Split - verb, split, splitting, noun, adjective
- to divide into distinct parts or portions
- a record made up of two or more artists’ material
The idea of the split came about during the days of vinyl as a way to release small amounts of material with the same amount of value as an EP or album. The idea was embraced in the fact that two artists could release music in the same package. Vinyl and cassettes suited the idea quite well in that both mediums had two playable sides giving the record a natural divide. The split lost it’s popularity when CDs became the standard of the industry taking away from it’s uniqueness and easy distinction of artists. The split lived on in obscurity till vinyl began making it’s comeback as a collectible medium rather than a standard format for music. With the return of vinyl brought back the beautiful idea of the split record.
From an industry stand point the split is brilliant. You can put two bands in single package, you can promote one thing and expose two bands. Production is split, distribution is spilt so you are only paying half the price of your standard EP. You can sell one thing and well I think you get it.
Since it’s return we have seen some beautiful pairings, Thursday/Envy, La Dispute/Touché Amore, Balance and Composure/Tigers Jaw, Handguns/Forever Came Calling, Man Overboard/Transit, and now Major League/Giants at Large.
Let’s get right into it then shall we?
Cities - Major League
Major League kicks the party off on this split, unless you get the vinyl which I’m hoping will be released soon….
Their first track entitled Baltimore is pretty much standard ML doing full a blown assault on your audible senses. It’s catchy foot on the gas pop-punk, like pure cocaine mixed in that banned Four Loko you’ve been saving for that special “I don’t want to remember tonight” occasion. It’s got guest pipes from the Handguns lyrical delivery system Taylor Eby dropping some knowledge on yah then putting out some serious gnar on the background vocals for Nick Trask. There’s even a nice breakdown to wrap it up and to get your Hatebreed on to.
The one thing you should take away from this song, Nick Trask drives with his eyes closed. No this is not a metaphor for going through life without really paying attention to where you are going, I actually believe he drives with his eyes closed. So if you come across their blood red van on the highways of America I recommend that you stay a few lanes and car lengths away.
All jokes aside let’s talk about the real gem of their half of the split their second track, Philadelphia is. Lyrically it’s the kind of song you play for your girlfriend to set her uterus on fire, musically this song is much, much more. This song gets every vein of musical nerd boner throbbing, its just so wonderfully intricate and beautiful. Remind me to blow Brian Joyce and Matt Chila next time I see them as their collective performance on this song is to be applauded. Quality chord progressions, leads that sneak in and out throughout the chorus. The riffs are mesmerizing and I get lost in the song, they weave across notes like a wide receiver on the gridiron. Never straying from the melody the guitars remain driving almost to the point that the song is over and you’ve barely heard the rest of it. That’s not a bad thing it just means that the song has an incredible musical value to it which I find hard to locate among their contemporaries. This song has dynamics and excellent production value, in that someone actually spent time developing a tone for the instruments and all that jazz, as you’ll come to find I’m sucker for that shit. Can we just talk about the last 50 seconds of this song for a second, okay? Word, let’s hop to it then.
This last section of the song shows something that even fewer bands can demonstrate in a song, the ability to write just music. I know that’s confusing but let me explain real quick. There are no vocals for the last 50 seconds of the track, it’s just the instrumentalists. Typically I see a lot of bands simply writing music to put vocals to, and there is nothing wrong with that as I am very into lyrical content but the fact remains that many songs are written for lyrics. Do you see what I am getting at? A lot of bands say, and don’t play. Major League is playing here and in a big way, practically stripping away the pop label and just throwing down, dirty punk style. The guitars kick into a beautiful crunch, the drums stay relatively straight ahead rock steady it’s not a break down, this band is fucking jamming and I don’t think enough people can write like this anymore. It’s almost grungy, and yet so perfect.
So aside from their half being the most loudly mixed thing I have ever heard, literally its a least 30% louder than any other track on my iPhone, this is quality coke, I mean music. Sticks to the status quo of the band but expands the boundaries to a still comfortable distance for themselves. Okay enough about Major League let’s talk about the real stars of this split, yeah I said it.
States - Giants at Large
Ladies and Gentleman and Ladies, I give you Giants at Large, the world’s biggest cock teases… 4:32? The fuck dudes? I have pisses longer than that. My Orgasms are longer. Why am I so pissed about this run time? Well simply for the fact that there’s a reason that both of their tracks start with “New”. This is not the same band that put out The best has yet to come, like a year ago or so. This band has grown a lot since then going from five members to four members, doing several tours and seeing much of the country. This half of the split has so much more “feel” than Major League’s.
There’s not much I can say about the music other than it’s fucking excellent. It’s well constructed verse, chorus structure. The songs are big and envelope you sonically and put you right in the middle of their collective minds. The first time I saw these dudes all I could think about was why aren’t they signed to Drive-thru and then I remembered that Drive Thru is dead as shit. With this split I think Drive-Thru should revive itself just to sign them that’s how good it is. New York is quick and dirty like sex with a frat guy which coincidently is the sort of subject matter of the song, the stupidity of college, non-tour life, and living a mundane life. It’s pretty beautiful to a guy stuck on the verge of hating nearly everything on this damn campus he’s stuck on.
The second song reminds me a lot of old Armor for Sleep and coincidently has the same emotional content of it. The thing is that GAL sounds at home in both fast pop-punk to emotional charged rock. I could be retarded but that’s just how I feel it on this song. It’s got a lot of really great things going on here and this is where Giants really show their growth. Strong melody and dynamic shifts in intensity, it’s a beautiful song. It’s such a strong statement of being on the edge of sanity with the world and soldiering on. The boys have really delivered on this release. Stand aside Major League, I think Giants at Large have made their mark and plan on expanding it.
Also release the full length you’ve got up your sleeves so I can finally deal with this music chub I’ve been toting around for the past two weeks.
If you have not picked up this record, do so immediately you will not be disappointed, or wait for the vinyl like me.
Jacob P. Overholt