For the fifth entry in Too Much Rock's singles series, label head Sid Sowder chose Kansas City's Hipshot Killer to follow the format of original A-side, cover-song B-side. The KC trio has answered with a brilliantly vibrant new song, "All the Hell in the World," which sums up the band's ability to create emotionally powerful music.Listen to the track and read interviews with TMR's Sid Sowder and HSK's Mike Alexander at the Pitch. Published 10/10/16
This marks the first actual mixtape-style podcast in months. Guess I've just been too busy talking to people about their favorite music to actually play any of my own. That means I've a whole bunch of stuff that's accumulated, going all the way back to Record Store Day and before. Starting off the podcast is the latest installment of the Too Much Rock single series, from Kansas City's the Uncouth!. It's been a year since Sid's last installment, and it's worth the wait. Good, solid streetpunk, the likes of which hasn't come out of KC since the heyday of the Main Street Saints and Tanka Ray. And, continuing Sid's ability to read my mind, the b-side cover is my absolute favorite Slade song, so go grab it, because there's no finer slab of blue-collar rock 'n' roll you'll hear all year. You can pick up copies from Teenage Heart Distro. Usually, I don't write a lot in these intros, but that's a pretty sweet release you needed to know more about. Also on the podcast: new music from Magnetic South Recordings, Fat Wreck, and more. Podcast #133, "Cover Your Ears" The Uncouth, "Gudbuy T'Jane" (Too Much Rock Single Series #4) The Saints, "Lost and Found" (Eternally Yours) Zero Boys, "I'm Absent" (Crazy Al's Indiana Punk & New Wave '76-'83) Thee Tsunamis, "Saturday Night Sweetheart" (Saturday Night Sweetheart) --- Western Addiction, "Clatter and Hiss (demo)" ("I'm Not the Man That I Thought I'd Be" single) Radioactivity, "Silent" (Silent Kill) The Flatliners, "Fangs" ("Resucitation of the Year" single) Sad Boys, "Turds On A China Plate" (Cry Now, Cry Later) --- Exhumed, "Gravewalker" (split with Iron Reagan) Iron Reagan, "Pay Check" (Demo 2012) Raw Distractions, "No. 7" (Japan 2014) --- The Swan King, "Invisible Hands" (Eyes Like Knives) Meat Wave, "Keep Smoking" (Meat Wave) Thou, "Even In His Youth" (Whatever Nevermind) Off With Their Heads, "On the Attack" (Flexi Series #3)
Kids! Kidskidskidskids! Guess what? Josh Berwanger put out a new single! And it's part of the too Much Rock single series! And it has a cover of the Jags' "Back of My Hand" on the b-side! I literally responded to the initial news of this with a linked article on Facebook and something along the lines of "THE FUCKING JAGS?!?!" But, really, everybody: I'm a huge fan of Josh berwanger as a musician and just a guy to chat with in general, and this might be my favorite thing he's thus far done. "Oh Bis!" has been part of Bernwager's live sets for a while now, and the fact that he uses the word "bozos" has always endeared the song to me. I also really like the fact that the song flips the usual pop song narrative, working in a certain element of self-awareness, wherein Berwanger's singing about how "he could never love you like he does," rather than railing about how he could do so much better. It's a clever bit of mirroring, and the lyrics give lie to the postivity of the music. [embed]https://soundcloud.com/sidmuchrock/josh-berwanger-oh-bis[/embed] The flipside, a cover of the Jags' "Back of My Hand," is pretty much perfect. The addition of Heidi Gluck on backing vocals is always a welcome addition -- her work on Berwanger's album, Strange Stains, resulted in some of that record's highlights. The cover's pretty straightforward, but fits in nicely with the band's previous cuts. The single's out tomorrow, and can be found at Lawrence's Love Garden Sounds, as well as Kansas City's Mills Record Comapny, who will play host to a release show for the single on Thursday, June 5. If you're not able to get to either shop, you can buy it from Josh Berwanger's online store (which, in the interest of full disclosure, is my day job). You've your choice of black vinyl (a pressing of 416) or random color (a pressing of 109, which includes blue, turquoise, purple, and red, amongst others). Additionally, the Jay Shaw artwork lends a bit of continuity to the look of Berwanger's releases. Nice job on the reto picture sleeve. This sucker looks straight out of 1981.
With the second installment of the Too Much Rock single series, we have the first-ever physical release from Kansas City power-pop group Rev Gusto. As longtime readers will recall, we were super-hyped on their first EP when it was released digitally. It's good to see that the band has managed to both retain their loose, shimmery tones, as well as tightening up their melodies and harmonies. The a-side is an original, "Still There," which balances that shimmering guitar with tight drums and bass, resulting in a song that bridges the gap between slightly psychedelic '60s and early '80s power-pop. The cover of Graham Parker's "Local Girls" on the flip only makes that comparison more accurate. I'd not heard Parker's original in years (it's not like anything along those lines except Marshall Crenshaw's "Someday Someway" ever makes it on the radio anymore), and it was interesting to revisit the song after hearing Rev Gusto's take. They do a lovely job of energizing the slightly-lethargic original, in the process rendering it less morose, and more snotty. The band's goddamn catchy and everyone who sees or hears them just can't help but fall in love with these guys. Here's to hoping some of you pick up the single and do the same. It's a delightfully catchy pair of songs, just in time for summer. [embed]https://soundcloud.com/sidmuchrock/rev-gusto-still-there[/embed] More info on the single series can be found at Too Much Rock.
With 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.” That first label, Urinine Records – which put out records from the Capsules and Namelessnumberheadman, among others – closed up shop nearly a decade ago, but Sowder's not been absent from the record release parties of local artists. In the years between Urinine's end and the inception of Too Much Rock, he's anonymously funded various local releases (he demurs to reveal which ones), but decided to come out of the shadows for this singles series. The protocol behind Too Much Rock and the attendant singles series is simple, says Sowder. “I press 500 limited-edition records and just give them to the band. I pay for all printing, licensing, manufacturing, etc. The band can do with them what they will.” The bands are providing the recording, but in terms of what they're getting, it seems likely that many won't balk at the necessity. And, as Sowder points out, “typically, home recording has gotten so good, most bands are able to put together a very professional product very cheaply.” All of the singles will be 2-song, big-hole, 45 RPM records – “true singles,” in his words, where the band picks the A-side, and Sowder picks the B-side, which will always be a cover song. Sowder's choice of covers are determined pretty clearly. “Could be because they remind of of the original band, could be because I think they'd do a great arrangement of the track.” The bands, by the way, are always local, with the first release having come from Kansas City's Shwervon! in November, with their original “Landlocked” being the first song they wrote after moving to Kansas City. With two releases already on-deck for spring, you'd think Sowder would be eager to tease who's next, but quite the contrary. “I never announce the artist until I have the records in hand,” he says – quite a change from labels which take pre-orders for albums that haven't been recorded yet. While one might assume that Sowder's goal with Too Much Rock is to get back at the music industry that made it difficult to compete in the days of Urinine, that's not really the case. “Hopefully, Too Much Rock gets a bit of press out of it, and that extends the site's reach. But there are no ads on TMR (and never will be), so this isn't making money for me in any way – directly or indirectly. I want to give the bands control. This is more of a gift to them to help them succeed than it is a real project for me.” Head on over to the Too Much Rock singles series page to take a listen to Schwervon!'s "Landlocked."
Sid 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.
We've demonstrated some love for Berwanger a lot recently, and it'll only ramp up now that the band's getting ready to release their full-length, All You Can Eat, later this spring. In advance of all of that, however, will come this split 7-inch with TK Webb on California's Creme Tangerine Records. Berwanger's contribution, as you can see, is the track "Neon Corners." No clue as to when the split will see release, but keep an eye on the band's Facebook page for more updates. You can hear a live version of the band's track below, in a live video shot by Sid from Too Much Rock during their show at the Jackpot in Lawrence on Thursday, February 7, 2013.