Friday, May 30, 2014

Love As Laughter - Thru The Past, Brightly, Vol. 1 CD


LAL Industrie (1999)

The absolute number 1 record on my want list is the first self titled Love As Laughter cassette.  I have been searching for a copy for nearly 20 years and I've hardly ever even gotten a hint of it existing anywhere.  The 2nd Love As Laughter cassette Clear Sky = Blue Dye is one of my all time favorite albums, one I've been listening to non-stop in the 20 years that I've been searching for the 1st cassette.  After all this time, I finally went to the source and got in touch with Sam Jayne, the man behind Love As Laughter (and the equally amazing Lync).

Sam was super nice and dug around trying to find me a copy of the 1st cassette.  Unfortunately he wasn't able to procure one, but he did find a copy of this CD for me.  This CD is a self released effort that compiles a bunch of early Love As Laughter songs.  There's a good amount from Clear Sky = Blue Dye.  A song from the split 7" w/ Ringfinger and what I assume are quite a few songs from that first cassette I've been searching for.

Now I can't say for sure which of these new to me songs are from that cassette, but I can say that I just love every single one of them.  This era of Love As Laughter is lo fi, 4 track, recorded at home pop genius.  You've got all the ingredients of classic 90's do it yourselfers.  Fuzzed out electric guitar on one song, strummed acoustic on the next.  Drum machines on a song, super basic kick snare drumming on the next.  Plus there's just that quintessential 4 track fuzz that I loved so much.

This CD is just amazing.  While it will never fill the hole in my record collection that the missing 1st cassette leaves, it's a certainly a more than acceptable placeholder for the time being.  Thanks again to Sam for helping me out with a copy of this and if anyone on Earth has that 1st cassette I'm missing, please get in touch right away.  Even if you won't sell it to me (which you should), I'd really like to get the tracklist for it.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Cloud Nothings - Here And Nowhere Else LP - Blue Vinyl


Carpark / Mom + Pop (2014)

A few years ago I caught wind of Cloud Nothings.  I checked out their self titled album (though I do not believe it was their debut) and thought it was OK.  Some good songs on it, but honestly nothing that special.  They released a follow up that I never even listened to.  Then this year I heard they had yet another record out, "Here And Nowhere Else."  I kept hearing really good things about it, so many that it became impossible to ignore.  I decided to give the band another shot.

I am so glad I did.  This record is out of control great.  Along with Sonic Avenues it is easily one of the 2 best records to come out this year so far.  Not only am I listening to this record all the time, I've actually checked the band's website to see if they're coming to town so I could go see them play (and I hardly ever go out to shows anymore). Currently the east coast isn't on their agenda, but I'll be keeping an eye on that.

On this record Cloud Nothings are playing bombastic, huge pop songs.  The kind that have choruses that will be crammed in your head for months.  They've captured an energy on this record that just makes you want to smack people in the face and make them sing along too.  The production is kind of scratchy, and that gives the band a real edge to them that others playing this sort of thing wouldn't have.  Plus the drumming on this record is some of the best I've heard in a while.  They've perfected the art of making a song great, then making it even catchier and louder in the chorus and then somehow one upping that again and going even louder.  It's an incredible feat and one that keeps me coming back over and over.

I cannot say enough great things about this record.  I didn't think much of the band going into it, but coming out I'm totally converted.  I'm going to have to give their other records a try and even if I'm not as into them, you can be guaranteed I'll be buying everything these guys put out going forward.

Cloud Nothings - "I'm Not Part Of Me":

Cloud Nothings "Psychic Trauma":

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wringer - Bullfighter LP - Red Vinyl (/100)


Smellhound (2014)

It is no secret that I love a good pop punk record.  Sure, even the term pop punk has been slighted over the years and so many people just disregard the entire genre.  There are a lot of bad pop punk bands, so I can sort of understand where people are coming from, but there's also some truly great bands cranking out pop punk records.  Wringer is one of those bands.

If you take the punchy attitude of Dillinger Four and mash it up with some of the early Lookout records catalog, you'd probably come up with Wringer.  While they don't really lean towards the Leatherface end of the spectrum like D4 does, they have the same sort of grab-you-by-the-throat energy.  Their songs are a bit more straight forward and when the band comes across a hook, they just run with it.  

The first 100 were on red vinyl and according to the label's website, it is possible they have a few available, but you may want to check with them.  Wringer also has a split 7" out in the world with a band called Trapper Keeper.  I'm going to need to add that to the collection at some point as well.  If it's even half as good as Bullfighter, it will be a hell of a 7".

Wringer - Bullfighter:

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Warm Soda - Young Reckless Hearts LP - Pentacolor Vinyl (/69)


Castle Face (2014)

While I wasn't ever totally on board with the records released when he was in Bare Wires (don't get me wrong, those records are good, just not great), I was a reasonably early adopter when Mathew Melton started up Warm Soda.  Their debut record was one of those albums that makes you reevaluate what you're looking for in a record.  He managed to do several things that I hate production-wise, yet somehow made me love every second of it.  When Young Reckless Hearts was announced, I was checking the Castle Face records website every hour waiting for this to go on sale.

I was lucky, I was at the right computer at the right time and I saw the email announcing this wacky, limited to 69 copies pentacolor vinyl go on sale.  It's clear with red, yellow, blue and white colored blotches.  Definitely one of the cooler looking records I have and man did it sell out fast.  As far as the music goes, it's really good, but I don't like it quite as much as their debut.

The thing that this record is lacking for me just a bit is punch.  The first album had a little more energy.  The songs were slightly faster.  The lyrics were more biting.  Young Reckless Hearts is a more laid back affair, but Melton & co. craft some of the best hooks you'll find on a record this year.  With their breathy, way-up-in-the-front-of-the-mix vocals and tight, well constructed accompaniment, Warm Soda is a truly stellar band.  If you enjoyed the last record, there's no way you won;t like this one as well.  It's a fantastic, extremely well written record; I just wish it had a tiny bit more oomph, that's all.

Warm Soda - Young Wreckless Hearts:

Friday, May 23, 2014

Sonic Avenues - Mistakes LP - Clear Vinyl (/175)


Dirtnap (2014)

Ever since I put the needle down on the very first Sonic Avenues full length that I mailordered from Going Gaga records (which was almost not delivered due to a mailing mishap) I have been such a huge fan this band.  When their 2nd record came out on Dirtnap, it only fanned the flame even more.  Now that their 3rd LP Mistakes has arrived, I've pretty much moved on to full blown obsession.

This is one of the greatest bands in the world right now.  They have such an exciting way of crafting their guitar riffs, always veering off into unexpected places, but always making sense in the end.  In a lot of ways they remind me of the Marked Men in this regard.  The static-y vocals probably also would make others think of the Marked Men as well, but I would venture to say that Sonic Avenues are pretty close to unmatched in supplying vocal melodies.  They sing higher and hold notes longer than most bands I can think of and always deliver something new and exciting.

Sonic Avenues are a band that you will never mistake for being someone else.  They've created a sound that will certainly appeal to fans of other bands playing fast paced garagey-pop; but Sonic Avenues stand so far apart from everyone else it's almost comical.  This new record is just as great as anything else they've released so far and if 2014 ended today Mistakes would hands down be the best record of the year.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The No Marks / Hyalin - Split 7" - Red Vinyl (/110)


Brassneck (2014)

If you read this website on a somewhat consistent basis, you'll see two things repeated quite often.  1. I'm just a complete sucker for the music of the 90's, the music released then will always just seem like the best to me.  And 2. There has been a real resurgence in bands today taking cues and paying homage to bands from the 90's; which is A-OK by me.  Of all of the 90's things to stage a little comeback, the one I expected the least, but probably love the most is all of these new bands that sound like the glory days of the mid to late 90's UK punk scene.  I'll say it until I'm blue in the face, when bands like Broccoli, Hooton 3 Car and Chopper ruled the world, I never loved music more.

The 2 bands on this 7" not only take cues from that UK scene, several of the guys in these bands were actually part of it.  First up we have The No Marks.  They feature members of Crocodile God and Blocko. The 2 songs on their side of the 7" are phenomenal.  They definitely have that Broccoli-esque raspy vocal thing and intricate guitar playing down, but I find them to be a bit poppier and perhaps slightly more lighthearted than Broccoli was.  In particular the back and forth between clean guitar and fuzzy guitar on "About Tomorrow" really stands out as something unique.

Over on the flip side we've got Hyalin.  A band made up of folks from Blocko and folks from one of my absolute current favorite bands Chestnut Road.  All you really need to know is that of the 2 songs on this 7", one is a cover of the Broccoli song "Constance."  It's great as is their original "Clear As Glass."  If you imagined a band that sounded like a cross between Blocko and Chestnut Road, they would sound exactly like this.

This is just such a great 7" and really, everyone should check it out.  While you're doing that, you really also should make sure you have every Broccoli, Blocko, Chestnut Road and Crocodile God record you can find.  When you have all those don't forget Hooton 3 Car and Chopper.  Oh and you should really grab that donFisher 7" that Crackle put out.  So many record to buy...

The No Marks / Hyalin - Split 7":

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Average Times - S/T LP - Peach Vinyl (/175)


Hosehead (2014)

There's something in the water in Ottawa, Canada.  They have bands up there cranking out such incredible records.  Aside from mid 90's San Diego and mid 90's UK, I can't think of any scene that has filled the world out more hits than Ottawa.  Average Times is another band in this incredible lineage and their self titled debut is a real smack in the face.

While you will definitely hear echoes of other garage laced pop bands like Mother's Children, The Cry!, Missing Monuments or Steve Adamyk Band; Average Times still manage to stand out in a crowd with their jagged, blown out vocals and powerful guitar riffs.  They have a certain glam-ish attitude about them, but they really can churn out the hooks.

My biggest beef with this record is that the song "Wasted On Wine" should be at least 3 times longer than it is.  With it's roaring, bouncy guitar, yelping vocals and incredible background "oohs," it's probably my favorite song on the record but is only about a minute long.  Luckily there's plenty of other hits like "Popsicle," "Glitch" and "I Hate Tomato Juice and I Hate You."  It's a hell of a debut record and has a pretty rad car pictured on the front cover.  Big fan.

Average Times - Average Times:

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Jawbox - Grippe LP - Purple Vinyl


Dischord (1991)

I couldn't tell you exactly when this purple vinyl reissue came out, but it was definitely within the past two or three years.  One thing you can say about Dischord; they really try to keep their records cheap and in print.  So kudos to them for that.  As mentioned before, I'm going back and acquiring all of the Jawbox records I brushed off when I was younger, not having gotten into them much back in the 90's.  Along with Seaweed, they're the band I have enjoyed the most rediscovering.

Grippe is a solid record, though if I'm being honest, it is not as strong as Novelty or For Your Own Special Sweetheart.  You can hear a lot of potential in this, their debut, but it's not as fully realized as other records in the band's catalog.  Still, there's lots of crunchy guitar, passionate vocals and some pretty good hooks buried in there if you're willing to dig a bit.

There's only 1 last Jawbox full length that I need to add to the collection and then it's time to start hunting down some of their many 7"s.  But rest assured, at some point their discography will be completed.

Jawbox - "Freezerburn":

Jawbox - "Tools and Chrome":

Record Store Day Haul #5: Max Steiner - King Kong OST 7" - Blue Vinyl(/200)


Music On Vinyl (2014)

The final record on my hunt from this year was one that my local record store didn't carry. I had some other folks taking a look around for me, but no one was able to find a copy. Luckily, a few days after Record Store Day a copy turned up on the Reckless Records website and it was finally mine.

First and foremost this is a total overpriced novelty record. This stupid 7" was $15; a completely ridiculous price for a 7". This kind of gouging is the reason you read so many articles about how Record Store Day is a bad thing in the weeks leading up to the event. Now granted, I'm part of the problem, I did buy it, but I still feel the need to point out how crazy the cost was.

The record itself is pretty cool. The main theme from King Kong on the A side and the carnival barker organ music theme is on the B side. For me though, as a big King Kong fan, I'm most excited about the artwork. The 7" cover unfolds into a small mock up of the King Kong movie poster. At the end of the day it's an overpriced, silly record, but I still like it. I'd happily buy a Godzilla one as well if they could get songs from the original 1954 soundtrack.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Record Store Day Haul #4: Pixies - Indie Cindy 2xLP + 7"


Pixies Music (2014)

The 4th item on my Record Store Day list was the first new Pixies album in nearly 25 years, Indie Cindy.  As most folks do, I sure love the Pixies albums that came out on the late 80's and early 90's.  So, while it was interesting to hear they were putting out a new record, I was extremely reluctant to get even remotely excited about it.  Having high expectations for this sort of thing is a fool's errand and I wasn't going to set myself up for disappointment.  Still, I figured I had to pick it up, it's the Pixies after all.

Well, I'll start off by making it very clear that this album is in no way anywhere close to being as good as anything they released in the old days.  Not even close.  So if you're expecting something as good as Surfer Rosa; frankly you're nuts.  That being said, I've read a LOT of reviews of this album where the writer is just going off on how terrible this is and what an abomination this is and how it tarnishes the band's legacy.  Those people are equally stupid.  This record is totally fine.

Sure, the song "Indie Cindy" is fucking terrible and the track right after it, "Bagboy" is somehow even worse. But aside from those two, it's a pretty solid record.  There are some songs that are nice and catchy, some that are a bit slower and more thoughtful and even a few with some good old fashion Black Francis screaming on them.  In no way can this record hold a candle to the original Pixies records, but it's still a pretty good record overall.  I realize I'm definitely in the minority with this opinion, but I think if more people just listened to the record without pre-judging it, they'd be pleasantly surprised.

The Record Store Day version also came with a one sided 7" containing the exclusive track "Women Of War."  Aside from some asinine vocal effects on the bridge, it's a decent song as well.  Upper mid tempo, nice melodies, not at all a throwaway as some might expect.  But those vocals in the bridge nearly ruin the whole song.  Luckily they're brief.

Pixies - Indie Cindy (Full Album Stream):

Pixies - "Women Of War":

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Record Store Day Haul #3: Built To Spill - Ultimate Alternative Wavers 2xLP - Gold Vinyl


Modern Classics Recordings (2014, Reissue)

Like the Pinback LP I wrote about yesterday, this is a shining example of what Record Store Day should be all about.  A classic Built To Spill album from 21 years ago never having been released on vinyl until right now.  Regardless of anything else that was for sale on Record Store Day, this release would have always gotten me lined up at the door of my local record store.

Honestly, I'm surprised it took this long for Ultimate Alternative Wavers to finally get a vinyl reissue.  Even though it's always kind of been the forgotten record of theirs, Built To Spill is big enough and has an old enough fan base that you'd think this would just be a gimme.  Well, at least it's here now.  They did a great job with the artwork.  The gatefold cover is super high quality, the gold vinyl looks good with the art and everything sounds really good spread out over two LPs.  My store charged $35 for this bad boy, which seems pretty steep to me.  But I just don't see how I'd ever pass up the chance to own the very last Built To Spill record I needed to complete my collection on vinyl.

The music on the record is the same as it always was.  It's not quite as good as everything BTS released after it, but it's certainly not too dissimilar either.  Lots of long dynamic guitar solos, great pop melodies and pretty much everything else you'd expect from this band.  Particularly, I've just always loved "The First Song" and "Nowhere Nothin' Fuckup."  Definitely a worthwhile purchase, albeit, an expensive one.

Built To Spill - The First Song:

Built To Spill - Nowhere Nothin' Fuckup:

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Record Store Day Haul #2: Pinback - S/T LP - Clear Vinyl (/2000)


Ace Fu (2014, Reissue)

To me, this symbolizes what Record Store Day should be all about (Aside from my local store doing a bit of price gouging and selling this for $4 more than anywhere else I saw it being sold).  There is an actual point to this reissue.  This is not some record from the 70's littering used bins everywhere; it's a record that never came out on vinyl.  It's about time too.

I have to admit, prior to getting this reissue, I'd never heard this Pinback record.  Don't get me wrong, I'm a really big fan and have been for years.  I've been on board since Blue Screen Life, but for some reason I never went backwards and picked up their first full length.  Well shame on me because this record is every bit as good as the rest.

Pinback songs have a way of chugging along at the type of slower pace that would typically bore me if other bands were doing it.  But the way they layer the gentle plucking of the guitars and the absolutely stellar backing vocals and melodies make the songs just bristle with energy, despite their somewhat slow pace.  This record is just full of great songs like that.  Pinback seems to be one of those bands that just emerged perfect.  There was no tinkering with the formula necessary, they were just ready to go.  Thrilled to have this in the collection finally.

Pinback - Tripoli:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Record Store Day Haul #1: Otis Redding - Pain In My Heart LP


Atco (2014, Reissue)

Record Store Day 2014 was the year that the event seemed pretty bloated to me.  Last year was a bit chaotic, but the fact that there were 2 Rocket From The Crypt records and a Superchunk 7" made things still seem pretty exciting.  2014's version didn't have anywhere near as many records as I've wanted as previous years.  On top of that, man oh man, there were a lot of crap reissues.  Maybe Record Store Day is losing its way (pretty sure it is), but when the day came I couldn't help myself from getting caught up in everything and once again standing in line in front of a record store all night.

While the number of records I wanted was way down this year, the few I did grab were pretty good.  This is a reissue of the first Otis Redding full length.  It's presented in its original mono release.  I don't know why I need to have the mono version of a record if that's the way the first version came out, but it's something I've been looking into more and more over the years.  It's also undoubtedly why I'm probably going to end up dropping some serious coin on a Beatles mono box set if they ever get around to putting it out.

Anyway, Pain In My Heart does sound really great.  Great enough to warrant the $30 price tag? Yeah, probably. The vinyl is is thick and heavy, the artwork is printed on strong cardstock and the record really does sound wonderful.  Maybe it's not as exciting as a Rocket From The Crypt record and maybe it's part of the reissue problem that Record Store Day is going through, but it's great to be able to add a great sounding version of a pretty important record to the collection.  So I can't really complain too much.

Otis Redding - Pain In My Heart:

Otis Redding - Louie Louie:

Monday, May 12, 2014

Rocket From The Crypt - My Blues Away 7" - Clear Vinyl (/400)


Swami (2013)

The last stop on Rocket From The Crypt's 2013 UK tour was on December 7th in Dublin.  It wrapped up their tour and also wrapped up the Hits The Monkey Islands tour 7" series.  The final band covered was The Boomtown Rats.  This was another band that I was not at all familiar with, so until I searched out and fired up the original, I didn't really have much to compare Rocket's version to.

While the The Boomtown Rats' version of "My Blues Away" is a harmonica tinged stomper; Rocket From The Crypt's take is a little more robust.  They keep the descending honky tonk guitar riff, but add on a generous amount of cowboy bar style piano banging.  The horns are more sparse here than on any other 7" in the set, but when they kick in, it really adds emphasis.  Parts remind me a little of "Killy Kill," but this is another song that really stands out in Rocket's catalog of covers.

That wraps up the series, sadly.  Being able to see Rocket From The Crypt again this past year was a real treat.  They are the best live band that has ever walked the planet.  The extra bonus of six new 7"s only makes this reunion even better.  I know no one in the band has confirmed or denied the possibility of a new album, but after these six cover songs I want to hear new music from Rocket From The Crypt more than ever.

Rocket From The Crypt - My Blues Away:

The Boomtown Rats - My Blues Away:

Friday, May 9, 2014

Rocket From The Crypt - Shy Fly 7" - Green Vinyl (/400)


Swami (2013)

Here we are on part 5 of the Hits The Monkey Island tour 7" series.  This one was originally sold at Rocket From The Crypt's December 6th 2013 show in London.  The band that Rocket tackled this time out was Status Quo and the song is "Shy Fly."  Status Quo is another band I'm not particularly familiar with, though having listened to their version of "Shy Fly" I'll say that aside from the Buzzcocks, they've got the best of the originals that Rocket has decided to cover.

The Rocket From The Crypt version is a mid temp song.  It alternates between big crunchy chords and single note guitar lead riffs.  There's an odd start/stop thing going on in the verse that holds back the momentum of the song a bit, but once they hit that chorus...look out.  It's a huge piano and horn driven chorus that really makes the song.  It lacks some of the vaguely psychedelic notes that the original version of the song has, but the Rocket version is significantly louder, fuller and more powerful.

All in all, another great 7".  We've only got 1 more tour date and one last 7" to go to wrap up the series, but that will have to wait until Monday.

Rocket From The Crypt - Shy Fly:

Status Quo - Shy Fly:

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Rocket From The Crypt - Spinning Round 7" - Yellow Vinyl (/400)


Swami (2013)

Number 4 in the Rocket From The Crypt Hits The Monkey Islands tour 7" bundle is from their December 4th, 2013 show in Leeds.  For this town, they covered local band Red Lorry Yellow Lorry; a band that I admittedly have never even heard of prior to Rocket deciding to cover them.  I checked out the original version of their song on YouTube and I was surprised.  It's pretty forward thinking for something released in 1985.  I don't know that I'll start hunting down their records or anything, but it was OK.

The Rocket version is another scorcher. "Spinning Round" starts off with some octave banging, but the song is held down by dueling lead guitar interplay.  It's the kind of thing that reminds me of what the band was doing on "Back In The State" or perhaps some of the RFTC era b-sides.  As has become the band's trademark the horns that they've worked into the bridge sound great and it's nice to hear Speedo tossing in closing "woo" for good measure.

Another great 7" and at this point, four 7"s in, I'm really feeling the need for a new Rocket full length.  The band obviously still had it, now they just need to give more of it to the world.

Rocket From The Crypt - Spinning Round:

Red Lorry Yellow Lorry - Spinning Round:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Rocket From The Crypt - Baker Street 7" - Blue Vinyl (/400)


Swami (2013)

The 3rd 7" in the Rocket From The Crypt UK tour set was sold at the band's December 3rd (which is my birthday, by the way) 2013 show in Glasgow. For this 7" they chose to cover the song "Baker Street" by Gerry Rafferty.  I have to admit, that name and the song title didn't really jar any memories.  Even when I put the Rocket From The Crypt version on the turntable, I wasn't sure that I had heard this song before.  However, I looked up the original right before writing this review and it all came flooding back to me.  Ugh this song.  The cheese-ball saxophone is the sort of thing 1970's nightmares were built on.  I'm sure the main reason I know it is from infomercials for bad compilation albums I saw as a kid.

I will say that the Rocket From The Crypt version manages to pay homage to this pretty terrible song, but elevate it to something worthy of Rocket.  They speed up the the song for starters and while that horn riff still has the flavor of the theme song of a 1970's cop show,it's much more powerful and loud than the original. The verse is also brightened up quite a bit.  Rather than retreat into minimalist whispering like the original.  Rocket keeps it rocking and turns the verse into something that actually reminds me of the Night Marchers song "Roll On" a bit.  Also, I'm pretty positive that nowhere in the original does Gerry Raffery shout "Jackin' off on Baker Street."

Despite the original being one of those terrifying songs of the past, I actually really like the Rocket From The Crypt version.  It's pretty remarkable how they can keep the basic theme of the original and turn it into something so much better. I guess that's why they're the best band in the world.

Rocket From The Crypt - Baker Street:

Gerry Rafferty - Baker Street:

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Rocket From The Crypt - In League With Satan - Orange Vinyl (/400)


Swami (2013)

The 2nd of the Rocket From The Crypt UK tour 7"s was originally sold on December 2nd, 2013.  It was released in conjunction with the band's show in Newcastle.  For this cover song, the Newcastle band that they chose was Venom.  I can't say that I listen to much Venom, really.  I've linked to the original at the end of this review, but it's not like I am intimately familiar with their version of the song.  It's kind of evil, you see.

The Rocket From The Crypt version of the song is quite stellar.  Like the original it's got pounding George Of The Jungle style drumming, distorted vocals and a really driving verse.  They bring in the horns to accent the chorus in trademark RFTC fashion. We also get some "Killy Kill" style "woo woos" for good measure, not to mention the nasty guitar solo tossed in the middle.

"In League With Satan" is another outstanding addition to the Rocket from the Crypt catalog,  It leans towards the aggressive side of Rocket songs, but they keep the song lighthearted enough that it still sounds like a party.  Just an evil party this time out.

Rocket From The Crypt - In League With Satan:

Venom - In League With Satan:

Monday, May 5, 2014

Rocket From The Crypt - Love is Lies 7" - Red Vinyl (/400)


Swami (2013)

When Rocket From The Crypt went over to England for a 6 date tour this past December,  they produced a batch of limited 7"s to sell.  The songs on these 7"s are cover songs of bands from each of the 6 cities on the tour.  At each stop the band sold 100 7"s specific to that city.  The leftovers of this pressing then were bundled together and sold at recent US Rocket From The Crypt shows this past March & April.  Only 7 cities really had a shot at the bundles, but it's my understanding that these were all but gone by the 5th show.  I was very lucky that I was at stop #4 and I got to the show extra early so I could be 1st in line at the merch table.

The first of these 7"s was made for the band's December 1st show in Manchester.  For this record they did a take on the Buzzcocks' "Love Is Lies."  Rocket's version starts off like the original, with solo acoustic guitar kicking things off.  Drums & bass are added to the mix.  On the 2nd verse we get some electric lead guitar coming into the background to complement the up and down sing-song vocals.  The verses and choruses just keep getting louder and louder, each time adding more instruments to the mix and by the time the horns kick in this song is just firing on all cylinders.

It's much fuller and louder than the Buzzcocks' version, but still keeps all of the sensibilities of the original.  The acoustic guitar really makes this song stand out and I can't think of much in the Rocket catalog that's constructed like this song.  It's a really great cover version and one of my favorites of the series.  It is such pure joy to be listening to and writing about new Rocket From The Crypt records.  Even if they're cover songs, there's nothing better than a new 7" from Rocket From the Crypt on the turntable.

Rocket From The Crypt - Love Is Lies:

Buzzcocks - Love Is Lies:

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Unwound - Faked Train LP


Numero (2014)

This LP was the bonus album you could buy when ordering the Unwound Rat Conspiracy box set direct from Numero.  It contains the original demos for what would eventually become Unwound's debut full length Fake Train.

With the description of the LP on the Numero website referring to this as demos, I was kind of surprised to find out that all of the songs on this are without vocals.  They're all instrumentals, though I'm sure vocals were slated for these tracks before they were abandoned.  I can kind of see why they shelved these versions.  everything sounds really muddy and claustrophobic.  The songs lack any of the crispness and urgency of their final versions.

Maybe a little more than half of the songs on this album ended up on Fake Train, others eventually were farmed out to compilation albums like the Smitten Love Song comp or the Multi-Vitamin comp on Punk In My Vitamins.  Faked Train isn't essential.  It's an interesting listen, but I can't really fathom ever getting the urge to put it on the turntable again.