Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dead North - Maybe Next Time + Spot Remover EP

Cincinnati is pretty awesome sometimes. I mean, it gave us Team Stray, Black Tie Bombers, Atomic Potato (haha, kidding), Loudmouth, the Frankl Project, Mixtapes, The Dopamines, Till Plains, Vacation (those bike haus dudes) and more recently, some high schoolers or whatever called Dead North. They're like 3-piece pop punk band who sometimes pretend they're a 4-piece pop punk band, I think. Zach Powers plays guitar and sings, Alex Collins plays bass, and John Hoffman (Avignon, ha) plays drums and sings (or something like that). Oh, and this guy Nat Hamilton from Siblings (another Cincinnati band, formerly The Buster League) sometimes plays guitar, I think. It's confusing to me still.

My first experience with Dead North was back when they were called Andy! and they played a show in my basement. I'm not sure whether the exclamation point is actually a part of their name, or I just got really excited when I said it. They assumed people were all avoiding their set due to them being a pop-punk band at a ska show, but really it was because it was hot as fuck in the basement and everyone wanted to drink in my sideyard and steal my dad's wine bottles. My friends all thought they were awesome, and they got better each show we went to. They opened for Kepi and the Queers at the Southgate House, too. That shit had to be insane as fuck; they won like some contest or whatnot. Regardless of all this backstory, they have this EP called Maybe Next Time, which came out a little while back, and now they also have a new one called Spot Remover. I realized I've been slacking on Cincinnati bands so it's time for me to review this shit. Plus they're about to go on tour, so a figure a little bit of hype will help out with that!

The first song on the EP is "Tonight Sucked", which is Zach's beautiful voice doing the vocals. Dead North reminds me of like Goddamnit era Alkaline Trio (who else thinks this new Alk3 "re-imagining" nightmare will be...a nightmare?), and they also sound a bit like Charlie Brown Gets a Valentine. This song has a pretty nice sounding guitar solo, and has some quite necessary woahs, which are the only parts I know how to sing along to at their shows yet...well until today when I've listened to this shit on repeat.

The style doesn't witness much of a change for the second song "Golden Girls (sry4partyin)", other than being instrumentally closer to ramonescore pop-punk, but still as far as Zach's vocals being more on the emotional side, that remains intact. This song is extremely catchy, just like all of their songs. The recording quality for this EP isn't too bad, although it sounds questionable at times. The bass tone is kind of awkward, but sounds better than what you hear with a lot of pop-punk EPs from new bands. That goes the same for the recording quality of the drum tracks. I think everything was mixed pretty well though.

The final track on this EP is a song called "Rita" and will do the oh-so-standard socks-rocking that we've all come to expect from bands that I like. Dead North do a lot to remind me of Dillinger Four at times, but mainly just when John Avignon does the vocals from behind his drumset, really. Although he sounds more like Brendan Kelly from The Lawrence Arms than anything. This is information that you don't really even need to know for this EP, because he doesn't sing in these songs. But when you go to see them live on their upcoming tour, this is something you'll now be expecting to hear. I can't get this song stuck out of my head ever each time I hear it. "Riiiiitttaaa, you better have faith in us tonight!" "And if you got something to say you might as well say it/ I never thought I'd be the one to make it out/ and if you got something to say you might as well say it!" Now it'll be your cross to bear, too. Suckers!

The title track and first song, "Spot Remover", sounds like a pretty satisfying wall of sound. With the guitar tones and the way everything feels filled in nicely, it just sounds like there's nothing missing and it's a pretty good sound. It's catchy, but what else would you expect by this point? It leads off the EP by letting you know that these songs are the best they've released so far.

The second awesome song is "I Fell Hard" which basically sounds like New Creases mixed the Dopamines. It includes some Cincinnati harmony (backup vocals singing the same melody as the lead) during the verse. This song is really catchy and is either my favorite or second favorite song by them, it's hard to tell when compared to the next one.

The third, and probably best song, is called "Fallout", and is honestly the shit, dudes. The instrumentals in this song are the best I've heard from these guys, from awesome guitar tone to a pretty sweet bassline by Alex. The vocals sound better than ever too, and the chorus is the catchiest they've written. You should definitely check this song out, because you'll fall in love with it. Zach's vocals sound incredibly intense and heartfelt throughout, and it's a pretty rad experience.

Now on to their upcoming tour that you're all going to be attending (if locationally convenient and all). You can catch them at either of these dates here:

March 18th - The Dag House (Cleveland, Ohio) w/ Two Hand Fools
March 19th - AU Kay Spiritual Center (Washington, D.C.) w/ Dead Mechanical, Real Talk, and No Brainer
March 20th - Charm City Art Space (Baltimore, MD) w/ Trashkanistan, The Lives to Come, Matt Pless and the Paper Airplane Design
March 21st - HELP!! anywhere in New Jersey, of PA would rule.
March 22nd - Death By Audio (New York) w/ Ritz Riot, Baby Erection, and The Finks
March 23rd - Danger Danger Gallery (Penns, PA) w/ New Creases, Delay, and Spraynard. Ohio takes over the world.

You should probably try to help them out with somewhere in New Jersey or PA if you can. They're playing with fucking Two Hand Fools (one of two good bands in Cleveland. Other being Signals Midwest) , Real Talk, Dead Mechanical, Delay, Spraynard, and New Creases. I'm jealous as fuck. Please catch them if you can, because you won't regret it. You can help these dude's out and pick up the EP and everything. You can also just download the Maybe Next Time EP for free at this link here, and you can get Spot Remover EP here. Don't worry, these were uploaded by the band, not me. I'm not supporting piracy here. Anyway, tune in next Cincinnati edition for my review of the Do Shit Tape/Disc by local darlings Vacation.


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