Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Turnover - Turnover


Turnover is a band that sounds like it's a spawn of the bro-core genre, but with the bro part used very lightly. They sounds a lot like Handguns and Transit, which are two awesome bands which we've positively reviewed in the past, so there's nothing out of the ordinary here. It's just a solid record put out by talented musicians from Virginia Beach, and you can get it for free over at their bandcamp page, where you can also donate if you choose to do so.

The recording is of moderate quality, being kind of like really good lo-fi more than it is really bad hi-fi, I'd say. It sounds a little washy, but that's likely due to the fact that the instruments strive to create a sort of wall of sound. The lead guitar is strong throughout all of the songs, which is something really common with these bands. It's not as awesome as the lead parts are for Transit, but it's still composed pretty elegantly. The songs boast a definite emo feel, which is a good thing when it comes to me. Of course, when I say emo I mean like Rites of Spring, Fugazi, Sunny Day Real Estate, and shit like that; I don't mean some of the things that probably come to mind for you. "Solitude" is probably my favorite song on here, and a great example of the emo influence.

The song "Time" comes on after that, and starts off with kind of a Lifetime feel, but then goes into the whole Handguns style for the majority of the song. There's similarities to Good Charlotte (I mean this in a good way if that's even possible) and to New Found Glory (I promise I mean it in a good way, despite me not being a huge fan of either). These songs definitely don't sooth the punk side in me, but they definitely do a lot to make me forget that I was just forced to listen to a Rise Against album enough to write a fair review on it. And I hate Rise Against now because of it. I almost got into them last night listening to them in my friend's car, until I heard the new Endgame album.

The last song, "Waiting", is the first one to force me to pay attention to the drum work, because it definitely presents the more technical side of the band at times. There's a lot these guys could do with their talent, and I really hope to see better things from this group in the future.

Overall this EP leaves a lot to be desired, while still being a solid effort for the young band. It's something I'd throw into a mix with a whole bunch of other bands, so that it doesn't get old so quickly, but listening to the EP straight through ends with me not wanting to hear it anymore for a while. It's good in small doses, but let's hope the next release is good in heavily repeated doses. Go ahead and check this one out at bandcamp and enjoy it! You should definitely get into the first track, it's awesome.

-Idle

Rise Against - Endgame



I've never been a fan of Rise Against. They've had hit songs that were catchy and enjoyable, but nothing beyond that. They kind of sound like somebody wanted to be the Nickelback of punk music, you know? They sound like Bad Religion meets older AFI meets generic. Their songs can be fast, catchy, and for those reasons entertaining, but they never really have much to show for it. It's bland. Well, now there's another bland album out for pseudo-punks to go nuts over!

The album kicks off in usual Rise Against fashion, which is sounding like Bad Religion with a more emotional vocalist. The production quality is through the roof, while also not being able to drop any jaws. There's a seemingly-randomly-generated guitar solo during the first song that I don't really get. I think my comparison to Nickelback was pretty fair, or maybe they're like Jet. They don't sound like these bands, mind you, they're just the punk version of what those bands represent. Mediocrity and banality all around, folks.

Suddenly it's time for the band to sound like American Idiot era Green Day with the third track "Make It Stop" and I'm pretty confused. Yeah, I know, we've all walked that lonely road (the only road that I have ever known), but most of the times we walk it, we walk it by singing along...not by rewriting the lyrics and pretending it's an original creation. For shame, mis amigos. Don't worry, guys, the band goes back to sounding like a Bad Religion ripoff nightmare immediately after with the lead part in the next song, and they really drill it in with the vocals. It's ridiculous. There's a shit load of like choral woahs that BR are known for throughout this release too.

The drums sounds fake and probably are. That's all I have to say about that.

They think they're metal (or maybe a really hard plastic) all of a sudden for the song "Midnight Hands", and then they quickly forget it after the intro...to an extent. There's weird reoccurring plastic-metal elements at times...and actually this song makes them actually SOUND like Nickelback...oh fuck. That sucks for them. Sorry dudes.

"Survivor Guilt" should just be called "It's Time to be Anti-Flag, Guize", but it's not...so that's weird. I'm assuming there's probably some deep, meaningful or rebellious lyrical content that drives this band and their releases, but I just can't get across the mediocre presentation of it all to even reach that point. Anybody else notice how the only really good Rise Against song is that "Like the Angel" song that was on Tony Hawk's Underground? I noticed. That swingset song is really catchy though, not going to lie. It's still just generic and not worth noting.

The metal is back for "Broken Mirrors", but honestly nobody missed it, so please get rid of it again.

I'm so damn glad this album is only 12 songs, but honestly it's a super fucking long 12 songs. There's only one fucking song that's shorter than 3:30...what the hell? You know what? I'm done.

-Idle

Mixtapes posted a new song

Mixtapes uploaded a new song from their upcoming EP Hope is For People. Check it out over at bandcamp...it's pretty awesome!

-Idle

The Sounds- Something To Die For

The new Sounds album coming out yesterday appeared to be like a gift from the Gods. If I could marry a Sweedish band and Abba was busy, I would marry The Sounds. I'm kidding. Fuck Abba. I would only marry the Sounds. This is their fourth studio album since 1999 when they formed. Their vocalist, Maja Ivarsson, is gorgeous, talented, and overall one of my favorite musicians. The Sounds are great for you if you like Joan Jett, Garbage, or breathing. I think there was a week about two months ago where Idle and I both had "24 Hours" from Dying To Say This To You on repeat for the entire week. We're both kind of creepy.
"It's So Easy" is really trippy. To be honest, it put me off. I don't know how to feel about it. The Sounds usually are at least INFLUENCED by pop punk, and have a little bit of a rough-but-cute sound. But.. this is all 80s-futuristic-dance heavy. I don't know. Kind of upset about it.
It didn't get any better by the second track, "Dance With The Devil." It's something I can still appreciate, because I'm a total dance junkie, but... Just because I'd dance to something doesn't mean I like it. This music is good... But it's definitely not my music at ALL. I feel like I'm listening to a teen montage from the 80s :(
"The No No Song" looks up a bit. It's still way too poppy and electric, but it at least stops with the creepy woosh noises. I adore Maja's voice, but this turn in their music.. Just doesn't do anything for me. I feel like this song wouldn't bother me if it was mixed in with their older style, but it's just so meh. It's like if Judy Jetson was a hipster.
"Better Off Dead" should be playing in Forever 21 right now. In fact, I bet it is. Do I need to say more?
I have to say one song I do enjoy is "Wish You Were Here." However, I'm never going to admit I like it again... It's adorable though.


Something To Die For sounds like Chamillionaire, Cascada, Duran Duran, and Johnny Foreigner had some creepy 4n polyploid thing that made a CD. It's the kind of thing I'd want to hear at a crazy dance party, not in my bedroom, or on my iPod. The Sounds have made some of the cutest rock music out there, but this isn't it. At all. Sad face.
Bear.

Light Up The Eyes- Winter Demo 2011

Light Up The Eyes is awesome pop punk from Modesto. RIYL... well, any easy-core bopper punk. Yeah.
Okay, first off, "Life Coma." Is that a fucking 3 Ninjas reference? What the fuck? I really hope it's not a coincidence... Cause I laughed so hard at that. Anyway, I like this song a lot. There are six guys in Light Up The Eyes, so I was kind of worried if it would sound complicated... You know, 6 is actually a pretty normal number I think, but I'm so used to these cute little trios, groups make me nervous. Punk music, man.... It sounds good though. I think my favorite thing about "Life Coma" is the keyboards.
"Colima Street" has a totally different sound... Awesome. I like when bands surprise me. You know, in a good way. It's a little more easy core than pop punk in this track. I really like the lyrics- I'm a big word lover, you seeee.

Two great songs. Listen and look out for more from them. Only complaint is the vocals do get a bit sketchy at times, but over-all it was smoothed over and I like it. 
-Bear

Grand Hotel Paradox- First World Problems

I was going to sit around in bed til noon and play Pokemon, which is my typical schedule, but instead, I decided to sit in bed ALL day and review some fun punk..
Grand Hotel Paradox is the first band we've ever reviewed from the UAE. Pretty cool. Anyway, this baby (band?) was birthed (joined?) when Chris Ryan (guitar and vocals) met Mike Priest (bass, vocals) at Mike's old band GOPILOT's show. At some point along the way, they picked up Michael Sydenham for drums. Grand Hotel Paradox is really great DIY punk with a great sound. Not only are the vocals really interesting, the instrumentals are extremely catchy. You can hear definite influence from Fugazi, Propagandhi, and even Choking Victim. You'll like them.
"The Lime Hasn't Fallen Far From The Tree" is really awesome. First off, is that the phrase in the rest of the world? Because I always thought it was apple. But limes are better than apples, so I'm all for it. I might steal that phrase. It sets a social agenda for the rest of the EP, and I really like it. It's got a very traditional sound, but they still incorporate some new elements to it. 
NOTE: It actually is apple... This is a reference to a cafe, The Lime Tree Cafe. Thanks, GHP!
"Find My Way" has the best damn instrumentals! I love the bass so much, it's really addictive. The music has an exceptionally odd sound, but I mean that in a very positive way. Grand Hotel Paradox... needs to make more music. Because I want to hear what else is in their head.
"Indoctrination" is kind of like a watered down NOFX song. The politically strong lyrics are awesome, oh and said really fast. The song isn't even two minutes, but they still manage to pack quite a few bars in.
"Scream vs Whisper" is a mostly instrumental track (to be more specific, a mostly bass song) attacks shitty hardcore and I am all for that, haha. Punk music is about emotions, not screaming... I mean, the screaming is usually there too, but that's normally because we're really angry or really excited about something. Most of us don't LIKE tearing our vocal chords. That's unrelated though. The music has a really creative, interesting melody and I give my bear paw of approval.



Overall, bravo. I love that they went back to their roots, but they brought their own ideas with it. I wanna hear more. Also, I want this CD in person, but it says that won't happen until June 4th on the bandcamp... So I'll wait. "Patiently." NOTE: The bandcamp is wrong. Just found this out. So this whole segment is well, void. Ish.
This is their bandcamp, make sure to read the bit at the bottom cause it's hilarious. By the way, name your own price doesn't always mean it's free.... Give the guys some money, k? K.

-Bear

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Antillectual- Start From Scratch

Antillectual, admittedly the first band I've ever listened to from Netherlands that wasn't black metal, is a wonderful mix of 90s skate punk, emo, and sometimes even metal. They're really into fast, driving music, activism, and slushies. They're a lot like Propagandi, Strike Anywhere, and Rise Against. Except a lot better than Rise Against... thank goodness.
I made up that last part. I have no idea if Willem, Riekus, or Tim have ever even had a slushie. But I'm ASSUMING that they like them if they've had them. Or if they haven't, I will give them slushies, and make that last part true. I'm sorry I might have lied. I'll get back to the band now.
Antillectual makes intricate, kickass melodies to the tone of social and political issues anywhere in the world. Start From Scratch was released on a million different labels on a million different countries- Angry Chuck Records (Russia)Destiny Records (Germany, Austria, Switzerland)Discos Rayados (Spain)Effervescence Records (France)Infected Records (Portugal)Lockjaw (UK)Shield Records (Benelux)No Reason Records (Italy)5 Feet Under (Denmark), and Square of Opposition (US). Holy shit that was a lot of linkage. But yeah, I'm pretty sure where ever you're reading this, you have a record company (or four) you could easily buy this album from. so... Do it! Start From Scratch is their best album yet.
WARNING: this review is longer than fruit by the foot...

What's cool about this album, is along with the lyrics, you also get an explanation... So this will be a thick and juicy review. (Can I call reviews juicy?)
"Every Crisis is a Moral Crisis" has some BADASS guitar riffs! Willem is the man. When I first turned this on, I honestly thought it was gonna be some prog metal... But then they (thankfully) proved me wrong. The song, according to the band, is about the turning point in history we're currently at, and I couldn't agree more. There are hundreds and hundreds of crises going on right now, and they're all pretty fucked up, and instead of looking at how to improve from them, we just look for a new savior. "The system broke- repairing it is not possible." pretty much sums it up quite well. 
"Buyer's Remorse" rocks. I'm all for anti-capitalism, even though I'm just as guilty as the rest of us... Seriously though, this song has a great message. Don't buy what you don't need, don't buy from immoral or unethical companies, and don't put money into the pockets of people that don't need it. I absolutely love how they put it when they say "Without our support as buyers and workers, this process would not be able to persist. Would that be a revolution? yes. Would that require revolutionary actions? not really." Don't waste your money on cigarettes, a fourth fucking TV, any of that. In today's day in age, we all must be consumers to survive... But use it to YOUR advantage, not theirs. Buy what you need. Buy organic. Buy environmentally friendly. Antillectual, in contrast to their name, are some really fucking smart guys with great ideas. 
"The Hunt is On" is a pretty broad accusation. It points fingers at the corruption of politics, religion, and economy. Besides what they speak for, they're all talented musicians. In punk music, it's not too often you hear about GREAT vocalists... I'm not saying there aren't handfuls. It's just not something that someone would usually identify with punk music. However, Willem Heijmans has some STRONG vocal chords, along with his fabulous guitar playing. His voice has just the right style to make you WANT to stand up and fight for something. Not to ignore the drums or bass- every member of Antillectual knows what their doing. Tim van Tol carries a strong bass line, and Riekus van Montfort is a wonderful drummer. 
"America's Worst Role Model" is great. I love when people point out America's flaws... Sorry, patriots. America's leaders have all tried to enforce what a strong, superhero role model we are for the rest of the world... But really, I pray to God that we aren't a role model for ANYONE. This track touches upon the way that we sell sex in this country more than anywhere else (hell, if you can market it...), how we "fix" national disasters, our fucked up medical system, and the multitude of scandals in all three branches of our government. Who the hell are we to say that we're a ROLE MODEL for the world? Not even that- who are we to say that we even have role models for our own citizens? When we waste all of our time polluting our brain with corrupted politicians, "celebrities", and so-called self help doctors on day time TV, are we really bettering ourselves or learning morals? To even have morals in this country, you have to be a saint. There are some amazing fighters in this country- people who buy organic, people who fight the unfair laws, people who teach their children respect and modesty- but when do you hear about these people on your reality TV shows?
"Cut the Ground From Under Our Feet" is a great musical track. The intro is so strong, and the vocals really step their game up. This song is inspired by the Nike commercials about skateboarding, (Thanks Antillectual for a link, tinyurl.com/nikeskateboarding) It's a short song, but probably one of my favorites.
"Kraken Gaat Door!" according to babel fish means "crack continues." However, according to real Dutch people, it means "squatting continues." This song is a jab to the unfair anti-squatting laws in Holland right now. I like the drums best in this song... Because they're catchy as hell. I love the last few lines- "A place for those without one/ a home for those without one/ an outlet for those without one/ no squatter is illegal."
The guitar in "Some of My Best Friends are Meat Eaters" is fucking INTENSE! I also really enjoy this song- it talks about how the meat industry is fucked up and why it's better to go vegetarian or vegan- but it also isn't pompous. The band clearly states that even though they believe that it is a better decision to go vegan, they won't contribute to the petty arguments between the groups. They believe it's a personal choice to be respected- even though they personally are for vegetarianism or veganism, they don't believe that vegetarians are better than meat-eaters, and they don't believe that vegans are better than vegetarians. 
"Chinese Takeover" is an attack at the gradual power shift in the world economy right now. Too much power anywhere is dangerous, but we're shifting to a power that will change the morals in the world economy forever. This song is really, really addictive. I love how Antillectual has strong and variable melodies in all of their instrumentals, but not one part distracts from another. They all fit together in one awesome machine. You know, a machine fighting the machine.... Or something.
"Our Hearts" is the BEST SONG ON THE ALBUM. HOLY SHIT. These lyrics are phenomenal! It's actually written by an old bassist, Yvo, but he gladly gave them permission to record it. I'm so glad he did, because it's such a great song. It even makes a reference to an old French situationist saying, which I got immediately, and then later saw an asterisk to.. So cool.
"The New Jew" is all about how the Netherlands is changing from one of the more tolerant countries to a more xenophobic, nationalist country. I can't REALLY relate to this, because America has ALWAYS been that way contrary to popular belief, however, because we're always referred to as the 'melting pot' I can kind of relate to the lyrics.
"Classic Themes that Never Get Old" rocks! It reminds us of the issues that a lot of people forgot about after 9/11- other things matter besides the economy and terrorism, people! What happened to anti-fascism, pro human rights, environmental issues, anti globalism?! This song wants to make all these things less boring and more sexy- for real! "Anti-globalism, climate change/ making politics sexy again/ it's getting hot in here/ trim your sails to the wind of change" Fuck yeah, guys, amen. 
"So Much More" was the best way to end an album like this... It takes all the views- all the activism and the call for change, but instead of being angry about it, it's more of a uniting feeling. They talk about what PUNK ROCK is to them. And it's beautiful.  I fucking love this song. The music is beautiful, the lyrics are phenomenal. What a graceful, yet formidable way to exit.


REALLY LONG STORY SHORT,
Antillectual is a great band with talented musicians and POVs I need to see more. People like Willem, Riekus and Tim give me hope, for real. Click on any of those links up there to buy the album- it's worth it. OH, and the album art is beautiful.

-Bear
PS. FIND MY SPELLING ERRORS AND GRAMMATICAL ERRORS- They're everywhere. I double dog dare you.
Note: A wonderful musician I know directed me to Tim van Tol's solo acoustic project.... I am in love with this album.
http://timvantol.bandcamp.com/

Harley Poe - Wretched, Filthy, Ugly.


Well shit. I didn't know Harley Poe released an album last year...I'm so fucking out of the loop when it comes to shit I care about but forgot I cared about. Their last album "In The Dark" was fucking incredible! The songs didn't vary much musically, but lyrically ranged from horror stories about murderers, zombies, and vampires to more modern horror stories about transvestite serial killers and sexually transmitted diseases. It's some seriously infectious folk-horror-punk awesomeness, which started when the band went by the name Calibretto, before settling with Harley Poe just before In The Dark came out. The boys are back, with the addition of keyboard for this release, and more songs about similar subject matter, but with some more energy and some musical improvements. They're older, but probably not a bit more mature...just the way we fucking like it!

The album kicks off with the song "Gordon", which features this new addition of the keyboard which I spoke of in the previous paragraph. This song is about a cannibal named Gordon who grew up to be a cannibal, and I think he also grew up to be portrayed on this album cover? I believe that's probably him up there. Then some mother came up from the ground and blinded Gordon then killed him. You know, the classic story of zombie vs. cannibal. If you're human at all, you're already super excited about the rest of this album just by hearing this song and its lyrical content. If you're getting your hopes up for the rest of the record, then good, because you probably won't get them as high as they need to be, so you won't be let down in the slightest.

Is the singer Joe Whiteford southern? I'm not sure whether he puts on the accent intentionally or if it's just his accent...I wish he was easier to research. The backup vocals for the second song "Kokomo" are better than they've ever been for Harley Poe, followed by an awesome "la la la la la la" part which reminds me a lot of ska with that organ behind it...with the only thing it's missing being upstrokes. Then the next song is about the end of the world, and how it's about time. And of course the part where he goes "It's the end of the world" sounds just like the vocal melody for that REM song. What's awesome about this album compared to In The Dark is that these songs vary so much more than the ones on that album did, and I love it. The organ also adds a lot, dude.

There's a song about blowjobs called "Sucker" out of nowhere. Oh wait, it turns into a song about a girl who is a vampire, and ends up being all vampired up by this chick who was blowing him, and he becomes a sucker too. This song reminds me of the movie 2001 Maniacs where this girl is about to go down on this guy, then her teeth all turn into like shark-teeth-rows of nails, and she just eats his whole pelvic region...that was fucking terrifying. I also will never watch the movie Teeth. I've been traumatized enough as it is.

"That Time of the Month" is a song about a guy's girlfriend being a werewolf once a month, rather than enter "shark week". This song has a western feel to it through and through. The instrumentals and the backup vocals compliment this perfectly, and I love it. Following this is an untitled song, which has the same western feel to it, but mixed in with kind of a cabaret feel...along with clips from some movie I've never seen.

Then the song "Maria" comes on, and is all like, "fuck you, it's bluegrass time!" And the dude abides. This song is clearly about the movie Exorcist happening to this guy's wife, I suppose. I mean, he calls her his honey after she masturbates with the crucifix and everything (you know, things chicks usually get into in like 10th grade). The last song "Stick it to the Man" makes me think of  the song "Transvestites Can Be Cannibals Too" from In The Dark at first, but then it surprises you and becomes about starting a punk band instead. I totally agree with this, because I started a punk band at least once a week since 7th grade...it's just only worked out a couple times. Wait, when the hell did this song become about monsters? Everyone of these songs is some sort of monster metaphor or morality play which can be related to your life...or it's just about monsters and vampires and you can enjoy on those merits alone. Fucker. I'm sorry, I didn't mean it.

You can check this album out over at their bandcamp page and stream it for free, and you can purchase it over at Chain Smoking Records. Do whatever you want. Up the punx.

-Idle

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Anchor Boys - Devastator



This new full length by The Anchor Boys is just proof that George Bluth was right all along, "there's always more bro-core punk bands in the banana stand." Maybe I'm not exactly quoting that verbatim, but I'm just changing it slightly to apply within my context. You know, the Fox News method of quoting. The Anchor boys are a pop-punk-hardcore (bro-core) band who hail from Philadelphia, the realm of The Wonder Years. I don't mean to shadow this band under the giant shade produced by TWY, but it just happens sometimes when you come from the same state and play the same genre. These are the facts of life, and they're all about bro-core. I think this release Devastator is their first full length, and it's coming out on iTunes Tuesday, so be prepared to buy this shit, if you like it and all.

The album starts off sounding more like Set Your Goals than it does the aforementioned Wonder Years., due to the guitar parts akin to Kid Dynamite and other more recent versions of 80s hardcore punk groups. There's a perfect blend of guitar leads, pounding power chords, and soft-voiced/powerful vocals between the two singers and guitarists Colin and Aaron. Some songs on this album take the SYG/bro-core feel and add sort of a more skate punk approach to it, which reminds me more of that band I reviewed a bit ago, With The Punches. I'm not saying WTP are skate punk...I'm just saying the influences were there.

Something that's not all too common with these type of bands anymore is the notion of bringing anything new to the table. I feel as though these guys may be just borrowing traits from other bands, but they also present their own genius into the equation. I mean, it's like Isaac Newton said, "If I ever made killer pop-punk it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." I think that one may actually be a verbatim quote, just saying.

"Blueberry Pancakes" is not only a song that is amazingly catchy and makes me shout "Dead to you!" and "Nothing with out you!" along everytime I hear it, but it also makes me jealous of my friend Olivia who is out with her family getting pancakes right now, while I'm sitting here next to a chubby chihuahua eating some oreo ripoff of girlscout thin mint cookies. Then "Kidney Stones" comes on and reminds me a lot of Four Year Strong and is definitely the type of music you get stoked on. I've had a couple job interviews that went nowhere this week, but to make sure I didn't through up from nerves before hand, I'd have to drive to the interview while blasting FYS, and it's good to know that there are even more options to blast when I need to get pumped. (Fuck you, get pumped!)

There's a problem that occurs to me whenever I review an album I really like, and that problem is not being able to rant about each song without taking up too much of everybody's time. I have to try to keep shit short and sweet. Every one of the songs boasts their own catchy vocals, awesome gang vocals, and awesome guitar leads. There's a lot of awesome intros here, and definitely some cool style changes in songs like "Here Comes Treble" (The Office reference, right?). There's even an acoustic intro on here, "Double Parked in Bridesburg", which of course turns into an energy filled blast when the electricity sparks and the acoustic is dropped for some hardcore-punk style pop-punk.

I think I dubbed this band as bro-core pretty accurately, as made clear by songtitles like "P-B-AARGH" and "Brosquito Bite". Seriously, are these guys trying to get in my proverbial pants, musically? Also, is getting into pants even a proverb? Yet? I think it's some sort of urban proverb by now. Maybe I don't really even understand proverbs. What's also cool about these bro songs is the fact that they're just awesome fucking songs. I'm really glad this band exists because I think I needed something new and of this genre to keep my head on straight and my boots on loose (what's up with the boots on your feet?). The awesome leads never let up throughout this entire release, and we're all super stoked on that.

The closing song on this album reminds me a lot of the way The Upsides closes. You get this soft intro for over a minute, and then you get the catchy powerchord ballad of singalong yells and guitar leads I'll probably never be able to compete with. That's how you end an album, folks. The great question has finally been answered in a permanent way. Or you end it in the middle of a song and just have it fade out, Sopranos style. It's whatever. Get this album.

-Idle

Unfun - Shallow Graves



This style hasn't expired yet? I'm pretty sure Off With Their Heads were as gritty as we needed to ever go in this direction, but I guess you can always just make the vocals more sloppy, and the record the instruments on audacity or something, and then you suddenly are the grittiest band since the 80s. But, what this Canadian pop-punk group doesn't bring in originality, they make up for with riotous energy, and turning their shows into semi-naked partyfests. So even if you don't feel the urge to jam out this the lo-fi EP, you can always jam out at their shows...if you live somewhere near them in Canada, I suppose.

The style is pretty much just dead on pop punk. As previously stated, they sound like OWTH, but they also sound a bit like Crimpshine and Banner Pilot. The guitar leads are catchy, but almost impossible to hear within the mix, because instrumental significance was sacrificed for a more overall powerful sound. I would say the songs are catchy, but I can honestly say you won't pick up any lyrics by listening to this, even if they were written out in front of you. Well, in the first song you can hear the repeated shout of "Dead and gone!" So, I guess I'm wrong for that part.

Sometimes when I don't immediately catch onto a band, I just assume that I just don't really get it. Sometimes I have trouble getting people into bands like BTMI, because they just don't get it. They're too underexposed to the band to really understand what the big deal is and what's going on, whereas when I turn on BTMI I have this fit of joy and I feel like that "forever alone" picture about Jeff:

So, I'm going to download their previous releases and see if I start to catch on. Probably won't update the review if I do catch on, because I'm pretty much settled on this release being pretty basic, lo-fi, OWTH-sound-alike pop punk with a lot of energy and aggression. That should be enough for you. You can get it over at bandcamp if you want it and stuff.

-Idle

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Run, Forever- The Devil, And Death, And Me.

Run, Forever is awesome. Indie folk-punk from Pittsburgh.  I didn't expect much out of them, but I was so incredibly wrong. They hit you hard emotionally, but keep you running through the strong music. With influence from Against Me, Titus Andronicus, and Desaparecidos (which is a bitch to type, by the way), they have a strong blues sound with a beautifully sad tone carrying over the album. The CD was made as a result of feelings of grieving their friend and bandmate Corey James Wolfram. Run, Forever shows what missing a friend would sound like, if it could sing. It also touches on social issues... Run, Forever did a great job with this album- it's very simple, it's not overpolished, and I really enjoy it. Oh, and the album art is really pretty.
The first song, "A Sequence Of Sad Events", is an addicting song that's a tribute to Corey, and talks about how hard it is to lose someone you love. The first thing I notice is that Anthony Heubel (vocalist) sounds a lot like Pat the Bunny- so awesome. The music is very fast and upbeat, contrasting to the topic of the song. The song proves that Run, Forever can write those strong punk riffs we love, without losing melody or getting boring. It's pretty cool. "For God Or Gold" easily has the most addicting melody on the album, and the end is so fucking driving and powerful.  "When It Won't Leave" is a goddamn gorgeous song. Anthony Heubel is obviously very, very talented at guitar. "No Truth" is very intense too. The band shows their blues skills in "The Great Illusion." "10,000 Leagues" is also an awesomely gritty, bluesy song with a super cool outro. Run, Forever has such a pure sound. It's like naturally polished- they sound so great. They're all very talented musicians. Do you guys remember in grade school learning to "show, not tell" what you're trying to say? I never thought I'd say this, but they do a great job of showing how they feel not only in awesome lyrics, but in the way they play their instruments. It's a fantastic sound that you have to check out. 
As far as lyrics go, "Graves" has the best. 
"The Devil, And Death, And Me" is an amazing song that I can really connect to after this past year. It's powerful lyrics and driving sound really hits me hard, and I have a feeling that it will be helping me a lot through some stuff this year.

Run, Forever has passion, talent, a DIY ethic we can all admire, and made a great album. Listen to it. 
Idle and the Bear sends all the condolences, love, and friendship that they possibly can to Anthony, Cassie, and Brandon for their loss. It's always terrible to lose a friend, and it's heartbreaking to hear that a wonderful musician left the world. Rest in Peace Corey. 

-Bear

Oh wow guys. We passed 100 reviews and didn't even notice.

We love you all. Also, can't even believe that you guys read this shit... You're awesome. Thanks.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mixtapes- A Short Collection Of Short Songs

Me and Idle really like Mixtapes.
We got this 7 inch a few weeks ago, and Idle called it, but being the one who can pout longer.... It's now in my possession. Win.
If you want to read a bio about Mixtapes, and read a previous Idle review of their music, go here. I figured it would be goofy for me to write another background on them, when Idle's the one that got me into them, knows them better, and is from the same area....
They're really great indie pop-punk with fabulous vocals and addicting short songs.
Idle's moving right now, if you're curious as to why all of our reviews are spaced out and in binges... Sorry about that, my pretties. <3
The first track is absolutely great.... Me and Idle differ in that, even though we both LOVE Ryan and Maura, he likes Maura's vocals better and I like Ryan's vocals better. This song is mostly Ryan, with some Maura highlights. "Birthday Party Summer Camp (Hellooo Meggann)" starts off like most Mixtape songs- simple with piano and guitar trade offs and a strong bass background. It's just such a cute song, for real. My favorite thing about the Mixtapes is their lyrics- I can't get enough of their writing. It's so simple, but it's just so damn true for me and I'm sure a lot of other people. Oh, and group vocals are win. 
"The Real Hotel California" is also great. Maura has an adorable voice, and I really like the more upbeat songs. Oh, and the harmony is wonderful in this song. Just peachy. ^_^
"Soups Whatever" has a really fucking awesome melody... Oh, and the lyrics are quite possibly the best on this album. Pretty much my life exactly. So fantastic. Listen to this song, even if you don't feel like listening to anything else.
"I'm Like" is one of the heavier songs on the album, sort of. It's got great vocals. 
"Whit's End" is a song I do my makeup too... It makes me feel less pissy and like a disgruntled tiger in the morning. Let Maura, Ryan, Kamal, and Grimace make you less like an angry wild cat in the morning, they do a great job.
"Anna Maria" is such a beautiful song. It really is gorgeous. It's awesome. The strings really add something to it, and it's one of those off-color love songs that make your heart ache. 

Long story short, Mixtapes did a great job on A Short Collection of Short songs.

Buy it. It's only 5 dollars, but I'd pay more. Oh, and it's blue. Convinced yet?

-Bear

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

That's Life - Bourbon Entrails


If I listen to bands that sound the same, it's because it's a good sound, not because I'm a boring person. I figure I must preface this review with that statement, because it is another installment of me reviewing a band that sounds similar to my favorite bands, and I've taken criticism for reviewing stuff that sounds the same or whatever...so whatever.

I don't know shit about That's Life. All I know is that their drummer Steve sent us an email with a link to this album on their bandcamp page, and was like, "feel free to share it on your blog if you like it!" Which, I would've shared it whether I liked it or not, because that's how things are. I just would be writing mean stuff about it if it sucked, but it doesn't suck, so instead you'll have to read me fawning over this depressed-pop-punk goodness.

This band sounds like if Blake was kicked out of Jawbreaker and replaced with someone who secretly wanted to be in a rougher celtic punk band, and someone who was really meant to be in the midwest pop-punk scene, or The Lawrence Arms. Oh, plus their guitar tone was made washier and gruffer, and their bass was made to sound more important and noticeable. So basically, I'm saying they sound pretty good. The vocal tradeoffs between the two singers is executed awesomely and the songs are infinitely catchy with lyrics that are infinitely quotable. It's really cool to use the same adverb twice in the same sentence; it really is.

The song "You, Me and a Handful" sounds like a stressed-out masterpiece of angst and melodic yelling. Songs like this one push the band into what's more of just a punk sound, rather than the pop-punk feel they generally possess. This band also has a nook in the bro-core genre with the likes of Latterman, due to their song "Friends Are Kickass". Then "Attack of the Wastoids" follows it to remind us that this is a catchy pop-punk band, which isn't afraid to adhere to the all-too-common-yet-not-overdone style of bands like The Steinways or the anti-woman-activists Screeching weasel, except with an extra dose of sloppiness and stronger punk vibe to it.

I really love the vocalist who holds the lead for the song "Grade 10", but since I don't know shit about the band, and my research yielded hardly any results (other than that they're from Arizona and they have a new album coming up by like summer), I have no idea who sings which parts. The last two songs sound too similar to eachother for me to really care enough to discuss them separately, or even differentiate all too much. But, the latter is longer and better and I guess that's enough individual attention for it to not develop issues derived from the neglect it received as a young song.

Luckily for punks like me, only one of these songs is over three minutes, and it's the first song on the EP, "Dear Mom." Also luckily for me, it's an awesome song, so it's not an issue that it's a long one. Really, I shouldn't have to talk to you about something that's free for too long before you decide it's worth trying it out on your own. you can just surf over to the bandcamp page and either stream it online or download it to your computer (you lucky fuckers with computers that aren't broken like mine is D:)

-Idle

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New Year's Revolution- 2010 Demo

So this is a wee bit late, but once again, it's just coming up on DTFH guys... and you all know that's one of our very favorite labels to stalk.
New Year's Revolution is indie/folk punk that sounds a lot like Defiance Ohio, Cheap Girls, and Gaslight Anthem. Also sounds a lot like Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution, also known as Streetlight with a different name. ;) They're a buncha DIY fucks from Connecticut (that sucks) and they make me very very happy.
Look at that cat. It's so cute. How can you not like this band after seeing that cat?

Anyway, without any meweotypes, here we go.
Two things that automatically hit my radar for this band are one, they have a cello. That's awesome.  Folk punk is one of the really cool genres, because they still are just as punx as anything else to me, but they have strings... And that's wonderful. Next, female drummers... These are a rarity also. More lady drummers, while you're at it. 
I like this band because it has a lot of different influences. Sometimes you hear the folk influence, sometimes you really hear the punk in, and sometimes you even hear blues or jazz.
"City Lights" is the first and the best song. It's so damn catchy. The lyrics are really great, Kevin's got a cute voice, and the cello really adds something great to the song that I wouldn't have expected. It's awesome. It's a raw sound- these guys have talent without any of today's technology bullshit. 
"1800 and Frozen to Death" is just as wonderful. I really like how the cello ties in and dances around the guitar and the vocals.
"Riane" is such an addictive song! I just wanna dance to it! It's got almost a bluegrass sound, seriously. So awesome. Folk punk, when explored, can be so great. It makes me like music I never thought I'd like. Punk mixed with anything is fucking awesome, more than you guys would think. Someone, please dance with me. I know I say that all the time, but I'm serious. I'm going to hold my breath until Idle covers this song for me... Considering the fact that he won't be able to figure out the chords in the time I can hold my breath for, this band might kill me.
Folk punk is one of the best things to come out of the 1980s, including John Cusack's golden age and original MTV. 
Lastly, "Long Drive Home" sounds more like AJJ than the rest of the album. It's really a great song. Oh, and it reminds me of We All Have to Burn Something, by Big D. I can't tell you why. Just listen to the two, you'll see it... Maybe.

New Year's Revolution is worth listening to, guys. It's some of the best folk punk of 2010, in my opinion. 
Download it here or here. Either way, please donate to these adorable little people.

-Bear.

Why I Hate- Hieroglyphic Transmissions

I think I might have actually tried to spell "hieroglyphic" four times before I got it right... I is educated. Also, I've been puking my guts out lately! Which doesn't mix well with reviewing. I'm better now though. I know, that was the sexiest thing you've heard a girl say all day.

Anyway, Why I Hate is a really catchy hardcore punx band from California! They're catchy as fuck. The members have some impressive resumes, and it's funny, because I was sitting here thinking that they sound a lot like DC Fallout... And they're playing a show with them this week. Anyway, these guys are really great. They have some great references in their music, and I really love the vocals.

The first song on the album; "These Four Walls are Yellow, Ms. Rigby" is a great song. It's really, really catchy for one, and for two, it sets a theme for the rest of the album. It sets the pace and tone for the rest of the songs. It's got variation, between the addictive "This is a call for action!" and all the other various verses and bridges of the song. I really like it. It's a really fucking catchy (repeating myself, am I?) way to start the album. The vocals make me happier more than anything, I have a weakness for his style of singing. 
Why I Hate has a great style, combined with great guitar lines, talented vocals, and catchy drums lines.
Alright, how often can you say that, seriously? CATCHY DRUM LINES. Every once in a while, you hear a song where instead of having powerchords narrate your day, it's a great drum line. And that's when you know you found a bad ass band.
"The Symbol That Is Sewn, It's Not Who I'm Known To Be" is not only a really fantastic song full of magical melodies and bubblegum vocals (...or something) it's got a wonderful literary reference! And if you listen to this song and you don't get the reference, get the fuck off of the internet and go read a goddamn book.
One cool thing about Why I Hate is they have a counter band- Why I Hope. Same members, same songs. Except the songs are totally different- Why I Hope is folk punk. These guys took their songs and interpreted it in two different ways and I think that's so cool. I've listened to previous demos between Why I Hate and Why I Hope, and it's such a cool project. It's something I wish a lot of bands would do. 
If I ever decide to start a revolution in my tiny farm town of Bellbrook, Ohio, I'm doing it to the sound of "As I Walk Through The Valley and the Shadow of the Fire Swamp."
Actually, I think it'd be to "Kashmir" but this isn't really the genre to be mentioning that in. This song would work just as well. "It puts the hate in hating me!" is one of those simple-but-profound lyrics that I enjoy.
"Pigs Get Such A Bad Wrap", the last song, is both a wonderful song and SUCH A FUCKING COOL TITLE. Sorry, I'm easily excited and slap happy, but that's fucking great. Who can hate pigs, anyway? Also, the song is great too. The guitar is pretty simple, but I still really enjoy it. It'll be stuck in my head for a while. Or until the next song I listen to by WIH, because everything they do get's stuck in my head.
Other songs worth honorable mention: "This Was My Wish and it Didn't Come True" and "This Was The Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge."

Overall, this was a great album. No songs that I really have any qualms about. Why I Hate is like if.... We had this dragon, right? And this dragon was a punx that played guitar. And then it exploded into a bunch of CANDY. And then these Cali boys found that candy... And ate it and became musicians. Makes sense, yeah?
Sleepily, Bear.
PS. I wonder if I could go a whole day without saying "fuck."

Glassjaw - Coloring Book



There's a new Glassjaw EP? Nobody tells me anything anymore. Even Hollyann didn't know about this, and she's one of those crazy Head Automatica fans. Well, shit. This is pretty awesome, and gives me something worthwhile to focus my hearing on an hour. I mean, not that I wasn't handling that with watching It's Always Sunny...because I was completely content with that too. But, I have to "work" every once and a while, and since what I consider "work" to be, in this case, is listening to the new Glassjaw EP...I think I'll survive it, dudes.

For those of you who aren't in the know, Glassjaw is a punk band that formed in Long Island way back in 1993, and have ruled faces ever since. The singer, Daryl Palumbo, also has this other band, which is this power pop/awesome-as-fuck band called Head Automatica. He's also in high demand for guest appearances, and has performed on tracks for like every band...yet resorts to having guest appearances in Automatica songs by people like Tim Armstrong; talk about wasting all those connections, bro. Glassjaw took a four-year hiatus in order for Daryl was writing and recording material with Automatica, but came back in 2008 to start their face ruling all over again. And one of these efforts in this endless routine of face-rulling, is this new Coloring Book EP.

The drums for this record have this really ambient sound to their recording, and carry this weird reggae dub feel at times. It's pretty good at being weird, while not coming off as awkward. All the songs on this album blend together to share this same kind of weird feel, which I don't know if I'm entirely comfortable with. It's kind of like when your mom remarries and your stepdad is a cool guy, but there's still something weird about him being around all the time. And going to your dad's becomes the same because he remarries as well. That kind of feeling, except musical. The vocals are heavy with emotion and expansive with range, which is to be expected with Daryl. This album definitely sounds like a Glassjaw record, but it also sounds completely different at the same time. This is a valiant effort, because releasing the same shit over and over again just makes you Screeching Weasel, and that also means you punch girls at hipster festivals. And nobody wants to be THAT GUY, you know?

The first song "Black Nurse" seamlessly creeps into the second song "Gold", and it continues in this manner throughout the record. You start to feel like your life is being soundtracked by Glassjaw, and you're pretty sure you're supposed to doing some Jason Bourne type shit, and by not doing so, you're letting down everyone who is watching your life on TV. Maybe I have some sort of Max Bemis delusion of a Truman Show reality, though, and you should just ignore my comparison here.

THIS IS DRIVING MUSIC, DUDE. That's what I just thought about while listening to this shit. But, to be honest, if I started driving while listening to this stuff, I'd start changing lanes out of nowhere, and doing Fast and Furious maneuvers into Speedway parking lots and meeting eyes with strangers in sedans. It would also have to be at night, and in Chicago, but less congested, maybe.

"Vanilla Poltergeist Snake" sounds like some low-key Head Automatica shit, Daryl. quit trying to confuse us. Decide what band you're working on, and stick to it. Don't import ideas you had for Automatic and then half-ass translate them into post-punk efforts. You won't get any of this past me; I can hear your synths and I know what they're up to, Palumbo.

While all of these songs are really interesting, and shit I wouldn't be able to make ever, it still strikes as too boring for me at times. Maybe it's the fact that only one emotion is really conveyed throughout this release, and that's melancholy. These songs are somber and only relate to low tides and bad vibes, and maybe only fit in my life during like a driving scene where I'm supposed to process something sad that just occurred in a previous scene or phone call. The point is, I don't think it's something I can jam to 9 out of 10 times, because when I'm sad I generally tend to wallow in uplifting music, not this stuff.

The end result of this listening experience, is this:

It's a 27.9 minute song that is half-assedly separated into different track titles, and it isn't called The Decline, so it doesn't pass for much in my book. It's interesting, and it sounds cool, but it's nothing that will rock your socks or take your daughter out to prom. So in the hardcore, fast-pace world of Idle and the Bear, it hardly as a place. Sorry, Glassjaw (and Hollyann), but I'm going to say this is like a 5 or 6 out of 10.

-Idle

Cheap Girls/Lemuria Split - No Idea Records



This review may be 2 months over due, but that's still better than being 3months overdue, such as Jackie Chan was (his mother was pregnant for 12 months, dudes. So I'm basically the Jackie Chan of reviewing alternative/punk music. What are YOU? Quit judging me). No Idea Records released a Lemuria/Cheap Girls split 7'' in January, and since it involvs the awe-inspiring Cheap Girls and the jaw-dropping Lemuria, it's definitely triple-platinum record material. If you don't agree, that's your own fucking business. But you can put it in our comments section if you want, anyway. I probably will act like a dick in my reply, because I'm a dick in person.

"Singer Mother" definitely rules out of the two Lemuria jams on this fucker. I mean, with a chorus like "I'm so terrified, so fucking terrified", what do you expect? You expect and receive awesomeness. Actually, other than the weirdness and catchiness of it, it's kind of a boring song. The guitar sounds pretty washy and cool, though. And hey, who isn't a single mother lover?

I changed my mind! "Lemons" rules the Lemuria section of this split. Sheena's vocals are adorable and her guitar is always great. Alex is a rad drummer. And while his soft/calming voice might just come off as boring at times, sometimes it delivers the soothing effect that I think it's always aiming for. Maybe it's not as emotionless as I've always considered it to be afterall. Hmm. This song has a cute guitar solo. I think everything Lemuria does is at least cute, even if it's not always the most interesting thing in the world anymore. I mean, Get Better was the shit, but Pebble just didn't deliver the mojo.

The Cheap Girls side of this split is of course dominated by the only song, "Pure Hate". Wait, I just noticed that the album art has the same tree that was in my front yard growing up...this is creepy. Is that my front yard? I don't think so. Definitely looks like my neighborhood, though. Very weird. Anyway, Cheap Girls.

Their bassist Ian does their vocals, which I guess makes them the indie rock version of Nofx or The Copyrights, correct? Okay, this song is definitely the better out of all three of these songs on the split. Cheap Girls have a history of being awesome and being involved with awesome things. Such as releasing material on Quote Unquote Records, and playing shows with all of the best bands. Oh, and releasing stuff on Paper + Plastick. These guys are, and have always been the shit (at least for the span of their existence).

The instruments for this track sound kind of like 90s rock music and the vocals don't differ too much from that style either. The song isn't fast, but it has this very emotionally urgent feel to it. The chorus is as catchy as the flu, while also being as common as the cold, though. Nothing new for indie kids like you, I guess. But, you can by this split for under 5 dollars, and it'll rule your life for various spans of 8.4 minutes whenever you turn it on. Worth it? I'd pay 7 dollars, even!

-Idle

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Vacation - The Do Shit Tape/Disc



Vacation = lo-fi amazingness from Cincinnati. I think that could actually be a full review, but I doubt it would bode well for my reputation, and honestly not enough positive things can be said about this band. Their brain of pop-punk is infinitely catchy and the dudes are friendly to the core. The band is made up of Evan Wolff on bass, Jerome Westerkamp on drums and vocals, and Peyton Dabney Copes on guitar and vocals. They lived at this place called the Bike Haus (along with this dude Troy) and had shows there that were only 5 bucks a show, and 100% of the money went to the bands. They also fixed up bikes for people for free, and had a tall bike that Troy or Peyton said I could ride, but I forgot and never got the chance. The Bike Haus was my favorite venue to play at, and I miss it so much.

So basically, they're all friends, and have this band called Vacation, along with other like incestuous Cincinnati bands that they're involved with, such as You Blockhead (which just released a demo tape recently). They originally released this shit on cassette, and it's called The Do Shit Tape, which I can probably take a picture of my copy later and edit it into this review. But, they also released it as a Disc and it's up for free download on the hipster-punk site If You Make It. These songs are all as lo-fi as you can get, and I'm pretty sure they were recorded and engineered by them at the Bike Haus without outside help. It's an honest effort from honest dudes and it's honestly worth your fucking time (what else were you going to do rather than listen to it? Listen to the new Screeching Weasel album? It sucks, don't bother).

while the tape only has like 4 songs or something, we're blessed with 6 tracks for the ifyoumakeit release. As I said, it's lo-fi, so if you're not into that, I feel bad for you and all, but just get out now. It's kind of similar to shit like Punkin Pie's Broke Truck Good Luck album, where it may sound like a live album, but still has quality songs on it. But, really, you're far better off seeing Vacation live and experience them before listening to what might as well be a live CD, because you'll just appreciate this release much more.

The songs are full of catchy vocal lines, simple yet awesome guitar bits, and a good amount of woahs and ohs. Including the bit in "Big Scary Dudes" that just sounds like that one Misfits song that Jay Tea parodies. These songs may exhibit some qualities of ramonescore or misfitscore music, but it's not some overbearing style that they adhere to. They're not striving to fit in a specific subculture, and they're not limiting the creative flow to the same basic concept for each song. There's definitely a nice variety in style that appear through this release, and that's what makes it something worth paying attention to. Like the song "Wyatt Song" has no definite style, but just sounds like Latterman meets some angry school kids who listen to skate punk.

There are not enough songs to get a huge grasp on this band, but there are enough to know that the next album is going to be the shit. Lucky for me, I get to go see them play with The Dopamines and Jeff Rosenstock tonight. So after I'm done listening to this album in excess, I get to go watch them play this album and more. I think I just won at life, internet.

Pick The Do Shit Disc up at If You Make It and enjoy the shit out of it. Oh, you can also check out their blog here for updates on the band and a list of upcoming shows and shit. There's also a new song over on their blog, hit it up.

-Idle

Carpenter- Sea To Sky

This is a little late of a review, because the album was out in September last year, but Idle and I just got it in the mail last week... So yeah, here we go!
Carpenter is an indie/punk band from Canada, and you probably know about them.
They really rock... They're on Paper and Plastick here, and Goldstock in Canada. They really really love John Cougar (hence their myspace url, johncougarisgod) and sound like lots of bands- anything from classic rock influences to modern day pop punk/indie/alternative. ^___^
Okay, so it's late, I'm already writing songs with a buddy all night, and I have to be up real early tomorrow, but that's okay- LET'S REVIEW AN ALBUM!
"Mean Things" is a great song. I really like the intro, cause it's got strong vocals and the guitar is kind of a percussion/carrying force into the strong verses of the song. They set a strong sound from the beginning of this record that sets them aside from other bands musically- between their quirky riffs and the way they change time signatures repeatedly in the song, it's really a great start to the album. The whole song really interests me, and Carpenter is full of talented musicians.
I really like "Common Law" because I really like Sioui's voice. The guitar in this song is constantly changing tempo, style and dynamic levels. The lyrics are great, and the instrumentals constantly intrigue me. I can't put a finger on what style Carpenter reminds me of... But it definitely reminds me of something.
"Just Another Friday Night" really, really connects with me.. Cause it happens to be Friday night, and this is exactly how it feels. The lyrics in this song are fucking phenomenal. 
"Long Hard Day" is probably one of my favorite songs on the album. It's really powerful, addictive, catchy, contrasting, variable, all of that shit. It's one of the songs on the album that works in harmony with the slower, softer songs to keep the songs flowing and almost bouncing around like electrons. I'm sorry I just made a science connection.
"Northern Exposure" is another fast, upbeat song with powerful lyrics... It's a trend in Carpenter's songs, along with catchy awesome guitar lines. It's a sad song, but it's also a feel good song. 
"One Horse Town" once again switches up styles on me... It's awesome. I fucking love Carpenter. This song has a great guitar solo, and this cute little keyboard (?) thing going on at the end.... What a wonderful song.
"Seperate" really picks up the pace in the best of ways. The drums are a lot more prominent in this song, along with more group vocals than previously. 
"Joan" is so fucking adorable. I love love love love love it. It is DEFINITELY the best song. Mostly just because I'm a sucker for love songs. It's all that estrogen and uterus I have. I'm sorry I just said that. I don't really know what I'm even typing anymore. This song is so sad, but it's so fucking romantic. 
"You Might Be Right" and "I Put My Heart in Everything" combine to make an awesome ending.
"You Might Be Right" is a boppy, guitar heavy song with great vocals and a catchy hook. I love it. 
"I Put My Heart In Everything" is so true, because these boys obviously do put their heart into what they do and I love it. Oh oh oh's are greatly appreciated too. Great way to end the album.


Long story short, Carpenter is great. A lot of people say that it's a let down from Law Of The Land (first LP) but they're stupid. This was just as great as Law Of The Land. Carpenter rocks. I'm having trouble keeping my eyes open.

Nighty night my loves,
Bear.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Dead Pop Club - Home Rage



I think there's a reason that Home Rage is just an anagram for hemorage...or for the exercise shake Hemo Rage...it's one of the two. The reason isn't something weird and negative, though, because it's definitely something completely positive. Maybe like, if you don't like this album, some kind of punk-alternative hooligan hits you with a club and you get hemorage. Is that even how hemorages work? Or maybe like, the album is so good, and powerful that it GIVES you a hemorage...but maybe like a rock and roll hemorage; so it's all good in the hood.

Home Rage (or Hemorage) is a full length released by French punk experts Dead Pop Club (don't worry, noobs, they sing in english). I don't really know what it takes to be considered a qualified expert as far as punk music goes, or I guess just alternative or indie music in general, but I'm pretty sure these guys have all aced their exams. I mean, they share a member with the more recent group Maladroit, and everyone who reads this blog knows by now that Maladroit is the shit. Dead Pop Club, however, aren't so much a pop-punk band like the rest of the french bands we've reviewed have been. While a times their style is pretty similar to Teenage Bottlerocket, it also reminds me a lot of shit like Smoking Popes and Samiam. The style pretty much spans across quite a few significant punk subgenres, and touches on pop-punk, indie, post-hardcore, and just in general alternative. They're like a harder version of some of the greater indie punk bands, and a less poppy version of all the greater pop punk groups. They're like the little bear in the story about Goldilocks...they're "just right".

The first song on the album "Right At Your Door" exhibits all of these attributes perfectly while seemlessly crossing genres and influences; with vocals similar to pop-punk outfits like The Copyrights, Teenage Bottlerocket, and Descendents, and the instrumentals being more akin to the Pixies, Foo Fighters, and other indie/hard rock groups. They can do this, and then go into a song that sounds like a perfect Descendents/Ergs style ballad with more of a Street Dogs feel to the vocals, like the song "So You Think You Can Dance". You can pretty much select any song on this album and satisfy a lot of whatever you're craving at the time...unless for some reason you're craving ska or something. Then you can just go listen to something else...and I'm not really sure why you even expected to find that stuff here.

The song "Super Loser" serves as either an awesome song about how we all feel, or it serves as a one-upper to the Beck song about being a loser, because nobody gives a fuck anymore unless you're a super loser now, because new lows have been reached. I mean, new highs as far as the raised bar with excellent punk music, and such. There's like synth in this song...weird. It's alright, and gives the song more of an arena rock band feel. I can see it as being a cool addition, while not being in any way necessary, ha. Get outta my way, I'm a super loser.

The song "Shut the Fuck Up and Sing" covers more of this area between experimental rock and post-hardcore, and covers it pretty well. I mean, there's very little room to breathe here, and I didn't know this nook even existed, but it's one of those things that you're happy to have discovered, and it bodes well. The song after this is named "Freaks and Geeks" after the Judd Apatow show by the same title, and serves as an homage to his work, and the work of Silent Bob (Smith, ya'll) and John Hughes. The greatest fucking filmmakers of all time. Seriously. I've seen every movie by all of them, even though I was only recently forced by the bear into seeing Weird Science by Hughes. And guess what! It was awesome. Those films always have this concept where the loser/less-attractive guy gets the hot/sensitive girl in the end, and that's what it's like in real life, too. Well, hopefully. It works out for me like that...but I'm lucky. There can never be enough songs dedicated to those films, dudes.

This album has this whole 90s feel throughout, and ends with the six minute song "Priority Seating", which executes the fuck out of the aforementioned 90s feel. There's this whole nostaligic feel this all of this, despite it all being new. That has to be a rarely accomplished feat, and Dead Pop Club nails it. You should definitely check Home Rage out, and probably even buy it. I know people aren't into buying shit anymore, and I know people like me are too broke to afford it. But it's definitely worth it if you're good for it.

-Idle

Maladroit - Jerk Alert!



The recent french album to fuck my world in two would have to be Jerk Alert! by Maladroit, which just came out on Guerilla Asso recently. It's pop punk, but isn't too similar to Les Rasoirs Electriques. For one, Maladroit chooses to sing in english, as opposed to french. Also, Les Rasoirs has more of a Descendents and Ergs feel, whereas Maladroit is way closer to Screeching Weasel and Nerf Herder. What these bands and their albums DO have in common, is the fact that they're both fucking incredible and this music is to die for, or some other hyperbolic thing that means it's really rad.

(Also, the name Maladroit automatically makes everyone thing Weezer...and you should just get that notion out of your head. Because there's nothing weezer-like here...this is man's town, now. Also, I just looked up Maladroit and it means inept. So there.)

This song is full of the shit that pop-punk kids crave. Well, at least those of the ramonescore, Queers loving persuasion. Songs about erections, overdosing on burgers, girls, and overall awkwardness...and I guess ineptitude. The vocals are handled with a pair of balls, and the instruments are handled with a need for speed and years of talent and experience, with the band boasting members of Guerilla Poubelle, Dead Pop Club, and Jetsex et Justin(e). There's enough talent and awesomeness here for you to dock a boat to, but I don't own a boat or anything. Also, you probably shouldn't tie your boat up to these guys...that'd be rude.

It's seriously hard for me to pick out just a few specific sounds to talk to you dudes about, because the entire album is worth your time, my time, and the time of everyone in the world, up to and including important political leaders such as Nelson Mandela, and also including important animals, such as lions and tigers and bears, oh my, this shit is good. Well, you of course should listen to the ones I mentioned earlier, "Burger OD" and "Morning Glory on Tour Feels Like Hell", because they're basically staple songs for this genre, and should appropriately rock your shit. I mean, the Morning Glory song even has "erection" repeated as backup vocals...what more could you ask for? Also, the song "Comfort Zone" has this lead part at the beginning that reminds me a lot of Dopamines, followed by the rest of the song sounding more like Dear Landlord. You'll notice a definitely similarity to Dear Landlord and Rivethead when it comes to the vocals, though, so you'll be used to that.

Songs like "Don't Tell My Girlfriend I Got a New Band", "Jetter la clef", and "brutalite" have lyrics in french for either parts of the song or entirely throughout, which leaves me in the dark...but I guarantee the lyrics are awesome and probably very relevant to our pop-punk lives regardless of what languages we understand. The song "There's no 'I' in DIY" has a definite Copyrights feel, which is fucking awesome that they have bands similar to The Copyrights and The Dopamines overseas, and makes this world okay to look at sometimes.

Songs like "Girls on Film" and "Low Enough" express a slower edge to the band at some points...but of course by slower I still mean fast...just not as fast. I really need to get this CD at some point...I want a physical copy to hold in my hand...and to bring to their shows whenever they play here and get it signed and be call content and giddy about life. I also need a lyric sheet, because half the time I can't understand what he's singing, when I really want to. There's a lot of Cincinnati Harmony going on at some points on this record. Cincinnat Harmony is where the backup vocalist just sings the same thing as the lead vocalist, in the same melody and everything. The named originated with the Dopamines...and I'm forcing it to stick.

Anyway, you can purchase or stream this album on their bandcamp http://guerillaasso.bandcamp.com/album/jerk-alert, and as a punx I highly recommend streaming the fuck out of it, but as a realist, I know you'll want to put this shit on your ipod, so you very well may have to buy it, because you will love it. That is fact. Also, you should just check out everything Guerilla Asso has to offer, because it's all good (in the hood). Later.

-Idle

Les Rasoirs Electriques EP is up for free download!

Remember back when I reviewed that awesome french band Les Rasoirs Electriques? Well, the EP I reviewed is now up for free download at their bandcamp page, so have at it! I'm excited. I had to do some low quality rip of it back when it was a few bucks to download it. I would've bought it, but I'm broke as shit. Some day I'll have the money to buy the physical CD...some day.

-Idle

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Only Thieves- Heartless Romantics

Only Thieves are these dudes from Tallahassee.
Review over.
Juts kidding. They're like, this indie/alt rock band. They made this album.  I like this album. I write in short choppy sentences.
"All The Sad Young Men" has this really upbeat, melodic intro that sets the mood for the whole entire album.
Jeremy Barnes has a very distinct voice and a great clear tone. I like it. This song is some really cute alternative stuff, and definitely shows the 90 roots the band has. I also really enjoy the way they chose to end this song!
"Discoveries" is a really amusing song. The band has a very happy tone to all of their songs, even the sad ones. The little 6 note riff will be stuck in my head all day. This is good road trip music, I think. I like how they incorporated some WOAH OHs into this too... Any woah oh's are a okay in my book. Oh, and the solo is nice. And the riff is the best part of the song.
"Flood Lights" has a very interesting sound. I like it. Oh, and there's harmonica. Harmonica FTW! I wish all bands would use harmonica. In anything. For real. I really like the lyrics and the way this song progresses, almost like a story. Do you remember how stories always go introduction, exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, conclusion? I know all songs pretty much do that, but this one really kept making me think that.
"Register" is a big faster than the other songs, and has some more complicated things go on. I really like the contrast between the bass and the guitar. This song has a lot, a lot, a lot going on! These guys are all really talented musicians with an interesting sound. It took me a little bit to warm up to it, but it gives me the warm fuzzies now.
"Pioneer Repair" has some of the best lines I've heard in a while. "She's on cocaine, and I'm quite drunk. I might get laid if I press my luck. But I ain't sure where we're going cause it's not clear where we've been." Love it. The rest of the lyrics are great, too. I just really like this band. Oh, and the bridge rocks my socks.
"The Ballad Of The Aluminum Girl" is both my FAVVORRRITE song on this album, and one of the best damn extended metaphors I have heard in so long. Not only are the lyrics absolutely stunning, it's got this great blues rhythm to an indie sound and the whole song just rules. Even my dog likes this. It's got beautiful music, and a bittersweet tone to it.
"Heartless Romantic" is a very melancholy slow piano song. It's beautiful, but very dismal and makes me sad. In a good way. The voicemail recording really adds a lot to the song.
"Unsatisfied" is a bass heavy song with a bit more motion than the rest of the album. It sounds kinda like early 30 Seconds to Mars. That's kind of an insult... I'm sorry. This is legitimately a really good song.
"Bricks" has a beautiful intro. I love it. The whole song has a great melody. <3
Lastly, "What's Wrong" is probably one of the better songs on the album. It's a bit more my style- I like the way it progresses and the way the instruments tie together.


Only Thieves is a really great band. I had a bit of trouble with this review, because I have trouble finding the words that describe their style correctly. It's very abstract to my usual taste, but I really like it. You guys should listen to them. ^_^

Sleepily, your bear.


The Haunted Continents- The Loudest Year Ever

The Haunted Continents are this glorious mix of 50s pop and 90s rock... Indie powerpop rock n roll extraordinaire. Matt and James are from Connecticut, and I want to be their best friends. I think their Last.Fm page says it best when it says "Weezer (Pinkerton) meets Buddy Holly and The Crickets. That’s it." This is their first album, and it's really cute... I wanna listen to it on the beach, or in a spaceship. That's really the best way to describe them.
"2nd Ave. Blues" is such a great way to start an album. Oh my gosh. I got this CD in the mail this week, and I kept meaning to listen to it, but for some HORRIBLE reason I just now started to listen to it... I wish I woulda started sooner, cause this is my shit. This song has these falsetto harmonies that immediately lit up the BRIAN WILSON BRIWLSON BRINWILSFONNNNNN light in my head. (Yeah, it exists. It's a goofy neon light, with one of those naked pinup outlines on it.) I was really happy with it. Even besides that, the general vocals just rock. He's got a really clean, light hearted voice. It's awesome. And then the guitar has this sweet, heavy, vintage sound- even though it's a light song. The guitar really carries the melody around. And then the piano is pretty much large and in charge. There are drums in this song, but the piano helps a lot with the percussion. It's wonderful. I feel like I should be at the diner in a poodle skirt, or something. I don't know. I have a feeling I wouldn't be wearing a poodle skirt. More like matching leather jackets with Idle. Not to say that this song is totally old school- it still has a modern sound in it. It's like a modern take on an older sound.
"Nola" has more of a 60s rock sound- it's like the Kinks to me. It picks up the beat, and has this heavy rhythmic guitar line. I love it. It starts off kinda slow, but as the song progresses, it keeps the same melody but keeps changing tempo. It's such an addictive sound, you don't even know. Dear James and Matt, are you shooting up magical fairy dust? If so, I called it... The bridge is adorable- it fades from chorus into this soft almost a cappella bit, and then it picks straight back up into the chorus. Y'know, as most bridges do.. But this one is special. 
"Nola" fades perfectly into "Way Down," which starts off strong and adorable. It set off my falsetto light again, and made my heart melt with the lyrics.... If these guys have slampieces, those are some happy slampieces. And any guy that can sing in that range that well is a-okay in my book, too. Love songs are the best, especially in their style. It just fits. The instrumentals in this song are very light and staccato. And then it picks up with some awesome harmonies and a bit faster guitar line towards the end, and transitions perfectly into an awesome outro. 
"Cure for the Blues" is so my favorite! I could listen to this song for hours and not get sick of it for at least a day. You know why? IT SOUNDS LIKE THE DEAD. Warning: You're about to lose all your respect for my music tastes.... I have an addiction to the Grateful Dead. And this song sounds like Sugar Magnolia! Even if you would rather die, go listen to that song, and compare. Anyway, back on topic. Shakers, and the cutest damn melody I've ever heard. At some point when I get my free time back, I'm going to learn to play this song on guitar... And play it until Idle tries to kill me! ^_^ Oh, fun. The first person to dance with me to this song (oh yes, swing dancing or moshing, whatever guys) wins the trophy of being my best friend. That's a tres, tres esteemed position in places that don't exist.
"Nothin' to be Done" is a soft adorable heartbreak song. This song really showcases what talent these guys have when it comes to not just their music, but their writing. The instrumentals could very well be guitar, mandolin, or ukulele... Who the fuck knows? Who cares? It's awesome. 
"Darlin' Why'd You Leave Me" is another song about breaking up, but this one is more upbeat and starts to throw in more instruments again.This song is a legitimate toe tapper. I wish I could phrase that some other way that didn't suck so badly, but that's the only true way to put it. It's a toe tapper. It's got a great prominent beat, and makes me happy. Oh, and a guitar solo! Ears perked up! I really like his style. It's exciting without being overboard. Woo!
"Played Me Like A Drum" really taps into it's roots. A lot. The majority of this track is a vocal showcase, with a little bit of guitar to keep the beat. They really do dynamics very, very well. I also like how they transition their music. They can make it completely natural to switch dynamic levels and syncopation every few minutes... Which by the way, a lot of bands do all the time.... Just usually not well.
"She's My Only One" intro... Holy shit guys, Santa is coming to town. JKLOLOLOL, it's actually the girl of his dreams. Sounded like Santa, anyway.... The rest of the song is awesome too. It's really, really cute. I think cute is The Haunted Continent's speciality. I like the original rock n roll sound they have.
"Acceptance" is a great song. If I was at prom in the 50s, I would slow dance with you to this song. It's a slow romantic song with a melodic guitar part and easy paced vocal line. I can imagine this song going really well into an indie film soundtrack. I know that's weird, but I can. 
Lastly...."All My Women" kicks ass! I fucking love the guitar riff. It's so cute. This song starts off by going back into the heavy style, but slows down into a heart-throb lady-themed song. It's awesome. The guitar reminds me of Dave Davies, the vocals are Brian Wilson and Buddy Holly all the way. I love it. This song is a great feel good song for anyone..


I am officially addicted to The Haunted Continents. A lot of our readers won't appreciate their style, but the people that will are going to REALLY love it. It's so awesome. They just have such a great aura, and I adore it. 


With love, Bear.