Category Archives: pop punk

Review: Joyce Manor – Never Hungover Again

Band – Joyce Manor

Album – Never Hungover Again

Label -Epitaph

By Lewie Peckham

joyce manor

One of the most divisive arguments that follows Torrence, California indie-punks Joyce Manor around is about the shortness of most of their recorded output. Some listeners feel cheated that many of the bands songs rarely exceed the 2 minute mark and albums can be finished in as much time as it takes to watch an episode of Seinfeld (or insert any U.S sitcom in its place..you get the idea). The other side of this debate is that Joyce Manor are the masters of concise punk rock songwriting, trimming the fat of their songs until perfect blasts of hook-laden Indie/Emo/Punk/Whatever you want to call it remain.

Never Hungover Again lasts for about 19 minutes (give or take a couple of seconds) but in that time Joyce Manor have found enough space to make their most musically ambitious album yet. The usual hallmarks of their sound remain, Barry Johnson’s impassioned vocals over gritty Pinkerton-era Weezer and Jawbreaker guitars and Guided By Voices melodic exuberance, but now with added instrumental depth and influences excavated from outside their usual sound.

The swells of gorgeous synths that appear in sublime highlight ‘Falling in love again’ recall the wistfulness of The Psychedelic Furs and the dual guitar lines that arrive in the middle of ‘Schley’ could have been lifted from seminal Ohio art-punks Pere Ubu’s most accessible record (1989’s Cloudland). It’s a testament to Joyce Manors songs that these nods to their record collection never throw the album off track or leave it scrambling to get back on its path. It’s the subtle compliments that make you realise that you are hearing something very special.

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There are still the usual blasts of pop-punk that will appeal to even the most casual fan of the band. The lovelorn ‘Victoria’ and self-deprecation of ‘Heart Tattoo’ are glorious, fuzzy gems that once again are the best examples of Joyce Manors sharp, concise song craft. The ambiguous amped-up Smiths riffage of ‘In The Army Now’ and Jangle-pop of ‘Heated Swimming Pool’ show the different and exiting musical paths the band may choose on future releases and how adept they are at incorporating these into Joyce Manors existing sound. Never Hungover Again is probably one of the most rewarding listens of 2014 and will, quite rightly, find itself lavished with repeated listens and justified acclaim.

Proving that there is still life in a genre that can sometimes feel stodgy and overladen with mediocre bands, Joyce Manor are one of the better examples of what heartfelt, interesting music can be made within the shortest bursts of noise.

Thanks for reading. Get in touch. ittoblog@gmail.com, http://www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog, twitter – @alex_itto, @BonersaurJR

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The Is this thing on? Top 10 Records of 2012

What a year 2012 has turned out to be. So much so that this list has proved to be near impossible to write, choosing the 10 best records of the year and then listing them in order of bestest has given me a headache. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good headache and I ain’t complaining. Last year I posted a top 10 and so I thought i would continue with this. My best friend paul who writes the Wallernotweller blog made the sensible choice of listing 15 records but I’m not that wise. So, 10 it is. Meaning that some bloody good records have ended up missing out on this list. Bands like Suis La Lune, Converge, Joyce Manor, The Cribs, Sport, Ape Up! and Dads have all produced some quality work and have only missed out on my top 10 by the slightest of margins. Annabel too, whose album ‘Youth in youth’ is packed with greatness and if it had come out earlier in the year it might have taken one of the top ten places. These are all very worthy but they can’t all be winners so on with the list..

10. You Blew It! – Grow Up Dude

you blew it

This is an album that just keeps on growing on me, I like it more every time I listen. The records perfectly understated production mixed with the heart and melody of the music make it hard not to love this album. The fact that bands are making music like this is the reason why I write this blog, if someone asks you if there really is a 90’s emo revival happening at the moment then play them ‘Grow up dude’ and they will have their answer. I’m sure I saw someone mention on something or other that You Blew It! might be coming to the UK in 2013, this needs to happen. In the meantime I’ll just make do with falling in love with this album some more.

9.  State Faults – Desolate Peaks

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My first listen to ‘Desolate Peaks’ was my first experience of State Faults and by heck it was a good one. I love it when you put something on completely without assumptions and end up being blown away. The record is powerful yet touching. It perfectly fills the void left by Pianos Become the Teeth not releasing an album this year. But of course State Faults are a lot more than just a lazy comparison and they are by far the heaviest, screamiest band on my list this year. Earlier in the year they were kind enough to answer some of my questions, click HERE to have a read.

8. Dowsing – It’s still pretty terrible

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This is a record that is full of charm and beautiful indie pop songs that warm the soul. I said in my review of this album a few months ago and I stick by it, this is the record The Get Up Kids were trying to make with ‘On a wire’ and failed. Dowsing however hit it spot on. Now I know for a fact that they are planning to tour the UK next year, this is one not to miss. These songs in a packed venue with a whole crowd singing along to every word is something I definitely wanna be a part of!!!

7. Basement – Colourmeinkindness

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This is a record that appeals to the teenager in me, the spotty kid in the early 90’s with long greasy hair who was proud to called a ‘grunger’ by every chav in Thanet. There are so many grunge influences on this record that it’s hard to keep up, Basement mix in their straight up melodic hardcore and what you have is an album that’s screaming out to breakthrough. If it does it’ll be too late though as Basement are no more which is more than a damn shame. Great record!

6. Glocca Morra – Just Married

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Glocca Morra are quite possibly my favourite band that I discovered this year. ‘just Married’ got a hefty few plays again and again this summer and listening to it now immediately reminds of that time. This is a perfect summer album because it’s just so much damn fun. If I was in to having house party’s and was wanting to get things happening then i would reach for this record, it would pretty much guarantee everyone a good time. Not only did Glocca Morra give us ‘Just Married’ this year, they followed it up with the equally amazing ‘An obscure moon lighting an obscure world’ EP. I hope they keep this momentum up and maybe next year they can claim my entire top ten!

It has come time to take a short break from this countdown and take a minute to remember the bands that we have lost this year. I mean, what awards show would be complete without a memorial montage and this Top 10 is no exception. So watch the video below and join me in some quiet reflection as we remember those that are gone.

5. Crash Of Rhinos – Distal

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Now, I know what you’re thinking, technically this record didn’t come out this year. It was first released in April of 2011 but it was re-released this year by Big Scary Monsters and this record is too good to be left out on a technicality. Plus who are you to say I can’t have them in my top 10, you’re not my mum! (mum if you’re reading this put the laptop down and back away, they’re in and that’s final). Crash of rhinos are almost too good, beautifully brilliant songs that last forever yet never outstay their welcome. With incredible vocals that seem to come from every member of the band and more bass players than bands that only have one bass player in them. They are touring in January with Raein which has ‘tour of the year’ written all over it already!!!

4. Prawn – Ships

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Shortly before getting this EP I went to see Prawn play live in Folkestone, the show was beset with technical problems so much so that they ended up only being able to play 4 songs. At the time I wasn’t bothered because I’d had a great night and Prawn were still fantastic. But after getting ‘Ships’ a few weeks later I was gutted that they couldn’t play all night. The songs that make up ‘Ships’ are so incredible that hearing them live would surely constitute one of the best gigs you’re likely to ever attend. Perfect emo like a poppier Appleseed Cast, love it!!

3. Title Fight – Floral Green

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Title Fight keep going from strength to strength and ‘Floral Green’ is their best record to date. Only a year after releasing their first studio album ‘Shed’ they released a record that was not only brilliant but also showed they had made great leaps forward in terms of sound and maturity. The dreamy, shoegaze magic of ‘Head in the ceiling fan’ showed a new side to Title Fight and ‘Secret Society’ proved that Title Fight can write catchy, instantly likeable grunge songs as well as anyone. Another essential record.

2. Dikembe – Broad Shoulders

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Dikembe are one of the best bands you’re ever likely to hear, following up the massive potential shown on last years ep ‘Chicago Bowls’ with a near perfect record of beautiful, mid paced emo. My heart melts at the first sound of Steven Gray’s voice and the guitar sound they have only heightens this sensation. I can see this album/band coming to define this current wave of emo tagged music, in a few years we’ll be looking back at it with the same fondness that we look back at, for example, ’30 degrees everywhere’ by the Promise Ring it’s that good. In any normal year it would easily win my album of the year top spot and they were only very narrowly beaten this year by…….

1. Joie De Vivre – We’re all better than this

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This years first prize just has to go to Joie De Vivre with ‘We’re all better than this’ an album which I’ve very rarely not been listening to since it came out in the summer. Having split up it is unfathomable that this record could never have been made and I am so grateful that they gave it another shot. Seeing them play this summer in Brighton is one of the best shows I’ve ever been to, a brilliantly uplifting experience. Which is like what you get every time your hear ‘We’re all better than this’. An album that both boasts the best use of trumpets all year and the amazingly lovely backing vocals from Lindsay Minton (Football, etc) cannot fail to impress. A beautiful, beautiful record, well done, FIRST PRIZE!!!

Well, there you go. 2013 is already shaping up to be another incredible year that is promising new albums from Tigers Jaw, Football etc, Daylight, The Reptilian, Appleseed Cast, Jimmy Eat World and many more. I literally cannot wait. In the meantime thanks for reading and have yourself a very merry christmas xx

I’ve made an Is this thing on? best of 2012 playlist on Spotify if that’s your kind of thing, click the link below x

Is This thing on? best of 2012

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Review: Make Do And Mend – Everything You Ever Loved

Band – Make Do And Mend

Album – Everything You Ever Loved

Label – Rise Records

When you’re a huge music fan and you keep discovering new music that is unbelievably amazing it’s hard not to get carried away with writing overly positive things about everything you find. It’s also a massive shock when something you’ve been looking forward to and keeping an eye out for turns out to be utterly disapointing.

Make Do and Mend caught my attention, like they did many others, with the 2010 album ‘End Measured Mile’. A really solid record that whilst not being album of the year showed a lot of promise for a band that could be capable of recording a classic. ‘Everything you ever loved’ is not the classic that I was hoping for, It’s not even a good record, a definite step down from their last effort.

The problem begins straight from the start. I don’t know if it’s and intentional effort on Make Do and Mend’s part to push for a wider audience or if it’s just them becoming the band they want to be but they’ve taken on a far more middle of the road rock sound. Think more Foo Fighters and less Hot Water Music, and if there is one thing the world doesn’t need is another Foo Fighters. The opening song, ‘Blur’, begins with some cheesy, mainstream grunge guitar work and the album finds it very hard to recover from this. Far too many effects and overproduction instantly take away the grittier edge they used to possess. It then all becomes a bit predictable and, sadly, dull.

Second track, ‘Dissassemble’, tries to swing it back but has too many cringeworthy moments (backing vocals) to be enjoyable. On, ‘St Anne’, they try a Jimmy Eat World style ballad which doesn’t come off. Jimmy Eat World pull these kind of songs off in their sleep but here it just sounds misguided. The rest of the album then blurs into a mush of uninspired riffs and instantly forgettable songs, it then kind of fades off in to the distance with a bit of a whimper. Not at all what I was expecting. I always try and look for a positive in everything I write about but I’m struggling here. There is not a single song on the album that I can claim to like.

Overall ‘Everything You Ever Loved’, is a big disappointment and a real shame. If you want a band who aimed for this kind of sound and really pulled it off then check out the latest Polar Bear Club record, but I’d stay away from this. Still, if you wanna give it a go then click HERE to go to the Rise Records page and check it out for yourself.

As always, cheers for reading xx

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PRAWN, Folkestone 15.06.2012

Now that my back is starting to feel more normal, or as normal as it’s likely to feel after 19 months of pain, painkillers and operations, I am able to get out and see bands again. I’m now seeing flyers for shows and getting excited rather than frustrated at my predicament. A show I’d been really excited to go to since it was announced months ago was Prawn and Ape up! being put on by Box Social in Folkestone. This excitement was then vastly increased when Alex, the promoter, arranged for me to be able to interview Ape up! before the show.

If you’ve read my review of Ape Up!’s latest record, Kemosabe, (if not you can read it HERE) then you’ll know why I was excited. The band are awesome. But then a couple of days before the gig some really bad news broke. Matt, the singer, had had a really serious accident whilst in Poland and was in hospital. Ape Up! obviously had to cancel the rest of the tour. But Prawn had made the decision to continue and play the remaining dates, which meant they were still coming to the UK, which meant that I was definitely gonna make the hour long drive to Folkestone to support them.

As there were only going to be 2 bands playing the sensible decision was made to put the bands on after the football had finished. England were playing Sweden in the Euro’s and sometimes it’s easier to not try and compete. It turned out to be a great move as the result, plus the disbelief that an England team could score a goal like they did for their third, added to the overall enjoyment of the night.

First up were local band Yes We Canada who played a short set of noisy punk with a big heap of pop for good measure. It was the first time I had ever seen the band and I really enjoyed their set and it seemed the rest of the crowd felt the same. A young band full of youthful energy is hard not to like and they had enough hooks and melody to back it up. Impressive stuff, even when they finished a song early because of a mistake it kind of added to their charm.

Then it was the turn of Prawn to take the stage. I’m a really big fan of Prawn, they play a classic, Low Level Owl (minus the weird bits) era Appleseed Cast type of emo and they do it well. A good crowd had started to assemble but there seemed to be problems. The power in the venue kept cutting out and time was getting on, it started to look like Prawn weren’t going to be able to play. Luckily they managed to sort the problems out, although not without having to sacrifice some effects pedals and a good chunk of their bass sound. The problems were later blamed on the wrong power converters given to them in Holland, that added to what had happened to Ape up! in Poland and Prawn were starting to take a dislike to some of Europe. Thankfully the goodwill of the crowd kept them positive enough to still entertain us with their beautiful songs. They opened with ‘At dawn we left’, the opening song from their full length, ‘You can just leave it all’, which still sounded gorgeous despite the lack of bass and distortion pedals. Maybe it was the added relief that they were actually playing which made Prawn sound all the more sweet. The only downside with their set was, due to the problems they had be encountering which meant that they started late, it was a bit too short. They only played 4 songs, which wasn’t their fault and was one more than they could have done with the threat of being chucked out by the venue after they had finished their second song. They sneaked in a fourth before accepting the fact they would have to stop, in their own words they didn’t want to be “punched in the face by some English bloke”. During the short set we were treated to a new song which sounded as consistent and great as their older stuff and they finished with ‘Arctic Foxes’ at the request of someone in the audience which went down a storm.

There was a great atmosphere in the venue that night and although the set was short Prawn still managed to blow me away. Short sets can sometimes be a blessing anyway, I hate bands that outstay their welcome and play for far too long, not that Prawn would have done that. A short, sharp set can be just what is needed, leave ’em wanting more as the old showbiz saying goes. I do hope they come back to the UK soon though. They still have a few dates left in Europe so go see them if you can.

And to Ape Up! I really hope all is ok and you manage to get safely home. I managed to speak to Roland from the band afterwards. He had stayed on with Prawn to do the merch and sell some Ape Up! stuff too. He was so super nice, sadly I had nothing with me to interview him so hopefully I’ll get to do that another way soon. He also gave great advice on size and colour when deciding what T-shirt to go for, a man of many talents.

Me (with full on geeky fanboy grin) and Roland after the show

Next up on the gig front is Joie De Vivre and Football, etc in Brighton this July, very very excited about this one. Some more reviews and other things will be posted soon. Thanks for reading xx

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Review Roundup – Homelife, The Cribs, Le Yikes SURF CLUB, Dowsing/Parker

I have to admit I have really fallen behind recently, trying to make the most of the glorious sunshine we are currently experiencing has left little time to sit down and write. Which is BAD!! Mainly because there has been a sudden explosion in the amount of new records being released that deserve full attention. I have been like a kid in a sweet shop recently greedily trying to consume as much of the music as possible. Too much time listening and not enough time writing.

Time to rectify this.

To ge a little bit more up to date I thought I’d start by doing a roundup of some of the recent releases that have been taking up my time of late. This will then be followed by reviews of some very awesome full lengths by bands such as State Faults, Ape Up, Best Practices, Suis La Lune and many more…

Review #1 = Homelife – Translation

Translation is the first full length album from Homelife and it’s a really impressive debut. 10 songs of emotional Mid West punk rock joy, listening to this record is my first experience of the band and I knew inside the first 30 seconds of the opening track ‘Shapeless’ that I was going to be a fan. Bringing a sound similar in vein to that of Title Fight and Basement, it also brings to mind older Small Brown Bike and maybe a bit of Hot Water Music for good measure. Homelife is a band whose members have a background in hardcore which still comes through in their music, although now they have mixed emotion and sensitivity to the sound and the lyrics with great results. I like this album a lot, it’s one I’m sure to revisit time and again. Translation was co-released on vinyl by Black Numbers and Bermuda Mohawk on the 15th of May and can also be downloaded on a name your price basis HERE

Review #2 – The Cribs – In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull

My favourite UK indie band are back and it’s a blessed relief. The Cribs have returned with their 5th studio album ‘In the belly of the brazen bull’ and have dispensed with the dead wood that was Johnny Marr to make a record that marks a return to their best. Don’t get me wrong, I really like their last album ‘Ignore the ignorant’, how could you not with a song like ‘Cheat on me’ on there and I was only (kind of) joking about Johnny Marr, but it feels like the old Cribs is back. The fun, catchy, 3 piece Cribs who have come back to give UK indie bands a well deserved smack in the mouth. The sound is a lot dirtier on this record and really reminds me of ‘Pinkerton’ in several places, a lot of it was recorded with Steve Albini at his studio in Chicago and even though Steve Albini claims his input is minimal he always manages to record bands at their best and this record is no exception. The Cribs are the only band the NME should cover from here on, every other mainstream ‘indie’ band that magazine has tried to push on us are nothing but a footnote now. The record was recently released on Wichita Records and you can buy it from all good record shops if there are still any left.

Review #3 – LE Yikes SURF CLUB – LE Yikes SURF CLUB

Coming in June Grizzly Records will be releasing a limited edition cassette of the new LE Yikes SURF CLUB 5 track EP. I love that cassette’s are now making a comeback, it really reminds me of first getting in to music as a young teen although I no longer own a cassette player and will need to rectify this. Especially if there are gonna be awesome releases, like this one, that I’m not gonna wanna miss. LE Yikes SURF CLUB play fast and incredibly catchy surf punk in short one to two minute bursts. The retro surf sound is immediately appealing, along with the great cover artwork but LE Yikes also have the songs to back this up. Featuring members of punk band Dirty Tactics, each song is well crafted with a truck load of hooks and full of reasons to get you up and dancing. Trying hard to think of who you could compare them to, maybe Male Bonding with more of a punk edge. Maybe its best not to get bogged down by comparisons, if you like punk rock and 60’s surf guitar playing you will get a big kick out of this EP. Click HERE to go to their bandcamp page.

Review #4 – Dowsing/Parker Split 7″

New from Count Your Lucky Stars Records is this split 7″, 2 songs each from Dowsing and Parker. First up are Dowsing, with a full length record about to come out its good to be reminded of their enjoyable brand of good, honest, American indie rock. The first song on the record, ‘That Would Be A Lot Of Cool’, is a really great, heartfelt song that gets in your head. I like the simplicity of the sound, straightforward guitars, drums and bass which is then nicely complimented by the great overdriven sound on the guitar solo. The second song, ‘Somerset’, has a more gentle pace and is more of a grower but grow on you it does. Very much looking forward to the full length.

Parker are a band impossible to dislike, another addition to the many great bands spearheading an emo revival right now. Think early Get Up Kids/Promise Ring with a caP’n jazz feel to the vocals, with a description like that you know I’m a fan. Of the 2 Parker songs on display here the first one, ‘Make It Home Safely’, is the one that really stands out. The 2nd track, ‘Eleanor Roosevelt’, again is more slow paced but is really likeable, more arty than poppy emo, but the first one, to me, was an instant hit. I played on repeat John Peel style after my first listen and it just gets better. A full length from these guys is a very exciting prospect indeed.

Click HERE to go to the Count Your Lucky Stars bandcamp to stream/download

It’s not all been good music wise of late, I wrote a review of the very disappointing debut from Daytrader for bandbucket.com which you can read if you so wish by clicking HERE

To end on a positive note, my friend Tom at http://www.washedupemo.com reviewed the new Gates EP. Gates are another really great new emo band, check out the review by clicking HERE

Cheers for reading, more reviews to come in the next few days 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 8 (30-21)

#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

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 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, HERE for 40-31. And for some background as to why I’m doing this list click HERE

30 – Sense Field – Building

 One of the shortest, if not the shortest, songs on the list, the title track from the classic album of the same name zips by without giving you time to think. Just lose yourself in one and a half minutes of superb, energetic, punky pop brilliance. The guitars at the start, the verse, the catchy chorus, Jon Bunch’s killer voice and the way the song rocks out at the end all make for one hell of a song.

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

 Death Cab are one of few bands that can keep on going for years, releasing multiple albums whilst keeping the quality at a premium. Tucked away at the end of the 2008 album ‘Narrow Stairs’ is this beautiful gem of a song. ‘The ice is getting thinner’ has a special place in my heart as it’s my wifes favourite song, which is appropriate as it is amazingly beautiful just as she is (brownie points!!!). Ben Gibbard’s effortlessly lovely voice with simple yet brilliant guitars make this song a real treat.

28 – Dashboard Confessional – Turpentine Chaser

 You don’t get much more emo than Dashboard Confessional. It’s amazing how much energy that one man and his acoustic guitar can invoke in a room full of like minded people. My wife and I got to see him play at the tiny Metro Club underneath Waterstones in Oxford Street towards the end of 2002. I had heard about how the crowd would sing-a-long but it was still a shock when the crowd was united in one voice as soon as Dashboard started playing. ‘Turpentine Chaser’ is taken from his first album ‘The swiss army romance’ and is an emotionally intense example of Chris Carraba at his very best.

27 – Beezewax – The Snooze Is On

 In the latter part of the 20th century my friend Paul was asked if he’d be able to sort out a local show for a Norweigian band who would be coming to the UK shortly. He was given a copy of their debut album, ‘A dozen summits’, and from the opening chords of the first song ‘The snooze is on’ we (the whole of Margate) instantly fell in love. It is one of the most perfect slices of indie pop ever committed to tape, Paul put them on and then several times more and Beezewax became one of our scenes most loved bands. Brilliant.

26 – The Anniversary – All Things Ordinary

 The Anniversary are sometimes forgotten/written off/overlooked which is a damn shame as they made 2 very good and different albums. ‘All things ordinary’ comes from their more classic emo rock debut album ‘Designing a nervous breakdown’ and comes complete with awesome keyboards and excellent male/female duetting vocals. I saw them a few times live and I seem to remember at the 2nd show the drummer had adopted a look resembling a tennis player from the 1970’s which has to be said added to their appeal.

25 – Dismemberment Plan – What do you want me to say?

 I have been debating with myself as to whether or not I can count Dismemberment Plan as an emo band and I came to the conclusion that I don’t really care because this song is so good I would try and include it into any ‘best of’ list I was writing, even if it was a list of novety 90’s rap songs by kids who wore their clothes backwards. It is seriously good, one of the most instantly catchy choruses you’ll hear all year followed by the crazy where they keep yelling “hey!”. Amazing!!!!!

24 – The Appleseed Cast – Forever Longing The Golden Sun

One of the biggest problems you face when compiling a list of top 100 songs by yourself is choosing which songs to include and what to not, which ain’t good when you’re indecisive like I am. The problem is further exasperated when you are faced with an album as entirely brilliant as ‘Mare Vitalis’ where any of the 10 songs could make the list. I think I’ve made the right choice in ‘Forever longing the golden sun’, It’s classic Appleseed Cast, epic, beautiful and completely exhilarating.

23 – Far – Really Here

 This song subscribes to that old showbiz adage of ‘leave them wanting more’. It’s teasingly short in the fact that for 2 minutes the song builds slowly with Jonah’s sweet voice carressing your ears before launching in to the uplifting finale. As soon as ‘Really here’ ends you’re left shouting “Noooo” in a bad Darth Vader voice because you are just dying for it to continue. ‘Water and solutions’ the album ‘Really here’ is taken from is a classic which everyone should have in their collection.

22 – Pop Unknown – Half Of Ninety

 I love the way this song builds on the quiet, muted guitar riff that starts the song, gradually bringing in the drums, followed by the lead guitar melody and vocals. It has a real laid back beauty to it, the riff gets in your head and always makes me want to listen to the song again as soon it’s finished. ‘Half of ninety’ is taken from the bands first full length ‘If arsenic fails try algebra’ and Pop Unknown are one my favourite of the many brilliant Deep Elm bands.

21 – Hot Water Music – Remedy

 Hot Water Music have an extensive back catalogue of classic, brilliant albums but it’s on one of their later records that you’ll find this peach of an opening track. It’s the perfect song to blast out of your car speakers with the windows down as you pull away, makes me feel cool when I do (well, as cool as someone who drives a yellow Skoda can look). Brilliantly sung and briliantly loud as always. Still popular as ever, Hot Water Music recently sold out their upcoming show at the Old Blue Last in London in 12 minutes!! Such is the massive love for this band.

Thanks for reading again, its getting close to the end now. Again, let me know what you think either here or on Twitter (@alex_itto). The next part will go up soon. Cheers x

The Spotify playlist has been updated, click below for the link

Emo 100 (100-21)

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