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    1. "Anthem of the Peaceful Army" Track Reviews (Greta Van Fleet)

      Greta Van Fleet’s new album Anthem of the Peaceful Army attempts to establish them as individuals with an album they wrote
      We recently posted an article of an interview with Greta Van Fleet [that got shoved in the Vault for a while last year] in long awaited anticipation of the new GVF album, Anthem of the Peaceful Army. (What happened to that summer release? Doesn't matter- it's here now!) In light of the album's debut on October 19th, 2018, here is our honest and sometimes weird review of the album where we DON’T attempt to answer the question of whether or not these lads have done enough to differentiate themselves from one of the biggest bands in the world on their premier album after stirring up more buzz than you could shake a stick at, but we do make mild references to that.
      Torn between my love of Cheerios and common sense... Led Zeppelin. There you have it. They are not them, okay? The similarities are there, but it doesn’t need to be in every passing thought about them. Also, don’t shake sticks at things that buzz. Sage advice.
      On to the Review!
      Age of Man
      Flowery flutes and straining vocals make this track an interesting introduction. Then, the guitars. I know there are many (Led Zeppelin) comparisons, but this has a bit of a Heart vibe when those strings kick in. This is a good jam. It’s solid. You’ll nod your head along, entrapped in the beat, and feel somehow inspired. Also, the vocals, backing as well as Josh’s amazing ones, need to be noted. If you’re unsure at this point, the vocals should be enough to keep you in for the ride.
      The Cold Wind
      A tonal twin of Black Smoke Rising, this is the song that makes you feel like driving. Can we get this on cassette? Play it in something with either a vinyl roof or wood paneling while cruising into a dusky evening full of colors in the fading light? I’m not asking for much. If I was, a Firebird or ‘Stang would be involved.
      This is the epitome of what a song with a classic rock feeling should be. It doesn’t make you scratch your head thinking of something else, but it fits right in as though it belonged there all along.
      A+
      When the Curtain Falls
      Funky… funky! Sprinkles of “babes” and “darlings” among lyrics that would usually invoke a bit of that condescending Cat Steven’s Wild World vibe come too soon here, considering a band of recent high school graduates sing “in and out of fashion” completely unironically about this unnamed darling while being considered the next throwback band.
      I can appreciate that, I just feel it needs to be noted.
      Watching Over
      Slowing things down. I’m really enjoying the psychedelic dichotomy between the circular riffs and the steady vocals. I feel it. Yes, the water is rising, but it doesn’t drift too far out to sea. Another solid song with some depth to it. There are multiple tonal changes crammed into these four and a half minutes, but it’s a smooth ride. Fairly well done.
      Lover, Leaver
      This is the one I was waiting to hear the recorded version of. I rarely find studio songs that hold up to live for the bands that really bring it live, because great energy can fix mediocre talent and send awesome talent into the stratosphere, but this brings the energy with it and the talent. The head nod now moves and infects the torso. I’ll be dancing soon at this rate.
      Not to get repetitive, but this is solid. You need to get the intonation right, because intonation can make a vocabulary out of one word. I apologize for the occasional limitations of the written word. I was almost disappointed this title wasn’t all four words, but I was ahead of myself. Instead, we get ten minutes of this great (Greta? Great? Greata? This band is ruining my ability to type… like, more than it is.) tune. Thank you!
      You’re the One
      This song is so sweet. In the way that has a purity and simplicity to it that is refreshing and nice. This would sound immature from most other bands, but the intricacy of the instrumentals backs it well and the result is more one of those purposefully, cut back sounds that many artists only get too after playing with too much for too long and trying to re-find themselves. The overall sound really has it.
      I’m saying it’s good.
      Plus, I didn’t think of Zeppelin once during the whole song and that seems to count for something, according to the other reviews I’ve read so far. Some Jeff Lynne, but his name only kind of s
      New Day
      Alright, I’m dancing now. I know, we shouldn’t have let this happen, but here we are. Why aren’t you listening yet? Then you’d get it. No, then you'll get it. The guitar is happy on this song. The backing vocals are a bit overdone, but if this song isn’t the sun smiling on a bunch of flowers, I don’t know what is. The end is a bit abrupt, but just let it lead in to the next
      I’m starting to wonder how severe the editing will be, but this music invokes feelings that are best described in motion and other senses. My mild synesthesia might also be coming out, but I’d like to think good music just evokes this in everyone.
      Mountain of the Sun
      Open in a quintessential diner in a midwestern town, the kind that turns into a friendly dive bar at night, you know the kind. You’ve seen them on TV. This is the song those fellas in the back are playing while everyone chats and dances off the remains of their long day. I don’t get the title, but this song could have been closer to the beginning. It’s inviting and comfortable. That breakdown, nice.
      Sugar, is that a harmonica? I’m telling you, that dive on the edge of town where everyone seems to know each other, but don’t make you feel unwelcome? This song is that place. It doesn’t need to exist, it just is. I think this just pushed me over the edge to buying the vinyl of the album.
      Brave New World
      Lyrically, yes, this does sound like it could be about the book. It’s another good song, but the pattern is too similar to others on the record for it to really stand out. The chorus sucks you in. They don’t over rely on choruses, which is nice in itself, but that does help to establish this song.
      Anthem
      I heard this on the radio last week and was very excited to get to hear it again. There is some Dylan-vibe on this track and a touch of Magical Mystery, but the percussion gets a standout and it feels like flower petals dropping. Fields and forests; this song is a happy midday pause.
      Solid choice in a title song. It also sounds like another thing the ‘60s and ‘70s were renowned for. I mean Woodstock, of course.
      Lover, Leaver (Taker, Believer)
      Yeeeeesssssssssssss. This is heavy. This is heavy, man.
      Final Thoughts
      This album is definitely worth a listen and a buy. I think these guys are going to be fine, but some support is always nice, right? Oh, look, the link to the Greta Van Fleet shop is right, well, there. This album shows the variety of what guitars can do and I'll always love that in music. Guitars aren't really an underappreciated or underestimated instrument, but they can be underutilized. This album did not. I am so appreciative of that.
      Also, a recent article on Billboard (Yeah, go you guys! Billboard!) revealed that Sam managed to ignore a passing tornado. Add that to the sock thing that was previously mentioned here on DF and you have one of those untryingly interesting individuals. While all of these multi-talented youths are ones to watch, that is some next level, bad sitcom unawareness. Amazing.
      Buy the album. This post was not sponsored in any way or even asked for. It just is.
      Post-post Script: On my first listen through, I heard an instrument that I couldn't identify on one of the songs. I don't know if it disappeared (unlikely), but I haven't been able to find it since. I can't wait for more videos of live performances to come forth, because I'd like to see how they pull these off. Maybe even get to see them headlining. Anyone out in the interworlds going?
      Awesome.

        • Post Type: Review, Editorial
    2. Greta Van Fleet Interview and Show Review

      Blood is thicker than water and talent is greater than trend. I arrived in time to hear some of the warm-up and was immediately immersed into the nu-retro sounds, though they weren’t quite happy with the technical aspects just yet. It was clear that the live show was going to be a real experience. So, this is Greta Van Fleet. Touted as the next big name in rock music and (more recently) even familiar to the likes of Robert Plant and Tom Hanks, I see a stage of talented youth who might know what they want more than they know who they are, but with the world willing to wait and see, they have it all the the palm of their blistered hands.
      The instrumentalists left the stage, while Josh stays behind to finalize some details, and I get my first face-to-face with the band members.
      Danny and Sam, these neo-flower children, with a peace sign necklace on the former and hippie-long locks all around, are the first that I meet. A couple of handshakes later, we’re immersed in a conversation about Abbey Road, which is a just delightful conversational topic at any time, but it’s especially nice with musicians. They apologize for the warm-up running late and I assure them that it’s all fine, glad to see their meteoric shoot to rock stardom have left them still as polite as you’d expect some guys from the Polka capital of Michigan to be.
      Jake, guitar in hand, walks over, “This was all Sam’s fault. I don’t know how yet, but it was.” He also apologizes for running late, because we’re working with gentlemen here. Long-haired freaky people need not worry about applying themselves; we’re a lot more accepting these days. Picking up on the Beatles conversation, he begins to strum a bit of Blackbird, stylized. We joke about how I’m going to title the article “It Was All Sam’s Fault” [Editor’s Note: We’re not doing that.] and we get back into our love and respect of the Beatles and other musicians. There’s a greenness to this experience. They still have that enthusiasm of the newness of being interviewed as band members that makes the excitement infectious, even though we’re just shooting the breeze at this point.
      Midconversation with the instrumentalists and I hear someone try to introduce themselves to me with my own name. The lead singer, Josh, joined our little cohort. My sarcastometer was not ready for this. I quickly learned that while every member of Greta Van Fleet has a personality that could fill a room, Josh has something to say about everything and he usually does it in an unexpected way.
      After failing to complete the joke and introduce myself as him, we had a laugh, then were told that we would need to relocate for the interview.
      We chit-chat in an over-full elevator to the basement.  There are worse ways to break the ice as we already establish a humor to the situation at hand. Soon enough, seated in a rough circle, we are ready to begin.
      “It’s like a Breakfast Club,” begins Josh. If you had any doubts about the authenticity of the retro feel this band exudes, you lose it within 10-seconds of being around them. References to years far past are commonplace among them, especially outspoken Josh. At one point, he even refers to me as “Baba Wawa” in a Gilda Radner throwback voice. They come as close to having an understanding of the era that made the music theirs echoes popular as they can for people born years after it ended, but there’s still an edge that reminds you that they are in or barely out of their teenage years in this modern era as the time passes. This edge gives a hope for their future music, it says they will grow into themselves and their sound, even more than how well they own it now.
      The pre-show energy is evident, as they tend to answer questions as a unit. This interview has been edited and condensed in an attempt to provide some sense of order and because there aren’t enough letters in the Latin alphabet for all of the sounds and noises they made.
      As a background, if you are unaware, Greta Van Fleet is made up of twins Jake (lead guitar, 21) & Josh (lead vocals, 21), their brother, Sam (bass & keyboard, 18), and their friend Danny (drums, 18). They’ve all been playing most of their lives. That, along with some natural talent and creativity, accounts for the amazing skill they have at a remarkable age. Their sound is often compared to Led Zeppelin, particularly due to the lead singer’s wailing vocals and penchant for hitting high pitches, so that’s what I start with in...
      The Interview
      Interviewer (to Josh): So how do you feel about the Robert Plant comparisons?
      Josh: I’m alright with that, you know? He’s probably one of the better singers.
      Interviewer: It didn’t get old yet?
      Josh: No, no. I mean, anything can get old, but I get it, because it sounds a lot alike. Probably because when I was listening to Led Zeppelin, I was like, “There’s a lot of power behind that, how does he do that?” and a lot of those soul singers do that, where they can just belt that stuff. So it was like that is the best way to sing to get that power behind it. He’s one of my favorite singers, too, one of my heroes.
      Interviewer (to all): How has your experience been with fans so far?
      They all answered in a jumble of grateful comments, so I asked a more direct question.
      Interviewer: You already have a decent following, is there anything you’d like your fans to know about how to interact at signings or meet-and-greets?
      Jake: I like when they’re not as, you know, overbearing, because it’s easier to connect.
      Josh: Ultimately, it’s like, they love what we do and it’s the appreciation of our art and our work, so it’s kind of a huge compliment- the fact that they appreciate that, so I think that we’re all super grateful for it, we like to talk to them.
      Interviewer: You’ve talked about having a very organic song-writing process. How would things change if a member of the band took over as a dictator of the creative lead?
      Josh: Well, it wouldn’t be art anymore. It would be SHIT!
      Interviewer:  How do you balance shows and being on the road with life and sleep?
      Jake: We don’t. We arrived at our hotel at 4 in the morning. It’s good that we’re young. We have to do all of this while we’re young, when we can kind of bounce back from it.
      Josh: Just get as much sleep as you can and just deal with it.
      Danny: It was hard at first, but it’s so fun. It’s so overwhelming and fun, you don’t even think about the sleep. Until after the tour, that’s when you crash, but during it all, it’s just *clap, clap* you get a momentum going. It’s fun. It’s not as hard as you think.
      Josh: Not when you’re in it. I mean, if you’re thinking about it, the process itself, then it becomes intimidating, or it can be, but then when you’re surrounded by it all the time and it becomes your world, you accept it. If you fought it, you’d burn yourself out.
      Interviewer (to Danny): I’ve read in other interviews that the Kiszca’s father was in the music scene and “gets” the band lifestyle. How have your parents taken to you being on the road?
      Danny: Rather well.
      Josh: Your mother plays the guitar
      Danny: My mom plays the guitar. That’s kind of how I started. I started playing the guitar. She had an old 12-stringer she had since the ‘70s and she took lessons as a kid. Her dad, my grandfather, he got her into lessons. I feel like the music part of me comes from my mom’s side of the family.
      Sam: His dad actually told me one time, he said, “I always thought it would be so cool if Daniel was in a band.”
      Danny: Really?
      Sam: Yeah, and he was like, “and not only a band now, but now it’s really going somewhere.” He always thought that, I always thought that that was funny.
      Danny: I never heard that; that’s cool.
      Interviewer: That’s awesome. Okay, guys, this one is important. Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or one hundred duck-sized horses?
      Danny: One horse sized duck. Definitely. Then you’d only have one thing to worry about.
      Jake: I’d feel bad. Horses are beautiful. Ducks aren’t as beautiful.
      Jake: Well, what’s our weapon?
      Interviewer: What weapon would you like?
      Jake: If I was fighting a duck the size of a horse, I would want a 12-gauge.
      Danny: How about a fencing sword. I would fence the duck.
      Josh: *funny voice* It would bite your leg off.
      Jake: It would swallow you whole.
      Danny: It could try.
      Josh: *focusing again* That’s the answer we’ve got for ya.
      Interviewer: Do any of you have any secret talents? [i can not account for how much of the following is accurate and how much was sarcastic or joking. You have been warned.]
      Sam: I can play the fiddle… with my feet.
      Interviewer: Can you really?
      Sam: No.
      Jake: I’m accurate with a bottle cap.
      Interviewer: Why don’t you use that to take out the horse-sized duck?
      Danny: I was just thinking about the horse sized duck.
      Josh: Yeah, flaming bottle caps! *machine gun noises*
      Jake: I’m the tortilla tossing champion of Michigan.
      Interviewer: Of all of Michigan?
      Jake: Yeah.
      Josh: Yeah. Digest that!
      Danny: Sam plays the swinette.
      Sam: I do play the swinette. I can also eat 12 hot dogs in a minute.
      Danny: Are you kidding?
      Sam: No. I’m dead serious.
      Josh: I won the first place for the dugout shelter of Michigan … championship. Basically, if there was a fallout, I’d be the one you’d want to go to.
      Interviewer: Does Michigan just have a bunch of random championships as a state?
      Jake: Yeah, I guess. There’s not much… I mean, you can just chop wood up there. You’ve got that.
      They begin talking faster and over each other.
      Danny: Sam can tie the most knots in a minute.
      Sam: That’s true. (pause) I was a boy scout. I know my knots.
      Josh: Danny, were you a boy scout?
      Danny: No.
      Jake: We were all boy scouts.
      Josh: And I was the dugout shelter champion.
      Danny: You guys were cub scouts.
      Josh: The, uh, tri-city regional champion.
      The conversation begins to get weird, which can be fun, but I attempt to get us back on track, due to time constraints.
      Interviewer: What about Weird habits.
      Sam: I bit my toenails.
      Interviewer: That means you can reach your foot to your face.
      Sam: (pause) Yeah.
      Jake: So, that’s a good one.
      Josh: Weird habits, weird habits. Not any strange ones. Like I think too much, that’s a habit, right?
      Interviewer: I think that counts. That’s pretty common among musicians.
      Jake: We all do that. I have a habit of sleepwalking at night, so whoever’s room I’m in, I’ll be standing above them with a bow and arrow stretched out. *laughing* Actually, as a real one, when I’ve been asleep before, I have a habit of playing.
      Josh: Actually, yeah, I’ve seen that, like maybe once or twice, I’ve seen him doing this *air guitar*. He’s playing the guitar in his sleep.
      Dan: Josh, you’ll hum melodies in your sleep.
      Josh: Really? We all make music in our sleep!
      Danny: Remember that one time you walked in and you said I was drumming?
      Josh: Your foot was moving, too. Sam’s the only one I don’t think I ever saw doing it.
      Sam: ‘Cause I’m too focused when I sleep.
      Josh: Sam’s the only one out of all of us that can just lay down on a pillow and be out.
      Interviewer: That is definitely a talent to me.
      Danny: I just fall asleep randomly. *laughs*
      Interviewer: That’s called narcolepsy.
      Josh: You should probably get that checked out.
      Danny: Yeah, before I just fall asleep onstage. *laughs*
      Interviewer (to Sam): What about the not wearing shoes, is that a habit?
      Danny: Yes.
      Sam: It’s not really a habit, it just kind of happens.
      Danny: We probably have 50 pictures of him like that.
      Sam: My feet were really hot.
      Jake: We would have mentioned it earlier, but it’s just so… we're immune to it. We don’t really notice it.
      Josh: Yeah.
      Sam: My feet were really hot, so I just took my shoes off. That’s how that really happens.
      Interviewer: Do you think that learning to play in a more organic setting affected your technique?
      Everyone: Absolutely.
      Sam: When you’re taught something by a music teacher, they’re teaching you, basically, how to play, and I think that when you're given the ability to try to learn something on your own that you basically have a moredirect connection to some of your influences.
      Josh: I think a good analogy is when Orson Welles was asked, “How is it you could make Citizen Kane?” something like that, and he said “Ignorance, sheer ignorance.” Not knowing how to make a movie is the reason he made those choices he made.
      Jake: I think when you learn things by ear, they’re more instilled in your soul, rather than just knowing it in your brain, when somebody shows you how to do something. It wasn’t really a choice, that we said, “Oh, I’m going to learn to play bass, you know, on my own.” My dad had one sitting around and I started playing with it a little bit.
      Sam: Then Daniel started to play drums last week.
      Interviewer: Which is weird, because the tour was longer than that.
      Daniel: Yeah, it’s a weird thing where I just tend to forget and relearn all of it.
      Interviewer: If you had an unlimited budget and resources, what would your dream video be for any of your songs?
      Josh: Anywhere that we would be able to travel outside of the United States.
      Jake: I think going through a Safari in Africa. Thick jungle.
      Josh: Maybe shooting with some of the ancient tribes.
      Danny: Maybe South America, in the rainforest.
      Josh: Discovering ancient societies. Could be f***in’ dangerous.
      Jake: *Nods to me.* We’ll take her, too, she’s a journalist. She knows what she’s doing.
      Interviewer: I’m game. Let’s go, haha.
      Jake: That’s all you need.
      Josh: You just need a journalist and a film crew.
      Jake: I’d like to film a video in space.
      Danny: No one’s ever done that.
      Interviewer: That would be fantastic.
      We get the 5 minute signal, so I move on to my last question.
      Interviewer: What message or advice would you give to young musicians working towards making a career out of music?
      Josh: Don’t do it. Don’t do it! Nah, I think persistence, really. I think if you have great passion and great truth in what you’re doing, if it means that much to you, then persistence and never stopping is probably the most important thing that you can do.
      Danny: Don’t ever let anyone tell you how to do what you do good.
      Jake: Play, play, play, play, and never stop playing.
      Josh: If it feels right, follow it, and never stop. If you do, the whole universe will conspire to your advantage.
      With that hopeful end and overhearing that this was “definitely the most entertaining interview we’ve ever gotten” (*pats self on the back*), we parted ways and I went back upstairs to wait for the show to begin.
      Catch some bonus facts at the end of the article that were discussed apart from the main interview questions.
      The Show
      Opening Acts
      The opening bands were far from what you’d expect to open for a band that is being touted as the next Led Zeppelin. The first opener, Rahway, was like late nineties garage metal trickled into the present.
      The second opener was another complete change in direction. Goodbye June is another band that, while undeniably now, have that heavy, classic, Southern rock sound. I later found out that the lead singer and guitarists are cousins, so they have more in common with GVF than just having a lot of talent and energy playing a throwback sound.
      The Headliner: Greta Van Fleet
      Then our headliner took to the stage. In vintage-style outfits that they looked surprisingly natural in, the four of them were ready to play.
      They began with the energetic “Talk on the Street”, showing off a barrage of guitar and drum beats that almost fight with the vocals for attention. Though the song is not on the EP and not as well known, it got everyone’s attention and set the mood for the rest of the performance. Their EP’s namesake, “Black Smoke Rising”, rose out of that energy. The crowd really got into it then, singing along with every word.
      The subsequent songs, “Edge of Darkness”, where Jake skillfully plays his guitar behind his head, and “When the Cold Wind Blows” kept the energy up, even though being lesser known. The thing is, these songs speak for themselves. You don’t need to know the words, you don’t need to know the melody, you don’t need to have heard them before. They are infectious. They are what live music is supposed to be- youthful, classic, rock. Could they be more refined? Sure. Should they be? No. Not yet. Let these kids be young and play music that possesses the energy of their predecessors. The room to grow is one of the most exciting parts for a new band, but even if this is to be all the music they ever release (knock on wood), it’s amazing for what it is. Skillful, raw rock and roll. I don’t need anything more than that.
      Another EP hit, “Flower Power”, induced a total light and airy feeling in the room. A love ballad may seem premature for such a young band, but you have to remember that they have been playing together for four years (the Kiszca brothers, even longer than that) and grew up on the classics- literally using the classics to learn and hone their craft. Besides, the phrase “out of sight” is used effortlessly and you can not find fault in that. I’ll be openly biased here. I’m a huge proponent for bringing back certain phrases to common vernacular and “outta sight” is fairly high on that list, but Flower Power is amazing even aside from those words.
      They played another lovey song, “You’re the One”, before a rendition of Willie Dixon’s’ “Evil”. The Dixon song choice, considering that he was also a known inspiration of Led Zeppelin, was nicely meta. As Josh’s vocals are far from the only comparable quality to Zep, the next song, Mountain of the Sun, played on some of those classic, transcendental lyrics that they were so known for, which was followed by dreamy “Watching Over”, which has a stop/start quality that goes right through your whole being.
      They played another one of my favorites, Lover Leaver Taker Believer, before ending with the final two songs from their EP, “Highway Tune” and “Safari Song”. “Safari Song” may not have the deepest or most original song, but the way Josh enunciates “your heart” while shrieking the chorus is one of the most head-bangable parts of any song in their line up.
      These guys are born performers.
      Josh, who demands control of the stage, has an innate character quality that he is sure of himself in. Almost snarling between verses and smiling in what must be an almost unconscious reverie at times, exposing enviably nice teeth, he clearly enjoys what he does. His twin, Jake, has an obvious comfort in his practiced playing and has an equally powerful, if not quite as overt, stage presence. He chooses his moments to shine to meld with the music naturally. Their little brother, Sam, has a quiet quality that reminded me of a young George Harrison, which is no minor quality in my book. Watch out for this one, especially if he ever takes a spiritual journey. He might take his effortless exchange from bass to keys (and swinette?) over to the sitar next and I’ll look forward to hearing all of the music that comes out of it. Finally, Danny, their band-brother. This kid makes a drum solo worth paying attention to. His energy adds to the energy that penetrates the performance and is definitely not one to follow the drummer stereotype of just sitting in the background. I can’t speak for the entire room of fans, but the girls next to me were very vocal about their adoration for the drummer.
      Led Zeppelin is the obvious comparison, but there are notes of many other bands here, as well as their own style. You have a replacement drummer, the potential for more complex songwriting skills, and a fabulous number of band members, which is very Beatles.
      At the end of the day, you have to remember that this is GVF’s first foray into rock stardom. So the melodies and lyrics are very reminiscent of bands that could feature easily in Woodstock with a heavier, almost metal, aspect mixed in, but that gives them room to grow from their roots. There has been a lot of noise surrounding these dudes and it is worthwhile, but as we could really use a good rock music renaissance, let’s not let this one burn out. I, for one, am going to keep my eye out for what comes next and I more than hope, I expect that their music and performances will get more intense, more unique, and more themselves as time goes on. They have their whole future ahead of them and they really have every opportunity to grab hold of it and take it for all that it’s worth. It would be easy for them to rest on their laurels and comparisons to an idyllic time past, but if they want to make it or grow as musicians, they wouldn’t do that and I don’t see it happening. That’s exciting. Anything could be coming next.
      Let’s all give them the support and hope that they will take it and run, because we will all be better off for it.
      Rock on, my dreamers, and give these kittens another listen.
      You’ll be glad you did. I am.
      FAST FACTS
      Josh is the older twin, beating Jake out by about 5 minutes. The band has a goal to sell out Madison Square Garden. Jake rewired some of his wrist muscles by continuing to play guitar after a wrestling-related injury Despite the protest of his mother, it ended up being pretty therapeutic. Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin knows who they are and talked about them in a recent Rolling Stones article. Their song writing style is organic and usually happens quickly. Danny is the only band member who isn’t related by blood, but he is essentially a brother to the rest at this point. They have many inspirations for lyrics, including some “nerdy” ones, such as Nietzsche. Sam is most comfortable playing without shoes on. A true hero. Since the initial writing of this article, the band’s music has been featured on Spotify, in various TV shows, from Shameless to Lucifer and even The Tonight Show, played dozens of sold out shows and festivals, including Coachella, where they won the approval of Tom Hanks (what more do you really need in life?), and released their second EP, From the Fires.
      Their highly anticipated first album comes out tomorrow!
      Go and listen. Now, please.

        • Post Type: Review, Editorial
    3. "Trench" Track Reviews (Twenty One Pilots)

      The long awaited album, Trench, from Twenty One Pilots was released today and you should give it a listen. Catchy tunes, deep lyrics, and more songs that are reminiscent of something I can’t quite place, because TØP makes everything they do uniquely their own, are on this album. The answers to mysteries have been revealed and more have found themselves being questioned. We find out who Blurryface is and delve into the where of his existence, a world that is contained in Tyler Joseph’s mind and now ours, too. Sadness and hope mingle once again in a way that finds a firm foothold while nearing the band’s decadeversary. You’re in for a ride with this one, so let’s take a trip through the Trench and see if we can make our ways out.
      Jumpsuit
      They picked the perfect song to start the album with. Jumpsuit really sets the whole tone. It’s increased in familiarity since I first discussed Jumpsuit and Nico and the Niners, which definitely helped, because by knowing the words, it became an open door that I could walk through into the rest of the album. Where it departs from the Blurryface album sonically, opening with such a distinct and punchy song, it dives deeper into the powerful lyrics.
      Levitate
      Tyler Joseph rapping about things that I can’t quite be sure I understand is a part of life at this point. This track continues to lay intellectual groundwork and has some interesting fluctuations and flourishes, but the best is yet to come.
      Chlorine
      Great beat and the vocals are beautiful in this song, particularly towards the end. This song moves through genres and metaphors in the way only they can pull off. You can almost hear the difference between the points of reality and dreams he’s not sure he can meet without even deciphering a single word. For an album that explored the world of a character that embodies self-doubt and fear, it’s oddly grounded. This song is exemplary of that.
      Morph
      NICHOLAS BOURBAKI! I feel like Hermoine when she finally figured out how she knew Nicholas Flamel’s name. Is that Harry Potter reference okay? You know, because we’re about to get even [delightfully] nerdier here. Great. So, Nico’s full name is Nicholas Bourbaki. “He” is actually a group of mathematicians that worked together to unify theories and such. I have so many thoughts about this song. I went down an absolute rabbit hole starting at the Bourbaik reference all the way to the creepy voice singing “Josh Dun” at the end.
      This song references an “if” to death.
      What could that mean? Are we discussing scientific advancements or the idea that the difference between life and death is merely a comma? Then what does that mean for Dema? It seems as though the trench is escapable, but to escape, one must become camouflaged. Is Dema Earth?
      Ones and zeroes, ergo this symphony.
      There is an old philosophical place where math and music meet in the Musica Universalis. With the mention of binary leading into a symphony, that is what came to mind. You should look it up. It’s pretty interesting, even if it doesn’t actually apply to this song. Also, fractals. Look those up. Okay, I’m done talking about cool math stuff now. I probably ran through all of it, anyway, am I right?
      Then, after covering these vast and universal themes of mortality and mathematics, the song ends by cryptically reperepeating “nighttime” followed by “Josh Dun” and “I’ll morph into someone else.” Woah.
      My Blood
      This track was released ahead of the album and I knew it would be one of my favorites as soon as I heard it. After listening to the rest of the album, I’m not sure if anything beats it, but it’s definitely a close call. Tyler brings back his HeavyDirty falsetto vocals and takes them to the next level, with Dun's drums setting a perfect backdrop to this masterpiece of a top song. This is the one that I find myself singing under my breath. It’s a hit, for sure.
      Man, I love this song.
      Smithereens
      Smithereens is a love song with an experimentation of sounds and instruments, utilizing some sort of cartoon-y tropical sounds to accentuate the love-y lyrics that precede them. Let's face it- it's pretty. This is clearly another ode to Jenna, which is super sweet. Another deceptively negative sounding song that's actually about love among all the other conspiratorial lyrics. Tyler makes his love fit into a world he created, he even sidesteps the overall thematic road of this song, but makes it work, for her. Lucky ducks to have found something so strong.
      Fun Fact: Jenna is also in the Jumpsuit music video, so keep an eye out for her next time you watch!
      Neon Gravestones
      I have to say, I was nervous about this one going in. I expect TØP’s work to make me sad or question existence, life, and everything, but with Neon Gravestones, I was more worried that it was about to get really emo. Like 2004 levels of emo. We lucked out with a song that could have fit in with their 2009 album, but also fits perfectly here. I guess that’s how timelessness works. The last verse hits me like a speeding bullet.
      “Find your grandparents or someone of age.
      Pay some respects for the path that they paved;
      For life, they were dedicated.
      Now that should be celebrated.”
      Fun Factoid: I knew that the title of this song existed, but it didn’t occur to me until writing this that the other day, after decorating for Halloween, that my mom suggested painting some of the decorations with a neon border, so that they stand out. The decorations she was mentioning in particular were cardboard tombstones. Life.
      The Hype
      You’ll be just fine!
      Bringing back the uke! This song is like drinking cola out of a glass bottle while wearing well-worn jeans with reflecting lights pulsing serenely around, you know? Maybe at a bowling alley. This song reminds me of ska; there’s a happy beat and then lyrics with deeper meanings of maybe things suck, they often do, but it will be alright, even sans a horns section. We will dance and sing and it will be alright. Thank you, Twenty One Pilots. It will be. That’s what a lot of life is like: telling yourself that things will be alright and sometimes believing it. This song reminds us of how good it can be when you genuinely, really believe it, which is something you can’t force, but can come about at unexpected times. This song is an unexpected gift.
      Gosh, it’s just so happy sounding that you want to use words like “gosh”!
      Nico and the Niners
      Ridiculously catchy and cryptic, this song helps to really define the world of Trench.
      Cut My Lip
      I understand why people don’t understand where I’m coming from sometimes and that they can’t relate; I’m a bit weird. That being said, there were multiple things on this album that spoke to me beyond the usual “Tyler Joseph is brilliant at bringing those feeling that you feel to words” [see: Neon Gravestones]. I have this vague joke that I like to take any song that uses the word “pride” and pretend that the lyrics intend to mean a group of lions.
      I find this most amusing with songs like “These Days” and “She Loves You,” but there are some songs that it just doesn’t work with, such as Pride & Joy or  Pride In The Name of Love, because the meaning is just to serious (I still think of lions, though). To stick with TØP, it works pretty well with Johnny Boy, but not so much with Truce. Picturing lions works really, really well with My Blood. I am so proud of them for this particular pun. So. Proud.
      Plus, I always like the undertone of hope. It’s so beautiful and beautifully done.
      Bandito
      Very soundscapey. This is the one I can really feel will be a hit to dance to at the concerts; it has that live feeling down. The build up, everything is brilliant. I almost wondered why they didn’t end with this, then I heard Leave the City. TØP constantly levels up. Statements like that are probably why Blurryface became so problematic, because complements have underlying high expectations, but that ended up great. They continue to meet and exceed expectations.  
      Pet Cheetah
      Sounds like what futuristic music from ‘90s movies sounds like mixed with a haunted houses backing track. My pet cheetah’s name is Diana Prince, maybe  she can be friends with Turkish? (Boom, a comic book and a movie reference. Now Deadicated will continue to let me write on here.)
      Legend
      This is funky! Where did that come from? You never know what to expect with TØP. This is the next step in the evolution of modern musicians trying to take on something soulful and maybe I’m just a sucker for the horns, but I dig it.
      As a whole, it twists your heart strings and leaves you coming back for more. This song is a story in itself.
      Leave the City
      Piano heavy and classic. This is the kid of hope we need sometimes. In time, I will leave the city. For now, I will stay alive. 
      It’s okay if you can’t do it today, just make sure you’ll be here for tomorrow, okay? There’s a hypnotizing quality to the piano and vocals that delves right into your brain and you’ll let them. They say it will be okay. It will.
      They know that it's almost over.
      This song just feels like Twenty One Pilots and nothing more needs to be said.
      BONUS ROUND
      My Blood was also released today and it has ALL of the feelings. Sadness, elation, gaining strength from weird places, and, of course, confusion and more sadness. Tyler, what are you doing to us? The boy’s gonna be changing his last name to Durden any day now with the twists and turns he’s giving us.
        This video is very unique compared to their others, which probably means... something that only they know. It is a good video, though. They almost even let it make sense!   I don’t want to be heard, I want to be listened to. Plus, there’s a bit of Halloween fun in there, which is timely right now and that works perfectly. I got pumped up for Twenty One Pilots WHILE getting pumped up for Halloween: the dream. 
      They know what I mean.

        • Post Type: Review
    4. Twenty Øne Pilots album "Trench" releases October 5, 2018

      ...and we learned about this in an email on a Wednesday morning, just days after the Are You Still Sleeping? email that had us all worked up, along with a forthcoming multinational tour and the release of TWO new songs with a music video for one. *Checks the betting pool.* Did anyone call this? 
      One thing is for sure: We’re awake now.
      Twenty Øne Pilots Drops Two New Songs
      Psycho-trance reggae alternative progressive rock-rap? What are you? Limitless and undeniable. We have so much to be thankful for with the drop of 2 new songs, but also so many more questions.
      What is the significance of the jumpsuit, which shows up in both a song of it’s own as well as referenced in Nico and the Niners? Speaking of, who are Nico and the Niners? Friends or Foe? Where's Clancy? Why if you go to http://nicoandtheniners.com, you just get the same yellow background as the rest of the album announcements, even though it was blinking just days ago? Furthermore, why have we changed colors again, guys? I just got used the the red and blue, then the red with black and white… It’s fine, I will adapt.
      Let's jump in!
      Jumpsuit

      Jumpsuit, both recollective of… something… and completely new for TØP is a melodic journey that does not disappoint. Wrought with the intricate, altering melodies and lyrics that are deceptively simple at times, leading to deeper truths, Jumpsuit is as much of a departure from the sound we are used to as the introduction of heavier hip hop/ pop beats of Blurryface were at the time. The reference to grabbing his throat and breaking his hands also hits close to home for those who followed the Blurryface lore. Are we going to get another rock opera-esque album of the journey Twenty Øne Pilots continues to take?
      Only time will tell. The classic Tyler Joseph scream towards the end brings you back. This is TØP after all: always original, but always distinguishable as themselves. This is personal, but shared. If you need anyone...
      Nico and the Niners

      The even catchier Nico and the Niners has a reverberating tune that sounds almost expectant of further challenges. It isn’t so much a fight song as it is a call for continued strength for the battles ahead. The title of the song had a minor leak when fans decided to forgo the given clues in favor of scouring the Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) licensing database for newly registered songs, but this unique track could not have been predicted by name alone.
      This is a work song, pulling modern beats into an idea as old as time, but it also reveals the struggle and a refusal to face fear when there are more important tasks to accomplish. If you don’t have the resounding phrase of “East is Up” wormed into your ears by the time you finish your first listen, you probably need to get your humanity checked.
      Also, does anyone else feel vaguely initiated by this song? I’m not sure into what, but if there is a fight, we are now on the same side. You can’t deny the battle calls exclaimed in Nico and the Niners.
      We won’t stay in our lanes and Dema won’t make us forget.
      Then There’s the Video for Jumpsuit
      “We’ve been here the whole time. You were asleep. Time to wake up."
      We open on a now familiar scene of a burnt up car in what is either twilight or early morning. The self-referential video to the heavy song, Jumpsuit, might be an origin story for Blurryface. We see the infamous car on fire, but now we have new details, including a mysterious cloaked figure and menacing figures that rain yellow flower petals on our bewildered hero. They were there the whole time. I can’t make it any less confusing than that, so just go watch it.
      A white horse. The single rebel (Josh Dun?) left when Tyler goes down into the river? The end that is the beginning?
      Cover me.
      Oh, and the Twenty Øne Pilots Bandito World Tour 2018-2019

      Important Information: According to the Twenty Øne Pilots website and Ticketmaster’s Verified Account program, all of us in the clique only have until Sunday, July 15 @ 11:59PM ET, when registration closes, to sign up for the pre-sale, so get there early and be ready.
      Presales begin on Tuesday, July 17 and general on sale begins Friday, July 20.
      Brimming with Symbolism
      The email ends with this little message that appears to be on the album’s cover.

      We’re ready for this.
      New Twenty Øne Pilots Song Lyrics
      Jumpsuit Lyrics
      I can’t believe how much I hate,
      Pressures of a new place roll my way,
      Jumpsuit, Jumpsuit cover me,
      Jumpsuit, Jumpsuit cover me.
      I crumble underneath the weight,
      Pressures of a new place roll my way,
      Jumpsuit, Jumpsuit cover me.
      Jumpsuit, Jumpsuit cover me.
      Spirits in my room, friend or foe?
      Felt it in my youth, feel it when I’m old,
      Jumpsuit, Jumpsuit cover me,
      Dusting off my Jumpsuit.
      I’ll be right there,
      But you’ll have to grab my throat and lift me in the air,
      If you need anyone,
      I’ll stop my plans,
      but you’ll have to tie me down and then break both my hands,
      If you need anyone.
      Nico and the Niners Lyrics
      East is up,
      I’m fearless when I hear this on the low,
      East is up,
      I’m careless when I wear my rebel clothes,
      East is up,
      When Bishops come together they will know that,
      Dema don’t control us, Dema don’t control,
      East is up.
      They want to make you forget,
      They want to make you forget,
      Save your razorblades now, not yet,
      Save your razorblades now, not yet.
      I’m heavy, my Jumpsuit is on steady,
      I’m lighter when I’m lower, I’m higher when I’m heavy,
      I’m so high, my Jumpsuit takes me so high,
      I’m flying from a fire, from Nico and the Niners.
      What I say when I want to be enough,
      What a beautiful day for making a break for it,
      We’ll find a way to pay for it,
      Maybe from all the money we made razorblade stores,
      Rent a race horse and force a sponsor,
      And start a concert, a complete diversion,
      Start a mob and you can be quite certain,
      We’ll win but not everyone will get out.
      So... What Happened with the Friday Clue?
      Honestly, I am kind of glad they didn’t go too cliche with a Friday the 13th release. I have a date with Jason that day and the timing just wouldn’t have worked out at all. I can't say for sure which song is my favorite so far, but what do you think?

        • Post Type: News, Editorial
    5. TØP: Are You Still Sleeping?

      ...and we are all really curious what it actually means!
      This morning, during the 8AM hour EST, another cryptic message, probably a new clue, was delivered to the inboxes of Twenty Øne Pilots' fans that had signed up for e-mail alerts. though this is admittedly more direct than many of the other clues, it is no less mysterious.
      (Update: An even more significant Twenty Øne Pilots' fan club e-mail hits and blows the doors WIDE OPEN!)
      All we have to go on is the headline of "ARE YOU STILL SLEEPING" and the below image of a yellow eye that almost looks like it could be part of the sky. It's strange, beautiful, and leaving us all to wonder how this fits in with the rest of their clues.
      We're hopeful for an answer and new music very, very soon.

      The Theories
      Over the last year, rampant theorizing about the end of Twenty One Pilots’ musical hiatus have been circulating the internet. Gathered in message boards and social media platforms, such as reddit’s r/twentyonepilots thread, fans have uncovered many clues (some of which have disappeared already) leading us to believe the forthcoming album would be dropped sometime around, well, now.
      The hiatus itself was announced in a cryptic fashion, using near mirror images, where the slash in the “ø” remained in the proper direction while everything else was flipped and every “E” had an elongated slash, of their song lyrics and an overarching message of “You have to come and find me” inside of an eye that appears to be closing. This all concluded on July 6th of last year with a final message referencing “Car Radio” that said, “Now we just sit in silence.”
      We’re right at the anniversary of that date! What could it mean?
      Back in January, Josh Dunn explained in his acceptance speech at the APMA Awards that Joseph Tyler’s absence was due to his “cutting ties with Dema.” Dema is a Tower of Silence. Twenty One Pilots has always had a relationship with the idea of silence versus noise and polarity in general, so this could have been meant to signify TØP, Joseph himself, or the Blurryface era. This sparked a resurgence in the search for clues.
      Since then, all we had on the official front was silence...
      ...but fans worked hard to find meaning in it.
      If you follow down the rabbit hole, certain words and phrases have become singled out, including Dema, Clancy, 43, East is Up, and Friday, along with images of a single eye.
      Which Friday, Twenty One Pilots?
      Though some theorized that the album would drop on May 1st, due to a series of dashes and dot, that day has come and passed and new theories have come to light. Trying to decipher when the silence will end, some super sleuths in the online fan community have come up with violation messages and error messages that spelled out the Friday clue only recently, which many take to mean that the album will drop on a Friday. Warring theories go between either Friday, July 6th (Today!!!) or possibly Friday the 13th of July.
      The new clue dropped to the fans that are on the email list this morning could signify today, but until we hear something more, it’s still only theoretical.
      Twenty One Pilots Sits in Silence
      So… is today the day we will be awakened to new Twenty One Pilots’ music? Can we open our eyes? Is the silence over? I know we hope so, but we won’t know until more clues are released or until the album drops. TØP clearly has some of the most clever fans around that will be ready and willing to figure out any clues that happen next, so even if it’s not today, we’ll be okay with this waiting. Only Twenty One Pilots’ could leave us on the edge like this, but we are happy to be here and ready to hear.
      My only message to the clique- stay aware and keep listening.

        • Post Type: Editorial
    6. The Misfits Ride Again

      Saturday, May 19th, 2018 is incredibly memorable for being the date of a royal wedding when The Misfits reunited! (Full disclosure: The version of Stand By Me at said wedding was remarkable and deserves to be noted.)
      The original lineup of The Misfits, including Glenn Danzig, Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein, and Jerry Only, reunited for their much anticipated, sold-out homecoming show The Misfits Ride Again and brought their classic blend of thrashing music and horror imagery to the stage for one night only.
      The mood was set as soon as fans arrived at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey- relatively close to their home of Lodi, NJ. Unfortunately, the mood was polarized. The energy was high and it was awesome to see some particularly deadicated fans in full Fiend regalia with skull makeup and devilocks, along with the fans that had novelty shirts (one of my personal favorites would have to be a shirt featuring Hank Hill that read “I ain’t no gaddang son of a b***h!”), but as cell phones were locked away for the show, many people seemed confused on how to enjoy the show and became absolutely irked. It was an inconvenience to not have that access, but at the same time there were cell phone checking stations and it was really nice to get to see the whole show without a sea of phone screens blocking the way, so I personally support the decision.
      This mix of “Yes! The original Misfits are BACK!” and minor issues being blown out of proportion followed through the whole show, even after the opening acts, including Murphy’s Law and Suicidal Tendencies, bled into our legendary headliners.
      Death did come ripping in as they opened with Death Comes Ripping and the boys took the stage. An impressive aesthetic, with their football player muscles, hints of classic horror movies in both dress and scenery, and a bleeding backdrop announcing their arrival. The stage was flanked by two larger than life jack o'lanterns and the microphone stands were green skeletons. It was quite a display.
      The “woahs” began to intensify by the second song, I Turned into a Martian, which pumped the audience up significantly. Despite some feedback issues, they killed it on their songs, which included the popular Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight?, Hybrid Moments, Green Hell, Halloween, and Last Caress.
      The audience did seem to get into the show, circle pits forming on the floor and almost everyone standing and even dancing in the seated sections, but complaints included poor sound quality, too many speech interludes between songs, and poor performances.

      People. It’s the Misfits.
      The band formed in 1977 and the members of the original lineup are still alive (maybe undead?), which is enough to be thankful for, but they are famous for those raw and hardcore sounds.
      We got to see Jerry Only slide across stage in full regalia and Doyle in his stark contrast of shirtless wrestler body combined with the black and white face paint uniting with Danzig in all of his Danziggy glory. Sure, making out what Danzig was saying during the conversational parts was near impossible, but they, the original lineup, played a song that was allegedly banned from Texas. It was horror punk in it’s finest. Sometimes spotty, sometimes brutal, but it definitely had that energy that gives you something more to live for.
      Also, Danzig is almost always difficult to understand. You just have to get used to it. It was made worse by the unfortunate feedback, but these things happen.  
      We were promised that if we were good little fiends (and we were, singing and screaming and woooooahhhh-ing our hearts out) that they would come back out for a song or two.
      They played six! Including their first hit, She, and the wildly momentive Some Kinda Hate, their encore really brought down the house. Ending on Attitude, a song that probably sums up how the Misfits feel about the people who couldn’t just enjoy the show for what it was, the show ended on a high note.
      Walking back to our car through the dark crowd of punks and horror enthusiasts felt like we were all peers on that journey. I was still too overwhelmed with how awesome people looked to notice any negative comments being found around at that point and the process of getting our phones back was a breeze.
      Exiting the arena into the foggy night, lit up by streetlights and newly re-acquired phones, was ethereal. Plus, almost all of the merch had the date on it without being upcharged from the rest of the merch, so a great big THANK YOU for that. I wanted a one-night-only souvenir to be reflective of that and appreciate that it is.
      They called it The Misfits Ride Again. That they did, and we rode with them.
      Setlist
      Death Comes Ripping I Turned Into a Martian 20 Eyes Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight? Vampira Devilock Where Eagles Dare London Dungeon Hybrid Moments Teenagers From Mars Earth A.D. Horror Business Hollywood Babylon Bullet Who Killed Marilyn Green Hell Halloween Skulls Die, Die My Darling Astro Zombies Last Caress Encore:
      Night of the Living Dead Some Kinda Hate She Violent World All Hell Breaks Loose Attitude

        • Post Type: Editorial


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