It has been a little while since I have done a good music post, so prepare yourselves for a little good old-fashioned verbosity.
Summer, 2005 -
Matthew Hanks and I are living in Sacramento, CA, working a summer door-to-door sales job. He introduces me to a band called The Matches. While I immediately love a few of the songs from the album, I don't get into their album as a whole. Why? I think that they are just another punk band (in a long line of crappy punk bands) coming out after punk is dead to me. Let's face it, punk had its heyday, died down, flared back up again, and then played itself out. Now bands have to add a subgenre to even be able to use the work punk to describe themselves (pop/punk, alt/punk, etc.) Perhaps a month or so later, Matt and I go to the Warped Tour where we see The Matches perform. Their performance helps me change my mind about them for three reasons:
First, they sound really good and do so while playing with a tremendous amount of energy. Basically, they have excellent stage presence and don't sacrifice their sound to get it.
Second, I like that they seem to be trying desperately to hold onto their punk roots. They look ridiculous, still dressing like kids I mocked while going to high school a few years earlier, but they show no shame in it. While I think that they look like absolute (prepare yourselves for a VERY un-P.C. term, boys and girls) retards, I also somewhat enjoy the unashamedness of it all.
Third, during the set, the singer or guitarist (I can't remember which) jumps up onto the drummer's bass drum to be able to gain an extra foot and a half in his rocking out (or perhaps to elevate himself so his eventual jump-off gains an extra second and a half of air time). However, things don't go as planned for said singer (or guitarist), because his foot slips up and he crashes into the drum set. Not to worry, they sort out the kit enough to keep going and continue rocking the 15 or so of us that had stopped by to listen into oblivion.
Sidenote - I'm not going to lie, it was both hilarious and also really cool to see him/them keep going after something that was both incredibly embarrassing and surely painful (not to mention the drummer was probably PISSED).
Over the months that follow that show, their first album E. Von Dahl Killed The Locals grows on me tremendously and begin to get plenty of rotation time on my Johntime Playlist.
Fall/Winter, 2006 -
Their second album Decomposer is released. I struggle with this album at first. The band is maturing, trying new things, and straying away from the pop-punk roots that had taken me so long to grow to like. They still have that punk feel, but are trying a slightly more experimental/alt/rock style. It doesn't take too long though, and eventually I come around to the new direction. Both albums find themselves in heavy rotation on my Johntime Playlist at different points over the next two years.
Now, 2009 -
The Matches release their third album A Band In Hope. For some reason, I don't even bother listening to it for at least a few months after it comes out. After I finally give it a try, I immediately fall in love with it and am still in love with it. It is obviously continuing down that road that Decomposer started them on, and it does so beautifully and with confidence. While a direct comparison to Queen would be difficult to support, there are moments when the same fearlessness and passion that drove Queen's music shines through in the music of this band. I highly recommend them.
I leave you with three videos (one from each album). The first is from their first album.
"Chain Me Free"
Next is a video from their second album.
The third and final video is from their third album.
"Wake The Sun"