It’s difficult to find such positivity in a record – but not the same kind writers like me typically expect. Normally, a record might be a trudge of non-sensical lyrical metaphors and over-the-top clichés before finding such a realm, but indie rock outfit Good Old War take out the guesswork. The whole record just feels good, sits right in place, and doesn’t take left turns to get the message to you. Basically they just want you to be happy, and listening to this amazing work will help you get there.
As if ETID couldn’t have gotten any better with New Junk Aesthetic (I know I’m going to catch shit for that one), Keith Buckley and co. just had to kick you in the balls some more with lyrical ferocity from his proverbial quiver, as well as those fucking dirty southern melodies we’ve come to enjoy. This time around, Ex Lives is the record they needed to make – harder hitting, destructive, and introspective. Keith Buckley once said in an interview that if he ever quit music he’d go back to teaching “high school English.” As lyrically gifted as he is, and after listening to this piece of awesome, why in the hell would ANYONE want him to do that?
Not a shocker from my end of the podium, but Pierce the Veil have always been immaculate with their records. We’re talking tight production, gorgeous melodies, and enough angst-filled love to fill a volume with. We know that they spend a lot of time crafting what you hear initially, but they spend even more working on what’s beneath the surface. After delving down several layers, you’ll find that this time PTV developed a record with true staying power – much like their last, Selfish Machines. Pretty and mean on top, intricate and emotional on bottom. Sounds like a cake of a perfect.
I’ve always gravitated toward emotional music, and this record just opens a vault full of it. New(ish) vocalist Gage Speas truly lets it all out on this cathartic release, selflessly tearing himself apart in each track with topics ranging from his parents, to his grandfather, to religion, and many others. Each song is an emotional tirade, but in a way that says “let me help you.” By the end of closer “Rearview Memories,” you’ll be cleansed through a trial of tears. It’s a real heartbreak to listen to, but an even bigger opportunity to rebuild yourself after. Don’t waste a second and give this band a chance. This is one of the most perfect records I’ve heard in recent years.
What REALLY needs to be said about The Chariot? They find their way of connecting with you through harsh feedback, raw vocals, and a style that’s completely their own. One Wing is a journey that teaches you real values and life lessons. When a band sets out on a mission to inspire real change with their records, but do it in such an initially off-putting way, you learn to pay attention quickly. Rather than just aurally bashing you in with such uplifting content, they experiment more with this record than ever before. To see a band mature into one of the most important hardcore bands of this generation is a real treat, and at the same time that they are maturing themselves, they are maturing you with every listen. One Wing is immaculately perfect, in every way it shouldn’t be to many others. This is one of the best albums to come out during my many years of listening to hardcore music. Go change your life with this record.
Best Live Show: Circa Survive/Balance & Composure/O’Brother @ House of Blues
Dallas – 9/31
Biggest Surprise: MyChildren, MyBride
Biggest Disappointment: Motionless In White
Most Anticipated: HRVRD, Brand New, letlive, Bring Me The Horizon, La Dispute,
Norma Jean, Polyeñso (Oceana)