Monday, June 27, 2011

The Disabled - The Lavender Album


Last summer, my old band went on this fiasco of a tour, but if there are two things I remember fondly from this experience, it would be The Warehouse (awesome venue in La Crosse, WI) and The Disabled (awesome pop punk group from the same location). Those two things, along with the hospitality we received staying at this girl Caroline's house across from the venue, were like this huge, shining beacon of awesome, and they made the last show of our cut-short tour as awesome as possible. So, for that, I love The Disabled.


The Disabled are going on tour to support their new release, 'The Lavender Album', and their tour kick off show will be July 9th at The Warehouse...hopefully. The Warehouse has to collect a lot of money in the next couple days to keep the venue running. You can donate to this cause over at their website, and you definitely should. I've never been in a venue nearly as cool as The Warehouse...and you haven't either, dudes.


Now, about this album:


'The Lavender Album' is The Disabled's third full length since forming in 2005. They've become more advanced as musicians and songwriters and more eclectic with influences expressed within their music. They definitely fall most heavily into the pop punk category, being similar to bands such as Mr. T Experience and Gateway District, but I'd say indie music would be the second most obvious influence on this record.


The album starts off on the slower side, but picks up pretty well a couple tracks in. "Johnny 99" is probably my favorite song on the release, mostly for how well the vocals sound for that one specifically. This album is self recorded at the personal studio for the record label Mob Front Records, which was founded by the members of Disabled. It's definitely on the lo-fi side, but that doesn't take much away from the listening experience. I honestly think everything sounds great, for the most part. The vocal recording just seems like it could use some extra work.


Actually, "I'm No Hero, I Just Like Punching People in the Face" might be my favorite on this release. And yes, it's possible that I'm only saying that due to the keyboard parts. I love it, though.


You can check this album out over on bandcamp, and you definitely should. It's a fun-sized full length with a lot of awesome put into it. Go help out The Warehouse if you can! If you've never been there, then your donation is obviously necessary so that you may get a chance to one day. It's awesome, promise.


-Idle


Idle and the Bear. Disabled.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Interview with Max Stern of Signals Midwest


Signals Midwest are this awesome punk/indie band from up in Cleveland. They have a really awesome full length under their belt (Burn the Blueprints), and they have another one coming out in July. We got a chance to do an interview with guitarist/singer Max Stern over email, and here it is! We're also posting a song off the upcoming album at the bottom of this interview!

So how did Signals Midwest end up getting started? What's the full story?

I got into playing shows like a ton of high-school kids do: I played in a ska band.  We played our first real show at the Grog Shop in Cleveland in 2004 I think.  Delay headlined that show and it was my first introduction into the local punk scene and I loved it.  I had never seen anyone play that fast or that loud before! Anyway, that band lasted for about five or six years and I got a lot of good experience writing songs and playing shows, but we only put out one record and never played outside of Ohio.

In 2007 or 2008 I met a bunch more people like Matt Sanders from the Sidekicks, Andy Cook from Ghost Town Trio, the Two Hand Fools kids...just a lot of people who were playing/setting up shows.  Early in the summer of 2008 My friend Josh brought me to a show at the Soggy Dog House and that was my introduction to the house show community.

I took a trip to DC and on the way home I got a call from Sanders asking if I wanted to play guitar for the Sidekicks on their east coast tour a few weeks later and I jumped at the opportunity.  I knew all the songs already because I'm a huge music nerd, so two weeks later there I was in the back of a van sandwiched between a bucket seat and a guitar amp, loving every minute of it.  We did a two-week tour with Ghost Town Trio and it was the best time ever.  I was 18 years old.  We all traveled in the same van.  I saw some places that I'd never seen and met a lot of people that I'm still close with today.  That tour was essentially my introduction to the U.S. DIY punk community.

When I got home, a bunch of friends and I attended Berea Fest 3 later in July and it was a mind-blowing experience to see so many bands and people coming together (plus I got to see Get Bent...RIP!).  At that point I had a lot of songs floating around my head and knew I wanted to start a new band.  Loren, who had played in my old band, was also getting into local punk bands like No Target Audience and Echoes of Harpers Ferry, so he picked up the bass and we decided to try to start playing together.  This was September of 2008 and I think he started playing bass like a week before we started Signals Midwest.  Anyway, Loren met a girl at his college who was wearing a Lawrence Arms hoodie and she said it was her boyfriend's and that they had just moved to Cleveland.  He mentioned that we were looking for a drummer and that was how we met Steve which turned out to be the luckiest find ever.  We played our first show as Signals Midwest on November 29th, 2008 and that was that.  Jeff (formerly of Echoes of Harpers Ferry) joined on guitar last July and has totally changed our sound because he's awesome and there's a lot more you can do with two guitars than just one - plus he's a huge Star Wars nerd which gives me something other than music to talk about at practice, so it's a win-win.

You mentioned how adding a new guitarist changed your sound a lot, and one of my questions goes along with that. How would you say your sound as a band has changed between your last album Blueprints and your upcoming album?

When we wrote and recorded Burn the Blueprints, it was the first 11 songs that we were able to play as a band.  Some of them were written when I was really young, like 16 or 17 years old.  At that point it was still us just getting comfortable playing together.  I was really just discovering bands like Hot Water Music, Dillinger Four, The Lawrence Arms - all the punk rock staples that have birthed a million sound-alike bands.  Don't get me wrong, I love that style of music, but the genre is definitely over-saturated with dudes doing their best Chuck Ragan or Brendan Kelly impressions.  And I've definitely been as guilty of that as anybody else has at one point or another.

Anyway, as we started playing more shows and touring and seeing what other cities had to offer musically, the natural course of things was for our influences to expand.  One of my favorite bands is the RX Bandits and that influence definitely started to pop up a lot more.  I think you can see it a lot on songs like In Tensions (http://www.ohioauthority.com/articles/arts/live-from-bad-racket-signals-midwest/page/2).

We all started to get into bands that were doing things that deviated from the standard punk rock formula: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Bridge and Tunnel, Algernon Cadwallader, Braid, Bear vs. Shark - not necessarily bands that sounded anything like each other, but all bands who were using interesting musical ideas like more complex guitar parts, harmonized/overlapping song sections, tapping guitar parts, time signature and tempo changes, just generally breaking the straight 4/4 time barrier that dominates most of punk rock.  Having Jeff join on guitar has allowed us to experiment more as a band with all of that stuff and really in terms of doing things that are more interesting than power chords...though there's still plenty of those too.  I think Jeff joining the band fundamentally changed the way each of us approached our role and allowed us all to loosen up a bit more and try things musically that we would have never attempted as a trio.

That video is awesome! I seriously think you guys are moving in the best direction possible. Blueprints was great, but this song is definitely far more involved musically and feels ways more mature. So when you guys write songs, how does the process usually go? Is it like you writing guitar and lyrics, and then everyone adding their part and changing it up? 
Thank you so much!  Adam Wagner of Bad Racket Recording Studio was the one who orchestrated that video, and he's also the dude who recorded and engineered the new album.  He's always got his hands in a ton of different creative projects and is one of my favorite people to work with on pretty much anything.

The songwriting process was another thing that changed a lot when we became a 4-piece.  For Blueprints it was pretty much me going "Okay, the song starts this way, verse here, chorus here, bridge here..." and so on.  Nowadays it works a lot of different ways.  Usually when I'm writing stuff I'll get an idea somewhere really random and inconvenient, like at the grocery store or while I'm driving somewhere, and I'll text a line or two to myself and then transcribe it into my notebook when I get home.  From there I just sit with my guitar and a notebook and write music and lyrics simultaneously.  I've never been able to just write lyrics to an entire song and add music to it later - the process is almost always simultaneous for me.  So yeah, I get some general vocal and musical ideas going for each song and then I bring it to the band.

Lately my stuff has been getting really transmogrified by the other band members and songs go in directions that I never thought they would.  Steve is an incredible drummer but also plays guitar and bass so he is very good at fitting interesting rhythmic parts to songs in which I would use just a straight-ahead beat.  Loren really digs weird time signatures and syncopation and is very OCD about that stuff which makes me think about our songs in ways that I never would otherwise.  Jeff is awesome at writing guitar parts that work really well with the rest of the band and just has a really great ear for what fits where.

The songs we wrote for this record are much more the product of a band working together rather than a songwriter who gets people to play music he writes and I'm really proud of that.  A lot of bands I know just have a chief songwriter who writes everything and tells everyone else exactly what to play, and while there are definitely certain segments of songs in which I do that, everything has been a lot more collaborative overall and it's been very rewarding for the most part.  There are definitely times in which we clash over a part that has two potential directions, but usually what happens is that we end up going a third way that satisfies everybody.

I've always really liked the idea of a band working together to create something, rather than just one dude writing everything. It just feels like way more can happen with a song that way.  So what's Cleveland's punk scene like now anyway? Who are the better local bands? Do punk bands generally stop there a lot on tours?
The people who do live here are pretty damn resilient and intent on making cool shit happen rather than just complaining about the industrial decay and the crumbling infrastructure.  Cleveland as a city is making some big strides in the academic and medical worlds which is cool to see, so I am definitely of the disposition that exciting things are always happening in town.

I am continually impressed with the independent music scene in general here.  Tons of touring bands that come through are always so surprised about the punk scene and how vibrant and full of life it is.  We are lucky enough to be very good friends with most of the other local bands.  Some that come to mind are Worship This!, Two Hand Fools, Andy Cook & the Wanderloons, The Fucking Cops, Reverse the Curse, The Ground Is Lava, Annabel, Gunnerson, Setbacks, Ultra Ultra, Asinine, Bros!, Light Years, and I'm sure there are more I'm not thinking of.  Those bands are all from Cleveland or surrounding areas like Akron, Kent, Oberlin, Hiram, and also spread all around the city.

There are also a bunch of bands who started out here but moved down to Columbus like The Sidekicks, Delay, and American War.  Columbus is only two hours south of us so there are great bands like Tin Armor, Saintseneca and New Creases who come up to Cleveland fairly regularly.  There's a lot of interplay between the two towns, even stretching to places like Cincinnati and Pittsburgh and Chicago.

Touring bands who come here are generally really stoked on what they find out about Cleveland.  Usually their preconceived notions of the town get smashed with in the first few hours of being here, which is awesome to see.  Since we often get skipped over to go to Detroit or Chicago or Pittsburgh, people are usually pretty receptive to the touring bands that do choose to play here.  Bomb the Music Industry! has gone from playing to 25 kids in a shitty college sports bar a few years back to damn near selling out whatever club they play here.  Algernon Cadwallader came last February and drew 80 people to a cold, dank basement on a Tuesday night or something.  We played with one of my current favorite bands, Joyce Manor from the Los Angeles area a few months back.  It was their first show ever in town and like 60 or 70 kids came out on a freezing cold weeknight.  We were hanging out later and they said something along the lines of, "Dude, we thought we were just basically going to have a public band practice at this show.  I can't believe how many people showed up!" and I just smiled like an idiot and was like "Well, yeah...we do it right in Cleveland."

Yeah, you get badly attended shows sometimes, but every city gets that.  Overall, this city definitely impresses me a lot more than it lets me down.

That's pretty awesome, I'd love to play up there sometime! What are your guys' plan for touring in the future?
In July, after the annual Berea Fest, we leave to do our first-ever west coast tour.  Out west to Washington, all the way down to Southern California and back through Colorado and Kansas.  It's like 22 shows in 24 days or something like that.  The longest tour we've ever done has been 9 or 10 days so we're pretty stoked to do something this big.  You can see all the tour dates up on our Tumblr site: http://www.signalsmidwest.tumblr.com.  I'm updating it constantly so follow that shit!

Beyond that, we don't have any other touring plans, but I'm sure we'll do an east coast thing come wintertime.  We're all pretty close to being done with school so who knows what'll happen after that.  I'm definitely cool with staving off getting a real job for a few more years, but sadly that might not be a reality for me or anybody else.  We're all between 21 and 25 right now so we're just doing as much as possible while we still can.

That sounds pretty cool. Touring out west should be a lot of fun. So about the new album, where did you guys record it? What all went into the recording process?

Every other time I've made a record, it's just been the track-by-track approach.  This time we went into Bad Racket Studios, which is in a huge warehouse on the west side of Cleveland in a sort of industrial district of the city.  Instead of doing each track separately, we spent a few hours getting the tones of all the instruments right and then just played each song a few times until we got takes that we were satisfied with.  I think we did 8 songs the first day and 4 the next.  There is a bit of bleed on each instrumental track and obviously for some stuff we had to punch back in with certain instruments. We did vocals and overdubs separately, but the live approach for the basic guitar, bass and drum tracks worked incredibly well in terms of the energy from a live show translating into the recording environment.

It was my first time recording anything live and I'm a huge proponent of it now.  Adam (Wagner, engineer at Bad Racket) set up a few mics to pick up the sounds of the huge room we were all playing in so there's definitely a good sonic atmosphere rather than just instruments and silence.  You can hear scratches, feedback, occasional fuck-ups, amp noise and so on but it all still sounds really good and clear.

Vocals were a whole different story because admittedly I'm not a very good singer.  My friends play in bands like the Sidekicks and American War and Tin Armor and all of them are just so incredible vocally and they have these incredible ranges and harmonies, and I just wasn't born with that ability.  That being said, I am pretty stoked on how the vocals turned out.  My girlfriend was showing me vocal techniques while I was tracking stuff, like how you can push down with your hands and project upwards which lets you get more air in your lungs and hold notes out higher or longer.  It took a few sessions interspersed throughout March and April to get it right but I think we've reached a point where we're happy with it.  It's definitely my best vocal performance that I've ever tracked.  Steve and Loren tracked some backup vocals too, and there's a good amount of gang vocals that feature a lot of our friends.  We made it work somehow.

I think Adam is going to make a separate version of the record with all the takes I messed up on.  I'm thinking about secretly putting that version on MediaFire or something, but it'd probably backfire and people would start thinking that those were the actual versions and then the whole thing would just make us look ridiculous.

Ha, it would be pretty interesting to have an outtakes version released, though. Are you guys just releasing this yourself, or are you looking around for labels to support it right now? I think you guys could probably find someone willing to put it out on vinyl for you, which would be awesome.
We're releasing the full-length ourselves on CD and digitally, which will consist of 10 of the songs we recorded.  It'd be great if someone offered to put it out on vinyl, but I'm not expecting anything.  But hey, contact us at signalsmidwest@gmail.com if you're interested!

The two other songs we did are going to be on a split 7" with our friends Shady Ave. from Clarion, PA.  It'll be our first-ever vinyl release and it's gonna be a split release between a bunch of people.  We're financing some of it ourselves, but there are also a few other people contributing.  My good friend Max Bulger runs a venue in Pittsburgh called 222 Ormsby, so part of it will be thanks to Ormsby Records which I guess is a label now.  There's this awesome kid, Scott Jones from Baltimore who runs a small label called Great Friends Records, and he's helping us with it as well which is so awesome.  Finally, Dan Rock of Lock & Key Record (Pittsburgh) is doing the packaging for us which is pretty rad.  So it's a five-way split release between the two bands, Ormsby Records, Great Friends Records, and Lock & Key.  It's the first time we've had any outside label support, which is huge.  It's basically a few of our friends and people who like our band all coming together to help us do it.

That's pretty awesome that you have people willing to help you guys put out a 7''. That's really cool! Is Signals Midwest something you think you could see yourself doing for a long time? 

I do think that we'll be playing for a while, but I'm not sure what "a while" constitutes.  A few years?  A decade?  I'm only 21 and am admittedly not that wise to the ways of the world, so I really have no idea.  I also can't speak for any of the other guys.  We're just doing this now because we love it - we're young and we can and it's fun as hell and it's our favorite thing to do.

In terms of new music and making stuff happen as a band: I'm hoping that this record reaches a wider audience than Blueprints did, and I think it will.  We're about to have the biggest summer we've ever had in terms of touring and sheer amount of ground we're going to cover and places we're going to see.  We've been invited to play some really great and momentous shows, like Stay Sweet Fest in Richmond, VA in April which was incredible.  We don't have any real label support and really not a big national following at all, but I do feel like word is slowly getting out, which is awesome to see.  I've already got four or five songs in the works for our next record, and I know Steve has been working on stuff too.  I think we're aiming to do a four- or five-song EP next which is something that most bands do before they put out a full-length, but I guess we've kinda done it backwards twice over.  We have a lot of things we would like to accomplish musically.  The best is yet to come, I feel.

There's a lyric from a new song we have called "The Quiet Persuader" which is "Is it so much to ask, to make a life out of this?" and I guess I can answer my own question with, "Yes, it is."  It is, but it shouldn't be.

We're all in school or working full time.  Some of us do both.  We all have other shit going on.  I definitely don't have any delusions of grandeur about making a life around our band.  It's a huge accomplishment for a band to just break even, but to actually be able to pay your rent and bills and have something to save after all of that?  At least for right now, that's a pipe dream.

Being a musician or any type of creative person is fucking hard to make a life around for most people I know, and it often gets pushed aside with age.  We're trying to do as much as possible now because, I mean, what other time is there?

What's the best case scenario for your band in your head? In terms of who you'd tour with, who you'd want to release a split with, what label you'd be affiliated with. Stuff that exists within the pipe dreams and whatnot. 

Good question.  I mean, the fact of the matter is that we're a small independent punk rock band with no label support, not much of a national following and separate lives outside of playing music together.  In order to truly become well-known and successful in this genre to the point where you don't have to book your own tours, put out your own records, pay for your own studio time and etc., you pretty much have to give your all and dedicate your life to it.  There are a few exceptions, but not many.

Realistically, I'd like to just keep playing and touring as much as we can, while we still can.  It's unbelievably fun and that's the bottom line.  As with any band of our stature, we'd love it if someone came along and helped us with record production/distro.  Some labels I love that are doing really great things for independent punk/indie music are ones like Topshelf, Count Your Lucky Stars, Run For Cover, No Idea, Protagonist, Tiny Engines, Paper & Plastick, Asian Man, Solidarity and a bunch of others of that nature that I'm forgetting to list now.  Being part of something like that would be fucking great, but I'm not crossing my fingers because you don't get anything unless you work incredibly for it and I don't think we're there yet.  Maybe once the new record comes out.  Who knows...

Bands I would want to tour with?  Oh man, so many.  I guess just bands that I've been listening to a lot lately like Bomb the Music Industry, Joyce Manor, Big Kids, Bridge & Tunnel, Run Forever, The Menzingers, Captain We're Sinking, Tigers Jaw, as well many of our friends who play in other bands in Ohio.  I'm sure if I asked the other dudes they'd come back with a million responses, but those are the ones off the top of my head.

It's crazy to see people that we've played shows with become so successful.  Some might think it's weird but I think it rules.  Seeing Bridge & Tunnel open up for the Gaslight Anthem at the House of Blues was pretty surreal - we played one of our first shows with them in a basement in Cleveland to like 25 people.  Having the Menzingers play a basement down the block from my apartment back in January signing with Epitaph a few months later is insane.  Some of my close friends play in The Sidekicks who are opening for Against Me! in a few weeks at the House of Blues here.  Things like that.  Bands that truly work hard, practice and tour their asses off, and never get pretentious or complain about deserving anything.  As long as you stay humble and hardworking I think that good things are bound to happen.

Menzingers definitely deserve to be signed to a big label like Epitaph. Whenever a band I love signs to an EpiFat label, I'm stoked because it means they'll be touring forever and I'll get to see them a lot. Is there any show or movie that everyone in your band just loves? Or is there a book or band that you all share love for?
Oh, man.  I'm not sure how to answer this.  I'll just tell you that Jeff has a Star Wars collection back home in Kansas that is worth thousands of dollars.  I saw it last summer and it was fucking amazing.

I don't know about any of the dudes' reading habits, but Jeff has "Don't Panic" tattooed on his leg.  I hope someone gets that reference.

Bands we all share love for?  The usual ones like Hot Water Music, Latterman, The Lawrence Arms - the (seemingly) universally popular punk bands I guess.  We all have diverse tastes but we overlap in those ares.  Not that I think our band sounds anything like those bands - I just think that's where we overlap the most in terms of stuff we all listen to consistently.

I've been wanting a Don't Panic tattoo for a while now, ha. I love Hitchhiker's Guide. I guess to wrap this thing up, what should we all know about the album? When's the release date? Do you guys have a title for it yet?
It's called Latitudes & Longitudes.  It's from a Henry David Thoreau quote:  "Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.”  The album deals with distance in a bunch of different ways and from several perspectives, so we thought it was fitting.  I've talked about it a lot here already but I'm really stoked about it.  We'll be putting up preorders and a few songs on our Bandcamp site so stay tuned.  We're hoping to have it online and in CD form by July 15th which is the first day of Berea Fest, an awesome DIY music festival in Berea, OH.  It also works really well because it's a day before we start our summer tour out west.  We'll probably do an official release show sometime in August.

I'm pretty excited about the release, as should be everyone else! I've been wanting to go to Berea Fest, but haven't had the funds to yet! I usually only have enough extra to make it down to The Fest. I hope I can make it out the release show! Thanks for the interview, dude. Your band is awesome.
Thanks! I tend to ramble so thanks for putting up with it.  Hope to see you soon!

Look out for Signals Midwest's upcoming full length Latitudes & Longitudes, coming out this July! And check them out on their "This Is My Home, These Are My Homeboys" tour this summer (if they're coming to a venue near you). You can find the tour dates on their facebook page, and probably up on their tumblr page as well!


Here's an exclusive track off the new album!


Signals Midwest - The Quiet Persuader by idleandthebear



And you can hear another song on the Idle and the Bear Compilation.

-Idle



Andrew Jackson Jihad split with O Pioneers!!!



A little while back, No Idea Records put out a split 9" between the awesome bands O Pioneers!!! and Andrew Jackson Jihad. I don't think I've posted anything about either of these bands before, due to the fact that neither of them have had a release since the beginning of this blog, but they're both amazing bands. Andrew Jackson Jihad are like this godly folk punk group from Arizona, and according to Tim McGowan, O Pioneers are the "best band ever". He also says they're like a 90s emo band now, similar to The Promise Ring or Jawbreaker. "He used to sound like Crimes era Against Me!, but as soon as Eric got a rhythm section, he dropped that shit." This is almost like as if Tim wrote this whole review, at this point.

The Andrew Jackson Jihad side of the split begins with the song "This Is Why I'm Hot", which will probably make you think it's their older song "Brave As a Noun" for the first few seconds; then you realize it's not. This song features the typical Andrew Jackson Jihad style of lyricism. Straight forward lyrics with a sense of humor, sung in a sort of wailing voice by vocalist Sean Bonnette. The instrumentation is mostly acoustic guitar, with some electric guitar thrown in to do some lead work. And of course, as always, Ben Gallaty on upright bass.

Then, for some reason, the second song is done in a very Hispanic style, and sung entirely in Spanish. I only remember some Spanish from high school...and I don't think it's quite enough to translate this song and figure out what's being sung about here. I promise I heard the word burrito, though. Honestly, this song isn't very different from the first one musically. Oh, I hear the word guitar in Spanish also! I was also just informed by someone in the comment section that this song is a This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb cover, but the original is in English.

The last song on the Andrew Jackson Jihad split features what I can only assume is now a staple for AJJ releases, a kazoo featurette! Where else can you go for one of those? Solid.

O Pioneers rock this split for me, though. It's vocalist/guitarist Eric Solomon (Texas) accompanied by the band Junior Battles (Toronto). Tim was right. This is definitely closer to The Promise Ring and Jawbreaker than it is to Against Me! anymore. These songs actually remind me a lot of Tim's band Ghost Aviary, which is pretty cool. The second song, "Oak Island", definitely kills it on this split. It's sloppy, filled with heavy guitar and heavier vocals being yelled by Eric. There's even this whole like twinkly emo bit that goes on halfway through the song, and it's pretty excellent. It leads into this short, awesome guitar lead and then goes back into the swing of things with the ending of the song.

The last song on the O Pioneers side of the split starts off with this noisy intro full of ambient guitar playing. It's of course broken up by Eric's infamous yelling. This song is darker than the rest on the split. Seriously, everything about it is heavy as shit, too. The lead parts sound kind of like the guitarist is expressing feelings he had when finding the dead body of a serial killer victim. Or something akin to that. Tim was right, this shit is definitely a far leap from the stuff Eric started out playing. It's definitely the right direction, too.

This split is gold. You can get it from No Idea Records! Rejoice!

-Idle

Facebook.

The Bear guest reviews for Rocket Fuel

Everyone should check out the new Rocket Fuel podcast! The Bear does a guest spot reviewing Perfect's Gonna Fail by Gateway District. Awesome!

-Idle

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cake vs. Cake - The Showdown

Disclaimer: Okay, this isn't an album review. Half of it isn't even music related. Half of it is legitimately about cake.

Dan the Man, friend of Idle and the Bear, has been on vacation in Utah this week. On his second day there, his aunt took him to see the band Cake perform at the Red Butte Garden. I decided that the food cake is much better than the band Cake...and we decided this needed to be officially put to the test. Dan wrote up a review on the show he attended, whilst his girlfriend Holly and I reviewed an actual cake back at home in Kentucky.

This is his story:


Cake Show - Red Butte Garden (Utah) - 6/17/11

Alright, so not only am I writing my first review of a concert ever, but for a band that I’ve never sat down and listened to. That would be Cake. My aunt surprised me on my trip out to see her with tickets to see them at the Red Butte Garden in Salt Lake City last night.

(The only remotely punk kid I saw was this dude in a Bad religion hoody, so sorry for all you SLC punk fans.)

This hippie mom next to me danced pretty much the whole time without shoes and only this little dress and top. No bra. Oh, did I mention it was a little chilly out? Pretty much a train wreck. Didn’t wanna look, but I couldn’t look away.

Anywho, Cake puts on a pretty entertaining show. It was just them, so they played two sets with a short intermission in between. The first set was mostly from their most recent album, which they released independently in January (and was fairly solid despite having a different sound from other Cake records).

One of the highlights from the first set was this song “Sheep go to Heaven to Goats go to Hell”; vocalist John McCrea did a good job getting the crowd involved on this song in particular. Also “Long time” and “Sick of You” were a couple cool numbers that they played from the new record. "Sick of You" is still stuck in my head today, even. Think about if Fred Durst put out a song with more syncopated word play, trumpet, synth, and catchy riffs.

Actually, throw out the Durst.

Second set was for all you nostalgic folks. They played a handful of older songs, including “Satan is My Motor”, which he made sure to inform the mostly Mormon crowd was just a metaphor. Cake was also doing this neat thing where they brought up one member of the audience up to identify a tree onstage correctly. Winner gets to keep the tree as long as they promise to plant it and send a picture of it to their website. He also gave permission for anyone in the audience to hunt the man down if he didn’t, so he better plant that apple tree!

After a while they did that thing all rock stars like to do-the planned encore. I knew what was coming but it was still great. The crowd was amped on their boxed wine as Cake played “The Distance”, “Short Skirt Long Jacket” and a funky rendition of Sabbath's song "War Pigs".

All in all, it wasn’t a bad rock show. Pretty eclectic style of sound and they do a good job bringing humor and energy to the show. I’ll probably go check out some of their records when I get back to Ohio. Plus, I managed to avoid overdosing and becoming a Mormon, as my girlfriend asked of me. And I found out Mormons know how to party. Word.

-Dan the Man

----------------------------------------------------------

Okay, not bad. It doesn't sound like an altogether bad experience. I mean, I could see myself not having a terrible time at a Cake show. But, in all honestly, I'd much rather go to a cake show...you know? Like, a convention center loaded up with people showing off their awesome homemade cakes to be judged by cake experts. That sounds like more of my scene. With that in mind, it was clear what had to be done. Holly and I needed to review an actual cake.

This is our story:

Oreo Ice Cream Cake - Newport, KY - 6/22/11

We start our story with the realization that the closest Dairy Queen to my house is about 20 minutes away. We decided that Kroger was the best option to find a cake on such short notice. Holly was supposed to bring some stuff to make a cake, but that was pretty much the only thing she forgot to bring over. She remembered to bring Joey's PS2 games at least, and my seasons of The Mighty Boosh. All is well.

Clearly, we went with an Oreo Ice Cream Cake. Because, what the fuck else could be a better decision? We cut the bad boy into 4 giant pieces, and chowed down on a piece each.

IT WAS AWESOME. OH MY GOD.

I mean, this is the first time I've had ice cream cake ever. And Oreos are already my favorite thing in the world, other than Jason Segel and The Wonder Years (I wish all of that was a band name, rather than separate things). So, this cake was fucking excellent.

UNFORTUNATELY

There was a noticeable lack of Mormons and hippie nipples....but...

FORTUNATELY

There was a noticeable lack of Mormons and hippie nipples.

EVERYTHING WORKED OUT OKAY.

Well, except the fact that our tummies are seriously aching up a storm now. The pain is almost enough to make me wish I could trade places with Dan in this review process...but not quite enough.

So, what's better? Cake or cake? I say cake. Holly says cake. We're pretty sure Dan agrees with cake being better than Cake. He's busy being a badass in the Colorado River, or we'd know his answer for sure. I guess we'll find out when he gets home!

-Idle

Holly's Picture Review










-Holly

Bandcamp is out of Free Downloads

Anyone who is trying to download the compilation from bandcamp will notice that it is out of free downloads now. I'm going to have this issue resolves this Friday when I get paid. I'll be buying 300 more free download credits, and setting up a paypal so that people can choose the name your price option and pay a penny for it, so that those without that ability can use the free download option.

Either way, until it's resolved. Here's a megaupload link to download the album!

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=UI2NB0BD

-Idle

UPDATE: I just bought the 300 download credits...so you can still get the album from idleandthebearrecords.bandcamp.com

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Grown Ups - Hand Holder

If you woke up today with a craving for something badass, then you're pretty much in luck. Emo/punk band Grown Ups from Chicago and whatnot have just released a new 7" featuring four new songs, full of clean guitar and dirty yelling. It's basically like if Lifetime and American Football were the same band. Maybe throw in some Banner Pilot to seal the deal. So, clear your musical schedule and listen to 'Hand Holder' all day instead. It's worth it.

The guitar is primarily on clean channel, and playing sweet sounding little leads throughout all of the songs. The vocals, as hinted earlier, are sung with a lot of grit and emotion. The raspiness of the singer's voice is essentially most of their similarity to the band Lifetime. Actually, the vocal melodies are pretty reminiscent as well. Grown Ups really remind me of the band Charlie Brown Gets a Valentine. The same awesome catchiness, with the same awesome emo-styled guitar bits.

So, what you can take away from this album...is pure awesome. And what you can take away from this review, is that this album is pure awesomeness. It's definitely among the top releases of the year, and you're just shooting yourself in the kneecap by not getting your hands on it right away. I mean, just listen to the song "Couch King" with it's awesome blues guitar lead intro into the perfect mess that is the vocals. You'll be hooked and you'll love it. So do it. Jerk.

-Idle

P.S. You're not a jerk.

Facebook.

The Living Daylights - What Keeps You Breathing


Apparently people in the UK are capable of far more than making great tea and awesome comedies...they also make great melodic punk music. Also, they have Hogwarts. That's pretty awesome.

The Living Daylights are a four piece melodic punk group from Lincoln (UK) who apparently spend most of their time constructing perfect songs with catchy vocals, powerful leads, and atmospheric instrumentals. If their album 'What Keeps You Breathing' was meant to paint a scene around us, it'd probably be like a naval battle scene or a rousing game of life size Wizard Chess. Or maybe a wild west duel. It'd be something similar to those scenes. I'm not the artist here...let them paint it for you.

I turned this album on earlier today to sound track my experience of cooking an eating a giant, awesome omelette. The music definitely fit it perfectly. The first song, "It Starts In Our Heads", busted my head open with infectious awesomeitude whilst I busted some eggs up into a mixing cup. The second song came pouring in as smoothly as the milk poured into the mixing cup with the eggs, and the drums pounded away whilst I beat the shit out of those eggs. It was legen - wait for it - DAIRY. (I've been watching too much How I Met Your Mother recently).

So, my making of an omelette may not have been a great naval battle scene, or a rousing game of Wizard Chess, but it did contain all of the same ingredients (tomatoes, onions, cheese, spices)...and it was accompanied by buttered toast. So, it was somewhat similar, right? The point is, this album could sound track just about any activity, really. I plan to listen to it again when I go downstairs to work out (once this omelette settles). So, if you want an album with infectious songs, strong backup vocals, and a slight brocore overtone...and you want it to have a sexy British accent:  you now know where to go. Get your hands on a copy of 'What Keeps You Breathing' by The Living Daylights and rejoice, sinner. You won't regret it. It's fucking awesome.

-Idle

The Living Daylights. Idle and the Bear.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Spoonboy - The Papas


I'm totally shitting a turtle over this new album by Spoonboy. It's the first Spoonboy release in six whole years. Six longggggg years. But, it's all good, because it's fucking excellent.

So basically this album was created by Spoonboy and company. Company meaning members from Defiance Ohio, Hot New Mexicans, Nana Grizol and some other bands. I mean, the album starts off with a song about Michigan which features a horn section. The recording quality is on the lower side, which some fuzzy sounding electric guitar...but the vocals sound completely fine so everything is everything.

Every song on this album is excellent, seriously. I mean, I was initially excited because the album has "Stab Yer Dad" on it, and that's my favorite Spoonboy song. But, the album turned out to just be comprised entirely of awesome songs. It's like if Barney Stinson were a folk-punk album. Well, you know...the lyrics aren't about banging girls or anything. I just meant their awesome levels are equal. But, in case you If You Make It peeps are wondering...the album version of "Stab Yer Dad" is fucking awesome. It's seriously everything I could've asked for. I'm shitting turtles over this album. I don't know what that means. I hope it's nothing gross.

The best part about getting to listen to the album version of "Stab Yer Dad" finally, is that this song "Do You Need a Messiah?" comes on right after it...and it's fucking great. Four songs in and you know that this album is going on a bunch of top 10 lists for this year. Here's my top 10 list of top 10 lists this album will be on:


  1. Top Ten CDs to Use As Ninja Throwing Stars
  2. Top Ten Reasons To Not Die This Year
  3. Top Ten Sexual Positions in CD Format
  4. Top Ten Albums of the Year (No shit, bro)
  5. Top Ten Breeds of Horses in CD Format
  6. Top Ten Records to Spin at a Wedding, Funeral, or other such event.
  7. Top Ten Cans of Soup in CD Format
  8. Top Ten Reasons Folk Punk Could Get You or Your Female Relatives Pregnant
  9. Top Ten Best Written Albums of the Year, Lyrically
  10. Top Ten Sounds Drunk Owls Make In CD Format
That's just the short version...there could be a Top 50 list, but it wouldn't really fit the format. So, every song is fucking awesome. There's horns on like half of them or more, and there's even like an acoustic version of this album out somewhere...I saw it on google images. It was blue. I guess it's like a demo reel. I want it, too, though.

"Hegemonic Blowfish" might be the best song on this fucker. The lyrics are brilliant, the vocals are wonderful and infectious, and the instrumentals are dirty and confused. I fucking love it. We're about halfway through this masterpiece, and "it's not over 'til the fat fish sings."

It's almost unfair. Right after I decide "Hegemonic Blowfish" is the best, "Peanuts" comes on a couple songs later and gives it a run for its money. Fuck. It actually pretty much goes in this manner throughout the entire record. So, basically, it's your job to go get this album and listen to it a million times. I don't really have any criticism for it, to be honest. I mean, I could be petty and say that the format doesn't switch up much from song to song...but I don't really judge that anyway. It feels like a book of poems that goes along to a score of music, and if it's thought about in that way...the music definitely changes up enough to keep it fresh and interesting. 

Get this album. I love it.

-Idle

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Idle and the Bear Compilation Volume 1


Idle and the Bear have released the first of many awesome compilations! Head over to the bandcamp page and download it now!

Tracklist:
01. Dead North - Risk Analysis*
02. House Boat - Terminally Unique*
03. Arms Aloft - Comfort at Any Cost
04. Lisabi - Dó Maior
05. Black sails, Western Shores - Lullaby For The Working Class
06. Yonrinsha - Is It All Downhill?
07. Church & Chambers - This Reminds Me Of A Drinking Game I Played Once
08. Dads - Dan's Christopher Walken Impersonation
09. Jay Tea - I Believe (in nothing)
10. The Credentials - Descending The Garbage Chute
11. Matt Wixson's Flying Circus - They Can't Fix Me*
12. Les Rasoirs Electriques - Qu'ai je à répondre
13. Direct Hit! - Werewolf Shame
14. DC Fallout - A Man Without A Country
15. A Billion Ernies - Gone
16. Tall Tales - The Big Salad OR My Boys Can Swim (acoustic)*
17. The Gateway District - Run Away
18. Chiense Telephones - thosehotmilwuakeenights
19. Avondale - Anything But Great*
20. Maladroit - There's No I In DIY
21. The Spinoffs - Wilt Chamberlain (Fixed Gear Lovin')
22. Jake Mcaulay - Growing Up Is For People Who Hate Peter Pan*
23. Magic Hammer - Feel better, Heather*
24. The Lollies - I Am a Malcontent
25. Signals Midwest - Monarchs*
26. Ghost Aviary - Chelsea*
27. The Creeps - Follow You Home
28. Dan Padilla - MNPLS
29. Caddywhompus - The Focus
30. Small Time Crooks - The Next Best Thing
31. The Steinways - Today Is The Day We Are Getting Married
32. Pretty Johnny - Le désespoir au bout du fil
33. That's Incredbile - It's All Good
34. Billy Wallace - Tucumcari*
35. Matt Pless - Dirty Needles*
36. The Plurals - Run
37. Dead City Radio - Like A Seizure
38. This Is My Nightmare - I Heard It's Still Punk If It's Sloppy Enough*
39. Stoned At Heart - Turn And Run Away
40. Hello Nurse - Hideaway
41. Mixtapes - The New Ride the Lightning

*Previously Unreleased

DOWNLOAD-BANDCAMP
DOWNLOAD-MEGAUPLOAD


 Download it! It's awesome :) The bands are rad.


THANKS:

Bear: Most importantly, thanks to Idle for being the best co-owner a girl could ask for and thanks to all the bands and labels we worked with to make this happen. Thanks especially to Greg and D-Ray from Community Records and Adam Alive from It’s Alive Records for being so great to us, and all the bands who took the time to write us songs. A million thanks to my childhood friend, partner in crime, and constant source of sunshine, Whitney Weydert for providing our AWESOME album art. Thanks to Jake Mcaulay for being my best friend, stress reliever, and “bandmate”. Thanks to the boys that I’ve been talking to on facebook 24/7 because I’ve spent my entire life on the computer working on this compilation- you know who you are. Thanks to my cat, who tested all of these songs with me and puts up with dancing to Direct Hit! and House Boat with me. I won’t say any favorites- but thanks to the bands that have been our friends for so long now and were so great about working with us on this. Thanks to Nissin for making Top Ramen- I can’t work without food. And most of all, thank YOU for being our readers, fans, and friends and for downloading/buying this compilation. We love you! Bear hugs.

Idle: I would like to thank all the awesome bands and people who worked with us in putting this out. A special thank you to Greg and D-Ray from Community Records, Tim McGowan from Ghost Aviary, Adam from It's Alive, and The Bear for being a badass co-owner. Working on Idle and the Bear has been one of the most rewarded experiences of my life. I love the bands and I love the people. If you read our blog, you're awesome and I fucking love you. We hope to do this for like, forever. We want to put out so many more awesome compilations for our fans to enjoy the hell out of. God speed, lades and gents.

-Idle and the Bear

Facebook.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Story Changes new EP: This Is Your Moment

The Story Changes is an AWESOME rock group from my hometown, Dayton OH. They just released their new EP, This Is Your Moment and I seriously love it and so will you.
I just thought I'd like to share with you guys.... Even though you can buy the 7" here for just 6 dollars (dude, go for it), they're also totally open to and pushing the download on mediafire for people to listen to- badass, right?
Go download it right now, listen to it 20 times through, and then go buy the record. :)
--Bear

The Measure [SA] - Jersey's Best


Okay so, I lost my job. What does that mean for me? Moving back to my dad's in Kentucky. What does that mean for you? More reviews from me finally. And this one is like a double feature! It's a review of an album followed by a story about my sister, Tales From the Crypt, canoeing, and the lack of canoeing. So yeah, bro! Let's dive in!

Okay so, The Measure [SA] are done for. When they chose to call it quits, they wanted to end things right. By playing more shows, Fest 10, and putting out this single I suppose. I guess it's called Jersey's Best because their old drummer's band already took the way better title Jersey's Best Prancers. It's a logical reason to call a single such.

"Jersey's Best" is everything you'd expect from The Measure, in terms of how great and how catchy is. But it also kind of just upsets me. It's like, they release this really awesome pop punk song, and it's on the last thing they're ever going to release. It has the same feeling that you get when you read the last Calvin and Hobbes or Peanuts strips. You've just like, "what now, Charlie Brown?" It's blowsville. It's probably also why I quit watching Six Feet Under before the series ended. So basically, it's high energy, messy, infectious, awesome pop punk...and they're nice enough to give us two b-sides for this shit.

The first song on the b-side, "Just Run Faster", sounds a lot like 80s punk music, and it's probably more or less what they were aiming for with it. I like it even more than I like "Jersey's Best", though. It's pretty awesome. But don't worry, the single is at least better than one of the b-sides. "Safer Spaces" is a pretty alright song, but the vocals just sound too sloppy to me. It could be the recording; it could be the performance. I don't know.

So, would I recommend buying this record? Yeah, I mean...it's inexpensive. It's a cool little gem to have since it's the last thing they'll ever release. And the songs really are worth listening to over and over again. Honestly, there aren't too many better ways to say goodbye to a bunch of pop punk dorks, and now that The Measure have done this, there's even fewer ways left.

-Idle

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hiding Out Loud- Hiding Out Loud EP

Hiding Out Loud is a great pop punk/posthardcore/indie/I'm not really sure what else group from Flemington, New Jersey. It's made up of Jeff Hersch, Christian Terjesen, Derek Munro, and Mike Carbone. I actually laughed my ass off and love the quote they have up on their bandcamp page- "...sounds like a confused Brand New trying to fuck Transit." Because it does. This album was self produced, and it was released on the 11th of this month. :)
You know it's a good album when you're thirty seconds into the first track and you're already planning on burning it to CD for the car. "Transitions" starts off like so many songs do- group vocals and a slow beat in the background. However, this doesn't mean they're generic. It's a familiar sound with a new take on it. The song has a driving melody with a powerful and prominent bassline and great vocals. Note: Nothing makes me smile more than being able to hear the fun radiating off of musicians as they record. Nothing shows a band having fun quite like one of the members shouting WOO! in the middle of a song.
This is actually the third time I'm listening to the album (as a good reviewer should do) and every time, it grows on me a little bit more. I love their instrumentals quite a bit- the bass and the guitar seem to trade back and forth in the melody, but it's still consistent. I also love the lyrics on this song- great thoughts on top of great music.
The next track, "Every Dog Has It's Day," picks up the pace quite a bit. It's got a very fast paced melody and a catchy chorus- what else do you need? The guitar is creative, the bass is (once again) tres formidable, the drums rock, and I am still so digging the vocals. They have the full package! I also have a feeling that Hiding Out Loud kicks ass live- can anyone testify to that  for me?
 "Reese Without Her Spoon.." first off, LAWL. I can't even give real 'ha ha's to that. That is just a big lawl. Anyway, this song has the best lyrics on the entire EP. Hands down. I love what an important part the bass plays in Hiding Out Loud's music- typically, the bass hides in the background playing the same 3 damn notes the entire song... Not the case here. It's a great song.
"Clouds", if we're still going by "Most.... on the album" is the most catchy. I fucking LOVE this song. The outro is the cutest thing I've heard all week, and it had some tough competitors for that title. 5 stars.
Last but not least, "On Margins Of Old Books" continues the theme of the rest of the album. It rocks. Everything is great and it ties in together perfectly.
The download also includes an acoustic version of "Every Dog Has His Day." It's cute as hell.

Hiding Out Loud is great. Go have their babies.

-Bear

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Wonder Years Record Release Show 2011


So, The Wonder Years' record release show was broadcasted live on Hopeless Records tonight. So I guess it's like the 2nd best thing to having been able to actually go to the show...or maybe the 7th or 8th best thing. It's something at least, and I love when bands do this shit. The show was slated to start at 9:45 PM, and I'm typing this as it progresses...and it's sbout ten minutes in and nothing has happened yet. I guess this show is running at punk rock time slots, and that's pretty cool I suppose. I caught a little bit of the Fireworks set earlier...and the crowd kind of looked like a bunch of unenthused stepford wives. People should be way more excited about such an awesome show...but I guess that's not how bro-core dudes roll. I'm going to be editing this post everytime I type a new paragraph as the show progresses.

Along with the video being streamed online, there was this whole chat interface next to the video full of idiots and bigger idiots posting every split second about absolutely fucking nothing. It said "non-idiots need not submit" when I tried to add to he conversation, so I didn't say anything. Actually, I didn't really try to. Seriously...it was pretty bad. For those of you who also tuned in, you were given the privilege of watching the band set up while reggae music played into your headphones (assuming you have to wear headphones due to your dad trying to watch How I Met Your Mother in the same room...by the way, this show is getting in the way of watching How I Met Your Mother...fuck). Sound check took fucking ages. They shouldn't have turned on the video until it was done, honestly.

Finally the lights go as dim as the point in the livestream chat...and then they go as red as my vision when reading the chat. The Wonder Years are playing! The viewers mark has reached 1,181 viewers by the point of me typing this, and my excitement has been turned up to 11! What's up with Soupy and hoodies? Is he Mike from The Devil Sucks At Playing Music. They kick off the set with one of the best songs off Suburbia, "Local Man Ruins Everything. Everything" sounds awesome...except the backup vocals...they're so fucking loud and obnoxious. I really hope somebody gets on top of that shit. God I want to be there so fucking badly. This shit is being played as tight as it was recorded and I fucking love it.

Soupy took the hoodie off during Local Man. Oh shit, shit must be going down! Oh shit, now this song I accidentally ripped off is coming on. "Everything I Own Fits in This Backpack". I'm pretty sure The Wonder Years are about to have an orgasm due to how many fans they have at this show...I totally wouldn't put it past them. Seriously, for how much shit goes on in a typical Wonder Years song, these guys execute it like it's nothing and it's really breathtaking. I'm really stoked on this show. The backup vocal volume got a little bit better, and that's awesome.

The instrumentals sound completely amazing in this...the quality is rad. Soupy opened up "Dynamite Shovel" by saying something like, "fuck your racism, fuck your homophobia" or something...I forget. But, we all knew what was coming on once he said it!

OH SHIT, THEY'RE PLAYING "WHEN KEEPING IT REAL GOES WRONG"! SUCH AN AMAZING FUCKING SONG. Sorry, I got carried away just there. How dare me be so cavalier as to hit the caps locks button. I mean, you understand...this is like one of the few gems off of their first full length 'Get Stoked On It'. My friend Holly's convinced the song is about her life. This honestly has to be the best show The Wonder Years have ever put on. It's so fucking awesome.

Woo! Another song off the new album! "Coffee Eyes". Not really in my list of favorites, but a great song nonetheless. I lied though...the backup vocals are still too loud and obnoxious.

Okay, now they're playing "Melrose Diner", which is the song that somehow got me into The Wonder Years. I went to Fest with my friends Holly and Dan (who are now dating) and since it was Holly's car it was Holly's music...and this song came on like a million times. It took some time to get beaten into my skull...but I was eventually subdued and completely hooked. It's now at 1,250 viewers! Fucking ridiculous.

There was a shout out to Johnny Tsunami's wrestling group after the song...because they did the Melrose Diner music video...and it was awesome.

Okay, what the fuck is going on right now? The whole intro performance of "Won't Be Pathetic Forever" was all scrambled up and out of time and everything. Oh shit, Hank the Pigeon is on stage!!! I'm getting that dude tattooed on me somewhere. Probably my ass...that's the most logical place. He can take shits with me. Pigeon style. Okay, this song is sounding beyond awful. What the fuck? I'm blaming the sound guys. Okay, I feel bad about doing that. The sound guys are working really hard.

The shit's getting a little confusing in the mix...for some reason it was all going perfectly at the beginning...but now some shit's too loud or too quiet compared to other things going on.

Time for "My Last Semester"...so fucking good. This is the bear's favorite Wonder Years song. That and "Melrose Diner" and "Hey Thanks". If you were to ask me to cite an example of perfect lyricism...I would direct you to this song...and every song The Wonder Years have released since their 'Won't Be Pathetic Forever 7"'. I think this live streaming show was the perfect "welcome home, failure" present. I tried to make a life in the mid-west, but the rust belt keeps breaking promises.

I want to be among this fucking crowd. I need to learn to apparate like Harry fucking Potter. "It's Never Sunny in South Philadelphia" is one fo the best songs ever fucking written...and I'm such a fanboy for saying it, but it's definitely about my life. Whatever. I said it. Deal with it. You're the one reading a super fucking long review of a Wonder Years show...you're the fanboy, not me. "IT'S LIKE I'M CHASING AMBULANCES; TRYING TO PULL OUT SOMETHING FROM THE WRECKAGE. BECAUSE NOTHING EVER WORKS OUT THE WAY WE FUCKING PLANNED IT." Seriously, who can keep themselves from screaming along to that? Plus, the second verse is just too fucking on par. "You know that I can't take naps, 'cus they end in panic attacks. I can't play video games; I always end up depressed. I CAN'T BE LEFT ALONE NOW, FOR EVEN A SECOND, BECAUSE I'M A BURDEN! (BUT AT LEAST I KNOW IT!)" Seriously....amazing.

Hank the Pigeon's theme song! "My Life As a Pigeon" is one of the phenomenal new songs by The Wonder Years and it's a fucking relief that they fit it into their set. It's seriously one of the songs that makes the middle of Suburbia as awesome as the beginning and end...it's a solid effort throughout.

Another one of the best songs ever written by any band ever in the history of time itself, "Logan Circle". I would murder so many pizza slices in order to be teleported to this show. I'll murder a bunch of pizza slices just for pizza's sake, too. I don't have too many specifications regarding that.

Johnny Tsuanmi from We Are the Union and The Flaming Tsunamis and Nix 86 is now on the stage to perform "Hey Thanks"...which involves Rachel from Zolof and Matt Belanger (ex-WATU) on the recording. I never really liked this song until recently...and this performance might just be making me like it even more. Sax it up, John! The sax really does sound fucking awesome...it should be a permanent installment. :D

Another song off Suburbia now, "Woke Up Older". They're definitely playing the best songs off the new record. This song is all positive sounding for lyrics that depress the shit out of me. The sound is back to sounding fucking amazing again by this point. This song sounds so fucking powerful. I love it.

"An Elegy For Baby Blue" isn't really a song I've gotten into yet. I've heard it plenty of times...because it pops up on my Call of Duty bro-mix from time to time, but I've never jammed out to it. Seeing it performed this awesomely live kind of makes me more fond of it. I really need to use the floo network to get to this show right away.

Two more songs now!

They're playing "You're Not Salinger, Get Over It!" I fucking love this song. God damn, that whole EP shits gold for breakfast. "My friends and I are all fucked on the inside!" I think The Wonder Years might be music majors with an emphasis in Set List Creation. I mean, that's just a stupid Drive Thru Records DVD reference...but it's still pretty fitting for the situation. This is an amazing show they're putting on, and we should all wish we were there right now.

I'm so glad they're playing "All My Friends Are In Bar Bands". It's one of those songs that you'd want to sue them for not playing at a show like this. They said it's the last song, but we all know they're going to play another off the new album and another fan favorite before this shit is officially over. Everyone got on stage for Bar Bands' finale, and it was fucking awesome.

OH SHIT, it's "Keystone State Dudecore"!!!! I fucking love this song. It's one of the best fucking things they've even recorded and it's beyond amazing. And, I was at least right by saying they'd do two more songs! Because now they're playing "Washington Square Park". Life = Complete.

The Wonder Years know how to end a show: that's a fucking fact. If I were there for this amazing experience, I would just sign off on life right now because nothing could possibly top it. The ending was so amazing but I'm still surprised it's legitimately over. I'm not buying it.

Well, it's over! It's been real, internet! Hopefully this shit ends up on youtube or whatever for those of you who missed it! Good night!

-Idle

Facebook.

Check out photos of the show over at photographer Maria Qualtieri's Flickr page! And like her facebook!

 Soupys and Airwaves.
 Johnny Tsunami on sax!
 Hank the Pigeon-shittin on hoes.
Hey, Maura is in this picture.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Frank Turner- England Keep My Bones

Frank Turner, previously the frontman of Million Dead (great hardcore band), embarked on a new and very interesting journey in 2007- a folk project. It become a huge success- even though it was a completely different genre, he's a really talented dude and I love it. This album was released on Epitaph on June 7th.
It starts off with the "Eulogy"- a seemingly slow Disney-esque pretty sound. Woodwinds and great dynamics, not something you hear often anywhere but Far Far Away or band class. Either way, it's something I personally can appreciate, and it transitions into some great folk guitar and Frank singing some awesome lyrics for those of us who aren't an astronaut or Freddie Mercury. It's an awesome intro to the album.
It transitions straight into "Peggy Sang The Blues," a tribute to his grandmother. This song has everything it needs to be great- a fun rhythm, catchy melodies, talented vocals, and awesome lyrics. I like Frank Turner, because we have a lot in common. We both appreciate the softer side of music as much as we love hardcore, and we both love Italian food. (Note: I have no idea if Frank Turner likes Italian food.)
Either way, he's a great musician. I like this record because his song writing is still the same as always, but he incorporates more instruments than he ever has before. He includes piano and horns and strings and woodwinds prominently in every track and it's an experiment that turned out very, very well for him.
The last track, "Glory Hallelujah" is a very, very controversial track. It's a very in-your-face athiest song, and even though I am not a Christian, I'm a little put off by the song. Either way, it's still a good song, regardless of the words, and he truly has some good points in what he says.
One of the songs, "Wessex Boy" is very laid back and un-edited in it's recording. It starts off with some laughing and counting off, as every great jam does, and then the song is absolutely wonderful. It's catchy and mellow and very sweet sounding. Probably one of my favorites on the album.
"One Foot Before the Other" has the most interesting guitar on the album and probably the most interesting music overall, for that matter. It's definitely the hardest song on the album, and it's very, very good. I LOVE the bass line in it.
"If Ever I Stray" = best lyrics on the entire album, definitely stuck with me.
Overall, it's a great album and as always, Frank Turner gives us something great to listen to. Did you expect anything different?

You can stream this album at Alternative Press. Check out his facebook and his website. Our facebook.

-Bear

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE. (Bear's vacation, compilation, other stuff)

Hi guys. This has nothing to do with music, I just thought you might want to know what's going on in the next couple of months. There will be some small temporary changes here at Idle and the Bear. We've hinted at a few of them on our facebook, but if you don't have our facebook/didn't see it, then you have no idea what's going on.
First off, Idle has been scarce around here lately because of a shitty job with horrible hours, so he's rarely home, and when he is, he's tired as hell. So give him a break. He will be back to posting all the time soon, because...

I am taking a six week hiatus from Idle and the Bear. It kills me to do so, but I have to. I am transferring to University of Iowa for a resident research internship there working with the head of epidemiology. It will keep me VERY, VERY busy. And to be honest, I will not have time during this period to be posting at all. I COULD keep writing reviews, but because of my time limit/exhaustion, they'll be shitty and not thought out and I don't want to do that. When I write reviews, I like to take time to really listen to the album and think about what I'm going to say because that's what you wonderful people deserve. I would rather take a six week break (which I assure you, is going to kill me inside) than spend six weeks writing random, short, uninformative reviews that no one wants to waste their time with.

However, IDLE WILL STILL BE HERE. And he will be trying to up his posts to match what we usually get out in a week, but I can't promise you guys that. Either way, you will still be getting your weekly fill of Punx Rox Breakfast. Promise. If you aren't, let him know, and he'll show up at your house blasting Bad Brains and he'll punch you in the face a bunch and then leave. (Maybe you shouldn't let him know.)

Are you guys wondering about the compilation we brought up a few weeks ago? We are still working on it and it will still be released while I'm gone! (So pissed about missing it.) We're getting a few last songs from the wonderful bands that we're working with, and then it will be up on bandcamp on JUNE 20th. Save that date!
It will be CHOOSE YOUR OWN PRICE DOWNLOAD, and it will be 5 dollars to pre-order on CD which will be shipped out at some point this summer. We've been working with some really, really great bands that have been working their ass off for you and I hope that you guys will love it as much as we do.

While I'm gone, I will also be taking a break from all FACEBOOKING. That one is a personal choice to take a break from it. However, if any of you reaaaaallly want to get a hold of me about anything in particular (music coming out, your SUPERCOOLBAND, missing me, or just telling me a story about unicorns I don't give a fuck) you can contact me at hannah-shows@uiowa.edu.
Otherwise, you can always use our I&TB email (idleandthebear@gmail.com) pretty simple right?

Alright. I will be posting as much as my little hands can take this week, and then I will be saying goodbye to you all on June 18th.

With love,
-Bear