Thee Tsunamis, “Delirium and Dark Waters” 7-inch

Posted in garage rock, punk, reviews, streaming audio / video, vinyl on March 27th, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment

cover - thee tsunamisThee TsunamisDelirium and Dark Waters 7-inch on Magnetic South is just so much fun, I can’t believe they haven’t hit the Terminal Boredom hype machine. The songs aren’t scary — you look at the cover art and song titles, and you immediately assume Cramps-ish psychobilly or Deadbolt-style death surf — but instead, the trio works in a lo-fi garage vein with a shitload of twang to work their atmospheric magic.

There’s some swampy surf vibes going on instrumentally — and they’re really good, too. Thee Tsunamis rock a wave of late-night creepiness enhanced by the sneer in the voices of Betsy, Sharlene, and Josie. Opening cut “Haunted House” sounds like the trio’s singing from the perspective of the house’s denizens, daring you to risk a trip through the front door.
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Panda Kid, “Summetry” LP

Posted in garage rock, punk, reviews, vinyl on January 29th, 2014 by Nick – 1 Comment

cover - panda kid summetryIf Panda Kid ever deigns to tour the Midwest, I can’t begin to think of how much I’d thank them for the absolute joy they bring into my life with each and every release. Summetry, their latest LP, got a US release a few weeks back courtesy of Chicago’s Already Dead, and much like everything this Italian group releases, it’s taken a while to figure out what I think about it.

I mean, granted, I like it. It’s pretty much a given that any Panda Kid release will get some form of thumbs up from me at this point. It’s really more of figuring out what tack the group will take on any given release. On Summetry, it’s a vibe that reminds me if it were possible for a time-traveling Beatles to have grown up listening to Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd.
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Acid Fast, “Rabid Moon” LP

Posted in indie, punk, reviews, vinyl on January 27th, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment

cover - acid fast rabid moonJumping up and down in my chair, listening to everything kick in on the first track of Acid Fast‘s Rabid Moon, it’s like that first time I heard Ned’s Atomic Dustbin doing “Kill Your Television” on 120 Minutes — I am happy, I am elated, and I’m wondering how this band figured out how to make such catchy music sound so dark.

Acid Fast demonstrate time and time again they know how to make you anticipate, then lose your shit. It’s not quite build and release, but more of a sense of knowing when you can drop out certain sonic elements to emphasize the others. Case in point: if a band has a song called “Shred Forever,” there damn well better be a guitar solo, and while it’s not quite what you’d expect, it’s there, and it’s boss.
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Adventures / Run Forever, “Split” EP

Posted in indie, punk, reviews, upcoming release, vinyl on January 15th, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment

cover - adventures run forever splitPairing Adventures with Run Forever is such a ridiculously perfect idea, it’s basically one of those “shut up and take my money!” releases. Adventures’ dreamy indie pop has a certain angular melodicism to it that hints at part of the band’s involvement with Code Orange Kids. It especially comes out in the feedback-drenched ends to their songs.

Run Forever, however, works it a little differently. Rather than fading out their songs, they opt for epic intros, leading into harmonies suited perfectly for lifted hands and heartfelt sing-alongs. The bands compliment one another, and they’re both on the rise, so why wouldn’t the two acts come together?
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Ex Friends, “Rules For Making Up Words” LP

Posted in punk, reviews, rock 'n' roll, streaming audio / video, upcoming release, vinyl on January 9th, 2014 by Nick – 2 Comments

cover - ex friends rulesWe’ve talked about asthetics I’m not down with before — the whole Hot Water Music thing being beyond my comprehension, for example — and I’m trying to figure out what it is about Ex Friends‘ full-length, Rules For Making Up Words, that turns me off.

Just a few months back, I was excited beyond all belief regarding their Twisted Around 7-inch. Now, listening to this record that they’ve released on Paper + Plastick, I’m just kind of watching it tick by in iTunes, waiting for the damned thing to be over.

For lack of a better thing, I think it’s kind of like my Dillinger Four preferences. I love D4 songs with Paddy on vocals, and get kind of ambivalent toward Erik songs, but I’m pretty all right with songs where they both sing. Same thing goes for Ex Friends — I love Audrey Crash‘s vocals, but am kind of turned off by Joel Tannenbaum‘s delivery.
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New Coke, “Duct Tape Your Mouth” 7-inch

Posted in garage rock, punk, reviews, vinyl on January 6th, 2014 by Nick – 3 Comments

cover - new coke duct tapeThe latest from New Coke isn’t as deliriously weird as their first single. Can anything be as uncomfortably wonderful as “He Got Stabbed In the Throat”? I humbly submit the answer be, “No – no fucking way.”

Granted, the Duct Tape Your Mouth EP is still pretty uncomfortable — it isn’t as delightfully weird as its predecessor, but it’s still super-uncomfortable. The title track is a strangely catchy tale of home invasion and hostage situation and (like the other two tracks on this single) suitably jittery and edgy.
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Save Ends, “Warm Hearts, Cold Hands” LP

Posted in indie, pop, reviews, vinyl on January 3rd, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment

cover - save endsFun times with indie-pop from Boston’s Save Ends. Their debut full-length after several years of EPs, Warm Hearts, Cold Hands is a harder-edged Dollyrots or Mixtapes. It’s super-poppy, and the whole album is pretty much “Harmonies! Energy! Riffs!” for its entirety.

Save Ends really aim for energetic songs, but the lyrics drag everything down. It’s not that the music isn’t good — the riffs are catchy, the keys are nice when they come through, and the bass and drums make for a head-nodding beat. It’s more that the songs contain lyrics talking about falling down, blood draining from arms, things breaking down, and feeling alone.
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Secret Smoker, “Terminal Architecture” LP

Posted in indie, punk, reviews, streaming audio / video, vinyl on January 2nd, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment

cover - secret smokerWell, hello, the late ’90s. I’ve missed you. Before screamo, bands would work angular riffs, battering their guitars and vocal chords to produce emotionally-resonant, cathartic music that shredded vocal chords while simultaneously breathing life into your wounded self.

It was really important when I was 19. Lyrics like “You fixed the game/ I played along” might not have as much emotional resonance for me at 34, but the stop on a dime, herky-jerky rhythmic flow of post-hardcore will always get my blood going.
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Signals Midwest, “Light On the Lake” LP

Posted in punk, reviews, rock 'n' roll, streaming audio / video, vinyl on December 31st, 2013 by Nick – 1 Comment

cover - signals midwest light on the lakeIt took the second run-through on the turntable to notice it, but Signals Midwest frontman Maxwell Stern sounds a lot like Bomb the Music Industry’s Jeff Rosenstock. If I remember correctly, I really liked their last album, but this one kind of refuses to stick in my mind.

The guitar solo on “In the Pauses” grabs your attention first and foremost, if you’re not a BTMI fan. It’s one of the few moments Light On the Lake‘s first side that doesn’t work in the loud-quiet-loud dynamic that’s become almost de rigeur for punk bands these days — quiet spoken parts, then big anthemic choruses.

It’s great for singing along and fist-pumping, but the fact that Signals Midwest actually do more guitar-wise than just strumming or rocking power chords gets lost in these songs that are, honestly, more like pieces from a Broadway musical than rock ‘n’ roll.
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Marco Beltrami, “Carrie” OST LP

Posted in reviews, soundtracks, vinyl on December 19th, 2013 by Nick – 3 Comments

cover - carrie soundtrackThe Music On Vinyl release of Marco Beltrami‘s score for the recent Carrie remake is absolutely fantastic in terms of … well, everything. Beltrami’s score isn’t presented here as a series of individual pieces, which is good. While there are slight pauses between each selection, for the most part, the Carrie score is almost arranged in such a way as to make it seem like one singular work.

Which is as it should, be really. Think of it this way: if a filmmaker has a visual aesthetic for the film, you’d want it complimented by a composer who can do the same thing with the score, and that’s what Beltrami has accomplished, here. Each piece plays like a movement to a larger work, rather than each scene being compartmentalized.
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