I don't know what it is but for much of the last decade Long Island has pumped out a stream of great punk bands from Brand New to Latterman to Bayside. Really, there's a killer scene out on the island, even if it gets slagged off by those hardcore kids who don't dig on melodies. I say those kids can suck it.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Almost A Memory - Not The Same Old Summer
That said, I can't resist posting a track from my brother-in-law's band, Almost A Memory. When I was up there for a visit last month, I got to watch them practice in a cramped basement bedroom, which makes the china in my in-law's living room rattle. Let me get this important point out of the way: If they weren't actually good, I wouldn't be posting them. Ain't no nepotistic bull shit going on here.
My first thought, because of lead singer Vicki, is the Paramore factor. AAM have it, cause the songs are good, and the band is better. Joe and Chris on guitar, John holding it down on bass and Daniel all over the drums, this is a solid band, and much more so than Hailey and the bitter boys she made stars. It's the voice that sells AAM for me, and I don't think she's come close to her potential yet. Somewhere in there, this chick has the kind of voice that reminds me a little of bands like Tilt, that can knock people off their feet. Hailey has that voice, but - not that they sound alike - Tilt lead singer Cinder is a better example of someone who isn't holding back. Sometimes I think Vicki is. She's got more. But I didn't get to catch a show, so maybe it's just that she doesn't let it rage in the basement.
Of the handful of songs I saw in practice, "Not The Same Old Summer" stuck with me, just as it had the first time I heard it playing off a small boombox hours earlier. First, because unlike everything else at the PA-less practice, I could hear Vicki singing over the band, and, mostly, because I think people who don't listen to all sorts of punk-influenced pop bands would dig this song a lot. I've said before though that I'm a sucker for this kind of female-fronted band, and the acoustic to pounding look-back-on-summer-love, well, I'm a sucker for that too.
The 15-year-old me identifies with lyrics of frustration like "Fate Knows Your Name" and especially "Lessons Learned." That middle-finger-in-the-air has endeared a lot of bands to me that I probably should have forgotten, Green Day included. (Not that Green Day should be forgotten, but see most of Dookie for what I'm talking about.) Joe and Chris are banging out the power chords that have driven this stuff for two decades - it took a good 10 seconds for me to realize that "Lessons Learned" wasn't "Welcome to Paradise," which happens once a year anyway - and that works well too.
What AAM needs is time. If they get some time, and keep doing what they're doing, there's a good chance somebody who isn't spending the weekend sleeping in their practice space is going to listen to them at least half as much as everybody in my house has over the last six weeks. That, obviously, is a good thing.
Buy the debut Almost A Memory EP Lessons Learned from iTunes.