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Monthly Archives: January 2010

Trophy Scars

You ever feel really down? You can’t even shake how you feel, and when you talk to your friends they can’t relate? Maybe that girl you liked/were going out with/etc. hurt you more than you thought possible, maybe you fell in lov or maybe something else happened. Here is some advice that can’t go wrong: Listen to Trophy Scars.

Personally, this band has helped me through so much. Jerry Jones is one of the most personal and emotional lyricist/vocalists I have ever heard. They have came to the rescue as a therapy session of sorts for whatever I’m feeling more times than I can even count. I really love this band.

Alphabet. Alphabets. is one of the best albums I have ever heard. Every song is perfect in its own way, and they contrast from being heavy and angry (Artist. Artists.), the thought-0ut and emotive (Apple. Apples.), The reminiscent (Assistant. Assistants.), story-like (Assassin. Assassins.) and the so-personal-that-it-could-invoke-tears (Alligator. Alligators.). It’s truly a great album that is worth picking up and a great starting point for them.

Both of their EP’s, Goodnight Alchemy and Hospital Music for the Aesthetics of Language are amazing in their own ways. They are both very lengthy and memorable. Their most recent full-length, Bad Luck, is a great musical progression from Bad Luck with tons of great story-telling in the ever-so-emotive lyrical and musical content of the band. The debut album Darts to the Sea is raw, angry and an interesting look at where this band started.

These dudes deserve your support. They do everything pretty much by themselves, so there are buy links for a reason.

Darts to the Sea (re-issue)


Hospital Music for the Aesthetics of Language


Goodnight Alchemy


Alphabet. Alphabets.


Bad Luck


Trophy Scars/The Saddest Landscape Split


Merchant Ships

I love Merchant Ships, and I would love to tell you why. I am sixteen years old, and many of the members of this band are around my age or slightly older. They make music that I hope to make at any age, let alone if I made it at this age it would be nothing short of a miracle. The lyrics and screams are hard, shrill and really hit the point. The guitarwork is perfect. Honestly, they’ve helped me through a lot of stuff as of late. To say their music is personal is an understatement, it does more than strike a nerve a lot of the time.

They broke up for a bit, but thank god they’re back together. They’re really nice dudes, and if they end up being at the forefront of the whole 90’s emo revival thing going on right now soon, I will not be surprised. They’re currently recording a full length, but here is some of their other material to enjoy and get you stoked on whatever surely to be awesome record they are making. I personally love the Bummer Times demo the most, but everything is fantastic.

Bummer Times
I Want to Forget About Everything Bad That Happened, Ever
Two BRAND NEW recored in 2010 songs!
Old Grey

Download it all

John Galm Spills the Beans!

John Galm is best known for his vocals in bands like Street Smart Cyclist and Snowing. However, he has a handful of projects that aren’t as well known about. Apparently, he’s ashamed of some of them. Sorry, John. I think they’re great, and i’m sure there’s other people out there who will feel the same way too.

The first of these is a solo album that he recorded in just one day. It’s really great, stripped down and low quality stuff. There’s moments where it sounds kind of Kevin Devine-esque. It’s simple, but really great. I dig it a lot.

John GalmNovember 22nd

The next is a project where John is assumedly solo as well. This, however, goes under the moniker Me Here, You There. It kind of sounds a little bit like Bright Eyes or something of that sort.  A thank you goes out to Nick from the Get Rad forums for sharing this.

Me Here, You ThereLive from Giant Stadium

Audio Recording Club

And last but not least is Audio Recording Club.  The EP is only okay, but the full-length album is really, really good. It’s well composed post-hardcore/pop-punk music. John is sharing vocal duties with someone else in this.

Audio Recording ClubEP + In the End, We Are All Light

That’s all for now. If anything else comes up, I’ll post it. I really love the Solo album (November 22), and that is personally where I would start.

UPDATE: My friend Tyler has informed me of a band called Decathalete that John was involved in as well. I am currently in looking around for their EP, but I’m not finding anything. If anyone wants to help me with this, that would be amazing.

Halfway to Holland

Halfway to Holland left very little of a trail of their existence behind on sites. There’s practically no actual pictures of them, and just two videos of them on youtube. I can’t find any of their material able for purchase. However, their recorded material is able to be found, and that seems to be all that matters. Joe Reinhart (guitars) and Peter Helmis (bass/vocals) now play in Algernon Cadwallader, while the rest of the members went into Like Lions and other projects. They played a really fun and emotive style of pop-punk. It’s somewhat similar to Algernon Cadwallader, since they have the same vocalist, but totally different at the same time. The lyrics are great and everything about this band was special. It’s a nice little glimpse into the past at what the members of Like Lions and Algernon Cadwallader did, and how impressive it was.

Halfway to Holland – CDR

Halfway to Holland – Demo

Halfway to Holland – Compilation Tracks

Halfway to Holland – Unreleased Tracks

Download it all in one .zip.


I’ve said it enough times. If you aren’t into these dudes, there’s probably something wrong with you. Amazing dudes, amazing tunes, amazing live. Nothing bad I can say about this band, everything they’ve done has been perfect.

Fuck Your Emotional Bullshit

Buy (7″ Vinyl – MAIL ORDER)Download

Tour Tape

OUT OF PRINT – Download

“You Bring Something…No” from 75:24 Compilation on Ticklebutt Records

Go through the tracklist here and find a band that still has tapes, its worth it. So many songs from so many good artists. – Download

This year has been an interesting year in music. I’ve enjoyed a lot of different albums and releases, some that surprised me and some that disappointed me.  I had a hard time making this list, but here are my favorite 26 records (because one got added last minute!) of the year, 6 EP’s that I enjoyed, a few honorable mentions, best shows of 2009 and best band of 2009.


26) FireworksAll I Have to Offer is My Own Confusion
This was probably the best pop-punk release of 2009. With a sound reminiscent of New Found Glory, Fireworks’ hyped full length did not disappoint me. At first, I was confused, but this album grew on me and I came to enjoy it a lot. The songs are so upbeat and they definitely stick to the listener.  The album starts off a little slow, but it picks up and gets so much better, the songs are so well composed that it blows you away. If you enjoy upbeat, positive, and catchy pop-punk music, give Fireworks a spin.

25) OwenNew Leaves
Mike Kinsella really cannot do wrong. Having worked in the past with bands such as American Football and Cap’n Jazz, he really adds a midas touch to whatever music he is involved with. Owen is the moniker he goes under for his solo music, and it sounds great. This was his first full-length since 2004’s I Do Perceive, and it was pretty fantastic. The guitarwork is incredible as always, with any Owen album. The lyrics are less bitter and more focused on his marriage and birth of his daughter. It’s a very spectacular and different release from Mr. Kinsella, and it isn’t a bad thing.

24) The Appleseed CastSagarmatha
Ten years ago, The Appleseed Cast was immersed in the Lawrence, KS indie/emo scene they were coming out of along with bands like The Get Up Kids and the Anniversary, with them sounding similar to Sunny Day Real Estate or Mineral. Right now though, they are coming up with some of the more interesting post-rock music today. With light vocals added in by the band to be interpreted as another instrument of sorts, Sagarmatha is beautiful, twinkly, post-rock music that is easy to get lost in.

23) Old CanesFeral Harmonic
My external hard drive crashed, so for a while I didn’t have access to music. One of the albums I put off listening to for a while was the Saddle Creek Records debut of Old Canes, entitled Feral Harmonic. Old Canes is a side-project of Christopher Crisci of the Appleseed Cast, but it’s not like Appleseed. It’s folk/indie stuff, almost reminiscent of Neutral Milk Hotel and Bright Eyes at moments. The album is great, in fact, as good or better than their debut album Early Morning Hymns. It’s an interesting display of music that I will be enjoying more, my only regret is not listening to it earlier.

22) 1994!Thank You Arms and Fingers
Lancaster, PA’s 1994! is another one of the amazing bands coming out of the prosperous and talented Lehigh Valley music scene. Their guitarwork is technical and precise, with vocals yelled over it that are raspy enough to fit perfectly somehow. The drums are fast and yet just as precise. It’s almost as if Bear Vs. Shark and Hella got together to have a kid, this is what it would sound like. Their live performances are amazing too.

21) Portugal. The ManThe Satanic Satanist/The Majestic Majesty
Portugal. The Man releases so much material, and all of it seems to be quality. This record is no different. Its a huge step up from Censored Colors, which was still a great album.  Each song is good in its own way. They also released an acoustic accompaniment to the album, entitled The Majestic Majesty. The songs on there are stripped down, and yet just as good as the album versions. Portugal. The Man continues combining indie rock with classic rock influences to make some of the best music around.

20) CastevetSummer Fences
I gave this band a listen a while back when they put their first EP up for free download. It sounded like a mix of twinkly math-rock coupled with raspy punk rock vocals. With their full length, Summer Fences, you get moments of American Football-like guitarwork, vocals that sound like they were part of a Small Brown Bike or Hot Water Music record, as well as post rock-esque buildups reminiscent of an Explosions in the Sky record. It’s a fantastic record, my only complain is about how it feels.

19) Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate)What It Takes to Move Forward
What a long, long band name. This is Emprire!’s first full length album, and it’s great. Their singer Keith has improved his vocals infinitely from their first album, and their style of twinkly-emo rock is perfected on this album. Though some of the songs are a bit long, this is a great album.  It also has guest spots from Matt of Look Mexico. Rad.

18) Polar Bear ClubChasing Hamburg
I was really waiting for Polar Bear Club’s second full-length album. I didn’t give into listening to any of the preview songs posted on their myspace before it was released, but waited for the album. Chasing Hamburg is their Bridge 9 Records debut, but it doesn’t mean they are going to be a hardcore band now. This album shows the slow side of Polar Bear, the fast side and everything in between. Great stuff.

17) Russian CirclesGeneva
I’m not usually a huge fan of Post-Rock/Instrumental music. It’s nice to unwind to, or have as background music. I like it, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not going to be my first choice if I’m going to sit down and listen to something. Russian Circles has changed that. Their technical prowess is incredible, especially on their new album, Geneva. Really everything they have released has been great, but this blurs the line between post-rock and post-metal. Their live show is incredible too, with them being able to pull of everything they do on record live as well.

16) NativeWrestling Moves
I forget who recommended Native to me, or if I found them on my own. Anyways, their We Delete; Erase EP blew me away. I loved it. So of course, I was excited to hear their album Wrestling Moves, their first full-length. The album seems to pick up right where the EP left off and then some. It’s a great display of math-rock and post-hardcore, almost sounding like a mix of Maps & Atlases and These Arms are Snakes. A great fact about Native is the fact they’re all in their early 20’s, so who knows how far they will progress, but they definitely have a lot of years left in them to make great music.

15) The Number Twelve Looks Like YouWorse than Alone
This album is ridiculous. I would have never thought that a silly noisy, jazz-esque mathcore band with song titles such as “An Exercise in Self Portraiture: Go Shoot Yourself” would ever make an album this technically advanced and mature. How much they have changed is incredible. This album is sick, and still maintains the heaviness they had. It’s truly a shame that they are breaking up, I’m going to have a hard time saying goodbye to a band i’ve been listening to for so long…especially one this talented.

14) Animal CollectiveMerriwether Post Pavillion
When I first heard this album, especially with all of the hype behind it. I didn’t understand at all why people were praising this as being one of the best albums ever and etc. After a few more listens, I caught onto how good this album is. It’s probably the most cohesive Animal Collective album released to date, with each track being an example of perfectly crafted indie pop.  If you don’t understand the hype, give it a few listens.

13) Brand NewDaisy
This is so different from all of the other Brand New releases. They’ve really switched it up with Daisy. There are moments on here that feel like the heaviest stuff Brand New has done, others that are absurd, and others that fit in as being like them. As much as I like it, it doesn’t even touch it’s predecessor, The Devil and God are Raging Inside., but that’s an almost impossible thing to ask of Brand New.

12) CoalesceOX
Some bands come back from the dead to reunite and make a record. Sometimes it’s good, and a lot of the time the band is an okay version of what they used to be. However, Coalesce picks up where they left off when they broke up. OX is a great display of intensity that you would expect from them. I’m so glad to see them still making music, especially music that is this good.

11) HORSE the bandDesperate Living
This is a bold statement to make, but I’ll go ahead and make it: This is the best HORSE the band album yet. What they have done here is absolutely incredible. They have become so musically precise, with not a single bad moment on this record. The lyrics are as hillarious as ever, and the crushing moments are heavier than they were before. It’s just amazing what HORSE did with this record.

10) NarrowsNew Distances
Narrows’ full length is obviously going to score well with me, they have members of These Arms are Snakes and Botch. Their singer is Dave Verellen of Botch. It sounds so good. It goes from being straight up heavy to intricate on the album. I hope that this super group of sorts still has more material left to give.

9) ConvergeAxe to Fall
Anything Converge releases is going to be a big deal. The New England “extreme metal” pioneers have been making music for more years than I’ve been alive, so I gotta bow my head in respect to them. The guitarwork is ripping and incredible, and just like any Converge album, the intensity is maitanined throughout. The last two songs show a totally different side of Converge as well, very slowed down. All around, this is an amazing album and it definitely shows that Converge has a lot left in them.

8 ) Every Time I Die New Junk Aesthetic
Every Time I Die is another band that doesn’t seem to dissapoint. With their intelligent and witty lyrics, mind-boggling guitarwork and crushing drums, stepping into an ETID album is going to be an intense experience. This album shows how much ETID has to offer, with some of their heaviest moments ever. Jordan and Andy are masters of riffage, even more so than in the past. Keith Buckley has improved his voice so much, and his singing sounds great. I’m sure they’ll be touring plenty in 2010 in support of it, so go out and catch them live.

7) Touche Amore…To the Beat of a Dead Horse
Touche Amore is one of many examples of how blooming the California screamo scene is. With bands like Touche Amore, Comadre, Dangers and Loma Prieta, to name a few, California seems to be cranking out intense bands left-and-right. Touche Amore’s debut full-length has guest vocals from Jeff of Modern Life is War and Geoff of Thursday, but they just add to many intense bursting moments throughout the album. There are sing-a-long moments (the song “Honest Sleep”), as well as moments that leave you in awe (“I’ll count on Morrissey to answer my questions, because Ian Curtis has left me hanging”). Touche Amore have made an intense, intelligent and unforgettable hardcore record, which is quite the accomplishment these days.

6) Comadre A Wolf Ticket
Here is another California band, and another prime example of how good their scene is. Comadre has been around for a bit, but this record is what has quickly became my favorite material of theirs. It’s 8 songs long and really short in length, but it packs a quick punch. All of the songs flow together well, have memorable lines. It took some getting used to at first, but once you get into Comadre’s new record, it isn’t something you end up regretting.

5) Trophy ScarsBad Luck
Out of all the bands I have listened to, when Trophy Scars’ Jerry Jones vocally displays the lyrics he has penned, whether its singing, speaking or screaming it, it strikes a nerve. He writes so personally, the music is easy to connect to. This is their most mature release yet, with stories added into some of the lyrics, and other songs that are examples of Jones’ memoir-esque style. Overall, its an amazing album, and a display of how good they continue to get.

4) ThursdayCommon Existence
Thursday is one of my favorite bands. They’ve been a band for 12 years now, and this full length shows they have a lot left in them. It’s a solid album that they made to the best of their standards, since Epitaph finally allowed them to do so. It’s a matured record that is heavy and moving and also slow at times, but sounds good through all of it.

3) fun.Aim and Ignite
fun. features members of The Format and Steel Train, both bands known for having upbeat and happy tunes, even if some of the lyrics reflected otherwise. This album is no different. It’s such perfect pop-tunes, with great lyrics. Nate Ruess of the Format does the vocals, and he makes everything sound perfect. From what I’ve heard too, they’re just as fun (no pun intended) live as on record. It’s an incredible record, and it should be the stuff more people are catching onto.

2) Andrew Jackson Jihad Can’t Maintain
My friend showed me this band this year, shortly before the release of this album. I was into some other folk-punk bands, namely Mischief Brew. This blew my mind. I was hooked by the wit, sarcasm and hillarity of their older stuff. Can’t Maintain doesn’t change anything, it keeps around all of the things that made me listening to them in the first place. They add electric guitars, drums, and brass instruments to the mix to create one of the best albums of 2009. The lyrics are just so perfect throughout. I really love this record, how unique it is, and how it’s by far the best in the folk-punk genre, if you were to classify it.

1) Manchester OrchestraMean Everything to Nothing
A perfect craft of what indie rock should sound like. I really enjoyed Manchester Orchestra’s first album, but this…it doesn’t even compare. This is so much better. They crafted an amazing album, and what might be the best of their career. It’s hard to think they’ll top that they will top it. All of the songs flow perfectly, the production is crisp, the lyrics are great, the musicianship is precise, it’s just an amazing album. The songs are catchy and yet still emotive. Hopefully this is the album that gets people into MO because it is by far their best yet.


Grizzly BearVeckitamest

This is a really fantastic indie album. The songs are well crafted, and precise. It’s a nice and relaxing record that I enjoyed.

mewithoutYouIt’s All Crazy, It’s All False, It’s all a Dream, It’s alright
Not mewithoutYou’s best by any means, but it’s good for what it is. The songs are pretty catchy and interesting, especially for such a huge shift in sound. They also all sound great live. It’s a good record, and I really don’t know why I didn’t put it on the list. I guess I had to see the songs live to really appreciate them.


6) CoalesceOXEP
Nice EP from these guys. Picks up sort of where the OX full length left off. It’s kind of short, but still very quality material from these guys. This and their LP really show that they are indeed back.

5) The Wonder Years and All or Nothing Split 7″
The Wonder Years never really disappoint. The two songs they put on here are fast-paced anthems. Great stuff from these guys. All or Nothing’s side is also good too, they kind of remind me of Set Your Goals.

4) Small Brown BikeComposite Vol. 1 7″
When Small Brown Bike announced they were reuniting, I was estatic. I found out in my computers class, I actually remember it. Then they played the fest and I found out they recorded a new 7″ to be released there. Both songs on it are absolutely amazing, with SBB coming back in full force. If you don’t believe they are back, the lyrics still hit as hard as they used to. Check out these lyrics from “Hourglass”: “Like a habit I was seeing you.  Now I’m just used to missing you.”

3) Boys and SexEP
Boys and Sex has ex-members of Boy Problems, a band I really liked and missed out on seeing live. When I first heard their EP, I thought it was flat out lame. I didn’t understand how the members of Boy Problems could go and make something that was so different. But then it grew on me, and I love it now. It’s a really good EP, though it’s a bit short.

2) Algernon Cadwallader Fun 7″/EP
Originally leaked onto the internet as the Hot Green EP in the first few months of the year, this finally got a proper release in late December. The first 3 songs are from Hot Green and the other 3 songs are newly released. It’s a really enjoyable EP, and the newer song “I Wanna Go to the Beach” is one of the best Algernon jams ever written.

1) SnowingFuck Your Emotional Bullshit Demo
I remember hearing about this demo, and knowing it was the new band of members of Street Smart Cyclist and Boy Problems. I gave it a download and was hooked instantly, telling all my friends who liked this kind of music and all my friends who don’t like that kind of music to give it a listen. The noodly and fast guitars over John Galm’s yelling personal lyrics makes for an EP that is impossible to put down. Go to their myspace and download all of their stuff for free. It’s well worth your time.


La Dispute and the Wonder Years @ the Khyber
Two amazingly energetic and talented bands packed into a small, small room. It was a great time, and it’s incredible how into both bands got.

The Joint Chiefs of Math, Algernon Cadwallader, Snowing, 1994!, Best Friends, An Airbag Saved My Life @ Bordz Skatepark
This is a skatepark in the town I was born in, and the town next to the town I live in currently. For an area where there isn’t much to do, this show was a pretty big deal, at least for me. Best Friends put on a fun set, An Airbag Saved My Life was pretty heavy and to be honest I barely remember them. 1994! was so intense and precise that the drummer got sick. It was my first time hearing Joint Chiefs and I definitely dug what they had to offer. Snowing put on a really fun set that was really precise. And as for Algernon…it was my first time seeing them and it wouldn’t be my last. Incredible show.

Thursday with The Fall of Troy, Young Widows and Moving Mountains @ The First Unitarian Church
Seeing a concert at the Church is always guaranteed to be fun, hot and intense. Seeing one of your favorite bands there? Amazing. Being front row at the sold-0ut Church show was such a fun experience. Having Geoff in my face and being able to scream all of the lyrics back at him was amazing.

The Get Up Kids with Kevin Devine and the Life and Times @ the TLA
The Get Up Kids are back! The day they announced tickets were on sale, I bought some. This show was especially incredible, even comparing it to the night before’s show at the Trocadero. There were tons more fan favorites, and I even got to slowdance with a girl during “I’ll Catch You”. TGUK can still pull off an amazing live show, and I’m glad to know that they are back making great music once again.

mewithoutYou with Drink Up Buttercup and Make a Rising @ the First Unitarian Church
Incredible show. I went with one of my best friends and we had a great time. mewithoutYou played a lot of new stuff, and though its not intense on record, it translates well live. The crowd got into really everything and they played incredible live. A huge surprise though was them playing the original “Bullet to Binary”, with singer Aaron Weiss jumping into the crowd. The openers they chose were great, too. Both bands really played solid and I enjoyed their sets a lot.

New Years Party with performances by Algernon Cadwallader, The Joint Chiefs of Math, Best Friends, Boyfriends, Grown Ups, Castevet, Hop Along, Bandname, Snowing and a Boy Problems reunion set @ the Ox
I don’t think there could have been a better way to bring out the old year and ring in 2010. With the exception of Hop Along, who I really didn’t enjoy at all, this was an insane show with every band being really fun and great. Grown Ups was a band I had never heard but will check out because their set was great. Castevet is a band I’ve loved for a while that really pulled off a great live set. The Joint Chiefs of Math once again blew me away with a ridiculously intricate live set. Best Friends was hillarious and super fun, a great time.

Boy Problems’ reunion set was amazing, the band looked like they were truly having fun and the crowd loved it. Boyfriends was fun, and I enjoyed their set, even though their bassist kept running into me.  Hop Along was really just awful, lets end that there. Bandname made some fun tunes and their set was pretty enjoyable. Snowing was one of my favorite sets of the night, and I was right up there with John Galm singing my heart out to every single line. I wish they had played longer because everyone was really loving it and getting into it. and last but not least was Algernon Cadwallader, who called themselves a “poor man’s Beatles”, which I didn’t understand. Then they jumped into a set of well-performed Beatles covers and a set of their own songs. The crowd was in full out party mode, with almost everyone hosting a drink in their hand and a good time to be had. The new year really could not have started off better.



I guess there’s been a fair amount of bands to get off their feet in 2009, and even more bands to release something. However, there isn’t a single band out there better than Snowing to start making music. Honestly, this band became one of my favorite bands quicker than any other band I have ever heard. Fuck Your Emotional Bullshit hits so hard, all the lyrics on it are absolutely incredible and made for singing along, especially if you know what John Galm has been through to pen them. The music is so perfect, with the loopy and noodling guitars and crushing drums. It really never ever gets old, every moment of that demo is purely perfect.

Their Tour Tape took some getting used to because it wasn’t as good of a quality recording, but the songs are just as incredible.  Their live show is incredible too, and they can pull it all off live. Everyone gets into it and is singing the lyrics. Even when John lost his mic at the show, everyone was singing along. I can’t think of a single better band who deserves better things, I tell all of my friends to listen to them because of how simply amazing they are.They deserve your support and love. Bands this great do not come along often.

and that concludes it for 2009. It was a great year in comparison to 2008, and I know that 2010 will be even better. I’m so excited for what 2010 brings, and in the words of Snowing, I’ll do my best to live my life without regret.