From the Vinyl Vault - 5/17/19
Frankie - Sorority Noise - Forgettable (2016)
I love finding out that artists I love are embarking on new projects outside their usual genre, and when I found out members of two of my favorite high school screamo bands, Old Gray and Prawn, had come together to form a more soft spoken emo band, I couldn’t have been happier. Sorority Noise is comprised of Old Gray’s Cameron Boucher (vocalist) and Charlie Singer (drums), and Prawn’s Ryan McKenna (bass) with the addition of Adam Ackerman (guitar). Sorority Noise gained traction with long time fans of both bands very quickly, which lead to a slew of successful early shows opening for and “touring with” the two groups, essentially a tour comprised of themselves. Sorority Noise released their debut album Forgettable in 2014 via Dog Knights Productions (Marietta, Old Gray, SeeYouSpaceCowboy) and Broken World Media (Brightside, Saintseneca, Tiny Moving Parts, Rozwell Kid), and later rereleased it on Boucher’s own Flower Girl Records in 2016.
Forgettable opens with “Rory Shield,” a quip-y little song about trying to be okay when you’re heartbroken. The album continues with its danceably dark self-deprecation with songs like “Mediocre at Best” and its closing chorus of “Nobody likes me/ That’s all I hear/ I spent a lot of time last year/ learning that I don’t like me too” and “Still Shrill” where Boucher considers changing his habits to be more like those around him to feel like he fits in better. “Dirty Ickes” is one of my favorite songs on the album. It’s a song about all the things someone might do to earn love from someone before they finally just start loving themselves. I cant help but to crank the volume for this song and shout along to the chorus of “When we broke up you told me to try and find myself/ So I found myself in someone else's bed/ You could call me a fool/ But I've had four girlfriends since/ And I've learned to love myself more than I could ever love you!” perhaps their most dramatic breakup song of all on the album, “Blonde Hair, Black Lungs” takes the cake for grand gestures of heartbreak when Boucher sings “So I drove home at a hundred miles an hour/ Just to see what it feels like to die/ And I crashed my car into someone else's backyard/ Just to see what it feels like to die.” The album is closed with the sweetest song “Smoke,” a plea to not leave for fear of never getting back that moment.
I was set to see Sorority Noise in 2017 when they were to join Modern Baseball for a US tour. Modern Baseball cancelled the US tour for mental health reasons and my tickets remained hanging from a magnet on my refrigerator until I moved last march. Sorority Noise went on hiatus in early 2018 due to Boucher’s mental health and have not yet returned to recording or touring. I picked up my pressing of Forgettable on purple vinyl with yellow and pink splatter at Haffa’s Records in Athens Ohio before it closed.
Michael - Dinosaur Jr. - Dinosaur (1985)
Mention Dinosaur Jr. once to me and you'll likely be on the receiving end of a thirty minute diatribe about how J. Mascis is one of the most underrated guitarists of all time and is often forgotten on "terrible" Best Guitarist Lists. If you have been on the receiving end of one of these, I'm sorry but it's true and I won't take it back. Anyway, the alternative rock band from Amherst, MA that would go onto inspire countless bands like Built to Spill and Modest Mouse would begin their recording journey in 1985 with Dinosaur.
Dinosaur represented a bold step in alt, as Dinosaur Jr. would flip the bird to the synthesizer and lighter guitar work of bands like The Cure and The Smiths respectively. Instead, their brand of alt seemed to be influenced from punk and metal. J. Mascis was ripping guitar solos that can still melt your face off if you stand too close. J. Mascis, Lou Barlow, and Murph, that's right Dinosaur Jr. is and has been for the most part a three piece for its existence. Yet they are able to achieve such a full sound with their complex melodies and harmonies.
Some who listen to Mascis' vocals are critical. While, I agree he's not Freddie Mercury he still can sing and harmonize very well. Additionally, he's one of the most talented multi-instrumentalists out there and for a while would record all of the music and vocals for Dinosaur Jr. albums. Anyway, back to Dinosaur. Most band's first albums usually have an early semblance of what the band will eventually form to be. While Dinosaur Jr. has definitely gotten better with age, their sound was largely fully formed right there on Dinosaur. If you listen to a number of the tracks such as "The Leper", "Forget The Swan" or "Severed Lips" (just to name a few), these easily wouldn't feel out of place on Dinosaur Jr.'s latest release Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not, and it was simply fantastic. In short, I'm trying to convey, the band gelled together in a short amount of time. If you haven't listened to Dinosaur Jr. before, I implore you to answer these questions, "Do you like guitar solos?", "Do you like guitar in general?", "Do you like rock?". If you have answered yes to any one of these questions, chances are you'll dig Dinosaur Jr. I got this copy of Dinosaur which is not an original pressing from Omega Records in Dayton, OH.