Monday, January 30, 2012

Family Cat - Don’t Let This Be You

There’s only so many times you can compare every single new band to Latterman before the comparison gets stale and tired. It seems like the simplest solution to such a problem would be to just not make the comparison...there in lies the problem; most punk bands these days sound pretty much exactly like Latterman. But, for the sake of this review, I will not compare this band to Latterman. I’m doing my part, bands, now do yours. Without any further ado, here’s Idle and the Bear’s review of Family Cat’s new Death to False Hope Records release ‘Don’t Let This Be You’:

Honestly, I’m just pulling your leg with the whole Latterman comparison thing. This band Family Cat does bear some minor, passing resemblances to the great Latterman, but overall they don’t stick to the formula quite likes other bands do (*cough* Spraynard *cough*). Family Cat has more of a Shinobu edge to them, really. The vocals tend to be on the softer side most of the time, with occasional excursions into the raspy yelling voice that us punk kids love to hear.

Actually, I’m a little bit surprised that this album wasn’t released on Count Your Lucky Stars. That’d be a pretty good fit, considering the heavy emo influence in the song structure and guitar leads. The songs on this EP are all interesting and definitely have a tendency to vary a bit musically and intellectually. It’s pretty refreshing, actually. I feel like some pop punk these days treats the listeners like dipshits. It’s probably just assumed that everyone listening to pop punk is at least eight Pabst Blue Ribbons in and trying to set some sort of beer belly record. HEY DUDES, THAT’S NOT ALWAYS THE CASE. Some of us like interesting music that just happens to be incredibly catchy and seductive fun. Family Cat have our backs when it comes to this, so don’t be worried, guys.

Since ‘Don’t Let This Be You’ is a DTFH release, you can stream or download the album entirely for free over at the DTFH website. God, I just love free music. I think everyone does. Except maybe the grinch. That asshole probably is one of those contrarians who sticks up for the record labels and millionaire recording artists. What a douche. Thankfully, Family Cat hate the grinch and prefer to have their music up for free, so that awesome people like yourself and I can enjoy their songs at our own leisure. Also, I’ll have you know that if you’re expecting to not enjoy these songs, then be prepared for a difficult, uphill battle because these songs are pretty fucking sweet. Like I said earlier, it’s basically like a healthy mix between Shinobu, Latterman-core bands, and mid-90s emo. What can possibly go wrong with a formula like that? Do yourself a favor and check Family Cat out!


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Wings and Wounds EP

Wings and Wounds, a new hip hop group made up of Sarx and Graves 33, released their first EP together on the first of this year. Long story short, they are badass. The lyrics are clever, the beats are catchy as hell, etc. etc. etc... From Seattle.
Now, I know what you're thinking. "Wait, Idle and the Bear only like punk music! This is crazy!" Well, faithful readers, you are wrong. you're wrong. This album is badass.
It has a fairly long intro track, and then it starts into "Two Wanderers." I can't tell what the audio sample of the woman talking is from, but maybe one of you can tell me. The flow is extremely impressive with these guys.
"Bellowing Scum" is badass. Mostly because the guests on this track are ridiculous.
Hands down "Wizardry" is the best track. It's so goddamn impressive. I listened to this track about 100 times before I moved on to the next one. These guys are super, SUPER talented.

If there's anything better than all the overproduced corporate bullshit rap on all the top charts, it's the guys that can actually make some real beats and spit rhymes like it's no one's business. I could listen to this shit all day.

To put this in the most uncomfortable way I know how, these beats are dope.


Radiator Hospital- Nothin' In My Eyes

Radiator Hospital is truly an interesting group from Grand Rapids, MI. They're more of a collective centered around Sam Cook-Parrott, which in my experience, has never gone wrong. It's kind of pop-ish indie experimental bubblegum punk lofi...stuff. I don't really know what genre it is. It's good. This is kind of old, but recent enough. So you'll live.
The first time through this album, I was just a little ಠ_ಠ about it. But then I made the amazing choice to keep listening and realized that I really like it!
It's definitely very diverse and every song feels a little different. The best song, hands down, is "Jose Chung's "From Outer Space". First off, it was funny because of the title and reddit. And then the song was awesome. I love the melody and the lyrics so much. It's a cute ukulele song that I really want to cover. Awesome.
There's a J Church cover of "Nostalgic for Nothing" which gets mad respect from me. I fucking love J Church. (Who doesn't?)
Oh, and there's another cover. They covered "My Place" by the Adverts, and it's a really really great cover. I think it sounds badass. It's interesting and great.
Sam's got a really crazy sounding voice that I love.
It's an awesome combination of guitar, ukulele, vocal harmonies, and frankly, anything else that he could fit on it. For a basement recording, I'm fairly impressed. I'm not typically a big lofi person, but this is super catchy stuff.
I think you should all listen to this guy!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

“The Folkamines - Expect the Wurst"

There are two defining moments in a man’s life. The first is when he meets the woman or man or whatever he’ll marry (or do whatever with). The second is discovering that Billy Wallace and the Virginia Blues (from Northern KY, like myself) have released the most amazing album to ever grace the internet.


So...yeah. You can probably guess my opinion on this album already...

The Dopamines are probably one of the best pop punk to exist in the history of this planet. Folk music is probably also one of the best things to exist in this history of this planet. So, it makes complete sense that the combination of the two leaves us with something really quite amazing. “The Folkamines” do an excellent job of folking the fuck out of nine of my favorite Dopamines tracks. Don’t let the album title mislead you, because absolutely zero of these songs are from The Dopamines most recent full length ‘Expect the Worst’. The songs are all from the self-titled full length and the EP ’Soaps and Lampshades’. It’s awesome.

Dopamines songs happen to song pretty good when slowed down a lot and performed acoustically (including some harmonica) and sung by Billy Wallace and some lady whose name I don’t know. I’m going to just go ahead and assume her name is Virginia Blues...that’d make me happy. Her name might be Alex, but I don’t know. The facebook page says that the band members change quite often. One of the listed occasional members is actually ex-Dopamines drummer Matt Hemmingway. Weird. THIS ALBUM IS AWESOME.

You should just go check it out immediately. The production quality is pretty damn high and the replay value is exponentially higher. Do it.


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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Les Doux- Dialects

Les Doux is a bluesy screamo band from Hattiesburg, MS. This is their second EP, a follow up to a self-titled. It's a concept album about a son leaving home, and it's really really interesting. Released on the 21st of December.
First off, that album art makes me happy. Whoever did the text is very talented.
Anyway, the album is really really interesting. It really is an exact mix of blues and screamo- and it's mixed well. I'm not crazy about all aspects of the EP, but I am crazy about their musicianship.
"Interrogative" has a beautiful intro that made me smile. The guitar is chilling, and the lyrics are very interesting.
On another note, their drummer continues to impress me throughout the album. They're all great musicians, but the drums really stood out to me.
"Declarative," as you would guess, is more angry and direct than "Interrogative." For once, the songs actually have to do with the song titles. That's rare in today's modern world. I'm proud.
It starts to fade more out of the blues and more into the screamo style as the EP progresses.
"Exclamatory" is well, exclamatory. Angry and harsh sounding. "Imperative" is an order. Clearly. (I'm like your middle school english teacher all over again!)
Overall, the guys do a great job with the concept and the style. Very impressed.
There's room to improve, as always. I wasn't crazy about some of the stylistic choices, but overall, I'm fairly impressed. Can't wait to see where they go with their music.


Waxahatchee- American Weekend

Waxahatchee is Katie Crutchfield. Many of you know Katie from PS Eliot! She's from Brooklyn NY and she is awesome. This album was released on January 10th. RIYL Eisley, Laura Stevenson, Summer Salt, PS Eliot, Very Okay
Katie has one of the sweetest voices I've ever heard. Not sweet like "sweet skateboard, bro." Sweet like adorable and soothing. It's great. The music is very chill and laid back. Mellow. Etc. Etc. Etc.
"Catfish" sets the mood for the entire record- it's almost a ballad, but it's not. Cute slow song.
"Grass Stain" is a little more upbeat, with the perfect amount of reverb and addictiveness. Approval.
"Rose 1956" is probably my favorite song on the album. It's a really cute song and the melody is badass. I listen to it when I get ready in the morning. One of those kinds of songs.
"American Weekend" has a sad feel to it. I love how Katie's voice sounds in it.
"Michel" has absolutely amazing lyrics. Super sad, but amazing. I actually just listened to it about 40 times in a row. I'd advise you do the same.
"Be Good" is the perfect song, seriously. Her lyrics are amazing, and the guitar is unbelievably catchy. 
The entire album has almost a roots-y sound to it. It's very easy going and calming. It's the kind of CD you want to keep in your car for bad days.
The rest of the songs are badass too, but I figure that's probably enough of a feel for you.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Young///Savage - New Flesh

There are quite a few unwritten rules around the Idle and the Bear office, and a few of them don’t really mind being written, such as:

  1. Don’t let squirrels build indoor forts.
  2. Velcro beats shoelaces.
  3. Everything on Death to False Hope Records’s website is the shit.
  4. Numbered lists are fun and make the review look lengthier and more fun.
This band Young///Savage (I’m probably not going to write the entire band name out any more times than that) have all four of those rules going for them. Well, actually I can only say the third thing is officially true. I don’t want to harm my journalistic integrity regarding the others. They’re just rumors. For now.

If you’ve ever been sitting around at my house in Kentucky, you may’ve felt this weird, unnamed urging. An urging to listen to a perfect blent of Count Your Lucky Stars-esque emo mixed with the catchiness and hopefully beardiness of orgcore. Orgcore, for those just tuning in, is a fake genre consisting of bands like Hot Water Music, The Lawrence Arms, Spraynard, Dillinger Four, Against Me! and all that. I’d say Young Savage are more on the emo side of this, and therefore I like it even more.

On ‘New Flesh’, Young Savage really pull out all the stops. Take nothing musically or emotionally for granted here. The tone can change rapidly and so can the music. These are catchy songs with a bit of an edge to them. There’s weird guitar bits thrown in at times, and clever/awesome drum fills. The song “90 Proof Stallion” actually sounds like the record was filtered through a giant bucket of booze, and the unsettling guitar leads midway through fit into the atmosphere beautifully. 

My favorite song would have to be “The Rawest Nerves”. I love the drum beat coupled with the simple, yet cool guitar bits. It reminds me of that band Dads from New Jersey. And then when the Fall Out Boy-esque bass line comes in, the song starts to feel a bit like a song by the band "fun." after taking a turn down the wrong alley on the wrong side of town. The vocals are so nicely distorted by vivid emotion that it makes me shake in my proverbial boots.

You really should check out this band. The music is excellent, and I’d bet like 50 bucks at least that they’re excellent people too. If it turns out they’re not, I’ll give you 50 dollars and let you write “dipshit” on my forehead. If they’re as awesome as I postulate them to be, then I get to walk around without “dipshit” written on my forehead for once.


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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Flawless- Something I'll Never Miss

Flawless is this melodic hardcore band from Springfield, MO. Did you know that there were hardcore bands in Missouri? Yeah, me either! Crazy, right. It's a four-piece group that splits the vocals. This is their debut EP, released on December 17th of 2011. RIYL the 90s.
This album was about 300 times better than I expected it to.
The word hardcore scares me a little bit due to recent events in the teenage-midwest-music scene. I've never met an Ethan that I liked. Oh, and it's Missouri.
I'll stop poking fun now, I'm totally kidding. (Mostly.) The music is really good. It's one of those bands that clearly just has fun with it and you can picture them live. It's a five track EP with a Wonder Years meets Cursive sound. It's got great lyrics, and it does a pretty good job of staying equalized between all the instruments.
"Leap Year" is one of those songs that has a really exciting intro. You don't really know what the song's gonna sound like, but it builds it up like all hell. And then it turns out to be a good song. Crazy, right? It's angsty, too.   It's an interesting playing style and I enjoy it a lot.
"Model Home" has fabulous lyrics. You know those kind of lyrics that you instantly send to Idle and be like "Don't you wish you were reviewing this?"
I don't know. I might be the only one that does that. Anyway, the song has really great instrumentals. Their style is pretty basic when you just listen to it the first time, but the more you really start to listen to what they're doing, it's pretty interesting and I like it a lot. I have a feeling it'll have a little bit of an influence on the next handful of songs that are written in my household.
I want to punch people in the face during "1992." No lie. In a good way. Great song.
"Words" surprisingly has a lot of words in it. They're all good words, though. My favorite thing about this band so far is probably most definitely the lyrics.
Last but not least, "Free At Least" ends the record on a great note. I fully support and endorse this song. It's all fairly slow music, but it has interesting melodies and somehow manages to be slow and catchy at the same time.

PS. After doing some research, it turns out that Missouri kind of has a hardcore scene. The more you know!


Monday, January 16, 2012

Gillian Carter/Ghost Aviary Split

To begin this review, I’d like to set you up with a few things you might need:

  1. Links to the Gillian Carter and the Ghost Aviary halves of the split.
  2. A fair warning that we’re entering the bold and sometimes abrasive world of lo-fi recordings.
  3. Ice cream! (I can’t really give you ice cream. Internet isn’t that advanced yet. Sucks, right? I mean, if you feel like driving to Cincinnati, I can hook you up with some cookies ’n’ cream. But otherwise, you might just wanna pop into a convenient store and grab some ice cream before continuing the review. It’s dangerous to go alone.)
Now you’re as prepared as I am!

Gillian Carter are a skramz band from Palm Bay, Florida and Ghost Aviary are a sloppyskramz band and also from Palm Bay. The Urban Dictionary definition of skramz is, “a new term for the screamo/emo bands of the 90s, or anythign that is REAL screamo/emo.” I’m assuming it’s sort of like how some ska bands call themselves trad-ska so that people know they’re better/cooler than other ska bands. The definition goes on to question whether the term ’skramz’ is to be taken seriously or not, and that it was most likely, “created in revolt of the shitty ’new’ emo bands and self-proclaimed ‘emo’ kids” It’s always a bit refreshing to find out that genres other than ska and pop punk have to deal with all the same first world problems as we do. DEFEND POP PUNK. 

Wow, that paragraph had a good deal of red and green squiggly lines under certain words/sentences. I’m glad you guys can’t see the writing process from my point of view. 

Gillian Carter’s half of the split is pretty solid overall. It starts off with a song jam packed with screaming/yelling. I’m not 100 percent on what is being shouted, but it sounds like it’s either one of these things:

  1. White rights.
  2. White rice.
  3. Black flag.
  4. Riot riot.
  5. Right right.
  6. Idle and the Bear is the best thing to happen to the internet since napster.
It’s probably neither of those things, actually, but it’s hard to say. I don’t think it matters. I honestly can’t understand the lyrics in any of these songs, but it doesn’t take away from the experience for me. The only beef I have at all with the Gillian half of the split is that the snare drum sounds really, really ugly. Other than that, there are five short but sweet skramz tunes for all the skramz fans to yell and fist pump along to. 

You may recall from earlier on in this review an instance in which I referred to Ghost Aviary as sloppyskramz rather than just skramz. I don’t honestly like they’re sloppy or anything...that’s just what the drummer Tim told me to refer to them as. They’re just as skramz as Gillian Carter, and more importantly, just as good. 

Ghost Aviary’s half of the split starts off with my favorite song from either side of this motherfucker, “Chelsea.” It starts off with a burst of power and then calms down for some scream/yell vocals. I overall enjoy the Ghost half of the split more than I do the Gillian half. I feel sketchy stating this since the drummer of Ghost is a close friend of the bear and I, but to be fair he was also a part time drummer in Gillian. So they start off on equal grounds with me...the ground Ghost Aviary stand on just raises up a bit while listening to their bit of the split. The songs are entertaining on musical terms and as something to yell along to and skramz it up with. 

You’re pretty much set as a skramz fan with this split in your hands. You also should totally get this split in your hands; it’s awesome when it’s shit you’re into. You can order the split or you can just enjoy the bandcamp links I set you up with; it’s entirely up to you! I’ve done my work.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Does anybody remember me performing any weird ceremonies or rituals a few month back? This band Sold For Parts makes me feel as if I tried to forfeit my flesh and blood in an act to bring forth the most excellent example of brocore pop punk to ever exist. Well, I don’t remember any such rituals, but it apparently paid off, considering the fact that I’m spending my valuable time writing some goofy scenario as if my life has purpose or whatever. Or as if that sentence had purpose. Whatever.

Sold For Parts have a few things going for them, and barely anything against them:

  1. They have a perfect Get Up Kids like sound to most of their music.
  2. They have very bro-core lyrics, i.e. lyrics about bros and hoes ( bad. I’m not sexist, I promise. I was creating humor in light of the topic. You know? Just don’t kick my ass, all our womyn readers. Thanks)
  3. They’re bros. That could either work for them or against them, depending on who’s reading this. They’re kind of like The Dopamines of New Jersey. I’m assuming their friends in Jersey love them as much as we in Cincinnati love our Dopamines.
If you’re a fan of pop punk or emo, you should definitely check these guys out. I’ll admit, they’re not for everyone. I can name several friends who would not enjoy them at all, but I could also name way more people who would dig them as much as I do. Here’s 5 songs that can make or break it for you, listen to them at your leisure. Don’t overbrose or whatever...uh...I’m pretty lame. Regardless, check out this ‘What’s Gooooooooood?’ EP from Sold For Parts. I bet you love their skatepunk riffs and anxious, girl-crazy boy lyrics. I know I do.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Traders- Even At Our Best, We're Still Worse Than Most

The Traders is an amazing punk band from Lyon, France. They've been together since April of 2010, and they kick ass. We first became acquainted with these guys last year when we reviewed the Traders' first EP and Nichiel's, a band that shares members. This album was released on November 18th of last year. RIYL Nichiel's, Dead Pop Club, Why I Hate
As I've stated before, the Traders do have English lyrics, so there goes your excuse to not download them. Besides, you want to hear these guys. I promise.
"Roundabouts" is a striking, fast, catchy song with fun melodies and awesome vocals. It has nice variability and shows some skill. "The Best Cabaret" has a bass line that makes me smile. It's another fast song with some nice harmonies from the two vox guys. Reminds me of Black Sails, Western Shores.
The album in entirety is really quite good. I liked them a lot before, but I think that their sound has improved quite a lot and they're evolving quite nicely. They have a traditional early melodic punk sound and it's always nice to hear a band that isn't trying too hard. 
Out of all the global scenes that I've checked out, I think France probably has one of the coolest. Part of the reason I've found that out is through this band. It's a really tight-nit group from what I can see, and they all make really, really badass music.
Tres, tres bon mon amis!


Dowsing - All I Could Find Was You

This is the third day in a row that I’ve reviewed an album released by CYLS (Count Your Lucky Stars). You know why that is? Every single band on that record label is brilliant. I honestly feel like I found some new, revolutionary alternate energy source or I discovered a brand new gold mine or something. Or maybe it’s more like when you’re hiking through the woods and you come across a rock that's shaped precisely like male genitalia, and you’re like, “woah! That’s crazy,” and then you go and tell everyone and they’re all like, “dude, I’ve seen that rock plenty of times before and I’m already aware of how great it is.” I hope nobody feels confused or excluded by that shitty analogy. What I’m trying to say is:  CYLS isn’t new (they’re on their 5th year), but they’re certainly new to me. So, I’m pretty excited.

Not unlike the other CYLS bands I reviewed (Empire! Empire!, Annabel, The Reptilian, Warren Franklin, Joie De Vivre), this band Dowsing from Chicago are a breath of the freshest air. Their new EP ‘All I Could Find Was You’ is packed with 6 of the most heartfelt songs I’ve heard since Shinobu or Arrogant Sons of Bitches. This 4-piece emo-indie group know what they’re doing, and what they’re doing is melting our faces and breaking our hearts.

The EP kicks off with “Driving,” which is the perfect blend of poppy feels and scathing vocals. Dowsing remind me a lot of what it would be like if Warren Franklin was part of full band rather than just a one man ninja army musician. The rest of the album continues in this manner:  infectious vocals matched up with infectious clean guitar leads and an abundance of simple, poppy chord progressions. I feel like this band could easily act as a buffer between pop punk and emo. If you’re really into pop punk and then you check out this band, you’ll likely be all like, “oh man, this is right down my alley, but new at the same time!” And if you’re into emo and check them out, you might find yourself jamming out to Handguns or The Dopamines just a couple days later.

The album closes with “Joking/Laughing,” which is probably one of the best album closers I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing. There’s a cathartic build up followed by a veritable musical explosion (well, really just it’s keyboard, guitar, bass, drums doing what they do best) paired with great gang vocals. It’s a great ending to an awesome release by a superb group of rad musicians. ADJECTIVES!

Check out Dowsing’s ‘All I Could Find Was You’ over on their bandcamp page, and pay a visit to the CYLS bandcamp to check out loads of other awesome bands!


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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Warren Franklin - Your Heart Belongs to the Midwest

Today is a good day. My only real reason for saying that is that this album I’m reviewing right now is nothing less than fucking amazing. Warren Franklin is an acoustic punk deity. For real. He plays this acoustic brand of emo/indie/punk goodness that absolutely everyone in the world would probably love. Infectious vocals, emotional lyrics that pull you in, and the occasional percussion and horn work added into the mix. This is all made special by the absolutely amazing vocals that top it all off. Warren’s voice is the perfect blend of raspy and endearing. I think I’m in musician love.

Warren Franklin did us all the amazing favor of releasing a second full length titled ‘Your Heart Belongs to the Midwest’. The album is packed with 12 songs that make you want to immediately leave everything behind and get in some shitty Econoline-esque van and hit the road with your other folk punk friends and play a bunch of house parties for people just as lost and fucked as yourself. Maybe that’s just what the songs do to me, actually. They might paint an entirely different picture for you...and that’d also be awesome.

Songs to be sure to check out for this release would definitely have to be “Bro Downs Know No Bounds”, “You Get Weary”,  and “St. Peters”. Actually, you should just listen to the entire album through like 50 times. It’s probably my favorite release of 2011. It’s definitely somewhere up there on my top list. You can check it out on bandcamp for free if you don’t believe me. Be sure to check out the rest of the dudes on Count Your Lucky Stars too!


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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Annabel/Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate), Joie De Vivre, The Reptilian split 7"

Emo-centric record label Count Your Lucky Stars recently released a 4-way split between the bands Annabel, Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate), Joie De Vivre, and The Repitlian. I guess you probably figured that much out by reading the title, though. However, what you may not have figured out (unless you're already a fan of these bands) is that this split is really, really good.

The split kicks off with Annabel, an awesome mid-90s emo styled indie rock group with quite a lot to offer. Their song for this 4-way split boasts excellent guitar leads and is probably one of the happiest sounding songs I’ve heard since reviewing Bomb the Music Industry earlier this year. Actually, this band reminds me a lot of that new BTMI record, but I guess it would have to be vice versa since I’m going to have to assume Annabel have been playing in this style for quite some time now. BTMI is trying to sound like Annabel. There we go.

The second song on this puppy is by this band called Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate). I’d be lying if I didn’t say that this band reminds me a shit load of the band I just reviewed in the previous paragraph; the only real discernible difference being the vocalist. That’s not to say I don’t fucking love this song; because I totally love this song. The vocals sound anxiety ridden and desperate, and that’s exactly the kind of thing I dig about this genre. I feel like I’m being emotionally thrusted into the song and I can’t lie and say I don’t like when that happens. I like when that happens.

Joie De Vivre manage to change the tone of the album to a more depressing first. Then the horn bits kick in and you forget all about that. It’s easy to see why these bands have all been label mates for the past 5 years. They boast a fairly similar style and they’re all pretty damn awesome at what they do.

A challenger has appeared.

The EP finally changes tone almost entirely when The Reptilian’s song comes on. The style isn’t really drastically different (desperate vocals, drum beat changing at odd times, clean guitar leads), but at the same time it’s completely different. The vocals are raspy as hell and remind me a lot of that dude who scream in A Billion Ernies, and I love it. The song just feels more interesting overall, even though it’s not a song you can really sing-a-long to (pop punk kid problems). The Reptilian came in at the end of this already rad EP and made it even radder. Awesome.

You should check out this EP if you’re a fan of bands like Rites of Spring, American Football, Fugazi and all that good stuff. Even if you’re not, this EP might make you a fan of the genre after all. So, here’s a link to the bandcamp page and here’s a link to the record label. Have fun with all that.


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Monday, January 2, 2012

Summer Salt- The Places You Call Home

Summer Salt is this really awesome indie/folk pop band from Bloomington, IN. Not only are they from one of the coolest towns in the US, they're really fun to listen to. They have seven members, wow. Emi Knight fronts the group, joined with Ali Homan, Jenna Beasley, Dave Segedy, Jess Childs, Micah Bontrager, and Oliver Ceelen. They released this in June of 2011.
The music is really calming and sweet. It reminds me a little bit of Eisley, actually. The first song, "The Sun" is a cute short track that fades into a more energetic song, "Emi Completely." The lyrics are really, really nice and the girls do amazing harmonies. "Heart Races" is another slow one, with a great beat. "Learning So Much" is probably one of my favorites... Really sweet song with great melodies. It's just so fucking cute. I love the lyrics and I'm obsessed with Emi's voice.
"Tiptoe Dancers" has the best, best best harmonies! Oh, and the bass is like chocolate raindrops. No lie. It is exactly like that. I love the guitar in "I Saw You Coming." This song is almost a little jazzy, which I enjoy.
"A Love Song" has nice picking and cute lyrics. "Mosquito" is super fucking addicting. 
I could go on, but I won't. It's really cute mostly-acoustic and sometimes-electric indie pop that will make your insides go "squee." It's extremely creative and talented,but it's pretty simple. It's very mellow. How many other sentences can I start with the word "it's"? Who knows.
I think I'm going to start falling asleep to this. It's awesome.


Interview with Slingshot Dakota (Top Shelf Records)

Infectious indie rock/punk duo Slingshot Dakota are on the verge of making their debut on Top Shelf Records with a new full length, and we were blessed with the opportunity to shoot them a few questions regarding it over email. They’re awesome and you should be as excited as we are about this upcoming release!

How would you two compare your Top Shelf Record debut release with your 2008 album ’Their Dreams Are Dead, But Ours Is the Golden Ghost?’

Our new record  has the same honesty that "Their Dreams Are Dead" has, except it's a bit more dark and introspective. Since the release of "Their Dreams," we've lost our friends to tragic accidents and encountered a lot of hardships in our lives that felt impossible to overcome.  The new record focuses a lot on what was going on in our lives the past few years, and how we can possibly move on. We're still earnest and hopeful, and we're still pouring our hearts and souls into the music, it's just in a more real and difficult way. With "Their Dreams," we were trying to prove that we could be a kick-ass two piece band. You can hear it in the record; it's very impulsive. Now that we've let our friends and fans know that we can form a band that's as punk, or loud, or whatever as the next band, we're writing songs that we really want to write. And those songs aren't just about "doing what you love" anymore. It's about living.

I know there was definitely a lot of positive feedback for ‘Golden Ghost', because I’m pretty sure I heard praise of the record from like everyone and their mother. Plus I loved it. Would you say this created any sort of stress for attempting to top it in the future?

I think it creates the same amount of stress that any band encounters! Because writing a great record is relative, and we think "Their Dreams" AND the new record are amazing; they're just different. The Golden Ghost has this child-like positivity to it that we still believe in, but the new record is about how our positive attitudes got shaken up when life happened. It's hard to believe in yourself or your friends or humanity when terrible things happen. So, I guess people might be bummed out that we're not singing the same anthems as what's on the Golden Ghost, but we're still trying to get them out. The positive hope is still in there, it's just shaken. Also, to try to "top" any record or song isn't how we view songwriting. We just try to write what we love and convey some kind of message in our music, or we just hope that someone can relate to what we're writing about. That's more meaningful to us than writing the newest hit song. 

I saw on your twitter page that somebody considers your live show to be preachy, and I guess they also thought of this negatively. What are your thoughts whenever something like this occurs? I’m hoping you have the Propagandhi approach to it (sarcastically releasing a record titled ‘Less Talk, More Rock’.)

Oh yes, the anonymity of the internet!! It gets hard, because I have this natural tendency to want to please everyone. I don't go online and search anymore, and if I do see something negative, I usually leave it alone or confront the person about it (if it's something messed up). I don't care if people don't like our band; I don't like a lot of things. I get it! It's cool. But, when you are writing on "punk" message boards about my boobs and how Tom is a "faggot" and you don't want to hear us talk about how rape isn't okay, then seriously, what are you doing here? Honestly, what are those people doing in life. It gets frustrating. But we just keep talking about it anyway. That's how I grew up liking the bands I like to this day.. I liked knowing what their songs were about. And people don't have to like that about us, too. I get it.. you don't have to like a band talking a lot in between songs. But, 1.) we're old. we need breathers. and 2.) the things we talk about are absolutely important to us and we WANT to talk about them in hopes that it reaches someone who needs to hear it, or someone who needs to feel like they are not alone. If you aren't into bands that talk about their songs, well, you probably won't like us. But you can't possibly call yourself "punk" or in my opinion, a good human being, if you can't appreciate a band taking the time to talk about rape, sexual assault, any kind of violence in hope that it HELPS someone. 

How did working with Topshelf Records come together? Did you approach them or did they approach you with the idea of working together to release the upcoming record?

After releasing the Golden Ghost by ourselves, we realized we wanted to be touring a lot and we wanted our music to be our jobs. Putting out your own record is the best thing you can do; you can give it away to people who don't have enough money, you can take your time, you don't owe anyone anything. But there are things as a band that you can't do, or afford. In order for us to tour all the time, and possibly go on tour with bands we couldn't reach ourselves, we realized it was time to reach out to possible labels who could help us out. Tom did all of the contacting and research on labels that he respects and looks up to, and Topshelf was one of the first that came to mind. We sent them a demo my cousin did a year ago, and luckily they decided to work with us on our new release.

You guys are doing a mini-tour this winter with The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die. That sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun. Do you have any more planned tours on the horizon? Is there anywhere you’ve been really wanting to tour to but haven’t been able to put it together yet?

We are beyond stoked for our upcoming minitour!! Our last tour was another mini-tour with Now, Now and Mansions, two bands we absolutely love. So it's awesome to go on another mini-tour with The World Is, because not only do we love them as people but their music is amazing and we will get to see them every night! We plan on doing a tour in the spring that coincides with the release of our record, and it will be a full-US tour. We would LOVE to go back to Europe and we'd also love to visit Australia, as we've never been there!!

If you were to compare your band’s style or message with any other band (or person, or anything really), what would be the comparison you’d make?

We always describe ourselves as a two-piece indie band with the energy of a punk/hardcore band. We're pretty poppy if you just turn on a CD and listen, but if you see us live, you get a whole other story. You get a lot of talking, as mentioned above. You get a lot of stupid jokes. But, you also get a lot of head banging and broken drum sticks and keys. We put everything into our performance, because it is what we love to do. Music is our hearts, and we do a lot of driving and work a lot of part-time jobs to be able to play the shows we play, so once we get to play, we go nuts. 

People love comparing us to other 2 piece bands that we don't sound like at all (Matt & Kim, really?!). It's like comparing The Beatles to Weezer because they all have 4 members. It's not that easy, people! 

Thanks for doing an interview with us! I hope everything goes smoothly with the tour and release! 


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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Lee Corey Oswald- Moon Songs

Lee Corey Oswald is a folk punx duo that has expanded into a full-band for it's LP debut, Moon Songs. They hail from Portland. The songs are honest, catchy, and heartfelt. It was released on cassette in December of 2011, and will soon be put on an expanded release, too. :) RIYL The Good Life meets Against Me!. Kind of. More like the Motorcycle Industry.
Have you guys ever wondered what it would sound like if a kitten, a unicorn, and Mike from Monsters Inc started a folk punk band together? That sounds nothing like Lee Corey Oswald. It's like a reverse analogy, because that hypothetical band would sound like shit. They would probably be cute, though.
In all seriousness, this release surprised me.
It sneaks up on you.
At first, you're like "Eh. Pretty good." and then all the sudden you want to rewind tracks. And then you're replaying the album... And then it hits you.
This release is great. The lyrics are fantastic. I'm not too crazy about some of the melodies or guitar lines, but the badass vocals, lyrics, and bass/drum beats fully make up for it.
The cassette tape came with these badass little cards made up of fancy paper with all the album info printed on it. I love it. The person that made these is a kickass human being. The first thing I noticed when I looked through them was "holy shit there are a lot of instruments in this band" and then I started to hear it.
Oh, and they thank Satan in their thank yous. It was adorable.
"Dream Song" is by far my favorite track. The keyboards are fucking adorable. You guys have no idea. The lyrics are fantastic. The melody is really, really addictive.
"Stare At The Moon" is another fantastic one. I love it. It's very catchy, upbeat, and the picking style is gorgeous.
Honestly, it's hard to find things about this album to criticize... Check them out!


Museum Mouth- Sexy But Not Happy

Museum Mouth is an indie band from Southport, SC. They've been together for a few years now, and this is a January 2012 release! Woo! They are Karl Kuehn (see also) on drums and vocals, Graham High on guitar, and Kory Urban on bass. RIYL Hymie's Basement, SWTHRT, Lovvers

This album is a pretty interesting sound. I absolutely love the album booklet, first off. The pictures are adorable and funny. It starts off on "Goodbye, Evan" which has a pretty good melody. I really like the guitar line, but it's a little redundant, to be honest. "Sexy But Not Happy," the title track, wins the award for the best track name and probably the best song on the album. "Big Problems" is another one that I liked, it has a really nice drum rhythm to it.
It has a very interesting mix of lo-fi and pop punk to it. It's very guitar heavy and is pretty dance-y. To be honest, I think it loses me on some of the tracks. But that's not because it isn't good, it's just not catching me, I suppose.
The lyrics are really really great and the melodies are fun, too. Overall, I would say it's a good. album. It's not my favorite, partially because it's just not my genre and partially because I've heard it before. It's definitely got it's catchiness to it, though. I would say it's good driving music, probably. 
I think this band is going to have those people that absolutely love it (most definitely) and people that can't stand it. I'm somewhere in between, leaning towards the first.

Check them out! :) If I'm wrong, tell me I'm super wrong and threaten to fight me. Or something. Maybe we could just play it in the car together.