Landon’s Pick: “Straightjacket Feeling” – All-American Rejects
With the recent news that Stillwater, Oklahoma’s All-American Rejects were going to be passing through just 15 minutes away from my house on their Fall tour, I just knew that I had to dive into their discography once again for another look at the great pop-punk jams that earned them radio play. Though the group has had numerous singles over their 13-year career, it’s a deep cut from their multi-platinum smash Move Along that takes the cake as their best track to date. This song being “Straightjacket Feeling,” a tender, bittersweet track – easily the finest they’ve released. “It Ends Tonight” may have exploded as the group’s more famous softer track, but “Straightjacket” feels downright anthemic, as it shows off some of lead vocalist Tyson Ritter’s most gorgeous vocals. It is for this reason that I’ll be singing just a little bit louder than the rest of the crowd once October rolls around.
Jason’s Pick: “Like Seed” – Adventures
Adventures’ self-titled EP displays a healthy palate of emotion, from bright optimism to honest unhappiness. “Like Seed” hits the nail on the head, as just past halfway through the track the lyrical repetition and perfectly toned sorrow make for the possible climax of the EP. I’d almost go as far to say it’s the highlight of one of the stronger EPs of the year, but even that is a bit of an understatement of how easy it is to just get lost in this song.
Nick’s Pick: “Shades of Gray” – State Champs
I’ve been constantly listening to State Champs’ EP Apparently I’m Nothing since I saw them open for With The Punches last month. The whole album is full of great melodic pop-punk songs, but this one stands above the rest. Vocalist Derek Discanio turns in a top-notch performance, delivering an incredibly catchy chorus with his own unique style. This sunny, upbeat track serves as a perfect end of summer jam, and with the release of a new EP this month, look for State Champs to be a band on the rise.
Steve’s Pick: “Grow Till Tall” – Jonsi
It’s the kind of feeling you get when you’re in a cold climate and the warmth of the brilliant daylight hits your skin for the first time. This is the audible equivalent of the beautiful horizon, its expanse stretching beyond your perception. Imagine soaring the clouds and witnessing the magnitude and delicacy of the natural world, from its luscious greens to the deepest blues. This is listening to a montage of every precious moment of your life, played in slow motion. Jonsi, known as the guitarist and vocalist of Sigur Rós, has composed the most ethereal and transcendental piece of music I have ever heard. You feel free and euphoric as you listen to his light falsetto vocals carry you through smooth textures of faint guitars and cellos. It is beyond words. This is music that makes you feel.
Joe’s Pick: “So Cold” – Further Seems Forever
Yes, people. This song is real. This reunion has happened and the band’s new record Penny Black really is coming on October 23. And judging by “So Cold,” the album’s first single, you would never know the original FSF lineup hadn’t crafted a release for 11 years prior to this. The band’s sound has progressed wonderfully into 2012 while Chris Carrabba’s vocals sound as passionate as ever; he has that extra edginess to his voice that we haven’t really heard on his Dashboard Confessional records. If this is any indication of what’s coming, Penny Black is going to be one hell of a comeback for Further Seems Forever.
Austin’s Pick: “Shiva” – The Antlers
Rarely are there records that so beautifully intertwine poetry and melody, story and texture, and depth with destruction. The Antlers are one of the few bands that under the “concept” record umbrella, can rightly refer to one of their own as so. The record is a story of a hospice worker and his incredibly traumatic relationship with a terminally ill patient named Sylvia. The immaculate execution and dense musicality make this one of the most cathartic and compelling releases I’ve ever heard. “Shiva” sits near the latter half of the record, and serves as one of the climaxes in the story. If you’ve never listened to this band, don’t waste another second and listen to it now from start to finish – like a true story is supposed to be listened to.
Megan’s Pick: “Walk Over Me” – All-American Rejects
I’ve always been fascinated with the All-American Rejects, and it’s songs like “Walk Over Me” that explain why. Despite being a funky tune with extra sass, this song’s takes on problems of the mind are odd and slightly enlightening. Expressing personal inquiries and creating an almost comical atmosphere give this song the seriousness, but also the buoyancy necessary. It’s catchy and playful, and slightly pathetic, but definitely entertaining.