Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Record Store Day Haul #6: Superchunk - Void/Faith 7" - Coke Bottle Clear Vinyl (/1000)

Merge (2013)

Superchunk has just been on an absolute tear these past few years. Everything they touch turns to gold and this Record Store Day 7" is no exception. Two trademark Superchunk punched up pop songs once again just making me freak out waiting for their next full length.

This actually ended up being the record I was most worried about acquiring on Record Store Day. Though I spent most of my time in line at the store fretting about the Rocket From The Crypt reissues; when the guy in front of me got the last copy of the Superchunk 7" I went into panic mode. It seemed that most of the other folks I had been talking too around the country over the course of the day were running into similar issues (though one of them managed to snag me the Giant Henry LP with what seemed like minimal hassle).

Luckily my friend @polianarchy in Philadelphia managed to score this 7" for me and I am super grateful to her. I have a pretty hefty Superchunk 7" collection and it would have been a real shame for there to be one missing. And no one really wants to buy a brand new 2 day old record for collector prices on eBay, do they? Well, I don't anyway. Thanks #TeamSwami!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Record Store Day Haul #5: The Thermals - Desperate Ground Demos 7"

Saddle Creek (2013)

Though The Thermals are one of my favorite bands, they've never really done anything on record store day that's very special. In fact, the vast majority of their 7"s in general are kind of similar. Album tracks & demos for the most part. I just get the feeling that they never really embraced the format as anything other than an album teaser. There's nothing inherently wrong with that; but it just makes collecting their 7"s more like collecting baseball cards as I almost never listen to any of them.

Their Record Store Day 2013 release is more of the same. 4 demo versions of 4 songs from their latest album. Honestly, it's not a really stark difference from the final product as Desperate Ground is one of the more lo fi sounding records in their catalog as it is. It was very important for me to get this record as I need to keep my Thermals collection complete, I just wish they would do something really cool and exclusive one year. Heck, even a 7" full of covers or something would have far more replay value than demos. Maybe next year.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Record Store Day Haul #4: Samiam - Clumsy LP - Red Vinyl (/1500)

Siren Culling Series (2013)

I completely blew it and missed the boat on Samiam back in the 90's. I couldn't really even tell you why. I think I heard a song or two that I didn't like and then completely wrote off the entire band's catalog. I really just never listened to them. Well, I screwed that up pretty good, because Samiam are pretty stellar.

I am lucky as just about all of Samiam's full lengths have recently been or are in the process of being reissued. Clumsy was a Record Store Day 2013 release on red vinyl, limited to 1500 copies. It was one of the top wants on my list this year and I was able to grab a copy without incident.

The record itself is great. Clumsy was Samiam's major label debut, and it sounds like one. The production is maybe a bit glossier than I typically go for, but considering what else was coming out at the time, it makes total sense and I actually think it helps the songs shine even more. What really struck me about the record is how much it reminds me of Goosefair by China Drum. Maybe not as much as far as songwriting goes (as I think China Drum is just one of the all time greatest bands), but certainly in the way the album, especially the vocals, sound.

This is probably an ass backwards reference and I'm sure this would be a statement more useful in trying to get people to listen to China Drum than it is a way to describe Samiam. Regardless, this is a great record and I am full bore on the hunt to grab the rest of the Samiam discography.

Samiam - As We're Told:

Samiam - Capsized:

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Record Store Day Haul #3: Stephen Malkmus - Can's Ege Bamyasi LP -Green Vinyl

Matador (2013)

This record was $30. This single LP record was $30. That's my big takeaway from this album, that I cannot believe it was selling in the store for $30. I didn't even notice it was this expensive. In the fray that is Record Store Day morning, I was just having my want list filled as quickly as possible and was rushing out of the first store so I could get in line at the 2nd store. It wasn't until much later in the afternoon that I noticed how much I paid for this record. There's just no justification for this price.

On the plus side, the art is nice and the colored vinyl looks good. The cover is a screened (printed?) fold over so it does create one of my big pet peeves; no album spine. But it does look nice.

Musically it's OK. It's a live performance of Stephen Malkmus playing some Can songs. I can't say I've ever really cared that much for Can and I'm certainly not intimately familiar with any of their work. The songs that Malkmus cover range from interesting to tedious. There's a few upbeat songs that actually have some basic pop song structure to them, but there is also a great deal of meandering and shrill guitar noodling. Some good, some bad.

At the end of the day, I do like the fact that I was able to pick up this record and add it to the collection, but I just can't get over how unnecessarily expensive it was. I just feel like I got rooked and played like a sucker for Record Store Day. I understand that some of the records are going to be somewhat overpriced (there's a lot of people trying to get their hands in the cookie jar), but this one I can't justify.

Stephen Malkmus - I'm So Green:

Stephen Malkmus - Vitamin C:

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Record Store Day Haul #2: Rocket From The Crypt - Live From Camp X-RayLP -Orange w/ Black Splatter Vinyl (/500)

Vagrant (2013)

Second of the two records that put me in line in front of a record store at 3:30 in the morning. Getting this and Group Sounds were the absolute number one priorities of my Record Store Day and I consider myself quite lucky to have grabbed them both. In particular I think Live From Camp X-Ray looks phenomenal.

I was so excited about this record when it originally came out and I still love it today. It's just a fast, rough blast of rock and roll. No frills, no waiting around; just an all out assault. I remember some folks complaining that the record was too short or that they didn't like the recording quality and little complaints like that, but I've always loved it. To me, there's just something to be said about an album like this that's just short, too the point and LOUD.

Sound quality wise; again I can tell very little difference from the first pressing. It's possible the bass has been upped every so slightly, but really there's not much of a difference that I can hear. Where this record really gets me is the colored vinyl. Orange with Black Splatter is such a great compliment to the artwork, so cheers to whoever came up with this idea. I think it's one of the best matched vinyl colors to artwork that I own. If you can find one of these, I don't see how you don't pick it it.

Rocket From The Crypt - I'm Not Invisible:

Rocket From The Crypt - I Can't Feel My Head:

Rocket From The Crypt - Bring Us Bullets:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Record Store Day Haul #1: Rocket From The Crypt - Group Sounds LP -White w/ Yellow Splatter Vinyl (/500)

Vagrant (2013)

I'll start off the Record Store Day scores with the first of the two records I wanted the most. The two Rocket From The Crypt reissues are pretty much the reason that I got in line at a record store at 3:30 in the morning. I then spent the next 4 1/2 hours trying to figure out if the people in line in front of me were going to get these LPs before I had the chance. Though admittedly kind of stupid of me, I was so stressed out the whole time I waited. But my luck held out and I managed to get Group Sounds and Live At Camp X-Ray (which I'll write about tomorrow).

Group Sounds hit at such a perfect time for me. I was done with college, I was just starting to find my place at the job in the music industry I had started and it had just felt like forever since the last Rocket album had come out. I heard Group Sounds about a month or two before release date. I actually walked to the office of another promotion company that we were working with to pick up a copy and bring it back to the office. I just remember being blown out of my chair from the very second Straight American Slave hit.

This record is just so tough. It's loud, it's brazen, it's just one of the most intense records floating around out there. Every song on here just makes me want to jump around like a mad man (which I did at many, many Rocket From The Crypt shows) until the very last song; Ghost Shark. Ghost Shark is just a perfect slow, creepy album closer that lets you catch you breath and gather your wits about you before moving on to whatever you're about to do next.

The Record Store Day reissue sounds really good. I'm not really sure if they've made any changes to the audio quality as compared to my original press, but both sound great to me. The white vinyl with yellow streaks/splatter looks especially cool as I've always been a sucker for white vinyl. The whole package looks great, and being limited to 500 copies makes me extremely glad I was able to track one down. Tomorrow we'll talk Live From Camp X-Ray.

Rocket From The Crypt - Straight American Slave:

Rocket From The Crypt - Savoir Faire:

Rocket From The Crypt - Ghost Shark:

Monday, April 22, 2013

Record Store Visit: Princeton Record Exchange - Princeton, NJ -04/20/13 (RSD13)

This will also be doubling as my post about the various Record Store Day hijinks that took place this past Saturday. Though Princeton Record Exchange was the 2nd store I visited for Record Store Day, I have already done a store profile on the first store I went to. For that reason we'll start with Princeton, even though it makes me tell the days events out of order.

The Princeton Record Exchange was always the store that was a rare treat for me when I was younger. It was easily the store that was furthest away from me, but was still within range to get to. It took an hour each way driving commitment; so we didn't get out there a lot. What Princeton was great for then (and maybe still now but I don't go in that section as much anymore) was used CDs. They were so cheap and so plentiful. I can only assume they were siphoning promos from the local campus radio station like crazy as everything was pretty current too.

These days my record buying budget isn't as tight as it was in college, so I tend to stay in the area of the store where my heart truly lies; the vinyl section. They have a really strong selection. A little something of everything. I'm always surprised by the smaller niche bands they manage to stock. I will say that they have always been terrible about 7"s, there's almost none in the entire store, but for LPs they are absolutely worth the trip down.

For Record Store Day 2013, they were the 2nd store we went to. We got there at 9:30am (store opens at 10:00) and were pretty far back in line. I would say there were probably 100 - 150 people ahead of us, but I'm not great at judging the size of a crowd. What I will say is this, Princeton Record Store is terrible at managing Record Store Day.

Rather than keep all of the records behind a counter and get people what they want, they literally make people stand at one end of their Record Store Day section and go down the aisle row by row. You have to flip through every single record to pick out the titles that you want. As you can imagine, this makes the line take FOREVER. Though I was lucky and The Thermals 7" I was waiting in line for all that time was still around by the time I got my turn, it's really just insane to make people get their records in this manner. We arrived at 9:30 and didn't get out of there until nearly 2. Again, I realize there were a lot of people in line, but I think you could have gotten everyone out much quicker if the staff (who are very, very nice) were given more control of the situation.

The line at Vintage Vinyl about an hour before the store opened
Much, much earlier, the day started off at Vintage Vinyl in Fords, NJ. We arrived at 3:30am (store opened at 8:00) and there were already about 15 people in line ahead of us. Frankly, I was shocked there were that many. I figured at worst we'd be 5 or 6 people back that early. We spent the next 4 and a half hours being cold, hungry and trying to figure out if the 15 people ahead of us were also there primarily for the Rocket From The Crypt records. About an hour before go time a TV crew from TV Tokyo showed up and started interviewing people in line. They also ended up in the store, recording some footage there as well.

Once the store opened, they moved at a pretty brisk pace. You give them your list they retrieve your records. Except they really don't do a good job with your list, plus random records aren't behind the counter, they are on a little display stand opposite the counter behind everyone in line. As soon as I walked in the door I saw the 2 RFTC reissues on this rack and bolted over to them. Luckily I got them, but I don't know that I would have if a couple of the people in line ahead of me were paying more attention to the layout of the store.

Once I handed my list in, I had to keep giving it back to them 3 more times as they didn't give me everything on my list after they went through it the first time. I understand they are busy and are trying to move quick, but I had been waiting outside their store for almost 5 hours, the least they could do is make sure I get everything on my list that was actually in stock. I got most of what I wanted except for the Thermals 7" (Vintage didn't get any, but I got that at Princeton) and the Superchunk 7" that the guy in front of me got the very last copy of (Luckily a friend in Philly picked me up a copy of that though - Thanks!).

All in all, despite minor organizational gripes with my stores, I had an amazing time at Record Store Day. Money was spent, records were bought and I took part in a little network of like minded friends across the country & overseas that were all helping each other get the records they wanted (#TeamSwami). I have the nicest, most patient wife in the world and I have a big stack of records to write about in the upcoming weeks; with more on their way from various friends. Can't wait until next year!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Record Store Day Eve - 2013

Rather than write up about a record I've bought recently (and also because I keep turning around to watch the news and can't concentrate on anything enough to review it this morning), I figured it might be interesting to write just a little bit about my excitement for Record Store Day tomorrow.  Considering how I almost didn't care at all last year, I'm pretty excited this time out.  Last year I went in the middle of the day and bought 2 records.  This year I'm lining up in the morning before the store opens and have a list of fun things to grab. Also this year, I'm in communication with a group of other people around the country and we're sharing lists and trying to help each other out  (#TeamSwami).  All in all, I think it's going to be a fun day.

I plan on starting up at Vintage Vinyl in Fords NJ.  Not sure how early I'll be lining up, but certainly before they open.  They'll be opening early enough where, as long as I get in and out quickly, I should be able to hit up a 2nd store after that.  Store number 2 will be the Princeton Record Exchange, which is in Princeton (no shock there).  I've only been to Princeton for Record Store Day once previously, but it was later in the morning after their stock had been picked pretty clean.  I'm hopeful there will be more variety this time out.

As far as records go, there's a lot to buy, that's for sure.  First and foremost are the 2 Rocket From The Crypt LP reissues, Group Sounds & Live From Camp X-Ray.  From the picture I've seen, some pretty awesome looking colored vinyl.  Other record I'm hopeful to find include the Giant Henry LP (Pre-Unwound), Superchunk 7", Thermals 7", Zombies LP and the elusive yearly Trouble In Mind compilation 7".  That's not everything, but it's what I'm most excited for.

I'll be posting a lot on twitter during the day, so follow along if you are interested or avoid me like the plague if you are not.  Then I'll have quite a few more records to write about in the upcoming weeks, and that's always a fun thing.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Office Of Future Plans / Daria - Split 7" - Red Vinyl (/100)

Lovitt (2013)

Split 7" between Office Of Future Plans (w/ J Robbins of Jawbox/Burning Airlines fame) and Daria (A band from France that I'd never heard of before). This 7" has a song by each band and includes a digital download with 2 extra songs by each band. I hate digital only bonus songs, the practice of doing this just drives me nuts. As silly as it sounds, I'd almost prefer the songs not exist. OK, even I'll admit that sounds pretty stupid actually typing that sentence out, but I really wish all 6 songs were available on vinyl. A 10" perhaps?

Anyway, the Office of Future Plans songs are all pretty good. Nothing as good as what's on their full length (which, though I haven't picked up yet, I have listened to and is on my post-record store day to buy list). They're a bit slower in tempo than I favor, but the last song (MP3 only) 24 Doors (a Rifle Sport cover) is a bit louder and probably my favorite of the bunch.

As noted earlier, I was unfamiliar with Daria going into this 7" and they're done a good job of impressing me. I definitely hear influence of the 90's angular DC sound, but it's still pretty upbeat & has strong catchy choruses. Makes for interesting songs and I think I need to track down one of the band's 3 records to try out some more. Plus they cover a Leatherface song (MP3 only) so that will earn some points from me as well.

Office Of Future Plans / Daria - Split 7":

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

BOAT - Pretend To Be Brave LP - Red, Yellow & White Tri Color Vinyl

Magic Marker (2013)

As soon as I had heard that BOAT was putting out a new record this year, I was counting down the days. The pre-order went up in the middle of the night, so I woke up at 4am just to make sure I could get my order in right away. While it probably was unnecessary to get up that early (as the most limited package was still available a few days later), there was no way I was going to miss out on this record.

BOAT plays 90's style indie rock better than anyone on the planet right now. Every note, every melody, every lyric phrase just takes me back to when I was in high school & college where there was great music hiding around every corner. Pretend to be Brave is yet another triumph from a band that I really fell in love with when they released their last album, Dress Like Your Idols.

Despite having a song with the lyrics "On the day that I turn 33/I'll be eating nachos but it won't be with my mom/It will be with you" I would say this album is quite a bit less wacky than BOAT's last. The vibe of Pretend To Be Brave is a bit more serious; maybe a bit more focused. The songwriting is sharper, though you could make an argument that the band doesn't sound like they're having quite as much fun as they did last time out. But really, that's not even a complaint or a criticism; it's just a difference between the 2 records. Pretend to Be Brave is outstanding and one of the very best albums to come out in 2013 so far.

Also, the first 100 copies bought direct from Magic Marker came with a cassette of other bands covering this entire album called Pretend to be BOAT. I just borrowed a working tape deck (mine broke about 8 months ago) so I could listen to the cassette. I'll post a separate review of it in the coming weeks.

Boat - Sharpshooters:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Wavves - Afraid Of Heights LP - White w/ Splatter Vinyl (/500)

Rodeo/Mom+Pop/Warner Bros (2013)

Wavves is a band that caught my ear with their last album. The crunchy guitar, loud choruses and generally catchy music appealed to this pop kid for sure. Their latest Afraid Of Heights album now has the influence of a major label behind them, but apparently that doesn't really mean anything like it did in the 90's; Wavves still sounds like the same fuzzy pop band to me. Which is a good thing.

I will say that this new Wavves album is remarkably similar to their last, King Of The Beach, to me. I'm never a fan of bands abandoning their signature sound to explore new frontiers; however there a few songs on this that seem to have the exact same chords as songs from the last album. A little more variety probably would have made the album a bit more interesting, though I suppose you could make the argument that there are a handful of slower songs this time out.

If anything, that's what's holding me back from truly gushing about this record; it's really, really similar to King Of The Beach and doesn't come off quite as fresh and exciting as the last one did. That being said, it is a great record and the splatter variant that I have is an especially neat looking slab of vinyl. It's also pretty funny seeing the Parental Advisory sticker on a record. I haven't seen one of those in a long, long time.

Wavves - Sail To The Sun:

Wavves - Demon To Lean On:

Wavves - Afraid Of Heights:

Monday, April 15, 2013

Flop - World Of Today 10" - White Vinyl

Flop - World Of Today 10" by Tim PopKid
Flop - World Of Today 10", a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.

Frontier / Munster (1995)

I'll admit that of the 3 Flop albums, this is the one I am most unfamiliar with. While & The Fall Of The Mopsqueezer and Whenever You're Ready were kings of the CD used bins back in the 90's, this is one I never saw with much regularity. The 10" was something I never had until quite recently; amazingly bought direct from the label all these years later.

It's a great record. Most everything Flop did was aces in my book and this album is no exception. I will say that it seems weird to try to fit all of these songs on a 10", it sounds like the songs unnaturally bleed into each other. I need to really compare it to the CD version, I might just be going crazy. Couldn't find any of these songs online to share unfortunately, but it's more of the big, catchy guitar pop that few bands could pull off as good as Flop.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Suspicious Beasts - Used To Be Beautiful LP

Black Hole (2012)

Another pick up from Japan courtesy of my friend Yuki. When I heard about this band which featured ex members of Three Minute Movie, Blotto & The Urchin, I knew I had to add it to my collection immediately. Unfortunately it was proving difficult to order online; but I'm very lucky to have a friend that can make the occasional trip to a record store in Japan for me.

Suspicious Beasts definitely use the influences of each member's prior band as a jumping off point, but they definitely lean towards a more rootsy style of rock and roll. If you are into bands like The Mojomatics, Nude Beach or the twangier moments of Your Pest Band; this Suspicious Beasts LP should probably be on your shopping list. The 7 songs fly by fast, but I really enjoyed the album and am hopeful the band will have many more records for me to hunt down in the future.

Suspicious Beasts - Used To Be Beautiful LP:

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Youthbitch - I'm In Love With Girls 7"

Dirtnap (2013)

If a record comes out on Dirtnap, I'm pretty much always going to buy it. Looking back I think I've only skipped 1 Dirtnap release in the last 5 years or so. When this 7" went up for sale at the same time as the new Steve Adamyk Band LP, it was a no brainer to add to cart.

I'm not really a fan of the band's name, and frankly that might have predjudiced me a bit when I put this on for the first time. My first gut reaction was that I didn't like the vocals, which come from a Nobunny high pitched fuzzy territory. Musically the band sounds really tight and they're playing some catchy tunes.

As I went through the 3 song on this 7", I did like each one better than the last and towards the end the vocals didn't bother me as much as I thought they would. I wouldn't consider this a top tier, must have 7", but it's pretty good and worth picking up. If you do like bands like Nobunny or Hunx (I'm not a fan really), then I think this would be more up your alley and should be grabbed right away.

Youthbitch - I'm In Love With Girls 7"

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Off With Their Heads - Home LP - Blue Vinyl (/700)

Epitaph (2013)

Off With Their Heads is a band that I got the heads up on pretty early in their career. That was a good thing as they have been one of the most prolific punk rock bands I've come across in a while, just releasing scores of limited 7"s. That frantic pace has slowed up a little since they signed to Epitaph a few years ago, but it would sure be an intimidating task to try to start collecting all of their records now.

Unfortunately for some record collectors, Home is the type of record that will inspire many new fans to start hunting for all of these records. It's just that good. Everything that Off With Their Heads has been doing up to this point really culminates in Home, arguably the best record they have ever released. The songs are still undeniably punk rock, but with a more refined edge to the songwriting.

While the band has always had a knack for energetic music mixed with lyrics that are honestly kind of a bummer, Home really elevates this. Where before you might write off this formula as playing for irony, this record just has an air about it that just feels important; like the band really has something to say. It makes for a record that has staying power and warrants repeat listens. There is a lot of disposable music in the world these days, but off With Their Heads have crafted the kind of album that is meant to last.

I can't say enough good things about Home. It's overtaken From The Bottom as my favorite Off With Their Heads release and it's the kind of album that should make many more people sit up and pay attention to this band. I'm just glad I already have all their old 7"s; that quest is about to get messy for some people.

Off With Their Heads - Home:

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Superchunk - I Hate History 7" - Pink Vinyl

Matador (2013)

This 7" is only available as part of the Matador single subscription. It's expensive, but honestly, once you put a Superchunk 7" in the mix, there's simply no way I'm not going to buy it. Really skewed my record buying budget earlier in the year, but so be it, I need to keep my Superchunk collection complete.

We have 1 new Superchunk song called "I Hate History." It's a punchy mid tempo song that is very much in line with the type of music the band has been cranking out lately. It would absolutely fit in just fine on their last album, and hopefully it's a sign of more great songs to come.

The B-side is a short cover of a SS Decontrol song called "Glue." I can't say that I'm a particularly big fan of older hardcore stuff, and after youtubing the original, I'm not surprised I hadn't heard it before. For me, this Superchunk cover is just kind of a throwaway, but I do dig the A-side quite a bit.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Windowsill - S/T LP

The Windowsill - S/T LP by Tim PopKid
The Windowsill - S/T LP, a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
Stardumb (2011)

This is a record that I had wanted to grab for a while, but never could find it domestically. I just couldn't bring myself to pay the overseas shipping and get murdered on the exchange rate. There are records I will go that for in a heartbeat, but I just wasn't willing to commit to The Windowsill. Well, one finally became available in the US, and I'm glad it did.

The Windowsill play some nice straightforward pop. It tends to run mid tempo, with a real emphasis on hooks and harmonies. It actually reminds me a lot of the Hospital Job LP from late last year, but I think it's missing a little bit of the driving rhythm section that made the Hospital Job LP such a stand out.

I thoroughly enjoy this album and would definitely recommend grabbing the LP.  Though, I will still say, I'm not sure it's the kind of album worth importing.  As I write this review, you can still get it from a US distro at moosterrecords.bigcartel.com/product/the-windowsill-s-t-1... and it's definitely worth grabbing for $10.

The Windowsill - S/T LP:

Friday, April 5, 2013

Calvinball / Rumspringer / Mayflower / Dauntless Elite - 4 Way Split 7"- Blue Vinyl (/500)

Not Shy Of The DIY (2011)

First off, this write up is the start of a test of cross posting some of these pictures to Instagram (username: TimPopKid). I can't quite figure out all of the little easy cross-posting details, so if this begins to be a pain in the neck, Instagram is getting the ax. Plus the write up will only be on the website, I do not have the patience to type all of this this out on my phone. Lastly, I took the photo of this record a few times and I think it looks kind of bad & fuzzy. Right now I'm blaming it on having to take the picture from far enough away to accommodate Instagram's need to have a perfectly square photo. Again, first time going through, I find it all annoying. I will give it at least a week before I make a final judgment.

OK, so this record crept up on me, and I had no idea it had been out for nearly 2 years. I stumbled across it in a distro when I was picking up something else and there's no way I'm passing up anything with a Rumspringer song on it. Said song is great as usual and I cannot wait for their new album coming out this year.

The other 3 bands also put forth some strong songs in the melodic, gruff vocal, Dillinger Four-ish punk vein. I was previously familiar with Calvinball & Dauntless Elite, having other 7"s by both bands. Mayflower was new to me and really impressed with the super catchy sing along chorus of their song. I'm going to have make a note to check out more of their records.

Calvinball / Rumspringer / Mayflower / Dauntless Elite - 4 Way Split 7":

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Forgetters - S/T LP

Forgetters - S/T LP by Tim PopKid
Forgetters - S/T LP, a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
Too Small To Fail (2012)

I've been sitting on this record for a few months now, trying to figure out what to say about it. On one hand it is approximately 10,000 times better than anything ever released by Jets To Brazil, but at it's best, this record isn't 1/4 as good as Jawbreaker. I know it's not fair to hold poor old Blake to such a high standard these days. Jawbreaker broke up so long ago that I can't imagine how he could possibly be in the same mindset to write songs like those again. But I just can't let go of those records.

Everything Blake does these days just seems moody and ultra serious. Nothing he is doing strikes me as being much fun. The songs on this record are pretty down, for the most part, which isn't inherently a bad thing, but it kind of leaves a cloud hanging over the record. Musically, it's much more straightforward that Jets were; a huge positive, but it never really gets catchy enough to keep my attention.

Even during the albums best moments, when the music is up, the band sounds tight and rock seems likely to commence, Blakes sing-songy vocals tend to steer the song dangerously close to sounding like "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch." It probably sounds like I don't like this record, which isn't true, it is a good unoffensive change of pace record to throw on every so often. The problem is I've been waiting 18 years to be wowed by a Blake band again. Unfortunately, I'm still waiting.

Forgetters - I'm Not Immune:

Forgetters - Ribbonhead:

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Steve Adamyk Band - Third LP - Black Vinyl & Blue Vinyl (/200)

Dirtnap (2013)

I'm actually very lucky and have had MP3s of this album since my birthday, so I've been blasting this since early December. While MP3s are certainly no substitute for being able to sit down in front of your turntable and really enjoy a record, it has given me some real quality time with this record prior to writing about it. I can only summarize with the following: I love this record.

I have been a huge fan of The Steve Adamyk Band every since I picked up their first 7", Speed It Up, from Ptrash records. Every record since then has been obsessively hunted down and listened to. Third is another in a very strong line. If you have heard this band before, chances are you are going to like the new record. This is a band that really believes in the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality. Certainly not to say it's a carbon copy of the prior records, but they all have the same jumping off point and if you were a fan before, I can't imagine not liking Third as well.

For the uninitiated, The Steve Adamyk band plays blazing chainsaw pop. Fast, energetic, catchy, wonderful pop music. The songs have big choruses and tons of backing vocal harmonies. My favorites tend to be the songs that are a tad bit slower than some of the others like "Eyes Of Ottawa," "Won't Let You Go" and the #1 hit of the bunch "Wait For Your Number." But then you've also got the super fast highlights like "Set It Up" and "Satellites" that just make me want to jump around and sing along at the top of my lungs like a madman. Even though at first Satellite seemed out of place when I first heard the record (since it had been previously released on a 7"), the more I listen to the entire album, the more it makes sense within the context of the whole album.

I really can't say enough good things about this record. Easily - EASILY - one of the very best albums of the year. Honestly, if it weren't for the Night Marchers record, I can't even fathom another record giving Third a run for its money for the #1 spot. However, my one complaint is we are now 3 albums into the career of this band and they STILL have not played in New Jersey or New York. This is a problem that simply must be addressed, can't wait anymore. #setitup

The Steve Adamyk Band - Third LP

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Lenguas Largas / Mind Spiders - Sister Series Double 7" - Red Vinyl

Razorcake (2013)

This isn't technically a double 7", it's actually available to buy as 2 separate 7"s if you want. But the 2 records go together, first in that each band covers a song by the other and 2nd because you can actually stick the 2 covers next to each other and end up with combined artwork. I know Razorcake has done this before, but I still think it's neat every time I see it.

Truthfully I bought this pretty much exclusively for the Mind Spiders. Lenguas Largas was a bonus and I was hopeful to be turned on to a new band. Unfortunately, the songs on this 7" just don't do anything for me. It's almost atmospheric punk. Lots of faint synthy ambient noise in the background. Breathy vocals buried in the mix, nothing that stands out. Even their Mind Spiders cover just falls flat for me.

For the Mind Spiders record, I was pretty nervous at first because the opening cut is their take on a Lenguas Largas song. It's very much in the vein of Jay Reatard and while it's totally fine, it's really nothing special. However, the other 2 songs on the 7" are stellar. Straightforward, Marked Men-ish punk pop. These 2 songs make the whole set worth it.

Lenguas Largas - Sister Series IV 7":

Mind Spiders - Sister Series IV 7":

Monday, April 1, 2013

Rocket From The Crypt - Rocket Pack 7" - Band Version - Pink Vinyl(#5/30)

Pusmort (1991)

Last night, at Bar Pink in San Diego, CA, Rocket From The Crypt played their first show since the 2005 Halloween RIP show. It was a secret warm up show in preparation for their Europe tour that starts on Tuesday in Germany. I didn't know about the Bar Pink show last night. I would have absolutely flown to San Diego for it if I did. I'm pretty bummed about missing it, but I'm hopeful that I will get to see them play again soon.

I decided to break my usual rule of only posting new records I buy, so I pulled this out of the archive. This is the pride and joy of my record collection. The #1 record, the crown jewel so to speak. This is my Rocket Pack 7". The even rarer band version that they only made 30 copies of. Even the normal version is pretty impossible to find as they only made 75 of those. I bought this record in 1996 for $325. At the time my friends said I was insane for spending that much on a record. The last time I saw one sell on eBay, it went for nearly $1000, so I'm pretty glad I grabbed this when I did.

Rocket From The Crypt is such an important band to me, they've been my favorite band since the mid 90's. I've seen them play live 25 times over the years, and we're actually creeping up on it being 20 years since the first show of theirs that I went to. I'm very excited they are playing again, and I'm very happy for my friends in San Diego that got to see the resurrection, but having been at their last show, I'm always going to be a little sad I wasn't able to be at their first show back. I hope they keep playing. I hope I get to see them play again. Long live the dead.