Tag Archives: Jimmy Eat World

Jimmy Eat World + Mark Trombino = Harmony

…or Clarity?

JEWtrombino

Big shout out to Pierre Wentz over at Washed Up Emo for catching this one. In any case, it sounds like JEW and the former Drive Like Jehu drummer and whirlwind producer Trombino are back together. Trombino produced the band’s first three albums, and his in-studio wizardry really helped morph the sound and image of Clarity into the kind of memorable record it’s become. And hey, he didn’t do too bad with Jimmy Eat World/Bleed American either.

The “Oral History of Jimmy Eat World” from Alternative Press a couple years back put a little light on the deteriorated relationship between the band and Trombino. Sort of. Trombino seemed to be really eloquent in his anger and confusion as to why the band had suddenly stopped using him as a producer and seemed genuinely hurt and personally offended. So it’s good to hear the relationship between the band and Trombino has at least improved to a working state, if not back to the friendship they once held. Let’s hope the later is true, because the magic those two entities held in their work together really helped bring out some fantastic tunes.

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Isn’t it a little to early for those end-of-the-year or end-of-the-decade critics list? Didn’t September just roll around? August hadn’t even ended before Pitchfork rolled out it’s top singles of the 2000s.

Doesn’t it all seem a little too, well, soon? It’s still just September! There are four full months left in the decade! Some kid in the middle of Mississippi could be making the best damn pop tune of the century with a jug and Garageband tomorrow, but for some reason the lists are done. Final. Sorry jug players of tomorrow, today’s history lesson is over.

I get why people make lists. It’s not even necessarily about “being the authority,” especially these days where anyone with an Internet connection and the ability to string verbs, nouns, punctuation, and numbers together with a complete thought can upload their list to every foreseeable computer. (Though in some small sense, anyone who makes a list wants to be the authority on their list.)

In most cases it’s because making these lists are fun. How do you think the guys in High Fidelity manage to get along each and every day without going ballistic? Top 5 lists! I know it’s fun because I’ve done it (on this blog no less). It’s especially fun to go back and see what you thought was the end-all-be-all of a particular year and how your tastes have changed over time. These aren’t the final word on anything. No way, no how. (Though consensus always brings “the classics” to the public, and you can’t go wrong there.)

But of course, that doesn’t mean I can’t get flustered at some lists. Take this one by Stephen Ortiz which cropped up on UConn’s The Daily Campus site: “Great Emo Anthems.” Whilest asking himself what the best emo songs of the past decade were, Ortiz came up with this list:

1. Taking Back Sunday – “Cute Without The ‘E'”

2. The Used – “The Taste of Ink”

3. Yellowcard – “Ocean Avenue”

4. Senses Fail – “Can’t Be Saved”

5. A Day To Remember – “I’m Made Of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?”

Huh?

What?

Really?

There are always things one finds questionable with lists like these. But I have to wonder what Ortiz was thinking with this list. Let’s just take a think here for a second. Take out A Day To Remember, because, really, what? And as far as Yellowcard, they were always considered widely to be more pop-punk than emo; that’s the “all sensitivity is emo” argument, and in that style of pop punk, wasn’t New Found Glory always considered to be more “emo” than Yellowcard?

What’s left? Nothing I could really consider top 5 emo anthems. “The Taste of Ink” may have been a hit, but it doesn’t place anywhere near top 5 (I’m surprised the band is still around to be perfectly honest). But “Cute without the ‘E'” was always something of a tune beloved by diehard TBS fans. And Senses Fail… I won’t bother there.

But are these anthems? Take a look at the definition of the word:

1 a rousing or uplifting song identified with a particular group, body, or cause : the song became the anthem for hippie activists.

I’d hardly call any of these anthems. I can think of 5 emo songs from this decade that are more anthemic to the general population (nevermind emo fans) than these songs fairly quickly. Let’s take a gander, and in no particular order:

Jimmy Eat World – “The Middle” (really, that song was inescapable in ’02)

Dashboard Confessional – “Hands Down” (wasn’t this the dude that made emo the thing at the start of the decade? Yes, I believe so)

Coheed & Cambria – “A Favor House Atlantic” (fairly inescapable in 03/04)

Say Anything – “Alive With The Glory Of Love” (is one of the few pop songs of the decade that had a 2nd life; once when it came out as a song on an independent record in 04, and then again when the album was reissued on a major label)

Taking Back Sunday – “A Decade Under The Influence” (dur)

See? Fairly easy. I even tossed in a TBS song more non-fans are probably familiar with. And this was all done without thinking what is a better song or a song I enjoy more, but instead what most people would call an anthem. There were so many great “emo” songs of the decade that any list would be missing some stuff. People will no doubt forget the Maritimes, Jeremy Enigks, Pedro The Lions, hell, even the Fugazis when making these lists… and well, that’s the way it goes.

I will probably make a list or two towards the end of the year. Probably nothing as monolithic as a “best albums of the decade,” because my rabid interest in music and knowledge of what was coming out every day wasn’t like what it is today. But, something will crop up. And I’ll be sure to have fun with it.

The Middle Of The Grocery Line

I was milling about the grocery store today when something startled me.

Hey, don’t write yourself off yet

No, it wasn’t only in my head, but I certainly felt left out, as it were. Left out of why Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle” was decided as a song meant to soundtrack the most mundane of everyday experiences. Jimmy Eat World were created and inspired as a reaction to the middle class mundane. So what big wig at Stop & Shop thought, yeah, this song would be a perfect match to continue to lull people into their Sunday shopping experiences. How does JEW suddenly fit so perfectly between smooth jazz, the meaningless ramblings of Coldplay, and the usual softish 90s one-hit wonders?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of the song… I mean, it’s hard to see who wasn’t when that played constantly for a solid year+ on commercial radio and continues to crop up in the cultural milieu like only a handful of other songs out there. But, there’s something oddly perplexing, perhaps even enlivening about “The Middle” blasting through the droning overhead soundsystem while being cut through with calls for clean ups on isle 9. So often what messages may occur in a song get lost in transmission when spread en mass to the public like “The Middle” and countless songs like it. When you hear it everyday, it’s often hard to notice a song after a while, never mind pick up on the lyrics and what they’re discussing.

But there, amongst the dozens of cereals and boxed foods of some kind or another, rang out a voice that was decidedly different than the usual “don’t pay us any mind” music played in big supermarkets. One that talks about individual choice and doing what you want. And for some reason, that sounded pretty clear through the nascent call for price check near the beginning of the song.

That’s right, nevermind the General Mills and Kellogg’s, it’s not about the cereal out there that defines the individual, but the way they eat it.

 

…Perhaps it may not have been the best place for that song to play. But, if people hear the words, more power to ’em!

Jimmy Eat World – “The Middle” (video):

Passion Pit = Electronic-Rock’s Jimmy Eat World?

I rarely mention Pitchfork in the guise of this blog… I won’t go into great details, and I will admit it’s easily one of the best aggregators for independent-related music information, so I do visit the site regularly. But when it comes to reviews, I try to stray from their pieces. Yes, the Pitchfork writers are clearly intelligent, and are articulate… and yet, they voraciously dispense their harshest vocabulary upon criticisms of acts that don’t so much reveal what is necessarily “good” or “bad” about an album, but really display the reviewers’ own unkempt contempt for a particular genre or band. It often feels at times as if they choose a critic who’s distaste towards a musician far outweighs anyone else on staff to give a record its “proper” review.

So I stay wary of Pitchfork reviews. Granted, if one album gets the “Best New Music” seal-of-approval, I’ll check it out; Pitchfork has a select taste, and it’s good. But I’ll also be sure to take a peek at records that get trashed. After all, it doesn’t hurt one to look into a band – it hurts when you purchase the album to find out you hate it. I’ve enjoyed many an act that’s sustained Pitchfork’s wrath and many that have received their praise.

But one genre that never seems to get much respect is emo. Sure, Pitchfork loves the indie-established emo acts – to a point. Fugazi is always tops for them, Sunny Day Real Estate has done well (with the exception of The Rising Tide, though it does get a fair “ok” from em), The Appleseed Cast and Cursive fluctuate on the P-fork scale, and The Promise Ring managed to sneak in with Nothing Feels Good (only for their later material to get trampled).

But a band like Jimmy Eat World? They’re toast, put on a pedastil of emo in its worst essence and burnt to the ground. They’ve yet to achieve a good review from the site… and this isn’t even including the skewering that Clarity received that was less a review and more a transcribed taunt at all the bubbling stereotypes that were about to burst to the surface.

So I’m a little baffled with the introduction to Pitchfork’s weekly music pick on ABC. When describing Passion Pit’s Manners, Ian Cohen praises the group by saying:

What Passion Pit does is update a real passionate, really sincere, almost emo sound of the early 2000s like a band like Jimmy Eat World, and applies it to an electronic-dance sound.

Strange. He goes further in his review on the site:

Most of the time, singer Michael Angelakos’ half-eunuch/half-Jeremy Enigk voice is likely voicing some sort of commentary on his feelings. There’s an almost archaic belief that a record should have at least four singles and the nagging feeling that Passion Pit could just be another garage/emo band that traded in their guitars for samplers. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, just about all of this works in Manners‘ favor, as it’s the sort of heart-to-heart populist record that’s every bit as sincere as it is infectious– though Angelakos sings in a manner rarely heard outside of a shower with unpredictable temperature control, it feels symbolic of a band that’s completely unashamed, not shameless, in its pursuit of a human connection.

I’m sorry. What? Honestly, that is every bit as revealing of Cohen’s distaste of emo out of sheer blind-hatred than anything about Passion Pit’s music. The description that Cohen gives matches that of many a great emo act – I would hardly call Jim Adkin’s lyrics shameless… perhaps later on “not great,” but it’s sheerly “unashamed in its pursuit of a human connection.”

So why does Passion Pit get the go ahead? Well, it’s not emo for one – it exemplifies many a trait, but the band’s choice to do so with electronic music gives it something of an ironic twist, even in its sincerity. After all, the band was originally nothing more than a cute few ditties made from looped samples by Michael Angelakos for his girlfriend on Valentines Day. It was humorous and cute in its creation, and in many ways continues to be. Because the band doesn’t muddle in familiar musical antics that so many emo bands do, it’s a bit refreshing. And, again, there’s a bit of irony to bringing high-pitched falsetto to over-the-top love ditties. It gives it a twist that some may be able to stomach in a different sonic plane than in a guitar-based state. While it seems purely superficial done with three-chords and loud and noisy, for some reason, it’s high-hopes and dreams are matched with Passion Pit’s sound.

But, as is my interpretation of Cohen’s love of the band and not, well, emo.

As for my take? Well, I like them, but I’m certainly not over-enthusiastic about them. “Sleepyhead” is nearly-impossible to not get stuck in your head and enjoy… but the rest of Manners is up and down and doesn’t seem to have the same, well, passion as their single or a few of the other songs on Chunk Of Change. But, it’s nice to see a Boston band do well for itself; considering the mass of bands and music communities festering in this city, whatever gets any of the odder bands more attention because they’re from the same city as Passion Pit or any other band of the moment that’s cropping up from this town ain’t too bad.

Passion Pit – “Sleepyhead” (video):

Guitar Hero 5: Emo Edition

Guitar Hero, the popular musical-video game phenomenon is coming out with its fifth volume. And it might as well be called the “Emo Edition.” Or the Indie Edition… One fits with the other.

While the new version of Guitar Hero (GH5) if you will, has the regular mainstream-rock fare, it’s jam packed with many an indie, and emo, act. Just look at the official list:

3 Doors Down, A Perfect Circle, AGI, Arctic Monkeys, Attack! Attack! UK, Band of Horses, Beastie Boys, Beck, Billy Idol, Billy Squier, Blink-182, Blur, Bob Dylan, Bon Jovi, Brand New, Bush, Children of Bodom, Coldplay, Darker My Love, Darkest Hour, David Bowie, Deep Purple, Dire Straits, Duran Duran, Eagles of Death Metal, Elliott Smith, Elton John, Face To Face, Garbage, Gorillaz, Government Mule, Grand Funk Railroad, Iggy Pop, Iron Maiden, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Eat World, John Mellencamp, Johnny Cash, Kaiser Chiefs, King Crimson, Kings of Leon, Kiss, Love and Rockets, Megadeth, Motley Crue, Muse, My Morning Jacket, Nirvana, No Doubt, Peter Frampton, Public Enemy (featuring Zakk Wylde), Queen & David Bowie, Queens of the Stone Age, Rammstein, Rose Hill Drive, Rush, Santana, Scars on Broadway, Screaming Trees, Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, Spacehog, Stevie Wonder, Sublime, Sunny Day Real Estate, T. Rex, The Bronx, The Derek Trucks Band, The Duke Spirit, The Killers, The Police, The Raconteurs, The Rolling Stones, The Sword, The White Stripes, Thin Lizzy, Thrice, Tom Petty, TV On The Radio, Vampire Weekend, Weezer, Wild Cherry, Wolfmother

You can check out the full list here.

Ok, so it’s not overrun with emo artists, but there’s a good deal of them: Brand New, Jimmy Eat World, Sunny Day Real Estate, Thrice, Weezer. That’s enough to take notice. And the Sunny Day Real Estate entry is, above all, really odd… I know my thirst for a reunion is getting the best of me, but it seems very coincidental that they’re included in all the bands… could we see something along the lines of when the Sex Pistols reunited (again) and debuted a re-recording of “Anarchy In The UK” for Guitar Hero 3? Hopefully not. Maybe I’m searching for a connection way to hard, but we’ll find out…

What may be even more interesting than SDRE are some of the other included acts.

Spacehog?! They’ve got to be using “In The Meantime” which I haven’t heard on the radio since middle school.

Screaming Trees?! Gotta love Mark Lanegan and that band, but all I can remember of them from when they were around was “Nearly Lost You” being on the air, and yet that wasn’t their “big” hit.

Elliott Smith?! Aside from the guy’s stuff in Heatmiser, I’m not quite sure what they could put into GH5!

And then there are the newer indie acts. You’ve got your Arctic Monkeys, Band of Horses, The Duke Spirit (really? on a video game?), TV On The Radio (hopefully something other than “Wolf Like Me” – they’ve got plenty of great songs that people aren’t aware of!), and Vampire Weekend (ugh).

Activision’s got quite a game on its hands. Looks like I’ll have to find a friend with a copy come September 1st.

My hopeful selections for Guitar Hero 5:

Spacehog – “In The Meantime”:

Screaming Trees – “Nearly Lost You”:

Elliott Smith – “Miss Misery” (let it be the live Oscar version):

Sunny Day Real Estate – “J’Nuh”:

Brand New – “Jesus”:

Tracking the SDRE Rumors

So, months after my first post on a potential Sunny Day Real Estate reunion, and having recently come to realize how much of a hoopla my words have caused and the potential anguish I could cause in many an SDRE fan, and the reunion rumors are still bubbling. A little while after some newer rumors declared that Sunny Day might be performing at Bumbershoot, I’ve decided to help folks navigate all the newest rumors out there. So without further ado, here goes:

On May 20th, Dusty Henry reviewed Jeremy Enigk‘s show at Neumo’s in Seattle for The Falcon. Henry had this little tidbit to add to the rumor mill:

Throughout the evening, diehard fans would request Sunny Day Real Estate and The Fire Theft songs. Enigk denied, saying he would not play any of those songs.

When someone requested the Sunny Day Real Estate song “Television,” he started to sing the first few lines of the song a cappella then stopped and said, “I won’t play that song. I’d need a full band for that song.”

He then went on to say, “I don’t know. I have heard some rumors,” and then intentionally mumbled and laughed.

Does it mean anything? Well, it certainly helps provide those diehards and hopeful fans with some oil for their reunion-dreaming machine’s gears…

I tried to take things up on my own and email one of the places that might be a location for the potential reunion: Bumbershoot. I emailed the general info line, but instead of asking “will SDRE be performing at Bumbershoot?!?!?!??!!?!?!?!!!” I asked when the last additions to the festival’s lineup will be announced. Here’s what I got as a response:

We will continue to make lineup announcements into the summer. To receive
the most up-to-date information about all things Bumbershoot, including
lineup announcements and Insider Deals on tickets, please be sure to sign
up as a BumberFan. It’s free and easy!
You can sign up at:
http://www.bumbershoot.org/bumberfan/

BumberFans are the first to know about lineup announcements. Its the best
way to stay informed about who will be coming to the Festival.
Hope this is helpful and we hope to see you this Labor Day Weekend!

-Bumbershoot

So, unless an official announcement is made by someone at the Sunny Day camp anytime soon, fans may have to wait until September to see if the Bumbershoot rumors are true. And it may be in your best interest just to sign up rather than check on the Bumbershoot site day in and day out… if that’s what you’ve been doing since that particular rumor came to fruition. As of now, nothing on the site about SDRE performing on the first weekend in September.

Which brings us to the original rumor mill for the recent rumors: Twitter.

Not only Twitter, but, yes, good ole’ SDRE-reunion-rumor-guy Marco Collins. Though this tweet was deleted from his profile, it’s somehow still searchable on Twitter:

Picture 22

Curious and curiouser… The “fiction” is probably in reply to the recent Bumbershoot rumors, as in there would be announcement relatively soon. However, Collins appears to not be avoiding the idea entirely, as he says the band mentioned they were in… Then again, they could have been pulling his leg.

Collins and his recipient, TylerBlue, have deleted all tweets of the nature concerning SDRE. But why did TylerBlue, aka Tyler McPherson, get rid of any scent of this SDRE reunion back-and-forth? Take a look at his profile:

Picture 23

The SDRE reunion-rumor hunting may not have been in his best interest as a Bumbershoot intern… I just hope this post won’t jeopardize any of the work he’s doing, but I feel curious people really aught to know!

The next connection is a bit of a round-about-combo. The Ear, Eye, Nose Candy Blog recently had an insider look at another emo band’s reunion: The Jealous Sound. Here’s the info there:

Star Parts drummer and good friend Tom Ackerman mentioned to me recently that he was offered the chance to audition for a Jealous Sound reunion, drum spot…what that ultimately is a reunion for, is a possible Sunny Day Real Estate reunion tour.

But what’s the connection between The Jealous Sound and Sunny Day Real Estate? Well, it could be original SDRE bassist Nate Mendel. Nate did not return for the original SDRE reunion in 1997, and made the hard decision to stay in Foo Fighters instead of trying to juggle both bands. For those who scanned Brian Perkin‘s Twitter after I posted his tweet on the SDRE rumor may have found that post deleted, but this one still online:

Picture 24

And it remains online. And though it is summer and no tour dates have been announced, there is still something of a connection. What is it exactly? Enter Rory Felton, who had this to say:

Picture 25

So it appears that, at least according to Felton, Nate is working with the Jealous Sound on their new record and an exciting tour announcement soon. Considering Mendel is rumored to be involved in the rumored Sunny Day reunion, it wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination to see them tour together. Conspiracy? Wishful thinking? Probably the later. And considering it sounds like The Jealous Sound may, in fact, be reuniting (at least, according to their myspace post and a bunch of blogs), I’ve certainly got my fingers crossed…

The last piece of reunion snooping comes in the form of a tweet from Lee Martin, a website developer for bands who’s worked with another emo act – Jimmy Eat World. Which makes me wonder what this means:

Picture 26

Are Sunny Day Real Estate setting up a website with the help of Martin? Well, considering that the only current websites available for the band are: 1) a rarely updated fan site, 2) a fan-created MySpace page, and 3) their Sub Pop site that hasn’t been updated since their last album was released on the label – their live album. In this day and age, it certainly would be beneficial for a band to get some properly-updated website in order…

Again, this may all be wishful thinking on my part, but the more you dig, the more hopeful one can get…

We’ll see what happens in the coming weeks and months; as I said before, I hope no one gives their hopes up, but digging sure has proven to be interesting…

Clarity Track by Track

Jimmy Eat World continue the Clarity + fan love with a brand-spankin’ new link to a track-by-track breakdown of their sophomore album. Here’s the intro:

Zach: The past few months have been a special time for us. During this time we’ve been learning, rehearsing and playing these songs from Clarity for our fans across the United States. The Clarity x 10 tour was the ten year anniversary of our album “Clarity.” We ultimately decided to do this tour as a result of some encouragement from our fans. A handful of fans kept prodding us to plan something like this and so we took their advice. Sadly, the tour is now over but it has made way for the release of this live recording of the last performance of the tour in Tempe, AZ.

We were absolutely floored by the response from everyone who came out to the shows to help us celebrate these songs. The fact that this tour took place would have seemed unimaginable to us when we were making this album. When Clarity was being recorded, we were completely under anyone’s radar and we were pretty sure it would be our last major label record. So in light of all this, words can’t express our gratitude for all those who’ve been listening for the past ten years and beyond. Without your passion we wouldn’t exist so thank you!

For those who could not be with us in person to celebrate, we hope this live recording will be an avenue for you to participate. We tried to craft this live album so that you, the listener, would feel like you were in the room. We hope you enjoy.

Probably best for the hardcore fans, but then again, isn’t “hardcore” part of the definition of fandom?