The band has a sound refreshingly familiar for fans of older No Idea Records releases, giving a new take on the style Gainesville vets Hot Water Music and Small Brown Bike created over a decade ago. Who knows – maybe next year you’ll be able to find them on the Fest lineup!
Albums Punk Forgot is a look back at excellent or important records within our community that, for one reason or another, have been lost or forgotten. It’s a tribute to those bands and releases that deserved to be heard, but maybe for some reason dropped off our radars too soon. We at Dying Scene hope to give these records the credit they deserve.
With the internet how it is, all types of music (including every subgenre of punk and hardcore) have become easily accessible to anyone with a computer. However, it’s also made room for our music scene, and all music scenes, to be oversaturated by band after band lacking creativity. JADEDPUNKHULK put it best when he hilariously tweeted “ANY TIME YOU BLAZE TRAIL, YOU SPAWN LOTS OF BAD VERSION OF YOU BAND. ASK YOUSELF BEFORE RECORD GO TO PRESS IF IT REALLY WORTH IT.” Real screamo is one of those genres that’s never really been too commercially successful, but with the internet how it is, the chances “bad versions” of trail-blazer bands showing up get more and more likely.
Originally, I was going to write off Sias La Lune as one of those “bad version” bands, although the band has been around for a while and had successful, well-regarded records previously. A Facebook friend then posted a song from Distance / Closure on my timeline, noting this particular song (“Within”) was one of the more “epic” songs from the genre this year. I thus decided maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to cynically write Suis La Lune off, and maybe there’s something I’m missing. Thus, I give you my review of Distance / Closure.
The EP, recorded in guitarist Henning’s basement, begins with a long, soft, drawn out introduction to the opening track, “Different Perspective”. Singer/bass player Andy (the press pack only had the band members’ first names) starts to set the mood differently by screaming “How dare you go on,” between lines of a simple guitar solo, frankly making the beginning of this release a bit too cheesy for my taste. Eventually, the song evolves from this corniness to an aggressive post hardcore tune, and ends in a breakdown-y throwback to the cheesy intro, with the same solo and lyrics being repeated, but this time loud and heavy. It’s a great way to complete the track from how it started.
The second song, “Endless Cycle”, also starts off soft and ends aggressive, however it’s not as slow moving as “Different Perspectives” and keeps the listener’s attention a bit easier. Similar to the first song on the EP, it showcases the band’s ability to write technical music and tweak every part of a song to make it to distinct from all other parts, however still sound like a cohesive track. This is something I personally love about screamo music, and Suis La Lune does it well.
The EP’s third track, “Better Parts”, is possibly the best, as well as the shortest track on the entire EP. It’s the most uptempo track and easy to follow while still holding true to the band’s technicality. Personally, this was the song I heard that helped me realize how tight Suiz La Lune is as a band and musicians. They are on the same page as each other and don’t play as sloppy as the wider majority of screamo bands I’ve seen do.
The final track, “Within”, is the longest track on the release, running almost twelve minutes. It has heavy parts, it has soft parts, and it ends all atomsphere-ish to add to the mood of the EP. While I personally believe things like this are overdone, I appreciate the variety this track (and all the tracks) bring to the release. And possibly to my discredit, other people (like my Facebook friend) seem to find this song pretty unique and contributing something good to the genre that is screamo, post hardcore, or whatever else you want to call it.
Overall, Distance / Closure is a really great release. It sounds raw production-wise which is always good, because it brings out the talent of the band all that much more by making you listen more closely. Apart from a few cheesy moments, it’s a solid piece of work from a good band, and if you’re really into screamo then you may find something special. For people who are a bit less invested in their screamo or post hardcore, I would say check this out, but it’s not necessarily as accessible as genre leaders like Loma Prietta or older Pianos Become the Teeth.
For this Distance / Closure, I’m giving Suis La Lune a 4 out of 5 and I’m excited to hear what this band’s next full-length sounds like.
Home Movies (formerly Stanley and the Search) are a Los Angeles pop punk band, similar to the current wave of bands like The Story So Far and State Champs. Their new record, Hell, is something that, in motive, should be appreciated. You can tell simply by the instrumentation that they are definitely trying to do something new with their sound, which is great because they’re in a genre that’s watered down and oversaturated with hundreds of cookie cutter bands. However, they don’t quite succeed to break the mold as much as they would hope.
Hell begins with its title track, a heavy, melodic post-hardcore tune that maintains a lot of energy while keeping a slower pace. That’s to be appreciated, although it gets kind of boring after a while, and the second song isn’t much different. “Faith and Folly” is similar in that it’s dark and heavy, and appears to be a rip on a person who uses religion as a way to inauthentically alleviate themselves of responsibility while putting the blame for negative situations onto other people. “How can you wear that cross on your skin/Is it belief that keeps you counting your sins?” The song isn’t bad, it just sounds so much like the first one that they run together a little too much. The EP’s middle track, “The Will of Fire,” is a change of pace and while for it starts as energetic and entertaining, it ends as essentially any other melodic hardcore song written by a pop punk band. “The Winds,” Hell’s acoustic piece, is a good precursor to the final track and while it sounds pretty generic at first listen, pulls a good change of pace for the whole of the release. While the lyrics could stand to be a bit less accusatory or allegorical across the release, they don’t hurt this track too much. “The Winds” was placed as a good introduction to the last track of the EP, “Fickle,” which is without a doubt the best song on Hell. It’s a super energetic, balls to the wall kind of melodic punk rock track that closes the release down slowly, leaving you wanting more. And that’s honestly how I feel.
Home Movies are not a bad band. They are incredibly tight as musicians and they’re not bad at forming songs. A lot of their music is very technical but in a way that’s sort of hidden in the song, so rather than focusing on it too much the listener is forced to just keep their mind on the song as a whole. That can be a good or a bad thing, as sometimes the technicalities are needed to make a song more gripping. But frankly, my problem with Home Movies, at least on this release, is they’re just not interesting enough. They could experiment with more instrumentally, and I’m not talking about how technical they are but how different parts of the song can be differentiated from each other. And they could probably put a little more effort into the lyrical and vocal aspects of their songs. I don’t want to overthink it, but as things stand now, I don’t feel like I have much reason to listen to them in place of their contemporaries.
While the release didn’t keep me on my toes much, this band is incredibly talented and I’ll be one of the first to listen to their next release when it comes out. This one didn’t really do it for me, but they’ll most likely get there soon.
You know those bands that did enough to have a small fan base, but weren’t around long enough to have the lasting impact of their peers? That’s As Friends Rust. An often-overlooked facet of the Floridian hardcore scene, the band displayed a huge amount of variety in their short, six (if that) year span. They stylistically have been compared to Avail, Samiam, and even Stretch Armstrong (though they were even heavier than that at times). The band reunited for a string of shows in 2008, and this year they reunited once again for a one-off show in Brooklyn and an appearance at Groezrock overseas. Shield Recordings released Greatest Hits? in April, celebrating the best songs from the eleven releases As Friends Rust put out from ’96-’02. The compilation itself is now available for you to grab.
Greatest Hits? begins with four of the five songs off the band’s first EP, The Fists of Time. If you’re unfamiliar with the band’s discography, these songs are much heavier than many of the others on the compilation, stylistically between late ‘90’s metalcore and Dag Nasty, if you can imagine that (just listen to “Encante”). Tracks 5-7 (“Half Friend Town,” “Like Strings,” and “Coffee Black”) are from As Friends Rust’s classic self-titled EP, which is much more melodic than heavy in terms of hardcore. Track 8, “First Song on the Tape You Make Her” is considered by some members to be the first released song by the classic As Friends Rust lineup. It seems this is where the Samiam comparisons become appropriate, as everything afterwards was much poppier and melody-focused. The rest of the songs are from the band’s last two releases, 2001’s Won LP (the band’s only full-length) and 2002’s A Young Trophy Band in the Parlance of Our Times.
Seeing as the band put this compilation together themselves, it’s hard to properly critique Greatest Hits? as someone not in the band. The first EP songs drag on a bit, and for a Greatest Hits compilation it may seem boring to a listener, a “get to the good stuff” kind of feeling. But again, that one EP holds so much history for the band that it’s hard to say that definitively as a critic. Of course, they weren’t just putting out a Singles compilation and labeling it Greatest Hits like a lot of bands, so there were some songs from their discography I would have liked to see in there. Some of those include The Fist of Time’s “Operation,” Won’s “This is Me Hating You,” and A Young Trophy’s “The Most Americanest.”
All that said, an important question to ask is, as a listener, how do these songs hold up today and how do they hold up to other music in their time? Personally, I can’t stand the mix in a lot of the songs, compared to music from back then as well as now. For instance, the Young Trophy songs are well written and very catchy, but excessive effects and certain mix factors just seem to take away from that. At times, the raw, more punk rock parts of a song seem inconsistent with the more melodic, at times even a bit radio-y (not in a bad way!) choruses. Putting aside your biases, imagine a band like AFI having a release where the verses were taken from Very Proud of Ya and the choruses from Decemberunderground. It’d sound a bit weird, right?
However, listening to these songs by As Friends Rust is honestly a breath of fresh air. They have a variety not many bands now days or even in their time could match, in the kind of way that you just don’t know what to expect – except something catchy that you’ll want to sing along to. Also, lyrically, the band completely overshadows the majority of their contemporaries (“Private-school anarchists with bought trains of thought, donned in T-shirts screaming slogans of wars never fought” – great line from “We on Some Next Level Shit”, which is one of the funniest song names I’ve ever heard).
Grading this as a Greatest Hits album, really my biggest complaint would be that there could be a few better songs. But go for it – buy the album, let it grow on you, and feel refreshed listening to this intelligent group of dudes whose knack for songwriting is as creative as it is catchy. Good job As Friends Rust, maybe some day you’ll be able to grace us with new songs once again.
4 / 5
Take At The Drive-In and put them in Manchester, New Hampshire, with Defeater or La Dispute and you have At The Heart Of It and their self-titled release At The Heart of It. A plucky group of New Englanders whose self-titled, self-published release is not just another screamo act influenced by the post-millenium hangover, no. At The Heart Of It is a band on a mission, donating a portion of the sales from the album to the Greater Boston PFLAG.
Community has always come first with the punk bands of Beantown and their surrounding northeastern cousins. You can hear it on “Create/Sustain”–my favorite track from the album, hands down. Call and responses situate you within the guttural remorse, the anger of a community that has failed for too long. “How can you truly feel alive/when your whole life has been defined by all the things you left behind?/ And I refuse to follow suit.” The frustration of purity. The desire to become something better than the last generation.
“This World Has Teeth” is a shift in speed-down shifting–to touch more melodic tones. “He spent his life/face to face/ with the things he’s lost and couldn’t replace.” I can see why proceeds are going towards PFLAG. I can see the mental warzone that At The Heart of It projects in this recording. It is about replenishing your health for the future, and making sure the ones closest to you follow suit.
Regret can be a dangerous feeling. At The Heart Of It makes sure that you never take anyone in your network for granted. Never let them go down a dark path. Pick it up for the boys in the band. Pick it up for the boys and girls this band is screaming, yearning to save.