Thursday, July 30, 2015

Rocket From The Crypt - Gold 7" - Gold Vinyl, "No Funk" Version (#7 of 12)


Drunken Fish (1992)

So yeah, fellow Rocket From The Crypt fans who spend a lot of time on eBay, it was me.  I'm the one that picked this up for $325.  I haven't dropped that much scratch on a single record in a really long time, but at this point there aren't many Rocket From The Crypt records I don't already have squirreled away in the archive.

This is the third variant of the Gold 7".  The normal one was limited to 500 copies.  There were also a version that came packaged with some plastic beads. The rumor has always been about 50 of these were released.  This final version was limited to only twelve copies and were hand numbered as being "No Funk."  This one that I grabbed is number seven.  It has a completely different sleeve with the words "There will be no funk in outer space" printed on the cover.  

I had heard rumors of this version for quite some time, but for years there wasn't any real proof that it actually existed.  A picture of it finally ended up popping up on the John Pette Rocket discography page, so the hunt was on once that happened.  I'm actually kind of surprised one turned up, I didn't think I'd ever have the chance to buy it.  Oh, and don't worry, I didn't actually open it.  I grabbed the record out of one of my other copies to take a picture of.

The song itself isn't even one of my favorites.  "Gold" is an MC5 cover and is a noisy, shouting mess of a song.  There's a certain charm to it and I do kind of miss those early Rocket From The Crypt days when they were spitting out all sorts of off beat, crazy noise.  Not that I have any issue at all with the non-stop hit machine they turned into, but I think some people overlook that early 1990's period of theirs.  Some pretty creative stuff going on.

It's hard to express why I feel compelled to spend $325 on a record that I already have two versions of.  I assume it's some sort of sickness, but I just have this thing about having a complete collection.  Anyone who has followed the Rocket From The Crypt discography will know that trying to complete this collection is a foolhardy task.  There are so many weirdo variations and errors and other assorted things keeping the collectors always searching, but I'm getting closer.  I think (and this is only true until the next bizarre variant is discovered) that I only have one more Rocket From The Crypt 7" left to find.  So as I've said a few times, if you have a lead on the Pure Genius 7" on red vinyl, please let me know.  I'll happily overpay for it.

Rocket From The Crypt - "Gold":

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

ИO​/​/​/​sé - S/T LP - Orange Vinyl (/100)


Rotten To The Core/Challenge The Throne (2012)

While it's happened very few times, a big time perk of running this website is when someone gets in touch with me about a record I'm looking for that I can't find.  Have a gander at my wants list some time.  It's not completely up to date, but maybe you've got something on there that I'm looking for.

When I originally wrote about the first ИO​/​/​/​sé record I wasn't able to track down the colored vinyl version.  I did manage to find the much more difficult to obtain test pressing of it however.  I had mentioned that I don't collect test pressings and would happily trade it away for the normal colored vinyl version.

Enter my friend in records Norm (who incidentally has the ONE Rocket From The Crypt 7" that I still need, so you should post in the comments section below about how he should sell or trade that to me).  Norm got in touch, asked for a swap and had this record headed my way awfully quick.  A gentleman and a scholar.  Now, about that red vinyl 7"...

Anyway, this record is still every bit as great as it was the moment I first heard it.  ИO​/​/​/​sé manages to come off as a weird concoction of The Marked Men, Leatherface and Hot Snakes.  Those are some pretty top tier comparison points, but ИO​/​/​/​sé really does manage to incorporate elements of each to create some amazing music.   If you missed this album the first time around, I cannot recommend it highly enough.  They have a newer album that recently came out and it is also great, but their debut is in rarified territory.  It's just that good.

ИO​/​/​/​sé - S/T LP:

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Dead Heavens - History In My Hands 7"


Thrill Me (2015)

Dead Heavens is a new band fronted by Walter Schreifels of Gorilla Biscuits/Quicksand/Rival Schools fame.  I can't say I was ever all that big of a fan of any of those other bands.  In particular, this guy I used to work with played that first Rival Schools record every day for about a 2 year period, so I kind of hate that one to be totally honest.  Based on their pedigree, I'm not really sure why I picked up this Dead Heavens 7", but when you start to trust a record label sometimes you take some chances.  

I'm actually pretty happy with this 7".  "History In My Hands" has a warm, slightly distorted guitar sound.  Cleaner than you'd expect, it's a laid back, kind of poppy song.  There's a slight 60's influence and I absolutely hear a little of quieter Nirvana in the verse.  There's a somewhat goofy guitar solo that sounds like something out of a 70's rock album, but it's brief and doesn't disrupt the song.

"36 Chambers" is a slower song and it leans on heavier riffs.  The vocals are the star of this as they cut through the distorted muck and keep everything on track.  There's a fair amount of 70's guitar wanking on this one and I don't like it quite as much as the A-side, but it's still a pretty decent song.

Considering I'm not usually a fan of Walter Schreifels' other bands, it might be something of a surprise that I like this 7" as much as I do.  I wish I had gotten it in time to snag the limited blue vinyl version and I'd definitely check out a full length if they release one.  I'm actually curious what fan's of Walter's other bands think of this.  Let me know.

Dead Heavens - History In My Hands 7":

Monday, July 27, 2015

Nervous Talk - S/T LP


Hosehead (2015)

2015 has been a somewhat disappointing year for new records in my opinion.  While there has been no shortage of good records, the great ones have been fewer and further between. I wouldn't go so far as to put Nervous Talk into the conversation for the best record of 2015, but there is no argument that their debut falls firmly in the the great records category.

Throughout this record, Nervous Talk are throwing out some pretty incredible guitar riffs.  That's my absolute favorite part of this record, sitting back and watching where the next chord progression is going to veer off to.  It's a very poppy and catchy record, but it's also something of am master class in garage rock guitar work.  You've got some searing leads peppered in here and there, but for the most part this is an album all about the main guitar riff.

Vocals have a sheen of static over them, but it works in a similar way as the Marked Men.  It gives the singing something of an otherworldly quality, but I never feel like the production is being used to hide something. From the very second that rocking lead guitar on album opener "Different Person" kicks in to fleeting final moments of laid back closer "Way To Go" Nervous Talk has delivered an album full of amazing power pop moments.  The songs are always catchy, but there's just enough garage buzz to keep you guessing.  

Nervous Talk - S/T LP:

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Johns - Grift Marks LP


Peterwalkee (2015)

Let me tell you, I sure to appreciate it when someone sends me a record to review.  When they go that extra mile and actually send me a full album, that just makes it better.  The real cherry on top is when said record is actually pretty good.  This Johns album fulfills all of the above mentioned criteria.

I'm not going to say Grift Marks is a total home run, instant classic sort of a record.  There are a few songs sprinkled throughout that don't really do it for me.  These tend to be the slower ones where the vocals get a bit more shouty than I like, such as on "Thrust" and "The Blurry Tongue."  I was never much of a hardcore guy, so when things start to take a turn in that direction, I tend to tune out a bit.

That being said, a solid chunk of this record is really strong.  Johns are playing a darker guitar pop.  I immediately think of bands like The Estranged or Nervosas when this is spinning.  The guitar is dark and murky with a tendency to downstroke.  The vocals have a little bit of static and definitely fall in the same range as what The Estranged dabbles in.  They never quite hit that revered Red Dons territory on this record, but I can certainly see fans of all three bands I've mentioned being interested in Johns.  Probably worth a listen below.

Johns - Grift Marks LP:

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Jawbox - Tools & Chrome 7" - Clear Vinyl (/1000)


Dischord / DeSoto (1990)

As I've said in the past, I overlooked Jawbox the first time around and have been playing catch up the last few years.  I've been picking up their full lengths and when I see them lying around, I try to grab the 7"s as well.  This one popped up on the Green Noise site when I was placing another order, so as usual it was the old 'add to cart' button for me.

The thing that I noticed the most about this band is that they became much more sophisticated in the way they wrote their songs in a very short amount of time.  From album to album (at least on their first three albums, I'm still waiting on the reissue of their fourth) there is tremendous growth as far as the band's sound.  That growth it also very apparent listing to this, their first 7" from 1990.

All four songs are significantly more straightforward than the band would become known for.  There's palm muted guitar into chunky riffs on "Tools & Chrome."  "Secret History" showcases some dynamic drumming with a few more varied change ups and a big chorus that kind of sneaks up on you.  When "Ballast" hits, the band is at their most upbeat with poppier vocals and lots of fun guitar riffage.  Closer "Twister" blasts out with furiously pounded drums in the verse.  That moves to a lower key transitional moment into an explosive, big, hooky chorus.

While the recording is a little rough and the band is obviously just getting their feet wet, I love this 7".  Sure it's not as complex as some of the songs that Jawbox would go on to write, but there's something to be said about a no frill, punk rock 7".

Jawbox - "Tools & Chrome":

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Jacob Turnbloom - Reborn Boys 7" - Black Vinyl & Red Vinyl (/100)


Thrill Me (2015)

While I'm doing my best to patiently wait for the new Mrs. Magician album to be released, I've been keeping up on the various other projects that everyone has been involved in.  Recently I've written about the Hideout LP, the Soaks cassette and now we're on to the new Jacob Turnbloom 7".  I picked up the limited to 100 red vinyl version as soon as it went on sale and then much to my surprise, Thrill Me sent a copy on black vinyl to me to review.  It was pretty cool to see something I was anticipating so much show up for review and the fact that this is a damn good 7" only made it better.

Right off the bat I'll point out that neither of these songs sound much like Mrs. Magician.  Jacob Turnbloom really does a great job of making this solo work stand apart from the songs normally released by his main band.  While I will certainly use Mrs. Magician as a frame of reference due to a few similar traits, don't expect a couple of songs that were just not quite good enough for the band, these are top notch.

"Reborn Boys" is built off of a repeating synth lead coupled with big, loud guitars.  There's none of the trademark Mrs. Magician reverb floating around on the guitars in this song, it's a fatter and much crunchier guitar tone.  It's a fantastic, catchy song that is further elevated by Jacob's distinct vocals.  A lot of bands can't pull off hitting those high notes, but they fit right in on this track.

"Heartbreaker" is structured a little more closely to the way that a Mrs. Magician song may sound, but again the execution and sounds created end up sounding totally different and fresh.  I actually like this song even better than the A-side.  "Heartbreaker" starts off with bass & vocals and when that clean guitar kicks in, everything comes alive.  Once again there's a little bit of 80's sounding synth providing the song with an additional layer of dynamics.

Both songs are stellar.  For me this was a must have 7" before I even listened to it, due to its connection with one of my very favorite bands.  But unlike so many other records this year, Jacob Turnbloom managed to exceed my lofty expectations.

Jacob Turnbloom - "Reborn Boys":

Monday, July 20, 2015

Sweet Baby - It's A Girl 25th Anniversary Bonus 7" - Green Vinyl (/250)


Eccentric Pop (2015)

When I reviewed the reissue of It's A Girl last week, I held off on writing about this bonus 7" that came along with it.  While it is a nice little addition to the package, it doesn't really feel like part of the album to me.  I thought it should be dealt with on its own.  

On this 7" we have two previously unreleased songs and two live recordings.  On side A you've got the two studio tracks.  "Pretty Baby" is decent enough, but the recording makes it seem kind of flat.  It's not bad or anything, but it doesn't really stand out from the pack and I can see how it didn't make the cut to end up on the album.  "Loving Every Girl In The World" starts off with some good energy built off of a pretty fun bass line, but the song as a whole is kind of average.  In particular the lyrics are awfully one dimensional. There's this odd breakdown towards the end that brings the song to a screeching halt.  Again, I can see why it wasn't on the full length.

The B side is where the two live tracks live.  I thought I read somewhere that these were taken from a recording of the band's first show, but I can't find that info again anywhere now.  I'm not totally sure, so forgive me if that's wrong information.  What I can tell you is that it sounds like something recorded at a band's first show.  "I Can't Sleep" is just guitar and vocals (and I guess a little tambourine or some other kind of shaker thing).  You can't really hear the vocals and the recording as a whole isn't very good.

One of my favorite songs on It's A Girl is "Gotta Get A Girl."  The live version here can't hold a candle to the one on the record.  Again, the recording is so bad you can't hear much of anything really.  This side of the 7" is an interesting document and certainly a fun little bonus to go along with the reissued record.  You'll never hear me argue for less bonus content, but I think this 7" would have seemed stronger with just the two unreleased tracks.  The live stuff doesn't add much.

I think it's great that Eccentric Pop went all out and even bothered to make this 7" with the extra material.  I'm sure they would have sold just as many copies of a straight reissue of It's A Girl.  That being said, these songs are more curiosities than anything else.  They're fun to listen to once or twice, but I just can't really see it being something that I'll play very often.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Soaks - S/T Cassette


Riot House (2015)

If you read my website, you probably know how much I love the band Mrs. Magician.  Well, if I hear about one of the guys in the band having another project, I'm going to be buying that other project.  That's how this Soaks cassette ended up in my hands.  Lead by Jordan Clark, this is the band's debut release since a somewhat recent name change from Grand Tarantula.

There are surfy elements to the band, so it's not that far removed from the sort of sounds that Mrs. Magician has been dabbling in.  That's not really a spot on description of the band's overall style.  There are some songs that are much more in line with Mark Sultan-esque grimy doo wop sound while others remind me more of a King Louie/Missing Monuments garage throw back.

What the band has no shortage of is fun, catchy songs.  It's the kind of record that just screams to be popped into the tape deck of your 1989 Chevy Caprice station wagon and blasted around town with the windows rolled down.  I would love to see this album saved from cassette hell and put out on vinyl at some point.

The Soaks - The Soaks:

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sweet John Bloom - Weird Prayer LP - Clear Vinyl (/200)


Tiny Engines (2015)

There are a couple of things working against this Sweet John Bloom record.  First off is the band name.  It's not really my favorite though I'll admit to having something of an aversion to band names that are also people names (I'm looking at you Bob Tilton).  The second issue is the album leads off with arguably the weakest song on the album, "Shapeshifter."  Musically it's fine, but the singer is making some kind of weird vocal stylings.  Not a deal breaker, but not my favorite either.  That being said, if you can get past those two things this is really a hell of an album and one that I have been playing virtually non-stop since I got it.

Sweet John Bloom have done an incredible job of pulling in some 1990's indie rock influences from bands like Guided By Voices, Pavement, Archers Of Loaf and Superchunk, mashing them together and somehow coming out with a sound that's familiar, but all their own.  You're not going to listen to any songs on this album and think "Oh, that sounds like Superchunk."  But you will hear how those types of bands helped shape the songs on this album.

Weird Prayer is just chock full of chunky lead guitar riffs, punchy choruses and some really wonderful harmonies.  The songs are layered and complex, but they never feel overwritten or that any part was thrown on top for no reason.  Everything is expertly crafted and it all makes sense.  I enjoy the band most when they kick up the tempo. I dare you to throw on "Solicitor" and not want to jump around the room like an idiot. Though for that song in particular, I think it should be significantly longer than it is.  It's way too much goodness to cram into a minute and twenty three seconds.  It could be 3 times as long and I'd only love it more.

There's so many other great moments on this record.  "Night Thing" will just blow your speakers off the wall with it's guitar gymnastics and laid back vocals.  The ever so slight country twang on "New Identity Crisis" is a nice mid album change of pace and the twitchy guitar work in "Born Witch" elevates that song to something really special.

Weird Prayer is one of the best surprises I've come across in a while and is sitting awfully high on my tentative best albums of the year list.  Absolutely worth checking out.  

Sweet John Bloom - Weird Prayer LP:

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Sweet Baby - It's A Girl LP - Pink Vinyl (/250)


Eccentric Pop (2015, Reissue)

Punk rock vinyl reissues are in full swing these days.  I can't say I mind too much.  Sure there are some that have been cluttering up the pressing plants, but then you'll get a reissue that helps you pick out a long out of print record for a pretty cheap price.  I've been eyeing up the Sweet Baby album for quite some times.  I keep a casual eye on eBay and on Discogs, but they tend to sell for 30-40 dollars in general.  At that price, I just never picked it up.

I'm a little young to have caught these guys the first time around.  I had first heard of them when Lookout rereleased the CD back in 1996, but even that got lost in the shuffle for me.  A few years ago I started to listen to Sweet Baby again.  Their early refreshing take on pop punk is just so much fun.  Let's not split hairs, this record sounds old as hell with its tinny production and all.  You'll never accuse this record of sounding slick, but it just sounds like a good time.  Basic, catchy songs about girls and falling in love filtered through Ramones colored glasses.

The reissue sounds good, but I've just got to say that I hate the artwork.  If you were going to reissue the record and chose to not use the original artwork, I don't know why you would settle on this simple little line drawing and some off center text.  It's really kind of weird and it makes me feel like I can't take the original off my wants list now.  Hopefully the price will come down a bit on a first pressing since this reissue is out in the wild.  I'm glad it's available and cheap, but with this art it just can't replace having an original for me.  Oh, this came with a bonus 7", but I'll write that up on it's own.

Sweet Baby - "Gotta Get A Girl":

Sweet Baby - "Year After Year":

Monday, July 13, 2015

Tenement - Predatory Headlights 2xLP


Don Giovanni (2015)

Long time readers of this website will know that I've been chomping at the bit for a new Tenement album for ages.  Pretty much since the day after their prior effort, Napalm Dream, was released.  I've been singing this band's praises for quite some time and they've finally come out with their new record...and it's a double album to boot.

In the past I have often compared Tenement to a poppier and more exciting to me version of Dinosaur Jr.  They've always had the hooks and searing guitar solos to go along with it.  Predatory Headlights is something of a new direction for the band.  While you could have certainly seen this album coming if you were paying attention, it still comes across as somewhat surprising.

While this is a double album clocking in at just a tick under 80 minutes, there's probably only a single albums worth of straight ahead rock songs.  Much like the album's artwork, there's a lot going on during the course of this record. Also like the artwork, it's a bit of a collage of sounds.  In addition to some rock, there is real diversity on this record.  You're going to get some jazzy interludes, some experimental noise meanderings and a couple of atmospheric soundscapes. 

You could argue that these excursions add to the album and you could argue that they detract from the guitar focused rock songs.  That's going to be the opinion of the individual listener.  For me, I don't listen to much in the way of jazz and I can't say that jittery experimental is typically my bag either.  I find myself sitting through the chaos waiting for some more rock, but individual listener milage on these songs may vary.

As far as the rock, there is a very strong album's worth of material on Predatory Headlights.  You could argue that in some ways these songs are more straightforward than what the band has released in the past.  There aren't too many of the screaming guitar solos that Tenement has used in the past and there also isn't much in the way of cutting, energetic punk rock.  These songs tend to be more mid tempo in nature and the focus is much more on the chord progressions and the vocals.

In particular, there's some insane backing vocals going on throughout this album.  We're talking high pitched full on Bee Gee's style harmonies weaving in and out of several songs.   Honestly it sounds incredible.  On paper, that may not sound like something you'd want to hear, but within the context of the songs, the vocals just sound amazing.  You'll also hear a solid amount of keyboard and other complimentary instruments that do a great job of augmenting Tenement's songs and adding new layers of depth to everything.

I can't help but think this is going to end up as something of a polarizing record.  On one hand, you've got some really incredible new Tenement songs.  On the other hand you've got a whole lot of new and unexpected sounds to try to process.  In the end, I think this is a good album and as a piece of music, it works.  But I admit that I would have been content with a single album's worth of rock and roll.  In some ways it's going to depend of how adventurous you are.

Tenement - Predatory Headlights LP:

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Brat Kings - Good Drugs 7"


Hosehead (2015)

Bands from Canada really scratch a particular kind of itch that I have.  They have this amazing ability to take basic pop punk song structures and melodies and dirty them up with enough garage fuzz that it washes away any chance of a saccharine experience.  Brat Kings are another in this fine tradition.

The band is absolutely not afraid to bust out some unapologetic "oooohs" and "ahhhhs" to drive home the catchiness of their songs.  Don't get too comfortable though, as that loud buzzsaw guitar is just lurking around the corner to remind you that these guys can tear it up when called for.  Both "Good Drugs" and "Water Melons" have big hooks and great guitar work.  They kind of remind me of a dirtier and less stoned version of Mean Jeans.

This is a record definitely worth going out of your way to grab.  If you like your punk rock pretty catchy, but a little scuzzy, then Brat Kings are going to scratch that itch for you as well.

Brat Kings - Good Drugs 7":

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Plow United / The Headies - Split 7" - Clear Vinyl (/100)


Self Aware (2015)

It's been pretty exciting seeing Plow United as an active band again.  They've played some shows, put out a full length album and now they're going back to another hallmark of the 1990's; the split 7".

Plow United's contributions to this split are pretty great.  "Gary Gygax" has a rolling drum beat and a fast dynamic punch.  To me it sounds like it would fit right in the Plow II era.  "These Six Words" is a bass fueled and palm muted guitar filled track where the band slows things down a little.  It takes a special band to take on a lower key song without compromising the excitement of their fast tracks, but Plow pulls it off flawlessly.

The Headies offer four short rippers on their side of the record.  The songs are decidedly 90's punk rock sounding.  They've got hooks in all of the right places, gang vocals that sweeten the choruses and a pretty ferocious drummer.  When Plow is on the flip side of your record and I'm noticing your drummer, that's a pretty good sign.  I do wish the songs were a little longer in general. I've always had a hard time with bands pumping out sixty to ninety second long tracks.  Everything seems kind of rushed to me.  That being said, The Headies do it better than most and are a nice surprise since honestly, I would have bought this 7" no matter who was on the non-Plow side.

Plow United / The Headies - Split 7":

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Jaill - Brain Cream LP - Yellow Vinyl


Burger (2015)

Ken from Dirtnap recommended Jaill to me quite a few years ago, when their album There's No Sky (Oh My My) was self released and they didn't have two L's in their name.  I absolutely loved that album and was very happy for the band when they signed to Sub Pop for their next two albums.  While I enjoyed both and don't really have anything bad to say about either, I was left with the feeling that these Jaill records just weren't quite as good as There's No Sky.

After the Sub Pop excursion, we find Jaill on Burger records, the label that took There's No Sky from self released to non-self released.  Jaill has come home also.  Though they do not quite hit the highs they did three albums ago, they've made a remarkably consistent record that is the best thing they've done since.  Brain Cream is full of crisp, jangly guitar, bouncy pop melodies and a light psychedelic sheen that adds to the overall vibe of the record.  The psych influence never becomes overbearing or detracts from the pop.

The band has also done a great job of adding some keyboard flourishes to a few songs that truly enhance the experience.  A lot of times when a band starts dipping into that bag of tricks I get the feeling that they're adding layers to hide something.  It never feels like Jaill is doing that on Brain Cream as the keys and atmospheric sounds give the album a rich full sound.  Needless to say I really enjoy this album.  Maybe it's not a balls to the wall catchy as There's No Sky, but it's a well crafted record with a handful of pretty great songs and it's easily the best thing they've done these last few albums.

Jaill - "Getaway":

Monday, July 6, 2015

Hideout - Rookie LP - Pink Vinyl


Thrill Me (2014)

Since Mrs. Magician is one of my favorite bands in the world, of course I'm going to give a chance to a record put out on the label that one of the guys in the band started.  Sure, that's heaping a world of expectations on an unsuspecting band, but Hideout didn't let me down.

This is one of those bands that you hear about from time to time where the members live in different parts of the country and collaborate over long distances.  I'm sure the hashing out process is slow, but the results are pretty great.  Rookie is a spacey, far out kind of record, but still is anchored in enough upbeat guitar pop to where the songs remain catchy, focused and a good time to listen to.

In the album description the comparison thrown around is early David Bowie.  While Hideout never get quite as wacky as Bowie has a penchant for being, you can hear some sonic similarities with the way the songs are structured and some of the effects used while recording.  At the same time, it's also very easy to compare Hideout to some of the more modern indie rockers out there.  You can hear a little bit of bands like The Shins or Band of Horses if you're listening, but I find Hideout to be significantly more interesting than either of those bands.

If you're going in hoping for Hideout to sound like Mrs. Magician, this record probably isn't going to work out for you.  But if you're looking for some otherworldly pop that doesn't go too far off the deep end, Rookie is absolutely an album that should be checked out.

Hideout - Rookie LP:

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Hex Dispensers - III LP - White Vinyl (/100)


Alien Snatch (2015)

For a while I was getting concerned that The Hex Dispensers may have called it quits.  It had been a bit since their last full length and although there have been some 7"s in the last few years, it just sort of seemed like the band was put on the back burner. Luckily I was wrong and The Hex Dispensers are back with their appropriately titled third LP III.

I can't say that I like it as much as their other records.  While still a good listen, I feel that it is missing a little bit of the speed and energy of their prior works.  Everything is decidedly mid tempo and while some of the songs are still great and most are pretty darn catchy, I find myself wishing there were a few that just ripped.  Another thing that I think hinders this record is the production.  The guitars sound really bassy and kind of muddy.  You could argue that the murky guitar adds to their Ghostbusters meets the Marked Men sound, but I prefer the chainsaw blast of their other records.

My last complaint is that 6 of the 10 songs on this record were previously released on 7"s that I bought.  While I realize that most people who will buy this album probably don't have all of those 7"s, I still would have preferred a few more songs I hadn't heard before.  

All those complaints probably makes it seem like I'm really down on this record, but I'm not.  I'm perhaps comparing it unfairly to past works, but judging the record on its own merits, it is a fun listen.  In particular the one, two, three punch of "Parallel," "Trapped In Amber" and "Agatha's Antlers" starts the album off with a real bang as all three songs just have killers hooks. "I Hope The Sun Explodes Today" is also a highlight with a killer verse and some nice call back 'aaahhhs' in the chorus.

All in all, it is definitely worth picking up, especially if you don't already have all of the 7"s.  It's a fun record and the band has always written interesting lyrics and melodies.

The Hex Dispensers - III LP:

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Sweatshop Boys - Always Polite Never Happy 7"


Twintoe / Crapoulet / SP (2015)

At this point I've gotten a respectable number of records sent to me to review.  The gems are few and far between, but this 7" is notable for three reasons.  One, it's the first record I've been sent from Israel. Two, it's a band I already know and love.  Three, it just absolutely kills from start to finish.  This is a hell of a little 7" that you really should go out of your way to track down.

We've got 4 new Sweatshop Boys songs on this record.  Each of them bringing something slightly different to the table, but all of them bringing the sort of high energy, catchy punk rock that I just go crazy for.  You can hear a bit of the Marked Men in the rapid fire chord progressions.  There's a hint of Sonic Avenues in the vocals and a a few moments of Red Dons style downstroking.

Basically the next stop for these guys should be Dirtnap, so if that's the sort of thing that floats your boat, this is a 7" you need to grab immediately if not sooner.  It's really the kind of record that just absolutely brightens my day and cuts through all of the bullshit out there.  Dear Sweatshop Boys, never split up and put out some more records as soon as you can.

Sweatshop Boys - Always Polite Never Happy 7":