But then you said, “Stay Beautiful”

Today, as I was looking for a Moose Blood song on YouTube to share, I noticed there wasn’t a video available so I had to look it up on Spotify instead. It was then I realized that the song must have meant something to me to actually launch Spotify just to share it. I won’t lie, these guys weren’t on my radar since their last release, but when their new album dropped I was blown away and went back to relisten to their whole discography.

Moose Blood is a pop punk/emo band in similar vein to bands like Neck Deep and LYU. Despite their metal sounding name (what the fuck does Moose Blood even mean?) Anyway, this band has been around since 2012 though I only discovered them when they signed to Hopeless Records, where they put out an amazing album called Blush. Songs about love, loss, heartbreak, death – all sorts of tear-jerking anthems can be found on the album. Think – a grittier Dashboard Confessional with an English accent. A more mature-sounding You Me At Six.

There are no blazing solos or pick sweeps to be found in their brand of music, but that’s not the point of music anyway. It’s all about what it makes you feel when you listen to them, and songs by these guys are full of feels. The fact that their albums feel very diverse, while retaining their core sound, shows that Moose Blood aren’t afraid to turn it up when they want to. The occasional guitar delays peppered throughout their riffs remind me a lot of The Dangerous Summer and The Graduate, which I love. I don’t have a long history of listening to Moose Blood, but falling in love with their discography again this year has pushed them up to one of my all time favorite bands.

Their latest album is available for streaming on Spotify now. Here are some of my favorite songs from the band:

Moose Blood – Talk In Your Sleep

Moose Blood – Gum

Moose Blood – Knuckles

Moose Blood – Bukowski

Moose Blood – Cheek

Moose Blood – I Hope You’re Missing Me

Moose Blood – Shimmer

Moose Blood – Cherry

Music & Me

When I was young, I used to listen to my dad strum the guitar while singing his favorite Lobo songs. He had gigantic chord books filled with all his favorite songs. I never appreciated it when I was younger, but it probably planted the seeds of music in me. These seeds were watered by my buddy Seng Yip back in school when we decided to make some music together. It was a two man show – Fuzzbeaterz. Seng Yip, his guitar and pedal and me, with my tape recorder. He played some riffs over drum beats from his pedal, while I sang and rapped terrible lyrics over it. It was far from good, but it was a start.

In college, we decided to enter the Battle of the Bands, so we learned some songs that I liked (in hindsight, they were probably the wrong choice for the competition, but whatever – I got to jam songs I enjoyed haha) and auditioned. We didn’t qualify, but it was a fun experience. We continued jamming and went through some lineup changes. We even changed got new band names (from Hostile Takeover to dreamingtosleep). Again, we didn’t get anywhere, but at least we landed a few gigs. After recording a demo, the band split up due to the guitarists leaving the country.

I wanted to continue making music – I had so many lyrics left lying around that I didn’t have any music for. So what did I do? I picked up the guitar and decided to make music of my own. Since I had no experience making solo music, I started from square one again. But it was a good learning experience. I applied what I knew from learning songs by other people. I churned out a bunch of bedroom demos and was content. Back then I had no idea that the singer/songwriter scene in Malaysia existed so that was pretty much it.

Until one day, a colleague at my first job told me about open mics. She encouraged me to attend my first open mic and that night changed my life. I played my first show in front of a sizable audience, and they enjoyed my set. Whether it was genuine or out of politeness, it didn’t really matter. It gave me the confidence to go out and play more shows. I was spurred on by the feeling I got being on stage. There’s something about the audience applauding and cheering for you that can’t be replicated anywhere else.

I continued performing at every opportunity I got and wrote more songs. Eventually, I wrote enough music for an EP and recorded it. That was my first time getting songs recorded properly in a studio (dreamingtosleep’s EP was done live with no click track). I learned a lot during my sessions in the studio. Looking back, there were so many things I could have improved on, but hey – that’s always the case. The main thing is I managed to put the record out. Because I can always play better during live shows or on newer songs. Whatever I had recorded is a moment frozen in time. Something I can look back on and laugh at.

After that, I formed another band with Jason and had the time of my life. Playing music with a band is so fulfilling. Sure, solo can be fun, but when you’re playing music with a bunch of guys – the combination of drums, bass and guitar takes the activity to a whole new level. I can’t explain. Is this what an orgy feels like? Side note: doing things with friends is almost more fun every time (i.e. gaming, checking out restaurants, drinking).

These days I still play music, but on a less consistent basis. I haven’t written a new song in ages, but that’s okay. It’s not something I should force. Besides, I should channel my energy into my other hobbies (like working on my game) and catching up on cartoons and movies that I’ve missed over the past couple of years.

Initially, I wanted to write something about reports of Gibson going bankrupt but then I realized I had no idea how to contribute to the topic and it devolved into a story about my music. Kids, playing guitar is fun. Go pick one up and start learning now if you have any inkling of an interest. It’s not going to be easy, but it’ll be worth it in the end. It’s definitely up there as one of my favorite hobbies of all time. I assure you, it’s as fun as wanking.

Erase Me

Remember the days when internet marketing wasn’t so prevalent? Marketing campaigns made use of word of mouth or print and television to spread the word. I remember when The Sixth Sense was showing in the cinemas. Everywhere I saw advertisements for the movie with the message plastered “Don’t tell anybody the ending.” I thought that was a pretty cool way to market the movie. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t manage to catch it in the cinema. I only saw it many years later when it was showing on Astro. By then I had already known about the ending so it wasn’t impactful to me. However I appreciated what it did.

Other movies that received similar buzz with its marketing tactics were far and few in between. The most prominent ones I can remember – Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield, and Paranormal Activity. I never got sucked into the hype that these movies generated, but for the latter two, I enjoyed seeing how people reacted to all the marketing campaign activities thanks to the internet. It was a lot harder to keep track of those things pre-social media. These days, everything gets hyped up on social media, and it’s hard to tell whether something is worth your time or not *cough*Black Panther*cough*. Anyway, thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever to spread the news to everybody you know.

Recently I noticed it being used in music (it might have been done a long time ago, but not for bands I cared about). Brand New did something crazy by just pushing their album out online, ahead of their release dates. Fans and critics lapped it up. They debuted at number 1 on the Billboard charts. Today, I saw on Reddit, a thread where a Redditor received a mysterious CD in the mail. The CD contained a sample of a song and written on it was a URL for a website, where a countdown is going on right now. Based on the font on the website and the font on Underoath’s Twitter banner, people have come to the conclusion that it was a teaser for the band’s next record.

As of this time of writing, the countdown still has 1 day and 7 hours to go. It’s been a while since the last Underoath record, so I’d be stoked if they announced their next one. Here’s to hoping they pull off a Brand New and push it out on the same day instead of just announcing it. It’s been too long! Also, I guess this is me playing my part in putting the word out about a possible new Underoath record. Funny how nobody asked me to do it, yet here I am typing away. Woot.

I’m a wreck when I’m alone, I’m the boy who lost his home

I don’t have much to say except this band except that they rock.

The Dangerous Summer are one of my favorite bands of all time. I was surprised to learn today that they had released a new album this year. I thought the band was done when they lost one of their members a while ago. Turns out they’re still alive and kicking and making kick-ass music. Having listened to their latest release, the self-titled ‘The Dangerous Summer’, it’s safe to say that they still have it in them. All the trappings of a standard TDS song are present: layered guitars, emotional lyrics and raw vocals – everything a TDS fan would be looking for in an album from the band.

I can’t recall how I got into the band – it was probably a recommendation from a list or article I read. However, I remember when I first heard – Permanent Rain. It made me a fan of the band instantly. I immediately proceeded to consume all their music, and even learned how to play the acoustic version of the song. With each new release, which were remarkable by the way, I found myself always returning to their debut album ‘Reach for the Sun’. Something about the music on that album which made them so magical to me. It’s not like they changed their sound or anything after the album – I guess it’s just hard to recreate the feeling of discovering something for the first time again.

I was immensely pleased when they released an acoustic version of the album. I guess they really liked it as well if they thought it should be rearranged and re-recorded! They should totally release an EDM version of the album, I don’t think they can do any wrong with the material.

Over the years I’ve been impressed with the consistency of their releases. I don’t think they’ve ever released a single bad song. Hopefully AJ and the boys can make it over to this side of the world before they breakup (again). As usual, here are a list of some of my favorite tracks from these guys.

The Dangerous Summer – Ghosts

The Dangerous Summer – Fire

The Dangerous Summer – Permanent Rain

The Dangerous Summer – Catholic Girls

The Dangerous Summer – Knives

Section cut short: for some reason, Hopeless has blocked a lot of their YouTube videos in Malaysia, which is a shame, but they’re on Spotify, so head there to check them out.

September Never Stays This Cold Where I Come From And You Know

So while going through bands I wanted to share about, I realized that I had yet to write a post about one of my favorite bands of all time. Taking Back Sunday – one of the first few bands that molded my music tastes to what it is right now. Without any hesitation, I can name my favorite song off each album and probably recite the lyrics to half of their discography. These guys have been monumental in influencing my music. Sure, I’m not as creative as Fred/John/Matt/Eddie when it comes to guitar but I try (haha). Their heart on sleeve lyrics were what sold me to this band, as well as their signature dual-vocals. Think Les Miserables with electric guitars. They’ve also inspired countless handles and blog titles worldwide. Teenage poetry for sure.

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