Kevin Devine at Webster Hall
Ten years of music, six albums, tireless touring, and thousands of devoted fans–all celebrated in one beautiful, sublime evening. I could probably write a novella in this post, but I’ll not to be too verbose (no promises). Saturday night, December 1, 2012, was Kevin Devine’s 10th anniversary show, offically titled Write Your Story Now: Celebrating 10 Years of Kevin Devine and the Goddamn Band(s). A celebration of the tenth birthday of his first solo album and the advent of his solo career, Kevin Devine performed three of his six full-length albums: his first album, 2002’s Circle Gets the Square; his most recent album, 2011’s Between the Concrete and the Clouds; and his 2005 release, the recently reissued, Split the Country, Split the Street. Over 1,000 tickets were sold to the event which was held at Webster Hall in New York City
The show was announced a few months before, and I immediately knew I had to go. This wasn’t any show. This was a once in a lifetime event. It wasn’t something that was going to happen again. My friend bought us tickets as a birthday gift to me, the show falling pretty close to my 23rd birthday. We took a car, and a ferry, a cab, and walked a whole lot. We shelled out money we didn’t have, but it was worth every penny and then some. Continue reading
If you know anything about Brand New, you probably know that they rarely do interviews. While in the UK for a series of dates earlier this month, lead singer Jesse Lacey broke the bands silence with an interview for a local music zine. It’s an interesting read/listen, and Lacey talks about a wide range of subjects both relating to his personal life and the music industry. Lacey said in the interview that the band has studio time booked for April and hopes to get new music released by the end of the year. In regards to the sound of this album, Lacey said, “I think we’ve taken what we do and taken it as far as it can go, in terms the way we build a song, the way we layer our instruments and arrange everything, and the way I do my own vocals, and even the more technical side of recording. We’re not very excited about going back into the studio and trying to find those sounds again, we are interested in being ‘Brand New,’ but writing, recording and structuring songs in a way that we haven’t done before. I’d like it if, on the next thing we release, if someone who was familiar with us were to walk into a room, and it be playing, I’d like them to not know that it was us.” You can read the whole interview and listen to the first half of it here.
Brand New have also recently announced that they will be playing the Bamboozle festival in New Jersey.
Let me briefly discuss my love affair with Brand New before I get down to talking about the show I went to on November 26. I started listening to Brand New when I was in 8th grade. Their album Deja Entendu blew my little 14-year-old mind. I anxiously awaited its follow-up, an effort that took three years to complete. It wasn’t until this time, in the fall of 2006 that I first got to experience Brand New live. It was an acoustic in-store performance at the now defunct Mars Red Records in Haddonfield, NJ. It was amazing, and they lived up to all my expectations. Then, their album, The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me dropped shortly after and completely changed everything about my relationship to music. I talked about that album briefly before, and I’m not going to go into too much detail here, but that album is still one of my favorite records of all time. It’s very special to me, and it’s perfect in my eyes. The years haven’t changed that like they have my opinions about other albums. Deja Entendu lost some of its magic for me, but I don’t think the Devil and God ever will. It was on one of the Devil and God tours in the spring of 2007 that I first saw Brand New at a proper gig, and it set the bar unbelievably high. That tour featured Kevin Devine and Manchester Orchestra as support, and it was just perfect. I honestly can say it was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to. It might even be the best. In the four times I’ve seen Brand New since then, I’ve never had as amazing an experience. They’re always good, and I always love their shows, but that show was the peak for me. Nothing has been quite as good, and I don’t know that anything else will ever reach that level of brilliance, of perfection, of love. Brand New released another album in 2009 which I also deeply love, Daisy. It’s visceral and raw and heavy, but so beautiful in it’s anger and anguish. They haven’t released any new music since then, but the few strings of shows they’ve played this year seem promising. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll get something new in 2012.
Now, let’s get to the show I went to last week. The House of Blues show was announced over the summer, and I immediately got tickets (it was a small miracle, since the pre-sale sold out in about ten seconds). No support was announced for the show until very recently. If you read this blog regularly, I think you know I like this band, O’Brother, from Atlanta, Georgia. I think they’re fantastic, and I’ve written quite a lot about them these last few months. They announced they would be opening for Brand New on this Atlantic City date. My jaw literally dropped when I read that tweet. I mean literally. I couldn’t believe that the little band that I’d essentially watched grow up would be opening for Brand New. A week or so before the show, mewithoutYou announced that they would also be opening. Continue reading
A lot happened in the small realm of music I cover on this blog in the last few days, so I present you with the first conglomeration post for this blog. There will surely be more in the future.
Garden Window album art
Last week, O’Brother, who I’ve talked about several times on this blog, digitally released their debut full-length album, Garden Window. As beautiful as it is fiery and visceral, the hour long record shattered my expectations. Even after hearing songs from Garden Window live and interviewing Michael Martens about the album, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I went into my first listen of Garden Window with my expectations dangerously high and was completely blown away. The record engulfs you in a wall of furious sound that immediately drags you in. Each time I’ve listened to Garden Window, I’ve heard something completely different, something that I did not hear on previous listens. If you want to hear the intense heavy and experimental record for yourself, you can buy the album digitally on iTunes or Amazon, or pre-order the gorgeous vinyl version or CD here.
- The Philadelphia based experimental band mewithoutYou have been added to the line-up for Saturday night’s Brand New show at the House of Blues in Atlantic City. O’Brother will be opening, followed by mewithoutYou, then Brand New. It’s going to be an amazing line-up and awesome night of music, so if you can find a way to get into that sold out show, I strongly encourage it.
- Thrice’s lead singer and guitarist, Dustin Kensrue, has announced via the band’s website that after a final spring tour, Thrice will be going on hiatus. Kensrue assured fans that Thrice were not breaking up, merely taking a break from being a full time band. You can read his statement here.
My modest collection of Devil and God vinyl variants.
- Lastly, today is the 5th birthday (or anniversary, if you prefer to call it that) of an album I hold very close to my heart, Brand New’s The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me. When that album was released five years ago today, I was only 16 years old. My taste in music was still developing, and I can honestly say that the Devil and God totally changed my musical taste forever. The way I perceived music was turned upside-down by that record. I could write volumes on Brand New and this particular album (I consider it their best work thus far), but I’ll keep this short and sweet. It’s an album that means a lot to me, an album that effected my life in different ways, an album that brought me closer to some very important people in my life, and an album that you should listen to if you’ve never heard it. Maybe you won’t like it, maybe you will. I think it’s a heartbreaking and beautiful masterpiece, and that hasn’t changed in the last five years.