Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Blues Brothers - Jailhouse Rock 7" (Japan)


Atlantic (1980)

This 7" ties pretty directly into the last Blues Brothers single I wrote about, primarily because it is the exact same single.  However, for the Japanese market they switched things up and made "Jailhouse Rock" the A side and "Theme From Rawhide" the B side.  To me, that actually makes a lot more sense and I'm surprised it wasn't the case for both versions.

The artwork on this Japanese version is a lot of fun.  The classic illustrated logo of the band is mixed in with jail cell bars over a bright yellow background.  They threw in a small picture of the photo from the soundtrack album cover just for good measure.  It's an interesting way of creating completely new and original artwork without using anything new.  Both images have been recycled from countless other releases, yet this 7" still stands out as truly unique.

This is actually the last of the Japanese Blues Brothers 7"s I have.  There's one more that I know of for "She Caught the Katy"/"Gimme Some Lovin'" that I haven't been able to track down yet, so if anyone ever sees that, please let me know.

The Blues Brothers - "Jailhouse Rock":

The Blues Brothers - "Theme From Rawhide":

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Unwelcome Guests - Anything You Want LP


Dirt Cult (2017)

I couldn't tell you why it's taken me so long to write about this newest Unwelcome Guests album.  They're a band I've been listening to for a really long time and I have just about all of their records, but for whatever reason this album lingered in the to do pile for way too long.  I've been listening to it for a while and I can say conclusively that it's as good if not better than anything else they've ever released.  Which is to say it's quite good.

I've often tried to describe Unwelcome Guests by saying they seem to take the lead guitar dynamics of Dinosaur Jr. and mesh them into a rootsy, boozy Replacements style of songwriting.  It's never as chaotic or ear blistering as Dinosaur Jr., but it's certainly not straight up Replacements worship either as the energy of the lead guitar and punk rock song structure keep things lively and engaging.  

If I had to say any sort of generic descriptor, it would be that Unwelcome Guests are pitch perfect indie rock for today in the same way that Archers of Loaf were when they came out with Icky Mettle.  I don't think the records sound the same, but they both set themselves apart as standard bearers for the genre.  Needless to say, I dig this album quite a bit and I wish it hadn't taken me so long to write about it and say so.

Unwelcome Guests - Anything You Want:

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Rocket From The Crypt - Return To Monkey Island 7" - Picture Disc


Self Released (2017)

Towards the end of last year the greatest band on the planet, Rocket From The Crypt, went on the UK tour.  They brought with them this two song 7" that was only available at those shows.  So far, that has held true.  This record hasn't been sold anywhere else and has become one of the harder to find releases in the Rocket catalog.  For whatever reason I figured they'd have some of these leftover and would sell them stateside, but that hasn't been the case yet.  Perhaps it's because of less Rocket shows with Hot Snakes taking the spotlight currently, but I do hope these are released to some more folks that desperately want them.

I'm lucky.  I had a friend pick me up a copy at one of the UK shows.  So, I'll take this opportunity to say thank you, and I highly encourage everyone to buy as many records from Drunken Sailor as possible.  Though that's a cheap plug, I do mean it and would say that even if the juice man hadn't picked this up for me.

On this 7" we have two brand spanking new Rocket FromThe Crypt songs.  The first is "Waiting for the Shoe to Fall."  It starts off with a simple guitar riff that reminds me a little bit of the Sultans, but the song just grows from there.  The hook on this thing is unreal.  I don't think the Speedo John gets nearly enough credit for how god damn catchy his songs can be.  The punk rock bonafides can never be questioned, but the dude can write a hook.  Once the chorus kicks in, the horns swell and stay involved for the duration of the song, elevating everything.  If this is a taste of what we could hear on a future rocket album, sign me up.

On the B side we have "Too Dangerous."  This one has some guitar work that at first, makes me thing about one of the shorter, more straightforward Night Marchers songs.  But like on the A side, once the horns hit and the chorus revs up, it is unmistakably Rocket From The Crypt.  Like "Waiting For The Shoe To Fall," "Too Dangerous" is a short powerful blast of Rocket energy in the verse and the sort of chorus that I can just imagine myself jumping up and down to surrounded by my Swami family.  If it's not obvious, I love both of these. 

It still feels surreal to have new Rocket From The Crypt songs.  Greedily I just wish we had more.  I love Hot Snakes and could not possible be more thrilled that they have a new record and are touring.  But if I'm being honest, Rocket From The Crypt is my favorite band in the whole wide world.  Once this batch of Hot Snakes shows wrap up, I really hope Rocket gets down to the task of a new album.  I can't think of anything more exciting than a possibility of a dozen or so new songs by the mighty RFTC.

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Miles Apart - Almost Light 7" - Blue Vinyl (/100)


Green / Assurd (2017)

What a blast from the past it was to see a new release from Italy's The Miles Apart.  Forming from the ashes of the very wonderful Eversor, The Miles Apart put out a handful of albums and singles during the early 2000's.  This band was on my radar mostly due to being such a big Eversor fan, but also because they were one of those bands featured on a Snuffy Smile split 7".  When that happens, there's pretty much a one hundred percent chance I'm going to hear your band.

This 7" features three songs from The Miles Apart, their first new material in over ten years.  It doesn't sound like it's been that long at all as the band picks up right where they left off, turning in three songs of their melodic, bright and ultra catchy pop songs.  Their band name is also the name of a pretty spectacular Mega City Four song, and you can certainly hear the influences of not only MC4, but the entire early 90's scene they sprang from.   

Hints of Senseless Things creep up in "Lost In Nowadays" and you can hear some of the energy and guitar dynamics of early Snuff in "Almost Light."  I'm not sure what made The Miles Apart decide to get back together and release some new songs, but whatever the reason I hope they stick with it.  The songs on this 7" are exactly what I need to hear right now.  All three songs are flat out perfect.

The Miles Apart - Almost Light 7":

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Katamari Damacy - Original Video Game Soundtrack - 2xLP: Green & Purple Swirl / Red & White Swirl


Mondo (2018)

I can't say that I am much of a gamer.  Sure, I played a lot of Colecovision and Nintendo when I was a kid, same as most folks.  I even kept up pretty well with Nintendo products up through the Game Cube, but after that I went through a period where I really didn't play much.  I did pick up an Xbox360 when I lived in Boston for a while, so that I could play online with some of my friends and try to keep in touch, but once I moved back to NJ I didn't really keep up with it.

There were a few games that really connected with me during those Xbox years.  The first Gears of War, both Portal games and Katamari Damacy.  The first Katamari game never came out for Xbox, I don't think, but my wife had a playstation and we picked up that game based on a recommendation from my friend Alan.  What a wacky game.  You push around a little ball and as smaller items get stuck to it, it becomes bigger in a snowball effect.  Then you can pick up bigger things as the size of your ball increases.  Sounds silly, but it was pretty addictive.   The best thing about the game was its incredible soundtrack.

This is the first release on vinyl of this soundtrack, full of insanely catchy J pop/rock hits.  Some songs are in English, some are in Japanese, but all of them are outstanding.  After listening to the opening theme, it's pretty impossible to not have "na na na na na na na na" stuck in your head for about a month.  It also makes the phrase"I want to wad you up into my life" sound way more romantic than it probably should.

I will say that as a general rule, I'm not a fan of the vinyl movie and game soundtrack boom that's happened over the past few years.  It seems like every weirdo horror movie and every obscure game is getting a vinyl pressing when I still can't even get Onehundredpercentfreak by Alligator Gun on vinyl.  Sure, I partake occasionally. After all, I was very excited to be able to pick up the soundtrack to the original Godzilla a few years back.  But for the most part, I think it's overdone and I can't fathom listening to those kinds of things very often.

Obviously I've made an exception for Katamari, the songs are just too good.  And Mondo has done an incredible job with this pressing.  The artwork looks amazing, the vinyl colors are sharp and it's just a really nice package.  I'm glad I grabbed this and I'm tempted to pick up the Portal soundtrack that they released, but past that, I just don't see what other video game soundtracks would be worth owning.  OK, maybe I'd buy a 7" with the RC Pro Am song on it.

"Katamari On the Rocks":

"Que Sera Sera":

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Burning Spring / Cuddlefish - Split 7"


Debt Offensive (2017)

Debt Offensive sent me this split 7" of two bands I wasn't previously familiar with.  As I've said many times in the past, the split 7" is one of my absolute favorite ways to listen to music.  You get to hear from two bands that may or may not be similar, but have some sort of kinship.  Otherwise, why would they be on the split?  In this instance we have two bands that lean towards the melodic end of the punk rock spectrum.

The two Burning Spring songs are really impressive.  They have gruff, chunky guitar riffs that rattle around their songs, mixing in with the rhythm section and the slightly raspy, melodic vocals.  They've got a knack for dynamic starts and stops within the songs, particularly "Seven Years Bad Taste."  It's a really incredible song, catchy in all of the right places, but still with a rough around the edges feel that I find incredibly endearing.  I don't think these guys have anything else out, but these two songs make me eager to hear more.

Cuddlefish is a little bit tighter and a little bit slicker than Burning Spring, but they don't connect with me quite the same way.  Cuddlefish is leaning in a direction that reminds me of The Flatliners, particularly with the really scratchy, borderline screaming vocals.  It's not to say these songs aren't good, they are still pretty catchy and have really hooky choruses.  Their three songs aren't quite as captivating as the Burning Spring songs, but they are enjoyable with heaps of energy to spare.

Burning Spring / Cuddlefish - Split 7":

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Blues Brothers - Theme From Rawhide 7" (Europe)


Atlantic (1980)

When I started digging into information about Blues Brothers singles, this was definitely one of the more surprising discoveries I came across.  I didn't expect to find that "Rawhide" had ever been released as a single from the soundtrack album.  I could see it perhaps making an appearance as a B side, but not as an A side picture sleeve.  Yet here we are.

I've always loved this song, mostly because it gave Elwood a showcase; something I always wanted when I was a kid.  Elwood was my favorite and yeah, he drove the car in the movies, but he wasn't as in the forefront on record.  "Rawhide" was one of the rare instances where he took center stage, never mind that it was just a theme song to a TV show I had never seen.  The B side on this one is "Jailhouse Rock," which I'd really expect to be the A side.  That song will get its chance next time.

The artwork on this is interesting.  Again, they are pulling from the same batch of stock photos that keep turning up, though this time they've taken the Briefcase Full of Blues album cover, split it in half and then switched Jake and Elwood to the opposite side.  The film strip imagery cutting down the middle is a nice touch.  I don't mind the recycling of photos as much when they do something interesting with it.

The Blues Brothers - "Theme From Rawhide":

The Blues Brothers - "Jailhouse Rock":

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Gamla Pengar - Ingen Kan Allt - Men Alla Kan Dra åt Helvete 7"


Gaphals (2016)

I was hipped to Gamla Pengar because Fredrik of the ever wonderful Chester Copperpot told me he started to play with them.  While Fredrik isn't on this recording (unless he recorded under a rockstar pseudonym that I'm unaware of), I can certainly see why this is a band that would make someone want to jump on board.  These guys are pretty great.

So the two comparisons that immediately jump to mind for me are Hot Snakes and Rocket From The Crypt.  Now, I realize that is some lofty praise and it sets expectations perhaps a bit too high, but sonically those are the bands that come to mind.  You have the furious downstroking and dark melodies of Hot Snakes, mixed in with an overtly catchy, party/singalong vibe that I can only compare to Rocket.

Vocally they are worlds different as the singer from Gamla Pengar has a more guttural growl as opposed to the smoother tones Reis is known for or the pained howl that has become Rick Froberg's hallmark.  Also, Gamla Pengar is singing in Swedish, so that's a difference as well (According to Google, the title of the 7" is something about everyone can go to hell).

All four of the songs on this 7" are a rocking good time. Loud and aggressive enough to leap to the forefront, but the songs are catchy enough to where you still find yourself nodding along and tapping a toe.  This is the most recent release that Gamla Pengar has put out, but Fredrik sent me a few more of their older records, so I'll write a bit about those as well in the next few weeks.  Go check these guys out, it's worth it.

Gamla Pengar - Ingen Kan Allt - Men Alla Kan Dra åt Helvete 7":

Monday, May 7, 2018

Bedford Falls - Send More Bees LP - Greenish Blue Vinyl


Brassneck / Dead Broke / Boss Tuneage (2018)

Send More Bees is Bedford Falls' third album, but for whatever reason it's the first one of theirs that I've heard.  No matter how much I'd like to think I stay on top of things, at least within the genre of music I tend to like the most, bands like this still slip through the cracks.  I'm not entirely sure how I've missed Bedford Falls until now, but I'm happy to be correcting that problem at last.

Bedford Falls are playing a slow burning slice of the fuzzed out bliss of bands like Superchunk, but with a lower key take on the proceedings.  The bulk of the songs take mid tempo pace to allow the vocals melodies and lyrical imagery to really take hold.  Taking a more measured approach does give everything a bit more room to breathe and some of the songs flourish in this atmosphere.  

If there's a criticism, it's that the first batch of songs tend to somewhat blend together a bit, but it also makes the songs were Bedford Falls step on the gas, like "Reason To Believe" and "Defeat Artist" stand out more.  These songs take on a dynamic, Starmarket-like feel and the energy builds and the vocals have a focused urgency to them.  I do tend to prefer the faster ones at the end of the day and wish there were a few more over the course of the album.  Still, when Bedford Falls are on, they are really on and it's an album absolutely worth checking out.

Bedford Falls - Send More Bees:

Thursday, May 3, 2018

New Junk City / Hot Mass - Split 7" - Orange Vinyl


All In Vinyl (2018)

I have to admit, it's been so long since I got a new split 7" from the All In Vinyl singles club, I forgot it was still going on.  When I first started seeing pictures of this record online I thought that they had started up a new year that I hadn't signed up for yet.  Then I realized that this was part of the club I had already subscribed to.  And there's still one more 7" to go.  Good times.

New Junk City is a band that I was blown away by from a 7" randomly sent to me to review in 2016.  I was so into that record, but they completely fell off of my radar again.  This split is a nice reminder that they're still out there.  The songs are somewhat ramshackle in construction, with everything sounding kind of loose, but at the same time loud and exciting.  The guitars are perfectly blown out and fuzzy and the vocals are raw, but still maintain solid melodies.  Both of their songs on this 7" are crunchy and catchy and great.  I want to hear more by these guys and I really need to pick up their first EP that I see on their Bandcamp page.

Hot Mass is another band I wrote about in 2016 when their phenomenal album Nervous Tensions came out. It seems inconceivable to me that was nearly two years ago, but those are the trappings of growing old I guess.  In those two years, it appears that Hot Mass have gotten even better than they were.  The first song on this split is a short, catchy blast of punk rock, but it's the second song "Flatman" that is a real world beater.  It's probably the best song they've released so far and it's just a perfect mix of jagged UK punk pop, with dynamic transitions and a most excellent breakdown towards the end.  Hot Mass still remind me of Rumspringer, but with that extra little bit of aggression that make them stand out.

This really is a hell of a split 7".  Highly, highly recommended.

New Junk City / Hot Mass - Split 7":

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Empty Heads - Ugly 7"


Debt Offensive (2016)

Debt Offensive sent me this little gem from their back catalog along with the Supercrush 7" from the other day.  While the bands take completely different paths, both have a penchant for 90s style rock & roll and both are pretty darn great.

Where Supercrush is mining for pop gems, Empty Heads is their noisier stoner cousin.  All three songs on this 7" are sludgy, yet surprisingly catchy guitar rock numbers.  There's the sort of distortion you'd expect to hear on middle era Sebadoh records, but with choruses and hooks that remind of a mix between Seaweed and The Karl Hendricks trio.  Imagine that "Some Girls Like Cigarettes" came out on Sub Pop.

I think that this 7" is even better than the band's debut 7" I reviewed a few years ago.  I'm definitely curious to hear more, though it looks like the only other release they have out right now is a cassette.  I'll have to track that down so I can say bad things about the cassette format.  While this isn't the sort of thing one would typically think would immediately be my cup of tea, it's the hooks that will keep me coming back.

Empty Heads - Ugly 7":

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Record Store Day Haul #1: Superchunk - What A Time To Be Alive (Acoustic) 7" - Clear Vinyl


Merge (2018)

This will be my first and only post about the 2018 version of Record Store Day.  I didn't even buy this at my local record store as they didn't have a copy of it by the time I had arrived.  I own this record thanks to the generosity of my friend Charles.  So, thank you Charles, I really appreciate it.  In a nutshell, Record Store Day pretty much sucks now.  What was once a fun event that I looked forward to every year has turned into something I have almost zero interest in.

It's not because of some ethical statement of major labels taking it over, or indies being pushed out.  I'm also really glad that there is something driving people to record stores for at least the one day of the year, so that's not a bad thing either.  To me, the bad thing is that almost all of the releases labels decide to put out pretty much universally suck.  This Superchunk 7" and a Rascals 4xLP that I decided was too expensive to buy were the only things I had any interest in whatsoever.

Even this 7" isn't particularly enthralling.  Of course I love Superchunk and of course I needed to buy this 7" no matter what was on it to keep my Superchunk 7" collection complete. But both are acoustic versions of songs from the latest Superchunk LP.  They're slower and played with an acoustic guitar, but there's nothing all that interesting going on.  A fun novelty, but nothing I would listen to that often.  Again, needed for completist purposes, but not something I would recommend if you don't care about that sort of thing.  I do care, so thanks again to Charles for picking this up for me.

Monday, April 30, 2018

falls - Wednesday CD EP


Waterslide (2015)

I reviewed the excellent falls cassette EP a couple of weeks ago, but I also have the CD EP of theirs from 2015 that I hadn't had a chance to write about yet.  As you may remember, falls was one of the bands that played the Waterslide/PopKid show when I was in Tokyo last year.  They blew me out of the water at the show and they've continued to do so with their recorded output.

When I was talking about their cassette, I had mentioned how appropriate I thought it was that they were covering a Silver Scooter song due to the similarities between the two bands.  That comparison holds true for this EP as well.  Much like Silver Scooter, the band builds their songs off of tight, impactful drumming and impressive bass lines.  The rhythm section laying down this solid foundation allows for the band to create truly dynamic guitar work, transitioning from gentle plucking of the strings to fuzzy blasts of chords at the blink of an eye.

falls have found a way to harvest some of the sounds and intricacies of mid 90s bands like Boys Life, but they manage to keep everything catchy with the sort of hooks and choruses you expect from pop punk bands.  Really, the more I think about it the more I realize that they're just so much like Silver Scooter in so many ways.  A great band, writing great songs.  After these EPs, I'm definitely ready for falls to put out a full length.

falls - Wednesday:

Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Blues Brothers - Jailhouse Rock 7" (Netherlands)


WEA (1980)

This is one of my favorite Blues Brothers 7"s.  This version of the "Jailhouse Rock" single comes from the Netherlands and has "Sweet Home Chicago" as the B side.  It has completely unique artwork and doesn't look anything like any of the other Blues Brothers singles I have.  Even though it's a little weird that the image is chopped off at the ankles, that oddness only makes me love it more.

Even the way I obtained it was somewhat strange.  A seller on Discogs in The Netherlands had it listed.  I tried to buy it from them directly and they wanted to charge an astronomical shipping fee.  I think it was close to $60.  For one 7".  Crazy.  Anyway I came up with a plan and with the help of the wonderful Scott from Brassneck, we had the 7" shipped to the UK and then it was sent over with some stuff from Brassneck (I buy records there, so should you*).  Scott told me the seller shipped this in a gigantic box, so oversized for one 7" that it was ridiculous.  

Anyway, it's really cool addition to the Blues Brothers collection and I thank Scott for helping me obtain it.

*Cheap, but heartfelt plug

The Blues Brothers - "Jailhouse Rock":

The Blues Brothers - "Sweet Home Chicago":

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Custody - S/T LP Blue w/ Black Swirl Vinyl (/300)


Little Rocket (2018)

Custody are from Finland and hot damn what a great, great band they are.  So much so, that last year I put my money where my mouth was and helped release one of their 7"s.  While PopKid wasn't able to get involved with their debut full length, I can unquestionably say that: 1. It's great and 2. I really wish this was on PopKid.  It would have been a wonderful addition to our catalog.

Custody have a knack for melodic punk in ways that I have not seen in many years.  They have a 90s leaning style that often makes me think of Samiam in the way they craft their melodies and hooks.  But to get the full picture you need to add in a band like Starmarket in the way they are able to inject fierce energy and super dynamic guitar interplay.

Each of the album's ten songs just knock me over again and again.  They have an uncanny ability to craft their songs in a way that uses the verse as a launching pad for their killer choruses.  Custody also has incredible skill with constructing the instrumental portions of their songs, with perfectly placed bridges and honestly, some of the best song outros/conclusions that I've ever heard.

Custody's debut full length is so clearly one of the best albums to come out in 2018 so far.  I can't recommend it highly enough and I hope these guys keep cranking out records for many years.

Custody - S/T:

Monday, April 23, 2018

Supercrush - I've Been Around 7" - Orange Vinyl (/100)


Debt Offensive (2018)

I am pretty damn excited that there is a new Supercrush 7".  Though the band's output is sporadic and has been limited to singles so far, they are quietly amassing a collection of some pretty incredible pop songs.  

Everything I loved about 90's era guitar pop bands like Poole, The Merrymakers or perhaps the very poppiest moments of the Lemonheads is captured in the two songs on this 7".  A side "I've Been Around" is the more brazenly catchy of the two with its perfectly executed harmonies and escalating guitar riffs.  I just can't get enough of that warm, California, Overwhelming Colorfast style of guitar tone the band has so expertly dialed in.

Things mellow out a bit on the B side "Brutal Honesty," but again the songwriting chops and big, big hooks are on full display once again.  I really love this band and I desperately want them to put out a full length album.  Don't get me wrong, I'l happily take as many 7"s as they're willing to release, but I feel like the band would really be able to take advantage of a the full length format and really deliver something special.  I hope that time comes sooner than later.  Again, just a fantastic band.

Supercrush - I've Been Around 7":

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Nervous Tick and the Zipper Lips - S/T Cassette


More Power Tapes (2017)

I'm trying to get through these cassettes, but it's becoming something of a slog as a lot of them just aren't very good. Nervous Tick and the Zipper Lips are one of those bands that fit in that category.  Their band name isn't good and the 6 songs on this tape also aren't very good.

Now I will say that it's somewhat impressive that every instrument on this album is played by the same guy.  Though you could also make the jack of all trades/master of none argument.  Everything sounds rough.  The recording quality is lo fi and it's really just a demo.  I get that, but it ends up sounding like any one of a thousand high school punk rock bands that play three shows at house parties and then go off to college and/or working at K mart.  I'm sure it's fun for them, but let's be honest.  No one wants to listen to that.

The last song "Scib Dobbin'" is probably the best as it at least makes an attempt to be catchy, but it's also pretty silly.  I don't really have much else to say about this.  I just don't like it.  It's mostly a lot of yelling over basic screechy guitar and the occasional keyboard.

Nervous Tick and the Zipper Lips - S/T Cassette:

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

V/A - A Tribute To Broccoli - R.S.V.P.


Fixing A Hole (2018)

If there is a band that deserves a tribute album, in my eyes, it's Broccoli.  In addition to being one of my favorite bands of all time, I also think they are wildly overlooked and under appreciated considering their phenomenal output.  While they were only a band for a short while, they amassed a pile of singles, a pair of albums and some of the best songs I've ever heard.

This double CD tribute album is boasting thirty eight bands, all providing their take on a classic Broccoli track.  Bands from all over the world take part, but Broccoli's influence seems to have been felt most keenly in the UK and Japan.  It would take a long time to point out every cool band and every cool cover, but I'll try to quickly go over a few.

Hyalin does a great version of "Constance." The Corpse's take on "Chestnut Road," a song always in contention for my favorite Broccoli song, is faithful, but still manages to tread new ground. The Hum Hums do a version of "I Am A Robot" that is pretty spectacular.  Though another band doing the same song, Honcho Tiros, is probably the most interesting take on a Broccoli song as they really put their own stamp on it and transform it into something completely new.  I do wish the vocals were just a little louder in the mix, but it is still a highlight of the compilation.

Egotrunk do the song "Short Straw Fate," The No Marks tackle "R.S.V.P." and Bows turn in "Constance."  The band Chestnut Road (named after a Broccoli song) don't cover the song their band is named after, they do "Fido."  The band Short Straw Fate (also named after a Broccoli song) don't cover the song "Short Straw Fate," they do a great version of "Jamaica Street."  And the funniest one to me is Water Closet's cover of "Da-a-a-ance," which isn't even a Broccoli song.  That one was a Lambrettas song that Broccoli covered on a 7". A band covering a band covering a band, but it's still a solid version of the song.

Now, I have to say that you really should own the original Broccoli albums these songs came from.  Their second LP Home is probably the best place to start.  But I think that this tribute compilation could be an interesting way to discover these songs, particularly if you're already familiar with some of the incredible bands that took part in this project.  There's no place online to stream the entire compilation that I can find, trust me.  It's definitely worth a listen.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Accident - Platinum Summer Cassette


More Power Tapes (2017)

I've been trying to get caught up on the backlog of tapes I have hanging around to review.  I've probably mentioned before that it's hard to get motivated to go through these as I just have no real connection with cassettes.  Sure I had some Weird Al tapes when I was a kid and I did buy the occasional Eric B and Rakim cassingle during my teenage years, but I would so much rather listen to a record or even a CD.  The tape thing just bums me out, despite the fact that I realize it's a way for smaller bands to cheaply get their music out there.  But really, could cassettes possibly be cheaper than CD-rs at this point?

Anyway, that little diatribe kind of segues into this Accident cassette.  Listening to it, it's very clear that this isn't the sort of thing that really warrants a vinyl release.  It's low budget punk rock with vocals recorded in a way that you can barely hear them.  The songs just kind of plod along with the screechy treble of the guitar drowning out some dude that sounds like his singing in a different room from the one the microphone is actually in.

All six of these songs are one dimensional and not the sort of thing I would ever listen to.  Maybe if I was still in high school, but even then I didn't like any of the local bands playing the town VFW halls.

Accident - Platinum Summer:

Monday, April 16, 2018

Songs For Snakes - Crystal Vapour Figure LP


Timid Crusher (2018)

Crystal Vapour Figure is the third full length album I've reviewed by Songs For Snakes.  Every time I listen to them, I can't help but wonder why they aren't a bit more well known that they seem to be.  This is a band playing the kind of killer, working class, melodic punk rock that you'd think would really resonate with a certain section of older punks, namely the ones that worship at the alters of Jawbreaker and Leatherface.

Now, that's not to say that Songs for Snakes are a carbon copy of either of those bands.  If anything, Jawbreaker and Leatherface are touchstones and influences on the sound of Songs For Snakes.  The Snakes take things their own direction, really owning the melodic side of the punk rock section.  They build their guitar riffs creating music that shows energy, while keeping the vocals somewhat vulnerable, yet still teeming with bitterness and rage.  It's a unique balancing act and one of the things that really sets Songs For Snakes apart from the sort of thing you'd hear on No Idea.

Frankly, Songs For Snakes are probably one of the more under appreciated bands out there.  Every record they've put out is great and they seem to get better every time they release a new one.  Crystal Vapour Figure is their best so far and is really worth checking out if you're not familiar with the band.  I want them to sell enough records to keep putting out new ones for a long, long time.

Songs For Snakes - Crystal Vapour Figure:

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Blues Brothers - Jailhouse Rock 7" (France)


Atlantic (1980)

This version of the Jailhouse Rock 7" comes from France.  The B side is "Sweet Home Chicago," though I personally feel like "Chicago" should be the A side and "Jailhouse Rock" should be the B side.  It's semantics really, I could play whichever side I wanted to first.  Both are great songs, but to me, "Sweet Home Chicago" feels like a Blues Brothers song and "Jailhouse Rock" feels like a cover.  I know all of the Blues Brothers songs are covers, but I guess it's mostly about when I first heard the song.

The artwork on this picture sleeve is pretty cool.  It's a still from the Palace Hotel Ballroom scene at the end of the movie and is one of the few 7"s out there that isn't recycling a picture from another release.  I especially like that you can see a bit of Cropper and Duck Dunn in the background. The nerve center of a great rhythm and blues band. Good stuff.

The Blues Brothers - "Jailhouse Rock":

The Blues Brothers - "Sweet Home Chicago":

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

falls - S/T Cassette


Too Smell (2017)

When I went to Japan last year I got to see one punk rock show.  Four great bands played that show and one of those bands was falls.  I have two records by them so far, a five song CD and this five song cassette.  I'm going to start up with the cassette, but I've been listening to both quite a bit.

This tape starts out with two cover songs.  The first is "Dot Dash" by Wire and the second is an epic cover of one of my all time favorite songs, "Pumpkin Eyes" by Silver Scooter.  falls really do an incredible job with "Pumpkin Eyes," managing to stay true to the song's melancholy vibe but adding in just enough new flair to call it their own.

On the B side, there's three of falls' original songs and this is where they really shine.  They're crafting songs that some might say lean towards the emo side of things, but all three songs are so deeply rooted in guitar pop that they never lose sight of the hook. They've intertwined dynamic guitar leads with a tight rhythm section, resulting in songs that have room to experiment, but are rooted in their service to them main structure of the song.  In a lot of ways, falls remind my of Silver Scooter at the height of their power, so the "Pumpkin Eyes" cover is particularly appropriate.

Let's be honest, this is just a great tape.  I wish it was a CD or a 10" instead of being a tape, but I'll take what I can get when the songs are this good.  I'm pretty lucky I got to see them play, I hope I get to again one day.

falls - "Pumpkin Eyes":

falls - "City Of Hercules" (this live version is all I could find online):

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Big Bleach - Riffin' With Biff Cassette


More Power Tapes (2016)

Riffin' With Biff is another tape I've had kicking around for way too long.  More Power Tapes unloaded a pretty big pile of cassettes on me and it just turned into this never ending pile that started looking more like work than fun.  I am trying to get through them.

Big Bleach isn't really for me.  It's fast for the most part, but isn't really ever poppy enough to hold my interest.  Throughout the cassette's four songs, there are times when it sounds like the music is being played at high speed, but the vocals still sound normal. Even though this tape is only a year or so old, there's something about it that feels kind of old.  Like it's a demo from the 80s that was dug up and put out today, with no context for the time it was actually recorded.  I guess that's a convoluted way of saying it sounds kind of dated.

Big Bleach - Riffin' With Biff:

Monday, April 9, 2018

Aaron & The Burrs - A Burr For All Seasons Cassette


More Power Tapes (2016)

I've fallen way behind on cassette releases.  This is likely because I don't like cassettes, even when I like the music that is on them.  Case in point, Aaron & The Burrs.

Aaron & The Burrs are playing really pleasant instrumental surf music.  It's light and breezy with nods to the softer side of the Ventures and is just a damn fun listen.  There's little to no distortion and the upbeat and sunny guitar riffs betray the somewhat darker artwork the cassette is sporting.

I probably should have taken advantage of the free download link on the More Power Tapes Bandcamp page sooner, that does make things a little easier.  So apologies for taking so long to say something about this tape, but what I have to say is positive.  I really like this album and I highly recommend it for your next BBQ or beach excursion.

Aaron & The Burrs - A Burr For All Seasons:

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Sleepasaurus - It's All Written Down And I Still Don't Feel Any Better LP


Motherbox / Creep (1996)

About four thousand years ago I bought a split 7" between the bands Buford and Sleepasaurus.  I'll be honest, I was there for the Buford songs and never really paid much attention to the Sleepasaurus side for whatever reason.  I don't know how Sleepasaurus came back on my radar, but I decided to pick up their album off of discogs.  I picked this up quite a while ago actually, but hadn't gotten around to reviewing it yet.

So this is pop punk.  Awesome, 1990s, bouncy pop punk.  They remind me of Zoinks more than any other band, though I think Zoinks were a bit more melodic and Sleepasaurus is a bit more aggressive.  It really couldn't sound more quintessentially 90s and for the life of me, I can't figure out how they weren't one of my favorite bands twenty years ago.  They're so right up my alley and were even somewhat local being from NY, not to mention this was released on Creep.  I can't fathom they didn't play some shows with Plow United that I either missed or somehow have no memory of.

I'm really glad I went back and gave these guys another shot and now I think I'm going to need to start hunting down their various other non-Buford-split releases.

Sleepasaurus - "Little Fonzie":

Sleepasaurus - "She Already Has A Boyfriend":

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Protectors / Egotrunk - Split CD


Fixing A Hole (2013)

First of all, thanks to Kei for sending me a copy of this CD.  He had noticed that I reviewed another Egotrunk release a few weeks back and I had mentioned I was looking for more of their records.  Now that I have this split, it looks like there's just a mini LP called 19 that I need to hunt down.

The split starts off with a band called Protectors.  Unbeknownst to me (but knownst to others I'm sure), Protectors features Chris Charlton.  He was in one of my favorite mid 90s UK bands, Chopper.  I didn't realize he'd been releasing records with this band.  A quick google search tells me they put out a bunch of records that I knew nothing about.  I feel about a hundred years old and helplessly out of touch.  

Anyway, the two Protectors songs on this are quite good.  They don't sound much like Chopper, but instead take a less fuzzy approach to indie rock songwriting while still hanging on to those mid 90s hooks that I like so much.  The vocals are soaring and have an optimistic feel to them.  I like this a lot and need to find some of their other releases.

Egotrunk are from Japan and man do I love these two songs.  Tight, powerful blasts of 90s style pop punk with super dynamic guitar work.  "9.5" starts things off with relentless drumming and a catchy as hell riff.  What a great damn song. "Season 31 and Change" has those stutter stops with palm muted guitar in the verse and that just only makes chorus catchier and more impactful when it hits. The songs seem a bit more energetic and rougher around the edges than the ones on the EP I have, but I'm OK with that and think these are just as good, maybe even better.  Only one more record to find, if you see it, let me know. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Beachheads - S/T LP


Fysisk Format (2017)

I have to thank my friend Jonas for recommending this Beachheads record to me.  I feel like I've really lost touch with the bands coming out in places like Sweden and Norway and it was really nice to have some help in discovering this incredible album. Once upon a time, I was really plugged in to the noisy pop of that region, but as time has gone by it seems like I'm not able to keep up with things over there.

Beachheads hail from Norway and are playing the exact sort of Scandinavian guitar pop music that drives me crazy.  A little bit of a less crunchy Wannadies mixed in with the supreme pop melodies of the Merrymakers with a little bit of Beezewax thrown in for good measure.  Every song on this album is crammed full of the sort of hooks that get stuck in your head for the rest of your life.  It's really a perfect pop album.

It looks like this debut full length is the only Beachheads album currently out.  There's a two song single up on their Bandcamp page, but it doesn't look like it was released on a physical format, I think it was digital only.  Regardless, Beachheads are a band I plan on playing close attention to going forward and I hope this is the first of many great records.  If nothing else, hopefully Jonas will let me know if they put out another album.

Beachheads - S/T LP:

Monday, April 2, 2018

Roy Orbison - The Ultimate Collection 2xLP


Monument / Legacy / Roy's Boys (2016)

A couple of months ago I was flipping through the stations on TV and I stumbled across a Roy Orbison concert on PBS.  It was filmed in black & white even though it was from the 80s and featured Roy along with some other musicians playing Roy's hits. On board were an impossibly young Elvis Costello and Bruce Springsteen.  Needless to say it was a pretty captivating watch and it got me thinking that I didn't have any Roy Orbison records in my collection despite being pretty familiar with a huge swath of his work.

I didn't think I wanted to go crazy and track down every Orbison release, so I was hopeful to find a serviceable greatest hits collection.  This double LP is way more than serviceable and compiles pretty much every Roy hit that I was looking for and even tacks on a couple of Traveling Wilburys songs for good measure.  From "Oh, Pretty Woman" to " Drove All Night" to "You Got It" (and those are just the first three songs on the album) all of Roy's most popular songs seem to be present or at least the ones I'm most familiar with.  I really wish Electric Light Orchestra would have a hits record this comprehensive as they have too many LPs to hunt down.

Sound quality is great and I really have no criticisms at all about this record.  There was a gap in my record collection and The Ultimate Collection stepped in a filled the gap.  I couldn't ask for more.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Blues Brothers - Everybody Needs Somebody To Love 7" (UK)


Atlantic (1980)

Up next in my bi-weekly Blues Brothers 7" review we have the UK version of the Everybody Needs Somebody To Love 7".  This time out the B side is "Jailhouse Rock," which makes sense to me and is a solid B side choice since it's actually a song that The Blues Brothers sing.

This 7" is sporting some of my favorite picture sleeve artwork featured on any Blues Brothers 7".  It appears to be a picture from the same photo session that yielded the movie one sheet poster, but it's a different picture.  Plus, the Bluesmobile is in the shot.  That's a big bonus for me as I think that the car is one of the most important characters in the movie.  I also like the way they used the logo at the top, sort of like a heading or way to file the 7" at the record store.  Good design choices.

Unfortunately, as you can see from the picture, my copy is pretty beat up.  I'm kind of going with the mentality that this is just a place holder for now until I can find a better condition copy.  But as this seems to be one of the scarcer Blues Brothers 7"s out there, it made sense to me to pick one up now.  Hopefully I'll come across another one at some point.

The Blues Brothers - "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love":

The Blues Brothers - "Jailhouse Rock":

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Hurry - Every Little Thought LP - Red/Yellow/Blue Tri-Color Mix Vinyl (/300)


Lame-O (2018)

This will be the third Hurry record that I've reviewed over the years.  They are a band that I always like picking up something by and I tend to listen to said record pretty passionately for a few months.  Then it seems to drift into the background and I don't go back to it as often.  This isn't something exclusive to Hurry, simply due to the sheer amount of records I tend to buy, there are a lot of things that I listen to often at first and then less often as the years go buy.  

On Every Little Thought, my initial thought is that Hurry may have broken that streak with this record.  It's a pretty damn great record that, right now anyway, feels like it will have some staying power.  Hurry straddles the line between the the glorious 90s pop of The Posies and the more subdued stylings of the Pernice Brothers.  I tend to favor the songs that lean towards the rocking Posies side of the spectrum like "Read Between The Lines" or "Jamie."

Top to bottom this is Hurry's best record.  It's consistently enjoyable all the way through and even the slower songs that I don't like quite as much as the faster ones are all pretty good.  I think Every Little Thought will sound even better when it gets a bit warmer outside.  This feel like the kind of record that would really be a great listen when you're driving around at night with the windows rolled down.  

Hurry - Every Little Thought:

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

60' Whales - Hyper Speed 7"


Anti New Waves / Chapel Hill (2016)

This 7" was another record that I got while I was in Japan.  I remember being surprised that it was on Anti New Waves as I wasn't sure that the label was still going at that point.  I guess they are and it's a good thing to as this 60' Whales 7" is great.

It very much reminds me of Cigaretteman.  Maybe not in how it sounds like the older Cigaretteman songs that I love, but the four 60' Whales songs on this 7" paint a picture of what I kind of think Cigaretteman would have sounded like if they didn't break up back in the 90s.  The songs are upbeat and melodic with alternating boy/girl harmonies in the vocals.  The two singers couldn't have more dissimilar voices, yet they really compliment each other and make this 7" something special.

I couldn't find this 7" available to stream anywhere online, but I did find a teaser video of a couple of excerpts from these songs.  You don't get the full effect for sure, but I think it's all you'll need to hear to get a vibe for how great this record is.  From what I'm able to look up, this 7" is the only thing that the band has released aside from a demo.  Hopefully there's more to come.

60' Whales - Hyper Speed 7" (Trailer):

Monday, March 26, 2018

Saturday Night Karaoke / Felix! (The Band) - Yes Band Photo Vol. 1 - Split CD


Waterslide (2017)

Once again playing homage to the 7" artwork that Mutant Pop used to use, Waterslide records has put out a split CD with two bands that would have fit right in on MP back in the day.  I do think it's a little odd that the bands alternate songs back and forth on the split.  I guess I'm just more used to each band's songs on a split being clustered together.  It doesn't really matter as even though each band are undeniably playing pop punk, you can tell the difference between the two instantly.

Saturday Night Karaoke are from Indonesia and they really have perfected the sort of bubblegum pop punk that takes its influences from basic Ramones-y chord progressions and simple, sing song melodies.  It's pure pop music, the sort you would have definitely heard on Mutant Pop and kind of reminds me of older bands like Groovie Ghoulies (without the sci fi) or The Riverdales.

The other half of the songs are from Felix! (The Band). I'm more familiar with these guys having written about their full length a little ways back.  They're even better on this outing as their Zoinks! style songs have gotten more dynamic and exciting since their last album.  The energy that the band captures in their two minute blasts is something special and their harmonies are approaching Hum Hums level sophistication.   Great bands, great songs, great split.

Saturday Night Karaoke / Felix! (The Band) - Yes Band Photo Vol. 1 - Split CD:

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Hot Snakes - Jericho Sirens - Black Vinyl


Sub Pop (2018)

It still seems a little surreal that there is a new Hot Snakes record to write about.  After all it has been 14 years since Audit In Progress came out.  When Hot Snakes and Rocket From The Crypt both wrapped up in the mid 2000s, I accepted it and found closure.  John Reis moved on to the Night Marchers and I was excited about the next chapter of rock and roll greatness.

Then the reunions started.  Rocket, Jehu and Hot Snakes.  Suddenly I was gripped with a longing for new music by one of those bands and thankfully Hot Snakes has stepped up to the plate and delivered.  I don't know what I was expecting from them exactly, but damn if it isn't fucking perfect.  Everything I've always loved about Hot Snakes is on display and they've somehow managed to get better in some regards and grumpier in others.

The album starts out with "I Need A Doctor."  I actually heard this one at a show late last year, so I knew it was going to be something special.  But even that didn't prepare me for how powerful it ended up being in recorded form.  Rick's howl is coupled with the rest of the band beating their instruments into submission to create something deathly potent.  I think just listening to it cured a few ailments I was experiencing.

"Candid Cameras" and "Why Don't It Sink In" are next up and at first they didn't grab me right away.  But the more I listen to them, the more they sink in and just fit in perfectly in the flow of the album.  If I dissected the rest of the record track by track, we'd be hear all day, so know that every song is incredible.  Highlights are "Six Wave Hold Down," "Death Of A Sportsman" and my favorite track of the bunch, "Death Camp Fantasy."  "Death Camp" is probably the closest thing on the album to being a poppy song, but more than anything it's a thunderous display of downstroke guitar riffage.  The chord progression on the verse is unexpected, but works so damn perfect it makes me want to smack someone.

I really can't fathom a record coming out this year that is better than this.  If it happens, well that's a hell of a record so I look forward to that.  It doesn't make sense tto me that anyone wouldn't buy this record, but just in case you were on the fence, rest assured it's as great as anything the band has ever released.  Do it.

Hot Snakes - Jericho Sirens:

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Hot Snakes - Audit In Progress - Pink Vinyl


Sub Pop (2017, Reissue)

The very first time I heard Audit In Progress, I was actually in bed recovering from a surgery.  The record was sent to me in advance of the release date because I was helping out with the radio promotion.  I just remember lying there and being blown away by the absolute ferocity of the first five tracks.  Hot Snakes have obviously always been a loud and aggressive band, but this sounded crazy to me.  The addition of Mario on drums really ratcheted things up a bit and from "Braintrust" to "Think About Carbs" there isn't a second to catch your breath.

From there, things cool off a bit and the title track is a crushing, medium tempo number that again is one of my top ever Hot Snakes tracks.  That being said when side B kicks off with "Hatchet Job," right there you are listening to my very favorite Hot Snakes song of all time.  The way Rick's jangly leads play off of John's pounding downstrokes is just magical. I love that goddamn song.

The rest of side B is also excellent closing with the somewhat incongruent "Plenty For All."  It's poppy and upbeat in a way that's not super common for a Hot Snakes song, but at the same time is a perfect way to wrap up the album and really couldn't have been pulled off by any other band.

This Sub Pop reissue doesn't sound too dissimilar from the original version to my ears.  It's on pink vinyl, though I do understand why it's not on red vinyl since the original pressing on Swami was on that color.  Like with the other reissues, it doesn't make sense to me that you wouldn't already have this if you're reading my dumb website, but if you don't you should go buy it right now.  I'll wait.

Hot Snakes - Audit In Progress:

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Hot Snakes - Suicide Invoice LP - Yellow Vinyl

Sub Pop (2017, Reissue)

Suicide Invoice is the second Hot Snakes album and is always fighting a battle with Automatic Midnight as my favorite Hot Snakes release.  Usually Auto wins, but it's neck and neck.  The thing that I remember most about the first time I heard Suicide Invoice was that there was a snippet of the intro riff of "I Hate The Kids" that was posted up on the Swami records website prior to the album coming out.  It was a loop of just the intro part and it never went into the whole song.

So, the first few times I listened to the CD I skipped the first song and went right to "Gar Forgets His Insulin" (which is just one of the jewels of the Hot Snakes catalog...what a song).  If probably wasn't until the 3rd or 4th time I played it that I just let the album start at the very beginning and realized there was a whole song there. Just one of those weird quirks.

This entire album is pretty jaw droppingly amazing.  "XOX," "LAX," "Paperwork," these are insanely great songs showcasing a band cohesion that wasn't quite there yet on Automatic Midnight (for the obvious reason that the band wasn't completely put together for that album).  Having all four members contribute elevates the game of these songs and they just churn out hit after hit.

Of all of the Sub Pop reissues, this is the one that sounds like it gained the most in the reissue process.  Everything sounds a little crisper, without sacrificing any of the original version's energy.  Like with Automatic Midnight, the vocals are a little more upfront and clear and the bass sounds warmer, though it's more noticeable this time.  It sounds great, but it always sounded pretty great.  Still the tweaks are a positive.  And Sub Pop put the first batch out on yellow vinyl.  Matches the artwork and looks great.  I don't know why you wouldn't have this record already, but it seems like an obvious pick up to me.

Hot Snakes - Suicide Invoice:

Monday, March 19, 2018

Hot Snakes - Automatic Midnight LP - Orange Vinyl


Sub Pop (2017, Reissue)

My goal this week is to review each of the Hot Snakes albums.  The three reissues that Sub Pop put out and then their new album, Jericho Sirens, on Thursday.  Just a warning, there is some real life stuff that may interfere with this schedule as this is kind of a crazy week, but I'm going to try to adhere to this plan.  We'll see.

Automatic Midnight was the first Hot Snakes album and it came out all the way back in 2000.  It doesn't seem like that should be as long ago as it actually it is, but as they say, time flies.  I remember very specifically how much I loved this record from the second I heard it.  What I don't remember is how I first heard of this coming out.  I assume it must have been one of the versions of the Swami board, but man was I excited to hear Rick and John working together again.  After all, it had been forever since Drive Like Jehu broke up.  Actually it had only been six years, but back then that seemed like a significantly longer amount of time than it does now.

To this day, this is still my favorite Hot Snakes record overall.  The one-two blast of "If Credit's What Matters, I'll Take Credit" and "Automatic Midnight" are among the best album openers out there.  But I also really like the diversity.  Things get a little slower and hypnotic on "Salton City" only to have the energy build right back up into "10th Planet" and one of my favorite songs of all time "Light Up The Stars."  The intro of which is just a perfect little slice of riffage.

Top to bottom, Automatic Midnight is a ridiculously record.  Though this new Sub Pop release is remastered, I don't hear a huge difference in the sound.  The bass is a bit more pronounced and the vocals are slightly clearer in the mix, but I don't think there was much need for tweaking this masterpiece.  It's pretty much perfect, though I wonder why they didn't go for white vinyl on the reissue.

Hot Snakes - Automatic Midnight:

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Blues Brothers - Everybody Needs Somebody To Love 7" (Belgium)


Atlantic (1980)

This Blues Brothers 7" is from Belgium and it's one of the more interesting picture sleeve 7"s that was released.  It contains two songs from the Blues Brothers movie soundtrack, "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love" and Jailhouse Rock."  Both of which are great, of course.

Where things get interesting is the artwork.  At first glance, it seems like brand new, unique artwork (a rarity for Blues Brothers 7"s).  But in actuality, the two images are from the same picture used as the cover for the Made In America full length.  It seems odd to me that a picture from a record that came out after the soundtrack would be used as the image for a single that is from the actual soundtrack.  All I can think of is this single just came out after Made In America was released for some reason.

Regardless of the reason, I still think it's pretty cool as I always tend to favor the Blues Brothers singles that at least make an attempt at having interesting artwork.

The Blues Brothers - "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love":

The Blues Brothers - "Jailhouse Rock":

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Ruler - Tiger 7"


Secret Mission (2018)

Ruler is a new band featuring Fink.  You may already know Fink as he was in Teengenerate.  I, of course, know Teengenerate first from their split 7" with Bum.  That 7" has some of my favorite artwork ever.  Good tunes as well.

Back to Ruler.  They are playing the kind of fast buzzsaw punk rock that Fink has always made his calling card.  Equal parts timeless and stuck in the 70s, "Tiger" hits all the marks you'd expect of this kind of song.  Savage riffs and howling vocals that peak to a singalong chorus.  

"Gimme Some Noise" starts off with a lead guitar riff that sounds like the theme music to The Munsters, but quickly starts chugging along.  Everything builds until it hits the chorus, complete with 50s style callbacks.  Both songs are totally fine and I'd even go so far as to say pretty good, but neither song is anything that new or particularly exciting.  Still, there's something to be said for nice, consistent punk rock.

Ruler - Tiger 7":

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Bum - Wanna Smash Sensation CD (Japanese Version)


1 + 2 (1993)

Back in January I was lucky enough to go to Seattle for the Pop Punk Festival that Ean from Sicko put together.  It was a great time with a lot of cool bands playing.  For me, no highlight was higher than finally getting to see Bum play live after over 20 years of waiting.  They were the number one band on my list of bands that I'd never seen live and that show was everything I could have hoped for and more.  Their setlist contained nearly all of Wanna Smash Sensation, which is one of my favorite records of all time.  They also had a few copies of this Japanese version of the CD with two bonus tracks for sale.  As a crazy completist, of course I had to buy a copy.

I'm not kidding when I say this is one of my favorite all time albums, handily in my top ten desert island whatever you want to call it.  It's pretty much a flawless record and trying to dissect each song would be quite the task, likely leading to a review a bit longer than a normal person would want to read.  It's the epitome of the early nineties, fired up poppy punk record.  Hooks galore, incredible vocals and a songwriting duo unrivaled in my generation.

From the opening blast of Debbiespeak, to the singalong anthem of "Wedding Day" to the horn tinged pop of "Bent of Being Bent" to the absolute perfection of "I Hardly Breathe" to the party anthem of "I'm Not One," Wanna Smash Sensation has all of your bases covered.  These songs are part of my life's soundtrack and I love every single one of them more than I could really articulate in a brief review like this.  I didn't even mention how incredible songs like "Mallory," "Instant Kool Ayd" or "a Promise Is A Promise" are.  Just look at the track listing and randomly pick a song, you could make an argument that it's the best song on the record.  They are all that good.

This Japanese version differs from my other copies in that it contains two bonus tracks.  The first is "Lift Up Your Hood" a DMZ cover that was also available on the Bum split 7" with the Smugglers.  The second is a cover of the Misfits song "Bullet." This one I had in my collection from its appearance as a B side on the "Debbiespeak" 7".  So, while neither were new songs to me, this CD was still one that had to be in the collection.  After all I am a sucker for an Obi strip.

In all seriousness, you should own this record in any version that you are able to find.  I cannot say enough good things about it and I really don't think you can really understand how much I love it just from this silly review.  It's perfect.  A flat out perfect album.  Go find one.

Bum - Wanna Smash Sensation:

Monday, March 12, 2018

Superchunk - What A Time To Be Alive LP - Pink In Clear Vinyl


Merge (2018)

Superchunk is a band that I can count on.  The world may throw curveballs at me, but Mac & Co. are there to provide a fuzzy soundtrack.  On their eleventh album, they're a little grumpy about the situation in the world, but they have something that will help out just a little - Loud Music.

I find myself comparing the album to their other two most recent albums, Majesty Shredding and I Hate Music.  Partly because I tend to think of this three album run as Superchunk mach 3 and also because I find them sonically similar.  Majesty Shredding is probably the best of the three with big, loud songs with tons and tons of hooks.  I Hate Music was equally catchy, but had a bit more of a somber mood and they took their foot off the gas just a bit.

What A Time To Be Alive is right in the middle.  Both in sound and also if I were to rank which are my favorites.  There are some tremendous songs on here like the title track "What I Time To Be Alive," the bouncy "Break The Glass" and my absolute favorite of the bunch "Reagan Youth."  You'll read a lot about this album and it's political statement.  While you can certainly hear the frustration with current events, it's never overtly preachy or dour.  Superchunk is loud and maybe they're a bit pissed off, but they never lose their optimism and they never lose their ability to write a damn fine pop song.

Superchunk - What A Time To Be Alive: