Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Vacation - Vacation LP

There are two albums right now that I am majorly obsessed with, and both of them happen to be called 'Vacation'. One, as you know, is Bomb the Music Industry's recent release, and the other is the new self titled LP by the Cincinnati pop-punk band Vacation. I've already reviewed BTMI's masterpiece, so now it's time for me to finally rant about Vacation's masterpiece. I throw around the world masterpiece a lot. But, it's totally 100% accurate every time I use it.

(The best way to read this review is to be listening to the album at the time time...which is easy enough since you can stream it online FOR FREE. You can't skip around tracks or anything though, this is the internet version of listening to the vinyl, bro.)

You may notice immediately upon turning this record on that it's going to be a pleasant mess of noise from start to finish. The recording quality isn't the greatest thing in the world, but I think it fits the songs and suits Vacation's style a lot better. I think it'd be way less entertaining and a pretty dull if this was recording in The Blasting Room or something like that. Despite being pretty lo-fi, the quality is still miles better than it was for The Do Shit Tape/CD Vacation released on If You Make It a while back. I love all the songs on that release, but I couldn't bear the quality for the most part. However, this LP sounds perfect to me. It's like music to my ears. Well, it IS music to my ears.

All the songs on this release are so catchy that they could catch polio after having been thoroughly vaccinated. They're so catchy that they could catch a baseball thrown by Kenny Powers in his fucking prime. There's not a single song that doesn't fit in and there's not a single song that overstays its welcome. There's 33 minutes of what is honestly going to be in the top 10 releases of the year. Listening to this record feels a lot like being at an actual Vacation show...if you've been to one, you're definitely going to have a lot of flashbacks while playing this album. And if you haven't been to one, you need to get a move on it.

The unfortunate part about listening to the trackless stream of the album is that I don't know any song titles so I can't be like, "this track is awesome!" with you knowing what track I am referring to. Actually, just fastforward to nearly 16 minutes in. That's my favorite song on this album. It's kind of soft, it's extremely infectious, and the lyrics represent the band very well. Vacation are great dudes, who have this habit of putting on really good shows at various house venues and bars in the Cincinnati area. They used to have this place called the Bike Haus, and it was everyone I know's favorite venue in the world. The shows were always 5 bucks, the money went exclusively to the bands (with a priority to the ones who are travelling the furthest), and the dudes even fixed bikes for free. They even offered to let me try out their tall bike, but I never got around to it. I think I may've mentioned this all in the last review I did of this band. Point is, it's damn near impossible to find better dudes. And if you do, and they happen to also record music, you better make a point to listen to that music. Because if history repeats itself, it's bound to be fucking awesome.

So, you have this beautiful link to stream this album, and you can leave it bookmarked forever and listen to it as many times as possible until it ever gets taken down for whatever reason. And another cool thing is that soon you'll be able to purchase the vinyl from Let's Pretend Records and Mandible Records. I know I'm buying this vinyl once I quit being such a broke asshole.

10/10 slices of pizza!


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You, Me and Everyone We know - Things Are Really Weird Right Now

It feels a little awkward to review a release by a band who is currently on an indefinite hiatus. It also feels a little weird to review a band that I only know exists due to my old roommate being really into them. She always played some sort of overly poppy music like all day long, and my response to almost every band would follow the same steps:

  1. "God, this is annoying as hell."
  2. "Oh, this band again? Ugh."
  3. *sarcastically singing along*
  4. Songs all get stuck in my head.
  5. "They're alright."
(And in case of The Wonder Years and Fall Out Boy)

     6. "I love this band!"

So yeah, I've learned to not entirely trust my taste in music...and it's been working out a lot better for me. I don't have to be some elitist pop punk ass who thinks if something doesn't bear at least some resemblance to Descendents or Screeching Weasel it isn't worth a damn. You, Me, and Everyone We Know bears roughly zero resemblance to either of those bands. But, they do bear resemblance to other bands I've enjoyed in the past, namely fun., Motion City Soundtrack, and Panic at the Disco. I should probably mention right away that I really dig YMaEWK's new EP 'Things Are Really Weird Right Now', despite how annoying it is to abbreviate their band name. They're poppy, annoying, full of itself, and just as equally infectious and fun! My friend mentioned yesterday that the songs with the most annoying melodies are always the ones that get stuck in your head, and that's definitely true. "Syke! Life is Awesome!" by Bomb the Music Industry, "Linger" by The Cranberries, and "Us" by Regina Spektor. I love the first and third of these songs, but regardless they all get stuck in my head for a year at a time. This is kind of what YMaWEK do to a fellow. I don't think the songs on this EP are planning on vacating my thinking-dome anytime soon. Fuck.

I'm a sucker for lyricism, and a sucker for singers that sound like Joe from This Is My Suitcase, that's also why I like Tariq from Church & Chambers' voice so much. YMaWEK deliver some tight lyricism throughout this EP, and it's all belted out by over-confident sounding (for all the right reasons) vocalist Ben Liebsch. Oh, also, the first song on 'Things Are Really Weird Right Now' has that annoying vocal melody thing I was talking about. During parts of the songs the line, "bwah bwah bwah bwah bwahhhh" is sung high pitched and annoyingly. It's so catchy that it has to be breaking some sort of law. What's cool though, is that this song is followed by a rad acoustic number that's just short of two minutes long. Short songs are my favorite, and definitely pander to my short attention span when it comes to music. I could never get into Metallica as a kid because I'd sit there with my dad's Walkman and wait about 5 minutes for the vocals to start and it would never happen. I like when songs get to the point and then get out of my way. I'm kind of dumb like that.

This album is four songs long, and that's about the perfect length for it. EP's are my favorite releases because I can switch between bands so often. I mean, the only time this is an issue is when you're spinning 7"s, because then you have to get up every few minutes to change records. Liz Prince has expressed this issue in a better way than I could ever hope to:

But yeah, if someone were to for some reason approach me on the street or at a show and ask me what I thought about the new You, Me, and Everyone We Know album, I'd actually be able to give them a response at this point in time. I mean, last year I would've just had no clue what they were talking about or why they were talking to me about it. But now I can say that I think it's a fun little record full of catchy songs and interesting musical arrangements and fancy schmancy lyrics. I'd also say you can stream it for free at Top Shelf Records' bandcamp page. And I'd also tell them that I should probably just post this review and go get some breakfast in me. So there.


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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Through the Static- We Can Do It! EP

Through the Static is a great female pop-punk band from New York. This EP was released in April and they're currently recording a full-length.

The first track, "Chestnut Ave" is such a great song. It's very raw and stripped down, and has such an awesome tone to it. I feel like most female pop-punk bands feel that they have to be really cutesy. Not that I don't enjoy cutesy bands, but it's nice to hear a ballsy pop-punk band from females. There need to be more of us represented. ;)
"S.G.R." has some Kathleen-Hanna-esque lyrics, and the same raw feel to it. I love the vocals, and the instrumentals are catchy as hell. I can tell this would be an awesome band live just from the pure energy of their recordings. 
Lastly, "Mars" is a little slower than the rest of the demo, but it's still awesome. Very simple, but talented all at once. 
Awesome. Can't wait to hear the full length from these ladies!


Friday, August 26, 2011

The Copyrights - North Sentinel Island

The Copyrights are a big deal. Fact. They're from Nowhere, Illinois. Fact. They share members with Dear Landlord. Fact. They sometimes put on costumes and play as a band called The Dopamines. Fact. Honestly, I think their whole Dopamines-costume thing is just a way to get away with drinking twice as much as they should at their age. It's logic, really. These champions of the pop punk genre have decided it was a good idea to release another album. I have to disagree with this being a good idea, on account of it being a fucking awesome idea. 'North Sentinel Island' came out on Red Scare Records not very long ago and it's the source of a few my new favorite pop punk jams. That's the first time I've referred to a song as a jam, and I don't think I like it.

The Copyrights are basically a 90s pop punk that for some reason releases all of their albums in the 2000s. They definitely defined the genre in recent years, because almost every band that I catch wind of sounds at least 90% like The Copyrights. I mean, you go into their records basically knowing what to expect. Roughly four chords repeating throughout, a couple vocalists singing some catchy shit that will not leave your head, and occasionally a pretty simple pop punk guitar lead. Oh, and a lot of self-depreciating lyrics mixed with a good amount of proud-to-be-working-class lyrics. The cool thing about The Copyrights is that they can throw mostly the same ingredients into the pot every time and still come up with a new kind of awesome soup. Or whatever metaphor you prefer. 'North Sentinel Island' is a perfect example of this.

Seriously, there are so many fucking awesome songs on this record. "Well-Fed and Warm", "Hell Will Be Party Time", "Restless Head", "Expatriate Blues", "20 Feet Tall", "Crutches", and the rest are all pretty nifty as well. It's really hard to pick the best songs on this album, considering it's all pretty solid. You can buy it for only 9 bucks over at Red Scare, too. Awesome, right? You can also pick up a bunch other cool shit there, like previous Copyrights releases. So you should get on that. I'm going to take a shower before I turn crust punx on accident. 5 out of 5 pizzas.


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Monday, August 22, 2011

Mall'd to Death - The Process of Reaching Out

There's this ancient proverb that states something along the lines of, "any 7" record that includes at least one song about playing Nintendo 64 is a damn good release from a damn good band." I would know, I'm an English major (I'm not an English major). So, with that proverb in mind, we approach 'The Process of Reaching Out' by Mall'd to Death from Minneapolis.

These guys are gritty. Like 50 Cent or something. When I first turned on this album, I immediately thought, "wow, these guys are gritty. This sounds like a song that would be on a Tony Hawk game...but it may be too gritty for that stuff." Something along those lines. And it's definitely true. These songs are catchy, delightful punk jams. Just like 90s punk bands, there's the standard inclusion of a ska bit at some point in a song or two. These songs tackle every facet of life, good and bad. The good being video games, the bad being almost anything else.

You can buy this six-song amalgamation of badassedness over at It's Alive Records. Isn't that swell? I full-heartedly suggestion you do this, too, because this album is awesome. Mall'd To Death are pros at what they're doing, and what they're doing is D4-core punk with subject matter that fits my brain perfectly. These dudes sound like they have beards, but they don't have beards. WEIRD.


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The Maxies - Going Clubbing

Thank science for the privilege to review this album, seriously. Not much else can help a bad mood the way these super-infectious pop punk melodies do. Actually, don't thank science; I don't like science much. Thank Greenland, though, for birthing such an awesome band. And thank The Maxies for being fucking rad and making my life that much better.

The Maxies are ramonescore pop punk at its finest- meaning they sound a lot like Screeching Weasel. This four song album Going Clubbing is the epitome of everything desirable in the pop punk world. The songs are infectious, obviously meant to be danced along to, and it all comes with a good sense of humor. Seriously, there's a song on here called "The Clap" and it's about giving people 'the clap'. I mean, I totally suspect they mean it in the innocent way that it's demonstrated in. They're just clapping and it's catching on! Nothing at all to do with any sort of STI.

What is it with It's Alive Records and putting out absolutely wonderful shit? Is "wonderful shit" an oxymoron? And if so, who gives a shit? The point is, IAR clearly have their finger on the pulse of what's excellent, and they help us all out by putting out a bunch of vinyls of the best recordings to ever hit us in the face. 'Going Clubbing" is an excellent album, and The Maxies are an awesome band. I look forward to everything else they put out, and I know it'll be as fun and rad as this release. Go buy this record! Duh.


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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Brendan Rivera- Hole in the Curtain

Brendan Rivera is an extremely talented musician from Mammaroneck, NY. His music is a combination of folk punk, indie, and alternative, and it rocks. I love it. "Hole in the Curtain" is a single from the album No Ocean in Ireland and was released on bandcamp in February along with two previously unreleased b-sides.
"Hole in the Curtain" is such a great song. First off, the guitar is so, so awesome. I love his combinations of melodies and dynamics and it just sounds wonderful. Second off, he's an extremely talented lyricist. The biggest thing that hooked me with Brendan is his goddamn lyricism. Check it out.
"Sell My Soul" is a very, very cut-back, mellow track. It's just Brendan and his guitar, no bullshit to it. It's such a great song. It's relaxed, it's pretty, and I love it.
Lastly, and my favorite, "The Park" has an AMAZING melody to it. It's a longer song, but I'm glad it is, because as I said, it's my favorite out of this bunch. The slow, sultry melody goes so well with his voice. It's awesome.


Our Lives In Motion- Stages EP

Our Lives in Motion, hailing from Worcester, MA, is one of the best alternative bands I've heard in quite a long time. After the great record Salvation in Secrets, they continued to impress us with this EP, released in May of this year. Dave, Tony, Camden, and Jeff are all great musicians and this is an album worth listening to and falling in love with.
"Decadence" starts off really strong with a mega-catchy intro and powerful bass. I'm digging the style straight off the bat. It's really powerful, but it's not OVERpowering. The vocals are awesome, I like the guitar style, and the harmonies are awesome. It's got a cute little interlude that shows off the drums, and crescendos great back into the melody. Our Lives In Motion is pretty much awesome. I thought about maybe making an awesome pun about this music totally making me want to get in motion and dance, but then I reconsidered. 
The "Prelude" is really trippy. In a good way. Not in a tacky glow-in-the-dark tye-dye poster way, it actually has an awesome sound that I love.
"Recovery" has the best guitar melody on the entire EP, hands down. I adore it. I really like Dave's vocal style too. Pretty much everything rocks. I like that nothing every really sticks out too much in these songs- everything impresses me equally. I hate when a band has an awesome guitarist, but I couldn't tell you a thing about the bass lines, or vice versa. It drives me crazy.
"The Rescue" is pretty badass. It's driving, strong, and overall chill stuff.
"Strangers of the Night"- awesome song. The intro almost has a motivational sound to it.. If that makes sense at all. Which is kind of funny, because the title of the song makes me think of To Catch A Predator a bit. They redeemed themselves from that though, with making the actual song pretty great. 
Lastly, "Unstoppable" finishes off the record with a bang. It's awesome. 

Overall, A++++ for Our Lives In Motion. Check them out!


Friday, August 19, 2011

Hurstwood EP

Hurstwood is an awesome indie/poprock band from Montreal. They make me happy. They are Rob Rousseau (vox, guitar), Phillipe Bellemare (guitar), and Tommy-James Dufresne (bass.) Tommy-James is an awesome name. Anyway, this record was released on August 5th.

The first song, "We'd Be Strangers," immediately makes me think of Mayday Parade. It's a very cute song, and leaves a great first impression. The melody is slow, but still pretty catchy, and I like Rob's voice a lot.
"Summer's Gone" has a badass intro. This song makes me think a lot of 90s alternative mixing with indie music, and I like it. The music of this EP is very, very mellow. 
Lastly, "Jodie" is a really, really cute song.

Overall, I really, really enjoyed it. Granted, it's a little hard to figure out a band's sound from three songs sometimes, and I can't wait to hear more from Hurstwood.
Bandcamp- name your own price.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Banquets - Top Button, Bottom Shelf

Okay so, the RIYL list for Banquets includes The Loved Ones and The Menzingers. I have to say, this is EXTREMELY accurate. Someone did their math right when making those comparisons, because even if I hadn't read the list before listening to the new Banquets LP Top Button, Bottom Shelf, I would have immediately been like, "these dudes reminds me of The Loved Ones." I even stared at their press photo for like a solid minute making sure I didn't see Loved Ones singer Dave Hause in it. He wasn't...but the singer of Banquets (Travis) totally reminds me of him. So yeah, Banquets. What can I say about Banquets?

Banquets are an awesome pop punk group from I'm guessing either New Jersey or Minneapolis...since they make pop punk and all. Oh, turns out they're from New Jersey. Told you. There has to be some sort of like quiz you can take to find out whether or not your tastes are going to be compatible with Banquets. I mean, there has to be that sort of thing for any band, right? Here's roughly what the quiz would look like, when composed by a dude who was very briefly in college to work on a degree in teaching:

  1. Do you listen to melodic punk/pop punk?
  2. Are you a fan of The Loved Ones?
  3. Have you already listened to Banquets on bandcamp and decided they're awesome?
  4. Do you have any tattoos?
Okay so, no matter what you answered for any of these brilliantly composed questions, the outcome is that you'll probably dig the new album out by Banquets. It's a very accurate method of finding the correct audience for such an awesome pop punk release from Black Numbers. There's 10 songs on Top Button, Bottom Shelf, and therefore 10 ways to fall in love this band. These are brilliant punk songs, dudes. I'm seriously here. The recording quality is excellent, too. This isn't like Vacation where you appreciate the art but are a little bit annoyed by not being able to even remotely understand what the fuck they're singing about. It's more like every other pop punk band (excluding Delay and Punkin Pie), where the recording quality is pretty damn alright.

So yeah. You should buy this record. You can get it from the Black Numbers webstore. It's so simple! But yeah, Banquets, rad.


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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Wolves at Bay- The Night A Forest Grew EP

Wolves At Bay, the newest addition to Animal Style Records, is a great progressive emo/hardcore group from Hamden, Connecticut. Consisting of Will Hayes (guitar, vox), Mat Smith (bass), Kevin Rodriguez (guitar), and Chris Durso (drums), they have a great new sound coming from old roots. This is one of those bands I have troubles putting my finger down on a RIYL for you guys, but those are the best groups. However, they're clearly influenced by the 90s, punk music, and other awesome stuff. This was released on August 8th, and gives us a little taste before their full length coming this fall.
The first of the three tracks is "Strangers In My Basement." It starts off really strong with an intense beat and badass guitar melodies. Will's voice is gruff and I liked it from the start- it's a great sound put together with the music. It's got a very melodic pattern, but in a catchy way, not a douche-esque "Watch me play scales over and over again" way. It's soft- hardcore, if you can follow me there. The drums at the end of this track make me smile.
"Fought This Through" has such a badass intro. If I was defeating dragons, or on a drug-deal-gone-wrong chase, or just brushing my teeth in the morning, I would want to do it to the intro to this song. I enjoy the rest of the song too, by the way. Especially the ending. It shows some awesome dynamics, and I get really excited about true musicianship in modern music.
"Anything At All" pretty much finishes off the EP on a good note. It's probably my favorite, to be honest.

You should probably check out Wolves At Bay. I'm excited to see what they come up with this fall on their full length- you should be watching, too.
This album is a digital release only on Animal Style's bandcamp page. It's a name-your-own-price download, so you can get it for free... But you should probably throw the boys a few bucks.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Higher Fives - Cystems

Okay, so My Idea of Fun is this artist collective that releases a bunch of different forms of media and whatnot, like music and novels. I mean, the first thing that came to my mind when I heard the name was the song by Wingnut Dishwasher’s Union called “My Idea of Fun”. I’m assuming these two things are actually connected since music by Wingnut is among the many things put out by My Idea of Fun. Well, the most, or one of the most, recent things put out by MIoF (those initials look cool enough to settle on to represent the collective) is this album Cystems by Higher Fives.

Higher Fives are a new band from Johnstown, PA. They're full of what I understand to be awesome people; I gather this based on information I read about them on the MIoF website and by listening to this Cystems album. Basically, anyone who took part is recording and releasing this album have to be some of the coolest people on the planet. And they’re all vegetarians, which for some reason always makes me think higher of someone. I think I might be partially hipster-punk. Shit. So yeah, Cystems is fucking awesome.

Higher Fives recorded this album live at a church and onto cassette. That’s almost verbatim what I read about it. Once you possess this information, you can totally tell by listening to the recordings. I absolutely love the sound they achieved through this, and it seriously reminds me of Vacation from Cincinnati. The music is kind of like power-pop mixed with pop punk played with a sort of indie vibe. The bass does shit you wouldn’t expect it to do, and the vocals do shit you’re going to have stuck in your head for the next few millennia, or however long the rest of you live. Seriously, you can figure all of this out just by listening to the song “Motown and Gomorrah” of this album. So damn good. The song “Railroad Trackmarks”, too. The entire album, really. Listen to it all.

The rad thing about this release being a part of My Idea of Fun is that you CAN listen to it all, like immediately. Because it’s up on bandcamp. Which, I guess is a pretty normal thing nowadays. But that doesn’t mean I’m ever going to get less excited about it. So yeah, you have everything you need to know. They’re an awesome band who put out an even more awesome album with beautiful atmosphere and whatnot. It’s honestly one of the best releases of 2011, which is saying a lot, because 2011 has been a good year for music. Check them out, already!


Higher Fives.
My Idea of Fun.
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Friday, August 12, 2011

The City Calls- A Spark To Ignite

Hey guys, guess what comes out today? I'll give you a hint- it's an adorable pop punk record from the UK.... Did you guess A Spark To Ignite by The City Calls? You probably should have, because of the post's title and all.... The City Calls are a great pop punk band from Southampton, and this is their second release to the Dirty Tricks EP. They consist of Lucas Hardy (lead vox), Scotty Perry (guitar, vox), Darren Ledwich (guitar), Chris Aldridge (bass, vox), and John Plummer (drums). RIYL New Found Glory, All Time Low, You Me At Six, Forever The Sickest Kids.
Let's be honest guys; we all enjoy a little cuteness every now and then. This album is my new adorable-fix. 
"Get Away" is the opening track and it reminds me a little of Mayday Parade. Lucas has a powerful voice with an impressive range, and the music is very catchy. It's a feel-good song: "You'll never bring us down!" can only be repeated so many times before you start to believe it. The guitar is addictive, and the drums/bass are powerful.
It fades right into "Kings," with it's awesome harmonies and interesting melodies. "Lucky Start" has the best intro on the entire album, and is probably my favorite on the entire work.
The City Calls are following the greats of pop at the hand of their great lyrics, talent, and dance-y riffs.
The album finishes off with a bang- "Meet in the Middle." The raw of energy of these guys is just awesome.
A Spark To Ignite is on fire- this powerpop group rocks.
You can (and should) buy the EP on iTunes, BigCartel, and other places online!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Army Coach - Daydream

There are a few good things about writing for Idle and the Bear. The most obvious good thing is that by writing for Idle and the Bear, you're clearly either Ben Idle or Hannah-Willow. The benefit of being either of those two people, if that they're both awesome. Ben Idle has stepped into third person for some reason, but I'll switch back to first person in the middle of a sentence. That's another benefit of writing for IATB right there! We can use shitty grammar, and switch between perspectives and tenses and formal and informal. It's just how we roll, dudes.

Another more relevant benefit of writing for IATB is that we get to rant about how awesome some awesome shit is. I mean, Tom from Team Stray has this band Army Coach that he's been with for a little while now, and they're awesome! They have this Daydream EP out and it's quite awesome! Seriously, I have such a dynamic vocabulary. All I ever do is cuss and say awesome. It's probably good that people don't actually pay much attention to these reviews, so much as they just stumble upon us while looking for some sort of mediafire download of whatever album we're reviewing. We don't post that, sorry. ;)

Army Coach's Daydream EP is kind of like if there were a Back to the Future remake made in the year 2024. This too-cool-for-school teenager of the future will go back and time and get into all these shenanigans while trying to make sure history unfolds as it should, and ends up having to perform with a band at some school prom type thing. He would most likely belt out some Army Coach tunes and be credited with creating the perfect blend of pop punk and indie that this world has ever seen. I don't know, something like that. Honestly, that'll probably just be how shit goes down in the future. It won't be a movie, just normal life for time travelling teens of the future. Just kidding, the human race won't make it to 2024. Duh.

This EP is three complete songs and three demo version of what are I assume are songs to be released on a future record. The cool part about these six songs is that they're all fucking great. I've been a fan of Tom's previous band Team Stray for a few years now, and I'm completely in love with how catchy the songs are, how clever the lyrics can be, and how fun the music is overall. All of these aspects are definitely characteristics that Army Coach boast as well. It's just in time too; I can't be the only one who was about to die from lack of Tom Stray material. It has to be a common issue. Well, you've been sated my friends.

You should check them out on tumblr! There's like a song up on that thing and whatnot. They're playing Insubordination Fest like next week or whatever too! So if you're going to that thing, make sure you don't miss these guys! And if you live in Cincinnati, you have no excuse not to see them play. 4 out of 5 pizzas! Whatever that means.


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Monday, August 8, 2011

ThE BLiSTeRz - Rebels Without Applause

There must be some unwritten (until now, technically) rule stating that there will always be some awesome punk music coming out of New York. The most recent example of this phenomenon would have to be this catchy little three-piece group The Blisterz (some of the letters are weirdly capitalized, but I'm incredibly lazy). Their songs aren't incredible intricate, which is totally my favorite level of complexity. They're to-the-point rock songs that you can sing along to while waving a beer (in lieu of a lighter) back and forth. They aren't even really that fast either, so you won't spill your beer all over the place! It's perfect, man.

The Blisterz did us all the favor of putting out a pretty lengthy full length this summer. It's like, 14 whole songs and shit. And they aren't The Steinways, so these songs aren't all a minute in length. They call this awesome piece of work Rebels Without Applause, which is ironic due to the fact that there's definitely at least one song on here that has recorded clapping going on. Boom, roasted. Another thing that's cool about these dudes, that you'll probably realize pretty quickly upon playing this album, is that there's a definite Street Dogs edge to it. The vocals are strong and just a tad bit gruff, and the instrumentation is solid and the vocal melodies aren't to be easily forgotten. It kind of sucks that these dudes are all the way up in New York's capital, because I definitely would have a lot of fun at one of their live shows. I mean, they're basically like if The Dopamines were quite a bit more Ramones-core and hailed from Albany. I can see their live shows being pretty damn similar. I mean, I already mentioned the whole beer-waving feeling of it all.

Oh, another rad thing about Rebels Without Applause is that The Blisterz have it up for free stream and download on their bandcamp page. You know what that means, right? It means you're required to listen to it now. You have no excuse. Seriously. So, do yourself a favor and check this album out. You're bound to at least become partially attached to the infectious punk anthems that come included with this release. Also, do us a favor and leave us some comments after you listen to it. We like that kind of stuff.



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Friday, August 5, 2011

Forty Winks- Bow Wow

Forty Winks, hailing from Bologna, Italy, is possibly one of the strangest things I've ever heard- and I mean that in the best of ways. Sandro, Roberto, Andrea, Francesco, and Riccardo truly make a sound all their own. Influenced by punk rock and general pop/rock, they've settled into their own little pocket of indie rock and roll. This album is set to release on August 23th!
Let's be honest- the album starts off a little hectic. "Beneath Her Feet" has a jazz, funk sound to it with a lot of attitude. I'm not quite sure what to make of it yet, but I know that I like it. It's catchy, it's clearly talented, and I could dance to it. What else could I need?
"Meet You At The Bar" continues the same trend as "Beneath Her Feet." It's a little faster, but it has the same addictive funk feel. The lyrics are interesting to say the least, and the sound is great. However, the sound takes a complete change with Mannequins- which by the way, is my favorite song on Bow Wow.
Mannequins sounds like if MGMT and All-American Rejects had a baby. A wonderful, Italian  catchy baby. This song shows off two things that we didn't get much of a real taste for in the previous tracks- Sandro's voice and Andrea's synth skills. Bravo. I love this song.
"63, Fortress Road" is adorable. It's snyth heavy, and has a background of kids playing... Doesn't get much cuter than that. No vocals, minimal instruments... Just a nice little slightly creepy, slightly cute interlude.
"One Last Round" is another great song. It's powerful, it's catchy, and I LOVE Sandro's voice. 
"I Feel Dead" is up there as one of the best. I'd say it's second to "Mannequins." 

Pretty much every song on this record kicks major ass. It's some of the best indie I've heard all this year- and definitely the most original with the most influences. Everything from the classics, to the punks, to today... They've got it all covered. Love it.

Buy this. You'll thank me later.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ingrid Gatin- Time Will Change Us

Ingrid Gatin is an extremely talented indie/roots musician from Winnipeg and we absolutely adore her! She's got strong pipes, and plays the accordian (along with other instruments, of course...). What else do you need? This album comes out tomorrow and I strongly recommend you check this lady out. RIYL:  Sara Bareilles, Jill Goldberg, Meg Cavanaugh.
"Take These Walls" starts off very slow with a cutesy, very back-to-basics sound and floors you right away with Ingrid's sultry, powerful voice. It's a cute, original sound and definitely throws back to many female greats before her.
"Climb Climb Climb" speeds up quite a bit and has a great sound to it. I am absolutely in love with Ingrid's voice and her music. The harmonies are wonderful and the accordian adds a strange, but pleasant tone to all of her work.
Whoever plays the violin for Ingrid is extremely talented, I don't want to forget that. Her work is almost more of an orchestra piece with jazzy-vocals than anything else.
 Best song on the EP? "I Built This Song." Shows off her voice more than anything and I love the bouncy piano. 
Every one-bit piece of her work is impressive, and I love it. The claps and stomps are also hilariously fitting.

Overall, this is a great 'mini-album', as she calls it. You've gotta check this lady out.


NEWS: Kind of Like Records Show/Sampler

Kind of Like Records, one of our favorites here at IATB, has recently announced a label showcase on August 8th at the Acheron in Brooklyn. Bands included are Mixtapes, Direct Hit!, Candy Hearts, and Timeshares.
You can check out the event here.

Can't go to the show? That's okay- they're also releasing a badass sampler with lots of great songs on it from some affiliated/signed bands!
Track Listing:
1. Captain, We're Sinking "Crushed By Milwaukee's Best"
2. The Fucking Cops feat. Ian Graham "Sweating Or Freezing"
3. Timeshares "Woke Up In Grappler School"
4. Direct Hit! "Monster In The Closet"
5. Great Cynics "Twenty Five"
6. Candy Hearts "Last Summer"
7. Masked Intruder "How Do I Get To You"
8. Mixtapes "I Was A Teenage Poltergeist"

That's 8 of the best releases from Kind of Like.. all in one!
Learn more about the showcase and download the sampler here.

Cain Marko- At Sea

Cain Marko is a great punk rock band from Grand Rapids. This awesome EP was self released by Chris Lidstone, Jeremy Verwys, Jay Vanveen, and Joel Otte. RIYL Black Sails, Western Shores, Hot Water Music, Awesomepunkrockbands.
"At Sea In St. Paul" has some really, really cool percussion in it. Jay Vanveen is clearly a pretty cool dude. The vocals not only have some great harmonies, I love the gruff sound of their voices. The music is super catchy and it's a great way to start off the EP.
"Ralph, I Can't See!" sounds like a bad Lord of the Flies reference, but it's actually a great song with catchy guitar lines! It's choppy as a sous chef sometimes, but in a good way. Lots of bouncy riffs, too. The lyrics in this song are pretty awesome, too!
"I Read this In A Book" is one of the most depressing things I've ever heard. Or at least since I watched Precious. Don't get me wrong, the music is awesome with really interesting melody lines and a badass bridge. But the lyrics made me wanna cry or adopt homeless babies or something.. Either way, it's still a great song so I forgive them for the sad (talented, nonetheless) lyrics.
"Let's Go Kill that Bastard" continues with the same theme: intriguing melodies and fun drum lines.. But there's something new: a capella group vocals! Really, what's a good record without that... The only thing it's missing is some 'woah oh's. 

Overall, I loved it. I really did. Check it out, you can spare two bucks for a fun EP. This is their facebook. This is ours.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The American Scene- By Way of Introduction

The American Scene is an indie/pop-punk band from Berkley and they stole my heart with this album. They released their debut full-length on Pure Noise Records this past March. It doesn't take much to write a break-up album, but it takes a lot to write one with such conviction and positive energy. RIYL Jimmy Eat World, Mansions, or The Starting Line.
The American Scene has everything a band needs- a GREAT vocalist, catchy music, and awesome lyrics. I'm not even kidding, I would rank these lyrics up there with Soupy and Justin Pierre. That good.
The short opening track, "By Way of Introduction" grabs me right away with the catchy guitar lines and captivating lyrics. It's a great introduction and lays out what you're in for- a strong emotional album with great musicianship.
"Did You Hear About Your Friends in California?" is such a great song. Not only is it catchy, it's talented. Every single guy knows exactly what he's doing and is always perfect on his part. Not to mention-
"But I could never change the way you make me feel. I'd rather bury myself alive than watch you bury yourself in someone else's wasted time, cause we were never wasting time." Love it.
The American Scene has powerful vocals, high-hat heavy rhythm, and the guitar/bass lines are so incredibly addictive.
"Killed off the Second Act" reminds me of Mayday Parade, and I mean that in a good way. I think most 21 year olds can connect with this song to the extreme- at a risk of sounding dramatic, TAS sounded kickass. This is probably one of my favorite songs on the record.
Side note- the album is exactly 31:31. That's so cool. I wonder if it was on purpose.
"Home" is a little bit more upbeat than the rest of the tracks, and it's a great song. Super catchy.
Songs like "Marty McFly, Nostradamus, and I" show off the ability to screw around with tempo and dynamics while still making it sound easy... Bravo.
This is probably one of the best pop punk records of 2011, and I mean that. Go buy it. Every single song is awesome.


Speaker For the Dead- Devil Won't Make Your Band Good

Speaker for the Dead is actually this guy from Worcester. This really talented dude, mind you, named Greg McKillop. This album (released in April) is a fantastic folx punx album and I absolutely adore it. Check it out!
The album has a really back-to-basics, homey sound and I love it. Nothing gets my heart going like a simple record with great sound. It's the heart, not the production, guys. Speaker for the Dead does a great job of showing this.
"Magazine" is a faster song with a catchy guitar line and upbeat drums. I really like Greg's voice, and the lyrics are awesome. It's an amazing song. It's got a very country feel, but at the same time, it's not country. Because then I wouldn't be listening to it right now... ha ha.
"Don't Follow Me" is a very mellow song with awesome vocal harmonies. This is road trip music, guys.
"Tourist" really picks up the beat again, with a catchy dance-y tune and fun melodies. I almost have trouble believing that this is only one guy, because of the complexity of the music. It's awesome.
"Thanksgiving" has horns on it. What else do I need to say? "Science" and "Car Crash" continue the same theme of wonderful.
This is probably the best 22 minutes of my day. It's a great folk punk record and I can't wait to see where else he goes with this, especially once the band has filled out more.

SFTD Facebook. Love it.


Tin Armor- Life of Abundance

Tin Armor is such a great band, and I've been excited about this release for a long, long time. Not only are they from my home state (poor guys), they've got a constantly-changing-but-always-awesome sound that I can't get enough of. Tin Armor has country roots, indie influences, and just enough folkpunk/poppunk to keep it exciting for me. This album sounds so different, but it's the same old shit I love. RIYL The Weakerthans, Wilco, Band of Horses, Ben Folds, Fun.
The opening track is SUCH a great ballad. It's slow, it's traditional, it's new, it's interesting, it's flat out beautiful. I don't describe indiepop songs as beautiful very often, but... damn. This is slampiece music. "Life of Abundance" makes a great title track and opener. The vocal harmonies are absolutely awesome, the keyboards are gospel-esque and beautiful, and I love the drums on this track. Guys, my grandma would love this band and I mean that in the best of ways. Your grandma would love this band. Buy her this album.
"Plain Limbs" has AMAZING lyrics and rolling instrumentals that I swear will be in my head for a week. It's really mellow, and yet it's still powerful.
Most of the time, a band changing it's sound scares me. Even if it sounds great, it still seems to lose a lot of it's soul. (Helllo, Jeff Rosenstock?) However, it seems like the more Tin Armor evolves, the more soul they put into their music and the more I love them.
I want to dance with someone to "Inside Days." Will someone please just spin me to this song once? It's got such a traditional, catchy, adorable sound. What am I saying? The entire record has that sound.
"I Am Resolved"- my favorite song on the entire thing. The piano is amazing, the sound is powerful, and I am typing in rhythm to the drum beat as we speak. The only thing that could make this band better is if the members were otters. How cute would that be?
Anyway, another great track is the last song on the album. "Silhouettes" ends the album the same way it starts. A wonderful ballad.

Best tracks on the record? All of them. Seriously. You can buy it on their bandcamp for any price you wish... So if you're poor, you're in luck. If you have some money to spare, they're in luck. Cause this album is worth it.
It will be out on vinyl and CD self-released on August 16th. Pay attention to their website for details.
If you're more of a facebook person, here ya go!


The Regime- New album

Did you guys all hear The Regime's great Twenty Ten EP last July? No? Okay, go. Better? Good. Wasn't it great? The Regime is a powerful punk band from San Diego composed of three badass guys named Kenny, Ricky, and Todd. They're releasing their (as far as I know, still untitled) new album tomorrow, actually! How exciting is that? I'll just call it the Twenty Eleven album. RIYL Fugazi.
The first song on the album is a great way to start us of- "Dead Like You" is an in-your-face, powerful track that shows the group's colors right away. Todd, who sings this track, has a gruff voice and mixes very well. The song is very driving, and I can only imagine how it would feel to be hearing it live. Badass guitar solo, while we're at it.
"Get A Gun!" is another track that really sticks out to me. This band pulls a lot from  the early roots of punk rock, and I love it. The sound is raw, angry, rough, and REAL. The bass is powerful, the guitar sounds almost edgy, and once again, Todd's vocals are strong as hell.
"Sharia's Fist" has a great guitar track, and a completely different sound. Kenny, who also does vocals for the Regime, has a more melodic voice, and it mixes with the music just as well. The songs are very simple and to the point, but there's also something more complex going on here. 
The Regime, although still sounding similar, has come very, very far since July of last year and I have to say I'm impressed.
Songs like "By Pattern," "Powerful on Paper" and "Mankind" also seem to show a strong thrash metal influence- not gonna lie guys, I'm a pretty big fan of the metal bands of the 80s, and I can hear a lot of influence from that on their guitar lines and dynamics. 
Overall, I absolutely love this record. There isn't any bullshit to it- it's fast, it's loud, it's awesome. Kenny and Todd both have great voices, the guitar lines always keep me interested, it makes the bassist in me proud, and  Ricky is a kickass drummer. The boys clearly worked hard and it paid off. Also, they should probably come out to the midwest, because I have a feeling this shit sounds great live.

Here's them for real, here's them bandcamp style, and here's them on the book of faces. Have fun, kiddos. While you're at it... visit us!


Monday, August 1, 2011

The Reveling- Tributaries

The Reveling is such a great band- carrying the punk rock torch from Brooklyn, the band just released their first full-length record. Tributaries is a strong album that I honestly fell in love with from the very first track. Sean Morris has a very memorable voice, the back-up harmonies always rock, and all the instrumentals consistently entertain me. They released Tributaries as a 12" and CD on June 21st, so I'm getting to it a little late... But what can a girl do? RIYL early Green Day, Alk 3, or Face to Face.
The album starts off so incredibly strong with "Revival." It starts slow, but you can tell right away that the band has so much power. The vocals are really what stands out to me- not only is Sean's voice so addictive, Dennis (bass) and Dave (guitar) do a great job with the harmonies. If I had to rate the drums superiority in ratio to the rest of the song in animals, I'd probably give it a unicorn. Does that even make sense? I guess what I'm trying to say is the song is drum heavy and I appreciate it. The guitar at the ending is also probably the coolest way to end an intro ever. It fades right into "Charlotte Thompson," which has some of the best lyrics on the album. It picks up the pace quite a bit, for you speed demons out there. The two guitarists work together perfectly in an interlude of sorts, and I love it.
"Plaster Saints" gets the award for the catchiest song on the album, and is up there for lyrics. It shows how easy it is to write such simple songs and still make it so complex. "Last Act" is a really powerful song and I physically can't sit still to it. Not to mention, who DOESN'T love "woah-oh-oh?" Cause I know I do. I think it might actually be my favorite on the album. Watch- I'll say that 3 or 4 times in this review.
"Black and Tan" is awesome. The melody is incredibly addictive, up-beat and almost cute. The guitar solo makes me smile.
"Unglued" is another song that really shows off the musical talent of these boys. They blend so many different sounds into one big meshed up melody, and I adore it. The ending is really, really abrupt, but that's cool man.
Songs like "Chasing My Tail" show off the extreme vocal talent of Sean, not to mention the kickass harmonies of Dave and Dennis. This album is really a different sound- it clearly stems from a lot of greats, but they have a really original sound and push a lot of boundaries. What happens when you mix punk rock with strong male pipes? What happens when you make a strong, in-your-face song a little cute? What happens when you mix pop rocks and coke? I made up the last one, but you get the point.
I am a huge fan of this album and I'm impressed with their ability to have such a distinct sound on their debut. I can't wait to hear more from these guys!

Check them out here. Or maybe you prefer facebook? Keep updated with us, too!

By the way, yes, this is the Bear, and yes, my hiatus is over. Thank goodness the first band I got to listen to didn't suck, right...? ;)


House Boat - The Thorns of Life

House Boat are at it again, those wily bastards.

If you're not a dork who listens to pop punk, you may not necessarily know who House Boat are. I mean, if you're reading Idle and the Bear, it should be a given that you actually DO know who they are. I don't know who are audience is, though. You can pretty much tell simply based on the fact that my writing voice is simply awful and impossible to latch onto. But yeah, House Boat. They're a band, and stuff. A band which is comprised of members of The Steinways, The Ergs, and Dear Landlord. Basically, they're The Steinways (same songwriter, vocalist, guitarist), but as a pop punk supergroup or whatever. So, if you're familiar with The Steinways (which, once again, you probably should be), you more or less know what to expect when it comes to House Boat. Simple, catchy songs with clever and arguable awesome lyrics. I mean, I (more often than not) prefer House Boat over Steinways. I just think they're in general a better band. It's weird that I'm using parenthesis a lot in this review, considering The Steinways are known for having parenthesis in a lot of their goofy song titles. THIS WAS A LONG PARAGRAPH.

House Boat's most recent full length is this whole Thorns of Life thing. It's 14 songs in length, which is bad ass, because the more House Boat the better. It's pretty much entirely what I already described House Boat as. A bunch of catchy pop punk songs about crushes, life being shitty, being old, being a loser, and everything else most of us relate to. Well, I'm pretty young. But other than that.

You know what else I predicted about this album that totally came true? It's fucking awesome. The songs are infectious and shit and as nifty as ever. I mean, it'd be a way cooler move for me to just diss this album and say it sucks and that they need to grow out of this pop punk phase or whatever. But I just can't. I'm a fucking dork and pop punk fanboy. I can't do much about that. I've tried. It didn't work out so well. Now I have three extra arms and an addiction to catchy pop punk played by underdogs who are overrated and underjoyed. Or something stupid like that. Keep in mind, I don't know what I'm talking about.

Honestly, you can just listen a few songs really quick and get a pretty decent idea of how great this album is. I mean, it's all streaming on their bandcamp page. Just go to that page and listen to these songs, and then be like, "oh shit, I need to buy this album."

  1. A Song In Which I Try To Convince Myself To Stop Being Such a Fucking Idiot.
  2. Throwing In Those Weird Chords Did Wonders for The Copyrights and The Dopamines.
  3. Now We Are 31.
  4. Terminally Unique
  5. Barkmarket Fuckacy
The awesome thing about "Now We Are 31" is that it features vocals from the entire band, including Mikey Erg. 

The awesome thing about "Barkmarket Fuckacy" is that it's a part four to songs that are on the other releases. It also has Zach from Dear Landlord singing in it.

The awesome thing about this review is that it's over.


The Copyrights - Crutches

I had to (forgive me) learn the hard way that Copyrights are definitely one of the best bands in the current pop punk scene. I mean, without Copyrights, we wouldn't have The Dopamines. And without The Dopamines, we wouldn't have one, solid, unifying reason to make it through every day without breaking out the suicide gear. I mean, it's something like that. So I guess this new Copyrights EP, Crutches, is kind of like a musical cock tease. They've already announced that their upcoming full length is done, but it's going to be a bit of time before it's officially out. So, until then, they throw a few songs at us and we all willingly catch the bone and gnaw on it whenever we find 10 minutes we're somehow willing to spend not listening to the new House Boat album. I mean, I'll bite. Fuck it.

Crutches is classic Copyrights. They don't throw any misdirections at you or anything. You get what you're expect...if you're expecting to enjoy it immensely, that is. It's whatever-wave pop punk (the wave goodbye, as I've seen it be called), and it stays true to that form. The songs are catchy, and sound as strong as possible. You'll find it impossible not to enjoy the shit out of these scene champions, as they've proven with every release to date. I mean, they even prove it with the other bands that the members are deeply involved in, such as Dear Landlord. These guys are just plain fucking unstoppable, and I just can't imagine them releasing anything that I'd see as a disappointment. I love these four songs as much as I love pretty much every song these dudes have put out. You probably will too. I mean, what's stopping you from getting into it right now? The songs are streaming on their punknews profile, and you can buy the album over at It's Alive Records. I highly recommend both of these options. If you're smart, like me. (Disclaimer:  I'm really not smart at all.)


P.S. 2011 is a pretty solid year for the punk scene. As I'm going to be proving with a lot of my reviews this month. Especially the next one, which will be a review of the new House Boat (Steinways, The Ergs, Dear Landlord) album. So yeah. Fuck you. Get pumped.

Pay attention to Idle and the Bear on Facebook.

Signals Midwest - Latitudes and Longitudes


That is the normal response upon listening to the new album Latitudes and Longitudes by Cleveland four-piece indie-punk outfit Signals Midwest. This is their second full length, a follow up to 2009's Burn the Blueprints. I did an interview with Signals' frontman Max Stern not too long ago, which you can find here. If anything, the interview just served as added force behind the nonstop parade of excitement and anticipation for this release. All the excitement has definitely paid off, because this album is perfect.

Through all 10 tracks on Latitudes, there is nothing but raw energy and excellent musicianship. I didn't even know punk could sound this hard and powerful. As stated in the review for Blueprints, Signals Midwest are like a blend of Ted Leo and Latterman, but with their own spin on it. Or a bunch of their own spins on it. There's a lot of spins, not unlike a tilt-a-whirl. This album feels like it's THE album that gets the band even further out into the scene. I mean, it's kind of a combination of Blueprints and this one that really seems to solidify Signals Midwest as an important band. Both albums definitely NEED to be pressed to vinyl at some point, and since this album sounds like it will garner some definite punk-scene popularity, this might at some point come to fruition. But until this day comes, there's always bandcamp and CDs.

I don't even think I'm able to list my favorite's just too damn difficult. Every song feels necessary and awesome, and it's hard to sift through all of it and find ones that stand out even more. Plus, since you can just stream all the songs for free, you can easily pick your own favorite songs in such a short amount of time. Which is awesome for me, because I suffer from chronic laziness. 

Here's something cool, though. There's a music video for the song "Monarchs" off this release, and a video of the band playing "In Tensions" live at the recording studio. So, you can enjoy the shit out of these two videos, and everything will be hunky dory. 

So yeah. Best album of the year? Too early too say. Plus, there's that Vacation album by Bomb the Music Industry...and Suburbia by The Wonder Years. 2011 is definitely one of the best years ever made.


Signals Midwest.
Signals Bandcamp.
Idle and the Bear.