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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
LOSTATSEA.NET > FEATURES >

January 16, 2006
Whether you love or hate the burgeoning, seemingly limitless genre of Emo, there is no denying the impact that the Texas band Mineral had on underground rock in the early to mid 1990s. The band brought a legion of fans into the realm of well-constructed, melodic power which few bands were ever able to connect with. Although most proved weak in constructing the same metallic recklessness, Mineral possessed a rare strength through a balance of deeply focused music, highly constructed guitar lines, and at times, sappy lyrical content that managed to console the loveless and empathize with the lost. The band also mastered the art of subtlety, crafting songs with lyrical content that was either directly related to or largely influenced by their faith, but doing so in a way that wasn't obvious or overbearing. In fact, most of Mineral's fans initially had no clue that they were a band of Texas Christians.

Today, amid legions of followers, Mineral's sound is dated. But is that entirely their fault? After so many failed attempts from a multitude of self-loathing puppets and mall-core emo groups that try to recreate and exploit the emo sound, the genre has weakened, and rightfully so. But what happened to the guys that had really connected with the adolcents of America's underground a decade ago?

The history of post-Mineral projects can be traced through half-hearted side projects and failed attempts in recreating influential sounding bands with the likes of The Gloria Record and Pop Unknown. Neither outfit was terrible but both failed at delivering anything that was as memorable as the band whose prior successes they milked to the last drop.

Enter America is Waiting. One fourth of the defunct emo legends, AIW are about as far away from the excessively sentimental love songs of Mineral as they can get, instead referencing the melodic punk/hardcore that brings to mind bands like Drive Like Jehu, Fugazi, Kerosene 454 and Unwound.

Gabriel Wiley, one time drummer for both Mineral and Pop Unknown, now plays drums for America is Waiting, anchoring the group's mix of aggressive guitars. Wiley's experiences after Mineral have also left him jaded enough to fit in perfectly with his new band's railing against the current state of the music industry, which has turned into a full time endeavor.

Wondering what had happened with the multiple projects that were lined up after the demise of Mineral, I caught up with Wiley to find out how he got from Point A to Point B. He was happy to give a short rundown of the progression from Pop Unknown to America Is Waiting, and threw in plenty of ranting (which quickly grew tiresome) on the state of rock.

"We [Pop Unknown] were together for about 5 years and did quite a bit as far as touring - especially going to Europe twice - and releasing some decent records, but some of us began to want to do different things than Pop Unknown would allow us then. I was briefly playing in a band called Kissing Chaos with a couple of the Pop Unknown fellas and Erick Sanger. We got him after his quick stint with Sparta" Wiley explains.

Wiley soon found himself a full-fledged member of America is Waiting after original drummer, Joseph Nerio, left the band. "They did a tour with Trail of Dead and their drummer decided this was not the life for him. Apparently they tried out a few drummers that they were not comfortable with and so a mutual friend of ours, Danny boy, the bass player for Trail of Dead, put us together. The guys are the most annoying, egotistical and greatest players I've been with," says Wiley, adding "I'm kidding of course. They're pretty good players."

Since Wiley joined the band after they had already recorded and released their 8-song EP, America is Waiting quickly laid plans for recording a proper album with him and are currently label shopping. Wiley cynically explains, "We are currently doing our level best to balance writing and touring. We've had a great deal of label interest but either we're not down with their deal or they give us the 'I love you guys, but I just don't know how to sell you'. What a bunch of cock suckers. We shall soon find a label to begin a beautiful love affair with," Wiley says hopefully, "Or at least a sugar daddy".

No doubt bent out of shape by the underground ethos of record label red tape and plain old "cock sucking", Gabriel's departure from the brooding mid-tempo drum measures and massive guitar driven songs of Mineral to the hyper-kinetic punk rock bravado of America is Waiting seems to suite him well. "America is Waiting is easily the best band I've ever been in. I grew up learning to play drums to the likes of Black Flag, Sex Pistols and Minor Threat, so I'm finally where I belong" says Wiley.

Almost a decade after Mineral's breakthrough album, The Power of Failing, propelled the Austin quintet into the underworld of the American indie rock elite, Wiley seems to be pleased with where he currently stands. He has joined a band that is slowly but surely gathering a wide fan base by touring with the likes of And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Hell is for Heroes and Muse. His new project has released In The Lines, a mini album of chaotic, razor sharp punk rock songs that blends a post-hardcore homage with a retaliation against corporate rock and the media fluff that surrounds "indie" rock's current climate. But how does he feel about being involved in a movement with Mineral, which at the time, was the next big crusade, but now has become stale by the same collective money whores his current outfit screams out against?

"It's very flattering when someone approaches me to discuss how much Mineral meant, and still means to them. Now those of you reading this that don't have one of the records, get out there and buy some. Daddy needs some new Pirellis."

SEE ALSO: www.americaiswaiting.com

--
Mark Taylor
A senior LAS staff writer, Mark Taylor is a 29 year old father of a 5 year old son and husband to a wife of 6 years, living the simple life in a small suburb of Charlotte, NC.

See other articles by Mark Taylor.

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