Braid

In Appreciation of: POST - A Look at the Influence of Post Hardcore 1985-2007 by Rollie Agado

Spent the past couple of weeks diving into a book by Eric Grubbs, titled POST (A Look at the Influence of Post Hardcore 1985-2007)…  A book that for better or worse chronicles a sweet spot of “emo” music I happened to experience first hand while attending college @ U of D.   If you’ve read or happen to be a fan of Michael Azerrad’s “Our Band Could Be Your Life”, you’ll be happy to hear that its put together in a similar fashion.

The collection of artists featured within POST are threaded together rather cleverly…  if you happen to be familiar with these musical artists you’ll know that they overlap rather strangely.  You will also wonder why a band like Jawbreaker is featured but Jets to Brazil maybe isn’t…   It all kinda makes sense as you get into the book.

The biggest take away from the book is that music captures a period in time where the line between musical artist and audience was blurred.  This pretty much capsulated the reason why I loved this period of life/music so much in my early 20’s.   That and in my head and heart, I have always looked back at these artists as being successful on all fronts.  I was a little saddened to hear about how hard it was for the to live and operate during their time together.

I kinda wondered why Phil Ek/Modest Mouse/Built to Spill were kinda out of this loop when I heard about the book, but then saw what Eric did with J. Robbins and how it all ties in nicely together.   

Last but not least, I really loved digging out a number of albums I hadn't heard during my reading.  I've put together a small playlist featuring favorite songs from artists on the cover of the book.


No Coast by Rollie Agado

Citizens of Earth...

Hi there...

It's been a while huh?

I feel like I sorta owe you an explanation...   I kinda lost my mind a few weeks ago.   I entered the month of June, knowing that it would be impossible to continue my album a day journal and complete a work assignment that nearly sent me to a therapist.

I know I have a flair for being over dramatic...  but I'm seriously not fucking around.  My work assignment seriously sent me over the edge and I've been slowly cycling down the past two weeks as I ease back into a normalized work/life balance.

I want to quickly thank my family, mentors, friends and especially the people I reached out to in the past couple of weeks as I acclimate back to being "Rollie" again.

I've been thinking a lot about my new years resolution and the Album A Day Project I began earlier this year.   I feel compelled to catch up and see it through...  I mean - I knocked out 5 complete months of daily reviews.   I learned a lot about myself in the process and at the same time I learned that there's something very exhausting about constantly looking the next new thing to listen to.   The past 40 or so days have allowed me to revisit a number of records I've really enjoyed in 2014...   It was nice to not squeeze in 50 minutes to purposely listen to an album and then spend another 30 minutes thinking about what that record made me feel.

I've come to the realization that I really want to push myself to share stories and thoughts on this site... If they happen to touch on music/film/lit/life/love... so fucking be it.  I don't want to confine myself to a box anymore...

Maybe I'll write 2,000 words about a quote from a movie I saw the other night (Francis Ha) tomorrow....  Perhaps I'll vaguely pen 1,000 words about a certain someone that has my head and heart in a pretzel.

What I do know, is that I'm going to keep it 300 - here on out through 2014.   If you've enjoyed what I've scribbled thus far, I guess you're going to be in for a treat because from here on out - I'm going to approach this like Braid approached their latest album.  

No knock on music within.  I'm not really a fan of the sleeve work.

No Coast

What, you thought I wouldn't weigh in on my favorite band releasing their first album in 16 years this week? Are you fucking mental?   Did I pre-order the album a number of months ago?  YES.  Did I lose my shit when NPR made the album available online for streaming? YES.  Did I redeem my MP3 download from TopShelfRecords on midnight July 8th? THRICE YES.

Before I share my initial thoughts on the new Braid album...   I want you to understand that I have an irrational love for this band.  I vividly remember the first time I heard their music.  I've seen them numerous times live in my lifetime and I've seriously considered flying to a city in the near future to catch them perform on the first leg of the No Coast tour.

I'm in the tank for this band.   Possibly more so than any other band in my musical library.

A couple of years ago, the band put out 4 song EP entitled Closer to Closed - the release consisted of 3 new tracks and a cover.  It sorta provided a trajectory of where the band was heading as a collective group of friends (in their 30s) who above all enjoy recording and performing music together.

Roughly a year or so ago, Braid released 2 songs (which are on No Coast) on a split EP (entitled SPLIT) with Balance and Composure.  It took a number of listens... but I sorta cobbled the two releases and I came to grips with what Braid was going to sound like 16 years after Frame and Canvas.

When I listened to the opening track Bang - I kinda settled into setting my expectations for the record.  I've always championed Chris Broach songs over Nana ones so I was really stoked to hear him reins on the second track of the album - East End Hollows.

The album is freakishly balanced in that respect...  Nana and Broach are equally represented on this album.  The song No Coast (a play on Chicago being in the midwest and the band not wanting to coast through the recording of this album) - equally features the two trading vocal duties.  It's possibly the song I'm most excited to hear them perform live...  

I'm slowly starting to explore and get a lot more familiar with the later tracks of the album now.  Two stand out tracks: Put Some Wings On That Kid  and Life Crisis - are interesting and cryptic in way that only Nana can deliver.  In a recent interview Nana opened up about his documenting habit and recently meeting his real parents (he's an adoptee). 

All in all - I think the album is great. 10 of the 12 songs were new to me and my favorite band has released 15 new tracks over the past 3 years.  

If you get a chance to watch Killing A Camera (re-shot in 2004) you can begin to see that these guys never wanted to really break up.  This is the sound of 4 friends truly not compromising their friendships or artistic visions.

There's something nice about loving a band that isn't intending to break through in terms of fan base recognition.  They just continue to effect those who stop long enough to listen. 

Braid - Age of Octeen by Rollie Agado

Did you know that I discovered my all-time-favorite band randomly through a very late night Yahoo-Chat Room called "Weezeohead".  The room was perfect for those of us who were 18, into Weezer's Pinkerton and Radiohead's the Bends.  In said room, you could chat up girls... guys posing as girls and guys who were into a number of indie bands.

A lot of the conversations were hard to follow... mainly because I didn't exactly know the chatroom short-hand.  You could be engaged in a conversation with three or 4 people and that would abruptly change when someone would storm a room and say something to piss everyone off.

Your computer screen would fill with popup windows containing "chat requests".   It would say something to the effect of:  "RedClover95 would like to engage in a chat".

If you selected yes... you were immediately prompted with the A/S/L (age, sex, location) question...   I would answer honestly and then discover that RedClover95 was hoping that my handle: 'september29th' was a girl and things would get awkward.

On one random night... I was up late on the internets and received a chat invite.  I accepted a chat invite and had a conversation with a complete stranger who lived out east but was originally from the unspecific Midwest.  We talked about bands and she went on and on about a band called Braid.   I had no idea who she was talking about and she insisted I check them out.   I ordered their album on CDNow (anyone else remember that?) and got the album "Age of Octeen" a few days later by mail.

I never spoke to that girl again.  Which is something that completely bugs me to this day.  The person who turned me onto Braid will forever be a mystery.

AgeofOcteen.jpg

I listened to the album a few times when I first got it and it didn't sink in.   I'm pretty sure I didn't spin it until the spring of 1997 and listened to the album on headphones.  I came back to the dorm early one day and listened to the album through headphones.  Then for some strange reason, I started to listen to "My Baby Smokes" and pictured Eddie Vedder singing the songs.

Bob Nana, sounds nothing like Eddie Vedder... but No Code had just come the previous fall and  the two worlds sorta came together.   I listened to the song, with this perverse idea that Pearl Jam could possibly record an album that sounded like Age of Octeen.   Like... I fucking convinced myself of it and I would listen to the song over and over and over until I came to the realization that I really liked the way Braid arranged songs.

I then made my way down the record and found myself disliking every track at first until I came around and convinced myself to love it.

Braid made it impossible sometimes to like them because the lyrics were incredibly hard to decipher.  Bob Nana would clearly say something and then juxtapose that statement with something that made no fucking sense in the next verse.

example:  Nineteen Seventy Five

nineteen
the years can cut
veins in vain
from these hands
callouses come 
and cut cans
lies our best laid plans
for
one
nine
nine
five

After numerous listens on headphones I discovered that there was a second vocalist in the band...  Chris Broach.   He typically does all the shouting in the background, but he'll occasionally do some verse interchanges in addition to playing along/against Bob Nana's guitar/vocal work.

It's an album that continues to surprise me after nearly listening to it for 20 years.  While it's possibly their second best full length (Frame and Canvas their first), it will always be my favorite because it was my jumping point.

Standout Tracks:

Artists: Braid
Album: Age of Octeen
Producer:  ?
Label: Mud Records
Recorded: ?

Braid/Get Up Kids - Post Marked Stamps No. 4 (extended play) by Rollie Agado

Been trying to figure out how to incorporate some of my favorite 7" into the album a day entries... and have decided to tag these as "extended plays".

I've done a few entries tagged as "inches of love" where I highlighted some 7 & 12 inch records so I'll tag it as that also...

n-e-ways...  Picked this 7" up on ebay about a year or two ago?  I never spun it for some reason so I had no idea what songs were actually on this fucking thing.   I scored my copy for under 25 dollars, which was a little bit of a steal, these typically fetch north of 40 bucks on ebay.

Learned this evening that both bands recorded songs that I like verily.

The Get Up Kids - do a version of I'm A Loner Dottie, a Rebel - that I was unfamiliar with.  I never picked up the Eudora release on CD when it came out...  I listened to their cover of Beer for Breakfast by the Replacements and vowed to never own it. (The Original - by the Mats)

I did however get the covers of Close to Me (the Cure) and On With the Show (Motley Crue) from iTunes because they were freakishly good.

Anyhoo... I really love the way the drums sound on the 7" version of this song.  There's a backing vocal on one of the chorus that I could do without tho'...  the song was re-recorded for the full length Something to Write Home About.

The real goodness on this seven inch comes from Braid.  The song "Forever Got Shorter" is one of my top 10 favorite Braid songs ever recorded.   The dueling guitars and drum fills are intoxicating....  the song also has one of my favorite braid lyrics -

frustration can be gorgeous
but can i keep my mouth shut
cause sometimes
gorgeous can be frustration
when you life is nothing
but an honorable mention
on a radio. on a radio!

Artist: Braid & The Get Up Kids
EP: Post Marked Stamps No. 4
Producer: ?, ?
Label: Tree Records
Recorded: Red House Studios, Private Studios