Friday, June 28, 2013

Proto Idiot - You're Wrong 7" - Maroon Vinyl (/500)

Trouble In Mind (2013)

Back again for another Trouble In Mind 7". I've been buying these since day one and have amassed a complete collection on colored vinyl. So I don't miss out, I always buy the moment they go on sale. This time we have a band called Proto Idiot, who I had never heard before, but had heard of from a friend.

The 2 songs on this record are very strong, with the A-Side "You're Wrong" being a catchy pop romp with a sing along chorus. The B-Side is a little darker, still very catchy and for some reason reminds me of The Animals. Definitely one of the stronger entries in the Trouble In Mind series and I plan on checking out more records by Proto Idiot in the near future.

Proto Idiot - You're Wrong:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Tenement - Freak Cast In Iron 7" - Green Vinyl (/100)

Cowabunga (2013)

The whole reason I subscribed to the Cowabunga Records Sick Club singles series was to get the limited version of this Tenement 7". A bonus was the Mean Jeans 7" that they advertised which seems to no longer be mentioned anywhere on the label's website. So that might be out at this point.

Tenement is a band that I will always buy everything they put out. One of the things I like about the band is how diverse and creative their output is. While I prefer some of their songs to others, I love that you never know what to expect until the record starts spinning. These 2 songs are more a part of their lower fi cannon, with the first being short & catchy while the flip side is a bit longer and a bit weirder. Both enjoyable songs, though I personally prefer their slightly higher production punchy numbers.

There's no way I'm not buying this record, and I can't wait for the band to finish working on their next LP. It's nice that we've gotten a fairly consistent stream of 7"s being released in the meantime.

Tenement - Freak Cast In Iron 7":

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Public Enemy - 25th Anniversary Vinyl Collection LP Box Set

Def Jam (2013)

In the late 80's and early 90's, there were very few things in the world I liked more than Public Enemy (& Boogie Down Productions). As an impressionable young person, I was really drawn the the conviction of these bands. Not too mention the beats and rhymes were really strong and innovative for the time. These bands were the measuring stick I used to judge all hip hop bands until Del The Funky Homosapien changed everything for me in '91.

This box set should have been too expensive for me to buy. When pre-orders for it started popping up it was averaging around $200 (It's actually come down a bit and there's a few places selling for $175 now). Given that I do have a tight record buying budget, despite what you probably think if you're a regular reader of this site, I just figured I'd have to pass.

Then one day, I was tipped off that the Best Buy website had this for sale for $79. I immediately bought it, figuring it was doubtful they'd actually fulfill my order. I was even more sure of it when hours later the price on the Best Buy website was right back up to $200. The box set was delayed, the release date got pushed back months at a time and I just waited for the cancellation notice to come through. Then one day, I got an email telling me my ordered shipped. Victory, I got this box set for $79 plus $6 shipping and I'm thrilled with it.

The box for the set itself is really hi quality. The records all sit in the orange part and the red top slides over top. I would have liked some sort of retrospective liner notes, but I'll forgive as the records themselves are identical to the originals, even down to the ads for buying Public Enemy VHS tapes.

The music is still greatest at the peak. Yo! Bum Rush The Show always felt a little half baked to me and the production quality wasn't quite there yet. It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back was always my favorite and still holds up today as one of the greatest hip hop records ever released. Fear Of A Black Planet is also amazing, and to me doesn't feel dated at all. I vividly remember buying the Apocalypse '91 CD the day it came out when I was a freshman in high school. It still blows me away. This is kind of where Public Enemy and I parted ways.

They released a CD called Greatest Misses a few years later (It's not included in this box set) and I just hated it for some reason. I never bought another PE record after that, so this box set was the first time I heard Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age and the He Got Game Soundtrack. Muse Sick is pretty good and has a handful of real stand out tracks, but it loses me on the songs that sound like they were built off of leftover Pete Rock and CL Smooth beats. He Got Game didn't really hold my interest at all. They both are just missing the cutting edge urgency of the earlier records.

Despite the set ending on a whimper and not with a bang, this box set is completely worth owning for the Nation to Apocalypse trilogy. Three of the best albums ever released in the genre. It is doubtful I would have ever picked this up for $200, but for $79, I would never pass it up.

Public Enemy - Rebel Without A Pause:

Public Enemy - Burn Hollywood Burn:

Public Enemy - Can't Truss It:

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Occult Detective Club - Alright Gentlemen 7"

Dirtcult (2013)

There are a lot of bands that write good songs, but then do something screwy when they're recording. You've got the garage bands writing killer pop songs, but then they put a huge layer of static over the vocals. Then you've got the pop punk bands that have catchy tunes, but everything sounds so slick and clinical you lose all emotion. And finally there's a band like Occult Detective Club; a band doing everything right.

Occult Detective Club play extremely catchy punk rock with gruff vocals and unlike a lot of bands, they recorded this 7" perfectly. The guitars sound huge, but there's no unnecessary gloss here. The vocals have that great lived in, rough around the edges quality, but not so fuzzed out you can't understand them. It's really a perfect sounding record which makes it even more depressing that it appears the band has split and this 7" is their swan song.

Hopefully they come to their senses and make some more rock, in the meantime I need to finally go buy their other LP's. Anyone know of an online store selling both of them?

Occult Detective Club - Alright Gentlemen:

Monday, June 24, 2013

Masked Intruder / Dan Vapid & The Cheats - The Wedding 7" - PurpleVinyl (/100)

Solidarity (2013)

This 7" was put out by Solidarity Recordings, it also doubled as the invitation to the guy that runs it, (Randy) and his fiance Valerie's wedding (There's another variant used for the actual invitation). I think this is such a cool idea and certainly something that popped in my head when I was planning my wedding Though it would have been difficult to get new songs from Rocket From The Crypt and Shiner in 2010 I think.

Anyway, in addition to the records used for the invitation, there was a batch released to the general public for sale. The version above was sold only through the Solidarity website and was limited to 100 copies on purple vinyl. It does look black in the picture, but you can see the color easier when you hole the record up to the light.

The songs are both straight up, mid tempo pop songs with Masked Intruder singing about Valerie and Dan Vapid doing the honors for Randy. I actually really like both songs, despite never really being into Dan Vapid's other work. Masked Intruder, on the other hand, are becoming one of the more reliable pop punk bands out there these days. Great songs and a great idea. I don't know Randy or Valerie, but I wish them the very best for their wedding. Have a great time!

Masked Intruder / Dan Vapis & The Cheats - The Wedding 7":

Friday, June 21, 2013

Sundowners - The Larger Half Of Wisdom LP - Green Vinyl (/100)

Dirtcult (2013)

Dirtcult records has become one of those labels that I implicitly trust with pop music. Sure, they put out a few things that lean more to the hardcore side of things that are not really my style; but when they've got a melodic punk band lined up, I'm on board just about every time. They've done it again with Sundowners.

Sundowners play a punked up indie rock that immediately makes me think of the band Sundials. Both have a singer with similar inflections, but Sundowners blow Sundials out of the water with hooks and energy. At times, Sundowners also remind me of the more off kilter moments of Statues. A little shake up in the rhythm, but also like Statues, just blast into ultra catchy choruses.

Even though this is the band's 2nd full length, they are still a newer band to me. The Larger Half Of Wisdom is the type of record that will absolutely make me keep tabs on Sundowners in the future, just waiting for more records. The first 100 are on green vinyl and as of right now, Dirtcult still has some for sale on their website.

Sundowners - The Larger Half Of Wisdom:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Manifesto Jukebox - Desire LP

Nabate / Combat Rock (2000)

I wrote about a later period Manifesto Jukebox record earlier in the year and mentioned that while good, it was not as good as Desire. Oddly enough, just a few weeks later a used copy of Desire popped up in my favorite online distro, Green Noise. I actually don't remember how much I paid for it as I grabbed it with several other records, but I know it wasn't much. Less than $5 I think.

It's a good record and I've had the CD of it ever since Sean Rugger Bugger recommended the album to me back when it came out. I contend to this day that I think the band would be better if the singers vocal were just slightly more melodic, but the band burns through these songs like a really pissed off Leatherface. Glad to add it to the pile. Now I just need to keep and eye out for their 2nd LP on the cheap. Couldn't find any of the album streaming, but i found a few live versions of songs on YouTube.

Manifesto Jukebox - Paralyzed (Live):

Manifesto Jukebox - Desire (Live):

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bear Trade - Belief is a Graveyard 7" - White Vinyl (/100)

Everything Sucks (2013)

The main reason I wanted to pick up this Bear Trade 7" when I first heard about it was because one of the members was previously in a band that I loved, Blocko. It was a sad day when Blocko split up and I've been doing my best to try to keep tabs on all of the various other projects everyone has been involved in. It took a little bit to get this record as I was trying to navigate some pretty expensive shipping options from the UK, but my buddy Julian @ Drunken Sailor picked this up for me and shipped over with a bunch of records I was ordering from him. Top guy!

Bear Trade, musically, do tread some of that same territory that I loved from bands like Blocko or Broccoli. While the singer of Bear Trade doesn't possess some of the more melodic vocal qualities of the aforementioned bands, musically they are right in that same ballpark with roaring choruses, palm muted bridges and a really tight rhythm section. Vocally, I hear more similarities to bands like The Great St. Louis. A harsher, gruffer delivery, but completely fits the music. It's a great 7" and I'm eager to hear the full length that I believe the band is currently working on.

Bear Trade - Belief is a Graveyard:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sack - Get Wrecked LP - White Vinyl (/50)

Clearview (2013)

When I ordered the Lillingtons box set that I wrote about yesterday, I had the option to add this Sack LP to my order. It was a minimal price and only the 1st 50 were on white vinyl, so I decided to take a chance on it. I figured that worst case scenario; I would just sell it if I didn't like it.

Sack was a band that Kody from The Lillingtons started in between his time in The Lillingtons and Teenage Bottlerocket. It's described as a party record by most people and the subject matter of just about every song is drunken shenanigans. While in know way is this a bad record, it's not a great record either. It falls in that solidly above average category. Good enough to keep, but I'd probably unload it if someone decided to offer me too much money for it. I'm in no rush to sell though, so don't take that as an advertisement.

If you like either of Kody's other bands, I can't imagine not liking this as well. My only complaint is that the subject matter seems a bit one dimentional, especially considering how much the Lillingtons varied things up from album to album.

Sack - One Helluva Party:

Sack - King Of The Beach:

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Lillingtons - 6xLP Box Set - Metal Version (/50)

Clearview (2013)

The Lillingtons are a band that I never got into the way it seems a lot of people did. At the time they were around, I never really ranked them with the bands I truly loved. They just weren't as good as The Mr. T Experience, Sicko, Zoinks! or Green Day. I held them in the same regard as I did more 2nd tier bands like Squirtgun or Chixdiggit. I have no problem with either of those bands, they just always seemed way more straight forward and not quite as dynamic as some of the others.

With a decade or so of hindsight, I can look back at these Lillingtons records with a new found respect. I still don't think they're in that upper echelon of pop punk, but I do enjoy their records more than I used to. I've grown more accustomed to the vocals of Kody Templeman. His crystal clear, but somewhat nasal delivery doesn't allow for as much melody as I tend to like, but it absolutely works within the context of the band.

Individually the records stand very strong, with Death By Television and The Backchannel Broadcast absolutely being the highlights. Having this box set is great, because it puts just about the entire recorded output of this band at my fingertips, however, I have to say that this is a band that's not meant to listen in large doses. If you try to sit down and listen to this entire box set, it's very fatiguing. The albums are best left enjoyed on their own.

The box set itself came in several super limited versions. The one I managed to grab was limited to 50 copies and came with all of the records on 200 gram red vinyl. They really do sound fantastic and the weight of these records is really something else. This version also has a metal box that goes over the regular cardboard box set. The metal box has the Lillingtons "L" die cut out of it so that the printed white "L" of the cardboard box shows through it. It's a really slick looking set, but it is really, really heavy. Don't drop it. I do wish it had come with some sort of liner notes, but that's not really a deal breaker for me.

It probably sounds like I'm not as excited as I am about picking up this set. I'm thrilled to have all of the records on vinyl now. It was even better to manage to grab one of the limited variants. Anyone who wants these records on vinyl should pick up this set. It's beautifully put together, and everything sounds great. Are they the best band in the world? No. But if you like some old school Ramones influenced poppy punk, it's a pretty essential set.

The Lillingtons - Black Hole In My Mind:

The Lillingtons - Final Transmission:

The Lillingtons - All i Hear Is Static:

Friday, June 14, 2013

Gentlemen Rogues - S/T 10" - Blue Vinyl (/300)

Shifting Sounds (2013)

Gentlemen Rogues is an Austin, TX based band whose singer Danny has spent time in quite a few other bands that I've enjoyed over the past decades. I first came to know of his music through his 90's pop punk band Jill. They released a CD EP and a few 7"s that I just adore. After Jill had run its course, Danny was in a band called Quimby. Aside from a compilation appearance, I don't think they released anything else, but I could be mistaken. Lastly a band called The Fall Collection made an appearance with a CD EP in the mid 2000's. I hadn't heard anything from him since, but as soon as Gentlemen Rogues showed up on my radar, I immediately picked up this 10".

I really enjoy this EP and I hope it's the first of many records to come. While there is obvious growth and maturity compared to some of Danny's earlier bands, he absolutely has not traded in his ability to craft a heck of a pop song. While Jill was more Sicko or Zoinks inspired; Gentlemen Rogues explore that punky indie rock area that you can hear from bands like Tugboat Annie or Indoor Living - Come Pick Me Up era Superchunk. Maybe a little Ted Leo, especially considering that the songs are all over 4 minutes long. A lot of bands couldn't pull off something that long; but Gentleman Rogues keep it interesting and aren't just retreading the same 2 minute long song over and over.

Again, this is a really great EP. To the best of my knowledge, Danny hasn't been in a band that has released a full length album. If there was ever a band of his ready for the long album format, this is the one.

Gentlemen Rogues - S/T 10"

Thursday, June 13, 2013

V/A - Snuffy Smiles Presents: Puke & Destroy 2 7" (Gleam Garden,What-A-Night's, Tenement, Holy Shit)

Snuffy Smiles (2013)

Life doesn't get much better than a Snuffy Smiles compilation. Especially when it pairs 2 of my absolute favorite Japanese bands and 1 of my favorite American bands. The deal with this 7" is that each band contributes 2 songs. One quick 30 second long one, then another longer track.

I could go on for days and days about how much I love Gleam Garden and What-A-Night's and you really need to look no further than this 7" to see why. Gleam Garden's 30 second long song isn't anything special, but their 2nd one, "It Smelled Good," is pretty great. Neither is quite as good as their most recent CD, but this band is outstanding. What-A-Night's just kill on both of their contributions. They cram a lot of greatness into the 30 second one, and "Cry for Nothing" is also a hit. This band has tons of energy and write some of the best hooks coming out of Japan right now.

For the US side Tenement 30 second long song (like What-A-Night's) isn't really a standout, but "The Block Is Safe Again" is a really strong mid tempo rocker with great backing harmonies. Tenement is one of the best US bands going and I suggest you buy as many of their records as you can. Holy Shit isn't really my copy of tea, they lean more to the hardcore, really fast side of things and that was just never a style the clicked with me, especially as I've gotten older.

All in, this is a great 7", but really you should always be buying everything that comes out with the Snuffy Smiles logo on it, they can do no wrong.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Modern Action - Molotov Solution LP - Clear Vinyl (/100)

Ptrash (2012)

Part of the Ptrash club that just took me a while to get to here, it's a band featuring ex-members of the Briefs and it's a pretty good little record. Molotov Solution features 10 catchy punk numbers. While they don't quite have the hooks or melodies of a band like The Cute Lepers, they are definitely cut from the same cloth with a penchant for quick blasts and a little guitar solo-ing thrown in for good measure.

The Ptrash version came out 2 years after the regular LP was released on another label, but it was worth the wait as the screened artwork looks great and there's only 100 on clear vinyl. While I wouldn't call this record truly essential, I would absolutely recommend grabbing it if it's for sale at a distro you're already buying something from.

Modern Action - Molotov Solution:

Modern Action - Self Destruction:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tight Bros - S/T LP

Tight Bros - S/T LP by Tim PopKid
Tight Bros - S/T LP, a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.

Rad Girlfriend / Shout Out Load / Let's Pretend (2013)

Tight Bros are a band that I stumbled across a few weeks ago. This is their 1st full length album and from the second I put the needle on the vinyl I was floored. Absolutely floored. This is a band that is flat out great. They manage to build fast, catchy Marked Men style punk rock, but without all the fuzz & distortion that the Marked Men weave into their vocals.

This Tight Bros record has fantastic vocal melodies, super catchy choruses and it really feels like each song is better than the last as you're going through the album. For me the absolute highlight of the bunch is "Summertime." This song builds off a simple guitar riff and just explodes when the whole band joins in. On top of all of this are laid back vocals that, honestly, should be out of place but for some reason it just works. On a record full of amazing songs, this is the kind of song that you'd put on every mix tape for 6 months. If anyone still made mix tapes.

I can't recommend this record enough, I just love it. One of the best of the year and if you've been keeping track, that's pretty high praise because 2013 is just killing it so far.

Tight Bros - S/T:

Monday, June 10, 2013

Your Pest Band - In My Doom 10"

Snuffy Smiles (2013)

Your Pest Band has rapidly been becoming one of my absolute favorite Japanese exports over the past few years. The way they channel energy & excitement into their songs is unrivaled. I haven't had the chance to see them play live, but I can only imagine that they blow the doors off places on a nightly basis.

In My Doom sees Your Pest Band expanding their sound a bit. In addition to their fast paced straight-up Snuffy Smiles style pop punk, theirs also a few songs that dabble in other genres. There are times when they slow things down a bit like on the songs "In My Doon" or "Here" where it works. But then there's "Entertainment," a song that sounds a bit too much like "Don't Fear The Reaper" for my tastes.

Despite 1 song I don't like, this is a great album that just flies by when listened to. I can't recommend this band or this label enough.

Your Pest Band - In My Doom:

Friday, June 7, 2013

Car10 - I Don't Meet You 7"

Snuffy Smiles (2013)

Snuffy Smiles is my all time favorite record label. Based out of Japan, they've been cranking out hits for nearly 20 years and it just thrills me every time they put out a new 7". That being said, I don't know that I can say that Car10 is my favorite thing they've done lately.

Car10 is playing slightly mod leaning, jangley guitar rock. The vocals are kind of fuzzy and overblown, but it doesn't really suit the way the rest of the music was recorded. The vocal melodies tend to drone a bit and it's an odd contrast to the bouncy guitar hooks throughout the songs. The songs are also quite short, so there's not much time for them to build.

There's a lot of potential here that I don't think was realized on this record. I will definitely check out any future releases as I think they could get great, very quickly. It's also probably not fair to the band that I'm judging them on the Snuffy Smiles scale of excellence, so anything that's not out of this world will probably feel like a bit of a let down. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any of these songs streaming anywhere to share.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Prisonaires - Baby Please b/w Just Walkin' In The Rain 7"

Third Man (2013)

I wasn't going to buy this 7" in the Third Man Sun Records reissue series and in fact, I didn't buy it. I ordered the Johnny Cash reissue, and they shipped me this record by mistake. When I sent an email alerting them to the mix up, they said to just keep the extra 7", so I will.

I don't see myself listening to it much, but it's certainly a perfectly fine record. Old timey 50's country with some interesting doo wop-esque backing vocals. It's good and I do enjoy it, but I don't think it's really worth shelling out any money for. As a free record though, it's worth keeping.

Prisonaires - Baby Please:

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Johnny Cash - Get Rhythm b/w I Walk The Line 7"

Third Man (2013)

Third Man Records has some wacky ideas. I've seen some pretty terrible ones over the years, and that gold vinyl/wooden box $300 version of the truly terrible looking Great Gatsby soundtrack was right at the top of the list of bizarre things to do. But then they will always redeem themselves with a project like this. Third Man is going to be reissuing a lot of the original Sun records 7" singles. While I'm not likely to buy all of them, I absolutely intend to cherry pick some of the cooler ones to add to the collection.

First up, the reissue of the Johhny Cash classic Get Rhythm b/w I Walk The Line. There's very little to say about songs as iconic as these, other than they're obviously incredible. What I'm most impressed with is the faithful way that Third Man has reissued the original artwork. Plus there's the fact that these songs sound better on this 7" than I've ever heard. Though I have miles of Johnny Cash, virtually all of it is on CD. I've been wanting to start replacing that with vinyl, but when you buy as many records as I do with the budget I'm working on, you have to pick and choose your battles, so Johnny is still waiting for some vinyl.

When I ordered this record from Third Man, they actually sent me the wrong record and sent the Sun reissue of the Prisonaires 7" they released by mistake. But as soon as I alerted them they immediately sent me the correct Johnny Cash record and also let me keep the Prisonaires one, so I'll write something up about that tomorrow.

Johnny Cash - Get Rhythm:

Johnny Cash - I Walk The Line:

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Outer Spaces - I Was Divided 7" - Yellow Vinyl

Matador (2013)

The April edition of the Matador singles club came in the same package as yesterday's entry for March. They're a little behind, but that's OK. Apparently it's impossible to get normal records pressed in the days leading up to Record Store Day which I can beleive considering the sheer amount of nonsense that happens for RSD these days. I am hopeful to get another 2 record package soon as June was scheduled to be the Royal Headache 7".

Outer Spaces is a vast improvement for me from the Cian Nugent 7" yesterday. For starters, there's vocals. Jangle-y female fronted indie pop. It's very 90's sounding and really reminds me of a more mid tempo speed Go Sailor or maybe The Crabs. A definite K Records vibe for sure. This 7" isn't a total slam dunk and I don't think it'll get a whole lot of replay value, but it's a solid record for sure.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Cian Nugent And The Cosmos - Hire Purchase 7"

Matador (2013)

There's a downside to singles clubs as well, and it's 7"s like this. I'm on record over and over touting my love for the singles club. The excitement of a new record every month or so. Getting to check out a new band you wouldn't otherwise buy. Exclusive records by bands you love. It's always a cool idea I think.

But then you get this 7" in the mail. Boring folky guitar instrumentals. These guys couldn't even be bothered to come up with 2 different names for the songs on the A and B side. It's just Hire Purchase (Part I) and Hire Purchase (Part 2). I'm not down on the Matador singles club because of this record; you can't expect every month to be amazing. But this is one boring 7".

Maybe it's just me, maybe I haven't evolved to the point where I can appreciate the musicianship of a record like this. I don't know, I think I'll just go play my Superchunk 7" again and keep checking the mailbox for the Royal Headache entry to the series.