Mitchell McDonald returns to Welcome to Geekdom to chat about 2017 films. We discuss our top lists, what we didn’t enjoy, and more. You can subscribe on iTunes, Overcast, or Google Play and check out the episode below.
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Monday Musings returns with some music for you to check out. It’s been a while since I’ve dropped some music in one, so here’s some stuff from Charley Crockett and Three Man Cannon to check out.
This video from Charley Crockett has a fun little introduction before the song kicks in. He tells his boss that he’s chasing a dream and plenty of people know how that feels. Crockett has a unique sound and this is actually my first time listening to him. I’ll have to check out his upcoming album, Lonesome As A Shadow, which is due out on April 20.
I’ll have a more detailed review up later this week for Three Man Cannon’s self-titled album, but you should go ahead an just listen to it now if you haven’t yet. It just came out on March 16, so it’s one you may have missed.
You can find all previous editions of Monday Musings here.
Barely Civil embrace their Midwestern roots on We Can Live Here Forever. The band is currently located in Wausau, WI, which is a town you’ve probably never heard of if you aren’t from the area. However, the band makes you feel right at home with them with this album.
The layered production on the album stands out in different ways as you listen through. “I’ve Been Getting Headaches Lately” is fairly in your face from the start with the music, but then you have a song like “Eau Claire? Oh, Claire.” that starts off on a softer note. The latter adds a level of intimacy, even as the music’s dynamics change.
More often than not, I can’t personally relate to a lot of the songs that I enjoy. My life really hasn’t been all that eventful, but I still understand when songs are relatable for others. Not everyone is going to relate to every single song a band puts out, but Barely Civil brings you in and they let you understand what their lives are like.
You can hear the emotion coming through with every note that Barely Civil plays. The music mirrors when things are intense and when it is time to slow things down a bit. The beginning of “Handwritten House” is a perfect example of this. It’s a stark difference from the opening track, but it still fits in with the album, especially as things build up towards the middle of the song, just to come back down as the vocals start up again.
The back half of the album doesn’t let up one bit. “You With a Cap, Me With a Baseball Bat” starts off the back half with a quick pace. The songs rips. “Stark” is a song about taking things back to the good days and it’s filled with nostalgia. The album closes out with “I Am Drowning,” which is a depressing song title. However, it starts off with “Wait, is there a click or no click?” to lighten up the mood briefly. Acoustic tracks always feel more intimate to me, just because of the fact that it’s usually just the singer and a guitar. That’s how they end the album and it makes perfect sense. They’ve already let you in, so why not end it on an extremely personal note? Some electric guitar comes in at the end and the build up halts just before the album ends.
We Can Live Here Forever shows off not only how skilled the band is, but just how much of an impact their home has had on them. In that sense I can relate. Maybe not with the city I specifically live in, but with Southern California as a whole. There’s no doubt that someone’s home affects them in one way or another and Barely Civil’s way of telling us all about it is through this album.
Hungover repurposed their Wilt EP from 2016 for their upcoming release of the same name. The new version of Wilt includes three new songs, which is just a taste of what they’ve been working on. The band plans to work on a full length release and do a lot of touring this year.
The re-release kicks off with “Three’s Company,” which is one of the new songs. It starts off the album on a good note. The vocals shine in the song and it was a good choice to kick things off with one of the new songs. “Around” is a song that switches up the pace with putting the acoustic guitar front and center. However, the full band comes in with about 50 seconds left in the song and swing back to end on a softer note.
“Exit – Stage Left” is a guitar-driven song that has more of a punk vibe to it at times. It’s also the second of the new songs. “Sleep Alone” is the third (and final) new song on the record, which is also the closing track. The song is about being put down by someone and letting go of them. The song acts as a freeing experience and with that, the records closes out on strong note.
The band’s talents and tastes are on full display with Wilt. Their range in sound shows that they have a lot of potential. I recommend giving this a listen. Even with it largely being a re-release, it’s worth listening to for those new songs. I can’t wait to hear what they release next.
You can order a copy of the record via Smartpunk Records and it’ll be out on March 30th.
The members of At Face Value picked a song each that influenced them for their EP Ivy & Echo, which is out tomorrow. Check out the song selections below.
Knuckle Puck – Swing
I was super into Copacetic while helping to write the new EP. This song just struck me as something that didn’t fit the normal mold of a pop punk song, and the 3/4 time was so interesting, especially when they switch to 4/4 in the second verse. We wanted to mix things up and really get the instrumentation to another level for these songs. I would say the entire EP was influenced by Copacetic. – Grayson
Movements – “Worst Wishes”
Although we obviously are not an emo/post hardcore (whatever you want to label them) band, the drums from this song really stick with me. The percussion from this whole EP showed me a new and different way to be creative in my playing and definitely influenced drum parts in” LOTR” and “Know It All.” – Jeremiah
Biffy Clyro – “Biblical”
For those of you who haven’t heard of them, they’re a punk band from Scotland and they’re sick. I was really obsessing over this song for a while last year during a lot of the writing process for IE. It’s a really deep song with a huge anthemic sound with simple yet melodic chord progressions…basically the perfect song for me. I’d say that “LOTR” was definitely influenced by this song on my part. – Parker
Boston Manor – “Burn You Up”
I was going to reference an old All Time Low or NFG song on here but I think it was more fitting to put one of these up-and-coming bands from the modern British invasion. I love keeping up on modern music and so many bands from the UK like Trash Boat, Neck Deep, ROAM, WSTR, and Boston Manor are absolutely killing it. I’d say we differ from Boston Manor’s dark/minor-key vibe, but vocally I have really been influenced by Henry Cox. I think he is a very versatile vocalist, and that is what I was striving to be on this record. He has these super low, slow bass singing parts which I love, like the interlude in “Burn You Up,” but then will jump into these higher, fast, shove-as-many-words-as-possible parts. Sometimes he’ll even put a little yelling/screaming in there. There’s a lot of third harmonies on their LP Be Nothing, similar to our Ivy and Echo. I’d also say even lyrically Boston Manor hits home with me because the songs are very honest and real. I strive for that as well. It’s almost as if you are writing the song for yourself before you think about how listeners will relate to it. There’s things you need to get off your chest, so you put it in a song. – Alec
Everything a River Should Be marks a big change for Household. The band was once a hardcore band and now they’re blending rock and emo for a new sound. The Minneapolis trio makes the transition seamlessly. Bands are meant to progress and sometimes that calls for a whole new sound.
When “Away” starts, you instantly feel how personal the lyrics are. However, “It’s Easy to Feel Rotten” is the song that draws you in even more. The title is more than relatable. How many times have you just felt rotten about something? The feeling is a common one.
Household didn’t completely leave their hardcore roots behind. You still get hints of it here and there if you listen closely to the drums and guitar. The music and vocals do feel more melodic, though, which is the main change. Frankly, the music sounds way more polished now than it did before and this style better suits the band.
“Misizibi” slows things down and shows off the variety of skills the band has. Not everything has to be at a breakneck pace and this album has a good range of dynamics. The track sequencing keeps the album moving along nicely, too. The album closes out with “Bloom,” which takes its time to tell a story about a relationship. The singer’s vulnerability is on full display here and it closes out the album wonderfully.
I’m a big fan of the direction Household took with this album. Everything a River Should Be oozes with personal lyrics and you can tell the band gave it their all. I highly recommend checking this album out. You can find purchase and streaming links here.
American Spirits hail from Bowling Green, Ohio. The band recently released Nowhere Near Perfect. The EP is a quick listen with just five songs. The band just started in 2017 and they already have their sound nailed down. Check out the EP over on their Bandcamp.
The band put together a playlist of their favorite emo songs and tossed in some Frank Ocean at the end. The playlist focuses largely on the new wave of bands breaking into the scene.
Sean Gonzalez returns to Welcome to Geekdom to chat about Leia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray. You can subscribe on iTunes, Overcast, or Google Play and check out the episode below.
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Photo Credit: Ian Baldwin
Last week, I spent a good chunk of Thursday and Friday watching the second season of Jessica Jones. I recently watched Annihilation in theaters, too. These two are worlds apart, but feature strong female characters. Here are some articles on each that I wanted to share.
JESSICA JONES Season Two Review: Moms Are Complicated
Mommy issues aside, season two’s overall narrative of women reclaiming their power made it mostly worthwhile. The mother stuff will leave some viewers gnashing their teeth, and some of the arguments are more exhausting than intriguing, but we finally see Jessica learning how to be a person and not just a drunk punching machine.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the decision to resurrect Jessica’s mom (you can read about that here), but I agree on what we see from Jessica. This season changes her and there’s no reason it shouldn’t. She’s been through more trauma than most. I do disagree with the section on Jeri in this review, but it’s still worth the read.
Flaws And All, ‘Jessica Jones’ Season Two Gets Better As It Goes Along
Jessica’s roller coaster of emotions about her mother (not to be confused with the Ferris wheel on which they spend their final moments together) improves one of season one’s biggest weak spots. Last time out, the trend of “Jessica has finally captured Kilgrave! ZOMG, he got away again!” grew tired very quickly, despite how good Ritter and Tennant were together.
Alan Sepinwall is a must-read when it comes to any of the shows he covers that I happen to watch. Jessica is the biggest reason why this season works. It makes introducing her mom more reasonable. Sepinwall discusses the Trish, Malcolm, and Jeri storylines, too. They largely act is filler and for the most part, I only enjoyed a handful of things about all of their parts put together.
Annihilation & The Horrors of Change
To say that the language of cancer is written into the DNA of Annihilation is an understatement. Not just with Dr. Ventress, who literally has the disease and pursues a battle / non-battle with it to her own ends. But cancer even comes up right in the first (chronological) scene, where Lena (Natalie Portman) describes the process of cellular division and generation and how the goal of their work is nothing short of curing cancer. This detail is not accident. She is about the path of medication. And we can all understand the medical instinct to cure. To heal. To mend. To make well again and regain our former self. And how so much of that urge comes from the deep understanding of the terrifying possibility that you may not be able to cure it at all.
Just do yourself a favor and go read this FilmCritHulk review. I enjoyed this movie and it was visually stunning.