Jack’s Mannequin – Daily Show 11/19/09

So I actually stayed up to watch Jack’s Mannequin on the Daily Show last night, which is amazing for me because I’m prematurely elderly and go to sleep at 9:30 most nights. It was absolutely worth the lack of sleep.

This song is amazing…
And Andrew McMahon’s voice is better than ever. The change from the album version to this live version are absolutely astounding. Both are amazing, but this version is just so… incredible.

I have a shameful emo girl crush on Andrew McMahon. And his goddamn hipster beard. I’m not even that into facial hair (unless it’s a soul patch) and for some reason, I just can’t get enough of the hipster beard. WTF is wrong with me!?

Alright, once again, I can’t get this video to embed for the life of me, so go check it out here.

You can check out the info on his documentary here and stalk him here and here. Seriously, go watch that video though, it will rock your socks clean off.


Them Crooked Vultures – Self Titled

Led Zeppelin and Queens of the Stone Age have come together to have a very musically talented, if not a little deranged, love-baby. Compromised of Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, Nirvana), Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), this band is…

Well, it’s three badass musicians rocking out. Three generations of rock and roll pumping directly into your brain. This album is a blend of both Zeppelin and QotSA inspired tunes, but with some decidedly original tracks thrown in there. This album is FULL of music. Every inch of space is filled with rich and expert sound. Every beat from Dave Grohl’s hands is perfectly placed. Every note from Jones’ reverberating bass is perfect. Every strum and lyric of Homme’s is wholly amazing, lilting in and out of incredibly composed pieces of music…

As for the album, self-titled and just released yesterday, it’s an ebb and flow of music. Rising and ebbing in unmatched waves, bringing you up and down just enough to keep you riveted until the very end. The bi-product of three genius minds, all equally obsessed with music.

That being said: I don’t like it.

I’ve been waiting for this album for weeks? Months? Ever since I first heard of this collaboration of hard rock glory. It was supposed to be the album of the year. The defining moment of 2009’s musical history…and I just don’t get it.

I understand where they’re trying to go with it, but I just don’t like it. I do find myself more drawn to the Zeppelin inspired tunes, “New Fang”, “Elephants”, “Reptiles”, the more trippy, 70’s inspired tracks. Some tracks on here are just plain fucking weird, though. “Caligulove”? Really?

Alright, look. I really want to like this album. I want to like all music, it just doesn’t work out that way. I’m still giving this album a B, because it IS original and it is musically superior to so much of the utter shit that the music industry churns out anymore. It’s just not my cup of tea.They look like tons of fun live though…Dave Grohl is an animal on the drums.

The Them Crooked Vultures Site

Andrew McMahon and Jack’s Mannequin

Andrew McMahonFrom Something Corporate to his new outfit, Jack’s Mannequin, I’m pretty sure Andrew McMahon is one of my favorite people of all time.

He’s an animal on the piano, an amazing vocalist, a leukemia survivor, and a down-right emo kid through and through.

As Jack’s Mannequin, McMahon and his band have released two albums, Everything In Transit and The Glass Passenger. I would say they’re a bit more raucous and personal than McMahon’s prior efforts with Something Corporate, not that I didn’t love them as well.

It makes me insanely happy that he’s making music again and he’s one of those vocalists that brings me awesome memories.

Funny story: One night, while wandering around Oakland, the big college town here in Pittsburgh, myself and two friends find ourselves outside of…god, where were we…AJ Palumbo? Anyway, we come across this janitor with a DUMPSTER full of belts. Really. So apparently, they were taking studded belts off of all the emo kids attending the Good Charlotte/Something Corporate/Mest show that evening. Well, since we’re so awesome, we procure ourselves some free belts and sneak into said show. I never really realized how easy it was to get into that place. Seriously, we opened the door, walked in, and sat down.

Anyway, we made it in right as Mest finished their set, then Something Corporate comes on. They were absolutely amazing. Come to think of it, I don’t even remember if he lit his piano on fire at the end that time (Mikey, help me on this one!), but I just remember them being awesome. Anyway, I would say that it was well worth it if I had paid to get in.

It was one way to spend a cheap night with friends, and you know what? I totally still have that belt. So, dear Andrew McMahon, sorry for stiffing you out of $15 or whatever your show cost that night. My soul could not rest soundly had I purchased my way into a show that Good Charlotte was playing. I hope you understand.

Jack’s Mannequin – “Dark Blue”

Jack’s Mannequin – “Bruised”

Something Corporate – “Hurricane”
(Awwww! Look how young he is!)

Dashboard Confessional – Alter the Ending

Dashboard Confessional - Alter the EndingSo Dashboard Confessional released their sixth album, Alter the Ending this week and goddamn is it terrible.

The only thing good about this album is that it’s shamefully emo and great comic relief. That, and the track “I Know About You” is a blatant rip-off of the Gin Blossoms. I like the Gin Blossoms, but c’mon now. This album is a novelty produced by Butch Walker, which after his last album, I’m really not surprised (he’s also to blame for the new Weezer album, Raditude).

There’s only so many broken hearts and tramps you can sing about, Chris Carrabba. Either give up dating or stop making music about it. Pick one. Obviously, you’re terrible at both.

This album is full of weak vocals, unspirited guitar, and I’m pretty sure someone dug out a 1989 Casio keyboard from their parent’s basement. The kind that took DDD batteries. Honestly, on the first track, I thought that it wasn’t even Carrabba. I was wondering who the fuck the new frontman was. God, it’s comically terrible. When I listen to this album, I feel embarrassed for everyone involved. Who let this record be released?

This cracked me the fuck up yesterday. From Megan Ritt over at Consequence of Sound:

“‘Get Me Right’, the first track, starts out with a promisingly interesting guitar line, but descends quickly into sad and non-complex lyrics. This is exactly the kind of song that non-emo fans tease emo fans about, and the sad thing is, with this track, there’s really nothing the poor emo kid can say in his defense.”

I feel the same way…only about the entire album. Epic fail, Dashboard. D

Dashboard Confessional’s Site

Flyleaf – Memento Mori

Flyleaf - Memento MoriAs of yesterday, Flyleaf has a sophomore album, Memento Mori, or in Latin, “Remember, you will die”. Fair enough.

This album will rock your socks clean off. It will fuck you in the ears until you’re begging Lacey Mosley for more. Compromised of fourteen (-ish) songs of previously written material, this album is reminiscent of their first, self-titled album, but oh-so-much better.

Cleanly polished, Mosley’s cultivated voice really takes center stage. Not that her voice was by any means of less quality on their first album, but this time she’s really perfected it.

The album begins with “Beautiful Bride”, honestly, one of the harder tracks on the album, which was surprising. Vocally, Mosley’s got this alt-metal-ish early Alanis Morissette thing goin’ on, which makes me a little weak in the knees. After this song, however, they really went for less metal, more pop. It’s kind of odd. It’s not done in an in-your-face sort of way, though…it’s merely a minor undercurrent.

On their first album, it was easy to forget that they’re somewhat of a Christian band, but this time around, not so much. They’re very blatant about their faith, which while it may not be mine, really works for them. Think about it, religion is never an easy thing. No matter what it is or who you are, there will always be struggles. What better topic to make hauntingly complicated music to?

Two of the more overtly religious tracks on this album are two of the best, including “Swept Away” and “The Kind”. Other gems include “Again”, “Chasm”, “This Close”, “Missing”, and my personal favorite, “Tiny Heart”. As you can see by that list, the majority of this album is fucking fantastic. It does peter out with the last three tracks, “Treasure”, “Circle”, and “Arise”, but other than those three, I love every single track on this album.

All in all, this album is darkly melodic and just catchy enough to keep your attention almost all the way through. Well done, Flyleaf, well done. A

Flyleaf – “Again”

Flyleaf’s Site

Go Periscope

Go PeriscopeHolla…where my ravers at? Meet Go Periscope

Even their name just kinda makes me happy. This young, energetic Seattle, WA duo is preparing to release their first, self-produced,  self-titled album.

While Florin Mehedinti and Joshua Frazier began experimenting with music and production at an early age, they didn’t begin work on their first album until the summer of 2008. I’ll tell you what though, these guys have really stormed onto the music scene…already in the process of releasing an album and on not one, but two radio stations, Fusion Radio Chicago and C89.5 Seattle.

They’ve also gone all Lily Allen on us…seriously, what the hell did bands do before the internets? Not matter where you are…Go Periscope is there with you on Myspace, Facebook, Last.fm, Vimeo, Twitter, AND PureVolume. I can hardly keep up with a Myspace and a blog, shit!

These guys are fresh-faced enough that they could really go either way. Currently, they’re releasing soul-pounding beats with catchy, pop-tastic vocals in a neatly wrapped, radio-ready package. What’s a label not to love? They’re definitely marketable. With their years of experience though, they could easily dive into really making this their own music and really reach the outskirts of experimentation with their beats. Use that mass-media marketability to really bring a new light to the current electronic music scene. Right now, I hear heavy influences of David Guetta and the later years of Daft Punk, as well as 80’s new-wave like New Order and early Pet Shop Boys. (Read: fun!)

Alright, first off, check out that crowd. Granted, there were other performers there, but no matter who those people came to see, they were groovin’ out for Go Periscope. They’ve certainly got a stage presence as well. I’m not gonna lie…I love the Florin fist-pump. I think the only way that you wouldn’t be dancing is if you didn’t have a pulse.

They’ve got a few tracks available on all those various sites, from the infectious “Crush Me” (above),  to the shamelessly sexy “Breathe Deception”, to the stompy “No Chaser”. Go check ’em out.

Aaaand…watch this video:

Such silly boys! Go support your emerging electronic artists!

Faceoff: Owl City vs. The Postal Service

Owl City LivePostal Service Live







The time has come for the…wow, what the fuck would you even call this? Emo/Electronica Faceoff? So, one of these albums is far, far older than the other, but with all the recent comparison, I thought this faceoff would be appropriate. Owl City vs. The Postal Service. Minnesota vs. Washington. (That doesn’t sound nearly as exciting as Paris vs. Chicago, but we’ll work with it.)

Postal Service - Give UpLet’s start off with The Postal Service. They’re older, they get first dibs.

Even though this album came out in 2003, it’s still in heavy rotation for fans of this emo/EDM subculture and I really have to hand it to these guys…they brought EDM back to the mainstream. Back to radio and MTV. The collective works of electronic artist Jimmy Tamborello and Death Cab For Cutie frontman, Ben Gibbard, Give Up was and is really a revolutionary album for music. Combining elements of 80’s New Wave with futuristic intent makes this album something else entirely. It’s no wonder why their debut album at a total of ten tracks has three major hits including “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight”, “Such Great Heights”, and “We Will Become Silhouettes”. There is talk of a second album for these guys, but they admit it won’t be released any time during this decade. C’mon, they both have other projects. It really seems like this album was just some sort of…accident. A really, really well received accident. The Postal Service has this delightful mix of downtempo and upbeat tracks, but they have such a great buildup. Like the video below for “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight”…starts off incredibly slow and quiet and before you know it you’re bobbing and singing along. And obviously, Ben Gibbard’s voice is simply heavenly. Dear god. And I love the backing vocals of Jenny Lewis and Jen Wood on this album (Mike Doughty would have a field day with that one). They add meaningful, relevant lyrics to electronic music. No longer is it all about ecstasy and bright lights. It can be about something more and here is some solid proof.

The Postal Service – “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight”

Owl City - Ocean EyesOnto Owl City. With three albums in the last four years, Adam Young (no relation, I promise) has certainly taken that previously mentioned emo/EDM subculture by force. He’s already peaked to #1 on the Billboard Top 100 with his massive hit “Fireflies”. Owl City’s got a far more upbeat sound. I mean, shit, it gets up to borderline happy hardcore/gabber on a few tracks there. While still influenced by 80’s synthpop, Owl City also delves into parts of disco, J-Pop, and early European EDM. After releasing two independent, unsigned albums, Owl City finally hit it big with Ocean Eyes, released in July. Young’s lyrics are a little…juvenile…from time to time though. There’s really not a whole lot of substance. He likes talking about the ocean (PUGET SOUND, holla!) and sea creatures (and apparently oral hygiene), which is cool, but it doesn’t quite fill and entire album. Check him out.

Owl City – “Hello Seattle”

Where you can really see the difference between the two is live performance. I really dug Owl City (and still do enjoy the album) until I heard him without all that vocal distortion.

Owl City – Fireflies (Live)

See? He sounds like he’s thirteen. It’s amazing what all those electronics can really do to a voice. On the other hand, the guy uses KORG, so I gotta show some respect for that.

But then, you have The Postal Service’s Ben Gibbard performing live…

Ben Gibbard – “We Will Become Silhouettes” (Live)

The Postal Service FTW!I think Owl City will have their fifteen minutes of fame and perhaps a cult following of thirteen year old girls from what I’ve seen around these intertubes, but The Postal Service has real staying power. (See: Death Cab For Cutie.) Ben Gibbard sure knows what he’s doing. I mean, if Adam Young gets a little more substance, he may have a fighting chance, but I think it’s safe to say that he’s lost this battle. If he steps it up, he may win the war.