Monday, September 15, 2008

BestFirsts #1

So today is special. It marks the day that i finally begin my editorials, BestFirsts. Here's what it is: an album review, basically. But it's all about an artist's first album that trumps all the rest of the albums.

But with each editorial, i won't do just that. i'll also include an album review that's either not the first but an artist's best, or the first while the artist still doesn't have any left (but if they didn't make any more, i would be satisfied, although sad).

i know many bands produce their bests first, and this is often debated via the "sophomore slump", but i decided to take my own spin on it. Why are they better than their later albums? Are you often dissapointed with their second albums, thinking "whyyyy?" Well, i do.

Today's edition: This Day & Age and Plants & Animals. Two bands that win in the conjunction category.

BestFirsts #1:

The Best First: This Day & Age -- Always Leave The Ground

A band from Buffalo, New York who sadly don't exist anymore. This album was released in 2004 on One Eleven Records. i enjoyed this record for much longer than it seems until their second release, The Bell and The Hammer, in 2006, right before their unfortunate demise. i lost track of how many times i went to see this band play tracks off of ALTG, and every time i sang almost every word. (i'm not perfect). Anyways, this album contains tracks such as the fast and slow beats and ticks of "Hourglass," ('we used to be afraid / but we found our way'). There's the ballad of basementy-yet sophisticated keyboard laiden "Second Place Victory," (i heard you say it's enlightening to think of the breeze / to believe in things that we cannot see / so here we go / let's show them how to live, accept the pain, always forgive / watch the sun go down, learn the sound of following all that's complete). The happy but tinge of regretful "Slideshow," (in the movies / on the big screen / i'd make you mine / if this were high school or just homecoming / we'd dance all night). One of my favourites was "Seven-Eighty," because it got me going with it's quiet hand claps, cute lyrics, and great combination of the band's use of beats and heart-felt twinges. (if i was talking to you and not writing this / maybe i could show you something you haven't seen / my lips would fight my mind / i'd say things at the right time).

This album showcases Buffalo's short era of pop-almost-punk but love for happy beats while still calling themselves "maybe emo". It not only highlights the better of my high school days (while the lyrics are closer to my not so nice days) which made me love it that much more, it was something i could relate to for two very interesting parts of my life that were happening at almost the same time and it was music coming straight from my hometown. The reason why i like this album better than their second and last (by the way, the members minus singer Jeff Martin can be found in the band Reign of Kindo) The Bell and the Hammer is because every song on ALTG is memorable to the people who grew up with the band and myself, while TBATH has a few amazing tracks ("Always Straight Ahead," which i listened to every day for a long time and have recently just gotten back into, and "Second Star To The Right..." because of it's catchy piano paired with Martin's voice) but it falls short, and i'm even having a hard time recalling it right now.

This Day & Age is a band i miss with a huge pang in my being. But i am so grateful that i at least knew about them, saw them a crazy amount, and can hold onto albums like Always Leave The Ground.

The One and Only: Plants & Animals -- Parc Avenue

Whereas for my Best First i chose a band that wasn't very well kn0wn outside of their hometown community, for this edition's One and Only i've chosen a band that are succeeding in the pace of word-of-mouth in canadian press and others (blogs, ahem) and are hopefully destined for a long and pleasant journey. (Disclaimer: P&A have had EPs, but i'm counting this because it's their first full-length).

This album will most definitely be on my best of 2008 list, no lie. The goodness that drips from "Good Friend" for the pure sadness of (i wanna dance / i wanna dance / i wanna dance), to "Faerie Dance" because of its hypnotizing guitar sways and dream-like area that seems to encompass me wherever i go whilst listening to this track, to "New Kind of Love" and the beautiful lyrics (there's a river so we go where it goes / and get covered in dirt and rainbows / we're giving it up again / we're giving it up again/ we're givingggggg it up again), the bells, the breaths, and the euphoric yet slightly messy ending that seems to summarize its title, to the racing beats behind the sleepy vocals (and literal calls) of "Mercy".

i don't want to reveal too much about this album now though as i was able to get a ticket to their show at the Horseshoe Tavern on Thursday and you will for sure be hearing all about what i thought of it.

This blog is open up to discussion about both of these albums and i will gladly listen to every point of view! i also encourage comments to let me know what you think, to see how my first edition of BestFirsts went.

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