Making Sense of Last Week’s Jesse Lacey News

Dan Campbell of The Wonder Years wrote a line in the song “Hoodie Weather” that says, “Growing up means watching my heroes turn human in front of me”.

Never did that line ring truer for me than this past weekend when I heard about Jesse Lacey’s complete and utter abuse of his influence.

It’s one thing to make a mistake as large as soliciting sexual activity from a minor, but it’s another thing to make that mistake and not own up to it publicly. As a person who has completely changed the face of alternative music, Jesse should have taken the initiative to speak clearly about his past in his recent statement.

Keeping up appearances is no longer an excuse these days. Jesse Lacey changed people’s lives when he committed acts of both misconduct and, quite frankly, pedophilia. As a female who has experienced only the lowest forms of sexual harassment, I can only imagine what these women are going through as they re-hash emotions and pain that Lacey has caused.

Lacey’s statement on the matter only turns me away from him even more. He focused only on his part of the story, seemingly vying for pity from readers. He made little mention of anything that could be taken as concrete evidence and convict him further.

So, where do we go from here? As both fans and musicians, I think the biggest thing we can do is give complete and utter support to the victims of these emotional and physical attacks. As difficult as it can be to let go of artists whose music has helped us through the darkest times in our lives, we need to be cognizant of how those same artists have been the cause of dark times in others’ lives.

Just yesterday, the band Knuckle Puck had the band With Confidence removed from their upcoming tour. The guitarist for With Confidence, Luke Rockets, has been accused of being sexually involved with a minor and has been released from the band. Later in the day, Kyle Pavone of We Came as Romans was accused of physically assaulting a woman at a music festival.

This is just the beginning. As we begin to realize the frequency and severity of these types of happenings in the entertainment world and beyond, it’s time to stand up for the victims and demand change.

Unfortunately, single voices are rarely a catalyst for change. It’s time we unite our voices against this type of behavior. I charge those in the scene who have large, influential voices to stand up to these people who seem to think that, because their names are in the largest font on a tour poster, they are exempt from taking responsibility for the mistakes they make and the lives they affect.

People may make mistakes. But for Jesse Lacey and other band members in his same situation, it’s time to face the music. It’s time to take responsibility and be proactive in taking care of the problem. It’s time for this lack of self-control to end and simple human decency to take precedent in our music scene.

by Nadia Paiva

kiel_hauckNadia Paiva has been a music enthusiast since she can remember. Going to shows is her main pastime. The other is being upset when she can’t go to shows. This is her first official venture into writing about music. You can follow her on Twitter.

Review: Brand New – Science Fiction

Well, I hope everyone enjoyed their first weekend with Science Fiction. After eight long years, Brand New did weird things last week and ended up releasing a new album in a very typical Brand New sorta way. The resulting product is a very, very good album, maybe the best of the band’s career, and certainly a front-runner for this year’s best rock album. The end.

You can buy Science Fiction on iTunes.

Okay, it’s obviously not that simple, but seriously, what do you say? We’ve come to expect prolonged periods of silence coupled with flashes of ambiguous teasing from this band, but something about the events of last week felt truly exciting. With essentially no media coverage, no press push, and no rollout of any kind, Brand New stirred things into a frenzy and dominated the week in music discussion. The fact that Science Fiction is so damn good makes the whole thing that much more impressive.

You’ve likely already made up your mind about the album, ranked it somewhere above Daisy, and have begun the years-long process of unpacking Jesse Lacey’s lyrics. But since you’re here, let’s hit a few talking points.

First, what a relief that Brand New didn’t totally pull at the thread of 2015 singles “Mene” or “I Am a Nightmare”. In keeping with their track record, Science Fiction is very much another exploration for the band that carries a ghost of familiarity while becoming a completely new animal. At times, it sounds like something that would have been one of the most progressive rock albums of the early 90s.

To listen to the guitars on “137” or “No Control” is to hear a band that must have been inspired by In Utero-era Nirvana. Even so, tracks like “Can’t Get it Out” and “Out of Mana” wouldn’t have sounded completely out of place on The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me. All this to say, there’s a little something for everyone, and while many of the tracks don’t seem like they should make sense in album form, the band does an impeccable job of tying things together into a cohesive, fluid story.

With such a shifting bedrock beneath him, it’s impressive to once again watch Lacey hold his own. At times, Science Fiction plays out like a dark worship album, voiced by a man plagued by depression and demons. The album is crafted to play out like a recorded therapy session, but to limit it as just that would be an injustice. Herein, Lacey tackles big concepts like the threat of nuclear war and the bigotry of right-wing Christianity. In terms of scope, Science Fiction may very well have been Lacey’s biggest challenge and his grandest success.

I keep going back to “Could Never Be Heaven”, a sonically delicate song that would seem to offer a reprieve from the album’s harsh guitars. Instead, it’s a weighty track, with Lacey searching for a response from an unknown party. “Do you know the words that make the hidden door open? / Can you speak my secret name and fix me?” he asks at the song’s outset. By the song’s end, he seems to offer an answer to himself, finding comfort in his family. It’s the kind of uncertain, indefinite complexity that makes an album worth coming back to.

When Science Fiction is at its best, it’s asking hard questions and wrestling with hard truths about depression, hopelessness and insecurities. In standard fashion, Lacey avoids offering answers. “It’s never going to stop”, he sings on the album’s closing track, “Batter Up”. If this is truly the final song we ever hear from Brand New, what a punishing blow. I’m not sure whether it’s beautiful or tragic that such an ending feels hauntingly fitting.

In the coming weeks and months, we’ll all dig deeper into this record and come away with a better feel for what the band has given us over the course of 16 years and five commendable albums. It’s easy to make a reflex statement about Science Fiction being their best in the midst of the album’s chaotic release. One thing’s for sure, though – Brand New flexed their muscles on this one. It’s an intricate, complex, layered rock album made by professional musicians that know how to play their instruments. There really haven’t been many rock albums in recent years that can touch it from a technical standpoint.

Maybe that’s why it took eight years. Maybe that’s why there was no big rollout or celebration leading up to its release. Maybe Brand New simply wanted to drop this in our hands, unexpectedly, and walk away, truly letting the music speak for itself.

That would seem to be the message from Lacey, who on “In the Water” reflects on the band’s career and characteristically needles himself about his own drive, desire and ability to craft the songs that all of us pine for. “Can’t fake it enough / I don’t want it enough / So everyone’ll wait”, he sings. The wait was worth it.

4.5/5

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

Brand New Announce New Album Releasing This Fall

Well, it’s finally happening. Today, Brand New tweeted out a link to preorder their fifth full length album on vinyl, along with some new tour dates to support the new record. The rest of the details remain fairly fuzzy to this point, but the already-sold-out vinyl is set to ship in October.

Last year, Brand New released a new single titled “I Am a Nightmare”, but no further information regarding an upcoming album ever surfaced. For a few years, fans have speculated that the band’s next album might be their last. For now, though, we’ll excitedly anticipated what will certainly be one of the most talked about albums of the year. Check out the tour dates below:

While we await more news, you can take a listen to “I Am a Nightmare” below.

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Reflecting On: Brand New – The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me

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I wasn’t into Brand New before it was cool. But I did love the Long Island emo rockers before The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me landed on November 20, 2006. In fact, I was waiting for it. By that time, I knew what to expect—straightforward mid-aughts rock with pop punk undertones and intense, passionate vocals. That, however, is not what the band brought to the table with its third album.

The first track, “Sowing Season (Yeah),” begins quietly—Jesse Lacey’s vocals just a whisper, the solitary guitar a mere hum—before exploding into a mourning waltz. “Time to get the seeds into the cold ground,” the lyrics say. “Takes a while to grow anything before it’s coming to an end, yeah.” Lacey, who was raised in a religious family and attended Christian school, is no doubt referring to the parable of the sower. The sower spreads seeds of faith across his land, but only those that land in good conditions, free of rocks and weeds and tough soil, are able to sprout. The rest wither and die.

With a title like The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me, it’s pretty obvious that faith will be important, but it’s not everything. The album signaled a departure in sound and subject for the band. While the band’s first two albums, Your Favorite Weapon (2001) and Deja Entendu (2003), as well as the 2009 followup, Daisy, scream of the era in which they were made, this one ignored many emo hallmarks and as a result retains a timeless individuality.

My first taste of Brand New arrived on a black-nail-polish-decorated mix CD from a girl whose heart I’d eventually break. This was freshman year of high school, and “Jude Law and a Summer Abroad,” playing over and over on my anti-skip disc player, made so much sense.

Just months later, the band released Deja Entendu. While it was catchy, I didn’t notice anything too extreme until a trip to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. A friend’s parents drove him, me and another guy from Indianapolis to Cleveland in their early ’90s GMC Vandura.

Back then, we wore black T-shirts with red letters and the metal-studded belts and bracelets of the variety that young rebels buy at shopping malls. Into the tops of our baseball caps, we screwed silver spikes—also bought at shopping malls—to be unique, to be true individuals.

“You’re different,” my parents would say about our clothes and our music, “just like everyone else who shops at Hot Topic.” They’d refuse to let me leave the house wearing black on black, since the Bible said to avoid even the appearance of evil. As youth worship leader, I had a reputation to keep. But in the Vandura on the way to Cleveland, I could wear whatever I wanted—listen to whatever I wanted.

The van had been retrofitted with a multi-disc changer, and my friend’s parents were usually very lax about letting us choose the tunes. However, somewhere near the Ohio border, in the middle of “The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows,” they asked—no, demanded—that we change it. No more Brand New for the rest of the trip.

“I can’t take the screaming,” said his dad, even though Brand New is pretty mild compared to Emery or From Autumn to Ashes or similar bands we listened to then.

“Maybe put on Blink-182 again,” his mom pleaded, “or Eminem.”

I couldn’t understand it. That song was one of the most radio-ready tracks of the year—of emo music, maybe ever. Though I couldn’t understand their reasons why, I could see, for the first time, that something truly subversive hid in Brand New’s music.

I associate Deja Entendu and Your Favorite Weapon with my own fake rebellion. The period, the music, is full of youthful angst and artifice, leading to a larger crisis. The third album broke free of the pattern. At that time, something broke inside me. We both rebelled for real.

Amid the mix of instrumental interludes and hard-hitting rock, including the eight-minute masterpiece “Limousine,” the song that sticks out on The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me is “Jesus Christ.” It starts out with that simple, repetitive guitar riff, which rings out in smooth, reverberating tones, unlike the distortion-heavy leads on other tracks.

While most of the song, a direct address to the son of God, could come across as snark, the Millennial insincerity that fuels Twitter, the ending provides a moment of clarity. “I know you think that I’m someone you can trust,” Lacey sings, “but I’m scared I’ll get scared / and I swear I’ll try to nail you back up.” This song, the first time I heard it, gutted me, especially the moment when the singer worriedly warns Christ: “I know you’re coming for the people like me / but we’ve all got wood and nails…” Honestly, it still guts me. Every time.

The album expresses doubt in an authentic way and ruminates on it, often shouting it out. (I wonder how my friend’s dad would’ve reacted to the vocal-chords-shredding refrain in “You Won’t Know.”) This rumination shows in the music as well. Most songs feature repetitious chord progressions. Some songs repeat two chords over and over. The tracks use varying drum patterns or guitar and bass riffs to delineate chorus from verse from bridge, creating a tapestry of sounds and weaving various threads through each piece.

Stripped to its most essential elements, the album is about loss. Loss of loved ones, loss of faith, loss of friendships, and loss of self—the losses compound into a black hole of longing. Something that once was there no longer is. Which is obvious especially in “Millstone.” “I used to be such a burning example / I used to be so original,” Lacey sings, later adding: “I used to pray like God was listening / I used to make my parents proud.” Even if you haven’t strayed, you know how it feels to disappoint, to remember how much potential you possessed when you were younger.

It’s a crisis that doesn’t fade with age. It’s a sentiment that remains real even after the break-up anthems of high school feel dated. Maybe that’s why The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me continues to be essential listening 10 years later.

by James Figy

james_figyJames Figy is a writer from Indianapolis and MFA candidate at Minnesota State University, Mankato. He has two cats, two rabbits, and an amateurish collection of Duke Ellington LPs. His creative work has appeared in Midwestern Gothic, Punchnel’s, and the anthology Bad Jobs & Bullshit.

Vinyl Spotlight: Brand New – Deja Entendu

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Every so often, our resident vinyl lover, Kiel Hauck, takes the time to talk about a recent vinyl release and gives a breakdown about everything from packaging to sound quality. Here’s his latest installment.

Another Record Store Day has come and gone, which means that it’s time to enjoy our new records! This year was a particularly anticipated event for Brand New fans, who saw the band’s heralded 2003 album Déjà Entendu finally get a long-awaited repress. This pressing by Triple Crown Records was limited to 1,400 copies, which meant that if you wanted a copy, you needed to get there early.

I personally waited outside of Vinyl Rescue Project in Greenwood, Indiana, overnight with a few other vinyl lovers for my chance at snagging a copy. I’m happy to report that my dedication paid off and I am now a proud owner of one of my all time favorite albums. The real question is, was it worth the wait? The answer is an emphatic “yes!” Read on to find out why.

Packaging and Presentation

The artwork for Déjà Entendu is classic. The image of the levitating moon man against a fiery background has become legendary in its own right and this pressing brings new life to the artwork. The record itself is packaged inside a paper bag that simply reads “BRAND NEW DEJA ENTENDU” across the front. Once the bag is opened, the real fun begins.

The cover is die cut, with the moon man appearing on a green insert sheet with lyrics and liner notes behind the front cover. The album opens into a gatefold with gorgeous artwork inside, featuring the moon man in tall grass beneath a cloudy, moonlit sky. The quality of the casing itself is splendid and gives plenty of room for the bright red, orange and green colors to shine.

Also included in the packaging are some stickers, a Brand New patch and a beautiful lyric book with handwritten lyrics by lead singer Jesse Lacey. The book is high-quality card stock with special artwork and handwritten notes for each of the songs, including fret board drawings that explain how to play each of the tracks on a guitar. I am truly biased towards this record, but it very well may be my favorite packaging of any album I own. There is so much detail, it’s easy to lose track of time looking through it all.

Sound and Quality

As beautiful as the packaging is, what good would it be if the record sounded like crap? Fortunately, that’s not the case here. The album is pressed on two 12-inch 180-gram records that capture the full sound of one of the scene’s greatest albums. Part of what makes Déjà Entendu so legendary is its raw production value, and it comes through wonderfully on these discs. Lacey’s layered vocals sound as powerful as ever, complete with his cracking voice.

Similarly, the guitars sound great, especially on passages like the bridge of “Sic Transit Gloria…Glory Fades”. Déjà Entendu is a diverse album and this new pressing captures all of the highs and lows. “Guernica” sounds beautifully rough around the edges while “Play Crack the Sky” finds delicate moments that are elevated by the purity of Lacey’s acoustic guitar. This pressing allows the album to breathe and makes for an extremely enjoyable (and emotional) front to back listen.

It seemed like this album would never get the repress it deserved, but with this limited Record Store Day Release, Triple Crown Records came through in a big way. The unfortunate fallout from such a release is the number of flippers on eBay charging hundreds of dollars for the record. If you were unable to snag a copy of this on Record Store Day – don’t give in to the sellers. There are still some preorder options available for the standard release coming in May.

If you were able to get a copy – enjoy it. I know I am.

Deja vinyl

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

5 Record Store Day Releases We Can’t Live Without

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The time has come once again – Record Store Day 2015 is this Saturday, April 18. If you’re not already aware, Record Store Day was conceived in 2007 as a way for independent record store owners to celebrate vinyl culture and has evolved in to a worldwide event. On Saturday, hit up your local record store to find special vinyl releases made available only to participating independent stores.

Last year, we wrote about the importance of Record Store Day and why you should get involved. This year, we’ve decided to share some of our most anticipated releases and why we’re excited to snag them on Saturday. Want the full list? Take a look here. Check out our list below and share some of your most anticipated RSD releases in the replies!

brand_new_dejaBrand New – Déjà Entendu

This is the one we’ve all been waiting for. At long last, Déjà Entendu will be getting a repress, much to the delight of their rabid fan base. This 2 x 12″ vinyl is pressed by Triple Crown Records and comes served in a paper bag sleeve. Pretty sweet. Get there early or you’re sure to miss out.

Yellowcard_a_perfect_skyYellowcard – A Perfect Sky

If you loved Yellowcard’s 2014 release Lift a Sail as much as we did, you’ve got to be stoked for this 10″ pressing of three previously unreleased acoustic versions of songs from the album. Also, the cover art looks incredible, and that counts for something.

south_of_the_cityThe Devil Wears Prada – South of the City

This 7″ colored vinyl release features one brand new song from The Devil Wears Prada called “South of the City”. The vinyl features the single on side A and an etching on side B. You’ll also get a digital download of this unreleased track.

echosmith_acoustic_dreamsEchosmith – Acoustic Dreams

Echosmith exploded into the mainstream last year with their hit single “Cool Kids”. On Record Store Day, the band will be releasing a 12″ colored vinyl titled Acoustic Dreams, featuring four tracks from Talking Dreams, including their hit song.

every_time_i_die_salemEvery Time I Die – Salem

Every Time I Die are following up their furious 2014 album From Parts Unknown with the Salem EP, a 7″ brown/red/clear swirl vinyl. The EP will feature four tracks, including two unreleased songs and a cover of Nirvana’s song “Tourettes”.

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

Brand New Streams New Song “Mene”

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As hard as it is to believe, Brand New has finally released a new song after six long years. The band is streaming a new track titled “Mene” at their website. Artwork for the single can be seen below:

mene

The new song is suspected to be from a forthcoming album due out sometime this year. You can download the new song by filling out a form on the band’s website.

What are your thoughts on the new track? Share in the replies!

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Review: Frnkiero andthe Cellabration – Stomachaches

 

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It turns out that the musical prowess of My Chemical Romance wasn’t a fluke. After the dismemberment of the group, the individual members have worked on their own solo material. As the first proper release from any of them, Frank Iero’s debut solo album is damn near perfect.

Frnkiero andthe Cellabration’s Stomachaches is rough, loud, expertly crafted and a reminder of just how much of a hole was left in the scene after MCR called it quits. Iero’s writing is dark, energetic and so far above the norm for the punk scene it’s impossible to imagine that there aren’t more striving to follow in his footsteps.

Stomachaches is truly a solo record; Iero recorded every aspect of it himself save for the drumming. Without the pressure of constantly living up to the standards of the last MCR record, it sounds like Iero is just having fun again. While the album is mostly an extraordinarily loud punk album, there are hints of influence from a crazy amount of bands tossed in.

The songs are simple, but layered. The guitars are insanely loud, boosted by reverb and the grunge of fuzzy power chords, but are so intricate that it sounds like a classic MCR record. They keep you guessing, as the verses aren’t muted, and then just explode on the chorus. This record is meant to be deafening, and I love it.

Iero’s bass lines are just as simple, but turned up so that no matter how loud the guitars and drums are, the bass is never drowned out. Instead, it often breaks through the layers of sound to be the stand out instrument.

“Weighted” spends its first minute as a simple ‘Scott Pilgrim’ styled bass line before the massive chorus of guitars riding the bass and steady drumming like a cranked up version of The Strokes. The inclusion of small electronic beats speeds the tempo along during the slowest part of the song. “Tragician” is an impenetrable wall of sound that at first glance seems to be incoherent fuzzed powerchords, but quickly dissolve to a berating bass and cherubic keyboards. Although most of the songs are in the same vein stylistically, they never sound the same.

MCR’s touring drummer Jarrod Alexander absolutely kills it. Although the beats are often straightforward, the power he uses to smash the kit is astounding. It sounds like he’s trying to tear the damn thing to pieces. The beats and tempo are constantly in flux and often change throughout a single song.

The emphasis of the album is obviously the music. For what it’s worth, Iero is a decent singer, but his voice is so quiet, tuned down and filtered that it makes it almost impossible to hear. I literally wasn’t able to understand any of the lyrics until I read them while listening. It’s obvious that his years with Gerard Way influenced him, as he jumps from near whispers to screaming track by track. More often than not though, he sounds like a mixture of Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst and the more somber moments of Brand New’s Jesse Lacey.

He sounds good against the mood of the music, but the issue is that it’s just so loud that he is drowned in it. A bit more production here would have been more satisfying, as would a bit less of the ‘coffee can’ filter, but it’s not terribly distracting. The downside though is that you truly do miss out on his lyrics unless you’re intently focused and most likely reading along to them.

Lyrically the album is quite sad. It’s classic punk/ emo lyricism without really pushing any boundaries. That’s not taking anything away from it, the songs are powerful enough to warrant the lyricism negative mood and self deprecation. On “Neverenders”, he sings, “I don’t believe in anything. I’m so sick of everything. Everybody’s got something to say and they wonder why you run away. They’re trying to steal your innocence and fill your head with their ignorance. The truth is I’m just fucking existing.”

The counter balance to this is the self awareness that justifies the attitude. The quiet and somber “Stage 4 Fear of Trying” has Iero singing, “I’ve held my doubts so close to my heart that these frames have trapped all my better days. There they stay frozen and unscathed. Though I’ve traveled far, I’ve been back to the start and I found some scars in places I have never shown to anyone. I don’t know why it took so long to get back home.”

Stomachaches is as explosive a debut for Frnkiero andthe Cellabration as anyone could ask for. The album is a powerhouse that can only be played at top volume. The songwriting is at first glance surprisingly simple, but a step back reveals just how much work went into every part. Although the vocals get lost pretty quickly, the album isn’t about that; it’s the intent of the music. Frank Iero is one of the best songwriters in the scene, and it’s not long into the album you’ll realize just how much you missed him.

4.5/5

by Kyle Schultz

kyle_catKyle Schultz is the Senior Editor at It’s All Dead and has worked as a gaming journalist at Structure Gaming. He lives in Chicago and yells at the rain on occasion. He also wants to play you in FIFA.

Review: The Gaslight Anthem – Get Hurt

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The Gaslight Anthem have always felt a little out of place in the scene that they find themselves in. They’re a little too influenced by Americana and just a tad too little punk to really fit nicely where you want them to compared with their peers. But that difference is what guarantees their talent; each and every record is very much worthy of your attention.

Get Hurt is another example of their ever growing talent at song writing. Instead of infusing their music with energy just to stay on par with past records, Get Hurt steps down and paces itself to ensure that you’re paying attention.

With exception to the first track, Get Hurt sounds like a Gaslight album. It sounds like an electric folk record, with just a taste of punk. This is at once the heaviest and softest album of the band’s career. The mixture of sounds can be unsettling at first. The guitars are savagely fuzzy and rough, in the same vein as Weezer’s Maladroit, and not nearly as neat and trim as anything from American Slang or The ’59 Sound. But the hard guitars are cut to size with soft tracks held together with the soft thump of the pedal drum and soft strumming every few songs.

While breaking the energy isn’t anything new for The Gaslight Anthem, the focus has never been this heavy on it. Often times, it sounds like a loving mixture of Brand New’s more somber moments and The Get Up Kids circa On a Wire, held tight with Brian Fallon’s scratchy vocals. While the off and on bouts of energy can seem neurotic at times, the switches keep the songs from sounding too similar and gives each its own chance to ignite at any second.

The greatest asset to the sound of Get Hurt is drummer Benny Horowitz’ steady beat throughout the album. He never seems to go crazy at any point, instead maintaining the restraint that is key to the style of the record. Even as the guitars lose their energy, the drums stay strong, dampening just enough to set the pace.

Alex Levine’s bass lines ride the beat wonderfully, playfully bouncing throughout the album. Alex Rosamilia and Brian Fallon’s guitar work are the biggest differences in sound, as they are constantly shifting from the deep crackle of distorted power chords to the jangling pop of acoustic folk. The way that they test and toy with genres is endearing.

Title track “Get Hurt” is as soft as a song can be as it opens with almost a minute of just soft drumming and the guilded bounce of the bass propping Fallon’s voice before breaking out into a chorus equal parts subdued Brand New and Jimmy Eat World. “Helter Skelter” finds a more traditional sounding Gaslight song in the loud rock and hypnotizing guitar notes overpowering chords and bass lines as Fallon shouts back. “Selected Poems” starts off quiet against the click of Horowitz’s drum sticks before breaking into a frenzied chorus reminiscent of Weezer (especially the addicting guitar solo).

Lyrically, Fallon sounds similar to past Gaslight albums; a healthy mix of storytelling, regret and lost love. That not a dig by any means. As a lyricist, Fallon is able to tap into a manner of storytelling that feels authentic and classic without coming off as generic or boring. One of the best examples is in “1,000 Years”, as Fallon sings, “’Don’t look back,’ I heard a voice. In velvet I couldn’t see. The pictures were black and white, and the details were in between. I heard about a woman once who did everything ever asked of her. She died last week and her last words were, ‘It wasn’t worth it’”.

There are few happy endings to these songs if any, but that should be expected with an album titled Get Hurt. But instead of a depressed theme, the album abounds in the maturity and understanding of pain that accompanies growing up. Though the record is steeped in regret, it’s not bitter, such as during “Red Violins” when he sings, “Twenty pounds of curses came to visit me tonight. Salt for all the cuts, blankets for the cold, prayers to keep the devil far away from those I love. And there were red violins playing in my dreams. One for me, and two for me, and one at Jesus’ feet. And one I only reach to for sympathy”.

Get Hurt is in many ways a concept album exploring pain and regret, and in others the reconciliation and understanding of it. Though I can’t truthfully say that any of the songs have become my new all-time favorites from the band, there are significant staples to their discography that will be necessary for live shows. Regardless, Get Hurt is a powerful record of sublime skill.

4/5

by Kyle Schultz

kyle_catKyle Schultz is the Senior Editor at It’s All Dead and has worked as a gaming journalist at Structure Gaming. He lives in Chicago and yells at the rain on occasion. He also wants to play you in FIFA.

10 Classic Christmas Songs by Bands in the Punk Scene

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It’s officially December and you know what that means – time for Christmas music! We decided to dig up some of our all time favorite Christmas songs by bands in the punk scene to help make your holiday a little bit brighter and a lot more fun. Feel free to share with us what your favorite Christmas renditions are in the replies!

1. Copeland – Do You Hear What I Hear?

Aaron Marsh was born to sing these kinds of songs. His vocals are absolutely bananas on this rendition of a Christmas classic. The song truly sounds like Copeland to the core and Marsh manages to pour all of his emotion into this performance. Incredible.

2. Saosin – Mookie’s Last Christmas

Nothing like an extremely sad Christmas song about the loss of a loved one to lift your spirits. Regardless, this Anthony Green-era Saosin is a Christmas staple in the scene and is so good, you can listen to it any time of the year.

3. Acceptance – So This is Christmas (War is Over)

We promise, we won’t use this as another excuse to long for a band that broke up much too soon. Jason Vena’s voice is excellent and perfectly suited for this somber Christmas song. Too bad the band couldn’t have provided a full album’s worth of holiday jingles before they hung it up.

4. Relient K – Sleigh Ride

This is truly a band that loves everything about Christmas. Don’t believe us? Check out their full-to-the-brim Christmas album Let it Snow Baby, Let it Reindeer. This may be the best of the bunch – fun, lighthearted and a cool twist on the original.

5. Eisley – The Winter Song

Eisley is another band that has released a slew of Christmas songs, but this first one stands out for the haunting vocals of Sherri DuPree-Bemis. The song captures the feeling of a Christmas night, walking along the streets in the snow. It’s perfect in its melancholy delivery.

6. Cartel – Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

A true Cartel rendition of a rockin’ Christmas original. Will Pugh kills this song and proves why he’s one of the best in the business. The peppy upbeat feel makes you want to get up and dance.

7. Issues – Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays

If anyone was going to cover this *NSYNC holiday classic, who better than Issues, guided by the vocal gymnastics of Tyler Carter? Carter’s smooth delivery guides glorious liberties taken with the melody. Even when Michael Bohn chimes in with some backing screams, the track still manages to feel cheerful, which is quite the feat.

8. Fall Out Boy – Yule Shoot Your Eye Out

It’s not quite what you’d expect from a Fall Out Boy Christmas song, which is what makes it so brilliant. It’s an original acoustic track with a painful yet catchy chorus and features the wonderful vocal work of Patrick Stump.

9. Anberlin – Baby, Please Come Home

If Anberlin where to cover a Christmas song, this is exactly what it would sound like. That’s not a bad thing – in fact, Stephen Christian has the perfect voice for this song’s belted “Christmas” refrain and the band delivers a gift of a song.

10. Mae – Carol of the Bells

In what turned out to be a beautiful decision, Mae recreated this Christmas classic with only their instruments and a few backing vocals. It’s mellow, soft and full of surprises. From start to finish, this rendition is just about as good as they come.

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.