Friday, March 27, 2015

New Colonies - S/T Cassette (/100)

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Self Released (2014)

On several occasions over the years I've mentioned that one of the best current bands going is Rumspringer.  I've tried to do my best to keep tabs on them so I don't miss out on any of their records and in doing so I came across the band New Colonies, featuring Wes from Rumspringer.  You can insert my usual 'I'm not really big on tapes' comment here, but I will say that when a band puts out a limited run cassette as their first release, that doesn't really bother me much at all.  If anything that just seems like how it's suppose to happen.  Feels like the 90's to me.

Anyway, where I think Rumspringer tends to follow the sounds of west coast, Crimpshrine style punk rock, New Colonies is taking a very different path.  I would put the songs on this much closer to a Leatherface, Manifesto Jukebox or I Excuse kind of loud, raspy voiced attack.  You can hear a lot of the Frankie Stubbs influenced palm muted riffs and New Colonies manage to weave those riffs into giant choruses and big hooks.

I will admit to being a complete sucker for this sort of thing.  Leatherface is not only one of my favorite bands in the world, but they've influenced so many of my other favorite bands as well.  This is the sort of music that really clicks with me and I cannot wait to hear more from New Colonies.

New Colonies - S/T Cassette:

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Metronome The City - Isonomia LP (& 720° 7")

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Self Released (2015)

A fellow record collector that I had met through the wonderful world of Rocket From The Crypt variants sent me this LP & &".  I'm not sure of his exact connection with the band other than he likes them a lot and they play out around the New Orleans area.  One, I'm always happy to listen to a new record and two, I always give a fellow Rocket fan more of my attention than your average Joe on the street.  In addition to the band's full length, he also sent over a 7" where they cover music from the video game 720°.

We'll start with the 7" as it's my preference of the two.  I spent a lot of hours playing 720° in the lobby of the Ground Round that my dad used to take us to when I was a kid.  I vividly remember the wacky joystick that could only move in a circle and furiously trying to get as many spins out of it as possible when jumping.  I also logged in a good amount of time with the Nintendo version when that arrived a few years later.  It was interesting hearing the band's interpretation of the music.  It was very faithful and not unlike the Minibosses in some ways.  However Metronome The City's bag of tricks goes a bit deeper and the addition of some synth sounds just sounds great.

I was not as into the songs on their full length.  I can't say they are really all that different from the 720° soundtrack.  It's instrumental rock with synthy flourishes and technical playing.  You can tell they are all very talented musicians and they create some really interesting soundscapes that could fit right in with the video game music of the 80's.  I don't want to say I don't like it, because that isn't true, but I don't have the connection to their original tunes the way I have a link to the 720° soundtrack.  It's video game music for a game that doesn't exist and maybe I just need the gameplay to go along with it.

I do think that a lot of folks would like this, especially if you are into instrumentals more than me.  If you dig bands like The Minibosses or The Advantage, you really should at least check out a few songs on their website.

Metronome The City - Isonomia (3 Songs):


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Johnny Cash - American Recordings LP

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American (2014, Reissue)

During the holidays it's nice to get some records as gifts, but considering the type of music I mainly listen to, it can prove difficult to list off anything that is readily available at major retailers for family to grab.  This past year, when all of the Johnny Cash American Recordings reissues came out, they seemed to be perfect gifting ideas.  I put the four that I didn't have the original pressings of on my list, and now they're in my collection.  I'll get through all four over the next few weeks.

When the first American Recordings album came out in 1994 I can't honestly say I was paying much attention to Johnny Cash.  Though I know this is the record that made him relevant again, it's not really something that entered my little world way back when.  It was American Recordings II where I came on board, but I'll write more about that some other time.  I did, of course, backtrack and pick up this album a long time ago, but I had just grabbed a used CD.  

It is such a wonderful record and I would never question why so many people loved it.  It's borderline perfect.  The entire record is just Johnny, his guitar and some songs.  The gigantic and epic sound he's able to make on this album with so few tools is more than anything to the powerful voice of Johnny Cash.  He owns each and every one of the performances in this record.  Songs like "Deliah's Gone, "The Beast In Me" and "Like A Soldier" are so impactful and just feel important. 

The other bonus is this pressing sounds phenomenal.  Everything is crisp and clear.  I've honestly never heard these songs sound any better.  The odds of anyone reading this review and buying the record based on what I say about the songs of Johnny Cash are pretty slim.  Most everyone knows who he is and already knows if they like him or not.  But what I can say is this pressing is absolutely worth picking up.  If you don't have the album at all, it's essential and while I don't have an original pressing to compare the reissue to, it sounds amazing and may even be worth an upgrade.  Maybe not though, I've never heard the original.

Johnny Cash - "Deliah's Gone":

Johnny Cash - "The Beast In Me":

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dan Sartain - Romance In Stereo LP - Clear w/ Pink Splatter Vinyl (/25)

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Shed House (2014, Reissue)

A few months back I wrote a lengthy piece about the Shed House records reissue of this LP.  I had drawn the conclusion that I didn't like the way the rarest variant was being bundled as it was only available for a hefty price tag.  I decided to just buy the most common version direct from Dan Sartain and be done with it.  I was a bit bummed as Dan is one of my favorites and I had been trying to acquire as many of his variants as I could, but I couldn't justify the cost.

My patience paid off big time.  My pal @charles1981 sent me a message the other day saying that he found both the test pressing of this album as well as the splatter variant for sale at a store by him.  He kept the test pressing and sold me the splatter for a silly low price.  Now this record is finally in my collection and I didn't have to pay through the nose to get it either.  Thanks Charles!

As I've mentioned before, the record itself is just stellar.  Hearing the early rough Dan Sartain recordings are what really elevated him to be in the upper echelon of my favorites and having Romance In Stereo on vinyl is such a treat.  I may not have totally agreed with the pricing breakdowns that Shed House employed, but I absolutely applaud and thank them for bringing this amazing record to vinyl.  

Dan Sartain - Romance In Stereo:

Monday, March 23, 2015

Modest Mouse - This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About LP - Silver & Blue Haze Vinyl (/1000)

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Glacial Pace (2014, Reissue)

Modest Mouse has a new record out this year, plus they've gone on a pretty extensive reissue campaign over the past few months.  As I didn't really have any Modest Mouse vinyl, I figured this would be a good time to start picking up everything else since it's the first time in decades most of this has been readily available.  So, for the next few weeks, we'll have Modest Mouse Monday.

I'm going to do the records chronologically and first up is This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About.   I can't say this has ever really been my favorite Modest Mouse album.  I'll admit to not really getting that into the band until they had released The Moon And Antarctica.  That was the first record that really made me pay attention to this band and I think part of that may have been that I found their earliest music a little underwhelming when I had first heard it.

I can go back to this record now with fresh ears and I was wrong to completely dismiss it.  There are moments that are very strong.  Songs like "Breakthrough," "Novocain Strain" and "Exit Does Not Exist" are obviously great songs and real standouts on this record.  But there are a few too many long, slow songs that I don't think have quite as many interesting ideas in them as the band was able to produce in later years.  It's a good record, but I just don't think it will ever get quite as much play from me as the rest of their catalog.

The pressing itself is very nice.  I paid the few extra bucks and ordered my copy from Newbury Comics.  Their version was limited to 1000 copies and the exclusive was the blue and silver haze vinyl.  I think it looks really sharp and completely matches the artwork, so even though it was a little more expensive than the black vinyl, I think it was worth it. Additionally, it sounds fantastic.  I don't have an original pressing to compare it to, but I think this reissue sound great and it's worth picking up if you've been on the fence. 

Modest Mouse - "Breakthrough":

Modest Mouse - "Novocain Strain":

Friday, March 20, 2015

No Knife - Riot For Romance LP

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Day After (2002)

This is another record that I have been after for quite some time.  Though I wouldn't call it exceedingly rare, I have had a difficult time finding it at a decent price.  Typically when these things end up on Discogs or eBay, people seem to think this is a $50 record.  Then it tends to go unsold.  Finally one of these popped up on Discogs for about $20, and that was my price point to add the vinyl version of this to the collection.

Riot For Romance was the last No Knife album and you could make the argument that it was the worst of the four.  But using the word 'worst' is kind of silly as even though this album may not have been quite as perfect as some of the band's other records, it is still a pretty fantastic album.  No Knife's entire discography is extremely strong and every album is borderline essential to have in your collection.

The way the band is able to layer guitars and shift the dynamics of songs, even within the same song at times, has impressed me to no end.  Few bands can go from a loud booming guitar part and so seamlessly segue into a quiet, bass driven mathy breakdown.  To me the album is really held down by the standouts "Riot For Romance," "The Red Bedroom" and one of my all-time favorite No Knife songs "Permanent For Now."

With a gun to my head, I probably say Fire In The City Of Automatons is my favorite No Knife record, but Riot For Romance is no slouch either.  I'm thrilled to finally add it to the collection and I certainly wouldn't mind if the band decided to start putting out some new records. 2002 is way to long ago at this point.

No Knife - "Permanent For Now":

No Knife - "Riot For Romance":

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Zonaea - Apocalypse Beach 12" - Clear w/ Splatter Vinyl (/75)

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Zoo & A Movie (2015)

Let's start off talking about the thing that I first noticed about this record when I opened up the package that was sent to me, the artwork.  It's a tremendous set up.  I see a lot of artwork for bands that press super limited amounts of a record, it usually looks pretty cheap and flimsy.  Not so with Apocalypse Beach.  The screened cover looks great, the splatter vinyl matches the artwork nicely and they even include a CD in it's own little matching cardboard slipcase. Kudos for a nice layout.

I had not heard of this band prior to them sending me this record to review and I'm pretty impressed by it.  Six songs (Five original and one Sebadoh cover) of quiet-then-loud indie rock.  I really prefer when Zonaea leans towards the quiet end of the spectrum as they remind me of Pinback in places.  They have a way of weaving together intricate muted guitar parts with soft spoken vocals that are very Rob Crow-ish.  

On the other side, the band isn't afraid to get a little loud and screamy, sometimes with mixed results.  At times the vocals mixed with the loud guitar parts ends up sounding a bit like Faith No More to me.  It's an interesting little EP and certainly worth heading over to their Bandcamp page to give a listen to.  Not sure if it's an immediate must buy, but it's pretty good.

Zonaea - Apocalypse Beach 12":

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Eliot Pride - Warm Blood 7" - Red Vinyl

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Self Released (2014)

I'll admit it, when it comes to records sometimes I'm a bit of a judge-a-book-by-its-cover kind of guy.  I don't mean to be, but there are times where I get a record in the mail, particularly one sent to me for review, and survey the landscape I tend to pretty much know that I'm not going to like it.  When I opened up the package that this Eliot Pride 7" was in and took one look at the dude on the cover with his acoustic guitar, illuminated by the streetlights of a cold dark city, my expectations were set pretty low.

I'm happy to say I was wrong.  While I wouldn't go so far as to say I love this 7" and everyone should go buy it right away, it's significantly better than your average guy with a guitar release.  In particular, the title track "Warm Blood" is very strong.  While it doesn't have quite as much of a breakneck, ramshackle sort of feel as Slim Cessna's Auto Club, I hear similarities between the two.  There's a lot of country and alt-country that sounds forced and labored to me, "Warm Blood" has an authentic quality to it makes it far more memorable than most.

The rest of the 7" isn't quite as strong.  The other three tracks are mostly just Eliot Pride and his acoustic guitar with no backup band.  Even these three are fine though.  It's a good little record and if your tastes lean more towards the alt/punk/country/thing, you'll probably like it even more than I did.

Eliot Pride - Warm Blood 7":

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

RVIVR - Bicker And Breath 12"

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Rumbletowne (2014)

RVIVR is one of the few bands I'll forgive for committing the mortal sin of having a band name that's missing vowels.  Thank goodness for that lone "I" holding things down in the middle.  Discounting any silly feelings about bands that overuse the missing vowels gimmick, RVIVR has been one of the most reliable punk rock bands releasing records over the past few years.  They started off strong with a few 7"s back in 2009 and you could really make the argument that they continue to get better with each new release.

Bicker And Breathe is no exception to this rule.  If you wanted to say this is the best batch of RVIVR songs yet, I couldn't really find too many reasons to disagree with you.  The songs are all packed with this contagious enthusiasm and energy,  The first three songs in particular are all fantastic, hit after hit.  Heavy on big hooks and fast, catchy music.  The male/female vocal dynamic really makes this band something special as each vocalist compliments the other and both sound stronger as a result.

The fourth song, "The Sound," slows things down just a bit and gives the band a moment to catch their breath, but it is just as well written and dynamic as the trifecta that open this EP.  The very last track, "Bicker/Breathe," is the only one that I find doesn't live up to four before it.  I think it's a little too straightforward and feels a bit out of place sitting next to four of the band's very best.

RVIVR hasn't let me down yet.  So often my favorite album by a band tends to be the first one of theirs that I hear.  RVIVR is one of those rare groups that just improves with every new song and every new idea.  I hope they keep making tons of record going forward.  If they all continue to improve at this rate, their next full length is going to be a real doozy.

RVIVR - Bicker And Breath 12":

Friday, March 13, 2015

Suspicious Beasts - Never Bloom LP

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Alien Snatch (2013)

This record kind of got lost in the shuffle.  Even though I was not on top of things and didn't order it right when it came it in 2013, I have had it sitting in my record pile for a solid three or four months before finally getting to it today.  I ordered this when I saw it for sale at an online distro that I was buying some other records from, so I missed out on the limited colored vinyl version that could have been mailordered direct from Germany.  

Never Bloom is the second album from Suspicious Beasts. While I don't think these guys are making music quite as good as some of their previous bands (The Urchin and Three Minute Movie), that's a pretty high water mark to try to live up to.  Never Bloom is a very strong garage rock record.  It's poppy in the right places and they manage to employ a little psych into things without it becoming overbearing and annoying.  It's a fun energetic record and although I could do with a bit less distortion on the vocals (I see this becoming a more frequent complaint of mine) I really like it.

I actually think it's even better than their first album Used To Be Beautiful.  Where Used To Be Beautiful was a little boozier and looser, Never Bloom seems more focused, more upbeat and a lot tighter.  There's a lot of garage-y bands out there in the world right now.  This deluge is creating a glut of mediocre records.  Never Bloom stands out from that pack and is definitely worth grabbing if you see it.

Suspicious Beasts - "With The Devil":

Suspicious Beasts - "Who Wants To Buy My Soul"

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dharma Dogs - Drown 7"

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Kitschy Manitou (2012)

It's been really wacky to see the uptick in the number of records people are sending me to review.  I'm not sure exactly why this started to happen all of a sudden.  It's not a complaint, but I'm curious what changed to make people want to start sending me things.  This 7" is a bit of a weird one.  It's from 2012.  I'm not sure why the person who sent it decided to send me a three year old record.  Not that I'm against that or have any sort of rules about how recent a record is before sending it, but it's a little unusual to receive a record that's not a current, brand new record.

Dharma Dogs is an odd little band.  The three songs on this record are all somewhat dark and the band had managed to really wack out the guitar sound on the record.  It's got a swampy, muddled tone that makes the songs tend to bleed into each other.  On top of that there's some pretty angry sounding yelling and wailing by the main vocalist.  I'm not really into this sort of thing.  I typically need a bit more melody than Dharma Dogs are providing me on this record.

For it's genre, I guess it's OK, but there's almost never going to be a time where I want to listen to this sort of music.  It always comes across to me like a bunch of dudes yelling and presumably flailing around on stage during a live show and that's just not my thing. Oh and label folks, I'm probably not going to do a full review of that Tiny Daggers cassette.  I didn't really like it and you probably know how I feel about tapes. We'll see, I'll hang on to it and maybe I'll get to it during a slow week.

Dharma Dogs - Drown 7":

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Supercrush - I Don't Want To Be Sad Anymore 7" - Blue Vinyl (/100)

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Debt Offensive (2015)

This was a record sent to me to review, but I couldn't even tell you how excited I was when I picked it up from the post office.  The number of records people have been sending me to review lately has been increasing, but the number of good records I've been getting is a debatable topic.  I think I can say that this Supercrush 7" is the best record I've ever been sent to review.

That probably has a lot to do with the fact that I already knew and liked the band's first 7".  This 7" was on my radar, but I've been trying to cut down a bit on the number of one off 7"s that I buy by themselves.  With the postage, it just makes for an expensive deal sometimes.  This means I'm occasionally (and I stress occasionally) missing out on colored vinyl or running the risk of just forgetting about the record.  I'm very thankful Debt Offensive sent this over to me as it would be a shame to miss out on this one, plus the fact that they hooked me up with the colored vinyl version makes it even better.

Supercrush is playing the kind of laid back, pop leaning alternative rock that I just loved back in the 90's.  You can hear bands like Poole, The Merrymakers, The Wannadies and maybe the quieter moments of the Doughboys in these songs.  Sure, that's kind of a rogue's gallery of failed major label bands (I'm in America, not Canada - Doughboys never really got big here), but all of those bands are near and dear to my heart.  Supercrush is doling out the kind of warm, gigantic guitar tones with stellar melodies that can't be beat.

This 7"s is one of the best, if not the best I've heard all year long.  It's worth going out of your way to get and I'm hopeful that Supercrush is working on more records as we speak.  I would particularly love to hear a full album's worth of material from this great, great band.

Supercrush - I Don't Want To Be Sad Anymore 7":

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Him Kerosene - Start. Stop. CD

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Telegram (1997)

I wouldn't say I'm breaking the rules of my own website, but I'm going to bend them here a little bit.  When I write about a record, I only write about new records that I've bought recently.  I don't go diving into the archives because I'm not really documenting my entire collection, only the new things I am adding to it.  I've had a copy of this Him Kerosene album since the late 90's, so it's not really new.  But I just bought a second copy.  I'll use that as an excuse to write about this record because more people deserve to hear it.

Start. Stop. is one of my top ten favorite records of all time.  I've said numerous times that I think Him Kerosene are the most under appreciated band that have ever walked the planet.  In a perfect world, they would have been one of the most famous bands there was, but they just ended up being something of an obscurity.  This album was released on Telegram records, a subsidiary of Warner in Sweden.  From what I can gather, it was released and then quietly faded away.  I'm not sure if it ended up being the equivalent of a Fig Dish caliber used bin band over in Sweden, but these CD's didn't really make it to America.  

I received my original copy from Magnus, the drummer from the band Starmarket and the guy who ran a record label called Chalk Sounds for a while.  I have just cherished this record ever since.  I never see copies come up, so when one recently appeared on Discogs from a seller in France, I grabbed it.  That's how important this record is to me, I just felt that I had to have a back up copy in case something ever happened to my original.

The music on this little silver disc is some of the best I have ever heard. Giant, dynamic, insane guitar work highlights Him Kerosene.  They have an incredible way of weaving a tapestry of noisy riffs out of two amazingly talented guitarists.  The rhythm section is a powerful force, keeping the band grounded while the guitar chaos is swirling around them.  In that regard I see some similarities to how The Pixies operated, but I wouldn't say the two bands sound alike. 

The vocals on this album are what elevate it to the highs it reaches.  Niklas Quintana's higher pitched, pissed-off-Doug-Martsch sounding voice, layered on top of this storm of music is simply a perfect combination.  Just listen to a few moments of "Untied" or "Neutrino" or "Whatever Gets You By."  Start. Stop. is an absolute classic.  It is one of the best records ever released in the history of mankind and it is the number one record that I'm begging someone, anyone to rerelease on vinyl.  It deserves so much more than to just be a forgotten album, hiding in a used CD section in some forgotten record store in Europe.  This is an album that should be celebrated.

In a tragic turn of events, I can't find most of the songs on this album streaming anywhere online.  Only "Whatever Gets You By."  It's a tremendous song, but I don't think it is representative of the fast paced energy of the rest of the album.  It's the song that is closest to being this album's ballad, if you could use that word to describe any song on this record.  It does look like the album is available on iTunes and some other online download services, so if you can't find a copy of the record anywhere, it's certainly worth a download.  You wouldn't find me willing to pay for an electronic version of an album often, but this is one time that I would if there were no other option.

Him Kerosene - "Whatever Gets You By":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bemNJ6ysPiQ


Monday, March 9, 2015

World's Fair - Leisurely LP - Blue w/ White Splatter Vinyl (/100)

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Rok Lok (2015)

I love 1990's indie rock.  It's just one of my absolute favorite things and one of the easiest ways to get me to check out a record is to tell me it reminds you of Archers of Loaf.  That's what happened with the band World's Fair.  I read an Archers comparison online and immediately bought the record.  While I'm still not sure that Archers are the best point of reference for this band, I'm glad I picked up Leisurely.

Reading that last paragraph, it should come as no surprise that World's Fair's music does in fact lean towards 90's indie rock.  While they do have some of the fuzzy guitar flourishes of Archers of Loaf in general I think they lean more towards the Built To Spill side of the spectrum.  An even more accurate comparison would be to the first Yuck record, I think.  Whatever bands you want to reference, World's Fair is playing dynamic, intricate indie rock with no shortage of hooks and catchy melodies.  There are a couple of songs that go a little too far down the distorted vocal path for my personal taste, but that isn't how every song is recorded.

Overall, it's a very strong record, one that I've found myself repeatedly going back to over the past few weeks.  I think 2015 has started off a little slow as far as the number of new records that have come out that I'm into, but with band's like World's Fair on the list, at least the quality level has been quite high,

World's Fair - Leisurely LP:

Thursday, March 5, 2015

MAKO1972 - Cannonball Lecture 7" - Pink Vinyl

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Snappy Little Numbers (2015)

I've been singing the praises of the Snappy Little Numbers label for a bit here on this little website.  They've been putting out some great records lately by smaller, but incredible bands.  I'll admit it though, I was pretty surprised when I popped this guy on the turntable.  While the label has made a name for itself (with me anyway) for some solid, poppy indie and punk, MAKO1972 is a little slice of some dissonant, noisy chaos.

Despite my obvious pop leanings, I can get down with the occasional loud and noisy band if they're doing something interesting.  All you need to do is look towards my Drive Like Jehu or Blind Shake albums.  While MAKO1972 may not be quite at that level yet, this 7" is a fun listen.

A side "Cannonball Lecture" is a fast, screaming, intense ripper.  The lead guitars on the verse are intricate and dynamic, coupled with some intense shouted vocals.  They build into a huge chorus where the guitars somehow manage to get even louder.  B side "Even Ghosts Perish" is the complete opposite end of the spectrum.  It's significantly slower and more deliberate with subdued vocals compared to "Cannonball Lecture."

Considering that this 7" doesn't really play directly to my personal tastes, the fact that I think it is pretty good should say something about the quality of the songs.  If your tastes favor the noisier end of the Dischord catalog (my tastes always lead me back to Trusty), I imagine you'll like this record even more than I do.

MAKO1972 - Cannonball Lecture 7":

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Hysterese - S/T LP - White Vinyl (/100)

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Dirt Cult (2015)

As always, I trust the taste of the fine folks over at Dirt Cult records almost unconditionally.  While I don't buy every single thing they put out, I feel like I pick up an awful lot of their records, and with reason.  Especially in the world of catchy punk rock, their tastes line up with mine just fine.

Hysterese is a band from Germany that I hadn't really heard much about, but the description of their record in Dirt Cult's upcoming releases updates had me intrigued, so I decided to grab it.  I am so glad I did as this is a real powerhouse of an album.

It's an interesting mix of styles as the band manages to incorporate elements of the Marked Men's two thousand mile an hour guitar riff insanity with a more intense tone.  If you need another frame of reference, the band that I hear the most similarities to is Sedatives (minus the organ).  It's a darker, serious punk album that doesn't shy away from big hooks. The alternating male/female vocals really give the songs a massive impact as the combo creates a huge, powerful sound.

Top to bottom this is simply a great record.  If you can get into bands like The Estranged, Red Dons or Hot Snakes, this is record that should really be in your collection.

Hysterese - S/T LP:




Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Low Culture / Iron Chic - Split 7" - Orange Vinyl (/200)

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Dead Broke / Dirt Cult (2015)

I love a good split 7" and when you team up two bands like this, well I guarantee you that I'll be picking it up on day 1.  Both Iron Chic and Low Culture have been cranking out fantastic records for a bit and neither one has let me town yet.  On this split, rather than have each take a side, both the A side and B side have a song by each band.  I'll break it up by band for the sake of the review though.

The first of the two Iron Chic songs is "L'espirit de L'escalier."  I can't say this is my favorite Iron Chic moment that's come around.  It's built around a one hundred mile an hour galloping drum beat, the exact drum beat that tends to drive me crazy whenever any band uses it.  There's a few nice breakdowns, but in general I think the song is just so fast it ends up being a little one dimensional.  That being said, their second contribution "Subhumanoid Meltdown" is incredible and showcases everything I love about this band.  The tempo is slowed down and the band really hits it's stride with a huge chorus that begs you to scream along with it at the top of your lungs.

Low Culture is just so damn great.  Their two songs on this 7" could be some of their best to date.  I really hope these guys are working on a new full length very soon.  Their first song "Not A Machine" is a punchy blast of garage-y guitar and pop hooks.  Just outstanding.  Somehow, their second track "Oh Jazelle" is even better.  A little slower, but even catchier than "Not A Machine."  I think Low Culture is an hugely underrated band, everything they've touched has been absolute gold since they started up.  If you don't have any of their records in your collection, this split is a pretty great place to start.

Low Culture / Iron Chic - Split 7":

Monday, March 2, 2015

Mad Doctors - Snake Oil Superscience LP

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King Pizza (2014)

I'm still in the process of going through this little stock pile of records that people have sent me to review.  It's a good thing I have them as it's been kind of a slow start to the new year for new records coming out that I want to buy.  A lot of times when someone sends me a record, I have no idea why they sent it and at times I question if they have ever read anything on my website.  I can't say for sure, but The Mad Doctors are much more up my alley than the typical band-I've-never-heard-of records that occasionally show up at my door.  I get the feeling that someone involved with this band or record label might actually read this website every so often.

The Mad Doctors are playing a version of 60's influenced garage rock.  Their guitars are absolutely soaked in reverb and tremolo, giving the band a vintage, but otherworldly sound.  There are strong hooks, interesting guitar leads and a good showing of energy that makes Snake Oil Superscience an easy record to pop on the turntable for a spin.

My major criticism of the band is that I really don't like the way the vocals were recorded.  Based on the type of music they are playing and the general tone of the entire record, I'm sure the vocals were an aesthetic choice.  I am, however, a little sick of the super fuzzy, recorded-in-an-abandoned-cave-somewhere vocal effect. I think the songs are strong enough to stand up to cleaner production and not be hidden behind a wall of static.

This certainly isn't the best or most original album I have ever heard, but it's definitely one of the better records that someone has mailed to me to check out.  Due to my issue with the vocals, I'm not sure that this is the sort of thing that I'll end up playing that often, but if garage rock is your thing, specifically if you like some scuzzy vocals, The Mad Doctors are worth checking out.

The Mad Doctors - Snake Oil Superscience:

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Overwhelming Colorfast / Stuntman - Split 7"

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Dust Bowl (1996)

While I do not have the same sort of story time prose that I had for yesterday's Crocodile God 7", I have been searching and searching for this Overwhelming Colorfast/Stuntman 7" for an even longer time.  It's all because of the Overwhelming Colorfast album Moonlight & Castanets.  That album is another one of my all time favorite, but criminally overlooked and under-appreciated records of the 1990's.  

Overwhelming Colorfast is a band that employed those big powerful fluf-esque guitar riffs, coupled with Bob Reed's smooth vocals and a killer rhythm section.  I don't understand why they didn't end up significantly more famous than they did.  All three of their full lengths are well worth checking out, but Moonlights & Castanets has always been my top pick of the bunch.  

Funny enough the Overwhelming Colorfast song on this 7" is, I assume, an early version of a song that ended up appearing on Moonlights, "How It Should Be."  It doesn't really matter to me all that much that I don't have a new song after finally acquiring this 7".  Sometimes it's just the thrill of the hunt.  Keep in mind I have been actively looking for this record since 1996.  It came out in 1996 and even back then I couldn't find one anywhere.

The Stuntman side is really just a bonus.  Stuntman is a band that I never explored as fully as I probably should have.  They came to be after Treepeople finally called it quits and their sound isn't too dissimilar to what Treepeople were up to on their later era albums.  Their song "Chickens Don't Have Fingers" is a noisy, totally 90's, Archers of Loaf sounding indie rock song.  Definitely good enough to make me think I should probably go back and re-listen to their other records.

It's hard to remember a time when this 7" and yesterday's Crocodile God 7" were not on my records wants list.  It's an incredible feeling to finally have both in the collection.  But the number 1 record on my list is still out there.  If anyone can help me find the first, self titled Love As Laughter cassette my longest hunt would finally be over.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Crocodile God - Two Days 7"

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Big Fella (1994)

There have been a handful of records on my wants list for years and years. Several approaching the 20 year mark.  The ones that have been there for the longest were from bands that have a small, but passionate fan base. The rarity wasn't as much from hordes of people wanting the same record, but more from ultra small pressings and an obscurity that kept them off the radar a bit.  

In an insane bit of luck, I scored two of the top three records on my wants list within the span of a couple of weeks.  It was all kind of crazy as I have literally been looking for both for at least 18 years.  Number three on the all time sought after list was the Two Days 7" from Crocodile God.  You've heard me talk at length about the mid 90's punk scene from the UK and my undying love for bands like Broccoli, Hooton 3 Car, Chopper, Skimmer and more.  Crocodile God was right in the mix with those bands having released some singles on Crackle Records along with their full length and a 12" EP.

I first discovered the band through their second 7" Boss in 1996.  At that stage I was pretty much buying anything that Crackle Records put out as aside from the band Toast, I adored everything they were releasing.  I was pretty impressed with that record and those songs appeared on many mix tapes I made at that time.  But what really blew the doors down was the band's fourth 7", Ladders.  Those songs are absolutely amazing and that record stands as one of my absolute favorite 7"s from the 90's.  I'd been hunting for their debut 7" ever since, including multiple trips to the UK searching through dozens and dozens of record stores.  And sure, I have a complete Mega City Four collection as a result of those trips, but man did I want that freaking Crocodile God 7".

When I found the second biggest record on my wants list, on a lark, I decided to mention that I was still searching for this Crocodile God 7" on Twitter, tagging a few pals from the UK just to see in any of them had any leads.  Well much to my surprise, the main man from Crocodile God himself Mark "Guitar" Murphy (he doesn't call himself that, but he really should) stepped up and agreed to send me the one extra copy of the record he had squirreled away.  

On top of that, he wouldn't even take any money from me for it.  Punk rock really is the greatest thing on earth.  I've been involved with people into this type of music for a really long time and I am never not amazed at what incredible, genuine people they all are.  I'm thankful I have such great taste in music as it really has led to so many wonderful things in my life.

That's a lot of story telling and not a lot of talking about this specific record.  I had heard all of these songs before from the Crocodile God singles collection. So getting this 7" was not as much about obtaining the songs as it was tracking down a piece of history that I was missing.  That being said the songs are all still quite good after all of this time.  I think the band definitely improved as they went on, but if you compare it to the debut 7" of one of my other favorite bands at the time, Chopper, Two Days comes out on top.

Opener "Kamarrah" has all of the speed, vocal melody and change-ups that really defined Crocodile God throughout their time.  In 2015, you cringe a little bit at the quick "oi oi" part at the beginning, but hey, Snuff was doing it at the time too! "Still Bleeding" is a ten million mile an hour punk rock ripper. "Coming From" is probably my favorite song of the bunch as I always felt the band was at their very best when they slowed things down just a little bit and showcased their knack for catchy hooks.  And finally "Clockwork" is a short closing blast with more of the tempo shifts that the band was always so good at.

It's just an amazing thing to have this record in hand.  It's the completion of a nearly two decade long quest and the fact that it was just sent to me as a gift by another long time punk rock makes it that much better.  Thank you Mark, both for all of the years of great music and for sending me this record.  Everyone should also know that Mark's current band. The No Marks, just happened to put out one of the best records of 2014.  So everyone should go buy that and then start hunting down some Crocodile God 7"s.  A warning though, it may take a little while to find Two Days.

Crocodile God - "Kamarrah":

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dan Sartain - Dan Sartain Lives LP

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One Little Indian (2015, Reissue)

The second of the two Dan Sartain reissues is Dan Sartain Lives.  It's another album that wasn't on vinyl previously and that was a crime.  You're not going to hear me say much about Dan Sartain that isn't a compliment and among Dan's records, this is one of the best.

I think Join Dan Sartain will always be my favorite of his records, but Dan Sartain Lives is definitely in the discussion for number two on the list.  Once again he's just packed this album full of great songs.  From the slower fuzzed out "Doin' Anything I Say" to the latest manic installment of "Walk Among The Cobras IV" to the stripped down and deliberate "Atheist Funeral" you can really see Dan growing as a songwriter on this album.

Dan Sartain would start experimenting more with some good old fashion punk rock after this Dan Sartain Lives came out.  While those records are also tremendous in their own way, to me the one-two punch of Join and Lives really epitomizes what I love about Dan Sartain's music.  As with Vs. The Serpientes, the card stock that One Little Indian used on the album cover is kind of cheap and flimsy, but I'm just so happy that this record is finally out on vinyl, it's hard to complain too much about that.

Dan Sartain - "Walk Among The Cobras IV":

Dan Sartain - "Atheist Funeral":

Monday, February 23, 2015

Dan Sartain - Vs. The Serpientes LP

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One Little Indian (2015, Reissue)

For the longest time Vs. The Serpientes and Dan Sartain Lives were two of the records that I was most annoyed had never come out on vinyl (Onehundredpercentfreak by Alligator Gun, Start.Stop. by Him Kerosene and Shipwrecked by The Sultans round out the top five if you're curious).  I wasn't sure if these Dan Sartain records would ever be released and I had nearly dropped a large sum of money on a Dan Sartain Lives test pressing, thinking it would be the only way to own it on vinyl.  Luckily, I was outbid on that record and shortly thereafter common sense prevailed over at One Little Indian and I finally have both of these amazing Dan Sartain records on vinyl.

Vs. The Serpientes is what started it all for me.  I vividly remember how completely blown away by it I was and how I immediately had to share this incredible record with everyone.  There was just something so unique and exciting about Dan Sartain.  He had that southern, Johnny Cash outlaw thing going.  He played some acoustic guitar, but was unabashedly punk rock.  The fact that he had cozied up to Rocket From The Crypt and Swami record certainly didn't hurt as I'm not positive he would have ended up on my radar otherwise.  But the songs on this record were just so amazing.

All three "Walk Among The Cobras" are essential listing and the one-two opening punch of "Trying To Say" and "P.C.B. '98" is one of the strongest I can think of from the 2000's.  The real knock out punch for me has always been the slow and somber "Place To Call My Home."  It's simply a gorgeous song and puts Dan right up there with some of the best things Beck ever wrote for One Foot In The Grave.

I'd be remiss to not mention the fact that One Little Indian skimped out on the artwork here.  The cardstock they used is really flimsy and the spine of my record was completely obliterated by the time my record got to me.  I had actually bought my copy direct from Dan Sartain as he was selling a handful that he had redecorated himself.  He drew over the cover with red and blue ink and funny enough, if you look at it with the enclosed 3-D glasses, it does jump out at you a bit.  Pretty neat.

Regardless of the cover issues, this record is beyond essential and I really am thrilled to have it in the collection.  Tomorrow I'll write a bit about the other reissue, Dan Sartain Lives.

Dan Sartain - "Walk Among The Cobras, Pt. 1":

Dan Sartain - "Place To Call My Home":

Friday, February 20, 2015

Warm Soda - Reaction 7" (Clear Vinyl)

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Southpaw (2012)

I came on board the Warm Soda bandwagon as their first full length had been released.  I missed out on their debut 7" on Southpaw and just kept putting off grabbing it.  Then one day they were all gone.  Well, no worries as Southpaw pressed up another batch recently so I was able to get one on clear vinyl.

What it comes down to is this, if you like other Warm Soda records, you're going to like this one as well.  The trademarks are all their.  Bouncy guitar riffs? Check. Whispered vocals? Check. Sounds like it was recorded in a room made of tin foil? Check.  These are the things that make Warm Soda instantly identifiable and I really like them.  That being said, I have some friends that just don't like Matthew Melton's vocals.  They are different enough to warrant someone having a reaction to them I guess, but I have always thought that within this band, they match perfectly to the pop tunes being created.

Even though I was a little down on the most recent Warm Soda full length (I thought the recording wasn't good and zapped all of the energy out of the songs), listening to their debut 7" again reminded me why I like this band so much.  They just write great, catchy songs.  Hopefully they have another new album this year, I'm definitely ready for one.

Warm Soda - "Reaction":

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Hell City Kings - One Night Stand Ego 7" - Purple Vinyl

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Artificial Head (2014)

I'm still trying to tear through this little pile of records that were sent to me to review.  Next up on the list is a 7" from Hell City Kings.  The artwork didn't make this seem like a particularly inviting 7" to throw on the turntable, but looks can be deceiving.  I wouldn't go so far as to say I like this record, though it's not nearly as bad as some others that I've reviewed lately.

Hell City Kings are very much your prototypical rock and roll band.  More than anything I hear a big time Supersuckers influence.  It's grimy, driving rock with lots of lead guitar licks and chord changes.  The singer has something of a gruff wail that certainly suits the music, even if it doesn't really thrill me.  I can't say that either of the 2 songs really stand out as they are both pretty similar.

If you like your rock and roll or really like the Supersuckers but thing Eddie Spaghetti's voice is too finely tuned of an instrument, Hell City Kings may be just the band for you.  If you think there's already plenty of this sort of thing out there, you can probably pass on this.

Hell City Kings - One Night Stand Ego 7":

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Les Chaussettes - Kate 7" - Red Vinyl

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Punk Fox (2014)

There are times that I wish I got a few more records sent to me to review.  After all, who doesn't want free records? Then there are times where I'm kind of glad I don't get a ton of records sent to me.  I do this website because I think it's a fun way to catalog my weird record buying habit.  If this was to turn into a predominantly review driven website, I think that would suck the joy out of it for me.  So I guess the moral is, if you put out good records, send them over.  If you don't, keep them.

Punk Fox should maybe think about keeping their records instead of sending them to me.  I honestly feel bad, they have sent me every record they've released so far and I just don't like any of them.  I really would like to write nice things about someone that sends me records, but these just aren't my cup of tea.  I don't want to constantly be in the position of writing bad things about someone who is doing a nice thing.

That being said, Les Chaussettes is probably the best record of the bunch to date.  A-side "Kate" has a warble-y, underwater sounding guitar riff that reminds me a little of early Beck.  Despite the interesting guitar tone, the song is still not very good mainly due to the vocals. The just don't have any energy to them at all.  They sound like a bored grammar school chorus being forced to sing in front of the rest of the school.  B-side "Volcanoes" is just kind of there.  It elicits no feeling from me one way or the other.

Another thing about the records Punk Fox is sending me is that the cover art for all of them kind of look the same.  I assume it's the same person doing all of the art.  I know for a fact it is for their 3rd and 4th single, but there's no art credit on the first two.  The person designing these covers seems to be hung up on odd angled close up shots of people with writing on them.  I'm no artist, so it's probably not my place to critique, but I just don't like the way they look at all.  I have one more Punk Fox 7" waiting in the wings.  If I'm to judge the book by its cover, it is probably the worst of the bunch.  I'll get to it eventually, but the last thing I want is for doing my review in the morning to become a chore.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Cloud Nothings - Attack On Memory LP

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Carpark (2012)

In 2014 the record I listened to more than any other was Cloud Nothing's Here And Nowhere Else.  When a record hits me like that, my immediate thought is to snatch up as many of the band's other records as possible.  Even though I I had only listened to one of Cloud Nothings records previously, I felt it was important to try out some of the band's other works.

I didn't really like their self titled album back when it had originally come out and because of that I never even listened to Attack On Memory.  Listening to it with fresh ears, it's not as good as Here And Nowhere Else, but it is a lot stronger and certainly more interesting that their self titled record.  Had I given is a shot when the album originally came out, I bet I would have liked it.  It is a good album and one I've been listening to, but now I compare it to Here And Nowhere Else.  That's a bit of an unfair comparison as most records will fall short based on that standard.

Attack On Memory doesn't do itself any favors by starting out with the worst song on the album "No Future/No Past."  It's a bit of a chore with a repetitious verse and chorus.  Slow, a little whiny.  Not a great first impression, but as soon as the 2nd track "Wasted Days" hits, things are looking up.  Sure it has a really long outro that drags things down a little, but it's still a great song that showcases how much the band has grown since their prior record.

The rest of the album is just as good.  It's never quite as great as Here And Nowhere Else, though judged on its own merits, Attack On Memory is a worthy album to have in your collection.  Here And Nowhere Else, however, is essential.

Cloud Nothings - "Stay Useless":

Cloud Nothings - "Cut You":

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Swami John Reis & The Blind Shake - Modern Surf Classics LP

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Swami (2015)

When John Reis' name is attached to a project, you are guaranteed my money immediately.  Over the past 20 years I cannot think of anyone who has consistently provided me with so much amazing music.  Even now he still surprises me.  When I heard he was putting out an album of surf music with Minnesota powerhouse The Blind Shake, I figured that I would like it.  I enjoy everything both have done.  But even I was unprepared by what an incredible, absolutely immersive experience this record is.

I've read several interviews with John where he states that although the history and lore of surf music was his starting point, he major inspiration for this album was the sea.  You can really hear that throughout the course of the album.  From the chaotic choppy turbulence of opener "Sea Saw" to the laid back, but still somewhat ominous "Brown Room" to the stormy "Zulu As Kono" the many moods of the ocean are interpreted though these songs.  Modern Surf Classics is not a paint by numbers surf copycat album, it's a sprawling instrumental that pulls equally from a variety of styles and influences.

The odds of me writing a bad review of a John Reis band are pretty slim, his music just speaks to me.  But this isn't just lip service, Modern Surf Classics is truly a fantastic record and an essential pick up.  They are playing a handful of shows in February and when they come to New York City, I will be there.  I don't go to many shows anymore, so if these guys are getting me out of the house, rest assured it's an album you should be buying.

Swami John Reis & The Blind Shake - Modern Surf Classics:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Spells - At Sea/Landlocked 7" - Brown Mix Vinyl (/250)

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Snappy Little Numbers (2014)

I was pleased to open up a package from Snappy Little Numbers containing a couple of their new releases.  Readers may recognize that label from the stellar Hooper record that came out a couple of years ago or the equally great Friends Of Cesar Romero 7" they released last year.  It's a label putting out some killer records and Spells fit in with the group nicely.

I'm not sure exactly how to describe Spells without raising your expectations too high.  They have a party rock style that in places sound like a more garage-y Rocket From The Crypt.  Now, don't let the RFTC comparison set you up expecting Spells to be the best band in the world, that's the domain of Rocket exclusively.  Spells do share the same penchant for crafting songs with something of an attitude to them.  I haven't seen them play live, but I definitely get the impression that they probably know how to work a crowd.

Loud guitars, catchy hooks, driving drums; all of the ingredients I like in a band are there.  Spells are really tight and show a ton of promise for a group with just a handful of singles under their belt so far.  I'll be keeping my eye on them and absolutely encourage Snappy Little Numbers to keep sending hits like this my way.

Spells - At Sea/Landlocked 7"

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Brown Plaid - Chico's Revenge 7" - Gray Vinyl (/300)

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Splits McGee (2014)

This was another 7"sent to me to review.  As soon as I looked at the back and saw that they crammed nine songs on to one 7", I figured this would be bad news.  While I guess it isn't quite as terrible as I had feared, the vast majority of the songs on here are pretty awful.

Brown Plaid is aiming for that early Screeching Weasel sound.  I'm not sure they achieved it, but I can't say that I've ever been a Screeching Weasel fan either, so maybe they did.  What you've got here are 9 short snotty blasts of average pop punk a la Screeching Weasel or maybe early Queers (Just so you know I still haven't said "Screeching Weasel" as many times as it's written on the band's Bandcamp page - well now I've written it the same number of times).  

Brown Plaid leans heavily on that non-stop galloping drum beat that drives me out of my mind.  The songs are so dense and crammed full of drums, guitars and shouting that you can't really hear anything that's going on.  Occasionally you'll pick up a nugget of lyrical wisdom like "Hippies stink, literally," but for the most part this isn't good.

I always say that I appreciate when anyone takes the time to send me a record, and I do.  If I had one thing good to say is that when the band does slow everything down a little bit, like on "Baby Wants A Bottle," you can see some potential here.  If they started working on those hooks, slowed things down a little bit and weren't so insistent on making silly, dated jokes they could be on to something.

Brown Plaid - Chico's Revenge:
http://brownplaid.bandcamp.com/album/chicos-revenge

Monday, February 9, 2015

Widows Watch - This Message Repeats LP - Orange Vinyl (/100)

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Toxic Pop (2015)

Toxic Pop has become one of those labels that I will blindly buy whatever they put out.  Their penchant for putting out records that I love is remarkable and all I can really say is that they sure do have some good taste in music over there.  Widows Watch is their latest band and while they are new to me, they sound like an old friend.

Widows Watch seem to take inspiration from some of my favorite bands, particularly those from the 90's UK punk scene.  You can hear some Leatherface in there, but more than anything they remind me of a band from Stoke-On-Trent called Reverse.  Reverse only put out a few 7"s on Damaged Goods records, but those 7"s have had a lasting effect on me for years.  They were a band that never got their due for putting together melodies and huge guitars, a trait that Widows Watch also has in spades.  The lyrics are gritty and have a China Drum-ish quality to them.  Not quite over the top enough to be considered poetry, but they definitely have more to say than your average band.

This Message Repeats is the first great record of 2015.  It's always thrilling to me when a band seems like they're playing the exact kind of punk rock I want to listen to.  I like melodies, but I need a band with a backbone that wants to make loud aggressive pop music.  Widows Watch absolutely fits that bill.  This is an essential pick up.

Widows Watch - This Message Repeats:

Sunday, February 8, 2015

PopKid Records Update

This was just posted over at the PopKid Records website, but I figured I'd copy it here too, since this site gets updated more frequently.

From www.popkid.com:

Welcome to 2015 everyone.  It has been an incredibly long time since we've updated this poor little website, but rest assured we are still here, filling orders for back catalog records and planning world domination.

First up is that our friends from Davis, CA have unleashed their long lost full length album into the world.  You may remember Playground from PKD001, the If You Were Me 7".  It's the record that started it all for PopKid.  Playground was also meant to be one of the first bands to release a full length for PopKid in 1996.  No Angel was recorded and ready to go, but the band split and the record just disappeared.

It's a crime, because this album is so completely phenomenal.  If you are even remotely into Jawbreaker influenced melodic punk rock, this record is essential.  The sounds of the 90's are experiencing something of a renaissance these days, but No Angel isn't a throw back.  It's an authentic piece of 1996 finally available to hear.

Playground has put this up on Bandcamp as a pay what you want download.  We strongly urge you to check it out.  In a perfect world, we would love to have this released on vinyl as well.  If the demand is there or if any other labels want to step up and co-release it, maybe that's something that can happen.

In other, slightly more cryptic news, unless something changes PopKid records will officially be back this year.  We are planning to release a full length vinyl record from one of our very favorite current bands.  It's a co-release with some other tremendous record labels and we cannot wait to tell you more about it.  PopKid records is 21 years old in 2015.  We feel old, but we're getting back in the game!

Playground - No Angel:
http://playgroundca.bandcamp.com/album/no-angel

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Grave Walks - She's A Suicide 7" (White Vinyl (/150) & Green Vinyl (/150)

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Windian (2014)

Talk about a supergroup.  The Grave Walks is Jacob Turnbloom from Mrs. Magician and Dan Sartain. You'd be harder pressed to find 2 people who have been making better records as of late.  Dan has been a perennial favorite of mine for years and Mrs. Magician released my favorite record of probably the last decade.  Teaming them together is probably going to lead to some magic.

If you thought that, you'd be right.  The A-side "She's A Suicide" steers closer to the Mrs. Magician side of the spectrum.  Dan take vocals over a lightly distorted, surf-y guitar riff.  The tempo is probably a little bit slower than most Mrs. Magician songs, but the song has a haunting melody that is just fantastic.  Dan Sartain's vocals truly elevate this song.

B-side "Teresa, I Love You" could be categorized as being similar in style to previous Dan Sartain songs.  Particularly I'm reminded of "Marfa Lights" off his last album Dudesblood.  It's a slow somber song with Dan crooning over acoustic guitar and very light percussion accompaniment. Very few people can pull off this style of music better than Dan Sartain and again, it's his vocals that make this song something special.

The odds of me not liking a project put together by two of my very favorite musicians were slim to begin with.  The Grave Walks is every bit as good as you'd want it to be.  I just hope this isn't a one off; I wand to hear more from these guys in the future.

The Grave Walks - "She's A Suicide":

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Jody Seabody - Some Witch 7"

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Artificial Head (2014)

I've got a few 7"s lying around that people sent to me for review.  I'm going to try to knock off at least two a week and get through them all.  They run the gamut from pretty good to pretty bad.  As far as Jody Seabody goes, they are probably closer to the bad end of the spectrum.

I really don't know what to make of these guys.  The two songs on this 7" are just all over the place.  Both songs are five minutes long and neither really warrant that much time spent on them.  The A side "Some Witch" shifts from mood to mood.  There are parts with vocals over minimal guitar and washed out drums.  Then the song kicks in to a pretty awesome guitar riff.  This riff repeats itself a couple of times throughout the song, but Jody Seabody never really does anything with it.  The rest of the song alternates between somber moaning vocals and some other dude just shouting.  They're trying to be psychedelic and punky all in the same song and it really doesn't work.

While "Some Witch" is a bit of a mess and could use some focus, at least there's a few interesting ideas going on.  The B side "Tuesday" is just a slab of meathead punk rock that essentially is an excuse for gang vocals to shout "Everybody wants to talk about Tuesday" over and over again for three minutes.  Then as a bonus, the song shifts into this weird synthy acid trip for another two minutes.  Then we get muttered spoken word over over a heartbeat drum machine track and assorted swooshes and other noises.  This is the sort of song that should be ninety seconds long and thrown in as a joke between real songs.  It should not be a five minute opus.  I do not understand it at all.

As always, I'm appreciative of anyone that sends me a record to check out, it is one of the nice benefits of doing a dumb website like this, but man this is a record I just can't get behind.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Survival Knife - Survivalized 12" - Clear Vinyl

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Chunklet (2014)

I'm all out of records for Unwound Wednesday.  Best I can tell, I now have a complete set of Unwound 7"s.  Since the last of the Numero Group box sets will catch me up on all of the full lengths, I'm content stopping there.  Though somehow I managed to buy 2 copies of the Unwound/Versus split.  Don't ask me how I pulled off that one.

So, as a closing to this great day of the week, I'll wrap up with the newest Survival Knife EP.  That seems fitting to me as it is the new band of Justin Trosper of Unwound along with the original Unwound drummer, Brandt Sandeno.  Right off the bat, let me just make clear that although it doesn't rival my dislike of cassettes, I do not like EPs.  I figure if you only have a few songs, put out a 7".  If you have too many songs for a 7", save up a few more and put out a full album.  12" EPs are just too expensive for the amount of music you get.

That being said, this is one hell of an EP.  Last year's full length, Loose Power, was one of my absolute favorites.  This EP shows the band is still firing on all cylinders.  There are 3 new songs along with an alternate version of album track "Gold Widow" and a live version of "Roman Fever."  Honestly, I'd be fine chucking those 2 and just having a 7" of the 3 new amazing songs.

The two A side songs are fast and intense with searing guitar and Justin's trademark soft/scream vocals.  They have the energy of Hot Snakes, but with more left of center guitar work.  In particular, "Tropic Of Chaos" is just outstanding.  The B side's new track, "Lasso or Noose" is more of a sprawling instrumental.  It clocks in at over seven minutes, but explores some pretty interesting paths during that run.  It's probably the main reason this had to be a 12" rather than a 7".  OK, maybe the EP is a format that annoys me, but these Survival Knife songs are worth every penny.  I hope they are already hard at work on a new LP because I want more.

Survival Knife - Survivalized 12":

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Harpoon Forever - American Flag 7"

Untitled

Sweaters & Pearls (2014)

One of the interesting things about doing this website is the occasional record that someone sends me to review.  I don't get many, but recently there's been a bit of an uptick in the amount I've been receiving.  Sure they typically range from 'just OK' to pretty awful, but every so often I'll get one that hits just the right spot with me.  I'm so picky when it comes to music and I really can't put my finger on what makes me dislike one band and like another at times.  What I can tell you is that I like Harpoon Forever.

The description that came with this record references the Silver Jews first 7" as well as Palace Music.  I think those are good touchstones for what you can expect from Harpoon Forever.  They're mining that rich artery of 90's bedroom indie rock.  They're not necessarily lo fi and they're probably a bit more straightforward than that first Silver Jews 7" (which incidentally, was always my favorite Silver Jews record), but there's some really solid mid tempo, hooky indie rock on this four song 7".  

The highlight of the record for me is the 3rd song "Chickens."  Over lightly distorted guitar and gently pattered drums, the vocals just lazily take you through the song.  Then after the first verse, everything drops out but the guitar. Slowly the drums and bass come back in and that leads into some supremely 90's fuzzed out Sebedoh quality guitar shredding that closes out the song.  Just tremendous.  It's short and sweet and the best thing on this record.

All 4 songs are strong on American Flag.  I hadn't been familiar with the band before getting this 7" sent to me.  I'm not sure I would have picked this up on my own, but I'm very glad to have this in the collection.

Harpoon Forever - American Flag 7":