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POZ Decade: Sugarcult - Palm Trees And Power Lines

by Zack Zarrillo - Apr 8, 2014

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Sugarcult’s Palm Trees and Powerlineswas released ten years ago next week, and PropertyOfZack is launching our next Decade feature in honor of the album today! We have commentary on the album from POZ team members Deanna Chapman, Becky Kovach, Brandon Allin, and Zack Zarrillo, so enjoy and reblog to let us know your thoughts on Palm Trees and Powerlines ten years later! 

How Palm Trees and Powerlines holds up in 2014

Let’s talk about nostalgia for a moment, because that’s really what this album is in 2014. It’s a reminder of those early 2000s jams that we may or may not be embarrassed about in the present day. As I gave this a listen, I was immediately taken back to the days when the music video for “Memory” was all over MTV. You know, when they actually played music videos.

While Palm Trees and Powerlines takes us back to 2004, I wouldn’t say it does much else. This isn’t one of those albums I find myself still constantly listening to. Maybe if I want a quick blast-from-the-past, I’ll go listen to the angst of “She’s A Blade” or “Memory.” So the album doesn’t really hold up too well when you take into consideration some of the other albums from 2004 that are still very popular today. – Deanna Chapman

Most important song on the album

There was never really a doubt as to what song I’d be writing about as the most important on Sugarcult’s Palm Trees and Powerlines. Sure, arguments could probably be made for the explosive and captivating “She’s The Blade,” or even the woeful “Worst December.” But let’s be honest – neither comes close to the iconic “Memory.”

Because as soon as you hear those opening drums kick in, as soon as the guitar joins with that steadily warm and familiar pulse, you know what’s coming. And you know that it will inevitably lead to overly dramatic sing-alongs, frantic air drumming, and wannabe rock star guitar poses. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t end up doing all three when I sat down to begin writing.

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POZ Decade: Bayside – Sirens And Condolences

by Zack Zarrillo - Jan 28, 2014

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Bayside's Sirens And Condolences turned 10 yesterday, and PropertyOfZack is launching our first Decade feature of 2014 in celebration of the record today! We have commentary on the album from POZ team members Brandon AllinAdrienne Fisher, Becky Kovach, and Zac Lomas. So enjoy the read and reblog to let us know your thoughts on Sirens And Condolences ten years later!

How Sirens & Condolences holds up in 2014
It’s hard to believe it’s been ten years since the powerhouse that is Bayside released its first album, Sirens & Condolences. The band’s career has been nothing but consistent ever since, with a following so dedicated that fans refer to themselves as a cult — this sense of kinship even prompted the title of Bayside’s upcoming album.
 
Sirens & Condolences might be Bayside’s oldest album, but it’s still a fan favorite. The songs are home to some of band’s most scathing and acrimonious lyrics, though the melodies provide a slower burn than the band’s most recent singles. It’s an album I return to often, sometimes putting it on repeat for weeks straight as I get lost in the record’s blasting guitars and Anthony Raneri’s passionate delivery of lines like, “I hate myself for hating myself/Just enough to love you.” 
 
It’s an album with a lot of heart, raw and beating and bleeding. As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realize that I didn’t understand half of what I was singing along to when I first discovered Sirens & Condolences, but this isn’t really a bad thing. It’s an album that left itself some room to grow with its listeners as the years passed, rather than being left behind as a relic of an angsty youth. – Becky Kovach

Most important song on Sirens & Condolences
There’s something to be said for a record so expertly crafted, no one track feels like it holds more weight than another. Perhaps that’s Bayside’s knack for consistency on display in its earliest stages, or simply the mantra of a band seemingly hell bent on one-upping only themselves. That being said, for the sake of discussion, we’ll go ahead and elect a candidate. While the whole of Sirens’ forty minute running time is substantial in its own right, the record’s opening number “Masterpiece” likely still resonates the most with fans today, along with remaining a staple in the band’s live show. It’s aggressive, punchy, and encompasses everything that’s Bayside, ranging from frontman Anthony Raneri’s distinct, passionate croon, right down to the four-piece’s masterful musicianship. It was our very first listen to a Bayside masterpiece (pun absolutely intended), a trend that now feels commonplace, and unsurprisingly it still holds up today. – Brandon Allin

Was the band successful in following it up?
Where Sirens & Condolences offered an unfiltered, rough-around-the-edges look at the New York-based quartet, its successor, 2005’s Bayside, made it feel like little but an afterthought.  Arriving on the scene just one year later, Bayside’s self-titled LP dished out eleven tracks of raw, unbridled emotion, a monumental leap forward in every facet of the game, all while spawning a handful of the band’s most beloved cuts to date. It was bleak in the most beautiful kind of way, tugging at your heartstrings while it still gave you hope. For every dreary encounter vocalist Anthony Raneri detailed out loud, you felt like you had finally found a record you could find solace in; an album so enthralling, it was as if you were witnessing the defining moments of Bayside’s career so rapidly after their inception. What’s most hypnotizing in hindsight is that Bayside was only the calm before the storm. – Brandon Allin

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POZ Decade: The Best Of The Rest - Ataris, Blood Brothers, MCS, John Mayer, STD, Matchbook Romance

by Zack Zarrillo - Dec 17, 2013

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We here at PropertyOfZack have had a lot of fun wandering down memory lane this year, exploring and celebrating some of our favorite records of all time that are enjoying their 10 year birthday with Decade. But, no one’s perfect, and it turns out that we missed a few – some of them entirely essential. So we enlisted team members Erik van Rheenen, Jesse Richman, Deanna Chapman, Brittany Oblak, and Adrienne Fisher to tell us all about some of their favorites from 2003 that they felt needed a proper heralding in our last weeks of 2013. Enjoy the read and reblog to let us know your thoughts – and stay tuned next year for more Decade celebrations to mark the golden age of 2004!

The Ataris – So Long Astoria – 3/4/2003
Before Kris Roe threw a drumset in Asbury Park, before the band promised a record called Graveyard of the Atlantic (the idea of which, incidentally, might be as dead as its name suggests), before Welcome the Night slashed the tires of the group’s youthful, bright-eyed optimism, The Ataris were the Boys of Summer. Cue a chorus of non-fans cupping their hands and shouting, “Their one hit was a cover. A COVER!” like so many echo chambers. And yeah, The Ataris’ spin on the Don Henley Standard went the way of Alien Ant Farm…at least commercially. Even the album title for their gold-achieving 2003 record, So Long, Astoria, is a pastiche to a pop cultural property that doesn’t belong to them — for those of you without an affinity for schmaltzy 80s flicks, it’s a nudge-nudge-wink-wink to The Goonies. It was The Ataris one-and-done shot on a major label, and if Metacritic’s analytics have something to say about So Long, Astoria, it’s nothing very nice: the album earned a middling 57 with a whole bunch of lukewarm reviews.

But goddamn, do I love this record. I might be letting my starry-eyed nostalgia for So Long, Astoria use me as its ventriloquist dummy (I got the album sleeve signed by Roe at the first concert I ever went to in Syracuse, and the CD was one of the first in a young Vandy Man’s collection), but I’m not sure that’s really the case. I still spin this album at a common clip, and every time I do, I keep falling in love with the innocence and resilience and coming of age that the record undergoes. I’ll probably never fail to sing along with “Takeoffs and Landings” when I find myself stuck at an airport, or mime playing guitar along with “My Reply,” or wishing I had more summers and sleepovers like “In This Diary.” Though the album establishes its milieu up on the Pacific Coast, So Long, Astoria weaves its way through the States like a pop-punk road map, and if there was a name for that sensation of traveling without having to move your ass out of a chair (get on it, Merriam-Webster), it’d be the perfect descriptor for the album. Life is only as good as the memories we make, and man, is this record full of memories for me. – Erik van Rheenen

The Blood Brothers - …Burn, Piano Island, Burn – 3/31/2003
A decade after Kurt Cobain stage dove through the walls separating punk, metal and pop by tempering ferocious, wounded-animal hooks with deeply vulnerable sensibilities and an empathy that matched his animus, fellow Seattleites the Blood Brothers took similar aim at the traditionally-macho hardcore, grindcore and noise scenes. …Burn, Piano Island, Burn remains, unquestionably, one of the weirdest, most adventurous albums ever released on a major label (the Richard Branson-founded V2, and produced by mook-metal paterfamilias Ross Robinson, natch), and though their sound was far too scabrous to afford them anything like mainstream success, it left an indelible imprint on hardcore. Mark Gadjahar’s barely-on-the-edge-of-control drumming serves as the perfectly rickety platform for bassist/keyboardist Morgan Henderson and (especially) guitarist Cody Votaloto to launch themselves through mathy, corkscrew takes on punk, funk and withering noise, with the dual-scream attack of co-vocalists Johnny Whitney (his is the banshee-being-torn-apart-by-wolves howl) and Jordan Blilie (the slightly-more-gruff snarler) chainsawing a gaping hole through the center of it all. Somehow, the chaos never completely swallows the melody — songs like “Fucking’s Greatest Hits” and the title track are unreasonably hooky in spite of themselves. …Burn, Piano Island, Burn is an utterly unique, and uniquely great work of damaged art, and it’s far more deserving of a celebration that most of the second-tier albums by third-tier acts that got one this year. 

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POZ BandsOnBands: Shy, Low On Death Cab For Cutie

by Zack Zarrillo - Dec 9, 2013

Monday means BandsOnBands, and we’re excited to be posting the new PropertyOfZack features today with each member of Shy, Low.

In this week’s feature, each member of the band talks about their love for Death Cab For Cutie. Listen to songs by Death Cab For Cutie here out what the band had to say about one of his biggest influences below!

ZAK BRYANT:
Death Cab For Cutie was always one of those bands that I just passed over. I never really took the time to listen to them, and I always figured that they weren’t worth a damn due to my preteen disinterest in anything popular (at the time, I only wanted to listen to System of a Down). The first song I heard was “Soul Meets Body” when I was thirteen, and I literally turned it off after fifteen seconds. A few years later, I was 

driving with my girlfriend, and she put on Death Cab. It was the “Sound of Settling,” and  I really dug the structure, harmonies, and overall atmosphere of that song. That’s what got me into Transatlanticism. Later on, I listened to Plans and fell in love with it. The song “What Sarah Said” really hit me when my grandmother started dying. I was there with her in the hospital during the last moments of her life, and, among other things, that song was stuck in my head.

IAN CURRIE:
Death Cab For Cutie was the first band that ever metaphorically spoke to me. Up until I purchased Plans, I just looked at lyrics as another layer of the song, never really paying attention to what was being said. Songs like “Summer Skin” really resonated with me. The bassist of that band is so good. The drummer and the bassist lock in together so well, and it sends their music to a whole other level. On the first of every year, I make sure that I listen to “The New Year” of Transatlanticism. I think Narrow Stairs is a cool record, but it sort of solidified my fleeting interest in Death Cab. “Cath” and “Talking Bird”are both great songs, and it kept my love for Ben Gibbard’s poetry alive. 

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POZ Decade: Less Than Jake - 21 Years Old And Ready To Drink

by Zack Zarrillo - Dec 3, 2013

This year on POZ, we’ve sounded the ceremonial trumpets for plenty of accomplished bands and records that have hit the holy-shit age of ten years old. But while all those bands were still playing their Fisher-Price xylophones in the early 90s, Less Than Jake were already formed, writing music, and touring the hell out of the United States without the use of a smartphone by their side. LTJ has been showrunning the ska/punk scene with impeccable consistency ever since their start in 1992, and today, PropertyOfZack is here to help the band celebrate its 21st year of existence. That’s right, Less Than Jake is finally of drinking age – and we’re quite certain that they’ve been obedient, law-abiding citizens when it comes to the consumption of spirits.

We’ve got commentary from the guys in LTJ themselves on their career, past and present, as well as some thoughts and anecdotes from friends and fans of the band alike. So raise your glass and enjoy the read – and be sure to pick up LTJ’s newest record, See the Light, out now on Fat Wreck Chords!

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POZ Decade: Less Than Jake - Anthem

From the band:

If there’s one thing you wanted people to know about your band that they may not already know, what would you tell them? 
LTJ is more than a band now; it’s family. It’s the chemistry among 5 guys and the extended family of fans we see year in and year out. When I see people that literally grew up seeing the band, it truly drives the point home that there’s more than words and music that bind us, and it feels like family at this point. – Vinnie Fiorello

If you’ve glossed over our band because we have horns and have ska elements in our music, you’re missing out. We have many layers to our song writing and have much more depth in music and lyrics than someone may catch on to on a first listen. Dig in.  – Roger Manganelli

Some bands have business meetings in their back lounge on tour, some have prayer sessions, while others party down till dawn with babes and dudes alike, but we like to have very rigorous twerking contests with each other in the back of the bus each night after the show. It’s kept our buns in the Adonis-like shape they’re in to this day. – Buddy Schaub

I force everyone to watch sports. Constantly. – JR Wasilewski

That we are one of the hardest working bands of the last two decades. In all of our 21 years as a band, we have never missed a show due to illness, band fighting, subspenance abuse, etc. etc. We will always show up and do what we do. If you paid to see us, we do our part to bring you a great show. No excuses. Period. – Chris Demakes

If you could change something about your career, what would it be? 
I honestly don’t think I’d change a thing. The things that you look back on in your career as mistakes are the things that make you what you are today. You have to live and learn from your own experiences. Without all the downs, there can be no ups. That’s what makes the ride so fun. – Buddy Schaub

Less Port O’ Potties. More NOFX tours. – JR Wasilewski

Demanded more from our managers and labels in the early days. We were content with our success and were basking in the joy of a career making music. We could have been bigger dicks and made those around us contribute more to our vision. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and early on, we weren’t making enough noise.  – Roger Manganelli

I wouldn’t change one thing. The ups and down make the foundation of bands strong, it creates character and commitment. Sure, there are regrets but that’s life at its best and worst. – Vinnie Fiorello

Not much. If anything, I wouldn’t have sweated the small stuff as much as I did when I was younger. Took the fun out of things sometimes.  – Chris Demakes

What’s your band’s biggest accomplishment from the last 21 years? 
Surviving. Being true to ourselves, writing honest music from the heart that we are happy to play night after night.  There are bands out there that play songs their fans want to hear while they’re no longer feeling it themselves. Luckily, we don’t have that problem.  And we really give it our ALL when we play live. We never phone in a performance and try to make each show special and fun for all involved.  – Roger Manganelli 

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POZ Decade: Less Than Jake - Anthem

by Zack Zarrillo - Nov 19, 2013

Less Than Jake’s Anthem turned 10 this year, and PropertyOfZack is launching our next Decade feature in celebration of the record today! We have commentary on the album from POZ team members Brandon Allin, Erik van Rheenen, Adrienne Fisher, and Zac Lomas, as well as the guys in Less Than Jake themselves! So enjoy the read and reblog to let us know your thoughts on Anthem ten years later!

How Anthem holds up in 2013
I feel pretty well. Still really proud of those songs and back then, we were writing quickly and organically. It felt natural to record that album the way we did, and the live energy of the band didn’t get lost in translation into a recorded medium. – Roger Manganelli

In 2013, the record is the band at its best production. The feel in the studio led the record to sound “natural.” It was LTJ at its biggest and most energetic sound as well, and it feels modern, even in 2013. – Vinnie Fiorello

When we realized at some point last year that Anthem was turning ten this year, I really couldn’t believe it. And if you put it on and crank it up, it still holds up to music that you hear today. I really think the guitar tones on Anthem are its highlight. – Buddy Schaub

Listening back, I think it holds up. It’s hard to remove myself far enough to give as true of an assessment as a fan could, but we all specifically point back to that album as the one we felt we wrote some of the coolest songs for. – JR Wasilewski

As far as memories go, nothing but great memories about recording that record. I feel as a band, that we really hit our stride with Anthem. The songs hold up amazingly well to me after ten years. The production is top notch and sonically it sounds as good to me as it did the day we released it. - Chris Demakes

Unlike a handful of songs from Less Than Jake’s earlier material, Anthem fortunately did not fall victim to the test of time. It feels as crisp today as it did in 2003, and the song themselves remain fresh and full of the band’s trademark youthful exuberance. Where most records production feels raw and outdated a decade after their release, Anthem’s passes with flying colors, effortlessly blending the band’s blazing horn section with the record’s crunchy guitars. Anthem is a record that, against all odds and by all accounts, feels like it was released just yesterday, a real noteworthy achievement amongst its peers. – Brandon Allin

Most important song on Anthem
"Science" is a really important song for us. I feel like the leadoff track, "Welcome to the New South," does kind of squash any expectations of what kind of record Anthem is. It’s got some different elements and was just left of center from the “ska” band image we were sort of branded with before that record came out. So that track is pretty important. It set a tone for the whole album, in a way, by being its own thing. – Roger Manganelli

For me, I think “Science of Selling Yourself Short” and “Escape from the A-Bomb House” rise to the top. “Science” has led us to explore the less hyper-kinetic ska punk genre while “A-Bomb” took us down the path of dark pop punk with overly honest personal lyric content. Both songs set the blueprint for the departure of the traditional ska punk sound. – Vinnie Fiorello

I’m not really sure how to answer this without answering with more questions. Important as far as radio play? Important as far as groundbreaking video? Important as far as getting the crowd riled up? They’re all important to me. How’s that for dodging a bullet? – Buddy Schaub

The logical choices would be “Science” or “Ghosts,” but for me, it’s “That’s Why They Call It a Union,” because my parents were going through a divorce at that time. It was therapy to hear that song. Still is. – JR Wasilewski

Tough question. Songs are like children. To single one out over another is like playing favorites with your kids. Difficult for me to do. If I had to pick just one, I would say “Science of Selling Yourself Short.” A fan favorite to this day and a defining song for the record. Up to that point, we have never recorded a song with as much depth as “Science.” Depth as in production, musicianship, lyrics and feel. Came out amazing. – Chris Demakes

Amidst a legion of excellent cuts, Anthem's third track “Look What Happened” remains both a fan favorite and a live staple today. Despite its inclusion on Anthem's predecessor, 2000's Borders and Boundaries, the track once again reared its head, this time finding the Gainesville quintet refocused and reenergized. Sure, it lacked the iconic brass section in the original’s opening moments, but the void was filled with improved production, tighter musicianship, and a breakneck pace. To this day, “Look What Happened” defines the boisterous five-piece’s approach, a raucous, uplifting amalgamation of ska trademarks and traditional punk rock. – Brandon Allin

Was the band successful in following up Anthem?
Out Crowd has some great moments, but I personally was at odds with the producer, who was pushing for a softer vibe. I think we wrote great songs, but the recording was a little less intense than I had wanted at the time. We tried to play nice with a major label (and I swear, it’s the last time), for better or worse. We got back on track with GNV FLA.Roger Manganelli

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POZ Decade: blink-182 - Untitled

by Zack Zarrillo - Nov 12, 2013

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blink-182's Untitled turns ten next week. To state the album’s significance to most blink fans and PropertyOfZack is difficult. The album itself is directly responsible for the creation of this website, and because of it, Zack Zarrillo has taken on an entire Decade piece to celebrate the anniversary of Untitled. Listen to the album, enjoy the read, and reblog to let us know your thoughts on Untitled ten years later below!

How Untitled holds up in 2013
blink-182 took a risk on their 2009 reunion amphitheater tour. There was no guarantee the band could fill up 15,000 capacity sheds on almost each of their 50 dates of shows. But there’s a reason that the band came back to the world in 2009 with more fans than when they left it in 2005. It’s because of Untitled and the lasting value the band’s best album has.

blink-182 has diehard fans from not one, not two, but three generations: those in the mid-‘90s who discovered Cheshire Cat and then Dude Ranch; those in the early-‘00s who fell in love with Enema Of The State and Take Off Your Pants And Jacket; and then those in the mid-to-late-‘00s who were too young to know blink-182 while they were a band, but only found them afterwards. You need fantastic albums to be able to grow like that when you’re away, and Untitled shows it best. 

Most important song on Untitled
The most popular song on the album is “I Miss You.” In fact, it sold more singles than “All The Small Things” did, making it the band’s most popular song ever. But that’s too easy.

With almost everything blink-182 related, it depends. Are we talking about their most important song that represents what the band was from 1992 to 2003? Or are we talking about the most important song that represents 2003 through today?

The former criterion champions “Feeling This.” The song encapsulates everything that blink-182 is and does, and why they are the best at it. The back and forth vocals. The heavy sexualized lyrics. That fucking chorus. Those harmonies. That riff. Game over.

The latter criterion fits “Asthenia” best. The ambient-yet-still-punk breed that Untitled brewed is showcased best on this song. Tom’s vocals seem urgent, caring, and angry. The music gets absorbed through your body. The lasting product is telling. The song makes a great transition into Angels & Airwaves’ We Don’t Need To Whisper, and shows where the band was headed next if we would have gotten a new blink-182 album in 2006 or so, instead of in 2011. 

Did blink-182 succeed in following up Untitled?
Depending on how you look at it, there are three follow-ups to Untitled.

1) We Don’t Need To Whisper
Most fans weren’t ready for this album. It was too close to blink’s break-up, Tom was too much of a drug addict, etc. But man, it was hard to disagree about the great moments We Don’t Need To Whisper touted if you were at all a fan of blink’s Untitled. Songs like “The War,” “Start The Machine,” and, of course, “The Adventure” seem undoubtedly like blink songs if you can imagine a Travis Barker drumbeat and Mark Hoppus harmonies over them. Seven years later, We Don’t Need To Whisper still marks a top three output from Tom DeLonge’s musical career, behind only Untitled and Box Car Racer.
2) When Your Heart Stops Beating
This is the best writing we will most likely ever see out of Mark. While Untitled was clearly more DeLonge-centric, +44’s first and only record was Mark’s first experiment at being the only frontman, unlike Tom, who first tried with Box Car Racer. To this day, you will notice people across different social networks popping up here or there with a “Fuck, When Your Heart Stops Beating only grows better with time” comment. And it’s true. The writing on “Baby Come On,” “Lillian,” “Weatherman,” “No It Isn’t,” and “Chapter 13” ranges from heartbreaking to aggressive to fulfilling. 
3) Neighborhoods

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POZ Decade: Death Cab For Cutie - Transatlanticism

by Zack Zarrillo - Nov 5, 2013

Death Cab For Cutie’s fourth full-length Transatlanticism turned ten years old last month, and PropertyOfZack is launching our next Decade feature in honor of the stunning album today! We have commentary on the record from POZ team members Zac Lomas, Adrienne Fisher, and Erik van Rheenen, as well as Modern Baseball’s Jake Ewald, so enjoy reading and reblog to let us know your thoughts on Transatlanticism ten years later!

How Transatlanticism holds up in 2013
In my more formative years (think ages 16-18), I fell in love with indie icons Death Cab For Cutie while working as a camp counselor.  My co-counselor would play a mix of mellow songs each night in hopes that the soothing sounds would incite slumber, and while it may have worked on the wee ones, my sleep anxiety failed to surrender.  So what inevitably happened was that I listened to “Passenger Seat” off Death Cab’s Transatlanticism approximately 15-20 times per night…and I loved it.  From that point on, not only did I realize the genius of the Seattle quartet, but also the brilliance of that album. And while my days of obsessively listening to Death Cab albums have passed in the rear view mirror, I still find myself coming back to them with a smile on my face.  Transatlanticism is not only a complete album in every sense of the word, but it’s an indie masterpiece, and ten years later, its relevance and resonance are greater than ever. Transatlanticism is an album for lovers, dreamers, and the ever-hopeless romantic, regardless of the year. – Zac Lomas

Most important song on Transatlanticism
Transatlanticism was one of the first full albums I really got into as a wee lad, in the sense that I didn’t just buy the single on iTunes then play it on repeat out of my iPod mini while air-guitaring around my room. The whole thing blew me away every time. I swore off American Idiot for a year. Instead of barreling through power chord progressions on my horribly un-tunable Epiphone Jr., I found myself spending most nights plucking out the melody to “Title and Registration” and trying to figure a way to get to the mall the next day so I could buy one of those “capo” things. 

Death Cab leap-frogged way over their indie rock peers with the composition of “Title and Registration.” Somehow, fuzzed-out bass and cheap drum samples hold down one of the most emotive songs on the record. This peculiar instrumentation—for a mostly acoustic song—is what makes “Title and Registration” such a memorable indie ballad. The dudes didn’t play by the rules. And then the lyrics. Oh man, the lyrics. Ben Gibbard spends the whole first verse and chorus impeccably illustrating a heart-smashing feeling without even mentioning the damn thing he’s upset about! And of course, who could forget: “Now that it’s gone it’s like it wasn’t there at all / And here I rest where disappointment and regret collide.” Game over. “Title and Registration.” Take a lesson, kids.  – Jake Ewald


Did Death Cab succeed in following up Transatlanticism?
It’s kind of insane to realize that Transatlanticism, Death Cab’s breakout album, was already their fourth full-length, yet the fact that it took them some time to strike a shining medium between sparse indie rock and slick melodies couldn’t make more sense in the world. Plenty of fantastic records are often an accident; Transatlanticism certainly wasn’t, and neither was Plans, the 2005 follow-up. Released on major label Atlantic Records (after the band spent many years on the indie Barsuk), Plans saw pretty expansive success after it was released, from a Saturday Night Live appearance, to a Grammy nomination, to all sorts of treatment and visibility that plenty of indie bands could never even dream of seeing. But as I said, it was no accident – Plans is an excellent record that understandably branches away from the core style of Transatlanticism. 

The band messes more with synthesizers and writes more songs that tend to spiral away into nothingness instead of closing its fist around a chorus, which at points is devastating and fantastic (“What Sarah Said”) and other times disorienting and misplaced (“Different Names for the Same Thing”). But where Transatlanticism was lyrically rooted in setting and geography, Plans takes the next step and finds itself fixated in the bigger, universal themes of life, love, and death. “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” is the quietest declaration of Romeo-and-Juliet romance that this generation will ever see, while “Marching Bands of Manhattan” insists that “your love is gonna drown” shortly before “Soul Meets Body” lets you know that “if the silence takes you, then I hope it takes me too.” Horribly depressing, yes, but a beautiful and poetic take on the bleak ideas that have nowhere else to live but these solemn, dignified songs. – Adrienne Fisher

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POZ Decade: The Format - Interventions + Lullabies

by Zack Zarrillo - Oct 29, 2013

The Format’s full-length Interventions + Lullabies turned ten years old this month, and PropertyOfZack is launching our next Decade feature in honor of the album today! We have commentary on the record from POZ team members Jason Stives, Hobbes, Brittany Oblak, and Erik van Rheenen, so enjoy reading and reblog to let us know your thoughts on Interventions + Lullabies ten years later!

How Interventions and Lullabies holds up in 2013
A lot of Interventions and Lullabies can be put into perspective now because of Nate Ruess’ continuing and subsequent work with both The Format and fun. The band’s second record, Dog Problems, was a more productive excursion into various music styles, with a glossy sheen of pop thrown in. Combine this with the Top 40 sensibilities that fun. prospered with in the past year, and this record feels like a collection of building blocks at best. Gone from later output are the simple and elegant acoustic numbers that are presented here that mix perfectly with the high-production numbers. There’s still something so satisfying from start to finish about this record, and it’s awe-inspiring to think of its time of release, when bands The Format was noted for playing alongside were releasing youthful pop punk and emo-tinged releases. 

It’s ahead of its time by about 5 or 6 years, and even now, it still holds up in its appeal, displaying lyrical craftsmanship that has crossed over into mainstream music very well. “The First Single” is still one of those perfect album openers — one so many artists wish they could open their first record with. “On Your Porch” stands tall as one of the most personal and striking songs of The Format’s brief but lasting discography. It’s also an early example of Ruess’ ability to weave brief personal accounts into the message of a song, a notion that can be heard on fun. tracks like “Be Calm” and “Carry On.”  In comparison with its follow-up, it’s about knowing and learning when you can’t understand your thoughts and feelings as you get older, and The Format accomplish that sensation through stripped composition.  In comparison, Dog Problems displayed a mature outlook on relationships and the band’s ability to be bombastic in response. The growth over time shows, but the craft that started with this record is definitively their own and resonates loudly today.  – Jason Stives

Most important song on Interventions and Lullabies
The first time I ever heard Nate Ruess’ voice, I was folding jeans in a dark, pungent Hollister store. The girls I worked with constantly played “The First SIngle” over and over again, but much to my surprise, their music didn’t get old and later that day, I went over to FYE and bought what would soon be the most overplayed and often enjoyed record of my fall: Interventions and Lullabies. After many spins throughout that next summer, I was truly hooked. The Format had a fan in me. 

I think the song that spoke to me the most was “Give It Up,” probably because its lyrics hit me like a ton of bricks. I was ready to move far away from where I was and all those around me, but, like the lyrics, I was “too scared to go.” I eventually did move, and I have plenty of friends back home who are still “too scared to.” But the beauty in “Give It Up” was that it gave me the comfort to be okay with being too scared to leave or to give something up. – Hobbes

Did the Format succeed in following up Interventions and Lullabies?
The short answer is yes. I could throw a thesaurus open to the page for synonyms of affirmation at you for the long answer, (off the top of my head: absolutely, positively, of course) but you’re probably already familiar with the Format’s story since Interventions hit shelves: the spectacular Dog Problems, the quiet fizzle-out of the Format moniker, Nate Ruess’ mainstream renaissance with supergroup-of-sorts fun. 

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Mayday Parade, Man Overboard Announce UK/EU Tour

by Zack Zarrillo - Oct 21, 2013

Mayday ParadeMan OverboardDivided By Friday, and Decade will be touring the UK and Europe in the early-New Year. Check out the dates below after the jump.

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POZ Decade: Something Corporate - North

by Zack Zarrillo - Oct 15, 2013

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Something Corporate's sophomore full-length, North, is officially ten next Tuesday, and PropertyOfZack is launching our next Decade feature in honor of the album today. We have commentary on the record from POZ team members Brittany Oblak and Adrienne Fisher, so enjoy reading and reblog to let us know your thoughts on North ten years later!

How North holds up in 2013
The thing about bands like Something Corporate is that the mellow pop-rock sound that they pioneered for Drive-Thru back then has a much better tendency to come along through the years without finding itself irrelevant or as just another band you listened to when you were in “that phase.” And while I don’t exactly find myself returning to SoCo very often, when I do, the enjoyment I garner from listening is less for nostalgic purposes and more for the sticky, gut-wrenching feelings it dredges up today. North is certainly riddled with emotion; it is the solemn, contemplative younger sibling of Leaving Through the Window. “Me and the Moon” is still the lofty lullaby that I used to play on repeat to fall asleep; “Space” is the driving pop-rock single that always seemed way too bouncy to be a SoCo song; I’ll always see just a bit of me as Andrew McMahon sings “whoa, I’m 21 and invincible.” Seriously though, what is it about piano-rock songs that just make them feel so damn timeless? – Adrienne Fisher

Most important song on North
It’s always really tough to try and ascertain what the most “important” song for a record would be. There’re so many factors to consider: was it a single? Fan favorite? Used in a Kia commercial? Played most times live? It’s all subjective, and sometimes, that subjectivity is apparent. But with North, it’s not so easy – the record came out in October 2003, only to have members start stepping out of the band as early as the following winter and the band’s indefinite hiatus to come in summer 2004. So, another subjective factor enters: did the fans even get enough time with Something Corporate for a “most important” North song to even begin to collectively emerge?

I can’t answer that question. What I can say is that, speaking with my true bleeding Drive-Thru heart, the most important song to me on the record is “Me and the Moon.” North staked its stylistic reputation on being more somber and pensive than Leaving Through the Window, and “Me and the Moon,” to me, is the strongest example of where that move in sound went right. The song is patient and contemplative with just tinges of desperation instead of puddles of it; unlike some of SoCo’s other emotionally cutting songs (like “Konstantine” or “Not What It Seems”) it doesn’t utilize urgency to convey the feeling, but is still a crushingly beautiful song. There’s even a little bit of string-work in there somewhere to give it a really symphonic, big-picture sense. And even though the song is actually kind of about a woman killing her husband, the lyrics are written such that you can still relate and not feel like a sociopath (unless I am seriously mislabeling myself).  – Adrienne Fisher

Did the band succeed in following up North?
Other than two live albums released in 2004 and a greatest hits album released in 2010, Something Corporate broke our hearts quite a bit and never went on to make another album after North. The band’s hiatus began in the summer of 2004 when they were growing exhausted after many years on the road. They claimed it would not be a permanent hiatus and that they would be back with more material, but Andrew McMahon later went on to say that in creating another SoCo record, he was feeling more “nostalgically charged” as opposed to “creatively charged.”

In the meantime, McMahon gave his attention to a side project he had started named Jack’s Mannequin, which took off and would remain together for years after that. There is no question that Jack’s Mannequin would have done well regardless, but the platform was already there for McMahon and Co., undoubtedly thanks to Something Corporate and their contagious brand of perfected piano rock. 

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POZ Decade: Story Of The Year - Page Avenue

by Zack Zarrillo - Oct 8, 2013

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Story Of The Year’s first full length Page Avenue turned ten years old last month, and PropertyOfZack is launching our next Decade feature in honor of the album today. We have commentary on the record from POZ team members Zack Zarrillo, Brandon Allin, Deanna Chapman, Adrienne Fisher and Donald Wagenblast, so enjoy reading and reblog to let us know your thoughts on Page Avenue ten years later!

How Page Avenue holds up in 2013
Page Avenue, ten years later, kind of sounds like your little sibling (or your younger self) ripping what (s)he interprets to be “screamo:” a lot of brashness, plenty of spacey, long-distance phone call moments with electronic bass, and imbued with extra doses of angst. “Anthem of Our Dying Day,” for example, drips drama from the title but fulfills its promise to be anthemic with that soaring chorus and a bridge that was definitely written for a slow-motion music video sequence. “In the Shadows” sounds like an Artist in the Ambulance B-side without the guitar tech know-how and “Sidewalks” is a lofty, pensive alternative ballad that’s almost a bit Evanescence-y.

But back then, there was less and less penalty for mixing your nu-metal pleasures with your “scene” preferences (and let’s not forget that Mr. Hahn of Linkin Park directed the aforementioned video for “Anthem of Our Dying Day”), and in 2013, Page Avenue sounds like an album trying a little too hard to walk both lines, especially with that slick major label production quality. But, I’ll be honest — it’s a great nostalgia listen, especially for those like me who had classically terrible tastes in music in high school and thought having the original demo of “Razorblades,” titled “Razorblades and Cupcakes,” under the band’s first moniker (Big Blue Monkey) made me cool. – Adrienne Ray Fisher

Most important track on Page Avenue
“Until The Day I Die” has to be, without question, the most important song on Page Avenue. Not only is it a great song to jam out to, but also the lyrics hold such power in their words. I still remember watching the video for this on TV, back when music video channels actually played a decent amount of videos. The video completely backed up those powerful lyrics well. This is one of those songs where you get blasted with emotions when you hear it. “Until the day I die, I spill my heart for you” is no easy thing to say, but Story Of The Year found a way to, and they said it as loudly as they possibly could. 
 
But why is this song the most important? You can’t think of Page Avenue without immediately thinking of this song. It defines the album — all of the other songs around it just fall into place. Page Avenue was the band’s first album and “Until The Day I Die” really launched the band into mainstream rock and it was their debut single. It’s safe to say that Story Of The Year definitely remember their first. And ten years later, it may still be their best. – Deanna Chapman

Did the band succeed in following up Page Avenue?
In The Wake Of Determination, as a follow-up to Page Avenue, took a decidedly harder sounding approach than the band’s most successful release. The vocals, guitars, and drums all became much more “rocky” compared to the heavier screamo and gentler elements of Page Avenue. While the album charted well, no single ever marginally compared to the peak success of “Until The Day I Die,” and fans of the core songs on the band’s previous album had difficult adjusting to Story Of The Year’s new music style. Revisiting In The Wake Of Determination years later, it’s clear that the band wrote well-structured songs that featured both hits and misses. But the album still in no way can compare to Page Avenue if you found the band during 2003. - Zack Zarrillo

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POZ Decade: The Early November - The Room’s Too Cold

by Zack Zarrillo - Oct 1, 2013

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The Early November's first full length The Room’s Too Cold turns ten years old next week, and PropertyOfZack is launching our next Decade feature in honor of the album today! We have commentary on the record from guitarist Joe Marro and drummer Jeff Kummer, as well as POZ team members Becky Kovach, Donald Wagenblast, Deanna Chapman and Adrienne Fisher. Enjoy and reblog to let us know your thoughts on The Room’s Too Cold ten years later!

How The Room’s Too Cold holds up in 2013
I think it holds up pretty well. The things that make it maybe sound a bit dated are lame anyway. Yeah, there’s some pitch issues, some timing issues, God knows what I was even playing, but that’s more or less how records of that type sounded. We were right on the cusp of the days before everything was auto-tuned and super polished. We grew up listening to certain records and they sounded great. We wanted to make something like that. – Joe Marro

In this case, the question isn’t “how well does it hold up,” but “what exactly makes this such an unforgettable album?” It could be Ace Enders’ rasping vocals as he half-sings, half-screams “I’m not special” in acoustic opener “Ever So Sweet.” Or the punk edge in harder-hitting tracks like “Something That Produces Results.” Or the buildup of guitars in “Fluxy.” Or the softly distant guitar melody that plays as Enders sings the opening lines of closer “Everything’s Too Cold…But You’re So Hot.” In reality, it’s all these things and so much more.
 
Sometimes in life, you encounter something that sticks with you long after it is gone: a person, a place, a book, an album. Whatever it is, it leaves an impression in ways that you can’t always understand, though you know that it has changed you. The Early November’s The Room’s Too Cold is one of those things. I’ve listened to this album so many times since its release 10 years ago, yet every time I do I find something new to latch onto and internalize. A new lesson, words that fit an emotion I couldn’t quite explain. It’s self-realization set to a soundtrack, beautiful and haunting and every bit as good as it was the first time I gave it a listen.  – Becky Kovach

Like any album, I think it really depends on what people are going through, how they connect with it, and if they’re exposed to it. I absolutely love this album. I wouldn’t do anything differently. Do I think it would have the same impact in 2013 as opposed to 2003? Not necessarily. I think it would still hold weight but I don’t know if people would gravitate to it as quickly as they did in 2003. In 2003, everyone knew this album was coming out. In 2003, people would buy anything and everything that Drive-Thru Records released. That’s just the way it was. We just happened to make the right album at the right time. People were expecting a pop-punk album. What they got had more substance, it wasn’t overproduced or overplayed on, and it was real. People could feel that. I can still feel it when I listen to it. – Jeff Kummer

Most important track on The Room’s Too Cold
Probably “Ever So Sweet”. It’s still one of, if not the most, popular song we play. My personal favorite was always “The Mountain Range in My Living Room” though. I think we unintentionally created our signature on that song. Super dynamic. Loud then quiet. Crashing and chaotic and then it comes back around at the end. Very fun to play live. – Joe Marro

The clear-cut choice here also happens to be (arguably) the definitive Early November song, “Ever So Sweet.” If you’ve seen The Early November since The Room’s Too Cold was released, then chances are you’ve heard this as the last song they played, and with good reason: With Ace Enders crooning his heartbroken lyrics over quiet verses and sweeping choruses, the song has become one of the more well-known and emotional sing-alongs in the scene. The song sets itself apart from the rest on the album (and nearly every other TEN song) during the bridge, however, with Enders providing his signature shouts: “Can’t you see the wall you built for me? I’m not special, I’m not special. We’re not special, we’re not special…” If that doesn’t send chills down your spine, seeing the band (and a few thousand of their fans) scream it to you will certainly show you how much it means to the band, and why it’s the shining star of The Room’s Too Cold– Donald Wagenblast

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POZ Decade: Kevin Devine – Make The Clocks Move

by Zack Zarrillo - Sep 24, 2013

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Kevin Devine's Make The Clocks Move turns ten in two weeks, and the record has turned into a classic for many PropertyOfZack team members and viewers. PropertyOfZack is launching our next installment of our Decade feature in honor of the record today before we dive into a great deal of content with Kevin next month. Enjoy the read and reblog to let us know your thoughts on Make The Clocks Move ten years later!

How Make the Clocks Move holds up in 2013
Some albums concern themselves so acutely with fixating on one collection of memories — a breakup, a coming-of-age story, a tour, a personal battle — that they unintentionally handcuff themselves to one distinct, concrete point in time. Make the Clocks Move might’ve fallen victim to that trap, had Kevin Devine written about one love — first love, failed love, unrequited love, whatever — and only one love. At the risk of sounding like a Moulin Rouge-quoting wannabe poet, Make the Clocks Move holds up damn well in 2013 because Devine wrote an honest, charming record about just plain old love.

I’m not saying Make the Clocks Move is a 14-track love letter of sappy ballads written to woo a parade of beaus: the record is anything but. Devine comfortably slides into a multitude of scenarios — the frustrated off-and-on lover in “Country Sky Glow,” the distanced broken-up boyfriend coming to terms with his regrets on “Longer That I’m Out Here,” the crush-harboring ex on “Not Over You Yet,” and the charming romantic on “Splitting Up Christmas.” It’s not all bright-eyed, lucky-in-love bullshit, and the moments that Devine aches the most are some of the album’s best. A good album about love that diverges from happy-together-forever schmaltz never goes out of style, and that’s incredibly true about Make the Clocks Move. – Erik van Rheenen

Well, I might be the least qualified person to say.  I actually still really like the songs on that record for the most part, and like playing them live. I think I feel now like my songwriting voice was starting to come into much clearer focus in 2002/2003, between Clocks and Every Famous Last Word, the last Miracle of 86 full-length.  I still like pretty much all of those songs, too, and each record feels like a pretty big jump in style & quality & execution from Circle Gets The Square and the Miracle self-titled.

I like the looseness, the basement feeling - it’s true to what it was, that record was made cheaply and around all of our work schedules in Bracco’s basement in Queens.  I’m charmed by it and remember it as being fun-sloppy, lots of laughter and drinking and tossing ideas around.

What I don’t love, and this is a very specific-to-me thing, is my singing - I didn’t really know how to sing back then, or didn’t trust my voice, so I’d either sing the wrong way and blow it out (not helped by lots of late nights drunk/high shouting and talking, etc.), or I’d obscure the notes with a shaky warble.  I think I thought for a long time my voice just did that, that it was nerves or excitement, and when I went in to record Put Your Ghost To Rest in 2006, Rob Schnapf pulled me aside before I went in to do my first vocal takes on “Go Haunt Someone Else” - about 3 weeks into recording - and said, in a very direct and Schnapf-ian manner, “You know that Goat Boy thing you do sometimes?  Don’t do it.”  I remember thinking he was nuts, that either I didn’t do that or it was just how I sang, and then I made an effort to sing straighter, truer.  I went into the booth and listened back, and it was really nice, and he sort of pointed at the speakers and said, “See?”  Since then, Goat Boy is dead. – Kevin Devine

Most important song on Make the Clocks Move
I don’t know if I can answer that one objectively, but I can say that “Ballgame” is a song that touched a real nerve with people, that is still requested at every single show I play, and that seems to be a song many people define me by.  I completely understand why.  I’m personally partial to “The Longer That I’m Out Here” - I think that song was an important one for me stylistically/developmentally - and I always had a soft spot for “You’re My Incentive” as well. - Kevin Devine

I was going to burst forth with holiday cheer three months too soon and honor “Splitting Up Christmas,” or go with “People Are So Fickle” solely for that toe-tapping guitar intro and Devine’s happy-go-lucky “whoo!” that starts the song in proper. But here I am picking “You’re My Incentive,” and honestly, I’m not sure what drew me to the song in the first place. All I know is that from the first time I gave Make the Clocks Move a spin on my CD player, something did in fact draw me to it, and that counts for something, right?

Lyrically, “You’re My Incentive” ranks among Devine’s best storytelling moments — I’m not sure he’s ever been more charming than while spinning a three-and-a-half minute yarn about a down-on-her-luck girl with a broken-down car and a boyfriend with an eye for the local waitress. It’s a sad story, especially from where Devine’s narrator stands — he’s not the waitress-flirting boyfriend, but just an onlooker crossing his fingers that the girl’s ship rights itself. And that’s what I admire about Devine: his narrator doesn’t have to be the object of the girl’s affection to give a shit and stand in her corner. For all the news that the song’s characters are “slowly sinking,” Devine still paints their outlooks from his optimistic-if-realistic lens, and I think that’s why I love “You’re My Incentive” as much as I do. – Erik van Rheenen 

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POZ Decade: Thursday - War All The Time

by Zack Zarrillo - Sep 10, 2013

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Thursday’s War All The Time will celebrate its 10-year anniversary this upcoming weekend, and PropertyOfZack is launching our next installment of the Decade feature in honor of the record. We have commentary on the album from POZ team members Zac Lomas, Adrienne Ray Fisher, and Zack Zarrillo. Enjoy the read and reblog to let us know your thoughts on War All The Time ten years later!

Legacy of War All The Time
While the idea of “screamo” bears a different definition for those between music generations, when Thursday broke out into the scene with Full Collapse, the band was immediately pegged with the term. Their music was emotional. It screamed. What other genre name could so neatly encapsulate two of their most obvious characteristics? The ball truly got rolling for Thursday with Full Collapse, but it was War All the Time where the band began to showcase the cracks in the concrete “screamo” definition by which they, for better or worse, had come to be known. Thursday had always been introspective, but fierce and fiery; War All the Time boasted one of the first Thursday presentations that proved that the band was capable of writing a sonically toned-down song that was just as potent and staggering as anything that had already been belted, screamed, and sweated out in a New Brunswick basement.

Many blamed the music “softening” to their new home at major label Island Def Jam, but in reality, WATT boasts a type of cultural significance that Full Collapse just didn’t quite nail. For that, it’s become an extremely potent snapshot of the unrest felt by American youth post-9/11. The record specifically delineated a lot of maligned social and political issues, especially pertinent at the time but still bearing meaning throughout the ages. From life’s lost meaning via corporate greed in “For the Workforce, Drowning” to the exploitation of sexuality in “Signals Over the Air,” to the seemingly pointed 9/11 references in both “This Song Brought to You by a Falling Bomb” and the title track, the scene set by this record is done brilliantly and beautifully, but it’s a dark, desperate, and despondent scene that we see. Yet, interestingly enough, the band denies that the record was written with a strict political agenda - and if one reads well enough into the lyrics, they’ll find they can easily be molded to interpret more internal, personal situations as well as larger, societal ones. 

For that, WATT has a firm footing in history as a detailed depiction of what it meant to experience societal torment at that time, but it also remains important in the scene today, transcending time and new generations of music fans by being an amazingly well-written record both musically and lyrically. – Adrienne Ray Fisher (@adriennerayfish)

Most important song on the album
War All The Time fits snugly into my list of “perfect” albums, i.e. albums whose entire tracklisting flows together so well that it would be an injustice not to listen to it in full.  So it’s an arduous task to choose justone track as the most important, but upon multiple listens, “War All The Time,” the album’s title track, stands out as the obvious choice.  Borrowing its name from a lesser-known collection of Charles Bukowski’s poetry, which avows that love is, in fact, war all the time, the song espouses the same pain so often present in the California native’s poetry. Touching on a string of suicides that circulated through the New Jersey region during singer Geoff Rickly’s childhood, the song is emotionally gripping, with subtle references to the “lullaby of carbon monoxide” making for a most macabre sonic atmosphere. In fact, I would argue that “War All The Time” is Rickly’s zenith as a lyricist, providing the most resonantly poetic lyrics of the band’s career. – Zac Lomas (@infidelegate)

How War All The Time holds up in 2013
There are a few select albums in every genre that open the door to the magic that lies within it. Whether you want to call Thursday a post-hardcore, screamo, or whatever type of band, War All The Time is one of those albums that if found in 2003, 2007, 2012, and (presumably) in 2020, that will always shed light on something great. You can hear the sounds of 2003 moving throughout War All The Time, but a great album is one that is not limited to an era, and Thursday managed that with this release more than Full Collapse and perhaps the rest of their catalog as well. 

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Ernie Ball