Thursday, July 19, 2018

Rocket From The Crypt - Bootleg 12"

Untitled

Bootleg (20??)

This bootleg, one sided 12" has been kicking around for a few years, occasionally popping up on Discogs or eBay at a ridiculous price.  I'm not sure where they came from or why someone would be bootlegging anyone, let along Rocket From The Crypt, these days.  But in an effort to keep the collection complete I did pick up a copy when I found one that dropped to a semi reasonable price.

The songs on here haven't ever been released on vinyl before, so that's a plus.  The record starts out with the song "My Silverhead."  This is one of those Rocket tracks with a mysterious pass.  For the longest time, the rumor was that this song was preloaded on some wacky MP3 player that was sold in the burgeoning days of that technology.  I have no proof that this is the case, but the song has been circulating on the dark web ever since.  The version on this 12" sounds way better than the MP3 that I have, so I'm pretty pleased that this is on here.

The next three songs are three of the four extra tracks that came on the expanded Circa Now
+4 reissue that came out on Swami a while ago.  I'm not sure why they left off "Flight of the Hobo," but since that expanded version of Circa Now didn't come out on vinyl, I don't mind having these songs on that format.  But again, why wouldn't you put on all four?  The bizarre choices one makes when illegally releasing records I guess...

The 12" finishes up with two live cover songs.  These seem to be taken from an in store performance.  When Group Sounds came out, Rocket played a few afternoon in stores before their real show later that evening.  They were loose and low key and the one I went to at Tower Records in NYC was a blast.  The two songs here are covers of "Down In The Boondocks" and "Blue Cowboy."  Both are fun and the sound quality is pretty good all things considered.

While I would prefer an official vinyl release for all of these songs, this 12" is still a decent little addition to the Rocket collection.  They made a few odd choices with track selection and the track list on the sleeve itself is totally wrong ("Lambs For Sale" anyone?), but the sound quality of the vinyl is pretty good and the songs are, of course, pretty damn great.


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Crocodile God / The Corpse - Split CD

Untitled

Fixing A Hole (2018)

This CD out on Fixing A Hole in Japan pairs 90s UK punk stalwarts Crocodile God with Japanese newcomers The Corpse.  A split with a UK band on one side and a Japanese band on the other is something that I've loved since I started buying Snuffy Smile 7"s back in the mid 90s.  While the concept of a split CD is still a little weird to me, this release brings me back to the glory days of discovering incredible new bands.

Crocodile God is a band I've been listening to for over twenty years.  Their brand of fast paced and catchy punk rock is one I'll never get sick of.  Though on this release, two of the three songs included are also on their split 7" with Not Tonight & The Headaches.  Both songs are still as good as they were on that 7", but for me at least, they aren't new to this release.  What is new is an acoustic version of their song "Ladders."  This has always been my favorite Crocodile God song ever since I picked up the 7" it was on that Crackle put out.  Hearing it in an acoustic context really highlights what a damn perfect vocal melody they came up with for this song.  It's a little slower than the original (which is typically the case with acoustic versions of punk rock songs), but it's just as excellent.

The Corpse turned in one of the highlights of the recent Tribute To Broccoli CD with their version of "Chestnut Road."  I'm happy to report that the three original songs on this split are just as great if not better than their Broccoli cover.  All three songs are perfect example of the sort of melodic punk rock I like to listen to.  There are times where they remind me of some of the classic Snuffy Smile bands of the past, but at the same time they elevate their songs with more complex arrangements that remind me a little bit of Summerman, though with the distorion turned way up and the tempo much faster.  In all honesty, these three songs are some of the best I've heard all year.  I really hope The Corpse puts out some more records really soon.

The Corpse - "Continue To Existence":
https://soundcloud.com/thecorpsefromoita/continue-to-existence

Crocodile God - "Spinning" and "Entomoligist Eyes":
https://crocodilegod.bandcamp.com/album/split-with-not-tonight-and-the-headaches

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Character Actor - Out Of Hands 7"

Untitled 

 Dirt Cult (2018)

I recently picked up a batch of new records from Dirt Cult, a label that I implicitly trust with their releases (except those really fast hardcore leaning ones, they're not my bag so much).  There were several highlights, others that I'll be writing about soon, but I wanted to start out with this fantastic 7" from Character Actor.

While the players have previously been in bands like The Ergs, Black Wine and Night Birds, Character Actor have more in common with the sort of fuzzy guitar punk that bands like Fear Of Lipstick or The Creeps have released.  The first three songs all clock in under two minutes long and are quick bursts of punchy guitar and energetic vocals.  There's some great hooks in here and part of me wishes the band wasn't quite so economical with their time.

The final song on the 7", "72 Paperbacks," changes things up a little bit, slowing down the tempo and extending the length of the song.  It still manages to be just as impactful as the prior three with a lower key, but still driving rhythm section and some minimal, but very effective lead guitar riffs.  All in all a great debut, hopefully this isn't the last we hear from these guys.  I would absolutely pick up a full length.

Character Actor - Out Of Hands 7"
https://dirtcultrecords.bandcamp.com/album/character-actor

Monday, July 16, 2018

Abolitionist - The Instant LP - Red Vinyl (/274)

Untitled

1859 Records (2018)

The Instant is the third album by Abolitionist that I've been able to write about on this website.  Over the years I've watched them start out as an exciting band that I hadn't heard of before to a group that I can count on to churn out a pretty strong record every time.

I was a little concerned when the album starts off with the title track as the drumming is in full on gallop mode with the song careening by at a thousand miles an hour.  But this is something of a false start as by the very next song, "Trouble," Abolitionist takes things down a notch and settles into a slightly slower and certainly more melodic pace for a good portion of this album.  In fact I'd venture to say this is probably the album of their's with the least amount of blazing fast songs and I really think they benefit from that. There are plenty of fast, uptempo songs on The Instant, they just don't pass that speed limit where we start venturing into NOFX territory.

Many times throughout the album I'm reminded of Dead Mechanical, primarily in the vocals, but also in the way that the bands construct their songs.  They achieve maximum catchiness, but never sacrifice the underlying angst or pissed-off-ed-ness that are fueling the songs.  All of their albums are solid, but The Instant may be the best of the bunch.

Abolitionist - The Instant:
https://1859records.bandcamp.com/album/abolitionist-the-instant-lp

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Aretha Franklin & The Blues Brothers Band - Think 7" (Australia)

Untitled

Atlantic (1983)

I'm actually just about through all of the Blues Brothers 7"s that I have.  At this point all that is left are a few that are kind of weird and of course the handful that I haven't tracked down yet.  This one is a Blues Brothers 7" although if anything it's kind of like a split 7" with Aretha Franklin.

Aretha gets top billing with her version of "Think" from the Soundtrack of the Blues Brothers movie.  Always a longtime favorite of mine, Aretha's pipes are on full display here as she careens through an incredibly energetic version of the song.  It's one of the most memorable scenes in a movie that has its fair share of memorable scenes.

On the B side is the Blues Brothers version of the theme from "Rawhide."  Again, from an iconic scene in the movie, the whole section from Bob's Country Bunker is one of my very favorites and I've always been partial to the song, even though it's from the soundtrack and is a slightly different and longer version than what is played in the movie.  I think that I like "Rawhide" so much because it is one of the few songs out there that Elwood sings.  And since he's always been my favorite Blues Brother, I've just dug this since I was a little kid.

This is definitely one of the more unique Blues Brothers 7"s I have, it has unique artwork with pictures that miraculously have not been recycled from other releases.  It's even got a funny, fake newspaper clipping show review of the Bob's Country Bunker show by the Good Old Blues Brothers Boys Band from Chicago.  Quality stuff.

Aretha Franklin & The Blues Brothers Band - "Think":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELVZIlv5fbE

The Blues Brothers - "Theme From Rawhide":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Y55zpYfFAE

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Fastbacks - Answer The Phone, Dummy LP

Untitled

Sub Pop (1994)

When I went to the Seattle Pop Punk Festival in January one of the bands that played was K Streets.  A band featuring multiple members of the Fastbacks, playing Fastbacks songs.  For whatever reasons, The Fastbacks were never a band that I had listened to much, if at all, over the years.  They embarrassingly just weren't on my radar and I never bought any of their records.  K Streets, however, blew my goddamn mind and I knew right then I had to go buy every Fastbacks record I could possibly get my hands on.

At the recommendation of my buddy Alan, I've started with their 1994 album Answer The Phone, Dummy.  The dual vocals of Lulu Gargiulo and Kim Warnick coupled with the insane guitar pyrotechnics of Kurt Bloch create a real firestorm of catchy songs that have an unbelievable energy to them.  Guitar solos are not always my favorite things at the best of times, but the way Kurt weaves them into these songs, they never feel like self indulgent wanking, they are always in service to the hook and the song.

There are so many incredible songs throughout this album.  Crazed fast rockers like "Went For a Swim,"slower more introspective ones like "Old Address of the Unknown" and flat out pop masterpieces like “On The Wall” and "I Found The Star."  Every song has something unique to offer but still work in the context of the album as a whole.

Again, it's borderline ridiculous that it took me until 2018 to realize that the Fastbacks are great and that I should be listening to their records.  I'm well over twenty five years behind the curve on this band, but now that I've seen the light my hunt begins to track down the rest of their large and very intimidating discography.  If anyone has a recommendation of the next one to pick up, let me know.

The Fastbacks - "I Found The Star":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50QTl8SYEnA

The Fastbacks - "Trumpets Are Loud":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuArA4BDW3E

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Revolution For Her Smile - A Compilation of Rad Youth CD

Untitled

Road Trip (2017)

This album came out at the very end of last year and Kazu from Waterslide recommended that I check them out as he though they'd be up my alley.  He was absolutely right so I bought this CD when I made my most recent bulk purchase of punk rock from Japan.  Revolution For Her Smile is another amazing band in what seems to be a never ending string of amazing melodic punk rock bands from Japan.

Throughout the ten songs on this album, Revolution For Her Smile turn in some amazing moments.  From the bouncy and upbeat opener "Small Riots" to the more straightforward rocker "Waking Life" to the more subdued, but no less catchy "Three Chord Song" this is a band that knows the value of a high caliber hook.  There are parts of the album that remind me of the equally excellent Summerman, but in general Revolution For Her Smile leans a bit fuzzier with their guitars and a bit louder overall.

I'm not sure what it is, but sometimes I really feel like Japanese bands create the best punk rock in the world.  Revolution For Her Smile is another incredible band in that tradition and I can only hope that A Compilation Of Rad Youth is the first of many fantastic records that they'll put out.

Revolution For Her Smile - A Compilation of Rad Youth:
https://revolutionforhersmile.bandcamp.com/album/a-compilation-of-rad-youth

Monday, July 9, 2018

Raging Nathans / Wonk Unit - Split 7"

Untitled

Drunken Sailor / Rad Girlfriend (2016)

I'm not exactly sure why it took me two years to pick up this 7".  I'm actually not positive that I knew it was out, though that seems weird to me.  Anyway, I grabbed it while looking for something to help qualify for free shipping while grabbing some records from Green Noise.  This split popped up and it fit the bill perfectly.

First up on this split 7" we have Raging Nathans.  A few years ago I wrote about their album Losing It and I definitely enjoyed that.  The two songs on this 7" seem to reflect a somewhat rougher version of the band as they barrel through three chord, pop punk style riffs at blazing speed.  Both songs are short, economical and cram a ton of energy into their brief run times.  "Good For You" is my favorite of the two with it's bouncy, super catchy chorus.  These guys also have a new album out this year called Cheap Fame, but I haven't picked that one up yet.

On the other side of the 7" we have Wonk Unit, a band that I was really late to the party for, but one that I've been trying to make up for lost time with.  "We Came Together" starts thing of with a jangly guitar riff, that feels like something that might be on a deep cut of a Vacant Lot album, but with a slight ska lean to it.  "Candy" showcases Wonk Unit's ability to craft a simple, sparse song that still contains all of the energy of the loudest punk thrasher you can think of.  Their ability to keep things unique, but still cram their songs full of hooks is on full display during both songs.

Raging Nathans / Wonk Unit - Split 7":
https://drunkensailorrecords.bandcamp.com/album/wonk-unit-raging-nathans-split-7
 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

V/A - 14 Soda Punx LP - Red Vinyl

Untitled

Top Drawer (2018)

Reviewing compilations is a pain in the ass.  You have to try to write about a bunch of different bands all playing different songs and it's often difficult to tie everything together in a way that makes any sense.  For that reason, I've been sitting on 14 Soda Punx for a few months.  Even though there's a nice, built in talking point of my trip out to Seattle to see many of these bands play at the Seattle Pop Punk Festival (it was actually reviewing the Four Lights album the other day that spurred my on to finally tackle this one) it's still tough to navigate compilations.

I'm not going to be able to write something about every band, but I'll hit a few.  The album starts off on side A with a band called Sucesss who have a song called "Kurt Bloch."  That was confusing at first.  It's actually a pretty good song, even though the lyrics are kind of silly.  Coyote Bred have a song called "Pile" that's catchy and poppy, with a little bit of a Social Distortion twang to it.  Burn Burn Burn's drummer plays too fast.  I don't really like Choke The Pope, though I did enjoy the song on here more than I expected to.

"Leave You Guessing" by Four Lights starts off the B side and is as good as anything on their recent full length, so that's a highlight.  The Botherations have a great contribution with "Amor Perdido," that kind of has a darker pop punk feel, like the Red Dons.  The Drolls has Denny from Sicko in the band and "Getting Old" is probably my favorite song on the album.  Dude sure can write a hook.  Date Night With Brian has Ean from Sicko and "Get It In" is indie pop fun.  Really dig this song. Dude can sure write a hook.

13 Soda Punx was one of my favorite compilations of the 90s.  It had Sicko, Mr. T Experience, Bum, Stand GT and a slew of other pretty great bands.  14 Soda Punx is a pretty solid sequel.  The highlights for me tend to be some of the bands that sound like they could have been on the first comp, including the bands that have people that were in bands on the first compilation.  But there are plenty of new sounds to discover on this one and really, isn't that the point of compilations?

V/A - 14 Soda Punx:
https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F359264052%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-4t1pd&color=%23444e59&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=false&show_user=false&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=false

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

The Practice - Punk Rock Needs Tragedy 7"

Untitled

Niw (2016)

This was a record I picked up while in Tokyo.  Actually, I mistakenly bought it twice, so I have two copies of it.  This was a Record Store Day 2016 release, so I guess in Japan, like in America, a lot of Record Store Day releases end up being around long past the original release date.

The Practice was a band that put out a few 7"s on Snuffy Smiles many years ago.  I loved those 7"s, but then the band kind of fell off my radar.  I know they put out a few CDs that I never was able to pick up, but those Snuffy Smiles 7"s were pretty much all I have heard.  The four songs on this 7" are, in general, pretty good, but they feel a lot cleaner and not as immediately attention grabbing as those earlier 7"s I have.

The 7" starts off with "Yuck Fou," A song that is big and anthemic and sure does have a lot of swearing in it.  It's the very definition of a fist pumper and even though the guitars are jangly and somewhat in the background of the mix, you can definitely feel the energy. "(Super Dirty) Old Town" has a bouncy bass line and is pretty organ heavy you can hear The Clash for sure, but the chorus reminds me of Snuff a bit.

"Another Measure" is the slowest of the bunch with a borderline reggae style drum beat.  It's not my favorite of the four. "Tragedy" closes the 7" and is my favorite this batch of songs.  With a driving rhythm section and a really catchy chorus, it's the the most straightforward song on the 7" and I think, the best.  While I don't think this 7" as a whole is as good as the other Practice records I have, these are still solid songs that I dig.  I'm not sure I need two copies of it, but I'm happy to hang on to one of them.

The Practice - "Yuck Fou" (I could only find a live version on YouTube):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0YOLYGcCGY

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Four Lights - Kobayashi Maru LP - Blue Vinyl

Untitled

Bomb Pop / Stardumb (2018)

Four Lights hail from Seattle and they actually played at the incredible Seattle Pop Punk Festival that I went to in January.  There were a ton of great bands that played that weekend and it was pretty cool to have this album show up in the mail.  Whatever magic Four Lights had as a live band that weekend has absolutely transferred to this album.  It's a gigantic ball of energy from start to finish.

To my ears, Four Lights has successfully threaded the needle between bands like Samiam and Superdrag.  They have the big, crunchy guitars and pounding energy you'd come to expect from the Samiams of the world.  But, they manage to incorporate the sort of hooks, song structures and harmonies that one might expect from some of those Superdrag level bands that snuck onto some major labels back in the 90s (only to end up in the used CD bins of the world for all eternity).

That isn't to say Four Lights is destined for the used bin.  Quite the contrary, this is an album filled with songs that get absolutely lodged into your cranium.  Whether the band is blasting forward full steam on songs like "ComRAD" and "We Got Em"or when they slow things down as they do on "Scene of the Crime" and "Jimmy's Song Part 2" (which reminds me a ton of the band Hospital Job) they always deliver on a big fat chorus that you'll be humming for days afterwards.  I'd not heard of Four Lights prior to the Seattle Pop Punk Festival, but I'm sure glad I did as Kobayashi Maru is good stuff.

Four Lights - Kobayashi Maru:
https://fourlightsrock.bandcamp.com/album/kobayashi-maru

Monday, July 2, 2018

Kenny Baker - Out of There, Out of Time CD

Untitled

Fixing A Hole (2017)

Going to Japan last year was more than just a great trip, it also stoked the fire I have for the Japanese punk rock scene.  Over the last few years I had been trying to pay more attention to things over there, but since that trip all I want to do is buy more Japanese records.  Luckily, Kazu from Waterslide records has been there to help me find some things I've been looking for and also to recommend some bands that I might have missed on my own.  Kenny Baker was one of his picks for me last year and I am so thankful I listened to him and bought a copy of this CD.

Out of There, Out of Time is practically a perfect melodic punk rock record.  Kenny Baker channels the sort of melodies and hooks that you'd hear from Doughboys or perhaps the more upbeat moments of Senseless Things, but they enchance these hooks with the sort of vigor and energy you'd expect from a band like Samiam or Blew.  Kenny Baker has managed to take some of my favorite sounds of the 90s and put their own stamp on it, creating ten absolutely fantastic songs.

If it's not obvious, I love this album.  I only wish I had gotten it last year when it came out so I could have put it on my list of the best records that came out in 2017.  There's no way Out of There, Out of Time wouldn't have at least been in the top five of the year.  It's one of the best records I've heard in a while.  Now I just have to try to find their other EPs that came out back in the 90s and hope they are already working on a new record.  Seriously, this is the best.

Kenny Baker - "Heavy Moon" (I can't find anything streaming, but Fixing A Hole has an MP3 of this song up):
http://fixingahole.jpn.org/mp3s/kenny_baker-heavy_moon.mp3

Kenny Baker - "I Just Want To Say Something To You" (Also an MP3):
http://fixingahole.jpn.org/mp3s/kenny_baker-something_to_you.mp3

Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Blues Brothers - Who's Making Love 7" (Spain)

Untitled

Atlantic (1981)

This week's Blues Brothers 7" is essentially identical to the one I posted two weeks ago.  It has the same songs and the same recycled picture from the Made In America album cover.  The only real differences are that it's from Spain rather than France and the font that they chose for the title on the front of the sleeve is different.  This time out they opted for a boxier font rather than the bigger more cartoony one of the French version.

I'm still not exactly sure why the American version of this 7" didn't get a picture sleeve, but then again I'm also still trying to wrap my head around why there are so few images available to be used for all of these different releases.  Regardless, it's another fun one for the collection.  I'm definitely getting close to having gone through all of these.  I keep hoping some of the ones I'm missing show up on Discogs pretty soon.  We'll see.

The Blues Brothers - "Who's Making Love":

The Blues Brothers - "Perry Mason Theme":

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Stand Alone - Think Backward CD EP

Untitled

Self Released (2017)

It's always a blast to discover a new band that is wielding their guitars for the forces of good.  Stand Alone are from Japan and like so many other bands from that wonderful country are playing just the kind of rock and roll that my ears wants to hear.

Stand Alone are cut from the same cloth as many of the great Snuffy Smiles bands from the late 90s and early 00s.  There are two singers which gives the band a dynamic vocal range that can go from sounding a bit like Screaming Fat Rat all the way down to a gruffer, more melodic delivery not unlike what you would hear in a band like Shipyards.  Musically there's a mix of big crunchy power chords, energetic octaves and slower, jangling note picking.  

If there's one criticism from me, it's that at four songs (with one an instrumental), this EP is too short.  I want to hear so much more from this band.  I'm pretty blown away by my first time hearing them and can only hope they have more songs like these that I'll get to hear in the future.

Stand Alone - Think Backward:

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Gallery Night - I Want To Die Here 7" - White Vinyl

Untitled

Big Neck (2018)

This little slab of noise comes via Big Neck records.  Gallery Night recorded a bunch of songs and then split them up on 7"s over three labels; Dusty Medical, Tall Pat and Big Neck.  I can't speak for the others, but the three songs on the Big Neck 7" are something.

I'm not use to hearing this sort of thing in 2018.  The sludgy guitars and pounding drums make me thing of 90s institutions like Hammerhead, Karp or the noisier moments of Unwound.  The production in particular is great, with deep, throbbing bass and perfectly mixed vocals that you can hear above the roar, but don't end up being a bunch of unrecognizable screaming.  

While I'm always happy to have more bands that bring back the 90s heyday of varied and intense rock and roll, this 7" just doesn't quite hit me as hard now as it may have if I'd heard it twenty years ago.  That's not to say it's bad or not well done for what it is, it's just not something that I see myself listening to all that often.  If you were a bigger AmRep fan than I was, your milage may vary.

Gallery Night - I Want To Die Here 7":

Monday, June 25, 2018

The Mr. T Experience - Shards Volume One LP - Blue Vinyl (/200)

Untitled

Sounds Rad (2018)

There was definitely a period in the mid 90s where I would have told you without hesitation that the Mr. T Experience was one of the best bands on the planet.  The way they combined essential pop punk hooks with lyrics that were way too smart for me to completely process put them head and shoulders above so many other bands of the era that were mining the same influences.  While I can't say I followed them every step of the way after a certain point, they went on a multi album spree for a while that is an essential part of my record collection.

Shards compiles a bunch of 'lost songs' from a large swath of time that the Mr. T Experience was active.  Most have been released on compilations, singles or hastily added tracks to the CD versions of some of their albums.  For many, this is their first appearance on vinyl.  There are some that have been long time favorites of mine such as the Shonen Knife cover "Flying Jelly Attack," "Semi-OK" and one of several iterations of "God Bless America." 

There also a few that I've never heard including an interesting version of "Sackcloth and Ashes" that is just Dr. Frank and bucket load of tremolo.  I dig the way the song is stripped bare and allows the vocal melody to really shine through.  

The entire album is surprisingly consistent in sound and song quality considering the different sources of each of these songs.  I enjoy finally having these songs in one handy place on vinyl.  There's a volume two out there digitally, I can only assume it'll make its way to vinyl at some point as well.  After that, I hope they get around to doing a proper singles compilation of all of those tracks that aren't on studio albums.  Again, would be nice to have those all in one place for a quick spin on the turntable.

The Mr. T Experience - Shards Volume One (I couldn't find this on Bandcamp or anywhere other than Spotify, which I never use.  Maybe it's useful to you though):

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Governess - S/T LP

Untitled

Radical Empathy / One Percent Press (2017)

I will admit, I've had this album sitting around for a a while, unsure of what exactly I wanted to say about it.  I find it kind of perplexing and it's difficult to articulate the things about it that don't quite land for me, but without insinuating that it's inherently bad.

The album was sent to me to listen to by the folks at One Percent Press.  It's an LP reissue of Governess' self titled album, originally only released on cassette.  For that reason along OPP and co releasing label Radical Empathy should be commend.  I'll always support liberating albums from tape hell.  That being said, this isn't really the sort of album that I would really ever listen to all that often.

The production on the entire record is very soft.  Instruments register in the background, sometimes seeming like they were recorded on a different plane, not quite in the studio and not quite of this dimension.  The vocals are otherworldly, giving a gentle but haunting vibe and they glide over the sparse drumming and even sparser guitar work.

If you are looking for something that's perhaps a bit more chill than your typical punk rock diet or if you are a bit more into soundscape type stuff or albums that make strong use of audio texture, this might be up your alley.  For me, it's just kind of pleasant background noise.  Not present enough to offend or delight.

Governess - S/T:

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Summerman - Fan CD

Untitled

Super Capsaicin (2018)

One of the best discoveries I made when I went to Japan last year was a band called Summerman.  Their last album Temperature Is... has been on a non stop loop ever since I picked it up.  It's just one of those perfect albums.  Now Summerman is back with their sophomore full length called Fan.  It's aptly named as I am a huge fan of these guys.

While I tend to favor the Japanese bands that slide a bit more easily into the Snuffy Smiles style of gruffer punk rock, Summerman wins me over with their sheer mastery of hooks and ability to build song structures.  Summerman has more in common with bands like Silver Scooter or Falls.  They construct their songs using delicate layers of jangly guitar lines coupled with a forceful rhythm section that keeps the energy level way up.  

There are three guitar players in this band and while the punk rock part of my brain sees that on paper and thinks it might be overkill, when my ears actually hear the complex, but supremely catchy melodies they create with this set up, it's hard to argue its effectiveness.  Let's not also forget to mention, they cover a Chester Copperpot song on this record, which is absolutely insane to me.  Their treatment of "No Wonder"is a revelation, giving the song a fuller sound and a different vibe while still maintaining the same levels of pure joy that the Chester version manages to convey.

I do wish this had come out on vinyl and I'm hopeful that one day it does get released in that format.  But no matter what format it could possibly come out on, there's no denying how great Fan is.  Summerman has put out a pretty stellar release and it's one of the albums I've been listening to the most this year.  Absolutely worth checking out.

Summerman - "White":

Summerman - "Super Health":

Summerman - "No Wonder" (This is a live version, not the one on the album but you'll get the general idea):


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Lawsuit Models - Off The Pavement LP - White w/ Green Marble Vinyl

Untitled

Snappy Little Numbers (2018)

I've said in the past that Snappy Little Numbers has become one of those really trustworthy labels over the past few years.  It feels like nearly everything they put out is fine tuned to appeal directly to me.  Lawsuit Models is no exception to this.  It's another great album filled with big hooks and 90s style rock tunes.

The thing that immediately jumps out as a comparison point for Lawsuit Models is the band Pollen.  Especially the later, Wind Up records album Peach Tree.  While musically, they are somewhat similar, each having a knack for crunchy guitars and simple, but extremely catchy riffs, it's really the vocals of one of the singers that evoke the memories of Pollen.  There is a slight rasp, not to the extreme like a Frankie Stubbs, but one that evokes a warmth and a familiarity that allows the lyrics and melodies to really sink in.

There is another singer whose vocals lean towards a more straightforward punk rock delivery, but they're no less effective and these songs give the album a jolt and keeps things dynamic and interesting throughout.  If it isn't obvious, I really dig this record.  These guys may not be on your radar, but they really should be.  Particularly if you're one of the dozen or so people that picked up Pollen CDs out of the $2 used bins during the 90s.

Lawsuit Models - Off The Pavement:

Monday, June 18, 2018

Fifteen - Swain's First Bike Ride LP - Blue w/Yellow, White & Orange Splatter (/137)

Untitled

Dead Broke (2017, Reissue)

I probably mentioned when I reviewed the reissue of the first Fifteen 7" a few months ago that I have been embarrassingly unfamiliar with this band until very recently.  While I've been a huge Crimpshrine fan for as long as I can remember, for whatever reason, I never followed along with Fifteen during the bands initial run of records.  Luckily there's a bunch of reissues going on right now, making it easier to catch up.

While I was left pretty flat with the Liberation 7", Swain's First Bike Ride is much better and way more up my alley.  I hear a lot more of the scratchy guitar progressions along with Jeff Ott's distinctive rasp.  It's not as all over the place as the 7" was as the album has a more consistent and cohesive sound, fitting right in with the sort of thing going on at Lookout records in the late 80s and early 90s.  Where the 7" felt like a bunch of songs thrown together, this feels more like an album.

I still have a long way to go to catch up on Fifteen's discography.  I did pick up two more of their albums that were recently reissued and I'll be spending time with those and hopefully writing up a little something about them in the near future.

Fifteen - Swain's First Bike Ride:

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Blues Brothers - Who's Making Love 7" (France)

Untitled

Atlantic (1981)

Here we are, talking about singles from the very last Blues Brothers full length album, Made In America.  As a whole, that album is one that I don't quite have the ties to like I have with Briefcase Full of Blues or the soundtrack to the movie.  I never had Made In America as a kid, it didn't get added to my collection until I was a teenager.  I'm not sure why, especially considering how much I loved the Blues Brothers at the time, but for whatever reason, I just never had it as a kid.

In the US, they did release "Who's Making Love" as a single, but it didn't come out with a picture sleeve domestically.  This week's entry is from France.  Artwork wise, they reuse the cover artwork from the Made in America LP, and just added some text about the songs on this 7".

"Who's Making Love" doesn't pop for me quite the same way that other Blues Brothers songs do, but that's not to say it isn't still a pretty rousing version of this song.  As usual the band is firing on all cylinders and Jake's vocals are fiery and on point.  The B side they chose for this is a little bizarre.  It's essentially an instrumental cover of the theme song to Perry Mason.  I say primarily instrumental because for some strange reason, Elwood kind of mumbles along with the melody, occasionally spitting out a word that can be understood.  It's totally fine in the context of the record as a brief interlude.  But as a focused on B side, it makes less sense to me.

The Blues Brothers - "Who's Making Love":

The Blues Brothers - "Perry Mason Theme":




Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Wolves of the Dry Ravine - Play With Matches (Near The Powder Keg) LP

Untitled

Stepdads (2018)

Wolves of the Dry Ravine have the dubious honor of being the record I review today because it's not currently packed away in a box somewhere.  This one showed up during my move, so I happen to have it handy.  The downside being that I haven't spent as much time with it as I typically like to before writing about something on this website, but luckily it's a really good album with short, catchy songs that sink in quickly.

Each song is built off of a wonderfully full, yet not super distorted guitar tone.  It has the right amount of fuzz, but mixed with just enough of the treble end of the spectrum to remain bright and shiny.  In general, each of the album's fifteen songs clock in at about the two and a half minute mark, but man this band can cram an awful lot of hooks into those two minutes.  

It sounds like something that would have fit right in if it had been released on Ptrash and in particular, there are times where it reminds me of Sedatives, though without the dark vibe.  This is most prevalent on songs like "Shut Down" and "Bow Down" where a little flourish of keyboard goes a long way.  Having never heard this band before, I wasn't sure what to expect, but this Wolves of the Dry Ravine album is a really strong debut effort.  Definitely worth checking out.

Wolves of the Dry Ravine - Play With Matches (Near The Powder Keg):

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Figgs - Low-Fi at Society High LP

Untitled

Imago (1994)

It took a day longer than I expected to get back online and ready to write about records again.  The new house is nice, but I'd be lying if I were to say it isn't pretty chaotic right now.  The bulk of my records are still packed up in boxes, so it's going to be a little tricky to get reviews done this week.  Luckily, I did receive one record in the mail during the move, and it's one I'm pretty darn familiar with.

I had first heard of The Figgs when I picked up a 7" of the song "Step Back, Let's Go Pop."  I think it was a promo single that I got for a dollar or something like that.  It made me pick up the album it came from, Low-Fi at Society High.  "Step Back" is the lead of track on the album and it really sets the stage for what is to come.  Loud, crunchy guitars, building chord progressions, tight and punchy drumming and strong and catchy vocal melodies.  While that sentence really exhausts my collection of adjectives, it really is the best way to sum up what a dynamic and easy to listen to pop rock band The Figgs are.

I've had this on CD forever, but it took a while to grab the LP at a decent price.  I've had my eye on it for a while and a reasonably priced copy finally showed up on Discogs and I decided it was time to finally add the vinyl version to the collection.

The Figgs have been going for ages and they have a bunch of records out that I'm just not as familiar with. Low-Fi and their 1996 follow up, Banda Macho are the only records of theirs that I ended up owning.  I probably should dig a bit deeper into their discography, but I've got a lot of other records to unpack first.

The Figgs - "Step Back, Let's Go Pop":

The Figgs - "Favorite Shirt":

Monday, June 4, 2018

Hold Please

Untitled

As I had mentioned in one of my posts last week, my wife and I are moving into our first house.  I thought that I might be able to prewrite a handful of reviews to keep things going this week, but it became clear very quickly that was not going to work out.  

All of my records are packed up.  All of my LPs are in the new house, though my computer and everything else is still in my apartment.  I'm going to just take a break this week, power through this move and hopefully be back at it on Monday.

I'll be taking stupid pictures and complaining on Twitter during the move, so feel free to follow me there if you can't imagine going a week without my terrible writing.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Sea Lilies - Soonest 12" EP

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Tired As A Chicken (2018)

Over the past fifteen years, few bands have delighted me in the way that Sick Sick Birds and Dead Mechanical have.  I love everything that each of those bands have created, so I was pretty devastated when they both broke up.  What I didn't expect was for members of each band to join forces in a new project together.  Lucas Carscadden and Matt Dorsey from Dead Mechanical have teamed up with Mike Hall from Sick Sick Birds to create an incredible EP that only makes me yearn to hear more.

Each of the band's six songs are flawless in their execution, bringing together the melodic pop mastery of SSB with the gritty, fast paced energy and dynamic guitar work of Dead Mechanical.  The thing that really strikes me is how much Sea Lilies really is a sum of their parts.  They've managed to take the very best parts of each of their former bands and merged them into something that lives up to all expectations and in certain ways surpasses their previous work.  

The only criticism I can possibly give is I wish it were longer and had double the amount of songs on it (they have an excellent demo that I would have loved to be included on this vinyl release).  This EP is hands down, easily one of the best things you will hear this year.  I flat out love it, I hope they sell a billion copies of it and I am anxiously awaiting their next release.  Hopefully that comes out real soon.  Go buy this.

Sea Lilies - Soonest EP:

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Triple Junk - Get Away 7"

Untitled

Blue My Mind (2018)

As a warning, my posts over the next few weeks are probably going to be a little sporadic.  I'm in the process of packing for a move.  If you are a regular visitor, you probably know that I tend to accumulate a lot of stuff.  Just packing up all of the records is going to be a Herculean task and I collect more than just records.  Also, it's difficult to take pictures of my records when they are in boxes.  I'm going to try to post this week, but next week is the big move, so I may not have anything new up on the site that week.  We'll see.

Anyway, cutting through the chaos of my life right now we have Triple Junk from Japan.  This 7" is four songs of exciting, treble heavy power pop that I just can't get enough of.  Guitar chords ring out and couple with a tight rhythm section that drives each song forward.  The way the songs are structured reminds me a little bit of the first Gentleman Jesse album, but with a crunchier pop punk influence creeping in.  It's undeniably catchy and I really dig this a lot.

Digging around online, I think that Triple Junk has another 7" and a demo CDR.  If they are even half as good as the songs on this 7", these are records I need to find.  So if anyone out there happens to see them, please let me know.

Triple Junk - "Get Away":

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Blues Brothers - Jailhouse Rock 7" (Japan)

Untitled

Atlantic (1980)

This 7" ties pretty directly into the last Blues Brothers single I wrote about, primarily because it is the exact same single.  However, for the Japanese market they switched things up and made "Jailhouse Rock" the A side and "Theme From Rawhide" the B side.  To me, that actually makes a lot more sense and I'm surprised it wasn't the case for both versions.

The artwork on this Japanese version is a lot of fun.  The classic illustrated logo of the band is mixed in with jail cell bars over a bright yellow background.  They threw in a small picture of the photo from the soundtrack album cover just for good measure.  It's an interesting way of creating completely new and original artwork without using anything new.  Both images have been recycled from countless other releases, yet this 7" still stands out as truly unique.

This is actually the last of the Japanese Blues Brothers 7"s I have.  There's one more that I know of for "She Caught the Katy"/"Gimme Some Lovin'" that I haven't been able to track down yet, so if anyone ever sees that, please let me know.

The Blues Brothers - "Jailhouse Rock":

The Blues Brothers - "Theme From Rawhide":

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Unwelcome Guests - Anything You Want LP

Untitled

Dirt Cult (2017)

I couldn't tell you why it's taken me so long to write about this newest Unwelcome Guests album.  They're a band I've been listening to for a really long time and I have just about all of their records, but for whatever reason this album lingered in the to do pile for way too long.  I've been listening to it for a while and I can say conclusively that it's as good if not better than anything else they've ever released.  Which is to say it's quite good.

I've often tried to describe Unwelcome Guests by saying they seem to take the lead guitar dynamics of Dinosaur Jr. and mesh them into a rootsy, boozy Replacements style of songwriting.  It's never as chaotic or ear blistering as Dinosaur Jr., but it's certainly not straight up Replacements worship either as the energy of the lead guitar and punk rock song structure keep things lively and engaging.  

If I had to say any sort of generic descriptor, it would be that Unwelcome Guests are pitch perfect indie rock for today in the same way that Archers of Loaf were when they came out with Icky Mettle.  I don't think the records sound the same, but they both set themselves apart as standard bearers for the genre.  Needless to say, I dig this album quite a bit and I wish it hadn't taken me so long to write about it and say so.

Unwelcome Guests - Anything You Want:

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Rocket From The Crypt - Return To Monkey Island 7" - Picture Disc

Untitled

Self Released (2017)

Towards the end of last year the greatest band on the planet, Rocket From The Crypt, went on the UK tour.  They brought with them this two song 7" that was only available at those shows.  So far, that has held true.  This record hasn't been sold anywhere else and has become one of the harder to find releases in the Rocket catalog.  For whatever reason I figured they'd have some of these leftover and would sell them stateside, but that hasn't been the case yet.  Perhaps it's because of less Rocket shows with Hot Snakes taking the spotlight currently, but I do hope these are released to some more folks that desperately want them.

I'm lucky.  I had a friend pick me up a copy at one of the UK shows.  So, I'll take this opportunity to say thank you, and I highly encourage everyone to buy as many records from Drunken Sailor as possible.  Though that's a cheap plug, I do mean it and would say that even if the juice man hadn't picked this up for me.

On this 7" we have two brand spanking new Rocket FromThe Crypt songs.  The first is "Waiting for the Shoe to Fall."  It starts off with a simple guitar riff that reminds me a little bit of the Sultans, but the song just grows from there.  The hook on this thing is unreal.  I don't think the Speedo John gets nearly enough credit for how god damn catchy his songs can be.  The punk rock bonafides can never be questioned, but the dude can write a hook.  Once the chorus kicks in, the horns swell and stay involved for the duration of the song, elevating everything.  If this is a taste of what we could hear on a future rocket album, sign me up.

On the B side we have "Too Dangerous."  This one has some guitar work that at first, makes me thing about one of the shorter, more straightforward Night Marchers songs.  But like on the A side, once the horns hit and the chorus revs up, it is unmistakably Rocket From The Crypt.  Like "Waiting For The Shoe To Fall," "Too Dangerous" is a short powerful blast of Rocket energy in the verse and the sort of chorus that I can just imagine myself jumping up and down to surrounded by my Swami family.  If it's not obvious, I love both of these. 

It still feels surreal to have new Rocket From The Crypt songs.  Greedily I just wish we had more.  I love Hot Snakes and could not possible be more thrilled that they have a new record and are touring.  But if I'm being honest, Rocket From The Crypt is my favorite band in the whole wide world.  Once this batch of Hot Snakes shows wrap up, I really hope Rocket gets down to the task of a new album.  I can't think of anything more exciting than a possibility of a dozen or so new songs by the mighty RFTC.

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Miles Apart - Almost Light 7" - Blue Vinyl (/100)

Untitled

Green / Assurd (2017)

What a blast from the past it was to see a new release from Italy's The Miles Apart.  Forming from the ashes of the very wonderful Eversor, The Miles Apart put out a handful of albums and singles during the early 2000's.  This band was on my radar mostly due to being such a big Eversor fan, but also because they were one of those bands featured on a Snuffy Smile split 7".  When that happens, there's pretty much a one hundred percent chance I'm going to hear your band.

This 7" features three songs from The Miles Apart, their first new material in over ten years.  It doesn't sound like it's been that long at all as the band picks up right where they left off, turning in three songs of their melodic, bright and ultra catchy pop songs.  Their band name is also the name of a pretty spectacular Mega City Four song, and you can certainly hear the influences of not only MC4, but the entire early 90's scene they sprang from.   

Hints of Senseless Things creep up in "Lost In Nowadays" and you can hear some of the energy and guitar dynamics of early Snuff in "Almost Light."  I'm not sure what made The Miles Apart decide to get back together and release some new songs, but whatever the reason I hope they stick with it.  The songs on this 7" are exactly what I need to hear right now.  All three songs are flat out perfect.

The Miles Apart - Almost Light 7":

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Katamari Damacy - Original Video Game Soundtrack - 2xLP: Green & Purple Swirl / Red & White Swirl

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Mondo (2018)

I can't say that I am much of a gamer.  Sure, I played a lot of Colecovision and Nintendo when I was a kid, same as most folks.  I even kept up pretty well with Nintendo products up through the Game Cube, but after that I went through a period where I really didn't play much.  I did pick up an Xbox360 when I lived in Boston for a while, so that I could play online with some of my friends and try to keep in touch, but once I moved back to NJ I didn't really keep up with it.

There were a few games that really connected with me during those Xbox years.  The first Gears of War, both Portal games and Katamari Damacy.  The first Katamari game never came out for Xbox, I don't think, but my wife had a playstation and we picked up that game based on a recommendation from my friend Alan.  What a wacky game.  You push around a little ball and as smaller items get stuck to it, it becomes bigger in a snowball effect.  Then you can pick up bigger things as the size of your ball increases.  Sounds silly, but it was pretty addictive.   The best thing about the game was its incredible soundtrack.

This is the first release on vinyl of this soundtrack, full of insanely catchy J pop/rock hits.  Some songs are in English, some are in Japanese, but all of them are outstanding.  After listening to the opening theme, it's pretty impossible to not have "na na na na na na na na" stuck in your head for about a month.  It also makes the phrase"I want to wad you up into my life" sound way more romantic than it probably should.

I will say that as a general rule, I'm not a fan of the vinyl movie and game soundtrack boom that's happened over the past few years.  It seems like every weirdo horror movie and every obscure game is getting a vinyl pressing when I still can't even get Onehundredpercentfreak by Alligator Gun on vinyl.  Sure, I partake occasionally. After all, I was very excited to be able to pick up the soundtrack to the original Godzilla a few years back.  But for the most part, I think it's overdone and I can't fathom listening to those kinds of things very often.

Obviously I've made an exception for Katamari, the songs are just too good.  And Mondo has done an incredible job with this pressing.  The artwork looks amazing, the vinyl colors are sharp and it's just a really nice package.  I'm glad I grabbed this and I'm tempted to pick up the Portal soundtrack that they released, but past that, I just don't see what other video game soundtracks would be worth owning.  OK, maybe I'd buy a 7" with the RC Pro Am song on it.

"Katamari On the Rocks":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMH49ieL4es

"Que Sera Sera":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mv90uA0tmgc

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Burning Spring / Cuddlefish - Split 7"

Untitled

Debt Offensive (2017)

Debt Offensive sent me this split 7" of two bands I wasn't previously familiar with.  As I've said many times in the past, the split 7" is one of my absolute favorite ways to listen to music.  You get to hear from two bands that may or may not be similar, but have some sort of kinship.  Otherwise, why would they be on the split?  In this instance we have two bands that lean towards the melodic end of the punk rock spectrum.

The two Burning Spring songs are really impressive.  They have gruff, chunky guitar riffs that rattle around their songs, mixing in with the rhythm section and the slightly raspy, melodic vocals.  They've got a knack for dynamic starts and stops within the songs, particularly "Seven Years Bad Taste."  It's a really incredible song, catchy in all of the right places, but still with a rough around the edges feel that I find incredibly endearing.  I don't think these guys have anything else out, but these two songs make me eager to hear more.

Cuddlefish is a little bit tighter and a little bit slicker than Burning Spring, but they don't connect with me quite the same way.  Cuddlefish is leaning in a direction that reminds me of The Flatliners, particularly with the really scratchy, borderline screaming vocals.  It's not to say these songs aren't good, they are still pretty catchy and have really hooky choruses.  Their three songs aren't quite as captivating as the Burning Spring songs, but they are enjoyable with heaps of energy to spare.

Burning Spring / Cuddlefish - Split 7":

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Blues Brothers - Theme From Rawhide 7" (Europe)

Untitled

Atlantic (1980)

When I started digging into information about Blues Brothers singles, this was definitely one of the more surprising discoveries I came across.  I didn't expect to find that "Rawhide" had ever been released as a single from the soundtrack album.  I could see it perhaps making an appearance as a B side, but not as an A side picture sleeve.  Yet here we are.

I've always loved this song, mostly because it gave Elwood a showcase; something I always wanted when I was a kid.  Elwood was my favorite and yeah, he drove the car in the movies, but he wasn't as in the forefront on record.  "Rawhide" was one of the rare instances where he took center stage, never mind that it was just a theme song to a TV show I had never seen.  The B side on this one is "Jailhouse Rock," which I'd really expect to be the A side.  That song will get its chance next time.

The artwork on this is interesting.  Again, they are pulling from the same batch of stock photos that keep turning up, though this time they've taken the Briefcase Full of Blues album cover, split it in half and then switched Jake and Elwood to the opposite side.  The film strip imagery cutting down the middle is a nice touch.  I don't mind the recycling of photos as much when they do something interesting with it.

The Blues Brothers - "Theme From Rawhide":

The Blues Brothers - "Jailhouse Rock":

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Gamla Pengar - Ingen Kan Allt - Men Alla Kan Dra åt Helvete 7"

Untitled

Gaphals (2016)

I was hipped to Gamla Pengar because Fredrik of the ever wonderful Chester Copperpot told me he started to play with them.  While Fredrik isn't on this recording (unless he recorded under a rockstar pseudonym that I'm unaware of), I can certainly see why this is a band that would make someone want to jump on board.  These guys are pretty great.

So the two comparisons that immediately jump to mind for me are Hot Snakes and Rocket From The Crypt.  Now, I realize that is some lofty praise and it sets expectations perhaps a bit too high, but sonically those are the bands that come to mind.  You have the furious downstroking and dark melodies of Hot Snakes, mixed in with an overtly catchy, party/singalong vibe that I can only compare to Rocket.

Vocally they are worlds different as the singer from Gamla Pengar has a more guttural growl as opposed to the smoother tones Reis is known for or the pained howl that has become Rick Froberg's hallmark.  Also, Gamla Pengar is singing in Swedish, so that's a difference as well (According to Google, the title of the 7" is something about everyone can go to hell).

All four of the songs on this 7" are a rocking good time. Loud and aggressive enough to leap to the forefront, but the songs are catchy enough to where you still find yourself nodding along and tapping a toe.  This is the most recent release that Gamla Pengar has put out, but Fredrik sent me a few more of their older records, so I'll write a bit about those as well in the next few weeks.  Go check these guys out, it's worth it.

Gamla Pengar - Ingen Kan Allt - Men Alla Kan Dra åt Helvete 7":

Monday, May 7, 2018

Bedford Falls - Send More Bees LP - Greenish Blue Vinyl

Untitled

Brassneck / Dead Broke / Boss Tuneage (2018)

Send More Bees is Bedford Falls' third album, but for whatever reason it's the first one of theirs that I've heard.  No matter how much I'd like to think I stay on top of things, at least within the genre of music I tend to like the most, bands like this still slip through the cracks.  I'm not entirely sure how I've missed Bedford Falls until now, but I'm happy to be correcting that problem at last.

Bedford Falls are playing a slow burning slice of the fuzzed out bliss of bands like Superchunk, but with a lower key take on the proceedings.  The bulk of the songs take mid tempo pace to allow the vocals melodies and lyrical imagery to really take hold.  Taking a more measured approach does give everything a bit more room to breathe and some of the songs flourish in this atmosphere.  

If there's a criticism, it's that the first batch of songs tend to somewhat blend together a bit, but it also makes the songs were Bedford Falls step on the gas, like "Reason To Believe" and "Defeat Artist" stand out more.  These songs take on a dynamic, Starmarket-like feel and the energy builds and the vocals have a focused urgency to them.  I do tend to prefer the faster ones at the end of the day and wish there were a few more over the course of the album.  Still, when Bedford Falls are on, they are really on and it's an album absolutely worth checking out.

Bedford Falls - Send More Bees:

Thursday, May 3, 2018

New Junk City / Hot Mass - Split 7" - Orange Vinyl

Untitled

All In Vinyl (2018)

I have to admit, it's been so long since I got a new split 7" from the All In Vinyl singles club, I forgot it was still going on.  When I first started seeing pictures of this record online I thought that they had started up a new year that I hadn't signed up for yet.  Then I realized that this was part of the club I had already subscribed to.  And there's still one more 7" to go.  Good times.

New Junk City is a band that I was blown away by from a 7" randomly sent to me to review in 2016.  I was so into that record, but they completely fell off of my radar again.  This split is a nice reminder that they're still out there.  The songs are somewhat ramshackle in construction, with everything sounding kind of loose, but at the same time loud and exciting.  The guitars are perfectly blown out and fuzzy and the vocals are raw, but still maintain solid melodies.  Both of their songs on this 7" are crunchy and catchy and great.  I want to hear more by these guys and I really need to pick up their first EP that I see on their Bandcamp page.

Hot Mass is another band I wrote about in 2016 when their phenomenal album Nervous Tensions came out. It seems inconceivable to me that was nearly two years ago, but those are the trappings of growing old I guess.  In those two years, it appears that Hot Mass have gotten even better than they were.  The first song on this split is a short, catchy blast of punk rock, but it's the second song "Flatman" that is a real world beater.  It's probably the best song they've released so far and it's just a perfect mix of jagged UK punk pop, with dynamic transitions and a most excellent breakdown towards the end.  Hot Mass still remind me of Rumspringer, but with that extra little bit of aggression that make them stand out.

This really is a hell of a split 7".  Highly, highly recommended.

New Junk City / Hot Mass - Split 7":

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Empty Heads - Ugly 7"

Untitled

Debt Offensive (2016)

Debt Offensive sent me this little gem from their back catalog along with the Supercrush 7" from the other day.  While the bands take completely different paths, both have a penchant for 90s style rock & roll and both are pretty darn great.

Where Supercrush is mining for pop gems, Empty Heads is their noisier stoner cousin.  All three songs on this 7" are sludgy, yet surprisingly catchy guitar rock numbers.  There's the sort of distortion you'd expect to hear on middle era Sebadoh records, but with choruses and hooks that remind of a mix between Seaweed and The Karl Hendricks trio.  Imagine that "Some Girls Like Cigarettes" came out on Sub Pop.

I think that this 7" is even better than the band's debut 7" I reviewed a few years ago.  I'm definitely curious to hear more, though it looks like the only other release they have out right now is a cassette.  I'll have to track that down so I can say bad things about the cassette format.  While this isn't the sort of thing one would typically think would immediately be my cup of tea, it's the hooks that will keep me coming back.

Empty Heads - Ugly 7":

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Record Store Day Haul #1: Superchunk - What A Time To Be Alive (Acoustic) 7" - Clear Vinyl

Untitled

Merge (2018)

This will be my first and only post about the 2018 version of Record Store Day.  I didn't even buy this at my local record store as they didn't have a copy of it by the time I had arrived.  I own this record thanks to the generosity of my friend Charles.  So, thank you Charles, I really appreciate it.  In a nutshell, Record Store Day pretty much sucks now.  What was once a fun event that I looked forward to every year has turned into something I have almost zero interest in.

It's not because of some ethical statement of major labels taking it over, or indies being pushed out.  I'm also really glad that there is something driving people to record stores for at least the one day of the year, so that's not a bad thing either.  To me, the bad thing is that almost all of the releases labels decide to put out pretty much universally suck.  This Superchunk 7" and a Rascals 4xLP that I decided was too expensive to buy were the only things I had any interest in whatsoever.

Even this 7" isn't particularly enthralling.  Of course I love Superchunk and of course I needed to buy this 7" no matter what was on it to keep my Superchunk 7" collection complete. But both are acoustic versions of songs from the latest Superchunk LP.  They're slower and played with an acoustic guitar, but there's nothing all that interesting going on.  A fun novelty, but nothing I would listen to that often.  Again, needed for completist purposes, but not something I would recommend if you don't care about that sort of thing.  I do care, so thanks again to Charles for picking this up for me.

Monday, April 30, 2018

falls - Wednesday CD EP

Untitled

Waterslide (2015)

I reviewed the excellent falls cassette EP a couple of weeks ago, but I also have the CD EP of theirs from 2015 that I hadn't had a chance to write about yet.  As you may remember, falls was one of the bands that played the Waterslide/PopKid show when I was in Tokyo last year.  They blew me out of the water at the show and they've continued to do so with their recorded output.

When I was talking about their cassette, I had mentioned how appropriate I thought it was that they were covering a Silver Scooter song due to the similarities between the two bands.  That comparison holds true for this EP as well.  Much like Silver Scooter, the band builds their songs off of tight, impactful drumming and impressive bass lines.  The rhythm section laying down this solid foundation allows for the band to create truly dynamic guitar work, transitioning from gentle plucking of the strings to fuzzy blasts of chords at the blink of an eye.

falls have found a way to harvest some of the sounds and intricacies of mid 90s bands like Boys Life, but they manage to keep everything catchy with the sort of hooks and choruses you expect from pop punk bands.  Really, the more I think about it the more I realize that they're just so much like Silver Scooter in so many ways.  A great band, writing great songs.  After these EPs, I'm definitely ready for falls to put out a full length.

falls - Wednesday:

Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Blues Brothers - Jailhouse Rock 7" (Netherlands)

Untitled

WEA (1980)

This is one of my favorite Blues Brothers 7"s.  This version of the "Jailhouse Rock" single comes from the Netherlands and has "Sweet Home Chicago" as the B side.  It has completely unique artwork and doesn't look anything like any of the other Blues Brothers singles I have.  Even though it's a little weird that the image is chopped off at the ankles, that oddness only makes me love it more.

Even the way I obtained it was somewhat strange.  A seller on Discogs in The Netherlands had it listed.  I tried to buy it from them directly and they wanted to charge an astronomical shipping fee.  I think it was close to $60.  For one 7".  Crazy.  Anyway I came up with a plan and with the help of the wonderful Scott from Brassneck, we had the 7" shipped to the UK and then it was sent over with some stuff from Brassneck (I buy records there, so should you*).  Scott told me the seller shipped this in a gigantic box, so oversized for one 7" that it was ridiculous.  

Anyway, it's really cool addition to the Blues Brothers collection and I thank Scott for helping me obtain it.

*Cheap, but heartfelt plug

The Blues Brothers - "Jailhouse Rock":

The Blues Brothers - "Sweet Home Chicago":