Friday, April 29, 2011

Meet a band named Yonrinsha!

They're adorable. Japanese pop punk composed of Alex Tanahashi, Kenji Takada, Keisuke Toyoda, and Yuhei Ohashi.
I wasn't able to get my hands on a full album/EP from them, but I have been listening to a lot of their songs on Facebook tonight, and I had to share. They have this great addictive sound and they're so talented.

"Something New" is probably my favorite song by them- the vocal melody just gets stuck in your head so easily and the music flows really well. I love the drums in it, too. The harmonies in it are really, really great.
"Call My Name" is a fast paced pop/emo song with lots of "woah oh oh" power and fast drums. It's only 39 seconds, but it's 39 seconds of great harmonizing.
"Is It All Downhill" has great lyrics. My favorite thing about Yonrinsha is definitely the vocal aspects- the lyrics, the voice, the harmonies, etc. They also have really talented bass and guitar. It's typically pretty basic riffs, but they sound really good, so who cares? Also, the drums are really fantastic.
And best of all, they have this cover of "Bad Day" by that one guy, James Blunt. It's such a fun cover- I haven't been able to stop listening to it. It's sped up quite a bit, and the bass line is literally so good, I want to marry it. I am going to marry this bass. 
You can listen to these songs and more at their facebook here! Do it. They're adorable and talented.


Sharks Come Cruisin'- A Past We Forget

Sharks Come Cruisin' are a "shanty punk" band from Rhode Island. I've been lovingly referring to them as the 'nice pirates' to Idle, but technically, they're an Irish punk/folk punk band. At first, I was a tad bit skeptical of them. I have very little knowledge about "sea shanties" and I can't swim very well... So I wasn't too sure what I was getting myself into. However, they gave me a wonderful first impression to their world. I love it. Between the guitar, vocals, bass, banjo, drums, melodica, fiddle, punk influence, and their ability to make me bounce in my office chair, these guys are something you have to hear. RIYL Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys, Against Me!
Most of the songs on this album are actually traditional sea songs that they've adapted into their own little style, while still staying true to the music. They have three singles on the album- "Raise Up," "Wayward Boys,"  and "Four Years Before the Mast." One thing that is consistent throughout the album that I have to mention is how TALENTED their fiddler is. Seriously, Jonathan, you're wonderful. I grew up playing various string instruments, including many styles of violin. And if there's anything I'm trained to appreciate, it's talented violin.
Not to undermine the other musicians- each instrument has something great that adds to every song. I'm just naturally more inclined to notice violin, I suppose. Either way, everything is just so put together and manages to make everyone have fun with it. I know nothing about the sea, and I know even less about music associated with it... However, I love it. The best thing about the originals is that they're so good at getting the traditional sound, I actually had to ask a member which were the originals and which weren't. That's both due to how well they play the traditional shanties, and how they play the originals. I especially love how they do "Farewell to Nova Scotia," "Leave Her Johnny," and "Shenandoah."
It's a bunch of really, really talented musicians who are mixing traditional music and punk- I love it. You can just tell that these guys have fun, and that's the best part of Sharks Come Cruisin. They are so good at what they do, but more importantly, they're enjoying it. You hear that in every single song.
I was talking to a friend about this band, who has seen them live, and apparently it's an experience you just can't miss- they are very fun and interact with the crowd.

I strongly recommend the band, really. It's so different, but awesome. I'm stoked on it. Ahoy, captain. 

Title Fight - Shed

There are a few albums in this world that will make you fall in love with the band immediately. I mean, right fucking away. I'll put myself on the line as to say that Shed by Title Fight is one of those albums. The first song on the album, "Coxton Yard" just kicks you in the fucking head to make sure you're paying attention to what's going on, because it's important. These Pennsylvanian dudes went into the studio with Walter Schreifels of Gorilla Biscuits/Quicksand and created one of the best albums of this new decade. Think Lifetime + energy drinks.

This album is basically one kick to the head after another. Every song sounds full as fuck. Everything that should've been done with the song, was done with the song. There's no room for error. These guys stand on the shoulders of giants and become giants themselves with this debut full length. They earned quite a reputation for a band with just splits and EPs out, but they definitely deserve every bit of recognition. My main issue is that they're not playing Fest this year, what the hell? You guys need to get on it!

I don't know if it's really necessary for me to list my favorite tracks or anything for this album, because all of it is solid. I mean, "Flood of '72" clearly stands out as an awesome song, which is hard to do when surrounded by other awesome songs, but it happens. "Society" sounds like something straight out of a Lifetime album and into your brain. "Crescent-Shaped Depression" sounds like indifference mixed with angst mixed with musical awesomeitude. It's a pretty great experience. "Where Am I?" sounds like they just toured with The Pixies and a little bit of their dust rubbed off on them. "Your Screen Door" sounds like another necessary kick to the fucking skull. "27" sounds like a fucking round house kick to your noggin.

"Stab" sounds like a Gorilla Biscuit definitely produced this mother fucker, and did a great job. Everything is mixed so perfectly. It sounds dirty and crisp at the same time, and they definitely achieved the perfect guitar tones for this album. The drums sound beautiful and while I may not find the bass as audible as I like it to be, it's still mixed in there pretty nicely. The album ends with a cathartic build up into a nihilistic fall apart with a nice bass featurette for everything to die out to. What's not to fucking like here?

So yeah, I'm gushing over it. You try not to do the same. Seriously, go listen to it.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Bear interviews Church & Chambers

They rock. They're extremely talented musicians and coincidentally, hilariously wonderful people..
This interview is very (un)professional.
We talk about trojan commercials and books and other unrelated things...
If you don't have time, here's one review, here's anothertheir book of facesthe space, and tumblr. You'll love them.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Laura Stevenson & The Cans- Sit Resist

Most of you know Laura Stevenson as the keyboardist for Bomb the Music Industry!, however, she also has a project called Laura Stevenson & the Cans. It's kind of a collective, like BTMI, that has a lot of members that sometimes play/tour, and sometimes don't. It's folk punk that is sometimes pop punk and sometimes something completely different. I absolutely adore Laura- she's SO talented at everything she does. I imagine the woman even vomits beautifully. I was a bit skeptical about this album at first- I mean, I KNEW I would love it... But could it compare to Holy Ghost, or A Record? It can.
"Halloween Pts 1 & 2" has been previously recorded, but this is a different version. This version is a little more intense, and I actually like it a lot better. The guitar line is really, really soothing and Laura's voice is just so fabulous. The track also features a bit of drums, accordion, and other various instruments that really add nice accents to it. It's so catchy, and it's really cute. Mostly an instrumental track, but still (as always) showcases Laura's voice. Beautiful.
"Master of Art" has a different sound with a light bubbly tone and super, super cute lyrics. This song is officially going on just about every single mix tape I make. I move my shoulders to the drum/tambourine every time! I love dancing to this song. It has such a great feel to it. I'm so jealous of Laura, you guys don't even know. She's so talented, and so are the musicians that work with her.
"Caretaker" is also fantastic. The guitar has a poppy, bluesy, 60s feel to it, if that made any sense at all. All of the instruments tie together perfectly for their signature soothing sound and then Laura's voice just ties it all together. Laura Stevenson and the Cans always make such sweet, calming music. I just want to listen to this music constantly.
I FUCKING LOVE "THE HEALTHY ONE" SO MUCH. It's more upbeat, and still just as cutesy. I can't get enough of this song. It's just so good. It's like polka-folk-crazy-unicornblood music.
"Finish Piece" is a piano ballad and it's beautiful. The piano goes back and forth between a forte, major sound and this quiet little breezy segment in between the big parts. It's very short, but full of kickass. It has a melancholy feel to it, but she can just never make me sad. It's too pretty.
"Peachy" picks back up again with the folk guitar in the intro, and then slowly adds on a little more to a full sound. It's a really cute song. I love listening to Laura's range, and the jam-band feel that her music always has. It's a perfect mix of intricacy and simplicity. It goes back and forth between big/bold to almost completely a capella. 
"8:08" is one of my very favorites. The musicianship is just above and beyond.
"Red Clay Roots" has a very, very old feel to it. The harmonies are fucking wonderful. It's a capella and very short and makes me think of my grandma's house.
"Barnacles" should be the credits track to a black and white movie. It's got a very cute, smooth melody and Laura really pushes her vocals in it.
"Montauk Monster" is definitely rooted in bluegrass... I love it. It's so, so great. It's just incredibly catchy and cutesy and.. I just can't shut up about Laura's voice. It's so fucking amazing.
"The Wait" is really sweet. It starts off in her usual slow acoustic pattern, but then it switches into a Haunted Continents-esque thing.I love it when musicians mix so many instruments together like this, it just sounds wonderful. The horns are always so great on The Cans' albums, and they never fail to get stuck in my head.
"The Weight" is just... gorgeous. End of story.
Lastly, "I See Dark" is really, really great. It's mostly accordion. Just like the rest of the album, Laura sings awesomely, and the music is put together so great.

Sit Resist was a perfect album. It's sweet and talented and pretty. I adore it. You probably will too.
You can download it, and I strongly recommend that you do.


Interview with Jon Rybicki of The Fucking Cops

The Fucking Cops are awesome pop punk. You can read all about them in a previous post of ours here and you can buy their shit here. I recommend both. I adore them. Pre-order the vinyl at that link, you really won't regret it. And as you can see, they're also really fun people.... :)

How long has the band been together, and how did you all meet?
We played our first show in October 2009 with Off With Their Heads, New Creases and Reverse the Curse.  The owner of the club the show was at had asked me to find bands for the show and I decided to start a band to play it.  Our first practice was probably less than a month before that show.   I played in a band called Vietnam Werewolf with Andy.  The rest of us know each other because everyone in Cleveland tends to find each other eventually.  We've all been going to the same shows for years.

If you could have an unlimited source of one food to take with you on tour, what would it be? (Only one!)
Andy says that I have to say burritos.  I guess that works.  They have to be really good burritos though.  I am really picky about burritos, Andy will pretty much eat any kind but I only like "California-style" burritos, like, the order at the counter pick your ingredient kinds.

If you could fight any band in history, who would it be and why?
We would probably fight the Eagles, just like Steely Dan does on the show Yacht Rock.  The Eagles are one of the worst bands in history, and Steely Dan is one of the best.  We would "stab them with our steely knife" and we WOULD just "kill the beast."   It would be a Hotel of Ass-kick.

What has your favorite part of being in a band been? How well do you get along?

 This is a standard answer but being on tour is absolutely the best part of being in a band.  Going new places, meeting new people.  As far as getting along.  I remember reading an interview with Clarence Clemmons, a personal hero of mine, where he said that everyone in the E Street Band gets along well because they do what they do on stage and then they go their separate ways.  At the time this made me sad, because I thought that your band members always had to be your best friends and your only friends or whatever.  Now I totally get what he was saying.  TFC don't all hang out every single day, if we did, we probably wouldn't get along very well at all.  We get together and make music and its awesome and we love each other to death.  Its always exciting to go on tour because you get to hang out with friends in other cities that you don't normally see, but I think its just as exciting for me to hang out with my band members, whom I don't see very often outside of band practice.

How often and how far do you tour?

The goal of this band has always been to tour as far and as often as possible.  Work/money is always an obstacle in that endeavor.  We've been on one short tour and we are about to go on one medium sized one.   We are probably doing a long tour in the fall, and want to do even more in 2012.

What bands influenced your sound?
I can only speak for myself in this regard, and that is a difficult question for me.  I am not very good at being analytical about our "sound."  My favorite lyricists are Craig Finn, John Darnielle, John K. Sampson and Blake Schwarzenbach.  Musically I guess the Replacements, Superchunk, Smoking Popes, Lifetime, Green Day.

Which member is the most fun on stage?
Josh has the most moves.  Andy is the funniest.  I am super shy so probably not fun but people tell me I smile a lot.  It probably looks like I'm having fun but I'm just nervous as fuck. 

If you could have a US tour with two other bands (any bands together or not), who would you choose?

I want to tour with Cheap Girls because Ian is one of my favorite people to hang out with.   I might end up partying myself to death on a tour like that. I am not sure if you mean two other bands on the same tour or not.  As far as bands that aren't together, it would be awesome to go back in time and tour with Frame and Air Raid Barcelona.  Those two bands were almost completely composed of my favorite dudes from New York State (and for that matter, America).  They toured together in 2005 or 2006.  Both bands have been broken up for a while.


The Underground Railroad to Candyland - Know Your Sins

Weird band name aside, this is a weird band in general. The Underground Railroad to Candyland (URC) are this pop punk type band from California featuring members from F.Y.P. and Toys That Kill. I guess that makes them somewhat akin to a supergroup or something of the like. So let's go with that. Basically, URC is this pop punk supergroup. I mean, they're pop punk and all, sometimes. They're one of the bands that you'll have trouble with stapling to a specific genre. They're definitely punk, and that's what matters in classifying I suppose.

Okay, to start this fucking review off, you can satisfy yourself with this band pretty quickly. Here's a quicklist of songs that should rock your socks and impregnate your mom.

  • That I Dunno
  • And You Think You Can Tame Me?!
  • We Aren't The World (Lalalalalalalalala)
  • Bitter
  • The Wicked Shakes
Other than that, the album spends a whole lot of time being kind of mediocre and forgettable. But hey, don't we all do that everyday? 

They basically sound like some anti-folk type shit, blended with 70s punk and maybe some autistic savants writing some music throughout. It's intentionally lo-fi throughout, because it sounds like the equipment is good, but the production made it sound kind of like something that came out forever ago. Honestly, you can be content with just listening to the first track and pretending the rest doesn't exist. It's better that way. 

You can pick this up over at Recess Records in a bunch of different styles and whatnot. That's pretty cool too. It's a decent album, but it's not going to make anyone's top list this year.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Sheds- ...And Now For Something Completely Different

The Sheds are awesome, awesome ska/punk. They've been playing music together since they were 9-13, how cool is that? Not many bands can say that. Obviously the line-up has changed quite a bit since that... But it's still kinda awesome. They call themselves 'postskacore' but it's really just skapunx. I love it. They have the intensity of hardcore, the sound of punk, and the horns of ska... That's skapunx. :D
"Cycles" is the title track and it has a great sound. The vocals are really talented, and the music is really driving. OH, and the saxophone is fucking amazing. I love saxophone. Daniel does some really interesting harmonies with the music. It's got great variation, between the hardcore stuff and the ska segments. It's a really catchy way to start off an album.
"Roadrash" is more ska oriented for the most part, with punk highlights to it. It continues to be catchy and all that jazz. There seems to be a reoccurring theme with The Sheds lyrics- they're all sad. However, I'm in love with them.
"Counting Sheep" probably has the best instrumentals out of the whole EP. Not any instrument in particular, really, but they all tie in with each other better on this track. If I ever bomb or set any major monument on fire, I want it to be to the outro of this song. I am completely serious. Either that or Kashmir, but that's not even relevant.
"Wrathbone" has the best lyrics. It's a great song. The Sheds have a sound similar to Fatter Than Albert, by the way. I probably should have mentioned earlier. They still have a pretty original sound of their own, though.
"Straps" has an awesome sax line, and it gets stuck in my head really easily.It's a really POWERFUL song.
It finishes off with "Slash & Burn" and it was a great way to finish off a great EP. It's got the coolest fucking riffs EVER.

Overall, I was very impressed with the Sheds. They have an amazing sound that mixes the best of both words- melodical soothing ska and driving intense hardcore. It was a really fresh sound I'm glad I checked out. 

You should definitely check them out, and if you can, buy the album instead of just streaming it, or buy a t shirt. They have cute designs.

-Bear, your resident douchebag.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Candy Hearts - Ripped Up Jeans & Silly Dreams

This is another one of those times where I review something that isn't necessarily new, but it's not my fault that it hasn't been brought to my attention until now. What brought this album to my attention is the fact that Candy Heart's singer and guitarist Mariel Loveland recently did an essay for I Live Sweat regarding sexism in the punk scene. It was the second part of a series regarding the topic, the first part being the recent article by Lauren Denitzio of The Measure [SA]. Her article, which was awesome, caused a bunch of controversy among idiots...but that's bound to happen when something gets posted on Punknews. Well, basically, Mariel's article was also awesome, and it led me to checking out her band, Candy Hearts. And this is how we got to where we are right now, people.

Candy Heart is a pop punk infused indie group from somewhere north east of us in the New York City area. They play a brand of music which can most easily be compared to awesomeness, or you could compare it to bands like Rvivr, The Promise Ring, Jimmy Eat World, and Laura Stevenson and the Cans. This album has a few things qualifying it for being one of the best releases of 2010:

  • The songs are amazing, from start to finish.
  • It reminds me of 90s emo/alternative, but with more flavor.
  • It's up for free download on their bandcamp.
Honestly, you can start this album at any song and be immediately engulfed in the sheer greatness of it all. There's a lot of treble in the guitar tone, the bass is actually audible, the drumwork is superb, the vocals fit the music and its vibe perfectly, and everything is mixed wonderfully. The lyrics are also great, and one of the main reasons these songs will stick with you all day. What's also great is, they have a new split 7" with Sister Kisser coming out after this review, you won't have to wait long until you get to read another review regarding this band. 

The songs are neat when necessary, and sloppy when it's absolutely needed. I usually do like a list of songs I like the most, but I'm afraid that would be too difficult when it comes to this one. I honestly love every song on this record, and I'm extremely confused as to how it went undetected on my radar for such a long time. I usually have some overly-excited indie or pop punk dork messaging me about some new release by some band they're musically crushing on, but somehow that never happened here. I guess I'm the one who has to assume the duty of embarrassing myself by fawning over this album to friends whose respect for me has already been waning for an incredible amount of time. But fuck it, it's a great record. I was on a Descendents/Ergs kick all day, then turned this on and fell in love with it. I think it just meshed well.

So yeah, listen to every song on this least fifty times...tonight. Then do whatever you want, I'm not going to boss you around...too much. OH YEAH, IT'S ON BANDCAMP.


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Kind of Like Records.
Candy Hearts.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Oppposite Box - Silly and Infantile

If there's anything we learned from the band Downtown Brown this year, it's that music can get pretty damn weird when it's given the privilege to do so. Opposite Box come from the weirdest city in Tennessee, Chattanooga. Their music style can most easily be compared to Downtown Brown, if you were forced to compare it to anything. But other than that, it can most readily be compared to...themselves. Because those are the only two bands I can think of that pull off such an excellent form of modern funk-infused music.

Opposite Box definitely has the upper-hand when it comes to hoarding more personnel to play out their music desires. Their singer Ryan Long plays trombone and keys (hey, those are the three things I do in Atomic Potato), the aptly named Richard Long plays guitar, Dave Graham plays bass, Curtis Warner plays both alto and tenor saxophones (he's the blaxophonist), Nathan Griffin does percussion and the also aptly named Mark Fiddler plays the fiddle. This is the kind of lineup you'd expect out of a World/Inferno style band, but they're definitely not that. Or a ska band, but they're also definitely not that. Much like Downtown Brown, they sound like the ultimate jam band, and experiencing them will probably melt your skin off.

The opening track really does a lot to set the feel for the rest of the record. "Creepy" has some heavy guitar, a shit load of horn work, and some silly and infantile lyrics, which is pretty much the point of it. The song spends most of its time having fun and being primarily an instrumental number, and running off with your sister, and other things that this type of music tends to do. It had a circusy feel, but like one of those circuses that you're afraid you might get raped at. Or like the one from the animated movie We're Back where they turn dinosaurs mean by shrinking their brains. That type of deal.

The album carries on in a fairly similar fashion, and serves to never leave a dull moment. There's even funny little skits in between songs for you to dig on, just like on Eminem records! Ha. The best songs on the album, by close call, are "He Seems Like a Fungi", "The Pattern of Life", "I Want to Be Like You", and "Devil's Lettuce." Although, honestly, all of the songs have their own fucking reason to be somebody's favorite on the album. Pattern of Life has some ska-edge to it, System has some sort of mock-rap-metal thing going on, and it reminds me of "T2 Was Right" by Downtown Brown.

Sidenote: If Terminator 3 is to be believed, humanity is supposed to be destroyed by skynet today (April 21, 2011). So, good luck.

But yeah, you should check Opposite Box out if you haven't yet. They're one of the coolest things out of Tennessee. I mean, what else is there? Stuck Lucky and Protomen are about it. You can check them and their music out over on their facebook page. Via con dios...just kidding.


Head Above Water- Community Record's new compilation

This is less of a review, and more of telling you guys about something really awesome that you may or may not already know about.
First off, Community Records is a great "collective" run by D-ray and Greg out of New Orleans, and they do lots of amazing things. I have never disliked anything they put out, seriously.
Right now, they're putting out a comp called HEAD ABOVE WATER, full of 36 songs about the oil spill and other social issues, pictures, and lots of writing about the spill and how it affected and still is affecting people. It's online for FREE, but there is an option to donate to the Gulf Restoration Network and I really, really recommend doing that, guys. Even one dollar helps a lot, and lots of people don't realize how BADLY that help is needed. But even if you can't afford to donate, it's still a GREAT comp and you've gotta hear it.

It has new tracks from bands like Mustard Plug, Stuck Lucky, Bomb the Music Industry, Pericles, A Billion Ernies, and a lot more. Along with that, there are a lot of other previously released songs on it too, by bands like The Flaming Tsunamis, Matt Wixson, Screaming Females, Lenin/McCarthy, the Taxpayers, and so many more AMAZING bands.
Tell your friends about it. Download it. Look at the pictures, read what the guys wrote. Really think about it.
And if you can afford donating anything, please do.
FacebookActual Download LinkGulf Restoration Network website.

Thank you so much guys,
It really means a lot to Idle and I that Greg and D-Ray are doing this.

(Idle brought it to my attention that I talked about the Community Records comp a few hours after he already did... I refuse to delete mine!!! -Bear)

The Plurals- A Futurospective

Tommy Plural, Nich Plural, and Hattie Plural are three wonderful musicians that make up the Plurals... they're wonderful. They play a genre I like to call funpunx. You probably call it something else and I probably don't care. They have a really interesting sound, and I love it. They're from Lansing, MI but they're currently touring so you should really go see them. I have a feeling they're really fun live. This album is gonna be released a month from today! You'll like them if you like the Pixies, Beat Happening, or Sonic Youth.
I went the unprofessional route and just webcammed a picture of it. With cameroid, none the less. Which sounds like hemorrhoids. Sorry, that's not something I should say on here.

ANYWAY, the music.
"La La La" is the title track, and it's awesome. It sounds like a lot of late80s, early90s garage stuff to me. It's really short, but it's good. The vocals are edgy, but still enjoyable, and the guitar line is very catchy. There really aren't any major Hattie vocals in it, but that's okay cause I still love it!
"Life's A Mess" has some great guitar/bass lines, and "Crush" is awesome. It has this great sound, with all this variability and experimentation in it. The lyrics and vocals are awesome, and the music is awesome. It makes me really happy.
"Alma Mater" is extremely short, but it rocks my socks off. "Just enough is all you are!!" Also, the sound is so completely off the wall, I don't even know. It's probably the most ORIGINAL sound we've reviewed on here without it sucking.
"Run" is very 90s-esque and awesomelike. It's fast, it's wonderful.
"Free Burd" has this adorable riff. I don't know what it is, but that guitar just kills me heart wise at the beginning. The lyrics, as usual, are awesome. And the bridge is just so strange, I love it.
"Squagel" is really, really cute. What the fuck is a squagel?
"Brain" really shows off Hattie, and it sounds great. It's probably my favorite song.
Lastly, "Happy Songs" is longer than hell, which is strange for them, and you'll love it.

Overall: The Plurals have this really great sound that's influenced by punk, pop, grunge, indie, garage metal, and so much more. It's just got this really diverse sound that changes every 30 seconds. It has talented vocals that change back and forth between soft melodies and yelling. The guitar is constantly pivoting from poppy powerchords to nice little progressions with light sounds. The bass occasionally comes out with these really abstract parts that I love. And the drums just hold everything together perfectly. The Plurals do everything well, but above anything else, they do a great job of taking a bunch of my favorite traditional sounds and blending them together into this ridiculously strange sound all of their own. Five stars. Buy it when it comes out.

On another note, Sierra from Raptor's Delight sent this album along with temporary tattoos because she's wonderful.... And I wouldn't let Idle have any. I was having too much fun.
I'm a big child.

Anyway, yeah. Go see the Plurals.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Head Above Water Compilation

Community Records has released a fucking awesome compilation today as a response to the BP oil crisis. It's free to download but you can donate to the cause if you like. The compilation includes new songs from A Billion Ernies, Bomb the Music Industry, Matt Wixson, Mustard Plug, Mike Park, Stuck Lucky, Pericles and more. There's also previously released songs on the compilation by a bunch of bands you probably love. Check it out!


Interview with Matt Wixson of Matt Wixson's Flying Circus

Matt Wixson is a musician from somewhere near Detroit, Michigan who has been putting out solo music for quite some time, and has more recently been performing as the front man in the three-piece Matt Wixson's Flying Circus. He's known for ska stuff, drama, playing keyboard for The Flaming Tsuanmis, being gay, being vegan, being controversial, and being pretty awesome overall. I interviewed him over the internet throughout the past few days whenever we both had a chance to be online at the same time, and this is what came of it.

Idle: How long have you been making music, and what initially got you interested?

Wixson: I began recording my own songs around 10 years ago, but I think my earliest songwriting memory is in 5th or 6th grade, which is about 16 years ago. I don't remember ever really deciding it was something I would try, let alone something I could be known for, so I think it must've just started out of boredom and ability. I COULD write a song, so I did. I didn't actually start learning guitar until about 7 years ago, though, and I did that because I thought it would be much easier to perform stuff by myself with a guitar than with a keyboard.

Idle: How many songs do you think you've actually written and recorded by now? How big would Wixipedia be if it were updated to include everything?

Wixson: All together, I think I've written around 400 songs. I've recorded somewhere near 300 of them. Sometimes I'll write a complete song but it won't end up being recorded. Many die with only their lyrics on my harddrive as evidence that they ever existed, and many also die as rough demos that never get turned into a presentable song. And then some end up as a final recording and still don't end up being released.

Idle: Who are your biggest influences when it comes to songwriting, musically and lyrically? I guess also what generally inspires you to write a song?

Wixson: There's no doubt that Jeff from Bomb The Music Industry! has influenced a lot of my music. King Django told me my songs reminded him a lot of NOFX, and I would agree that I have developed a songwriting style probably most similar to Fat Mike's. The folk singer Phil Ochs definitely changed my approach to writing political songs, but I don't think my lyrics resemble his much. I'm talking about mostly lyrics, though. Musically speaking, my songs have known practically no limit of genre, and I draw from really anything I've ever listened to. I could point to parts of my songs and honestly say I was channeling Willie Nelson, Rhianna, Lee "Scratch" Perry, the Suicide Machines, or Cake.

As for what inspires me to write a song, I've noticed that I seem to complain a lot in my songs. Mostly about something on the very small scale, like private thoughts and feelings, or the very large scale, like politics and philosophy. I sing about the former because it helps me deal with things I'm too shy or embarrassed to talk to people about, and I sing about the latter because I'd like to see some of my "radical" ideas accepted as normal. The songs that aren't complaints tend to be irreverent and/or celebrations of the silly. I'm definitely not a comedian, but humor and playfulness show up in a lot of my songs.

Idle: You've been much less of a drama magnet recently, what's up with that? There used to be a whole thing with your Blind Melon song on youtube, and you did the Batshit song about The Aquabats, and the song about I Voted 4 Kodos. Oh and you had drama with the singer of Atomic Potato on that ska forum we used to post on. What was your favorite incident of drama surrounding your music or activity in the scene?

Wixson: I never TRIED to be a controversial person haha. Most of those incidents stem from me choosing the wrong way to express myself. I never wanted to be known as the guy who stood with old IV4K fans against the band's new direction, or the guy who put Blind Melon in their place, or the guy who called the Aquabats on their shit. I don't shy from those opinions, but in the case of some of them, they were not the correct way to go about things. I still write songs that criticize people and I still shit-talk people I know (or people my friends know). The difference is that now I do it in a way that doesn't get me in trouble.

Idle: Haha, that's more mature I suppose. Most of your merchandise for Matt Wixson and Matt Wixson's Flying Circus is and has always been parodies of other known logos and slogans. What are your favorites you've done? I like the rancid burrito shirt and the wutang shirt best, obviously...since those are the ones I purchased. Oh and I bought the Keasbey Nights one for Joey.

Wixson: I'm not a very wise visual artist. Some might say the same about my musical abilities as well, but I'll just give myself the benefit of the doubt for now. I really enjoy making references or homages or whatever to other people's work, no matter the medium, though, so if I am going to try my hand at graphics, this is the only way I feel competent at it. I don't feel a particular kinship with Wu-Tang Clan. The Buffalo Wild Wings shirt was designed after myself and some other vegetarian friends ended up spending a funny evening at one of the restaurants. Incidentally, we ended up there because the burrito place we intended to visit was closed, and the next shirt design had a burrito on it. I have a very serious relationship with burritos, and there's a strong chance I may write some songs about them (possibly an entire EP) in the future, much like HORSE The Band's EP about pizza. If there's a parody design I'm most proud of, it's definitely the Rancid/burrito one, because it not only has relevance to my life but it's way less recognizable of a design than the others. It makes it more special for the people who DO recognize it.

Idle: Yeah, I walked into a Chipotle to pick up an online order and the guy at the register was like, "Oh, I thought you had a Rancid shirt on, and I was excited! But it's not." That was the only time anyone outside of my friends has recognized it yet. What was it like being offered a blow job by an almost-stranger/Matt Wixson fan at Block Party last year? Does that mean you're famous now or something?

Wixson: Can I just say no comment to that one?

Idle: Ha, that's completely fine. You recently took your solo shit and added two members from CBJ to it. How do you like your material as played by a full band as opposed to when you just played shows alone?

Wixson: Playing shows with a band is so much more fun for me, and apparently for the audience as well. And obviously we can do more in terms of variety with three people instead of one. I get to play songs that never quite worked right in solo sets. And a MAJOR advantage is that it gives me an excuse not to play old songs I don't like anymore! I can just say "the band didn't learn it" and that's that.

Idle: That always works, ha. What are your favorite songs to play live now that you have a band backing you?

Wixson: I played a solo set a month or two ago, and found myself playing a lot of songs I also do with the band now. I've really come to enjoy playing those more than the other stuff. I really like how "Wherever I End Up" and "I'd Rather" sound with a full band. "Double Agent" definitely has a different feel to it now, and I kind of dig that. And I think all of the new songs, the ones I didn't previously release as solo songs, are good songs. Turns out when you bring other people into the equation and try to keep a consistent sound for a band, only the best songs make it to the stage.

Idle: Yeah, I really like the way everything sounds with the full band a lot. What would you say is the most fun you've ever had in regards to your music has been? (Block Party?) What's your biggest accomplishment with it?

Wixson: When I think of the most fun shows I've ever played, Block Party 2010 in New Orleans is probably the top of the list. I am as modest as I can be when I say I practically stole that show. I think only the Flaming Tsunamis and Stuck Lucky had better responses that day, which is pretty incredible for me. Everything went right, and everyone in the crowd was right there with me.

As for accomplishments, it's really the small things that mean the most to me. I've had people contact me and tell me my music has saved them from depression, even saved their life. I've helped gay/bi people generate the courage to come out of the closet. Once someone told me about how he joined the military when he felt he had no other options, and he walked around base listening to my version "I Ain't Marching Anymore" on his first day in Afghanistan. That's some heavy stuff, and I'm flattered and humbled to impact people like that. But I also have a poster from the time I opened for Pilfers in New York City. That's pretty goddamn cool, too.

Idle: That's actually all really cool. Your set at Block Party last year was pretty awesome, and I loved when you performed Gaytheist with A Billion Ernies. You're a you know. What led you to this decision? I know it's clearly worked out very well for you in regards to your health, but how much of the decision was based on morals? Or was it just to fit in with The Flaming Tsunamis, ha.

Wixson: I've actually been vegetarian now for almost ten years. Nobody else in the Tsunamis was vegetarian until the month before I joined. A couple of them went vegan during my stint, but I didn't kick the dairy and eggs until about two years after leaving TFT. My decision to go vegetarian was entirely based on ethics, and I realized sometime thereafter that I should've been vegan for the exact same reasons. Beef cattle and dairy cattle live very similar lives in terms of tortured existence. I kind of just pushed that thought out of my mind for years, though, and I didn't actually go vegan until I read about the drugs, hormones, and diseases that end up being transmitted from animals to us through their milk and eggs. I was actually grossed out by the contents of those food products, which helped me finally claim consistency with my animal welfare beliefs.

Idle: I think we've had this conversation before; I think it's great that you went completely vegan. You identify as gay...I think I'm just telling you things about yourself that you already know. How do you feel about the songs you've written regarding same sex rights? Do you like having recognition as somewhat of a musical activist? Or do you feel more as though you wrote those songs because the issue was on your mind, and being established in that manner was just coincidental, because you just write about what's going on in your life?

Wixson: Part of the reason I decided to make "out" music was because I didn't have any gay ska/punk idols I could look up to. I think that just about every gay-themed punk band sucks, and I still don't know if there are any other openly gay ska singers singing openly gay songs. I think it takes a certain courage to be openly gay, and I want to establish ska and punk shows as a safe and welcoming place. That said, I try not to write gay songs just to write gay songs. "Uncivil Union" has a message to it. "Double Agent" is more of just a personal story from my life. It's the same way with a lot of my other beliefs, though. I try (probably somewhat unsuccessfully) not to beat people over the head with my anti-war, anti-capitalist, anti-meat, non-religious ideas, but I also don't shy away from them. People have to "come out" if they identify with those ideas, too, and I don't think any of them should be controversial or dangerous anymore.

Idle: I completely agree with that, and I think you do a good job of not beating people's heads in with your beliefs, while still always representing what you stand for. How's the Michigan music scene these days?

Wixson: Since starting the band I've played way more punk shows than ska shows. Maybe I've just been missing out the past few years, but it seems Michigan has a really awesome punk scene lately. Against the Grain, Due North, Seized Up, Bike Tuff, the A-Gang... all bands worth looking into. It's kind of funny, though, because all of the bands I just mentioned have a member or two I've known from before... when they were in ska bands! I think that's what the Michigan music scene is lately. Dudes who used to play ska starting awesome punk bands. It's worked for us, too!

Idle: Ha, well that's good. I tend to listen to punk way more than ska, so it'd be the kind of scene I'd enjoy. What projects/releases are you currently working on?

Wixson: Well, the Flying Circus album that we recorded with King Django last summer should be released one of these days on Stubborn Records. We're almost ready to record new stuff already, too. By the summer I should also have released a split with See You In Mexico (Ryan from A Billion Ernies) as well as an EP on Whatevski Records, which is a NY-based label that does a lot of Slackers and Slackers-related digital releases. Community Records just released a free compilation called Head Above Water: A Response to the BP Drilling Disaster and I've got a new song on there as well. And despite all of these things being lined up, I STILL have a bunch of songs that don't have any destination yet.

Idle: That's a lot of exciting stuff coming out man. Okay, one last question. If you were to fight any band, active or inactive, who would it be? (Being a conscientious objector is not an option.)

Wixson: It wouldn't be fair for me to fight a whole band. I would have to fight a single person, and I think I would fight Bob Dylan. I like Bob Dylan a lot, but he's old and wouldn't stand much of a chance. And after the dust settles and the shame subsides, I'll have a story about how I met Bob Dylan.

You can check out Matt Wixson's stuff over on his Myspace, and you can download some of his albums from Open Hand Records

Update on New Low

I think this update may prove that I'm a slight creeper, but whatever. Jon Weiner posted a status on Facebook stating that he's going to leave for Jersey on May 10th (the day after the Dear Landlord/Dopamines split release) until May 15th in order to write songs for the band New Low, which he is in with Mikey Erg. Mikey played a really awesome song at his recent solo show here (the one he got arrested after), and I was wondering how they were going to be writing this thing from separate states...but I guess this explains it.


Living With Lions - Honesty, Honestly

Living Lions functions like a modern Bouncing Souls, pumping out anthems like it nobody's business. Other than that, there's not much else you could do to compare their sound to Bouncing Souls. They're a punk band from Vancouver than sounds closer to a lot of easycore bands when it comes to the instrumentals, and more like orgcore punk bands when it comes to vocals. They recently released the Honesty, Honestly 7", which is just two neat little songs to get into while we await their impending full length release in May.

The title track starts it off with an almost Lemuria feel in the instrumentals, which goes into more of a pop punk feel once the gruff vocals come in. "You're going down, down, down, down, down. I'll see you when you're down where I am now." You'll know what I mean by anthems when you hear this song...and when you hear the next song. You can picture about 50 kids all leaning to reach the microphone from the crowd, with their fists (or middle fingers) in the air, shouting the chorus so loud you'd think it was some sort of magic spell that would allow them to switch bodies with the singer. Maybe it will, if you have the right wand. (I had to add this parenthetic part because I realized that it may sound like I was making a penis joke there. I wasn't. You're gross.)

I like the second song, "When We Were Young," a hell of a lot more than the first one (which says a lot). It sounds bigger overall, and the clean guitar kills it throughout, man. It's just perfect. Didn't these guys just tour with Wonder Years? I missed their set...damnit. We got there and waited in line for ages, and by time we got in, Mixtapes were done playing. So we left until Fireworks was ready to play...we didn't mean to miss anything good, but apparently we did. That blows. I definitely want to see these guys live after hearing this song. "Face of an angel, shot down in the streets. Covered up feelings behind these punk rock beats!"


You can find the title track on their facebook, or over at the Adeline Records site. I can't really figure out where else you'd go to hear these songs.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Milestones - Growing Up is Getting Old

If someone ever asked me to name the best pop punk/easycore band from Australia, I am now able to confidently answer. Milestones, all the way. Their music sounds honest and awesome and they do a great job of blending emo into their variety of pop punk. They remind me most of bands like Crucial Dudes, Latterman, and more recent stuff by The Wonder Years. I would basically say they're the brocore band of now that just has to be one for every other continent, if not country.

I think it's important to point out the cleverness behind the album title. It can be read as a blunt statement, "growing up is getting old." Where it would just be saying something like, "long cat is long." Or it can of course mean what I expect it to actually mean, which is that growing up is strenuous and totally becoming less worth it as it continues to happen. I totally agree, guys.

The title track of the album is just an instrumental with some oohs and ahhs type vocals towards the end, leading into the real first song "Safe and Sound". It's important for me to note early on that I love every song on this release. The fact that it took me nearly half a year to take notice of it is a complete shame, but I'm here now, and it's still things work out. The instrumentals are pretty much similar to the bands I've already compared them too, with their vocals being most similar to Latterman, Maladroit, and Kid Dynamite. This song is short and catchy and will probably get your sister pregnant.

"Reggie Hammond, You Have Two Days Of Freedom!" definitely has the best intro on the album, due to the incredible leads for it. The vocals hit hard for each song, and carry this strong presence throughout the entire record. These songs are infinitely sing-along-able and infinitely quotable. These are your youth anthems, Australian adolescents and dudes in your 20s. These are still your youth anthems, dudes over seas here in America, and our readers from France. Basically, these songs travel much better than Indian take out food.

What should you be doing while listening to these next few songs to actually balance out the badassness? I would like to assist you in this all too common query:

  • Throw a ring into Mt. Doom.
  • Battle/slay/fuck a dragon.
  • Beat Halo/Cod on max difficulty, or get 100% in an RPG.
  • High five every cast member from Top Gun.
  • Battle/slay/fuck a supermodel.
  • Eat a dingo's baby. 
That pretty much sums up how you should feel about tracks 4 through 6. Problem solved, bitch. (It should be stated that track 4 is the best of the 3, though. Well, they're all awesome anyway).

The album ends with a questionable track title. It's called "Where's My Nintendo? Let's Play Goldeneye!" but I just can't agree. That game is unplayable to me now. The awkward inverted controls, the fact that I can barely distinguish enemies from the environment surrounding them, and the fact that my friends kicked my ass at it too much growing up. I have a Nintendo 64, though, and I most often play Blitz, Mario Kart 64, Super Mario 64, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Super Smash Bros, and the Banjo series. So, replace Goldeneye in the title with either of those, and I'm game as fuck. Even though I may've just committed heresy. I have the balls to do so regardless; this music has given me said balls.

Oh yeah, about the song! It's a keeper. It's a great closing track. It stands alone as an awesome track by itself, with great lead parts, vocal melodies, and sing-along parts. But it also has the appropriately placed woah-ohs and gang vocals to make it feel like it's the end of something great, and a sign of more great to come. When their next release comes out, I don't care how many grandmas I have to punch to get a copy of it on vinyl. I'll do it. Don't test me.


You can stream the album for free over at their bandcamp, dudes.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Okay Win- Common Nature

The Okay Win is an indie band from Boston who plays great music. I really, really love their sound. It's soft and intimate at times and loud and engaging at others, but either way, it always sounds wonderful. I was planning on just sitting around and reading my Atari Force comics with this in the background, but I ended up putting Martin Champion down to give this my whole attention, cause it deserves it. This album comes out tonight at midnight, and you've gotta check it out.

"Buzz Armstrong" grabs you right off the bat with a really cute intro, and then transfers well into sultry guitar and drums. Then Stephen MacDonald starts singing, and I just adore his voice. He's got the classic voice that just makes everyone stop and listen. Soon all the instruments are tying in together perfectly, and it's got this bubbly, soothing sound that ties together perfectly. It's the kind of music I want to put on when I'm painting. Does that make sense? Because that's how I view good music. I either want to dance to it, scream along with it, or paint to it. I want to paint to this. It's got a lot of interesting sounds tied into it.
"Still Fall" is one of my favorites. It has amazing lyrics, and the music makes me think of mermaids.. I'm just gonna let that sentence stand alone. But emphasis on mermaids.
"Huff" is REALLY CATCHY. Also, side tracked... As soon as I saw the title, I immediately thought of pre-teen boys huffing that computer air duster stuff... Sorry. It's not actually about inhalants, though. Don't do inhalants. Anyway, the guitar/bass lines all tie in perfectly together and entwine with the vocals of Stephen to make one big fun song.
"Just Fashion" is fucking wonderful. The lyrics are the best on the whole album, and as usual, the instrumentals are extremely talented also. Stephen MacDonald is a wonderful singer/songwriter, however, he doesn't get all of the glory. Ryan Ward, JM Craven, Adam McElreath, and Dave Chardo are all really talented to. I (obviously) don't know who plays what line, but the 3 boys on guitar all sound great, and I have this soft spot for talented bassists, cough, Ryan. Not in a creepy way or anything. We're bros, is all.
"We Won't Sell You Out" has the most amazing intro. It's also a really long song. Actually, the whole album is full of long songs. It takes almost an hour to listen to all 10 songs, but that's almost an entire hour is great music. Cool, right?
"One To Have" is a little bit heavier than everything else. It's still soft, but you know, in a heavier way. Like a comforter compared to a fleece throw, you know? Or not. Anyway, I love it. It sounds somewhat like Only Thieves. Not much, but enough to make me think of them. The bass line is similar to "Jessie's Girl" by Rick Springfield at times. Do you hear it? 
"Right" melts my heart. Nuff said.
I really only take the time to mention every single song on REALLY great albums, so yeah.
"Spin (Everyone's Got Gold)" is a chill song. That's the only way to describe it. It's just chill.
"Common Nature" is long as fuck and I'm so glad it is. If I were The Okay Win, I would name the album after this song too.
The album finishes off with "Our Trade" and it closes up the album perfectly.

Such talented boys. Love on them.

Mikey Erg/ Dave Hause/ Ian Graham Show last night

Last night, Idle and I and some friends went to the Southgate House to see the above... and it was wonderful. I think Jon Weiner said something about Idle reviewing this, but fuck that. I got to it first.
Billy Wallace opened up for them, and he was just wonderful. I love his style. He plays in a folk punk band called Billy Wallace and the Virginia Blues, but last night was just solo stuff. He's fucking fantastic.
You've gotta check him out.
Ian Graham was next, and first off, he was kind of a dick to one of my friends, so BOO to that, but he played Her and Cigarettes, and I wasn't sure if he would, and I love that song more than I love air... So I guess it ALMOST evened out.
Mikey Erg, as expected, was mind-blowingly AMAZING. Idle and I are in love with him (just like the rest of you are) and he did just wonderfully. He also dedicated his next 35 sets to the two of us... That was wonderful. He made my year just by playing... ^_^
Oh, and by the way, EAT YOUR HEART OUT
Ain't it pretty?
Heart shaped 12"... That is technically Idle's... That I stole from him.

Lastly, Dave Hause played. Which was yet another kickass performance because I'm the Loved Ones' biggest fan. He played mostly his solo stuff with a few Loved Ones songs intermixed in. I melted when he played "Jane" and when I asked him to play "Please Be Here" he said he couldn't remember how to play it, but he'll practice it for next time. Cool, right? He played wonderfully, and had a great time talking to everyone in the audience and giving my brother shit all night. It was hilarious.

Overall, it was wonderful and if you weren't there, you suck.
Oh, and Mikey got arrested because the cops were assholes... And arrested him for wandering around drunk. HOW MANY OF YOU HAVE EVER WANDERED AROUND CINCI/NEWPORT DRUNK? Probably an amusing amount of you said "ME!" and are also thinking "You can get arrested in Newport?" Yeah. Whatever. More punx cred, I guess.

I'm sure Idle will actually post details later.



Billy Wallace was rad, never seen him play before despite him being from here. It's awesome that he's on DTFH also, which just makes it feel like he has a home on our site.

Ian Graham's set was kind of the lull of the evening. He's a pretty decent lyricist and a good singer, but Cheap Girls just aren't my thing. That song the bear likes is pretty awesome, though. He chastised our photographer friend Holly for taking photos of him...because I guess he isn't photogenic or something. Or he's one of those fish at the aquariums that glow in the dark and you're not supposed to take photos of them because they might die. Or he's a part of one of those tribes who believe photographs steal your soul. You know, something like that.

Mikey Erg played an awesome set of songs from his Heart Shaped LP, and pretty much every Ergs release. He also played a song from his New Low project with Jon Weiner. Jon had Billy Wallace cover his spot working the door downstairs so that he could be up there to see Mike play it. He played Books About Miles Davis, Running Jumping Standing Still, Saturday Night Crap O Rama, and Pray For Rain. What more could you ask for? He had this whole Elvis Costello vibe with the solo dude playing an electric guitar too.

Dave Hause might as well be the kind of stage banter. He kept stopping the vocals of songs, and just palm muting the chord progression so that he could make observations about the crowd or tell stories. I called them "banter solos" and he responded by saying he was creating a "loose vibe." His set was amazing, I put my friends in the spotlight for him to tease for missing most of his set...that went on for about 10 minutes. I know they were grateful for the attention, despite them telling me to fuck off quite a few times. Hey, at least he wasn't shitty at teasing, like Ian Graham.

Overall, excellent show and I had an excellent time seeing it with excellent friends. Awesome. I do recommend.

Oh, and Mikey Erg got arrested for being drunk in public after the show...details here.


Mikey Erg got arrested.

So, Mikey Erg played an amazing show at the Southgate House in Newport, KY last night...then promptly got arrested for being drunk in public, and was fined 300 dollars.

"Above subject was observed staggering on the side walk on washington at fourth st in Newport. When I got out the subject could smell a strong odor of alcohol on his person. Subject had slurred speech and was unsteady on his feet. Subject stated he was from new jersey and was playing at the southgate house earlier. Subject stated he was lost and he did not know where he was staying for the night. Subject was manifestly under the influence of alcohol and was a danger to himself and others and was transfered to and lodged at the cambell county detention center without incident."
-Jon Weiner post on facebook

So yeah, he's definitely earned his rank in Star Fucking Hipsters now. Also, it's a Dopamines trend to get drunk tanked. So it happens.


Oh, and you can check it out here too:


Billy Wallace and the Virginia Blues - Lesser Lights

Last night, Idle and the Bear saw an amazing show of solo performances from Mikey Erg, Dave Hause, Ian Graham, and Billy Wallace. I never heard of Billy Wallace, despite him living a city away and his band sometimes involving the old drummer from The Dopamines. But, you know, now I've heard of him. He played an awesome set, and when he said his album was up on Death to False Hopes, I kicked myself for not having downloaded it yet. But now I'm on top of that shit, so it's all good. So do what I did, and head over to DTFH and download this album.

This is some folky shit, dudes. It's clear as folk (forgive me this pun, lord) who his influences are. His vocals sound similar to Lou Reed, and the instrumentals and songwriting give more of a modern nod to Bob Dylan. "Hold On, San Francisco" is a about a girl, which makes it obvious how easily he fit onto a sorta pop punk show. His lyrics are very similar to the style of the folk punk scene, despite his music not really being folk punk. They're lyrics meant to point out the obvious, and tell every part of a story.

"Mustard Seeds" starts off with Billy playing his harmonica, which was around his neck throughout his set last night. Sometimes this stuff can get too country for me to grasp onto, but for the most part, the lyrics are enough to keep you hooked throughout. He can't be from Covington, with his accent, though. He has to have lived further south and moved up. Or maybe he just puts it on, I'm not sure.

I think you can pretty much get a feel for all of this EP by checking out the last song, "A Love Song For Johannes Kelper." It's definitely the best song on the release, and includes a trumpet, piano, and the standard awesome lyricism. You can get the album from DTFH, as I stated above. And you can find him on facebook here. Check this release out, and see him live if you ever get a chance. I'm not sure if he tours so often, but you can always just go to Cincinnati on your own, since it's awesome here.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Up & Atom- Demo 2011

Wonderful! Up & Atom is a pop punk slash easy core band from Melbourne! They're awesome. Emily sings, Marcus and Matt play guitar, Mitch plays bass, and Michael plays drums. Something sets Emily apart from the rest of the members... Her name doesn't start with an M.... Oh yeah, and she's a chick. Up & Atom is really good.
"Not Penny's Boat" is awesome. The music is really, really catchy and Emily has an ADORABLE voice. They have great lyrics, and Matt also has a great voice. The music is really cute and I love it. Adorable pop punk is the best.
"B.D. Wong" is also really cute. Emily's voice is so pretty and the music is really, really catchy. I like the group vocals a lot. The guitar melodies are always really addictive with Up and Atom. 
"Huntingdale (Seedy Old Man)" showcases the drums a little more than previously, and Emily's voice is a little louder which I like. Oh, and our first 'oh-oh-oh!" Always a beautiful moment.
Lastly, "Four Goals to Remember" is the best track! I love it! The pace picks up a bit, it's cute and fun and has a great guitar line. and the "aww fuck!" at the end makes me giggle every time.

You really have to listen to Up & Atom, it's pop punk at it's best with talented vocals, catchy music, and amusing lyrics. I love this demo SO much and I can't wait to hear more from this band! On their facebook, there's a link to a free download of this EP and you need to get it.


Channel 4's Finest- Bear City

There isn't a picture for this one, but Channel 4's Finest is hardcore from Pittsburgh... And I wouldn't recommended them at all.

They aren't particularly BAD... they just really aren't anywhere near good either. I got really hopeful when I saw the into title was 'Holographic Charizard" because I'm a total pokemon geek, but then I was sorely disappointed with 40-some seconds of the same breakdown over and over again with a few OHHs.
"Little Mr. Pennsylvania 1996" is your stereotypical hardcore music.. It's really just boring. It sounds like every other 19 yr old boy with skinny jeans and a flat-bill hat. "Ca$hflow Corey Strikes Again" sounds like something that came out of the Dark Ages in 2008.... You guys know what I'm talking about. "This Shouldn't Be Legal" just confuses me. It's like July meets Breathe Carolina...

I don't even have that much to say about it. I just hate it.
you can try it out if you'd like. Shame, because the name BEAR CITY excited me more than anything. I didn't know there was a city for bears, but if this is anything like said city, I don't want to go there.


Mansions- Dig Up the Dead

Mansions is a one-man indie band made up of Christopher Browder. This is his third (I think) album and I adore him. You'd like Mansions if you like Weatherbox, John Nolan, Brand New, Very Okay, or Matt Nathanson.
Mansions is mostly guitar and vocals, with a little bit of drums, piano and effects here and there. Christopher writes fairly long songs, but they're all really good.
"Dig Up The Dead" is the first song and I ADORE it. He has a great voice, and the guitar is really soothing. I love how the strong intro makes such a sharp transition into the softness of the rest of the song. One of the things I noticed right off the bat is the lyrics- so great. "Well I have never been free, but I have always been cheap. I have never been free." Awesome, yeah? The harmonies are great, the occasional percussion makes a nice highlight, and he does a great job of building up when he needs to and being quiet when he needs to, so it makes a really great effect. Even though his songs are longer, you really get carried through the music quite well.
"Blackest Sky" might very well be my favorite. It's extremely addictive, and very sweet. The lyrics absolutely took my breath away, the vocals are fantastic, and the guitar has this feel-good tone to contrast to all of it. The outro is also super intense!
"Not My Blood" is wonderful. The lyrics (as per the usual) are really moving, and the music is awesome. It's so hard to believe that this is only one person making the music, because it's really intricate and beautiful. It's melancholy, but not sad. I don't know how the hell he accomplished that, but he did and I love it. The drums are really interesting, because his rhythm is slightly eccentric in this song.
"City Don't Care" has a really powerful, carrying instrumental line pairing up with Christopher's soft voice. His voice flows really well, like a river or vomit or something. Well, not really like vomit because vomit is a bad thing... OH whatever. The vocal lines in this song are so good. Play this music for your girlfriend. She will love it. I don't care if she's Barbie or She-man... She will love it. It's just slampiece music.
"Call Me When It's Over" is extremely, extremely sad. It's beautiful, but it's so sad. Not just the words- the music just has a sad tone. I like it a lot.
"Wormhole" is sad too, but in a different way. The music also picks up a bit, and has a different sound to it. 
"Close the Door" and "Seven Years" are two really great guitar-wise songs, both wonderful. "Seven Years" has some female vocals in it, but I don't know who it is.
"You Got Cool" has a little bit of a different sound than the majority of the album, but I like it a lot. Acoustic fits him well!
"Yer Voice" is a great way to finish off the album... It sounds wonderful. It's pretty, it's powerful, and it's catchy. What else could you ask for?

Mansions is wonderful. End of story. buy it.