Today’s Music That Is Good has an underlying theme. For a long time, I would get anxious when talking about music that I didn’t think I understood. It didn’t matter whether I enjoyed it or not, I wouldn’t want to write about or recommend it because I was worried about being called out as a fraud or for jumping on the bandwagon. I’ve decided, however, that that’s daft. Music is music, and whether you analyse the intricate technical aspects of it or merely like the tune, your opinion can be valid. So, let’s talk about some stuff I don’t understand.
Music That Is Good is back for round two, as I’ve had a delightful musical week, listening to great album after great album. Today I’m bringing you some post-hardcore, a bit of tech metal and a power trio. If that doesn’t sound like a party you want an invite to then you’re probably in the wrong place. So, I’ll stop jibber-jabbering and get down to, well, jibber-jabbering, just about the topic rather than whatever is in my head.
For a long time, the only thing I wanted to write about was music. Then, sometime last year, I realised that I no longer wanted to do that. For reasons that are too many to get into here, I fell out of love and forcing myself to sit down and put words on a page wasn’t helping. So, I stopped and Ramblings About became Ramblings About Wrestling. However, in the last few months, that passion has started to come back again. I’m not going to stop writing about wrestling, but suddenly I feel the need to put words to the page about bands that rock. So, that’s what I’m going to do! Every now and then I am going to pick out three albums that I think are awesome and ramble out my thoughts. Hopefully, you’ll find something to listen to. If not, well, sorry I guess?
Why do I get to choose twenty albums when I only do ten films? I have no idea; it’s just the way I do it. I’m not planning on over thinking it because I listened to a lot of new music this year, and most of it was good. Much like my film list, this had to be cut down from around fifty choices, and I’m still not entirely sure I’ve got it right. It’s what I’m going with, though, so let’s get on with it.
As usual, this is all my opinion so don’t bother telling me I’m wrong. I’m also not going to go into great detail because there are twenty of the buggers. I will give you a song to listen to, though. Ain’t that nice?
I like a lot of things about Enter Shikari. I like the fact that they are an innovative band who are willing to take risks. I love that they stand up for what they believe in and I think Rou Reynolds is smart and articulate. Even when their politics go a bit Standard Grade Modern Studies and ‘fuck the man’, I tend to agree with the general point. The only problem is, I’ve never got along with their music.
Music can be turned to many uses. It can be for pure entertainment, to make you laugh with joy and dance around a room or it can subtly influence your mood. Dig deep down inside you and unlock emotions that you didn’t know you had. Then it can be wielded the way that Stray From The Path use it. Like a sledgehammer to the face.
Hardcore is a simple genre. I love it, but it’s true, and its punk roots are still strong in that regard. However, even simplicity can be tinkered with and over the last few years, there has been an influx of bands who use hardcore as a base. A base from which they can branch out into other genres. A big part of this is melding hardcore with its metallic brothers but not in the vein of the million identikit metalcore bands that roam the planet. Instead, these are actual hardcore bands with actual metal influences.
The best EPs are the ones that leave you unfulfilled. They tease you with greatness and as they finish all you can do is howl for more. With its five songs coming in at under ten minutes, Cycles of Grief, Volume 1: Growth from Australian metallic hardcore band Cursed Earth does exactly that. Although after it has punished you for its entire running time, there’s a chance you’ll be curled in a ball on the floor while you do the begging.
The way to approach a Rancid album in 2017 is very different to the way you would have approached one in 1997. You can no longer expect genius, and you need to figure out exactly what you need to make you happy. It’s not going to be And Out Come The Wolves… and after the disappointment of …Honor Is All We Know and Let The Dominoes Fall, merely good might be enough. A couple of great punk tracks could be all we need.
If you were to guess what a side-project from members of Converge and Cave In was to sound like you might hit on something close to Wear Your Wounds the album released by Jacob Bannon earlier this year. It’s a dark and unsettling piece of music and while you’d struggle to call it heavy in the way you do Converge, it most definitely is. What you wouldn’t expect, is Mutoid Man.