Tag Archives: joie de vivre

REVIEW: JOIE DE VIVRE/PRAWN SPLIT

Bands – Joie De Vivre and Prawn

Labels – Topshelf Records and Count Your Lucky Stars Records

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It’ll come as no surprise to regular readers of this blog that the news that Joie De Vivre and Prawn were putting out a split together got me more than a little excited. Any hint that new music was being released by either of these bands would normally be cause for celebration, a split EP with new songs from each band landing in my inbox for review feels like Christmas.  In the beautiful summer of 2012, Prawn and Joie De Vivre were separately making their ways around Europe on tour when their paths crossed as they ended up on the same bill in Toulouse. During a night of bonding and alcohol the idea to put out a split was had and as of February 11th 2014 it is becoming a reality.

Both Prawn and Joie De Vivre are huge parts of the current emo wave but at different ends of the spectrum, JDV with their perfect Midwest, heartfelt songs and Prawn with their more epic, almost post rock influences. But together they sit seamlessly next to each other which makes this split EP very easy to listen to again and again.

Joie De Vivre head up side A with 3 gorgeous songs that perfectly pick up where they left off with ‘We’re all better than this’, their last full length. They waste no time in getting started, ‘Martin Park’ kicks things off and straight away you have that beautiful, trademark JDV sound with Brandon Lutmer’s soaring vocals hugging you close like a long, lost friend. The track builds up to a crescendo of overdriven lead guitars and trumpets and now you’re chomping at the bit for more and luckily they deliver this with two more songs of the highest quality.

Prawn follow this up with two new tracks showcasing their crisp, clean sound and knack for a melody. I absolutely love the guitar tone that Prawn have made their own, they verge on ‘Low level owl’ era Appleseed Cast whilst never losing their own identity. Both songs here, ‘Why you always leave a note’ and ‘Fracture’, could have sat equally next to the brilliant 6 songs that made up the 2012 EP ‘Ships’. I’m on about my 5th straight listen to this split and it just keeps getting better.

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Trust me when I say that this split doesn’t disappoint. It both satisfies the need for new music by two of my favourite bands of the last few years but also makes me ravenous for more. Luckily more is in the pipeline, I hope we don’t have to wait long. Oh and Prawn/Joie De Vivre, here’s an idea: Now you’re best friends, come do a joint UK tour please!!! (PS if that now happens I’m totally taking the credit for it!!)

www.facebook.com/joiedevivreband

www.facebook.com/Prawnmusic

www.cylsrecords.com

www.topshelfrecords.com

Thanks for reading. As always get in touch here, on facebook www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog, on twitter @alex_itto or by email ittoblog@gmail.com

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INTERVIEW: JOIE DE VIVRE

This time last year I was declaring that Joie De Vivre had taken the number 1 spot on my album of the year list. Now, these incredibly popular and dashingly good-looking young men from Rockford, Illinois are back and are on the cusp of releasing some new music. I thought this was as good a time as any to ask the band some questions, all of which they luckily agreed to answer. Here goes:

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IS THIS THING ON? – Hi, how are you? How is everything in team JDV?

JOIE DE VIVRE – Hey man! Doing good! We just finally got all of our songs done for the two splits we have coming up and we are starting to write the new record! Brandon just got married and Mark has been busy finishing records with his other bands so we kind of laid low this Fall. We aren’t too stressful of a band haha.

ITTO? I hear you have a couple of splits on the way, give us some details, who are they with/how did they come about/how are the songs sounding etc…

JDV – We have two coming out soon as of right now – we got one with our friends in Prawn and another with Empire! Empire! The Prawn split came about while we were overseas touring. We played a show in Toulouse, France, with Prawn (which ended up being the first time we ever actually met those guys) on Tony and our old drummer Stevie’s birthday. Alcohol got involved and we ended up having TOO good of a time and somewhere in that night we decided to do a split. We FINALLY have a release date for that and it will be February 11th, 2014 on Count Your Lucky Stars/Topshelf.

The Empire! Empire! split came about from Jeff over at Run For Cover Records asking us to be a part of a split series that they do every year and E! E! ended up being the other band on it. We were honored that he asked and honored to be doing it with Empire! Empire!, so we immediately jumped at the opportunity!

We are all really stoked on how the songs came out; our friend Mark Gustafson (who recorded The North End and WABTT) did the Prawn split, and our friend Matt Frank (from Their / They’re / There) recorded the RFC split. It’s definitely crazy because it’s our first split with our newer line up, and I did all of the guitar work on it. Hopefully people enjoy it – we definitely have!

ITTO? – Are they any plans for a new full length record at the moment?

JDV – Yeah we definitely have plans on another record at some point in the next year or so. We just started writing a new record and have a couple songs in their baby stages right now. We are all pretty domesticated with full time jobs and relationships so getting together to make something happen takes scheduling. Not that it’s hard; we usually just end up watching dumb YouTube videos, listening to records, or drinking. Usually all three. Somehow a record comes out of it.

ITTO? – It seems an age ago now but when I saw you play in Brighton it seemed like you were all having the best time, how was that tour for you?

JDV – Brighton was beautiful by the way, the UK in general was amazing – you guys were so amazing to us. That tour was a lifetime moment, that’s something we definitely will never forget. It was crazy to think that playing in Chicago, an hour and a half away from home, was the biggest deal when we first started. I definitely never thought getting on a plane to Europe was ever in the cards. We made a lot of incredible friends while we were there, saw amazing sights, ate and drank amazing food and beer, saw amazing bands, and the people were so nice and welcoming. It definitely didn’t feel like we were gone for a month, it flew by!

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ITTO? – Do you have plans to come back to Europe?

JDV – Oh yeah, we will be back sooner than later. We need to do some US touring though before we head back over. I know we all are itching to get back and the UK is definitely someplace we plan on hanging out in for a bit haha.

ITTO? – There is a lot of talk and arguments about the term ’emo revival’, do you ever get annoyed with labels that are attached to your band? Would it ever push you over the edge so much you end up making a dubstep metal album?

JDV – Haha I don’t think any of us really think about it. All of the articles and lists coming out right now are a bit ridiculous. I do think it’s a misuse of the word “revival”, it never really left. But we get a good laugh at it and also at ourselves being mentioned, so it’s nothing that really affects us one way or another.

ITTO? – Is it true or is it not that the only reason you split up was just so you could reform thus making you the ultimate revival band?

JDV – Damn, you nailed it 😉

Noooo, the reasons we split up for were pretty legit at the time. We all were heading different directions and couldn’t really get the motivation to do Joie as much as we really wanted to at the time. School, work, moving, women – pretty much everything Brandon sings about. I think we just needed a breather.

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ITTO? – Your jimmy eat world covers set that was put on YouTube caused a lot of excitement among us emo nerds. What band would you do next and what songs would you play?

JDV – That was a blast – we did that with our friend Marky from this band The Felix Culpa who we were all were big fans of. It was pretty cool being able to play with him and hang out as much as we did for practice.

We always talk about covers we would like to do or cover shows we’d like to do. The problem with us is historically we’ve been very bad at pulling it off live. Marky whipped us into getting it down. Otherwise if he weren’t there, we’d be watching YouTube, listening to records, or drinking, like above.

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ITTO? – It’s about time for everyone’s end of year lists to start emerging, what’s been your album of 2013 so far?

JDV – Oh man, I have been listening to a lot of older records lately and polishing up on bands that I have been told to listen to. That new Foxing record is going to be one for the era man, seriously. I can’t stop gushing over it. I was actually listening to the new Into It. Over It. record today and I think that’s pretty amazing. I also really loved the new Mountains for Clouds record, “Maybe It’s Already Everywhere”.

The new My Bloody Valentine was pretty amazing, and so was the new Low and The National records. I also have to listen to the new Dismemberment Plan, Pusha T, Pearl Jam, and James Blake records, so I am not at liberty to give that trophy out yet haha.

ITTO? – And finally, tell us a secret no one else knows about another band?

JDV – Oh totally – Jamie from Prawn knows Snookie.

Andrew Stefano from Mountains for Clouds loves to play acoustic shows.

Keith Latinen from Empire! Empire! owns a mink coat that he got from “that emo money”.

Kevin Duquette of Topshelf Records has the best hair in emo.

ITTO? – Thanks!!!!!!!

For more Joie De Vivre greatness click here for their bandcamp/tumblr/facebook/twitter/Instagram

Thanks so much for reading, leave a comment or come say hi on facebook www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog or on twitter @alex_itto

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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

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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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Happy Birthday Is This Thing On?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Play the game at www.emogame.com

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

Thanks x

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Football, etc.

This post accompanies a post about Joie De Vivre, if you haven’t read it then click HERE to do so.

If you have read many of my older posts then you will know how much I bang on about how stupidly bad my back has been. I’m aware that it is annoying to keep mentioning it but here goes anyway. Much earlier this year I was awaiting my second operation on my spine and wasn’t able to do very much apart from annoy my good lady wife and make lots of ouchy noises. And also be overly jealous of anybody that was able to just go out and about in a normal manner. A friend on facebook updated their status with the fact that he’d been to see Football, etc and that it was brilliant. Predictably I was instantly envious and cemented that by going on to read on various sites about how brilliant their whole tour had been. Great! I thought, another band I’ve missed out on seeing. Luckily though, they didn’t waste much time in returning to our fair Isle. There were touring the UK with Joie De Vivre and I wasn’t going to miss out on this one.

There was such an incredible atmosphere in the venue that night. This was last friday (6th July) at Sticky Mikes Frog Bar in Brighton. Maybe it was just my excitable fanboy disposition that was giving me this impression but there did seem to be a real buzz about the place. The singer of Holland, the band on before Football, Etc had mentioned during their set about how amazing Football, Etc had been when they payed the Albert in Brighton on their last UK tour, so I knew there was a lot of expectation in the audience. Again, they didn’t disappoint and, if anything, surpassed any expectations that I had.

Playing a set that included songs from their full length, ‘The Draft’, and some new songs that featured on a split cassette with Square Business, which I’ll mention again in a moment, their gorgeous indie emo sound came over perfectly. They played tight as a group which was to their credit as their drummer on the night wasn’t their usual drummer and just a stand in for this tour. Not that you could tell though as they sounded like they’d been playing together for years. The newer songs were exciting as they showcased a band with a knack of writing consistently enjoyable songs and hinted at the fact that another full length from them will be just as brilliant as thir last one. Everything about the set was enjoyable, from watching the band having a great time to watching Brandon from Joie De Vivre looking annoyed to be having to hold a lead in place at the back of Lindsay Minton’s amp so her guitar wouldn’t keep cutting out.

Football, etc ended their set just as I’d hoped they would by playing ‘Safety’. A few months ago you may have read that I posted the Is This Thing On? top 100 emo songs of all time, ‘Safety’ came in at number 89, which having listened to that song a lot since publishing the list seems to do the song a bit of an injustice. It’s not only my favourite Football, etc song, it’s also one of my favourite songs of the last couple of years. The chorus is unbeatably perfect and seeing them play the song live seemed to heighten my admiration. The song begins with a really simple yet catchy guitar melody, having the full crowd in Brighton that night singing along to that bit made the hairs on the back of my neck stand tall. Add that to the fact that Lindsay Minton’s voive sounds as incredible live as it does on record and getting to see Joie De Vivre dancing along deliriously at the side of the stage made it a very special moment. It left me with a smile I found very hard to get rid of. Especially when after the show I spoke to Lindsay whilst buying a Football, Etc T-shirt and mentioned the list to which she replied that she had already seen it and was very flattered, woop!!

I also got myself a copy of the split cassette that I mentioned earlier. I love that bands are releasing cassettes again now, I am hoping to rectify the fact that I don’t currently own a tape player very soon. Luckily it came with a download code so I could enjoy the music straight away. And enjoy it I do. The split is 3 songs each and is definitley worth trying to get a copy of. The Football, etc side is pure Football, etc. 3 songs that totally live up to their full length. The first song, ‘Hut 1’, begins with a dreamy emo guitar riff with full band backing it up which then turns in to a verse which is catchy as hell. From then it doesn’t stop getting better. ‘Hut 3’ starts with bit more pace to it but turns out to deliver slower, dreamier parts that are equally as good. Their side of the split is then rounded off nicely with the laid back, ‘Hike’. The other side is my introduction to Square Business and I have to say that my first impression is a really good one. What starts out with some nice jangly, lo-fi emo paves the way for some really good grunge rock. Being a fan of grunge and emo makes this particularly appealing, Daylight are another band who really succesfully marry these two genres together and I love that band so Square Business are in good company. I will definitley be on the lookout for more from them in the near future.

If you missed on seeing Football, etc on this tour then I hope for your sakes they come back soon, they seem to really enjoy it over here so here’s hoping. In the mean time check out the split, you can stream the Football, etc half of the split HERE.

Just started a facebook page for this blog, come and say hi www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog

Thanks for reading, and thanks to Mikee/Living Well Productions for the live photos.

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Joie De Vivre

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers x

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