Growing up in the Massachusetts hardcore scene a little over 20 years ago, Jared Colby aka SECOND SPIRIT had a lot of different types of bands to draw inspiration from. He was at shows 4-5 nights a week, just taking in everything he could, always wanting to make a hardcore record that blended a lot of different styles together instead of just sticking to one particular type of thing. This made him a perfect fit for our end of the year wrap-up, an original list of records and happenings that stood out to Jared in 2021.
SECOND SPIRIT‘s new album “The Weight Of Just Living” is out now. Check it out below, scroll below the end of the year feature to see Jared’s special track by track rundown and be sure to learn more about it and get more inspirations through our recent feature that covered top 10 records that inspired it.
Best records of the year 2021, by SECOND SPIRIT:
Alanna Royale – “Fall In Love Again” single and her recent singing to Colemine Records
I’m going to take a second a big up the other artist I play for! Alanna Royale is a classic soul/R&B artist based out of Nashville, TN – and I play guitar in her band. Her new single Fall In Love Again was released in July 2021 and is my absolute favorite song we’ve ever recorded and gotten the chance to perform on stage. The single was released on Colemine Records, based out of Loveland, OH.
Colemine is putting out some of my absolute favorite records these days, including Kelly Finnigan, Monophonics, Delvon Lamaar Organ Trio, Ikebe Shakedown, and so many others. So it was very cool to see Alanna join the roster over there. Plus, I was a co-writer on the song and got to play on the record, so – even better!
The re-emergence of Iodine Recordings and it’s reissues of There Were Wires – Somnambulists and Jeromes Dream – Presents
Back in the late 90’s/early 00’s, there was a fantastic label out of Boston, MA called Iodine Recordings. They put out a little bit of everything – hardcore, indie, emo, whatever. Even one of my favorite shows I ever went to was Iodine Fest, back in 2002. The lineup included The Suicide File, There Were Wires, Wolves, Everytime I Die, A Life Once Lost, and so many others. Back then, a lot of independent labels were not really pressing records to vinyl. And eventually in the mid-00’s, the label called it quits. But much to my surprise, they came back in 2021! And not only was it an incredibly successful comeback, but they reissued two very important albums.
There Were Wires – Somnambulists. This album has been one of my all-time favorites and has stuck with me for the last 20 years. It has been a HUGE influence on the way I approach aggressive music, and whether it was seeing them open for Thursday or playing in a basement somewhere in Allston, I still remember every single show I ever saw them at.
Jeromes Dream – Presents. When this album came out, I already owned their earlier work – Seeing Means More Than Safety, the infamous JD/Orchid skull-shaped split, etc. When I heard Presents for the first time, the growth of the band was so apparent and I instantly loved it. The newer vocal styling mixed with the sonic production of the album – I had never really heard anything like it. Yet another insanely good Kurt Ballou production.
Thirdface – Do It With A Smile
A super aggressive, hard hitting album from my scene in Nashville. For fans of The Assistant, and the early Ceremony records. Y’all really need to go listen to this album.
Converge – Blood Moon
Converge, as we all know, are really the undisputed kings of this genre. Always pushing the limits of what we know if possible, this record is no different. Pairing up with Chelsea Wolfe and Stephen Brodsky was also a real treat to hear. Will always remain one of my favorite and most respected bands.
No.Stress – Prelude No.1
This is a very fantastic record that was released earlier in 2021 by my friend Paul Horton, who also plays keys for Brittany Howard. His album, for me, landed somewhere between a J Dilla tape and a Pete Rock record. Just a really, really well done instrumental hip-hop/jazz album. DEFINITELY give this one a listen.
Eraserhood Sound label from Philadelphia, PA
Eraserhood Sound is an amazing record label out of Philly and operates a recording studio under the same name. They have this great late 70’s/early 80’s Isley Brothers type of vibe and everything they have touched this year has been absolute gold. Favorites were Fantasy 15 – Burgundy Mist, and Kendra Morris – When We Would Ride.
Lady Wray – Through It All
One of my favorite modern day singers, Nicole Wray, has been working on an album with Leon Michels in upstate NY and just putting out hit, after hit, after hit. These songs are very personal, her performance is unreal, and the production is just so very unique. A MUST LISTEN.
New Death – Only The True
New, fast paced, aggressive as fuck hardcore out of Los Angeles, CA. I know these guys from way back in the day in Worcester, MA – we all worked together in my studio when they were in Youth Attack and The Message. The best dudes, and they grew up in the mecca of hardcore, so you know this shit HAS to be good.
The return of touring in 2021
Although touring these days has its own new sets of hurdles, issues, and added safety precautions to be constantly aware of – I was able to leave my house and go back on tour with Alanna Royale. We opened for Monophonics on the west coast portion of their national tour, and it was truly an experience I will never forget. After being locked down at home for a year and half, watching this particular tour get scheduled, cancelled, and re-scheduled time after time – I felt very fortunate to be able to do what I did out there on the road this year.
Two statues of the founder of the KKK being removed from Nashville
Because FUCK WHITE SUPREMACY. The end. It has no place in this world, and neither do the people who abide by this rhetoric.
The new seasons of Insecure, White Lotus, Archer, and Only Murders In The Building really gave me something to sit down and relax with during this fall 2021 season when getting fully back to work became very, very overwhelming.
“The Weight Of Just Living” track by track commentary, by SECOND SPIRIT:
When I wrote this song back in 2010, I had just walked away from one of my deepest friendships. they were like a brother, a best friend, all of it. Between 2007 and 2010, I had entered into a new relationship with someone who finally really cared about me, and I had also moved from worcester to boston. when my life started changing for the better, that person did not seem happy for me or want to embrace any of that goodness. we grew further and further apart and when we eventually talked about it, there was no effort made on the other side to fix things. I felt rejected, disrespected, and betrayed. Worst of all though, the distance between us was just so unnecessary – things could have and should have been a lot different. So it just seemed easier and less painful to “remember the good ol’ days” and go on living pretending that person didn’t exist because I felt as though I didn’t exist to them anymore either.
This song was one of two songs on the album where I recorded all the instruments back in 2011, but waited until 2019 to record the vocals. I was stuck on the lyrics back then and nothing was really coming out, so I put it on the shelf for a while until I had something that I really wanted to say. when i finally picked up the pen, I decided that I wanted to capture the increasing feeling i’ve had that humanity cannot come back from it’s edge. that the world will end at the hands of humans long before the sun burns out. i spent every day looking at the disgusting things the former president was saying, mass shootings and the lack of gun control in america, police brutality, the dumbing down of media, all of those things. The collective depression of everyone I know feeling the same way was all-consuming, so I just had to get this song out of my system. the instrumental of this song just seemed so right for the lyrical content, as it was very influenced by this is hell, all pigs must die, and slayer.
This is a song about turning my back on jesus/god, the concept of religion, and drawing a line in the sand between me and catholicism. very inspired by american nightmare, panic, have heart, the suicide file, and all the other great youth crew bands from the late 90’s/early 00’s boston scene. I wanted these lyrics to come out in the shortest, most blunt way i possibly could, so it seemed right to pair them with the shortest song on the album.
This song is about police brutality in America and how it goes hand-in-hand with the abuse of power from the top 1%.
I originally wrote this song in 2011 during the Occupy Wall Street movement. We all could not believe the banks in this country were receiving bailout money from the government while we struggled just to afford basic healthcare or make ends meet. I found myself in disbelief that peaceful protestors were being pepper sprayed, tear gassed, and beaten by the police. I could not believe that banks were getting away with locking people in their lobbies while customers were cancelling their accounts. I was enraged, sad, and confused – and this song just sort of flowed out of me. I wanted anyone who had a distaste for police and distrust of the government to be able to connect with it, and know that they weren’t alone in their feelings.
I also had always loved long, big, and slow moving instrumental parts on hardcore records – so bands like Cave In, There Were Wires, and ISIS were very inspiring for this particular tune.
laid to waste:
another anti-religion song. this time around though, my writing was more of a response to all the ridiculous things catholic people had said to me over the years. also, very inspired by religious war and how completely unnecessary I think that concept is. young people dying, not living their lives so they can fight for their belief of some imaginary all-powerful being. seems like such a waste of human life, and so traumatizing for everyone involved. to me, god was never a comforting idea. I felt and still feel as though people should think for themselves, be a good person on their own terms, and learn the basic difference between right and wrong. don’t fall victim to any “master” because someone told you you have a “god shaped hole” in your heart. some of the most crooked, vengeful, spiteful, vindictive people I know have been priests. how are they any closer to god than I am? if those are the kind of people “god” loves, then you can count me out. I want no part of it.
money over blood:
When I wrote this song in 2010, I was working at a cafe in boston called trident. it used to be on newbury street right next to newbury comics. the owner of this place inspired this song. he would come in and wouldn’t even acknowledge the staff that was making him all of his money. I thought it was the ultimate form of disrespect to not even make eye contact with the people who are filling your pockets full of cash. he never even learned my name, and I worked there for over almost two years.
life is a…
this was the very last song to be finished on this album, and the only other song that was recorded in 2011 but finished in 2019. the instrumental was very inspired by cave in, and some of the slower converge songs from the late 90’s. this was a very reflective song for me, I took a long time away from the hardcore scene from 2012 until about now. I felt very burned by a lot of my close friends in that community, I felt like most of them weren’t actually who they presented themselves as. or at least turned into versions of themselves I did not want to associate with. so this song is wholly about not looking back and glorifying these days of our youth, not obsessing over nostalgia. that kind of thinking can be dangerous. if your mind is living in the past, are you really in the present? and I find it very fitting that the album lyrically opens with a song that mentions “remembering the good old days” and the album ends with a lyric about doubting whether the good ol days were really even that good to begin with. being that the release of this album is a true exercise in letting go of the past, I intentionally made this the last track on the album as a final goodbye to those old feelings.
Also as a side note – the title of this song is also a nod to the band’s previous name, Bloodsport. I had to change the name during the release of this album due to legal reasons, but still wanted to have a trace of that old identity somewhere within the album.