Friday, April 30, 2010


Frankie Welfare Boy Age 5/Age of Octeen/Movie Music Vol. 1 & 2 Vinyl Reissues (Polyvinyl, 04.2010)

For: Capn' Jazz, Sky Corvair, Fugazi meets Mineral

Byline: Braid's first two seminal albums and killer singles/b-side collections get reissued and remastered from Polyvinyl.

In commemoration of the Polyvinyl reissue of Braid's earliest albums and singles/b-sides/rarities collections, as well as my subsequent interview with Braid frontman Bob Nanna for SLUG on tuesday, I am dedicating this round of FRIDAY NOSTALGIA!! (remember all caps, two exclamation marks) to my favorite high school band of all time. Picking up Braid's Movie Music Vol. One at Angelo's Records in Littleton was a pretty important experience in my teen years. After hearing the word Braid being thrown around the internet as a wildly influential emo band, I decided to go on a limb and pick up the first album of theirs I saw. I'm glad I did, Movie Music is a posthumous release of singles and b-sides documenting some of their earliest recorded material. Those early years were the best Braid years, freshmen at University of Illinois, Braid had more mathy time-signature change-ups, frentic yelps, shrieks, and "yeahs" via hype man Chris Broach, and straight killer melodies per song than most emo second-wavers had per album. Needless to say, Southwestern Denver record stores got a literal deluge of crappy pop-punk cds once I heard the opening track "Sounds Like Violence". Each song was a cauldron of sweaty exuberance and barely contained angst. Braid killed it back in the day, even if they were still feeling their way into new territory after playing in hardcore and punk bands. The prototypical melodic hardcore "Minuet" following slower tempoed "Capricorn" on Frankie Welfare Boy showcases a band working hard to figure out what they sound like, and after 26 songs, it is amazing to realize just how cohesive they actually sounded. Later as the time signatures became more conventional and Braid really began hitting their stride, they began penning anthems in the truest sense of the word. "Forever Got Shorter", "Hugs From Boys", "Lucky To Be Alive" still retain their sense of immediacy and throat-tightening urgency after almost 10 years. Talking to Bob Nanna, I got the sense that Braid knew what they wanted, and worked relentlessly to get it, the liner notes to Frankie Welfare Boy read, "we want to be on your comp!". Braid simply wanted their music heard. After almost 10 years together, playing 47 of 50 states (Alaska, W. Virginia, and N. Dakota have yet to be rocked), in addition to Japan and Europe, the elusive success that Braid sought after would come in the thousands of bands in their wake in which Braid is a communal touchstone of life-changing music. Kudos to Polyvinyl for making sure these great albums inspire more kids to throw out the tired verse-chorus song structure, experiment with crazy time changes and to play with the intensity of a post-adolescent 19 year old. My hats are off to you Braid, you will forever be my "favorite band ever".

Ryan H.

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