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!

Review: We Are The In Crowd – Weird Kids


We Are The In Crowd’s latest effort, Weird Kids is an expertly crafted album that strives to completely take over the scene as much as it plays right into its hands. While each song has a ‘typical’ lyrical style to the pop punk genre, it’s written in a way that tests you not to sing along. We Are The In Crowd don’t particularly push any fresh territory with Weird Kids, but instead put together the best elements of the genre as a whole into an absolute monster of an album.

Weird Kids is loud. The guitars are strong and vibrantly memorable, paced with lively drumming that kept calling my attention. It stays the course for a pop punk record, but varies itself enough throughout that no two songs ever sound even remotely similar.

Tay Jardine pushes her vocals across each track, always finding a higher note and snapping in quick lyrical synapses. Meanwhile, Jordan Eckes’ backing vocals are again a perfect counterbalance whenever he duets with her. Lyrically, the album is very positive, creating youthful anthems about overcoming adversity within and without, as well as scorning past lovers.

The best compliment and, sadly, biggest insult I can give the record is that it constantly reminded me of Paramore (I guess it’s to be expected) and oddly enough, The Academy Is…’s Almost Here. Jardine’s voice is eerily similar to Hayley Williams’ when she hits her high notes. Regardless, We Are The In Crowd are poised to become one of the scene’s biggest contenders with Weird Kids.

“The Best Thing (That Never Happened)” is a frantic pop song layered over planked synth and Franz Ferdinand styled guitar riffs with an incredibly strong chorus that pops with each line. It never slows its pace down and instead jumps with each note. “Attention” is one of the fastest songs and has some of the most memorable lyrics as Jardine and Eckes bicker back and forth sporadically amidst a frenzied chorus of, “I know the way I wanna be but I’m trapped in who I am / The only thing that holds me back is believing that I need to change.”

Meanwhile, “Reflections” is the perfect closing track, being an incredibly fast punk song that never stops upping the ante and sums up everything that the album is about, “Destiny is overrated so I think I’ll write my own / I Don’t believe it’s complicated so I think I’ll stay at home / I followed the leader now I just follow myself.”

Weird Kids is without a doubt the highlight of We Are The In Crowd’s career thus far. It’s a powerful album that stays strong throughout all ten songs and practices what it preaches; overcome and never give an inch. Every song is just as strong as the last and when it ends, you’re left in that abrupt glowing silence that follows every great record. Anyone who cherry picks songs from albums is completely screwed here. Be prepared to memorize each one.


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.

We Are the In Crowd stream new song “Manners”


We Are the In Crowd have released another new track from their upcoming sophomore album Weird Kids. This one is titled “Manners” and is described by lead singer Taylor Jardine as a post-breakup song. Check it out below:

Weird Kids is set to be released February 18 on Hopeless Records. You can preorder the album on iTunes.

Posted by Kiel Hauck

We Are the In Crowd premiere “The Best Thing (That Never Happened)” music video


We Are the In Crowd has released the music video for their new song “The Best Thing (That Never Happened)”. Check it out below.

The song is from their upcoming album titled Weird Kids, which is set to release on February 18 on Hopeless Records. You can purchase the new single on iTunes.

We Are the In Crowd announce new album “Weird Kids”


We Are the In Crowd has announced their new album, titled Weird Kids, which will release on February 18 on Hopeless Records. The album is a follow-up to their 2011 debut Best Intentions. You can check out a new song titled “The Best Thing (That Never Happened)” below.

Want more? Take a look at the track list for Weird Kids and the album artwork!

1. Long Live The Kids
2. The Best Thing (That Never Happened)
3. Manners
4. Come Back Home
5. Attention
6. Dreaming Out Loud
7. Remember (To Forget You)
8. Don’t Worry
9. Windows In Heaven
10. Reflections