Wednesday, August 31, 2022

The Beatnuts - The Beatnuts 2xLP - Red Vinyl (/500)


Traffic / Relativity / Sony (2018, Reissue)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

The Beatnuts were another one of those Golden Era groups that I knew by name back then, but never had any records by.  I likely saw their name mostly on production credits for other records and probably from time to time reading The Source.  But 1994 was a transitional year for me musically, so there are definitely some hip hop records that slipped through the cracks as I was starting to dig into punk and indie rock.

I picked up this record quite a while ago actually, maybe two years at this point but I just hadn't gotten around to writing about it.  The main strength of this album is how great the beats are front to back.  An expertly produced hip hip record, I can't complain about a single beat on here.  Jazzy without being too slow, upbeat without being too poppy or corny and expertly picked samples give the album a warm, lived in sound.  It's unique and interesting, but the vibe is instantly familiar.

Lyrically, these guys can hold their own as well.  They're not upper echelon MCs, but they are good and the beats play to the strength of the rapping.  But when someone elite like Grand Puba shows up on "Are You Ready" it's obvious they're just a notch below.  That's not really a bad thing or even a criticism.  This record just came out on the tail end of an era filled with some of the best to ever do it, to be pretty close to that elite level is a real accomplishment considering the others that were putting out records at the time.

In 2022, it still sounds innovative and fun.  I would highly recommend it if it flew under your radar back in '94.

The Beatnuts - The Beatnuts:

Monday, August 29, 2022

Thirty Cassettes From Tetryon Tapes


I didn't post anything last week.  Part of it was I was tired and had a particularly rough week.  But part of it was also the fact that I wanted to get through a shit ton of tapes piling up over here.  Ugh, tapes.  I'm not always opposed.  Snappy Little Numbers and Big Neck have sent me some pretty rad tapes over the years.  But then there are times when you have too many tapes.  

This fellow from Buffalo has been sending me tapes for years via various labels.  A few good ones, and then some average and bad ones.  But it's just too many.  Recently he sent me a giant box full of tapes that I haven't wanted to listen to.  I'm blowing through all THIRTY of them in short, MMR style reviews.  I didn't like the vast majority of them, but there were a couple that were OK and one that was genuinely very good.  But my dude from Buffalo, do not send me any more tapes.  I'm not doing something like this again.

Utah Jazz - In Retrograde - Tetryon Tapes (2020)
This is loud, snotty garage rock.  Lots of yelling, not much singing.  The drummer is pretty solid and some of the guitar work is interesting, but the vocals just kill it for me.  They have at least two singers that I can identify and both yell a lot.  Not my scene.

Futuro - Os Segredos Do Espaço e Tempo - Tetryon Tapes (2020)
As far as the music goes, I don't mind this at all.  This band is from São Paulo, Brazil and they have gone after a kind of melodic punk that reminds me a little bit of The Estranged.  They've got good riffs, great drumming and the recording quality is strong, aside from the vocals.  Lots of weird echo that I don't think adds to things and in a comment likely to repeat itself a lot today, more yelling than I like.  I might just not be very punk rock.

Richard Hamilton - My Perfect World  - Tetryon Tapes (2020)
Hey, singing!  This is pretty nice in a Cars sort of way with some 50s pop thrown in for good measure.  The vocals are a little bit Warm Soda, with a hushed, almost whispered delivery at times, but these are really solid pop songs for the most part.  Pretty decent.

Ciggie & The Darts - Liquor, Leather, Denim & Darts - Tetryon Tapes (2020)
More garage rock style tunes.  The songs are solid and even kind of catchy at times.  There are parts that remind me of Supersuckers aside from the vocals, which are pretty bad.  I don't know why, but I can only picture them coming out of an animated anthropomorphic cartoon animal that's the comic relief part of a crew helping to fight crime or solve mysteries or something like that.

Cage Kicker -  Parasitic Future - Tetryon Tapes (2020)
OK, this is hardcore.  Very fast, very loud, completely unintelligible screamed vocals.  I have never liked this sort of thing and can't tell the difference between good hardcore and bad hardcore.

Erik Nervous - Bugs​!​! - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
This one is all over the place.  There's some hardcore, some garage, some synth-pop and some Ween style weirdness.  I give Erik Nervous credit for being able to genre hop and pull off each of them pretty well, but I can't say I liked listening to any of it all that much.  It's weird, but I'm not sure it's weird in an interesting way or weird in a what the hell is going on sort of way.

Baby Tyler - Vol. 2 - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
More yelling.  This time over muted, robotic sounding guitars that have some sort of weird effects or compression on them.  I can't tell of the drums are drum machines or real drums.  They don't sound precise enough to be a drum machine, but the tone (do drums have tone? I don't know what to call it) sounds all metallic and odd.  I don't like this.

Flea Collar - A Hole is A Hole - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
This sounds like a high school hardcore band who can't quite play fast enough to really get the hardcore sound they want so they're kind of more like a sleaze punk band.  Sounds like it was recorded on a boom box.  Next.

Evinspragg - Precognitive Dreams - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
This is another one of those one person band sort of things.  Eric Mayer is credited with guitar, bass, drums, synth, vocals, engineering and photography.  I'm not sure which of those things is really his forte, but the songs are mainly weird synth driven things that are probably trying to sound a little bit like Devo or something kind of like that, but they're much darker and no fun at all.

Lotus Cookie Recipe - Cook Book - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
This whole tape only has three songs and is three minutes long. They are an instrumental band playing a sort of sludgy metal sort of thing maybe?  The guitars sound like the second half of the Beck song "Asskizz Powergrudge (Payback! '94)."  I don't know how to write about something so short with so little going on.  This seems like too little music to warrant the plastic needed for a tape release.

Danny's Favorites - There Still Punk - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
This one is pretty fun. It's got a bit of a power pop vibe to it (though kind of rough around the edges), there's a little surf influence and most importantly there's hooks!  Actual catchy choruses.  I don't love this, but it's a breath of fresh air after the last few tapes.  I would even go so far as to say maybe give this one a quick listen if you're checking out the Richard Hamilton record.

Spike Pit - 2 Heavy Metal 4 Punk - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
Judge this book by its cover.

The Shine - The Shine - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
OK, this one is flat out great.  If these guys put out another tape, I'm totally fine with it being sent to me.  This is 50s/60s style guitar pop.  Lots of energy, great hooks, solid vocal harmonies.  If the recording was a little bit better, I would think anyone that likes bands like The Resonars would be totally into this.  Legitimately a very fun tape.

Richard Hamilton - Kiss Touch 2000 - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
I'm writing about these in chronological orders starting with the oldest tape on the Tetryon Bandcamp page.  So that's why this one isn't next to the first Richard Hamilton tape.  Kind of more of the same.  Totally fine solo/band sort of stuff.  Still has that Cars vibe a bit, though in general maybe a little more mellow.  It's totally fine.

Richard Hamilton - Memory Palace - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
OK, this is probably too much Richard Hamilton for me at this point.  Had I heard them a little more spaced out, maybe it wouldn't seem like overkill, but at this point I'm ready to move on.  This one feels a little more lo-fi than the others for whatever reason.  More like 90s four-track tape label stuff.  Again, not bad, but I don't need three tapes by this guy.

Thee Hearses -  EP II - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
This is weird robot synth.  It's fast and not boring, so that's good.  There's also a sci fi vibe that is interesting, but it ultimately ends up feeling like some band in an 80s movie that ends up getting eaten by a monster later in the film.

Woodstock '99 -  Woodstock '99 - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
I'm not sure what I expected from a band called Woodstock '99 where the tape cover is a picture of Fred Durst skateboarding.  But I definitely didn't expect to like it.  Run of the mill hardcore here.  Recording quality is better than most, but as I've said many times, I don't know how to judge hardcore.  Maybe this is great, maybe it's terrible.  My brain can't process it as anything other than noise.  I would say it makes me feel old, but I felt the same way in the 90s.

Found Drowned - Not Bad! - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
This is instrumental surf music.  Much like I just said about hardcore, I can't really tell if something is good surf music or bad surf music (unless someone is super obviously ultra-talented or particularly bad).  But unlike hardcore, I pretty much always like surf music.  It's easy to listen to, great for background music and essentially never makes me angry.  This is a discography tape, so there's really a bit too much on here to digest in one listen, even if the songs are all quite short, but in pieces it's a fun listen.

Spit Kink - Get It - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
My brain keeps reading the band name as Spin Kick instead of Spit Kink.  I think Spin Kick is a better name.  This is some electroclash stuff like I would have been annoyed by in the early 2000s.  It's noisy and full of synth and repetitive drum beats with fuzzed out robot vocals.  Not for me.

Space Danish & The Sewer Diamonds - Six Dungeons - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
I have no idea what this is supposed to be.  It's really slow, electronic, synth stuff that at times feels like a low budget sci fi soundtrack and at others a soundtrack for an 80s video game that was rejected for being too creepy.  There are vocals, but I don't know what they are saying.  They're more like spoken word, but have an odd gruffness to them.  Baffled by this one.

Werewolf Jones -  Terminal Velocity - Tetryon Tapes (2021)
I've actually written about this band before as Big Neck sent me a live tape of theirs a few months ago.  I didn't love it then and I don't love this one now.  It's that same thing where the vocals just don't have enough melody to them for me.  The guitar riffs are dark and sludgy and this feels slower than their previous cassette that I wrote about.  It's mostly one of those things where it's just not my cup of tea.

C​-​Krit - C​-​Krit - Tetryon Tapes (2022)
On the Bandcamp page it says "C-Krit is ???"  I couldn't agree more.  Lots of feedback.  Fast songs. Screaming vocals.  The sort of band that would start playing at a VFW hall and then you have the sudden urge to go find a soda machine or run to the car or take up smoking or whatever you can think of to go to another room for a bit.

No Fix - Neon Dreamz - Tetryon Tapes (2022)
The tape cover made me think it was going to be hardcore, but it's actually more in the garage rock world.  The vocals are a little snottier than I personally prefer, but the band is tight, the songs are constructed well and it's really not bad at all.

Touchhole - Touchhole demo - Tetryon Tapes (2022)
This is more experimental and noisy.  It's mostly drums and distorted vocals.  I'm sure there are people out there that dig this style, but it's not the sort of thing that really makes any sense to me.

Spooky Visions - Spooky Visions - Tetryon Tapes (2022)
I like the artwork on this a lot, so I was hopeful it would be spooky surf music or something like that.  This is more like Stranger Things sounding synth with electronically altered vocals speaking some sort of weird robot poetry.  Synth is a dirty word for me, so I'm probably not the real demographic for this.  Other's milage may vary.

Eyes and Flys -  Manic AM - Tetryon Tapes (2022)
High energy guitar riffage with totally blown out vocals.  More on the garage spectrum than anything else I can really compare it to.  They're playing fast and energetic without bleeding into hardcore, so I'll never knock that.  But it's the vocals that just don't do it for me.  Too much echo/feedback on them to really hear what's going on.

Nervous Tick and The Zipper Lips - Something's Gotta Bleed - Kafadan Kontak (2020)
I almost stopped after that last tape as it was the last one on the Tetryon Bandcamp page, but I decided to try to finish things up and tackle the rest of the tapes as well.  I've gone this far.  This one is fine I guess?  It's not overly yell-y or synthy.  The guitars have a nice sort of churning propulsion to them, but it's just not really the sort of thing I'm interested in.  I'm just the type that needs more of a hook.

Nervous Tick and The Zipper Lips & Ricky Hell - The Covid Collaborations: vol. II - Self Released (2020)
I was sent three of these Covid Collaborations tapes.  Volumes II, III & IV.  Not Volume I for some reason, but that's OK.  To quote the Bandcamp page so I don't have to find a way to rewrite this three times: "Each volume will feature Nervous Tick and The Zipper Lips and another recording artist. Both parties will record an original song, a cover of a song by the other party, as well as a song musically to have the other party finish with vocals and whatever else is needed."  So that's what we're getting into here.  The Nervous Tick songs sound like the stuff on their other tape.  It's solid musically, but not something that really appeals to me.  Ricky Hell is more synth that I don't find particularly exciting, but it's also not really bad.  The combo songs where they are singing over each others music is an interesting concept and the one with Ricky singing over the Nervous Tick music is probably the best song on here.

Nervous Tick and The Zipper Lips & Obsoletism - The Covid Collaborations: vol. III - Self Released (2021)
Here's volume II, this time with Obsoletism.  The Nervous Tick songs are more interesting to me this time out as they are a little catchier, but the vocals are still tough for me.  If they were a little smoother, I'd probably be more into it.  The Obsoletism songs are nice and catchy.  A little garage-y and little power poppy.  The vocals have something of a snarl to them, but it's not off putting the way some snotty punk singers come off.  For the combo songs the best one again is the one with the Nervous Ticks music and the Obsoletism singing.

Nervous Tick and The Zipper Lips & Eyes and Flys - The Covid Collaborations: vol. IV - Self Released (2022)
This is probably the least interesting of these Covid Collaborations.  I'm kind of at a loss on what to say at this point.  The Nervous Tick songs are pretty much the same as the others I've heard, but "Dulce Fulnente" decides to add in this excruciating high pitched noise during what I think is the chorus.  Pretty rough.  Since I didn't like the vocals on the Eyes and Flys tape, I wasn't surprised I didn't really like them on this collab tape either.  Again, this is just not my scene.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Pollen - Crescent LP - Green Vinyl (/300)


Double Helix (2022, Reissue)

Is it shocking that I'm reviewing another old record that's gotten a reissue?  Probably not.  Is it surprising that said reissue is of the relatively obscure, second album by Pollen?  Well it is to me even if it's not for you.  I was really excited when Peach Tree got reissued last year, but even for that one I was surprised that it was finally coming out on vinyl.  That Crescent now exists and is sitting in my record room right now is blowing my mind in the best possible way.

This album was originally released on CD only back in 1995.  It came out on Grass records and went out of print and became very difficult to find, particularly in the pre-Discogs era along with their debut album Bluette.  I'm not going to say anything obnoxious like no one has heard this record, but the amount of people that have heard is probably substantially lower than the two Pollen albums that followed.

But this is a great record, every bit as catchy and well written as Peach Tree.  Lots of catchy hooks and crunchy guitar riffs.  The production isn't quite as polished as Peach Tree, but in some ways I think that's a benefit as it's a little rougher around the edges in a way that I prefer.  Though the reissue is remastered and everything sounds way cleaner than it ever had before.  I'm just incredibly excited that this came out.  They've also released their fourth album Chip, and I have that here waiting in the wings.  I hope they get to Bluette as I would love to have all four of these guys on vinyl.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Zhigge - Zhigge LP


Polydor (1992)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

Zhigge is another group that I certainly don't remember by name from the early 90s.  This, their only full length, came out in 1992 which was absolutely a time where I was paying quite a bit of attention to everything that was happening on Yo! MTV Raps.  and while I do not remember this group or any of their videos, I can't shake a weird familiarity with the song "Rakin' in the Dough."  While I can't remember it specifically, it's definitely got a chorus that sticks in a way where I'm positive I must have heard it before.

Based on that, there's a pretty decent chance I heard Zhigge in the 90s, but forgot about them.  Likely because I never bought anything by them, so they were likely just heard in passing.  I am more than happy to play catch up now.  While I'd never say that Zhigge is a can't miss, must hear, essential hip hop record of the 90s, it's still a pretty fun listen.  The production is very strong and reminds me of the first UMCs record in the way that it's upbeat and fun, but still hits pretty hard.

Lyrically, the group has several unique MCs and while I can't put them on the same level as The Pharcyde, I find definite similarities in the two group's dynamics.  The way they pass the mic back and forth to each other and compliment the style of the others is really interesting to hear.  They've got dense and pretty complex lyrical structures and they pull it off pretty flawlessly each time.  This is another group that I'm happy to have stumbled on as it's essentially a new record to me, but one completely steeped in the hip hop era that I love so much.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Sewer Trout - Meet The Sewer Trout LP - Green Vinyl (/100)


Dead Broke / Lavasocks (2022)

I'm definitely reaching that age where I tend to be more excited about old music than new music.  I assume it happens to everyone and if nothing else, I think I held out longer than most.  Not that I'm giving up on new music or anything, it's just that the older hits are the ones that I tend to be most interested in, at least lately.  Enter an old band; Sewer Trout.

They put out releases on Lookout and Very Small and were very much of that era that spawned so many great bands.  However, Sewer Trout wasn't really ever on my radar.  When I started getting into punk rock, they weren't around anymore.  They were from an earlier era (Four years earlier felt like an eternity back then, though that's blink and you miss it time for me now) that I had to play catch up on.  But they weren't quite as noteworthy as say a Crimpshrine or Operation Ivy, so I never got around to them for whatever reason.

With Dead Broke and Lavasocks releasing a discography LP of Sewer Trout material, it felt like the right time to finally play catch up.  The vast majority of these songs are ones I had never heard before aside from those that were on the Turn It Around and Floyd comps.  How do these songs sound for the first time in 2022? Old.  Honesty, they sound really old.

I would never say these are bad songs, but they are absolutely of a past era and sound like it.  Without much in the way of nostalgia holding me to these songs since I didn't listen to them when they were more current, I can't say they really connect with me very much hearing them for the first time today.  Although lyrically they've aged pretty well (or pretty poorly, depending on how annoyed you are with the world), as many of the political and societal criticisms they're singing about are still pretty valid all this time later.  

The songs themselves feel kind of simple and the sound is a little bit thin. Which makes sense.  This stuff was mostly recorded and released in the 80s on a punk budget.  They're not going to sound like fancy records, but they also haven't really aged in a way that makes them stand out to me thirty something years after they were recorded.  Again, nothing on this record is bad.  I like what the band was going for and I think the songs probably sound as good as they possibly could on this LP considering the source material.  I just can't see myself listening to it much when there are tons of other bands from this era that I already have a multiple decade connection with.  Like so many, I'm a prisoner of nostalgia.

Sewer Trout - Meet The Sewer Trout:

Friday, August 12, 2022

The Get Up Kids - Eudora 2xLP - Mint Vinyl (/600)


Vagrant / Heroes & Villains (2016, Reissue)

When I wrote about the Get Up Kids Woodson/Red Letter Day 12" a few weeks ago, I had mentioned that my favorite GUK songs were the ones on the various 7"s that came out before and immediately after their first full length.  That's the main reason that I finally decided to pick up this LP.  I've had the CD since it first came out and the songs on the original 7"s were certainly on quite a few mix tapes in the late 90s, but I didn't have the vinyl.  When I saw the 2016 version pop up unexpectedly on the vagrant site for twenty bucks, I grabbed it.  Seems weird that some were kicking around all these years later if they were limited to 600 copies, it is what it is, I guess.

Now, I do wish the Woodson songs were on this.  It would make life a lot easier and would pretty much dump all of my favorite Get Up Kids songs on one release, but I figure Doghouse didn't want to give up the rights to their cash cow.  It would have been easy to make room by ditching a few of the EIGHT cover songs polluting this release.  There are way too many bad cover songs on here.  "Suffragette City" is OK, "Alec Eiffel" is good and "Burned Bridges" is pretty great (mostly because of how absurd the lyrics are), but the rest of them could have been jettisoned into the sun and the record would be better for it.

The highlights for me on here are the two songs from the first GUK 7" ("Shorty" in particular was always a favorite), the two songs from the Sub Pop 7" and the band's very best song, "I'm A Loner Dottie, A Rebel."  This version of "Loner" is the one from their split 7" with Braid and is approximately a hundred thousand times better than the one that ended up on their second LP.

Normally, I'm very much in favor of having songs run chronologically when put on a singles comp.  I always find it weird when bands decide to make the track list out of order.  But, the one saving grace about how they organized the songs on this record is that just about every song I really want to listen to is on LP two.  So I can avoid a bunch of the crappy covers and some of the later 7" songs that didn't hit as hard for me.  This is a bloated record for sure, but the hits are still pretty great all these years later.

The Get Up Kids - Eudora:

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Maestro Fresh-Wes - 'Naaah, Dis kid Can't Be From Canada?!!' LP


Attic/LMR (1993)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

I was digging online and came across one of those 'most overlooked records of the 90s' lists and Maestro Fresh-Wes was on it.  I can't actually remember if it was this specific record or not, but as 'Naaah, Dis kid Can't Be From Canada?!!' came out in 1993, I decided that was the one to listen to.  Well, I listened to it and really, really dug it, so the quest was on to hunt down the vinyl.  I watched out for a copy for well over a year before one finally popped up at a reasonable price.  

I grabbed it, got it home and went to clean it.  I then dropped the cleaning brush thing on the record and scratched it.  Now there's a 30 second period on the first track where there's a pretty loud recurring pop.  Supremely aggravated at myself for doing that, but it's not a big enough deal to try to hunt for another copy of this record.  Not that it wouldn't be worth it, this is really an overlooked gem of a record.

With production handled by Maestro and Showbiz from Showbiz & AG, the beats on this record are pretty incredible.  It has that classic Diggin' In The Crates vibe with excellent, rumbling bass and that snare drum crack that I find to be a mandatory ingredient in hip hop.  Lyrically, Maestro Fresh-Wes has a strong flow.  I wouldn't rank him as a super elite MC of the era (1993 had some pretty insane records that came out at the time), but he's very good and his lyrics can hang with the excellent production.

I expect this one is probably way under the radar for a lot of people.  I sure had no idea it existed back in 1993.  But I'm glad I dug around and found out about it as 'Naaah, Dis kid Can't Be From Canada?!!' can go toe to toe with the best of early 90s hip hop.

Maestro Fresh-Wes - 'Naaah, Dis kid Can't Be From Canada?!!':

Monday, August 8, 2022

Snuff - Crepuscolo Dorato Della Bruschetta Borsetta Calzetta Cacchetta Trombetta Lambretta Giallo Ossido, Ooooooh Cosi Magnifico! LP - Green Vinyl (/100)


10 Past 12 / SBÄM (2022)

Along with Rocket From The Crypt and Leatherface, Snuff always ranks as one of my top three favorite bands of all time.  They've put out so many wonderful records over the years and are responsible for some of the greatest songs I have ever heard.  Here we are in 2022 and Snuff is still cranking out records.  Crepuscolo (That's what I'm calling the record in the body of this, I am not typing that insane title more than absolutely necessary) could be anywhere between their ninth and sixteenth full like album, depending on how you want to count a few really long EPs and a live album, but the point I'm trying to make here is that they've got a lot of records.  Crespuscolo fits in nicely with the rest.

If I'm going to make a comparison to earlier records, I feel like this one seems to fit pretty snugly next to Tweet Tweey My Lovely as far as an overall vibe goes.  There's some spectacular pop songs like "Green Glass Chippins" and Lemon Curd."  We've got a 'Nick' style song in "Hard Times."  And there's a few of the really fast shouty ones that aren't usually my favorites, but you can't really have a Snuff album without one or two of them at this point.

This version is on green vinyl, with 100 copies made available on Snuff's website.  There are several other colors out there and I've got some en route, while others I'm still trying to figure out the best way to get my hands on.  But I figures, I'll start with this one and then later on I can take a full family photo when I track down the rest.

While I can't say that I'll probably ever love a new Snuff record as much as I love older ones like Reach or Demmamussabebonk, those records have an unfair amount of nostalgia built into them.  It's hard to match up with albums you've been living with for over twenty five years.  But if you look at Crespuscolo on its own merits and listen to it without trying to make it be a 90s record, you'll find that this is a band still firing on all cylinders and is putting out records that I'm exceedingly happy to purchase. 

Snuff - Crepuscolo Dorato Della Bruschetta Borsetta Calzetta Cacchetta Trombetta Lambretta Giallo Ossido, Ooooooh Cosi Magnifico!:

Friday, August 5, 2022

Plow United - Human 2000 Lathe Cut 7" (/50)


Jump Start (2013)

Plow United were pretty much the best band and the kings of what I consider my local scene in the 90s.  Even though I was in northern New Jersey and Plow was from West Chester, Pennsylvania, whenever they came up by us and played shows, they were always something very special.  While I don't think everyone up here thought of Plow as one of the local bands, they always felt that way to me.

This record came out in 2013 as part of that year's Record Store Day, though I wouldn't imagine it was officially part of it.  Rogue RSD records out there.  There were 50 of these made and it's a lathe cut 7".  The four songs on here are all also on the 2013 Plow United full length, Marching Band.  It's a great record and these are great songs, but I can't say I really understand the point of releasing it.

I have these four songs already and the sound quality of a lathe cut is nowhere near that of a normal record.  It's kind of just a limited tchotchke for collector nerds like me to stress out over.  In fact, this was the one Plow record that had been eluding me for years now.  I was excited to see it finally pop up on Discogs a few weeks back and I'm happy to have it, though I cannot imagine why I would ever play it again.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Public Enemy - Greatest Misses 2xLP


Def Jam (1992)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

This album came out at the very height of my obsession with Public Enemy.  After buying Apocalypse '91 at the K-mart by my dad's house, I was pretty convinced PE could do no wrong.  After I picked up Greatest Misses, I figured that I was wrong.  I think this record might have been my first experience with a band I loved putting out a record that didn't connect with me.  At the very least, it's the first one that I can remember.

I was really angry about this one at the time.  I wrote a review of it in my high school newspaper and while I don't really remember what I said, I'm pretty sure it was quite negative.  And that was the last Public Enemy record I ever bought.  I didn't hear 1994's Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age until many, many years later.  Listening to the record today, I'm not sure what turned me off so strongly.

Is it as good as any of the four Public Enemy records that came out before it?  No, not even close.  It's a distant fifth place, but it's not really that bad.  It's a weak Public Enemy record, but it's still a reasonably solid hip hop record overall.  Sure, "Get Off MyBack" is pretty bad, but "Hazy Shade of Criminal" is kind of great and I don't think would have been out of place on Apocalypse '91.  

The rest of the of the new songs (six in total) are fine for the most part.  Solid beats and great rhyming by Chuck D.  The other six songs are remixes.  Half are just fine, half are OK.  Nothing unmissable, but certainly nothing worth getting angry over in 1992.  The big miss is not including the Pete Rock remix of "Shut 'Em Down."  It's not on the vinyl version at all and on the CD there's just a live version of it that's pretty questionable, sound quality-wise.  Had they included that, I think it would have beefed up an album that isn't exactly essential is still a pretty fun listen.

Public Enemy - Greatest Misses:

Monday, August 1, 2022

Boat - No Plans to Stick the Landing LP - Clear Vinyl


Magic Marker (2022)

I have been a huge fan of Boat since their 2010 album, Dress Like Your Idols.  Since then I've bought every album and vinyl reissue of their older records.  Each and every time I'm so happy that there's a band out there still carrying the torch of the kind of 90s-style indie rock that I adore so much.  

Any Boat record is going to be a pretty great record, especially when compared to the other bands that even bother to play indie rock these days.  They're always got that wonderful guitar jangle and Pavement-esque irreverence.  Though if you compare this to other Boat records, it's very good, but not my favorite of theirs.

I think part of that is the way it was recorded.  From reading, it seems that this was a true pandemic album where the band members where not in the same place together at the same time.  I think that hurts the energy a little bit,  I won't go so far as to say that some of the songs sound clinical, but they don't seem quite as vibrant as prior albums.  There's also something going on with the vocals that I can't quite figure out.  They sound a little static-y and blown out here and there, but it's not always clear if this was a technology issue or an aesthetic choice.  It's not on every song, but it does make things feel a little off at times.

That probably makes it seem like I don't like this record, but that's not the case at all.  These are great songs done by a great band and is definitely one of the better albums I've heard this year.  I just have such high expectations for Boat and there are a few moments where something just sounds a little off in a way I'm not able to easily articulate.  But again, for the most part, this is a very fun listen.

Boat - No Plans to Stick the Landing: