by Jason Stives, edited by Erik van Rheenen
Music laced with humor is always a difficult thing to take seriously, but it’s something that is greatly appreciated for entertainment value and a certain level of craft. James Dewees and his alter ego, Reggie and the Full Effect, have always been able to let the humor bleed through the cracks of personal and sometimes very deep songwriting. For the last five years, this project has laid dormant due to other commitments and for some the less than stellar reception of the band’s last effort 2008’s dark, addiction-themed Last Stop: Crappy Town. Although this reviewer more than commended the depth and risk that was taken on it, it was a very dark corner of Dewees’ life that spawned it and was a rather tough pill to swallow.
So it’s no surprise that Dewees decided to return Reggie to the good old days with his sixth studio release, No Country for Old Musicians. It’s rather fitting that the title and some of the subsequent album tracks, like the Country Bear Jamboree intro and Django Unchained styling of “Guerrera,” echo an Old West feel. Much of the tongue-in-cheek music Dewees is known for feels like the music of its time (in this case the music of the mid 2000s). However, No Country for Old Musicians feels like a traditional Reggie record despite being a bit of a retread in style and growth.
All the catchy choruses and rather straight-laced rockers are here. “Super Croc vs. Mega Doosh” adds the humorous flavor to its title that masks a great Reggie track launching into basic punk dynamics of fastness, furiousness, and painlessness. The track that follows, the Wheatus-tinged “37,” with its chorus of “la la la’s,” makes it easy to remember that, three tracks in, everything is on the right track. “Revenge Is a Dish Best Served at Park Chan-Wook’s House” is another tremendous highlight, fusing Dewees’ signature synth chords with a chugging guitar riff over top of his spiteful lyrics and nasally vocal projections.
by Jason Stives, edited by Erik van Rheenen
The Get Up Kids frontman Matt Pryor has spent the past decade devoting almost every year to creating new music. Between fronting the iconic emo band and his own folk-infused act the New Amsterdams, he has released no less than three solo efforts in the past five years, making it difficult to identify him with just one outfit. Pryor bleeds a level of musicianship and constant output that many don’t serve up, leaving it impossible to deem one sole release of his as a side project. Wrist Slitter, the fifth LP under his own name, is a vibrant splash of nineties fuzz rock accented by the folk sensibilities he has practiced since the early 2000s.
If there is one thing that Pryor’s labor displays constantly, it’s the laid back breeziness that comes from his voice which is all nerves and a hint of twitchiness that only youth can harness. His 30 something demeanor is no match for the ageless quiver that he lashes out on “The House Hears Everything” and “Kinda Go to Pieces,” songs that piston at record rates, harkening back to his emo roots. Never braking too hard or, for that matter, slowing down, all the key influences of his career pepper the record. As a fan of nineties alt favorites like Superchunk and Braid, this is an album that would have felt right at home as a release in between TGUK’s Something to Write Home About and On A Wire, an effort that displays continuous learning and longevity through maturation.
Pryor seldom allows the tracks to overstay their welcome, and for the most part, no song drags beyond the three and a half minute mark. Even when tracks take on a style reminiscent of a New Amsterdams’ track, like they do on the string quartet imbued “As Perfect As We’ll Ever Be,” it’s punctual and straight to the point with no meandering. There is no time to really mess around, and this is where 18 years of constant output shines brightly in his work.
by Brittany Oblak, edited by Erik van Rheenen
The EP from the Matt Pryor and James Dewees emo powerhouse duo might not even be eight minutes long, but you know the saying: “It’s not quality but quantity.” That statement is more than applicable here.
The first track, “I Can Be So Cold,” is brought in with a noisy, static synth and staccato piano chords that pull listeners into the song immediately. Almost instantly, we’re met by Matt Pryor’s familiar vocals singing, “Call this my absolution/ Call it what you want.” The song really picks up its pace when the chorus kicks in, intensifying not only instrumentally but as well as with Pryor’s voice as he sings, “I can be so cold,” resonating over everything.
“Failing You,” the song second up to bat, could easily be passed off as a Get Up Kids song that got lost somewhere along the way and was found again and put on this album. Everything from the instruments (the track’s percussion, especially), to the overall manner of Pryor’s vocals, and even the lyrics (“Shiver and shutter and I fall to the floor trying, and I’m dying, failing you, I’m failing you, failing you every time your patience is just wasted”) are reminiscent of The Get Up Kids. Especially noticeable when the chorus rolls in, this song sounds like a long lost B-side to Something To Write Home About.
Matt Pryor has signed to Rory Records/Equal Vision Records. Pryor and James Dewees will be releasing an EP together via the label on October 1st. Pryor will also be releasing a solo record on November 12th called Wrist Slitter. Check out the artwork and track listing for the EP with James Dewees below after the jump.
Most of our favorite bands experience major shifts in their sound at one point or another in their careers. Many albums that end up being our favorites in a band’s discography can first be greatly disliked due to that change of sound (see: In Reverie, Coming Home, etc), but our opinions often change.
For a new PropertyOfZack Discussion, we thought it would be fun for team members to take a look at some of the most notable shifts in sound and stylistic reinventions in our scene. Read up below and reblog to let us know some of your favorite changes in sound!
Brand New from Your Favorite Weapon to Deja Entendu
Analyzing the shift between Brand New on Your Favorite Weapon and Deja Entendu, for me, is like telling your son that while playing Magic the Gathering online is pretty cool (Note: I am not being sarcastic in the least), you’re really happy that he decided to grow up and start socializing outside of the cyber world.
Your Favorite Weapon is a phenomenal pop-punk album and many of its tracks are still fan favorites (think “Mixtape,” “Seventy Times Seven,” etc.), but its adherence to traditional pop-punk mannerisms holds it back. The album still employs Jesse Lacey’s superb songwriting and biting lyricism, without the complete genre transcendence present in Deja Entendu. On Deja, every song is a story that not only tugs on heartstrings, but resolves into bliss that all music fans can appreciate.
The maturation and experimentation between the two albums is the perfect example of Brand New’s never-ending transformation towards pure sonic originality, as well as one of the pivotal moments of the band’s now thirteen-year career. - Donald Wagenblast
The Maine from Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop to Black & White
The Maine burst onto the scene in 2008 as one of a cluster of bands — We The Kings, Every Avenue, Mayday Parade — breaking the pop-punk mold by excising the punk entirely in favor of hypermelodic power-pop, and while they might not have been the first to enroll, they quickly moved to the head of the class. Their debut full length, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, was stacked from top to bottom with perfectly-constructed pop nuggets, from the surging bounce of “Girls Do What They Want” to the shimmering sway of wounded ballad “Into Your Arms.”
With the band jumping to major label Warner Bros. for their second full-length, the obvious move would have been to double down on the boyish looks and sugary hooks, but The Maine had other ideas entirely. The peals of crackling electric guitar that introduce “Don’t Stop Now,” the lead track of the Howard Benson-produced Black & White, served notice from the get-go that the new album was a more rocking affair; punchy guitar-forward tracks like the shimmying “Right Girl” and lead single “Inside Of You” bore that out. WB may have considered the album a commercial disappointment, but Black & White remains the band’s best-charting album to date, and in retrospect stands as a clear signpost, pointing the band in the direction they’ve pursued ever since. - Jesse Richman
blink-182 from Take Off Your Pants And Jacket to Untitled
Before 2003, the quintessential pop-punk trio (the one with the album name that referenced masturbation, not the one that wrote a song about it — I’m looking at “Longview,” Green Day) peppered their albums with flashes of maturity and watered those down with long bursts of juvenile humor. Yeah, “Happy Holidays, You Bastard” and “Dysentery Gary” are fun (if you’re 15), but for me, the hallmarks from their respective albums are “Stay Together For the Kids” and “Adam’s Song” — two songs that dropped the silly shtick and swung for more emotional responses.
Ten years ago, Mark, Tom, and Travis finally got serious, releasing their landmark untitled record. No longer just awash with power chords and jokey lyrics, Untitled was (and still is!) gutsy and mature. I mean, earlier incarnations of blink would’ve sounded laughable with a Robert Smith appearance or the ethereal “The Fallen Interlude.” Neighborhoods admirably tried to carry the torch from Untitled, but its moodier moments — “Fighting the Gravity” is the worst offender — felt more forced and less restrained than its predecessor. - Erik van Rheenen
Panic! At The Disco from AFYCSO to Pretty Odd
"A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out" was every teenager’s not-so-guilty pleasure. It had more wit, a better kiss, a hotter touch…and it had angst. So when "Pretty Odd" came out with a Beatlemania vibe to it, most people thought the shift in sound was indeed pretty odd.
On top of that, P!ATD ditched the exclamation point. What caused this sudden change of heart? Where did the edge go? It took me a few listens to accept the change, but “Northern Downpour” and “When The Day Met The Night” won me over in the end with acoustic chords and clever, tongue-twisting lyrics.
While Panic! never needed to change its sound, it was nice to get a different taste of what they had to offer. Behind all the sarcasm, there’s a soft side to P!ATD, and that side has a heart of gold. - Sydney Gore
The Get Up Kids from Something To Write Home About to On A Wire
In hindsight, the style shift between The Get Up Kids’ classically favored Something to Write Home About and its wizened, tender sibling, On a Wire, is the most natural progression in the world. Their early beginnings of raw nerve emo in Four Minute Mile was expounded upon with bigger hooks and playful synthesizers on Something to Write Home About, and while STWHA is an absolute classic and often lumped into categories with the emo giants of the 90s, On a Wire doesn’t collect its due credit for being the more mature and sonically diverse release.
This is just a goofy and quick read. Aliens exist, to Tom DeLonge. And maybe the rest of us. This is the story of how he was abducted, and how it has changed his life forever.
You know what’s smart? Being an “up and coming band” only to make fake Warped Tour laminates. Having Kevin Lyman find you out and call out out. Denying Kevin Lyman and calling him a liar. And then releasing a statement saying that you actually lied and did fake the laminates.
Taylor Swift covered Fall Out Boy’s “My Songs Know” this past weekend with a little help from Patrick Stump. Taylor Swift is quite an outspoken Fall Out Boy fan, so enjoy.
The Get Up Kids are playing their first shows in two years. Their first shows in two years will be full album sets of Four Minute Mile and Something To Write Home About. Sorry, this is only happening in Japan.
It looks like Rise Records have retained their second largest band (after Sleeping With Sirens) for a few more records. It will be interesting to see if OM&M can make a similar imp at SWS with their next record.