As I get older I find myself looking back more than looking forward when it comes to music. At first I felt guilty because every single one of us remember the music we grew up with far more fondly than what it actually is. Just when we think our favorite records as teens still hold up, an actual teen comes around making fun of how back-dated it is. However I took a little bit of a closer look as to why I was looking back, and surprisingly, nostalgia has little to do with it. It’s because I grew up in the golden age of alternative rock! A time when the grunge trend had faded into obscurity and the rap-rock atrocities hadn’t soaked what was left of mainstream radio just yet.
My early teens were a sweet spot where rock n roll had very little limitations. Long hair, short hair, slacks, jeans, make-up, tattoos, acoustics, electrics, you name it and there was an authentic (and sometimes theatrical) band to find your style and mood. True, it was a brief time and the subsequent years that followed were dark times, but those few years from 1995 through 1998 were nothing short of magical. Fast forward to 2016 and that anything goes style of rock music has gradually made some sort of a comeback, well on the indie circuit anyway. Enter Brooklyn’s power-pop band PAST LIFE.
After making a name for themselves almost instantaneously with their with debut EP (cleverly titled EP I ) Past Life have returned with a brand new, vinyl only single Nothing Left on the always reputable Greenway Records. “Nothing Left” kicks off side A with a power pop anthem, that makes me think what would happen if Mathew Sweet and Teenage Fanclub joined forces in 1995 and recorded a song written by The Rentals. It has the snotty cynical lyrics you’d expect from any decent brooding garage band, but delivered in an endearing, almost harmless way most bands can’t seem to perfect these days.
Side B’s “I’ll Be Around” continues the salty swagger of 90s alternative but on this go around, hints at a more polished rock sound reminiscent of Superdrag meets Fountains Of Wayne. I know it sounds pretentious to name drop all of these 90s alternative rock staples, but again, this isn’t about nostalgia but a longing for a time when bands weren’t bound by genre. Of course every era has music that remains timeless regardless of trends or popularity, but Past Life have managed to cram everything I loved about those few short years of my early teens into less than seven minutes of music. It’s not a melancholy trip down memory lane, but a jumpstart for my ears to seek out music that’s actually good on it’s own, and not just good when compared to trash.
Nothing Left is available exclusively at Greenway Records, in two extremely limited color variants. One a glossy clear with red label, and the other, a red, white and blue splatter, with a special alternate cover by great Dan Curran Print Shop. With such a limited run, I’m sure this 7″ will sell out quickly and become a collector’s item in no time.
Next time you feel like a grumpy old dinosaur, stuck in your nostalgic zone of listening to music from when you were a kid, don’t look at it as a bad thing. When you were kid you held good music at face value and weren’t disappointed by jaded preconceptions. Past Life does NOT sound like dated 90s rock, they sound like good music: plain and simple.
For more information on Past Life, visit their Facebook page.
To purchase Nothing Left, head over to Greenway Records