“The Right Time” by Braid. This track is off of Braid’s upcoming EP, Closer to Closed. (Head over to Polyvinyl Records website to pre-order the CD and receive a digital download.) It combines the best qualities from Hey Mercedes and The Firebird Band (the remnants of Braid – Bob Nanna, Tod Bell, and Roy Ewing, and the addition Mark Dawursk – and Chris Broach’s band after Braid went on hiatus). There is a pop quality to the music with high energy, melodic guitar combined with percussion commonly heard in post-hardcore composition (a sporadic overlapping of snare, bass hits, and crash cymbal). There is a maturity interjected into the music as well, tying in the different interests and talents of the members. The sound culminates with a soaring riff heard over the vocals of the chorus (“…it can never be this good again, you know it’s true; even though we tried before we couldn’t see it through; it can never be this good again, you know it’s true; even though we tried before we couldn’t see it through…”) providing the auditory version of a cherry on top.
“How Well You Know Me” by Chris Broach. This is a single released by Chris Broach (of Braid and The Firebird Band Fame). He has a three song EP out, entitled Madison, that you should also download. You will recognize his overlapping vocal accents, a common effect similarly seen in recent releases from The Firebird Band (Say Hello EP released in late 2010 and has the same reverberation of his voice). He mixes electronic beats with post-hardcore guitar rhythms. The percussion and beats form a cohesive tie between the two sounds, and the combination creates an ethereal and expanding sound. With this track, a female vocalist creates a tension as the lyrics discuss relationships (between Chris and another individual, and between Chris and himself). Best lyrics: “You said you’d show me how well you know me, how can you know me? You always told me we’d be better together, you always told me, we’d be together forever. You said you know me, but how can you know me, when I don’t even know me, myself?”
“Quality Revenge at Last” by Hey Mercedes. (Found on Loses Control.) This band consists of Bob Nanna, Tod Bell, Roy Ewing, with Mark Dawursk. Birthed from the remnants of Braid, this band creates a pop powered and cyclical sound, a quality that makes it have a more radio friendly vibe. Rather than spiraling off into distorted and experimental sound, it follows the clear-cut route of alternative rock. Nanna’s voice penetrates through the composition giving the lyrics a clearer sense of importance. There are several moments throughout the track that take my breath away with sound and lyricism: the chorus picks up, moving faster, rushing through, similar to a heightening of emotion; the music at the beginning of each verse slows to a heartbeat rhythm with bass and percussion, again teasing the emotions out of the listener; and last, but not least, the choice lyrics that open the song, “Steady now city sister, as the world will end you’ll have your sweet revenge, I promise it; you’ll feel better than, better ever planned, then we’ll line them up again, all your men.”
“Aurora Galore” by City on Film. This track is found on the Split EP (which he shares track listing with Owen). And as is a common theme in this post, there is a correlation between this band and Braid: this is Bob Nanna’s solo, acoustic work. I happen to love this particular track because of the poetry of the lyrics. The composition is simple, highlighting the rhythmic percussion and having few moments of guitar focused musicianship. Clocking in at just over two minutes, the song weaves words and sound seamlessly providing an allusion to a poetry slam, leaving an appreciation for the lyrics as implements of music rather than just metaphorical supposition. Seriously give it a listen. It will blow you away.
“New Year” by The Firebird Band. (Found on The Setting Sun and Satellites.) This track possesses an effect that simultaneously lifts me up, creating an airy quality, while still having a down to earth and heavy sound. It shares similar composition to my all-time favorite TFB track (“Beautiful“) which I am sure adds to its appeal for me, however, it stands alone as a strong song. There is a high energy with the guitar and percussion, which is what elevates the music, while the bass continues a repetitious progression grounding the sound, so it doesn’t fly out of our atmosphere completely. I cannot praise this song enough, nor can I accurately describe its attraction for me outside of a deep love for Chris Broach and his vocals, his lyrics, and the sound of rock and experimental electronica. It lifts up the composition and creates an emotional pull. My favorite lyrics: “Take back the night, she said, bring on the new year. Rip off your fingers, take everything in here. The rest of this year is yours, the rest of this year is yours, the rest of this…”