Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Hex Dispensers - III LP - White Vinyl (/100)

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Alien Snatch (2015)

For a while I was getting concerned that The Hex Dispensers may have called it quits.  It had been a bit since their last full length and although there have been some 7"s in the last few years, it just sort of seemed like the band was put on the back burner. Luckily I was wrong and The Hex Dispensers are back with their appropriately titled third LP III.

I can't say that I like it as much as their other records.  While still a good listen, I feel that it is missing a little bit of the speed and energy of their prior works.  Everything is decidedly mid tempo and while some of the songs are still great and most are pretty darn catchy, I find myself wishing there were a few that just ripped.  Another thing that I think hinders this record is the production.  The guitars sound really bassy and kind of muddy.  You could argue that the murky guitar adds to their Ghostbusters meets the Marked Men sound, but I prefer the chainsaw blast of their other records.

My last complaint is that 6 of the 10 songs on this record were previously released on 7"s that I bought.  While I realize that most people who will buy this album probably don't have all of those 7"s, I still would have preferred a few more songs I hadn't heard before.  

All those complaints probably makes it seem like I'm really down on this record, but I'm not.  I'm perhaps comparing it unfairly to past works, but judging the record on its own merits, it is a fun listen.  In particular the one, two, three punch of "Parallel," "Trapped In Amber" and "Agatha's Antlers" starts the album off with a real bang as all three songs just have killers hooks. "I Hope The Sun Explodes Today" is also a highlight with a killer verse and some nice call back 'aaahhhs' in the chorus.

All in all, it is definitely worth picking up, especially if you don't already have all of the 7"s.  It's a fun record and the band has always written interesting lyrics and melodies.

The Hex Dispensers - III LP:

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Sweatshop Boys - Always Polite Never Happy 7"

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Twintoe / Crapoulet / SP (2015)

At this point I've gotten a respectable number of records sent to me to review.  The gems are few and far between, but this 7" is notable for three reasons.  One, it's the first record I've been sent from Israel. Two, it's a band I already know and love.  Three, it just absolutely kills from start to finish.  This is a hell of a little 7" that you really should go out of your way to track down.

We've got 4 new Sweatshop Boys songs on this record.  Each of them bringing something slightly different to the table, but all of them bringing the sort of high energy, catchy punk rock that I just go crazy for.  You can hear a bit of the Marked Men in the rapid fire chord progressions.  There's a hint of Sonic Avenues in the vocals and a a few moments of Red Dons style downstroking.

Basically the next stop for these guys should be Dirtnap, so if that's the sort of thing that floats your boat, this is a 7" you need to grab immediately if not sooner.  It's really the kind of record that just absolutely brightens my day and cuts through all of the bullshit out there.  Dear Sweatshop Boys, never split up and put out some more records as soon as you can.

Sweatshop Boys - Always Polite Never Happy 7":

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

John Wesley Coleman III - I Feel Like A Sad Clown 7" + Windian Box Set - Clear Vinyl

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Windian (2015)

With its sixth record, the Windian Singles Series #3 box set really goes out with a bang.  As with everyone in this series, this is my first time hearing John Wesley Coleman III and once again, I like what I hear.  Although I had heard of him before, this is my first time actually listening to any of his music.  Windian has done a pretty tremendous job gathering all of these bands together. While they all bring completely different things to the table, they also have a cohesive enough sound that it makes perfect sense to have them all in the same set.

The first band that comes to mind when I put on this Coleman 7" is W.H. Walker.  A side "I Feel Like A Sad Clown" is a bass driven party song.  Despite feeling like a sad clown, Coleman manages to really bring a ton of energy into this bouncy, catchy track.

B side "I Found A Home" is a bit more straightforward, but still every bit as fun and exciting as the flip side.  With its lead keyboard line and howling chorus, I can't help but be impressed by this record.  It's pretty remarkable that Windian gathered all of these great bands together.  Rest assured I will likely be buying additional records by almost every single one of them in the future.  Well, provided they put out more records.  I've got some digging around to so.

John Wesley Coleman III - "I Feel Like A Sad Clown":

Monday, June 29, 2015

War Party - Teenager On Drugs 7" - Clear Vinyl

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Windian (2015)

Round five of the Windian Singles Series #3 brings us War Party.  I think that some folks would probably dismiss this as a bit gimmicky, but I really like this 7".  It may be my favorite of the bunch when it comes right down to it.

The A-side "Teenager On Drugs" is a straight up 50's style doo wop rocker.  It's not so much an homage or an interpretation of a doo wop song, so in that way it differs quite a bit from what Mark Sultan is doing.  This is a tried and true formula with the soaring backing harmonies and storytelling lead vocals that you'd expect from the genre.  It's just such a fun and refreshing thing to hear these days.  

Then the B-side "D.R.U.N.K." flips everything on its head and is completely different from the song that preceded it.  With its searing organ the song reminds me a bit of "Gimme Some Lovin'" by Spencer Davis Group, though it's not quite that triumphant.  It does bring War Party into the 60's and shows off a dirtier rock vibe than they were showing on "Teenager On Drugs."  I think it's impressive to hop from one sound to the other so effortlessly and I really dig this record.

 War Party - "Teenager On Drugs":

Oh, and Dan from the Vinyl Score podcast did a little interview/conversation thing with me a few months ago that he's put up to listen to on his website.  We talk about this website a little and Rocket From The Crypt a lot.  You can listen to it hear if you like:

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Church Bats - Foreign Land 7" - Clear Vinyl

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Windian (2015)

We're getting deep into the Windian Singles Series #3 box set at this point. Single number four is by a band called Church Bats. Another new to me band and another fun surprise out of this series.

Starting off with the A-side we have "Foreign Land." It's a full throttle, no nonsense rock and roll force.  We're talking old school, caveman hitting a log with a stick, repeating guitar chords and howling in a cave vocals.  It all works tremendously, giving the song a real intensity and energy that pours through the speakers.  Needless to say, I dig this.

On the B-Side the band puts forth "Half Man, Half Shellfish."  Despite its excellent title, the actual song isn't quite as exciting as you'd hope.  It ends up being a pretty straightforward instrumental number.  Nothing bad, nothing amazing; it's just there.  I think on an album, it would give a nice break hanging out towards the end of the first half.  As a standalone song on the 7", it's going to be compared unfairly to the killer A side.

All in all, another fun 7" out of Windian and I've got two more to go.  I'm going to try to get the next one done for tomorrow, but I may not be able to until Monday.  Regardless, you'll see it soon.

Church Bats - "Foreign Land":

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Platinum Boys - Candy 7" - Clear Vinyl

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Windian (2015)

Rather than having to start every review this week the same way, let's just get one fact out of the way.  I hadn't heard of any of the bands in this year's version of the Windian Singles Series.  For the prior two, there had always been one or two heavy hitters that prompted me to buy the set.  When Series #3 was announced, I hemmed and hawed about buying it at first.  When Windian put up some of the songs on Soundcloud, it was Platinum Boys that made me jump up and immediately add the box set to my cart.  I trust Windian, so I figured if I liked one of the bands that was enough to earn my cash.  Then I just hoped for the best with the rest.  Luckily, they've been pretty good so far.

Platinum Boys are playing some awfully catchy guitar pop.  In particular the A-side "Candy" is built off of a bouncy riff and slightly fuzzy vocals.  The verses are built around that tried and true 60's or 70's era description of meeting a girl who was "18 with an attitude."  Maybe it's because I'm getting older, but songs about 18 year old girls sure sound a lot weirder than they did when I was high school.  Though I guess 'the kids' probably don't want to listen to tales about folks in their late thirties.

The B-side "Wild Child" slow things down a little bit, but Platinum Boys still keep the energy up.  There's some excellent lead guitar riffage in this one and the songs has something of a classic rock feel to it.  Normally I would probably use that description as an insult, but Platinum Boys make it work and the song is actually a great compliment to the A-side.  I'm definitely a big fan of this 7".

Platinum Boys - "Candy":

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

DD Owen - Violent Pacifier 7" - Clear Vinyl

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Windian (2015)

Round two of the Windian Singles Series #3 brings us DD Owen.  Like yesterday's 7", I can't say I was familiar with DD Owen before putting this record on and let me tell you, this thing knocked me on my ass when it started up. 

A-Side "Violent Pacifier" starts up with some extremely distorted guitar wailing.  I'm not enough of a gear head to be able to accurately describe what sort of effects are being applied to the guitar to make these noises, but the best I can do is say that it sounds like a guitar from outer space.  This coupled with the choppy vocals that have thick echo and distortion on them give the song an otherworldly feeling.  And this is the catchier of the two songs.

On the other side is "Setting Fire To Your Loft."  More insane guitar noises, more effect laden vocals and more aggressive than the first song.  I don't think I could go so far as to say I really like either song and I'm not sure that this is a 7" that I'll be spinning with much regularity.  But I do like some variety in my singles clubs.  You don't want a bunch of records that all sound the same.  DD Owen isn't really for me, but they certainly stand out from the pack.

DD Owen - "Violent Pacifier":

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Seeers - Without Lites 7" - Clear Vinyl

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Windian (2015)

The Windian Subscription Series has been one of my favorite things the last few years.  As it is I'm a sucker for a good singles club, but with Windian you get the records all at once and in a fancy little box set as well.  I'll take a picture of the box on Friday, but I'm starting off today with the first of the five 7"s in the set.

I can't say I had ever heard of The Seeers prior to listening to this record, but that's exactly what I like best about a singles club.  Any chance I have to check out some new bands from a label I trust is a chance I'm going to take every time.  Kind of like how I used to buy tons of compilation albums back in the 90's.  Of course, I just read that this 7" is the band's debut release, so I suppose that could have something to do with me being unfamiliar with them.  Anyway, this Seeers 7"s is really great.  A-side "Without Lites" is upbeat and poppy with lots of vocal harmonies and shimmering lead guitar in the chorus.

On the flip side is "In Jail. On My Mind, In A Prison..." which is slightly more aggressive and a bit faster than the band's other song.  The guitar riffs are a bit dirtier, but the softer vocal melody provides a nice contradiction and keeps the song rooted in pop.  Both of The Seeers' contributions to this record are real eye openers.  I really dig both songs and this is a band I'm going to have to keep an eye out for in the future.

The Seeers - "Without Lites":

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Warm Soda - Symbolic Dream LP - Ketchup & Mustard Splatter Vinyl

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Castle Face (2015)

When last year's Young Reckless Hearts came out, I was a bit let down by Warm Soda.  While there were certainly some good songs, I felt that there was something major missing from that record.  I think it may have been the recording as the band just sounded zapped of their energy.  I was hopeful it was an anomaly and things would be back on track with Warm Soda's third album, Symbolic Dream.

Not only has Warm Soda righted course and improved upon their last album, Symbolic Dream is arguably the best record they have made yet.  The punchy songs and smooth vocals have returned with some of the bands finest songs.  From the first few seconds of album opener "I Wanna Know Her" you can tell that the band is on point.  The album is littered with pop hits, great guitar leads and some simply wonderful choruses.  

I'm kind of over the whole splatter vinyl craze personally.  I find that most of them just end up looking kind of ugly and have very little to do with the album artwork.  You certainly cannot say that about the red and yellow ketchup and mustard split color vinyl of Symbolic Dream.  Not only is it a cool looking take on a tired concept, but it perfectly matches the album art,so the band gets points for that as well.

Everything about Symbolic Dream is an improvement from the last Warm Soda record.  Its near flawless execution has shot it right up to the top of my favorite albums of the year list and is really only battling one other record at this point.  There's a lot of 2015 left to go, but rest assured this Warm Soda record will end up being one of the very best things you'll hear this year.

Warm Soda - Symbolic Dream LP:

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Daddy Issues - So Hard 7" - Clear Vinyl

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Punk Fox (2015)

Another record from Punk Fox arrived in the mail for me to review.  I'll give them credit, they sure are pumping out a steady stream of 7"s.  The latest from them is by a band from North Carolina called Daddy Issues.

In general it's a decent enough record.  The songs are both light, breezy surf pop tunes.  The female vocals match up nicely with the gently strummed, fuzz-free guitar.  The drumming is appropriately minimal and the bass just coasts along keeping everything together.

Lyrically, I'm not feeling this quite so much.  The ladies in Daddy Issues aren't big on metaphors and the songs are pretty much exactly about what their songs titles suggest: "So Hard" and "Sex On The Beach."  At the end of the day, it's still a fun little 7" and may be worth picking up if you're into something mellow and surfy.

Daddy Issues - So Hard 7":

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Blind Shake - Fly Right LP

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Slovenly (2015)

I'm stuck in a bit of a conundrum when it comes to The Blind Shake.  I really dig these guys, so I keep buying their records whenever they're released.  The problem in that is I have a difficult time describing them.  Whenever I take to this website to try to describe them, I feel like I can never really articulate why I think they're one of the best bands going.  Just rest assured, this is another top notch release from the second best band in Minnesota (though I think Dillinger Four should really put out a new record if they want to keep that crown).

Fly Right is another example of The Blind Shake's mastery of the guitar.  Few bands can wield an axe quite like The Blind Shake and they tear through the album's nine songs with a focused, intense fury that is something to behold.  From the straight up fuzzed out opener "Tar Paper" to the slowed down, surf tinged "A Clock, A Window, A Pyramid" to the jagged lead guitar riff on "Holy Road" this is a band that's at the top of their game.  And those are just the first three songs on the album.

There are a few surf inspired in Fly Right and the band is a natural fit for this sort of thing.  I'm not sure if this release was recorded before or after the band's collaboration with Swami John Reis for the Modern Surf Classics album, but this album strikes me a something of a companion piece.  Either as a band ramping up to the surf album or perhaps taking the influence of those surf songs into an album of their own.  Regardless, Fly Right is simply a hell of a record.

The Blind Shake - Fly Right LP:

Monday, June 15, 2015

Pale Angels - Imaginary People LP - Clear Vinyl

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Recess (2015)

We live in a world where it is just so easy to hear new bands and consume albums.  Try before you buy is the norm and it would be hard to argue that's a bad thing.  That being said, I often practice my record buying as if I was still in the 90's.  I am constantly buying records that I read a decent review  for or someone recommends to me without listening to the whole thing first.  Usually I'll try to sample at least one song, but I'm still very much of the mind set that you should take chances with your record buying.

Most of the time, it works out pretty well for me.  The vast, vast majority of these records end up being just what I wanted.  However, every once in a while I manage to land a real stinker.  Enter Pale Angels.  I saw this pop up as a new Recess records release.  They're a label that I tend to trust and the description sounded pretty good.  Plus I was able to listen to one song that I liked so I grabbed it.  I wish I could figure out what the one song I had listened to prior to ordering this record, because I sure can't find it now.

While this album certainly isn't terrible, I don't really like it at all.  The songs all kind of just drone on and on.  There's a few faster ones that aren't so bad, but even those aren't particularly exciting. The vocals are scratchy and kind of scuzzy, but not in a good way.  They just end up sounding like the singer is bored and can't be bothered to enunciate.  

Often on this website I write about how much I like a band with a real 90's sound.  Well, Pale Angels fit into that category a bit, but I'm mostly being reminded of all those bad grunge bands that I didn't like in high school.  Hey, I can't pick a winner every time.

Pale Angels - Imaginary People LP:

Friday, June 12, 2015

Clearance - Greensleeve 7"

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Microluxe (2013)

This is the second Clearance 7" I picked up.  Honestly, I bought everything they had for sale on their Bandcamp page as soon as I was made aware of how great they were.  Greensleeve picks up where their first 7" left off with more phenomenal Pavement inspired indie rock and roll.

As I mentioned yesterday, the thing that really makes me love this band is the casual effortlessness they project in their songs.  Everything just sound so natural and relaxed.  Talk about a band for the summer.  All I can picture when I listen to these songs are lush green landscapes and indie rockers having picnics.  I know that sounds odd but it's a compliment, trust me.

Every song on Greensleeve is as good if not better than anything on Dixie Motel Two-Step.  As the bar was set pretty high by their debut, Clearance certainly proved that record was no fluke.  My only complaint is I waited too long to find these guys and missed out on the colored vinyl version of this record.  If you happen to have one lying around for whatever reason, please get in touch.  Again, my highest possible recommendation for both 7"s.  I eagerly await their debut full length which is hopefully coming soon..

Clearance - Greensleve 7"
https://clearance.bandcamp.com/album/greensleeve-7

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Clearance - Dixie Motel Two-Step 7" - Blue Vinyl

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Microluxe (2013)

I was clued in to this Chicago band from my good friend @swamipat.  He's the mayor of Chicago as far as I'm concerned and he's brought a few really great bands to my attention.  I hope that I've returned the favor for him at least a couple of times.  Clearance is another stellar recommendation from Pat.

It would probably be physically impossible to write a review of Clearance without mentioning Pavement.  Pavement is so obviously a major, major influence for Clearance and it really shines through on the four songs crammed on to this 7".  If you're going to wear influence like this on your sleeve the way Clearance does, Pavement is a pretty good band to be inspired by.  While they're absolutely not a carbon copy, they take me to that same place when I listen to this record.

Breezy, mid tempo pop that comes across so completely natural and effortless.  I'm sure this band works and practices just as hard as any other band, but they have this disarming ability to sound like they just happened to be wandering by a recording studio and spat out four nearly perfect songs on a whim.  They're relaxed without delving into psych tinged nonsense.  Catchy without succumbing to the obvious hook and intelligent without making you feel stupid.  

It's a marvelous balancing act and my biggest regret is that this 7" has been floating around for 2 years and I wasn't listening to it already.  Luckily I'm on board now and there's more Clearance coming in the future.  Highest possible recommendation if you're a sucker for 90's indie rock like I am.

Clearance - Dixie Motel Two-Step 7":

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Purple 7 - Jewel Finger LP

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Self Released (2014)

You may be impressed by the pedigree of this band as it features members of hot shitters like Landlord, Hot New Mexicans and Defiance, Ohio.  It's fine to be wowed by this credentials, but what you should really be impressed by is the actual record that these folks have managed to put together.  I received Jewel Finger out of the blue in the hopes that I would review it for this website.  As long time readers know, typical submissions tend to run the gamut from 'eh' to 'meh.'  In contrast, Purple 7 is quite good.

The label that is hosting the Bandcamp stream of this album is called Basement Pop and that's a pretty accurate description of what's on this record.  Kind of jangly and kind of fuzzy, but still catchy and structured.  The songs have a vaguely rootsy feel and reminds me a bit of Modern Machines or maybe Nude Beach.  Not quite so heavy on the Tom Petty worship and somewhat more ramshackle, but definitely a similar vibe.

They deftly weave from punchy ragers like "All The Dogs" into more laid back tracks like "Jewel Finger."  The album never sounds choppy and always flows very naturally from one song to the next.  It's a true album in that regard, not just a mish-mash of songs thrown together.  As you can probably tell, I like this album quite a bit and it has turned out to be a nice surprise.  And bands or labels putting out records this good, please flood my mailbox with albums to review.

Purple 7 - Jewel Finger LP:

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Sanhose - π Japanese CD

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Snuffy Smiles (2015)

I've said it before and I'll say it every time I have the chance to write about something that comes out on this record label.  It's still a thrill all these years later to get a new Snuffy Smiles record in the mail.  They've been my favorite label for quite some time and you can just always count on them.  I feel like it's been a while since they had released a new full length CD, though I suppose they may have put out a CD version of some of the recent vinyl full lengths that they have co-released with various other labels these past few years.

Coming off the heels of a pretty killer 7", I had high hopes for Sanhose this time out.  For the most part my hopes were met and surpassed.  They are a quintessential 90's Snuffy Smile band with fast paced punk songs with poppy choruses.  Sanhose are at their most effective when they slow things down just a hair as some of the songs are just so damn fast they whiz right by.  But when the tempo is dialed down from insane to merely breakneck, this record is a lot of fun.  

I'm reminded a lot of the faster moments of The Urchin with a hint of Cigaretteman, particularly when the female backing vocals kick in here and there.  As a Snuffy Smiles release goes, it's pretty much right where it needs to be.  

The one thing that bothers me is the matrix number.  It is Smile 58 - which is fine, that's how all of the CDs are numbered.  However there's apparently a cassette version of this that uses the SNUFF- matrix code, the numbering typically used for the 7"s that Snuffy Smiles releases.  So now my complete Snuffy Smiles 7" collection has a missing matrix number for a cassette that I can't find.  If you've got the heads up on where I can snag one of those, please let me know.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Modest Mouse - Interstate 8 LP - Blue Vinyl

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Glacial Pace (2015, Reissue)

As part of their Modest Mouse reissue campaign, Glacial Pace has brought Interstate 8 to vinyl for the first time.  Of all of the Modest Mouse records out there, this was probably the one I was least familiar with going in, or so I thought anyway.  

Turns out, many of the songs on Interstate 8 ended up on other albums.  This is likely common knowledge and I'm probably the only goof that didn't know that.  I still enjoy listening to Interstate 8 on its own as the songs have a different context than when they're plucked out an placed amongst others, but at the end of the day I prefer listening to Building Nothing Out Of Something for my day to day dose of "All Night Diner."

The Europe only blue vinyl looks great.  I've heard some folks complaining about the sound, but mine seems totally fine to my untrained ears.  It's worth a pick up if you want it, but it is probably the least essential of the Modest Mouse reissues if you ask me. 

Modest Mouse - "Edit The Sad Parts":

Modest Mouse - "Buttons To Push The Buttons":

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Mikal Cronin - MCIII LP - Clear Vinyl

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Merge (2015)

I didn't get Mikal Cronin when he hit the scene with his first album.  In fact, going back to it now, I'm still not really a fan of that record.  When MCII was released, I didn't pay much attention.  Eventually I ended up giving it a listen and was thoroughly blown away by how incredible it was.  I was an instant convert.

Ever since then I've been clamoring for a new Mikal Cronin album.  The appropriately named MCIII is out now and I can write a review of it in a timely matter.  This is going to be a difficult review to write as I'm sure it is going to seem like I don't like the album based on a few criticisms.  Let's try to dispel that right up front as I think this record is really good and is absolutely worth picking up if you're a fan of his last record.  Again, I'm really reminded of the Mull Historical Society when listening to these songs and that's a good thing.

MCIII is not, however quite as good as the last Mikal Cronin record.  The highs never soar quite as high and as a whole it feels like its missing just a little something.  Actually, that's probably the wrong way to say it, as I think what holds back some of the songs is that there's too much something.  A lot of the songs feel kind of cluttered and bogged down by too many added instruments.  Horns, strings, pianos; some add to the flavor of the song, but some just don't really feel like they're needed.

The best example of this is on the first song "Turn Around."  Coincidently it is also my favorite song on the record.  Strong verse, big catchy chorus and some nice string accompaniment to accent certain portions.  However on top of that is this "Mr. Crazy Fingers" piano riff that lays on top of the rest of the song. I don't think it adds anything and removing it would have given the strings more impact I think.

That is certainly not a deal breaker, nor are any of the other extra flourishes that probably weren't really needed.  MCIII is still very good.  One of the better albums I've listened to this year.  There's just a little something that's keeping it from being truly great.

Mikal Cronin - "Turn Around":

Mikal Cronin - "IV - Ready":

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

New Colonies - Bleached Bones 7" - Gray Vinyl

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33 Forever (2015)

I reviewed the cassette version of this New Colonies record a few weeks ago and to say I'm thrilled it has made its way to vinyl is a severe understatement.  They shaved off two of the six cassette tracks and present this four song 7".  I am hopeful that someone will rescue those two missing songs from the graveyard, especially "X's on the Eyes."  The four songs that did make the cut are all stellar though.

I will be repeating myself from the last review as far as the music goes.  New Colonies features Wes from Rumspringer and although they manage to keep up writing great hooks, this band is much more in the vein of Leatherface or Manifesto Jukebox.  Raspy vocal, palm muted guitars and gigantic choruses as far as the eye can see. They're one of the new bands I'm most interested in hearing more from and I hope this is the first of many, many records out of these guys.

Kudos to 33 Forever for rescuing these for songs from cassette hell, they are simply way to good to not get the vinyl treatment.  I highly recommend picking this record up.

New Colonies - EP (This is a link to the Bandcamp page of the cassette release, so there are 2 extra songs here):

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

der Faden - Best Guess 7" - Red Vinyl (/100)

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Dirt Cult (2015)

One of the biggest musical tragedies of the last few years was when the band Statues decided to pack it in.  Sadly I never got to see the band that put out one of my favorite albums of the 2000's play a show.  Their album New People Make Us Nervous is essential and if you don't already own it, I suggest you stop what you're doing right now and go find a copy.  Needless to say I was pretty darn excited when I discovered that Rob from Statues had a new band called der Faden.

That excitement was tempered by the fear that the new band might try to be completely different from what made Statues so great.  I've seen it before.  Dude is in a great band, band breaks up, dude starts a new band that is terrible.  Just ask Eric Bachmann.  Luckily der Faden doesn't fall into this problem.  While certainly not a carbon copy of Statues, the two songs on this 7" have enough similarities to keep existing fans happy.

A-side "Best Guess" catchy with a mid-tempo start/stop guitar riff that breaks into a sing along chorus.  It doesn't have quite the punch as some of the Statues songs had, but it's a strong first impression.  On the flip side we have "Filaments."  It's a bit more straight forward than "Best Guess," built on downstroke guitar blasts and Rob's distinctive vocals.  

This 7" is a solid first showing from der Faden.  Both songs are quite good, though they both leave me wanting to hear more for the band.  To me they feel a bit like the two slower songs you'd mix into an album full of fast paced attacks.  I'm not sure what the future holds for der Faden.  Maybe they've got some burners being worked on or maybe they're going to try to keep things at this pace.  Regardless, I'm pretty thrilled Rob is making music again and I'm eager to see what comes next.

der Faden - Best Guess 7":

Monday, June 1, 2015

Modest Mouse - Building Nothing Out Of Something LP - Red Vinyl

Untitled

Glacial Pace (2015, Reissue)

I have two more weeks of Modest Mouse Monday I can write about now as the reissues of Interstate 8 and Building Nothing Out Of Something finally arrived at IBWTMRDC headquarters.  I decided to try to keep up with the colored vinyl versions of these reissues so I grabbed them both from a UK based website.  Although I really expected Newbury Comics to end up with an exclusive variant, as of right now this version from Europe is the only one out there.

I'm not positive the red vinyl really goes with the artwork all that well, but the artwork itself is phenomenal.  I don't have the original pressing that came out on Up records, but from what I've been able to find out by looking online, I don't think it was made with the really incredible looking vellum slip that goes over the main artwork printed on the album cover.  The first pressings of the original CD had this and its even more impressing looking as an LP, even if it makes taking a picture of the record a bit more difficult.

From a music standpoint, you really could make an argument that this is in fact the best Modest Mouse album released.  Granted, it's not a proper full length album as the tracks had been previously released as singles and bonus tracks.  That being said, the quality of the songs and how well they match up with each other really makes it feel like an album that was somehow planned all along.  Some of my favorite Modest Mouse songs live on this guy like "Never Ending Math Equation" and "All Night Diner."

Great presentation and great songs.  I can't really think of a reason not to buy it.  You don't even have to be a goof like me and buy it from England if you don't care about the colored vinyl.

Modest Mouse - "Never Ending Math Equation":

Modest Mouse - "All Night Diner":

Friday, May 29, 2015

Mac McCaughan - Non Believers LP - Gray Vinyl

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Merge (2015)

Non-Believers is the first solo album from Mac McCaughan of Superchunk fame.  Typically when he's experimenting outside of Superchunk he uses the Portastatic moniker, but there was something about Non-Believers that made him want to attach his own name to it. Reading interviews and website descriptions it seems that Mac considers this a highly personal work and that warranted the change up.  I'm not really concerned about what Mac decides to bill himself as on the record, my only concern is whether I like the record or not.

Frankly, it's a mixed bag.  On the handful of upbeat tracks with prominent guitars, I think it's pretty fun.  Songs like "Our Way Free," "Box Batteries" and "Barely There" showcase why Mac is respected as such a great songwriter.  They're not as loud or rambunctious as Superchunk, but they still retain the enthusiasm and melodies of his other outlet.

When Mac strays from this formula is when I tend to lose interest.  There's a good amount of synth and electronic drums and those songs just don't work for me.  Once you start into the territory of the slow, plodding "Real Darkness," I've pretty much checked out.  The other song that doesn't work for me is "Only Do."  Musically it's pretty good, but lyrically it really suffers with it's Yoda-like chorus "There is no try/there is only do."

As I said at the beginning, this is definitely a mixed bag of an album.  The songs that are great are really great.  On the opposite side of the spectrum, the bad songs are pretty bad.  As a whole, it's probably worth picking up if you're a big Superchunk fan.  You'll probably want to skip a few songs here and there though.

Mac McCaughan - "Barley There":

Mac McCaughan - "Our Way Free":

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Ultimate Fakebook - Electric Kissing Parties LP

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Rocket Heart (2010)

A few years ago Rocket Heart rereleased the first Ultimate Fakebook album on vinyl.  It started with a Kickstarter plan and worked its way out to an actual release.  I was a bad person and I didn't pledge any money for a copy.  A few months ago, Rocket Heart decided to clear out some stock and make this LP available for pretty much any price you wanted.  I threw down a few bucks to add it to the collection.

Though this really isn't my favorite UFB record by a long shot, it does have its moments.  Like most of the band's albums, this one is heavy on loud, beefy guitars and higher pitched vocal melodies.  Sure, songs like "Far, Far Away" are about George Lucas and there's something inherently goofy about that, but the band finds a way to make it charming and ernest.  They come off way better than you might fear after reading that they are writing songs about George Lucas.

Sure, Electric Kissing Parties really can't hold a candle to Ultimate Fakebook's masterpiece This Will Be Laughing Week.  That album was a band really hitting their stride.  Rocket Heart tried to gather the funds to put This Will Be Laughing Week out on vinyl as well, but were not able to raise the outrageous some of money needed to wrestle the rights from Sony.  It's a shame, but it really was a ludicrous amount of money they had to come up with.  Don't blame me, I pledged for that one.

Ultimate Fakebook - "Far, Far Away":

Ultimate Fakebook - "Downstairs/Arena Rock":

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Dillinger Four - Situationist Comedy LP - Blue Vinyl

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Fat Wreck (2015, Reissue)

This is one of those records that I bought out of habit more than anything else.  I already had Situationist Comedy on vinyl and I even already had the limited colored vinyl pressing that was on pink.  So why did I feel the need to buy it again on blue vinyl?  I'm not really sure.  

For a while I was trying to collect every variant of every D4 record, but No Idea made that pretty much impossible with the ten million different pressings of This Shit Is Genius.  I gave up on that about 4 represses ago.  I guess what it boils down to is that if you change the color of vinyl and call it a limited repress, there are some bands I'm just always going to buy.  Dillinger Four is one of them.

This is one of the stronger Dillinger Four full lengths.  Versus God will likely always be my favorite, but you cannot deny the sheer number of hits on Situationist Comedy.  From "Sellthehousesellthekids..." to "All Rise For The Rational Anthem" to the excellent album closer "New Punk Fashions for the Spring Formal," there are no shortage of fast, catchy, ball your hand into a fist and shout alongs moments on this record.

I can't say that I really needed this repress, but if this album isn't already in your collection, it's definitely a record worth grabbing, no matter what color of vinyl it's on.

Dillinger Four - "Sellthehousesellthekids...":

Dillinger Four - "New Punk Fashions for the Spring Formal":

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Mountain Goats - Blood Capsules 12" - Red Vinyl

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Merge (2015)

This 12" came bundled with the limited fancy version of Beat The Champ.  It contains two songs not on the full album; "Blood Capsules" and "Dub Capsules."  It's also on blood red vinyl, which is a nice touch.

"Blood Capsules" carries over the basic theme of Beat The Champ, spinning yarns about pro wrestling.  This particular song tackles the plight of the down on his luck wrestler trying to pay the bills. "But there just isn't any money on the independent scene" as one line goes.  The story is told over a mid tempo bouncy guitar riff.  It comes off a little lighter than some of the other album tracks, but that's not a slight at all.  It's a fantastic song.

The B-side is a re-working of the song into "Dub Capsules."  I don't think I can really judge this fairly.  I'm not a fan of dub and have a hard time telling the good from the bad.  It's pretty unrecognizable from the original version aside from a few snippets of lyrics woven through the track. I would have preferred another album outtake (assuming there were any), but as this was not something I had buy on it's own, it's hard to get bent out of shape over it.  Plus the A-side is great, so that helps.

The Mountain Goats - "Blood Capsules":

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Mountain Goats - Beat The Champ 2xLP - Green and Yellow Vinyl

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Merge (2015)

I've always kind of liked The Mountain Goats, harkening back to their early days when I knew them mostly from Shrimper catalogs or as part of the mid 90's tape label scene that I briefly dipped my toe in back then.  I can't say I was ever a big fan and never actually picked up any of their records.  When I heard they were going to do an entire record about professional wrestling I was immediately intrigued.  If you know me, or even if you follow me on Twitter you probably realize that in addition to collecting records and collecting toys, watching pro wrestling is one of my big three pastimes. 

I'm not sure what I was expecting when I ordered this record.  I can tell you that I was not expecting to love Beat The Champ anywhere near as much as I do.  The album focuses on the late 70's and early 80's territorial wrestling scene that has long been bulldozed into obscurity.  As such you'll hear songs about Chavo Guererro Sr. ("The Legend Of Chavo Guererro") and Bruiser Brody ("Stabbed To Death Outside San Juan").  

Singer John Darnielle has a real gift for telling stories in his songs and all of the scenes and characters that he's describing just leap to life.  When he's describing a match in "Choked Out" ("Two hundred dollar take all purse/half-nelson to suplex reverse") I can vividly see the everything he's talking about.  The musical arrangement range from bleak and somber to upbeat and full of energy.  It all depends on the subject matter being tackled.

You could make an argument that this is the best record of the year to date.  Worst case scenario it's top three and Beat The Champ is certainly the album I've listened to the most lately.  Lyrically, this is absolutely the best record to come out so far this year.  Even though the all of the songs are about pro wrestling, they're handled with a respect and reverie that you'll seldom see.   I think that this record can be enjoyed whether you enjoy pro wrestling or not, but if you do like it, it's absolutely a mandatory listen.

The Mountain Goats - "The Legend Of Chavo Guererro":

The Mountain Goats - "Choked Out":

The Mountain Goats - "Werewolf Gimmick":

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Record Store Day Haul #7: The Sonics - This Is The Sonics LP

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ReVox (2015)

The last thing I picked up on Record Store Day was definitively not a Record Store Day exclusive.  When I go to the record store on this holiest of days, I still look at the rest of the store and do some shopping.  I also picked up some clear LP sleeves, but they've proven difficult to take pictures of.

I read a lot about this Sonics record before taking the plunge.  A reunion album 50 years after their last full length? Dudes in the band in their 70's?  Seems like a recipe for disaster, but The Sonics are still more punk rock than most bands whose members are a third of their age.  The Is The Sonics simply rips from start to finish.  

The chunky guitar riffs and the howling lead vocals of Freddie Dennis are a potent combination.  Add in the Circa Now style fog horn saxophone and you'll see that there is a taste of the 60's that pepper these songs.  Don't mistake this for a throwback album though, there's a fire and intensity that can only come from guys who have had more time on this planet getting pissed off than most.

There isn't a bad song on the album and the hits are plentiful. Every time I listen to this album I pick out a new favorite.  The songs that I dig the most tend to be "Don't Need A Doctor," "You Can't Judge A Book By Looking At The Cover," "The Hard Way" and "I Got Your Number."  That being said, there really isn't a bad song on the record and it's just a joy to throw on the turntable and crank it up as loud as it goes.

The Sonics - "The Hard Way":

The Sonics - "I Got Your Number":

Monday, May 18, 2015

Record Store Day Haul #6: Masked Intruder - Incriminating Evidence 2011 Demo 7"

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Red Scare (2015)

We're in murky territory again as far as this being a Record Store Day release.  It came with a Record Store Day sticker on it, but it wasn't on the official list.  I also didn't pick it up at a record store, it was available via Interpunk or through the label's website.  I can't say for sure that it wasn't available at any actual record stores, but it seems to me that the bulk were sold online.

Not that my enjoyment of the record is affected by any of that, I just question whether or not to count it as a Record Store Day release.  I decided to.  The four songs on this 7" comprise Masked Intruder's 2011 demo.  It's an interesting peak into the band before they started riding a gigantic wave of momentum that took them all the way to Fat Wreck.  

Two of the songs on this demo ("How Do I Get To You" and "Unrequited Love") wound up on the band's first full length while one of them ("I Fought The Law") was held off until the second Masked Intruder album.  I can't say any of these three songs sound that much different than the versions that ended up on their records.  They certainly not recorded as well, but the basic song structure remained intact.

One song ("I Plead The 5th") is exclusive to this 7" as far as I can tell.  Maybe it ended up on a compilation or something, but I don't have it on any Masked Intruder records in my collection.  It's a very short song that doesn't consist of much other than the repeating of the phrase "I Plead The 5th" over and over.  It's not bad, but there's nothing all that special about it and I can see why it was never really used on any of the band's proper records.

This isn't an essential 7" by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a neat listen.  More than anything, it just feels like a collection completer to me.  I have the rest of their releases, so I guess I need this one in the collection as well.

Masked Intruder - Incriminating Evidence 2011 Demo 7":

Friday, May 15, 2015

Record Store Day Haul #5: Otis Redding - Otis Blue LP (Mono)

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Sundazed (2001, Reissue)

One of my recent fixations lately is old records from the 60's in mono.  While I haven't broken the bank buying dozens and dozens of them, I do want to start picking up the records and artists that I think are important to me.  Though I haven't gotten around to reviewing it (mostly because I haven't made the time to take a bunch of pictures) I have the Beatles Mono Box set and I've been slowing picking up some of the old soul that I love.  One of the best is Otis Redding.

This year for Record Store Day, Otis Blue was rereleased as a double LP with one LP of the mono mix and one LP of the stereo mix.  It was $45 dollars.  Kind of insane, but I wanted it.  When I arrived down at Vintage Vinyl, it was already sold out.  While going through the non Record Store Day items, I stumbled across this.  A version of Otis Blue, in mono that was released back in 2001.  Honestly, I only really wanted the mono version anyway and this one was only $22.  Buy!

So many tremendous Otis Redding songs reside on this LP.  "Loving You Too Long," "Respect," his killer version of Sam Cooke's "Shake" and Otis' take on The Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" are just the start of the list of hits on this album.  The record sounds very good and it's quite clear.  A lot of people have beef with some of the reissues that have been released over the past few years, but it's not like used versions of this record in mono are cluttering up the dollar bins.  For me, it's nice to have a good sounding, clean copy for the collection.

You could argue if I should be writing about this in the context of Record Store Day.  Sure, it wasn't one of the official releases, but I did buy it on Record Store Day, so to me, that makes it part of the haul.

Otis Redding - "Shake":

Otis Redding - "Respect":

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Record Store Day Haul #4: The Saints - Eternally Yours LP - Green Vinyl

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Harvest (2015, Reissue)

You can only listen to Rocket From The Crypt for so long before somebody at some point brings up The Saints.  Specifically, I've got to assume they're talking about the lead off track on Eternally Yours, "Know Your Product.  Hey, it's a really great song and it has horns, so I get it.  And to be honest, if it wasn't for reading about The Saints due to Rocket From The Crypt, I couldn't say for sure if I would have ever listened to this band.

When the complete Record Store Day list came out, I thought this reissue would be a good way to finally add this record on vinyl to the collection.  It'll be on colored vinyl and I can just grab it with my other pickups.  As I had predicted, this was one I was able to acquire much later in the day with minimal hassle, so no camping out needed. 

I'll admit it, in general I'm not as frequent a listener of 70's and 80's punk rock as a lot of people.  Not that there isn't plenty of good stuff out there and not that I don't own my share, because I do.  But I tend to spend the bulk of my time on the 90's to the present.  The thing has always struck me about The Saints is that they just don't sound as dated as a lot of bands from a similar time frame. 

The highlight is the horn accented "Know Your Product," but the album certainly doesn't die there.  Song after song of punky, slightly garage-y hits follow like "Private Affair," "Orstralia" and the cleverly titled "No, Your Product."  The whole album is rock solid though; not a dud on either side.  They did a pretty good job with this reissue, though I'll admit to not really knowing if the cover photo looks quite this blown out on an original copy.  From a music standpoint, it's absolutely worth picking up if you don't already own it

The Saints - "Know Your Product":

The Saints - "Orstralia":

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Record Store Day Haul #3: The Wrestling Album/Piledrive 2xLP - Red & Yellow Vinyl

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Epic (2015, Reissue)

If ever there was a record that kind of sums up the problem with Record Store Day, this is probably it.  An overpriced reissue of a record that there wasn't much demand for.  That being said, I bought it, so I'm definitely part of the problem.  As much as I can take a step back and realize this is the epitome of why some people hate Record Store Day, I just couldn't convince myself not to buy the fancy colored vinyl versions of two of the records I completely wore out as a kid.

I had both of these when I was younger, though I had them on cassette.  The funny thing about these is that the cassette versions came attached to LP covers.  It was kind of weird, but I was appreciative of the larger artwork way back when.  I'm most familiar with the first Wrestling Album.  It has all the hits.  "Real American," "Grab Them Cakes" by the Junkyard Dog and "Cara Mia" by Nikolai Volkoff.  All these years later they still make me smile as does the super wacky version of "Land Of 1000 Dances" featuring a who's who of 80's wrestlers delivering some lyrics that are quite a bit different than the originals.

Piledriver is not as fresh in my memory, so it was kind of funny listening to it for the first time in more than 20 years.  The Demolition theme song is still the best thing on this record, though I take some perverse joy in "Girls In Cars" by Strikeforce, "Stand Back" by Vince McMahon and Koko B. Ware singing "Piledriver."  The two LPs come in a gatefold cover for the Wrestling Album.  It was a nice touch having the inner sleeve for the 2nd LP mimic the original Piledriver artwork.

I'm not going to listen to this record very much.  Most of the songs on here are pretty bad.  But it is a definite slice of my child that I think is fun to revisit every so often.  Since I never grew out of watching pro wrestling, I guess it makes sense that I never really grew out of listening to wrestlers singing either.

Nikolai Volkoff - "Cara Mia":

Rick Derringer - "Real American" (You HAVE to watch this video if you've never seen it)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKzEKdY3eo0

Rick Derringer - "Demolition":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aS1Xfb6ckE

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Record Store Day Haul #2: Built To Spill - Untethered Moon LP

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Warner Brothers (2015)

Releasing the new Built To Spill record on Record Store Day was a neat move I think.  It really wasn't limited (10,000 copies!), so if you wanted it, it's unlikely you had to line up in front of a record store to get a copy.  It also wasn't limited to only being released of Record Store Day, you could just buy it then first.  Plus there was the scavenger hunt aspect where 500 blue vinyl copies were randomly inserted for the Record Store Day release, though I'm a little skeptical that actually happened as not one single copy has turned up on eBay.

A new Built To Spill record is always cause for celebration and it's a nice change of pace from the reissues that tend to clog up Record Store Day.  Built To Spill has yet to disappoint me with a record and Untethered Moon is no exception.  What I can say about it is that it is not as immediately impactful as some of their other albums.  It's deliberately a slower burn and it's a record that I like more and more every time I listen to it.  Maybe it doesn't have some of the surefire pop singles some of their other albums have, but you'll be challenged trying to find another record that's so easy to enjoy from start to finish.

Built To Spill has a tried and true formula of jangled out guitar in the verse, Doug's high pitch vocals and blasts of fuzzed out lead guitar.  It's a formula that has worked for quite a while and Untethered Moon delivers more of that sort of greatness.  Built To Spill has long been one of my all time favorite bands.  It has been far too long in between albums, but you can bet I'll be listening to Untethered moon constantly to try to make up for lost time.

Built To Spill - "All Our Songs":

Built To Spill - "Living Zoo":

Monday, May 11, 2015

Record Store Day Haul #1: Leatherface - Razorblades And Aspirin LP Box Set

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Fire (2015, Reissue)

This box set was hands down the most sought after record on my Record Store Day list this year.  In fact, its release was what pushed me into driving down to Vintage Vinyl so far in advance.  Until it was announced, I only had passing interest in most of the Record Store Day titles and figured I could just grab them whenever.  Leatherface made participation mandatory.

Leatherface is one of the three most influential bands I've ever listened to, their impact on my taste in music simply cannot be overstated.  Their albums are long out of print on vinyl and it took a long time for me to track them all down.  Granted, I locked down that collection quite a long time ago at this point, but you should have seen some of the wacky record stores in England I ended up digging through in the late 90's.

The Razor Blades And Aspirin box set was limited to 1500 copies overall; 500 in the US and 1000 in the UK.  I was lucky that a nice guy from Utah picked up a copy for me and sent it over at cost.  I only had to pay for the shipping.  Prior to that, I was freaking out a little bit, concerned I wouldn't get this record.  Luckily everything worked out.

The box set contains the three middle Leatherface LPs of their first run, arguably their creative peak.  It's missing their first album, Cherry Knowle, and their 1994 swan song, The Last, but that's not too surprising as Rouchneck/Fire didn't put them out originally.  All three albums are remastered and there is a download card with a bunch of B-sides and extras.  There's also lengthy liner notes written by Jack Rabid that are a fascinating read.  He really should write an entire book about the band.

The Fill Your Boots reissue sounds really good.  This was the first great Leatherface record.  While Cherry Knowle has its moments, Fill Your Boots is the first time the band truly showed what they were capable of.  The songs as a whole are a little faster and more straightforward than they would be as the band progressed, but their are several untouchable songs on here.  Fill Your Boots is a short eight song record and it feels like it flies by. Compared to the original pressing, this reissue is just as good.  Maybe a little louder, but I don't see much of a difference as far as the remastering goes.

Mush is Leatherface's absolute classic.  You could argue that it is the most perfect puck rock record ever written.  It's angry and ferocious, but dynamic and full of hooks.  Lyrically intelligent and sonically belligerent.  This is one of my three favorite records of all time and an album I encourage everyone to go out of their way to hear.  The first song, "I Want The Moon" could be the best side one, track one of all time.  Really its only competition is "Here Come The Rome Plows" by Drive Like Jehu.  The box set reissue sounds pretty good.  It's miles better than the bootleg reissue that began popping up a few years ago.  But I played the original pressing right after the reissue and to me the original still sounds brighter, more clear and louder.  The reissue is very, very good, but there's something about that first pressing that keeps it a notch above.

Minx rounds out the full length albums in this set.  The production on this album was never quite as pristine as Mush, but the songs were always equally great.  In fact, my very favorite Leatherface song, "Do The Right Thing" is from this album.  For this album, the new reissue sounds a little cleaner than the original pressing, though the difference is subtle at best.  Unlike Mush, this version is a totally acceptable replacement for having the original.

The box set also comes with a digital downloaded containing a bunch of B-sides, acoustic versions and the entire Smokey Joe and Compact And Bijou EPs.  There are some amazing songs on here, though there isn't anything previously unreleased if you'd been hunting down their singles.  For this to be the definitive boxset, there should have been two more LPs with all of these B-sides.  I do get frustrated by download only extra tracks, but at least Fire did get them out there in some way. I also don't really like the redone artwork of the individual album covers.  I'm not losing any sleep over it, but I like the originals better.

Considering how long the original pressings of these records have been out of print, it's great news that they're finally back.  I'm curious if this will remain a one off pressing for Record Store Day or if Fire will try to keep some version of it in print going forward.  While maybe not the most popular band of all time, you'd think Leatherface has enough of a following to justify keeping these records out there.  

If you don't have the originals, this box set is absolutely essential.  If you do have the originals, it still might be worth picking up. Fill Your Boots and Minx sound equally good, if not a touch better than the originals, but the Mush reissue falls a bit short.  One way or another, everyone should own these records.

Leatherface - "New York State" (Fill Your Boots):

Leatherface - "I Want The Moon" (Mush):

Leatherface - "Do The Right Thing" (Minx):

Friday, May 8, 2015

Record Store Day - 2015

Untitled

Record Store Day 2015 worked out a bit differently than it typically has in the past for me.  There did end up being several things I wanted, so I decided to line up nice and early as I have previous years.  I was out on the Friday before until about 10:30.  As I was planning on being in line by about 2:30 or 3:00am anyway, I just decided to skip out on the few hours sleep and drive right down to Vintage Vinyl in Fords, NJ.  I arrived at 11:00pm the Friday night before Record Store Day.

When I pulled into the parking lot, I was complete shocked.  There were already about 50 people in line ten hours before the store was scheduled to open at 8:00am the next day.  From a quick scan of the crowd and my superhuman ability to determine bad music at a distance, I can tell you for sure that everyone was there for that god damn Brand New record.  I had said many times in the preceding weeks that I knew that stupid record was going to make Record Store Day too much trouble.

I am absolutely willing to put in my time to get the records I want. Never once have I ever complained about Record Store Day or the fight to get what you want.  All part of the day if you're up to participate.  But what I'm not willing to do is sit in front of a record store for ten hours 50 people back.  There's no way to know if I would get the records I want.  I'm sure most of the crowd in front of me wasn't after what I was, but I was not willing to sit there that long and put that much of my time into it.  So without even getting out of my car, I just pulled back out of the parking lot and went home.

The following morning was spent trolling vinyl message boards, watching eBay and doing everything possible to wheel and deal to get the records I wanted without paying through the nose.  Then later on in the day I went back down to Vintage Vinyl and was able to pick up a couple of the lesser in demand records that I had correctly assumed would still be hanging around after the initial flurry.  All in all I managed to track down every record that I wanted with the exception of one.  I ended up spending a grand total of $18 more than retail for all of the records combined to accommodate postage and a one record being a few dollars more on eBay.

The only record I wasn't able to find and still haven't gotten is the Against Me 7" that was released.  It's on eBay for around $30 but I'm not willing to drop that on a 7", at least not right now.  Especially since it's just two versions of the same song that's already on the last full length.  So if anyone happens to have one or knows of anywhere to get one and want's to sell at a low price or trade it to me, please get in touch.  Starting Monday I'll be posting reviews of this year's record store day haul.  A good amount of money was spent, but I also did get a few pretty great records.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe - Music From The Television Series CD

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La-La Land (2015)

You'll be hard pressed to find someone that clings to the nostalgia of their childhood more than me.  As I write this I'm surrounded by Shogun Warriors, Battle Beasts, Wheeled Warriors and other assorted action figures that took up many hours of my youth.  When I heard about this He-Man soundtrack being released, I knew I had to pick it up if for no other reason that it would be a great companion piece to my Art Of He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe book that just came out.

On a positive note, this CD is extremely complete, sans one bizarre omission.  They're found every single possible chunk of synth soaked pretend orchestra music that could have possibly ever aired on this show.  We're talking one hundred and eleven tracks spread over two discs.  Main Title Theme with the triumphant "He-Man" shouted? Sure - 2 versions of it.  Main Title with no vocals? Got it.  Main Title with Spanish vocals throughout the entire song? Why not!  Amazingly, the one version of the Main Title that isn't on this CD is the one actually used in the show with the dialog explaining the backstory.  How that isn't on here is beyond me considering how packed this thing is.

If you're looking for a completists archive CD, this is for you.  If you are looking for a fun record to pop on and listen to, I'm not sure this is going to help.  This CD is so freaking long.  It's over two hours between the two discs.  Most of these musical pieces are just rehashes of three or four key themes.  I can't even begin to tell you how many times the Main Title Theme is recycled into these other tracks.  Sped up, slowed down, played happy, played sad...it's king of nuts and it becomes a chore to listen to after a while.

I wish this CD had been out when I was in college doing my radio show or even a few years ago when I was doing a podcast.  There's tremendous bed music opportunities on this disc.  But to just sit down and listen to it?  After a while it just feels like a chore.  Just buy the Art book instead, that thing is incredible.

He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe - Main Theme:

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Beach Slang - Broken Thrills LP - Split Color Splatter Vinyl (/100)

Untitled

Big Scary Monsters (2015)

Technically, I have already reviewed the music on this LP as it is comprised of the first two Beach Slang 7"s.  Though you'd be hard pressed to find a bigger fan of the 7" format than me, there's certainly something to be said about the convenience of having all of these songs on one LP.  If nothing else, it certainly makes it easier to pop on without having to get up from the couch so many times to flip the record.

I enjoy these Beach Slang songs just as much, if not more, than I did when the 7"s first came out.  I stand by my belief that the singer reminds me an awful lot of the guy who sang in Tugboat Annie.  The more I listen to these guys, the more I hear elements of Knapsack as well.  Maybe Beach SLang isn't quite as polished and they certainly don't yell as much as Knapsack, but I feel like both bands are trying to convey similar feelings.

The band is working on their debut full length for Polyvinyl right now.  You can bet that I'll be preordering that guy on day one. 

Beach Slang - Broken Thrills LP:

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Good Shade - S/T LP - Yellow Vinyl (/200)

Untitled

Gut Genug (2015)

Even though this record is brand spanking new, I've actually spent quite a bit of time with these songs.  I first became aware of them as a digital only Bandcamp download.  It's one of the dudes from Tight Bros, so you can bet I grabbed that instantly.  I was really hoping for a proper vinyl release so when Smellhound Records announced it and tossed up a preorder, I was on that immediately as well.  Time went by and Smellhound no longer was part of the equation, but at long last the vinyl is here courtesy of Gut Genug records.

Good Shade are playing high energy, fast paced, super catchy punk rock.  They have some similarities to Tight Bros for sure and if you enjoy The Marked Men or Chinese Telephones, this record is essential to add to your collection.  The lightning quick downstroke guitar strumming blasts into big sing along choruses.  The vocals have that slight coating of fuzz that enhances the song, rather than try to hide the singer's voice.  Simply put, Good Shade has crafted a phenomenal album 

I really can't say enough great things about Good Shade.  This is hands down one my favorite records of the year so far and honestly you're a fool if you don't go grab this right away.  It's just a tremendous record.

Good Shade - Good Shade LP: