Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Superchunk - Me & You & Jackie Mittoo 7" - Blue Vinyl

Merge (2013)

I've been listening to Superchunk for a long time. A really, really long time. They were actually one of the very first shows I ever went to. So the fact that all of these years later Superchunk is still cranking out 7"s just makes me feel good inside. This is a teaser for their new album that's coming out soon and it has 1 album track and an unreleased B-side.

I would classify these as upper-mid tempo Superchunk songs. While they don't have quite the punch of some of the stand out tracks on Majesty Shredding, they certainly have more oomph than Come Pick Me Up era songs. Really, it's just a taste of some new music and maybe I won't be spinning this 1000 times a day, but it certainly has me geared up to hear the new full length.

Superchunk - Me & You & Jackie Mittoo:

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Rumspringer - Stay Afloat - Yellow Vinyl (/111)

Dirtcult / Drunken Sailor (2013)

Please, just remember all of the good things I said about this album yesterday, because they all still apply. Rumspringer is one of the best current bands out there and this is the best album they have released to date. Go get it.

The yellow vinyl variant was pressed up to be sold through Drunken Sailor records out in the UK. There's only 111 copies floating around, plus Drunken Sailor is another label that you just cannot go wrong with. If you're going to grab this Rumspringer record from them, you're a fool if you don't also pick up the Exit Condition reissues at a minimum. Dirtcult did sell a handful of this version on their website, but they sold out very quickly. If you want it now, off to Europe you go...

Rumspringer - Stay Afloat:

Monday, July 29, 2013

Rumspringer - Stay Afloat LP - Red Vinyl (/113)

Dirtcult (2013)

Yes, I'm going to say it again. And again. And probably again. What a year 2013 is for amazing records. Case in point is the latest from Rumspringer, a band that I have been following since they first started putting out 10"s & 7"S on Traffic Street records a few years ago. I've watched them grow from a really promising new band to one of my current, most reliable favorites. Seldom have they let me down and Stay Afloat is no exception.

The band manages to to hit all of those calling cards from the 90's that made me love punk rock to begin with. I hear a little Crimpshrine here, a guitar trick that reminds me of bands like Walker there, but it never sounds dated or ripped off. Multiple vocalists help to keep things dynamic; but it's the energy and the sing along choruses that keep me coming back over and over. Of all the bands that I try to get my friends to check out, Rumspringer is the one that has been the biggest hit with them and Stay Afloat is their best release yet. My top 10 is getting awful crowded already and it's not even August yet.

The first 113 copies sold through the Dirtcult website were available on red vinyl. There was also an exclusive color for Drunken Sailor records out of England, but that's tomorrow's picture.

Rumspringer - Stay Afloat:

Friday, July 26, 2013

Canadian Rifle / Zapiain - Split 7" - Blue Vinyl (/100)

All In Vinyl (2013)

I'm not only a huge fan of singles series, but in particular I love All In Vinyl's version. It's rivaled only by the Art Of The Underground series (which I can't even remember the last time I got a record from that) and I've been a subscriber to every year so far.

That being said, I'm a little perplexed by this record. Canadian Rifle was a band I've heard of, but am now hearing their music for the first time. Over a swampy, sludgy storm of feedback & guitar the band wails out some of the most intense vocals I've ever heard, to the point where it's almost silly. The singer reminds me of the noises that the Balrog makes in Lord Of The Rings. It's definitely not for me.

But then there's the Zapiain side, which features crystal clear pop music. This band has a very mid 90's rock feel to them and the songs here remind me of the album Betty Pickup by Muzzle. I realize that's likely only a reference old people that once trolled around the CD used bins in the 90's will get, but it's pretty darn accurate. I really like this side of the 7" and for the life of me, I can't think of a more bizarre pairing.

Regardless, this record has provided me two great new songs and another band to keep track of, so as far as I'm concerned it's another success for All In Vinyl and for singles series in general. Keep them coming.

Canadian Rifle - Fire & Born:

Zapiain - Tou Always Said It Was:

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Warm Soda - Tell Me In A Whisper 7"

Goodbye Boozy (2013)

The Warm Soda LP that came out on Castle Face records earlier in the year is top notch, and this follow-up 7" for the band's European tour follows in those same footsteps. 2 more songs of jangle guitar, breathy vocals and simple, but insanely catchy, melodies. The 2 songs here are akin the the more mid tempo moments of that band's full length, but they are just the perfect companion piece to that album.

There were 2 versions of the 7" available, the cover I have with the band blowing bubbles in the supermarket as well as another illustrated cover. Each variant was limited to 150 copies and according to the label, both versions are already sold out. Hopefully the band still has some copies and they roll through your town as this is worth grabbing.

Warm Soda - Tell Me In A Whisper 7":

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Jawbox - For Your Own Special Sweetheart LP

DeSoto (1994)

I missed out on Jawbox the first time around. I can't say that I ever heard much by them, but what I did hear didn't captivate me. I always considered them a bit too noisy and dissonant for my liking. Well, much like my experience with the band Seaweed, I've really come around now that I'm older.

It actually started off with the Burning Airlines reissues that came out a little bit ago. I enjoyed them enough that I decided I should probably give Jawbox another try. My wife is actually a big Jawbox fan and she recommended I start off with For Your Own Special Sweetheart, her first Jawbox record. This album was reissued on vinyl recently with new artwork, but I decided I needed to hunt down the original pressing and came across a copy for a totally reasonable price.

From the opening moments of "FF=66" I was a little worried as it starts off with an awful lot of shouting. But that quickly morphs into an unexpectedly memorable chorus. That's what strikes me most about this record, it's loud, the guitars are crunchy and there's a real undercurrent of angst and doom, but every song has this nugget of a hook embedded into it. It's one of the most deceptively catchy records I've heard.

I am very eager to explore more of the Jawbox catalog, though all of their LP's seem to be out of print right now. I'll just have to keep my eyes open and hope I get another good deal like this one.

Jawbox - FF=66:

Jawbox - Breathe:

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Dead Mechanical - OK Night LP - Screened Cover (/40)

Toxic Pop (2013)

This Dead Mechanical record is coming out in the next month on Toxic Pop records. There's a pre-order for it on the label's website right now, and I put in my order the very day it went up. However, since Dead Mechanical was playing Insub Fest in late June, Toxic Pop had a some test pressings of the record rushed and they made special screened covers for the occasion. They only sold 40 copies of this record at Insub Fest, but I was very luckily that a quick email to Toxic Pop had them put aside a copy for me. I guess being a loyal customer that buys almost every single thing the label puts out the day it goes on sale earned me some karma points.

I love the screened cover and as cool as it looks in the picture, it really pops in person. Now, as for the music, I could not possibly say enough good things about this record. Over and over I've stated what a great year for music 2013 has been, but it's just getting downright insane at this point. This is an album of the year most years. It's a surefire top 5, it's probably a top 3. In all seriousness, just stop reading this review as you are wasting time that could be better spent buying this record.

The band weaves together some of the best influences in punk. You've got your early Jawbreaker vocals, there's Leatherface inspired guitar play, Dillinger Four-esque catchiness in parts and it's all presented though a filter of incredible energy and passion. I always say that to me, the most important thing about a band is that I want to believe in them. I want to feel the conviction they have in their music. Dead Mechanical has this in spades. I believe every word, every note that comes out of this band. It's a soundtrack for life kicking you low, and your quest to crawl back.

OK Night is essential, just absolutely essential. After 3 perfect records, I do not understand how this band is not one of the biggest in the US. Dead Mechanical should be huge. They should be the first thing anyone mentions when talking about today's great punk bands. Go buy this record, you deserve it.

Dead Mechanical - OK Night:

Monday, July 22, 2013

Rocket From The Crypt - Live From Camp X-Ray LP - Bootleg

Bootleg (2013)

A couple of months ago I started seeing this record show up online claiming to be a promo LP pressing of the last Rocket From The Crypt record, Live From Camp X-Ray. Had I only seen 1 pop up, I may have been inclined to believe that it was a promo, but dozens and dozens of them showed up at the same time. Since it wasn't particularly expensive and since I will not allow any holes in my Rocket From The Crypt collection, I picked it up for about $30 shipped from Europe.

It's a very good quality bootleg. The artwork is lifted from the advance CD that Vagrant sent out to radio & press prior to the album originally coming out. The quality of the sleeve is solid and the quality of the record itself is also completely fine. Maybe the slightest bit heavy on the bass, but honestly I can tell no real difference between this and the 2 official Vagrant pressings.

I'm not completely sure why this was the Rocket album that was picked to bootleg. It was just re-released and I don't even think the original is THAT hard to find, but as far as bootlegs go, at least it's a nice one. Oh and it should go without saying that the album is just outstanding, but you probably know that already.

Rocket From The Crypt - Bring Us Bullets:

Rocket From The Crypt - I'm Not Invisible (Live of Craig Killborn):

Friday, July 19, 2013

Steve Adamyk Band - Desecrate 7" - Stamped Cover (/17)

Taken by Surprise (2013)

A reader of this very website actually alerted me that this variant was coming out, so for that I am most thankful. Taken By Surprise found a handful of Desecrate 7"s with no covers. So they did the only thing any self respecting record label would do; they made an instant collectible. The 7"s are hand stamped, limited to just 17 copies in total and allows me to continue to keep my Steve Adamyk Band collection up to snuff.

The 3 songs on this record are some of my favorites as well. Especially the b-side "Unglued." This is the kind of record that really helps cement a band as one of the best out there. Steve Adamyk Band has 3 new 7"s coming out this summer (Well, one is actually out already), so expect to see more of them on this website really soon. the US East Coast already!!

The Steve Adamyk Band - Desecrate:

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Paper Dragons - Die To Please LP - Red Vinyl (/110)

Toxic Pop / Wallride / Southpaw (2013)

I've been sitting on this Paper Dragons LP for a few months now, not exactly sure what to write about it. I picked it up based on Hot Snakes/Wipers comparisons and I see that in the music for sure. The band just attacks their instruments with a fury that's something to hear. Lot's of downstrokes, interesting chord progressions and the kind of believable energy that I value so highly in a band.

I think where Paper Dragons loses me is in the vocals. They lean more towards the snotty 80's punk sound than is my cup of tea. This is very much a punk album and I think I need just a bit more melody in a band to really speak to me. By no means is this a bad record and I actually recommend it quite highly if you're looking for a band that can incorporate this vocal style with some truly stellar music. It's just not 100% what I'm looking for.

Paper Dragons - Die To Please:

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Buzzer - Disco Kiddz 7" - White Vinyl (/100)

Douchemaster (2008)

This Buzzer 7" is a bit older, but I recently came across it used. I have it in my head that I would like to be able to get the entire Douchemaster catalog on colored vinyl. I'm going to keep my eye out, but I'm not planning on going crazy tracking everything down. This also brings me to where the hell has Douchemaster records been? It's over a year since their last release. I hope they start cranking out the hits again soon.

This Buzzer 7" is fun. Short bursts of garage rock guitars mixed with slightly distorted yelping Cars-esque vocals. The 3 songs are catchy and enjoyable. It's not the sort of record that will blow your mind, but it's a good way to spend a few minutes in front of your turntable. "Heavy Weather" in particular would be great mixtape fodder if you're inclined to make those. Couldn't find the songs streaming anywhere, sorry.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

RVIVR - The Beauty Between LP

Rumbletowne (2013)

Many times over the past 6 months I've taken to this website and proclaimed that 2013 has been a hell of a year for music so far. Please reuse that statement for today's record as well. Another top shelf punk rock record has come down the pipes in 2013, courtesy of RVIVR. I've actually been following RVIVR since their first 7". I had read a review of it that compared it to some other band that I liked. Though I couldn't tell you what band that was anymore, what I can tell you is that I knew right from the start this was a band I would be keeping tabs on.

Fast forward a few years later and we have RVIVR's 2nd full length, The Beauty Between, easily their crowning achievement to date. It's an incredibly dynamic blend of male/female dueling and harmonizing vocals combined with more complicated and nuanced guitar interplay than you'll find on a lot of punk rock records. While that could keep some bands from latching on to catchy hooks and choruses; RVIVR combines all of these elements into one hell of a record that's so easy to listen to but never feels saccharine or hollow.

In a year that's been full of hit after hit it's going to be hard for an above average record to make an impact in 2013. Luckily for RVIVR, what they've turned in is probably their masterpiece. No pressure on the next record...

RVIVR - The Beauty Between:

Monday, July 15, 2013

Goodbye Maxwell's - Hoboken, NJ - 07/14/13

Though what I am writing about today isn't a record or even a record store; this place had so much to do with building the foundation of my taste in music, I had to write a little about it to say goodbye.  On July 31st, 2013 Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ will close its doors for the very last time. I have been going to Maxwell's for shows for almost 20 years. I've seen so many incredible bands play here and it was such an institution that the impact this little building has had on my life is difficult to measure.

The entrance to Maxwell's
I've seen almost every band that has ever meant anything to me play at Maxwell's. The very first show I ever went to was a Rocket From The Crypt/Pee Chees show. It was the sort of experience I'll never forget. It was only the 2nd time I had seen Rocket play live and it was one of the most influential shows I've ever seen. I can trace my undying love of Rocket From The Crypt to this show; it was when I truly saw the light.

Another incredible show I was at was when Beck played solo acoustic here in 1996. I didn't have tickets to the show, but I arrived at about 3 in the afternoon and just did everything I could do to get in. I ended up talking to one of the sound guys for a while and he put me on the guest list. It was a perfect show. Only about 200 people can fit in the venue and it was packed. Beck played for almost 2 hours with no setlist, taking requests and talking to the crowd. It was just another magical night in Hoboken.

Front of Maxwell's
I could never list all of the bands I saw there over the years, but from Archers of Loaf to Doo Rag to The Supersuckers to Ted Leo to the Mr. T Experience to Gentleman Jesse to Hot Snakes to Night Marchers I was simply there all the time. Now, it's been a while since I've been to Maxwell's recently, having less to do with the venue or the bands and more to do with the fact that I'm not as into going to shows as much as I used to be. But I wanted to go back one more time before it shut down.

I couldn't begin to tell you how many times I walked this
hallway into the back room where the bands played
I'm not going to be able to go to Maxwell's for one last show.  Nearly everything between now and July 31st is sold out; certainly all of the band's I would like to see have one last hurrah.  So, last night my wife and I went to Maxwell's to have dinner (they were also a full service sit-down restaurant in addition to a music venue), take some pictures and to give me the chance to lament about old times and the end of an era. The food was fine, but seeing that room for what I knew would be the last time was tough. We ate, we talked and I tried to soak in as much of the atmosphere as I could for the last time. I picked up a T-shirt, complained about the closing to the waiter and paid my check for the last time.

There was also a bar and restaurant that I didn't go to as
much as a kid, but really appreciated as I got older
I've lost a lot of cool places around here over the years. Coney Island High, Tramps, Brownies and a myriad of record stores. Most of those were in NYC. Maxwell's was always the place that was ours in New Jersey. It just seems wrong that it's being taken away, that other young kids won't have a chance to discover a band that will change their life. I'm so sad that Maxwell's is going to be gone and I will truly, truly miss the hell out of this place.

A T-shirt to remember the good times

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Repos - Armed And Using 7" - Yellow & Red Vinyl (/100)

Cowabunga (2013)

I signed up for the Cowabunga records singles club (It's call Sick Club) in order to get an exclusive color variant of a Tenement 7". There was also supposed to be a Mean Jeans 7" as well, but I'm not sure that is actually happening anymore. What i have received is a handful of hardcore 7"s that really aren't my thing.

The Repos play load screamy sludgy hardcore. It's a style of music I've never really understood. The yelling, the swirling bludgeoning guitar noises...if you like this sort of thing, that's great, whatever music speaks to you is important. But this sort of thing completely throws me for a loop. I think the colored vinyl looks really great though.

The Repos - Armed And Using:

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Plow United - One 7" & Two Split 7"s

West Chester Rock City 7" - Total Jayos (1996)
Plow / Weston - Split 7" Coolidge (1995)
Plow United / Stressboy - Split 7" (1996)

Even though they're from Pennsylvania and I'm from New Jersey, I always considered Plow United to be the best local band that we had back in the mid 90's. They constantly came up to play shows with the North Jersey bands and they were often tapped as support when some of the bigger punk rock bands came though town. I always loved them live and in particular played the hell out of their 2nd album Goodnight Sellout.

For some reason, I never picked up too many of their 7"s. I think I just had the mentality that they're always around, I'll just grab them next time. Then suddenly they weren't around anymore and all of the 7"s disappeared. I never even picked up their first full length on vinyl. Really kicking myself about that all these years later because you hardly ever see these old records anymore.

The three 7"s here represent a prime era of Plow United. Even though I never had these records before, all of these songs are familiar and feel like home. A few had ended up on Goodnight Sellout but the others are ones that I'm sure I know having seen the band play so many times. It's a real trip back to a very exciting time in music for me. I'm hopeful that at some point I can find the remainder of the Plow 7"s I'm missing and fingers crossed that a copy of their first S/T LP turns up at some point.

Plow United - West Chester Rock City (Live):

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Future Virgins / Toys That Kill - Split 7" - Blue Vinyl (/100)

Drunken Sailor (2013)

Over a very short period of time, Drunken Sailor records has become one of those labels I really trust. They started off gaining a ton on goodwill with me by releasing 3 LPs worth of Exit Condition songs and they continue earn my favor putting out 7"s like this.

Toys That Kill is a band I became enamored with, courtesy of their fantastic Fambly 42 album last year. Their song on this split carries on that same tradition of warm lived in guitars and melodic, but extremely unique vocals. A truly great song.

Futures Virgins is a band I'm less familiar with, but if the 2 songs here are any indication of what they are capable of, I think it's time to hunt down their full length as soon as possible. They're a pop punk band by trade, but they lean more towards the gruffer side than the Ramonesy way of going about things. "Passing Curses" is a full force rocker, while their 2nd entry "Counting Sheep (Show Me)" slows things down and has something of a late 50s early 60s pop vibe going for it.

3 great songs, 1 great label, 1 great 7". And I definitely need to check out more Future Virgins records.

Future Virgins / Toys That Kill - Split 7"

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

R. Stevie Moore - I Missed July 7" - Red Vinyl (/300)

Sweaters & Pearls (2013)

This is one of 3 7"s that the label Sweaters & Pearls sent to me to check out. This is the record label run by the same guy that does the great website You should check it out as he's a better writer than I am, or at least hasn't completely run out of adjectives to describe bands (I ran out in about 1997).

I started out with the R. Stevie Moore 7", mostly because it was noted that these 2 songs were recorded in Montclair, NJ (my town). The 2 songs are a slice of eclectic bedroom pop that I probably would have been up for when I was in high school/early college. At that time, I was going through my tape label phase and was listening to similar lo fi warriors like Charlie McAlister, Simon Joyner and Gary Young. Eventually that scene either started to dry up or I just lost interest as that time in my life (we'll say 1995-1996-ish) is really the only time I had the patience to listen to real off kilter rock.

This R Stevie Moore 7" really takes me back as a reminder of that time. The recording quality, the wavy guitar sounds, the speed manipulation of the recording; it all sounds so comfortable and familiar. While it's not the sort of thing I would typically listen to anymore, it's a flashback to a time when you'd throw a few dollars in an envelope and get a package of music in the mail a few months later. Often times way after you forgot you even ordered it.

R. Stevie Moore - I Missed July:

Monday, July 8, 2013

Chestnut Road - S/T LP - Clear Vinyl (/300)

Brassneck / Speedowax / Boss Tuneage (2013)

In the mid 90's one of my favorite record labels was a label based out of Japan called Snuffy Smile records. If you've been on this website before, you probably know they are still one of my favorite labels, nearly 20 years later. But back in the 90's in addition to putting out great records, they had a little slogan that made it on to some T-shirts and stickers that they made. That slogan was "you have your punk, I have mine." Something about that saying really spoke to me and stuck with me over the years as even within the context of punk rock, the bands that really spoke to me weren't always the ones that other kids in America were particularly excited about.

In the mid 90's the bands that meant everything to me were bands like Hooton 3 Car, Chopper, Skimmer, China Drum, Mega City Four, Broccoli, Reverse, Gan, donFisher and the granddaddies of them all, Snuff and Leatherface. There was such an amazing scene in the UK and I remember waiting for packages from Crackle Records to arrive at my local record store so the feeding frenzy could begin. Those bands are some of the most important ones to me, but that kind of music seemed to go out of style. Aside from a band called Blocko that came out a few years later; I never heard much out of the UK that really carried the torch of this kind of music.

This is where Chestnut Road comes in. They're from France, so it's possible I've just been looking in the wrong country all these years. Right from the start I have high hopes as they've named themselves after my 2nd favorite Broccoli song. Then the record starts and I'm immediately transported back to my old record store digging through the Crackle box. What we have is a fantastic melodic punk band with gravely Broccoli influenced vocals and Leatherface/Hooton 3 Car inspired guitar play. This is a band that would have immediately been putting out records on Rugger Bugger, Crackle or Rumblestrip records.

You have your punk, I have mine completely sums up this record for me. It is perfect, it is flawless, it is everything I want out of punk rock. It's an update on the sounds that formed my taste in music 20 years ago and it's everything that I want to see in punk rock today. Please Chestnut Road, stay together forever, put out records all the time and show everyone how exciting punk rock can be.

Chestnut Road - S/T:

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Mirrorism - Night Flight 7" - Dark Red Vinyl

Trouble In Mind (2013)

Trouble In Mind really hit me with a one-two punch with their latest batch of singles. Between the Proto Idiot 7" I wrote about a few days ago and this Mirrorism 7", this is one of their stronger batches. Records like this are the reason I always buy every single they release, odds are I haven't heard of the band, but the potential for greatness is always there.

Mirrorism are from Italy and fill the A side of this single with jagged guitars and yelped vocals. Not always my thing, but the band does it well enough that I'm engaged. It's the B side, "Exit The Loop," that really grabs me. A bit more of a straight up rocker, this is the kind of song that you instantly sit up and take notice of when the needle hits the wax.

Other than a demo tape, this 7" is all the band has to offer currently. Though I expect that to change pretty quick once word gets out about this band.

Mirrorism - Exit the Loop:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Midway Still - Slugabed 10"

Roughneck (1992)

This is a record I actually picked up a little bit ago, but I hadn't gotten to write it up yet for the site. I found this in the Generation Records used bin in NYC for $2, so there was no way it wasn't coming home with me. I've been slowly trying to pick up the remainder of the Midway Still releases that I don't have on vinyl, but they don't turn up too often in America.

This 10" is a classic slice of Midway Still. Released when Snuff, Leatherface, Senseless Things & Mega City Four ruled the Earth, these guys have always been a favorite of mind. Their quiet-verse-to-loud-chorus mastery is on display particularly during the lead off song, "Just Get Stuck." It's a real time capsule of a time when the UK punky pop bands of the early 90's were really elevating the game.

While looking for some of these songs to share I actually stumbled across the fact that the band put out a new album last year. Sadly it seems it's CD only, no vinyl, but I'm going to have to pick that up at some point as well.

Midway Still - Just Get Stuck:

Monday, July 1, 2013

Rad Company / Tight Bros - Split 7"

Drunken Sailor / Rad Girlfriend / Throwing Things / Soapy Hands / No Breaks / 86'd / On The Real (2013)

Split 7" put out by an awful lot of labels. I think this actually might be the most logos I've ever seen on the back of a record before. But, as this is a pretty great 7", I can't blame so many people from wanting to get in involved.

This is my first exposure to Rad Company. They play a fuzzy, catchy style of pop punk with slightly gruff vocals and a lot of enthusiasm. Certainly not earth shattering, but very good and a band I will be keeping an eye on going forward.

I've been pretty crazy about the Tight Bros LP that came out this year as it's been spinning pretty frequently on my turntable. This 7" is a nice follow up with 2 more tracks of Marked Men-esque guitar pop with really strong vocal harmonies. These guys are quickly becoming one of my favorites and I actually have another split 7" of theirs on pre-order, so I'll be writing about Tight Bros again pretty soon.

Rad Company / Tight Bros - Split 7":