It statrs with one of those perfect pop—with power!—songs, all jangly descending riffage culled from the Guided by Voices Book of Oomph, a propulsive back beat (that you can’t lose, natch), yearning-yet-emphatic vocals that’d make a Superchunk fan stand up and salute, a heartbeat, drop-out midsection that steers you directly up to the pinnacle. No matter that “Exit Signs” is a cautionary, pessimistic tune about good times that are in danger of going bad (although the closing chorus tentatively reassures that “it’ll be all right”); by track’s end, Jared Putnam has hooked you, in all the ways rock ‘n’ roll is supposed to hook you. (Hold that thought, please….)
San Antonio-based Putnam, essentially a one-man band, now on full-length number three, has steadily been refining his musical vision, to the point that Saturdays is easily the most assured effort from the March Divide to date. There are songs so effortlessly accessible that you could imagine them being slotted into an I Heart Radio playlist without blinking—he’d teach the listening audience a thing or two about craft, methinks, as opposed to no-substance flash and image—and there are songs as visionary and forward-thinking as GbV’s Robert Pollard was back in the day, during his ahead-of-the-pop-curve days.
From the insistent push-pull pulse, sinewy strums and buoyant “whoah-ohh-oahhh” chorus of “Take Your Chances” and the Weezer-esque anthemism of “I Give Up,” to the Big Star-informed, strummy acoustic reverie that is “Over and Over” and the meaty minor chord rocker (and equally anthemic) “Go to Sleep,” Putnam demonstrates his mastery of the love song, in all its myriad variations. It’s a fun album, upbeat when it needs to be and soulful when you need it to be. The kind of album that, in a just world, will be blasted from car stereos all summer long, windows down, fists pounding on steering wheels and young lovers sitting close beside one another.
Speaking of “hooked,” above: Saturdays is a vinyl fetishist’s delight, pressed as it is on random shades of colored wax. Mine is a lovely magenta/purplish, blue-splotched platter, bolstered by a corresponding blue label. It’s the little touches that count, at least to these eyes and ears. If this is a March Divide, then I’m joining up.
Artist: The March Divide
The March Divide is essentially just one man named Jared Putnam. His new record “Saturdays” with white cover art recruits only one other musician, drummer Austin Busbee. Putnam has almost single-handedly made his “white album.”
This 14 track project deserves to be likened to the Beatles’ celebrated 1968 musical kaleidoscope with pure white jacket because it’s so good.
The sixth day has a reputation for being the happiest 24 hours of the week and Saturdays’ music dovetails to that expectation. It’s the record’s sonic balance that’s most remarkable. Every song is a joy and none resembles the others. Gentle tempos give way to infectiously upbeat ones.
“I Give Up” is one of these adorably speedy power pop numbers. Its sweetness clocks in at a diminutive two and a half minutes. “Katherine Loves the Fall” is about a young single mother who doesn’t like her job at the mall. Putnam carefully crafts his story song about a woman focused on the future with the care of a diamond cutter.
Train wheels slapping track percussion on “I Don’t Recall” builds while conveying Putnam’s vocals and backing chorus to a crescendo. “This Infatuation” bravely cradles a whistling chorus and woodblock percussion to its bosom.
It’s a quirky break-up song concluding with a few seconds of inexplicable party noise. A White Stripes riff is delicately pinched for the opening of “Over and Over.”
There’s no blues like that of a shift worker doing the same awful job day in and day out. “Stacey” sounds like the Beach Boys on a surf perfect afternoon. That would naturally be on a Saturday.
San Antonio based musician, Jared Putnam, who plays as pop-rock band The March Divide, is probably one of the hardest working guys you will meet. From constant touring and networking to cranking out an impressive catalog of music, Jared doesn’t stop. Continuing with that full head of steam, The March Divide announced the upcoming release of a new album, Saturdays. The thought of a new MD album had me drooling. I was beyond excited when I got the chance to preview Saturdays, and it definitely did not disappoint. From saucy riffs, savory melodies and succulent lyrics, there is a reason my mouth was watering. Each song takes you on a different journey and leaves you wanting more. There are a lot of new sounds and ideas that were tried on this album as well. Putnam challenged himself to bring less traditional forms of percussion to pop songs to breathe some fresh air in his music. “I wanted to try and bring the songs to a whole new level of pop sonics,” Putnam said. “For Saturdays, I took it upon myself, even with my less than impressive percussion skills, to try and make it happen.” After explaining an idea that came from reading an article about how radio stations have begun to consider airing portions of songs to accommodate the short attention spans of their listeners, he mention another tactic he tried. “I wrote several songs that are between 90 seconds and two minutes long, I decided to use it as a personal challenge to write short songs, but without sacrificing the things that I think make a song good,” he said. My personal favorites include “Stacey” and “I Don’t Recall”, which you can hear the varied percussion and shorter styled songs, respectively. All in all, this is a solid album that you will leave on repeat for weeks, be humming in your head non-stop and hear in your dreams. Furthermore, I think it will also help take The March Divide to the next level.“Saturdays” arrives on May 13th, don’t sleep on it.
The March Divide - Saturdays (Independently released CD, Pop/rock)
Listening to the music created by San Antonio, Texas-based singer/songwriter/recording artist Jared Putnam has been similar to watching a photograph develop slowly over time. Early March Divide recordings were kind of fuzzy and not yet well-developed. But the essential ingredients were there. Now that a few years have passed, Jared has fine-tuned his craft to the point where his songs have a sheen and brilliance that was only hinted at in the early days. Saturdays is mostly a solo album although drums were played by Austin Busbee. In terms of sound quality and songs, this album is probably our favorite March Divide release to date. The songs tread on that fine line that separates commercial pop from art. Just about anyone could enjoy and appreciate these tunes, but that's not to say this is shallow commercial dribble. Because it is anything but. Some songs are punchy pop, while others are in a more folky vein. Throughout all fourteen songs Putnam keeps things interesting, all the while presenting several tracks that could easily become hugely popular. Our favorite cuts include "Exit Signs," "I Give Up," "Go To Sleep," and "Stacey." Recommended. Top pick.
We've enjoyed previous releases we've heard from The March Divide. This EP provides the most precise and direct punch yet. Singer/songwriter Jared Putnam saved some favorites for this EP...and they're bound to be fan favorites as well. Considering the fact that there are only seven songs here, they're all impressively different from one another. Tunes delve into everything from buzzsaw rock to straightforward pop to alternative rock and even folk. But no matter what the sound or style, Jared's intelligent lyrics and inspired melodies drive the music to the next level. The rockier stuff sometimes reminds us of 1990s bands like Bad Religion or Bracket...while some of the softer stuff occasionally recalls David Bowie or even very early Rick Springfield (!?). Our initial favorites are "Forward Thinking," "Slow Down," "You Save Me," and "Lessons." The super simple cover art is killer.
Jared Putman is back with his new set of music as The March Divide and if you got into him for the first time with his Billions album, he’d like for you to continue with an EP simply called +1 (self-released). At first, I thought his style of singing in the opening cut (“Forward Thinking”) was a strong as Lenny Kravitz’s on his 5 album and tour but then the attitude came off like what Green Day has become, a nice mixture of punk and pop. It caught me by surprise but it’s welcome to hear something that may come off as diverse but also familiar. “Slow Down” has a slight Elvis Costello swagger to it, but “The Breakup” sounds like a ballad ready to sulk into and eat your life away through crappy chocolate bars until someone better comes along. Putnam is someone who isn’t afraid to express his deep feelings, and whether they are direct and to the point or full of metaphors is something meant to be figured out during each listen. He sounds like someone you’d love to get to know more with his music and more importantly, to hear more of what he has to offer in the future because his stories equal to those you’ve felt before. If radio was smart, they’d put the songs of +1 in heavy rotation.
There are times when I feel like I've said all that I can about The March Divide. Whenever I start to feel that way though, I just have to ask myself whether or not The March Divide has said all that they needed to say. For me, to be able to feel as if I've said all that can be said about The March Divide would mean that The March Divide has done all that they can as a band and thus should not be making new music. I find this to be quite far from reality and as such I hope that I can continue to write about The March Divide for years to come.
On "+1", which I will say is seven new songs from them because sometimes that could be considered a full length and sometimes it could be an EP but I'm not here to really care about or discuss that part of this so I digress. The music on here is an acoustic flavored bit of rock that to me goes from sounding like I Am the Avalanche to Soul Asylum and, well, both are rather vague in comparison but they are both two of my all-time favorite artists so just know that what is coming out of here does sound that good.
This is just plain rocking and my three year old really digs it as well. He was dancing around and actually told me that he liked it (I feel like he's getting used to hearing this the same way some would the voice of Elmo or some other character designed for kids, but I do prefer this to that) The last song kind of slows down for the power ballad and when he's really belting it out all I can think of is the band Lit, who for what it's worth get a bad rap for being known only for that one song (I followed them on tour once because Shades Apart was opening and Lit was surprisingly good live)
When I listen to "+1" though, and really from the very first line of the very first song, all I can think of is the obvious that has already been stated. We know that The March Divide can write good songs. We know that they can get stuck into your head and implant themselves as seeds the way that any great band can do. But what becomes the question for me is when is it enough? Will there come a time when we can say "This is enough songs by The March Divide"? I certainly hope not because the number of bands that I can say no to that question is growing smaller every day.
One of if not the biggest factors I consider at this stage in the game is how you can relate to these songs and for me the themes that I take from them come from a place where you feel lost. You don't know why you're on this earth, you feel alone and you're just so... It's an apt representation of how we should question every day of our lives. And if you ever reach that sort of comfort, that complacency, in your lifetime then I could argue that you're already dead.
As I writer I feel I have a natural curiosity. I'm always wondering about things and as such questions left without answers- subjects we may never find the answers to really- are some of my favorite things. To me, these songs represent that part of life and the idea that, at the risk of sounding crude, we're all floating around on this giant rock and none of us really knows what we're doing here. This is the anthem for that. If you're not down with that, then you could always leave the rock.
The sophomore full-length release from The March Divide. This band just keeps getting better. And we're pleased to report that Billions is the strongest effort thus far in this band's short career. These songs should appeal to folks who appreciate underground guitar pop/rock bands from the 1990s when power pop was all the rage. Ten songs here and they all have something credible to offer. These songs are fueled by power chords, urgent vocals, driving rhythms, thumpy bass, and propulsive rhythms. Recorded in San Antonio, Texas with producer Todd Osterhouse, these tracks have a nice slick sound that was created using only the essential ingredients. This band's main strength is songs. Jared Putnam has a cool knack for coming up with catchy riffs, cool melodies, and lyrics that will surely stand the test of time. Nifty pop/rock cuts include "I Told You So," "November Suicides," "Mislead," and "Situations."
Billions is an album of ten songs by San Antonio’s The March Divide. It’s a distillation of what seemed like a zillion hours listening to indie rock in Norman’s micro venue Opolis from 1997 to 2006.
Comparisons of this music with The Promise Ring and Pedro the Lion immediately come to mind. Emo is a term not applied frequently in 2014.
The March Divide’s Jared Putman and Patrick Reetz give the genre another long lingering soul kiss with these tunes.
Unchecked emotion gushes forth from the get-go on first track “I Told You So.” Promises not kept, obstacles to affection erected and indefensible nonsense all make for furious rock n roll vitriol. “You’re so wrong,” Putnam sings in conclusion.
There’s nothing like having the last word. The song is up-tempo and irresistibly infectious. Even though these songs are about tempestuous and usually painful relationships they’re all incredibly fun to listen to.
Rolling thunder percussion and well-crafted guitar lines pulse throughout. You’d expect a song titled “November Suicides” to be horrific, but it’s essentially dramatic moping about his lover’s dirty looks.
“Dumb Luck” is the cheeriest composition. It boasts nerdy pillow talk chorus, “We are young in our distance to the sun/ And we know all our fortunes that will come.” Unrequited heart throbs are an Emo staple.
The March Divide eschews cardiac arrest for a shot of punk adrenaline in “Given Out.” Back-up shouting echoes the lead vocalist to make it a screamo anthem. “Situations” is remarkable for Putnam memorializing the fact that he got caught looking down the blouse of a woman he’s smitten with at a gathering of friends.
His guitar may be gently weeping but happily they leave together. Billions of reasons could undoubtedly be collected for why a stake should be driven through Emo’s heart but Billions isn’t one of them
Have you ever had that one person you went, either figuratively or literally, to fisticuffs with only to find that you would become good friends?
Well I have done that a few times. And while I didn’t necessarily challenge a one Mr. Jared Putnam to any formal battle, I was not one to dote over his initial work. Realizing my misguided ways and the quality of his musical development, The March Divide quickly became one of my more appreciated sounds.
With the release of Billions, where I admittedly looked for a “Music For” beginning, the development of the emo/post-punk sound that has given The March Divide wings soars to new heights. A 50/50 for what I have previously reviewed from the March Divide I was slightly hesitant, but after my first go, and the addictive repeats I realized that the title can really only mean one thing; the number of times you’ll listen to this record.
The acoustic swagger and slick electric licks go together on Billions like attitude and change. This is, hands down, one of the more entertaining, well rounded records I have come across this year. Each track is pure addiction to me with the strongest hit coming off “Come Apart.” The ten songs seem to fit the changing seasons, the current state of the world we’re in, and speak to a very personal level. Any sense of edge or potential resentment from The March Divide that would allow itself to be labeled “emo” is lost to me under a shroud of honest lyrics, impressive vocals, a plethora of hooks, and a big sound formed from very little instrumentation. Emo doesn’t have this much feeling. Plainly put, I can’t see calling such an impressive release something so drivel as emo. No, The March Divide is a stride of musicianship at its current level of career that shins into the night sky like a post-punk beacon that would have Batman taking notice.
I have already expressed my error in not fully understanding what would become The March Divide but to dwell on that would be a disservice to where Jared Putnam has been. You can list the experiences he had with The Conversation but that too would be deflecting. Billions is a rich success for a very deserving musician.
The March Divide shine on latest full-length platter ‘Billions’
The March Divide (self-released)
4 stars out of 5
Jared Putnam and The March Divide scored a couple of winning releases in 2013 with “Music for Films” and “Music for Television,” and things continue to look up for the emo outfit with the release of latest full-length “Billions.”
“I’m finally at a place in my life where I don’t have to bleed all over the page to write a song,” Putnam explains. “I was in a good place writing ‘Billions.’ I haven’t been taking everything so seriously, which really helped me to open up.”
The results, while less angsty (and thankfully less earnest) than The March Divide’s previous output, make for a very pleasurable listen. Terrific lead single “I Told You So” launches a 10-track set that whisks by in an efficient 32 minutes, and The March Divide also score with “November Suicides,” “Dumb Luck,” “Given Out,” “Last Call” and “Situations.” Good stuff.
CD Review: The March Divide "Billions"
If you should happen to read every review I write or have just been following my writings on a whole you could easily chart my musical listening preferences from genre to genre throughout the course of my lifetime. Oddly, I somehow was at the appropriate age when emo was spawned as a genre to appreciate the whole loneliness and angst factors that help to shape it.
Over the years I haven't really paid much attention to the genre known as "emo" mostly because I don't care. Most of the bands that I liked have long since broken up and the ones that have stayed together only release lesser versions of themselves on new albums. (Though the idea of Saves the Day playing "Through Being Cool" live kind of interests me) I have no time for new "emo" bands because I'm old, married and have a child so I'm not in that same place as I was back in the early '00s.
What you have to understand about The March Divide, who I am not reviewing for the first time now but with "Billions" those previous reviews seem almost childish, is that they are picking up the pieces of that forgotten (about on purpose) genre and put them back together to create something that should win over even the most jaded of us.
Now I am in no way saying that there aren't bands creating music under the genre of "emo" because some are doing it without wanting to be labeled as such. But what I am saying is that those bands don't really seem to matter as much and so when you just focus on this one somewhat newer band playing the greatest hits of your formidable years, well, it's impactful to say the least.
Growing up and really having some of the best times of my life during those years when I'd drive to New Jersey (no joke) to see a band play, you know, in a lot of ways I feel like "Billions" is being written and played just for me. The thing I realize, of course, is that there are just as many other people out there who loved the bands I did and so this could feel just as personal for them.
Musically this is somewhere between Yellowcard without the pop and there are a lot of I Am the Avalanche/The Movielife undertones and, hey, yeah, seeing The March Divide tour with the Avalanche... someone should make that happen if it hasn't already (I'm not hip to the tours because outside and I don't get along) I mean, I could pull out band names for comparison that I listened to like Park and Day at the Fair but the reality is that this is more than that.
The song "Given Out" opens with a line about putting on records from ten years ago. It's kind of funny because that was such a strange time for music yet such a good time for me because of the bands that existed (Though on the whole it will never be remembered like the 1990s grunge movement, for instance) "Billions" is as important an album as The March Divide is a band and this is about feeling a way that you could only otherwise feel by putting on music recorded what seems like a lifetime ago.
"The March Divide are one of the most engaging, charismatic and sincere bands around and Billions is one of the year’s very best."
"When I first heard The March Divide, I didn’t think that I would like them—or at least, I didn’t think that I would like them for this long. At their core, The March Divide could be described by some lazy reviewers as being pop rock or pop punk or indie pop or something with pop mixed in.
While this is usually a turn off for me, I enjoyed The March Divide’s full length and I find myself just as much enjoying this seven song EP. The songs have a pop quality to them in ways, but I wouldn’t call them pop so much as grounded, in the sense that they are down to earth and relatable.
It comes as no surprise that the female vocals make their return on this EP because, well, a lot of these songs are about girls and struggling with life as well. They remind me a lot of the confessional style of a band such as Say Anything or Modern Baseball, but then something more acoustic like Dashboard Confessional for example can come out as well.
As an accompaniment to the full length, this EP makes for a great added bonus in many ways. But that isn’t to say that this EP can’t hold its own. "
The Daily News - Pittsburgh
Having made a nice splash with “Music for Film” back in February, Jared Putnam fronted The March Divide wasted little time getting back at it with the release of follow up EP “Music for Television.” The seven track release serves up more of the same infectious indie rock and is a companion piece for its fantastic predecessor. The opening tandem of “Like I Do” and “So It Goes” set the tone for the EP, and the March Divide also score with “Small Differences,” “Write Off” and “Trying Now.” Keep up the good work, fellas.
“Music For Film” is kinda of like the “Hey There Delilah” song, but with the oomph of a marching band. And there’s ten songs of it. “Music for Television” is kinda emo with gusto, so it’s “Gustmo.”
We enjoyed the last disc that we received by this band (Music For Film), a project that apparently required a great deal of effort as it was bandleader Jared Putnam's first attempt to produce his own music. If that was the album that provided the learning curve, then Music For Television is the disc where all the pieces came together exactly as they should have. Clocking in at just over 24 minutes, this disc features smart, upbeat guitar-driven pop tunes with plenty of punch and sparkle. New band members Mike Hernandez (drums) and Jeremy Brooks (bass) provide the perfect rhythmic foundation for Putnam's inspired wordplay. All seven of these tracks pack a punch...but our own particular favorites include "Like I Do," "So It Goes," "Write Off," and "Duplex."
The Daily News - Pittsburgh
"From the ashes of the Conversation comes new Jared Putnam-fronted col-lective the March Divide, who serve up one of the new year’s more promis-ing debuts in “Music for Film.” Putnam’s inspired choice to add Laura Wheeler as co-vocalist and cello player is what sets this 10-track release apart. The two have palpable chemistry and have mas-tered the boy-girl singing dynamic. You won’t find a clunker on the album, and the March Divide are especially impressive on “Still Analog,” “Skinny Brain,” “I’m Uncon-vinced,” “I Don’t Remem-ber,” “Jose Cuervo” and dynamic closer “It’s All Been Sung.” The band launched a tour in sup-port of “Music for Film” earlier this month. Here’s hoping they make a stop in Pittsburgh."
"Picture yourself driving down a wide-open Texas road. There’s nothing to see for miles, just dust and highway. But it doesn’t feel empty; it feels open. Got that picture in your mind? Good. Keep it there, and now you’re ready to listen to Music for Film by The March Divide. Jared Putnam – the lead singer, songwriter and guitarist – drove around the Lone Star State while making the album, a fact that comes through in its lyrics and style. Joined by his former band mates from The Conversation — Jorge Ramirez (bass) and Mike Hernandez (drums) — and bolstered by the cello and vocal contributions of Laura Wheeler, Putnam created an album that might double as a soundtrack for Texas."
"This album kicks butt, quite frankly."
"All in all, Music For Film starts off 2013 with catchy indie pop crafted to lift spirits throughout the cold and dark winter months."
"Music For Film is modern folk with an air of post-punk fallout standing in a downpour of pop with only an acoustic guitar and love letters to shield itself from being drenched. Though it does everything in its power to prevent becoming soaked, it can’t help but get a little wet. It struggled to find itself early on, but by the end it stood proudly in the rain, belting out passionate confidence."
"Taking on the production duties himself, Putnam eventually settled on an acoustic-based record, with drums on just half of the songs. This stripped down approach suited him and the band just fine, and you can hear some of his influences, such as Elliott Smith and Cursive, slip through your speakers. About their latest single, the Wheeler sung “Pick Me Up,” Putnam says, “it portrays that feeling you can’t get passed when all you can say is, ‘What the fuck just happened!?”” Smearing glossy pop theatrics across Wheeler’s emotional vocals and twisting them together with brightly chiming guitars, the band delivers a slice of sugary rock that manages to get stuck in your head and has you singing the chorus hours after you’ve heard it."
The debut full-length release from The March Divide, the new band created by Jared Putnam who was previously in the El Paso, Texas-based band The Conversation. Music For Film features tracks with a full band as well as cuts driven mainly by acoustic guitar. These songs are all about lyrics and melodies, both of which are the central focus throughout the album. Putnam has a sound that should appeal to a wide range of listeners. His observations are about everyday situations and he comes across like a nice sincere guy who truly loves making music. Ten hummable tracks here including "Still Analog," "I'm Unconvinced," "Flake," and "It's All Been Sung."
"#5 Song of 2012: “Still Analog” – The March Divide. It’s a pop song about pop songs, and it involves clapping and snapping. ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!"
The core of The March Divide is a man named Jared Putnam, and Music For Film(Dead Letter) is his music played and performed with the assistant of some of his friends. Putnam is a singer/songwriter who puts together heartfelt songs with a lot of conviction, and that is detected by how he sings and how the songs are presented. When Laura Wheeler joins him in “Skinny Brain”, you imagine (or at least I did) a small shed as everyone inside is playing a song about wanting someone but not quite asking the question or saying the things that need to be said. Everyone is there in silence waiting for it to be said, but part of the drama is hoping it will be.
Whether it’s in a full band setting or just Putnam and his guitar, Music For Film is acoustic music that moves you to think about the song, and how it applies to you, or how you would like to be able to do the things expressed in the song. You know your life is not being captured on film, but their songs convince you that life is easy when there is a beginning, middle, and end. In this case, life has already begun, we’re all going through eternal middles, but hope that by the time we reach our end, it will be as satisfying as the music Putnam performs here.
The March Divide, scheduled to release its debut album Music For Film via Dead Letter Records on February 12th, 2013, is a fresh start for San Antonio-based musician Jared Putnam after years on the road (and a few years off of it) with his former band The Conversation.
One of these tunes is the album’s first single “Still Analog.” “It’s pretty ironic that it’s a pop song about how writing a pop song isn’t the solution to my problems,” says Putnam. “I really got my shit together soon after I wrote it, though. It’s essentially about turning over a new leaf.” Check out the impressively hooky track