Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Bear has returned!

Co-owner and staff writer Bear of Idle and the Bear has finally returned from her summer internship at the University of Iowa. And she's here to kick ass and take names (review bands and take down names of bands that need to be reviewed in the near future). So watch out!


Pentimento - Wrecked EP

I've heard some guy say recently that there's just too much good music out there, and he doesn't have the time to listen to all of it. And he sees this as a good thing and a bad thing. I guess I understand. My to do list for reviewing is quite long, and that can be overwhelming or whatever. And also what's going to make your band special when so many awesome bands are pumping shit out as of late? But seriously, as a listener, this should never be a problem. It's like the opposite of a problem. I'm quite stoked that I can listen to a bunch of different shit all week, all of it amazing, and then listen to an EP by a band I've never heard of...and it be fucking amazing. So that's where we are in the world right now. A lot of awesome music, and not a lot of awesome anything else. And that's where Pentimento comes in, as well. They're just another rad band that released a great EP titled Wrecked recently. And, amongst all the awesome shit released in 2011, this EP stands out.

Pentimento are kind of like what happens when anger is used to incite all remaining emotions in the human psyche. And then this is expressed by gritty, yelling vocals and some awesome punk music that has no dedication to any specific form. It's powerful, emotional, and everything you've always wanted. It's also all delivered to you in 30 minutes or less, sort of like pizza. And pizza is the best food ever made, so logic dictates that you receive the same sort of euphoria by eating, I mean listening to, Wrecked by Pentimento.

Also, it's all streaming over at Absolute Punk, which is kind of like the icing on the pizza. Or whatever. You can also buy the album from their label Panic Records. The songs on Wrecked will all do everything to avoid being scraped off the wall of your brain. Seriously, these songs stick like crazy glue and you'll find yourself singing along already on your second listen through. It's ridiculous. Pentimento are awesome. I mean, if you like awesome music, they're awesome.


Idle and the Bear.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bomb the Music Industry! - Vacation

So, you're all well aware of the old saying that we've heard time and time again:  "lightning doesn't strike in the same place twice, unless you're Jeff Rosenstock. Then lightning doesn't play by the rules, and strikes as many times as it damn well pleases." Yeah, I know it's a somewhat clunky saying, but it's always applied to a broad range of situations and has helped us all put perspective on the crazy shit that goes on in this world. Well, the most recent crazy shit is an album titled Vacation by a band called Bomb the Music Industry!

This is the seventh full length released from the band/collective Bomb the Music Industry, and it's definitely getting a lot of mixed feedback from listeners. I think this is actually the first BTMI release with this many split opinions. I think up until Vacation, everyone was pretty much like, "AWESOME!" in response to everything "Jeff and the Rosenstocks" put out. But for this one, I'm hearing a lot of shit about how it sounds overproduced, not hectic enough, clean cut, and whatever nit picky things people are declaring these days. I mean, if I had heard all of this feedback before having listened to the album, I honestly would've expected something akin or All Time Low or Avenged Seven Fold to come fumbling out of my laptop speakers. But, instead, some awesome fucking songs came out of my laptop, and all was right with the world.

Vacation starts off on the softer side with the song "Campaign For a Better Weekend", which almost had me convinced that I was being trolled, and some songs by other bands were just retitled and distributed as a BMTI leak. But then, as the vocals get scratchier and throatier, the fog starts to clear, and you can see the sun set on the the form of loud punk music being thrown into the mix towards the end of the song. You're smacked in the head with the same direct-as-fuck lyrics and poorly formed metaphors that we all love the hell out of this band for. The end of this song sounds like the pleasant messes we've been so accustomed to due to releases like Album Minus Band and Goodbye Cool World. 

What's cool about Vacation is that it feels like a true summer album. I mean, the second song "Vocal Coach" has probably one of the most happy-go-lucky BTMI vocal melodies that we've heard yet. It kind of reminds me of the song "Slumlord" off their previous album Adults for that reason...I mean, the songs aren't really similar other than that they both have interesting, yet very different from each other, vocal melodies. The classic BTMI keyboard is ever present throughout this release, as is the definitely-Shinobu-influenced guitar playing.

One thing I do agree (with when it comes to all the hating haters) would have to be that I kind of prefer the demo versions of a couple of these songs. Namely, "Everybody That You Love" and "Hurricane Waves". These are two previously released songs that sounded a lot crazier and properly nourished in their previous, non-full length state. However, I have to say I prefer the full length version of "Can't Complain" to the original version of it. That might be partially due to how well the previous track flows into it, though.

Just like with their release Scrambles, there's a couple slower songs on this release. I remember how some people weren't digging on those songs when Scrambles came out, but they all ended up coming around and appreciating them for what they are. The good thing though, for all those ballad-haters, is that there are far more exciting/fast/hectic numbers on Vacation than there are slow songs that get blasted up with distortion and yelling towards the end.

It's hard for me to settle with a favorite song for this album. The more I listen to it, the more I change it. But, the song that has earned the title the most has to be the final song on the album, "Felt Just Like Vacation". It has so much BTMI flavor, some Beach Boys backup vocals, and a keyboard solo that will probably get all the keyboards in my house pregnant with Jeff's electrokids (not to be confused with the Pokemon by a similar name).

This album immediately hit me as awesome. But, after the first listen, I had to go babysit. And then I had to go do yard work the next day. So, I didn't get around to the second listen for quite some time. And everyone was texting me about their concerns with the album, and their opinions on the direction of the band, and all of this stuff. And, I kept replying, "haters gonna hate" at first. Then doubt started to manifest in my peanut sized brain. And I started to believe these haters, and started to think that I was in denial because I didn't think Bomb could release anything less-than-awesome. I was building all of this up in my head, and starting to believe...starting to believe all this hoopla about Jeff overproducing it and the songs being boring an unmemorable...


And all my thoughts regarding me being in denial and them being right were quieted by the truth. The truth being that this album is exactly what I was hoping for in the Bomb-department. It's messy, it's inspired, and it's like a cool new gift, but in familiar wrapping paper. It's Vacation and I love it.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

My Three Favorite Ska-Punk Albums Of the Past Few Years

Okay, so...I've probably touched on these albums or bands in other posts here at Idle and the Bear...but it's honestly never enough. So, here it goes...


Talk about your solid excellence. These Tennessee assholes (I mean assholes in a good way, duh) are fucking brilliant at what they do. I've only seen them play a couple times, but both instances were absolutely excellent. You really won't find much better out there than Stuck Lucky, and this album Possom Soul is the perfect example of their awesomeness. I mean, nothing compares to seeing these guys live though. Their set is filled with more energy than a "closed system with high entropy." (I had to ask my friend Meadows to help me out with some sort of physics term for something with high energy...I think he let me down here). Point is. Great band. Great fucking record.

I've actually already written a review on this album. It seriously has endless replay value. The lyrics are perfect (mostly centered around human rights, historical inaccuracies, christianity, and socialism) and it's a band full of nerds. Seriously. They open sets with the zelda theme at times. And it's the perfect blend of hardcore music with ska-punk. The horns are brilliant and the vocals are definitely unique and powerful. So yeah, great album. 

Oh my fucking god. I don't know if I've ever heard a better album in my life. It's honestly a bitch to try to say that I have, because I can't place a finger on it currently anyway. The Last Minute by Fatter Than Albert is like a complicated mess of genres and influences. It's like a scale model of musical excellence, and it seriously fucks up the curve for everyone else. It's almost as if, no matter what, your album won't top this. It sucks, I know. But, at least you get to listen to this album a billion times before you die. If you're smart enough to do so, at least. Bonus Fact: Best horn section in the world. 


So there, you indulged me. Now I'm finished. Go listen to these albums! You have the links right up there, so do it. Later.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Less Than Jake - Greetings From Less Than Jake

Idle (Yesterday): There's a new release by Gainesville old timers Less Than Jake? What? That's pretty cool...depending on what it sounds like and all.

Idle (Present): Hey Idle of Yesterday's Past. Don't worry, this EP is fucking solid. It's really awesome.

Idle (Future): Hey, you Idles! Don't worry! You make it through the apocalypse just fine! But, just to be safe, you should work out more and start getting really into guns. Yeah, I know, you think guns are stupid. You're going to have to change that, pussy.

Idle (Present): Whatever, Future Idle, I'll let YOU worry about that. But, more pressing matters are at hands currently. There's a new Less Than Jake EP, and it's pretty fucking solid. I'm going to ignore your working out advice, and your insane Charlton Heston advice. I'm just going to review this new EP instead.

Okay, so Less Than Jake put out a new EP. Awesome. It's actually pretty damn solid. I mean, GNV FLA was a pretty decent release too, so it's to be expected. They also did that weird TV/EP that was pretty awesome. So, I guess this was to be expected. The songs are pretty similar to Losing/Rockview era Less Than Jake, but definitely not rehashes of old favorites. These are new songs with their own pair of pants and their own cool, hipster haircut.

So, if you like Less Than'll like this. Plain and simple. There's hardly any reviewing to do here! The recording quality is solid, the vocals are as catchy as ever and the horns are ever-competent in performing excellent bits of exciting brasswork. You can purchase the album and give it your own listen, if you're interested and all. You should be, it's fucking rad.


Idle and the Bear.

Sister City - Carbon Footprint

Okay so, the biggest issue with how busy this month has been has to be the fact that it took me forever to get the chance to write up a review on this album. Sister City are two dudes from Massachusetts who have successfully collected all eight Pokemon badges and have defeated the Elite Four. I mean, this is just my unofficial biography on the two, but it's totally 100% accurate. Anyone who listens to their new album Carbon Footprint would totally agree with this. One time they even embarked on this Journey to Mount Doom to toss this ring into the volcano at the peak. Uh, the drummer Daniel also cut off a snake/horcrux's head with this ancient sword. These guys have been through a lot, and the chinks on their armor are displayed as awesome vocal melodies, killer lyrics, sweet beats, and overall awesome instrumentals. With these powers combined, they are...and awesome pop punk/indie band to rival the elder gods. Yeah, all that kind of shit.

Carbon Footprint is 12 tracks of pure awesomeness. Every song is as necessary as oxygen and pizza. You won't hear this shit anywhere else either, I'm serious. I think the song "Imperative" is proof enough of that. It's mostly drums, bass, and lyrics about what appears to be my life. But I guess it's vocalist/bassist/guitarist Adam's life.

There's not too much more I can tell you about this band, without spoiling a lot of the discovering you could be doing. This record is killer, the songs are murderers, and the band members are likely cereal killers. Cap'n Crunch, beware.

You can download this album for free at bandcamp, and rejoice in the pure awesome that it is. I mean, if you like Your Favorite Weapon and anything by The Taxpayers, then you're the target market here. And since the album is free, there's hardly a market, now is there? Hit it up!


Sister City.
Idle and the Bear.

Direct Hit put Domesplitter on Bandcamp for free!


Gutless Wonder - Demo

This actually isn't really a review. I mean, in a way it is. It's more like promoting an awesome band. Micah and James are two brothers who apparently have awesome taste in music, ranging from I suppose pop punk to twinkly emo. Well, the two of them recorded these three songs that make up the first demo by the band Gutless Wonder. You can find it on bandcamp and give it a listen; it's definitely worth it. They remind me of like Spraynard meets Dads (NJ). It's fucking sweet. There's a lot of influence thrown into there. I'm pretty damn sure they like Defiance, Ohio. I mean, the song "Home" suggests that.

Check it out here!

They now have a full lineup and have another EP underway. I'll definitely be writing up a review on it once the walrus says the time has come.


Basement - I Wish I Could Stay Here

Basement are this 5-piece punk-blasting emo band from over in that England place. They're kind of like if you mixed the soundtrack to a movie about mutant zombies with the band Lifetime. I mean, the lyrics aren't about mutant zombies...unless Basement are actually discussing real things in a way so that they reflect as sort of morality plays regarding zombie attacks. I mean, I don't know if it's ever done in that fashion. I know sometimes people write songs about zombie attacks and morality plays regarding like capitalism or hatred in society or whatever. I don't really know what I'm talking about at this point. So anyway, Basement are like a more emo-driven version of Lifetime. They're also cooler than your grandpa. I don't care what you say.

Run For Cover Records put out this brilliant full length by Basement recently, titled I Wish I Could Stay Here. I mean, that's the reason of this post and all. I'm assuming you realized that from the title. Basically, it's getting pretty close to the eighth month of 2011, and people were getting concerned about their top 10 album lists being somewhat lacking in the post-hardcore department. And just in the nick of time, Basement kicked their door the fuck down and forced themselves into a high position on these lists. That's right, it was pretty magical. That's how the album got into my hands at least.

What's awesome about this new album is that every fucking song is awesome. There's a lot of somberness to it, and a lot of raw energy and power. I mean, 2011 is looking to be an awesome year. Basement put out a great fucking record, and they're filming the sequel to Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog during How I Met Your Mother's mid-season hiatus. Yeah. Awesome. I know these things are unrelated, which sucks. Wouldn't it be cool if Basement did the soundtrack for Dr. Horrible? Oh god, that would rule. But yeah, unrelated.

So, if you're smart (like I'm not), you'll be wanting to get your hands on this fucking record. You may be wondering aloud, "but Idle, how do I go about doing this? I barely know how to pour a bowl of cereal. I always forget to put the cereal in a bowl before pouring milk into it. Now I have a soggy cereal box and I just realized I only have chop sticks left." Well, you can find the album on LP and CD over at Run For Cover Records. And you can purchase the fuck out of it. It's worth it. What else are you spending roughly 10 dollars on? That's 10 things of easy mac...I know. But, you have to eat like 3 of those things to be a solid meal anyway. If you buy I Wish I Could Stay Here, you won't need to eat real food for a week! (DISCLAIMER: BASEMENT IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR FOOD).


Run For Cover Records.
Idle and the Bear.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Clippers - An Evening With...

If there were to be a Broadway musical made based on a pop punk band (we're ignoring whatever the hell Green Day is doing with that whole American Idiot thing), The Clippers would definitely be the band of focus. There's just this whole Broadway-type feel to the manner of vocals boasted by Massachusetts pop punkers The Clippers. It's honestly hard to look anywhere else and find such a wonderful singing voice in this genre. And it sits atop a throne of perfectly performed twinkly-emo instrumentals with a necessary focus on how amazing the drum work is.

The Clippers's recent Top Shelf Records release An Evening With... is like the Portal of 7"s released in 2011. When a reviewer is handed Portal, said reviewer quickly realizes that they cannot find a single negative thing to say about it. This has to be what it's like for every reviewer to sit down and listen to An Evening With The Clippers, not just me. This record is just great. If a person were to argue that it's "just okay", I'd probably get almost as offended as I would if they made the same claim about pizza. This album isn't "just okay", and neither is pizza. You fools. Both were cooked in the kitchen of Mount Olympus by the gods.

The intro to the track "Quiet Confidence" is pretty much all the evidence you need to realize how perfect this album. The drum solo intro, into the so-clean-it's-dirty lead guitar and vocals akin to Mike Huguenor or Shinobu. Plus the bass is barely fuzzy enough to be a Build-A-Bear, and for that purpose bears its own instrumentation style and contributes what it wants to each song. Also, did you notice I made a bear pun? Because I didn't notice it until after my fingers hit the right keys.

So, with one song you can already judge this album as perfect, and the other four are honestly just there to drive the point home once it has had too much to drink and a lack of cab fare. This album was presented to me after the band was already defined by another reviewer as "sexy pop punk". I can't really disagree here. This music is so sexy that I feel like I must have somehow cheated on my girlfriend just by listening to it. Thank Poseidon for my Catholic upbringing, because I definitely need to repent after this one.

You can check out the entire An Evening With... over at Soundcloud, and in case you missed it earlier in the review-here's a link to the awesome record label that put this killer out in the wild.


You can also check out the compilation Fuck Off All Nerds, which is a benefit compilation which was released in memory of the late and great Mitch Dubey.

Idle and the Bear.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Abolitionist - It Used to Rain

Abolitionist are back on Idle and the Bear with their second release/first full length It Used to Rain. For those of you who are out of the know (myself included until today), Abolitionist are a three-piece melodic punk band from Portland. And, so you know, when I refer to them as melodic punk I don't mean they sound like Rise Against or Bad Religion, because thankfully they don't. They sound more like an 80s pop punk band blended with some more recent folk punk elements. The music is catchy, energetic, and as muddy as they come. And this full length is an accurate representation of the awesomeness that is Abolitionist.

The first two songs on the release sort of blend together, but the chain is broken three songs in when there's this weird, bass heavy intro on the song "My AK". The vocals are definitely recorded in a very 80s way for this record, on top of the vocal melodies being heavily influenced by bands like Fugazi and Descendents. This band has a whole throwback sort of feel in general, and it's pretty nice. It's a lot better than that recent Queers album Back to the Basement, which was a very intentional throwback to earlier times of the band that put it out...and it didn't turn out so well. Abolitionist, however, have definitely struck gold (or at least iron or something profitable) with their releases so far.

The album stays strong for all ten songs, and would most definitely mesh well with any sort of 80s punk inspired mixtape you could put together for someone. Another thing that rules about this new album by Abolitionist:  you can listen to it for free on their bandcamp page. So hit it up. It Used to Rain is a very worthwhile release, and should be one of your musical highlights for 2011.


Idle and the Bear.

Broadcaster - Joyride EP

Broadcaster are basically what it would be like if Everclear formed in 2010 rather than 1992. I mean, if I were to point out any band that is clearly a direct influence on the style of music Broadcaster plays, it would have to be Everclear. From the instrumentals to the vocals. I mean, there's definitely some influence from other 90s band in there, such as Jawbreaker and Green Day and probably more that I was too young to ever get into or something. That's my scapegoat.

So Broadcaster recently put out a new EP titled Joyride, and they have it posted for free download on their bandcamp page. It's the second release by this indie trio of 90s goodness, and it's also the better of the two. While only being four songs, this EP does its job to stick to you like crazy glue. The songs are all catchy and beautifully performed with pretty good lyricism. I mean, they also kind of all sound a bit like Everclear. But that kind of happens when you're in a band that sort of started as a 90s cover band. Everclear pretty much ruled the 90s. Seriously, don't believe me? Go watch the movie Loser and let me know what concert they go to.

The bass is fuzzier than a polar bear and it sets the perfect background for the guitar leads and drums to perform and perfect an atmosphere for the vocals to sit on top of. If you listen to this EP and don't fall in love, then you're probably a wicked witch and require water to be dumped on you immediately. Actually, that sounds like a pretty good test to use to find out if someone you suspect to be a witch is actually a witch. It's best to be certain before trying to burn somebody at the stake.


Joyride EP.
Idle and the Bear.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Devasted - Never Give Up

We all the know the story of Steve Austin, Six Million Dollar Man. I mean, it's as classic and fun for kids as the story of Santa Claus. But, what we might not be familiar with is the story of Devasted, the Six Million Dollar Band. I say this because, clearly, science has found a way to combine the bands Rancid and Dropkick Murphys into one, solid band made up of Italian badasses. I mean, the miracles of science astound me more and more each day. 

So yes, in a convoluted way I did just say Devasted sound like the Italian version of Rancid and Dropkick Murphys put together. And this is pretty accurate, as you'd agree upon listening to their new full length Never Give Up. But, what you would also notice after listening, is that the album is fucking great. It's not an unfamiliar style, but it's presented so awesomely and perfectly that you don't have much time or room for such criticisms. Yes, bands sound like bands. It doesn't take a genius or a pretentious asshole to discover this. 

Never Give Up is a 14-song demonstration of how excellent punk music can be whenever and wherever it's released. This music spans Oceans and hops fenced borders. This music fucks your ears and hugs your souls. Whoever said punk is dead…was probably right actually. Because somehow it became this spirit which manifests in whatever way it fucking wants. Something like that. /endrant.

You'd be doing yourself a serious disservice by not listening to Devasted. That's just how it is. Never Give Up is an excellent album, and it deserves your attention. You can find more information on getting your hands on this album over at Devasted's Facebook page. It's awesome. I promise it.


Honah Lee - Life Won't Let Me

It's always refreshing when you're asked by your colleague to get off your ass and review an album, and then you turn said album on and you realize it's fucking excellent and this review is going to write itself. That's the case with the new album Life Won't Let Me by Honah Lee from New Jersey. It's fucking awesome.

Honah Lee's vocalist Tim has a very distinctive voice. It's kind of like 80s style pop punk vocals on top of a pretty broad variety of instrumentals, as far as era goes. Some songs sound like they're straight out of the 80s, while others sound more 90s or even more recent. The vocal melodies on this record as fucking infectious and will do anything to prevent you from evicting them from your head. Trust me, you're stuck with these.

"Give me something with a badass tempo, give me something that will stick in my head. Give me something with some real emotion, give me something so I know I'm not dead." These are lyrics directly out of the song "Bobby's Dead" on Life Won't Let Me and it's interesting because they definitely take care of these demands just by writing this song and every other song on this album.

If you're looking for a new pop punk band to become obsessed with, I think we have you covered with Honah Lee. If I would have to compare them to any bands, I would have to list The Queers, The Ergs, and Screeching Weasel. The thing is, I like them better than two of those bands. Can you guess which? Hopefully.

So, if you're going to do anything this week…which is something I generally advise against, I say that this 'anything' you're getting into should be listening to Life Won't Let Me by Honah Lee. Do it.


American Alligator - Where the Other You Lives

Apparently my love affair with Massachusetts punk bands will never die. Someone sent this new album Where the Other You Lives by American Alligator (obviously from MA) my way, and I feel in love instantly. It's like this perfect blend of Latterman-type pop punk and some poppier Wonder Years/Mixtapes style pop punk.

This record may be only five songs long, but they definitely do nothing short of packing so much fucking awesomeness that it's almost absurd or even obscene. If you can even make it one song in without becoming addicted, you're some sort of superhero of the blandness variety. I mean, I'd give you a second chance, and instead of just 1 song in, we'd make it 3 songs in. All of these songs are beyond excellent. The recording quality is spot on, and the musicianship is excellent. The vocals are wonderful, real sounding, and powerful and the guitar leads the perfect touch to make the rest of the music feel at home.

This is definitely one for the books.

By that, I mean this EP is definitely going on quite a few top 10 lists. Like, top 10 reasons Massachusetts is a better state than your state. Or top 10 reasons to quit your life and go to every show American Alligator ever play.


American Alligator Bandcamp.
Idle and the Bear.

The Reserve post music video for new single

The Reserve (I Am Mighty Records) from South Wales have just put out a music video featuring a single off their upcoming EP entitled We're Almost There. They play a variety of pop/pop punk music that's most definitely akin to established acts Four Year Strong and The Rocket Summer. The music video features an incredibly catchy song, and definitely conveys the sense that we should all be stoked on what this band is preparing to come out with.

The Reserve - Rewind from iammightyrecords on Vimeo.

Check it out!


I Am Mighty.
Idle and the Bear.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Direct Hit! - Domesplitter

Kind of Like Records are putting out an anthology of Direct Hit! songs, entitled Domesplitter. The band describes the idea behind having released their music in small volumes (#1 through #5) as a tribute to how comic books are produced. And, just like with comics, a collection of the volumes comes out at some point, and this is it. Ten Direct Hit songs we're all already in love with are re-imagined and re-recorded with better quality and better musicianship. I guess the whole re-imagining aspect is sort of like when Marvel released Star Wars comics in newspapers, then later touched them up and added color before releasing as comic books. I'll go with that, since it involves Star Wars.

So, I guess what people are going to want to know is which songs sound better now, and which ones were perfect the way they were (or at least better). I could probably make a list of this, but it'd be kind of stupid. I mean, this is what the band wanted to do with their material. Being nitpicky about it is just stupid; they're the same great songs that we all know every line to and all lover to scream so loud that we can't hear vocalist Nick Woods anyway. That being said, "Snickers or Reese's" isn't as good as the original. Everything else is better. The recording quality is better, and everything might sound a little bit less like a mess of noise, but it's still a lot of fucking noise and excitement. So nothing is lost in translation.

Now that the band has a solid, consistent lineup, featuring danny Walkowiak on drums and Robbie Schroeder on bass guitar, they have the ability to really make their songs what they are. Everything feels organic and like it was played by dudes who have no issue with jamming their dicks off. Domesplitter will be released by Kind of Like Records for CD and vinyl on August 2nd. So look forward to that date.

OH, also, for people who aren't in the know regarding Direct Hit!, they're an amazing pop punk/rambunctious noise three-piece of guys who probably read a lot of comic books, watch a lot of scifi programs, and probably high five each other pretty often. It sounds like if you strapped a pair of balls on Screeching Weasel or The Dopamines. I'm not saying those bands don't have balls...I'm saying Direct Hit! has double the balls of the normal band. It's just how it is.


Monster In The Closet by Direct Hit!

Facebook. Kind of Like.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Black Wine - Summer of Indifference

Black Wine are often listed as everyone's favorite band featuring a member from The Ergs. I mean, I definitely understand this assertion...but I can't even begin to pick sides with this. There's just too many post-Ergs bands that are/were awesome. There's House Boat, Short Attention, The Dopamines (for a while), Night Birds, The Measure (for a while), Psyched to Die, that one thing Mikey did with her girlfriend at the time or whatever, Mikey's solo stuff, that New Low band with Jon Weiner will probably be awesome, and there's definitely more that I'm not thinking of. Oh yeah, Star Fucking Hipsters.

That being said, Black Wine are definitely one of the best post-Ergs bands. They have this garage-rock sound fused with pop punk and indie elements. To me it's like if Foo Fighters had a band baby with Lemuria.  They just released The Summer of Indifference and it's a pretty awesome album. The instrumentals sound really grungy and muddy, and the vocal melodies are very singalongable. Okay, the further you get into an album, it seems like the baby was made by three bands, with the third band being Descendents or Bad Religion or someone else out of the 80s. I'm saying this due to the song "Favorites". Listen to it, and you'll probably agree. It's definitely one of the better songs on this album too.

Okay, this album definitely gets better with every song. "Ocean's Skin" is just an awesome song. This band doesn't let any sort of genre define their musical actions, and this song is a perfect example of that. It has a beach atmosphere with a folky vocal tone to it. Then it's topped off with a guitar solo that reminds me a lot of Kudrow and Shinobu. I love this song, dudes. It's perfect. Of course this song is followed by an extremely different sounding, yet equally awesome, song. I fucking love this album.

Jeff has definitely come a lot way as far as vocals and songwriting goes. I didn't really like his Ergs songs very much; I deleted Fishbulb off of Dorkrockcorkrod whenever I put it on my computer. The progress in songwriting could possibly be attributed to the other members of Black Wine, Miranda and Jason. This band has a lot going on, and it's definitely something everyone should give a try. I think it might be impossible to dislike this record. It's excellent.

So yeah, fucking get this record.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Set Your Goals - Burning At Both Ends

Set Your Goals have always been the brocore band that I could just never get into. The way everyone talked about their album Mutiny! would make you think that God herself got into the genre and decided to shit out an album. But, to me, it just sounded like some dudes who like Simple Plan and New Found Glory a little too much decided to shit out an album. That being said, I didn't really know what to expect going into this review.

The beginning of the album doesn't do much to pull me into it. I wasn't finding myself very interested until around the third track "Certain". It sounded like Jesse Lacey circa 2001 formed a pop punk/hardcore band. This song is pretty catchy, and the one dude's high pitched singing definitely works for it. The vocals don't sound as processed as they did on Mutiny! either. This song is followed by "Happy New Year", which also reminds me a lot of the songs off that other album I keep mentioning. I mean, it kind of sounds like the metal half of a rap-metal band fused with the singer of an 80s melodic hardcore band. It gets very awkward and arena rocky towards the end of the song. I mean, maybe this is what SYG fans crave. But, it's not really what my ears crave.

"London Heathrow" starts off as a Fall Out Boy song and turns into a New Found Glory song. Actually, it sounds a lot like songs Handguns have already put out. It also reminds me a lot of that one band All Set. This is another one of the songs on the album that I actually like though. It's not as original as many of their songs actually can be, but it's really infectious and enjoyable. Oh, now I know what it sounds like..."Bada Bing! Wit a Pipe!" by the bearded brothers in Four Year Strong. This reminds me, I'd much rather be listening to Rise or Die Trying, despite not being a big fan of that record either. But this album sounds like some sort of homage to it. I have a feeling these bands have been kind of borrowing shit from each other all along. I'm surprised SYG haven't deepened their voices and rasped up their yelling yet.

What I've noticed with this record is that it sounds a bit theatrical. Is that a thing with Set Your Goals? Are they creating some sort of brocore musical in the future? It's actually a nice aspect to the album. "The Last American Virgin" is another Four Year Strong song. What's going on here?

The next Mutiny! style song on the album is "Exit Summer". It's also a really enjoyable song. The issue here though, is that most of the album is in a different style than these Mutiny type songs. It's almost like the band is aiming to head in a new direction, but are stuck with occasionally having to pander to their fans. Or hey, maybe just a couple of the members really don't want to go away from this style.

"Unconditional" is probably one of the songs I'll actually listen to again after I'm through with reviewing this album. It's catchy, which I think is a given with these bands, and it has a lot more going on with it. I mean, it's like a mix between their older songs and this new style I feel like they're diving into. The guitar solo is very classic rock and kind of sounds brilliant over the hardcore infused instrumentals accompanying it. This song is of course followed by a Brand New song as performed and written by SYG, slyly titled "Product of the 80s". Actually, a few lyrics in I realize this is just "1985" by Bowling For Soup. What the fuck?

There's not really anything beyond this point worth mentioning about the album. The last song is actually pretty good, though. But it's followed by like 13 minutes of silence and some dumb shit at the end. It's basically a big fuck you to any fans wanting to listen to the record on repeat. So, I guess they don't really want this song to be included in that whole process.

Overall, it's not a terrible album. But also, overall, it's not a great album. There's some worthwhile songs thrown into it, but it's surrounded by a lot of stuff that I couldn't care less for. I sometimes give albums ratings, so I'll do it here. I'd say like a 2.75 out of 5. Not bad.