A band name so terrible you can’t forget it. A song so great you can’t forget it, either.
There are few things more crushing than the loss of hope and fire. It can come in many forms. Giving up on a dream. Watching that brilliant work of yours go completely ignored by an audience. Letting yourself go to the point where you no longer place any sort of investment in your being.
We burn out….aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand damn, this is going to turn into a depressing article. How about I change my lyric choice? Let’s start over.
A Writer’s Manifesto
You are a writer. At first, it was your early fascination with everything bright and colorful. You lived for the sunlight. There was song and there was flight and there was shine. And then you found out that the night had its wonders, too. Silver moons, distant stars. A different cast of characters.
You wrote something once. You made someone who didn’t exist before you dreamed of him, of her, of it. Maybe you didn’t realize the significance of such an action at the time, but you breathed life into the void and it took hold. Even if it was only a taste, it was a taste of magic, and we all know how those stories progress.
You were, for a while, entranced by screens and buttons. They were bright and colorful, too. Best of all, they told tales. Rescues, romance, hunger, goodness, greed. You got used to saving the day. Or the girl. Or the world. Or yourself. You became acquainted with failure and, by turn, persistence.
You bought a book in middle school. You still remember what was on the cover. You opened it and your brain unfolded like a paper map.
I love this band and their lyricism.
Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls
Ram’s Head Live. Baltimore, MD
September 28, 2012
—Written by Grant Goodman
If you have ears, you need to go to a Frank Turner concert. You will sing, you will cheer, you will dance, you will play an instrument, and you will be swept up in a wave of energy that few performers can generate.
I think the wolf-man/werewolf metaphor is the perfect way to explain what it’s like to go from being a boy to being a man.
This September is a doozy for art. Talk about shit pouring out in multiple forms every week of the month. Just to keep up with it, I’m going to have to work these books and records like a part-time job, though, unlike a part-time job, this shit is going to pay in spades. Did I mention the stuff dropping this month is quality? Because it is. Take a look.
1. Kanye West’s GOOD Music Group - Cruel Summer - You know that arrogant asshole who made Tay Swift cry and just might be the most prolific musical genius of our generation? Well he’s got this GOOD Music group (featuring artists ranging from Jay-Z to John Legend) that he worked with before releasing the awesomeness that was Dark Twisted Fantasy. Then he went on to drop Watch The Throne and prove the perfectionist in him was also undoubtedly the shit. you can guarantee he isn’t going to disappoint with this collab record, either.. His ego wouldn’t allow it.
2. Junot Diaz - This Is How You Lose Her - For those who don’t know, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao might just be the best book ever written. Before that, MIT prof and literary Illuminati, Junot Diaz, scribed the brilliant Drown, which had me speechless to say the least. Now he’s released his third, a collection of short stories which is something Diaz does exquisitely. I’ve had the pleasure of reading the first and can honestly say that if you’re a fan, you’re in luck. If you’re not, you’re about to become one.
3. Lupe Fiasco - Food & Liquor II - Sure he sampled Pete Rock to many a chagrin. But be honest, that shit was hot, right? So let’s forgive Lupe’s desacration of The Classic and welcome a great lyricists reported last hoorah with Food & Liquor II. The “Kick Push” rapper has never let us down and after his last album, Lasers (which was phenomenal), I can only imagine how good this shit is going to be.
4. Jonathan Tropper - One Last Thing Before I Go - He wowed us with Book of Joe. He continued with How To Talk To A Widower and a slew of others. Finally, he won over mass audiences with This Is Where I Leave You. Tropper has a way with being able to not only write wonderful satire, but mix it with heart wrenching pain and drama. It makes him one of the most readable great contemporaries out there. I haven’t opened up his latest, but I can assure you his track record is impeccable.
This isn’t a new album. In fact, most of my reviews aren’t for new albums. They’re for albums I stumble across that resonate deeply with me. And, really, that’s the great thing about music: an album from fifty years ago can set me spinning the same way as one released yesterday. But Ron Pope kept popping up on Pandora and I kept going, “Damn, that was a good song.”
I was swept up by the opening line of Seven English Girls: “I drove 1100 miles to find a photograph I lost.” That handful of words creates a powerful narrative, romantic and wistful. The piano sells the mood, serving as the primary instrument until the electric guitar weaves its way in after the first verse. When I thought the lyrics couldn’t hit a higher point, the second verse delivered: “We met seven English girls who asked if we’d like to see God.”
Frank Turner - England Keep My Bones
“On the day I die, I’ll say ‘at least I fucking tried’/And that’s the only eulogy I’ll need.” Those are the closing lines to the first track of Frank Turner’s rocking and rolling (while occasionally swaying) album, England Keep My Bones. Over the course of twelve tracks, you’ll find that he’s a man who knows he’s born to wander, a man who loves the history of his country, and a man who knows how to pen a song that can get your blood pumping.
Ever since her swollen lips and sultry sounds blew up on the channels of Youtube, Lana Del Ray has become one of the fastest rising stars in modern day. She’s a peculiar songstress for a peculiar period in music, which makes her the perfect entrant to the otherwise vacant music scene of late.
I Am A Fan. You Were A Fan.
My title is also my opening: I am a fan. You were a fan.
There’s a difference. That’s what I’m here to explain.
Maybe it’s my longtime love for Glen Phillips’ music and maybe, just maybe, this article was spurred on by my recent experience at the Jack’s Mannequin concert a few weeks back. I’m a little tired of people who claim to be fans, but never seem to know any part of a musician’s catalog outside of their big hits. You see (and, more often than not, hear the screams of) these so-called fans at every show. They wedge themselves right into the crowd after showing up 20 minutes late. Generally, they pick a place that’s not really in existence, because in order to park their bodies, they have to shove someone to the side. And then, that’s when the show starts.
E for Explosion - Echoes of Reinvention EP
It’s clear from the opening thirty seconds of Echoes of Reinvention that this batch of re-recordings is a labor of love. Jamison Covington has clearly shed his pop-punk skin from Reinventing the Heartbeat and the Hold Grudges, Not Hands EP. He’s moved on to acoustic guitars, piano, drum machines, chimes, and ambient swells.
Take, for instance, Behind Every Breath. What was originally a 4 minute, guitar drenched piece of pop-rock has become an under three minute exercise in breathy vocals, handclaps, and the soft notes of piano to round it all out. That’s not to say the song doesn’t move anymore: the drum machine kicks in halfway through and really carries everything to the finish line. The song is about quiet yearning and the thoughts that occur, “Between all the sirens and the sounds/And all the words we’ll never speak aloud.”
Andrew McMahon loves his job. When he took the stage at the 9:30 Club on Friday night, he was humming with an electricity, a longing to be on stage. Yes, the show was sold out, and a packed house does kick that energy feedback loop into overdrive, but I’m willing to bet the man is just as thrilled to be in a coffee house with fifty people.