by Erik van Rheenen
There’s a terrific Latin turn of phrase that only really gets kicked around in art circles and eloquently worded textbooks, but frames the context of Fireworks’ post-Bonfires discography: chiaroscuro, defined loosely as the bold interplay of light and dark. While Gospel found Fireworks bright-eyed, optimistic, and battling a creeping sense of insecurity with sunny pop hooks and swashbuckling melodies that brimmed over with youthful joie de vivre, new album Oh, Common Life refracts the themes of its forerunner through a darker, more introspective lens.
No longer is this Dave Mackinder (and Co.) Versus the World — Oh, Common Life finds the Fireworks frontman grappling with his own internal demons. Instead of focusing the band’s sights on the “we’re all in this together” ethos that interwove the songs of Gospel, the energy of Oh, Common Life turns inward for an often-harrowing peek into where Mackinder’s mind roamed while penning the record.
The monster looming precariously close to the boy on Gospel’s cover swallows him whole on Oh, Common Life, and it’s made pretty damn obvious from the album’s opener, “Glowing Crosses.” The guitars that drive the song pack a moody punch, and the melody sparks with foreboding. It’s a long way off from “Arrows” and its bouncy call-to-arms that opened Gospel, but “Glowing Crosses” shines in both its maturity and songwriting — its hooks crisp, its chorus undeniable.
Fireworks are direct support for The Wonder Years on The Greatest Generation Tour this spring. Check out their set list from the tour below, taken from last night’s set in Lancaster, PA, after the jump.
Fireworks will be releasing Oh, Common Life via Triple Crown Records on March 25th. Pre-order the new album here and stream a new song called “Flies On Tape” here via Stereogum and listen to another track below after the jump.
February is here, and we’re continuing 2014 with a jam-packed month of releases that PropertyOfZack team members couldn’t be more stoked to hear. In today’s new Discussion, we’re highlighting our personal Most Anticipated March Releases. Check out our list below and feel free to reblog with what you’re looking forward to as well!
La Dispute - Rooms Of The House (03/18)
What is La Dispute? It’s hard to pin down a band that’s always changing, incorporating anything and everything into their special breed of emotionally-charged post-everything. Building on the experimental expansion of 2011’s Wildlife, the Michigan band worked with uber-producer Will Yip on Rooms of the House to push each sonic edge out a little bit further to the cusp of 80s and 90s college radio while still maintianing their trademark intensity. “Stay Happy There” is a bit Fugazi, a bit At The Drive-In, wrapped up in the sound of working through a cutting anxiety: “I will fix whatever is not the sweetness in your eyes, just sit down, please, sit down here at the table and we’ll talk. Somewhere televisions light up in the night.” Jordan Dreyer’s lyrics are only amplified by his exasperated delivery, the sound of a man emotionally drained and at the end of every rope he’s ever known. It’s the kind of music that helps someone through those late, lonely nights, catharsis defined through guitar strums and cymbal hits. Let it in. - Steve Ciccarelli
The Black Lips - Underneath the Rainbow (03/18)
The Black Lips, for more than a decade, has been a band that never does anything normal, and that includes selling a new record to the press. The Atlantaquartet’s upcoming seventh album, Underneath the Rainbow, has been described as “Elvis from the waist down,” which mostly harkens to the Tennessee setting in which the album was created, but also is a great example of the strange and misunderstood nature the group has cultivated in the public’s eyes.
After the polished but enriching sound of the Mark Ronson-produced Arabia Mountain, the band turned to another unexpected producer/fan in Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney to produce their latest. The writing process this time around came amidst a two-year touring cycle and the loss of several close friends, so much of the record is being described as reflective. As usual, it’s a smattering of different styles, including rock, blues, and even country jangles which fits greatly into the band’s unwillingness to be defined by a genre. Like any experience involving the Black Lips both on record and in a live setting it will no doubt be a wild ride for their fan base. - Jason Stives
Seahaven - Reverie Lagoon (03/25)
Remember a few years ago when Seahaven released their debut full-length packed with post-rock anthems for the frustrated young man in all of us? And how it was called Winter Forever and seemed to falter a little under the own weight of its self-imposed sadness? Well, their upcoming release this March has taken on a totally different direction even in just the title alone, baring for the world its intentions with the name Reverie Lagoon: Music for Escapism Only. And even though “Reverie Lagoon” sounds like the name of an isolated tropical retreat in a trashy romance novel, the shift in style might prove to be their strongest decision yet. “Silhouette (Latin Skin)” (both of the new record and the recent 7” of the same name) creeps in contemplative like a Deja Entendu era Brand New track, while “Flesh” cavorts as a casual alternative tune with some inflections of that Southern California beachiness of which I am both fond and jealous. So, while it’s yet to be seen if the record carries as much escapism promise as it claims to, I think we can all agree that we’re happy to be moving away from the unilateral bleakness of being in winter forever. - Adrienne Fisher
Fireworks - Oh, Common Life (03/25)
When it comes to Fireworks, I was a little late to the party. I didn’t get into the band until well after 2011’s Gospel, and I’ve never really forgiven myself for what I now refer to as ‘the lost years.’ However with this March comes the band’s new album, Oh, Common Life, and a chance for me to redeem myself for past mistakes.
PropertyOfZack is starting a new string of Playlist features from our own team to highlight our favorite songs released in the present month. February started 2014 right in terms of music, and we’re stoked to share some of our most played songs of the month with you. Check out our Team Playlist, let us know what your favorite tracks of January were, and listen to these songs on Spotify while reading everyone’s thoughts!
The Hotelier - Dendron
This song, like the entire album, is incredible. The song in particular though features my favorite lyrics in a track in about three years. The closing verse is just, everything. - Zack Zarrillo
Prawn - Why You Always Leave A Note***
In England the word prawn is synonomous with what in good ole ‘Merica we refer to as shrimp, but more importantly Prawn refers to one of the best up and coming emo bands and their recent split with Joie de Vivre showcases exactly how on point the New Jersey natives are. If you’re looking for nearly five minutes of straight up catharsis then this little diddy is just what the doctor ordered. Also, I can’t mention enough how great that Arrested Development allusion is! - Zac Lomas (@Infidelegate)
Fireworks - Glowing Crosses***
Fireworks’ Gospel is one of my top albums, and whenever a band follows up one of those personal favorites of mine, it always makes me hesitant. Will it be a step backward? Is it gonna suck? Will I feel like a terrible fan if I end up hating it? However, “Glowing Crosses” was love at first listen and left me with none of the aforementioned feelings. It has a true Fireworks sound, yet somehow matured; it’s energetic pop punk with a kickin’ bass line, what more could you want? Can’t wait to hopefully see them on the road this spring with The Wonder Years and hear the rest of the new album! - Ashley Aron (@ashleyoverdrive)
Bayside - Stuttering
I put on Cult so I could pick a track and write out my rec but I ended up listening straight through without getting a single word down. It’s the kind of album that flows straight through - hit after hit after hit. To only recommend one song feels like I’m doing music fans everywhere a huge disservice, but I suppose my favorite of late is “Stuttering.” Seriously though, if you only listen to the one song you’re doing it completely wrong. - Becky Kovach (@beckystrz)
Information Society - Land Of The Blind***
Information Society’s first new track in two decades to feature both founding members Paul Robb and Kurt Harland is a hard-charging blast of punky dance-pop that drops right into the sweet spot between Peace & Love, Inc. and Synthesizer (which, just coincidentally, happen to be my two favorite InSoc albums). To say I’m stoked on the upcoming _Hello World would be the understatement of the year — those wibbly synths and Harland’s unmistakable vocals should prove the perfect salve to an oncoming bout of March Sadness. Now, where did I leave my mirrorshades? - Jesse Richman (@jrichmanesq)
Fireworks will be releasing Oh, Common Life via Triple Crown Records on March 25th. Pre-order the new album here and stream a new song via “Glowing Crosses” here via Pitchfork or below after the jump.
Fireworks Announce ‘Oh, Common Life’; Replace Defeater On TWY Tour
Welcome to PropertyOfZack: Weekender edition. Every weekend, we bring you some of biggest and most interesting pieces of the past week from our own content to stories or breaking news. If you’ve had a busy week and want to catch up with some light reading, we hope this is for you.
As you could tell by the mass excitement around the internet (Tumblr), this is a big deal. Basement went away at the perfect time. They didn’t go away to get more money when they came back or something like that - they went away because they needed to live their own lives.
That just so happened to line up perfectly as “emo” and “grunge” styles of music starting becoming popular within our scene again, and that’s greatly because of the release of Colourmeinkindness.
What Basement does in 2014 and beyond will be interesting. We know that the band will be touring, but for how long, and where?
It seems probable that Basement will go back into hiding after this tour if they do not have a new album to support it (there’s no word on whether or not the band has been working on new music - don’t hold your breath). Regardless, Basement is bigger than any of us thought they were before the big announcement Wednesday.
American Football = emo.
Basement = emo revival.
What a crazy week.
But really, American Football are finally releasing unheard demos that started getting rumored about on the internet in 2012 to go along with a reissue of their only full-length. American Football seems to be an album that is a stepping stone into “emo” for many people even in 2014, and it getting a proper reissue will only help its importance.
Oh, Common Life is Fireworks’ follow-up to Gospel. The band will be returning not only with a new album, but also with a new tour.
Defeater unfortunately had to drop off of The Wonder Years’ spring tour due to medical issues, but Fireworks are replacing them.
Paramore are on top of the world right now. There was a lot of doubt on what the band’s self-titled album would bring them considering the gap between releases and the absence of the Farro brothers, but that’s all gone now. Even if self-titled is not your favorite Paramore record, the band is just clearly winning right now.
Platinum single. Arena tour. Fall Out Boy amphitheater tour. Superbowl performances left and right. TV performances. A music video breaking 10 world records.
It’s Paramore’s time. We’re living in it.
Everything about The Dangerous Summer is a giant disaster. The truth? PropertyOfZack, AbsolutePunk, AltPress, and any other sites that cover The Dangerous Summer get a ton of traffic each time that Cody Payne and co fuck something up (that happens to be at least every other month). But you know what? We’d wager that every site would rather the band just make good music without bad drama.
This band is officially on its last legs. AJ Perdomo is becoming a father, Cody Payne seems to be spiraling again, and no one will take this band on tour because they are infected with the inability to get their shit together.
Chiodos fans waited two years for DEVIL. Now it’s here.
Chiodos fans waited two years to buy DEVIL. There are no pre-orders here.
Each year those behind PropertyOfZack get the chance to work with and befriend new and incredible people in our every growing music scene. Last year we teamed up with Team Pagano and Still Alive to honor just a few of the many great bands we work with, and we’re continuing the tradition this year with Be Part Of Something Part II, and Glamour Kills are joining us for the fun.
Volume II is available for free download now and boasts 42 tracks both new and previously released featuring bands like The Wonder Years, Modern Baseball, Fireworks, Misser, With The Punches, and so, so many more.
Stream and download Be Part Of Something below!