Monday, March 19, 2012

Album Review: Say Anything - Anarchy, My Dear (2012)

Say Anything are a band who does the opposite of what you think they're going to do. For example, when they have an album titled, Anarchy, My Dear, you'd think it would be eleven tracks of fast, 3 guitar chord melodies that talk about disorder and chaos. Instead, frontman Max Bemis is singing love songs to his newly aquired betrothed again, Eisley guitarist and vocalist Sherri Dupree Bemis.

His songs with Dupree Bemis are some of the best on the album, to be honest ("So Good," "Overbiter"). But if she's on the next album, it's the last straw for me. It will officially be considered musical PDA. Just sayin'.

A lot of the songs on Anarchy, My Dear are even more understated than their last album, the 2009 self titled and their last album with RCA Records (they're on an indie label called Equal Vision now). So the fact that the band decides to name THIS album Anarchy, My Dear is very unexpected. Even a rebuttal to 2004's "Admit it!!!" called "Admit it Again," is anything but anarchic, except for maybe the lyrics - "Don't wanna hear about how the latest Rihanna single is a post-modern masterpiece," a personal favorite.

Anarchy isn't necessarily all that Say Anything are about. They're also about catchy hooks with a twist and this album most certainly has that. It starts with "Burn a Miracle." I'm a sucker for clapping songs, so I loved it within the first five seconds of listening to it. In true Max Bemis fashion, you're not quite sure what he's talking about but you know that it means something. "I once courted a boy/He looked a lot like me/But his eyelids were destroyed," he starts with.

Like I said before, the gems on this album are "So Good" and "Overbiter". "So Good" is very "Cemetery"-esque (from their 2009 self titled album), Bemis singing with his wife about love and looking "good," something that isn't hard for either of them. "Overbiter" is a bit experimental for them with the funky piano arrangement. Bemis and Dupree Bemis have a good chemistry, I will give them that. It's a tit for tat motif that work really well for them. "Overbiter" describes (at least I think it describes,) a dream Max Bemis has about basically, what he envisions a perfect life to be. Dupree Bemis squeals in the chorus, "and you're the right boy, at the right time" (Forgive me but, gag me with a spoon!)

"Sheep" is another highlight of this album, where Bemis cries "It's my life and I'll live it without you!" which at first has a little goth feel to it but then fades out as they continue with their pop punk familiarity (too bad they didn't try a traditional goth song!) The best part of this is the bridge, where the pace changes, "Mara & Me" style: "You're everything I wanted/You're everything I needed/Everything I wanted/I've gotta let you go." The song after this, "Peace Out" is an honorable mention but kind of an unforgettable song.

I haven't listened to Say Anything's debut album, Baseball, but I've come to realize that there's a pattern with Say Anything albums: amazing, solid but not as amazing, amazing, etc. ...Is a Real Boy and their self titled, to me, go in the amazing category. In Defense of the Genre and this one would go in the other one. Hopefully the pattern will continue and we can have their next effort in the amazing category.

Rating: 7 out of 10

x-posted on Scene Point Blank.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Margot & the Nuclear So and So's also have a new disc out today...



Here's the album art. Their fourth (or fifth, if you count Animal/Not Animal! two separate records - I do,) full-length is called Rot Gut, Domestic. Immediately, the question that rings through my mind is: Why? I feel grossed out just typing the words. Also, I'm not sure, but it looks like their pulling a When the Pawn... with this. Is the Black font included in the title? Funny I was just talking about Fiona on here. I'll get back to you when I find out.

Anyway, it's on their own label again, Mariel Recordings, so it's going to be hard to get a copy. I haven't listened to it yet - has anyone else? Give me your thoughts via comment!

I have listened to Anarchy, My Dear and all I have to say is...it's typical Say Anything, which means it's awesome.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Once again, Say Anything sneaks up with an album release!

I was late on their last album release, now I'm late again with Anarchy, My Dear out March 13 (next freakin' Tuesday)! Here's the cover art:
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.org.

Sounds like it's going to be good! I love that they have a song called "Admit It Again" in reference to "Admit it!!!"

Album Review: Good Old War - Come Back as Rain (2012)

The first time I heard Good Old War, I heard them live - probably the best way to listen to them, in my opinion. Their harmonies, melodies and musical arrangements are way more impressive that way. They were opening for Guster and after their performance of "My Own Sinking Ship," I was sold on them. (All I have to say is, I'm glad I spent $25 on seeing a mediocre band with my friends so that I could discover a band that was anything but!) So the next day, when I first listened to Good Old War's Only Way to Be Alone and their self titled straight through, I thought, much to my chagrin, "Eh. Way more impressive live. There are a couple gems in there, I guess." But then, I synced it to my iPod and I listened to it in the car. I started getting some of the songs stuck in my head at work. Then I listened to it when I was on the elliptical. Then I listened to it on the car ride back home. And that's when I was officially hooked and started to actually look forward to the next time I could listen to it again. Come Back as Rain has not been an exception to this pattern.

For some reason, Good Old War's music seems to grow on you. Listening it for the first time, you don't hear the complexities that make this band great. The way Keith Goodwin, Tom Arnold and Dan Schwartz's voices blend together so harmoniously, for example. Or how at the end of a lyric in the chorus of "Looking For Shelter" on Only Way to Be Alone, the melody goes up a note instead of down. If you're a newbie to this Philly trio, I would suggest not giving up on them too quickly.

Anyway, Come Back as Rain!

The guys start off strong with "Over and Over" and "Calling Me Names." Both very reminiscent of "Coney Island" from Only Way to Be Alone - ridiculously catchy, simple but meaningful lyrics, intricate harmonies and makes you want to dance around your room. Then, probably one of my favorite Good Old War songs of their career so far, "Amazing Eyes," which is very Crosby, Stills & Nash-ish, if you ask me (specifically, their self titled debut...before that Young guy came along). Also, the line in "Amazing Eyes," "The right one's suspicious and the left one wants my love"? Musicians kill for a lyric like that! Another favorite of mine is "There's nothing like sleeping alone so much," from "Come Back Home."

Some other highlights include, "Touch the Clouds (Taste the Ground)," "It Hurts Every Time" and "Loud Love." You can tell that they've spent quite some time on this album. Really, every song on the album is polished and utterly flawless - they couldn't have recorded the songs more perfectly.

I know I've heard that their sophomore self titled disc isn't as well liked as Only Way to Be Alone, their breakout debut. I can see why that is, but I personally like both the same. However, I do feel that with the self titled, they weren't exactly sure where they were going with it. I think they were trying to still find their sound and experimented with a more folkier vibe on a couple of songs. Now that I've heard Come Back as Rain, I call the self titled their "transition album." Come Back as Rain brings their sound full circle and it also proves that they have staying power. If they keep making music like this, the band will be around for a lot longer than people think.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Thursday, March 8, 2012

New Fiona Apple Record Out in June (Allegedly...)

Read more about the new Fiona record that she's been trying to release HERE!

And my response to Prefix's headline is: Obviously, you didn't know what the entire album title for When the Pawn... is when you created that headline. Here's the entire eight line poem, just for kicks:

When the pawn hits the conflicts, he thinks like a king
What he knows throws the blows when he goes to the fight
And he'll win the whole thing 'fore he enters the ring
There's no body to batter when your mind is your might
So when you go solo, you hold your own hand
And remember that depth is the greatest of heights
And if you know where you stand, then you know where to land
And if you fall it won't matter, cause you'll know that you're right


All I gotta say is, it better come out in June. Let's not make this another Extraordinary Machine and have to wait eons for it. Actually, who am I kidding, it kind of already is. She's been talking about releasing this album since like, 2007.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

You must not know what I mean, you must not know what I mean...

Sleigh Bells have covered Beyonce's "Irreplaceable". Listen to it here. That is all.

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