Sacramento based post-hardcore band VVomen recently released their debut EP Moving On. We’re excited to premiere the video for the band’s latest single, “Crutch and Stoma.” If you’re a fan of their La Dispute indebted sound, you can pick up a copy on their BandCamp.
You may have had to wait a few extra weeks for a new episode of Encore, but that doesn’t come close to the eight year wait for a new album from Brand New. But, it’s here, and we’re gonna talk all about it. I am joined this week, once again, by special guest Drew Beringer to break down Science Fiction. We talk about our history with the band, our thoughts on their catalog, and do a track-by-track through the new album. We discuss the band’s place in the music scene, why they resonate so much with fans, and argue how the new album stacks up in their discography.
There’s never been a band quite like Brand New, and we may never see anything quite like them, or their rabid fanbase, again. I hope you enjoy our deep dive as much as we did recording it.
In March of this year I was lucky enough to photograph the Japandroids and Craig Finn in Seattle on Saturday, March 18th at the Neptune Theater. It was a sold out show with no barricade for the photographers to be in front of, so things definitely got rowdy when the Japandroids started. You’ll find the gallery below.
Will Hoge almost got the dream.
In 2015, the independent Nashville-based recording artist seemed poised to win the country music lottery. He and his band had been picked by a major radio conglomerate as a spotlight artist, to be introduced on a mass scale to radio listeners nationwide. Looking back now, Hoge says the slot was virtually a guarantee of a top 10 record in the country music sphere. “This is exactly what the program is for,” the radio group told him and his band: spotlighting new artists or independent acts and helping them find a home in the infamously commercialized world of country radio.
For Hoge, being picked as a next big thing was the realization of a long-held dream. He’d released his first record—as part of the band Spoonful—in 1997, before going solo with 2001’s Carousel. What followed was a series of well-liked and respected records that melded country, southern rock, and heartland rock into something that sounded like a twangier Springsteen. For 2003’s Blackbird on a Lonely Wire, Hoge got scooped up by Atlantic Records, but the album failed to take off and it was back to the independent musician game after that.
Still, Hoge kept trucking and was eventually rewarded for his persistence. In 2012, Eli Young Band recorded a version of “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” a song from Hoge’s 2009 record The Wreckage. The song was the opening track and second single from Eli Young Band’s Life at Best album, and it ultimately reached number one on the Billboard country chart. Suddenly armed with a number one song to his name, Hoge landed his 2013 track “Strong” in a widely syndicated ad campaign for Chevrolet Silverado. The song charted modestly on country radio, but it was enough to convince Hoge that if he really tried to play the game, he might just be able to make some magic happen.
Last night, while listening to some music and having a beer, I tossed out a question on Twitter that I’ve always found fascinating:
Desert island game, but you have one band’s full discography only, who do you go with? I’m thinking I’d have to pick Jimmy Eat World.
What I’ve always liked about this question is that it forces you to make decisions beyond just thinking about a favorite band. If your favorite band doesn’t have a large catalog then you’re stuck for a while with only three albums. And if you are looking for diversity in music styles, or strength in numbers, then there’s another way you can go. The idea of a band’s entire body of work, and looking at it as a whole, has been a long running theme of mine. After asking the question, and getting promptly dunked on by none other than Mark Hoppus,1 the answers started coming in.
At first it was a bunch of what I expected from our little music scene. Lots of Brand New, Blink-182, Yellowcard, and Thrice. And then all of sudden the answers started to change. I’m not sure how or where it started,2 but the tweet ended up going a little viral and spreading way further than the small group of followers that know me and the kind of music I have written about on a daily basis for years. The replies started coming faster and it was way more Billie Joel, Rush, Bruce Springsteen, The Beatles, and Barbra Streisand. It was funny to watch the conversation completely change from the kind of music I’ve been listening to and writing about over the course of a few hours. And, because it’s the damn internet, that also meant I now had quite a few people that really didn’t like my pick (or some of the early replies).
Those that have read my writing for years know how much I like Jimmy Eat World. I’ve talked before about how I think they have one of the best catalogs in our little scene and they just keep putting out great music. My thought process is that I love the band, there’s a lot of music in that catalog, and there’s enough style changes so I’d have something for every mood while I’m sitting on island. Now, after getting a few snarky tweets about how could I not pick The Beatles or The Rolling Stones,3 I kinda wish I went with something even more out there: A Wilhelm Scream, Propagandhi, Strung Out? Might as well earn the snark.
All-in-all it was a pretty hilarious evening, and I’m curious to see how our community would answer this question. So, if you wanna hit the comments I’d love to see what the prevailing artist and catalog in our forums ends up being.
Andrew Belle will release his new album, Dive Deep, on August 25th. Today I’m excited to bring you the premiere of the new song “When the End Comes.” When describing the song, Andrew said:
“When the End Comes” is about just that – it’s about how on one hand I can know that at the end of my time here I won’t care about much else besides the people that I love and who love me back; and yet I get so distracted and caught up in my own head with everything going on these days that I need reminding of that on a daily basis. At the end of my life there will only be a handful of things that mean anything to me and so I wrote this song about keeping those things close and putting everything else in the background.
Pre-orders for the album are now up and ticket packages for the upcoming tour are also available. I’ve been looking forward to this album for a while, and it doesn’t sound like it’s going to disappoint.
I recently hit up Alternative Press’ Music Awards and interviewed a whole bunch of artists on the red carpet. You’ll find links to all of the video interviews below. Enjoy!
On the eve of the release of their sophomore album, I sat down with the trio from Sir Sly at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles to discuss their excitement about the new music, the breakout success of “High,” the personal events behind the album, and why they never want to be outworked.
On this week’s episode of Encore I am once again joined by special guest Drew Beringer. This week we are doing a deep dive on the new album from Manchester Orchestra. The album, A Black Mile to the Surface, comes out on July 28th, so you can decide if you wanna hear all our thoughts on the album now or wait until you’ve heard it for the first time. We walk through each song on the album, so expect “spoilers.” And, we’re both pretty excited about this one.
The first six months of 2017 have probably brought more than enough albums to fill a year-end list. Alas, it’s only mid-year, which leaves us with the task of distilling everything we’ve heard so far into quick, concise top 10 lists. Rather than try to define the overarching themes of the year, we’d rather just let the albums we love speak for themselves. Below, you will find both our combined staff top 10, as well as individual lists from our contributors and moderators. Here’s hoping you find something new to love.
Note: You can share your own list in our music forum.
On this week’s episode of Encore I am joined once again by special guest Craig Manning. This week our main topic is all about the best albums released in 2017 … so far. As we hit the midway mark of the year, it’s time for our annual tradition of discussing what albums we’ve fallen in love with during the first six months, what didn’t make the list, what we were anticipating and how those stacked up, and all that jazz. (There’s also a rant about movie theaters at the beginning because some people can’t put their phones away.)
What albums have you loved this year so far? We’d love to hear from you and see if there’s something new for us to discover as well. As always, thanks for listening.
For as long as I can remember I’ve been doing some version of “first impression” blogs about music on the internet. It started back on AbsolutePunk.net in my blog as I’ve always loved being able to offer some thoughts on an album without the full pressure of an official “review.” My original idea was a more free flowing and less structured way to comment on music usually after having only heard an album one or two times. Today we’ve got things like our forums and social media to serve as a similar medium for putting together opinions on something without it needing to feel too official. I like that. It’s freeing.
One of the things I’ve been doing for supporters in our supporter forum is these first listen/first impression live blogs for certain albums. The basic idea is the same as always: I listen to an album and I do a little live blogging of my thoughts, impressions, and feelings as I listen to it. It started out as a fun little way to talk about music and once again helped me feel free from some of the pressures of “official” reviews on music. It’s been a lot of fun and it seems like everyone really enjoys reading them. Now, one of the downfalls of using the forum for this is that it’s not as easy to archive and save these pieces for posterity. And they’re behind the community package paywall and therefore unaccessible to patrons of the main website. Today, I’m fixing both of those problems.