Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Did you hear? Texas is the Reason/ The Promise Ring Split

What is autumn if it doesn’t include some nineties emo jams? Whoops! Sorry emo purists. Nineties Midwestern emo-indie jams. Better? Good.

This is a split between two bands you probably already know by now: Texas is the Reason and The Promise Ring. I believe Texas is the Reason was on their last leg as a band, and the Promise Ring was just getting started. The Promise Ring gained more notoriety and put out a lot more material, but I think Texas is the Reason’s side is better. When I bought this split at Reckless a year or two ago, my friend Pat told me that “E. Texas Ave.” was his favorite Promise Ring song. Please give this split a listen and tell me what you think.

P.S. How perfect is that cover art? This is out of print, but go buy yourself a copy on ebay. Black wax will probably cost you under 8 bucks. Totally worth it.

Get it here!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Review: Fucked Up - The Chemistry of Common Life

In light of yesterday’s Chicago show and the ensuing message board shenanigans, I bring you my review of the new Fucked Up LP, lovingly shortened to ChemCom.

For all the fans of Fucked Up, there are equal numbers of haters lurking in the shadows, waiting to take their jabs when the moment is right. Is it the abstract artwork? Eight minute long songs? Non-traditional instrumentation? Outrageous ebay prices? Whatever the reason, Fucked Up polarizes the punks. I belong to the, “they’re fucking awesome” camp, but I know people that don’t, and with this blog, I intend to show just how wrong they are.

ChemCom opens with a flute intro and “Son the Father.” Fucked Up eschews traditional gang vocals in favor of an all-female bizarro chorus, and it works. “Magic Word” incorporates bongos. Apparently, “No Epiphany” has a million guitar tracks, though I can barely tell them all apart. As the album rages on to its climax, “Twice Born,” Fucked Up demands listeners to put their, “hands up.” After eight punk classics, how can you resist? The two instrumental tracks force the audience to adjust to Fucked Up's love for psychedelics and shoegazey goodness. Though it’s starting to become clichĂ© to say, Fucked Up reminds us of just how unoriginal contemporary hardcore can be, and they challenge us to do some experimenting. ChemCom is great; haters be damned.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Did you hear? Sundowner - Four One Five Two demos

Sundowner is Chris McCaughan’s solo project when he’s not busy with the Lawrence Arms. I’m guessing most of you have already heard his debut record, Four One Five Two. If you haven’t, let me tell you about it. It’s a mostly acoustic record with touches of viola, keys, and background vocals. Do you own a shitty car that can barely start on a cold Chicago morning? I bet you have this album in your CD player.

These are four demos that appeared on his myspace before Four One Five Two. They all come from the debut, and as expected, they are rougher. The guitar sounds thin, but surprisingly, there are background vocals. All told, these demos are pretty good- a must-hear for Lawrence Arms and Sundowner aficionados. I must add that I downloaded this from, and you can find much more cool shit over there.

Get it here!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Vinyl news #3 - Nightmare of You

One of my favorite bands, Nightmare of You, is releasing a split with Long Island hardcore band This is Hell. I don't know anything about This is Hell, but if Bang! and the s/t have any bearing on the new material, Nightmare of You's side should kick some serious ass. I can't figure out how to pre-order the 7' itself, so I leave you with a photo from the package deal. Note the Sonic Youth rip shirt. Not bad, I'd buy it if I liked white shirts and had some more money.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Did you hear?: Twin Peaks OST

Twin Peaks was a television drama created by David Lynch and Mark Frost that debuted in 1990. Shortly after its premier, the United States was swept by “Peaks-Mania”. Viewers needed to know who killed Laura Palmer. It’s a great show that wanders a little bit in the second season buts end strongly. Sadly, ABC cancelled it after just two seasons and a total of 30 episodes. It is my favorite television drama ever.

Part of the reason the show was so popular and remains a cult favorite today is because of its fantastic soundtrack. Angelo Badalamenti is the composer responsible for the music of Twin Peaks. The most famous piece, “Twin Peaks Theme,” opens every episode. His graceful, mellow 90s Rhodes piano sounds only a little dated, and the climax of the song sounds as poignant today as it did 18 years ago. “Laura Palmer’s Theme” lurks in ambient shadows until 1:04, only to rise and fall back again. “Audrey’s Dance” is a throwback jazz number that has Sherilyn Fenn grooving in the CafĂ©. Have mercy.

The soundtrack also features vocals by Julee Cruse, a frequent collaborator with Lynch and Badalamenti. Her vocals are reminiscent of the Cocteau Twins, and yeah, her songs also sound a bit dated, but they still rule. The lyrics were written by Lynch, so google them for some away message fodder. I highly recommend this soundtrack.