Monday, August 26, 2019

Record Review Vacation

I'm going to take a couple of weeks off from writing new reviews for the site.  Need to recharge the batteries and also, I need some more records.

You can help me get the money to purchase those new records by picking up a Shoplifters LP on PopKid records:

And as I've mentioned before, I'm selling some of my personal collection, most of which have been reviewed on this website.  If you pick a few of those up, that will only help matters.

Let me emphasize, I'm not actually going anywhere the next few weeks.  I'll be home and can happily and quickly pack up and ship any records you want to order.

I anticipate starting up reviews again the week after labor day, most likely Monday 9/09.

Happy summer!

Friday, August 16, 2019

Shoplifters - Secret Free World LP - Clear Ochre Vinyl


PopKid / Brassneck / Waterslide / Bartolini / White Russian (2017)

Here we are. 2019 and another release for PopKid Records.  2019 is the 25th year that PopKid has been a thing and even though we haven't put out records every year, it's been a really important part of the past twenty five years for us.  Being able to put out this Shoplifters LP certainly feels like the sort of celebratory event that one would want to commemorate their silver anniversary.

Following up on their incredible Forgiver 7", Shoplifters have returned. The boys from Novi Sad, Serbia have turned in eleven songs of the sort of hook filled rock and roll that keeps me up at night singing the songs back in my head.  I think that Shoplifters have managed to string together the sort of melodic vocals that China Drum perfected and have mixed the with energy and pop mastery of Snuff and the bouncing bass lines of Big Drill Car.

It's nearly impossible for me to pick my favorites on this album as I love the entire thing so dearly.  For those looking for a straight forward blast of catchy hooks, I'll direct you to "Eraser," Secret Free World" or "Fortifier."  If you are looking for something a little bouncier and poppier "Overdoser" and "Fortifier" will likely scratch that itch.  If it's something a little more melodic, with perhaps a darker edge to it then look no further than "Between Us" or "Saved By The Bell."  And of course if you are looking for a perfect, anthemic singalong album closer, you'll be hard pressed to find a better one than "Do Better."

I do realize I am biased as I am helping to put this record out into the world, but let me assure you that my love of this record is so genuine.  Even if I had nothing to do with it, this would be my favorite record of the year.  It's hits that perfect sweet spot for me bringing together sounds from the 90s that I know and love and mixing them in with twenty additional years of influences.  I cannot say enough great things about this record.  Shoplifters have hit it out of the park and I can only hope others will like it as much as I do.

Now for the conflict of interest stuff.  This record is available to purchase on vinyl right now.  It would mean the world to me if you would check out the record and pick up a copy if you like it.

Purchase the record from our webstore here: 

Stream all 11 songs and buy the digital version on our Bandcamp page here:

PopKid is the lucky label releasing this record in North America.  If you are from another land, there may be a label close by that is co-releasing this great LP with us:

Available in North America from PopKid Records 
Available in the UK from Brassneck Records 
Available in Japan from Waterslide Records
Available in the Netherlands from White Russian Records 
Available in Spain from Bartolini Records 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Great Record Pruning of 2019 - My Records are For Sale!


As anyone who collects things knows, a collection is a living breathing organism that at times needs something other than just adding more to it.  This is one of those times for me.  Every few years I go through and prune out some of the records that I just do't listen to as often.  All of the records in my collection are there for a reason.  There are a ton of good records that I'm going to part with.  There's just only so many hours in the day to listen to things and I can't let records take over the entire house.

So, what this means for you is that you have a chance to pick up records direct from me.  They've been cared for by a person that's pretty obsessive of taking care of his collection.  There are a lot of first pressings and limited edition colored vinyl.  Most of the prices are way less than what I paid for them with the bulk listed between $5 - $12.

Shipping is $5 flat no matter how many records you buy.  Even if one person decides to buy every record here, they get 'em for $5 shipped.

I'm also hopeful that you'll pick up the new Shoplifters record that is being officially released on PopKid tomorrow.  I have them in hand and they are shipping now.  Maybe selling some of my personal collection will make a few people more likely to grab Shoplifters when they can combine the shipping with some other releases.

You can view everything I am pruning here:

And don't forget to pre-order the Shoplifters LP here.  It's officially coming out tomorrow and I'm shipping them now:

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Guns n' Wankers - The Complete Recordings LP - Orange (/100), White (/100), Blue (/100) and Black (/300) Vinyl


One Wank/Unless You Try (2019)

In a conflict of interest plug.  I have copies of the white vinyl and blue vinyl version to sell on the PopKid site.  I wasn't able to find anywhere in the US carrying these records, so I worked out something with Unless You Try to distro a handful of them myself.  I do not have many.  As of this posting I have 5 left in total. There's also some other interesting stuff added to the distro, but I'll talk about that more in depth tomorrow.

Guns n' Wankers - The Complete Recordings LP for sale in the PopKid web store:

In 1994 Guns n' Wankers released their only recordings over the course of four 7"s.  Pop, Hardcore and Metal were joint released by Rugger Bugger, Damaged Goods and Gap.  The fourth 7", Silly, was released as part of the September '94 issue of the zine Feat and Loathing.  Later, most of the songs from Pop, Hardcore and Metal were compiled onto CDs that came out on Rugger Bugger/Damaged Goods/Gap and a Japanese version on Snuffy Smile.  In America the songs from Pop and Hardcore were released on Fat Wreck Chords as For Dancing and Listening.  That's a lot of milage for thirteen songs.

I picked up the CD on Fat first, way back when.  I had just gotten into the band Snuff and was told GNW was an offshoot.  I loved those songs so much and that's when the record collector bug set in.  Over the next year or so I hunted far and wide for all of the other weirdo versions.  The Silly 7" and the Japanese version of the CD were the trickiest to find, but those have both been in my collection for over twenty years.  Funny enough, the only one I don't have anymore is that CD on Fat as I gave it to my brother.

All these years later, Guns n' Wankers started playing shows again.  With that came this reissue of every song they recorded from those '94 era releases.  And in typical Wankers fashion, they gave me some variants to track down.  There are 100 copies on orange vinyl that were only sold by the band at their shows.  There is a blue vinyl version and a white vinyl version both limited to 100 copies and both sold via the label Unless You Try.  300 were put out on black vinyl for general release to stores and distros.  And there are 200 more on yellow vinyl as part of a second pressing.  I don't have one of those just yet, but it's on my to do list.

As far as the actual songs go, the ones from the Pop and Hardcore 7"s are some of my favorite songs of all time.  "Raise Your Glass" is often in the discussion as my actual favorite song ever.  There's something truly special about the way the incredible drumming makes that song pop. These songs have a hint of Snuff to them, but I've always felt they stood on their own as Jools' backing vocals create dynamic that's very much only part of GNW.

The Metal songs are fun, but not ones that I go back and listen to repeatedly.  I love it as part of the three 7" gimmick, but just mixed in with the rest of the songs they tend to stand out.  The two songs from the Silly 7" were certainly the hardest to track down prior to this compilation LP coming out.  Now everyone can hear the jingle for "Gillette" and "For Whom the Bing Bongs," a song made up of catchy guitar riffage and a doorbell.

Guns n' Wankers - "Raise Your Glass":

Guns n' Wankers - "Blah Blah Blah":

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The Figgs - Banda Macho LP


Capitol (1996)

Lo-Fi at Society High and Banda Macho by the Figgs are two albums that used to be permanent fixtures of the used CD bins in the NY and NJ area back in the 90s.  I could never figure out why as I knew quite a few people who were into them and I personally thought both records were pretty outstanding.  I imagine it's because both were on major labels and due to the excesses of the industry there were probably more promo copies than people on the planet.

I've had the CD version of this forever, but had never picked up the vinyl.  I had my eye on it for a while, keeping tabs on Discogs and eBay, but the price always ended up being way more that I had to spare at any given moment.  Then one day The Figgs threw a bunch up on their webstore.  Sealed stock from the 90s that they came across.  I went over to their store and they were all sold out.  The store had one of those 'notify me when this is back in stock' buttons and while I figured it was unlikely they would be back, I hit the button and provided my email address.

Wouldn't you know it, several weeks later I got an email saying Banda Macho was back in stock.  I immediately stopped what I was doing, went to their website and secured a copy.  This record still sounds as fun and exciting to me as it was the day I first heard it.  The way the band mixes pop punk hooks with good old fashion roan and roll sensibilities sets them apart from so many other bands.  For whatever reason, Low-Fi and Banda Macho are the only Figgs records I've ever listened to.  I know they have a ton of other records out there.  One of these days I need to dig in a little deeper.  Any recommendations on where to start?

The Figgs - "Bad Luck Sammie":

The Figgs - "FTMU":

Monday, August 12, 2019

Gang Starr - Daily Operation LP


Chrysalis/Cool Tempo (1992)

It's no secret that in addition to poppy punk rock, I also love golden era 90s hip hop.  I have several key pieces on vinyl, but the vast majority of my hip hop collection is on CDs that I bought when I was in high school.  I'm trying to track down some more on vinyl, but a lot of it is out of print at collector prices.  That's certainly not something I can swing right now, but as luck would have it, I managed to pick up a couple of Gang Starr records at a totally reasonable price.

Daily Operation was the first Gang Starr record I bought when I was younger.  I'm pretty sure that I saw the video for "Take It Personal" on Yo MTV Raps and that let to me grabbing the CD.  It remains one of my all time favorite rap albums.  While it may not hit the highs of Hard To Earn, as a whole record, I think Daily Operation is stronger overall.  At least there aren't any three minute long songs that's nothing but answering machine messages.

There's something magical about the way the Guru's smooth vocal delivery played over the beats that DJ Premier served up.  There's always been a mix of hip hop, jazz and funk samples, but I don't think anyone filtered like Gang Starr to create such a unique sound that could never be replicated by anyone else.  Pretty much every song on here is perfect and I'l glad to finally have the vinyl in my collection.

Gang Starr - "Take It Personal":

Gang Starr - " Ex Girl To Next Girl"

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Treepeople - Bonus Tracks LP - Clear Vinyl


Self Released (2018)

Though it has taken me a while to write about this LP, I actually purchased it at the same time as the vinyl reissue of the first Treepeople tape on vinyl, No Mouth Pipetting.  I bought them from a record store in Idaho, though I see now that K records is also stocking it in their distro for a nice price.  My copy of this Bonus Tracks LP was missing the little postcard sized track listing, but the band were nice enough to mail me one when I reached out to them.  Class act.

This LP has ten songs in total, mostly mimicking the listing of the bonus tracks that were available on the original Toxic Shock CD version of Guilt Regret Embarrassment.  "Lazerbeam/Flamegrape" was on that CD and I think that it was only ever out on that CD.  The rest of the nine songs originally were released on various 7" singles the band released in the early 90s.

"Important Things," "Handcuffs" and "In My Head" are from the Treepeople's 1989 single on Silence records.  "Making The D" and "Pretty Girl" (aka "PG") are from the 1990 7" released on Battery.  "Cartoon Brew" is originally from a 7" compilation called Silence Sampler, though it eventually made its way on to the full length Just Kidding.  "Mistake" and "Ballard Bitter" are from a '91 Sonic Bubblegum 7".  "Neils Down" is from a split 7" on Toxic Shock with a band called House Of Larger Sizes.

It's nice to have all of these songs on an easy to play LP.  I love 7"s and collecting them has been a real passion of mine for twenty-five years plus, but there's something to be said about being able to just put this down on the turntable and enjoy, rather than getting up to flip 7"s every few minutes.

Treepeople - "Handcuffs":

Treepeople "Mistake":

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Hateman - Welcome To Neverland CD


1000% D.I.Y. (2018)

I was absolutely floored by the Hateman record Radio Hate when I heard it for the first time.  I just loved it.  I've gotten use to the fact that a lot of bands from Japan put out an album and then don't put out a follow up for many years, if they ever do one at all.  The fact that a few short months later Hateman put out another full length album full of songs is pretty crazy, but I couldn't be happier about it.

In comparison to Radio Hate, this album leans more towards the jangly guitar and pop hook side of the punk rock spectrum.  I find myself often being reminded of the band Popcatcher, especially when it comes to the vocals.  I do like Hateman the most when they crank up the fuzz on their guitars and blast out rockers like "Dream Worker" and "My Daughter," but every song on this album is great.

I'm not sure if this is a band that is getting the credit and exposure that they deserve.  In 2018 they put out 2 full length albums that are barn burners.  I hope the band continues this pace because I will buy everything they put out.

Hateman - Welcome to Neverland (Two of the album's twelve songs are streaming):

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Pavement - Westing (By Musket and Sextant) LP


Domino (2016, Reissue)

This LP has been missing from my Pavement collection for way too long.  Yes, I have had the Perfect Sound Forever and the other various 7"s that make up the bulk of the songs for a really long time.  And sure, the CD version of this is actually the 2nd Pavement record I ever bought back in 1995 after being thoroughly blown away by Wowee Zowee (At the time I thought surely the indie one before they were even on Matador would be even cooler).  But I never got around to buying this on LP.

Domino rereleased it a couple of years ago.  It's on nice thick 180 gram vinyl and these terribly recorded songs have never sounded more terrible (and by that, I mean they sound great).  The fidelity was never the point of any of these songs.  They were recorded super early in the bands history and a recording budget was pretty much nonexistent at the time.  Still, these songs are some of my favorite all of these years later.

"Box Elder" is a smash hit from the band's very first, self released 7"  "Forklift" is a fuzzy bit of weirdness that really connected with me in high school and has been lodged in my brain ever since.  "Debris Slide" is just perfect with an anthemic chorus that gets me singing along all these years later (even though it still sounds like they're saying "grease fire" and not "debris slide" to me).  Maybe this compilation isn't Pavement's most polished or best outing, but there's something magical in these songs that has kept me coming back over and over again for the past twenty five years.

Pavement - "Box Elder":

Pavement - "Debris Slide":

Pavement - "Forklift":

Monday, August 5, 2019

Three Minute Movie / Litters - Split 7"


Fine Tuning (2018)

I'm always happy to see a split 7" released in Japan.  So much of the music I loved was discovered on split 7"s that were put out by Snuffy Smile in the mid 90s.  The format will always have a special place in my heart.

Three Minute Movie are the reason I bought this 7".  I love these guy, but I am still missing two of their full length CDs from my collection.  I really need to fix that.  Both songs on this split are the sort of uptempo rockers that have been their calling card on the other recent 7"s.  They are a band that has evolved a lot over the years.  You could certainly say that their earlier albums leaned towards the emo end of pop punk, but everything I've heard from Three Minute Movie lately have been super catchy rockers.  I seem to like whatever style of punk rock they want to play.

Litters are a band I'm not familiar with and that's always been my favorite thing about split 7"s.  You never know what you are going to get on the other side of the record.  Yes, I bought this because of Three Minute Movie, but the two Litters songs are just great.  Big and catchy with crunchy rock and roll riffage, but pop-punky enough that everything the band does is in service to the hook.  According to Discogs, Litters have two other 7"s.  I think I'm going to have to track those down.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Water Closet - You And Me 7"


Episode Sounds (2014)

Water Closet is a band that I've known about for ages and ages.  I've had their first 7" for nearly twenty years and I bought their second LP via over the seas mailorder from Rugger Bugger back when I used to stick cash in an envelope and mail it all over the world.  While I've always enjoyed the band, I haven't kept up with them as much as some of the other bands of their era I was interested in.

Water Closet has a bunch of records that I don't have, but this 7" is the one that I decided to pick up while I was in Tokyo.  It has three totally solid pop punk songs with nice hooks and melodic vocals.  The vocal duties are shared so you get some of that really nice male/female dynamic with some particularly strong backing vocals.

My favorite of the three is "As It Is."  It's the most upbeat of the three and definitely has the best vocal melody.  But all of the songs are quite good.  Listening to it makes me want to go break out that Rugger Bugger LP that I probably haven't played in fifteen years.

Water Closet - You and Me 7":