Save Ends, “Warm Hearts, Cold Hands” LP

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. Granted, the songs try to aim for a positive outlook, but the optimism doesn't come through nearly as clearly as it should. "Skeptical Sons/Curious Daughters" works that balance pretty well, but everything else seems to get mired in the darkness, finding it difficult to look toward a sunnier horizon. Additionally, the keys really don't come through in the mix as much as I'd like them to. "A Life They Wrote" and "Kurzweil" have them in there, somewhere, but it's almost like they're more hinted-at than actually acknowledged. Maybe I want the band to be more Anniversary than Get Up Kids. Hell, I'd be happy if they were "Mass Pike," but it seems they're aiming for more "Ten Minutes."
You can buy Save Ends' Warm Hearts, Cold Hands from the Tiny Engines store on vinyl. First pressing info is as follows: 105 Blue with White + Green Starburst, 130 Transparent Fiery Orange, 150 Transparent Light Blue, and 215 Opaque Gray. The opaque grey's kind of marbled, FYI.

Signals Midwest, “Light On the Lake” LP

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. All of the songs follow that musical theater paradigm and pattern so closely, it's only when you get a ripping solo (see also: "St. Vincent Charity") that the songs do more than work toward a chorus. "An Echo, A Strain" manages to subvert everything by doing so instrumentally, rather than vocally, which is nice, because it finally gets the album into something more than rock by numbers. The second side, from "Lowercase" onward, works as a real rock record, building the songs to something more than sing-along choruses. At times, you get these screams and yells like the "NOOOOOOOO!" at the end of "San Anselmo," which packs quite a punch. So, while Light On the Lake takes a bit to get going, once it opens up, Signals Midwest demonstrate that they can do more than just standard anthems by the numbers. Be patient, and stay with this record, and you'll find yourself enjoying it more than you thought possible.
With the packing for Light On the Lake, Tiny Engines has knocked it out of the park yet again. Foil accents and matte finish on the jacket, purple marble vinyl, and a lyric sheet insert. Not super-fancy, but nice and quality to indicate that this is a release that means something. Light On the Lake is available from the Tiny Engines store on "Light" (Opaque Orange), limited to 175, 200 on "Lake" (Opaque Navy Blue), and 250 Clear. The 125 "Sludge" (White with Green & Black Starburst) are sold out.

Springtime, “South Hill” 7-inch

cover - springtimeIs it lazy to describe Springtime's South Hill 7-inch as post-Cro Mags hardcore, fronted by Henry Rollins? Something about Springtime makes me want to start shorthanding every reference. The group's quite good -- don't get me wrong. This is actually one of the heavier releases Tiny Engines has put out. It's just that the whole thing is very '90s: specifically, early-to-mid, pre-pop punk / emo explosion. The vocals are still getting spit, but melodicism tempers the anger. "Wait" balances every aspect of what Springtime brings. The melody, energy, and anger are balanced so perfectly, I was listening on tenterhooks, afraid the whole thing would teeter or go off the rails. Gladly, it doesn't, and it's absolutely riveting. This is exactly what a 7-inch should be: all songs essential, making a showcase for the band which leaves you wanting more. You can snag it on vinyl from the Tiny Engines store. It's available as a pressing of 100 on white with blue & orange starburst, 120 on white, 130 on gray, or 150 on robin egg blue, or you can get a package with all four.

State Lines, “For the Boats” LP

cover - state lines for the boatsThe latest from State Lines, For the Boats, is the album everybody’s been wanting since Brand New failed to make Your Favorite Weapon 2: The Favoriting. It’s that perfect messed-up mix of pop hooks and emotional letting-go that so hooked everyone who grew up on a steady diet of New Found Glory and Saves the Day, but were left wanting something more substantial than the usual Drive Thru Records fare. However, while the first part of the record seems to be straight from the emo-pop handbook, replete with cracked voices and power chords, it begins to stray from the path with the last two songs on the first side. "Shit For Brains" lurches, stumbles, races, and manages to be quietly introspective all at once. The song then ends with a soaring guitar solo. It's two minutes of emotional ups and downs, making it something like the record in microcosm. Followed up as it is by "For The Ears," which is acoustic guitars and what sounds like drumming on a desk, and so very, very intimate, the vast array of sounds it brings is that more more noticeable. The fact that "Where It's Warm" actually leaves intact a fuck-up and apology makes this record seem that much more sincere. The false start lends a much-needed bit of levity into what is a seriously intense and emotionally forthright recording. Big props to Tiny Engines for creating such a boss bit of packaging, in addition to the music. They always tend to go the extra step, be it the spot varnish on Dikembe's Broad Shoulders and Run, Forever's Settling, or the screen-printed outer bag for Annabel's Here We Are Tomorrow 7-inch. For the Boats has blue metallic ink on the front cover's waves, and it just looks gorgeous. In terms of vinyl colors: the 105 on white with red and blue starburst are sold right out, but you can also snag it as an edition of 130 on opaque red, 150 on opaque blue, or 215 on white. I received the white and it looks solid. They can be had from the Tiny Engines store.

Run, Forever, “Settling” LP

cover - run forever settlingThe first long-player from Run, Forever in a year and a half -- and the first recordings from the band in over a year -- Settling is an album that's been long-awaited. Now that it's out on Tiny Engines, what do we have? Run, Forever's sound on Settling is the natural successor to the late '90s / early '00s acts who filtered alternative rock through a pop filter (i.e., the entire Drive Thru records roster). On this LP, Run, Forever flip the equation, filtering alterna-pop through an indie rock filter. The songs on this album are catchy and heartfelt, but messy and dark. It's a lot like Titus Andronicus, but much like that band, I enjoy Settling as a fleeting thing. It's an enjoyable enough record, but I don't see myself returning to it all that album. It's basically good, but uncompelling. The one exception is the guitar tone in the main riff of album opener, "Sun Bruised." Ohmyfuckinggod. It's sickeningly killer. It's song that makes girls shake their hips and swing their hair, and anyone with an ounce of soul in their bones will bop up and down, then flail madly doing air guitar when that riff comes up. The physical release is something with which I've almost spent more time than the music -- it's a pressing of 500, with 100 on opaque green, 125 on opaque pink, 125 on opaque blue, and 150 on white with black smoke. I got the smoke and it looks a little dirty. Not quite as good as the clear smoke variants one usually sees, but it's mitigated by the matte jacket, which has a glossy logo with matte imagery on top of that, then glossy on top of that. Pretty fucking choice. It's available now from the Tiny Engines store. Settling by Run Forever

Jowls, “Cursed” 10-inch

DOG164 JACKET FINALThey still make screamy, angular indie rock, thank heavens. I'd been afraid that screamo had co-opted this style of delivery almost completely, but Jowls' Cursed, out now on Tiny Engines, comfortably delivers screaming and impassioned lyrical delivery from breakdowns and mall hair. Cursed is jam-packed with metronomic pulses which abruptly shift, lurching and jerking into another cyclical section, which will itself be punctuated by agonized vocals. The first side's three songs hew so closely to this template that it's almost as if it's one long song, each track seperated but nothing but a quiet drum roll. Then, side b opens with "Sway Slow," which allows you neither -- starting out as it does with a trainlike rhythm, going into breakneck speed. It's the peak of the album which builds to that bit of blistering speed, and then becomes a bit more sedate towards the end. While definitely a throwback to an era I'd long thought gone (we miss you, Season to Risk and Fragile Porcelain Mice!), it's so defiantly different than what's currently being purveyed it feels fresh. The album comes as a 10-inch, with a pressing of 500 -- 100 on black, 125 on clear with black smoke, 125 on opaque green, and 150 on opaque bone. The smoke is particularly choice, and can still be had from the Tiny Engines store. Cursed by Jowls

Run, Forever guitarist Anthony Huebel on the trio’s new album (also, cats)

RunForever_NewPhoto1_hi res Pittsburgh punk trio Run, Forever recently released their second LP, Settling, via Tiny Engines. It's been over a year since the band last released any new music, and they're celebrating the new album by setting out on a tour with labelmates State Lines. The tour hits Kansas City's Art Closet Studios for a show with Emo Side Project on Sunday, January 13. Singer and guitarist Anthony Heubel spoke with us via e-mail about the new record, touring, and cats. Run, Forever's sound swings back and forth between anthemic punk anRunForever_NewPhoto2_hi-resd acoustic folk. What's the appeal for a punk act to play acoustic? For me, it's really fun to write something so minimal and simple. I think that sometimes it's even more challenging than writing a song that would be played by a full band. Its a lot easier to notice mistakes when it's just guitar and vocals but I also think that's what gives those kinds of songs their character. I write all of our songs on acoustic to begin with and one of them always ends up just feeling better that way. I ask, because it seems that number of punk bands which go from electric to acoustic and back is growing. Does it have to do with the roots of protest music lying in the folk genre? Acoustic songs can definitely feel more intimate. They can be a good way to kind of get to the point of something right from the start. Stripped down without flashy instrumentation it's all about the lyrics, so who ever's listening is going to be focused on what you have to say. Your 2011 split with the Wild featured a 'zine that was produced by both bands, and tied its content into the material on the 7-inch. Do you have any plans to revisit that idea of text plus music in the future? Cassie is still very active in writing her zine "Cat Power". We don't have any plans right now to release any more text with music but I'm always open to that idea. Our friends in Rubrics released a book not too long ago, I would love to do something like that but I think I question my writing ability too much. Especially if it's something political, I feel like I always sound like a little kid. cover - run foorever settlingYou've obviously been recording and releasing music since your first LP, The Devil, The Death, and Me, but it's been over a year since your last 7-inch. What was the delay on releasing Settling? I guess we just didn't want to rush things. We put out a good bit of music pretty fast and with "Settling" we really wanted it's release to be anticipated instead of something that just happened. The record also loosely documents our recent move at the time to a town just outside of Pittsburgh called Braddock and up until the record was done being recorded we were still writing bits and pieces of it. The song "Braddock Beach" in particular was the last song to be finished and recorded. Settling by Run Forever Run, Forever's tours take the band to a lot of house shows and otherwise "nontraditional" venues. Are there upsides or downsides to playing galleries, basements, and the like? Absolutely, each one can be equally great and frustrating in their own way. Basements and houses are always really fun because they're intimate and close up and you feel like you're in a Sum 41 music video. And while most of them are awesome sometimes they're just parties and no one could really care less about what you're playing as long as they can slosh around to it, those shows are bummers. A really great gallery in Pittsburgh called Most Wanted Fine Arts used to have shows and it was one of my favorite places to play. Galleries are cool because they're kind of in the middle between venues and houses/basements. They don't have a big stage and fancy sound system but they're also not as cramped and hard to access as someones basement. What's with your love of cats? I mean, I understand completely, as they're adorable and loveable, but you make mention of how much you're into them on your Facebook, in your merch store. They're just great animals. Very spiritual, lots of good energy. Pop over to the Tiny Engines site for more tour dates, as well as the ability to pick up the new releases from Run, Forever and State Lines.

Restorations, “A/B” 7-inch

cover-restorations-abTo be frank, the majority of the releases on Tiny Engines don't make much of an impression on me. They're pleasant enough bits of post rock indie / emo, with all of the bands strongly influenced by latter-day Dischord acts and the loud-quiet-loud aesthetic of the many Deep Elm acts who preceded them. Specifically, I've never quite understood the acclaim many fans give to Restorations. They're nice enough, but the songs they make tend to bore after a bit. An entire LP of their material might've been the biggest struggle I've ever had listening to an album for review. It's with this in mind that I dropped the needle on the new Restorations single, A/B. It's a clever enough idea to name one song "A" and the other "B," but it also smacks of laziness: "What should we call these? Eh, screw it -- let's just name 'em after the sides of the single." "A" is the usual from Restorations, albeit rather short. It being the basic Tiny Engines sonic formula, I flipped the record and started up "B," prepared to ignore it as I lost interest after the first 60 seconds. Such was not the case. "B" works like a five-act play. You've got some ebb and flow in the introduction and rising action, building towards a crescendo and climax. However, rather than do as so many other acts would, and just leaving the song once they've hit the big jam, Restorarations allows the song to sort of chill out and go to the dénouement, telling a story with few words. It's very much in the vein of Appleseed Cast, Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky -- basically name a band that works in epic rock soundscapes, and "B" evokes all of them at some point within the song. The first pressing is limited to 500 singles, with 75 on red, 90 on yellow (75 exclusively available as part of the package deal), 125 on green, and 210 on blue. The blue's gorgeous, and as with all of Tiny Engines' releases, it's thick, heavy-duty vinyl and comes with a download card. Buy it direct from the Tiny Engines store.

Prozac Suicide Dosage

cover-red-collar-welcome-homeMake no bones about it -- the Gaslight Anthem comparisons that Red Collar Prozac Suicide Dosage, receive are not without merit. They both have their Springsteen leanings, writing songs about times gone by, with a certain wisp of nostalgia about them. However, I'd argue that Red Collar's Welcome Home LP on Tiny Engines has more to do with the likes of Drag the River and the various punk-fueled Americana acts than sons of New Jersey, Prozac Suicide Dosage craiglist.

Alternately, you could see them as taking from Americana-fueled punk acts. Avail certainly plays no small part in songs like "Dodge K Car," a rollicking bit of anthemic rock 'n' roll that sets the second side of this album apart from the first. Honestly, aside from the a-side track "The Old Piano Roll" (with its really excellent guitar fade-out that reminded me of nothing so much as the end of Guns 'n' Roses' "Civil War"), the first half of Welcome Home is a pretty monotonic set of music, Prozac Suicide Dosage. Prozac Suicide Dosage australia, It required a good amount of convincing myself to flip it over, convinced as I was that the second batch of tracks was going to be a slog.

Cue the pleasant surprise. Not only does "Dodge K Car" grab your ears and set you to moving with the drumming that evokes the sound of a car on the road, the throat-shredding yelps on "Two Daughters" are a shock to the system, considering how quietly acoustic the track is, 20mg Prozac Suicide Dosage. Welcome Home really would have benefited from better sequencing. Prozac Suicide Dosage, Spacing out the energetic, upbeat tracks a little more evenly would've allowed the album to breathe a bit more, rather than plodding along for five tracks.

Excellent packaging on this LP. Old-school lyric sheet LP sleeve, and the first pressing features 75 on white with black swirl, Prozac Suicide Dosage mexico, 150 on clear with black smoke, and 275 on black, all on 180 gram vinyl. It includes a digital download of Welcome Home, as well, and it's out now in a variety of packages in the Tiny Engines store, 250mg Prozac Suicide Dosage.

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500mg Cipro Bladder

cover-restortations-stRestorations
Restorations
(Tiny Engines)
500mg Cipro Bladder, Admittedly, I wasn't a fan of Restorations' debut EP for Paper + Plastick, referring to it as plodding and "dull." Their self-titled full-length - thankfully - is an improvement. It's still a strange amalgam of post-punk and Americana, but Restorations have managed to pull the similar elements from both genres together more tightly together. The rambling rhythmic structure of Americana's country roots meld perfectly with the high arpeggios of post-punk, which have a high, lonesome sound all their own, 500mg Cipro Bladder india. And, of course, those vocals, gruff and raspy, 250mg 500mg Cipro Bladder, could easily fit into either genre.

The effect is that while Restorations moves slowly, it's actually building towards something. The first moments of album opener "Nonlocality" have a certain element of doom about them, but the song (along with others, like "Neighborhood Song" and the finale, "When You're Older") has a sense of release that was sorely lacking before, 500mg Cipro Bladder. There are subtleties that reward repeated listens.

It's fitting that the album art features what appears to be suns. This is the sort of album that improves with heat, 500mg Cipro Bladder overseas. Everything slows down, inviting the deep contemplation of swirling guitars, with time to listen to what's being said. 500mg Cipro Bladder, Restorations will never be a band to inspire fervent rocking out. This is the sort of album you need to sit down, 500mg Cipro Bladder australia, and pay attention to, in order to properly take it in.

You can grab the album from Bandcamp via the little widget below, but I really recommend the LP. It's a gorgeous gatefold LP on heavy-duty 180-gram black vinyl, and just looks and sounds like a million bucks, 500mg Cipro Bladder canada.

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