Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Various Artist – Ground Rule Double (1995)

Ground Rule Double, a digipak landmark of major league proportions to Chicago and the greater Midwest. A document of historical value, sweeping brilliantly through 25 emo/math/indie/instrumental/punk tracks. Leaning on select tracks by Braid, Shellac, and Mineral, yet held together by the likes of C-Clamp, Gainer, and Gila Bend. Completely skipping the dead sea of label samplers and sordid compilations, Ground Rule Double buoys in a pleasant mixture of inventiveness and consistency. A panoramic snapshot of fresh sound which helped sprout some of the most respected musicians of today.

Justin Grimm


1. Braid - Grand Theft Autumn (2:59)
2. Dianogah - What Is Your Landmass? (2:30)
3. Gainer - Bike Rides At Mignight (3:15)
4. Poonjab - If You Squeeze Your Fingers (4:03)
5. The Hitmen - Thrash (1:46)
6. Gila Bend - Gainer (3:35)
7. Bollweevils - Delfosse (1:55)
8. Scout - The Lemming Constant (5:01)
9. Friction - Hybrid Moments (1:18)
10. Lustre King - Thighs Are Vices (2:02)
11. The Blue Meanies - Ace Of Spades (2:40)
12. Cinco De Gatos - Ireland (3:47)
13. The Trigger Quintet - Slept For Seven Days (3:02)
14. Hubcap - Moss Worth Embossing (2:47)
15. Shellac - The Copper Song (1:55)
16. The Promise Ring - 12 Sweaters Red (4:46)
17. The Fighters - The Evil Man And The Nice Boy (1:28)
18. Orwell - Bandsaw Architecture (1:21)
19. 88 Fingers Louie - I Don't Want To Hear It (1:13)
20. Big'n - Cuss (2:29)
21. C-Clamp - Cah (4:44)
22. Mineral - 5, 8, & 10 (5:12)
23. Jerkwater - Instrumental (4:43)
24. Back Of Dave - Glory Of... (2:00)
25. Apocalypse Hoboken - Capitals Bark At The Moon (2:32)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Various Artist – (Don't Forget To) Breathe (1997)

A who's who of mid-90's emo explosion before the tag became synonymous with teenage love erosion, sappy barefaced bawling, and laughable mimicking of ones' favorite wounded front man. In a compelling rarity, (Don't Forget To) Breathe demonstrates the technical competence that made the genre so powerful, not only musically but emotionally, incorporating the punk rock formalities laced with explosive post-hardcore surges and sometimes sing-a-long melodies as the musicians attached themselves to a more expressive and poignant musical framework than what grunge had offered a few years earlier.

Many of the bands featured were pioneers in their field but most have faded into obscurity or have gone on to other projects, but are mostly indigenous to any unique musical explorations (exception: Hot Snakes) such as: Boy's Life, Christie Front Drive, Drive Like Jehu, and Mineral. Other groups were on the verge of indie rock notoriety (Silver Scooter, Vitreous Humor, Ethel Meserve, Uncrush) and served up delectable unreleased jewels that made you want to search long and hard for full-lengths and seven inch singles but more often than none, these inquiries came up empty or at least insufficient to serve any long term interest.

Released in 1997, (Don't Forget To) Breathe is a testament to sincere and honest music free from hypocrisy and diluted exploitations from major label persuasions or style over substance tendencies. Crank! has left us with a legacy of some of the finest indie rock acts to emerge from what is mostly connected to the West/Midwest sound that is still as stimulating to listen to today as it was when I purchased it almost a decade ago.

Mark Taylor


1. Fireside - Headacher (3:29)
2. Silver Scooter - Pumpkin Eyes (3:53)
3. The Promise Ring - Pink Chimneys (2:24)
4. Grander - 88 Cubic Meters (5:10)
5. Christie Front Drive - Field (3:15)
6. Hot Water Music - Elektra (3:26)
7. Vitreous Humor - The Whisper Twins (5:12)
8. Prozac Memory - Mapmaker (3:57)
9. Knapsack - Less Than (4:46)
10. Roadside Monument - A Spanish Trail (5:04)
11. Mineral - Rubber Legs (5:54)
12. Seven Storey Mountain - No Promise (3:42)
13. Drive Like Jehu - Bullet Train To Vegas (live) (2:34)
14. Uni-V - Murder Is For Everyone (4:32)
15. Boys Life - Sight Unseen (live) (4:19)
16. Ethel Meserve - Calba's Last (5:20)
17. Uncrush - Nap (4:08)
18. [unknown] - [unknown] (2:54)

Monday, January 09, 2012

American Football - American Football (1999)

Only one full-length album was conceived before the band's premature breakup, but it remains a genuinely brilliant record that has touched almost all of its listeners. American Football managed to capture the feeling of drifting through time as the seasons change over and conveyed it through nine marvelous pieces of music.

"American Football" begins with "Never Meant", regarded by many (and myself) to be the band's signature song. The dazzling opening riff is a perfect introduction to the band's style of irregular time signatures and "twinkling" guitar sounds. Kinsella's vocals are confessional and heartfelt, and they sit low in the mix as to put more of an emphasis on the music itself. The percussion is complex and varied enough to keep the listener intrigued throughout the song's progression, with intricate hi-hat and tambourine pieces highlighting the performance. After the fadeout, "The Summer Ends" lumbers slowly into the wake. It's the first song to use trumpets, which is a unique and captivating dimension that American Football incorporates into multiple songs on the album. Lyrics like "Well, maybe I've been wrong. Maybe my intentions are irrelevant. But honestly, it's just not for me," transmit the character's regrettable feelings, while warm and melodic atmospheres surround the vocal lines. "Honestly?" is one of the best and longest tracks on the album, and it does a fantastic job of changing the pace from tired and dragging to upbeat and technical. Eventually, the song turns in a different direction almost without warning, and the vocals give way to a full-on four minute jam session by the musicians. The mood is consuming, with dramatic guitar leads and steady drum fills leading into another fadeout.

"For Sure" opens with a bit of a playful riff, and gorgeous horns accent the music wonderfully. For one of the shorter songs on the album, it's quite memorable and manages to project the feeling of being carefree. The vocals are drawn out and minimal, but add an extra bit of emotion to the song's already powerful message. Next, "You Know I Should Be Leaving Soon" displays the math rock influence with an attention-grabbing tapping riff, progressing into a mixture of melodious guitar lines and symbol-heavy drumming. The song contains no vocals, but another bit of experimentation is thrown in with the tasteful use of maracas to add some original flavor. "But The Regrets Are Killing Me" is perhaps the saddest song on the album, with lyrics such as "It's a long goodbye with mixed emotions. Just fragments of another life," and "Fools leave too soon. Built to fill roles and fall," stealing the spotlight. The "twinkling" aspect is at its best here, and waves of harmonious riffs and leads dominate the medium. "I'll See You When We're Both Not So Emotional" goes at a steady pace, with the ongoing theme of a crumbling relationship once again thrust into the limelight. Many of the guitar lines are elaborately designed and woven together like an old quilt, passed down through generations.

 "Stay Home" is the longest track on the album, clocking in at just over eight minutes. The slow buildup of tension is tremendous, and the listener is almost able to picture the song's climax at the halfway point before slowly starting to wind back down. While the vocals don't appear until the climax, the lyrics are heartfelt and powerful ("Don't leave home again if empathy takes energy, because everyone feels just like you."), and it makes for a great summary of the album's overall tone and message. Finally "The One With The Wurlitzer" feels almost like the aftermath of the album, as it fades back in with a similar riff to the concluding piece of its preceding song. It's short and without vocals, but the sorrowful trumpet solo fills the void perfectly and brings the ever-beautiful 40 minute record to a bittersweet close.

This outreaching and emotionally-charged look at indie math rock (which is sometimes dubbed "post-emo") is heartfelt, dulcet, catchy and mournful all in one. Not many albums can deliver a contrasting whirlwind of emotions effortlessly, but American Football managed to successfully create something pioneering and prototypal before their unfortunate demise. Like too many other short-lived bands, they rode off into the sunset without first displaying their full potential as a group. And while their devoted cult of fans still hold out hope for a reunion, there hasn't been any substantial rumours to suggest that the three will ever make music together again. Still, this remains to this day a very influential group of songs that test the limits of the emotional spectrum and stay personally close to those who have grown to love them.

sputnik music

password: thelastwordisrejoice

American Football - American Football EP (1998)

American Football consists of vocalist/bassist/guitarist Mike Kinsella, guitarist Steve Holmes, and drummer/trumpet player Steve Lamos. Kinsella's emo/post-rock pedigree includes stints with bands like Cap'n Jazz and Joan of Arc; American Football shares a similar esthetic, blending jazzy tempos, pop hooks, and earnest vocals into their sound. The group released their self-titled debut EP in 1998 and their eponymous full-length in 1999.

To fill in the gaps and have everything listed here, American Football's self-titled EP is needed to complete the circle. Three songs of Midwest emo, cunningly made with graceful twinkling and intimate singing. I recall a reviewer on a different site describing American Football’s music as a "walk down the block, kicking pebbles and tugging up with a warm jacket." This music does have a certain feeling of the fall, or maybe springtime, and it’s a very nice alternative to the angst-ridden style of '90s emo.

The sound that comes out of American Football’s amps is just about as good a clean guitar tone as there is in the world. The actual playing is technical, but in a very subtle way; everything flows like a liquid, heavy with reverb. Singer Mike Kinsella’s voice and lyrics are very much the same way: subtly brilliant. At first, his voice almost seems more like an instrument, the lyrics are almost an afterthought, as they are far from hooky and delivered in such a fashion that one really has to pay attention to piece full lines together. During a section of Letters and Packages sparsely populated by anything other than soft drums, he sings As a result of my history I'm afraid I'll let you down. If only we were older in a tone that almost sends chills to one’s spine.

But besides how wonderful the music is, there happens to be a certain introspect in the lyrics, thus, the angst-ridden statement above is whatever you take from it. Words written about desperation, insecurities, failure, one’s own thoughts, and aspirations are highly relatable, never ceasing to become images of self-delusion. We can relate to this.

Mike Kinsella and Steve Lamos carried on from their previous band, the One Up Downstairs, which can be called the precursor to American Football. After recruiting Steve Holmes, the band quickly made this EP, followed by their heavily praised self-titled LP. When separated, these three tracks stand alone and are just fine like that, but when they are collected with the LP, and given a good jam, the overall senses are blown, making what I consider to be a perfect album. American Football are the go-to band for anyone making '90s emo-revival music, and with artists like the very missed Colossal, newish groups Algernon Cadwallader, Monument, and the short-lived Midwest Pen Pals, you definitely should know that this music is very special, sprouting forth many children. Crazy to think that the band themselves probably didn't consider this back then in 1998.

The three tracks are "The One with the Tambourine", "Letters and Packages" and "Five Silent Miles". Each song has its own grace and security, pulling in the listener and giving one a possible type of calming quality that should be considered now and then. On the opening song, the melodies ride along and ring as if drops of water were falling into a puddle. Mike’s singing is a bit more delicate, often showing his voice hit its limits and begin to crack, but that’s what I love so much about it. Towards the end, the track slides off into a very nice riff, carried along in a distorted way that I wished they tried more often. On the next track there is a more mellowish vibe, sort of bringing the listener down to a lower level and having a conversation, but of a longing sort.

"Maybe everything is tragic and temporary.
Remember Esmé, age 13?
Already blasé and broken hearted, so elegant, so considerate.
If only she were older.
As a result of my history I’m afraid I’ll let you down.
If only we were older."

 The last track is a wonderful conclusion, gliding along and setting the pace as if it were the final credits to one’s own story. A full-on instrumental, "Five Silent Miles" is a nice bridge into their self-titled LP, or maybe the bookend to whatever order you want to list their music. With American Football you can kind of zone out, after a while everything blends together in a really relaxing way, and still find yourself enjoying the music. But, when you string together Kinsella’s words, and hear the full sentences, you find out exactly how brilliant and poignant American Football really is. This EP is short, three tracks in less than 12 minutes, but is well worth it if you find yourself enjoying their LP. The songs aren’t the same, but they could easily all fit together on one disc. And what a disc that would be.

punknews.org, sputnik music

password: thelastwordisrejoice

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Christie Front Drive - The Last Show 2126 Arapaho Warehouse in Denver CO 05/21/1996 (1996)

DVDRip (867.9 MB):

Video: MPEG4 Video (H264) 640x480 25.00fps [Video]
Audio: MPEG Audio Layer 3 44100Hz stereo 1411kbps [Audio]

While it's appropriate and cool to limit a 2010 Stereo Sound reissue's bonus content to stuff that revolves around the actual album itself, it's nice to have a set here that chronicles the band's discography a little wider. The show is shot completely on a VHS camcorder seemingly, so there's a very "home movie" feel here (some blips and cuts at points, even), with the audio certainly not perfect. The vocals aren't too clear and the overall sound feels a little muffled, but hey, this is what DIY was in 1996. The crowd is definitely more observant than involved (save one kid up front rockin' out all through) up until the last 20 minutes or so (everyone really wants bassist Kerry McDonald to take his shirt off), but I suppose that puts the viewer on the same relative level. In fact, the whole thing isn't always dynamic in many respects, from performance to color, but it's a nice watch — probably recommended more for the hardcore CFD fan. You do get a pretty heavy "Seven Day Candle", the rhythmic drive of "Fin" will grab a luller's attention, and the intensity of "Away" is welcomed. The sad meander of "Pipe" gets the closest to breaking your heart here, and not just because it's the last song the band plays.



1. Saturday
2. Radio
3. November
4. Seven Day Candle
5. Instant Romance
6. 4010
7. Fin
8. Slide
9. Away
10. Valentine
11. Turn
12. Pipe

See, feel and enjoy

password: thelastwordisrejoice

Christie Front Drive - Singles (1994-1995)

1994 - Christie Front Drive 12"

A1 Turn
A2 Dyed On 8
A3 Long Out
B1 Lot
B2 Pipe
B3 Dirt

1994 - Untitled 7"

A 4010
B Away

1995 - Christie Front Drive & Jimmy Eat World 7"

A Christie Front Drive – Slide
B Jimmy Eat World – Digits

1995 - Sineater & Christie Front Drive 7"

A Christie Front Drive – ...Now I Do
B Sineater – Prompt


1995 - Boys Life & Christie Front Drive

1. Christie Front Drive – Instant Romance
2. Christie Front Drive – Bowl
3. Christie Front Drive – Valentine
4. Boys Life – Sight Unseen
5. Boys Life – Homecoming
6. Boys Life – Two Wheeled Train


password to all: thelastwordisrejoice

Christie Front Drive - Christie Front Drive (also known as Stereo Sound) (1996) + reissue (2010)

The second self-titled album by Christie Front Drive, known colloquially as Stereo, is given the full reissue treatment by lovely label Magic Bullet Records. You get the classicist '90s emo sounds of Christie Front Drive remastered, as well as a DVD of the band's final show, from 1996. Not a bad package in all.

Originally released in 1997 on Caulfield Records, Christie Front Drive/Stereo contemplated delicately alongside that of Mineral, who had released The Power of Failing right around that time, and foreshadowed the anxious, melodic turn of Jimmy Eat World's Clarity that would blow the sound up to new proportions.

This album was stronger than the debut (also self-titled, a.k.a. Anthology), as the band was able to better explore their dynamics and sound a little more assertive in the process. The sound was largely the same, but it was a little bolder and more confident, even in the tenderly dusky delivery from vocalist/guitarist Eric Richter. He comes in at intermittent moments to punctuate the emotion a little harder, but the band often spiral through prolonged instrumental sections (there's three interlude tracks and an outro) that intertwine and carefully search for their own meaning.

"November" exhibits the first bout of serious tension that's been built, with mini-buildups that come just short of completely cathattic. Midway through is the darkest the band get, but it's actually an electronic interlude that sounds like something out of Wendy Carlos's book, but it goes back into the band's signature earnestness with the upward "Fin". Unofficial closer "Seven Day Candle" has some of the most affecting and memorable chords of the entire album, with a pulsing opening that almost rivals that riff in Mineral's "Gloria".

Altogether, this brings Christie Front Drive into the modern sphere with grace and a few decent extras.


password to all: thelastwordisrejoice

Christie Front Drive - Christie Front Drive (also known as Anthology) (1995)

Denver-based emo band Christie Front Drive was formed in the autumn of 1993 by singer/guitarist Eric Richter, guitarist Jason Begin, bassist Kerry McDonald and drummer Ron Marschall. Despite a relatively small recorded output which included a self-titled EP, a split ten-inch with Boy's Life and an appearance on the (Don't Forget to) Breathe compilation, the group quickly earned legendary status in emo circles, and remains a major influence on up-and-coming artists. Following the completion of the Stereo record, however, Christie Front Drive disbanded in May of 1996, with a handful of posthumous releases and reissues appearing in the years to follow. Begin and Marschall later reunited in the Blue Ontario, while Richter formed Antarctica.

Christie Front Drive’s debut album displays this flawlessly on their debut self-titled album which comprises of material from their first 7 and 12” releases. In my opinion, this is one of the most emotional albums you will ever hear. Scattered throughout this album are perfect melodies, great pacing, tremendous talent and passion.

The album starts with Turn. A droning guitar riff and soft melodic crooning come from lead singer Eric Richter. A higher pitched hammer-on riff sneaks its way in, and adds another level of melody to the song. Throughout this song, you can feel the emotion of Eric and you really get a sense of what he was going through when he wrote this. Having music do that someone is a very good sign, and thankfully, it never lets up. Next song, one of my personal favorites, Dyed On 8 begins with the band playing a start and stop kind of intro for a bit, until Eric comes in. It’s a shame I can’t find any lyrics for these guys, because I would love to sing along. Drums take the cake for me though, as drummer Ron Marschall does way more than what was asked. I’m not talking about any flashy solos or anything, but throwing in little surprises every once in a while.

All instruments throughout this album are phenomenal. Guitars create fantastic melodies, with the (audible) bass doing more than just following the same pattern as the guitars. It’s a shame most bass today isn’t audible, because they really are capable of a lot more than what they’re given to do. Drums, as said before, are superb. Even as monotonous as they are, you can tell how much emotion he puts into every hit of the snare and cymbals. Standout drum track would definitely be Long Out. Vocals are very much reminiscent of Sunny Day Real Estate’s Jeremy Enigk, but turned quieter in the mix, thus giving the instruments more time to shine. If I could change anything about this album, I’d want to raise the volume of the vocals, but that’s a small easily overlookable complaint.

Track highlight would be Slide. Quiet drums and a soft guitar line open the song, as both gradually develop more energy until they burst into a flurry of emotion. Listening to any song from this album after a break-up is a definite no-no seeing as how, if you feel the same I do about this kind of music, will definitely make you emotional. The production on this album also greatly helps the atmosphere of the album, as it sounds like you’re right there in the studio. Granted, it’s not crystal clear, but it has just the right amount of clarity, and the unintelligibility that makes it feel more raw and real than it would if it was recorded today. You simply don’t come across this kind of music anymore, and it’s a shame, because this is a big example of why the 90’s was one of the best decades for music.

sputnik music

Christie Front Drive - Christie Front Drive (also known as Anthology) (1995) 320kbps

password: thelastwordisrejoice

Monday, January 02, 2012

Mineral - Emo's in Austin TX - 10/26/97 (1997)

This is a DVD ISO Image was made of Mineral's last show at Emo's in Austin,TX on 10/26/97. This was encoded off a VHS tape. This was just made for the fans to enjoy. If you need help burning the ISO to DVD, download ImgBurn from http://www.imgburn.com 


1. Introduction
2. Five, Eight, and Ten
3. Palisade
4. Slower
5. February
6. M.D.
7. Gloria
8. Unknown Song
9. Unfinished
10. If I Could
11. Parking Lot

Mineral - Emo's in Austin TX - 10/26/97 (1997)

eternal thanks to geniusofthecrowd

Mineral - The Complete Collection (2010)

During the second part of the nineties and the early years of the new century, we've listened to the two Mineral album a ridiculously high number of times ("The Power of Failing", 1997 and "EndSerenading, 1998).

All of their tracks finally included here, all things remastered.

Listening to this anthology on a Japanese label, feelings of nostalgia are playing totally, reviving old feelings never totally lost and it does sound like spring, it sounds like happiness, youth, innocence, melancholy and a never ending state of adolescence.

And I won't deny that songs like "If I Could", "Gloria", "80-37", "Rubber Legs", "Love Letter Typewriter", "Palisade", "Unfinished", "A Letter" or "&Serenading" have alleviated my difficulties to go through bad times several times in the past and have helped me to develop a more positive view on life when I deeply needed one. And I really clearly remember myself listening to Mineral's "The Power Of Failing" with earphones as the first thing on my hospital bed, recovering just after urgent appendicitis surgery and feeling myself euphoric and strongly happy and calling my girlfriend to say how much I loved her and still love her that way today.

Thank you Mineral (for all).


password: thelastwordisrejoice

Mineral - Singles (1994 - 1998)

1994 - Gloria 7"

A Gloria
B Parking Lot

1997 - Mineral / Jimmy Eat World / Sense Field 7"

1. Mineral – Crazy (Willie Nelson Cover)
2. Jimmy Eat World – Secret Crush
3. Sense Field – Every Reason

320 kbps

1998 - February / M.D. 7"

A February (March Version)
B M.D.

1998 - &Serenading 7"

A &Serenading
B Love My Way

password to all: thelastwordisrejoice

Mineral - The Power Of Failing (1997)

Mineral formed in 1994 and like other young bands, they toured constantly, virtually living in their van. The band's first release, the 7 inch "Gloria"/"Parking Lot" 7", was released on Audio Concept by Kerry McDonald from Christie Front Drive (the record was later re-released by Caulfield Records). Through a few rabid fans, that 7" found it's way into the hands of crank! and Mineral later decided to release their records on the label.

Their first full length "The Power Of Failing", was recorded in 6 days in October 1995, followed by a split 7 inch with Jimmy Eat World and Sense Field shortly after when the three bands hit the road together.

"The Power Of Failing" is a keystone album from Mineral. They were known for their beautiful, driving melodies, heart-penetrating lyrics, incredible vocals, and an overall sense of power that emanated from their music. Although the structure is relatively simple most of the time, it is the essence of the music which overwhelms. On "Gloria," one can just feel the strength of emotion, with lyrics such as "I just want to be something more than the mud in your eyes." The wailing "Parking Lot" is the band at their shining best. This album is deservedly considered by many an essential addition to any emo collection.

Mineral - The Power Of Failing (1997) 320kbps

password: thelastwordisrejoice