Behind The Booths
Storm The Beaches
Brian Marquis // Beneath The Cover Is The Earth
Turnover, Citizen, Light Years [06/22-08/07]
Romance On A Rocketship [6/23]
Mixtapes|With The Punches [06/25]
Night & Day Fest [06/29-07/01]
With The Punches|Forever Came Calling|State Champs [07/13-08/11]
It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All a Dream! It’s Alright, the 2009 release from heady indie-punks mewithoutYou, was a veritable master class on folk-pop songcraft, with vocalist Aaron Weiss wrapping a newfound croon around hookily shambolic largely-acoustic beds, but the break from the band’s post-hardcore past wasn’t especially well received by fans. Ten Stories declares a détente of sorts; it opens with Weiss in classic form, barking out “February, 1878”’s scene-setting intro with the intensity of a street preacher crying doomsday before easing back into more melodic vocals at the two minute mark. Weiss continues to draw from both techniques throughout Ten Stories; “Fox’s Dream Of The Log Flume”’s aggressive ramble could be a lost recording from 2004’s Catch for Us the Foxes, but dark parable “Elephant in the Dock” feels like a continuation of It’s All Crazy’s experiments with vocal melody. The two approaches fit together surprisingly neatly, with most tracks melding seamlessly together; the few moments that jar do so with clear authorial intent.
The band, for their part, seem to be on the same page; most of Ten Stories’ instrumental tracks draw from one of those two wells, though there’s an intriguing intermixing of waters at times, a synthesis that results in some of the band’s most musically exciting moments to date, like the jolting transition from lilting major key pop to dirty alt grind midway through “Nine Stories.” Meanwhile, mewithoutYou have a couple new tricks up their sleeves: Ten Stories’ most quietly tuneful track, “Aubergine,” swoons warmly, dreamily, over starbursts of pedal steel; the spry indie pop of “Cardiff Giant” could pass for Modest Mouse at their ebullient best.
If there’s been one constant across all of mewithoutYou’s albums, it’s Weiss’ idiosyncratic approach to his lyrics, and Ten Stories’ subject matter—theologically and philosophically resonant fables exploring morality and the quest for truth, dense with metaphor and symbolism but couched in deceptively simple language, starring anthropomorphized animals and plants—should be immediately recognizable to anyone familiar with the band’s past work. Ten Stories is mewithoutYou’s first true concept album—it purports to tell the story of a circus train disaster by exploring the lives of the animals involved therein—but all of the band’s past albums have evinced tight thematic ties, so what might feel like an awkward pose (or a serious overreach) for other outfits seems mostly par for the course for mewithoutYou.
From Imaginary Cities:
We’re 7 days in and so far so good. The first day was basically a write off since we drove straight for 15 hours to Chicago. The next day Rusty and I caught a flight to New York for press stuff while the other guys drove the remaining 15 hours to meet us with the van. Poor them!
It didn’t take long before Rusty and I were hassled by a street ticket seller who convinced us into buying a couple of tickets for a comedy show happening that night. No worries though, we asked a bunch of skill testing questions to ensure no scam was taking place. It ended up being a decent show, we sat next to a nice canadian couple and heard a few really good comics. At the end of the night me ‘n Rusty joined the comedians we’d just met for beers at a nearby bar. They treated us like buds which reminded us of our friends in the comedy scene back home.
The next day we met up with the rest of the guys for load in and sound check at The Mercury Lounge in New York. After that, we spent the afternoon running around doing a bunch of press stuff and playing a fun show at night. I love busy days like that. Sometimes we just spent days driving and it can make everyone super loopy.
Philadelphia was next. You can’t have a true Philly experience if you haven’t had a Philly cheese steak, or so I’ve been told. That was our first (and most important) stop. It was deliciously cheez whiz-y and filled me up ‘til I felt like a big bag o’ shit…and it was worth every penny. That was our first time in Philly so for our show we didn’t expect much in terms of an audience, but to our surprise some people who actually knew our songs showed up. That was a really nice feeling.
Kevin Devine will be joining mewithoutYou on the second leg of their summer headlining tour. Check out the dates below by clicking “Read More!”
Edit: Kevin Devine will only be featured on the 7/13-7/27 dates of the tour. Imaginary Cities and Buried Beds will be on the dates leading up to 7/13.