Friday, August 30, 2013

Ken South Rock / Giant Battle Monster - Split 7" - Coke Bottle ClearVinyl (/200)

Artificial Head (2013)

I must admit, it's been pretty neat to see some record labels and bands have been mailing me copies of records to listen to and review lately. It's certainly not like mail mailbox is swamped, but I think 4 people have sent me a record this summer. Say what you will, but the chance to try out some new tunes is always a fun time for me. Even if the record is terrible.

Speaking of terrible, there's this split 7". While I appreciate the fact that the record was sent to me to review, these bands are both pretty bad. Certainly not my thing. The first band, Ken South Rock, are playing a loud, borderline grungy rock. Their singer is shouting and wailing like a cross between a raspy Jello Biafra and some bad hair metal guy that I likely don't know the name of. Ken South Rock is OK during their quieter moments, but as soon as the singer really starts going for it, I just can take no more.

Ken South Rock is a walk in the park compared to Giant Battle Monster. They come from that scene of experimental noise rock that, to me, sounds like someone took all of a band's instruments, hit record on a tape deck and then threw all of the instruments down a flight of stairs. There's no structure and my brain cannot process stuff like this.

On the upside, the packaging on this record is great. It's got an elaborate fold over cover with a tuck-in flap on the back and I find the black and white artwork very eye catching. But once you take the record out of the packaging, bad things are coming your way.

Ken South Rock / Giant Battle Monster - Split 7"

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Heavy Times - Fix It Alone LP - Gold Vinyl (/200)

HoZac (2013)

I think I made mention of it last time I reviewed a Heavy Times record, but I could only ever listen to 1 band like Heavy Times. The way they combine their lead guitar heavy songs with howling in a cave vocals is a recipe that so many other bands could really screw up. Heavy Times, on the other hand, is fully capable of holding my attention with short burst songs running over with energy.

Strewn throughout this mayhem are a couple instances where the band slows things down a little bit and for me it's in these brief moments where Fix It Alone absolutely shines. Songs like "Might Not," "American Love" and "Trouble Walker" bring things down to upper-mid tempo and these are the songs where the hooks stand out and you can really appreciate the songwriting that goes into this record.

Fix It Alone is every bit as strong as the band's last album Jacker. Jacker may have the slight edge as an entire record, but the highs on Fix It Alone are higher.

Heavy Times - In My Sleep (this is one of the fast loud ones):

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Dirtbombs - Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-blooey - Pink Vinyl (/200)

In The Red (2013)

I can't say that I've ever been all that into The Dirtbombs. Admittededly, I've only heard a few songs here and there and whenever I read about them, it seems like their doing some weirdo concept album. Well, Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-blooey is one of their weirdo concept albums, and if every Dirtbombs record sounded like this, I'd probably own all of the other Dirtbombs records.

This is The Dirtbombs take on late 60's / early 70's bubblegum pop rock. You know, songs like "Yummy Yummy Yummy" and "Sugar Sugar?" The Dirtbombs serve up an entire album of tracks inspired by that genre. The result is just pure summertime bliss. Every song is upbeat and catchy. The hooks are simple in execution but are extremely well written. The band is not mocking this genre at all, they're lovingly embracing its sound and building on top of it.

There are so many standouts on this record, right from the opening track "Sugar On Top," with it's cowbell heavy drum beat and alternating vocal/guitar verse. There's the driving guitar riffs and sweet vocals of "Jump And Shout" and the pop perfection of "Sunshine Girl," the song with hands down the best chorus on this album. You'll here bits of inspiration peppered through. A piece of "Mony Mony" here, a taste of "Good Vibrations" there, but The Dirtbombs always tweak the formula just a bit to keep it their own.

If you can't tell, I really love this album. I hope that the band doesn't release this record into the world as a one off. They're way too good at this style of music to never go back to it. Plus, I really need to go back and check out some of the band's other albums. Any recommendations?

The Dirtbombs - Sugar On Top:

The Dirtbombs - Crazy For You:

Monday, August 26, 2013

Soul Control - Get Out Now 7" (Freebie)

Bridge Nine (2011)

As you can hopefully read from the little sheet of paper I've included in the picture, this 7" was sent to me along with the latest Iron Chic 7" I ordered from Bridge Nine. That 7" was delayed for a bit, so they sent along a freebie as a make good. That's really nice of them, as I'm no stranger to pre-orders that go on for far longer than originally anticipated. Sadly, I just don't like this 7"

First off, it doesn't actually say Soul Control anywhere on this record. The only reason I was able to figure it out was by looking for the artwork on the Bridge Nine Bandcamp page. Why wouldn't you put your band name anywhere on your record? I don't understand that. Well the music is too hardcore for me. Bass heavy, muddy guitar. Guy shouting at me. I certainly won't claim to really understand much about the nuances of hardcore, but it sounds like most other bands like this sound to me: Loud and angry.

It was a nice effort on the part of Bridge Nine to send over an extra treat, if just doesn't belong in my collection.

Soul Control - Get Out Now:

Friday, August 23, 2013

Legendary Wings / Buck Biloxi - Split 7"

Pelican Wow Wow (2013)

Picked up this split 7" for Legendary Wings as I just loved their last full length on Dirtnap. This 7" contains two more songs of cranked up to 10, dynamic punky garage-pop. The songs are both pretty short, but while they're economical on time, there's no shortage of hooks. My only complaint about this band has been their need to stick little sound bites around all of their songs. It was all over their full length, and they've put more on this 7". The songs are great, they don't need any embellishment.

Buck Biloxi and the Fucks are new to me. When I put on this side of the 7", I immediately thought of bands like Hunx & His Punx and Nobunny. Lower fi, simplistic garage. Like those other bands, it doesn't really do anything for me, but if that's your cup of tea I would imagine you'd enjoy.

Legendary Wings - Best Friend:

Buck Biloxi and the Fucks - I'm A Genius:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Ceiling Stares / The Super Vacations Split 7" - Green Vinyl

Sweaters & Pearls / Velocity Of Sound (2011)

This is another 7" sent over to me by the nice folks at Sweaters & Pearls records for me to write a bit about. I take it very seriously when someone actually sends over a record to get my opinion on and I find myself spending much more time analyzing the record as I write than I do on records I buy for myself (which constitute 99% of what I write about on this website).

So, here we have 2 bands and 1 record on green vinyl. Of the 2 I prefer The Super Vacations. They play a laid back surf tinged rock formula that reminds me of Mrs. Magician in places. While I don't think they have vocal chops quite as grand as Mrs. Magician, they are very successful in laying down a relaxing day at the beach vibe with their back and forth, reverb guitar and slightly monotone vocals.

Next up is The Ceiling Stares, who fall victim to not-knowing-when-to-give-up-on-the-intro syndrome. We go well past a minute before the meat of the song really kicks in. Once it does, you're greeted with almost churchy, chanting vocal harmonies over slightly psychadelic guitars. I can't say I'm a big fan of this band to be honest, but I will be hanging on to the 7" for the Super Vacations songs. I may even look into the recent full length that the band released last year.

Super Vacations - Controller:

The Ceiling Stares - A Tunnel Through The Air:

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Steve Adamyk Band - Monterrey 7" - Record Release Show Covers (/50)

Hosehead (2013)

Due to the undying kindness of the folks over at Hosehead records, I was able to secure the record release show version of the new Steve Adamyk Band 7". If that wasn't good enough, they actually saved me both versions of this variant as well. The covers are hand made. There were 25 blue covers made and 25 yellow covers. I love it when labels do fun things like this, especially when I'm actually able to get copies. I guess I don't love it as much if I have to search for the variants, but there is something to be said for the thrill of the hunt.

As stated in yesterday's write up, the tunes on this guy are top notch. I'm pretty sure I'm on record saying that if you read my website, you really should be buying every Steve Adamyk Band release. They're simply one of the best bands out there.

Steve Adamyk Band - Monterrey 7"

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Steve Adamyk Band - Monterrey 7"

Hosehead Records (2013)

It is certainly not a secret that the Steve Adamyk Band is one of my absolute favorite bands currently putting out records. They're nothing if not consistently incredible, putting out great song after great song and the 4 on this 7" are no exception. For the most part, they represent the faster, punkier side of the bands catalog, but Adamyk & Co. have an uncanny ability to cram the kind of hook into a song that just gets lodged in your head for days.

While all 4 songs are great, for me it's the closing track "Front To Back" that steals the show. With a back and forth guitar riff and low key vocals, the verse almost seems like it's trying to sneak something by you, only to have the chorus just smack you upside the head with its catchiness.

I'm always happy to add new Steve Adamyk Band records to the collection, and in addition to the record pictured above, there were some release show variants that I'll write about tomorrow.

Steve Adamyk Band - Monterrey 7":

Friday, August 16, 2013

Leatherface - More Mush LP - Bootleg

Bootleg (2013)

I'm not sure if this was released by the same bootleggers that did yesterday's Mush LP, but it would be an awful weird coincidence for both of them to show up at the same time as they have. This LP compiles most of the B-sides & singles that Leatherface recorded around the Mush era. It has the pre-Mush Smokey Joe EP, The Mush 7" single for I Want The Moon, the 12" single for Not Superstitions and the post-Mush 10", Compact and Bijou.

It's an incredible array of songs as the band was really firing on all cylinders during this time frame. It also shows how quickly the band was evolving during this period as the difference between what they were doing on Smokey Joe and Compact and Bijou is truly striking. You can't really come across a better batch of songs, though my personal opinion is that the version of Dreaming from the Dreaming/Eagle 7" is superior to the version on this bootleg from the I Want the Moon 7".

Now as far as the quality of this bootleg goes, I was eager to see how it held up to the good-but-not-great Mush bootleg. More Mush (which let's be honest is a pretty dumb name for this) is no where near the same level of quality as the Mush bootleg. The overall volume of this record is quite low and the volumes between the songs are wildly inconsistent. The I Want the Moon songs in particular sound very muddled and swampy. Once the Compact and Bijou tracks come up, be prepared for the loudness to increase dramatically (likely since they were sourced from a CD instead of from vinyl).

Additionally, they've removed the Smokey Joe version of the song Trenchfoot for some reason. I get that the song is also on the Not Superstitious 12", but it's a different version. I don't see why you'd cut the Smokey Joe one on a record clearly aimed at fans of the band.

I was really into the idea of being able to put this record on and just sit back and enjoy. But if you really want to enjoy these songs, picking up the originals is essential. I can't even begin to paint a picture of how much better my first pressings of the individual records sound. If you just care about hearing the songs, or if you just need a copy of everything like me, I suppose this is an OK purchase. But the money you'd spend to pick up the originals would be worth it.

Leatherface - You Wanted Everything:

Leatherface - Dreaming:

Leatherface - Games:

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Leatherface - Mush LP - Bootleg

Bootleg (2013)

I'm certainly not a big proponent of bootlegs. I don't like seeing other people profiting when the band gets nothing. It's pretty unfair really. That being said, I have been known to pick up the occasional bootleg for bands that I am a gigantic collector of, for completist purposes. Leatherface is a band that fits this bill.

I'd like to start off talking about the album itself because in my mind it is simply a work of art. It is one of my top 3 albums of all time. It's a record that I just can't live without. Mush starts off with the absolute best side 1, track 1 in history "I Want The Moon." Frankie Stubbs pairs gravely vocals with incredibly dynamic guitar interplay with co-conspirator Dickie Hammond. It's the stuff of legend. This continues over the course of the record with classic songs after classic song.

From the fast paced juggernaut "How Lonely" to the slightly more somber "Not Superstitious" to the reflective "Springtime" to the song that I feel lyrically encapsulates the feeling of love better than any I've ever heard "Not A Day Goes By." There is simply not a bad song on this record. Honestly, there's not even a good song on this record, every track is just perfection. I can't even begin to put into words how important this record is to me. If you read this website and you have not heard Mush, you really owe it to yourself to check it out. I'm not saying buy this bootleg, but you need to hear this album.

Now let's talk about this specific pressing. If you are ever concerned that someone is trying to pass this off as an original, there are 2 tell tale signs that will easily distinguish it from an original. First is there is no Roughneck Records logo on the back. 2nd is the lyric sheet. On the original pressing the lyrics are printed on the inner sleeve that holds the vinyl. This bootleg has them as a separate insert. But kudos to the bootleggers for even bothering to include them.

Sound wise, I put this record on the turntable and was very impressed. Everything sounded pretty good to me. Good tone, not too muddy and the vocals were nice and clear. However, when I was finished I put on my original pressing for a comparison and the difference was very noticeable. The original pressing is louder, sharper and just brighter in general. It's clear as day which is an original and which is a copy. This bootleg may suffice if you just really want to listen to the record on vinyl, but if you truly care about the sound and the experience of listening to this the way it was meant to be heard, it's really worth tracking down an original.

Still, I'm sure I'll throw this bootleg on from time to time. It saves me wear and tear on my original, which remains very expensive to replace. If you need this record on the cheap, the bootleg is a good placeholder.

Leatherface - I Want The Moon:

Leatherface - Springtime:

Leatherface - Not Superstitious:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Dagger Eyes - The Dagger Eyes LP - White Vinyl (/100)

Ptrash (2013)

I picked this up earlier in the year as part of my most recent Ptrash order. A punk band from Canada, putting out a record on Ptrash sounded like a can't miss proposition to me. Unfortunately, I can't see myself listening to it all that much. The band is great at what they do. '77 style punk rock with fast guitars and snarling vocals and they do it better than most bands throwing back to that era.

For me though, I'm just more of a pop kid and have always had a hard time getting into vocals like this. I like more melody in my tunes. But if you like a little snotty swagger to your punk rock, check them out.

The Dagger Eyes - The Dagger Eyes LP:

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Your Pest Band / Nato Coles & The Blue Diamond Band - Split 7" - MaroonVinyl

Snuffy Smiles (2013)

Sure this 7" is available domestically from ADD records, but it has different artwork and won't allow me to keep my Snuffy Smiles 7" collection complete. So of course I imported the Japanese version (though I actually imported it from the UK). It's the best label in the world and I will always buy everything they release. Interesting is that I believe this is only the 3rd record on Snuffy Smile that's come out on colored vinyl.

So as far as the 2 bands go, Your Pest Band is one of my favorite current Japanese band and they hit with "I Know Why," a bouncy upbeat entry into their catalog that has a late 70's American rock vibe to it, but filtered through YPB's incredible Japanese punk viewpoint. Their 2nd contribution, "We Just Want It," was also was on their recent 10" In My Doom. It was one of the highlights of that release as well.

Nato Coles & The Blue Diamond Band is a band I'm not totally able to wrap my head around. Nato's 1st band, Modern Machines, put out records that I just loved. After that he was in The Used Kids, whoI also like, but not as much as Modern Machines. At this point he's just gone into full bore Bruce Springsteen worship and it's just not doing anything for me. I guess I just need things punked up a bit more.

Your Pest Band / Nato Coles & The Blue Diamond Band - Split 7" :

Monday, August 12, 2013

Get Dead - Bad News LP - Green Vinyl

Fat Wreck (2013)

I was looking forward to this Get Dead record as I waited for it to show up in the mail. I pre-ordered it early on to lock in the colored vinyl version that typically disappear so quickly from the Fat Wreck store. I was anticipating an early Against Me vibe with their mix of acoustic and electric folk punk.

I was definitely feeling it during the first 2 tracks of the album. "Kerouacs Teeth" and "The Process" both show a great deal of potential. The songs are earnest and well conceived; putting you in that sitting-around-the-campfire state of mind. Unfortunately those songs are the absolute peak of the record and the albums other 10 tracks just kind of meander around, repeating the same themes.

Nothing really stands out over the course of this record. It's by no means bad and the first two songs are actually quite good, but these songs quickly just fade into background noise. There's never that sit up and pay attention moment. I'd give Get Dead another chance in the future, but Bad News just isn't there yet.

Get Dead - Kerouac's Teeth:

Get Dead - The Process:

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Ballantynes - Faith/Velvet 7"

La Ti Da (2013)

From a singles series that I didn't buy yesterday to one today that I purchased the day it went on sale. La Ti Da records out of Canada has a series that while a bit delayed, is just packed with stellar records. The first one to show up at my door is the latest 7" from The Ballantynes. You can buy these records individually, but if you want the limited to 150 copies colored vinyl (white in this case) you need to be a subscriber.

Thus far The Ballantynes have only released 7"s, and I've bought them all. The first 2 were fantastic and this 3rd one raises the bar even higher. The Ballantynes play a throwback, but extremely authentic 60's Stax soul sound. The sultry vocals, the driving bass and even little nuances like the recording they've managed to get out of the guitars just takes me back to when I was younger and was first discovering the bands that inspired one of my earliest musical memories; the Blues Brothers.

As good as these 7"s have been, I think The Ballantynes will truly shine when they have a chance to put out a full album. There's something about the way they approach their music that assures me the best is yet to come and I simply can't wait for that to happen.

The Ballantynes - Faith/Velvet 7":

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Helvetia & Built To Spill - Spooky Action At The Sufferbus 7" - FlexiDisc (/1000)

Joyful Noise (2013)

Despite my deep, undying love of the 7" singles series, I couldn't bring myself to plunk down for Joyful Noise's 2013 Flexi Disc series. A, because there were really only 2 bands announced that I liked and B, I can't get all that excited about flexis. In Joyful Noise's defense, this is just about the best sounding flexi I've ever played and they obviously have put a great deal of care and work into the artwork, packaging and the like. But I honestly couldn't tell you why they just don't up the price of the series a bit and put out real 7"s. Seems wacky to me.

Anyway, since I wasn't going to buy the series but I had to maintain my complete Built To Spill 7" collection, I went to eBay. Picked this up for $18. Probably too much to pay for 1 song, but far from a rip off and certainly cheaper than buying a whole series of records I didn't want. The song is pretty good. You can certainly hear the Built To Spill in there, but I think the song is more driven by the Helvetia folks. It's upbeat pop that just screams of the 90's. It reminds me quite a bit of bands like Some Velvet Sidewalk or other K records pop shenanigans.

This record was essential to add to my Built To Spill collection, but unless you're a completist, this isn't a record that should at the top of your overpay on eBay list. Can't find the song streaming anywhere unfortunately.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Iron Chic - Spooky Action 7" - US Version, Red Vinyl (/350)

Bridge Nine (2013)

This is the US version of the Iron Chic 7" I wrote about yesterday. Though I missed out on the most limited version of the US version (gray vinyl /150), I do like the red vinyl as it matches the art work. Musically you can apply the same review I wrote yesterday other the 3rd song on this 7" is different from the UK version.

On the UK version there was a Butthole Surfers cover that didn't do anything for me. On Bridge Nine's variant that is replaced with a Ramones cover, which also doesn't really do anything for me. Now I like the Ramones way more than I like Butthole Surfers, so I enjoy this song more. But, I have to say, I would have just preferred another Iron Chic original as the 2 songs of theirs on this 7" are just fantastic.

Iron Chic - Spooky Action:

Monday, August 5, 2013

Iron Chic - Spooky Action 7" - European Tour Version, White Vinyl (/140)

Drunken Sailor / Yo Yo (2013)

Finally some new Iron Chic songs. These guys put out a hell of a record called Not Like This back in 2010 and I've been anxiously awaiting the follow up. It seems like this 7" (and the companion American version that we'll talk about tomorrow) is the warning that their new record is finally on the horizon.

There's 2 new songs as well as a Butthole Surfers cover. The 2 new tracks are both great, employing passionate vocals and soaring, urgent choruses. They are a bit slower than the bulk of the songs on Iron Chic's last full length, but are some of the best the band has written. The Butthole Surfers cover is kind of a throwaway for me. I'm not familiar with the original and Iron Chic's version doesn't speak to me like their original tracks do.

Drunken Sailor/Yo Yo put out 3 versions of this record: red vinyl (/400), clear vinyl (/400) and the white vinyl version that I picked up which was limited to only 140 copies. Iron Chic is one of those bands that while I don't buy every variant, I do want to have the rarest, or at least the earliest pressing of their records. I'm quite eager to hear more.

Iron Chic - Spooky Action 7":

Friday, August 2, 2013

Sweet Faces - S/T 7" - Blue Vinyl (/100)

Douchemaster (2008)

Another entry in my low key quest to pick up the colored vinyl versions of the entire Douchemaster records catalog. I'm honestly not sure why I didn't pick this up when it originally came out in 2008. I was buying records from the label at that point, but for one reason or another, just never ordered this particular 7".

I've been missing out as this little 7" is an excellent four song slice of pop music. It's a little fuzzy, but definitely owes more to the early 60's pop rock scene than it does to any garage underground. Simple catchy songs with very memorable choruses. The highlight for me is actually "Here Come The Nice Boys," a song with a minimal guitar riff endlessly repeated. For some bands this could be a total throwaway, but for Sweet Faces, they really turn it into something special.

Sadly it looks like this 7" is the only record Sweet faces ever put out, which is a real shame as I would have loved to hear more from these guys. Well, at least I have the limited to 100 blue vinyl mailorder version of the record. There's some solace in that.

Sweet Faces - ST 7":

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds LP

Capitol (2008)

There's not much to say about this record. One of the best pop albums ever released. Capitol put out this reissue a few years ago. This version is in mono and truly sounds great. The artwork was faithfully reproduced right down to the inner sleeve advertising the Capitol '66 line up. Pet Sounds is one of those records that just has to be in the collection. I can't imagine I need to describe anything else for you, it's just one of those records that you grow up with,