Don’t let the name fool you ” Don Drapery isn’t a hotshot curtain maker who works at a company called Sewing-Cooper. It’s a Columbus, Ohio, band made up of two enterprising musicians: Jason Turner and Dan Gillis. In fact, the only obvious thing the band has in common with Mad Men is its love of retro. Vintage R&B and surf guitars trade time with post-punk angles and rhythms in Don Drapery’s catalog of songs. Folks In Charge is a loose-limbed, herky jerky rocker brimming with a rough sort of joy. On I Can’t Apologize, the duo combines ’50s-era pop tropes with modern-day sentiments like, You say everything sucks. From the spaghetti guitars of No Place To Raise A Child to the sparkle and distortion of Hard To Survive, Don Drapery gives a callback to rock’s glory days without losing their footing in the modern age.
There’s nothing wrong with being different, Orly Lari sings on Wasteland over a torrent of guitars and drums. And being different, to EarlyRise, means raging against the powers that seek to tear us down. Lari, along with co-conspirator/guitarist Raz Klinghoffer has created a leitmotif of unrest that carries over from one punishing track to the next. On Wasteland the bass gurgles, guitars shriek, drums thrash, and Lari’s climbing vocals offer the only succor from the storm. Every song is a battlefield. From the sinister slouch of Become Mad to the stuttering, crashing Face Me, EarlyRise delivers hard rock that’s as angsty as it is melodic. On the latter, Lari sings, I’m not afraid anymore as I declare war. You may as well surrender.
The Arts & Crafts Movement describes its music as being noisy and ugly, tender and awkward. And that’s true, but it’s also searching, discontented, romantic ¦ and probably a million other things. The Philadelphia band is of the same ilk as Silversun Pickups”think of them as their tormented younger brothers. Their raucous post punk weaves from sinister to sensitive and back again. The wild rumpus begins with War Chords, where piercing guitars is answered by a counter offensive of rolling drums and bass. Singer James Alex’s reptilian voice is hard at times to decipher, but the message is clear: Watch your step. His warning carries over to the bracing Punks of Privilege. We are anarchists, turning chords and truth into heroic hymns, he sings, You’ve been warned. But don’t let that stop you.
Like Led Zeppelin and Iron Butterfly, The Dandelion War should immediately give you a hint about its music by name alone. The tension between contrasts”low and high, heavy and light, gentle and violent”has long provided creative fodder for artists. The Dandelion War deftly weaves those contrasts together for diaphanous songscapes that range from story to placid. Jail Bird adds layers of glacial guitars, synths and drums to create the soundtrack to a dream. But the subconscious can be a fitful place, too, and on Spectacle the five-piece band creates a gyre of piano, drums, guitar and bass that falls somewhere between Sigur Rós and My Morning Jacket. The Petals of Lipaceli is equally mesmerizing”a long instrumental intro contains pianos echoed by chimes, reverb-drenched guitars, chants and rhythms that become more insistent as they build to crescendo. Sweet dreams are made of these.
Let’s face it, sometimes the past should stay dead. But when an awesome musical artist fades from popularity, their fans later wonder, Where are they now? You may not know it, but many artists you loved in the past are still hard at work writing new albums or preparing to tour once more. Fortunately, you now have Second Coming to reintroduce you to some of your favorite acts of the last few decades and give you the scoop on what you can expect from them in the future!
THEN: During the alt-rock boom of the mid-90s, Garbage were in their prime. Their single “Stupid Girl” garnered numerous award nominations (including two GRAMMYs), and their debut album earned multi-platinum status in several countries. Garbage’s follow-up album, Version 2.0, was equally as successful as their debut. They were once again nominated for two GRAMMY awards and were even comissioned to write the new theme song for the James Bond film, The World Is Not Enough. Unfortunately, the band’s third record”released in 2001”was not as well received, which eventually lead to the band’s breakup in 2003. Though they were able to re-group in 2007 and release a fourth album, Garbage went on hiatus before their first tour back was even finished. Drummer Butch Vig continued to pursue his love of recording; after working with the likes of Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins and Sonic Youth, he had become one of the most sought-after producers in rock. Meanwhile, frontwoman Shirley Manson began work on a solo record, which is yet to be released.
NOW: Garbage reunited again in 2007 to release a greatest hits album, but it wasn’t until 2010 that they returned to the studio. The band decided to release their fifth album independently through their brand new record label, STUNVOLUME. In an October 2011 interview with Billboard, Butch Vig said: “We’re looking at this as free agents. We’re out of all our corporate responsibilities from the past, and initially we thought that was terrifying but now we think it’s liberating. We’re going to put the record out on our own label and just figure out how to license it and market it because we want it under our control.” A recent press release from Garbage’s publicist states that the record is being recorded “in a basement in the Atwater Village of Los Angeles,” proving that this band is pretty serious about going back to DIY. Glad to see they’re still keeping that 90s alternative rock mentality!
Fun fact: the video for “Stupid Girl” was inspired by the opening sequence of David Fincher’s film Se7en. Enjoy!