What’s sadder is when it is a band full of your friends who you have known for a long time.
Akron/Cleveland punk act The Facials recently announced that they are going to throw in the towel. In a proper approach, they are going to play one more show before disbanding.
Note that the band is not breaking up because they hate each other but rather because they are soon to be a bit distant from one another.
I have seen the Facials countless times and have always enjoyed their live shows. From playing the ever elegant Chuck’s Steakhouse in good ol’ Akron, to playing both stages at the Agora in Cleveland, I can honestly say they have played solid sets.
They have shared stages with Rancid, White Wives, Street Dogs, Whole Wheat Bread, Civit, Swingin’ Utters, and even The Menzingers just to name a few.
Hell, I remember the time the band did a NOFX set. That was one hell of a night…
Bummed to see them split, but I understand totally. I know they didn’t want it to end, and I think Chad said it best on his Facebook post about the band coming to an end:
There has never been a show that lacked the energy we aimed to create, so hopefully everyone can make it out one last time to end it right!
I consider myself lucky to have befriended these guys. I was introduced to them back when The Narcoleptics X5 were still playing drunk shows in the early 2000s. I liked their Pennywise approach and tried to hit every show they played. From there, I would see other live shows with them and party until I would fall down a flight of steps.
I remember when we would all hit up the Warped Tour and be the old men heckling all the kids. Good times.
As the years passed, things started slowing down for them with their day gigs taking up their free time and most of the band getting married and whatnot. I really am stoked to hear that they are going to play one last show. This will be the prefect farewell to a bunch of good dudes what have been doing their thing for almost 13 years.
Come see the band play one last hurrah at Now That’s Class on Friday, March 21st with special guests Night Sweats, The Old One-Two, and a couple other acts to be announced.
I know I have said in the past that I usually do not review any of my friend’s album releases, but I seriously think it’s time to change that.
Within the last year alone, a whole slew of my friends have been dropping excellent releases left and right. Many of those said releases were immediately thrown into my regular rotation and also made it to my “Best Of 2013” list without me even thinking twice.
One of these bands I speak of is Cleveland’s heartthrobs (and beer snobs), Signals Midwest. I learned of them through friends who had shared stages and basements with them and soon became not only a fan, but also a friend. All four members are some of the coolest, kindest people I know.
They have a musical style that ranges from punk rock to indie rock while also carrying a progressive technical grace that is just so appealing. Featuring Max Stern on guitar / vocals, Jeff “JR” Russell on guitar, Loren Shumaker on bass, and Steve Gibson on drums, the band has been doing their thing since late 2008.
The band’s sophomore release of Latitudes & Longitudes was easily one of my favorite releases in 2012.It was no surprise that I turned into even an bigger fan once I heard Light On The Lake. Yeah, it may have dropped a few months back, but after listening to it again today, I realized I needed to write a little something-something about it.
Released through the ever cool folk at Tiny Engines, Light On The Lake is an impressive release from start to finish. It’s an album not only composed of great tunes but also layered with a very narrative story containing a journey of self-realization, injury, and coming to terms. The more I read into the story throughout this album, the more I am loving it.
“308” started off the album with Stern and crew singing a somber yet catchy into. With Stern singing, “give me time ’cause I’m trying to process this”, clearly emotions were beginning to rise. I really dug how the opening track snuck its way into “In The Pauses”. I enjoyed this track tremendously with continual up and down arrangements throughout.
“A Room Once Called Yours” picked things up, but the song continued down a gloomy route. The guitar playing and brutal drumming really is what grabbed my attention throughout. I loved when Stern sang: “So why do we decide to leave when what we really wanna do is stay? And when all we want to do is sleep, we force ourselves awake.”
“St. Vincent Charity” sat on me heavier than the others with technical guitar playing added to an array of group harmonies throughout. What a killer track to listen to. Listening to the song build up and climax was beyond satisfying. The lyrics though is what made this song so poignant. Easily this was one of my favorite tracks on the album.
Having been far away from home before leaving loved ones behind, “The Desert To Denver” really stuck to me. I felt that I really related to the lyrics: ”Save me from sinking in this city. Be the light that guides me home.” After all, it was the love in my current relationship as well as from my friends and family that kept me stable until I was able to travel back east.
Signals Midwest – Photo Credit: Andee Wells
I loved Loren’s distorted bass-smashing on “Lowercase”. It really reached back to the 90s alt-rock that I have always adored.
“San Anselmo” opened reminding me of an Avett Brother’s song – no joke. Remember the part in “Pretty Girl From Chili”right after Gabriella’s voicemail?Ok, I am sure I lost some of you just now. Anyways…the song opened up pretty awesomely and just continued to amaze throughout. I loved this west-coast-love-affair-with-a-rust-belt-local track so much.
Closing the album was “A Glowing Light, An Impending Dawn”, a track that was like a tribute and a procession. The song put the album to rest as well as the story that was being told throughout. It started softly and built up almost to a celebration status, only to thin out.
I’m pleased to have gotten to know these swell guys over the last few years and plan on keeping them pals for life. From seeing them live on stage to hanging out with them for a night when I was out in the middle of nowhere, these dudes are top notch.
Cleveland is full of amazing bands and honestly, this is the best the music scene has been for as long as I can remember. Take that how you want it, but if you are not caught up with the area talent, then maybe you need to turn your attention to some of these hard working acts in the area. Start with Signals Midwest and branch out accordingly. You will not be disappointed.
A few weeks ago, a good pal of mine sent a text message telling me to check out a band he was digging on called Of Us Giants. He immediately said they reminded him of Manchester Orchestra.
Seeing how I respect all my friend’s music decisions, there was no doubt in my mind that his suggestion was going to at least be worth a listen, but for some reason I held off on doing so.
Recently, Jon Jennings, the bassist for Of Us Giants, emailed me suggesting I check out his band’s upcoming release Nova Scotia. I was immediately reminded of my pal’s suggestion and decided I needed to stop dragging my feet and take a listen. I am glad I did, because by the second song in, I was looking where to place a pre-order for the vinyl release.
Of Us Giants, hailing from California, is a three piece indie rock act that is certainly going to be getting some major attention in 2014 with their upcoming first full-length release titled Nova Scotia. I don’t say this just for the sake of saying it of course. I was very impressed with what I heard and can only hope that I am right.
At first listen, Of Us Giants carried a certain Brand New-like feel, well kind of. I am sure they have heard that a million times already. Truth is, they also had a great unique sound to them with the lead vocalist carrying a singing style that, to me, teeter-tottered between indie, emo and even some prog rock that I just found myself digging.
There really are all kinds of styles intermixed throughout when I listened to their release. I was reminded of Bright Eyes to Seahaven at times and I would be lying if I did not say I even heard a little Coheed & Cambria (sans the complex sci-fi story) as well as The Early November and Taking Back Sunday. Needless to say, there are plenty of likable qualities throughout this record that just kept me captivated.
“Sycamore Tomb” was a solid track that I feel has plenty of on-air playable qualities with lead vocalist Dustin Andrews giving it his all. Add additional harmonies by Jon Jennings, and suddenly the song was trapped in my mind for hours after my first listen.
One of the songs that threw me off a little was “Iron Boat” featuring Lindsey Pavao, a former Voice contestant whom I have never heard of before (that’s the competition with Cee-Lo and the spinning chairs that look like they belong in the Knight Rider car, right?).
Don’t get me wrong, I am not against the song completely or Ms. Pavao, but I just didn’t feel that the track fit in with the rest. Not sure whose decision it was to add this happy-sounding track in the midst of a more emo-heavy album, but it is what it is I suppose. I will admit that the second and third listens were better than my first taste of this track though.
“Take It Home” started off with a Nirvana sound that of got me all nostalgic for an Unplugged session. I loved this track from start to finish and that may have something to do with the guitar styles reaching back to 90s alt-rock styles only to change it up to a heavier riff.
In “Dying”, Andrews sang a convincing “all I really know is I’m sorry, I’m sorry” multiple times in this somber track that picked things up halfway through. I loved the spoken word at the end of this track, and honestly, feel that it made an even heavier lasting impression.
Staring off like an upbeat track, “All Of My Daughters” turned into more of a gloomy song about a father admitting his absence from the lives of his offspring. The song just kept building up and peaked just perfectly.
The album-titled track “Nova Scotia,” once again featuring Ms. Pavao singing along side Andrews, just did not do it for me. Pavao has a great voice and all, but as hard as I tried, I just didn’t care for this duet. Sadly, this was the last track on the album and I had no choice but to start over as I longed for more.
I would not be surprised if this band was taking over stages in the near future playing to sold out crowds. This is an impressive release that I can see all sorts of music lovers getting into. Don’t sit on Of Us Giants like I did, it is too good to pass up.
Happy New Year everyone! 2013 may have been a great year for music, but for me, it included a few too many months of solitude in the middle of nowhere. Needless to say, I feel much better about being back in Ohio. No hard feelings to New Mexico of course, I do miss them tacos.
Anyways, a new year brings new music and new posts from yours truly. Last month (rather, late November), a band by the name of Trophy Lungs got in touch with me asking me to check out their 7-inch EP titled No Judgement that Death To False Hope Records dropped. I told them I would be happy to take a listen.
2 months later, I am pleased to say I have given that EP a steady listen over the last couple months and finally thought I would take a moment out of my busy life to spread the love.
The threesome, hailing from Boston, have a fun sound to them that is more of a power pop punk approach that found myself digging a while lot. I found myself digging the band even more when I saw the video they dropped for one of the songs on the EP (see below for that).
After watching all that bull mess on New Year’s Eve with all the crappy bands I have not heard of, it is nice to fall into a band like this. I look forward to seeing what they dish out in 2014.
I was hoping to score me a copy of the 7-inch of No Judgement, but it looks like this blogger here waited too long and it is perhaps sold the hell out. Oops. I will keep searching and at least I can listen to it via the internets.
Check it out:
Check out the video the band release for their song “Dad’s Away On Business”