Make Do and Mend – Everything You Ever Loved

Make Do and Mend/Everything You Ever Loved/Rise Records/2012/Official Website

Make Do and Mend released an excellent debut full-length post-hardcore record with 2010’s End Measured Mile on Paper and Plastick Records.  Their next release, Part & Parcel was full of acoustic renditions of past songs, which showed that lighter versions of their songs also worked really well. Some people have this idea that just because a band moves up to a bigger label they aren’t the same band anymore, and in some cases this can be true.  It’s not true for Make Do and Mend. Their latest , Everything You Ever Loved is the first album at their new home, Rise Records, and while it follows the trend set by Part and Parcel, Make Do and Mend haven’t completely lost their edge.

This record is different than End Measured Mile, but in songwriting, hooks, lyrics and music, I feel like its the best the band has released so far.  The first track, Blur, starts the album off slow with a solid build up, then leads into the album’s second track, the barn-burner Disassemble.  If there was any question that Make Do and Mend have found that sweet spot of melody and balls-out rock then this song, and the rest that follow absolutely squash those doubts.  This album is not as heavy as their last full-length, much less so than their debut EP, but it doesn’t need to be.  Make Do and Mend are able to get that same level of emotion by replacing some of the aggression with pop melody, and it works.  Because everything isn’t screaming and breakdowns, the album sounds incredibly dynamic with softer parts that contrast beautifully with the heavier ones.

My vinyl copy is the “Ultra Clear” (c’mon guys it’s just clear) variant, out of 300 copies.  I fell for the Rise Records pre-order bundle that included two posters and an exclusive seven-inch record for a higher price, but to my surprise I was quite happy with it.  The jacket isn’t gatefold but the art is nice and the record sounds great.  Honestly for the past few days I haven’t listened to much else on my record player, which speaks more than I can about how much I truly love this album.

Everything You Ever Loved is different. Like Saves the Day’s transition into Stay What You Are or Transit’s Listen and Forgive, this album is a band trading some of their hardcore aspects with melodic rock. If you listened to Make Do and Mend just for their heavy guitars and gruff vocals, sure, you might not find much to love here.  But, if you really give it a shot, you’ll find an incredibly dynamic, emotional, rocking album.

Listen to this album on Spotify Here

Check out the band’s Official Merch Here

-mayt

I’m the kind of wreck you read about and I’m sinking now

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Title Fight – Floral Green

Title Fight/Floral Green/Side One Dummy Records/2012/Official Website

Title Fight is a band from Kingston, Pennsylvania that play a mix of punk,  hardcore and grunge. They’re a part of this great bunch of bands that have come out of Pennsylvania in the last few years who have absolutely blown up in the scene.  To go from playing small basement shows to opening for Rise Against on a stadium tour in just a couple of years is pretty mind-blowing.  So what’s the deal with with this band?

Title Fight’s first full length, Shed was a good melodic hardcore record that made plenty of best of 2011 lists.  With Floral Green, Title Fight tones down the harshness (and speed!) and replaces it with a big handful of 90’s emo and alt-rock.  But while Shed was good, Floral Green is great.  Right off the top, “Numb But I Still Feel It” starts the album with a great, slow riff, but as the band kicks in, the singer makes sure you know this is a Title Fight record with his trademark gruff vocals.  The third track, “Like a Ritual” sounds like a long-lost Jawbreaker cut with excellent guitars and longing lyrics.   “Secret Society,” also available on a 7″ single, has a much more Shed-esque vibe to it.  The high-water mark for me on this album is absolutely “Make You Cry.”  Right away, Title Fight’s singer comes out with screaming vocals and the intricate guitar work reminds me of the band’s beloved debut 7″ record.  It’s amazing how the band packed so much rad into one song.

My copy of the record is the “floral” varient, out of 500 copies, and it’s beautiful! The vinyl is a yellow-green-red tri-color swirl and the label looks great.  Some copies of the floral varient have more red than others. Mine barely has any, but man is it pretty. I caught the presale when it started and I’m so glad I did, because the floral copies sold out in just minutes (thanks, Title Fight mailing list!)  This record has AMAZING packaging and sounds excellent.

The great thing about bands like Title Fight is that it really feels like they care about their fans. They understand that so many people who listen to them aren’t going to spend a dime on their music, so they really make it worthwhile for those that do.  Just look at their merch store, and you’ll find cool t-shirts, hats, even backpacks – items that the band themselves would buy if they were fans.

I believe this record was worth every penny, which you can’t really say with every new album that comes out. Title Fight is a great band who put out an excellent record. They absolutely deserve your support. Listen to “Make You Cry” and see just how beautiful a song by a melodic hardcore band can be.

Listen to Floral Green on Spotify Here

Buy Floral Green on vinyl Here

Fall asleep with open eyes, with bad dreams to occupy my time

Preorder – Iron Chic – Split N’ Shit

Iron Chic/Split N’ Shit/Dead Broke Rekerds/2011/Official Website

Iron Chic is a punk rock band from Long Island, New York.  In 2011, Iron Chic had two European seven-inch releases: a split with the UK’s Pacer and the (Cosmic) Future single. These two records featured four new songs, which were released stateside on the digital-only EP Split N’ Shit. Now, that digital EP is being released on vinyl on the band’s bass player’s record label, Dead Broke Rekerds. Confused yet? Too bad, because this EP kicks major ass, featuring one of my favorite Iron Chic songs “Those Heads Are Our Heads.”  This release is a must have fans of Midwest-via-Long Island punk rock, and features a new alternate cover song.  Split N’ Shit is available on pink (/100) blue (/100) and black (/400) vinyl and the pre-order comes with a full-color poster!

Listen to the EP Here

Pre-Order the EP from Dead Broke Rekerds Here

The Menzingers – On the Impossible Past

The Menzingers/On the Impossible Past/Epitaph Records/2012/Official Website

I have been listening to On the Impossible Pastlot.  The Menzinger’s previous full-length, Chamberlain Waits has pretty much hit punk legendary status at this point, so when On the Impossible Past first came out there was definitely those that didn’t think it held up.  Yes, there’s less punk and more rock and roll. Yes, it’s also a fantastic album.  From the first track, “good things,” to the closer “freedom bridge,” the Menzingers’ third LP is full of great guitars, heavy vocals and excellent lyrics.  The album has a track or two that aren’t perfect, but songs like “mexican guitars,” and “casey” are some of my favorites of 2012.  To me, there’s nothing better than listening to a tune and hearing lyrics that really hit home, and this album really gets there for me.  On the Impossible Past is full of songs about friendship, love and nostalgia.

The record itself is just good, not great.  The sound quality is clear when I blast it on my technic, but the packaging isn’t amazing.  The jacket is your standard single jacket, but the album art is clear and the sleeve doubles as a lyric sheet.  Instead of a download code my copy had two CD versions of the album which I put to good use at home and in the car. Overall, The Menzingers exceeded my expectations for an amazing follow-up record.

Listen to my favorite track “Mexican Guitars” on spotify here or on youtube here

mayt