8. Mark Rose “Separate”
9. Campaign “It Likes To Party”
10. Stay Ahead Of The Weather “We Better Get Goin' If We're Gonna”
11. Snake! Snake! Snakes! “EP”
12. Princess Dinosaur “A Goldfish & His Friends”
13. The Chemist Vs. The Computer “Hydrosufoolooween”
14. Francesqa “We Lived”
15. Soletta “The Road Back Home EP”
16. Captain, We’re Sinking “It’s A Trap!”
17. Frank Turner “Rock & Roll EP”
18. Your Best Friend "(Re)Mission"
19. Squid The Whale “A Worrisome Voyage Through Inclement Weather”
20. Your Best Friend "Ghosts"
8 Awesome Albums I Missed Out On In 2009 But Discovered This Year
1. As Cities Burn "Hell Or High Water"
2. Les Sages "Share this."
3. Metroschifter "Carbonistas"
4. P.O.S. "Never Better"
5. God Fires Man “Life Like”
6. From Indian Lakes “The Man With Wooden Legs”
7. The Tumbled Sea “Melody Summer”
8. Have Gun, Will Travel “Postcards From the Friendly City”
And lastly, my 50 most anticipated albums of 2011. I'm expecting big things from...
(Note: Only 22 of the 50 bands I listed as my Most Anticipated from last year actually ended up releasing any new material this year. What crap is that?)
1. Taking Back Sunday
2. The Get Up Kids
3. I Hate Our Freedom
4. Small Brown Bike (Fingers Crossed)
5. and/or Able Baker Fox (Fingers doubly crossed)
6. Saves The Day
7. Your Best Friend (Come on, guys)
8. Further Seems Forever (This year...?)
9. Logh (New album confirmed)
11. Motion City Soundtrack
12. The Snake The Cross The Crown (I'm still hoping...)
13. The Young Dudes
14. RX Bandits
15. Jet Lag Gemini
16. Funeral Party (we'll pretend I don't already have it hahaha)
17. Dear & The Headlights
18. I Am The Avalanche
19. Damien Rice
20. Fountains Of Wayne (Please please pleeeease)
22. Travis Bryant
23. Jack's Mannequin
25. Moving Mountains
26. All Get Out
27. Winston Audio
28. Ace Enders always puts something out
29. Brand New (It's gotta happen.)
30. The Ghost Of A Thousand
32. Less Than Jake
33. The last Harry Potter movie (Not a band, but I don't care. It needs to get here already)
34. Greenland Is Melting
35. Rise Against
36. Millions of Brazilians
38. Maylene & the Sons of Disaster
39. The Republic of Wolves
41. A Wilhelm Scream
42. Tigers On Trains
43. blink-182 (Why not?
44. Cobra Starship (Why not?)
45. Gatsby's American Dream (So many bands reuniting, hard to remember them all off the top of my head haha)
46. William Fitzsimmons
47. Right Away, Great Captain!
48. Manchester Orchestra
2011's gonna be another awesome year, mark my words.
Finished the harmonies to the last 2 songs today. Ashton's already pretty far on the mixing, so he's just got finish that up, master it, and we're golden. Expect me to release/leak it online in around a month or so.
Here's a new song from it. All but done, just a little trimming to do at the end of it.
By far the happiest-sounding/most optimistic song we've ever done. My girlfriend's favorite song of our's. Let me know what you think.
I wanted to wait until after the first trimester in case something bad like a miscarriage happened. But we're at 13 weeks and everything looks good.
It was a big surprise and we definitely didn't plan it, but it's happening and we're making the best of it. We've told our families and our closest friends, and we're not announcing it via facebook or anything, we're just letting people kind of...figure it out, I guess.
Since we've gotten over the shock of it, we've actually become relatively excited about it.
But a fair warning...this just goes to show you how ineffective condoms can be. We used 'em, happened anyway. (She wasn't on the pill; she's a very devout Catholic and the whole "having sex before you're married" thing was as far from her beliefs as she wanted to stray, I guess.)
So yeah. I don't want to make a thread or anything, but I have a good number of good friends on this site now, and I know the ones that care enough will check this and see what's going on with me. And that's pretty much it.
Also, we found a baby blue cardigan with mickey mouse heads all over it for babies 6-12 months old (soooooo tiny), bought it, and googled it; it's actually worth about $50-80 bucks on vintage websites; kid's not even born and he/she is already gonna be dressin' in styyyyle.
If you're into that late 90's/early 00's "emo with the nasally vocals" sound i.e. The Get Up Kids, Texas Is The Reason, Hot Rod Circuit, etc., and you didn't already know about Joshua, who released albums on several seminal "emo" labels in the 90's and 00's like Doghouse Records, Immigrant Sun Records, and Engineer Records, to name a few, then it's time you get on board.
I don't have a lot of time, but I wanted to share this piece of awesome information and get other people into the band before the new album came out. I was planning on including Joshua in a Doghouse Records edition of a recommendation blog, so I'll save a solid review for that, but I can share some quotes about the band that should entice you into giving them a listen.
From doghouserecords.com, regarding their self-titled EP:
How could one deny their sweet, melodic, catchy sound? Smooth and catchy songs that grip your emotions and take you on an adventure of heartbreaks and make ups. This is a giant leap up from their previous efforts, it retains their trademark "emo" sound but also expands their musicianship and creativity.
From doghouserecords.com, regarding their debut full-length, A Whole New Theory:
They're on a mission. Having already released two EP's (one on Immigrant Sun, the other on Doghouse), Joshua has now prepared for the bigtime with the recording of this fantastic album at the infamous Inner Ear Studio with J. Robbins. Emotional, catchy, poised, and dynamic are all adjectives that can describe this one. These nine songs are full of rocking, melodic guitars, heavy, flowing bass lines, solid, dynamic percussion.
From engineerrecords.com, regarding their Baggage EP:
Following on from their previous releases on Doghouse and Immigrant Sun, Dan Coutant and Co. brought us a swansong that retains their trademark "emo" sound but also expands their musicianship and creativity. On the Baggage ep these songs maintain the aggressive, energetic, post punk feel that Joshua became famous for whilst touring with the likes of Get Up Kids and Burning Airlines.
All five of these heartfelt songs are mellow and almost melancholic but will stick in your head for some time to come. How can anyone deny such a smooth, melodic, catchy sound? Joshua's final release has five sweet and beautiful songs that will grip your emotions and take you on an adventure of heartbreaks and make ups.
If those words don't get you the least bit interested to check out these guys, then there's no hope for you haha. No, but really, these guys are worth the time to try and dig up their releases. It's not that easy to come across, but I think you can grab some stuff from them on what or waffles. If you're really super extra intrigued, I guess you could shoot me a PM where we could "discuss" the possibility of me sharing some of their tunes with you haha. But seriously, this is awesome news. This upcoming album from them could easily be the sleeper powerpop album of next year; these guys are THAT good. Check 'em out.
Thanks to some very encouraging people, via e-mail, PMs, and facebook, who've told me they really enjoyed my writing and would like me to do more of it, I've decided, well, that I'll try. I have a new laptop so I can finally download new music as it comes out instead of months after it comes out, plus just having regular internet access is a huge improvement over my previous computer-less existence. So in the spirit of getting this nonsense going again, I'm going to start doing the whole "You should be listening to this band, this band, and this band" thing. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know if you give any my recs a shot, what you thought, and if you have any recommendations for me, let me know.
Statistically, I'm not too far off right now from being in a place where I could be in the "rankings" on AP as far as blog popularity. I actually think it would be really cool if that happened, so if you could help me out by even just leaving a as a comment, I think that would be pretty cool. Thanks.
I don't know how, but somehow a huge portion of this site have completely written off this band. Whether it's because "there's not enough Andy" or "it's too much like The Color Fred" or even just labeling it as boring, unoriginal, or whatever, so few people on AP seem to be giving this record an actual chance. Well, you know what, they even state in the very first track of the record "This is not a revolution//Can we say it is?". And they're right, they're not reinventing the wheel with this one, but they've definitely put together something worth listening to. You can really hear the influence Fred had on Taking Back Sunday for Where You Want To Be and especially Louder Now. Some riffs on this record sound eerily similar to TBS songs. (The riff in the opener "Revolution" at the bridge sounds a loooooot like the riff in the bridge for "Error: Operator". I can't be the only one who hears that.) And let's face it, neither Mascherino nor Jackson have the most awe-inspiring, life-changing voices that don't get a little monotonous after a while, but together they've really put together a record that complements both of their voices, writing styles, and instrumental tendencies. Andy still gets to rip out quite a few solos like on Hot Rod Circuit's latter records, and Fred still gets to show us how you can still make 4-chord songs actually work without sounding like you just graduated from high school and are working on putting out your 4th second-wave emo album with your 4th line-up. Jackson and Mascherino are two of the best pop rock songwriters this "scene" has ever had, and the fact that they're now working together should way more people excited than there seems to be. Is "Terrible Things" going to change anyone's life? Probably not. But is this album still worthy of a few late-night car rides with your windows down and the volume all the way up so you can sing/scream along like you did on the weekends in high school and feel like you're 17-19 again? Absolutely.
Both Jackson and Mascherino have written records I really enjoyed when I was 15 through when I was 19 and 20. And now I'm almost 22 and they're still putting out records I can enjoy and can simultaneously fill me with a sense of nostalgia and substantial relation so I'm not just pulling out old Wakefield, American Hi-Fi, and Eve 6 records like I have to when I want to feel like I'm in high school again (in a good way). Obviously fans of The Color Fred, Hot Rod Circuit, Louder Now and Death In The Park will find something to enjoy about this record. But I can hear some Brandtson, some Bad Astronaut, and even some Northstar ("Lullaby" especially) in this record and if that doesn't entice you at least a little to want to give this record a listen, well, your loss.
Since the album hasn't "technically" been released yet, there aren't any "legal" free downloads available, that I can find anyway, to share. So just checking their purevolume page should do the trick. http://purevolume.com/terriblethings . And then pick up the album when it comes out Tuesday.
We All Inherit The Moon:
If you've ever read any of my recommendations before and you're already familiar with this band, you probably never expected me to recommend a band like them. And I wouldn't blame you; I don't really listen to any other bands in this "post-rock" genre or whatever the hell you want to call it. But I know great music when I hear it, and these guys...these guys are special. Call it "atmospheric", call it "ethereal", call it anything you want; all it is is gorgeous, beautiful, incredibly well-orchestrated music.
I don't know if it's because of my inexperience with this genre, or because this band's music leaves me truly, genuinely speechless (it could be either one), but I really can't say more about them other than they just write such incredibly beautiful music. I could lay on the floor of my bedroom and stare at the ceiling for days, days, and listen to nothing but this. You just get lost in it. It takes you to places you could only go when you were 7, laying in your bed at night, wondering what else is out in the world, where you'll be in 10, 20 years, and if tomorrow's going to be a beautiful day. Well, now you can lie and listen and pretend you don't know what fucked up things there are out in the world, wonder where you'll be in another 10, 20 years, and just know, you just know that tomorrow is going to be a beautiful day.
This is a song called "..and ever. Part I", from a split LP they did with The Ascent of Everest, and which was re-released on "13 Song Import", a Japanese release of their entire discography. http://www.undomondo.com/alarm/futur...e%20moon. mp3 (Right Click --> Save As)
2009-2010 has been full of reunions.One-off shows. Reunion tours. Or complete, full reunions that come with a whole new album and everything. Tons of them. blink-182, Something Corporate, The Juliana Theory, the Tell All Your Friends era Taking Back Sunday, Spitalfield, The Junior Varisty, Park, the original Mae line-up, TREOS, Rufio, Down To Earth Approach, Small Brown Bike, Ultimate Fakebook, Metroschifter, and most recently, the The Moon Is Down era Further Seems Forever line-up. (Oh. And OMG! How could I forget DANCE GAVIN DANCE?!?!?! Obviously, that one takes precedent over ALL of the aforementioned reunions.) Wow. So essentially, I've had a non-stop you-know-what way passed that whole "4 hours" recommendation, and it will probably fall off in a matter of days. As excited as I've been for so many of these, and as awesome as the new Ultimate Fakebook and Metroschifter albums are, none of the reunion announcements and subsequent reunions albums have gotten me as excited and piss-my-pants thrilled as the reunion of Far.
Only two other reunion announcements, if they had happened or ever will (probably won't) happen, could have or ever will get me as excited as a reunion of Far, and those would be At The Drive-In and Refused. Those two are the kind of reunions you drive all the way to other end of the country to see, no matter what, even if your mother's on her deathbed and your wife is in labor. The reunion of Far is right up there with those.
Jonah Matranga has seemingly been everywhere since Far's demise in 1999, releasing albums under multiple monikers and with multiple bands, including but not limited to New End Original, Gratitude, and onelinedrawing, along with multiple solo albums and releases under his own name. But save onelinedrawing and his solo efforts, since the end of Far, Matranga hasn't been able to hang onto one line-up of bandmates long enough to release more than one record. He's become arguably one of the most recognizable and heralded names and voices of this scene in the last 10 years, and not solely because Water & Solutions, Far's "final" album and an album highly touted by countless band members among current bands as a huge influence on their music. He's been everywhere, doing guest vocals for quite a few bands and artists; you can even hear him on one of the Madden games, I forget which, probably 2004 or 2005, but I remember as soon as I heard his voice (on the Lupe Fiasco track, "The Instrumental") I was just like "Hey! That's Jonah! AWESOME!"
Anyway, so not only did the band reunite for a tour and to record a (rockin') cover of "Pony" by Ginuwine, but they ended up putting out an entire new record, their first in over 10 years. It was actually the first album I pre-ordered since Copeland's "In Motion" if that gives you any idea of how often I'm actually excited enough for something to pre-order it. And when I finnaly got "At Night We Live", it was everything I was hoping for, but not what I expected at the same time. There are several obviously Deftones-influenced tracks, really edgy, hard "rockers" that wouldn't be out of place on one of those "Buzz" compilations, but not in an obnoxious, bad way ("Deafening", "Dear Enemy").
The album really has everything you could want from a Far album, plus plenty more gorgeous, heartfelt ballads ("At Night We Live", "Burns"), pop rock anthems ("Fight Song"), and stripped down atmospheric tracks ("When I Could See"), all of which you've come to expect from Matranga's releases. "If You Cared Enough" sounds like a Gratitude song in the best way possible and is in contention for my song of the year, I can't get enough of it, such a huge chorus. "Better Surrender" is an old onelinedrawing/solo song turned into a Far track* and it translates perfectly; very driving, very catchy, it really shows what a brilliant pop song-writer Matranga really is. "Are You Sure?" sounds like a song Jimmy Eat World could have written as a b-side for Futures.
Overall, it's just an incredibly well-rounded, well-produced album good for a multitude of listens. This album will for sure be in my top 5 for the year, probably top 3. This album should NOT be overlooked. Fans of a perfect mesh of 90's "alternative" rock and early 00's pop rock or whatever you want to call it or just simple, gorgeous voices will fall in love with this, I have no doubt in my mind. Fans of Gratitude, The Juliana Theory, Jimmy Eat World's Futures, and maybe a little of Idlewild (at their more rambunctious moments) should find something they like in here. Thank God for reunions.
*NOTE: He must have changed the name of it, 'cause I can't find it in my Jonah collection, but I KNOW that melody so I know he's used it before, even if it's just a re-imagining of one of his old songs. It wouldn't be the first time he's done that; he turned "The Leper Song" by New End Original into a completely different song for his solo release Songs From Sacramento, Vol. 1 called "Welcome Wearing Out".
I typically try to do 5 recommendations per blog but this one turned out to be so lengthy that I decided to cut it after 3, but I'll try and post another one tomorrow or later this week. Feel free to leave feedback, please and thanks.
If I start a new band, that's what I'm going to call it.
Because it would be the hip thing to do, of course!
Has anyone else noticed that a significant, ridiculous, almost egregious number of bands lately have decided they need either the words "empire", "bear", or "tiger" in their name?
Simply do an artist search here on AP and see how ridiculous it is. Want it to look even more insane? Do an artist search on it-leaked. Type in one of those words in the artist search of either site and just shake your head in amazement.
Just to prove it further, here are lists of 20 ACTIVE bands with one of those words in their name.
empire! empire! (i was a lonely estate)
Collapse Under The Empire
Deep Sea Empire
The Empire Shall Fall
...Empires To Ashes
Holy Roman Empire
I Am Empire
Last Days of Empire
10. Rise and Fall of an Empire
This Is An Empire
Your New Empire
Assemble The Empire
The River Empires
Beneath The Empire
Blank Page Empire
20. To Build An Empire
1. Tiger! Tiger!
The Lady or The Tiger
...Liars & Tigers
The Party Tigers
10. Spring Tiger
Tigers on Trains
15. The Tiger Society
Fear of Tigers
1. The Bear Cavalry
An Inconvenient Polar Bear
Polar Bear Club
Bad News Bears
Beware The Bear
Care Bears on Fire
10. Grizzly Bear
In Bear Country
Minus The Bear
The Bear Romantic
Boy and Bear
What the fuck?
What is it about these words that made a select group of people decide that it was hip and cool to have one of those nouns in their band names? I don't understand it.
But at least I know the formula to success. If I were to only combine ALL THREE of the words into ONE band name, I would instantly be a gigantic, hip success, right? Right.
Everyone remembers those old Emo Diaries compilations Deep Elm used to put out in the late 90's/00's, right? Right. And you should if you don't; you'll discover a ton of awesome bands that way. It's the way I discovered a really cool band called Oliver when I was in 10th grade. They had a song on "The Hope I Hide Inside" called "Straightest Jacket" and at the time, I thought it was the catchiest song EVER. I was obsessed with it; it essentially became the anthem of my sophomore year of high school. I loved it.
They had a really cool pop-punk-ish second-wave emo vibe, not unlike a lot of the bands on the Emo Diaries comps. In fact, if you like current Deep Elm bands like Ride Your Bike and Les Sages, then these guys will definitely be right up your alley. Anyone into bands like Spitalfield, Down To Earth Approach, Hot Rod Circuit, etc. will really be into these guys.
The band was based out of Portland, OR. I never actually came across ANY of their material other than songs I would rip off their Myspace until my freshman year of college when, fed up with their lack of online distribution (no itunes or anything!), I sent the band a Myspace message asking if I could purchase some of their CD's and have them sent to me. As it turns out, they were so excited that they had "a fan not on the west coast" (they even said "You're probably our only fan on that part of the country!") that they asked for my address and shirt size and said they would send me a package, free of charge. They sent me burned copies of their 2 full-lengths and one of their EPs, along with a freshly-pressed t-shirt and hoodie. I still wear that hoodie to this day; it's awesome. I'd never had a band be THAT nice to me; especially a band THAT good.
They wrote such catchy pop songs. In some ways, they were almost unconventionally catchy. It reminds me of how a few of the songs on Spitalfield's swan song (album) "Better Than Knowing Where They Are" were catchy in a really...off-kilter way. It was almost awkward-sounding, but it would still get stuck in your head. And they had some really interesting lyrics a la Motion City Soundtrack, Schatzi, Ultimate Fakebook, etc. To this day, I'm still amazed that they never really did anything beyond a little west coast touring. No record deal. No cult following. Nothing.
Well, a few days ago, I got back into their album "Coming Back In Waves" big time, and I remembered seeing they had posted a video a long while back of a song that was supposed to be featured on an "upcoming album." But they had broken up just 3 or 4 months after they sent me that lovely package of awesomeness, and I'd kept checking their page from time to time to see if they would release it, and they never did. So I decided to look up some of the guys on Facebook to see if they would send it or anything else to me. It worked when I messaged Christian of Schatzi on Myspace; he sent me their unreleased album, "Snow Is For Saving Hearts". So I thought maybe it could work with these guys.
Lo and behold, I find their drummer Stephan, and he says they recorded it but never properly mixed or mastered it, and that he would send it along. 4 days later, today, he said that my message had inspired him to finish the album, so he spent the last few days mixing and mastering it and he sent it to me. So...here it is:
Just think about it. This is an unreleased album. It wouldn't be far fetched to say you could be one of the...probably less than 150 people, tops, who will ever listen to this album in its entirety. Ever. I think it's worth giving a shot just having that in mind, eh?
Please do. I'm currently downloading it, but when it's done and I get some listens in, I'll be sure to post my thoughts. I think it'd be really cool if some of you could do the same. Couldn't hurt, right?
If you can get their player to load, you can hear the song "Half Inch Hayden" from their last record on their old Myspace: http://myspace.com/oliver.
Please give these guys a shot. If you dig them, let me know and I'll upload all the rest of the material I have from them. Enjoy!