We’re wrapping up our Midway Discussion posts on PropertyOfZack this week, and our staff put together a new Playlist of Our Favorite Songs Of 2013 (So Far). Check out our Team Playlist and listen to the songs on Spotify while reading everyone’s thoughts!
Alkaline Trio - I Wanna Be A Warhol
"I Wanna Be A Warhol" was the first song of 2013 that grabbed me and make me say, "Fuck, this is rad." I’ve never been an Alkaline Trio fan, but not for lack of trying. My friend introduced me to a song in 6th grade called "Dethbed," and I thought I’d fall in love for the band, but I didn’t. So, I was very pleasantly surprised when I heard "I Wanna Be A Warhol." The chorus is my favorite of the year, and the song as a whole is just fantastic. My Shame Is True is the first Alkaline Trio record I really enjoy, and boy do I enjoy it. - Zack Zarrillo
letlive. - 27 Club
All production woes aside, The Blackest Beautiful is one of the biggest and best records of the year, and “27 Club” is an absolute banger. It’s fast, aggressive, and packs that trademark letlive. punch that will keep you coming back for more. It may be the last song on the album, but it’s certainly near the top of the pecking order. - Brandon Allin (@TheRealBrandonA)
The Wonder Years - Passing Through a Screen Door
Talk about feels. Listening to the words and imagining the emptiness and anxiety Soupy still feels about his life after TWY’s raging success is enough to make anyone question their existential progress. Reminiscent of the melancholy “I’m not sad anymore” emotion, Screen Door makes me question if we will always be looking for an escape, even when doing what we love. But of course, you can’t help getting pumped by the driving force of the song in true TWY fashion. - Mandy Trombley (@itsmandalina)
You, Me & Everyone We Know - Better Men
You, Me & Everyone We Know has a history fit for a VH1 Behind the Music special, but Ben Liebsch’s journey sure has produced some great music. His latest effort, I Wish More People Gave a Shit, takes the focus away from Liebsch’s personal struggles and focuses more on the struggles of society. The most important and thought-provoking of the four songs, “Better Men,” focuses on the continual issue of rape culture, as Liebsch calls into question what more can be done from the men of the world to help prevent the rape of women. The song’s biting lyrics and catchy chorus will resonate with any listener, whether they’re an old fan or someone listening to see what all the hype is about. And with such a delicate subject at hand, there may not be a more thought-provoking song to come out all year. - Donald Wagenblast (@MyLifeIsDon)
Cartel - Uninspired
"I’m a bit overwhelmed / some may call it uninspired / but what is there left to do / when someone’s so young and admired?" These are the lines Will Pugh opens with in "Uninspired," the first single off Cartel’s most recent album. "Uninspired" tackles the last few years of the band’s career and how they’ve been feeling stuck. It’s vulnerable, passionate, and lays bare all the doubt and difficulties Cartel has dealt with since the success of Chroma. Cartel has always been one of the unsung heroes of the scene and it’s a shame, because Collider is probably one of the best albums to come out so far this year. - Becky Kovach (@beckystrz)
More and more albums seem to be coming out every year that we love here at PropertyOfZack, which is why we thought it would be a great idea to post a Midway Albums Of The Year List today on the site. The list includes our top ten albums and EPs through this point in the year voted on by POZ team members. So without further adieu, the PropertyOfZack Midway Albums Of The Year List can be seen below!
The Weekly Tour Round-Up
Riot Fest Announces Two More Locations
You, Me & Everyone You Know
August Burns Red - “Fault Line”
The Best 2012 Albums Of 2013
Bled Fest Preview: Our Must-See Bands And Artists
The Industry With Jesse Cannon
Spitalfield ‘Remember Right Now’ 10 Year Tour [Ends on May 30th]
The Goodnight - “When I Was Your Man (Bruno Mars Cover)”
Skate And Surf Festival [Set One, Set Two]
It’s A Spring Fling
The Menzingers, Fake Problems, Captain We’re Sinking, Restorations
Songs Of The South Fest [07/20-07/21]
When Ben Liebsch, the mastermind and tortured soul behind You, Me and Everyone We Know, announced that he would be going on an acoustic headlining tour, many were unsure of what to expect. Just two short years ago, the band he had fought for years to put together walked out after a series of bad decisions had driven them away.
However, like the two EPs Liebsch has released (the heartfelt, apologetic A Great Big Hole and the socially conscious I Wish More People Gave a Shit), the “An Evening with You, Me and Everyone We Know Tour” is best enjoyed if the listener (and in this case, observer) looks beyond the past and lets the band’s music speak for itself.
Though this is a tour that is clearly centered around the headliner’s set, the evening would not have been the same had it not been for the two compelling sets turned in by the two opening acts: Dayton, Ohio’s the Orphan, the Poet and soul-rock band Squid the Whale. The Orphan, the Poet had a very eclectic mix of rock sounds, and no matter what style their songs were, they had the talent to pull it off. After ending their set with a new song, TOTP gave way to Squid the Whale, who, despite singer Bradley Walden visibly limping through an injured ankle, performed an energetic and fun set.
Featuring a surprise appearance from Ben Liebsch on a song Liebsch later recalled helping the band write, Squid the Whale was able to win over the crowd despite a severe medical setback, and showed off their blend of soul and rock with flair and precision.
You, Me & Everyone We Know released I Wish More People Gave A Shit last week, and it’s turning out to be a new favorite for fans. PropertyOfZack was stoked to have Ben Liebsch do
So we spoke in November as you were putting out the EP. Suddenly, here we are five or six months later and we have another EP and you’re doing your first tour in two years.
Two years. And the first show on Friday was my fourth show sober. And my fifth show playing alone. It was cool but yeah it all happened pretty suddenly.
Could you talk about what changed so quickly? I know that you were taking your time writing music for the first EP. This was a quick change.
You know after recording that EP, we kind of did what we did last time with the EP. I recorded it and then put it out as quickly as humanly possible. Last time it was a week after we had recorded it or something crazy like that. This time it was three weeks, I think. It’s kind of strange how this EP came about. I had been pawing at the idea of writing some of this stuff – writing sort of fanatically the kind of lyrical content I did on this EP. I had been sending it to people, the lyrics, like, “Is this stupid?” Because I had really only ever written about one broad topic in the past. I always cared about the issues. I had been dealing with too many of my own problems to really delve into it or think about how to express it in the way that write on more than a line or two on each record. Some people were like, “I think you’re on to something, keep at it.” And right around that time, Trevor, the drummer I have been recording with for years was like, “I’m moving to Santa Monica for a year.” I was like, “Let’s record a record while you’re out there man. I’ll come out and we’ll do another EP.” He was like, “Well, do you want to do it before I move?” I was like, “Well, when’s that?” and he was like, “May 6th.” So I was like, “Yeah let’s give it a shot dude.” So that leaves me two and a half weeks to write as much as possible. I put together, I think all total I had, like six or seven song ideas. But the ones that were more done than the others wound up on the record. I just got to it – put my nose to the misanthropic grindstone and wrote what I think are some very good songs. They have a lot of content to them. They have a purpose to them, more than just expressing myself.
That’s a good point. This EP is equally personal and relatable, but just more real world and not personalized subject matter. What was it like to write like that?
Yeah, it’s interesting because I knew what I wanted to write. I was trying to write music or songs that were similarly themed about problems that we all – that everybody has. My problems are not unique to me. But rather than them being emotional issues, they’re psychological problems, rather than problems with drugs – which I have written about in the past. I was trying to turn the lens onto social issues. How up against your personal and emotional problems, you often feel helpless and have trouble getting through those. It’s the same way with large-scale social issues. You know? It all seems very insurmountable, but we’re pretty stubborn as a species. We’re not giving up. Before it was super condensed on an individual, now I guess it’s more large scale issues. But it’s still focused on the individual and how I deal with stuff like that – the things I think about.
When some bands comment or write about more social issues than themselves or their girlfriend that broke up with them, it can get a lot of “Why the hell is he commenting on that? Stick to music.” Have there been positive reactions to the lyrical content?
It’s been great so far. I haven’t had any – I’ve had a few people use the word “preachy” – like I mentioned the other day through social media. I think the difference there is that “preachy” is excluding yourself from the problem. A preacher is preaching to you from a position above, quite literally in a church. That’s not where I’m coming from this at all. I’m very much a part of the problem. Make no mistake. We’re doing this track-by-track thing and I bring up the point that at any point when I in the lyrics might think I may be better than an individual person – all of that’s negated by all that I’m not feeling or have an apathy towards. To have all of that balance out is pretty fuckin’ impossible, man. Destruction is necessary for creation. I could not drive a car. But right now I think that we’re not in a balance. There’s way more destruction going on than creation. That’s part of the problem. But yeah it’s been really good. In its first week, just through trying to spread the word on social media and sites like you guys covering it, I’ve sold more of this EP in the first week than I sold of the last one in the first six months of it being out. Ideally, that says something. It’s a sign that people are paying attention again. Maybe I’m talking about some things that people want to hear a successful band talk about. Punk bands and tougher bands have been doing this for years. And folk bands. But not everybody is into that. I think that I’m in a unique position to talk about those things and maybe spread the word to people that will start conversations to circles that wouldn’t necessarily have them immediately. You know?
Those sales numbers are nice for you. Are you feeling good about everything?
Yeah it’s working out. Yeah, I’m feeling good, you know? I’m eating a little worse than I’d like to on the road so far. Not anything terrible by any means. Other than that I’m feeling good. I’m just getting back on the road. I’m more nervous at shows than I used to be, just because I’m sober now and I’m playing alone for this tour and my Florida dates. But that’s just something I’ve got to get used to. It’s just the trials and tribulations of doing that. I work for an hour and a half a day. I get paid for people to watch me talk about myself and complain about things I don’t like in the world. Then after that they come and tell me how much they like it. Like that’s not a job that’s–
You, Me & Everyone We Know released I Wish More People Gave A Shit last week, and it’s turning out to be a new favorite for fans. PropertyOfZack was stoked to have Ben Liebsch do a Track-By-Track feature for the EP for us today, and he’s dissected the EP more than any band ever has for us. Check out the Track-By-Track below!
Record titles have always tended to reveal themselves to me. I hear or see a phrase that so perfectly sums what i am trying to say with a set of songs that I am compelled in that instant to name a record. This time it was Bradley Scott Walden from Squid The Whale, a band that has played a bigger part in me continuing on with music than i can ever make clear, that shouted to the world via twitter one night a simple phrase “i wish more people gave a shit.” I don’t know what it meant to Bradley. Come to think of it, i haven’t asked. It spoke to me in a pretty deep way. Making the statement “I wish more people gave a shit” (hopefully) causes a series of thoughts that go something like this:
Do i give a shit?
I DO give a shit.
What do i give a shit about?
OR you don’t give a shit. To be honest, i don’t know what is worse. Somehow who doesn’t care or someone like me who does care but more often than not submits to years of conditioning that leave me dependent on corporate comforts. Purity is impossible though so what is the point of doing anything. Unless you are living in the woods in a third world country all efforts to show you care have become co-opted self pattings on the back to form some semblance of an identity in a world of advertising that DEMANDS you pick a team, any team. A conversation I had two days ago while in line at a deli:
Stranger: Hey man, are you sure you don’t want a regular soda?
Me: No, i’m alright.
Stranger: Alright, but you might be getting some aspartame in that.
Nevermind that the clothes you are wearing were made in third world countries and off-gas chemicals into the air for you and everyone around to breathe or the amount of harmful crap in the ice and the cup you are drinking from currently, along with the myriad of loud machines roaring by outside making you subconciously anxious ALL THE TIME, or the fact that we can’t even comprehend the amount of food waste (food that whoever made our shirts could REALLY use) inherent in the operation of this kind of business, or the fact that advertising has conditioned me and those around me to feel like I shouldn’t have a regular soda because I am and/or feel “fat” and “ugly” in comparison to the thinnest, most physically fit, and attractive 5% of the world’s population. Forget the dioxin in the water, the pollution in the air, the plastic in my blood. You thought you were doing me a favor, that really only served to make you feel better about yourself, by reminding me that there is aspartame in diet soda.
This whole record would be the definition of preachy hypocrisy if I didn’t fully disclose here and many time throughout the songs that I am also a part of the problem. These songs are about hypocrisy I see in myself and the world around and the struggle and stress we go through in the almost pointless effort to be a little less so. I want to repeat this before you read on: I AM NO BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE READING THIS. The ways that I do think i’m better or more enlightened on certain issues is more than made for in my laziness and apathy towards other ones. Now let’s get all track by track on this mother:
I’d Contribute More Dead
I’ve read about and have been interested alot of different large scale issues since i first realized at a very young age that there is a futility to existence. Factory farming, consumerism, self worth conditioning through advertising, the effect of technology on our social interactions, american style democracy…I could go on and on. Unfortunately, i couldn’t handle what was a very hard world to live in so I used alcohol as an escape. Sobering up ten years later, I’m not sure if the issues are worse than ever or if we are just now beginning to talk about them. There is often a grey area during a time of illness when you can’t sure if certain symptoms are a sign of getting worse or getting better. I felt compelled at a certain point to start writing about them. Punk and some folk bands have been writing about such topics for years, but the music can be an aquired. As a highly watered down version of my idols, I feel like i have an opportunity as a more accessible band to talk about some things that may reach a slightly more mainstream audience. So i started doing that with this song. I’m going to do this a little differently since i cover so much:
You, Me & Everyone We Know have officially released I Wish More People Gave A Shit. Download and stream it below!
You, Me & Everyone We Know And Squid The Whale Announce Tour
The Weekly Tour Round-Up
Trailin’ T. Mills
Banquets on NOFX
The Industry With Jesse Cannon
Crime In Stereo - 89 North Tickets [Ended on April 26th]
To Paint The Sky - “Burn Away”
You, Me & Everyone We Know will be releasing a new EP titled I Wish More People Gave A Shit on May 7th, surprise! The EP will be digitally released before the band’s spring tour with Squid The Whale (dates here), and will feature a physical release later on this summer. PropertyOfZack is very excited to be streaming a new song from the EP called “I’d Contribute More Dead,” and it’s one of YM&EWK’s best songs we’ve ever heard. Stream the song, check out the track listing for the EP, and a message from Ben Liebsch below by clicking “Read More!”