Monday, August 3, 2015

Zaga Zaga - 2 Songs Demo + 4 Songs EP 7"


Kus Kus /Lifeisafunnything / Shalush Cult (2015)

I received this record to review in the same package that contained that incredible new Sweatshop Boys 7" a few weeks back.  Because of how good that record was, I had high hopes that Zaga Zaga would follow suit.  My first waring that this might not be up my alley was when I looked at the record and saw that they had crammed six songs on to this 7".  Immediately I thought there was a change that could mean shouty hardcore.  Yep, I was right.

What we have here is six fast, screaming hardcore blasts.  I can't figure out most of the lyrics, but boy do they sound angry.  I hear some swearing here and there and in general all six songs just tear by with little difference between them.  They're all pretty much a loud blast of crazy guitar, the main singer dude screaming something in a deeper growl and then the other singer dude responding with a higher pitched screaming call back.  I'm not sure exactly what they're so angry about, but judging from the songs titles they're not particularly keen on dancers, a dog, food and a band.

Hardcore is just not my thing.  It's difficult for me to really enjoy something that is so lean on melody.  As far as hardcore goes, I guess this is fine.   As far as my listening habits go, I can't imagine playing this one again.

Zaga Zaga - 2 Songs Demo + 4 Songs EP 7"

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Rocket From The Crypt - Gold 7" - Gold Vinyl, "No Funk" Version (#7 of 12)


Drunken Fish (1992)

So yeah, fellow Rocket From The Crypt fans who spend a lot of time on eBay, it was me.  I'm the one that picked this up for $325.  I haven't dropped that much scratch on a single record in a really long time, but at this point there aren't many Rocket From The Crypt records I don't already have squirreled away in the archive.

This is the third variant of the Gold 7".  The normal one was limited to 500 copies.  There were also a version that came packaged with some plastic beads. The rumor has always been about 50 of these were released.  This final version was limited to only twelve copies and were hand numbered as being "No Funk."  This one that I grabbed is number seven.  It has a completely different sleeve with the words "There will be no funk in outer space" printed on the cover.  

I had heard rumors of this version for quite some time, but for years there wasn't any real proof that it actually existed.  A picture of it finally ended up popping up on the John Pette Rocket discography page, so the hunt was on once that happened.  I'm actually kind of surprised one turned up, I didn't think I'd ever have the chance to buy it.  Oh, and don't worry, I didn't actually open it.  I grabbed the record out of one of my other copies to take a picture of.

The song itself isn't even one of my favorites.  "Gold" is an MC5 cover and is a noisy, shouting mess of a song.  There's a certain charm to it and I do kind of miss those early Rocket From The Crypt days when they were spitting out all sorts of off beat, crazy noise.  Not that I have any issue at all with the non-stop hit machine they turned into, but I think some people overlook that early 1990's period of theirs.  Some pretty creative stuff going on.

It's hard to express why I feel compelled to spend $325 on a record that I already have two versions of.  I assume it's some sort of sickness, but I just have this thing about having a complete collection.  Anyone who has followed the Rocket From The Crypt discography will know that trying to complete this collection is a foolhardy task.  There are so many weirdo variations and errors and other assorted things keeping the collectors always searching, but I'm getting closer.  I think (and this is only true until the next bizarre variant is discovered) that I only have one more Rocket From The Crypt 7" left to find.  So as I've said a few times, if you have a lead on the Pure Genius 7" on red vinyl, please let me know.  I'll happily overpay for it.

Rocket From The Crypt - "Gold":

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

ИO​/​/​/​sé - S/T LP - Orange Vinyl (/100)


Rotten To The Core/Challenge The Throne (2012)

While it's happened very few times, a big time perk of running this website is when someone gets in touch with me about a record I'm looking for that I can't find.  Have a gander at my wants list some time.  It's not completely up to date, but maybe you've got something on there that I'm looking for.

When I originally wrote about the first ИO​/​/​/​sé record I wasn't able to track down the colored vinyl version.  I did manage to find the much more difficult to obtain test pressing of it however.  I had mentioned that I don't collect test pressings and would happily trade it away for the normal colored vinyl version.

Enter my friend in records Norm (who incidentally has the ONE Rocket From The Crypt 7" that I still need, so you should post in the comments section below about how he should sell or trade that to me).  Norm got in touch, asked for a swap and had this recorded headed my way awfully quick.  A gentleman and a scholar.  Now, about that red vinyl 7"...

Anyway, this record is still every bit as great as it was the moment I first heard it.  ИO​/​/​/​sé manages to come off as a weird concoction of The Marked Men, Leatherface and Hot Snakes.  Those are some pretty top tier comparison points, but ИO​/​/​/​sé really does manage to incorporate elements of each to create some amazing music.   If you missed this album the first time around, I cannot recommend it highly enough.  They have a newer album that recently came out and it is also great, but their debut is in rarified territory.  It's just that good.

ИO​/​/​/​sé - S/T LP:

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Dead Heavens - History In My Hands 7"


Thrill Me (2015)

Dead Heavens is a new band fronted by Walter Schreifels of Gorilla Biscuits/Quicksand/Rival Schools fame.  I can't say I was ever all that big of a fan of any of those other bands.  In particular, this guy I used to work with played that first Rival Schools record every day for about a 2 year period, so I kind of hate that one to be totally honest.  Based on their pedigree, I'm not really sure why I picked up this Dead Heavens 7", but when you start to trust a record label sometimes you take some chances.  

I'm actually pretty happy with this 7".  "History In My Hands" has a warm, slightly distorted guitar sound.  Cleaner than you'd expect, it's a laid back, kind of poppy song.  There's a slight 60's influence and I absolutely hear a little of quieter Nirvana in the verse.  There's a somewhat goofy guitar solo that sounds like something out of a 70's rock album, but it's brief and doesn't disrupt the song.

"36 Chambers" is a slower song and it leans on heavier riffs.  The vocals are the star of this as they cut through the distorted muck and keep everything on track.  There's a fair amount of 70's guitar wanking on this one and I don't like it quite as much as the A-side, but it's still a pretty decent song.

Considering I'm not usually a fan of Walter Schreifels' other bands, it might be something of a surprise that I like this 7" as much as I do.  I wish I had gotten it in time to snag the limited blue vinyl version and I'd definitely check out a full length if they release one.  I'm actually curious what fan's of Walter's other bands think of this.  Let me know.

Dead Heavens - History In My Hands 7":

Monday, July 27, 2015

Nervous Talk - S/T LP


Hosehead (2015)

2015 has been a somewhat disappointing year for new records in my opinion.  While there has been no shortage of good records, the great ones have been fewer and further between. I wouldn't go so far as to put Nervous Talk into the conversation for the best record of 2015, but there is no argument that their debut falls firmly in the the great records category.

Throughout this record, Nervous Talk are throwing out some pretty incredible guitar riffs.  That's my absolute favorite part of this record, sitting back and watching where the next chord progression is going to veer off to.  It's a very poppy and catchy record, but it's also something of am master class in garage rock guitar work.  You've got some searing leads peppered in here and there, but for the most part this is an album all about the main guitar riff.

Vocals have a sheen of static over them, but it works in a similar way as the Marked Men.  It gives the singing something of an otherworldly quality, but I never feel like the production is being used to hide something. From the very second that rocking lead guitar on album opener "Different Person" kicks in to fleeting final moments of laid back closer "Way To Go" Nervous Talk has delivered an album full of amazing power pop moments.  The songs are always catchy, but there's just enough garage buzz to keep you guessing.  

Nervous Talk - S/T LP:

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Johns - Grift Marks LP


Peterwalkee (2015)

Let me tell you, I sure to appreciate it when someone sends me a record to review.  When they go that extra mile and actually send me a full album, that just makes it better.  The real cherry on top is when said record is actually pretty good.  This Johns album fulfills all of the above mentioned criteria.

I'm not going to say Grift Marks is a total home run, instant classic sort of a record.  There are a few songs sprinkled throughout that don't really do it for me.  These tend to be the slower ones where the vocals get a bit more shouty than I like, such as on "Thrust" and "The Blurry Tongue."  I was never much of a hardcore guy, so when things start to take a turn in that direction, I tend to tune out a bit.

That being said, a solid chunk of this record is really strong.  Johns are playing a darker guitar pop.  I immediately think of bands like The Estranged or Nervosas when this is spinning.  The guitar is dark and murky with a tendency to downstroke.  The vocals have a little bit of static and definitely fall in the same range as what The Estranged dabbles in.  They never quite hit that revered Red Dons territory on this record, but I can certainly see fans of all three bands I've mentioned being interested in Johns.  Probably worth a listen below.

Johns - Grift Marks LP:

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Jawbox - Tools & Chrome 7" - Clear Vinyl (/1000)


Dischord / DeSoto (1990)

As I've said in the past, I overlooked Jawbox the first time around and have been playing catch up the last few years.  I've been picking up their full lengths and when I see them lying around, I try to grab the 7"s as well.  This one popped up on the Green Noise site when I was placing another order, so as usual it was the old 'add to cart' button for me.

The thing that I noticed the most about this band is that they became much more sophisticated in the way they wrote their songs in a very short amount of time.  From album to album (at least on their first three albums, I'm still waiting on the reissue of their fourth) there is tremendous growth as far as the band's sound.  That growth it also very apparent listing to this, their first 7" from 1990.

All four songs are significantly more straightforward than the band would become known for.  There's palm muted guitar into chunky riffs on "Tools & Chrome."  "Secret History" showcases some dynamic drumming with a few more varied change ups and a big chorus that kind of sneaks up on you.  When "Ballast" hits, the band is at their most upbeat with poppier vocals and lots of fun guitar riffage.  Closer "Twister" blasts out with furiously pounded drums in the verse.  That moves to a lower key transitional moment into an explosive, big, hooky chorus.

While the recording is a little rough and the band is obviously just getting their feet wet, I love this 7".  Sure it's not as complex as some of the songs that Jawbox would go on to write, but there's something to be said about a no frill, punk rock 7".

Jawbox - "Tools & Chrome":

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Jacob Turnbloom - Reborn Boys 7" - Black Vinyl & Red Vinyl (/100)


Thrill Me (2015)

While I'm doing my best to patiently wait for the new Mrs. Magician album to be released, I've been keeping up on the various other projects that everyone has been involved in.  Recently I've written about the Hideout LP, the Soaks cassette and now we're on to the new Jacob Turnbloom 7".  I picked up the limited to 100 red vinyl version as soon as it went on sale and then much to my surprise, Thrill Me sent a copy on black vinyl to me to review.  It was pretty cool to see something I was anticipating so much show up for review and the fact that this is a damn good 7" only made it better.

Right off the bat I'll point out that neither of these songs sound much like Mrs. Magician.  Jacob Turnbloom really does a great job of making this solo work stand apart from the songs normally released by his main band.  While I will certainly use Mrs. Magician as a frame of reference due to a few similar traits, don't expect a couple of songs that were just not quite good enough for the band, these are top notch.

"Reborn Boys" is built off of a repeating synth lead coupled with big, loud guitars.  There's none of the trademark Mrs. Magician reverb floating around on the guitars in this song, it's a fatter and much crunchier guitar tone.  It's a fantastic, catchy song that is further elevated by Jacob's distinct vocals.  A lot of bands can't pull off hitting those high notes, but they fit right in on this track.

"Heartbreaker" is structured a little more closely to the way that a Mrs. Magician song may sound, but again the execution and sounds created end up sounding totally different and fresh.  I actually like this song even better than the A-side.  "Heartbreaker" starts off with bass & vocals and when that clean guitar kicks in, everything comes alive.  Once again there's a little bit of 80's sounding synth providing the song with an additional layer of dynamics.

Both songs are stellar.  For me this was a must have 7" before I even listened to it, due to its connection with one of my very favorite bands.  But unlike so many other records this year, Jacob Turnbloom managed to exceed my lofty expectations.

Jacob Turnbloom - "Reborn Boys":

Monday, July 20, 2015

Sweet Baby - It's A Girl 25th Anniversary Bonus 7" - Green Vinyl (/250)


Eccentric Pop (2015)

When I reviewed the reissue of It's A Girl last week, I held off on writing about this bonus 7" that came along with it.  While it is a nice little addition to the package, it doesn't really feel like part of the album to me.  I thought it should be dealt with on its own.  

On this 7" we have two previously unreleased songs and two live recordings.  On side A you've got the two studio tracks.  "Pretty Baby" is decent enough, but the recording makes it seem kind of flat.  It's not bad or anything, but it doesn't really stand out from the pack and I can see how it didn't make the cut to end up on the album.  "Loving Every Girl In The World" starts off with some good energy built off of a pretty fun bass line, but the song as a whole is kind of average.  In particular the lyrics are awfully one dimensional. There's this odd breakdown towards the end that brings the song to a screeching halt.  Again, I can see why it wasn't on the full length.

The B side is where the two live tracks live.  I thought I read somewhere that these were taken from a recording of the band's first show, but I can't find that info again anywhere now.  I'm not totally sure, so forgive me if that's wrong information.  What I can tell you is that it sounds like something recorded at a band's first show.  "I Can't Sleep" is just guitar and vocals (and I guess a little tambourine or some other kind of shaker thing).  You can't really hear the vocals and the recording as a whole isn't very good.

One of my favorite songs on It's A Girl is "Gotta Get A Girl."  The live version here can't hold a candle to the one on the record.  Again, the recording is so bad you can't hear much of anything really.  This side of the 7" is an interesting document and certainly a fun little bonus to go along with the reissued record.  You'll never hear me argue for less bonus content, but I think this 7" would have seemed stronger with just the two unreleased tracks.  The live stuff doesn't add much.

I think it's great that Eccentric Pop went all out and even bothered to make this 7" with the extra material.  I'm sure they would have sold just as many copies of a straight reissue of It's A Girl.  That being said, these songs are more curiosities than anything else.  They're fun to listen to once or twice, but I just can't really see it being something that I'll play very often.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Soaks - S/T Cassette


Riot House (2015)

If you read my website, you probably know how much I love the band Mrs. Magician.  Well, if I hear about one of the guys in the band having another project, I'm going to be buying that other project.  That's how this Soaks cassette ended up in my hands.  Lead by Jordan Clark, this is the band's debut release since a somewhat recent name change from Grand Tarantula.

There are surfy elements to the band, so it's not that far removed from the sort of sounds that Mrs. Magician has been dabbling in.  That's not really a spot on description of the band's overall style.  There are some songs that are much more in line with Mark Sultan-esque grimy doo wop sound while others remind me more of a King Louie/Missing Monuments garage throw back.

What the band has no shortage of is fun, catchy songs.  It's the kind of record that just screams to be popped into the tape deck of your 1989 Chevy Caprice station wagon and blasted around town with the windows rolled down.  I would love to see this album saved from cassette hell and put out on vinyl at some point.

The Soaks - The Soaks:

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sweet John Bloom - Weird Prayer LP - Clear Vinyl (/200)


Tiny Engines (2015)

There are a couple of things working against this Sweet John Bloom record.  First off is the band name.  It's not really my favorite though I'll admit to having something of an aversion to band names that are also people names (I'm looking at you Bob Tilton).  The second issue is the album leads off with arguably the weakest song on the album, "Shapeshifter."  Musically it's fine, but the singer is making some kind of weird vocal stylings.  Not a deal breaker, but not my favorite either.  That being said, if you can get past those two things this is really a hell of an album and one that I have been playing virtually non-stop since I got it.

Sweet John Bloom have done an incredible job of pulling in some 1990's indie rock influences from bands like Guided By Voices, Pavement, Archers Of Loaf and Superchunk, mashing them together and somehow coming out with a sound that's familiar, but all their own.  You're not going to listen to any songs on this album and think "Oh, that sounds like Superchunk."  But you will hear how those types of bands helped shape the songs on this album.

Weird Prayer is just chock full of chunky lead guitar riffs, punchy choruses and some really wonderful harmonies.  The songs are layered and complex, but they never feel overwritten or that any part was thrown on top for no reason.  Everything is expertly crafted and it all makes sense.  I enjoy the band most when they kick up the tempo. I dare you to throw on "Solicitor" and not want to jump around the room like an idiot. Though for that song in particular, I think it should be significantly longer than it is.  It's way too much goodness to cram into a minute and twenty three seconds.  It could be 3 times as long and I'd only love it more.

There's so many other great moments on this record.  "Night Thing" will just blow your speakers off the wall with it's guitar gymnastics and laid back vocals.  The ever so slight country twang on "New Identity Crisis" is a nice mid album change of pace and the twitchy guitar work in "Born Witch" elevates that song to something really special.

Weird Prayer is one of the best surprises I've come across in a while and is sitting awfully high on my tentative best albums of the year list.  Absolutely worth checking out.  

Sweet John Bloom - Weird Prayer LP:

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Sweet Baby - It's A Girl LP - Pink Vinyl (/250)


Eccentric Pop (2015, Reissue)

Punk rock vinyl reissues are in full swing these days.  I can't say I mind too much.  Sure there are some that have been cluttering up the pressing plants, but then you'll get a reissue that helps you pick out a long out of print record for a pretty cheap price.  I've been eyeing up the Sweet Baby album for quite some times.  I keep a casual eye on eBay and on Discogs, but they tend to sell for 30-40 dollars in general.  At that price, I just never picked it up.

I'm a little young to have caught these guys the first time around.  I had first heard of them when Lookout rereleased the CD back in 1996, but even that got lost in the shuffle for me.  A few years ago I started to listen to Sweet Baby again.  Their early refreshing take on pop punk is just so much fun.  Let's not split hairs, this record sounds old as hell with its tinny production and all.  You'll never accuse this record of sounding slick, but it just sounds like a good time.  Basic, catchy songs about girls and falling in love filtered through Ramones colored glasses.

The reissue sounds good, but I've just got to say that I hate the artwork.  If you were going to reissue the record and chose to not use the original artwork, I don't know why you would settle on this simple little line drawing and some off center text.  It's really kind of weird and it makes me feel like I can't take the original off my wants list now.  Hopefully the price will come down a bit on a first pressing since this reissue is out in the wild.  I'm glad it's available and cheap, but with this art it just can't replace having an original for me.  Oh, this came with a bonus 7", but I'll write that up on it's own.

Sweet Baby - "Gotta Get A Girl":

Sweet Baby - "Year After Year":

Monday, July 13, 2015

Tenement - Predatory Headlights 2xLP


Don Giovanni (2015)

Long time readers of this website will know that I've been chomping at the bit for a new Tenement album for ages.  Pretty much since the day after their prior effort, Napalm Dream, was released.  I've been singing this band's praises for quite some time and they've finally come out with their new record...and it's a double album to boot.

In the past I have often compared Tenement to a poppier and more exciting to me version of Dinosaur Jr.  They've always had the hooks and searing guitar solos to go along with it.  Predatory Headlights is something of a new direction for the band.  While you could have certainly seen this album coming if you were paying attention, it still comes across as somewhat surprising.

While this is a double album clocking in at just a tick under 80 minutes, there's probably only a single albums worth of straight ahead rock songs.  Much like the album's artwork, there's a lot going on during the course of this record. Also like the artwork, it's a bit of a collage of sounds.  In addition to some rock, there is real diversity on this record.  You're going to get some jazzy interludes, some experimental noise meanderings and a couple of atmospheric soundscapes. 

You could argue that these excursions add to the album and you could argue that they detract from the guitar focused rock songs.  That's going to be the opinion of the individual listener.  For me, I don't listen to much in the way of jazz and I can't say that jittery experimental is typically my bag either.  I find myself sitting through the chaos waiting for some more rock, but individual listener milage on these songs may vary.

As far as the rock, there is a very strong album's worth of material on Predatory Headlights.  You could argue that in some ways these songs are more straightforward than what the band has released in the past.  There aren't too many of the screaming guitar solos that Tenement has used in the past and there also isn't much in the way of cutting, energetic punk rock.  These songs tend to be more mid tempo in nature and the focus is much more on the chord progressions and the vocals.

In particular, there's some insane backing vocals going on throughout this album.  We're talking high pitched full on Bee Gee's style harmonies weaving in and out of several songs.   Honestly it sounds incredible.  On paper, that may not sound like something you'd want to hear, but within the context of the songs, the vocals just sound amazing.  You'll also hear a solid amount of keyboard and other complimentary instruments that do a great job of augmenting Tenement's songs and adding new layers of depth to everything.

I can't help but think this is going to end up as something of a polarizing record.  On one hand, you've got some really incredible new Tenement songs.  On the other hand you've got a whole lot of new and unexpected sounds to try to process.  In the end, I think this is a good album and as a piece of music, it works.  But I admit that I would have been content with a single album's worth of rock and roll.  In some ways it's going to depend of how adventurous you are.

Tenement - Predatory Headlights LP:

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Brat Kings - Good Drugs 7"


Hosehead (2015)

Bands from Canada really scratch a particular kind of itch that I have.  They have this amazing ability to take basic pop punk song structures and melodies and dirty them up with enough garage fuzz that it washes away any chance of a saccharine experience.  Brat Kings are another in this fine tradition.

The band is absolutely not afraid to bust out some unapologetic "oooohs" and "ahhhhs" to drive home the catchiness of their songs.  Don't get too comfortable though, as that loud buzzsaw guitar is just lurking around the corner to remind you that these guys can tear it up when called for.  Both "Good Drugs" and "Water Melons" have big hooks and great guitar work.  They kind of remind me of a dirtier and less stoned version of Mean Jeans.

This is a record definitely worth going out of your way to grab.  If you like your punk rock pretty catchy, but a little scuzzy, then Brat Kings are going to scratch that itch for you as well.

Brat Kings - Good Drugs 7":

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Plow United / The Headies - Split 7" - Clear Vinyl (/100)


Self Aware (2015)

It's been pretty exciting seeing Plow United as an active band again.  They've played some shows, put out a full length album and now they're going back to another hallmark of the 1990's; the split 7".

Plow United's contributions to this split are pretty great.  "Gary Gygax" has a rolling drum beat and a fast dynamic punch.  To me it sounds like it would fit right in the Plow II era.  "These Six Words" is a bass fueled and palm muted guitar filled track where the band slows things down a little.  It takes a special band to take on a lower key song without compromising the excitement of their fast tracks, but Plow pulls it off flawlessly.

The Headies offer four short rippers on their side of the record.  The songs are decidedly 90's punk rock sounding.  They've got hooks in all of the right places, gang vocals that sweeten the choruses and a pretty ferocious drummer.  When Plow is on the flip side of your record and I'm noticing your drummer, that's a pretty good sign.  I do wish the songs were a little longer in general. I've always had a hard time with bands pumping out sixty to ninety second long tracks.  Everything seems kind of rushed to me.  That being said, The Headies do it better than most and are a nice surprise since honestly, I would have bought this 7" no matter who was on the non-Plow side.

Plow United / The Headies - Split 7":

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Jaill - Brain Cream LP - Yellow Vinyl


Burger (2015)

Ken from Dirtnap recommended Jaill to me quite a few years ago, when their album There's No Sky (Oh My My) was self released and they didn't have two L's in their name.  I absolutely loved that album and was very happy for the band when they signed to Sub Pop for their next two albums.  While I enjoyed both and don't really have anything bad to say about either, I was left with the feeling that these Jaill records just weren't quite as good as There's No Sky.

After the Sub Pop excursion, we find Jaill on Burger records, the label that took There's No Sky from self released to non-self released.  Jaill has come home also.  Though they do not quite hit the highs they did three albums ago, they've made a remarkably consistent record that is the best thing they've done since.  Brain Cream is full of crisp, jangly guitar, bouncy pop melodies and a light psychedelic sheen that adds to the overall vibe of the record.  The psych influence never becomes overbearing or detracts from the pop.

The band has also done a great job of adding some keyboard flourishes to a few songs that truly enhance the experience.  A lot of times when a band starts dipping into that bag of tricks I get the feeling that they're adding layers to hide something.  It never feels like Jaill is doing that on Brain Cream as the keys and atmospheric sounds give the album a rich full sound.  Needless to say I really enjoy this album.  Maybe it's not a balls to the wall catchy as There's No Sky, but it's a well crafted record with a handful of pretty great songs and it's easily the best thing they've done these last few albums.

Jaill - "Getaway":

Monday, July 6, 2015

Hideout - Rookie LP - Pink Vinyl


Thrill Me (2014)

Since Mrs. Magician is one of my favorite bands in the world, of course I'm going to give a chance to a record put out on the label that one of the guys in the band started.  Sure, that's heaping a world of expectations on an unsuspecting band, but Hideout didn't let me down.

This is one of those bands that you hear about from time to time where the members live in different parts of the country and collaborate over long distances.  I'm sure the hashing out process is slow, but the results are pretty great.  Rookie is a spacey, far out kind of record, but still is anchored in enough upbeat guitar pop to where the songs remain catchy, focused and a good time to listen to.

In the album description the comparison thrown around is early David Bowie.  While Hideout never get quite as wacky as Bowie has a penchant for being, you can hear some sonic similarities with the way the songs are structured and some of the effects used while recording.  At the same time, it's also very easy to compare Hideout to some of the more modern indie rockers out there.  You can hear a little bit of bands like The Shins or Band of Horses if you're listening, but I find Hideout to be significantly more interesting than either of those bands.

If you're going in hoping for Hideout to sound like Mrs. Magician, this record probably isn't going to work out for you.  But if you're looking for some otherworldly pop that doesn't go too far off the deep end, Rookie is absolutely an album that should be checked out.

Hideout - Rookie LP:

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Hex Dispensers - III LP - White Vinyl (/100)


Alien Snatch (2015)

For a while I was getting concerned that The Hex Dispensers may have called it quits.  It had been a bit since their last full length and although there have been some 7"s in the last few years, it just sort of seemed like the band was put on the back burner. Luckily I was wrong and The Hex Dispensers are back with their appropriately titled third LP III.

I can't say that I like it as much as their other records.  While still a good listen, I feel that it is missing a little bit of the speed and energy of their prior works.  Everything is decidedly mid tempo and while some of the songs are still great and most are pretty darn catchy, I find myself wishing there were a few that just ripped.  Another thing that I think hinders this record is the production.  The guitars sound really bassy and kind of muddy.  You could argue that the murky guitar adds to their Ghostbusters meets the Marked Men sound, but I prefer the chainsaw blast of their other records.

My last complaint is that 6 of the 10 songs on this record were previously released on 7"s that I bought.  While I realize that most people who will buy this album probably don't have all of those 7"s, I still would have preferred a few more songs I hadn't heard before.  

All those complaints probably makes it seem like I'm really down on this record, but I'm not.  I'm perhaps comparing it unfairly to past works, but judging the record on its own merits, it is a fun listen.  In particular the one, two, three punch of "Parallel," "Trapped In Amber" and "Agatha's Antlers" starts the album off with a real bang as all three songs just have killers hooks. "I Hope The Sun Explodes Today" is also a highlight with a killer verse and some nice call back 'aaahhhs' in the chorus.

All in all, it is definitely worth picking up, especially if you don't already have all of the 7"s.  It's a fun record and the band has always written interesting lyrics and melodies.

The Hex Dispensers - III LP:

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Sweatshop Boys - Always Polite Never Happy 7"


Twintoe / Crapoulet / SP (2015)

At this point I've gotten a respectable number of records sent to me to review.  The gems are few and far between, but this 7" is notable for three reasons.  One, it's the first record I've been sent from Israel. Two, it's a band I already know and love.  Three, it just absolutely kills from start to finish.  This is a hell of a little 7" that you really should go out of your way to track down.

We've got 4 new Sweatshop Boys songs on this record.  Each of them bringing something slightly different to the table, but all of them bringing the sort of high energy, catchy punk rock that I just go crazy for.  You can hear a bit of the Marked Men in the rapid fire chord progressions.  There's a hint of Sonic Avenues in the vocals and a a few moments of Red Dons style downstroking.

Basically the next stop for these guys should be Dirtnap, so if that's the sort of thing that floats your boat, this is a 7" you need to grab immediately if not sooner.  It's really the kind of record that just absolutely brightens my day and cuts through all of the bullshit out there.  Dear Sweatshop Boys, never split up and put out some more records as soon as you can.

Sweatshop Boys - Always Polite Never Happy 7":

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

John Wesley Coleman III - I Feel Like A Sad Clown 7" + Windian Box Set - Clear Vinyl


Windian (2015)

With its sixth record, the Windian Singles Series #3 box set really goes out with a bang.  As with everyone in this series, this is my first time hearing John Wesley Coleman III and once again, I like what I hear.  Although I had heard of him before, this is my first time actually listening to any of his music.  Windian has done a pretty tremendous job gathering all of these bands together. While they all bring completely different things to the table, they also have a cohesive enough sound that it makes perfect sense to have them all in the same set.

The first band that comes to mind when I put on this Coleman 7" is W.H. Walker.  A side "I Feel Like A Sad Clown" is a bass driven party song.  Despite feeling like a sad clown, Coleman manages to really bring a ton of energy into this bouncy, catchy track.

B side "I Found A Home" is a bit more straightforward, but still every bit as fun and exciting as the flip side.  With its lead keyboard line and howling chorus, I can't help but be impressed by this record.  It's pretty remarkable that Windian gathered all of these great bands together.  Rest assured I will likely be buying additional records by almost every single one of them in the future.  Well, provided they put out more records.  I've got some digging around to so.

John Wesley Coleman III - "I Feel Like A Sad Clown":

Monday, June 29, 2015

War Party - Teenager On Drugs 7" - Clear Vinyl


Windian (2015)

Round five of the Windian Singles Series #3 brings us War Party.  I think that some folks would probably dismiss this as a bit gimmicky, but I really like this 7".  It may be my favorite of the bunch when it comes right down to it.

The A-side "Teenager On Drugs" is a straight up 50's style doo wop rocker.  It's not so much an homage or an interpretation of a doo wop song, so in that way it differs quite a bit from what Mark Sultan is doing.  This is a tried and true formula with the soaring backing harmonies and storytelling lead vocals that you'd expect from the genre.  It's just such a fun and refreshing thing to hear these days.  

Then the B-side "D.R.U.N.K." flips everything on its head and is completely different from the song that preceded it.  With its searing organ the song reminds me a bit of "Gimme Some Lovin'" by Spencer Davis Group, though it's not quite that triumphant.  It does bring War Party into the 60's and shows off a dirtier rock vibe than they were showing on "Teenager On Drugs."  I think it's impressive to hop from one sound to the other so effortlessly and I really dig this record.

 War Party - "Teenager On Drugs":

Oh, and Dan from the Vinyl Score podcast did a little interview/conversation thing with me a few months ago that he's put up to listen to on his website.  We talk about this website a little and Rocket From The Crypt a lot.  You can listen to it hear if you like:

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Church Bats - Foreign Land 7" - Clear Vinyl


Windian (2015)

We're getting deep into the Windian Singles Series #3 box set at this point. Single number four is by a band called Church Bats. Another new to me band and another fun surprise out of this series.

Starting off with the A-side we have "Foreign Land." It's a full throttle, no nonsense rock and roll force.  We're talking old school, caveman hitting a log with a stick, repeating guitar chords and howling in a cave vocals.  It all works tremendously, giving the song a real intensity and energy that pours through the speakers.  Needless to say, I dig this.

On the B-Side the band puts forth "Half Man, Half Shellfish."  Despite its excellent title, the actual song isn't quite as exciting as you'd hope.  It ends up being a pretty straightforward instrumental number.  Nothing bad, nothing amazing; it's just there.  I think on an album, it would give a nice break hanging out towards the end of the first half.  As a standalone song on the 7", it's going to be compared unfairly to the killer A side.

All in all, another fun 7" out of Windian and I've got two more to go.  I'm going to try to get the next one done for tomorrow, but I may not be able to until Monday.  Regardless, you'll see it soon.

Church Bats - "Foreign Land":

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Platinum Boys - Candy 7" - Clear Vinyl


Windian (2015)

Rather than having to start every review this week the same way, let's just get one fact out of the way.  I hadn't heard of any of the bands in this year's version of the Windian Singles Series.  For the prior two, there had always been one or two heavy hitters that prompted me to buy the set.  When Series #3 was announced, I hemmed and hawed about buying it at first.  When Windian put up some of the songs on Soundcloud, it was Platinum Boys that made me jump up and immediately add the box set to my cart.  I trust Windian, so I figured if I liked one of the bands that was enough to earn my cash.  Then I just hoped for the best with the rest.  Luckily, they've been pretty good so far.

Platinum Boys are playing some awfully catchy guitar pop.  In particular the A-side "Candy" is built off of a bouncy riff and slightly fuzzy vocals.  The verses are built around that tried and true 60's or 70's era description of meeting a girl who was "18 with an attitude."  Maybe it's because I'm getting older, but songs about 18 year old girls sure sound a lot weirder than they did when I was high school.  Though I guess 'the kids' probably don't want to listen to tales about folks in their late thirties.

The B-side "Wild Child" slow things down a little bit, but Platinum Boys still keep the energy up.  There's some excellent lead guitar riffage in this one and the songs has something of a classic rock feel to it.  Normally I would probably use that description as an insult, but Platinum Boys make it work and the song is actually a great compliment to the A-side.  I'm definitely a big fan of this 7".

Platinum Boys - "Candy":

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

DD Owen - Violent Pacifier 7" - Clear Vinyl


Windian (2015)

Round two of the Windian Singles Series #3 brings us DD Owen.  Like yesterday's 7", I can't say I was familiar with DD Owen before putting this record on and let me tell you, this thing knocked me on my ass when it started up. 

A-Side "Violent Pacifier" starts up with some extremely distorted guitar wailing.  I'm not enough of a gear head to be able to accurately describe what sort of effects are being applied to the guitar to make these noises, but the best I can do is say that it sounds like a guitar from outer space.  This coupled with the choppy vocals that have thick echo and distortion on them give the song an otherworldly feeling.  And this is the catchier of the two songs.

On the other side is "Setting Fire To Your Loft."  More insane guitar noises, more effect laden vocals and more aggressive than the first song.  I don't think I could go so far as to say I really like either song and I'm not sure that this is a 7" that I'll be spinning with much regularity.  But I do like some variety in my singles clubs.  You don't want a bunch of records that all sound the same.  DD Owen isn't really for me, but they certainly stand out from the pack.

DD Owen - "Violent Pacifier":

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Seeers - Without Lites 7" - Clear Vinyl


Windian (2015)

The Windian Subscription Series has been one of my favorite things the last few years.  As it is I'm a sucker for a good singles club, but with Windian you get the records all at once and in a fancy little box set as well.  I'll take a picture of the box on Friday, but I'm starting off today with the first of the five 7"s in the set.

I can't say I had ever heard of The Seeers prior to listening to this record, but that's exactly what I like best about a singles club.  Any chance I have to check out some new bands from a label I trust is a chance I'm going to take every time.  Kind of like how I used to buy tons of compilation albums back in the 90's.  Of course, I just read that this 7" is the band's debut release, so I suppose that could have something to do with me being unfamiliar with them.  Anyway, this Seeers 7"s is really great.  A-side "Without Lites" is upbeat and poppy with lots of vocal harmonies and shimmering lead guitar in the chorus.

On the flip side is "In Jail. On My Mind, In A Prison..." which is slightly more aggressive and a bit faster than the band's other song.  The guitar riffs are a bit dirtier, but the softer vocal melody provides a nice contradiction and keeps the song rooted in pop.  Both of The Seeers' contributions to this record are real eye openers.  I really dig both songs and this is a band I'm going to have to keep an eye out for in the future.

The Seeers - "Without Lites":

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Warm Soda - Symbolic Dream LP - Ketchup & Mustard Splatter Vinyl


Castle Face (2015)

When last year's Young Reckless Hearts came out, I was a bit let down by Warm Soda.  While there were certainly some good songs, I felt that there was something major missing from that record.  I think it may have been the recording as the band just sounded zapped of their energy.  I was hopeful it was an anomaly and things would be back on track with Warm Soda's third album, Symbolic Dream.

Not only has Warm Soda righted course and improved upon their last album, Symbolic Dream is arguably the best record they have made yet.  The punchy songs and smooth vocals have returned with some of the bands finest songs.  From the first few seconds of album opener "I Wanna Know Her" you can tell that the band is on point.  The album is littered with pop hits, great guitar leads and some simply wonderful choruses.  

I'm kind of over the whole splatter vinyl craze personally.  I find that most of them just end up looking kind of ugly and have very little to do with the album artwork.  You certainly cannot say that about the red and yellow ketchup and mustard split color vinyl of Symbolic Dream.  Not only is it a cool looking take on a tired concept, but it perfectly matches the album art,so the band gets points for that as well.

Everything about Symbolic Dream is an improvement from the last Warm Soda record.  Its near flawless execution has shot it right up to the top of my favorite albums of the year list and is really only battling one other record at this point.  There's a lot of 2015 left to go, but rest assured this Warm Soda record will end up being one of the very best things you'll hear this year.

Warm Soda - Symbolic Dream LP:

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Daddy Issues - So Hard 7" - Clear Vinyl


Punk Fox (2015)

Another record from Punk Fox arrived in the mail for me to review.  I'll give them credit, they sure are pumping out a steady stream of 7"s.  The latest from them is by a band from North Carolina called Daddy Issues.

In general it's a decent enough record.  The songs are both light, breezy surf pop tunes.  The female vocals match up nicely with the gently strummed, fuzz-free guitar.  The drumming is appropriately minimal and the bass just coasts along keeping everything together.

Lyrically, I'm not feeling this quite so much.  The ladies in Daddy Issues aren't big on metaphors and the songs are pretty much exactly about what their songs titles suggest: "So Hard" and "Sex On The Beach."  At the end of the day, it's still a fun little 7" and may be worth picking up if you're into something mellow and surfy.

Daddy Issues - So Hard 7":

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Blind Shake - Fly Right LP


Slovenly (2015)

I'm stuck in a bit of a conundrum when it comes to The Blind Shake.  I really dig these guys, so I keep buying their records whenever they're released.  The problem in that is I have a difficult time describing them.  Whenever I take to this website to try to describe them, I feel like I can never really articulate why I think they're one of the best bands going.  Just rest assured, this is another top notch release from the second best band in Minnesota (though I think Dillinger Four should really put out a new record if they want to keep that crown).

Fly Right is another example of The Blind Shake's mastery of the guitar.  Few bands can wield an axe quite like The Blind Shake and they tear through the album's nine songs with a focused, intense fury that is something to behold.  From the straight up fuzzed out opener "Tar Paper" to the slowed down, surf tinged "A Clock, A Window, A Pyramid" to the jagged lead guitar riff on "Holy Road" this is a band that's at the top of their game.  And those are just the first three songs on the album.

There are a few surf inspired in Fly Right and the band is a natural fit for this sort of thing.  I'm not sure if this release was recorded before or after the band's collaboration with Swami John Reis for the Modern Surf Classics album, but this album strikes me a something of a companion piece.  Either as a band ramping up to the surf album or perhaps taking the influence of those surf songs into an album of their own.  Regardless, Fly Right is simply a hell of a record.

The Blind Shake - Fly Right LP:

Monday, June 15, 2015

Pale Angels - Imaginary People LP - Clear Vinyl


Recess (2015)

We live in a world where it is just so easy to hear new bands and consume albums.  Try before you buy is the norm and it would be hard to argue that's a bad thing.  That being said, I often practice my record buying as if I was still in the 90's.  I am constantly buying records that I read a decent review  for or someone recommends to me without listening to the whole thing first.  Usually I'll try to sample at least one song, but I'm still very much of the mind set that you should take chances with your record buying.

Most of the time, it works out pretty well for me.  The vast, vast majority of these records end up being just what I wanted.  However, every once in a while I manage to land a real stinker.  Enter Pale Angels.  I saw this pop up as a new Recess records release.  They're a label that I tend to trust and the description sounded pretty good.  Plus I was able to listen to one song that I liked so I grabbed it.  I wish I could figure out what the one song I had listened to prior to ordering this record, because I sure can't find it now.

While this album certainly isn't terrible, I don't really like it at all.  The songs all kind of just drone on and on.  There's a few faster ones that aren't so bad, but even those aren't particularly exciting. The vocals are scratchy and kind of scuzzy, but not in a good way.  They just end up sounding like the singer is bored and can't be bothered to enunciate.  

Often on this website I write about how much I like a band with a real 90's sound.  Well, Pale Angels fit into that category a bit, but I'm mostly being reminded of all those bad grunge bands that I didn't like in high school.  Hey, I can't pick a winner every time.

Pale Angels - Imaginary People LP:

Friday, June 12, 2015

Clearance - Greensleeve 7"


Microluxe (2013)

This is the second Clearance 7" I picked up.  Honestly, I bought everything they had for sale on their Bandcamp page as soon as I was made aware of how great they were.  Greensleeve picks up where their first 7" left off with more phenomenal Pavement inspired indie rock and roll.

As I mentioned yesterday, the thing that really makes me love this band is the casual effortlessness they project in their songs.  Everything just sound so natural and relaxed.  Talk about a band for the summer.  All I can picture when I listen to these songs are lush green landscapes and indie rockers having picnics.  I know that sounds odd but it's a compliment, trust me.

Every song on Greensleeve is as good if not better than anything on Dixie Motel Two-Step.  As the bar was set pretty high by their debut, Clearance certainly proved that record was no fluke.  My only complaint is I waited too long to find these guys and missed out on the colored vinyl version of this record.  If you happen to have one lying around for whatever reason, please get in touch.  Again, my highest possible recommendation for both 7"s.  I eagerly await their debut full length which is hopefully coming soon..

Clearance - Greensleve 7"

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Clearance - Dixie Motel Two-Step 7" - Blue Vinyl


Microluxe (2013)

I was clued in to this Chicago band from my good friend @swamipat.  He's the mayor of Chicago as far as I'm concerned and he's brought a few really great bands to my attention.  I hope that I've returned the favor for him at least a couple of times.  Clearance is another stellar recommendation from Pat.

It would probably be physically impossible to write a review of Clearance without mentioning Pavement.  Pavement is so obviously a major, major influence for Clearance and it really shines through on the four songs crammed on to this 7".  If you're going to wear influence like this on your sleeve the way Clearance does, Pavement is a pretty good band to be inspired by.  While they're absolutely not a carbon copy, they take me to that same place when I listen to this record.

Breezy, mid tempo pop that comes across so completely natural and effortless.  I'm sure this band works and practices just as hard as any other band, but they have this disarming ability to sound like they just happened to be wandering by a recording studio and spat out four nearly perfect songs on a whim.  They're relaxed without delving into psych tinged nonsense.  Catchy without succumbing to the obvious hook and intelligent without making you feel stupid.  

It's a marvelous balancing act and my biggest regret is that this 7" has been floating around for 2 years and I wasn't listening to it already.  Luckily I'm on board now and there's more Clearance coming in the future.  Highest possible recommendation if you're a sucker for 90's indie rock like I am.

Clearance - Dixie Motel Two-Step 7":

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Purple 7 - Jewel Finger LP


Self Released (2014)

You may be impressed by the pedigree of this band as it features members of hot shitters like Landlord, Hot New Mexicans and Defiance, Ohio.  It's fine to be wowed by this credentials, but what you should really be impressed by is the actual record that these folks have managed to put together.  I received Jewel Finger out of the blue in the hopes that I would review it for this website.  As long time readers know, typical submissions tend to run the gamut from 'eh' to 'meh.'  In contrast, Purple 7 is quite good.

The label that is hosting the Bandcamp stream of this album is called Basement Pop and that's a pretty accurate description of what's on this record.  Kind of jangly and kind of fuzzy, but still catchy and structured.  The songs have a vaguely rootsy feel and reminds me a bit of Modern Machines or maybe Nude Beach.  Not quite so heavy on the Tom Petty worship and somewhat more ramshackle, but definitely a similar vibe.

They deftly weave from punchy ragers like "All The Dogs" into more laid back tracks like "Jewel Finger."  The album never sounds choppy and always flows very naturally from one song to the next.  It's a true album in that regard, not just a mish-mash of songs thrown together.  As you can probably tell, I like this album quite a bit and it has turned out to be a nice surprise.  And bands or labels putting out records this good, please flood my mailbox with albums to review.

Purple 7 - Jewel Finger LP:

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Sanhose - π Japanese CD


Snuffy Smiles (2015)

I've said it before and I'll say it every time I have the chance to write about something that comes out on this record label.  It's still a thrill all these years later to get a new Snuffy Smiles record in the mail.  They've been my favorite label for quite some time and you can just always count on them.  I feel like it's been a while since they had released a new full length CD, though I suppose they may have put out a CD version of some of the recent vinyl full lengths that they have co-released with various other labels these past few years.

Coming off the heels of a pretty killer 7", I had high hopes for Sanhose this time out.  For the most part my hopes were met and surpassed.  They are a quintessential 90's Snuffy Smile band with fast paced punk songs with poppy choruses.  Sanhose are at their most effective when they slow things down just a hair as some of the songs are just so damn fast they whiz right by.  But when the tempo is dialed down from insane to merely breakneck, this record is a lot of fun.  

I'm reminded a lot of the faster moments of The Urchin with a hint of Cigaretteman, particularly when the female backing vocals kick in here and there.  As a Snuffy Smiles release goes, it's pretty much right where it needs to be.  

The one thing that bothers me is the matrix number.  It is Smile 58 - which is fine, that's how all of the CDs are numbered.  However there's apparently a cassette version of this that uses the SNUFF- matrix code, the numbering typically used for the 7"s that Snuffy Smiles releases.  So now my complete Snuffy Smiles 7" collection has a missing matrix number for a cassette that I can't find.  If you've got the heads up on where I can snag one of those, please let me know.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Modest Mouse - Interstate 8 LP - Blue Vinyl


Glacial Pace (2015, Reissue)

As part of their Modest Mouse reissue campaign, Glacial Pace has brought Interstate 8 to vinyl for the first time.  Of all of the Modest Mouse records out there, this was probably the one I was least familiar with going in, or so I thought anyway.  

Turns out, many of the songs on Interstate 8 ended up on other albums.  This is likely common knowledge and I'm probably the only goof that didn't know that.  I still enjoy listening to Interstate 8 on its own as the songs have a different context than when they're plucked out an placed amongst others, but at the end of the day I prefer listening to Building Nothing Out Of Something for my day to day dose of "All Night Diner."

The Europe only blue vinyl looks great.  I've heard some folks complaining about the sound, but mine seems totally fine to my untrained ears.  It's worth a pick up if you want it, but it is probably the least essential of the Modest Mouse reissues if you ask me. 

Modest Mouse - "Edit The Sad Parts":

Modest Mouse - "Buttons To Push The Buttons":

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Mikal Cronin - MCIII LP - Clear Vinyl


Merge (2015)

I didn't get Mikal Cronin when he hit the scene with his first album.  In fact, going back to it now, I'm still not really a fan of that record.  When MCII was released, I didn't pay much attention.  Eventually I ended up giving it a listen and was thoroughly blown away by how incredible it was.  I was an instant convert.

Ever since then I've been clamoring for a new Mikal Cronin album.  The appropriately named MCIII is out now and I can write a review of it in a timely matter.  This is going to be a difficult review to write as I'm sure it is going to seem like I don't like the album based on a few criticisms.  Let's try to dispel that right up front as I think this record is really good and is absolutely worth picking up if you're a fan of his last record.  Again, I'm really reminded of the Mull Historical Society when listening to these songs and that's a good thing.

MCIII is not, however quite as good as the last Mikal Cronin record.  The highs never soar quite as high and as a whole it feels like its missing just a little something.  Actually, that's probably the wrong way to say it, as I think what holds back some of the songs is that there's too much something.  A lot of the songs feel kind of cluttered and bogged down by too many added instruments.  Horns, strings, pianos; some add to the flavor of the song, but some just don't really feel like they're needed.

The best example of this is on the first song "Turn Around."  Coincidently it is also my favorite song on the record.  Strong verse, big catchy chorus and some nice string accompaniment to accent certain portions.  However on top of that is this "Mr. Crazy Fingers" piano riff that lays on top of the rest of the song. I don't think it adds anything and removing it would have given the strings more impact I think.

That is certainly not a deal breaker, nor are any of the other extra flourishes that probably weren't really needed.  MCIII is still very good.  One of the better albums I've listened to this year.  There's just a little something that's keeping it from being truly great.

Mikal Cronin - "Turn Around":

Mikal Cronin - "IV - Ready":

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

New Colonies - Bleached Bones 7" - Gray Vinyl


33 Forever (2015)

I reviewed the cassette version of this New Colonies record a few weeks ago and to say I'm thrilled it has made its way to vinyl is a severe understatement.  They shaved off two of the six cassette tracks and present this four song 7".  I am hopeful that someone will rescue those two missing songs from the graveyard, especially "X's on the Eyes."  The four songs that did make the cut are all stellar though.

I will be repeating myself from the last review as far as the music goes.  New Colonies features Wes from Rumspringer and although they manage to keep up writing great hooks, this band is much more in the vein of Leatherface or Manifesto Jukebox.  Raspy vocal, palm muted guitars and gigantic choruses as far as the eye can see. They're one of the new bands I'm most interested in hearing more from and I hope this is the first of many, many records out of these guys.

Kudos to 33 Forever for rescuing these for songs from cassette hell, they are simply way to good to not get the vinyl treatment.  I highly recommend picking this record up.

New Colonies - EP (This is a link to the Bandcamp page of the cassette release, so there are 2 extra songs here):

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

der Faden - Best Guess 7" - Red Vinyl (/100)


Dirt Cult (2015)

One of the biggest musical tragedies of the last few years was when the band Statues decided to pack it in.  Sadly I never got to see the band that put out one of my favorite albums of the 2000's play a show.  Their album New People Make Us Nervous is essential and if you don't already own it, I suggest you stop what you're doing right now and go find a copy.  Needless to say I was pretty darn excited when I discovered that Rob from Statues had a new band called der Faden.

That excitement was tempered by the fear that the new band might try to be completely different from what made Statues so great.  I've seen it before.  Dude is in a great band, band breaks up, dude starts a new band that is terrible.  Just ask Eric Bachmann.  Luckily der Faden doesn't fall into this problem.  While certainly not a carbon copy of Statues, the two songs on this 7" have enough similarities to keep existing fans happy.

A-side "Best Guess" catchy with a mid-tempo start/stop guitar riff that breaks into a sing along chorus.  It doesn't have quite the punch as some of the Statues songs had, but it's a strong first impression.  On the flip side we have "Filaments."  It's a bit more straight forward than "Best Guess," built on downstroke guitar blasts and Rob's distinctive vocals.  

This 7" is a solid first showing from der Faden.  Both songs are quite good, though they both leave me wanting to hear more for the band.  To me they feel a bit like the two slower songs you'd mix into an album full of fast paced attacks.  I'm not sure what the future holds for der Faden.  Maybe they've got some burners being worked on or maybe they're going to try to keep things at this pace.  Regardless, I'm pretty thrilled Rob is making music again and I'm eager to see what comes next.

der Faden - Best Guess 7":

Monday, June 1, 2015

Modest Mouse - Building Nothing Out Of Something LP - Red Vinyl


Glacial Pace (2015, Reissue)

I have two more weeks of Modest Mouse Monday I can write about now as the reissues of Interstate 8 and Building Nothing Out Of Something finally arrived at IBWTMRDC headquarters.  I decided to try to keep up with the colored vinyl versions of these reissues so I grabbed them both from a UK based website.  Although I really expected Newbury Comics to end up with an exclusive variant, as of right now this version from Europe is the only one out there.

I'm not positive the red vinyl really goes with the artwork all that well, but the artwork itself is phenomenal.  I don't have the original pressing that came out on Up records, but from what I've been able to find out by looking online, I don't think it was made with the really incredible looking vellum slip that goes over the main artwork printed on the album cover.  The first pressings of the original CD had this and its even more impressing looking as an LP, even if it makes taking a picture of the record a bit more difficult.

From a music standpoint, you really could make an argument that this is in fact the best Modest Mouse album released.  Granted, it's not a proper full length album as the tracks had been previously released as singles and bonus tracks.  That being said, the quality of the songs and how well they match up with each other really makes it feel like an album that was somehow planned all along.  Some of my favorite Modest Mouse songs live on this guy like "Never Ending Math Equation" and "All Night Diner."

Great presentation and great songs.  I can't really think of a reason not to buy it.  You don't even have to be a goof like me and buy it from England if you don't care about the colored vinyl.

Modest Mouse - "Never Ending Math Equation":

Modest Mouse - "All Night Diner":