bands’ band (bӕnds bӕnd)
n 1. a musical group/person who is widely regarded amongst other musical groups/persons as worthy of adoration, despite said group/person’s lack of popularity and success within the music industry and/or amongst music consumers
2. talented beyond comprehension
3. tragically unlucky
So the music industry’s a crazy thing, huh? You’ve got bands who don’t write their own songs, drunk-ass boys plowing their cars into things, rappers featured on country songs—you get the point, we’re living in a messed up world of injustice, and the music industry is certainly no exception. But as listeners, we play a pretty integral part in just how things turn out. We’re the real puppet masters. The artists are just our little meat puppets. Muahahahaha! Damn it feels good. But wait, that means we, as the puppet masters, done messed up somewhere along the way. But how so? Well, let me learn you a bit. As listeners we choose what music we buy, what we steal, what shows we go to, what t-shirts and sparkly Kiss moisturizing cream we buy by some misguided decision. As it turns out, if you buy a billion Bustin Jeiber records and go see him shake his sexy self on stage, but also go to uTorrent and download the entire Kevin Devine discography without ever leaving your room, you’ll be left with one very rich Jeiber and one guy who used to play music but now works at Home Depot selling light fixtures. It’s called capitalism people… or maybe it’s democracy—I’m no mathematician. Well, wake up! These roses won’t smell themselves.
My example here is a bit exaggerated, I’ll give you that, but you understand the point I’m trying to shove down your throat-hole; as the music industry keeps progressing, and things like “pay-what-you-want” options and crowd-funded albums become increasingly more typical, the listeners, buying records and sharing their newly discovered favorite bands on Facebook, contribute a great deal to which artists gets heard, and which artists don’t. So, to do my part, over the next few months I’ll be sharing with you, my dear Infectious Magazine readers, a few examples of bands who certainly deserve the attention of your finely-tuned ears. The bands I’ll be sharing are widely regarded among other bands, especially popular artists like Death Cab for Cutie, Deftones, Nirvana, Paramore and Panic at the Disco! to name a few, as wonderful songwriters, talented musicians and even friends despite their lack of popularity throughout the years. Unfortunately, you’ve killed a great deal of these bands already. WOAH! Pump the brakes! I’m being a bit over-dramatic and accusative. I meant to say that unfortunately, we killed a great deal of these bands already. We’ll first be taking a look at the now-defunct atmospheric alternative rock band Days Away, and why they are so widely celebrated as having released spectacular music, despite their terrible luck in the music industry throughout the early 2000s leading to their disbanding in early 2008.
Days Away hail from a quaint, little town called Langhorne, which is just outside of Philadelphia, P.A., and for the majority of their run together, the band consisted of Keith Goodwin (vocals, guitar), Jake Weiss (guitar), Chris Frangicetto (bass, brother of Circa Survive guitarist Colin Frangicetto), Tim Arnold (drums) and Bryan Gulla (keyboard, piano). They formed in 1998 and soon after signed to We The People Records (who had a history of signing other well-known acts before they blew-up) in 2002, moved to California, released their debut full of five booming pop-rock tracks known as The Feel of It EP, and settled into a new line-up—bring the impressive Tim Arnold in on drums.
Fast-forward a year, and enter the L.S.D.E.P. This six-track EP would include the reason why I fell in love with the band after having been given the bands entire discography from a dear friend in high school. The entire EP rides along this fine line of loud, almost to the point of being abrasive, uplifting guitars followed by smooth, almost danceable, rhythms all the while filling your head with gorgeous harmonies. There wasn’t one song that I couldn’t proudly belt out in my silver ‘97 Honda Accord (while I was alone of course; I’m no Keith Goodwin here).
Days Away would spend the next few years touring VFW halls, churches, colleges, clubs and small venues. This is when the band started to gain some attention, because these guys were 90x more skilled as musicians than most of the alternative, indie, emo rock bands of their day. Songs like “T. Klein’s Decline” showcased their characteristically jam-band style a bit on the L.S.D.E.P., but it seems like the extent to which these fellas could play could have only truly been recognized in a live setting.
Luckily, someone at Fueled By Ramen did recognize the abounding talent in Days Away, and in 2005 FBR released the band’s first full-length album, Mapping An Invisible World, which included re-recorded and reworked songs from the L.S.D.E.P. along with a few new tracks like “Mirrors” and “You Were Right.” This is the album that got them the attention they very much deserved, but for some reason, the album lacked the sales needed to push it into the forefront of alternative music scene of the early 2000’s. Still, Mapping An Invisible World, is generally recognized by artists as the band’s finest collection of work to date. Fueled By Ramen released a series of video interviews for their 15th anniversary back in 2011, and when talking about their favorite FBR releases, more than several bands mentioned Mapping An Invisible World as a spectacular and even influential album. Paramore mentioned Days Away’s full-length as inspirational. The superstar indie-pop band fun. called the album “incredible, so space-y and integral” and mentioned that the band were “amazing musicians” who “played incredibly well together.” The list of popular artists who consider Days Away’s unique sound as unbelievable only goes on and on, including The Swellers, This Providence and VersaEmerge just to name a few.
After leaving Fueled By Ramen Records and signing on with Sargeant House Records, Days Away decided to release another EP, Ear Candy For The Headphone Trippers, along with a music video for the melancholic confessional “I’m Sorry I Told You All My Problems.” The other four tracks on the album sound like how a natural progression from Mapping… ought to sound. Unfortunately, Days Away decided to disband early that next year, only leaving behind their melodious, atmospheric alternative rock and a handful of fan-recorded live performances to comfort me in my sweaty sorrows.
Now, before you get too bent out of shape at the realization that you’ve likely missed your chance to ever see the powerhouse known only as Days Away ever again, let me introduce you to Good Old War; this three-piece indie-folk band which includes Keith Goodwin and Tim Arnold formerly of Days Away on vocals and drums, along with their good friend Dan Schwartz tearing it up on guitar. If you think Goodwin and Arnold were great rock musicians, you’ll be blown away by their folkin’ abilities. But don’t just take my word for it; when the ever-popular Anthony Green decided to make all three of his solo albums, who did he choose to bring on as recording and performing musicians? Why, numerous members from Days Away and Good Old War of course.
I could spout off another 1,000 words on Good Old War’s debut album Only Way To Be Alone released back in 2008 alone, but suffice it to say they’re worth seeing live. But hey, if you can’t leave your room like some kind of agoraphobiac at least pick up a copy of their latest release, Live From The City of Brotherly Love. Or just defeat your agoraphobia and see them live in person next time they’re playing near you as well as pick up a copy of their new live album. That way you can sit in your room again and reminisce about the fantastically folk-soused Good Old War concert you just saw whilst listening to their live album—that way you can get physically upset over the fact that you were too busy listening to This Providence’s self-titled alone in your room instead of seeing Days Away perform live twenty minutes away from your house like some kind of fool—oof, that one hit a little too close to home.
Drew Bankert is a freelance writer and aspiring agoraphobiac living in Indiana, Pennsylvania up until May when he begins his downward spiral of poverty and disillusioned reality after college. You can follow him here – Facebook, or send him a message at – firstname.lastname@example.org
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