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Friday, January 30, 2015

Parade - A Red Button

Name: Parade
Album: A Red Button
Year: 2005
Style: Indie, Power Pop
Similar Bands: Belly, Throwing Muses, Alanis Morissette, Mazzy Star, Jennifer Trynin, Dismemberment Plan (musically)
"One Word" Review: Grungy Mystic Emo Rock
Based Out Of: Atlanta, GA
Label: self released
 A Red Button - Cover, Inner Back & CD
A Red Button - Back, Liner Notes
A Red Button (2005)
  1. Snowflake 2:44
  2. Yune 2:17
  3. Feenan 3:04
  4. I Only Lived Once 2:57
  5. Little Fucking Sandcastle 2:44
  6. My Father the Bride 3:11
  7. Penelope Shoes 3:03
  8. Put the Foot Down 3:11
  9. Cut 2:08
  10. Bannoatmeal 5:27
  11. Taste 2:37
  12. D'accord 3:35
Album Rating (1-10): 6.0

Members & Other Bands:
Carrie Hodge - Vox, Bass, Keys, Hand Claps (Two Hearts, What Happened to Your Fire, Tiger?)
Scott Trinh - Guitar, Hand Claps
Emily Martin - Bass, Keys, Hand Claps
Jason Chamison - Drums, Percussion, Hand Claps
Asa Leffer - Hand Claps, Recording, Mixing, Production (Dark Meat, Jet by Day)
Eric Friar - Recording, Production
Glenn Schick - Mastering
Lauren Clay - Artwork

Unknown-ness: Received this unheard album in a shipment of CDs from a friend, so I assume it will be of a similar vein of his interests: sporty pop songs. It is self-made, so its obviously DIY. I'm not sure if the production of the packaging is simplicity for simplicity's sake, or if it is the best lo-fi printing they could throw together. In either case, I appreciate the non-cluttered sleek budget design.

Album Review: There is not much out there about this one full-length band, but they did manage to make a fan base for themselves in Atlanta. They have fully embraces and tried to pull together elements of mystical girl rock, grungy alternative production, and emo spirit and complex melodies that are unmatched by the vocals.

“Snowflake” begins with some fractured guitar chord strums, and then a sense of darkness in the bass and flat/removed drums begins behind thoughtful female vocals. The guitars kick in and overwhelm the late chorus, as the vocals change to a style similar to Alanis Morissette.
“Yune” is a delicate groove, with the vocals distorted and echoed through what sounds like a megaphone. The melody is emo in the chorus, with off timed guitar strums, and rising, yet tired vocals.
“Feenan” comes in with a bang of all the instruments: fuzzy guitars, melodic guitars and drum/bass at the same time. It then stops abruptly, to have a somewhat angular bass and chugging guitar driven song. It features a fun, “alternative” produced bouncy melody, and reminds me a little of Jennifer Trynin. The song breaks down at the end, just leaving the drums to finish it out, and hand claps, as if it live fade out at the very end.
“I Only Lived Once” has urgentness in the rhythm guitar’s style. The vocals float along slowly, trying to catch up with the music, like a tablecloth that can’t ever sit square in the middle. The layered guitars drone on as the song breaks down to a quiet Dismemberment Plan style guitar (think Secret Curse).
“Little Fucking Sandcastle” also carries a long a dark, Belly-like bassline, and the vocals punch the notes like a slow, mellow siren. Clash like rhythm guitars are thrown overtop for a verse, the drums pick up on a Dismemberment Plan likeness too as the song heads toward the 2 minute mark.
“My Father the Bride” combines a jangly guitar with a simple flat drum. The vocals find their own melody overtop the tempo inducing instruments, which shift, without connection to the vocals. The vocals begin to get emotional at the very end, over a train tempo, saying “ I lost you / I can’t find the truth” to the song’s focus. Added to the very end are some Ice Cream truck sound effects, like they are tuning their instruments, that don’t seem to have any meaning to the rest of the song.

“Penelope Shoes” starts out with some Beatles LSD-style instrumentation with synth-flute, and follows up with jangly rhythm guitar chords stringed in repetition. The side to side stomping drum beat is added, and the song builds nicly, and would make for a sturdy emo song. The song queits down to allow the echoing Mazzy-Star-ish vocals begin. The angular guitar chords come back, as if the intro instrumental was just a taste as to what to expect in the song. The pace and energy changes and grows quite a bit, getting invigorated and complex in spurts before returning to a quieter place.
“Put the Foot Down” harkens back to mid-80’s college fluid pop bands that are overproduced and bury their melodies down below the production. The vocals here are given a spotlight, and are pushed to the front. The song has an inquisitive, carefully stepping melody, with mystical qualities as well. The song increases itself in volume and the guitars get thicker and fuzzier generating a wall of sound. The onslaught is silenced for one final short line.
“Cut” twinkles in with guitar notes plucked. Then the grungy style of guitars and wah-wah effects crash into the song, and they take breaks as the vocals see fit. But the vocals continue along, without seeming to care of pay attention to the melody. It feels like any melody could support the vocals, and conversely, a different set of vocals could match the melody more efficiently. Same as the song before it, as the song seems to end, it picks up with one final vocal line.
“Bannoatmeal” plays like it is going to be just a wandering guitar daydream, but it is reigned in when the drums start, and a xylophone adds that bit of mysticism that the song needs to fit in with the rest of the album. The guitars again feel like they could be Dismemberment Plan melodies, but the vocals are free floating over them, making it hard to focus on the song as a whole. The mid song breakdown has the chimes, bass and guitar interplaying quietly, and the vocals are minorly processed through an echo chamber. The music comes out on the other end of this with a few glorious power pop chords, then feedback and buzzing regroup themselves into a powerful force to finish the track out for a full minute.
“Taste” cuts the feedback with a pleasant happy guitar hook, and a mocking keyboard melody. Jangely chords build up in the bridge-like chorus, but the song quickly returns to the focused melody of the first verse. A prog section follows two rotations of the verse-chorus, and the song gets a little prog-heavy but only for a little bit, as the song ends quite suddenly.
“D'Accord” is a nice, quiet album ender, it floats along with single, gentle guitar notes, and a gentle bell. This reminds me of the quiet Belly songs, but not as creepy (which makes this song far less interesting). At any time the song could explode, and once the drums-vocal dual begins, you think it might just become an energetic song. But it retains its quiet lullaby demeanor, and is only becomes enhanced with thicker guitar chords, but the tempo retains the same foot-dragging slosh. 

Stand Out Track: Feenan

Links: 
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