Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Blues Brothers - Everybody Needs Somebody To Love 7" (UK)


Atlantic (1980)

Up next in my bi-weekly Blues Brothers 7" review we have the UK version of the Everybody Needs Somebody To Love 7".  This time out the B side is "Jailhouse Rock," which makes sense to me and is a solid B side choice since it's actually a song that The Blues Brothers sing.

This 7" is sporting some of my favorite picture sleeve artwork featured on any Blues Brothers 7".  It appears to be a picture from the same photo session that yielded the movie one sheet poster, but it's a different picture.  Plus, the Bluesmobile is in the shot.  That's a big bonus for me as I think that the car is one of the most important characters in the movie.  I also like the way they used the logo at the top, sort of like a heading or way to file the 7" at the record store.  Good design choices.

Unfortunately, as you can see from the picture, my copy is pretty beat up.  I'm kind of going with the mentality that this is just a place holder for now until I can find a better condition copy.  But as this seems to be one of the scarcer Blues Brothers 7"s out there, it made sense to me to pick one up now.  Hopefully I'll come across another one at some point.

The Blues Brothers - "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love":

The Blues Brothers - "Jailhouse Rock":

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Hurry - Every Little Thought LP - Red/Yellow/Blue Tri-Color Mix Vinyl (/300)


Lame-O (2018)

This will be the third Hurry record that I've reviewed over the years.  They are a band that I always like picking up something by and I tend to listen to said record pretty passionately for a few months.  Then it seems to drift into the background and I don't go back to it as often.  This isn't something exclusive to Hurry, simply due to the sheer amount of records I tend to buy, there are a lot of things that I listen to often at first and then less often as the years go buy.  

On Every Little Thought, my initial thought is that Hurry may have broken that streak with this record.  It's a pretty damn great record that, right now anyway, feels like it will have some staying power.  Hurry straddles the line between the the glorious 90s pop of The Posies and the more subdued stylings of the Pernice Brothers.  I tend to favor the songs that lean towards the rocking Posies side of the spectrum like "Read Between The Lines" or "Jamie."

Top to bottom this is Hurry's best record.  It's consistently enjoyable all the way through and even the slower songs that I don't like quite as much as the faster ones are all pretty good.  I think Every Little Thought will sound even better when it gets a bit warmer outside.  This feel like the kind of record that would really be a great listen when you're driving around at night with the windows rolled down.  

Hurry - Every Little Thought:

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

60' Whales - Hyper Speed 7"


Anti New Waves / Chapel Hill (2016)

This 7" was another record that I got while I was in Japan.  I remember being surprised that it was on Anti New Waves as I wasn't sure that the label was still going at that point.  I guess they are and it's a good thing to as this 60' Whales 7" is great.

It very much reminds me of Cigaretteman.  Maybe not in how it sounds like the older Cigaretteman songs that I love, but the four 60' Whales songs on this 7" paint a picture of what I kind of think Cigaretteman would have sounded like if they didn't break up back in the 90s.  The songs are upbeat and melodic with alternating boy/girl harmonies in the vocals.  The two singers couldn't have more dissimilar voices, yet they really compliment each other and make this 7" something special.

I couldn't find this 7" available to stream anywhere online, but I did find a teaser video of a couple of excerpts from these songs.  You don't get the full effect for sure, but I think it's all you'll need to hear to get a vibe for how great this record is.  From what I'm able to look up, this 7" is the only thing that the band has released aside from a demo.  Hopefully there's more to come.

60' Whales - Hyper Speed 7" (Trailer):

Monday, March 26, 2018

Saturday Night Karaoke / Felix! (The Band) - Yes Band Photo Vol. 1 - Split CD


Waterslide (2017)

Once again playing homage to the 7" artwork that Mutant Pop used to use, Waterslide records has put out a split CD with two bands that would have fit right in on MP back in the day.  I do think it's a little odd that the bands alternate songs back and forth on the split.  I guess I'm just more used to each band's songs on a split being clustered together.  It doesn't really matter as even though each band are undeniably playing pop punk, you can tell the difference between the two instantly.

Saturday Night Karaoke are from Indonesia and they really have perfected the sort of bubblegum pop punk that takes its influences from basic Ramones-y chord progressions and simple, sing song melodies.  It's pure pop music, the sort you would have definitely heard on Mutant Pop and kind of reminds me of older bands like Groovie Ghoulies (without the sci fi) or The Riverdales.

The other half of the songs are from Felix! (The Band). I'm more familiar with these guys having written about their full length a little ways back.  They're even better on this outing as their Zoinks! style songs have gotten more dynamic and exciting since their last album.  The energy that the band captures in their two minute blasts is something special and their harmonies are approaching Hum Hums level sophistication.   Great bands, great songs, great split.

Saturday Night Karaoke / Felix! (The Band) - Yes Band Photo Vol. 1 - Split CD:

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Hot Snakes - Jericho Sirens - Black Vinyl


Sub Pop (2018)

It still seems a little surreal that there is a new Hot Snakes record to write about.  After all it has been 14 years since Audit In Progress came out.  When Hot Snakes and Rocket From The Crypt both wrapped up in the mid 2000s, I accepted it and found closure.  John Reis moved on to the Night Marchers and I was excited about the next chapter of rock and roll greatness.

Then the reunions started.  Rocket, Jehu and Hot Snakes.  Suddenly I was gripped with a longing for new music by one of those bands and thankfully Hot Snakes has stepped up to the plate and delivered.  I don't know what I was expecting from them exactly, but damn if it isn't fucking perfect.  Everything I've always loved about Hot Snakes is on display and they've somehow managed to get better in some regards and grumpier in others.

The album starts out with "I Need A Doctor."  I actually heard this one at a show late last year, so I knew it was going to be something special.  But even that didn't prepare me for how powerful it ended up being in recorded form.  Rick's howl is coupled with the rest of the band beating their instruments into submission to create something deathly potent.  I think just listening to it cured a few ailments I was experiencing.

"Candid Cameras" and "Why Don't It Sink In" are next up and at first they didn't grab me right away.  But the more I listen to them, the more they sink in and just fit in perfectly in the flow of the album.  If I dissected the rest of the record track by track, we'd be hear all day, so know that every song is incredible.  Highlights are "Six Wave Hold Down," "Death Of A Sportsman" and my favorite track of the bunch, "Death Camp Fantasy."  "Death Camp" is probably the closest thing on the album to being a poppy song, but more than anything it's a thunderous display of downstroke guitar riffage.  The chord progression on the verse is unexpected, but works so damn perfect it makes me want to smack someone.

I really can't fathom a record coming out this year that is better than this.  If it happens, well that's a hell of a record so I look forward to that.  It doesn't make sense tto me that anyone wouldn't buy this record, but just in case you were on the fence, rest assured it's as great as anything the band has ever released.  Do it.

Hot Snakes - Jericho Sirens:

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Hot Snakes - Audit In Progress - Pink Vinyl


Sub Pop (2017, Reissue)

The very first time I heard Audit In Progress, I was actually in bed recovering from a surgery.  The record was sent to me in advance of the release date because I was helping out with the radio promotion.  I just remember lying there and being blown away by the absolute ferocity of the first five tracks.  Hot Snakes have obviously always been a loud and aggressive band, but this sounded crazy to me.  The addition of Mario on drums really ratcheted things up a bit and from "Braintrust" to "Think About Carbs" there isn't a second to catch your breath.

From there, things cool off a bit and the title track is a crushing, medium tempo number that again is one of my top ever Hot Snakes tracks.  That being said when side B kicks off with "Hatchet Job," right there you are listening to my very favorite Hot Snakes song of all time.  The way Rick's jangly leads play off of John's pounding downstrokes is just magical. I love that goddamn song.

The rest of side B is also excellent closing with the somewhat incongruent "Plenty For All."  It's poppy and upbeat in a way that's not super common for a Hot Snakes song, but at the same time is a perfect way to wrap up the album and really couldn't have been pulled off by any other band.

This Sub Pop reissue doesn't sound too dissimilar from the original version to my ears.  It's on pink vinyl, though I do understand why it's not on red vinyl since the original pressing on Swami was on that color.  Like with the other reissues, it doesn't make sense to me that you wouldn't already have this if you're reading my dumb website, but if you don't you should go buy it right now.  I'll wait.

Hot Snakes - Audit In Progress:

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Hot Snakes - Suicide Invoice LP - Yellow Vinyl

Sub Pop (2017, Reissue)

Suicide Invoice is the second Hot Snakes album and is always fighting a battle with Automatic Midnight as my favorite Hot Snakes release.  Usually Auto wins, but it's neck and neck.  The thing that I remember most about the first time I heard Suicide Invoice was that there was a snippet of the intro riff of "I Hate The Kids" that was posted up on the Swami records website prior to the album coming out.  It was a loop of just the intro part and it never went into the whole song.

So, the first few times I listened to the CD I skipped the first song and went right to "Gar Forgets His Insulin" (which is just one of the jewels of the Hot Snakes catalog...what a song).  If probably wasn't until the 3rd or 4th time I played it that I just let the album start at the very beginning and realized there was a whole song there. Just one of those weird quirks.

This entire album is pretty jaw droppingly amazing.  "XOX," "LAX," "Paperwork," these are insanely great songs showcasing a band cohesion that wasn't quite there yet on Automatic Midnight (for the obvious reason that the band wasn't completely put together for that album).  Having all four members contribute elevates the game of these songs and they just churn out hit after hit.

Of all of the Sub Pop reissues, this is the one that sounds like it gained the most in the reissue process.  Everything sounds a little crisper, without sacrificing any of the original version's energy.  Like with Automatic Midnight, the vocals are a little more upfront and clear and the bass sounds warmer, though it's more noticeable this time.  It sounds great, but it always sounded pretty great.  Still the tweaks are a positive.  And Sub Pop put the first batch out on yellow vinyl.  Matches the artwork and looks great.  I don't know why you wouldn't have this record already, but it seems like an obvious pick up to me.

Hot Snakes - Suicide Invoice:

Monday, March 19, 2018

Hot Snakes - Automatic Midnight LP - Orange Vinyl


Sub Pop (2017, Reissue)

My goal this week is to review each of the Hot Snakes albums.  The three reissues that Sub Pop put out and then their new album, Jericho Sirens, on Thursday.  Just a warning, there is some real life stuff that may interfere with this schedule as this is kind of a crazy week, but I'm going to try to adhere to this plan.  We'll see.

Automatic Midnight was the first Hot Snakes album and it came out all the way back in 2000.  It doesn't seem like that should be as long ago as it actually it is, but as they say, time flies.  I remember very specifically how much I loved this record from the second I heard it.  What I don't remember is how I first heard of this coming out.  I assume it must have been one of the versions of the Swami board, but man was I excited to hear Rick and John working together again.  After all, it had been forever since Drive Like Jehu broke up.  Actually it had only been six years, but back then that seemed like a significantly longer amount of time than it does now.

To this day, this is still my favorite Hot Snakes record overall.  The one-two blast of "If Credit's What Matters, I'll Take Credit" and "Automatic Midnight" are among the best album openers out there.  But I also really like the diversity.  Things get a little slower and hypnotic on "Salton City" only to have the energy build right back up into "10th Planet" and one of my favorite songs of all time "Light Up The Stars."  The intro of which is just a perfect little slice of riffage.

Top to bottom, Automatic Midnight is a ridiculously record.  Though this new Sub Pop release is remastered, I don't hear a huge difference in the sound.  The bass is a bit more pronounced and the vocals are slightly clearer in the mix, but I don't think there was much need for tweaking this masterpiece.  It's pretty much perfect, though I wonder why they didn't go for white vinyl on the reissue.

Hot Snakes - Automatic Midnight:

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Blues Brothers - Everybody Needs Somebody To Love 7" (Belgium)


Atlantic (1980)

This Blues Brothers 7" is from Belgium and it's one of the more interesting picture sleeve 7"s that was released.  It contains two songs from the Blues Brothers movie soundtrack, "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love" and Jailhouse Rock."  Both of which are great, of course.

Where things get interesting is the artwork.  At first glance, it seems like brand new, unique artwork (a rarity for Blues Brothers 7"s).  But in actuality, the two images are from the same picture used as the cover for the Made In America full length.  It seems odd to me that a picture from a record that came out after the soundtrack would be used as the image for a single that is from the actual soundtrack.  All I can think of is this single just came out after Made In America was released for some reason.

Regardless of the reason, I still think it's pretty cool as I always tend to favor the Blues Brothers singles that at least make an attempt at having interesting artwork.

The Blues Brothers - "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love":

The Blues Brothers - "Jailhouse Rock":

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Ruler - Tiger 7"


Secret Mission (2018)

Ruler is a new band featuring Fink.  You may already know Fink as he was in Teengenerate.  I, of course, know Teengenerate first from their split 7" with Bum.  That 7" has some of my favorite artwork ever.  Good tunes as well.

Back to Ruler.  They are playing the kind of fast buzzsaw punk rock that Fink has always made his calling card.  Equal parts timeless and stuck in the 70s, "Tiger" hits all the marks you'd expect of this kind of song.  Savage riffs and howling vocals that peak to a singalong chorus.  

"Gimme Some Noise" starts off with a lead guitar riff that sounds like the theme music to The Munsters, but quickly starts chugging along.  Everything builds until it hits the chorus, complete with 50s style callbacks.  Both songs are totally fine and I'd even go so far as to say pretty good, but neither song is anything that new or particularly exciting.  Still, there's something to be said for nice, consistent punk rock.

Ruler - Tiger 7":

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Bum - Wanna Smash Sensation CD (Japanese Version)


1 + 2 (1993)

Back in January I was lucky enough to go to Seattle for the Pop Punk Festival that Ean from Sicko put together.  It was a great time with a lot of cool bands playing.  For me, no highlight was higher than finally getting to see Bum play live after over 20 years of waiting.  They were the number one band on my list of bands that I'd never seen live and that show was everything I could have hoped for and more.  Their setlist contained nearly all of Wanna Smash Sensation, which is one of my favorite records of all time.  They also had a few copies of this Japanese version of the CD with two bonus tracks for sale.  As a crazy completist, of course I had to buy a copy.

I'm not kidding when I say this is one of my favorite all time albums, handily in my top ten desert island whatever you want to call it.  It's pretty much a flawless record and trying to dissect each song would be quite the task, likely leading to a review a bit longer than a normal person would want to read.  It's the epitome of the early nineties, fired up poppy punk record.  Hooks galore, incredible vocals and a songwriting duo unrivaled in my generation.

From the opening blast of Debbiespeak, to the singalong anthem of "Wedding Day" to the horn tinged pop of "Bent of Being Bent" to the absolute perfection of "I Hardly Breathe" to the party anthem of "I'm Not One," Wanna Smash Sensation has all of your bases covered.  These songs are part of my life's soundtrack and I love every single one of them more than I could really articulate in a brief review like this.  I didn't even mention how incredible songs like "Mallory," "Instant Kool Ayd" or "a Promise Is A Promise" are.  Just look at the track listing and randomly pick a song, you could make an argument that it's the best song on the record.  They are all that good.

This Japanese version differs from my other copies in that it contains two bonus tracks.  The first is "Lift Up Your Hood" a DMZ cover that was also available on the Bum split 7" with the Smugglers.  The second is a cover of the Misfits song "Bullet." This one I had in my collection from its appearance as a B side on the "Debbiespeak" 7".  So, while neither were new songs to me, this CD was still one that had to be in the collection.  After all I am a sucker for an Obi strip.

In all seriousness, you should own this record in any version that you are able to find.  I cannot say enough good things about it and I really don't think you can really understand how much I love it just from this silly review.  It's perfect.  A flat out perfect album.  Go find one.

Bum - Wanna Smash Sensation:

Monday, March 12, 2018

Superchunk - What A Time To Be Alive LP - Pink In Clear Vinyl


Merge (2018)

Superchunk is a band that I can count on.  The world may throw curveballs at me, but Mac & Co. are there to provide a fuzzy soundtrack.  On their eleventh album, they're a little grumpy about the situation in the world, but they have something that will help out just a little - Loud Music.

I find myself comparing the album to their other two most recent albums, Majesty Shredding and I Hate Music.  Partly because I tend to think of this three album run as Superchunk mach 3 and also because I find them sonically similar.  Majesty Shredding is probably the best of the three with big, loud songs with tons and tons of hooks.  I Hate Music was equally catchy, but had a bit more of a somber mood and they took their foot off the gas just a bit.

What A Time To Be Alive is right in the middle.  Both in sound and also if I were to rank which are my favorites.  There are some tremendous songs on here like the title track "What I Time To Be Alive," the bouncy "Break The Glass" and my absolute favorite of the bunch "Reagan Youth."  You'll read a lot about this album and it's political statement.  While you can certainly hear the frustration with current events, it's never overtly preachy or dour.  Superchunk is loud and maybe they're a bit pissed off, but they never lose their optimism and they never lose their ability to write a damn fine pop song.

Superchunk - What A Time To Be Alive:

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Spells - Big Boring Meeting 7"


Snappy Little Numbers (2018)

I was pretty excited about a new Spells 7" coming in the mail.  They've been a really consistent band the last few years and I've dug everything they've released so far.  This new 7" is no exception and boy did they cram as much stuff as they possibly could on to this guy.

On the A side we have two songs, "Deceiver" and "I Wanna Know."  I've described Spells as something of a party band that I think has a Rocket From The Crypt-esque vibe to them and I still feel that way.  That's not to say I think their music sounds super similar, but they have the same sort of attitude and can churn out some garage-y hits.  In particular "I Wanna Know" with its snake charmer lead guitar riff is one of the top songs in this batch.

On the B side, Spells cram in four short brief songs.  I don't think any of them live up to the heights set up on the A side, but I've got to say "She Wants To Die Before I Do" is damn catchy.  I kind of wish they explored that one a little more instead of cutting out at the one minute mark.  I still think Spells sound like they'd be a hell of a lot of fun live, someone let me know if they hit the East Coast.

Spells - Big Boring Meeting 7":

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Rocket From The Crypt - Live From Camp X-Ray LP - White w/ Black Splatter


Vagrant (2016, Reissue)

This version of Live From Camp X-Ray is the last of the newer Vagrant reissues to write about.  Like most of the others, it's a splatter vinyl variant.  I will say that even though these colors don't really go with the color scheme of the artwork particularly well, I do like the way this looks more than a lot of the others.  It's one of the more simple and classy looking splatters that I've seen.

Music is just as good as always, so there's not really a ton more to say, particularly after the yarn I spun about this album last week.  So enjoy the picture and but the record if you don't already own five copies of it.

Rocket From The Crypt - "I'm Not Invisible":

Rocket From The Crypt - "Too Many Balls":

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Boys Order - Do The Wildcat LP


Secret Mission (2017)

This Boys Order LP was sent to me to review by Secret Mission records.  It's one of a few records they sent over, all by Japanese bands that I had never heard of.  I'm fairly tuned in to some of the great Japanese bands out there, but this package was a bit of a slap to the face and a reminder that I'm always going to be painfully unaware of what's really going on over there.  I'll try my best to keep up.

Boys Order are playing a hyperactive strain of punky power pop with quick tempos, manic drumming and a penchant for playing lots of high bass notes. It's undeniably catchy and a pretty fun listen.  Whether it's the buzzsaw pace and killer chorus of "Midnight Triangle" or the the straight up pop punk of "Blue Blue Red," Boys Order have their share of hits on Do The Wildcat.  The vocals are definitely going to leave an impression, they're very up front in the mix and I think you'll probably love them or hate them.  For me it depends on the song, but for the most part I think everything comes together pretty well.

There are a handful of songs that slow things down just a little bit on here like "Out Of Sight Out Of Mind" and those are probably less successful than the rest of the album.  But they are few and far between.  The bulk of the album is sugar fueled, dynamic punk rock that I'm pretty glad I had the opportunity to check out.

Boys Order - Do The Wildcat:

Monday, March 5, 2018

Hooper - No Monument LP


Snappy Little Number (2018)

No Monument is the long awaited follow up to Hooper's 2013 masterpiece, How To Become A Ghost.   Five years is a long wait between albums and it's pretty obvious that the band has emerged from this break somewhat different than how they went into it.  Where How To Become A Ghost reveled in the 90s pop stylings of bands like Fig Dish and Tugboat Annie, No Monument takes a different path for most of the album.

No Monument is more indebted to different sounds of the 90s this time out, with a very post punk sound that expands the band's songwriting chops, but dampens the hooks a bit.  The opening one-two punch of "Red Shift (and the Irish Goodbye)" and "The Method" is a pretty good indication that things have changed since the last time we were hanging with Mr. Hooper.  Slower paced, with shifting rhythms and pained vocals, these two songs definitely grabbed my attention and alerted me that Hooper has altered the plan.

It's not all doom and gloom however.  Even though the first two songs aren't exactly my favorites, from the third track on, this is still a pretty excellent Hooper album.  "Unfinished Basements" and "Tides" are more in line with what I was expecting from Hooper, crunchy guitars, energetic song building and hooks that payoff that build.  When these guys are on, they are on.  Other highlights include the pop nugget "Spit Down A Well" and the more expansive, but no less catchy "Redacted."  Any song where the band plays things more straightforward and the tempo is a bit faster tend to be the ones that get my attention.

No Monument is still a strong, solid record.  There are moments that I don't like as much as others, but Hooper is still a band worth paying attention to and checking out if you're not already familiar with them.  Also, I apologize for that obviously terrible hanging with Mr. Hooper joke earlier in the review.

Hooper - No Monument:

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Blues Brothers - Everybody Needs Somebody To Love 7" (Europe)


Atlantic (1980)

This version of the Everybody Needs Somebody To Love 7" also comes from Europe, though this time there's a different B side.  Like with the last version I reviewed that had "Think" by Aretha Franklin as the B side, this one also has someone other than the Blues Brothers on the flip.  "Minnie The Moocher" by Cab Calloway makes an appearance here and while I do love the song, it still seems weird to me not to treat this more like a split 7".

Sure, the Blues Brothers band is Cab's backing band on this excellent version of "Minnie," but I think Cab deserve his name on the marquee a bit more prominently.  It's impossible for me to listen to "Minnie The Moocher" and not picture the movie scene where Jake & Elwood are sneaking around outside of the Palace Hotel Ballroom in time with the horn section.  It's just a classic moment in my very favorite movie.

As I've said before, the soundtrack version of "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love" has never been my favorite version of the song because of the backing vocals mixed in that aren't in the actual movie.  Oh another interesting thing, this vinyl itself on my copy has been dinked.  Dinking is the process where someone makes a big hole in a 7" that was pressed with a small hole.  Typically done so it can be used in a jukebox.  If I ever am able to get my jukebox out of the garage and into somewhere that's usable, I'll probably be doing a bit of dinking here and there.  Plus it's just fun to say.  Dink.

The Blues Brothers - "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love":

Cab Calloway - "Minnie The Moocher":