TRACKING: Line & Circle - "Roman Ruins"

SOUNDS LIKE: Reckoning-era R.E.M.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Infectious familiar sound that will have you humming along

Line and circle wear their love of rem on their sleeve but still manage to bring their own imprint to "Roman Ruins," their latest single. 

Lead singer Brian J. Cohen integrates  his own story telling to this distinctive sound, even as the Peter buck guitar rings out and the Michael stipe mike mills harmonies echo. The classic R.E.M. sound is refreshed and re-energized. 

The LA-based band,  formed by Cohen and Brian Egan, and fleshed out by Eric  Neujahr (guitar) and Nathan Gammill (bass), and drummer Nick Cisikch, was scheduled to appear at sxsw but had to cancel. Check out this single on White Iris records while we await their appearance on the tour circuit soon. 

ROCKTOBER 2012: 1983 - You Looking at Us?

So here’s the thing - there’s a point in your life when you decide who you’re going to be. When you stop listening to your parents’ music and start listening to albums that you picked out yourself, paid for with your own money that you want to devour, over and over again, like an entire pounder bag of Peanut M&Ms. And when you reach for the next album, you usually end up making a choice -- are you going to stay in the mainstream, or are you going to be indie? Play it safe, or take the more difficult road? If you were coming of age in 1983, when Thriller was continuing its two-year dominance of radio, a new chick named Madonna was being shoved down everyone’s throats, and Tom Cruise slid across the foyer in his tighty whiteys and a pair of sunglasses to the opening piano bars of Seger’s “Old Time Rock & Roll,” the choices could not be more stark. “Flashdance” or “Scarface?” Pick a side, bitches, or say hello to my little friend.

On the deeper, darker flip side of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and “Karma Chameleon,” 1983 gave us some of the most influential bands of the nascent independent music scene. Wrapping your sweaty palms around the self-titled debut LPs from Violent Femmes or Suicidal Tendencies made you immune to pegged jeans, leg warmers, rip-and-tear sweatshirts, jelly shoes, and horrifying haircuts. You were free to sport black denim pegged jeans, rip-and-tear t-shirts, Doc Martens, and equally horrifying alternative haircuts, and you were listening to much better music while doing it.

U2 released War, which was dark, brutal, and brought the political and cultural conflicts of Belfast to American teenager consciousness, even if we couldn’t find Ireland on a map. “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” was certainly meatier, more difficult to digest than Madonna’s “Holiday,” and the almost embarrassing wealth of choices beyond the mainstream could color your life outside of your headphones as well.

Reviews - The Decemberists - The King Is Dead

Hyper-literate. It’s a word that has NO business in Rock N’ Roll. We’re talking about a medium where some of the best words ever written are “She was a fast machine. She kept her motor clean. She was the best damn woman that I’ve ever seen.” Rock N’ ROLL MAN!!!!

So what the hell is wrong with Colin Malloy? I mean, look man, I get it. You’re educated, well read, and a little bit theatrical. You want to share that with the world. You want to rock. And I, being a fan of all that is rock, ALSO want you to rock. Really, I do.

Why is it then that each and every time you open your mouth I feel like you are less singing a song than simply reading a story to me? Reading a story that BELONGS IN A FREAKING BOOK.

 It takes an immense talent to craft a hit, or even good song. And I’m not saying that you can’t tell complex stories or use $25 words in songs (see Andrew Bird for an excellent example of this…Bird makes up, as in creates himself, $30 words and then makes you believe that they exist through pure songwriting prowess). But it takes a truly deft hand to craft such a thing, and whether or not you succeed is never determined by just by the quantity or quality of the words that you throw at the page. It has to have guts. Soul. BALLS.

The Decemberists have none. And it’s Malloy’s fault.

But that didn’t stop them from making the next great REM album despite themselves.

“The King Is Dead” is an effort of straight up hero worship.....


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