It's Alive (2013)
Yeti is the 2nd full length from Ottawa based band The Visitors. They are very much part of the incredible punk rock scene of that wonderful city and you can immediately hear the influence of city peers like The Steve Adamyk Band as soon as the album starts spinning. However, The Visitors are tied a bit more to the traditional pop punk sound as pioneered by The Ramones. Vocally I'm often reminded of the Italian band Love Boat as well. Aside from a few out of place, wacky guitar solos, Yeti is a record that just flies by with it's catchy choruses.
The first pressing had a limited variant on blue vinyl that was limited to 200 copies. As of right this second, the It's Alive webstore still has copies of the blue vinyl in stock, if colored vinyl is your thing. Obviously, it's my thing.
The Visitors - Yeti LP:
Thursday, December 5, 2013
It's Alive (2013)
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Cleveland Bound Death Sentence - S/T LP - White Vinyl (/200), a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
No Idea (2013)
First ever vinyl pressing of the Cleveland Bound Death Sentence CD that came out on Lookout records back in 1999. Sure, most of the songs were out on vinyl from the 7"s that the CD was a compilation of, but this is the first time everything is all in one place. The white vinyl was limited to 200 copies, and the entire pressing was only 500. No Idea is pretty good about keeping their records in print, but if it's important to you to grab the first press, you may want to act quickly.
The record itself is as fun as ever. With Paddy from Dillinger Four and Aaron Cometbus in the band, it does sort of feel like D4 meets Pinhead Gunpowder. The songs are fast, loud, catchy and over before you even realize they started. That's not a critique, the album moves at such a fast and exciting clip that it amplifies the energy of the band and kind of makes them sound like they're about to implode at any second.
While I've never liked Cleveland Bound Death Sentence as much as the other bands everyone has been in, this is quite simply a great punk rock record.
Cleveland Bound Death Sentence - Rumble Seats & Running Boards:
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
The Blind Shake - Key To A False Door - Yellow Vinyl, a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
Castle Face (2013)
While I am very picky about the bands I like, the vast majority of them have a common thread. I like catchy songs with big hooks & choruses and I like some good vocal harmonies. The Blind Shake do not fit in this mold at all. Every once in a while an album comes along that is so good, even if they are outside of my usual musical taste, I can't help but love it. Key To A False Door is one of those albums.
Sure, they do pack in a lot of my other favorite attributes into their songs. In general everything is fast paced, with lots of downstroke heavy riffs, so it's not a total shock I like this as much as I do. But overall this is way noisier than I typically go for. The songs are soaked in fuzz and scratchy production. The vocals are a barely understandable roar, but there is so much energy and enthusiasm crammed into this album it's just addictive.
Key To A False Door is absolutely one of the best records to come out this year and is making a beeline into my top 10.
The Blind Shake - Key To A False Door:
Monday, December 2, 2013
The Resonars - The Greatest Songs Of... - Brown Vinyl (/500), a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
Trouble In Mind (2013)
The Resonars were one of those bands that so many people seemed to love, but every time I gave them a chance, I was let down. I'm not exactly sure why, but they just never grabbed me the way they did others. That was until they released a really great 7" on Trouble In Mind followed up by their last LP Crummy Desert Sound. That album blew me away and opened my eyes up to this band again.
So I signed up when Trouble In Mind put out this greatest hits album, which culls songs from their pretty significant back catalog. At the end of the day, I can definitely say that The Resonars are much better than I gave them credit for initially, but I do thing that the greatest songs they are releasing are their newest ones.
You'd be hard pressed to find a band that can replicate the harmonies and catchiness of 60's British invasion rock better than The Resonars. Throughout this album's 14 tracks it's really impressive to listen to the way the vocals are layered and the songs are crafted. I would personally still start off with Crummy Desert Sound as the first Resonars record to buy, but if you have that and are ready to hear more, this might be the next best option rather than trying to figure out which of the band's many other releases should be picked up next.
The Resonars - The Greatest Songs Of...:
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
ИO///sé - Beach Bathroom Bingo 7" - Blue Vinyl (/100), a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
1859 / Different Kitchen (2013)
Since I wrote about the ИO///sé full length yesterday, I figured I'd keep it going and take a picture of their brand new 7" as well. Seeing people talk about this 7" is actually what made me hunt down the full length. Luckily, I wasn't a year late to this one and was able to secure a copy of the limited to 100 copies blue vinyl version.
Musucally, this 7" picks up right where the LP left off; fast downstroke heavy songs with amazing hooks. I mentioned Wipers, The Marked Men & Leatherface yesterday and those comparisons all hold true, though this time out I also heard some more vocal similarities to some of the shoutier Plow United songs. Any way you want to compare it, this is one hell of a 7" and it should be picked up right away.
ИO///sé - Beach Bathroom Bingo 7":
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Rotten To The Core / Challenge The Throne (2012)
Every year I miss at least one amazing record. No matter how many records I buy, no matter how carefully I try to pay attention to what is going on, I always miss something incredible. 2012 was the year I missed ИO///sé. I'm lucky I figured it out and have this fantastic record in my collection, but the bigger problem is that I missed the colored vinyl version. No excuses, I just blew it. I've made up for it slightly by being able to pick up a copy of the test pressing on Discogs for a really cheap price, but I don't collect test pressings. In fact I'll trade this to someone for the regular colored vinyl version if anyone out there wants to make a deal.
As for the record itself, it's just perfect. Loud, fast, full of hooks. It's like The Marked Men meets The Wipers meets Leatherface. Start to finish, it's just a hurricane of a record and I only wish I could have been listening to it for a whole year as opposed to just the last month. The regular pressing is still out there and I give my highest possible recommendation. This would have been a top 5 record last year, had I been smart enough to buy it right away. Again, help me find the colored vinyl version!
ИO///sé - S/T:
Monday, November 25, 2013
People's Temple - Brand New Thing 7" - Purple Vinyl (/500), a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
Trouble In Mind (2013)
I wasn't expecting too much going into this 7" as I wasn't really the biggest fan of the People's Temple full length that came out on HoZac earlier in the year. I was mostly picking up this 7" to keep my Trouble in Mind singles collection complete. While certainly not a record I see myself going back to over and over again, I ended up liking the songs more than I anticipated.
In particular the A-side, "Brand New Thing," builds a gentle vocal melody over the strumming of acoustic guitars. Not ground shattering, but it's a nice simple song that doesn't fall into any of the cheesy psych cliches that so many bands are doing these days. While I wouldn't call it a must buy or anything, it's a nice little record to just kick back and relax to.
People's Temple - Brand New Thing:
Friday, November 22, 2013
This 7" is the latest from the La-Ti-Da singles club from 2013. While the label doesn't really get the press or notoriety of some of the other singles clubs out there, I really can't think of one that puts out a never ending stream of stellar records like La-Ti-Da. Sure, you can buy the records individually as well, but let's be honest, how do you not sign up for the subscription and get the limited colored vinyl?
Maniac is another hit for La-Ti-Da. The A-side, "Dim Sum," builds shorts bursts of drawled vocals over a Rocket-From-The-Crypt-On-A-Rope-esque guitar riff. The B-side "Pepe" slows things down just a bit, but really shines with a lead guitar driven singalong anthem. This isn't a band I was familiar with prior to receiving this 7" and I don't know that I would have heard of them or bought it otherwise, but that's the joy in subscribing to a singles series like this. I love being surprised with great music.
Maniac - Dim Sum 7":
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Radioactivity - Back To Me 7" - Yellow Vinyl (/100), a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
Alien Snatch (2013)
Since I spent all that time raving about the new Radioactivity full length yesterday, I figured I may as well just keep that theme going and write about the accompanying 7" that came out on Germany's Alien Snatch records. Like the full length, there was a limited version on yellow vinyl, in this case limited to 100 copies and only available via mailorder direct from Alien Snatch. It's hard to tell if they're still available from the label, but if you are interested, I'd hit them up quick.
On the record we have 2 songs, one a repeat from the full length. The 2 new songs would fit in perfectly on the album. Fast, catchy, all the cliche words I use over and over to describe the records I truly love. Even though buying records from Germany can result in paying more for this 7" than you pay for the actual full length due to the postage costs, it's just so worth it even to get 2 more songs. I will, without question, continue to buy everything this band puts out.
Radioactivity - Back to Me:
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Radioactivity - S/T LP - Black Vinyl & Yellow Vinyl (/300), a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
Yesterday I wrote about Mind Spiders, Mark Ryan from The Marked Men's current band. Today, it's time for Radioactivity. Radioactivity is the brainchild of the other primary singer from The Marked Men; Jeff Burke. While Mind Spiders have carved out a path distinct from The Marked Men's prior work, Radioactivity embraces, expands and sometimes even improves on The Marked Men's legacy.
Much like the Lennon/McCartney debates of yore, there have always been those that have discussed the Ryan/Burke dynamic. Both incredible song writers, responsible for one of the best bands of the last decade. But everyone has their slight preferences. I've always been a Burke guy. Not that Mark Ryan hasn't contributed flawless songs to The Marked Men catalog, it's just that Jeff's have always hit home with me just a bit more. Having an entire album full of these songs is like a dream come true.
This record sounds like a greatest hits album. It combines the best aspects of The Marked Men with the best aspects of Jeff's other band The Potential Johns and still manages to create moments that surprise you with their greatness. Song after song of insane hooks, fuzzy, but melodic vocals and driving guitar with riff changes that you don't see coming, but always work perfectly.
Flat out, this album is simply awesome. 2013 has been an incredible year for music and I've gone on and on about how this record has been one of the best and that record has been one of the best. Well, this is instant top 5 of the year. Realistically it's top 3 and a strong case could be made for the best album of the year. Any other year it probably could be, but 2013 was just unusually packed with great, great records.
Radioactivity - S/T:
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
This is the 3rd Mind Spiders album in the last 3 years, and without question is the best one to date. More straightforward than the others, it really showcases Mark Ryan's strength as a songwriter and how he's updated his sound to keep this project different from The Marked Men. Now, that being said, I will likely compare everything this man does to his work in The Marked Men and that comparison will always probably favor his old band just due to my person taste in music. I understand why Mark would want to strike out and create a band that stands alone and Inhumanistic is about as complete of a success you could achieve doing this.
This iteration of Mind Spiders will appeal to Jay Reatard fans, as you can hear similarities to what Jay was doing in 2008 when the Matador singles were being released. While the songs all have strong hooks, they're kept a little subdued, almost mechanical, and that creates a an interesting vibe throughout.
If you've been lukewarm about Mind Spiders in the past, this record is absolutely worth giving another chance and if you've been a fan previously, Inhumanistic will stand as their crowning achievement thus far. Some of the weirder rambling of the past have been jettisoned in favor of a lean, straight shooting album. Hopefully in 2014, it'll be 4 straight years of Mind Spiders records.
Mind Spiders - Inhumanistic:
Monday, November 18, 2013
Sub Pop (2013)
This 7" came with the last Obits album bed & Bugs when you pre-ordered direct from Sub Pop. I think it also came with the record and some indie stores too. I like that Sub Pop has really embraced the colored vinyl + bonus stuff when you pre-order. I like buying my records direct from the label the releases them, so it's just more of an incentive to do that.
This 7" is a nice little freebie, but it's nothing special. Live versions of previously released Obits songs. Nothing to write home bout and nothing that I'll probably listen to all that much, but a perfectly acceptable free bonus. If nothing else, it beats the hell out of that crummy free 7" that came with the last Superchunk record, that's for sure.
Friday, November 15, 2013
Wynona Rides were a band that I didn't listen to much when they were kicking around the first time. Though I saw their records everywhere, particularly this 7", I was just never motivated to add them to the collection. When I was in Chicago, this popped up in a used bin and I figured it was time to give them another chance. I've ended up being wrong about an awful lot of other 90's bands.
Listening to this record, I can certainly appreciate it more now than I did then. It has that quintessential 90's punk rock sound in the way it was recorded. This songs are tight, reasonably catchy and 20 years later, it's a real breath of fresh air. On the other hand, I can see why it didn't grab me back in the 90's. The singer gets a bit shouty here and there. The songs in general are not packed full of the sugary hooks that so many of the other Lookout bands that I liked at the time had. Though certainly not depressing or evil sounding in any way; the songs are a bit darker than some of their peers.
All in all, it's a pretty decent record. I'm glad I gave the band another chance and I'll probably pick up their lone full length if I ever see a good deal on it.
Wynona Riders - Childhood Game:
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Jacco Gardner - End Of August - Green Vinyl (/500), a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
Trouble In Mind (2013)
This is the 2nd single that Trouble In Mind has released from Jacco Gardner. While it's certainly not my favorite kind of music out there, I can say that it is infinitely more listenable than his previous offering. Jacco is playing really laid back, ornate psych-pop, but has toned things down a little, to his benefit.
"End of August" seems like it could have been written by a more subdued Donovan who decided to tinker around with some more vocal effects. The B-side "Notus" is an instrumental that while not a spectacular showcase for Jacco's musicianship; is still a reasonably interesting wander. It's actually a very good pair with the "End of August" A-side as it too kind of conveys a gradual change-of-seasons kind of tone.
Not my favorite Trouble In Mind record, but better than I thought it would be based on how I felt about his prior 7".
Jacco Gardner - End Of August:
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
This was actually sent to me by someone that reads this website. He noticed that this record is on my want list (which you can see by clicking on the link over on the left hand side of the page). For reasons I'll never understand, he just sent me the record for free! I highly encourage others to follow in this trend and send me records on my want list for free.
Thanks Todd, you're the best!
No Knife is another one of those great 90's San Diego bands. The records that were being pumped out of that city back then are some of my very favorite. No Knife's Drunk On The Moon was especially great. The A-side of this 7", "Habits," is also on that album, though I'm pretty sure the B-side "Oh I..." is exclusive to this release.
Both are prime examples of No Knife's really unique songwriting. They both have so many riffs and changes crammed into each song, It's crazy to think of a few guys sitting down to write songs like this. While so many parts can make some songs by other bands sound confused or muddled; No Knife are simply masterful at weaving together all of the parts into tight and cohesive songs. You really should pick up all of their full lengths if you don't already have them.
Monday, November 11, 2013
Terry Malts - Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere - Cream Vinyl, a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
I first heard of Terry Malts due to the Windian 7" Box Set that came out last year. Terry Malts were not the reason I bought the set, but they were the surprise of the bunch, the band I'd never heard of before, but the one that impressed me the most. When I saw their new album was coming out on Slumberland, I jumped on the pre-order to make sure I got the limited color vinyl. I can't find pressing info for it anywhere, but it does appear to be sold out at this point.
What Terry Malts do best is they manage to keep a fuzzy garage aesthetic without going overboard. You can here the grit and honesty of the recording, but it's not used to cover up anything. The band's upbeat blown out guitar mixed with the Madness-esque, baritone vocals give Terry Malts a very unique identity. In a world filled with cartoon character, high pitched nasal vocals, this is a band that stands out.
The record isn't perfect, and to be honest I find the song "They're Feeding" completely irritating with it's non stop repetitive two-word chorus. But as a whole, Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere provides way more highs than lows and is a definitely a record worth picking up if you like your garage with a dash of pop, but still rough around the edges.
Terry Malts - I Was Not There:
Friday, November 8, 2013
No Breaks (2011)
Buying records like I do is sure to result in the occasional brain fart. This 7" is a prime example of that. I didn't realize that I hadn't bought it. I know that sounds ridiculous, but somewhere in the back of my head I thought I picked this up back when it came out in 2011. It's a logical assumption considering how much I liked the band's first 7". When I was in Chicago, I picked up the Wide Angles split 7" with The Brokedowns (review coming soon) and that's when I realized this wasn't in my collection already.
Wide Angles is a phenomenal band. Their full length from last year is still in heavy rotation for me. The combine gruff, but melodic vocals with dynamic guitar work and good old fashion Midwest punk rock. The songs on here are every bit as good as their full length and if you value my opinion on music at all, every Wide Angles record should be in your collection.
Sadly, that won't be a particularly tough thing to do as when I was searching to make sure of the year this 7" was released, I discovered Wide Angles has broken up. Truly sad. Looks like 2 of the folks are already in a new band called Closed Mouths. I really hope they carry on the greatness they started with Wide Angles.
Wide Angles - Boxcutter 7"
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Morgan Delt - Barbarian Kings 7" - Purple Vinyl (/500), a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
Trouble In Mind (2013)
Another pick up from the folks over at Trouble In Mind records. It's probably well known that it is my intention to buy every one of their singles on colored vinyl. I've had a good run of it so far; though I can't say I end up liking every release that they put out. I tend to lean towards the garage and power pop bands they work with, but Morgan Delt isn't part of that crew.
Morgan Delt is playing a low key, laid back dreamy form of psychedelic rock that's just completely lost on me. I can appreciate the bands that have that Sgt. Pepper's era psych vibe to them with tons of harmonies and wacky instruments going on in the background, but Morgan Delt simply isn't that interesting. The vocals are monotone and washed out. The songs themselves are so slow. It feels like music that would be played in a movie when one of the characters is having a weird dream.
Though I love the label and their 7" singles; Barbarian Kings is not a record I would buy if I wasn't trying to keep the collection complete.
Morgan Delt - Barbarian Kings 7"
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Grave Mistake (2013)
Now typically, I really would have gone straight to the label and ordered the new Red Dons 7" direct from them so I could have picked up the limited colored vinyl version. But I was already ordering from Green Noise records and needed to come up with 4 more dollars to qualify for free shipping. This 7" was just sitting there, begging me to buy it. So I did. Perhaps a bit of me as a variant hunter died today, but I think that's probably overstating things a little.
The 7" itself is fantastic, as one would expect from Red Dons. They are one of the most consistent bands I've known these last few years, churning out their distinct dark, downstroke heavy punk rock. You can probably liken them to The Wipers or The Estranged or maybe Hot Snakes a little, but Red Dons have an edge when it comes to writing hooks over all of these bands.
It's been quite a while since Red Dons had a new full length, and though they've had some great 7"s, I'm certainly ready for a new LP. Hopefully the band is working on one right now. I'll definitely go out of my way to get the wacky variant of that when it comes out.
Red Dons - Notes On The Underground 7":
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Kent State - The Wrong Side Of History LP - Blue Vinyl (/100), a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
Debt Offensive (2013)
I don't get many records sent to me to review, and I understand why. This site is pretty much just meant to give me an outlet to talk about all of the records I buy. Naturally, I wish more labels sent me free records, especially when I'm unable to grab some thing I really want due to budgetary restrictions, but that's not why I do this. I do get the occasional record for review. Typically 7"s and I always get excited that a like minded soul sent me something. It's very rare to get an LP so, when this Kent State record showed up, I was even more amped.
This LP collects a few out of print Kent State cassette only releases. This is something I applaud, let's get those cassettes on vinyl. The band is playing psyched out rock songs that at times, really shine, but at times get lost in the swirling wavy production. There's a thick pile of fuzz on top of all the vocals and there are a few songs where the band lets things get a little too out of hand for my taste; with guitar solo led tangents into even more distortion.
The songs that are a bit more straightforward are the ones that stand out to me like "Disconnected" and "Crashing Satellites." I can't help but feel if the band toned down the effects just a bit, there would be some truly great songs on this record.
But honestly, that's more my burden. Even though the psych revival isn't really my thing, I know a ton of folks that love this stuff and it's definitely one of the better psych leaning records I've heard. If nothing else, the band has a passion and an energy that really takes over this album. A lot of bands sound like they're just going through the motions, Kent State doesn't fall into this. The Wrong Side Of History feels like a great deal of thought and care went into crafting every sound on the record.
Kent State - The Wrong Side Of History:
Friday, November 1, 2013
UT Records (2013)
Yes, to start, I wish this was an LP and not a cassette. That out of the way? Good, because I love this little cassette. It was sent to me to review for this website and as it stands right now, is probably the best thing I've been sent to date. It's an album full of high pitched guitar and great harmonies.
Space Wolves have something of a 60's throwback vibe to them, and you can tell they're kindred spirits with the garage rock enthusiasts out there. But rather than burying their songs in fuzz and frantic drumming, Space Wolves slow things down just a tad, keep the recording crystal clear and as a result their songs simply shine. Sure it's November now, but this is a perfect springtime record.
Other than the fact that this is a tape, the one other thing that jumps out is quite a few of the songs on this tape fade out, rather than just end. I always thought that sounded a little weird. My friend Alan used to ask if we are supposed to assume that the band is just getting smaller? Always thought that was funny. Lastly, for a band releasing albums on cassette, it's totally weird that they have a song dedicated to how much they hate 10" records because they get lost in their LP collection. Ditch the cassette format and then you can complain all you want!
Space Wolves - IV:
Thursday, October 31, 2013
The Paperhead - Pictures Of Her Demise 7" - Purple Vinyl, a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
Trouble In Mind (2012)
I have made it my goal to have a complete collection of all of the 7"s that Trouble In Mind releases on colored vinyl. I've kept up so far, but there was 1 hole in my collection, this Paperhead 7". I think I must have just gotten confused by the picture sleeve when it came out. Since all of the other TIM singles were released in their custom paper sleeves, I thought this was a reissue or something, so I didn't grab it when it came out. Once I figured out what I missed, I was reluctant to try to buy it online thinking I'd end up with black vinyl.
Luckily when I was in Chicago, I found this copy on purple vinyl at Permanent Records, so my collection is complete. For now. The record itself is ok. The psych revival thing isn't my favorite musical movement going on right now. Both songs on this record sound like hippie era Beatles songs, but the ones that weren't quite as catchy. The haze laden vocals do sound straight out of the 60's, but it just seems like a novelty thing to me. Not bad, and one of the better psych releases I've heard lately, but just not my scene.
The Paperhead - Pictures Of Her Demise:
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Time Bomb (2000)
The late 1990s / early 2000s produced a handful of slick, but fun guitar pop bands. I'm thinking of The Stereo's first album, the 2nd Ultimate Fakebook record and I will lump Return by The Impossibles in that mix. Though not nearly as consistent of a record from start to end, the highs on Return are really high. The record starts off with "Enter/Return" which is likely the best song the band ever wrote. With it's descending guitar riff verse and gigantic sing along chorus, it really showcases what the band is capable of.
There are other good songs throughout the album, and certainly nothing on this record is bad, but it's probably just a tier lower than the aforementioned Stereo or Ultimate Fakebook releases.
I've had the CD since 2000 , but I have been keeping an eye out for the vinyl at a good price. Iit seemed every time I saw it for sale it went in the $50 range. I finally came across one on eBay much cheaper because the seller had listed it as another band, but the picture showed this record. Quite happy to have picked this up for less than half what I usually see it for. There are rumblings that the band may re-release this record at some point, but I'm kind of impatient when it comes to records.
The Impossibles - Enter/Return:
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Survival Knife - Divine Mob 7" - Gold Vinyl (/100), a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
It's pretty interesting to see members of Unwound with a new project right as their back catalog is in the process of being reissued. It provides an extra excuse to listen to them side by side and really see how things have changed. This is the 2nd Survival Knife 7", the first having come out on Sub Pop a few months ago. The first 100 of these were on gold vinyl direct from Kill Rock Stars.
The 2 songs have to be judged separately in my opinion. the title track "Divine Mob" is just fantastic. Loud, fast-ish, with lots of 90's sounding guitar leads, Justin Trosper's distinct vocals and even a well placed pick slide for good measure. Everything I want to hear from this band.
The B-side, "Snakebit," doesn't strike me the same way. From it's plodding Neon Genesis Evangelion "Angles Attack" guitar riff (now that's a nerdy music comparison for you) to the fact that Justin's not even singing the song, it's the first rack I've heard form this band that I didn't immediately love. I feel like it could work being a one-off within the context of a full album, but as a 50/50 showcase with "Divine Mob," it just pales in comparison.
Still, the A-side is so good I would recommend picking this 7" up without hesitation.
Survival Knife - Divine Mob:
Monday, October 28, 2013
Other Music (2013)
2 new songs by Nude Beach following up their 2012 full length. II was one of my favorite records from last year and this 7" is another example of why I like this band so much. Nude Beach follows in the footsteps of classic rock bands like Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, but manage to add in enough of their own contemporary indie/punk references to not sound sound like some cheesy cover band your dad would go see.
The A Side builds off of a choppy start/stop guitar riff and layers on noodling lead guitar with strong vocals way up front in the mix. The verse builds into an anthem of a chorus which segues into the obligatory zippy guitar solo during the instrumental break down. A standard song formula, but when it's pulled off flawlessly, there's nothing better. B Side, "I'm Giving Up" takes down the energy a bit but still retains the hooks that makes Nude Beach great.
This is a worthy 7" to pick up if you're looking to give the band a chance, but I still recommend their 2nd album II if you're ready to jump in with both feet.
Nude Beach - What Can You Do:
Friday, October 25, 2013
Rich from Speedowax Records is absolutely going to drive me to the nut house one of these days. Don't get me wrong, he's a great guy that I've known forever and his label puts out some stellar releases, but all of these variants...geez! At this point, I'm half convinced he keeps making Broccoli variants just to see if I keep buying every version. Well, he's right, I will keep buying every version because Broccoli is one of my absolute, all time favorite bands.
This split originally came out a while ago, and for those of you keeping track these are the 5th, 6th & 7th versions of the record now in my collection. The 2 Broccoli songs are every bit as good now as the first day I heard them, in their Leatherface-but-smoother style. Always thought Pinto was OK too, but they're unfortunately way overshadowed by Broccoli. I really encourage everyone to buy as many Broccoli albums as they can. Their 2nd full length called Home is one of my top 5 albums of all time.
Broccoli - The Tens:
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Pretty Girls Make Graves - Speakers Push The Air 7", a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
Dim Mak (2002)
Another cheapo used bin find in Chicago. This is me actually re-buying a 7" that I used to have. Pretty Girls Make Graves put out 3 albums, a 12" and a few 7"s. In all that clatter they have exactly 2 songs that I like, 1 of which I think is borderline great; "Speakers Push The Air." So for me, it was worth picking up this 7" again to have that 1 song.
The reason I sold my original copy of this record was because I had it as part of a pretty limited 3x7" set that came in a nice screened box set. It really was cool looking, but it was also limited to 140 copies, so back when I was still scraping together a living in the music industry I ended up selling it for $150. It was just way too much money to turn down to keep 2 songs I liked (coincidentally the 2nd song is also on this 7"; "If You Hate Your Friends, You're Not Alone").
While $150 was too much to turn down to part with it; $3 is a perfectly acceptable amount to pay to put the song back in my collection.
Pretty Girls Make Graves - Speakers Push The Air:
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Front Porch (1994)
I found this record digging through used bins in Chicago and decided to take a chance on it. I bought it in the hopes that it was the same Rail that did a split 7" with the band Wisher on Snuffy Smiles records many moons ago. Unfortunately, this seems to be a different band, but fortunately it's still a pretty good little 7".
Rolling Little Joe came out in 1994 and as soon as these 3 songs start playing, it just reeks of the 90's. I mean that in the best possible way, the 90's were a pretty spectacular time to be a punk leaning band with pop hooks and Rail falls right into that category. The songs tend to be mid tempo with big guitars and really strong vocals. While I couldn't find any from this record online to stream, I did find out a bit more about this band. Looks like they have at least 2 more 7"s and I'll probably grab them if I ever see them floating around.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Thrill Me (2013)
I''ve made it no secret that Strange Heaven by Mrs. Magician was my absolute favorite record of last year and I've gone so far as to say it's probably the best record I've heard in the past 5 years or so. I have played it so many times, and each time, I love it just a bit more. While the band is working on their new full length, they decided to clear house of some old tunes and put out this B Sides LP.
The name is a bit misleading, I think, but not in a bad way. There's really only 2 songs on this record that were ever released before. "Fool's Paradise" from a picture disc 7" and "Dispicable Things" from their tour split with The Night Marchers. Everything else on this record is previously unreleased (well, I suppose some may be on compilations that I don't have or know about).
From what I gather several songs from here were songs that were originally intended for Mrs. Magician's debut full length Pity Party Animal. That record was eventually scrapped and Strange Heaven came out in its place, but the songs on B Sides show a glimpse of what may have been.
In general, the songs on this LP are not quite as polished as what's on Strange Heaven; you can tell the Swami sheen isn't as bright and noticeable. But this band writes some simply amazing songs. "Tabloids" is a mid paced ode to a falling socialite. "Get Bent" ups the speed and has one of the band's trademark bouncy choruses and "I Hate Tour" spins the tale of a bummer of a trip to El Paso. You are not going to find better lyrics than you will on a Mrs. Magician record. It's just that perfect balance of self deprecating wit and wisdom.
Once again, Mrs. Magician have put out an essential album. It's not as quite good as Strange Heaven, so few things out there could be, but it's a fantastic record in its own right and absolutely one worth grabbing.
Mrs Magician - B Sides LP:
Monday, October 21, 2013
Sub Pop (2013)
From the first moments of lead track "Taste The Difff," I can tell that I'm going to be pleased with this newest Obits record. While I really enjoyed their first record, their 2nd, Moody Standard & Poor, didn't hold up as well for me. Though that album certainly had its moments, I couldn't help feeling that something was missing. I think what it was is the sort of energy that the band manages to channel on Bed & Bugs.
The guitars are a bit louder, the drumming is more aggressive and Rick Froberg's vocals have once again become the driving force for the majority of the songs. Rick's back to a little good old fashion yelling on several songs and you can really hear the passion in his voice. Sure, I'm not as into the track "Besetchet," a cover from the Ethiopiques series, and yes, "Machines" grinds the album to a screeching halt, but the vast majority of this record is a fast paced, reverb soaked delight.
I've been following this band since one of their early shows was bootlegged and shared over at the Swami message board. I was on board for I Blame You. I enjoyed Moody Standard & Poor, though I didn't love it. Bed & Bugs is easily the band's best record and most consistent collection of songs to date. It's definitely worth checking out, even if you've been lukewarm on any of their previous work.
Obits - Bed & Bugs:
Friday, October 18, 2013
Shit Sandwich (2006)
This was another 7" recommended to me by @swamipat during our trip record shopping in Chicago. I trust his taste and the artwork looked good, so I snapped it up. Plus it as only $2 used, so not much of a risk really. The minimal risk paid off big though.
This is a really fun little 7". Submarine Races craft shimmering summertime songs that are tinged slightly in reverb. The tracks on here are driven by bouncy guitar riffs and catchy leads. The borderline 60's surfy vocals are the perfect pairing with the music. It's just a glorious record to put on as summer is fading away so you can try to hold on to the season just a bit more.
Submarine Races has a couple of LPs out in addition to Talking Loud and if they are as good as this 7", I need to put them on my shopping list. Anyone have a recommendation on which full length to start with?
Cant find any of these songs streaming anywhere, sorry.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Toxic Pop (2013)
I reviewed the Insub Fest Test Pressing Early Bird Fun Time version of this record back in July (www.ibuywaytoomanyrecords.com/2013/07/dead-mechanical-ok-...), but now that I have received the full art, limited to 100 blue vinyl version, well, I have to say a few words about it as well. Before I go any further, somehow Toxic Pop still has a handful of the blue vinyl version for sale on their website. I cannot fathom how, but they do. You really, really should go buy it right away: www.firestarterrecords.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath...
Now, about this record. Though I did gush quite a bit about OK Night in my initial review, the past few months have only strengthened how I feel about Dead Mechanical. I will say it again, as far as punk rock bands go, they are probably just about the best there is out there right now. They play a raspy vocal, urgent punk rock with nods to Jawbreaker & Leatherface, but they don't (and I cannot stress this enough) sound like another carbon copy No Idea band (not that there's anything wrong with those No Idea bands).
Dead Mechanical have elevated the form and weave powerful lyrics into their dynamic guitar driven rock. Anyone who knows me knows that John Reis & Rocket From the Crypt related bands have pretty much been my favorite thing for the last 20 years or so. This Dead Mechanical record is so good, it's really looking like it could push the Night Marchers out of my #1 record of the year spot. Now that is high praise from me.
Dead Mechanical - OK Night LP:
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
The Steve Adamyk Band / Dauntless Elite - Split 7" - Green Vinyl (/100) & Brown Vinyl (/200), a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
All In Vinyl (2013)
For me this was the main event of the 2013 All In Vinyl single series, new songs by The Steve Adamyk Band. But, let's start off with Dauntless Elite. A band that has been kicking around for a good many years at this point, I first came across them through a Snuffy Smiles split 7" a while ago, but never really followed up on them. Their songs on this 7" are quite good really. Catchy, with unique guitar play. This is a band i really need to hear more of.
As far as the Steve Adamyk Band side goes, it's just 2 more hit songs from one of the best bands currently playing. Idles Hands-esque punchy guitar riffs into big choruses. Another great showing, though I do have one comment to make. I'm not sure if it is a result of the recording or of the actual pressing of the record, but these too songs seem to really lean on the treble side of the spectrum. You can't really hear the bass at all and everything sounds a bit tinny. Nothing that will spoil the great tunes, but it's the first time I've ever had anything remotely critical to say about this band.
The Steve Adamyk Band / Dauntless Elite - Split 7"
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Chestnut Road / New Alaska - Split 7" - Red Vinyl (/50), a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
Speedowax / Brassneck (2013)
As soon as I saw that I could buy more Chestnut Road songs, I was ordering this 7" as fast as I humanly could. 2 new songs by a band responsible for one of the absolute best records of the year. These 2 are just as incredible as anything on their full length, with strong influence by some of my very favorite bands. I've said before, if you ever even remotely liked bands like Broccoli, Hooton 3 Car or Leatherface; Chestnut Road is a must listen.
Honestly, this could have been a split with anyone and I would have bought it, so I went in to New Alaska without any expectations. Their songs are loud and kind of dissonant. The singer is certainly shouting a lot, but never screaming or making things unpleasant to my gentle ears. I don't know that they are a band I would listen too all that often, but honestly, they're much better than I expected them to be, especially since their songs were really just extra stuff on a Chestnut Road 7" in my mind.
My copy is numbered out of 50, bought direct from Speedowax. I'm not really sure what the variant breakdown is to be honest, but no matter which version you end up with, this (and the Chestnut road full length from earlier in the year) is a record worth grabbing.
Chestnut Road / New Alaska - Split 7":
Monday, October 14, 2013
The Capitalist Kids / Tight Bros - Split 7" - Yellow Vinyl (/100), a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
First off, I want to thank everyone that got in touch with me to say something nice after I burned my hand last week. It's very appreciated. I'm healing up nicely, though I can't say that typing is my favorite thing to do at the moment as my right index finger is still giving me some issues. As such, I'll be keeping this review kind of short.
And honestly, there's really not much to say about this 7" other than if you don't buy it, you're a fool. The Capitalist Kids are just about the best straight up, MTX style pop punk band going these days and their songs on this record are another dose of their fantastic songwriting. Some of the best lyrics going along side of some of the best choruses you'll hear.
The Tight Bros side is equally great, though they lean more towards a buzzsaw Marked Men style of rock. The harmonies that this band manages to squeeze into songs this fast is a real talent, and if you don't already have their S/T album that came out earlier this year, then you are missing out on one of the best. I've yet to hear anything from this band that I don't love.
The Capitalist Kids / Tight Bros - Split 7":
Monday, October 7, 2013
Friday, October 4, 2013
Sweet Rot (2013)
I am notoriously stubborn about people recommending bands to me. That might be surprising considering the sheer amount of music I buy. How do I hear this stuff if people aren't telling me to check it out? Well, I'm much more likely to go listen to a record if I read somewhere that it's good than if someone specifically tells me they think I'd like it. My gut instinct is to always tell them that I think they're probably wrong. I can't explain it, I think I'm just stubborn and a jerk when it comes to music.
I will say that there's a handful of people I know on this internet affectionately dubbed as Team Swami. There are folks in this group whose taste I do trust and when @swamipat took me record shopping in Chicago, we exchanged a few recommendations. One of the records he suggested I pick up was this Blind Shake 7". I liked the cover art, so I went for it. I'm glad I did as I really dig it.
The Blind Shake are a heavy, driving guitar band. They rely on repetitive riffs and echo laden vocal shouts to fuel these songs. That might not sound like a compliment, but trust me, it is. The Blind Shake channel this ever growing momentum into their songs. It constantly feels like the band is building to a big catchy chorus that they intentionally won't let you have and it gives the songs a really unique energy. It kind of makes me feel like I do when I'm watching the closing moments of an auction on eBay. All that building anticipation.
I probably wouldn't recommend too many other bands try this tactic, but the Blind Shake pull it off masterfully. The moment this 7" was through spinning I was already buying the band's recent full length on Castle Face. Thanks Pat!
The Blind Shake - Garbage On Glue 7":
Thursday, October 3, 2013
Tenement / Screaming Females - Split 7" - Orange Vinyl (/100), a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
Recess Records (2013)
Tenement has been on a real 7" kick of late. Lots of new records from them, which is always a good thing if you ask me. The song on their side of this split, "Wouldn't Let You Go," is a real gem and one of the best from this last batch of 7"s they've released. The verse builds on top of a bass heavy, borderline sludgy guitar the launches into a gigantic hooky chorus. Aside from the odd droning noise that goes on for too long at the end of the song, this is Tenement at their best.
Screaming Females are a band that I just don't understand. People love them. I mean seriously, I know people that just LOVE this band, but they don't do anything for me. I'm often puzzled by things like this and I wonder what I'm missing that so many others get. To me, the song on this split is just a slow tempo track, with kind of drone-y guitar. The female fronted vocals are warbley and kind of remind me of a cross between Sleater-Kinney and something you'd hear playing in a haunted house.
I'm having a bad run of being able to find songs streaming online this week and it continues with this record. I'm kind of surprised given the bands and label involved, but I can't find anywhere to link to these songs. Sorry!
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Walker - Ifyourepunkrockimsingle 7" - Green Vinyl (/106), a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
While I was at Reckless Records in Chicago, I was doing what I always do at record stores; dig through the used 7"s. I stumbled across this Walker 7". I've had this record forever, but the cover of mine was done in blue ink. So I inspected a bit closer and found that this also was on green vinyl. Now I wasn't sure of the details of this version, but I knew it wasn't the one I already had so to the checkout counter I went.
Doing some more research online, if discogs.com is to be believed, this was a limited 2nd pressing of the single that was released in 1999. It seems that they only made 106 copies available on green vinyl and it also came with a pin (which mine also has). That's pretty limited, so I'm more than pleased with my $5 purchase.
As far as the music on this 7", I just loved Walker back in the 90's. I never really thought they got the respect or notoriety they deserved. In particular their only full length, Actually Being Lonely Isn't All That Bad, is just a beast of a record. Very much a band of the 90's, Walker plays the best kind of pop punk. I liken them to other greats of the era like Zoinks!, but they do have a more Midwestern feel to them. 3 songs here, 2 originals, 1 cover, all gold (err, green).
Unsurprisingly, I couldn't find any of the songs online anywhere, but if you see any version of this record, it's well worth adding to your collection.
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Red Scare (2013)
I was a little nervous when this 7" was announced. It was said to be a tour only record and has an exclusive Masked Intruder song on it. I knew I wouldn't be able to get to one of the shows and I was fearful considering how much other Masked Intruder records have been selling for on eBay and what not. Luckily, some went on sale through Interpunk, so I was able to grab a copy there. Perhaps Interpunk sold more than I guessed as this is the one Masked Intruder record that I have't really seen anyone going crazy for yet.
The song that Masked Intruder contributes is more of their typically great pop punk. They (along with The Capitalist Kids) are just about the best straight up pop punk band going these days. Hooks and choruses like you wouldn't believe, definitely the highlight of the 7". Elway is a bit more generic, they play towards the gruffer end of the pop punk spectrum, but nothing really stands out about this song. Lastly Sam Russo contributes a pretty boring acoustic song. Probably trying to sound like early Against Me, but doesn't really pull it off.
The art is nothing special. Just a stamped paper sleeve, but the Masked intruder song is so good, it is absolutely worth the price of admission on its own. Unfortunately, I'm not able to find these songs streaming anywhere.
Monday, September 30, 2013
Sick Sick Birds - All the Fins In The Sea 7" - Insub fest Version (/40), a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
The folks at Sick Sick Birds were kind enough to allow me to purchase a copy of this 7", even though I was not able to get down to Insub Fest in Baltimore. Between this and the exclusive Dead Mechanical variant that was being sold at the fest, I could have ended up a very bummed record collector if not for the kindness of some friends.
The Sick Sick Birds 7" is actually the test pressing of the upcoming 7" on Ghostbot Records. I expected the official 7" to be out at this point, but I haven't seen any info out of the record label in a little bit. The sleeve is a one sided square, all stenciled out and it looks really sharp. The tracklist and some other information is stamped on the other side of the cover.
Now musically, I couldn't be happier with this record. I was a little hard on the last Sick Sick Birds full length. Not because the songs weren't great (they were), but because the way the vocals were recorded just didn't work for me. They were blown out and distorted. Well, the 4 songs on this 7" sound fantastic, much more reminiscent of the recording quality of the 1st SSB record, Heavy Manners. The songs themselves are all great. Well written, catchy pop with heavy leanings towards 90's indie rock. This 7" is really stellar and I cannot wait to hear what the band does next.
Sick Sick Birds - Burns In The Middle:
Friday, September 27, 2013
Record Store Visit: Logan Hardware - Chicago, IL - 09/16/13, a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
Logan Hardware is a big store. The room just feels like it goes on for days and they have a great mix of stock. New & used underground rock 7"s, piles and pile of oldies 45s, CDs, LPs, DVDs, VHS tapes, blind box action figures, wacky candy and more. Musically, I wouldn't say they focus on any one specific genre, but it's very much an independent record store so the selection is as it should be.
I really enjoyed the dynamic vibe of the store as there was just so much to look at, but the crowning achievement of Logan Hardware is the secret vintage arcade museum hidden at the back of the store. Maybe it's not really a secret as they do talk about it on the store's website, but being in the actual store itself, I would have had no idea it was there had we not been there with a local.
That wrapped up my record shopping in Chicago. I had a great time going around and wanted to once again thank the great @swamipat for showing my wife and I the shops to hit and for taking us out for one hell of a good burger.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Record Store Visit: Laurie's Planet Of Sound - Chicago, IL - 09/16/13, a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
I have to say that overall I was very impressed with Chicago's record stores by this point. There's a level of consistency in these shops and each of them has something worth while. Laurie's selection of new records was solid, if unspectacular, but they had a better than usual used selection.
Additionally they were the one store in Chicao I went to that had the coveted "rare records" 7" box behind the counter. I nabbed a pretty old out of print Hex Dispensers 7"s from here, so that makes this visit a success as far as I'm concerned. Also, one of the clerks was originally from a nearby town in New Jersey, so I got a taste of that "it's a small world" thing as well.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Record Store Visit: Reckless Records - Chicago, IL - 09/16/13, a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
I guess Reckless leans more indie rock than anything, but this is a pretty big store with a good cross section of different genres. Their used section was great, with tons of old 7"s from the 90's hanging around. Any store that I can go in and pick up a Walker 7" on colored vinyl is a store that's going to get a pretty positive review from me. As New York City record stores die or move to Brooklyn, it's crazy to see the epitome of 1990s NYC record shopping living on in a store in Chicago. I'm jealous I don't have a Reckless Records here in New Jersey.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Record Store Visit: Dusty Groove - Chicago, IL - 09/16/13, a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
I can definitely see a specific type of record collector flipping their wig for the kind of stuff this store carries, though I can't say they had much in the way of used 7"s, which was pretty much my main goal on this trip. It's a neat store though, and one that I'd like to dig through again some other time.
Monday, September 23, 2013
Record Store Visit: Permanent Records - Chicago, IL - 09/16/13, a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
While in the windy city @swamipat was kind enough to take me record shopping. I'll be spending this week going over the various record stores that we hit up. All brand new stores for me that I'd never been in before. While I tried to limit my actual purchases to 7"s due to having to travel home with the records, I did check out pretty much everything and I can say that if I lived in Chicago, I would have no problem getting by with the stores they have.
The first stop was a place called Permanent Records. I would call it one of the more specialized stores that we visited. While they had a little bit of everything, you could tell that they specialized in the sort of garage/pop/psych revival rock that's been brewing over the past few years. They had a pretty good selection of new LPs and 7"s plus an easily accessible public rest room, which I thought was a nice feature.
They also had a really strong and affordable used section. I spend a great deal of time digging though their 7"s and found quite a few gems. I was mostly on the hunt for old forgotten 90's stuff and found a few records worth taking home. But the record I was most excited to find was the colored vinyl version of The Paperhead 7" Pictures of Her Demise. This was the only Trouble In Mind 7" on colored vinyl that I didn't have, so it was great to be able to add that to the collection.
All in all a great store. I wish I had the opportunity to shop there on a regular basis.