Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Wilson Pickett - The Exciting Wilson Pickett LP

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4 Men With Beards (2006, Reissue)

Wilson Pickett has long been one of my absolute favorite musicians.  I was first clued into his music through The Blues Brothers.  They were the starting point of so much of the music I would end up listening to.  But also, my dad had the Wilson Pickett song "Funky Broadway" on a mix tape that he used to play when I was a kid.  I just feel like his music has always been around.  I have a few Wilson Pickett CDs and Best of's, but this is the first piece of wax I've picked up.

And picking it up was easy as it was part of a heavy reduction sale blowout thing that Insound was doing.  I think it only ended up being $7, so I can forgive the slightly bent corner on the cover.  The record sounds great as this is obviously a high quality reissue and the packaging is sturdy and sharp.  Not for nothing, I really miss album covers like this.  Bands need to bring this style back again.  It just looks so classic.

As far as the music goes, you just don't get much better in the 60's soul department than Wilson Pickett.  The lead off track "Land Of 1000 Dances" is so phenomenally good, I based all of the music at my wedding off of that one song.  Everything had to tie back to the mood it set.  But this is not a one song album.  Each and every track on here is a smash hit from "634-5789" to "In The Midnight Hour," Pickett is just untouchable.  I'm definitely thrilled to have this in the collection and I'm absolutely going to be hunting down deals on the rest of his records.  They all deserve a home.

Wilson Pickett - "Land Of 1000 Dances":

Wilson Pickett - "In The Midnight Hour":

Monday, September 29, 2014

Superdrag - Head Trip In Every Key - Clear Vinyl (/1500)

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Side One Dummy (2014)

I consider myself fortunate that so many 90's albums that I like are being reissued on vinyl for the first time these last few years.  The mid 90's were that stretch of time where lots of bands ended up on major labels that you wouldn't expect, and then those major labels never produced vinyl versions.  After hearing about how Sony pretty much held the Ultimate Fakebook record hostage from an indie that wanted to release it on vinyl (making that indie attempt a Kickstarter with such a ludicrously high goal; it was never actually going to get funded), it's nice to see that Elektra is playing nice with Side One Dummy so I can have these Superdrag records on vinyl.  Though let's be clear, I wont be satisfied until someone releases the Alligator Gun record 100percentfreak on vinyl.  It's a crime no one has stepped up to the plate.

While I loved Superdrag's debut, Regretfully Yours, I can't say that I really ever spent the same amount of time with Head Trip In Every Key.  My buddy Alan really liked it, but for some reason I just never listened to it all that much.  Hearing it again all these years later is pretty crazy.  It really is a great record.  It's definitely not as instantly catchy as regretfully yours, but that's not to say that this record doesn't have its share of hooks.  Head Trip In Every Key is a progression forward and a more mature sounding album, but Superdrag never gives up on what brought them to the table; big choruses and great guitar work.

The 2 x LP gatefold packaging came out great.  Side One Dummy did a really stellar job bringing this record to vinyl for the first time.  It's limited, but not ridiculously so.  Still, if you have interest in this, you may want to grab it sooner than later.

Superdrag - "I'm Expanding My Mind":

Superdrag - "Do The Vampire":

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Pool Party - Born To Lose 7"

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It's Alive (2014)

I didn't actually order this 7", but it was thrown in with a batch of LPs I got from It's Alive Records.  I'm still working my way through those LPs, but I figured I'd give this freebee a spin to see how it is.  It's not all that good really.

I like pop punk, I really do.  It's not cool, it's a dinosaur of another era, but it's always been something that I like.  That being said, I don't like boring generic pop punk.  You need to be doing something interesting to keep me hooked.  Super clever lyrics, good production, interesting riffs...these are all things that I like.  Sadly, Pool Party employs none of them.

I knew from the moment the first song "Born To Lose" started up that this was probably going to be average since they immediately break into the same chord progression used on the Squirtgun song "Social" and about ten thousand other songs.  We then move on through 4 songs worth of 3 chord uninspired pop punk.  The lyrics aren't so good either.  I think they're trying to be witty; but it's not really working out.

This is a rare misstep for It's Alive record for me.  I'm digging all of the LPs I ordered and going back many years I've bought an awful lot of records from them.  But Pool Party is destined to be filed away and either not listened to again or sent away to someone else if I end up mailing out some records.

Pool Party - Born To Lose 7":

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Failures' Union - Tethering LP - Green Vinyl (/100)

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Dead Broke (2014)

As I've said a lot lately, you can really count on a few labels and Dead Broke is absolutely one of them.  Even the band appears to have been around for a bit, this record is my first time hearing Failures' Union and I picked it up pretty much exclusively because I tend to buy just about everything Dead Broke releases (Except for the occasional yell-y/shout-y record).

Right away I'm reminded of the band Nude Beach, maybe with not quite as pronounced of a Tom Petty influence.  But this is good, honest, somewhat rootsy pop rock.  A lot of people like to call Leatherface a working man's punk band and while I certainly wouldn't say that Failures' Union is making similar music, I get that same sort of vibe from them.  This is music for the everyman, just solid guitar interplay and passionate, clear vocals ringing through each song.

It's a great listen and one that makes me curious about the band's other records.  I may have to start digging backwards to see what else these guys have come up with.  Just more records to add to the never ending list of things to buy I guess.

Failures' Union - Tethering:

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Blind Shake - Seriousness LP - Red Vinyl

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Learning Curve (2011)

Depending on when you discover a band for the first time, it can often be a dangerous thing delving further back into their discography.  Sometimes you uncover some real greatness, but at other times you're just left digging through some half baked records by a band that just hadn't put the pieces together quite yet.  I first heard of The Blind Shake when my buddy @swamipat made me buy the Garbage On Glue 7" while we were record shopping in Chicago.  Not only did I love that, but their next full length Key To A False Door was one of my favorite records of last year.

So, now begins the march backwards through their catalog, starting with their 2011 LP Seriousness.  While I'm partial to Key To A False Door, this record is another ripper.  The band has a way of channeling noisy chaos into these perfect songs.  They're deceptively catchy, but the thing that really shines through is their energy.  I just really believe they love cranking out this mess.  

Like the band Heavy Times, on the surface it doesn't really make sense why I like The Blind Shake as much as I do.  They're way more noisy and blown out than I typically go for, but there's something uniquely special about these guys that just makes me obsessed with their records.  With another new album coming out this year on Goner and a couple of more old records to go through, it looks like I've got some work to do to get caught up.

The Blind Shake - Seriousness:

Monday, September 22, 2014

Beck - Looking For A Sign 7"

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Fonograf (2014)

This is a Beck record that I never thought I was going to get.  It was originally only sold at the merch booth of a tour he did of Australia in 2012.  Since that tour, I've yet to see one on the secondary market.  I'm sure it's been sold, but I haven't seen it.  I just figured it was one that I'd have to move on from.  It wouldn't have been the end of the world as I'm far from having the complete Beck collection I was sporting in the mid 90's, but as the 2 songs were acoustic, it stung.

Well, lo and behold, without warning, Beck threw up some copies of this on his webstore.  At $15 bucks a pop and some unreasonably expensive shipping, I can't help feel a little bilked.  But, I bit my tongue and ordered it.  They must not have lasted too long as they're gone from the store now.  So while I have a problem with Beck setting such a steep price, the truth is I probably would have paid even more for this on eBay due to how scarce it was.

Oh, the music? Both songs are great. Slow, somber, sad Beck.  They both could work easily on Mutations, Sea Change or Morning Phase.  I believe both songs are on other compilation albums, but for me, it's nicer to have the 7" in the collection.  I'm not letting Beck off the hook completely about the cost, but hopefully the money is at least going direct to him instead of some label or other third party nonsense.

Beck - Looking For A Sign:

Beck - Corrina, Corrina:

Friday, September 19, 2014

Plow United - Delco 7" - Gray Vinyl (/250)

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It's Alive (2014)

Of all of the 90's bands that have reunited, Plow United is the one that I may secretly be most excited about.  Sure, a new Rocket From The Crypt or Bum record would blow my mind, but Plow was always the closest thing to a great local band that we had when I was younger.  Yeah, they're from Pennsylvania and I'm in New Jersey, but they played so many of the shows around here that it's hard to not think of them as one of ours.  I mean, if I don't claim Plow, who am I going to claim? Bigwig? No thanks.

The Delco 7" is the first record since their fantastic Marching Band LP from last year.  To me, the production was a bit tighter on Marching Band and that gave those songs more of a biting edge.  I think as a whole the 4 songs on Delco sound a little softer in comparison.  Maybe things just sound a bit more relaxed, but the songs themselves are still as great as ever.  Well, the 3 main ones anyway as lead off "That Was Awesome" is pretty much just a 45 second intro/throwaway.

Once the start/stop guitar riff of "All For You" punches in, this 7" just flies by.  Impassioned vocals and dynamic drumming are Plow United staples and they're in full force here as well.  If you like Plow, you're crazy not to pick this up.  If you're new to them, I don't know that this is the absolute best place to start.  I'd grab last year's Marching Band LP or my favorite album of theirs, the recently rereleased Plow II LP.

Plow United - Delco 7":

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Yolks - Kings Of Awesome - White Vinyl (/100)

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Randy (2014)

It's been 5 years since the last Yolks record and in that 5 years I've probably listened to that debut a hundred times.  This leads me to my first question. Why so sad Yolks?  On Kings of Awesome, The Yolks have eased way off of the accelerator and have turned in a much more mellow album.  While it's still very good and the songwriting has improved, I kind of miss the pedal to the metal barrage of hooks that made up their first album.

Kings of Awesome is absolutely still influenced by the sounds of the 60's.  But unlike their debut, which was a call back to some of the simple garage bands of yore, Kings of Awesome takes a much more soulful approach.  The production is much cleaner, the guitars less fuzzy and the hooks more subtle.  You'll never deny that a song like "I Want Your Number" is a toe tapping hit, but it's not as immediate and attention grabbing as I was expecting.

Things continue on the B-side, which consists of three 5+ minute long songs.  Two of them are organ soaked instrumentals and the other is a 6 minute long cover of Ray Charles' "What'd I Say."  It's flat out great and one of the highlights of the record, but it is probably a bit longer than I personally need it to be.  I think they could have accomplished the same thing in 4 minutes.

I imagine that if you're reading this, you probably think I don't like this record.  That's actually not true at all.  I enjoy it quite a bit and if this were the first thing I had heard from The Yolks, I would have nothing but positive things to say.  But it's so much different from their first record I can't help but get caught up pointing out the differences.  It's absolutely worth checking out and picking up, just know that you're in for something new.

The Yolks - Kings of Awesome:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Supercrush - Lifted 7"

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Grave Mistake (2013)

Man, everything about this record is so perfectly 90's alternative rock.  I love it.  From the artwork, to the music, to the back cover photo of the band, to the name Supercrush.  If they were trying to make me pay attention, they succeeded, even if I'm a little late to the party.

I stumbled across Supercrush going through one of my favorite distros, looking for that one last 7" to push me over the edge to qualify for free shipping.  When I saw the name Supercrush and saw the picture of the record, I figured it was something worth taking a chance on.  Turns out I was right as both songs are that perfect upper mid tempo rock with gigantic guitars and hooks.  I'm actually most reminded of Dear You era Jawbreaker, but the really pop songs on that record.  Others may hear a bit of Swervedriver or other 90's era shoegaze rockers, but I find Supercrush to be much more straightforward, even if they retain some of the same sensibilities.

I can't imagine a better record that I've purchased just to qualify for free shipping.  Though this came out last October and there doesn't seem to be anything else happening with the band, I really hope that this wasn't a one off.  I want a full album from these guys desperately, so I hope they're working on it now.

Supercrush - Lifted 7":

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Young Leaves - Alive and Well LP - Blue w/ Gold Haze Vinyl

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Baldy Longhair (2014)

Alive and Well is a record I have really been meaning to pick up for quite some time.  I have been a big fan of The Young Leaves since their great album Life Underneath came out on the equally great Drunken Sailor records a few years back.  But, for one reason or another, I just kept putting off buying this record.  Finally, when I was perusing an Insound vinyl blowout sale, I stumbled across The Young Leaves on their list and snatched it up right away.

You probably can't really see from the picture I took because it's subtle, but the vinyl is pretty cool looking.  It's dark blue with just the slightest traces of gold mixed in.  Though It's not the rarest variant, it's probably the coolest looking one if you ask me.  

Musically, The Young Leaves pick up right where they left off.  Big, hook-filled guitar pop songs that lean towards the Dinosaur Jr.s end of the indie rock spectrum.  Vocally I'm reminded quite a bit of the Swedish band Starmarket and I think that The Young Leaves also manage to capture similar energy in their songs.  Whether it's one of their slower, more straight-forward tracks like ""There Was A Ghost Inside Of Me" or one of the faster, dynamic ragers like "Drowning Pool" or "Holliston,"  the songs are just soaked in a contagious enthusiasm.  Translation; they're just really catchy and a lot of fun to listen to.

I regret taking so long to finally pick this record up, but I assure you that I'm going to spend some quality time with it on my turntable to make up for that.

The Young Leaves - Alive and Well:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

"Weird Al" Yankovic - Mandatory Fun LP

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RCA (2014)

There's something just so gosh darn comforting about getting a new Weird Al album on vinyl.  Talk about an instant gateway to my childhood.  The Blues Brothers and Weird Al practically defined my earliest musical memories.  The fact that Al is still around and putting out new records and remaining relevant to the next generation is just remarkable.  The fact that this record debuted at number one on the Billboard charts was also really cool, even though that certainly doesn't mean what it once did.

As far as the record goes, I have a bit of a dilemma when it comes to the more modern Al records. The problem is I have no idea what songs he's parodying any more.  I was kind of aware of the "Blurred Lines" song because I saw it performed on the Colbert Report and I think I heard it in Sears once.  That being said Al's "Word Crimes" version is simply genius.  Lyrically, he's at a level so much higher than the rest of the entire world.  The other parodies are all a good time, even if I don't know the originals.  The song about tin foil in particular is really funny.

He also has a song called "Tacky" which is a parody of that "Happy" song I've heard in car commercials.  Lyrically great, but musically that's a pretty annoying song.  As always Al's originals are top notch and they still feel like a little slice of his music from the 80's to me.  My favorite being the guitar focused rock song "My Own Eyes."  And par for the course, Al has a Polka medley and as usual is one of the album highlights, though again, I don't recognize 3/4s of the songs he's doing on this one.  Maybe I'd be in better shape if I spent more time hanging out and listening to the music they play at SuperCuts.

Who would have thought that 28 years after I bought my first Weird Al record, I'd still be buying new ones.  I'm thrilled he is still releasing records and even more thrilled that his record label saw fit to give it the vinyl treatment.

Weird Al Yankovic - "Word Crimes"

Weird Al Yankovic - "Now That's What I Call Polka":

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Games - Little Elise 7" - Gold Vinyl (/150)

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Hozac (2014)

I feel like it's been an unusually long time since the last Games full length, though that just may be time slipping by faster as I get older.  That being said, I've been eagerly waiting the band's follow up and it finally arrived as the Little Elise 7" limited to 150 gold vinyl version on Hozac.  Hozac puts out a lot of records.  Some I love, some being a bit too scuzzy for my personal taste, but I always enjoy getting the gold vinyl version in the mail when I do order.

The Games 7" picks up where their full length left off, though I will say the guitars sound a bit fuller and more pronounced than last time.  To the band's benefit.  A-side "Little Elise" has a vocal melody in the verse that's eerily similar to "California Girls," but it's not a carbon copy all the way through with its call and response bridge that builds into a chorus complete with all of the "aahhhs" and "ooohs" that I'm looking for in great pop music.

B-Side "About Me"is another bouncy pop song to add to Games' catalog of hits. The jangle on the guitar is turned way up along with some fun lead guitar noodling going on through the chorus.  Both songs are excellent and I can only hope it's not as long of a wait to hear what Games comes out with next.  Hopefully it's a new full length.

Games - "Little Elise":

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Jackhammers - S/T 7"

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S'Not (2014)

What we have here is your basic "1-2-3-4" cave man punk rock.  Some fellows banging on their instruments and putting their music out into the world.  Though I can't say that this would always be up my alley, The Jackhammers are much better than your average band trying to pull this sort of thing off.

Hailing from Glasgow, The Jackhammers are not going to win any awards for the production on this record.  The vocals are way up front in the mix and at times it hides the music of the band.  They've definitely got chops.  You can tell they're pretty tight and they're putting together some good riffs, but the vocals kind of obscure that at times.  However, when the band is really humming along, they capture an energy that can be lost with overly glossy production.

For me the best song is probably "Count Me Out." It's super fast paced and catchy, but (I hate to harp on this) the vocals are awfully loud and I think the band would benefit greatly from some volume adjusting next time they go back for more recording.  This 7" definitely shows promise, The Jackhammers just need a little fine tuning.

The Jackhammers - S/T 7":


Monday, September 8, 2014

Gold-Bears - Dalliance - White & Green Vinyl

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Slumberland (2014)

I'm back from my end of summer vacation and I've made some adjustments to the website as well.  Nothing major, just a bit of a redesign with some new graphics.  Let me know what you think.  We'll start off the fall season with a quintessential summertime record, the new LP from Gold-Bears.

I thoroughly enjoyed the last Gold-Bears record, so I was pretty keen on this new one coming out, but I was not prepared with how much better this band had gotten since their last album.  Everything I loved about their debut has somehow gotten even better.  The songs are faster, the melodies are sweeter, the hooks are catchier and the production is perfect.  

Gold-Bears remind me a little bit of The Thermals at times, but without the barbs and with a ton of vocal harmonies added in.  Songs like"Yeah, Tonight" and "Memo" are two of my favorites but the cream of the crop is "For You."  I just love the interplay between the guitar and the vocals.  The riff holds down the song, while the lyrics just soar over everything.  

Again, I really liked the band's debut, but Dalliance is practically perfect.  If the year ended right now, there's no way this is not in the top 5 best records to have come out in 2014.

Gold-Bears - "For You":

Monday, September 1, 2014

Steve Adamyk Band - Dial Tone LP - Black Vinyl and Gold Vinyl (/200)

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Dirtnap (2014)

I don't usually do any new reviews on a holiday, but I'm making an exception today.  I will however be taking a website vacation for the rest of the week.  I'll be back writing again on Monday September 8th.  However, I couldn't take my break without writing about the new Steve Adamyk Band record first.

If you asked me who are my favorite newer bands of the last 10 years, I will immediately answer Mrs. Magician and Steve Adamyk Band.  These 2 groups have been releasing some of the best music I've heard and even though I wouldn't necessarily call them similar, they both have mastered the art of crafting perfect records.

Steve Adamyk Band is pretty much the best popped out punk rock band going.  They have the catchiest choruses and the most contagious energy of just about anyone.  I'll take the Pepsi challenge and put them up against any band playing catchy punk rock.  No one can hold a candle to these guys.  Steve & co. are just the best at it.

Their new album Dial Tone is more of the same greatness I've come to expect.  When you have such high expectations for a band, it's easy to wind up being disappointed when you finally hear their new record, but the Steve Adamyk Band hasn't let me down yet.  Even though I find some of the levels on Matt Melton's production a little uneven on a couple of tracks; the songs here are just so god damn amazing it really doesn't matter how they were recorded.

From the blazing high speed anergy of "Crash Course in Therapy" or "MRI" to the more mid tempo, crammed full of hooks "You're The Antidote" (my favorite song on the album) or "Mirror Ball" it's just smash hit after smash hit.  Somehow, the Steve Adamyk Band is able to release a new album and a handful of singles pretty much every year, yet they still manage to put out just about nothing but amazing songs.  I honestly don't know how they do it.  I'd be hard pressed to think of a band that's so prolific, but so incredibly consistent in the super high quality of their songs.

I've long had a huge soft spot for Canadian punk rock and Steve Adamyk Band is just another reason why I tend to say they make the best rock in the world up there.  Dial Tone is absolutely one of the very best records that has come out this year.  No record collection is complete without everything they've put out.  And if you're like me, that means more than one copy of quite a few of their records...

Steve Adamyk Band - Dial Tone:
http://dirtnaprecords.bandcamp.com/album/steve-adamyk-band-dial-tone

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Apes - Bodies 7" (+ Windian Box Set)

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Windian (2014)

The fifth and final entry in the 2014 Windian Subscription Series is The Apes.  Again, this is a new to me band, but I can't say that I'll be particularly interested in seeking out more tunes by them.

While I do like that they are in this box since they add yet another layer of diversity to the set, they're brand of slow, somewhat sludgy rock just isn't my cup of tea.  The A-Side "Bodies" is built over a slow, throbbing bass line with dark, gravely vocals.  I could very easily see it as a soundtrack to bury a few bodies to, so I guess it could be considered accurately named.

The B-Side picks up the tempo ever so slightly and this time the band has added some atmospheric synths to the song.  Again, it's just a little to slow to catch my interest, but I'm notoriously picky when it comes to that sort of thing.  It takes quite the band to impress me with a slow jam and The Apes just don't do it for me.

That being said, the Windian Subscription box set as a whole is a tremendous purchase.  The variety of bands is great and the Mrs. Magician and A Giant Dog 7"s are both worth the price of admission on their own.  The box set packaging is outstanding with a hefty booklet & pin.  I can't really recommend it enough.  It is every bit as good as the first volume.  Windian is getting round three going now and you can be sure I will be pre-ordering that one as soon as I can.

The Apes - Bodies:

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Overnight Lows - Bullshit Self 7"

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Windian (2014)

Round 4 of the Windian Subscription Series brings us a band from Jackson, MS called Overnight Lows.  Sometimes I think that the world has just run out of band names with how goofy some are these days, but I actually think Overnight Lows is a pretty great one.  I've never heard of these folks before, despite what looks like a decent amount of records that came out a few years back.  I'm unable to really find anything that they've been up to recently, so I can't say for sure they're still around, but I also haven't seen any breakup announcement.

Overnight Lows play up tempo, catchy garage rock.  The vocals are ever so slightly snotty, but not in an annoying way at all.  They still keep a decent amount of melody in everything and they do a tremendous job of layering shout-along backing vocals into their songs.  Both are pretty good, but my favorite of the two is actually the B-side, "Steady Hands."

I'd be on the fence about buying this as a standalone record.  These are two fun songs, though I'm not sure how much I'd really listen to them on their own.  However, they are a great addition to the box set. Overnight Lows add another dimension to the proceedings and they are good enough to make me want to check out some of their other records and see how they are.

Overnight Lows - Steady Hands:


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Ettes - Cry On My Shoulder 7"

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Windian (2014)

The third 7" in the Windian Singles Series is from Nashville's The Ettes.  I can't say that it is my favorite of the bunch, but it's not bad either.

Side A contains the song "Cry On My Shoulder."  It's a slower paced, 50's style throwback with light, clean guitar and subdued vocals.  The vocals are so subdued and wispy that they really remind be of helium induced Ween more than anything else.  While certainly not a negative comparison, it does result in me thinking the song is kind of fun and lighthearted, which I'm not sure is really the vibe they were going for.

B side "Girl I'll Never Be" is a bit harsher and calls back to the 60's more than side A.  The vocals are a little stronger here, with a decent bit of snarl thrown in for good measure.  But the song is darker and not as easy of a listen as "Cry On My Shoulder,"

Both songs are totally fine.  It's a good enough record to be part of a singles series, but I just can't imagine going out of my way to buy it on its own.

The Ettes - Cry On My Shoulder:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mrs. Magician - Friday Night 7"

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Windian (2014)

Number two in the Windian Singles Series is from one of my current favorite bands in the world, Mrs. Magician.  I will admit, one of the reasons why it's taken me so long to get around to writing about this box set is because I didn't want to listen to this Mrs. Magician 7" after the band had announced they were splitting up.  Their last full length, Strange Heaven, was just so perfect and my feeble brain couldn't cope with the fact that a band would walk away after releasing something that good.  Luckily, they changed their mind, got back together and are about to disappear into the ether to record their new album.

This allows me to listen to their Windian 7" with joy and anticipation rather than treating it like a funeral.  It's a relief too, because these 2 songs are incredible.  If they were the last 2 Mrs. Magician songs ever released, it would have been a shame.  But they're not so I can rejoice in the Beach Boys gone bad harmonies of "Friday Night."  With very light organ searing through the background, this song picks up right where Strange Heaven left off.  Everything peaks with a soaring, clap your hands along chorus, but then just to keep things interesting the band cuts everything to half time (I don't know if that is a completely technically accurate term, but they make the song slower) and ride out to the conclusion repeating "She was speaking in tongues, just like an angel."

The B-side, "Crosses," takes things into a slightly different direction.  The tone is more reminiscent of "Don't Flatter Yourself," where the band manages to take a reasonably slow song, but turns the dark factor way up.  Yet somehow, they manage to sneak in a ton of hooks and a chorus that rings out "I'm alright, I'm all ri-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yight."  It's just such great stuff.  I am counting down the days until I can hear more new music from Mrs. Magician.  They are pretty much the best band playing music right now and I just hope they can manage to stay together for many, many years to come.

Mrs. Magician - Friday Night:

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Giant Dog - Creep 7"

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Windian (2014)

You guys know how much I love singles clubs.  Pay a bunch of money up front and then receive a record every month or so.  Some good, some bad, but always a fun time.  Windian Records takes a slightly different slant on the idea.  Rather than spread the records out over a several month period, they drop all five records in your lap on the same day, and they give you a fancy box set to boot.  It's a different take on the concept and I'll admit it's a pretty great looking set.  Plus, unlike other clubs, Windian actually lets you buy individual singles from the set if you want.  Though I don't know why anyone wouldn't want to grab all of them right away.

This first 7" in the 2014 club is by A Giant Dog.  Having really enjoyed their pink album from a few years ago, I was pretty excited to hear some new songs and the two on this record didn't let me down.  Fun, hooky and absolutely bursting with energy.  They have such powerful vocals and the way they interplay with the huge guitar and driving rhythm section is something to behold.

Both songs are every bit as good as anything on their last full length.  My only complaint is that it just leaves me wanting more.  I hope they're hard at work on another full length because I will absolutely be buying that on day one.

A Giant Dog - Creep:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Martha - Courting Strong LP

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Salinas (2014)

This was the third of three records I bought from Salinas records.  I loved the Mapmaker record, but was pretty disappointed with the new one from Delay.  I'd say Martha is in between the two, but much closer to the Mapmaker side of the spectrum.

Now, that's not to say Martha sounds like Mapmaker at all, they couldn't be further actually.  Hailing from the UK, these guys trade in clean, jangle-y guitar that's bouncy and catchy.  The alternating boy/girl vocals make for a dynamic mix and allow for some incredible backing harmonies.  When the guy is singing, things seem a little faster and more energetic to me.  However, when the female vocals take the lead the songs are extremely catchy and the melodies are top notch.  It's really the best of both worlds and they remind me of the old Japanese band Cigaretteman a bit.

I'd never really heard of Martha prior to this album, and I really bought it on the strength of 1 song I heard while perusing the Salinas website.  It's always a risk buying records by bands you've never heard of before, sometimes you end up wasting money, but sometimes you end with something great like Martha.

Martha - Courting Strong LP:


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Wet - Let's Get Wet 7" - Gray Vinyl

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Tall Pat (2014)

This 7" is the debut release from Chicago's The Wet, and if the songs here are any indication, there's going to be some pretty good things in this band's future.  They're playing a mix of 60's influenced surf riffs with late 70's era punk attitude.  The guitar solos are there and the earth splitting lead vocals from Mae Day are roaring through this 7".

Tracks "Let's Get Wet" and "Miss You" are powerful, creeping along at a mid tempo pace, but barely containing the band's bristling energy.  To me though, the absolute stand out is "Bad Habit."  It's one part Baby Shakes style party rock, one part "I Want Candy" by The Strangeloves and one part whirlwind of profanity.  The poppy songs are always going to be the ones that appeal to me the most, and The Wet has my number with this song.

As I'm not in Chicago and certainly not keyed into their scene of up and coming rock and rollers, finding a band like The Wet this early in the game is great. Thank goodness for the discerning taste of Tall Pat Records.

The Wet - Let's Get Wet 7":

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Science Police / Zatopeks - Split 7" - Clear Vinyl (/100)

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All In Vinyl (2014)

This 7" wraps up the 3rd volume of the All In Vinyl split 7" Singles Series.  Since Art Of The Underground vanished into the night (with some unfulfilled subscriptions floating around out there I would think), All In Vinyl stands tall as the kings of the 7" subscription package.  They put out records by bands I like and they don't take my money and not give me records unlike some other singles clubs (cough, cough...Cowabunga Records).  I hope they are already making plans for their 4th series.

From the US we've got Science Police.  They're playing Ramones friendly pop-punk that's short, catchy and sprinkled with some keyboards.  Though I wish they'd invest in some longer songs, the 3 on this 7" are a pretty solid introduction to the band.  I know some of these guys were involved in The Steinways, so I'm sure that'll make some additional people check these guys out.

For me, the highlight is definitely the Zatopeks.  These UK based punkers contribute two stellar songs.  Their first track "Hang Up My Hat"is pretty straight up pop punk, fast paced and like Science Police, quite catchy.  However, when you get to their second song, "All My Dreams Are Borrowed" this band shines.  It's a bit more bouncy and mid-tempo, giving the band a chance to catch their breath and focus on some melodies.  But what seals it for me are the absolutely killer backing vocals that really elevate this song to be something special.  They should do whatever it takes to make those backing vocals a permanent part of the band.  Just a great, great song.

Science Police / Zatopeks - Split 7":
http://allinvinyl.bandcamp.com/album/split-7-13

Monday, August 18, 2014

Needles//Pins - Shamebirds LP - Blue Vinyl

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Dirt Cult (2014)

Let's combine 2 of my very favorite things, Canadian rock & roll and Dirtcult records.  What you get is Shamebirds, another one of 2014's best albums.  Needles//Pins shouldn't be a new band to anyone that reads this website with any regularity.  Though I missed out on some of the early singles (get in touch if you have any you're willing to part with), I've been on board since before the band's last full length.

On Shamebirds, they're just upping the ante.  Needles//Pins churn out a fiery mix of garage attitude and power pop hooks.  You can put them on right after you're through listening to Seve Adamyk Band or Mother's children, but vocally I'm actually reminded a bit of John Reis.  The lead singer is a little gravely and a bit nasal, but still manages to carry remarkable melody through the songs.  Much like Reis is able to manage.  

It's hard to point to any standouts on Shamebirds as every song on the record is so strong.  There aren't any throwaways or filler here.  But if you have to start somewhere, check out "Far Better Off" or "Hate When You're Leaving."  Both encapsulate what Needles//Pins are all about. Tight, catchy songs that just blast out of your turntable; destined to be stuck in your heads for generations to come...

Needles//Pins - Shamebirds LP:

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Edsel / Jawbox - Split 7"

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DeSoto (1993)

Much like I did with Seaweed a few years ago, my mission now is to amass the entire discography of Jawbox.  I'm not really going out of my way to hunt anything down, but I am picking up the pieces when I see them.  This split 7" popped up in the used section of an online distro that I frequent, so I added it to my cart during a recent order.  It ended up being a bit more beat up than I anticipated, so this may end up only acting as a place holder until I find a better conditioned copy.

The Jawbox side was no real surprise here.  The song is "Savory" which is also on their full length For You Own Special Sweatheart.  It's just a tremendous song though.  Dark and ominous, without being brooding or over the top.  Plus, they still manage to sneak in enough hooks to keep me a happy camper. 

Edsel is a band I'm admittedly not as familiar with.  Sure they are fronted by Sohrab Habibion, now in Obits, but I don't really like most of the Sohrab Obits songs.  I can't say I was expecting much from their contribution "Penaluna," but it's actually not bad at all.  With high pitched, but gentle vocals and lead heavy guitar work, it holds up reasonably well to the Jawbox side.  If anything, it reminds me of some of the lower key Pixies songs, but Sohrab never freaks out the way Frank often does.

Jawbox - Savory:

Edsel - Penaluna:

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Delay - Circle Change LP

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Salinas (2014)

I was so excited when I saw that Delay had a new record coming out.  I've just loved the band since 2009's Plain Language.  I got several records from the great Salinas records that order, but Delay was the first one I put down on the turntable.  If you had told me prior to listening to it that it would end up being my least favorite of the bunch, I would have never believed you.

There's nothing inherently wrong with Circle Changes.  It's not bad and nothing jumps out as being particularly cringeworthy.  Its major crime is that it's just a slow, kind of boring record.  Just about every song sounds like the intro of a great song that's about to kick in any minute.  The problem is none of them ever kick in.  They all just meander along with no sizzle.  The only time on the whole record that they even slightly approach an upbeat tempo is on "Have My Back."  It's pretty good, but honestly would have been just a background time filler track on any of their other records.

I guess you could say it's a more mature record.  Perhaps it could also be considered to be taking things more seriously.  But for me, what I liked about Delay was their youthful energy and the breakneck speed they plowed through their jangle-y pop songs.  The jangle is still there, but the energy is just gone.

Delay - Circle Change:


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Beach Slang - Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken 7" - Green Vinyl (/100)

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Dead Broke (2014)

I had tweeted out a couple of weeks ago that I tend to get the record labels Dead Broke and Dirtcult mixed up a lot.  Part of the problem is that I'm stupid and both labels begin with the letter D, but another part of it is that they both put out so many great records, I have a hard time keeping track which is which.  Once upon a time you could always trust Lookout records and you could buy just about anything that came out or you could say the same thing about Alias records for a little bit there.  In 2014, you're really not going to find many labels consistently putting out better records than these two.  And that's where Beach Slang comes in.

Due to my never ending love for all things 90's, I probably would have picked this up no matter what as ex-Weston would have sold it to me.  Not that I can say I'm a huge Weston fan or anything, but they certainly appeal to me more now than they did 20 years ago.  That being said if you pitched this to me as ex-Weston, I wouldn't have expected Beach Slang to sound like they do. 

All four songs on this 7" are significantly more melodic than anything Weston ever did.  And while it maybe lacking just a bit in the punch department, you'll never miss it as the band has structured such warm, powerful songs.  Musically they remind me of one of my all time favorite, but sadly forgotten bands, Tugboat Annie.  Vocally, the singer has a much raspier voice that does a phenomenal job of conveying real emotion without disintegrating into yelling or shouting about everything.  I also am incredibly lucky to have managed to snag one of the limited to 100 green vinyl copies.  They sold out incredibly fast.

The band is already working on a full length and I for one cannot wait for it.  As far as Dead Broke goes, you'll have to forgive me for not being able to write anymore about them as I have to go buy the Sonic Avenues LP they're reissuing right now.

Beach Slang - Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken 7":

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sweatshop Boys - The Great Depression LP - White Vinyl (/250)

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Dirtcult / Drunken Sailor / Kuskus / Crapoulet / Rapt (2013)

I kind of missed the boat on Sweatshop Boys.  Well, if nothing else I certainly missed the window of having this be a timely review.  The Great Depression came out towards the latter half of last year and for one reason or another, I just never picked it up.  Even though it may not seem this way from reading my website; occasionally I don't have enough money to pick up every record I want right away.  As a result I just kept putting off Sweatshop Boys.

I wish I hadn't as this is a hell of a record.  The band hails from Israel, but draws influence from some of my favorite bands in the world.  I can hear a bit of the high speed chaos of the Marked Men, there's a few songs that have the simple pop melodies of White Wires and every so often you'll get a little downstroke heavy darkness like Red Dons.  You couldn't ask for 3 better touchstones than those.

With big sing-along choruses and tight snappy verses, this is a record that I really hope people gravitate towards quicker than I did. quite a few different record labels from around the world co-released it, so odds are pretty good you'll be able to find someone close to you that's helped put it out.  Grab it, it's fantastic.

Sweatshop Boys - The Great Depression:

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Flesh Panthers - Nice Things 7" - Blue Vinyl

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Tall Pat (2014)

When I went to Chicago for the first time last year I was struck by a handful of things.  The first was how stupid good the pizza is there.  But the biggest takeaway I had was how much it reminded me of New York City in the mid 90's.  It hasn't been bulldozed and rebuilt into a giant outdoor mall like New York has.  Chicago still has great record stores.  Chicago still has a bunch of good music venues.  Chicago still has a pulse and you certainly can't say that about Manhattan anymore.

Well, I guess when you have a city that's actually alive and kicking, you're going to get a band as great as Flesh Panthers.  They manage to take a '77 style punk rock energy, filter through a 2014 garage band aesthetic and then, just to make me happy, cram in ten thousand hooks into every song. They remind me a bit of Marvelous Darlings, but with the glam turned down and vocals that make me think of the band Year Zero.

These guys play with passion, they play with fire, but more than anything, they sound like they're just having a great time.  That goes a long way with me and from the second the needle drops on the lead song "Nice Things," I wish I was right up front at a Flesh Panthers show.  I'd be singing along and high-fiving everyone around me.  Can't wait to hear more from these guys.

Flesh Panthers - Nice Things 7":

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Godzilla - 1954 Soundtrack - Blue & White Atomic Breath Vinyl (/400)

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Death Waltz (2014)

Before I type another word, I cannot give enough thanks to my friend @chris_whitehead for his help in acquiring this record for me.  Death Waltz records couldn't sell this to anyone in America due to licensing restrictions, so Chris bought it for me, had it shipped to his house, reinforced the packaging with extra cardboard and then shipped it to me in America.  Record collectors get a bad rep sometimes, but I've found that they are mostly great people.  Thanks to Chris, I have this record, if it wasn't for him I wouldn't.  Go follow him on Twitter, he does a pretty great radio show as well.

Even though it is 60 years old, the first Godzilla movie had never had its complete soundtrack issued on vinyl before.  There were a few score compilation albums out of Japan that highlighted some tracks and there have been CD versions of it, but this is the first time it's seen vinyl in its entirety.  For the most part, I'm glad it was Death Waltz that was the one to release it.

They've obviously taken great care to make this a special package.  The Blue & White Atomic Breath version was limited to 400 copies and to make it even more special, it is the only version that had a gatefold cover.  The quality of this album cover is unreal.  It's so thick if feels more like a hardcover book than it does a vinyl sleeve.  The quality is off the charts.

Musically, everything sounds as great as a 60 year old soundtrack could.  Limitations in the recording technology at the time surely cut down some of the fidelity, but if you are looking for the music to sound exactly like it does in the movie; welcome to paradise.  Akira Ifukube's soundtrack is just mesmerizing. Dark, foreboding and then uplifting and triumphant when needed.  The Main Title Theme would eventually become Godzilla's theme in many, many movies going forward.  I spent so much of my childhood watching Godzilla movies when I was younger and though I appreciate the 1954 original much differently now than when I was a kid; hearing this score just takes me right back.

I do have a few complaints, but they are relatively minor.  The first is that the price of this thing ended up being pretty insane.  It wound up costing me $72 in total with all of the shipping and currency exchange rates.  It's worth it to have this in my collection, but that's quite a punch in the wallet for one record.  

2nd is I'm slightly peeved at the artwork used.  I think the artwork as art is great, like I said earlier the packaging is beautiful.  But I don't think that the representation of Godzilla being used is really accurate to the 1954 ShodaiGoji suit.  The images used on both the cover and the gatefold are much more in line with the bulkier look that Godzilla was sporting during his 1990's films.  It's a small issue, but considering the effort that went into this package, I personally would have preferred that the imagery on the cover represent the Godzilla in the film that the soundtrack is of.

Even with those minor complaints, I would recommend this album in a heartbeat to anyone.  It's such a wonderful tribute to the amazing soundtrack of an equally amazing film.

Godzilla Main Title:

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mother's Children - Lemon LP - Yellow Vinyl (/100)

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Taken By Surprise (2014)

Before I start to write about the music, just take a look at that glorious yellow vinyl.  Nothing makes me happier than when a label really nails the color.  It's just perfect lemon yellow and I think it adds to the overall packaging quite a bit.

Lemon is the long awaited follow up to Mother's Children 2010 debut, That's Who.  I guess in the four years between records (Aside from releasing a few killer EPs) the band must have been sequestered in their Canadian bunker, tirelessly crafting a new bunch of pop songs to unleash into the world.  That's what I assume anyway, as the resulting record is fantastic and more focused than their debut.

While That's Who had a somewhat more relaxed vibe, Lemon feels tighter with more attention paid attention to detail.  The songs are catchy, the vocals are great and the band has always had heaps of attitude which comes through as well. The guitar work sounds polished without sounding overproduced.  It's really a case study in a band's ability to balance an upbeat, fun record that doesn't devolve into sloppy chaos or go too far the other way and have the production zap the fun and authenticity from the songs.  Mother's Children are just further proof that the best rock and roll in the world is coming from Canada these days.

Mother's Children - Lemon LP:

Monday, August 4, 2014

Mapmaker - Critical Path LP

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Salinas / One Percent Press (2014)

When Salinas records started announcing a slew of new releases that they were putting out, I immediately jumped on board.  I knew I wanted the new Delay record, having been a fan for a while, but there were 2 new bands that I was keen to check out, Martha and Mapmaker.  Of all 3 records, Mapmaker ended up my favorite, but I'm not sure I thought that the first time I put the needle down on this LP.

I'll be very blunt; the vocals are not going to be for everyone.  They're loud, distorted, blown out and way up front in the mix.  At first listen it's a little off putting and you immediately think "why would anyone record the vocals like that?"  That being said, the more I listen to this record, the more I love it. While slightly less harsh vocals would probably help the band a little in the long run, they bring a real feeling of urgency to Critical Path.

In a lot of ways, Mapmaker reminds me of the equally excellent Tenement.  Though they don't throw around Dino Jr. style guitar solos the way Tenement can; there's a similar seriousness and an intensity.  They manage to weave real energy into surprisingly melodic songs, considering all of the shouting.  Like Tenement, they're not afraid to get a little noisy, or a little lo fi; but they manage to pull it off in a way that makes complete sense at the end.

If you are looking for an album of serious, dynamic punk rock, you're not going to do much better than Mapmaker in 2014.  If you can appreciate the vocals, this is going to become a heavy rotation album for you.  Even if you have a harder time with them, the music and guitar work is so strong, I'd still be surprised if you didn't end up spinning this more often that you initially thought you would.

Mapmaker - Critical Path (2 Songs):



Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bear Trade - Blood And Sand LP - Clear w/ Blue Splatter (/500)

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Dead Broke / Everything Sucks (2014)

As soon as you throw around a tagline that says "ex-members of Blocko" I'm going to sit up and take notice right away.  Blocko was one of my favorite UK punk rock bands and to see any of their members moving on to new projects is a wonderful thing.  Bear Trade has been on my radar for a bit, since they released their debut 7" last year.  Expectations were quite high for this full length, but I can say without question that Blood And Sand delivers.

Being able to listen to a full album's worth of material from Bear Trade is kind of eye opening.  I was expecting an album of Blocko style, dynamic palm muted glory.  While there are songs that fit that bill, the rest of the album runs the gamut from Iron Chic style anthemic, "whoa-ohhh" fist raising songs to aggressive, but still catchy, burners like "Nice Boots."  Also, a real stand out track is "Postcards."  It's a song that could only emanate from the UK with it's soft spoken, almost storyteller like vocals that makes me feel like I'm hanging out with old timers telling stories in a run down pub.  It's just an incredibly dynamic track and one of the best of an awfully great batch of songs.

Needless to say, I'm thrilled with the debut full length from Bear Trade.  Despite my high hopes for the record, they still managed to impress me.  Back in the mid 90's, the UK punk scene was the most exciting scene on the planet.  While those glory days may be behind us, with bands like Bear Trade, The No Marks and Stay Clean Jolene leading the way, the future is looking quite stellar.

Bear Trade - Blood And Sand LP:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Herzog - Boys LP - Yellow Vinyl

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Exit Stencil (2014)

Maybe you fall into the same category as me or maybe you don't really pay attention to this sort of thing.  But, I love when record labels have a good email mailing list that keeps you up to date on the goings on at the label and announces any new records that are on sale.  Some may view this as spam, but I view it as information vital to keep me on top of things.  Case in point is this Herzog LP.  Honestly the only reason I heard about it was because I ended up on Exit Stencil's email list (presumably after buying the great Chomp record a couple of years back).  The description caught my eye, so I took a chance on a band I'd never really heard of before.

It was definitely a risk worth taking.  The album starts off right away with "Full Stick," a big drum beat, guitar driven blast with a melodic verse that just reeks of energy and enthusiasm.  It's short, but is an immediate attention grabber that sets you up for the rest of the record.  From there on out the album is comprised of song after song of huge hooks & melodies, gigantic fuzzy guitars and some pretty great vocal melodies, especially considering the band's penchant for a little vocal static in their production.  It's got the kind of Blue Album catchiness that I love, with a slightly lower fi production that keeps it sounding fresh and exciting.

Just listen to the bouncy, lead synth soaked "Mad Men" and I dare you to tell me it's not one of the catchiest songs you've heard this year.  It's just a great album top to bottom and absolutely one worth being on some email mailing lists to find out about.

Herzog - Boys LP:
https://soundcloud.com/exit-stencil-recordings/sets/herzog-boys/s-nDVDI

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Klaus Johann Grobe - Traumhaft 7" - Red Vinyl (/500)

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Trouble In Mind (2014)

I picked up this Klaus Johann Grobe 7" along with the J.C. Satan record from yesterday to keep my Trouble In Mind 7" collection complete.  While the J.C Satan wasn't really my thing, I get how others like it.  This Klaus Johann Grobe 7" on the other hand, this is totally over my head.

The A-side "Traumhaft" is slow, pulsating and chock full of synth.  The vocals are pretty deep in the mix and the song just chugs along, never really going anywhere other than the one direction it started off.  B-Side "Nicht zu stoppen" is just as weird.  Lots of organ and echoey vocals that seem to just repeat themselves throughout the song.  On the plus side there is a moment that seems like a genuine chorus in this one.  I don't know, I just don't get it.  

I have bought a ton of Trouble In Mind records.  Most of them I love.  Even the ones that I don't love I still think are OK or at the very least good examples of a kind of music I'm not particularly into.  This is the first time that I actually flat out don't like something.  So it goes though, no one's taste matches up with someone else's 100%.  Even though this record is a dud, I'll still be first on line for the next batch of Trouble In Mind 7"s

Klaus Johann Grobe - Traumhaft:


Monday, July 28, 2014

J.C. Satan - Italian Summer 7" - Blue/Gray Vinyl (/500)

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Trouble In Mind (2014)

I buy 7"s from Trouble In Mind like it's my job.  I have every single they have put out on the limited colored vinyl first pressing.  It's a fun little collection to be working on, but at some point I'm wondering if I'll need to start picking and choosing which ones to buy.  It's not that anything they're putting out is bad; but I feel like they used to do a lot more garage-y pop bands and not so many psych bands.  If nothing else, I'll surely complete the first 50 7"s and we'll see where we go from there.

For the A-side "Italian Summer." J.C. Satan are working with a big time 60's vibe.  While it leans more towards a mid tempo flowery children sort of vibe, it's just not quite catchy enough to keep my interest.  The mellow verse does lead into a louder, fuzzier chorus, but I just need a bit more oomph.

The flip side, "I Don't Feel Like Dancing" definitely is a bit more heavy handed with the psych touch.  The song kind of drones on with a guitar that sounds like it's underwater. As far as this sort of thing goes, J.C. Satan is decent enough at it, but it's just not really my cup of tea.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Radioactivity - Danger 7"

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Secret Mission (2014)

There's something to be said for consistency.  If you read this website you can count on the fact that I'll only throw around a handful of adjectives.  If you watch any of the prequel Star Wars trilogy movies you can count on being in a bad mood afterwards.  If you listen to a band that Jeff Burke is singing in (Marked Men, Potential Johns, Novice, Radioactivity) you can absolutely count on that record being spectacular.

What you can also count on is consistency in sound.  I would never say something cliche like the songs all sound the same, but the songs are all coming from a similar place.  Fortunately for me, I could listen to songs from a place like this all day long.  Radioactivity, like Burke's other bands, crank out fuzzy, catchy garage pop.  They write hooks better than most bands I can think of.  Even though the 2 songs on this could probably be considered among their slower or more mid tempo tracks, they are still bristling with energy.

Of the two, I prefer the B-side "Why" but both are equally great.  Word is another full length is nearing completion and you can count on me to be buying that the very second if goes on sale.

Radioactivity - Danger 7":

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fleshy Mounds - You're Welcome Cassette

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More Power (2014)

Let me start off by saying that I'm very grateful to anyone that takes the time to send me something to listen to and review on this website.  It's nice to think (even if I'm just fooling myself) that someone would care about my opinion of a record.  It's also nice to get the occasional free record.  I don't get a lot of people sending me things to review, but considering how I go on and on about how I don't like cassettes, it's remarkable how many tapes I get sent versus those that send me a slab of vinyl to review.  

When this Fleshy Mounds tape came in the mail, I was skeptical.  The artwork and band name made me think it might not be my cup of tea, but hey you never know.  When I popped this guy on, I was floored.  I haven't purposefully listened to something this bad in a while.  Fleshy Mounds sound like every terrible high school VFW hall punk band you've ever heard in your life.  The singer is just shouting and rambling incoherently.  I bet he thrashes around with much fervor when playing live.  The guitar is barely noticeable as the bulk of the music is built around simple bass and a drummer that I can only assume has not been playing all that long.

The songs are slow and sludgy, never really going anywhere.  I don't think any of the songs had a chorus, every one plods along in one direction daring you to continue to listen.  It's like a game of chicken, can you really sit through this whole thing? Luckily it's only 5 songs, so I made it through; but I came out worse on the other side having accepted this challenge.  Again, I appreciate everyone who sends me something to review, but I'm trying to put myself in the head of whoever sent this to me thinking 'yeah, I bet Tim will like that..."

Fleshy Mounds - You're Welcome:



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bob Mould - Beauty & Ruin LP - Yellow Vinyl (/400)

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Merge (2014)

There are things I am going to write about this record that could make you think that I do not like it.  That could not be more untrue.  I want to start off by saying this is a great record and I absolutely love it; but it's going to suffer some unfair comparisons to Bob Mould's last album, Silver Age.  When I heard Silver Age a couple of years ago, it was a revelation. Bob was back.  

After a string of lackluster rock albums and a horrible electronica mistake; Bob was embracing his inner Sugar and cranking out a powerful set of top notch pop-rock tunes.  It was kind of unexpected as I had figured Bob Mould was just going to be one of those iconic fellows whose best work was behind him.  He knocked that theory on its ass and Silver Age was hands down one of my favorite records of 2012.

With Beauty & Ruin, Bob has the unenviable task of trying to follow up that masterpiece.  Honestly it's just as good.  The only problem is that this time I'm expecting it to be good.  While last record was a surprise, this record has a whole heap of expectations slapped onto it.  That's a tough weight to bear and he does himself no favors by having the worst song on the record, "Low Season," as the album opener.  I was a little nervous after hearing that for the first time.  It's just so sluggish and sounds like back album filler to me.  Things pick up a bit with "Little Glass Pill," but it's still no where near as good as anything on Silver Age.

Luckily by the time you hit the third track "I Don't Know You Anymore" the album just roars to life.  It's fast paced, catchy and has all those great Sugar-esque high spots that you want Bob to hit.  The rest of the album cruises along after that with each successive song being as good or better than the previous.  It's really a hell of a record that probably could just have used some work in the track sequencing department.  While it will be unfairly compared to Silver Age, Beauty & Ruin makes a strong claim as the 2nd best Bob Mould solo record he's put out.  If you liked Silver Age, I just can't imagine not liking this one almost as much.

Bob Mould - I Don't Know You Anymore:

Bob Mould - Nemeses Are Laughing:

Monday, July 21, 2014

Blank Pages - S/T LP - Clear Vinyl

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Dirtcult (2014)

Every year that I get older, I'm a little more leery of the fact that I'm not quite as tuned in to new records as I used to be.  I try hard to keep up with everything, and I think as evident from this website, I do a pretty decent job and certainly buy my fair share of records.  That being said, last year I blew it with the new Blank Pages record.  Hardware records in Germany put this album for sale with different artwork and a limited to 100 colored vinyl variant.  I completely missed it.  

By the time I had figured out that it had even come out, Dirtcult had announced their version.  Even though there's something to be said about owning the limited, first press, colored vinyl, German import; there's also something to be said with being able to pick this up for 11 bucks with domestic shipping.  Obviously I went that route.

Sure, I'll probably want to find the other version at some point, but only because Blank Pages are just so damn great.  Rising from the remains of the equally incredible Idle Hands; Blank Pages pretty much pick off where that band had left off.  Wipers/Red Dons style, downstroke heavy, dark but fast & catchy punk rock.  They're one of the current masters of the genre.  If The Estranged were writing songs with bigger hooks, you'd be closer to the sound of Blank Pages.

It's absolutely an essential album to pick up, especially since Dirtcult made it so easy to get in America.  Do you have any idea how much I spent on those German Idle Hands records? A lot, that's for sure.  The only problem I have now is not knowing if I can include this record on a top 10 list of 2014.  It's certainly amazing enough to be a no brainer, but the fact that it came out last year in Germany first makes me unsure if it counts.  Thoughts?

Blank Pages - S/T LP: