morrissey, you have killed me

I tried a little experiment of micro-blogging from the Morrissey show at the Eagles Ballroom in Milwaukee, WI on April 3, 2009. Here’s a recap:

All kinds of fine with second row. – Enjoying the opener, The Courteeners.

Sweetest dude: ‘morrissey’ relief-shaved in his head. (mostly shaved, some hair) – Moz!!!!

I have never seen middle aged men reaching to touch another middle aged man before. – Lost the jacket. Open shirt soon I am sure

‘nobody lives in green bay. I don’t think so anyway…’

Shirt change for ‘Let Me Kiss You’. Oh Moz. – Buttons flying, shirt off.

That was incredible. End of concert updates.

we were born and raised in the street that shot jfk

Summer is always going to be about punk rock for me. Usually it tends to drift more towards the perky strains of pop punk, but there’ll always be that intangible tie between the dirt, grit, and sweat of the day and fists thrown high into the air. Fortuitously, The United Snakes of America’s EP dropped on the warmest day in recent memory, setting the stage for summer to take on the mighty Culebras de los Estados Unidos!.

Starting with “Steedworthy”, the band lays it all on the table. Or, perhaps more accurately, the United Snakes lay it all on the table then shove your face in it. And you love it. The band’s sound falls somewhere between the likes of Queens of the Stone Age and Social Distortion, between the Toadies and the Whigs. The backing vocals on “Holler at White Teeth” make you want to bro down, and the whole album has the feel of kicking back on a friend’s front porch.

“Born and Raised” strikes an excellent balance between punk rock and rock & roll, giving Texas natives something to shout about.

Rounding out the album’s sound is the ever-so-slightly 90s-indie-tinged “Couple’s Skate”. It reminds me of my teen years, and I mean that as a compliment. It evokes the same feelings as when music was everything, everyone wore their heart on their sleeve, and nothing could best a night spent driving around, windows down, singing along at the tops of our lungs.

Culebras de los Estados Unidos! dropped 03/17/09.
To hear the EP, check out the band’s MySpace.

you could save my life without a word exchanged

Once upon a time, two lonely, broken boys met and revealed a mutual admiration for each other. Thereafter, Two Tongues was born. Led by Max Bemis (Say Anything) and Chris Conley (Saves the Day), Two Tongues’ self-titled debut is an open letter to the world about Bemis’s and Conley’s give and take.

For the first half of the record, Bemis and Conley (along with STD’s David Soloway and SA’s Coby Linder) meld the sounds of their respective bands. The union is natural, pulling out some of the best features from each. Lead single “Crawl” is a prime example of this. An all-around strong track, it features Bemis and Conley playing off one another and delivering the heart-wrenching feeling that both bands so often produce. The instrumentals kick back and forth between the grit of Saves the Day and the theater of Say Anything, resulting a track that warrants listening to semi-obsessively.

“Wowee Zowee” possesses the ever-coveted sing-along/shout-along element, and “Come On” is so simple and energetic that it reminds listeners why they fell in love with Saves the Day and Say Anything (and for that matter pop-punk and emo in general) in the first place. The most lyrically blatant declaration of love between Conley and Bemis comes with the song “Tremors”, but their admiration for each other, both musically and personally, is apparent all over the record.

In the second half of the album, Two Tongues heads in a bit of new direction for all involved. “Back Against the Wall” takes on a detached 80s groove, while “Alice” incorporates piano and post-production maniupulation. The boys also decide to end the album with some charm, covering Ween‘s oddly appropriate ‘love’ song “Even If You Don’t”.

While Two Tongues doesn’t knock every track out of the park, there is more than enough good material to get the thumbs up.

Two Tongues drops 02/03/09.
Listen to tracks from the album here.