Coming off the 2nd time around trainwreck that is Jonny Craig (which, as a sidenote, is fucking retarded. You didn’t see this coming, how? You can’t make a non-team player into a team player, that’s not how it works) DGD seemed to be destined for a defunct wikipage. Downtown Mountain Battle Part 2, featuring the return of Craig, was garbage, due to incoherent songs and boring guitar riffs. Like, there’s funk there, but it’s like it’s coming off of a keyboard backup track.
Acceptance Speech brings the band back to the Kurt Travis funk that they were peddling earlier, whereas Craig brought a bizarre mix of epic and jazzy. Funny, how the band conforms around it’s vocalists. There are a lot of cruddy hooks, but this is a pop band so who fuckin’ cares. The grooves are bangin’ and the songs feel quick due to their ability to refer back to the original melody and drop into bridges abruptly. The guitar and bass work is super bouncey and the guys are all over their frets, dropping into what sounds like spontaneous licks that they’ll repeat for a verse and then it’s an actual part of the song.
This is still post-2005 screamo. DGD is probably an ancient in that respect. Warped Tour is still bringing a lot of these bands to the youth in it’s summer circus, but bands from this era are old. Like, you and me old. DGD is a dinosaur that we might have for some time. I’d be alright with that.
The album is grating and rough, a prime suspect for a yearly apex of a mix of punk/hardcore/grindcore. The production isn’t overly clean, like some xc albums fall prey to as the guitars are allowed to breath and the vocal mics pick up the environment rather than just the close breathing. Intentional reverb is probably intended, but it helps keep things nice and messy. The bass lines are nimble and jazzy. The guitars are fuzzy and roleplay rather than bring everything along with a crap 80s metal solo.
The breakdowns pick up like a rusted wheel with WD40 being worked into it. The attached breakdown actually picks up tempo.
It’s not the heaviest album of the year but I bet it’s an insane live show. The clean vocals are occasionally reminiscent of nu-metal garbage but it’s the gateway drug for a lot of fans; some people just need something like a melody.
Vanna’s progressed quite a bit from their Boston xc days and are better for it. They’ve been able to get away from the garbage melody ridden hardcore hooks that a lot of bands fell for. They utilize them, don’t me wrong, but they get that their meat and potatoes is verse line that shreds right along into a power chord ridden chorus.
When you’re old, from what I understand, you hold onto bits of your old self, sort of like when you carry a pile of clothes to the laundry without a proper bag. Socks and shirts fall off the pile as you go along, just like your memories, but you got most of the stuff. Or, at least, most of the important stuff, you think… maybe. You can’t really remember.
Music is tied to memory and I sure hope that my mp3 library is around a few decades from now to help recall the current times. I’ll have implanted headphones and be listening to shitty pop punk as my blood pressures spikes because my 50 year old children are barely done with their education and have 6 figures of student loans to pay off. Hell, I was done paying off my student debt when I was 45 because I helped drug addicts overdose because the government paid me to and I sold small bits of real estate to people who wanted to erect shacks to immolate themselves in! Fuckin’ bum kids.
Goddamn, if I could still have this mp3 stuff at 50. Like, will I still even like pop punk? Will poor recording techniques still get me? Will bands like State Lines still be driving around in a van, their drummer holographic because of a nasty incident with an extension cord and a garbage disposal, playing fucking bang-ass shows? Probably not. We’ll all be poor as fuck and none of us will be middle class. Living comfortably? Fuck you, more like living from paycheck to paycheck, paying some asshole to tell us what to do and 3 figures for a bag of saline (oh wait, we already do that).
God, if we ever get there, I better be able to listen to all the pop punk I want. Shitty art makes shitty life bearable. Thanks State Lines. This made life not too horrible at all, really.