Friday Discussion: Our Favorite Side-Projects

by Zack Zarrillo - Feb 22, 2013

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We all have our favorite bands, but little makes some of us more excited than when we hear members of those bands are starting a new project, whether it be solo or with other musicians. There’s just something special about waiting for a mysterious project from one of your favorite artists with no idea of what it could sound like. We’re doing a Friday Discussion this week on PropertyOfZack on some of Our Favorite Side-Projects. Check out our list below and feel free to reblog with some of your favorites as well!

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Jack’s Mannequin
Though it transitioned into a longer lived project than Something Corporate, Jack’s Mannequin did start as a simple side-project for Andrew McMahon to try something new, something different. Never could he have expected a near-death battle with cancer and such a wave of support, but that’s not the point of Jack’s Mannequin. Everything In Transit was and still is an album that touched so many in a way SoCo came close to, but never truly hit. Whether you view it at a summer album or a perfect record, there was a certain breath of fresh air that Jack’s Mannequin started with that still lives with so many people today. Jack’s follow-ups to Everything In Transit either met or failed expectations of many fans, but the band kept an extremely large and dedicated fan base until its end. The transition for Andrew McMahon from Something Corporate to Jack’s Mannequin remains impressive in itself, and it will be even more interesting to see what happens with McMahon’s solo career. - Zack Zarrillo (@zzarrillo)

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Box Car Racer
blink-182’s Untitled is regarded by most fans as Mark, Tom, and Travis’ best work. But if it weren’t for Tom and Travis escaping to Box Car in 2002, we may have not seen the two incredible albums that we ended up with. blink were always known as a light-hearted pop-punk band, even if Take Off Your Pants And Jacket saw a little bit of an edgier and darker side to the band. Box Car Racer was the first true signs of anger, aggression, sadness, and even hopelessness from Tom DeLonge, and it was an album that resinated with so many blink-182 fans. Though the project was of the main reasons for blink’s hiatus in 2005, there’s just no question that the album was integral for the creation of Untitled. Box Car Racer seems like it will be one of very view projects that will not get some sort of reunion tour in the future, and I would imagine that many feel that that is okay. - Zack Zarrillo (@zzarrillo)

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Bad Books
I could list 1000 metaphors combining two awesome things and compare that to Bad Books. Superheroes. Foods. TV shows. Sports teams. Blah Blah Blah. All comparisons would fall short. Taking the storytelling abilities of Andy Hull and slamming them into the unique outlooks and viewpoints of life from Kevin Devine is an indie rock super group goldmine. Two albums into their catalog, the band has proved they are not only a part of the the scene, but also quickly becoming the ring leader of the modern day “brat pack” consisting of Devine, Manchester Orchestra, Brand New, Thrice and the rest of the Favorite Gentlemen collective. Not only is there no denying that this group has more talent than the whole of most indie labels, there is also no avoiding the addiction that comes from giving them a spin. - Josh Hammond (@endless_rambles)

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+44
When Your Heart Stops Beating is not my favorite blink-related record, but it may be top 3 for me. Untitled seemed like much more of a “Tom” record for blink, and it was fantastic. Seeing what Mark could do all by himself lyrically on +44’s only record was incredibly interesting following the release of Untitled. I would argue with anyone that Mark’s lyrics throughout the record are the best of any blink project, and that it is a musically sound record as well. There was a certain anger, urgency, and pain in the lyrics of When Your Heart Stops Beating, and it was felt. Another +44 album would be welcomed any day as long as it could rival the original release, but it may be a project better left dead like Box Car Racer as well. - Zack Zarrillo (@zzarrillo)

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Misser
What do you get when you cross Transit’s Tim Landers and This Time Next Year’s Brad Wiseman? A project that’s less pop punk than you’d think. Misser’s debut, Every Day I Tell Myself I’m Going to Be a Better Person, is an exercise in optimism, and the indie touch the duo liberally applies to their sound keeps the positivity from sounding cliché. Landers and Wiseman trade off vocal performances, a la early Taking Back Sunday, and songs like “Time Capsules” and “I’m Really Starting to Hope the World Ends in 2012” stack up well against both of their respective bands’ discographies. With TTNY defunct and Transit’s new album wrapped up, I’d love to see some more Misser happen.  - Erik van Rheenen (@TheVandyMan)

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Angels & Airwaves
No, Tom DeLonge, Angels & Airwaves is not bigger than Jesus, and your 5-minute-long masterpieces don’t make any grand statements about life, love, and the pursuit of spacey arena rock. But Angels & Airwaves still pumps out some feel-good fist-pumpers, and during a few years when fans were dying for just about anything Blink related, that was good enough for us. The Love album cycle kind of fell flat, but DeLonge and friends stomped hard on the gas (and delay) pedal for We Don’t Need to Whisper and at least half of I-Empire. “The Adventure” is just a big dumb lust-for-life anthem, as are most AVA songs, but DeLonge sings with so much emotion that it’s hard not to fall in love with them: at least just a little bit. - - Erik van Rheenen (@TheRealVandyMan)

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Right Away, Great Captain!
If Manchester Orchestra is Andy Hull’s autobiography then Right Away, Great Captain! is his epic and classic novel. Approaching the album like a tragic adventure story, Hull meanders through the thoughts and emotions of a 17th century sailor caught in the drama of a cheating wife and his backstabbing brother. Told from the first person perspective over the course of three albums, the project borders on an honesty and a candidness that often pushes the boundaries of reality and fiction. In my humble opinion, this sets the project heads above all other side projects. Simply put, honesty and raw emotion are talents unteachable in music. For Right Away, Great Captain! to tread so closely to Manchester Orchestra in terms of honesty regardless of its fictional status is not only impressive, but brilliant. - Josh Hammond (@endless_rambles)

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Cinematic Sunrise
Craig Owens is a man of many projects. See also: Chiodos (duh), his solo stuff, Isles & Glaciers, The Sounds of Animals Fighting, and Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows. Actually, do yourself a huge favor and don’t do D.R.U.G.S. But Cinematic Sunrise, a band that has released a grand total of one EP in 2008, probably remains his most endearing. While Owens has a penchant for belting out pseudo-Shakespearean poetry with Chiodos, Cinematic Sunrise is all about bottling innocence and fun; I mean, the band did release their EP with a coloring book. “Crossing Our Fingers For the Summer” and “Pulling a Piano From a Pond” show Owens at his most carefree, and it’s definitely an Owens we’d love to see more of. - Erik van Rheenen (@ TheRealVandyMan)

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Stay Ahead Of The Weather
Another member of the chronic Almost-Too-Many-Projects-To-Count Club, (Castevet, Into It. Over It., Pet Symmetry, Their/They’re/There) Evan Weiss finally found an outlet to channel his punk-ish spirit with Stay Ahead of the Weather. While Into It. Over It. dabbles with emo roots and Castevet with twinkly guitars, Stay Ahead of the Weather shoves its just-under-thirteen-minute EP in listeners faces with punchy lyricism and even punchier guitar riffs. As exciting as ongoing projects like Pet Symmetry and ever-elusive but oddly named Their/They’re/There are, I’d love to hear more songs in the Weiss songbook like “Butchering a Back Catalog” and “Impressions & Impressing People.” Their split with The Wonder Years last summer is hopefully a good sign for new music in the future. - Erik van Rheenen (@ TheRealVandyMan)

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