Thursday, October 20, 2016

Talkies - Never Fear 7"


La-Ti-Da (2016)

Another new band courtesy of the La-Ti-Da singles pack I bought and this one is a keeper.  Talkies are playing the sort of upbeat power pop that I really dig.  There are certainly nods to the hits of the 70's, but unlike a lot of power poppers, Talkies aren't a nostalgia band living in the past, these guys take those older influences and bring them up to date.

A side "Never Fear" is an upbeat toe tapper with jangly guitar riffs and really catchy backing harmonies.  There's even a nice little shredding guitar solo towards the end, but it is brief and doesn't wear out its welcome.  On the B side is "Hollow," a slightly more subdued number.  This one actually reminds me a lot of Warm Soda, though with completely different vocals.  It's laid back, but still a catchy song that I dig.

I definitely want to hear some more by this band, but I think this is their first release.  Google isn't helping much anyway and there appear to be at least two other bands called Talkies.  Regardless, I'll be on the lookout for anything else these guys put out.

Talkies - Never Fear 7":

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Shitbox Jimmy - The Movie LP


Just Because (2016)

When I was sent this Shitbox Jimmy record to review, I thought it was a bit funny that the name of their album is The Movie. because the band name immediately makes me think of my very favorite movie.  Not that I hear the word shitbox all that often, but when I do it's impossible to not be reminded of The Blues Brothers and the Bluesmobile being referred to as "That shitbox Dodge."  So right away this band was putting me in a mindset to want to like them.  I also dug the artwork with the unspooled VHS tape.  Again, tugging on my nostalgic 80's feelings.  Unfortunately, while it's not bad or anything, Shitbox Jimmy's music doesn't really maintain those good vibes as I go through the album.

I think the thing that is the most off putting to me is the vocals.  They're really buried in the mix, unnecessarily full of static and nearly impossible to understand.  They've kind of got a howling in a cave feel to them, but not in an energetic exciting way like say, The Blind Shake.  The way these are recorded kind of make me think they're trying to hide the vocals.  I say this as someone who has gone out of their way to hide vocals on things I've recorded with friends.

On the other hand, the music itself is alright.  They've got a nice jangly guitar sound that reminds me a bit of the tone Royal Headache is able to achieve.  The songs themselves are catchy enough with a bouncy 60's throwback rock and roll vibe to them.  I'd probably like this a lot more if the vocals were better, but alas, it just wasn't meant to be.

Shitbox Jimmy - The Movie:

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Against Me - Shape Shift With Me 2xLP - Blue Vinyl (/500)


Total Treble (2016)

I've been listening to Against Me for a really long time.  While I can't say I was one of those first super early fans or anything, I have watched them go from No Idea to Fat Wreck to Sire and then to Total Treble.  I've seen their style morph and change over the years.  Shifting shape, if you will.  They've done some records I've truly loved and have also done a few records that I didn't like as much.  

Where Shape Shift With Me falls in their discography is something of a mixed bag.  There's a few pretty great songs on here, in particular I enjoy the straight ahead rock vibe of "12:03" and the Pogues style pogo-er "Haunted, Haunting, Haunts."  The problem with this album is there is an awful lot of filler.  Songs that aren't very interesting and just kind of go through the motions.  

"Boyfriend" is mid tempo, sung with mid enthusiasm and plods along.  "Crash" is a quick little pop song, but feels so out of place and boring compared to the rest of the Against Me catalog.  "Norse Truth" is certainly different from anything Against Me has ever released, but that's not a compliment.  Sung with a monotone delivery with rapid fire talking vocals, it sounds like it's trying to riff on Ted Leo's "Ballad Of The Sin Eater," but it really, really falls short.  

Shape Shift With Me isn't a bad record, but it's not really all that good either.  It's kind of middle ground.  Worth the occasional spin, but it will never be anything that I listen to repeatedly, especially since there are so many other Against Me records that are much better.

Against Me - "12:03":

Against Me - "Norse Truth":

Monday, October 17, 2016

Chung Antique - Artesian Swell 7" - Clear Vinyl


Electricity & Lust (2016)

I received this 7" in the mail to check out along with a note saying it was being sent to me because I had reviewed The Rutabega album.  That immediately intrigued me, but I did temper my enthusiasm as the note went on to describe the band as being an instrumental band.  Even at their very best, I have a hard time with instrumental bands.  I'm not sure what it is, but unless you are The Minibosses or someone else doing some pretty spectacular shredding, chances are I'm probably going to end up getting bored.

Unfortunately, that's exactly what happened with this 7" from Chung Antique.  Nothing about it is inherently bad, as far as instrumental bands go, but I'm just left not totally understanding the point of it all when the songs are finished.  Both clock in around the five minute mark and both kind of feel like they just go on forever.  There's nothing particularly interesting going on, it tends to be a handful of riffs repeated over and over.

The songs themselves are a bit mathy and makes me think of some of those old midwest bands like Karate or perhaps NYC's Turing Maching.  I suppose if you like bands like those, this will probably be more your speed than it is mine.  For me, they're just a couple of really long songs that meander around for a while.  

Chung Antique - Artesian Swell 7":

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Color TV - Meat Wagon 7"


Deranged (2016)

I picked up an album by a band called W.H. Walker a few years ago and over the years it has become one of my very favorite records.  The way that album channels the band's infectious party energy is the sort of thing just just sticks with me.  I've been clamoring for a follow up for years.  Unfortunately, as is often the case, it seems W.H. Walker split up.  Sad times for sure.  However, in doing some good old fashion internet digging, I stumbled across a new band that sprung from their ashes: Color TV.

I picked up Color TV's demo tape a few months back and thought it was a good time.  Their first proper 7" is even better.  Though I do miss the unadulterated fun of W.H. Walker, if you are looking for some straight ahead catchy punk rock, you aren't going to do much better than Color TV.  They keep their songs fast and to the point in a way that isn't that sonically different from The Marked Men.  Downstroke laden verses give way to bright singalong choruses making this a pretty killer 7" start to finish.

This is a band that is absolutely off to a great start.  I'm certainly eager to hear where they go next, though it also wouldn't bum me out if they decided to get W.H. Walker going again at the same time.  There's plenty of room in this world for two great bands.

Color TV - Meat Wagon 7":

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Martha - Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart - Red Vinyl (/300)


Dirtnap (2016)

Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart is the second album from the UK's Martha.  I bought and enjoyed their first LP that had come out on Salinas records.  I kind of feel the same way about the new record as I did their previous one.  It's good.  It's not mind blowing or anything, but it is a solid poppy punk record.

The male/female vocals make for some interesting dynamics, both with backing harmonies and the way the melody of each song works out.  I had previously compared them to a band from Japan called Cigaretteman in the way the vocal interplay works over the course of a Martha song.  While I still see that comparison on Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart, I think the music side of the equation is slightly more subdued than it was on their last record, Courting Strong.

That's really it honestly.  It's a good record.  I have plenty of records that are pretty good like this one.  That doesn't mean they're bad at all, but what it usually ends up meaning is that they tend to get filed away and forgotten after the initial 'new release feeling' wears off.  We'll see how this works out for Martha.

Martha - Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Patsy's Rats - Rock N' Roll Friend 7"


La-Ti-Da (2016)

Another La-Ti-Da single and another band that's new to me.  Patsy's Rats hail from Portland, OR and have crammed two songs worth of poppy, catchy rock and roll into this 7".  Led by singer Patsy Gelb, the band combines 70's power pop guitar noise and instantly hummable vocal melodies.  

The A side is the highlight for me (which it should be, that's the whole point of an A side, right?).  "Rock N Roll Friend" is fast paced and bouncy, juggling upbeat guitar riffs and a thumping rhythm section.  Things slow down slightly with "Hard Time Karen."  Though just because the tempo is a bit more low key, it doesn't really make the song any less formidable than its companion on side A.  It's another tremendously catchy song with a big hooky chorus.  

All in all a very enjoyable 7" and one that I'm not sure that I would have ever heard if I hadn't picked up the big pack of records that La-Ti-Da offered as a bulk purchase.  It may not have been a singles club in the traditional way, but it still achieved the same goal, getting me a bunch of new bands to listen to.  That's something I can always get behind.

Patsy's Rats - Rock N' Roll Friend 7":

Monday, October 10, 2016

Tenement - S/T EP 12" - Orange Vinyl


Deranged (2016)

Tenement's new 12" was originally released as a tour only cassette, though this new vinyl version has two extra songs and less tape warble than the original release. I've been a pretty big Tenement fan for quite some time and have been borderline obsessed with the band since their Napalm Dream full length.  They're a particularly creative band, sometimes taking detours into areas that I don't necessarily like, but they do always keep things interesting.  

On this latest self titled EP, they stick to a sound that is a bit more pop and a bit more traditional.  Frankly, there are few bands in the world that can dole out a serving of guitar pop better than Tenement, but their ability to mix in some slower, borderline country songs is what is most impressive to me.  From the hyper start/stop guitar buzz of opener "Everyone To Love You," you'd think the segue into the much more subdued "Underworld Hotel" would be clunky, but Tenement manages to swing between tempos and genres with ease and always seem to be able to bring all of the songs under a cohesive umbrella.  It's a remarkable achievement and one that could not be pulled off by most bands.

For me the highlight is one of the newly added songs, "The Strangest Couple In Love."  It's a perfect mid tempo rock song.  It has the big fuzzy guitars that I love, catchy singalong verses and some pretty gigantic hooks. It's simply another great release from one of the best bands playing rock and roll music today.

Tenement - S/T 12":

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Strange Things - Higher Anxiety 7"


La-Ti-Da (2016)

Next up from the batch of La-Ti-Da singles that I picked up is a band from Vancouver called Strange Things.  All I can do is think of the show Stranger Things when I see their band name.  An unintended consequence I'm sure.  I often talk about why I like singles clubs and while the La-TiDa blind buy I did a while ago wasn't a club exactly, it was me committing to purchase a bunch of records that I didn't know if I'd like.  It often works out great, but there is the occasional dud.

You can call this particular dud Strange Things.  There's nothing inherently bad about them, if you like this sort of thing.  The problem is I do not like this sort of thing at all.  Strange Things are playing the sort of 60's tinged psych throwback nonsense that made me stop buying records from Trouble In Mind.  There is so much great music from the 60's, why bands insist on mining this particular strain is something that I don't really understand.

The recording of the songs is cavernous, the band sounds like they're about a mile away from the nearest microphone and all of the sounds sort of blend together into an indecipherable drone.  The vocals are buried, but since they are pretty monotone, I suppose that doesn't really matter all that much.  With all of that said, these guys could be the best band in the world at playing this type of music, but I'd never know as it just isn't the sort of thing I like listening to. 

Strange Things - Higher Anxiety 7":

Monday, October 3, 2016

Beach Slang - A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings LP - Green/Blue Swirl Vinyl


Polyvinyl (2016)

Beach Slang is a really odd band.  While I do like them, sometimes I feel like they're begging me to roll my eyes and make fun of them.  Beach Slang has a lot going against them.  There's the awful over sentimentality of their lyrics, which really border on too cheesy for about eighty percent of the album.  Then there's the truly ridiculous production on the vocals, which sound like a mix of trying-too-hard Blake Schwarzenbach and a Decepticon with strep throat.  It's actually remarkable that the songs themselves are good enough to overcome these things.

That ability to make these songs listenable, more than anything, is at the heart of Beach Slang.  Even if the heart is on your sleeve, in your throat, broken or any other clich├ęd song device (and every one of them is fair game for Beach Slang's middle school diary of lyrics), what this band has been able to capture is a big, important sounding bash of rock and roll songs.  

The tempos vary from straight ahead rockers like ""Future Mix Tape For The Art Kids" to slightly faster ragers like "Atom Bomb" to slowed down, triumphant beauties like "Hot Tramps."  These guys have the chops to make the music itself seem rich, full and important.  That they are using it to delivery the message they are is somewhat suspect, but I'll take a good song when it is presented to me.

At then end of the day, A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings is a good record.  The more I listen to it, the more I become numb to the lyrics and just enjoy the songs for what they are.  I imagine if you are fourteen years old and feel a bit out of place, this type of music is probably somewhat cathartic and helpful.  But when you're closer to forty, you can just appreciate the fact that there's a few guys out there putting out music that's pretty good.  Sometimes, that's enough.

Beach Slang - Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings:

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wild Animals - Basements: Music To Fight Hypocrisy CD


Waterslide (2016)

Wild Animals was one of the CDs that Waterslide records sent over to me to review.  Though the artwork didn't stand out to me when I first started shuffling through all of the CDs, once I popped it in to listen to I was immediately struck by how amazing this album is.  If it isn't the best CD that Waterslide sent me, it's certainly vying for that top spot.

Wild Animals hail from Madrid and while I can't say that I'm super familiar with a ton of bands from Spain; this is a record that makes me want to get more acquainted with that scene.  That being said, I'm at something of a loss of words on how to describe this band.  

Basements tends to be on the fast side of things and the guitars are typically crunchy enough where you could say it's good poppy punk, but that is kind of selling this album short.  There are elements of bands like Silver Scooter, particularly the way the bass is all sorts of loud and fuzzy, providing a driving and melodic foundation.  The occasional early Built To Spill sounding guitar solo sears through some of the songs, giving ones like "Avacado" a decidely indie rock vibe.  The songs are varied enough where every one has something unique to offer and the truly, truly outstanding male/female vocal harmonies make the choruses in these songs simply soar.

It's really a fantastic record and probably one of the best I've heard all year.  This is absolutely the sort of album that will make me dig through Wild Animals' back catalog to try to catch up.  I highly recommend this one.

Wild Animals - Basements: Music To Fight Hypocrisy:

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Flintettes - The Choice Is Ours 7"


La-Ti-Da (2016)

Quite some time ago I pre-purchased a big batch of records from the label La-Ti-Da.  They were offering a discounted rate and I was pretty confident I'd like what I received considering that the label has done good by me over the years.  I got a few full lengths last year and frankly, I kind of forgot about it.  Then I received a box with eight 7"s in it the other day.  A nice surprise and I'm currently making my way through them.

First up is The Flintettes.  I'm not really familiar with them, but that's also one of the reasons I make purchases like this; to be surprised by new bands.  On "The Choice Is Ours," The Flintettes are tapping into a slightly less new wavy version of The Cars.  It has the sort of vocal inflections you'd expect from Ocasek, some decent guitar riffage and a couple of oddly placed, synthetic sounding handclaps. 

On the B side we have 2 more songs.  "Same Faces" is a faster tempo, straight ahead rocker.  It still reminds me a lot of The Cars, particularly in the verse with its chugging guitar.  The backing harmonies accentuate the chorus along with some punchy drumming.  Next up is "To Hold You Close."  It's a more laid back affair then the prior two songs with lots of 'ooohing' backing vocals .  Nothing about this song really stands out.  It's not bad or anything, but it quickly fades into background noise.

As a whole it's a decent enough 7".  I don't love it and wouldn't say it's a must buy, but I do like some of the songs and might be worth picking up if you're grabbing some other records.

The Flitettes - The Choice Is Ours 7":

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Made In Japan - Instant Hit 7"


HoZac (2016)

Another 7" from the random pack of records HoZac sent me to review.  I know that HoZac has been doing quite a few of these archival releases the last few years.  I've admitted it before and I'll repeat myself now, I've never been all that interested in the power pop scene from the late 70's and early 80's.  Not that I haven't heard plenty of good songs from that era, but it's just not something I get as excited about as a lot of others do.

With that said, the two songs on this Made In Japan 7" are pretty good.  Both are strong, catchy slices of power pop.  I don't think there's anything all that remarkable about either song, but they are both easy listens.  "Instant Hit" reminds me a bit of "Jesse's Girl," though a thousand times less cheesy. "You Never Had It So Good" on the flip side is actually my preference.  With its frantic chorus and bouncy bass lines it definitely gets my head nodding.

The issue I have with this 7", and also with a lot of records from this era, is that the recording quality is a bit muffled and stuffy.  I am not dumb, I realize that this was recorded in a completely different era, especially for punk bands, but it's just one of those things that always seems to jump out at me.  At the end of the day, it's a good enough little 7".  I'm not sure I would have bought it, but I'll be keeping it in the collection.

Made In Japan - "Instant Hit:

Made In Japan - "You Never Had It So Good":

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Lutheran Heat - Louder From The Other Side LP


Pinata (2016)

I'll admit it, I was taken in by this band's name and that's why I started looking into them.  Something about the name Lutheran Heat struck me as being funny, but not in a 'stupid band name' way.  I thought it was clever.  I think they had one song up at the label's Bandcamp page at the time along with a preorder for the record.  I liked the song, so I decided to take a chance.  Lucky for me, the whole record is pretty darn great.

I actually find Louder From The Other Side similar to the Laika's Orbit record that I recently reviewed.  Maybe a bit more restrained, with more songs that run mid tempo, but especially the recording and the general aesthetic of the two records have a lot in common.  Lutheran Heat is playing jangly and bouncy guitar, weaving in stupendous male/female vocal harmonies and toe tapping hooks.  This is a band very much playing the sort of carefree and catchy pop as bands like Title Tracks and White Wires.

Needless to say I really dig this album a lot.  It's always especially rewarding when you take a chance on a new band's record and it ends up being this good.  I absolutely recommend checking out Lutheran Heat, this is one of the better records I've bought all year.

Lutheran Heat - Louder From The Other Side:

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sega Genocide - "TRYS" LP


Just Because (2016)

Whenever I get an album for review I just don't know what to expect when I pop this on the turntable.  For some reason the things I get sent tend to be on the noisier side of things and usually that's not my bag.  So when I put on Sega Genocide for the first time, fearing some sort of hardcore attack, I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by a warm, fuzzy guitar.  Luckily, we've got some pop on our hands here.

The first band that immediately popped into my mind when I hear the lead track "New Words" was W.H Walker.  The way the song bounced along the verse only to be met with upbeat gang vocals in the chorus gave me that same sort of shout along enthusiasm.  While that type of energy isn't consistent throughout the record, what is consistent is that warm fuzzy guitar and some pretty top notch pop hooks.

I definitely favor Sega Genocides more upbeat tracks.  The aforementioned "New Words" is a highlight as are songs like "Despite Me," "Peer Mediator" and "Immediate Contact."  The latter of which really reminds me a lot of the quirky pop of bands like Boat.  All in all, this is a pretty good record.  Not a band I was familiar with prior to being sent this record, but I definitely foresee more spins of this guy in the future.

Sega Genocide - "TRYS":

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Steve Adamyk Band - Graceland LP - Clear Vinyl (/300)


Dirtnap (2016)

I have been such a gigantic fan of the Steve Adamyk Band since their very first 7" that came out on Ptrash so many moons ago.  When I picked that record up based on a "this is a dude from Sedatives" descriptions, I really don't think I realized it would turn into the starting point of one of my favorite bands of the entire decade.  Adamyk & company have kept up a furious pace of releasing records and Graceland is their fifth full length since 2010.

I've never really had anything resembling actual complaints about anything that Steve Adamyk Band has ever released, but if I had to point to one hing, it was that I didn't completely love the recording/production of their last album Dial Tone.  The songs were there and it was still one of my favorite records of that year, but the recording felt a little flat on some songs.  Any issues with that have been completely resolved with Graceland.  The production is bright, crisp and punchy.

Graceland starts out with the speedy burst of frantic energy that is "Through My Fingers." It's a burner of an album opener that instantly grabs your attention, but from there the band takes things down half a notch with "Carry On." For me, this is always where Steve Adamyk band hits their sweet spot.  Slightly slower than their fastest songs, the verse has the "whoas" in the right places and it builds into a supremely catchy hook.  I just love stuff like this and it throws me back to my favorite Adamyk song from their first album "Your Only One."  No one can touch Steve Adamyk Band when they're hitting songs like this.

The rest of the album varies from excellent to stupidly good.  Hit after hit with buzzsaw guitars, catchy vocals and even some tasteful synth here and there to give the album a little extra flavor.  If you've been reading this website for any length of time, none of this should be news for you.  I've been screaming at the top of my lungs about how much I love this band for years.  What's really amazing to me is how they are just as incredible on their fifth album as they were the first time I heard them.  Keep it up guys!

Steve Adamyk Band - Graceland:

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Rutabega - Unreliable Narrator LP - Clear w/ Black Smoke Vinyl (/250)


Comedy Minus One (2016)

Record labels out there, never underestimate the power of your email list.  I think I ended up on the Comedy Minus One email list from buying an Obits 7" a few years back.  But as the old saying goes, I came for the Obits but stayed for the Karl Hendricks Trio.  Anyway, Comedy Minus One cranks out their update emails every so often and that is where I first heard of The Rutabega.  I guess these guys have been kicking around for an awfully long time, but I had never heard of them prior to now.  The description sounded intriguing and I checked out a song online and I was in.

Unreliable Narrator is a diverse record.  There are some songs that have the sort of concise and hooky guitar pop song structure that I love.  Opener "Shiny Destination" is just a blast of bouncy guitars and sing along rhyming.  It's my favorite song on the album, but the good times certainly don't stop there.  At times The Rutabega strike me as being sonically similar to The Posies, with the higher pitched vocals and the way the guitar weaves in and out between them.  But there are other times where the music gets more complex and demanding like the nine minute plus "Lip."  In this song you can hear the channeling of the Doug Martsch guitar gods as the songs sprawls out in front of you, quiet in places but building more intense moments at the close.

This album has a very late 90's feel to me.  It was a time when some of the poppier bands from the mid 90's began to tinker around with longer songs and more contemplative moments.  The Rutabega has definitely perfected those ambitions.  I'm not sure if their past records are as good as Unreliable Narrator, but I aim to find out.

The Rutabega - Unreliable Narrator:

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Creeps / The No Marks - Split 7" - Green Vinyl (/300)


All In Vinyl (2016)

Even if I had never heard of any band in the All In Vinyl singles series this year, I would have bought the entire series based purely off of this one 7".  Sure, you could also just buy it separately, but in my mind, anyone smart enough to release a split like this probably has their act together and is going to provide more gems than just this.

We'll start off with The Creeps; another in a long line of great Canadian bands.  They've taken a slightly darker view of popped out punk.  Not as goofy haunted house as say The Hex Dispensers, but The Creeps have a gloomy vibe that comes through again on these two songs.  I find it impossible to write about this band without saying how much I think the singer reminds me of the guy from that old UK band Reverse, but I say it as a complement. Reverse were great and so are The Creeps.

On the flip side are two new songs by The No Marks.  Along with Chestnut Road, The No Marks are just about my favorite band playing the sort of melodic punk rock that was so tied to the mid nineties UK scene.  If you want to try to describe a certain sound that I'm most drawn to as a music fan, this is pretty much it.  Their side of the split offers two more outstanding songs.  Catchy in all the right places with the sort of hooky choruses that I always go crazy for.  Think the poppier side of Leatherface, Hooton 3 Car or the slower moments of Chopper.  The No Marks are simply one of the best.

The Creeps / The No Marks - Split 7":

Monday, September 12, 2016

Tender Defender - S/T 12" - White w/ Splatter vinyl (/100)


Dead Broke (2016)

There is a strain of melodic punk rock that certainly wasn't invented by either Iron Chic or RVIVR, but those are the two active bands that I most associate with the sound.  Considering that the band contains a member of Iron Chic and a member of RVIVR, it probably shouldn't be a surprise that Tender Defender does kind of fall right into the middle of this strain.

If you are familiar with either Iron Chic or RVIVR (or Tender Defender's other precursor band, Latterman), you'll probably be pretty content with this 12" EP.  While I have never been a fan of the 12" EP as a format (I'll take a 10" every time as my personal preference), Tender Defender certainly make the most of their time and leave you clamoring for more songs.  Tracks like "Hello Dirt" and "f.e.f.e." feel like home with their fast and powerful guitar work and sing along choruses.  It's hard to not imagine a group of people at a Tender Defender show with their fists in the air singing along to every word.  Even when the band slows things down and takes some chances on longer songs like "Rudes and Cheaps," they still hit it out of the park.

Now, I am going to take some points away for the band having a song called "The Tender Defender," as I've never liked it when bands have songs with the same title as the band name, but I don't have anything bad to say about the song itself.  It's another solid entry on this 12".  Tender Defender has come storming out of the gate with a debut that is really worth checking out.  Hopefully it's the first of many releases and not just a one off side effort in between the member's main bands.

Tender Defender - S/T 12":

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Dead Bars / The Kimberly Steaks - Split 7" Cream Vinyl (/300)


All In Vinyl (2013)

More singles club action from All In Vinyl, the last label standing with a good singles club worth subscribing to.  Step it up, other labels.  This 7" is a prime example of why I like singles clubs so much, it's giving me the chance to listen to two bands that I've never even heard of before, chosen by a label whose taste in music I trust.  Even though I'll admit that I don't love either of these bands, they're still both pretty good and I might not have ever listened to them if not for the club.

I'll start off with Dead Bars.  They're from Seattle and as soon as I heard them I though that they sounded like the kind of band that would fit in on No Idea records.  Then I found out they already have a 7" on No Idea so I guess I was right about that.  They have something of a Dear Landlord vibe to them with lots of fast guitar rhythms and some catchy choruses.  The vocals are a little too crackly and shouty for my person taste, but it's pretty alright.

On the other side we have The Kimberly Steaks.  They hail from Glasgow and are playing a much different kind of punk rock than Dead Bars.  They are also rooted in fast guitars and hooks, but they remind me much more of bands like Fear Of Lipstick, a little more Ramones and a little less gruffness in the vocals.  Both songs just go whizzing by pretty fast, but they're catchy and a fun listen.  Neither band is the reason I signed up for the singles club, but both remind me why I like to sign up for clubs like this.

Dead Bars / The Kimberly Steaks - Split 7":

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Hot Mass - Nervous Tensions LP - Coke Bottle Clear Vinyl


Brassneck / Waterslide / All In Vinyl (2016)

There was a time where I felt that every single band coming out of the UK was untouchable.  So many great bands for so many years.  Then things seemed to start quieting down over there.  At least to me, it seemed like there weren't anywhere near the amount of killer bands as there once was.  Over the recent years the pendulum is starting to swing back in the other direction and a new band that I like is popping up all of the time. The most recent of these bands is Hot Mass.

They're boasting a pedigree of 'ex members of' when you read the descriptions of Nervous Tensions, but I have to admit that I never really was a huge fan of any of their other bands like The Arteries.  Hot Mass, on the other hand, is a band I have become an instant fan of.  They're capturing a whirlwind of noisy punk energy and forcing it into catchy pop nuggets.  I'm reminded a lot of the band Rumspringer, but with about 37% more chaos in each song.  Early Spraynard might be another touchstone, but Hot Mass exceeds anything and everything that Spraynard ever put out.

Do you like your punk rock catchy, but rough around the edges?  Do you want a vocalist that's shredding his vocal chords, but doing so in a melodic way that doesn't involve unnecessary screaming?  Do you want super dynamic guitar work and big anthemic choruses?  If you answered yes to any of these, you should probably check out this Hot Mass album.  It'll scratch all of those itches

Hot Mass - Nervous Tensions:

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Marvelous Darlings - Single Life LP - Pink Vinyl


Deranged (2011)

It's pretty crazy to think that this record came out five years ago and it's been that long since Marvelous Darlings released a record.  I'm not sure why they split up, but man do I miss them.  This is the pink vinyl version of their singles compilation.  I'm kind of surprised it was still kicking around all of these years later.  

When this album was originally put out, Deranged listed a black vinyl version and a blue vinyl version, which I bought right away.  A few weeks later they listed this pink version and I was just never willing to commit the crazy Canadian postage rates required to pick it up.  Fast forward a few years and Deranged started offering a cheaper shipping alternative for the folks in the US, so I picked this up while ordering another record.   There are only a few bands that I really go variant crazy for, but Marvelous Darlings is one of those bands.

This LP is a collection of every 7" that Marvelous Darlings released over their active years.  The way this band combined a rock and roll swagger with some of the biggest pop hooks you've ever heard was something to hear.  It's been especially weird to watch singer Ben Cook's other project Young Guv go off the rails with his first full length after releasing a slew of 7"s and then just kind of go dark.  The torch is still being carried a by Marvelous Mark who is crafting some awfully nice pop tunes, but even those are missing some of the crunch and fervor that Marvelous Darlings were able to capture.

Single Life ends up being a picture perfect document of a band that was together for a few years, wrote some of the best damn songs you've ever heard and then vanished into the night.  It's a pretty essential record if you ask me.  What I wouldn't give for the band to do another.

Marvelous Darlings - Single Life:

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Hum Hums - Back To Front CD


Waterslide (2015)

It's impossible to say as many good things about Waterslide records as I want to.  The pile of CDs they sent me to review has yielded gem after undiscovered gem and The Hum Hums is right at the top of the pile.  I will admit, I'm not nearly as up on the current crop of non-Snuffy Smiles Japanese bands as I was when I was a bit younger.  More of them are slipping through the cracks as it is difficult to keep up with a scene that gets so little exposure in America.  I'm positive that if the spotlight was a little brighter over there, more people would be likely to listen to this sort of thing.

I had never heard or even heard of The Hum Hums prior to popping in this CD, but let me tell you I sure am glad I've heard them now.  Back To Front is a little different to describe.  At its core is the very essence of a Ramones-core, 1990s pop punk band.  But the way that The Hums Hums craft their songs, in particular the truly glorious vocal harmonies, elevate every song on this album to something special.

If you listen to "She Won't Spread It" (which is about someone keeping secrets - I know where your mind was going), I just can't imagine you not being impressed with the way the backing vocals lift the song up.  It's nearly impossible for me not to sing along every time it comes on.  That's just one of a myriad of hits on this album.  "Introvert," "Sidewalk Surfers" and "Starway" all have just as many incredible moments that suck you into the record.  All I can do is thank the folks at Waterslide for sending this over to me.  This is great stuff.

The Hum Hums - Back To Front:

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Danger Signs - Reset LP


Big Neck (2016)

I think one of the reasons I still do this silly website is because I still read reviews and buy records because of them.  It's definitely not like it was when I was younger, but I still find value in the opinions of others.  That is how I discovered Danger Signs as I found the review of Reset on Razorcake.  The description seemed up my alley, so I decided to pick it up.  There wasn't anything I was able to find online to check out any songs, so I had to just rely on the written word.

I'm glad I took the chance as this is a pretty great record.  If anything, my biggest complaint is that it didn't come with a download code so I had to make my own MP3s of it in order to listen to it on the go.  Regarding the music itself, this is the sort of punked out, garagey stuff that I love.  If you imagine the fastest and loudest Marked Men songs, Danger Signs' slowest songs are a bit faster than that.  They are constantly in the red, tearing through song after song.

Occasionally, they go a little too fast for their own good and sacrifice the hooks and melodies for speed and a bit of shouting.  It's only a few times over the course of the record, but those are my least favorite moments.  I tend prefer the songs where Danger Signs are only playing at ridiculous speed as opposed to ludicrous speed.  These are guys that really know how to punch a hook into the middle of a song.  They will be chugging along when suddenly you are listening to the god damn catchiest thing you ever heard.

If you are into bands like The Marked Men, Chinese Telephones or maybe to a lesser extent The Carbonas, Danger Signs is worth checking out.  Unfortunately, you'll probably have a hard time finding a way to check them out and you may have to just take a chance on the record like I did.  I actually did find one song from the record on their Bandcamp, but that appears to be all that is out there.

Danger Sings - "Little Late":

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Shallow Cuts - Empty Beach Town LP


No Idea (2016)

I have to admit, I was pretty excited to receive this album to review.  I have an older 7" by the band that I really like, so it was nice to finally be able to check out the band's debut full length.  Shallow Cuts is one of those bands that's not quite a band all the time.  The members live in different parts of the country and only get together a few times a year to work on music.  It kind of sounds like the same situation as the drummer I play with.  Except he lives in the same area as the rest of us but still only bothers to show up a couple of times a year.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand.  Empty Beach Town is a really strong release from Shallow Cuts.  The album has that feel of older punk rockers that are starting to slow things down a little bit.  They're taking a bit more time constructing their songs and building their hooks.  They're starting to let some rootsy Tom Petty and Springsteen influences subtly creep into their songs.  

In many ways I feel like this a record aimed square at my demographic; someone in their late thirties or early forties with a lot of Leatherface records in their collection.  Let's be honest, that is my demographic to a T.  And while I certainly wouldn't mind if Shallow Cuts had a little more of a bite to some of their songs, this is still a pretty great record and a really great listen when you're crashed out on the couch on a Sunday afternoon drinking a root beer.

Shallow Cuts - Empty Beach Town:

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Urchin - 25 Complaints Beside 18 Years CD


Waterslide (2016)

I think I can say pretty easily that this CD is the best record I've ever been sent for review.  It probably doesn't hurt that The Urchin have long been one of my absolute favorite bands from Japan.  They haven't put out an album since their 2001 masterpiece Another Day, Another Sorry State, but I have always held out hope that they were going to release something new.  That's mostly because I saw that they have still been playing in Japan all of these years.  The bad news is that this CD isn't a new full length album, but the good news is that it compiles all of their non album songs into one place.  And hot damn are these songs great.

To me, The Urchin always felt like the Dillinger Four of Japan.  Every song they've ever released has been tight and catchy, with the sort of ridiculously hooky choruses that so few bands are capable of.  They've got so many amazing songs from their various 7"s they've been putting out over the past eighteen years.  Their entire run of Snuffy Smile 7"s are present as are various other splits, the songs from a self released CDEP, several compilation songs and even a couple that were previously unreleased.  Despite having hunted down as many records of theirs as I could find, there were still a few songs on this that I had never heard before.

Even though they haven't put out a new record in fifteen years, it would still be hard for you to convince me that The Urchin is not the best band in Japan.  The songs on this record reminded me just how much I love this band and if I have to wait another fifteen years for a new full length, so be it, I'll keep waiting.  Though, I would prefer to not have to wait that long if possible, so let's get some new songs recorded!

The Urchin - 25 Complaints Beside 18 Years:

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Giant Dog - Pile LP


Merge (2016)

Pile is the third album from A Giant Dog and the second one that I have purchased.  I think I should probably go back and pick up their first album as well because this makes two stellar albums in a row for the band.  Much like their last record Bone, Pile is a tour de force of powerful guitars, dark harmonies and spectacular hooks.

The vocals are mainly held down by Sabrina Ellis, with big time help in the backing and harmonies department by guitarist Andrew Cashen.  These two create a whirlwind of powerful howling into the night.  With tales of death, drugs and rock and roll, reading the lyrics alone you'd sometimes question what they heck you were actually listening to.  But this band has a way of disguising their dark themes within one of the most energetic and flat out rocking bands on the planet.  Sure, they might be able to "watch you die and not feel a thing," but you're not going to be all that upset since they've shared this information in the context of one of the best songs of the year, "Creep."

The album is consistently rocking from start to finish.  Sure, there are some minor variations.  Some songs drift into poppier territory while others have more of a glam hint to them.  There's a few garagey stompers and even a tender acoustic moment, but the entire time you just get the feeling that you are in the presence of a mighty powerful rock and roll tornado, bearing down on you at breakneck speed.  A Giant Dog really stand alone in today's world.  I can't think of too many bands that sound much like them, but they are essential listening for anyone that wants to have the doors blown off by a fierce rock and roll band.

A Giant Dog - Pile:

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Beck - Mellow Gold LP - Purple Smoke Vinyl (/2016)


Bong Load (2016, Reissue)

I can say, without hesitation that Mellow Gold is both one of my favorite and one of the most important records I bought back when I was in high school.  Even though I've had the original pressing of this forever (the one with the alternate version of "Pay No Mind" on it), I still had to pick this new repress up for a few reasons.  First, I'm certainly a sucker for limited variants of all time favorite records (this is numbered out of two thousand and sixteen copies). Second, I wanted a copy of Mellow Gold on vinyl that had the regular version of "Pay No Mind" on it.  Lastly, I wanted a version that I could play without care and figured a remastered, 180 gram version of it would probably be the way to go.  I was correct in thinking that.

This pressing sounds spectacular.  Everything is crisp and clear.  The bass is warm and satisfying and even the more sparse acoustic songs just sound full and rich.  Comparing it to my original pressing, it actually sounds a little cleaner I think, but both are quite good.  I'm not sure exactly what they tweaked during the remastering process, but it certainly wasn't anything that changed the record other than making it sound great on vinyl.

The music on this record it some of the most influential I've listened to.  Listening to Beck made me start learning how to play guitar.  It was the first time I listened to something and felt I could maybe play some of that.  I first heard Mellow Gold from my friend Scott in high school, on cassette in the tape deck in his Dodge Sundance.  "Loser" wasn't really on my radar at all and the first Beck song I actually ever heard was "Soul Suckin' Jerk."  I liked it right away as I thought it had a cool Beastie Boys vibe to it.  As we went through the record, I was just dumbfounded on how varied the songs were.  By the time we got to the screaming chaos of "Motherfuker" I was sold.  I went out and bought my own copy right away.  

Then I figured out there were other Beck records out like Stereopathetic Soulmanure and One Foot in the Grave. Then I started buying all of the singles.  Then the import singles and from there on out it was a full on obsession.  Trading bootleg tapes with other fans was essentially the first thing I ever used the internet for.  

All of this started to wind down for me when Odelay came out.  Not that it isn't a great album, but Beck never felt the same to me after that.  He always felt more polished than he had when I was first getting into him.  He went from this insane misfit throwing shoes on TV to someone that people were suddenly taking very seriously.  It was never as much fun after that.  Though I've still bought and enjoyed every other record Beck has released, he was never able to recapture that lightning in a bottle of the Mellow Gold era for me.  Twenty two years on, I still listen to the kazoo solo at the end of "Steal My Body Home" and wonder how on earth he tricked a major label into releasing this wonderful mess as his debut full length album.  Genius.

Beck - "Pay No Mind":

Beck - "Nightmare Hippy Girl":

Beck - "Whiskeyclone Hotel City 1997":

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Bonehead - You 7"


Miss 45 (2016)

This is another 7" that was sent to me to review.  Artwork wise, I figured it had potential.  Though after listening to it, I'm pretty underwhelmed.  In the accompanying photocopied letter the person behind Bonehead, Alexandra, refers to herself as a "songwriter, producer, musician."  Maybe it's just the world I come from, but that sure seems like a weird trilogy of descriptions to lead with.  What's wrong with 'I made a record?' Anyway, the silly letter isn't the real problem with this 7".  The real problems are the songs and the recording quality.

The 7" starts off with "You." It's a really stripped down and basic song with a slinky bass line and low key vocals.  It has a real 60's vibe, that isn't necessarily bad, but it's nothing very memorable.  What really drags it down is the rudimentary drumming.  I'm not saying I could do better or anything, drums go off beat just with me being in the room sometimes, but I'm also not recording and releasing my own 7" with me drumming on it.

We then move on to "Gone Girl."  It sounds so completely different, recording wise.  The vocals are totally blown out and echo-y which kills any melody.  At least the drumming is a little better, well until the entire song goes completely off the rails during a really weird guitar solo.  Wrapping things up on the B side is "Take Out The Trash."  Again, the recording quality and volume shifts wildly.  The vocals are super compressed the way a cliche 80's song would be (think of that cover of "Money (That's What I Want)" by The Flying Lizards).  Oh, and there's a quick solo played by pushing buttons on a telephone.  Bad news.

Bonehead - You 7":

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Lovemen - 1993 - 2000 CH. 2 CD


Waterslide (2015)

Today we have the companion release to yesterday's Lovemen CD.  Chapter two includes a lot of my very favorite Lovemen songs including the songs from their split 7"s with Hooton 3 Car, Eversor, Servo, The Tone, a couple of compilations as well as my favorite of their full lengths, Children Eat a Nightmare.  Also included as a bonus disc is Lovemen's second demo tape along with a song from a cassette only compilation.

As with chapter one, I have owned the vast majority of these songs for quite a few years.  The split 7"s are the records that got me interested in Lovemen originally and Children Eat a Nightmare is perhaps one of the best albums that Snuffy Smile had ever released.  Like everything from yesterday's CD, these records have been out of print forever, so it's so great to have these songs all compiled and available again on Waterslide records.

As far as the songs go, this is a masterclass in melodic punk rock.  Lovemen were very much inspired by the Snuffs, Leatherfaces and Mega City Fours of the day, but I never felt like Lovemen was trying to sound like one of these bands.  They took these influences and crafted something that was unique to them.  That along with the ability to unleash so much energy into their songs, regardless of how fast or how slow they are playing is what always drew me to this band.  I just want to ball my fist up, throw it in the air and shout along to everything coming out of my speakers.

Listening to all of these songs together, especially the 7" songs which I admittedly haven't played in quite some time, it really struck me just how amazing this band really is.  Just like with chapter one yesterday, this is just an essential release if you are interested in Japanese punk rock.

Lovemen - "Drive Back":

Lovemen - "Line":

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Lovemen - 1993-2000 CH. 1 CD


Waterslide (2015)

Waterslide records from Japan sent me a package of CDs to review and I couldn't possibly be more excited about it.  Long time readers will probably know that Japanese punk rock is one of my absolute favorite things in the world.  It really started for me with Snuffy Smile records and the split 7"s they have been releasing since the 90's.  I think the first time I had heard of Snuffy Smile was when they put out the Goober Patrol/Sprocket Wheel split 7", but it was very soon after that they started a string of 7"s featuring some of my favorite UK bands like Broccoli, Skimmer, Travis Cut and Chopper.

At first the Japanese bands were just these other bands that happened to be on the records I was buying, but it didn't take long for these bands to start being the highlights.  Two of the first to really make an impact with me were Blew and Lovemen.  This Lovemen CD is the first chapter of a two part set compiling everything they released.  This first set includes the band's debut album December, the two tracks from their split 7" with Exit Condition, four compilation songs and a bonus disc containing their first four song demo tape. 

Now, I am a pretty huge Lovemen fan and I did already have the bulk of the songs on this set, but even for a completist like me, there we still new and interesting discoveries to make.  Lovemen created such a distinct sound in their day, melodic as can be with scratchy vocals that clawed their way into my heart.  The songs are incredibly dynamic with interesting chord changes and tempos.  They can throw down a straight ahead burner just as easily as they can slow things down and get really complex with their song structure.

To have everything compiled on this album is such a crazy thing to see for someone who spent so much time trying to hunt down these records in the dark ages of the 90's.  It's especially great as the vast, vast majority of these records have been out of print for ages.  If you have even the most passing interest in Japanese punk rock, this is an essential collection from one of the most important bands in the early days of the Snuffy Smile scene.

Lovemen - "Believe In Me":

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Brokedowns / Direct Hit - Split 7"


Red Scare (2016)

I was sent this split 7" for review by Red Scare records.  They've never sent me anything before and I'll have to admit, I wasn't all that familiar with either band before listening to this 7".  Considering that the artwork struck me as being a little cheesy (ahem), I was actually pleasantly surprised that I ended up liking this as much as I did.

We'll start with The Brokedowns, a band whose name I have certainly seen around a lot .  Though, aside from a split 7" with Wide Angles that didn't really strike me as anything special, I haven't heard much by them.  Their 3 songs on this 7" are all totally fine.  They definitely have a midwestern punk vibe with vocals that have the same sort of urgency as the Paddy songs from Dillinger Four.  The hooks are nowhere at the level of D4, but all three songs are totally serviceable fast, gruffy vocal punk rock.

On the other side is Direct Hit.  They're a band I don't really know anything about.  Even though they sound eerily similar to The Brokedowns, they still manage to serve up two songs that are pretty good.  While The Brokedowns probably hold the edge in vocals, Direct Hit had the advantage when it comes to big catchy choruses.  Again, if you're into Dillinger Four or the mid 2000s No Idea records sort of bands, you may want to check these guys out.  Maybe this record isn't a blow away must own, but all in all, it's a solid little split 7".

The Brokedowns - "Hing Of The Dust":

Direct Hit - "Chemical Ability":

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Rocket From The Crypt - Don't Drop The Baby 7" - 2 Versions


Swami (2016)

So this is pretty momentous, a new record by Rocket From The Crypt.  What's even more exciting is that unless this is a really obscure cover song that I can't find any information about, this is the first proper new Rocket song since the band got back together a couple of years ago.  I could not be more excited about this, if the world needs one thing right now, it's new Rocket From The Crypt music.

The story of this 7" is a little convoluted. Originally, the intent was to only have this available at the ill fated Drive Like Jehu curated All Tomorrow's Party.  When that festival shit the bed, this turned into a record that was being sold at some recent Rocket From The Crypt shows.  It started out in Denver Colorado and was sold as a one sided 7" with only the hand stamped artwork.  A good friend picked up a copy for me and I am forever grateful to him.

A few weeks later this 7" reappeared at the band's Chicago shows and then made the rounds on the East coast, stopping at New York City, Asbury Park and Boston.  This time around, in addition to the hand stamped cover, the blank B-side was replaced with the fancy screen printing that you see on the right.  This did two things.  First, it made the 7" about seventy three percent cooler than it already was.  But the second thing it did was create a rarer version without the screen print that seems to have been only sold at the Denver show.  Kind of neat and definitely keeps in line with Rocket From The Crypt's sprawling and complicated discography.  One of the toughest bands in the world to collect, I assure you.

Oh, and on top of everything else, the song is a sure fire hit single.  Chugging start/stop guitars, huge backing vocals and to sort of big hook that only Speedo can dish out.  It's a great song and leaves me thirsting for more.  All I can do is hope that this 7" is part of some sort of master plan to bring a new Rocket album into the world.  The fact that they are working on new material at all is cause for celebration, I just hope it leads to more.

Can't seem to find this song online anywhere at the moment, aside from as part of a radio show on WFMU, that also has a Rocket live set, so it's worth a listen:

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Good Shade - Breakfast CD


Gut Genug (2016)

CD's do still have a place in my world.  Sure, I'd never buy one if there is a vinyl version available, but I'd rather buy a hundred CDs than one cassette.  At this point I can't imagine it's more expensive to do a cheapo CD than to do a cassette.  I haven't price checked either, but you'd think the CD duplication process would be a lot easier.  Regardless, even though I wish this new Good Shade album had been released on vinyl, I'm glad they avoided the tape route and went with a good old fashioned CD.

Good Shade is a band that is flying way under the radar and that's a damn shame because this is the second straight album they've released that just rips from start to finish.  Good Shade is the brain child of Shane Natalie and he plays all of the instruments on this album.  He was also in Tight Bros, a band that I really dig.  I'm not sure if they're still together though.  Anyone know?  Anyway, Breakfast is a non stop attack of hooks and buzz saw guitar.  A little bit Marked Men and a little bit Sonic Avenues.  I could certainly see this album on Dirtnap and it definitely deserves that kind of exposure.

2016 has been something of a lackluster year for new albums so far, especially truly great, fun pop albums.  This is the sort of record that turns your entire year around.  Breakfast is a top tier punked out pop album and it really should be picked up at all costs (and actually the cost is ridiculously cheap on the Good Shade Bandcamp page, so there's really no excuse).  Oh, there's also a little note in the CD artwork that just says "1 of 3" with no other info.  Could that mean Lunch and Dinner albums are on the way? I sure hope so.

Good Shade - Breakfast:

Monday, August 8, 2016

Liquid Breakfast - Let It Be 77 Again 7" - Yellow Vinyl - Variant Covers


Still Unbeatable (2015)

Still Unbeatable records from Germany sent these over to review and I was particularly interested in the fact that they sent me both versions of the same record.  To me, that shows there's a decent chance they might actually read this website unlike a lot of other records that randomly get sent over to me.  I especially like the Japanese cover variant, but the music doesn't live up to expectations.

Honestly, I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting.  The 7" is called Let It Be 77 Again after all. But this doesn't feel like a tribute to a time gone by, it feels like a hokey grab at fleeting memories from someone that can't move on.  I will be the first to admit that I have no idea who anyone in this band is, so if they're former members of some really important, yet obscure power poppers from the past; they're too obscure for me to know.  

There is a lot that bugs me about this record.  The singer sounds like a cartoon leprechaun.  The lyrics for "Let It Be 77 Again" are cliched at best and silly at worst.  The dual layered lead guitars on B-side "We Won't Do It More" sound like they were pulled out of the worst Castlevania game imaginable.  It's as if this band had the recipe for a couple of good songs, but then dumped in all of the wrong ingredients.  

If you really, really like everything and anything that sort of sounds like power pop and came out in the late 70's or early 80's or if you're just a gigantic fan of Lucky Charms cereal, it's possible you might dig this record.  Personally, I don't like marshmallows very much.  Or this record.  

Liquid Breakfast - "Let It Be 77 Again":

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Laika's Orbit - No Matter What It Takes LP


Total Negativity (2016)

This is one of the few instances where I can flatly say that I have no idea where I heard about this band.  Somewhere in my online record shopping excursions, I must have stumbled across this album and made a mental note to check them out at some point.  I flicked through a few songs on the Laika's Orbit Bandcamp page and then ordered the LP.  I wish I could thank whoever had drawn my attention to this record, because I absolutely love it.

This is the sort of perfect, medium-fi, bouncy pop record that I could listen to a hundred times a day.  Upbeat and energetic with killer vocal melodies and so many hooks that I'm almost tempted to write a bad analogy to compare the record to something that has a lot of hooks.  The first reference point that I immediately hear is the band Title Tracks, who coincidently had put out one of my favorite LPs of the past several years back in 2011.  I also think that fans of The Yolks would be into this, though Laika's Orbit strikes me as much catchier.  Did you like White Wires? Probably a good idea to check this record out.

I love everything about this album from the jangle of the rhythm guitar to the slight fuzz of the vocals to the perfect drumming and the bouncing bass lines.  This is absolutely, no questions asked one of the top five records I've heard this year.  Probably top three really.  I can't recommend it highly enough, especially if you are into any of the bands I mentioned way back in paragraph two.  Seriously, go buy this right now.

Laika's Orbit - No Matter What It Takes: