Sneak attack shows this weekend supporting Hellogoodbye and Vacationer in SEATTLE and PORTLAND this Friday and Saturday! (at The Crocodile)

Sneak attack shows this weekend supporting Hellogoodbye and Vacationer in SEATTLE and PORTLAND this Friday and Saturday! (at The Crocodile)

The short version of this post is that our first album, New Best Friends, has been reissued on limited vinyl by Bad Timing Records and goes up for sale at 1pm EST today. Click the photo to go buy.

The long version is that New Best Friends came out exactly five years ago. We were on tour in Baltimore with a band called The Lives of Famous Men. Non-band member attendance was in the single digits, and there wasn’t much record release hoopla besides us opening a box of CDs and putting them on the merch table. That was kind of a shame, because that album was really the culmination of a lot of my life up unto that point. I had been working on those songs since probably 2004 and had dreamed all my life of putting out a record on a real label like Doghouse Records. I had the opportunity to record with one of my heroes, Mike Sapone, who taught me so much about recording and production and how to make a record, that I can’t imagine doing anything that I’m doing now without that experience (I still label certain guitar tracks “saponeguitar” when recording cause I know exactly what that sounds like). After recording/mixing, there was another year of waiting for the record to come out (and putting out the EP Initiative in the meantime), so I was absolutely ready when the release date finally came. But there we were in Baltimore, feeling like nothing had really changed.

Not a lot changed in the year following either. The album got ok reviews, we did some bad tours and some good ones, we went through a few managers and band members, and I spent a lot of time asking myself what’s the point of releasing music. I love writing and recording, but why not just keep that to myself? Am I really that desperate that I need some stranger’s approval of something I’ve made? If I’m truly doing it for myself, then why does an audience matter?

The strange thing was that while I was having this whole dramatic inner struggle, people were somehow finding out about New Best Friends. People started showing up to shows and knowing the words. They started wanting more music, so we made another record. Then more people heard that and came to shows. Then we made another record, and now we’re headlining Madison Square Garden.

Ok not quite, but truthfully every time I see someone post a song or lyric from New Best Friends in some corner of the internet, or come up to the merch table and say how much they like it, it still makes me feel like “really? you actually heard it and liked it? you like our band?” No matter what happens, that record will always be our first, and it will always take me back to that feeling of putting some CDs on a merch table in Baltimore, wondering how we’re ever gonna sell these things. Everything is new again, like nothing has changed.

The short version of this post is that our first album, New Best Friends, has been reissued on limited vinyl by Bad Timing Records and goes up for sale at 1pm EST today. Click the photo to go buy.

The long version is that New Best Friends came out exactly five years ago. We were on tour in Baltimore with a band called The Lives of Famous Men. Non-band member attendance was in the single digits, and there wasn’t much record release hoopla besides us opening a box of CDs and putting them on the merch table. That was kind of a shame, because that album was really the culmination of a lot of my life up unto that point. I had been working on those songs since probably 2004 and had dreamed all my life of putting out a record on a real label like Doghouse Records. I had the opportunity to record with one of my heroes, Mike Sapone, who taught me so much about recording and production and how to make a record, that I can’t imagine doing anything that I’m doing now without that experience (I still label certain guitar tracks “saponeguitar” when recording cause I know exactly what that sounds like). After recording/mixing, there was another year of waiting for the record to come out (and putting out the EP Initiative in the meantime), so I was absolutely ready when the release date finally came. But there we were in Baltimore, feeling like nothing had really changed.

Not a lot changed in the year following either. The album got ok reviews, we did some bad tours and some good ones, we went through a few managers and band members, and I spent a lot of time asking myself what’s the point of releasing music. I love writing and recording, but why not just keep that to myself? Am I really that desperate that I need some stranger’s approval of something I’ve made? If I’m truly doing it for myself, then why does an audience matter?

The strange thing was that while I was having this whole dramatic inner struggle, people were somehow finding out about New Best Friends. People started showing up to shows and knowing the words. They started wanting more music, so we made another record. Then more people heard that and came to shows. Then we made another record, and now we’re headlining Madison Square Garden.

Ok not quite, but truthfully every time I see someone post a song or lyric from New Best Friends in some corner of the internet, or come up to the merch table and say how much they like it, it still makes me feel like “really? you actually heard it and liked it? you like our band?” No matter what happens, that record will always be our first, and it will always take me back to that feeling of putting some CDs on a merch table in Baltimore, wondering how we’re ever gonna sell these things. Everything is new again, like nothing has changed.

This doom loop write-up is incredibly kind.

oxeneers:

On The Importance And Significance Of The Best Album Of 2013: Doom Loop by MANSIONS
Reviews of albums these days are so filled with hyperbole and pomp and circumstance that it’s easy to overlook just how important certain records are. 2013 was a hell of a year for music, and more specifically, independent music. In the past five years, we’ve seen the rise of “indie” bands coincide with the unfathomable resurgence of vinyl as a useful medium. This paradigm shift in music - from heavy, unintelligible groups to more heartfelt, emotional “indie” bands - is going to be accompanied by the aforementioned hyperbole no matter how you slice it. It’s such a different direction for music, and it’s one that is met with much fanfare typically. Yes, even in a year defined by pop music (thank you 2014 Grammy Awards), we - as music fans - are still engrossed in the greatest palette of music in the history of the medium. With all this being said, it’s so difficult to discern “great” music from “timeless” music these days, and with so many opinions and venues for these opinions to be stated - my very own blog being part of the latter - it’s easy to get lost in the scuffle. This is some thoughts on why Doom Loop by MANSIONS was not only the best record of 2013, but also the most important and most significant.

If you’re not a fan of MANSIONS, you might not agree with anything here. And that’s totally okay. I wasn’t either. You see, almost three years ago, in February of 2011, I had purchased tickets to see Jarrod Gorbel perform at the fantastic Hotel Utah here in San Francisco. I noticed MANSIONS on the bill, and listened to a few tracks ahead of time. I think I checked out “Talk, Talk, Talk” and “Millions of Pieces”. I was very intrigued by what I was hearing, but I wasn’t quite sold yet. In either case, I still went to the show and what happened that night changed the way I viewed music for good.
On stage, opening up for Jarrod Gorbel was a white man in his 20’s and a woman around the same age, setting up without a drummer or second guitarist. I was kind of in awe. I didn’t think it was MANSIONS, but once they started playing, I knew it was. I was in absolute awe of the tone that was coming out of bassist Robin Dove's bass rig, and I was so enthralled by the live show that I consistently forgot that there was only 2 people on stage. There was so much skill, so much talent — and yet, there were only two fucking people on stage. It sounded like a full band. The drum machine that they were using was so on point, and the entire performance was just perfect. Being a musician myself, I had nothing but respect for what I just witnessed. To be honest, the small set that Christopher Browder and Robin Dove had just given Hotel Utah was nothing short of spectacular, and unfortunately, Jarrod Gorbel's set dwarfed in comparison to what had just taken place.
Then came Dig Up The Dead. I would be a huge hypocrite if I spent all this time talking about how great of a record that album is, but a quick Google search will show you just how important of an album that is. But this isn’t about the inimitable Dig Up The Dead. This is about the most underrated, important, and spectacular album of 2013: Doom Loop.
Let me start by saying that it’ll have been over 3 years until MANSIONS returns to play in California. Don’t fucking sleep on their upcoming tour with La Dispute and Pianos Become The Teeth. Two phenomenal bands are taking an even more phenomenal one (sorry) out on tour with them - whoever dreamt this up is a bonafide genius. Even though MANSIONS now hails from Seattle, WA - they never come to California. They are playing 4 dates in California, and it’d be stupid of you not to go to all of them. But, I digress.
So, Doom Loop. It was recorded in the most unique way, and was released on 11.12.13. Chris and Robin would constantly communicate to their fans that another album was ‘coming’, and we’d have to lie and wait. Months passed, and quick East Coast runs with bands like Young Statues and A Great Big Pile Of Leaves and even shows with Fall Out Boy ensued. Yet, still no album. No huge US tour. What was taking so long? Luckily, we found out very quickly.
Doom Loop starts off with “Climbers”, one of the strongest openers I’ve ever heard on a record. It hits you right in the kidney, and proceeds to dive into a familiar narrative with a twist - singer Christopher Browder is still singing honestly from the heart, but there’s a new vibe and feel to the music. It’s heavy. It’s powerful. It’s filled with — fuzz? The new sound of Doom Loop's production and overall tone is instantly familiar to me - it harkens all the way back to February 2011 at Hotel Utah in San Francisco. That raw, unapologetic, and raw sound is finally on record. Coupled with Browder's signature honest and emotional lyrics, by the time “Climbers” is over, you realize you're in for one hell of a ride.
A lot of people argue that “Flowers In My Teeth” is Doom Loop's weakest track. I disagree. As Browder has said time and time again, it is his favorite song on the record, and it shows. It's potentially his first “happy” or “uplifting” song in quite a while. It's dark musically, and even has a electronic, nature-influenced bridge, but it's more than that. It's a new balance on a new record. It's Browder at his most bare and brutally honest - an extremely refreshing change from the downtrodden songs of the past.
I could sit here and talk about how just how important and moving each track is on this record, but you already know that. I do, however, wish to mention the best “one-two punch” of any record in recent memory. I introduce you to “Out For Blood” and “The Economist”.
"Out For Blood" is probably the most special and unique song I’ve heard in a long, long time. Yes, the chorus is insanely tasty and is begging to be played again, but more importantly, the ending of the song and the very unarbitrary silence that follows is chilling. The ending has "ruined" the song for many of the Internet’s best commenters, but I will always stand behind the fact that the ending is what brings it all together. After a very dark, moody, and fuzzy opening, the chorus comes in and continues the trend of chill-inducing choruses from Browder. This time, we’re treated with some very minimal but important backup vocals from Dove. In "Out For Blood", Browder has created one of the most addicting lines in all of 2013: "I got this feeling I can’t shake / I got this broken heart that I just can’t set straight / No, I can’t get away". It’s these words that really set the tone and feeling of the inability to escape - whatever it is - on the rest of the record. Such simple words and such a simple concept helps craft one of the most beautiful endings to a song in 2013. "I got this feeling I can’t shake / I got this broken heart that I just can’t set straight / No, I can’t get aw———" 
Then comes “The Economist”, which happened to be the working title for the album. In the very specific six seconds that follow the ending of “Out For Blood”, the fade in of “The Economist” gets you right back on track. The song is so powerful, and is a good indicator of the fuzz and purported ‘doom’ that is to be found on Doom Loop. This duo of songs is by far the strongest middle duo of songs on any record in 2013. Bar none. If you haven’t experienced this very meticulous “one-two punch”, then you need to do so: now.
Yeah, so Doom Loop is terrific. I could go on about that all day - I almost have hit that point, in fact. But the point I really want to make clear is how important it is to music. Too many bands are going in directions already being done over too much - the fidgety wordplay style popularized by The Front Bottoms, the 1990’s alternative rock revival brought to the mainstream by all the young “pop punk” bands, or even the electronic “rock” and “indie” made popular by too many bands to name. 
To hear this kind of heavy-yet-sultry indie rock with honest and emotional lyrics done in such a beautifully minimal way, it’s quite frankly very refreshing. There’s quite a bit of skill involved in this, as much as Browder likes to say he’s not the “best guitarist”, and it shouldn’t go without noting the fantastic skill that Dove brings to the group on the bass. 
Doom Loop is huge. And it may be the last MANSIONS record. It may be the beginning of something much bigger. But whatever it is, it is safe to say that with Christopher Browder's resume now containing two of indie rock's most prolific records (Dig Up The Dead and Doom Loop) of the past five years, we may be on the precipice of another paradigm shift in music - one that we can all subscribe to and enjoy, regardless of music taste.
Thank you Christopher Browder and Robin Dove for the most important album of last year. Don’t stop now.
This doom loop write-up is incredibly kind.

oxeneers:

On The Importance And Significance Of The Best Album Of 2013: Doom Loop by MANSIONS

Reviews of albums these days are so filled with hyperbole and pomp and circumstance that it’s easy to overlook just how important certain records are. 2013 was a hell of a year for music, and more specifically, independent music. In the past five years, we’ve seen the rise of “indie” bands coincide with the unfathomable resurgence of vinyl as a useful medium. This paradigm shift in music - from heavy, unintelligible groups to more heartfelt, emotional “indie” bands - is going to be accompanied by the aforementioned hyperbole no matter how you slice it. It’s such a different direction for music, and it’s one that is met with much fanfare typically. Yes, even in a year defined by pop music (thank you 2014 Grammy Awards), we - as music fans - are still engrossed in the greatest palette of music in the history of the medium. With all this being said, it’s so difficult to discern “great” music from “timeless” music these days, and with so many opinions and venues for these opinions to be stated - my very own blog being part of the latter - it’s easy to get lost in the scuffle. This is some thoughts on why Doom Loop by MANSIONS was not only the best record of 2013, but also the most important and most significant.

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Tour w/ La Dispute and Pianos Become the Teeth

Have you gotten tickets for our upcoming tour with La Dispute and Pianos Become the Teeth yet?? A bunch have already sold out, so better get yr tix quick!!

Date City Tickets
Mar 14 Greensboro, NC Tickets
Mar 15 Atlanta, GA Tickets
Mar 16 Jacksonville Beach, FL Tickets
Mar 18 Fort Lauderdale, FL Tickets
Mar 19 Tampa, FL Tickets
Mar 21 Houston, TX Tickets
Mar 22 Dallas, TX Tickets
Mar 23 Austin, TX Tickets
Mar 25 Mesa, AZ Tickets
Mar 26 Pomona, CA Tickets
Mar 27 Los Angeles, CA Tickets
Mar 28 Santa Cruz, CA Tickets
Mar 29 San Francisco, CA Tickets
Mar 31 Portland, OR Tickets
Apr 01 Seattle, WA Tickets
Apr 04 Burnsville, MN Tickets
Apr 05 Chicago, IL Tickets
Apr 06 Pontiac, MI Tickets
Apr 07 Toronto, Canada Tickets
Apr 08 Montreal, Canada Tickets
Apr 09 Cambridge, MA Tickets
Apr 10 Brooklyn, NY Tickets
Apr 11 Philadelphia, PA Tickets
Apr 12 Pittsburgh, PA Tickets
Apr 13 Grand Rapids, MI Tickets
Apr 14 Cleveland Heights, OH Tickets
Regram from @robindove. We are at the end of a very fun 2 weeks, thanks so much to all y’all who came out, we will see you again very soon.  (at The Smiling Moose)

Regram from @robindove. We are at the end of a very fun 2 weeks, thanks so much to all y’all who came out, we will see you again very soon. (at The Smiling Moose)

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