Tag Archives: Pianos become the teeth

The week. 30/11/14

Hello. Welcome back. First off, let me just apologise for not posting anything for what seems like an eternity. The main reason for this being a lack of free time to write, kids have been poorly/had chicken pox which all takes its toll. Other reasons I’ll go into in a moment. But I wanted to start by saying, after much consideration, I’ve decided to adopt a different approach to writing this blog. The old way just wasn’t productive enough.

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So, what I’ve come up with is this, The Week. Every week, usually on a Sunday, I’ll post a summary of what’s happened in the week. Music I’ve been listening to, gigs that have happened, comments on news and announcements that you may have missed in the preceding 7 days. As the old adage goes, a week is a long time in emo, or words to that effect. So instead of waiting to write lengthy reviews etc.. and falling behind this will be a great way to stay up to date. It’ll give me the chance to write about more things too, music/gigs/news I may not have found time to write 1000 words about will find space here. I’ll still write proper reviews, do interviews and post all the usual stuff you’d see here before. This will just be a positive addition to all that to keep regularly updated and in touch with everyone.

That’s the boring bit out-of-the-way so now we can crack on, thanks for you patience!!

First up, I just wanna take you back to the start of the month when Is This Thing On? staged its second gig of the year/all time. It was an honour to welcome Reiziger to the West Track studios practice space in Canterbury for an amazing show. I have been a fan of Reiziger since the late 90s, when I first listened to them as a teenager in my friend’s bedroom I couldn’t have imagined that 16ish years later I would finally get to see them play live and that they would be dedicating my favourite Reiziger song (Waitingday) to my 10-year-old son Louis, who I had working the door that night. They were the nicest guys and received a warm welcome from the West Track faithful.

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REIZIGER

 
This was the 4th show in 4 weeks at this tiny, DIY, space and was a great example of how the local music scene in East Kent is becoming as vibrant again as it ever was. The whole night was packed with excellent bands who didn’t disappoint one bit. 2 of my favourite local bands kicked things off, Kind Eyes brought the riffs and Pax Indigo packed in the emotion before Kinshot, who had made the drive down from London just in time, blasted everyone away with noise and energy. What a night!!

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Kind Eyes

 

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Pax Indigo

 

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Kinshot

 

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Louis the doorman

 

Staying locally, this week saw the exciting opening of Kent’s newest and also best record shop. After months of hard work and persistence our good friends and all round best guys, George and Nat, took their burgeoning record label, Hot Salvation, and have expanded in to a beautiful shop set in the confines of an old hotel on Folkestone’s Rendezvous street. It’s a great space, selling both new and second-hand records from a myriad of genres, including massive punk/hardcore and alternative sections. Not only this they are also serving top quality coffee and a section that stocks beautifully designed home and lifestyle products from the likes of Naked Lunge and Donna Wilson.

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Hot Salvation

 

Had it not been for Christmas coming up my wife Hannah and I would’ve spent a small fortune, which is something we’ll definitely be doing there in the coming months but apart from picking up a few Christmas presents and downing some delicious coffee I treated myself to the new Fugazi release, ‘First Demo’. It was one of many brand new Dischord records on offer in store and I just couldn’t resist. More on that record next week. In the meantime get to Folkestone and see the shop for yourself, failing that they also have a nice looking webstore up and running, check it out HERE

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‘First Demo’

 

Another reason for me falling behind on this blog is a big feeling of late that the latest wave of emo, that I’ve written so much about for the last 3 years, is coming to an abrupt end. There have been so many dud releases this year (Dads/You Blew It/Somos) that I’ve found myself listening more and more to older bands and getting less and less excited about what’s happening right now. The latest nail in the coffin is the really disappointing new record from Pianos Become The Teeth. It seems really weird and depressing to even have to write that sentence after all the amazingly positive things that I’ve written about them in the past. You can’t take anything away from their, until now, faultless back catalogue and the experience of seeing them live for the first time when they played my hometown of Margate,  which ranks highly amongst the best gigs I’ve ever attended.

'Keep You'

‘Keep You’

But, ‘Keep You’, their latest album released via Epitaph last month is just a bit….well, boring. There are some nice enough songs and Kyle Durfey’s voice still sounds as haunting as ever, but 5 songs in to the record you’re still waiting for something to happen, something to kick in and it just never does. The power they once had is all lost, the drums that were once hit so hard they made my chest hurt watching them live just plod along and it all just gets lost going nowhere. Massive, massive shame.

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Did you get an American Football ticket? You can’t have possibly missed the news that the band are making their way to the UK for the first time next May. What was originally announced as 3 dates but expanded to more after the original tickets sold out within 20 minutes. Which is crazy!! I’ll see you in London on the 2nd night if you’re there.

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To sign off this week I will leave you with the fact the Pearl Jam’s classic 3rd album ‘Vitalogy’ turned 20 years old this week. It is still one of my favourite records of all time and I’ve had a great time revisiting the first 4 PJ records this week on my drives to work. Here is them playing ‘Not For You’ on Saturday Night Live in 1994.

Thanks for reading. Stay in touch. http://www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog, @alex_itto, ittoblog@gmail.com

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NEWSLETTER #3

Hey again. I have a rare morning of not having to do anything or be anywhere so what better way to pass the time then post another of these newsletter things. The theme for this one is ‘SPLITS’.

The idea for bands to release split singles/ep’s/albums has been around for ages but there seems to be a real trend for it at the moment, and why not? as the pickled onion producer Barry Norman would say. Splits are great, who doesn’t like the ‘2 for 1’ deal that you get? No one has yet to better the greatest split of all time, The Promise Ring/Texas is the Reason split 7″ and no one is likely to but some of the recent splits are pretty damn good so lets crack on.

1. PIANOS BECOME THE TEETH/TOUCHE AMORE (Deathwish/Topshelf records)

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If you’ve read this blog a lot then you’ll know my feelings about Pianos Become The Teeth, they are one of my favourite bands of the last 5 years. Their albums still blow me away with every listen, they left me speechless when I saw them play live in Margate and when I bumped into their guitarist in Subway, Tunbridge Wells before seeing them play the forum, he invited me to sit and eat with him, amazing! Their song from this split, ‘Hiding’, doesn’t disappoint one bit, in fact it exceeds all expectations. It’s slower and gentler but powerful. An epic song packed full of emotion, it’s a bit of a cliché for someone who writes a blog predominantly about emo to say they well up when listening to a song but Kyle Durfey’s voice does something to me. My heart literally melts as soon as he starts singing mix this with the post hardcore meets post rock music and you have as near perfect a song as you’re likely to hear all year. This review probably sounds a bit one-sided but nothing should be taken away from Touche Amore. Again they are an incredible band and their song, ‘Gravity, Metaphorically’, matches the PBTT side for brilliance. It’s a bit of a departure for TA, you could also describe this song as an epic as it’s about 4 times longer than any song from their last record. With the same kind of attack Touche Amore bring to their music, this song is allowed to breathe giving them time to play with the dynamics resulting in a rollercoaster ride of a song that leaves you exhausted but also wanting so much more. Cannot wait for their new record which is due to come out in the autumn.

Stream/Download HERE

2. TOUCHE AMORE/TITLE FIGHT (sealegs records)

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Sticking with Touche Amore for the moment, I do love a split where the bands cover each others songs ever since I got the Built To Spill/Marine Research split 7″ all those years ago. And this is exactly what you get here and what great songs they chose. Touche Amore could have chosen any song from ‘Shed’ and I’d have been happy, ‘Crescent-shaped Depression’ is what they plumped for and do it more than justice. It’s a straight up cover but it sounds great with Touche Amore bringing all the energy they normally do to their own material. Title Fight are pretty much a faultless band, their cover of ‘Face Ghost’ from Touche Amore’s last record ‘Parting the sea between brightness and me’ is brilliant. Mainly for the fact that at first glance it’s a straight ahead, loyal cover of a great song but Title Fight subtly bring their melodic hardcore/shoegaze crossover that they’ve been leaning towards on ‘Floral Green’ and it really sets the song alight. Both great bands playing great songs by each other, what the hells not to like?

Listen HERE

3. BRAID/BALANCE AND COMPOSURE (No Sleep Records)

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I finally get to see Braid play this summer and it’s on my birthday which is pretty damn perfect. In the meantime they’ve put out a split with Balance and Composure, a few people were annoyed that they were doing this with a new band but I really like Balance and Composure so can’t see the harm. Plus, Balance and Composure come out of this a bit better judging by the songs on display. Their half of the split doesn’t really cover any new ground for the band but cements their reputation for making really solid and really enjoyable slacker, indie grungemo, I don’t know if this is a reputation they have outside of my head but they should. The Braid half took a while to get in to, at first I wasn’t impressed. Both songs have grown on me more but neither come near to reaching the heights of ‘Frame & Canvas’, the album they’ll be playing in full this summer.

Stream/Download HERE

4. WITS END/HUMAN HANDS (adagio 830, strictly no capital letters, lila himmel, eat a book, and time as a color)

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This is a beautiful, must have split single on many levels. Not only are both tracks superb and also superbly different, but the way it’s packaged and presented reminds me why I love music and this scene so much. The 7″ comes in an individually stamped paper bag with photocopied lyric sheets, it is understated and glorious at the same time. The songs are pure emo joy, Wits End from Norway play brooding and intense emotional hardcore while Human Hands deliver long, repetitive, sparse, lo-fi’mo which builds with heart breaking beauty. Both songs fit perfectly together making an essential split single.

Stream Human Hands HERE Stream Wits End HERE

5. TIGERS JAW/CODE ORANGE KIDS/SELF DEFENSE FAMILY/THE WORLD IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE & I AM NO LONGER AFRAID TO DIE (Topshelf records)

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This split wins the award for the most interesting and intriguing of all the splits mentioned today. The line up had to be admired, 4 totally different bands put together on one record and it all makes sense. Although, this split is tinged with sadness, could this possibly be the last song that Tigers Jaw ever release? I fucking hope not, I was so gutted to hear they had split up and it’s with a heavy heart that I listen to their new song. If they had made it terrible then maybe it would be easier to accept the break-up but Tigers Jaw don’t know how to write bad songs. ‘Fake Death’ shows a band still at the height of their powers, the guitar work, the harmonies, the downbeat pop, it’s all there and it’s all good. Code Orange Kids take you by surprise with ‘VI (Worms fear god // god fears youth), experimental yet captivating. Self Defense Family take you in an altogether different direction with their affecting and repetitive folk anthem ‘Holy Trend’, that leaps at you with the delivery of someone preaching the end of the world on a street corner. The split is finished by The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die who really are an incredible band and not just because writing their name in full on my blog pushes the word count up considerably making me feel like I’ve done more work. Their song, ‘Beverly Wyatt’, is typically beautiful and uplifting and the underlying ethereal melody that plays through the whole song helps paint pictures in your mind. There is a rumour going round that they are going to tour the UK this autumn with Dads, this has to happen!!

Stream/Download HERE

6. DIKEMBE/HIGHTIDE HOTEL/JET SET SAIL/MONUMENT (Count Your Lucky Stars)

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Another 4 way split and another stellar line up. Dikembe can do no wrong, their songs are always instantly likeable and this one is continued proof of that theory. ‘Donuts in a six speed’ wouldn’t have felt out-of-place on ‘Broad Shoulders’ and builds the excitement nicely for their new album which will be out soon. Hightide Hotel announced last year that they are splitting up but not before they release their second record this year. It’s a massive shame because based on ‘Built to last’ they’re a band that could offer so much. The main riff reminds me of the kind of ones i’d try to write for my old band back in the 90s, I was never this good though. Jet Set Sail continue the quality of the split here with their barnstormer ‘Strickland North’, I definitely need to investigate this band more because I listened to this song back to back a good 4 times in a row which always a good sign. Monument bring the split to a close with ‘Sophisticated Liars’. Monument are a criminally underrated band who write consistently great music, their song here is catchy enough to have you singing along by the second chorus (woooaaaoooohhh) and is a good reminder to listen to their music more.

Stream/Download HERE

7. FAKE PROBLEMS/YOU BLEW IT! (Topshelf Records)

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A band I love and a band I’ve not heard before makes for a good split single, which is exactly the case here. Fake Problems play bright, britpop-esque music with massive choruses, they remind me of Gene and maybe a little bit of Suede in a good way. I wasn’t expecting to be reminded of them and it came as a nice surprise, their songs are catchy enough to find yourself humming them to yourself hours later. You Blew It! made one of my favourite records of last year and the 2 songs on offer here keep that quality up, the first of which, ‘Batavia, NY’, is currently my favorite songs of theirs. Saying that, both songs are great. You Blew It! are another band who need to make the trip across the pond and come play for us.

Stream/Download HERE

8. FOOTBALL, ETC./PLAIDS (Strictly No Capital Letters, Count Your Lucky Stars)

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I’ve written so many nice things about Football, etc in the past that I’ve literally run out of superlatives to attribute to them. Although I’ve probably never simply stated that they’re fucking great, which I should’ve because they bloody well are. Their song here, ‘Down The Field’, continues them on the path to become my absolute favourite band, faultless indiemo of the highest quality. Them putting out a split with Plaids is a very exciting prospect. If, like me, you spend far too many hours reading about emo bands on the Internet then you’ll know that Plaids are one of the most exciting bands in the UK at the moment. They just get it, their music plays with time signatures, brilliant angular guitar work and delivered with a blast of incredible energy. Both bands are touring the UK together this summer which will be a tour not to miss.

You can download/stream the songs HERE

Cheers for reading!!

Come and say hi, leave a comment here or on Facebook www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog or on twitter @alex_itto

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Review: Suis La Lune – Riala

Band – Suis La Lune

Album – Riala

Label – Topshelf Records

Europe is a breeding ground for amazing emo bands of all varieties. Emo, screamo, indiemo, happymo and all the other many types that exist under that banner. Maybe it’s the landscape, the heritage or the weather or maybe it’s just a coincidence that over the last 15 years European bands have made some of the best emo music that exists. Suis La Lune from Sweden are continuing this long tradition with their latest long player, ‘Riala’.

The first experience I had of Suis La Lune was early last year when they played in Margate with Pianos Become The Teeth. I didn’t have any expectations as I was a bit blindsided by the fact PBTT were playing so locally to where I lived so hadn’t thought to look Suis La Lune up, but as soon as they started I instantly became a fan. I was entranced by them. They sounded incredible and had killer facial hair, what more could you want? So it was more than exciting to find out they would be bringing their new album out on the fantastic Topshelf Records, home to PBTT, and even more exciting to find that the album is everything I had hoped for.

‘Riala’ is 10 songs of gorgeous emotional hardcore. What sets Suis La Lune apart is how well they manage to blend the loud parts with the quiet, the hardcore with the indie sounds. Other bands manage to do this very successfully but there is something Suis La Lune do that is utterly different. I think that its just how delicate and intricate the guitar play is on the quiter moments, they then manage to bleed this through in to the heavier parts. The result is incredible and they never lose any intensity or power throughout the album.

The album begins with ‘Cornea’ and with it they throw you straight in to the sound of the whole record. It is heavy and exciting while also being soft and beautiful. The way that over the shouty/screamed vocals and hardcore drumming the guitar remains simple and delicate which elevates the sound. Their as indie a hardcore band could ever be, you hear this clearly on the second song, ‘Stop Motion’. Played by another band this could be a classic British Indie song but played by them it still has this intense hardcore undercurrent. It’s hard to explain exactly and I probably haven’t done it enough justice.

This is a record best played from beginning to end, It doesn’t have any ‘stand out songs’ or hit singles as such, it’s a work of art that demands your full attention to give it the justice it deserves. All the way through the album there are moments to savour and enjoy, there are also moments of dischord and discomfort. The vocals blend in to the sound as an extra instrument, delivered with emotion and desperation throughout. There are times when they come to the fore like on ‘All that meant something’, where the repeated refrain ‘You took it away from me’ is the closest the album comes to a sing-a-long moment.  The title track, ‘Riala’, serves nicley to break the album up a bit, It’s kind of like a majestical post rock lullaby and then the closing track, ‘One and all, every bit’, sends the album off in the most epically brilliant way.

‘Riala’ by Suis La Lune is a really great record, it has a classic emo/screamo/whatever sound but still comes across as refreshing and new. It’s available to download from Topshelf Records bandcamp HERE, they tour the UK in August and I can’t wait to see them at Hevy.

Hope you enjoy and cheers for reading x

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Review Plus Interview!!: State Faults – Desolate Peaks

Band – State Faults

Album – Desolate Peaks

Label – Tiny Engines

I imagine, anyone that writes reviews of music will have a different process by which they work by. Because this blog is quite specific to the type of music it covers, a lot of the music I get to review is something I’m very excited to listen to. Therefore, I like to give each new release about a week of listening and appreciation before I commit pen to paper, not that pens or paper are used in the creation of these blog posts but you get my drift. Sometimes though I need a little bit longer. In the case of State Faults debut record, ‘Desolate Peaks’, I received this just over a month ago and only now do I feel ready to write this.

State Faults hail from Santa Rosa, California, ‘Desolate Peaks’ is their debut full length album following on from their 2010 EP ‘Head in the clouds’ and is being released on the consistent and fantastic label, Tiny Engines. A fair amount of buzz for this band had been noticed by myself on various social media platforms, so it was with eager anticipation that I first played the record. And I wasn’t disappointed.

The record opens with ‘Sleepwalker’ and with it the sound of birdsong, quickly accompanied by a sweet guitar melody lulling you in to it’s warm sound. The, almost choir-like, backing vocals that follow build atmosphere with help from some huge sounding drums. Just when you start to wonder where State Faults are going with this, the piercing screamed vocals slice through like a bolt from the blue and with this you see a showcase of what State Faults will offer on the next 11 tracks. Juxtaposing often tender melody with the heaviness of the sound and extreme desperation of the main vocal. State Faults pack a lot of power into their music, raw energy and emotion which really engage the listener. You do, kind of, feel exhausted together with the band by the end of the 11 songs.

It’s hard to put a label on a band, especially when the use of a term like ‘screamo’ or ’emotional hardcore’ can be frowned upon and off putting to some. State Faults are certainly one of a few bands who are bringing a credibilty back to the term. Playing this type of music as it should be played, where the songs are equally compelling at their quietest as they are at their heaviest, like Funeral Diner did or Pianos Become The Teeth do. ‘Hallways’ is a good example of this, it’s full of hooks and melody backed up by their intense power. Other standout songs include the superb ‘Arrowhead’, ‘Wayfarer’ which starts off as a hardcore blast and finishes in a minimal post rock way and the last song ‘Skeletons’ which is a perfectly emotional end to what is a really great record.

It has taken me this long to write this review because, sometimes, when I review an album and move on to the next one to write about it can fell like i’m letting that album go. It may sound dumb, but I didn’t want to let ‘Desolate Peaks’ go and I still don’t. I’m sure this album will stay with me for a long time, It is definitely one of my favourite records of the year so far.

You can download/stream ‘Desolate Peaks’ at the Tiny Engines bandcamp page, click HERE to go there. I urge you to do so.

State Faults were also kind enough to answer some questions the Is This Thing On? had for them to give some background to the band and the record. Enjoy:

Is this thing on?: Desolate Peaks is coming out on tiny engines, how did working with those guys come about?

State Faults: Will Miller is one of the guys who runs Tiny Engines along with Chuck Daley and Will was the one who hit us up about working with them. He used to run a music blog called Sound As Language and I guess he managed to come across our EP Head In The Clouds and liked it enough to ask us if we were interested in having TE release a record for us. We sent them a bunch of demos of songs we had been writing which they were really into so they decided to make things official. They’re pretty rad dudes! Considering they had never even met us or seen us play before they hit us up is kinda crazy! They really put a lot of faith in us and we’re totally grateful for it. Hopefully this record made them proud.
How long did it take you to write/record the album?
We started writing for the album pretty much right after we put out Head In The Clouds. So from late 2010 through the summer of 11. By the time Will got in contact with us, we had about 4 or 5 songs written and a few skeletons of what would eventually become songs. Once we finished those and officially started recording for the album, the process took about a week. We set up a little recording/drum booth in Chip’s brother’s spare bedroom and had our firepod hooked up to our computer in the living room. We pretty much did everything from there. It was a lot of fun! It was our first legit DIY experiment as a full band. Mixing and mastering took a couple months afterwards
Desolate Peaks is quite a bleak record, does this reflect how you see things at the moment?
I wouldn’t say so. Jonny definitely writes his lyrics from a very personal place but as far as our general outlook on life goes, we’re a really positive bunch. Believe it or not, a good chunk of our material comes from a very positive place as well. I think what’s fun about playing a more bleak and aggressive style of music is being able to channel all of the frustration, sadness or whatever else is bothering us into the songs we write so that when we finish a set, we can let go of that weight and focus on all of the wonderful aspects of life that we sometimes take for granted. A good deal of the lyrics also come from different things we’ve learned about each other as a band. Finding opportunities to work together to reach our individual goals, even when times get tough and when going it alone seems easier. We’re all best friends and being able to experience everything that comes with being in a band really helped give life to the album. So for me it’s a very positive record. Very therapeutic.
You’ve been compared to Thursday and Pianos become the teeth, who do you count as influences on this record?
Pianos and Thursday are two of our favorite bands so even being mentioned in the same sentence with them is very humbling! But we also draw a lot of inspiration from bands like As Cities Burn, Thrice, Trophy Scars, Suis La Lune and even more indie/rock bands like mewithoutYou, Copeland, The New Trust, Radiohead and Not To Reason Why. And of course, Michael is and will forever be a huge Depeche Mode fan and he and Jonny both enjoy a lot of classic rock/metal. We just love listening to all kinds of music and absorbing whatever we can from it. Being new and different as cool, but art wouldn’t exist without other art to inspire it.
What is your local scene like at the moment? Do you feel part of it? Do you think it’s changed much in the last few years?
With bands like The Velvet Teen and Ceremony coming out of our area and making such a big name for themselves internationally, it can definitely make you feel incredibly small. But the local scene is currently going through a major rebirth and it’s very cool to watch! Not To Reason Why, No Sir and Strike To Survive are some awesome bands that are doing great work and it’s inspiring as hell to watch. We just feel incredibly blessed to be such good friends with all of them. Hopefully we can help bring some more attention to the north bay.
What new bands can you recommend to people who love your album?
All of the bands we mentioned before are incredible! Also our best buds in Ruptures from the LA area. They are one of the most hardworking bands we know and they make incredibly powerful music. Check out their song Junebloom. Insane.
Will you be touring the Uk and Europe at any point in the future?
We hope so! Tackling the West Coast is on our agenda right now. The rest of the US is next. Then Europe (fingers crossed)!
Thanks for reading, feel free to share and comment etc.. of come bother me on twitter (@alextb3). More reviews and interviews coming very soon x
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THE ‘IS THIS THING ON?’ TOP 100 EMO SONGS OF ALL TIME PART 6 (50-41)

#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

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

50 – Ghosts and Vodka – Sex Is Popular

Emo verges on so many other musical styles, hardcore, indie, pop punk and sometimes most interestingly post rock. Ghosts and Vodka veer that way with a mix of instrumental mathy indie rock from members of Cap’n Jazz, Owls and Joan of Arc. Luckily, as with Cap’n Jazz, they released a complete anthology of all their releases on one cd ‘Addicts and Drunks’, which is a big help to lazy people like me who are a bit slow off the mark.

49 – Transit – Footwork

A lot of the bands that are helping bring emo back with this new revival are either from the more indie or screamo ends of the genre, Transit are heading up things from a pop punk perspective. Their latest album, ‘Listen & Forgive’, leans more to the emo way of things but on their previous effort, ‘Keep this to yourself’, there is a brilliant pop punk energy all the way through the album. ‘Footwork’ is a belter of a track, the part where it breaks down in the middle of the song is emo gold.

48 – Jejune – Solar

Beautiful indie emo from the late 90’s, ‘This afternoon’s Malady’ by Jejune is an album full of well crafted, catchy as hell pop songs. ‘Solar’ is slow paced, dreamy and gorgeous, the kind of music that leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling by the end as it escapes into a mass of feedback and distortion.

47 – Hey Mercedes – Quality Revenge At Last

I read recently that Bob Nanna formed Hey Mercedes because loads of bands in the early 2000’s, who were clearly influenced by his former band ,Braid, were suddenly getting big and making a lot of money, money that Braid had never made. Whether that is true or not, I hope he got what he deserved because Braid are a legendary band. Hey Mercedes, which featured 2 other Braid members, were a more straight forward, streamlined emo rock band with a talent for knocking out instantly likeable tunes. ‘Quality revenge at last’ is the opening track of their 2nd album, ‘Loses control’.

46 – Jeremy Enigk – Lewis Hollow

Taken from an album that I guess is not strictly ’emo’, more an acoustic folk fantasy, Jeremy Enigk as part of Sunny Day Real Estate introduced me to the genre and so his fragile, amazing voice will always give me that emo connection. ‘Return of the frog queen’ was his first solo record, recorded after Sunny Day’s first break up in the mid 90’s. ‘Lewis Hollow’ is just under 2 minutes of delicate beauty, basic tender guitars with a hint of cello and vocals that could melt any heart. A gentle masterpiece.

45 – Cursive – The Radiator Hums

We had a pretty great scene in Margate, I left it in 2000 to go drama school on the outskirts of London and I feel like I missed out on a great deal. One of the biggest times I was reminded of this was on easter break in 2002 when Cursive played a joint headline show with the Appleseed Cast at the Lido in Margate. I was there and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to, not only did I get to hang out with the beautiful girl who would a few years later agree to marry me, both bands completely rocked that night. I bought ‘Domestica’ that night on CD, an album so good someone actually stole it from me sometime later, and it will always remind me of that blissful night. ‘The Radiator hums’ is my favourite song by this great band.

44 – Joan Of Arc – Post Coitus Rock

I have a friend that said that he loved Joan Of Arc because it would help him get to sleep every night. I guess you could take that the wrong way but I can see what he means because the albums can have an almost dream like quality, although that samples and weirder bits would freak me out if I tried to do as he did. ‘Post Coitus rock’ is one of the more regular songs in Joan Of Arc’s back catalogue but it’s far from ordinary. Perfectly twinkly guitar topped off with Tim Kinsella’s brilliant indie lo-fi voice.

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

Sometimes the term emo is misused or under played, used to describe any band singing about a broken heart. Sometimes a band can make music so packed full of emotion and intensity that ’emo’ hardly does the band justice. PBTT do something no other band does to me, I know I have gone on about their magnificence in a lot of my previous blog posts, they leave me exhausted. Seeing them live nearly brings me to tears, the gloriously heavy music with the touching lyrics and the intense vocal delivery combine to make a very special band indeed. I literally cannot say enough how much I love this band. They are also very approachable which I found out to my delight last week in Tunbridge Wells.

42 – The Get Up Kids – Coming Clean

One of the first emo albums I ever bought, little did I know as I stood alone in Tower Records in Picadilly Circus what a profound effect this would have on my life. I had heard people talk about them a lot before I got it but I was still unprepared that they would instantly become one of my favourite bands. ‘Coming Clean’ is a mammouth way to open an album, they hit the ground running with some of the best emo pop punk committed to tape. I remember getting completely swept up in the crowd during this song when I saw them at the Garage in London and loving every second.

41 – At The Drive-in – Heliotrope

I was first introduced to At The Drive-In by my friend who was sat in his flat holding ‘In/casino/Out’ on vinyl and proclaimed them to be the best emo band out there at the moment. At the time we were organising our European tour with our old band and there was a big hope that we were going to play some of these shows with At The Drive-In. Unfortunately, because of college dates, we had to go when it was the Easter holidays and the At The Drive-In dates were about a week before. We weren’t too worried and we had a great time on that tour but now when I look back I can’t believe we missed out and all because of some college play I was taking part in. Just to see At The Drive-In play on that tour just before they broke massive would have been an honour enough let alone actually getting to play and maybe meet the band. At The Drive-In are now a legendary band, their records make me wanna get up and jump around whenever I put them on. I promise my wife that I’ll stop telling this story of what may have been, maybe now I’ve put it here I will, it’s too painful.

Thank you for reading. Keep the comments coming either here or on twitter (@alex_itto) and feel free to share the link. Cheers again x

UPDATE: READ THE NEXT PART, PART 7 (40 to 31) HERE

The Spotify playlist has been updated as best I could, click below for the link.

Emo 100 (100-41)

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Review: The Saddest Landscape – After the lights

Band – The Saddest Landscape

Album – After the lights

Label – Topshelf records

Sometimes, listening to the the type of music I listen to can send me one of two ways. It’ll either make me launch myself around the room, throwing all sorts of crazy shapes whilst pointing my fingers in a insane manner. Or, it will leave me cuddled up on the floor questioning existence itself. Some would mock, some would query why, all would laugh. Predominantly, it will have the first effect. It’s the genius of this emotional brand of punk rock, a song that is lyrically desperate and musically traumatising can have an uplifting and positive affect on you.

It’s hard to say which way The Saddest Landscape will send me, it could go either way but will take a few listens to get there. They are back with their new 7-track album released on everyone’s favourite label, Topshelf records. Again, it’s a solid and well crafted record as you would expect from this band. But they make you work for it. By that I mean, like their other records, It’s not instantly easily accessible. Without taking anything away from the band, the music that The Saddest Landscape make is not as instantly likeable as bands such as Pianos Become The Teeth or Touché Amoré. With those bands you get swept away on the first listen and get immediate gratification. The Saddest Landscape don’t give it to you on a plate, they make you work for it. But work and you will be rewarded, greatly so.

The Saddest Landscape play modern emotional hardcore. Its a scene/genre that has been re-awakened and set alight in recent years. These are exciting times and The Saddest Landscape can rightly stake their place amongst the bands taking credit for this. ‘After the lights’ builds on the consistency of the last album ‘You will not survive’, it doesn’t take giant strides forwards in evolving their sound into something new, but then it doesn’t have to. It is nice to know what you’re going to get with some bands, not every record has to be a game changer.

‘After the lights’ is dark, emotionally open and unsettling. Musically, the use of dynamics is put to great use. The gentle opening soft guitar play on the first song ‘In love with the sound’ quickly blasts into a wall of sound and from there on the use of quiet/loud is used consistently well. Most notably on ‘When everything seemed to matter’, when a cello is weaved into the mix, softening the guitars and making it all the more intense when the full band kicks back in. The further in to the record as well the more melody plays a part, as if the band are starting to trust you and open up to you the more you stick with them.

It may have taken me 4 or 5 good listens to really be sold on ‘After the lights’ but I am so glad I kept with it. I am now desperate they see The Saddest Landscape play live as I think most of these songs will be taken to the next level in that environment, and I can have a fair guess as to which way I’d react.  If you are a fan of intense angry and emotional punk rock full of driving riffs then this is definitely for you.

Click here to go to the Topshelf Records bandcamp page where you can stream/buy the record.

Cheers for reading xx

Below is the video for the opening track ‘In love with the sound’

After The Lights Cover Art

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So this is the new year!

Hey. We have made it to 2012, well done us!!

Although the new year has begun and we are now a few days into it, my wife and I have decided that our new year will not begin until February due to the fact that on the 28th of January I will be having more surgery on my back.

I have yet to heal from the prolapsed disc that I had back in June of last year, and before that the annular tear I had in the same disc in November of 2010, so I will be having the bottom of my spine fused. Hopefully this will be an end to the pain and the painkillers that have plagued me for over a year. We feel a bit like we’re in a weird limbo at the moment so our 2012 will begin once the surgery is out of the way, all going to plan. My goal is to be recovered in time to see Stewart Lee at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury on the 24th of February which we bought tickets for before it became apparent that I would need extra surgery. It may be a bit ambitious (and foolish) but I’m trying to stay positive at the moment.

Hopefully that will be the first of many things I get to see/do in 2012. Having missed seeing bands like Title Fight, Transit, Defeater, I am the avalanche and Balance & Composure in 2011, I wanna make sure I make up for it this year.

I am desperate to go to Hevy Festival this August, last years line up was like a whos-who of my favourite bands and I can’t see why this year should be any different. The first bands to play will be announced in January so now is definitely a good time to be getting excited about it.

Another tour to be getting very excited about, for obvious reasons, is the Touche Amore UK tour which will be heading our way this March. As if seeing one of the most interesting bands in modern hardcore isn’t reason enough to be buying spare underwear, they are touring with Pianos Become The Teeth!!! This will surely be the best reason to visit London this year, sod the Olympics. If Sebastian Coe should hear ‘The Lack Long After’ I know he will say the same. Maybe. They are touring throughout the UK and will be playing the XOYO in London on the 28th of March.

2012 also sees the return of everybody’s favourite METAL band, Cancer Bats. The hairy Canadians have this week announced that, to celebrate the upcoming release of their new album, ‘Dead Set On Living’, on Hassle Records in April, they will be playing SIX!!?! shows in London in one day. Starting at the Old Blue Last at 11.30am they will then play Notting Hill Arts Club, Upstairs at the Garage, Brixton Windmill and the Barfly, culminating in a second show at the Old Blue Last at midnight. If you look at where the six venues are on a map of London it shapes out a pentagram!! How metal is that??  When we saw Cancer Bats at the Quarterhouse in Folkestone back in 2010, they were so loud my friend Paul’s hearing didn’t come back for days so best of luck to anyone who braves all six shows.

I’m looking forward, in general, to listening to a hell of a lot of good new music in 2012. For the last week i’ve been really enjoying Tangled Hair. Their ‘Apples’ ep was the bargain price of £2 on the Big Scary Monsters bandcamp page last week and its stayed on my car stereo since. They play infectious, math indie pop that draws you in from the first listen. They have some awesomely tricky time signatures too which are clearly destined to make me look like a fool for trying to dance along if I get to see them live. There is a video below of them playing at Banquet Records last year for you to enjoy.

Until next time, cheers guys xx

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