In 2006, after their breakthrough album Deja Entendu, Brand New holed themselves up and wrote one of the most honest albums in emo/post-hardcore/screamo history. The cover says it all. Two cloaked men wearing demon masks and a young, innocent girl standing on a doorstep. Thus the title The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me holds meaning in the image.
The honesty of Jesse Lacey's lyrics slice through the instruments and the desperation in his vocal straining convey the entire concept of the album: the battle between our good and our bad dwelling inside us. Each song addresses these themes in a unique and identifiable way.
For example, the song "Jesus Christ" (which recently had a great cover by Dustin Kensrue) is a dialogue toward Jesus where Lacey professes his doubts about himself, if God really loves him and what heaven will be like.
The strained and desperate fact that "we all got wood and nails" speaks to our own capacity for betrayal; our own capacity to destroy the things we love.
Other classic tracks from Brand New's third album include 'Millstone', 'Degausser', and one my favorites, 'The Archers Bows Have Broken.' Regardless of the track, an entire listen through from start to finish is required to absorb the full impact of such a rare, transparent and hauntingly beautiful record.
Finding new artists tends to happen by chance. Whenever I seek out something new to listen to, I usually walk away after the 8th song with my head low in dejection at the state of music these days.
I came across Ed Prosek while listening to a random playlist made by someone on Youtube. Among the 25+ songs, Prosek's song "Hold On Tight" stood out and I made a mental note to check out some of his other tunes later. I can say I am pleased I did.
The beauty of Ed Prosek is his ability to capture silver linings even within the most depressing melodies and subjects. When listening to "Hold On Tight", the melody and lyrics illuminate the harshness and wandering nature of existence but with an anthemic feel. You find yourself clinging to the enthusiasm and hope Ed preaches even though "the frost never stops it just settles on our hearts." Take a listen below:
That is the magic that Prosek embodies in his lyrics. Yes, life sucks but we will hold on tight to the beauty and love and grace and mystery inherent in existence. He embraces the hardships as lessons to improve and accepts his failures to make him a better man. This sentiment is demonstrated brilliantly in "A Final Word" (video below):
Ed Prosek is grossly misplaced within the digital sea, overshadowed by sync-pop, dance beats and other audio garbage that invades your personal space. If anyone should be in your personal space, guiding you through the difficulties and failures, it should be Ed Prosek. You can even introduce him to your parents by checking out his incredible cover of "Homeward Bound" by Simon & Garfunkel.
Check out his website here.
Throughout my life, music has influenced me creatively and spiritually. In fact, I wanted to be a professional drummer in my youth but the realities of being a traveling musician did not sit well with my desire to be with my wife (also I did not have near enough dedication to practice). Regardless, music continues to inspire my creativity and writing, helping to shape emotions and draw out ideas buried somewhere in my subconscious. Spiritually, music connects me to a high realm, connects me in a way mere words simply can't. Below are songs I've either loved for years or have recently grown to admire. Hopefully, they might connect with you as they have with me.