This month’s offering ended up being quite robust at 60 tracks but I assure you there are no duds here. Plus, I do what I want. You will start seeing a steady drop-off in quantity (QUANTITY I SAID) over the next few months as I continue to work on a few projects of which I will formally announce soon. I’ve also been committed to spending more time with my favorites and exploring classic albums that I’ve passed up over the years. This only means that future mixes will probably include older tracks among all the new stuff I’m digging. I’ve slowly come to the realization that I am plowing through so much new music that I’ve not only become one-dimensional but I’m not executing sufficient due diligence as a music blogger/writer. This in no way, shape or form implies that I am all jaded with the current music scene. In fact, it’s the exact opposite…as evidenced by the magnitude of this mix.
I had the chance to make it out to the Restorations record release party last month at Kungfu Necktie. I picked up the LP before the show even started, based solely off the 2 new songs available to stream at the time and the stamp of get-this-shit-now I gave to their previous 12″ on Paper + Plastick. Strange Behavior hinted at the band’s ability to seamlessly cross genres and Restorations sees these guys taking this skill a step further, into a sparsely occupied realm of unclassifiable post-everything-core centered around chiming to cascading guitars, lead singer Jon Loudon’s signature growl and unpredictable twists/turns/ups-downs. Case in point, I was a little caught off guard by the opening track’s dark-alley-crawl into a crescendo of fuck-yeah buzzing, space-guitar action. They also opened the show with this to très maximum effect. Again, you’d think a band with such a steep hardcore/punk-rock pedigree would stray from any sort of sing-along melodies but cuts like ‘Neighborhood Song’ and the anthemic closer ‘When You’re Older’ embed themselves into that certain sweet spot in your brain where great songs go to earn their keep. Don’t take that the wrong way – I’m not playing the aging-punks-write-pussy-mature-rock-album card (I’m probably older than any single member here…) – these guys can rip, on tape and live. If you pine for music with true staying power instead of the standard daily dose of band/song-of-the-moment, hype-machine bullshit then you could stand to set this on repeat to help wash away that excess. The LP can be had for a cool $13 – still available from Tiny Engines in classic black or clear with yellow swirl. Stream and/or purchase the digital version on their Bandcamp. As I write this I think the band is looking for a new practice space in the Fishtown area. If I weren’t renting I’d offer up my basement, considering my neighbor’s kids are as loud as jackhammers at all hours of the day and week.
Closet Drama sprung forth from the same TX scene that gave us Joe Jitsu (the new band sharing 2 members of the old band), and now lead singer/songwriter Charlie has, if I may be so presumptuous, finalized his vision. Not that Joe Jitsu were without merit, releasing at least 2 great albums and a superb EP over the course of 10 years, but where that band leaned one way (four-eyed pop punk) and then another (melancholic punk pop), and yet another (Brian Wilson “pure” pop) Closet Drama firmly has it’s sound and style on sure footing. Dream State is a confident declaration of a band that knows what it wants in the studio, and has the chops to deliver. The sheer enjoyment I get from the production is almost ridiculous. Since when do the harmonies and melodies (both top-notch here, natch) and lyrics take a back seat to guitar sound? With me, rarely. Another unlikely but welcome thing about the album is that all 11 tracks clock in over 3 minutes, many close to or over 4 minutes, and yet each song feels half as long. The sequencing makes the album flow so smoothly it’s a nice ride no matter the length. My favorite tune at the moment is the epic album closer, “Faux.” Although there’s a tiny bit of bite and speeds pushing the limits of what can actually be called “mid-tempo” for the most part this is good old crunchy pop. Fans of Lemonheads, the A/V Club, and regular visitors to the Power Pop Madness blog should seek this out post haste.
Not only does today mark the unleashing of over 3 hours of new(ish) music on the April mix but, in case you are A.) blind or B.) reading this from an aggregator, you’ll have noticed a brand new BTID logo up above. A very special \m/(-_-)\m/ goes out to Jon Kraynak for not only putting said logo together for the site but providing artwork for this month’s mixtape. If you are in need of any illustrating or design don’t deny yourself his services.
Tonight I’ll be finally getting around to seeing William Fitzsimmons at World Cafe. Will has a perfect songwriter’s background which includes being born to two blind parents and suffering from a variety of psychological struggles, most recently post-divorce depression. I’ve long been a fan of his heart-on-sleeve take on the soft-spoken folk genre (i.e. Iron & Wine/Elliott Smith though simpler) so seeing him upstairs at WCL should make for real treat and a much-needed change of pace as far as live shows go. (My ears are still ringing from the recent Joy Formidable gig…) His last few albums have been leaning towards a considerably more accessible sound (read: more Ben Gibbard or recent Jeremy Enigk than Sam Beam) but I feel compelled to at least see the beard him once. His latest, Gold In The Shadow, is seeing a vinyl release on April 16 (Record Store Day, posers) via the semi-giant Nettwerk and it’s easily his best since 2006’s Goodnight. Slow Runner is along for the ride and although I’m not at all familiar with their catalog I’ve heard some positive words spoken by others.