My first introduction to Handguns was at a concert back in early 2012. I went for Hit The Lights and to fulfill my teenage dreams of seeing Cartel – I’d never really listened to Handguns before. But I was blown away by both the crowd’s response to the band and by the sheer amount of energy that was put into the performance.
You better be sure I walked out of that venue a fan.
The energy that Handguns put into that show, the reason I began listening to them in the first place, is something that can be found in each and every song on their new album, Life Lessons. From the opening chords of “Anvil” to the quiet fading of “New Years Resolution,” this album is a roller coaster that only goes up, in more ways than one.
Life Lessons is short, but packs a lot into its ten tracks. “Anvil” and “I Can’t Relate,” both of which come in well under two minutes, are perfect examples of Handguns’ ability to do a whole lot with very little. Both are fast-paced and roughly passionate, full tracks squeezed into an almost impossibly short amount of time.
Lead singer Taylor Eby’s voice is the same half-scream he’s become known for, though he sounds more comfortable as he sings lines like the resolute conclusion of “I Can’t Relate”: “If I die tomorrow/My headstone would read/Never needed much/Lived my life for me.”
Monday means BandsOnBands, and we’re excited to be posting the new PropertyOfZack feature today with Brandon Pagano of Handguns. The band released Life Lessons a few weeks ago via Pure Noise Records, and it can be picked up here.
In this week’s feature, Brandon talks about his love for The Arrogant Sons Of Bitches. Listen to songs by the band here and check out what Brandon had to say about one of his biggest influences below!
From Brandon Pagano:
I don’t remember the first time I heard The Cheers for Disappointment, but I do remember shouting back the lyrics to different songs off of that record back to every local ska band on Staten Island after it came out. It had taken us by storm and I loved every minute of it.
The first half of the record is upbeat ska punk that makes me want to jump off a PA monitor yet latter half of the record has some of the saddest lyrics I’ve ever heard. Despite the sad parts, the record always finds a way to resolve and add a hint of hope and positivity. The flow of the record, the lyrics, the song structure and even little things like the gang vocals and shitty out of tune acoustic guitar on “Have Fun Rotting By Yourself” were all done so perfectly.
Handguns released Life Lessons this week via our friends at Pure Noise Records. We got Brandon and Taylor from the band to do a Track-By-Track for the record to take you behind the meaning of each song. Pick up a copy here and read the Track-By-Track below!
POZ Discussion: Most Anticipated July Releases
I wrote this song shortly after joining Handguns as a full time member. It’s about a particular experience that happened in Denver around September 2012 when I was just a fill-in guitar player for the band. I watched Handguns lose their founding member on a porch of some apartment building after a pretty heated argument. I didn’t know what to do or what to say because there were still about four days of tour left. To try and divert the awkwardness I sat there and counted the bricks that made up the front wall of the building (52 to be exact). This song is exclusively about that moment and the feelings we had afterwards of trying to pick up this band from what probably would have been a break-up and making it something better. -Brandon
Sometimes you have to cut people out of your life that are just no good for you and you wrack your brain for days to the point where you can’t even sleep at night wondering if you did the right thing. This song is about being fed up with over-thinking, letting things be what they are and moving on. -Taylor
Being on the road so often, it’s hard to define where you call home. I have met so many amazing people and been through crazy experiences and through that I feel like I am able to call the open road my true home. -Taylor
Heart Vs. Head
This song somewhat relates back to Sleep Deprived. I’ve always been a somewhat anxious person and I tend to over-think everything. It’s about coming to terms with a situation and making a decision. -Taylor
I Can’t Relate
One day, I was on Facebook and I saw all these posts about how these people are never going to be able to pay of their student loans and I thought to myself “I don’t even know what the fuck that is.” Sometimes at social gatherings, I’ll try to spark a conversation with someone and it goes nowhere because I have nothing to relate to them with. I’ve never grasped the concept of a 9-5 job(and I’ve tried),I don’t go to college, I don’t own a car, I don’t pay a mortgage, and I know for a fact that that lifestyle just isn’t for me. I’ve learned everything I know through my own personal experiences. -Taylor
July is nearly 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 July Releases. Check out our list below and feel free to reblog with what you’re looking forward to as well!
Every Time I Die - From Parts Unknown (07/01)
After the critical acclaim of 2012’s progressive Ex-Lives, the Buffalo hardcore outfit seems to be returning to a ruckus and gleefully disoriented style on the upcoming From Parts Unknown. A few weeks ago, Keith Buckley and company streamed their seventh studio album, and what was obvious was a sound very much akin to their break out 2003 effort Hot Damn!, which is good news for numerous reasons.
That album showcased a band whose strengths lied in short, often punctual tracks tapered with Keith Buckley’s sarcastic lyrics and his brother’s spiraling out of control guitar riffs that mash at the teeth.
Listening to tracks like “Thirst” and “Decayin’ With the Boys” much of that record’s spite and energetic state of chaos is present, showcasing once more that ETiD is still one of the most consistent acts in modern hardcore music often releasing music rather quickly, but with no downgrade in style and quality. Oh, and their sense of humor hasn’t changed much either. Stay golden, boys. - Jason Stives
Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties - We Don’t Have Each Other (07/08)
The brutally honest and emotional lyrics are what ranks The Wonder Years among my favorite bands, and finding out that vocalist Dan Campbell started an entire side project based around honest storytelling made me irrationally excited for the month of July. I’m a writer; I guess it makes sense that I’m a sucker for well-penned words with heavy meanings. But what will make Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties great — if the two singles “You Ain’t No Saint” and “Divorce and The American South” haven’t proved that greatness to us already — is that Campbell understands the importance of universal experiences and relatable emotions. That’s what gets us attached to songs and the characters in them, and when those kinds of stories are set to a folksy tune, it’s a recipe for an awe-inspiring album. - Ali Killian
Handguns - Life Lessons (07/08)
Handguns is one of those bands that just keeps getting better– they’ve found their sound and each release shows them further honing and perfecting it. Now it’s been nearly 2 years since the band last released an album, and I for one feel they’re overdue for a new one.
Thus far Handguns has released two tracks from Life Lessons: “Sleep Deprived” and “Heart Vs. Head.” Both tracks show a continuation of Handguns’ trends of growth and maturity; the sound is certain and strong, and a sign of big things yet to come for this still relatively young group. - Becky Kovach
Allison Weiss - Remember When (07/15)
Allison Weiss’ Say What You Mean was one of the best surprises of 2013. The album thrust the pop punk darling into the spotlight and pretty much made her a household name.
And for good reason, too. Say What You Mean was endearing and charismatic, ten tracks about heartbreak that made you take a deep look at what love really means, all set to catchy melodies you couldn’t help but dance along to.