Thursday, March 15, 2018

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


Atlantic (1980)

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

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

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

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

The Blues Brothers - "Jailhouse Rock":

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Ruler - Tiger 7"


Secret Mission (2018)

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

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

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

Ruler - Tiger 7":

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Bum - Wanna Smash Sensation CD (Japanese Version)


1 + 2 (1993)

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

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

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

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

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

Bum - Wanna Smash Sensation:

Monday, March 12, 2018

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


Merge (2018)

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

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

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

Superchunk - What A Time To Be Alive:

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Spells - Big Boring Meeting 7"


Snappy Little Numbers (2018)

I was pretty excited about a new Spells 7" coming in the mail.  They've been a really consistent band the last few years and I've dug everything they've released so far.  This new 7" is no exception and boy did they cram as much stuff as they possibly could on to this guy.

On the A side we have two songs, "Deceiver" and "I Wanna Know."  I've described Spells as something of a party band that I think has a Rocket From The Crypt-esque vibe to them and I still feel that way.  That's not to say I think their music sounds super similar, but they have the same sort of attitude and can churn out some garage-y hits.  In particular "I Wanna Know" with its snake charmer lead guitar riff is one of the top songs in this batch.

On the B side, Spells cram in four short brief songs.  I don't think any of them live up to the heights set up on the A side, but I've got to say "She Wants To Die Before I Do" is damn catchy.  I kind of wish they explored that one a little more instead of cutting out at the one minute mark.  I still think Spells sound like they'd be a hell of a lot of fun live, someone let me know if they hit the East Coast.

Spells - Big Boring Meeting 7":

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Rocket From The Crypt - Live From Camp X-Ray LP - White w/ Black Splatter


Vagrant (2016, Reissue)

This version of Live From Camp X-Ray is the last of the newer Vagrant reissues to write about.  Like most of the others, it's a splatter vinyl variant.  I will say that even though these colors don't really go with the color scheme of the artwork particularly well, I do like the way this looks more than a lot of the others.  It's one of the more simple and classy looking splatters that I've seen.

Music is just as good as always, so there's not really a ton more to say, particularly after the yarn I spun about this album last week.  So enjoy the picture and but the record if you don't already own five copies of it.

Rocket From The Crypt - "I'm Not Invisible":

Rocket From The Crypt - "Too Many Balls":

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Boys Order - Do The Wildcat LP


Secret Mission (2017)

This Boys Order LP was sent to me to review by Secret Mission records.  It's one of a few records they sent over, all by Japanese bands that I had never heard of.  I'm fairly tuned in to some of the great Japanese bands out there, but this package was a bit of a slap to the face and a reminder that I'm always going to be painfully unaware of what's really going on over there.  I'll try my best to keep up.

Boys Order are playing a hyperactive strain of punky power pop with quick tempos, manic drumming and a penchant for playing lots of high bass notes. It's undeniably catchy and a pretty fun listen.  Whether it's the buzzsaw pace and killer chorus of "Midnight Triangle" or the the straight up pop punk of "Blue Blue Red," Boys Order have their share of hits on Do The Wildcat.  The vocals are definitely going to leave an impression, they're very up front in the mix and I think you'll probably love them or hate them.  For me it depends on the song, but for the most part I think everything comes together pretty well.

There are a handful of songs that slow things down just a little bit on here like "Out Of Sight Out Of Mind" and those are probably less successful than the rest of the album.  But they are few and far between.  The bulk of the album is sugar fueled, dynamic punk rock that I'm pretty glad I had the opportunity to check out.

Boys Order - Do The Wildcat:

Monday, March 5, 2018

Hooper - No Monument LP


Snappy Little Number (2018)

No Monument is the long awaited follow up to Hooper's 2013 masterpiece, How To Become A Ghost.   Five years is a long wait between albums and it's pretty obvious that the band has emerged from this break somewhat different than how they went into it.  Where How To Become A Ghost reveled in the 90s pop stylings of bands like Fig Dish and Tugboat Annie, No Monument takes a different path for most of the album.

No Monument is more indebted to different sounds of the 90s this time out, with a very post punk sound that expands the band's songwriting chops, but dampens the hooks a bit.  The opening one-two punch of "Red Shift (and the Irish Goodbye)" and "The Method" is a pretty good indication that things have changed since the last time we were hanging with Mr. Hooper.  Slower paced, with shifting rhythms and pained vocals, these two songs definitely grabbed my attention and alerted me that Hooper has altered the plan.

It's not all doom and gloom however.  Even though the first two songs aren't exactly my favorites, from the third track on, this is still a pretty excellent Hooper album.  "Unfinished Basements" and "Tides" are more in line with what I was expecting from Hooper, crunchy guitars, energetic song building and hooks that payoff that build.  When these guys are on, they are on.  Other highlights include the pop nugget "Spit Down A Well" and the more expansive, but no less catchy "Redacted."  Any song where the band plays things more straightforward and the tempo is a bit faster tend to be the ones that get my attention.

No Monument is still a strong, solid record.  There are moments that I don't like as much as others, but Hooper is still a band worth paying attention to and checking out if you're not already familiar with them.  Also, I apologize for that obviously terrible hanging with Mr. Hooper joke earlier in the review.

Hooper - No Monument:

Thursday, March 1, 2018

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


Atlantic (1980)

This version of the Everybody Needs Somebody To Love 7" also comes from Europe, though this time there's a different B side.  Like with the last version I reviewed that had "Think" by Aretha Franklin as the B side, this one also has someone other than the Blues Brothers on the flip.  "Minnie The Moocher" by Cab Calloway makes an appearance here and while I do love the song, it still seems weird to me not to treat this more like a split 7".

Sure, the Blues Brothers band is Cab's backing band on this excellent version of "Minnie," but I think Cab deserve his name on the marquee a bit more prominently.  It's impossible for me to listen to "Minnie The Moocher" and not picture the movie scene where Jake & Elwood are sneaking around outside of the Palace Hotel Ballroom in time with the horn section.  It's just a classic moment in my very favorite movie.

As I've said before, the soundtrack version of "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love" has never been my favorite version of the song because of the backing vocals mixed in that aren't in the actual movie.  Oh another interesting thing, this vinyl itself on my copy has been dinked.  Dinking is the process where someone makes a big hole in a 7" that was pressed with a small hole.  Typically done so it can be used in a jukebox.  If I ever am able to get my jukebox out of the garage and into somewhere that's usable, I'll probably be doing a bit of dinking here and there.  Plus it's just fun to say.  Dink.

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

Cab Calloway - "Minnie The Moocher":

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Rocket From The Crypt - Live From Camp X-Ray LP - Clear w/ Orange & Black Splatter


Vagrant (2017, Reissue)

Rocket From The Crypt is my favorite band.  All I know about writing about their records is to gush about how much I love them.  Live From Camp X-Ray is another record of theirs that I love.  It's short, but it's a powerful blast of rock and roll straight into my soul.  It also has a special place in my heart as it I was involved in promoting it to college radio in a past life.

I also promoted Group Sounds to radio when that came out, but I was a new member of the radio team at that time.  While my Rocket tattoo was certainly used as a bargaining chip to help my company get on that record, I didn't have any contact with Vagrant and didn't have much to do with it on that side of the promotion world. (It's a weird thing, different promotion companies had to seek out record labels and convince them we were the best team to promote their record.  It was an interesting part of the job).  But I pushed Group Sounds as hard as I could to the radio stations I dealt with. My favorite part was convincing stations that they had to play it the week of my birthday that year.  I got a lot of extra spins that week. What a bizarre job.

By the time Live From Camp X-Ray was coming out, I had moved up the ladder and had many more labels that I was in charge of communicating with.  The moment I heard a whisper about this new Rocket record, I was immediately on the phone with Vagrant trying to make sure we could be involved.  There is no one who would have promoted this record to radio harder than I would, surely they would see that pretty quickly.  For whatever reason, the dude that worked at Vagrant that was in charge of the promotion and hiring of indie promoters for radio was being difficult.  I'm not sure if he was trying to get me to jump through hoops or maybe he just didn't like me, but he cat and moused me for weeks and weeks and just wouldn't give me any information or commit to anything.

Around this time John Reis came to town to play a show.  I actually can't remember for sure if it was a Rocket or Hot Snakes show (I could probably look it up and figure it out, but I need to finish this up), but it was definitely at the Bowery Ballroom.  I searched him out (I had started talking to him recently so that my company could help promote the Swami records releases) to just get his ear about wanting to do the Rocket record.  John was his usual super awesome self and said he'd put a word in.  I consider myself truly lucky to have been able to work with him in any capacity and to have at least a tiny part in helping out some of my favorite records of all time.  

I went back to work the next day and did my weekly follow up call with the Vagrant dude and he reacted really negatively towards the fact that I had spoken to John and accused me of going over his head.  I couldn't tell if he was joking or not but it was all very odd.  Fast forward a few more weeks and I got a call from a different guy at Vagrant.  He said the first guy was no longer with the company, the new guy (who I had actually known from other places) was taking over the promotion side for a bit and that my company was officially hired on Live From Camp X-Ray effective immediately.

He gave me everything I needed and sent over an advance of the record and I've been listening to it constantly ever since.  We had a nice little run with Live From Camp X-Ray and I consider it a highlight of my radio promo career.  We made a photo copy of my Rocket tattoo and mailed it out along with the CD and the bio sheet when we sent the album out to stations.  It was good times.

This newer repress is on clear vinyl with some black and orange splatter.  It looks pretty good for a splatter, though that's not my favorite vinyl type.  I would have gone with a black and orange split color, personally, but as always, I'm glad to add to the ever growing and apartment consuming Rocket From The Crypt record collection. Long live the dead.

Rocket From The Crypt - "I'm Not Invisible":

Rocket From The Crypt - "Too Many Balls":

Monday, February 26, 2018

Shiner - The Egg LP - Green Vinyl (/150)


BCore (2018, Reissue)

This is the second time that The Egg has been reissued and is also the second time I've written about it here on this site. You may (or may not) remember that Shiner is my wife's favorite band.  I dig them too, but the only reason I know about them is because of her.  While my wife isn't really a record collector, we've decided that it is important to have all of the Shiner records in the collection.  We're up for some variants as well.

This variant came out in Spain on BCore discs.  The music is the same as the US version, featuring sprawling, but surprisingly catchy rock that is similar in scope to what Jawbox is known for.  BCore decided the change things up with the artwork, opting for greens where there used to be oranges.  I think it looks good, though it is somewhat jarring having seen everything in orange for so long.  Still, I always say that I'm in favor of substantial artwork changes when something gets rereleased.  I like being able to tell it apart from the original.

In addition to the artwork change, 150 copies were also pressed on green vinyl.  Shiner sold a handful of them directly here in the US, but they sold out in a blink of an eye with no real warning that they had gone up on sale.  Luckily, BCore still had copies available, so we imported this one from Spain.  It wasn't the first time and certainly won't be the last time I pay some extra postage for a variant. Records like this need to be in the collection.

Shiner - The Truth About Cows:

Shiner - Play Dead:

Shiner - Pills:

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Songs For Snakes / If It Kills You - Split 7" - Honey Mustard Vinyl


Self Released (2017)

Yep, they are calling it 'honey mustard vinyl.'  That's great and it actually looks like that color, so even better.  This split 7" features a band I've become quite familiar with over the years coupled with a band I'd not heard of previously.

This is the third time I've written about Songs For Snakes and their melodic punk by old punks for old punks.  Combine the aggressiveness of Bivouac era Jawbreaker with huge guitar tones that remind me a lot of Fig Dish and mix that potent cocktail with gravely vocals.  If that sounds like exactly the sort of thing you'd expect me to listen to, you're correct.  Very much my cup of tea.  They also have a new full length out, so I'll be writing up that soon as well.

On the flip side is If It Kills you.  I haven't listened to them before playing their song on this 7", and while I can't say I like them as much as Songs For Snakes, it sure compliments them with their own very 90s sounding song.  If It Kills You, to me, is harkening back to a slightly noisier strain of 90s punk rock.  A little bit of the more chaotic moments of Seaweed mixed in with some of the poppier aspects of the AmRep catalog.  The vocals have that static-y telephone effect on them, kind of how Rocket From The Crypt used it in "The Paste That You Love," though not quite as blown out as Rocket.

I say all the time how the split 7" is one of my favorite ways to listen to music.  There's something kind of timeless about the experience to me and I wish they were more common today than they are.

Songs For Snakes / If It Kills You - Split 7":

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Rocket From The Crypt - Group Sounds LP - Yellow Vinyl


Vagrant (2016, Reissue)

This is the last of the Vagrant 20th anniversary reissues of Group Sounds.  It's on solid, translucent yellow vinyl.  I suppose it's the least interesting of the three newer reissues, though I will admit that yellow is my favorite color so I have a bit of a soft spot for it.

Considering that the others were wackier splatter variants, I'm not sure how this relatively tame third one ended up coming out.  The color doesn't really tie into the artwork particularly well.  You could make an argument that the cobra is yellow, but that's kind of stretching it and the cobra certainly isn't the same color as the LP itself.  

It could just be one of those unsolvable mysteries, but if there's a Rocket From The Crypt variant out there, it needs a loving home in my collection.  All three of these reissues have that loving home now.  I'll write up the two Live From Camp X-Ray reissues next.

Rocket From The Crypt - Group Sounds:

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Makes No Sense / Suffering From A Case - Split CD


Suburbia Works (2007)

This split CD features two Japanese bands, Make No Sense and Suffering From A Case.  It came back all the way in 2007 so it's another one that I've been missing out on for quite some time.  Luckily I have it now.

Makes No Sense immediately reminds me of Cradle To Grave, especially in their first song "Chunk of Contradictions."  The way the band effortless changes tempos going from ten thousand miles an hour in the verse to a steady backbeat of a catchy chorus is pretty remarkable.  Though I actually prefer their second song on the disc, "(Not For Me To Decide) Your Choice."  The tempo is a bit more consistent throughout the song and it just delivers the sort of scraggly, high energy Japanese pop punk that I know and love.  It looks like these guys have a couple of other split CDs out and now I need to find them as well.

Suffering From A Case is a band I'm more familiar with.  Actually, it's funny as I ended up with three copies of their other EP on Waterslide.  I picked up a copy back when it came out.  Then while I was in Japan I ended up buying another copy of it.  Finally, I ended up with a third copy as someone from a distro tossed it in with a Brown Trout album I bought.  I found loving homes for the extras, don't worry.  So for the two Suffering From A Case songs on this split they deliver excellent, Dillinger Four style melodic punk.  Energy, flashy breakdowns, bashing octaves and shouting their hearts out.  Excellent stuff and I recommend picking up their EP as well if you don't already have it and I didn't give you a copy.

Monday, February 19, 2018

First Base - Not That Bad LP - Blue Vinyl (/100)


Drunken Sailor (2017)

Not Thad Bad came out towards the end of 2017.  I also dragged my feet on picking it up/listening to it/reviewing it for a bit, so I didn't get it written up before the year ended.  It's kind of a shame as this is one of those records that really should have been represented on my end of the year list and pretty high at that.  The way that the band rolls together their vintage guitar tones and power pop sensibilities, First Base has a hit on their hands.

I actually got a little confused as I had thought I already owned band's first album, but doing a little bit of digging in the 'F' section and it turns out I don't, I only have a 7" of theirs that came out on La-Ti-Da.  That missing LP seems like a pretty big omission to me, especially if their first one is anywhere near as good as this new record.  I can be hit or miss on straight up power pop at the best of times, but First Base do a great job of keeping up the energy to go along with their bouncy hooks.  

The killer vocal harmonies certainly have a lot to do with how great all of the songs are as well, and it reminds me a lot of The Hum Hums maybe mixed with Gentleman Jesse or the Barreracudas first album.  There is so much on this record for the garage power poppers to love, but there's also a lot here for the pop punkers out there as well.  A damn fine album.

First Base - Not That Bad:

Thursday, February 15, 2018

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


Atlantic (1980)

This version of the Everybody Needs Some Body To Love 7", according to Discogs, is the European version of the single.  I'm not really sure how that differs from the version of this single I posted two weeks ago which was released in Germany (I had mistakenly listed that one as having been from France initially, but have corrected that review).  The last time I checked, Germany was in Europe, so I just don't know why these two different versions exist.  Probably some 80s distribution model that doesn't make sense anymore.

The songs are the same, as the B side for this 7" is Think by Aretha Franklin again.  The only real difference is the font of the song titles on the front of the sleeve, a completely redesigned back of the sleeve and the red/green split design of the label itself.  There's just something about that red and green Atlantic label that I just love.  

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

Aretha Franklin - "Think":

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Rocket From The Crypt - Group Sounds LP - Clear w/ Black & Yellow Splatter Vinyl


Vagrant (2016)

This is the second of three Group Sounds reissues that my wife got me for Christmas.  I'm pretty fortunate that she doesn't mind stoking the fire of this collection that has rapidly taken over most rooms in our place.  All I can say is that I'm a lucky, lucky guy.

I like this variant better than the one from last week.  Though splatter vinyl isn't my favorite of vinyl colors, at least this one takes some colors from the actual artwork to use.  I'm not entirely sure why last week's had blue splatter.  Sure there's a bit of blue on the insert, but it just seemed a bit out of place.  Though let's be honest, the best variant of this LP was the record store day variant on white vinyl with yellow splatter from a few years ago.  That one made the most sense anyway.

No matter how you slice it, that doesn't change the fact that this is one of the all time best Rocket records.  Maybe most people don't need so many copies of the same record, but I for whatever reason, I do.  I have one more version of this album that I'll post next week, then it's on to Live From Camp X-Ray.

Rocket From The Crypt - Group Sounds:

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Corner Boys - Just Don't Care 7"


Drunken Sailor (2017)

Drunken Sailor is a label that always intrigues me.  They have this funny way of splitting their time between UK style melodic punk rock and poppier garage punk.  I don't find this weird, after all I'm a fan of both styles (country and western), but for whatever reason seeing some of the records they release side by side just makes me chuckle. 

Corner Boys hail from Vancouver and if the three songs on this 7" are any indication, they really love 70's style power pop.  Just Don't Care serves up three songs that sound right out of that era with the jangly guitar and bouncy bass lines.  The songs churn out catchy hooks with singalong choruses that will sound right at home next to whatever forgotten band Hozac trots out for their next reissue.  

The vocals are really up front in the mix on these three songs and the singer does have a somewhat nasally, slightly accented vocal style that you have to be ready for.  It's probably not going to be everyone's cup of tea and the vocals are so in the forefront that it might be a dealbreaker for some.  Luckily not for me as I really dig the three songs on this 7".  They're poppy and catchy and there's no screaming.  What's not to like?

Corner Boys - Just Don't Care 7":

Monday, February 12, 2018

Her Spectacles / Skimmer / Piece of Bread - All The Time In The World - 3 Way Split CD


Waterslide (2009)

This CD is nearly ten years old now and that really blows my mind.  Another gem that I managed to overlook for far too long, this three way split compiles one band from the UK (Skimmer) with two from Japan (Her Spectacles and Piece of Bread).  All three bands are great and every song that each contributes is among their best.

Starting with Her Spectacles, they dish out three songs of melodic punk rock in the vein of of some of my very favorite bands like Three Minute Movie.  In particular, the choppy guitar riffs of "Deception" really make the song stand out as one of my favorites that I've heard from these guys.  As I had mentioned last time I reviewed something by them, there doesn't seem to be much that was released, but I definitely need to track down everything that was.

Next up we have three songs from Skimmer.  The thing I love about Skimmer is they're just so damn consistent.  You could play a Skimmer song from 1993 and one from 2020 and you're never going to confuse them with any other band.  Their version of sugar fueled Mega City Four style UK punk rock is among my very favorite sounds in the world and the fact that they are still churning out songs like this all these years later just makes me smile.

Lastly we have Peace of Bread, a band I have become somewhat obsessed with over the last year or so.  They combine punchy and melodic guitar riffs with complimentary boy/girl vocals in a way I haven't seen since the glory days of Cigaretteman.  Ever single song I have heard by them is an absolute smash hit and "Signal of the Start" may be the best one I've heard so far.  They are another band that I'm desperately trying to find as many records by as possible, so if you see any, let me know.

Her Spectacles / Skimmer / Piece of Bread - All The Time In The World - 3 Way Split:

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Holiday - Missiles On The Roof 7" - Green Vinyl (/500)


Brassneck / JSNTGM / Lost Cat / Pumpkin / Antikörper Export (2013)

I reviewed the Holiday LP last year and dug it quite a bit.  Scott from Brassneck happened to ask me about their 1st 7" as he had stumbled across his last remaining copy.  I didn't have it and I also don't think I knew that it existed, which seemed odd to me.  So, I let Scott know I needed a copy and here we are.  It still seems a little weird that I didn't already have this, especially as it's the first Brassneck release, but admittedly I have definitely noticed it gets harder to keep track of this sort of thing as I get older.  There's only so much record collecting information you can cram into your head.  I think this is one of the reasons I can never remember anyone's name, there's just no room left in my brain.

This Holiday 7" is great, though it is a bit different from last year's LP.  All the way back in 2013, Holiday didn't have quite as much of a Mega City Four or Senseless Things feeling.  They sounded a bit more straight up melodic pop punk.  The Goober Patrol vibes that I felt on the full length are more front and center on these songs, which in some ways I like even better.  You're never going to upset me when you're channeling UK punk rock like Snuff or the Goobers.  I'll always get behind the big guitar sounds and pounding rhythm section.

In a lot of ways, Holiday matured a lot and became better song writers by the time they got to the LP, but there's something refreshing and undeniably enjoyable about the four raucous songs on this 7".  Even the one song that ended up on the LP as well, "Lunch Break," sounds a lot rougher around the edges.  I'm not sure which is better as they both scratch different itches, but I like having the different options.  

Holiday - Missiles On The Roof 7"

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Rocket From The Crypt - Group Sounds LP - Clear w/ Blue Splatter Vinyl


Vagrant (2016, Reissue)

Back in 2016, Vagrant rereleased a handful of records as part of their 20th anniversary.  Two of the records that received the reissue treatment were the two albums that Rocket From The Crypt released for them.  Despite my unhealthy need to own every crazy variant of every Rocket From The Crypt record, I dragged my feet picking them up.  They seemed kind of pricy and also felt a little unnecessary.  They were always on my list of records to pick up, but I kept prioritizing other things.

Luckily for me, I have an amazing wife who really understands and tolerates my stupid hobbies more than anyone actually should.  She picked up all of the rereleases for me for my birthday and Christmas.  I'm going to be trotting them out over the next few weeks.  There likely won't be a lot to say about them as the only difference is the vinyl color, but it is fun for me to document.

This version of Group Sounds comes on clear vinyl with blue splatter.  Splatter variants aren't usually my favorite and on this one I'm not really sure how those colors tie in to the artwork, but so be it.  I'd like to think that if you're reading my website I don't need to tell you what an amazing album this is.  Ranking Rocket records is a difficult task for me, but I can safely say Group Sounds is one of my favorites.  If you're not familiar, please go listen right away.  A wonderful new world awaits.

Rocket From The Crypt - Group Sounds:

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Spit-Take - Frog Rock LP


One Percent Press / Ice Age / Cat Dead Details Later / Shitty Present (2017)

It seems a little weird to me that I'd never heard of Spit-Take prior to this record being sent in for review.  It seems like they're the sort of band I would have stumbled across in some capacity, but it wasn't meant to be for whatever reason.  All I can say is that I am glad this was sent in.  I might never have heard it otherwise.

Spit-Take hail from Connecticut and they released eleven of the songs on this LP as a cassette back in 2016.  Four other tracks were originally released as a 7".  Luckily a handful of labels stepped in and let it be known that these songs deserved more than a cassette and a fifteen song LP was born.  Spit-Take seem to be pretty obviously influenced by Superchunk, structuring their songs into hooky little gems.  While they don't quite capture the same type of energy on these recordings as Superchunk does (hey, let's be honest, few bands do), Frog Rock has moments where it truly shines.

Songs like "Something Sometimes," "Gloom" and "The Natural Facts" showcase the very best of Spit-Take.  They also are some of the faster songs on the album, which is where I think the band really shines.  More than anything I feel like this is a band who have a ton of potential.  Let's remember, the bulk of these songs are almost two years old.  I bet Spit-Take already has a batch of newer songs ready to blow these tunes out of the water.  I can't wait to see what they do next.

Spit-Take - Frog Rock:

Monday, February 5, 2018

The Fadeaways - Sick and Tired 7"


Secret Mission (2017)

I'll be the first to admit that while I love a ton of Japanese bands, I've always been focused on the pop punk and melodic punk scenes over there.  I've never really delved too much into their garage rock bands and while I know Guitar Wolf, I can't say I've ever spent much time looking into anyone else.  When I opened up the package that Secret Mission sent me containing this Fadeaways 7", I was definitely intrigued.

I can say without question this is a really fun and energetic single.  The Fadeaways harness the spirit of stomping garage rock bands of the 60s.  They actually remind me quite a bit of the Schizophonics in that they sound like an authentic band from that era that was somehow frozen in time, rather than a group paying homage to these sounds.  

The guitar is bracing with big riffs and the occasional blaring solo, while the rhythm section keeps things bouncy, yet pummeling all at the same time.  The vocals are a bit gruff, but they fit the aesthetic of the band perfectly; keeping the melody in tact, but still sounding a bit like they're going to go off the rails at any moment.  I'm super impressed by The Fadeaways and if you dig upbeat,  garage-y fun, this is something worth checking out.

The Fadeaways - Sick and Tired 7":

Thursday, February 1, 2018

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


Atlantic (1980)

We're moving on to the "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love" single and there are a few different versions out there.  We'll start off with one of the most basic, the Atlantic single from Germany.  Like a lot of single released off of the Blues Brothers soundtrack, this one repurposes the soundtrack's cover art as the single's cover.  Nothing fancy and nothing particularly exciting.  Although it's one of my favorite iconic images of the Blues Brothers, it does tend to get recycled a lot.

I find the choice of B side a bit odd as well since it's not really a Blues Brothers song. Aretha Franklin's "Think" is on the flip side and while it's certainly a great song and obviously appears in the movie, it strikes me as a weird choice for the b side of a single that's credited to The Blues Brothers.  If anything, it seems more like a split single to me.

This isn't a one off occurrence, as we go through the soundtrack singles you'll see a few other interesting pairings like this.  Luckily, they're all pretty great songs.  Though in a perfect world, I'd lose the extra backing vocals in "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love" and just use the version that appears in the movie.

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

Aretha Franklin - "Think":

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Higley - Higley CD


Waterslide / Boss Tuneage (2017)

Even though this CD is from Japan, the band isn't.  Higley is comprised of a bunch of punk rock all-stars from bands like G-Whiz, River City High, Fun Size, Pollen and that Bill Stevenson fellow from All and Descendants.  If you want an 'ex members of' band, these guys take the cake.

Considering the people involved, I think I'm a little surprised that it's a similarity to Pollen that I hear the most.  The slick, distorted guitar and slightly gravely vocals mesh well with the steady, mid tempo rhythm section churning the songs along.  By the books pop hooks and chorus melodies pepper throughout the album and you can't deny their potency and effectiveness.  

Sometimes the songs feel a little too polished and somewhat clinical.  I wouldn't mind if things went off the rails a bit more and some of the perfection was traded in for a little chaotic energy.  Also the lyrics do lean towards a sort of confessional travel journal direction.  They can get overly heartfelt at times, particularly on "For A Minute," but the band is powerful enough to keep things from getting too sentimental.  It's a totally solid debut album and worth checking out, particularly if you dig Pollen or G-Whiz.

Higley - Higley:

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Autogramm - Jessica Don't Like Rock 'n' Roll 7"


Snappy Little Numbers (2018)

Snappy Little Numbers came through with another care package of records to review.  I have a couple of others that you'll see in the upcoming weeks, but I wanted to start with the one band I wasn't previously familiar with, Autogramm.

These guys hail from Vancouver and have turned in two synth laced, new wave pop songs that sound like they're straight out of 1979.  Now, there are plenty of times where I could say a sentence like that and go into a pretty negative review.  Typically, nothing sends me running for the hills faster than seeing the worth synth when a band is being described.  But, to their credit, Autogramm has latched on to a particular style of new wave that I have a great fondness for.  Specifically both of these songs remind me a lot of The Cars.

Like The Cars, Autogram have a strong pop structure at the root of both songs.  They build to the chorus with almost robotic precision, and when the hook appears the whole song comes to life.  The synth is used as a decorative flourish here, it's not the defining characteristic of the band or a gimmick that's being leaned on too heavily.  While I can't say this is my favorite Snappy Little Numbers release to come down the pike, it's a solid record and a fun listen.

Autogramm - Jessica Don't Like Rock 'n' Roll 7":

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Nervous Hearts - Falling In Love With... CD EP


Simply Thrilling (2012)

I can say pretty confidently that with this review, this is the longest stretch where I have reviewed a format other than vinyl.  Yeah I had that Blues Brothers 7" last week, but aside from that it's been all CDs this year.  It's mostly an attempt to catch up on all of the Japanese CDs I picked up last year and while I certainly have made a dent in the backlog, I still have a surprising amount left.  That being said, I'm going to start bringing the vinyl back in pretty soon.  I've got a backlog of that brewing as well.

Nervous Hearts is another Japanese band I hadn't heard of prior to my trip to Tokyo last year.  The cover art certainly grabbed me and I was assured that it was power poppy and likely up my alley.  Well, that's the fact, Jack.  Falling In Love With.. contains 6 songs of somewhat mod, slightly Buzzcocks style power pop punk.  Even through they're playing a pretty different style of music, the guitar tone reminds me a lot of early Snuff, though it's used for a much different purpose.

Aside from the opening instrumental (which is quite excellent), each of the songs is a revved up mix of bouncy guitar, tight rhythms and catchy vocal melodies.  It reminds me a lot of the sort of thing you'd expect HoZac to release, when they're feeling more poppy than garagey.  While Nervous Hearts aren't playing the sort of Snuffy Smiles style pop punk that I tend to favor in Japanese bands, they've crafted a slick EP that makes me want to hear more.  Problem is, I think this is the only record they ever released.  If I'm wrong, let me know.

Nervous Hearts - "Loser On The Street" (I could only find a live version online):

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Girlfriend - A Boy's Dream CD EP


Waterslide (2017)

If you look at this CD and recognize the layout as being an homage to the label Mutant Pop records, I think that I can safely say you're probably going to like Girlfriend.  To me, this EP is the perfect thing to write about that combines my desire to finish reviewing more of the Japanese CDs I've let pile up and the high that I still feel from going to the Seattle Pop Punk Festival.  The best of both worlds, if you will.

Girlfriend is pretty straightforward, traditional sounding pop punk.  But they attack it with a passion and energy that sets them apart from the pack.  Like label mates The Hum Hums, Girlfriend excels at stringing together harmonies and addictive hooks.  This is most strongly evident on my favorite track of the bunch, "Be My Girlfriend."  Over a punchy, mid tempo rhythm, Girlfriend builds a catchy, anthemic song with the sort of chorus that you picture everyone shouting along to with their hands in the air.

For a band that is working within the confines of "three chord pop punk" these songs are all surprisingly dynamic.  The chord progressions are unique with lots of layered lead guitar work throughout.  The melodies are infectious and, to me, it's impossible not to get sucked in to these songs.  

Girlfriend - A Boy's Dream:

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Record Store Visit: Singles Going Steady - Seattle, WA - 01/19/18


I went out to Seattle this weekend for the Seattle Pop Punk Festival.  A gathering of some fantastic bands and people in Seattle.  I had the most amazing time seeing some of my very favorite bands and hanging out with some great people.  So before I say anything about my record store visit, let me just say thanks to Ean, Denny & Josh from Sicko - Kevin, Rob, Andrew & Graham from Bum - Jonas for the place to crash - Alan for taking the clock back twenty years - and all of the cool people we met and chatted with during the weekend.  It was one for the ages.

We only ended up being able to get out to one record store while in Seattle.  I had every intention of hitting up more, but once we got there it just wasn't realistic.  Between the limited time and the flat out old man exhaustion from the travel and walking, it wasn't meant to be.  We hit up the one place that was recommended above the others; Singles Going Steady. 

Singles Going Steady was one of the sponsors for the Seattle Pop Punk Festival, so the recommendation to go there certainly carried some weight.  It was a good sized store with a solid mix of stock.  They mostly carry vinyl, but there was a corner of CDs towards the back of the store.  A good amount of new stuff, but also a lot of used, particularly when it came to 7"s.  The selection definitely skews punk rock, though there was plenty of indie rock and a smattering of complete randomness in the used bins.

I enjoyed digging through the 7"s, where there were all sorts of weird things hanging out.  Lots of 90's stock and obscure gems.  It's not every day you run across used Boris The Sprinkler 7"s in 2018, but you will at Singles Going Steady.  I didn't actually pick up anything while we were there, but part of that was due to jet lag/airplane exhaustion and a real lack of focus on the task at hand.  If I were to go back well rested with more time to kill, I'm pretty sure I would have unearthed something.  If I was local, it's definitely the sort of store I could see myself hanging around in.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Blues Brothers - Gimme Some Lovin 7" (France)


Atlantic (1980)

First Blues Brothers post of the new year.  Even though when I first started collecting and writing about these 7"s, I was posting them at random, I decided a few weeks ago that what I was going to do was to work my way through each album chronologically.  I finished up all of the Briefcase Full Of Blues singles last year (aside from a few Soul Man variants that I haven't been able to track down yet) and today I'm going to start up the Blues Brothers movie soundtrack singles.  I did write about the US version of the Gimme Some Lovin 7" on blue vinyl at the very beginning of this project, but I'm going to pick up on the rest of them now.

First up is the French version of Gimme Some Lovin.  Music wise it still has "She Caught The Katy" as a B side and these are still two of my absolute favorite Blues Brothers songs ever.  The variance here is in the art work.  Even though they are using the same picture as the US version of the 7", it has been taken into black and white.  The fonts on the text are slightly different and there's also the little French blurb in the bottom right hand corner of the picture.  This picture is also the image used on the cover of the soundtrack as a whole.  Get used to this picture, there's a lot of singles that use a version of it.

The Blues Brothers - "Gimme Some Lovin'":

The Blues Brothers - "She Caught the Katy":

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Her Spectacles - Remain CD EP


Waterslide (2006)

I've really been in a state of constant disbelief lately.  So many of the recent Japanese records that I've been reviewing lately have come out quite a while ago.  This one from Her Spectacles came out all the way back in 2006.  I just don't know how I missed out on all of these.  Well, I have a little bit of an idea for something this old as 2004-2007 was a really down time for buying new records as my job was beating the life out of me and I didn't want to listen to anything.  But still, had I known about a record this good, I would have absolutely made time for it.

This EP by Her Spectacles actually reminds me of something that's kind of in the middle of the last two records I've reviewed on this very site.  They've got the same sort of attention to melody and dynamic guitar work of Does It Float (riyl Three Minute Movie), while at the same time keeping things poppy and catchy like Tin Soldiers (riyl Kevlar, Sugar).  The combination of these two style makes Her Spectacles the most impressive of the bunch as these sounds are combined into energetic and hook filled songs, while still displaying a level of musicianship and song craft that lets you know that these folks really know how to play.

I still can't believe this EP is as old as it is.  Remain sounds so fresh and exciting and all it does is make me want to listen to more by this band.  Sadly, there doesn't appear to be much more out there.  I have the three way split with Skimmer and Peace of Bread and the only other record I can find is a split 7" with Phoenix Foundation.  I'll be keeping my eye out for that, but I just wish there was more.'

Her Spectacles - Remain:

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tin Soldiers - Boys Love Songs CD EP


Self Released (2010)

Boys Love Songs is another wonderful treasure I picked up while record shopping in Tokyo.  I wasn't familiar with the band, but they were recommended to me, so I grabbed a copy.  This is another one of those records that is so right up my alley, I don't understand how this could have been kicking around since 2010 without me knowing about it.

Tin Soldiers is is from Japan, but they are a far cry from the usual Snuffy Smile leaning punk rock sound that I typically gravitate towards.  Instead, Tin Soldiers keep things much more mid tempo and eschew ferocity for wonderfully crafted guitar pop tunes.  There are times where they remind me of Sugar and other times where they sound a lot like the more poppier leanings of Kevlar.  The band has a gigantic sound for only being a three piece and most impressive is the huge, dynamic guitar work of Daichi Sato.

If the Waterslide records distro is any indication, it looks like Tin Soldiers have another seven song EP and a demo floating around out there (sadly sold out at Waterslide).  If anyone ever sees any other records by this band please let me know, I definitely want to pick them up.  Unfortunately I can't really find any music online by this band apart from a MySpace page that I can't get to play anything.  I'll link it below, just incase you can coax some music out of it that I'm not able to.

Tin Soldiers - "Boy's Song":

Tim Soldiers - "The Hate":

Monday, January 15, 2018

Does It Float - Every Words In Your PS CD


Urban Sleep (2009)

This CD was sent to me by Urban Sleep Discs along with a few others.  I'm trying my best to get all of the Japanese CDs I've acquired in the past year reviewed for this site, so if there seems to be more of them than usual, this is one of the reasons why (Another reason being that very few new albums tend to get released in January, so it's a good time to play catch up with some others).

Does It Float is playing an extremely catchy variant of melodic, emo tinged punk rock.  The thing that stands out to me more than anything else is the impressively complex lead guitar noodling in each song.  It adds a level of depth and musicianship that you don't hear just anywhere, but the band never dives too far into self indulgent guitar wanking.  Every note means something and serves the incessantly catchy hooks that the band manage to sneak into every song.

It actually reminds me a lot of the first few Three Minute Movie songs I heard from their split with Braid and that 3" CD that came out around the same time.  Mix in some Scaries style pop hooks and that's a pretty decent road map to the sounds that Does It Float are working with.  It may not be a brand new release, having come out in 2009.  But it's definitely work backtracking to check out.  

Unfortunately, I'm not able to find any of their songs online to link to, But the band also has a split 7" with Stay Clean Jolene that came out on All In Vinyl some time back that's easier to hear online.  I'm just happy to add more song by these guys to the collection.  

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Thirsty Chords - Kioku No ED CD


Shirafu (2016)

I have three CDs by Thirsty Chords that I acquired last year.  I reviewed one of their full lengths a few months ago and I have another full length of theirs still in the review pile.  I figured I'd go with this seven song EP today.  With this EP, the band is two for two when it comes to putting out releases that I think are pretty great.

As a whole, I feel like this EP is a bit more melodic than the last full length of theirs that I wrote about.  Where their debut album was pretty fast and passionate in a way that reminded me a lot of Minority Blues Band, this time out Thirsty Chords have taken the tempo back a bit and with incredible results.  More than anything, I keep hearing echoes of recent Leatherface, but really only in the guitars.  Leatherface has a very distinct guitar sound with palm muted leads that blossom into frantic chord changes and Thirsty Chords have tapped into this sort of song structure.  It's particularly evident in the first two songs of the album, though the song titles for both are in Japanese so it's difficult to list them here.

That's not to say there aren't a few blasts of energy on this EP.  Both "Middle Class" and "Man Is Said" are full throated rippers with blazing guitar riffs and enough energy to power a small village.  Thirsty Chords is another one of those bands from Japan that I just can't figure out why it took me so long to hear about them.  I'm relieved I finally did as their records are pretty spectacular, but I wonder if there are other bands out there that I'm just not hearing about. 

Thirsty Chords - "エイトセンチメートルランニング":

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Blackender - Demo CD


Self Released (2015)

I have to admit, I don't remember where I got this CD.  I may have picked it up record shopping in Tokyo, though it's equally possible it was recommended to me as part of a mailorder spree from this past year.  No matter how it ended up in the collection, I'm pretty glad it did.  From the looks of the artwork, you'd think that there might be some metal going on here, but fear not.  Blackender is another in the seemingly never ending line of excellent, poppy Japanese punk bands.

There's only two songs on this CD and boy do I wish there were more.  Particularly because of how great the first track, "Try To Find," is.  It seems like such a throwback to the nineties, in the best possible way.  There's a little bit of that Husking Bee pop mastery mixed in with the more punk leaning energy of Blew.  It's an incredible song that I can't say enough good things about.

The second song, "Bravado," doesn't soar quite as high, but it's still a pretty good showing.  The verse is a little darker with slightly fuzzy vocals, but once again the band shows that they know how to write a chorus that's destined to get stuck in your head.  I don't think there's anything else available from these guys, but if there is, someone please let me know where I can get it.

Blackender - "Try To Find":

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Trashmind - Longtime Losers' EP CD


Self Released (2017)

I think this was self released by the band.  There are no markings of a record label and I can't find any information on line, so I'm just going to assume it's self released.  This three song EP from Osaka based Trashmind is outstanding.  It looks like this EP has been about ten years in the making and honestly, it sure seems like it was worth the time and effort to me.

The first comparison that comes to mind is that Trashmind seems to inhabit a space right in the middle of early Green Day and early Pinhead Gunpowder.  It's not quite as slick as Green Day, but it's also not as gruff as Pinhead Gunpowder.  Trashmind somehow sits perfectly in between the two, churning out three incredibly catchy and upbeat songs.  For good measure there's also a hint of the No Idea records sort of group vocal choruses here and there that mix wonderfully with the Lookout records sounds the band is churning out.

My biggest complaint is that there are only three songs on this CD.  I desperately want to hear more.  Trashmind has a bandcamp page with another demo of theirs available to download.   Rest assured I'm going to go grab that immediately.  If anyone in Trashmind reads this, please make more records as soon as you can.  I don't want to wait ten years for the next one.

Trashmind - Longrime Losers' EP:

Monday, January 8, 2018

Without - Westgate No. 5 EP CD


Raft (2017)

Hello and happy new year.  I'm starting off the new year with a goal of finally getting through all of the Japanese CDs that I have piled up over here.  It's amazing that I still have records that I bought in Japan last year that I haven't gotten to.  Couple that with a few spots of mailorder over the past year and I have a pile that has been sorely neglected.

First up for 2018 is this Without EP.  I can't say I know a whole lot about them outside of the three songs on this CD, but I'm sure it was recommended to me as something I'd like.  That recommendation was correct, this is good stuff.  Without have an interesting combination of the sort of Snuffy Smiles Japanese punk rock sound mixed with slightly more melodic (some might say emo) tendencies.  The band has a knack of having explosive verses and catchy choruses, but then you'll come across a really dynamic breakdown or outro.

In particular the ending of the song "Dislike" really reminds me of the sort of thing that you would have heard from the Get Up Kids back when they were good.  You know, on that first CD EP.  The only time the Get Up Kids were really, really good.  Anyway, Without captures those sort of energetic detours and manages to integrate them seamlessly into the rest of their punk rock.  This is a very strong debut EP and I hope it isn't the last I hear from Without.

Without - "Dislike":

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Absolute Best Records Of 2017


This is the 2017 edition of my annual list of the Absolute Best Records of the year.  There were some real winners this time out and in particular, the top 5 really monopolized my time in 2017.  I listened to those five records a lot this year.

2017 is the first year in a long time where I don't have a list of records that extended past a top 30.  I mean, sure, I bought a few more records that what I've listed below, but I usually have quite a long list of albums after 30.  I think that pretty much confirms what I've thought for most of the year, 2017 just didn't have quite as many amazing records as usual.

That's not to say there weren't great records.  Just a quick listen to the ones listed below will shatter that notion.  The Chinchees, Charly Bliss and Short Straw Fate would be fighting for the top spot in almost any year and honestly, it's really a coin flip on which of the three I like best.  Plus, all three are bands that are brand new to me, so you have to give bonus points for that.

I'll be taking a little break from posting new reviews for a bit, but I should be back with new records to write about on January 8th.

01 - The Chinchees - The Chinchees - Dirt Cult (Listen)
02 - Charly Bliss - Guppy - Barsuk (Listen)
03 - Short Straw Fate - For The Heroes In My Record Rack - Fixing A Hole (Listen)
04 - Racquet Club - Racquet Club - Rise (Listen)
05 - Remnants - True Places Never Are - Tour Van / Different Kitchen / Emily (Listen)
06 - Needles // Pins - Good Night, Tomorrow - Dirt Cult / Mint (Listen)
07 - A Giant Dog - Toy - Merge (Listen)
08 - Lost Balloons - Hey Summer - Dirtnap (Listen)
09 - Phoenix Foundation - Closer - Waterslide / Boss Tuneage (Listen) 
10 - Cloud Nothings - Life Without Sound - Carpark (Listen)

11 - Good Shade - Lunch - Gut Genug / A-F
12 - Warm Soda - I Don’t Wanna Grow Up - Castle Face
13 - Ted Leo - The Hanged Man - Self Released
14 - Cheap Wine - Cheap Wine - Drunken Sailor
15 - Greensleep - Cheap Headphones - Dead Broke
16 - Holiday - California Steamin’ - Brassneck / Pumpkin / Antikorper Export / Prejudice Me
17 - Your Pest Band - Old Springhead - Snuffy Smiles / Brassneck / Dead Broke
18 - Zapiain - Giantnormous - All In / Bombed Out
19 - Bear Trade - Silent Unspeakable - Dead Broke / Everything Sucks
20 - Marvelous Mark - Buzzin’ - Drunken Sailor

21 - Iron Chic - You Can’t Stay Here - Side One Dummy
22 - Capitalist Kids - Brand Damage - Brassneck / Eccentric Pop
23 - Midnight Reruns - Spectator Sports - Dusty Medical
24 - The Golden Boys - Better Than Good Times - 12XU
25 - The Obleeks - The Obleeks - Good Land
26 - Heavy Heart - Distance - Brassneck / Can I Say / Don’t Trust The Hype / Guerilla Asso / Inhumano / Monster Zero
27 - The Lillingtons - Stella Sapiente - Fat Wreck
28 - Out - Swim Buddies - Comedy Minus One
29 - Jim And The French Vanilla - Afraid Of The House - Dirtnap
30 - Sweet Knives - Sweet Knives - Big Neck