Tag Archives: mineral

The end is nigh….

I’ve been mulling over this post for a while now. I’ve had little time to do any writing recently so very nearly jacked in the idea for this post but it does, kind of, follow on from a previous one I wrote last year so here goes.

Last week I bought Kerrang magazine, let me tell you for why (in a roundabout way).

Cast your minds back to last summer, you may or may not have read a post I wrote bemoaning an old copy of the NME from 2002 that I’d kept hold of. The issue in question was an emo special, a beginner’s guide to the new hip underground movement that the NME would make out they discovered on your behalf only to then trash it later on. Jimmy Eat World were on the cover, Hundred Reasons and Rival Schools were interviewed within and the whole thing was made to look like a fanzine, DIY style. My main grievance with the issue was that whilst it was trying to introduce its readers to the genre it was simultaneously mocking the whole thing which then made the issue completely pointless. No one who had never heard of it before would be interested and it would piss off and alienate those who were already part of it. At that time bands were trying to distance themselves enough from the emo tag and things like this only made things a lot worse.

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It probably seems weird that someone would care so much about what they did. I read way too much into the article and definitely took it too personally but at the time it came out of the blue and it felt like it was the beginning of the end. Having been into music since I was a kid in the 80′s, to being a long-haired grunger in my early teens to then falling in love with punk, pop punk, indie, post hardcore etc.. from the mid 90′s, music held a lot of importance in my life. In 1998 the band I was in (the babies three) were making the transition from playing throwaway pop punk into something more substantial. We would spend hours listening to Mineral, Sunny Day Real Estate, Beezewax, Fugazi, The Promise Ring and so on and our music reflected this. We started to feel like we were part of something, bands were coming to play our small seaside town. Our singer, Paul, put on Harriet The Spy in his living room and Appleseed Cast at our local Friday night hangout. Come Easter of 1999 we were going out on a UK tour with two bands, Rydell & Sunfactor, with whom we had just put out a 3 way split CD. In all honesty some of the shows were terrible but some were the most amazing I’ve ever played, the whole time though it really felt like we were part of something that was happening there and then. Up until that point anything I’d been into I was either too young to be a proper part of or had already happened. But this was happening, we were a tiny part of it and it was fucking exciting, we didn’t want or need the mainstream music press to get involved.

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In the UK, in 2002, something definitely shifted. Jimmy Eat World were making appearances on Saturday morning kids shows and selling out Brixton Academy. At the Drive-In were being proclaimed the ‘best band in the world’ and you no longer had to seek out a distro or indie record shop because HMV suddenly had all the bands cd’s that you loved in massive amounts. After then most of my friends were moving on to other things, other bands, other genres. A couple of years later emo came to mean something entirely different and that weird goth definition really did enter the mainstream consciousness and duly pissed over everything I’d been part of that point. When the travesty that is the Daily Mail wrote an article warning parents of the danger of this new cult they called emo then that was the final nail in the coffin.

The next few years after that I became a little bit lost, musically speaking. I felt jaded and burnt, I wasn’t playing music/finding new bands/buying as many records any more. But that all changed when someone told me to check out Algernon Cadwallader and I was completely blown away. I couldn’t believe a band was playing music like this again and playing it this well, it was so fresh and exciting. This led on to discovering a whole wealth of other bands, a scene was happening again and somebody had declared it to be an emo revival. No one was mentioning the mid-noughties wilderness goth years anymore and instead bands were giving musical nods to the 90′s with bands like caP’n Jazz, Mineral and American Football.

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I was obviously in heaven at this point, I was finding new bands to fall in love with on a daily basis and I then started this blog to help share the good news. I started drawing comparisons with the late 90′s scene and it got me to thinking about what went wrong the last time around and whether that would be likely to happen again, would a band become really big? would bands start to shun the emo tag and start to release sub-standard records because of this? However I looked at it I couldn’t see an end in sight but then Twitter was about to change all that.

Twitter is incredible for finding out things before anywhere else but the news that Fall Out Boy were reforming I could’ve waited for. They were back and people were excited, EXCITED??!!?? In my mind Fall Out Boy have a lot to answer for, years ago a front cover of the NME again had caught my eye in a newsagent because it stated the emo was back in the form of Fall Out Boy. I went straight to their MySpace page, such was the fashion at the time, desperately wanting to hear what the NME was referring to. Instead of being happy that I’d found a new band, I was just left wondering “WHAT THE FLIPPING HECK IS THIS CRAP??” So, to learn they’re back filled me with absolute dread. Feels a bit weird that they’ve reformed during this revival, like when someone nobody likes turns up at a party and makes everyone feel uncomfortable. Are they thinking that there’s an emo scene happening again and if they’re quick they can cash in? Maybe, maybe not but who cares because it won’t change anything.

And this is where the aforementioned issue of Kerrang comes in. With its headline; “EMO, The amazing untold story”

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When I first saw it I felt deflated, do we really have to put up with this again? And then I started thinking how dumb it was that a 32-year-old was getting upset with what is essentially a kids magazine, a metal Smash Hits. I bought the issue and skipped to the middle section, ignoring the “6 awesome posters”, and read through the “history” of emo. It was obviously re-written in the time-honoured Kerrang tradition of just making it up as you go along because the kids that read the magazine are too young to know any different. A nod at the beginning to Rites of Spring and Embrace then quickly through Quicksand and Far on to Hundred Reasons and Jimmy Eat World to Panic at the Disco, My Chemical Romance and The Used with no time to mention Mineral at all. There was a time that I’d have been outraged by all this but after an initial, short-lived, pissed off reaction I’m now left thinking that I shouldn’t give a shit. Who is it really harming anyway? So some people like 30 Seconds to Mars, well more fool them. If I focus on all the amazing things, bands, records that are about today then its easy to ignore what mainstream magazines are saying. There is an incredible online community of people who I can still reminisce about the 90′s with or enthuse about the new band on Count Your Lucky Stars with.

When I boil it down, when I’m calm and rational I know nothing bad will happen because of this article. But wait a minute, whats this bit at the end when Kerrang talk about emo nowadays?? One of my favourite bands, Tigers Jaw, have their photo on the last page of the article with the tag “Tigers Jaw, the new face of emo”. Tigers Jaw split up on Thursday. What the hell have you done Kerrang, WHAT THE FUCKING HELL HAVE YOU DONE???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

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Thanks for reading, get in touch here or on facebook – www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog or on twitter – @alex_itto

You can download my old bands song from the split mentioned in the post for free HERE

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INTERVIEW: TOM MULLEN – WASHED UP EMO PODCAST

Last week I got to speak to Tom Mullen who runs Washedupemo.com and does the Washed Up Emo podcast. I love a good podcast and Washed Up Emo is by far my favourite one. I think that if you like the sort of stuff that I write about then you’re going to feel the same way. He also hosts an emo DJ night in New York city every month. I had a few questions prepared but we ended up just chatting away about the podcast/site and all things ‘mo. It’s quite a long one, hope you enjoy!

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IS THIS THING ON? – Hello

TOM MULLEN– What’s up Alex?

ITTO? – Hey!! Give us a brief background about how you got in to music and when emo became a big part of that?

TM – I got into music pretty early on as a kid, I wanted to play guitar after seeing smells like teen spirit on TV. I think I remember telling my dad ‘we’re going to the store right now to get this’. And that was a pretty big influence on me playing music, you know, and he, Kurt, was in to a lot of different bands, indie bands and things. Probably what turned me from grunge was a band called Helmet. I saw their video and was like ‘this is heavy but it is smart’ and then from there I started to learn about more hardcore bands and metal bands. Growing up where I did in Vermont you don’t really get to see the big artists, like I didn’t get to see giant top 40 artists, those guys never came through. So the people that came through were the metal bands and HC bands from Boston and New York. So from hardcore, turned into post hardcore, because that’s kinda what bands did after that and then that turned into emo. I don’t know if it was Get Up Kids or Mineral or one of those bands but it really kicked in freshman year in college, that’s when I started to really get into it and there were so many shows. I went to school in North Carolina and there were shows every day it seemed. And so that was a really fun time.

ITTO? – Did you know that was what it was when you were getting in to it, did you know it was called emo or was that a thing then?

TM – Yes, someone had called it that. And I was like ‘oh ok cool’, I mean I liked the music. There wasn’t a fashion around it, there wasn’t like you needed to look a certain way. I was wearing ridiculously way too big sweatshirts and shirts, I was horrendous. It wasn’t that thing; it was more about the music.

ITTO? – It’s interesting on the podcast that when you ask about how they got into that kind of music it’s usually a HC route.

TM – Yeah, it’s either HC or they came the indie route with Fugazi or they were into Buffalo tom or whatever it was. They went both ways and if you listen to them again after hearing that you totally get it. It’s interesting to hear where they came from and if it’s HC then you’re like ‘ah ok I get it’.

ITTO? – What was the reason for starting the washed up emo website?

The website came first; I was super angry, probably ‘04/’05. Just really upset at what was happening with the name itself and being attached to it and turning it in to sort of a fashion statement vs. something about the music. They were referencing things that didn’t really make sense to me. And that’s since changed but then I was like; ‘no one’s talking about Elliott, no one’s talking about Get Up Kids and at this time, these bands, some of them were still going on, still trying to hang on to the certain fan base that was there but it was dwindling because they weren’t as flashy. You went to Bamboozle, which is this big music festival in New Jersey and Fall Out Boy or whoever it was was playing. And people were losing their minds and gave support to whatever god awful band it was playing and the Get Up Kids would play after them and the bands were psyched but the crowd was like ‘who is this? This is boring’ and it was just this kind of turning point when I was like this word is being ruined on a daily basis and that’s why I started the site in ’07. It was very negative early on, I look back at some of the posts, it was discrediting a lot of things because people were relating cutting to this genre. It was sort of Goth and it was a lot of whack-a-mole with trying to explain it. And through the years it’s slowly kind of, I’ve got less angry.

ITTO? – The tagline of your website says that you wish for the days where you’d type emo into a search engine and nothing would come up, is that because you’d wish it would all go away

TM – Everyone has this same sort of feeling that it was special, for what it was. And because there wasn’t internet or it wasn’t really widespread, you didn’t have it on your phone. You didn’t have a cell phone, you had a beeper. You had these sorts of connections happen where you had to connect, you had to go to the show, and you had to do a little work. And I think every sort of genre past that, it’s sort of that doesn’t happen anymore. It’s so quick and easy so I did like it when I would search for bands and I couldn’t find anything. I couldn’t find anything online for it and that was sort of fun because you did have to work.

ITTO? – It’s weird because if you look at the old records from that time, or the catalogues that used to come with the insert and they’ve all got email addresses and websites and I never married the two together. I wasn’t big into the internet at the end of the 90’s but I guess there must’ve been something there if you looked hard enough.

TM – Yeah they had their email there. It was aol or yahoo or something stupid and the websites were very basic. There wasn’t a lot. If I could go back I would take every programming class I could because I only knew basic html and I actually got connected with a band and a label because I started doing an unofficial website for artists. Because when artists didn’t really have good websites fans did them and I did that for a band and that connected me to a lot of different people as well.

ITTO? – Basic chat rooms are all I can remember using. A couple of message boards like Fracture fanzine had one where you could communicate with people but that was only really at the end of that particular wave of emo that we liked

TM – I think the Victory records message board and the trustkill message board that was definitely a way to find out about shows. And find out what was happening.

ITTO? – After starting the website did you find that there were a lot of likeminded people or is that something that has happened over time?

TM – It’s happened over time. There were some years where it would be a couple of posts a month, a few things happening. And I didn’t really know anybody else that was talking about this and slowly I would get people who would say ‘oh I saw that thing, it was really cool, and I feel the same way’ and I was like ‘Really?’ And it’s ended up being these last couple of years I think that I’ve been finding that there’s a lot of people I’ve met, yourself included, through twitter and Facebook ramping up those parts of it. And really focussing on that and having people interact. And I don’t make any money I just do this because it’s fun and people really enjoy it. And of course it’s turned into the podcast. And the dj night every month.

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ITTO? – When did the idea for a DJ night and then a podcast come about?

TM – It’s interesting that I remember this, I think we were on a train or something and I was emailing friends and I posted I was listening to a camber song on, I think it was, twitter or Facebook and I had tagged it and someone wrote that’s really awesome, you have a ton of records like that and I said well you do too, we should dj somewhere. A friend had a bar and we’re like let’s see if he’ll let us do it on a valentine’s day for an anti-valentine’s day event and ended up going really well. We kind of just put our minds together on who could help dj because I’m not cool enough to have people show up, I can only beg my friends so much so we needed bands and things and we’ve ended up doing, next month will be 2 years. And we’re the bars most successful theme night and we’ve had after parties for Braid who actually dj’d which was really funny because I had to kick them out. Chris did not wanna stop dj-ing it was hilarious; it was 4am on a Thursday I was like ‘dude I gotta get outta here’. The dj thing is really fun and we’ve met so many people that have been in this city and find out about it and come down and hang out. I’ve met some friends that I’ve ended up working with on a work level, they’re people who’ve worked at different labels or companies and I find out that they’re in to this genre. Case in point, a friend from a blog is a graphic designer and was a super big fan and I had her design the logo.

The podcast was a few months in, I realised that I was looking at my rolodex and was like I kinda know a bunch of people and it would be kinda fun. And I had a friend that I did it with for a while and it was tough because he was on the west coast and I was on the east coast and the band was wherever they were and it was hard to connect and he ended up doing his own thing. And I ended up just continuing with the washed up emo podcast

ITTO? – That’s Ray right?

TM – Yes, Ray.

ITTO? – Yeah I was going to ask what happened to Ray.

It was so hard, just a scheduling thing. He has a lot of stuff; he has a kid, his jobs all over the place. He’s got a lot of stuff going on, the 3 hours’ time difference made it hard to connect. And that’s where we splintered off and he does his own ‘100 words or less podcast’.

ITTO? – Yes, I’ve listened to a few. He interviewed Keith from Empire! Empire! / CYLS records which was a really good one

TM – Nice! I actually give him crap for interviewing emo people but that’s just a joke. It’s been fun, it is a ton of work but I’ve been able to connect to a lot of people and a lot of people have helped. Someone helped get me in touch with Jim adkins; another friend helped me get in touch with Chris Simpson from Mineral. They’ve been very very cool, Matt Pryor was awesome, those early ones like with Chuck from Deep Elm, and it was great to talk about deep elm records who were a huge influence. I was on one of their comps with the band I was in. It’s been nice. Blair (Shehan, Knapsack) when I interviewed him his first thing was, my first question and he was like ‘wow, this is going to be fun’. That’s the first thing he said and I think they’ve never been asked these questions before because no one’s really asked about it this way.

ITTO? – It’s becoming an incredible document for that time period

TM – Well that’s exactly the idea with it, I had spoken with a few people before I started and said is there anything out there like this? Am I copying it? Is it something that’s worth? And the only thing I could find was those oral histories from alternative press magazine where they interview 10 or 15 people about the project and they end up discussing things but there wasn’t really an audio history or an audio document of these things. Hopefully if its ten years from now and some person looks back and they’re like ‘I kinda wanna know what’s going on with the guy from deep elm’ then there’s an hour of me nerding out with him (laughs)

ITTO? – I take it you’ve had your dream guests on already?

TM – As of a couple of weeks ago, yes! I’ve been very, very lucky to have; I think, the biggest one left for me at this moment would definitely be Jeremy Enigk from Sunny Day Real Estate that would be a great one. But there’s still plenty, I actually was just looking at the list of people that I’m trying to get and there is still some really, really cool people like I’m trying to get Travis from Piebald which I think is going to happen, Kevin from Topshelf, Ben from Armor For Sleep, the guy that ran Caulfield records. So, yeah, I think there’s still plenty more and I think there’s plenty more stories to tell. As long as I have fun doing it and people are still downloading them, I’ll still do them.

ITTO? – To think you’ve had The Promise Ring/ Braid/ Mineral do it then you think it might be hard to top that but some of the more obscure bands will be interesting because it’s harder to find things out about them.

TM – I think one of the most popular episodes is the Buried Treasure episode with Ray. We talked about obscure bands and songs people may not have heard, that one was really popular and to have Christie Front Drive – Eric do it and Promise Ring its really easy now to get people to do it. Jim (Adkins) had mentioned that he had listened to a bunch of the older ones before, you know so He was even interested in hearing them which blew my mind. ‘You spent time listening to me nerd out??’ I’m now really scared to talk to you’.

ITTO? – It makes sense, they were his friends, and these were times he was involved in. It’s like if you see an old friend you’ve not spoken to in a long time and you reminisce it’s probably a form of that for him.

TM – Yeah, he was mentioning that he was laughing at Eric because Eric made fun of him in the podcast about his long hair so he’s actually looking forward to doing one with him to make fun of him. There are still those memories and things. But just looking back at list at who’s done it, Zach from Mae who was a close friend, Troy from Speedwell which was this really obscure band who I think are amazing, Blair from Jealous Sound who was super cool to do it. The one I can’t wait to edit but its taking forever is Pedro from Jealous Sound and I’ve never laughed more in a podcast. I was crying laughing with him, he’s been super nice. He understood what I was doing, he’s like ‘you’re not just a fan; you’re trying to get the word out about this time period’. When AV Club wrote about the podcast which I had no idea about, they kind of mentioned the same thing. They had said that it was that he’s coming at it as a fan, a knowledgeable fan and you’re kind of talking, you’re not just ‘hey remember in 1992 when this happened’ and that was probably the biggest compliment.

ITTO? – Do you feel that people really are talking about it (emo) now? With the podcast and all the new bands that are about now it does seem so and it also seems a lot now like it did at the end of the 90’s, although in more of a weird internet way but there seems to be that same kind of feeling about now

It does, I think it is 2013 with all the new ways to connect. You can easily find out about a label in 5 seconds and all the releases and listen to everything. I think it is exciting; there are a lot of great bands. That’s probably the next thing, I really want to have more of the newer bands and hear their story and hear what they listen to and why. That’s kind of the new and old which has been really fun to talk about. Even during the DJ night it’s one thing to play all the old school hits but it’s also great to play a new song and have people come up to say ‘what was that?’ And you tell them it’s a new band and they’re like ‘Oh man!’ and I think that’s great to hear that someone’s open enough to listen that and be excited.

ITTO? – Especially now as there’s been bands in the last few years that have made a great impression but split up already, like Snowing or Algernon Cadwallader and I think in a few years’ time we’ll think of them like we did caP’n jazz/Mineral. It’ll be great to hear their version of what happened

TM – Yeah and I think the word itself has been so overused and I think there’s people that come to the dj night and they’re like ‘hey I want you to play Acceptance and then I want you to play Rufio’ and I’m like ‘oh my god I know your age, I know what time period you’re in. I almost can tell where you live’ Just because of the songs that you’re asking for and its fine. I understand, because it’s that time period when they were 15, 16, 17 or whatever and they connected to it or they watched Fuse and they’re relating that and that’s fine, it’s just there’s this little point beforehand that you need to know about. Because all the bands you like they listen to this. And it’s great that the newer bands are skipping that and they’re going back further.

ITTO? – What’s the most requested band at your DJ nights?

TM – I would probably say Brand New, that’s every month. The usual Promise ring, Get up kids, Taking back Sunday. Probably Taking back Sunday and Brand New and that’s probably because it’s the New York area. One of the loudest ones we ever played, which wasn’t really an emo band but it kinda made sense because Get Up Kids toured with them, was Weezer. The guy came over who runs the bar and said ‘We can’t even hear the music’ because people were screaming so loud.

ITTO? – Excellent, it’s been so cool chatting to you Tom, thanks so much.

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My Top 5 Washed up emo podcast episodes (click on them for the link)

5 – Norman Brannon of Texas is the Reason

4 – Davey Von Bohlen and Dan Didier of The Promise Ring

3 – Eric Richter of Christie Front Drive

2 – Chuck Daley of Deep Elm/Tiny Engines

1 – Chris Simpson of Mineral

Thanks so much for reading.

Come and say hi on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog

or Twitter – @alex_itto

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Interview: Empire! Empire! (I was a lonely estate)

If you hadn’t heard of Empire! Empire! (I was a lonely estate) a few weeks ago, and if you like the type of music I write about then how couldn’t you have?, then chances are you have now. The competition they ran online recently which resulted in them digitally giving away their entire discography was a roaring success spreading their good name far and wide and it’s no more than they deserve. Having been consistently releasing beautifully amazing music since 2006 Empire! Empire! (I was a lonely estate) have become one of the most respected and revered bands of the current wave of emo. In just a few days they will be hitting the UK for an extensive tour with The Reptilian (dates are below) so I couldn’t think of a better time to catch up with the band, sling some questions their way and publish their responses. Here’s the results:

Is this thing on? – Congratulations on the success of your recent competition on Facebook/twitter/tumblr, are you surprised by the response you received?

Keith from Empire! Empire! – Very surprised!  I know this might sound disingenuous, but we are still very humbled and wowed by the fact that anybody at all listens to us.  We bought like 6,000 download credits thinking we would be more than fine, but very quickly realized that that wasn’t enough.  You could literally sit at your computer and hit refresh and watch the number drop every time.

ITTO? – Giving away your entire discography made it feel like everyone’s a winner, has it given you an opportunity to reflect on the history of the band? Anything you would’ve done differently?

Keith – We feel like we got a pretty big takeaway with the support everyone gave us, so I think we feel that way too.  As for reflection- it has, and there are certainly things I would have done differently.  The main thing would be not focusing so much on doing splits, and instead getting a new full length (or two!) out.  We never intended on that happening, it just sort of did.  But every release is important to me, and I am proud to say we never gave something less than 100%.  I don’t feel like there are any throwaway songs.

ITTO? – Is Empire! Empire! (I was a lonely estate) still very much a band consisting of the 2 of you, Keith and Cathy, or do you now have a permanent full band line up?

Keith – It’s just me and Cathy, and I very much doubt it will ever be anything more than that again.  Don’t get me wrong, I would love a permanent line up, but it just wasn’t ever in the cards.  There are a lot of reasons for that, but we have always soldiered on and been able to keep going.   I think I was maybe a little too ideal in the few years in thinking that everyone else was going to give up everything just to have a shot at making this work, and after seeing a few members come and go, I sort of lost that ideal.  It’s a lot of pressure on you if someone is asking or expecting that and you don’t feel the same way.  Another problem we ran into was because this started out as a solo project, right off the bat the other members were playing songs they didn’t write.  For some reason, it seemed like we would lose members right before we would record something and I would end up having to do a majority of the instruments on the recording.  Which has advantages and disadvantages, but ends up being a lot more work on my part.  The more releases we put out, the more songs that other members didn’t write and feel that connection to, so as we went on it seemed less likely to find someone to stick. Once Jon left, we just decided to stop looking and operate the way we had already been doing for years.  It was far less stressful and we are just as productive, if not more.

ITTO? – What is the song writing process of the band?

Keith – It’s pretty strange, but mostly I can attribute that to the band only having two members, and one of them playing most of the instruments.  Usually I will write my guitar part and recorded it on my computer, and then Cathy will write hers over mine.  Sometimes we do it together before it gets to the computer.  Then I write and record a bass part, and then drums.  These are all to a metronome, but direct in and something that would never be worth showing anybody, haha.  Then we go into the studio and record all the music.  Once I have the rough tracks, then I sit down and write the lyrics.  I never do it beforehand or as we go, I have to do it after.  I like doing that for several reasons, but the biggest one is I like to know exactly how much space I have and how the vocals will fit over everything and not just my guitar part. I need a Point A to Point B to know when to wrap up the lyrics and effectively convey whatever story or theme it is I’m getting at.  This is always the longest and most gruelling part of the process, and I admit to agonizing over it more than anything else.

ITTO? – You’re coming to the UK in November, is this the band’s first time?

Yes and no.  We did a European tour in 2010 which covered mostly the mainland since we toured with a band from Hungary called marionette ID (shout out to my boys!).  We really wanted to get a UK show in, so we took an extra flight at the end of our tour with them and played a one-off show in Norwich.  We absolutely loved it; we met Andy from sncl and played with Pennines and What Price Wonderland? packed on to one bill.

ITTO? – Joie de vivre and Football,etc each received somewhat of a heroes’ welcome on their summer tour here in the UK, have they given you any idea of what to expect?

Keith – I really have no idea.  It warms my heart to hear from you and from them that they were so well received, but we certainly aren’t expecting anything of the sort.  I just hope we can meet some cool people and that we get to see a lot of the countries we are playing in.

ITTO? – Empire! Empire! Are considered one of the bands responsible for the current “emo revival”, being a fan of this music since the 90’s did you ever have a clue that there would be this resurgence of the scene and how much of a part of it that you would be?

I don’t think anybody had any idea that something like this would happen.  How could you, really?  But for some reason it did, and I am very proud to be a part of it.  Ever since I really got into music at 14 or so, this was the style of music I loved, and that never changed.  I don’t think I could play another style of music if I tried.  It does make our musical lives considerably easier though, and I am willing to bet a lot of bands would not have been able to carry on as long of careers without it.  Not me though, I’m stubborn as a mule when it comes to playing this style of music, and I would still be churning this crap out even if no one was listening.  You should have seen some of shows when we started- we stuck out like a sore thumb at literally every show, haha.

ITTO? - Is it ok to now be in an emo band and accept that you are an emo band rather than trying to distance yourselves from that label? Or is there still a stigma to it like there used to be?

Keith – When I started listening to this style of music, I think I never saw the stigma attached to the term.  I was the only person in my school who knew who Death Cab for Cutie, Mineral, Jimmy Eat World, Knapsack was, etc. and coming from a small town without the connection of social media/the internet, I don’t think I ever got why bands didn’t like the label until I was older.  Of course, by then bands had shed that moniker like the plague and the media got a hold of the word and bands like My Chemical Romance and Hawthorn Heights became associated with the term.  Goth became emo, and I still don’t fully understand that.

Anyway, to answer your question, I think we are re-appropriating the term, if you will.  The stigma is still there, but we live in such a small world as far as our fans/community/venues we play in that those people get it without having it explained to them.  So it’s ok by me.

ITTO? – Being in an amazing band and running an equally awesome record label (Count your lucky stars records) must take up a lot of time, do you sometimes have to sacrifice one for the sake of the other and if so which one comes first?

Keith – Ah, I don’t know about that, but thank you for the kind words!  Yes, it takes up almost all of my time and they are both big enough to lose time and compete with each other.  9 times out of 10, the label wins because bands and people are relying on me for that.  With Empire!, it’s just me so I can always push that back.  That is part of the reason it has taken us so long to get a second LP done though.

ITTO? – Apart from the upcoming tour, what can we expect next from Empire! Empire!? Another full length?

Keith – Yes!  We have two songs done, but the writing process (or rather finding time to write) has been slow-going at best.  But it will get done, we are not planning on scheduling any tours or anything major until it’s done.  There are also a few splits/comps we finished a while back that will find their way out sooner or later, so that should tide people over until then.

ITTO? – And finally, If CYLS records had been a label in the good old 90’s which record from that time would you most love to have put out? And why?

Keith – This is the best interview question I have ever had!  It’s a tough question, and I want to cheat and say like 10 records.   I’m going to cheat just a little and choose Death Cab’s We Have the Facts (it was 2000, but close enough) or Mineral’s EndSerenading.  It pains me to only choose two, I had typed up all ten, but decided to not just list my favorite bands from that decade, haha.

ITTO? – Thanks so much for taking the time out to answer these questions and I can’t wait to see you on tour very soon x

Empire! Empire! (I was a lonely estate)’s tour with The Reptilian of the UK and Ireland starts on monday, make sure you don’t miss out.

Here’s the dates:

05.11.12 UK Sheffield @ Tye Die Tapes HQ
06.11.12 UK York @ Stereo
07.11.12 Scotland Glasgow @ 13th Note
08.11.12 Scotland Dundee @ Club Kage
09.11.12 Scotland Edinburgh @ The Wee red Bar
10.11.12 UK Manchester @ The Bay Horse (matinee)
10.11.12 UK Leeds @ Wharf Chambers
11.11.12 Ireland Dublin @ The Twisted Pepper
12.11.12 Ireland Cork @ Cyprus Avenue
13.11.12 UK Bath @ Green Park Tavern
14.11.12 UK Falmouth @ Fish Factory Art Space
15.11.12 UK London @ The Blackheart
16.11.12 UK Southampton @  King Alfreds Pub
17.11.12 UK Brighton  @ The Green door store

For more information check the E!E!(IWALE) website HERE

You can download/stream their songs as well as anything else on Count Your Lucky Stars HERE

In the UK you can buy their split with Rika from Strictly No Capital Letters HERE

Thanks for reading x

www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog

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Happy Birthday Is This Thing On?

September is here, which can mean only one thing. It is now one year since I started this blog and that is amazing for two reasons: Firstly it doesn’t feel that long ago that I started writing this and secondly I can’t believe I’ve found enough to write about to make this last. I gave myself about 2 weeks initially so I have surpassed all my expectations, plus I never thought that in the first 12 months of doing this that the blog would receive over 27 thousand views. But, incredibly, it has and I am more than grateful to everyone who has had a look, commented and come and made friends on twitter and Facebook etc. To celebrate this momentous occasion I thought I’d share something with you that I only recently remembered existed.

As you have probably realised if you’ve ever read this blog before is that I’ve spent a lot of the last few months trying to remember things that happened 12 or 13 years ago. Which has proven quite difficult because all the painkillers and morphine that I was taking to ease the pain of my stupid back has left me with a somewhat hazy memory. Mainly I was trying to remember what bands there were and what shows I’d been to back then. But, out of the blue, I was struck by the memory of something very cool and very, very funny. I was sure there was a game on the internet in the early 00′s that centered on emo and the battles against the corporate mainstream. Having been many years since I’d thought of it, let alone actually played it, I assumed that it must have been taken down. Trying to think of what it what was called, I decided to try my hand at googling some things but that yielded no results. And then it hit, of course, it was so simple…………………………………It was called EMOGAME!!

Excited, I just decided to type it in to the address bar and whack a dot-com after the name. It worked!! And it was all there, 4 retro looking video games (2 main, 2 mini) dating back to 2002-2004, it was just as I remembered except my computer worked a lot quicker than the one I had 10 years ago so it was even better. EMOGAME is hilarious, disgusting, hours of fun, packed with in jokes and some great music.

The first game is the one I have replayed since re-discovering the site, the story starts at a big emo show. The Get Up Kids are onstage, playing with At the Drive-in and Hot Water Music, when they get kidnapped. Cedric Bixler from ATD-I and Chuck Ragan from HWM decide that they need those guys back so they can finish the tour. So they enlist the help of some friends, first they call Starbucks to reach Chris Simpson of Mineral, who at the time is trying to avoid the whingeing of his co-worker, Dashboard Confessional himself Chris Carabba. Chris Simpson drops everything to come help rescue the Get Up Kids and Chris Carabba tags along much to the annoyance of the rest of them. To complete the crack team of emo heroes they call Saddle Creek records where Tim Kasher of Cursive and Conor Oberst are lying on the floor, wasted. They have no interest in helping the GUK but there is the promise of free booze so they jump at the chance of coming. And, finally, they call the hospital where Atom of Atom and his Package is in the middle of performing brain surgery, again he feels the need to drop everything and join the rest of them to help. Once all together it becomes apparent that the GUK have been kidnapped by Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, his main reason is so he can violate each one of them in as many ways as he can think of. Through a message he can mysteriously send through Chuck Ragan’s TV he lets our guys know they’ll never catch him and then graphically displays just what he is up to before uttering the immortal line, “I just donkey punched Ryan Pope!!!”.

The gang then set off in search of Jeremy Enigk who they believe has the power to let them know how to reach Steven Tyler. On the way they must do battle with a bunch of jocks at a High School which include a very sexist New Found Glory, fight their way through a Hot Topic and a demented, money hungry Rivers Cuomo and defeat a very regretful but commercially successful Jimmy Eat World who are taking part in TRL on MTV. You also come across a Courtney Love who resembles Jabba the Hut and have to fight the Anniversary who swear they are NOT EMO armed with a bunch of 7″s, while helping you along the way is Chris Broach of Braid. The gameplay is pretty simple, I managed to complete the first one and I suck at computer games, but that’s not really the reason to play. The game is packed full of gags and observations about the scene and is all done completely out of love for these bands that they feature. The guys that made this may be a bit weirdly obsessed with anal rape but you can tell that they are massive fans and as their jokes and characters testify, they have a massive knowledge of emo circa 2002.

I’ve yet to get stuck in to the other games on offer here, I will do and can’t wait to see where they go with it, I just thought I better share this with all you guys so you cn enjoy it as much as I have. I wonder if the people who developed this will think of revisiting the game and make a new one that features the current crop of emo bands. Maybe we could see members of Joie De Vivre join forces with You Blew It to do battle with a Pete Wentz who is hell-bent on destroying Count your lucky stars/Topshelf/Tiny engines etc.. so emo can go back to being a commercial shit stream like it was in the mid noughties. Here’s hoping.

Play the game at www.emogame.com

As always, cheers for reading. Come say hi on twitter (@alextb3) or on Facebook www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog

Thanks x

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Joie De Vivre

Bands from years ago, bands we all loved/still love, have been reforming to play reunion shows and tours a hell of a lot recently and this year is no exception. It does excite me somewhat when I hear that I may get to see a favourite band play live again. It’ll never match seeing them play the first time around though. However excited we get to go to these gigs we all wish we’d been there in their heyday playing some tiny basement somewhere. Which is why, when I see that a new band that I’m really excited about is going to play somewhere within reasonable distance I’m going to make the effort to turn up. As we arrived to see Joie De Vivre play in Brighton last Friday (6th July) I mentioned to my friend that this was my Mineral! Now I know that sounds a bit dumb. I never got to see Mineral play, not that many people did and Joie De Vivre have been compared a lot to the emo legends. But I think it’s more than just a comparison in their musical style. I believe that Joie De Vivre are a truly special band who make beautiful records, just like Mineral did. So getting to see Joie De Vivre play just weeks after the release of their latest album it felt like one of those moments that I will be looking back at, in years to come, and thank goodness that I was there.

As I just mentioned, Joie De Vivre released their new album, ‘We’re all better than this’, in the last few weeks. It’s a record that has been creating quite a buzz amongst us emo types on twitter and the like recently and as soon as you put the record on you can see that’s it not all just hype. It’s a tremendously uplifting record and so was the experience of seeing them play. They were playing with Football, etc., another band that I’m a huge fan of, at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar in Brighton. We got there early, enjoyed a pizza and the flashback shows playing on a big flat screen TV (Including clips of Neighbours, Gladiators, TFI Friday and Willo The Wisp) ,waited patiently through the other support bands and made our way to the front for the reason we came. Read about Football, Etc. HERE.

Joie De Vivre had arrived onstage later than expected and wasted no time in setting up and launching in to their set. The room was soon packed and the crowd were in great voice. It is often a worry that you can build expectations up too high when you go to see a band that you love and there is nothing worse thn a band turning out to be rubbish live. It really ruins them for me. I remember seeing Soundgarden play at Reading Festival in 1995 when I was 15, at the time I was as big a grunger as could be and I had the long, greasy hair to prove it. Soundgarden were the 2nd to last band to play on the main stage on the Sunday and they were awful. The sound was bad, they looked like they couldn’t be arsed to be there and the hour that they played for seemed to drag on forever. After that, I never really felt the same way towards them again, even though ‘Superunknown’ was one of my favourite albums at the time, It was now tainted. I digress but I just had to get that out there, I’ve kept it in for so long. But I’m more than extremely happy to report that Joie De Vivre absolutely killed it!!

It was a set heavy with songs from the new record and that beautifully positive and uplifting sound translated incredibly well to their live show. The sounded faultless and looked like they were having the time of their lives. Every time the trumpet played I was getting goosebumps and we had the added thrill of Lindsay Minton from Football, Etc on hand to provide backing vocals like she does so delightfully on the album. What a treat! They also had a great banter about them, the breaks between songs were often as entertaining as the songs themselves. When deciding what songs to play at the end of the set someone in the crowd shouted out, “Play the song that sounds like Mineral!”, singer/bass player Brandon Lutmer looked him in the eye, pointed his finger at him and with a huge grin exclaimed “Done!”. It’s such a joy to see a band enjoying being there.

‘We’re all better than this’ really is a contender for the album of the year. It’s so good it annoys me that songs like ‘Maybe people don’t change’ and ‘At least I tried’ aren’t included in the Is This Thing On? top 100 emo songs of all time because they deserve to be there. I will have to do an updated list at some point. Although I’ve talked about how uplifting I find the music to be, the lyrics speak of love thats lost and a willingness for things to go back to what they used to be. This never brings the tone of the record down, the emotion is true and the delivery is honest, you can tell that being able to write these songs is working in a cathartic way. The album is also very precise, the songs don’t linger on like they could do. Many of the tracks are less than 2 and a half minutes in length and they don’t need to be any longer, they always manage to convey what is needed and this also helps to be as listenable as possible. As soon as it’s finished you can just stick it back on and enjoy it again.

The album, whilst still retaining that 90′s emo sound, sounds less like Mineral than their older releases. There are still influences running through, a bit of Gloria Record here and there and ‘Going to a going away party’ starts off by sounding a bit like Joan Of Arc at their best. But overall ‘We’re all better than this’ sounds like Joie De Vivre, they really have come in to their own on this album. If you know what is good for you then you will go and buy this record if you haven’t already. If you are here in the UK you can order it HERE from Strictly No Capital Letters, or you can download it HERE from Count Your Lucky Stars.

Live photo’s courtesy of Living well productions, thanks Mikee

I hope you enjoy it. Again and as always, thanks for reading. Feel free to comment or come bother me on twitter (@alextb3)

Cheers x

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THE ‘IS THIS THING ON?’ TOP 100 EMO SONGS OF ALL TIME PART 10!! (10-1)

#emo100

Previously on the Top 100 emo songs of all time…….

100 – Reggie and the full effect – Thanx for stayin

99 – Roadside Monument – Sunken Anchor

98 – Boilermaker – Slow Down

97 – Hundred reasons – If I could

96 – Jets to Brazil – Chinatown

95 – Coping – F For now

94 – Inside – Ray Brower

93 – Basement – Grayscale

92 – The Jazz June – Viva La speed metal

91 – Everyone Everywhere – I feel fine by Everyone Everywhere

To read more about these songs (100-91) click HERE

90 – Hunter Gatherer – Low standards for high fives

89 – Football, etc. – Safety

88 – Race Car Riot – Raincheck

87 – Taking Back Sunday – Bike scene

86 – Leiah – Tiglio

85 – Brandtson – Still life

84 – Polar Bear Club – Bottled wind

83 – Starmarket – Losing track

82 – Sunny Day Real Estate – Guitar and video games

81 – Grade – Stolen bikes ride faster

To read more about these songs (90-81) click HERE

80 – Bob Tilton – September

79 – The Autumn Year – Little lost words

78 – Koufax – Going to happen

77 – Wavelets – Julio won’t get out of the car

76 – The Get Up Kids – Forgive and Forget

75 – Hot Rod Circuit – At nature’s mercy

74 – The Appleseed Cast – Steps and numbers

73 – Stapleton – International departures

72 – New End Original – Lukewarm

71 – Hundred Hands – A Replay

To read more about these songs (80-71) click HERE

70 – Knapsack – Cellophane

69 – Elliott – Dionysus Burning

68 – The Lapse – We Must Move Backwards To Progress

67 – Owls – Everyone Is My Friend

66 – Suis La Lune – Quiet, Pull The Strings!

65 – Sunday’s Best – Winter Owned

64 – CSTVT – Hiccups

63 – Vitreous Humor – Sharin’ Stone

62 – Beezewax – Dead End Kids

61 – Death Cab For Cutie – A Movie Script Ending

To read more about these songs (70-61) click HERE

60 – Grown Ups – Three Day Weekend

59 – Funeral Diner – We Become Buried

58 – Snowing – I Think We’re In Minsk

57 – Imbroco – You’re My Lionkiller

56 – Maritime – Tearing Up The Oxygen

55 – Engine Down – The Offer Of Something

54 – Boy’s Life – Sight Unseen

53 – Benton Falls – All These Things

52 – Further Seems Forever – Madison Prep

51 – The Casket Lottery – Ever Since Sulfur

To read more about these songs (60-51) click HERE

50 – Ghosts And Vodka – Sex Is Popular

49 – Transit – Footwork

48 – Jejune – Solar

47 – Hey Mercedes – Quality Revenge At Last

46 – Jeremy Enigk – Lewis Hollow

45 – Cursive – The Radiator Hums

44 – Joan Of Arc – Post Coitus Rock

43 – Pianos Become The Teeth – Cripples Can’t Shiver

42 – The Get Up Kids – Coming Clean

41 – At The Drive-In – Heliotrope

To read more about these songs (50-41) click HERE

40 – Owen – O, Evelyn..

39 – This Beautiful Mess – Don’t Go There

38 – Rites Of Spring – Remainder

37 – Rainer Maria – Artificial Light

36 – Sunny Day Real Estate – Theo B

35 – The Gloria Record – Grace The Snow Is Here

34 – Saves The Day – Holly Hox, Forget Me Nots

33 – Penfold – M

32 – The Promise Ring – A Picture Postcard

31 – Mineral – If I Could

To read more about these songs (40-31) click HERE

30 – Sense Field – Building

29 – Death Cab For Cutie – The Ice Is Getting Thinner

28 – Dashboard Confessional – Turpentine Chaser

27 – Beezewax – The Snooze Is On

26 – The Anniversary – All Things Ordinary

25 – Dismemberment Plan – What Did You Want Me To Say?

24 – The Appleseed Cast – Forever Longing The Golden Sun

23 – Far – Really Here

22 – Pop Unknown – Half Of Ninety

21 – Hot Water Music – Remedy

To read more about these songs (30-21) click HERE

20 – Thursday – Cross Out The Eyes

19 – Jimmy Eat World – Goodbye Sky Harbor

18 – Algernon Cadwallader – Some Kind Of Cadwallader

17 – Christie Front Drive – Radio

16 – The Promise Ring – Red & Blue Jeans

15 – Reiziger – Waiting day

14 – Cross My Heart – It Doesn’t Take That Many Pills To Sleep Forever

13 – The Van Pelt – Speeding Train

12 – Texas Is The Reason – The Magic Bullet Theory

11 – Planes Mistaken For Stars – Copper And Stars

To read more about these songs (20-11) click HERE

10 – Braid – The New Nathan Detroits

Every time I used to make a mixtape for myself or a friend this would always be the first track I’d put on. It’s the ultimate opener, a big catchy brilliant emo blast. It opens their classic album, ‘Frame and Canvas’, and sets the tone for the rest of the record. Braid are a legendary band, they maybe didn’t get the plaudits they thoroughly deserved when emo first broke big but I like to think that has changed since. Especially as they have returned with new music in recent times.

9 – Jimmy Eat World – No Sensitivity

Despite making some of my favourite albums packed with great songs, my favourite Jimmy Eat World song is taken from the split they did with Jebediah. ‘No Sensitivity’ is a great showcase of Jimmy Eat World doing what they do best, making incredibly likeable emo rock songs with killer choruses. This is always a favourite when they play live and somehow I’ve managed to see Jimmy Eat World play 7 times, every time a pleasure.

8 – Spy Versus Spy – Helpless, Sign In Please

Out of all the bands in the UK emo scene in the late 90′s, Spy Versus Spy was the band we held in the highest regard, to me they were like our Cap’n Jazz. There was just something about them that set them apart from the rest of us, while there were plenty of good bands about in those days Spy Versus Spy were always the band I thought I would love forever. And more than 10 years later I still do so maybe that will be true. Their first mini album is still my favourite although they did go on to make the fantastically brilliant album ‘Little Lights’ which you should stop at nothing to get hold of.

7 – The Get Up Kids – I’m A Loner Dottie, A Rebel

Getting to see the Get Up Kids while they were touring in support of ‘Something to write home about’ is still one of the best live experiences I’ve ever had. I got to see them play a few times again but nothing will beat that first time, there was just so much energy and fun surrounding their performance that night. Without the slower songs that filled ‘On a wire’ the show zipped along with the band seeming to have the time of their lives, which in turn meant that we were having the time of our lives. ‘I’m a loner dottie …’ is a classic amongst an album full of classics.

6 – Sunny Day Real Estate – In Circles
 I have always loved this song since the first time I heard it all those years ago, but since their reunion show 2 years ago it has seemed even more special. I had tickets to see them play London in 2001, the show got cancelled because of something to do with their booking agents and then the band split up for the 2nd time. I was gutted and thought I’d never get to see this very special band play live. But, years later it was announced they were going to play a one off reunion show in London, excitedly I snapped up tickets only for that show to get cancelled because of the volcanic ash cloud. They did reschedule however and managed to play and the reaction was incredible. When they launched into ‘In Circles’ the excitement in the crowd was palpable and the noise deafening. Guitarist Dan Hoerner looked blown away by this and seeing his reaction made this amazing song even more so.

5 – The Promise Ring – E. Texas Ave
This song is Taken from probably the greatest split 7 inch ever released. The Texas is the reason song on the other side is fantastic, the artwork equally so but it’s the Promise Ring song that makes it truly great. Weirdly my favourite Promise Ring song is the Promise Ring song that sounds least like a Promise Ring song. It’s a lot heavier than they usually are and a lot darker. But it still sounds uniquely like the Promise Ring with Davey Von Bohlen unmistakeable voice sounding better than ever.

4 – Cap’n Jazz – Little League

 Iconic, influential and downright briliant, Cap’n Jazz created a sound that would go on to be copied many times over. ‘Little League’ is a song I can never grow tired of listening too, It’s energy is completely infectious. The way the song sounds out of control and all over the place is its charm. It breaks down, it builds up, it screams at you and makes you want to get up and throw yourself about like a crazy person. Absolute genius.

3 – The Appleseed Cast – Marigold And Patchwork

 One of the best shows I ever got to attend was when my old band supported The Appleseed Cast the first time they played in Margate. At the time they had only released their debut album, ‘End of the ring wars’, but to us they were massive and we were totally excited to have them play in our small town. They seemed really touched by the reaction they got that night and told us that when we sang along to ‘Marigold and patchwork’ it was one of the first times that that had happened to them. They must’ve liked it here because they came back to play twice more. ‘Marigold and patchwork’ will always remind me of a special time when music was the most exciting thing in my world and will forever be one of my favourite songs. You can download this song for free, see below for details.

2 – American Football – Never Meant

 It’s amazing how some of the most influential and incredible music that came from the emo genre was from bands with short existences and limited output. I know Mike Kinsella has been very prolific in his output in various guises, but American Football had one album and one EP yet remain one of the best emo bands of all time. ‘Never meant’ is beautiful, it’s simple yet complicated at the same time and makes me fall in love each and every time I hear it. It’s the perfect song to do that old emo dance to, you know the one where you put your hands in your pockets and gently sway back and forth with your eyes closed? No? Just me then.

1! – Mineral – &Serenading

 I have said for many years that this is the best emo song of all time. If I have said that to you then I’m sorry for the advance spoiler and apologise for the anti-climax to this list. It’s not just my favourite emo song of all time, it is in fact my favourite song of all time. If anyone mentions emo then Mineral is always the first band that jumps to mind, to me they are THE emo band. ‘EndSerenading’ is a beautiful album, Mineral made music so open and emotional that it shouldn’t work but it does work incredibly so. ‘&serenading’ is the penultimate song from that album, it is heart breakingly gorgeous in every way, lyrically and musically. The ending is just perfect, it builds up with repetitive vocals that harmonize at the right moment to elevate the song into the most beautiful of end riffs. Pure brilliant genius!!!!!

That’s it, the list is done.

FREE MUSIC!!! To celebrate ‘Is this thing on?’ has teamed up with the influential and legendary emo label, Deep Elm, to bring you a free 12 track download sampler featuring every Deep Elm song on the list. That includes music by The Appleseed Cast, Planes Mistaken For Stars, Cross My Heart, Pop Unknown, Benton Falls and many more. Click the link below to go there and download it.

http://deepelmdigital.com/album/deep-elm-is-this-thing-on

Also, while you’re there you can check out the infamous 12 volume Emo Diaries compilation series featuring 147 unreleased tracks by Jimmy Eat World, The Appleseed Cast, This Drama, Further Seems Forever (featuring Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional), Planes Mistaken For Stars, The Movielife, Samiam and many more. Download the lot for $29!!

Here is the link:  http://deepelm.com/emodiaries/

Thank you so much for reading. It has been an unforgettable few weeks sharing this list with you and I want to thank everyone that has read/shared/retweeted/commented etc.. It’s great to know that this music still means a hell of a lot to a lot of people. Feel free to share this and let me know what you think, whether you agree or totally disagree either on here or on twitter (@alex_itto)

Now have a facebook page for the blog too, come and say hi www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog

I have updated the spotify playlist, click the link below for that.

Emo 100 (100-1)

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THE ‘IS THIS THING ON?’ TOP 100 EMO SONGS OF ALL TIME PART 7 (40-31)

#emo100

Previously on the Top 100 emo songs of all time…….

100 – Reggie and the full effect – Thanx for stayin

99 – Roadside Monument – Sunken Anchor

98 – Boilermaker – Slow Down

97 – Hundred reasons – If I could

96 – Jets to Brazil – Chinatown

95 – Coping – F For now

94 – Inside – Ray Brower

93 – Basement – Grayscale

92 – The Jazz June – Viva La speed metal

91 – Everyone Everywhere – I feel fine by Everyone Everywhere

90 – Hunter Gatherer – Low standards for high fives

89 – Football, etc. – Safety

88 – Race Car Riot – Raincheck

87 – Taking Back Sunday – Bike scene

86 – Leiah – Tiglio

85 – Brandtson – Still life

84 – Polar Bear Club – Bottled wind

83 – Starmarket – Losing track

82 – Sunny Day Real Estate – Guitar and video games

81 – Grade – Stolen bikes ride faster

80 – Bob Tilton – September

79 – The Autumn Year – Little lost words

78 – Koufax – Going to happen

77 – Wavelets – Julio won’t get out of the car

76 – The Get Up Kids – Forgive and Forget

75 – Hot Rod Circuit – At nature’s mercy

74 – The Appleseed Cast – Steps and numbers

73 – Stapleton – International departures

72 – New End Original – Lukewarm

71 – Hundred Hands – A Replay

70 – Knapsack – Cellophane

69 – Elliott – Dionysus Burning

68 – The Lapse – We Must Move Backwards To Progress

67 – Owls – Everyone Is My Friend

66 – Suis La Lune – Quiet, Pull The Strings!

65 – Sunday’s Best – Winter Owned

64 – CSTVT – Hiccups

63 – Vitreous Humor – Sharin’ Stone

62 – Beezewax – Dead End Kids

61 – Death Cab For Cutie – A Movie Script Ending

60 – Grown Ups – Three Day Weekend

59 – Funeral Diner – We Become Buried

58 – Snowing – I Think We’re In Minsk

57 – Imbroco – You’re My Lionkiller

56 – Maritime – Tearing Up The Oxygen

55 – Engine Down – The Offer Of Something

54 – Boy’s Life – Sight Unseen

53 – Benton Falls – All These Things

52 – Further Seems Forever – Madison Prep

51 – The Casket Lottery – Ever Since Sulfur

50 – Ghosts And Vodka – Sex Is Popular

49 – Transit – Footwork

48 – Jejune – Solar

47 – Hey Mercedes – Quality Revenge At Last

46 – Jeremy Enigk – Lewis Hollow

45 – Cursive – The Radiator Hums

44 – Joan Of Arc – Post Coitus Rock

43 – Pianos Become The Teeth – Cripples Can’t Shiver

42 – The Get Up Kids – Coming Clean

41 – At The Drive-In – Heliotrope

To read more about these tracks click HERE for numbers 100-91, HERE for no’s 90-81, HERE for no’s 80-71, HERE for no’s 70-61, HERE for no’s 60-51, HERE for no’s 50-41. And for some background as to why I’m doing this list click HERE

40 – Owen – O, Evelyn

Mike Kinsella’s contribution to the genre is unrivalled and his output as ‘Owen’ has been prolific. But It’s on his latest record, ‘Ghost Town’, that you’ll find my favourite song he’s put out as Owen. You can’t have a top 100 emo songs without having some proper love songs and ‘O, Evelyn’ is a proper good love song, one which I fell in love with on my first listen. Gorgeous!!

39 – This Beautiful Mess – Don’t Go There

‘Temper the wind to the shorn lamb’ by This Beautiful Mess is a really great album full of beautifully sombre indie rock. ‘Don’t go there’ should be a hit song because it has all the right ingredients, infectious catchy verses make way for an even more killer chorus and then this all leads into a middle eight of perfectly twinkly guitars. This was another band we were lucky enough to have play in Margate. Well worth checking out.

38 – Rites Of Spring – Remainder

File:Rites of Springalbum.jpgGuy Picciotto is an unmistakeable presence in music. I obviously never got to see Rites Of Spring play live, only a handful of people did and I was only 5 when they were about and more interested in playing with my Dukes Of Hazzard pedal car, but I did see Fugazi play twice, in 1999 and 2002. His stage presence, charm and energy then were phenomenal, this still comes across too when you listen to Rites Of Spring. ‘Remainder’ is a blistering, influential and above all awesome song.

37 – Rainer Maria – Artificial Light

How could you listen to this song and not fall in love? It draws you in from the very first stroke of the effects laden guitars and hugs you close with it’s sumptuous vocals. The perfect way to open an album, a song that sounds so much bigger than a 3 piece should be able to. Epically beautiful.

36 – Sunny Day Real Estate – Theo B

This song could take the award for ‘Best Bass line in any song ever!!’ The rhythm section control this song, driving it forwards, the guitar is a great topping along with Jeremy Enigk’s voice which could improve any song. ‘Theo B’ really reminds me of college, I listened to ‘Lp2′ constantly back then and this was always my favourite song from that record. Absolutely essential.

35 – The Gloria Record – Grace The Snow Is Here

A few of the great emo bands that split up early went on to form many great bands and Mineral were no exception. Out of all the bands that followed on from Mineral’s demise, The Gloria Record is the most similar in sound which is probably due, by in large, to the fact that Chris Simpson’s unique voice is on glorious display. The first EP they released was a relief to get to those of us who were pining for more and remains as good a listen today.

34 – Saves The Day – Holly Hox, Forget Me Nots

‘Through Being Cool’ has one of the most iconic album covers in the emo genre, recorded when they were still super young, which you can kind of tell and the album is all the better for it. Full of energy and innocence, this was when Saves The Day were at their best although they are still around now going strong, albeit with a much changed line up.

33 – Penfold – M

The chord progression used at the start of the song is one widely used by emo bands, my old band did, Appleseed Cast did and so did The Police on ‘Every little thing she does is magic’, which doesn’t really help my point but I thought it was worth a mention. Penfold do it and do it well, I love the duetting male and female vocals at the beginning, building the song brilliantly towards the soaring chorus and beyond. Fantastic emo in the Mineral mould.

32 – The Promise Ring – A Picture Postcard

This is a classic emo song slightly marred by the fact the opening lead guitar riff really reminds of the Asda jingle they use in their adverts so instead of being able to relax and enjoy the music I was hounded but visions of weird looking people in green gilets patting their bums whilst grinning madly. That’s my problem, I’ll deal with it and it shouldn’t stop you loving this song. As soon as the song progresses then you lose yourself to it’s many charms. Davey Von Bohlen singing “Couldn’t you take the second bus home? couldn’t you just take me with you?” is one of my favourite moments in any song!!

31 – Mineral – If I Could

Taken from their first, and for many people their best, album ‘The power of failing’, ‘If I could’ is 6 minutes of genius. A lot is said of how emo has no set sound, and I suppose it doesn’t because there are vast amounts of various types of music that fall under the emo banner, but if I was asked what I think of as the emo ‘sound’ I would play them this song. The style, the quiet/loud dynamic, the elongated singing that borders on screaming and the fact that Mineral could make open emotional music without being in the slightest bit cheesey makes them emo heroes of mine. Perfect!!

Thank you very much for reading and sharing and all that. Please feel free to comment/share/slate etc either here or on twitter @alex_itto. I will post the next part very soon. Cheers again x

I have updated the spotify playlist, the link for which is below!!

Emo 100 (100-31)

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Not so dead and now operational, is there anyone left?

Well, would you believe?, the rumours were true.

This week 2 bands have announced their much anticipated returns, At the drive-in and Refused are both back and will both be playing this years Coachella Festival, California in April.

Both bands had been rumoured to reform in some capacity for a long time, mainly because people were so desperate for them to. There has been a big trend for bands to reform over the last few years, all with varying levels success, you could say that it’s been done to death but if you asked anyone with an interest in post hardcore what band would you still love to see come back you could bet good money on them saying either of these bands. In many people’s eyes, At the drive-in and Refused had both finished before their time and had left everyone wanting more.

‘Relationship of command’ broke At the drive-in big, but also broke them up. Just as soon as everyone knew who they were, they were no more. Refused, on the other hand, have been far more successful since they ended than they were when they were together, ‘The shape of punk to come’ is now the stuff of legend. It’s these reasons that people have been so keen for them to reform, When you fall in love with a band post their existence it’s hard to accept the fact that you weren’t there when it all happened. Getting them to reform and then getting to see them play isn’t the same as seeing them first time round, but it is the next best thing.

So will this signal the end of the trend for old bands to reform? We’ve tolerated it for some time and we’ve now got the ones we all wanted. Or will this trigger a whole new wave of comebacks? Are there anymore bands left to come back?

Here are five bands I would still love to see reform for my own selfish reasons:

5. Sleater-Kinney

The first time I saw Sleater-Kinney was in London in 1998. They were, of course, awesome but the gig was somewhat ruined by Jarvis Cocker! We watched from the balcony and he was stood next to us with, what can only be described as, a bunch of twats in suits, who all spent the gig talking as loudly as they could. The more he ignored the gig the more annoyed I got, the more the ‘suits’ emitted smug laughter the more furious I got. Of course, I did nothing about this, apart from the odd evil glare that I directed in their general area.

I saw them again a few years later, at Koko in Camden, just after they had released ‘The Woods’. They were incredibly loud, indescribably loud. It was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to, they were completely on fire that night. I would so love to see them play again, Wild Flag and the Corin Tucker Band aren’t enough for me, they need to all be in the same band again.

4. Q and Not U

Q and Not U were a very special band. Equally as good when they were punking it up as when they were funking it out (if they are actual things). Every album was different, yet they always completely fitted with being on Dischord, they were constanly evolving and seeing the amount of different instruments they played when we saw them live was a joy. The music press seems to liken a lot of bands to Q and Not U these days, it would be so good for the originators to come back and show how it’s done.

3. Beezewax

Beezewax have got to be the quintessential indie emo pop band. Each album had songs on that could compete with any other songs ever written as some of the best slices of pop perfection that you could find. And they felt like our band. I don’t know how many times they ended up playing in Margate/Canterbury but it seemed so many they may as well have been a local band instead of from Norway. Everyone in our scene had a soft spot for them. I don’t know what happened to Beezewax in the end but would love them to come visit us again. One listen to ‘The snooze is on’ or ‘Dead end kids’ and I could be instantly in a good mood that will last for the rest of the day.

2. Smart Went Crazy

Does anyone else still listen or ever listen to Smart Went Crazy? Their 2nd album, ‘Con Art’, was one of the albums that I listened to most when I was at college in the late 90′s. It’s so interesting, they sounded like no other DC band, or like any other band for that matter. More experimental than your average post hardcore band they included lo-fi musical interludes in between songs and brilliant use of cello throughout the record. Can’t resist some good cello use. All of which was surrounded by brilliant song after brilliant song, the epic 2 part ‘DC will do that to you’ sounds just as good today as it ever did. They showed so much promise but broke up not long after the release of ‘Con art’, the Dischord site states “internal disintegration’ as the reason. A damn shame.

1. Mineral

Mineral, it has to be Mineral!!

This band, on top of any other, is the band I would absolutely love to reform. The ultimate emo band for any self confessed emo boy/girl. ‘End serenading’ is perfect, it’s faultless. It would be heaven to see them play live, I can just imagine standing there with a few hundred other 30 somethings, tears streaming down our faces, our arms out like a scarecrow singing in unison.

Mineral have achieved an almost myth like status. They are the actual stuff of legend. The penultimate song from their second album, ‘&serenading’ could well be my favourite song of all time. It certainly has the best ending of any song, EVER. When the 2nd chorus finishes and the build up starts with the layered vocals, singing about the “sound of the driving snow, that drives me home to you”, it sends chills down my spine. Breathtaking. They were a genre defining band. If they ever decide to give it another go I would cross heaven and earth to be there front row, centre.

Who would you like to see make an overdue comeback? Or is there any band that should definitely never reform?

Let me know, and as always: cheers guys x

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