Friday, September 30, 2022

Beck - Live at KAOS Olympia Community Radio LP


DOL (2016)

This is a vinyl bootleg of a Beck radio show bootleg that's been floating around for a really long time.  It documents an on air performance from 1994 at KAOS, a radio station in Olympia, WA.  It focuses on songs from the One Foot In The Grave era, but leans harder into some of the more lighthearted ones of that time.  Mostly ones that ended up on the cutting room floor for that record (but many were eventually released on the 2xLP special edition version of One Foot In The Grave that came out in 2009).

What has always amused me about this particular recording is that it starts right in the middle of the song "Mattress."  It's amazing to me that nearly thirty years later, a complete version of this session hasn't surfaced and we're still listening to one that's missing half a song (at least, who knows what happened before he played "Mattress").  The session is a blast with rough versions of future classics like "Painted Eyelids" and "Totally Confused."  But it's some of the really odd ones like "Johnny Depp," "Beck Will Die" and "Your Love Is Weird" that really make it special for me.

This LP sounds pretty good for the most part.  It's not outrageously high quality, but it gets the job done.  But what's really confusing to me is that it leaves off the last song from the session, "New Age Blowjob" (an early version of "Bogusflow").  I have no idea why it's not on here, there's only three songs on the B side, so there was definitely room.  It's an omission I find annoying, but I am happy to at least have something on vinyl.

I wish there were more of these sort of LPs, bootlegs or not.  In particular the first three Beck sessions at KCRW are so much fun and having nice LPs of those to replace the bootleg tapes and MP3s I've had for a thousand years would be quite excellent.

Beck - Live at KAOS Olympia Community Radio:

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Naughty By Nature - 19 Naughty III LP


Tommy Boy / Big Life (1993)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

Naughty By Nature is typically remembered for "O.P.P." and, at times, "Hip Hop Hooray" to most people.There's probably a slight whiff of one hit wonder about them, but that's probably not fair to a group that has three pretty great albums if you look at them objectively.  It's easy to think about the "O.P.P." video being played incessantly everywhere in 1991, but it's also easy to forget what a great song that was.  The beat is top shelf and Trech's lyrics, while a bit goofy, are on point.

Trech probably has one of the more underrated flows in golden era hip hop, and that's likely because of how ubiquitous the Naughty By Nature hits were.  When 19 Naughty II came out, the airwaves were once again saturated with one of the groups songs.  This time it was "Hip Hop Hooray."  Like "O.P.P." this was a song that's not particularly serious or impactful.  Again, it's kind of goofy and this time the beat isn't on the same level as "O.P.P." was.  But the rest of the album is pretty great.

Full of hard hitting beats with complex lyrical stylings, I certainly didn't give this album the credit it deserved when it first came out.  I had it back in 1993, but never ended up listening to it as much as some of the other albums that came out around there.  But going back to it now, it's pretty obvious how talented this crew was.  I'm really surprised this album hasn't ever been reissued on vinyl, but luckily I was able to track down a copy in beautiful condition at a very reasonable price.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Pinhead Gunpowder - Shoot The Moon 12" - Blue & White Split Vinyl


1-2-3-4 Go! (2022, Reissue)

This Pinhead Gunpowder reissue is another that I already had the original pressing of.  There's really no reason as to why I needed to pick up another version, mine's essentially immaculate.  But the lure of a reissued version on colored vinyl that's part of an overarching reissue campaign was something I just couldn't pass up.

This EP originally came out in 1999, when I was the music director of my college radio station.  I was really excited to have a new Pinhead Gunpowder release to put out for everyone to play.  The only complaint I had then is that it was just so damn short.  Seven songs in twelve minutes with only one breaking the two minute mark.  

This reissue helps that out a little bit by including two bonus tracks that were previously on the Recess version of Compulsive Disclosure.  I'm not sure why they were added here instead of kept there, but since the 1-2-3-4 Go! version of Compulsive Disclosure isn't out yet, I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Public Enemy - Fear of a Black Planet 2xLP - Blue Vinyl & Brown Vinyl


Vinyl Me Please (2021, Reissue)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

As much as I try to avoid it, I do end up getting sucked into buying fancy reissues of records I already have from time to time.  While I bought the Public Enemy vinyl box set many years ago, which has a perfectly serviceable copy of Fear of a Black Planet in it, I could not resist the pull of this version from Vinyl Me Please.

All prior versions of this LP were single disc affairs.  This is the first time this landmark record has been given room to breathe and there really is a difference.  I am not one of those crazy audiophile guys who pretends I can hear whether or not there was ever any digital process on a vinyl record.  But what I can tell you is that this version seems louder, has a fuller sound (particularly when it comes to bass and low end) and really is the best version of this record I've heard.  The packaging is pretty nice too, with a cool booklet along with the gatefold sleeve.

The record itself is just about flawless.  Even though my favorite Public Enemy record has always been It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, I will never downplay how utterly incredible Fear of a Black Planet is as well.  It's really one of those records that just about anyone with even a passing interest in hip hop should own.  And this is probably the best version out there to pick up if you need it.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Your Pest Band - Reflecting Board 12"


Dead Broke (2022)

I have a lot of records by Your Pest Band.  They've been putting out tunes since 2008 and the vast majority were on my favorite all time record label, Snuffy Smile.  Though these days Snuffy Smile isn't anywhere near as active as they used to be, and I've not been as enamored with their more recent offerings.  This Your Pest Band 12" was released on Dead Broke without any seeming involvement from Snuffy Smile, which seems a little odd.  It's not the first time a label has put out one of their records without it being a co-release, but it's certainly not a regular occurrence.

As the years have gone by, I've enjoyed Your Pest Band's evolution.  From more traditional Snuffy Smile punk rock, to garage leaning speed to the current iteration which has something of a psych/classic rock vibe.  Do I like this sort of thing as much as I like their earliest releases?  No, I don't.  I'm always going to be somewhat trapped in wanting to here some good old fashioned pop punk.  But that's not to say that Your Pest Band isn't still cranking out some great tunes, because they are.

This 12" has seven new songs.  There's a few mid tempo numbers like "Blind Lane" and "Strange Rings," the latter of which has some downright Petty-esque guitar riffs going on.  But I tend to gravitate towards the faster songs.  In particular, "Every Arithmetic" strikes a real chord with me as it has loud, crunchy guitars and a driving drum beat.  It also has less guitar and vocal reverb than anything else on here.  It's a fantastic song that's worth the price of admission on its own.  But the other songs are fun as well, they're just pretty different to what the band started out doing fourteen years ago.  Which makes sense, when you think about just how long ago that really was.

Your Pest Band - Reflecting Board:

Friday, September 16, 2022

Rocket From The Crypt - Gold 7" - Gold Vinyl (/100)


Drunken Fish (2022, Reissue)

This is sort of a reissue.  But sort of not.  The way it's been described is 100 more of these are being released as a 30th anniversary release, using some leftover sleeves and stickers.  Maybe vinyl too? Or maybe the pressed a few more records for this?  I'm not really sure to be honest.   

This was never my favorite Rocket From The Crypt release, at least from the music side of things.  It's a cover of an MC5 song that certainly isn't the first song I'd think of if covering them was on the day's agenda.  Rocket's version turns it into an even more ramshackle scene, Saxophone aping the bass line of the original.  A supremely chaotic noise jam that devolves into Speedo screaming "power" for a minute into that vocal apparatus that they used to great effect distorting vocals in the early 90s.

Pressing wise, there are two major differences between this release and the original.  First is that the back cover, which says "EDITION OF 500" has had the "500" crossed out and "100" was written next to it in ink.  Next, the inner sleeve isn't white, it's that sort of brown/yellow color of a mailing envelope.  No beads like some of the first pressing of this record had.  I'm not opening mine, there's really no reason as I have other, open copies.  So the record that you see is in the first picture is actually one of my first pressings.  The second picture is the back of this new pressing.

Rocket From The Crypt - "Gold":

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Guru - Jazzmatazz Volume 1 LP


Music On Vinyl (2022, Reissue)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

When this album originally came out in 1993, I was a huge Gang Starr fan.  I was quite obsessed with Gang Starr's third album that had come out the prior year, Daily Operation.  When I saw the video for the the song "Loungin," I immediately tracked down a copy of the album.

At the time I remember liking it, but being a little disappointed when comparing it to Daily Operation.  From a production standpoint, this album has more in common with something like Tribe Called Quest than it does Gang Starr, but that's fine, I love Tribe.  Where the record lost me back then (and now a bit to, if I'm being honest), where the really long stretches in a lot of songs where Guru isn't rapping and the preponderance of R&B style singing in the choruses of more than a few songs.

I have been hunting for a copy of this for a while.  Music On Vinyl reissued it in 2018, but I must have just missed the boat as I could only find it for really high collector's prices for the past few years.  But luck finally changed and MOV reissued it again this year, allowing me to pick up a copy at a more reasonable price.

Listening to it now, I have an even greater appreciation for what Guru was trying to do.  He's definitely pushing the jazz envelop further than most groups of that era.  That said, the complaints I have from when I was sixteen are mostly the same ones I have now.  Too much singing and too many horn solos.  When it's Guru rhyming over jazzy beats, I love it.  When it meanders, I tend to be less interested.  He did three volumes of these Jazzmatazz records.  I've never heard the other two and I think it's time to correct that.

Monday, September 12, 2022

State Drugs / Zephr - Split 7" - Muddy Green Vinyl


Snappy Little Numbers (2022)

This is a split 7" containing one song each by State Drugs and Zephr, two bands that have also released full length albums on Snappy Little Numbers.  I was pretty excited when this showed up in the mail as I was a fan of each band's prior albums and I've long said how the split 7" has historically been one of my favorite formats.  Though it's certainly not as common an occurrence as it was back in the 90s.

State Drugs has a rootsy, Tom Petty, Nude Beach sort of vibe, but with vocals that really cling more to a melancholy feeling than the more upbeat nature of a Petty.  "Mr. Untitled" is built on a dark guitar and bass sound that is very heavy on low end.  That's then peppered with bright lead guitar riffs.  Once the vocals come in, things can feel a little dour to be honest, but the backing vocals help make the song veer into more uplifting territory.

Zephr feels like they have really slowed things down since the last time I heard them.  Whereas on their last album I thought they would fit in good with the early 2000s No Idea crowd, this time they've dialed things back considerably.  "Landline" doesn't strike me as the quintessential contribution to a split 7".  To me, it feels more like a deep album cut that you write to give an album a more dynamic feeling and to let the listener catch their breath in between a couple of rockers.  It's a good song, but hearing it by itself with no other songs for context makes me wonder if the band is in the midst of a major sound chance from their last album.  Time will tell I guess.

State Drugs / Zephr - Split 7":

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Da King & I - Contemporary Jeep Music LP


Rowdy (1993)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

Da King & I is another one of those long forgotten hip hop acts of the early 90s that I discovered digging through internet lists of forgotten hip hop acts of the 90s.  The descriptions I read had sounded right up my alley, so I hunted down a copy of their only album, Contemporary Jeep Music.  I've discovered a lot of great albums this way and while I won't say this is the one I like best, I do think that this is an album that would have probably been one of my favorites if I had actually gotten to hear it in 1993.

I never remember seeing Da King & I on Yo! MTV Raps and I also don't recall seeing them in The Source, but I imagine they probably got written about at some point and I just don't remember a random article from a magazine that I last saw thirty years ago.  (as an aside, if you want to have your mind blown, go look and see how much 1992 and 1993 issues of The Source sell for on eBay.  I had wanted to track down some of those old ones I had, but the cost of entry is quite prohibitive)  I can only assume this album didn't sell all that well at the time and they were relegated to the dustbin of hip hop history.  But I am really glad I dug around and discovered them.

The beats are pure, uncut 1993 goodness.  Jazzy loops, keyboards in the breaks, cracking snare drum punctuating hard bass drum beats. Production-wise, it's about as good as you're going to find and it holds up with most albums of the era.  Izzy Ice handles the vocals and does a pretty admirable job living up to the high bar the beats set for him.  His lyrics may not dazzle you the way some of the MCs that dabble in more complicated rhyme structures, but all of his rhymes are serviceable and his cadence meshes pretty perfectly with the music.

To me, this is really one of the great forgotten gems of 1993 hip hop.  It's an incredible record that's just begging for a fancy reissue on 90s Tapes or something like that.  Really happy I stumbled across this one.

Da King & I - Contemporary Jeep Music:

Friday, September 2, 2022

Drive Like Jehu - Bullet Train to Vegas 7" - White & Black Swirl Vinyl (/300)


Merge (2022, Reissue)

This is a colored vinyl reissue of a 1992 Drive Like Jehu 7" that came out on Merge records.  The bands only 7" and one of far too few overall releases by such an important band.  I got into Drive Like Jehu because of how much I loved Rocket From The Crypt.  I started out by picking up the band's first CD at Let It Rock records in Montclair, NJ.  One of only a few times I went to that store as I just always felt that Flipside in Pompton Lakes was the better shop in the area.

While I really did like the first Jehu album, it's when I picked up Yank Crime that my mind was completely blown out of the back of my skull.  What a record.  I am pretty sure that I found the original copy of this 7" at a defunct record store that was called Adult Crash.  It wasn't around for a super long time, but it was a good store that had a real indie rock lean to it.  Great 7" section.

The songs on this record are excellent.  Not quite as long as most of the ones on Yank Crime, but also a little more forward thinking than the ones on the debut.  In some ways it's kind of the sweet spot in the middle, but in other ways I'll always like the insane ambition of Yank Crime the best.  The colored vinyl looks nice and I'm just always going to pick up new variants of Rocket and Rocket adjacent bands when I see them.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

The Beatnuts - The Beatnuts 2xLP - Red Vinyl (/500)


Traffic / Relativity / Sony (2018, Reissue)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

The Beatnuts were another one of those Golden Era groups that I knew by name back then, but never had any records by.  I likely saw their name mostly on production credits for other records and probably from time to time reading The Source.  But 1994 was a transitional year for me musically, so there are definitely some hip hop records that slipped through the cracks as I was starting to dig into punk and indie rock.

I picked up this record quite a while ago actually, maybe two years at this point but I just hadn't gotten around to writing about it.  The main strength of this album is how great the beats are front to back.  An expertly produced hip hip record, I can't complain about a single beat on here.  Jazzy without being too slow, upbeat without being too poppy or corny and expertly picked samples give the album a warm, lived in sound.  It's unique and interesting, but the vibe is instantly familiar.

Lyrically, these guys can hold their own as well.  They're not upper echelon MCs, but they are good and the beats play to the strength of the rapping.  But when someone elite like Grand Puba shows up on "Are You Ready" it's obvious they're just a notch below.  That's not really a bad thing or even a criticism.  This record just came out on the tail end of an era filled with some of the best to ever do it, to be pretty close to that elite level is a real accomplishment considering the others that were putting out records at the time.

In 2022, it still sounds innovative and fun.  I would highly recommend it if it flew under your radar back in '94.

The Beatnuts - The Beatnuts:

Monday, August 29, 2022

Thirty Cassettes From Tetryon Tapes


I didn't post anything last week.  Part of it was I was tired and had a particularly rough week.  But part of it was also the fact that I wanted to get through a shit ton of tapes piling up over here.  Ugh, tapes.  I'm not always opposed.  Snappy Little Numbers and Big Neck have sent me some pretty rad tapes over the years.  But then there are times when you have too many tapes.  

This fellow from Buffalo has been sending me tapes for years via various labels.  A few good ones, and then some average and bad ones.  But it's just too many.  Recently he sent me a giant box full of tapes that I haven't wanted to listen to.  I'm blowing through all THIRTY of them in short, MMR style reviews.  I didn't like the vast majority of them, but there were a couple that were OK and one that was genuinely very good.  But my dude from Buffalo, do not send me any more tapes.  I'm not doing something like this again.

Utah Jazz - In Retrograde - Tetryon Tapes (2020)
This is loud, snotty garage rock.  Lots of yelling, not much singing.  The drummer is pretty solid and some of the guitar work is interesting, but the vocals just kill it for me.  They have at least two singers that I can identify and both yell a lot.  Not my scene.

Futuro - Os Segredos Do Espaço e Tempo - Tetryon Tapes (2020)
As far as the music goes, I don't mind this at all.  This band is from São Paulo, Brazil and they have gone after a kind of melodic punk that reminds me a little bit of The Estranged.  They've got good riffs, great drumming and the recording quality is strong, aside from the vocals.  Lots of weird echo that I don't think adds to things and in a comment likely to repeat itself a lot today, more yelling than I like.  I might just not be very punk rock.

Richard Hamilton - My Perfect World  - Tetryon Tapes (2020)
Hey, singing!  This is pretty nice in a Cars sort of way with some 50s pop thrown in for good measure.  The vocals are a little bit Warm Soda, with a hushed, almost whispered delivery at times, but these are really solid pop songs for the most part.  Pretty decent.

Ciggie & The Darts - Liquor, Leather, Denim & Darts - Tetryon Tapes (2020)
More garage rock style tunes.  The songs are solid and even kind of catchy at times.  There are parts that remind me of Supersuckers aside from the vocals, which are pretty bad.  I don't know why, but I can only picture them coming out of an animated anthropomorphic cartoon animal that's the comic relief part of a crew helping to fight crime or solve mysteries or something like that.

Cage Kicker -  Parasitic Future - Tetryon Tapes (2020)
OK, this is hardcore.  Very fast, very loud, completely unintelligible screamed vocals.  I have never liked this sort of thing and can't tell the difference between good hardcore and bad hardcore.

Erik Nervous - Bugs​!​! - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
This one is all over the place.  There's some hardcore, some garage, some synth-pop and some Ween style weirdness.  I give Erik Nervous credit for being able to genre hop and pull off each of them pretty well, but I can't say I liked listening to any of it all that much.  It's weird, but I'm not sure it's weird in an interesting way or weird in a what the hell is going on sort of way.

Baby Tyler - Vol. 2 - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
More yelling.  This time over muted, robotic sounding guitars that have some sort of weird effects or compression on them.  I can't tell of the drums are drum machines or real drums.  They don't sound precise enough to be a drum machine, but the tone (do drums have tone? I don't know what to call it) sounds all metallic and odd.  I don't like this.

Flea Collar - A Hole is A Hole - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
This sounds like a high school hardcore band who can't quite play fast enough to really get the hardcore sound they want so they're kind of more like a sleaze punk band.  Sounds like it was recorded on a boom box.  Next.

Evinspragg - Precognitive Dreams - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
This is another one of those one person band sort of things.  Eric Mayer is credited with guitar, bass, drums, synth, vocals, engineering and photography.  I'm not sure which of those things is really his forte, but the songs are mainly weird synth driven things that are probably trying to sound a little bit like Devo or something kind of like that, but they're much darker and no fun at all.

Lotus Cookie Recipe - Cook Book - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
This whole tape only has three songs and is three minutes long. They are an instrumental band playing a sort of sludgy metal sort of thing maybe?  The guitars sound like the second half of the Beck song "Asskizz Powergrudge (Payback! '94)."  I don't know how to write about something so short with so little going on.  This seems like too little music to warrant the plastic needed for a tape release.

Danny's Favorites - There Still Punk - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
This one is pretty fun. It's got a bit of a power pop vibe to it (though kind of rough around the edges), there's a little surf influence and most importantly there's hooks!  Actual catchy choruses.  I don't love this, but it's a breath of fresh air after the last few tapes.  I would even go so far as to say maybe give this one a quick listen if you're checking out the Richard Hamilton record.

Spike Pit - 2 Heavy Metal 4 Punk - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
Judge this book by its cover.

The Shine - The Shine - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
OK, this one is flat out great.  If these guys put out another tape, I'm totally fine with it being sent to me.  This is 50s/60s style guitar pop.  Lots of energy, great hooks, solid vocal harmonies.  If the recording was a little bit better, I would think anyone that likes bands like The Resonars would be totally into this.  Legitimately a very fun tape.

Richard Hamilton - Kiss Touch 2000 - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
I'm writing about these in chronological orders starting with the oldest tape on the Tetryon Bandcamp page.  So that's why this one isn't next to the first Richard Hamilton tape.  Kind of more of the same.  Totally fine solo/band sort of stuff.  Still has that Cars vibe a bit, though in general maybe a little more mellow.  It's totally fine.

Richard Hamilton - Memory Palace - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
OK, this is probably too much Richard Hamilton for me at this point.  Had I heard them a little more spaced out, maybe it wouldn't seem like overkill, but at this point I'm ready to move on.  This one feels a little more lo-fi than the others for whatever reason.  More like 90s four-track tape label stuff.  Again, not bad, but I don't need three tapes by this guy.

Thee Hearses -  EP II - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
This is weird robot synth.  It's fast and not boring, so that's good.  There's also a sci fi vibe that is interesting, but it ultimately ends up feeling like some band in an 80s movie that ends up getting eaten by a monster later in the film.

Woodstock '99 -  Woodstock '99 - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
I'm not sure what I expected from a band called Woodstock '99 where the tape cover is a picture of Fred Durst skateboarding.  But I definitely didn't expect to like it.  Run of the mill hardcore here.  Recording quality is better than most, but as I've said many times, I don't know how to judge hardcore.  Maybe this is great, maybe it's terrible.  My brain can't process it as anything other than noise.  I would say it makes me feel old, but I felt the same way in the 90s.

Found Drowned - Not Bad! - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
This is instrumental surf music.  Much like I just said about hardcore, I can't really tell if something is good surf music or bad surf music (unless someone is super obviously ultra-talented or particularly bad).  But unlike hardcore, I pretty much always like surf music.  It's easy to listen to, great for background music and essentially never makes me angry.  This is a discography tape, so there's really a bit too much on here to digest in one listen, even if the songs are all quite short, but in pieces it's a fun listen.

Spit Kink - Get It - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
My brain keeps reading the band name as Spin Kick instead of Spit Kink.  I think Spin Kick is a better name.  This is some electroclash stuff like I would have been annoyed by in the early 2000s.  It's noisy and full of synth and repetitive drum beats with fuzzed out robot vocals.  Not for me.

Space Danish & The Sewer Diamonds - Six Dungeons - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
I have no idea what this is supposed to be.  It's really slow, electronic, synth stuff that at times feels like a low budget sci fi soundtrack and at others a soundtrack for an 80s video game that was rejected for being too creepy.  There are vocals, but I don't know what they are saying.  They're more like spoken word, but have an odd gruffness to them.  Baffled by this one.

Werewolf Jones -  Terminal Velocity - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
I've actually written about this band before as Big Neck sent me a live tape of theirs a few months ago.  I didn't love it then and I don't love this one now.  It's that same thing where the vocals just have no melody to them.  It just sounds like yelling to me.  The guitar riffs are dark and sludgy and while that may appeal to some, it doesn't really to me.

C​-​Krit - C​-​Krit - Tetryon Tapes (2022)
On the Bandcamp page it says "C-Krit is ???"  I couldn't agree more.  Lots of feedback.  Fast songs. Screaming vocals.  The sort of band that would start playing at a VFW hall and then you have the sudden urge to go find a soda machine or run to the car or take up smoking or whatever you can think of to go to another room for a bit.

No Fix - Neon Dreamz - Tetryon Tapes (2022)
The tape cover made me think it was going to be hardcore, but it's actually more in the garage rock world.  The vocals are a little snottier than I personally prefer, but the band is tight, the songs are constructed well and it's really not bad at all.

Touchhole - Touchhole demo - Tetryon Tapes (2022)
This is more experimental and noisy.  It's mostly drums and distorted vocals.  I'm sure there are people out there that dig this style, but it's not the sort of thing that really makes any sense to me.

Spooky Visions - Spooky Visions - Tetryon Tapes (2022)
I like the artwork on this a lot, so I was hopeful it would be spooky surf music or something like that.  This is more like Stranger Things sounding synth with electronically altered vocals speaking some sort of weird robot poetry.  Synth is a dirty word for me, so I'm probably not the real demographic for this.  Other's milage may vary.

Eyes and Flys -  Manic AM - Tetryon Tapes (2022)
High energy guitar riffage with totally blown out vocals.  More on the garage spectrum than anything else I can really compare it to.  They're playing fast and energetic without bleeding into hardcore, so I'll never knock that.  But it's the vocals that just don't do it for me.  Too much echo/feedback on them to really hear what's going on.

Nervous Tick and The Zipper Lips - Something's Gotta Bleed - Kafadan Kontak (2020)
I almost stopped after that last tape as it was the last one on the Tetryon Bandcamp page, but I decided to try to finish things up and tackle the rest of the tapes as well.  I've gone this far.  This one is fine I guess?  It's not overly yell-y or synthy.  The guitars have a nice sort of churning propulsion to them, but it's just not really the sort of thing I'm interested in.  I'm just the type that needs more of a hook.

Nervous Tick and The Zipper Lips & Ricky Hell - The Covid Collaborations: vol. II - Self Released (2020)
I was sent three of these Covid Collaborations tapes.  Volumes II, III & IV.  Not Volume I for some reason, but that's OK.  To quote the Bandcamp page so I don't have to find a way to rewrite this three times: "Each volume will feature Nervous Tick and The Zipper Lips and another recording artist. Both parties will record an original song, a cover of a song by the other party, as well as a song musically to have the other party finish with vocals and whatever else is needed."  So that's what we're getting into here.  The Nervous Tick songs sound like the stuff on their other tape.  It's solid musically, but not something that really appeals to me.  Ricky Hell is more synth that I don't find particularly exciting, but it's also not really bad.  The combo songs where they are singing over each others music is an interesting concept and the one with Ricky singing over the Nervous Tick music is probably the best song on here.

Nervous Tick and The Zipper Lips & Obsoletism - The Covid Collaborations: vol. III - Self Released (2021)
Here's volume II, this time with Obsoletism.  The Nervous Tick songs are more interesting to me this time out as they are a little catchier, but the vocals are still tough for me.  If they were a little smoother, I'd probably be more into it.  The Obsoletism songs are nice and catchy.  A little garage-y and little power poppy.  The vocals have something of a snarl to them, but it's not off putting the way some snotty punk singers come off.  For the combo songs the best one again is the one with the Nervous Ticks music and the Obsoletism singing.

Nervous Tick and The Zipper Lips & Eyes and Flys - The Covid Collaborations: vol. IV - Self Released (2022)
This is probably the least interesting of these Covid Collaborations.  I'm kind of at a loss on what to say at this point.  The Nervous Tick songs are pretty much the same as the others I've heard, but "Dulce Fulnente" decides to add in this excruciating high pitched noise during what I think is the chorus.  Pretty rough.  Since I didn't like the vocals on the Eyes and Flys tape, I wasn't surprised I didn't really like them on this collab tape either.  Again, this is just not my scene.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Pollen - Crescent LP - Green Vinyl (/300)


Double Helix (2022, Reissue)

Is it shocking that I'm reviewing another old record that's gotten a reissue?  Probably not.  Is it surprising that said reissue is of the relatively obscure, second album by Pollen?  Well it is to me even if it's not for you.  I was really excited when Peach Tree got reissued last year, but even for that one I was surprised that it was finally coming out on vinyl.  That Crescent now exists and is sitting in my record room right now is blowing my mind in the best possible way.

This album was originally released on CD only back in 1995.  It came out on Grass records and went out of print and became very difficult to find, particularly in the pre-Discogs era along with their debut album Bluette.  I'm not going to say anything obnoxious like no one has heard this record, but the amount of people that have heard is probably substantially lower than the two Pollen albums that followed.

But this is a great record, every bit as catchy and well written as Peach Tree.  Lots of catchy hooks and crunchy guitar riffs.  The production isn't quite as polished as Peach Tree, but in some ways I think that's a benefit as it's a little rougher around the edges in a way that I prefer.  Though the reissue is remastered and everything sounds way cleaner than it ever had before.  I'm just incredibly excited that this came out.  They've also released their fourth album Chip, and I have that here waiting in the wings.  I hope they get to Bluette as I would love to have all four of these guys on vinyl.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Zhigge - Zhigge LP


Polydor (1992)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

Zhigge is another group that I certainly don't remember by name from the early 90s.  This, their only full length, came out in 1992 which was absolutely a time where I was paying quite a bit of attention to everything that was happening on Yo! MTV Raps.  and while I do not remember this group or any of their videos, I can't shake a weird familiarity with the song "Rakin' in the Dough."  While I can't remember it specifically, it's definitely got a chorus that sticks in a way where I'm positive I must have heard it before.

Based on that, there's a pretty decent chance I heard Zhigge in the 90s, but forgot about them.  Likely because I never bought anything by them, so they were likely just heard in passing.  I am more than happy to play catch up now.  While I'd never say that Zhigge is a can't miss, must hear, essential hip hop record of the 90s, it's still a pretty fun listen.  The production is very strong and reminds me of the first UMCs record in the way that it's upbeat and fun, but still hits pretty hard.

Lyrically, the group has several unique MCs and while I can't put them on the same level as The Pharcyde, I find definite similarities in the two group's dynamics.  The way they pass the mic back and forth to each other and compliment the style of the others is really interesting to hear.  They've got dense and pretty complex lyrical structures and they pull it off pretty flawlessly each time.  This is another group that I'm happy to have stumbled on as it's essentially a new record to me, but one completely steeped in the hip hop era that I love so much.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Sewer Trout - Meet The Sewer Trout LP - Green Vinyl (/100)


Dead Broke / Lavasocks (2022)

I'm definitely reaching that age where I tend to be more excited about old music than new music.  I assume it happens to everyone and if nothing else, I think I held out longer than most.  Not that I'm giving up on new music or anything, it's just that the older hits are the ones that I tend to be most interested in, at least lately.  Enter an old band; Sewer Trout.

They put out releases on Lookout and Very Small and were very much of that era that spawned so many great bands.  However, Sewer Trout wasn't really ever on my radar.  When I started getting into punk rock, they weren't around anymore.  They were from an earlier era (Four years earlier felt like an eternity back then, though that's blink and you miss it time for me now) that I had to play catch up on.  But they weren't quite as noteworthy as say a Crimpshrine or Operation Ivy, so I never got around to them for whatever reason.

With Dead Broke and Lavasocks releasing a discography LP of Sewer Trout material, it felt like the right time to finally play catch up.  The vast majority of these songs are ones I had never heard before aside from those that were on the Turn It Around and Floyd comps.  How do these songs sound for the first time in 2022? Old.  Honesty, they sound really old.

I would never say these are bad songs, but they are absolutely of a past era and sound like it.  Without much in the way of nostalgia holding me to these songs since I didn't listen to them when they were more current, I can't say they really connect with me very much hearing them for the first time today.  Although lyrically they've aged pretty well (or pretty poorly, depending on how annoyed you are with the world), as many of the political and societal criticisms they're singing about are still pretty valid all this time later.  

The songs themselves feel kind of simple and the sound is a little bit thin. Which makes sense.  This stuff was mostly recorded and released in the 80s on a punk budget.  They're not going to sound like fancy records, but they also haven't really aged in a way that makes them stand out to me thirty something years after they were recorded.  Again, nothing on this record is bad.  I like what the band was going for and I think the songs probably sound as good as they possibly could on this LP considering the source material.  I just can't see myself listening to it much when there are tons of other bands from this era that I already have a multiple decade connection with.  Like so many, I'm a prisoner of nostalgia.

Sewer Trout - Meet The Sewer Trout:

Friday, August 12, 2022

The Get Up Kids - Eudora 2xLP - Mint Vinyl (/600)


Vagrant / Heroes & Villains (2016, Reissue)

When I wrote about the Get Up Kids Woodson/Red Letter Day 12" a few weeks ago, I had mentioned that my favorite GUK songs were the ones on the various 7"s that came out before and immediately after their first full length.  That's the main reason that I finally decided to pick up this LP.  I've had the CD since it first came out and the songs on the original 7"s were certainly on quite a few mix tapes in the late 90s, but I didn't have the vinyl.  When I saw the 2016 version pop up unexpectedly on the vagrant site for twenty bucks, I grabbed it.  Seems weird that some were kicking around all these years later if they were limited to 600 copies, it is what it is, I guess.

Now, I do wish the Woodson songs were on this.  It would make life a lot easier and would pretty much dump all of my favorite Get Up Kids songs on one release, but I figure Doghouse didn't want to give up the rights to their cash cow.  It would have been easy to make room by ditching a few of the EIGHT cover songs polluting this release.  There are way too many bad cover songs on here.  "Suffragette City" is OK, "Alec Eiffel" is good and "Burned Bridges" is pretty great (mostly because of how absurd the lyrics are), but the rest of them could have been jettisoned into the sun and the record would be better for it.

The highlights for me on here are the two songs from the first GUK 7" ("Shorty" in particular was always a favorite), the two songs from the Sub Pop 7" and the band's very best song, "I'm A Loner Dottie, A Rebel."  This version of "Loner" is the one from their split 7" with Braid and is approximately a hundred thousand times better than the one that ended up on their second LP.

Normally, I'm very much in favor of having songs run chronologically when put on a singles comp.  I always find it weird when bands decide to make the track list out of order.  But, the one saving grace about how they organized the songs on this record is that just about every song I really want to listen to is on LP two.  So I can avoid a bunch of the crappy covers and some of the later 7" songs that didn't hit as hard for me.  This is a bloated record for sure, but the hits are still pretty great all these years later.

The Get Up Kids - Eudora:

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Maestro Fresh-Wes - 'Naaah, Dis kid Can't Be From Canada?!!' LP


Attic/LMR (1993)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

I was digging online and came across one of those 'most overlooked records of the 90s' lists and Maestro Fresh-Wes was on it.  I can't actually remember if it was this specific record or not, but as 'Naaah, Dis kid Can't Be From Canada?!!' came out in 1993, I decided that was the one to listen to.  Well, I listened to it and really, really dug it, so the quest was on to hunt down the vinyl.  I watched out for a copy for well over a year before one finally popped up at a reasonable price.  

I grabbed it, got it home and went to clean it.  I then dropped the cleaning brush thing on the record and scratched it.  Now there's a 30 second period on the first track where there's a pretty loud recurring pop.  Supremely aggravated at myself for doing that, but it's not a big enough deal to try to hunt for another copy of this record.  Not that it wouldn't be worth it, this is really an overlooked gem of a record.

With production handled by Maestro and Showbiz from Showbiz & AG, the beats on this record are pretty incredible.  It has that classic Diggin' In The Crates vibe with excellent, rumbling bass and that snare drum crack that I find to be a mandatory ingredient in hip hop.  Lyrically, Maestro Fresh-Wes has a strong flow.  I wouldn't rank him as a super elite MC of the era (1993 had some pretty insane records that came out at the time), but he's very good and his lyrics can hang with the excellent production.

I expect this one is probably way under the radar for a lot of people.  I sure had no idea it existed back in 1993.  But I'm glad I dug around and found out about it as 'Naaah, Dis kid Can't Be From Canada?!!' can go toe to toe with the best of early 90s hip hop.

Maestro Fresh-Wes - 'Naaah, Dis kid Can't Be From Canada?!!':

Monday, August 8, 2022

Snuff - Crepuscolo Dorato Della Bruschetta Borsetta Calzetta Cacchetta Trombetta Lambretta Giallo Ossido, Ooooooh Cosi Magnifico! LP - Green Vinyl (/100)


10 Past 12 / SBÄM (2022)

Along with Rocket From The Crypt and Leatherface, Snuff always ranks as one of my top three favorite bands of all time.  They've put out so many wonderful records over the years and are responsible for some of the greatest songs I have ever heard.  Here we are in 2022 and Snuff is still cranking out records.  Crepuscolo (That's what I'm calling the record in the body of this, I am not typing that insane title more than absolutely necessary) could be anywhere between their ninth and sixteenth full like album, depending on how you want to count a few really long EPs and a live album, but the point I'm trying to make here is that they've got a lot of records.  Crespuscolo fits in nicely with the rest.

If I'm going to make a comparison to earlier records, I feel like this one seems to fit pretty snugly next to Tweet Tweey My Lovely as far as an overall vibe goes.  There's some spectacular pop songs like "Green Glass Chippins" and Lemon Curd."  We've got a 'Nick' style song in "Hard Times."  And there's a few of the really fast shouty ones that aren't usually my favorites, but you can't really have a Snuff album without one or two of them at this point.

This version is on green vinyl, with 100 copies made available on Snuff's website.  There are several other colors out there and I've got some en route, while others I'm still trying to figure out the best way to get my hands on.  But I figures, I'll start with this one and then later on I can take a full family photo when I track down the rest.

While I can't say that I'll probably ever love a new Snuff record as much as I love older ones like Reach or Demmamussabebonk, those records have an unfair amount of nostalgia built into them.  It's hard to match up with albums you've been living with for over twenty five years.  But if you look at Crespuscolo on its own merits and listen to it without trying to make it be a 90s record, you'll find that this is a band still firing on all cylinders and is putting out records that I'm exceedingly happy to purchase. 

Snuff - Crepuscolo Dorato Della Bruschetta Borsetta Calzetta Cacchetta Trombetta Lambretta Giallo Ossido, Ooooooh Cosi Magnifico!:

Friday, August 5, 2022

Plow United - Human 2000 Lathe Cut 7" (/50)


Jump Start (2013)

Plow United were pretty much the best band and the kings of what I consider my local scene in the 90s.  Even though I was in northern New Jersey and Plow was from West Chester, Pennsylvania, whenever they came up by us and played shows, they were always something very special.  While I don't think everyone up here thought of Plow as one of the local bands, they always felt that way to me.

This record came out in 2013 as part of that year's Record Store Day, though I wouldn't imagine it was officially part of it.  Rogue RSD records out there.  There were 50 of these made and it's a lathe cut 7".  The four songs on here are all also on the 2013 Plow United full length, Marching Band.  It's a great record and these are great songs, but I can't say I really understand the point of releasing it.

I have these four songs already and the sound quality of a lathe cut is nowhere near that of a normal record.  It's kind of just a limited tchotchke for collector nerds like me to stress out over.  In fact, this was the one Plow record that had been eluding me for years now.  I was excited to see it finally pop up on Discogs a few weeks back and I'm happy to have it, though I cannot imagine why I would ever play it again.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Public Enemy - Greatest Misses 2xLP


Def Jam (1992)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

This album came out at the very height of my obsession with Public Enemy.  After buying Apocalypse '91 at the K-mart by my dad's house, I was pretty convinced PE could do no wrong.  After I picked up Greatest Misses, I figured that I was wrong.  I think this record might have been my first experience with a band I loved putting out a record that didn't connect with me.  At the very least, it's the first one that I can remember.

I was really angry about this one at the time.  I wrote a review of it in my high school newspaper and while I don't really remember what I said, I'm pretty sure it was quite negative.  And that was the last Public Enemy record I ever bought.  I didn't hear 1994's Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age until many, many years later.  Listening to the record today, I'm not sure what turned me off so strongly.

Is it as good as any of the four Public Enemy records that came out before it?  No, not even close.  It's a distant fifth place, but it's not really that bad.  It's a weak Public Enemy record, but it's still a reasonably solid hip hop record overall.  Sure, "Get Off MyBack" is pretty bad, but "Hazy Shade of Criminal" is kind of great and I don't think would have been out of place on Apocalypse '91.  

The rest of the of the new songs (six in total) are fine for the most part.  Solid beats and great rhyming by Chuck D.  The other six songs are remixes.  Half are just fine, half are OK.  Nothing unmissable, but certainly nothing worth getting angry over in 1992.  The big miss is not including the Pete Rock remix of "Shut 'Em Down."  It's not on the vinyl version at all and on the CD there's just a live version of it that's pretty questionable, sound quality-wise.  Had they included that, I think it would have beefed up an album that isn't exactly essential is still a pretty fun listen.

Public Enemy - Greatest Misses:

Monday, August 1, 2022

Boat - No Plans to Stick the Landing LP - Clear Vinyl


Magic Marker (2022)

I have been a huge fan of Boat since their 2010 album, Dress Like Your Idols.  Since then I've bought every album and vinyl reissue of their older records.  Each and every time I'm so happy that there's a band out there still carrying the torch of the kind of 90s-style indie rock that I adore so much.  

Any Boat record is going to be a pretty great record, especially when compared to the other bands that even bother to play indie rock these days.  They're always got that wonderful guitar jangle and Pavement-esque irreverence.  Though if you compare this to other Boat records, it's very good, but not my favorite of theirs.

I think part of that is the way it was recorded.  From reading, it seems that this was a true pandemic album where the band members where not in the same place together at the same time.  I think that hurts the energy a little bit,  I won't go so far as to say that some of the songs sound clinical, but they don't seem quite as vibrant as prior albums.  There's also something going on with the vocals that I can't quite figure out.  They sound a little static-y and blown out here and there, but it's not always clear if this was a technology issue or an aesthetic choice.  It's not on every song, but it does make things feel a little off at times.

That probably makes it seem like I don't like this record, but that's not the case at all.  These are great songs done by a great band and is definitely one of the better albums I've heard this year.  I just have such high expectations for Boat and there are a few moments where something just sounds a little off in a way I'm not able to easily articulate.  But again, for the most part, this is a very fun listen.

Boat - No Plans to Stick the Landing:

Friday, July 29, 2022

Lawsuit Models - Unknown Ghosts LP


Motorcycle Potluck / Snappy Little Numbers (2022)

Anyone in need of a bright and shiny pop punk record to help jolt you out of the doldrums of day-to-day life?  I'm always looking for something like that and Lawsuit Models deliver that with gusto.  Unknown Ghosts is their second full length album, following up 2018's excellent Off The Pavement LP.  I really dug that album, but this new one hits me even harder.

When I wrote about Lawsuit Models in 2018, I compared them to a Peach Tree era Pollen.  For this new one, I can still hear that a little bit, but the band that more immediately comes to mind this time out is The Stereo.  In particular the way The Stereo sounded on their first album, Three Hundred.  It's got the big, crunchy guitars for sure, but the vocal melodies are what really take it over the top for me.  Just listen to the way they sing "co-o-o-matose" on the album's second song and then try to convince me it won't be stuck in your head for the next six months.

The whole album is full of hooks and melodies like that.  Super catchy stuff, with just the absolute tiniest hint of a Tom Petty-esque twang hear and there.  Ands that's not a complaint or a detriment.  That's very much a selling point as it adds a slightly rough-around-the-edges authenticity to things, even though the production on the record is somewhat slick overall.  In summary: this a great, fun, upbeat, catchy, energetic record.  The raised the bar from their debut and have easily claimed a spot in my list of best records of 2022 so far. 

Lawsuit Models - Unknown Ghosts:

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Gang Starr - No More Mr. Nice Guy 2xLP - Red & White Swirl Vinyl


Vinyl Me Please (2022, Reissue)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

I've dipped my toe into the Vinyl Me Please subscription club every so often.  Usually as a one off to pick up a hip hop record they're reissuing that's difficult to get otherwise.  I think that their records are a little overpriced, but it's hard to argue the care and detail they put into each one.  Aside from a slightly dodgy copy of the first Wu Tang Clan album, everything I've gotten from them has looked great and sounded even better. 

The first Gang Starr album recently reissued on VMP is no exception.  It's an excellent package with the main album sounding great and an entire additional LP filled with extras, mostly from singles from that Gang Starr era on Wild Pitch records.  While I could never say that No More Mr. Nice Guy is the best Gang Starr album considering the absolute classics they were about to unleash over the next couple of years, it's still a strong record.  Especially when you put it next to other albums that were coming out in 1989, it's still quite forward thinking - though maybe not as ahead of its time as say a Public Enemy or Ultramagnetic MCs.

The production isn't what DJ Premier became known for.  It's generally faster and more upbeat, with some of the breaks and sounds that you'd kind of expect to hear on a lot of hip hop records that came out before 1990.  There's a definite sound in the late 80s that took a couple of years to blossom into the full flavored production more associated with the early 90s, but that's not taking a shot at this Gang Starr record.  It's just how things were at the time.

Guru is not quite as laid back as the style he'd eventually gain his notoriety for.  To keep up with the beats he's going a little faster than the groove he'd settle into, but he still has the lyrics and the smooth vocals.  In some ways this album is like a time capsule, or maybe a blueprint for what Gang Starr would eventually become.  It's in no way as good as the next few albums that followed, but it's also still a very good album and if it was the only record they ever released, it would still be one I'd want in the collection.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Pinhead Gunpowder - Goodbye Ellston Avenue - Black/Blue Split Vinyl


1234-Go! (2022, Reissue)

Like so many records in the bin next to me, this one has been sitting around for a little longer than I would have liked.  While it did come out this year, I still feel like I could have gotten to writing about it a little bit sooner.  

Throughout the 1234 Go! reissue campaign, I have expressed my affection for Pinhead Gunpowder and Goodbye Ellston Avenue is no exception.  This one came out when I was in college and is probably the first Pinhead Gunpowder album I ever wrote about as I was writing at my college newspaper at the time.  This is also another one that I have the firat pressing of, so I really only bought this for the colored vinyl/remastering/keeping the reissue collection going thing.

I know that a lot of people weren't as in to the later couple of Pinhead Gunpowder records.  It's the first two or bust for many, but I've always been really into their entire catalog and I think this album is still great.  The songs are really short, for the must part, but they sure do cram in a mountain of hooks during the album's twenty-four minutes.  

There's more than a few highlights, but "Train Station" has always been one of my very favorite songs by the band. with it's building verse over chugging guitar riffs and its sing along chorus, it's one of the poppier moments in the band's catalog and a song that I just can never get enough of.  Everything looks and sounds great and as we get closer to the end of the Pinhead Gunpowder reissue campaign, I'm really pleased with how well these have all been coming out.  One more full length to go.

Pinhead Gunpowder - Goodbye Ellston Avenue:

Monday, July 18, 2022

1000 Travels of Jawaharlal / Minority Blues Band - Split LP - Green Vinyl


Bloated Kat/Imomushi (2021, Reissue)

OK, I sat on this one way too long and at this time it's come out almost a year ago.  Shame on me as this is such an incredibly great record.   Originally, this split came out in 2000 on Imomushi records in Japan on CD.  A friend of mine who I was trading records with picked me up a copy as he was pretty confident that I would like both bands, given my undying love for the Snuffy Smile sound at the time.  It was the first time I heard Minority Blues Band and 1000 Travels of Jawaharlal and I was pretty blown away by both.

Of the two, Minority Blues Band are probably the more well known by folks outside of Japan.  After this split they ended up doing two full lengths on Snuffy Smile along with some of the obligatory split 7"s that were so wonderful at the time.  Those splits include two (yes two) different split 7"s with J Church.  J Church is renown for the insane number of 7"s and split 7"s they released, but I'm pretty sure Minority Blues Band is the only band they did two different releases with.  

And their songs on this split LP sound just as amazing as they did the first time I heard them.  A fast, aggressive guitar sound that I typically associate with the sort of thing that Manifesto Jukebox was doing at the time (convenient, as they also did a split with MBB).  But, the big difference for me is Minority Blues Band's uncanny ability to cram the catchiest damn hooks into the middle of their guitar chaos.  Manifesto Jukebox is no where near as catchy and yet Minority Blues Band loses no energy at all in their quest to pull off an extremely memorable hook.

1000 Travels of Jawaharlal are probably not remembered as well from outside of Japan.  They never had that Snuffy Smile release and only put out one other full length.  I have that on CD but I just found out today that there was a vinyl version of that.  Going to have to hunt that one down.  1000 Travels of Jawaharlal has a similar sound to Minority Blues Band.  A similarly aggressive guitar attack along with the ability to keep their choruses pretty catchy as well.  The vocals are a little angrier and remind me a little bit of Screaming Fat Rat at times.

Another place that 1000 Travels of Jawaharlal differs is with the drumming and time signatures. There's some debt to math rock and late 90s emo being paid hear, but at approximately three times the speed of anything you are probably picturing in your head.  They are another one of those supremely great Japanese bands that I wish more people knew about.  But lucky you, here's your chance.  Not only is this release back and not only is it finally on vinyl, but it's been released by a label in the US.  There's no excuse not to go buy it immediately.

1000 Travels of Jawaharlal / Minority Blues Band - Split LP:

Friday, July 15, 2022

Gentlemen Rogues - A History of Fatalism LP - Red Vinyl


Snappy Little Numbers / Rocket Heart (2022)

I can't write about Gentlemen Rogues without mentioning how much I loved the band Jill back in the 90s, as they share members and you'll probably hear me say things like they sound like a grown up Jill, which makes sense if you think about it.  Another thing I do when writing about Gentlemen Rogues is double check every mention of their name to try to make sure I didn't write Gentleman Rogues by mistake.  Which I do almost every single time.

This LP is made up of ten of the twelve tracks from two previously released EPs.  The CD only A History So Repeating and the digital only Fatal music.  I assume the two tracks that were left off were done so due to space constraints on the vinyl, but you do get them as part of the digital download.

These are all great songs.  Upbeat and catchy.  Tons of melody and catchy choruses.  A little slower than what I'd typically call pop punk, but punky enough to where there's still just the right amount of energy and enthusiasm coming through.  Every time I hear Gentlemen Rogues, I like them more and more and am eagerly waiting for their first official full length, which I understand they are working on now.  Sign me up.

Oh, and while I have a captive audience, I'd like to say to Danny and Chuck, would you two please talk about putting out a physical version of a Jill discography.  It should be vinyl, but at the very least throw a CD together or something will you?  The people need it. The people demand it. Make it happen!

Gentlemen Rogues - A History of Fatalism

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Leaders Of The New School – T.I.M.E. (The Inner Mind's Eye) 2xLP


Elektra (1993)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

I've been watching old episodes on Yo! MTV Raps on Paramount+ quite a bit lately.  It's such a great feeling seeing so many of those episodes again, though I definitely wish they weren't missing as much footage as they obviously are.  I can definitely say that they played "Me, Myself & I" by De La Soul way too much.  I never liked that song much to begin with, but I'm now at the point where I'm constantly fast forwarding through it as it's on about half of the episodes I've watched.  Another video that is getting a ton of play on these episodes is Leaders of the New School's "International Zone Coaster."  

I don't remember seeing that video much as a kid.  For me, it was "Case of the P.T.A" that caught my attention in the 90s and made me pick up the first Leaders' album.  After "Scenario" hit off of Low End Theory, I was pretty psyched on the second Leaders of the New School record being released.  T.I.M.E. came out in 1993, I immediately bought it, didn't like it and never really listened to it much at all back then.  Eventually, I got rid of the CD during one of my cullings.

But, within the past couple of years I decided to revisit the album to see if I had missed out on anything.  Turns out that I did.  T.I.M.E. is way better than I gave it credit for in high school.  In particular the beats are really great, classic golden era production.  The vocals are very strong and all three MCs stepped up their game and dropped some of the gimmicky things they were doing on their debut.  I can't figure out what I didn't like about this record back in the 90s.  I just remember thinking it wasn't as good as their debut.  

It's still probably not quite as good as A Future Without A Past, though my opinion is surely colored by nostalgia at least a little bit.  But I can say for sure that T.I.M.E. is an excellent record and one that I really wish I hadn't slept on for so many years.

Leaders Of The New School – T.I.M.E. (The Inner Mind's Eye):

Monday, July 11, 2022

Pinhead Gunpowder - At Your Funeral 7" - Yellow/Orange Split Vinyl


1234 Go! (2022)

Another in the Pinhead Gunpowder reissue series.  This one takes the songs from the Dillinger Four split 7" and unsplits them.  Then a few compilation songs were added to the B side making this a Pinhead Gunpowder standalone release.  I actually dig that concept as part of this reissue.  While I do have all of their 7"s already, I have been rebuying them as they look great and most of these reissues do sound better than the original versions, particularly the LPs.

I can't say that I can hear massive improvements in the fidelity of these songs, but I think that's probably because they were released later on in Pinhead Gunpowder's discography and already sounded pretty good to begin with.  In addition to the songs from the original D4 split, they've added an acoustic version of Beastly Bit" and live on the radio versions of "Reach for the Bottle" and "Swan Song."

Pinhead Gunpowder - "AT Your Funeral":

Friday, July 8, 2022

Wannadies - Västerbotten 3xLP


Startracks (2022)

The Wannadies had a several album span from the mid 90s to the early 2000s where they really just hit it out of the park every single time.  You want to talk about the best Weezer or Fountains of Wayne songs?  Chances are there's over a dozen Wannadies songs that are probably much better.  I'm not sure that any band does guitar pop better, especially when they really hit their stride.

But it's been a really long time since The Wannadies were putting out records.  Twenty years, if you want to get specific.  The band recently has gotten back together and is playing some shows.  There's no news of a new album just yet, but they have put together Västerbotten, a compilation of B sides and rarities.  Not to be confused with Skellefteå...also a collection of rarities?

Anyway, Västerbotten is a double LP release.  The third LP in my set is an extra 12" single with four cover songs.  Now, I have a bunch of Wannadies CD singles and 7"s, but listening to this set was a reminder that their non album songs are probably non album songs because they weren't quite as good as the ones on the actual albums.

That's not to say any of these songs are bad.  They're not and in fact many of them are quite excellent.  But my main takeaway is that a lot of the B sides are songs that are much slower and/or mellower than what made the albums.  A bit more introspective.  More acoustic guitar.  Still phenomenal songs, but lacking a little bit of the punch that really makes me connect to an album like Bagsy Me.

The cover songs on the bonus 12" are fun, but I prefer Wannadies originals.  I'm glad I got it, but I don't think people would be missing out on too much if they got the regular double LP, which is good news for you as the version with the bonus 12" is sold out now anyway.  I do appreciate so many of these songs being rescued from CD single purgatory in my collection, though this isn't where I would recommend someone start if they were new to The Wannadies.

Wannadies - Västerbotten:

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Terminator X - & the Valley of the Jeep Beets LP


Rush/Columbia (1991)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

There's fewer and fewer hip hop albums that I had as a teenager on CD that I need to replace with vinyl, but this Terminator X album checks another off the list.  I don't have this CD anymore, it must not have survived one of the many CD purges that I did in the early 2000s trying to survive on a shitty music industry salary.  My buddy Zach actually reminded me of the record again a couple of months ago when he posted a picture of his CD.  This was on my radar, but I put a little more emphasis on tracking it down and now it's here.

It still holds up as a great album I think and in a lot of ways, I like it even more now than I did back in 1991.  I'm pretty positive the reason I bought this CD way back when was because I saw the video for "Buck Whylin'" on Yo! MTV Raps.  With Chuck D and Sista Soulja holding down the vocals, it's essentially a Public Enemy song without Flav.  The production is great and Chuck really turns in a great performance.  Soulja's "We are at war" battle cry also hits unusually hard in 2022.

The rest of the record is also a lot of fun.  The beats are consistently good throughout and a lot of MCs that really never got a chance to shine elsewhere turn in some cool performances.  In particular, I just love the song "Back to the Scene of the Bass" featuring a group called The Interrogators that I was never able to find out anything more about back in the 90s.  And guess what, in 2022, there's really no information about them either.  Kind of weird, but man what a song.

While no one would ever say this is as good as any of the Public Enemy albums of that era, it's a lot of fun and one I recommend picking up if you see the CD in a used bin somewhere.  Terminator apparently did another record in '94 that I was completely unaware of.  I'm going to have to check that out to see if it's anything like this one.

Terminator X - & the Valley of the Jeep Beets:

Friday, July 1, 2022

Leatherface - Cherry Knowle LP (2022 Remaster)


Rad Girlfriend / Little Rocket (2022, Reissue)

Leatherface is one of my top three all time favorite bands and I certainly go out of my way to make sure I have all of their records.  But, if I'm being honest (since obviously I usually do nothing but lie on this site), Cherry Knowle was not the album of theirs that I typically listened to very much.  Don't get me wrong, there's some pretty great songs on here, but when compared to the albums that followed, it's not in the same league.

When this recent reissue was announced, I thought I could pass on it.  Sure, there were limited colored variants, but again, I just don't listen to the album much and already have two versions of it, so what's the point.  Then Kazu from Waterslide records hipped me to the fact that it was remastered and remastered in a way where it actually sounded quite different from the original.  So, I decided to grab a copy - but it was sold out.  Except on Amazon, for whatever reason.  Not really where I would usually want to buy my punk rock records, but you do what you have to do sometimes.

With that, I can say that this remaster really does sound different.  It's fuller, warmer and the melody of these songs really shine through in a way that I don't think they did before.  You can hear more intricacies and tone.  The songs and in particular, the guitars sound much more purposeful and less wall-of-noise-y.  The wall is still there, but you can hear what's going on in it much better now.

Songs like "Postwar Product of a Fat Man's Wallet" and "Discipline" hit much harder on this version, and those were pretty phenomenal songs to begin with.  I think this is definitely worth picking up whether you have the original or not.  If you don't have it at all, well, duh.  You need this.  If you have another pressing, this one is improved enough to warrant a repurchase.

Leatherface - Cherry Knowle:

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Kaotic Style - A Diamond in the Ruff LP


Dope Folks (2018)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

Kaotic Style seemed to have mostly been active in the 1990-1996 era and only really had a few underground singles to their name.  They aren't a group I ever heard about back then as my only exposure to hip hop where I lived was Yo! MTV Raps and The Source.  I'm not going to say it was out of the question that they may have gotten one of their EPs written up in The Source at some point, but I certainly do not remember it.

Dope Folks is one of those great labels that are digging deep to find the forgotten gems of early 90s hip hop.  They've put out some really interesting releases, though I have to say that this Kaotic Style record may be my favorite of the bunch.  The production is really strong with interesting samples, some familiar, some not, but all used in a really cool way.

Lyrically, the two main MCs (Big Grand and Scram) can hang with all but the elite of golden era lyricists.  They're not out of this world wordsmiths, but they are both steady, creative and more than hold their own over the excellent beats they are working with.  

The only thing about this LP that I think is odd is that the song "Intro" is at the beginning of the second side instead of starting off the album.  I assume that's to maintain the integrity of the track order of the EP version of this that originally came out in '94, but it strikes me as being kind of weird from a flow standpoint.  That minor critique aside, this is definitely a record worth checking out if you're looking for new-to-you golden era tunes.

Kaotic Style - A Diamond in the Ruff (This is just the 5 songs from the EP that came out in 94, this LP has 10 songs in total):

Monday, June 27, 2022

Night Court - Nervous Birds Too Cassette


Snappy Little Numbers (2022)

A few weeks ago I wrote about volume one in the Nervous Birds double cassette epic from the band known as Night Court.  That one came out in December and this second tape was just released in May.  I tried to get this one written about a bit more timely than the last one.  But I'm just one guy with two ears and can only consume so much music at a time (which seems to be getting harder and harder each year that I continue to age).

Nervous Birds Too isn't really any different from Nervous Birds One.  And I am one hundred percent, completely fine with that.  In fact, I applaud it, because this is exactly the sort of thing I want to hear more and more of.  Tight, catchy songs with someone rough, lower fidelity production.  It captures all of the energy of the songs but never sacrifices the insane amount of hooks.

Last time I mentioned that this is a group that's straddling catchy garage rock like So Cow or Wavves, but is also putting in a Pavement-y indie rock perspective and I stand by that statement for this tape as well.  This is great stuff, so great that I will now insert my annoying comment that I wish these had also been released on vinyl. Tapes, you know?

Night Court - Nervous Birds Too:

Friday, June 24, 2022

The Muppet Movie Original Soundtrack Recording LP - Green Vinyl


iam8bit (2022, Reissue)

About ten years ago I picked up a copy of this record as part of a trade that didn't quite pan out and wrote about it here.  As I mentioned, the condition of the record wasn't so hot and I had hoped to get a better conditioned copy at some point.  Well, that point is now as iam8bit has reissued the album with new, fancy artwork.  I will admit, the art is a big draw for me on this one.  I think it looks incredible and is exactly to sort of thing that I want to have hanging out on the record shelves.

As nice as the art is, it's the music that has always been the main draw for me.  I have always loved the songs on this album and "Can You Picture That," "Rainbow Connection" and "Movin' Right Along" are just classic, classic songs.  Sure, I could do without "Never Before, Never Again," but it's in the movie and I get it's inclusion, but I will never understand why they also put an instrumental version of the song on again right after the vocal version.  Odd choice and was always something I skipped as a kid.

But this sounds great, it looks great and is one of those cornerstone albums for me from when I was a young kid.  Really, my only complaint is that the record labels aren't the old school red and green Atlantic labels.  The new ones look great, but watching the red and green label spin is one of those endearing memories from when I was a younger fellow.

The Muppet Movie Original Soundtrack Recording: