Tag Archives: uk tour

INTERVIEW: MINERAL

You can’t have read this blog without knowing our feelings on Mineral. From naming ‘&Serenading’ as the no.1 emo song of all time to the love letter/tribute to Mineral we published last year we have made it quite clear how much this band means. On the eve of their first ever UK tour, it is a complete honour to share with you a Q&A with Mineral drummer, Gabriel Wiley, we conducted by email.

miner3

Is This Thing On? – Hi. On the eve of your first European tour as a band, how is everything in the Mineral camp?

Gabriel Wiley – Doing well, real excited about playing Europe.

ITTO? – I heard that Mineral reuniting was Jim from Jimmy Eat World’s idea, had you ever discussed reforming before then? When did you first start realising how much people still loved Mineral?

GW – Yes, Jim wanted to put together a show with many of the bands they toured with in the beginning of the band. We were among those asked which caused us to get together and discuss it. Due to many problems the show never happened but we had started practicing and figured we might do a show or two. A nice fella from the windish agency said he’d like to book us some show out east and so he did. Everything has grown from there. After mineral, we were all in other bands and through shows with those bands we would be asked a number of times if and when mineral was getting back together. So we had some idea of the interest yet, it is very enjoyable to see how excited people have been.

ITTO? – Have you talked as a band about why you split up when you did? Was it an amicable split at the time? And was there any awkwardness when you first got back together?

GW – No, we haven’t and it would be counter-productive. I would not call it amicable but no knives were thrown. I don’t remember much awkwardness, at least for my part.

ITTO? – You’ve already completed a lengthy tour in America, how has the reaction been?

GW– It’s been fantastic and a bit humbling. There are times when I can hear the crowd singing louder than Chris’s vocals. The band that opened the US tour, Into It-Over It is awesome and we had a surprise in NYC when Frank Turner opened. That was incredible.

ITTO? – Have you discovered anything new about these songs that you’ve not played together since the last century, some of which you never played live?

GW – No, I know it’s not a very interesting answer, but they seemed to be just as we left them. I would like to say that I had some kind of spirited re-kindling with the songs, but didn’t happen.

ITTO? – I have friends who have seen you numerous times on this tour already and they’ve all commented about how you just keep getting better every show, have you noticed a progression? Are you a better live band now than you’ve ever been?

GW – That is true. Nothing prepares you for tour like touring. I believe we are better now than when we were actually a band. It definitely hurts more now.

ITTO? – In 2012 this blog counted down the top 100 emo songs of all time and ‘&serenading’ was number 1! What’s your favourite Mineral song and has it changed since you’ve reformed?

GW – Favorite is parking lot, and no. We would be a damn fool to change any of it. But &serenading is my wife’s favorite as well.

ITTO? – Do you have anything special planned for your Euro/UK shows? Do you have any idea what to expect over here?

GW – Nothing special, we’ve added a new song, 80-37 to the list (well new to the list but not a new song, as it were). I have been over here with a couple of bands and have a rough idea as far as some cultural differences and the like. (In Germany they like to make you pay to use the toilets!). But as for how people will receive us, I try not to expect or assume how a crowd will react to us.

miner2

ITTO? – There has been a massive resurgence in bands playing this type of music over the last few years and many bands have cited you as a major influence, do you feel part of the current ’emo’ scene? Or do you still identify yourselves as still very much a 90s band?

GW – I feel much more like a 90s rock band, but I can use the word emo in the same sentence as Mineral. As for a current emo scene, I’m not sure I know who that would be. I am 43 and listen mostly to podcasts and music recorded before 1980. I never made music with the intention of influencing anyone, but it is nice that some bands point to us as inspiration.

ITTO? – I see you’re still announcing tours/festival appearances, what else is next for Mineral? Any plans to bring back any post Mineral bands (Gloria Record/Imbroco/Pop Unknown) ?

GW – After this tour, we play a festival in Belgium and Spain in May. After that, maybe nothing, not sure. There is some talk of South America, but difficult to say. I don’t see any of my old bands doing anything, but might talk to the other fellas about their intentions.

miner

Sorry kids, Dad has some new babies now!

 

ITTO? – And finally. I bought my first Mineral album in 1998 when you had already split, I never dreamed that almost 17 years later I’d get to see you play live. Is there any band you would absolutely love to see reform?

GW – If I could go back to 1977 and see led Zeppelin that would be my wish. But without time travel, ummmm a Seattle band called these arms are snakes, a fantastic Seattle band. Super kick ass. See you at the show.

ITTO? – Thanks so much Gabriel

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

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

INTERVIEW: BEEZEWAX

I have been a massive fan of Beezewax ever since their debut album completely blew me away as a teenager in the 90s. They played locally several times in the late 90s/early 00s and every time was incredibly special. The band recently announced a mini UK tour which kicks off in less than 2 weeks so I caught up with singer/guitarist Kenneth Ishak to discuss the tour and his memories of UK tours past. Enjoy!

bzwx 1

IS THIS THING ON? – I first saw you when you played the tiny cardinals cap in Canterbury and instantly fell in love. It must have been 1998, what do you remember about that first uk tour?

Kenneth Ishak – Hey, glad you were there!
Well, I think that was our second UK tour, i can remember that show bit I can’t link it to any other shows, but the first and second tour in the UK was just a big change for all of us. We didn’t have that sort of scene at home, we were compared to many bands we had never heard about- we didn’t know what emo was. We were basically 4 kids who had hung together growing up- listened to dinosaur jr, hip hop, we were definitely not part of a scene except for our norwegian label LaNuGo which was a hardcore punk label.
Yeah, in Norway people didn’t care but we had just started anyways but got to go to the UK right away to tour with Spy Vs spy, they were the greatest band and people- we became pretty good friends and influenced by them. I almost puked before our fist show, we were on after them- they were so amazing and i had never heard anything like it- i was in shock! Then we had to play. But then people sang along to our songs, i sorta understood that whatever it was we were doing, people were into it.

ITTO? – I bought ‘A dozen summits’ at that first show on cd for £3, later someone told me that you’d made a mistake with the price and I’ve felt bad ever since. Is that true?

KI – Haha, we never felt bad- we just figured, lower the price and sell more. I remember in Manchester the whole crowd got in line after we played, yeah everything really fell into place for us on those first tours.

ITTO? – The other times I saw you were all in Margate at the legendary Lido. You had a big following here, what are your memories of Margate and did you get a similar response throughout the uk?

KI – We did, nice! We know there were at least some people there who liked us- someone told me they played a couple of our songs at practise even. I have many great memories playing at the Lido- especially one show that was packed and just really loud, probably one of my favourite shows ever. Last time we played there Stian our drummer was sick, and to be honest- we were not the same band, but yeah- there was a great crowd but we did not deliver so i am glad to come back. It will be our first show in 7 years so there might be a couple of fuck ups!

ITTO? – You’re playing Margate again as part of a UK tour in May with one of the most exciting uk bands at the moment, Playlounge, how did touring with them come about?

KI – It was just our label that did a little research- seems there are people discovering our older records, people who were 4 or something then- anyways Playlounge seemed to be into our stuff, and we sure like them so we asked if we could play some shows together, and they were into it. I am sure we will be blown away!

ITTO? – Have you got anything special planned for these shows? Will you be playing songs from all of your albums?

KI – Nothing special, to be honest- I don’t know what will happen but we have had fun during rehearsals.

Beezewax1

ITTO? – Do you have any plans to come back again yet?

KI – Yes, this fall we hope to cover places we couldn’t get to on this little tour.

ITTO? – And finally, what is your favourite band that you’ve ever played with?

KI – Again, Spy vs Spy, we have played with plenty of bands in different countries but nothing made a bigger impact i think.

ITTO? – Thanks Kenneth!!

bzwx 2

Beezewax will be playing the following shows this May:

May 22nd – Margate, The Bracket

May 23rd – London, Birthday’s

May 24th – Brighton, The Hope

May 25th – Portsmouth, The Registry

Is this thing on? is putting on the Margate show, please come down if you’re in the area. Here is the link to the facebook events page for the show – https://www.facebook.com/events/1425538981029584/

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

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

INTERVIEW WITH DOWSING

Who doesn’t like Dowsing?? If you just raised your hand then click off this site, shut your laptop and have a long hard think about your life!! Dowsing are one of the most likeable bands currently playing music, they recently toured Europe to great acclaim. At the end of this tour they were stuck on a 15 hour layover in Helsinki which they live tweeted, towards the end of this I decided to take advantage of their good nature and pushed them for an interview. Thankfully they happily said yes and here it is, all questions were answered by Singer/Guitarist Erik.

dows 2

Is This Thing On?: It’s still pretty terrible; it’s just going to get worse. Has it got any better yet?

Erik: I don’t even care anymore.

ITTO?: ‘It’s just going to get worse’ is a compilation of demos and covers etc… How did the idea for the album come about and how did you choose what to include on the album?

Erik: We thought as a band it be cool to make a discography tape of sorts to compile our musical accomplishments thus far.  However, once our van died on the way back from Stay Sweet Fest I thought putting up some unreleased/songs without homes on a release to raise funds for the van would be more of an incentive to others to help us with the costs. We were overwhelmed with the response and help from fans, family, and friends.  We had been discussing the tape with Jacob (Keep It Together) and Keith (Count Your Lucky Stars) and once they saw the 10 “rarities” playlist they thought it be neat to expand upon that idea and make it a longer release.  The best part is that I have really weird demos and live recordings of all of our songs so we were able to make it this chronological discography tape that we had desired from the start.  The cover songs were just fun to add as hidden tracks since most have never had a proper release and the comps they were for never came to fruition.

ITTO?: I missed your recent tour of Europe, but all my emo friends thought you were awesome. How was it for you? What kind of reaction did you get?

Erik: The tour was simply amazing.  Our friend Tommy Royds, who makes a zine called Zine & Not Heard, booked us the trip of a lifetime.  The reaction was more incredible than I could have ever imagined and I can’t thank all the people involved with making our trip successful enough.  When kids you’ve never met sing along to your songs it is always a bizarre and wonderful experience, but when kids who do not speak English as their first language are screaming in your face it is a completely different ballgame.  Europe rules and we are going to come back soon.

ITTO?: What did you learn from touring Europe that you would have never found out if you weren’t in a band?

Erik: European hospitality is outstanding and unmatched.  People were far too kind to our scruffy smelly faces (sans Delia).  Can you say band lofts?

ITTO?: Did you fall in love with any of your support bands? If so, who?

Erik: One of the strangest things was that most of our shows were booked as just Annabel and us.  This was scary at first, but it turned out to be fantastic.  Kids actually came when we didn’t have support bands which I found crazy and flattering.  So my favorite support band by default would be Annabel.  They are the best band in the world if you didn’t know that.  To answer your question though I would have to say Nai Harvest and Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson without a doubt.

ITTO?: Do you have any plans to come back?

Erik: You know it! We have to get our sorry selves to the West Coast first though.

ITTO?: What plans do you have for a new studio album?

Erik: New LP is coming out August 13, 2013.

ITTO?: Hooray!!!! Can you give us some background about the new album. Where you recorded? How long it took? Who you recorded with? Etc…

Erik: I Don’t Even Care Anymore was tracked and mixed in Chicago, IL by Matt Jordan (Stay Ahead of the Weather, Cut Teeth, Lifted Bells) at Atlas Studios and the Stay Ahead House.  It took 4 days to track and 1 day of mixing.  It was our first time not going to Rockford, IL to record and our first time not recording with Chris French.

dows

ITTO?: Is there a theme to the new record?

Erik: The record deals with my last relationship and my inner struggles to make myself happy and finally getting over it all.

ITTO?: What process do you follow when making a new album? Do you write as a band? Do you have everything ready and complete when you enter the studio?

Erik: It is a mix of all of those things.  I usually write and demo 85% of the songs (lyrics, guitar parts, key ideas).  I then show them to the band and ask them to help me flesh it all out.  Sometimes we don’t get to the B-sides and end up finishing them in the studio.  I think it is a good mix for us.

ITTO?: There seems to be a lot of Dowsing side projects, are you all now involved in one? Is Dowsing always your priority?

Erik: Until recently I had believed Delia was not in another band but I can no longer confirm this because she posted something on tumblr about starting a keyboard band.  I play in two other bands called Kittyhawk, and Pet Symmetry.  Marcus plays in Pet Symmetry, Mountains for Clouds, and The Please & Thank Yous. Gooey and Mikey both play in a band called Per Aspera.  With all these side projects though I would say Dowsing is definitely all our top priority.

ITTO?: The so-called emo revival is still going strong. What emo revival band do you think will be the equivalent of Jimmy Eat World and make it big? Which one will renounce emo and make a pretty awful Britpop sounding record? And which one will make two classic albums, split up, find God and then reform?

Erik: This might be my favorite question of all time.

– Modern Baseball because they will.

– Dowsing because why not.

– Old Gray because Cam.

ITTO?: I missed you on tour in the UK because my daughter, Indigo, had just been born. We were in the labour suite for 5 hours and ‘It’s still pretty terrible’ was one of the albums that sound tracked Indigo’s birth. What music would you want your baby to be born to?

Erik: ❤ I am glad we could help bring forth new life.  This has to be one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard our band involved with.  Thank you for letting us be apart of this life changing event.  My babies will be born to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run.”

indi

ITTO?: Dowsing thank you so much!!!

Dowsing’s new record, ‘I Don’t Even Care Anymore’, will be released through Count Your Lucky Stars in August. ‘It’s just going to get worse’ is currently available to stream/download HERE

Thanks for reading, come say hi on facebook www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog or on twitter @alex_itto
Tagged , , , , , , ,

Interview: Empire! Empire! (I was a lonely estate)

If you hadn’t heard of Empire! Empire! (I was a lonely estate) a few weeks ago, and if you like the type of music I write about then how couldn’t you have?, then chances are you have now. The competition they ran online recently which resulted in them digitally giving away their entire discography was a roaring success spreading their good name far and wide and it’s no more than they deserve. Having been consistently releasing beautifully amazing music since 2006 Empire! Empire! (I was a lonely estate) have become one of the most respected and revered bands of the current wave of emo. In just a few days they will be hitting the UK for an extensive tour with The Reptilian (dates are below) so I couldn’t think of a better time to catch up with the band, sling some questions their way and publish their responses. Here’s the results:

Is this thing on? – Congratulations on the success of your recent competition on Facebook/twitter/tumblr, are you surprised by the response you received?

Keith from Empire! Empire! – Very surprised!  I know this might sound disingenuous, but we are still very humbled and wowed by the fact that anybody at all listens to us.  We bought like 6,000 download credits thinking we would be more than fine, but very quickly realized that that wasn’t enough.  You could literally sit at your computer and hit refresh and watch the number drop every time.

ITTO? – Giving away your entire discography made it feel like everyone’s a winner, has it given you an opportunity to reflect on the history of the band? Anything you would’ve done differently?

Keith – We feel like we got a pretty big takeaway with the support everyone gave us, so I think we feel that way too.  As for reflection- it has, and there are certainly things I would have done differently.  The main thing would be not focusing so much on doing splits, and instead getting a new full length (or two!) out.  We never intended on that happening, it just sort of did.  But every release is important to me, and I am proud to say we never gave something less than 100%.  I don’t feel like there are any throwaway songs.

ITTO? – Is Empire! Empire! (I was a lonely estate) still very much a band consisting of the 2 of you, Keith and Cathy, or do you now have a permanent full band line up?

Keith – It’s just me and Cathy, and I very much doubt it will ever be anything more than that again.  Don’t get me wrong, I would love a permanent line up, but it just wasn’t ever in the cards.  There are a lot of reasons for that, but we have always soldiered on and been able to keep going.   I think I was maybe a little too ideal in the few years in thinking that everyone else was going to give up everything just to have a shot at making this work, and after seeing a few members come and go, I sort of lost that ideal.  It’s a lot of pressure on you if someone is asking or expecting that and you don’t feel the same way.  Another problem we ran into was because this started out as a solo project, right off the bat the other members were playing songs they didn’t write.  For some reason, it seemed like we would lose members right before we would record something and I would end up having to do a majority of the instruments on the recording.  Which has advantages and disadvantages, but ends up being a lot more work on my part.  The more releases we put out, the more songs that other members didn’t write and feel that connection to, so as we went on it seemed less likely to find someone to stick. Once Jon left, we just decided to stop looking and operate the way we had already been doing for years.  It was far less stressful and we are just as productive, if not more.

ITTO? – What is the song writing process of the band?

Keith – It’s pretty strange, but mostly I can attribute that to the band only having two members, and one of them playing most of the instruments.  Usually I will write my guitar part and recorded it on my computer, and then Cathy will write hers over mine.  Sometimes we do it together before it gets to the computer.  Then I write and record a bass part, and then drums.  These are all to a metronome, but direct in and something that would never be worth showing anybody, haha.  Then we go into the studio and record all the music.  Once I have the rough tracks, then I sit down and write the lyrics.  I never do it beforehand or as we go, I have to do it after.  I like doing that for several reasons, but the biggest one is I like to know exactly how much space I have and how the vocals will fit over everything and not just my guitar part. I need a Point A to Point B to know when to wrap up the lyrics and effectively convey whatever story or theme it is I’m getting at.  This is always the longest and most gruelling part of the process, and I admit to agonizing over it more than anything else.

ITTO? – You’re coming to the UK in November, is this the band’s first time?

Yes and no.  We did a European tour in 2010 which covered mostly the mainland since we toured with a band from Hungary called marionette ID (shout out to my boys!).  We really wanted to get a UK show in, so we took an extra flight at the end of our tour with them and played a one-off show in Norwich.  We absolutely loved it; we met Andy from sncl and played with Pennines and What Price Wonderland? packed on to one bill.

ITTO? – Joie de vivre and Football,etc each received somewhat of a heroes’ welcome on their summer tour here in the UK, have they given you any idea of what to expect?

Keith – I really have no idea.  It warms my heart to hear from you and from them that they were so well received, but we certainly aren’t expecting anything of the sort.  I just hope we can meet some cool people and that we get to see a lot of the countries we are playing in.

ITTO? – Empire! Empire! Are considered one of the bands responsible for the current “emo revival”, being a fan of this music since the 90’s did you ever have a clue that there would be this resurgence of the scene and how much of a part of it that you would be?

I don’t think anybody had any idea that something like this would happen.  How could you, really?  But for some reason it did, and I am very proud to be a part of it.  Ever since I really got into music at 14 or so, this was the style of music I loved, and that never changed.  I don’t think I could play another style of music if I tried.  It does make our musical lives considerably easier though, and I am willing to bet a lot of bands would not have been able to carry on as long of careers without it.  Not me though, I’m stubborn as a mule when it comes to playing this style of music, and I would still be churning this crap out even if no one was listening.  You should have seen some of shows when we started- we stuck out like a sore thumb at literally every show, haha.

ITTO? – Is it ok to now be in an emo band and accept that you are an emo band rather than trying to distance yourselves from that label? Or is there still a stigma to it like there used to be?

Keith – When I started listening to this style of music, I think I never saw the stigma attached to the term.  I was the only person in my school who knew who Death Cab for Cutie, Mineral, Jimmy Eat World, Knapsack was, etc. and coming from a small town without the connection of social media/the internet, I don’t think I ever got why bands didn’t like the label until I was older.  Of course, by then bands had shed that moniker like the plague and the media got a hold of the word and bands like My Chemical Romance and Hawthorn Heights became associated with the term.  Goth became emo, and I still don’t fully understand that.

Anyway, to answer your question, I think we are re-appropriating the term, if you will.  The stigma is still there, but we live in such a small world as far as our fans/community/venues we play in that those people get it without having it explained to them.  So it’s ok by me.

ITTO? – Being in an amazing band and running an equally awesome record label (Count your lucky stars records) must take up a lot of time, do you sometimes have to sacrifice one for the sake of the other and if so which one comes first?

Keith – Ah, I don’t know about that, but thank you for the kind words!  Yes, it takes up almost all of my time and they are both big enough to lose time and compete with each other.  9 times out of 10, the label wins because bands and people are relying on me for that.  With Empire!, it’s just me so I can always push that back.  That is part of the reason it has taken us so long to get a second LP done though.

ITTO? – Apart from the upcoming tour, what can we expect next from Empire! Empire!? Another full length?

Keith – Yes!  We have two songs done, but the writing process (or rather finding time to write) has been slow-going at best.  But it will get done, we are not planning on scheduling any tours or anything major until it’s done.  There are also a few splits/comps we finished a while back that will find their way out sooner or later, so that should tide people over until then.

ITTO? – And finally, If CYLS records had been a label in the good old 90’s which record from that time would you most love to have put out? And why?

Keith – This is the best interview question I have ever had!  It’s a tough question, and I want to cheat and say like 10 records.   I’m going to cheat just a little and choose Death Cab’s We Have the Facts (it was 2000, but close enough) or Mineral’s EndSerenading.  It pains me to only choose two, I had typed up all ten, but decided to not just list my favorite bands from that decade, haha.

ITTO? – Thanks so much for taking the time out to answer these questions and I can’t wait to see you on tour very soon x

Empire! Empire! (I was a lonely estate)’s tour with The Reptilian of the UK and Ireland starts on monday, make sure you don’t miss out.

Here’s the dates:

05.11.12 UK Sheffield @ Tye Die Tapes HQ
06.11.12 UK York @ Stereo
07.11.12 Scotland Glasgow @ 13th Note
08.11.12 Scotland Dundee @ Club Kage
09.11.12 Scotland Edinburgh @ The Wee red Bar
10.11.12 UK Manchester @ The Bay Horse (matinee)
10.11.12 UK Leeds @ Wharf Chambers
11.11.12 Ireland Dublin @ The Twisted Pepper
12.11.12 Ireland Cork @ Cyprus Avenue
13.11.12 UK Bath @ Green Park Tavern
14.11.12 UK Falmouth @ Fish Factory Art Space
15.11.12 UK London @ The Blackheart
16.11.12 UK Southampton @  King Alfreds Pub
17.11.12 UK Brighton  @ The Green door store

For more information check the E!E!(IWALE) website HERE

You can download/stream their songs as well as anything else on Count Your Lucky Stars HERE

In the UK you can buy their split with Rika from Strictly No Capital Letters HERE

Thanks for reading x

www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

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

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

Review: I Am The Avalanche – Avalanche United

Band – I Am The Avalanche

Album – Avalanche United

Label – I Surrender / Xtra Mile

Brooklyn’s finest, I Am The Avalanche are back!! This album has been a long time coming, six years in fact since their last album, and as Vinnie puts it on the opening track: “Holy fuck, things have changed”.

In my eyes things have definitely changed. I think punk, pop punk, emo and whatever other scenes that are associated are in a much healthier state now. There are a mass of bands out there producing quality new music, and people are consuming music in new and strange ways. So when a band have been gone for so long can they still prove to be relevant?

Well, I can answer that by saying HELL YES!!!
Avalanche United is an absolute triumph from start to finish.

For whatever reason I have been really into pop punk bands this year. Maybe it’s because I’m 31 trying to feel 19 again, or maybe it’s just that there are some really awesome pop punk bands out there right now. So you can understand how excited I was to finally get my hands on a copy of this new IATA full length.

I am very fond of the self titled debut album. My wife, Hannah, got me first into the Movielife and then subsequently in to IATA. the first album became her record of choice to listen to while she cooked, so whenever I hear it now, not only do I hear a succession of punk anthems I also hear her sweet voice singing along in my head and then my tummy rumbles, it’s a good feeling.

From the get-go ‘Avalanche United’ takes off and never looks back. It’s one of the most instantly likeable albums of this year, each song is catchy hit after hit of punk goodness, there are more hooks here than a fishing tackle shop. Songs like ‘Brooklyn Dodgers’, ‘Amsterdam’ and ‘Is this really happening?’ are so infectious you are already singing along with your arms in the air before the end of your first listen.

Frontman Vinnie Caruana sings about love, friendship, pride in where you are from and about good times. It’s an uplifting record. And it’s solid, I was surprised, in a very nice way, with how big the sound is, it’s huge. All the worries about whether after all this time they could still cut it were clearly unfounded. I Am The Avalanche are here to show other bands how it’s done, this is how you make a punk record in 2011. They are not breaking any new ground here but what does that matter? They’ve taken their classic sound and made a classic album with it.

The band have obviously not been sitting idle for six years. They have been on tour after tour playing with bands like Bayside, No use for a name and Four Year Strong. During this time they had been playing and demoing songs like ‘Brooklyn Dodgers’, a monster of a song. So it’s amazing how fresh the album sounds. The songs have done well out of the time it’s taken to get the album together. They are tight, precise with not a duff note or rushed moment between them.

And Vinnie is one of the nicest guys. We hung around after a Movielife show back in 2003 at the LA2 in London and Vinnie came out to chat to us and the other fans who’d stuck around. It was awesome. He even posed for a photo with Hannah and her brother, Zander. I don’t know if it shows (much!!) but Hannah was pretty damn excited to be in the picture

20111126-075034.jpg

All in all and to reiterate, I Am The Avalanche have delivered the best pop punk album of this year. It’s gonna have permanent residence in my cd player for quite some time, I can tell you.
They are about to tour the UK with the great Hostage Calm, I ain’t gonna be able to go because of my stupid back so I’m am hoping that they will be back. If you get to see them let me know how awesome it was either here or on twitter (@alextb3).

Cheers again xx

Click here to go to their myspace page and have a listen

20111126-082504.jpg

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,