Saturday, February 26, 2011

Very Okay- Small Loud

Very Okay is the newest band on Quote Unquote and they rock! This is their first EP, so I can't really give much background... The Brooklyn based band is a super-group made up of old members of Zombie Dogs, Thousandaires, Cheeky, Little Lungs, Potboiler, Get Bent, ETC! If you don't like at least one of those bands, why are you reading this?
Anyway, cutesy indie pop punk bands are Idle and my lives, so this was exciting for me.
PS. If you're wondering why I only review bad albums every once in a while, it's because I don't like listening to bad albums.
"Dead Horses" has cute little trills in the guitar, and some really cool lyrics. Right off the bat this band immediately makes me think of Lemuria; they're a lot alike. "Where You Go" is my favorite song on the EP. Just as they promised, it's "full of awesome, fast pop-punk!" 
"Soil" is a song of fabulous lyrics.. I love it. Oh, and the drums in this song are very interesting. I'm a fan of it.
"The Hole" has awesome vocal melodies, cute lyrics, and fast-tempo riffs. I like it. "Blue Of Distance" is awesome. I love the ending- she has an amazing voice and she does great things with it. It's catchy and cute, which is all I need in my pop punk. 
"No One Kicks You Here, Bruno" is extremely bass heavy, and adorable.

Angie, Cynthia, Jared and Kate are awesome. 
The vocals are gorgeous, free, and really carry this album. Even though there's only so much I can say about a 15 minute album, I can only say nice things. I really enjoy Very Okay, and this was a great start for them.
You can download here and stalk the band there.

The Sainte Catherines- Fire Works

One of my favorite French Canadian bands, The Sainte Catherines have been bringing back hardcore punk in the best way possible. Hugo Mudie has a wonderful voice that I can't get enough of, and they're all great musicians. They started in 1999, and have been quite the force ever since. I heard Dancing for Decadence before I heard their first album, but I fell in love from there- this album came out in October of last year, and it's awesome. It's a very different sound, but I like it just as much as their harder stuff. It's a recipe of rough vocals, catchy riffs, DIY sound, and activist ideals... Just add candy, sit back, and listen!
"I'm happy for you honey and I'm not jealous at all, but how I would love to tell you all about it now. Well it's all over now, baby blue- remember that I knew love more than I knew you." - "We Used To Be In Love" is a great start for the album. The intro just sucks you in from the beginning of the song- it grabs you by the collar two seconds in. The fast paced drums, gravely vocals, and melody line all tie together into a fantastic verse, and then transition perfectly into a memorable chorus- most people are thinking those words at some point in their life. They're like the French Off With Their Heads for me. They also remind me somewhat of Latterman. That might just be me though. 
"Better Like This" is my FAVORITE track on the whole entire album. It's glued together SO damn perfectly. The way with words, the familiar chord progression in all the best punk songs, and that beautiful guitar solo about halfway in. It's so out of nowhere, but so flawlessly matched up with the song. Excellent, excellent, excellent.
"BLR vs. Cancer (Fuck Off Cancer Song)" definitely struck a chord with me- I'm hoping to be a doctor (oncology specifically) and it's pretty rare when one can tie together punk POVs and medical point of views. It's an extremely sad song about a mother's cancer, and how it really affects the people around them. I love it.
"D'ya Guys Wanna Fuckin' Party After This? No." has a great riff, and is a song about growing the fuck up, and living your life the right way... At least, that's how it hit me. I don't really know what they were actually going for. It's like a breath of fresh air to hear wisdom that I can actually connect to... Normally it makes me wanna stick my tongue out and a middle finger up. ;)
"Chub-E & Hank III / Vimont Stories Part II" is not one of my favorites on the track, but I can say it's got a nice melody and the part about "Do they need someone where you work?" always makes me smirk. Being a musician isn't always as fun as it sounds, kiddies. Oh, and the end makes me happy. I like yelling!
"So Long & Thanks For Nothing" is definitely a spiteful song about the music industry/fans/touring/etc....  I like it. (Side note: it's completely and utterly impossible for me to start a sentence out loud with "so long and" without finishing it with "thanks for all the shoes." Most people say fish... What's wrong with me? ha.) This song is kind of a heads-up to all those hopeful 16 year old boys that are gonna be the next Jeff Rosenstock...
"Back to the Basement That I love" starts off with the greatest intro. Is that a melodica or a harmonica? Either way, YES. So awesome. 
"Maggie & Dave" is a fun song. I absolutely adore the chorus. "Oh maggiemaggiemaggie!" will be in my head all day. Also, I always wait eagerly and geek out at the part where he talks about hanging out with Cobra Skulls. I wanna hang out with Cobra Skulls! 
"No Friends" is fantastic! ANTISOCIAL FTW! This song is my life, for real. I could listen to it all day. The lyrics are awesome, and the melodies go together without fault. Oh, and the ending is cooler than you. And your friend's brother that did that cool thing in college. It's cooler than both of you. Combined.
"Headliners Don't Load (But They Kill Cops)" and "The Great Somewhere Else" are totally chill. 
"I'll Miss The Boys" was awesome. It might be a reference to the bands slowing down- the firey anger is replaced with a bit more melodical, sing-a-long-able sound. It's kind of a future letter to themselves after they break up- he won't miss stressing or even the music- he'll just miss the boys. A lot of the band members started having kids, settling down, etc. And there's nothing wrong with this sound change- this album got a lot of criticism for the boys "losing their punk." Fuck you guys, I still think Hugo's one punx motherfucker.<3
"Reinventing Ron Hextall (I Don't Wanna Say Goodbye)" has the funniest damn song title. It's an awesome song.


OVERALL:
This is the Sainte Catherines' fifth full length- could they be burning out? God I hope not, but I get the feeling.
This was an amazing album, but you know when the partiers start to sing about adulthood, growing up, and breaking up, we get a little worried.
Either way, I fucking loved this album and the change in their sound. I love the evolution of their music, and the eclectic ability of the band. I want more Sainte Catherines in the future!
Best songs are "We Used To Be In Love," "Better Like This," "So Long & Thanks For Nothing," and "Maggie & Dave."
Listen to it, you guys. I'm out.
-Bear 

Friday, February 25, 2011

New Atmosphere Song

Punknews just posted a stream of a new Atmosphere off his upcoming album. It's really fucking rad. The beat is awesome, and his rap is as good as ever. You should definitely check this shit out; very excited for the upcoming album.

Slingshot Dakota - Their Dreams Are Dead But Ours Is The Golden Ghost



Slingshot Dakota are a two-piece piano driven punk band from Brooklyn, NY. Sounds hipstery, I know. But it's not very, promise. The lovely Carly Comando plays keyboard and sings her heart out, while Tom Patterson plays drums and also does a little bit of singing. It's cutesy, it's poppy, and it's excellent. In 2008, Slingshot Dakota released their debut full length, Their Dreams Are Dead But Ours Is The Golden Ghost. And yes, I know it's 2011; I do understand that it's three years later. But the reason for me reviewing it now is that they've just had the album put on vinyl this month. See? That's a good reason. Also, we just started doing these reviews this year; that's another good reason.

Golden Ghost is the shit. Seriously. It's full of poppy goodness and beautiful effort from the talented duo. I don't know where either of these two came from, I mean, I read a review that said Tom was from Latterman...but I don't think that's accurate. I'm going to assume they were just created on a whim by a creature dubbed the poppy-goodness-monster. My assumptions are usually dead on, so anyone can quote me on this and feel just as certain as I do. Nothing else could take credit for the existence of this incredible duo, swear. They used to have a guitarist, but that didn't work out I guess. They seem to be doing pretty okay without him, though.

The first track "Golden Ghost" is pretty awesome, and has been stated by others to be the best song on the album, while the rest is 'okay' or something. But that's hardly accurate. I think all the songs are great, and everyone knows "Ohio" is definitely the best song. I mean, it's about Carly falling in love with Idle and the Bear's home state (I technically live in Kentucky, but 2 minutes from Ohio and will live in Ohio in a couple of weeks). "I fell in love with Ohio, I fell in love with Ohio!" are lyrics that only someone who isn't from Ohio would sing, however. I was joking though, it's not the best song. "i-78" is the best song! It starts off with Carly singing alone for a bit before the keyboard comes in. The song finally picks up with some distortion and drums and enough heat to fry your brother. It's pretty awesome. It's not the best song, I just told you that so you'd listen to me.

I'll quit lying to you about what the best song. The best song is..."Let Go". Actually it's "Until the Day I Die Part 2". Nah, it's "Tour Song", clearly. It has the best keyboard part and drum beats out of all the songs on the album, honest. The vocals are just as stunning as ever, and the lyrics are just as good as you expect. The lyrics really are pretty nice on this album; they're one of the best parts. I mean, this song is a lot of basic lyrics repeated, but it's still beautiful. "And we're driving long, and we're driving all night long, and we're driving all night long and we're not going to stop until the sun comes up!" Carly makes it sound pretty awesome. When she does her shouting parts in these songs, her voice reminds me a lot of Allison Weiss's shouting voice, and it makes my heart all tingly. Weird.

You can pick the vinyl up here, and you can pick up their Demo for free at ifyoumakeit. Rejoice, oh rejoice! I give it a 4/5 or something rather!

-Idle

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Swan King- Eyes Like Knives

The Swan King, who've just signed to Seventh Rule recently, released Eyes Like Knives just a few days ago, and my interests were immediately peaked- post-hardcore mixed with traditional metal? What? The members (including Jamie Drier, previous bassist of Planes Mistaken for Stars) are from Chicago, and have already gotten quite a bit of attention for this album.
First off, the Test Tone at the beginning makes me giggle. But starting with the actual music... "Good Deeds" impresses me right off the bat with it's technicality- real riffs and hardcore don't mix too terribly often- but that's where the metal part of it comes in. It's very catchy, shows that they have talent, and still has an edge to it. "Cloaked Into The Facade" continues the same sound they've had, but then they have this awesome sound to it that reminds me a lot of a rougher, more modern thrash... I know, this means nothing to you punks... but whatever. These guys are fun. "Peace Love Murder" is a reverb heavy, angry sounding song. It's a little less technical than the first two. "Dead Man's Shadow" (similar to groundhog's day, maybe?), "Entertain the King," and "Staring Through Skulls" are the next three songs, and just as enjoyable- they keep the pace and energy up the whole album. "Invisible Hands" is my favorite track on the album. What a fucking great guitar line, seriously. I love the intro.... and well, the rest of it. We finish off the album with "Eyes Like Knives", and it closed off everything nicely with a great solo... Great job, my little musicians, great job.

These boys set off a strong style at the beginning. My only negative comment is they stuck to that sound so hard the whole album,  that the album lacked diversity in their songs. I'd like to see them experiment a bit more with the sound, but it was still a great record and I can't wait for the opportunity to see them live. Hell yeah, Swan King.
Download here- make sure to pay lots for their album... It's a name your own price, so downloading helps the band, but 20 dollars helps them more... ;)
-Bear

Transit - Something Left Behind



Transit are from Stoneham, Massachusetts and are another one of those indie/pop-punk bands that have been popping up all over, but they didn't just pop up; they've been around for a few years now. They actually have quite a few releases prior to their newest effort, Something Left Behind. You can check out their other material at their bandcamp if you want, I highly recommend it. Really, Something Left Behind is just three original songs with an acoustic reprise of one song off of each of their other releases, so checking out their older stuff is a good idea.

I feel like this album might as well have just held me at gunpoint and told me to like it. I mean, there's plenty of other reasons I can give for how compelled I feel to love it, though. The fact that there's awesome lead guitar throughout every song, and the lyrics are better than anything I've heard this year.  Joe Boynton's vocals glisten over brilliant instrumentals created by the guitarists and rhythm section, along with the perfect backup vocals by Joe Lacy and Tim Landers (guitarists). I honestly don't think I've heard anything like this. I should've been paying attention to Transit for years now...I must be an idiot or something. I've been listening to all of their material for a week now, and even though everything is amazing, this new release honestly blows me away.

At the start of the album, "Indoor Voices" brings you into what will be an entirely positive listening experience. The guitar is beautiful, and the vocals are solid. The lyrics for this track rules my life right now. "And I'm getting tired of being told/that you're only one person to the world/when to one person/you could be the world." There's this awesome, cathartic build up towards the end of the song, with awesome backup vocals and an atmosphere that just sucks you in. Most of the songs on this album will suck you in, especially "For the World", that song fucking rocks. The vocals feel honest and vulnerable, and the guitar continues carrying out its complicated coolness throughout this brilliant acoustic reprise. You really can't beat this shit.

Like "For the World", most of this EP are just incredible acoustic renditions of songs already released by Transit, while there are still a few new songs. The title track, "Something Left Behind" is a really pretty sounding new song that fits the general feel of the rest of the album. It doesn't feel too different from the other songs, but that's what it means to stick to your guns. The backup vocals are amazing and I'm happy to hear drums, since they are absent on a few of the songs. Another thing absent on most songs is an electric guitrar, which is why I really like the song "1978" on here. It has the feel of a power pop song and the musicality of a...well I guess it has the musicality of a Transit song. I guess Transit could be used as a new unit of measuring how good a band's instrumentals are now.

I suggest you check out all of their other albums on their bandcamp like I suggested earlier, and if you like what you hear you should definitely get your hands on Something Left Behind. The easiest way to do so is getting it off of iTunes. 8/10 or something.

-Idle

Civet - Love & War

Important things to know about the band Civet:

-They're fronted by two ladies, and used to be a band made up of only ladies.
-They're on Hellcat Records, so they probably all have punx tattooed on their knuckles.
-Their van was stolen and became part of a highspeed chase. Seriously, look.
-Their rhythm section left them mid-tour. This has happened to my band before, it's harsh.
-The lead singer/guitarist Liza Graves was on LA Ink. That's really completely not important.
-They just released their new album Love & War, and I'm reviewing it for you.



I listened to just a couple songs of previous releases by them while waiting to get ahold of Love & War, and based on that short experience I was actually expecting to dislike the band. I didn't find it interesting and the vocals weren't doing it for me. The thing is, Love & War completely surprised me. I enjoy the hell out of it, really. It's fucking weird. I like the instrumentals, the vocals, the backup vocals, the lyrics...I could've just said I like everything, I guess. I usually don't like this style of female vocals, like the part of Lori Meyers by Nofx with Kim Shattuck singing. I fucking hate that part. But I happen to really like Liza's vocals, surprisingly.

Love & War is chock full of songs you'll probably love. It's pretty much punk rock n roll at its finest. It's catchy, while also being powerful and fast. You feel as though writing infectious singalongs is something that comes naturally to these girls. I don't know who wrote what on this album, I just know that Liza Graves is the primary songwriter, and that Suzi Homewrecker, guitarist, has been known to write some of their songs.

Songs I recommend are definitely "L.A. Nights", "Come On (I Wanna Be Your Girl)", "Cryin' Wolf" and the title track "Love & War". I like most of the songs on the album, but these are standout tracks in case you need to check out a few before you go all in. There's a lot of variety in these songs, but one thing that rarely varies is the level of intensity and how perfectly recorded this album is. The studio captured it all perfectly. I think "It's the Truth" is my favorite song on the album, if I had to pick one. It's also the second longest track, which makes it weird that it's my favorite. The longest song, "Reap What Your Sow", is also really awesome.

The album closes with one last great song, "You Get What You Pay For". This song reminds me of Rancid, a lot. Of course, I like Liza's voice a whole lot more than I like Armstrong's, so there's that. The backup "woahs" are really pretty on this track, and throughout the earlier songs in the album, too. Civet is a really talented group, and I feel like an idiot for not getting into them way before now. But I can't go back now, I suppose.

This band draws influences from beyond the punk genre, and it's hard to really say what I'd directly compare them to. They bring enough to the table for me to say they have their own sound. I mean, you'll hear familiar shit here to there, but they're not "the female version of blah blah blah" or anything. They're Civet.


You can stream Love & War for free on their facebook page, or you can buy yourself a copy over at interpunk. I wish I could fit in a joke regarding their last song, like, "you get what you pay for!" But I think you get more for your buck than that. Also, you can come poke fun at us over at Idle and the Bear's facebook.

-Idle

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thousandaires- Million Dollar Move, Two Dollar Shot

This EP is a little old compared to the stuff we've been reviewing lately.. However, the Thousandaires are breaking up after one Europe tour, so I thought I'd review this as a little tribute to the death of a great band. :(
Million Dollar Move was released as a 7" last summer, and then put up on If You Make It sometime in late 2010.. And it's a great follow-up to their demo in 2009. Combined with members from Halo Fauna, Get Bent,and Bridge & Tunnel, they were a superhero in my little world of indie-pop-punk obsession...
"Contaminations" is the first track, and I love it. "Don't spit out your chipped tooth, just swallow it."- So you guys already know the lyrics are great. The music is great too- it's got a very simple but put together sound. It is a little repetitive, but hell, so am I. It's got a lot of variations of tempo... I love that. Oh, and talented musicians! It's got a strong beat covered by great guitar and powerful bass, layered again by beautiful vocals. Win.
"Memos" is in the same league as the prior- I love the guitar in this song. It's a lot like stuff that I write when I'm bored, but you know, with talent. I love you, Thousandaires. I love you. Please don't break up. Songs about mistakes really are my knees. Wait- my bees. No. Knees bees? Whatever.
"Born an Asshole, Die an Asshole" has a fabulous name, for one. The truth is hilarious. This song picks it up more than the rest of the album (please refrain from ska puns) and has a bit more of a tempo, a bit more bass, a bit more drums, a bit more rough. You know, just more. These songs are just angsty enough for my teenage rage. "It just perpetuates the problem" repeated= a lot more awesome than it sounds.
Last but not least, "Grocery-bag Briefcase" finishes off the EP quite well.  I really like the drums in it... I don't know why. It's just nice.

OVERALL:
Fuck yeah, Thousandaires, fuck yeah.

Sorry that this review was so short, but between a long day and this only being an 11.5 minute album, I couldn't really write an epic!

Download/Buy CD/Donate here at If You Make It. Do at least one of them. Preferably the last two. ;)

-Bear

Downtown Brown - Grabbleton's Beach



What a long fucking album. I think punk has spoiled me with such short songs and short releases. I'm used to just reviewing something that's like 2-10 songs, and like 14 minutes overall. But, Downtown Brown is all, "fuck that shit, Idle. We've recorded over an hour of material for you fuckers to dance to." So now I'm sitting here all, "I wanted to review it, so now I'm going to have to, despite the great length." Downtown Brown. What you know 'bout that?

Downtown Brown (DTB) are a three piece band from over in Michigan. They play a blend of whatever they want, really. I guess there's elements of ska, funk, punk, rock n roll, pop, and whatever else you can think of. Overall, there's no borrowed style. I wouldn't compare them to anyone I've ever heard, or you've probably ever heard. They're their own thing, and it's such a beautiful thing.

They're also three of the coolest dudes you could ever meet. My friends and I drove up to Michigan just to see them play one time, and it was the first time we ever saw them play. They played an amazing set with frontman Neil (Neebo) wearing xmas pajamas, bassist Ryan rocking a kickass beard, and their drummer Danny looking like the normal guy in the band. After this show, they inquired about playing in Cincinnati, and we booked them a show playing with us at the old Bike Haus (cool hipster punx place that doesn't exist anymore) and they rocked that shit too. Now their new full length is out so they can finally rock your shit too.

Grabbleton's Beach sounds like a weird album title to begin with, so why shouldn't the music also be weird? "Dr. Mantis" starts off the album with a cool tradition ska vibe mixed with some heavy power chords followed by some weird guitar tone paired with some killer bass (although the bass is a little too quiet for my taste). There's even a breakdown in this song at one point. There's no vocals however, you'll have to wait until the weirdness kicks in with the title track "Grabbleton's Beach". What the fuck is going on here? There's a girl singing along with the cookie monster, I think. Then Neil comes in to share his vocal splendor on top of some beachy sounding instrumentals and more of this chick singing along confusedly in the background. Where is Grabbleton's Beach, though? Seriously, Neebo. There's a song called "Grabbleton's Reprise" later in the album, which is pretty much the same song but with more of a somber, more punk sounding tone to it.

The weirdness is a major theme for this release, as it is with their band in general. They put on amazing, entertaining shows with great singalongs and dance numbers. Like the songs "Baby", "She Cries Everytime the Wind Blows", and "A Song For the People" are perfect examples of songs you'll be dancing to and singing along to everytime you go to see these guys play. They even have a song about Scott Weiland and his love for heroin, simply titled "Heroin". There's a song that sympathizes with the hardships that come with being friend zoned by a girl whose endzone you want to get up in, and for categorizational purposes, I'm sure, it's simply titled "Friend Zone".

If you're looking for more of your weird fix, you'll be set with the song "Thx 4 the Mammaries". The title being suspiciously similar to a songs by bands like Fall Out Boy and Atomic Potato, but I'm sure it's no relation. It's a really creepy song about licking homeless vagina and loving tits. It even has a breakdown with some weirdly modified vocals for your listening pleasures. "Neebo's Revenge" and "Meatwave" will also cover your strange music fix. But if you're here to dance, you can pretty much jam to every song on here. This album is pure magic, all the way down to the nine minute closer.

Seriously, this shit is bosser than Tony Danza. If you don't like it, then it's a problem with you, not them. You should really just find out when they're playing nearby, and go see them. Even if they're playing a few states away, make the effort. It's worth it. You can get the album off of interpunk if you're interested, or you can get all of their prior releases for free off their website, which is also something I highly recommend. I think I found a way to cover the entire album without writing 20 paragraphs, and that's pretty damn impressive. I give it an arbitrary rating of 9/10. Later, folks.

-Idle

Deep Sleep - Turn Me Off



Are you craving something fast, hard, and loud? Since I'm unable to hear your response, due to that not being how writing a review works, I'll have to assume the obvious: Yes! Turn Me Off is the debut LP by Baltimore's hardcore punk group Deep Sleep. It's definitely fast, definitely hard, and really I can't guarantee the loudness because I don't control your volume settings. But, I recommend you blast it. Just like this band, I'm going to get through this shit fast, hard, and loud (I shout along to what I type).

The album kicks off strong with "Live Forever" and it's quite a kick. The instrumentals are very much like Descendents, whereas the vocals are closer to other 80s punk bands such as Black Flag or Minor Threat. Clocking in at just a second over one minute long, this song doesn't fuck around. The guitar leads are on the teachnical side, and the bass player is doing some interesting things. This song has a definite 1980s feel to it, but feels more mature in musicianship than anything released in the punk scene at the time. The second song starts off with some beautiful guitar, nothing out of the ordinary, but the tone is pretty awesome. This song isn't all too different from the first song. It packs a punch and does it with the same hardcore punk feel that you know you could have fun getting used to.

"Play Another" is the third track on Turn Me Off and offers you a little something different. The guitar kind of plays bitch to the bass in this one, and that's something along the lines of what Descendents do with their shit. The backup vocals are along the lines of Pennywise or Bad Religion, leaning more toward the former, though. The lead guitar at the end is my favorite part of this song, despite the rest of it being awesome. It ends so strongly, and feels like it's a lead in to something, but it's not. And you realize you're just fine with that. The next song has the same feel as the first two tracks, but there's no reason to hate on it. It's fast, exciting, and makes you wish you were at one of their shows right now. It does a lot in the way of making me understand why EVERYONE at Fest 9 was wearing a Deep Sleep shirt.

"Slow Down" is the guitar reminding you that you're supposed to be paying attention to it. The leads dominate most of the song, including having a rad solo at the end. Whereas the bass and drums dominate most of the verses. The vocalist Tony Pence doesn't have the most unique voice, but he has power in his vocals. Especially when you hear the next song "Be With You" which is dominated by the super fast vocals placed over the already standard super fast instrumentals. You get more of your backups vocals in this song, but totaling at 51 seconds, this song doesn't stick along very long. Short and sweet, bro.

"Destroy Everything" has the coolest fucking chorus you'll ever hear on such a short, fast little song. It's this weird slowdown that suits it perfectly, and despite being a short song, it brings a lot to love. "Nothing Inside" is another song that heavily reminds me of Descendents. It's one of the best songs on the album, and that's saying a lot for such a good album. "Head Spins" is another song that gets weird with the instrumentals a bit, and strays from the hardcore punk formula. The song makes you switch focus back and forth from the bass and guitar pretty consistently, until the end where they play the same role in your head and drive you to the last song, wishing it wasn't the last.

God damn the Descendents influence is really strong in the last song, "Another Me". This band very much reminds me of bands like Kid Dynamite too. I've never been huge into many hardcore punk bands, especially lately. But this album has made me a believer. It's really depressing that the album ends here, but they gave us almost 14 minutes of solid entertainment, and you can't hate on that. You can order this album off of Grave Mistake Records and join in on the fun everyone else is having. Get stoked on it!

-Idle

Don't trust adsense

We allowed Google Adsense to pay us to have a couple non-intrusive advertisements placed on our site, and we were going to use the money gained from it to purchase an actual "www.idleandthebear.com" domain. But, once it came time for payments to be handed out, our account was promptly disabled. We had earned 14 dollars, and they said this money was not to be given to us. Apparently there's illegal click activity, but we've never done anything to boost our ad revenue and they've not shown evidence of anything being done. I guess this makes sense, anyway. It's like karma or something. Even if we're just doing it for a new domain, we were still cashing in. Regardless, Adsense can fuck off.

Chixdiggit - Safeways Here We Come



I used to talk to this girl from a Streetlight Manifesto message board from like 2007 until 2009, and now I think she hates me. Regardless, during this period of time, she got me into a lot of pop punk bands that I didn't listen to. I only really listened to basic punk and basic ska. Descendents and Streetlight were all that mattered to me...I was so young and naive. She introduced me to Teenage Bottlerocket, and I guess I'm required to be forever grateful or something. She also tried to get me into Chixdiggit a few times, but I never really gave them much of a chance; I was too busy with the other thousands of new pop punk bands I was discovering each day. I listened to them enough to catch their drift, though. They're a band who sings catchy songs about girls. That sums it up. Now they've come out with a new EP after quite some time off, and now I feel obligated to give this album my two cents (despite me being too cheap to actually pay for it).

The first song on this album is called "Miso Ramen" and I actually was already familiar with it, because it was on Fat Wreck's "Harder, Fatter, and Louder!!" last year. This is a song about a girl, so really it's right down my alley. I listen to The Steinways and the aforementioned Teenage Bottlerocket; I'm not stranger to loving songs that are about girls. The band's style is pretty straight forward. You have a simple chord progression with infectious vocals. On this song it's basically muted chords for the verse, then they drop the muted strumming for the bridge and chorus. This song is fun, catchy, and of course has a lead that sounds all too similar to the vocal melody at first, but then it turns into some neat little rock n roll solo. Overall, not such a bad song.

With the second song, you'll notice that muted chords are pretty common during verses with this band, whereas the chorus always finds the chords ringing out. This song is nothing special. The guitar solo about 2/3 into the song is pretty cool, but only lasts a few measures and is nothing new. The next song is another simple song with a muted verse, rung out choruses, and a guitar solo. I like that the guitar solos sound very rock n roll, at least, but I'm not getting too much out of this stuff personally. It's a song you can just write off. "Found Love" is another song about a girl, like the last few songs have been. I like Chixdiggit's drums more than anything else in the band. They give the music more of an old school vibe, and it sounds like you'd be seeing this band play on a beach in some nonexistent third Brady Bunch movie. This song is catchier than the others, and one of the better on the album. Why did anyone even write the next song "Hot N Horny"? It's a song about wanting to fuck, so of course everyone can relate to it. But it's boring. Really boring. I'm done with it.

My favorite song on the album is "I Hate Basketball". It's trademark pop punk at its best. The leads are awesome, and the guitar tone is brilliant. It's more of their muted verses at first, but the second verse has accented chords instead, bringing something different to their table of semi-blandness. The chorus is catchy and is just "I hate basketball, I hate basketball, I hate basketball". I can't relate, because I love basketball, but I still love this song. I feel like they figured out what I liked about the album, and decided to employ it on the last track, "I Hope Things Will Turn Around". The lead guitar is awesome, and the muted strumming mixed with accented guitar on the snare hit is pretty awesome. I like the vocals the most on this song, it's where I notice that I really like the singer KJ's voice. It sounds like he could be Grath Madden's uncle or something. His voice is really what makes this EP worth listening to for me. I can listen to it on repeat for hours just because of it. Soon the songs I found boring will become songs I know by heart, and I'll feel like a hypocrite.

Overall, though, I'd have to say this album just doesn't bring the heat. It's fun, but I can get my fix somewhere else for this type of pop punk. I know they've been doing this shit longer than my favorite pop punk bands, and I give respect for that purpose. But I feel like they maybe should've just expanded as musicians. It's why I find Kepi's stuff so boring now, I guess. It happens. Since occasionally I throw in a random rating, I will now. I give it a 6/10. You can pick it up at Interpunk and judge for yourself, as always.

-Idle

Direct Hit/Tit Patrol Split - A Review In Haikus by Idle



Holy fucking shit! 
A new split with Direct Hit! 
So fucking legit!

With Tit Patrol too
They're sure to impress you!
Don't know what to do?

Buy this fucking shit
I even wrote you haikus
Convincing enough?

First song by Direct
As catchy as you expect
Will leave yo shit wrecked

It's brain surgery
But it will not leave you stumped
Hey, fuck you! Get pumped!

Mutant Drunk is new
Doesn't sound like their others
It fucks your mothers

No keyboard, just rock
Rigamortis to your cock
Song's nothing to mock

Time for tit patrol
So you all best slow your roll
Listen on a stroll

Fast, fun, and catchy
Really glad it's me and you
Sing along, fucker

Slimming figure, bro
This song will punch your face off
Punker than fat mike

Awesome leads, says me
Delusions; adequecy
The 'of' doesn't fit

Listen to this split
By the Direct Tit Patrol
If names were combined

Download from bandcamp
Both bands have their parts posted


------------------


Like my cool haikus?
I thought you would, dear readers
Love your boy idle


Matthew McCarry
Inspired me to do this
So blame that asshole :D

Handguns - Don't Bite Your Tongue



Handguns is another band that I didn't know jack shit about before taking on this review. My friend Matthew McCarry put a couple of their songs on a mixtape he made for me, and I could tell right away that I liked them a lot more than the Taylor Swift song he put on the mix (wtf bro?). Now I only know a couple things about them. I know they're from Pennsylvania...like so many other good fucking bands (Captain We're Sinking, Menzingers, Wonder Years), they're really talented and catchy, and they kind of remind me of what it would be like if Blink 182 were born 10 years later, and didn't find dick jokes nearly as funny. For 2011, Handguns have brought us a brand new album, and not a single moment too soon. I've been needing some new shit to get into. (If Ben Seitz is reading this, I'm sorry dude...this isn't the negative review you were hoping to read. Not that you assumed this band sucked, you've just been begging for us to trash some albums.)

Don't Bite Your Tongue, Handguns's early 2011 release, starts off with leads a blazin' on the first track "A Year In Review". You know what's refreshing about this style of pop punk? The lead part is NOT just the vocal melody. If you're looking for a new ramonescore to dig on, you're barking up the wrong tree. If you're still interested in catchy vocals with something a bit more popular 90s music in the style, then you're getting a little bit closer. The first track is forgettable, but I may need to contact a neurosurgeon about getting the second song  "Scream Goodbye" unstuck in my fucking skull. The song is what I mean by sounding like a mature Blink 182 without the money and connections. It has the poppy edge without sounding like they blew some recording engineers for top and the line shit. The quality is definitely on the higher end of the punk scene, but we're not talking epifat quality or anything. You can hear everything fine (except for a rather quiet bass), and it still has a punk edge to it. I really thought that song was catchy, but I don't know if it holds a torch to the song after it, "Sink Like Lead". This song kind of reminds me more of Charlie Brown Gets a Valentine and The Copyrights if they had a high pitched singer. The drums on this track are really solid, and everything sounds real as fuck. The recording quality really makes me want to steal a working car and get to one of their shows immediately.

"Best Excuse" isn't the best song. I don't have anything against the Warped Tour band style that it represents at the beginning, but I think the singer's voice doesn't hold its own during the intro. It's not a bad song, but I don't find his voice to be all that powerful...and this is supposed to be a pretty vocal driven song. It kind of reminds me of listening to Who We Are by We Are the Union, and a song would come on that relied on Reed's talent as a vocalist, and there just wasn't enough yet. However, Reed got way better by their next full length, and this guy is definitely a better singer than Reed was then and I am now. So I can't talk shit, and I still think his voice is pretty fly for a white guy. Room for improvement, but that'll happen with all the hardwork these guys put into their band. These guys sound a lot like the movielife and Lifetime. They even list their influences on facebook as the movielifetime. Which sounds like a sweet answer for a Wheel of Fortune Before and After category.

"Gag Reflex" is another song to remind you that you're listening to a band with a real fucking drummer on the recordings. This isn't War on Errorism (by the way, did that title really mean that they were fighting a war against mistakes made my drummers? Fake it 'til you make it kids, don't fake it once you make it. Once again, it's Nofx's job to keep punk rock elite, not mine...or so I thought). This drummer has talent and I love hearing his work on these fast paced songs. This song kind of makes me feel weird for judging the singer before, because his voice works just fine here. The next song "Wait Up" reminds me more of Direct Hit! minus the keyboard and gruff vocals. It's catchy, poppy, energetic, and it's punk. It definitely has that Blink 182-core I've mentioned already, but I'm not holding that against them. This is definitely a band I'll be listening to a lot over the next few weeks or so. There's a somber overtone in the vocals throughout the majority of this release, and it's mood fitting for me right now, so I'm digging it.

I mean, the last song "I Hope He Kills You" starts off sounding somber and kicks into this happy sounding pop-punk shit. It sounds a lot like Good Charlotte to me, and reminds me a lot of their song My Bloody Valentine. So guess what, they also strike a nostalgia-chord with me. I remember being in 8th grade, walking around the neighborhood with my CD walkman, listening to my friend Amberly's copy of the Young and the Hopeless, blasting that song on repeat with my headphones on. What the fuck was wrong with me? Do you have Don't Bite Your Tongue in your hands or on your computer yet? If your answer is no, what the fuck is wrong with you? Get it. If you grew up on the same shit I did, you'll enjoy it. If you enjoy good music without having any shitty prerequisites or reservations, then get it. You can find it up on bandcamp or you can possibly find it at your local Hot Topic (yeah, I know...store sucks. but you can support a cool band).

-idle

PS: I don't know how I didn't make the Good Charlotte correlation much earlier now that I'm thinking about it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Aquabats- Hi-Five Soup!

Okay so, I fucking love the Aquabats- not gonna lie. I could listen to Fury or Return for hours, and being a completely immature dork, I will laugh. Every single damn time. In fact, MOST stuff (we all know they've had their off-albums) they've made- I will laugh at. That's because I don't consider them music I listen to for music-reasons... They're like comedy with bad music in the background. I enjoy them in that respect. HOWEVER, let's be honest you guys. They're gold-digging hoes. Between yo gabba gabba, their increasing horrible-ness, and a few stories I've heard, I ain't saying Christian Jacobs is a gold digger, but he ain't messin with no broke... yeah. You get the idea. I think what his life lacks in caffeine, alcohol, drugs, and monogamy, he gains in fucking people over and selling out. For instance, Matt Wixson (of whom some of you might know/know of) is a good friend of Idle, while I just creep on his music/occasionally make comments on his facebook... Anyway, he was playing a show with Mustard Plug, We Are The Union, and The Aquabats. The Aquabats took off with 11,000 dollars... The others got nothing. As Matt put it in a song, "You must be batshit if you think you'll be forgiven after that shit."
So I guess to put it in short, I love the Aquabats as comedians and showmen, could care less about them as musicians, and very much dislike them as people.
It was truly painful to have to listen to this album enough to give a full review- they really did go from great to horrible. NOTE: I'm leaving all exclamation points out of this review. Fuck exclamation points.
"The Shark Fighter"... This isn't even funny. The Aquabats are usually the kind of ridiculous where it's humorous-  but this isn't. Combined with their usual generic music, weird background opera vocals, and the lack of funny, this song sucks. 
"B.F.F" sounds like it was written for yo gabba gabba and it didn't make the cut for an episode, so they just put it on this album. (PS this happens a lot.) Big friends forever? seriously? Is that the most creative thing that they could come up with? What the heck. Idle is pretty tall, but I don't sit around writing fucking AUTO TUNE songs about how he's my BFF. Stop it.
"The Legend is True" starts off with the kind of sounds I make when I'm playing with sound circuit boards and connecting random wires. I don't like your fangs, guys. Sorry. What's up with the auto tune, btw? That's bullshit. I guess that comes along with selling out, though. Jacobs said in an interview that this album was definitely going to be directed at children, and it was meshing his yo gabba gabba music and the Aquabats music- but guess what? I want to listen to the old sexual innuendos, social commentaries, and TALENT of the Aquabats. There's a reason I don't watch Yo Gabba Gabba- I'm not a kid. When your fans aren't 7, don't write your music for 7 year olds.
"Radio Down" is just... confusing. Between the random Biz Markie rap, requests for dance, I don't even know what to say about this song.
"Poppin' A Wheelie" is very clearly directed strictly at children, and their parents that hate their lives during this album. "Hey Homies!" is about 99.9% Yo Gabba Gabba and .1% Aquabats... I'm a big fan of hugs, and thugs, but I am not a fan of this song. It's the same 10 seconds of music repeated over and over and over and over again.... BTW, they make up hugs in this song. The robot hug doesn't exist. I don't want a hug from these guys anymore. It's extremely repetitive, I suppose so children can learn it faster.
"In My Dreams" was a little better than the rest of the album- mostly because I love the ska side of the Aquabats. This song wasn't that bad at all. It's pretty cute, it's kid appropriate but not ridiculous, and it actually has something I would classify as music in the background.
"Just Can't Lose" is similar to "In My Dreams" in the way where it isn't about hugs or worms or any of that shit. The sad thing about this album is I don't even have much to say about the two songs that I like- I just think they're alright. I like them, but I can't really rave about them or say anything specific about them.
"All My Money" is just hilarious, considering how money-obsessed these guys are. This song is any 11 year old's anthem... So yeah.
"Pink Pants" = what? Listen to the lyrics. I don't even know what these lyrics mean... It talks about pink pants, and dreaming, and trends, and feeling left out, and talking about things, and dentistry... Oh, but Strongbad has a part in it, and that makes me really happy. If you don't know who Strongbad is, stop reading this and go kill yourself.
"Food Fight On The Moon" had music that literally hurt my ears. Go listen to it. It's like they set their synthesizers on 'dog whistle.' 
And last, not least, and most certainly boring, "Luck Dragon Lady" is... completely average.


OVERALL: Before I get tons of people bitching at me, I recognize that the Aquabats can't be taken seriously, and one is to expect this. I came into this review with love for the music, an open mind, and expecting children's music. But I work with toddlers that wouldn't even listen to this. It's like they didn't fully make the transition into kid-appropriate music (they changed the subject matter, but not the style) and still left their old style. I guess they just totally lost their ability to make me love them in the past 6 years they haven't been recording.
This was like silly without the fun for me. I bet they still rock live, and I'll still listen to their older stuff... I'll just hold a grudge for this album.. And you know, being a prostitute of the music industry.
Thanks for reading all of my run-on sentences... I'm a pro at them.

-Bear

1,001 views!

Idle and the Bear broke the 1,000 views mark today, and we're as proud as a peacock baby! Expect a long run from us, because Idle doesn't have shit to do, and the Bear is loyal, like a damn bear.

LOVE!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bayside - Killing Time

Everyone. I. Know. Likes. Bayside. Okay, this is a bit of an overstatement, but it's not too far from the truth. Some are punk kids, some are just high school kids with hardly any musical experience, and one is a straight edge girl who takes photos for us. I, however, had no idea who they were. I heard their name a lot, but never checked them out. The honest first songs I've heard by this band are the ones from the new album Killing Time, which is of course what I'm reviewing.


This band used to be signed to Victory (this album is on Wind-Up Records), and this album was produced by Gil Norton, who worked with Foo Fighters, The Pixies, Counting Crows, Dashboard Confessional and Jimmy Eat World. What do these two things tell you about this album? It's going to be overproduced. Don't let it turn you off too much, because that's just the judging I made before listening to it. The judging I made after listening to the first song "Already Gone" was...yes it's overproduced, but it's not a turn off. It sounds good, and the I really like the vocalist Anthony's voice. This song is really catchy, while also not being all too original sounding. It has generic guitar tones and a generic sounding guitar solo. It's still pretty catchy, and the chord progression mixed with the strumming pattern reminds me of Billy Talent. The next song "Sick, Sick, Sick" is like this album's single or something. It was posted to be streamed online before the rest of the album became available. It's more catchy stuff that reminds me of other stuff I heard, which is already becoming a recurring theme with this album. It's nothing to write home to mom about, though. She's still backed up sorting through all my letters about how awesome I think The Wonder Years and Bomb the Music Industry are, anyway.

"Mona Lisa" is the first really worth it song for listening to on this album. The thing with me is, I've never listened to much popular music at all. So bands that sound like other popular bands, all sound new to me since I never got into the bands they borrow from. So to me, this song sounds different from anything I've heard. So if I heard from you guys that it's actually generic, then fuck. But, to me, it's the first song that makes me think, "oh, this is what this band sounds like." I think I was right about this, too, because the song after it, "It's Not a Bad Little War", sounds pretty similar to "Mona Lisa". I'm clearly good at this stuff. The vocals in these songs remind me of Motion City Soundtrack, but maybe that's just me. I mean, the dude isn't as good at singing as Justin Pierre, but he's got a voice on him. This band is pretty much characterized by consistent guitar solos, glistening vocals that you want to singalong to, and actually that sums it up pretty well.

"Sinking and Swimming On Long Island" is my favorite song on the album, and I think I may actually write home to mom about it. It's something I can see me uncharacteristically singing along to, almost as much as L.G.F.U.A.D. or whatever that song is by Say Anything that Hollyann always plays in her car. "The Wrong Way" is a pretty catchy song, and sounds different from most of the songs, other than the one right before it. This band is pretty catchy, but nothing special. I think I might get murdered for that statement, but I really went into this with no bias and a completely open mind. Hey, look! A piano song is up next! "On Love, On Life" is a beautiful little piano diddy with uplifting lyrics and I think I'm getting the point of Bayside now. Once you realize the band's musical style isn't extremely varied when compared to other bands or itself, you start to focus on lyrics, and this band actually has lyrics I enjoy.

The last song is also the title track of the album, "Killing Time". There's something else to be noted about this band's style. They have this sort of dark and ominous tone you'd expect to find in Nightmare Before Christmas or in the background to an anime about a troubled ninja. This stuff is really easy to listen to, and it gets points for that. It's not my style, but I also don't adhere strictly to my style. I could see me turning this band on, but there's really a lot more albums I'd rather be listening to. I haven't heard their other albums yet, but I think you should listen to those instead of this one, because I always think a band's older shit is probably better. This one, not bad though. Try it.

-Idle

PS. I'm seeing them with Polar Bear Club and The Swellers in a couple months. I hear they put on a great live show and are nice dudes.

The Steinways - Promise It'll Never Happen Again


The first thing I thought when I turned this album on was, "is this secretly just a new release from short attention?" Apparently, it's not; it's seriously a new Steinways album. I mean, the term new is supposed to be used lightly here, because most of these songs were already out on EPs or compilations or whatnot, but they're new to me!

If you're not familiar with The Steinways, you can check out Bear's review of their album Missed the Boat. It's fun pop punk that often makes fun of itself for how strictly pop punk it is. The songs are short, catchy, and funny. And guess what? They're even shorter on this new release, and depending on the song, also funnier and catchier...okay, I don't know if anything released ever is catchier than every song on Missed the Boat. But, these songs are still fun and catchy!

Seeing as It'll Never Happen Again is 31 songs, I'm not going to be following my typical method of reviewing this time. I'm going to tell you how the record is overall (catchy and fun), tell you stuff I like about the band (they're sexy), and point out which songs or lines are my favorites. Easy to follow, yes? The Steinways are the perfect band for a bad mood when you want to make the happy happen. Grath's vocals are kind of raspy and on the whinier end, and a little childish sounding...which explains why I like his voice. There was also a joke on a Short Attention record about how if he had a deep voice he'd have been arrested for being a stalker by now. So it works out for him as well as the fans, I suppose.

"Milk Was A Bad Choice" is an awesome song for the Anchorman title alone, but it's also really catchy. Yeah, it's simple, but it's a singalong and that's what matters here. I also really like "Fucking February", which honestly is just a song that sounds exactly like a couple other Steinways songs. But that must be why I like it, right? This is no time to be a music snob; it's nofx's job to keep punk rock elite, not yours. This music is for head bobbing and singing along. Play this shit while you shower, drive, go jogging, or play video games. Or have sex. Play the record while you have sex. Your slampiece will enjoy it. Honestly.

You should also listen to "Are You Fucking Kidding Me", "Really Really", and "I Shit (You Not). I honestly think the third one there is probably the best on here. Really, it just sounds like it should be a House Boat song, though. By the way, new House Boat record is being mastered now. Awesome, right? A few of these songs might only feel like ripoffs of other steinway songs for the reason that I might've actually heard them before and forgot about it. This being the major reason while I'm not judging any possible acts of rehashing or whatnot. The song "Ice Cream" has the fucking jingle from the Mr. Softee truck!! How awesome is that? This is from the guys who brought you the song which was just focused on the tune some doorbells make when you ring them! Awesome.

What's new with this album? There's a couple acoustic songs: "Fuck You Guys (You're Out of the Band)" and "That Sorta Hot Pseudo White Trash Girl Who Used to Work at the Pool Hall." Of course, the only new thing about these songs, is that they're acoustic. They still fit the basic Steinways formula and all. There's really nothing more I can say in this review, other than you should definitely buy this album. It's awesome, fun music and you won't regret it a single time. It's not expensive either, and you can get from It's Alive Records, and those guys are the coolest people on earth, so I've heard. So it won't kill you to go for it. Honest.

-Idle

thetragichero/campfire split - Burps, Farts, and Bongrips

Today, I'm reviewing an split EP put out by a few Orlando dudes, one of the dudes being Tim, someone we often reference here at Idle and the Bear. FML. (I only put the FML there, because I put the 'today' at the beginning, and I wanted to continue to fit the fmylife format...yeah, I'm retarded).

Thetragichero is a solo project of this dude Chris who is in the Orlando band Ghost Aviary with Tim. They're like emo or something. If you think his project is tired "thetradgichero" with a "d", you're not to blame. The dude who did the album art had a bit of a hand-typo. It happens. Chris has a gruff voice which is similar to that of Ryan Young from Off With Their Heads, and because of that, the OWTH cover on his side of the split sounds pretty awesome. The other three songs on the split are pretty somber overall, and the instrumentation varies between tracks. The first song "Falling Off the Wagon" is just acoustic and vocals and I think a little bit of bass? Maybe that's just the root note on the acoustic, though...I'm not musically inclined. This song basically boasts the term I used to describe his side of the split, somber. It sounds kind of classy and weird, and his voice is pretty cool and soft in it, with the gruffy edge he has. The third song "No, I Don't Want a Mocha Latte" is guitar, bass, and Tim playing drums. It's much more upbeat than the other songs on his side of the split, and would be my favorite if it weren't for the last song on his side deciding its my favorite.

The "Untitled" forth track is piano, drums, and huft-tuft-ruff-n-gruff vocals. I think I chose the right word when I decided to call it somber. This guy definitely reminds me of OWTH overall, and this song being the most similar, despite it being a piano ballad. Don't worry, you won't stay sad forever after hearing this gem, because right afterward you get to hear goofy songs by Tim and Matt AKA Campfire, Suburbia. Campfire is just Matt playing guitar and doing backup vocals, while Tim does this kind of mix between singing and talking depending on the song. I saw them live in Orlando when they played with the Working Dead and my band, and they were pretty silly and entertaining.

My problem with the Campfire side of the split is that it's too damn quiet. The thing I like about this split, is it's pretty much all about internet jokes. Tim is addicted to the clorum (mitch clem's forum), and I feel like this has strongly affected his life. I mean, the first song is called "Get a Cat, Join a Forum"...haha. That pretty much sums it up. Everyone loves lolcats, so yeah. Plus there's the Meet The Parents clip about milking cats at the end of the song, and everyone loves to hear De Niro ask Stiller to milk him.

The second song is about being at a Wal-Greens and seeing a homeless guy buy a beer and cigarettes, and then said homeless guy asks him for change so he can buy a burger. I don't think Tim being straight edge is the reason this annoys him, I think "fake-ass-hobo" bitches just annoy everyone. The third song "Literacy" is just a bunch of authors names and book titles and Tim singing "god I hate books, god I hate books, check them out, check them out"...and a sound clip, which sounds like Pee Wee Herman? No, according to Tim it's Tom Kenny...Rocko's Modern Life. Then the last song, titled "Campfire, Suburbia", is actually sung by Matt instead of Tim, and it's a live song, unlike the rest of the split. It's pretty simple, and most of the song is just "we're living in, we're dying in, we're fighting in a campfire suburbia/we're sleeping in, we're eating in, we are a campfire suburbia" and some elongated "uhh" sounds. Unforunately, no Dio impressions in this song, which is what I thought to be Matt's specialty.

Hey look, I finished reviewing the split! If you want to listen along at home, you can find some of the songs on Campfire's myspace. Other than that, the album isn't actually out yet, so you'll have to wait a little bit and I'll update this post once there's a way you can listen to it or buy it. You should pay attention to Tim and Chris's band Ghost Aviary, too. Because they're emo or something, and that sounds good. Later, dudes!

-Idle

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Crucial Dudes - 61 Penn



I found Crucial Dudes while browsing for music on a ska forum I used to post on. The thread about them was titled "Latterman + Tom Delonge" and was posted by my friend Toby. The post contained a link to Crucial Dude's album "61 Penn" on bandcamp, and claims of it sounding like Latterman if Tom from Blink 182 were to sing. After listening to them, I immediately understood the Latterman reference, but I think whoever thinks the singer sounds like Tom is just out of their mind. If anything, I'd say he sounds like Soupy from The Wonder Years, or maybe 10 other guys I've heard while riding in my friend Holly's car. I'm not saying it as a bad thing, though. I like his voice, and I love the instrumentals. This album is fucking sweet. Good looks, Toby.

According to their Last.Fm page, Crucial Dudes are a 5-piece punk band from Southern New Jersey. You can find a link to download their self titled EP on the last.fm, if you want to check out their other stuff. The new album, 61 Penn, came out early this year and it's the first time I even heard of these dudes. But, after listening to the album on repeat most of today, I'm fairly certain they'll be pretty crucial to my music listening habits for a while. And if you listen to these albums after I review them, you'll probably feel the same way.

The album kicks off with a short, instrumental track called "Mt. Chill, You're Climbing". If you're a fan of Latterman, you'll notice the simliarties in style right away. Otherwise, you'll just immediately notice how good their shit sounds. It's a pretty basic chord progression with a familiar sounding lead, and a lot of energy. This intro sets the tone for the album really. It's energetic and kind of just makes me feel happy. It goes into the song "Doubt" and we get to hear this alleged 'Tom Delonge sounding vocalist', and you'll probably notice by the end of this short track that he does not sound at all like Tom. He has a bit of a whiny voice, but with some gruff to it. The vocals are presented on top of some awesome instrumental work, and everything is catchy as hell. I love the lead guitar at the end right before it cuts off to leave the words "so stay away, so stay away" as the last thing you hear before the next song comes on.

Everything on this album flows together really well. This band has an overall sound, and it's pretty similar to The Upsides album by The Wonder Years, and pretty much everything by Latterman. I love both of those bands, and I definitely feel pretty strongly about liking Crucial Dudes now, as well. All the songs are catchy, and all the guitar leads are interesting. The vocals are infectious and the recording quality is pretty good. There's no reason you won't enjoy this album, unless you don't like the genre to begin with. Another noteworthy song on their release is "Mad Nice". It's 55 seconds and vocals consist of just "woah-ohs", but it serves as a great intro into the title track "61 Penn". The title track is one of my favorites on this album. It's catchy, and I'm already singing along to it everytime it comes on. It's angsty, it's energetic, and it's pretty empowering. This song alone is a good enough reason to give these dudes a chance. You'll probably become a fan and end up going to all of their shows and wearing their T-Shirts everywhere you go. Or you might not, that's not for me to decide or anything.

The song "On Leaving" is the main reason this band was described as sounding just like Latterman. The similarity on this track is pretty damn striking, and it doesn't at all turn me off or make me think that they're to be chalked up as an unncessary appendage to the pop punk scene, because I think they have the capability of bringing more to the table in the future. Basically, the experience of purchasing 61 Penn by Crucial Dudes can be metaphorized (real word?) by this:  Say you want to play a board game with your friends, but ever since moving out of your mom's house you don't have any board games. So, you go out to the store and by an old favorite, Monopoly. While you've played Monopoly plenty of times, you still love playing it. It may not be bringing something new to the table, but maybe you're playing it on a new table. Then it is, so I win.

The last song is as good as the others, and is more catchy vocals and fun music and everything else I've already told you about. This review is of course longer than I intended it to be, but that always happens with me. I think you should give this album a few listens on bandcamp and decide whether you like it for yourself. I hope you do, and I hope they stick to their guns and release many more albums, because my ears would like that very much. Later, dudes.

-Idle

You can find Crucial Dudes on facebook HERE, and you can find Idle and the Bear on facebook HERE.

Anniversary Club- Bleed

Chris Stowe (from Cleveland, OH) started Anniversary Club in 2009, and is very heavily influenced by indie, folk, and punk in his music, which he has blended into a simplistic, great acoustic sound. His third release and first full length, Bleed, is pretty great.
Song breakdown:
"Stay Up"- for one, great picking pattern. It's very catchy. Also, Chris has a very nice voice- it really pulls the song together nicely. It's like if Five Times August was stripped down, less pop-esque, and didn't sell out! It's got a real nice calming sound. "From What I Remember" is fairly different from "Stay Up," but still a great song. I like this one better- it's a good song. And coming in at 3, "Bleed," is a wonderful song. Chris again impresses me with his guitar- very simple and yet very beautiful. He's talented. "Kids" is probably my favorite song of his- fabulous lyrics that I definitely connected with. "Everything is Timing" makes me sad, but in a good way. I'm a sucker for songs like this. This song makes me almost as happy as I was when Idle got mad at me for switching our account's language to French... That made me pretty happy though, so it would be hard to beat that. "Dead Season" is fucking awesome! "I met you when I was 17, I was drunk on dreams and your eyes." Talks about getting high, drinking, letters you'd never send, things fucking up, and losing people you love... Who doesn't adore songs like that? "Audio 51" is an alright song. To be honest, I wasn't that big of a fan of it. "The Truth about Almost Everything" was about the same. "Antinomy" was back to the awesomeness- such a sad song, but also very good. I really liked it. "Please Call" is depressingly awesome. I think I'm one of many that really understood what he meant in this song.

Overall:
Chris Stowe is very talented, and I love his style. However, there wasn't much variety- I'd be interested to see with him play around more with said style. Album gets an 8.5 out of 10, and I can't wait to see what else he does. You can download Anniversary Club on their bandcamp and you should definitely pay lots of money for his work. :)

-Bear

JUST THOUGHT I'D MAKE SOMETHING CLEAR

A reader of ours was just conversing with me... and he thought I was a boy...
Hey guys, Idle is a man, but I AM A GIRL. I think I write pretty girl-ish... and there have been pictures!

I'm laughing so hard right now. Did anyone else think I was a guy?


....The bear.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Traders- EP2010

The Traders is a fairly new band (started in April) from France that released their first EP on my personal heroin, Death To False Hope. Coincidentally, this band shares members with Nichiel's, which I reviewed earlier this week. Thanks Romain, for showing me your bands!
Even though this band is French, like a lot of French bands, they sing in English. Now you don't have an excuse to not go download them.
"Forgetting Our Duties" reminds me a lot of Off With Their Heads! Can you guys see it? It's a great song. It's catchy, it's got great guitar, and it makes me wanna move. I already love them so far.
"Whiskey in the cola", is presumably a reference to Jack and Coke, and another great song. A lot less intense than "Forgetting Our Duties" but all the same awesome. The Traders are still a little rough around the edges (as are most bands on their first EP) but nonetheless, very talented and fun to listen to.
"My drink tastes like shame (because there are remorses in the glass" has an awesome title for one, and for two, is (surprise) wonderful. "Those Shit Abuses" is fucking awesome. What a cool song. The intro is fucking chill- drums make this girl happy.
"Throwing pieces" has a fast, upbeat rhythm and well, it rocks my socks off. 
(the joke is, I don't wear socks)
"Down", "Wait Til", and "For Ourselves" make me do this >:{D
(pssst. I don't have a mustache! wink face)
"For The Idole..." Holy shit those guys can play. Bass and guitar both were mint.
Overalll.... These guys kind of sound like a lot of other punk bands, to be honest. They scored low on the originality chart for me, but hell, they're new. However, they scored high on everything else.
LISTEN TO THE TRADERS. THEY FUCKING ROCK. 
-Bear

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

nichiels- J'ai Marché Parmis Les Zombies

Nichiels is a fabulous punk band from France that I adore. One of the members and I have been speaking over email, and it's a pleasure of mine to listen to their album released on guerilla asso last May. For one, if you don't know much about french music, you don't know how rare it is for a french band to actually sing in french- the music is very much influenced by other cultures, and the country itself is a big melting pot of nationalities, so the majority of all genres coming from France are predominately sung in other languages. Being a lover of the language, it always makes me super excited to listen to music with french lyrics. Also, J'ai Marché Parmis Les Zombies (I walked among the zombies) is a great album title, with a kickass album cover to match.
"Conflit d'intérêts" (conflict of interests) is a wonderful way to start off the album. It's fun, it's fast, it's punk. It's got a pop punk edge to it, but I wouldn't call it pop punk. It's like if you made a NOFX- Les Rasoirs Electriques mix group... And then sprinkled fairy dust on it. Ya dig?
"Des années bien remplies" ( some busy years) is yet another great song. It's clear that they're great musicians, and they bring a great sound to the table. "Gloire et fétichisme" (glory and fetishism) is a song about my two favorite things! Kidding. This song actually makes me laugh because he says "zut alors" exactly like a friend of mine, so I think of him everytime. Ah, zut alors, quelle coïncidence... Man, this page is scattered with "spelling errors" in my french. (PS. Blogger? Let me code foreign letters please. Thanks. <3)
Anyway, "Va précariser ta mère (feat. Alex Justin(e))" and "Accusé de réception" are two more fantastic songs, but to be honest, they sound very alike to me. It's like the same great sound repeated with slightly different chords and words....  But I suppose if it isn't broken, don't fix it! "Régina" is a sweet song about fighting the church. " Un préjugé une balle", " Moins bavard plus efficace", and "Gravity always win" are all three awesome. "Travail et suicide" is my favorite track on the album. I love the bouncy sound, the vocals, everything. Kudos, boys, kudos.
"Vide assisté" has a cute little dialogue at the beginning, and then launches into the amazing music. "T'es beau.com" is fucking awesome. It's pretty much a big "Fuck you!" to social standards and aesthetic beauty. "Tout pour moi" and "Canulars, beurre, et mollusques" are a fun way to end the album, and the applause at the end of "Canulars" is very much deserved!

Merci beaucoup pour la musique, et félicitations pour l'album fabuleux! Alors, mon francais est mauvais.... Dommage. Je vous aime, nicheils! 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Allison Weiss - Was Right All Along



Allison Weiss is a great example of somebody going from youtube to your local venue. She's an amazing musician whom identifies as lesbian and loves pizza. I first found out about her through Bomb the Music Industry having one of her youtube videos imbedded on their myspace profile. It was a video of her doing an awesome cover of their first song "Future 86". And since then, I've had a big lesbian crush on her (I know I'm a guy and all, but I also love quoting Mean Girls).

Allison is current living the life we all wish we were living up in New York City. She's making ends meet just by music and graphic design, and you can help her out if you like her stuff by checking out the store on her website and getting yourself some cool swag, dudes. So anyway, back in 2009, Allison's first full length dropped and we found out that she indeed "Was Right All Along". It's like the best solo work ever released in the history of ever. It's like if Ani Difranco was even BETTER. These songs will burn into your brain and injet themselves into your blood stream. Did you know that if someone addicted to cocaine even thinks about cocaine, the blood flows slower in their brain? At least, according to the internet. Well, if you think about Allison Weiss, a similar affect occurs...except it's more like lyrics and vocal hooks run through your brain like a train runs through the lyrics of a blues song. Don't believe me? Bandcamp this shit!

"I Was An Island" is the first song on this album, and is a perfect example of what will get stuck in your head. Her vocals are adorable and her lyrics are amazing. When listening to this album, it feels sort of like you're simultaneously going through her diary and her poetry journal, and she doesn't mind in the slightest; she even encourages it. Do you feel like having another chorus stuck in your head? How about you listen to the HIT SINGLE "Finger's Crossed"? This song is amazing and the music video is baller as hell. I love this stuff. "From You to Me" has some of the better sounding vocals on the album, and I really like the guitar work in it, as well; it definitely fits under the poetry journal selection of songs, too. Whereas July 25, 2007 feels like an awesome mix of the two. The chorus is more of a poem, and the verses are more like making poetry out of everyday life...something she's an idle-declared professional at. World-declared, even.

"You + Me + Alcohol" = Song Idle Put On 50 Mixtapes For People. I think her song title is definitely better than mine. I really love this song, everything about it. It's extremely catchy, and the verse flows beautifully and it's about alcohol and as an ex alcohol lover, I appreciate this. All of it is so perfectly put together and the vocals are so petty. I love it. The next song is "Try To Understand", and this is one of the earlier songs I got into. I remember when she posted it on youtube, and I immediately fell in love with it. In the youtube version, her brother plays the 2nd guitar and it's all adorable. This song is so infectious and it's one of the many that I know all the lyrics to by heart. I sing it to myself a lot, it's true.

"Why Bother" is another great song that I could go on and on about for forever, and it would probably be wiser to just tell you it's awesome. Honestly, you can judge stuff for yourself, right? This review should just be entertainment for you, I hope. I just want you to have further incentive to add this record to your collection. "Yer Going Down" is the cutest song on the album, even if only just by the title alone. Her vocals are so damn amazing. It's weird how I don't notice mention of pancakes or pizza in these songs, though...quite weird. The album finishes with "Ghost Stories" and "Let's Leave", which are two songs I don't think I give enough attention to on my own. Listening to them right now, I wonder why I don't know them by heart yet. It's weird...they're both songs I love...but I think I have music ADD and change albums a lot. I know the choruses by heart though, because they're all really catchy. I think "Let's Leave" might by my favorite song now. Just get this fucking album, and order a pizza. Night, dudes!

-Idle

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Be My Doppelganger- No Composure

Be My Doppelganger is a great 4 piece pop punk band from Indiana that released their second LP on It's Alive Records last August- it was their first album with the label, however. I fell in love with Rock N Roll Genius earlier that year, and I was just as happy with this album. 


"Ignition On"' has an intro that always makes me think Ramones- not quite Teenage Bottlerocket level of Ramonesiness, but it's up there. The rest of the song doesn't though. It's a really great song. Very short, but that's a characteristic of most Be My Doppelganger.
"Big Time Joke" is one of the best tracks on the album.... It's perfect for moshing, singing along in the shower, moshing in the shower... whatever. I don't want to know what you do in the shower with your friends, you crazy kids. The music is very sporadic and interesting- you can tell they experimented a lot and had a lot of fun with the sound. 
The third song is actually my dog's favorite song. I'm not kidding. He wiggles his butt back and forth at the "la, la, la" part. It's cute. "Cha cha chump" is a song of failure with lots of extra vowel sounds- you know, pop punk stuff. It's got a random guitar interlude/solo thing in the middle, and then attacks you with the chorus to finish off the song. "Turning Seventeen" is an adorable song. It has the best chorus on the entire album. The whole album is covered in great lead guitar, but I think it really shows in this song. I'm going to play this song at my wedding. It'll be touching for all, especially the old people. "Slash N Bite" and "Maybe It Was Your Fault" are both enjoyable.... But nothing really sticks out for me. The latter has a really catchy riff, but that's about all. "Throw A Party" is wonderful- a true punx party theme. Anyone who loves parties as much as Idle and I do (that's a lie, Idle hates parties... I still drag him along.) will enjoy this song.
"She's Taking Hold" really shows the traditional punk rock roots to this band. It's like, 60% punk, 30% pop, 10% ^_^ that face.
"Backpack Beers" is the BEST track on the album easily. It's fabulous. 
There are a buncha more songs. But... Find them yourself. :) Listen.
Sorry this is shorter than usual- I haven't slept much and being a 50 year old man, I need my sleep.
That's a joke. I'm not a 50 year old man.
(I'm still getting a hang of this humor thing.)
On that note...
-Bear