Back in college at Syracuse (yes, that's where I went, ask anyone, except those who attended Rutgers College of Engineering in the early 90s), one of the many joys I experienced was my nascent discovery of what was then called "alternative rock" and probably used to be called new wave or punk and is now called indie rock if anything. That music and its antecedents (is that an appropriate word, wait I'm an author so I should know the answer to that, but let's move on) has given me unknown joy over the past 25+ years, and Dinosaur Jr. were right in that initial wave of college discovery -- well not the first wave, the first wave were mostly new wave acts from the UK who peaked in the 80s but I didn't discover until college in the 90s (The Smiths, New Order, The Cure) but that second wave, bands that were actually putting out amazing new albums but also reached back into 80s for their start, these bands were really the bulk of my college memories, or later college memories, my sophomore and junior and senior years (there were less memories during senior year after I fully discovered a separate joy of punishing my liver for its years of sobriety) but anyway these bands and those albums and that music is to me inseparable from my memory of college -- The Jesus & Mary Chain, Pixies, R.E.M., The Replacements, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Husker Du, Buffalo Tom, Pearl Jam, and on and on. I remember sitting in my room for hours between classes "studying" while listening to a copy of Automatic for the 38th straight time, or prepping for a night out of drinking with my roommate Dan's copy of Pearl Jam's Ten cranking throughout our tiny upstairs apartment on Robinson Street (I'm sure there's a Robinson Street in Syracuse, NY -- don't Google it...). And it was there, in college, that one band stood above all the others, right up top, with the double shot of early 90s releases Green Mind and Where You Been. No song to me says college to me more than "Out There."
"I feel OK
Thanks to all who wished me the best in my (belated) return to blogging. As promised at the old site (which is currently still functioning but will be linked or archived), this is mostly just to get me into practice of writing my blog again. I'm not sure what the format of posts will be but since I'm used to blogging about indie rock and my favorite band of the past two years has just now sent me a press release publicizing their new album, I figure what better place for a post.
The World is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die are a 7 or 8 piece collective that has released a couple full-lengths, several singles, EPs, and now this, their officially second album ever, Harmlessness, and on my first two listens I'm blown away. Not that I'm surprised. I'm blown away by everything this band does. Yes, it's emo. Yes they are wearing their hearts on their sleeves with an earnestness that any cynic will dismiss before getting through their first song. Yes every show I've been to has been stocked with teenagers who like fake punk bands like (name withheld because who I am to judge) and yet... and yet... I don't know. It's the post-rock flourishes or the fullness of the sound or the chord progressions that fill every song. It's like they make music exactly on my wavelength and I can't help but be amazed. Before Harmlessness, they've probably only written 25 to 30 proper songs and yet I've listened to them over and over and over again for 2 straight years, never tiring, always wanting more. I've taken to following their recommends on Tumblr and following bands they've recommended or are tangentially related to, boasting positive (Be Still, Cody) and negative (name withheld) results. And through it all... just... yeah. I mean look at these quotes, I'm not alone here... sometimes earnestness works.
"Breathtaking." – NPR
"Come on!" -- Gob Bluth
Visit Bandcamp to listen to Harmlessness now:
This blog belongs to Bill Elenbark.
Lover of songs. Writer of wrongs.