Thursday, July 29, 2010

I think I like Boston too much...

Notice the similarity between the two? Apparantly, I just really like that line.

Night almost always disperses into morning, though, and sometimes with the foul taste of memories in his mouth, he would get out of bed to look at the peak of morning blues and pinks. This particular day, he hadn’t even hesitated to rise and as he walked through the enclosing alleyway, the memories had left a better tune. He hadn't dreamt or thought of his father in months. He whistled his little jig and watched the morning business. Shoppes were opening, flowers and fruits being left out on display. The scene was a perfect postcard with a few pubs scattered on the cobblestone. This end of the city was bustling with morning business. All of God’s messengers crowding at once. A stairway to heaven rose from Boston to the sky. Harvard was calling and Ronnie had to follow.


"Devious Journal Entry"

A stairway to Heaven rose from Boston to the sky
And as I followed by, step upon step
God reached out his hand to me and said
"Child, there is no such thing as salvation"
And as I fell back to Massachusetts
I hit step upon step from that stairway to Heaven

Paramore Review


Paramore Review (Honda Civic Tour) – 27 July 2010 at the Toyota Presents Oakdale Theatre – Wallingford, CT
By Alexandra Remy

Twilight has been to thank for more bad than good, but in the case of Paramore, they’ve helped more than hurt. While the lot of the teenage populace runs frantic with “Team Jacob” and “Team Edward” propaganda, parents and the general sane media hordes fear for their lives on any night an installment to the series premieres on the big screen or on the bookshelves. For Paramore, though, Twilight launched a roller coaster ride for the Tennessee youngsters, a ride that would lead the firecracker lead singer Hayley Williams to friendships with the likes of Taylor Swift and Katy Perry and her loyal band mates (lead guitarist Josh Farro, drummer Zac Farro, guitarist Taylor York, bassist Jeremy Davis) to idols for the world’s female youth. So, without a doubt in Honda’s corporal minds, Paramore was commissioned to front the 2010 summer Honda Civic tour backed by ambiguous Swedish indie-pop group Kadawatha, power pop-punk legends New Found Glory, and radio friendly duo Tegan & Sara. And looking at the layout and advertisement plaguing the Oakdale Theatre on July 27, it seemed as though Honda pumped a lot of money into the deal.

Honda flyers were draped on walls every which way you turned and booths promoting environmental health and security and Honda vehicles (strangely, two non-Honda cars were perched in the center of the whole circus ring)ran rampant. Free Paramore airbrush tattoos were being scratched out left and right and fans scattered to and from the stage. Meet & Greet attendees (also known as the dedicated members of the band’s Fan Club) were admitted prior to even the early entry winners. A solid line of them crowded the barricade while the same commercials, go-green fun facts, and music videos chanted on repeat from the stage screen. The general admission standing space was bursting at the seams while the seated crowd filled to the top balcony, the upper seating completed only halfway. Despite the lack of a sold out status, it was obvious the arena was more than enthusiastic about Paramore’s appearance. The screaming and cheering never stopped, not even for a blissful second of silence.

Kadawatha flung themselves (literally) on stage to an eerie recording, all members decked out in handmade shirts adorned in colorful buttons and fabric. The band was synchronized in a fashion that was polished yet tactful. They knew when to point to the stars and, at the closing of the set following the lead singer going into a fit of flailing and water bottle chucking, when to collapse together in a perfect timing, all hitting the ground at once. Daniel Kadwatha, lead singer, was the last to hit the floor as a new but virtually the same arid recording played from the opening of the set. All was laid to rest as the drummer was the last to artfully collapse on his drum set. As the more mysterious band of the line-up, Kadawatha is a basically unknown band from the depths of Sweden, the only hint of their Scandinavian origins being in the bassist’s blonde hair and blue eyes, and can now recount the Honda Civic tour as their very first tour ever. Given the circumstances (being on their debut touring stint, in America, preparing the crowd for an act like Paramore), Kadawatha had to work hard to impress. And impress they did. The crowd gasped and gawked and 20 EP’s alone must have been swiped from the merchandise booth in the first two minutes following the band’s domino effect.


Following up the Swedish outfit was legendary punk-pop quintet hailing from the springs of the Sunshine State, New Found Glory. Anyone alive in 2004 when Catalyst dropped was lucky enough to witness the band go supernova outside of its cult punk colleagues. “All Downhill From Here” was on the Mix CD’s of every thirteen year-old girl that year, further pronouncing New Found Glory as an immense presence in the Warped Tour similar community. The presence of the band was almost expected considering the fact that lead guitarist Chad Gilbert and Paramore’s front woman Hayley Williams have been a hot ticket for nearly two years, fans swooning over the cute punk idol couple. All relationships aside, seeing New Found Glory live its obvious these men have been at it for awhile. Constantly getting their fans involved throughout the show, even the most uninterested statues in the crowd eventually fell for the band, chanting whenever lead singer Jordan Pundik told them to and actively including themselves in the churning spectacle hardcore follows were forming in the center pit. The band charged from single to single, no member standing still long enough to get a high quality photo taken of them. Even during the Jewel cover “Kiss” the five Florida boys were racing from stage end to stage end. Instead of the much preferred subliminal methods, stagehands used handmade signs blatantly encouraging concert goers to purchase T-Shirts and announced at the closing of their set (“My Friends Over You”) that they would be holding a signing at a booth shortly thereafter.

From a tight position in the pit, it was obvious that no one budged, though, because the crowd closed in closer and closer. Next up: Tegan and Sara. Since their inception in the 90’s, the Twin couplet has released nine albums and has become quite the fixture in the indie New Wave body politic. While their set was longer than most edgy Paramore fans could take, their diehards came out of the woodwork for the night, screaming to songs and singing along as the proud few. Tegan and Sara sounded better than they could ever in the studio and managed to get chuckles out of the crowd, joking around about Facebook’s relationship to stalking Ex’s and how 30 was the new 60. Whereas New Found Glory took control over active crowd involvement and Kadawatha wallowed in the more obscure and artistic, Tegan and Sara commanded the humor and serenity of the night, preparing the generally young crowd for the excitable act that was expected to show them up.

After a solid 14 song set, Tegan and Sara transitioned into the band everyone had been waiting for since the February on sale date. Paramore’s inception in 2004 led to the Southerner’s debut All We Know Is Falling in 2005, a fresh take on love and life from a group still wet behind the ears. The band took to the road, blessing Warped Tour’s Shiragirl stage with a brand new female fronted collective. By 2007, Riot! was released to a starter single of “Misery Business” and a cohesive conglomerate of followers. Not long after the band took off with MTV hits and a fan base amounting to 2 million copies of Riot! sold in the United States alone, they began to land… crash land. Inner band tensions rose and the group made up of long term friends began to crack at its base. A tour was called off halfway through and time was put aside to try and heal all of the anger and grief occurring between the five friends. Soon enough, though, the band was back together taking all of their pain out on the 2009 studio release Brand New Eyes… with a nail rimmed baseball bat. Teeming with bitterness, memories, and pride, Brand New Eyes revealed a whole new maturity in Paramore never seen before. “Ignorance” blew up as the first single off the album, a stinging relationship song dripping in blood and acid, and made room for the equally dark “Brick By Boring Brick” to pick up the slack as the second single. Before Brand New Eyes even had the chance to breathe, “Decode” was clogging the airwaves providing the perfect playlist for all “vampire freaks” alike. As the leading theme for the starting Twilight series, Paramore picked up a fast momentum heading quickly towards stardom. Soon enough, everyone wanted a piece of them. B.o.B, North Carolina born rapper, flagged down Hayley Williams for current success “Airplanes” and the fawning keeps flowing in. Movie producers want the lead singer and crazed teenage fan girls want to take the rest of the band home for Christmas. Honda made a smart choice in choosing their line-up.


Rocketing away with “Ignorance” as the flagship for the night, Paramore flew off into another brand new tune “Feeling Sorry” and into the more radio acquainted “That’s What You Get”. One of the more peculiar oddities to this show was the overt crowd excitement. As a rarity to most shows, each person sang to every song no matter how little known it may have been. It may have started off the stellar Riot! but “For A Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic” is miles away from the Top 40 outlet yet the whole room roared in a cacophony of a Paramore themed sing along. “Careful” seethed and fumed and extinguished in time for the famed love/hate “Decode” to be led in a completely different direction with Josh Farro and Hayley Williams flocking stage front for a Loretta Lynn ditty. While they pounded out a country aesthetic, stage crew set up a vintage living room set, complete with a wine red satin couch and illuminated box lamp. Instead of retiring the old acoustic, Josh Farro carried on over to the living room set where they group performed a throng of acoustics including “When It Rains” and “Misguided Ghosts”, the crowd never ceasing to sing each word. Williams herself was brought to claim that despite the fact that the tour was only several shows in, Connecticut was by far pulverizing the competition. They plowed through the set list with unyielding passion and ferocity, only rarely stopping to take it all in. With only a two song encore of “Brick By Boring Brick” and “Misery Business”, the stage was turned from a casual setup to a block party as a result of four fans (all pint sized females) being brought bride style onto the stage for the bridge and conclusion of the latter of the encore. One fan took command of Farro’s guitar solo, another was granted the task of the remaining vocals, and the other two were there to, well, be there. The fans did a terrific take on the song, all carrying on with candor unsuspected of the average fan up until the sad end when confetti blasters sent orange, red, and yellow paper bits whirling through the air. It looked as though Williams’ hair was raining down on the crowd in jumbo clumps. Paramore came to the stage unsure of what to expect and must have been pleasantly surprised by the sincerity carried in fans because Williams and outfit seemed to be feeding off the energy, using it to fuel their own. Connecticut has more than the Constitution and Charter Oak to brag about. The quant New England state can now gloat giving Paramore a run for their money… that and Nutmeg.

Set list:
1. Ignorance
2. Feeling Sorry
3. That's What You Get
4. For A Pessimist, I'm Pretty Optimistic
5. Emergency
6. Playing God
7. Careful
8. Decode
9. You Ain't Woman Enough (acoustic) (Loretta Lynn cover)
10. When It Rains (acoustic)
11. Where The Lines Overlap (acoustic)
12. Misguided Ghosts (acoustic)
13. Let The Flames Begin
14. Crushcrushcrush
15. Pressure
16. Looking Up
17. The Only Exception
18. Brick By Boring Brick
19. Misery Business

All photos and writing by Alex Remy. All photos taken at the show can be seen in HD here:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Daisy by Brand New [Album Review]

Daisy [Brand New]

After 2006 saw the New York outfit’s The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me it was hard to believe the group could follow-up such a masterpiece. Proceeding the sorrowful almost acoustic “Luca” and hard-hitting indie success “Jesus”, Daisy had much to live up to three years later. Not only that, but changing attitudes within the bands posed a threat to the outcome of the group’s fourth release. Years of obeying the music industry’s rules and regulations had seen Brand New become wary and worn from the everyday standards and made them somewhat pessimistic concerning the band’s (and music world’s) future. Tired of doing things only to please others and never themselves, Jesse Lacey and his gang of Long Island musicians vowed to only say how they felt, no riddles or fluff added. They were going to be more straight forward with themselves and their art. And Daisy is a testament to this. Instead of the band’s converging negativity causing a downward pull, Daisy entertains a raw, gritty honesty never seen before in a Brand New album, nonetheless in music history. Exploring a circumference of bluegrass guitar, heavy hitting drum and bass, and vocals teetering between a sweet and tender serenade and a fiery, guttural howl, Daisy hits every mark in music history. Elements from indie, punk, screamo, and classic rock all compile onto one plot, one album. The ten tracks explore themes of death, love, dreaming, desolation and despair. It seems as though the past three years have brought more pain quintet than thought. Amongst the most note worthy songs are “Sink”, by far the most hardcore song off the record driven by Lacey’s bare but intense war cry, and “At The Bottom”, the sole single off the release and the most intense and candid of the lot. This is not an album to listen to sporadically, but an album beautiful from start to finish. As “Vices” opens with an old time show tune, the recurring theme of vintage recordings pops up again and again to give a consistency to Daisy, a consistency very rarely seen anymore, and plows on until “Noro” sadly comes to an end with the same distinctly melancholy clip. The album finally comes full circle, no matter how much pain the Brand New camp had to suffer to achieve it. But damn did a good album come out of it. Maybe one of the best ever made, if not only of 2009.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

My Writing Sample

I'm sending this writing sample to a place I'm applying to. Any thoughts?

Stay: SoCal Is Right At Your Door

Sounds like early millennium, glorified shorelines. Sounds like a sunny summer. Sounds like California. Sounds like anything but the waves of Boston Harbor lapping at the concrete. The Beantown power-pop quartet Stay sounds like anything and everything but what they really are. Instead of being the simple pop-punk outfit, immortalizing the lazy days of summer in a four minute time slot, they are a mark on a timeline of modern rock history. They take all that the radio prized in the punk-pop hay day when beach bands flourished and every East Coast dreamer hoped for the day that The O.C. was real life, long coastal drives in the hot sun with nothing but the wind blowing your hair and love on your mind, and transplant it directly into 2008 with the Games With Girls EP. This is nostalgia at its best.

Stay dismantles the Indie, big city stereotypes and makes 2003 worthy tunes that still manages to stay relevant to 2010’s punk-pop culture. “Run Wit’ Me” opens the Games With Girls EP on Highway 1 along the Los Angeles-Orange County border in a top down Cadillac until at the very end, after miles of beautiful beaches, lands listeners in the areas of NoCal, “Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis”, feeling sea-salt refreshed and puppy love ridden. Stay brings the California beach dream directly to the New England outlets of Boston.

For that post-high school, road trip high all over again, catch Stay at the Middle East Downstairs with Down With Webster on July 11th! Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. So get on it soon!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Techno on the Brain

First times are always the best. The experiences are so foreign and fresh that they are invigorating. Experience is always great: you have more knowledge of the situation and can take a more intimate view on the situation, constantly learning more than you knew. But at the same time, when something is so strange, you almost feel as if there was a belonging. When you find that right thing it feels oh so right. And no, I am not indeed speaking of losing my virginity, at least not in the literal sense. I'm talking about life changing at the flick of a switch. We as humans have these moments quite consistently in our lives. I was 15 when I first went to Warped Tour. There, I learned that I wasn't so strange after all and that, even if you were not exactly like everyone else, it was still OK. My first day of high school, at the tender age of 13, I finally began to understand that some discomfort was necessary in life. At 17, I received my license and was taught the true meaning of the beginning of freedom. When I was 18, I started to enjoy life and be Jim Carey's "Yes Man". Last night was yet another change in movement. I am aging only in experience, not in years. I am one of the lucky few.

A rave is a strange thing. You never know what to expect. It could either be the bump and grind of a hip-hop flooded dance floor or the ball-sweat stench in a hazy underground room. The latter was the only that happened to be slightly true. By time 2 AM drove on through the room was indeed thick with stage smoke and a sharp hamster cage scent. While that was true of most of the music gigs I had been to, this wasn't exactly the same situation. Walking into The Warehouse deep in the spires of Hartford, I debated leaving almost instantly. The room was pressed in awkward eye shifting and shuffling. Only a few diehards were already at when the 9 PM role call hit. Disembodied glowsticks jived and thrashed in the dark. Only when the strobe lights and lasers sparkled did it become apparant that there were people attached to the shining green and blue viles, faces lit in the already building fog. Characters straight out of Dance Dance Revolution and the Neon East district from The Urbz: Sims in the City flocked from the three rooms (each dedicated to different Techno styles). Beaded bracelets were in style and so were fur rimmed high heals. It was almost as if this were no longer a small American City, but a futuristic Techno hub in Japan. Or maybe Mars. There were flashing pacifiers, fingertip lights, knitted cat ears, neon war paints, and an amazing abundance of Jolly Rancher lollipops (whoever knew there was such a candy that is, by the way, fantastically tasteful). Being one of the few not rolling on Ecstacy, I found no need for many of those things, but instead found it all entertaining and grand, taking in every moment like it was the last time I would ever get to see a glowing object.

As the main room began to fill more and more with enthusiastic dancers (but not to the point of suffocation) I allowed myself to unwind. For once, I wasn't the pretentious nay-sayer I always seemed to find myself being. For once, I danced and didn't feel like a fool. I had no clue who any of the DJ's were. The rest of the crowd, on the other hand, seemed to know the acts very well. This was obviously a culture of its own. Ravers knew when to stop and start dancing, what moves to use, how to make a "rave circle-pit", the words (though sparse) to the remixes, how to dress, everything. I almost felt out of the loop or more so, like I had been missing out on something important, life changing even. And after I confirmed these feelings in the pit of my stomache, I finally let loose. And before I knew it, it was time to think about heading back to my Connecticut hills, the night not being even close to ending. This was when I discovered that it was another one of those moments. I let go of all my convictions and defunct personality and found that this was really what life was about. It was about not always being serious, it was about taking those moments and making them intro a string of events that in turn, creates your existence. As Cormac McCarthy said, "...Your life is made out of the days it’s made out of. Nothin else." I thank Cormac McCarthy and I thank Pendulum because without that I would have never realized that this should be what my life is made out of.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

25 Best Songs You've Probably Never Heard

25 Top Picks from my iTunes that you’ve probably never heard (outside of my Facebook stream). Mind you, this is for the "general public" (I.E. Not for those like me who constantly devour music magazines). A lot of these groups are featured frequently in magazines or are viral in the underground music world (here or elsewhere). Enjoy!

P.S. DO NOT ILLEGALY DOWNLOAD THIS STUFF IF YOU LIKE IT! If you do, don't complain when there's only shit music on the radio.

P.S.S. Don't support We Are the Fallen. They are American Idol trash that is just trying way too hard to recreate Evanescence. Ben Moody, get over it. Amy Lee was a bitch, your days in the band ended. Please, stop. Rocky, you're still awesome. Find another band. Evanescence is just garbage anyways.


25 Top Picks from my iTunes that you’ve probably never heard (outside of my Facebook stream

Smoke Fairies – Living With Ghosts
Heavy on the Blues influence, Smoke Fairies belch out a folk-pop hymn in all its glory.

WetDog – Perfect Crime
A fast paced, commercial worthy indie tune and that it is. Just listen already!

Russian Circles – Station
Purely instrumentals, this is nearly 9 minutes of relentless hard rock. Feel the intensity!

Pulled Apart By Horses – Back to Fuck Yeah
Full on screaming made tolerable with a melodic and sometimes poppy undertone. Too much? Try for the more mainstream Brand New.

We Were Promised Jetpacks – Quiet Little Voices
Music fans should be promised more songs like this. Scottish, sullen, and surprisingly tasteful.

The Cliffs – Ordinary Eyes
The bastard child of Grunge and modern indie studio rock, this is what Nirvana would have sounded like if they had been more polished and refined and… foreign.

Birds of Tokyo – The Saddest Thing I Know (AMERICANS don’t know them. What a shame…)
Australian group Birds of Tokyo drives their new single home with a brackish Ragtime-Alternative-Hard Rock number.

Chase Long Beach – We’ve Got Pockets Like Nobody’s Business
Chase Long Beach boasts having another flame-haired beauty with a hearty voice in the music business. It may not be Hayley Williams, but its second best. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Big D and the Kid’s Table, and every female fronted punk-pop band converges on one plot in “We’ve Got Pockets Like Nobody’s Business” to make a stellar tune.

Deals Gone Bad – Movin’ On
Soul, punk, The Verve, Spose, music to make babies to, this song’s got it all!

Isles and Glaciers – Hills Like White Elephants
As one of the “higher end” songs on the list, Isles and Glaciers creates the emo genre while adding a little Michael Jackson caliber vocals without making you cringe.

Autopilot Off – Make A Sound
A slot on Linkin Park’s Projekt Revolution demo CD is probably the most success this band has ever seen. Now defunct, Autopilot Off is probably one of, if not the best, early millennium punk-pop band to have emerged from the craze. This is a band that knew they weren’t going to be big, but made the best of it. With great vocal melodies and a charging beat to complement, “Make A Sound” (also the title track) is a song that seems to end faster than it should.

MUCC – Libra
For the record, the average American does not speak Japanese. But that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying this song. This is what Octane would sound like if it were a Japanese oriented station. Awkward lyrics in a creeping circus breakdown into thick instrumentals, creating a new face for nu-metal.

Butterfingers – Bomb the Bass
Smooth. P.S. This is Australian mainstream.

Far – Water & Solutions

Totimoshi- The Dance of Snakes

Yelawolf – Pop the Trunk

The Cliks – Back in Style

Closure – Look Out Below (If you’ve seen Darkness Falls, you know this song.)

Dead Letter Circus – Tremors

Fit for Rivals – Girl in a Coma

Girl in a Coma – Clumsy Sky

Jets to Brazil – Sea Anemone

Marina and the Diamonds – Oh No!

Scarling – City Noise

Closure in Moscow – Sweet#hart
That Jesus frock is real. He really does sign like a God on this Warped Tour ready, Asian tinged punk trip.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Spin and their 25 Years

It seems as though Spin is using their 25th Anniversary to their advantage. Every month that has been issued under the 25 years has been, so far, quality. They've added new sections (I.E. "25 Years of Body Mods") and they brought the actual humor back to the Spin 20. Pick up July's issue. There are exquisite articles about Paramore and The Gaslight Anthem among others. Check it out along with NME's special Muse edition, a complete anthology on the Teignmouth three-piece.