The Book-Burners, “People’s Songs” LP

Posted in indie, reviews, vinyl on December 18th, 2013 by Nick – Be the first to comment

cover - book-burnersStarting off sounding like a Midwestern band gone Seattle on “Quick,” the Book-Burners quickly establish themselves as a band loathe to embrace modern trends on People’s Songs, their debut full-length release on Latest Flame.

However, despite being a band that looks backward in terms of sonic dimensions, the advantageous part is that they’re doing so from a remove of a decade and a half, meaning they’ve the ability to pick and choose, keeping the good bits and discarding that which doesn’t work. There’s some early R.E.M. angularity, the droning fuzz of In Utero-era Nirvana, some Kill Rock Stars looseness … it’s fun.
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Like Like The The Death, “Cave Jenny” LP

Posted in indie, reviews, rock 'n' roll, vinyl on December 13th, 2013 by Nick – Be the first to comment

cover - like like the the deathUsually, when someone talks about how a record’s not left their turntable for however long, it’s a bit of hyperbole. In my case, with Like Like The The Death‘s Cave Jenny, it’s absolutely literal. The LP showed up about a week or so ago, and once it went on, it pretty much stayed there.

I’d go over to grab it off and put it away, but would then figure, “Well, I should really give that another listen …” Next thing you know, I’d be hearing the opening chords of “Here Comes Irregular,” and I’d be working my way through the album once agin. This happened once or twice a day for five days straight.

It’s a hard album to describe, Cave Jenny is. The fact that it’s absolutely fascinating isn’t to be denied, but how to communicate what it is? Frankly, it’s one of those frustratingly wonderful records that leaves you in the position of telling people, “You really just have to hear it.”
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Adam Widener, “Vesuvio Nights” LP

Posted in garage rock, punk, reviews, streaming audio / video, vinyl on December 12th, 2013 by Nick – 1 Comment

adam widener coverAdam Widener‘s new album for Speakertree Records does really bring to mind the late Jay Reatard, but any dirty power pop these days is likely to do so. Reatard’s sound was so distinctive, it’s hard to avoid comparisons. However, Widener is actually quite a bit more than just a knock-off.

The best cuts on Vesuvio Nights, like “Telephone Traps” and “Crystal Castles,” work surf rock through chiming guitars, and it’s infectiously wonderful. It’s something akin to what’s been done in indie rock the last few years by the likes of Vivian Girls or Best Coast, but far more accomplished. It’s not sloppy and dreamy, but energetic and fun.
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Ruleta Rusa, “No Aqui Es” LP

Posted in hardcore, punk, reviews, vinyl on December 11th, 2013 by Nick – Be the first to comment

cover - ruleta rusaLooking at the cover, I was thinking, “What the fuck? Did Sorry State put out a thrash record?” Just taking a glance at the jacket for Ruleta Rusa‘s No Aqui Es, and you’re thinking Grim Reaper or some other mid-’80s stalwarts.

However, the instant the needle drops on this LP, and it’s a different matter. This is rock ‘n’ roll — punk ‘n’ roll, if you want to be specific. It’s like Motorhead at first, but moves smoothly into ’80s hardcore by the end of the first side.

To clarify, in terms of hardcore, it’s got that East Coast flair, where everything was a little more standard rock ‘n’ roll, whereas West Coast hardcore always seemed a little warmer — it’s a totally random decision I made on my own, to which I attribute the weather differences.
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Waxeater, “Baltimore Record” LP

Posted in punk, reviews, rock 'n' roll, vinyl on December 10th, 2013 by Nick – Be the first to comment

cover - waxeater baltimore recordListening to Waxeater‘s Baltimore Record makes me really wish I’d been able to get into The Wire. I certainly would like to be able to analyze exactly how the lyrical content specifically relates to the plight of Omar or the whole Baltimore drug trade.

But I didn’t, and I can’t, so rather than blather on about what I’m missing in analyzing Waxeater’s latest, let’s discuss what makes it so appealing for those such as myself, who came to the band only knowing that their split 7-inch with Lawrence’s Jabberjosh a few years back was flipping intense.
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Missing Monuments, “Blast!” 7-inch

Posted in garage rock, punk, reviews, vinyl on November 15th, 2013 by Nick – Be the first to comment

cover - missing monuments blastConcluding our week of power-pop this week, we’re looking at another release from Slovenly Recordings — in this case, the newest single from Missing Monuments, due out on 7-inch on November 26. With releases on Dirtnap, HoZac, and Douchemaster, it only seems logical that King Louie would eventually find his way to the Reno label, renowned for their discerning tastes in garage and punk.

The title track, “Blast!” is a stomper. The guitar line cycles around and around, while the drums pound and pound, with a harmonica bleating out on top of it. Louie’s vocals are harsh and shouted, making this the punkest blues you’ve heard outside the Gun Club. It’s tough as nails.
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The #1s, “Sharon Shouldn’t” 7-inch

Posted in garage rock, mp3, pop, reviews, vinyl on November 13th, 2013 by Nick – 1 Comment

cover - 1s sharonThe #1s — in addition to being one of the hardest bands to find in our modern-day #hashtag culture — have been making quite a name for themselves in the pop underground as of late. They’ve put out two singles in rapid succession, and finally have a proper United States release with their “Sharon Shouldn’t” single on Sorry State and Alien Snatch.

The title track is a masterful piece of power-pop, with a really crisp sound to it. If the sleeve didn’t tip you off to their early-’80s sonic aesthetic, the opening seconds of the track will immediately clue you in. There’s no fuzz on this cut — everything is super-clean and high end, rocking out with just a little of that vocal effect that sounds like you’re singing into a very quiet bullhorn. Lots of dropped-out bits — dropping out all the instruments to let the vocals take hold; letting the drums and bass do a little chooglin’, then slicing some razor-sharp guitar riffs through them — make for some great dynamic moments.
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Nightmare Boyzzz, “Bad Patterns” LP

Posted in garage rock, punk, reviews, rock 'n' roll, upcoming release, vinyl on November 12th, 2013 by Nick – 2 Comments

cover - nightmare boyzzz bad patternsOh, man — can power-pop be the next big thing in underground rock ‘n’ roll? We got the ball rolling with the Exploding Hearts, Missing Monuments, and Mean Jeans, but it hasn’t seemed to become a “thing” like lo-fi, shitgaze, or whatever. However, given that we’ve got the #1s getting released in the states, and this Nightmare Boyzzz LP hitting about the same time, I’m hopeful.

Bad Patterns, out in two weeks on Slovenly Recordings, is truly wonderful. I’ve been returning to it more and more over the last week or so, and with each listen, I find something new to like about it. Granted, it’s not like these Huntsville boys are breaking out for new territory with this release. It hearkens back to quite a few other artists, taking pop-punk’s energy and the bouncy guitar rhythms of glam, and merging them with any number of early ’80s acts that came on the heels of the Buzzcocks and the Undertones.
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Sid Sowder on his label, Too Much Rock

Posted in indie, interview, label, local, rock 'n' roll, vinyl on November 7th, 2013 by Nick – 4 Comments

too much rock logoWith his new label, Too Much Rock, Kansas City’s Sid Sowder might have the most revelatory approach to releasing music you’ve ever heard: “I used to run a label for years where I worked very hard and lost a lot of money. Now I’m just pressing the 7-inchess and giving them to the band. I lose the same amount of money and I get to say F-U to the ‘industry’ part of the record industry.”
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Schwervon!, “Landlocked” 7-inch

Posted in indie, reviews, rock 'n' roll, vinyl on November 6th, 2013 by Nick – 5 Comments

cover - schwervon too much rockSid Sowder, aka Sid from Too Much Rock has started a record label. Or rather, started a new record label. He used to run Urinine Records back in the late ’90s / early ’00s, and put out two of my favorite releases — the Believe It or Nots’ There’s A Great Future In Plastics and Namelessnumberheadman’s When We Leave, We Will Know Where We’ve Been. He’s also shot pictures of hundreds of bands, videos of dozens, and really (and forgive for saying this) repping the scene.

All of this goes to say that Sid starting a new label to release things has me very excited. The man knows good music, and he demonstrates it yet again pretty fully on the first installment of the Too Much Rock singles series. Featuring Schwervon! doing both an original and a cover, this big-hole 45 hits all my favorite things: it’s a single, first of all, and both songs are exclusive to this release. “Landlocked” is the first song the band wrote upon moving to Kansas City back in April of 2012. The B-side is a cover, as all flipsides will be for the singles series. Sowder picks the songs, and in this case it’s the Raincoats’ “Off Duty Trip,” sounding like it was written especially for this dynamic twosome.

Schwervon! has always managed to earn my undying affection by virtue of their energetic, fairly bopping live shows, and the fact that they manage to translate that enthusiasm to recordings in a way few other acts can. They play music that you could describe as firmly rooted in late-’80s / early-’90s college rock, but fairly much just rocks. It’s fun fucking music that snooty pricks in Guided By Voices t-shirts can enjoy just as much as some dudebro who listens to the Buzz.