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Prayers For Atheists IN STORES NOW! Streaming EP, reviews
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the mean
Certified O.G.


Joined: 31 Jul 2003
Posts: 6494
Location: philly/sacto/kauai/ohio
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In the be careful what you wish for department, Jared asked if I would give this a listen and post in this thread. Here we go:

"Psalm For St. Paul"
The verses sound like some strange mix of (slowed down) MDC and RATM. It works better than it should. Funny, because I had talked to Jared about MDC and he hadn't heard them. If you still haven't checked them out, Jared, start with the "Millions of Dead Cops" LP. The choruses sound like neither of those bands, but a more modern shouted hardcore. It teeters on the line of too much for one song, but manages to work enough to rock. Lyrics are top notch, of course.

"Bike Song"
Starts with a tough metal riff, then mellows quickly. I dig the mellower riff quite a bit. Then back to that loud metal riff. Vocals are more rap-oriented than the previous song. Come off a little too serious for a song about a bike. The lyrical content seems like something that would fit better with some sloppy early 80s punk. Also, this goes on for too long.

"Rows Of Steel"
Very RATM to start off. Chorus reminds me of something, but I can't put a finger on it. I really like it though. Lyrically, doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the songs. Almost seems out of place. Probably more appropriate for a full length with more space for variety. I prefer my EPs to have a more unified theme.

"Patriarchy Presents"
Like this one the best so far. Early 80s hardcore punk with a bit of metal thrown in for good measure. Like this one the best so far. Clock in at just over a minute. Perfect. Easily the best song so far. Would love to hear more of this. Great lyrics that fit the song.

"Wrong Horse"
Haven't the slightest idea what this song is about. Even while reading along with the lyrics. Kind of lopes along at a middling pace. I like this though. With the breakdown near the end, and then a little more umph for the final verse (chorus?)

"Coat Hanger 18"
This one just doesn't work for me at all.

"Lot's Wife"
This reminds me of Sage, which is a good thing. Also sound like it could be from "The Rising Tide" which had a bunch of stuff I liked on it. I'd listen to a whole album of stuff like this quite a bit. Great song.

"Tom Delay"
Funny. Although this doesn't sound like MDC, it reminds me of the MDC song, "Henry Kissmyassinger." Just a good, fast, pissed hardcore song.

--

Overall, this EP seems all over the place. Alan really shows his musical chops, but I'm not sure if it is a cohesive release. I'd like to see something more focused. I'm harsher with people I like than I am with my enemies, so don't think that I don't like this. This is a solid debut, and I would be excited to see them if they played around here (sorry I couldn't hook something up.)

I wanted to comment about a couple things in this thread as well...

PHIL LACIO AKA P DAWG wrote:
this could easily fit in on a warped tour an things like that.

Please don't.

Sage Francis wrote:
Perhaps we'll do vinyl in the future but it's not likely considering how much waste is involved in the production of vinyl.

Man, I just can't get with this. If you are in a band, you want your shit to sound good. Is vinyl good for the environment, no? But it sounds better. If a shitty amp uses less electricity, you still want to go with the good amp. Touring in a gas guzzling van ain't great for the environment, either. Those are just compromised you make by being a musician. Make up for it in some other way. Digital download only would be even greener.

On a related note:
Alan Hague wrote:
We definitely set out to keep the vocals audible and coherent, so that having to look up the lyrics somewhere would be kept to a minimum.

Really? You decided to mix the album differently so people wouldn't have to look up the lyrics? This could have been solved by including a lyric sheet. I don't understand sacrificing the sound of EP to save people the trouble of having to look up the lyrics.
Post Fri Jul 17, 2009 7:42 pm
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Sage Francis
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Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21526
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Thanks for that review! You're the first person to take the time to write something like that.

I'll just address the thing you quoted from me and let the band handle the rest. I completely agree with you. But I have different priorities and/or concerns than PFA does. I definitely respect that they want to keep carbon footprints to a minimum. It almost resulted in this being a strictly digital release, but I'm glad they went with the CD option. Not sure what will happen with the follow up album. It was discussed that it might just be digital, however there's a bit of time between now and then for opinions to change.
Post Fri Jul 17, 2009 8:02 pm
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SFR announcement



Joined: 26 Jul 2004
Posts: 919
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PFA gets their first online review!
4.5 stars
and comments from the peanut gallery:

https://www.decoymusic.com/reviews/2973

This 8 song EP is Jared’s response to the emotions, actions, and atmosphere of that time. Politically charged, angry, and well thought out, this is a fiery EP that should be placed among some of the top tier political albums of our modern musical generation. It may feel somewhat out of date, with the change in political regimes since the events mentioned above, but the general ideals of this album go beyond the assumed screed against the Republican party. And musically, you'll find that Prayers for Atheists is a bastard child of Rage Against the Machine, Sage Francis, and Dead Kennedys.

Covering all kinds of musical bases throughout its run time, the album starts off with an acerbic, post-punk number that recounts the events of Jared’s experience at the RNC. With the attitude of the album well established, the duo completely rips open the album with the minute long, hardcore as hell second track. Scaling it back just a tad, Jared and Alan put together a solid rap-rock offering in the form of "Coathangar 18," which reminds us how much the world needs a modern reincarnation of Rage Against the Machine. Rounding off the first half of the EP is another fierce minute of straight ahead hardcore punk in the form of a tribute to Tom Delay.

The second half of the album is a little less in your face, but it doesn’t lack in intensity. The slow, hip-hop “Lot’s Wife” is comparable to a subdued, yet more aggressive version of modern Atmosphere. Jared’s work with Sage Francis is also very apparent in the obvious influences lent to this track. The simple drum and bass background gives Jared a wide canvas on which to lay down his lyrics, creating possibly the best song of the album.

“Rows of Steel” picks the pace up slightly, mixing the mellow verses with aggressive choruses. “Bike Song,” however, may be the weakest song on the album as it feels a little too similar to Rage Against the Machine in spots and has some weak transitions, but it is followed by the 6 minute epic "Wrong Horse," which starts with a slow burn into the perfectly metered interplay of Alan’s guitars and Jared’s vocals. With their flow in full effect, the instrumentation pulls back mid-song before working into a fittingly aggressive end.

This may seem like a lot of talk and analysis over a 25 minute EP, but this 25 minute EP is something that needs to be noticed. Rarely is an album as authentic, heartfelt, directed, and interesting as this. In a day and age of making music only in order to appeal to a scene or to get noticed, rarely do artists attempt to be thought-provoking. Prayers for Atheists is an album that should be intently listened to, so please do. It’s only 25 minutes and it’s 25 minutes you’ll be glad you didn't skip out on.

--Rick Gebhardt
Post Fri Jul 17, 2009 8:48 pm
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Jared Paul



Joined: 15 Jul 2002
Posts: 3720
Location: www.PrayersForAtheists.org
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the mean wrote:
In the be careful what you wish for department, Jared asked if I would give this a listen and post in this thread. Here we go:

"Psalm For St. Paul"
The verses sound like some strange mix of (slowed down) MDC and RATM. It works better than it should. Funny, because I had talked to Jared about MDC and he hadn't heard them. If you still haven't checked them out, Jared, start with the "Millions of Dead Cops" LP. The choruses sound like neither of those bands, but a more modern shouted hardcore. It teeters on the line of too much for one song, but manages to work enough to rock. Lyrics are top notch, of course.

"Bike Song"
Starts with a tough metal riff, then mellows quickly. I dig the mellower riff quite a bit. Then back to that loud metal riff. Vocals are more rap-oriented than the previous song. Come off a little too serious for a song about a bike. The lyrical content seems like something that would fit better with some sloppy early 80s punk. Also, this goes on for too long.

"Rows Of Steel"
Very RATM to start off. Chorus reminds me of something, but I can't put a finger on it. I really like it though. Lyrically, doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the songs. Almost seems out of place. Probably more appropriate for a full length with more space for variety. I prefer my EPs to have a more unified theme.

"Patriarchy Presents"
Like this one the best so far. Early 80s hardcore punk with a bit of metal thrown in for good measure. Like this one the best so far. Clock in at just over a minute. Perfect. Easily the best song so far. Would love to hear more of this. Great lyrics that fit the song.

"Wrong Horse"
Haven't the slightest idea what this song is about. Even while reading along with the lyrics. Kind of lopes along at a middling pace. I like this though. With the breakdown near the end, and then a little more umph for the final verse (chorus?)

"Coat Hanger 18"
This one just doesn't work for me at all.

"Lot's Wife"
This reminds me of Sage, which is a good thing. Also sound like it could be from "The Rising Tide" which had a bunch of stuff I liked on it. I'd listen to a whole album of stuff like this quite a bit. Great song.

"Tom Delay"
Funny. Although this doesn't sound like MDC, it reminds me of the MDC song, "Henry Kissmyassinger." Just a good, fast, pissed hardcore song.

--

Overall, this EP seems all over the place. Alan really shows his musical chops, but I'm not sure if it is a cohesive release. I'd like to see something more focused. I'm harsher with people I like than I am with my enemies, so don't think that I don't like this. This is a solid debut, and I would be excited to see them if they played around here (sorry I couldn't hook something up.)

I wanted to comment about a couple things in this thread as well...

PHIL LACIO AKA P DAWG wrote:
this could easily fit in on a warped tour an things like that.

Please don't.

Sage Francis wrote:
Perhaps we'll do vinyl in the future but it's not likely considering how much waste is involved in the production of vinyl.

Man, I just can't get with this. If you are in a band, you want your shit to sound good. Is vinyl good for the environment, no? But it sounds better. If a shitty amp uses less electricity, you still want to go with the good amp. Touring in a gas guzzling van ain't great for the environment, either. Those are just compromised you make by being a musician. Make up for it in some other way. Digital download only would be even greener.

On a related note:
Alan Hague wrote:
We definitely set out to keep the vocals audible and coherent, so that having to look up the lyrics somewhere would be kept to a minimum.

Really? You decided to mix the album differently so people wouldn't have to look up the lyrics? This could have been solved by including a lyric sheet. I don't understand sacrificing the sound of EP to save people the trouble of having to look up the lyrics.


Jesus Christ man!

Thank you very, very much for the time and input. As you know, I've got a shit ton of respect for your music choices (life choices as well). I still haven't gotten to fully check MDC yet which is a god damned shame, but I plan to cop the LP for tour listening, and will report back after i've fully digested it.

We kind of like that the EP sounds widly varied but I can definitely see the benefit in having an EP follow a more coherent theme. All the instrumentals for the full length are already recorded and they definitely were produced to fit the puzzle pieces of a more specific and consistent musical presentation.

And I think it's awesome that you think Bike Song is a bit too serious. I think bike kids take biking too serious sometimes- never the less, the song is an accurate representation of one side of my personality when I'm flying around Providence, and I stand by the lyrics. There's even Black Flag and B. Dolan references in there! ( among others)

All I need
is
one
Bike.


*Ride safe fuckers! Don't listen to the song while riding. Don't listen to ANY song while riding. Focus on the road, look out for pit fall harry car doors swinging open, and be safe!
Post Fri Jul 17, 2009 9:05 pm
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Alan Hague



Joined: 05 Sep 2008
Posts: 621
Location: http://askthedead.bandcamp.com
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The Mean - Thanks for your feedback. And, like Jared said, the music on the full-length is definitely more cohesive (and intricate).

the mean wrote:
Really? You decided to mix the album differently so people wouldn't have to look up the lyrics? This could have been solved by including a lyric sheet. I don't understand sacrificing the sound of EP to save people the trouble of having to look up the lyrics.


I don't think we sacrificed the sound of the EP. In fact, it ended up being pretty easy to get a good mix, as Jared's vocals layered the music pretty naturally.

Also, Phil - We'll only play on Warped Tour if they let us sell our own brand of bottled water for $10 each.
Post Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:50 pm
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21526
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P.O.S. is playing Warped Tour right now. For what seems like the 3rd or 4th time actually. If we could get you on Warped Tour would you be down with that? Even if they strike the water bottle clause in the contract? I've never been asked to play Warped Tour but that's something I wouldn't discount. I'd love for you guys to play in front of crowds like that. Hell, I'm doing Rock the Bells which is basically the hiphop version of Warped. Comes with its ups and downs.
Post Sat Jul 18, 2009 9:15 am
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Coffee Black



Joined: 16 Aug 2008
Posts: 331
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I went to Warped Tour once and got thrown up on. Swore I'd never go back. I'd break my oath to see PFA rock an audience like that. Or maybe even a mini SFR showcase? That would be many types of awesome.
Post Sat Jul 18, 2009 9:46 am
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Jared Paul



Joined: 15 Jul 2002
Posts: 3720
Location: www.PrayersForAtheists.org
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Sage Francis wrote:
P.O.S. is playing Warped Tour right now. For what seems like the 3rd or 4th time actually. If we could get you on Warped Tour would you be down with that? Even if they strike the water bottle clause in the contract? I've never been asked to play Warped Tour but that's something I wouldn't discount. I'd love for you guys to play in front of crowds like that. Hell, I'm doing Rock the Bells which is basically the hiphop version of Warped. Comes with its ups and downs.


I saw Pennywise, NOFX, Bad Religion, Descendents, Social Distortion, Avail, and 7 Seconds all for the first time at Warped Tour. It used to be the biggest event of the summer for my friends and I. I've still got my first ticket stub somewhere- I think I paid $8.

At my first Warped Tour ever I hopped the security fence and walked up to Fat Mike from NOFX. He didn't wanna talk, but gave me a cold drink and a seat right on the side of him. I ended up kicking it with Eric Melvin for the better part of an hour- it was unquestionably one of the high points of my teenage life.

Obviously, a lot has changed since then. Alan and I would certainly dig the opportunity to get our songs out to those crowds and re-inject the type of message/music/punk values that made it such an amazing event for us when we were younger, but it really depends on what they'd be asking of us. We openly despise many of the Warped Tour sponsors but we've got the same feelings for a lot of the SxSw/Coachella sponsors as well and that wouldn't stop us from playing there, or many other possible concert venues.
Post Mon Jul 20, 2009 11:34 am
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21526
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Well hey, I still play at Rock the Bells even though there's a Peta2 tent. So...ya know. Sometimes you just gotta grin and bear it.
Post Mon Jul 20, 2009 1:33 pm
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Jared Paul



Joined: 15 Jul 2002
Posts: 3720
Location: www.PrayersForAtheists.org
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Sage Francis wrote:
Well hey, I still play at Rock the Bells even though there's a Peta2 tent. So...ya know. Sometimes you just gotta grin and bear it.


Yep. Like I said, we're definitely open to it.
Post Mon Jul 20, 2009 7:10 pm
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Sage Francis
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Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21526
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ha. I'm busting your balls, mang. Sorry. That's an improper hazing on the RELEASE DAY!!!
Post Tue Jul 21, 2009 6:14 am
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Jared Paul



Joined: 15 Jul 2002
Posts: 3720
Location: www.PrayersForAtheists.org
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ROOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAARRRRRR!!

We just got out of band practice- been hittin' it hard for the past 3 weeks trying to get ready for this trip. Feeling like we're right where we need to be!

I can't believe the album is officially out. It feels like my birthday... or like what I remember birthdays to have felt like when "Birthdays" were still cool. ( :
Post Tue Jul 21, 2009 7:31 pm
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Alan Hague



Joined: 05 Sep 2008
Posts: 621
Location: http://askthedead.bandcamp.com
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It feels like my first day of school. In a good way!
Post Tue Jul 21, 2009 8:09 pm
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duck_shoe



Joined: 15 Sep 2002
Posts: 1362
Location: Right here, fool.
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Fuck Warped Tour, if it's not too late PFA should try to get on the bill at the Fest this year. www.thefestfl.com
Post Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:15 pm
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Jared Paul



Joined: 15 Jul 2002
Posts: 3720
Location: www.PrayersForAtheists.org
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This was posted at the Providence Phoenix site today!

Psalms For The Deaf
Jared Paul Unleashes Prayers For Atheists
By CHRIS CONTI | July 21, 2009

Prov-pfa-main
RABBLE ROUSERS Paul and Hague

Sage Francis addressed the densely-populated crowd at Rock the Bells at Comcast Center last weekend: "This song helped get a friend of mine out of jail. Thank you to all who donated. This song is called 'Conspiracy to Riot.' Strange Famous fucking Records, Providence."

The crowd erupted when the beat dropped, as Sage and fellow Providence emcee B.Dolan saluted their friend and labelmate Jared Paul, a vicious spoken-word specialist who was arrested in St. Paul, Minneapolis, last summer for protesting outside the Republican National Convention. Paul was initially charged with felony riot, which got knocked down to a misdemeanor, but Paul refused to plead guilty and ConspiracyToRiot.com, a Web page to raise funds to fight the charge, was born.

"I'm thankful to Sage and Slug [from the hip-hop group Atmosphere] for posting my bond and getting it all rolling," he said. "Folks heeded the call from all across the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia. It was fantastic."

The story is now captured on wax as Jared Paul and Alan Hague have teamed up to form Prayers For Atheists, and just released a politically-charged self-titled EP ($10 at StrangeFamousRecords.com) they call their "25-minute victory chant." The leadoff single "Psalm for St. Paul" deftly documents Paul's experience, powered by Hague's chugging guitar riff. Sage Francis sent an email the day before his set at Rock the Bells:

"If you read Jared's account of what took place at the RNC with all the arrests and his time in jail, then you know he was put through hell. The amount of coverage it received was incredible, and the donations were helpful. When Jared told me he was doing a song called 'Psalm for St. Paul,' I was expecting a shitstorm of vitriol. Instead, Alan and Jared deliver a dancey and positive anthem. That song made me realize that this material was going to be well-beyond what anyone was expecting."

There's plenty of raging against the machine on Prayers for Atheists, but Paul and Hague subtly fill your gullet with knowledge while crafting straight-up indie rock as opposed to maniacal rap-rock stuff. Paul tips his hat to Chuck D. on the outstanding "Coathangar 18" and keeps his cool on the slow-burner "Lot's Wife," but makes his opinion abundantly clear on the 80-second thrasher "Tom Delay." PFA added a drummer and bassist for their nationwide tour, which starts today (the 23rd) in New York and ends on August 26 at Firehouse 13. Paul recently returned from an inspiring performance art tour with B. Dolan.

"I've never seen people as hopeful and motivated as they are right now," Paul said. "President Obama has an unprecedented popularity with the American people, but we really need to keep the fire to his feet and hold him accountable just as we would any other politician."

A mention of our governor gets Paul going.

"Don Carcieri is probably the most destructive and anti-worker governor in Rhode Island history," he said. "I worked as a direct care counselor in group homes for many years — I was there when he managed to pull off the $10 million budget cut to the RI DCYF. That move put over 100 18- and 19-year-old group home graduates out on the street with nowhere to go. He is a despicable person.

"We're due for a big shakeup. I gotta believe it's coming soon."

I asked what he would say to those who may believe protesting, particularly here in our corrupt little vacuum, is an effort in futility. "First of all, protesting is a good time. Everybody's pissed about the way things are going down with the war and a million other things, so why not come out and give the Man a little hell for a couple hours and then go out for coffee after?"
Post Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:40 pm
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