“Cope, to me, means getting by. It means letting go, and being ok with being ok,” Manchester Orchestra’s singer and main songwriter, Andy Hull, explains in a press release regarding their poignantly titled upcoming fourth full length. This is a band that I’ve followed closely for a long time, going all the way back to their debut album, “I’m like a Virgin Losing a Child,” and I’ve been able to watch them progress as a band and as individuals. As many of us do, we adapt, handle life changes, get married, have kids and move on. Life is always pushing us forward, and we have to find ways to, you know, cope.
Hull is a very honest songwriter and always has been. He lets his audience peer inside his head to see what torments him, what scares him, what brings him peace and what gives him the energy to continue. Themes of loneliness, God and proximity to religion, the past, relationships and family have always run throughout Manchester Orchestra albums. Since these are all things we can connect with, it has helped to make the band accessible and personal. This level of honesty is still very present on “Cope,” but Hull seems much less tormented and much more accepting of the life he lives. This album is a mark of growth and maturity for Manchester, while still maintaining the catchy rock we have been privy to on previous efforts. We were promised a heavier record musically, and the band delivered on that promise, offering 11 tracks brimming with layered guitar riffs and tight rhythms (harnessed by Pensacola’s own Andy Prince and Tim Very).
Toward the end of the album, on a song that I immediately fell in love with called ‘Indentions,’ Hull sings, “’It doesn’t matter to me,’ I tell myself repeatedly.” I think this is Hull’s means of finding peace, and I know that it’s something I’ve had to repeat to myself in a similar manner over and over. It’s an honest mechanism to help us cope. “Cope” is out now via Favorite Gentlemen Recordings/Sony Records.
If You Haven’t Heard: Tim Fite
Tim Fite is a diamond in the rough. He is an oasis in a sea of pedestrian sensibilities. He is quite possibly as eccentric as eccentric gets, and not simply for the sake of being eccentric. However, to be honest, Fite is also a bit of an acquired taste. He usually blends a very interesting mix of hip-hop, frenetic pop, country and sad-eyed folk, making a product that is always wholly inventive and keenly original. While all of his music is not for everyone, I firmly believe that every music lover can fit somewhere into Fite’s extensive catalog, somewhere between the aggressive lyrics of ‘For-Closure’ and the somber melody of ‘Getting By’.
In 2012, Fite completed his obligation to Anti-Records with the release of his third proper full length, “Ain’t Ain’t Ain’t,” which along with its predecessors, “Fair Ain’t Fair” and “Gone Ain’t Gone,” rounded out a trilogy of Ain’t albums that Fite began in 2005. Now Fite has taken to the Internet, specifically Kickstarter, to raise money for his next undertaking “iBeenHacked,” a conceptual project that will call into question our dependence on technology and digital living and how these affect our daily lives. This will play out in the form of a concept album and an art installation in Brooklyn. The installation is going up next month, while the album is in progress until summer. In the meantime, check out timfite.com and snag a free download of my personal favorite album “Change of Heart,” as well as several others under the radar records and plenty of other interesting swag from Fite.