Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Cozy - Button By Button LP


HoZac (2014)

I absolutely dragged my feet on writing this review.  HoZac sent this album to me quite a while ago.  They didn't send it to me in 2014, but I've probably had this close to a year.  Apologies for the delay, although I am still curious why they chose to send me this one random record from their back catalog.

Anyway, I did go into Button By Button with some trepidation based on the artwork.  I mean, look at those haircuts.  Luckily the album isn't as bad as the hairstyles would indicate, but it also isn't particularly great either.  Cozy has churned out the very definition of a middle of the road power pop album.  It has the sneering vocals and tight chord progressions you'd expect.  It even has some solid hooks and choruses.

Where the album is lacking is in originality and energy.  I never feel like the band is really firing on all cylinders.  They can't capture the magic that a band like Barreracudas is able to.  On the other side of the spectrum, they never hit the polish or smoothness of a band like The Knack.  Cozy is treading a middle ground and their album is totally fine, it just never really exceeds that mark.  Ultimately it's decent enough background music, but not really something I'd go out of my way to listen to.

Cozy - Button By Button:

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Radiation Risks - Goodbye Money 7"


Lumpy (2017)

This 7" is one of the more recent things I've been sent for review (I really am making a concerted effort to get through everything).  I can't say that the artwork led me to believe this was something that I would like, but I did go in what an open mind.  What I ended up with are mixed emotions.  There are certainly things I like about these songs, but over all I don't think I can say I'll ever listen to this 7" again.

First off we'll discuss the positive; the music of the band.  The actual playing of instruments and structure of the songs are fun and unique.  They've got a somewhat nasty rock and roll streak to them with strong guitar riffs and a saxophone wailing along.  There are tiny moments where the band gives off a Rocket From The Crypt vibe, especially with the way the sax interacts with the rest of the band.

Unfortunately, Radiation Risks aren't an instrumental band.  Once you add the vocals to the mix, everything just comes crashing down for me.  The singer has a drawn out growl that sounds completely out of place with the upbeat nature of the music.  There's lots of unnecessary yelling and at the end of the day, I just don't like it.  It's a shame, the band is on to something.  If they could lock down a shit hot soul singer or something, they could be a force to be reckoned with.

Radiation Risks - Goodbye Money 7"

Monday, June 26, 2017

Pissing Match - Break The Seal 7"


Feral Kid (2016)

Let's get out the hardcore checklist out.  Band is called Pissing Match. Check.  7" has fifteen songs on it. Check.  The longest song is thirty-eight seconds long. Check. Song titles are written in that Crass font. Check.

I do not understand this sort of thing.  It sounds like Anal Cunt, but less metal and not as funny.  If you like growly shouting, maybe you'll like this.  I don't.

For future hardcore band and label people, I appreciate the sentiment, but it's a waste of a record to send stuff like this to me. I'm just not going to enjoy it like you do.  Let's call it a shortcoming on my end and an inability to broaden my horizons.  I like pop.

One last thing, does anyone know why the monsters on the record cover are so mad at that tire?

Pissing Match - Break The Seal 7":

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Schizophonics - Ooga Booga 10" - Orange Vinyl


Pig Baby (2017)

I don't review nearly enough 10"s on this site.  It's one of my favorite wacky formats, but it's not used nearly as often as it could be.  As someone that's put out records and price checked the cost of the 10" format, I completely understand why.  It's just as expensive as putting out a full length, but it's tougher to justify the cost to the rest of the world for fewer songs.  Regardless, I applaud those that take the leap and I'm happy that Pig Baby records decide to send over a copy of this Schizophonics EP.

I've been hearing about The Schizophonics for quite some time from some friends out in California.  The consensus is that they put on one hell of a live show.  If the high angle suplex the guitar player appears to have given himself on the cover of this 10" is any indication, it seems like it would be an interesting show.  I'd only previously heard the band's contribution to the Swami Hardcore Matinee compilation, so it was nice to finally hear some more from them.

The band definitely has a late 60s/early seventies rock and roll vibe.  We're talking the gritty MC5 type stuff.  A more modern comparison that I see is The Dirtbombs.  The guitars are fuzzy and the vocals have the sort of howling in a cave distortion that really works when applied just right.  I'll always give extra credit to bands that throw in "wooos" and "uhhs"as exclamations during song fills.  

The highlight for me is "Venus Transit."  It has a super catchy escalating chord progression that only lets up briefly for the chorus or the occasional nasty guitar lick.  Ooga Booga is a fun EP and a nice introduction to the band.  I'm curious to see what else they have out there.

The Schizophonics - "Two Thousand Seventeen":

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Ned Garthe Explosion - Flashlight Tan LP - Red Vinyl


Sad Pad (2017)

This was another album sent to me to review.  I was struck by the artwork when I opened up the package, particularly the prevalent use of primary red.  It's very eye catching.  The quality of the packaging is quite nice too.  Thick cardstock, hefty opaque vinyl and nicely done insert.  You can tell a lot of thought and effort went into it.  As far as the sounds contained in this package, it's more of a mixed bag.

Things start out with "Smooth Escalator."  Over a very "Billie Jean"-esque bassline, this little funk outbreak plays like a joke that I'm not in on.  Maybe as an album closer it could have worked but it seems odd to lead off the album with a song that sounds so unlike the rest of the album that follows.   Once you've cleared that hurdle, the bulk of the album plays like a pretty interesting punk/garage guitar showcase.  The songs are tight, snappy and don't overstay their welcome.

Vocally Ned Garthe Explosion remind me a bit of Needles//Pins especially when the choruses kick in.  I can't go so far as to say I really dig this, but it's totally fine rock and roll.  Aside from the first track and the song "Flashlight Tan" that closes out the album, it's a pretty good listen.  The two bookends strike me as a weird way to start and end and record full of crunchy guitar rock, but the middle bit is perfectly serviceable.

Ned Garthe Explosion - Flashlight Tan:

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Beasteater - Beasteater LP - Green Vinyl


Big Neck (2016)

I've been letting a few review records pile up, so I'm going to try to clear those out over the next few days.  I haven't been dragging my feet on them for any reason other than I just have had so many records from Japan to get through.  Just a warning, I'm no where near close to done with those either.

Beasteater was sent to me by the folks over at Big Neck records.  I was pretty excited to get a package from them as I had really enjoyed the Danger Signs album they had put out.  I wasn't familiar with Beasteater prior to putting the record on, so I wasn't exactly sure what to expect.  I definitely don't think I was expecting something so loud, though I guess with the word beast in their name I should have been expecting some sort of roar.

The album starts off with "The Night Air," which I can only describe as fury crammed into two minutes.  The sheer chaos and energy of this opener was pretty eye opening, not just for the ferocity, but because the song still managed to retain some semblence of a hook that drives the song forward.  It reminded me a bit (just a bit) of some of the noisier, freakout moments of Rocket From The Crypt.

From there, the band takes their foot off the gas, just a little.  I don't think an entire album's worth of songs at the level of "The Night Air" would be healthy.  Beasteater churns out a respectable set of songs that are on the noisier side of the garage rock spectrum.  Primitive pounding drum beats mesh with thick, chunky guitar riffs with wailing vocals guiding everything.  If you're into some of the noisier things I write about from time to time, this would be up your alley.  

Beasteater - Beasteater:

Monday, June 19, 2017

Zapiain - Giantnormous LP - Blue Vinyl


All In Vinyl / Bombed Out (2017)

From the very second album opener "My New Home" starts off, it's immediately apparent that Giantnormous is going to be my kind of album.  I could really use one too as 2017 has been stultifyingly mediocre over all for new records.  I'm not saying there hasn't been anything worthwhile, but as a whole we're way behind on the amount of good records that have been released at this point in the year than I can recall in a very long time.  Luckily Giantnormous shakes things up a bit.

Zapiain is plying the trade of my UK punk rock heroes.  A little Hooton 3 Car mixed in with some Leatherface and maybe just a bit of the Great St. Louis join together into a potent blast of melodic rock and roll.  Each of the albums first four songs blast forward with a scorched earth guitar blast tempered ever so slightly by the sheer amount of toe tapping hooks crammed into every chorus.  Once we get to "Shotgun," the band takes it down a notch showing a mastery of a slower tempo song similar to how Broccoli was able to do with one of their masterpieces "Defence."

From there Giantnormous just keeps rolling along and building momentum.  It's absolutely my kind of punk rock and I couldn't be more thrilled that it was sent over to me to check out.  The best part is that it's the band's second album, so now I have an older album to go hunt down.  It's worth your time to listen.

Zapiain - Giantnormous:

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Dulac - Four Summers 7"


It's A Sic Life (2015)

This is the third Dulac release I've reviewed on this site.  I think I now have everything the band has released, but I thought that before only to find a rogue 7" I didn't know about.  Previously, I'd compared Dulac very favorably to bands like The Estranged and Red Dons.  I'm not sure exactly what has happened on this release, but those comparisons are out the window.  Gone are the dark, chunky downstrokes, replaced by a cheerful jangly guitar chime.

At first, I was taken aback by this change in direction.  However, I think Dulac really took the title of this 7" to heart and have cranked out three summer appropriate hits.  Make no bones about it, these are great songs.  They're full of the sort of catchy and breezy pop hooks that make you really want a glass of lemonade.  "Summertimin'" starts things off with a catchy melody and bright upbeat chord progressions.  Again, very different from prior Dulac songs, but every bit as good.

When we move on to "Drawing Blanks" the band adds in the soothing tones of Hammond style organ to mix in with their sunny tune.  Lastly we have "Street Scene"  It's probably my least favorite of the bunch as I'm not as into the vocal melody, but it still has a lot to offer with its big drum fills in the bridge and harmonica laden solo.  At the end of the day, I probably like it more when Dulac is playing music that's a bit faster and fuzzy.  Though if the next Dulac full length was full of songs like this, I'd buy that too.  They just have a knack for writing great songs.

Dulac - Four Summers 7":

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Sleep Like A Log - Sleep Like A EpiLog CD


Fixing A Hole (2012)

I don't know quite as much about Sleep Like A Log as I would like.  They're one of those bands that existed at the edge of my knowledge of Japanese punk rock, but I had a harder time keeping tabs on them than some of the bands that would wind up on Snuffy Smiles or other labels I was more familiar with.  I had their split 7" with Rumspringer and their third CD demo, but that was all until I went to Japan and was finally able to find more of their records.

Sleep Like A EpiLog is a compilation of their non album tracks.  It includes the aforementioned split 7" and demo along with the bands two additional CD demos.  Ten songs in total and what a batch of songs it is.  Fast and blistering guitars mix with melodic vocals and hooks everywhere you look.  While they certainly fit in quite well with their compatriots on Snuffy Smile, Sleep Like A Log, to me, is a bit closer to UK style melodic punk with a sound that reminds me of Hooton 3 Car, but with a bit more of an edge.

No matter how you want to mix your "sounds like" adjectives, one thing that's undeniable is that this is a great record.  Every time I hear an album like this I'm exhilarated and a little bummed out at the same time.  Exhilarated because it's another amazing record to listen to.  Bummed out because there are so many bands in Japan playing the exact kind of music I want to listen to.  It feels like the scene I enjoy the most is just going on without me a little too far away.  At least I have the records.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Charly Bliss - Soft Serve 7"


Father/Daughter (2014)

After being so completely and utterly blown away by the Charly Bliss full length, I wanted to jump backwards and pick up their only other release, this three song 7" from 2014.  Being so much older than their new record, I was wondering what I was going to think as I've read a few times that the band made a pretty significant change in sound while working on Guppy.

I can report that this older 7" is still pretty good.  It does not reach the heights of what they eventually achieved with their album, but it contains two pretty solid and catchy songs.  "Love Me" has a strong hook and some pretty good melodies, but it's much fuzzier and more raw than anything on the album.  Usually I would prefer that in most bands, but Charly Bliss is one of those rare animals that benefits from a cleaner, more polished sound.

On the B side, "Urge To Purge" falls in line more with their recent hits.  It brings a huge wallop of 90's nostalgia with a big chorus and some dynamic guitar work.  "Strings" is a total outlier as it's not sung by usual singer Eva Hendrix, who is relegated to backing vocals on this one.  I can't say it works as it's probably the weakest song I've heard by the band.  It just sort of plods along and doesn't have any of the band's usual barely contained energy.  As a whole, the 7" is a fun listen, but it doesn't come close to what the band achieved on Guppy.  Start there if you're new to the band.

Charly Bliss - Soft Serve 7":

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Against Me - Stabitha Christie Spicture Disc 7" (RSD 2017)


Total Treble (2017)

Let's face it, I've drastically lost interest in Record Store Day the past few years.  It's not so much that I lost interest in waking up at 3am or standing outside of a record store for 5 hours before it opens, but the releases themselves haven't been very interesting in a while.  You've got your lazy cash grab reissues and your overpriced exclusives.  Bands that I care about seem to be giving up on the day, so my enthusiasm has waned.

I could say similar things about Against Me.  Since the album New Wave, I've been losing interest.  Each record being less engaging than the one before.  It's not to say any of them are bad, they're not and I own them all, but I don't really go back to them repeatedly like the first few.  So many bands get like that after a while so it's even not a criticism leveled exclusively at Against Me.  Nonetheless, it really felt like I was just going through the motions when I went over to Vintage Vinyl at the crack of four pm this year and picked up this record.

That being said, this Against Me Record Store Day 7" is pretty good all things considered.   Despite it's stupid song title, "Stabitha Christie" is a bouncy little song with an old time rock and roll bassline and a surprisingly poppy hook.  To the surprise of no one, I have always gravitated to the poppier Against Me songs.  B side "First High of the Morning" isn't quite as strong.  It's a little slower and more reflective, but it's totally fine.  Worth a nine dollar picture disc?  That's debatable, but there's a better chance of me going back to this 7" than some of the other Against Me records in the pile.

Against Me - "Stabitha Christie":

Against Me - "First High of the Morning":

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Skimmer - Baby Dinosaur CD


Waterslide / Heroic Failure (2015)

When you talk about glory days or musical scenes that were influential to me, there are few that have been as impactful as the mid-late 90's punk rock scene in the UK.  Based around Crackle records, this first batch of Leatherface and Snuff influenced bands blew my mind when I was younger.  This crew of bands like Broccoli, Chopper, Hooton 3 Car, Crocodile God, Travis Cut and Skimmer jumped out at me like few bands have before or since.  That Skimmer is still putting out records all these years later is a wonderful thing to me.

This was another album picked up while in Japan.  I have to admit that I haven't kept up on Skimmer quite as much as I once did.  They fell off my radar a bit and I didn't realize this album had come out.  I'm happy to report Skimmer is as great as they've always been and their new songs are every bit as good as the ones they put out in those aforementioned glory days.

It's tough for me to describe Skimmer by comparing them to other bands as they are often the band I would compare others too.  I suppose there's certainly a slice of Mega City Four and Senseless Things buried in there as Skimmer has a way with melody very reminiscent of those bands, but Skimmer has a full bore fuzzed our guitar attack guiding them through their songs.  They're soul mates with Japanese bands like Navel, but still have elements that are wholly unique to them.  Chances are if you've listened to Skimmer in the past and enjoyed them, this record will be right up your alley.  If you've never heard them before, this is album is as good an album as any to start with.  Oh, their singles compilations Compitoenail should be next on your list.

Skimmer - "October Flowers":

Skimmer - "She's Gone Again":

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Ron Ron Clou - First Album LP


K.O.G.A. (2003)

While in Japan, my number one record shopping goal was to pick up the three Ron Ron Clou LPs.  I'm not sure why I set that as my top priority (aside from obviously wanting the records), but I ended up only finding one of the three.  This lit a fire under me to track down the other two at all costs.  For whatever reason, as soon as it seems like I can't have something, it just makes me want it even more.  Luckily I was able to find a kind soul on Discogs who not only had both LPs I was looking for, but was also based in America.  I managed to pick them up at a nice price and didn't have to pay for shipping them overseas.  Bonus.

Of the three Ron Ron Clou albums, I think First Album is the strongest.  It has a very clear Odd Number-esque mod-pop vibe. Cross that with some Vacant Lot style hooks and you've got an album I can really sink my teeth into.  I really love the little things about this album like the backing vocals and "oohs" in album opener "Annoying Kids Are" and the quick guitar riff wedged into the breaks of "It's Not Everything."  

I would have never heard of Ron Ron Clou if it weren't for the split 7" they did with Samantha's Favourite that came out on Snuffy Smile many years ago.  That may be why I especially gravitate to the song "Stage" which appears on this album, but was also on that split 7".  It's probably my favorite Ron Ron Clou song and I just can't get enough of the melody and energy the band has wrangled into it.  It was worth the wait tracking down this album.  It has been a long hunt, but finally being able to sit back and put it on the turntable is such a rewarding thing.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Color TV - Demo 7"


Drunken Sailor (2016)

This 7" is the vinyl pressing of a demo tape I reviewed about a year and a half ago.  I'm pleased it was released on vinyl as I can only take so many cassettes in my life.  Although I did miss the colored variant, I was able to pick this up through a US distro.  Sometimes you have to weigh postage vs. colored wax I guess.  Postage won this battle.

The reason Color TV first came across my radar was because I was trying to find more information about the band W.H. Walker.  Sadly, they had split up, but Color TV is carrying on the tradition of creating good music, even though it's not particularly similar to WH Walker.  Color TV is a much more straightforward catchy punk band.  They remind me a bit of the Marked Men, but with a heavier lean on garage-y sounds and guitar leads.

The four songs on this 7" are all strong, with lots of fast paced, downstroke heavy riffs and upbeat choruses.  I'll admit to missing the party vide of W.H Walker, but judged on their own merits, Color TV is a tight little combo cranking out some big tunes.

Color TV - Demo 7":

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Treepeople - Guilt Regret Embarrassment Promo LP - Clear Vinyl


Toxic Shock (1991)

This LP is another fun oddity I pulled from a friend's collection that he was downsizing.  I've had other versions of this album for quite some time.  Both the full artwork LP on Toxic Shock and the original CD version on Toxic Shock that had a bunch of extra songs from 7"s that weren't on the K records reissue.  As a lot of people did, I started trying to listen to Treepeople albums because I was a big Built To Spill fan.  What I've learned over the years is that Treepeople's output is more than enough to stand on its own.

I could make the argument that Guilt Regret Embarrassment is the best Treepeople album.  It certainly has the most upfront presence of Doug Martsch, but it also has two of my very favorite songs leading off this album.  "No Doubt" into "Andy Warhol" is the sort of one-two sonic punch that other bands would kill for.  Killer pop sensibilities mixed with ultra dynamic guitar work and blistering solos that never dip into feeling like self indulgent wanking.  

Those two songs on their own are reason enough to pick this album up, but the entire thing is packed with great songs.  Even simpler, straightforward punky songs like "Transitional Devices" have a little extra something that keeps them above the fray.  Just a great, great album.  This particular version seems to be a promo LP of some sort.  It's in a black DJ sleeve with little paper cutouts of the artwork glued on.  It does come on clear vinyl, which is a nice little treat as well.  I can't say I know too much about it and the internet isn't a ton of help, but it's a cool version to add to the collection.

Treepeople - "No Doubt":

Treepeople - "Andy Warhol":

Treepeople - "Transitional Devices":

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Jetpilot - Seven Songs EP CD


Urban Sleep Discs (2008)

I've mentioned before that I met a bunch of wonderful people at the Waterslide/PopKid show that happened while I was in Tokyo.  One of the people I met was one of the guys in the band 2 Sick Worry (they played the show).  He was also in the band Plum and on top of that, does a record label called Urban Sleep Discs.  In addition to playing a great show with his band, he also gave me a few CDs from his label.  One of the CDs I got was this Jetpilot EP.

Jetpilot being from Sweden immediately got my attention.  There were so many amazing Swedish popcore bands in the late 90's, but it's a scene I haven't stayed as in touch with as I wish I did.  Had I stayed alert, I probably would have heard Jetpilot long before now as they are right up my alley.  They're more straightforward than a band like Starmarket, but they inhabit the same space.  Big on warm, distorted guitar and strained, but earnest vocals.  Some may call it emotional, but to me it's just another unique strain of pop music.

In particular, the opening song "Worst Reminder" bursts out of the gate and really sets the pace for the duration of the EP.  The guitars start off explosive, fade back a bit into some lead work for the verse and then come charging back in full force for the chorus.  It's a formula that's tried and true because when it's done right, there's no better sound to my ears.  Digging around the internet, it doesn't appear that Jetpilot is still together, but between this and a split CD I was also given (review of that coming soon), I've been made a huge fan of the band.  It again makes me wonder if there are other amazing bands in Sweden that I'm missing.  If you know of any, send them my way.

Jetpilot - Seven Songs EP (Full EP on YouTube.  I couldn't find any other songs online)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

RVIVR - The Tide 7" - White Vinyl (/100)


Dead Broke (2017)

It's been a little bit since I had last heard from RVIVR.  I guess I just wasn't paying as much attention as I should have been as I missed a new 7" of theirs that coincided with a tour of Australia.  Luckily for me, the decision was made to also release the 7" on Dead Broke.  I was paying more attention to that announcement and was able to snag one of the limited to one hundred copies white vinyl versions.

Both songs are just outstanding.  "The Tide" kicks off with a quick lead guitar riff and then blasts into the verse.  Fast paced, chugging guitars with vocal harmonies and sing along hooks.  Everything I want from RVIVR amplified to ten.  B-side "Shaggy" is just as ferocious with jagged guitar chords and impassioned vocals.  

Both songs are among the very best the band has ever released. There is mention on the Dead Broke website that RVIVR is also working on an upcoming full length.  If this 7" is any hint of how great that album is going to be, it could be the best one yet.

RVIVR - The Tide 7":

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Boilerman - Doing Great 7"


86'd / All In Vinyl (2015)

This 7" sort got lost in the shuffle with some other records sent to me for review.  It may sound silly, but my record piles still feel pretty disheveled since my Japan trip.  It sort of feels like I'll never be able to catch up.  I will try however, so today let's talk about this Boilerman 7".

I've reviewed two other Boilerman releases, though this 7" seems to be older than the other two.  I've said a few times that Boilerman is a band that's trying to mask their catchy hooks in some fuzzy yelling.  The three songs on this 7" are much more straightforward and I may actually like them the most of anything I've heard from the band.

Sure, things get a little crazy about halfway through "Doing Great," but that's only after the band has established a nice little guitar riff into palm mute verse with vocals that reming me a bit of middle era Plow United.  "We're The Worst" is a crunchy blast of guitars and even their Warren Zevon cover of "The Factory" hits all the right notes.  Boilerman are a consistently good band to check out, especially if you're in the mood for something a little louder.

Boilerman - Doing Great 7":

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Sicko - Chef Boy R U Dumb CD (Japanese Version)


Real Cool (1995)

I don't think that the phrase 'pop-punk' meant quite the same thing in 1995 as it does today.  It certainly didn't have the sort of negative connotations that some people associate with the genre.  But I think that most agree that the mid 1990's was a different time and a different place.  Back then you would hear people extolling the virtues of Screeching Weasel, The Queers, Green Day and the Mr. T Experience.  But for me, my holy trinity of 1990's pop-punk would be the aforementioned Mr. T Experience, Zoinks! and at times the best of them all, Sicko.

I've had the American version of this record since the very moment it came out in 1995.  I remember counting down the days until it showed up at my local record store.  I loved it from day one.  So it's kind of cheating to write about it here and now on my website where I'm documenting recent purchases.  Although, since this is the Japanese version and I did just get it from a friend that was downsizing his physical record collection, I'll use it as an excuse to tell everyone that if they don't already own this album, they should fix that oversight immediately.

I go back and forth on if this is my favorite Sicko album, of if it's Laugh While You Can Monkey Boy.  Let's just agree that both are pretty spectacular.  Chef Boy R U Dumb is packed full of gleeful and catchy punk rock, highlighted by some songs that are among the best Sicko ever churned out like "Obsessive Compulsive Complainers," "The Dateless Losers" and "Escalator."  

The Japanese version of this release has a couple of bonus tracks (and the fancy obi strip seen in the picture). "80 Dollars" is originally from the Sicko split 7" with the Mr. T Experience.  You could definitely argues it's one of the top two or three songs in the band's catalog.  The other is exclusive to this CD, "The Rainy Day Song." This one is similar to "The Breakfast Song" in that it's just guitar, undistorted, and Ean crooning his heart out.  Essential? Probably not, but a fun little bonus added on top of an already stellar album. No matter which version of this album you pick up, it is a pretty essential piece of the 90's that everyone should have.

Sicko - "Escalator":

Sicko - "The Dateless Losers":

Sicko - "Obsessive Compulsive Complainers":

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Charly Bliss - Guppy LP


Barsuk (2017)

I was trying to think of the last time I bought a record on Barsuk.  I think it may have been the Dismemberment Plan Emergency and I vinyl reissue.  But if we're talking about a Barsuk original, it may go all the way back to the first Death Cab For Cutie record.  I don't know if there's a specific reason, but I never seemed to get as moved by their releases as a lot of other folks do.  That changes with Charly Bliss.

Flat out, this is my absolute favorite record of the year so far.  Nothing else has grabbed me with the sort of immediacy that Guppy has.  It's essentially a perfect album.  That Dog crossed up with Weezer?  Kind of.  The Rentlas meets Cub? Closer.  Ultimately, Charly Bliss have crafted a picture perfect pop album.

Peppy vocal melodies mixed with crunchy guitars producing the sort of choruses most bands would die for.  On "Glitter," when Eva Hendricks belts out "Am I the best/or just the first person to say yes" it's just the best hook of the year.  Some lyrics can stray to the goofy side of the spectrum (wait until you hit the trampoline song), but in general they come across as sly and playful with a knowing, self deprecating wink.

Every song on Guppy is steeped in the sort of dynamic 1990's guitar pop that I've always loved.  You can hear bits of Fig Dish, maybe a dash of Treble Charger mixed in with a little Superdrag for good measure.  All of the best parts of all of the best bands stirred together into one perfect album.  It's been a while since a new band knocked my socks off the way Charly Bliss has.  I've been listening to this album nonstop since I got it and with summer coming up, I expect it to keep dominating my turntable.  It's just that kind of record.

Charly Bliss - Guppy:

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Kpants - Charmless CD


Grinning Idiot (1994)

This is a weird one.  I've known about and listened to Kpants since the mid 90's when discovering them on a compilation called I-5 Killers.  I have both of their 7"s and I've been listening to this album for years.  Yet somehow, I didn't have a copy of this record.  I don't know how that's possible.  I'm not sure if I'm the only one that has issues with their record collection eating albums and having them disappear forever, but that sure seems to happen to me from time to time.  Anyway, I've added this back to the collection, so I figured I'd write up a bit about them as they're a band that definitely didn't get their due.

The funniest part about Kpants is that I was, at first, completely infuriated they existed.  Why? They stole the band name I wants to use in high school.  It's from an episode of the show Get A Live, when Chris gets food poisoning, suddenly becomes an amazing speller and finally realizes that the word pants doesn't have a silent K at the beginning.  I couldn't believe someone else decided to use that.  But after I got past my initial frustration I came to realize what a quality band Kpants really is.

They have a crunchy guitar sound, not unlike an early era Small or similarly poppy Chapel Hill style band.  They don't go as far our there as an Archers of Loaf, but they have the same sort of gruff vocal tendencies and dynamic hooks.  They're just a bit more straightforward, again kind of like Small (or Small 23 if you prefer).  I could honestly do with out the slow ballady "She's Got You," but aside from that one song, the album is just loaded with fuzzed out rockers.  

It's a worthy addition to the collection of any self respecting, aging indie rocker.  I read somewhere that the band's unreleased 2nd album was finally going to be released, but that was posted a few years ago and I haven't seen anything since.  Anyone else know anything about that?

Kpants - Charmless (YouTube playlist):

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Dirtbombs / Soledad Brothers - Split 7" - Green Vinyl (#61/100)


Cass (2016)

First and foremost, I have to send out a gigantic thank you to my friend @skot1107 as I would not have this record if not for his kindness.  On New Year's eve this past year The Dirtbombs and Soledad Brothers played a show in Detroit at a venue called The Magic Stick.  There, and only there, could you buy this split 7".   It was limited to 100 copies and Scott was a wonderful person and picked up a copy for me as he was at the show.

Soledad Brothers are a band that I remember from my days working in the music biz.  I'm fairly confident I worked with one of their records at some point, but I honestly don't really remember.  So many of those records are just a blur.  Anyway, their contribution to the split is a slow and funky, yet rootsy song called "Human Race Blues."  It has a bluesy charm to it and is a good listen, but honestly it doesn't really blow me away.  It's a good song, but not the sort of thing that would make me run out and buy a bunch of their records.

For me the main attraction is the Dirtbombs.  They are a band that I like more often than I don't, but they have enough weird stuff out there that I've never really gone all in on them.  Though it appears that their contribution to the split, "Kick Me," is also available on another 7" of theirs, this was the first time I've heard it.  It's definitely one of their better songs.  The soulful groove of the bass and drums churn forward with the fuzzed out guitar leading the way.  It's got a big sing along chorus and I feel like I would have all of The Dirtbombs records if they all sounded like this.  Or if they sounded like the Ooey Gooey Chewy Kablooey LP.  I love that one too.

The Dirtbombs - Kick Me:

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Practice / What-A-Night's - Split 7"


Imomushi (2016)

This was the first record that I bought when I went record shopping in Tokyo.  I picked it up in the Disk Union that was in Nakano by Nakano Broadway.  I will admit to being a little overwhelmed when I first started looking around in that store.  Luckily I was greeted by two familiar faces when this 7" popped up.

The Practice is a band who have a bunch of 7"s on Snuffy Smile that I really like.  They also have a few CDs that are not on Snuffy Smiles.  I have one of those, but the others have been a bit more elusive and I've not been able to pick up any more of the band's albums.  The end result is I'm not quite as familiar with The Practice as I would like, but even that didn't really prepare me for the sounds coming out of my speakers one I started playing their side of the 7".  "Fiasco" is a straight up 70's-80's style ska song.  It's old school for sure and it's not going to remind you of Less Than Jake or anything like that.  It's more in line with The Specials.  I can't say it's my favorite thing I've ever heard by The Practice.  I was expecting the sort of wound up pop as their older records.  I have a feeling it's a one off rather than a new direction, but I'm not really sure.  I guess I'll need more of their records.

What-A-Night's, on the other hand, dish up exactly what I want from them.  Two songs of poppy and catchy guitar rock.  Their first song "Rude Awakening" reminds me a lot of The Stereo, especially in the way the vocals soar in the chorus.  Their second song, "Man In Collapse" is actually my favorite song on the whole 7".  It has really dynamic guitar work, reminiscent of bands long gone like Pollen.  Lots of chord progression changes and searing lead guitar.  Not a bunch of wanky solos, but really good and intricate lines laid over the entire song.  Really good stuff.  Their last full length was quite a while ago at this point.  I hope the band is working on some more new tunes.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Blotto - Life Dances On CDEP


Anti-New Waves (2003)

Blotto was one of those quintessentially great Snuffy Smile bands.  Over the course of a few years they cranked out a slew of wonderful 7"s and later compiled them all onto an LP.  For whatever reason the songs on this EP, their first release, weren't included on that compilation.  So thanks to record shopping in Tokyo, I was able to get two new Blotto songs into my collection.

Blotto always had a place in my heart as the boozier, Japanese cousins of Dillinger Four.  Blotto was a little rougher around the edges, but could pack a shout along chorus into any song.  Their wizardry with these hooks always impressed me as sometimes it would seem that they were starting to slip down a path that would lead to some shouty hardcore, but they'd always save the song last minute and keep things nice and catchy.

The two songs on this CD are early example of their songwriting prowess.  "Action" starts off as a mid tempo rocker with all the right singalong moments you'd expect, until the drums kick in at a thousand miles an hour and the songs just blazes through from there.  "Otherwise" is a more straight forward tempo-wise.  It has all the makings of a classic pub sing along with gruff choruses and chunky palm mutes.  Two great songs by one of the best Japanese bands that was putting out records in the mid 2000's.  I wish they were still putting out records.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Ruby - S/T One Sided 12" - Clear Vinyl w/ Screen Print


Stencil Trash (2016)

When I picked up the Ruby 7" that I reviewed a few weeks ago, I also grabbed the band's self titled 12" EP as well.  This one sided 12" comes on clear vinyl with a splotchy blue screen print on the side with no music.  Since the vinyl is clear, you can see the print on both sides.  It's a neat gimmick that I've enjoyed in the past, but in this case it goes particularly well with the similarly splotchy screen printed artwork.  A nice package.

The music on this 12" is the same as found on Ruby's first demo.  I'm always a fan of making sure there's a vinyl version of everything, so I'm glad this decision was made.  I'll have to say that the songs are not quite as strong as the ones that are on the Ruby 7".  To me, that seems to be a recording quality issue more than anything else.  Things sound a little muffled on the 12", but even that can't hide the fact that ruby is cranking out some great songs.

The remind me a lot of what Red Dons would sound like if you took away their distortion.  Ruby also sounds quite a bit like the two bands that preceded them, Idle Hands and Blank Pages.  Both of those bands were incredible, so I have no issue at all with a similar sound to them.  Fast, catchy and jangly is the order of the day on this Ruby EP.  While it may not be essential on its own, I feel like it will end up being an important piece in the overall picture of this band.  I, for one, can't wait for a full length and some more tunes from these Berlin punk rockers.

Ruby - Ruby One Sided 12":

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Heavy Heart - Distance LP - Clear w/ Black Splatter (/500)


Brassneck / Can I Say / Don't Trust The Hype / Guerilla Asso / Inhumano / Monster Zero (2017)

Heavy Heart hails from France and they are a band that I wasn't familiar with before I started seeing them mentioned by Brassneck records.  As Brassneck is one of those labels that I trust, I picked this album, up along with a couple of other things in a recent order.  I was starting to feel like 2017 was turning into a lackluster year for new music, but Heavy Heart has given this year the kick in the pants it has so desperately needed.

The band that instantly comes to mind as a comparative touchstone for Heavy Heart is Banner Pilot.  I hear similar vocal inflections with just the right amount of sandpaper delivery coupled with a tight powerful guitar attack.  I would say that Heavy Heart leans more melodic than Banner Pilot, but that's a lean that just makes me like the band even more.

You have your sing along group vocals, slick transitions into palm mutes and raucous choruses.  It's just a fun, engaging listen start to finish.  Even though it was released by six labels, I don't think any of them were in the US, so you may have to dig around through some reputable distros or grab one from overseas.

Heavy Heart - Distance:

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Scaries - Over You CD


Fab Del Ray (1998)

Over You is a terrifying record to be almost twenty years old.  It just doesn't feel possible, but sure enough, it was nineteen years ago that I first heard it.  I got this record right when it was released, but a couple of years later I traded it to friend in Japan.  Probably for some Snuffy Smile records, but honestly I can't remember.  I figured it would be much easier for me to grab another copy of this CD.  I was wrong, I never came across another copy.

All these years later, I'm happy to say it's back in the fold after a friend of mine decided to get rid of his records.  I was only too happy to grab both Scaries CDs while digging through everything.  These songs still sound as fresh and exciting as the first time I heard them.  It's a melodic strain of pop punk that owes equal debts to Superchunk and to Walker.  The guitar work is punchy, with palm mutes and stutter steps in the right places and big catchy choruses.

The vocals are of a higher pitch with lots of great backing harmonies.  There's something so quintessentially 90's about this record.  Not in a way that feels dated, but in a way that reminds you that this is an overlooked classic of the era.  An album that deserves another chance to be heard by the masses.  It's tough to come by these days, but it's definitely worth the hunt.

Scaries - Over You:
(I don't usually like linking to YouTube pages where the whole album is dumped as 1 file, but it's the only thing I can find out in the wild.  The Scaries should set up a Bandcamp page.  If anyone knows them, tell them to do that.)

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Odd Numbers - A Guide To Modern Living LP - Picture Disc


Dolores (1997)

When A Guide To Modern Living came out I was already a gigantic fan of The Odd Numbers due to their prior record Jazz Cigarettes.  I played that one to death and was really eager to add another record to the collection.  Well, technically it was a CD at the time, but you get the idea.  For whatever reason, A Guide To Modern Living just didn't resonate with me the same way.  I never listened to it much and eventually sold away my copy during one of my CD prunings of the mid 2000's.

When a friend of mine was unloading the last of his record collection, I perused to see if there was anything I needed before the inevitable sale.  He had a copy of A Guide To Modern Living, so I decided to give it another shot.  I'm glad I did as I like it a lot more now than I did the first time I listened to it twenty years ago.

I will contend that the highs are still not as high as the ones on Jazz Cigarettes.  There's certainly no song that is the caliber of "So Many Girls," but Modern Living has its own charms, despite some missteps that are probably the reasons I didn't like it when I first listened to it.  The pace is quick and the songs are the sort of bouncy mod that you'd expect from the Odd Numbers for the first few songs.  It's really what they're best at.  From their things do start to meander.  You've got weirdly arranged songs like "Clubbin'" an even weirder dub version of it called "Dubbin'" and probably more acoustic numbers than should be around.

While the slower songs just don't hit, the faster, poppier ones land every single time.  I can even appreciate the lesser songs more now within the context of the album.  Sure there's a few strange detours, but as a whole, it's a solid listen.  

The Odd Numbers - A Guide To Modern Living (You Tube playlist):

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Adult Magic - Collide 7" - Orange Vinyl (/100)


Dead Broke / Drunken Sailor (2017)

When you have a band that starts up with a bunch of folks who play or used to play in other bands, a lot of times you can go into a record with a set of expectations that might not be fair to the new project.  In the case of Adult Magic, I was somewhat drawn in by the "members of Iron Chic" tag line, though to be honest I check out everything on Dead Broke and Drunken Sailor as they're two labels that I tend to implicitly trust.

The point here is that I think I went into this expecting a band that kind of sounded like Iron Chic and Adult Magic doesn't really, to their benefit. To me, Adult Magic completely stands on their own as a great band that have cobbled together four pretty killer songs.  There are parts of songs that remind me a bit of Seaweed with the loud dynamic guitars, but mingled in with a gruff, Beach Slang meets Hot Water Music style of punk rock.

It's an interesting combination that keeps the songs catchy and delivers a a unique spin on a familiar sound.  It's a strong debut and I would definitely check out the next record these guys put out.

Adult Magic - Collide 7":

Monday, May 1, 2017

Odd Numbers - I Am One 7" - Brown Vinyl


Dolores (1997)

Odd Numbers Monday is back and this time we have a 7" from the 1997 Dolores records singles club.  I didn't join said club back in '97, but I do have experience hunting down a record from it before.  One of my all time favorite bands is Starmarket.  They put out a 7" called Nailbox as part of this club.  My actual memory of where I finally found a copy is somewhat hazy, I think it might have been on back when that was still a thing (I found a lot of cool records there in the earlier days of the internet). But I remember frantically trying to find a copy as I couldn't have that hole in my Starmarket collection.

This Odd Numbers 7" from the same club was substantially easier to find on Discogs, though I did also buy it twenty years after it came out.  The songs themselves hold a unique distinction as ones that only appear on this 7" and didn't wind up on a full length at a later point.  Based on the release date, it is easy to identify these as being from the same time period as the A Guide To Modern Living album, though you'd never know that by listening to the record.

A side "I Am One" is a slow acoustic song that seems to be borrowing from folk rockers of the past than the usual mod underpinnings that the Odd Numbers are more known for.  You keep waiting for the song to kick in, but it never does.  B side "Move On Up" fairs a little better as the band is plugged in at least.  But again, the song doesn't really go anywhere and the tropicalia style drum accompaniment sounds kind of silly, to be honest.  I'm not exactly sure what the band was thinking with this one but it's pretty unlike anything else they ever released and it's simply not very good.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Summerman - Temperature Is... LP (/200)


KiliKiliVilla (2015)

One of the most amazing times I've ever had was at the PopKid/Waterslide show that happened while I was in Japan.  I've written about it over the course of some of the reviews I've done since I've been back.  This album is another direct result of that show.  While there I was able to meet so many wonderful people who were in bands I already admired and some who were in bands I hadn't previously heard of.  One of those bands I hadn't heard of before was Summerman.

A very kind fellow was nice enough to give me a Summerman live cassette.  While I haven't written about that yet, I will be in the future.  But that cassette inspired me to dig around for some more information about Summerman and I found out that not only had they released a full album, but it was actually on vinyl too.  I picked up a copy right away.

Temperature Is... quite simply is wonderful.  I absolutely love this record.  It's exactly the sort of thing I like to listen to.  The bulk of the album is breezy guitar pop with jangly guitars and lots of harmonies in the choruses.  There are parts of songs that remind me of the song structures of Beezewax but with a fuzzy dose of Superchunk tacked on for good measure.

The entire album is fantastic, but the true peak is a song called "青春" (On the band's Bandcamp page it's called "Youth" and Google translate comes up with the same thing when I type in 青春).  To put it plainly, this is one of the best songs I have heard in a long, long time.  I can't think of many songs that I love as much as this one.  From the way the guitars slowly build up at the beginning, to the main lead guitar riff blasting in, to the impassioned vocals that get even fuller and more dynamic as the song progresses, I love every single second.  I don't say this often, but "青春" is an absolutely perfect song.  Perfect.

A friend in Japan said the band is working on some new songs and I couldn't be happier.  I really want to hear as much as possible from Summerman, a great, great band.  

Seriously, go listen to "青春" right now.

Summerman - Temperature Is...:

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Jim and the French Vanilla - Afraid of the House LP - Yellow Vinyl (/200)


Dirtnap (2017)

Jim and the French Vanilla is a spin off project by Jim Blaha, more famously known as one half of the Blind Shake's Blaha brothers.  Those boys in the Blink Shake have stockpiled so much good will with me over the last few years that it was a no brainer to pick this up.  I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting from this, something a little more poppy and traditional I think, but Afraid of the House defied my expectations.

I guess the most surprising aspect of this album to me is how much it sounds like pieces of the Blind Shake.  The jagged downstroke guitars are there as are the otherworldly solos and the drowned surfer vibe that has been creeping in on their more recent records.  These comparisons aren't complaints.  If anything, I'm kind of happy to have something with a similar vibe to Blind Shake to listen to.

I think where Afraid of the House really stands on its own is how varied it is within the context of the world it has created for itself.  Yes, most of the songs have signature sounds and tones that are consistent from song to song, but there is a lot of variety on this album.  You've got a faster paced rockers like "I'm Just Sitting Here," slowed down ones like "Not Even War" and frantic pounding on songs like "I Have to Slow Down."  It is the very definition of a good record.  I like all of the song and it's just something that's fun to listen to.  It is missing that certain something that would make it a drop dead great album, but it's absolutely worth checking out.

Jim and the French Vanilla - Afraid of the House LP:

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Smalltown - Stuck 7"


Dull (2000)

Sorry about missing yesterday, it was one of those days where I just woke up and didn't feel like writing.  I was going to write about another Odd Numbers 7", but now it's Tuesday, so I'll just save it for next Monday.  Today I have another 7" from the same batch of records I bought on Discogs, the first Smalltown 7"

This band crept onto my radar the way a lot of bands do, they released some records on Snuffy Smile.  The big one of which was a singles compilation called The First Three Years.  All of the songs from this 7" also appeared on that CD, but it took nearly fifteen years to finally track down the 7".  Now truthfully I'm not going to pretend that I was scouring the globe nonstop every day looking for this record, but I always had my eye out for it, hopeful to score a copy.

The songs are among my favorite that Smalltown released.  I'll always be partial to that first CD of theirs that I picked up.  They have a way of merging a bouncy mod sound like The Jam or even The Odd Numbers at times with a grittier punkier rock that made them fit in on the Snuffy Smile roster.  It's the right mix of catchy and gruff and I'm pretty excited to add this one to the piles.  From the same order I also grabbed another 7" that appeared on that comp CD, so I'll post that one soon as well.

Smalltown - "Stuck":

Smalltown - "One Day At A Time":

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Dulac - Must Be You 7"


Access X Denied (2013)

A few years ago, Dulac put out a fantastic record called The First of the Last Chords.  It was a hit and I've been waiting to hear more from them.  Oddly enough it ended up being an older 7" of theirs that I didn't know existed that recently came across my radar.  Released in 2013, this four song 7" appears to be the vinyl version of the band's first cassette release.

If nothing it's a reminder of what a fierce and energetic band this is.  Channelling bands like Red Dons or early Estranged, they have the fast and melodic downstroke wizardry down pat.  But you really need to mix that with the pop sensibilities of a band like Statues to have a clearer picture of what Dulac brings to the table.  Each of the 4 songs on this 7" are just perfect; they've fast, loud and catchy - just how I want my music to sound.

A day or two after I bought this record, I stumbled across another newer Dulac 7" that had been released.  That one has been ordered and is on its way to me as well.  Look for that soon and hopefully the band is working up on a follow up full length.  I know I will buy it immediately.

Dulac - Must Be You 7":

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Clearance - Are You Aware 7"


Tall Pat (2016)

The elephant in the room about Clearance is that it's virtually impossible to write about them without at least making a passing reference to Pavement.  I'm sure there will come a day (if it hasn't already come) that the guys in Clearance will get pretty sick of that comparison. For now it's still an apt reference point, especially for those that may not have yet heard of this wonderful band.

What really makes Clearance stand out is the breezy way they cruise through their songs while still projecting a laid back intensity that lets you know they're not just going through the motions.  The churning guitars in A-side "Are You Aware" propel the song forward.  It lurches into a screechy and jagged guitar solo before jumping right back on track, only to be derailed by a sleepy, but absolutely perfect, mellowed outro.

On the B-side "Owner/Operator" the vibe is a more laid back as the vocals glide over jangly chord progressions.  Things come to a head with the hooky chorus full of noodling guitar dynamics and a super catchy melody.  The download that comes with this 7" gives two additional bonus tracks.  Both are nice, but neither are on the 7".  It's good to have more songs from these guys, but I do hope they end up on wax at some point.

Clearance - Are You Aware 7":

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

J Church - Arbor Vitae LP


Rugger Bugger (1995)

Where to begin with J Church?  I guess I'll start by saying I was never really all that impressed with them way back when.  I had Camels, Spilled Coronas and the Sound of Mariachi Bands and I thought it was OK.  I went to see them play a show at the Pipeline in Newark, NJ and thought they were pretty good.  Over the years I've accumulated about a dozen J Church split 7"s, all bought for the band on the other side of the record.  It's not that I didn't like them, but nothing ever struck me as special and there seemed to be a lot of filler.

Let's not even start on how completely freaking intimidating their discography is.  I don't know if it would ever be possible to track it all down, so I was content just letting them exist in the background.  Then enter my buddy Alan who wanted to learn and play a J Church cover in the pseudo band we mess around with every so often.  He sent me the song "Racked."  Hot damn what a great song and it totally opened my eyes to the possibility that I've been overlooking these guys.

I picked up Arbor Vitae as it's the album with "Racked" on it.  The fact that the vinyl version came out on Rugger Bugger, an all time favorite label, just made it easier to pick up when I was digging around on on Discogs. I can't stress what a great song this is.  Chugging palm mutes in the right places, big catchy chorus and even some harmonics in the very brief guitar solo.  It's just a blast of sugary 1990's pop punk and I love it.  It's the clear highlight on the album, but everything on the record is really strong, especially the A side with "Cigarettes Kill," "Drinking Down" and "Your Shirt" really standing out as killer songs.  

This album is certainly not the sort of thing that would make me try to hunt down the entire J Church catalog.  I know that's a silly idea with my prior experiences with the band, but Arbor Vitae has opened my eyes and I'm certainly up for checking out some more of their albums if anyone out there has recommendations.

J Church - "Racked":

J Church - "Drinking Down":

J Church - "Cigarettes Kill":

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Odd Numbers - Thrift Shoppin' 7"


Sessions (1999)

I am getting closer to wrapping up the pile of Odd Numbers 7"s I recently picked up.  This is a later era one that came out of Sessions records.  Like many of their 7"s, you can also find these two songs on a full album as well, this time the songs are also on The Trials And Tribulations Of The Odd Numbers.  That's a record of theirs I'l admittedly not familiar with.  I don't own it and honestly, I didn't even know it was out there.  It'll have to be a pick up at some point.

That being said, for the first time I've been writing about The Odd Numbers both songs on this 7" are new to me.  "Thrift Shoppin'" is a pretty standard fast paced Odd Numbers songs.  Building over a bass line that rises and falls, it has a bit of a bouncy break before the hooky chorus kicks in.  A strong song for sure, even if the 'oohs' in the chorus sound a little silly.  

B-side "Dee Major Tom" is a bit choppier, though still retains the mod vibe that really is the hallmark of The Odd Numbers.  The song isn't much shorter than "Thrift Shoppin'" but for some reason it feels like it blows by so quickly.  I can't say that either of these really rank with my all-time favorite Odd Numbers songs, but both are respectable entries into their catalog.

The Odd Numbers - "Thrift Shoppin'":

The Odd Numbers - "Dee Major Tom":

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Hero Dishonest - Liha Ja Teräs LP


Peterwalkee (2016)

Over the past few months, I've received a few records to review.  Not too many, but a handful that I haven't really spent much time with as my record collection is still swelling from the influx of all the great Japanese records I bought in Tokyo.  Those, plus some excess older 90's things I picked up from one of my buddies and I've just had a lot on my plate.  I'm going to make a conscious effort to try to get caught up and this Hero Dishonest LP is my first attempt.

Unfortunately, I don't have a lot to say about this record.  It's one of those head scratchers that make me wonder why it was sent to me.  It's loud, fast, screaming hardcore from Finland.  Is it good hardcore or bad hardcore?  I don't know that I'm really qualified to say as I just don't like this sort of punk rock.  You have your punk, I have mine.

I'm pretty sure the lyrics are in Finnish, though they could be Swedish or even English and I still don't think I'd have any idea what the band was talking about.  Whatever it is, they sure seem upset about something.  I don't know.  Take a listen if you like this sort of thing, but it just gives me a headache.

Hero Dishonest - Liha Ja Teräs:

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Ruby - Deadlock 7"


Rockstar (2017)

I was pretty excited to stumble across this Ruby 7" (along with a one-sided 12" that I'll be writing about soon enough).  Ruby is fronted by Andi, who was also in favorites of mine like Blank Pages and Idle Hands.  I was bummed when each of those previous bands split up, so it was good to see a new project come forward.  The best part?  Ruby essentially sounds the same as Blank Pages, who pretty much sounded the same as Idle Hands as well.

I realize that's a sloppy comparison, particularly as one of the songs has a completely different singer and there are a lot more backing vocals and harmonies than either of Andi's previous bands.  The truth is I love all three as they bring the sort of fast paced, jangly guitar sort of power pop that I go crazy for.  Imaging the hooks and downstroke madness of the Marked Men, but peel away the guitar distortion and you've sort of got Ruby.

I did have to order this and the 12" from overseas, so the cost is a bit higher when you factor in postage, but this is definitely one of the better 7"s I've heard this years.  It's worth picking up and I hope that I'll be hearing more from Ruby very soon.

Ruby - Deadlock 7":

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Egotrunk - Letter CDEP


Nodevans (2005)

I've said before that I was very lucky to have Kazu from Waterslide records as a guide while record shopping in Tokyo.  For starters, he was invaluable helping to find some of the stores that were off the beaten path.  But where he really became indispensable was in the stores themselves, helping find things and recommending a slew of albums I would never have bought otherwise.  Egotrunk was one of his selections.

I'd never heard of the band prior to Kazu handing me this CD, but I was taken by the artwork right away.  The CD comes in a small envelope and the art itself is printed on a piece of transparent paper, the kind your teacher would have used on an overhead projector in the eighth grade in 1991.  It's a striking little package that really grabs your eye.  But once you've opened the envelope, it's the music that grabs your attention.

Starting things off is a slower instrumental intro song.  It's weaves and drifts through gently played guitar and reminds me quite a bit of Boys Life.  Once the rest of the songs kick in, the volume goes up.  There's still a bit of a 90's emo vibe to things, again with Boys Life being a good comparison, but that mixes with loud stuttering guitar riffs and catchy vocal melodies.  Nothing about this is the sort of mopey complaining a lot of people think of when you typically drop the "E" word.  This is much more akin to the sort of punchy songs you'd expect from Eversor or Rusty James.

Perusing the internet, it looks like Egotrunk have at least one more CDEP as well as a split that I'm going to have to track down.  If those songs are as good as these, it'll be worth the hunt.