Sunday, August 24, 2008

Perspective Massing

The new Ceremony, Still Nothing Moves You*, arrived the other week and has been on strong rotation. It doesn’t expand from their previous release, Scared People, as much as it completes it. Their growth from a mature EP to LP goes through without a hitch and has brought my apartment moshing to the extent that neighbors are gathering at my door, but what I really want to get after though is the new Have Heart.

Songs to Scream at the Sun
is off the same label, Bridge Nine, as Ceremony which gave them the credibility from the start. I don’t think it stands up to Still’s intensity, but Songs to Scream still provides plenty of tension in comparison. Have Heart chooses a hard-core ethic rooted in straight-edge, honest family values and failures. On "Bostons” vocalist Patrick Flynn gets the floor to scream “So I could be the boy you couldn’t be / And father you didn’t care to see / Have the youth you did not get to live / Or feel the love this world forgot to give," which sums up what this album is all about. The band's identity comes full circle with platoon background vocals that resound through out the album on tracks like “Hard Bark On The Family Tree” and “Brotherly Love.” They never fully explodes into power-violence speed, but their melodies are heavy and drawn out, which makes Songs to Scream something to be reckoned with. The blasting-proletariat-surge ahead never comes to full force, instead Have Heart stands at a breaking point and refuses to move. I’ll give Ceremony the nod between the two but Songs to Scream is just as strong.

I was apparently mistaken when I announced that the release would be called The Full Length.

Monday, August 4, 2008

More of the Summer

Last year the Long Blondes debut Someone To Drive You Home struck a chord with me. The UK has tons of dance-hall rock, but every year a new band seems to grab my attention and offer a slant on the sound. Someone was naive as it was seductive and I can’t help but feel the same way about Ida Maria’s Fortress Round My Heart. The album’s killer opener, “Oh My God,” just might contend for single of the year. The chorus and song title off “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked” shows the band’s age, but also was their biggest hit in the UK. What really draws me to this album is her voice. Ida's professions cry, cringe, and wail without resignation, and Fortress is better for it.

I have to say something about the new Kaki King, Dreaming of Revenge. The album unfolds like a moonlit-walk-home that has put me to bed for a good part of the 08’. Revenge holds you in a daze, without Kaki letting her guitar skills break the mood. Tracks like “Sad America” and “Montreal” set the luminous scene, while album single, “Pull Me Out Alive” is an familiar break. Look for her on the road with John Darnielle, who has her slated to open for The Mountain Goats this fall.