Thursday, August 28, 2014

Overnight Lows - Bullshit Self 7"

image

Windian (2014)

Round 4 of the Windian Subscription Series brings us a band from Jackson, MS called Overnight Lows.  Sometimes I think that the world has just run out of band names with how goofy some are these days, but I actually think Overnight Lows is a pretty great one.  I've never heard of these folks before, despite what looks like a decent amount of records that came out a few years back.  I'm unable to really find anything that they've been up to recently, so I can't say for sure they're still around, but I also haven't seen any breakup announcement.

Overnight Lows play up tempo, catchy garage rock.  The vocals are ever so slightly snotty, but not in an annoying way at all.  They still keep a decent amount of melody in everything and they do a tremendous job of layering shout-along backing vocals into their songs.  Both are pretty good, but my favorite of the two is actually the B-side, "Steady Hands."

I'd be on the fence about buying this as a standalone record.  These are two fun songs, though I'm not sure how much I'd really listen to them on their own.  However, they are a great addition to the box set. Overnight Lows add another dimension to the proceedings and they are good enough to make me want to check out some of their other records and see how they are.

Overnight Lows - Steady Hands:


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Ettes - Cry On My Shoulder 7"

image

Windian (2014)

The third 7" in the Windian Singles Series is from Nashville's The Ettes.  I can't say that it is my favorite of the bunch, but it's not bad either.

Side A contains the song "Cry On My Shoulder."  It's a slower paced, 50's style throwback with light, clean guitar and subdued vocals.  The vocals are so subdued and wispy that they really remind be of helium induced Ween more than anything else.  While certainly not a negative comparison, it does result in me thinking the song is kind of fun and lighthearted, which I'm not sure is really the vibe they were going for.

B side "Girl I'll Never Be" is a bit harsher and calls back to the 60's more than side A.  The vocals are a little stronger here, with a decent bit of snarl thrown in for good measure.  But the song is darker and not as easy of a listen as "Cry On My Shoulder,"

Both songs are totally fine.  It's a good enough record to be part of a singles series, but I just can't imagine going out of my way to buy it on its own.

The Ettes - Cry On My Shoulder:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mrs. Magician - Friday Night 7"

image

Windian (2014)

Number two in the Windian Singles Series is from one of my current favorite bands in the world, Mrs. Magician.  I will admit, one of the reasons why it's taken me so long to get around to writing about this box set is because I didn't want to listen to this Mrs. Magician 7" after the band had announced they were splitting up.  Their last full length, Strange Heaven, was just so perfect and my feeble brain couldn't cope with the fact that a band would walk away after releasing something that good.  Luckily, they changed their mind, got back together and are about to disappear into the ether to record their new album.

This allows me to listen to their Windian 7" with joy and anticipation rather than treating it like a funeral.  It's a relief too, because these 2 songs are incredible.  If they were the last 2 Mrs. Magician songs ever released, it would have been a shame.  But they're not so I can rejoice in the Beach Boys gone bad harmonies of "Friday Night."  With very light organ searing through the background, this song picks up right where Strange Heaven left off.  Everything peaks with a soaring, clap your hands along chorus, but then just to keep things interesting the band cuts everything to half time (I don't know if that is a completely technically accurate term, but they make the song slower) and ride out to the conclusion repeating "She was speaking in tongues, just like an angel."

The B-side, "Crosses," takes things into a slightly different direction.  The tone is more reminiscent of "Don't Flatter Yourself," where the band manages to take a reasonably slow song, but turns the dark factor way up.  Yet somehow, they manage to sneak in a ton of hooks and a chorus that rings out "I'm alright, I'm all ri-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yight."  It's just such great stuff.  I am counting down the days until I can hear more new music from Mrs. Magician.  They are pretty much the best band playing music right now and I just hope they can manage to stay together for many, many years to come.

Mrs. Magician - Friday Night:

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Giant Dog - Creep 7"

image

Windian (2014)

You guys know how much I love singles clubs.  Pay a bunch of money up front and then receive a record every month or so.  Some good, some bad, but always a fun time.  Windian Records takes a slightly different slant on the idea.  Rather than spread the records out over a several month period, they drop all five records in your lap on the same day, and they give you a fancy box set to boot.  It's a different take on the concept and I'll admit it's a pretty great looking set.  Plus, unlike other clubs, Windian actually lets you buy individual singles from the set if you want.  Though I don't know why anyone wouldn't want to grab all of them right away.

This first 7" in the 2014 club is by A Giant Dog.  Having really enjoyed their pink album from a few years ago, I was pretty excited to hear some new songs and the two on this record didn't let me down.  Fun, hooky and absolutely bursting with energy.  They have such powerful vocals and the way they interplay with the huge guitar and driving rhythm section is something to behold.

Both songs are every bit as good as anything on their last full length.  My only complaint is that it just leaves me wanting more.  I hope they're hard at work on another full length because I will absolutely be buying that on day one.

A Giant Dog - Creep:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Martha - Courting Strong LP

image

Salinas (2014)

This was the third of three records I bought from Salinas records.  I loved the Mapmaker record, but was pretty disappointed with the new one from Delay.  I'd say Martha is in between the two, but much closer to the Mapmaker side of the spectrum.

Now, that's not to say Martha sounds like Mapmaker at all, they couldn't be further actually.  Hailing from the UK, these guys trade in clean, jangle-y guitar that's bouncy and catchy.  The alternating boy/girl vocals make for a dynamic mix and allow for some incredible backing harmonies.  When the guy is singing, things seem a little faster and more energetic to me.  However, when the female vocals take the lead the songs are extremely catchy and the melodies are top notch.  It's really the best of both worlds and they remind me of the old Japanese band Cigaretteman a bit.

I'd never really heard of Martha prior to this album, and I really bought it on the strength of 1 song I heard while perusing the Salinas website.  It's always a risk buying records by bands you've never heard of before, sometimes you end up wasting money, but sometimes you end with something great like Martha.

Martha - Courting Strong LP:


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Wet - Let's Get Wet 7" - Gray Vinyl

image

Tall Pat (2014)

This 7" is the debut release from Chicago's The Wet, and if the songs here are any indication, there's going to be some pretty good things in this band's future.  They're playing a mix of 60's influenced surf riffs with late 70's era punk attitude.  The guitar solos are there and the earth splitting lead vocals from Mae Day are roaring through this 7".

Tracks "Let's Get Wet" and "Miss You" are powerful, creeping along at a mid tempo pace, but barely containing the band's bristling energy.  To me though, the absolute stand out is "Bad Habit."  It's one part Baby Shakes style party rock, one part "I Want Candy" by The Strangeloves and one part whirlwind of profanity.  The poppy songs are always going to be the ones that appeal to me the most, and The Wet has my number with this song.

As I'm not in Chicago and certainly not keyed into their scene of up and coming rock and rollers, finding a band like The Wet this early in the game is great. Thank goodness for the discerning taste of Tall Pat Records.

The Wet - Let's Get Wet 7":

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Science Police / Zatopeks - Split 7" - Clear Vinyl (/100)

image

All In Vinyl (2014)

This 7" wraps up the 3rd volume of the All In Vinyl split 7" Singles Series.  Since Art Of The Underground vanished into the night (with some unfulfilled subscriptions floating around out there I would think), All In Vinyl stands tall as the kings of the 7" subscription package.  They put out records by bands I like and they don't take my money and not give me records unlike some other singles clubs (cough, cough...Cowabunga Records).  I hope they are already making plans for their 4th series.

From the US we've got Science Police.  They're playing Ramones friendly pop-punk that's short, catchy and sprinkled with some keyboards.  Though I wish they'd invest in some longer songs, the 3 on this 7" are a pretty solid introduction to the band.  I know some of these guys were involved in The Steinways, so I'm sure that'll make some additional people check these guys out.

For me, the highlight is definitely the Zatopeks.  These UK based punkers contribute two stellar songs.  Their first track "Hang Up My Hat"is pretty straight up pop punk, fast paced and like Science Police, quite catchy.  However, when you get to their second song, "All My Dreams Are Borrowed" this band shines.  It's a bit more bouncy and mid-tempo, giving the band a chance to catch their breath and focus on some melodies.  But what seals it for me are the absolutely killer backing vocals that really elevate this song to be something special.  They should do whatever it takes to make those backing vocals a permanent part of the band.  Just a great, great song.

Science Police / Zatopeks - Split 7":
http://allinvinyl.bandcamp.com/album/split-7-13

Monday, August 18, 2014

Needles//Pins - Shamebirds LP - Blue Vinyl

image

Dirt Cult (2014)

Let's combine 2 of my very favorite things, Canadian rock & roll and Dirtcult records.  What you get is Shamebirds, another one of 2014's best albums.  Needles//Pins shouldn't be a new band to anyone that reads this website with any regularity.  Though I missed out on some of the early singles (get in touch if you have any you're willing to part with), I've been on board since before the band's last full length.

On Shamebirds, they're just upping the ante.  Needles//Pins churn out a fiery mix of garage attitude and power pop hooks.  You can put them on right after you're through listening to Seve Adamyk Band or Mother's children, but vocally I'm actually reminded a bit of John Reis.  The lead singer is a little gravely and a bit nasal, but still manages to carry remarkable melody through the songs.  Much like Reis is able to manage.  

It's hard to point to any standouts on Shamebirds as every song on the record is so strong.  There aren't any throwaways or filler here.  But if you have to start somewhere, check out "Far Better Off" or "Hate When You're Leaving."  Both encapsulate what Needles//Pins are all about. Tight, catchy songs that just blast out of your turntable; destined to be stuck in your heads for generations to come...

Needles//Pins - Shamebirds LP:

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Edsel / Jawbox - Split 7"

image

DeSoto (1993)

Much like I did with Seaweed a few years ago, my mission now is to amass the entire discography of Jawbox.  I'm not really going out of my way to hunt anything down, but I am picking up the pieces when I see them.  This split 7" popped up in the used section of an online distro that I frequent, so I added it to my cart during a recent order.  It ended up being a bit more beat up than I anticipated, so this may end up only acting as a place holder until I find a better conditioned copy.

The Jawbox side was no real surprise here.  The song is "Savory" which is also on their full length For You Own Special Sweatheart.  It's just a tremendous song though.  Dark and ominous, without being brooding or over the top.  Plus, they still manage to sneak in enough hooks to keep me a happy camper. 

Edsel is a band I'm admittedly not as familiar with.  Sure they are fronted by Sohrab Habibion, now in Obits, but I don't really like most of the Sohrab Obits songs.  I can't say I was expecting much from their contribution "Penaluna," but it's actually not bad at all.  With high pitched, but gentle vocals and lead heavy guitar work, it holds up reasonably well to the Jawbox side.  If anything, it reminds me of some of the lower key Pixies songs, but Sohrab never freaks out the way Frank often does.

Jawbox - Savory:

Edsel - Penaluna:

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Delay - Circle Change LP

image

Salinas (2014)

I was so excited when I saw that Delay had a new record coming out.  I've just loved the band since 2009's Plain Language.  I got several records from the great Salinas records that order, but Delay was the first one I put down on the turntable.  If you had told me prior to listening to it that it would end up being my least favorite of the bunch, I would have never believed you.

There's nothing inherently wrong with Circle Changes.  It's not bad and nothing jumps out as being particularly cringeworthy.  Its major crime is that it's just a slow, kind of boring record.  Just about every song sounds like the intro of a great song that's about to kick in any minute.  The problem is none of them ever kick in.  They all just meander along with no sizzle.  The only time on the whole record that they even slightly approach an upbeat tempo is on "Have My Back."  It's pretty good, but honestly would have been just a background time filler track on any of their other records.

I guess you could say it's a more mature record.  Perhaps it could also be considered to be taking things more seriously.  But for me, what I liked about Delay was their youthful energy and the breakneck speed they plowed through their jangle-y pop songs.  The jangle is still there, but the energy is just gone.

Delay - Circle Change:


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Beach Slang - Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken 7" - Green Vinyl (/100)

image

Dead Broke (2014)

I had tweeted out a couple of weeks ago that I tend to get the record labels Dead Broke and Dirtcult mixed up a lot.  Part of the problem is that I'm stupid and both labels begin with the letter D, but another part of it is that they both put out so many great records, I have a hard time keeping track which is which.  Once upon a time you could always trust Lookout records and you could buy just about anything that came out or you could say the same thing about Alias records for a little bit there.  In 2014, you're really not going to find many labels consistently putting out better records than these two.  And that's where Beach Slang comes in.

Due to my never ending love for all things 90's, I probably would have picked this up no matter what as ex-Weston would have sold it to me.  Not that I can say I'm a huge Weston fan or anything, but they certainly appeal to me more now than they did 20 years ago.  That being said if you pitched this to me as ex-Weston, I wouldn't have expected Beach Slang to sound like they do. 

All four songs on this 7" are significantly more melodic than anything Weston ever did.  And while it maybe lacking just a bit in the punch department, you'll never miss it as the band has structured such warm, powerful songs.  Musically they remind me of one of my all time favorite, but sadly forgotten bands, Tugboat Annie.  Vocally, the singer has a much raspier voice that does a phenomenal job of conveying real emotion without disintegrating into yelling or shouting about everything.  I also am incredibly lucky to have managed to snag one of the limited to 100 green vinyl copies.  They sold out incredibly fast.

The band is already working on a full length and I for one cannot wait for it.  As far as Dead Broke goes, you'll have to forgive me for not being able to write anymore about them as I have to go buy the Sonic Avenues LP they're reissuing right now.

Beach Slang - Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken 7":

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sweatshop Boys - The Great Depression LP - White Vinyl (/250)

image

Dirtcult / Drunken Sailor / Kuskus / Crapoulet / Rapt (2013)

I kind of missed the boat on Sweatshop Boys.  Well, if nothing else I certainly missed the window of having this be a timely review.  The Great Depression came out towards the latter half of last year and for one reason or another, I just never picked it up.  Even though it may not seem this way from reading my website; occasionally I don't have enough money to pick up every record I want right away.  As a result I just kept putting off Sweatshop Boys.

I wish I hadn't as this is a hell of a record.  The band hails from Israel, but draws influence from some of my favorite bands in the world.  I can hear a bit of the high speed chaos of the Marked Men, there's a few songs that have the simple pop melodies of White Wires and every so often you'll get a little downstroke heavy darkness like Red Dons.  You couldn't ask for 3 better touchstones than those.

With big sing-along choruses and tight snappy verses, this is a record that I really hope people gravitate towards quicker than I did. quite a few different record labels from around the world co-released it, so odds are pretty good you'll be able to find someone close to you that's helped put it out.  Grab it, it's fantastic.

Sweatshop Boys - The Great Depression:

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Flesh Panthers - Nice Things 7" - Blue Vinyl

image

Tall Pat (2014)

When I went to Chicago for the first time last year I was struck by a handful of things.  The first was how stupid good the pizza is there.  But the biggest takeaway I had was how much it reminded me of New York City in the mid 90's.  It hasn't been bulldozed and rebuilt into a giant outdoor mall like New York has.  Chicago still has great record stores.  Chicago still has a bunch of good music venues.  Chicago still has a pulse and you certainly can't say that about Manhattan anymore.

Well, I guess when you have a city that's actually alive and kicking, you're going to get a band as great as Flesh Panthers.  They manage to take a '77 style punk rock energy, filter through a 2014 garage band aesthetic and then, just to make me happy, cram in ten thousand hooks into every song. They remind me a bit of Marvelous Darlings, but with the glam turned down and vocals that make me think of the band Year Zero.

These guys play with passion, they play with fire, but more than anything, they sound like they're just having a great time.  That goes a long way with me and from the second the needle drops on the lead song "Nice Things," I wish I was right up front at a Flesh Panthers show.  I'd be singing along and high-fiving everyone around me.  Can't wait to hear more from these guys.

Flesh Panthers - Nice Things 7":

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Godzilla - 1954 Soundtrack - Blue & White Atomic Breath Vinyl (/400)

image

Death Waltz (2014)

Before I type another word, I cannot give enough thanks to my friend @chris_whitehead for his help in acquiring this record for me.  Death Waltz records couldn't sell this to anyone in America due to licensing restrictions, so Chris bought it for me, had it shipped to his house, reinforced the packaging with extra cardboard and then shipped it to me in America.  Record collectors get a bad rep sometimes, but I've found that they are mostly great people.  Thanks to Chris, I have this record, if it wasn't for him I wouldn't.  Go follow him on Twitter, he does a pretty great radio show as well.

Even though it is 60 years old, the first Godzilla movie had never had its complete soundtrack issued on vinyl before.  There were a few score compilation albums out of Japan that highlighted some tracks and there have been CD versions of it, but this is the first time it's seen vinyl in its entirety.  For the most part, I'm glad it was Death Waltz that was the one to release it.

They've obviously taken great care to make this a special package.  The Blue & White Atomic Breath version was limited to 400 copies and to make it even more special, it is the only version that had a gatefold cover.  The quality of this album cover is unreal.  It's so thick if feels more like a hardcover book than it does a vinyl sleeve.  The quality is off the charts.

Musically, everything sounds as great as a 60 year old soundtrack could.  Limitations in the recording technology at the time surely cut down some of the fidelity, but if you are looking for the music to sound exactly like it does in the movie; welcome to paradise.  Akira Ifukube's soundtrack is just mesmerizing. Dark, foreboding and then uplifting and triumphant when needed.  The Main Title Theme would eventually become Godzilla's theme in many, many movies going forward.  I spent so much of my childhood watching Godzilla movies when I was younger and though I appreciate the 1954 original much differently now than when I was a kid; hearing this score just takes me right back.

I do have a few complaints, but they are relatively minor.  The first is that the price of this thing ended up being pretty insane.  It wound up costing me $72 in total with all of the shipping and currency exchange rates.  It's worth it to have this in my collection, but that's quite a punch in the wallet for one record.  

2nd is I'm slightly peeved at the artwork used.  I think the artwork as art is great, like I said earlier the packaging is beautiful.  But I don't think that the representation of Godzilla being used is really accurate to the 1954 ShodaiGoji suit.  The images used on both the cover and the gatefold are much more in line with the bulkier look that Godzilla was sporting during his 1990's films.  It's a small issue, but considering the effort that went into this package, I personally would have preferred that the imagery on the cover represent the Godzilla in the film that the soundtrack is of.

Even with those minor complaints, I would recommend this album in a heartbeat to anyone.  It's such a wonderful tribute to the amazing soundtrack of an equally amazing film.

Godzilla Main Title:

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mother's Children - Lemon LP - Yellow Vinyl (/100)

image

Taken By Surprise (2014)

Before I start to write about the music, just take a look at that glorious yellow vinyl.  Nothing makes me happier than when a label really nails the color.  It's just perfect lemon yellow and I think it adds to the overall packaging quite a bit.

Lemon is the long awaited follow up to Mother's Children 2010 debut, That's Who.  I guess in the four years between records (Aside from releasing a few killer EPs) the band must have been sequestered in their Canadian bunker, tirelessly crafting a new bunch of pop songs to unleash into the world.  That's what I assume anyway, as the resulting record is fantastic and more focused than their debut.

While That's Who had a somewhat more relaxed vibe, Lemon feels tighter with more attention paid attention to detail.  The songs are catchy, the vocals are great and the band has always had heaps of attitude which comes through as well. The guitar work sounds polished without sounding overproduced.  It's really a case study in a band's ability to balance an upbeat, fun record that doesn't devolve into sloppy chaos or go too far the other way and have the production zap the fun and authenticity from the songs.  Mother's Children are just further proof that the best rock and roll in the world is coming from Canada these days.

Mother's Children - Lemon LP:

Monday, August 4, 2014

Mapmaker - Critical Path LP

image

Salinas / One Percent Press (2014)

When Salinas records started announcing a slew of new releases that they were putting out, I immediately jumped on board.  I knew I wanted the new Delay record, having been a fan for a while, but there were 2 new bands that I was keen to check out, Martha and Mapmaker.  Of all 3 records, Mapmaker ended up my favorite, but I'm not sure I thought that the first time I put the needle down on this LP.

I'll be very blunt; the vocals are not going to be for everyone.  They're loud, distorted, blown out and way up front in the mix.  At first listen it's a little off putting and you immediately think "why would anyone record the vocals like that?"  That being said, the more I listen to this record, the more I love it. While slightly less harsh vocals would probably help the band a little in the long run, they bring a real feeling of urgency to Critical Path.

In a lot of ways, Mapmaker reminds me of the equally excellent Tenement.  Though they don't throw around Dino Jr. style guitar solos the way Tenement can; there's a similar seriousness and an intensity.  They manage to weave real energy into surprisingly melodic songs, considering all of the shouting.  Like Tenement, they're not afraid to get a little noisy, or a little lo fi; but they manage to pull it off in a way that makes complete sense at the end.

If you are looking for an album of serious, dynamic punk rock, you're not going to do much better than Mapmaker in 2014.  If you can appreciate the vocals, this is going to become a heavy rotation album for you.  Even if you have a harder time with them, the music and guitar work is so strong, I'd still be surprised if you didn't end up spinning this more often that you initially thought you would.

Mapmaker - Critical Path (2 Songs):



Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bear Trade - Blood And Sand LP - Clear w/ Blue Splatter (/500)

image

Dead Broke / Everything Sucks (2014)

As soon as you throw around a tagline that says "ex-members of Blocko" I'm going to sit up and take notice right away.  Blocko was one of my favorite UK punk rock bands and to see any of their members moving on to new projects is a wonderful thing.  Bear Trade has been on my radar for a bit, since they released their debut 7" last year.  Expectations were quite high for this full length, but I can say without question that Blood And Sand delivers.

Being able to listen to a full album's worth of material from Bear Trade is kind of eye opening.  I was expecting an album of Blocko style, dynamic palm muted glory.  While there are songs that fit that bill, the rest of the album runs the gamut from Iron Chic style anthemic, "whoa-ohhh" fist raising songs to aggressive, but still catchy, burners like "Nice Boots."  Also, a real stand out track is "Postcards."  It's a song that could only emanate from the UK with it's soft spoken, almost storyteller like vocals that makes me feel like I'm hanging out with old timers telling stories in a run down pub.  It's just an incredibly dynamic track and one of the best of an awfully great batch of songs.

Needless to say, I'm thrilled with the debut full length from Bear Trade.  Despite my high hopes for the record, they still managed to impress me.  Back in the mid 90's, the UK punk scene was the most exciting scene on the planet.  While those glory days may be behind us, with bands like Bear Trade, The No Marks and Stay Clean Jolene leading the way, the future is looking quite stellar.

Bear Trade - Blood And Sand LP:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Herzog - Boys LP - Yellow Vinyl

image

Exit Stencil (2014)

Maybe you fall into the same category as me or maybe you don't really pay attention to this sort of thing.  But, I love when record labels have a good email mailing list that keeps you up to date on the goings on at the label and announces any new records that are on sale.  Some may view this as spam, but I view it as information vital to keep me on top of things.  Case in point is this Herzog LP.  Honestly the only reason I heard about it was because I ended up on Exit Stencil's email list (presumably after buying the great Chomp record a couple of years back).  The description caught my eye, so I took a chance on a band I'd never really heard of before.

It was definitely a risk worth taking.  The album starts off right away with "Full Stick," a big drum beat, guitar driven blast with a melodic verse that just reeks of energy and enthusiasm.  It's short, but is an immediate attention grabber that sets you up for the rest of the record.  From there on out the album is comprised of song after song of huge hooks & melodies, gigantic fuzzy guitars and some pretty great vocal melodies, especially considering the band's penchant for a little vocal static in their production.  It's got the kind of Blue Album catchiness that I love, with a slightly lower fi production that keeps it sounding fresh and exciting.

Just listen to the bouncy, lead synth soaked "Mad Men" and I dare you to tell me it's not one of the catchiest songs you've heard this year.  It's just a great album top to bottom and absolutely one worth being on some email mailing lists to find out about.

Herzog - Boys LP:
https://soundcloud.com/exit-stencil-recordings/sets/herzog-boys/s-nDVDI

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Klaus Johann Grobe - Traumhaft 7" - Red Vinyl (/500)

image

Trouble In Mind (2014)

I picked up this Klaus Johann Grobe 7" along with the J.C. Satan record from yesterday to keep my Trouble In Mind 7" collection complete.  While the J.C Satan wasn't really my thing, I get how others like it.  This Klaus Johann Grobe 7" on the other hand, this is totally over my head.

The A-side "Traumhaft" is slow, pulsating and chock full of synth.  The vocals are pretty deep in the mix and the song just chugs along, never really going anywhere other than the one direction it started off.  B-Side "Nicht zu stoppen" is just as weird.  Lots of organ and echoey vocals that seem to just repeat themselves throughout the song.  On the plus side there is a moment that seems like a genuine chorus in this one.  I don't know, I just don't get it.  

I have bought a ton of Trouble In Mind records.  Most of them I love.  Even the ones that I don't love I still think are OK or at the very least good examples of a kind of music I'm not particularly into.  This is the first time that I actually flat out don't like something.  So it goes though, no one's taste matches up with someone else's 100%.  Even though this record is a dud, I'll still be first on line for the next batch of Trouble In Mind 7"s

Klaus Johann Grobe - Traumhaft:


Monday, July 28, 2014

J.C. Satan - Italian Summer 7" - Blue/Gray Vinyl (/500)

image

Trouble In Mind (2014)

I buy 7"s from Trouble In Mind like it's my job.  I have every single they have put out on the limited colored vinyl first pressing.  It's a fun little collection to be working on, but at some point I'm wondering if I'll need to start picking and choosing which ones to buy.  It's not that anything they're putting out is bad; but I feel like they used to do a lot more garage-y pop bands and not so many psych bands.  If nothing else, I'll surely complete the first 50 7"s and we'll see where we go from there.

For the A-side "Italian Summer." J.C. Satan are working with a big time 60's vibe.  While it leans more towards a mid tempo flowery children sort of vibe, it's just not quite catchy enough to keep my interest.  The mellow verse does lead into a louder, fuzzier chorus, but I just need a bit more oomph.

The flip side, "I Don't Feel Like Dancing" definitely is a bit more heavy handed with the psych touch.  The song kind of drones on with a guitar that sounds like it's underwater. As far as this sort of thing goes, J.C. Satan is decent enough at it, but it's just not really my cup of tea.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Radioactivity - Danger 7"

image

Secret Mission (2014)

There's something to be said for consistency.  If you read this website you can count on the fact that I'll only throw around a handful of adjectives.  If you watch any of the prequel Star Wars trilogy movies you can count on being in a bad mood afterwards.  If you listen to a band that Jeff Burke is singing in (Marked Men, Potential Johns, Novice, Radioactivity) you can absolutely count on that record being spectacular.

What you can also count on is consistency in sound.  I would never say something cliche like the songs all sound the same, but the songs are all coming from a similar place.  Fortunately for me, I could listen to songs from a place like this all day long.  Radioactivity, like Burke's other bands, crank out fuzzy, catchy garage pop.  They write hooks better than most bands I can think of.  Even though the 2 songs on this could probably be considered among their slower or more mid tempo tracks, they are still bristling with energy.

Of the two, I prefer the B-side "Why" but both are equally great.  Word is another full length is nearing completion and you can count on me to be buying that the very second if goes on sale.

Radioactivity - Danger 7":

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fleshy Mounds - You're Welcome Cassette

image

More Power (2014)

Let me start off by saying that I'm very grateful to anyone that takes the time to send me something to listen to and review on this website.  It's nice to think (even if I'm just fooling myself) that someone would care about my opinion of a record.  It's also nice to get the occasional free record.  I don't get a lot of people sending me things to review, but considering how I go on and on about how I don't like cassettes, it's remarkable how many tapes I get sent versus those that send me a slab of vinyl to review.  

When this Fleshy Mounds tape came in the mail, I was skeptical.  The artwork and band name made me think it might not be my cup of tea, but hey you never know.  When I popped this guy on, I was floored.  I haven't purposefully listened to something this bad in a while.  Fleshy Mounds sound like every terrible high school VFW hall punk band you've ever heard in your life.  The singer is just shouting and rambling incoherently.  I bet he thrashes around with much fervor when playing live.  The guitar is barely noticeable as the bulk of the music is built around simple bass and a drummer that I can only assume has not been playing all that long.

The songs are slow and sludgy, never really going anywhere.  I don't think any of the songs had a chorus, every one plods along in one direction daring you to continue to listen.  It's like a game of chicken, can you really sit through this whole thing? Luckily it's only 5 songs, so I made it through; but I came out worse on the other side having accepted this challenge.  Again, I appreciate everyone who sends me something to review, but I'm trying to put myself in the head of whoever sent this to me thinking 'yeah, I bet Tim will like that..."

Fleshy Mounds - You're Welcome:



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bob Mould - Beauty & Ruin LP - Yellow Vinyl (/400)

image

Merge (2014)

There are things I am going to write about this record that could make you think that I do not like it.  That could not be more untrue.  I want to start off by saying this is a great record and I absolutely love it; but it's going to suffer some unfair comparisons to Bob Mould's last album, Silver Age.  When I heard Silver Age a couple of years ago, it was a revelation. Bob was back.  

After a string of lackluster rock albums and a horrible electronica mistake; Bob was embracing his inner Sugar and cranking out a powerful set of top notch pop-rock tunes.  It was kind of unexpected as I had figured Bob Mould was just going to be one of those iconic fellows whose best work was behind him.  He knocked that theory on its ass and Silver Age was hands down one of my favorite records of 2012.

With Beauty & Ruin, Bob has the unenviable task of trying to follow up that masterpiece.  Honestly it's just as good.  The only problem is that this time I'm expecting it to be good.  While last record was a surprise, this record has a whole heap of expectations slapped onto it.  That's a tough weight to bear and he does himself no favors by having the worst song on the record, "Low Season," as the album opener.  I was a little nervous after hearing that for the first time.  It's just so sluggish and sounds like back album filler to me.  Things pick up a bit with "Little Glass Pill," but it's still no where near as good as anything on Silver Age.

Luckily by the time you hit the third track "I Don't Know You Anymore" the album just roars to life.  It's fast paced, catchy and has all those great Sugar-esque high spots that you want Bob to hit.  The rest of the album cruises along after that with each successive song being as good or better than the previous.  It's really a hell of a record that probably could just have used some work in the track sequencing department.  While it will be unfairly compared to Silver Age, Beauty & Ruin makes a strong claim as the 2nd best Bob Mould solo record he's put out.  If you liked Silver Age, I just can't imagine not liking this one almost as much.

Bob Mould - I Don't Know You Anymore:

Bob Mould - Nemeses Are Laughing:

Monday, July 21, 2014

Blank Pages - S/T LP - Clear Vinyl

image

Dirtcult (2014)

Every year that I get older, I'm a little more leery of the fact that I'm not quite as tuned in to new records as I used to be.  I try hard to keep up with everything, and I think as evident from this website, I do a pretty decent job and certainly buy my fair share of records.  That being said, last year I blew it with the new Blank Pages record.  Hardware records in Germany put this album for sale with different artwork and a limited to 100 colored vinyl variant.  I completely missed it.  

By the time I had figured out that it had even come out, Dirtcult had announced their version.  Even though there's something to be said about owning the limited, first press, colored vinyl, German import; there's also something to be said with being able to pick this up for 11 bucks with domestic shipping.  Obviously I went that route.

Sure, I'll probably want to find the other version at some point, but only because Blank Pages are just so damn great.  Rising from the remains of the equally incredible Idle Hands; Blank Pages pretty much pick off where that band had left off.  Wipers/Red Dons style, downstroke heavy, dark but fast & catchy punk rock.  They're one of the current masters of the genre.  If The Estranged were writing songs with bigger hooks, you'd be closer to the sound of Blank Pages.

It's absolutely an essential album to pick up, especially since Dirtcult made it so easy to get in America.  Do you have any idea how much I spent on those German Idle Hands records? A lot, that's for sure.  The only problem I have now is not knowing if I can include this record on a top 10 list of 2014.  It's certainly amazing enough to be a no brainer, but the fact that it came out last year in Germany first makes me unsure if it counts.  Thoughts?

Blank Pages - S/T LP:

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friends Of Cesar Romero - The Hold 7" - Jukebox Edition, Clear Vinyl (/100)

image

Snappy Little Numbers (2014)

Just a quick post today.  If you want the full scoop on how great the music on this 7" is, just read yesterday's review here: http://www.ibuywaytoomanyrecords.com/2014/07/friends-of-cesar-romero-hold-7.html  Needless to say it's great.

Today's picture is of the limited to 100, clear vinyl, Snappy Little Jukebox edition of the record.  Sure it's a simple little variant, but I just love it.  It's numbered, you've got colored vinyl and I'm just an absolute sucker for those little jukebox tags.  You can probably blame the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion Jukebox Series for that.

Not only is this cool, the band was selling it themselves at a shipped price so astronomically low, I'm not even sure how they paid for the shipping.  Punk rockers!  It looks like they still have some left at their bandcamp page: http://friendsofcesarromero.bandcamp.com/album/the-hold-b-w-teisco-telstar-stomp-7


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Friends Of Cesar Romero - The Hold 7"

image

Snappy Little Numbers (2014)

Any label can manage to put out one good record.  There's plenty of examples of this, I don't need to take the time to list them off.  When a label starts to string together several great releases, that's when you know the folks running it are onto something.  And when a label starts putting out great record after great record AND they're from mostly new bands; that's when you know that this is a label you can count one.  Snappy Little Numbers are absolutely starting to fall into that category.

Friends Of Cesar Romero are probably the one of the more senior of the bands on Snappy Little Numbers, but I certainly wouldn't classify them as a household name just yet.  Though they really should be. The A-Side "The Hold" is is a mid tempo, vaguely 60's sounding song, but doesn't come off as a pandering retro throwback.  Background organ flows through  and helps build to a bouncy chorus with a banging snare that punctuates everything.

B-side "Teisco Telestar Stomp" sounds a bit tougher; it's not quite as poppy as side A.  It has a little more punch and it leans more towards a garagey sound.  If you could get away with saying the word swagger and not sounding like a dipshit, I'd say the band has some real, old school, tough kid swagger.  But now I sound like a dipshit.  Regardless, both songs are pretty outstanding and you should really check out everything Snappy Little Numbers is putting out. They're onto something.

Friends Of Cesar Romero - The Hold 7":
http://snappylittlenumbers.bandcamp.com/album/the-hold-b-w-teisco-telstar-stomp

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Estranged - S/T LP

image

Dirtnap (2014)

When the first Estranged full length, Static Thoughts, came out back in 2008 I was pretty blown away.  The band had taken a Wipers/Hot Snakes downstroke heavy guitar assault and blasted through 10 songs.  That album was easily one of my favorites of the year.  When their second album, The Subliminal Man, came out in 2010, I was a bit disappointed.  While it was still a good record that I enjoyed and played fairly often, it was such a radical departure in sound that I found it jarring.

Now, four years later, The Estranged are finally back with LP number three and this one is a doozy.  I wouldn't say that it's a return to the sound of their earlier work, because it isn't.  But they do incorporate much more of the energy from that time period into this new batch of songs.  You can't help but hear a bit of 80's punk/alternative in their music.  The Cure? Sure maybe a little bit, but certainly not enough to be annoying as first and foremost, The Estranged are a bunch of punk rockers.  Maybe a little darker than your average punk band, but I think they share some traits with the band Crusades.

Regardless, this latest Estranged album is pretty great.  It's deceptively catchy once you've given it a few listens and I'm struck more than anything by the interesting guitar work they employ throughout the record.  While they may have started out bashing away at their strings like the Wipers, they're a significantly more dynamic band than they were six years ago.  As is the usual Dirtnap practice, the first 200 copies are on colored vinyl and amazingly it looks like they still have a few available.  So if that's your thing, you best get moving.

The Estranged - S/T LP:

Monday, July 14, 2014

Unwelcome Guests - Wavering LP

image

Dirtcult / One Percent Press (2014)

From 2008 - 2010 or so, Unwelcome Guests were on a tear putting out 7"s. Between their singles, splits and compilation appearances they unloaded a ton of songs and I was only too eager to buy every one of them.  Then in 2010, they released their first full length, Don't Go Swimming.  I didn't find it as exciting as the singles were.  It wasn't bad, in fact it was quite good in places, but the band felt a bit more polished and were lacking some of the energy of the 7"s.

Unwelcome Guests are back in 2014 with their second LP Wavering.  I can assure you any questions I had about their energy level have all been thrown out the window because this album just rips from start to finish.  They manage to combine a rootsy sort of appeal with the hooks and passion of bands like Rumspringer or Your Pest Band.  Then add on a huge helping of lead guitar gymnastics that you'd really only find in bands like Dinosaur Jr. or, if you need a more modern comparison, Tenement. 

Every one of the songs on this album are as great as anything the band has previously released.  This is Unwelcome Guests at the top of their game.  I cannot say enough great things about Wavering.  It's the kind of record that you keep going back to over and over again; each time finding something new to love about it.

Unwelcome Guests - Wavering LP:

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Hot Snakes - Skateboard Deck


Just because I had a few people ask, here's a picture of my Hot Snakes deck with my new Rocket one.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Rocket From The Crypt - Skateboard Deck

image

Foundation (1996)

OK, you got me.  This isn't a record, so it really has no place being written about on this website.  But it is music related, and I've been searching for one of these for many, many years so I'm going to make an exception.

This skateboard deck was sold by Rocket From The Crypt during the 1996 Warped Tour.  Considering it was such a big festival show, I wondered if Rocket would really translate, having only seen them in smaller venues prior to this.  I went to 2 of the dates for that years Warped Tour and Rocket just kicked ass both times.  When they played up in Vernon, NJ near the old Action Park it started pouring rain right before they were about to play.  They just went out anyway and destroyed in front of the 30 or so people brave enough to stand in the storm.  It's one of my fondest Rocket memories.

Anyway, the skateboard itself was one of the things they had at their merch booth.  Frankly, I didn't have enough money for it at the time.  I didn't have enough on me on day one and then I just forgot about it on day two and once again didn't bring enough money to buy one.  I've been looking for one ever since.  It's been estimated that there were about 100 of these made (just an estimate, I cannot confirm that as an official 100% accurate number - but it's probably close). So needless to say they haven't shown up for sale too often in the intervening 18 years.

I had the chance to grab one a few years ago from another person on the Swami message board, but just couldn't come up with the funds at the time.  Then, one finally showed up on eBay the other week.  At $150 (buy it now), it is certainly quite a bit more than it would have cost if I had picked it up at the Warped Tour, but I just couldn't stand it not being in my collection anymore.  So I grabbed it.  I don't skateboard, but I'm just thrilled to have one of these.  Especially as I expect it to look pretty amazing hanging on the wall next to my Hot Snakes skateboard deck!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Wye Oak / Telekinesis - Split 7" - Blue Vinyl

image

Merge (2014)

The Or Thousand Of Prizes singles club from Merge rolls into June with a split 7" offering from Wye Oak and Telekinesis.  Merge has been very timely with these records.  I don't want to jinx it, but so far this is the best, most consistent roll out of a singles club that I've ever seen.  Hopefully they keep on going strong.

Musically, I can't say the series has been as consistent for me.  Wye Oak employs a clean guitar sound with some electronica and ambient sound effects.  High pitched, other worldly vocals glide over top.  There's a few Beck songs that have a similar flair, but those were always the Beck songs that came off as a bit pretentious to me.  Wye Oak sure sounds like they are trying to be important and artistic, but to me it just comes off as being boring.  "Better" kind of reminds me of "Chariots Of Fire" or some other pseudo-inspirational schlock befitting a slow motion scene in a movie.  There's a somewhat interesting moment towards the middle where Wye Oak indulges in a louder, synth driven solo; but it immediately reverts back to being boring again to close out the song.

Telekinesis, on the other hand, are much more exciting.  Building off of a loud, crunchy guitar with a hooky verse and strong vocals that don't rely on fuzz or other trickery (though there is a slight echo on the chorus).   I can't say that I was really familiar with this band, but I'm pretty impressed with this song.  Though I could not in good conscious say they are as good as Mikal Cronin, I feel like Telekinesis is aiming for a similar place.  Worth checking out.  


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hospitality / Lambchop - Split 7" - WhiteVinyl

image


Merge (2014)

For the month of May, the Merge Records Or Thousands Of Prizes singles club dropped another new 7" on my doorstep.  This time I was presented with 2 bands that I had heard of, but never really listened to much at all.  This split would be the first chance I'd have to spend any real quality time with either.

First up is Hospitality.  While the female fronted vocals and wonderful backing harmonies create some very sweet melodies, this band sounds kind of old.  Not necessarily in a good, cool throwback sort of way.  They just sound dated, like they're trying to exist in a completely different time.  There are a lot of genres ripe for a revival, though I'm not sure 70's easy listening is really the one to champion.

Still, I find Hospitality significantly more interesting than Lambchop.  Like Hospitality, they kind of reek of the 70's, but this band seems to be yearning for the days of the lounge piano player.  The song starts simple, and builds, but it doesn't really build into anything all that interesting.  It's kitschy in the way that songs like "MacArther Park" are, but that doesn't make it good.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Knapsack - Silver Sweepstakes LP

image

Alias (1995)

This Knapsack record has been a missing piece of my record collection for quite some time.  Though I've had Silver Sweepstakes on CD for ages, I just never was able to pick up a copy of the LP.  Not that the album is particularly rare.  In fact, in comparison to the 2 other Knapsack LPs, Silver Sweepstakes is usually downright cheap.  But, it was always a bit more than I was willing to pay.  When I saw this one hanging around on eBay for $20, that was the sweet spot I've been looking for.  I can absolutely justify $20 for this record.

Silver Sweepstakes wasn't the first Knapsack record I had heard, though it was their first.  I came on board for 1997's Day Three Of My New Life.  I did backtrack pretty much right away and pick this up, but foolishly went the used CD route as oppose to grabbing the vinyl.  While I do think that Silver Sweepstakes is probably the weakest album in Knapsack's catalog, it's still pretty great.

I have a Knapsack sticker that says "Committed To Dynamics" on it.  That is a good summary of Knapsack's music.  All of their songs keep a dynamic balance between gut wrenching emotion and sincerity with an aggressive guitar barrage.  Some of my favorite songs on their debut have always been "Cellophane," "Casanova" and "Centennial."  Vocalist Blair always knew just where to put in a satisfying gravely yell to really drive home the point.

If you hadn't heard Knapsack before, I'd encourage you to start with their best album "This Conversation Is Ending, Starting Right Now," but every record this band put out is worth owning.  They played a reunion show in NYC a few months ago that was incredible.  I can only hope that somehow leads to more records.

Kanpsack - "Casanova":

Knapsack - "Centennial":

Monday, July 7, 2014

Gentlemen Rogues - Mocking Love Out Of Nothing At All 7" - Purple Vinyl

image

Shifting Sounds (2014)

After their fantastic 10" EP that came out last year, I was eager to hear more from Gentlemen Rogues.  They answered the call with this 2 song 7" that really showcases their songwriting chops and ear for great melodies.

The A-side is "Mocking Love Out Of Nothing At All."  It's a mid tempo song that takes me back to bands like Tugboat Annie.  The crunchy verse builds nicely into an intricate guitar jangle chorus with fantastic backing vocals and dynamic guitar work.  The B-side "Mountains Of Your Head" is a Buffalo Tom cover and you can tell that Gentlemen Rogues do take inspiration from the sort of big time 90's pop band scene that Buffalo Tom was a part of.  It's a nice version of the song, but Gentlemen Rogue's originals are so good, I'd probably just prefer another instead of a cover song if I had my choice.

Still, it's a great little 7" and once again I'm eager to hear more.  I read that the band is currently recording for another EP.  Come on guys, enough with the EPs, let's get a full length going!

Gentlemen Rogues - Mocking Love Out Of Nothing At All 7":

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Both - S/T LP - Blue Vinyl

image

SuperEgo (2014)

It seems like it's been way too long since the last Ted Leo LP came out, so I was pretty excited when I heard that he was finally working on something new.  Sure, it wasn't a new Pharmacists record, but Teddy hasn't let me down yet.  What we ended up with is The Both, a collaborative project with Aimee Mann.  While it's a good listen and quite enjoyable in places, it never soars as high as Ted's usual work with the Pharmacists.

In general, I'd say the biggest thing holding this record back is its lack of energy.  The songs tend to be pretty mid tempo and there's really nothing in the way of raised voices, shouting or any real outpouring of enthusiasm.  From what I've heard of Amiee Mann, this is downright punk rock from her usual records, but for Ted Leo it feels like he's being dragged down a dark path into mom-friendly NPR rock.

That probably sounds worse than it actually is.  When they pick up the pace a bit, like on the songs "Milwaukee" and "Bedtime Stories," the record is actually very compelling with great back and forth vocals and some quality harmonies.  But those are bright shining spots on record that otherwise just kind of fades into the background whenever I put it on.  It's not bad, it's good.  But what it isn't is great and that's what I usually sign up for when I buy a Ted Leo record.  I hope he's on the phone with the Pharmacists planning their next record.

The Both - "Milwaukee":

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Against Me - Unconditional Love 7" - Picture Disc

image

Total Treble (2014)

Picture discs have always been an odd bird for me.  While I can appreciate that they can look pretty cool sometimes, there seem to be a lot of instances where I just don't see the point.  Particularly since they often don't sound all that great when compared to a normal record.  This Against Me 7" is one of those records.  You can have a picture disc like Rocket From The Crypt's Boychucker 7" that's just bursting with artwork and color.  But this very minimal, very black and white illustration just isn't screaming out to me that it needs the picture disc treatment.  Plus with all of that blank space, couldn't they put the band name on there somewhere instead of slapping that gigantic sticker on the sleeve?

Anyway, musically it's pretty good.  "Unconditional Love" is a song that I really like, though it is already on the last Against Me full length, so this 7" only exists to me as a vessel for the B-side.  "500 Years" is also pretty good.  Just drums and acoustic guitar.  Slower than you'd think without much of the angst that the band can be known for, but still a good song.  It makes sense to me that it's a B-side, though I'm not sure it's strong enough to really anchor this record.

At the end of the day, you still have to respect what Against Me is doing.  This 7" was $5 in the store I was at.  Almost every other 7" I looked through was between $7 - $10 dollars.  If nothing else, at least Against Me and Total Treble are keeping their prices punk rock.  I'm always happy to support that and this record is absolutely worth every penny of the $5.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Chestnut Road / Panic Attack - Split 7" - Blue Vinyl

image

Snuffy Smiles / Speedowax / Rad Girlfriend / You Look Like Shit / Sick Scene (2014)

This record s a coming together of so many great things that have been important to me over the years.  It's a new Snuffy Smiles release, one of my all time favorite labels.  It's a new Speedowax release, a great label and run by a fellow I've known since the 90's.  It' also co-released by Rad Girlfriend, one of the best new American labels going.

Chestnut Road is one of the bands on here, and you can't possibly have missed my never ending stream of praise for them. Then the other band in Panic Attack; a band that's new to me, but one that I've been trying to catch up on and have been quite impressed with so far.  Finally, it's all tied together by the fact that both bands cover a Broccoli song on the record.  It's almost like this was put out just for me.

All fours songs on this 7" are incredible.  The Chestnut Road original is just another example of why I've become obsessed with this band from France (to the point where I nearly accosted a guy I saw at a Steve Adamyk Band show that was wearing a Chestnut Road shirt). "Clocks Ticking" is just a perfectly constructed song that takes me right back to that mid 90's UK punk scene that I'm just so god damned nostalgic about. Their Broccoli cover they chose was "Fido" and while I don't know that any band will ever do Broccoli songs as good as Broccoli, their take on it is still pretty stellar. When these guys put out their next record, can someone please tell me how I can get the PopKid logo on it?

Panic Attack turn in the best song of theirs that I've heard so far and all it does is make me want to hear more from them.  "Recluse (is a euphemism)" is so dynamic, with gravely vocals that still manage to be incredibly melodic.  Another gigantic leap forward for this band from Quebec.  They chose the Broccoli song "Lean" for their side of the record and give a real impassioned take on the song.  I hope this band is working on a full length, because I'll be buying it on day 1.

Hey, I could listen to a whole album full of Broccoli covers (which is being put together here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1421396768145727/ if you want to get involved), so this 7" is one of those records that just makes me happy by existing.  The fact that the music on it is great as well is just another bonus.

Chestnut Road / Panic Attack - Split 7":


Friday, June 27, 2014

Panic Attack - Empty Malls & Parking Lots 7" - Green Vinyl

image

Big Wheel / Guerilla / Pouzza (2012)

As I wrote about yesterday, once I found out that Panic Attack was doing a split 7" with Chestnut Road, I immediately went out and bought all of their other records.  Sure it was only two 7"s, but I wanted to study up on the band before their new split came out.  The songs from yesterday's record were just fantastic and I had high hopes for the 5 songs on their debut 7".

Empty Malls & Parking Lots came out back in 2012 and as mentioned, it was Panic Attack's first release.  In many ways it kind of sounds like a band's first record.  There's a few moments of greatness, some real potential, but also moments where things fall a little flat.  I'd have to say that in general the songs are a bit more simplistic than their two on the Jeffrey Lost Control split, but there are moments where the band comes off as something special.

The first two tracks, "No Seriously: Fuck Off" and "Wasting Time" both clock in under less than a minute.  They're fast, a little snotty and over before you know it.  Neither are bad, but neither really go anywhere.  It's not until the band gets into their longer tracks "Pictures" and "Black Cat" that they really shine.  Both slow the tempo down a bit and give Panic Attack room to breathe and really take their songs up a notch.  They display far more dynamics than the shorter songs on this 7" and they are much more representative of the type of music they were able to churn out on their second 7".

Still, even at only two records in, I'm extremely impressed with these Quebec based punk rockers.  Next up is their split with Chestnut Road and since one of their songs on that is going to be a Broccoli cover, I can't even imagine how I could possibly not love it.

Panic Attack - Empty Malls & Parking Lots 7":

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Jeffrey Lost Control / Panic Attack - Split 7" - Green Cover (/50)

image

Sick Scene / Big Wheel (2013)

I did something very 90's when I decided to buy this record.  Anyone who reads this website, even infrequently, is surely aware of my love for the band Chestnut Road.  They are one of the absolute best bands going and I buy everything they release.  Well, their next record coming out soon is a split 7" with a band called Panic Attack.  On that 7", both bands are going to cover a Broccoli song, so right then I knew I had to go buy some Panic Attack records immediately.  

We'll start off with the band Jeffrey Lost Control first.  Their first song, "Falling Down" wasn't really blowing me away.  It's got good gruff vocals and some well placed "Ohhhs" in the background, but the drumming isn't for me.  Over the years I've just never been able to get into songs with that non-stop, 100 miles an hour galloping drum beat.  After this song, I figured I could just write off the band as pretty good.  But then they hit me with "Under The Gun."  This is a great song.  The tempo is taken down just a notch and the song is 1000 times better as a result.  Great guitar interplay.  They end up reminding me a lot of bands like Manifesto Jukebox or I Excuse.  I would absolutely like to hear more songs like this from the band.

Then we get to Panic Attack, the reason I bought the 7".  They definitely lived up to the hype I created for them. Their first song "Who Read Holden Caufield" is just super energetic with driving drums and dynamic guitar.  The singer has raspy vocals, but still manages to be melodic.  The songs are catchy with sing along choruses, but not at all saccharine pop. Track two, "I Can Work It Out" is just as great.  It has the same punchy energy of the first song and reminds me a lot of Broccoli actually.  Then, right in the middle of the song we get a bass driven breakdown complete with a movie quote sample a la Jawbreaker.  Very cool stuff.

I bought this 7" just looking to study up on one band, but I managed to find two that I'm going to have to pay attention to going forward.  Even when they're not on the record, Chestnut Road is still getting great music to my turntable.

Jeffrey Lost Control / Panic Attack - Split 7":

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Masked Intruder - M.I. LP - Purple Vinyl

image

Fat Wreck (2014)

Sometimes there's a really fine line between being average and being great.  On the surface, Masked Intruder doesn't appear to be doing anything all that special or inventive.  It's reasonably basic 3-chord, Ramones-esque pop punk.  But they have managed to craft their songs to really stand out from the pack.

Sure, they have their mask gimmick and though I've not seen them play live, I've heard it's a really fun show.  What really sets Masked Intruder apart from their peers is their attention to detail when recording these songs.  M.I. is perfectly produced.  The guitars sound huge, the drums are powerful, the lead vocals are perfectly balanced in the mix; but the key to Masked Intruder are the backing vocals.  This band utilizes backing harmonies better than probably any other current rock band.  They're on practically every song and elevate each one to be something special.

There's quite a few hits here.  From the fighting against the man (but losing) anthem "I Fought The Law" to blazing lead guitar driven "Crime Spree" to the somewhat lower key album closer "Locked Up And Lonely" Masked Intruder are firing on all cylinders.  In some ways it's a better album than their debut.  There's no annoying shouty songs like "Stick Em Up," but I was more blown away by the first album when I originally heard it.  I wouldn't say M.I. is disappointing in the least, I guess now I just expect great things from this band.  Thankfully, they usually deliver.

Masked Intruder - "I Fought The Law":

Masked Intruder - "Crime Spree":