Archive for June, 2014

“Rose EP” – The Front Bottoms

Posted in Album Reviews on June 20, 2014 by occupyairwaves

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I have always felt that when a band reaches a certain degree of fame, they should be required to re-record the old hits and underground favorites that helped fuel their success in the first place. Enter the Front Bottoms, whose first two self-released albums (2008’s I Hate My Friends and 2009’s My Grandma Vs. Pneumonia) and EP (Brothers Can’t Be Friends, also ’08) contributed to the band’s rise to NJ stardom. All three releases collectively contain some of the catchiest and most heartfelt songs the band has ever written, yet the recording quality from these early sessions leaves something to be desired. As a response to these facts, the Front Bottoms recently put out the Rose EP – named after drummer Mathew Uychich’s grandmother – which consists of six freshly recorded fan favorites from the early era of the Bottoms. Some of the listed tracks will be easily recognizable to longtime fans of the band. In fact, “Flying Model Rockets” and “12 Feet Deep” continue to be two of the most frequently requested songs at Front Bottoms concerts. Some of the less familiar tunes were included because according to the band, they were songs that Mat’s grandmother particularly liked.

Coming in at under 20 minutes in length, Rose EP is certainly a quick listen, but it helps demonstrate how the Front Bottoms’ old tunes stack up against their breakout self-titled album and 2013’s impressive Talon Of The Hawk. The catchy choruses and depressing lyrics are all still there (“And I’m scared I’m gonna die / As lonely as I feel right now.”), but with a new tightness and power that the band has finally mastered. The improved quality of the recordings gives these songs some added freshness too. One major complaint of the Rose EP comes from hardcore fans of the Bottoms, who claim that the original versions of the songs are far superior to their updated counterparts. Granted, frontman Brian Sella has changed some vocal melodies here and there, and the drum beats are a bit more dancey at times. Nevertheless, the changes aren’t enough to really detract from the quality of the songwriting. Plus, people just getting into the Front Bottoms who have never heard anything earlier than 2011’s self-titled album wouldn’t know the difference anyway.

While the original recordings from ’08/’09 and earlier hold a special place in many fans’ hearts, Rose EP helps to keep these songs fresh and relevant. Those who appreciate this EP will also be pleased to know that Rose is just the first in a series of “grandmother EPs” of re-recorded oldies that the Front Bottoms plan to put out in the near future. So if you were also upset that songs like “Somebody Else” and “Christians Vs. The Indians” didn’t make the cut this time around, don’t be discouraged! For the time being, Rose EP is more than enough to keep fans satisfied. It’s yet another near-perfect release from a band that never fails to disappoint.

-Joe MacPhee

Recommended Jams: 12 Feet Deep, Flying Model Rockets, Jim Bogart

Setlist (Tuesday, June 17th)

Posted in Setlists on June 18, 2014 by occupyairwaves

Boxed Wine – “Young Lovers” – Quiver (Single)

The Menzingers – “Where Your Heartache Exists” – Rented World

Jimmy Eat World – “My Best Theory” – Invented

Against Me! – “Pretty Girls (The Mover)” – Searching For A Former Clarity

Cheap Girls – “Short Cut Days” – Famous Graves

The Gaslight Anthem – “Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts” – Señor And The Queen

Connor Oberst – “Zigzagging Toward The Light” – Upside Down Mountain

R.E.M. – “Losing My Religion” – Unplugged: The Complete 1991 & 2001 Sessions

Talking Heads – “Once In A Lifetime” – Remain In Light

Electric Light Orchestra – “Evil Woman” – Face The Music

A Flock Of Seagulls – “Space Age Love Song” – A Flock Of Seagulls

Devon Williams – “Games” – Gilding The Lily

River City Extension – “Everything West Of Home/Brooklyn (Reprise)” – Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Your Anger

Say Anything – “Nibble Nibble” – Hebrews

Osker – “Motionless” – Idle Will Kill

Weatherbox – “Radio Hive” – Flies In All Directions

Modern Baseball – “Your Graduation” – You’re Gonna Miss It All

Arctic Monkeys – “I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor” – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not

Jack White – “Three Women” – Lazaretto

The Black Keys – “In Time” – Turn Blue

Title Fight – “You Can’t Say Kingston Doesn’t Love You” – Shed

Blink-182 – “Stockholm Syndrome” – Blink-182

Me First And The Gimme Gimmes – “I Will Survive” – Are We Not Men? We Are DIVA!

Less Than Jake – “All My Best Friends Are Metalheads” – Hello Rockview

Mad Caddies – “Down And Out” – Dirty Rice

Big D And The Kids Table – “Shining On” – Strictly Rude

The Planet Smashers – “Missionary’s Downfall” – Mighty

NOFX – “Seeing Double At The Triple Rock” – Wolves In Wolves’ Clothing

The Bouncing Souls – “Apartment 5F” – Anchors Aweigh

Crime In Stereo – “Everything Changes/Nothing Is Ever Truly Lost” – The Troubled Stateside

Setlist (Tuesday, June 10th)

Posted in Setlists on June 10, 2014 by occupyairwaves

Brand New – “Jude Law And A Semester Abroad” – Your Favorite Weapon

Casual – “Monsters In My Bed” – Singles

Balance And Composure – “Tiny Raindrop” – The Things We Think We’re Missing

R.E.M. – “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” – Unplugged: The Complete 1991 & 2001 Sessions

The Front Bottoms – “The Feud” – Talon Of The Hawk

Dead Stars – “Crawl” – Slumber

Taking Back Sunday – “Twenty-Twenty Surgery” – Louder Now

Say Anything – “A Look” – Hebrews

Weatherbox – “Bring Us The Head Of Weatherbox” – Flies In All Directions

The Gaslight Anthem – “Drive” – Sink Or Swim

Jimmy Eat World – “Believe In What You Want” – Clarity

The Black Keys – “10 Lovers” – Turn Blue

Jack White – “Just One Drink” – Lazaretto

Alabama Shakes – “Hold On” – Boys & Girls

Crime In Stereo – “Orbiter” – Crime In Stereo Is Dead

Mimicking Birds – “Wormholes” – Eons

Radiohead – “Karma Police” – OK Computer

Mad Caddies – “Shoot Out The Lights” – Dirty Rice

Me First And The Gimme Gimmes – “I Will Always Love You” – Are We Not Men? We Are DIVA!

Big D And The Kids Table – “Doped Up Dollies On A One Way Ticket To Blood” – Fluent In Stroll

Catch 22 – “The Spark” – Permanent Revolution

Cheap Girls – “Short Cut Days” – Famous Graves

Boxed Wine – “Quiver” – Quiver (Single)

Matt & Kim – “AM/FM Sound” – Sidewalks

Connor Oberst – “Time Forgot” – Upside Down Mountain

Sunny Day Real Estate – “In Circles” – Diary

Weezer – “My Best Friend” – Make Believe

Against Me! – “A Brief Yet Triumphant Intermission” – As The Eternal Cowboy

“Lazaretto” – Jack White / “Hebrews” – Say Anything

Posted in Album Reviews on June 6, 2014 by occupyairwaves

Thanks to the modern marvel known as the internet, Jack White’s new album, Lazaretto, has been streaming in its entirety for free on iTunes, while the same is true for Say Anything’s new record, Hebrews, over on Spotify. Since both albums will officially be released on the same day (Tuesday, June 10th), I figured I would do two reviews for the price of one! Enjoy.

-Joe MacPhee

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Jack White’s second solo effort takes everything fans loved about his first album, Blunderbuss, and bumps that up a couple notches. The recording quality is generally much richer, and the guitar riffs and solos are way grittier. With all the added “oomph,” it’s still pure Jack White at its core.

“Three Women” starts things off with funky twelve bar blues and some nice “lawdy-lawds.” “Lazaretto,” the album’s first confirmed single, is perhaps the most diverse track on the whole album. The vicious guitar solo and heavy breakdown towards the middle of the track are standard Jack White, but he delivers a lyrical performance that verges on hip-hop. A dueling violins solo directly following the breakdown adds some peculiarity, but it’s definitely an interesting way to keep the song flowing. Other stand-out tracks are the super-fuzz instrumental, “High Ball Stepper,” the bar rock ‘n roller, “Just One Drink,” and “That Black Bat Licorice” (my personal favorite), which conjures up thoughts of “I Cut Like A Buffalo” and other tracks from one of White’s other bands, The Dead Weather.

The songs on Lazaretto are incredibly varied, and they each rip in their own way. A few tunes on the record, like “Temporary Ground” and “Entitlement,” are straight country songs, and as much as I know that Jack White grew up on classic blues and folk records, I feel that these are the weakest couple of songs on Lazaretto. Just my own personal bias. Nevertheless, Lazaretto is certainly a step up from Blunderbuss. It’s good to see that Jack’s still on his upward spiral.

Recommended Jams: Lazaretto, Just One Drink, That Black Bat Licorice, Three Women

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It is undeniable that Hebrews is very ambitious, even for a band like Say Anything. First of all, the album doesn’t feature a single guitar part. Just bass, drums, synth, and strings. Then there’s the fact that the record has just about as many guest vocalists as Say Anything’s earlier album, In Defense Of The Genre, with half as many songs. No doubt that there is a lot going on here.

“Six Six Six,” the first single off Hebrews, is the first song on the record that really gives you a feel for the synth/string sound featured on the remaining ten tracks. It’s got an airy feeling while still retaining the punk edge of earlier Say Anything hits. “Kall Me Kubrick” takes this same energy and converts it into a darker – yet somehow more dancey – rocker. Following that up is one of the album’s more interesting tunes, “My Greatest Fear Is Splendid.” Just the intro alone demonstrates that frontman Max Bemis hasn’t lost his goofy, cynical touch when it comes to songwriting (even after it was sorely missed on Say Anything’s last record, Anarchy, My Dear). Other tracks like “Hebrews” and “Nibble Nibble” most strongly continue the album’s synth/string punk sound, which by this point has started to sound very natural. “Nibble Nibble” features arguably the biggest, most surprising guest vocalist on Hebrews: Tom DeLonge of Blink-182 and Angels And Airwaves fame. Lyrically, Max Bemis sings about coming to terms with being both a husband and a father, religion, and self-doubt, and all the psychological ramifications that come along with these issues.

In truth, Hebrews has quickly become a very polarizing album for Say Anything. Fans have been claiming that the band has lost its edge based on what Max is singing about now as opposed to the content of, say, …Is A Real Boy, one of the band’s earliest albums. Not only that, but the complete absence of guitars on all twelve tracks has undoubtedly made some fans lose faith. Personally, I think the whole approach of Hebrews was very ambitious, and the end result is a record that is both very fresh and still incredibly catchy. Granted, it’s not a perfect album, but I think Max has certainly brought Say Anything back into the spotlight.

Recommended Jams: Six Six Six, Hebrews, Nibble Nibble, Kall Me Kubrick

Setlist (Tuesday, June 3rd)

Posted in Setlists on June 4, 2014 by occupyairwaves

The Black Keys – “It’s Up To You Now” – Turn Blue

Mo Lowda And The Humble – “Jumping At The Shadows” – Curse The Weather

Jack White – “Just One Drink” – Lazaretto (Out June 10th!)

Jack White – “Lazaretto” – Lazaretto

The Bronx – “False Alarm” – The Bronx

Modern Baseball – “Your Graduation” – You’re Gonna Miss It All

Andrew W. K. – “I Love NYC” – I Get Wet

Say Anything – “Six Six Six” – Hebrews (Out June 10th!)

Manchester Orchestra – “Cope” – Cope

Mad Caddies – “Shot In The Dark” – Dirty Rice

Me First And The Gimme Gimmes – “Top Of The World” – Are We Not Men? We Are DIVA!

Green Day – “2000 Light Years Away” – Kerplunk!

Touche Amore – “Non Fiction” – Is Survived By

La Dispute – “Woman (In Mirror)” – Rooms Of The House

Crime In Stereo – “Gravity/Grace” – The Troubled Stateside

The Flatliners – “Caskets Full” – Dead Language

Cheap Girls – “Slow Nod” – Famous Graves

The Front Bottoms – “Au Revoir (Adios)” – Talon Of The Hawk

The Hold Steady – “Wait A While” – Teeth Dreams

The Menzingers – “Rivalries” – Chamberlain Waits

Weatherbox – “Radio Hive” – Flies In All Directions

William Shatner – “Common People” – Has Been

Frank Turner – “Recovery” – Tape Deck Heart

The Bite – “Bonecrusher” – Right Down Your Alley

Connor Oberst – “Zigzagging Toward The Light” – Upside Down Mountain

Iron Maiden – “Running Free” – Iron Maiden

Kaiser Chiefs – “Misery Company” – Education, Education, Education & War

Will Smith – “Miami” – Big Willie Style

Fidlar – “Cheap Beer” – Fidlar

Matt And Kim – “Daylight” – Grand