Friday, February 28, 2014

Steve Adamyk Band - High Above 7" - Black Vinyl & Orange Vinyl (/150)

La-Ti-Da (2013)

Wrapping up my week of La-Ti-Da singles with my favorite of the bunch and one of my absolute favorite current bands. The Steve Adamyk Band can almost do no wrong as far as I'm concerned, but despite my lofty standards for them, they still manage to blow the doors off of this record.

This is a band that has put out quite a few great 7"s in the last year or so. High Above is the best of the bunch. The 2 originals on the 7" are instant classics. Fast, full of energy and the hooks this band churns out are just insane. In particular "High Above" is yet more proof that no band can write choruses as catchy as these guys. But for me, the main event is the 3rd song, an unsuspecting cover song that I imagine most people outside of Canada probably have never even heard of before.

"A Promise Is A Promise" is one of my favorite songs of all time. It was written by a Canadian band called Bum. It was first released on a 7" in 1991 that came out on Lance Rock Records. It also ended up on the full length album Wanna Smash Sensation. That record came out in 1993 on Pop Llama/Munster records. Wanna Smash Sensation is easily in my top 10 records of all time. They never amassed the biggest following in America from what I could tell, but there were a group of us in New Jersey that really loved this band. Just go buy Wanna Smash Sensation, please.

The Steve Adamyk Band take on the song is just perfect. Don't fix what isn't broken. The band plows through it full speed ahead, picking out all of the buried lead guitar parts & background harmonies. They also brought in some guest vocals from one Chris Page. Chris fronted The Stand GT many moons ago and is still cranking out hits both solo and with his other great band Camp Radio.

There are rumors of a Dirtnap Records showcase in NYC this year. One would think that Steve Adamyk Band might play that show as they have NEVER come to the NYC area. All I'm saying is it would be pretty great if they pulled out A Promise Is A Promise while they were playing. I never got to see Bum play. But anyway, go get this 7", it's great!

Steve Adamyk Band - High Above 7":

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Needles // Pins - Outta This Place 7" - Clear Vinyl (/150)

La-Ti-Da (2013)

Outta This Place is the Needles//Pins entry into the La-Ti-Da singles subscription, and if you're getting the feeling I'm saving my absolute favorites for last, you'd be right. I truly believe that Needles//Pins are the Canadian all star team. Not because of the individual folks in the group; but because they manage to harness the best parts of some of my favorite bands into their songs.

For starters, I can't fathom you not liking Needles//Pins if you don't like Mother's Children as the bravado they take to their songs strikes me as being very similar. Do you like your pop music with straightforward hooks and a slight retro vibe like something the White Wires might do? Well, all you need is one listen to the B-Side "Date Night (You Bring The Napalm)." Wrap all of this up in a high energy, crunchy guitar sound not too dissimilar from The Steve Adamyk Band or Sonic Avenues and you've got a band that has really cranked out some great records over the past few years.

It's really a must have 7", and La-Ti-Da also just reissued the band's debut full length from a couple of years ago, so you'd be a fool to not grab that as well while you're at it.

Needles // Pins - Outta This Place 7":

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Wild Ones - Day Drunk 7" - Green Vinyl (/150)

La-Ti-Da (2013)

I decided that I'll spend the rest of this week catching up on the remaining La-Ti-Da singles subscription releases I've recently received. Today's entry comes from a band called the Wild Ones. I wasn't familiar with them prior to hearing this 7" and I don't know that they would have ended up on my radar otherwise. But that is what I love best about signing up for a series of singles. It's the surprises and discoveries that keep me coming back. Even if I've been burned by some labels that just never fulfilled what I subscribed for, I'll probably always be a sucker and come back for more. I just love the discovery process.

The Wild Ones immediately remind me of the old Douchemaster band The Baby Shakes. They play a similar jangley, 60's girl group influenced style of guitar pop. The songs are infectious and the vocals are so much stronger than what you'll get out of your run of the mill garage band. The first song, "Day Drunk" is a faster, carefree track that really harnesses the bands energy. It's an immediate attention grabber and I can't think of a better first song to hear by a band.

The B-side, Come Around, slows things down a bit, but really captures that 60's style song of yearning better than anything I've heard in quite some time. La-Ti-Da is becoming particularly adept at finding bands who can cull the sounds of 50 years ago; but present them in a fresh and exciting way that holds up with anything being released in 2014. I wish them continued success in this endeavor and offer more money flung at them for future singles subscriptions.

The Wild Ones - Day Drunk 7":

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Jay Vons - Night (Was Stealing From The Sun) 7"

La-Ti-Da (2013)

Part of the 2013 La-Ti-Da singles subscription, The Jay Vons seem to be coming from a similar place as their equally fantastic label mates The Ballantynes. The Jay Vons are playing organ laced, 60's style soul. They have a real attention to detail when it comes to production as both songs sound less "retro" and more like an actual product of the time frame that they obviously have a great affection for. I've thought for a long time that old soul music was ripe for a renaissance and it's great to see La-ti-Da leading the charge.

The one thing I find confusing is that the record I received was on black vinyl. I thought as part of the La-T-Da singles subscription, I was supposed to get a limited colored vinyl variant, but I'm wondering if that ended up not happening as I couldn't find a reference to what color it was supposed to be anywhere on the La-Ti-Da website. If anyone out there knows if there is another version of this 7" floating around, please let me know.

The Jay Vons - Night (Was Stealing From The Sun) 7":

Friday, February 21, 2014

Minutes - Roland LP

Minutes - Roland LP by Tim PopKid
Minutes - Roland LP, a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
Self Released (2014)

This album was released in on Bandcamp in December of 2013, but it looks like the vinyl wasn't out until January.  This means you can file Roland 1 of 2 ways.  It's either one of the best records so far of 2014 or it's an early contender for the best record of last year that I missed. For the sake of year-end lists, I'm going to call this a 2014 release.

Minutes is a band from Michigan that is carrying on indie rock traditions of the 90's with much success.  Though the album starts off kind of slow, once it hits; it really hits. You might want to dismiss them during the lead song "Get Off Your Ass." A slower, darker song that would really make you want to lump these guys in with the slacker movement of 20 years ago. Things aren't a lot better on the 2nd track "Stolen Wallet." While neither are bad songs, they don't make the band seem like anything special.

Once you get to the third song, "Against Your Will," that is where the album really starts to pick up. From there the band starts showing their mastery of the genre. Some songs have a Pavement pop feel to it. Others have the crashing energy of Vee Vee era Archers of Loaf. And more often than not, you can hear Minutes channeling the melodies and excitement of The Dismemberment Plan, without all the goofy, pretentious sound effects. It's such a great album that I absolutely must find their out of print first LP. It just needs to be in my collection immediately.

Roland is absolute one of the best records I've heard so far this year, even if it's not officially a 2014 release. This year is not starting off nearly as packed with good records as 2013 did, so now is a good time to go check out this album, like me, you might have missed it.

Minutes - Roland LP:

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Flying Kangaroo Alliance - Hit The Wall 7" - Clear Splatter Vinyl

Punk Fox (2013)

I've mentioned before that I don't get sent records for review very often (feel free to fix that and send me some) so when I do, I really take my time and listen very carefully before I pop something up on this site. Especially if I'm not really a huge fan of the record. Case in point is this Flying Kangaroo Alliance 7".

I've had this 7" for a few months and I've been trying to articulate exactly how I feel about it. I don't hate it, it's certainly no the worst thing I've ever heard, but there's something that just sounds so dated to me. Flying Kangaroo Alliance is a female fronted band that at best I can describe as a 90's grunge tribute. The singer slips into that Sleater-Kinney warble that I've never been a huge fan of and the music is total 90's start/stop guitar verse with a slightly faster chorus.

You can name drop a who's who of 90's female rock bands; Garbage, Hole, Veruca Salt...there are bits and pieces of all of these bands in the 2 songs on this 7". Like I said, it's OK, I would rather listen to 90's knock off bands than a lot of other things these folks could be doing, but it's not something I would anticipate going back to very often.

And lastly, if you're a record label, don't send out a one sheet talking about how punk rock your label is because you don't have a website or a Facebook or whatever. If you don't want to have one, fine, but that shouldn't be some sort of bizarre selling point. It just comes off as being really goofy.

Flying Kangaroo Alliance - Hit The Wall:

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Boat - 50 Sweaty Boat Fans Can't Be Wrong LP (/200)

Hail The Sound (2013)

This was a bonus LP bundled with the first 200 pre-orders of the vinyl release of the Boat album Songs That You Might Not Like. It gathers some demos and rarities that the band recorded in 2004. After listening to the album a few times, it's pretty obvious why these recordings were shelved for so long. While the band shows flashes of brilliance, in general the songs are lacking the punch that Boat was able to harness on later recordings.

The thing that really stands out to me about these songs are the bands heavy reliance on keyboards sprinkled throughout their songs. While it adds to some, it kind of stamps certain songs definitely as rough demos. A lot of the album reminds me of some of the deeper cuts on mid era Pavement albums, where the band sounds a little tinny and the vocals are a bit distorted.

There's 15 songs on the album, so it is an enjoyable listen overall. But the LP also comes with a digital download containing even more tracks; 28 in total. It's a lot of Boat demos to get through in one sitting. I'm glad the band emptied the vault for this record, it was a great bonus to come along with the Songs That You Might Not Like LP, but I probably won't get as many listens out of this record as I will with the rest of the band's albums.

Boat - 50 Sweaty Boat Fans Can't Be Wrong:

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Boat - Songs That You Might Not Like LP

Hail The Sound (2013, Reissue)

I stumbled across the band Boat via their 2011 LP, Dress Like Your Idols. I was immediately taken by their unabashed 90's indie rock throwback vibe. While that is a theme that has become more common over the past 3 years, Boat was on the forefront as far as I was concerned. They had been kicking around for years beforehand, but I haven't really explored their back catalog as much as I'd like.

However, when it was anounced that their 2006 debut was finally being released on vinyl with an entire 2nd LP of rarities, I figured now was as good a time as any. We'll deal with the rarities LP tomorrow, but for today I'll focus on the first Boat full length Songs That You Might Not Like. Hearing this made me really wish I had been on board right from the get go in 2006. It's a very strong LP of loose, upbeat Pavement style indie rock. Not as pretentious as Malkmus can be, but really embracing the laid back ease of their rock.

It's not quite as good as either of their more recent LPs. The production is a little too scrappy and the songs could benefit from a slight amount of tightening, but as a debut or a launching pad for what this band went on to achieve, it's a pretty spectacular start. There are 2 more Boat albums missing from my collection, Hopefully the 1 that isn't on vinyl yet gets the same type of reissue treatment that Boat's debut has received. I'll have a quick write up about the companion LP that came with Songs That You Might Not Like tomorrow.

Boat - Songs That You Might Not Like (4 Song Sampler):

Monday, February 17, 2014

Jawbox - Novelty LP

Jawbox - Novelty LP by Tim PopKid
Jawbox - Novelty LP, a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
Dischord (1992)

As I've stated previously on this website, I missed the boat on some bands in the 90's. Be it due to sheer ignorance or an over abundance of amazing music that no one could possibly keep up with, there are bands that slipped through the cracks for me. One of those bands that I'm desperately trying to catch up with is Jawbox.

Novelty came out in 1992. That's 22 years ago, yet it still sounds like a fresh exciting album. One thing I did not give Jawbox enough credit for when I was younger was their ability to write a catchy song. The band is masterful at building tension in a verse until it explodes into a spectacular chorus. I just couldn't see the melody over what I perceived as a much gruffer exterior. Though looking at the band with fresh eyes, I can only assume that I was probably judging them mostly on some sketchy songs I had heard on compilation albums.

Novelty is a spectacular album, it's not as polished as For Your Own Special Sweetheart, but I've always been one who likes my production a little rougher around the edges. This is the 2nd Jawbox album that has been a total home run for me. Now it's time to really flesh out the rest of their albums & singles as I've decided that my collection needs a complete Jawbox discography.

Jawbox - Novelty:

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Rocket From The Crypt - Boychucker 7" - A's & B's Label Variant

Sympathy For The Record Industry (1994)

I have a lot of Rocket From The Crypt records. No seriously, I mean a LOT. But, I never seem to be able to have all of them. The labels that they were involved with released so many wacky variants over the years that I feel like I will never get them all (Sell me your red vinyl Pure Genius 7" Norm!!!).

Case in point is this Boychucker 7". I have bought this over and over and over. I have 4 different copies of the picture disc version and now I have 6 copies of the black vinyl version, all with different labels on the record. This last one is actually one of the easier variants to find, but for some reason it just never made it's way into the collection as I was always prioritizing other things. Then one day, I just stopped seeing it. Luckily it popped up again and I can continue my march towards a complete RFTC collection.

Oh, and the song Boychucker is one of my top 5 Rocket songs ever.

Rocket From The Crypt - Boychucker:

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Dan Sartain - He Touched Me Digital EP - Travis Jackson Benefit

For the first, and likely only time I will be breaking a rule of this site and will be reviewing an album that was released digitally only.  There's no LP, CD or Tape, but this release gets a pass for 2 reasons.  The first is because I just love Dan Sartain.  But, the 2nd and significantly more important reason is because this album has been released to raise money for the The Travis Jackson Memorial Fund.

Travis Jackson was the founder of Windian records, a label that has released so many fantastic records.  Travis was tragically killed in an accident at work.  He left behind a wife and a child.  In addition to all proceeds from this Dan Sartain release being donated to The Travis Jackson Memorial Fund, there is a 2nd website where you can donate directly to the fund here: While I'm sure that there is no deadline for buying this EP, the fundraiser is closing in 4 days on February 15th.  Please give a little something if you can.

This Dan Sartain EP is just phenomenal. Sure, it was recorded in just 24 hours. Sure it's all cover songs, but it highlights the very best of Dan Sartain.  His voice and his retro rock and roll take on music.  This release is most reminiscent of his earliest work like Romance In Stereo, Crimson Guard and Vs. The Serpientes.  He gives inspired acoustic takes on songs from Dead Milkmen, X, The Wipers, The Ramones & others. Dan manages to turn them all into thoughtful , borderline ballads.  Although I like Dan's more rocking releases, his slower, old school country records are always the ones I go back to over and over again.

If you are a Dan Sartain fan it would be silly to not grab this.  If you are new to the party, it's a $5 investment that goes to a great, great cause. And if you hate it, you can still give to The Travis Jackson Memorial Fund directly at

Dan Sartain - He Touched Me:

Monday, February 10, 2014

Deltron 3030 - Event 2 LP

Deltron 3030 - Event 2 LP by Tim PopKid
Deltron 3030 - Event 2 LP, a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.

Bulk (2013)

I had been waiting for new Deltron 3030 record for such a long time, but I was getting nervous as its release date approached as I read review after review on how this album was a let down and how this was a problem and that was a problem. I went in with tempered expectations. Having listened to this album many times at this point I can honestly say I have no idea what record all of those other reviewers were listing to; this album is outstanding.

The first Del The Funky Homosapien album, I Wish My Brother George Was Here, came out when I was in the 8th grade in 1991. I loved that album from day 1, but it was 1993's No Need For Alarm that permanently entrenched Del as my all time favorite hip hop artist. Everything I love about Del is on display on this record. His absurdly complex lyrics and rhyme structures, his over the top delivery and the fact that listening to him execute a song just makes almost every one else look like a bunch of amateurs. Del has a way of standing head and shoulders above the rest.

Others have remarked that they find this album too dark and they like when Del is more fun and jokey. Well I completely disagree and think Del & Dan The Automator have constructed a rich, deep world that their characters inhabit. Sure it's not all fun and games, but very few things are. The beats that Dan churns out are every bit as good as the first album, with dark bass and an old sci fi movie futuristic vibe throughout.

It's a fantastic album start to finish and I have no idea why so many others have been lukewarm or even down on this record. As someone who has been listening to Del for 23 years now, I can say there's not a moment on this record I feel like I've been let down or that Deltron 3030 hasn't delivered. It's just great.

Deltron 3030 - Event 2 (Several songs on their SoundCloud page):

Friday, February 7, 2014

Against Me! - Transgender Dysphoria Blues LP - Blue Vinyl (/1000)

Total Treble (2014)

I like all of the Against Me albums. Every single one of them, but even I will admit that the last couple seemed to be a bit lacking in the intensity department. I blame it on the glossy production values of New Wave and White Crosses (though the release of the Black Crosses version of the latter album corrected a lot of the issues I had with that record). While the songs were always there, Against Me sounds best a little rougher around the edges. It just lets the passion shine though.

Transgender Dysphoria Blues is a step back in the right direction. The glossy sterile recording is gone, but this is far from a lo fi affair. It's just perfectly produced with full guitars and clean vocals, but none of the angst lost to the sheen of knob fiddling. Plus the songs; oh these songs. There is a fury in this album that's been missing for a while. Right from the rolling drum roll intro of the first track "Transgender Dysphoria Blues" it's immediately apparent that Against Me is back.

Incredible song after incredible song follow like "True Trans Soul Rebel" (A full band version infinitely better than the acoustic version released on a prior 7"), "Drinking With The Jocks," and "Dead Friend." As the name of the song may insinuate, things do get a little heavy handed on the song "Osama Bin Laden As The Crucified Christ" but it's a rare misstep on this otherwise stellar album.

Against Me - Transgender Dysphoria Blues:

Against Me - Drinking With The Jocks:

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Against Me! - True Trans 7"

Total Treble (2013)

This 7" was released as a precursor to the new Against Me me record, which I'll write more about tomorrow. The True Trans EP offers up 2 acoustic versions of songs on the full length; "Fuckmylife666" and "True Trans Soul Rebel." I have always liked that Against Me has peppered their albums with acoustic songs. It always provides a nice change of pace and really works in the context of an album.

I haven't always been as big of a fan of their releasing acoustic versions of songs that have a full band version on the album. Not that any of them are bad, and both tracks on this 7" are pretty good acoustic takes on these songs, but it just always felt a little unnecessary to me. I would rather some new songs than redone ones. I guess it's for the same reasons that remixes as B-sides never really do much for me. I have these songs, let's hear some new ones.

That being said, this is partially my fault. These 2 tracks were meant to be heard before the album. But, I missed the limited clear vinyl when it went on sale, so I waited until I ordered the full album and added the 7" to the bundle to save on shipping. I may have been more into these if I had heard them first, but since I heard the electric version first, the songs on this 7" just became remixes to me.

Against Me - True Trans Soul Rebel (Acoustic):

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

V/A - Something To Du 7" - Blue Vinyl

Dead Broke / Drunken Sailor (2013)

I'll be the first to admit, I may not be the best person to judge this record as a tribute to Husker Du. I know I'm in the minority, but I've always been more of a Sugar guy. So I'm much, much more familiar with the Sugar records than I am with the Husker Du catalog. That being said, I was really looking forward to this 7" as it paired up a lot of bands that I really like.

The 7" starts off with Unfun and their take on "The Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill" and flat out I do not like this. Sure the original is a little blown out and a little shouty, but Unfun really takes it too far and this is just an overblown screaming mess of a song. Tenement, one of my favorite current bands, takes on "Obnoxious" and also takes that song way over the top. It's just a shouting, borderline inaudible pile of fuzz. Things get back on track with Crow Bait's "Dead Set on Destruction," which is the first track you can hear the music and lyrics on. Good production and a catchy take on the original.

Over on the B-side, Bent Outta Shape leads off with "Terms Of Psychic Warfare." it's another one of the highlights of the 7". Nice guitar tones and a clarity missing from a lot of the other songs. The best cover on this 7" is turned in by Dauntless Elite. The chose "I Don't Know What You're Talking About," one of Husker Du's catchier songs, and really took some creative license with it. The Dauntless Elite version puts a real UK/Clash/The Tone spin on the song and manages to make the it their own. Lastly we have another one of my favorites; Your Pest Band from Japan. Their version of Green Eyes is dreamy and swampy and vaguely feels like it was recorded underwater. It's not my favorite thing they've done, but does kind of fit in with their more recent records, which have definitely been heading in this direction.

So, I guess I'm kind of disappointed in this record. The bands that I was most excited to hear didn't live up to my lofty expectations, but bands I wasn't expecting really shined. It's always tough judging a band based on cover songs, so I'll just say it's an interesting record to listen, but maybe not an essential one to own.

V/A - Something To Du 7":