Folk N Rock
Spotlight EP: ‘I Won’t Listen’ – Coma Beach

Coma Beach has dropped a new EP, “I Won’t Listen,” featuring reworked versions of some of their earlier tracks, along with a couple of radio edits. As a music nerd and collector, this kind of release is right up my alley. It’s a cool way for bands to breathe new life into their older material and give fans something fresh to chew on. I wish more bands would do it, but I get that it takes time and resources to pull off.

I’ve always loved digging into a band’s archives, discovering those early demos, bootlegs, or alternate takes on familiar songs. It’s like seeing a song in a whole new light, uncovering hidden depths and appreciating the creative process in a new way. It’s easy to get caught up in the constant stream of new music, but let’s not forget those older tracks that have stood the test of time. They’re not just relics of the past; they’re a look into the band’s artistry and evolution. That music deserves to be celebrated, not just dusted off for the occasional nostalgia trip.

One of the best ways to reignite that spark and rediscover those older tracks is through alternate mixes or radio edits. Radio edits, in particular, offer a different experience by trimming out some of the heavier instrumentation or adjusting lyrics to fit the constraints of radio airplay. It’s all about hitting that sweet spot of around three minutes and thirty seconds, keeping things concise and catchy.

And sometimes bands will write their original material without any constraints, which is awesome, and then create radio edits later on. But there are also bands that write specifically for radio play, aiming for that mainstream appeal. Personally, I think it’s better to prioritize your artistic vision and create music that truly speaks to you. If you need a radio-friendly version, you can always make an edit later.

In today’s scene, it seems like more and more bands are tailoring their sound for the algorithm, especially Spotify’s. With studies showing that listeners often skip songs if vocals don’t kick in within the first 15 seconds, it’s no wonder that some artists are prioritizing instant gratification over artistic expression. It’s a shame, really, because this trend can lead people to miss out on some truly amazing music.

It’s a whole new world compared to the old days, when bands focused on getting radio play. Now, the Spotify algorithm is a major player in the game. But I still think it’s crucial for bands to create music that comes from the heart, music that speaks to their unique vision. There’s always time for edits and remixes later on, but the original creation should always be a pure expression of the artist’s intent.

One of the coolest things about these alternate versions is that you get to experience the music in a totally new way. Sometimes, you might crave that atmospheric build-up created by the instrumentation, but other times, you just want to dive right into the raw energy of the rock ‘n’ roll heart of the song. And that’s exactly what Coma Beach has delivered with this EP. It’s a great way to rediscover familiar songs and appreciate the different moods they can create.

Now the EP kicks off with “I Won’t Listen,” which comes from their album The Scapegoat’s Agony. Now this was an album whichthrows us into a world reminiscent of the existential dread in Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot,” but without the passive waiting of Vladimir and Estragon. We’re still trapped in that same emotional turmoil, the same search for meaning in a meaningless world. But here, instead of conforming and engaging with the superficiality around them, the song’s protagonist chooses a path of rebellion. Because, let’s face it, what’s more punk rock than that?

The song kicks off with these almost melancholy guitar strums that have a dreamy, otherworldly quality to them. It’s strangely peaceful, but there’s an underlying tension in the his voice – you can practically hear the exhaustion and exasperation. It’s like they’ve reached their breaking point, and are utterly fed up with the world and everything in it. This feeling of being completely done, of having absolutely had it, is so, so relatable. We’ve all been there.

The music itself, with its laid-back tempo and airy feel, is a stark contrast to this emotional intensity, but that does change later on in the track. Right after the first verse and chorus, the song takes a turn as a heavier guitar line kicks in, cutting through the mellow backing riff. This sudden shift adds a new dimension to the song, injecting a new energy. You can feel the song starting to build towards something bigger, and this guitar work is just killer.

Right on cue, the song switches gears with a change in rhythm and a subtle shift in attitude. The percussion kicks in with this driving, cash drag beat, and the vocals totally change things up. It’s like a whole new tone, amplified by the new rhythm. At first, it was very different, but now the protagonist is taking a more argumentative stance, almost like they’re ready to fight. The backing harmonies in the chorus sound awesome and really emphasize that shift in tone.

For me, this song is about those times when the world feels too loud. We’ve all been there, overwhelmed by the constant noise and demands from everyone around us. It’s like everyone’s trying to shout their opinions and expectations at you until you want to scream, “Shut up!” But this song resonates because it says it’s okay to disconnect from the chaos and find some peace in the quiet. Sometimes the most rebellious act is simply shutting it all out and being with yourself.

“The Past of the Future,” one of the radio edit versions on the EP, is perfect for those moments when you just want to get right into the music without any distractions. It’s ideal for a gym playlist or any situation where you don’t want to lose momentum or spend time easing into a song. In other words, think of it like the express lane to rocking out.

Now, this version is a bit different from the original. They’ve shaved off about a minute of that doomy, atmospheric intro – you know, the part with the sludgy, doom metal-esque guitars and those monstrous, gurgling sounds in the background, along with the rapid-fire guitar riff build-up. Instead, the radio edit skips straight to the good stuff, launching directly into the high-energy “go!” section and keeping the momentum flowing from the very start.

“Passion,” plucked straight from the band’s 1995 demo tape, is a real standout on this EP. This version is a total blast from the past, and it’s probably the most different and jarring compared to any other recording of the song I’ve heard. It’s such a fun and really cool glimpse into the band’s early days and how things have changed. Seriously, I’m stoked they decided to put this out there – and this is the kind of thing I was talking about that I, as a music nerd, love.

Listening to this track is like hopping into a time machine. You can definitely hear echoes of the band’s younger sound in the vocals, but the overall experience is just almost completely different. The original version is a prime example of some old school heavy bass, a low-end rumble that’s guaranteed to satisfy those that love the more earth-shaking power of a song.

It’s been so much fun going back and forth between the two, picking out the similarities and differences. Honestly, it’s like experiencing the song for the first time all over again, which is always a cool thing for a fan.

“Another Song” wraps up the EP, and this time around, it’s another track plucked from “The Scapegoat’s Agony.” Unlike “Passion,” this one doesn’t stray too far from the original LP version. Sure, it’s a tad shorter, but the differences aren’t nearly as drastic as the transformation we heard in “Passion.” It’s a solid way to round out the EP, giving us a familiar taste of the band’s signature sound without throwing too many curveballs.

Now this track was a personal favorite of mine from “The Scapegoat’s Agony”. While I might not have gone into it too deeply in my initial album overview, this track always stood out to me. The guitar work is absolutely mesmerizing, and the energy of the percussion is just infectious. The song channels a sense of disillusionment and cynicism towards many of the cruelties of everyday life. The protagonist, worn down by the monotony and meaninglessness of existence, turns to sarcasm as a shield against the pain.  Because sometimes sarcasm is the only way to cope with the absurdity of it all

This EP is a tasty little appetizer for anyone craving new or even more familiar sounds from this fantastic band. It’s a cool snapshot of their evolution, especially with tracks like “Passion” showcasing a different earlier energy. Plus, it’s super convenient to have a few tracks that just get straight to the point – perfect for those times when you need a quick musical fix.

It strikes a perfect balance between familiar and fresh, offering just enough of both to keep things interesting. If you’re already a fan, this EP is a must-have addition to your playlist. And if you’re new to the band, it’s a great introduction to their sound.

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