Indie

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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Confessions of a Former Dashboard Confessional Fan

Many pop/rock bands from my youth are reemerging. Weezer, Brand New, Blink 182, mewithoutYou and Jimmy Eat World have all embarked on album reunion tours (Jimmy Eat World just announced one for FUTURES, which is pretty great). For me, this year marks the tenth anniversary of something even more nostalgic and silly, that is, my high school graduation.

I think about where I was ten years ago and who I was listening to. Oddly enough, it is a lot of the same music I listen to today. Adding to the list up top we have Death Cab for Cutie, Beck, Denison Witmer, Lovedrug, Ben Folds…

I’m okay with still liking all these bands. Their music is sustaining, and I’m proud to say that they helped shape my younger ears.

But there’s other bands from my past, that when they pop up, I’m not so okay with. What I’m getting at is that sometimes certain music reminds me how creepy I was in high school.

The Bands You Have Come to Fear the Most

Remember Dashboard Confessional? That emo acoustic-rock band lead by Chris Carrabba out of Further Seems Forever? I’m asking but, really, I know you do. Odds are if you are around my age and listened to indie/emo you probably owned two or three of his EPs; the MTV Unplugged DVD/CD combo; you wore the D/C pins on your denim jacket; and you shouted his lyrics like hell, in angst, when relationships broke (and really, even when you were happy).

Yeah. That Dashboard Confessional.

What was it about this band that was so gripping? I mean sure, he sang about falling in love and break-ups and getting cheated on, which captured the essence of dating in high-school, but there was something else. Something that just connected.

Maybe it was the time. One of those rare things, you know? A perfect storm, fueled by emotion-hungry MTV rebels who were looking for a genuineness than rock radio couldn’t provide. And Chris Carrabba sang from the heart. He was always truthful on stage, and I think that’s what we loved. He was the genuine, earnest article. He was the folk-voice of my high school generation, and, to be honest, it’s totally embarrassing.

But before I get ahead of myself, here’s a quick recap for those who honestly don’t know about Dashboard Confessional.

Kevin’s Dashboard 3 Point Recap

1. Cheated on by his wife, he poured his heart out on some angsty acoutsic EPs

2. Those EPs made him super popular. Then he made more of the same

3. He eventually pulled a ’65 Dylan and went electric, earning a couple big MTV hits.

I was a REALLY big fan of Dashboard. The extent of my obsession was a bit much. You can tell I was a big fan because I drop the band’s last name when I refer to them. We were that close. Like Chris, I now need to confess. I need to brush embarrassing memories off my chest, so I can finally move forward, like an adult.

(To the tune of Buzzfeed)

Vindicated?

1. I had a questionably handsome poster on my bedroom wall of Chris on the cover of SPIN

$_35

2. I used my friend’s dad’s eBay account to consistently bid on Dashboard merch. mlRflFAMpCcNczhbPF_fKhg (more…)

Songs to Get You Through Winter

Happy Monday, everyone. We made it through February! March, baby. I’m ready for you. The temperature still averages below school-zone speed-limits and the sky is dirtier than week old camping socks; nevertheless, I think I’ve found a way to get through the rest of winter.

Good, old-fashioned (not whiskey) winter music mix-tapes! What songs construct your winter mix? Add them in the comments and I’ll check it out. I’m hungry for new music right now. Also, I’m hungry for a breakfast burrito.

Songs for Winter

Water Liars. I’m obsessed with a Noisetrade EP they released a month back. Check out their website HERE. From the South, this “whiskey rock” trio howled their way out of the Mississippi river and into my ear-heart.

Lucy Rose. She’s British, she’s a red-head, and she sings about hogging the bed. Yes please. I’m pretty sure this song, and its album, is a couple years old and I’m just late on the draw. Sorry, draw. (more…)

Best of 2013: Eyes and Ears Edition

It’s that magical time of the year when we reflect on the music, movies, and books we’ve read, making arbitrary lists and comparisons. Once again, I find that I am purchasing less and less new music these days. I’m unimpressed, you could say. Maybe that’s what getting older is all about: discontentment with the new and nostalgia for the old.

Nevertheless, here’s what piqued my ears and eyes this year.

MUSIC

imgres Daft Punk: Random Access Memories 

It took me forever to find the bandwagon (I’m not a big electronic music person), but I finally jumped on board.  I love Daft Punk’s newest. It’s absolutely wonderful. The musicianship is incredible. And the mastering engineer wasn’t too bad either(more…)

Media-Thon Monday (4)

Well, I know I promised I’d try this every week. I think every-other week will do.

So here it is, your moment of Media-thon Monday zen.

Chicago Airport_Fotor

Littering is SO 2012

This guy started a campaign on Instagram to rid the world of litter. It’s stuff like this that gets me excited about the potential positive impact of social media in the world. But be warned. This campaign carries a high-user side-effect of “humble brag.” It is hard, though, to argue against cleaning up the streets.

Like any super power, social media should be used wisely. I’m interested to see if this campaign really catches on.

I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody’s Business

The band I Can Make A Mess—side band of the lead singer of The Early November—just released a new album. I haven’t quite heard the whole thing, though I’ve been quite obsessed with the new song, “Lions.”

Check it out, what do you think? Catchy as a virus?

One Step Closer to Harry Potter

Yes, I haven’t even started my first semester and I’m already bragging on the University of Rochester. Check out this great video, and link to an article about it here, on invisible cloaking devices.

Pretty dang cool, if I’d say so myself (which I just did).

Prancersise, yes it’s real

Don’t forget your ankle weights!

What do you think, are you ready to Prancersise?

Well, that’s it for now! Check out the previous edition of Media-thon Monday HERE.