Nashville indie rockers Free Throw have succeeded in melting the heart of the grumpiest of Christmas grumps. They went right for the feels with this one. “Grandma Got Runover By A Reindeer” has always been my favorite Christmas song about Santa pulling a hit-and-run. If you wish, you can check out the boys original tunes at their Bandcamp. Enjoy.
A few weeks ago, You Blew It! released their second album, Keep Doing What You’re Doing. Since then, the band has received hefty buzz after being featured on Pitchfork. I can’t describe how rad it is that an Orlando band is gaining speed in the rest of the country. With Keep Doing What You’re Doing, You Blew It! unleash 10 new tracks in the same melodramatic vain as their debut album, Grow Up, Dude. I use that term, not as an insult, but as what I think is a fitting description. The songs on KDWYD, as with other releases in the emo-revival genre, deal with themes of rejection, isolation, and self-discovery in a raw way. These songs don’t pull any punches. Enjoy.
It was like “The Real World”, only in a Subway parking lot.
You Blew It! and I’s origin story goes as follows: On the second day of Fall 2012 semester, my car was totaled in a four person accident, resulting in almost a year of bumming rides. Tanner Jones, lead singer and guitar player in You Blew It!, also had the pleasure of having his car wrecked on that rainy Fall day. For almost four hours we and two other miserable souls chatted in a Subway parking lot waiting for the cops. It’s safe to say it was a fairly shitty day. However, Tanner mentioned that his band had just released their first album through Topshelf Records: Grow Up, Dude, my first exposure to the emo-revival movement that is plaguing the United States. And I was infected.
Grow Up, Dude captured my speakers, and when the fellow Orlando natives were playing a show, I was there. Try listening to “Medal of Honor” and “The Fifties.” Let me know how they make you feel.
“Don’t take this the wrong way: I know you can’t relate to feelings you don’t have personally.” From the first lines of the album, Jones’ vocal delivery is downright blunt. I feel for whoever these songs are written about, because they have no chance to defend themselves from the onslaught of harsh lyrics. In “Regional Dialect” Jones doesn’t let up. “I’m typically not the type to expose my vices, but the habits you’re forming are making me sick.” Sticks and stones can’t do half the damage dealt by You Blew It!
But other moments on KDWYD deal with internal struggles. “Strong Island” explores feelings of regret. “I’m still clutching onto things I should have said and the bonds that I’ve been ruining.” Later on in “A Different Kind of Kindling,” Jones finds “solace in anything that isn’t this.” Although he likes to point the finger, at times Jones is his own worst enemy.
Sonically, You Blew It! is a band who wears their influences on their sleeve. This unfortunately makes the music take a backseat to the quality lyrics. Many of the tracks end up melding together, which can make the album drag. However, there are standouts, and overall the album isn’t overly hurt by the similar songs. “A Different Kind of Kindling” and “House Address” have some incredibly rich guitar melodies, and the rhythm section on “You & Me & Me” and “Gray Matter” is kicking. Fans of the emo-revival sound will love You Blew It!’s latest effort, and new listeners should try my recommendations.
KDWYD‘s closing track, “Better to Best” is my favorite on the album (possibly in You Blew It!’s entire catalog). The transition from calm intro to a chorus of sweaty bearded men makes me feel empowered. Here, it’s easy to draw comparisons with Canadian duo Japandroids. The subtle yet noteworthy chorus is sung over a punchy guitar harmony. As the album winds down, the final line of You Blew It!’s second album leaves the listener with closure after an exhausting battle with others and with oneself. “Maybe things aren’t quite as bad as I let myself believe.”