Band On Band
Welcome to our ‘Band on Band’ series, where our own artists and friends of the label talk about their fave BSM releases and why. Read/listen on - we hope you discover something great too – tell us on our socials if you do!
Tom, Alpha Male Tea Party on Blakfish
Tom from those riff monsters Alpha Male Tea Party told us all about his love for the mighty and dearly departed Blakfish and their album 'Champions'.
"This was one of those records I remember hearing for the first time and thinking 'that's it, that's what I've been missing forever'. It was instantly influential for me when I first heard it, an aggressive fire spitting wasp's nest of an album that came at a time in my life where I didn't have a fucking clue what life was. The fusing of technical guitar playing and riffery with those rasping, sneering vocals about all things British and banal just summed up so much of what was getting under my skin around that time in my life when I was stuck working a shitty retail job with no apparent end in sight.
I think one of the things I found so captivating about it was knowing that whilst the songs were super technical, none of the musicians were boring bedroom virtuosos or anything like that; it just gave you the sense that these four angry lads from Birmingham were a bunch of punks, pushing themselves to the absolute limit of their abilities and it sounded amazing for it. Just to sum it up, I remember listening to it in my first car whilst driving around Liverpool on a hot summers day, belting it out at the top of my lungs without realising that I was slowly increasing speed with every adrenalin pumped bark. It took my mate in the passengers seat to make me realise what I was doing before nearly careering through a red light. The good old days."
Chris Farren, Antarctigo Vespucci on Kevin Devine
On the eve of their new record, Chris Farren from Antarctigo Vespucci, tells us why you all should be listening to Kevin Devine.
"I first met Kevin one million years ago in 2013 when my old band Fake Problems was part of a support package that he and his Goddamn Band were also on. The tour was big and fun but Kevin and I didn’t really get to know each other that well. Through the years we kept in touch though, playing sporadic shows together coincidentally, seeing each other at weddings, all of that.
Kevin asked me to join him on the road in the summer of 2017 for a few weeks of solo touring. Instigator had come out a few months before and I loved it. It struck me with that same vital urgency of the first Desaparecidos album. It’s a real political album that holds up through time, not weighed down by an overabundance of specifics, but giving a cathartic voice to the overarching problems the USA specifically had (has) been going through.
Beyond the themes and the lyrics, the album has some truly exciting production and instrumental flourishes. It’s a truly dazzling listen, and I NEVER say that!! Ask anyone!!! Ok, I say it sometimes but only when it applies!!!
I wondered and was eager to see how the songs would fair in an acoustic setting, knowing full well that Kevin knows what he’s doing.
And I was right (I always am), while Kevin’s albums always impress with stellar musicianship, the true star of the show is always the songcraft. Every song on the album stands impeccably on it’s own with just voice and guitar. He paces the stage with this reserved intensity that is utterly captivating. I’ve never spent so much time on a tour just watching the set of who I was on tour with. Never!!! Ask anyone!!!! It’s like when you go to the zoo and there’s a tiger and the tiger is like right there next to the glass pacing back and forth. In this case, Kevin is the tiger and the audience is the zoo-goer and I guess like um Schuba’s in Chicago is the zoo. Anyway, I’m saying he’s majestic.
Kevin and I did get to know each other on that tour. We shared long conversations in green rooms and venue loading zones next to dumpsters. We shared a million inside jokes and talked about things we both think suck, people we love and songwriting. The closing track on the album “I Was Alive Back Then” is hands down one of my favourite songs ever written. I CRIED listening to it one time while I was driving in the Express Lane illegally on the way to San Diego for a show. I got a $90 ticket."
Tim Kasher, Cursive on Meat Wave
Ahead of the new Cursive album Vitriola, we asked Tim Kasher about his favourite BSM release. Here is what he had to say!
"Oh man, absolute no-brainer, I have to write about Meat Wave. The Incessant is easily one of my favorite records of the last decade, the rare record for me that I love from front-to-back. I have fond memories of touring Europe in the Spring of 2017, The Incessant my constant companion each time I hid away in my headphones for the afternoon. It carries a tension throughout that lashes out from song to song, while always maintaining a consistent, somber mood. These songs are meant to be together, in particular, the awesome titular tracks, "The Incessant" and album closer, "Killing The Incessant". Fantastic album"
Single Mothers on Bear vs Shark
Having just released their new album 'Through a Wall' Drew from the band takes us on a trip down memory lane to share with you, why he loves the Bear vs Shark record so much:
They gave you poetry and endless hours of conversation.
I got this Ford Tempo back when I was in my last year of high school. It cost about $500 and I think it was made the same year I was born. We aged together, separately - as I grew up, it grew tired, used..not all that well taken care of. The roof had a big white streak where the maroon paint had been wearing off. It always smelled a bit like gas and one of the back doors didn’t open. We were a good match and I kept that thing on the road for way longer than I should have. It leaked so much oil eventually a hole started growing in the asphalt of my grandmother's driveway, right under where I would leave it parked while delivering her groceries or prescriptions.
We never had much money, but she always took a lot of pride in her house and garden and I felt pretty bad about my shitty car leaving a huge invasive stain on her nice driveway, beside her nice garden, beside her nice lawn - but it was better than not visiting, right? Needless to say, that car had a lot of impact on my life. I was able to get out of my mom and step dads house as soon as I graduated high school, almost to the day - go to college, start to figure out who Drew Thomson is and will be. But the car had its problems and I was a poor student. The TEMPO ended up dying my second year into college and eventually I had to get it towed away to a junkyard. My heart sank like it did when I took my old dog for its last walk. It was a sad day for not only me but a lot of the friends I’d given rides to. We mourned together and then looked up the closest place to buy bus tickets. That entire time I owned the car the TEMPO had a burnt copy of Right Now You’re In The Best Of Hands by Bear Vs. Shark in it - usually playing in the CD player, and it probably still does - wherever it is now.
That car only lasted a few years but I got a lot out of it, as much as I could. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for all the places it took me, all the shows and parties and jobs, all those little things add up. Bear vs Shark only lasted for a similar amount of time - and I wouldn’t be the same without them, either. Right Now You’re In The Best Of Hands is an incredible album, and as MPS plays in the background while I write this now, I’m brought back to those naive days of trying to figure it all out. I’d still probably have started a band if I hadn’t come across that record, wasn’t able to play it almost non-stop in my car for those years - but that band certainly wouldn’t have been Singe Mothers.
Dave, Gulfer on TTNG
Dave from Gulfer tells us why the TTNG/Cats and Cats and Cats split was one of his favourite BSM releases:
"While impossible to choose one favourite, I'm gonna have to go with the This Town Needs Guns / Cats and Cats and Cats split. It was one of the first mathy releases I had ever found at age 17, and completely reshaped and greatly informed my taste in music to this day. I remember being completely blown away at how simultaneously complex and melodic it was, and how much more real and authentic it felt compared to the music of my earlier teens. It was also the first release I recall seeing BSM attached to, prompting a lifelong love affair with the label!"
Sean, Modern Baseball on Tiny Moving Parts
Tiny Moving Parts have just released their fourth record ' Swell' so it's always a good time to talk about them! Last year Sean from Modern Baseball told us why he loves the band so much especially their third album 'Celebrate'!
"Maybe this is biased because because I'm just talking about my 3 favorite (and most "thorough") drinking buddies. But aside from that fact is the fact that TMP are 3 of the most talented musicians I've ever had the pleasure of touring with.
These boys allude a music synchrony that may only be possible when you're a family band from Benson, Minnesota. I believe Celebrate is their true come to form. It has the technical musicianship of "This Couch", the hooks from "Pleasant Living", and combines the two with an energy that takes them so far to the next level. The songs feel the heaviest of their career, "heavy" both stylistically and physically. The record sounds HUGE. Polished but in-your-face, the way a rock record should be ey?
Can't wait to shotgun and beer and watch what comes next from these boys. It's an honor to share a label after sharing the road together so many times."
Rolo Tomassi on Meet Me In St Louis
Something we all agree on at BSM is how awesome Rolo Tomassi are, and so we had to ask them about their fave release of ours. This is what they had to say about Meet Me in St Louis - Variations on Swing:
"MMISL were one of the first bands we 'properly' toured with that wasn't just a weekender or a cobbled together group of dates with loads of days off in between. I hadn't really heard them prior to these dates being suggested but I was aware of BSM as a label and probably knew Kev at this point so trusted the judgement of everyone around us that it was a good idea if we played shows together. Obviously I was pretty blown away.
This tour would have been just before Variations came out but they were mainly playing that material. I felt like I practically knew the record inside out by the time it was released but was still in love with the proper, studio versions of the tracks. I revisited it last year ahead of getting to see them play one last time at ArcTanGent (in 2016) and it still feels as vital as it did when I first saw them play. I can't think of many other bands that have and would have that effect on you. Essential listening"
Tall Ships on Hop Along
Ric from (the sadly departing) Tall Ships tells us why 'Get Disowned' by Hop Along is one of his favourite BSM releases:
"My personal fave would have to be 'Get Disowned' by Hop Along. Francis Quinlan's voice, melodies and lyrics are so unique and on point it's hard not to be moved by every single line she sings. That alongside the playful and inventive production means it's an album that (even years on...) reveals more and more with every listen!"
Kevin Devine on mewithoutYou
Kevin Devine tells us why you all should be listening to Ten Stories from mewithoutyou:
"It was a toss-up between that & I Am Gemini by Cursive, actually, and for the same reasons - both are friends & boundary-pushers I admire & respect for continuing to make vibrant, challenging music deep into their careers, and both are bands I toured with on these respective records & got to hear every night, trips I remember fondly & relationships I keep current to this day.
mewithoutYou is very much its own beautiful & strange animal, and I’m partial to this collection of songs, and their execution - a little bit of everything that makes them Them is present & accounted for, dense & vivid & evocative story-telling over dynamic & adventurous structures. "
Billy Hutton, Milk Teeth on Woahnows
Billy Hutton of Milk Teeth tell us why Woahnows are one of his 'go to' Summer records!
"It's extremely difficult to choose just one record that BSM has released as a favourite, but after much thought I'm gonna have to go with "Woahnows - Understanding and Everything Else". From the very start it hits you with a banger. But the album really touched my heart strings with "Puncher". Tim's voice / vocal melody in that song really stands out to me. It's the perfect summer record and but I always seem to listen to it when it's cold to remind myself of the sun. They're also a cracking band live and I'm never bored of watching them".
Ross , Lonely The Brave on Jeniferever
Ross of Lonely The Brave and (for older listeners) once of Secondsmile/The Tupolev Ghost tells us why his favourite BSM release is the Iris EP from Jeniferever.
"I guess it could be loosely put under the post rock tag, but it's way more than that. Real, proper beautiful songs with incredible instrumentation going on throughout, with a lot of soul to it.
It was released the same year as Secondsmile’s debut EP in 2004 and I'd say it influenced us a great deal with the music we then went on to make. Listening to it now, it could have been released last week. Way ahead of the game that band. But saying that, hearing it again does take me right back to that golden time, and makes me happy and sad all at the same time. Wonderful years. This is a Beautifully melancholic record that I can't recommend enough".
Lucinda, Kamikaze Girls on La Dispute
My favourite BSM release was La Dispute ‘Rooms Of The House’ a couple of years back. I love everything about this record. I love how huge it sounds, and how intense it is.
Jordan’s lyrics and approach to writing is incredible and I love how he takes a fictional concept and turns it into something really special.
Gnarwolves on Grown Ups
Charlie from Gnarwolves tells us why More Songs by Grown Ups is his favourite.
I remember when Gnarwolves first started & I met a bunch of lads who would always play a bunch of records at our house & this one always stood out for me. It was the tech style crossed with the gritty sound & vocals that sold it for me. I love the gruffed out vocals (obviously) haha. But yeah it was one of the first of what I call "twiddly emo" records I heard & it's still one of the best imo.
- Charlie, Gnarwolves