Ours “Mercy…Dancing for the Death of an Imaginary Enemy” Album Review + Videos…

In Case You Missed It Series: Episode 8

Ours

Mercy…Dancing for the Death of an Imaginary Enemy – CD // DD

American Recordings – released April 15, 2008

Reviewed by Zachary “+Norway+” Turner

 

Lineup for Mercy…Dancing…:
Jimmy Gnecco – Vocals, Electric Guitars, Bass, Drum outro, Percussion
Static – Space Guitar, Loops
Locke – Electric Guitar in instrumental, Piano, Keyboard
Anthony DeMarco – Piano
Michael Jerome – Drums, Percussion

Previous Releases:
1994 Demo “Sour”
2001 “Distorted Lullabies”
2002 “Precious”
2008 “Mercy…Dancing for the Death of an Imaginary Enemy”
2013 “Ballet the Boxer 1”
2017 ***upcoming “Spectacular Sight”

Tracklist:
“Mercy” 6:41
“The Worst Things Beautiful” 4:21
“Ran Away to Tell the World” 5:00
“Black” 4:51
“Moth” 4:34
“Murder” 5:35
“God Only Wants You” 4:23
“Live Again” 4:27
“Willing” 4:41
“Saint” 5:06
“Lost” 5:18
“Get Up” 4:50

                               Video of Title Track “Mercy”

 

The Band:  Ours is an Alternative Rock band from New Jersey.

Album Art:  “Ghost Girl” was made by James Gnecco IV.

Review:  In 2004, Ours relocated from New Jersey to Los Angeles to work with Producer / Engineer Rick Rubin. The resulting album, Dancing for the Death of an Imaginary Enemy was released on April 15, 2008.  If you are not familiar with Mr. Rubin, he is one of the most famous producers of modern music. He has produced music from genres like: Hip Hop, Rock, Heavy Metal and even Country.

Musically this album is very similar to the other music from the late 90’s and early 2000’s like heavy hitters like H.I.M., U2, Sixx A.M., and at some points have a Muse flair. Some more accurate (meaning more recent) comparisons are 10 years and Evans Blue. There is a heaviness in the music but not enough to change the genre from Rock to Metal.

800px-Jimmy_Gnecco_-_Rockwood_Music_Hall

This album is a family affair, in between the album art, the singing (track 12) and the lyrics themselves are focused on Jimmy’s family. It is also a heavy album because of the emotion that is delivered through the singing and with some string arrangements that are present, but not overpowering. Ours’ “Mercy…Dancing for the Death of an Imaginary Enemy” could be considered a sulky emo record; while it is a more downtempo album, it isn’t wallowing in its own sadness. It is just poppy enough to be played on the radio and even in some TV shows like NCIS and CSI.

While looking around for info on this album I found that there is hardly any reviews, so in turn, not much open love for it by “The Powers….”. This is a really solid album that (if you like any of the bands above) you should take a listen to. Ours mix their first two albums together perfectly; the great production that was used in their first album, and a rough (while still polished) vocals. The personal lyrics from all of the band’s releases are fueled by meaningful, personal and often times heavy in weight that only frontman Jimmy can deliver.

There isn’t a dull song in the album (and after 20 months) that shows how good Ours are as musicians, as well as arrangers. If I were to choose a favorite track, it would be the title track. It is one of the most powerful vocal performances by Jimmy Gnecco; along with “Live Again”. Give “Mercy…Dancing…” a listen as I cannot recommend

Stream, download, and buy the album HERE

Logo

Extra Links:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/oursmusic/about/?ref=page_internal

http://www.ours.net/ourspages/

https://www.discogs.com/artist/473602-Ours

https://www.amazon.com/Mercy-Dancing-Death-Imaginary-Enemy/dp/B00133KDWS

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dancing_for_the_Death_of_an_Imaginary_Enemy


New Album Review – Beach Slang “A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings”

BEACH SLANG

A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings – Vinyl / CD / DD

Polyvinyl Records – September 23, 2016

 

“Guitar, bass and drums. Played loudly.” And that is how Philadelphia’s own BEACH SLANG describe their music via Bandcamp and Facebook as no pretense, just strait-ahead to the point. And that is exactly how they want it. Representing the latest incarnation of post-punk pop wrapped in teen-angst and power chords, this second full-length release brings 10 tales of strife / love / hate and getting through it all screaming, “I still taste you in the ash of every cigarette you kill.” I think everyone KNOWS that feeling.  If you don’t, you are a better person for it!!

Mixing a delivery that rings richly of PSYCHEDELIC FURS meets GREEN DAY, then devoured by SOUL ASYLUM and finally, snorted by SONIC YOUTH all the while adding that ‘snap’ of GANG OF FOUR soaked drum lines being brought to a froth with the richest production values utilized as of yet by this four piece, we have this gem that stands on it’s ‘own eight feet’ as it were, not trying to clone the 2015 1st full length album. James Alex, songwriter and front man for Philly indie-punk outfit Beach Slang, says that “‘A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings’ (Polyvinyl), is a crash-and-thunder collection of songs about what it takes to keep yourself going, to make it through the rest of the night—hell, through the rest of your youth—and beyond.”

 

Live Band Shot

 

Opener ‘Future Mixtape For The Art Kids’ sets the tone from the top, e-chords and lyrics, “Play it loud, play it fast” and you are already moving when the rest of the bands hits stride with the first step.by the last line, “We are fucking alive” and the squealing note fades.  Next comes the faster ‘Atom Bomb’ that punches you right in the face from the first second. Pure rage-rock-n-roll hammering forward non-stop to the end. The jangly guitar intro to ‘Spin The Dial’ sets a slower tone with that early SOUL ASYLUM vocal permeating this tale of being “born at the bottom but…”

‘Art Damage’ rips open with a multi-layer guitar line that sounds almost happy with the aforementioned PSYCHEDELIC FURS style delivery from James giving a nod of influence in this track as well as ‘Hot Tramps’, ‘Wasted Days Of Youth’, ‘Young Hearts’ and the quintessential love song ‘The Perfect High’, all that secret recipe mix of spices and seasonings to create this date-friendly blending of songs that run the gamut of scenarios and flavors. ‘Punks In A Disco bar’ has more of that SOUL ASYLUM / SONIC YOUTH blend of punchy guitar lines and reverb soaked vocals that just keeps you moving as sitting still is not an option and there is no fighting the urge anyway.

 

Who Would Ever Want Anything so Broken

 

It appears to be a continuing trend, the last song is the standout here for me. ‘Warpaint ‘ stands out as one of those songs that could be either the perfect opener for a live gig or the ultimate closer in said scenario, it is that powerful and attention grabbing of a song.  The first minute thirty is just guitar and vocal before the rest of the band kicks in for the final minute. Striking me as a song of encouragement and direction with the lyrics “Make a muscle with your brain. You’re not as broken as you are brave. All the things that fuck you up, knock them out then come back to us.” By the time that final ringing note decays to silence, the grin doesn’t leave your face with the satisfaction factor of what you have just consumed.

In describing what was put into the writing of this record, James said “I did feel a sense of responsibility to the kids who told me they were finding something in our music that brought them back from a bad place, the ones who were getting BEACH SLANG tattoos and quoting lyrics to me after the shows. I don’t want to let those people down. Am I leaving behind work that’s going to matter? What’s this going to say about me when I run out of air, and my son is listening to these records and tapes that I left behind. Is he going to say, ‘Yeah my dad was all right’?  I want to do right by them. When this whole thing started it was like, ‘Alright, I’m going to get to hear my sappy little songs played loud and interact with other human beings again,’ the admittedly shy Alex says looking back on Beach Slang’s existence. “Then one day this really sweet explosion happened and Beach Slang became a thing that mattered to people.”

James and Company put everything into their music.  They sweat it, bleed it and it shows in every note of this album.   Simply, they are a rock and roll band that makes records, tour and repeat… find out when / where they are playing and get out and SUPPORT!!

Words by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

 


Album Review – Sorority Noise “Joy, Departed”

Sorority Noise

Joy, Departed

Topshelf Records – Vinyl / CD / Cassette / DD

When I saw Sharon Van Etten play to perhaps 30,000 souls at a festival in Kentucky, she unabashedly announced from the stage that she is very serious about her feelings.  That’s one of the many things that enamors her to me, though the list goes on and on. I’d like to take this time to unabashedly announce that she’s my celebrity crush.  Perhaps if I write a review that’s intriguing and interesting enough, she’ll one day become aware of my precarious existence and think to herself, “Hey, that guy is pretty cool for a supposed critic.  Andy Dingus Beresky seems like a guy who gets things done.  I wonder what makes him tick.  I wonder if he’d be interested in knowing what makes me tick.”

Of course, it’ll never work out between us, as she lives in Manhattan, and I’m motherfriggin’ country mouse as it comes.  Last time I was in Manhattan I had a full-fledged meltdown when I was stuck on the subway in the dark for an hour.  This ended with me sitting down and crying on a crowded subway car one fine May morning, and this did elicit an unexpected outpouring of empathy from the normally stoic New Yorkers who shared in my plight, though seemed so utterly unphased by the incident.  When I finally emerged from that underground nightmare, I’d missed my bus and chose to alleviate my woes with an expensive beer and cheap sushi at 10AM.  All’s well that ends well, I suppose, and maybe someday, my morning will end with Miss Van Etten and I sharing AM beers and sushi while we stare longingly into each other’s eyes.  I wonder if she even likes sushi??  Wow. I’m suddenly acutely aware that I’ve derailed this review from the very get-go.  That’s a new one even by my own admittedly low standards.

 

Great Band Shot

 

I bring this all up simply because Sorority Noise also strike me as being very serious about their feelings.  Actually, I’ll recant that statement ever so slightly, as I’m sure there’s a bit of tongue in cheekiness to Sorority Noise’s lyrical approach.  I mean, the first lines sung on the album are “Let me be the drug, that you use to fall in love, the heroin that keeps you warm enough” from the aptly titled lead track, ‘Blissth.’  Sure, that’s kind of sweet and romantic from a somewhat somber and morbid perspective, so I can relate to the underlying sentiment.  Still, it’s too over the top to be totally serious.

Sorority Noise is a four piece outfit from Hartford, Connecticut. They name check a bunch of bands that I’ve never heard as influences, such as Roswell Kid, Pinegrove, Modern Baseball, and Led Zeppelin.  Oh wait…I HAVE heard Led Zeppelin a couple times, and the two sound nothing alike.  The most obvious analogy to me is Weezer, who are a pretty straight forward rock band with obvious indie influence and emo appeal, though the big sound and clean production of their albums obviously sets them apart from the aesthetic of the original “emotional hardcore” bands that were in full bloom during the early to mid-90’s.  Sorority Noise may not sound exactly like Weezer – they’re far more dark, with a heavy emphasis on melancholia and moodiness.  However, they have a similar approach and appeal, in my mind.  They understand the emotional impact of indie/alternative rock, and are able to elevate it to anthemic heights by adding in the perfect amount of stadium-ready bombast.

Heck, these guys might not even like Weezer.  They might even hate them for all I know, and this paltry review may incite them to commit questionable acts of throwing star violence.  Sorority Noise have some similar elements: the big catchy choruses, the big crunchy guitars and the big rock solid rhythm section.  But there are a lot of reasons that my Weezer comparison is way, way off.  Overall, this record is much darker and bleaker, with a pervasive slacker/junky vibe to the lyrics, even in the moment when the music itself is all bittersweet pop and candy-coated melodies, such as on the self-explanatory song, “Using.”  The big difference is that Sorority Noise sound like they’re haunted. There are more atmospheric and orchestrated elements, and the dynamics are more stark.  They shift gears between minimalistic, downtempo indie to frenetically upbeat pop-punk with twin harmonized guitars, sometimes within the course of the same song.  At times, their lyrics go beyond simple self-deprecatory humor, and land firmly within the realm of the full-blown bummer.  This shouldn’t be much of a revelation, given the title of the album.

“Does hell taste as sweet as you thought, do you like what you bought?” This was the question I was left musing to myself after I’d finished the closing track “When I See You (Timberwolf)”.  I was starting to feel haunted as well, though it was that pleasant, warm, fun form of haunting, as if I’d transcended the gloom veil of the mundane, and for a brief instant tasted the highs of heaven and then drank the depths of hell before I took off my headphones, bundled up, and walked down the street for that next cup of afternoon coffee.

Reviewed by Andy “Dingus” Beresky