Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New vinyls out from Paper + Plastick

It's a good day to be an employed fan of punk music (or possibly some punk dude or chick who won the lottery or found a few bucks on the sidewalk)! Paper + Plastick have released 7 new, reasonably priced albums on vinyl! There's 'Idle Ages' by Junior Battles, 'Hey, Hey Pioneers!' by Farewell Continental, 'Hither & Yon' by Reverse the Curse, the Smash/Grab EP from Riverboat Gamblers, a split between Red City Radio and The Gamits, a collection of songs over the years on 2x LP by Plow United, and a compilation of female-fronted punk bands titled 'Are You With the Band?'

Actually, it's a good day to be a broke punk with internet access too, because the first five albums I listed are also on Paper + Plastick's SoundCloud page for free streaming purposes. But, if you have the spare cash, you should probably do yourself a favor and pick up one or so of these records from the Paper + Plastick online store.

Here are short reviews of some of these new records!

Red City Radio/The Gamits split 7"

Red City Radio and The Gamits have a thing or two in common...they're both awesome pop punk groups and the bear and I both love the both of them. And now, they have this split together! How badass is that? Very, I know. If you like The Dopamines, House Boat, For Science, Vacation, or any other pop punk band that sounds remotely like any of the ones I just listed, you'll probably dig this split. You can read two reviews from our site regarding Red City Radio's last release; one from the bear, and one from myself.

Riverboat Gambler's - Smash/Grab

Riverboat Gamblers are what I guess you'd call an awesome fucking pop punk group. They don't directly resemble any band I can think of, and that's definitely a positive thing. I mean, they play pop punk...or at least some version of it, and they do it pretty damn well. There's not really much more you need to know! There's tons of energy and awesomeness, just like there's tons of talent and infectiousness. Perfect.

Reverse the Curse - Hither & Yon

I have to admit, this turned out to be a pretty good album. After turning on Reverse the Curse's new release 'Hither & Yon', I can't say I was immediately into it at all. The music came off as a bit dull and I was pretty much prepared to just write it off as an album I just couldn't possibly get into. A few songs later, it turned out that I was wrong. This is actually a pretty solid post-hardcore punk album. It's passionate, impressive, infectious, and just about everything else it needed to be in order to win me over in the end. I definitely recommend it to anyone who has ever been at all interested in this particular sub genre.

Junior Battles - Idle Ages

Farewell Continental - Hey, Hey Pioneers!


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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mindset - Midnight Sky

Mindset are this hardcore band from Melbourne, Australia that happen to sound an awful like a mix between Set Your Goals and Kid Dynamite. Earlier this year, in April, Mindset released their debut full length ‘Midnight Sky’ upon the world, and the world rejoiced. I mean, the entire world didn’t rejoice...but hardcore fans certainly did.

Mindset play this brand of hardcore punk music that borrows from pretty much every decade in which hardcore punk existed. The vocals and guitar leads at most times are heavily influenced by 80s hardcore and 90s/2000s metal, whereas there are times in the music where the vocals sound very post-2000 hardcore and the instrumentals don’t hesitate to accompany the vocals by playing the same style of hardcore.

If Mindset threw in any more melodic influence than they currently have, it’d be very difficult to tell them apart from bands like Set Your Goals. But since they stay pretty strictly on the side of hardcore, we can’t in good conscious refer to them as a bro-core punk band by any means. What they are, though, is a hardcore band that managed to change my opinion on recent additions to the genre I’ve grown out of. And they did this by writing some good fucking songs.

If you’re a fan of pretty much any hardcore band within the last 30 years, you definitely owe it to yourself and to Mindset to try this record out. It’s driven and heavy just as much as it is interesting, unique, infectious, and intelligent. This album is post 2010 hardcore punk at its absolute best, and you’re doing yourself a solid by tuning in. You can check it out on Pee Records’ bandcamp page or just purchase it over at iTunes. That part is up to you, really. Just trust me, it’s a fun album that I’ll definitely be listening to quite a few more times this month. You should do the same, dudes!


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Monday, November 21, 2011

Sirs/Run, WALK! split 7”

Today’s Idle review is this awesome post-hardcore split co-released by Topshelf Records and Holy Roar Records (UK). The two bands represented on this release are Sirs from New York and run, WALK! from Winchester. Both bands are amazing, therefore, both sides of this split are pretty damn great. They both play their own unique form of indie/post-hardcore/punk music that is vastly different from most of the bands I come across while reviewing, but at least similar enough between the two bands to qualify the split’s existence.

I have to say I’m much more fond of the Sirs side of the split than the run, WALK! side, despite liking both sides overall. The songs are catchy and short, which are two of my favorite things when it comes to music. In these two songs, there is an awful lot of experimentation with the guitar, and that’s always something worth getting into. I like the attitude behind not just settling with vocals on top of a chord progression; I like the addition of interesting shit instrumentally throughout. It’s clever and fun for the band and for those of us fortunate enough to stumble upon them. There’s also this whole atmospheric feel to the songs, which is something I’ve always found awesome about the genre. It’s definitely due to the ambient guitar tones and the way the drums seem a little distant in the mix. Sirs supply two badass songs for this split, and I know I’ll find myself coming back to listen to them with each new release that comes out now.

As for Run, WALK!’s side of the split: it’s also awesome! It starts off with ‘Rainhouse’, which is admittedly quite a long song, but, at the same time, it’s a fucking awesome song. It starts off with some crazy guitar bits that decide the right thing to do is to never abandon the song, so we’re lucky enough to hear that shit throughout. And then the scathing yell/scream-vocals come in to tear us a new one and pretty much paint us a vivid picture of what a Run, WALK! live show must be like. I imagine beautiful chaos, mosh pits, stage diving, angry British teenagers, and Mordor. I’m pretty sure they play all of their concerts in Mordor. It’s just how it has to be for them. This first song takes a lot of interesting turns musically, and for a song clocking in at over four minutes, it doesn’t give you a single second to grow bored or restless; it’s awesome.

Run, WALK!’s second song on the split is about half the length, but I would never dare say it’s half the energy or half the awesome-i-tude, because it’s definitely high as fuck in both. Seriously, you have no excuse to not grab this split immediately. The record is five dollars! What else were you planning on spending that five dollars on, anyway? Probably fast food or beer or something pretty worthy, but certainly not as worthy as a split between two awesome bands like Sirs and Run, WALK! So do your civic duty, and head over to Topshelf Records or Holy Roar Records and purchase yourself this 7”. Or at least visit the Sirs's bandcamp page and Run, WALK!’s facebook page to listen to the songs off this split. You’d be doing yourself something quite far from a disservice. Later, dudes! Make good choices!


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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hightime- Ishi Prende

Hightime is an awesome ska-punk band from Adelaide, Australia. They've been playing together since 2009, and recently signed to Pee Records to release their debut album, Ishi Prende. Nina is an amazing vocalist and the music is absolutely badass. Lately, it's rare to hear any NEW ska-punk bands that don't suck major balls, so it was really exciting to get this. Ishi Prende will be released on the 25th (Black Friday)!

The first song, "Beer Garden," is great. The guitar/bass play of Reuben and Jay is really catchy, and Nina's voice is perfect for the sound. It's a really fun song. The sound is very NOFX meets Save Ferris, if you can picture that (I'm sure you can.) "Share Your Smokes" is another one of the punx-y songs, and it's pretty great. The lyrics are awesome and really up-front, which I love.
"Figure This Out" is probably one of my favorites. It's super addictive. It's been on-and-off stuck in my head for days. 
Other great songs include "Lay Low," "Don't Move Away," and "Lag Behind." "Lag Behind" is INTENSE, dude. I bet seeing them play that song live is crazy.
Overall, I'm just really impressed with the musicianship of these guys.
Last but not least, the ending track "Die For Something" is the best out of all of them. It has male vocals on it, the lyrics are brilliant, and I love the melody.
There's also a little secret on this album!

I really recommend this to all ska fans reading this... Give Hightime a shot!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Decline- Are You Gonna Eat That?

The Decline, in short, rock out. They play melodic punk with a powerful backbone and clever lyrics. Oh, and I love Australian accents. It's pretty much just a winning situation across the board. This album was released in September on Pee Records. RIYL Frenzal Rhomb, Lagwagon, No Use For A Name, Millencolin.
This is a great album. How have I not heard this earlier, seriously? It's awesome. Every time I think a record that gets sent to me is the BEST THING EVER, something else comes along... And I realize that maybe it wasn't the best thing ever. And maybe this is the best thing ever. But I have a feeling this CD will end up playing in the car for a while.... It's great. It's like the Aussie DC Fallout. The first song hooks me right away with the pounding bass, strong vocals, and creative guitar patterns. And then, I found out that all the songs were like that. Woah, right?
The lyrics are a great mix of extremely well educated, clever, thought provoking, and sometimes, just FUN. I'm a sucker for social awareness and accents... Have I mentioned that already?
There are songs like "The Financial Equivalent of a Complete Rectal Exam," "A Crash Course in Emotional English," and "Showertime in the Slammer" that we can all find something to relate to in it. Speaking of "Showertime...", it's one of the many songs on this album that includes some audio clips. That I don't recognize, which is strange. I will give my first child to the first person to cite all of these things for me.
"Worlds Apart II" says my name in it. That's my favorite part. Granted, it's only the first half of my name, which is really only used by a little less than half of the people in my life, but still, it made me giggle. The song itself is also badass. It's one of those songs that makes you think, watch out.
The rest of the songs are pretty much either A) Really sweet and clearly for someone special, like "Addison." or B) politically charged awesome magic-glitter.
And by that, I  mean these are some really intelligent guys trying to get a great point across through punk rock and a little bit of fun.
Idle and I want to cover "2006" more than anything. That's all I have to say about that.

Overall, if you're wondering if you should buy this album, the answer is: hell yes.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Run For It - No You Ain’t, We Is

Run For It are this band from Pennsylvania consisting of members from Bangarang, Your Best Regret, and Straight Up! If you happen familiar with any of those bands, you’re likely already prepared for the pop punk awesomeness that they put out in this newer band. They play a brand a pop punk that is very similar to bands like The Wonder Years, Title Fight, Fireworks, and whatever else you feel like throwing in there. They're like a brocore pop punk, but kind of sophisticated. 

Well, the dudes in Run For It have just released their sophomore album ’No You Ain’t, We Is' recently, and I have to say it's pretty badass. Every song (other than the one acoustic song) is packed full of energy, power chords, infectious vocals and solid backup vocals. Oh, and that one acoustic song sounds a lot like that one acoustic song on ‘Suburbia’ by The Wonder Years, meaning it sounds pretty awesome.

I know I say this pretty often, but I also review great bands pretty often, but every song on this album is seriously great. I think I’m in love. Musical love, that is; nothing my girlfriend should be concerned about. The vocalist of Run For It reminds me very much of Patrick from Fall Out Boy. Like how I just threw that in the middle of some random paragraph? I’m such a professional, guys.

You can stream this album for free on their facebook and their stereokiller pages, or you can purchase it on itunes so that you can listen to it wherever you go! I highly recommend both options, really. Stream it so that you can test it before you buy it, then once you undoubtedly fall in love with it, buy it. Fool proof plan! If you’re into anthemic pop punk with heavy guitars, catchy vocal melodies perfect for singing along to, and pretty much good music in general, you’re going to dig Run For It. I promise.


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Driven Fear- Contender

Driven Fear, a hardcore punk band from Queensland, Australia, has made quite the name for themselves in the past couple of years. The five boys make hard-hitting, extremely fun songs that I enjoy quite a bit. This record, released on 11/11/11, is 14 songs of pure, undiluted hardcore punk. This was released on Pee Records out of Marden! RIYL Raised Fist, Final Fight, Comeback Kid, Down To Nothing

I'm going to make one thing very clear first- I am not traditionally a hardcore person. Unless we're talking pre-nineties hardcore, I just so rarely get into it. HOWEVER- this record was a different case. From the first track, I found myself getting really into it. The energy is badass, and you just want to move to it! It's extremely raw, fast, catchy, and it pumps you up with the first note. The first thing I said to Idle about Driven Fear is "At some point in our lives, we're going to go to see Driven Fear live. Australia's really fucking far, but I bet it'll be a good time." You can just tell they're great performers. 
Nic Lalot is a great drummer. Can you even imagine how tired he gets after these songs? This is not your typical hardcore drummer- not only is it faster than hell, there's some real refined technique to that. One of my favorite songs to show that off is "March 29th."
"Ten Years" has this awesome guitar riff in it that's super addictive. I can't give any name recognition to this one, because there are two guitarists... So we'll just go with yay for both of them!
"The Hunt" is probably my favorite song on the album. The intro is creepy. In a good way. If I was directing a horror movie, I would play this song at the beginning. I hope that's a compliment- I meant it that way. It changes pretty fast into a lighter tone, though. It's just a really great instrumental track. Everything ties together awesomely and the rhythms and melodies just work around each other perfectly.
Oh, and the bass in "The Contender" wins. It just beats everything else. Bass solos are the best.

Every single track is awesome. I demand that you listen to these guys!


Monday, November 14, 2011

Timeshares - Bearable

Timeshares are awesome. Timeshares are a punk band from New York. Timeshares have recently put their new LP 'Bearable' up for free download at If You Make It, and for vinyl purchase at Kind of Like Records. I don't think the order or structure of these sentence matters all too much. What matters is the overall message. The message you are left with upon clicking the hyperlink to the album download or vinyl purchase and making that plunge into greatness. Greatness in the form of a great fucking album.

From fist pumping beginning to raucous end, this album is a host of excellent scream-a-longs and perfect demonstrations of how scathing and anthemic, dirty pop punk can be done when done by professionals. Both vocalists deliver excellent high energy performances every time they take the microphone, and the band has no trouble at all belting our excellent amounts of noise and melody. Songs like "Focus, Eddie" and "Too Many ELO Days" will not soon leave your mind. They're catchy and ballsy, and just like the rest of the songs, have a bit of obvious Latterman influence being boasted. They also remind me a lot of that one band Mayflower. Those guys are fucking awesome. Arms Aloft too. Damn, I really like this brand of pop punk a shit ton.

If you've been dying for some new infectious beer-can-throwing type of pop punk band to become obsessed with, I don't think you'll need to look much further than this review. Timeshares are obviously perfect for you, from their pop punk chord progressions and vocal melodies to their 90s rock and folk punk influenced bits and pieces, they keep you paying close attention. Seriously, pick up this record immediately, or at least download it for free. I've supplied you with the proper means to do so like three times in this review.


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Beside Myself- Demo

Beside Myself is a new creation of 2011 that I'm very excited about. They share a member with The Regime, Todd Allen, who is a friend of mine and a very talented musician. He teamed up with Estevan Rodriguez and Ricky Schmidt to record this, and it's extremely impressive for a band's first demo. Perhaps the most amazing part about this group is that they started in two different countries- the US and Italy. How cool is that? This demo was released in October.
"Take Your Time" hooked me from the start. It's super catchy, and the 3 instruments work together super well. It's got a powerful bass line, catchy guitar, and the drummer is kickass. I love the fact that Todd and Ricky are both singing- their voices go together great. The lyrics are also enjoyable. Depressing, but enjoyable. Isn't that quite the oxymoron? 
"Something Casual" has a really great intro with a super catchy riff. I love how the bass and guitar play off each other- it's a little bit of a cat-and-mouse game between the instruments. The drums are like the glue of this awesome project... Which makes the band sound like macrame, but I promise this demo is even better than 3rd grade art projects. 
"X-Ray" has my favorite vocals out of the four. 
Last but not least, "Something Casual" is a kick-ass song. It makes your life feel exciting, seriously. If I ever do any undercover missions, play this song in the background- straight up.
It's a really awesome sound. I love demos like this, because normally, bands either sound awesome and have nowhere to evolve, or they suck. However, Beside Myself not only sounds great now, there are so many different ways that they can take their sound. I'm personally excited to see where they go with it.
If you haven't listened to these guys yet, I strongly recommend it.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Transit - Listen & Forgive

Transit are one of those really awesome pop punk bands from Massachusetts that I'm always going on and on about. I've said it before and if Transit's new record 'Listen & Forgive' is any indication, I'll say it a million more times:  they have to be putting something in the water up there. There's no other excuse for how awesome bands like Transit and The Hotel Year are.

So yeah, like last month or something Transit came out with this new album 'Listen & Forgive'. And, as stated in the previous paragraph, it's fucking great. The songs are all unreasonably catchy. The instruments inspire so much awe while the lyrics and vocals demand so much attention at the same time. The record starts off with one of the catchier songs on it, "You Can't Miss It", and it just keeps going uphill from there. I don't think there's a single song on here that I dislike. As mentioned in my review of their record 'Something Left Behind', I love the little guitar leads they have going on throughout all of the songs. It reminds me a lot of bands like American Football and Braid.

I would probably describe Transit as like a laid back version of bands like Saves the Day or The Wonder Years. There are stylist similarities, while the overall feel is ultimately different. They have their own very impressive sound that I think can only be continuing on an uphill path. The title track on this release is just so perfect from beginning to end. The lyrics are boasted by two vocalists and this is pulled off so damn well. Seriously, this is one of the best songs on the album. Transit have this perfect style that gets subsequently harder to compare to other bands with each release. They have their own style and if one of their songs came on while I was at a show or something, I'd for sure know it was them regardless of whether I've heard the song before or not.

With all that being said, you should definitely pick up this record right away, despite the fact that it may mean having to visit Rise Records's webstore. Whatever, I promise it's worth it! Great release and definitely in the running for top 10 albums of 2011. Check it out, dudes!


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Candy Hearts- Everything's Amazing & Nobody's Happy

We love Candy Hearts. Using the words of Idle in our review of Ripped Up Jeans and Silly Dreams, "Candy Heart is a pop punk infused indie group from somewhere north east of us in the New York City area. They play a brand of music which can most easily be compared to awesomeness, or you could compare it to bands like Rvivr, The Promise Ring, Jimmy Eat World, and Laura Stevenson and the Cans." So we're a little late on this review, but that's okay.
"Tongue Tied" is one of the cutest songs ever. Candy Hearts are really good at being the cutest thing ever. It's super catchy pop punk that's just super positive sounding, and I love that. "What I'm Made Of" has a great lyrical premise- it's something we can all connect to. I love the simplicity of the lyrics. The entire album pretty much follows the same great trend- blunt lyrics, cutesy melodies, and AWESOMENESS.
"Sleepy Kisses" is the cutest thing I've ever heard in my entire life. I love this song to death. It's heart-ache cute, not happy cute... But all the same. Probably my favorite track on the entire album.
I just really love the entire mood of Candy Hearts. I fell in love with them when they released Ripped Up Jeans..., but this really set it in stone with me. It's the same thing as the previous, but I feel like it's a lot more put together and a little more focused. 
"Jawbreaker" is another great song. The lyrics are my favorite. It's also the catchiest, and definitely has my favorite riff. Oh, and the bass = <3
"Good Enough" is another great one. I can't get enough of their lyrics and I just want to dance to the music.

Overall, this record gets an A++++ from me. One of my favorite bands from 2011. Someone remind me why I haven't seen these guys live yet?


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Friday, November 11, 2011

Mike Park- Smile

If you've ever read any of our reviews, or have just even heard of our website, there's a good chance that you're familiar with the name Mike Park. Basically anyone familiar with any variety of punk or ska music is very aware of the importance Mike Park has in the scene. He's fronted so many excellent bands (Skankin' Pickle, The Chinkees, Bruce Lee Band) and he runs the best record label ever to be run out of a garage. Wait, scratch that- the best record label in the WORLD:  Asian Man Records. Asian Man Records is the label responsible for your addiction to bands like Alkaline Trio, Big D & the Kids Table, Lemuria, Hard Girls, Kepi Ghoulie, Lawrence arms, The Broadways, Shinobu, Slapstick, and way more. So, by saying that Asian Man Records is responsible for this, we're automatically saying that Mike Park is ultimately held responsible. Mike Park also does solo stuff, which never ceases to amaze me. This record is something truly awesome, though- Smile is a children's music work. And I am still proud to say that I've been listening to it for an hour straight. It's that good.
The record is an amazing combination of pure fun, education, and talented music. I can't stand so much of kids music because of the pure inanity of it all- it's boring, repetitive, and obnoxious. HOWEVER. As to be expected, that's not what Mike Park does with it. The music is great. It's something that could easily be passed off as any other kind of music with different lyrics. The sax solo in "I Love Playing My Saxophone" is so great, it makes me really happy. But above all- the lyrics are perfect for kids. It's a great balance of teaching good habits to kids and just letting them have fun with it. Songs like "I Can See The Ocean" and "We All Live In Animal Park" are prime wiggle-and-giggle opportunities. There's also stuff like "Apples are my Favorite" and "When The Light Turns Red You Stop", that clearly has an agenda. Although all the songs typically mention good habits for kids, there are still songs focused mainly on this. And yet the educational songs are still super fun.
I'm far too old to be enjoying this record so much! It's just Mike Park's magic, I guess. I'm going to be pulling out this record for my nieces and nephews, possible future spawns, and maybe even just for fun sometimes... But don't tell anyone! ;) "Wigily Wigily Worm" is my new jam, you guys. You don't even understand. I want to walk down the aisle to that song. 
"Paint With Me" also pulls a few heartstrings.

Overall, if you ever said to yourself "I bet Mike Park can't make a good album with a target audience of children," you were wrong. So wrong. 

Great record for parents! And well, not-parents too. I can say from personal experience that you don't need to be a little kid to get into this.

-Bear (With a little help from Idle

Gameday Regulars - ...But It's Hell in the Hallway

Immediately upon listening to the instrumentals at the beginning of the song "Pale Reflections", first track on Gameday Regulars' (NY) debut EP '...But It's Hell in the Hallway', you're dragged head first into this amazing world of what punk rock bands should aspire to be. This is then enforced by the bear-like vocals which come bursting into the mix partway into the song. You're in heaven, dude. and it's all uphill from here.

Gameday Regulars are one of the newest bands to become a part of the excellent Mightier Than Sword family. For those of you unfamiliar, MTS is this record label that has a tendency to release rambunctious pop punk bands alongside infectious melodic hardcore acts. And they do this with an uncanny ability to only put out excellent music. Gameday Regulars are no exception to the general order of things. They play an awesome brand of punk music, heavily influenced by groups such as Hot Water Music and Off With Their Heads, and they do it with enough musicality and originality to put their name out there with a vengeance. I'm pretty sure by the end of 2011, everyone I'm in communication with will have some sort of hardon for these guys.

'...But It's Hell in the Hallway' sticks around for six medium length songs with enough energy to power 20 robocops. Maybe even 21 robocops! Hell, I don't know; this kind of thing is rarely tested. The recording and production quality is also worth noting, because this awesome sounds pretty much perfect. I doubt this band is at all just studio magic though, but I would be working against my own belief by trying to suggest that magic was not made in the studio during the recording of this record. Hell, Harry fucking Potter is probably in this band. That'd be an easier way to explain just how awesome the record is from beginning to end.

If you're a fan of either of those two influences I mentioned, or of bands like Signals Midwest, O Pioneers!, or actually just a fan of music in general, you'll probably become an instant fan of Gameday Regulars. The awesomeness and inevitable importance of '...But It's Hell in the Hallway" is impossible for any human to deny. You can just prove this yourself by purchasing the EP from Mightier Than Sword. You'll be doing yourself a favor by doing so. I highly recommend it. You can even select to purchase this deal that comes with a t-shirt! That's just awesome, and you know it. I'm going to personally guarantee your enjoyment of the record, too. If you end up disliking it for any reason whatsoever, just come here and bitch me out about it. But, if you end up liking the album like I do, feel free to also come here and post in our comment section about it. Later, dudes!


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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Annabel- Here We Are Tomorrow

Annabel is an awesome indie band from Kent, OH. I like them because we're from the same state. (Alright, I guess I like them for other reasons too.) They released this on Tiny Engines last December. Annabel is Andy, Ben, Scotty, and Corey. RIYL DCFC, Nada Surf, Superchunk, The Get Up Kids, Built to Spill
The first track, "The Forgetting of Names and Faces" is awesome. It sets up the band great. It grabs your attention and gets stuck in your head immediately. The melody is really catchy and it's got an interesting beat to it. The music is very nicely textured, but still has a little bit of a punk influence on the sound- it's a little rough around the edges. In a talented way- not in a Dane Cook way. ;)
"Repetition, Etc." is a little bit softer- and a little more repetitive. The guitar is the most catchy thing I've ever heard in my entire... well, week or so. It's a good song, in all seriousness. I really like the vocal melody- it's extremely easy to sing along with. Very cute. I also really like the keyboard in this song- it's a little hard to pick up on, but once you do start to hear it, it's great. The outro is also badass.
"We Came As Today" is my favorite song on the EP. I can't even put my finger on what's so awesome about this one, all the parts just work together really, really well. The dynamics are badass, and it flows extremely nicely.
Last but not least, "Summer Health" is a nice slow song with a really nice melody and some cute harmonies.

Overall, A+ for this record... love it.
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Neighborhoods - Facing a Lifetime

Sometimes things in life just work out in some weird (albeit, hardly significant) way. This morning I was in a strange mood where all I wanted to listen to was New Found Glory. I don't even listen to NFG; I recognize maybe two or three of their songs, but that's not really the point. The point is that we've been slacking like crazy with reviews lately. Real life conflicts can be rather, well, conflicting. IT HAPPENS. So we decided that we definitely need to get a few reviews done tonight. Conveniently enough, 'Facing a Lifetime' by Neighborhoods fell into our grateful laps.

Upon having played the album, it became immediately clear that Neighborhoods were perfect for this weird NFG mood I was in. Neighborhoods play pop punk in the same vein as NFG, but with a bit more intensity and urgency. It also worked out well for the fact that I was unbelievably exhausted for no apparent reason. Now I'm awake. I think it may be impossible for this album not to completely wake a fellow up.

'Facing a Lifetime' starts off, after some random chatter, with a gang vocal shout of "HOODS UP!" This immediately reminded me of the Direct Hit! method of starting an album by shouting, "FUCK YOU! GET PUMPED!" It's an effective way to lead into an energetic batch of pop punk goodness, and trust me-that's exactly what this record is. You'll noticed pretty obviously similarities between this band and groups like Saves the Day, Handguns, and pretty much any other semi-dudecore/brocore pop punk band you can think of. The songs are rambunctious and infectious, and that's always something to be stoked on.

Neighborhoods are from the Jersey Shore, so I'm assuming that either understandable shame or unexplainable pride led them to a place in their lives where they were overcome this overwhelming need to create awesome music. I dont know. I don't care what caused it; I just care that it's awesome. Another awesome thing about this record would have to be the fact that it flies by. I love fast songs. Always have. I like when a song sticks around just long enough to do exactly what it was made to do. You won't find filler here, and that's always a bonus.

So, I think you guys should really check this album out. I know that there's a big part of our readership that's into this type of music, just like there's a big part of our readership that is pretty turned off by it. I don't care which group you fall into, you have no reason not to give this album a listen. It might change your mind about this sect of the genre. Maybe the genre will quit having stupid sects. It'll be awesome. You could change the very state of pop punk music just by getting into this band. You don't know. Okay, it's pretty unlikely, I'll admit. But whatever, the album is up on bandcamp for free streaming and you can purchase a physical copy of the CD over at Love & Death Records. Do one of the two; it's worth it.


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Here's a video for the song Finer Things off the release!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Gray Young - Staysail

Gray Young (Raleigh, NC) is definitely not the kind of band that I would, on any normal day, find myself listening to. But, after the bear sent me the album to review-that changed a bit. They mostly come off to me as a sort of instrumental/almost-a-jam-band type band, with sparse use of vocals (which, when used, are executed quite well) and perfect use of instruments. The songs on their new album Staysail come off as extremely atmospheric and bold. They're well developed, textured, and so haunting that they're instantly realized as infectious. After one listen-through of the album, it's very difficult to not hit play again and experience it all a second, third, or probably even hundredth time. I don't know too many people who would listen to an album 100 times in a row, but I bet this would be an album that it'd happen to, if it were to occur.

There's something to be said for an album that manages to make the percussion sound urgent and driven while at the same time making the guitar sound like wind...or, rather, all types of weather. Actually, it seems to me like every song creates a different image in your head, in as far as scenery goes. This album amazes the shit out of me, seriously. I mean, I usually find myself listening to pop punk songs about getting drunk, hating or loving life, and being poor-so this is a drastic change. What I find weird about the listening experience is the fact that I don't think I've paid much attention to any of Gray Young's lyrics. I mean, I listen to the vocals with the intensity any reviewer should have, but I'm listening to the nuances of the vocals and the cleverly chosen melodies. In this case, it's so easy to get distracted from the actual words being sung. Especially when some sort of mandolin or banjo comes in during this close vocal inspection...

Point is, as someone who is in to sing-a-longs as much as I am, it's always weird when I get into something that I wouldn't find myself singing along to (others are probably greatly thankful when this is the case). And what this point means is you should definitely purchase Staysail by Gray Young and experience this all for yourself. I honestly can't see a reason in which you wouldn't enjoy it...unless maybe you're like super into 80s hardcore punk and nothing else. Or maybe you're a rude boy 'til death, and nothing else may grace your ears without violent recourse. Or maybe you should just listen to it anyway, because it's awesome and you want to be awesome too. Or something like that.


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