by Caitlin DeWeese, edited by Erik van Rheenen
I’ve said everything I can about how much I cling to …Is A Real Boy, even if I am 25. Bands with breakout, cult-like albums are gutsy as hell to continue releasing music, as it doesn’t always go over well. But Say Anything’s Max Bemis has continually been an exception to this rule over the past decade.
I am, however, an eternal pessimist. I was still getting used to Anarchy My Dear, which I did enjoy. For me, the only thing Hebrews had going for it was the endless list of guest vocalists — I wasn’t interested in the guitar-less experiment or post-baby mentalities. I love Say Anything though and am willing to give any album at least a chance.
Sadly, the album didn’t hold up well on a 5-day trip to Cancun, but I think that was too be expected. Bemis is a big grown-up man now, and despite the complete lack of guitar parts anywhere on the album, somehow manages to drag my synthy heart back to 2003.
Bemis’ lyrical play is the main element of Hebrews that kept me interested from beginning to end. The music is hard to stomach all in one sitting; it’s incredibly playful, carnival like, dizzy, and unsettling. That may in fact be genius, but I can’t handle it for more than two or three songs.
"Judas Decapitation" is a very good insight into what Max Bemis of Say Anything thinks about haters in 2014. Noisey recently discussed that with him in a new interview. Read a snippet below after the jump.
Say Anything Tour w/The Front Bottoms, You Blew It!
Say Anything Tour w/The Front Bottoms, You Blew It!
Say Anything just released Hebrews are kind of fucking shit up (in a great way) on their tour with The Front Bottoms, The So So Glos, and You Blew It! PropertyOfZack is very happy to be debuting Track-By-Tracks today from the album for ”Push,” “The Shape Of Love To Come,” and “Boyd.” Watch the videos below!
Say Anything Tour w/The Front Bottoms, You Blew It!
Say Anything are out on the Hebrews Tour. Check out their set list from the tour below after the jump.
It’s always a pleasure talking with Max Bemis of Say Anything, and the new PropertyOfZack interview is a great one to read. We spoke with Max about the release of Hebrews, how the band has shifted over the past few years, how to use language to an advantage, Two Tongues, and much more. Read it all below!
It seemed like Anarchy was sort of a backlash in sound to the glossiness of self-titled. That whole album seemed like a big shift for Say Anything, even with the big leak. How do you view the album two and a half years later?
It’s exactly what I wanted it to be. Basically, coming from the major label world where expectations were set so differently for the band - success was viewed as selling a lot of records or just having a lot of critical success. What I wanted Anarchy to do was to cement our place as a band that could still be making music in 20 years. That means people still coming to our show, and we still have a large amount of people coming luckily.
If you’re referring to the lack of glossiness, there was a reason it was done that way too. We had just done two records that were playing off of very large emotive themes, and then self-titled sounded like a very polished and commercial record, in a good way. I wanted to show that we could do something else. It lead us to where we are now. I don’t care that Anarchy leaked early. At the time, it was pretty distressing, but here I am a couple years later and it doesn’t even matter. People are still coming to shows and are interested in our new music. I’m able to do this for a living, and that’s pretty amazing to me. I still love the record as well.
Say Anythingis five or six records in, depending on how you count Baseball. The band could be considered a legacy act now, but Hebrews seems very revitalized.
I agree; there’s a sense of urgency to it. And there are a lot of reasons why it has that quality.
To me, just with the sheer energy of the record, it feels like it could have been a band’s first album. Is that because there have been so many shifts as of late?
That’s really cool to say, thank you. There was this beautiful synergy of all of these things happening in my personal life and for the band. Just being8 inspired to write those songs since there were so many things happening in my life that had a lot of momentum. I started writing the record around the time when we realized out we were having a kid, and that gave me urgent emotions that needed to be written about.
To be honest, it had been a really long time to write about myself in that way to the point where it was like, “I have to exorcise some of this stuff.” There’s some urgency to it, it’s not that we needed to put a record out and there was something we had to write about. Then there were all of these behind the scenes things that came together in a really cool way. It sounds bad to say, but when Coby left the band, it basically gave me the license to sort of start treating the band like I did when it first started. Which meant doing anything and everything I wanted without worrying what other people wanted. That included making this record by messing around on a computer with me and my acoustic guitar in my house like I did on Baseball, which was our first record, ironically.
I had all the time in the world to mess with everything. The label trusted me enough to produce the record myself. So it meant I’d wake up when I normally wake up, be in my own house, work on the record. I’d find myself doing things experimentally or better than I’d normally do, in my opinion, just because I had the space and time to wrap my head around it and have fun making music. Literally there were no constraints or insecurities bogging me down. I think part of that has to do with people accepting Anarchy and loving it and coming to our shows. We didn’t end up as one of those bands crippled after you get off of a major label. We actually got to keep our momentum going. Now that I had that, I was afforded the right to write the best record I’ve ever written.
I didn’t expect to hear you scream “swastika” repeatedly throughout a song.
Clearly I’ve got issues.
POZ: There are a lot of ballsy lyrics on the album, but that’s not necessarily strange for Say Anything. However, there are a few songs on this album that take that to a level we haven’t seen since …Is A Real Boy.
Max: I’ve talked about it before, but I have young cousins that are obsessed with Say Anything. That made me not want to say things like “pussy” and “fuck.” I do think, to some degree, when you’re writing music… The swastika part of “Kall Me Kubrick” could have just been me screaming “fuck.” Instead, I came up with something that was darker and was a little more unnerving. I don’t really believe swear words are that bad; I believe they’ve kind of lost their power. I think it’s always been our thing to say stuff that’s made people uncomfortable. It doesn’t have to be referring to my penis, it could be just me saying things that people are afraid to say. It was fun being able to experiment with how dark could I go without relying on the tropes of generic words.
Say Anything are releasing Hebrews on June 10th. Stream the album in full below after the jump.
June 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 June Releases. Check out our list below and feel free to reblog with what you’re looking forward to as well!
Tigers Jaw - Charmer (06/03)
I became a fan of the band over a Thanksgiving break in high school right after Two Worlds came out. I remember the moment very clearly. I was sitting on my couch in my basement room and it slowly clicked. Things weren’t as polished as I normally liked them to be, but the energy there was too much to say no to. And then, once I fully gave in, I found so much more to grasp onto. I traced back and found self-titled, and I looked forward to more after that.
“Maturity” is rarely the right word when describing growth in music, but I’m having trouble pinpointing why the songs off of Tigers Jaw’s Charmer have me so excited so far. I feel the energy I felt in past records from the band, but it’s being delivered in a different form this time around. Charmer feels like a clear stepping stone for the band, and possibly for the band’s fans as well.
There was a lot of miscommunication and turbulence around the band from fans over the past year, but I have a feeling Charmer is going to dispel any focus on Tigers Jaw that is not about the record itself. - Zack Zarrillo
Fucked Up - Glass Boys (06/03)
How does a band follow up one of their most ambitious and critically acclaimed records to date? I’m not sure, but Fucked Up is doing just that with their upcoming record, Glass Boys. After David Comes to Life blurred the lines between enigmatic concept records and the band’s ferocious, melodic hardcore style, it was always going to be hard to top such a perfect specimen in their genre, but signs point to something just as potent on the way. The already released “Paper the House,” with its precision drumming and Damian Abraham’s distinct hoarse voice, clearly dialed back a little from the bombastic sound of their previous release.
This isn’t a sign of slowing down or playing it safe; the track is thunderous, and is a clear indication that all is well in the Fucked Up camp. Hopefully even betters things are on the horizon. - Jason Stives
Say Anything - Hebrews (06/10)
A new Say Anything album always brings lots of trepidation. Everyone knows there will never be an equal to …Is a Real Boy. Max Bemis even knows. But regardless, Bemis’ musical and lyrical witticisms seem to find their way into each album to some degree of success.
Unpopular Opinion alert: I really liked Anarchy, My Dear, as well as the direction Bemis was taking his music, so I was very excited when Hebrews was announced to drop on June 13.
The album will be Say Anything’s fourth full-length, and two tracks have already been released to mixed reviews. No doubt Hebrews will be different, but the main shock of this album is its lack of guitar, which tends to be a standard in basically all music that you’ll find featured here on POZ. Another (not-so-surprising) element is the immense number of guest vocalists. Bemis is known for featuring friends and family as collaborators on previous albums, and Hebrews is no exception. - Caitlin DeWeese
PropertyOfZack is continuing a new string of Playlist features from individual team members to highlight specific feelings or desires. Next up is titled Let’s Play This Game Called When You Catch-Phrase by Managing Editor Adrienne Fisher.
We’re all aware of the homogeneity that exists amongst the band and song names in this little scene of ours – in fact, it’s often the subject of sarcasm or confusion when trying to keep straight how many records you’ve bought over the years with the name “Day” somewhere on the front. But what’s even more fun to realize is the overlap that exists in words and phrases from bands of last era’s wave of emo and pop-punk with ones that are making music today.
So, for my playlist, let’s play this game called when you catch-phrase – or simply put, let’s just have some fun with word associations, for those of you who like layman’s terms and not puns off Fall Out Boy lyrics. The objective was to chain together songs from different artists of yesteryear to this year that had some significant overlap between a band name and the subsequent song title – be it a shared phrase, similar alliteration, or even a straight up reference to another band. The result is a zig-zagging pattern that does wacky things like pair up New Found Glory to Failure, and while I’m sure I’ve achieved little sense in terms of sonic flow, we can at least all take some solace in that no one but me will actually ever play The Wonder Years followed immediately by Naked Raygun.