Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Absolute Best Records Of 2017

Untitled

This is the 2017 edition of my annual list of the Absolute Best Records of the year.  There were some real winners this time out and in particular, the top 5 really monopolized my time in 2017.  I listened to those five records a lot this year.

2017 is the first year in a long time where I don't have a list of records that extended past a top 30.  I mean, sure, I bought a few more records that what I've listed below, but I usually have quite a long list of albums after 30.  I think that pretty much confirms what I've thought for most of the year, 2017 just didn't have quite as many amazing records as usual.

That's not to say there weren't great records.  Just a quick listen to the ones listed below will shatter that notion.  The Chinchees, Charly Bliss and Short Straw Fate would be fighting for the top spot in almost any year and honestly, it's really a coin flip on which of the three I like best.  Plus, all three are bands that are brand new to me, so you have to give bonus points for that.

I'll be taking a little break from posting new reviews for a bit, but I should be back with new records to write about on January 8th.

01 - The Chinchees - The Chinchees - Dirt Cult (Listen)
02 - Charly Bliss - Guppy - Barsuk (Listen)
03 - Short Straw Fate - For The Heroes In My Record Rack - Fixing A Hole (Listen)
04 - Racquet Club - Racquet Club - Rise (Listen)
05 - Remnants - True Places Never Are - Tour Van / Different Kitchen / Emily (Listen)
06 - Needles // Pins - Good Night, Tomorrow - Dirt Cult / Mint (Listen)
07 - A Giant Dog - Toy - Merge (Listen)
08 - Lost Balloons - Hey Summer - Dirtnap (Listen)
09 - Phoenix Foundation - Closer - Waterslide / Boss Tuneage (Listen) 
10 - Cloud Nothings - Life Without Sound - Carpark (Listen)

11 - Good Shade - Lunch - Gut Genug / A-F
12 - Warm Soda - I Don’t Wanna Grow Up - Castle Face
13 - Ted Leo - The Hanged Man - Self Released
14 - Cheap Wine - Cheap Wine - Drunken Sailor
15 - Greensleep - Cheap Headphones - Dead Broke
16 - Holiday - California Steamin’ - Brassneck / Pumpkin / Antikorper Export / Prejudice Me
17 - Your Pest Band - Old Springhead - Snuffy Smiles / Brassneck / Dead Broke
18 - Zapiain - Giantnormous - All In / Bombed Out
19 - Bear Trade - Silent Unspeakable - Dead Broke / Everything Sucks
20 - Marvelous Mark - Buzzin’ - Drunken Sailor

21 - Iron Chic - You Can’t Stay Here - Side One Dummy
22 - Capitalist Kids - Brand Damage - Brassneck / Eccentric Pop
23 - Midnight Reruns - Spectator Sports - Dusty Medical
24 - The Golden Boys - Better Than Good Times - 12XU
25 - The Obleeks - The Obleeks - Good Land
26 - Heavy Heart - Distance - Brassneck / Can I Say / Don’t Trust The Hype / Guerilla Asso / Inhumano / Monster Zero
27 - The Lillingtons - Stella Sapiente - Fat Wreck
28 - Out - Swim Buddies - Comedy Minus One
29 - Jim And The French Vanilla - Afraid Of The House - Dirtnap
30 - Sweet Knives - Sweet Knives - Big Neck

Previously:
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009

Friday, December 22, 2017

Gene Autry - Christmas Favorites LP

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CBS (1981)

Excluding the Ventures' Christmas Album, this Gene Autry LP is hands down my favorite Christmas record.  While it certainly isn't as rocking as the Ventures and likely may not appeal to everyone that typically reads this website, there's something about these songs that are so ingrained into me that I can't get into the Christmas mood without them.

My dad had this album on cassette when I was a kid and when it was Christmas time, it would always get broken out.  The songs, by Gene Autry - the singing cowboy, are very obviously geared towards children, which was probably a lot of the appeal.  About ten years ago or so, I picked up a CD that contained every Christmas song that Gene Autry recorded for Columbia records.  It covers everything that is on this LP plus another dozen or so more songs.  That tends to be my go to this time of the year, but I wanted to have these songs on vinyl and I really wanted the specific album I listened to as a kid.  Luckily while kicking around on eBay, I found a copy that was brand new, still sealed and it was only ten bucks.  An easy decision.

The songs on this album are some of the most classic every written.  You have "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer" (the song that Gene originally made famous), "Here Comes Santa Claus" and "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town."  There's no way you haven't heard these before as they are the very essence of traditional Christmas music.  

For me, it's the deep cuts on the album that really make it for me.  "If It Doesn't Snow On Christmas" spins a tale of how could Santa Claus get to your house if there's no snow and he can't use his sleigh.  It's full of charming imagery of Santa flying a plane and other unusual modes of transportation.  "Christmas Waltz" is a slow, wonderful song about a couple dancing together while the spirit of the season affects everyone around them.  

Then there are my two personal favorites: "The Night Before Christmas (In Texas That Is)" and "Merry Texas Christmas You All."  Both put a cowboy spin on the traditional Christmas story, and I have to admit, they have an even funnier, more personal connection for me now since my wife is originally from Texas.  It's impossible for me to say enough good things about this album.  I just love it to bits and rest assured it's going to be played pretty non stop for the next few days.

This will be my last proper review of the year.  Right around New Years, I'll post my Absolute Best Records of 2017 list, but aside from that I'll be taking a break and doing a lot of eating.  Hope everyone has a nice holiday and a happy new year.

Gene Autry - "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer":

Gene Autry - "If It Doesn't Snow On Christmas":

Gene Autry - "Merry Texas Christmas, You All":

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Blues Brothers - I Got Everything I Need (Almost) 7" (Japan)

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Atlantic (1978)

"I Got Everything I Need (Almost)" was the last song from Briefcase Full Of Blues to be released as a single.  Like "Rubber Biscuit," it wasn't released in the US or Europe with any picture sleeve.  The only region that received one was Japan and it's a good one.  This 7" has completely unique artwork that wasn't recycled from any previous Blues Brothers record and features a pretty excellent shot of the boys dancing on stage.  It's uniqueness makes it one of my favorite Blues Brothers 7"s that I've picked up during this quest to find all of their picture sleeves.  

"I Got Everything I Need (Almost)" has long been one of my favorite Blues Brothers songs.  It's positioned in that first run of songs on Side A that leads up to "Rubber Biscuit," perhaps one of the greatest album stretches I've ever heard.  I always liked the affectation that Jake uses on his voice on this song, it gives it a feeling that you don't really hear on any of the others, almost as if the character of this song has just stumbled out of a bar drowning his sorrows and this song is his confession of why he's so down.

On the B side we have "Hey Bartender."  This is another song pulled from that same batch of songs on side A of Briefcase Full Of Blues. It's the first real song on the album after the "Can't Turn You Loose" intro and again, it's a long time favorite of mine.  The band is on fire and Jake is all revved up for this one.  It could be argued this song is one of the most emblematic songs The Blues Brothers ever did.  While certainly not their most well known or popular, it really sort of captures the band at their peak on Briefcase Full Of Blues.  Both are incredible songs and this 7" is absolutely one of the crown jewels in my budding Blues Brothers 7" collection.

The Blues Brothers - "I Got Everything I Need (Almost)": 

The Blues Brothers - "Hey Bartender":

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Hussy - I See Just Fine 7" - White Vinyl

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Big Neck (2017)

This 7" is the last one left out of the package that Big Neck sent me to review. I didn't leave it for last  for any specific reason.  It's not my least favorite of the Big Neck records I received, though I can't quite say I've saved the best for last either.  It's actually just a pretty solid, easy to listen to 7".

The Hussy is pumping our treble heavy guitar mixed in with an abundance of raw energy and fast paced drumming.  The songs have a pretty straightforward pop catchiness to them, but it's rammed through a meat grinder of fuzz, keeping it rough and ready.  A side "I See Just Fine" rests on the strength of a hooky, repeated guitar lead and the lost-in-a-cave vocals that tie everything together.  I don't love the breakdown in the middle where a bunch of sampled dialog drifts through the song, but other than that, it's a hit.

There's two songs on the B side, but the second one "Better Stuff" is the highlight.  It's a short, fast blast of garage-y pop punk.  It feels like the entire song is a chorus, with its super catchy vocal melody and bouncy drumming.  It may be the best thing on the 7" and I wish it were twice as long as it is.  I wasn't really familiar with Hussy prior to checking out this 7", but this 7" of their's is pretty good stuff.

The Hussy - I See Just Fine 7":

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

V/A - Christmas In Soulsville LP - Green Vinyl (/500)

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Stax (2015, reissue)

I'll admit it.  I bought the wrong soul Christmas album.  I thought I was buying Soul Christmas with "Gee Whiz, It's Christmas" by Carla Thomas and "Back Door Santa" by Clarence Carter.  I was wrong.  Christmas In Soulsville, focuses more on later era Stax Chirstmas releases.  Moving more into that 70s funk/Hot Buttered Soul sound.  There's two Isaac Hayes songs on this one.

My issue is twofold.  One, I don't really like the direction that Stax moved to when they started doing the Isaac Hayes era releases.  I prefer my soul a little earlier and a bit more upbeat.  That brings me to my second issue with this compilation; there's just too many slow songs.  Both Isaac Hayes songs are excruciating to get through, they're just so damn slow.  "Please Come Home For Christmas" by Johnny Taylor and "What Do The Lonely Do At Christmas" by The Emotions are similar in that they don't feel festive to me.

That being said there are still great songs on this.  It's a Stax record after all, they were bursting at the seams with talent.  Otis Redding's "Merry Christmas Baby" makes an appearance and is a show stopper.  "Winter Wonderland" by Booker T and the MG's isn't my favorite of their Christmas tunes, but it's still a solid entry.  I also really enjoy "I'll Be Your Santa Baby " by Rufus Thomas and "Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin'" by Sir Mack Rice.  

This wasn't a wasted purchase as there are plenty of great Christmas songs on here.  But, it's just not the non stop hit factory that Soul Christmas is.  So that's going to have to be top of the list next year.

V/A - Christmas In Soulsville:

Monday, December 18, 2017

Turncoat - I. R. I. S. CD

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Waterslide / Mostoff (2015)

Turncoat is another one of those Japanese bands that I somehow completely missed keeping track of.  I picked up their first album back in 2011, but never kept up on their other releases.  In addition to the CD Ep that I'm reviewing today, I just realized that Turncoat have a second full length CD that I didn't know existed either.  I really need to do abetter job of keeping track of bands that I like.

I guess it was worth the self inflicted wait on listening to this EP, because it is pretty great.  Strong, mid tempo and catchy punk rock with dueling male/female vocals and hooks in all of the right spots.  This CD is also a reminder that I actually have no idea how to play the guitar as they effortless shift from delicate and intricate leads to crunchy and dynamic chord progressions.  

There are elements of the way the band structures their songs that remind me of Dear You era Jawbreaker, though the vocals are completely different.  This comparison is especially interesting as the band also tackles an early Jawbreaker song with their cover of "Want" on this release (it's not up on the Bandcamp link, but it is on the CD itself).  It's a really great version that blends in surprising well with the rest of the band's original material.  If nothing else, I'm going to try really hard not to miss any future releases by Turncoat.  Oh, and I also have to go back and try to find their second album as well.

Turncoat - I. R. I. S.:

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Beach Boys - Christmas Album LP - Green Vinyl (/1000)

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Capitol (2016, Reissue)

It's no secret to those around me that I absolutely love Christmas music.  Every year at this time I break out my Christmas playlist and fine tune it.  Adding new songs and removing ones that just don't cut it anymore.  It's a constantly evolving organism and every year I get just a bit closer to it being perfect.  Additionally, I've been trying to snag at least one of my favorite Christmas albums on vinyl every year.  This year I actually ended picking up three, so I'll sprinkle their reviews in over the next week.

The Beach Boys Christmas album really should be a total slam dunk.  And on the A side it is.  Six straight songs of good time, rock and roll Christmas music.  We've got the Beach Boys original staples like "Little Saint Nick," "The Man With All The Toys" and "Santa's Beard."  It's the very best of 1960s Beach Boys meets the Christmas Season.  They also do a really fun, spirited version of "Frosty The Snowman."  The A side of this album is pretty flawless.

Unfortunately the same can't be said for the B side.  The album just grinds to a screeching halt with a series of slow, traditional covers. "We Three Kings of Orient Are" is comically terrible and they even manage to ruin some of my traditional favorites like "Blue Christmas" and "White Christmas."  The only thing worthwhile on the B side is "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town," but even that can't hold a candle to anything on side A.

I wish that when they were recording this album, they just kept writing original Christmas songs.  Those are the highlights here.  When they veer from that, a lot of this record becomes skippable.  Still, that A side is so white hot, it's a record that has to be in my collection.

The Beach Boys - "Little Saint Nick":

The Beach Boys - "Santa's Beard":

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Heavy Lids - Bleed 7" - Blue Vinyl

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Big Neck (2017)

Of the recent batch of records that Big Neck sent me, I'm probably least interested in this Heavy Lids 7".  Not that it's inherently bad or anything, but it's not the sort of band that typically connects with me.

Both songs are pretty barebones, full force ahead, stomping blasts in the tradition of early 80s punk rock forefathers. The guitars are a brutal wall of fuzz that combine with very prominent keyboards and gritty vocals.  There's a subtle hook buried in the A side "Bleed," but it's really subtle.  You're mostly smacked in the face with a barrage of pounding drums.

On the B side "No Reason," things slow down a little, but it's still a pretty angsty and powerful.  For the type of music they're playing, Heavy Lids do a totally fine job of things.  This just isn't really the sort of thing that I'm usually into.  I need songs that are a bit catchier.

Heavy Lids - Bleed 7"

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Phoenix Foundation - Closer LP

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Waterslide / Boss Tuneage / Best Seller (2017)

First off, I should point out that this isn't the Phoenix Foundation band from New Zealand.  I don't know anything about those dudes other than they sure come up a lot when you're searching for the Phoenix Foundation Bandcamp page.  I'm sure they're nice guys and all, but the record I'm writing about is by the Phoenix Foundation from Finland.

I first heard of these guys as a recommendation since I liked the band Manifesto Jukebox.  I picked up a CD of theirs that came out back in 2003.  It was good stuff, really fiery and fast.  For whatever reason, they kind of fell off my radar after that.  I picked up the occasional single and EP, but I never grabbed another one of their full lengths.  I guess they were one of those bands that ware harder for me to keep tabs on.

Fast forward to this year and Phoenix Foundation's newest release Closer is back on my radar thanks to Waterslide records.  I can say this is a band that has gone through some changes since 2003.  The entire tempo of the record has calmed way down since their ballistic debut.  It's for the better really.  With a slightly slower pace, the songs have more freedom to expand and the hooks have more time to build and get lodged in your head.  Before, things would rush by so fast you couldn't always grab each subtle nuance.  This time out the songwriting quality is much more obvious because you have time to hear the details.

The band still has an obvious debt to the gravel throated, Leatherface style of punk rock.  But, like Leatherface, The Phoenix Foundation has become more confident in their craft.  Closer is a really outstanding record.  If there's one complaint I have, I just wish it was even longer.

The Phoenix Foundation - Closer:

Monday, December 11, 2017

Red Dons - Genocide 7" - Red Vinyl (/150)

Untitled

Man In Decline (2017)

I'd be hard pressed to name a band that has been more consistently great over the past ten years than Red Dons.  While they never seem to get the sort of accolades or attention that I think they deserve, this is a band that is incapable of not churning out a hit record every time.  

Red Dons have been a bit quiet since the release of their 2015 album, The Dead Hand of Tradition.  Apparently they've been hiding and writing masterpieces.  Side A of this 7" kicks off with "Genocide."  The band once again shows their mastery of dark, downstroke heavy punk rock that still manages to hide incredible pop hooks.  Hot Snakes may be downstroke warlords, but Red Dons surely have a fiefdom of their own.

B side "Letters" is just as great with a jangly guitar tone that still manages to sound kind of sinister, yet retains the sort of catchiness you'd expect to find in a much more lighthearted band.  There's something really special about this group and I sure hope that this 7" is a precursor to a new album.  That's something I'd pick up on day one.

Red Dons - Genocide 7":

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Blues Brothers - Rubber Biscuit 7"

Untitled

Atlantic (1978)

"Rubber Biscuit" was the first favorite song I ever had.  I have a book that my parents had gotten for me when I was four years old.  It's one of those books where the kid fills in the blanks about stuff they like.  What's your favorite color? What do you want to be when you grow up? That kind of thing.  In the section that says What is your favorite song?  My answer was "Bow Bow Bow."  That's what I first thought "Rubber Biscuit" was called at my youngest due to the chorus.

It was probably the fast pace and the gibberish lyrics that hooked me as a four year old, but there's still something pretty exciting about this song thirty seven years later.  The band has this irrepressible energy that just exudes through the song. The vocals, while still gibberish, have a melody to them despite their rapid fire delivery that always gets me nodding along.  I can't really explain it, there's just something magical about this song.

The B side on this 7" is "B Movie Box Car Blues."  This wasn't one of my favorites off of Briefcase Full of Blues as a kid, but that's somewhat misleading as I've always loved every single song off that record.  But what I can say is that "B Movie" has grown on me even more over the years.  It's slinky lead guitar riff, story telling vocals and the up tempo instrumental outro are all something to behold.  It's another perfect song in the Blues Brothers catalog.

Unfortunately this, my favorite Blues Brothers song, was never released in any country with a picture sleeve that I was able to find.  I really wish one had been made as it feels a little naked in the collection without one.  It's not alone, of course, and someday I hope it finds a more permanent home in the jukebox currently sitting in my garage that I'm not able to use right now.  

The Blues Brothers - "Rubber Biscuit":

The Blues Brothers - "B Movie Box Car Blues":

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Radiation Risks - Headless Horseman Flexi

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Feral Kid (2017)

This is the first time I've been sent a flexi to review since I started up this website.  Right away, that stood out.  Plus, while I can't say I like the artwork, it's definitely colorful and attention grabbing.

I reviewed another Radiation Risks 7" earlier in the year and while I do like the songs on this new flexi more than the older 7", I still can't go so far as to say I like this band.  But I don't dislike them.  It's complicated.  I like the music quite a bit.  It's fast and upbeat with jangly guitar, fun chord progressions and pretty decent hooks.  I find my head bobbing along when I listen to it and in particular I just love the guitar tone they achieved with this recording.  They should bottle that stuff.

By only hang up is that I'm not really partial to the singer.  Though, again, it's a big improvement from the last 7".  I still think the band as a whole would benefit from some more melody in the vocals and a less ferocious delivery.  This singer kind of feels like he's still trying to transition from a hardcore band into whatever Radiation Risks is turning into.  The progression is happening and change is obvious; these are much better songs.  But, i don't think that the band is there yet.  If they truly embraced the pop songs that they're writing, I think they could be great.

Radiation Risks - Headless Horseman Flexi:

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Golden Boys - Better Than Good Times LP - White Vinyl

Untitled

12XU (2017)

It's been five years since the last Golden Boys record.  While I did listen to Dirty Fingernails quite a bit when it first came out in 2012, I can't say it's been one that I've gone back too all that often over the last few years.  When I received an email alerting me that Better Than Good Times had been released, I hesitated for a moment, but decided to take the plunge and order it.  I'm still looking for that blow away album of 2017.  Better Than Good Times isn't it, but it's a pretty solid record and likely an improvement from Dirty Fingernails.

The Golden Boys play a somewhat rustic version of electric guitar rock and roll.  I wouldn't go so far as to say they lean country, but you can hear just a bit of twang and it tinges most of the songs on this record.  Luckily, the songs also have pretty good pop rock hooks that help move things along and keep the album interesting to me.

I think the album is most successful when the band picks up the pace like they do on "Lonely Girls" and the title track "Better Than Good Times."  This is where they start sounding like prime era Goodnight Loving to me, which is always a good thing.  When The Golden Boys slow things down. the songs are still pretty good, but they just don't reach the heights of the quicker ones.  Better Than Good Times is good times, but I'm not sure it's better than good times.  It's kind of the definition of a good, solid record.  A fun listen and one I recommend checking out, but it isn't the the record I'm looking for to take over my best of 2017 list.

The Golden Boys - Better Than Good Times:

Monday, December 4, 2017

Superchunk - Break The Glass 7" - Yellow Vinyl (/290)

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Merge (2017)

This is the second 7" Superchunk has released leading up to their new album scheduled for release in February.  Break The Glass was a limited 7" available in two versions, the first was on standard black vinyl, limited to 700 copies.  This one was $15.  The second version, and the one I decided to buy, is on yellow vinyl and was limited to 290 copies.  The yellow vinyl version was also autographed by all four members of the band and was sold for $30.

Now, both price tags are somewhat steep for a 7", but all proceeds from were being donated to Southern Poverty Law Center.  So, I was really just donating to a good cause and getting a limited 7" as a bonus.  I can't say that autographed records are anything that I care all that much about, but having the limited colored vinyl version is, so it didn't take that much thought to snag this version.

The A side of the 7" is "Break The Glass,."  It will also be on the upcoming full length.  All in all it's a great song.  It leans on the upper end of mid tempo with some high pitch lead guitar riffs over the trademark Superchunk fuzz.  The chorus actually drops the energy of the song a bit the first time it's rolled out, but this adds a really cool dynamic to the song.  Plus, things become very loud and triumphant when that chorus is used again towards the end.  

The B side is "Mad World," which according to the liner notes is a Corrosion of Conformity song. I don't know any Corrosion of Conformity songs and this Superchunk version isn't anything that would make me seek out their stuff.  It's louder than your usual Superchunk with gritty/screaming vocals and a pretty basic verse/chorus song structure.  I guess it's OK as a B side novelty, but it's not really the sort of thing I see going back to very often.  But, it is important to me to keep my Superchunk 7" collection complete and "Break The Glass" absolutely has me ready for the new Superchunk album next year.

Superchunk - Break The Glass 7":

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Peace Of Bread - 5 Songs CD

Untitled

Peace of Bread (2007)

Peace Of Bread is one of those bands that I just can't believe I missed out on.  They are so completely right up my alley, but I'm not sure I would have heard of them if it wasn't for the recommendation of Kazu from Waterslide records.  I think one of the main reasons I was unfamiliar with them is that they were primarily active during the mid 2000s.  A time where, for whatever reason, I just had a harder time keeping up with the Japanese music scene outside of Snuffy Smile releases.

Peace Of Bread, in many ways, feels like the natural progression of what Cigaretteman would have ended up sounding like had they kept going..  With the sort of fast and catchy guitar work that brings to mind some of my favorite Snuffy Smile bands like Snatcher or Blew, the five songs on this EP are just unbelievably great. Every single song is just perfect with the right amount of energy in the verse that builds into toe tapping choruses.  

The alternating male/female vocals create an incredible dynamic where each singer is able to grab the spotlight for their portion, but the true magic hits when they come together with perfect harmonies.  If you can't tell, I really love this EP.  It looks like Peace Of Bread put out quite a few CDs and EPs over the years they were active.  I hardly have any of them, but it looks like I'm going to have a lot of work ahead of me trying to hunt them all down.  Maybe Kazu can help!

I can't find any of these songs streaming online, but trust me, they're great.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Obleeks - S/T LP

Untitled

Good Land (2017)

Always on the hunt for new records, I stumbled across Obleeks when I read somewhere that Amos Pitsch of Tenement had produced this self titled LP.  I took a chance and it's a pretty solid success.  

The album starts out with two absolutely stellar songs: "After The Sunrise" and "Have You Thought About Me Lately?"  Even if the rest of the record was awful (it's not), this album would be worth picking up just for these two songs.  The band is playing shimmering, harmony drenched guitar pop.  The hooks are in all the right places and the backing vocals on the chorus of "Have You Thought About Me Lately?" are a thing of goddamn beauty.  They actually remind me a lot of the old SpinART band Poole, who I always thought were criminally underrated.

After that opening salvo, things do take a turn for the mellow as the rest of the album rolls on.  There's quite a few totally solid slow to mid-tempo songs that have nice arrangements and vocals.  They're not exactly setting the world on fire, but when you come across a track like "I'll Wait," it's hard not to get swept up in the song's carefree and breezy guitar chords.  It's a pretty strong record overall and a nice enjoyable listen.  I think that the album is pretty front loaded, but there rest of the album has some quality moments as well.

The Obleeks - S/T:

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Your Pest Band - Something Never Changes 7"

Untitled

Brassneck / Snuffy Smiles (2017)

It blows my mind how prolific Your Pest Band is.  It feels like they have a new release out constantly.  That's not a complaint mind you, the fact that I consistently am able to listen to new songs by these guys is the sort of problem anyone would be lucky to have.

As usual, this release shows off the diverse styles of Your Pest Band.  Opening track "Something Never Changes" is a mid tempo slice of jangly guitar and earnest vocals.  It some ways it actually reminds me of Tom Petty, but Your Pest Band keeps things rough around the edges. Great song.  Next up we have "Gas."  This is my favorite of the bunch with its fast, distorted guitars and old school Snuffy Smiles style pop punk hooks.  When Your Pest Band goes down this path, few are better.

Finally we have the nearly seven minute long "Gravity Force."  This is a song really testing the limits of what can fit on a 7", that's for sure.  It's slower and more deliberate than the other two songs, but no less potent.  I can't say that I tend to favor songs quite this long usually, but Your Pest Band manage to hold my attention better than most.

All three songs are definitely worth checking out and to mirror what Scott has said on the Brassneck website, this is actually a fantastic record to use as an introduction to the band.  With their massive discography, it can be intimidating to try to figure out where to jump in.  I recommend this 7", it gives you a sample pack of the sounds that Your Pest Band is best at.

Your Pest Band - Something Never Changes 7":

Monday, November 27, 2017

Wood Chickens - Countryside LP - Green Vinyl

Untitled

Big Neck (2017)

If we're judging books by their covers, I have to say I pretty much nailed this Wood Chickens album I was sent to review without ever hearing a note.  I mean, the band is called Wood Chickens, the album is called Countrycide and there's an animal skull and some cactuses on the cover.  Plus, I had reviewed a 7" by these guys a few months ago, so that probably helped a little bit as well.

It was somewhat comforting to put this record on and hear exactly what I was expecting.  Wood Chickens are playing a caffeine fueled take on country music.  But this isn't your modern day country ballads or even your dreary NPR alt-country nonsense.  Countryside is thirteen songs of shit-kicking, hillbilly rock and roll.  They remind me a bit of Southern Culture on the Skids, without the greaser vibe.  

A better touchstone is Slim Cessna's Auto Club as Wood Chickens have a similar feeling of authenticity.  I can't say I like this as much as Slim Cessna, but this LP is much better overall than the 7" I had previously reviewed.  I'm not sure Countrycide is in my wheelhouse enough for this to end up being a frequently played album, but it is a fun little excursion into something different.  Plus it would provide an excellent soundtrack if I ever felt the need to chase some moonshiners on dirt covered backroads.

Wood Chickens - Countrycide:

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Blues Brothers - Soul Man 7" (Japan)

Untitled

Atlantic (1978)

I'm going to put up this Blues Brothers 7" a day earlier than usual as this will be my last review of the week.  Tomorrow I'll be far too busy eating turkey to write another record review.  This record is the last Soul Man picture sleeve 7" that I have left.  There are a couple of other variants that I haven't tracked down yet, but we'll move on to other Blues Brothers 7"s in a couple of weeks.

This Japanese version is one of my favorites.  Yeah, they are just reusing the Briefcase Full Of Blues artwork again, but the addition of the Japanese text really make the artwork pop I think.  Especially with the white border that goes around it.

And interesting thing is that the artwork isn't a sleeve that you put the record in.  It's a single piece of paper that sits in front of the record, no pocket.  On the reverse is some basic info about the release plus the lyrics to "Soul Man," which I think is a pretty neat little bonus.

As usual, the B side is "Excusez Moi Mon Cherie."  To the best of my knowledge, there are four Japanese Blues Brothers 7"s.  I've tracked down three of them (reviews of the others will be coming over the next few weeks), but I do still need to find the Japanese "Gimme Some Lovin'" 7", so if you see it, let me know.

Blues Brothers - "Soul Man":

Blues Brothers - "Excusez Moi Mon Cherie":

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Sweet Knives - S/T LP - Gold Vinyl (/500)

Untitled

Big Neck (2017)

I was pretty excited to receive a pack of records from Big Neck to review.  The one that immediately jumped out at me was by Sweet Knives.  Something about the band name and the bright yellow artwork.  After reading a bit about them, it was interesting to learn that Sweet Knives spawned belatedly from the ashes of the Memphis based band Lost Sounds, familiar to some as one of the myriad of bands that Jay Reatard was in prior to his stint on Matador.  In fact, Sweet Knives are playing songs from the Lost Sounds catalog and are even named after a Lost Sounds song.

Where Lost Sounds were known for their dark synthy punk, Sweet Knives has brightened things up to wonderful results.  Sure, there's a little synth percolating here and there, but this is a guitar rock record through and through.  The album showcases the songwriting chops of Lost Sounds and really showcases a mastery of pop hooks that may not have been immediately recognizable when cluttered by some of the distorted synth chaos and Jay's manic vocals in Lost Sounds.  

Things are a bit more subdued with Sweet Knives and to my ears, it's a rousing success. With Alicja Trout handling the vocal duties the band is able to show a broader range of emotions and moods.  Songs like "Isolation-Deprivation" come close to sounding vulnerable when lighter vocals mix with the fuzzy guitar to craft one of the albums many highlights. 

I liked most of the bands Jay Reatard was involved in to some extent.  I can't say that Lost Sounds was my favorite band he was involved in as I tended to favor his poppier solo stuff.  Sweet Knives, however, is much more up my alley and was a really great surprise.  I recommend checking it out regardless of your feelings on Lost Sounds, these songs more than stand on their own.

Sweet Knives - S/T LP:

Monday, November 20, 2017

Skimmer / The Hum Hums - Split CD

Untitled

Fixing A Hole (2016)

This split CD pairs up one of my long time favorite UK punk rockers, Skimmer, with one of my more recent favorites from Japan, The Hum Hums.  It's a perfect match as both bands are attacking the same types of pop sounds, but they're approaching it from two different directions.

Skimmer has been kicking around since the 90's and all of these years later they are still churning our their brand of ragged pop punk.  The tunes are rough and powerful and the band has always been able to capture a real palpable energy with their fast buzzsaw guitars and high pitched vocals.  All three songs on their portion of the split are short, fast and insanely catchy.  It's comforting that all of these years later, you can still count on Skimmer to deliver the goods.

The Hum Hums take a different take.  Their sound is more of a mix of mid 90's Lookout records meets the Beach Boys.  It's a bit more melodic than Skimmer and boy oh boy can these guys crank out some incredible vocal harmonies.  The guitars are loud and crunchy and everything the band does is tight and precise, forgoing the rough around the edges approach and instead relying on their ability to write absolutely perfect pop tunes.

While they each have their own take on punk rock, both Skimmer and The Hum Hums are incredible.  They each take punk rock and cram in pop hooks and killer songwriting.  The only thing I wish was that this split EP was even longer, three songs by each band just isn't enough.

The Hum Hums - Split CD:



I couldn't find the Skimmer songs anywhere online.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Woolly Bushmen - Arduino LP - Gold Vinyl

Untitled

Pig Baby (2017)

I'll be honest, I was a little leery about this record because of the cover artwork.  While I am a big fan of wood panelling, I always get nervous when a band decides to put a big old picture of themselves on their record sleeve.  I have no real explaination why I don't like this, it's just one of those Larry David-esque rules I have for bands.  I'm sure there are plenty of people that don't understand it, just like I don't understand why some people say bands can't wear shorts on stage.  To each their own.

Anyway, the record itself is exactly the kind of record you'd expect a band called The Woolly Bushmen to make. This is a wonderful homage to the sort of rough and rugged rock and roll bluster of the 60's.  Lots of reverb on the guitars, a stomping rhythm section and a singer that alternates between melodic vocals and pained howls into the night.  I could do with a little less keyboard personally, but overall it's a fun, upbeat listen.

Pig Baby is becoming the go to label for this sort of rock and roll.  They're just not letting these vintage sounds die and that's admirable.  But, they really need to start tossing in some download codes with their records.  After all, we're in the future now.

The Woolly Bushman - "Something New":

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Ted Leo - The Hanged Man 2xLP

Untitled

Self Released (2017)

It's been quite a while since there was a new Ted Leo album out.  I was more than happy to contribute to his Kickstarter campaign to fund The Hanged Man.  In fact, I actually went in for the 7" box set version with the fourteen extra b-sides.  That hasn't arrived yet, but once it does, I'll write up that as well.  Point is, I'm a huge Ted Leo fan and have been ever since the day I heard the second Chisel album played in a New Jersey record store.  You can have your Bruce Springsteens and Bon Jovis.  For me, Ted Leo is the best musician to come out of New Jersey.

That's not to say that The Hanged Man would be a guaranteed smash hit with me.  When you have a musician like Ted Leo, there's always a chance he might explore his way out of me liking a song and that does happen a few times on this latest album.  That's mostly because this is a very diverse set of songs.  Right from the opening song "Moon Out Of Phase," Teddy's throwing curveballs.  The song starts of very slow, to the point where it's a little monotone.  But it seems to be gearing up to build into something frenzied, not unlike an older Chisel song "On Warmer Music."  Only problem is that big release never comes.  The song stays consistently slow and then just ends.

There's a few other songs like this, where the tempo never picks up and I'm left wanting more.  "William Weld In The 21st Century" is kind of as boring as the song title suggests, "The Nazarene" has a schlocky NPR vibe to it and "Gray Havens" is insanely slow until a completely off beat and very weird drum machine loop just drops in on top of the song.  For me, it doesn't work.

That being said, when Ted Leo is on and writing the sort of tunes that I tend to favor, there are few better.  "Used To Believe," "Run To The City," "Anthems Of None" and "You're Like Me" are all smash hits in the more traditional Ted Leo meets Elvis Costello mod pop style that is prevalent on the earlier Ted Leo records.  These songs are incredible and in some ways they shine even brighter when there are murkier moments during other portions of the album. 

While I can't say that The Hanged Man is likely to replace The Tyranny Of Distance as my favorite Ted Leo album, it's still very good as a whole.  There are parts that don't appeal directly to my sensibilities, but it's always obvious that like all great songwriters, Ted Leo has a story to tell.  This time out, there's a few more stories that require a slower pace to tell than usual.

Ted Leo - The Hanged Man:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfxdtCIA84E&list=PL1N_9O6op4yrlrGifqE1nHRyRbmmhQ-wJ

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Lillingtons - Stella Sapiente LP - Green w/ Splatter Vinyl

Untitled

Fat Wreck (2017)

I can't ever proclaim to be a Lillingtons super fan or anything like that.  I picked up their vinyl box set a few years ago and give those records the occasional spin.  Some are pretty good, others are just OK, but I think it's always good to see another take on the sort of poppy punk rock that I tend to favor.  I grabbed Stella Sapiente as soon as it was for sale as I knew that I'd want that limited colored vinyl.  But after listening to the record a few times, I'm not sure this is going to end up being much more than collection padding.

The Lillingtons have always flirted with a darker edge and some bleak storytelling in their past songs.  This is something they are embracing full force on Stella Sapiente.  The lyrics focus on darker themes littered with occult and religious iconography.  From a music side, there are times where Stella Sapiente sounds like a straight up 1980's goth album.  Heavy on The Cure.  Some may enjoy, but that scene was never for me.  I like to keep things moving and there are sections of the album that are just too slow and plodding.

I respect that The Lillingtons went out of their comfort zone for their reunion LP.  I'm always in favor of trying to keep things interesting, but when a band strays too far from their signature sound, inevitably they end up losing me.  Not sure where The Lillingtons go next, but where ever it is I hope there's more pop punk there.

The Lillingtons Stella Sapiente LP:


Monday, November 13, 2017

Shoplifters - Forgiver 7"

Untitled

PopKid / Brassneck / Waterslide / Bartolini / White Russian (2017)

This is the third entry in the I Buy Way Too Many Records Dot Com / PopKid Records conflict of interest posts.  Once again, I'm writing about a record that I love, but also that I'm releasing through PopKid records.  There is bound to be some bias, thought if I didn't love this record, it sure wouldn't be coming out on PopKid.  Needless to say, I think these are some pretty incredible songs.

Shoplifters are from Serbia and to be honest, I don't think I've ever heard a band from Serbia before.  I like to think I have my ear open to the whole world when it comes to finding excellent rock and roll music, but this is a country that hasn't been on my radar before.  I'm not sure that I would have heard of them if it wasn't for Kazu at Waterslide records who hipped me to their outstanding full length album Believe.  I reviewed that a few months ago and to summarize, it was incredible.

Fast forward a bit and Scott from Brassneck Records had mentioned that he was involved in putting out the new Shoplifters 7".  He sent over the songs and there was just no way that we could pass up having this record on PopKid as well.  It's everything I love about music.  Chances are, if you agree with my taste in music when it comes to the records I write about on this website, you'll probably like this Shoplifters 7".  Particularly if you are a fan of the mid 90's UK scene.

While I know it's not a comparison that will probably move a lot of records, what I hear most in these four new Shoplifters songs is an uncanny similarity to primo, early China Drum.  What's even more fascinating to me is that I was alerted by the band that they hadn't ever listened to China Drum until very recently when this similarity was mentioned to them.

The four songs on this 7" build off of the Snuff meets Big Drill Car sound of their last album, but they have managed to weave in tighter hooks and bigger melodies, calling to mind the aggressive, but still extremely poppy sound that defined early China Drum. Add in some wild guitar dynamics and vocals that remind me of the sort of thing Bob Mould has built his career on and you'll start to see the picture that Shoplifters are painting.  They're taking the influences of the 90's, but they're interpreting them in a way that's clearly their own.

Opener "High And Dry" sets the stage with with it's driving dark pop verse that lurches into a huge chorus with the sort of vocal harmonies that just drive me crazy.  But for me, the highlight of these songs is "Instant Forgiver."  With its driving rhythm, big hooks and supremely placed handclaps, I can't help but air drum along every time I hear it.  It's just such a killer song, and it's only one of the four.  I'm don't know what Shoplifters have planned next, but I sure want to hear it. I hope you do too.

Purchase the record from our webstore here: 

http://popkidrecords.bigcartel.com/product/popkid-7-s 

Stream both songs and buy the digital version on our Bandcamp page here: 


PopKid is the lucky label releasing this record in North America.  If you are from another land, there may be a label close by that is co-releasing this great 7" with us:

Available in North America from PopKid Records 
Available in the UK from Brassneck Records 
Available in Japan from Waterslide Records
Available in the Netherlands from White Russian Records 
Available in Spain from Bartolini Records 

Custody - Blistered Soul 7":
https://popkid.bandcamp.com/album/shoplifters-forgiver-7

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Blues Brothers - Soul Man 7" (France)

Untitled

Atlantic (1979)

I'm nearly through posting all of the different Soul Man 7"s I've collected, though I certainly have quite a few more Blues Brothers 7"s after Soul Man is completed.  This one is from France and as far as the artwork goes, it's probably one of the least interesting examples out there.

There's isn't much to differentiate it from the Briefcase Full of Blues artwork.  Same photo, it's not cropped or altered in any way.  They even use the same font for the words Blues Brothers on the cover.  The addition of the names of the A side and B side songs are the only real changes.  Even the back of the picture sleeve uses the same picture.  

Like pretty much all of the Soul Man 7"s, the B side is "Excusez Moi Mon Cheri."  If the goal is to collect all of the Blues Brothers picture sleeves, this one needs to be picked up.  If I'm ranking them, this one is kind of low on the list.

Blues Brothers - "Soul Man":

Blues Brothers - "Excusez Moi Mon Cherie":

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Iron Chic - You Can't Stay Here LP - Clear w/ Splatter (/800)

Untitled

Side One Dummy (2017)

I use Iron Chic as a reference point for other bands so often that I almost don't what to say now that I have to write about them.  You Can't Stay Here is the third Iron Chic full length.  While they've certainly come a long way since I bought their first demo tape because I thought they had a fun band name, there are aspects of the band that have remained consistent and reliable for the past ten years.

Iron Chic are better than most and building a song into a giant, shout along chorus.  If you go to a show of theirs, you will see a lot of people in black T shirts with their fists in the air shouting along.  In some ways it's a little predictable, but in others it's comfortingly familiar.  You could say the same thing about You Can't Stay Here.  It certainly sounds like Iron Chic.  The songs are all energetic and sung with a super intense passion.  The singalongs are just as catchy as they've ever been and it's easy to get caught up in the choruses.

That being said, the album doesn't have a ton of variety from song to song.  If I'm listening to this at work or while I'm doing something else, it has the tendency to fade into background music.  That's not to say it's bad, but sometimes the songs have a tough time standing out from each other.  Still, it's a very good record and one that I would always add to the collection.  If you like Iron Chic, you'll like this record.  If you don't, there's probably not going to be anything on here to change your mind.  Luckily, I like Iron Chic.

Iron Chic - You Can't Stay Here LP:

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Racquet Club - S/T LP - Red Vinyl (/400)

Untitled

Rise (2017)

I'm definitely seeing something of a late surge of great records as the year starts to wind down.  We had Remnants yesterday and today we have Racquet Club.  While you may not know the band name Racquet Club quite yet, you probably have heard of the main players in the band.  Blair Shehan (Knapsack, The Jealous Sound) and Sergie Loobkoff (Knapsack, Samiam) are back together and they've created a real beast of an album with Racquet Club's debut.

I actually think it sits somewhere in the middle of Knapsack and Jealous Sound.  The album doesn't quite hit the emotional heights of Knapsack.  There isn't as much heaven shattering screaming and it's generally a bit more low key.  That being said, it's miles better than Jealous Sound, delivering significantly more intensity and passion, particularly when it comes to the vocals.  While he doesn't yell quite as much as I would like, Blair does unleash those pipes from time to time when the song calls for it.

The album is consistently mid tempo for the bulk of the duration, but the band is still able to capture that lightning in a bottle energy. The songs are all tremendously constructed bringing together a knack for pop hooks, while keeping things serious and kind of bleak.  It's a really interesting balance and I'm not sure many bands would be able to pull it off.  If it's not clear from my ramblings, I really love this record.  It will certainly vying for the top spot in my album of the year list when I finally start putting that together. 

Racquet Club - S/T LP:

Monday, November 6, 2017

Remnants - True Places Never Are LP

Untitled

Tour Van / Different Kitchen / Emily (2017)

Looking for a record to fill out your top ten albums of the year? Look no further than True Places Never Are.  I picked this up after reading a positive review of it in Razorcake and I have been playing it on a nonstop loop ever since.  Remnants are one of the best discoveries I've made all year.  While as a whole, I have been thinking that 2017 has been a little lackluster for great albums, Remnants pretty much kills that argument with ten amazing songs.

The comparison that made me check this out was to Superchunk.  While I do hear the influence, particularly in the vocals, the band that they remind me of the most is that old 90's band Walker.  Just fantastically catchy, hook filled punk rock straight out of the RIYL Lookout records bin.  

Things start off slow with opener "Bummer."  It's the very definition of an opening album track; short and kind of slow - but bristling with energy just below the surface.   By the time the opening riff of "Less Irony" kicks in, the album just explodes to life and never looks back.  Incredible song after incredible song follow and I freaking love this record.

True Places Never Are is absolutely one of the best records I've heard all year.  I'd say easily top five, though I haven't started laying out this year's releases yet.  I think this could really end up under the radar for some, so don't miss out on it.  This truely is an incredible record.

Remnants - True Places Never Are LP:

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Nervous Twitch - That Weird Guy 7" - Yellow Vinyl

Untitled

Punk Fox (2017)

I hadn't heard anything from Punk Fox in a while, so I'm glad to see they're still at it.  Though I don't always like their records, I can certainly appreciate the desire to keep putting out the records you enjoy.  Even better is that this Punk Fox release is by Nervous Twitch, the one band of theirs that I tend to like the most.

While this is still a fun little 7", I can't say that it's been my favorite Nervous Twitch 7" to listen to.  I feel like they've turned the sneer way up in the mix this time.  The songs are still poppy and the guitars are still jangly, but the vocals are a bit more defiant than on prior records.  It's fine and I'm not even saying it as a complaint, I just tend to favor vocals that lean towards the melodic side a bit more.

Two of the three songs on this 7" will also appear on an upcoming full length that the band has coming out.  I'd be curious to see if the rest of the songs are similar in style to this new batch, or if they also still have some melodies hidden somewhere.

Nervous Twitch - "That Weird Guy":

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Stuntman - S/T LP

Untitled

Gravy Lane (2017, Reissue)

I'm not exactly sure why, but I was pretty surprised to see that the first Stuntman album was being released on vinyl for the first time this year.  Don't get me wrong, I was pleased as punch, but something told me this may not be as sought after a reissue for some.   Stuntman wasn't exactly a household name back in the mid 90's. 

I think the best chance most have for knowing these guys is from their split 7" with Knapsack that came out on Alias.  Some others may know them as being the other band that splintered off from Treepeople that wasn't Built To Spill.  Regardless, Stuntman certainly deserves more recognition than they receive and maybe this LP is the start of that.  It's difficult to not be impressed with this gem of an album.  From the blown out bass sound that lurches into the guitar blast of opener "Bleed" to the gentle, but kind of weird, acoustic fade out to album closer "Good Enough," this is an album that grabs your attention and never lets go.

This is a quintessential 1990's indie rock record.  I don't think it could have been made at any other time.  There's just something very comforting to me about the way the guitar is both intricate and somewhat sludgy at the same time, not to mention the scattershot rhythms and rough vocal yelps.  It's got an imaginative streak to it that seems missing from much of today's music.  Plus these guys have the chops to pull of the chaotic guitar solos that inevitably creep into a large chunk of the songs.

I wouldn't go so far as to call the first Stuntman record a forgotten masterpiece; but it's a great record and certainly one that deserves to be remembered more than I think it in.  Oh and this vinyl reissue was limited to 273 copies, so you may want to grab it before it's gone.

Stuntman - S/T:

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Cheap Wine - S/T LP - White Vinyl (/100)

Untitled

Drunken Sailor (2017)

As soon as I heard about this new band comprised of Jordy (Creeps, Crusades), Eric (Feral Trash) and Steve (Steve Adamyk Band), there wouldn't be a way you could have stopped me from buying it.  With a pedigree like that, you can easily set yourself up for disappointment by expecting too much.  Luckily, Cheap Whine delivers and then some.

You hear the term power pop thrown around a lot.  Often times it ends up being used on bands who are snotty garage bands missing the pop or bands that are severely laking in the power category.  Cheap Whine suffers none of this.  They songs are all blistering with the sort of energy that I go crazy for, but they never sacrifice the hooks or the wonderful poppy choruses.  In a lot of ways, they remind me of The Marked Men, but with cleaner vocals.

Just pop on any one of the album's myriad of hits.  Try out the full blown downstroke madness of "Fall" or "Kasumi."  Or the slightly more melodic, but equally powerful "A Little Change" or "Best Times."  The entire album is just a blast from start to finish.  Cheap Whine doesn't really sound like and of the members other bands, but they have a close enough vibe and are drawing from similar influences that it would seem like madness to like Steve Adamyk Band but not Cheap Whine.  Put simply; it's a hell of a record.

Cheap Whine - S/T:

Monday, October 30, 2017

Midnight Reruns - Spectator Sports LP

Untitled

Dusty Medical (2017)

This is another album I picked up based off of a review that was written about it in Razorcake.  The writer compared them to Tenement and that was enough to warrant a listen.  Also, since I knew of the label Dusty Medical from their prior releases of bands like Goodnight Loving and Midwestern Beat, I figured it would probably be a safe pickup.

Having listened to this album pretty nonstop since receiving it in the mail, I can confirm that Tenement is a very accurate comparison for Midnight Reruns.  Though Midnight Reruns certainly leans towards the mold of early, straightforward poppy Tenement with much more emphasis on hooks and catchy choruses than the intricate soundscapes that Tenement has been moving towards more recently.  

While Midnight Reruns doesn't have the sort of blistering Dinosaur Jr. style guitar solos, they absolutely know how to work with interesting riffs and super catchy vocal melodies.  In particular, "Hold Up The Mirror" is just a smash hit with a chorus that's been stuck in my head for weeks.  Even though two instrumentals, "Celebrity Lawyers" and "Concourse C,"is a bit much, they don't really slow down the album too badly.  At the end of the day, this is definitely an album worth checking out.

Midnight Reruns - Spectator Sports:

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Blues Brothers - Soul Man 7" (Germany)

Untitled

Atlantic (1979)

Continuing through Blues Brothers picture sleeve 7"s, we come to the German version of Soul Man.  Like many others, the basic artwork for this is a modified version of the album art from the Briefcase Full of Blues full length.  This time it's cropped into a close up.  The back art is kind of weird as it isn't Blues Brothers related at all, it's just an ad for some other albums by artists like Rod Stewart and AC/DC.

As much as I wish each 7" had completely unique artwork, this particular version is probably my favorite that uses the Briefcase artwork as its base.  As far as the songs go, this 7" has the same B side as most of the others, "Excusez Moi Mon Cherie."  It's kind of funny to me that the one Blues Brothers song I didn't know about until I was an adult actually appeared on so many different releases.

I only have a few more Soul Man 7"s left, then it's on to some other songs.

Blues Brothers - "Soul Man":

Blues Brothers - "Excusez Moi Mon Cherie":

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Thirsty Chords - I Continue I... CD

Untitled

Shirafu (2009)

Sorry there wasn't a review yesterday.  I wasn't feeling well and needed to skip a day for some extra sleep.  Much better now though.  Thirsty Chords is one of these great Japanese punk rock bands that I somehow have been neglecting over the past few years.  To think, this record came out all the way back in 2009 and I've just heard of them this year.  Shame on me.  It was when I was looking up more information about the band Bows that I kept seeing Thirsty Chords mentioned and I figured I should probably check them out.

I Continue I... is the band's first album, but they've arrived fully formed and have put together the sort of debut that other bands would kill for.  Thirsty Chords are playing the sort of punchy and energetic punk rock that I expect to here from bands like Minority Blues band or others of that persuasion that would call Snuffy Smiles home.  The key for me are the strong, melodic vocals that have passion but don't dissolve into unnecessary screaming.

The guitar is fast paced and so dynamic it's hard to believe this is a three piece band.  Combine that with a drummer that's just killing his kit and piles of catchy hooks and you've got a band that's ticking all the boxes as far as what I'm looking for in punk rock.  Unfortunately, I can't find any of the songs from this album online, so you'll kind of have to take my word on how good it is.  If you go to YouTube and search for Thirsty Chords, it'll pull up some live footage.  I think that will be enough to show you what a great band this is.  And the album is even better than those live clips.