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Top 100 Tooth & Nail Albums of All Time

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#43. mewithoutYou
Catch For Us The Foxes

Release Date: October 5, 2004
Do you think that when an artist strums a guitar, bands practice, a lyricist jots down ideas and they write a song, they think this is going to change everything? As a lover of music and a self-proclaimed activist for the cultivation of art and its processes, I can name albums, artists, movies, books, and songs that changed my world, personally. The movie/novel High Fidelity changed the way I look at relationships. Ray Charles taught me how to feel music in my soul. The Get Up Kids helped me through break-ups and The Format helped me get the guts to get on stage again, with just a guitar and a few ideas. I remember a friend that was by my side during a lot of these times, Dane Johns. I noticed his love for mewithoutYou grow during this time, and he was also going through life changes, and I believe music and art played a major role.

Josh: I think Catch For Us The Foxes was the first time I realized they were going to be a big deal. [A-->B] Life was great, but I thought they may only be a one-trick pony. But Foxes proved that to be incorrect.

Dane: See, I hate to admit it, but I didn't really like them at that time. Do you remember Not Tonite? Our old drummer, Brandon, used to play Foxes and I hated it. It wasn't until I saw the video for "January 1979" in a dining hall one day. There used to be this channel called MTVU that would play indie rock videos, and I became a fan. That video was great. I mainly just remember Aaron Weiss singing behind a glass window with words on it. I think I used to talk a lot of crap about him playing that album. Man, like so much back then, I was so wrong!

Josh: I remember not really understanding this band and its creative hold on our underground scene until my former band Forgetting Paris and I were playing a show and another band soundchecked with "January 1979." The crowd rushed the stage as if mewithoutYou was performing. It was nuts. So why is this record in particular so meaningful to you?

Dane: Well, over time, I came to love mewithoutYou. They're one of my favorite bands now, and I think a large part of it had to do with their live show. They're one of those bands that, when you see them live, they seem like more than just people playing songs they wrote. It's something bigger, more cathartic, more - for the lack of a better word - spiritual. It's a moment that can't be faked or manufactured. It's something special. I remember the last real conversation I had with my mom came before I left for a mewithoutYou show. She was up watching Carrie 2 (or some equally cheesy horror movie) and I knew she was getting sicker, so I took some time and sat with her watching it. When I couldn't keep my friends waiting any longer, I left for the show, and this weight came with me. Something like guilt or something like premature grief or something like sorrow. But then, as we stood up front during mewithoutYou's set, I felt that stuff start to be stripped away. They played "Four-Word Letter, Pt. 2," and that part that says, "Let's go down, brother, let's go down, down to the river to pray (oh, but I'm so afraid)." And I shouted along to that, and I could've cried because I was so afraid of losing her and of what would come next, and it felt like a kind of prayer in itself. Then, as their set drew to a close, Louis (from Gasoline Heart) pulled us onstage for "In A Sweater Poorly Knit" (not from Foxes, but stick with me), and we sang and yelled and danced and I shouted "I do not exist, only You exist," with everything in me, and I felt so light and free and like everything was going to be okay. So that's what mewithoutYou (and all their albums) means to me. We almost got matching tattoos of "Torches Together," and I kinda wish we had, because that song and those words means so much to me.

Josh: We still could!

Dane: Maybe we should! Even though I don't call myself a Christian anymore, I still believe so much in being a light for others, in being there for each other, in coming together to be something bigger than ourselves. I still turn to mewithoutYou and I feel something spiritual, for real. And if I have a hard day at work or something, I can blast their songs and remember that I'm living with a purpose. Brother, let's go down to the river to pray.

Josh: Of most of my friends, I consider you one of the most Christlike, just without the label. I see your life and I see God's love. Take that as you will, but I look at you and I see Jesus. Maybe it's because of examples like mewithoutYou.

Dane: Of course, I still believe in pretty much everything Jesus taught. I just can't say that I believe with unwaivering faith. And yeah, mewithoutYou means a lot to me. They represent this kind of "hippie Christianity" that I could definitely get behind.

I know in the lives of Dane, myself, and others like us, music was there for us and might be a reminder of the bond and love of a family member or friend. As people, I believe we instinctively want to connect to each other, and mewithoutYou helped my friend when he was hurting in ways I felt I couldn't. This is art at its finest, because it's pure and allows for us to be part of it. It molds us to our needs, and sometimes it's a hug to a friend that's 600 miles away.
        - Dane Johns formerly of the band Ravenhill and Joshua Clifton of the band Ravenhill

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  • Top 100 Tooth & Nail Albums of All Time

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