Tag Archives: maritime

120 Minutes (Give or take a few)

Back in the autumn of 1991 my Dad climbed up on our roof and installed the satellite dish that came free with the washing machine him and my mum had just recently purchased and in doing so opened our family up to a whole new world of television. One of the many new channels in particular had a major impact on me as an impressionable 11-year-old, MTV. MTV then isn’t like what MTV is now, back then it really was music television. Hours of back to back music videos interspersed with shows about music, none of this reality tv rubbish (except for maybe the Real World, but that was pretty great. Remember Puck??). I would spend, what would seem like, whole days watching, absorbing all that was brilliant about music at this time. My favourite shows were obviously the ones that focused on alternative music, being Headbangers Ball to start with and moving on to Alternative Nation and 120 minutes as my tastes changed.

120 Minutes/Alternative Nation turned me on to so many different bands that I wouldn’t have had access to otherwise. They played amazing, interesting and exotic videos that covered a broad spectrum of alternative music. And because it was on late at night this seemed to add an extra intrigue and danger to the videos. I would record the shows and watch back on VHS over the following few days, there was something about watching it this way as an early teen that added excitement and intrigue and made the music all the better for it. These were shown past my bedtime, they weren’t for me and yet there I would be lapping them up.

I would fantasise a lot about being in a band as a teenager and one fantasy would be that I would get to present one of these shows and choose the videos. None of the bands I’ve been in got anywhere so I never got to fulfil this ambition, but here’s the next best thing. A selection of videos below that I would’ve chosen if it were up to me, from that time that I remember, ones from back then that I’ve discovered since and some new ones. Hope you enjoy!!

1. Rainer Maria – Catastrophe

I don’t write enough about Rainer Maria and the more I listen to them the more I’m convinced they’re one of the all time great emo bands. This video is of course awesome, I like the silhouette coming to life effect but I can’t really condone standing in a paddling pool with a plugged in toaster, don’t try it at home kids!!

2. Jawbox – Cornflake Girl

It still amazes me that this exists! I really loved Tori Amos as a teenager which was a direct result of ‘Silent all these years’ being repeated every hour on MTV and ‘Cornflake Girl’ is a classic, I came to be a fan of Jawbox later on and was blown away when I discovered that they had done this cover. Although I don’t recall seeing it, this is exactly the kind of video you would see late at night on Alternative Nation etc.. In a tired state, staying u past your bedtime you’d sit thinking ‘Does this really exist? Am I dreaming?’ And it does!!!!!!

3. Sunny Day Real Estate – In Circles (Live on 120 Minutes)

Introduced by who else but Iggy Pop (??), this is Sunny Day performing ‘In Circles’ live in the studio in 1994 and everything about it is brilliant from the massive font MTV used to use to say who was talking to the short interview at the start where William Goldsmith tries to give excuses as to why they might not sound great on TV. Which is crazy, they sound incredible, super loud and proper powerful.

4. Maritime – Paraphernalia

I hope they got all the shots for this video in one take, the band performing in a blizzard looks pretty but it don’t look fun. The director probably convinced them it was a great idea and they probably agreed that, on paper, it sounds cool but in reality they don’t look like they’re enjoying themselves. As I said, it does look good and the song is great so it probably all worked out for the best.

5. Knapsack – Cellophane

This video is so gloriously 90’s it hurts. From seeing the band primarily through a viewmaster, watching the band drive around in a car to seeing them perform in a room usually to small to fit a band in. Combine this with close up shots of their guitars and the amazing song then you’ve got all components for the quintessential 90’s alternative band video.

6. Juliana Hatfield – What A Life

This song reminds me so much of being 15 and standing, completely hung over, in the front row of the main stage at the 1995 Reading Festival. Juliana was one of the early afternoon acts and did a wonderful job of lifting my mood after a night of excess that I instantly regretted. All I remember from the night before was throwing up on my sleeping bag, turning it over then getting in it and passing out. When I emerged from my tent in the morning, loads of people I didn’t recognise were saying hi to me and they weirdly all knew my name, what had happened in the night I dread to think. It was a great festival despite feeling rough for the rest of the weekend.

7. Papayer – Heated

This is probably my favourite song of this year so far, I have been trying to get an interview with these guys but my email is letting me down which is more than a damn shame. This video is genius in its simplicity, a prime example that you don’t need the budget of ‘Thriller’ to make a brilliant video that will last long in your memory. I could watch this all day!!

8. Cancer Bats – Sabotage

I love this video and, in theory, I guess it shouldn’t work. Everyone knows that the original Beastie Boys version and Spike Jonze’s video for it is one of the all time greatest music videos, of all time!! But Cancer Bats, number one, nailed the cover and, number two, found a way to pay homage to the original but give enough of themselves to make it different. Their constantly mistaking people dressed as the Beastie Boys cracks me up. Enjoy!

9. Snowden – Anti Anti

Seeing this on MTV lead me to buying the album as soon as I could find it and although the album didn’t win me over, I still think this song is terrific. The use of the lights as the band members gives it a feel similar to the White Stripes lego video but I prefer this. Probably because the song is a billion times better and the video is really well made.

10. Piebald – Just A Simple Plan

I saw Piebald play live once, when they opened up for the Movielife at the LA2 in London. I missed their last song because they had asked onstage if anyone could put them up for the night. I rushed to the merch stand to offer the floor of my flat, bumped into someone I hadn’t seen for a long time doing the same thing and whilst we were chatting someone got there first. I still tried to get them to stay over but I was competing against 2 girls who were from the same state as them and had a place down the road from the venue, I was never going to win. This song/album took over our lives for a whole summer, it is that bloomin’ catchy.

11. Rollins Band – Liar

This video takes me right back, we were too young for Black Flag so to me and my friends in the early 90’s Henry Rollins was the crazy guy who made video’s like this and popped up in films with Charlie Sheen. There was a countdown of the best alternative music videos on MTV at some point in the 90’s that was hosted by Henry Rollins in which he completely ripped it out of several bands, namely Depeche Mode. We watched this on repeat and would quote him all the time if someone mentioned one the bands he had torn apart with his wry delivery. This video looks just as good now as it did back then.

12. This Beautiful Mess – Don’t Go There

These guys played Margate sometime around 2004 and I became obsessed with this album and especially this song. Annoyingly cut short for the video as opposed to the album version at least this video ticks the box for having a band play moodily in a dark forest. Great use of trumpets too.

13. Built To Spill – In The Morning

When I was at drama school in the early 00’s my friends would always make fun of the music I listened to. One day when I was listening to ‘There’s nothing wrong with love’ on my discman some of them invented a game where they would put my headphones on, press play and watch people hanging out during their lunch hour. The music playing would instantly turn the mundane in to an American high school movie or an episode of Dawson’s Creek and they would take turns in putting the headphones on and then fall about laughing. I guess it was a pretty funny game, they never got what a genius album this was though, the bloody fools.

14. Death Cab For Cutie – The Sound Of Settling

One of the most infectious indie emo songs ever written with a nice video to back it up. What more do you need to say?? It’s only 2 minutes long so not much I guess. Just give it a watch.

15. Sick of it all – Step Down

What a classic! This video taught me all my dance moves, I still do ‘pickin’ up change’ to this day (back pain permitting). You would always see this video on Headbangers Ball or Alternative Nation back in the day, it is a brilliant use of the fake news report style and just people going nuts in a New York basement. They totally nailed us with ’emo style’ too, hilarious that as a young teen, out of all the dance moves they showcase in this video, it’s the one they are taking the piss out of that I would end up doing the most. haha

Thanks for watching.

Get in touch: http://www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog, @alex_itto or ittoblog@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THE ‘IS THIS THING ON?’ TOP 100 EMO SONGS OF ALL TIME PART 5 (60-51)

#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

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

60 – Grown Ups – Three Day Weekend

 With the album ‘More Songs’, Grown Ups have made one the more complete albums of the newer wave of emo bands. It’s such a joy to listen to, combining all that’s good about indie math rock with punk energy and raw vocals. ‘Three day weekend’ shows Grown Ups off at their best, all of the above with plenty of heart. A really uplifting experience.

59 – Funeral Diner – We Become Buried

  The band the word ‘EPIC’ was probably created for, dark, progressive, brutal and beautiful all in equal measure. The drumming alone would earn this band a mention in any list going. ‘We become buried’ is just one of many amazing songs on ‘The Underdark’. Another band I wish I had been lucky enough to see play live, you can see a clear influence from Funeral Diner in some of the more exciting bands of today.

58 – Snowing – I Think We’re In Minsk

I Could Do Whatever I Wanted If I Wanted Cover Art One of the bands responsible for reigniting my love for music, Snowing play messy, loud, in your face indie emo rock. The album ‘I could whatever I wanted if I wanted’ bristles with energy and endless catchy hooks. At the back end of last year the band split up meaning there will be no chance for me to see them live, unless the reunion thing is still trendy in 10 years time. If it is and they do reform I will be there. They tell us on there bandcamp page ‘Fuck your emotional bullshit’, they’re so emo.

57 – Imbroco – You’re My Lionkiller

 Including 2 former members of Mineral, the EP that this song is from ‘Are you my lionkiller?’ was recorded shortly after the completition of the classic Mineral record ‘Endserenading’. Not that you can tell though, Imbroco have a more rock inspired sound that they mix with the gorgeous emo instrumentation you would expect from these guys. ‘You’re my lionkiller’ takes flight at the end into a mash of feedback and distortion. Plus the twinkly bit at the end fooled my kids into thinking the ice crem van was here when I was playng this on my stereo, you should have seen their faces when they discovered they’d been tricked, priceless.

56 – Maritime – Tearing Up The Oxygen

Formed by ex members of the Promise Ring and Dismemberment Plan after the end of the aforementioned bands, it was a relief that we could carry on hearing Davey Von Bohlen’s sweet vocals that came to signify the classic emo sound that I love. Carrying on in the more indie vibe that the Promise Ring had begun to explore but with better results than the ‘Wood/Water’ album. I like that album but I do think ‘We, the vehicles’ is a better realisation of that sound. It’s a record I can revisit time and again, ‘Tearing up the oxygen’ is a brilliant, brilliant song.

55 – Engine Down – The Offer Of Something

 Taken from the incredible debut album ‘Under the pretense of the present tense’, Engine Down knew how to make both beautifully moving and angry emocore. ‘The offer of something’ has a bit of everything, the song goes to unexpected places with the bass lead quiet breakdown, the glorious chorus enhanced with cello to the heavy ending. A must for all emo fans.

54 – Boy’s Life – Sight Unseen

 First heard this song on the fantastic compilation album ‘Don’t forget to breathe’ which was released by Crank! in 1997. It’s one of the only records I own that has a limited edition number on it (mine is 1123 of 5500 if that kind of info floats your boat) and introduced me to a number of cool bands. The version on that comp is live and about half as long as the nearly 9 min marathon of a track that appears on the split with Christie Front Drive. Messy, chaotic and downright awesome.

53 – Benton Falls – All These Things

Fighting Starlight Cover Art Classy, well honed and emotional, ‘All these things’ opens up the album ‘Fighting starlight’ and is a great precursor of what’s to come on the rest of the record. Benton Falls have such a great sound, this song moves effortlessly from the clean to the overdriven parts, sounding equally as good on either part. The music sounds too mature to be a debut album and yet it is!

52 – Further Seems Forever – Madison Prep

 Not many bands can claim to have as many albums as lead vocalists like Further Seems Forever can. At their best on the first album with Chris “dashboard” Carrabba on vocal duties, they compliment each other well because his voice sits really well with the full band behind him. ‘Madison prep’ is a great mid tempo emo rock song with a catchy as hell chorus.

51 – The Casket Lottery – Ever Since Sulfur

 Classic Mid West 90’s emo, Ths Casket Lottery played music how it should be played, loud, fast and with plenty of feeling. ‘Choose bronze’, their first album, is full of amazing songs, ‘Ever since sulfur’ is a great example of how good a band can be. Love the sound, love the vocals, love it all basically.

Thanks again for reading, loving the response so far, both good and bad. Will post the next part soon. Cheers x

UPDATE: To read part 6 (50-41) click HERE

I’ve updated the spotify playlist as best I can, click the link below for that.

Emo 100 (100-51)

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Is this thing on again?

“Hello again”

Yesterday twitter delivered some exciting, if mysterious, news. The band who spearheaded a scene, made some of the best albums of the 90’s and gave me the name for this blog, The Promise Ring, announced themselves on twitter with one simple tweet “hello again”. And with that a shot of excitement was sent tingling down my spine.

So far, this remains the one tweet from the band. What can it mean? What is it we should be getting excited about?

Well, as the Promise Ring remain one of my all time favourite bands, it could mean anything and I’d be happy. There has been a trend in recent years for bands to reform and either do a few shows or give it another go and make a new album. Most can be taken with a pinch of salt but as Sunny day real estate proved last year, sometimes nothing beats seeing a band you never thought you’d ever see reforming and playing the hits for your nostalgic pleasure.

There has got to be a reason for a band to reform for it to work. Maybe some unfinished business to attend to. Some bands come to an end far too early for whatever reason and leave a longing amongst their fans. Take At the Drive-in for example. They release ‘Relationship of command’, an explosive album that still blows me away to this day, and within months they are no more. It was gutting to know that you would never get to see them live if you hadn’t already. I don’t think anyone who was a fan would begrudge them playing together again.

The same can’t be said of other bands that have taken it upon themselves to make a come back. Take Smashing Pumpkins for example. A once great band that fizzled out way before they called it a day. Then Billy Corgan takes out a full page advert in a newspaper announcing the return of the ‘Pumpkins’ before checking to see if any of the other members wanted to do it. So now you have an ego trip of a band made up of who cares who with just one remaining member.
I guess there are people that still care that they’re still going but I certainly don’t, and that’s unlikely to change regardless of how many special edition versions of old albums they may release.

Back to the Promise Ring and to me they definitely left me wanting more. I was lucky enough to see them live but in a way it was heartbreaking. I saw them supporting Jimmy Eat World at Brixton Academy in 2002. The crowd of nearly 6000 youngsters were there to hear JEW play the hits and nothing else, they didn’t give the Promise Ring a second thought. As the band had just released Wood/Water the set was mainly made up of songs from that but they did play some old songs in between. Just before playing ‘Red & blue jeans’, singer Davey Von Bohlen announced “We’re gonna play some old songs, as if you care” and had a cheeky laugh with the rest of the band. I cared, and I tried to make myself heard to the band as much as possible much to the annoyance of the people around me. It didn’t work, the band looked defeated when they left the stage. Maybe it was times like that that brought an end to the band, which would be a true shame.

In recent times there has been the odd flicker that they were coming back. A reunion show in 2005 and then talk of a best of album to be released a couple of years ago. That, as yet, has not surfaced. In the meantime, Davey has been making some great music with ‘Maritime’, who are certainly worth checking out.

So, if the Promise Ring are reforming and touring, I sincerely hope they play here in England. I would truly love to stand in a room with other fans, screaming our lungs out and showing much deserved appreciation to a band that changed music for the better.

Hassle them on twitter, @ThePromiseRing, or come and bother me @alextb3. A couple more reviews will be posted this week. Thanks for reading xx

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