Four Letter Nerd

Category - Music

New Music Friday 06/17: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Gojira, & Nails

It’s New Music Friday! Check out our thoughts on 3 great new albums that just dropped this week!

 

Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Getaway

The Chili Peppers are a band that needs no introduction, and I probably don’t have to try and convince you to listen to their new album either, but I do want to tell you that it might not be what you’re expecting. I’ve only listened to the album one time through so far, and it is by far the most mellow album they’ve ever put out. Not in a “we’re getting old, let’s chill out” kind of way; it’s more of a “let’s make an album that just grooves smoothly and that people can jam when they’re hanging out in their backyard on a nice summer day” kind of mellow. Every song blends perfectly with the next one. Nothing feels forced or out of place. That’s the kind of musical intuition you only get from a band that’s 3 decades deep in professionalism. The title is very much a clue to the tone of the record if you look at it the right way. It’s not “Getaway” like you’re running for your life away from something. It’s a “getaway”, like taking a relaxing vacation. My favorite song so far has been “Encore”. It’s got a very smooth flow with an incredible bass line, and it picks up a little but never outpaces itself. I think long-time fans of the band especially will enjoy this record because it feels like they’re growing with us rather than trying to peddle some garbage music that desperately tries to be relevant, like most bands who’ve been around this long are doing these days. The Peppers don’t have to try to be relevant. They just always are.

 

Gojira – Magma

Some of you may be familiar with Gojira, and some of you may not. If you’re a fan of bands like Neurosis or Mastodon then you’ve probably already heard of them, but if you’re not then there’s still hope for you yet. I sort-of think of Gojira as the Alice in Chains of progressive metal. Not in musical style, but more in cultural placement. Alice in Chains was lumped in with the grunge scene of the early 90’s but they were always pretty different from any of those other bands. They could easily tour with Soundgarden or Nirvana, but never sounded anything like either of those bands, or any other grunge band for that matter. Gojira are a lot like that. They’ve shared the stage with a lot of metal bands, but they’ve always been incomparable. Magma, their 6th full-length album, releases today and I can’t recommend it enough. It’ll have you swaying one second and then headbanging the next. If you like your metal with a complex mix of slow, sludgy rhythms and heavy riffs, then you definitely need to check this out.

 

Nails – You Will Never Be One Of Us

There is literally no way to speak eloquently about Nails. It would be pointless. First off, their blend of savage hardcore and brutal, grinding metal is about as far from eloquent as you can get. And secondly, they don’t give a f**k. About anything. I don’t mean that they don’t give a f**k in the way that some dirty, unwashed indie band doesn’t give a f**k; or how that one goth-rock band sings about how they don’t give a f**k, even though they spend hours on their makeup and costumes before taking the stage in front of 500 screaming girls and clearly give many f**ks. Nails legitimately, genuinely, and sincerely… DO. NOT. GIVE. A. F**K. You Will Never Be One Of Us is one of the albums I’ve been most anticipating this summer and it doesn’t disappoint. It is relentlessly vicious and plays like the soundtrack to a Kimbo Slice street fight. If you need something new to workout too, or you just really love fast, punishing metal, make sure to check out this album.

New Music Friday 05/20 – Weekend Nachos, Eternal Sleep, Suburban Scum.

We try to put out at least one music review a week, but this week there a few different albums I wanted to talk about to I figured I’d just put them all together. If you dig metal and hardcore bands, then here a few new albums you should definitely check out!

Weekend Nachos – Apology

Weekend Nachos are the Bill Brasky of hardcore music. They’re infamous, larger than life, and will not hesitate to throw a saddle on you and ride you around Wyoming for 3 days. The dudes recently decided it was time to hang up their five-panel hats and call it day, but not before one more album and a year full of shows. That album is titled Apology, and it’s a swansong for the ages. Heavier than 2-ton steel balls, and faster than an Olympic runner with IBS, Apology is Weekend Nachos way of saying, “Even though we’ve decided to shuffle off, we’re not done just yet and you will listen to every damn word we have to say!” There’s riffs, and breakdowns, and blast beats (OH MY)! There are tracks that smash in your face with a hammer (“Dust”, “Fake Political Song”), and then there are tracks that chug along all sludgey and groovy-like (“N.A.R.C.”, “POW MIA”). The final song on the album is also the title track, “Apology”, and it is a slow and heavy instrumental that descends into a beautiful and somewhat eerie piece of sound with piano and feedback before pounding back in with a big, thunderous ending. Go to Weekend Nachos’ Bandcamp if you’re interested in checking out Apology.

 

Eternal Sleep  – The Emptiness Of

Most metalcore bands sway either one way or the other. They’re either heavier on the metal, or heavier on the hardcore. The dudes in Pittsburg PA’s Eternal Sleep, though, do not conform to your archaic definitions of metal and hardcore. They blend the two so evenly and perfectly that you can’t tell where the metal ends and the core begins. For this reason you can’t label them “metalcore” (that seemed so roundabout huh?). What I mean is, they’re clearly equally influenced by both genres, and it blatantly shows in the music they write, but since metalcore bands are so watered-down and generic these days, it wouldn’t fair or accurate to lump Eternal Sleep in with them because they’re SO MUCH BETTER. I think that Eternal Sleep sounds like what Hatebreed would sound like if Hatebreed just came out today instead of over two decades ago. Check out The Emptiness Of here, and catch Eternal Sleep on tour later this summer with Blistered.

 

Suburban Scum – Ultimate Annihilation

“Notorious” is a word that comes to mind when I think about Suburban Scum. Other words that comes to mind: Relentless, brutal, and punishing. (In that respect they remind me a lot of one of my favorite hardcore bands of all time, All Out War.) I wouldn’t say that Suburban Scum are “plagued” with controversy or anything, but they’ve certainly spent their fair share of time in the spotlight over some dubious situations. Ultimate Annihilation is a testament to their ability to aggressively push past those circumstances and stand proud in the face of obstacle and, for better or worse, scream, “I am ready for war!”. Every track is just as vicious as the one before it leaving zero room to breathe. You will literally feel like you’re drowning in hardcore. What a way to go though, right? You can check out Ultimate Annihilation here.

4LN Album Review: Nothing – Tired of Tomorrow

When I first listened to Nothing, I didn’t like them. That’s the absolute truth. My good friend, and fellow 4LN writer, Bill Clark introduced me to them and I listened to their EP Downward Years to Come, but I just wasn’t sold. Soon after that their first full length album Guilty of Everything came out. One night after a few glasses of whiskey, and probably 20 minutes of trying to find something to listen to on Spotify, I decided to give the new album a shot. At first I just thought it was the whiskey that was making my brain thoroughly enjoy what I was hearing, but the next day when I was completely sober, I listened to it again and loved it just as much. Maybe more. It’s rare that things have to grow on me, but when they do it’s almost always something I end up becoming obsessed with. I’m obsessed with Nothing.

Tired of Tomorrow is only Nothing’s second full-length album, but it shows more personal growth in that small amount of time than some bands show in their entire careers. Guilty of Everything is incredible because Nothing showed that they can do the shoegaze sound on it’s own better than anybody else out there today. Sure, there are bands that mix the sound with something else, like black metal or indie rock, but Nothing made an album that is essentially just shoegaze from beginning to end and it never gets boring or exasperating. This new album though, while not definable as a “departure” is much more eclectic, and shows off a plethora of the bands influences.

The album opens with the pummeling, but gorgeous, “Fever Queen.” The album literally starts with just a wave, no… a tsunami of sound hammering your head. You slowly begin to hear the lead guitar melody come in and then eventually take over the track. The relentless beat changes pace some, but it doesn’t stop until the song ends. In some ways, it feels like a track that could’ve fit just as well into Guilty of Everything but more mature. That’s not to suggest that anything on GoE was immature, just that this advances things to a new level.

The first single off the album is “Vertigo Flowers”, and it’s a perfect example of how they’ve evolved. It has a lovely melody and some very heavenly guitar parts that make so you want to swat back and forth. Then there’s a musical bridge section that grooves so hard it makes you feel like you want to shake your fists along with it to the rhythm.

Even though the band shows off more developed creativity here, there is still plenty to keep current fans satisfied and happy. One of the first songs they put out from this record is “Eaten by Worms”, and, while it begins with a slow, mellow guitar strum, at around the 30 second mark it really comes crashing in heavy and pummels your ears through the verse until slowing down briefly for a really pretty section with vocals and piano, only to recommence the pummeling very quickly. Nowhere is safe from their onslaught of fuzz guitar tone.

Well, almost nowhere. The final track on the album is also the title track, “Tired of Tomorrow”. It’s, very truthfully, the most beautiful song I’ve heard in a long time. It starts with just a piano and vocals, but eventually there are some very elegant orchestral parts that add so much to the song. There’s a theme of self-realization to most all of Nothing’s songs, but this one is quintessential. Vocalist Domenic Palmermo sings through the chorus, “Stranded in today, clawing from the outside. And I’m tired of tomorrow on the inside.” It’s not pleading. It’s not desperate. It’s… hopelessly realistic. It feels like saying in a very matter-of-fact way, “This is my situation. I’ve been trying to change it but I’m doomed and I can’t do anything about it.” I respect that level of raw emotion and understanding.

The best way I can think of to relate Nothing’s growth from their first album to this one, is to compare it to The Jesus and Mary Chain. Their first album Psychocandy was the archetype for noise-pop and shoegaze, but then their next album, Darklands, was much more mature and less chaotic musically. It’s by no means a devolution. It’s just different. Not better, not worse. They made an album that almost sounds like a completely different band but with leftovers of their original sound. They just found ways to incorporate it less aggressively and the result was an album that was more commercially viable and accessible, without compromising their convictions or creativity. Nothing has essentially done the same thing.

The vocals are more prominent on Tired of Tomorrow, whereas in the past they’ve almost felt like background to the wall of sound, and that “wall of sound” now has more definition and structure. You can tell that these aren’t just some dudes making random, loud sounds with their instruments and calling it “art.” They’re artists. They’re incredible songwriters and they’re talented musicians. If you already love Nothing, then after you listen to this album you’ll still love Nothing. If you just kind of like Nothing, I think after you listen to this album you’ll love Nothing. If you’ve never heard of Nothing, then after you hear this album you’ll love Nothing.

Pick it up from their Bandcamp page here: Tired of Tomorrow

Old Punks: 10 Bands You Should Go See At Warped Tour 2016 If You’re 30

The older you get, the less enticing an all day music festival can sound. Especially one that is historically marketed to teenagers. I mean, it’s hot, your feet and back start hurting, the food is expensive and terrible. Plus, there’s all the aforementioned teenagers, with their weird hair and boxed water and Snapchat. I just instinctively want to yell, “Get off my lawn!” And that’s because I’m old. Well, I’m not really “old”. I’m 31, but in music-scene-years that’s ANCIENT. Don’t get me wrong, I know we still have our place. Just this year I’ve seen Lamb of God, Slayer, and Killswitch Engage. When it comes to something as inherently “young” as Warped Tour, however, us old scene folks can feel uncomfortably out of place.

Until… You take a look at the line-up this year.

Allow me to present to you, two handfuls of bands that you definitely jammed when you were in your awkward teen years, and who are 100% worth the price of admission, plus putting up with shitty food and millennials. (Are 30-somethings Millennials? I always just call us the “Donnie Darko Generation”.)

 

Atreyu
Their first album Suicide Notes & Butterfly Kissess was released in ’02 and, their second (best? best.) album The Curse came out in ’04. They were the quintessential “teen angst” band for the scene. Don’t act like you wouldn’t give 6 bucks and your left nut to here them play “Lip Gloss and Black”, “Bleeding Mascara”, or “Right Side of the Bed” live again.

 

Bullet For My Valentine
BFMV is the one band I considered not putting on this list initially because they just *barely*, and arguably, make the cut. I heard them for the first time when I was about 19 so I technically would’ve still been a teenager and for that reason I’m letting it slide. Also, I just would love to hear “4 Words (To Choke Upon)” live.

 

Every Time I Die
Of all the bands on this list, these dudes have probably been the most consistent. Their first album, Last Night In Town, came out in 2001 and then their “breakout” album, Hot Damn!, came out in 2003. THAT, my friends, is THE album. Of all albums. It’s easily my favorite album from any of the bands here. I saw them back in December of last year and I guarantee you their live performance hasn’t suffered one bit throughout the years.

 

Good Charlotte
WALDORF WORLDWIDE! Good Charlotte was jam when I was 15 man. I couldn’t listen to Blink-182 in the car with my parents, so when GC’s first, self-titled, album came out in 2000 I played it non-stop. They’re only playing about a week and half of dates on Warped Tour this year but if they’re on one near you then you should definitely go.

 

Less Than Jake
I clearly identified more with the punk/freak crowd when I was in high school, but I dated a lot of preppy girls. I wasn’t like a bad boy punk or anything (I’ve always been about as threatening as a cotton ball) so it couldn’t have been cause they were trying to piss off their parents or anything. Well this one prep girl I dated turned out to be super into H2O and Less Than Jake. That blew my already not-entirely developed mind. They have a wealth of songs to pull from, but I genuinely hope they play mostly stuff from their 2003 album Anthem and before.

 

New Found Glory
NFG is by far my favorite band on this list, and one of my top 10 favorite bands of all-time. Maybe even top 5 if I really thought it out. I could pretty much earmark each chapter of my life with their albums. I’ve seen them a few times and their live performance is always phenomenal. Even last year when singer Jordan Pundik broke his leg on tour, they continued on and played with the same level of energy as if nothing had happened at all. There’s no way I’m gonna miss a chance to see them play “My Friend’s Over You” again.

 

Reel Big Fish
This is probably the one band on the list that you should go to see if you’re 40. RBF have been around since the mid-90’s and haven’t lost one ounce of their charisma. I first heard of them when the movie Baseketball came out because their cover of “Take on Me” was featured on the soundtrack, and the band actually appeared briefly in the movie. If you don’t catch their set you’re missing out because they’re SKA-mazing!

 

SUM 41
This is band I’m most excited to see. I bought they’re Half Hour of Power ep at a Wal-Mart in Eastern Kentucky on a trip to visit family and I didn’t stop listening to it the entire time. I remember the first time I saw them live was at another music festival and they joked about getting into a fight with the band SR-71 in the hotel lobby before they drove to the venue. That still cracks me up. If they play “Fat Lip” I sure as hell will be singing along, and I still know every word.

 

Tsunami Bomb
What’s funny about Tsunami Bomb being on this list is that I was never a huge fan of theirs or anything, but my little brother was and he’s not in his 30’s. He’s barely in his mid-20’s. Although, we did go see them once and he was certainly the youngest person there so they were obviously for an older crowd. They have a different vocalist now, but they’re still a great band. “Dawn on a Funeral Day” was the song I dug most.

 

Yellowcard
OK, here’s the thing about me and Yellowcard. I’m kind of a hipster when it comes to them because I liked them before they blew up. Ocean Avenue didn’t grab me, but I really enjoyed their albums One for the Kids and Where We Stand. Oh! Also, their cover of Michelle Branch’s “Everywhere” is legit so there’s that.

 

Head over to vanswarpedtour.com for a full list of all the bands playing, as well as show dates. And if you do go to the show, make sure to check out some of the more recent bands too. I highly recommend Gideon, State Champs, and Old Wounds. Just because we’re old doesn’t mean we have to be irrelevant.

4LN Album Review: Deftones – “Gore”

The Deftones have been plagued with bad luck and turmoil throughout their 20+ years in existence. From high-tensions between them and their label, to crippling addictions, to the tragic loss of bassist and original member Chi Cheng from a car accident in 2008, and his subsequent death in April of 2013. While those circumstances, as well as many others, have challenged and nearly broken the band, they’ve also been the source for motivation and creative passion for them and have helped birthed some of the best metal/rock albums you will ever hear.

Even now, with the release of Gore they’re not immune to controversy. In a February interview with UltimateGuitar.com, founder and guitarist Stephen Carpenter said (among other things) that he “didn’t want to play on the record to begin with.” That’s a pretty bold statement to make when your band in on the cusp of releasing a new record. After listening to Gore however, I think I better understand what was going on in his mind. I urge you to read the interview for yourself, but basically some of his statements could give you the impression that there is a lack of guitar overall on the album. That is simply not the case. Is there less of it? Maybe? Honestly, I was intentionally listening to see if I could find lengthy sections with no guitar and I can’t really pinpoint any. The thing about it is, the majority of the guitar parts and tone is not what one would necessarily describe as “metal” and Carpenter is definitely the “metal guy” of the group. He’s stated that he learned to play guitar when he was a teenager by listening to bands like Anthrax and Metallica. Thrash and metal bands. When that’s your biggest influence for becoming a musician, it’s easy to see how you’d place a big emphasis on that style of guitar work. For the most part you could describe the Deftones’ early albums as metal, and there are some very heavy songs on their last couple albums, Diamond Eyes (2010) and Koi No Yokan (2012), but I think you could also say their “experimental rock” side is equivocal to their “metal” side. (I swear to you that I didn’t mean for this to turn into an “In Defense Of” article.)

The first track on the album is also the first single, “Prayers/Triangles” (above), and it’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect from the band. It has a very ambient vibe with the rhythm pulling slightly off-time, and the chorus rushes in, is very intense, and then just as quickly moves right back out again. It’s a solid track that makes a great introduction to the record.

The second track released as a single is “Doomed User”, and it features more of the aggressive and crushing side of the Deftones. There’s a satisfyingly heavy bass line in the verses and a guitar riff throughout the track that is reminiscent of 80’s bands like Iron Maiden or Judas Priest. It also showcases another evolving aspect of the band’s songwriting structure. Which is, there really isn’t one. We live in a world where the lines and “black & white” nature of things is fading more and more each day, and music no exception. Not just this one but with some of their other songs also, it’s difficult to distinguish where the verses are, and the choruses too. I’m not saying they’re all like that, but a fair number of them are. The Deftones don’t seem to just write songs by a method or formula. They write what feels right and go with it. More bands should be that intuitive.

The most recent single dropped is “Hearts/Wires”, and it’s probably my personal favorite. It begins with a slow, atmospheric intro that stretches around a minute and a half, and then moves into a moody sounding verse that’s juxtaposed by a quick-paced rhythm guitar part. The chorus is big and loud, but still almost sludgy in a way. It’s not so much hard, as it is heavy. (That’s what she said.) I get the same vibe from it that I get from songs like “Digital Bath” or “RX Queen”, from White Pony, which I’ll just go ahead and admit is still my favorite of their albums.

The rest of the album, beyond just the singles, is fantastic. Seeing as how I’ve already used the words “Ambient” and “Atmospheric” I’ll just say that those pretty accurately capture the feel of it. One of my favorite songs is “(L)Mirl”. It opens somewhat abstractly (which we’ve already discussed is basically normal for the band) and vocalist Chino Moren softly delivering the line “I don’t miss you. I don’t care where you are now. You’re a ghost to me, left with with my taste in your mouth.” That one line, I feel, encapsulates the entire temperament of Gore. They’ve washed their hands of any concern over what people expect and they’re just moving on and continuing to create music without worrying about what bullshit opinion someone has.

I think that sucks. – asshole on the internet

Cool. We don’t give a shit. – Deftones *continues to sell out concerts and make lots of money*

Probably the heaviest song on the album is the title track, “Gore.” While the verse parts are mostly an echo-y guitar tone and cymbal-focused drums, the chorus section is really heavy, utilizing deep bass and Moreno’s classic screeching vocals.

There’s also an appearance by Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell on the song “Phantom Bride”. He has a very distinct sound and when you hear his solo you know without a doubt that it’s undeniably him.

deftones-code-orange-tour-tickets-dates

While White Pony may be my favorite album, I believe that Koi No Yokan is their best all around. At this point, I would put Gore on par with Diamond Eyes. I’ve avoided making this comparison until now on purpose. The reason is, that album was also noted for showcasing a more shoegaze style than the band had previously incorporated, which continued on through Koi No Yokan. Since Shoegaze is sort of the “it” (hipster) thing right now in music, I didn’t want to stigmatize my review with it early on and risk some people going, “Nope. Nuh uh. F— that.” Personally, I like shoegaze, so I like hearing the Deftones incorporate it more into their sound. That’s not to say that Gore, or really any of their records, could be defined by that genre. Just that, it’s an element that makes up the larger part of their unique sound.

 

Overall, Gore is a very, very good album. It’s quite complex, almost ethereal, and rich in heaviness when it needs to be. It solidifies that the Deftones we’ve heard for the last 2 albums is clearly the Deftones that’s here to stay and I for one am perfectly happy about it.

Blood and Metal: An Interview with Rocky Gray

Many moons ago, before 4 Letter Nerd was even a twinkle in our eye, I wrote music reviews for a distribution company’s monthly catalog. My job was basically to convince stores to order more “underground” albums than they were used to ordering by convincing them that younger people would buy them. I was pretty damn good at. One month, would’ve been back in 2008, I decided to review the new Soul Embraced album, Dead Alive. I loved the band, and it had been about 5 years since they’d put out their last album, Immune, so I felt like it was my duty as a fan to spread the Gospel of Soul Embraced. Well, in spite of my good intentions, that turned out to be a fatal blow for me, as one women, from one store, wrote the company a letter complaining about the review and the nature of the album. I suppose she wasn’t a fan of metal and the cover offended her. The president of the company gave implicit orders that my column be removed immediately and permanently. And that’s the story of how Soul Embraced got me fired from a job. But you know what, if I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t change a damn thing. I was proud of that article, I loved that record, and I’m not sorry one bit for telling people to buy it.

Fast forward almost a decade and I find myself getting to talk with Rocky Gray, who founded Soul Embraced. In addition to that, he’s also in one of my other all-time favorite bands, Living Sacrifice, and was a member of Grammy Award winning, multi-platinum selling band Evanescence. Rocky and chatted about his career, his work doing film scoring, and who makes the best cheeseburger. Check it out!

4LN – For those that don’t know, you actually started playing in bands (most notably, Shredded Corpse) back when you were roughly 15 years old, if I have that right. What was your introduction into metal, and what bands or musicians influenced you to want to be a musician yourself?

Rocky Gray – Motley Crue, Twisted Sister, W.A.S.P., early 80’s bands, that was the start of my metal education. Before that I was really into Kiss. Kiss is what enticed me to become a musician. Metallica is what kept the dream alive.

 

4LN – Your musical versatility is quite impressive, what with you having the ability to play pretty much any instrument you put your hands on. Have you found that any one came more naturally than others, or is it a fair balance of “practice makes perfect” with all of them?

RG – Drums came to me very naturally. Guitar took some work. Still working on the keyboard.

 

4LN – Of all the amazing albums you’ve been a part of crafting and creating throughout the years, is there any one that stands out as being especially memorable?

RG – The Evanescence record Fallen changed my life. You grow up hoping to accomplish all of these things in the music world and to be able to see a lot of those dreams come true is amazing and something I don’t take for granted. Its a blessing.

4LN – Now that we’ve talked a little about your past I’d like to move on to what projects you have going on now. Specifically, it was recently announced that you’ll be doing some scoring work on Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories. How did did this opportunity come about?

RG – I had followed the original Volumes of Blood and the progress of that film and the success they had with it so when I saw that they were doing a sequel I wrote the producer, P.J. Starks, and told him if he needed a composer to get in touch with me. He got back to me and we started discussing what we could make happen. So far I’ve done the Theme song and am scheduled to score director Justin Seaman’s segment of the film. Not sure if I’ll be doing any more than that but were still pretty early in production.

2016-03-15

 

4LN – Is film scoring something you’d ever considered before now, or was it just more “Sure, I’ll give this a try”?

RG – I had wanted to work in movies for quite a long time now. I had always been too busy with the different bands to take the time to figure out what I had to do to get into that world. After We Are The Fallen took a break I got a call from a producer in California and he asked if I would score his film and without hesitation I said yes. It was a great learning experience for me and from doing that one I knew I wanted to keep scoring movies. Since then I’ve scored 2 more movies, 2 video games, a commercial, and the theme to Volumes of Blood:Horror Stories.

 

4LN – Can you tell us about any other projects you’ve got right now, or might have on the horizon?

RG – The Barn original motion picture soundtrack is out on vinyl and cassette right now from Lunaris Records. I recently did the score for Eric Stanze’s new film In Memory Of that is in post production.

The Barn - Original Motion Picture Score LP

 

4LN – This next section is our lightning round questions. Just answer with the first thing that comes to mind. Since you’re scoring a horror film, my first question has to be, what’s your personal favorite horror film?
RG – It’s a tie between Halloween (original) and the Exorcist.

4LN – If you could only listen to one band for the rest of your life, who would it be?
RG – Metallica

4LN – You’ve spent a lot of time out on the road, touring and eating food from all over the world, but what place has the best burger you’ve ever eaten?
RG – The Cheeseburger from Buffalo Wild Wings in the good ‘ol USA!

4LN – What up-and-coming band, or bands, that we might not have heard of yet should we be listening to?
RG – I’m so out of the loop on new bands. If you haven’t heard Born of Osiris or Thy Art Is Murder maybe check them out.

4LN – Which tour van’s always smelled worse, Living Sacrifice or Soul Embraced?
RG – Living Sacrifice!

4LN – For my last question, I want to bring together both horror and metal to ask… If you we’re putting together a Death Metal Super-Group with slasher movie villains, which slashers would you choose to slaughter the ears of the world alongside you, and what instruments would you put them on?
RG – Ghostface on vocals, Jason Voorhees on drums, Cropsy on guitar, Michael Myers on bass. Ill run front of house for them.

 

I want to thank Rocky for speaking with me. Make sure to check out his website Rocky-Gray.com to stay up-to-date with his projects. You can also contribute to helping Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories get made by checking out their Indigogo campaign.

4LN Album Review: Killswitch Engage – “Incarnate”

The very first time I ever heard Killswitch Engage was when their 2002 album Alive or Just Breathing had just been released. A good friend of mine, who I also played in a band with (cause every suburban white dude was in a band at least once when they were a teenager right?) put on the song “My Last Serenade” and I instantly fell in love. I’ve been a huge fan of the band ever since that very moment. Last week they dropped their new album, Incarnate, and I’ve listened to it at least twice a day since then. AT LEAST. It’s the follow up to their 2013 album Disarm the Descent, which saw the return of original vocalist Jesse Leach. That album also garnered them an Grammy Award nomination for “Best Metal Performance”, for the song “In Due Time“. That album really is fantastic. It felt like a return to the Alive or Just Breathing days, before Jesse left the band and Howard Jones stepped in a took over vocalist duties for, roughly, the next decade. There’s a visceral quality to both of those albums that is very captivating. Incarnate, though, is a different beast altogether.

It feels like such natural evolution for the band. Maybe it’s the tracking or the mixing, but the whole thing just sounds cleaner. I don’t mean that it sounds polished or sterile, just that you can really hear all the little nuanced things that it was easy to miss on their last album and I feel like that could be due to how the album was tracked, mixed and mastered (or maybe it’s just that I have WAY better headphones now? #Sennheiser4Lyfe)

“Alone I Stand” is one of my favorite songs on the album. It’s the opening track and it builds though some well placed feedback, into a tribal drum beat, and ending at a sick riff. Then there are these little rhythm changes that you’ll only catch if you’re listening close enough. The chorus is a beautiful melody with Leach confidently declaring, “No allegiance. Defiant I withstand. This resistance. I reject what you demand, and alone I stand.” It’s a perfect opener and pretty much exactly the kind of heavy jam we’ve come to love from these dudes.

The second single off the album is “Hate by Design”, and in many ways it feels like a… I sort of loathe myself for using this term… but it feels like a *spiritual successor* to “Fixation on the Darkness” from Alive or Just Breathing. They have very similar opening structures and place a substantial emphasis on the rhythm in the verses and then switch to melodic dominance during the chorus. Yes, I’m aware this describes most all metalcore and melodic metal songs, but these two songs also seem to share a common ideal lyrically as well. Obviously these are all vague-ish lyrics and open to interpretation but I’m gonna give it a shot…. “Fixation on the Darkness” is about being influenced by the negativity and the bullshit that we’re confronted with every single day (“Fixation on the darkness that engulfs this world. Drain the life force of our people…”), and encouraging the listener that the only way to escape the effects is by committing to be more intentionally compassionate (“Change, the only way we will survive”). “Hate by Design” comes across to me like a sequel, of sorts, in that Leach is, among other things, speaking to people who failed to head his warning in “Fixation…” and saying, “Look, you can’t help that this is the world you’re born into, and therefor predisposed to it’s negative influence, but the best way to live is to find a way to beat that negativity and admit that our hate doesn’t have to be a defining character trait.” (“Hate, hate by design is destroying our lives. Seek to find, some understanding. Redefine your life!”) His vocals are aggressive but very pleading at the same time, and that lets you know that he isn’t just phoning it in. He genuinely believes in what he’s saying without any hint of ego or self-righteousness. That’s rare in metal.

Right now, I’d have to say that my favorite track from Incarnate is “Embrace the Journey…Upraised”. The track kicks off with a bass-line that kind of riffs, if that makes sense, and crescendos to a groovy guitar section that is complimented by a loud and steady drum beat. The middle chunk of the song alternates back and forth between trash metal style brutality and groove metal jams. It almost kind of feels like a Sepultura song in that manner. Which makes a lot of sense when you consider how tribal the final act of the song is, with a deep and heavy drum beat and chanting vocals (“Silence the voice of the self-righteous, condescending and without grace. Give sight to those who are blind with hatred, to see beyond hypocrisy”).

While the album does pretty much pummel your ears straight through from beginning to end, it does have a few mellow-ish, more reflective moments. The tracks “Quiet Distress” and “We Carry On” come to mind as songs that trade the hard-hitting, in-your-face ferocity for a slowed-down heaviness that doesn’t assault you but more compels you to feel the weight of the emotion being conveyed.

Incarnate is an amazing record. It’s Killswitch Engage at their creative best, and executing that creativity like masters of their craft. It’s a very eclectic album. I think you can especially hear influence from the late 80’s through the mid-90’s eras of trash and melodic death metal. You can almost just drop the “core” at this point when referring to them because KsE is METAL band, made up of 5 dudes who just love playing heavy music that makes people feel good. Does that mean we’d call Incarnate a “feel good record”? I actually would. I’ve been listening to it for almost an entire week and I feel good. I feel empowered. Some people go to seminars and buy books to feel better about themselves and get insight on how to build a resistance to negativity. Metalheads though, we buy metal records and go to metal shows and that’s how we handle all the stress and frustrations we deal with on a daily basis.

Speaking of shows, KsE is on tour RIGHT NOW, with support from Memphis May Fire, 36 Crazyfists, and Toothgrinder. Check out their tour dates and make sure to catch the show if they come through your town, I know I will!

4LN Music Review: Into It. Over It. – Standards

Artist: Into It. Over It.
Album: Standards
Length: 12 Tracks, 41 minutes
Record Label: Triple Crown Records

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I’ll be honest, I’ve been waiting a long time to jam this album. Earlier this week they announced that it was streaming on a couple sites, but I really wanted to wait until the album dropped to fully experience it. I’m going to be real with you… I’m so glad I waited.

For those of you who are not familiar with the band Into It. Over It. it is the solo project of Evan Thomas Weiss, and Standards is the 5th release for the project. I first found Into It. Over It. in 2011 when his album PROPER was released, and this project has been one of the main acts to usher in the emo rebirth of the mid 2000’s. When I say “emo” I don’t want you to picture bands like Hawthrone Heights or My Chemical Romance because Into it. Over It. is no where near as aggressive as said acts. Evan Thomas Weiss is more similar to the sounds of Dashboard Confessional and Death Cab for Cutie. I would consider Into It. Over It. to be a great blend of emo and indie rock, so think of Dashboard Confessional and Death Cab for Cutie getting into a car crash, and the resulting sound would be the birth of Into It. Over It. (Editor’s Note: 4LN does not condone violence against mainstream Emo/Indie rock bands.)

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Standards starts with a brutally honest song, Open Casket, that ends in a wall of feedback that would leave most listeners pushing the next button, but for me, that was one of my favorite moments of the album. I’m a big fan of Noise Rock, and that feedback reminded me a lot of that genre, but it was Evan making it his own. This album seems to have a lot of Evan making things his own, because the amount of honestly is real and refreshing. The album reminds me of a slower version of We Cool? by Jeff Rosenstock because of all of the honestly and pure emotion behind every word.

The single for this album, “No EQ” is a much more upbeat and faster paced song, maybe even the most lively track on this album. This is a track about remaining true to yourself, where Evan goes into detail about how he feels out of place in todays times, and how his music taste and fashion never changes. It’s a song I think a lot of later 20something punks will be able to relate to. It may even be the realest track on the album…

The album really slows down around the 5th track, Your Lasting Image, which deals with the struggles of forgetting someone that you once loved, with the repeating line “I can’t remember your touch…” and the song goes into detail about wanting to remember someone for a way that they were. This is one of the saddest tracks on the album, which instantly means it’s my favorite.

Closer to the end of the album is the track Who You Are Does Not Equal Who You Were, and this track has a great distorted guitar sound but also extremely clear vocals. The music really builds up in this song to a major explosion of sound that will leave the listener banging their head along to, and this album is no where near a headbanger. That’s actually one of the great things about this album, Evan Thomas Weiss takes sounds from so many different genres and blends them into a truly unique sound. The vocals on this entire album are crystal clear, and this track is a great example of that. At no point will anyone have a hard time singing along to this album

I think the most special thing about Standards is that it’s not an album for just one fan base. For the most part, Evan’s target demographic is going to be late teens and early 20’s pop-punk/emo kids, but the special thing about this album is, I can see some indie-heads, soft rock, and maybe even some Noise Rock/Pop fans will really jam this album.

If you are a fan of Bayside, Death Cab for Cutie, Dashboard Confessional, or You Blew It! then you really need to jam this album. This is a great starting point for someone looking to get into the Emo Revival, and a great album to jam if you are feeling a little down, or just want to relax. Standards by Into It. Over It. is a great album for anyone looking to get into a new slower emotionally honest band.

EXCLUSIVE PREMIER: Renaissance Fair’s “Southampton” Music Video + An Interview with Vocalist Nick Taylor

A few weeks ago my good friend Michael Roe, from the band Daisyhead, called me up and told me about this great new band called Renaissance Fair. I checked them out and ended up jamming their self-titled EP more times than I can even remember on repeat. I loved it. It’s a great mix of a little indie rock, some pop punk, and a little surfer vibe rock’n’roll. Then I found out that vocalist and guitarist Nick Taylor was a big fan of Game of Thrones, and time travel so I instantly knew I wanted to sit down and talk with him. We chatted about the bands writing process, Nicks favorite albums of 2015, and what Young Adult Dystopian Novel Universe he would want to be trapped in. Oh, and after the interview we have a special treat for you… the world premiere of the new Renaissance Fair music video, “Southampton”! Enjoy!

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How did Renaissance Fair get started?
NT- Wes, Branson, and Jared are all brothers, and have been playing in bands together for basically their whole lives. I met them when we were all around the age of 15 when they were a three piece that my band would open up for. We started together on this new project only about a year ago when both of our bands (The Summers and Midway) were coming to an end. It worked out, because I think we all wanted a fresh start and to do something unlike anything we had put out before.


Do you guys have a specific writing process that you follow, or do you just write when you feel inspired?
NT- Well, for me, I have to be inspired to write. There’s nothing worse then trying to force out something that’s just not ready. I love writing for RenFair because I can bring an idea to the group and we’ll jam it, and I’ll take it back to the lab and build the structure more and we’ll go back and forth on it until it’s complete. I definitely don’t have a committed process, though. For instance, we’re actually in the studio for the next few days recording two new songs, and the two were written very differently. Sometimes the lyrics come first, sometimes the music, and if we’re lucky, sometimes it just all flows out naturally together. On one of the new songs, the opening lines were written probably two years ago, and the rest was mainly written when I was staying in New York last October. So you never really know when and how something will inspire your writing.


Any funny or crazy tour stories you can tell us about?
NT- Nothing legendary yet sadly, but we did get bored on a drive to Boston, and spent a good 45 minutes taking videos of me rapping Robert Frost poems over beats we found on Spotify. Hopefully we’ll have some terrible sketchy experience to tell you about after our tour with Intervention coming up.


I’ve noticed, while listening to your EP, you guys have a similar sound to Turnover and Death Cab for Cutie, it’s an awesome blend. What other bands have inspired you?
NT- Oh, well thank you. Both of those bands are awesome in their own ways, and Ben Gibbart has definitely always been an inspiration to me. Anyway I would say we listen to a lot of groovy stuff these days. We love Alabama Shakes, Toro Y Moi, Bombay Bicycle Club, Night Moves, Phoenix, Mac Demarco, but we really try not to compare ourselves to any other bands in particular. At least that has been a mindset we’ve had moving forward with writing our new material.


So, I hear you are a big fan of GoT, I’m on the second to last episode of season 3, without Spoiling anything, who is your favorite character?
NT- Oh man that show is super frustrating, but Branson and I are obsessed. I read him this question and he’s having an internal debate about his favorite right now. I’m gonna have to go with Jon Snow. Go figure…

Michael (from Daisyhead) also told me that you were a big fan of time travel. If you could travel back in time to one historical event, which would it be?
NT- Yeah, time has always been just a fascinating concept to me.  I’m not ashamed to say I’ve spent way too many late nights cringing at thoughts of eternity. Im also not ashamed to tell you I not-so-secretly have an unfinished novel that involves a bit of time travel so I’ve done my fair share of research on the subject. I would say though, if I had to choose I would have loved to see Athens during the 5th century. I’ve been studying a lot of stuff about culture and its progression over time, and I’m just really interested to know how much of ancient history was misinterpreted or catalogued with a biased opinion, but that’s just a part of the passing of time I guess. Like I said, it’s always been a fascinating concept for me.


What was your favorite album of 2015?
NT- I’m gonna have to say “What For ?” by Toro Y Moi. It was just my soundtrack to last summer and really peaked my curiosity into this new wave of psychedelic indie rock that’s coming around.

 Honorable mentions for sure would be:
 Sound and Color – Alabama Shakes
 Surf – Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment
Here at 4LN we are big fans of literature, any books you read while on the road during 2015 that you want to recommend to anyone?
NT- I just finished Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. It’s a fictional tale, but it is mainly all a conversation between the two main characters. There are actually two sequels, I believe, but it has a lot to do with looking at culture and civilization and what they have done to the earth. It’s actually pretty heavy. Not to give away too much but one thing it discussed was how feeding the thousands of starving people in the world is just causing them to repopulate which will cause a future generation to have double the amount of starving people. It’s the first thing I’ve ever really read in the field of spiritualism, but I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to know a little more about man and his part in the much larger story of existence.


What is your favorite animated series?
NT- At first I thought you said anime and I was worried I’d have to decide. Haha, just kidding, that’s not a category of nerd I know that well. Even though FLCL always drew me in when I was younger. You know, I watch the same amount of cartoons as any 22 year old. Gotta love South Park for teaching me how to check someone’s privileges.


What is your all time favorite record?
NT- You really know how to ask the tough questions… I really couldn’t begin to answer this question. I’ll give you a few that I’ve been jamming the past year a lot. “Pet Sounds” by The Beach Boys, and “Bookends” by Simon and Garfunkel are definitely classics for me, but more recently… “Modern Vampires In The City” by Vampire Weekend, “Oh, Inverted World” by The Shins, and really any of Bombay Bicycle Club’s albums, who sadly earlier this month announced they were taking a break. That was a sad day.


Would you rather live in the world of Hunger Games or Divergent?
NT- Which ever is not a ripoff of the other one? …but no seriously, I didn’t read divergent but I’m going to assume both would have me in a futuristic dystopian society with messed up laws where I end getting dragged into a war against a corrupt government by an equally corrupt rebellion.  Knowing me, I’d get sorted into the boring faction in divergent or die of old age in district 7 in hunger games. Ha!


Any video games you have been playing lately?
NT- Just Pokemon Fire Red on my tablet. Got my 5th badge yesterday.

What were your thoughts in Star Wars: The Force Awakens?
NT- Man, I don’t like to discuss things that I don’t know a lot about, which is a main reason I’m finding it hard to get myself to vote this year. I have my choice but I don’t want to make an uneducated guess. As far as Star Wars, I’ve seen all of the movies but I really felt unattached to the new movie. I just never got super into Star Wars and I don’t want to step on the diehards’ toes. I will say JJ Abrams did a great job of creating a feel and tone for this movie that reflected so much on the original trilogy.

Before we check out your new video, can you tell us a little about it, as well as your new EP?
NT- We recorded our debut EP last year with Tate Mercer, and we’re very pleased with how it came out. We ended up throwing together a DIY music video that we shot in our living room for a song called Southampton. We have a lot of fun doing little musical projects like that on a whim.

 

I wanna send a big THANK YOU to Nick for speaking with me, and now, without further ado, check out their new video, Southampton!

You can find these rad guys on tour, with their friends in Intervention, during the month of March, so do your best to see them on the road, get some merch, and tell them 4LN sent you!

3/11: Chattanooga, TN – Elmo’s World* (No Intervention*)
3/12: Atlanta, GA – Hill St. House
3/13: Tallahassee, FL – TV Land
3/14: Jacksonville, FL – The Birdhouse
3/16: Greenville, NC – Player’s Retreat
3/17: Williamsport, PA – The Groundfloor
3/18: Winchester, VA – Hopscotch Coffee
3/20: Nashville, TN – That 70s House

Best Live Bands of 2015

Since Four Letter Nerd’s conception, Stephen Andrew and I have been eagerly awaiting for the site to include music reviews, and that day has finally arrived. With the new year, 4LN has decided we are going to go in a new direction, and one of the new features will be focusing more on music. For me, music has always been something that I’ve been super nerdy about. When I get into a new band, I pretty much completely get into that band. I learn about the members, I completely dive into their discography, and I love learning about their writing process.

This previous year, I really dove into some awesome music, and along with diving into music, I saw some really awesome live performances. I saw everything from country music legend Willie Nelson to the black metal/crust punk band Young And In The Way, and I saw everything in between them as well. I can honestly say I saw close to 50 different musical acts this year, some were phenomenal, and others were fairly forgettable. This list will consist of the 10 best bands I saw in 2015, but in no particular order. I should say that, while I am heavily into punk, hardcore and metal, this list will not consist of just those types of bands. So, without further adieu, I give you the best live performances of 2015, according to Bill Clark.

 

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1) Ryan Adams
I have been waiting since I was a sophomore in high school to see Ryan Adams (six years for anyone wondering). I first heard about Ryan Adams from a hipster girl I knew, and she gave me a copy of Gold and Easy Tiger and his music blew me away. Each time Ryan has toured and come through Nashville, I’ve missed his show. In April he announced two shows at The Ryman Auditorium, and I knew I had to see him. I got tickets to his first show of the two dates and it was incredible. The Ryman stage was set up like a 1980’s arcade and included giant pinball machines and wild taxidermy animals. Ryan mostly played songs of his self titled album, and unfortunately this show was before the announcement of his Taylor Swift cover album, 1989, so I didn’t get to see any of those songs live. To make an awesome show even better, Ryan brought out Jason Isbell and Natalie Prass and all together played Come Pick Me Up and Jacksonville Skyline. Unfortunately, on the second night (which I was not at) Ryan finally performed the Bryan Adams song Summer of ’69.

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2) Willie Nelson
I saw Willie Nelson also at The Ryman Auditorium in March of 2015. It might have been one of the coolest shows I’ve ever seen. I went with a fellow punk rocker, Clint Daniel, and we had to be the two youngest people at the show. Clint’s in his late 20’s and I am in my early 20’s. So, what was funny about this show was, it was over by 9:30, and I was home in bed before 11. I say it was funny because one of the Nashville based venues I frequent often, The End, typically doesn’t have the show headliner start until 10 or after. Being able to tell people I saw Willie Nelson is one of the coolest parts of seeing Willie. At the age of 82, Willie is still kicking some serious ass and played for at least and hour and a half, and never once forgot a single lyric. It was great to see a living legend who could out preformed any new popular act.

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3) Young And In The Way
Young and In The Way (YAITW) was possibly the single most terrifying musical experience of my life. For readers who are not familiar with YAITW, they are a black metal crust punk band from North Carolina, known for their satanic imagery, and cult like presence. Stephen Andrew and I saw them play to an audience for maybe 100 people. One by one the band came on stage covered in blood (for added effect, the guitarist played in a leather bondage sex mask, eyes zip shut) and when they began to play, the house lights turned off and the band played in darkness with flashing lights. With songs such as Be My Blood and F**k This Life, the negativity in the room was overpowering, and for the first 3 songs Stephen and I were not sure if we would make it out of the venue without being involved in a cult murder/suicide. During the song F**k This Life, Kable Lyall (vocalist) pointed directly at me, while covered in blood, and yelled “F**K THIS LIFE”… while looking at me. I was 99% sure I was marked for death by the group with “Cult of Rot” backpatches.  If anyone is a fan of horror and/or metal, seeing YAITW live must be added to your bucket list.

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4) Jeff Rosenstock

Where can I even begin with Jeff Rosenstock? I honestly think this was the single best show I saw in 2015. I saw him at the Nashville venue, The End, and I bet there were no more than 200 people at the show. But, during Jeff’s set there had to only be 125 people tops. He toured with Dan Andriano (of Alkaline Trio. No. The OTHER guy from Alkaline Trio. No. NOT MATT SKIBA.) Dan played before Jeff, and after his set a large amount of the crowd left, which really surprised me. For those of you not familiar with Jeff Rosenstock, he originally started playing music with Bomb the Music Industry! and has since made a name for himself in the folk punk/pop punk community. Jeff blends elements of folk and pop punk into one truly unique sound. And his live performances, are also truly unique. Jeff is in his 30’s but has more energy then almost any other performer I saw this year. What amazed me about the guy was he played an entire set on rhythm guitar for Dan Andriano and then did an entire other set immediately after, with Death Rosenstock. While on stage Jeff was jumping all over the place, and at one time jumped on a table in the bar, shredded a little, then jumped into the crowd. Later during the set, he handed his guitar to some random kid and stage dived for a while. The Jeff Rosenstock show was non stop chaos, but beautifully executed.

 

 

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5) City and Colour

City and Colour was actually the last show I saw in 2015, and it was also Dallas Green’s last show of the year. I went with my girlfriend and her sister to see City and Colour at War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville, and it was a phenomenal show. I have never really been a City and Colour fan. I checked him out when he first released “Sometimes”, but I never really dived into anything after that. I had heard great things about his project with Pink! (You+Me) and his latest album, “If I Should Go Before You”, so I checked out both of those the week before the show, and they really impressed me. I wasn’t sure what to expect with his live show, but I went in with an open mind. Half way during the show, I remember texting Stephen, “Dude. City and Colour is f**king flawless.” That’s really the only way I know how to describe the show. Dallas Green had a fantastic light show along with his music, which really added something unique to the concert. The only real thing I didn’t enjoy was Dallas Green’s lack of stage banter. He was very quiet and didn’t interact with the crowd. It was very much like listening to a recording, but I mean that in the best way possible.

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6-8) New Found Glory, Turnstile and Turnover

This one is a bit more of a stretch, because this might have been the best concert I went too. It was just a stacked fucking line up, and what’s great about this line up, each band was different compared to the other. New Found Glory were headlining the show, and they are the reigning kings of Pop Punk. Like, every other band falls in comparison to them. Descendents are the grandparents of pop punk, New Found Glory are the parents, and every current pop punk band is a little middle-schooler trying to be edgy and cool. The NFG show was a major surprise for me, most of the crowd was the “old guys” crew. People in their late 20’s and early 30’s who aren’t at every show anymore, and most have kids and a family and a raging comic book addiction *cough* Stephen *cough* so they don’t get out to many shows anymore. (Editor’s Note: F*** you, you snot-nosed little s***.) During the opening bands, Turnover and Turnstile, the crowd wasn’t very energetic. Turnover is a slower more post-pop punk/emo band so it made sense with the crowd not moving during their set, and they killed it that night. Turnstile was incredibly energetic and had a strong Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) message, and they got the crowd moving pretty good. Definitely the heaviest band on the bill, younger people were moshing and really getting into the band. But, the entire atmosphere changed when New Found Glory hit the stage, the crowd exploded with energy and the level of excitement flooded over the room. I don’t think I have ever been at a show that had so many stage dives and crowd surfers. It was just a sea of bodies crashing over each other, wave after wave. When it comes to punk and all its subgenres, New Found Glory takes the cake when it comes to live shows.

 

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9) Death Cab for Cutie

I have seen Death Cab at least five times, and every time I see them, they get better and better. I saw them at The Ryman Auditorium to a sold out crowd, and it was honestly one of the best times I’ve seen them. If you are ever in Nashville, please do yourself a favor and see a band at The Ryman. It’s easily one of the best venues in the world, and as an added bonus, it’s also the mother church of country music, and the birthplace of bluegrass. Death Cab is one of those bands that the longer they are together, the better they become. They honestly have it all. Great crowd interactions, perfect sound, and a flawless set list. I think one of the special things about Death Cab is, during their live performances they cater to both fan bases: fairly new fans, and veteran fans. Death Cab does a wonderful job interacting with the crowd, telling stories, and even joking around. Ben Gibbard (the vocalist) asked if anyone knew Garth Brooks, and if they did, ask him to please cover I Will Follow You Into The Dark so that he and the rest of the band, can send their kids to college (though, I don’t think he’ll have a problem doing that without aid from Garth). Even if you only know a couple Death Cab songs, you really need to go see them live, it will be 100% worth it.

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10) Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Where to even begin? This was more of a life experience opposed to a concert. Stephen and I had been planning on going to this show since it was announced, and goddamn am I glad I went. It was truly one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. I was buzzing pretty good on PBR during their set, and that honestly made it all the more powerful. For those of you not familiar with GSY!BE, they are a canadian post-rock instrumental/experimental band. GSY!BE is an eight piece band that has a full time projectionist that travels with them, and he ran 3 different projectors that played over the music, for a truly unique experience. I visually remember one 8 minute song just consisting of just two deer eating grass and staring at you. If you were high during their set, it would have been unbelievable. Words can not describe how great they are, but it is important to mention, if you see them, they will be LOUD. This was easily the loudest concert I have ever seen in my life. I can go on and on about describing them, but I think Stephen found the perfect words for Godspeed You! Black Emperor…

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2015 was one hell of a year for live music, from bloody black metal, to experimental instrumental music I saw a little bit of everything this year. We would love to hear your feedback, and/or comment below with a couple of the best bands you saw this previous year. Keep checking back with Four Letter Nerd for more music related articles!