REVIEW: Esta Coda – “Kindness”

esta coda epThose familiar with A Social State and A Fire with Friends, two of the bands sharing members with Scranton’s Esta Coda, will find a lot of love on this group’s debut EP, “Kindness.” Delivering five tracks of gripping, uplifting alt-rock, “Kindness” forgoes the artiness of A Fire with Friends and the aggressiveness of A Social State in favor of polished pop-hooks and a solid-but-lightweight sound that soars, and invites you to come along for the flight.

The opening title track establishes the status quo without a moment’s hesitation. Melody-driven songcraft animates crisp ‘n’ clean, airy vocals, guitars that charm as well as chug, and authoritative, driving drumbeats. It’s a little bit Jimmy Eat World, a little bit Coldplay.

From the straight-ahead indie-emo of “Skeptic” to the atmospheric push-and-pull of “Henny Penny” to the deceptively sunny acoustic-and-keys combo of “All You Got” to the anthemic dynamism of album-closer “Fireworks” (appropriately band member Dan Rosler’s favorite track, as it’s certainly a standout), there’s not a single track on “Kindness” that isn’t ready for radio play, or for getting an entire arena crowd swaying ‘n’ singing along.

Interestingly, the bright, refreshing sound is almost in direct contrast with the darker shade of the lyrics here. A few selections:

From the title track, …

“This unity is bullshit / It only applies when you’re the one who benefits / I’m at war with my decisions / And worsening.”

From “Skeptic,” …

“I’m tired of feeding your addiction / This one’s mine / And I picture you standing in the kitchen / Blade to skin.”

From “All You Got,” …

“She’s running too fast / In the right place at the wrong time / I’m afraid this won’t last / I know we both have made an effort once or twice / If I could speak from my mind / I would be telling her why but scared to hear her reply.”

Far from being just a juxtaposition of gloomy thoughts with glittery packaging, though, the at-first apparent contradiction between theme and style in Esta Coda’s music ultimately reveals itself a mature, multidimensional treatment of the subject matters. It treats these ideas in a non-idealized (whether that be the optimist or pessimist ideal) fashion, as real-world emotional concerns with strongly felt emotional effects.

Though the lyrical narratives never truly resolve themselves, they don’t simply stew in the shadows either. Instead, by song’s end, they showcase a noticeable tonal shift that indicates the negativities of life and love are unavoidable realities, but that our narrator nevertheless, for better or worse, doesn’t stop trying, doesn’t stop hoping for something better.

“I read the prophets on the city wall / And hear more poets crammed inside our fire halls,” proclaim the final words of the album‘s title track, rich with imagery culled from Esta Coda’s local, NEPA roots. “So keep your ears on the radio / ‘Cause you never know.”

Choice cuts: “Henny Penny,” “All You Got,” “Fireworks”

INTERVIEW: Dan Rosler of Esta Coda

Hey, do you guys know Dan Rosler?

Don’t lie. Of course, you do.

If you’re from NEPA (and if you’re not, I pity you), then it’s damn likely you know him as vocalist/guitarist of A Fire with Friends (whose recent album, “Ghost House,” I reviewed a little while back). That’s not the only band you might know him from, though. Dan also plays guitar and sings for the relatively newer act Esta Coda, who earlier this week released their first EP, “Kindness.” Offering up five tracks of bright, polished, super-catchy alt-rock, the album is a promising debut and another awesome addition to the local music scene.

Below, Dan answers some of my questions about the origins of Esta Coda, the material on “Kindness” and, oh yeah, he even switches sides and plays interviewer so I can play interviewee. Good times.

photo by Amanda Dittmar

photo by Amanda Dittmar

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INTERVIEW: Eric Schlittler of Kid Icarus

There’s nothing quite like digging out the ol’ Nintendo Entertainment System and a blowing the dust out of an aging game cartridge, popping that sucker in and just letting the pure, simple joy of nostalgia regress your psyche to a time less encumbered by social responsibilities and the bittersweet wisdom that comes with age.

That’s much the same feeling I get when listening to “Dig Archaeology: Thirteen Years of Lost Songs 1999-2012,” the new retrospective anthology collection from Kid Icarus (out now on cassette from Hope for the Tape Deck, or as a digital download online here). Offering up thirteen outtakes, demos and rarities culled from all over the Dunmore-based band’s nearly two decade-long career, including intriguing early versions of songs that made it onto the band’s other releases like “The Metal West” and “American Ghosts” and, even better, completely unreleased songs that have never before seen the magnetic magic of cassette tape (nor the digital sorcery of online mp3s).

570 M.F. caught up with Kid Icarus founder and frontman Eric Schlittler was nice enough to find out how “Dig Archaeology” sheds new light on the band’s past, and also to ask him about his bathroom butt-wiping rituals. Because I felt like it.

photo by Nathaniel Kane

photo by Nathaniel Kane

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INTERVIEW: Oz Bloodcurse of Neldöreth

It’s February, folks, and you know what that means: Black Metal History Month!

Today, we’ll be taking a look at the historic Norwegian “Black Circle” and ask the immortal question (get it? “Immortal”? Like the band… oh fuck it): Varg Vikernes, genre icon or irredeemable douche bag?

I’m sorry, what?

Oh. Shit.

I’m sorry, folks. Apparently, it’s not Black Metal History Month. It’s just Black History Month.

Well, this is awkward.

And, dammit, now I’m in the mood for black metal! Luckily, 2014 also marks the ten-year anniversary of NEPA’s own corpse paint-encrusted legion of blasphemers, Neldöreth (don’t forget the umlaut). Frontman Oz Bloodcurse was cool enough to sit down with 570 Mine Fire and reminisce on the band’s decade-long legacy of auditory and ideological diabolism.

1482837_666092340088415_1765715686_n Continue reading