Rediscovering Bullet For My Valentine After The Massive Letdown Of ‘Gravity’

Bullet for My Valentine

Ever since I first stumbled upon the “Suffocating Under Words of Sorrow” video, I’ve been a massive Bullet For My Valentine fan. I listened to The Poison every day for a year. I desperately tried to imitate Michael Paget’s insane riffs. And I’m still mad about the Bullet For My Valentine wallet I lost 10 years ago. But my relationship with them has been on the rocks since their last album, Gravity. Widely panned for its radio rock sound, it nearly turned me off to the band completely. Like many fans, I didn’t like the new direction. Not only was it bad, it felt like they changed solely for mainstream appeal. I was disappointed. Now, the boys are back with what’s supposed to be their heaviest album. And I’m kind of looking forward to it.

This new era of Bullet For My Valentine kicked off with “Knives” and it’s not bad. But it’s also not great. Days before the song dropped, the cryptic teasers and new logo got my heart racing. But once “Knives” was unleashed, I was underwhelmed. The song gripped me with its killer intro. The intense dirty riffs paired with Matt Tuck screaming “LET THE MADNESS BEGIN!” gets you pumped. You hear it and think “FUCK YEAH! HERE WE GO!” But over the course of the song, it loses steam. I got bored of it midway through and when it finished, I didn’t care about hearing it again. The song only has one note: be heavy. There are no interesting progressions, the riffs are okay, and the lyrics are decent. Otherwise, the song isn’t very memorable. It’s one of those Bullet songs you don’t mind hearing but ultimately forget about.

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Review: Jimmy Eat World – Bleed American

Jimmy Eat World - Bleed American

Some songs just linger in the cultural bloodstream. It’s impossible to predict, in the moment, which songs those will be. Occasionally, it’s the big hits, but it’s also often those same world-conquering smashes that end up sounding the most dated in retrospect. Usually, you have to wait years or even decades to see which songs have truly become songbook classics, once all the context and narrative and hype and promotion has drifted into distant memory. You have to get to the point where all that remains is the song itself and the mysterious, beguiling hold it somehow continues to have over people.

There’s a spectacular cover band in my hometown that mostly plays songs from the classic rock era. It’s not hard to see why: Those songs have been proven staples for so long that building a setlist around them is just a smart business decision. You can’t miss with “Bohemian Rhapsody” or “Don’t Stop Believin’” or “American Girl.” You can’t miss with The Beatles or The Stones. There are precisely two post-2000 songs that I remember regularly hearing in the setlist from this particular cover band. The first one was “Mr. Brightside.”

The second was “The Middle.”

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Review: Underoath – Define The Great Line

Underoath - Define the Great Line

When Underoath took their brief intermission on their 2016 Rebirth Tour, the banner behind Aaron Gillespie’s drum kit fell to floor, revealing the wind-swept dunes of 2006’s Define The Great Line as 2004’s They’re Only Chasing Safety’s final notes still reverberated around the venue. I stood on the delightfully shaky floors of Atlanta’s The Tabernacle, my favorite venue, and felt all of the memories of the upcoming album wash over me. Five years later, they’re still just as vivid.

The weekend before Define came out, my high school sweetheart and I ended our relationship. I “lost” my best friend, her sister, in the same fell swoop. I handled it all with the maturity of a sixteen year old boy, which is to say, I threw myself headfirst into very loud, very angst-ridden music. “In Regards to Myself”’s refrain of “What are you so afraid of?” became a rallying cry when I could bring myself to stop listening to Emery’s “The Ponytail Parades”… I know my flaws.

Like many of you reading this and reminiscing with me on this album, I’d already heard the leaked version of Define. I knew that something immensely more huge than Safety was coming. By this point in the album rollout, I’m pretty sure MTV had also already premiered the whole album on their website, “Writing on the Walls” played nonstop on Steven’s Untitled Rock Show, and I’d (probably) set streaming records on Underoath’s PureVolume page if things like that were tracked back in the aughts.

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Interview: Brendan Kelly of The Lawrence Arms

Brendan Kelly

This past week, I was able to get a hold of Brendan Kelly of The Lawrence Arms before he embarks on a full US tour, including an expertly planned “troll job” of a gig on August 21st at the Four Seasons Total Landscaping venue with Laura Jane Grace. In this interview, we talked about the circumstances that led to this show, the things he admires most about Laura, his songwriting process, and how the pandemic delayed a lot of his creativity and motivation. Brendan’s “Here Goes Nothin'” tour begins on July 30th in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and will wrap up in Cleveland, Ohio on August 22nd. Merchandise for the Four Seasons Total Landscaping show is now on sale.

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Review: The Dangerous Summer – War Paint

The Dangerous Summer – War Paint

I’m not sure I have ever needed an album more than I needed War Paint.

Sometimes, as a music fan, you lean on the records you love to help get you through things: breakups; losing loved ones; navigating huge tectonic shifts in your life; global pandemics. As someone whose love for music springs from an extremely emotional place, I have leaned on a lot of different albums over the years, for a lot of different reasons.

But even in that context, War Paint, the sophomore LP from Baltimore-based rock band The Dangerous Summer, was an album I needed. I needed it so badly that I listened to it more times in July and August 2011 than I have ever listened to any other album in a two-month span. It was the rhythm of my days and nights; the heartbeat of my dreams; the soundtrack of my summer. To this day, I can’t think of a single thing that happened that season without also remembering the songs on War Paint. For me, that time in my life and this album will always be inextricably intertwined, as if they were hardwired together.

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Tumblr Introduces Paid Subscription Tool to Woo Younger Bloggers

Katie Deighton, writing for the Wall Street Journal:

Microblogging stalwart Tumblr on Wednesday began a test letting some users charge their followers a monthly fee in exchange for access to exclusive content.

The blogging site, which Verizon Communications Inc. sold to WordPress.com owner Automattic Inc. in 2019 for far less than the $1.1 billion it paid for it, said it hopes to make the option to charge for posts widely available this fall.

The feature, called Post+, offers content creators a choice of three monthly prices to charge their followers—$3.99, $5.99 or $9.99—with Tumblr taking a 5% cut of subscription fees. Users can continue to post free content as well if they want.

Tumblr is still around?