Tag Archives: jimmy eat world

REVIEW: JIMMY EAT WORLD – DAMAGE

Band – Jimmy Eat World

Album – Damage

Label – RCA

I’m back, wooooopp. I can see you’re elated about this news. If you don’t read my blog regularly then I should probably fill you in with the news that my wife and I had our fourth baby 6 weeks ago. Since then I’ve taken a bit of paternity leave from this blog, we’re slowly getting the hang of life as a family of 6 so I thought I’d grab a moment here and there and catch up on the things I’ve been meaning to write about for some time. What better way to start then by writing about a band who you could also describe as ‘back’.

20130625-213625.jpg

Jimmy Eat World have returned with a new studio album, ‘Damage’, the first since 2010 when they released the disappointing ‘Invented’. If you know me or follow me on twitter etc… You’ll know what a fan of Jimmy Eat World I am. I’ve seen them live countless times, my wife walked down the aisle at our wedding to ‘For me this is heaven’ and my double blue vinyl copy of ‘Clarity’ is the most treasured of all my records. Jimmy Eat World have been one of the most consistently reliable bands to come out of emo, where other bands were too hasty to dismiss that label and made bad records as a result of that Jimmy Eat World kept their head down and released album after album packed with songs of the highest quality. I’d been a fan of the band for over 10 years before they had released something I wasn’t really on board with, that’s an incredibly high hit rate. Something about ‘Invented’ didn’t connect with me even though I think there are good songs on there, it’s a record that I didn’t get on with at first and haven’t revisited much since. Of course this made me a little apprehensive about ‘Damage’. You can never take away the influence that Jimmy Eat World have had and the quality of their back catalogue but with their being so many amazing bands around now all demanding my attention I did wonder how a new Jimmy Eat World album would fit in. Turns out it is just what I needed.

I definitely believe that what’s happening in your life and how your mood is when you first start listening to a new record has an enormous influence over how you will perceive and like that record. There are, I’m sure, perfectly good records by bands that I’ve dismissed due to the fact I wasn’t in the mood. ‘Damage’ definitely came at the right place and the right time. It was never going to hit me like ‘Clarity’ did the first time I heard that, very few albums do, but there was something very comforting about hearing ‘Damage’ for the first time. Our daughter must’ve been just a couple of weeks old and we were starved of sleep when ‘Damage’ first went on my car stereo. People joke to you when you have a baby about the sleepless nights but it isn’t a joke, there’s nothing funny about it. Even though we’ve been through this before with the other kids its still no preparation for just how tired you’re gonna feel. I got in my car to drive to work and put ‘Damage’ on the CD player, it was after a particularly difficult night and I may have been in a pretty vulnerable state but it felt an old friend was giving me a well needed hug. I felt immediately cradled in their arms as they did what Jimmy Eat World always do. It felt like a crazy time, everything was a bit up in the air, our family routine was gone and needed replacing but there were Jimmy Eat World making great quality rock songs, just like you expect them to do. They became my constant, a signal that one day all was going to be ok again. They were standing in front of me with their hands on my shoulders giving me a comforting smile and a knowing look. I felt reassured and connected to the album immediately.

jew1

Sometimes I dismiss a band or an album and I know I’m doing it because of the wrong reasons. I’ll raise the bar of expectancy too high or I’ll think about what it says about me to like something, or even have a preconceived notion of what cool is and if something didn’t fit the mould I’d toss it aside. With ‘Damage’ I’ve been able to listen to it with a clear mind, a clarity if you will. I didn’t put it on with a judgement already made up in my mind about it and because of that I’ve been able to enjoy the record a lot more than I normally would. Jimmy Eat World don’t sound like they did on ‘Static Prevails’ anymore, they’ll never make ‘Clarity’ again, I doubt they’ll ever make a record again that has an impact on me like ‘Futures’ did when I first heard it but that’s no reason to not love what they do now. They still write great songs, with great hooks and memorable melodies that will brighten up the most miserable of days.

There is so much to enjoy on this new record. The first song released, ‘I will steal you back’ is an obvious highlight but this is equalled in merit with the opening track ‘Appreciation’. ‘No, Never’ could be best described as the new ‘Authority Song’, a song so catchy I’ve caught my kids singing it still hours after hearing it in the car. There are other moments that also remind me of older songs, ‘ByeByelove’ feels similar in style to ‘The most beautiful things’ and ‘Lean’ and ‘How’d You Have Me’ could have featured anywhere on ‘Chase This light’ and ‘Bleed American’ respectively.

It’s a bit annoying to describe an album as a return to form, so I won’t, but ‘Damage’ can more be seen as a great reminder just why and how much you love Jimmy Eat World. Long may they continue to carry making music and making us all fall in love all over again.

Thanks so much for reading. Come say hi on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog or on Twitter @alex_itto

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , ,

Review: Brave Bird – Maybe You, No One Else Worth It

Band – Brave Bird

Album – Maybe you, no one else worth it

Label – Count Your Lucky Stars

Don’t you hate it when lazy blog writers write about records in January/February and proclaim them to already be the ‘album of the year’? Usually results in the same person saying this about a number of records only to go on and exclude from their end of year list. It’s annoying and, like I said, lazy. So, anyway, this brings me on to the new album by Brave Bird which could well end up being the best album you’ll hear all year, Hey!! I never said I wasn’t a lazy blog writer.

CYLS_053-_Brave_Bird

Around Christmas time last year a lot of buzz started gathering for this record after a site had been streaming a preview of the record. My small group of Twitter friends were saying some amazing things about and they have taste you can trust (most of the time). I decided to wait until I was able to get a copy of the album myself to properly give this the time it deserves, by the time I did I was desperate to hear it. And I’m glad I did wait because one of the great things about this record is that it is still getting better with each listen. I’m not saying that I didn’t like it to begin with, i really did. But it was one the 4th or 5th listen that i really fell in love with this album. I was driving alone in my car with the album on and track 4, ‘Tired Enough’, came on and something just clicked, I put the song on straight again after it finished and that was me sold.

Like other albums of this genre from the last couple of years there is definitely a classic emo feel of the late 90’s/early 00’s to ‘Maybe you, no one else worth it’. But this is mixed in with a ton of youthful energy and invention and there are more hooks to be found than horsemeat in your ready meals. If you can imagine Jimmy Eat World putting out an album of Glocca Morra covers, or maybe vice-versa then you come close to knowing what to expect from this record. This is also a longer record than a lot of others released recently with most songs pushing the 4 minute mark, they never out stay their welcome though. The songs have plenty of breathing space, they’re perfectly paced and filled with gorgeous melodies and really interesting guitar work.

As for standout songs on ‘Maybe you, no one else worth it’, Brave Bird spoil you for choice. As already mentioned, ‘Tired Enough’ just about steals it but has strong competition from the lovely ‘Thick Skin (should I give in)’ and the near perfect ‘The worst things happen to me’. The latter being so catchy at the end that when I’ve had the album on in the car taking my kids places, I hear them singing it still later throughout the day. I’m sure Brave Bird will take it as a massive compliment that they are up there with ‘Gangnam Style’ for songs that get stuck in my kids heads.

331493_467516569949273_1400347328_o

Needless to say ‘Maybe you, no one else worth it’ is an incredible record. If bands keep putting out albums like this than this wave of emo will no longer be thought of as a revival and instead as the definitive emo time with everything that came before in the 90’s just serving as a prequel to now. Brave Bird need to come to the UK so we can stand in a basement somewhere singing their songs back at them with our fingers pointing in the air, and they need to come soon!!!

Thanks for reading xx

Click HERE for the Count Your Lucky Stars store

Or click on these for Brave Bird’s Facebook/Tumblr/Twitter/Bandcamp

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

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

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bad Scene, NME’s Fault

As you may have previously read, I have been listening to a lot of Joie De Vivre. As it was confirmed by their recent brilliant gig in Brighton they are incredibly awesome. They have been described by many people as ’90’s emo revivalists’ which is fair, they do play in that Mineral-esque style. But the word ‘Revivalists’ got me thinking. To revive something than surely it has to die or go away in the first place. Emo did quite clearly die, but when? I can think of what a lot of people would reply but I think it may have happened before anyone started to panic at disco’s and the such.

A little while ago, after the Is this thing on? top 100 emo songs had finished, I was going through some old stuff and found something I’d been keeping hold of for 10 years. Something which had pissed me off so badly at the time that I thought must buy it, keep it, stash it in a drawer and then find it 10 years later to be pissed off by it again. The offending item was a copy of the NME from January 2002, harmless enough you may think but this issue of the New Musical Express just so happened to piss all over everything I was still very much in to at that point. The NME had done an EMO issue!!!

Anyone who has ever read the NME knows to take a lot of what they print with a pinch of salt. The amount of hype they apply to things is shocking at times, the same year they published this issue they had declared the Vines first album as the greatest debut album ever made?!? I mean, come on!! The NME wasn’t aimed at me, I read it from time to time to keep up and mainly because the gig adverts were quite handy back in the days that the internet worked as well as my back does. I was happy that they didn’t cover bands that I was in to, we didn’t need it to. We had other ways and means to find bands to fall in love with, like talking to each other and going to shows and talking to people there. And it wasn’t just the fact that they were going to write about bands that I liked but it was the manner in which they were going to do it.

At first glance you can see that it’s not going to be good. Look at the front cover:

What posessed them to make it look like a fanzine? They must have been trying to appeal to those that were already in to these bands whilst simultaneously educating those that weren’t. This didn’t work at all. It looks as authentic as those t-shirts that touts would sell on the streets outside venues in London when big bands were playing. Trying to make it look like they had made the cover by printing out the words and then using scissors, glue and a photocopier when it was obviously done by someone on a computer.

Opening the issue and turning to the middle you find 11 pages dedicated to Emo. Which is quite a lot, they are giving it a fair crack and I guess the first bit does an ok job. It begins with a page entitled what is emo? and goes on to explain a loose history mentioning bands like Rites of Spring and Heroin, predicts that Hundred Reasons and New End Original will soon be household names and finishes by surmising that Emo will be the death of nu-metal and will “steal punk rock back from the neanderthals.” The next 2 pages are given over to an interview with Jimmy Eat World which is fair enough, I love Jimmy Eat World and have done since the late 90’s. I never begrudged them getting a lot of attention and popularity as it never seemed to affect their ability to put out good records, although it was annoying when the audience at their shows would start to get younger and younger and would ignore anything pre Bleed American that the band would play. It’s the next few pages that really started to piss me off. (Well actually the next page was an ad for Telewest Broadband which boasted that you would soon be able to download “12 mp3 tracks in just 15.6 minutes”!! Woah!!! it was the pages after that were annoying)

The next 2 pages explore the world of emo. On the right of the page are a list of influential albums which include Embrace, Moss Icon and Texas Is The Reason so you start to think oh ok, maybe this won’t be so bad. But on the left the NME saw it fit to start ripping the piss out of the whole thing so then you think, oh right so they don’t get it then. Of course they don’t, this is the NME. They like to cover things so they can say that they have but they also love to slag things off so they can appear to know better than anyone. Nme loved to do this, build something up then tear it apart, which makes them no better than any tabloid newspaper. With Emo they did it in the same issue. The top of the page states “emo: the rules” and explains that basically all you have to do is cry. Open up, find yourself, dress like a librarian and cry some more whether you are in the crowd at a show or in the band themselves. “You can’t be in an emo band without crying, rolling around on the floor and beating yourself in the chest”. The only time I ever saw a band member cry at a show was when my old band supported Kneejerk in London and their singer/bass player, one Frank Turner, dropped to his knees at the end of the set with tears clearly running down his cheeks. This wasn’t a regular occurance, of course it wasn’t and Nme knew this. The fact that underground punk music of any of it’s many varieties was about community and being able to do it yourselves without the help of mainstream media was not enough of a story for them to fill an 11 page feature.

The cartoon cut outs of an emo boy and girl on the opposite page, pictured above, were enough to make you stop reading and wasting your time. It was one thing to try and be part of the scene by making the issue look like a fanzine and then namedrop some cool bands but then to make out that we were all a bunch of twats was just a joke. And it didn’t stop there.

The next page is a feature about Rival Schools, which lavishes them with praise, compares them to Nirvana and oddly boasts about how they are playing an NME show supporting Nickelback??!!?!? On the right of this page is the Are You Emo quiz. A test designed to prove to you that if you answer C to each question then you a definitely an emo. No questions like do you like emo music? or what’s your favourite Promise Ring album? No, just pointless questions to pint out that being in to emo means that you are shallow and fashion obsessed which to me is the NME in a nutshell.

Over the page is a feature about underground emo bands, such as Jets to Brazil, Garrison, The Get Up Kids and the Mars Volta (?!?), in which each band denies to have any link with emo whatsoever. And this is where you start to understand why emo died in the first place. No band liked to be called emo when it was the underground and zines calling them so, now that the mainstream press were doing the same there was no way these bands were going to accept it. Some quite clearly fought against it, The Get Up Kids and The Promise Ring both started making albums that sounded nothing like what had preceeded them. Bands that had barely any of the talent of these older bands started to break out and make money, partly because they were willing to play ball and then you have the grunge explosion of the 90’s all over again, although to a lesser extent. Those that were originally in to it moved on to other things. The last pages of the feature are about Hundred Reasons but I’d given up by then.

A few years later I was suckered in to this again. I noticed an NME front page declaring that emo was back. I was curious, what could they mean? I read the article which instructed me to check out a couple of bands, I hadn’t heard a good new emo band for some time and was willing to give it a shot. So, like they said I typed Fall Out Boy and Panic At The Disco into google and found their Myspace pages and oh my god. NME you fucking bastards, I can’t believe I fell for this. I slumped to the ground and wept, wept like the bastard they had accused me of being. Not really, I didn’t cry, they would have bloody loved that.

It seems ok to say you like emo again now. It has completely reverted back to how it was in the 90’s with bands playing amazingly brilliant music and people using word of mouth to find out about new bands. I just really hope it stays this way this time. I don’t know what i’d do if I walked past a newsagents and saw Algernon Cadwallader on the front cover of the NME. Please let that never happen.

I’ll stop my whining now. Thanks for reading xx

www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

Tagged , , , , , , ,

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)

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

THE ‘IS THIS THING ON?’ TOP 100 EMO SONGS OF ALL TIME PART 9 (20-11)

#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

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 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, HERE for 30-21. And for some background as to why I’m doing this list click HERE

20 – Thursday – Cross Out The Eyes

 The first time I got to see Thursday play I stood there slack jawed as I was being completely blown away, it was quite early on the Saturday of the 2002 Reading festival and no other band had such an impact on me that weekend. ‘Full Collapse’ is now a classic album and ‘Cross out the eyes’ has long been my favourite song from the record, it captures all the energy from their live show and packages it nicely into 4 minutes of post hardcore greatness.

19 – Jimmy Eat World – Goodbye Sky Harbor

 Hearing ‘Clarity’ for the first time was a bit like hearing ‘Nevermind’ for the first time. An album so unbelievably brilliant that it’s bound to change everything, except that it didn’t. Jimmy Eat World obviously went on to be huge but for a while they seemed to be our best kept secret. I bought ‘Clarity’ on double blue vinyl at a Hot Water Music all dayer at the Garage in London from a distro run by the drummer from Spy vs Spy (geek points!!) and cherish it to this day. My wife walked down the aisle at our wedding to ‘For me this is heaven’! But it’s the epic 16 plus minutes of ‘Goodbye Sky Harbor’ that I love the most, I may be in a minority but I could go on listening to that end riff on repeat and never get bored. Genius.

18 – Algernon Cadwallader – Some Kind Of Cadwallader

 This band completely reaffirmed my love for music with this song, I had been in a bit of a lull a couple of years back and then downloaded this at the recommendation of a friend and it was like a slap in the face. A good slap, the best kind. It woke me up from my slumber and proved that bands around today can be just as amazingly brilliant as bands 10 or 15 years ago, I went on to find that there were many incredible new bands out there but you’ll be hard pressed to find any better than Algernon Cadwallader. ‘Some kind of Cadwallader’ is the kind of song that you simply have to listen to again several times in a row. If you have never heard it go and listen to it now, trust me on this one.

17 – Christie Front Drive – Radio

 Christie Front Drive were quite short lived but also hugely influential, just listening to this song ‘Radio’ you can hear why. You can also hear a sound that had been taken and copied/built upon by a ton of other bands. ‘Radio’ is taken from their only proper album, which is called either ‘Stereo’ or is self titled, most of their other releases were splits with other bands or as part of compilation albums. Classic mid west emo.

16 – The Promise Ring – Red & Blue Jeans

 You can’t call your blog ‘Is this thing on?’ and not give away the fact that you’re a massive Promise Ring fan. Although it is a different song from the legendary ‘Nothing Feels Good’ album that gives me goosebumps every time I listen. They played ‘Red & blue jeans’ the one time I got to see them live and the experience was bittersweet. On the one hand I was getting to see one of my all time favourite bands playing one of my favourite songs, on the other I was stood in Brixton Academy surrounded by 6000 15/16 year olds who didn’t give a toss as to who they were. They were supporting Jimmy Eat World who were riding high on the success of ‘Bleed American’ and the kids who were there had come because of that, I was amazed at the time of the limp crowd reaction to the Promise Ring. I hope that they had noticed me going nuts in the middle of the crowd and I hope that they decide to come back to the UK as part of their current reunion.

15 – Reiziger – Waitingsday

 Some record sleeves can take you instantly take you back to a special time in your life. One look at the cover of ‘Our Kodo’ by Reiziger takes me instantly back to the late 90’s with many hours spent listening/writing/talking about music in my friend Paul’s flat. ‘Waitingsday’ is the first track from that album and it is infectiously brilliant, so good that we even tried ripping off the opening shout of “Today” in my last band, The Boss. We didn’t do it any kind of justice and we should have just left it to the pro’s. Essential euro emo-core, I think/hope Reiziger are making a come back, fingers crossed.

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

 I first heard about Cross My Heart while on a UK tour with fellow English emo band Rydell in 1999 and simply asked them the question as to what they were currently listening to and what they’d recommend. They said the best thing they had heard recently was the self titled 7 track mini album by Cross My Heart and said I should check it out. I did and was instantly in agreement with how great it was. Track 2 ‘It doesn’t take that many pills to sleep forever’ has all the bits you need to make an incredible emo song, the quiet intro with twinkly guitars, the chuggy rocking pre chorus in to the actual rocking of the chorus and screaming at the end, plus it has as emo a song title as you’re likely to find on this whole list.

13 – The Van Pelt – The Speeding Train

 This is one of the first songs I thought of when compiling this list, The Van Pelt were and still are one of the most original and individual of all the emo bands. Another song I’m sure we tried to rip off in some way or another in a previous band, ‘The Speeding Train’ takes all the bands best qualities and compiles them in to one hell of a song. The half spoken/half sung vocal style of Chris Leo with his thoughtful lyrics combines beautifully with the indie art rock backing of the band. The repetitive drum beat and the totally uplifting guitar melody of the chorus combine to outstanding effect. Absolutely love it.

12 – Texas Is The Reason – The Magic Bullet Theory

 Another band that was far too short lived, Texas is the reason still remain a much loved band today. Although they have just an EP, a couple of split singles and one full length album to their name their legacy and influence continues on. ‘The magic bullet theory’ is just one of the many fantastic songs from the classic ‘Do you know who you are?’ album. They laid down a blue print for how amazing post hardcore emo bands could be and split before they signed to a major label and ruined it all. Nice

11 – Planes Mistaken For Stars – Copper And Stars

 Back when they were angsty, powerful and melodic before moving on to being less melodic and more of just the other 2, Planes Mistaken For Stars totally blew me away with their self titled debut. ‘Copper and stars’ is your new favourite song after your first listen to it, an amazing intro paves the way for the muted guitar of the verse which with it brings the incredible voice of Gared O’Donnell. The song is just genius from then on, the chorus takes off and takes you with it and before you know it the ending is bringing you to your knee’s with it’s tender beauty. PMFS were booked to play Margate and had to cancel on the day leaving a lot of people completely bummed out, I wish I could have seen them live because I imagine it was an unbelievable experience.

Thanks again for reading this, the response so far has been overwhelming and please continue to share your thoughts with me either here or on twitter (@alex_itto). We’re nearly there, the top 10 will be posted very soon. Cheers x

I have updated the spotify playlist, click the link below to go there!!

Emo 100 (100-11)

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,