It's Time To Party with Noah W.K.
Transit - Stay Home (Run For Cover Records)
Transit, the newest version of that melodic hardcore scene out of Boston, delivers a six song ep that comes straight from the playbook of Set Your Goals. Completing the mix of screaming, chanting and singing this band seems to be a carbon copy of all the bands before, the only difference is that their drummer is actually really good but proves to be way too busy at times, especially over the run of the mill guitar work. I swear I have heard the opening to this first track before, it sounds exactly like that other song, but I casn’t put my finger on which one it is. If you can figure it out please get back to me. If you like bands like Set Your Goals, A New Found Glory and all of those others this is probably a great album and will be right up your alley. If not this is a pass.
I have no idea what to expect from this, starts off a bit hectic but then slows down to a slow crawl with a flowing bass line and almost spoken lyrics. I can’t tell if I hate this or if I am indifferent towards it. There is no doubting that they are good at their instruments, but the songs just are not interesting or captivating. I can’t even label this into a genre, what is it? I do not know, nor do I care much. Also there is never a need for an opening track to be over eight minutes long. You hear me? Never!
CarCrashLander - Mountains On Our Backs (Jealous Butcher)
I have had enough of this cheesy rock n roll crap. If you aren’t going to do something new why bother. Every song is a sub par version of an older song, no hooks what so ever, what’s the point? Also the embarrassing cover of Elvis Costello’s “Green Shirt” was a bad idea, but I’ll pretend that didn’t really happen. (Noah W. K.)
Frankenstein 3000 - Where Do We Go From Here? (Main Man Records)
What do we have here? Is it Boston’s answer to The Replacements? Maybe. Simple songs with heart felt lyrics spit from the mouth of a Bostonian with a sad story to share. The only problem here is that they are not The Replacements and no matter how much I can enjoy this I will always crawl back to my record player to give “Sorry Ma” its weekly spin. There is an ex-member of the Jade Tree band Lock and Key somewhere in this band, to him I’d like to say sorry dude, but I think I like Lock and Key much better. Not a bad album, just not great, but I do know I’d love to watch this band rock out in a small bar, that I can tell would be excellent.
The Cold Beat - Dumbwaiter (Self Released)
Sea Sick Music - Shark Speed (Self Released)
By the looks of the cover and the band name I was expecting this to be a speed metal album. Boy I could not have been anymore wrong. The album opens with light horns for a few stanzas and then the rest of the band comes in accompanied by Dent May sounding vocals. I didn’t know Utah was now in the United Kingdom and people spoke with such heavy British accents there. I guess we learn something new everyday, this album would be kind of cool, but now these vocals are going to kill me before the music puts me to sleep. So if you like your fake British rock and your dance beats this might be the album for you, if not just go buy Dent May’s latest album and listen to him croon over is ukulele.
Aside from having one terrible, down right awful band name, it is safe to say that The Ghost Is Dancing know how to write some pretty decent pop hooks. A better name for this band might be Modest Mouse Jr. but hey who is to judge. I am really enjoying the overall production of this album more than the songs themselves maybe that is saying something? Maybe not. Going along with some of my pet peeves though this band includes dance beats and a song that is over eight minutes, and I know I have said it before and I’ll say it again; there is never a need for an opening track to be over eight minutes long. You hear me? Never! (Noah W. K.)
The Ghost Is Dancing - Battles On (Sonic Unyon)
Is it wrong for me to hope that everything and anything that Alternative Tentacles releases will sound like “Bedtime For Democracy”? This sounds like the exact opposite of that, slow turning goth rock comparable to what I’d imagine Nine Inch Nails to sound like. I love Jello Biafra’s music, just maybe not his taste in music. (Noah W. K.)
Burning Image - Fantasma (Alternative Tentacles)
I usually don’t like digi-packs because they are usually made cheap and break really easily, however this package looks great. From the looks of the cover art I am expecting some southern hard rock, since the artwork kind of reminds me of the band Down’s artwork, and if you know who Down is it’ll make sense. With all of my Phil Anselmo reference’s aside Dredg sounds nothing like what I described above. Their music proves to be a more technical version of what the Rx Bandits have been doing lately, lots of instruments and weird recording techniques coming together to create long drawn out songs where the message is lost in its jumble. Also it is very rare these days for an album to run over an hours time, but this does it and I will personally congratulate anyone who can sit through this for that long.
Dredg - The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion (Self Released)
The Blackout - The Best In Town (Epitaph Records)
Another well put together digi-pack with multiple panels. I see these things getting more and more popular before my very eyes. The reason why this looks real good is because it is covered in Tim Burton-esque cartoon paintings that contain what I imagine to be some of the bands favorite lyrics. Now, to the music! What we have here is an amaped up and riffing out of control over screamed vocals, but then the tides turn the music slows and now he is singing. I wish they’d just make up their minds instead of being a bunch of flip-floppers. I can’t stand that, damn flip-floppers. If you want this I am sure you’ll be able to find it in your local Hot Topic, just look behind the fat girls dressed in all black. (Noah W. K.)
Is there a competition that I don’t know about where the band with the worst name wins a prize? If so this band gets my vote. Hahah! Even better, their name when using the initials is The STDs. This can’t get any better! Oh wait it just did, they are from Kokomo. Haha there is actually a place called Kokomo in Indiana. Wow. Husker Du Midwestern rock mixed with bro-dude hardcore is what we have here, and let me fill you in on a little secret, this is not a good mix of sounds. I give up. (Noah W. K.)
The Sorely Trying Days - Survival Mode (Useless World Records)
This is beginning to remind me of the middle Against Me!. Not the straight forward early stuff, but not quite the complicated newer stuff, but somewhere in the middle? Did Against Me! Even have an album like that? I don’t think so I remember it being a pretty drastic change. The first song “Hammered For The Holidays” is great, great enough to make the rest of the album worthwhile. Take my advice and take a chance on this, I think you’ll be surprised, I sure am. (Noah W. K.)
Only Thieves - Greetings From Levy Park, T. L. H. (Self Released)
Yeesh! Another horrible band name, The Goonies was a great movie but no need to name a band after them. The best musical thing dealing with The Goonies was Cyndi Lauper’s song for the movie “Goonies Are Good Enough”, now that’s a jam! I digress, here we have songs that are way too long and that have no vocals. Frickin’ instrumentals dude! How am I supposed to sing along if there are no words? The obvious comparison is Explosions In The Sky, and that is about all I know of instrumental music. Could be cool reading or studying music. Definitely good for the background!
Goonies - Never Say Die “In A Forest With Out Trees (Deep Elm Records)
Rich White Males - We’ve Come To Kick Ass And Play Bubblegum (Cheapskate Records)
This may just be right up my alley. Simple three-chord Ramonescore music featuring Dangerous Dave (of The Queers and The Bugs) that is so catchy you’ll find yourself singing along before the first song finishes. Being that one of my favorite Queers record is “Beyond The Valley Of The Assfuckers” this is perfect for me. I’d definitely recommend this for fans of the grittier pop punk ala early Queers, Vindictives or Sloppy Seconds. Now the question is which do I like more this or The Bugs? And the answer is they are both totally kick ass. I am hoping this band comes to the east coast sometime in the near future so I can sing along and pump my fist to all the songs.
A few years ago I took a chance on a 7inch record from a band from Minnesota not knowing what to expect and it was excellent. This 7inch was by The Gateway District it was so good and never left my turntable but I was worried I’d never get any new material out of them due to the fact that they were all in other excellent bands. Consisting of members of bands such as The Soviettes, Dear Landlord, Off With Their Heads, Banner Pilot and my personal favorite from Minnesota Banner Pilot you could call this an all-star band, but whatever you call it don’t call it a side project because this band is the real deal. Also I believe they are touring again real soon so you better make sure you go see them, because you are sure to regret it if you do. Like all things from It’s Alive Records, you know you will be getting high quality in terms of music as well as the finished product its self. Each band member contributes his or her own artwork to accompany their songs in the liner notes in the cd and the orange vinyl would look great in any record collection. For this review I have been thinking of choosing which song is my favorite but it seems like the more I think about it the more I change my mind because they are all great, however for this review I am going to say the standout track for right now is the opening number “Keeps Track Of The Time”, but if you ask me again in 5 minutes I’ll give you another. So good!
The Gateway District - Sometimes You Get The Thunder (It’s Alive Records)
Decent Boston tinged pub songs here, the only things keeping them from being good or great is the quality of the recording and the simplicity of the songs, that dynamic duo leads to me losing interest a lot of the time. That said, I would not be upset if I was hanging at a bar in Boston and this band took a small stage and started to rock. However the chances of me being in a bar in Boston anytime soon is a long shot. (Noah W.K.)
Dan Webb And The Spiders - Self Titled (Self Released)
It is sad how an extremely poppy, electronic sounding music with excellent instrumentation can turn into a boring and slightly un-listenable record just based upon it vocals and lyric content. The songs would be excellent if they were instrumental tracks or had different vocals laid over them, however this album does not have that. The vocals are annoying and seem forced. The lyrical content is less that uninteresting. This album had some potential… I think.
The Orion Experience - Cosmicandy (Sweet Records)
All Star Assassins - Toe Tag In Teen Town Tonight! (Rally Records)
“Toe Tag In Teen Town Tonight” is tremendously terrific in twenty ways, taking toe tapping tunes and transforming them into much more than the tedious teen tracks of today. All alliteration aside The All Star Assassins accurately accomplish in achieving bringing astonishing songs to the awesome quality that was awaited. Damn… did it again. In summation, Rally Records has done it again by bringing awesome pop punk to the masses. (Noah W. K.)
This compilation is one of which that is much more than just music, it also yields a story to tell. The story in this case expressed on two compact discs is that of the Seattle, Washington punk rock n roll music scene. The Funhouse is a small venue / night club in Seattle where many of the area’s greatest acts have graced its stage. These two discs are jammed packed with unreleased tracks of some of these bands who have had the opportunity to pass through the venue and leave its inhabitants with a feeling of camaraderie and a feeling of belonging. Since this is the story of the Seattle area of course some of these punk tracks are sprinkled with grunge goodies and bring Seattle its fathering sound. However with any compilation you will of course get stuck with plenty of undesirable tracks specially when there are fifty of them to go through, however this comp is also packed with gems such as tracks from The Anxieties and The Cute Lepers, both appearing on disc number two. Buy this comp and learn about some cool bands from the area and the history surrounding it.
V/A The Funhouse Comp Thing II (My Fat Ass Productions)
Over the past few months I have heard tour stories from different bands who have passed through town praising the names of a three-piece outfit from Sheboygan, Wisconsin; the name of the band being The Jetty Boys. The Boys deliver thirteen unforgettable tracks blessed by super smooth vocals and guitars to match. Through the few times I have given this album a listen this has quickly become one of my favorite albums of the year to sing along with. My favorite part of this album however is the overall production of it and especially the guitar sound. Amongst all the standout tracks on this album “Candy Coated” and “Telephone Man” which appear back to back have easily become staples on any mix I make. E.F.Y.
The Jetty Boys (Rally Records)
I always get a little nervous when I hear Dischord is putting out a new release, because with this labels catalog you either love the release or hate it. There is no in between. Faraquet are a band in which I haven’t heard of previous to receiving this album in the mail. The overall sound seems to fit in with the stylings of Fugazi with very creative instrumentation especially on the guitar end of things. However, with this band there is something left to be desired. I think it is the repetitive nature of this sort of music that tends to drive me up the walls. Plus the lofi vocals don’t really lend a helping hand in the matters. No doubt this batch of musicians are very talented at what they do, I am just not particularly fond of what the overall product reveals.
Faraquet - Anthology 1997-98 (Dischord Records)
This band from the Bay Area sing rock n roll songs that should only be heard from the ever present juke box found in shady bars from those old 1960’s horror movies. Southern tinged melodies make this album unbearable to me. I do not want to have to listen to this ever again. Not good.
Hammerlock - Barefoot & Pregnant (Steel Cage Records)
If Tim Armstrong sang his punk anthems infront of a rock n’ roll band from the 70’s you would hear the sounds of Labor Party. You decide if that is a compliment or and insult.
Labor Party - Hellhound Down (Steel Cage Records)
Troublemake – “Feral” (http://stnorth.myweb.usf.edu/)
Sloppy lo-fi bedroom recordings never sounded so good before. However before even getting to the actual music here, I would like to commend this band on the overall look of this demo, with a cardboard lyric sheet (each one hand numbered to 50) carefully holding the demo inside. Lucky enough for the lyric sheet , because believe me when listening to this you will need it, to fully understand what is exactly going on the first few times you give it a listen. I don’t mind the lo-fi sloppiness at all specially compared to what I find to be the downfall of this album and that being the lead guitars. They simply imitate the other instruments, never straying too far from the original formula and always sticking out like a sore thumb. However besides the artistic looks of the overall packaging, my favorite part of these four songs most definitely are the socially fitting and heartfelt lyrics, sung with emotion and angst similar to the sound of early Unseen albums. A complete opposite from all the stereotypical stuff we hear today, this demo has great songs despite its recording inabilities.
The Jammy Dodgers – “Skive Off” (Rock-It-Records) *And Transmissions Audio Zine #2*
I think this is a brilliant idea to bring together two of my favorite art forms wrapped up in another great art form. A compact disc containing awesome toe tapping tunes, followed by an audio zine of great spoken word, from the people who have something to say but don’t have the instruments or band to help get their voices heard. The overall presence of this disc is just amazing, awesome artwork showing this is not just another disc, this is art, and this is art in all of its truest forms.
In regard to the music, these folksy punk songs rip through in rapid hardcore speeds and show no signs of stopping, with male and female vocals complementing each other while they each prepare to tell you another story. In comparison, The Jammy Dodgers seem to be a hyped up version of folk punk contemporaries Defiance, Ohio, Ghost Mice and Mischief Brew amongst others. Each song just calls for the encouragement of sing-alongs, so call up your best friends, help yourself to a nice cold drink, yell along at the top of your lungs after a long hard day at work, and just enjoy the overall awesomeness of The Jammy Dodgers. The audio zine comes complete with 19 tracks from 19 different people, pouring out their feelings for all to hear. Stories about friends, hardships, death and last but not least Michael Jordan and the theme of breaking up, each one so different from the last and different from the next. Punks can do more than just strum guitars and yell into microphones, they have a voice, a real voice and something to say. And thanks to this audio zine, their voices shall be heard. Most complete overall release I have ever held in my hands, ever.
HTR – “Let It Die” (www.holytrinityriver.com)
Bluesy, heartfelt, stripped down, no frills, rock. Those are the first adjectives that come to mind upon my first listening to this album. Each song sung from the heart, with a southern feel. This three piece produce a big sound, however each song is way too repetitive and leaves me bored and wanting it to end. Nothing special here and after a while this straight forward rock starts wearing you down. Luckily there are only four songs. Zzz.
I think it would be a safe assessment to say that the Wonder Years have not missed or added a beat since the release of their last album “Get Stoked On It”. However, I did not enjoy the cheesy pop/ hardcore songs glued together by lame and almost forced synth last time, nor do I enjoy it this time. Cheap Set Your Goals / A New Found Glory rip off. The only highlight of these four songs is the few brief lines that Zolof The Rock And Roll Destroyers’s lead singer Rachel Minton belt out. Besides that this album does absolutely nothing except make me want to listen to early NFG.
The Wonder Years – “Won’t Be Pathetic Forever” (No Sleep Records)
I have never heard of this band but I am guessing they are pretty big if they are releasing a live cd/dvd through Columbia Records. Oh well. The Gossip play a mixture of experimental pop and soul all tied together with very strong female vocals. None of these songs really stick out to me but you can definitely hear some crowd participation through out the record and I think that is pretty cool. The recording of this album is amazing and outrageously clear sounding. I am actually enjoying the clarity of the music over the actual music that is being played. I don’t really have anything bad to say about it, and also not much good. It’s pretty cool I guess.
The Gossip – “Live In Liverpool” (Columbia Records)
Female fronted groups have never done much for me with few exceptions, Stark further prove this and do it in a way where they replicate Blondie in a unbearable way. Playing fast punky songs that are made un-listenable to me by these horrible female vocals. Blondie was all right, but you are not Blondie. Better luck next time.
Stark – “Put It Into Your Head” (Kicking And Screaming Music)
With the way that Suburban Home is trying to clear out all of their back releases, you would figure they have some awesome releases in sight. Well if you are like me and made that assumption, you are both right and wrong. Jr. Juggernaut play that same style of country-twang’d punk rock exemplified by Drag The River and Lucero. This isn’t such a strong release, but it does have its moments. I find this style or sub-genre of punk rock very boring and think it all sounds the same. Well, I guess you win some and lose some, I am still waiting for Suburban Home to release the new LaGrecia album. Now that is going to rock, and rock hard it will! (Noah W. K.)
Jr. Juggernaut – “Ghost Poison” (Suburban Home)
The Nojons are a punk rock band in the vein of T.S.O.L, who sing songs about aliens and the living dead. I never really cared much for lyrics I couldn’t relate to but this is actually pretty entertaining. It is interesting that they seem to be pretty enthusiastic about the topics they sing about and that is the one aspect that I find to keep this album still slightly above par. This seems like a very fun band and I actually wouldn’t mind seeing this band live some day, but for now “Night Of The Nojons” will suffice. (Noah W. K.)
The Nojons – “Night Of The Nojons”
Featuring members of some of Ohio’s finest (Dopamines, Team Stray, and The Seedy Seeds), John Walsh, the side project turned live band speed through 15 songs in just over 16 minutes. Playing an updated version of that old hardcore we all grew up with in the vein of Minor Threat, Gorilla Biscuits and SSD, John Walsh sings songs about positivity, and love of friends. With vocals reminiscent to that of Kevin Seconds and the positive theme of Good Clean Fun, John Walsh seems to be a really fun band I am sure would be a blast to see live. Highlight track for me is definitely “Tips For Just In Casers!”. Buy this demo and when the new Dopamines record comes out buy that too!
John Walsh – Demos/ Complete (myspace.com/americasmostpositive)
The only true way to describe how this album hits is by remembering the sounds of early glam rock in the vein of the New York Dolls, mixed with the melodic hard rock aspect of such bands like Van Halen. With explosive guitars the music kind of overrides the vocals, which in this case I believe to be a good thing, with songs with less than desirable lyrics sang with no enthusiasm. If only they were able to bring the high energy of the music to incorporate with their lyrics this band could be more than just satisfactory.
Evil Twin – Radio Salvation (Flotation Records)
When the first note hit I thought there was a female vocalist in the band, but once the next syllable came in I realized this was just another album written and recorded by guys who idolized, the same bands every girl in high school loves to sing and dance along to. With melodies that try to compete with those of Jimmy Eat World, That Was Something falls quite short. I am sure that if this album came out when this genre of pop rock first became popular this could be a hit, but since they are the millionth band in 2008 to release the same album this will be another release that will fall to the wayside.
That Was Something – BEARS! (Oort Records)
When I here these new glam inspired garage band, I wonder why they are doing what they are doing. Most of the time I feel as if one day after listening to their favorite New York Dolls album they decided to get all their friends together and try to imitate exactly what they had done. The problem is, they don’t have that sincere feeling that helped these influential bands get the name they earned themselves. Yes the musical capabilities are there, the musicianship really is pretty good, but the thing that always turns me off of this stuff, is the lack of meaning in the lyrics and the lack of attitude in the vocals. And let me tell you something, if I am going to listen to anything like this, it better have some damn attitude.
The Press Corps – Urban Truth, Rural Myth (Flotation Records)
Why is this new dance/rock/punk infusion so damn popular in New York City? Every song has the same beat to get you to shake your tail feather along to, nothing stands out and this is nothing we all haven’t unfortunately heard before. Sorry guys I hate to tell you but this style of music isn’t doing anything for anybody. This reminds me of the stuff that they play on fuse, just not as good. And I don’t think that stuff is good either.
The Walkup – Down On The Pacific (Reynolds Recording Co.)
Russian Circles – Station (Suicide Squeeze Records)
Better than hearing some whiney dude singing about god knows what, The Russian Circles come at you with 6 space rock, jazz/metal influenced songs timing in at a little under 45 minutes. I know this is only my opinion but I think a band is just noise without vocals, my reasoning for this is that anyone can just pick up an instrument and make noise with it, but most of the time it is the vocals that can make or break a band. Nothing against these fine musicians here (by the way this is some of the best musicianship I have heard in a while) but I get very impatient listening to this waiting for the hook to lead into heart-felt vocals but I never get and it gets quite frustrating. Imagine being in a dentist chair on Mars and you will hear the sounds of The Russian Circles.
Taking that old power-pop sound we all love with driving guitars and catchy melodies that bands such as The Cars and Cheap Trick made popular. The problem is a lot of bands try to go in this direction and usually their releases never see the light of day. But I think this will be the contrary for The Crash Moderns who rock like Bowling For Soup, SR-71, and The All American Rejects. The musicianship is exactly what you expect, nothing to write home about but sometimes simplicity is the key and the Crash Moderns demonstrate exactly that. For most of these songs I could picture one day in the near future seeing a hip music video for on MTV, or Fuse, especially the second track “Pimp My Life”. An all around good job, by a band stuck in a genre that seems to be getting weaker and less exciting by the minute.
The Crash Moderns – Goodnight Glamour Good Morning Disaster (myspace.com/thecrashmoderns)
Yuck! Just what we need another band that sounds like all the others that are taking up the space on our airwaves. Same old beats, same whiney singer, new band name; they are all the same and I hate it! Pop melodies with screaming backing vocals and the same guitars that featured on every Taking Back Sunday album. Boo!
The Method To My Medium – "The Sincerities EP" (Thriving Records / Eastwest)
What is this? Is this music? What is going on? I demand answers! I really don’t know what to say about this but it’s giving me the creeps. It sounds like the backing track to a bad sci-fi horror movie. If you are into this type of stuff by all means pick up this album, but I this is not something I would recommend unless you are looking for a soundtrack to play in your haunted house next Halloween.
The Pyramids – The Pyramids (Hydra Head Records)
The Kidneys – The Kidneys (myspace.com/kidneys)
Upon doing research on this band, I find out that the person singing his heartfelt lyrics and rocking the gee-tar is none other than Bad Religion drummer Brooks Wackerman. Combining elements of vocal-focused rock n’ roll such as Elvis Costello with instrumentation that is reminiscent of Bad Religion / Descendents’ earlier, more hard-hitting tunes, Brooks find his own unique sound and makes it marketable. From start to finish, you never know where the next song is going to take you; it’s like a guessing game of sorts in which no matter what happens. you will always win. If you ask me, this is one of the best indie albums I have heard in a long time, and I believe that fans of all music could all come together and agree that Kidneys is one amazing rock band.
The album opens with a bang of that loud hard hitting classic rock guitar sound that sounds like it is being churned out by a wall of Marshall Amplifiers. With an overall sound comparable to rock acts of the 70’s such as AC/DC, it is hard to not think about Angus Young in his schoolboy outfit hopping across the stage. Although The Sleepers seem to draw lots of influence out of these huge arena rock bands, they seem to have forgot the most important part, and that being the catchy, sing a long, chorus’ that everyone in the arena can pump there fist and chant along with. All in all… I am bored.
The Sleepers – Comeback Special (Pravda Records)
The name of this demo says it all. As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect, however in this case I don’t this the saying will hold its ground. They play a little too fast for themselves and the lyrics are screamed or yelled to the point where you can’t make out what they are saying. They remind me of the band Los Crudos… except I kinda liked that band. Not a single song stands out.
Georgian – “No Practice Demo”
I don’t understand the obsession with bands that sound like they are floating around in the clouds with their instruments and are singing half asleep. It is albums like this that drive me crazy Maybe I don’t get it; no, I know I don’t get it. Maybe I am not hip enough to get it. This sounds like Brooklyn hipster music at its finest and it drives me up the walls. If it weren’t so irritating, it would put me to sleep.
The Jealous Girlfriends – “The Jealous Girlfriends” (Good Fences Records)
Featuring an ex- member or members of one of my favorite Buffalo, NY bands - The Failures’ Union - how could The Exit Strategy do wrong? The answer is that they can’t, with fun, quirky guitar work similar to that of Fugazi and strong vocals that sit perfectly layered in between all this exciting music. The vocals remind me very much of the recently broken-up New Jersey band of teens called The Medics. All in all this is a completely solid release from an awesome, rocking, up and coming indie band.
THE EXIT STRATEGY – City Of Microphones (One Percent Press)
Classical music mixed with pop music, laced with bits of electronica, all tied together with a hip hop feel with depressing vocals. Needless to say, I am as confused as you are. This is something you’d expect to hear in the background of some artsy movie. Not something I would ever chose to listen to, but it’s harmlessly interesting, to say the least.
SON LUX – At War With Walls And Mazes (Anticon)
JOE JITSU – The Perfect Life (Top Five Records)
With a clean nostalgic Kerplunk!-era Green Day sound, Joe Jitsu brings you “The Perfect Life”, a 12 song album complete with smooth vocals about our favorite pop punk topic (girls) and precise instrumentation to guide you through. “You Got Me Alone” (the first track) sets the pace as a warming introduction to the album, taking the consistent vocals and setting them over a clean guitar sound. Then before long it ends and the distortion of the guitars on “Now Or Never” come in to show how well the band can alter from a crystal clear sound to a slightly more in your face tune. Throughout this album the band keeps changing the pace and sound from slow clean sounding songs to faster paced songs with a more rock ‘n’ roll guitar sound. This steady album keeps you captured from song one through their cover of the Beach Boy’s classic “Girl Don’t Tell Me”, straight through until the end. I have always been worried when hearing that there is a Beach Boy cover on a pop punk album but Joe Jitsu knocks this one out of the ballpark to fully capture Brian Wilson’s true sentiments. I had the privilege of seeing this fantastic band at this summers Insubordination Fest in Baltimore and since then I just can’t get enough of them. With the release of “The Perfect Life” it is evident that this band is going to be around for a while and I am very eager to continue to watch this band grow and see where they go from here.
Move over Fall Out Boy. This band out of Michigan is going to give all those MTV pop bands a run for their money with this release. It really seems as if Fearless Records has narrowed its audience to middle school girls. And for them that might not be a bad idea because I can see this being a staple in any of their collections. I mean, c’mon, it sounds exactly like everything else that has a music video on TV. That would explain why not a single song on the entire album stands out from the next. Is there such thing as being too radio friendly?
EVERY AVENUE – Shh, Just Go With It (Fearless Records)
A group of outstanding musicians come together and create some of the most boring music to date. Although I am positive college radio will eat this up, I think I’d rather eat glass. Nothing against the artists, they are clearly great musicians but its like listening to a twenty-minute joke and still not hear the punch line. You can wait all you want but it’ll never come.
CITIFIED – The Meeting After The Meeting (Eskimo Kiss)
ILYA MONOSOV – 7 Lucky Plays, Or How To Fix Songs For A Broken Heart (Language Of Stone/Drag City)
Song after song of broken hearted sad ballads. At times it gets quite ridiculous with all the random accompanying instruments but his vocals are what ties it all together. In a deep, hushed voice Ilya tells stories of heartbreak and each story keeps you on edge wondering where he is going to go next. My personal favorite song here is “Tricycle”. It opens with intense acoustic guitar leading up to the vocals where he begins singing about how is reminded of ... yup, you guessed it, his tricycle and how he used to capture butterflies. I don’t know for some reason I keep going back to this song and don’t want it to end. Its weird and dark and there is just something about it that keeps pulling me in. I can’t explain it. Buy this album and you will understand exactly what I am talking about.
Pretendo play a sort of experimental pop music that seems like a mix of forces between Jimmy Eat World and Sonic Youth. For me there is simply just too many things going on here at once, all coming together in headache form. I’m sure this is something stoners across the country will enjoy but for me I’d rather just stay away. If you are a stoner in your late teens to mid twenties, there is a great chance you will love this, but then again you’ll probably never hear since you’d rather spend your money on things that are illegal and mind-altering. To each his own. (Noah W. K.)
PRETENDO - ][ (Country Club Records)
I first heard this band when I was lucky enough to review the “About A Girl” comp where a bunch of shitty bands cover songs of great bands that have a females name in the title. Blank Pages covered ‘Elenore” by The Turtles and I didn’t like them then nor do I like them now. Usually I am a sucker for slow pop songs with an abundance of harmonies but there is just something missing here and I can’t quite put my finger on it. I guess I am just not interested. Sorry guys.
BLANK PAGES – On My Street (FDR)
No we’re talking, indie rock with attitude. Quite frankly I was getting sick of this weird obscure boring music everyone seems so interested in making, but Red Cavalry comes and hits hard. With chanted vocals in the chorus of “Where The Blood Runs From” they will have you chanting along by the end of the song, leaving you wanting to go back to it and chant some more. “Anonymous” could easily be a radio single and should at least be in constant rotation on college radio. However towards the middle of this album I did start to slip and lose interest. The first grouping of songs were good but after that, it kind of lost its touch. Oh well.
RED CAVALRY– The Geography Of Nowhere (myspace.com/redcavalry)
Yet another punk band I was never able to get into, Canada's D.O.A. rip through 14 tracks of in your face punk-rock with crappier lyrics than ever. These washed- up punks play Dead Kennedy’s-styled punk and do a sub-par job of doing that. The one thing that stands out on this album is the quality of the over-all recording; this style of punk rock was never meant to be produced this well, its just not punk sounding. If I’m going to listen to anything out of Canada today, it better be The Riptides, The Varsity Weirdos or The Hextalls.
D.O.A - The Black Spot (Sudden Death Records)
THE FILTHY -Positively South Jersey (Boot To Head Records)With all the buzz about bands coming out of New Jersey these days, The Filthy 42’s slide under the radar and some go un-noticed. It might be due to the style of music they play - influenced by the likes of Social Distortion, Rancid and Operation Ivy - is barely marketable except for in stores such as Hot Topic. Hopefully the punks won’t notice that each song is at least a minute too long, making the album kind of drag and seem repetitive. The spirit of ’77 seems to be back, and it will be the Filthy 42’s to lead the way and bring this sound back to the kids who still wear their hair in spikes across the country. UP THE PUNX!
JOE LALLY - Nothing Is Underrated (Dischord Records)
Since Fugazi’s indefinite hiatus, bass player Joe Lally has been recording songs and touring as a “solo” act. I put the word “solo” in quotes due to the simple fact that most (if not all) of the songs on Nothing Is Underrated are collaborations. Bringing in the best of the best of this indie rock post hardcore sound (meaning other members of Fugazi, Guy Picciotto and Ian MacKaye,) Joe Lally brings you songs that you can listen to no matter what mood you are in, following the similar mold of other Dischord acts such as Ian Mackaye’s band The Evens. However, Joe Lally simply blows most indie rockers today out of the water with his smooth bass lines, which are used more like a lead instrument than just something to keep the rhythm. And almost as smooth as his bass lines, his vocals carry you through stories and take you on an adventure; just as one amazing ride finishes, another promptly starts up again. This is just another album that makes me miss the powerhouse that Fugazi was. One could only dream for a reunion, but until that day this album will stay in my cd player and I am content with that.
Singalong punk rock in its cleanest form. These over-polished punk rockers from the great white north of Alaska play street rock with strong ‘70’s punk undertones. “Daggers,” a song written about gang life, makes me question the possibilities of gangs in Alaska. Even though most of the tracks on this album sound very similar (which is expected in this style of music,) the title track is by far in my opinion the worst track on the whole album. Being comparable in sound to punk acts such as The Briggs and The Ducky Boys, I would not be the slightest bit disappointed or surprised to stumble across this band in a local bar. Looking past the lack of interesting lyrics ("I’ve got the heart of a lion/ and the wings of a bat”)- this is supposed to be fun sing along punk rock, so the lyrics should be more memorable - I still believe this is the best thing to come out of Alaska since Scott Gomez. (Seriously what else has come out of Alaska?) Lets Go Rangers!
THE SCURVIES - Nightprowler (Boot To Head Records)
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