Monthly Archives: May 2011

This is how cool I am (I am not cool)

It’s official. We have come to the part of Spring quarter where I am completely insane. Should have made time for the gym during midterms week, I guess. No time to dwell on such things…I have been planning this post for a long, long, long time. When writing this one, I had some decisions to make: use my favorite song by the band, or one with a music video? Actually, that wasn’t even a choice. Music video. Visuals are important here.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the mid-2000s pop-punk scene. Chicago, specifically. Now, while this band is still together (and had better stay that way), at this point, I consider them a relic of a lost scene, the remnants of a pop-punk scene not made of gaudy neon, semi-ironic autotune, and horror–a pop-punk scene I could, and did love.  This scene died a while ago, and love them or hate them, I’m pretty sure the indefinite hiatus of Fall Out Boy, its breakout stars, is as good as a grave-marker.

This post is not about Fall Out Boy. Rather, it is about a Chicago pop-punk band I have always loved with all my heart (and not just because they are pretty), the oh-so-wonderful The Academy Is… !

Stop! I see you running away, sans the respect you once had for me, there! You are correct in your assessment that I have no shame, but this band is genuinely awesome. I really think they’re one of the standouts of their scene, and not just because I stumbled into their music during my angst-filled fifteenth year, and not just because I listened to that music and it helped that much younger and much, much angstier version of me hold her shit together.  They have the right influences and the right kind of drive, and hey–I’m advocating a girly pop-punk band and I’m turning twenty this month. They have to be pretty good, right?

This is a track off of their debut, chosen for the combined awesomeness of the track and the video. It was one of the first two songs I ever heard by them, and man…It’s catchy as fuck, with punchy riffs and angry lyrics, sung by a very pretty frontman with a very pretty voice. I bought that album after hearing this, because how could I not?  The video is some tour footage, a combination of performance shots (which will explain to you exactly why I’ll be seeing this band live again the next time they come around, fourteen year old audience be damned), and behind the scenes tomfoolery (which is amusing). Simply put, this is what I want from my pop-punk–a solid fucking song played by some pretty dudes that like to goof off for a camera. Feast your eyes and ears on “Checkmarks.” Ten points and a motherfucking gold star to anyone who can guess which member of the band is my favorite. Does not count you already know.

So suck your so-called pity down.
Hey, that’s not so bad, is it?
So take your cold, cold heart and drown
and don’t forget to take deep breaths.


My Australia obsession

I have, in recent years, cultivated something of an obsession with the fantastic, folk-tinged, summery alternative rock coming out (or rather, failing to come out–more on that later) of Australia. I have this thing where I really enjoy gorgeous, upbeat music, and Australians tend to make a whole lot of it. This, of course, leads to endless frustration and sorrow none of them ever tour the US or even release their music in this country. In their defense, the infinite frustration is totally worth it, because the music is awesome.

The latest object of my obsessive attentions is a recent addition to the Australian music scene which I so covet–they just released their first EP, With Emperor Antarctica, last year. And it actually charted! Boy And Bear must clearly be magic, because I’m pretty sure there’s some kind of musician mafia meant to keep first EPs from charting. It is against all the rules. Which, okay…it’s a pretty fantastic EP, all awash with lovely Fleet Foxes influences, but way more upbeat and energetic and filled with spiffy riffs.

The centerpiece of the EP, and in my mind, the absolute standout, “Mexican Mavis” has been receiving an absolutely incredible amount of repeat play from me from the moment I heard it. It started winning my heart right off the bat with some very pretty Fleet Foxes-esque vocal harmonies, and sealed the deal with a ridiculously catchy riff. Once I took the time to appreciate their singer’s sultry voice, and absolutely fantastic vocal delivery–I just love the way he curls that voice around the unusual turns of phrase that make up the lyrics–I was a motherfucking goner. (Though I probably would have fallen just for the riff. I’m easy like that.) This song is the perfect mixture of beautiful and energy-driven, and there’s so many more amazing things about it that you should go and discover for yourself right now,  and I should stop talking about it now so that you can join me in listening to it on repeat. Here is “Mexican Mavis” by Boy & Bear.

If they manage to keep safe skin
He’ll call for her
She’ll call for him

We interrupt this program for…

I was working on a long, fancy, post, but then exciting things happened! If you are reading this blog, you probably already know my very, very lovely friend Another Friend, and his uber-fantastic band Under a Western Sky! If, by some chance, you are a stranger to their lovely sounds, here’s what you need to know: they are some really awesome, talented dudes, who just finally recorded their very first EP! I’ve been lucky enough to have it in my ear holes for a while, and now everyone else in the world can have it in theirs, too, for the price of absolutely zero dollars!

It is a fantastic EP, with five tight, awesome songs–it’s filled with great riffs, bass parts, beastly drums, breakdowns, lyrics, and some fucking awesome screaming. You would never believe this shit was recorded in a home studio. So you should download it. Now. Please? For them? For me? But mostly for you, because you deserve to have your face rocked off. I’ve not missed one of this band’s shows yet, and there is a reason for that. Do you want to find that reason out? I think you do.  Click on the pretty link!