Alter The Press!


Albums That Changed My Life: Mariel Loveland (Candy Hearts)

This week's "Albums That Changed My Life" contributor is none other than Mariel Loveland of the New Jersey pop/rock outfit, Candy Hearts.

The band released their sophomore album, 'Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy' earlier this year and have already started demoing new material, which we can expect to hear at some point in 2012.

Alanis Morissette - Jagged Little Pill
I would be lying if I said "Jagged Little Pill" was something I listened to frequently. I like this record, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not the kind of record where I memorized each subtlety down to where the CD would skip from too many plays. It’s the kind of record I heard in passing, like overhearing a mumbled secret I was never supposed to hear in the first place. "Jagged Little Pill" wasn’t mine; it wasn’t my secret; it didn’t belong to me. The reason a record could hold such a deep meaning, when I can’t even really recall a majority of the melodies, is because of one song: “Hand in My Pocket.” I first heard this song through the crackling tape player in my mother’s car. Of course, I was way too young to understand what any of the songs meant; all I could do was grasp certain words I knew I wasn’t supposed to hear—but for some reason, my mother hummed along to those words like they never happened. As someone who was never exposed to formidable lyrics (I wasn’t allowed to watch MTV, and I even had the censored version of "Take off Your Pants and Jacket" later in life) it felt dangerous. I remember sitting in the back seat of the car holding my breath every time it came across that one curse word that hung onto the end of the phrase like it was dangling from a threadbare rope. For me, that was the first time I felt like music could be dangerous and that one woman could make it happen.

The Weakerthans - Left and Leaving

There’s no real story behind why I will always regard The Weakerthans as the best band that ever existed, though I did learn how to play the title track in an attempt to impress someone who liked way cooler things than I did (it didn’t work). As a writer, both of music and the kind of writing that pays my bills, I focus intensely on lyrics. To me, John K. Samson set up this new standard of lyric writing that was so different from what people generally consider the great story tellers (Bob Dylan, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, the list goes on). His lyrics are bathed in subtleties, like the character’s small movements or thoughts, that mean so much more than just explaining what actually happened, and almost all of his words dance around a brand of uncertainty and nostalgia that I believe everyone possesses. When I put on "Left and Leaving", it’s all-consuming and hits me in the core. It’s grown with me and the stories have changed meaning a thousand times throughout my adolescence and young adulthood, like how parts of memories can fade to make room for things you thought you had forgotten. This band is the single most important influence on my writing, but I should also mention that I think Samson’s voice is adorable and maybe that’s why it’s easy to relate to his music.

Jawbreaker - Dear You

I first received this record from a good friend in high school as a spontaneous gift that I really didn’t deserve. I spent that entire year pandering around unreciprocated feelings, like pulling away each time he tried to hold my hand but kissing him goodbye when he dropped me off at my house. I was confusing, indecisive and did things just because I felt like it and for no other reason—the very things I’ve come to abhor about the opposite sex, though that’s a vast generalization and I’m pretty much still that same way. Like most of the things he gave me—the small sips of alcohol underneath the deck in his backyard and my first cigarette—I consumed, disregarded and never said thank you. The record ended up unopened in a dresser drawer, waiting. It wasn’t until years later when I was haphazardly tearing through my belongings to pack for college that I threw the unopened CD in with the rest of the CDs that never made it to my MP3 player. When I finally listened to "Dear You", it opened up a whole new world of music which is what I primarily listen to six years later. I loved the songs for the very fact that they were contradictory; they were slow and sad but not soft like a small tinge of sadness that rests in the back of your chest. They were loud, and for some reason, that overwhelming wave of dissonant guitars and distortion sounded exactly the way I felt and for a moment, I could breathe easy.

The Lemonheads - It's A Shame About Ray

I first heard The Lemonheads at a party in a run down college apartment. It was one of those apartments that was stuck somewhere between teenaged and grown up with empty beer cans piled on the windowsills like they were hanging in a trophy case. Christmas lights were strung around the edges of the walls – a replacement for crown molding that would never exist in a place so shoddy -- and the only thing of any value in the living room was a record player propped up on a broken nightstand. That particular night, the record player was playing The Lemonheads, and with the too loud conversations of a group of students whose main purpose on the weekend was to get drunk, I didn’t really pay attention. That’s what The Lemonheads were to me – drunk music. Music for the ride home when I was more concerned with blabbing endlessly about the meaning behind everything, knowing when I woke up the next morning I wouldn’t really remember any of my life altering revelations -- the same truths that I continued to forget and rediscover for the next four years. I don’t know what it was that clicked for me, whether it was one of those epiphanies that I can’t recall, but when it hit, it hit hard. After numerous car rides home sitting in the passenger’s seat letting "It’s A Shame About Ray" quietly drone in the iPod tape adapter, it got to me. All of it got to me -- the guitars that sounded like the sparkly, dreaminess of falling head over heels, the lyrics that made me really feel like I’d lost something important, and Evan Dando’s low, empty voice that made me feel like I was talking to my best friend at 3 a.m., away from the party, outside smoking a cigarette and saying something really meaningful.

Alter The Press!