About 20 minutes ago I was writing about Have Mercy amidst of state of emergency. Okay, so the internet being down isn’t a crisis to call 911 about, but it’s 2013 and it was bothering me that I couldn’t Google the guy I constantly confuse with Frank Ocean. It’s Kendrick Lamar by the way. After that quick search I showed some strong will to stay away from Tumblr once it was back in my life as I was dedicated to The Runaround’s Without All The Weight, a rock record that was just strong enough to keep me running back to the internet’s embrace.
There were times when I wanted to abandon Without All The Weight though. “I Bet You The World” had a rough start and it sat awkward for me because of it. After that came “I Wanna Know” and it sounded as if the instrumental, “A Lot To Say,” before just continued on and never took off. Other than those slip ups, the rest of the record had some treats in the messages they encased. We learned to face our fears in “Science Class” and to be ourselves when The Runaround taught us the importance of “Making Something Out Of Nothing.”
Here’s where we note the songs that kept me on track and didn’t let me escape to the black hole that is Facebook at almost 3am; “oh, people I may know…” cut to three hours later. Anyways, their first single “Annie Can’t Wear Heels To Prom” came in third in my book. It was good, but not as catchy as the next two. “…I’m Not Really Willie Nelson” came in a close second but it couldn’t edge out “Without All The Weight.” That song was the one I thought did the best job at showing off not only what The Runaround was capable vocally, but instrumentally as well.
I can’t lie and say that as soon as the last period is typed that I won’t head to check the same cycle of sites I always do, I like you too much. I also like those few songs and then some on The Runaround’s Without All The Weight. If you find yourself listening to The Dangerous Summer and The American Scene, then find your way to Without All The Weight, out now.
Every other month the internet acts up and causes me to take the little box off life support for a while. This time I took it as a sign to be productive. After a three day weekend and a case of hot as balls weather, I found myself discouraged from doing anything other than eating pop tarts. At first I failed to take the bait and finally listen to Have Mercy’s The Earth Pushed Back (I’ve had it planned for some time now), but instead I colored in the tattoos on my leg. After Dale of Chip N’ Dale was painted up nice, I found myself deep into The Earth Pushed Back.
Just a few days ago this album was spinning while I was on the subway, but I was distracted by the man with one too many pieces of metal in his face. So now, as I sit with no internet access…Have Mercy has my undivided attention and I’m better for it. From the post break-ups of “Cigarettes and Old Perfume” to the escape route of “Ancient West,” I found myself adding them and their record to my “favs of the year list” by the time the record wrapped up. Lyrically things were straight forward with human emotions and experiences, no whimsy here. Musically Have Mercy reminded me of The Tower and The Fool minus the folk element, unless you get to “Living Dead.” The feminine touch in that one makes you think it was more an indie record. If you’re one of those people who need a cheat sheet, then check out “Hell” and the small talk starter, “Let’s Talk About Your Hair.”
It always feels like I’m keeping a journal on the Oregon Trail when I’m cut off from the internet. Minute 48 and still no sign of WiFi. Things are getting rough, but at least this down time gave me some much needed music time. Have Mercy falls somewhere between the sadness brought by The Tower and The Fool and the rage of Pentimento. If you happen to fancy those bands, don’t be like me and wait for your connection to go down and make some time for The Earth Pushed Back, out now on Topshelf Records.
Over the years we’ve talked to a lot of artists who’ve headed west to pursue their musical dreams and here’s another, Jensen Reed. From the start Jensen was hooked on music thanks to his oldies sessions in the car with his mom and no pressure from his Big 10 college football coach dad. Genetics are to thank for Jensen’s short-lived stint in football anyways. One bad game in 9th grade left the little man with a busted. No worries though, he had music to fall back on. But it wasn’t until a fateful day in high school when music went from something he loved to something he wanted to do. A friend needed a partner for the talent show where he was doing Beastie Boys, and well, the rest is history.
Six years ago Jensen headed out to LA and unlike some who’d go to any lengths to get noticed, this North Carolina native stayed humble, saying, “I let my music and performance speak for me.” With a new album out that’s for fans of everything from Gym Class Heroes to Lupe Fiasco, he’s staying local and has no tour plans as of now, but he’s looking forward to getting out on the road. So since Jensen’s not heading out in the near future, the following will have to suffice your Jensen needs. Keep reading on to find out why Jensen chose LA over NYC, a lot about TV and much more.
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