right off the bat you can tell that Monument has definitely decided on a sound by now. it’s Cap’n Jazzy loud, jangly and distorted emo with harmonic but harsh guitars, carefree vocals, melodic bass and upbeat drumming. I simply love this stuff! people say that Cap’n Jazz makes you feel like you’re six years old running around in the living room screaming your head off till your dizzy and fall down on your knees laughing in between the panting – Monument feels the same.
archive for October, 2009
despite citing Braid and American Football as their influences, Monument are definitely a band with their own sound. a lot of bands citing American Football as a main influence sound pretty much… exactly like American Football, with some minor twists. and those bands are generally great, don’t get me wrong! but I must admit being pleasantly surprised with Monuments more jangly and distorted emo rock that feels almost as home with Pavement – or, to take a totally different band that they also sound like, Built to Spill – as it does with late ’90s and early ’00s emo. they are at times loud like Pavement, hitting you with a wall of guitars – but other times they play sensible and twinkly guitar-based rock like Built to Spill, or even Yo La Tengo. there are some noisy ambient-like tracks and an acoustic guitar track to make sure it gets diverse enough for everyone. the acoustic song is actually the closest Monument ever get to American Football in their exploration of different sounds. anyway, this is an interesting journey by a band that might not yet have found it’s sound, but experiment with lots of different sounds, all of which are interesting in their own way. give it a go.
to some extent die, emperor! die follows the same format as mamma, jeg blör… with only consisting of a guitarist/vocalist and a drummer. both of which playing aggressive and brutal emo. mjg are however far louder and simplistic, if you will. ded on the other hand display Mid-West emo tendencies (they are from Texas after all) and general ’90s emo leanings, whilst mjg are far more comparable to ’90s screamo. so, to make an analogy, if “BSD is what you get when a bunch of UNIX hackers sit down to try to port a UNIX system to the PC”, and “Linux is what you get when a bunch of PC hackers sit down and try to write a Unix system for the PC” – then die, emperor! die! are what you get when two punks kids play emo in a screamo manner, and mjg are what you get when two emo kids play punk in a screamo manner. the result is even more confusing than the analogy. but anyway, this is captivating screamo that’s in motion at all times. it’s able to change and adapt to effectively create different moods. sometimes relying on crescendos, but often resulting in surprising moments where it sneaks up at you from behind and suffocates you with volume. you never know where you have these guys, and they take full advantage of it. an outstanding record! download it.
you know those few perfect songs that sound like the two great lovers are enjoying their desperate and passionate one last kiss whilst the world is falling apart behind them? now imagine if a band made seventeen songs like that… Germany’s take on ’90s emo is both intriguing and mesmerising. Cerulean (a.k.a. Pilots in Paris) are definitely not an exception to either of those rules. what separates this magnificent band from the others already posted on my blog might be how clean they sound. it’s still raw and passionate ’90s emo, but the production is quite clean, though still somewhat more gritty. while the diverse and highly dynamic drumming shines through crisply enough, the guitars sometimes are the definition of twinkly ’90s emo, but other times it proves more than capable of producing furious riffs, revealing the production as not *too* clean. not by miles. it sometimes passes into the same Hüsker Dü and Sugar-like territory as Christie Front Drive did on the Anthology record, though without being as obviously tied to ’80s alternative in their sound. Cerulean sound more like The Pennikurvers, Ribbon Fix, Ethel Meserve and The Pine. most of all it sounds like Mineral’s “Sadder Star”, with the nervous and angst-ridden vocals over the washing explosion of melody that completely encompasses every feeling or mood that this style of emo should. consequently, the only real weakness of this discography is simply that it’s way too short. while being well over eighty minutes, it’s like it’s over right after you’ve pushed play. despite every track being highly distinct from one another; despite it’s epic greatness, it’s over all too soon. you simply can’t get enough of this intriguing and mesmerising German emo. a truly magic album not comparable to anything else. a deeply confessional, emotional and personal record that tells a beautiful story that needs to be heard to be believed. you need this. a lot.
this is Zookeeper – if possible – stripped even more down than on the albums posted here. this is Zookeeper live. they play Everyone’s A DJ plus two unreleased tracks, both of which are nothing short of amazing. the first track is a tumultuous song with distorted guitars and an upbeat and intrepid feel – full of energy and raw emotion. the second one is a venturesome acoustic guitar and vocal driven epiphany of a track. starting out with a lonesome picked acoustic guitar and a soft voice that reflects ever so fairly about the world. eventually a deep bass playing satisfyingly easy on the ear bass lines, as well as a slightly stabbing yet not too piercing electric guitar. all of this comes together nicely and interacts carefully but precisely until the energy suddenly explodes for a few seconds, like as if it can’t hold itself back – then dies away magnificently. you should already have “Everyone’s A DJ” (I assume you’ve downloaded Becoming All Things, yes? :), and thus should already be familiar with this sensational song and its modern-day-poetesque lyrics.
you have the short-length? now get the long-length! you don’t have the short-length? GET IT! AND GET THIS! folky rock’n'roll that ranges from droning hymns to jangly guitar rock to tender piano ballads this is soulful and expressive folk rock at its very finest. the introverted lyrics combine well with the sometimes very extroverted powerhouse that is the melody. sometimes exploding with happiness, horns, guitars, percussions, energy – other times bursting with melancholy and sadness, driven by a piano and acoustic guitar. Chris and his ensemble on Becoming All Things prove to handle melodrama just as well as soulful ballads. this mostly vocal-driven album has some of the most intimate music possible, but it’s not locked down to being an album of only ballads with acoustic guitar, crooning and piano. not by a mile. it constantly shifts the tempo, the energy, the feeling, the atmosphere – it simply rocks the foundation of the album on an even basis. from the most joyful and upbeat clash of noisy percussion, loud guitars and a thousand voices to the most elegant and humble of lovely arranged sensitive heart-breaking ballads. from the euphoric to the painful, Becoming All Things is a highly impressive journey throughout the emotional spectrum of Christopher Simpson. this is a record that deserve to be heard. and bought on CD from http://www.bellecitypop.com/ – so make haste. get this!
I’m insanely proud and incredibly eager to present to you Zookeeper. this is a life-changing band that just reeks of joy. Zookeeper makes music fun like no other band. this is Christopher Simpson proving that he hasn’t lost his touch. on the contrary. most of you will know this bloke from Mineral and The Gloria Record, two bands I love equally as much as Zookeeper. if you don’t know either of those (shame on you), then go get to know them. when people ask “what is emo?”, a lot of people will simply direct them to an MP3 of “If I Could” by Mineral. and with good reason. with the unfathomable power and distinct divine weeping guitars, Mineral was simply one of a kind. though never really influenced by as much 80s emo as 80s alternative, nor ever accepting the emo tag – they were emo to everyone else but themselves. The Gloria Record was another highly impressing emo band, although less punky and more exploring. their full lenght “Start Here” proved that emo is an ever changing genre that by now wasn’t tied to any of its roots – it did as it pleased. so definitely check those bands out if you ever have the chance. but for now – check this out. this band captures the most positive energy on record that I’ve ever witnessed. it is simply impossible to listen to this and be unaffected by the incredible love for music that’s put to this EP. this has a lot in common with Mineral and The Gloria Record when it comes to passion and the raw emotion evident. musically however… well… it’s not emo. Chris still possesses his beautiful fairly off-tune voice that’s kind of akin to Rufus Wainwright’s voice, and even easier compared to Daniel Johnston’s voice, sans the lisping. there’s still an ethereal feeling and majestic power to the music. it’s just really different. this is grass root level folk rock with a ridiculous amount of elements and details in the arrangement. it kind of sounds like Chris got all of Austin – if not all of Texas. to join in on this project. either way, I’m just happy he kept writing songs after The Gloria Record broke up. and I’m even happier he decided to call up some friends to record it, because the world is better off with these songs in them. everyone needs to download and listen to this. then they need to head over to http://www.bellecitypop.com/ and purchase it on CD, because damn. this is amazing. with elements of folk rock, country, rock and pop – Chris Simpson not only reinvents himself, he reinvents music by going back. so come on and sing along to these wonderful melodies and intelligent lyrics. get it!
the soft ’90s Mineral-like intro proves to be as deceitful as the intro to Emo Summer’s Land of Emotional Plastic Furniture, because a tap-tap on the snare later, this is full-blown screamo. there are some sugarsweet clean guitars like Suis La Lune employ from time to time, but mostly it’s somewhat more distorted and heavy. this is very much modern present-day screamo. less chaotic in its execution than the early ’90s screamo, and much more refined, focusing on tempo shifts and dynamic crescendo elements instead. it’s atmospheric and focuses on dexterous guitar textures instead of pulling out hard riffs. the chord-progressions aims to create moody math-like screamo that dictates the loudness, whilst the drums handle the tempo. in the mean time, the bass does a fantastic job at adding that little extra harmony to the structure, over which the emotional screams slides in comfortably the not too often times they choose to step forward. don’t miss out on this band! even though they are no longer active, this EP can be bought from http://myspace.com/lolvikings for $5.
banjos, mandolins, melodicas, glockenspiels… yes. it’s that kind of music. Morfar might’d been right when he said that all you need is drums to start a hipster party, but you need all of the ingredients of We Were Lightning to keep it going. their influences sounds like they are ranging from eastern folk to 60s folk rock (perhaps especially the American band Love) to modern baroque pop and popera. the result is a mad fusing of everything between and outside this scope. spastic almost cabaret-like indie pop/rock with major folk influences. it’s sort of chamber pop, like Sufjan Stevens and Badly Drawn Boy – but no distorted guitars or whatever. there’s something in me that wants to call Beirut on this one as well. but mostly it’s just entirely original and different. a quality album without a doubt. a must-hear even! download it, then look at http://howisannierecords.com/ to buy it.
yet another album from this union of musicians playing compositions by Pat the Bunny. this time it’s more polished without a doubt. a lot of the songs on here are old songs which you might already have (if you downloaded the previous upped album you definitely have some), but their incarnations on this album is so fresh that they barely deserve being compared to their original incarnations, they’ll be better off treated as completely new songs. due to a more refined and polished sound, the rawness and anger on these songs are parallel to the catchyness and sing-a-long factor. there are more instruments and simply a bigger ensemble appearing on this album. but it’s just as honest and down to earth. if you are into Against Me! but have qualms over their involvement with major labels, you’re better off here. this is not only diy as can be, but it’s actually a lot better music. extremely genuine and cheerful punk rock. embrace it! by the way, Pat the Bunny does a lot of shit besides making music, like setting up an anarchist transportation collective, among other things. so if you can spare a change, purchase a physical version of his album at http://www.wingnutdishwashersunion.com/ – or donate to him. try this on for size. download it, and THROW YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR, ‘CAUSE PROPERTY IS ROBBERY!