Saturday, June 10, 2006

Music That's Better Than You. Week 6.6.6.

Only three bands this time.


It’s not my fault.

Look go start a good band and give me something to post here. It’s not like I can just birth fantastic artist from my swollen golden loins.

Oh also there has been a basic format change, you’ll notice I’ve started listing some information AHEAD of the review to help our readers who didn’t take their Ritalin today.


Genre Alignment: Post-hardcore/Post-rock

Sounds like: Takaru, Welcome the Plague Year, Kayo Dot, Isis, etc vs. Mono, Grails, This Will Destroy You, Tristeza (Seriously I could do this all day.)

No really, sounds like: The Book of Revelation.


I’ve often referenced the oddly kinetic relationship between screamo and post-rock. And if that claim was ever in dispute- if that statement has ever needed any outsider backing, well Envy just rolled through the door with enough ground support to hijack Tokyo.

The Japanese quintet has released Insomniac Doze and it is, simply put, a landmark creation. Insomniac stands like a lone pillar of slowly gathering post-rock beauty carved into existence by a hardcore tonality that literally defies any other band’s claim to the adjective “epic.”

However, while Envy’s name reads across the disc’s credits, the actualization of this beautiful paradox is the result of a slowly culminating tempest of ideals and sounds from two globe-spanning, seemingly parallel scenes: Hardcore and Post-rock. Artists from both schools have enjoyed forays into each other’s territory previously, but they were tentative excurses and never long lasting. And despite the inevitability of a release of this nature, no band has ever had the vision or presence to forge both antithetical realms of melody and discord into one. That was until now.

Still, prospect listeners hailing from the purist corners of the post-rock and hardcore genres should understand that this album does not (and could not) have the polish and prowess of the best hardcore or the best post-rock bands.

This is not Converge meets Sigur Rós.

However, having said that, it’s a helluva lot closer than anything that’s ever been released before, and for that reason alone Insomniac is remarkable. Acting as a conduit for a new still unnamed scene’s growing hunger for a release to define them; Envy has realigned old genre boundaries birthing a new land. And with this new realm’s completion Envy is stalking gloriously into the virgin country with the gait of kings.

Appropriate recognition may be in order.

[MP3] Envy - Further Ahead Of Warp

[HOME] Envy

Pearl Jam

Genre Alignment: Alternative/Modern Rock

Sounds like: Less Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots and a lot more like AC/DC or Led Zeppelin... But not like Wolf Mother does- you know, like soulless scum-sucking melody and riff whores.

No really, sounds like: The fire is back. I’m not sure who blew on the cooling embers, but someone or something coaxed a decent blaze out of a band that could’ve burnt out ten years ago.

There was a time when I enjoyed Pearl Jam, I was young and in those years I found angry post-grunge rock to be both fresh and intriguing. Shortly afterwards MTV and alternative commercial radio ruined Pearl Jam for me, much the same way MTV and alternative commercial radio ruined the 1990’s for anyone with at least six healthy neurons firing someone inside of their skull.

It was in those crucial years that I had begun develop and enjoy some good elitist snobbery, and simultaneously I developed and enjoyed a nice hatred for Pearl Jam. I mean, I genuinely dislike most of the music from the early 90s, but Pearl Jam especially earned a direct-line to my bile duct.Maybe it was their never ending abundance of overplayed songs born of worn-out riffs and all too available angst that grated on me. Or maybe I was too turned off by the group’s constant pretentious, cause-of-the-week, bleeding-heart liberal melodrama. (No one who plays an instrument for a living should take anything other than drugs or women so seriously.)

Or ultimately maybe it’s just Vedder’s voice that made my skin crawl.

Regardless, I couldn’t fucking stand me some Pearl Jam.


A few weeks ago another music snob compatriot of mine (see: Indie-Pop Snob in ‘Best of 2005’ post) insisted I listen to Pearl Jam’s latest self titled record. Now despite the nearly overwhelming bias my friend has towards Pearl Jam (this guy has a serious problem, I mean nearly an addiction) I respect any true snob’s taste enough to give an old band a new shot.

My comrade spoke of a new fury, and new guitar styles. He swore that after their last two (admittedly) sub par releases their latest record truly, and honestly, rocks. He said if there is ANY Pearl Jam album I could EVER enjoy, than THIS, THIS WAS THE ONE!

And so I agreed to give the album a shot.

...Well, goddammit.

[MP3] (Uh, none- because apparently Pearl Jam believes in aiding their fans with every other imagination option except a free goddamn single posted on their website)

[HOME] Pearl Jam

The Like Young

Genre Alignment: Post-Punk/Indie

Sounds like: Rancid, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Weezer and Pixies(Tell me that doesn’t make your head hurt.)

No really, sounds like: That time in high school when the dangerously cute Indie Pop girl got real boozed up and ended up in bed with the detention regular with the four inch Mohawk.

The Like Young can sound a lot like Sex Pistols at times. I stopped listening to bands that sound like The Sex Pistols right around the time I got my driver’s license (turns out being able to drive your ass around tends to take edge out of your punk.) And I think we can all agree the world really doesn’t need another band aping the 70’s punk movement, god knows I don’t need it, so if the only thing I ever heard from The Like Young was the first 25 seconds of For Money or Love (see mp3 link) I would have deleted the track and never looked back.

However as fate would have it, this band’s genius arrives in style on second 26, and in that one second the vocals go from the ‘sing through pierced-septum holes in your nose obnoxious punk’ sound to a melody so instantly appealing it literally froze my cursor above the ‘delete’ key.

So thank god for diversity. Thank god for choruses and harmonies that would be far too sweet to swallow if their weren’t offset by something grating and jagged.

The Like Young’s 2006 full length Last Secrets works on a breathtakingly thin margin. A little more polish and the album would be too sunny and smooth to humor and inversely if there was a little more discordant punk anguish and repetition Secrets would be too simple and to shallow to raise an eyebrow. Thankfully The Like Young have managed a death defying balancing act that’s too odd and fun to not watch with rapt attention.

[MP3] The Like Young - For Money or Love .
[MP3] The Like Young - Dead Eyes

[HOME] The Like Young

[THE’SPACE] The Like Young


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