If you’re a Weezer fan, you probably know a little bit about Rivers Cuomo’s college experience: he started at Harvard University in 1995, only a year after the release of The Blue Album, and attended intermittently until he graduated in 2006. Now, his experiences will be turned into a TV show. Cuomo teamed up with Psych creator Steve Franks for a new sitcom called DeTour. DeTour will follow a thirtysomething rock star who walks away from fame to discover experiences that he missed out on while famous. It would star a fictional character that’s heavily inspired by Cuomo’s own life. Fox has given the series a put-pilot order, which means that while there’s a chance it won’t come to air, the network is pretty confident in its success and will face a financial penalty if they don’t give it a series order.

Ok. Why? I guess Fox wants a really depressing show that features leg surgery and fetishization of Asian women. Great job, Fox. This show won’t be terrible at all.

Riot Fest

Ok. I get the idea of Riot Fest. And I know that complaining about Riot Fest just makes me sound like a bitter, old crank. But, honestly, fuck Riot Fest. It is Warped Tour for older music fans.

Basically, a bunch of bands I would love to see are going to all be in Chicago at one time. But, they’re playing festival sets. And I’d have to be in the middle of a fucking carnival in Humboldt Park. And I’d have to pay between $75 and $190. Depending on if I want a one, two, or three day pass.

So, now all those bands I love are in town. I can’t afford to see them. There might be some club shows that I could go to in that weekend, but those tend to be secret shows for Riot Fest ticket holders.

Riot Fest is going to make money despite themselves. They have basically made their “punk fest” accessible to only people who can blow upwards of $100 for a single day. Fuck that, man.

Finally got around to making another one of these. This one is from “No Offense To The Fun” by Dowsing. It only took over a year.
Here are the other ones.

Finally got around to making another one of these. This one is from “No Offense To The Fun” by Dowsing. It only took over a year.

Here are the other ones.

I think Nothing Makes Sense Without It might have crept up into the top slot of my favorite Kind Of Like Spitting records.

I might also just be sad though.

REVIEW: Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate) - “You Will Eventually Be Forgotten”

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It’s been five years since Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate) put out a full length. Let’s be real though, it felt like a lot longer than that. And, oh, what a full length it was. What It Takes To Move Forward is a beautiful album from start to finish. It would be a fair question to ask if they could make a follow up that even meets the quality of that record. The answer is yes. Yes they fucking can, and have. You Will Eventually Be Forgotten has met and exceeded the expectations that led up to it. And of course it did. Keith and Cathy Latinen are amazing at what they do, and no one should be surprised.

It’s a little hard to write about Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate) without touching on a few different subjects. The first being the sheer number of bands they exposed people to via split releases, tours, or releases on Count Your Lucky Stars. Like, it was through them that I found Dowsing, Joie De Vivre, and Football, Etc. The next obvious point is the sheer volume of releases they’ve put out. In the five years since the first the LP, they have released a boatload of 7 inches, either as splits or as EPs. Things have more or less been building to You Will Eventually Be Forgotten.

While not a huge departure from the earlier releases, You Will Eventually Be Forgotten is notable for how the songwriting has changed. Their older songs lived and breathed on more abstract, esoteric lyrics. The lyric here are entirely literal. The metaphors have given way to straight forward speech. These are lyrics that you can connect to outright, at face value. “Things Not Worth Fixing” is very much a story of getting out of college, having to move back home, and work a shit job that you feel you are above. “It’s So Much Darker When a Light Goes Out Than When It Would Have Been If It Had Never Shone” is a song about remembering an event celebrating grandparents’ anniversary, and how both grandparents became so intertwined in life that one shortly followed the other in after death. Album opener, “Ribbon” proposes that “there is always enough to get things done.” It bookends with “The Promise That Life Can Go On No Matter How Bad Our Losses” asking “is this still worth putting our lives on hold for?”

This is very much a record that tells 10 distinct little stories. The lyrics read like a biography of sorts. It covers childhood memories. There are stories of the unsure, exciting parts of an early relationship. It covers finding love and getting married. It is triumphant in parts, somber in other. It’s the mixture of exuberance and ennui that really makes the whole thing work.

The real crux of the release is the music. As it stands, it is not really anything unexpected for them. But, much like the songwriting itself, the music has been reigned in a bit. It has definitely built upon the songs from earlier in their discography, but has done so without retreading the sound they, and many other bands, have tread. It is going to be right up the alley of the genre purists who care more about style than substance, but it is also a record that bleeds authenticity. There is a certain level of brevity to these songs, and the album as a whole. You Will Eventually Be Forgotten is a tidy 38 minutes. It is much more focused than the double LP that preceded it. What It Takes To Move Forward clocked in at just about an hour. The difference in length is notable because both albums have the same number of songs.

“We Are People Here. We Are Not Numbers” is a great example of them recognizing the strengths of the older releases, but still evolving. It is a song that pushes the quiet/loud dynamic. Not in a Pixies or college rock way, but there is definitely a noticeable contrast. The song that immediately follows it, “You Have to Be So Much Better than You Ever Thought” is another song that has some bite to it. It feel more like a deep cut from their earlier releases. It kind of sits in the same territory that “So How Many Points Do You Have ‘Till You Gain, You Know, the Ultimate Power?” did. Otherwise, there are plenty of songs that will fit nicely in the “sad jams” tag they use on their BandCamp page.

So, to wrap this overly long review up, just go order this. Get it on vinyl, get it on cd, or get it digitally. Whatever works best for you. It is one of the best releases you’ll hear this year. That is a fact.

Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate)
Count Your Lucky Stars (Buy It)
Topshelf Records (Buy It)
BandCamp

REVIEW: Living Room - “Moonchaser”

This shit rules, you guys. It’s really no secret that I love bands that play that really specific emo and punk mixture. I love that kind of music for a lot of reasons. I love the hooks, big choruses, and overall feeling of it. I love the emotion that comes through when the vocals kick from calm to full on yelling. I love the grittiness of the instruments, where things go from a mellow twinkle to full on driving punk. I also love it because it reminds me of the local bands I used to see when I was younger. Living Room makes me feel a lot of ways. Nostalgia mixed with great enjoyment.

Moonchaser sounds like an album that would have come out of Chicago in the early/mid 2000s. It touches on all the hallmarks of the Midwestern punk/emo scene, but has some of the the bite of East Coast punk rock. Which makes sense, seeing as Living Room are out of Brooklyn. It’s that combination that makes Living Room, as a band, sound special. It is also what makes Moonchaser such a goddamn good listen.

The record has a perfect flow to it. Starting with the opener, “American Levitation.” That songs is a very calm, mostly vocal performance. It ends with a guitar buzzing that explodes right into “Casual Science.” The album just goes almost full blast until about the middle from there. Things slow down a little bit on the front half of the song “Out Of Love.” It doesn’t last long, because that songs kicks it right back up on the second half. It was a calm, melodic break. Which is actually pretty common here. Living Room are quite adept at that start/stop, calm to driving type sounds.

It’s a damn shame that the record only last about 26 minutes. I was really wanting a lot more by the time the penultimate song, “About Time,” came around. It’s alright though. The album closer, “Magnetic Service,” comes next. It is a song that closes a spectacular record in a great way. If nothing else, this record will make you look forward to whatever the band does next.

Living Room is a band that is capable of a lot. Moonchaser is only their second release, and debut full length. If they can continue to grow, and keep putting out quality releases like this, they will be one of the best bands playing this music.

Living Room
Jetsam-Flotsam Records
BandCamp
Buy It

Here is a crappy first draft of a thing I’m drawing that only I think is funny.

Here is a crappy first draft of a thing I’m drawing that only I think is funny.

torjohnsonrecords:

please take a couple minutes and check out the webstore. TONS of amazing stuff from labels & bands from all over the world. exclusive shirts from a couple of our bands (more to come. finally printing the Tyler Daniel Bean ones next week). limited silk screen posters from some of the area’s most amazing artists. just a shit ton of amazing stuff. every purchase goes directly to helping put out more records (like the upcoming stuff from Weak Teeth, Death To Tyrants, Lunglust, and more). thank you so much. without you, we can’t do what we do.

This label is great. They’ve got a bunch of great things they’ve put out, as well as a bunch of stuff they are doing distro for from other great labels and bands. Go spend all your money.

Sleeping At Last - Light
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weekendplaylist:

light // sleeping at last

I saw this on my dash, and I had to reblog it. Sleeping At Last was one of the first local bands I really got into. I saw them perform at West Chicago Bible Church in, oh, 2002. Maybe? It was during the time when I still went to church. I was still a believer, or whatever, at the time. I was a dirty punk rock kid, but somehow fell for the more delicate, indie rock stuff they were playing.

The growth this band, which is now really just one dude, has had over the years is really stunning. It is hard to believe that Sleeping At Last in this incarnation is the same project (more or less) as the band who put out that old Capture EP.

Going to see Sleeping At Last shows introduced me to a lot of people. I met some really good friends. I met some great people who I’m not really friends with anymore, but who were exactly the people I needed in that time of my life.

I have a great memory of walking home from another show they did in West Chicago. It was cold and snowing, but it was late. Roosevelt Road was basically empty. I walked the 20 minutes or so home with Capture playing on my crappy little Discman. I was going through some shit at the time, and it was nice to have a peaceful walk for once.

So, I don’t know, I just wanted to talk about how important this band was to me.