Brand New’s album The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me is one of the best albums of the 21st century. If you haven’t heard it, you really should make a point to do so. It’s one of those albums that the moment it starts, it captivates you and compels you to start it over as soon as it’s over. The album has some interesting history to it. Not only was it the bands major label debut but, before the album was even released there were 9 songs that were leaked out in demo form. The band was disappointed to hear of the leak; however, they had already been performing new tracks at live shows. Initially leaked without song titles, two of the songs would be re-recorded for the album (“Sowing Season” and “Luca”), with two others being re-recorded and released on singles from the album. These versions are quite different than the what is found on the album. These leaked demos are referred to by fans as Fight Off Your Demons, the batch of leaked demos were remastered and officially released to the public on December 2, 2015. It’s quite a good complimentary release to The Devil and God. It gives you a different perspective on the writing of the album and the mindset. As much as it sucked to have these songs leaked, I do believe it did do the band good in that it pushed them a bit more to keep going and the end result is an absolute masterpiece.
Brand New- Fight Off Your Demons (aka Leaked Demos 2006):
Brand New- The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me:
Back in late 2006, Brand New released the masterpiece that is The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me. This album has gone on to not only be acclaimed by fans and press alike but, had also influenced and inspired countless bands. As the press tour began for the album, Brand New was booked on Late Night with Conan O’Brien in 2007. They performed “Jesus Christ” (which was released as the second single from the album). This performance was subtle and understated but, really does pack quite a gut punch when you really listen to the words and let the music take you away. I’d also like to mention that The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me is one of my all time favorite albums and if you haven’t heard it, you are surely missing out.
When bands take their time to come out with a new album, that album is then dealt an extreme amount of anticipation along with high expectations. Most of the time though, the end result is pretty bland and disappointing. That is not the case though with the new album entitled Science Fiction by Brand New. Instead, this album lives up to every expectation you’d expect from the band and then some. Brand New has never been a band to repeat themselves, which makes their catalog one that stands out among their peers. Science Fiction is the long awaited follow up to 2009’s Daisy. It’s also been announced that this will be Brand New’s final album. Since it’s release, Science Fiction debuted at number one on the billboard charts. A first for the band and a welcome surprise to all.
The album itself is a deep reflection of life and all the emotions we go through. Back in 2006 when The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me was released, Brand New set a blueprint as to what “emo” albums should be. On Science Fiction, the depth that they reached on The Devil and God is summoned once again, with a delicate and soothing yet dynamic approach. From the moment the first song “Lift Me Up” kicks in, there is a real sense of calm that descends upon the listener. As the album continues songs like ” Can’t Get It Out,” and “Could Never Be Heaven,” really hit at the heart strings. “Same Logic/Teeth (which is my favorite track on the album as of this writing),” adds to their repertoire of classic songs. “Out Of Mana (one/if not the “heaviest” song on the album),” and “In The Water” almost transcend the genre. “No Control” is a mid tempo song that is very sincere. “451” is a cool bluesy song. It reminds me of a song that The Black Keys wish they could write. Closing out the album is “Batter Up” one of the best songs Brand New has ever written. Not only is it a solemn song but, it’s also a great farewell to a very influential and inspirational career.
Bands like Brand New don’t come around that often. Their ability to take their time and put out an album when the time is right and they feel the songs/album is done is almost unheard of these days. Their artistic integrity and songwriting prowess really shows on their sleeves with Science Fiction. Something else that gets overlooked with Brand New is the musicianship of all the members. Each person in this band has a place and plays their instruments with the exact feel needed to make the songs the best they can be. If this is really their “swan song,” then they really hit the mark and are giving you every ounce of themselves on this album. Science Fiction is definitely making the top ten albums of the year.
2016 was a great year for music. So many great albums were released. I’ve mentioned this before, but I really think that in ten years, 2016 will be looked back on as a great year for music.
So as 2017 is right around the corner, here are my most anticipated albums for the new year.
With Our Arms To The Sun- Orenda
AFI- AFI (The Blood Album)
Black Map- In Droves
Code Orange- Forever
Marilyn Manson- Say10
Wear Your Wounds
The Black Queen?
Alice In Chains?
Corrosion Of Conformity
A Perfect Circle?
L.A. Guns with Phil Lewis and Tracii Guns
Killer Be Killed?
He Whose Ox Is Gored
Spirit In The Room
Here Lies The Hero
When you go to a show to see a band that has really influenced you or has left a mark on your life it really has a special place amongst all the other shows. Brand New is one of those bands that has a special place for me. Their album The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me is one of my favorite albums of all time and is in constant rotation amongst all the music I listen to. So, when the opportunity came to procure tickets to this show, it was a no brainier. Kicking off their set was a brand new song called “Mene.” This was a great high energy song that set the tone for the night. The crowd was in full force once “Millstone” was played. While looking around the crowd during that song, there wasn’t one person who wasn’t singing along. Hell, throughout the entire night there really wasn’t one person that wasn’t singing along to the songs. Other highlights from the set were “You Won’t Know,” “Sic Transit Gloria…Gloria Fades,” “The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows,” “Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don’t,” “Degausser,” “Sowing Season” and “Jesus.” Actually the entire setlist was wonderful. The band had so much energy and you could tell they were really enjoying being on stage playing for the sold out crowd. Singer/Guitarist Jesse Lacey, is one hell of a songwriter, as is the rest of the band. His performance of these songs was astonishing, and his vocal delivery live is just wow.
There were two other bands that played the evening. Built To Spill and Desaparecidos were the openers. Both bands were just eh. I would have expected more from Built To Spill. They are talented musicians, but I was expecting a more upbeat performance, not something that was so laid back.
There are a couple things worth mentioning about the venue. The Shrine Expo Hall is a horrible place for a show. There is no acoustic treatment in the place, so the sheer magnitude of volume is just bouncing off the walls. Also it’s right by USC so it’s in the middle of South Central Los Angeles, which isn’t fun at all.
Brand New made it all worth while. I can’t wait for their new album to come out, whenever that might be. They really know how to put on a show and pack one hell of a punch live.
Brand New Setlist:
5. You Won’t Know
6. Sic Transit Gloria…Glory Fades
7. I Will Play My Game Beneath The Spin Light
8. The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows
9. Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don’t
10. Mix Tape
11. Untitled 04 (Missing You)
12. At The Bottom
15. Sowing Season
It’s been way too long since Brand New has put out new music. Thankfully, they have finally put out new music for us to enjoy. Their new song “Mene” is chock full of heavy aggression yet full of the signature sound that Brand New fans have come to love. For a limited time at their site http://www.brandnewrock.com you can download the song (provided you sign up for their e-mail list).
Music will always stand the test of time. Certain albums will forever be revered as timeless. Some albums though don’t get the recognition they deserve. Which brings me to Sunny Day Real Estate’s debut album Diary. The album is considered by many to be a defining emo album. It has also been called the bridge between post hardcore and the emo genre. Listening to this album you can tell where Brand New gets a lot of their influence from. Lyrically there is a sense of realism throughout the album. Jeremy Enigk has a real knack for creating vocal melodies that compliments his softer voice and the words. Dan Hoerner’s guitar tone is heavy yet crisp and bright, which accents the soft vocals and the delicate nature in which Jeremy plays. Nate Mendel’s bass has a nice dirty tinge to it, adding just the right amount of distortion to balance with William Goldsmith’s heavy hitting drums. Songs like “Seven,” “In Circles,” “47,” “Grendel,” and “48” are all stand out tracks. Diary was different from those released by all the other Seattle bands at the time. It’s melodic but has a slightly heavy sound that has had a clear impact on future emo groups. It is the seventh best selling album released on Sub Pop Records, having sold more than 231,000 copies. In 2013, Diary took the first place in LA Weekly’s list of the “Top 20 Emo Albums in History”
Often times when a band makes the jump from indie label to a major label, there is something in the music that is lost. Perhaps it’s the pressure or the fact that the label itself is trying to make the band something else. That was not the case in 2006 when Brand New released their spectacular album The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me. This album offered more in the way of contributions from the other members of the band. The title of the album was inspired by a friend of singer/guitarist Jesse Lacey who suffers from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. This album also contains no filler. Starting off the album is “Sowing Season” which captures a raw emotional feel from the band. There is a definitely a 90’s feel to this song. “Millstone” is a song that continues the same raw emotion and also has very catchy sing a long type of chorus. The second single released was “Jesus Christ” is a mellow and quaint song. “Degausser” is another song that cradles the quiet/loud structure. The vocals on this song are powerful and pure. “Limousine” is nice mid tempo jam that features a very cool guitar solo. “You Won’t Know” is a true highlight of the album. The riff is punching and heavy. The vocal melody is aggressive without losing the melodic nature. “Welcome To Bangkok” is a great middle of the album segue. “Not The Sun” has a bit of a pop vibe to it but doesn’t lose their integrity that Brand New is known for. “Luca” has a similar vibe to The Mars Volta. This song is one of my personal favorites that the band has ever come up with. “The Archers Bows Have Broken” carries a melody that is akin to The Cure, and continues on with a pop vibe but adds an element of shoe gaze and feedback to dirty it up. Closing out the album is “Handcuffs” a very solemn and moody song that sums up the album in a great way.
Brand New are a very underrated band and great songwriters. They have the ability to connect with their personal attributes and storytelling. Musically they took many parts of the 90’s and mixed them with a sort of post hardcore structure. The Devil and God Are Raging Inside me is one of the best albums to come out in the last 10 years.