11 Jan Music Recommendation: Keep You
It’s truly amazing to see the way that music moves like the ocean; sometimes chaotic and often unpredictable. Every so often the tide in music will shift and everyone seems to catch the same wave. Okay, all nautical references aside, I feel there is a particular sound in the past year or so that a large number of bands are cascading toward. It seems in light of events like the American Football reunion, the “hashtag” emo revival essentially putting the genre back on the map, and the buzz of a long awaited Brand New record on the horizon, we may have a new “it” sound.
2014 brought a tidal wave of slow, dark, melodic emo acts; and fortunately for us as listeners, there are more bands doing well than there are doing it poorly. With stellar records from up-and-comers like Grandview, to more proven bands like Tigers Jaw, the scene feels like it’s flourishing under this new regime. In the past couple years we’ve honestly been privileged with great releases from Balance, Into It. Over It., TWIABP, and too many too name; and rather than feeling stale, listeners are hungry for more. That’s why my number one recommendation for 2014 the new record Keep You by Pianos Become the Teeth.
There is something to be said for this particular album standing out the way it does. I don’t want to say Pianos have a lot of competition because that’s not the right word for it, but there are other records you can go to for a similar experience. You may get a similar experience from another record, sure, but in my opinion, Keep You stands above the rest.
I probably should have mentioned this earlier, but by no means am I the first person to take to the Internet to recommend Keep You. The Internet is seemingly swooning over this critical dandy and for good reason. Just like there is love in hate, there is beauty in sadness, and Pianos created a record that is both magnificent, and mournfully depressing. A lot of somber music and songs are written in the moment. It’s that initial, sharp sort of pain you feel from loss or heartbreak. Keep You on the other hand, is grueling. It is a sustained sorrow that takes its toll. It wears you down and pulls you under, and there is truly no other record like it.
Pianos are a curious band for me. I had heard of them a few years back (probably when they released The Lack Long After) and decided to check them out. To be honest, I had never really been into the “shouty” brand of singing and Pianos earlier material definitely toed that line between post-Hardcore and screamo. I wasn’t a fan right away, but they never dropped off my radar. I definitely thought they were talented and I had saw some things I really liked about the band that stuck with me. The songs they built were structurally solid, the lyrics I read were strong, and being a drummer myself, David Haik stood out as a relentless force behind the kit. I threw them a follow on Spotify and just kept an open eye. I got pretty excited when I stumbled upon “Hiding” off of their split with Touché Amore, and when I saw the reception of Keep You online I had to give it a listen.
I was blown away on the initial listen, and with every subsequent spin, I unraveled a new layer and became obsessed with the record. It’s such a drastic, yet somehow natural progression for the band. Pianos Become the Teeth are maturing. Keep You transcends genres like emo and post rock with its somber tones and spacious guitars. Chad McDonald and Mike York provide the texture for Kyle Durfey to lay his poetically aching words over. The lyrics are packed with stunning imagery and each song reads like poetry. Haik and bassist Zac Sewell keep the rhythm in check, and Haik shines in particular. Even having dialed it back, David Haik shows he’s one of the top drummers in the scene. He is a constant on every song. His tomb work is spectacular and I don’t know if I’ve heard anyone get more out of less.
I’d love to highlight a track or two off of Pianos Become the Teeth’s Keep You, but I would be doing the record an injustice. Every time I’ve listened to Keep You the experience commenced with track 1 (“Ripple Water Shine”), and concluded with track 10 (“Say Nothing”); the final song. I will say that Keep You will be the score of my ensuing winter and I recommend you make the same for yourself.