Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Blind Shake - Celebrate Your Worth LP - Blue Vinyl (/50)

Untitled

Goner (2016)

Just to mention right off the back, I think that the information I've found online that indicates there are only fifty copies pressed on blue vinyl is a little suspect.  That's a lower amount than is typical for Goner, but that's the information I'll go with unless someone can point me to anything that says otherwise.  Seems awfully low to me.  Anyway, I'm glad mine is on blue.

The Blind Shake is one of those bands that absolutely goes against type for me.  I say this every time I review one of their records, but if you just take a surface look at this band, it doesn't make sense that I like them.  Noisy, kind of sludgy, weird guitar solo things.  It shouldn't work for me, but it always does.  There is something so engaging about this band's manic energy and the way they construct their songs.  There's always the slightest hint of a hook buried in the song, almost like The Blind Shake is daring you to find it.

As is usual with Blind Shake albums, I gravitate towards the fastest and catchiest songs on the album.  In this case it's standouts like "Reasonable World," "Society of Plants" and "Demox."  But as usual, the whole album is captivating as the band jumps from one sound to another with ease.  One thing you can really never say about The Blind Shake is to accuse them of having songs that all sound the same.  Celebrate Your Work is another example of their dynamic songwriting and their ability to pull me into some of the most unlikely bits of noise.

The Blind Shake - Celebrate Your Worth:

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Dumpster Babies - Lost and Found LP - Gold Marbled Vinyl

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Tall Pat (2016)

Lost and Found is the follow up to 2013's self titled Dumpster Babies release.  In the interim, the band has grown older, wiser and much more mature.  OK, that's probably a bunch of bullshit.  These guys still sound like they're having an absolute blast playing an ultra catchy strain of sloppy rock and roll.

Lost and Found is one of those rare albums that, to my ears, is every bit as good as the first record that I heard from them.  Even if the band hasn't matured, they have tightened up their sound just a bit.  While they haven't lost any of their ramshackle, good times vibe, the hooks are a more focused and the slower songs have that little something extra that elevates them above just being rests between the fast ones.

The last time I wrote about Dumpster babies, I had compared them to Earthmen & Strangers and The Yolks.  I think those comparisons are both still apt for Lost and Found, particularly when the band puts their foot on the gas and the downstrokes start flying.  I still don't love the band's name and I can't say the art is really my style, but when the needle hits the vinyl that's where Dumpster Babies really shine.

Dumpster Babies - Lost and Found:

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Medictation - Warm Places LP - Orange Vinyl (/100)

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Dead Broke (2016)

2016 has kind of been a shit year, taking away so many artists I respect.  And as bad as it has been, when Dickie Hammond passed away in 2015, I felt a profound loss.  This was a man whose music has had such an impact on me directly and had also influenced so many bands that I love.  It was a sad, sad day for punk rock.  Warm Places is the last record that Dickie was part of.

Also featuring member of The Sainte Catherines, Medictation is a roaring tribute to Dickie that is simply spectacular.  Dickie Hammond's guitar work is so distinct.  Whether you go through HDQ or Leatherface or Doctor Bison, you can always hear the way Dickie's guitar influences those band.  It's so powerful, but beautiful at the same time.  Medictation, for the most part, tends to stay closer to the Leatherface playbook.  Though, definitely more in line with the quieter moments of albums like The Last and Minx.

The vocals are appropriately raspy and wonderful.  Aside from an odd turn on "Stalingrad," where the super low, spoken word type vocals actually remind me a little of some of those goofy old Dandy Warhols songs.  Not that this song is a goof, but it stands in contrast so sharply with the rest of the album.  Still, this record is great.  It's a definite highlight in 2016 and we sure could use some of those.

Medictation - Warm Places:

Monday, December 5, 2016

Sir Coyler & His Asthmatic Band - Don't Shake CD

Untitled

Five-Five Hole (2016)

This particular CD made its way to me, I think, primarily due to the fact that I've been active on Rocket From The Crypt message boards and listservs since the mid 90's.  Sir Coyler is one of the fellows that I've met along the way and it's always interesting to see the sort of music that folks you know create.  Luckily, I don't need to say nice things out of some sort of misplaced loyalty.  Don't Shake is a fun album that I would have been happy to review even if I didn't internet-know this guy.

There's a good mish mash of rock and roll styles throughout the course of this album.  Some songs have a a straight forward noisy garage sound like "S.L.V.M." or "Invisible Blues." Then you have others that lean more toward a borderline boogie feel such as  "Charades at the Condo."  There's even some cool surf moments like the instrumental "Sticky D's."  If you've got an itch, seems like Sir Coyler and his crew are happy to try to scratch it for you.

The songs that tend to stand out to me are the ones that lean on the poppier side of things and have those big hooks that I like, but the whole album is a fun ride from start to finish.  These guys are likely under the radar a bit, so they're worth digging for. Well, I'll dig for you:

Sir Coyler & His Asthmatic Band - Don't Shake:

Saturday, December 3, 2016

40 Albums in 40 Years - 1976-2016

40 Albums in 40 Years - 1976-2016 

My buddy Scott (@skot1107) recently turned 40 and made a list of his favorite records that came out each year he was alive.  I thought this was an interesting idea so I decided to make my list for my birthday as well.  Since I turn 40 today, here we go.

Now, just to get it out of the way: This is mostly a list of how I feel about these records right now.  If you were to look at my best records lists from prior years, they don't all match up anymore.  In some instances my favorite record for a given year has changed over time.  Of course, warm nostalgia for some childhood albums does play a part.

I'm also well aware that my choices for the early 80's are probably suspect to some.  I'll be honest, I don't really listen to a ton of bands from back then.  Sure, I like The Replacements and Husker Du just fine, but I don't relisten to those bands over and over and over.  I guarentee I've listened to these Weird Al records a lot more than any early punk rock band.  And I promise you I've listend to Briefcase Full of Blues more times than any record I own. Also, 1982 appears to be the worst year in the history of recorded music.

I had to leave out some of my very favorite records of all time just because of the year it happened to hit.  I could not imagine making a list like this that didn't include One Foot In The Grave by Beck, but it had the bad luck of coming out the same year as Jehu in 1994. This happens for a few other heavy hitters as well.

Lastly, I haven't put this year's record on the list yet.  I'll come back and update this once I have posted my best records of 2016 list in a few weeks.

1976 - David Bowie - Station To Station
1977 - John Williams - Star Wars Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
1978 - The Blues Brothers - Briefcase Full Of Blues
1979 - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Damn The Torpedoes
1980 - The Blues Brothers - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
1981 - The Cars - Shake It Up
1982 - Buckner & Garcia - Pac Man Fever
1983 - Weird Al Yankovic - Weird Al Yankovic
1984 - Weird Al Yankovic - In 3D
1985 - Weird Al Yankovic - Dare To Be Stupid
1986 - Weird Al Yankovic - Polka Party
1987 - Boogie Down Productions - Criminal Minded
1988 - Public Enemy - It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back
1989 - Snuff - Snuff Said
1990 - Leatherface - Fill Your Boots
1991 - Leatherface - Mush
1992 - Rocket From The Crypt - Circa Now
1993 - Bum - Wanna Smash Sensation
1994 - Drive Like Jehu - Yank Crime
1995 - Rocket From The Crypt - The State Of Art Is On Fire
1996 - Snuff - Demmamussabebonk
1997 - Him Kerosene - Start.Stop.
1998 - Broccoli - Home
1999 - Built To Spill - Keep It Like A Secret
2000 - Hot Snakes - Automatic Midnight
2001 - Rocket From The Crypt - Group Sounds
2002 - Hot Snakes - Suicide Invoice
2003 - The Thermals - More Parts Per Million
2004 - The Marked Men - On The Outside
2005 - Oranger - New Comes And Goes
2006 - Camp Radio - Camp Radio
2007 - Statues - New People Make Us Nervous
2008 - Night Marchers - See You In Magic
2009 - Sick Sick Birds - Heavy Manners
2010 - Steve Adamyk Band - Steve Adamyk Band
2011 - Title Tracks - In Blank
2012 - Mrs Magician - Strange Heaven
2013 - Night Marchers - Allez Allez
2014 - Cloud Nothings - Here And Nowhere Else
2015 - Clearance - Rapid Rewards
2016 - TBA

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Spells - Staying In > Going Out LP - Blue Vinyl

Untitled

Snappy Little Numbers (2016)

I've said this a few times in the past, but Snappy Little Numbers is fast becoming one of those record labels that I really trust.  It seems that no matter what record they release, I usually end up liking it.  Having enjoyed a prior Spells 7" as well as a split cassette they were on, I was expecting another winner.  Guess what? They didn't let me down.

If you look at the track listing of the new Spells album, it might alarm some.  There are a few kind of silly song titles like "Raditude," Staying In Is The New Going Out," "Leisure Seizure" and "Nitro Breakdown Right On."  Thankfully, even though Spells definitely employs an upbeat, party band vibe, their songs aren't joke songs.  Each is a well crafted, bouncy slice of pop with a punky aftertaste.  The gang style singalong backup vocals punctuate the hooks and the guitar has a nice, nasty snarl to it.

More than anything, they remind me of the band Napalmpom, except Spells did everything right that Napalmpom was doing wrong.  No glam rock underpinnings and catchier songs.  Definitely worth a listen.

Spells - Staying In > Going Out:

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Real Numbers - Wordless Wonder LP - White Vinyl

Untitled

Slumberland (2016)

Real Numbers are a band that have been on my radar for about 5 years now.  They released a 7" here, a 12" EP there, but would then go back into hibernation for an extended spell.  Wordless Wonders is their first full length and while I won't pretend I've been waiting at the edge of my seat for this moment to arrive, I was excited that the band was finally putting out an album.

The resulting album reminds me a lot more of their 12" from a few years ago than it does their earlier 7".  It's a good album, but that's as high praise as I'll be able to give the whole thing.  Most songs are pretty mellow, though still quite catchy in places.  It has a definite low key, 60's style vibe to it with the vocals having just enough echo effect on them to make you wonder if the band is slipping into the world of psych rock.  Thankfully none of the songs are far out enough to really cross that line.

Where Real Numbers really shine are when they flat out play fast songs.  When the band revs up their Vacant Lot style rippers "Just So Far Away" and "Up & About" it makes me wonder how much I would love this album if it was crammed full of tracks like that.  Regardless, it's a pretty good album start to finish with a handful of standouts.  There aren't any bad songs, there just aren't enough great ones to make this an album of the year contender.  Still worth a listen.

Real Numbers - Wordless Wonder:

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Bad Sports - Living With Secrets 12" - Clear Vinyl (/300)

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Dirtnap (2016)

I'm not sure exactly why, but I've never liked 12" EPs.  I think it's mostly because it seems like a waste of vinyl.  Why not do a 10"? I always thought that was the perfect platform for an EP that's too long to put on a 7".  That's all just a personal preference and it has nothing to do with the actual Bad Sports songs on this EP.

I'm very guilty of being the guy that says things like, this is good, but I liked their last record better.  I do that a lot.  I think there is something hardwired into my brain that makes me have the most affection for the first album that gets me into a band.  There are certainly exceptions to the rule, but in general, I tend to do this.  And that is my big takeaway from this Bad Sports EP.  It's good, I like some of the songs quite a bit, but I don't like it quite as much as previous records that the band put out.

The songs are still pretty catchy with some solid hooks, but they're not quite as in your face poppy as some of their older material.  There's definitely a darker vibe going on here and from time to time the band is pulled into territory I would associate with another Dirtnap band, The Estranged.  All in all, it's still a good EP.  Without comparisons to their earlier records I would probably be into it more, but that's my burden.

Bad Sports - Living With Secrets 12":

Monday, November 28, 2016

Terry Malts - Lost At The Party LP - White w/ Red Vinyl

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Slumberland (2016)

Lost At The Party is the second album I've purchased by Terry Malts.  Though I had a few minor issues, I really enjoyed their last record, Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere.  Lost At The Party is something a little bit different this time out.  On some songs, they come out better for it, but on others it's a move that doesn't work out as well.

Terry Malts is a band that I like the most when they are playing fast and loud.  A little bit of fuzziness goes a long way with these guys.  When the pace quickens on this album, as it does on standout tracks like "Won't Come Find You, "Seen Everything" and "Come Back," Terry Malts are at their best.  The hooks are there and with the drums pounding and guitar howling, this is a band to be reckoned with.

The biggest issue with Lost At The Party is an over reliance on slower, eighties sounding songs. These ones are schmaltzy and sound way too much like they're trying to be part of the soundtrack of a John Hughes movie. "Gentle Eyes" and "Waiting For The Bomb" are my least favorite of this bunch.  They just grind the album to a screeching halt.  That being said, when the band is upbeat this is a pretty great record in places.  I just wish they were upbeat a bit more often.

Terry Malts - Lost At The Party:

Monday, November 21, 2016

Turkey Break


OK, I'll admit it, that picture isn't of a record I bought.  But it has a turkey on it, which is big fun.  Anyway, I'm taking the week off from reviews for the holiday.  Enjoy any time off you have coming and Happy Thanksgiving.



Thursday, November 17, 2016

Felix! (The Band) - What To Do In Case Of Fire? CD

Untitled

Waterslide (2015)

When I pulled this out of the package of CDs sent to me from Waterslide records, I immediately started to smile.  The artwork for this album is fantastic, a spin on the old art used by Mutant Pop records for their 7"s back in the 90's.  Even though I didn't love everything that Mutant Pop put out, they had some spectacular releases.  If you don't have those Underhand 7"s, you really should go buy them right away.

Felix! (The Band) fits in the Mutant Pop mold as well. At their core they are the epitome of a 1990s pop punk band.  Probably most similar to bands on the pop punk spectrum like The Riverdales, Squirtgun and Zoinks!.  They've got the blasting power chords, the three chord transitions, a little bit of octaves for some dynamics and lots of catchy choruses.  They're at their best when there's a little bit of whoa-ing in the background during the choruses of songs like "Sunday" and "I'm Still Waiting For You."

It's kind of funny listening to Felix! (The Band).  They just sound so much like an American band from the 90's, you find yourself forgetting that this album only came out last year.  It's a nice and refreshing listen.  Twenty years ago this may have gotten lost in the shuffle with so many other bands around at the time, but now they stand out as something new, fresh and pretty unique in 2016 (or 2015 when the record came out). 

Felix! (The Band) - What To Do In Case Of Fire?:

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

First Base - Together Again 7"

Untitled

La-Ti-Da (2016)

This is the seventh and last of the 7"s that I bought as a bundle from La-Ti-Da records.  There have been way more good than bad and I would buy another bundle like this without hesitation.  The best part has been discovering some new bands and the last 7" in this set, by First Base, is one of the best.

The funny thing is, I actually thought I had a record by First Base.  Either I'm confusing them with another band that I can't remember or I've somehow lost a record of theirs.  It's probably the former, though I have misplaced the occasional album.  Regardless, this La-Ti-Da 7" is a corker.  Both songs are tightly wound, harmony soaked, power pop gems.  With the bouncy bass lines you want and the singalong backing vocals that you need.

This is a band that looks to have a bunch of records out, including an LP on HoZac and a couple releases on Hosehead (which is for sure why I know the name of the band at the very least).  You can bet I'm going to be checking out those records soon, this 7" is fantastic.

First Base - Together Again 7":

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Mallwalkers - Dial 'M' For... LP - Purple Vinyl (/100)

Untitled

Peterwalkee (2016)

Dial 'M' For... is another record sent to me for review by the folks at Peterwalkee records.  They're not a band I was familiar with, but as I read the accompanying one sheet, I was intrigued by the fact that they name dropped bands like Rocket From The Crypt, Dun Narcotic Sound System and The B-52's.  That, plus the fact that the album art clearly depicts a horn section got my hopes up that this could be something great.

All the pieces are there.  I'll even go so far to say the band itself is pretty great.  They've got blistering energy as they stomp their way through each song.  A solid barrage of guitar attack with some really excellent horn section accents.  Maybe not in the same ballpark as RFTC necessarily, but I could see how this sort of thing might appeal to similar fans.  Unfortunately all of of this good will is immediately destroyed when the vocals kick in.

I'm not sure I've heard a band so good that has such awful singers.  They have the male/female interplay going on, but it's kind of a disaster.  Singer 1A, Dan sounds like he has a perpetual sore throat and is in dire need of some Sucrets.  I like some raspy vocals, but this is raspy done in the absolute wrong way.  On the flipside, Singer 1B Jaz is a shouting nightmare.  She is just screaming like a maniac most of the time and it's awful.  

The strangest part is when Jaz calms down and actually sings a song like she does on the slow, soul influence "Community," she's incredibly effective.  She is so much more suited to that style than she is to the other ninety percent of the album where she and Dan are yelling at you to "Dance til your pants are off."  It's a shame as the vocals kind of spoil would could have been a pretty fun album.

Mallwalkers - Dial M For ...:

Monday, November 14, 2016

Messrs - S/T LP

Untitled

Heel Turn (2016)

I'm not going to be able to give you a particularly insightful review of this Messrs album.  To put it bluntly, I just don't really like this sort of thing.  The one sheet that came with this review copy of Messrs S/T LP compares them to early AmRep and Touch & Go bands.  I guess that might be true, but to me, this sounds like a sludgy mess.

Are you looking for a loud, thick pile of guitar that has the treble turned all the way down to zero?  Looking for some plodding drum beats?  How about some shouted vocals that you can't understand?  If the answer is yes, Messrs may be for you.

I'm sure there are people that would really like this album.  Even I went through a period in the 90's where I was listening to crazy amounts of godheadSilo, Karp, Fitz of Depression and bands like that.  But I've always felt those Pacific Northwest bands had a lot more going on than just yelling and screaming.  I can't find anything deeper with Messrs.

Messrs - "NS":

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Low Culture - Hard To Stay 7"

Untitled

La-Ti-Da (2016)

A companion piece to yesterday's review of the Places To Hide LP, this is a new 7" from Low Culture on the wonderful La-Ti-Da records.

A side "Hard To Stay" is one of the best of the current crop of Low Culture songs.  It leans to the power pop side of the spectrum, particularly with the chord progressions and the generally bouncy beat.  A real killer song.  B side "Lonely Summer" is also on the new LP. It's slightly different from the album version, but not really all that dissimilar. It's just as good of a song as it is on the album, a little slower than the band usually churns out, but still a good time.

That's it for the review today.  No time for a lengthy outpouring of silly adjectives.  Stop reading and go vote.

Low Culture - Hard To Stay 7":

Monday, November 7, 2016

Low Culture - Places To Hide - Blue Vinyl (/200)

Untitled

Dirtnap (2016)

I think that of the post-Marked Men bands, Low Culture is the one that doesn't seem to get quite as much attention as they deserve.  I've always thought that to be weird as this is a band that has been churning out hit after hit after hit.  If nothing else, I personally find them to be more consistently enjoyable than Mind Spiders.

The main reason I like Low Culture so much is because they are not afraid to put out basic, but extremely catchy songs.  They've not experimenting for the sake of it and they aren't trying to reinvent the wheel.  Low Culture wants to play their guitars really loud and really fast, leaving nothing but big hooks in their wake.  That formula works out on Places To Hide.  It's every bit as good as their prior full length Screens.  

In particular, songs like "Slave To You," "Hate Me When I Go" and "Evil" just get better every time I hear them.  Though, honestly, the same can be said about this entire record.  The first time I heard it, I liked everything, but it sort of passed by in a whirlwind.  The more I listen to it, the more each songs greatness starts to reveal itself.  It's just a fantastic album start to finish.

Low Culture - Places To Hide:

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Market East - Orange & Me 7"

Untitled

La-Ti-Da (2016)

When the needle first hit the vinyl on this Market East 7", I was immediately interested in the sounds emanating from this record.  It started off with a gentle, soulful bassline with some really nice vocal harmonies.  I figured I was in for a Ballantynes-esque soul party, though that wasn't quite meant to be.

While I enjoy A side "Orange & Me," it just kind of stalls out after the promising start.  I kept waiting for the song to kick into a higher gear that it apparently didn't have.  The end result is a perfectly serviceable 60's style throwback with truly some of the better harmonies I've heard in a long whole.  It never reaches that next level that would really win me over.  It's alright, but kind of a little boring.

Unfortunately things don't really improve on the B side.  It's not bad, but the sort of low key, vaguely psychedelic rock and roll that these guys are playing just isn't all that interesting to me.  "Our Love Will Always Win" is slower than "Orange & Me" and not quite as catchy.  It's a decent enough little 7", but it's not the kind that will keep me going back for repeated listens.

Market East - Orange & Me 7":

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Temper And Hold - The Speed Of Travel LP

Untitled

Grafton (2016)

I will say this right away, when I opened up this Temper And Hold record that I was sent to review, I was immediately impressed with the quality of the packaging and art.  Sturdy, well designed and it just looks and feels like a serious record.  No skimping here, so kudos for that.  As far as the music itself goes, it's good but not great.

The bands that come to mind when I'm listening to this are a weird amalgamation of Pinback guitar noodling and Rainer Maria style vocal melodies.  Now for the record, I'm a huge Pinback fan, so I'm totally on board with that side of things, but I'm not quite as into the vocals.  When the vocals are more subdued and are gently intermingling with the lower key moments of the album, it really does work and sounds pretty great.  However, when things get a bit more intense, I'm not as into the louder wailing.

The Speed Of Travel has its moments and is a decent enough listen start to finish, but it never really clicks for me.  Nothing on it is terrible, but it's just not the sort of thing I could see listening to very often.

Temper And Hold - The Speed Of Travel:

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Turquoise Feeling - S/T LP

Untitled

Heel Turn (2016)

If you know my taste in music, you know that in general I prefer when bands are a little rough around the edges, especially when it comes to recording.  I've always felt that when bands get a little too produced, it tends to gloss over some of the raw energy that they bring to the table.  Occasionally, things can go a bit too far in the other direction.  

What keeps coming to my mind when I listen to Turquoise Feeling is that I wish this album was recorded just a bit better.  I'm all for a little noise and some hiss, but in the case of this LP everything is so raw and overblown, you can't really hear anything that is going on.  The vocals are a bunch of ramblings that are completely buried in the mix and the instruments are just a jumbled pile of chaos.

It's a bit of a shame too, as most of the songs on the record are pretty good.  They're short, catchy bursts of garage fueled energy.  They are catchier than you'd think considering all of the noise you need to wade through.  If I could hear everything, I think I'd be singing a much different tune about this record.  I actually stumbled across a YouTube video of the Turquoise Feeling playing one of the songs from this record live.  It sounded so much better than the recorded version did.  It makes me wonder what could have been.

Turquoise Feeling - "Fever Few":

Turquoise Feeling - "Post Partum" (Live, not the LP version)

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Pale Lips - Wanna Be Bad CD

Untitled

Waterslide (2016)

I'm still working my way through all of the CDs sent over by Waterslide records to review.  It's just crazy how many great records were in this batch.  Next up is another hit: Pale Lips.

I fully realize I beat this comparison to death, and for that I apologize, but the band that Pale Lips most remind me of is Baby Shakes.  I'll say it again, this is absolutely a compliment as Baby Shakes are one of my very favorites.  Pale Lips employ a similar vintage rock and roll sound with wonderful vocal harmonies.  The songs have those simple, but powerful bubblegum hooks, but Pale Lips take it in a slightly different direction.

What separates Pale Lips from the pack is that their songs tend to sound a bit tougher than other bands going down this path.  To use a vintage reference, Pale Lips sound like they're from the wrong side of the tracks. A group of bad ass ladies that are beating up on their instruments instead of the dorks in their neighborhood.  That being said, the songs that leap out as my favorites tend to be the bouncier ones like "Jangaroo," "Mary Lou Sniffin' Glue" and "Romanne."

Pretty much like everything I've reviewed from Waterslide, this is definitely worth a listen.  It's another band that I'm not sure would have ended up on my radar had a copy not been sent over.

Pale Lips - Wanna Be Bad:

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Bivouac - Sweet Heart Deal 7" - Green Vinyl (/250)

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Reckless Yes (2016)

Now that's a name I've not heard for a long time.  It's been twenty years since Bivouac have released a new record and like many other bands from the 90's, I guess the time just seemed right to get back together.  This is a trend that I will never get tired of.  I encourage all of the bands that I liked in the 90's to get back together.  Someone keep me posted on Alligator Gun's status, OK?

This Bivouac 7" contains two new songs.  The first, "Sweet Heart Deal," is a fast paced and pretty straightforward rocker that picks up right where the band left off.  They've always had those big, chunky guitars and the slightly gruff, but melodic vocals.  As the song moves along, the drumming feels a little one dimensional and the snare drum in particular seems to be getting an unnecessarily consistent smacking, but that one complaint aside, it's still a pretty great song.

Things slow down on the B side "Deep Blue Sea Surround."  The story goes that the song on the 7" is a reworking of a demo that the band was working on twenty years ago for a third full length that never quite panned out.  It's a gradual builder with good dynamics and a satisfying payoff.  

All in all I'm very pleased with this 7".  It certainly blows the doors off of that China Drum 7" that came out a few months ago.  If you're looking for a slice of punky UK rock, this is definitely worth a listen.

Bivouac - Sweet Heart Deal 7":

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

So Cow - Lisa Marie Airplane Tour LP - Blue Vinyl

Untitled

Tall Pat (2016)

I first started listening to So Cow with 2014's The Long Con.  I was really taken in with its bouncy guitars and an energy that I described at the time to remind me of W.H. Walker a bit.  Two years later and So Cow is back with Lisa Marie Airplane on Tall Pat records.  Over the two years, aspects of So Cow's sound have evolved a bit, but they have kept the catchy tunes that got my attention in the first place.

While it isn't sonically the best comparison I could make, the band that I'm most reminded of when I listen to Lisa Marie Airplane Tour is Reconstruction Site era Weakerthans.  So Cow take this in more of a workman like direction, but a similar knack for melodic storytelling and plainspoken vocals make up the core of both bands.  The other thing I hear a bit more of this time around is a little bit of Pavement style irreverence.  It's bubbling just under the service, but it does steer the album away from the garage based foundation that was more at the core of The Long Con.

What this review really is as a long, convoluted way to say that I really think this is a great record and So Cow is quickly becoming one of my favorite bands.  I have listen to Lisa Marie Airplane Tour so many times since I bought it.  Everyday I've been trying to come up with the words and descriptors to do it justice.  Plain and simple; it's a great record full of catchy songs and interesting stories. You should buy it.

So Cow - Lisa Marie Airplane Tour:



Thursday, October 20, 2016

Talkies - Never Fear 7"

Untitled

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

Untitled

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)

Untitled

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

Untitled

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"

Untitled

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)

Untitled

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"

Untitled

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

Untitled

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"

Untitled

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

Untitled

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

Untitled

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"

Untitled

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"

Untitled

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

Untitled

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

Untitled

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)

Untitled

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)

Untitled

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)

Untitled

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":