POZ, AP.net Presents: Topshelf Records CMJ Showcase
PropertyOfZack is incredibly excited to announce, in conjunction with AbsolutePunk, our sponsorship of Topshelf Records’ CMJ Showcase in Brooklyn, NY on October 19th. The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, Slingshot Dakota, A Great Big Pile Of Leaves, Diamond Youth, Prawn, and several other unannounced great guests will all be playing. Check out extra details for the event above and RSVP on Facebook here!
I’m super stoked that we’re doing this, and with such a great lineup no less. Sadly, I’m going to be out of town that weekend, but I promise if you go you will have a blast!
POZ 100 Words Or Less Podcast: Matt Pike From The Kenmore Agency
It brings PropertyOfZack great pleasure today to announce a brand new partnership with the 100 Words Or Less Podcast brought to you by Ray Harkins. PropertyOfZack has been interested in adding Podcasts to our network for a long time now, and 100 Words Or Less certainly fits the bill. Ray Harkins, the man behind 100 Words Or Less, used to sing in a band called Taken from 1997-2004 and used to play in a band called Mikoto from 2005-2009. Ray has also worked for Century Media Records doing A&R, currently works at Peta2, and is a co-owner of the great Sound And Fury Festival.
We’re stoked to be starting off the partnership today with a great new Podcast with our good friend and Contributor Blogger Matt Pike from The Kenmore Agency (Man Overboard, La Dispute). Ray and Matt mixed it up and spoke about his first tour booking experience, how difficult of a balancing act growing up in punk and hardcore is, and growing up on the East Coast.
I started listening to 100 Words Or Less many months ago when Ray did an episode with Riley from Thrice. He’s a great interviewer and really brings the best out of his guests. Stoked that he’s joining the PoZ family!
(Also, I now subscribe to 40-something podcasts. I think I have a problem. Actually, I know I have a problem, because I’m perpetually behind in listening to new music because of it!)
POZ BandsOnBands: Smash Mouth On Split Enz
Mondays mean BandsOnBands, and we’re excited to be posting the PropertyOfZack feature today with Paul Delisle of Smash Mouth. We know we don’t cover bands in Smash Mouth’s vein much, but how could we pass up the chance to help the band promote their new album, Magic, which comes out on September 4th. Paul wrote about Split Enz, a band that was around in the late-70’s and early-80’s in the “new wave” scene from New Zealand, and he did a great job showing his love for the band. Make sure to listen to great songs by Split Enz on Spotify here and check out what Paul had to say about one of his biggest influences below!
From Paul Delisle of Smash Mouth:
It’s funny how rock ‘n roll history (now that it’s old enough to actually have a history) tends to immortalize certain bands from specific eras and genres while often ignoring the true greats. The KKK might take me away for saying this, but let’s face it: The emperor has no clothes. The Ramones weren’t very good. (How many people who own a Ramones T-shirt actually listen to the Ramones?). Dead Kennedys, for one, were just…way better. Same thing with the Sex Pistols. They weren’t even really a punk band (mute the lead vocals and they’re basically Foghat). Hell, even 999 kicked their asses.
Bold statements, I know. And I ain’t tryin’ to piss anyone off here, but I’m pretty sure at least some of you know what I’m talking about. It’s like with the New York Dolls or the Velvet Underground. No one listened to that crap. It’s just cool to say you did.
Which somehow brings us to Split Enz. Co-fronted by brothers Tim and Neil Finn, Split Enz was a late seventies-early eighties “new wave” band from New Zealand. Although these Tasmanian angels were pigeonholed with the quirky/silly “new wave” tag, the breadth of their oeuvre defies any kind of categorization. And believe you me, these puckish Kiwis with the fucked up hair-do’s could downright ROCK YOUR ASS OFF live. I saw them at the old Keystone Palo Alto in 1982. At the time I was on the fence between traditional butt rock and the new-to-me-yet-fascinating world of punk/new wave/alternative/whatever. This was the show that left no doubt what side my heart was on. “That’s for me”. They were that powerful.
At the height of their creative forces, Split Enz released (in succession) three timeless masterpieces: True Colours; Waiata; and Time and Tide. I always thought “True Colours” and “Waiata” could easily have been two discs of a double album. With “Waiata” simply continuing the ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it perfection of “True Colours”. Maybe just a bit more rockin’ (production). What I dug most about Split Enz was the risks they were willing to take. Like the straight up ballads. It’s like they were saying, “Fuck it. We’re on the bottom of the world. We’ll do whatever the fuck we want”. That’d be awesome if they said that.
“I got you” (from True Colours) was their only real U.S. hit. But criminally under-exposed gems such as “One Step Ahead”, “Hard Act to Follow”, “History Never Repeats”, and the exhilarating opus “Six Months in a Leaky Boat” shoulda just as easily been huge. Still, what a body of work.
This might be the most marvelous display of whatthefuckery I’ve had opportunity to lay witness to here. Incredible!
Also incredible: in 4 short years, we’ve gone from making fun of Smashmouth-Looking-Guy in that silly Tumblr t-shirt ad to actual content from actual Smash Mouth.
POZ Stream: Stop Dead (Ryan Of This Century) - Control
PropertyOfZack is excited to be streaming a new Stop Dead song called “Control.” Stop Dead is a side-project from Ryan of This Century, and “Control’ is the project’s new single. Download the song on iTunes here and stream the track below by clicking “Read More.”
This is fantastic! Slightly off-center indie-pop that’s light years away from (and better than) anything This Century have done.
POZ Exclusive: Tilian Pearson Is The New Frontman Of Dance Gavin Dance
Dance Gavin Dance Replace Jonny Craig With New Singer
POZ killin it with the scoops today
POZ BandsOnBands: Such Gold On Sparklehorse
Mondays mean BandsOnBands, and we’re excited to be posting the PropertyOfZack feature today with Such Gold. The band is gearing up to release their debut album, Misadventures, tomorrow via Razor & Tie Records, so make sure to download the LP here. In this week’s feature, Skylar Sarkis from the band dives into one of his largest influences, Sparklehorse. Skylar’s story on how he came to fall in love with Sparklehorse and the way the band taught him about layering music and pure honesty within the confines of an album. Make sure to listen to great songs by Sparklehorse on Spotify here and check out what Skylar had to say about one of his biggest influences below!
From Skylar Sarkis of Such Gold:
A few months before joining Such Gold, I had gotten my hands on Sparklehorse’s Distorted Ghost EP. Whenever I had to do long drives, the name Sparklehorse would always pop out at me and I’d always throw on the first track, which was a rendition of the song “Happy Man.” The song immediately got stuck in my head and so I would put it on for every drive or in my headphones every night before bed. I ended up listening through the whole EP a few times, which includes a cover of Daniel Johnston’s “My Yolk is Heavy” (didn’t realize that until much later). From listening to the EP, I started to fall in love with what Sparklehorse was doing with layers and the reuse of seemingly abstract lyrical themes like horses, pianos, oceans, and various other animals and pieces of nature.
After a while of just listening to Distorted Ghost, I picked up Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot. This is when I started to get really hooked. Having always been an Elliott Smith fan, I loved how the album had such dynamic variety; quiet acoustic songs recorded on four-track followed by rocking multi-instrumental lo-fi compositions. Mark Linkous, the man behind Sparklehorse, seemed to have a way of layering simple but beautiful guitar/piano/pedal steel etc. parts together, putting everything in it’s proper place but never doing too much of anything. At the same time, I noticed to a far greater extent the amount his lyrics relied on his own impressionistic style and reuse of abstract themes that seemed to have meaning only to him. This sort of self-serving art excites me, especially because it isn’t the kind that is inaccessible at all. Its introversion is what makes it so endearing to begin with.
I remember watching a documentary about Linkous after I had gotten deeply into Vivadixie where he talks about returning from LA after quitting his old band, The Dancing Hoods, and trying to escape a heroin habit. At one point while being interviewed, he says, “As soon as I stopped trying to be a rock star—that’s when I started making good music.”
This is unexpected, and unexpectedly awesome
POZ Session: Modern Baseball
Modern Baseball is a young band from Philadelphia, PA that we like over here at PropertyOfZack. If we had to, we would best recommend them to fans of The Front Bottoms, so they are definitely worth checking out. Check out a great Session with the band performing stripped down versions of “Hope,” “The Weekend,” and “It’s Cold Out Here” below by clicking “Read More!”
well at least there’s some baseball left in Philly
POZ Review: William Beckett - Winds Will Change
When we last left our hero, William Beckett was gingerly stretching his wings on his first solo release after years fronting scene mainstays The Academy Is…. But if Walk The Talk found Beckett tentatively inching away from TAI’s sonic palette, the new Winds Will Change—the second of three EPs Beckett intends to issue to inaugurate this new phase of his career—is a dead sprint towards parts unknown.
Each of the four tracks here approaches pop from its own discrete direction. “Scarlett (Tokyo)” drops Beckett, a notorious cinema buff (he’s gone so far as to host a weekly movie club for fans via his blog), in the midst of the Scarlett Johansson/Bill Murray vehicle Lost In Translation. Light and lithe, racing through twinkly keys like a bullet train on click-clack rhythms and a slickly pulsating bassline, the track practically oozes propulsion, darting through a thrilling series of subtly metastasizing changes that serve as the bridge. It’s a veritable study in forward motion, a triumphant convergence of theme and form, echoing the film’s themes of distance, longing and separation both lyrically and sonically.
Just as good is “Dig A Hole,” where fuzzy, menacing verses blossom into a beautifully expansive chorus lofted over thudding percussion by cinematic strings and a hint of falsetto. Meanwhile, the date-gone-wrong tale “Great Night” (“I’ve had a great night // But this wasn’t it, oh no”) bounds forward on a boozy sing-along chorus underpinned by rollicking barroom piano, near giddy in its nothing-you-can-do-but-laugh approach. And “Warriors” takes nearly the opposite tack, a streamlined, accusatory retro-futurist rocker, slinky single-string guitar and electronic flourishes zooming around Beckett, hissing like a burning log at the center. Each track is distinctive, and distinctly excellent.
I try not to rave too too much in my reviews, but I absolutely adore this EP. Between this and the MCS album, this past month or so has finally started producing some things I can see placing highly on my year-end list. This one’s a gimme.
POZ BandsOnBands: William Beckett On The Cure
We kicked off our brand new BandsOnBands feature last week with The Early November, and we are so happy to be bringing it back on PropertyOfZack with William Beckett. William is gearing up to release his second solo EP, Winds Will Change, tomorrow before heading out on a great summer tour with Relient K and Hellogoodbye. So make sure to download the EP here and check out all of his upcoming tour dates here. In this week’s feature, William dives into an influence that many fans of The Academy Is… and his new solo work might not particularly see point blank, and that band is The Cure. Make sure to listen to The Cure’s greatest hits on Spotify here and check out what Will had to say about one of his biggest influences below!
From William Beckett:
I must have been around 6 years old, playing with GI Joes on the living room floor as my dad vacuumed circles around me, when I saw on the TV a pale faced man with wild black hair sticking up and down in all directions mouthing a song that I couldn’t hear over the Hoover. When my dad was finished and I could finally hear what the sad looking man was singing, I remember a feeling of mesmerization and curiosity. When the song was over I asked my dad who it was. He said it was the boogeyman. It was really Robert Smith of The Cure.
My musical influences span multiple decades thanks to my parents. My mom was the 80’s new wave fanatic. From Duran Duran and New Order to Tears For Fears and The Cure, I was exposed to this sound at a young age. My dad on the other hand was more into early 90’s alternative like Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots and Alice in Chains. Those influences coupled with early 2000’s indie and emo bands I was in love with help shape my taste and tendencies today. All things considered, no one sparked more creativity and opened more doors for than than The Cure.
There was a period of time from my senior year in high school until I was 19 or so when I would listen to their albums “Disintegration”, “Wish” and “Head On The Door” back to back to back on repeat while I wrote poetry for one of the many girls who captured my heart, past and present. No other band could fill me with such sorrowful whimsy, the kind that sticks you in the side and stays forever. I would play these records for girls I was courting and use it as a barometer of compatibility. You don’t like it? You don’t “get it”? Well then that’s the end of that. Yes, my obsession ran deep. My love of The Cure also ended up opening up other interesting doors by getting into bands that inspired or were inspired by The Cure. Bands like the Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine, Echo + The Bunnymen, Bahaus, The Waterboys…. I fell in love with them all.
This is really wonderful. All these 80s influences in Bill’s work are starting to come out in his new EP, which I am absolutely smitten with, so it totally makes sense that the Cure would be such a key band for him.
POZ BandsOnBands: The Early November On Belle & Sebastian
BandsOnBands is a brand new weekly feature that we are incredibly excited to be debutting today with The Early November on the heels of their release for In Currents. The feature is meant for your favorite bands to clue you in on some of their largest influences that don’t necessarily bleed through into their music. For example, you would imagine from The Early November’s earliest releases that they were greatly affected by mid-90’s emo, but would you necessarily assume Belle & Sebastian has had a lasting effect on their musical journey? Probably not, and this is what BandsOnBands is all about: A great way to expose you to some of your favorite band’s “hidden” influences. That being said, read up on Joseph Marro of The Early November feature on Belle & Sebastian below while listening to a Spotify Playlist he made on the band here and make sure to download The Early November’s In Currents as well!
From Joseph Marro of The Early November:
In 1999, I was your typical emo kid. 17 years old, Cuffed jeans, Sauconys, carabiner, black frame glasses & thrift store little league shirt from a town I’ve never been to. Musically, I was (and still am) very into The Promise Ring, Jets To Brazil, The Alkaline Trio, Jimmy Eat World, Saves The Day, Lifetime, etc. A lot of “classic” albums were being released & nowhere was as exciting to be growing up & going to shows than New Jersey at that time. I was working at a Hot Topic where the staff was made up of subcultural archetypes: emo (myself), the punk (my friend Christian), the goth (Lillian), the nu-metal dude (?), the electronic/industrial guy (George) & a hard to classify indie-pop girl (Kathryn). She wore cardigans with homemade buttons of bands I’ve only ever heard the names of and every time it was her turn to choose the music the store would be filled with lo-fi, jangley, gentle, infectiously catchy pop songs with singers who always sounded tired. Then, you’d call her “twee”, now, maybe a “hipster”. Who knows.
I had a gift certificate to Sam Goody (I’m old) & knew they didn’t carry much I liked so I asked Kathryn to suggest something. She said Belle & Sebastian which I assumed was a two person duo like Simon & Garfunkel or Milli Vanilli. I asked her what kind of music it was & she said “pop” so then I assumed it sounded like The Promise Ring. I purchased what was their newest record at the time, Fold Your Hand’s Child, You Walk Like A Peasant. Everything about this record said “You won’t get this” to me. The album title, strange cover art, the plain typography, the record label I’ve never heard of…all of it. I popped it in the CD player on the drive home and sure enough, I didn’t. Why is this singer whispering? Skip. Is that a harpsichord?! Next. Is this drummer using brushes? Lame. There are more violins than guitar! Dumb. FLUTES?! Take it out. I hated it immediately. It was placed on the last page of the Case Logic CD binder (remember those?). For weeks it went ignored until one night, where for some reason I wanted to listen to it. Not because I desired to hear the songs but to instead to observe why someone would write music like that in this day & age. Almost as if I was mad at the record because I didn’t get it. Upon that play through, I started to listen to the words & the stories unfold. Brilliant stories. Each song read like a completely different novel. As the tone changed, a melancholy cello or trumpet would come in to highlight the mood. Everything had a place & no one was playing just to play. It was all carefully orchestrated to paint these pictures perfectly. Somehow it sounded like the 1960’s but still modern. Completely timeless. A eureka moment.
Really love this new feature we’re running. And not just because If You’re Feeling Sinister is one of my all-time favorite albums.
Ok, maybe a little because of that.
But I’m looking forward to seeing what other bands contribute going forward too.