learning love songs

est. 2008




“And I was afraid, but you were glowing like,
A most relieving light.
You were my revealing light.

I close my eyes and suddenly we were attached.
You stayed with me after the moment passed,
I felt you buried deep under my chest,
Like my lungs when I’m breathing in,
And I was not myself when I opened up my eyes again.”

~Like Slow Disappearing
Turnover, Peripheral Vision
Lately I’ve been getting lost in “No Closer To Heaven,” but the past two days I revisited an album that continues to captivate as much as it did the first time I heard it this year – Turnover’s “Peripheral Vision.” I took it in completely when it came out this May and played it several times over the summer, only to hear its tracks hold out pretty well on Pandora. Coming back to the LP was a solid choice – few bands are this good at keeping away from filler, and there isn’t much of a weak moment to speak of here.

What a warm, resplendent sound this is, with choruses and hooks that sneak up on you. The landscape is awash in vintage emo tones but somehow sleeker, played through cleaner guitars but willing to lock into their groove. Forty minutes of desperation and wandering begin with the brilliant “Cutting My Fingers Off,” a song that toys with tempo in all the right ways without losing a silky, melodic feel. I’m equally obsessed with the lovesick “Humming,” which somehow manages to pull off peppy without losing the moodiness that precedes and follows it. The dueling verses in “Diazepam” are equal parts sad and honest and refreshing. 
What I love about this record is its consistency, and how it unfurls. The layers that feed off one another, from interesting, unstructured lyrical patterns, to muted guitars acting as intros and adornments before their centerstage licks, wrapped up in a steady, slow bass and familiar backbeat.
I checked out some of their older work after this record and I can’t say it took me in quite the same way; “Peripheral Vision” has a feel that pushes the genre’s boundaries rather than living squarely between them, and I prefer the more interesting parts and sounds. The heavy echo and delay here, underscored by occasional backing harmonies to the subtle, muted leads, creates a sound that reminds me at once of 80s English rock and mid-aughts pop punk, committed to the slower sound.  I’ll take the combination, in all its wistful warmth and beleaguered maturity. Turnover made something special with this one and I hope the audiences at large treat them well for it. 

“Cause I can still remember when you were afraid of the darkAnd I told you to come and you followed where I asked you to go

Would you come here and spin with me?
I’ve been dying to get you dizzy,
Find a way up into your head
So I can make you feel like new again.”

~Dizzy on the Comedown
Turnover, Peripheral Vision


New discovery of the week comes courtesy of a catchy lyrical reference over at Moose Blood is a good band, if you didn’t know, a UK-bred emo quartet with high-energy tension, wallowing realities, poppy fills and enough lyrical references to merit footnotes. Their aesthetic is everything I like about the emo revival (and the exact one I’ve been in the mood for all day), and their 2013 release “Moving Home” is six tracks of guitar-driven goodness in fifteen minutes or less. Easy to take in, easy to hold onto. Nights like this are why I love discovering new music, and why it is so often what I do when I’ve got time to kill – because you never know what might sound perfectly right.

“Bukowski’s growing old,

 this coffee’s getting cold
I guess I’ll never know
why you closed the window
Start reading Hemingway,
start drinking cups of Earl Grey, 

then I guess maybe one day..
I’ll be yours forever
I’m the best book you’ll never read
you make me feel like Jimmy Dean
you make me feel like Morrissey
when you undress from your best dress..

To keep warm, I’ll bring a sweater
you can have mine, it looks better
and honestly, you can take it home.
We’ll take blankets to stay safe
I’ll do my best to stay out of your way
then I guess maybe one day,
I’ll be yours forever.

I’ll introduce you to Clarity
teach you the words to ‘The Sound Of Settling,’
make you watch High Fidelity
on a Sunday, maybe one day.

To keep warm, I’ll bring a sweater
you can have mine, it looks better
and honestly, you can take it home.

To keep warm, I’ll bring a sweater
you can have mine, it looks better

and honestly, you can take it home.

Moose Blood, Moving Home


“meet me there, in the blue
where words are not, feeling remains. 

sincerity, trust in me, throw myself into your door.

well i go in circles 
running down.

meet me there in the blue
where words are not feeling
oh i dream to heal your wounds
but i bleed myself, 
well i bleed myself.

well i go in circles 
running down.” 

~In Circles, 
Sunny Day Real Estate, Diary 
This album was released 20 years ago. Let that sink in, especially around the minute-and-a-half mark when the one-liner chorus kicks in followed by the kind of signature suspended minor chords so often employed by this band that helped shape a genre, the kind that make you realize how much intensity is often missing in today’s alt-rock. This is probably my favorite track of theirs, that chorus memorialized in passing moments in other-friends-of-older-friends basements. I missed out on this early age of emo, the one rooted deep in grunge, by sheer timing. So I played catch-up as I best I could while still discovering the trends and trials of the scene of the early aughts. But since everyone’s getting all #emorevival and since good music has no shelf life, it seems a good year to fully uncover the bands that lurked around the edges for me. It’s been incredibly satisfying, at a time when new music and bands (with select exception) get stale pretty quickly with the same old tired sound and weak attempts at shaping an “image” that often comes across as fakery. Better to seek out something already tested, that’s held up against the unrelenting foes of times and taste.From ample and front-loaded bass lines, heavy distortion and strung-out-on-sadness lyrics, so much of what I hear in Sunny Day Real Estate is everything I look for when I search out new up-and-coming bands today. Especially when I find the aggressive, understated drama so perfectly suitable for wordless feeling. Especially when their brand of taut and unresolved melody creates a forceful misery, one with enough attack and movement to distract the busy mind and assault the masochistic heart.


“There is only tonight and the light that bleeds from your heart,
Makes me want to try and start again.”

Everyone in the #emorevival scene seems real excited Mineral is reunited – I had heard the name but not the music, so I checked them out and instantly grew attached, grateful to find so much to love. I hear so much of “my kind” of emo scene in here, but I also hear the late-90s, in grunge-like moments of morose chords, pounded out bass lines and shouted vocals. The yearning of minor key melodies is interrupted by outbreaks of loud, soaring progressions, accompanying the weathered and world-weary narratives that so clearly inspired bands of the early 2000s that meant so much to me.

I’ve listened to “The Power of Failing” a few times through now, and there’s so many biting, honest moments, the kind of reveal I generally require of my favorite artists, and here it was,alive and well in 1997. Here’s the kind of breakdowns, bridges, and cymbal crashes that captivated me so when I got into modern music as a kid, the kind that still can. Here’s the kind of pain-on-the-page lyrics that tapped into my own when songs became the only way to process, when the words of someone else were the only way I could hope to find my own. There is longing here, there is passion deferred and hopelessness of the most desperate declared fashion.

Grateful to come across this, even if I’m late to the party. Glad to trace the roots of the kind of music, both its sounds and stories, that speaks to me, and recognize where it all came from. Inspired to see that artists can come back years down the line and spark the hearts of listeners old and new.

“I wouldn’t mind if you took me in my sleep tonight
I wouldn’t even put up a fight
I wouldn’t care if you took it all away today
I’m sure I wouldn’t even miss the pain

But I know I’ve got to live my life
And roll around on the ground and feel the strife
And realize along the way that I’m nothing more
Than a grain of salt in the salt of the eart
And everything is grace

So come on with the darkness
Come on with the fear
Cause I’ve got to start somewhere
And it might as well be here

When I’m finally naked and standing in the sunlight
I’ll look back at all of this selfishness and foolish pride
And laugh at myself.”

~Parking Lot
Mineral, The Power of Failing

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