Farewell to Freeway

The first live show I ever saw was Farewell to Freeway opening for The Reason. There were other bands, they were also very good, but those two stood out. Not just because they were the headliners, but also because. well, the formed a basis for my taste in music for the early 2000’s.

To be clear, and to flex my independent music knowledge because I’m a pretentious prick, I realize that Farewell to Freeway was initially Sewing With Nancy, and they changed their sound dramaticallly from almost a skate-punk sound to emo in 2000. Hell, Like Home was my introduction to the band roughly two nights before I saw them.

Again, I feel that it must be stated how amazing the whole lineup for the night was. Those two bands stick out for me because I really had no referance for heavier music. The absolute heaviest that I got at that time was Tool’s Lateralus album. If you know that album, saying that it’s not metal is rediculous, but seeing it as heavy is laughable.

If memory serves, Farewell to Freeway (hereby refered to as F2F) started their set with songs from the Between Yesterday and Today album. Still a rather emo-tastic album, but they perfected the sound from that point on.

I was in bliss. They went from being a really solid local-ish band to being something amazing to me. They closed their set with the title track from their, at that time, upcoming album (song here). I am not too man enough to admit that I cried, I thought it so beautiful. Even though I was silly and considered it metal (oh, baby me…), I didn’t dare mosh for fear that I would miss a note.

So, yes, I was floored. The Reason topped off a fantastic night. Ironically, that was the last time they were heavy (that I saw on stage) before they made the jump to a more mainstream sound three years later. (The Reason Meta-ish)(The Reason Pop feat. Sara Quin from Tegan & Sara fame)

Anyway, the reason I write about this album (aside from how instrumental it was in my taste in music) is: even though music has evolved and “improved” since this simple eight track album came out, I still return to it with great anticipation for everything to be okay for the 27 minutes that it takes to make this beautiful journey. If you are a fan of 2000’s emo or anything in the punk world from that time, I am very sure that you will love this piece of 519 history.

Music Comparison :: Pretty Girls Make Gaves v. Mars Volta

I am not saying these two albums are one-for-one. In fact, I am not even saying that they are remotely the same. I am claiming that fans of one can find something to appreciate about the other.

The Mars Volta seemed to come out of nowhere. Unless you were a fan of Sparta, these two seemed that they came from a cave and released probably one of the most original albums of that time. De-Loused in the Comatorium was a force to be reckoned with from the ambient track one right through until the end of track ten. It is kinetic with how involved every instrument is placed. Nothing feels like an accident. The mix is beautifully orchestrated. It’s hard to discuss this album without diving headfirst into individual tracks and dissecting the music theory knowledge involved. I mean, the ending of track one (bleeding into track two) changes time signature nine times on top of simple standard time time. The album then launches into a chaotic 3/8 and then does not let up until track nine.

Pretty Girls Make Graves (hearbye known as PGMG because I’m lazy) evolved out of the emo scene in the early 2000’s. They take elements of punk and mix it with almost art-house/ambient rock. This album stays pretty well in the same energy level through most of it. None of the instrumentation sticks out, particularly. What makes this album so incredibly important is how much it impacts the listener. I know very few people who have heard this album that have not loved some part of it. The vocalist sings over a calamity of orchestrated noise that has a purpose to lull the listener into a sense of pure bliss. Though Èlan Vital is not their first, or last, album, it remains one of my favourite albums of all time.

De Louced in the Comatorium is the Mars Vota’s first full length, though they had a very decent EP prior to that. There is not a lacking member on the record. Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers is on bass and he is (arguably) the weakest member of the crew. This album feels like you are listening to a performance instead of listening to an album.

Èlan Vital is, in comparison, very simple. They share aspects of the same ethereal plain, but they do not have much more in common where instrumentation comes into play, except for their use of onenote progression used several times in both recordings.

Now, I am positive there is a music theory reason for this progression. It probably dates all the way back to songs of olde. Back when the progression was far from news and, instead, was used by every minstral from here to Eden.

However, this is not the time of olde. This progression is not used often any longer, and I hate that I don’t know enough to give a name to it. It’s a huge part of Bullet Charm (which is the PGMG song I am going to link below) and is very prominent in the song “Eria Tarka” from The Mars Volta. This note progression, plus the emphasis on ethereal soundscapes, makes the comparison between the two bands more apt.

I made a big deal about track nine on De Loused in the Comatorium then dropped it! The song is Televators, and was the first song I had heard from the band. It is also acoustic and has little to do with the rest of the album. Even though it has little to do with the rest of the album, it will still be the track I place for Mars Volta below.

I’m not going to lie, a big part of why I wrote this is just to have an excuse to listen to these two albums over and over again for “research”. Also, I feel like PGMG have vanished from the collective consciousness, and any excuse I can find to talk about them feels important.

I’m posting this being well aware that I am going to get a bunch of shit from people saying how I’m wrong.

Album Review :: New Design — Far From Home

I don’t think that I mentioned it in the last two reviews, but I was given some stupid FaceBook task where I was just supposed to put an album cover up (no additional information) and tag someone in it. It was lazy, pointless, and I decided to give myself the task of writing a full review for whatever I felt like deserved to be part of the decathlon of recommendations. The reason? Combination of arrogance, and bands like this.

New Design is a group from Brampton which is near the GTA. If you know nothing about Canada, they are from a city close to the city that you assume is our capitol that isn’t. If you are from Canada, you know how hilarious that sentence is.

*pause for laughter*

ANYWAY. New Design is beautiful. They take all the best parts of the emo movement of the early 2000’s and do away with the annoying bits.

They are beautiful. The music, I mean. Well, the members of the group are beautiful, as well.

…now I’m just being awkward….

I need to stop being so sidetracked. New Design are emo without being whiny. They got hold of me while I was writing for Mind The Music TO a couple of years ago. I really do love the independent music scene: you get some of the most creative and beautiful things to come out of it.

I have waffled on long enough about various things, and I have stated that I love this band. Though this album is a great introduction, I highly recommend anything by this band.

All the music can be streamed from their Bandcamp.

Classic Album Review :: Thursday — War All the Time

Happy new decade! Yes, I am aware that there was no year zero, thus next year is the new decade. I like 0’s, though: so you have to put up with my excitement for a bit.

This is the best “emo” album ever created, and I have no regrets saying that.

It’s a bit unfortunate that everyone just associates this album with the political climate of the early 2000’s: specifically in response to the “war on terror” and the invasion of the middle east. This album puts a spotlight on the financial situation that we are still plagued by. Everything from a priority put on finances to the abandonment of happiness in a pursuit for the advancement of financial gain.

I digress, let’s start with the music.

I don’t think I have ever found a better intro for an album. “For the Workforce, Drowning” starts this album off with seven of the most abrasive hits that have ever been composed. The entire song highlights the musical prowess of this band. Beautifully harmonized guitars, tasteful drum lines, and an almost off-key singer. I am ready to be proven wrong; but, at least from my personal plunge into music, this marks the first time a bass was used as more that just rhythm. From the 1:52 point until 2:32, the guitar takes a back seat to beautifully composed bass-lead that eases the listener from the barrage that just occurred. It only last for about 30 seconds before the slap-in-the-face that is the ending. It almost creates a false sense of calm before the climax of the chaos.

I use the first song as a kind of beautiful depiction of the album as a whole. “Sleep Ascending” starts a reprise before the brutal sincerity that is “M. Shepard” to the end of the album. This is one of the few albums in my collection where the vocals match the desperation of the music.

I feel out of my depth. I find it very hard to talk about this album without gushing about the vocals which, I have made clear, I am terrible at talking about. I’m a drummer, not a vocalist. I know enough to know that the singer is NOT a good singer. Much like The Cure, I could not fathom this band existing with a different singer.

Long story short, I love this album. Definately for fans of punk and emo from the turn of the millenium. I cannot even say that this album is musically fantastic, but I find it one of the most important releases of my life.

On a personal note, I have been let down three times by this band. Since the first Taste of Chaos Tour in 2005, they have canceled every show that I have tried to see them in. Yes, they always had valid reasons, but teenaged-Jay was disappointed anyway. If you have seen them, let me know how fantastic they were.

This review was written after a discussion with my old bass player, Caitlinn. She brought up the fact that she just found a burned copy of this album, and I reminded her that I made that for her forever ago.

Classic Album Review :: Circa Survive — Juturna

I find this album very hard to write about simply because I think that it is very close to perfect. It contains the very definition of musical genius while still remaining absolutely beautiful. Somehow, it defies stereotypical constraints of music cliché’s while staying completely attainable and comfortable.

Listening again to write this review, there is no recognizable hook minus flourishes on guitar. The melody is carried by the intense and soulful vocals, and the driving bass carrying any semblance of continuity. Even the drums, while they do carry a constant beat that does tend to repeat from time to time, define syncopation as they flit from time signature to time signature with a deft hand.

Let’s go back to the vocals for a moment. Anthony Green has a range matched by few. His voice is high. I am challenged to find many with his range. Somehow, it strays from being squeaky or overbearing. “The Glorious Nosebleed“, which is also my favourite song on the album, showcases his possible range beautifully. Though he never gets very low, the jumps in what he can hit are incredible. Especially from the 2:00 mark to the end.

Really, this album and the one subsequent (On Letting Go) I declare as my personal picks. Maybe it’s nostalgia, maybe it’s just the absolute shock that a band like this existed when they did, I will always love them.

Enjoy.