My top 5 might be the most predictable but I promise it’s nothing like the other guys’. First, let’s start out with some Honorable Mentions.
Armchair Apocrypha / Andrew Bird Self-Titled / Blink 182 Bon Iver / Bon Iver Tell It To The Volcano / Miniature Tigers Give Up / The Postal Service
Top 5 Albums:
5. Age of Adz / Sufjan Stevens
Age of Adz was released a little over a year ago and I still listen to it non-stop. Sufjan has always had his own original sound combining ellaborate orchestral elements with his timid ‘whisper’ voice and Age of Adz is exactly that with more of an electronic feel. From the quiet and personal “Futile Devices” to the 25 minute rollercoaster “Impossible Soul”, this album is a well deserved spot on my top 5.
4. Animal/Not Animal / Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s
This album will always be my go-to angry album. Animal/Not Animal contains so much angst and coats it with swooping violins and awesome percussion. Margot’s use of dark subject matter is always so well done, taking you places like a carnival, nightmares, mine shafts and “As Tall As Cliffs”. Their first album Dust Of Retreat is worth mentioning also.
3. In Motion / Copeland
This is one of the few albums I can listen to from start to finish. Every song on In Motion has a memory of my high school years associated with it. “No One Really Wins” might be one of the best songs ever written, just saying.
2. Aim & Ignite / Fun.
It was so, so, so hard not to put this album as my number one. Not only is this album amazing in every way but for those of you who don’t know this, the frontman of Fun. is also the genius behind The Format; Nate Ruess. The Format would’ve made the list but I figured Aim & Ignite is just Dog Problems part 2, another incredible album by yours truly. If you haven’t heard this album, get it now! “Be Calm” and “All The Pretty Girls” will change your life.
1. Transatlanticism / Death Cab For Cutie
This really isn’t a surprise for anyone who knows me, we all knew it was going to be DCFC you just didn’t know which album! I literally had to look and see which album had the most plays on my iTunes and it was between Plans and this one. I can say that Death Cab For Cutie is my favorite band and this album only solidifies that decision. Transatlanticism isn’t just instrumentally brilliant, the lyrics have found their way on my LiveJournal (yes, I said Live Journal) countless times. This album was the soundtrack to my high school years and will continue to be played for a long, long time.
Who doesn’t like The Killers? This album is KILLER. Simple as that.
#4 Good Old War- “Good Old War”
Kyle Young introduced me to this band and gave me their first album titled “Only Way to Be Alone and William/Liam/Will.I.Am/Rusty/Russ/Russell Beard gave me their more recent self titled album…Thanks buds! You guys are awesome. They only have two albums that I know of and a live recording EP they did for purevolume. I’ve always been a fan of acoustic guitar and folk/pop/indie whatever you wanna call this genre of music. Good Old War’s harmonies are freakin awesome and the guitar parts are so sweet! If their music doesn’t put you in a good mood, something is wrong with you.
#3 Say Anything- “…Is A Real Boy”
I listened to this album for practically a whole year straight. Max Bemis writes some interesting lyrics and phrases things in a way no one else. Some of this album is pretty crude but I think its all honest and straight forward. All the songs musically are so good and have made plenty of my car rides with friends memorable.
#2 Brand New- “Deja Entendu”
I stumbled upon Brand New probably a little later than most of their fans. Pretty much every record they’ve put out has been a constant influence to me. Picking out a single album by this band is pretty difficult but I decided that Deja Entendu is the album that impacted me the most…but all of their music, from “Your Favorite Weapon” and “Daisy” have been playing through my car, ipod, stereo, and computer from high school to now. “Sic Transit Gloria…Glory Fades” was the first song I listened to by Brand New…the music video to that song is pretty cool by the way.
#1 Manchester Orchestra- “I’m Like A Virgin Losing A Child”
This album was not the first album that I listened to by Manchester but it’s definitely my favorite and if I had to pick between any of their records; this would be the essential one to have for me. Manchester Orchestra’s music in general changed the way I wanted to write music and lyrics. When I first started playing guitar and writing songs, Dashboard Confessional was the biggest influence in the sound I wanted to achieve and it definitely showed in most songs I wrote. More recently(the past year or two) I compare everything I write to this album the most. It’s a constant losing battle over being happy about the songs I write because of this album…this is why this album is in my number one slot. This album is a great listen!!
Hi, I’m Russ. I’ve never posted on our tumblr before. You may notice that there are some “Heavy/Hardcore/Screamo” bands on my list. Before Tell Tale Heart I was in a post-hardcore band. So I dig that stuff. And uhh… This list was super hard to make. But I hope it surprises/enlightens you about the world of Tell Tale Heart’s Bassist. Okay. Here we go.
Dance Gavin Dance- Happiness
I WILL get heat for this. I picked the only album without either John Mess or Johnny Craig on it. Yeah, I know. Kurt Travis can write some lyrics, which is why he’s up to par with all the vocalists from DGD in the past. The track “Happiness” is about leaving a girl at a lake for a few moments, and finding her drowned upon returning. Yeah.
5. Fall Out Boy- Folie A Deux/Infinity On High
Favorite Tracks: Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes, “The Takeover, The Break’s Over”, What A Catch, Donnie
I genuinely can’t pick just one. That’s like asking Tell Tale Heart who their frontman is. Kyle? Andrew? Yes. You don’t just pick one. Fall Out Boy, in my opinion is the best band that has been on the radio. Hate me. Patrick Stump reaches heights and sings melodies that challenge Michael Jackson. Pete Wentz writes lyrics that are so perfect for Stump’s voice, that you’d think they were the same guy. So why their last two albums? At this point, these kids aren’t a high school garage band anymore. They’re musicians, and good ones. You don’t “write” songs like “What A Catch Donnie” and “Golden”, you compose them. I will be getting these songs stuck in my head for the rest of my life. And “Infinity On High” opens with a breakdown. Seriously? I’m sold.
4. Bob Dylan – The Essential 1&2
(I’d like to have more, but the guy has 48 records excluding his live material…. So I’m keeping it with The Essential.)
Favorite Tracks: Maggie’s Farm, I Want You, Shelter From the Storm
Mmkay, Bob Dylan. American folk/rock-n-roll/awesome at it’s finest. I almost always listen to his music alone, because half a person in my group of friends/family find his music tolerable at all. There are things in Dylan’s Music that I cannot find anywhere else. Those political undertones, that voice, the jumbled strumming patterns… gah. Someone wise once told me that there’s a lot of perfection in things that don’t seem perfect. I found said wise person to be right when I heard Bob Dylan.
3. Memphis may fire- Between the Lies EP
Favorite Tracks: Be Careful What You Wish For, Vaulted Ceilings, Deuces Las Cruces
Memphis May Fire has always been one of my favorite bands, even back in the good ole “Cowbell’s Makin a Comeback” days. But this EP answered all of my prayers. “What? Memphis May Fire’s Christian now? What? They’re heavier than ever?” Yes. Oh Good God, yes. The little synth intro to “Be Careful What You Wish For” is my ringtone and every time it finishes I play the ridiculous lead line in my head. God has never spoken to me more than through this album. Almost as if God was like “Yeah, Russ really needs to hear me… MMF, lemme play some tasty licks and write some lyrics for your EP.”
2. Underoath- Define the Great Line
Favorite Tracks: In Regards to Myself, Casting Such a Thin Shadow, Moving For the Sake of Motion
I remember buying this album at Walmart along with Paramore’s “Riot!” around 2007. I had decided that Skillet just wasn’t going to cut it anymore. I listened to Paramore that day and Underoath that night, so my mom wouldn’t hear Underoath and regret letting me buy it. Keep in mind, this was the first CD I owned with any screaming vocals on it. Around 1 A.M. I heard the end of “In Regards to Myself”, where it fades into a chainsaw-esque noise, and nearly peed myself. The album is a masterpiece. Beginning with an extremely infectious lead hook, a verse from Psalms read in Russian, an incredible build-up to an almost instrumental song, and ending with lyrics of desperation. The whole album is laced with incredible vocal work, rhythm patterns, and …what’s that? NO BREAKDOWNS?!?! Get some, hardcore scene.
1. Brand new- The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me
Favorite Tracks: Sowing Season, Jesus, The Archers Bows Have Broken
I’m jacking Kyle’s number one…sorry. Brand New is my favorite band. Ever. This Album birthed straight magic into my musical interests. The first track, “Sowing Season” begins. And it’s chill. And you can tell things are emotional. Then all the sudden, 1:03 comes around. And there is no doubt in your mind that The Devil and God are raging inside Jesse Lacey. I don’t think Jesse Lacey sings about anything meaningless, I find him to be the best lyricist of our time. The album has a song called “Jesus” on it. You know this is serious. The lyrics are ridiculous. And Jesse Lacey’s singing backwards and talking about drowning babies and “WHERE YOU’VE BEEN!!!” and oh my gosh. The energy and the drive and the pure, raw emotion from this album is deafening to the soul. I like to model what I write in Tell Tale Heart’s material after Brand New, this album specifically. Go and buy this CD now.
Preface: This was so difficult I am actually mad that i had to limit it to 5. I thought I was doing so well when i got it down to 7 from 24. Then taking 2 off the list was like sawing my leg off. I didn’t want to but if I was going to make it out of here alive I had to.
So here we go…
Commit This To Memory by Motion City Soundtrack
If you like pop music at all you will love this album. Probably the greatest example of melody writing I’ve ever heard. Plus its catchy as all get out.
Anything by Manchester Orchestra
I love this band and all their albums but I had to leave them out of the top five. Andy Hull can make you feel anything he wants you to. Its scary how many times I get goosebumps when I listen to any of their songs. Take not RL Stine.
Cassadaga by Bright Eyes
My second favorite writer playing my second favorite style of music. Bright Eyes has always had a place in my heart and his music a place in my soul but unfortunately this album does not have a spot in the top five.
Bon Iver by Bon Iver
Skinny Love, For Emma, and Stacks need to be on your iTunes. Right now.
Dizzy Up the Girl by The Goo Goo Dolls
Soft Rock has never been so good. I think half the songs on the album were turned into singles.
Now on to the list
#5 The Mother, The Mechanic, And The Path: Disk 2 by The Early November
Favorite tracks: A Little More Time, Hair, Scared To Lose, From Here To L.A., The Truth Is.
I call this CD “The Mother” because I think that’s what its supposed to be called. This album has most of the “softer” songs from this concept but it’s not lumped in as an acoustic CD. These songs are like the perfect blend of rock, country, and blues. Ace is one of my favorite writers and this album is probably his best work. I play this album every year whenever we get the first really cold day of winter. It just puts me in a great mood, its awesome music and writing.
#4 …Is A Real Boy by Say Anything
Favorite tracks: Alive with the Glory of Love, Yellow Cat (Slash) Red Cat, Chia-Like, I Shall Grow.
ADMIT IT!!!!! I have to say when I first heard this album I thought, “I hate this guys voice, his lyrics don’t make any sense, and I can’t stand this music.” In my defense I was getting into hardcore music so…… This album was the anthem to my high school life. Mostly because he was a teenager when he wrote it. The angst behind these songs just makes you want to scream the lyrics at any and everyone you see in a 20 mile radius. No joke.
#3 Between the Heart and the Synapse by The Receiving End of Sirens
Favorite tracks: Planning a Prison Break, The War of All Against All, This Armistice, Flee the Factory
I would never think that MTV would ever help me find good music it did this time. I saw the video for “This Armistice” and my brain could not process what my ears had heard. So with a google search and a Limewire list I downloaded the album, listened to it 30 times through in 2 days, then went out and bought the actual CD because I loved it so much. Its a concept album that redefined my musical taste. I had never heard that many harmonies before (except on “Play Crack the Sky”) nor had I really heard an album that flowed so well together. It’s more than just each song musically bled into the next the ideas and story flowed too. Any time I’m at the gym and I’m feeling sluggish I start blasting this album because it’s so driving.
#2 Straylight Run by Straylight Run
Favorite tracks: The Tension And The Terror, Existentialism On Prom Night, For The Best, Sympathy For The Martyr
When John Nolan left TBS I was pretty bummed. But somehow I stumbled on this album. It was so anti every popular genre out there at the time that you couldn’t help fall in love with it. The songs were stripped down the melodies infectious and the songs were about love and break ups but not “baby, baby” love songs or “I !@#$#%$#^@# hate you!” break ups. This album has my favorite lyrics on it. Tell me this doesn’t describe your infatuation with someone right now?
“And I try but I’m not convincing
Your lips, they pout and twist
And I die trying just to keep myself from kissing you
You take in everything with a certainty I envy
It’s somehow all I need
Just keep me guessing please”
It was really hard not to put this album as my number one, like really hard. That’s how much these albums mean to me. Right now go download all these albums. DO IT!!!!!
#1 The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me by Brand New
Favorite tracks: Sowing Season, Jesus, Not the Sun, Luca
The only reason this album is number one is because it deserves to be. Every Brand New album is just that: Brand New. Every time they put out a new album it sounds like a completely different band. This album honestly taught me how to write music. Even 4 years after it was released I still compare every song I finish to this album. Not that I try and copy these songs per se but if I’m trying to make an audience feel a certain way I try and make it as gripping as Sowing Season, or Not the Sun does. This is my favorite album, this has been my favorite album since it was released and i doubt anything will top it. Ever.
It’s Kyle. I’m supposed to be sleeping because I need to be up at 5am tomorrow morning but only grandparents go to sleep before 12 o’clock right? I was tossing a turning in my bed when I decided I needed to listen to music. In the mood for anything I checked out my top 25 most played playlist. Guess who’s #1? ”Now That You’re Home” - Manchester Orchestra. Who would have thought right?
Those guys are a huge part of my creative process. I can remember seeing them as a Junior in high school with Brand New in 5 Points. That show changed me. I’ve always liked music and I had been playing guitar for years before but to see MO play these songs no one knew but they still stirred up so much emotion from eveyone that when Andy played their last song he just sang “I Can Feel Your Pain” by himself and no one said a word. Inversely as soon as BN stepped on stage the “I LOVE YOU JESSE!!!”s were so loud you couldn’t hear anything that he said in between songs. But every kid in that humid shotgun of a venue was screaming every word to “I Believe You But My Tommy Gun Don’t.”
I got home late that night, I don’t remember exactly what time but I knew that I wanted to be a part of that somehow. I wanted to be able to play a single chord and have every one in the room be taken to another place, not because I’m selfish or want to be put on a pedestal but because it made them happy. Now as a songwriter and singer in the band I just want people to come up to after a show and tell me they know where I’m coming from, that they’ve been feeling the same way or that they needed to hear what I just got done singing about. It’s cool that people will tell us “you guys are great I love your music” and its flattering when other bands tell us that because they know music. But the reason we drive 4 hours to a place to play 30 minutes of music is because of the words we sing. We sing about our struggles with our faith and daily walk with Jesus Christ and its our witness to everyone we play for. So when people compliment the music or the harmonies we are really grateful and glad that you like us, but I always want to ask how they feel about the content of our songs.
I told a friend of mine recently that I enjoy Andrew singing and leading musically in our ministry The Ticket Ministry because its like when I play music for The Ticket I can get wrapped up in playing guitar or singing to myself and not worry about right and wrong notes. I am free to just get sucked into worship. And when TTH plays its my way to worship a different way. I take all my frustration and doubt and self centeredness and I yell it to God in a sense. I encapsulate my fears and stumbles into these songs and I just give it up to God because his yoke is easy and I don’t need to hold on to those struggles.
We played a show last night in Brunswick, Ga with some cool bands: A Hope For Tomorrow, Me And The Trinity, Rejoice The Awakening, Ascending Heights, Seizing The Final Victory. During the show a fight broke out. Me personally I’ve never seen a fight. Somehow by the grace of God all throughout high school and junior high I was never around those things. This fight scared the crap out of me. There was choking and dragging guys out of the building and at one point this huge bear of a man wrapped up the pastor in charge of the student center that we were playing in and threw him out of the way like he was a 20 pound sand bag. The fight settled and everyone who was involved was told to go home but it was still crazy to see all that happen less than 10 feet in front of me. It made me think “why would anyone want to be around this all the time?” But that’s what I am called to do. I need to be playing in these places where its not all Christians and good times and everyone loves each other. I’m told to go and make disciples and I can’t think of a better way to use the talents God has given me and follow his instructions than playing music and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ as a band.
I’ve wanted to go on tour since we recorded our EP last fall. It used to be about just being able to say we have been on a tour. Then as we got better live it became about getting more fans and maybe getting signed. After seeing that fight and getting a wake up call about evangelism, going on tour now will definitely be a mission based thing for me.
So. Kyle was the one that made our tumblr account & published the first post.
So. I decided to post something after I read it just for fun.
I don’t really know if this is supposed to be some community band blog thing but I’m gonna sneak a post in occasionally. I really don’t even know what to write about to be honest! I got home from work a little under an hour ago & I’m on my usual night owl schedule; facebookin’ & watching select adultswim television shows(mainly King of the Hill, American Dad, Robot Chicken, & Family Guy). Such a glamorous night life, eh?
Anyhow, most recently as the Tell Tale Heart, we’ve been trying to figure out how to expand our fan demographic & branching out to play different venues & to play more out of town shows. It’s an interesting thing trying to get your name out there. Most methods you would hope to be effective usually are not.
Most local music shows(around here, anyway) people go to, come only to support a friend’s band & usually don’t have much interest in the other local bands playing simply because their style of music does not fit their taste. It’s understandable. I’m a music brat sometimes myself…
So. As a person in a local band & ,on top of that, as a Christ-follower I rely on one simple method to leave my impression other than our music; kindness. God first loved me & because of such gracious love I long to show love back to Him…& more over, to my neighbor. Though, I must admit that it’s a struggle for me sometimes.
I feel conviction for every moment I should have shown love & kindness but didn’t.
I’m so blessed to have played so many awesome & fun shows with some of the best friends & band mates a guy could ask for. Every time we go out to a venue & play on a stage it’s so easy to pour out kindness to complete strangers. It’s probably because I’m out there doing what I love with the company of great friends. It’s something we as a band thank God for in the green room before every time we go on a stage.
Ahem. There was no real point in my mind on what this post was going to be about before I started typing.
It’s turned into some random thought(s) but if you’re reading this maybe these words may be of some insight to your life at the moment. There is a God who constantly & abundantly gives love & mercy whether you might know it or not. There isn’t much of that out in our world…or at least I don’t see enough of it.
We get asked sometimes on how we got our band name & why we picked it.
We decided on it a long time ago before this band had four members…
…back when it was just Kyle & I playing two acoustic guitars & fiddling with wine glasses, harmonicas & playing snare drums with our hands because we didn’t have a pair of drum sticks.
Kyle was the one that thought of using the short story title by Edgar Allen Poe.
When he brought it up I really didn’t care too much.
I still don’t like it that much & I actually just like saying “TTH” instead of our entire name.
Well, it turns out it’s a pretty good name for us & it explains pretty simply what we do with our music.
We sing about what affects us emotionally and mentally.
I think this tumblr thing will add to what we can do to fulfill what our name says along with our lyrics in the songs we write.
Thanks for reading & being supportive. Thanks for being interested & enjoying our music & words.
Come out to a show. We like meeting new people.
Next gig: First Baptist of Brunswick in Brunswick, GA for a “To Write Love On Her Arms” all day benefit show. Our set is currently scheduled at 4PM
It’s one of those nights… I’m in the mood to write but things aren’t flowing like they’re supposed to. words are writing themselves on a page and I’m struggling to find different words that rhyme with “things”. Sings? no. Brings? no. Swings? no. The joys of being an artist. I can’t bring myself to settle with a “Girl…World” line. Only Bright Eyes can do that and even then it’s right on the verge of being too simple. But i’ve got the melody down and the guitar parts are pretty much done. Nate wants a groovy song so this new one will have to be more “Hanson-esque.” Side note: Hanson is good, can’t tell me no. Go look up their new stuff. Back on track. I wanted to write TTH’s new song sort of like a ‘Not the Sun’ feel. Upbeat and catchy but not poppy at all, still fueled by some serious pains. The verses are set except we have to decide if Andrew wants to play main part or add his own thing in while I play it. I think it will sound like too much if he does but we will see. Russ has a sweet bass line in the chorus and Andrew and I are both playing notes not chords so we are stoked. Kind of makes me feel like Circa Survive, but only a little bit… and less talented… and less know… so not a all like Circa Survive. But this one is an idea I’ve had for a while. My brother has no idea what our songs are about. He just likes the beats and melodies and it drives me nuts because I’m so proud of these songs, but mostly because of the words and the purpose behind them. So this one is tentatively titled ‘Static On the Screen’. It’s about how kids (using the term loosely) love songs and poetry and movie quotes but have no earthly idea what they mean or where they came from. So I will get back writing. Hope you felt inspired.
P.S. LIVE FROM TUMBLR ITS THE TELL TALE HEART!!!!!!!!!!!