Wednesday, April 24, 2019

"Weird Al" Yankovic - Alapalooza LP - From Squeeze Box Accordion Box Set

Untitled

Pledge Music (2017)

Over the next several weeks, we're going to celebrate Weird Al Wednesday as I go through each of the 15 albums in the Squeeze Box accordion box set. There are many albums in this set that were hugely influential to me as a young kid and there are no shortage of incredible songs throughout. Weird Al and The Blues Brothers are definitely the building blocks for my earliest appreciation of music.

Alapalooza is one of the Weird Al albums I have the least connection to.  It's another one that came out when I was in high school when I was particularly deep into my early 90s hip hop obsession.  None of the parodies really hit for me, despite the fact that I've always had a soft spot for the song "MacArthur Park" that I can't really explain.  "Jurassic Park" doesn't really live up to the ridiculousness of the original.  Other than that we have Red Hot Chili Peppers parodies about the Flintstones and a parody of Billy Ray Cyrus that was a lot easier to skip on the CD version I had.

Even the originals aren't particularly great.  "Frank's 2000" TV" is probably the highlight with it's breezy R.E.M. vibe, but others like "Young, Dumb & Ugly" and "She Never Told Me She Was A Mime" kind of fall flat for me.  Even the album's polka song isn't that great as it's just a polka style version of one song, "Bohemian Rhapsody."  It's not bad, it just isn't very exciting.  If forced to choose, I'd say this is my least favorite Weird Al record.  There are a couple of good moments, but it's mostly skippable.

"Weird Al" Yankovic - "Frank's 2000" TV":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQJ4v8QkEAw

"Weird Al" Yankovic - "Traffic Jam":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyGaqmvdvZY

"Weird Al" Yankovic - "Harvey The Wonder Hamster":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2-LxoVR2dU

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Hum Hums - Battle Line 7"

Untitled

Waterslide/Eccentic Pop/Monster Zero/One Chord Wonder (2018)

I really love The Hum Hums.  They are one of my current favorite bands and the fact that I got to see them play while I was in Tokyo will always be something that's very special to me.  Battle Line is a four song 7" that highlights everything that I love about this band.

"Baby Mine (No One But You)" starts things off with an uptempo chord progression and a hooky chorus with the band's trademark backing vocal harmonies that give any band a run for their money.  "The Girl From Romania" slows this down just a bit, and has a feel to it that reminds me of mid 90s era The Mr. T Experience.

First up on the B side is the title track "Battle Line."  This one is a punchy blast of crunchy guitar and is a pretty straightforward pop punk song.  The final song, "I Can't Take It," is my personal favorite of the bunch, once again because of the absolutely tremendous vocal harmonies.  I've definitely caught myself singing along to the chorus on this one.

The Hum Hums are great.  I've yet to hear a song by them that I didn't love and I'm glad they keep putting out more records.  Hopefully they'll have another full length coming soon.

The Hum Hums - Battle Line 7":
https://watersliderecords.bandcamp.com/album/battle-line

Monday, April 22, 2019

Good Shade - Way Out LP

Untitled

Dirtnap (2019)

I'm really happy to see Good Shade releasing an album on Dirtnap records.  Since I picked up their first LP that came out after the dissolution of Tight Bros, I've always thought that they would fit well in the Dirtnap sonic landscape and there's nothing that I like more than being right.  Way Out is the fourth Good Shade album I've bought and I think it's probably my favorite of the bunch (Though I'm surprised it's called Way Out and not Dinner as the last two Good Shade albums were called Breakfast and Lunch).

Good Shade have a Marked Men vibe going on for sure and that's the main reason why I though Dirtnap would be a good home for them.  The album starts off with hyper speed drumming that meshes in with interesting chord progressions to create a canvas for the soaring vocal melodies.  As the album progresses, the velocity comes down a notch, but the hooks never waver.  While the B side is more low key than the songs that came before it, in a lot of ways this is where Good Shade really shines.

There isn't a bad song in the bunch, but the faster ones that stand out most to me are album opener "Maybe" and "Must Have Been."   "I Don't Want Anymore" and "Just Leave" are my favorite of the slower batch.  If you are into albums by Chinese Telephones, Steve Adamyk Band or Mike Krol I'd be shocked if Way Out didn't end up in your record collection.  Birds of a feather and all...

Good Shade - Way Out:
https://dirtnaprecords.bandcamp.com/album/good-shade-way-out

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Modern Gooddays - This Is The Modern Gooddays World That I've Learnt About CD

Untitled

Fixing A Hole (2018)

I had a split CD with Modern Gooddays on it so I wan't completely unprepared for this album when I listened to it for the first time.  But even with being somewhat familiar with the band, I still couldn't believe how much Snuff and Dillinger Four influence comes through on Modern Gooddays' first full length album.

The singer of this band sounds so much like Paddy from Dillinger Four that I almost refuse to believe it's a different person.  It's eerie how similar their inflection and delivery is and you can particularly hear it on the songs "Got For It" and "Sunshine Girl."  If you told me these were outtakes from the D4 Vs. God album, I'd have no reason to doubt you.

The other band that Moddern Gooddays obviously has a lot of admiration for is Snuff.  You can hear it in the chord progressions, you can hear it in the song structures and you can hear it in the organ that's prevalent on quite a few songs.  Where I hear it the most is on "Nick."  It sounds so much like the Snuff song "Marbles" it's kind of crazy.  The heavy Snuff influence is also very noticeable on the instrumental track "Rhinorrhagia" which obviously owes a debt of gratitude to the Snuff instrumental "Bit Cosy."

Don't mistake me pointing these similarities out as any sort of complaint.  The Modern Gooddays have put out a great record, chock full of moments inspired by some of my favorite bands to ever release music,  If you dig Snuff or Dillinger Four, it seems inconceivable to me that you wouldn't also enjoy Modern Gooddays.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

"Weird Al" Yankovic - Off The Deep End LP - From Squeeze Box Accordion Box Set

Untitled

Pledge Music (2017)

Over the next several weeks, we're going to celebrate Weird Al Wednesday as I go through each of the 15 albums in the Squeeze Box accordion box set. There are many albums in this set that were hugely influential to me as a young kid and there are no shortage of incredible songs throughout. Weird Al and The Blues Brothers are definitely the building blocks for my earliest appreciation of music.

Off The Deep End came out in 1992 and by that time I was in high school and pretty locked in to listening to hip hop.  This album totally snuck up on me at the time as I had heard nothing about it until I stumbled across a cassingle of "Smells Like Nirvana" at Sam Goody one day.  When I finally picked up the album I enjoyed it, but this was the first time where I didn't really know a lot of the songs that were being parodied.  I can't say I was particularly familiar with New Kids on the Block ("The White Stuff") or Milli Vanilli ("The Plumbing Song") at the time.

"Smells Like Nirvana" is outstanding and I do like the "Rico Suave" parody "Taco Grande," but the Al originals really were the highlight of Off The Deep End for me.  "Trigger Happy," "I Was Only Kidding" and "You Don't Love Me Anymore" are among the strongest songs on this album along with the excellent polka medley "Polka Your Eyes Out."

This was a definite transitional record as it was released when I was really trying to figure out what I wanted out of music.  It's a great record, but it doesn't hit me quite as strongly as the ones that had come before it.

"Weird Al" Yankovic - "Smells Like Nirvana":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FklUAoZ6KxY

"Weird Al" Yankovic - "I was Only Kidding":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAOJ7EAoF14

"Weird Al" Yankovic - "Smells Like Nirvana":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DC-sb54mkU

Monday, April 15, 2019

Potty Mouth - SNAFU LP - Blue Vinyl



Get Better (2019)

I will admit that when I first saw the name Potty Mouth, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect.  I can't say it's one of my favorite band names that I've heard.  But as I've mentioned several times, anyone with multiple Goober Patrol albums in their collection can't get hung up on a silly band name.  Name aside, I adore every second of this record and it is easily one of my very favorite albums of 2019 so far.

The easiest comparison that I can make is that to me, SNAFU sounds like an album released by a female fronted Fig Dish.  Both bands have a slick production that still captures the energy of their songs and both have a complete mastery of crafting choruses with amazingly catchy hooks.  The other reason that I like this album as much as I do is because, like Fig Dish, it sounds like it could have been released in 1995.  If this album came out twenty some odd years ago it would fit right in with any of the great pop rock records of the era.

That isn't to say this is just a nostalgic throwback album.  SNAFU sounds so fresh and exciting to my ears with "22," "Liar" and "Smash Hit" being true standouts on the record.  My absolute favorite song is album closer "Bottom Feeder."  It's a slower song with a quieter verse that builds into an explosive chorus that Weezer or Fountains of Wayne wishes they could have written.  This is quite simply an excellent record that should be in the wheelhouse of anyone that likes fun guitar pop.

Potty Mouth - SNAFU:
https://pottymouth.bandcamp.com/album/snafu

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Baby Blue / Triple Junk - Split 7"

Untitled

Self Released (2018)

I picked up this split 7" as I really loved a Triple Junk 7" I bought last year.  Once a band like that gets their hooks in me, I'm always going to try to hunt down other records if I can find them.  Luckily I had some help acquiring this one.

We'll start off with Baby Blue as they are a band I hadn't heard of prior to this 7",  Their first song, "I Don't Wanna Be Your Sorry" is a mid tempo crunchy rock and roll song.  It reminds me a little bit of Blew for some reason, but with a much, much more prominent 60s rock flair to them.  The lead guitar solo in the middle is a little ridiculous, but it's a solid song.  "I Can't Let You Go" takes things down a notch and has a much more melodic feel to it.  I'm usually the sort that prefers the faster songs, but this time out the slower one gets my vote.

Triple Junk was the band I bought this 7" for and their songs do not disappoint.  I still think that they have a slight Gentleman Jesse feel to them, but if Jesse's songs were filtered through a band like Three Minute Movie.   "Make Up My Mind" has a slick verse built off of hanging guitar chords and bass guitar.  When the chorus kicks in is where this song shines.  Their 2nd contribution "Tax" has a bouncier feel to it with a choppy guitar driven verse and a hooky chorus that wouldn't be out of place on an early Weezer record.

Baby Blue / Triple Junk - Split 7":
https://babybluejapan.bandcamp.com/album/rocknroll-or-what

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

"Weird Al" Yankovic - UHF LP - From Squeeze Box Accordion Box Set

Untitled

Pledge Music (2017)

Over the next several weeks, we're going to celebrate Weird Al Wednesday as I go through each of the 15 albums in the Squeeze Box accordion box set. There are many albums in this set that were hugely influential to me as a young kid and there are no shortage of incredible songs throughout. Weird Al and The Blues Brothers are definitely the building blocks for my earliest appreciation of music.

Technically this album is called UHF Original Motion Picture Soundtrack And Other Stuff, but that's a lot to write in the title of this review considering I'm already taking up a lot of room noting this is from the box set.  This is one of my favorite Weird Al records and in some ways marks the end of an era for Al's releases, at least the way they impacted me.

This was probably the last Weird Al record that I loved from start to finished and I actually know all of the original songs that were being parodied.  Once Off The Deep End came out, there were a lot (and I mean A LOT) of parodies on his albums that I had no idea what the originals were about.  UHF had parodies of songs I knew like "Isle Thing" ("Wild Thing" by Tone Loc), "She Drives Like Crazy" ("She Drives Me Crazy" by Fine Young Cannibals) and "Spam" ("Stand" by R.E.M.).  "Spam" in particular is an absolute joy to listen to.  It probably helped that I knew the original so well from it being the theme song to the TV show Get A Life.

Al's originals are also top shelf this time out.  The title track is a super catchy rocker.  "Attack Of The Radioactive Hamsters From A Planet Near Mars" is a worthy sequel to "Slime Creatures from Outer Space."  And "The Biggest Ball Of Twine In Minnesota" ranks as one of my favorite Weird Al songs ever.  Some say "Albuquerque" is his epic masterpiece, but for me I'll take the nearly seven minute long opus about a trip to Minnesota every time.

"Weird Al" Yankovic - "Spam":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ki2ut23MRGQ

"Weird Al" Yankovic - "Attack Of The Radioactive Hamsters From A Planet Near Mars":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGJeUv5Jqpk

"Weird Al" Yankovic - "The Biggest Ball Of Twine In Minnesota":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBob4Iz0rhE


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Hateman - Neverland 7"

Untitled

H&M (2017)

Hateman is one of my favorite discoveries from Japan in the last few years.  I absolutely loved their 2018 full length Radio Hate and I have been on the lookout for anything else I could get my hands on.  Luckily I was able to grab this two song 7" from the Waterslide records distro.

I had pretty high expectations going into this 7", considering how great their last album was.  I'm happy to say those expectations were met and both songs are outstanding.  I still think Hateman remind me a little bit of the band Popcatcher as both bands are masters of crafting ultra catchy vocal melodies with the sort of backing harmonies that never cease to get lodged in my brain.

A side "Neverland" is built off of minimal, jangly guitar in the verse, with the bass driving the majority song.  When we hit the chorus, the guitars get a little bit louder and the backing vocals soar.  It's so great.  On the B side we have "Boys Keep Out Tonight" which is my favorite of the two.  It's a little bit faster and the guitars are more in the forefront, but again the strength of the band is how great the vocals are.  It's impossible to not sing along to "boys, boys, boy" and "girls, girls, girls" for about seven hours after listening to this.  It's just that damn catchy.

Hateman - Neverland 7":
https://hateman.bandcamp.com/album/neverland-7

Monday, April 1, 2019

Steve Adamyk Band - Paradise LP - Yellow (/200) & Black Vinyl

Untitled

Dirtnap (2019)

Paradise is the sixth Steve Adamyk Band full length.  I was trying to think how many bands there are that I have six great records by.  It's not many and the ones who have that many have probably been kicking around my record collection since the mid 90's.  If you look at this specific decade, since 2010 there isn't anyone on the planet who has put out as much great music as Steve & co.  It's amazing.

You can say a lot of great things about Steve Adamyk band, but if there's one accolade I want to bestow on them it's that there isn't any band that kill the opening track of their record as hard as these guys do.  And they do it every single album.  "The Letter" starts things off with a bang.  It's built off of a simple, catchy lead guitar riff, packs a knock-out chorus and has the perfect backing 'oooooh' vocals that elevate this great song even higher.  From there it's off to the races with hit after hit like "In Death," "Something Vicious, "Left In Pieces" and "The Deep End."

That list is comprised of the faster, punchier songs that I like best.  But even when they slow it down on a song like "Waiting To Die Part 1" or "When I Was Gone,"  There's so many great hooks and energy crammed in.  Nothing feels like filler padding out an album, every song on here stands out as something great.  Production-wise, everything sounds full and clean.  They've managed to find that sweet spot between slick production and still being rough enough around the edges to not feel over done.

Nothing I'm saying could possibly be a surprise if you've read this website with any sort of regularity.  I've been saying great things about Steve Adamyk band since I got their first 7" on Ptrash.  Paradise is just another fantastic record. Go buy it and the other five.

Steve Adamyk Band - Paradise:
https://dirtnaprecords.bandcamp.com/album/steve-adamyk-band-paradise