Friday, May 29, 2009

Boys Life

Boys Life Live

When someone starts talking to you about "old school emo bands", there are a handful of bands that usually come to mind. Sunny Day Real Estate, Rites of Spring, Mineral, Embrace are just a few bands that might come up if they don't start babbling about the first Taking Back Sunday record. In a more perfect world, Boys Life would be mentioned too.

Forming in 1993 in Kansas City, Missouri, Boys Life basically helped invent a quiet/loud dynamic that would be emulated by bands throughout the decade, and well into the new millennium, but seem to have become largely forgotten. After putting out 5 7" releases on labels like Synergy and Secular Theme, the band hit the studio and recorded a full length for Crank! records, a legendary label that put out the first Cursive record, as well as material by Mineral, The Gloria Record, Bright Eyes/Neva Dinova, and Boys Life split-mates Virteous Humor, among others. The record is a promising one, and mostly lays the groundwork for the sound that would be explored on the Christie Front Drive split and the final LP.

By far, "Departures and Landfalls" is Boys Life greatest achievement. "Fire Engine Red" is not only one of the best opening tracks to any album I've ever heard, it's one of the best emo/post-hardcore songs I've heard anywhere, period. It flows into "All The Negatives" perfectly, before the album floats into a beautiful lull with spastic bursts of melody, finally erupting with two pop-length songs ("Calendar Year" and "Friends For That"), before finally melting away with "Painted Smiles".

Brandon Butler moved to D.C. shortly after the band broke up and released records with Canyon, a slowcore band akin to Red House Painters or Codeine (material from this band would be appreciated!). Members also played in the short lived The Farewell Bend, as well as the indie folk band Lullaby for the Working Class, which featured members of Bright Eyes, Mayday, and Cursive. Brandon Butler (lead vocals/guitar) has also released music under his own name; his website is located here.

Below I've compiled everything I have/could find by these guys. Feel free to add if you can.

Unofficial myspace here.

* * *

Giant's Chair Split (1993)

Boys Life/Vitreous Humor Split

Vitreous Humor Split (1994)


Boys Life (1995)


Christie Front Drive Split (1996)


Depatures and Landfalls (1996)

(Don't) Forget To Breathe

"Don't Forget To Breathe" Compilation (Crank!( featuring "Sight Unseen Live at KXLU" (1997)


Kip said...

Good call on "Fire Engine Red." That's easily my favorite Boys Life song - one college radio show back in the late 90's. Thanks for posting this stuff.

apoxonbothyourhouses said...

weren't these guys voted "biggest assholes" in the world by Heartattack back in '97 or something?

IIRC, they were pretty fucking assholey, which explains why i never got into their music.

Jason said...

Cool stuff, thanks!

Ramez Silyan said...

this rules.

check us out. thanks.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the releases,

looks like departures and landfalls is whats packedup up in the Boys instead of the self titled album :(

James Joyce said...

Thanks for posting all this stuff. My old band played many shows with them back in the day, and I never found them to be assholes at all. This makes me want to listen to the Canyon stuff again.

Leaman said...

"Fire Engine Red" is great. I first had the album taped off of a friend's CD with no tracklisting, and I thought for the longest time that "Fire Engine Red" and "All of the Negatives" were one song. That's how well they transition together. I got the album on vinyl some time around 1999 or so, and realized that it was more than one song.

"Sleeping Off Summer" has always been my favorite. I've been looking for lyrics forever for these songs, but especially that one. Is he singing "If I live a life of greed..."?

Thanks for posting the rest of the stuff. I had heard it all once from the same friend's collection, but never had my own copies.

My friend, BTW, is good friends with Brandon, and he tells me that he pretty much disowns the Boys Life period as "boring generic emo." I don't agree, of course. Canyon are totally different, but worth checking out. Canyon also toured as Jeff Tweedy's backing band for some time.

Ryan said...

Heya, I just posted the first 7" on my blog (and linked to this one).