Joyce Manor-Million Dollars to Kill Me

Joyce Manor’s 2016 album Cody showed a band that was willing to take a step away from the abrasive, no bullshit pop-punk that they’d perfected into a band with similar ethics but making more power-pop inspired indie rock.  Sure, there were still pop-punk bangers like “Fake I.D.” and “Reversing Machine,” but songs like “Eighteen” or “This Song Is A Mess But So Am I” fell more into a sort of Blue Album worship in crafting great pop-savvy indie rock.  Million Dollars to Kill Me doesn’t feel like a continuation of Cody nor does it feel like it’s picking up after Never Hungover Again; it sounds like a band that is truly without a care and is making whatever the hell it wants. Continue reading

Joyce Manor-Cody


Never Hungover Again was one of the most acclaimed punk albums of 2014 for its short, punchy, simple songs with great lyrics.  Joyce Manor’s follow up, Cody, sees the band with catchier, cleaner and more melodic songwriting.  The emotive vocalizing of poetic lyrics is still there, but this is Joyce Manor’s most accessible album yet.

Clocking in at 25-minutes, this is Joyce Manor’s longest record yet, and amidst the 90’s punk comparisons Joyce Manor gets, this album’s biggest influence seems to be Weezer.  The guitar-tones on songs like “Fake I.D.” or “Over Before It Began” bare a strong resemblance to The Blue Album.  The band are good at writing the type of riff-heavy power-pop with equally impressive lyrics.  The trudging pace of tracks like “Last You Heard of Me” makes it sound like it would fit right in on Pinkerton.  Songs like “Make Me Dumb” and “Fake I.D.” are much more in tune with arena-rock and pop-rock than melodic-hardcore.  Still, Joyce Manor retain some of the best elements about their sound.

Songs like “Reversing Machine” and “Do You Really Want to Not Get Better?” are short, to-the-point tracks that can’t overstay their welcome.  “Reversing Machine” has Barry Johnson yelping like he’s on the verge of a drunken breakdown.  “Get Better?” is quite different.  It’s a reserved acoustic track with lyrics that are written and sound like an empathetic conversation with a friend.  “Angel in the Snow” tracks some of the mundanity of young-adult life like previous Joyce Manor albums.  The well-paced track ends with the lines:

Paid seven dollars

For a plastic cup of vodka

Doesn’t make a difference

Doesn’t make it wrong or right

You gotta stay this way forever

‘Til it makes you want to die

You needed something out of nothing

While pop-punk tends to focus on not growing up, Joyce Manor focuses on the difficulty that inevitably comes when you do grow up.  “Stairs,” the album’s longest song, details looking for parental qualities in a significant other.  Where it initially sounds like a sweet sentiment, it eventually sounds sadly pathetic how incompetent and dependent Johnson is.  It’s important to remember that a lyric like “there’s so much good inside you” is preceded by the line “You are like a magnet for evil.”  Johnson’s sense of paralysis is what makes this track though.  It adds a sad twist on the catchy number.  It also makes the final song titled “This Song Is A Mess, But So Am I” much less of a surprise.

The album’s biggest weakness is its lack of hardcore influence and how polished the vocals and production sound.  The closest Joyce Manor get to preserving their old sound is on “Make Me Dumb” and “Eighteen,” but it doesn’t last.  Even “Make Me Dumb” seems to be more of a comment on success than it is on drunken college parties.  The band has more in common here with blink-182 than Into It. Over It.  But I guess, that’s growing up, right?

It’s not a bad album, by any stretch of the imagination.  Barry Johnson and company are just getting older.  We just have more bangers than ragers.

G.L.O.S.S. turn down $50,000 Epitaph Deal

G.L.O.S.S. are one of the biggest unsigned bands in alternative music.  After being offered a deal from Epitaph, the band released this statement:

For those who have been asking: G.L.O.S.S. will not be signing to Epitaph Records. It’s hard to say no to a $20,000 advance and $30,000 to market our album–“marketing” could include buying ourselves a new van, for example–but as Epitaph is distributed by Warner Music Group, we can’t ethically partner with them.

I would be lying if I said that this isn’t tempting or that it’s not deeply validating to be pursued by the label that put out the bands that got me through high school–Rancid, The Distillers, Osker, etc. I spent those years with a frown on my face and headphones on my ears, walking the halls and holding on to that music for dear life. But we want G.L.O.S.S. to be a threat to entrenched models– at the very least to be exciting.

We floated the idea of cutting a radical organization into the profit-sharing model if we were to sign with Epitaph. How cool would it be to make thousands of dollars for the homeless shelter here in Oly, for AMP in San Jose, Black Lives Matter groups, disabled queers? But if we can do the work of self-releasing an album, we will not only refuse to enrich corporate music but also in the long run make more money.

G.L.O.S.S. started casually in a basement and has grown to a level of popularity that feels overwhelming at times. Having our house in constant disarray with thousands of records strewn about is chaotic and becoming untenable. If we can come up with the startup money to rent a space and hire a couple friends, we can use Total Negativity (our guitarist’s label) to support our scene without having to turn to an outside entity.

When we get around to recording a full-length we’ll probably be doing a first press of 20,000 copies. That’s not a bedroom operation anymore. While signing to a label like Epitaph would be in many ways relieving, it would probably mean the death of the feeling that so many of you have told us means so much to you. We could never do that to all of you who have been so supportive and whose kind words have meant the world to us.

What I’m trying to say is that we don’t have to jump into their world, we can create a new one. Thank you for being a part of this feeling. It means so much to us !