Posts Tagged ‘Anberlin’

Random song post, Volume 8

March 26, 2010

Songs I’d forgotten about, or overlooked, but now can’t stop listening to:

Beastie Boys – “Ch-Check It Out” (To the 5 Boroughs, Capitol, 2004): By the time Beastie Boys released 2004’s To the 5 Boroughs, five years had passed since their anthology release The Sounds of Science and six years since their last proper full length Hello Nasty.  Despite the gap, To the 5 Boroughs is still a solid album, with the honor of preeminent song easily going to the first single, “Ch-Check It Out.  “   The trademark shouts and lyrical trade-offs that made the group so revolutionary in the 80s are quite present here, along with their incessant pop culture references (watch out, Nick at Night, Mutual of Omaha and even Miss Piggy).  The way MCA starts the song is classic-instantly blowing the listener away with a fierce lyrical assault, somehow making Star Trek quite cool in the process.  And later, when Ad-Rock sends it back over to MCA, with a quick, “MCA grab the mic before the mic goes stale, ” the song heads in yet another direction.  The instrumentation is pretty minimal, restricted mainly to drums and a horn section, yet the signature vocals are more than adequate to support the song and keep it moving forward.

Anberlin – “Never Take Friendship Personal” (Never Take Friendship Personal, Tooth & Nail, 2005): After 2003’s Blueprints for the Black Market hit store shelves and the expected great deal of touring, Florida’s Anberlin eventually made their way back into the studio to record Never Take Friendship Personal, an album which to this day still contains many of their more beloved songs (including the single, “A Day Late”).  However, the opening title track deserves its day in the sun as well-it’s a solid, heavy rock number with an opening barrage of chugging guitars and frenetic drums, all eventually coming together into a solid beat that, just as quickly, breaks down into a half-time fist-pumper for the verses.  The chorus brings it all together, jumping back and forth between off-beat and straight-forward rock, all before the bridge builds up into an all-out screamfest.  Some head-banging half-time ends the song, truly leaving the listener breathless and wanting more.

Head Automatica – “Beating Heart Baby” (Decadence, Warner Bros.  , 2004): Glassjaw leader Daryl Palumbo took a bit of a leap in 2004 from his main band’s post-hardcore sound with the release of Decadence, the first album from his electronic-tinged side project Head Automatica.  However, the single, “Beating Heart Baby, ” still managed to win over many who considered the group too different from Glassjaw, what with its infectious groove and Palumbo’s all-too-familiar singing, laced with the yelps and screams one has come to expect from the enigmatic frontman.  The guitars, bass and drums that dominate Glassjaw’s music get a boost from the synthesizer on this song, and the straight-forward nature of the tune takes an ethereal turn during the bridge, all before a quick cowbell-based interlude brings it on home.  As corny as any of this may sound, it’s actually very creative and fun, and a definite step in a new direction for Palumbo.


Random song post, Volume 4

March 2, 2010

Songs I’d forgotten about, or overlooked, but now can’t stop listening to:

Oasis – “The Shock Of The Lightning” (Dig Out Your Soul, Big Brother/Sony BMG/Reprise, 2008): British Beatles clones Oasis have certainly seen better days lately, what with the recent departure of principal songwriter and founding member Noel Gallagher, however it’s refreshing to know that, even in the time leading up to their implosion, they were still able to churn out songs like, “The Shock Of The Lightning, “ off 2008’s Dig Out Your Soul. The song is every bit Oasis-a nice mix of their classic Beatles-meets Rolling Stones sound, with Liam Gallagher’s voice seamlessly mixing in with lyrics like, “A magical mystery. “ In particular, the lyrics are a plethora of back-and-forth phrases such as, “I feel cold, but I’m back in the fire, “ and, “Outta control but I’m tied up tight, “ adding to the song’s charm. The fantastic drum solo and organ swells build up into an explosive climax, by which point the song has completely taken off-and it never comes back down.

Cute Is What We Aim For – “Doctor” (Rotation, Fueled By Ramen, 2008): Say what you must about the high drama and unstable lineup of this emo group, they still did manage to produce some solid music, such as, “Doctor, “ off their second (and, thus far, final) full-length Rotation. The intro is a cornucopia of producer John Feldmann’s (The Used, Story Of The Year) bizarre background noise, eventually kicking into a pop/punk drum beat that continues all the way to the end. Frontman Shaant Hacikyan’s voice has never sounded better, and the guitars are gritty and loud, perfectly blending into the song. It all leads up to the outro, when the drums break down to half-time and the guitars & vocals follow suit. A great example of what could’ve been-had CIWWAF released more material like this, it’s no question they could’ve easily followed in the footsteps of scene giants such as Fall Out Boy.

Good Old War – “Coney Island” (Only Way To Be Alone, Sargent House, 2008): These guys may still be fairly new to the scene, having previously spent time in groups like the progressive/indie band Days Away, but feature a sound that is nearly as old as rock ‘n roll itself. “Coney Island, “ owes more to groups like Simon & Garfunkel and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young than blink182 and Green Day, but is still incredibly appealing and a joy to listen. The vocal harmonies are particularly reminiscent of the bands of old, and the minimalistic backing instruments (which appear to be limited solely to acoustic guitar, an electric guitar solo, and percussive handclaps) keep the pleasant vibe alive & moving forward.

Hey Mercedes – “Quality Revenge At Last” (Loses Control, Vagrant, 2003): On Loses Control, their second (and final) full-length, Chicago quartet Hey Mercedes turned up the production level a notch or two from previous releases while still retaining their signature sound, best demonstrated on, “Quality Revenge At Last, “ the one and only single/video from the album. It’s ripe with all the trademarks Hey Mercedes had come to be known for, from the time signature change into the verses, to Damon Atkinson’s creative, tight drumming, to frontman Bob Nanna’s cutting voice and clever lyrics (most noteworthy being the chorus line, “And in the madness of it all there’s a phone call coming from a ragged romeo in Joliet”). The guitars also stand out, showcasing a bit of a 90s style, rounding out an all-around killer Hey Mercedes song.

New Found Glory – “Dig My Own Grave” (Tip Of The Iceberg, Bridge 9, 2008): It sounds like something New Found Glory has done time and time again, what with the gang vocals and the get-out-of-your-seat-and-jump intro & choruses, but that doesn’t make it any less catchy. Cyrus Bolooki’s double kick drums in the verses particularly add a flair that has rarely been touched in previous New Found Glory songs. Who else but these guys, undoubtedly the purveyors of pop/punk/hardcore, could pull off a song like this, time and time again?

Anberlin – “Disappear” (New Surrender, Universal Republic, 2008): After years of playing the independent record label circuit, Florida rock group Anberlin finally inked a deal with Universal Republic in 2007, paving the way for their 2008 release New Surrender. With production by Neal Avron an a hit single in, “The Feel Good Drag, “ the album became a large success for the group, bolstered by other fantastic songs like, “Disappear, “ which was actually the first song to be leaked online from the record. Opening with an aggressive synthesizer line and exploding into the intro, the song rarely lets up-frontman Stephen Christian gives it his all, especially during the chorus, while drummer Nate Young attacks the drums like they owe him money throughout. The half-time breakdown in the bridge and synthesizer reprise pave the way for that final chorus, by which point the song has already gone down as an Anberlin highlight.

Alkaline Trio – “Help Me” (Agony & Irony, Epic/V2, 2008): Alkaline Trio may have missed the target a bit with 2008’s Agony & Irony, their one and only major label release to date, but on, “Help Me, “ the album’s major single and video (with its Wild Wild West-esque steampunk flair), the band nailed it with a song that serves as a reminder of classic Alkaline Trio, especially frontman Matt Skiba’s voice, which is flush with the diverse vocal ranges he’s known for. The music itself is flawless, especially Derek Grant’s drums, and a touch of piano throughout the course of this tune make for a great experience from start to finish.

Carolina – “If You Catch Me”: Although I will start devoting more time to local musicians (and the Milwaukee scene in general) in the foreseeable future, I had to say something about this fun little rocker from Milwaukee band Carolina, who have since broken up, leaving behind a wealth of pop/rock songs that shouldn’t be missed. On, “If You Catch Me, “ frontman Bob Simonsen’s voice carries the song, along with the guitars, which are as Milwaukee as the Miller Brewing Company and cover bands. Biju Zimmerman’s tight snare drum adds to the excitement, making for an all-around perfect entry into the local music scene, and the world of pop/rock in general.