I wrote about Elevation Labs’ “Headphone Anchor” when they were doing their Kickstarter campaign. Last week my order showed up. Since my new computer came last week as well, I decided it was a good time to clean out my office and work on decluttering. I installed the new headphone anchor under my desk and so far it’s been brilliant. I love having my headphones at arms reach without them sitting out on the desk. The anchor’s adhesive feels strong and secure but I used two tiny screws to double down on security. If you’ve got a home office and are looking for a good, simple, solution to storing your headphones — I’d definitely recommend picking one up.
About one minute into the lead track, front-woman Laura Jane Grace snarls, “you want them to notice the ragged ends of your summer dress, you want them to see you like they see every other girl, they just see a faggot, they’ll hold their breath not to catch the sick” … and the gauntlet is thrown down. What Against Me!’s new album, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, offers is a mixture of attitude and bravado that pulls together an emotion, weight, and gravitas that I’ve felt missing from music for a while. The lyrics contain something actually worth saying and while the sing-a-long choruses may get stuck in your head, there’s an underlying message that expels itself in a way unique to music — one that travels from head to heart and leads to rumination long after the guitars and drums dissipate.
In a recently aired episode of the AP.net podcast I go on a (way-to-long) rant about genres and the labels we put on bands. The heart of the argument is ‘fuck labels and fuck genres’ because it’s all a mess. We waste time sitting around saying, “Is this pop-punk, or pop-punk, or pop-punk?” The whole thing is a classification system that no one agrees on, no one abides by, and it becomes a cluster-fuck when trying to talk about bands or describe a sound to someone. In fact, sometimes I think we spend more time arguing about genres than the music itself. Some genres have turned into four-letter words and used as a means to demean and dismiss bands almost as a personal affront. I hate it and I’m unsure if there’s a bigger offender than “pop-punk.”
I think my biggest draw to music is the emotion it pulls from me when listening to a great song. That feeling where you experience the song with the entirety of your being. Everything fades away and all that matters in that moment is the space between notes, ears, and heart. Copeland’s upcoming album, Ixora, embodies everything I search for in music.
This review was written in 2013 and originally published on AbsolutePunk.net. It has been very minimally edited before being republished.
I believe that each time we select an album out of the ether and push play, it says something not just to us, but about us. It becomes a reflection of that instant and transcends into both a personal and social entity simultaneously. It is this duality of frozen moments, between headphones and shared experiences, that helps define why we listen. We listen to be touched. We find comfort in intimate moments alone with songs, and we tie memories with the best of friends to the soundtracks of our nights. The songs that have stayed with me the longest are the ones that exist forever between these two realities: the ones that I suffer with and the ones that I share.
2014 ended up being one of my favorite years for music in a long while. It just seemed like every few weeks there was a new album to dive into and experience. There were times where it felt overwhelming, as if there was so much to listen to I felt ashamed I couldn’t give each album the time it deserved. But, here we are at the end of the year, and here we are tasked with trying to put numbers to the madness. I’ve done my best to put my favorite albums of the year in some kind of order … I hope you find as much to enjoy here as I have.
“Has it really been 10 years?”
That’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot this fall, because the autumn of 2004 was one of the most important seasons of my life. It was my most paramount musically formative stage. I’d always loved music, even leading up to that season: listening to the radio, making cassette tape copies of my brother’s CDs, playing the piano, jamming the few albums I owned repeatedly in the afternoons after school, downloading tracks off Limewire and making mix CDs. But I never fully understood the impact a song or album could have on my life until the fall of 2004. Until Futures.
My relationship with Yellowcard begins over a decade ago and the musical connection and ensuing friendship now runs deeper and longer than many of my “in real life” relationships. On October 7th, 2014 the band will be releasing their most ambitious album to date, Lift a Sail. I had the chance to sit down and talk with lead singer Ryan Key about everything that went into crafting this album, the stories and inspiration behind the musical direction, and so much more.
I still remember the first time I heard American Idiot in full. It was my 14th birthday, and I’d been waiting for the better part of two months to finally give the album a spin. The record dropped on September 21, but as was the norm when I was young, broke, and trying to cut back on downloading, I often had to wait awhile to buy CDs or ask for them as gifts. Such was the case with Green Day’s first full-length album in four years, which I scrawled on my birthday list between other 2004 albums like Keane’s Hopes and Fears and Sister Hazel’s Lift.