Recommended If You Like: Jack’s Mannequin, The Format
If I’ve received any good songwriting advice these past three years with Atwood Magazine, it’s to write what you know. Songs go the farthest when they come from the heart, which is exactly what makes DieAlps!’s new album Our City so enticing: Whether they’re bemoaning time, stepping into another’s shoes or celebrating life, DieAlps! deliver a euphoric blend of alternative pop/rock songs that hit home hard.
Maybe you can help me out
Trying to find the right words for this
Sleeping neen sleeping until now
‘Cause I almost drowned in this mess
– “Running Into Walls,” DieAlps!
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering DieAlps!’s debut album Our City, out 8/4/2017 via New Granada Records. Fronted by husband and wife Frank Calcaterra and Connie Calcaterra with Jonathan Robbins (drums) and Sarah Modene (keys), DieAlps! have established themselves as one of Tampa, Florida’s premiere indie rock up-and-comers over the past three years. Their new album solidifies this claim, while expanding both their musical breadth, as well as their (for lack of a better word) turf.
“Our City is sort of an attempt to break away from the “swaying waltzy baroque pop” sound of our debut EP,” explains Frank Calcaterra. “DieAlps! lineup has changed drastically since then, and so has our sound. We still utilize some 3/4 time signatures here and there, but it’s no longer a prerequisite.” Rich melodies and pulsing choruses abound on this musically rich, vibrant debut. Calcaterra adds how the band “wanted the album to have a ’90s vibe,” and they faithfully capture that sound. “When it came down to mixing, I found myself referencing everything from Pavement to Yuck, early Radiohead and The Shins.”
And yet, Our City is unmistakably a modern, timeless record. Within the pronounced guitar riffs and emphatic chorus releases are two highly aware lyricists dealing with adulthood and life’s changes, processing recent tragedies at home and abroad, and finding new ways of telling old stories.
With a mix of acoustic ballads, rock anthems, and everything in between, DieAlps! have most certainly debuted with gusto: Listen to the full record through Atwood Magazine’s exclusive stream, and peek inside Our City with Atwood Magazine as DieAlps! provide their personal take on some of the album’s standout songs.
Listen: Our City – DieAlps!
:: Inside Our City ::
Running Into Walls
Frank: Since our first EP featured strictly Connie on vocals, there was some hesitation in starting this album off with a song featuring male vocals. That being said, we just felt it was best to start the album off with a bang.
Connie: I am a huge fan of albums that pull you in right away in the first 3 seconds. And “Running Into Walls” does just that in my opinion. It grabs people’s attention immediately and there’s no messing around.
Frank: The lyrics to this song are sort of, in a strange way, told from the perspective of a mayfly – a bug with an extremely short lifespan, which I suppose could also represent a human who isn’t expected to live very much longer. It’s sort of a kick in the ass to go and live your life as if there is no tomorrow – make the best of the time you have, because others are not so fortunate.
Frank: “Trust Me” deals with cults, deceitful Televangelists and corrupt religions.
Connie: The music and melody to this song had been finished for well over a month before the lyrics were written. Then the Pulse massacre in Orlando happened. Just like everybody else, I was in shock, and a lot of this emotion found a place in the song’s lyrics. There was this feeling of community amongst people afterwards, and this horrible tragedy seemed to unite the entire state for a few days.
Connie: I’m about to turn 32. And I’m mostly happy with what I have accomplished in life so far and where I’m at at this point. But sometimes I wish I had started a band sooner (because I’ve always known that I wanted to) or that I wouldn’t have listened to other people so much or given their expectations of me so much thought when I was younger. So the song is about a person who grows old trying to please everybody around him and then discovers all his regrets in life, but by then it’s too late to do most of those things.
Frank: An old friend of mine sent me an article about a guy we went to high school with who had shot and killed two people at a strip club in Phoenix. The article explains that the gunman just “wanted to test himself,” and is now in a mental institution for the rest of his life. To make that even crazier, my friend believes that his original plan was to shoot up some old friends at our 10-year high school reunion. They had decided to cancel the reunion due to this guy acting very strange toward the reunion organizer and wanting specifics about who was going to be there. I wrote the lyrics for “Get Yours” shortly after hearing about all of this. More specifically, the song is written as if his initial plan to shoot up the school actually happened: “Old friends run away from you. Don’t mind it, gotta get yours too.”
I Can See It Now
Frank: a song about doing what is right, regardless of what other might think – an ode to those creating positive change, even when it means they might be outcast by those around them.
Connie: this song is about a couple trying to break up but they just can’t quite let go of each other so they’re just dragging out both their hope and misery.
Connie: I like this song a lot. The guitars during the beginning and end part have such a retro feel to them, and the song structure is purposefully very powerful. The lyrics reflect a person’s vulnerability, but to be vulnerable you also have to be strong. It takes a lot of courage putting up your hands, exposing yourself to the world saying, “This is me, with all my errors and flaws, as you can see I’m not perfect at all but here I am, still trying to do my best.” Despite the song’s implied melancholy, its theme is actually quite hopeful.
We Fought the Sea
A song directly inspired by the Syrian refugee crisis.
:: pre-order Our City here ::
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photos © Sarah Modene