Friday, December 27, 2013

The Absolute Best Records Of 2013

I cannot even remember the last time there was a year in music as good as 2013. You'd probably have to go back to the 90's to find a year that had so many truly fantastic records come out. From the second January started right up until the waning days of December, I feel that all I did this year was listen to great music.

The top 5 records this year were so strong, it really could have been a coin toss to select who got number 1. In the end I gave it to the Night Marchers. As I've been listening to John Reis bands for over 20 years now, it just feels the most like home if that makes any sense.

However, I want to make a special case for some records on this list that really deserve a little extra attention as the bands aren't quite as well known as some of their peers. The Dead Mechanical record could have been a number 1 record in almost any other year. It's just flawless and I really encourage people to check it out if they haven't heard it. Chestnut Road brought me back to my favorite scene of the 90's and they felt like the second coming of Broccoli, Hooton 3 Car or Leatherface, If you like fast guitar pop like The Marked Men, you're a fool if you don't give the Tight Bros record a listen. And finally, that Hooper record I reviewed a few days ago is just incredible. It may have ended up higher on this list had it come out a bit earlier so I could have spent even more time with it.

All of the records on this list are amazing in my humble opinion. I couldn't have asked for a better year in music. Sure, I spent an awful lot of money on records this year (I tracked all of my purchases in 2013, my advice is don't do that, it's depressing), but it was worth it. It's crazy that there's even more records from this year I wasn't able to pick up.  I'd like to grab the new Young Leaves record and I'm pretty sure I would like that Sweatshop Boys LP, but as you may have noticed, as it is I buy way to many records. Maybe next year.

Thanks again to everyone who reads this website and an extra special thanks to the folks that have emailed, tweeted to me or sent me records to review. Here's to more good rocking in 2014.

01 - The Night Marchers - Allez Allez - Swami
02 - Dead Mechanical - OK Night - Toxic Pop
03 - Radioactivity - Radioactivity - Dirtnap
04 - The Steve Adamyk Band - Third - Dirtnap
05 - Chestnut Road - Chestnut Road - Brassneck / Speedowax
06 - Warm Soda - Someone For You - Castle Face
07 - Tight Bros - Tight Bros - Rad Girlfriend
08 - The Blind Shake - Key To A False Door - Castle Face
09 - Obits - Bed & Bugs - Sub Pop
10 - Audacity - Butter Knife - Suicide Squeeze

11 - Mrs. Magician - B Sides - Thrill Me
12 - Hooper - How To Become A Ghost - Snappy Little Numbers
13 - Rumspringer - Stay Afloat - Dirtcult
14 - Dirtbombs - Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-Blooey - In The Red
15 - Superchunk - I Hate Music - Merge
16 - Boat - Pretend To Be Brave - Magic Marker
17 - Low Culture - Screens - Dirtnap
18 - Plow United - Marching Band - Jump Start
19 - Sundowners - The Larger Half Of Wisdom - Dirtcult
20 - Crusaders - Perhaps You Deliver This Judgment... - No Idea

21 - Iron Chic - The Constant One - Bridge Nine
22 - Humanoids - Humanoids - Throwing Things
23 - Murmurs - Fly With The Unkindness - Dead Broke / Drunken Sailor
24 - The Resonars - Crummy Desert Sound - Burger
25 - Deltron 3030 - Event II - Bulk
26 - The Thermals - Desperate Ground - Saddle Creek
27 - RVIVR - The Beauty Between - Rumbletowne
28 - Shy Mirrors - Negative Collector - Big School
29 - Off With Their Heads - Home - Epitaph
30 - Wrong Words - Everything Is Free - Trouble In Mind

Other records I bought & enjoyed this year:
A Giant Dog - Bone - Tic Tac Totally
Autistic Youth - Nonage - Dirtnap
Bad Sports - Bra - Dirtnap
The Dagger Eyes - The Dagger Eyes - Ptrash
Dumpster Babies - Dumpster Babies - Tall Pat
Heavy Times - Fix It Alone - HoZac
Leatherface - More Mush - Bootleg
The Men - New Moon - Sacred Bones
Mind Spiders - Inhumanistic - Dirtnap
Paper Dragons - Die To Please - Toxic Pop
Southport - Southern Soul - Yo Yo
Space Wolves - IV - UT
Terry Malts - Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere - Slumberland
The Visitors - Yeti - It's Alive
Wavves - Afraid Of Heights - Mom + Pop
Your Pest Band - In My Doom - Snuffy Smiles
Yuck - Glow & Behold - Fat Possum
Zebrassieres - I Am Human - Ptrash


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Los Straitjackets - 'Tis The Season For... - Red Vinyl

Yep Roc (2002)

Every year I try to add at least 1 new Christmas album to the collection. I just love Christmas music, but I really tend to listen to the old classics for the most part. Modern day Christmas music just bums me out. Now, this record came out 11 years ago, so I'm not sure that it totally qualifies as modern day, but it's a heck of a lot newer than the Gene Autry Christmas albums I listen to anyway.

Los Straitjackets are picking up right where The Ventures left off with their Christmas album. Up tempo surfy Christmas instrumentals. The Venture Christmas Album is far and away my very favorite, so another release in the same vein is a welcome addition to my collection. There's a few repeats from the Ventures' classic, but there;s also fresh songs like "It's A Marshmallow World," "Feliz Navidad," and "Here Comes Santa Claus." It's great and I've been playing it pretty non stop for the last few weeks.

This is going to be my last album review for 2013. In a couple of days, probably Thursday or Friday, I'll be posting my annual, big year end best of list. 2013 was the best year for new music since the mid 90's if you ask me, so it's been a real task trying to rank all of this incredible music. I'm still working on it, but I have just about locked everything down. Happy happy to everyone this holiday season.

Los Straitjackets - Frosty The Snowman:

Monday, December 23, 2013

Masked Intruder - Under The Mistletoe 7" - White Vinyl

Fat Wreck (2013)

I'm a real stickler when it comes to Christmas music. I just absolutely love listening to it this time of the year, but I am a bit of a traditionalist and don't really like many modern takes on the genre. I especially don't usually like punk rock Christmas songs. They just always seem so goofy.

Masked Intruder's foray into this field is pretty much what I expected. Now, they obviously are just having a laugh and not trying to create any modern day Christmas classics. I can appreciate this 7" on that level. The songs are kind of funny and Masked Intruder has a knack for this kind of thing, but I can't imagine ever putting this on in December as legit Christmas music. it's fun, but it's no Bing Crosby.

Masked Intruder - Under The Mistletoe:

Friday, December 20, 2013

Murmurs - Fly With The Unkindness LP - White Vinyl (/100)

Dead Broke / Drunken Sailor (2013)

I find it hard to imagine that anyone is more excited than I am that so many new bands are creating records that are taking so much influence from bands of the 90's. For a while it seemed like music was turning its back on my favorite decade, but over the last few years there's been a complete renaissance. I'm just thrilled.

Murmurs are playing right into my wheelhouse as they're culling the sounds of some of the 90's pop punk kings. I'm not talking about the really poppy bands like Zoinks or Sicko, but rather the grittier, early Jawbreaker-ish bands. There's at least 2 main vocalists (the liner notes list every band member as contributing vocals, and never having seen them live I couldn't tell you who sings what for sure). 1 of the singers has a smoother, slower voice and tends to front songs that have a Dear You or late Knapsack feel to them. The other guy is grittier like Unfun era Jawbreaker and his songs tend to be closer to earlier 90's, faster punk rock.

It's a great combination and just keeps me engaged throughout the record. This is another band that is brand new to me, and I'm just thrilled to have gotten the chance to hear them, but truthfully, I will always give a chance to anything that comes out on Dead broke or Drunken Sailor. Those folks know how to put out records.

Murmurs - Fly With The Unkindness:

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Hooper - How To Become A Ghost LP

Snappy Little Numbers (2013)

My favorite thing about doing this website is the thought that somewhere there is someone buying a record by a band they hadn't heard of previously because I said it was good. I just love listening to new music and sharing it with people. I don't always think that I write well enough to really articulate how good a record is to someone that hasn't already heard it, but I do my best to convey the feelings I have about the record. Allow me to convey; this Hooper record is flat out great.

I had picked up a 7" by them on a lark a while back. Padding out a distro order to qualify for free shipping. It was a good 7" and I have been waiting to hear more from them. They delivered and then some with their debut full length. How To Become A Ghost is steeped in the 90's, rolling together influences of some of my favorite sounds of that era.

Musically you get the guitar work and song structure of a Tugboat Annie, but with a much crunchier sound reminding me of maybe a less polished Fig Dish. Vocally, I'm very much reminded of poppier punk bands like Zoinks!, but with a ton more emphasis on backing vocals and harmonies. This doesn't sound like a throwback to the 90's, it sounds like it could be one of the better records that was actually released in that decade. Don't take that as if I'm saying this record sounds dated, as I still think that there are 20 year old records that sound as fresh and exciting as the first time I listened to them.

I'm just extremely impressed by Hooper, a band that probably doesn't have the noteriety of a lot of the bands I tend to write about, but a band that really deserves to have a few more people check them out. I do wish the whole album was streaming somewhere as I don't feel the one song the band has up on their site really conveys just how great the record is as a whole. But it's still a snappy little number. Go check it out.

***Update - The whole album is available to stream, go listen!***

Hooper - How To Become A Ghost:

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Crusades - Perhaps You Deliver this Judgment... LP - Red Vinyl (/300) &Pink Vinyl (/130)

No Idea (2013)

I've been waiting for this 2nd Crusades LP for what seems like forever. Their first album was one of my favorites of that year. I loved the way it took a darker spin on the poppier side of punk rock. It had some of the same calling cards as many of the other great bands from Canada, but took everything in a more serious & somber direction. So it was with eager anticipation that I put Perhaps You Deliver this Judgment with Greater Fear than I Receive It on the turntable for the first time.

The band has definitely grown since the last album. If anything, the songs are even darker and taken on more of an influence from hardcore and metal than they had previously. The band certainly hasn't given up on writing a good hook, but the record feels a lot heavier than previous outings. It fits the band and it's a logical progression progression for the band, though for me personally, I think I like things a bit lighter and a bit more obviously pop.

I originally just pre-ordered the limited to 300 copies mailorder opaque red vinyl version. However, there were a few limited Fest only pressings that were being sold down in Florida in October. When the chance to grab one off the No Idea website came up, I just couldn't resist adding a pink vinyl copy to the collection as well.

Crusades - Perhaps You Deliver this Judgment with Greater Fear than I Receive It LP:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sick Sick Birds - All The Fins In The Sea 7" - Black Vinyl & White/BlueA/B Vinyl (/150)

Ghostbot (2013)

I'll just talk a bit about how amazing the packaging is on this record as I have written about the music previously ( To sum up the music portion of this review. It's great and one of the best things the band has done so far.

Now the packaging on this 7" is amazing. The shark fin design on the front cover is die cut. Behind it is a single square image of the see, with record information & lyrics on the other side of the square. The White/Blue A/B colored vinyl looks fantastic, particularly the side that's mostly white. It adds even more to the nautical theme of the packaging. I just can't say enough good things about how great this record looks. it's absolutely helpful that the music is stellar as well, but good artwork like this doesn't crop up all that often.

Sick Sick Birds - All The Fins In The Sea 7":

Friday, December 13, 2013

Audacity - Butter Knife LP - Yellow Vinyl

Suicide Squeeze (2013)

Audacity's newest album snuck up on me. I had no idea the band had moved over to a new label at Suicide Squeeze. I didn't know they were working on anything new, I was just sort of basking in the afterglow of their last LP, Mellow Cruisers. Suddenly I was going through a new releases list on some website and there it was. Hopped over to the Suicide Squeeze website and got in my pre-order, though at that point I think I only waited a week or so for it to actually come out. I was glad they still had the limited colored vinyl left, but when said limited vinyl is out of 1000 copies, my guess is they're not going to go flying out the door for anyone buy the absolute biggest of bands.

But let me tell you that after spending some time with Butter Knife, I firmly believe that Audacity should be one of these biggest bands. This record is flat out amazing. It's such a leap forward from their already pretty great last LP and I'm honestly pretty floored. The band throws around hooks with such effortlessness, piling vocal melodies over bouncy, yet scruffy guitar. There's a good mix of garage influenced faster pop songs as well as some songs that mellow things out a little bit, adding in some flourishes like piano to the party.

This is one of the most perfectly crafted summertime pop records I've heard in an awful long time. Sure it's the winter and the outdoors pretty much suck right now, but all I need to do is pop this record on the turntable and it's summer vacation all over again. Highly recommended.

Audacity - Butter Knife:

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Iron Chic - The Constant One LP - White w/ Splatter Vinyl (/300)

Bridge Nine (2013)

Being a professional wrestling fans really pays dividends when you least expect it. My love of wrestling is what made me check out Iron Chic way back when they put out their first self released demo tape in 2008. I was very impressed by them right off the bat and continued to keep tabs on them whenever a new record came out. As much as I liked them from the get go, I don't know that I would have ever imagined a record as great as The Constant One from them.

It's just track after track of fist balling, finger pointing, sing along anthems. Not in the cheesy hardcore way either. Iron Chic posses such strong songwriting chops and they are able to effortlessly weave together passion & energy into melodic, but powerful songs. This is a band that is able to show some real emotion, but manages to not come off seeming lame or contrived. It's a rare talent. Plus they have a song called "(Castle) Numskull," so really, who needs more reason than that to buy this record?

I'm a broken record this year, but again, this is yet another truly great album for 2013. Iron Chic is really helping to close out the year just as strongly as it started up.

Iron Chic - The Constant One:

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Bad Sports - Bra LP - Yellow Vinyl (/300)

Dirtnap (2013)

I'm feverishly trying to get through all of the full lengths I have left to write about from 2013 in the next 2 weeks. it's about that time of the year to get my top albums list together, but I don't want to put anything on my list that I haven't written about yet. I'm only a few albums back, so I should we should be in good shape. One record I had to get to was the new one from Bad Sports.

Bra is just a blast from start to finish. High octane rock and roll that may lean a bit more to the garage/glam side of things than their more pop-centric 2nd LP. Don't think that means that Bad Sports doesn't still know how to write a toe tapper, they absolutely do, but there's a bit more attitude on their latest.

Honestly, you really can't go wrong with just about anything that Dirtnap releases, they just don't put out bad records. Bad Sports is no exception. While maybe not quite as poppy as their last LP, Bra definitely picks up points for energy and good old fashioned oomph.

Bad Sports - Bra LP:

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Knew - What's Hip (Long Walk) 7" - Red Vinyl (/300)

Snappy Little Numbers (2013)

I was on the Snappy Little Numbers website to order the new Hooper LP (review of that one coming soon as well) and decided to pick up some of their new 7"s while I was there. The first one is a band called The Knew, and boy have they just floored me.

The combine the infectious energy of a party band like W.H. Walker, with some slick vocals and a horn section that understands how to keep it subtle, yet sounding massive. Think the foghorn saxophone of Circa Now era RFTC. The band has a couple of full lengths out as well, and you can be sure I'll be checking them out very soon.

The Knew - What's Hip (Long Walk) 7"

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Wrong Words - Everything Is Free LP - Green Vinyl (/500)

Trouble In Mind (2013)

Everything Is Free is the 2nd full length from San Francisco's The Wrong Words. In the past I've heard them called the West Coast Gentlemen Jesse, and while I don't think that comparison is 100% accurate, it is a pretty decent jumping off point if you're looking for a reference.

As with their debut, the new record is full of upbeat, clean guitar with pop hooks and a little bit of vocal fuzz. Their are times where the vocals can borderline on being a bit weird when the singer is aiming for some of the really high notes, but it's not often and the band keeps the songs straightforward and catchy.

Everything Is Free is just as strong as the Wrong Words' debut, so it should please prior fans of the band. It may even prove to be a better starting point for those that are new to the party. This album may be destined to be slightly overshadowed by the never ending stream of amazing records that have come out in 2013, but it's absolutely worth making some time for.

The Wrong Words - And It's Not So Pretty:

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Flatliners - Caskets Full 7" - Black & White Split Vinyl

Fat Wreck Chords (2013)

I had never listened to The Flatliners. When they were announced as the opening band for the Rocket From The Crypt show I saw at the Double Door in Chicago in September, I thought it was an odd pairing. I just blamed Riot Fest for it and moved on with my life, who cares about the opening band, really? Then I got to the show and was right up front for the Flatliners. I was pretty darn impressed. Not at all what I was expecting and they kept my interest despite standing between me and RFTC. I was even more impressed that the singer from The Flatliners was out there when Rocket played, singing along to every word.

So, I figured I'd pick up one of their records, and it's always best to start with a 7" I think. This one has 3 songs. One from the band's most recent full length, one exclusive B side and a Tony Sly cover. Again, I'm pretty impressed. All 3 songs are good in a current, gritty punk rock meets a slight Social Distortion greaser vibe sort of way. I liked it enough that I think I'm going to pick up the last full length as well.

The Flatliners - Wynford Bridge:

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Visitors - Yeti LP - Blue Vinyl (/200)

It's Alive (2013)

Yeti is the 2nd full length from Ottawa based band The Visitors. They are very much part of the incredible punk rock scene of that wonderful city and you can immediately hear the influence of city peers like The Steve Adamyk Band as soon as the album starts spinning. However, The Visitors are tied a bit more to the traditional pop punk sound as pioneered by The Ramones. Vocally I'm often reminded of the Italian band Love Boat as well. Aside from a few out of place, wacky guitar solos, Yeti is a record that just flies by with it's catchy choruses.

The first pressing had a limited variant on blue vinyl that was limited to 200 copies. As of right this second, the It's Alive webstore still has copies of the blue vinyl in stock, if colored vinyl is your thing. Obviously, it's my thing.

The Visitors - Yeti LP:

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Cleveland Bound Death Sentence - S/T LP - White Vinyl (/200)

No Idea (2013)

First ever vinyl pressing of the Cleveland Bound Death Sentence CD that came out on Lookout records back in 1999. Sure, most of the songs were out on vinyl from the 7"s that the CD was a compilation of, but this is the first time everything is all in one place. The white vinyl was limited to 200 copies, and the entire pressing was only 500. No Idea is pretty good about keeping their records in print, but if it's important to you to grab the first press, you may want to act quickly.

The record itself is as fun as ever. With Paddy from Dillinger Four and Aaron Cometbus in the band, it does sort of feel like D4 meets Pinhead Gunpowder. The songs are fast, loud, catchy and over before you even realize they started. That's not a critique, the album moves at such a fast and exciting clip that it amplifies the energy of the band and kind of makes them sound like they're about to implode at any second.

While I've never liked Cleveland Bound Death Sentence as much as the other bands everyone has been in, this is quite simply a great punk rock record.

Cleveland Bound Death Sentence - Rumble Seats & Running Boards:

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Blind Shake - Key To A False Door - Yellow Vinyl

Castle Face (2013)

While I am very picky about the bands I like, the vast majority of them have a common thread. I like catchy songs with big hooks & choruses and I like some good vocal harmonies. The Blind Shake do not fit in this mold at all. Every once in a while an album comes along that is so good, even if they are outside of my usual musical taste, I can't help but love it. Key To A False Door is one of those albums.

Sure, they do pack in a lot of my other favorite attributes into their songs. In general everything is fast paced, with lots of downstroke heavy riffs, so it's not a total shock I like this as much as I do. But overall this is way noisier than I typically go for. The songs are soaked in fuzz and scratchy production. The vocals are a barely understandable roar, but there is so much energy and enthusiasm crammed into this album it's just addictive.

Key To A False Door is absolutely one of the best records to come out this year and is making a beeline into my top 10.

The Blind Shake - Key To A False Door:

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Resonars - The Greatest Songs Of... - Brown Vinyl (/500)

Trouble In Mind (2013)

The Resonars were one of those bands that so many people seemed to love, but every time I gave them a chance, I was let down. I'm not exactly sure why, but they just never grabbed me the way they did others. That was until they released a really great 7" on Trouble In Mind followed up by their last LP Crummy Desert Sound. That album blew me away and opened my eyes up to this band again.

So I signed up when Trouble In Mind put out this greatest hits album, which culls songs from their pretty significant back catalog. At the end of the day, I can definitely say that The Resonars are much better than I gave them credit for initially, but I do thing that the greatest songs they are releasing are their newest ones.

You'd be hard pressed to find a band that can replicate the harmonies and catchiness of 60's British invasion rock better than The Resonars. Throughout this album's 14 tracks it's really impressive to listen to the way the vocals are layered and the songs are crafted. I would personally still start off with Crummy Desert Sound as the first Resonars record to buy, but if you have that and are ready to hear more, this might be the next best option rather than trying to figure out which of the band's many other releases should be picked up next.

The Resonars - The Greatest Songs Of...:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

ИO​​/​​​/​​​/​​sé - Beach Bathroom Bingo 7" - Blue Vinyl (/100)

1859 / Different Kitchen (2013)

Since I wrote about the ИO​​/​​​/​​​/​​sé full length yesterday, I figured I'd keep it going and take a picture of their brand new 7" as well. Seeing people talk about this 7" is actually what made me hunt down the full length. Luckily, I wasn't a year late to this one and was able to secure a copy of the limited to 100 copies blue vinyl version.

Musucally, this 7" picks up right where the LP left off; fast downstroke heavy songs with amazing hooks. I mentioned Wipers, The Marked Men & Leatherface yesterday and those comparisons all hold true, though this time out I also heard some more vocal similarities to some of the shoutier Plow United songs. Any way you want to compare it, this is one hell of a 7" and it should be picked up right away.

ИO​​/​​​/​​​/​​sé - Beach Bathroom Bingo 7":

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

ИO​/​/​/​sé - S/T LP - Test Pressing (/10)

Rotten To The Core / Challenge The Throne (2012)

Every year I miss at least one amazing record. No matter how many records I buy, no matter how carefully I try to pay attention to what is going on, I always miss something incredible. 2012 was the year I missed ИO​/​/​/​sé. I'm lucky I figured it out and have this fantastic record in my collection, but the bigger problem is that I missed the colored vinyl version. No excuses, I just blew it. I've made up for it slightly by being able to pick up a copy of the test pressing on Discogs for a really cheap price, but I don't collect test pressings. In fact I'll trade this to someone for the regular colored vinyl version if anyone out there wants to make a deal.

As for the record itself, it's just perfect. Loud, fast, full of hooks. It's like The Marked Men meets The Wipers meets Leatherface. Start to finish, it's just a hurricane of a record and I only wish I could have been listening to it for a whole year as opposed to just the last month. The regular pressing is still out there and I give my highest possible recommendation. This would have been a top 5 record last year, had I been smart enough to buy it right away. Again, help me find the colored vinyl version!

ИO​/​/​/​sé - S/T:

Monday, November 25, 2013

People's Temple - Brand New Thing 7" - Purple Vinyl (/500)

Trouble In Mind (2013)

I wasn't expecting too much going into this 7" as I wasn't really the biggest fan of the People's Temple full length that came out on HoZac earlier in the year. I was mostly picking up this 7" to keep my Trouble in Mind singles collection complete. While certainly not a record I see myself going back to over and over again, I ended up liking the songs more than I anticipated.

In particular the A-side, "Brand New Thing," builds a gentle vocal melody over the strumming of acoustic guitars. Not ground shattering, but it's a nice simple song that doesn't fall into any of the cheesy psych cliches that so many bands are doing these days. While I wouldn't call it a must buy or anything, it's a nice little record to just kick back and relax to.

People's Temple - Brand New Thing:

Friday, November 22, 2013

Maniac - Dim Sum 7" - White Vinyl (/150)

La-Ti-Da (2013)

This 7" is the latest from the La-Ti-Da singles club from 2013. While the label doesn't really get the press or notoriety of some of the other singles clubs out there, I really can't think of one that puts out a never ending stream of stellar records like La-Ti-Da. Sure, you can buy the records individually as well, but let's be honest, how do you not sign up for the subscription and get the limited colored vinyl?

Maniac is another hit for La-Ti-Da. The A-side, "Dim Sum," builds shorts bursts of drawled vocals over a Rocket-From-The-Crypt-On-A-Rope-esque guitar riff. The B-side "Pepe" slows things down just a bit, but really shines with a lead guitar driven singalong anthem. This isn't a band I was familiar with prior to receiving this 7" and I don't know that I would have heard of them or bought it otherwise, but that's the joy in subscribing to a singles series like this. I love being surprised with great music.

Maniac - Dim Sum 7":

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Radioactivity - Back To Me 7" - Yellow Vinyl (/100)

Alien Snatch (2013)

Since I spent all that time raving about the new Radioactivity full length yesterday, I figured I may as well just keep that theme going and write about the accompanying 7" that came out on Germany's Alien Snatch records. Like the full length, there was a limited version on yellow vinyl, in this case limited to 100 copies and only available via mailorder direct from Alien Snatch. It's hard to tell if they're still available from the label, but if you are interested, I'd hit them up quick.

On the record we have 2 songs, one a repeat from the full length. The 2 new songs would fit in perfectly on the album. Fast, catchy, all the cliche words I use over and over to describe the records I truly love. Even though buying records from Germany can result in paying more for this 7" than you pay for the actual full length due to the postage costs, it's just so worth it even to get 2 more songs. I will, without question, continue to buy everything this band puts out.

Radioactivity - Back to Me:

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Radioactivity - S/T LP - Black Vinyl & Yellow Vinyl (/300)

Dirtnap (2013)

Yesterday I wrote about Mind Spiders, Mark Ryan from The Marked Men's current band. Today, it's time for Radioactivity. Radioactivity is the brainchild of the other primary singer from The Marked Men; Jeff Burke. While Mind Spiders have carved out a path distinct from The Marked Men's prior work, Radioactivity embraces, expands and sometimes even improves on The Marked Men's legacy.

Much like the Lennon/McCartney debates of yore, there have always been those that have discussed the Ryan/Burke dynamic. Both incredible song writers, responsible for one of the best bands of the last decade. But everyone has their slight preferences. I've always been a Burke guy. Not that Mark Ryan hasn't contributed flawless songs to The Marked Men catalog, it's just that Jeff's have always hit home with me just a bit more. Having an entire album full of these songs is like a dream come true.

This record sounds like a greatest hits album. It combines the best aspects of The Marked Men with the best aspects of Jeff's other band The Potential Johns and still manages to create moments that surprise you with their greatness. Song after song of insane hooks, fuzzy, but melodic vocals and driving guitar with riff changes that you don't see coming, but always work perfectly.

Flat out, this album is simply awesome. 2013 has been an incredible year for music and I've gone on and on about how this record has been one of the best and that record has been one of the best. Well, this is instant top 5 of the year. Realistically it's top 3 and a strong case could be made for the best album of the year. Any other year it probably could be, but 2013 was just unusually packed with great, great records.

Radioactivity - S/T:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Mind Spiders - Inhumanistic - Red Vinyl (/300)

Dirtnap (2013)

This is the 3rd Mind Spiders album in the last 3 years, and without question is the best one to date. More straightforward than the others, it really showcases Mark Ryan's strength as a songwriter and how he's updated his sound to keep this project different from The Marked Men. Now, that being said, I will likely compare everything this man does to his work in The Marked Men and that comparison will always probably favor his old band just due to my person taste in music. I understand why Mark would want to strike out and create a band that stands alone and Inhumanistic is about as complete of a success you could achieve doing this.

This iteration of Mind Spiders will appeal to Jay Reatard fans, as you can hear similarities to what Jay was doing in 2008 when the Matador singles were being released. While the songs all have strong hooks, they're kept a little subdued, almost mechanical, and that creates a an interesting vibe throughout.

If you've been lukewarm about Mind Spiders in the past, this record is absolutely worth giving another chance and if you've been a fan previously, Inhumanistic will stand as their crowning achievement thus far. Some of the weirder rambling of the past have been jettisoned in favor of a lean, straight shooting album. Hopefully in 2014, it'll be 4 straight years of Mind Spiders records.

Mind Spiders - Inhumanistic:

Monday, November 18, 2013

Obits - Refund (Live) - 7"

Obits - Refund (Live) - 7" by Tim PopKid
Obits - Refund (Live) - 7", a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.

Sub Pop (2013)

This 7" came with the last Obits album bed & Bugs when you pre-ordered direct from Sub Pop. I think it also came with the record and some indie stores too. I like that Sub Pop has really embraced the colored vinyl + bonus stuff when you pre-order. I like buying my records direct from the label the releases them, so it's just more of an incentive to do that.

This 7" is a nice little freebie, but it's nothing special. Live versions of previously released Obits songs. Nothing to write home bout and nothing that I'll probably listen to all that much, but a perfectly acceptable free bonus. If nothing else, it beats the hell out of that crummy free 7" that came with the last Superchunk record, that's for sure.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Wynona Riders - Some Enchanted Evening 7"

Lookout (1992)

Wynona Rides were a band that I didn't listen to much when they were kicking around the first time. Though I saw their records everywhere, particularly this 7", I was just never motivated to add them to the collection. When I was in Chicago, this popped up in a used bin and I figured it was time to give them another chance. I've ended up being wrong about an awful lot of other 90's bands.

Listening to this record, I can certainly appreciate it more now than I did then. It has that quintessential 90's punk rock sound in the way it was recorded. This songs are tight, reasonably catchy and 20 years later, it's a real breath of fresh air. On the other hand, I can see why it didn't grab me back in the 90's. The singer gets a bit shouty here and there. The songs in general are not packed full of the sugary hooks that so many of the other Lookout bands that I liked at the time had. Though certainly not depressing or evil sounding in any way; the songs are a bit darker than some of their peers.

All in all, it's a pretty decent record. I'm glad I gave the band another chance and I'll probably pick up their lone full length if I ever see a good deal on it.

Wynona Riders - Childhood Game:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Jacco Gardner - End Of August - Green Vinyl (/500)

Trouble In Mind (2013)

This is the 2nd single that Trouble In Mind has released from Jacco Gardner. While it's certainly not my favorite kind of music out there, I can say that it is infinitely more listenable than his previous offering. Jacco is playing really laid back, ornate psych-pop, but has toned things down a little, to his benefit.

"End of August" seems like it could have been written by a more subdued Donovan who decided to tinker around with some more vocal effects. The B-side "Notus" is an instrumental that while not a spectacular showcase for Jacco's musicianship; is still a reasonably interesting wander. It's actually a very good pair with the "End of August" A-side as it too kind of conveys a gradual change-of-seasons kind of tone.

Not my favorite Trouble In Mind record, but better than I thought it would be based on how I felt about his prior 7".

Jacco Gardner - End Of August:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

No Knife - Seven Inches 7"

No Knife - Seven Inches 7" by Tim PopKid
No Knife - Seven Inches 7", a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.

Goldenrod (1994)

This was actually sent to me by someone that reads this website. He noticed that this record is on my want list (which you can see by clicking on the link over on the left hand side of the page). For reasons I'll never understand, he just sent me the record for free! I highly encourage others to follow in this trend and send me records on my want list for free.
Thanks Todd, you're the best!

No Knife is another one of those great 90's San Diego bands. The records that were being pumped out of that city back then are some of my very favorite. No Knife's Drunk On The Moon was especially great. The A-side of this 7", "Habits," is also on that album, though I'm pretty sure the B-side "Oh I..." is exclusive to this release.

Both are prime examples of No Knife's really unique songwriting. They both have so many riffs and changes crammed into each song, It's crazy to think of a few guys sitting down to write songs like this. While so many parts can make some songs by other bands sound confused or muddled; No Knife are simply masterful at weaving together all of the parts into tight and cohesive songs. You really should pick up all of their full lengths if you don't already have them.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Terry Malts - Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere - Cream Vinyl

Slumberland (2013)

I first heard of Terry Malts due to the Windian 7" Box Set that came out last year. Terry Malts were not the reason I bought the set, but they were the surprise of the bunch, the band I'd never heard of before, but the one that impressed me the most. When I saw their new album was coming out on Slumberland, I jumped on the pre-order to make sure I got the limited color vinyl. I can't find pressing info for it anywhere, but it does appear to be sold out at this point.

What Terry Malts do best is they manage to keep a fuzzy garage aesthetic without going overboard. You can here the grit and honesty of the recording, but it's not used to cover up anything. The band's upbeat blown out guitar mixed with the Madness-esque, baritone vocals give Terry Malts a very unique identity. In a world filled with cartoon character, high pitched nasal vocals, this is a band that stands out.

The record isn't perfect, and to be honest I find the song "They're Feeding" completely irritating with it's non stop repetitive two-word chorus. But as a whole, Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere provides way more highs than lows and is a definitely a record worth picking up if you like your garage with a dash of pop, but still rough around the edges.

Terry Malts - I Was Not There:

Friday, November 8, 2013

Wide Angles - Boxcutter 7"

Wide Angles - Boxcutter 7" by Tim PopKid
Wide Angles - Boxcutter 7", a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.

No Breaks (2011)

Buying records like I do is sure to result in the occasional brain fart. This 7" is a prime example of that. I didn't realize that I hadn't bought it. I know that sounds ridiculous, but somewhere in the back of my head I thought I picked this up back when it came out in 2011. It's a logical assumption considering how much I liked the band's first 7". When I was in Chicago, I picked up the Wide Angles split 7" with The Brokedowns (review coming soon) and that's when I realized this wasn't in my collection already.

Wide Angles is a phenomenal band. Their full length from last year is still in heavy rotation for me. The combine gruff, but melodic vocals with dynamic guitar work and good old fashion Midwest punk rock. The songs on here are every bit as good as their full length and if you value my opinion on music at all, every Wide Angles record should be in your collection.

Sadly, that won't be a particularly tough thing to do as when I was searching to make sure of the year this 7" was released, I discovered Wide Angles has broken up. Truly sad. Looks like 2 of the folks are already in a new band called Closed Mouths. I really hope they carry on the greatness they started with Wide Angles.

Wide Angles - Boxcutter 7"

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Morgan Delt - Barbarian Kings 7" - Purple Vinyl (/500)

Trouble In Mind (2013)

Another pick up from the folks over at Trouble In Mind records. It's probably well known that it is my intention to buy every one of their singles on colored vinyl. I've had a good run of it so far; though I can't say I end up liking every release that they put out. I tend to lean towards the garage and power pop bands they work with, but Morgan Delt isn't part of that crew.

Morgan Delt is playing a low key, laid back dreamy form of psychedelic rock that's just completely lost on me. I can appreciate the bands that have that Sgt. Pepper's era psych vibe to them with tons of harmonies and wacky instruments going on in the background, but Morgan Delt simply isn't that interesting. The vocals are monotone and washed out. The songs themselves are so slow. It feels like music that would be played in a movie when one of the characters is having a weird dream.

Though I love the label and their 7" singles; Barbarian Kings is not a record I would buy if I wasn't trying to keep the collection complete.

Morgan Delt - Barbarian Kings 7"

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Red Dons - Notes On The Underground 7"

Grave Mistake (2013)

Now typically, I really would have gone straight to the label and ordered the new Red Dons 7" direct from them so I could have picked up the limited colored vinyl version. But I was already ordering from Green Noise records and needed to come up with 4 more dollars to qualify for free shipping. This 7" was just sitting there, begging me to buy it. So I did. Perhaps a bit of me as a variant hunter died today, but I think that's probably overstating things a little.

The 7" itself is fantastic, as one would expect from Red Dons. They are one of the most consistent bands I've known these last few years, churning out their distinct dark, downstroke heavy punk rock. You can probably liken them to The Wipers or The Estranged or maybe Hot Snakes a little, but Red Dons have an edge when it comes to writing hooks over all of these bands.

It's been quite a while since Red Dons had a new full length, and though they've had some great 7"s, I'm certainly ready for a new LP. Hopefully the band is working on one right now. I'll definitely go out of my way to get the wacky variant of that when it comes out.

Red Dons - Notes On The Underground 7":

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Kent State - The Wrong Side Of History LP - Blue Vinyl (/100)

Debt Offensive (2013)

I don't get many records sent to me to review, and I understand why. This site is pretty much just meant to give me an outlet to talk about all of the records I buy. Naturally, I wish more labels sent me free records, especially when I'm unable to grab some thing I really want due to budgetary restrictions, but that's not why I do this. I do get the occasional record for review. Typically 7"s and I always get excited that a like minded soul sent me something. It's very rare to get an LP so, when this Kent State record showed up, I was even more amped.

This LP collects a few out of print Kent State cassette only releases. This is something I applaud, let's get those cassettes on vinyl. The band is playing psyched out rock songs that at times, really shine, but at times get lost in the swirling wavy production. There's a thick pile of fuzz on top of all the vocals and there are a few songs where the band lets things get a little too out of hand for my taste; with guitar solo led tangents into even more distortion.

The songs that are a bit more straightforward are the ones that stand out to me like "Disconnected" and "Crashing Satellites." I can't help but feel if the band toned down the effects just a bit, there would be some truly great songs on this record.

But honestly, that's more my burden. Even though the psych revival isn't really my thing, I know a ton of folks that love this stuff and it's definitely one of the better psych leaning records I've heard. If nothing else, the band has a passion and an energy that really takes over this album. A lot of bands sound like they're just going through the motions, Kent State doesn't fall into this. The Wrong Side Of History feels like a great deal of thought and care went into crafting every sound on the record.

Kent State - The Wrong Side Of History:

Friday, November 1, 2013

Space Wolves - IV Cassette

Space Wolves - IV Cassette by Tim PopKid
Space Wolves - IV Cassette, a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.

UT Records (2013)

Yes, to start, I wish this was an LP and not a cassette. That out of the way? Good, because I love this little cassette. It was sent to me to review for this website and as it stands right now, is probably the best thing I've been sent to date. It's an album full of high pitched guitar and great harmonies.

Space Wolves have something of a 60's throwback vibe to them, and you can tell they're kindred spirits with the garage rock enthusiasts out there. But rather than burying their songs in fuzz and frantic drumming, Space Wolves slow things down just a tad, keep the recording crystal clear and as a result their songs simply shine. Sure it's November now, but this is a perfect springtime record.

Other than the fact that this is a tape, the one other thing that jumps out is quite a few of the songs on this tape fade out, rather than just end. I always thought that sounded a little weird. My friend Alan used to ask if we are supposed to assume that the band is just getting smaller? Always thought that was funny. Lastly, for a band releasing albums on cassette, it's totally weird that they have a song dedicated to how much they hate 10" records because they get lost in their LP collection. Ditch the cassette format and then you can complain all you want!

Space Wolves - IV:

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Paperhead - Pictures Of Her Demise 7" - Purple Vinyl

Trouble In Mind (2012)

I have made it my goal to have a complete collection of all of the 7"s that Trouble In Mind releases on colored vinyl. I've kept up so far, but there was 1 hole in my collection, this Paperhead 7". I think I must have just gotten confused by the picture sleeve when it came out. Since all of the other TIM singles were released in their custom paper sleeves, I thought this was a reissue or something, so I didn't grab it when it came out. Once I figured out what I missed, I was reluctant to try to buy it online thinking I'd end up with black vinyl.

Luckily when I was in Chicago, I found this copy on purple vinyl at Permanent Records, so my collection is complete. For now. The record itself is ok. The psych revival thing isn't my favorite musical movement going on right now. Both songs on this record sound like hippie era Beatles songs, but the ones that weren't quite as catchy. The haze laden vocals do sound straight out of the 60's, but it just seems like a novelty thing to me. Not bad, and one of the better psych releases I've heard lately, but just not my scene.

The Paperhead - Pictures Of Her Demise:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Impossibles - Return LP

Time Bomb (2000)

The late 1990s / early 2000s produced a handful of slick, but fun guitar pop bands. I'm thinking of The Stereo's first album, the 2nd Ultimate Fakebook record and I will lump Return by The Impossibles in that mix. Though not nearly as consistent of a record from start to end, the highs on Return are really high. The record starts off with "Enter/Return" which is likely the best song the band ever wrote. With it's descending guitar riff verse and gigantic sing along chorus, it really showcases what the band is capable of.

There are other good songs throughout the album, and certainly nothing on this record is bad, but it's probably just a tier lower than the aforementioned Stereo or Ultimate Fakebook releases.

I've had the CD since 2000 , but I have been keeping an eye out for the vinyl at a good price. Iit seemed every time I saw it for sale it went in the $50 range. I finally came across one on eBay much cheaper because the seller had listed it as another band, but the picture showed this record. Quite happy to have picked this up for less than half what I usually see it for. There are rumblings that the band may re-release this record at some point, but I'm kind of impatient when it comes to records.

The Impossibles - Enter/Return:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Survival Knife - Divine Mob 7" - Gold Vinyl (/100)

Kill Rock Stars (2013)

It's pretty interesting to see members of Unwound with a new project right as their back catalog is in the process of being reissued. It provides an extra excuse to listen to them side by side and really see how things have changed. This is the 2nd Survival Knife 7", the first having come out on Sub Pop a few months ago. The first 100 of these were on gold vinyl direct from Kill Rock Stars.

The 2 songs have to be judged separately in my opinion. the title track "Divine Mob" is just fantastic. Loud, fast-ish, with lots of 90's sounding guitar leads, Justin Trosper's distinct vocals and even a well placed pick slide for good measure. Everything I want to hear from this band.

The B-side, "Snakebit," doesn't strike me the same way. From it's plodding Neon Genesis Evangelion "Angles Attack" guitar riff (now that's a nerdy music comparison for you) to the fact that Justin's not even singing the song, it's the first rack I've heard form this band that I didn't immediately love. I feel like it could work being a one-off within the context of a full album, but as a 50/50 showcase with "Divine Mob," it just pales in comparison.

Still, the A-side is so good I would recommend picking this 7" up without hesitation.

Survival Knife - Divine Mob:

Monday, October 28, 2013

eBay - 10/28/13

I'm selling some records on eBay to fund buying some more records. Some of these I bought and didn't like, some were freebies thrown in when I ordered something else, some are records I have more than 1 copy of, some of them, honestly, I have no idea how they ended up in my collection. There's some legitimate good records in this list, and there's some crap too. But what I can say is none of the records on this list were sent to me to review, I have scruples people! But please check out the list and bid on some stuff. It'll help me buy more records to write about here. Everything starts at 99 cents. Thanks!

Nude Beach - What Can You Do 7"

Other Music (2013)

2 new songs by Nude Beach following up their 2012 full length. II was one of my favorite records from last year and this 7" is another example of why I like this band so much. Nude Beach follows in the footsteps of classic rock bands like Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, but manage to add in enough of their own contemporary indie/punk references to not sound sound like some cheesy cover band your dad would go see.

The A Side builds off of a choppy start/stop guitar riff and layers on noodling lead guitar with strong vocals way up front in the mix. The verse builds into an anthem of a chorus which segues into the obligatory zippy guitar solo during the instrumental break down. A standard song formula, but when it's pulled off flawlessly, there's nothing better. B Side, "I'm Giving Up" takes down the energy a bit but still retains the hooks that makes Nude Beach great.

This is a worthy 7" to pick up if you're looking to give the band a chance, but I still recommend their 2nd album II if you're ready to jump in with both feet.

Nude Beach - What Can You Do:

Friday, October 25, 2013

Broccoli / Pinto - Split 7" - 3 Cover Variations

Speedowax (2013)

Rich from Speedowax Records is absolutely going to drive me to the nut house one of these days. Don't get me wrong, he's a great guy that I've known forever and his label puts out some stellar releases, but all of these variants...geez! At this point, I'm half convinced he keeps making Broccoli variants just to see if I keep buying every version. Well, he's right, I will keep buying every version because Broccoli is one of my absolute, all time favorite bands.

This split originally came out a while ago, and for those of you keeping track these are the 5th, 6th & 7th versions of the record now in my collection. The 2 Broccoli songs are every bit as good now as the first day I heard them, in their Leatherface-but-smoother style. Always thought Pinto was OK too, but they're unfortunately way overshadowed by Broccoli. I really encourage everyone to buy as many Broccoli albums as they can. Their 2nd full length called Home is one of my top 5 albums of all time.

Broccoli - The Tens:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pretty Girls Make Graves - Speakers Push The Air 7"

Dim Mak (2002)

Another cheapo used bin find in Chicago. This is me actually re-buying a 7" that I used to have. Pretty Girls Make Graves put out 3 albums, a 12" and a few 7"s. In all that clatter they have exactly 2 songs that I like, 1 of which I think is borderline great; "Speakers Push The Air." So for me, it was worth picking up this 7" again to have that 1 song.

The reason I sold my original copy of this record was because I had it as part of a pretty limited 3x7" set that came in a nice screened box set. It really was cool looking, but it was also limited to 140 copies, so back when I was still scraping together a living in the music industry I ended up selling it for $150. It was just way too much money to turn down to keep 2 songs I liked (coincidentally the 2nd song is also on this 7"; "If You Hate Your Friends, You're Not Alone").

While $150 was too much to turn down to part with it; $3 is a perfectly acceptable amount to pay to put the song back in my collection.

Pretty Girls Make Graves - Speakers Push The Air:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Rail - Rolling Little Joe 7"

Front Porch (1994)

I found this record digging through used bins in Chicago and decided to take a chance on it. I bought it in the hopes that it was the same Rail that did a split 7" with the band Wisher on Snuffy Smiles records many moons ago. Unfortunately, this seems to be a different band, but fortunately it's still a pretty good little 7".

Rolling Little Joe came out in 1994 and as soon as these 3 songs start playing, it just reeks of the 90's. I mean that in the best possible way, the 90's were a pretty spectacular time to be a punk leaning band with pop hooks and Rail falls right into that category. The songs tend to be mid tempo with big guitars and really strong vocals. While I couldn't find any from this record online to stream, I did find out a bit more about this band. Looks like they have at least 2 more 7"s and I'll probably grab them if I ever see them floating around.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mrs Magician - B Sides LP - Murky Clear Vinyl

Thrill Me (2013)

I''ve made it no secret that Strange Heaven by Mrs. Magician was my absolute favorite record of last year and I've gone so far as to say it's probably the best record I've heard in the past 5 years or so. I have played it so many times, and each time, I love it just a bit more. While the band is working on their new full length, they decided to clear house of some old tunes and put out this B Sides LP.

The name is a bit misleading, I think, but not in a bad way. There's really only 2 songs on this record that were ever released before. "Fool's Paradise" from a picture disc 7" and "Dispicable Things" from their tour split with The Night Marchers. Everything else on this record is previously unreleased (well, I suppose some may be on compilations that I don't have or know about).

From what I gather several songs from here were songs that were originally intended for Mrs. Magician's debut full length Pity Party Animal. That record was eventually scrapped and Strange Heaven came out in its place, but the songs on B Sides show a glimpse of what may have been.

In general, the songs on this LP are not quite as polished as what's on Strange Heaven; you can tell the Swami sheen isn't as bright and noticeable. But this band writes some simply amazing songs. "Tabloids" is a mid paced ode to a falling socialite. "Get Bent" ups the speed and has one of the band's trademark bouncy choruses and "I Hate Tour" spins the tale of a bummer of a trip to El Paso. You are not going to find better lyrics than you will on a Mrs. Magician record. It's just that perfect balance of self deprecating wit and wisdom.

Once again, Mrs. Magician have put out an essential album. It's not as quite good as Strange Heaven, so few things out there could be, but it's a fantastic record in its own right and absolutely one worth grabbing.

Mrs Magician - B Sides LP:

Monday, October 21, 2013

Obits - Bed & Bugs - Orange Vinyl

Sub Pop (2013)

From the first moments of lead track "Taste The Difff," I can tell that I'm going to be pleased with this newest Obits record. While I really enjoyed their first record, their 2nd, Moody Standard & Poor, didn't hold up as well for me. Though that album certainly had its moments, I couldn't help feeling that something was missing. I think what it was is the sort of energy that the band manages to channel on Bed & Bugs.

The guitars are a bit louder, the drumming is more aggressive and Rick Froberg's vocals have once again become the driving force for the majority of the songs. Rick's back to a little good old fashion yelling on several songs and you can really hear the passion in his voice. Sure, I'm not as into the track "Besetchet," a cover from the Ethiopiques series, and yes, "Machines" grinds the album to a screeching halt, but the vast majority of this record is a fast paced, reverb soaked delight.

I've been following this band since one of their early shows was bootlegged and shared over at the Swami message board. I was on board for I Blame You. I enjoyed Moody Standard & Poor, though I didn't love it. Bed & Bugs is easily the band's best record and most consistent collection of songs to date. It's definitely worth checking out, even if you've been lukewarm on any of their previous work.

Obits - Bed & Bugs:

Friday, October 18, 2013

Submarine Races - Talking Loud 7"

Shit Sandwich (2006)

This was another 7" recommended to me by @swamipat during our trip record shopping in Chicago. I trust his taste and the artwork looked good, so I snapped it up. Plus it as only $2 used, so not much of a risk really. The minimal risk paid off big though.

This is a really fun little 7". Submarine Races craft shimmering summertime songs that are tinged slightly in reverb. The tracks on here are driven by bouncy guitar riffs and catchy leads. The borderline 60's surfy vocals are the perfect pairing with the music. It's just a glorious record to put on as summer is fading away so you can try to hold on to the season just a bit more.

Submarine Races has a couple of LPs out in addition to Talking Loud and if they are as good as this 7", I need to put them on my shopping list. Anyone have a recommendation on which full length to start with?

Cant find any of these songs streaming anywhere, sorry.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dead Mechanical - OK Night LP - Blue Vinyl (/100)

Toxic Pop (2013)

I reviewed the Insub Fest Test Pressing Early Bird Fun Time version of this record back in July (, but now that I have received the full art, limited to 100 blue vinyl version, well, I have to say a few words about it as well. Before I go any further, somehow Toxic Pop still has a handful of the blue vinyl version for sale on their website. I cannot fathom how, but they do. You really, really should go buy it right away:

Now, about this record. Though I did gush quite a bit about OK Night in my initial review, the past few months have only strengthened how I feel about Dead Mechanical. I will say it again, as far as punk rock bands go, they are probably just about the best there is out there right now. They play a raspy vocal, urgent punk rock with nods to Jawbreaker & Leatherface, but they don't (and I cannot stress this enough) sound like another carbon copy No Idea band (not that there's anything wrong with those No Idea bands).

Dead Mechanical have elevated the form and weave powerful lyrics into their dynamic guitar driven rock. Anyone who knows me knows that John Reis & Rocket From the Crypt related bands have pretty much been my favorite thing for the last 20 years or so. This Dead Mechanical record is so good, it's really looking like it could push the Night Marchers out of my #1 record of the year spot. Now that is high praise from me.

Dead Mechanical - OK Night LP: