Archive for emo

Alkaline Trio – Self Titled (For fans of The Lawrence Arms, Hot Water Music, Saves The Day)

alkalinetrio-self-titled

Over the span of their career, Illinois punks Alkaline Trio have completely exploded.  Although their sound has changed over the years, my favorite era of Alkaline Trio will always be back when they were on Asian Man Records, and I have been spinning their Self Titled compilation pretty much nonstop since I saw them last year.

Released back in 2000, Alkaline Trio’s Self Titled contains a bunch of their earlier late 90s releases including everything off of For Your Lungs Only, I Lied My Face Off, Sundials single, and a few extra thrown in for good measure.  Even though the album is a compilation, it feels like a full length studio album from the catchy opening riff of “Goodbye Forever” all the way through the shouting “I don’t deserve this!” of “97”.

One thing that always stood out to me about Alkaline Trio were the biting and clever lyrics, often detailing optimism, brashness and bitterness getting over relationships.  Personal favorites are ‘My Friend Peter’, which tells the tale about getting over an ex with lyrics like ” I dont care who you’ve been kissing on these days/ it’s out of my hands and in my mouth is such a pleasant taste” and ‘This Is Getting Over You’ claiming “today i woke up, more awake than i have felt in years/ Not concerned with anything, no tears… I’m done with that shit.”

If you never got into Alkaline Trio, their Self Titled is the best place to start.  Chances are, you’re well aware of this album, but haven’t listened to it in forever.  Highly recommend you give this a spin and you’ll quickly find it back in your regular rotation.

MP3:
Alkaline Trio – My Friend Peter

“Take Your Wings Outside”:
Crucial Dudes – 61 Penn
Smoke or Fire – This Sinking Ship
Saves The Day – Can’t Slow Down
Saves The Day – Through Being Cool

Taking Back Sunday Live In Philadelphia (9/4/14)

CountdownToKickoff_21_800

I’m going to try and catch up with the show recaps this week since moving has set me so far behind.  But on September 4th, I headed out to Philadelphia’s XFINITY Live to see a free Taking Back Sunday show on their outdoor stage.  As anyone in Philadelphia could tell you, this had all of the makings for one strange show.

For starters, XFINITY live is a multi-bar club that is home to a ride on bull, projectors to watch sports games, and is right across the street from the Philadelphia Sports Complex, which is home of the Phillies, Flyers, 76ers, and The Eagles making it the go to spot to pre-game and afterparty after games.  On top of it, this Taking Back Sunday show was a preseason warmup party to kick off the Philadelphia Eagles season (because nothing says “GO EAGLES!” quite like early 2000s emo.  Let’s start the season off with a whimper and a whine!).  The crowd was a mix of emo kids, punk kids, and just eagles fans who didn’t even really know the band but didn’t hesitate to chant Eagles chants throughout the show.

(NOTE: Old man ramblings ahead.  If you don’t want to hear the tale of an aging punk, then skip this paragraph, you’ve been warned.)  Now, I’ll also admit that I sort of have a love hate relationship with Taking Back Sunday as well.  Back when I was a pissed off punk teenager in high school, I DESPISED Taking Back Sunday.  Rise Against used to be one of my favorite bands back when they only had The Unraveling and Revolutions Per Minute, and twice I tried to see them and both shows were cancelled as a direct result of TBS.  The first time I went to see Rise Against at Warped Tour.  This was before anyone knew who they were and TBS announced they would make a guest appearance.  Van’s needed to make room somewhere and so they booted a little punk band called Rise Against.  Then, I tried to see Rise Against play a record store… but lo and behold!  Taking Back Sunday played a show there earlier in the day, some emo kids weren’t allowed in because it was at capacity, so their parents called the fire marshall and shut down the rest of the shows for the day (TBS was still allowed to play, just not Rise Against).  Not really TBS’s fault, but yeah, my 18 year old punker than thou wasn’t having any of it.  I’ve come a long way since… it’s been over a decade and I’ve actually come to appreciate a lot of Taking Back Sunday’s songs, so to see them live for free, I wasn’t going to miss that. (RANT OVER!)

Taking Back Sunday took the stage with the singer donning a Philadelphia Eagles hoodie, and broke out into “Stood A Chance” off of their latest release Happiness Is.  The place didn’t really explode though until their 3rd song, when they started playing “You Know How I Do” off of Tell All Your Friends.  That’s when the pits broke out, crowd surfing began, and the barricade eventually broke.  They played a solid set, with more new than old, but throwing in “Timberwolves At New Jersey” and “A Decade Under The Influence.”

The show was cut short due to the barricade being broken and the security telling TBS they need to stop playing.  Now, in the scheme of punk and hardcore shows, minus a few assholes looking to pick fights in the pit, the show was relatively tame, but for XFINITY who is used to hosting bands such as Third Eye Blind and All American Rejects, this was probably the craziest they’ve seen in a while.  The show was cut short without the band playing their hit Cute Without the E, but they snuck in “MakeDamnSure” for good measure after being told to stop.

Sucks the show was cut short, but for a free show that was intended to be an Eagles pre-season rally, I’m not complaining.  Definitely one of the stranger vibe shows I’ve been to.

Setlist:
Stood A Chance
Liar (It takes one to know one)
You Know How I Do
Beat Up Car
Timberwolves At New Jersey
Faith (When I Let You Down)
Number Five With A Bullet
What’s It Feel Like To Be A Ghost
A Decade Under The Influence
Set Phasers To Stun
Better Homes And Gardens
Error: Operator
MakeDamnSure

MP3:
Taking Back Sunday – Timberwolves At New Jersey

Get Your Emotions On:
Lifetime – Hello Bastards
Dag Nasty – Can I Say
Texas Is The Reason – Self Titled EP
Saves The Day – Can’t Slow Down
Saves The Day – Through Being Cool

Saves The Day Live In Philly (12/22/13)

savesthedayacoustic
Holy crap, with the holidays and just remaining incredibly busy am I behind on posts here.  I’ve been to like 4 shows this week alone, and am just getting a chance to post.

Last Sunday, I headed to Philly’s First Unitarian Church to see the legendary Saves The Day (fuck you, they’re legendary if you’re originally from NJ too).  Seeing them in this no barricade, sold out, intimate environment was going to be awesome, except they were playing an acoustic show.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, as I don’t really do acoustic shows.  It’s not really appropriate to two-step… so I’m not a huge fan of acoustic… and top that off with the fact I really only know their first two albums and a B-Sides, I honestly wasn’t expecting too much.  Fuck, was I blown away.

After watching Walter Shreifels of Gorilla Biscuits and Civ play an acoustic set that included some covers (including Warzone’s “Don’t Forget The Struggle, Don’t Forget The Streets”, which is weird as shit acoustic), Saves The Day took the stage and immediately broke out into “Hold” off their acoustic EP and then straight into one of my favorites “Sell My Old Clothes, I’m Off To Heaven”.

I was pleasantly surprised by the sheer amount of energy in the room even though they were playing acoustic, as the drums still gave the songs enough of a driving edge still.  The band was plagued by some guitar issues throughout the night, busting two strings and taking a long time bantering while they were changing it, explaining that their guitar tech actually couldn’t make this show due to family obligations and that they were completely falling apart without him.

Yet, they powered on through their set playing a bunch of older songs, which kept me happy and shouting along near the front of the stage.  At one point, the band took a couple on stage, where the dude proposed to his girlfriend, which I feel happens at every Saves The Day show but kept the vibes positive regardless.

A solid and incredibly fun show, hopefully they do the smaller venue thing more (maybe electric next time?)

Setlist from what I remember:
Hold
Sell My Old Clothes, I’m Off To Heaven
Cars and Calories
Remember
This is Not An Exit
Rocks Tonic Juice Magic
What Went Wrong
Third Engine
Jodie
Lucky Number
At Your Funeral
Jessie and My Whetstone
My Sweet Fracture
Freakish
I’m Sorry I’m Leaving
You Vandal
Three Miles Down

Encore (Audience Requests):
Firefly
Take Our Cars Now
Drag In D Flat
There’s A Light That Never Goes Out (The Smiths cover)
Always Ten Feet Tall

MP3:
Saves The Day – Deciding

“A Little Game That I Made Up”:
Saves The Day – Can’t Slow Down
Saves The Day – Through Being Cool

Saves The Day Live In Philadelphia (9/27/13)

savestheday

It’s impossible to grow up in New Jersey in the late 90s, be into melodic hardcore, and not listen to Saves The Day.  Sure, I don’t know anything by them after Can’t Slow Down and Through Being Cool, but I am still always stoked to see them just to be able to rock out to those few old songs.  So when I saw they were playing Philly’s Union Transfer on Friday night, I was one hundred percent in.

I was still hurting from the secret Bouncing Souls show the night before, but no matter, nothing was going to get in the way of my fun.  I got there late with some friends, missing both Hostage Calm and Into It Over It but in time for Saves The Day.  The venue was completely sold out, and as usual the crowd was quite the dichotomy of older fans who were looking to two step to the older melodic hardcore and younger fans who got into them from the poppier songs of their later work.

I want to say straight up that it was an incredibly weird show.  I don’t mean that in a bad way, but it was definitely strange for reasons I’ll get into.  The band took the stage, and blasted into one of their newer songs before causing a pit to open up once they started Shoulder To The Wheel (and it was at this point, I immediately got a black eye and a split lip from a stray elbow which phased me for a total of .05 seconds as I was way too stoked to even pay attention to any bodily injuries).

They continued their set switching between all of their albums, but Philly was randomly aggressive this night.  Singer Chris wound up in an altercation with some fans who wound up breaking his guitar, and at one point it looked like he was pissed off enough that he wasn’t going to continue the show.  He took a second, gave a little spiel about how we all need to get along, and continued their set.  But this is where weird gets weirder… a fan tells him to check his pocket, and he does, and there’s someone’s iPhone in there, to which he is just straight up confused by the David Blaine nature of this voodoo that just happened.  At this point, no one even knew what the fuck was going on, and everyone just collectively shrugged and continued rocking out.

Setbacks aside, Saves The Day played a very long solid set, although I wish they played more off of Can’t Slow Down… but they did play a shit ton off of Through Being Cool and even “A Drag In D Flat” and “Sell My Old Clothes, I’m Off To Heaven” so I really can’t complain.

Setlist:
Remember
Shoulder To The Wheel
Cars And Calories
Anywhere With You
Holly Hox, Forget Me Nots
In The In Between
The End
As Your Ghost Takes Flight
The Last Lie I Told
Firefly
Say You’ll Never Leave
Jukebox Breakdown
Driving In The Dark
The Tide Of Our Times
A Drag In D Flat
Get Fucked Up
Freakish
Let It All Go
Rocks Tonic Juice Magic
Jesse & My Whetstone
All I’m Losing Is Me
Xenophobic Blind Left Hook
Eulogy
Kaleidoscope
This Is Not An Exit
Bones
You Vandal
Always Ten Feet Tall
Where Are You?
Through Being Cool
Undress Me
Ring Pop
Sell My Old Clothes, I’m Off To Heaven

Encore:
At Your Funeral
Banned From The Back Porch
Jodie

MP3:
Saves The Day – Deciding

Yeah Your World Is What You Made It, And I Don’t Want A Part Of It:
Saves The Day – Can’t Slow Down
Saves The Day – Through Being Cool

Texas Is The Reason Live In Philadelphia (2/16/13)

Texas Is The Reason twice in less than 6 months… am I lucky, or what?  Saturday night I got a chance to see Texas Is The Reason again with some friends, only this time I stayed pretty close to home heading out to Philly’s own Union Transfer.  I missed Title Fight (confession time: I’m not a huge Title Fight fan although I heard their new album is killer… maybe I’ll give them another listen) but made it with plenty of time to see Texas Is The Reason.

Preparing for a night of melancholy post hardcore, TITR took the stage to a sold out crowd and told us about how they were dedicating the set to a kid who was terminally ill and had tickets to the show but sadly passed away hours beforehand (and if you know him, my thoughts go out to you).  They said that his parents informed them that the last song he listened to before he died was “Do You Know Who You Are” and so they opened with the instrumental track.

From there on, the band proceeded to play through most of their incredibly short discography with the majority of us oldsters shouting along every word.  While the show never got that rowdy, we definitely lost our shit to songs like “If It’s Here When We Get Back It’s Ours” and “Back And To The Left” (obviously).

The band played tightly, and threw in a new songs (well… they wrote it years ago).  I’m not sure if this is the last time I will ever see Texas Is The Reason, but I feel lucky enough to just be able to catch them twice now.  Anything other reunion shows are just bonuses at this point.

Setlist (From what I remember and not in order at all):
Do You Know Who You Are?
The Magic Bullet Theory
Johnny On The Spot
If It’s Here When We Get Back, It’s Ours
Nickel Wound
Something To Forget
There’s No Way I Can Talk Myself Out Of This One
Dressing Cold
Blue Boy
The Day’s Refrain
Back And To The Left

Encore:
A Jack With One Eye

MP3:
Texas Is The Reason – If It’s Here When We Get Back, It’s Ours

This Is Only Fun For Me:
Texas Is The Reason – Self Titled EP
Lifetime – Hello Bastards

Buy:
Revelation Records

Donovan was rarely injured, then suddenly he was. That’s an incredibly frustrating feeling.

Hold Tight – Blizzard Of 96 (For fans of Latterman, Title Fight, Lifetime)

I remember the first time I saw Richmond pop-punkers Hold Tight.  I went to a house show here in Philly and they were playing with one of my favorite local hardcore bands Lighten Up (RIP).  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was completely blown away by their feel good pop-punk, and I picked up their debut Can’t Take This Away, and it was love at first listen.  Two EPs and a split later, they recently released their second LP Blizzard Of 96.

While their past few EPs experimented with hardcore (which I love by the way), Blizzard Of 96 is a bit of a return to the pop-punk we heard on their debut.  With 14 incredibly catchy anthems about growing up and moving on, Blizzard is a lot moodier than their past releases, yet so melodic this time around that it’s sure to bring on a fuck ton of sing-a-longs.  Shit, I am writing this on a plane, and I really have to stop myself from shouting along and not creep out the people next to me.

If you like pop-punk, I highly recommend you check this one out.  Hold Tight is easily one of my favorite pop-punk bands. Oh, and check out Call The Zoo by them, easily my favorite.

MP3:
Hold Tight – Graduation Day

I Never Remember That Nothing Lasts Forever:
Hold Tight – Can’t Take This Away
Hold Tight – Call The Zoo
Hold Tight/Direct Hit Split (Hardcore)

Buy:
Hold Tight

Texas Is The Reason, Gameface Live In NY (10/11/12)

Last night I headed out to New York City’s Irving Plaza with some friends in order to catch post-hardcore legends Texas Is The Reason reunion show at Revelation Records Anniversary show.  Unfortunately I could not catch any of the other nights (Youth Of Today is playing Saturday), but I was stoked to catch TITR.

Gameface:

We got there in time to catch 1990s South Cali band Gameface.  I’m not overly familiar with Gameface, but they played a decently enjoyable set with a lot of people in the crowd singing along to each word.  They blended elements of punk, emo, and 90s rock… to which I can best describe as the product if Samiam, Farside, Oasis and the Goo Goo Dolls had somehow had sloppy group sex.

An enjoyable set, I headed out of the venue for a bit before coming back to catch Texas Is The Reason.

Texas Is The Reason:

Texas Is The Reason were one of the most influential emo bands of their time.  Blending elements of hardcore similar to Lifetime with the slower sounds of bands like Sunny Day Real Estate, they are one of the very few “emo” bands that I love.

The band took the stage to the sounds of “Do You Know Who You Are” and then immediately busted out into one of my personal favorites “It It’s Here When We Get Back, It’s Ours”.  The crowd immediately broke out into a short lived frenzy, with people stage diving and two stepping (ok… yours truly was two stepping), to which my friend said was much rowdier than the show the night before.

Texas Is The Reason blasted through the majority of their entire catalog (not too difficult to do when you only have 12 recorded songs from one EP and one LP), and even played two “new” songs… which were probably written back in 1999.  Besides the new ones, we were shouting along to every word through the hour long set.  “Back And To The Left” had easily the biggest reaction of the night, and the band closed out with “One Eyed Jack.”

Definitely a solid show, it’s a shame their career was so short.  While I’m not holding my breath, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’d be stoked to see them play again (preferably in Philadelphia).

Setlist:
If it’s Here When We Get Back, It’s Ours
The Magic Bullet Theory
Nickel Wound
Johnny On The Spot
New Song
Blue Boy
There’s No Way I Can Talk Myself Out Of This One
Something To Forget
New Song
The Day’s Refrain
Dressing Cold
Back And To The Left

Encore:
Antique
A Jack With One Eye

MP3:
Texas Is The Reason – If It’s Here When We Get Back, It’s Ours

More:
Texas Is The Reason – Self Titled EP
Lifetime – Hello Bastards
Thursday – Full Collapse
Saves The Day – Can’t Slow Down

Buy:
Revelation Records

Weston – Got Beat Up (For fans of Latterman, Sunny Day Real Estate, Weezer)


There seems to be a huge revival of melodic pop punk bordering on emo going on right now… you know, with bands like Title Fight and Latterman selling out reunion shows.  I don’t know where this came from, but I do know that one of the earliest and most influential bands and albums of this genre is constantly getting overlooked.  Weston’s Got Beat Up is a one of the most underrated gems in pop punk history.

Weston formed back in 1990 in Bethlahem, PA.  While the band broke up in 2001, the breakup was short lived as they reformed in 2006.  Releasing their 2nd album Got Beat Up in 1996, I think it’s one of the catchiest pop punk/emo albums around.   Whether it’s the energetic sing a long “No Kind Of Superstar” or the Sunny Day Real Estate-esque “Your Summer Dress”, Weston’s Got Beat Up is a solid listen through the entire 13 track 33 minute album.

Incredibly nostalgic, if you dig pop punk or old school emo at all, you definitely need to check out these unsung heroes.

MP3:
Weston – No Kind Of Superstar

More:
Teenage Bottlerocket – Another Way
Saves The Day – Can’t Slow Down
Hold Tight! – Can’t Take This Away

Buy:
Go Kart Records

Texas Is The Reason – Self Titled EP (For fans of Lifetime, Thursday, The Promise Ring)

Texas Is The Reason are for better or for worse… one of the most influential bands of their time and genre.  While incredibly short lived with only one full length and one EP, they along with Lifetime and Sunny Day Real Estate are considered to be one of the main influences of the 90s emo genre (oh no, I said the dirty word!  Saying “emo” on a punk site is like yelling “socialist” at a GOP convention).

Now before you stop reading and dismiss them immediately, it’s worth noting that early emo had a very different definition than now, and resembles hardcore more than any of that crying into microphones that gets touted as emo today, and their 3 song Self Titled EP proves it.

Besides being named after a Misfits line dealing with the Kennedy assassination (“Texas is an outrage when your husband is dead/Texas is an outrage when they pick up his head/Texas is the reason that the president’s dead/You gotta suck, suck, Jackie suck”) you here many melodic hardcore roots throughout the album.

Take the incredibly two-steppable opener “If It’s Here When We Get Back, It’s Ours”.  With lyrics like “I think I’m finally sick of faking it / But I hate you all and that’s for free and that’s what makes it easy for me.” , Texas Is The Reason is filled with bitterness and cynicism.  The EP continues with the midtempo yet incredibly noisy sound of “Dressing Cold”, only to finally slow down for a few seconds with closer Antique, which eventually picks right back up.

If you always avoided Texas Is The Reason for their emo tag, then you should definitely give them a chance, you may be pleasantly surprised.  And if you are a fan of any shape of emo at all, go listen to one of the biggest influences on your genre.

MP3:
Texas Is The Reason – If It’s Here When We Get Back, It’s Ours

I Dare You To Give Me One Reason To Stay:
Lifetime – Hello Bastards
Thursday – Full Collapse
Saves The Day – Can’t Slow Down

Buy:
Revelation Records