Posts Tagged ‘post-hardcore’

CityColourAlbumIt’s certainly been interesting watching Dallas Green’s progression since his early days as part of post-hardcore outfit Alexisonfire. After disbanding AoF to focus exclusively on his solo career under his pseudonym City and Colour, Green seems to have garnered a larger and more respecting fan base than he ever did in the post-hardcore world. In my mind, City and Colour has allowed Green to convert the American Eagle-types who are drawn to the pop sensibilities, while, thanks to his background, retaining the respect of hardcore fans who loved Alexisonfire’s scream-sing pummeling.

His latest album, 2013’s The Hurry and the Harm, shows Green incorporating even more of the full-band sound that he flirted with in previous albums. It’s a far cry from his first record as City and Colour, 2005’s Sometimes, which was much more early-Dashboard Confessional-oriented with just an acoustic guitar and Green’s pretty voice. Personally, I prefer that era a little bit more than the backing band aesthetic Green uses now, but that doesn’t mean The Hurry and the Harm is a bad record.

The title track leads off the disc in a slow-rolling manner, complete with Southern organ swells and swinging drums. This is the type of sound that makes a large portion of the disc: very open, expansive tunes, all with Green’s smooth vocals driving it along. Next is “Harder Than Stone,” which features one of the strongest and catchiest choruses on the album. A cool acoustic version of the song is included on the deluxe version of the album.omg-i-3-dallas-green-wait-whos-on-fire

“Thirst” and “The Lonely Life” are jauntier high-energy pop songs. “Of Space and Time,” “Commentators,” “Two Coins,” and “Ladies and Gentlemen” make up the bulk of the rest of the disc, and are decent enough, albeit a bit formulaic, tunes.

“Paradise” and “Take Care” harken back a bit to the Sometimes era, which I appreciate—somber acoustic lines blend in behind Green’s subdued contemplations in a similar way to the City and Colour of 2005. The Hurry and the Harm ends on a high note: the excellent “The Golden State” and solid “Death’s Song” are a good way to round out the disc before the bonus acoustic tracks come in.

Modern City and Colour is more spaced-out, more rollicking and rolling, more full-band and folk-pop oriented. If you enjoy that, you’ll like The Hurry and the Harm. Even fans of the older singer/songwriter/acoustic City and Colour can find something to like about this disc—there’s a little something for any fan of Dallas Green.

~ J.M.

To say that I missed the musical-releases-of-2008 boat would be quite the understatement.  While I was listening to the newest Mark Hoppus podcasts and catching up on crucial Drive-Thru Records releases The Out_Circuit released their sophomore album Pierce The Empire With A Sound, and I’m just now realizing the massive sound that somehow never made its way into my headphones until recently.

There aren’t many instances where I can say that I like a musician’s side-project more than their original band, but Nathan Burke’s The Out_Circuit is on a whole ‘nother level than his original post-hardcore band, Frodus (of which he played bass and sang in from 1997-1999).  The Out_Circuit is mainly the work of Nathan Burke (vocals, guitar, bass, keys), but also features a kind of unappreciated-post-hardcore/math-rock-supergroup who were really more of contributors rather than members: Andy Haram (Haram) and Matt Johnson (Roadside Monument) both on drums, Bob Massey on guitar, Chaz Barber (Brahm) on keys, and Paul Michel and Kevin Lamiell (Haram) both on bass.

After The Out_Circuit’s debut release in late 2003, Burn Your Scripts Boys, Nathan Burke packed up his home-base in Washington, D.C. and moved with his wife Rachel Burke (originally of Beauty Pill, but who is also featured on the groove-soaked track “Across the Light”) to Seattle, Washington.  Nathan was still determined on recording another album for The Out_Circuit before the move, but he wasn’t willing to compromise his new “Seattle-living” as he explained in an interview with Stereo Subversion, “This time around I had a lot of other responsibilities I didn’t have before – wife, kid, job, etc. – and what was most important for me was to not compromise those in order to make a record.  Music is still important to me, but it doesn’t define my worth.  I really got down to business when I worked on this thing because I had to.”

The Out_Circuit Pierce the Empire with a Sound

The first thing I noticed after listening through this album for the first time were the dynamics.  This trade mark juxtaposition of swooning atmosphere and harsh distortion follows throughout every song on Pierce The Empire With A Sound.  Just the same, the album starts off fierce with “Come Out Shooting” and really sets the mood for the entire album as it showcases Nathan’s harsh and sometimes guttural yelling as well as his surprisingly clean and soothing vocals in the calm chorus.  Later in the album, the songs “We”, “Scarlet”, and (probably the tracks most popular song) “New Wine” are among my favorite lighter-songs from the entire album.  They provide the perfect soundtrack for meditating (or studying for finals and writing papers of which I did both).  As if Nathan’s performance and musicianship isn’t enough to make this album a solid choice – it also features contributions from Thrice’s Dustin Kensrue and Teppei Teranshini.  Kensrue picked up main vocals on the hauntingly driven “The Contender” which seems to unexpectedly cut short at the end, and aside from a few keyboard duties, Teranshini produced and mixed the entire album as well.  Easily Pierce The Empire With A Sound’s heaviest song, “The Fall of Las Vegas” paints an eerie picture of a post-apocalyptic Las Vegas with droning, seventies-style synth and Sean Ingram’s (Coalesce) familiar hoarse shouting.  Although The Out_Circuit is considered mostly post-hardcore, it’s astonishing to notice that most (except for “Come Out Shooting,” “The Contender,” and “New Wine”) of Pierce The Empire With A Sound’s tracks are structurally built on from keyboards and synths – a pretty rare class of instruments as the basis for song structure in such a heavy record.

Overall, Pierce The Empire With A Sound is an album that transcends the typical post-hardcore sound and delivers something for any type of listener – from the technical musician hoping for a few poly-rhythms to the exhausted college student trying not to stab his computer screen – it’s a solid listen and a real shame that I hadn’t been turned on to it earlier.

~ D.B.