Thursday, April 30, 2015

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Freedom Tower - No Wave Dance Party 2015 LP - Green Vinyl


Mom + Pop (2015)

There's something comforting about having a long time favorite like The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion still making records in 2015.  I've been a pretty gigantic fan of JSBX since 1995's Orange.  That record stands as one of my very favorite records of all time and I've perhaps unfairly compared every other record this band has ever released to that seminal masterpiece.  So let's get it out of the way right upfront.  No, Freedom Tower isn't as good as Orange, but it's still a pretty great little record.

It's a progression away from 2012's Meat + Bone.  While Meat + Bone was more of a fuzzy howling garage inspired record, Freedom Tower sees Spencer and company going back to a cleaner sound and a funkier vibe.  While I'm not sure this is a proper dance party as the title suggests, the record has a strong groove and is the sort of thing that makes you catch yourself bobbing your head along to the tunes.  I do find the vocals to be somewhat more high pitched than usual, but the more I listen to the record, the more it fits in with the songs.

I've never though lyrics were particularly important to the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion experience. To me they've mostly just felt like random things for Jon to shout in between scorching guitar outbursts.  While there is some of that here, such as Jon going on about Jack and Jill going up a hill on opener "Funeral," most of the album tends to deal with New York City and the crazy changes it's gone through over the years.  It's not preachy and not blatantly in your face about it, but the lyrics do unify the record and helps segue from song to song.

At the end of the day, this is somewhere in the middle if I'm ranking all of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion albums.  I don't love it quite the way I do classics like Orange or Meat + Bone, but it's still a great record and probably one of the albums I've listened to the most in 2015 so far.  If you're a fan, definitely pick it up.

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - "Do The Get Down":

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - "Betty vs. The NYPD":

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Ist - Boyfriend 7" - Clear w/ Splatter Vinyl


Punk Fox (2014)

I was going to skip out on reviewing this record, to be honest.  I feel like I've been pretty harsh on Punk Fox records. So when their latest 7" by Nervous Twitch had come along and I actually liked it, I figured I'd quit while I was ahead with that one.  I've started feeling a little guilty though as I've had this Ist 7" sitting around for a little while and I just don't want to have the label send me a copy and not get a review out of it, whatever my feelings.

I can't say I really like Ist very much.  I like them more than I figured I would based on the art work since I expected it to be manic screaming hardcore, but they're just not for me.  There's nothing inherently wrong with their music.  "Boyfriend" is a mid tempo rock song with a bouncy start-stop guitar riff and a reasonably catchy chorus.  Unfortunately everything falls apart with the lyrics as the song seems to be and excuse to just swear a lot and talk about how much the singer hates "your fucking boyfriend" over and over again.  

I'm certainly not offended by a bunch of swearing or anything, I think in the right context swearing can be elevated into a fine art form (just watch Veep or The Thick Of It).  Ist just doesn't do anything special with it.  It's just a bunch of bad words and it seems kind of lazy to me.  The B-side is just another version of "Boyfriend" that isn't really much different than the version on the A-side, so I don't really get that either.  You could do worse than this record, but it's not really anything all that interesting either.

Ist - "Boyfriend":

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Baby Ghosts - Maybe Ghosts LP


Dirt Cult / Drunken Sailor / Hip Kid / Waterslide / Lost Cat (2014)

I had a minor snafu when ordering a few records from Dirt Cult.  And when I say minor, it really was virtually nothing.  I popped Dirt Cult an email alerting them to the issue and they were on top of it so fast and were so apologetic it would have made your head spin.  Then, on top of that, they sent me this Baby Ghosts LP as an additional apology.  While that was totally unnecessary and they absolutely didn't need to do that to keep me coming back and buying more records, it was very appreciated as this was a band that I was overlooking.

I'm not going to say that I flat out love this record.  Starting with the aspect of it that don't thrill me as much; I don't really like how the vocals are recorded.  They have a weird way of being loud enough to hear, but kind of sounding far away and like they're in a cave.  On top of that, they layer so many vocal harmonies on top of each other, I think it ends up sounding a little cluttered due to the recording.  

That's really the only negative I have to say about Baby Ghosts.  As a whole the record is really good.  They've got tremendously catchy songs and kind of remind me of Cub, but with significantly more guitar fuzz and a bit more spring in their step.  They also have elements of bands like Baby Shakes, but instead of venturing down that 60's garage throwback vibe, they keep things a little more current and a bit punchier.

Again, I'm not sure I would have gotten around to picking this up on my own accord, but I'm really happy to have gotten the chance to listen to this record and add it in to the collection.  Chances are if you can get down to Cub or Baby Shakes, I'd be pretty shocked if you didn't dig Baby Ghosts just as much.

Baby Ghosts - Maybe Ghosts LP:

Monday, April 27, 2015

Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank LP

Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank LP

Epic (2006)

After missing last week, I'm back with another Modest Mouse Monday.  I'm pushing through the band's back catalog that I've recently added to my collection on vinyl.  This week we're up to We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank.  I know a lot of people were disappointed in this record when it came out and I certainly wouldn't rank it as my favorite Modest Mouse album, but I still think it gets more grief than it deserves.

Three of the first four songs really kick off this album strong as I think you can put "March Into The Sea," "Dashboard" or "Florida" up against almost any later era Modest Mouse song and do just fine.  I'll admit that this album does suffer slightly from something that plagues all Modest Mouse albums; it's a little longer than it needs to be.  I always think cutting out two to four songs from any of their records would create a tighter and more focused result. That being said, at worst there's a few songs on here that are a little boring, but nothing that's outright bad.

I've always felt that if you like Modest Mouse, there's no reason not to like this album.  I don't see it being the kind that would win over new fans or change the mind of someone that doesn't like the band, but if you already like them, this just another good record for the collection. Especially if you're able to grab it for about ten dollars from a sale on the Best Buy website.

Modest Mouse - "March Into The Sea":

Modest Mouse - "Florida":

Friday, April 24, 2015

The King Khan And BBQ Show - Bad News Boys LP - Purple Vinyl (/200)


In The Red (2015)

I've had a weird relationship with King Khan And BBQ Show over the years.  They're one of those bands that so many people like and these people generally seem to have good taste in music.  I have really enjoyed all of the Mark Sultan (BBQ) solo records quite a bit, however, I've just never really liked the King Khan stuff anywhere near as much.  When they get together, it's been a mixed bag in the past, but Bad News Boys is, for me, easily the best thing they've ever done.

The King Khan And BBQ Show is at their best when they are cobbling together doo wop inspired, late 50's - early 60's style rock songs.  This album's got them in spades.  From the opener "Alone Again" to "Ocean Of Love" to my absolute favorite "Illuminations" when these guys are hitting their stride it doesn't get much better.  "Illuminations" has an incredible catchy vocal melody through the verse that builds into each big chorus.  A little guitar solo action in the middle and you've got the recipe for one of the best songs I've heard in 2015 so far. 

Where the band always falls apart for me is when they start up with the ultra fast and trashy garage songs.  There's only really two songs on this record that fit this description and neither of them are very good.  "D.F.O" is just a shouting mess that is is about diarrhea.  It's so bad it threatens to kill the whole record, but it's mercifully short and the rest of the album is so good that I can't get too bent out of shape about it.  

Album closer "Zen Machines" isn't anywhere near as bad, but it also seems out of place from the rest of the record with its shouting and tin can guitar sound.  King Khan And BBQ don't need snotty garage rock about diarrhea on their album; their pop songs are what carry the band.  Bad News Boys is a twelve song album and ten of the songs are really pretty great so it's definitely worth a pick up.

The King Khan And BBQ Show - Bad News Boys LP:

Thursday, April 23, 2015

By Default By Design - New Best Friend 7" - Blue Vinyl


3345 Music (2014)

When I was a little kid, there was this one time when my grandparents took me out to some restaurant.  I don't remember much about it, but I can only remember going to this place once and it stands out to me because my younger brother wasn't with us for some reason.  At this restaurant there was a fellow there playing music.  

He had an acoustic guitar plugged into an amp, giving the guitar that unmistakable sound that is no longer acoustic or electric, but just loud metallic treble.  This guy played "Rainbow Connection" while we sat there and ate.  Despite the fact that I love the song "Rainbow Connection," even as a really little kid I immediately came to the conclusion that this sucked pretty bad.  

That is the first memory that popped into my mind when I put this By Default By Design 7" on.  As always, I'll state that I'm flattered when someone sends me a record to review.  Also, as the title track appears to be about the birth of his first child, I'm hesitant to be too mean, but this is just terrible.

Oddly strummed acoustic guitar, low rent synth beats and sound effects combined with the most gently sung, buried in the mix, go-nowhere vocals you'll ever hear.  You know that guy in college that plays at the student center with his acoustic guitar, wearing that weird poncho looking thing? That's what this sounds like. As I don't have kids, maybe I don't completely get the sentiment here.  Perhaps I'm missing something in the emotion that he's trying to convey, but I don't think children typically are the cause of bad taste in music.  Sorry guy, this just isn't for me.

Default By Design - New Best Friend 7":

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tenement - Bruised Music Volume One LP - Green Vinyl (/220)


Toxic Pop / Grave Mistake (2015)

Bruised Music Volume One is a collection of some of Tenement's earliest material.  Culling tracks from various 7"s and a few from one of their first demo tapes, it's pretty striking how cohesive these songs are as a full album.  Sure they were all recorded around the same timeframe, but it is interesting just how great these songs all sound together as one piece of music.

I was lucky enough to have caught wind of this band when these songs were first being put out, so I actually have all of the 7"s and most of these songs already.  I didn't have the two songs lifted from the Tenement Sucks demo tape and there are two more from Dead Broke tape compilations that are also new to me.  Still, these songs still sound fresh to me all these years later.  

Tenement is playing with punk rock energy, but keep their songs catchy.  You can't really call them a pop punk band, but god damn can this band write a hook. Layer on top of that some Dinosaur Jr.-esque guitar shredding and that might paint a better picture of what they sound like.  Or just click on the Bandcamp link at the bottom of this review and blow out your speakers with their greatness.

It's very cool having all of these incredible songs on one LP.  I'm eager to get Volume Two of Bruised Music and am even more excited about the upcoming Tenement full length that has been talked about for a few years.  They're simply one of the best bands going right now.

Tenement - Bruised Music Volume One:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Souls Of Mischief - 93 'Til Infinity 2xLP


Traffic (2010, Reissue)

I have been writing up a lot of reissues lately.  One reason for that is that this has been something of a slow starter of a year for new music.  The second reason is there are some really good reissues out there and I have a little extra to pick them up.  I'd been keeping my eye on this Souls Of Mischief record for a little bit, but then it looked like it had gone back out of print.  I didn't want to pay through the nose for it, so I was patient and kept a look out.  Luckily, it popped back up on Amazon and I was able to grab a copy.

Along with Del The Funky Homosapien's No Need for Alarm and Casual's Fear Itself, 93 'Til Infinity rounds out my three favorite hip hop records of all time.  Yeah, I realize that's a pretty heavy lean towards the Hieroglyphics crew, but what can I say, these albums hit me like a ton of bricks twenty some odd years ago.

The beats are just fantastic.  While you could make the argument that similarities could be heard to the sort of jazzy, bebop influenced beats that A Tribe Called Quest was using, I always felt that Souls managed to hit on some of the melodic elements of that, but keep things more aggressive.  While no one is ever going to mistake these guys for NWA, you can't deny the very obvious West Coast feeling of this songs.

Four different guys rapping also provide such a dynamic style to these songs as they play off of each other and finish each others lines from time to time.  The lyrics are innovative and the rhyming is unique. Even twenty two years later I think you'd be hard pressed to find any current rappers putting out a record this interesting.

Again, 93 'Til Infinity is one of my very favorite records.  I'm thrilled to finally have a copy to complete my trinity of the best hip hop records on vinyl.

Souls Of Mischief - "That's When Ya Lost":

Souls Of Mischief - "93 'Til Infinity":

Friday, April 17, 2015

Corduroy - I'll Get Around To It 7"


Truckstop (1993)

Today's review is going up a little bit later than usual as I took the day off from work in order to sleep in this morning.  With Record Store Day tomorrow and the thought of way less sleep than usual for tonight, I figured I'd treat it like a real holiday and just relax today.  Hanging out on the couch listening to this Corduroy 7" again is a pretty great way to spend a Friday morning in the spring.

This two song 7" from 1993 completes my Corduroy 7" collection to the best of my knowledge and what a capper it is.  Both songs are just outstanding.  "I'll Get Around To It" is the more aggressive of the two.  It's got an upper mid tempo beat, fuzzy guitars and those raspy vocals that just make this band for me.  Listening to these records again, it surprises me that Corduroy seemingly ended up as just a forgotten footnote of the early 90's because they're so great.

The B-side "Ill Be On My Way" could be even better than the A-side.  Slightly slower, it's a total throwback to 60's guitar pop.  While it's a bit gruffer and contains more static than your typical 60's production, the singalong chorus and catchy riffs just make me smile when I listen to it.  Throw in the little bit of whistling in the middle and I'm a fan for life of this song.  I wish I could find it streaming online somewhere, but sadly I cannot.  Trust me, it's worth grabbing off Discogs.  It's cheap and it's just fantastic.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Corduroy - Hum 7"


Truck Stop (1992)

It was about a year ago where I noticed that my Corduroy 7" collection wasn't complete.  I'm not sure how that happened exactly but I knew it was something that I needed to fix.  Well, it slipped my mind again until randomly their CD compilation Dead End Memory Lane popped up on iTunes shuffle the other week.  That got me over to Discogs and I picked up the two 7"s I was missing to complete the collection.

This first one is the Hum 7".  It's a four song 7" from 1992 that sounds amazing.  There's something about this sort of low budget, fuzzy and poppy punk rock that just takes me back.  I feel like you don't hear too many bands like this anymore, but twenty-three years later, I guess things are bound to change.  

What hasn't changed are how great these songs are.  First track "Hum" is an upbeat, but mid tempo pop song with raspy vocals and that quintessential 90's move of dropping to drum and bass only in the first part of the verse when they come back from the chorus.  I'm just a sucker for that.  Second up is "Cornflake," which is built off of a slower pace and a more subdued guitar sound.  Another great song though.  

"Strychnine Porcupine" is next and it has a bit of a more generic take on punk rock with the the guitar riff in the verse stopping so some vocals can be shouted, kind of like a hundred mile an hour "Bad To The Bone."  It's probably the weakest song of the bunch, but it segues into "Four Wall Drive."  Perhaps saving the best for last, "Four Wall Drive" is another blast of sing along punk rock with a definite 1990's East Bay flair, but a little more melodic.

All these years later and I just love this band.  I have no idea how this record was not in my collection, but it's here now.  I'll write a bit about their other 7" I picked up tomorrow.

Corduroy - "Cornflake":

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Johnny Cash - American V: A Hundred Highways LP


American (2014, Reissue)

Last up in my Johnny Cash American series reviews is the fifth of the bunch, A Hundred Highways.  As I had said earlier, I already had the original pressings of IV and VI, so I won't be writing about them, but adding V to the collection gives me the complete set of six.

Like all of the other Johnny Cash reissues, this one sounds fantastic.  They did a great job of presenting these songs in the best possible light and I really recommend anyone who is a fan to grab them.  They've actually done a box set of all six that I probably should have tried to get.  I just figured since I already had two of them why buy them again, but it would have been worth it to have that nice set in the collection.

Musically, it's hard to talk too much about this record with any sort of perspective.  It was the first of two American albums to come out after Johnny Cash had died.  He sounds weak in some of these songs and there is definitely a mood over the record that is hard to pin down.  Despite any frailties due to age or illness, Cash is still a master of presenting songs and making them his.  While I don't think this is my favorite of the bunch, it's still an amazing assortment of incredible songs.

I love the six Johnny Cash American records.  It's what opened the door to his music for me.  I've spent a fair amount of time going backwards and listening to his older albums as well and he was just a once in a lifetime performer.  I'm hopeful at some point they decide to put out the Unearthed box set on vinyl as well.  It deserves as respectful of a treatment as these LPs have received.

Johnny Cash - "Like The 309":

Johnny Cash - "A Legend In My Time":

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hey Mandible - The Arse LP - Green Vinyl (/500)


Fort Lowell (2015)

I'll admit it, I'm completely perplexed by this record.  I just don't know what to make of it.  It was sent to me for review and when I first took a look at the cover art and the fact that this band thought it would be a good idea to name their album The Arse, I figured it would probably be pretty terrible.  However, when I popped it on the turntable to give it a listen, it couldn't have been more different than I thought it would sound.

Hey Mandible definitely have a mid 90's sludgy Sub-Pop-trying-to-find-themselves-after-the-grunge-explosion sort of sound. Right from the start of the album's first song "Supernovatone" you're smacked in the face with this vocal effect that sounds like it's something right out of the bad dreams of bands like Six Finger Satellite.  The album gets progressively poppier and more upbeat from there, but I'm not sure that was the best idea for a lead off track.

There's some interesting guitar noise throughout the album.  The one sheet wants to push a Dinosaur Jr. comparison, but I'm not sure any of the leads really get that intricate.  That being said the band is not just recycling power chords on here. You can tell they've put thought and effort into these songs; they're just not connecting with me for whatever reason.

While this isn't a bad record by any stretch of the imagination, more than anything Hey Mandible reminds me of the type of bands from the 90's that I didn't like listening to at the time.  I had this buddy Joe in high school that would have loved this. He was always trying to get me to listen to bands that were playing this sort of rock, but I just couldn't ever get into it.  Maybe if Hey Mandible can target the Joe demographic they'll find some more fans, but I can't see myself listening to this very often.

Hey Mandible - The Arse LP:

Monday, April 13, 2015

Modest Mouse - Good News For People Who Love Bad News 2xLP


Epic (2011, Reissue)

Modest Mouse Monday.  This is probably the record that people are most familiar with, in general, when it comes to Modest Mouse.  Though I wouldn't argue it is their number one record, it is certainly the one with the big hit song, "Float On."  I love that song, I'm glad the band gained more notoriety from it.  Like last week's album, I did have a copy of the original vinyl pressing of this record, but I sold it around the same time for equally silly eBay money.  Luckily I was correct in my thoughts that it would get reissued.

Also, as I did with The Moon & Antarctica, I grabbed this album during a Best Buy online vinyl sale.  I believe I got it for $10, but I picked it up a few months ago so I don't remember for sure.  The cover of mine got a little dinged up during shipping, but it's not too bad.

Modest Mouse was never more poppy and accessible than they were on "Float On," but the album as a whole is equally great. "The World At Large," "Ocean Breathes Salty" and "Black Cadillacs" are incredible songs and the entire album is just littered with good tunes.  Like all Modest Mouse records, I think it goes a little long.  My opinion has always been if the band were able to cut out about 3 or 4 songs from each album, everything would end up a little tighter.  That being said, I'm sure there are plenty of people glad to have as much Modest Mouse as humanly possible crammed into each album.

Modest Mouse - "Black Cadillacs:

Modest Mouse - "Ocean Breathes Salty":

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Legendary Wings - Do You See? LP - Blue Vinyl (/200)


Dirtnap (2015)

I've remarked to a few friends as of late that I think 2015 is starting off kind of slow for new music.  Between reissues and older records that I need in the collection, there's never a shortage of things for me to write about, but I feel like 2015 as a whole isn't really living up to the last few years.  Now it's only April, so there is plenty of time to pick up but slower times make me appreciate a record like this from Legendary Wings even more.

Now, it's not perfect.  Do You See? is really short. Shorter in total length and a lot of shorter songs making up the album.  They also have quite a few movie/TV quotes inserted before and after a lot of their songs.  While it's not quite as frequent as it was on their killer debut album, I still can't say I'm a really big fan of that.

Now the songs themselves are pretty tremendous.  Legendary Wings puts forth a wave of fuzzy guitar and pounding drum beats.  Every song is as catchy as they come and this is a band extremely skilled at writing a big time chorus.  I wouldn't say they sound like the Marked Men, because they don't, but I think they are playing in the same ballpark as bands like that do.  Not quite garage, certainly not pop punk, but taking some of the best elements of both and turning it into some kick ass guitar rock.

Despite some minor silly complaints, I heartily recommend picking up this album along with the band's debut from a couple of years ago.  While maybe not the most famous name on the Dirtnap roster, they can certainly hang with the big boys from an album quality standpoint.

Legendary Wings - Do You See?:

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Johnny Cash - American III: Solitary Man LP


American (2014, Reissue)

The third of the Johnny Cash American Recordings releases is as great as the previous two.  When this album came out I was an intern at the radio promotions company that I eventually ended up working at for several years.  So while I didn't officially promote this record, it was nice to feel that I was involved with it just a little bit.  The three main promo folks in my department all got autographed Johnny Cash posters out of this campaign.  I was pretty jealous of those.

As far as the record itself goes, once again Cash has picked some incredible songs and somehow made them his own.  From "I Won't Back Down" to "Solitary Man" to to his incredible take on what may be the only U2 song I actually like, "One," it amazes me how Johnny Cash can put his stamp on a tune like no other.  For me, the absolute highlight is "The Mercy Seat."  The way that song reaches its slow building crescendo is just a thing of beauty.

Like the other two before it, this reissue sounds just fantastic.  I won't call it a flawless pressing, because I'm not sure I'm enough of an audiophile to really make that sort of judgment, but I can tell you that I don't think this record has ever sounded better.  I won't actually be reviewing American IV as I already have an original copy of that one (though I am tempted to re-buy as these reissues sound so good), so next up is American V.

Johnny Cash - "The Mercy Seat":

Johnny Cash - "One":

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Audacity - Cold Rush 7" - Red Vinyl


Recess (2014)

One of the best discoveries I've made over the past few years has been Audacity.  They've been putting out some pretty flawless records and their summertime power pop is just a joy to listen to.  It's even more appropriate than ever since the spring is finally starting to pry the temperatures around here out of the twenties and thirties and into something that's you can actually live in.

Audacity is the definition of windows down, tunes up rock and roll.  You've got the jangly guitar and the slightly (slightly, not annoyingly so) fuzzy vocals crammed into these little nuggets of pop rock. This Japan tour 7" contains a different version of "Cold Rush" from their last album.  Honestly, while I can tell it is different, I wouldn't say it's a huge change from the album version.  Also on the 7" is "Dentist Appt." This one is a little slower, but still hangs with anything from Audacity's past catalog.

Finally, you get a download for a third song called "Fun Spot."  This one is back to being upbeat, though I don't know why they didn't just put this song on the 7" and leave the alternate version of an already released song to the digital download realm.  That's just me.  Still, it's a cool little 7" to pick up.  Audacity pretty much can do know wrong and I hope they're huddled together in a studio somewhere recording a new album and continuing to do no wrong.

Audacity - Cold Rush 7":

Monday, April 6, 2015

Modest Mouse - The Moon & Antarctica 2xLP


Epic (2012, Reissue)

The main reason we're even having a Modest Mouse Monday on this website is because of The Moon & Antarctica.  While not the first Modest Mouse songs I had heard, this is definitely the point in time where everything clicked and I became a fan.  I actually had the original pressing of this from when it first came out.  But around 2008-ish, it was selling for about $100 and at the time I needed that $100 more than I needed the record.  Besides, there's just no way it wouldn't have been rereleased at some point, right?

By now it's actually been rereleased a few times.  This is the 2010 Tenth Anniversary Edition.  I got it for an absolute steal during some website sale that Best Buy was having.  I want to say it was under $10, but I can't be positive of that.  Regardless, I'm happy to have it back in the collection.  While I think the highs may be higher on some Modest Mouse records, I also think the lows are lower on the rest.  The Moon & Antarctica is the band's most consistent effort in my opinion and my feelings for this record are probably also enhanced by the fact that this is the record that started me listening to them.  I always find that a band's first record that winds up in my collection tends to have more of an impact on me than any others.

Not much to say about this specific reissue.  The double LP on 180 gram vinyl is as you would expect.  Artwork looks nice.  I'm not sure if there's a definitive version of this album to own, but this one certainly works out just fine for me.

Modest Mouse - 3rd Planet:

Modest Mouse - A Different City:

Thursday, April 2, 2015

ИO///sé - Lower Berth LP - Blue Vinyl (/100)


1859 / Man In Decline (2015)

The first ИO///sé record was one that I came around to a bit later than others (and missed out on the limited colored vinyl version in the process).  Despite my tardy arrival, I played the hell out of that record and more than made up for lost time.  When their new album, Lower Berth, was announced, I made sure I was first in line with my preorder and this time the colored vinyl is mine.

ИO///sé is a unique combination of some of my favorite kinds of rock and roll.  You've got the raspy vocals of a Leatherface, there's the darker leaning, downstroke crazed assault of Hot Snakes and everything is filtered through a Marked Men like knack for catchy tunes and killer choruses.  Needless to say, ИO///sé is a pretty great band.  I'll admit to being a bit concerned when I first put on Lower Berth as the opener "If I Told You Once" was a bit harsher than I was expecting.  It's still a solid song, but it's not quite what I am looking for from these guys.

Turns out to just be a blip on the radar. By the time "The Little Things You Love To Hate" roars through the speakers, ИO///sé is hitting all of the marks that I want from them.  Lower Berth is just crammed full of stellar songs. It's absolutely one of the best records to come out in 2015 so far and I think both labels still have a few of the colored vinyl versions kicking around if you hurry.

ИO///sé - Lower Berth:

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Nervous Twitch - Jonny's Got A Gun 7" - Blue Vinyl


Punk Fox (2015)

Punk Fox probably came pretty close to not even sending me this 7".  I had said in my last review of one of their records that I felt bad about not liking anything they sent and maybe it would save them money if they didn't send them to me.  Well, like the troopers they are, they soldiered on and sent over their 5th release from a band called Nervous Twitch.  This is far and away the best record they have ever sent my way.

The first of three songs, "Jonny's Got A Gun," is a three chord blast of upbeat punk rock mixed with the vocals of classic 60's girl groups.  It's short, but they cram a ton of energy into that small amount of time and the song really reminds me of bands like The Baby Shakes.  "And We Did" slows things down just a little bit, but it still retains the enthusiasm and general likability of the first track.  At this point I am really digging this 7".

Only the final song, "This Modern World," doesn't quite live up to the rest of this record.  It is again a bit slower and seems to lack the fun of the other songs.  It's easily the most serious song of the bunch and while I don't have anything bad to say about it, I think it kind of stands out as having a totally different vibe of the other two.

All in all this is a nice little 7".  I would definitely recommend to to anyone into some of the more recent groups like The Baby Shakes or Stolen Hearts that have been kicking around.  Pretty good stuff.

Nervous Twitch - "Jonny's Got A Gun":