Interview: Ben Jorgensen of Armor For Sleep

Armor for Sleep

Even though it’s been 15 years since Armor For Sleep released a new full-length, Ben Jorgensen never buried the idea of another record from the New Jersey emo-adjacent legends. After a handful of successful 15 16-year anniversary shows for their second record What To Do When You Are Dead, Armor For Sleep reunited with Equal Vision Records to release the band’s fourth album The Rain Museum, a 12-track collection that pushes the signature AFS sound to new boundaries. I recently sat down with Jorgensen to discuss the origin of the record, working with Equal Vision again, the emo revival, and the lasting legacy of What To Do When You Are Dead.

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A Farewell to mewithoutYou


About eight years ago, I was sitting at a picnic table looking out at the lake near my house. I was listening to Catch For Us the Foxes, not a record for a sunny day, feeling the wood grain under my fingertips, in search of a little hope. It had rained so vehemently the night before that the level of the lake was up over ten feet. The sun shone so bright and the earth was so freshly washed that the greens of the trees and the blues of the water were the most vibrant I’d ever seen at this park. The water flowing through the dam was roaring loud enough to be heard over my music. The temperature was perfect in only the way a day after rain breaks the weather pattern can be.

“Tie me up! Untie me! All this wishing I was dead is getting old. It’s getting old! It goes on, but it’s old.”

I’ve written about my experiences with depression before and the albums that have helped along the way. But I’ve never written about mewithoutYou, or Aaron Weiss in particular, and how important they’ve been in that same journey. They were never a band I could easily talk about or explain; for me, they always had to be experienced to be understood. In large part, I think I’m having trouble finding the words because, quite frankly, I’m not saying goodbye. I’ll be listening to these records for the rest of my life. So I guess I’m saying thank you.

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Review: Crossing I’s Dotting T’s – I Used To Be

The debut LP by rock band Crossing I’s Dotting T’s is a grunge-filled love letter to bands like Deftones, Alice in Chains, and Stone Temple Pilots. I Used To Be has a variety of song types, and more often than not, it hits its intended target. When I last sat down with the lead vocalist from the band, I could tell that his core influences would likely bleed into the band’s debut album. From the soft-loud dynamic found on a Deftones-esque track, called “Far Away,” to the collaborative single with Have Mercy on “Cheap Beers & IOUs,” Crossing I’s Dotting T’s make a memorable first step in the music scene.

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Review: Thursday – Full Collapse

Thursday - Full Collapse

Beautiful, echoing, ethereal guitar begins to filter through your speakers, slowing fading into your consciousness. A man with a slightly nasal voice, most likely in his early 20s, starts to sing something about a robot, and whether it dreams. After about thirty seconds of this repeating, with one final “Wonder what it dreams?,” everything disappears save feedback from the guitar. And then, almost out of nowhere…”Bap, bap!” The band springs into action with two hits of the snare. Guitarists Tom Keeley and Steve Pedulla’s parts twist, churn and intertwine as drummer Tucker Rule keeps a sort of off-tempo beat that leads into a drum role. Bassist Tim Payne remains a driving force, mostly following the guitar, but adding a necessary emphasis to the bottom part of the song. Then Geoff Rickly–for that is the name of the nasally man in his early 20s–begins to sing again: “Splintered piece of glass / Falls on the seat and gets caught / Broken windows, open locks / Reminders of the youth we lost / In trying so hard to look away from you / I followed white lines ’till the sunset / I crash my car every day the same way.” The song is “Understanding in a Car Crash.” The band is Thursday. The album is Full Collapse. The year is 2001. And something great is happening here.

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Eddie Reyes Talks About His New Band

Taking Back Sunday

Eddie Reyes, formerly of Taking Back Sunday, talks with Alternative Press about his new music project:

I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t [know] if those guys [in Taking Back Sunday] will ever turn around to me one day and go, “Hey, bud. We missed you. Come back.” That would be great. But at the same time, I can’t think about that. I’ve got to think about my sobriety, I’ve got to think about my family and I’ve got to concentrate a lot on this new band.

When I went on the first [FGAD] tour, I was like, “I’m going to see what it’s like. If I hate it, I’m done.” But then I realized, “Wow, this is what it used to be like when it was awesome,” you know what I mean? You don’t have to deal with favoritism because that will undermine your confidence and your feelings. You don’t have to worry about sounding perfect

Review: Taylor Swift – Red

There are moments growing up that feel jarring and alien and terrifying for how wildly different they seem from everything else that came before them. Your first kiss; the first time you drive a car without anyone in the passenger’s seat; the first time you feel the buzz of alcohol; the first night in your college dorm room, knowing you’re in uncharted territory. These moments can feel like swimming off the deep end without a lifejacket for the first time, or maybe even like skydiving without a parachute. They’re exciting because of the unpredictability, because they feel dangerous. You don’t know what’s going to happen next, but you do know that you’ve just crossed some invisible line on the journey of growing up, and that you can’t turn around and go back.

On Red, Taylor Swift captured the unpredictable, stomach-dropping, dangerous rush of perhaps the most important growing up “first”: falling in love. The result was her best record, the greatest album released in the 2010s, and one of the most complete documents ever made about young love’s roller-coaster highs and crushing lows. Even good albums about love often cover only a fraction of what it’s like to go from strangers to friends to how-can-I-ever-live-without-yous and then back to strangers again. Even great albums about love might only paint with a hue or two from that expansive, explosive palette of technicolor emotion. On her fourth album, Taylor Swift painted with all the colors in love’s deep, endless rainbow – even if, at the time, she probably would have told you she was only painting with one.

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Interview: Sarah and the Safe Word

Sarah and the Safe Word

Recently I was able to schedule a Zoom interview with Sarah Rose (lead vocals) and Kienan Dietrich (guitars/vocals), of Sarah & The Safe Word, to discuss their thrilling fourth album, The Book of Broken Glass. The new record was produced by Jim Wirt (Jack’s Mannequin, Hoobastank), and will be released everywhere music is sold this Friday, April 7th via Take This To Heart Records. In this in-depth interview, I asked these two band members about what went into the writing/recording of the new LP, plus what fans can expect on their current tour with Shayfer James.

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Review: Out Of Service – The Ground Beneath Me

On the third full-length record from emo rockers Out of Service, they’ve clearly got a lot on their collective minds. The Ground Beneath Me takes on weighty topics like mortality, racial prejudice, and the loss of close relationships, yet it never gets too bogged down by the heaviness of the lyrical material. The set was produced and mixed by Nathan Hussey (All Get Out), who additionally lends his vocal talents to the track called “The Fall,” and was mastered by Emmy award winner Dave Marino. The album also features key guest vocal contributions from John Nolan (Straylight Run, Taking Back Sunday) and Emery, and it feels like Out of Service have earned these worthy collaborations through their steadfast dedication to perfecting their craft. Coming off of the worthy success of their sophomore effort Burden, and a teaser single called “Shelter,” Out of Service are becoming the best versions of themselves on The Ground Beneath Me.

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