Sunday, July 21, 2013

Christie Front Drive - Christie Front Drive (1994) reissue (2013)

Back in print after 20 years, First LP features all 6 songs from the debut LP on Freewill Records. Recorded in 1993 (an era plagued by horrible compression issues in the recording realm), the 2013 treatment has been completely re-mastered by Josh Bonati.
Magic Bullet Records

1. Turn
2. Dyed On 8
3. Long Out
4. Lot
5. Pipe
6. Dirt

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Jets To Brazil ‎– Four Cornered Night (2000)

Leaving his punk roots completely behind him, Blake Schwarzenbach, former singer/guitarist for Jawbreaker, plays it very sweet on Four Cornered Night, the second record from his slightly arty indie rock project Jets to Brazil. His songs have always been melodramatic, even Jawbreaker's most fiery, emo-punk classics like "Chesterfield Kings" or "I Want You." But with Four Cornered Night, he indulges in the sort of over-the-top sentimentality that is more reminiscent of a lengthy novel by Proust than anything you'd expect from a rock band. But these ballads do rock at a lazy pace, and while "All Things Good and Nice" is too sappy and self-centered, other numbers like "In the Summer When You Really Know" and "Pale New Dawn" are lovely, heartfelt beauties and among the best tunes Schwarzenbach has ever penned. With Four Cornered Night, it is obvious that Schwarzenbach is making exactly the sort of record he wants, and though his old punk fan base has long since fled, indie kids go bonkers over his more sensitive side, as they should.
Adam Bregman 

If I were on a jet to Brazil, I would probably be going to Rio de Janeiro-"European style sunbathing", nahsayin'?  If I were in a record store with $10 in my pocket, I would probably buy the new Jets to Brazil LP "Four Cornered Night".  This second offering from the Jets sounds markedly different from their initial effort "Orange Rhyming Dictionary", also on Jade Tree.  The majority of the tracks on Dictionary were songs lead singer Blake Schwarzenbach wrote following the demise of his legendary outfit Jawbreaker.  As such, "Four Cornered Night" is more of an amalgam of all members of the band.  The guitars aren't as grating, the tempos are slowed, and Schwarzenbach's angst is (at least in part) replaced by the cello and the piano.  While some may feel this is a case of too many chefs spoiling the broth; the result is a thoroughly engaging and unique recording.  Even if Jets to Brazil's "Four Cornered Night" is not as groundbreaking as their earlier effort, it is nonetheless a worthy sophomore follow up.

Based out of Brooklyn, NY, Jets to Brazil shows a softer side of former Jawbreaker frontman Blake Schwarzenbach. Leaving behind the hardcore punk base of Jawbreaker, Jets to Brazil is a much sappier, yet accessible rock sound. Four Cornered Night is the band’s second release, their first being 1998’s Orange Rhyming Dictionary. The band broke up less than a year after the release of their third album, 2002’s Perfecting Loneliness. With a melodramatic rock style covering a wide range of topics, this album is the band’s most artistic and personal venture. But with greater risks come greater rewards.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

Damn you, Blake Schwarzenbach, with your ridiculous name and your sweet, mellifluous voice. Not enough people are aware of this indie rock gem, based out of Brooklyn, NY. All it takes is a little dusting off, and Jets to Brazil will surely become a favorite for anyone who places this album next to Jets to Brazils' contemporaries, Death Cab For Cutie, The Arcade Fire, or maybe Jimmy Eat World. I'm sure we've all had certain albums, some superb and some downright horrible, trapped in our heads for extended periods of time. Four Cornered Night, Jets to Brazil's second album, has been playing on repeat throughout my head virtually unceasingly for the past three days. Blake really opens up here and lets his contradictory gloomy yet hopeful lines fill your head with images of hammocks, lazy rivers, and sunny summer afternoons with nothing to do. This is most likely due to the addition of Brian Maryansky to the band, which allowed Blake to concentrate solely on the piano. Don't get me wrong, Jets can still rock when deemed necessary, but it's really the slow, deliberate punch-lines perfectly executed by Blake's unique voice that stand out.

The biggest difference between and Jets to Brazil's debut is the lack of instrumentation. They have relegated the guitar to the background and replaced it with their prominent vocals. Content with simple guitar melodies, Jets to Brazil put all their chips into the pot, banking on the vocals and lyrics. For the most part, this seems like an advantageous decision.

At first, having a catchy song like "Orange Rhyming Dictionary" trapped in my subconscious wasn't dreadful. Before I downloaded the entire album, that particular song was a top favourite of mine in the entire Jets' repertoire. It's a sluggish, thoughtful song with some all-time great depressing lyrics, brought to you in front of an adequate guitar line. "Doooo the stars conspire, to kill us all with loneliness?" Blake asks the listener, patiently awaiting an answer.

Later, it becomes apparent that this is just the tip of Blake's iceberg of melancholy emotion. Another highlight of Four Cornered Night is "Empty Picture Frame". This song provides the listener with a bottomless impression of loneliness. Blake is reminiscing about a past relationship, knowing things will ultimately improve in the future, but still unable to overcome these dejected sentiments. However, Night does reach a low with the song "All Things Good and Nice", the last song on the album. For twelve songs, Blake managed to walk fairly well on a very thin line of sappy lyrics and over-sentimentality. The problem goes as such: that line is like a median strip of a four-lane highway, and when Blake crosses it, he jumps two lanes out and gets hit by a large oncoming vehicle traveling very fast. There was a point when I was singing this song to myself and it made me want to do the same. Yeah, it's that bad. Blake takes the time to mention every member of his family and his band and just exactly why he loves them. At first listen, I prayed that this was just sarcasm leaking from the singer's mouth, but that's not Jets' style.
Despite an extremely impressive start and a pitiful ending, Jets manage to slip in some quality songs to the middle of the album. "In the Summer's When You Really Know", "One Summer Last Fall", and "Pale New Dawn", all deserve recognition as delightful songs with Blake's sentimental lyrics. Nevertheless, the reason I'm able to mention them all in the same sentence is because the music behind Blake's voice becomes stale background music that all sounds similar.

In retrospect, there's few albums I would have rather had stuck in my head, right now. Despite a few mishaps in "All Things Good and Nice" and "Air Traffic Control", Jets to Brazil managed to do what most bands have a very difficult time trying to do. They notably altered their previous sound and also managed to put together an excellent album. Sure, old Jawbreaker fans are most likely going to detest this, but to me it sounds like a stepping stone onward to bigger and better endeavors for Jets to Brazil.

I work too much.
The other day, around 6:15 pm, the normal mad dinner rush hit my sandwhich shop with full force. Some new chick decided she had a 'headache' and called off, leaving only me and my worthless, nicotine-fiend of a manager to run the place for the rest of the night. I wasn't feeling too hot myself, but I needed the money, so I pushed on. To make things just a little worse, the head manager had taken the stereo home with her, so now I was left to jam to the mall's contemporary rock station all night.
Believe me, one can only take so many John Secada, Backstreet Boys, and Genesis songs. Needless to say, I wasn't the super friendly, nice young gentleman I always try to front to the customers. People could tell I was pissed, so most of them would just take their sandwiches, say 'Thank You', and go sit down. But then - oh but then...
"Hey man. You workin' hard or hardly workin'?" said a voice from the past.
"Workin' hard." I said sternly, because, well, I was.
"Why aren't jammin' to the Jets today?"
"Huh?" I said, looking up.
It was him. The kid who became a chopping block for me not even a month ago. His face had healed up quite a bit, but his ear still looked pretty bad. There was something different about him this time. He wasn't all punked out. Instead, he had a nicely trimmed haircut, some cheesy square glasses, and a Jawbreaker shirt on.
"Nice shirt man!" I said extactly.
"Thanks." he said, smiling. "You know, I did a lot of thinking while I was in the hospital, and I decided to give Jets to Brazil another chance. What do you know, I immidiately became hooked. Their words are just so awesome. Have you got their newest album "Four Cornered Night" yet? Aww man, if you don't have it, you gotta get it. It's a little more pop, a little more mellow than Jawbreaker or the first Jets album, but there's still some rockers on it. I love 'Milk and Apples'.
"Yeah man I got it." I said, trying to pay attention to him and the orders being placed simultaneously.
"I love the words on "Orange Rhyming Dictionary". They're sooo good. I wonder why they put it on the new one instead of the first album?"
"I don't know. That's cool that you like them. They're really good. Well, I gotta get cookin." I said, trying to be as polite as possible to this kid, seeing as how he apparently forgot about me beating him down with a spatchula.
By now, the orders were getting backed up.
"Do you have 'Dear You'? Dude, that's such a great album. One of the best ever. I had to order it online for 35$, but it was worth it. I went into the record store here but they only have 'Bivouac'. Is that one any good? I haven't heard it yet. What about 'Unfun'? I don't have that one either."
"Come on man, you need to move along. I'm trying to work here. Come up and talk after all these customers are gone." I said in a cooking frenzy.
"My friend's got 'Four Cornered Night' on vinyl. Talk about sweet. He found it for only 8$ in Columbus. I bet you wish you found a deal like that, don't ya. I know I do. I think I like the first Jets album a little more than the new one. It's a little too soft for me."
"Fathead, stop talking and start cooking. Don't get behind." my manager screamed.
The grill was sizzling. My manager was screaming. This kid was rambling. N'sync was playing. My nose was running. My head was pounding.
"You know who else I really like, thanks to you? The Get Up Kids. They are awesome!!"
I snapped again. I grabbed the spatchula, leaped the counter, and decked the kid, AGAIN! I pinned down his arms and proceeded to slap him silly.
"Don't ever say I made you like the Get Up Kids. They fucking suck. Don't ever say that you little piece of shit. Don't ever say...."
In a matter of seconds, the security guards had me cuffed and in the police car. The kid was crying, my manager was flipping out, and everyone in the food court was staring at me. I knew I fucked up this time.
I don't know if God really likes me or what, but just by chance, I stood in front of the same judge who let me off last time.
"You again!" he said.
"Yes sir. It's me."
"Aggrivated assault with a spatchula, AGAIN! Son, this is your second offense. Now I tried to be leaniant and understanding last time, but you better have a damn good reason this time, or you're going away for a while!"
"I'm so sorry, your honor, I was so stressed. So many things all at once, and then this kid said he liked the Get Up Kids because of me, and my manager....."
"Stop right there." the judge said with a shocked look on his face." What did you say? Someone likes the Get Up Kids?!?!? Son, you did the right thing. Balif, let this man go. We can't have vigilantes like this tied up in court cases. He's got to be out there, protecting kids from the dangers of the Koufax, the New Amsterdams, and heaven forbid, the Get Up Kids."
"Thank You sir, Thank You so much! It will never happen again."
"Oh, it better happen again. Fathead, I'm appointing you leader of a new office, The Office of Music Security. From now on, it is your duty. Now don't let me down."

Jets To Brazil ‎– Orange Rhyming Dictionary (1998)

Being one of the more anticipated independent releases of 1998, Orange Rhyming Dictionary combines emo-inflected pop sensibilities with the occasional keyboards. Despite the occasional use of wah-wah pedal guitars in "I Typed for Miles," which sounds almost identical to Nirvana's "Heart Shaped Box," Jets to Brazil live up to their hype. Most of the songs clock in at an epic length while containing storytelling lyrics with Blake Schwarzenbach's (formerly of Jawbreaker) trademark raspy vocals. Mood swings also accompany the sound of Orange Rhyming Dictionary, which can move from laid-back and gloomy too upbeat and not as gloomy, all in a good sort of way though. Definitely recommended.
Mike DaRonco 

6 of 6 thought this review was well written

After the demise of seminal 90's punk trio Jawbreaker, lead singer and main lyricist Blake Schwarzenbach formed new band Jets To Brazil not too long after. With leaving on what some consider the perfect note (though many will disagree) with the 1995 album 'Dear You', Jets To Brazil were, naturally, hyped up. And before getting into details, they lived up to it, at least with their debut album 'Orange Rhyming Dictionary' (a play on how no word rhymes with orange in English). With former Texas Is The Reason drummer Chris Daly and bassist Jeremy Chatelain formerly of Handsome and now of Helmet, completed with Blake's signature voice and personal lyrics, it's as though the breakup of Jawbreaker wasn't all that bad, or at least a better way of taking it.

It is natural that fans will compare it to albums of Jawbreaker but it really is unnecessary, as 'Orange Rhyming Dictionary' is some of Blake's finest (and different) work that is strong enough to stand on its own. However that's not to say fans of his past material won't like this, as they most likely will. His emotional, raspy but at times smooth voice is as good as they've ever been and his introspective lyrical views on the world from a social outcast and relationships are still in tact. Songs range from the pop-punk inspired opener Crown of the Valley, to the more dreary experimental intro of Morning New Disease and the beautiful acoustic ballads like Sweet Avenue and everything in between.

One of the key or noticeable aspects of 'Orange Rhyming Dictionary' is the song lengths. With most tracks reaching over five minutes, the songs get plenty of time to build up, but simultaneously as a con might drag on some, like the album opener. However tracks like the epic I Typed For Miles get gradually better all the way until and final minute. The albums broad overall mix of indie, pop, punk, and rock come off with a unique twist that is difficult to describe. Many of the songs have a mellow, melodious feel to them, but there are still the occasional fast rock and punk influenced tunes, something the band is not new to. Crown of the Valley, while one of the lesser songs here, brings back the Jawbreaker-esque riffs similar to Chemistry (from 'Dear You') but is ultimately a misleading intro and one soon forgettable. Resistance Is Futile does what the former tried but takes it to a better level. However it is not coincidental that two of the albums weakest tracks are two of the most poppy and upbeat.

'Orange Rhyming Dictionary's bright cover (which bares similarities to influential and fellow Jade Tree band Cap'n Jazz's anthology album) is rather deceiving, as the albums general tone is quite depressing, but it is actually one of the records greatest strengths along with the lyrics, though they intertwine. Blake is always open with his poetic lyrics as they come off as personal, inspiring, relatable, authentic and anything else along those lines. Telling stories of desperation and alienation, to more abstract lyrics that one might not even understand at first, they are the main point of focus here and the album succeeds at that vastly. Instrumentally, many songs are filled with distortion, lightly strummed chord intros and a superb, creative drumming from Daly. Production-wise it has a clean, audible yet at times rough sound similar to 'Dear You'.

The record is not as consistent as it could be in terms of memorable songs, but there are a certain few tracks that make the album worth getting alone that make up for it. I Typed For Miles, with an intro sounding eerily like Nirvana's Heart Shaped Box, is perhaps the finest moment on the album. It's creepy intro of gently strummed chords, and Blake's passionate vocals, the song steadily turns into one of the heaviest on album with Blake yelling “You keep fucking up my life!”, the song is nothing less than powerful for the entire six minutes. Chinatown is another undisputed highlight with another sinister guitar intro and calm, but precise vocals. The album saves one of the best for last with Sweet Avenue, a beautiful acoustic love song that emphasizes on the vocals and the soft guitar that leaves the album on a memorable note.

Jets To Brazil's underrated debut is up there with some of Blake's, or any of the band member's most excellent work. Full of many moods and styles, honest and thought provoking lyrics, and a select group of some of the best songs you'll come across. 'Orange Rhyming Dictionary' could be enjoyed by not only fans of the member's past work, but anyone who enjoys honest, abstract lyrics to relate to, and some great music to go with it.

Recommended Tracks:
I Typed For Miles
Sweet Avenue
Sea Anemone

Ex members of Jawbreaker, Texas is the Reason, and Handsome. Interesting album, more poppy than rock. Lyrics reminiscent of Guided By Voices. This album definitely grows on you with more listens. It's not quite like anything I've heard before, and so most reviews I’ve read pretty much don't sum up the band. I know this doesn’t either. But I think this is the direction rock is headed, as many former emo bands seem to be breaking new ground (Jawbox, Promise Ring, Jimmy Eat World). Listen for the keyboards, it's not so much a throw-back to 80s synth new-wave rock, but a sure sign that any instrument can work in a rock song. I saw them live, and they sounded incredible.

About two weeks ago, something very bad happened.
I was cooking a sandwhich at the steak shop I work at, listening to this album. I was bobbing my head, trying to ignore the customers staring at me, making sure I wasn't spitting in their food. They always stare at me. The next sandwhich was called over the loud speaker and, like the "slave to the man" that I am, I emidiately began to cook it. I looked up to see who this customer was (I was hopeing for maybe a short-haired brunette girl with a perfect smile and a big ol' butt, but no such luck) only to see a disturbingly ugly young lad with died black hair, several chains and facial piercings, and an Exploited t-shirt on.
"What's up man." I said, as I normally do to people dawning the punk style.
"What the fuck are you listening to?" he said rather rudely.
"Jets to Brazil, and could you not curse in front of the other customers." I replied, just as rudely.
"Jets to Brazil...oh yeah, I've heard them. They fucking suck. They sound like R.E.M. or some shit like that."
"R.E.M.!!! Dude, you obviously haven't heard them. They're like post-punk, but completely different from anything out there, with some of the best lyrics you'll ever hear, and please, don't curse in front of the customers."
I was begining to get a little heated with this guy, and believe me, I don't get mad very often.
"Whatever. I've heard them and they fucking suck. Please don't call them punk cause they sure as fuck aren't punk. They're slow and sad, and their lyrics don't make any sense. Just fucking stupid if you ask me."
At that moment, I walked back to the back, changed the cd player to song 2, "Morning New Disease", and replied "Listen to this fucking song and tell me they don't rock."
He stood there listening to the song, in my opinion, the best on the album, but still, no luck.
"It's crappy alternative music, man. They fucking suck. Go get a fucking Fear album, you fucking putz."
"Man, FUCK YOU. I like Fear, but Jets to Brazil is way fuckin' better than Fear. They have more thought in one verse than Fear ever had in their lives." I said, my temper rising.
"Wait a second....I knew I knew you from somewhere. You were at that party on Lincoln St. last month weren't ya. AHHAAHHAH! You puked off the deck all night and passed out in the yard.AAAHHHAAHA!"
Granted, I was there, I was shitfaced, and I probably did puke at some point in the night, but one thing I don't do is pass out before all the beer that is there to drink has been drunk.
"Fuck you man, that wasn't me." I handed the asshole his sandwhich and said "Get the fuck out of my face."
"Later pussy, have fun cooking and listening to your pussy rock. Don't puke on the grill, pussy."
At that moment, something inside of me snapped. I grabbed the spatula, leaped the counter in a single bound, and ran after the guy. When I reached him, I grabbed his shoulder, spun him around, and decked him with my cooking utincil.
"Aww, Fuck, you broke my..."
I continued to pound away as if he were a piece of chicken on the grill. One of his facial piercings was now lying a few feet away, and he was crying like a baby.
"Get off me man, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm mmmmhhmhmmh...."
Just as I began to get the spatula into his mouth, the mall security guards pulled me off him, slapped some cuffs on me, and took me to jail.
Yesterday, after two weeks of waiting in a very lonely cell, I finally stood before the judge.
"Fathead, you are charged with aggrivated assault with a spatchula, how do you plead?"
"Guilty, your honor"
"What the hell were you thinking son?"
"The guy just kept on talking trash about Jets to Brazil, and I guess I just snapped."
"Well, seeing how this is your first offense, I'm going to let you go with a $25 fine, as long as you don't let it happen again."
"Thank you sir, thank you." I said exstatically"
"Just one more thing..." he said in a stern voice. "Do you have a copy of "Dear You" I can borrow, I can't find it anywhere?"
"Hahaha, I sure do,Judge, I sure do!"
Mark Williams

Friday, July 05, 2013

How to download from Rusfolder

Due to the increasing requests for help.

1. Use Google Translate
2. Copy the link of the file you want to download and paste to Google Translate
3. Click "Translate" button

I very hope that now everything is clear.

P.S. I know that rusfolder little uncomfortable. But it does have a number of important advantages: unlimited storage and the ability to extend the storage life of files. But most importantly, guys from rusfolder don't care for copyrights.

I hope for your understanding and patience. 
Thank you for what you are near to me, despite the fact that some so far away.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Braid - Singles (1996-1999)

For vinyl sound fans

1996 - Rainsnowmatch 7"

A Sounds Like Violence
B1 Motion Light
B2 Perfect Pitch 

1996 - I'm Afraid Of Everything 7"

A Radish White Icicle
B1 I'm Afraid Of Everything
B2 Now I'm Exhausted

1999 - Please Drive Faster 7"

A Please Drive Faster
B Circus Of The Stars

Braid ‎– Movie Music Vol. Two (2000)

Track 1 was originally released on the "Ghost Dance" compilation (Slave Cut, 1994)
Tracks 2 & 3 were originally released on the "Cover The Earth" compilation (Mud, 1996)
Track 4 was originally released on the "Bread, The Edible Napkin" compilation that came with No Idea Fanzine #12 (No Idea, 1997)
Track 5 was originally released on the "Ground Rule Double" compilation (ActionBoy 300/Divot, 1996)
Track 6 was originally released on the "Emo Schmeemo" compilation (Liberty Park, 1995)
Track 7 was originally released on the "Direction" compilation (Polyvinyl, 1996)
Track 8 was originally released on the "Ooh Do I Love You" compilation (Coreforcare, 1996)
Track 10 was originally released on the "ABC's Of Punk" compilation (Whirled, 1997)
Track 11 originally released on the "In Words Of One Syllable" compilation (Catchphrase, 1997)
Track 12 originally released on the "World Domination In 13 Easy Steps" compilation (Strategem, 1997)
Track 14 originally released on the "Punk TV" compilation (Red Dawg, 1995)
Track 17 originally released on the "There Is A Light" compilation (Red Jaguire/Grimm Tree, 1997)
Track 18 originally released on split 7"/CD with Burning Arlines (DeSoto (7")/Polyvinyl (CD), 1998)
Track 19 originally released on the "Where Is My Mind (a Tribute To The Pixies)" compilation (Glue Factory/Big Wheel/Doghouse, 1999)
Tracks 9, 13, 15, and 16 are previously unreleased.

Braid ‎– Movie Music Vol. One (2000)

The Braid catalog expanded with surprising regularity after the emo pioneers broke up in 1999. Among their posthumous efforts, Movie Music, Vol. 1 and its sequentially titled companion piece are perhaps the most collectable of these postmortem offerings. This first volume is a complete collection of songs from the group's many 7" singles. Braid was notorious for keeping much of their best material off of the full-length releases, so this collection is of no small interest. Like volume two, Movie Music, Vol. 1 is chronologically sequenced, thus allowing listeners an opportunity to chart the band's growth. Established fan favorites like "I'm Afraid of Everything" and "Now I'm Exhausted" are not only release highlights, but also career standouts. With 17 tracks of relatively consistent songwriting and performing, Movie Music, Vol. 1 is highly recommended for both new listeners and collectors looking to avoid purchasing the many singles necessary to duplicate this track list. This is one of Braid's strongest full-length discs.
Jason Anderson 
Movie Music Vol. 1 features all of Braid's single and split single tracks in chronological order. It contains the following releases as well as one previously unreleased track: Rainsnowmatch 7" (Polyvinyl Record Co.) 1994 | I'm Afraid of Everything 7" (Polyvinyl Record Co.) 1996 | Split 7" with Beezus (Mud Records) 1996 | Niagara 7" (Grand Theft Autumn) 1996 | Split 7" with Corm (Polyvinyl Record Co.) 1997 | Split 7" with Pohgoh (New Granada) 1996 | First Day Back 7" (Polyvinyl Record Co.) 1997 | Post Marked Stamps Split 7" with The Get Up Kids (Tree Records) 1997 | Please Drive Faster 7" (Polyvinyl Record Co.) 1999 | "You're Lucky to Be Alive" (previously unreleased).
Songs 1-11 feature original Braid drummer and founding member, Roy Ewing (Very Secretary, Days in December, Mary Me).
From their inception in 1993, Braid released nearly as many songs on 7"s, split 7"s, and compilations as on its three albums. The idea of finding all of the original masters to the songs and releasing them was conceived by Braid as early as 1997. Many of the songs were crowd favorites live, yet the releases they appeared on were dropping out-of-print. The demand continued to grow with the number of unavailable songs.
In August 1999, Braid decided to part ways after six years. The desire to digitally document the early releases was again voiced by the band. In October 1999, after two years of tracking down all of the original source tapes, Braid re-mastered each of Movie Music's 36 songs direct from the original masters. Movie Music was then broken into two separate releases to make room for lyrics and liner notes for all 36 songs along with nearly 100 photos.
All told, Movie Music Vol. 1 and 2 include 31 songs from singles, split singles, and compilations plus 5 previously unreleased songs. After being on Braid's "upcoming release itinerary" for over three years, practically every Braid fan anywhere had been waiting for Movie Music and in March 2000, the project was finally completed.

Tracks 1-3 originally released on the "Rainsnowmatch" 7" (Enclave Records, 1994)
Tracks 4-6 originally released on the "I'm Afraid Of Everything" 7" (Polyvinyl/Grand Theft Autumn, 1996)
Track 7 originally released on a split 7" with Beezus (Mud, 1996)
Tracks 8 & 9 originally released on the "Niagara" 7" (Grand Theft Autumn, 1996)
Track 10 originally released on a split 7" with Corm (Polyvinyl, 1997)
Track 11 originally released on a split 7" with Pohgoh (New Granada, 1996)
Tracks 12 & 13 originally released on the "First Day Back" 7" (Polyvinyl, 1997)
Track 14 originally released on a split 7" with the Get-Up Kids (Tree, 1997)
Tracks 15 & 16 originally released on the "Please Drive Faster" 7" (Polyvinyl, 1999)
Track 17 previously unreleased.
Tracks 1-3 recorded September 1994 at Hideaway, Urbana, IL
Tracks 4-7 recorded Fall 1995 at Blanket Studios, Urbana, IL
Tracks 8 & 9 recorded December 1995 at Jet City Studios, El Segundo, CA
Tracks 10 & 11 recorded September 1996 at Blanket Studios
Tracks 12-14 recorded August 1997 at Private Studios, Urbana, IL
Tracks 15-17 recorded May 1999 at Coney Island Studios, Madison, WI
"What A Wonderful Puddle" is incorrectly listed as "What A Wonderful Puzzle" in the tracklisting but listed corrected in the lyric sheet and recording credits.

Braid ‎– Lucky To Be Alive (2000)

Two steps behind anything of significance, Braid must've built up enough frustration to convince themselves that they could only be understood in a live environment, which would explain 2000's Lucky to Be Alive, Braid's fourth release and first live LP. Here the band had an unquestionable live desperation that translated well onto disc and they were a confident unit when hammering their style down to its basics, but the squall-heavy guitars and insecure percussion kept the band from exploring anything markedly better than their studio work. Without necessary variety, Lucky to Be Alive was one long extended note, old and new songs too difficult to differentiate, and again the band could only occasionally sound like Dressy Bessy, Rage Against the Machine, Placebo, and Spoon instead of one brilliant amalgamation of them.
Dean Carlson 

Braid is a name I've constantly heard for the last 6 months. I had never heard even one song, but everyone says "Hey Mercedes sucks, bring back Braid", or something of that nature. So, on a random, drunken purchase, I now own this live album.

The first thing I noticed about this band was the unique drumming. He definitely holds the band together when they attempt stop-on-a-dime changes. Braid isn't even all that fast either. He's defintely got a style of his own, with very difficult tempos and beats, and intricate cybol use. Another part I liked was the band's ability to completey change a song several times throught a track. Unpredictable to say the least. The guitars are rarely playing the same thing, which gives them a fuller sound than most bands. Each guitarist knows exactly what to match with his counterpart, never falling into a 'normal' riff or rythmn.

The lead singer. It sounds like he is trying too hard to sing out of his range, and his voice does nothing for me. Also, the unpredictable part of Braid that is cool at first quickly gets predictable, if that's possible. They change so often, that it almost becomes expected in every song, and soon loses it's luster. The worst part of this album is the crowd. They sound like there at a tennis match at Wimbledon. They just clap like mothers at a piano recital, and every-so-often you'll hear somone yell 'woohoo'. I've never been to Chicago's Metro, but it sounds lame.

I thought I was getting something spectacular when I bought a Braid cd. I probably should have started with an actuall studio album, to get a better appreciation for the songs themselves. The live album was more likely released for the rabid Braid fans, and not for the first time listener. I will say that this album introduced me to what real 'Emo" sounds like. Fugazi,to me, has always been a punk band, and the Get Up Kids suck. 'Lucky to be Alive' has its high points and its low points, leaving the listener feeling no better, or no worse than when he first presses play.
After more than 500 shows across 47 states and 18 countries in just under 6 years, Lucky To Be Alive caputres Braid's final concert before the band decided to disband in 1999.
Recorded live at The Metro in Chicago, IL on August 21, 1999, Lucky To Be Alive features songs from all three Braid full-lengths (Frankie Welfare Boy Age Five, The Age of Octeen and Frame and Canvas), as well as the band's last recorded song, "You're Lucky to be Alive."
A must-have for any Braid fan.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Braid ‎– Frame & Canvas (1998)

These poppy math rock and emo veterans put together very technical pop melodies, often with time changes and beautiful interlocking melodic guitar parts, fused together with yelled/sung boyish vocals. Frame & Canvas proves to be one of Braid's best efforts -- by the end of the first song, "The New Nathan Detroits," you know you will be humming these melodies in your head for at least the next few days. The album continues to mature throughout, providing a sense of heartbreak and sentimentality on amazing tracks like "A Dozen Roses" and "Breathe In." If you are looking for emo-pop with overflowing energy and highly skilled compositions, this is for you.
Blake Butler

Ah, Braid. One of those bands that played during the glory days of "emo," also known as the mid-`90s. So many bands put out amazing albums during this time: Texas Is the Reason, Sunny Day Real Estate, Mineral, caP'n Jazz, the Promise Ring, just to name a few.

Frame & Canvas opens up with "The New Nathan Detroits," which is an excellent song to showcase Braid to new fans, and is a contender for their best song. Chris and Robert's vocals are separated during this song for the most part, really showing off each member's voice. Each song after is almost as good, all in different ways, and become instant classics. "Collect from Clark Kent" is a really fun song lyrically, as Robert sings about Superman being scared to fight crime. "A Dozen Roses" is another contender for Braid's best song, and is Robert's best ballad. "Urbana's Too Dark" is a personal favorite. "I Keep A Diary" is a lovely and solemn song, and an excellent way to close Braid's final album.

The album isn't perfect, however. Chris is limited to leading only two songs, and they are not his best either. The Age of Octeen, while also only having two Chris leads, has his best. I also think Frame & Canvas lacks the youthful energy that was so charming on The Age of Octeen. The version of "First Day Back" that appears on this album, while good, is not as good as the version found on Movie Music Vol. 1 as well.

Nonetheless, Frame & Canvas is a fantastic closing chapter for Braid, and they should be proud of it. It is a perfect starting point for new listeners, and will please fans of their earlier work. If you've been hesitating, hesitate no longer.
Considered by many to be the definitive Braid album, Frame and Canvas was recorded by J. Robbins (Jawbox/Burning Airlines) at Inner Ear studios in December 1997. Braid's leaner, more focused sound on the album was in direct correlation to the band's constant and prolific touring.
Braid's third and final album features the bombastic crowd pleaser "The New Nathan Detroits," the lovesick mathrock dance anthem "A Dozen Roses" and the shimmery mini-epic of "I Keep a Diary."

Braid ‎– The Age Of Octeen (1996)

Braid's second full-length, The Age of Octeen, exudes a passion and roughness reminiscent of high school. From the boyish shouted/sung vocals to the straightforward, punk-influenced guitars to the lyrics dealing with failed relationships and memories, the album has an unpolished, garage-band energy. Although the album has that raw quality, there isn't a weak track on it. The first track, "My Baby Smokes," starts with quiet, mumbled lyrics, rolling drums, and understated guitars before bursting into wailing vocals backed by a wall of sound. "American Typewriter" is a little more complex with its tight, staccato drumming and quick guitar riffs. "Chandelier Swing" and "Autobiography" close the album on a quieter, more thoughtful note. Overall, The Age of Octeen is a solid effort that manages to capture the abandon and freedom of being 19.
Tracy Frey 

With 1996's The Age of Octeen, Braid cut the excess, boosted their production qualities, and created the first great album of their short career. Frequently overshadowed by its successor, Frame and Canvas, Octeen is an overlooked mini-masterpiece. It travels the same sonic trajectory as Frankie before it, but this time, the band actually managed to bring some songs to their energetic sound. Here, they created arrangements, not just chords and beats. There is a palpable sense of drama and yearning in "Eulalia, Eulalia", where the screams sound warranted, not wedged-in. Even when the overlapping vocals are more emotive than on-key, well… at least they hit you in the gut like an emo sledgehammer. A true sign of maturity: the melancholic trumpet line is not played for laughs.

"My Baby Smokes" evokes the seductive, hazy imagery of its title, with shimmering, rolling toms and nervous guitars prodding with distorted unease. Not always going for the jugular, Braid demonstrate a penchant for mood, something sorely missing in the jumble of Frankie‘s exhausting aural assault. "Divers" is another textural triumph. Here the guitars caress then explode. The bass is a melodic sigh in the midst of the bloodletting: "I've done so many things to make you hate me / And I know it had nothing to do with me / But I wish you'd take it back". Lyrics that, on paper, read like basic tenets of emo infatuation and youthful recklessness are rendered transcendent. They aren't screaming because they can; they're screaming because they can't do anything else.

While Frankie still remains a diehards-only release, The Age of Octeen is larger than the genre trappings, an album capable of converting skeptics previously unwilling to look for beauty and creativity beneath the din.

By the time the final peaceful guitar squalls of "Autobiography" have faded into the adolescent abyss, Octeen (and Braid) have you in the palm of their hand, waiting for the next scream or burst of distortion to convey the tumult that spoken words cannot, shocked to find yourself thinking "it's over too soon".

"Post-hardcore?" If you must. Sounds more like "growing up".
Ryan Reed

In recent news of the band reforming, I think this is the perfect time to review Braid's 1996 classic, The Age of Octeen. Here is the middle ground between their debut, Frankie Welfare Boy Age Five and their final output, Frame & Canvas. First off, this is hands down my favorite release of theirs. I say this because as far as '90s-style emo is concerned, this might be one of the most essential. If you wanted a record that has all the attributes of that entire scene, this is your best bet.

For quality sake, the music sits right up there alongside other notable albums like Diary and Nothing Feels Good. The musicianship is a bit scrappy, but also very charming. The right amounts of spastic indie riffs accompany the more softer parts into an overall welcoming product. I'm really fond of Bob Nanna and his trademark vocal style that glides along the angsty music. Also not to forget is second guitarist Chris Broach, who does a nice job of chiming in when the moments are right and also setting the mood appropriately. Drummer Roy Ewing also does a nice job of keeping the beat and hitting those important marks when it comes to uptempo grooves and nice, slow burns.

Like in my review for Boys Life's second album, Departures and Landfalls, the idea of a Midwest "time capsule" is once again a good example. You can actually feel the age and location of the guys when they wrote and played these tunes. There is a genuine rawness that comes from the music and is best noticed when jammin' songs such as "My Baby Smokes" and "Divers". The lyrics to divers moved me when I first paid attention, since the subject matter hits home like good emo should: "Son / I got your letter. / It makes you seem so old, / and since we're not together / please come home." For any type of comparison to other artists, listen to bands like Jawbreaker, Mineral, the Chocolate Kiss and even Bob's other bands, Friction and Hey Mercedes.

The emotional value presented here is striking and often makes me go back to times long gone. Music this good has a way of getting into you without any knowledge of the fact. It's when time has passed that it begins to take root and you both become connected and then you'll probably take notice. That's why so many albums and artists are held up in such high esteem, and without a doubt, Braid happen to be one of them. Get yourselves into this if you haven't already. Braid is one of the best bands to emerge from that certain era in music.

Braid ‎– Frankie Welfare Boy Age 5 (1995)

Released in 1995, and reissued here for its 15th anniversary in 2010, Frankie Welfare Boy Age Five is the first full-length from Braid. Influenced by bands like Cap'n Jazz, Jawbox, and Car Vs. Driver, but adding their own aggression to the music, the album shows the lines that can be drawn between the early days of emo and hardcore. Moody songs jerk back and forth from jangly melody to raw-throated angst, laying down the blueprint for what would become modern emo-core. As a debut, the album shows Braid at their most raw and unrefined, giving the emotion conveyed on the album a sincerity that's difficult to manufacture. The downside is that the album also shows the band at their most unfocused, meandering through 26 tracks (one for each letter of the alphabet) separated by radio static mixed with snippets of some of their musical contemporaries. While this is an album that is certainly essential for Braid fans, it may be too scattered to draw in the uninitiated. However, as a relic from the early days of a genre, it’s a listening experience that’s difficult to pass up for anyone looking to delve into the early days of midwestern emo.
Gregory Heaney 

After releasing the Rainsnowmatch 7" in 1994, Braid's debut full-length, Frankie Welfare Boy Age Five, came out in June 1995 on Divot Records. With 26 blistering tracks in just under 60 minutes, the members of Braid -- Bob Nanna, Todd Bell, Chris Broach and Roy Ewing - simultaneously encapsulated and redefined the Midwest scene from which they came.
Frankie Welfare Boy Age Five is a meticulously crafted record that never once feels anything other than raw and organic. Starting with the song titles (each begins with a different letter of the alphabet), it soon becomes clear that no aspect of the album is superfluous.
Even the between-track interim is filled with precision. Nanna and Bell spent six hours adding static and snippets of music from their old bands and friends' bands (including Cap'n Jazz, Friction, The Sky Corvair and Mary Me) to give listeners the feeling of tuning a radio dial while listening to the record.
This attention to detail is especially evident in the music. Never uniform and always challenging, the songs on FWBA5 continually change tone, volume, and structure within time spans that sometimes swell to more than three minutes, but are most often contained to one or two. Featuring a more aggressive, hardcore-influenced sound than later Braid releases, these tracks manage to be both abrasive and melodic, brief yet lasting.
With Frankie Welfare Boy Age Five, Braid introduced itself to a national audience - one which it would continue to build over years of extensive touring and the release of two more full-lengths, nine 7"s and numerous compilation appearances.