About three months ago, I bought a self-titled album by a band I had never heard of. Amazon suggested Bad Books to me based on other music purchases I’ve made, and Amazon hasn’t steered me wrong yet, so I went for it. (The band’s name was cool enough for me to justify a purchase anyway.) Then, I let the album sit unplayed in my iTunes for two weeks. (I know, that’s a terrible thing to let happen – especially by me, a girl who makes a living discovering new music and writing about it, etc., etc. I’m aware.) Eventually I got around to listening, and now I can’t stop.
Manchester Orchestra’s Andy Hull wrote this set of songs with Kevin Devine and with the help of Hull’s bandmates, released it under the name Bad Books.
There are elements of Elliott Smith, Death Cab for Cutie, Nirvana, Manchester Orchestra (obvi), and something else that might be The Weakerthans, or perhaps The Get Up Kids. A friend described their music as a folk band trying their hand at alternative grunge, but Bad Books is more than just music. Well-played music (usually) isn’t enough to satisfy me; I need well-phrased lyrics too. Lines that echo in my mind long after the song is over are “She once belonged to us now belongs to the dark,” from the song “Baby Shoes,” and “Just remember I loved you as long as I could, from “You’re a Mirror I Cannot Avoid.”
I also recommend listening to “How This All Ends” and “Please Move,” which can be found on their MySpace, but really, why just listen when you can buy their debut album on Amazon for just $5 this month. It’s well worth that bit of change; I promise you that.
Following is the video of their first single, “You Wouldn’t Have to Ask,” which also happens to be one of my favorites from the album. If I hadn’t already fell in love with them before I watched it, this video would have pushed me over the edge.