A Half-Assed Theory on Discovering New Music

Over the last several years, I have been been improving myself mentally. I heard new music but wasn’t listening. Now in a better place, I am revisiting some albums with fresh eyes to see what it means to me now. Cheers.

Finding new music is easy, but loving new music is a chore. When I think of the bands I love the most, it’s because I discovered them during a transition in my life. Going to high school (New Found Glory), first girlfriend (Saves the Day), college and first apartment (Panic! at the Disco, Lucky Boys Confusion), and discovering the real world (The Wonder Years), led to me listening to this music nonstop for decades, as well as other bands that cropped up in the same eras.

However, stagnation and depression hamper the joy in personal growth. In retrospect, it seems obvious that such memorable moments imprint themselves in the music we listen to. But seeing it in action in real time is a special moment everyone should experience. Thus, I have developed a theory!

I recently started a new day job, which is the biggest change to my life in years. It required spending two weeks in Wisconsin by myself for training. I tried to prep music for the trip, but felt bored looking over my usual soundtracks. Instead, I prepped a bunch of music I’ve reviewed for It’s All Dead in years past or bought for my collection and then (for no reason at all) never listened to again: Neck Deep, State Champs, We Are the In Crowd, Superet, Honeyblood, and many more.

There are many ways to connect to music, whether that be a connection with the lyrics or the music filling your veins with energy. Oftentimes, music means so much to us because of the nostalgia and memories we associate with it. My theory on falling in love with music is obvious, but is proposed as such: the most direct appreciation to new music is during a new life experience.

The first nerve-wracking day of my job, I played Neck Deep’s Life’s Not Out to Get You twice throughout the day, as it seemed appropriate for someone who waits for the worst to happen and then adjusts accordingly. Checking into my hotel, “Threat Level Midnight” played as I walked through the halls. As vocalist Ben Barlow sang, “I’ll see your face down here real soon / A welcome home to a swift farewell”, I opened my door and found another family staying in my room. Dirty clothes, pool toys, suitcases and children’s toys were spread across the room, so I panicked and quickly shut the door.

The hotel told me that there was a family refusing to leave and squatting in the room; they had torn the phone from the wall and refused to respond to maintenance knocking on the door as “Can’t Kick Up the Roots” rang through one ear bud (“Yeah this place is a shipwreck / But this shipwreck, it is mine”). Although a misunderstanding all around, it took an hour to get me a room and Neck Deep kept me company at the counter during frenzied calls and panicked looks from the staff in my direction after being told, “Everything is under control.” Ironically, Neck Deep was also playing when the keys to my room didn’t work the second week and the entire staff recognized me as I told them I was locked out (“All eyes on me, but that’s not reality /… claustrophobic in my own skin / From holding it all in” – “The Grand Delusion”; The Peace and the Panic).

There is a massive public pathway that traces the lake in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. My first night there, I found myself alone in the dark, walking a treacherous path with only the moon lighting the lake to my side as I hurried back to the hotel with Superet jamming away in my head (“And when the lights go out / Will you be having fun alone? / I need revolution / It’s you, only you” – “Bone Bag”; How To Work a Room).

I discovered smoking in bars is still acceptable in Wisconsin, as I stepped into a pub and saw 20 locals starring at me with suspicion with We Are The In Crowd blasting away through my phone (“I guess it was wishful to think / I was different from the rest / Now I’m red in the face / I don’t think I’m impressed” – “Better Luck Next Time”; Best Intentions). I fell asleep to State Champs playing quietly, vividly aware that I didn’t have to worry as much about money for a while (“Wash away all the thoughts that come at you like monsters at night / I don’t wanna live this way / Strong enough to break these chains / Broken pieces can mend…This is our time, our time to go” – “Our Time To Go”; Living Proof).

This massive life event has spawned moment after moment that I will never forget, each accompanied by bands I should have been in love with years ago. I can blame depression for hampering my ability to connect to the music before now, but the truth is I should have been listening regardless. The fact that I felt a connection to so many bands the last couple of weeks means I should have enjoyed them before now. Using a life event to listen to them finally feels like a crutch, and I wish I had spent more time loving them on my own. However, I will never forget these bands or the memories I made listening to them during these two weeks that changed my life.

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 just watched a framed picture fall off the wall of his hotel room for no particular reason while writing this. He blames earthquakes for it so that he doesn’t have to think about ghosts before bed. What a fool!

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Our Favorite New Music of 2017

As another year winds down and our best-of-the-year lists hit the web, we’d be remiss to not acknowledge some of the great new music that came our way in 2017. There’s still nothing quite as exciting as discovering a new favorite band or watching as an up-and-coming artist comes into their own.

We stumbled across some of these artists in hazy venues, heard their tracks on compilations, or got a timely and welcome suggestion from a friend. Whatever the case, we’re excited to see what comes next from the artists below and hope you’ll join us on their respective bandwagons. Take a listen!

Emily Blue

I stumbled upon Emily Blue this fall while attending the Fountain Square Music Festival in Indianapolis and remained hooked for the rest of 2017. Blue’s knack for melody pairs well with her glitch pop arrangements and unique take on relationships and life. One listen to 2016’s “No Pain”, a song about gendered violence and rape culture, is chillingly on point and her recent dual-single “Blackberries // Rico Acid” expand into new, quirky pop territory. You can hear more from Emily Blue at her website– Kiel Hauck

Superet

Opening for DREAMCAR earlier this year was a band that I had never heard of before, and gave no thought to before they started playing. Within the span of 20 minutes, Superet had become one of the most interesting bands I have ever seen. After months of waiting, the Superet EP is finally out. Just as impressive as I remembered, Superet are a percussion-heavy rock outfit that is easily the best band you’ve never heard of. Frantic, experimental, and dance-ready, Superet bring the energy and aggression of The Fratellis (“Pay It Later”) and infuse it with the indie contemplation of Copeland (“Stockholm Syndrome”). While the EP swings wildly in sound, the confidence behind their songs shows they are ready to conquer the world. – Kyle Schultz

Wild Pink

I saw Wild Pink play in August with All Get Out and was really impressed with their talent. They’re from Brooklyn, New York, and they’ve got a pleasant, easy sound, utilizing dreamy effects that make me group them in (albeit loosely) with the lo-fi genre. Wild Pink released their first EP, Good Life in 2015, another EP, Four Songs, in October 2016, and their debut self-titled full-length album this past February. If you’re looking for a unique brand of introspective indie rock, check them out: Wild Pink currently record on Tiny Engines– Nadia Paiva

Eat Your Heart Out

My introduction to Newcastle, Australia’s Eat Your Heart Out came in the form of a cover song. Indeed, I replayed the emo pop act’s version of Ed Sheeran’s “The Shape of You” repeatedly in 2017, but there’s much more to love. Earlier this month, the band released a new EP, Mind Games, which expands on the band’s sound and harkens to a grungier era of pop punk. One listen to “Conscience” and you’ll be eager to fast forward to summer. Eat Your Heart Out currently reside on Fearless Records– Kiel Hauck

Overcoats

College in Connecticut drew two girls together: one from London and one from New York. They became friends and formed one of the most unique electronic duos to grace our ears in 2017. Their debut full-length album, YOUNG, was released on April 21, 2017. I first heard them perform when I heard their NPR Tiny Desk Concert and was immediately hooked by their harmonies and tactfully placed musical accompaniments. Overcoats currently record on Arts and Crafts– Nadia Paiva

Wand

What could be easily tossed aside as ‘psychedelic rock,’ Wand are a force of sound that falls somewhere between where grunge and garage rock meet Dark Side of the Moon. Fuzzed out guitars never relent, even as the songs turn and become more experimental. The shrouded vocals add a mystique and dreamlike quality that begs you to follow it through to the end. While Wand lacks the melodic elements that attract me to many bands, the sheer force of their sound more than makes up for it. The wall of guitars is ravaging, unforgiving and hypnotic. Mixed with on-point keyboards, Wand deliver a landscape of sound that is difficult to match. With four album releases since their inception in 2013, Wand have an absolute ambition that drives their sound. If you never considered mixing psychedelia and moshing before, you will now– Kyle Schultz

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Superet: The Best Band You’ve Never Heard Of

It’s something you hear for years, but it appears to be an inevitability: no matter how much you try, it’s just harder to get into newer bands when you get older. It’s something that has had a slow build-up in me for the last few years. There are a crazy amount of up-and-comers that have potential, but at 30 years old, it takes more than teenage angst to catch my attention.

Another inevitability is the feeling that the best albums you’ll ever hear are already behind you. There are some magical works of art that come out every year, but it has been half of a decade since something has shattered my world the way that The Fratellis’ Costello Music did when it forced me to park my car and finish a song because I couldn’t focus on anything else. Nothing has fueled my system with the energy of hearing Green Day’s American Idiot, or truly found my soul like The Wonder Years for so long.

But every now and then, you find something truly amazing.

A month ago, I attended the Chicago show for Dreamcar, the supergroup of AFI’s Davy Havok and the members of No Doubt filling out the rest of the band. It was truly a great show. But what I took away from it, arguably more than anything is that a month later, I am still reliving their opening band’s set, even though I literally only know one of their songs.

Superet is a band I had never heard of before that night. They took the stage as the only opening band, with two keyboards on either side of the stage, and fuzzy haired vocalist Matt Blitzer sporting a tight jacket. From the very start, they shattered my world.

The only way I know how to describe their sound, from memory, is that it was as if Jack White had penned his own version of Costello Music. The energy, the hypnotic percussion and the attitude paid off in ways that would seem hacky for a lesser band. It’s as if the indie rock of 2006 had been maturing like a fine wine, finally exploding with the craze of Hot Hot Heat and the temperament of Jon Fratelli.

No instrument or talent felt wasted. Guitarist Isaac Tamburino jumped instantly from guitar to tambourine to keyboards and back within a single song. Every song was more impressive than the one before it, with one breakdown reminding me of a more frantic rock version of the second half of Motion City Soundtrack’s “Time Turned Fragile”.

It took a long time to realize just how obsessed I was with the band, mostly due to noticing just how often I was Googling their name for a release date of any music. Currently, there is only one single, “Pay It Later”. It was my least favorite of their songs, and my current play count for that song alone is nearing 60 after just a few weeks.

It’s a relief to find a band that reaffirms your love of music from time to time. Age can wear down enthusiasm, but it can never kill it. And I am enthused. I am hunting for any information about an EP, or an LP, or even another single.

I truly believe that a band that is, with one single, represented by the same press company as Green Day and Panic! At the Disco (literally the only information I could find other than a Facebook page), Superet is on the verge of becoming either one of the most talked about under-the-radar bands out there, or one of the biggest.

Check out the band’s new seizure-infused video for “Pay It Later” and get a free download of the song at their site. Just thought you should know.

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 is a creep. Really, what a no good person. Throw apples at his face if you can.