Thursday, October 30, 2014

Small - Silver Gleaming Death Machine LP


Alias (1995)

Whether you want to call them Small or Small 23, this band is just so great.  Though their legacy isn't as well remembered as some of their peers like Archers Of Loaf, Superchunk or Knapsack; Small is another one of those quintessential 1990's bands that deserve a spot in any well respected record collection.  Though the acquisition of this on vinyl is new to me, I have had the CD of this album forever.

You really could make a strong argument for 1994's Chin Music, but with a gun to my head I'd probably pick Silver Gleaming Death Machine as my favorite Small record.  From the moment that chugging guitar riff on album opener "Steal Some Candy" fires up, I'm just hopelessly captivated by this Chapel Hill powerhouse.  While they are fully entrenched in indie rock, Small, like Superchunk, always pushed towards an upbeat more punk rock sound.  They are masters of the catchy chorus and every song just contains hook after hook.

Honestly I could go on and on about this band, But all you really need is to take a listen to "The Bert Factor."  With its start stop guitar in the verse, its gigantic chorus hook and some tasteful lead guitar shredding; it's a pretty perfect representation of what an incredible band they were.  To me, it seems that every band from the 90's is getting back together for a victory lap, whether it's deserved or not.  While I have a feeling Small probably won't be one of those bands that receive a big money offer for a reunion, they're one of the older bands I'd like most to see come to town and play the hits.

Small - "The Bert Factor":

Small - "Do The Math":

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Unwound - Caterpillar 7"


Kill Rock Stars (1991)

Maybe we'll do Unwound Wednesday for a few weeks here.  I've got a small pile of Unwound 7"s that I bought recently along with their 3rd box set on Numero, so I can keep it up for a few weeks anyway.

Caterpillar was Unwound's very first 7" on Kill Rock Stars.  The fact that this record is 23 years old is kind of crazy, not that I had it way back then.  But in 93-94 I was probably at the height of my Unwound fandom and was grabbing anything of theirs I could find. As I had mentioned last week, for some reason I got rid of all of my Unwound records in my mid 20's, but now I at least want to replenish my 7" collection.

Listening back on this 7" now, it's very obvious that this is a rough outline of what Unwound was going to become.  It's much more straightforward for the most part with some random outbursts of noise.  They're definitely going for a more traditional sludgy punk sound in these early days and were only just starting to figure out the kind of band they wanted to be.  It's an interesting listen for sure, but at best it's a blueprint for the future of Unwound.

Unwound - "Caterpillar":

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The No Marks - Light Of One LP - Clear w/ Splatter Vinyl


Brassneck (2014)

I know that at some point in the history of this website I've brought up the old T-shirt that Snuffy Smile records used to have.  It said "You Have Your Punk I Have Mine."  Now if anyone can get me that shirt, I'll pay handsomely for it, but the relevance that phrase has for me is enormous.  There has always been a strain of punk rock that has appealed to me the most and being in the US, there's really only been a small handful of people I've been able to share that with.  The No Marks epitomize this phrase to me as they are playing the exact kind of punk rock that I want to listen to.

UK based, The No Marks are tapping into that deep artery of amazing UK punk rock that flourished in the 1990s.  They are culling the best parts of bands like Chopper and Broccoli and Hooton 3 Car to create their incredible brand of melodic punk rock.  Like Broccoli, and to a lesser extent Leatherface, The No Marks keep the vocals full of melody, but still a little bit gruff and raspy.  While they're significantly smoother than Leatherface, the vocals still carry that same sort of lived in quality that really sets them apart from so many other bands.

Musically, you're going to get big hooks in the chorus and palm mutes in all the right places.  The band is masterful at intricate guitar work when the song calls for it, without crossing into self indulgent wanking that serves no purpose.  The songs are tight and the album just flies by.  For me to really try to spotlight the best songs on this album is nearly impossible, I'd end up writing about all of them.  It's one of the strongest, most consistent albums to come out this year.  

Frankly, it may be the best album that's come out this year.  I can only think of 2 others that even come close.  Light Of One has my absolute highest possible recommendation.  This is my kind of punk rock and I just hope there's a lot more from The No Marks in the future. 

The No Marks - Light Of One LP:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hurry - Everything/Nothing LP


Hot Green (2014)

I had seen a post on the pop punk message board about this album along with a link to one of the songs so I decided to check it out.  I liked what I heard and I pre-ordered the record.  I'm always in the market for some new bands.  Sometimes I feel like I stay too focused on the tried and true and don't spend enough time cultivating new sounds.

Thus turned out to be a mixed bag.  As a whole it's pretty good, but there a couple of things that really keep me from enjoying the album as much as I could.  The biggest culprit is the blown out static filled vocals on every song.  While I'm not stranger to bands that do this and as a rule, I usually dig it, there are some instances where it can detract from the overall rock.  This is one of those times as the fuzzy vocals are a real minus for Hurry.  On the more upbeat songs it's not much of an issue, but as Everything/Nothing has its fair share of slower songs, the fuzz just totally blows out the softer moments that the band is trying to achieve,

That being said, when Hurry hits their stride, this album can be really enjoyable.  The absolute highlight of the record is "Oozing Positivity."  It's one of the faster songs, built on a catchy guitar riff and straight ahead drumming.  The vocals that you can hear through the fuzz compliment the instrumentation nicely and  there's some fun feedback laden guitar squall thrown into the breaks for good measure.

Sadly, the album isn't that consistently good.  I really feel that it would be so much better if they killed the effects that cover up the vocals on every song.  I realize I keep harping on that one issue, but unfortunately it's the one issue that really detracts from Hurry.

Hurry - Everything/Nothing LP:

Friday, October 24, 2014

Superchunk + Eleanor Friedberger - Live in NYC 7"


Merge (2014)

This is a nice little novelty record, but it's certainly nothing essential.  2 live tracks featuring Superchunk along with Eleanor Friedberger.  It was recorded at the Bowery Ballroom in 2013, but the 7" itself was sold at Merge Records 25th anniversary bash this past year.  I was not at said bash, so I'm thankful that they put the leftovers for sale up on the Merge website.

The first song on here is a cover of the Ramones "Oh Oh I Love Her So" and the 2nd is a Patti Smith number "Free Money."  Neither one of these are really going to blow your socks off.  Recording quality is good and the band is tight as ever, but at the end of the day they're just cover songs.

Being the crazy Superchunk 7" collector that I am, it would have driven me all kinds of crazy if I didn't have this in my collection.  But it's really only something a completist like me would care all that much about.

Superchunk + Eleanor Friedberger - "Free Money" (Fan shot live video):

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Murmurs - Bound LP - Turquoise Vinyl (/100)


Dead Broke (2014)

I've been looking forward to this album for a while.  I felt that Murmurs' debut was one of the most under praised albums of the last few years.  I'm not sure if folks will be dumb again this time out, but everyone should really pay attention to this album.  If you are looking for great, serious, but still melodic punk rock; this is the place.

It's impossible to write about Murmurs without name checking Jawbreaker.  No, Murmurs are not a carbon copy or anything close to that, but you can't ignore that this album certain shares the same sort of sonic space that Bivouac inhabits.  From the gruff vocals to the huge low tone guitar squall, you're just going to hear some Jawbreaker in this, and frankly I am totally fine with that.

The album starts off with a roar with "The Void."  The way the higher pitched backing vocals contrast with the darker tone of the song really makes it a standout.  From there it's just one incredible song after the next.  Not everything is in your face punk rock.  The band mixes things up so well, sprinkling in a few slower songs that really make the album dynamic from start to finish.

You're not going to find a guy who likes happy, upbeat, poppy rock and roll more than me.  But there are times where I want to listen to something darker and more powerful.  Murmurs absolutely scratches that itch and Bound is a can't miss top 10 of 2014 album.  You need this.

Murmurs - Bound:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Unwound - Mkultra 7"


Kill Rock Stars (1993)

So, I've been on a real Unwound kick again ever since the Survival Knife record came out and Numero Group started their reissue series.  Despite Numero compiling all of the recorded output of this band into a few handy box sets, the record collector in me was itching to replace some of the old Unwound 7"s that I got rid of for some reason in my mid 20s.

I never had all of the Unwound 7"s as I was really only paying attention to them through The Future Of What back then, but I certainly had a few.  Now, I want them all.  I picked up a handful of used ones at the Green Noise distro recently, the first of which is Mkultra.  The two songs on here really display the extreme sides that Unwound was capable of.  "Mkultra" is a long, slow, brooding song.  The bass drags through the song, with sludgy guitar and drums coming along for the ride.  The vocals are harsh at times, but restrained at others.  I don't know that it's my favorite Unwound song, but it's still pretty neat.

B-side "Totality" is the complete opposite end of the Unwound spectrum.  Fast, loud, mostly instrumental with some occasional shouting here and there.  Again, is it the best Unwound song out there? No, but what a crazy contrast it provides to "MKultra."  It's a microcosm of the world Unwound lived in.  I loved this stuff when I was in high school, but ended up shelving it for a while.  It's nice to be able to go back and be as enthralled by them again as I was back then.

Unwound - "Mkultra":

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Your Pest Band - Time To Go LP


Snuffy Smiles (2014)

I'm not sure how many times I have to say it before everyone agrees, so I'll try again.  Snuffy Smiles is the best record label in the world.  They've been putting out non-stop hits since the early 90's and continue to blow my mind every single time they release a new record into the wild.  Case in point is their current poster child band, Your Pest Band.  Your Pest Band has been cranking out records at almost an alarming rate.  I kind of can't comprehend how they've put out so many great releases over the last couple of years, yet still manage to change up their sound and remain fresh and exciting.

I will admit to not being as completely in love with their last album, In Your Doom.  I felt they stretched out their sound a little to much and sacrificed some of the scrappy pop punk that I love.  Time To Go may be the band's masterpiece.  They still take chances, from the slow, boozy almost Replacements-esque opener "Time To Go" to the twangy guitar riffs on "Await For Something," this is not a band afraid to exploring a multitude of sounds.  However, these explorations are held together with excellent punked up pop songs; the kind that Snuffy Smiles has built their name on over the past few decades.

For some reason, my copy of this record is a test pressing.  I just bought from a distro so I guess it just got mixed into the regular records somehow.  I'm not really into collecting test pressings, so it doesn't really matter to me, but I guess some folks might consider this hitting the lottery in some capacity.  I'm just happy to have a copy of this amazing record spinning around on my turntable.

Your Pest Band - "Time To Go":

Your Pest Band - "You Were The Rebel":

Monday, October 20, 2014

Shallow Cuts - Storm Watch 7" - Yellow Vinyl (/100)


No Idea (2014)

As soon as this was being sold with the tag line 'featuring members of Dear Landlord' I was immediately on the No Idea website adding this 7" to my cart.  I love 2009's Dear Landlord record Dream Homes and have been waiting and waiting for a new album.  5 years on I get the feeling that's probably not happening, but if this 7" sounds anything like they did, it's a smart purchase.

Well, it's a mixed bag.  It's definitely very good, gruff, melodic punk rock.  It's has some of the darker elements of Dear Landlord, but it's just not quite in the same league.  If anything, Storm Watch is the victim of unrealistic expectations and when viewed as it's own release without trying to compare if to another band, it holds up pretty good.

It's 4 solid songs, but the best one is definitely "Calamine."  This is where the band really ramps things up energy wise.  It's got a fast poppy verse that blasts into a really hooky chorus.  But what really makes the song is the singalong breakdown right at the end.  Not taking away anything from the other 3, but if this song is any indication of what the band could achieve over the course of a full length, I'm almost as excited about it happening as I would be a new Dear Landlord.

Shallow Cuts - "SLC":

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Redd Kross / Vertical Scratchers - Split 7" - Pink Vinyl


Merge (2014)

Time to line up some new Merge Records 7" series releases.  First up on this split we've got Redd Kross.  A stalwart on the indie punk scene, and when they put out songs like "Leave It Where You Found It" it's easy to see why.  This one is just a smash hit.  Over pounding drums and an fuzzy guitar riff, the band lays down some great, borderline British Invasion style vocal melodies.  It's probably even better than anything on their last full length "Researching The Blues."  One of the highlights of the entire series so far.

On the flip side we have a band called Vertical Scratchers.  I can't say I've ever heard of them prior to getting this 7", but I am intrigued after listening to their contribution, "Jackie's Favorite."  It's a good, upbeat pop song.  The guitars have a heavy jangle factor and it's got a really catchy chorus.  That being said, the vocals are a little off-putting.  Whenever the chorus hits, the singer leaps in to this super high pitched falsetto.  We're talking Bee Gees high pitched.  I won't go so far to say it ruins the song, but it certainly makes me think twice about looking into any of this band's other releases.

I thought the last couple of singles from Merge were a little lackluster, but this one gets things back on track.  I'm still debating on whether or not I liked the Vertical Scratchers song enough to pursue more music by them, but I guess a quick hunt around the internet for some samples won't take up that much time.

I couldn't find the Vertical Scratchers song online anywhere, but someone did put the Redd Kross on up on YouTube.

Redd Kross - "Leave It Where You Found It":

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tim - German Engineering CD


Vital Cog (1998)

First off, it's a little weird writing about a band that is using your first name as their band name.  You end up writing in a way that feels kind of awkward, as if you're somehow writing about yourself in the third person.  Don't get confused though, Tim the band is full of energy, talent and great songs; so it's actually pretty easy to tell the difference between them and me.

I came across these guys from reading the Wilfully Obscure website.  That guy is just a treasure chest full of forgotten bands.  I'm not usually as on board when he dives into the 70's and 80's, but he's constantly unearthing gems from the 90's and it's really essential reading to discover new bands.  As far as Tim goes, I get the sense that they were just a couple of years too late.  1998 wasn't as kind to their brand of scrappy, upstart indie rock and I think the changing times (along with not being on a name label) is probably why they slipped through the cracks.  If you put this record out on Merge or Alias in 1995, I think you have a classic record on your hands.

Not that being on a bigger label would somehow make this record better.  It wouldn't, but more people likely would have heard how great it is.  Tim has combined the searing, scratchy guitar antics of Archers of Loaf and mixed it with the melodic, higher pitched vocals of Superchunk.  The resulting music is unquestionably influenced by 1990's Chapel Hill, but still manages to be unique and dynamic enough to stand up on its own.

This is one of the best new to me old albums I've picked up in ages.  Sadly, it doesn't look like it ever was put out on vinyl, but you can grab this CD used on amazon for a buck or two.  It'll be the best two dollars you spend, I promise you that. Check out the only clip of their songs I could find on Youtube below, but also know this is probably one of the weaker songs on the record and the rest is even better.

Tim - "Drawl":

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Aaron & The Burrs - Release The Bats 7"


UT (2014)

I've gotten a few things to review from UT records in the past, mainly the Space Wolves cassettes that are so good.  Being that they were cassettes, I couldn't get through the review without lamenting that they were not released on vinyl.  Well, UT records is back in my mailbox and this time the package was square instead of rectangular.  Thanks!

Aaron & The Burrs are not a band I had heard of before listening to this 7", but I sure hope to hear more from them in the future.  They're playing fun, breezy surf rock.  Akin to The Ventures or any one of the great surf bands of yore.  You've got the mild echo effect on the lead guitar.  The bass & drums providing a solid canvas to display the guitar gymnastics.  It's a tried and true formula, but one that works very well for the Burrs.

Lots of modern surf bands tend to muck things up with unneeded effects and noises crammed into their songs, but Release The Bats offers no trickery.  The only thing that they are serving up are short, sweet instrumental jams.  If anything, my only criticism is that there's only 2 songs and both clock in right around 2 minutes.  I would have been even happier if they crammed 2 more songs on this guy.  Regardless, UT records and Aaron & The Burrs on on to something with this 7" and I hope they both work together again to bring some more great music into the world.

Aaron & The Burrs - Release The Bats 7":

Monday, October 13, 2014

Dan Sartain - Crimson Guard LP - Pink Vinyl


Cass (2014)

I've taken pictures and reviewed other versions of this record in the past, so I'm not going to get too bogged down with describing the music.  All that really needs to be known is that these are some of my very favorite Dan Sartain songs.  They're early recordings of his and he originally released this the first version of this LP himself.  Several of the songs were picked up and put on his first Swami CD, Vs. The Serpientes.  Others were latter compiled onto the Sartain Family Legacy CD compilation, but this is how they originally were meant to be heard.

I'm not entirely positive of the circumstances on how this 2nd reissue came about.  It has completely different artwork than the original or even the prior Cass reissue.  It's housed in a plain black sleeve with a white piece of paper glued to the front.  It's on pink vinyl this time (Though I think it was actually pressed on mixed colored vinyl, so there could be a lot of different versions out there).  Lastly, like the original, it comes with a pair of 3D glasses, though this version doesn't have anything in 3D to look at with them.

You should go buy this record.  It's just one of my favorites and if the fact that this is the 3rd version of this LP I've added to my collection doesn't show how much I like this album, I'm not sure what else I could say to reinforce that.  Last check Dan was still selling these on his Bandcamp page.

Dan Sartain - Crimson Guard:

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Pale Faces - Guru 7" - Blue Vinyl


Punk Fox (2014)

Hey, it's another one of those rare instances where someone actually sends me a record to review. It's always pretty fun and exciting to get a mystery package in the mail like that.  This is actually the 2nd record I've gotten from the Punk Fox record label, which is surprising as I wasn't all that into the 1st release they sent me.  Well, it's still nice to be thought of, but unfortunately for me The Pale Faces is one of those records that I'm destined to never play again.

First off, if you look up this band online and end up on their Facebook page there's never ending talk of the 'collective' they're part of.  It's been my experience that people who refer to their friends as a collective are usually kind of pretentious .  I can't say that for sure about The Pale Faces and they may be super cool folks, but I can tell you that I don't really like their record.  

A-side "Guru" is built over a chugging guitar riff that goes nowhere, lots of "oooohs" instead of lyrics and the loudest mixed shaker egg you've every heard on a record in your entire life.  Geez, I can't even believe how loud they left that thing in the final mix, it's borderline absurd.  The B-side "Nature Calls" isn't much better.  This time they add a wacky organ sound to the mix and then play the guitar riff on top of it almost note for note.  Again, the song is repetitious and just does absolutely nothing for me.  Oh, it also comes with a DVD, but this isn't I Buy Way Too Many DVDs Dot Com and I have no motivation to see or hear any more of this band.

I don't like writing bad reviews and I feel especially guilty when it's not something I bought on my own, but someone sending me the record because they think I'll like it.  That being said, I just don't like The Pale Faces.  Hopefully the next time Punk Fox sends me a record I'll be more into it.  If they ever send me anything again.

The Pale Faces - "Guru":

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Hospital Job - The Believer LP - Blue Vinyl (/100)


It's Alive / Insubordination (2014)

I like this record a lot more than it's probably going to seem based on this review.  So I'll try to get the negatives out of the way first and then extoll the positives about The Believer.  I hate the 1st song on the album "Tell Me Four Things About Yourself." Just hate it.  Unfortunately it's the lead off track and whenever I listen to the record, it starts off in a bad place and has to work to get me back into it.  I'm not sure what it is about this song that drives me so nuts.  It's probably the endless repeating of the lyrics "Tell me four things about yourself / Three of them true."  I assume that's probably a reference to one of those grammar school 'truth-or-dare' type games, but it just seems so nonsensical to me.  Anyway skip the first song.

What you're left with is actually a very strong album of big hook, crunchy guitar, punked up pop.  The songs tend to be upper mid tempo and as a result it reminds a lot of some of the big guitar bands that were getting signed up by major labels in the mid 90's.  I'm positive I said this when I wrote about their last album, but I always hear a lot of Fig Dish in the songs.  That's absolutely a compliment as I feel Fig Dish just never go their due.

From time to time, things get a little too Blink 182-ish for me, but those times are fleeting and I really like the vast majority of this record.  It's got great energy on songs like "Confusing Times."  Hospital Job can successfully pull of a slower song without it getting boring or dragging down the record like they do on "The Believer."  Though I think of everything on the album, I'm most drawn to the song "Nail Houses."  It's just such a great pop song with a killer sing along chorus that has all of those nice backing vocals that get me bopping around.

So in summation, this is actually a really great record and one worth picking up.  Maybe that first song won't bug you as much as it bugs me.  But I think I'm probably just going to put down the needle a half an inch further into the record when I play this guy.

Hospital Job - The Believer:

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

So Cow - The Long Con LP - White Vinyl (/150)


Goner (2014)

So Cow is one of those bands that I've heard friends chattering about for a while now.  For one reason or another I had just never gotten around to picking up any of their records.  Even though I buy way too many records, I don't have enough money to buy every record.  Anyway, when I started hearing about this new release of theirs and how it was even poppier and cleaner than their past records, I decided it was time to take the plunge.  Luckily, I decided that earlier enough to still snag the limited white vinyl version.

If there was one band that So Cow really reminds me of on The Long Con it's W.H. Walker.  Both bands have the same jangle-y guitar up front that bursts into fuzz at just the right moments.  Plus both bands sound like they're having a hell of a fun time recording their albums.  The bouncy rhythm provide an electric foundation to pile on all sorts of upbeat vocals and guitar pyrotechnics.  The whole album is just full of song after song of incredibly catchy hits and I just can't help but think that if any of their prior albums are even half as fun as The Long Con, I've been depriving myself of some great tunes.

I'm really glad I pulled the trigger on So Cow.  I could have just as easily kept putting them off, but then I would have absolutely missed out of one of 2014's best. 

So Cow - "Science Fiction":

So Cow - "Barry Richardson":

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Capitalist Kids - At A Loss LP - Red Vinyl (/100)


It's Alive / Toxic Pop / Rad Girlfriend (2014)

At A Loss is one of the albums that I was looking forward to the most this year.  Ever since 2012's double shot of the Sarah 7" and the Lessons On Love, Sharing and Hygiene LP, The Capitalist Kids have been the standard that I've held every pop punk band up to.  They've got the Mr. T Experience catchy tunes with smart lyrics thing down pat.  This is evident from the opening moments of the first song on the album "Not '95."  It's essentially the Capitalist Kids' version of MTX's "Dumb Little Band." Self deprecating and funny, but just crammed full of melody and warm fuzzy guitar.

The rest of the album keeps this high standard of quality as you move through it.  There's songs about girls, songs about overpopulation, songs about girls, songs about racism, songs about girls, songs about capital punishment and songs about girls.  There's a pretty solid dose of left leaning politics here if the song topics don't clue you in, but they're tackled in an upbeat, humorous way. They're also addressed in a way that's that's still factual and raises some pretty good points.  It probably helps that I agree with most of their messages going into the album, but I still think they manage to deal with everything without sounding condescending or preachy.

Most importantly the tunes are there.  So even if you get to a song called "Comin' Up Milhouse," it doesn't matter if you're like me and don't get whatever Simpsons reference they're talking about, the song is still great.  If I had to compare the two, I probably like Lessons on Love, Sharing and Hygiene slightly better, but At A Loss, is right up there and pretty darn close to being just as good as that last phenomenal album.  Absolutely recommended.

The Capitalist Kids - At A Loss:

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Negative Scanner - Ambitious People 7" - Brown Vinyl (/500)


Trouble In Mind (2014)

I've probably been a little harsh on Trouble In Mind records lately.  Though I certainly don't think that I've given too many of their recent 7"s what I would call bad reviews, I have been lamenting that they've been moving towards bands that I'm just not as into.  While I can appreciate diverse music and people having different tastes than me, it doesn't really change the fact that I've just been lukewarm on their recent flurry of psych tinged bands.  I am still committed to my goal of having the colored vinyl versions of their first 50 singles, but when you get something like Negative Scanner, you start to rethink if you really want to put an arbitrary cap on things.

Negative Scanner is punk rock.  No frills, downstroke heavy, Wipers with female vocals sounding punk rock.  It's so refreshing and honest.  There's a real trend these days with bands adding tons of extra layers of sound to their music and often time that either clutters things up or perhaps masks the band's shortcomings.  Negative Scanner lays it all on the line without any extra gimmicks.  From the pounding guitar of "Ambitious People" to the short, sweet and to the point "Evening News," this is rock and roll distilled to its most basic and enjoyable form.

This is why I buy all Trouble In Mind singles.  Even if I've never heard of the band, there's usually a pretty good chance I may discover something new.  And the collection of Trouble In Mind colored 7"s grows once again.

Negative Scanner - "Ambitious People":

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Lees Of Memory - Sisyphus Says LP - Red/Blue Starburst Vinyl (/100)


Side One Dummy (2014)

The recent Superdrag vinyl reissues really got me primed for the debut full length from The Lees Of Memory.  Featuring both John Davis and Brandon Fisher from Superdrag, I was pretty confident this would be a killer record.  Though I missed out on their initial limited 7", I was first in line for the LP and managed to snag the very cool looking blue/red starburst vinyl, limited to just 100 copies.  Musically, however, this album is something of a mixed bag.

It boils down to this.  The good songs are really good, but the bad songs are pretty bad.  I'll expand on that a bit.  This album is way too long.  Clocking in at over 60 minutes and featuring NINE songs that are more than 5 minutes long, this record could have used some serious editing.  Sure, when the band is relatively upbeat and rocking, songs like "Little Fallen Star" and "Open Your Arms" fly by enjoyably.  But The Lees Of Memory get so bogged down in atmospheric swooshes and guitar layering that by the time I get to the seventh minute of "Reenactor," I'm just done.

I can't say I've ever been a huge fan of really long songs or really long albums.  35-45 minutes has always pretty much been my sweet spot.  There's nothing inherently bad about this Lees Of Memory album, it's just that it's too boring in places to be this long and still be enjoyable.  I wouldn't write them off completely though.  When this record shines, it does really shine.  The band just needs to tighten things up a bit and not get so lost in sonic nonsense.

The Lees Of Memory - Sisyphus Says LP: