Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Action Jets – Action Girl on Instragram b/w Action Party Epic Fun! (Self Release)
Action Dave and his band of party hardy Marty’s strike again with a new single about narcissistic, self absorbed girls doing what they do best: What exactly is that you ask?  Taking selfies on Instragram of course! When I hear the words power pop I immediately think of music that sounds like this: fun, instantly appealing, and with memorable hooks that tend to sound better the louder you play it! Think of bands like power pop super group Tinted Windows, Free Energy and even a bit of Weezer thrown into the melting pot and you get the idea of what this group seems to effortlessly dole out on every one of their songs so far.   – J Castro 

Babysitter – 7 Cassette (Shake!)
I am going to take this time to quickly give a shout out to the folks at Shake! Records and Tapes in Victoria, British Columbia, they consistently release great records month after month. It is actually pretty amazing and it’s not the same style of music either. Shake! Releases stuff that’s all over the rock n’ roll map, the only consistency is that it’s all good! Now let’s talk Babysitter. This is apparently the 7th release Shake has put out by these Montreal malcontents. This band is experimental in the New York circa the 1970’s art damaged kind of way. The record is loud, wild, angry, and totally unpredictable; listening to Babysitter gives me a feeling similar to watching a David Lynch film. The band experiments not only with instrumentation but tape speed and volume fluctuations as well. This is one wild ride you soon won’t forget; hold on to your drinks!   – J Castro    

Big Dick – Disappointment LP (Dirt Cult)
From Ottawa, Ontario comes this duo of bass, drums and anxiety. I don’t know why, but I always stare at cover art before, during, and after I listen to records. I saw this and I thought it was going to be electronic, clean or really structured but I was wrong on all accounts! This is some stripped down, melodic yet on the aggressive side rock. Big Dick are obviously influenced by punk rock (they got their name from a Nomeansno song) but I also hear elements of the early, and maybe more vigorous Superchunk songs in here.  Obviously the comparison to fellow Ontarian bass and drum duo Death From Above 1979 is inevitable, but Big Dick doesn’t do the grinding doom disco thing at all. They stick it in your ear hard and fast, no frills, no gimmicks, and no synthesizers!  – J Castro    

The Blind Shake – Fly Right LP (Slovenly)
I recently just finished watching the first season of True Detective and songs like “Holy Road” would have just fit right into the soundtrack seamlessly. Much like True Detective, Blind Shake is wild, reckless, calculated, clever, slow burning and filled with purpose. The band writes rock n’ roll, spaghetti western, ’60’s psych, garage stompers rolled into one and fills Fly Right with reverb soaked tremolo riffs set against a musical push and pull. At one point, Blind Shake forges ahead with menace and purpose on “More Land” while playing it loose and country-tinged on “Diamond Days.” This mini-LP is hot off the heels of last years Breakfast of Failures and doesn’t miss a beat. – Ed Stuart

Boilerman – S/T 10”  (86’d/Crapoulet/Waterslide)
I knew this record was going to be a tad on the intense side when I saw the song names were just Roman Numerals and the only one with a title is called “Weak Week.” It’s not metallic hardcore though, it’s actually really catchy stuff! The vocals are sung with heaps of enthusiasm, it’s played fast, so much so that the rest of the band can hardly keep up with the velocity, which only adds to its appeal I assure you. Even though Boilerman are from Chicago, this release really reminds me of bands that existed in the Bay Area in the early to mid ‘90’s like Crimpshrine and Monsula and could easily fit right in on Lookout Record’s compilation Can of Pork. It’s quick, it’s passionate, and it’s rough around the edges: sounds like punk rock to me!  – J Castro

Born Loose – I Loathe You 7” (Hound Gawd)
I really could write a review that reads, this is Born Loose and they kick ass, just on the strength of  “I Loathe You” alone. That’s it, review done. Born Loose is Larry from Candy Snatchers along with a host of others doing what they do best, which is bringing the ferocity back to punk rock n’ roll late ‘90’s style. I Loathe You is The Stooges, MC5, with touches of Turbonegro and early Humpers straight out of Detroit by way of New York City. – Ed Stuart

Brat Farrar – Brat Farrar II LP (P.Trash/Off The Hip/Every Night Is A Saturday Night)
Ex-frontman of Digger and The Pussycats and Russian Roulettes has just released his second solo LP and it’s straight from 1979. Just like on the first LP, Brat writes and plays all the instruments by himself. Brat Farrar II is full of Wipers, Wire, Screamers, just listen to “You’re A Mess,” but that’s not all as Brat lays experimental and noise ambience over some tracks like “Vapour Wave” to keep this record from being a one trick pony. Brat has a little something for everyone on this record much like a musical buffet.  – Ed Stuart

Cal & The Calories – Bastard in a Yellow Suit 7” (Total Punk)
Cal is the brainchild of the drummer from Lumpy & the Dumpers, which might explain the similar style in names, but that doesn’t matter after listening to Bastard in a Yellow Suit. For fans that want the danger back in punk, this is the release. This single is a non-stop Crime influenced ripper that sounds like it was recorded with the help of a blender and a pack of razorblades to slice the amp speakers in all the right spots. Guessing this is one take and done recording, but when it’s this good you only need one take.  – Ed Stuart

Cold Waste – Primitive Cassette (Dead Tank)
Cold Waste is a two-piece guitar and bass band, drums are provided by machine. Primitive is an ode to Echo and The Bunnymen, early Cure, Joy Division (without the brooding) that focuses more on the early to mid ‘80’s clean pop side of minimal UK post-punk instead of it’s melancholy cousin. – Ed Stuart

Crow Bait – Separate Stations 7” (Dirt Cult/Drunken Sailor)
Crow Bait didn’t waste anytime writing a follow up to last year’s Sliding Through The Halls of Fate. Separate Stations is the 3-song single that continues to feature the melodic anthemic punk-pop that the East Coast does so well. In some ways this reminds me of Jawbreaker and Replacements mixed with mid ‘90’s alternative from members of Iron Chic and Sister Kisser.  – Ed Stuart

Davidians – Night Terrors 7” (Sorry State)
Part of Sorry State’s “North Carolina Singles Series” Davidians violently and randomly hurl out some chaotic yet hard driving music from your unsuspecting speakers which is pretty accurately described as the title suggests. It’s this record’s equal parts unpredictability and ferocity that make it so explosive and interesting to listen to. Another way of putting it: is it’s the audio equivalent of a Hieronymus Bosch painting. It’s dark, there is a lot going on, you’re pretty sure there is something disturbing in there and you want to really soak it in so you don’t miss any of it. As Davidians bio states, this is “beautiful music made by four beautiful men from Raleigh, North Carolina.” They just left out the part about these four beautiful men being stuck in a Neil Gaiman story.    – J Castro    

Decades/Failures – G00DBY3 LP (Dead Tank)
Upon first listen to Decades/Failures opening track “White Walls,” I was waiting for the movie trailer to watch, one that features some dark noir story amongst the neon underbelly of the city. G00DBY3 is a dark wave, post-punk LP not for the positive set. It’s a brooding, atmospheric and melancholy LP where songs take time to develop and create landscapes.  – Ed Stuart

Defektors – Black Dreams Cassette (Shake!)
This is a seriously dark, like Danzig’s first album dark, record. But unlike Glenn’s band of doom merchants, Vancouver’s Defektors don’t do the mid tempo bluesy metal thing, they put together top notch stripped down post punk flavored rock. The minimal production makes Black Dreams sound raw and primal like it could have come out right alongside some of the first Joy Division and Bauhaus records in 1979. Some of the song titles are “Devil in the Woods,” “Sacrifice Yourself,” and “Turning Into Fire,” just in case you don’t believe me about their gloominess. None of your hippy love rubbish here folks. Brilliantly crafted shadowy rock with catchy hard driving bass lines, which are featured prominently on the song “Street Panic,” and thin Daniel Ash style tightly, coiled guitars that wrap around your conciousness like a cold fog. Killer release, another win for the folks at Shake!     – J Castro

The Diamond Age – Seas Happen EP (Self-Release)
Well, this is a first here at the Audio Ammunition underwater volcano command center: a really smooth, sophisticated electronic based single from a UK duo lands on our doorstep! The first obvious comparison that came to my mind was Erasure, just because I don’t listen to stuff like this much and that’s as far as my mental references take me. But listening to these lads back catalog the more I thought that this initial Erasure comparison isn’t too far off.  Both groups produce short bursts of breezy and ultra melodic music that despite its tranquil demeanor, is hard to ignore when it’s playing in the room. Diamond Age’s songs draw you into the mood they’re creating and before you know it you’re in their world and you forget the woes that followed you from the outside and now have become indistinguishable shadowy figures in the distance. -  J Castro  

Diamond Youth – Nothing Matters LP (Top Shelf)
Diamond Youth are influenced by late ‘80’s/’90’s melodic alternative rock. In some cases it’s Pixies, Weezer mixed with bits of Jesus and Mary Chain and some shoegaze ambience. “In the Clouds” sounds a lot like a Mando Diao type song and/or like something that would have played on MTV-era 120 minutes and probably could now, if the channel shows videos anymore.  – Ed Stuart

Easy Lovers – Get A Job LP (Self-Release)
Get A Job is full of late 90’s pop-punk bravado with Clash-y chant along chorus and some ’77 style guitar licks thrown in. Easy Lovers are a good blend of all those styles without being heavily dependent on just one. Big time “Whoa-oh” chorus with hooky rock n’ roll melodic leads right underneath. What if Johnny Ramone was really Johnny Thunders on lead guitar in the Ramones? You might just have a picture of Easy Lovers.  – Ed Stuart

Failure Machine – EP II or 7” Title (Self-Release)
Failure Machine is an interesting name for a band especially when it’s incorporates the yeoman like qualities of both soul and American rock n’ roll. The band is a strange way like a mix of Joe Cocker fronting the E Street Band. The band isn’t going to quit and especially not with that name. Failure Machine is a four-piece out of Reno. A city arguably known more for 7 Seconds and Sticker Guy, but Failure Machine wears the city badge with pride for its guitar, drums and two horns attack that is like soul without the showmanship, but still has the guts.  – Ed Stuart

Fashionism – Smash the State (With Your Face) 7” (Hosehead)
The songs on this record very much remind me of bands like The Jam or Minneapolis, MN’s The Strike. They’re played with a smooth and stylish approach, but with a volume and vivacity that is barely contained and threatens to blow that self imposed “cool” right out the back door. It’s that inner struggle that tug of war so to speak that I find to be so fascinating. That’s not to say that Fashionism is clones of anyone or anything from yesteryear. The band lists some veteran rabble-rousers in their ranks that know their craft well. The three songs presented here on their debut EP are marvelously magnetic and snap so loudly, they’re guaranteed to pop you off your seat; they’ve got elements of mod, glam, power pop, and new wave effortlessly and brilliantly woven throughout.    – J Castro

First Base – You’ve Got a Hold On Me 7” (Hosehead)
First Base is a really good mix of The Ramones and The Beach Boys and really weren’t The Ramones, arguably, really just the Beach Boys of punk anyway? You’ve Got a Hold of Me is just a bunch of summertime fun sounding songs. The vocals and melodies will melt your power-pop heart just like ice cream melts on a hot summer day. After repeated listening, First Base might just get a hold of you too. – Ed Stuart

Frogrammers – Boring LP (Wanda)
From Berlin comes this (relatively) new punk rock quartet, Boring is the band’s debut LP preceded by an EP titled Same which also came out on Wanda Records a few years ago.  To me, they have an early California punk sound like they could have been on the Dangerhouse label and had been right at home next to bands like The Weirdos, Randoms and Rhino 39. The music is pretty straightforward melodic punk, the vocals are delivered in typical punk brat fashion and the lyrics aren’t the type that is going to make you ponder the state of world affairs and your spiritual station in life. Frogrammer’s Boring is however gloriously cheeky fun that will make you want to jump off of every piece of furniture in the room, then throw it out the window! – J Castro

Girlfriend – Caroline b/w Vivian Cassingle (Shake!)
The cover of this here tape has a really great picture of Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed from one of my favorite movies: It’s a Wonderful Life. I don’t believe it’s meant as a statement in irony or anything, this debut single from this Victoria, British Colombia band that calls themselves “romance rock” has some of the same qualities as the 1947 Frank Capra classic. Both are wonderfully simplistic and tender. Listening to Girlfriend’s debut single is like a tonic for the troubled soul. It’s a sunny, breezy day at the beach with the ones you love. The music is fun, catchy and dreamy with some elements of ‘60’s surf and bubblegum thrown into the mix. Perfect for playing on your next romantic outing or just to sit back and reflect on the one that got away.  – J Castro

Hysterese – S/T LP (Dirt Cult)
The cover of this record has a picture of the Hindenburg explosion on it similar to the first Led Zeppelin record and I thought to myself: uh-oh what have we here, some possible Page/Plant worship? But oh no, nothing of that sort is heard here, this record provides some astoundingly catchy and commanding contemporary punk rock. The production is perfect for this music, giving the record an unclean, uneasy feel as it rockets past your ears. Hysterese drive their songs hard and fast in typical punk conduct and they’re all heavily coated in unique and hopelessly catchy hooks. I would file this in the same category as fellow German’s, Dirt Cult label mates, and Audio Ammunition favorites Blank Pages. In other words, it’s great! – J Castro 

Iron Chic/Low Culture – Split 7” Title (Dirt Cult/Dead Broke)
This split could also be billed as label head versus label head since Low Culture features Chris from Dirt Cult and Iron Chic features Mike from Dead Broke Records. What makes this split interesting is that the bands are not replicas of each other. Yes, both bands have pop elements to the songwriting. Iron Chic has their Long Island hard driving melodic-pop sound defined and they wear their pop-heart on their sleeve. Low Culture, on the other hand, may have tried to hide their hooks within their garage-punk-pop sound, but luckily for us they rise to the top on this enjoyable split single. – Ed Stuart

Jeremy & The HarlequinsAmerican Dreamer LP (Harlequins)
This band was started by Jeremy and Stephan Lublin, who were previously in Toledo, OH glam punk outfit We Are The Fury. While that band was very much T-Rex, Bowie, and Who, this band is Gene Vincent, The Crickets, and Eddie Cochrane. The thing with “rockabilly” for me is that a little goes a long way. There’s only so much Three Bad Jacks I can take. Much like Kim Lenz and The Jaguars though, Jeremy and the Harlequins embrace the deeper, cooler and more melodic side of ‘50’s rock n’ roll.  These cats don’t just go for the wild side of the genera like the killer opening song “Trip into the Light” these songs are all over the human emotional spectrum. They dive in deep, which makes the songs far more interesting. The songs on American Dreamer are so catchy, timeless and embraceable you’ll want to keep the album in your car all the time and wish that car was a ’55 Bel Air! One of my favorite releases this year!   – J Castro

JJCNV – Leathered, Weathered and Feathered CD (Flab Fjord)
JJCNV is a moniker that the band has left open for it’s fans to fill in. Musically, Leathered, Weathered and Feathered has a late ‘80’s/early ’90’s feel more specifically in SST-era Sonic Youth. Thick fuzz bass lines, primal drumming, noisy guitars and distorted vocals provides detours to the pop snippets within the songs, listen to “Stomach Baby.” JJCNV are willing to start, stop and shift musical gears throughout the songs at a seconds notice.  – Ed Stuart

Jons – Com Shred I Cassette (Shake!)
If the Beach Boys partied with heroin, acid and other drugs that would alter their surf-pop-summer outlook, might get you into Jons territory. Jons play California Pop as if the Velvet Underground would. As a result, Com Shred I is full of darker psych, just off-kilter reverb, post-punk franticness and droning vocals, most notably on “Savage Gordon.” It’s almost if SST-era Sonic Youth were going for Byrds style pop, missed the mark and created some interestingly quirky garage-pop.  – Ed Stuart

Kerosene – Kerosene EP (End Product)
Kerosene at first listen of “Behind The Whip” had a little Gang of Four thing going, but that quickly disappeared into a Fugazi style experimental indie punk, think more the Fugazi songs where Guy sung instead of the straight Ian sung songs. Kerosene does blend noisy punk and bits of industrial atmosphere with a lo-fi recording to give the band a musical edge that most post-punk, who opt for a cleaner sound, don’t have. – Ed Stuart

La Urss – Marvillas Del Mundo LP (Sabotage)
Unfortunately, I don’t speak or understand Spanish so I will rely on the label description on what La Urss is singing about. “The . . . lyrics . . . talk about the daily absurds and social miserys, were inspired by the local social environment and the current social political situation.Marvillas Del Mundo is the third LP from La Urss whose sound is a lot like T.S.O.L, specifically Dance With Me/Beneath The Shadows-era. Moody, dark, catchy pop melodies over urgent punk rhythms.  – Ed Stuart

Louder – S/T LP (Sorry State)
There isn’t a lot of info about Louder which could be a good thing depending on who you ask. One of the few things, I did find was that band was listed in an article titled, 10 Bands Holding Up Japan’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Underground. Louder is a hybrid of Japanese garage-punk and UK ’77 influences; think Registrators and Raydios meets a punker Buzzcocks (more “Fast Cars” and less “Harmony In My Head”) with some Fuses style art-ish breakdowns. Louder is catchy frantic punk-pop made by a band that could be diagnosed with ADHD and plays ten songs in about as many minutes. – Ed Stuart

The Mandates – In The Back Of Your Heart LP (Hosehead)
In The Back Of Your Heart, The Mandates have written a LP that’s both tough and tender, but more tough than tender. The Mandates have been doing their ’77 rock n’ roll for a quite a few years, but the band’s years together have only made them a tighter more powerful unit. The Mandates are culled from the best parts of New York Dolls, The Dictators, The Saints and Generation X’s penchant for guitar hooks and melody. In The Back Of Your Heart has something for everyone, tough riffs that lure listeners in before the pop hooks delivering a musical KO.  – Ed Stuart

Mean Jeans – Singles LP (Dirtnap)
I love singles comps, let’s just put that right out on the table first thing. I know a lot of people feel “cheated” or whatever because they won’t be able to show off those rare B-Sides at their DJ gig or what not. I’ve never been interested in that sort of thing. If I like a band, I want all their music, period. Somewhere along the way, I usually miss out on a 7” here or there, or even if I have all of a band’s singles I still like these comps because I can listen to it all the records in one sitting without having to get up and flip the record every 3 to 7 minutes. Now the great thing about this particular singles comp is that IT’S A MEAN JEANS COMP! This is a band that has been out for a while and has released a lot of 7”’s on a lot of different labels. Now you can own a terrific 20 song collection of some of the catchiest, most undeniably fun-tastic party anthems in all the land.   – J Castro 

Midnite Snaxxx – Don’t Wake Me Up b/w Pull Down The Shades 7” (Total Punk)
On Midnite Snaxxx’s Facebook profile, they describe themselves as “Mexicans who play punk,” I like them already! This is straight forward, snarling punk rock n’ roll that reminds me of the salad days of bands with this similar sound like The Dirty Sweets, No Talents, and Loli and The Chones. It’s a sound that has the manic energy of ‘60’s garage Back from the Grave type bands mixed with the power and ferocity of punk like The Sick Things or the Avengers and yes the B-Side is a cover of the old Chris Knox/Toy Love crowd pleaser also covered by Jay Reatard if I’m not mistaken. I whole heartedly dig this sound in general: I am now fully into this band and now I gotta go dig up their other EP’s and LP now. I’m now ready for more Snaxxx action!   – J Castro    

Modern Pets – B.I.Y.S. 7” (Secret Mission)
This record came out about a year ago but since it rules, Modern Pets rule and Secret Mission rule, we’re gonna give it a review anyway, scoff if you will but there’s nothing you can do to stop us!  Modern Pets are from Germany and crank out really charismatic snotty punk rock in the ol’ 77 Brit fashion. 2 hot, fast stabs to the head is all you get from the Pets this time around but it’s enough. The A-side, “B.I.Y.S.” comes at you like a guillotine blade from the very start. There’s no breaks or time outs once you turn the record over either! The B-side “Sweet Frustration” immediately explodes, littering the room with small fires and jagged shrapnel; it’s anchored by a super catchy chorus and a guitar riff that will lodge itself in your skull for days. Both songs are great and are both A-Side worthy. Most bands wouldn’t waste two top shelf tunes like these on one single, but I guess that’s how the great ones do it!    – J Castro

Moth – First Second LP (Mass Media)
Dark, coldwave, goth from Denmark. On First Second, Moth offers a collection of songs that would not be out of place with any ‘80’s UK goth tinged alternative like Joy Division, Bauhaus. Subtle pop hooks hidden in a midst of gloomy, haunting atmosphere from a band helping to forge the new Danish sound.  – Ed Stuart

Mystery Date – New Noir LP (Pinata)
America strikes back in the power-pop war! In the heart of the Twin Cities, Minneapolis, Mystery Date has crafted one hell of a power-pop record. New Noir takes equal influence of American power pop with equal parts UK power-pop, but doesn’t draw from the classic well-known influences (think Buzzocks, Jam), but instead from the Only Ones; a band that just hovered on the power-pop periphery for reasons never truly explained, but not for lack of songwriting sophistication. Mystery Date is hovering on the genre border too, but not for its lack of quality songs. – Ed Stuart

Narco States – Wicked Sun LP (Piñata Records)
I wasn’t sure what to expect by this album and as it was coming on, I read the bands influences: Black Sabbath, The Stooges, and the Pretty Things, which happen to be three of my favorite bands, whoa yeah!! True to their word this album rocks and grooves in all the right places just like the bands mentioned above. It’s not straight up aggression with Narco States, this here record has got soul power as well as Raw Power! They’ve even got an organ and when this baby lights up like it does in the song “Invasion,” it just grinds and pummels the music straight into your bleeding ears and into your fractured psyche. This is the Minneapolis, Minnesota’s second release; their first was a four song EP that I hear is getting repressed. I’m glad I caught this killer band early on so I don’t have to run around checking Discogs for their back catalog!   – J Castro 

Nasty Rumors – Girls in Love b/w Barbed Wire Heart 7” (Wanda)
I don’t know why so many “punk bands” feel they need to play so ridiculously fast these days! The faster you play a song doesn’t make it any more “punk.” Take for example Bern, Switzerland’s Nasty Rumors; they play it cool, calm and collected. Snarling and sneering with a snappy tempo, just like The Vibrators did back in the late 1970’s. This record is the band’s 2nd EP they released in the latter part of 2014 following the equally excellent Rats on a Wheel 7” which also came out last year. Nasty Rumors possesses pretty much all of the qualities I was drawn to punk music to begin with: short, super catchy songs that are in your face with an unbelievably snobby attitude and when the songs are over the band walks away flicking a cigarette at your face with an arrogant strut.   – J Castro

Nervous Talk – S/T LP (Hosehead)
This is LP is like an undiscovered late ‘70’s punk/power-pop/rock n’ roll gem mixed with some garage-punk, but the trick is on us since Nervous Talk are a current band. Nervous Talk is made of members of B-Lines, Ballantynes, Timecopz, but don’t play anything like their other bands. Nervous Talk sounds like equal parts Undertones, Teenage Head, Pointed Sticks and a slower Marked Men with a touch of Nick Lowe thrown in for good measure. This is highly catchy and highly recommended. – Ed Stuart

New Trocaderos – Frenzy In the Hips CDEP (Uncle Mike’s RnR)
By now everyone who reads this blog knows how much we love this band because they play really terrific, charismatic, timeless rock n’ roll anthems for the ageless rebel soul.  It’s groups like this that remind me of how rock n’ roll first swept me off my feet so many years ago. The lyrics and themes of New Troc’s songs fit right in with any of the genre’s best material throughout its history. This is a band that consists of people who not only have a songwriting talent, but also love and respect this type of music as well. This is a compilation of their first two EP’s plus a new one thrown in called “Luckiest Man in the World” and it too is a primed up scorcher. One can call The New Trocaderos music power pop, rock n’ roll, or even pop punk, but I call it simply tremendous!  – J Castro

No Tomorrow Boys – Who Killed Johnny b/w Get Out of Denver 7” (Hound Gawd! Records)
They’re back with more switchblades and Pomade than ever before! This band takes the harder hitting ‘77 punk sounds like Slaughter and the Dogs and meshes is with the wilder side of ‘50’s rock n’ roll like The Phantom and fuses it together to blow out some killer punk rock n’ roll! The A-Side is a tribute to ol’ Johnny Thunders himself with a hook that slithers and writhes as if it had been written by the man himself and yes the B-Side is in fact Side A, Track 01 of the 1974 Bob Seger album Seven. Bands like this remind me of why 50’s rock n’ roll was so vital to early punk rock. Bands back then, like the Ramones or The Dictators weren’t just a band, they were a gang and a dangerous one at that.  That’s what made rock n’ roll so fun and dangerous at the same time. No Tomorrow Boys get that, and give us that mood once again, matching leather jackets and all!  – J Castro         

No Volcano – Who Saved The Party CD (Onus)
Phoenix mainstays No Volcano have just released their debut LP, Who Saved The Party. Now while No Volcano may not be a fairly new band, the band’s members have been Phoenix scene regulars for years, most notably with Trunk Federation. No Volcano sounds are a mix of ‘70’s pop, psych, alt-pop and rock n’ roll much like how Television, and Velvet Underground (minus the drugs) combined a multitude of influences to help create a signature sound.  – Ed Stuart

The Outcasts – Frustration (The Best of 1977 – 1985) LP (Wanda)
This group of three brothers, Greg, Martin, and Colin Cowan along with their buddies formed The Outcasts in late 1977 and played their first gig two months later consisting of some originals and some Clash and Sex Pistols covers. The Outcasts sound like they could have been on Belfast’s Good Vibrations label along with Rudi, Protex and The Undertones. Oh wait, they were on Good Vibrations and sound right at home with the other above mentioned Celts. The Outcasts are unarguably brilliant, unapologetically melodic and ultra anthemic ‘77 punk rock in its truest form. There have been some other Outcasts compilations released yes, but after 10 singles and 3 LP’s this here compilation trims the fat and lets you gnaw on just the meat! Essential!  – J Castro

Post Teens/Rose Cross – Split 7” (Dead Tank)
I want to start things off by saying how pleasantly surprised I was at first listen to this record. I unfairly do judge a record by its cover. Not that the cover is bad or anything, it just doesn’t really tell me much about the music inside. Certain records do have a particular “look” to them. Gainesville, Florida’s Post Teens start things off by shoving you around and drenching you in sweat with their infectious brand of aggressive, stripped down; early Black Flag inspired punk rock. Next up and also from Granville Florida is female fronted Rose Cross whose first song also sounds CA punk inspired but has more of a Crowd/beach punk sound. Their second song “Radio Silence” slows things down a bit but is still heavy on the hooks, shout along choruses, and hits just as hard. Killer record by two bands that sound great together and complement each other brilliantly!  – J Castro    

Pretty Hurts – Make Graves EP (Self Release)
This is a really solid release from three strapping men from Berlin, Germany. Again, as we’ve seen so much here at Audio Ammunition, it’s a self-release but it’s hard to believe that there isn’t a label out there that will jump on this and put this out. The music is cold, dark, and a bit icy but the songs are kept catchy and in focus by sheer velocity. Even when things get a bit out of control like in the song “Moving Fast,” you know those melodic bass lines are gonna kick in and reel in all those out chaotic elements flying around the room, either later in the same song or on the next. This band fits nicely in between Sub Pop records groups like Pissed Jeans and No Age.  – J Castro

Real Sickies – S/T Cassette (Self Release)
Our friend Ben Disaster has been cooking up some really interesting sounds out there in Edmonton, Alberta! First his wonderful debut solo LP titled See You Next Spring quietly dropped late last year and now he hits us with this colossal, radiating asteroid of and EP that’s supposedly just to wet our appetites for an upcoming LP! Real Sickies compare themselves to bands like The Ramones, The Heartbreakers, Forgotten Rebels, and Teenage Head and please allow me to stand as your witness and testify to you: all of those comparisons are spot on! Bands like this are what make people want to start labels; bands like this are what gets people to start bands. Sure Real Sickies take a little from here and borrow a little from there but it’s interpreted and delivered through those twisted Canadian brains of theirs, and that’s why it sounds so great! – J Castro

Red Mass – White Nights 7” (Zaxxon)
Red Mass is not really a band as it is more of an art movement. If you take a look at a Red Mass band photo and read their bio you’ll understand what I mean. So, in the end, what does this really mean, it means that with over 100 contributing artists you’ll never really get the same consistent sound throughout. As a result, White Nights are a tale of two really different songs. “White Nights” is more of a scruffy punk number with UK siren sound type lead guitar work to open before launching into a punk rock n’ roll that sounds reminiscent of early Testors. “Animal” is more a ‘70’s arena rock meets lo-fi ‘90’s with the fuzzed out bass line that never quits. – Ed Stuart

Sammy Kay – Fourth Street Singers LP (Panic State)
Sammy Kay blends a blue collar Americana rock n’ roll much like Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty or even Gaslight Anthem. Sammy Kay is more of an Americana folk storyteller much in the way Springsteen is. Fourth Street Singers is a tale of personal stories from a traveling troubadour that is reminiscent of Frank Turner territory. – Ed Stuart

Skemäta S/T LP (Sorry State)
Raleigh, North Carolina’s Skemäta play some raw full throttle, smash and burn hardcore.  The production is absolutely perfect here; the guitars take control of the battlefield, followed closely behind by the brutal bashing of the blood thirsty rhythm section and the vocals are in the rear screaming out the battle plans and formations like a combat hardened general. You can’t help but be influenced by the savage and remorseless delivery of the songs on this record, so much so in fact that the music is almost medieval in its fiery conception. It’s hard to believe, but this is the band’s official debut LP, they did have a demo cassette also out on Sorry State records but that’s long gone. I’m starting construction on my bomb shelter now because it this band releases another record, then war is imminent and overall bedlam is sure to follow.  – J Castro    

Slow Faction – Brixton Tapes LP (Self-Release)
UK ’77 socially and politically charged punk, but not the divisive type of political punk where if you don’t have the band’s point of view it will be a long listen. Brixton Tapes has done a good job of smoothing the social commentary amidst catchy choruses much like how Chelsea and Menace used to do. The band has been billed as “1st generation-influenced punk band with a real London 77 sound,” which ironically has seen Slow Faction support many of those first generation punk bands today. – Ed Stuart

Slugga – Parasite 7” (Total Punk)
Total Punk has released the debut 7” from these Atlanta, Georgia sewer dwellers! Slugga play hard, fast and grotesquely sloppy punk rock that creeps around you like a lava spill.  This reminds me a little of some bands that were around when I was but a wee youth, bands like Quincy Punx, FYP, The Bristles or even Pittsburgh’s Submachine. It’s sweaty, brutal, vile smelling, unyielding and extremely temperamental. Now with all that being said, it is (barely) held together to form something tangible enough to enjoy and make some sense out of, it’s not lazy or amateurish in any way though.  It’s not artsy or experimental in any way either, I am pretty sure Slugga eats bands like that alive. I can just imagine what their live shows are like; it must be similar to watching the Toxic Avenger beat the crap out of those guys with a severed limb at the taco shop!  – J Castro         

Snooker Emporium – S/T Cassette (Shake!)
Snooker Emporium might just be all the secret children of Zappa, Captain Beefheart. Snooker Emporium could arguably be the musical equivalent of an acid trip. Snooker Emporium creates a soundscape that might be easier to just listen to than describe.  – Ed Stuart

The Splits – ii LP (Dirtnap)
The Splits are from Finland, but have the sounds of American bands like Wipers, Gun Club and trash rock bands from the Southern US. ii has an overall dark garage sound with these catchy pop hooks on top. I was reading the Splits wrote this when going through a rough patch in the bands member’s lives and it shows. Splits on ii show that turmoil doesn’t have to be all gloom and doom, and even the darkest of moments of life still can be filled with shining moments just like how some of the best pop songs contain not only major, but minor chords as well.  – Ed Stuart

Stalin Video - Animalistik – LP (Wanda)
Just when you thought it was safe to drop your stylus again, the international multimedia terror group known in certain circles as Stalin Video have regrouped and launched yet another polyvinyl chloride offensive in hopes to bring the civilized world to its knees.  Tighter and harder this assemblage of members from South Carolina’s Now in 3-D and Great Britain’s late great Gaggers bring a frenzied, wild eyed synth-punk attack reminiscent of Screamers, Devo, Lost Sounds, and The Spits. If you put those bands into a centrifuge and anything insightful or thought provoking these bands had to offer will get separated to the center and discarded by Stalin Video. Now what you have left clinging to the sides that’s trembling, pulsating and oozing is Aninalistik. Stick it in your veins, pop it down your gullet or snort it up your nose hole but just keep it close because your gonna want more!    – J Castro

Telepathic Lines - S/T LP (Dead Tank)
This quartet from St. Augustine, Florida throw out some soulful, quirky, minimalistic, reclining in your easy chair after a hard day’s work, blue collar rock n’ roll. I hear equal parts Replacements debauchery, Pavement eccentricity, and Uncle Tupelo poignancy.  Another thing that’s pretty cool about this release is the eye-catching cover art. It’s distinctiveness led me to do a little research and I found that it’s done by renowned social realist painter Sean Mahan (seanmahanart.com). This is a really solid release from Dead Tank: Telepathic Lines music and melodies fit your heart like a worn and road tattered leather jacket while the vocals and lyrics are spun in such a cleaver manner that it keeps you listening for new meanings and mental projections.    – J Castro

Tenement – Bruised Music Volume One LP (Grave Mistake/Toxic Pop)
Oh, Midwestern punk, how you play by your own rules. Bruised Music Volume One is a mix of early demos and singles from Tenement era 2006-2009. Tenement is a mix of Husker Du, Descendents, early Jawbreaker, but they are so much more than that. They are a trio that could effortlessly meld pop harmonies to fast punk/hardcore energy without the songs ever suffering. Just when you think you figured out Tenement, you haven’t. Tenement is another really good and really underappreciated band, which Bruised showcases. Hopefully this Volume One will serve as more than a swan song of earlier days and get new and old ears listening.  – Ed Stuart

Toy Guitar – In This Mess LP (Fat Wreck)
Toy Guitar is white hot. Toy Guitar is Jack from One Man Army and Dead To Me’s new project, which debuted last year to instant acclaim. Upon first listen, I thought this LP has a real shot to be in many Top Ten lists and I still think it does. I thought the debut EP was good, but In This Mess is far catchier. Toy Guitar is a mix of garage-punk (The Hives at their catchiest), power-pop harmonies and some early Strokes-style guitar licks to make one catchy debut LP. – Ed Stuart

Useless Eaters – Singles 2011 – 2014 LP (Slovenly Recordings)
For anyone that hasn’t heard this band yet, here is my take on what my poor little ears endure each time I listen to these current San Franciscans: dark, thick, creeping, hate filled, slightly off kilter, punk rock n’ roll. I’ve heard the Jay Reatard comparison drop every now and again and I guess I see it. Maybe more in early Teenage Hate era Reatards though. I said it before and I will say it again, I love single collections. Especially from bands like this that have released so much on different labels where some have better distribution than others and you don’t always hear of their releases until it’s too late and the records are long gone. Besides, this record plays more like a cohesive LP, the production on all the songs flows together seamlessly and it’s hard to tell it’s a compilation at all!  – J Castro

Van Dammes – Better Than Sex EP (Self-Release)
YEAH!  Super catchy, pogo inducing, lo-fi punk rock from Helsinki, Finland!  It’s got that wrecking ball, “fire all of your guns at once” sonic assault that bands like the Devil Dogs, Teengenerate and of course The Ramones had. This is the bands third release following their debut VD EP and a Christmas single they put out that includes a tribute song to renowned Japanese ski jumper Noriaki Kasai.  Weird yes, but kind of cool since Noriaki Kasai’s story is a fantastic “from rags to riches” tale. All four songs here are loud, stripped down lo-fi punk rock that would have gone perfectly into the Rip Off Records catalog perfectly alongside bands like The Kidnappers and The Marked Men.  One of my favorite released of 2015 so far!  – J Castro

Various Artists – Single of The Weekend Digital (Onus)
It might just be easier to tell what this is all about instead of describing every band that they have released. Every week, Onus Records puts out their Single of The Weekend, which is released on Monday and is available for free download until Friday of the same week. They have had such bands as Beat Angels, No Volcano, Jones Affair, Serene Dominic, Scorpion Vs. Tarantula and many more. This is a great way to hear new music from a label whose philosophy is “To make music not money.”  – Ed Stuart

Various Artists – Heritage Hump Day Digital Singles (Onus)
Onus Records have taken it upon themselves to educate the good people of this space-time continuum on the history of underground music in Phoenix, Arizona with a living compilation. By that I mean this compilation grows each week: Onus Records adds a new track each Wednesday on their Bandcamp site (onusrecords.bandcamp.com) for you to add to your collection. They started the whole thing off with a brilliant lost track by power pop/glam/punk heroes The Beat Angels called “She Shoots Starlight” and have since released an eclectic mix of bands ranging from the stripped down garage rock of Hellfire’s “Damn Thing” then bounce over to the loud indie pop of Haggis’s “Turpentine.” This series is sure to provide a really fun and comprehensive inside look at Phoenix’s music scene throughout the years. The songs so far are good, loud, fun and have stood well against the test of time, don’t take my word for it; go see for yourselves!     – J Castro    

Vatican Dagger – Not To Be 7” (Total Punk)
What if Swamp Thing started a punk band? It would be tough, dirty, scuzz filled and to the point just like Vatican Dagger. Total Punk really has their ear to the ground for dirty, scuzz punk and is building an impressive label roster doing so and Vatican Dagger is no slouches either. Phil from Necro Hippies along with Gary Wrong from the Gary Wrong Group has crafted raw, rock n’ roll coated in a wall of distortion that’s built around wild abandon and bathtub gin. In some ways, it’s like Flipper with Greg Ginn at the helm. – Ed Stuart

The Woolly Bandits – Woolly Bandits EP (80/20)
Years ago, the Woolly Bandits were Sky’s Saxon’s backup band before people started asking who they were. Now, The Woolly Bandits are back with their first release since 2009’s Women of Mass Destruction titled Woolly Bandits. The Woolly Bandits are a female fronted guitar and organ (courtesy of Nicole from Love Me Nots, not a regular member of the band) garage rock n’ roll band that while taking influence from The Seeds add more of a fun light-hearted twist to their music. – Ed Stuart

No comments:

Post a Comment