Salinas / One Percent Press (2014)
When Salinas records started announcing a slew of new releases that they were putting out, I immediately jumped on board. I knew I wanted the new Delay record, having been a fan for a while, but there were 2 new bands that I was keen to check out, Martha and Mapmaker. Of all 3 records, Mapmaker ended up my favorite, but I'm not sure I thought that the first time I put the needle down on this LP.
I'll be very blunt; the vocals are not going to be for everyone. They're loud, distorted, blown out and way up front in the mix. At first listen it's a little off putting and you immediately think "why would anyone record the vocals like that?" That being said, the more I listen to this record, the more I love it. While slightly less harsh vocals would probably help the band a little in the long run, they bring a real feeling of urgency to Critical Path.
In a lot of ways, Mapmaker reminds me of the equally excellent Tenement. Though they don't throw around Dino Jr. style guitar solos the way Tenement can; there's a similar seriousness and an intensity. They manage to weave real energy into surprisingly melodic songs, considering all of the shouting. Like Tenement, they're not afraid to get a little noisy, or a little lo fi; but they manage to pull it off in a way that makes complete sense at the end.
If you are looking for an album of serious, dynamic punk rock, you're not going to do much better than Mapmaker in 2014. If you can appreciate the vocals, this is going to become a heavy rotation album for you. Even if you have a harder time with them, the music and guitar work is so strong, I'd still be surprised if you didn't end up spinning this more often that you initially thought you would.
Mapmaker - Critical Path (2 Songs):