What's up, AP? Haven't seen you since the time at that place with the guy and his ten-foot-tall Japanese robot machine.
Anyway, yes. Sorry for the 11-month hiatus. I stopped blogging and then sort just stopped visiting the site altogether except for a weekly check-in...not sure why. But that's all water under the bridge and I know you don't hate me for disappearing (do you?), so let's just move on!
I...aw shit. I forgot to come up with anything to write. Guess it's off to the forums for rant-material then.
All I wanted to say is, I'm back. I think. Probably. Life's been crazy.
PS - OH I KNOW. In case you hadn't heard, Dizzy Balloon is playing their last show at Rickshaw Stop in SF on December 30th. This is sad, but you should go to the show. It will be off the hizzy or whatever the kids say these days. Also, Maniac (Shawn-ex-Matches) at Great American Music Hall on Nov. 27.
Go listen to the Jakes. No, really - I haven't been this impressed by a new/unsigned band's EP since the Brave Citizens' Revolutions (yes, I know they're on Roadrunner now, but they weren't when I first saw them). I've noticed a few staff members jocking them over the past year, but they haven't had nearly enough attention. Shake My Hand is a near-flawless EP - catchy, dance-y, absolutely irresistible. My mother likes it. My Sigur Ros-obsessed little sister likes it. My Danzig-singing dad likes it. Check it out; you'll thank me later.
With the year nearly 3/4 over, I thought I'd share a few thoughts on my favorite albums thus far.
Thursday - Common Existence: this album got me back into Thursday after quite a drought. "You Were The Cancer" might be one of my favorite Thursday songs.
Manchester Orchestra - Mean Everything to Nothing: Yeah, I'm on the bandwagon. Yeah, this album is incredible.
The Swellers - Ups and Downsizing: Quintessential underdogs, but I've only had the album for two days and it's already secured itself a spot on my end-of-the-year honors. This was one of my most anticipated for the fall and the Swellers exceeded expectations in every way. Pick it up - they deserve your support.
fun. - Aim & Ignite: At the moment, perhaps the favorite for my top honors. I listened to nothing but this album for about two weeks solid - it is everything I could have asked for from (half of) the ashes of the Format, and more.
The Rest of the AOTY list (not in any sort of order at all)
POS - Never Better
Every Time I Die - New Junk Aesthetic
Broadway Calls - Good Views, Bad News
Metric - Fantasies
Great Northern - Remind Me Where The Light Is
Gomez - A New Tide
Shook Ones - The Unquotable A.M.H.
New Found Glory - Not Without A Fight
The Dangerous Summer - Reach For The Sun
Brand New - Daisy
All Time Low - Nothing Personal
Two Tongues - Two Tongues
The Loved Ones - Distractions
Farewell Continental - S/T 7"
Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown: I liked this album. "Liked" being the key word - I have little desire to listen to it these days. While there are a handful of compelling tracks, overall it lacks the punch of American Idiot and the interest of most of Green Day's back catalog. A very lukewarm effort from a band that can (or could) do incredible things in my opinion.
Anchor & Braille - Felt: Given that A&B was one of my most played artists through last winter and the beginning of this year, I had high hopes for the album when it finally came out. It's an okay album, but most of the songs that weren't already floating around are just "blah." Stephen is one of my favorite vocalists, but it's not enough to save some of these tracks for me - the ones I still listen to are the ones I've had since 2008.
The Used - Artwork: I'm not sure why I had any hopes for this album at all, really. I suppose it's just echoes of my 17-year-old self remembering how much I loved these guys back in high school. Unfortunately they've lost or abandoned virtually everything I liked about that band. And speaking of losing everything I liked...
Taking Back Sunday - New Again: no explanation needed, I'm pretty sure. It's sad that a band so many of us grew up loving has fallen so low, but I'd be hard pressed to think of a recent album I want to listen to less.
Need to listen
Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
Regina Spektor - Far
Paramore - brand new eyes
Thrice - Beggars
I'm guessing that Say Anything and Dave Smallen will land near the top as well. Am I missing anything stellar? Let me know.
PS: I'm back on the reviewing circuit. Fun and AA Bondy album reviews coming soon, as well as (I think?) an interview with the Dear Hunter and a live piece on their show with Thursday in October. And speaking of that - if you've got anything you'd like to know about TDH, I'm taking any (valid) questions I can get.
Just because I don't really want to see the title of yesterday's entry when I look at my blog.
Been busy lately, thus the blogging/posting semi-hiatus from AP. (I get bold-named in a couple weeks though, so I'll probably come back then.)
Anyway, I'm all settled in my new apartment, which is lovely and perfect. I get along with all three of my roomies and the location couldn't be better for what I'm paying, so really I'm set. Haven't started working at Talking House yet, but hopefully that'll get jump-started in the next few weeks. Now all I need is a paying job.
Music-wise I've been head over heels in love with Aim & Ignite - it's literally almost all I've been listening to - such a fantastic album. Nate Ruess has really proved himself as one of my favorite (currently working) lyricists. "The Gambler" nearly brought tears to my eyes, and there's not a track I don't love.
I was also fortunate enough to make it to the Matches' final show at the Fillmore last Sunday, which was incredible and fun and heartbreaking all at once. It finally hit me that I wouldn't be seeing them perform again, but it was a fitting farewell. My parents were there, seeing the guys for the first and last time - they've both seen me obsessing over this band for the past six years or so - so that was great to be able to share with them. I also came home with this:
...which is the prop they used in this AP magazine photo shoot. It's an incredible work of art and I feel entirely privileged to own a piece of Matches history. Bittersweet, but I've come to terms with their breakup/hiatus, and I know the boys won't be going far.
I think that's all for now. Check out the fun. album and the Matches' pseudo-album-four release if you haven't, and, ah...keep it real, kids.
Ryan Riddell (RyanFTW) just told me that "Brown eyed girl" is the worst song ever and every girl on the planet thinks that song is about them when they're drunk. He also said any girl who says it's about them is retarded and should be taken out to pasture and shot. numerous times. in the face.
This is totally not RyanFTW in lauren's apartment typing this on her laptop and quietly laughing to himself.
I lied, I've never actually gotten hate mail. Hate texts, perhaps. Hate in general, certainly. The point is, listen to Hot Water Music.
It's been an odd week, listening-wise. I had an evening where all I did was write and listen to Don Henley's "Boys of Summer" until the ex showed up and totally threw off my creative groove. And I don't care what you say - Henley (in both solo and Eagles incarnations) wrote some good songs. I've never understood the crap I get for digging Hell Freezes Over, it's a solid album - ditto for Hotel California. That aside, it's been a lot of Dave Smallen (yes, still)...Broadway Calls' new album (makes me feel 17 again, in a good way)...the Swellers' latest (two thumbs way the fuck up)...oh, and a shout-out to swirlofhues-Christine's deliciously weird mixtape from the rec mixes thread. Thanks for finally getting me to listen to Tapes 'n Tapes.
Moving day rapidly approaches. I've chosen furniture to take (bed/grandfather's sea chest - I'm such a pirate), gone through my papers and books and DVDs, and spread the word that I need all my comics back. I am avoiding the clothing issue. I own a ton of clothes that I don't wear. I need to go through and goodwill what I'm not taking or storing but christ, what a stupid chore. Thankfully my folks are letting me leave all my extra nonsense here.
I need to come up with some kind of regular feature for this thing. Something I can force myself to do on a weekly basis or thereabouts...any ideas?
...is virtually all I have been listening to on a regular basis lately. Initially - when he went solo and started releasing songs properly again - I was a little sad. I adored Street to Nowhere and I love the raw, gritty acoustic feel of his earlier stuff. But I finally got around to buying his new EP (Waiting For The Pills) and...fell instantaneously in love. There are so few songwriters working today that can make me swoon over a song like Dave, and all five tracks on that EP are absolutely beautiful.
I went to see him with my little sister when he played down in San Jose, a few weeks back. These days it takes a lot to get me to make a three-hour trek both ways on a work night, but I hadn't seen him perform in almost a year and Dizzy Balloon (co-headlining) are always a good time. Cody had called me positively raving the last time she saw Dave and told me I'd flip out over his new songs, particularly one about his father.
Well...Cody was right. Dave played a few favorites and then announced one about his dad...and by the time he finished playing I had literally teared up. I have never done that at a show. I am not the type.
I spent the ride home in the kind of walking-on-air mood that generally follows great sex or a re-reading of The Dark Knight Returns.* It takes a lot to move me these days, musically speaking, and it's reassuring to find that there is at least one artist that can defy all my expectations and affect me to such an extent with one simple song.
The point is, a body has to learn the simple art of deconstruction. You've got to be able to carve away all this ridiculous "gut reaction" rubbish and take a good look at the heart of the beast. Ask yourself: is this thing really worth my hatred...or am I just a bigot? Hip hop, for example. People will say to me, "My god but I hate all that rapper music! It's nothing but bitches and hustlers and gold chains and diamond...ah...bullets and such." But I'll counter with "Oi there! First of all, not all hip hop is like that. But more to the point, it's not really hip hop you hate at all, is it? What you hate, sir, is misogyny. Materialism. Gratuitous violence and the glorification of ignorance. Strip away all that nonsense and what are you left with? Just a set of beats and a vocal style that may or may not be your own personal cup of tea. You see what I'm saying.
It's so very disconcerting when you find out how certain people affect you, when you weren't expecting it. How they can break down every wall you've built up without really trying at all. And even when every ounce of common sense is screaming at you to stop and think about what you're doing, there's still that corner of your mind that continues to hope they'll knock on your door again, smiling that familiar smile.
On a completely separate note: my favorite band broke up went on hiatus this week. I write, of course, of the Matches. I had a few days before the actual announcement to get used to the idea, but it didn't soften the blow - much. The Matches were truly something special, both in terms of what they were to the scene, and what they meant to me. I met so many people through their shows, have so many incredible memories involving those friends and those nights in a dozen cities across the state. When I first saw them perform, I was a completely different person - but over the years, their music has stayed with me, has helped me become who I am today. And I wouldn't trade any of that, for anything in the world. I could ramble for pages about the last five years - but I won't. Instead I will simply say this: to Shawn, Jon, Matt, Justin, Dylan, and Ben - thank you, a thousand times and more than I can ever express. I know that I will never forget what your music has done for me, and I can only hope that all of you find success and happiness in whatever you do next.
I used to work in the bakery at this natural food store and their motto was "Fresh and Available." Well, the best-selling items in the bakery were these fruit tarts that we'd spend half of every day making. It's also worth mentioning that the bakery staff was entirely female and almost all single at the time. So eventually we came up with the bakery's slogan: "New Leaf Tarts - Fresh and Available!"
Corporate wouldn't let us put it on the t-shirts, for some reason.
This is probably only funny to me.
Anyway, in terms of fresh and available music... Nothing Personal does not disappoint. I've only listened to it once through, so I'll hold off on deeper thoughts until I get a few more spins in - but I will definitely be rocking this on my ride to work for quite a while. "Damned If I Do Ya," "Lost In Stereo," "Keep The Change" and "Therapy" are the initial standouts for me.
Oh, and the Used's new single - I won't pretend I love this band even close to as much as I did in high school. But I'll always have a soft spot for them, and this is, well, better than I expected. Better than most of Lies, certainly.
That's all for now. Gotta get my thrice-cursed bike into the shop.
Hot on the heels of my shiny new internship, I now have a new place to live. Now all I have to do is quit my job, pack my bags, and head south to where it is foggy and beautiful.
Oh yes, that's right. I've got an apartment in San Francisco, my friends. Or rather, a piece of an apartment in San Francisco, which I will share with my sister and two others. I could not possibly be more stoked. Cheap rent, just off Haight in the Hayes Valley area, cute little place.
I will miss almost nothing of this town and these people.
Which means, of course, that I have to bite the bullet and apologize for the negative things I've said about All Time Low in the past.
So...sorry, guys. I take it back. Glad I gave you a second (er...sixth) chance.
Maybe it's not my weekend...
PS, I reviewed Silversun Pickups' latest album, and that review is posted right here. Check it!