Copeland

Scratching the Niche: The Militia Group’s Massive Year, 10 Years Later

Author’s Note:

Initially, this blog post was a ten year retrospective of the 2005 indie/alt rock music scene, like a reunion of sorts. I was going to pun Gross Point Blank and we would’ve had a great time. Kings of Leon, Acceptance, and Bright Eyes were all going to be on this list. But when I finalized my top ten choices, I realized that five out of ten albums all came from the same indie record label: The Militia Group. So here we are.

Let’s reminisce, shall we?

Scratching the Niche

Once upon a time — when Dashboard Confessional ruled the earth — there was an edgy little record label out of Orange County, CA called The Militia Group (TMG). Their roster of bands lay somewhere in between what you’d hear on, say, Drive-Thru Records and Tooth & Nail.

For their origin story, you can visit Wikipedia (or this blog). What is appropriate is this: TMG started signing bands and releasing records in 2000-2001: Rufio, The Lindsay Diaries and Noise Ratchet (a personal favorite) were some of these early artists.

Most of TMG’s roster is now gone and left forgotten in the used bin of your favorite closed-down record store, but you might recognize some of the bands that hit major label success: Copeland, Cartel, Acceptance. Back then, there was an intensity in the music that TMG was signing. Noise Ratchet, for instance, was angst-fueled and Christian emo, i.e., perfect. Unlike the deliciously glossy (Sprinkled) Tooth & Nail releases, TMG was a little more unrefined, a little riskier.

They broke into my scene with Copeland’s debut record, Beneath Medicine Tree. We had known of love songs, and of rock songs. We had worn our hearts on our sleeves. But back then, when I was in high school, there wasn’t a better record you could buy. Beneath Medicine Tree did everything we wanted in an album, including the stuff we were afraid to admit we wanted: it taught us about the beauty in pain. It was thought-provoking and refreshingly transparent.

TMG was gaining momentum and we were all paying attention. When 2005 hit, this tiny record label stepped up big. It was a perfect storm and the timing was right.  (more…)

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Eat, Sleep, Repeat

There’s this album I used to listen to named Eat, Sleep, Repeat. It’s a downer record, for sure, as you can imagine by the title. Lyrically, it explores the cyclicality of life and also the meaninglessness of it.

(I was emo when this came out so BACK OFF!)

The thought of a single human-life being summed up by the words

“Eat

Sleep

Repeat”

can kind of be frightening.

Life can be like that though, so cyclical it often feels purposeless.

Eat, Sleep, Dance!

I’ve realized since the album’s release that the singer (or character of lyrics, maybe) wasn’t condemning routine; he was just down. He was in a valley. He was also an artist.

(Foolish, I feel now, after adopting his outlook as doctrine).

Artists tend to overanalyze life (or under-analyze life) into whatever they want it to be. If they want to be stuck in a hamster wheel, they will build themselves a hamster wheel or color the world as such. There’s an obvious temper of youth which cloaks the music and message; it’s crazy what you identify yourself with when you’re a kid.

I’ve since discovered that life is naturally cyclical, and that’s alright. We can have good days and bad, good years and bad. Many of us see the big picture and can sail steady through it all. I look back at myself and wonder why I couldn’t. I was hyper-responsive, I guess, the type to get stuck in valleys and curse them only to later summit peaks and praise them, all the while missing meaning, missing the purpose of creation, missing consistency.

How are you holding up these days?

One day, I want to write and record another album. I think I’ll title it

Eat. Coffee. Poop. Netflix. Work. Eat. Blog. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. 

And it’s going to be a happy record, one that sees the good in the bad, one that can sail. “Isn’t it pretty to think so?” Yes. Yes, I think so.

Departing Queries:

  1. Are there any outdated doctrines from your youth that you’re still holding on to?
  2. Do you focus on what is true and noble, or are you living only in response to the temporary?
  3. What are the routines in your life that color your identity, make you who you are?

Copeland_-_Eat,_Sleep,_RepeatP.S. I still really like this album.