Thursday, December 20, 2012

Various Artist - ReDirection: A Polyvinyl Sampler (2001)

ReDirection provides an excellent overview of Polyvinyl's early releases with nineteen tracks that include six unreleased/rare songs from Aloha, AM/FM, matt pond PA, Pele and Sunday's Best. Also includes tracks from Rainer Maria, Braid, American Football and many others.

Straddling the indie and post-rock worlds (often one in the same, really), Chicago's Polyvinyl label has earned praise from a streak of releases from groups like Aloha, Radio Flyer, Paris, Texas, and the sadly defunct Braid. Tossed-off roster compilations from indie labels are a hot thing, but ReDirection instead serves notice to just how deep and diverse the fringe rock communities bubbling just under the mainstream radar actually are. From old-school punk to new new wave, through arty instrumental post-rock to studied indie pop, a good example of all of it is contained here. Of note are two cuts from the always dramatic Rainer Maria ("Artificial Light," "Breakfast of Champions") and a pair of power melodies from Sunday's Best ("Saccharine," "Sons of the Second String"). Should send you running to the nearest small, dingy, smoky club in your city to find out what you've been missing. Includes previously unreleased tracks from the Ivory Coast, Matt Pond PA, Pele, and AM/FM.
John Duffy


1. Sunday's Best - Saccharine (3:47)
2. The Ivory Coast - Swope (3:34)
3. Aloha - A Hundred Stories (2:54)
4. AM/FM - Come Suck Down A Cloud (3:54)
5. Radio Flyer - (312) (4:03)
6. Rainer Maria - Breakfast Of Champions (3:36)
7. American Football - Never Meant (4:18)
8. Matt Pond PA - A New Part Of Town (4:05)
9. Pele - The Mind Of Minolta (3:41)
10. Hey Mercedes - Stay Six (4:32)
11. Kerosene 454 - What Was (3:03)
12. Paris, Texas - Le Tigre (2:41)
13. Sunday's Best - Sons Of The Second String (4:01)
14. AM/FM - A Best Man (Put My Girlfriend On Fire) (2:58)
15. Rainer Maria - Artificial Light (3:38)
16. Braid - Killing A Camera (2:35)
17. Matt Pond PA - This Is Montreal (1:19)
18. Pele - Gas The Nutsy (6:50)
19. Aloha - Warsaw (5:18)

Karate ‎– Karate (1995)

On request.

This music isn't for teenagers, but for mature people who are prone to self-reflection.

The debut disc from Allston, MA's Karate is a far cry from the jazzy, stripped-down rock that they would come to embody, but it's still an incredibly fresh start and a brilliant jumping-off point for a young band. Led by Geoff Farina's unparalleled guitar playing, this self-titled disc draws strongly from the burgeoning emo scene that was starting to appear at the time of its release. While peers in Texas Is the Reason and even the Promise Ring were out honing the early emo style, though, Karate were already taking things in a new direction. The opening slink of "Gasoline," with a lengthy pause after just a few lyrics, proved that the band wasn't rushing into anything, and the phenomenal "Bad Tattoo," one of the group's hardest-rocking songs, made it clear that Karate weren't afraid to show a little grit from time to time, either. The unfaltering musicianship that the band would come to perfect in the next few years and records may not be completely evident on this disc, but it is still a strong debut showing with a few truly standout tracks that make a lot of sense as the jumping-off point for Karate's later catalog.
Peter J. D'Angelo

password: thelastwordisrejoice

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Camber ‎– Anyway, I've Been There (1999)

'Think the epitome of maturity' is the description of Camber's new release by Deep Elm. In England, 'maturity' is a euphemism for when on the way to the recording studio, the guitarists broke their distortion pedals so all the songs sound like Oasis, but fortunately the same connotations haven't reached the shores of that big land accross the pond.
Anyway, "I've been there" is without doubt a far maturer record than their debut. Better playing, better songwriting and well, better songs. They take influences from all the greats from Promise Ring to Mineral, but at the same time creating a uniquely original sound. I think the originality comes from the occassional discordant guitar played on top of a beautiful melody, and while some cynics would say how the vocals are somewhat reminiscent of Sunny Day Real Estate and Mineral, singer Barry Lott isnt afraid of the occassional harsh aggression which i always thought was missing from the aforemetioned bands.
This new release is one of the finest releases of the year so far, pure ear candy. And as for the song '38th and Eighth', just forget about it.
Dan Baker

Second albums, to put it lightly, are a bitch. It's true in the mainstream rock world, for sure, and only slightly less so in the indie world. There's pressure to live up to your brilliant first album (or at least, your pretty cool first album), and a fumble can make a lot of people not bother with the third, if there is one. Now, couple that kind of intense scrutiny with the fact that your band's been pigeonholed into a genre that gets kicked like a redheaded stepchild by every music reviewer under the sun -- what the hell can you do? Well, in a perfect world, you reinvent yourself, but let's be honest: how many bands/people can do that, beyond U2, Prince, and maybe Madonna? (Sting does not count, by the way.)
Between those two poles, Camber've hit the middle ground with their own second album. Anyway, I've Been There still has plenty of melodic sweetness, particularly in singer Barry Lott's Jeremy Enigk-esque singing style, but instead of throwing out another album's worth of rock-out tortured love songs, guitars cranked all the way, they opt to be more minimal and quiet (ex.: album closer "Home Movies"). What's more, they throw in some really pretty different, rough-and-ragged sounds among the pretty stuff, coming closer to Jawbox at several points ("Punching Out," "Sad One") than Sunny Day Real Estate or their kin. Sharp, angular guitar lines balance out beautiful melodies and pained vocals, the odd-sounding notes pushing through and counterbalancing the sweetness. The end result? Well, I'm no expert, but I wouldn't call this "emo," or any derivative of it. What it is is a darned decent rock album, with some really good, passionate songs floating around on it. The moral of the story? Even a little bit of reinvention can go a long way. 

I have to hand it to Deep Elm...they don't put out any junk. Camber is another example of pristine production, strong songwriting, and impressive packaging. Beyond that, Camber is a solid band that walks the line between dissonance and a strong hook. If you liked their previous album, you're going to love this one even more. They tackle some more intricate song structures while maintaining a very focused approach to songwriting. The key element here is the amazing vocal abilities of frontman Barry Lott. Do not be fooled - that boy can sing. There's a certain passion in his vocals that brings the almighty Enigk to mind, but I'll try not to draw that comparison.
Plus: really cool cover layout
Minus: is life really this depressing?

With a barrage of fiery choruses and thunderous hooks, Camber unleashes an intelligent sonic opera on ANYWAY, I'VE BEEN THERE. Known for their keen ability to write effective and not-so-simple rock songs, this record is fueled by intense post-punk melodies, emotionally-charged vocals and masterful, tension-building guitars. Both melancholic and uplifting, tugging at your heart-strings with a sensitive prowess that's often illuminating but seldom predictable. It's rock and roll with feeling ­ something we don't see much anymore.

My mother used to say, "Patrick, you keep away from them there reckerds of the emotional variety. You know what I mean when I say -- don't you look at me that way! You know damn well that them emo reckerds always make you bawl like a baby." How true momma was. This record is brought to us by the Deep Elm people who put out those compilations known as The Emo Diaries . For crying out loud (no pun intended), don't put "Emo" in the title! Well, I liked those damn records and I like Camber, too. Anyway, I've Been There is full of bittersweet songs suitable for your first heartbreak. If you like your pretty parts with some noisy interludes, this is your stuff. These kids seem to like listening to those Sunny Day Real Estate records, but they don't let it ruin their song-writing. Anyway, I've Been There has some rockers, too. If you take the sum of all these, the product is a good record to make-out to.
Patrick Rafter

Camber's sophomore release on Deep Elm, Anyway, I've Been There, is a wonderful mix of emotional lyrics, creative songwriting, and Barry Lott's sharp, unique vocals. With ten miraculously sculpted tunes (none seem to tread on the heels of any of the others and yet the cohesiveness is remarkable), the band produces what some might hear as a soundtrack to life in New York City, the band's home base. The music is somewhat calm but can easily become classy, as with the trumpet on "Wait," yet on the next tune, "38th & 8th," Camber showcases a raucous guitar solo at the end of the song. The entire album is wrapped up with the dreary "Home Movies" and its tale of life's memories as home movies in one's head and the "endless hell" that only extreme depression can produce. It ends the album on a truly bleak note, and it's surely a darker side than anything else the band has revealed heretofore, yet it's not awkward. Sometimes the slow, depressing song is put last for a reason, to emphasize a point, and no doubt Camber has placed it as the closer as if to say, "If nothing else, listen to this part of our artistic expression." While not something most bands would heartily embrace, it's nevertheless a song that Camber pulls off with a passion and the bleak tone fits the band well, although surely the more upbeat tunes are less abrasive on the heart and soul. The crisp production was done by the legendary John Agnello; thus, nothing is lacking in that area. A truly solid, dynamic effort, Anyway, I've Been There is an album full of smart pop roots and somber undertones filled with intelligent songwriting from start to finish. A worthy follow-up to a strong debut.
Kurt Morris

password: thelastwordisrejoice

Camber ‎– Beautiful Charade (1997)

On their critically-acclaimed debut Beautiful Charade, Camber translates the desperation of an empty, lost soul into surprising thought and beauty in music. It's a delicate display on the art of dynamics that will leave you speechless. Driving, distorted guitars, tortured vocals and painfully-resigned introspection to the edge, with an incredible wrist-slitting vocal style. Raging when asked, consoling when necessary, Beautiful Charade is like a good friend in the time of need. Unreleased song "Sunday Brown & Green" on Emo Diaries 1. The first CD ever released by Deep Elm. (DER-359)
Deep Elm Records

"In a world that keeps getting more and more crowded, Camber finds room to breathe on "Beautiful Charade." With their high-rise vocal harmonies, satisfying guitar textures, and down-low rhythms, the NYC foursome carves out a place with space. On "First," vocalist Barry Lott sings of bittersweet understanding, while the band runs a patient race with tension and gritty guitar lightness. Always careful to betray your expectations, they surf a smooth wave of hope and frustration, then tie it in a knot with tricky rhythms and disorienting downturns."
Alternative Press

"Somewhere between Sunny Day Real Estate and The Promise Ring, however many inches that might be, sits Camber, boldly taking a seat and claiming their place in the emo-core all-American line-up. Carving out an identity amongst such close company would seem almost impossible, but Camber has met the challenge and recorded a beautifully original record."

"Beautiful Charade finds Camber driving distorted guitars, dirgy tempos, tortured vocals and painfully-resigned introspection to the edge. Although the band gazes down over the ledge, it never quite jumps. Perhaps the line 'I'm burning, so clean' best describes Camber's particular brand of angst. What sets this band apart is the incredible vocal style. It is wrist-slitting. Even those who are lukewarm about emo-core need to check out Beautiful Charade. Camber are one of the best bands ever to work in the genre..."
Seattle Rocket

"Both melancholic and uplifting, one minute tugging at your heart-strings and the next pushing your heart out of your chest with sheer feel-good exuberance. Vocals that touch you deep inside and harmonies that make you good to feel alive."

"Camber does such a fine job crafting emo-core where planning and painstaking effort are the key. The songs are gorgeous and there's not a hair out of place."
Aiding And Abetting

"Camber wears its repressed rage like a badge of honor...gritty and sweetly despairing."
Alter World

"The power on Beautiful Charade comes from Camber's ability to write effective and not so simple rock songs. Engaging songwriting and performance."

"Camber has mastered the delicate art of dynamics that is so central to emo-ness. The first track 'Hollowed-Out' has one of those euphoria-inducing choruses."

"Beautiful Charade is downright genius. Rock and roll with feeling, which is something we don't see much anymore."

"Camber roll blissfully around with depth of feeling, the music is wonderfully crafted. Put your feet up and let them ease your woes. No one can deny the quartet's thoughtful, sensitive prowess."

"The melodies are lifting in the verses and build tension toward intense choruses. At other times the textures are more subtle with an air of dreamy despair. Always cleverly crafted, never boring, and never a shortage of melodic hooks."
"Often illuminating and seldom predictable, Camber's resonating, emo-core blends post-grunge aggression with blustery melodicism. Expansive arrangements are turned upside down and inside out without losing the flow of the song at hand. Vocalist Barry Lott teeters at the edge of a nervous breakdown, sometimes emoting with the same urgency and determination Bono once did during his early U2 days. Lott's dramatic wails linger alongside dissonant guitars, raucous drums, and vibrating sonic textures."
Aquarian Weekly
Are you a New Yorker? Or the type that disparages this fine city, when I know you are secretly jealous of us lucky, lucky, lucky people? (Hey ex-Mayor Koch! How'm I doin'?) If you loved music in the mid-'70s, New Yawk was the place to be. At Max's Kansas City or CBGB, little bands turned into legends: New York Dolls to Heartbreakers, Patti Smith, Talking Heads, Ramones, Television, Blondie, Cramps, yadda yadda f***ing yadda. Maybe this ole town hasn't produced such a golden crop since, but creative sounds have always emanated, and recent years have been the best in a decade. Inspired rockers Lotion, East River Pipe, Madder Rose, Versus, Ivy, and Guv'ner are now national items, but there's another post-punk bumper crop below them awaiting their due. Among them are French, Saturnine, Ditch Croaker, and this group, Camber. With a wired, heavy, smacking sound, Camber has made strides from early gigs and the foursome's Hollowed Out 7". Gotta love their fiery fury and controlled desperation. The guitars of Corby Caldwell and Barry Lott warp with chiming discomfort, as the bass and drums pound like doomsday. Yet, like French (only heavier), Lott's melodic, thick singing belies the ton of bricks bursting behind. The result is a post-grunge wall of sound, and soft to heavy tension pounding not for the timid! Perfect for a wound-up town.
Jack Rabid 

"Emo" has become a filthy word. You might as well go round talking about "God". But this is an emo record if you want to take that term as having a validity to it. Whatever this mass-culture emo-term has become is nothing to do with any of this, just to be clear. All that shit started when the guy in AFI wore some makeup and they released Black Sails.
Anyway, this is a proper 90s emo record where you have the jangling guitars with skethcy riffs and some guy whining on about how he feels. It's up there with the best records from that era - it has real nice songs to it and some soaring pieces and clever riffs. It sounds heartfelt and not some mass-produced shit. Basically they nailed it before all those shitty bands came out to denigrate the good name of emo.

password: thelastwordisrejoice

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Various Artist - Post Marked Stamps (1999)

This compilation is one of the most touching and enjoyable works that I have ever had the pleasure of owning. Something about the music on this CD, which acts as the culmination of a project by Tree records, touches you in a very relevant, and even poignant place. As corny as that may sound, listen to the CD, and songs like tracks 8, 9, 10, and 16 will stand out as very effective and beautiful expressions of the respective artists styles and feelings. Regardless of whether or not you like or have even heard of this type of music, which some might label "emo" or "folk"(but not to folksy), it's an excellent CD.


This is an excellent roundup of many different artists and styles. I admit I bought it only for the Jen Wood track, which is the best song on the album, but there are other gems on the CD that make it a great buy. The songs by Braid, Aspera Ad Astra, and Ida are all excellent, and most of the rest are enjoyable, or at least pleasantly listenable. The track listing makes the music swell and fall in two cycles, with the second spate of harder music (tracks 12-14) feeling a little out of place. The only complaint I had was with the closer: Tim Kinsella's 'A Picture Postcard' is somewhere beyond unlistenable.


This harkens back to some "emo" and "emo-core" stuff from the 90's that, though it was contemporary at the time, is still great to have cycling through your rotation. Most of the bands weren't privy huge success by mainstream standards, but all were known to many of my show-going friends who were in our 20's at the time, and in Iowa of all places! I have to disagree about labeling the Jen Wood song the "best on the album". It's good like all of the rest, but being such a subjective term...I mean it's probably one of my least favorite on the album, but that's not to say it doesn't fit well with the other songs, and I wouldn't say it's bad. Also, the Kinsella song I thought was really great - and I'm not a HUGE Joan of Arc fan. The Hal Al Shedad is a bit out of place, but I'm certain back in the day when I picked this up, that band being on the comp. was the main reason I bought it (I think all of there music is streaming online from an ex-bandmember - they split up several years ago, sadly), but even though it's definitely the loudest track, it's great like all of there music (if you haven't heard Ivan's Devil, you...well, you must). So relive some old favorite bands/musicians and discover some that went under your radar. Remember getting a mixed tape full of bands you'd never heard of, but ended up loving 3 or 4 of them after a listen or two? I see that in your future.
Amazon Customer Reviews


1. Aspera Ad Astra - Black In The Eye (5:39)
2. Cerberus Shoal - A Lighthouse In Athens Part 1 (1:51)
3. Braid - Forever Got Shorter (3:46)
4. Ethel Meserve - Belated Blues (5:40)
5. The Get Up Kids - I'm A Loner Dottie, A Rebel... (2:55)
6. Compound Red - Building (4:01)
7. Rainer Maria - Black In The Eye (3:34)
8. Jen Wood - Sheltering Arms For The Birds (6:59)
9. Still Life - Looks Like Tommorow (4:37)
10. The Deadwood Divine - And Where Did I ... (4:04)
11. Giants Chair - Lost Daupin (3:13)
12. A Minor Forest - Inter Continental Stalker (2:52)
13. The Hal Al Shedad - Solitaire (4:29)
14. Sweep The Leg Johnny - Walking Home ... (5:01)
15. Haelah - Fallen Away (2:56)
16. Very Secretary - Nagarkot (4:31)
17. Ida - Post From Disorder (4:13)
18. Tim Kinsella - A Picture Postcard (3:03)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Giants Chair - Singles (1993-1996)

1993 - Hot Boy 7"

A Common Cold
B Weed Roses

1995 - Boys Life / Giants Chair 7"

A Boys Life – Worn Thin
B Giants Chair – Ever Present


1996 - Purity And Control 7"

A Purity And Control
B The Callus

Giants Chair ‎– Purity And Control (1996)

There are numerous ex-members of numerous bands from the mid '90s who look back on their entries in the indie-emo-post hardcore catalog and simply say, "Yikes." I know I do. And maybe they, like I, think about all the bands they aspired to sound like and whose sophisticated lyrical styles they attempted to copy, and how far from the target they landed. High on many a band’s envy list was Giants Chair's Purity and Control, which made so many followers think, "I wish I'd come up with that." Yeah, it was 1996 and plenty of Giants Chairs' tricks had been poured by bands prior, but where others noodled for creativity, this band's glowed in its basics: solid progressions of clever notes, almost everything treated for rhythm though melody seemed always job one. High-order lyrics lead to an inventive mid-program story based around the album's concepts of sight, sound, image and the lack of one or another. One may take Purity and Control for its gifted beats and melodies, but there's definitely more to absorb, and it's doubtful (it should be) that the band's ex-members look back and cringe, even a decade-and-a-half after the fact.

password: thelastwordisrejoice

Giants Chair ‎– Red And Clear (1995)

One band that I’m always drawn to at the moment would be Kansas City's Giants Chair, a band who pretty much refined and perfected the Midwestern post hardcore sound. Their approach was very rhythm driven and hard edged, yet musical with more complex song arrangements.
In appraisal of this mid 90s hardcore sound or "emo" (as it was often referred to then) few bands produced anything of lasting value. It’s crazy to think how "emo" has become a term commonplace to describe a fashion obsessed substance free brand of corporate rock. Anyway, many bands were just lacking anything beyond the stylistic traits of tight pants/white socks, paper bag sleeves, lyrics about angels or butterflies, photographs of old typewriters, the "quiet/loud" song template etc. Looking back in 2008 with a more critical eye I'd cite Giants Chair, Hoover, Navio Forge, Drive Like Jehu, Molly McGuire, Sideshow, Franklin, Current and Gravity Records as providing the more challenging and creative music from the mid 90s era. Rooting around a stack of old zines in search of information I found this interview gold from Hanging Like A Hex #8 (early 97) & scanned it as a .pdf :ENJOY:
The first time i took note of the name GIANTS CHAIR was this cool review in Second Nature magazine. It was quite hard even then to get ahold of their records, everytime I tried to pick something up it was always sold out. Fast forward ten years I have eventually tracked most of it down. Starting with "Red and Clear". you can hear an extremely accomplished debut album for the Caulfield record label. For me, the track 1000 of Anything demonstrates how focused and fluid their music sounds.
Giants Chair play circles around the now "legendary" emo bands like Indian Summer, Ordination Of Aaron, Cap n' Jazz etc. Another thing they possesed which many did not was the key ingredient of good songwriting that also rocked. This can be heard even on their first 7", check this track Common Cold which was backed with "Weed Roses", later rerecorded for "Red and Clear". You can DL that whole single thanks to this guy and his blog Rocket Science . Below are scans of Caulfield records ads for "Red and Clear" from HeartattaCk zine.
Unfortunately I am unable to rip the track "Ever Present" from their split 7" with Boys Life which, while excellent, is not enough when used to a full album doseages. One record I picked up in the late 90s (due to my inability to find any Giants Chair) was "In Passing" by The Farewell Bend who featured Giants Chair drummer Paul Ackerman and the guitarist and bassist of Boys Life. Well worth checking out, especially for Hüsker Dü fans!
One thing to note is that most Giants Chair records were packaged in beatifully minimal letterpress printed sleeves designed by guitarist Scott Hobart, he discusses this element further in this interview. The most impressive sleeve design appears on their second full length "Purity and Control" which was recorded in 1996 by Duane Trower (Season To Risk guitarist). His production is excellent, with a very open mix detailing each instrument & the guitar sound in particular just shreds! This album in my opinion is their masterstroke, everything seems measured out to create the exact dynamic or mood. The Instrumentation weaves almost seemlessly, nothing here sounds awkward or out of place. The natural ability these guys have to bring forth a perfect expression or feeling is inspiring to hear. The Speech is one of my favourite tracks from "Purity and Control", the middle eight (or end eight?) they drop into at the end of the track just sounds so awesome! The lyrics are definitely better on this album but are still oblique with no discernable subject matter other than personal stream of conscious. More importantly it fits with the music like a glove. 
The first time I really heard Giants Chair was their split 7" with Ethel Meserve in Tree’s Postmarked Stamps series. Not really representative of their sound, the track Lost Dauphin is a guitar and bass instrumental with faint sounds of a pen scribbling overlayed. The track remains placid until the final note when distortion kicks in with a kickdrum hit, a cymbal rings out and then it's gone.
Giants Chair tributes are few and far between but Shiner titled a track "Giant’s Chair" on their "Starless" album & Cave In (the only band capable of handling a cover) recorded a rendition of The Callus on the "Tides of Tomorrow" EP. Aside from that it seems kinda rare to hear their name mentioned. In an ideal world someone should release a Discography collection because this shit shines like a beacon. I believe the band began playing again last year, see photo below from this year. The bands myspace page has other recent live shots and some other background but if anyone has any information, live recordings etc. please get in touch.

I guess people would call this emo for lack of a better term, but it's not at all what you would expect emo to sound like compared to current standards. In the 90's a lot of bands fell under the emo tag because they didn't fit neatly under the "indie rock" tag, and I think Giants Chair are one of those bands that defied classification to a certain extent.
Anyway, this record is full of tight almost mechanically precise drumming, churning rhythms, excellent guitar playing and of course emotional vocals. I recommend you listen to this record a few times and let it sink in, but if you want a quick fix go straight to the 3rd track "Gutshot and The Jogger" which is probably my favorite song on this record, I really like how the song builds on itself as it progresses...
Dave G.

Giant's chair is difficult to describe. Historically, you might place them in the whole Midwest emo/post-hardcore rubric. I know that's a loaded term, so let me explain.
When I say emo/post-hardcore, I mean the cultural values that came out of the punk emocore movement: authenticity, highly personalized lyrics, which are often abstract, poetic, and reflective. Scott Hobart (vocalist) has a wonderful vocal presence, I think mid-range, who usually resorts to yelling (no screaming though), but his approach never comes across like a cheap gimmick, but as a preferred mode of expression.
Catharsis is highly regarded value as well. And Giant's Chair is no exception. Many of their songs, especially "New Orleans" and "Mother Brother Sister Lover" and "Gunshot and Jogger" epitomize this musical element by using an abundance of dissonant melodies and counter-point to build tension. At some point the tension SNAPS and a new anthemic melody is brought to the fore, providing a sense of release that can be emotionally powerful for some.
Giant's chair is quite adept at this, and what makes them more amazing is their ability to couple this character trait with what sounds like a very technical guitar and drum style. I have heard this technical style described as "angular."
I suppose if "angular" were meant as irregular changes in rhythm, time signatures, strangely placed rested, and so on, then I would say yes, Giant's Chair is has a very angular and even jagged sound, but not so much that listening is a chore.
Indeed, among the thousands of songs I have on my computer, theirs are quite a unique treat. Highly recommended.
P.S. If you like this album hunt down their other album "Purity and Control." It's not AS good as "Red and Clear" but it is still VERY admirable.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The Regrets ‎– New Directions: Results Beat Boasts (1997)

After the breakup of beloved Kansas indie-rock band Vitreous Humor, three-quarters of the band almost immediately began playing under the name The Regrets, but their approach was markedly different to their previous band. With the loss of one guitar in the mix, The Regrets didn't have a wall of distortion to hide behind, and the resulting songs were equally tense.
crank! a record company

The breakup of cumbrous Kansas indie band Vitreous Humor, blamed on typical inter-member turmoil, felt abrupt. They planned and played a well-attended farewell show, true, but business seemed unfinished. They burned out with a thin catalog of a couple 7"s, a self-titled EP called The Vitreous Humor Self Titled EP, and, later, a posthumous collection called Posthumous. But like a late caboose, the Regrets dashed by. VH's original, three-piece lineup was a unit once more, within what seemed like minutes after the crash of their previous band. And whether intended or not, the Regrets showed a continuation of VH's work, but decidedly not as top-heavy. While a final lineup of four members created VH's wave of knock-around distortion pedal songwriting, maybe the Regrets' three-piece, mottled, semi-relaxed rawness was the direction VH would've gone. I’m absolutely sure that has nothing to do with title of the Regrets' only work, New Directions: Results Beat Boasts, released on the Crank! label in 1997. The homely production is a handsome pair with the (probably) budget-rate instruments and amps used to shape the album, while the swishy playing style and yelped, weird poetry are well in line with the family seal. Depending on your angle of view, it could be an updated Firehose, a librarian's Dead Milkmen, or a dilapidated R.E.M. (an improvement). New Directions finished Vitreous Humor's work, although I'm not sure any cut off the album beats the Regrets' satellite track, "Good Things Come To Those In Small Packages," which was featured as a bonus on VH's Posthumous. It's nearly a suggestion from the band (or label), that the two groups are, or should've been, one.

New Directions: Results Beat Boasts is the sole release from The Regrets, a three-piece comprised of members of Vitreous Humor. It’s a mid-'90s, mildly punkish, indie-rock record with clean, jangly bass and guitar tones and minimalist arrangements and instrumentation — most of the focus is on Danny Pound's acerbic, half-sung, half-shouted lyrics. Guitars are strummed relentlessly, with rubbery bass lines and busy but clean beats forming the unwavering backdrop for Pound's wordy and occasionally darkly funny observations.
New Directions definitely features hints of early Modest Mouse and Silkworm, but its barebones construction and Pound's opening line on "India Ink" speak volumes: "Oh, here comes another misuse of my talent." That isn"t to say this record is a waste of time or that it offers nothing. It was recorded in three days with three players; nothing is doubled; little to no effects are utilized; hooks are used and reused. The Regrets were pulling no punches about what they were doing. They wanted to make a statement, and they wanted to do it in little time with an overriding and straightforward tone, and that's what they did.

The tongue-in-cheek title of the Regrets' first and only album also serves as its manifesto. The band, made up of three-quarters of Vitreous Humor, decided to attempt something completely different, and they succeeded - at least to a degree. The wailing wall of guitars that characterized much of their previous band's output largely disappeared, replaced by clean guitars and a less tense, more funky rhythm section. What remains is this group's ability to write catchy rock songs that aren't sickly sweet or pop pandering. Singer/lyricist Danny Pound's lyrics are often darkly humorous but seem more personal in his work with the Regrets. From the intense "Play With Yourself Until You Faint" to the simply tense "Ode to Barton Fink," the Regrets burned bright and beautiful for a very brief time.
Josh Modell

The Regrets ‎– New Directions: Results Beat Boasts (1997) 320kbps

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Vitreous Humor - Singles (1994-1996)

1994 - Harbor 7"

A Harbor
B1 Stay Tuned For The Holidays
B2 Bu-Dah

1994 - Boys Life / Vitreous Humor 7"

A Boys Life – Temporary
B Vitreous Humor – Why Are You So Mean To Me?

1996 - My Midget / New Victoria Theater 7"

1. My Midget
2. New Victoria Theater

Vitreous Humor ‎– Posthumous (1998)

The aptly titled posthumous release from indie-rock pioneers Vitreous Humor. A flagship band that still has it's hand in influencing new waves of rockers. If you haven't heard "Why Are You So Mean To Me?" yet, put on your seatbelt. This is the hit rock song that got away (even though Nada Surf made a fine attempt at turning it into a hit with their own personal version). Also, you've got to hear gems like "Sharin' Stone" and "Science Has No Soul". This band DEFINITELY knew how to write a song!
crank! a record company

For a posthumous odds-and-ends collection, Vitreous Humor's Posthumous is remarkably incomplete. It fails to include any of the three songs from the band's debut single, Harbor, as well as other studio recordings. But that's really the only complaint one could make about Posthumous — that there's not enough of it. While not particularly cohesive, almost all of the songs are striking. Particular mention should go to opening track "My Midget," a slow-burning, time-changing rocker, as well as the excellent "Science Has No Soul," which showcases lyricist Danny Pound's dark sense of humor. Also included is a bonus track by the Regrets ("Good Things Come to Those in Small Packages"), the band formed in the wake of Vitreous Humor, which had already broken up by the time Posthumous was released.
Josh Modell

It's ironic that the best release of their careers comes after their band breaks up. Such is the case with Topeka's Vitreous Humor, a band that's been together since the late '80s but has never released a full-length, until now. Posthumous is a collection of unreleased tracks that blend pop, grunge and rock into a slacker's sonic paradise. Imagine a weary, Midwestern version of Nirvana that never sold out. Every hook-filled track has at least one ass-kick guitar break or Feelies-style rhythm-guitar line. Danny Pound's quiet, intense vocals are the perfect match for an in-your-face guitar that slowly creeps up on you like an old, angry friend. Songs like "Sharin' Stone," "Why Are You So Mean to Me?" and "Fashion Anyway" are just plain fun pop songs that try to do little more than soothe your (leftover) teen angst.
It's a swan song that rocks.
Tim McMahan

Vitreous Humor ‎– The Vitreous Humor Self-Titled E.P. (1995)

Topeka, Kansas' Vitreous Humor was founded so long before anyone ever heard of them that it is almost embarrassing.

Danny, Dan, and Brad founded the band sometime in the late 1980s. They went through several bass players (Darren, Rob, Wally, Greg) until finally Brad decided to play the bass himself in 1993 and changed the group's lineup from a quartet to a trio. In the summer of 1994, Brooks joined the band and Vitreous Humor developed the new sounds that they wanted to make with a wonderful interplay and a more complex dynamic between the instruments. (Plus, they got a hell of a lot louder, too.)

It was at about that time that VH released the closest thing to a full-length record they would produce, a seven-song ep. They started playing shows with the likes of Urge Overkill, Everclear, and Archers of Loaf. Faster than you can say "South By South West", the majors came running at full speed.

Perhaps it was all of this industry attention that began the friction which ultimately destroyed the band. No one was having fun anymore and people started jumping ship. And then Danny punctured his lung. Twice. Nothing was good anymore.

Brooks left the band. Brad left the band. Months later the original trio (Danny, Dan and Brad) resurfaced in the form of The Regrets, holding a sound altogether different than their previous incarnation, if they really ever knew where that was in the first place.

This is the first release from KS' indie-rock legends & heroes, Vitreous Humor. Vitreous paved the way for a genre that loves to bite, but forgets to tip their hats to the predecessors that made it all possible. Recorded by Bob Weston in some drug-den-converted-to-a-studio in Lawrence, KS.

crank! a record company

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Above our heads the sun again

Dear friends! 
All deleted files have been re-uploaded. 
New posts will be soon.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Temporary difficulties

Paranoid guys from mediafire found my files and removed 90% of stuff.
But it doesn't matter!
Be patient - the files will be uploaded to Russian filehosting Narod.
Stay tuned!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Mineral - Daily Grind, Kansas City - 05/17/1996 (1996)

Heartfelt gratefulness to tragicand

Video: MPEG2 Video 720x480 (4:3) 29.97fps 9500kbps [Video - MPEG2, Main Profile, Main Level, 720x480, 29.970 fps, 9500.0 kbit/s]
Audio: Dolby AC3 48000Hz stereo 256kbps [Audio - Dolby Digital, 48.0 kHz, 2 chn, 256.0 kbit/s]


1. Five, Eight And Ten
2. February
3. M.D.
4. A Letter
5. Parking Lot

And I know that they will never shine
The way it did that day
When we threw paper airplanes at your head
And sat on your knees laughing...

Mineral - Emo's in Austin TX - 10/26/97 (1997) (Second circulating angle) (also includes The Promise Ring set)

Dear friends! Let's say endless thanks to tragicand

Video: MPEG2 Video 720x480 (4:3) 29.97fps 9800kbps [Video - MPEG2, Main Profile, Main Level, 720x480, 29.970 fps, 9800.0 kbit/s]
Audio: Dolby AC3 48000Hz stereo 256kbps [Audio - Dolby Digital, 48.0 kHz, 2 chn, 256.0 kbit/s]

This video looks much more expressive than the last. I have a feeling that I suddenly found myself in 1997 right in the stuffy concert hall... Wait! Maybe this is really happening?

Sounding like a symphony of strings...

Mineral - Emo's in Austin TX - 10/26/97 (1997) (Second circulating angle) (also includes The Promise Ring set)

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Get Up Kids - Singles & EP (1997-1999)

1997 - Woodson EP

1. Woodson
2. Second Place
3. Off The Wagon
4. A Newfound Interest In Massachusetts

1999 - Red Letter Day EP

1. One Year Later
2. Red Letter Day
3. Forgive And Forget
4. Anne Arbour
5. Mass Pike

1999 - Action & Action

1. Action & Action
2. Close To Me
3. I'm A Loner Dottie, A Rebel (Demo Version)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Jimmy Eat World - Singles & EP (1998-2001)

1998 - Jimmy Eat World ‎– Jimmy Eat World EP

1. Lucky Denver Mint
2. For Me This Is Heaven
3. Your New Aesthetic (Demo)
4. Softer
5. Roller Queen

2001 - Jimmy Eat World ‎– Singles + Jimmy Eat World / Jebediah Split

1-1 Jimmy Eat World – Opener
1-2 Jimmy Eat World – 77 Satellites
1-3 Jimmy Eat World – What I Would Say To You Now
1-4 Jimmy Eat World – Speed Read
1-5 Jimmy Eat World – Spangle
1-6 Jimmy Eat World – H Model
1-7 Jimmy Eat World – Ramina
1-8 Jimmy Eat World – Christmas Card
1-9 Jimmy Eat World – Untitled
1-10 Jimmy Eat World – Carbon Scoring
1-11 Jimmy Eat World – Digits
Jimmy Eat World & Jebediah
2-1 Jimmy Eat World – The Most Beautiful Things
2-2 Jimmy Eat World – No Sensitivity
2-3 Jimmy Eat World – Cautioners
2-4 Jebediah – Animal
2-5 Jebediah – The Less Trusted Pain Remover
2-6 Jebediah – Harpoon

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Jimmy Eat World ‎– Clarity (1999)

Clarity is the third studio album by American rock band Jimmy Eat World, released on February 23, 1999 through Capitol Records.


With their debut, Static Prevails behind them, Jimmy Eat World entered the the studio with a newfound maturity in songwriting. The result was an album full of clever songs with a unique sound.

Jimmy Eat Word
Jim Adkins - Vocals, Guitar
Tom Linton - Guitar, Vocals
Rick Burch - Bass
Zach Lind - Drums

If there is one word that can sum up Clarity, it is 'sensible'. Everything about the album is sensible. The production has a nice clean sound that allows the instruments to come through, but it is dirty enough to not sound too polished. The vocals are emotional but never sound insincere or wimpy. The lyrics are clever and emotive but never stray into "teen angst" territory. There are numerous extra instruments throughout the record (tuned percussion, strings, synthesisers, electronics and drum machines to name a few), but they are never used to make the album sound epic, they simply add to the rest of the music. Vocal harmonies are evenly spread through the record and they are expertly crafted and always in exactly the right spot. The song order is perfect with the tracks always balancing each other out. Nothing is overdone, yet Jimmy Eat World are sensible enough to use whatever resources they have to make the songs as good as they can get. Indeed, even the length is sensible, clocking in at 1 hour, enough music to make the album long and replayable, yet not too long to the point of being a mess. To put it simply, on Clarity, Jimmy Eat World do everything right.

To start off Clarity, Jimmy Eat World do exactly what you would expect them not. Opening the album with one of the most mellow tracks on the album, "Table For Glasses" sets the tone of the rest of the record. After it's last note dies away, we experience one brilliant pop song after another. The album's single, "Lucky Denver Mint" was featured on the Drew Barrymore film "Never Been Kissed", along with numerous college radio stations in the US. The rest of the album, however, was just as worthy. Every song on the album is well thought out and deserves to be there. There is great contrast between all of the songs. Some are soft and mellow and others are hard hitting and aggressive. Most songs are both. Musically, the band are excellent. The drumming is sophisticated and original and the use of two guitars is a great addition to the band. The aforementioned range of added instruments adds immensely to the arrangements of the songs. Not only are the songs well executed, but they are good songs.Jim Adkins' songwriting is incredible, as well as consistant. Amusingly, most of the songs on the album are in the same one or two keys. Clarity is an album full of sensible pop songs, replay value and a diverse range of instruments and sounds. 
Truly one of the best albums of the 90s.

Brilliantly written songs, not a single bad track
Great use and range of extra instruments
Perfect production

Some listeners may not enjoy the long and progressive closing track

Reccomended Tracks
Lucky Denver Mint
A Sunday
Just Watch The Fireworks

Andrew H.

Actually I feel quite weird writing this review for an album that came out in 99. The fact is you may have heard of Jimmy Eat World, but if you haven't heard of their release called "Clarity" then I do have a hard time understanding that you have heard Jimmy Eat World. This album is by far the best put out by one of the most creative bands. They play with a different style than most bands out there. Wheather you would call it "emo," "power pop," or metal, (for you metal heads) I call it sheer genius nothing short of one of the best albums of all time.
This record also holds probably one of the best songs ever! It's called "Your new Aesthetic." If you have never heard this song, I suggest you pull up your music program and download this right now. This song hits every mark with the vocals keeping your attention while the music seems to almost drowned away your thoughts. Other mentionable songs include: "Lucky Denver Mint," "Crush," and "Clarity."
This cd blows all of Jimmy Eat Worlds releases out of the water, leaving nothing behind. Tired of all the sell out pussy bands? Tired of the music that all sounds the same? If you are then what the hell are you waiting for? Go and get a band that will make you want to trash your other shit cds!

Hey there, Encyclopedia Brown: ever wonder the real reason as to why Weezer couldn't put it together in the late '90s and follow up Pinkerton? Clarity. I mean, it has to be, right? After hearing Jimmy Eat World's 1999 masterpiece, Rivers Cuomo undoubtedly went back to the drawing board and — rightfully — started writing the Trapper Keeper full of pop songs that he drew from for their next two pop-tastic messes. 

Probably not, but the fact remains that Clarity was what Pinkerton might've sounded like if it had been cleaned up and given stuff like six-part harmonies, string-laden bridges, and a dollop of tasteful electronica. In other words, it's a recipe for absolute disaster and a rabid critical reaction. But, to those who grew up idolizing the Sex Pistols rather than PiL or (shock!) those who can regard each as great at the same time, Clarity is in fact a minor masterpiece — a product of its time and as important to modern emo as Pinkerton. Bear with us. 

Most great music is an incredible balancing act: If the Beatles had leaned much further towards the conceptual on Sgt. Pepper, we'd get (more) people claiming it a pretentious failure. Clarity, of course, is no Sgt. Pepper, but the analogy holds up: if you take away the slight crunch of some of the "rock" numbers on Clarity, you're liable to end up with Dashboard Confessional and if you amp up the rock elements and add any personality at all, you'd get something like My Chemical Romance. With Clarity, Jimmy Eat World hold a fertile middle ground where the aim is simply a polished emo-pop that more often than not echoes Weezer's self-titled debut. 

Honestly, do you seriously hear that much of a difference in "Goodbye Sky Harbor" and "Only in Dreams"? (Both are lengthy closing numbers in love with the idea of propulsion and implied and explicit harmony.) It may be damning, but much of Clarity's greatness stems from the fact that it takes everything The Blue Album kept as a secret and puts it out into the open.

Rest assured, Jim Adkins doesn't have half the personality of Rivers Cuomo (compare Rolling Stone profiles in the early '00s for proof), but the lack of specificity in Jimmy Eat World’s lyrics are one of its most endearing traits. Shit, "These days are numbered / I can tell / So until the crash I'll write it down, down"? Who can't identify with that (especially when you’re fifteen)? 

Oops. May have let the cat out of the bag with that last parenthetical, eh? Listen, I'm not going to sit here and claim that Clarity is something that a college graduate is going to listen to for the first time and be able to enjoy without reservation. There's been a lot of garbage that’s come out in its wake that claims to be influenced by it. (There's been a lot of garbage that Jimmy Eat World has released since.) But there's also a lot of stuff that you probably love that unknowingly (or knowingly, for that matter) that rips them off. (Every band that contains more than ten members and is from Scandinavia for a start.) Just because your new girlfriend thinks watching fireworks is irritating and uncomfortable doesn’t mean there isn't room in the world for your old one who is now a receptionist at a scuba academy. In fact, do you have her number?

Charles Merwin


On the heels of their self-titled EP in late 1998, Jimmy Eat World released their breakthrough albumClarity in 1999 and took up the mantle of emo poster boys. Deftly produced by Mark Trombino and the band, Clarity mixes introspective balladry with power-chord punk rock, elements of chamber pop, and subtle doses of electronica to create a remarkably unique album. The only single to garner radio play, the hard-edged yet poppy "Lucky Denver Mint," was also featured on the soundtrack to the Drew Barrymore film Never Been Kissed, and while the album reached an audience that far surpassed Jimmy Eat World's previous efforts, it was by no means a commercial smash hit. The band's punk influences are evident on "Your New Aesthetic," which decries the commercialization of radio as effectively as any song since Elvis Costello's "Radio, Radio." The other songs are more personal and poignant. Using string ensembles, drum loops, chimes, piano, vibraphones, and tight vocal harmonies to create intricately layered songs, Clarityalternates between hypnotic and hard rock, often in the same song. The snarl of "Blister" and "Crush" are counterbalanced by the understated beauty of "Table for Glasses" and "On a Sunday." However, most of the tracks mix both ends of the emotional spectrum with dramatic effects. The sweeping "Goodbye Sky Harbor," which clocks in at an epic sixteen-minutes-and-eleven seconds, starts off as an up-tempo romp, but evolves into an expansive piece of dream pop that includes vocal loops, several layers of delicate electric guitars, bells, and a drum machine. Heartfelt, yearning vocals from Jim Adkins and Tom Lintontie the songs on Clarity together and set them apart from other post-grunge rock acts. Neither vocalist is afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve, but both pull it off without sounding wimpy or overly forlorn. They are also versatile enough to belt out the more aggressive tunes. Trombino also deserves praise for helping to brilliantly balance excellent songwriting and traditional rock elements with adventurous production and unique instrumentation.
Mark Vanderhoff

Jimmy Eat World ‎– Clarity (1999) 320kbps

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Jimmy Eat World ‎– Static Prevails (1996)

Static Prevails is the second album by Jimmy Eat World. It was released on July 23, 1996.


Summary: Jimmy Eat World show their teeth.

Jimmy Eat World have reached that musical Nirvana where they are accessible, and yet embraced by the music community. They can do no wrong, especially after they released the huge-selling 'Bleed American' and catapulted themselves into the big leagues.
Of course, it is always interesting to see where a band started from.

'Static Prevails' was Jimmy Eat World growing into their own style, and finding a voice which really suited them, spurred on by bands like Sunny Day Real Estate.
And it is very good.

The album opens with 'Thinking, That's All' - a mid-tempo song which sets the tone for the album - heavy but with a melodic bite. Jim Adkins' voice fits the angry tone, and his and Tom Linton's guitars mesh into a snarling whole, and in the choruses, Linton's deeper voice sings the words while Adkins screams in the background. It is a great pairing, and a fine opening song.

'Rockstar' switches vocal duties over to Linton, and his deeper, more melodious style links well with the fist-raising, anthemic chorus which you will probably find yourself humming for a long time after. It is a heart warming rock song that shows the signs of the JEW we know today.

'Claire' could almost be a ballad, with its lovelorn lyrics, and Adkins takes control of the singing once again. The guitars have been pared back a small notch, but still have the intensity to keep you hooked, with gentle plucks sounding clear in the mix. A great track.

'Call It In The Air' is a fast-paced punk song, with empassioned yells and buzzsaw guitars being the order of the day. Adkins' vocal harmonies are heartfelt while retaining an edge. In short, another good song to add to the list.

'Seventeen' hands the vocal baton to Linton once again, and he is faultless, giving the crunching but emotional guitars an excellent singer to bounce off. The chorus is simple, but all the more heart-rending for it - Adkins and Linton both yell "They'll take you, where you won't come back to me!" like they very much mean it. Another one that'll stick in your head.

'Episode IV' is a breather after the pounding pace set by the songs preceding it, but this does not signify a drop in quality. Far from it. Linton continues on the mic, singing softly with his heart firmly on his sleeve, and the lyrics capture the essence of teenage insouciance - "We'll dance off time to songs we've never liked, and sing off key, thinking it sounds alright". A sad, brilliant track.

'Digits' shows more ambition, with a Slint like instrumental for its intro. The guitars chime and interplay, leaving you unsure as to what's going to happen next. Then, out of nowhere, the band come back in with a crash, and Adkins yells with a ferocity that with make you nearly jump out of your seat. The song tumbles along in punk pop fashion for a while, before leading into a gentle outro, with Adkins' vocals soaring over the top, and the last sounds in the song are soft chirps of birds. Fantastic music.

'Caveman' is a welcome return to Linton's singing, and the song is in the vein of 'Rockstar', but does not suffer for it at all. It is another rousing rocker that could launch a thousand stadium lighters, as wel as being pretty hard to forget.

'World Is Static' enters slowly, with a pulsing drumbeat underpinning tense guitars and growling bass. Then, the song leaps out at you like a tiger in the bushes, grabbing you the throat as Adkins yells into your face. It kicks and snarls with the most angst-ridden songs on the album, until the outro, where the vocals begin to harmonise, and the song ends on a slightly happier note than when it started. Another gem.

'In The Same Room' lulls you into a false sense of security with its soft intro, and then the guitars gradually thunder in, monolithic and powerful for some parts, and pulling back for dreamy, softer sections. The band's knowledge of attack and release is shown here, with thrilling results.

'Robot Factory' gallops along with a nervy intensity, and Linton sounds more anxious here than he has on the entire album - you can feel it, especially when he gives way to a yell near the end.

'Anderson Mesa' begins slowly, with plucked guitars and a calm rhythm section, until at the 2:34 mark, it drops into a down tempo chug, which unfolds over the rest of the song, and you won't want it to end, but it does, with lilting guitar plucks signifying the end of a fine album.

Worth every penny, and a great introduction to Jimmy Eat World.

Sound: Jimmy Eat World. 1996. Four good dudes just trying to make some sweet alternative rock. After changing their old punk style from their first album, the band started making up their own style of rock music. The best way anyone could ever describe this album would be "prog-alternative-emocore" (as in Sunny Day Real Estate emocore). There are some harder songs like "Caveman", "Thinking, That's All", and "World Is Static." However, if you're not into artsy rock, a lot of these songs won't appeal to you due to their lack of a distinctive melody in a lot of the songs. Good drumming, nice bass lines, and some really innovative guitar work (although a lack in solos) appears in this album. // 9

Lyrics and Singing: Great lyrics that are semi-incoherent at times, partly because of Jim Adkins rough voice, but mostly due to their vagueness and almost transcendant quality. They go along with the music most of the time, but I think the lyrics were meant to be more poetic than regular "song lyrics." Most deal with what appear to be lingering memories, friends, and girls. // 10

Impression: Sonically similar to Jimmy's Clarity album, except for the additional instruments being used on Clarity. Most impressive songs for me were "Anderson Mesa", "Thinking That's All", "Robot Factory", and "Claire." There are some very epic and brooding songs on this record, so if you bought it thinking it was gonna be a thirty minute pop stint, you were completely blown away. If I lost this album, I would definitely go buy another copy, the reason being that Static Prevails isn't sold as frequently as the other Jimmy albums. Great record, great songs, great band. Go buy it! // 9
Ultimate-Guitar review

With their third album Clarity being one of the most overlooked masterpieces of 1999, Static Prevails is Jimmy Eat World paying their dues in 1996. It could be the slight over-production (a curse that has always haunted the band), being on a major label for the first time, or them trying to get a feel for pulling fancy studio tricks (i.e., numerous backing vocals, cellos, and Moog additions). Maybe it's all three, but what Static Prevails essentially lacks is the songwriting maturity that Jimmy Eat World could have perfected; but it's almost as if the studio heads at Capitol wouldn't let them so that there would be more room for radio-friendly pop songs. In the end, nobody won. However, tracks such as "Anderson Mesa," "Call It in the Air," and "Seventeen" don't cross that line of boring alternative rock but remain in that aggressive pop status. 
Nothing close to classic, but definitely a sign of better things to come.
Mike DaRonco

Jimmy Eat World ‎– Jimmy Eat World (1994)

Jimmy Eat World is the debut album by Jimmy Eat World. It was released in 1994 on Wooden Blue Records and displays their early sound with Tom Linton singing lead on most of the songs on this album. The one song on this album that is sung by current primary vocalist Jim Adkins is "Usery". Jimmy Eat World is currently out of print. The album cover is an old picture of Linton's younger brothers Jim and Ed, from whom the band's name originated.

Jimmy Eat World ‎– Jimmy Eat World (1994) 320 kbps

The Gloria Record ‎– Start Here (2002)

For the thirsty, the suffering and all the rest.


Listening to Start Here, the stunning new full-length from Austin-based five piece,The Gloria Record, it's safe to say, the band has fully realized all the potential their eponymous 1998 debut E.P. promised — and then some. Start Here, is an ambitious recording, over two years in the making — and trust me, it shows. TGR's sound has evolved tenfold and Start Here is the manifestation of that growth. Not only is it arguably the band's finest record to date, a career defining masterpiece, if you will; it is perhaps the best record of 2002, thus far. The befitting title itself suggests — albeit unwittingly — that longtime TGR fans, newcomers and detractors alike, dispense with any predisposition they may have held about the band's previous efforts and well, start here.

Appropriately, the sprawling, ten-track, sonic-soiree begins with the title track. As the click of a metronome introduces the song, Ben Houtman's expansive yet plaintive synth playing takes center stage and accompanies Chris Simpson (guitar/vocals) as he succinctly delivers the album's manifesto: Lose yourself, you're young and you've got time/It's simple then; start here and move forward/You'll figure it out eventually, or not/Either way, you'll have company.

While, it's evident TGR has undergone a massive overhaul of their sound, thankfully, they haven’t forsaken their trademark segues. As the synth lines of "Start Here" slowly fade out, the track seamlessly segues into the manic, drumming precision of Brian Malone and the sweeping guitar lines of Brian Hubbard on "Good Morning Providence." In what is presumably a documentation of Simpson's frustrations in making the record, he sings: Good morning providence, we've got a situation here/ I'm in the belly of a whale and haven’t seen the sun for days/I'm cut and paste inside this tune/Good morning providence, the chorus is a wreck, so mind your head and bless this mess...while the rest of the band intricately weaves in and out of his phrasing.

"Cinema Air", opens with Hubbard in the drivers seat, with guitar tone reminiscent of the grittier tracks on R.E.M.'s Monster, before being pushed way down in the mix to make way for more of Houtman's piano meanderings. While the layered orchestration of this new record is simply amazing, it's Simpson’s self-depreciating, somewhat cynical lyrics that once again steal the show.

Please tell the whole world I am here to be their hero, with the perfect body and straight teeth/ Strings swelling every time I blink, with the perfect body and straight teeth and strings swelling every time I blink/ On the big screen with my big dreams, 'cause you know I am the drama king. 

– Excerpt from "Cinema Air "

If you haven't already gathered by now, the most noticeable difference, aside from keyboard-driven lush orchestration of this record and its predecessors, is Simpson's lyrical forthrightness. While Simpson has always been a masterful lyricist, since his days in Mineral, his lyrics this time around seem less esoteric (unless the songs on the old record were about you) and more direct. The only time on the entire record that you're reminded he's still the same affable guy who wrote such memorable heartfelt songs as, "MD" and "ForIvadell," is during the opening lines of "I Was Born In Omaha," an ode to being, well, born in Omaha, of all things. The track begins with Simpson’s voice accompanied solely by an acoustic guitar and sounds like classic TGR we all know and love. However, by the time the second verse rolls around, the track is given the full TGR treatment and you're also reminded that TGR is all grown up now. Moreover, listening to the next track, "Ascension Dream," I can hardly fathom any other band pulling off a song about hitting a deer and making it sound even remotely believable. However, TGR does just that, without coming off as being even the slightest bit corny.

Pull the flesh over those bones and rise, 'cause you're not supposed to lie here in the middle of the road, in the middle of the night/stand up and breathe in again and run along now to the other side, cause your friends are standing by./Tell them I'm sorry that I ever learned to drive. 
— Excerpt from "Ascension Dream"

Bottom line: if it's visceral, thinking-man's rock you seek, you've come to the right place. Start Here is TGR's most mature and best sounding (hats off to Saddle Creek svengali Mike Mogis, for the production) record to date. The lull between touring in support of 2000's A Lull In Traffic and writing/recording Start Here obviously served the band well, as the songs had time to simmer and evolve on their own. Even though the arrangements are seemingly complex at times, all of the players leave room for one another and never step on each others toes, leaving you with the sense this record was a collaborative and well thought out effort. 

On a scale of rock bands who are oft compared to "the world’s most important band": If one is Paloalto and ten is Muse, Start Here rates an eleven: Remy Zero.
Hybrid Music Reviews

"Start Here" has been a long time coming for the 5-piece Austin, TX band The Gloria Record. They formed in '97 and have released 2 ep's previous to it. Chris Simpson (guitar/vocals) and Jeremy Gomez (bass/keyboards) were members of the late-great band Mineral, and for the TGR, their lineup have been accompanied by Brian Hubbard (guitar), Brian Malone (drums), and Ben Houtman (keyboards, piano, organ). "Start Here" has been in the works for years and is finally finished. Was it worth the wait? To put it simply, yes. Being a huge fan of the Mineral sound, I loved the 2 ep's. They were pretty similar. When I popped in this disc for the first time, that is the type of sound I expected, and to my surprise the first listen was tough. It was so much different. But I knew in time it would grow on me, and it has. TGR has evolved immensely and developed a sound of their own. The crucial element that has set them apart is the keyboards. I would say it is the main instrument of the album. The sounds of the keyboards collide together beautifully for a masterpiece of musical artistry. The keyboards accompanied by the other instruments and the voice like no other of Chris Simpson makes this album track after track of enjoyment and relaxation. The album has 10 tracks and over 50 minutes of music, with songs that are heartfelt and honest. This isn't the catchiest album of the year, but I encourage you to give it a few listens through and see if you think it may be one of the best albums of the year.

The Gloria Record's Start Here begins with an anomaly, the synth-driven song from which the album bears its name. After that intro, however, the rest of the album progresses to become the heir apparent to Mineral's evolution. In fact, Start Here far surpasses anything Mineral did, or the Gloria Record has done up to this point themselves. After a few listens, the strength of lead singer Chris Simpson's voice begins to penetrate into your head like a siren. The keyboards are effortlessly worked into the songs and, from track to track, Start Here flows like the weeks of the year. 
Occasionally the songs are melancholic and gloomy like winter, other times full of hope and grace like summer, but behind them all are power, strength, beauty, and the knowledge that this might be the closest anyone can get to heaven while still in the flesh.
Kurt Morris

And if you don't feel lonely
Then you can't feel anything at all...