Thursday, February 26, 2015

Overwhelming Colorfast / Stuntman - Split 7"


Dust Bowl (1996)

While I do not have the same sort of story time prose that I had for yesterday's Crocodile God 7", I have been searching and searching for this Overwhelming Colorfast/Stuntman 7" for an even longer time.  It's all because of the Overwhelming Colorfast album Moonlight & Castanets.  That album is another one of my all time favorite, but criminally overlooked and under-appreciated records of the 1990's.  

Overwhelming Colorfast is a band that employed those big powerful fluf-esque guitar riffs, coupled with Bob Reed's smooth vocals and a killer rhythm section.  I don't understand why they didn't end up significantly more famous than they did.  All three of their full lengths are well worth checking out, but Moonlights & Castanets has always been my top pick of the bunch.  

Funny enough the Overwhelming Colorfast song on this 7" is, I assume, an early version of a song that ended up appearing on Moonlights, "How It Should Be."  It doesn't really matter to me all that much that I don't have a new song after finally acquiring this 7".  Sometimes it's just the thrill of the hunt.  Keep in mind I have been actively looking for this record since 1996.  It came out in 1996 and even back then I couldn't find one anywhere.

The Stuntman side is really just a bonus.  Stuntman is a band that I never explored as fully as I probably should have.  They came to be after Treepeople finally called it quits and their sound isn't too dissimilar to what Treepeople were up to on their later era albums.  Their song "Chickens Don't Have Fingers" is a noisy, totally 90's, Archers of Loaf sounding indie rock song.  Definitely good enough to make me think I should probably go back and re-listen to their other records.

It's hard to remember a time when this 7" and yesterday's Crocodile God 7" were not on my records wants list.  It's an incredible feeling to finally have both in the collection.  But the number 1 record on my list is still out there.  If anyone can help me find the first, self titled Love As Laughter cassette my longest hunt would finally be over.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Crocodile God - Two Days 7"


Big Fella (1994)

There have been a handful of records on my wants list for years and years. Several approaching the 20 year mark.  The ones that have been there for the longest were from bands that have a small, but passionate fan base. The rarity wasn't as much from hordes of people wanting the same record, but more from ultra small pressings and an obscurity that kept them off the radar a bit.  

In an insane bit of luck, I scored two of the top three records on my wants list within the span of a couple of weeks.  It was all kind of crazy as I have literally been looking for both for at least 18 years.  Number three on the all time sought after list was the Two Days 7" from Crocodile God.  You've heard me talk at length about the mid 90's punk scene from the UK and my undying love for bands like Broccoli, Hooton 3 Car, Chopper, Skimmer and more.  Crocodile God was right in the mix with those bands having released some singles on Crackle Records along with their full length and a 12" EP.

I first discovered the band through their second 7" Boss in 1996.  At that stage I was pretty much buying anything that Crackle Records put out as aside from the band Toast, I adored everything they were releasing.  I was pretty impressed with that record and those songs appeared on many mix tapes I made at that time.  But what really blew the doors down was the band's fourth 7", Ladders.  Those songs are absolutely amazing and that record stands as one of my absolute favorite 7"s from the 90's.  I'd been hunting for their debut 7" ever since, including multiple trips to the UK searching through dozens and dozens of record stores.  And sure, I have a complete Mega City Four collection as a result of those trips, but man did I want that freaking Crocodile God 7".

When I found the second biggest record on my wants list, on a lark, I decided to mention that I was still searching for this Crocodile God 7" on Twitter, tagging a few pals from the UK just to see in any of them had any leads.  Well much to my surprise, the main man from Crocodile God himself Mark "Guitar" Murphy (he doesn't call himself that, but he really should) stepped up and agreed to send me the one extra copy of the record he had squirreled away.  

On top of that, he wouldn't even take any money from me for it.  Punk rock really is the greatest thing on earth.  I've been involved with people into this type of music for a really long time and I am never not amazed at what incredible, genuine people they all are.  I'm thankful I have such great taste in music as it really has led to so many wonderful things in my life.

That's a lot of story telling and not a lot of talking about this specific record.  I had heard all of these songs before from the Crocodile God singles collection. So getting this 7" was not as much about obtaining the songs as it was tracking down a piece of history that I was missing.  That being said the songs are all still quite good after all of this time.  I think the band definitely improved as they went on, but if you compare it to the debut 7" of one of my other favorite bands at the time, Chopper, Two Days comes out on top.

Opener "Kamarrah" has all of the speed, vocal melody and change-ups that really defined Crocodile God throughout their time.  In 2015, you cringe a little bit at the quick "oi oi" part at the beginning, but hey, Snuff was doing it at the time too! "Still Bleeding" is a ten million mile an hour punk rock ripper. "Coming From" is probably my favorite song of the bunch as I always felt the band was at their very best when they slowed things down just a little bit and showcased their knack for catchy hooks.  And finally "Clockwork" is a short closing blast with more of the tempo shifts that the band was always so good at.

It's just an amazing thing to have this record in hand.  It's the completion of a nearly two decade long quest and the fact that it was just sent to me as a gift by another long time punk rock makes it that much better.  Thank you Mark, both for all of the years of great music and for sending me this record.  Everyone should also know that Mark's current band. The No Marks, just happened to put out one of the best records of 2014.  So everyone should go buy that and then start hunting down some Crocodile God 7"s.  A warning though, it may take a little while to find Two Days.

Crocodile God - "Kamarrah":

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dan Sartain - Dan Sartain Lives LP


One Little Indian (2015, Reissue)

The second of the two Dan Sartain reissues is Dan Sartain Lives.  It's another album that wasn't on vinyl previously and that was a crime.  You're not going to hear me say much about Dan Sartain that isn't a compliment and among Dan's records, this is one of the best.

I think Join Dan Sartain will always be my favorite of his records, but Dan Sartain Lives is definitely in the discussion for number two on the list.  Once again he's just packed this album full of great songs.  From the slower fuzzed out "Doin' Anything I Say" to the latest manic installment of "Walk Among The Cobras IV" to the stripped down and deliberate "Atheist Funeral" you can really see Dan growing as a songwriter on this album.

Dan Sartain would start experimenting more with some good old fashion punk rock after this Dan Sartain Lives came out.  While those records are also tremendous in their own way, to me the one-two punch of Join and Lives really epitomizes what I love about Dan Sartain's music.  As with Vs. The Serpientes, the card stock that One Little Indian used on the album cover is kind of cheap and flimsy, but I'm just so happy that this record is finally out on vinyl, it's hard to complain too much about that.

Dan Sartain - "Walk Among The Cobras IV":

Dan Sartain - "Atheist Funeral":

Monday, February 23, 2015

Dan Sartain - Vs. The Serpientes LP


One Little Indian (2015, Reissue)

For the longest time Vs. The Serpientes and Dan Sartain Lives were two of the records that I was most annoyed had never come out on vinyl (Onehundredpercentfreak by Alligator Gun, Start.Stop. by Him Kerosene and Shipwrecked by The Sultans round out the top five if you're curious).  I wasn't sure if these Dan Sartain records would ever be released and I had nearly dropped a large sum of money on a Dan Sartain Lives test pressing, thinking it would be the only way to own it on vinyl.  Luckily, I was outbid on that record and shortly thereafter common sense prevailed over at One Little Indian and I finally have both of these amazing Dan Sartain records on vinyl.

Vs. The Serpientes is what started it all for me.  I vividly remember how completely blown away by it I was and how I immediately had to share this incredible record with everyone.  There was just something so unique and exciting about Dan Sartain.  He had that southern, Johnny Cash outlaw thing going.  He played some acoustic guitar, but was unabashedly punk rock.  The fact that he had cozied up to Rocket From The Crypt and Swami record certainly didn't hurt as I'm not positive he would have ended up on my radar otherwise.  But the songs on this record were just so amazing.

All three "Walk Among The Cobras" are essential listing and the one-two opening punch of "Trying To Say" and "P.C.B. '98" is one of the strongest I can think of from the 2000's.  The real knock out punch for me has always been the slow and somber "Place To Call My Home."  It's simply a gorgeous song and puts Dan right up there with some of the best things Beck ever wrote for One Foot In The Grave.

I'd be remiss to not mention the fact that One Little Indian skimped out on the artwork here.  The cardstock they used is really flimsy and the spine of my record was completely obliterated by the time my record got to me.  I had actually bought my copy direct from Dan Sartain as he was selling a handful that he had redecorated himself.  He drew over the cover with red and blue ink and funny enough, if you look at it with the enclosed 3-D glasses, it does jump out at you a bit.  Pretty neat.

Regardless of the cover issues, this record is beyond essential and I really am thrilled to have it in the collection.  Tomorrow I'll write a bit about the other reissue, Dan Sartain Lives.

Dan Sartain - "Walk Among The Cobras, Pt. 1":

Dan Sartain - "Place To Call My Home":

Friday, February 20, 2015

Warm Soda - Reaction 7" (Clear Vinyl)


Southpaw (2012)

I came on board the Warm Soda bandwagon as their first full length had been released.  I missed out on their debut 7" on Southpaw and just kept putting off grabbing it.  Then one day they were all gone.  Well, no worries as Southpaw pressed up another batch recently so I was able to get one on clear vinyl.

What it comes down to is this, if you like other Warm Soda records, you're going to like this one as well.  The trademarks are all their.  Bouncy guitar riffs? Check. Whispered vocals? Check. Sounds like it was recorded in a room made of tin foil? Check.  These are the things that make Warm Soda instantly identifiable and I really like them.  That being said, I have some friends that just don't like Matthew Melton's vocals.  They are different enough to warrant someone having a reaction to them I guess, but I have always thought that within this band, they match perfectly to the pop tunes being created.

Even though I was a little down on the most recent Warm Soda full length (I thought the recording wasn't good and zapped all of the energy out of the songs), listening to their debut 7" again reminded me why I like this band so much.  They just write great, catchy songs.  Hopefully they have another new album this year, I'm definitely ready for one.

Warm Soda - "Reaction":

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Hell City Kings - One Night Stand Ego 7" - Purple Vinyl


Artificial Head (2014)

I'm still trying to tear through this little pile of records that were sent to me to review.  Next up on the list is a 7" from Hell City Kings.  The artwork didn't make this seem like a particularly inviting 7" to throw on the turntable, but looks can be deceiving.  I wouldn't go so far as to say I like this record, though it's not nearly as bad as some others that I've reviewed lately.

Hell City Kings are very much your prototypical rock and roll band.  More than anything I hear a big time Supersuckers influence.  It's grimy, driving rock with lots of lead guitar licks and chord changes.  The singer has something of a gruff wail that certainly suits the music, even if it doesn't really thrill me.  I can't say that either of the 2 songs really stand out as they are both pretty similar.

If you like your rock and roll or really like the Supersuckers but thing Eddie Spaghetti's voice is too finely tuned of an instrument, Hell City Kings may be just the band for you.  If you think there's already plenty of this sort of thing out there, you can probably pass on this.

Hell City Kings - One Night Stand Ego 7":

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Les Chaussettes - Kate 7" - Red Vinyl


Punk Fox (2014)

There are times that I wish I got a few more records sent to me to review.  After all, who doesn't want free records? Then there are times where I'm kind of glad I don't get a ton of records sent to me.  I do this website because I think it's a fun way to catalog my weird record buying habit.  If this was to turn into a predominantly review driven website, I think that would suck the joy out of it for me.  So I guess the moral is, if you put out good records, send them over.  If you don't, keep them.

Punk Fox should maybe think about keeping their records instead of sending them to me.  I honestly feel bad, they have sent me every record they've released so far and I just don't like any of them.  I really would like to write nice things about someone that sends me records, but these just aren't my cup of tea.  I don't want to constantly be in the position of writing bad things about someone who is doing a nice thing.

That being said, Les Chaussettes is probably the best record of the bunch to date.  A-side "Kate" has a warble-y, underwater sounding guitar riff that reminds me a little of early Beck.  Despite the interesting guitar tone, the song is still not very good mainly due to the vocals. The just don't have any energy to them at all.  They sound like a bored grammar school chorus being forced to sing in front of the rest of the school.  B-side "Volcanoes" is just kind of there.  It elicits no feeling from me one way or the other.

Another thing about the records Punk Fox is sending me is that the cover art for all of them kind of look the same.  I assume it's the same person doing all of the art.  I know for a fact it is for their 3rd and 4th single, but there's no art credit on the first two.  The person designing these covers seems to be hung up on odd angled close up shots of people with writing on them.  I'm no artist, so it's probably not my place to critique, but I just don't like the way they look at all.  I have one more Punk Fox 7" waiting in the wings.  If I'm to judge the book by its cover, it is probably the worst of the bunch.  I'll get to it eventually, but the last thing I want is for doing my review in the morning to become a chore.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Cloud Nothings - Attack On Memory LP


Carpark (2012)

In 2014 the record I listened to more than any other was Cloud Nothing's Here And Nowhere Else.  When a record hits me like that, my immediate thought is to snatch up as many of the band's other records as possible.  Even though I I had only listened to one of Cloud Nothings records previously, I felt it was important to try out some of the band's other works.

I didn't really like their self titled album back when it had originally come out and because of that I never even listened to Attack On Memory.  Listening to it with fresh ears, it's not as good as Here And Nowhere Else, but it is a lot stronger and certainly more interesting that their self titled record.  Had I given is a shot when the album originally came out, I bet I would have liked it.  It is a good album and one I've been listening to, but now I compare it to Here And Nowhere Else.  That's a bit of an unfair comparison as most records will fall short based on that standard.

Attack On Memory doesn't do itself any favors by starting out with the worst song on the album "No Future/No Past."  It's a bit of a chore with a repetitious verse and chorus.  Slow, a little whiny.  Not a great first impression, but as soon as the 2nd track "Wasted Days" hits, things are looking up.  Sure it has a really long outro that drags things down a little, but it's still a great song that showcases how much the band has grown since their prior record.

The rest of the album is just as good.  It's never quite as great as Here And Nowhere Else, though judged on its own merits, Attack On Memory is a worthy album to have in your collection.  Here And Nowhere Else, however, is essential.

Cloud Nothings - "Stay Useless":

Cloud Nothings - "Cut You":

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Swami John Reis & The Blind Shake - Modern Surf Classics LP


Swami (2015)

When John Reis' name is attached to a project, you are guaranteed my money immediately.  Over the past 20 years I cannot think of anyone who has consistently provided me with so much amazing music.  Even now he still surprises me.  When I heard he was putting out an album of surf music with Minnesota powerhouse The Blind Shake, I figured that I would like it.  I enjoy everything both have done.  But even I was unprepared by what an incredible, absolutely immersive experience this record is.

I've read several interviews with John where he states that although the history and lore of surf music was his starting point, he major inspiration for this album was the sea.  You can really hear that throughout the course of the album.  From the chaotic choppy turbulence of opener "Sea Saw" to the laid back, but still somewhat ominous "Brown Room" to the stormy "Zulu As Kono" the many moods of the ocean are interpreted though these songs.  Modern Surf Classics is not a paint by numbers surf copycat album, it's a sprawling instrumental that pulls equally from a variety of styles and influences.

The odds of me writing a bad review of a John Reis band are pretty slim, his music just speaks to me.  But this isn't just lip service, Modern Surf Classics is truly a fantastic record and an essential pick up.  They are playing a handful of shows in February and when they come to New York City, I will be there.  I don't go to many shows anymore, so if these guys are getting me out of the house, rest assured it's an album you should be buying.

Swami John Reis & The Blind Shake - Modern Surf Classics:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Spells - At Sea/Landlocked 7" - Brown Mix Vinyl (/250)


Snappy Little Numbers (2014)

I was pleased to open up a package from Snappy Little Numbers containing a couple of their new releases.  Readers may recognize that label from the stellar Hooper record that came out a couple of years ago or the equally great Friends Of Cesar Romero 7" they released last year.  It's a label putting out some killer records and Spells fit in with the group nicely.

I'm not sure exactly how to describe Spells without raising your expectations too high.  They have a party rock style that in places sound like a more garage-y Rocket From The Crypt.  Now, don't let the RFTC comparison set you up expecting Spells to be the best band in the world, that's the domain of Rocket exclusively.  Spells do share the same penchant for crafting songs with something of an attitude to them.  I haven't seen them play live, but I definitely get the impression that they probably know how to work a crowd.

Loud guitars, catchy hooks, driving drums; all of the ingredients I like in a band are there.  Spells are really tight and show a ton of promise for a group with just a handful of singles under their belt so far.  I'll be keeping my eye on them and absolutely encourage Snappy Little Numbers to keep sending hits like this my way.

Spells - At Sea/Landlocked 7"

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Brown Plaid - Chico's Revenge 7" - Gray Vinyl (/300)


Splits McGee (2014)

This was another 7"sent to me to review.  As soon as I looked at the back and saw that they crammed nine songs on to one 7", I figured this would be bad news.  While I guess it isn't quite as terrible as I had feared, the vast majority of the songs on here are pretty awful.

Brown Plaid is aiming for that early Screeching Weasel sound.  I'm not sure they achieved it, but I can't say that I've ever been a Screeching Weasel fan either, so maybe they did.  What you've got here are 9 short snotty blasts of average pop punk a la Screeching Weasel or maybe early Queers (Just so you know I still haven't said "Screeching Weasel" as many times as it's written on the band's Bandcamp page - well now I've written it the same number of times).  

Brown Plaid leans heavily on that non-stop galloping drum beat that drives me out of my mind.  The songs are so dense and crammed full of drums, guitars and shouting that you can't really hear anything that's going on.  Occasionally you'll pick up a nugget of lyrical wisdom like "Hippies stink, literally," but for the most part this isn't good.

I always say that I appreciate when anyone takes the time to send me a record, and I do.  If I had one thing good to say is that when the band does slow everything down a little bit, like on "Baby Wants A Bottle," you can see some potential here.  If they started working on those hooks, slowed things down a little bit and weren't so insistent on making silly, dated jokes they could be on to something.

Brown Plaid - Chico's Revenge:

Monday, February 9, 2015

Widows Watch - This Message Repeats LP - Orange Vinyl (/100)


Toxic Pop (2015)

Toxic Pop has become one of those labels that I will blindly buy whatever they put out.  Their penchant for putting out records that I love is remarkable and all I can really say is that they sure do have some good taste in music over there.  Widows Watch is their latest band and while they are new to me, they sound like an old friend.

Widows Watch seem to take inspiration from some of my favorite bands, particularly those from the 90's UK punk scene.  You can hear some Leatherface in there, but more than anything they remind me of a band from Stoke-On-Trent called Reverse.  Reverse only put out a few 7"s on Damaged Goods records, but those 7"s have had a lasting effect on me for years.  They were a band that never got their due for putting together melodies and huge guitars, a trait that Widows Watch also has in spades.  The lyrics are gritty and have a China Drum-ish quality to them.  Not quite over the top enough to be considered poetry, but they definitely have more to say than your average band.

This Message Repeats is the first great record of 2015.  It's always thrilling to me when a band seems like they're playing the exact kind of punk rock I want to listen to.  I like melodies, but I need a band with a backbone that wants to make loud aggressive pop music.  Widows Watch absolutely fits that bill.  This is an essential pick up.

Widows Watch - This Message Repeats:

Sunday, February 8, 2015

PopKid Records Update

This was just posted over at the PopKid Records website, but I figured I'd copy it here too, since this site gets updated more frequently.


Welcome to 2015 everyone.  It has been an incredibly long time since we've updated this poor little website, but rest assured we are still here, filling orders for back catalog records and planning world domination.

First up is that our friends from Davis, CA have unleashed their long lost full length album into the world.  You may remember Playground from PKD001, the If You Were Me 7".  It's the record that started it all for PopKid.  Playground was also meant to be one of the first bands to release a full length for PopKid in 1996.  No Angel was recorded and ready to go, but the band split and the record just disappeared.

It's a crime, because this album is so completely phenomenal.  If you are even remotely into Jawbreaker influenced melodic punk rock, this record is essential.  The sounds of the 90's are experiencing something of a renaissance these days, but No Angel isn't a throw back.  It's an authentic piece of 1996 finally available to hear.

Playground has put this up on Bandcamp as a pay what you want download.  We strongly urge you to check it out.  In a perfect world, we would love to have this released on vinyl as well.  If the demand is there or if any other labels want to step up and co-release it, maybe that's something that can happen.

In other, slightly more cryptic news, unless something changes PopKid records will officially be back this year.  We are planning to release a full length vinyl record from one of our very favorite current bands.  It's a co-release with some other tremendous record labels and we cannot wait to tell you more about it.  PopKid records is 21 years old in 2015.  We feel old, but we're getting back in the game!

Playground - No Angel:

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Grave Walks - She's A Suicide 7" (White Vinyl (/150) & Green Vinyl (/150)


Windian (2014)

Talk about a supergroup.  The Grave Walks is Jacob Turnbloom from Mrs. Magician and Dan Sartain. You'd be harder pressed to find 2 people who have been making better records as of late.  Dan has been a perennial favorite of mine for years and Mrs. Magician released my favorite record of probably the last decade.  Teaming them together is probably going to lead to some magic.

If you thought that, you'd be right.  The A-side "She's A Suicide" steers closer to the Mrs. Magician side of the spectrum.  Dan take vocals over a lightly distorted, surf-y guitar riff.  The tempo is probably a little bit slower than most Mrs. Magician songs, but the song has a haunting melody that is just fantastic.  Dan Sartain's vocals truly elevate this song.

B-side "Teresa, I Love You" could be categorized as being similar in style to previous Dan Sartain songs.  Particularly I'm reminded of "Marfa Lights" off his last album Dudesblood.  It's a slow somber song with Dan crooning over acoustic guitar and very light percussion accompaniment. Very few people can pull off this style of music better than Dan Sartain and again, it's his vocals that make this song something special.

The odds of me not liking a project put together by two of my very favorite musicians were slim to begin with.  The Grave Walks is every bit as good as you'd want it to be.  I just hope this isn't a one off; I wand to hear more from these guys in the future.

The Grave Walks - "She's A Suicide":

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Jody Seabody - Some Witch 7"


Artificial Head (2014)

I've got a few 7"s lying around that people sent to me for review.  I'm going to try to knock off at least two a week and get through them all.  They run the gamut from pretty good to pretty bad.  As far as Jody Seabody goes, they are probably closer to the bad end of the spectrum.

I really don't know what to make of these guys.  The two songs on this 7" are just all over the place.  Both songs are five minutes long and neither really warrant that much time spent on them.  The A side "Some Witch" shifts from mood to mood.  There are parts with vocals over minimal guitar and washed out drums.  Then the song kicks in to a pretty awesome guitar riff.  This riff repeats itself a couple of times throughout the song, but Jody Seabody never really does anything with it.  The rest of the song alternates between somber moaning vocals and some other dude just shouting.  They're trying to be psychedelic and punky all in the same song and it really doesn't work.

While "Some Witch" is a bit of a mess and could use some focus, at least there's a few interesting ideas going on.  The B side "Tuesday" is just a slab of meathead punk rock that essentially is an excuse for gang vocals to shout "Everybody wants to talk about Tuesday" over and over again for three minutes.  Then as a bonus, the song shifts into this weird synthy acid trip for another two minutes.  Then we get muttered spoken word over over a heartbeat drum machine track and assorted swooshes and other noises.  This is the sort of song that should be ninety seconds long and thrown in as a joke between real songs.  It should not be a five minute opus.  I do not understand it at all.

As always, I'm appreciative of anyone that sends me a record to check out, it is one of the nice benefits of doing a dumb website like this, but man this is a record I just can't get behind.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Survival Knife - Survivalized 12" - Clear Vinyl


Chunklet (2014)

I'm all out of records for Unwound Wednesday.  Best I can tell, I now have a complete set of Unwound 7"s.  Since the last of the Numero Group box sets will catch me up on all of the full lengths, I'm content stopping there.  Though somehow I managed to buy 2 copies of the Unwound/Versus split.  Don't ask me how I pulled off that one.

So, as a closing to this great day of the week, I'll wrap up with the newest Survival Knife EP.  That seems fitting to me as it is the new band of Justin Trosper of Unwound along with the original Unwound drummer, Brandt Sandeno.  Right off the bat, let me just make clear that although it doesn't rival my dislike of cassettes, I do not like EPs.  I figure if you only have a few songs, put out a 7".  If you have too many songs for a 7", save up a few more and put out a full album.  12" EPs are just too expensive for the amount of music you get.

That being said, this is one hell of an EP.  Last year's full length, Loose Power, was one of my absolute favorites.  This EP shows the band is still firing on all cylinders.  There are 3 new songs along with an alternate version of album track "Gold Widow" and a live version of "Roman Fever."  Honestly, I'd be fine chucking those 2 and just having a 7" of the 3 new amazing songs.

The two A side songs are fast and intense with searing guitar and Justin's trademark soft/scream vocals.  They have the energy of Hot Snakes, but with more left of center guitar work.  In particular, "Tropic Of Chaos" is just outstanding.  The B side's new track, "Lasso or Noose" is more of a sprawling instrumental.  It clocks in at over seven minutes, but explores some pretty interesting paths during that run.  It's probably the main reason this had to be a 12" rather than a 7".  OK, maybe the EP is a format that annoys me, but these Survival Knife songs are worth every penny.  I hope they are already hard at work on a new LP because I want more.

Survival Knife - Survivalized 12":

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Harpoon Forever - American Flag 7"


Sweaters & Pearls (2014)

One of the interesting things about doing this website is the occasional record that someone sends me to review.  I don't get many, but recently there's been a bit of an uptick in the amount I've been receiving.  Sure they typically range from 'just OK' to pretty awful, but every so often I'll get one that hits just the right spot with me.  I'm so picky when it comes to music and I really can't put my finger on what makes me dislike one band and like another at times.  What I can tell you is that I like Harpoon Forever.

The description that came with this record references the Silver Jews first 7" as well as Palace Music.  I think those are good touchstones for what you can expect from Harpoon Forever.  They're mining that rich artery of 90's bedroom indie rock.  They're not necessarily lo fi and they're probably a bit more straightforward than that first Silver Jews 7" (which incidentally, was always my favorite Silver Jews record), but there's some really solid mid tempo, hooky indie rock on this four song 7".  

The highlight of the record for me is the 3rd song "Chickens."  Over lightly distorted guitar and gently pattered drums, the vocals just lazily take you through the song.  Then after the first verse, everything drops out but the guitar. Slowly the drums and bass come back in and that leads into some supremely 90's fuzzed out Sebedoh quality guitar shredding that closes out the song.  Just tremendous.  It's short and sweet and the best thing on this record.

All 4 songs are strong on American Flag.  I hadn't been familiar with the band before getting this 7" sent to me.  I'm not sure I would have picked this up on my own, but I'm very glad to have this in the collection.

Harpoon Forever - American Flag 7":