Taking Back Sunday
815 V St. NW
Washington, DC, 20001
Taking Back Sunday
Taking Back Sunday is a band that truly needs no introduction. Since forming in Long Island in 1999, they have sold millions of albums, evolved from a young punk act into seasoned songwriters and continued to forge a successful career. That spirit of resilience and innovation is dripping all over the band's sixth full-length Happiness Is (which is also their first release for Hopeless Records). As you can guess from the title, the album addresses some heady concepts, but it simultaneously showcases a new musical and conceptual leap for this collection of musicians with varied influences that's certain to endear them to fans both new and old.
The group's second album since reviving the classic lineup of vocalist Adam Lazzara, guitarist/vocalist John Nolan, guitarist Eddie Reyes, bassist Shaun Cooper and drummer Mark O'Connell was written over a two year period with no involvement from a record label for the first time since their legendary 2002 debut Tell All Your Friends. "The last record [2011's Taking Back Sunday] was us feeling each other out and learning how to work together again and on this one everybody was a little more comfortable and free to express themselves," Lazzara explains. “At this point in the game we all know each other's strengths and weaknesses so well that it has made writing music together a bit easier,” O’Connell confirms. “Don't get me wrong, there are still arguments but we are older and wiser and with that comes less fighting.”
Co-produced by longtime collaborators Mike Sapone in Long Island and Marc Jacob Hudson in Michigan, and mixed by Claudius Mittendorfer, the album sees the band expanding their musical palette and stretching out sonically in ways they've never done before by utilizing each producer's strengths. "Recording with Marc was great because we've been working together for a decade on the road so we are so relaxed around him," Lazzara says, adding that the fact the studio was located in a remote wooded area in the Midwest helped free the band from external distractions during the recording process. "When it comes to Mike that's like our second home and it helped make those sessions feel so familiar since we actually recorded our very first demos there."
"We had a month off between the two recording sessions which I think was really important because we'd never had that before and it helped us take a step back and reassess things once we were halfway through," Nolan explains. In that spirit the soaring choruses and tender verses of the opening salvo "Flicker, Fade" is a perfect illustration of how that fresh perspective helped these songs achieve their full potential. "I'm very proud of that song in particular because in some ways it’s exactly what you would expect from Taking Back Sunday but it also manages to incorporate all of these completely new elements in it such as the orchestral flourishes," Nolan explains. "I'm also extremely proud of the last song 'Nothing At All' because we've had acoustic songs before but we've never had anything acoustic that builds into such a gigantic climax and I think fans are going to be pleasantly surprised with that."
"I tried to be a little more loose; I was more focused on being myself than trying to sound perfect or anything," Lazzara responds when asked how he approached Happiness Is. "We also played around a lot with arranging the harmonies and playing with layers and I think that makes these songs a lot more rich." Correspondingly "Stood A Chance" alternates between melodic moments and moody breakdowns in a way that's so seamless that you'll hardly notice it’s happening until it’s all over while “Better Homes And Gardens” is catharsis set to a driving drumbeat. The band also clearly weren't afraid to let these songs truly take on their own spirit as evidenced by the ambient ballad "It Takes More," which started out as an upbeat rocker before organically becoming into the atmospheric masterpiece that it evolved into.
Fans of Taking Back Sunday will also rejoice at the fact that Happiness Is sees the band’s enigmatic frontman at his most personal. "Through the years I've tried to stay pretty cryptic because often times it’s easier not to have to explain yourself but on this record I was very direct in the sense I tried to use the simplest way to get an idea across," Lazzara explains. "In the past I don't think I ever would have let a song like 'Like You Do' go on an album because it’s so heartfelt in a simple way and I also think it's actually one of the first love songs we've ever written." The band also agree that performing in the Middle East at places like Kuwait were the inspiration for "We Were Younger Then"—and lines like, “I remember when comfort was not an option” illustrate how far these five guys have come along from playing basements in Long Island in the late nineties.
Ultimately this search for meaning and pursuit of progress lies at the core of why the band have managed to retain a fervent fanbase over the years and survive numerous passing trends. But it’s also important to note that none of the band members take any part of this experience for granted. "In the past when we were on a major label there would be A&R people giving us suggestions but with this album it was just us pushing ourselves," Lazzara summarizes, sounding even more hopeful than he did over a decade ago. "There is no question to me that Happiness Is is the best unfiltered representation of what happens when the five of us get in a room together and that makes me really happy. Nolan confirms this sentiment by adding, "this album really is a testament to each of the members talents because it's just us."
In other words, prepare yourself because it's time to fall in love with Taking Back Sunday all over again.
The Maine is an American rock band from Tempe, Arizona formed in January of 2007. Their first
full length, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop was released July 8th, 2008 to critical acclaim. Reaching
number 4 on the Billboard Top Rock Albums, The Maine quickly became a household name.
Their sophomore album, Black and White, saw the beginning of the band’s departure from the
steadfast pop heard on their first release, and showcased a more cohesive rock sound. Their
major label debut peaked at number 16 on the Billboard Top 200 which led to their first headlining
tour in 2010. Following a world tour in 2011, The Maine announced the release of their third
album, Pioneer, which was released independently and selffunded after their decision to part
ways with Warner Bros. Records. With Pioneer debuting at number 11 on the Billboard Top
Alternative chart, The Maine solidified their position as an indie rock band to be reckoned with.
The Maine’s success has lead to tours with the likes of Taking Back Sunday, New Found Glory,
Good Charlotte and a coheadline tour with Augustana, as well as extensive dates on the Vans
On June 4th of this year, The Maine is set to release their fourth fulllength album, Forever
Halloween. The record will be released independently in the US in partnership with their
management team, Eighty One Twenty Three, and will be released via Rude Records in Europe,
UK, Southeast Asia, Australia and Japan. The album, produced by Brendan Benson of The
Raconteurs, will be the band’s second consecutive selffunded release following their major label
The album was recorded live through analog tape without the use of computer editing techniques
which have become the standard in modern recordings. This gave the album an energy that
cannot be captured any other way than 5 people performing in a room together. "The tape
machine was like having an older, wiser, intimidatingly glowing woman in the room” says
frontman John O’Callaghan on the experience. “We were all meeting her for the first time, but
she already knew everything there was to know about the five of us. In no single way judgmental,
but she sniffed out the bullshit and wouldn't allow us to be anyone we are not. We are now better
men for meeting that woman."
In support of their new album, the band will embark on a US tour from June to July. The Maine
will take the stage headlining the first ever “The 8123 Tour”. Look for Forever Halloween June 4th
and check out www.wearethemaine.net for more information.
The Maine is John O'Callaghan, Garrett Nickelsen, Pat Kirch, Kennedy Brock, and Jared
Fri, December 26
Sat, December 27
Sun, December 28
Tue, December 30
Wed, December 31
Fri, January 2
Sat, January 3
Thu, January 8
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Sat, January 10