So I decided to put down a few words about three new or new-ish albums that offer sweet solace instead of pure fury. Which isn’t to say these records aren’t cathartic or angry (okay, the Samson album isn’t even one bit angry). But they aim for the heart instead of the gut, and I’m glad for that, because one cannot get by on pissed aggression alone. Okay, one probably can, but a good cry and a night with your diary is good too. Let’s get emo then.
Joyce Manor, Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired
While there’s nothing as crushing and gorgeous as “Beach Community” on Joyce Manor’s forthcoming follow-up to last year’s self-titled LP, Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired is an anxiously brief (thirteen minutes) and affecting blast of young adult angst. I would like to sublet a sad undergrad’s dorm room for like a day and play it on repeat while writing love letters to French professors. I suppose my chilly room off Hawthorne will do. I’ve only logged a few hours with this slightly more polished iteration of Joyce Manor’s take on emotive pop-punk, but I’m feeling a compulsive connection forming, the same kind of thrilled yet melancholic urge that overtakes me when early Alkaline Trio and a steady buzz meet in my head ‘round midnight. Oh yes, love letters will be written with this baby cranking into the wee hours. LISTEN!
John K Samson, Provincial
Count me among the seemingly shrinking legion of mid-nineties brats who still regard Propagandhi’s first two albums as the twinned peak of that skater-friendly brand of pop-punk that NOFX invented. But as a younger man, I either suffered silently through or straight up skipped John K Samson’s contributions to those records. His nasal whine and reflective tenderness killed every righteous rage boner I’d worked up during Chris Hannah’s more aggressive tunes, and if there’s anything a sixteen year-old vegan with really bad acne hates, it’s a deflating rage boner. And don’t get me started on the Weakerthans, the especially reflectively tender project Samson ditched Propagandhi to pursue. Let’s just say I never cared for Samson’s limp sadsackery. Until now. “Now” being the years between roughly 2009 and today, years that found me skidding into and then wallowing in an introspective stretch that has been far more amenable to lovestruck swoons than rage-filled tumescence. Samson’s literary contributions to Propagandhi resonate for me now; the Weakerthans can and do move me; and Samson’s first solo album, Provincial, is at this very moment making me cry in that soft way that freaks my dog out. Make no mistake: this is coffee shop music through and through, grad student study group tuneage of the highest order, but it is beautiful, and what has Propagandhi done for me lately anyway? LISTEN!
La Dispute, Wildlife
This is what happened in my brain the first time I heard La Dispute’s Wildlife: “Oh, cool, a slam poetry contest soundtracked by At the Drive In. Just what I’ve always wanted from music but never knew how to ask for. Great. And whenever I listen to Cursive I secretly hope Tim Kasher will just ditch everything but the most pretentious moments of self-obsession. And the album is a whole fucking hour long. Jesus Christ. I feel like I’m in one of those hellishly long kid queues that grow out of Hawthorne Theater’s front door like a gangrenous limb at 6pm whenever some shitty Midwestern band with exclamation marks in its name is playing. I need to turn this off immediately. ASAP. Now. Quick-like. After the next song. Because is this kid really singing about the oddly affecting beauty of an abandoned church? And are those shivers in my spine? And shy little goosebumps on my arms? And why am I suddenly overcome by an urge to revive my Livejournal and devote a series of posts to this album? ‘There’s an airport there out near the edge of town/I’ve been thinking too much of you.’ Wow. That’s a great line. Okay, wait, a song about a drive-by shooting, here we go. This will surely sour me on this unexpectedly awesome post-hardcore album that I shouldn’t be digging nearly this much anyway. It’s a seven-minute odyssey about the singer astrally projecting to a crime scene to investigate the meaning of death. Talk about overreaching self-importance. Yeah, this is a little much...a bit much, yeah...much too goddamn beautiful and riveting and gorgeous and perfect and startlingly honest and pure and shit, I guess I love La Dispute. Like, a lot.” LISTEN!
Joyce Manor plays at Laughing Horse Book and Film Collective on Saturday, March 31 with Duck Little Brother Duck and Lee Corey Oswald. 9pm. Cover. All ages.
La Dispute plays at Branx on Sunday, April 1 with Balance and Composure, All Get Out and Sainthood Reps. 6:30pm. $10. All ages.
John K. Samson plays at Doug Fir Lounge on Monday, April 2 with Shotgun Jimmie. 9pm. $12. 21+.