Furnace Fest and Thoughts on Legacy

Furnace Fest

The second year of the rebirth of Furnace Fest has come and gone, the weekend flying by even faster than I expected, and I’m probably buying a pre-order ticket for next year after I submit this write-up. I still remember the 2021 iteration as if I attended it last weekend, not over 365 days ago. My ears are still ringing, even though I wore my ear plugs a lot more faithfully this year. My legs still haven’t quite found their full strength again yet, and the less said about my lower back the better. It’s a special weekend and I am so thankful I’ve gotten to experience it twice.

I showed up to a Zoom conference with my freelance client at 6:45pm on the following Monday, still coughing and blowing dust out of my nose every few minutes. My face was slightly sunburnt from three days spent in the Alabama sunshine. Throughout the meeting, I couldn’t stop yawning. Eventually, my client goes, “You look like you had a fun weekend. What were you doing?”

“I was at this metal, hardcore, punk festival thing down in Birmingham.”

“Of all of the things you could’ve said, that is the one thing I wouldn’t have expected from you.”

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Review: John Fullbright – The Liar

John Fullbright was the best songwriter in the world. Then he disappeared for eight years.

Let’s put that eight years in perspective. In the film Cast Away, Tom Hanks plays a man stranded on a desert island for four years. In that time, he grows a monster beard, makes fire, and becomes best friends with a volleyball. When he gets home, he discovers that he’s been declared dead and that the love of his life ultimately married someone else and had a daughter. In the fictional world of Cast Away, in other words, a person vanishing for four years is tantamount to them no longer existing as a part of the world. Imagine, then, what eight years of absence can do.

The last time we heard from John Fullbright, at least as a recording artist, he was a 26-year-old up-and-comer promoting one of the buzziest song-forward albums of the 2010s. The record in question, 2014’s Songs, was Fullbright’s second full-length, and his apparent masterpiece. The title, so simple but so apt, spoke to the type of performer he was. Rather than try to give the album extra significance with some profound title, Fullbright gave the album the plainest name possible and let the content speak for itself. It did: Songs was one of the richest and most potent albums of its era, crammed top to bottom with gorgeous, aching, heartbreaking, life-affirming songs about life and love and death and rain. The first time I heard the album, I pegged Fullbright as one of the greatest songwriters of his generation, and I pegged Songs as a collection of songwriting right on par with what Jason Isbell had delivered a year earlier with Southeastern.

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Review: Good Charlotte – The Young and the Hopeless

The sophomore effort from Good Charlotte was by far their most successful record, selling over 3.5 million copies in the United States alone. The Young and the Hopeless features plenty of crisp pop-punk production, courtesy of veteran hit-maker Eric Valentine, and the band spent nearly three months crafting the recordings. While many critics panned the new material, fans of pop-punk and fans of their earlier material were able to find plenty to enjoy on the album. The record rips into a introductory track called “A New Beginning” and the hard-nosed guitar parts in the instrumental song signaled a cosmic shift in the direction Good Charlotte were taking their sound. The leaning towards darker material in their songs showed that the band were not comfortable with simply re-hashing the same sound on every album or song, and it would open them up to several new artistic opportunities.

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Spain – “Her Used To Been” (Song Premiere)

Spain

Today is the perfect day to share a blast from the past. Spain have returned with a new single and video for their latest song called “Her Used To Been.” The song comes from the band’s new LP entitled World of Blue, out everywhere music is sold today. On the latest single, the band shared:

In the late 1980s, I worked as a music librarian at KCRW while taking college classes at Santa Monica College. One of the perks of the job was taking home lots of great music. The music director let me keep a Bessie Smith box set, and I listened to those discs all the time. ‘Her Used-To-Been’ is paraphrased from a Bessie Smith song about how the protagonist goes back to her abusive ex-. In my version, I’m the protagonist and I’m telling Bessie to not go back.

Step right up if you’re ready to experience some music that makes you feel something magical in its delivery.

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Forty Years Of The CD

CD, Record Store

Daryl Worthington, writing for the Quietus:

“The thing I find most interesting about the whole thing regarding format and materiality is that even though a large proportion of people may listen almost exclusively digitally to music, there is still a sense that if something doesn’t have a physical release it is a less substantial album. Even people who would never listen to CD, tape or vinyl I think still assign value to an album existing in a physical format. That physicality kind of haunts the release, giving it a substance even in its digitality. For me, given this, CD offers a really easy and practical way of providing this physical option.”