Release Date: Aug 26, 2014
Record label: Barsuk
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Experimental Rock
Where the prose poem has potential for lateral referentiality and expansive density, the oft-lineated lyric has the gift of self-constellating, downward-moving poetic waves. Neither is more intrinsically worthy of praise, but the urge to love or to know both forms, including their numberless variations, is necessary to understand either (despite this being a false dichotomy, of course). In poetry, the personal is a funny, mutable thing, and Cymbals Eat Guitars’ music — despite attempts to classify it as 90s indie rock revival — is the work of a very serious and very talented musician/poet.
On rare, magical occasion, a rock song can offer pure catharsis—capturing the raw essence of an emotion you’re too scared to confront without the comfort of a riff. And I’ll never forget the first time I heard “Chambers,” a glistening sing-along from Cymbals Eat Guitars’ third LP. Over palm-muted new-wave guitars and pixie-dust keyboards, frontman Joe D’Agostino ponders the “slow education” of grief—mourning his ill, 16-year-old black lab while she’s still alive.
Loss may permeate any aspect of life; it can be a person, place, object, time, and, often, profound, life-changing losses involve all of these at once. The simple back story to Cymbals Eat Guitars’ third album, LOSE, is Joseph D’Agostino’s confrontation with the death of his best friend and musical collaborator, Benjamin High, seven years ago. The burn of this loss has smouldered as mere embers beneath the band’s previous two albums, an undercurrent more than the main propulsion, and it would seem rather belated, then, to have High’s death fume to the fore after this long and a pair of albums.
“New Jersey ain’t the whole world.” These are clearly the words of someone who never called it "home". It may not be the whole world, but for many of its artists, it’s a universe, one where you can spend an entire career creating rewarding art. Real Estate, Titus Andronicus, and Lifetime are all considered quintessentially “suburban,” and they are nothing alike—and the same goes for Garden State and the movies of Todd Solondz.
The third album by New York indie rockers Cymbals Eat Guitars has a very a propos title. Lose is about losing the things closest to you, even your friends. Frontman Joseph D’Agostino wrote the album in response to the death of his best friend and musical collaborator Benjamin High seven years ago, at the start of Cymbal Eat Guitars’ recording career.
New York quartet Cymbals Eat Guitars first appeared in early 2009 when they shared their debut album ‘Why There Are Mountains’ for free online. Fast-forward five years and the story is very different, but also very much alike, with the band releasing a long-awaited third album which sees them evolving even as they stay the same. ‘Lose’ is both a tribute to a late friend of frontman Joseph D’Agostino, containing its fair share of darkness, as well as Cymbals Eat Guitars’ most accessible and celebratory record to date.
Seven years ago, before the release of Cymbals Eat Guitars’ first album, Why There Are Mountains, frontman Joseph D’Agostino’s best friend, Ben High, died of a heart condition when he was just 19. D’Agostino kept the traumatic incident close to the chest, not explicitly referencing it in either the band’s debut or its follow-up, 2011’s Lenses Alien. Now, as he explained in a Pitchfork interview, “With this record I wanted to simplify and say something that was truthful to me — and I feel like, as an artist, I’m ready to do the subject matter justice.
Cymbals Eat Guitars’ third album sees lead singer Joseph D’Agostino work through the death of childhood friend Ben High. His sense of anger is immediate, with both ‘Warning’ and ‘XR’ providing early highlights. The frontman has said that he feels alienated from modern rock music and hopes that ‘Lose’ will prove essential. ‘Child Bride’ goes closest to reaching his lofty aim, showing a slower and more delicate side to the record, it heralds a more versatile and eclectic second half.
As Cymbals Eat Guitars further shape the band's sound, the quartet manages to strike a balance between radio-friendly material and experimental urges with LOSE, their third album. And for their first LP since 2011's Lenses Alien, it seems likely that the strength of the tracks carrying the greatest commercial potential will drive this band's fortunes over the coming year. .
Staten Island indie quartet Cymbals Eat Guitars first made waves with their 2009 self-released debut, Why There Are Mountains. The band's sound drew comparisons to some of the champions of '90s indie rock, with lead singer Joseph D'Agostino's yelpy delivery and dizzying take on guitar pop instantly reminding gleeful fans of the heights bands like Modest Mouse and Built to Spill reached in their glory days. The slightly more experimental 2011 follow-up Lenses Alien opened some doors for Lose, the band's third album and another painstakingly constructed patchwork of colorful indie influences.
This arty New York band's previous album, 2011's Lenses Alien, was delirious indie-rock bedlam. The four-piece crew's follow-up, reportedly written in response to the death of a friend, is just as anarchic. Handspringing between the rowdy folk-punk antics of "XR" and the sweetly sordid "Child Bride," it's a riveting elegy. Producer John Agnello (who has worked with acts including Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr.) gives the album a stadiumcaliber sound, which frontman Joseph D'Agostino offsets with his sharp-edged falsetto, hacking violently against the orchestral current.
opinion byBRENDAN FRANK The greatest strength of LOSE, the third full-length effort from indie vintage act Cymbals Eat Guitars, is its sense of perspective. For the first time, singer/songwriter/everything-doer Joseph D’Agostino is drawing from his own life, and much of what he has to say have notes of tragedy, some quite overt. The album itself was mainly inspired by events from his teenhood, including the death of his good friend and bandmate Benjamin High.
“Sorry. You don’t know these people, so what could this mean to you?” LOSE is such a fucking in-joke. It doesn’t even know it. It opens with one of indie rock’s most soaring moments in years, as if flicking through a page of Funeral ten years out, with keys that sparkle and guitars that screech—and then it turns its head, from a hundred thousand people to one: “You’re taking two Klonopin.” And then: “We’re riding through Jackson pines.” And again: “We’re right back in Manalapan.” Verses are road maps; choruses are destinations; bridges are the ones frontman Joseph D’Agostino has driven over, a hundred times, with that best friend he never sees anymore.
Staten Island quartet Cymbals Eat Guitars were first recognized for their ability to melt down all the formulas from established indie rock giants like Built To Spill and Pavement, and repurpose the product through their own ambitious and cacophonous lens. Why There Are Mountains (Memphis Industries, 2009) and Lenses Alien (Memphis Industries, 2011) provided guitar-heavy concoctions that made their way onto college radio charts and ’90s revivalist playlists alike. Through all the noise, part of what made these albums interesting listening experiences was the performance of lead singer/guitarist Joseph D’Agostino, whose encyclopedia-bending lyrics added some brains (and a bit of head scratching) to the mix.