As I sit in my off-campus apartment, I’m realizing just how fast winter break went by. Moving back in yesterday and getting reacquainted with my surroundings has been oddly taxing but also quite bittersweet given that this is my last semester (“…at least until next winter…”) (…kidding). One thing that stayed the same, though, was that everything I listened to over break is still calling the shots on iTunes and my turntable. That being said, here are three tracks I simply could not get enough of over break and am still gushing over right this moment.
1. River City Extension – “Ballad Of Oregon”
I have some sort of history with New Jersey’s River City Extension. I’ve seen them upwards of 10 times in at least three different styles of performance; I’ve seen them play Warped Tour and open for Brand New, The Hush Sound, Max Bemis, and Anthony Green, to name a few. Just about every single time I’ve seen them, they have played “Ballad Of Oregon”. With an iTunes gift card in tow, I finally decided to get their latest record which houses the studio version of one of my favorite songs from the band. Once the album hit my library, I made sure it stayed repeated for a while.
2. Hop Along – “Laments”
I’ve slowly fallen in love with local punk folks Hop Along, having seem them live a couple of times in the past year. I can’t even fathom how many times I ended up listening to their amazing record over winter break, but this track is the one that really stuck once I got over the “only-liking-the-single” hump. “Laments” is the longest track on the record, but you wouldn’t realize it because it takes you on a journey, almost feeling as if you’ve been listening to two or three completely separate songs the entire time. The whole album is truly an admirable and wonderful feat, so get familiarized with it, pronto!
3. Against Me! – “The Ocean”
The musical pinnacle of my time at home belongs to Laura Jane Grace and Against Me! The last night of break was spent seeing them perform an incredibly high-energy show complete with cuts from their brand new record, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, which is due out on the 21st. Seeing them perform for the first time in roughly four years and getting to finally meet and converse with frontwoman Grace made me fall in love with one of my previously favorite bands all over again. The entire day restored my faith in making true, heartfelt, powerful music, which made me choose “The Ocean”, one of my favorite tracks from the band. The song shows us a prologue into Grace’s journey of gender identity, something that totally slipped under the radar of fans and even her bandmates at the time of its release. It holds one of my favorite metaphors in music and is a fantastic album (and show!) closer. Keep an eye out for my review of the new record here on the site soon!