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Motion takes a look backward.

Byline: Scott McLennan


Motion City Soundtrack is about two generations behind in its thinking.

"Making records is something we don't do often enough. I want to be like The Beatles and be in the studio all the time and put out a record every six months," Motion City Soundtrack bassist Matt Taylor said.

Alas, coming of age in the Warped Tour era means Motion City Soundtrack and bands like it better be prepared to spend months on the road winning over fans one tour stop at a time, and worry about making records biannually, at best, and not semi-annually.

But that has not stopped Motion City Soundtrack from employing a nice throwback pop-music classicism to its punk-bred sound. The band's new "Even If It Kills Me" is awash in killer hooks and clever arrangements. And like old records, "Even If It Kills Me" has two sides, sort of.

The band hired Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne and Eli Janney of Girls Against Boys to produce seven songs and Ric Ocasek of The Cars to produce eight tracks. Taylor pointed out how each production squad brought its own sensibilities to the project.

"Adam and Eli were very proactive. They got involved with the actual songs and how they were put together and what we were doing," Taylor said. "With Ric, everything is laid back. He didn't want to mess with any of the songs. We gave him the first chunk of songs we prepared for this and he was happy with the way they were. He did help us though with the song `Even if it Kills Me.' That was just a 60-second acoustic ditty as a demo."

Now the song is full of Ocasek-inspired sonic drama, and fairly symbolic of the sort of blossoming Motion City Soundtrack underwent while making its third full-length album. Without slowing down the boppy pace of its sound, the band loaded more detail into its songs. Jesse Johnson layered in loads of keys and Moog tones. Drummer Tony Thaxton and bassist Taylor kept the bottom end lean. Guitarist Joshua Cain played fully in service to the hook, and singer Justin Pierre simply refined his bemused, theatrical sound into something that can carry more weight. In short, the pop got more attention in this band's punk-pop equation, thanks in large part to the band's embrace of old-school New Wave.

Motion City Soundtrack - as is to be expected - is on the road and has a show Sunday at The Palladium, 261 Main St., Worcester. Mae, Anberlin and Metro Station are also on the bill, and the show starts at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $22.

Motion City Soundtrack formed 10 years ago and slowly built a following amid the swelling fan base for lighter-sounding, more introspective punk pop gathered under the emo banner. Epitaph Records released the band's full-length "I Am The Movie" in 2003. Two years later, Blink-182's Mark Hoppus produced the band's sophomore album "Commit this To Memory."

Even though the band has been around awhile now, Motion City Soundtrack is still a "new" band to many people.

"There is a good mix of people coming to these shows, which is good to see," Taylor said. "There are newcomers, and there are people I've been seeing that have been into the band for at least the six years I've been in it. You hear, `I was a fan before `I Am The Movie' came out,'" he said. "But then there are all the people getting introduced to the band through the new record. I'm like that. I find something and work backward."

And working backward - dipping into New Wave and thinking of The Beatles - also seemed to work well in the way the band makes its music.

Nothing says the holidays are coming like massive explosions, a gazillion watts of lighting, cranked-up electric guitars and a platoon of caroling vocalists. At least that is how Trans-Siberian Orchestra celebrates the holidays, and this year the popular touring attraction comes to Worcester early in the seasonal cycle. TSO will perform at 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday at the DCU Center, 50 Foster St., Worcester

Chris Carrabba, the mastermind behind Dashboard Confessional, returns to his roots with a solo tour that brings the king of heartbreak punk to The Palladium, 261 Main St., Worcester, tomorrow.

Dashboard too tender for ya? Then head over to The Gobshites and Swaggering Growlers co-bill happening tomorrow at Ralph's Chadwick Square Diner, 148 Grove St., Worcester.

It's a big weekend at The Bull Run, Route 2A, Shirley, as Chris Smither plays there tomorrow, followed by Don White on Saturday, and culminating with a rare appearance by David Bromberg on Sunday.

The region's other Bull, the Sit'n Bull in Maynard, has a farewell show scheduled for Sunday, as owner Ted Epstein opted to close shop in the face of making costly upgrades to the building's sprinkler system. The Fools and The Love Dogs will be among those performing at the Bash for the Bull.

The Gary Bernath Band plays tomorrow at Gilrein's, 802 Main St., Worcester. Katie Clarke & The Green River Band and The Stephanie Marshall Duo split the bill Saturday at Cafe Fantastique inside Rotmans, 725 Southbridge St., Worcester.

The 19th annual Union Music Concert featuring The Sawyer Saxophone Student Solo Workshop is happening from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday at Point Breeze, One Point Breeze Road, Webster. The myriad students of Ken Sawyer will tackle a program that pays tribute to James Brown, offers a patriotic salute to veterans, and dips into the classical with Mozart's "Don Giovanni." The show is free.

And Canadian rock duo Carmen and Camille (featuring Worcester guitarist Mike Gianfriddo) is looking for extras to be in a video shoot happening Saturday at The Regent Theater in Arlington. The taping and performance starts at 7 p.m. If interested, send an e-mail to

Scott McLennan can be reached at


CUTLINE: Motion City Soundtrack will play The Palladium in Worcester on Sunday.
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Title Annotation:TIME OUT
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Nov 8, 2007
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