12/12/2012 Leave a comment
11/04/2012 2 Comments
Heyyyooo, KLYAM (Chris and Glen) had a quality, fireside chat (spiritually) with SKIMASK drummer (Z). Topics included the band’s roots, their upcoming LP Cute Mutant to be released on Sophomore Lounge/Infinity Cat/100% Breakfast, the importance of house/DIY Shows in the music community, their tour with JEFF the Brotherhood, Iggy Pop (the crazy political figure), and a number of other wacky, off the wall topics. Just read the damn thing below! Make sure you send the little ones to bed first though. Tuck em’ in real tight, cause America’s worst nightmare SKIMASK is ready to play.
KLYAM: When did you guys meet and how did ya get started as SKIMASK?
(Z): We met working at a bar in Boston that is now defunct, another cool spot in the city swallowed up by the yuppies. We were flirting with the idea of starting a band since we listened to good music and liked each other. I went ahead and booked us a show to ensure that we would actually start a band, practice, play shows and not just talk about it. We had a month to come up with what we wanted to do and write songs. It was pretty natural once we got started.
KLYAM: SKIMASK has one of the more unconventional set-ups instrumentally speaking. How did you guys decide on this set-up? We haven’t seen any other bands with a similar look/sound. You are able to have that punk rock and roll sound without having a guitar.
(Z): A while back our “mouth-bassist” did a one man show where he played drums and hummed into a microphone hooked up to electronics – similar to the minimal set up he has now. I saw this and was blown away. Somehow I convinced him to let me play drums and coming from a punk background of playing in hardcore bands, our two sounds just merged. With the profit growing up on DC hard-core, and never having been in a band before he added this vocal rawness. He would expel these Ian Svenonius-esque lyrics with such raw energy. Adding stage banter and insults to the live show just added to the aesthetic. The lack of guitar was more of an accident then a planned out idea. It simply worked without guitars, so we stuck with that sound. “No strings attached.”
KLYAM: Any key inspirations or influences on SKIMASK?
(Z): JEFF the Brotherhood, Chain and the Gang, Fat History Month, and the Boston/Allston scene in general. If kids can make amazing music, put on house shows, continue doing what they love while working shit jobs and still be able to survive in this expensive city. That is inspiring.
KLYAM: How has your sound evolved over the past few years?
(Z): Not sure if our sound evolved much since we started. We just try and keep it simple. Primitive, and add a small amount of catchiness to the nonsense.
KLYAM: You guys play a prominent role in the Boston underground. What are your thoughts on the local music scene and, in your experience, how far has it come and where do you see it going? Do you think Boston is on its way to receiving wider recognition nationally?
(Z): For the last three/four years it’s been on the up n up. But, as of late, the scene now is in a bit of a lull with Gay Gardens and Whitehaus shutting down. Every September new kids move into show houses and new neighbors move in next door. Some neighbors are cool, but others just don’t dig loud parties or shows on Monday- Thursday nights. Some kids running the houses only do shows a few times a week keeping it on the low. For the houses that host lots of touring bands and have lots of shows each week, the neighbors call the cops with noise complaints, the cops find out what your up to and that’s the end of your house. There will always be more houses popping up that have shows and more warehouse spots.
As for Boston gaining some wide recognition nationally, that is debatable. If you talk to any national touring band that has come through Gay Gardens or Whitehaus chances are they will tell you Boston always has the best shows. If you ask a touring band that are “bigger” or more “popular” that play House of Blues or the Royale or even Brighton Music Hall, you’ll get the opposite reaction. These venues are stale and therefore it’s hard for people to let loose and have a good time at these venues therefore resulting in a boring audience for the touring band. Boring audience usually equals boring show. Unfortunately in my opinion Boston has traditionally been a city of boring show goers. Also this city can be very corny when it comes to its music publications that are seen nationally. This makes Boston come off to the nation as corny. Again, this is just my opinion.
KLYAM: NOW NOW NOW – let’s talk about Cute Mutant. Congrats! Can you tell us about the recording process/recording length/studio/etc?
(Z): The recording process was the best time. Doug Demay recorded us at his home studio in Cambridge. We recorded in the isolation room in the basement which is separate from the foundation of the house making it totally sound and vibration proof. This room is also where Exusamwa practices which is a trip if you think about the music that they create in there. It was very comfortable, shoes off, stress free and Doug is pretty much the coolest guy on earth. He bought us food every night even though we put him through hell. We were only in the studio for a weekend, then went back for a few mixing sessions. All in all the process didn’t take long and we are so thankful that Doug was involved every step of the way. Big thanks to him.
KLYAM: Cute Mutant is being released on Infinity Cat and Sophomore Lounge, what’s the scoop on this? Both labels have intimidating catalogs. What’s it mean to you to be associated with these labels? Infinity Cat is a high profile national label. A lot of the bands on the label tour incessantly, is this something Kids across America can expect of SKIMASK?(Z): Well Sophomore Lounge Records put out our first release, which was a 200 run split 12″ EP with a band from Chicago called Geffika. They were a natural choice to go through again. Infinity Cat Recordings, on the other hand, was a bit harder to get on board. Like you said, they mostly put out bands that tour extensively and relentlessly so for them to put us out (a band that doesn’t tour much that is relatively unknown beyond boston) I think it was a big decision for them to make. They’ve heard the record and though it’s a stretch from what they normally put out, they’re a small enough label that they can still take chances on things they feel strongly about. Jake Orall, head of Infinity Cat, is a friend of ours and a huge fan of Fat Day (an epic, groundbreaking band that Doug Demay was in). He has seen us numerous times and has faith in what we do and what were about. We are so grateful that they are a part of this release. 100% Breakfast is also helping to put this out which we are psyched to be on. This is the label that Doug runs and that Fat Day and Exusamwa are on. To be on labels with such great rosters is mind bending to me. We feel privileged to be working with everyone.
KLYAM: You guys have toured the East Coast with JEFF the Brotherhood, how was that experience?
(Z): It was a real trip. JTB are the greatest dudes. They take unknown bands on tour with them because they like them, not because they’ll bring out more people as most bands do. Playing the Bowery Ballroom was insane. Watching JTB from the back was insane; just a couple years earlier I was in the crowd watching them play the same stage. Crazy. They are sweet, kind and we are forever grateful to them for giving us that opportunity. I just wish we could do more with them. Forever my favorite.
KLYAM: Alrighty to lighten shit up, what was the lil Prof$t Mohamed like on the playground?
(Z): God, I don’t think I wanna know. Probably someone who was always doing fun and crazy shit, but that I would have been too intimidated to do stuff with.
KLYAM: Not to promote violence, but if you had to get into a physical altercation with a political figure past or present, who would it be?
(Z): Iggy Pop. He’s a crazy person and would probably fight to the death.
KLYAM: Your music is known to incite some crazy fuckin dancing…do you see SKIMASK having its own associated dance?
(Z): Yeah, it’s called, “Do the crusher” (see The Cramps).
KLYAM: Lastly, anything or anybody you want to plug?
(Z): Every Allston band we’ve played with, too big to list. Every touring band that plays house shows or warehouse spots or secret venues. Everybody who comes to these shows for the music more than to just party and who DONATES to touring bands. And lastly Doug Demay because I know he likes seeing his name over and over again. Just kidding Doug!
Keep your eyes open for SKIMASK around Boston and beyond! The new LP is called Cute Mutant and it will be released November 27 on Sophomore Lounge Records, Infinity Cat Recordings, and 100% Breakfast. If you want a quick fix, watch this video here
08/17/2012 Leave a comment
The Orwells recently played four songs for Aquarium Drunkard – three from Remember When (including perennial favorite “Halloween All Year”) and one new one. Check it out: http://www.aquariumdrunkard.com/2012/08/16/the-orwells-aquarium-drunkard-session/
And they got “Artist To Watch” honors at Prefix, which features an interview with the band. Check it out: http://www.prefixmag.com/features/the-orwells/prefix-artist-to-watch-the-orwells/67695/
08/01/2012 1 Comment
Once again, many inspirational quotations from the brains of Ian and Jared.
Meanwhile, Jared and Cole stage a humorous protest against Chick-Fil-A’s recent homophobic media uproar.
“Can’t decide what’s gonna taste better, A chicken sandwich,or Jared’s tongue shoved down my throat”- Cole
07/10/2012 Leave a comment
““A quote that really fucked up my mind is Cole from The Black Lips said, ‘If you have a backup plan, you’re gonna fall back on it.’”
05/29/2012 Leave a comment
The interviewer covered quite a few bases and Bobby and Heather gave detailed responses. That’s how they all should be!
Also, The Hussy is on tour. Here are dates:
6.5 – Fort Worth, TX @ 1919 Hemphill w/ Hunger Artists, Ralpheene
6.6 – Dallas, TX @ TBA
11/28/2011 2 Comments
“Every Monday should have a nickname. Sure, there’s Cyber Monday, but what about the Monday after that?”
Hunter Burgan innocuously pondered this question aloud after I referenced the Cyber Monday launch-day of Post War Science, a screen printing company run by Burgan and Ted Veralrud. The term “company” is, however, an oversimplification. Indeed, Post War Science is more like a glimpse into the world of two best friends. Friends who, relevantly, share a passion for art and other fine things that life has to offer (like coffee and donuts, for starters).
After spending nearly two decades manufacturing various two-of-a-kind screen printed shirts, Burgan and Veralrud have officially unveiled some of their original designs to the public. Additionally, they’ve made said designs available for purchase. But there’s a catch. Each unique design will have a limited quantity available for purchase, and once they are sold, they will never be sold again. The exclusivity, while strict, invites individuals who appreciate similar qualities in apparel design to dive into the PWS world of purely applicative self-expression.
Once “Oatmeal Monday” had been declared a potential nickname for the Monday after Cyber Monday, Burgan and Veralrud spent some time with Kids Like You And Me to discuss their humble beginnings, company goals, and the fact that they’d eventually like to screen print on anything, even Jerry Garcia ties.
Kids Like You and Me: From the moment Post War Science thinks of a design, to the actual manufacturing of shirts, what are the basic steps that go into the process of obtaining a PWS shirt?
Ted Veralrud: First, we come up with a design for a shirt that we would want to wear. The design will then be available (in limited quantities) to the public. If someone wants a shirt with the design, they can go to our site, purchase one, and Hunter and I will get together and print the image onto the shirt.
So, we’ll be doing things the way we’ve always done them, but now, other people can wear our designs as well.
Hunter Burgan: The manufacturing duties are split. The whole company is based on our friendship, and is an extension of our friendship. We work together behind every step of the process.
KLYAM: What made you guys decide to share your personal designs with the public now?
TV: I think we decided to share them with the public 13 years ago…
In the past, we didn’t really have an outlet for it. We’ve worked with the idea and have taken it pretty far, but things didn’t work out the way we wanted them to. Now, anyone can put up a web page and sell anything they want. So we can do that too. Now is the time.
HB: Yeah, the Internet finally came around to us.
TV: Right. I’m sure we could have done it this way quite a few years ago…
KLYAM: Do you guys have any background knowledge in visual design other than Ivan’s class in high school?
HB: We took another screen printing class together in college, but we dropped out of it.
TV: Did we drop out? I think we accrued a whole year of credit. We just never went.
HB: Yeah, I think we got a passing grade just by registering for the class.
TV: We were in the cafeteria a lot. They had burritos… and pinball, I think.
That class was a step backwards from what we had already learned in Ivan’s class. After learning the basics, we eventually bought screens and got started in somebody’s garage.
HB: We made shirts for all of the bands we were in, plus patches and t-shirts for friends. As far as designs go, we also made zines in high school that had our own designs. I went on to design shirts for AFI and other bands I’ve been in.
We’ve had a lot of experience with these types of things, even if we didn’t learn it all in school.
KLYAM: How would you describe PWS designs from a stylistic point of view?
TV: When you think of a design, there are few popular topics you’ll want to cover, like coffee, burritos, donuts…Then we’ll approach the design, but not with a specific style in mind. We just do whatever we want.
HB: The only true requirement we have is that our designs are something that we would want to wear. Something we would like to look at. We’re doing something we think is cool, designs that we know each other would appreciate.
TV: We’ve made shirts before that were basically inside jokes. I don’t know if we’ll ever put those up, because then we’d have to explain what they meant. So we’re doing whatever we want, but, if a shirt doesn’t make sense we can’t put it on our site.
HB: Well, we’ll just do two of those. Or three.
TV: Okay, because there are a few that I want to do. Hunter would appreciate them, but nobody else would! They’ll probably show up though. We’ll narrow it down to three.
KLYAM: Why is the PWS policy, which basically states “Once sold out, the design is never coming back, EVER AGAIN,” so strict?
TV: That’s just the way it has always been. Once we print the shirts, that’s it! Well…one shirt came back.
HB: One shirt did come back, but it was a little bit different. But that’s the deal. That specific design, in the specific way that you see it, will never be done again.
Maybe, maybe years from now, something about the design will be changed. The colors may be different, the head may be cut off, you know.
KLYAM: So even if your Grandma came up to you and really wanted a duplicate of an old design, you would say no?
HB: If my Grandma came back from the dead and asked for a shirt, I might dig into my own personal collection and just give her one of mine.
KLYAM: So you’re saying there ARE exceptions to this strict rule, but only for dead Grandma?
HB: Yes. Well, zombie. Zombie Grandma.
KLYAM: Are designs that were created in the past still accessible? Will customers ever see variations of those designs?
HB: We’re gonna leave some of those designs in the past. Some of them would probably land us with a lawsuit if we attempted to sell them. But a lot of the designs that we plan on using have some sort of inspiration from past designs.
TV: There are some older ones that we were originally going to use, but never printed. Those might show up.
Before you screen print, you have to get a transparency of your image to expose the screen with. I think I have every single one we’ve ever used. So if we did want to go back to an older shirt, I have everything. I’ve never thrown a transparency away.
HB: That’s pretty good!
TV: They’re all stored together in a massive rat’s nest…
KLYAM: That still counts!
KLYAM: Will Post War Science ever take requests for designs, or are the designs completely at your own uninfluenced discretion? For example, if I asked you to design an octopus shirt, would Ted then put his own flair to it, draw the octopus eating a donut, and sell it to the public?
TV: If I’m going to design an octopus eating donuts, he’s going to be eating 8 donuts.
HB: And drinking a cup of coffee.
TV: Oh yeah, right.
HB: You know, that’s a great question because in asking the question, you just answered the question. I don’t think we would consider just any old suggestion. But certainly, somebody could say something that would inspire us. Legally, we can’t consider people’s suggestions.
TV: Yeah, if we start doing that, people will start saying “You stole my idea!” Not unlike the octopus eating 7 donuts and drinking a cup of coffee. That was all our idea.
KLYAM: No you’re right. That octopus idea was all you guys.
TV: Oh yeah, totally.
HB: Exactly. If people want to make suggestions to help remind us of ideas that we’ve already thought of years before, that’s fine. But legally speaking we can’t take suggestions.
KLYAM: Will you ever create designs for bands other than your own band(s)?
HB: I don’t think that’s legal either…
TV: We might come up with some cool fake band names and make those. Which is something I totally thought about doing yesterday, but I didn’t have time.
KLYAM: So that’s legally prohibited even if an artist or musician approaches you to design for them?
HB: You mean like if the Beatles approached us to make a design for their band?
HB: Then we would consider it, maybe. But we’d have to work out a deal. A profits sharing deal.
But really, we’re not mass producing anything. It wouldn’t benefit any band if we made shirts for them. A band’s goal is to sell as many shirts as they can, and that’s not our goal.
TV: But if Pearl Jam wanted 20 shirts, we’d probably do it.
KLYAM: Will you guys ever expand the product line to things like hoodies, or…things like Jerry Garcia ties?
TV: We’re gonna start with t-shirts and small posters for now. We have a lot of ideas for future products that we want to introduce. As far as hoodies, I’d say definitely, but we’ll probably refer to them as hooded sweatshirts.
HB: Yeah, definitely hooded sweatshirts. I don’t know about Jerry Garcia ties. I don’t think we’ll ever do those, but we might just do a different TYPE of tie.
KLYAM: You know what Hunter? I specifically said like Jerry Garcia ties…
TV: If I found a Jerry Garcia tie, I’d probably print on it. And a Rush Limbaugh tie, I’d print on one of those too.
KLYAM: Will PWS be selling designs in-store, or just online?
HB: Right now we’re mostly focused on online sales. We’d have to work it out with a given retailer to do in-store sales. Having said that, if any retailers are reading this and want to approach us with a plan, right on.
TV: In-store sales might be kind of tricky, because we would have to manufacture those shirts in various random sizes. Unless of course someone comes up with an all-sizes-fits-all shirt. That said, if there is anyone reading this who is working on such a shirt, let us know.
KLYAM: Will any other designers/artists contribute to PWS products?
TV: It’s pretty much going to be just us, but we have had contributions from other people before. It just depends. I mean, if we run into Dave Hillis…
He was a dude in Ivan’s class. He was not the greatest artist, but we loved his drawings.
HB: It’s going to be us no matter what, but we might make a special exception. It would have to be a very special exception.
KLYAM: What avenues has PWS considered to spread the word about the company?
HB: Text to…keyboard? What’s the online version of “word of mouth”?
TV: Um… key to screen?
HB: Right, key to screen. For now we’re using digital means. I mean, we’re using word of mouth too. I’m going to go hit the streets later today and start whispering in people’s ears…but most of the promotion will be online.
TV: We’re not necessarily going to run advertisement. We’re starting small. Still, we take the whole process seriously.
HB: Starting small is important. Everything successful that I’ve done in my life has started off small, and as a labor of love. It grew over time and built up to be something that was better and better every year. PWS is no exception to that. We’re starting at this exact point for now. Hopefully, we will build a catalogue of good designs, and a loyal customer base of people who are on the same wavelength as Ted and I. We’ll continue to grow, and take it from there.
07/14/2011 4 Comments
“Whatever happened to pirate radio? K.C.U.F. and Radio Rock?”
So asks Broadcast This, the debut single of teenage punk-pop quartet Emily’s Army. They’re the new generation in the East Bay punk scene, a community that has churned out variations of an evolving “punk” genre for decades. And yes, one well-known, catalytic figure in The Bay happens to be the singer of Green Day and the father of Emily’s Army drummer Joey Armstrong.
The band doesn’t deny its affiliation and connection with Billie Joe Armstrong (even the K.C.U.F. lyrics are a Green Day reference). However, the craft and lyrical content that the band has developed in the past few years is a far cry from a Green Day carbon-copy.
Kids Like You And Me spoke with singer/bassist Max Becker to discuss songwriting, tour plans, and the fact that this band has its own identity, period.
Kids Like You And Me: The band has stated that its new album Don’t Be A Dick took only four days to record. How different was the studio recording process from the previous recordings, such as GarageBand tracks posted on the Emily’s Army MySpace?
Max Becker: Well it was done in a professional studio, but the cool thing about it was that the actual process was not very different. We recorded the entire album on bass, then on drums, and then on both guitars. It went by really quickly. We only did four takes. That’s what we did when we did GarageBand tracks, we would lay down the bass, then drums, etc. It wasn’t too different, other than the fact that the quality of the whole album is way better.
KLYAM: Did the band have significant production assistance when recording ?
MB: Billie Joe was our producer so we had a little direction, but he really gave us a lot of leeway with what we could do. We’ve had these songs for a while. Since we had them all finished we didn’t really do any musical creation with him.
KLYAM: What is the typical song writing process?
MB: Cole and I both write parts on acoustic guitar. We show Joey and Travis the material and they come up with their own parts. We basically give them what kind of beat we want, then they figure out what works for them.
KLYAM: What about the lyrics?
MB: Cole and I switch off. He writes the songs that he sings and I write the songs that I sing. Except “Loch Lomond“ of course, which is a Scottish folk song.
KLYAM: Did the band go into the studio with the 14 songs that ended up on Don’t Be A Dick, or were there more songs from a list that was eventually narrowed down?
MB: We knew we were going to have more than ten, but we didn’t know we’d have less than 18. “Ho-Lloween“, for example, we weren’t originally going to put on the album. We were debating on whether or not to put a couple of old songs, but we decided against it. I think the album, the way it ended up, really meshes with itself.
KLYAM: Will tracks of older Emily’s Army songs (that aren’t on Don’t Be A Dick) be released?
MB: It all depends on what Cole sings. He was really the singer back then, and I didn’t really sing. I know we get a lot of requests for “F-Word“, and “Superior“ as well, but Cole is super adamant about not singing them. The girl that he wrote “F-Word” about is not even worth it anymore, he doesn’t even know why he wrote the song…
It’s more of a sentimental thing for him, even though the song is really good. I love playing it. I don’t think we’d record some of our older songs, but that doesn’t mean we won’t play them live. We sometimes play “10th Street Square“, “Soho“…and “Queens“, actually. We’ve been playing those.
KLYAM: Do you think the DIY-punk ethic has shifted for upcoming bands like Emily’s Army now that the internet and social media is overwhelmingly popular?
MB: Definitely. Kids can literally record a song in one day, and it can be done right then. I mean, not everyone has a Mac and GarageBand, but a lot of people have access to one.
That’s easier than recording on a 8-track, because not everyone has an 8-track or a 4-track recorder. Back when that was how bands would record, you’d have to find someone. I think now, everything is really laid out there for most people. It really depends on their creativity.
KLYAM: Do you think technology affects the band’s fan base?
MB: Most of our fans are spread out. You can find at least one of them in a strange country, but you can’t find more than 100 in one place besides Northern California. But for us, that’s a lot. They’re just spread out everywhere.
KLYAM: In regards to touring, since all of the band members are underage, how much control does the band have over the tour schedule, the lineup, and basic tour preparations?
MB: We worked with Adeline and told them how long we can pull off going on tour with our money situation. We don’t really have that much money. We also say what locations we want to focus on, and they helped us figure it out from there. The label will usually coordinate with a booking agent, but our last tour was done through Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children Macnuggits. They had a tour already, and we kinda hopped on it.
KLYAM: Do you think the upcoming East Coast tour will be harder than the tours Emily’s Army has done in California?
MB: I don’t think it’ll be that much harder. It will be different, because we will be borrowing equipment. I know Joey’s not quite used to it… he’s done it a couple of times, but it’s really different. Drumming is probably the worst instrument to borrow equipment for. But I’m kinda stoked for the East Coast. We should have a lot of decent shows, and lots of parties in places we’ve never been.
KLYAM: Who does the band want to tour with in the future?
MB: I know that I’d like to tour with some bands on 1-2-3-4 Go! Records, and also some bands from Adeline Records. Broadway Calls would be fun, but I don’t know if they’d be down. Larry and His Flask from Bend, OR, that’d be cool. We haven’t really thought about what bands to tour with, but I know of some bands that I was thinking about on 1-2-3-4 Go! Records. Nobunny would be cool, The Ringers, stuff like that. They’re a good level to play at, a couple of steps up from us but not too crazy. That’s where we’re at right now, where we’re still trying to establish a lot of things.
KLYAM: Will the shows be performed in smaller venues or high-capacity venues?
MB: At the moment, with our fanbase, the smaller venues the better. But if we were playing a show with someone huge, like Social Distortion or something, it would be cool to play a theater. The biggest venue we played so far capacity-wise for our own crowd was The Uptown for our record release. The capacity was only 200 but we fit 535 and we sold it out. Most of our shows will have a crowd of 50-150 people.
KLYAM: Will the band pursue everyday endeavors like staying in school, perhaps getting jobs, or will all of that become secondary if Emily’s Army becomes successful?
MB: It really depends on the success, some of us want to go to college. I’m trying to go to college because I’m graduating soon after this year, but I love playing music. It’s really hard to tell how successful we will be, or how successful it’s possible for us to be. We know that we want the college experience, but we don’t know what we’d study in college. Music is our thing.
KLYAM: A lot of music publications automatically jump on the connection between Green Day and Emily’s Army. Does this affect the band mentality? Was it something that was anticipated when the band was first starting out?
MB: We knew it would happen eventually. When we were first starting out, the few people who knew about the connection and asked about it, we’d just say “Oh… what are you talking about?” But now, Billie Joe has produced our album. We had a talk with him about it. He said “Yeah, its true.” We do have a connection to them, but we don’t take advantage of it. It’s like a father-son thing, like my dad teaching me to play a sport or something. He’s like that towards us, and it’s really awesome. He’s supportive. We knew stuff like this would happen. I guess we just try not to read it. We’re young, we get affected by almost anything.
KLYAM: If you had one message to give to the media who automatically dubs Emily’s Army as “Green Day Jr.” what would that message be?
MB: It would be, yes, we have a connection but we’re also our own band. We write a totally different style. If they were really the “music media” they would notice the different style. If they actually knew about music, they’d know it.
KLYAM: What advice should young upcoming bands (who aspire to follow in the footsteps of Emily’s Army) hear?
MB: Be with your best friends. Even if they suck at it. We all sucked at first but we’re best friends, and we work together. That’s really helpful for chemistry. I know a lot of bands who break up in high school because there aren’t many people at each school who play instruments, so they just go with whoever they want. But then, nobody knows how to write a song, or no one can hang out with the other. So, just stay with your friends.
The first time I stood in front of 924 Gilman Street, it was closed. Something scrawled in the window with permanent marker caught my eye, the words “You’re not punk and I’m telling everyone.” The tongue-in-cheek Jawbreaker lyrics gave a sarcastic nod to any remaining punker-than-thou’s lurking in the Bay Area, while highlighting a bigger point. “Punk” as a classified genre is a shifting composition. Technological advancements are made readily accessible to bands (and fans) alike. As Max Becker stated, musicians have access to a wide array of music-making resources, and success is determined by creative capabilities and efforts.
Emily’s Army has taken a rich lesson in the history of their hometown’s music community. The East Bay punk influence highlights, but doesn’t overwhelm, the band’s style. Don’t Be a Dick is catchy, with impressive harmonies and lyrical content that is self-reflective and socially inquiring. The Becker brothers take daily observations and express them through fast, layered components of a classic pop-punk song. Armstrong and lead guitarist Travis Neumann take directional cues from Becker and Becker, then lace the album with a blend of energetic beats and trusty pop-punk power chords, while occasionally throwing in an overt guitar riff (with minimal instrumental overlay) or complicated drum fill. The young, captivating, and enjoyable album displays a significantly tighter sound than older recordings that the band posted less than a few years ago.
Eventually, the dust of the media rushing to connect Green Day to Emily’s Army will settle. Some fans first acknowledged Emily’s Army because of the aforementioned family connection, but it’s possible that plenty of them will stay for the show. For now, the band has put forth enough effort to support their talents, with music that warrants a fair listen. So keep it coming, boys. You’re just getting started.