Thursday, September 21, 2017

Browntrout - Long Good-Night LP


Mostoff (2013)

To me, this record kind of represents my failure in keeping up with Japanese punk rock over the last few years.  I had gotten the first Browntrout album, Stepping With Fuzzy Ideas, right when it came out (though that didn't stop me from mistakenly ordering a 2nd copy of it recently - don't worry, I found it a good home).  Then, I never really heard anything more from Browntrout.  Apparently I missed the fact that they put out a single or two and an entire full length album.  On vinyl no less.

Happily, I'm correcting my ignorance and filling in some holes on incredible records that I missed out on.  Long Good-Night absolutely fits the bill when I say incredible.  This is a band that has a knack for packing tons of energy into each song.  The vocals remind me a lot of the band Blew (although I hear just a bit of early Husking Bee in there too), especially the way they pop in all of the choruses.  Musically, I think Browntrout is sort of like a louder, faster version of early Your Pest Band.  Back when they were only hinting at a 60's influence but were still very much a fast rock band.

Browntrout takes those 60's vibes, but keeps everything churning along, cramming in more hooks and more dynamic guitar until the album is practically bursting at the seems.  If you can't tell, I love this damn record.  I can't believe I was four years late in picking it up.  Don't wait another moment longer than necessary to add to your collection to.

Browntrout - Long Good-Night:

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Radioactivity - Infected 7" - White Vinyl


Wild Honey (2017)

I picked up this import Radioactivity 7" along with a Lost Balloons one that'll be reviewing in the next few weeks.  The postage was expensive, but man are these Radioactivity songs worth it.  I feel like if you told Jeff Burke of Radioactivity/Lost Balloons/Marked Men/etc that he wrote the best pop punk songs in the world right now, he may not appreciate that description as some folks take offense to the term pop punk.  But for me it's totally true, there's really no one doing it better.

Burke has a unique way of mixing his strained vocal melodies with wild chord progressions that always veer off somewhere unexpected, but amazing.  He writes fuzzed out pop songs differently than the rest of the world, elevating the form while still keeping things fast, catchy and exciting.  If you wanted to argue that Jeff Burke writes the best hooks in all of music, that's an argument I would definitely take under consideration.

These two new songs are as good as anything Radioactivity has previously released.   "Infected" is a quick blast of dark lyrics and escalating chords.  It's just so damn catchy that it should be in every jukebox in the world.  "Sleep" has a similar tempo, but the way the vocals are delivered makes it seem just a bit slower than the A side.  It's still a smash hit and both of these songs have me eagerly awaiting the next Radioactivity full length.

Radioactivity - Infected 7":

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - Source Tags & Codes 2xLP - Blue Vinyl


Interscope (2017, Reissue)

Source Tags & Codes is one of those albums that I just love.  There's something epic, perhaps even pretentious about it, but that doesn't stop it from being a forceful piece of music that really just hits me.  When I had read that they were reissuing it as a double LP with a few extra tracks, it seemed like a no brainer to pick up.  Having received it, I wish I would have done a bit more research.

My main issue is the fact that pretty much all of the newly added tracks are just instrumental interludes tacked on to the existing album.  I guess I was expecting real songs, but that's on me for not looking into what the new songs were before ordering it.  I felt a little rushed as the blue vinyl had quickly sold out at one store so I was already on my back up.  That's another thing, you'd hardly know this blue vinyl was actually blue without holding it up to the light.

Had I not already had an original pressing of this album already, this is a must purchase.  It's just simply a wonderful and dynamic record filled with passionately played songs and just the right mix of rage and pop.  If you already have the first pressing, there's nothing on this that really warrants picking up a second copy.

And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - Source Tags & Codes:

Monday, September 18, 2017

Short Straw Fate - For the Heroes in My Record Rack CD


Fixing A Hole (2017)

I'm going to give a little marketing tip for any bands that specifically want to target me.  If you name your band after a song by Broccoli, that's a one hundred percent guarantee that I will listen to your album.  Now, if your band happens to be as flat out amazing as Short Straw Fate is, you can safely assume that I'm going to be listening to your album all the damn time.

Not only are Short Straw Fate named after a Broccoli song, but they happen to be named after one of my favorite Broccoli songs.  They also very obviously take influences from Broccoli as well as many other bands that I know and love.  Whether they are drawing from the octaves and melodic punk of the 1990's UK scene like Hooton 3 Car and Reverse or the fast paced, breakneck hooks of their own world of Japanese punk rock pioneered by bands like Snatcher or Blew, Short Straw Fate just delivers perfect hit after perfect hit on their debut album.

Now, I will say that I'm not as into the two really short and fast hardcore songs.  They sound a little jokey to me, and I would have happily replaced them with another smash pop hit.  That minor criticism aside, For the Heroes in My Record Rack is hands down one of the very best records I've heard all year.  It's could be the best punk rock album I've listened to in 2017.  If you are going to tailor make a band that combines all the best elements of bands I want to listen to, you're not going to get much better than Short Straw Fate. I love this record.

Short Straw Fate - For the Heroes in My Record Rack:

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Blues Brothers - Soul Man 7" (US Picture Sleeve Version)


Atlantic (1978)

I woke up late today, so in order to do a quick review, I've jumped another Blues Brothers 7" to the front of the line.  Otherwise I would have had to skip today's post.  This is another version of the Soul Man 7".  There are more Soul Man variants than any other Blues Brothers release, but this is your tried and true, basic US edition that came out in 1978.

Most of the various Soul man releases use some version of the Briefcase Full Of Blues artwork and this is no exception.  In fact, it simply is the Briefcase art, just with a white border around it.

On the B side we once again have "Excusez Moi Mon Cherie," the lone exclusive B side in the Blues Brothers discography.  There's nothing special about this particular version of the Soul Man 7", but it is the cornerstone that you need to build off of when you're collecting their singles.

Blues Brothers - "Soul Man":

Blues Brothers - "Excusez Moi Mon Cherie":

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Sleeping Aides And Razorblades - Save The Right Thing 7"


KiliKiliVilla (2017)

Before I went to Japan, I hadn't ever heard of the label KiliKiliVilla.  Since that time, I've found that they may be one of the best labels out there.  Everything I've heard from them has been knock-your-socks-off great and this 7" by The Sleeping Aides And Razorblades is no exception.

Every song on this 7" is big on hooks and even bigger on melodies.  Sleeping Aides And Razorblades share some similarities with label mates Not Wonk, particularly in the vocals.  The guitar tones have that hint of reverb on them that sounds otherworldly, though it's never to the point where you'd ever mistake them for a surf band.  They combine this swirling, dreamy guitar with an upbeat power pop sound that I just love.

This was a 7" that was recommended to me by a friend. I wasn't familiar with this band prior to that.  A quick review of discogs shows me that this is a band that has been going for a while now and has quite a few other records.  Looks like I've got some shopping to do...

The Sleeping Aides And Razorblades - Save The Right Thing 7":

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Jetpilot / Cinnabar - Split CD


Urban Sleep Discs (2009)

If there's one thing I love, it's being sent records to review by Japanese record labels.  For whatever reason, they always seem to know just what I need to listen to.  Call it common ground or say that I'm easy to pigeonhole, they seem to put out the best stuff.  Even when the bands in question aren't Japanese, as is the case with this split CD.

Both Jetpilot and Cinnabar hail from Sweden.  That's another country that I have a real soft spot for.  So many great bands have come from there.  I had reviewed another Jetpilot EP a few months ago.  I dug that one and I like their contributions to this split just as much.  Throughout the five songs, they pull off the sort of crunchy pop that should make any Sugar fan sit up and take notice.  The highlight of the bunch is "This House."  It's just a masterclass in crunchy guitar power.

Cinnabar isn't really too dissimilar from Jetpilot.  While it is a cop out to say that they sound the same, they definitely seem to draw from similar inspirations.  This is really the sort of pop core I love.  There is big, dynamic guitar work on the fast songs, squalling out with a chaotic, but still melodic sound.  "A Modern Taste" may be the best song on this entire EP and provides the sort of loud, crushing hooks that remind me quite a bit of Starmarket.  Cinnabar is also very capable when it comes to the more restrained, slower songs as evident by "Blue Movie." For me, the best slow songs always build to a noisy chorus and this one does that nicely. 

Unfortunately I can't find these songs streaming online anywhere, but trust me, they're all pretty great.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Capitalist Kids - Brand Damage LP - Yellow w/ Pink Splatter Vinyl


Brassneck / Eccentric Pop (2017)

For the uninitiated, Capitalist Kids are pretty much the best modern band playing the sort of straight up, 90's influenced pop punk that I love.  We're talking Mr. T Experience & Zoinks caliber tuneage  here.  There's no one doing better in 2017.  

That being said, even though I do really like this record, it's a bit of a let down for me when compared to prior releases of theirs.  It actually has nothing to do with the music at all.  The band is still cranking out ultra catchy songs with the sort of dynamic choruses that other bands wish they could craft.  It's really the subject matter that is a little lacking for me this time around.

Typically, the Capitalist Kids split their subject matter between witty love songs and politically themed ones.  This time out, the split is skewed dramatically towards the romance side of things, though I do think that part of that has to do with all of the songs being so short.  Only two of the fourteen clock in at over two minutes.  

I've always preferred their lefty pop myself as the band has a real knack for wrapping their heads around complex thoughts and serving them up in a wry and fun manner.  That's missing on Brand Damage a bit, but the songs still soar.  For those who miss the glory days of poppy punk rock from the 1990's, you're not going to find a band doing it better than Capitalist Kids.  Hell, this is miles better than that Mr. T Experience record that came out this year.  It's absolutely worth picking up.

Capitalist Kids - Brand Damage:

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Blues Brothers - Soul Man 7" (UK Version, 1990)


WEA (1990)

I'm trying to space out these Blues Brothers 7"s as I have a feeling most people who read this website probably don't care all that much about them.  That being said, they are probably the single biggest musical influence I've had in my entire life, so I do want to showcase their records as I pick up these various singles.  I definitely have to say, I'm surprised at how many there actually are.  I also have a feeling it's going to be very difficult to hunt down the Japanese ones.

This particular Soul Man 7" was released in the UK in 1990.  I couldn't tell you why it was released as it was a decade past The Blues Brothers heyday, but it's interesting.  The first interesting thing is it lists "Soul Man" as being from the album Best of The Blues Brothers.  That is technically true, though it's certainly more well know for being from Briefcase Full of Blues.  But the weirder part is they list Best of The Blues Brothers as having come out in 1978.  The album actually came out in 1981.  

"Do You Love Me" is from the Made In America album.  While not one of my absolute favorite Blues Brother songs (let's face it, there's a lot of competition for that), it's a pretty strong version of song that's certainly more well known than a lot of their covers.  I do think it's an odd pairing with "Soul Man," but let's face it, everything about this 7" is kind of odd.

I'm taking a mini vacation next week, so this will be the last post for a little bit.  Things will resume on Monday, September 11th.

The Blues Brothers - "Soul Man":

The Blues Brothers - "Do You Love Me":

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Good Shade - Lunch LP


Gut Genug / A-F Records

Lunch is the third Good Shade album that has been released.  it follows up their self titled debut and their last album Breakfast.  I can only assume Dinner is on the horizon, though perhaps they'll throw a curveball and put out an Afternoon Snack while we wait.  The pressing information on this album is a little scattered.  What I think happened is 175 copies are available through the band and Gut Genug records.  The other 125 seem to have been part of the A-F record club, so I think that puts us at 300 copies total.  I bought this one from the band, but the A-F website mentions something about exclusive artwork for their version.  The world my never know.

As far as Lunch is concerned, in many ways this album is another batch of tried and true songs from Good Shade.  They've always had something of a Marked Men feel to them, ever since they spun off from the equally excellent Tight Bros.  This album does take the band in a few new direction, slowing things down a little bit and taking a slightly darker twist than they have in the past.  It results in an album with variety, but still sounds like the Good Shade I know and love.

I tend to prefer the faster songs, as they have an energy to them that doesn't shine through quite as much when things slow down, but I can't say there's a bad song on the album.  Absolutely worth picking up if you like Dirtnap style fuzz pop.

Good Shade - Lunch LP:

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Sir Coyler and His Asthmatic Band - Invincible Blues 7"


Pig Baby (2017)

This is the second Sir Coyler and His Asthmatic Band record I've reviewed and man, I like this one even more than the first.  Maybe I just don't know where to look, but it sure seems like the west coast has way cooler bands than anything I can find here in New Jersey.  Though admittedly, I've kind of always felt like that.  New Jersey has never really been a hotbed of local bands that ever really jumper out at me (most of the local-ish bands I liked the most tended to be from PA.)

Anyway, back to Sir Coyler.  A side "Invincible Blues" is a stone cold smash of garage-y energy.  The song is built on this excellent guitar riff that pops in and out of the song accentuating each verse and transition.  It's the sort of riff that gets stuck in your head for years and makes you try to think of ways to steal it without anyone else noticing.  

The B side "Pink & Blue" is more subdued, taking down the tempo and fervor, but adding in a bit more melody.  It's a strong and catchy song, but I'll admit to enjoying the unchained energy of the A side a bit more.  Regardless of which song I prefer, both a quite good and seem to be a big leap forward from their last EP.  I know I'd like to hear more.

Sir Coyler and His Asthmatic Band - "Invincible Blues":

Monday, August 28, 2017

Lost Balloons - Hey Summer LP - White Vinyl (/300)


Dirtnap (2017)

Jeff Burke is one of my favorite songwriters in punk rock.  I've loved just about everything he's ever been involved with.  The Marked Men, Radioactivity, Potential Johns, Novice and Lost Balloons.  Lost Ballons is the band he formed with Yusuke Okada (From the Japanese band Suspicious Beasts, but who was also in a great band called Blotto for a while).  Their first self titled album came out in 2015 on Alien Snatch records out of Germany.  For their follow up, they've hooked up with long time Jeff Burke record pushers, Dirtnap.

Now, while I want to say upfront that I do really like Hey Summer, it is the least Jeff Burke sounding record he's ever recorded.  Yes, the hooks are there.  Yes, you can hear echoes of the song structures and interesting chord progressions that he's championed in his other projects.  But these Lost Balloons songs are, for the most part, so much mellower and quieter than what Burke is usually known for.  Even compared to the last Lost Balloons record, this is a pretty big swing to a new direction.

Hey Summer is very much a lazy, summertime pop album.  The sort of thing that would be really nice to listen to while kicking back in a hammock with a glass of lemonade.  The jangly guitar lines and relaxed vocals showcase a side of Burke's pop sensibilities that have only been hinted at in the past.  All of that said, I don't like it as much as his faster, louder work.  I love it as a side project, but I would be bummed if he went this direction permanently.  Still, it's a nice change of pace when you want to have something a bit more chilled out to listen to.

Lost Balloons - Hey Summer:

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Fretblanket - Twisted 7"


Rockville (1993)

This 7" is another one I picked up when one of my friends was purging their records collection.  I couldn't pass up the chance to grab this little gem from a band that is all but forgotten these days, Fretblanket.  It seems pretty crazy that this record is twenty four years old at this point, but that's aging for you.

Fretblanket were from England and their album Junkfuel was one of those major label 1990's rock albums that came out in the post Nirvana bubble and really didn't go anywhere.  Very much a king of the used bin sort of record not unlike a Fig Dish would have been.  Both of the songs on this 7" are also on Junkfuel, which makes me wonder why I insist on having it take up space in my collection, but as that album never came out on vinyl this is my only chance to preserve even a couple of songs on the best format.

"Twisted" is an upper mid tempo rocker with a nice big hook in the chorus, gruff vocals and some faint haunting backing vocals that really adds texture to everything.  The guitars are nice and loud and everything is really basic guitar pop.  There's hints of punk rock bubbling under the surface, but for the most part, it's a pretty slick and catchy song.  B side "Hang Glider" changes things up.  It's not as instantly catchy, retaining a larger amount of angst in the vocals.  The song is a bit slower than "Twisted," but it's still upbeat enough to where I wouldn't say it's a slow song.  I can't say the noisy guitar freakout at the end is my favorite thing in the wold, but hey, it was the 90's.  Things were different back then,

Fretblanket - "Twisted":

Fretblanket - "Hang Glider":

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Crocodile God / Not Tonight And The Headaches - Split 7" - Purple Vinyl


Speedowax (2016)

Longtime readers know, I do love a good split 7".  It's a great way to be forced to check out a new band while you pick up something you're more familiar with.  In this instance my love for Crocodile God goes back decades.  It was the very definition of a no brainer that I was going to pick up this 7".  However, I hadn't even heard of Not Tonight And The Headaches.  So here's a new band to check out.

The two Not Tonight And The Headaches songs are pretty dissimilar from each other, which wasn't really something I was expecting.  "Slucky" has a very strong mid tempo Banner Pilot feel to it with the big fat octaves and some guest vocals by Jeff Caudill from Gameface.  The next song of theirs is "She's With You," a faster one with a much more pronounced UK pop punk sound.  It's definitely the better of the two not only because it's more in my wheelhouse, but also because it doesn't so obviously sound like another band.

Crocodile God, on the other hand, is a band I'm extremely familiar with.  It marks about twenty years ago to the week that I saw them, Chopper and Skimmer play a snooker club in Leeds when I went to England for a couple of weeks (primarily to record shop, which I'm sure is surprising). "Spinning" is classic Crocodile God; starting off a little slower with a super catchy chorus and some tasteful palm muting.  Then, towards the end, they fake you out by dramatically increasing the tempo and rocketing to the finish.  "Entomologist Eyes" is an overall faster song, with buzzing guitar riffs and hyperactive drum fills.  It's kind of funny to me to still be getting new Crocodile God songs twenty years later, but I'll take it.  If they keep releasing them, I'll keep buying them.

Not Tonight And The Headaches - Their Side of the Split:

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Thingz - Vault Of Tomorrow LP


Coffee Addict (2017)

As soon as I opened up the package containing this Thingz LP, I thought there was a pretty good chance it wouldn't be for me.  After all, they're using a "z" instead of an "s."  That's bad news right there.  Still, I went in with an open mind and only after listening to this album can I confirm that, in fact, I do not like it.  Sometimes first impressions are right.

The Thingz are playing stripped down garage-y rock with a leaning towards occult themes.  Sound familiar?  Probably because there are dozens of other bands with this same gimmick. At this point if you are going to start up a sci fi themed garage band, you had better be pretty damn spectacular otherwise you're just going to get compared to other bands doing it better than you.

The guitar on this record, in particular, is thin and doesn't really ever bring in the oomph, leaving the songs just sort of hanging.  But the real problem here is the vocals.  There are two singers, neither of which are particularly good.  The songs by bassist Kim are really tough to get through.  She leans so heavily on a sneering nasal delivery and it just doesn't work.  When guitarist Mike leads the way, things are nominally better.  He doesn't do the nasal thing quite so pronounced but kind of sounds a little bit like the singer from Headache City, just not as good.

I'm sure there's a set of garage rockers that will welcome a band like The Thingz into the fold.  For me, there's not enough pop and there aren't enough hooks to keep me interested.  Combine that with vocals that I just cannot get into and you've got an album that I'm unlikely to listen to again.

The Thingz - Vault Of Tomorrow:

Monday, August 21, 2017

Husking Bee - Put On Fresh Paint LP - Green Vinyl (Japanese Version)


Ini-Ini (1998)

A few months ago I posted a review of the American version of this LP that I had picked up super cheep in Japan.  It was something of a place holder as I really wanted the Japanese version the most.  Lucky for me, Kazu @ Waterslide records found one in his travels and grabbed it for me.  This is one of my favorite albums, so I'm pretty excited to finally have a copy.

I didn't realize that the Ini-Ini version was on green vinyl, so that's just a bonus.  If you want to read more of my thoughts on the actual record, you can check out the last time I reviewed it here.  For now, just enjoy the vastly superior artwork of the Japanese version and if you don't have any version of this record, you should go pick it up.

Husking Bee - "Sing to Me":

Husking Bee - "Single Word":

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Votzco - Run Away 7"


Debauch Mood (2016)

Even I am surprised that we're in mid August and I still have records that I haven't reviewed from my Japan trip in December.  I actually still have quite a few that I haven't gotten to yet.  I probably would be closer to done if I had reviewed nothing but those records before moving on to other things, but that didn't make sense to me to do.  I can think of worse things than having kick ass Japanese records to write about all year long.

Speaking of kicking ass, Votzco does a quite a bit of that on this two song 7" of theirs. They are drawing from the great tradition of Japanese bands playing super energetic and catchy punk rock.  It's something that I probably mention a bit too much, but they are the kind of band that I think would fit right in with any of your Snuffy Smile records from the mid 90's.  A little more shouting than Blew, but maybe a bit catchier at least on these two songs.

"Run Away" jumps right in with its big guitars blasting over a thundering rhythm section.  Fast tempo and great vocals make this the highlight for me.  That's not to take anything away from the B side "Gills Besson."  It's a little bit slower (but not too much) and takes a slightly more melodic approach, but it still brimming with hooks and dynamic guitar work.  This is a great, great band and I really need to hear more from them.  I don't think they have anything else out just yet, but if I'm wrong and someone has more records by them, please let me know so I can buy them.

Votzco - "Run Away":

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wood Chickens - Skunk Ape 7"


Kitschy Manitou (2017)

I wasn't sure what I was getting into when I put on this Wood Chickens 7" that I was sent to review.  The art was kind of 90's looking, which I guess is a plus though it was leaning pretty heavy on the sasquatch theme, which can be dicey.

At the end of the day, I don't really know exactly how I feel about this.  It's OK, but I can't imagine listening to it again.  Wood Chickens roll out a twang filled countrified stomp, mixed in with a little hillbilly punk.  Southern Culture on the Skids and Slim Cessna's Auto Club are decent comparisons, but Wood Chickens aren't quite as good as either of those bands.

The pace is quick and the energy is high, so points for that, but I guess it's a little too gimmicky at the end of the day for me.  It's fun, but it just isn't as good as other bands I've heard that pull this off more successfully.  Perhaps there's potential for these guys in the future, they seem to be on to something but aren't quite there yet.

Wood Chickens - Skunk Ape 7":

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Summerman - Live At Kichijoji Warp 16​/​9​/​16​ (​Fri​) Cassette


Too Smell (2016)

A few months ago, I wrote about the Summerman album Temperature Is...  In case you missed that review, let me save you some time and tell you to stop reading this review and go try to buy that album.  It is tremendously great.  That being said, the reason I bought that album was because of this cassette.  At the PopKid/Waterslide show at What's Up in Tokyo, several of the members of Summerman were at the show and this tape was given to me there.  So let me start off by saying thank you again for the tape.

Live At Kichijoji Warp is exactly what it says, a live recording of eight Summerman songs. Most of them are from the Temperature Is... album, but they've got a couple of new songs that are exclusive to this tape (mysteriously labels as "New Song 1" and "New Song 2").  I already know and love the album tracks with "Winter Bargain" and "Summer! Summer! Summer!" being real standouts.  The two new songs are also quite excellent.  "New Song 1" is upbeat and jangly with squalls of guitar feedback piercing through the verse and a hugely triumphant chorus.  "New Song 2" is slightly more low key, but its bouncy guitar riffs and another spectacular chorus make it one of my favorites on the tape.

Now, any live show recording is going to have some fidelity issues, this doesn't sound like a studio album or anything.  But, it shows a glimpse of a great pop band plying their wares live.  I worry that I'll never get the chance to see them play live, so this cassette is the next best thing.  The sneak peak at a couple new songs just makes me even more excited to hear more music from these guys.  Hopefully there's a new record coming soon.  I've already heard rumors of a cover song that they're working on that has me quite intrigued.

Summerman - Live At Kichijoji Warp 16​/​9​/​16​ (​Fri​):

Monday, August 14, 2017

Greensleep - Cheap Headphones LP


Dead Broke (2017)

Whenever Dead Broke starts alerting the world that they have a new record coming out, I always go and give it a listen.  About 80% of the time, I usually end up buying the record right there and then.  Such was the case with Greensleep, a band that was apparently kicking around in the mid 90's, but who have recently gotten back together to put out their first full length.

The album runts the gamut of incredible 90's indie and punk influences.  They manage to pull everything together to make a sound that's their own, but if you dissect the album song by song, you can start to see the similarities with others.  On "Restrepo" I'm reminded heavily of the Comedy Minus One band Minutes with it's indie rock vibe.  Moving on to "Cheap Headphones," you can pick out Pavement like twinkling guitar in the verse mixed with a blast of Superchunk fuzz in the chorus.

I can't help but hear a little bit of American Steel on "2nd Avenue," particularly in the vocals. Then I listen to "Pillar To Post" and I hear Fig Dish, but on "Like 4 Like" I can't stop thinking of the band Delay.  There are so many sounds to choose from, but they're somehow all great and also amazingly blend into a cohesive album.  It's pretty remarkable when you think about it.  If you like an indie rock leaning band that throws in a little fuzzy and catchy punk rock from time to time, Greensleep would probably be right up your alley.

Greensleep = Cheap Headphones:

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Blues Brothers - Gimme Some Lovin' 7" - Clear Blue Vinyl & Black Vinyl


Atlantic (1980)

Another Blues Brothers 7" from my Jukebox plans that didn't pan out.  But that's only for the black vinyl version in the background.  While I was grabbing these singles for the jukebox, I started noticing just how many Blues Brothers 7"s were out there with picture sleeves.  As I didn't own any of them, I decided to start picking up a few of them.  I just tried to buy another one yesterday, but some guy in Belgium was trying to charge me twenty four Euro to ship one 7".  I don't know, that just seems crazy to me.

I found the picture sleeve, blue vinyl version up on eBay.  It appears to be some sort of promotional version, though the sleeve itself is light with information.  It does pitch that the movie is coming out on June 20th, so I assume this was released prior to that.  

The two songs are two of my very favorite by the Blues Brothers.  Both appear on the soundtrack album and both also were on the Best of the Blues Brothers album.  I wore these songs out as a kid, listening to them over and over.  These songs are strictly studio affairs, no live audience at all.  In the case of "Gimme Some Lovin'" it is also a completely different version that what is played in the movie (though admittedly, they only play the first few seconds of this song in the movie before Bob shuts them down at his country bunker). 

"She Caught The Katy" is definitely one of my top five Blues Brothers songs. I love the slowly building intro and the laid back vibe of the whole song.  The horns are expertly placed and the harmonica solo in the middle is just perfect.  So many memories attached to these.  I'm still on the hunt for more picture sleeves.  As most were released outside of America, the postage is going to make them a bit tough to track down.  I'm going to give it a try though.  In particular, the Japanese picture sleeves look incredible.  I hope I'm able to find some of those.

The Blues Brothers - "Gimme Some Lovin'":

The Blues Brothers - "She Caught the Katy":

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Static Eyes - The Thaw 7"


Kitschy Manitou (2017)

I received this Static Eyes 7" in a little pack of records sent to be reviewed by Kitschy Manitou.  I was immediately drawn to the artwork and decided this would be my first spin.  Unfortunately, the art ended up being my favorite part of this 7".

All three songs sound really dated.  Not in a fun retro way and not in a way that makes it seem like the band is carrying a torch for days long gone.  It just sounds old and out of touch.  I'm sure there will always be a segment of people who like the sort of yell-y garage punk that Static Eyes is dishing out.  You know, the fifty year old Maximum Rocknroll subscriber and the others who just can't give up on their leather jacket with 80's hardcore band patches.  

More than anything it's the vocals that just don't do it for me.  I need a little bit of melody, without I can't overlook the thud of the bass and the wild guitar that don't really go anywhere.  Mostly, this just sounds like the sort of sloppy, angry punk that kids write in high school.  I never went to those shows when I was in high school. The bands from my area sounded too much like this.

Static Eyes - The Thaw 7":

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Kerbivore - All Dressed CDEP


Urban Sleep (2016)

Allow me to describe the complete ass backwards way I discovered this band.  Kerbivore is from Staten Island, NY.  As recently as last month, they played in Asbury Park, NJ - only 45 minutes or so away from where I live.  Did I discover this band while I was out at a local show?  Did word of mouth sperad of a local band that I had to check out?  Nope.  When I was in Japan the singer of the band 2 Sick Worry told me about the record label he was doing in Japan and then he sent me a handful of CDs he released.  Kerbivore was in that stack.  I had to go to Japan to hear about a band that's playing in my own backyard.  Sure seems weird.

Anyway, this Kerbivore CD is pretty great.  I'm reminded a lot of the band Golden City, one of the post-Christie Front Drive bands that was around for five minutes or so.  Mix that knack for pop with a hint of Dinosaur Jr. style fuzzed out guitar pyrotechnics and blend in some of the ramshackle energy of Demolition Theater era New Sweet Breath and I think that's starts to paint a decent picture of what you can expect from Kerbivore.  On of my favorite things is when a band is writing pop songs, but is skillful enough to complicate things a bit, but not lose that inherent hook and catchiness. Kerbivore pulls that off pretty flawlessly.

All five songs are hits, but the closer of the EP, "My Apartment's a Mess," really drives things home and makes me hungry for more.  The fact that these guys were just playing locally a few weeks ago is hopefully a sign that they're working on so new tunes.  I'd sure like to hear a full length from them.  Thanks for the CD Yu!

Kerbivore - All Dressed Up (It was released on cassette in the US as well, this is the US label's Bandcamp page):

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Chinchees - The Chinchees LP


Self Released (2017) 

The Chinchees come from Minneapolis and this is their debut album.  To say this one has caught me by surprise would be a massive understatement.  I received this LP right as I was in the very thick of my '2017 is really a down year for new releases' lamentations.  The very second the needle hit the wax on this one, I completely reevaluated that statement.  Sure, 2017 may not quite have the same number of amazing releases as some of the more recent years, but with an album like this floating around, it's pretty hard to say it's been a dissappointing year for new music.

What gets me the most about The Chinchees is how they straddle the line between Marked Men style fuzz pop and Superchunk-like catchiness.  The hooks are more reminiscent of early Superchunk, but that have the sort of speedy intensity that you find in the Marked Men.  I don't care how you want to split the difference, the fact is that The Chinchees have quietly dropped one of the best two or three albums of the year.  And to think, I could have missed it while I was complaining about 2017.

This particular version is the first pressing that the band self released.  Dirt Cult records has stepped in and is handling the repress.  Hopefully that will help spread the word about The Chinchees.  This debut album of theirs is just great and everyone should have the chance to hear it.  Plus, Dirt Cult did a repress on colored vinyl, so I'm debating grabbing one of those at some point even though I already have this copy.  That's how good this record is.

The Chinchees - The Chinchees:

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Shoplifters - Believe CD


Waterslide (2016)

Give all the credit in the world to Waterslide records.  I don't think I would have ever found this incredible band from Serbia called Shoplifters without them.  I try really hard to stay up to date with new bands, but Waterslide is on a totally different level.  Back to Shoplifters, this is one of those bands that I would best describe as playing exactly the kind of music I want to listen to.

To me, the most noticeable and easiest touchstones to compare them to would be Big Drill Car mixed with Snuff.  Now, I have to throw in a slight caveat, as they remind me of early, primo, Snuffsaid/Reach era Snuff.  The chaotic punky guitar blasts, the incredible breakdowns and the anthemic vocals that make you just want to jump around singing along.  Add to that the melodic punch of Batch era Big Drill Car and this is an album I can really get behind.

The highlights are too many to list, I could say something about every song if I had the space, but just know that top to bottom, this is a killer record.  If you are like me and have a difficult time giving up on the sounds of the 90's, Shoplifters will help stem the tide as we slip further into the twenty first century.  I only wish I had heard this record last year as it would have assuredly been quite high on my end of the year album list.  Go get it!

Shoplifters - Believe:

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Smalltown - Fall Into Line 7"


Bridge of Compassion (2002)

Fall Into Line was the second Smalltown 7" released back in 2002.  I first came across these songs when Snuffy Smile released the Smalltown singles compilation, The First Three Years.  As I mentioned when I reviewed Smalltown's 2000 Stuck 7", these are my very favorite songs that Smalltown ever released.

There's just something about these early tracks that exude a youthful energy and a ramshackle vibe that feels punk rock.  The recording quality is totally fine, but still rough enough around the edges to sound a little dangerous.  The way these guys managed to keep their pop side (not too dissimilar from The Odd Numbers) equally balanced with their gruffer more punk leanings was something that always stood out to me.

There remains one last early Smalltown 7" out there that I need, their split 7" with Down And Away.  If anyone knows where I can score a copy of that, let me know.  Also, checking around discogs, it seems I somehow missed out on an entire album of theirs that came out in 2013.  I'm going to have to look into that as well.  While the later Smalltown releases never quite lived up to the brilliance of these first singles for me, I have really enjoyed everything the band has put out.

Smalltown - "Fall Into Line":

Smalltowm - "Tomorrow":

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Holiday - California Steamin' LP - Green Vinyl (/300)


Brassneck / Pumpkin / Antikorper Export / Prejudice Me (2017)

I think I'm listening to more UK punk rock bands right now than at any time since the mid 90's.  There's something of a renaissance going on where melodic guitar punk is coming back around again.  Holiday is a band that is new to me, but they've released one heck of debut album.

There's something instantly familiar about this band that hits me the very second I pop this on the turntable.  At first I just couldn't place it.  It was the vocals.  They really reminded me of something I just couldn't nail down.  Then Kazu from Waterslide records pointed out to me that they reminded him of Goober Patrol.  That was it, that was the comparison I was looking for.  Vocally, Holiday have a lot in common with early, Dutch Ovens and Truck Off era Goober Patrol. You're not going to get the kind of grit the Goobers were throwing around by the time they got to Vacation, but instead it's a smoother raspiness from their early days.

These vocals combines with a swirling, punked up guitar sound that harkens back to Mega City Four to give Holiday a distinct, but familiar sound.  It's very much a call back to the UK of the early 90's while staying current and exciting.  California Steamin' is a true highlight of 2017 and is easily one of the best records I've heard all year.

Holiday - California Steamin':

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Blues Brothers - Expressway To Your Heart 7"


Atlantic (1980)

This 7" is another in my (for now) failed jukebox experiment.  Until I move into a new place that I can get the jukebox in, it's relegated to storage in the garage.  While I was gathering some Blues Brothers 7"s for it, it has kind of lit a fire under me to start tracking down some of the other 7"s of theirs that have picture sleeves.  Most of them aren't from America, but none of them seem particularly expensive.  From what I can tell, this one has no picture sleeve equivalent, so I'll write it up as is.

When I was a little kid (we're talking three to five years old) I had two Blues Brothers records; Briefcase Full Of Blues and Best Of The Blues Brothers.  While there was some overlap between the two, Best Of gave me the songs from the movie that I didn't have at the time.  I wouldn't get the soundtrack to the movie for quite a few years later, maybe not until I was nine or ten.  Best Of The Blues Brothers also had one song from the Made In America album (that I wouldn't get until I was probably a teenager) and three songs not on any other record.  Two were different recordings of songs from other albums, one was exclusive to this Best Of release.

"Expressway To Your Heart" is the exclusive song from that album and the A side of this 7".  I have always loved the Blues Brothers version of this song.  The loud chunky piano, horn accompaniment and the insane Duck Dunn bass just resonates with me so much.  I also love the way the the vocals work in the "I was wrong/it took too long" part.  Just great.  

The B side on this is "Rubber Biscuit."  The version of "Rubber Biscuit" is from the Best Of album and is different from the one found on Briefcase Full Of Blues.  I prefer the one on Briefcase and it has been my favorite Blues Brothers song forever.  That being said, I do really like this version of the song as well.  It's a bit longer and has a cool drum beat over the breakdown at the end of the song.  I think the lyrics (if you can call them that) are better and more clear on the Briefcase version, but both are A-OK by me.

The Blues Brothers - "Expressway To Your Heart":

The Blues Brothers - "Rubber Biscuit" Best Of Version:

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Shipyards - 見つかった CDEP


Self Released (2010)

Shipyards is a band that has quickly become one of my very favorites in a Japanese punk scene that has more than a few amazing bands already.  I have both of their full albums and while I was in Japan I was able to find this CD EP of a demo of theirs.  Of course I had to pick that up for the collection.

This demo predates Shipyards' first album and two of the songs from the CD would end up on that full length.  Both "Bad Illusion" and "Someday in the Rain" are so great, even in this early form.  Sure, the recording is a little fuzzier but the way this band has captured the energy of these songs on this disc is something to behold.  It just seems like the band was formed and they were instantly great.

The two other main songs on this release are also fantastic and I don't believe that they've been released on anything else, but I could be mistaken.  I always seem to stumble across Japanese releases that I had no idea existed.  "Devil Comes" and "No Way" show how this band has taken an obvious appreciation for Leatherface and mid 90's UK punk rock and put their own spin on it.  The rhythm section is fast and punchy and the guitars create a powerful and dynamic blast.  The fact that these songs are so good on a demo is pretty impressive.  The fact that their full lengths are even better is damn near terrifying.  Shipyards is a great band.  I want more!

Shipyards - "Bad Illusion" (This is the version from their first full length, I can't find anything from the demo online):

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Your Pest Band - Old Springhead 2xLP


Snuffy Smiles / Brassneck / Dead Broke (2017)

Over the last few years, Your Pest Band has been one of the most prolific and consistently great bands from Japan.  To the best of my knowledge, I have everything they've released and will continue to buy everything they put out.  That being said, Old Springhead isn't my favorite of their records, but it's still pretty great.

If there's one criticism I have with Old Springhead it's that it is just a little too long.  I'm not sure that Your Pest Band needed to do the double LP here.  Trim off a few songs and put out a 7" or two in addition to this LP would have kept the album a little tighter.  I'd also be remiss if I didn't point out that the fifteen plus minute long "Swell" is pretty tough to get through.  My favorite Your Pest Band songs are the ones that are catchy and blast in and out again.

Old Springhead has plenty of great songs that lean on the strengths of Your Best Band.  The title track "Old Springhead" is a picture perfect example of what I love about this band.  A catchy lead guitar riff, a fast paced drum beat and a killer vocal melody combine to make it a true highlight.  There are so many great songs on this album from the 50's tinged "Found Out" to the bouncy pop of "Nothing" to "Exits," maybe the best song on the entire album.  This is truly a great record, I probably would have just preferred it be a little shorter, that's all.

Your Best Band - Old Springhead:

Monday, July 24, 2017

J Church - Racked 7"


Vagrant (1995)

"Racked" is the song that got me to give J Church another chance recently.  Prior to hearing "Racked" it was the combination of an intimidating discography and having heard mediocre songs by them when I first became aware of the band that kept me from really pursuing any of their records.  "Racked" was such a perfect song that it made me give them another try, and I'm quite glad I did.  Arbor Vitae has become a frequently played LP and I'm starting down that dark path to pick up a few more of their records.  While I don't think I'll ever have the courage to tackle their entire discography (it really is insane), I am going to search out the highlights.  

I wasn't even planning to get the Racked 7" yet, but a friend of mine was purging it from his collection and I figured it would be a great addition to the jukebox project.  Sadly that project is on hold, but at least I have a few new J Church songs.  The way "Racked" combines the upbeat chorus, palm mutes and harmonics in the solo, it really is just an amazing two minutes.  I would encourage everyone to start there if you aren't familiar with the band.

On the B side we have two more songs.  The first is "Mary's Moving Out."  This one is a smash hit as well.  A blisteringly noisy guitar squall starts things off, giving way to a fast paced and dynamic verse.  It's a really short song, but it's excellent.  The last song on this 7" is "You Fucking Trick."  This one isn't your standard J Church pop punk, it sounds more like one of those noisy, sludgy songs Fluf would sneak onto their albums.  It's not awful, but it isn't for me.  Still, just for the first two songs I'd recommend checking this out, especially if you've been looking for an easy entry point into the vast J Church discography.

J Church - "Racked":

J Church - "Mary's Moving Out":

J Church - "You Fucking Trick":

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Needles//Pins - Good Night, Tomorrow LP - Coke Bottle Clear Vinyl (/100)


Dirt Cult / Mint (2017)

I've been a pretty big fan of Needles//Pins for quite some time.  From trying desperately to get their first record label to actually mail me the LP I ordered (I'm pretty sure the band had to intervene on my behalf to finally get me said record) to their newest LP on Mint and Dirt Cult, this is a band I've been all in on.  I think I've mentioned before that the record that I first hear about a band tends to be my favorite of theirs.  Needles//Pins breaks that mold as Good Night, Tomorrow is their best yet.

While the band still has the sort of embedded Canadian pop energy shared by many of their peers, Needles//Pins takes a bit of a turn with their sound on their latest.  It's a little more punk than power pop.  Vocally they're really embracing their gruffness, eschewing some of the nasally inclinations of the past.  The result is an album that leans sonically closer to early Leatherface than Bum or Steve Adamyk Band.

Another change in the band is the overall tempo of the songs.  Things are slowed down a bit on Good Night, Tomorrow to great success.  It gives every chord and riff more meaning and it lets everything breathe a bit.  While the songs on this album aren't slow by any means, taking thing down just a notch has let the band really find their stride and they churn out hit after hit as a result.  It's a pretty great and one of the better records I've heard this year.  Worth checking out for sure.

Needles//Pins - Good Night, Tomorrow:

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Dog Hotel - Dance On The Cake 7"


Debauch Mood (2012)

I picked up this Dog Hotel 7" as part of my vinyl haul from the record shops of Tokyo.  I had originally heard of Dog Hotel from one of those multi-band compilation 7"s that Snuffy Smiles used to put out every so often.  I haven't seen one of those in a bit, but they were a good way for me to hear some of the new sounds of Japanese punk rock.  For whatever reason, Dog Hotel didn't cross my radar again until I was actually in Japan.

I'm so glad I picked up this 7" as it is pretty damn great.  Dog Hotel is playing an interesting hybrid of old school 90's pop punk smashed together with more modern garage-y power pop sounds.  The result is a band that kind of plays like the Marked Men at times, but can venture out more into less strict musical territory.

The big hit on this record is "In The Hole."  Somehow, Dog Hotel has taken the weirdest, most bent sounding guitar riff I have ever heard and managed to contort it into the hookiest thing I've listened to in ages.  I can't even really do justice to it with a description, just click play below and be blown away by its insanity.  Some digging around has shown that Dog Hotel has at least one split 7" out there that I don't have.  If anyone else can point me to more records by these guys, I will buy them immediately.

Dog Hotel - "In The Hole":

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Superchunk - I Got Cut 7"


Merge (2017)

One morning a few weeks ago, I woke up to find an email in my inbox from the Merge records mailing list.  It let me know there was a new, limited Superchunk 7" being released to benefit Planned Parenthood.  There was a black vinyl version and an even more limited one on pink vinyl.  Despite ordering it super early in the morning, I wasn't quick enough to snag the pink vinyl version.  That being said, though I do try to maintain a complete Superchunk 7" collection, I've never hunted variants for them and I'm totally fine with the black vinyl version.  Especially since it benefits a good cause.

The A side "I Got Cut" is a new Superchunk original.  Starting off with a squeal of feedback, the guitars quickly sync up with the pounding drum and we're off to the races.  It's a pretty classic Superchunk song, evoking all of those same feelings as when I first started listening to the band.  When they keep things upbeat and energetic, is there a better band?  This one may be a little heavy on lead guitar riffs, but not enough to spoil the good time.

On the B side is "Up Against The Wall."  This is a cover of a song originally done by the Tom Robinson Band.  I'm not particularly familiar with them or this song, so the Superchink version is my first time hearing this.  It's pretty obvious that the source material is tried and true late 70's UK punk/power pop.  Superchunk's version is great with a driving rhythm section and bouncy guitar riff.  In fact, I may prefer it to the A side as it has an innate catchiness that just makes my head start nodding every time I listen to it.  This is a really strong single and I hope it means that Superchunk is off somewhere working on a new full length as well.

Superchunk - I Got Cut 7":

Monday, July 17, 2017

Ron Ron Clou - Second Runner LP


K.O.G.A. (2003)

Second Runner is the second full length release by Ron Ron Clou and it's the third album of theirs that I've written about on this site.  Sadly, this will be the last one.  Well, it'll be the last full length anyway, they do have a couple of 7"s out there that I don't have, so you may not have heard the last of these guys.

Second Runner starts off with "Merry Go Round." "Merry Go Round" leads with a stuttering guitar riff that's really similar to the "I Want The Moon" by Leatherface, but it quickly shifts to what Ron Ron Clou does best; straightforward mod influenced pop.  I still think they have similarities with bands like Odd Numbers or The Vacant Lot, but they definitely put their own spin on things keeping each song energetic and upbeat.

Another song that leaps out at me is "The Golden Country."  It has a full on pop vibe that reminds me a lot of another older Japanese band called Popcatcher.  I have a bunch of CD singles by Popcatcher and let me tell you, those are some good pop songs.  I think if forced to make a choice I like Ron Ron Clou's debut, First Album, a bit better, but only slightly so.  Second Runner is also pretty great and I'm happy to have all of the band's full lengths in the collection finally. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Blues Brothers - Soul Man 7"


Atlantic (1978)

Recently, my wife and I were gifted a jukebox from the early 80's.  It's a beast of a machine that holds one hundred 7"s.  While we were plotting its delivery to our place, I started picking up a few 7"s for it.  I wasn't going to put any records from my personal collection in it, the plan was to buy duplicates of some key records.  I also figured it was a no brainer to put in a few Blues Brothers 7"s.  I actually didn't own any of their singles, as I've had the full lengths for a millions years.  Unfortunately, I put the cart before the horse and the movers weren't able to get the jukebox up the stairs.  By luck, we do have a garage so it has been moved there for storage.  We'll probably move out of our currently place in a year, so I'm hopeful this is just a temporary fix.

However, I've amassed a bit of a Blues Brothers singles collection (along with a couple of other odds and ends) so I'll write up a few of them here.  "Soul Man" seems like an obvious place to start.  This is probably the song most associated with the Blues Brothers, though as the years go by I think people are becoming more familiar with the songs from the movie rather than their big hit single from 1978.  The version on this 7" is the same as on Briefcase Full Of Blues.  It's simply a classic; one of my very favorite songs.

On the B side is a song that wasn't on the album, "Excusez Moi Mon Cherie."  This is the only non album, Blues Brothers B side that exists.  I had no idea that it was out there as a kid.  The first time I ever heard the song was when I picked up a Blues Brothers CD that compiled every song they ever released about a dozen years ago.  The main reason I bought that CD was for this song.  

Despite not being a part of the full album, it's a song that is definitely of the era.  As usual the band is absolutely on fire, with a driving Duck Dunn bassline, rag time piano and potent horn blasts.  Jake/John whips through the song with his usual passion and it's just a thing to behold.  While it's a little weird that I never heard this song as a kid, there's something really neat about finding a relic from that time to listen to with grown up ears.  It's the closest thing the band has to a lost song and I'm really glad it's out there.  I'm even more glad that it's in the collection properly now.

Blues Brothers - "Soul Man":

Blues Brothers - "Excusez Moi Mon Cherie":

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Warm Soda - I Don't Wanna Grow Up - Clear Blue Vinyl


Castle Face (2017)

I Don't Wanna Grow Up is being advertised as the final Warm Soda album.  It looks like Matthew Melton is moving on to his new psych band Dream Machine.  I'm glad that Warm Soda was given a last hurrah as I've listened to a handful of Dream Machine songs and I will not be following him to that band.  Dream Machine is not for me, but Warm Soda had a solid run of four pretty great albums.

I will say that I'm not as blown away by this last Warm Soda record.  Don't get me wrong, it's good, but it feels a little flat after how great 2015's Symbolic Dream was.  In a lot of ways, I Don't Wanna Grow Up reminds me a lot of the band's second album, Young Reckless Hearts.  It's good, but can't quite live up to the one that came out before it.

That's not to say that I Don't Wanna Grow Up doesn't have it's share of highlights.  Very few people can pull off the breathy AM radio power pop like Matthew Melton.  Album opener "Young In Heart" sets the stage with an upbeat, jangly guitar and octaves in all the right places.  "Don't Leave Me For Another Guy" showcases the band's ability to mix 50's pop themes with modern day power pop.  

Let's face it, there isn't a bad song on the record, but if I'm ranking Warm Soda albums, I Don't Wanna Grow Up would be on the bottom half.  Still, it's up against a couple of pretty stellar releases and it does have its share of hits.

Warm Soda - I Don't Wanna Grow Up:

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Bear Trade - Silent Unspeakable LP - White/Brown Split Color Vinyl (/200)


Dead Broke / Everything Sucks (2017)

I'm a sucker for split color vinyl for some reason.  I just think it's the coolest looking variant you can have.  This particular split of brown and white (or 'Chips & Gravy' as they're calling it) is one of my favorites I've seen.  I think it's a great combo and it matches the blown out photograph on the album cover quite well.  Good job all around on the artwork.

Luckily this isn't just a pretty package with no substance, Bear Trade's sophomore LP serves up another dose of their working man's punk rock.  There is also a vibe from this band that is so quintessentially British that you'll never have any doubt as to where these guys call home.  In addition to carrying around the influences of some of the UK's best like Leatherface or Hooton 3 Car, they also manage to paint stories in their songs that really drive that feeling home. 

Comparing Silent Unspeakable to the band's last album Blood & Sand, it seems to me that the songs are slower over all, with more emphasis on storytelling and less concern about being fast or loud.  The album has a cohesive feeling as if each song is building on the one that preceded it.  In some ways it reminds me of the last Arrivals record.  As a whole, I think Silent Unspeakable is the best of Bear Trade and should be a must listen for anyone into melodic UK punk.

Bear Trade - Silent Unspeakable:

Monday, July 10, 2017

Lack Of Sense - Small Lights Over There CD


I Hate Smoke (2014)

Even though it's been six months since I've been in Japan, I still have a stack of CDs by Japanese bands that I haven't written about yet.  This is likely not going to be helped by the fact that another pile of them is currently on its way across the ocean to me right now.  Lack Of Sense is a band that I can't say I had heard of when this record originally came out a couple of years ago, but I'm sure glad I've been able to listen to them now.

Lack Of Sense will appeal to folks that are interested in the Dillinger Fours and Iron Chics of the world.  It's tough, working class punk rock that walks a tightrope between melodic singalong choruses and the sort of razor sharp hooks that you can count on from D4.  There are a good amount of anthemic "whoas" in many of the album's songs.  It's always the sort of thing that makes me think the band would be a lot of fun to see live, with everyone singing along and raising an arm during these parts.

Anyway, I'm definitely glad that I picked up this Lack Of Sense album.  I don't think that the band has released anything else since this album, so I hope they're still around.  I would definitely be interested in hearing more from these guys.

Lack Of Sense - "Just Time Now":

Lack Of Sense - "Take Me Out There":