Music is dead

February 21, 2010 at 6:00 pm (Uncategorized)

Well, productive 2 months on here hasn’t it?

Truth be told, 2010’s been a fucking grand year so far. Had a fantastic fake-birthday party of karaoke in Holborn where so many good friends came down and lots of people said it was the best night out they’ve had in ages. Been to some great shows – The Hope Conspiracy stands out but among that also seen Crime In Stereo, Living Nightmare, Break The Habit, Alkaline Trio (in the bloody Underworld!)…in fact I’ve virtually lost count. Discovered a great venue in Stoke Newington only a ten minute drive (or 45 min bus ride) away and KScores played our first shows of 2010 – supporting Nothington in Kingston and a headline show in Bury St Edmunds which was wild.

I’ve been working out a lot this year, really aiming to get back in the fitness regime and get motivation. I just love it, it helps me deal with any stress and helps me forget about shit that’s bothering me and if who doesn’t like staying in shape. Aiming to get close to a 6 pack by the summer really. Just want that CK underwear model type body really.

But yeah, busy busy but in a good way. Means I’ve neglected this and not really paid enough attention. I’ll still keep this going but sporadically – I’m also gonna use tumblr cos basically I keep posting funny music videos of dodgy bands on youtube my mate suggested I started a blog…so I did

http://musicisdead.tumblr.com/

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Good shiz in 2009

December 23, 2009 at 1:43 pm (Uncategorized)

It’s actually been a fucking great year for music, but sadly it’s sort of passed me by. I dunno, it’s a lot harder for me to be blown away by something these days, and I just didn’t feel the need to check out as much music. The first 6 months of the year, so much of my energy went into Keeping Scores it was almost like I was avoiding other music so I could focus on my own songwriting, or focus on finding other smaller/DIY bands to book shows with and that. Plus, working in the pop side of the industry and having friends working in the industry meant that I often seeked solace away from music. Working in this business can worryingly damage one’s enthusiasm for it at times.

However, it’s been a good year so it would be rude not to look at albums I really enjoyed.

What Rocked in 2009

Converge – ‘Axe To Fall’

In my opinion, their finest release. One the die hards may disagree, but for me my love of Converge was more them as a band on the whole, rather than a particular release. ‘Jane Doe’ was probably my favourite before but only just – there was never a clear standout until this came along. Maybe the added metal element (it sounds like they’ve listened to a LOT of Mastodon) makes it that much more face-melting and much more memorable. I never thought I’d hear myself humming Converge songs to myself but I actually do now, ‘Dark Horse’ is just face-meltingly brilliant!

The Dangerous Summer ‘Reach For The Sun’

It’s really nothing massively new – simple, catchy pop rock songs. Very similar to The Starting Line, but with darker lyrical content and a bit more of an emo element but still sounding BIG. It’s pretty much right up my street, but because so many bands lately have failed miserably at it I guess it makes this seem all the more triumphant. It’s just a lot more honest, real and genuine than a lot of their contemporaries. I hope they come to the UK soon.

Make Do and Mend – ‘Bodies Of Water’

I’m not sure if it counts as an album, but the record is 12″ and it’s just so good that I’m including it anyway. I love my somewhat sensitive 90s inspired emo but some of the latter 2000s bands can be a bit TOO sugary (The Panic Division for example) and the likes of Make Do And Mend have this but with a bit of an element of hardcore and gruff to truly revive the sound Renee Heartfelt and Grade were so good at. Bit of an epic feel about it, perfect for nighttime driving.

Coalesce – ‘ox’

It’s actually the best Coalesce record yet. Seeing as they’re pretty much the finest heavy band there is, it’s inevitably going to be one of the year’s strongest albums. The production is meaty as hell, and sounds very crisp but NOT overproduced. One of the only things I felt held Coalesce back was the quality of the recordings. Don’t get me wrong, I like raw and organic sounding stuff, but seriously brutal music can benefit from an added bit of punch to the production, which this has, making it one of the finest hardcore releases in years.

Our Time Down Here – ‘Live, Love, Let, Go’

It’s great when a band you’re close friends with make amazing music too. Perhaps consequently there’s an element of bias here but it’s just with so much bullshit in hardcore, be it overly macho brainless tough guy bollocks or the whole ‘ooh I’m so trendy with my boat shoes, Rough Trade bag and stripey V-neck with cringeworthy chest tattoo’ shite…it makes OTDH all the more necessary. Definitely the ones to take over from The Steal as the torchbearers for good, honest and meaningful UK hardcore with a good message behind it. The more singalong-y Shook Ones like choruses gave them that added appeal. Great album.

Title Fight – ‘The Last Thing You Forget’

Pop-punk hit a bit of a stumbling block in 08 at times with loads of girly mincy haircut bands still ruling the roost, and the alternative was bands with hardcore elements and beatdowns and that. At first it was fun..but then more and more AND MORE bands came along with the same verse-chorus-DROP D CHUG-CHUG formula and it got SO tiresome. Title Fight are among a string of new bands going back to simply being fast, melodic and fun and gimmick free. Think early Saves The Day. It’s very good stuff.

Loma Prieta – ‘Dark Mountain’

There hasn’t been too much great screamo in 2009 in my opinion, and some releases from very strong bands have not really lived up to what I was hoping for. But this band always impress, blending the skramz with post-rock and creating something very powerful indeed. Not quite up to Envy’s standards but still very, very good indeed.

Some other cracking treats

The Hope Conspiracy – ‘true nihilist’ – Only an EP, but stunning. 3 of the best songs all year.

Narrows – ‘New Distances’ – Didn’t quite live up to the teaser EP, and it is Botch lite in a sense, but it’s still ten times better than most modern metallic hardcore.

Polar Bear Club – ‘Chasing Hamburg’ – MASSIVE improvement on a fairly dull predecessor. Much rockier and ballsier. Solid melodic punk

Half Hearted Hero – ‘Defining Redefining’ – Fast, technical & emotive pop-punk.with the instrumental skills of Rufio and the vocal and lyrical content a la Valencia. Perfect mix of balls and melody.

Alexisonfire ‘Old Crows Young Cardinals’ – Still think they’re a bit overrated, but less Dallas & more George meant a big improvement

Afi – ‘crash love’ – Ignore it’s Afi for a second and stop wishing for the old days and what you get is a great stadium rock album.

Cartel – ‘cycles’ – Fantastic return to form from a great pop rock band. Nothing more, nothing less. Love It

Propagandhi – ‘supporting caste’ – Band that constantly deliver.

Defeater – ‘lost ground’ – Didn’t quite see the hype behind this band. Until I heard this. Exceptional improvement that justifies their tag as one of the most exciting new modern hardcore bands in existence.

Strike Anywhere – ‘Iron Front’ – A HUGE HUGE improvement on the disappointing ‘Dead FM’

Backstreet Boys ‘this is us’ – back to the hits. Great return

Rise & Fall – ‘Our Circle Is Vicious’ – Brutality

The Swellers – ‘Ups and Downsizing’ – Going to be BIG in 2010

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Why I love being in a hardcore band

December 18, 2009 at 3:15 pm (Musical, Musings on life)

Lots happenin’ since the last uppy d’s….

So Tuesday 8th was the ‘comeback’ gig for Keeping Scores – our first show for 6 months after taking a much needed break, playing the Purple Turtle in Camden with Ruiner, TRC, Our Time Down Here & Santa Karla. It really couldn’t have gone much better, which was such a relief. We were offered the show when still sorta newly active and we weren’t sure how ready we’d be what with all but Mike going on holiday at different points leading up to the show. But the line-up was too good to turn down and we decided to take the risk….and in the end played a decent set to a virtually full room and won over many new friends. Couldn’t have gone much better!

But the main point of this post was more about how great the overall evening was regardless of the quality of our performance, and just how it reminded me how much fun it is being in a DIY hardcore band. The vibe was just perfect, and when you consider how different us &OTDH sound compared to Ruiner, TRC and Santa Karla, you’ve got 5 completely different sounding bands there and yet everyone was polite and watched all the bands and remained open minded, something I feared wouldn’t happen. Everyone – bands and crowd, were commenting on how good this was and Liam did truly pull a fantastic show out of the bag.

POST-EDIT

I then went on to have a bit of a rant about how much I love the DIY culture that’s in punk/hardcore/emo and that for me
the fun for this show was getting to hang with close friends in OTDH, share a stage with a band who are big inspiration, make new friends with the other bands and audience members – blah blah blah.

I then rambled on about bands from the other side of the coin – pop-rock/punk and indie bands who have their hearts set on ‘making it’ and how I personally couldn’t enjoy being part of that. However, I had this saved in my draftbox for ages as I couldn’t find a way of expressing this without it coming across as horribly smug and preachy.

I then went on to discuss the things that are a bit problematic to the hardcore/punk scene – dishonest, trendhopping bands, kids who follow a particular dress code and wear t shirts of bands that they don’t bother to watch when they actually play their city etc etc. It was similarly cheesy and cringe-worthy, so I deleted it. However I still wanted to reference these thoughts here.

The point of it was not intended to be all preachy and that, it was simply to express how whilst I don’t believe my band are the dogs bollocks, amazing musicians or anything, I’m quite proud of the fact that we’re 100% honest and overall promote a good, posi vibe. I just couldn’t find a way of expressing this without sounding like a bit of a twat.

It would be nice if more of these afformentioned kids actually recieved this message, and MUCH more importantly listened some of our superior peers who make incredible, bullshit free music, as well as bands who influenced us, in the hope that they may rediscover the good points about hardcore, or something. So I’m really hoping we play some more shows, meet new people, and take the band to the next level in 2010. For those reasons, rather than selfish ones.

ANYHOO, PICS.

Love this one. It looks quite intense.

I always look like a total bellend in live shots but this is fairly decent.

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POP MUSIC IS BRILLIANT PART DEUX

December 7, 2009 at 10:51 pm (Lulz, Musical)

Added to the slices of pop gems mentioned below, I felt the need to post these two videos for entirely different reasons

Lostprophets – ‘where we belong’

Wow. I want to hate Lostprophets so bad – Watkins comes across as a smug, arrogant cunt, they’re filthy rich, can have poon on tap and the whole consumerist bling bling image thing they give off is totally against the spirit of punk rock and hardcore…

The thing is, (and I don’t mean to namedrop here) having met Watkins during the whole Flash! Flash! Flash! Photography roller coaster thing…the dude’s simply a complete legend. Sure, he’s a bit cocky, but the guy literally can do whatever he wants simply because he’s Ian Watkins. Consequently he does some pretty rad things like take a bunch of normal dudes from London and let them support them on various shows, letting them bring mates like myself along for the ride, as opposed to simply fuck underage girls backstage.

And, most importantly, the band (there’s 6 of them remember) can write some FANTASTIC songs. ‘It’s Not The End Of The World…’ was terrible. Utter shite. This, is not. This is good, nay brilliant, nay outstanding. One of the best songs I’ve heard this year and when it’s released will probably be one of the best singles of 2010. It contains one of the best rock choruses I’ve heard in years and is the best pop/rock song of that sort since FFAF’s ‘Into Oblivion’ which is a masterpiece.

If Lossy P’s can write an album full of hits like that, it’ll be a genius. Balls to returning to the older metal with the DJ and wierd hip-hop inspired interludes, STADIUM ROCK like this song is much better

R Kelly – ‘Pregnant’

Words fail me. Seriously, the dude is such a genius. Highlights include

– “knock you up” as the little backing vocal”
– “until I met this girl in a club with an unbelievable booty, the sweetest girl in the world to me and on toppa that she’s a cutie…”
– “but I keep seeing this big old house with a pickett fence and a daaaawwwg’
– “So put that girl in the kitchen”
– “I just wanna put somethin’ in you”

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POP MUSIC IS BRILLIANT

December 6, 2009 at 2:58 pm (Uncategorized)

Pretty chilled Saturday night of boozing avec Mike, Pooke and Miniberry but the highlight involved discussing how fucking awesome pop music has been in 2009, cos let’s face it it has been brilliant.

I’ve got my list of best ‘proper’ releases for this year (albeit not as comprehensive as my Albums of the Decade thing) but what I’ll mostly remember 09 for is just how many wicked pop releases there were …either for comedy value or just genuine awesomeness! Here’s some of the finest.

Jason Derulo – ‘Whatcha Say’

The best pop song of the year. Brilliant.

Kei$ha – ‘Tik Tok’

She’s a bit of a babe and loves getting absolutely smashed – what’s not to like? Add an incredible amount of autotune and we’re onto a winner. Will be HUGE in 2010.

N-Dubz – ‘Playing With Fire’

You either get N-Dubz or you don’t. It took me a while but I’m there. Dappy’s appearance on Never Mind The Buzzcocks probably helped. And the girl is blates utter filth…

Backstreet Boys – ‘Straight Through My Heart’

What a spectacular return to form from the finest boyband to date.

Cascada – ‘Evacuate The Dancefloor’

The number of times myself and a bunch of dudes in their 20s mostly involved in the DIY punk scene start singing and dancing with girly voices along to this song when we see it on ‘The Hits’ is worrying.

50 Cent – ‘Baby By Me’

Two reasons 1) Ne-Yo is the man 2) 50 Cent in a grandad jumper = the greatest image ever.

Justin Bieber – ‘One Time’

This is ridiculous – it’s Lil Chris becoming EVEN YOUNGER and getting all r&b sensation on us! The actual song is actually damn catchy as well, and the fact that he refers to his lady as ‘shortie’ is just fantastic.

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lol que?

November 27, 2009 at 9:00 pm (Uncategorized)

This made me seriously crack up.

Obviously not because I think casual homophobia is cool or anything…. it just they way they chant it sounds so bloody funny. It’s like in Shaun of the Dead when Ed goes ‘alright gayyyyyyyyy’ and it’s brilliant.

Fucking hell, 70 hits from my ‘albums of the decade’ post in one day. 50 in another – Srs business. The general public needs to see it though, and if it gets kids to check out some good bands as opposed to all the shit that’s getting coverage right now then the World will be a better place. But still, sorta wierded out that any Tom, Dick or Harry could be reading this blog now.

But to contradict myself being wierded out by it all, I might as well have another personal/meaningful bit to talk about whilst I’m here. Went to Leeds at the weekend to see the nonces and had a top time as always. I seriously miss it, though think it may simply be a ‘grass is greener’ scenario. I dunno, perhaps that’s for another blog.

What felt most significant to me was the road trip up/back in the company of Chaddock and Murta, simply because of the company and conversation we had. I dunno, sometimes I find that in London life is so busy and hectic that in my social circle we never really have the time to properly TALK about how we are. Either that, or some people just don’t care beyond a superficial level of gossip / banter concerning ‘who hooked up with who’ or what boozing related activity people are up to at the weekend… I often wonder whether people actually care about how you’re feeling about things, and if you were going through serious problems who would be the ones to show serious concern. If that makes any sense..

Obviously it was brilliant to catch up with the Leeds friends, but just having the time to sit for a few hours in my trusty Peugeot, dropping the ladz facade that quite a few of us are guilty of doing, and having a proper heart-to-heart chat about things that actually matter with two of my nearest and dearest was awesome, particularly as we’ve all been in somewhat headfuckery situations of late (some more serious than others). You can’t really do that in a pub or with a large group of people, especially as like I’ve said it, it feels like some people wouldn’t care, and it was the sort of thing where you can only talk about life in such detail when you’re doing something like camping or one of those one-off occasions where you feel inspired to seriously go into great detail about matters at heart.

In the city itself stupid amounts of drinking was done at a cost of next to nothing. Boozing at Rich’s flat (another point of Leeds – amazing flats at stupidly cheap prices), Cockpit AND Juvi (we had to sample both). Fantastic night. We literally spent ALL of Sunday in the Dry Dock just hanging out. I miss that pub so much, it’s my favourite. That’s the great thing about Leeds – people are all so close that you can easily pick a pub and spend ages there hanging out. That’s really not something you can get in London where one person’s local is another’s 45 minute trek on the tube. But yeah, top weekend.

This weekend I’ll try sort out my guitar among other things and get proper ready for the return of the Scores. I’m quietly confident, we can all remember the old shiz and we reworked some stuff too so we’ll have a fairly solid set we can work on for future gigs. Gonna try out a couple of different clubs too, just cos I’m bored to death of what the ones I’ve been to have to offer. Same music, same people, snoozefest.

Right, ramble ramble ramble. This was also quite ridiculously emo. Need to grap a copy of NUTS and get all excited over tits, meat, beer, football and cars. Peace x

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Albums of the decade

November 20, 2009 at 7:03 pm (Musical)

For various reasons I opted against the ‘Doug’ route of blogging personal feelings for a while but thought now would be a reet good time to post my albums of the decade, which has been doing the rounds through people on twitter and in various publications. I sort of wanted to blog it and write a bit about each release rather than just make a list, just cos it’s a bit more interesting!

Lots of bands I fucking adore didn’t make this list because they’re more down to a collection of great songs spanning several albums as opposed to one particular masterpiece.  I’m looking at you Converge, Strike Anywhere, Isis, Further Seems Forever, Poison The Well, Boysetsfire, Rufio, Strung Out, Hope Con, Bane & Funeral for a Friend…

But doing this was pretty tough and I’m sure I’ll change my mind back and fourth.  There’s definitely a level of nostalgia to it, but when an album is released in 2008 it’s hard to decide a mere year later if it’s an all time classic, whereas an album you still adore 7 years on…you just know.    These albums needed to be more than just a great collection of songs, because LOTS of albums are great collections of songs that you can listen to and then forget about for a while and then go back to.  These needed to be that little bit more added significance, hence the reason there’s a bit of an essay with each one that HOPEFULLY will be of interest to some of you.  Feel free to post yours as well.

10: Renee Heartfelt – ‘Death Of The Ghost’ (2005)

‘Death Of The Ghost’ was the only full length Renee Heartfelt ever released, and the band were exactly what people needed to hear to get what the term ’emo’ meant as it started to become the victim of quite ignorant journalism from the likes of the Daily Mail who were hugely mistaken as to what the subculture was about. Featuring ex Give Up The Ghost and Count Me Out members, they pretty much define ‘post hardcore for me’ in that sense!

It wasn’t hugely original, and it was so easy to hear the influence of the likes of Elliott, Quicksand and even Cave In, but when you consider that a) these bands were awesome and b) lot of the 90s era emo/post hardcore bands were finished, it was just a great refreshing change at the time. Hugely atmospheric, a great vibrant guitar sound, and accessible emotive songs with a real substance, it was a great little discovery and a huge shame the band didn’t last a little bit longer.

9: Andrew WK – ‘I Get Wet’ (2001)

This might shock you…but I hated Andrew WK at first. But put your fists away and bare in mind that as a young pop-punk kid with no interest in metal I had no real need to listen to it, and when you consider the fact that ‘Party Hard’ and ‘She Is Beautiful’ are the two weakest tracks, it’s understandable. Once I saw the things he did with Jackass, I was converted, checked out the album and loved it. I’m sure lots of people who even now who aren’t fans probably haven’t heard the album in full, and would be hooked if they listened to ‘It’s Time To Party’ and ‘Ready To Die’. If not, they’re either dead inside or they simply take themselves way too fucking seriously.

The man is an inspiration – he was essentially a laughing stock for much of the decade but just kept going. A man so devoted to his fans, so devoted to just having a good time and remaining positive, so devoted to making life enjoyable and now enjoys a cult status among solely awesome dudes (and the odd fashionista in East London liking him ironically). This album will always cheer me up. I ❤ AWK.

8: The Starting Line – ‘say it like you mean it’ (2002)

This album might not be rocket science – essentially it’s simple pop-punk meets emo, something that’s pretty over-saturated right now. But in 2002, aside from possibly Saves the Day… who were still that little bit older, there weren’t many seriously youthful bands reaching a wider audience of the same age. Bands like Blink were in their late 20s, so at the time it was awesome for a 17 year old hearing a dude exactly the same age sing about things extremely relevant to him. It’s a bit more believable than blokes who are married with kids singing it.

Sure, it was standard ‘lovesick boy feels bad over a girl who a) has dumped him b) lives far away c) is dating a dickhead d) is being a bit of a headfuck’, but we’ve all been there at some point during our school years and beyond. And what separates them from the overwhelming number of dime-a-dozen bands who look and sound the same in 2009 is that you knew this was REAL. I cannot help but think bands like Forever The Sickest Kids et al care more about styling their hair and shagging under age girls than the quality of their music, whereas The Starting Line really weren’t keen on ‘hearthrob’ status or selling out. All their work contains a sense of honesty truly lacking in bands who they have inspired since. Plus, the simple fact is the songs are much better – the relatively technical, sugarsweet pop-punk of ‘Up and Go’, ‘Best Of Me’, ‘Decisions, Decisions’ and ‘This Ride’ remain fantastic 7 years on. A very special album indeed that meant so much to me at the time.

7: Shai Hulud – ‘that within blood ill tempered’ (2003)

“Rest assured, this is sincere, this is true…”

Shai Hulud never quite got that legendary status I personally think they deserved, probably because they’ve had so many line-up changes they’ve had to start over so many times and never really maintained much consistency. This album is by FAR their best effort. Read the lyrics, at times you feel you need to take a step back and try to take in what vocalist Geert van der Velde is saying as it’s so intelligent and complex, touching on many subjects often raised in hardcore yet never once feeling cliched or overdone. When you remember the dude is Dutch, his use of the English language is only that much more impresive.

Musically, it’s fucking brutal, and will inspire many a circle pit, but what truly sets this album apart is the juxtaposition some incredibly heavy beats with some of the most beautifully melodic guitar lines you’ll ever hear layered over the top….meaning that you’re given genuinely anthemic and memorable songs you can scream along to yet at the same time they remain pretty complex and challenging. It’s actually quite difficult to explain, so you might as well just purchase it and enjoy one of the finest hardcore releases of all time.

6: Envy – ‘all the footprints you’ve ever left and the fear expecting ahead (2001)

Tokyo’s Envy are a truly phenomenal band and criminally underrated. Ideally, you should own their whole discography which sees their incredible career progress from an exceptionally intense hardcore/screamo band to an awe inspiring post-rock/metal hybrid balancing beauty with sheer force. As such, it’s incredibly difficult to actually pick a best album, and it’s purely down to personal preference rather than a blatant case of one album being better than the other.

‘All the footprints…’ for me is their pinnacle simply because it has the perfect balance between the scramz (I hate that word and use it clenching my teeth) side and the post-rock side. The earlier material is great, but is reasonably similar to a lot of their peers with short, sharp, awesome bursts of hardcore energy that’s over pretty quickly. The latter material is also great but perhaps lacks the ferocity and power of this, or at least the power is more through the sense of epic and melody rather than the chaotic side, which is what I personally connect with the most. This gives you the best of both and is outstanding.

5: The Juliana Theory – ’emotion is dead’ (2000)

Oh my this is cheesy. But sometimes, just sometimes, you just would rather have a nice few slices of brie spread thinly on crackers, or some good old English cheddar melted on toast with Lea and Perrins as opposed to a juicy steak sandwich, and The Juliana Theory satisfied this need. Part of my love might be simply because they felt more ‘mine’ than others, due to them remaining relatively unknown in the UK whilst their uber melodic, early 00s emo (or MTVmo as my friend liked to call them) peers such as Dashboard Confessional, Brandtson and Further Seems Forever among others of got bigger.

They’re far more melodic than a lot of the other acts, and unbelievably corny, but at the same time irresistably catchy. ‘Top Of The World’ is one of the most utterly wimpy things you’ll ever hear, but you’ll seriously struggle to avoid singing along to the chorus of ‘sha la la la’. As well as this, there are some genuinely decent and moving emotional numbers such as ‘Into The Dark’, ‘If I Told You This Was Killing Me Would You Stop’ as well as pop hits like ‘Understand The Dream Is Over’ and some decent aggressive moments such as ‘To The Tune Of 5000 Screaming Children’, with Brett Detar wailing ‘your hatred only fuels us on’, very self aware of how easy they attract scorn.

It’s strange, seeing as they were so easy to lay into, particularly as their genuinely dislikeable frontman Detar loved himself so much, and ESPECIALLY as 2003’s ‘Love’ sounded like Creed minus the comedy value, that those that did like them LOVED them. Despite all the band’s imperfections I adored them and always will.

4: Botch – ‘we are the romans’ (2000)

The greatest heavy album ever written by the greatest heavy band of all time. From the first second in, you are BLOWN AWAY.

Blown away by just how MASSIVE it all sounds, despite the seeming restriction of only having one guitarist. Blown away by the mind-fuck time signatures, in which pretty much nothing like this existed at the time and all the modern metalcore bands owe to now. Blown away by the sheer vehemence of the bass which adds to just how pant-shittingly fucking heavy it is – skip to 2:19 in ‘C Thomas Howell as the Soul Man’ to see what I mean, possibly one of my favourite split seconds in music ever… Blown away by the unusual poetic lyrics which refuse to follow a specific pattern. Blown away by pretty much everything. I really cannot use words to put it this album to justice and already can sense I’m rambling. Basically, take everything good about hardcore, metal and mathcore or whatever, times it by a million, and you’re close to what Botch achieved with this album.

Lots of bands since have done a similar thing, some seemingly trying to be a full on tribute act almost. Some have been awesome, some have been dire. But none have come remotely close to achieving the sort of brilliance that ‘We Are The Romans’ posessed, and nobody ever will.

3: New Found Glory – ‘new found glory’ (2000)

One thing I have loved about the last few years is how New Found Glory have gone from being a serious stick-worthy band to becoming inexplicably credible amongst EVERYONE in punk. Well, not inexplicably, for they deserve it, but it’s just odd because I remember being around 16-17 and adoring this band but constantly seeing bad press from critics and the more elitist alike, and for a while were held in the same regard as Good Charlotte, Sum 41 and Simple Plan, which was ridiculous.

Yet as time went on, they became ‘okay to like’. And as a result their shows are always such a great experience because you’ve simply got a huge diverse crowd where everyone just wants to have a fucking great time. I guarantee if you were to have a road trip with ska kids, hardcore kids, emo kids, crust punks, pop-punks and all sorts of different characters, one album they could all agree on enjoying is this. It is just the perfect pop album. From start to finish, it is packed with flawless hits (‘black and blue’ aside), and singalong anthems that remain true nearly 10 years on.

I’m just as likely to scream out the lyrics to ‘boy crazy’ and ‘ballad for the lost romantics’ now as I was when I first heard this album, as I’m sure many other dudes in their early/mid 20s will do, whilst adolescents will do the exact same thing.

‘Let’s toast the night away to friends and forget about tomorrow’. Indeed, let’s.

2: Jimmy Eat World – ‘futures’ (2004)

Jimmy Eat World truly cracked the mainstream in 2001 with ‘Bleed American’ with a collection of great radio rock songs. However, it was arguably one of their weaker efforts. Jimmy Eat World’s true genius is with the slower, heart wrenching and beautiful numbers present on their 1999 masterpiece ‘Clarity’, my personal favourite album of all time. This is the closest they’ve come to matching that genius since.

They do still provide some radio friendly stuff – such as lead single ‘Pain’ which is often the set closer, despite being the worst song on the album. The likes of ‘Work’ and the title track are similarly upbeat and incredibly catchy, but still a bit more ‘Clarity’-esque.

But it’s the darker songs, the love songs, the slow songs that truly make this album. Yet it’s also the diversity of it that make it such a masterpiece, with the slow ballad ‘Drugs Or Me’ being followed by ‘Nothing Wrong’, fairly brutal for JEW’s standards. ‘Polaris’, ‘The World You Love’ and particularly ‘Kill’ are all wonderful, with extremely simple, yet unbelievably effective lyrics that all can relate to (‘I know what you want to say, I know that I can’t help feeling differently’).

’23’, the closer, is quite possibly the finest song written. It’s over 7 minutes long and as such could quite easily drift off….for me personally, songs that long require odd time signature/beat changes, or several parts to the song that are completely different if it needs to keep my attention going. This song remains a simple pop song from start to finish, but is just so wonderfully written that you remain hooked throughout for an utterly overwhelmingly brilliant final chorus, and one of the most incredible endings to an album. Utter genius.

1: Thursday – ‘full collapse’ (2001)

The genre-defining ‘Full Collapse’ essentially showed me that heavy music can be intelligent, thought provoking and beautiful. There really was very little like this back in 2001 that was as accessible, aside from the likes of At The Drive-In which personally I wasn’t that into, and this really did have such a huge impact on me, sounding almost as mind blowing and as fresh today as it did back then when I had to specially order it in from my local record shop, as you did back in’t day. You can in hear equal parts all the hardcore & post-hardcore acts that influenced them throughout their youth going to basement shows as you can Sonic Youth, The Smiths, The Cure, Joy Division and early U2, and it was that indie-rock element personally that opened my eyes to a lot of other types of music, in particular Morrissey (baring in mind he was out of the limelight at the time, and The Smiths had, until then, passed me by).

My knowledge of hardcore was there, but it was fairly limited and was more just about simple pounding, heavy aggression rather than anything particularly elaborate or enthralling, nor was I as passionate about it as later on in my teens. Thursday opened that door for me dig deeper, discovering heavy bands who influenced them, as well as their New Jersey peers at the time that were that bit more creative and inspiring.

Had Thursday split up immediately after recording this, I am adamant they’d be held up in the same regard as Refused and particularly with ‘The Shape of Punk To Come’. At the time, and even now, ‘Full Collapse’ is a phenomenal record and one that was unbelievably difficult to follow up. ‘War All The Time’ was a great effort, and one of 2003’s finest releases, but simply didn’t have the same impact, particularly as that sound started to be copied a bit, thus losing the impact it once had, and ever since they’re not really managed to recreate such brilliance (though this year’s ‘Common Existance’ is still a great record).

Despite the copycat-ish bands however, there’s still something about Full Collapse that sounds totally different to your Hawthorne Heights or From Autumn To Ashes or whoever you want to say they influenced. There just seems to be so much more to this than simple scream-sing-scream-heavy-light switcharoos and that’s why they can never quite be completely imitated.

In 2006 I interviewed Geoff (in a kitchen cupboard no less, to keep it quiet) for my radio show. At the time, I wanted to try and remain cool, and I also wasn’t to know ‘Full Collapse’ would remain my favourite album of the decade. Looking back, as lame as I may have looked, I really wish I could have just thanked him for the inspiration. Objectively, it might not be the best album of the decade, I’m not sure… There will be some people who’d regard it as a bit dated now, but as I have mentioned already, it would mean that they didn’t listen to it when it was initially released and wouldn’t have felt the impact it had. Perhaps I was the perfect age for it, still a young and impressionable pop-punk kid for the most part, and people a few years older would have perhaps been that bit wiser. But I don’t really care – for me, me it had more impact than anything else, and has stood the test of time and still sounds as exciting now as it did back then.

‘Autobiography Of a Nation’…1 minute in….fuck. Incredible.

Other great albums that deserve a mention:

The Gaslight Anthem – ‘The 59 Sound’ (2008)
Afi – ‘Sing The Sorrow’ (2003)
Jesu – ‘Silver’ (2006)
Imogen Heap – ‘Speak For Yourself’ (2005)
The Steal – ‘s/t’ (2006)
Thrice – ‘The Artist In The Ambulance’ (2003)
Joshua Fit For Battle – ‘To Bring Our Own End’ (2001)
Hot Water Music – ‘Caution’ (2002)
Copeland – ‘Beneath Medicine Tree’ (2003)
The Ataris – ‘So Long Astoria’ (2003)
Glassjaw – ‘Worship and Tribute’ (2002)
Raein – ‘Il N’y A Pas De Orchestre’ (2003)
Taking Back Sunday – ‘Tell All Your Friends’ (2002)
Set Your Goals – ‘Mutiny’ (2006)
The Movielife – ’40 Hour Train Back To Penn’ (2003)
A Wilhelm Scream – ‘Career Suicide’ (2007)
HORSE The Band -‘R Borlax’ (2003)
Further Seems Forever -‘The Moon Is Down’ (2001)
Converge – ‘Jane Doe’ (2001)
Hundred Reasons – ‘Ideas Above Our Station’ (2002)
Fastlane – ‘Overdrive’ (2007)
Rise Against – ‘Revolutions Per Minute’ (2003)
Stretch Arm Strong – ‘A Revolution Transmission’ (2001)
Hit The Lights -‘This Is a Stick Up, Don’t Make It a Murder’ (2006)
The Dillinger Escape Plan – ‘Miss Machine’ (2004)
Fugazi – ‘The Argument’ (2001)
Hopesfall – ‘The Satellite Years (2002)
Killswitch Engage -‘The End Of Heartache’ (2006)
Finch – ‘What It Is To Burn’ (2002)
Cartel -‘Chroma’ (2005)
Mastodon – ‘Leviathan’ (2004)
My Awesome Compilation – ‘The View Is Amazing’ (2003?)
Jimmy Eat World – ‘Bleed American’ (2001)
Amanda Woodward -‘Discography’ (2004) [I know, it’s essentially Alan Partridge liking ‘The Best of the Beatles’… Big Whoop Wanna Fight About It?}

Permalink 7 Comments

Tezza Henza

November 19, 2009 at 11:50 pm (Uncategorized)

It begins….

Murta did this one below.  Holy LOL.

I don’t really have an opinion on the whole Thierry Henry being a cheat really.  He did cheat, yes.  Ireland probably should have been more than 1-0 up by then though.  It would have gone to penalties and they’d have probably lost anyway.  And the way it was all seeded, it was obvious something iffy was going on.  And I don’t support either France or Ireland (or particularly England for that matter).  But the hysteria is amazing…

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And knowing is half the battle…

November 15, 2009 at 4:10 pm (Uncategorized)

Well entertaining, some dude just dubbed over GI Joe cartoons, totally random and stupid but so funny.

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Broken Britain

November 12, 2009 at 12:23 am (Lulz, Musings on life)

You wanna know what’s dumber than people who moan about who gets voted off X-Factor?

People who moan over the fact that other people moan about who gets voted off X-Factor!!

I see so many more status updates on social networking sites bemoaning the fact that some people watch a popular tv show… than from the people who actually give a toss about the results!

So those who don’t care…suck it up, don’t watch, and let the rest of the public get their fix of dalendless dwads and wondering what wonderfully revealing outfits Cheryl will wear next. I can never understand why people complain so much about something they’re not interested in when it’s just so easy to ignore.

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