Album Review: Tiny Moving Parts – “Swell”

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So I get the nod from Dave Buck at Dying Scene…I can be the new writer. Am I geeked? Sure. Overwhelmed? Yeah. I wonder to myself, tho, how am I to write about the Punk world when it’s been such a let-down over the last forever that I’ve kinda just let myself get lost in other musical interests? As a guitarist, much of Punk and Ska and…well, that whole encompassment…it’s boring. I get the simplicity. I really do. My first Punk band was simple. I only really played power chords. But that was when I was 18…I’m 35 now. I need guitar amazingness to keep focused. I listened to a lot of Metalcore there for a while because at least those guitarists tried to play better than novicely. In my heart, I knew that Punk would catch up. But it’s like: I’d watch videos of metalhead guitarists that had only been playing a year or 2 doing advanced fretwork and then listen to Punk and it was lacking. Then, punkers were all like: “That’s not what Punk’s about. It’s about the rage…” or something like that. I’m sure you’ve all heard the arguments.

Always with the arguments!
C’mon, people.

These “pro” Punk bands don’t play in 5. I mean: Blink 182 released a song in 6/8 and it was so profound to Punk that they had to name it 6/8. This is where Punk is eventho Between the Buried and Me have been around forever. The simple song structuring is pathetic. It’s like bands don’t realize they can write songs without 3 choruses. The Punk world is so closed off to the external music world that they’re like those republicans that act like homosexulity and marijuana usage aren’t modestly prevalent.

So yeah…I kinda gave up on Punk. So many bands release a couple good cds and take a new direction. Like The Flatliners. They straight-up gave up on Ska and people act like that isn’t treason. I, as a Punk fan, was completely bruised by the willful trajectory of Punk bands that I quit listening to it. Tho, I still loved the genre. I kept looking for more and more obscure, eclectic forms. I stumbled upon Bomb The Music Industry and really liked some of that…but, once again, it went huge and Pop…by huge, I mean epic. That whole Jeff Rosenstock project seemed to blow its brains out. It was beautiful, but like The Beatles, it just makes me think: “Well, what the fuck is the point of that shit?”

Here’s to art, tho.

I ended up getting into The Front Bottoms. There was that post-Against Me thing that happened when The Menzingers were the hip thang. You remember. (I know my timeline is kinda wonky but like I said, I was sick of Punk. Didn’t pay it much attention and the attention I did pay it was sporadic, at best.) I felt like The Front Bottoms were Punk on a more visceral level than what I had heard in a long time. But, as we all found out, they just wanna record over-processed crap now. Maybe they were never Punk at all.

I wish these Pop Punk bands would realize that you can’t always play to teenage girls. Teenage girls grow up into adult women.

But, music is timeless.
So, I’m the idiot.

I listened to so many bands…trying them out…all different levels of Punk…I’d spend hours of my unemployed life clicking videos on YouTube and meandering thru Bandcamp…I was literally bingeing on music and it all sucked. Then I found Punch Brothers and was completely stupefied by Chris Thile’s talent and thought: “Well, Punk and Ska are absolutely retarded. As a musician, I have to pay attention to this. Everything else can fuck off.”

Time passed.
More time passed.

Then I seen a picture of Tiny Moving Parts. Pretty sure it was thumbnail size.  And I knew they were the ones to listen to. You can call them whatever genre you like, but they epitomize Punk, to me. The Misfits suck compared to them. Green Day sucks compared to them. Less Than Jake…well, I wouldn’t go that far.

This was back in 2013. The cd I was listening to non-stop was This Couch is Long & Full of Friendship. As a guitarist, I was like: “I love you Dylan. Thank you for doing what you are doing.” Cuz like: It’s hard to imbue advanced guitar techniques into a genre where they aren’t already being used. 2nd year metalheads can fingertap and play in 5 because it’s already been done a billion times. You have to listen to Calculating Infinity at least once as a metalhead, just like you have to listen to Dookie at least once as a punker. Tiny Moving Parts put it all together…as far as creative tapping goes. Does it sound like traditional Punk? No. I’m glad it doesn’t. We can’t usher in the next great era of Punk and have it sound like heyday Punk. Influence causes evolution.

Anyway…each new Tiny Moving Parts cd is better than the last. In the good way. They always show an intellectual progression. I don’t know about you, but I need that. Not just lyrically. But compositionally, too. Now with Swell, the guys have come to the level of “we’re obviously going to be legends…you watch.” The tapping part in Feel Alive where the vocals are: ‘I want to feel alive all the time’ is the most beautifully poignant section of music I have ever heard…and I have listened to Oh My Darling Clementine by The Sweptaways on repeat for well over an hour. I watched the playthru for Feel Alive and the guitar part isn’t particularly hard, as far as tapping goes…but the entirety just leaves me speechless.

I like the line in Smooth It Out that goes: ‘I will starve myself, I will do anything to help’. In this time of great political uproar, I doubt any politician would go that far for their country. The honesty of Tiny Moving Parts is like nothing else. I could quote them for days, pointing out just how genuine they are…I think they show a vulnerability that people are terrified of. The mask of Punk…yeah, it’s all bullshit. All the belligerent philosophizing…bullshit. What I take from Swell is peace and an undeniable energy that fuels me to live life more receptively. I could sit here and type up a treatise about the musicianship of the entire band. No, they aren’t Prog and they do tend to stay within reach of common structuring but it seems they don’t need to be anything other than their own expectorating catharses, so to speak. Liike 311, they do so much with the few minutes they do take for a song that any musician cannot argue their talent.

Swell sounds really good, too. From a production standpoint, it’s dope. They put effort into it, but didn’t saturate anything too much. They just presented the songs they wrote. I hope they keep that for the rest of their career. And if they do wind up getting sonically meh, I hope I don’t hear it. I hope I’m deaf to any kind of over-producing.

I know Swell came out like 5 months ago. But it’s about the only thing that’s really new to me as far as Punk goes (much love to Days N Daze). Surely, I’d like to find myself deep in the scene. I’d like to start going to concerts again. I know that sometimes you gotta see a band live before you really get em. I lack perspective. It’s cool, tho. Voids are there to be filled.

5/5 Stars


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