NOT NOT FEST Reviewed

This evening I attended a small show held in a poorly ventilated Columbia suite. I’m complaining about the heat, but in reality I’ve been to house shows back in San Francisco that were FAR hotter and sweatier.

There’s really nothing like seeing music in a tiny little room of your friends; however, I am a first year student and truly know nobody beyond the friend I went with. It wasn’t like back home in San Francisco where I usually know the SF punk-house-show-goers. Or I suppose I used to when I was still with my ex. He was super involved in the SF scene and still is.

Regardless of our newness and semi loneliness (we did later make some friends at the show!!) we had a lovely time. We saw three bands play and enjoyed them all. We saw Kathryn Agatha play first. She had a great voice and presence–really glow/dream pop-y. We liked her.

Next we saw Maxy and the Beefcakes who were without doubt my favorite. The singer had a totally dope pop punk voice and his lyrics were witty and absurd. In this way they very much reminded me of Joyce Manor–one of my all time favorite bands (just realized I’ve never written anything about them on here! what the hell! I will soon.). Highlights of the set included a song about Selena Gomez. The Beefcakes also had excellent bass guitar parts (especially bass). I really enjoyed their fun little riffs. Definitely was bobbing my head around quite a lot!

Lastly we saw Drug Bug which felt very The World is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die-esque to me. (Sidenote: I’ve yet to write about TWIABP as well which is truly a travesty given how much they’ve moved me as a band and advanced my musical taste). In all honesty Drug Bug wasn’t nearly as interesting musically or aesthetically as TWIABP which is a fucking 15 part band, but they certainly held their own and had a good sound.

And so my friend and I are hoping to get involved further with Rare Candy (the music publication that hosted the show), and to ultimately write for the magazine and/or take photos. Big thanks to them for hosting such a cool event.

Modern Baseball!

I promised a Mobo post a long time ago and never delivered. I’m sorry! Here it is.

I honestly don’t remember how I discovered Modern Baseball. I think I got into Tigers Jaw (post will come) first and then just kept exploring the Run for Cover Records family. Sidenote: RFC is the freaking best record company in the universe. They have wonderful bands that they treat well, and the record company itself is composed of the coolest guys ever. I stopped watching Tuesdays With Tay, but my god it used to be my favorite Tuesday ritual. Bean Dip and Alex are the coolest guys ever and Tay is so funny. If you don’t already support RFC please consider checking out their bands, buying their merch and watching their funny videos.

So I found Modern Baseball somehow. Then I hardcore fell for Sports. The whole record is perfect. The lyrics said exactly everything I was feeling as a sad little sophomore in high school and the music is fun and upbeat and quirky. “The Weekend” literally articulated everything I was feeling while also being fun and happy and way too catchy. Also Brendan’s vocals are just perfectly pop punk but with a fun nerd rock twist. IT IS SO IRRESISTIBLE.

Also their image is just too perfect. I mean some pop punk bands simply aren’t believable because the band members all look like god damn male models with chiseled muscles and frat boy clothing (talking about you Parker Cannon of The Story So Far). Modern Baseball is believable. Ian Farmer is a total ragamuffin nerd, Brendan is quite pudgy, and Jake is a nerdy looking short guy. You know these guys really were miserable in high school. It just makes the music feel that much more honest. The lyrics are all quite introspective and actually come off as extremely emotionally mature and self aware, but you also know they’re teenagers. I think I like pop punk because it’s generally (maybe surprisingly) so genuine, self reflective, and honest as a genre.

Anyways Sports is a perfect record. I was going to pick out my favorite songs, but honestly I like every song on that album. Hours Outside in the Snow or The Weekend or Coals or Tears Over Beers likely my favorites.

Then I discovered their old EPs and splits and COULD NOT STOP listening to “It’s Cold Out Here.”

Then they released “You’re Gonna Miss it All” right before I saw them on a super small stage in Oakland with a bunch of other more punk bands. YGMIA never disappointed for a second. I think it’s a wonderful record, and I love tons of songs off of it (namely Apartment and Rock Bottom). However, it never really earned the same place in my heart that Sports inhabits. I think that’s mostly due to timing and when I discovered Sports. Anyways, the show was awesome. Modern Baseball looked so funny and cute and not punk compared to the other bands playing the venue that evening. It was before they kinda blew up and you could really feel the excitement of the crowd. We knew that they were good and that people would know about them.

And they did blow up (for a pop punk RFC band). You’re Gonna Miss it All sold a lot and “Your Graduation” was a big hit. I actually even occasionally see it on Apple Music playlists!!! Also the New York Times recently did a piece on the band so you know they’ve basically made it.

Anyways I love them dearly and only wish the very best for Brendan, Jake, Ian and Sean. Thank you guys for always liking my tweets about your band and being nice cool people. Thank you for being nerdy guys in a pop punk band who don’t care about looking cool. Sending much pop punk love your way.

P.S. I have the Into It Over It shirt Brendan is wearing in the picture above!

UPDATE: I was just reading an AV Club article about MoBo’s desire to create a safe place at their shows and came upon this quote from Jake: “I can’t even imagine what it feels like to be a 16-year-old girl and love music and really want to play music—but go to a show and see four men on a stage, followed by four men on a stage, followed by four men on a stage. They have to think that the chance of becoming part of that feels so slim.” It’s so damn cool that he realizes how white and male pop punk is and wants to change it.

 

Moshi Moshi

Brand New has quite a few interesting Japan references in their super early stuff (like Moshi Moshi) and also in their newer stuff (Mene). Moshi Moshi is conceivably the cutest song ever though, and I love it. My ex and I used to sing it together ALL THE TIME. I vividly remember us singing it walking all the way back to his house from Outside Lands last year.  I’ll also say that Moshi Moshi wasn’t ever really released by Brand New. The original version of the song is on an old Brand New / Safety in Numbers split, and an acoustic version is on the “Friends” Fadeaway records collaboration (I have that record in a cool blue black marble!!). Also Tigers Jaw (another band I love) does a dope acoustic cover. Below are some cute Moshi Moshi lyrics.

I know that you’re an angel, 
though you could never stay true 
Hey angel, I think your halo has a screw loose, 
’cause you dropped me like a brick off the rooftop of your high school 
Could I watch the next time you’re applying your eyeliner? 
I waste all my time just thinking of you

Brand New

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Jesse Lacey at the show in Barcelona

So Brand New, one of my all time favorite bands, is breaking up (I’ve known for a while so it’s not a fresh wound). I thought I’d take the time to write about what I like most about the band and my personal connection to their music.

The personal connection part:

Below is a video I took of Jesse singing Soco (encore) in Paris last summer. It was a small venue and a very mixed crowd–primarily UK if I had to say. My then boyfriend and I had seen Brand New two days prior in Barcelona, and then we traveled to Paris to see them again. Both shows were incredible. In Barcelona we saw them right on the water. They played a lot of Devil and God. In Paris they played a pretty balanced set with a bit from each album. Jesse also covered Pop Queen by Ben Lee (probably for his wife who was there). The Soco encore was the highlight of everything (for me). It was always a special song to me and my ex (we actually made up our own recipe for soco amaretto limes and made bartenders all over europe make them for us).

After the show we were hanging around in the bar chatting with some Belgian guy, and then we ran into Vin and later Jesse who introduced us to his wife Andrea. My ex, a big baseball fan, was always concerned as to why Jesse would wear a wide variety of different team’s hats (oakland athletics, anaheim angels etc). Jesse explained to us that he collects hats with A on them for his wife Andrea.

We’re not together anymore, and it’s strange getting the official news about Brand New’s eminent breakup without him (we knew it was coming for a while but still). We just shared  Brand New and those shows and those moments. It’s interesting and weird to me how closely we associate music to people and memories. Especially as someone who is always listening to and exploring music, I find myself associating certain albums and songs to almost every single memory I have.

I think it makes perfect sense that Brand New is breaking up. If I was Jesse I wouldn’t want to keep singing my angsty, depressed younger self’s diary over and over again either. I actually don’t listen to Brand New very often anymore. I feel more or less the same way Jesse does: I’m happier now, and I don’t need the songs anymore. Nonetheless the idea of Brand New ceasing to exist as a band sucks. It feels like a time and part of me is being taken away.

 

The music blogger part:

Brand New defines emo, but they have a hell of a lot of range. When I first discovered them what I found most intriguing was that each album sounded completely different from the album before it. How is it possible for a band to reinvent itself so often but still be recognizable and good?

Your Favorite Weapon. Deja Entendu. The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me. Daisy.

YFW was Brand New’s first album, and this is totally obvious when you listen to it. It isn’t bad (it could be my favorite!); it’s just dripping in pop punk teenage angst. “Girl, come to me. / The only brokenhearted loser you’ll ever need, / or I’ll be left alone forever with my magazines.” I mean it’s catchy and fun with great guitar riffs, but you know they’re teenagers. I love it to death.

Deja is still dripping in self-indulgent angst, but it is far darker and more introspective. It’s a depressing album and their bestselling album! It was my absolute favorite record for a solid year. I would listen to it basically on repeat. Couldn’t stop. And I would never shuffle it I would always listen all the way through. Deja is very much meant to be listened to as an album. It brilliantly tells a story of love and depression and desire and is also aesthetically cyclical and complete. It’s a departure from the complete pop punk of YFW but not completely. It certainly fits perfectly into “emo” as a genre and is why Brand New is labeled “emo.”

Devil and God is probably Brand New’s most mature album to date. Lyrically it addresses far more complicated themes (not just wanting the girl). Stylistically the album is also more complex. The songs get longer and louder and weirder. The lyrics are more angry than sad or angsty. It sounds totally different from YFW, but one can easily tell that Deja and Devil and God are by the same artist.

Daisy is certainly the Brand New album I’ve listened to the least (I’ve still listened to it a lot). Certain songs sound totally different from anything  Brand New has done and others are easily recognizable. There are certain artistic high points on the album–notably “Vices”,”At the Bottom”, and “Sink”–but I’ve never felt that it’s particularly stunning as an album. The songs are insanely fun live though.

 

Brand New is awesome, and I will miss them.

 

blink-18bullsh*t

Just a warning to all past lovers of blink-182 that the new album is quite terrible and not worth listening to. I am (mostly was) a fan of their self titled album and “Take off Your Pants and Jacket”, but their new album titled “California” is not even worth a listen.

A notable low point: 

The last song is 30 seconds long and mostly drumming and then just “there’s something about you that I can’t quite put my finger in.” Then the album ends.