As I watched Division Day and Birdmonster rip it up at the Double Wide last night, I couldn't help but think about the most recent Tapes 'n Tapes show in Dallas. Though these bands sound nothing alike, I thought about why I like them and why critics of music blogs don't understand. None of these bands have a style that can described in two to three words, but I choose the safe, vague and non-offensive term, indie rock. And by indie rock, I mean stuff that is actually made independently of what the passive mainstream wants right now.
If the opinions of bloggers are often made light of by certain writers and editors in the traditional media, then why are they caring to search for blog posts about bands through search engines like Technorati? Is there a true desire to get what the word is on the (virtual) street or is this just pure curiosity? Or is this just more ammo for when they review a show? I don't know, but if you're looking for flimsy hype from me about Birdmonster or Division Day, you're not gonna find it here. What you will find is a fan of both bands who really enjoyed their visit to Assassination City.
From where I was standing and with what I was hearing, Los Angeles' Division Day sounded much better live compared to their studio recordings. Not that their Mean Way In EP or Beartrap Island LP sound horrible or misrepresent the band -- their sound is more pronounced live. Of course you can apply that to so many other bands, but I noticed this especially with these guys. I especially took notice of how their loud and soft dynamics work incredibly well live. In other words, if the song was mellow or soft, you knew it was mellow or soft. If the song was loud and rockin', you knew it was loud and rockin'.
So what does Division Day sound like? Well, if you're expecting me to give a lame-ass recommendation of "If you like _______ and ________, then you'll love Division Day!", you're not going to find that here either. I can't really think of other bands to compare them to, but they definitely aren't reinventing the wheel. They have guitars, keyboards and drums playing melodic rock music that isn't challenging to the ears or offensive to good taste.
Now with Birdmonster, I have a slightly easier time describing their sound. Don't think I'm jerkin' your chain by saying there are elements of Americana/working class rock and fist-pumping post-hardcore in their songs. What may sound like ice cream on pizza, this is more like ketchup on scrambled eggs. Vocalist/guitarist Peter Arcuni does have some Born to Run-era Springsteen in his voice, but I'm a fan of the Boss, so that's not a problem for me. As far as the band as a whole, the kind of energy that they pull off reminds me of early Q and Not U. I'm talking spastic shouts, angular rhythms, locomotive guitars and some pretty catchy melodies too.
I know there are plenty of other bands out there that have this same approach to playing and promoting music, but it's always nice to experience this all in the flesh. Both Division Day and Birdmonster want people to hear their music, but they aren't going on a route filled with shortcuts. Sure, they would love to do their bands full-time, but just like the guys in Voxtrot, Tapes 'n Tapes and Figurines, they want to do this for the sake of playing good music, not fame. While I could whine about other younger modern bands made up of twerps who are duped into thinking they will be as big as U2 someday soon, I have to remind myself that not every young band thinks this way.