Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Boys Life - Singles & Live (1993-1996)

1993 - Lister / Without Doubt 7"

A Lister
B Without Doubt


1994 - Boys Life / Vitreous Humor 7"

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

1995 - Boys Life / Giants Chair 7"

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


1996 - Live


1. Sleeping Off Summer (10:53)
2. Fire Engine Red (3:08)
3. Untitled (5:31)
4. All Of The Negatives (4:42)
5. Radio Towers (6:22)
6. Two Wheeled Train (7:17)

password to all: thelastwordisrejoice

Boys Life ‎– Departures And Landfalls (1996)

Aw, the '90s. What would I do without your music??? Living in Oklahoma all my life, there was always this sense of calm that came from being amongst the prairies and not within the confines of a concrete jungle. For me, the music of the Midwest brings to mind these memories from long ago and the sometimes simpleness that being a child gave to me. But, of course, there's the inner feelings that spring about and make me remember those hard times I've been through. And for some people, music is what triggers said emotions. 

Boys Life was such a band. They often remind me of those old memories and it's a give-and-take kind of relationship. Going through their discography, I always end up loving their second full-length album, 1996's Departures and Landfalls, the most. This is an album of restless intensity and emotional outpour. Of all eight tracks, there is not a dud amongst them. From the twinkly opening song, "Fire Engine Red," to the final bits of album closer "Painted Smiles," Boys Life have crafted a finely tuned Midwest time capsule that hits the mark every time.

When first listening to this album, you will notice the lo-fi quality production. I recall reading complaints from people on this issue, but after countless times jamming this collection of songs, I can honestly say it adds to the atmosphere. From the emo-inspired cover art work featuring an open, dawn-filled landscape, to the almost old-fashioned AM radio vocals, you get a sense of "found" quality. Like this album was hidden amongst old junk in your grandparents' basement, and once you begin to listen to it, it takes you on a history lesson from the past. Take album highlight, "Radio Towers." The song begins with the tuning of radio dials, and then slowly but surely the instrumentals softly begin to build up. There is this ambiance that surrounds the listener and engulfs them in static. It brings to mind Wilco's best album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and maybe the debut album by the Strokes, Is This It.

Another thing to mention is lead singer Brandon Butler. He’s become one of my favorite vocalists from the '90s emo movement, what with his yelp and forced screams. The only people I can closely compare him to would be Bob Nanna from Braid and Mike Kinsella during his American Football days. 

With instrumentation that resembles the best of what the scene had to offer and lyrics expressing landscapes and insecurity, Departures and Landfalls is one of the best emo albums ever made. If you happen to dig bands like the Kossabone Red, Braid, the Promise Ring, Broken Hearts Are Blue and Christie Front Drive, this should suffice. Remember that music isn't always this good...



Boys Life ‎– Boys Life (1995)

Boys Life were a Kansas City, Mo., band with an intensely energetic, but dissonant sound that sprung out of the post-hardcore scene in 1993. The band began releasing material on split 7" records with other local outfits Secular Theme and Giants Chair. Relying on a stripped-down sound punctuated by out-of-tune, noisy guitars and a ‘quiet' then ‘loud' alternation, the foursome then put out two full-length albums, Boys Life in 1995 and the out-of-print classic Departures and Landfalls in 1996.
Tagged emo-core by critics and kids alike, the band, composed of Brandon Butler (vocals/guitar), John Anderson (drums), John Rejba (bass) and Joe Winkle (guitar), often began their songs with a simple bass line and then turned up the nobs and ditched the drum brushes, building up to epic crescendos with screaming, distortion and energy — all in a very controlled manner. Adding samples of crickets chirping, radio static and the far-off wail of train whistles gave the band a decidedly Midwestern/Americana feel without ever coming off as folk or country.
Boys Life called it quits sometime in 1997, but members went on to form the short-lived Farewell Bend, Lullaby for the Working Class and other projects. Winkle and Butler now do time in the Lo-Fi outfit Canyon.

Brendan Dabkowski

Various Artist ‎– Nowcore! The Punk Rock Evolution (1999)

Some people call it emo (as in "emotional hardcore"), some people just call it punk. In any case, it's a clear step away from the rage-and-angst-based hardcore punk of the past; undifferentiated roar and one-minute songs have been replaced by melodies, more adventurous song structures, and lyrics that the groups actually want you to understand. What has remained is the general aggressiveness, even if it's significantly reduced in many cases. The result is uneven, but mostly worth hearing. Samiam hits the spot just right with "She Found You," and the Promise Ring's "Why Did Ever We Meet" despite the college-placement English class syntax of its title, is a charming piece of romantic pop-punk. On the other hand, it's hard to keep your attention focused on "Wheaton Calling" by Burning Airlines, and Braid doesn't exactly seem to be saying much with "New Nathan Detroits" (get it, high school musical alumni?). This is a good overview, but it may or may not convince most listeners that they need to seek out more of this kind of thing.

Rick Anderson

A Different Kind Of Greatness, Aug, 1999

The next time some kid asks you what emo is, or when you're trying to get your little sister to listen to some good music, pop Nowcore! in as an introduction.

Village Voice, Sep 8, 1999

A shining example of the indie values American punk has nutured.

The 16-track disc fairly comprehensively collects early '90s post-punk bands, with D.C. hardcore from Jawbox and SoCal freak rock by Drive Like Jehu, through late '90s offerings like western-tinged punk by Washington's Modest Mouse and melodic, emotional pop courtesy of The Promise Ring.

Amazon.com: Editorial Reviews


1. The Promise Ring - Why Did Ever We Meet (4:05)
2. HUM - Stars (5:10)
3. Seaweed - Start With (4:02)
4. Modest Mouse - Convenient Parking (4:09)
5. Braid - New Nathan Detroits (4:18)
6. At The Drive In - For Now We Toast (3:02)
7. Mineral - Forlvadell (3:38)
8. Compound Red - Versus The Ocean (3:50)
9. Samiam - She Found You (3:33)
10. Burning Airlines - Wheaton Calling (3:13)
11. Unwound - Unauthorized Autobiography (2:48)
12. The Dismemberment Plan - The Ice Of Boston (4:57)
13. Drive Like Jehu - Caress (3:56)
14. Texas Is The Reason - A Jack With One Eye (4:40)
15. Knapsack - Decorate The Spine (2:40)
16. Jawbox - Savory (4:25)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Evergreen - Singles (1993-1997)

1993 - Evergreen 7"

A1 250 Dollar Loser
A2 Bullyrag
B Forced Feed Ed

1994 - Evergreen 7"

A Trudy Pushpin
B1 The Water Song
B2 Shoulders

Evergreen ‎– These Last Days 7"

A1 Freight Trains And Windsongs
A2 Gladhand
B Prainer The VIII

password to all: thelastwordisrejoice

Evergreen ‎– Seven Songs LP (1994)

Evergreen was a Southern California underground post-punk band from the early-to-mid 1990s.

They had several releases over their lifespan, including two 7"s, a split 7" with Los Angeles hardcore/screamo band Still Life, and a much sought 12", most of which was released on Anomaly Records. They still have a 7" out on San Diego's Gravity Records. They are notorious amongst record collectors due to the rarity of the "7 Songs" LP (Anomaly Records).

Band members include Aaron Calvert (cousin of Todd Calvert, drummer/percussionist of Gertie Fox) on guitar (now in Winfred E. Eye), Andy Ward on bass (also of Antioch Arrow), and Jason Boesel on drums (now in Rilo Kiley).

Evergreen ‎– Seven Songs LP (1994) VBR V2

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Kolya - Singles & Demo (1998-2000)

1998 - Iditarod 7"

A Iditarod
B Still Life With Candle

1999 - Demo

1. The Story Becomes The Vehicle
2. Jet Lagged
3. Cutting Apparatus
4. An Encounter With Logic
5. Conversations And Logic

2000 - The Story Becomes The Vehicle B/W Conversations And Smokescreens 7"

A The Story Becomes The Vehicle
B Conversations And Smokescreens

password to all: thelastwordisrejoice

Kolya ‎– Kolya LP (2001)

Kolya were a late 90's emo band from the midwest that featured narrative type vox and slint like instrumentation. The band has since broken up but their spirit still lives on in mediafire links, lucky fans who have had the chance to grab up their physical copies and music forums, blogs and Last.fm. After breaking up, members went on to form the short lived band, The Union Ares and I'm not sure what happened to them after that. I will say though, that with only two 7inches and self-titled LP they released, this band and their music is something to not forget about or let get lost in the ends of time and space somewhere. I mean it. 

Kolya is just one of those bands that you need to hear everything by because, well, there really isn't a lot that exists and all the stuff that does exist is amazing. Their discography only consists of 13 or so songs. A Shame, I know, but it is what it is and what it is, is super good music, especially for fans of Slint, June of 44, Sun Pelt, 90's emo in general and/or narrative spoken word music. Take a listen to the first track I heard from these guys called "Still Life With Candle" from their first 7" released by One Week Records with another song called "Iditarod" below. 

The lyrics (and delivery of the lyrics), like the ones in the very beginning, "Are you going to bed yet? I hadn't decided/I might have to go to the bathroom/And I had planned on eating something...", remind me of the song "To A Husband At War" by a slightly different emo band, I Hate Myself except, in Kolya's case, the music and energy builds and builds but doesn't become chaotic. The noise just settles and we never hear Todd Giles (the singer/guitarist) lose his cool. There's no change in the tone. It's really not him who is giving off the full emotion for this "emo" band but the sounds from the instruments on and around him that are giving off this feeling of (emotional) content. A sense of somberness but not sadness. It's that subtleness about them that makes them stand out and goes to show you just how different these guys where than other "emo" bands of their time and the ones now.


Kolya ‎– Kolya LP (2001) VBR

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