Pics With Bands and Another Update

Hey all, I thought I’d post some pictures of me with some of the bands I’ve interviewed. The first pic is me with Ben Burnley and Aaron Bruch of Breaking Benjamin, the next is me with Cyrus Bolooki and Ian Grushka from New Found Glory, and the last is me with Nick, Eli, and Kevin from Walk the Moon

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Also, here’s an interview I recently conducted with pop-punk upstarts Real Friends, and you can check out a song I reviewed by them in post #157

http://www.dailypublic.com/articles/11172014/friends-forever-real-friends-leads-pop-punk-resurgence

Thanks again for the support guys!

#163 – Undone – The Sweater Song

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Artist – Weezer
Album – Weezer (The Blue Album)
Year – 1994
Genre – Alternative Rock

I had largely forgotten what a great song “Undone” was, but it’s funny how things come back around. A friend of mine recently showed me the original demo for this song, and though I really liked it, I figured I should do a review on the studio version which is just as great. It’s actually quite appropriate, as it is absolutely freezing outside here in Buffalo with many, many feet of snow on the ground and I am indeed wearing a sweater. But that aside…

Rivers Cuomo has a way with words, I will say that. I would actually say that Weezer is one of the earliest bands to write very much in a stream of consciousness way and be successful at it. Though I don’t know if you would call them lyrics, the song opens with a conversation that I think many of us have had at one point. We’re the guy who doesn’t really want to talk, while the other guy is overly enthusiastic. I think it’s very representative of those moments where we have a lot on our minds and we just want to be left alone. In any case, it’s certainly one of the most unique ways to open a song.

The dreary guitar line that pervades the song is sharp and clear, and it sounds so perfect for a song like this. After all, Cuomo himself has said that this is a sad song, and when you take a closer look at it, you can definitely tell. The short two word lyrics in the verses are actually quite sad and emotional, and almost read as a cry for help. He wants people to know he exists and that he has feelings too. Or perhaps he wants one person to know in particular:

I’m me
Me be
Goddamn
I am
I can
Sing and
Hear me
Know me

The first chorus is short, but oh my lord those crunchy guitars. I swear every time the chorus in this song comes in I have to air guitar. The guitars are so big and just dirty that you have to rock out. It’s a great riff for sure, but it’s over fast. Never fear though, they’ll be back in full force soon.

We get another snippet of Mr. I Want To Be Left Alone, but this time he’s with Mrs. Am I Flirting With You Or Not, and it’s much shorter than the first exchange, but just as effective at painting a picture of the scene. But the next verse is even more sad than the first. Seeing as the sweater motif is a metaphor for falling apart after a failed relationship, it makes sense for the song to get more bleak:

Oh no
It go
It gone
Bye-bye
Who I
I think
I sink
And I die

But this next chorus though. It’s just so, so good. The guitar is huge, and so are the vocals from Cuomo and Co. This is the whole chorus, and it’s here where you hear how good the melody here really is. The harmonies sound awesome, but it’s the passion from the whole band that you can really hear. The lyrics are just heartwrenching when you translate them to someone who’s lost everything in love. It’s really all about being so emotionally vulnerable at the hands of someone who destroyed your heart:

If you want to destroy my sweater
Hold this thread as I walk away
Watch me unravel, I’ll soon be naked
Lying on the floor (lying on the floor)
I’ve come undone

After this, we get a totally kickass guitar solo that leads right into two more choruses. The second of which changes things, and really shows the kindness of the narrator in the song, and how much he still cares about the feelings of the other person who hurt him. After this, there’s another great guitar solo and that huge wall of guitars keeps on carrying on. And as the band starts to “ooh” and the drums and guitar pound at double time and shake the room, the song fades into about 50 seconds of feedback and some weird piano noises, perhaps signaling a total breakdown.

“Undone” is a really hard rocking song to be sure, and it stands among Weezer’s finest, but it’s actually quite an emotional song as well. I think most people just see it as a sort of fun, lighthearted song about sweaters, but it’s so much more than that. Definitely a must listen for any rock/alternative fan.

But what do you think? Let me know what you think of the song in the comments!

#162 – The Golden Age

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Artist – Beck
Album – Sea Change
Year – 2002
Genre – Alternative Rock

Well it sure feels good to be back! I’m not going to waste too much time with chit chat, as you can see what I’ve been up to in my last post. But Beck’s “The Golden Age” is most definitely my favorite song of his, and it’s been on my mind for the past couple of days, and now I finally have the time to review it for you guys, so let’s get back in the saddle.

A nice and crisp acoustic strumming pattern opens the song and really puts you in that chill mood that Beck has the tendency to do. You get some slide guitar thrown in there to give the whole song a nice western vibe, and this leads straight into my favorite part of the song. There’s this absolutely gorgeous and melancholic melody played over guitar and xylophone, and it just has this sad, rich quality to it that really brings the song into the sensitive sphere where it needs to be.

Beck’s vocals from the start are soft an gentle, but they echo across the landscape as if he’s singing to the open desert which he’s driving through. His melodies carry you along and really relax you, though this is indeed a very painful song when you look at the lyrics. This is a song about needing to clear your head after a break up or the loss of love. Beck’s mournful voice shows that he’s a tired man with a lot of sadness on his mind. It’s the kind of sadness that cuts you to the core, with words like:

These day I barely get by
I don’t even try

The slow, driving verses feel raw and honest, and the atmospheric texture combined with the acoustic guitar really keeps the atmosphere heavy, but also keeps it interesting. Right at the end, after the second chorus, the song goes back to that beautiful melody from the beginning, and it feels even more potent than from before. He’s spilled his feelings to us, and now that melody almost sounds like tears falling. It’s quite something to hear in the context of the song, and a fitting close to an incredible song.

Beck’s Sea Change was regarded as one of his best. It’s an emotional and raw record, and there’s no better example of this than “The Golden Age.” It’s one of those songs where you really feel it can relate to your sadness. At least that’s what I think.

But what do you think? Let me know what you thought of the song in the comments!

What The Hell’s Been Up With Me?

Hello everyone,

As you may have noticed, it’s been quite awhile since I last posted. This is because of many things, not the least of which was a huge play production which I was fortunate enough to act in, although it did take away huge chunks of my free time. That, combined with college stuff accounts for about three quarters of the reason why I haven’t posted. The other quarter is much more cool. I’ve actually been tackling so many interviews with artists that I really had a hard time finding time to update the blog, and I wanted to wait until things cooled down to really show you guys all I’ve been doing!

I traveled home to Buffalo yesterday, as I was planning to see Anberlin on their final tour of all time in Toronto. Alas, the weather outside is ghastly, so I unfortunately will be missing the concert, but I wish them all the best. However, being snowed in lets me work on this for all you guys, so expect some more songs to pop up today! But without further ado, I want to post some links of all the interviews I’ve done, with more hopefully to come down the pipeline!

Speaking of Anberlin:

http://blogs.artvoice.com/exitmusic/2014/10/23/burn-out-brighter-anberlin-on-their-final-tour/

Here’s an email interview I conducted for ArtVoice, and alternative music and arts publication in Buffalo, with Deon Rexroat, Anberlin’s bassist regarding their final tour.

Breaking Benjamin:

http://buffalo.com/2014/10/15/uncategorized/the-return-of-rockers-breaking-benjamin/

I had the amazing fortune to grab a phone interview with Ben Burnley of Breaking Benjamin, who were playing a show in Buffalo for the first time in 7 years! Then, if that wasn’t cool enough, he invited me backstage after the show to meet him and the band! Definitely an experience I won’t forget! Hopefully I can get some pictures up sometime soon!

Combichrist:

http://buffalo.com/2014/10/21/featured/combichrist-to-party-in-intimate-waiting-room-show/

After I interviewed Combichrist before their show, frontman Andy LaPlegua actually answered some questions exclusively for this blog, which I hope to post really soon!

New Found Glory:

http://artvoice.com/issues/v13n42/see_you_there

http://www.dailypublic.com/articles/11132014/godfathers-pop-punk

I actually wrote two pieces on New Found Glory, the first being a preview, and the second being an interview that I actually had in person with drummer Cyrus Bolooki! I also got to meet bassist Ian Grushka, and I have some pictures of that I’ll post for you guys as well!

Walk the Moon:

While at Geneseo, I conducted a radio interview with Eli Maiman, guitarist of Walk the Moon, which can be heard above. I also managed to run into the whole band a few hours before they went on stage for their Geneseo show, which I will also post pictures of!

Well, I think that about covers it. Like I said, I have some more things coming down the pipeline which I’ll be sure to post, but for now, I hope you guys can see why I was so busy, but also I hope you enjoy the pieces! Again, expect some songs to be posted today. You guys are the best. Thank you so much for everything.

Oh and by the way, I passed the 20,000 view mark during my hiatus. So you guys are officially all my favorite people. But what else is new 😉