Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Ketamines – All The Colours of Your Heart 7”  (Pleasence Records)
For about the first 15-20 seconds of All The Colours of Your Heart, I thought I was listening to the wrong record. “All The Colours of Your Heart” reminded me of Ian Dury and the Blockheads especially with the organ and funk influence meets a poppy Fall. All Colours is part of a 4 part 7-inch series that was released on four separate labels. For all the funky influence of the A-side, the B-side has none of it. “Turning You On” is a complete psychedelic garage rock freakout that would be well in line with 13th Floor Elevators while adding in a surf pop calmness and quirky lead to jerk you back out your calmness. – Ed Stuart

Ketamines – Eleven Eleven EP (Leaning Trees Records)
If there is one thing you can say about the Ketamines it is that you would be hard pressed to pigeonhole the band into one specific musical category. I guess you could say they are consistently inconsistent with regards to musical influences. For all of All The Colours of Your Heart’s Dury/13th Floor Elevators influence, Eleven Eleven, number 2 of the 4-part series, is more of a pop record. Songs like “We Are 1” have Ketamines playing one of their more catchy and straightforward songs. Eleven Eleven is a pop record from an era of the late 80’s/early 90’s era with the arguable exception of “Change Your Ways.” “Take Me To Your Leader,” reminds me of early Superchunk and Guided By Voices before the better production. – Ed Stuart

Ketamines – Stay Awake 7” (Mint Records)
On number 4 of the 4-part series, Stay Awake, Ketamines continue in the pop vein much like how they did on Eleven, Eleven. “Stay Awake,” is the band going straight for the radio with the closest thing to a “hit” that the band has ever recorded. Stay Awake is the Ketamines doing their best power-pop impression, but in a way that doesn’t betray the Ketamines unique brand of quirky garage pop. As I mentioned before, Ketmaines will definitely keep you on your musical toes, but on Stay Awake, they are dangerously catchy and the power-popper inside of me would argue that this is the favorite single of the 4-part series. – Ed Stuart

Ketamines – All The Colours of Your Heart 7” (Pleasence Records), Eleven Eleven EP (Leaning Trees Records), Stay Awake 7” (Mint Records)
These here three 7 inches were all recently released by this Calgary, Alberta band. The Ketamines sound is pretty difficult to explain, which is good and bad depending on how vast your tastes in rock music venture. They play folksy, lounge-y, fuzzy psychedelic bubblegum with tan leather fringe stuck all around it. Some of the other press the band has gotten has referred to them as pop punk. I don’t really hear any punk in here other than the occasional irreverent lyric. Whatever Ketamines may sound like to you, a few things are certain: the music is well played, lighthearted and extremely likeable. 
– Jay Castro

Action Jets – Time For The Action Jets 7” (Self-release)
In the 90’s, band like the Action Jets were a-plenty and I mean that in a good way, but then something terrible happened. Words that had become merely adjectives, like emotional and pop-punk became dirtied and were used all too often to describe an entire scene. Action Jets are not a throwback to that era, but maybe a rebirth. When your band wants the kids to “Rock Like Pollard,” you are accepting comparisons to Guided By Voices and their scrappy band of power-pop-punk, which Action Jets has in droves. Action Jets are not a one trick pony as they combine Lookout style pop-punk like The Parasites and mod-revival punch into their songwriting attack. – Ed Stuart

Blasting out of the ashes of Phoenix’s long time power poppers D Factor come Action Jets, poised and ready for battle. Armed to the teeth with their secret weapon of a debut single: its power packed with catchy 1970’s mod/power pop excavated from all the right places, guaranteed for maximum blast radius. Their theme song is short and sweet with a killer riff and chorus you will be humming the rest of the day. And in the tradition of Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger,” comes AJ’s ode to Guided By Voices front man Robert Pollard. Killer debut can’t wait to hear more!  – Jay Castro 

Brain F# – Empty Set LP (Grave Mistake Records/Sorry State Records)
Loud, lo-fi blazing punk sung by a guy/girl tandem assault team that kind of remind me of the old London anarcho-punk band Dirt, just the vocal delivery not the music so much.  The vocals are mean and aggressive but not screech-y shouted or screamed to an intolerable level. Another plus for Brain F# is despite the fact that these songs are fast and in your face, the guitar parts are pretty catchy and this makes these jagged pills Brain F# manufacture go down the gullet pretty smooth.  – Jay Castro

Brain F# has taken the Avengers/LA Dangerhouse sound and made it tougher and more volatile. Empty Set reminds of early punk/hardcore like the Germs or even an early DRI Dealing With It era where the emphasis is high energy and more high energy. Brain F# which employs a vocal similarity to X, where the girl does more talk singing and the guy sings. This is record to give to any young skateboarder in your neighborhood and have this be their shred soundtrack. – Ed Stuart

Dad – Explicit Parental Advisory LP (Self-release)
Dad features ex-members of Finnish band Nazca, and from what I have heard of Nazca there are really no paralles between the two bands. Dad is full of straight-ahead Spermbirds/later Misfits style fueled energy with big gang-style background vocals. – Ed Stuart

Have you ever been walking down the street on a warm summer afternoon with a spring in your stem whistling your favorite Dave Clark Five tune when suddenly you think to yourself: “I wonder what it would sound like if Glenn Danzig sang for The Descendents?” Well guys and dolls speculate no more, Finnish punk band Dad is here to answer that very question. Fast melodic punk songs about ugly kids and IKEA sang with an unsettling amount of sincerity and passion. I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again Europe is light years ahead of the U.S. in irony and this album is another testament to that statement.  – Jay Castro

Finderkeepers – Pack Your Bags EP (Centertown Records)
Finderskeepers fire up a fantastic blend of melodic gruff/tuff punk rock. I hear a lot of Chicago influence in Finderskeepers, bands like No Empathy and Pegboy come to mind when I first listened to this EP. It’s heavy and loud but it’s really catchy and some of the choruses seem to soar, so much so that you feel it in your chest, especially with the last song “Push. The band has two other EP’s available on their Bandcamp page, the earlier stuff has a bit more Husker Du production to it, and all of them are great. Finderskeepers continue to get tighter and more focused with each release. This makes me highly anticipate what comes next!  – Jay Castro

Whether you were aware of this or not, Canada is a producing power-pop bands at quite an alarming rate and are planning for world power-pop domination, but what I didn’t know is there next plan of attack is Midwestern American Punk, bands like Dillinger Four, Husker Du, and Lawrence Arms just to name a few. Finderkeepers is a chip of this Midwstern block. On Pack Your Bags, Finderkeepers plays the type of hard working blue-collar anthems written by guys who work union jobs all day and spend a lot of their free time drinking to forget those union jobs.  – Ed Stuart

Thee Mighty Fevers – Fuck’In Great R’N’R LP (Dead Beat Records)
Thee Mighty Fevers could be the heir apparent to the classic Teengenerate sound. I’m thinking members of Teengenerate and Registrators grew up, met that special girl, got married, had kids and Thee Mighty Fevers are their kids. Thee Mighty Fevers were taught how to play and write by their high-energy garage-punk-Rock N’ Roll loving parents. If you were ever wondering if the analog recorded, hi-energy, blown out, run it in the red sound of Rip Off Records heyday would ever come back, well it did and Fuck’In Great R’N’R is where it’s at.  – Ed Stuart

When I first heard the first few notes firing out of this record, I stood up and felt a tingling sensation in my skull. It’s been a long time that someone’s made a record that sounds like this with this much heart and fervor. This lo-fi garage punk band from Kobe, Japan comes at us like Godzilla skating on a bullet train. Songs about Zombies, Parties and High School set to blazing fast Radio Birdman meets Angry Samoans style music.  What makes Thee Mighty Fevers so formidable is that they’ve got the manic energy of early Registrators and the guitar chops of Teengenerate. What’s stopping this band from taking over the world? Absolutely nothing and I will succumb and do their bidding!  – Jay Castro

Replentes – Caro Data Vermibus LP (Self-release)
Replentes lash out with furiously fast and thick Fat Wreck Chords style hardcore similar to Strung Out or Lagwagon with cookie monster vocals sung in Portuguese. This band of Brazilian punks sounds taut and together, all songs are executed quite well and in the tradition of Nat King Cole, David Bowie and Celine Dion comes a rendition of Eden Ahbez’s “Nature Boy,” which I might add is one of the most bizarre cover choices I’ve heard since Clapton did Marley. Repelentes do a fine job at what they do, however what they do isn’t particularly how I like my meat cooked.  – Jay Castro

Replentes are a punk band from Brazil that has been keeping the fire alive for over ten years and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down on their latest release Caro Data Vermibus. Replentes plays a melodic punk/hardcore in the same territory between Generator-era Bad Religion and early Good Riddance that speed ahead like clockwork while never faltering to match the impassioned lyrics. – Ed Stuart

Silpha and The Corspeboners – Agony And Ecstasy LP (Self-Release)
When I think of horror punk, my first thought seems to go to 45 Grave considering they, along with Christian Death, laid the groundwork for this style. Silpha and The Corspeboners, a horror punk from Germany, have a female vocalist like 45 Grave, but that is where the similarities end. Agony and Ecstasy has an array of styles, but the most consistent employs an early Face To Face sound crossed with some metal/thrash guitar reminiscent of 88 Fingers Louie. – Ed Stuart

The band is comprised of sinister, spooky boys and girls from Germany with songs about murder, animated machinery, suicide and insanity. Lead vocalist Silpha Obscura is said to be of such enchanting beauty she can even arouse the dead, hence the name. No, I’m kidding, I completely made that up. These horror themed songs on this album are sung with such earnestness reminding me of Black Sails era AFI mixed with X (L.A.), giving the impression that this band wants to be taken seriously like Evanescence types or something. This may prove to be a difficult task with the word “Corpseboner” in the name.  – Jay Castro

Braddock Station Garrison – High Water EP (Self-Release)
This DC area band plays a brand of likeable and melodic mid tempo mid 1970’s rock.   The songs are catchy enough, but a tad long winded (opening track “Into Your Arms” clocks in at a smidge over 5 minutes). I hear hints Raspberries or Badfinger peppered throughout. When listening to this, I am reminded of the Oceans 11 remake when Brad Pitt is telling Matt Damon (posing as a gaming official) how to act when first meeting Andy Garcia. “Be specific but not memorable, be funny but don't make him laugh.” If you understand what I’m talking about then you know this band has already achieved more than most ever will. – Jay Castro

It has been a while since I have heard a “college-rock” band in a long time especially one that is reminiscent of the era that spawned the phrase in the first place. Braddock Station Garrison (or BSG to save myself some typing) have invoked both the spirits of Wilco and REM on their High Water EP, but they are not afraid to play some Badfinger ‘70’s style rock to people without short attention spans. In this day and age that is an arguably a gutsy move considering this EP is as long as most punk LP’s I own.  – Ed Stuart

Fairy Bones – The Fairy Bones EP (Self-Release)
The Fairy Bones sounds like they came out of a time capsule and the time of their entrance in said capsule was the 1990’s alternative era. Previous reviews have dubbed them as synth-pop, which was only evident to me on the song “DUKA!.” Fairy Bones in some ways could be the ‘90’s mix tape you never had.  – Ed Stuart

This EP is 4 songs of hook-y alternative grunge tinged songs with a slightly abrasive edge. Singer Chelsey Louise’s voice almost sounds too good for rock music itself.  Maybe the band ought to try a cover album of Nina Simone’s Little Girl Blue and listen to Chelsey’s voice launch us all into the stratosphere like when Superman whisks Lois away in his arms. The band has been compared to No Doubt, but they’re not nearly as annoyingly plastic and perky. Think if Alabama Shakes singer Brittany Howard sang for Sleater Kinney and that may get you closer to Fairy Bones echelon. The band describes themselves as synth/garage, but the synth part really doesn’t come in until the last song “DUKA!,” soul/grunge may be more appropriate.  – Jay Castro

Zen Fuck-Ups – Days of the Week LP (Skabby Records)
From Dublin, Ireland comes this wily band of 2 guys and 2 girls playing sloppy hardcore drunkenly making their way through the crowded room. The first thing that caught my attention was the cover art of a noose holding a pocket watch, which I thought was pretty cool.  The music mostly goes in the direction of early ‘80’s California hardcore, but when the girl vox pops in from time to time like in the song “Fight” is when my interest really peaks, that’s when it starts going into Conflict/Crass territory. When the Zen boys and girls find their sound a bit more, which is inevitable with time, they’ll be a tempest on the Irish Sea.  – Jay Castro

Zen Fucks Ups are from Ireland, but they don’t play Irish-punk. Instead Zen Fuck-Ups play a loose brand of punk hardcore that reminds of more UK ’82 bands like Blitz and The Partisans and less of American hardcore. Days of the Week tells the tale of a man’s descent into madness that has the energy of the aforementioned era and bands interspersed with some ditties to break up the furious pace. – Ed Stuart

Alvie and The Breakfast Pigs – Snake Headed Faceless Cowboy EP (Bird Flu Kitchen Records)
Classic rock riffs soaked in lo-fi distortion and sprinkled with some hot analog sound. Alvie and The Breakfast Pigs are playing a mean punk bluesy Rock N’ Roll on Snake Headed Faceless Cowboy. “Double Crossed” could be the song Electric Frankenstein didn’t write, but should have. Where as “Extra Fast” is a mix of punk blasts with some Sabbath type riffing in the slower parts. Early Aerosmith, Alice Cooper influenced songs with a mix of punk from a band that is not afraid to be playing both punk and rock. – Ed Stuart

I first met Alvie when I was a guest on Erratic! Radio and he was doing the sound engineering. He handed me a copy of this EP and honestly I had no idea what to expect.  Out of all the sounds I anticipated, the rollicking psychedelic blues punk that exploded out of my car speakers like several simultaneously opened cans of trick snakes caught me by surprise. Imagine what a band would sound like if The White Stripes recruited Thee Oh Sees/Coachwhips John Dwyer, signed to Burger Records and someone exorcised the self righteous demons that inhabit Jack Whites anal cavity. Great songs, killer production, can’t wait for more Breakfast Pig action!   – Jay Castro

Ben Disaster – Close My Eyes EP (Crude City Records)
From what I’ve read, Ben dabbles with adding folk elements and experimental noise to his music. But what I have before me are 3 songs of tremendously charismatic tunes that lie somewhere between Superchunk power pop/indie rock grandiose and The Replacements charming, swashbuckling Rock N’ Roll. According to his bio, Ben was in a band called Let’s Dance but has been focusing on his solo material since 2009 releasing an LP and several EP’s on different labels. Having listened to his catalog, his confidence and song writing abilities grows with each passing release. It should be only a short time before the world knows about Ben Disaster.  f not, then a great injustice would occur in the universe and the earth has mere moments before it devours itself in its own dreadful taste.  – Jay Castro

Replacements, Husker Du, Modern Lovers, Echo and The Bunnymen, I hear all these bands in Ben Disaster’s new release Open your Eyes. Disaster has been busy in the last few years between fronting his own band called Let’s Dance, being a roadie for “Wednesday Night Heroes and fill-in guitarist for Boston punk group A Global Threat.Open Your Eyes is Disaster’s new solo EP and it’s an effortless mix of styles from ‘80’s post-punk to power-pop to a twang infused pop in much the same way mid-‘80’s era Replacements did. Solid release. – Ed Stuart

Dead Ghosts – Can’t Get No LP (Bachelor Records)
Can’t Get No was originally on Burger Records, but Bachelor Records has decided to give this Dead Ghosts LP a second life in a limited run. If you missed Can’t Get No, the first time around do not miss this opportunity to pick this up. Dead Ghosts are equally influenced by both Pebbles and the Loud, Fast and Out of Control compilations that came out some years ago. Dead Ghosts play a mix of country twangy Rock N’ Roll in much the same Buddy Holly did, but they have updated the sound for garage rock community. Can’t Get No is a surprise of an LP that sounds like you found it in your grandparent’s collection and wondered why you never looked there before for such a gem. – Ed Stuart

Dead Ghosts – Rarities LP (Bachelor Records)
Rarities is just what you think it is. To support my statement, I pulled this description from the Bachelor Records website, “The collection of songs you can find here are a mix of songs from OOP singles, outtakes, live versions unreleased stuff and covers . . . limited to 500 copies.” If you read my review for Can’t Get No, you’ll have a great idea of what Dead Ghosts sounds like. The main difference between Rarities and Can’t Get No is an arguable amount of unevenness which plagues most singles collections, but that doesn’t make them any less vital to have for your collection. If you are Dead Ghosts fan, this is a must have and if you are new to Dead Ghosts buy this along with Can’t Get No. – Ed Stuart

Dead GhostsRarities LP & Can’t Get No LP (Bachelor Records)
Coming from some bands, I would cringe at the sight of two LP’s to review in one month but since they’re from such a great band like Dead Ghosts I welcome it! Rarities is a collection of songs from out of print singles and covers the band has had up on their Bandcamp page as A Shitty Collection of Shitty Recordings. Can’t Get No is the band’s second LP originally released last year, but is now being repressed in time for Dead Ghost’s upcoming European tour. What does the band sound like you ask, oh yeah I almost forgot that part. Dead Ghosts play wonderful 1960’s influenced garage rock that’s fun, fast, and unruly. Think equal parts Dave Clark Five, Them and 13th Floor Elevators.   You’ll be singing along and bobbing your head pretty much upon first listen to the songs on either one of these records.  – Jay Castro

Geyser – Geyser EP (Radiclaw Records)
WOW, I was smitten on the first few seconds of hearing this record. Heavy dirty hooks and mid tempo 1970’s inspired rock rule the first part of this killer EP. Think Alice Cooper, the more muscular Thin Lizzy songs, and some later Stooges. However as the record plays on the band slowly stirs in some post punk/noise rock influences like Mission of Burma and Sonic Youth sounds. Believe it or not the band makes it work; all this is tossed around, cooked up and served to you on an old rusty skillet. The city of Sudbury, Ontario has reason to be proud!  – Jay Castro

There are a couple of ways a band could go if you take Sonic Youth as one of your main inspirations. The first way is the early version where experimentation over songwriting reigned, but Geyser takes the second way where songwriting ruled out on as it did in the Goo era, but still kept the deadpan vocals. Geyser doesn’t stop there on their debut EP. The band fills this EP with dirty, distorted guitar drone and early Stooges simplicity to make a pretty strong fuzz rock debut.  – Ed Stuart

Sonic Chicken 4 – Sonic Chicken 4 LP (Bachelor Records/Dusty Medical Records)
In 2007, Sonic Chicken 4 had just released their debut LP. Two years, two singles and many tours later they had recorded their follow-up, but up until now the LP was never released. The record was endlessly postponed and the band eventually called it quits. So, first of all, garage rock lovers everywhere should give a big round of applause to Bachelor and Dusty Medical for unearthing this lost gem. Sonic Chicken is a mix of ‘60’s garage punk and wild abandon. King Khan produced this LP, which is more surprising that it didn’t get released. Sonic Chicken 4 is the last will and testament of a band that took Pebbles as a starting point and took off from there.  – Ed Stuart

These French Rock N’ Rollers delivered some sweet 1960’s style melodic, lo-fi noise pop crashing on this fine long player. There is a lengthy and winding tale concerning this record. Apparently it was supposed to come out years ago and got delayed by whatever label was supposed to put it out at the time. During the delay the band called it quits and the record never really took off and got shoved in the same enormous archives the Lost Ark of The Covenants also resides. Now the fine folks at Dusty Medical and Bachelor have found it and resurrected it. According to the press release this record was recorded in 2009 in a Spanish Castle and produced by King Kahn himself! Start the mental imagery now.  – Jay Castro

Woolworm/Grown-Ups – Split 7” (Debt Offensive Records)
Judging by the grim and lonely picture of a secluded cabin in the woods on the cover of this record, I expected something, well grim and lonely. However both bands deliver some Grade A pop punk. From what I gather this is Woolworm’s first vinyl release and by the time you read this it will probably be Grown-Ups last.  Woolworm are a bit warmer on the pop punk scale like Discount or J Church. Grown Ups deliver a more screechy/lo-fi sound, but still highly melodic, think of a poppier sounding F.Y.P. or if Jawbreaker would have been more drunk and rowdy during the recording of 24hr Revenge Therapy. A great record from beginning to end!  – Jay Castro

Woolworm has been billed as “blanket rock,” which I’m not entirely sure what it is supposed to mean. Woolworm sounds like SST-era Dinosaur Jr., but hyped to a punk velocity without loosing its tunefulness. Melodic, brooding, Woolworm is an effect-less My Bloody Valentine meets The Wipers. Grown-Ups, who in previous reviews have been billed as emo, which I disagree with, play a Toys That Kill meets early Superchunk style of alternative punk that is both as energetic and rough around the edges as it is angular. – Ed Stuart

Crow Bait – Sliding Through The Halls Of Fate LP (Don Giovanni Records)
While it might be vastly overshadowed by the bands from the five boroughs of New York City, Long Island punk is just as tight, if not tighter, and more of a community/cohesive scene. Crow Bait is one band that has come from Long Island. This trio is made up two-thirds of Sister Kisser and the other third of Iron Chic. Sliding Through The Halls Of Fate, is a melodic filled ode to Midwestern American punk of Dillinger Four/Lawrence Arms without ever forgetting the power of distortion and occasional muted hardcore guitar chug in much the same way Lifetime (not from LI, I know) would utilize, but albeit at a much slower pace in Crow Bait. – Ed Stuart

Long Island NY trio bring country kissed music for those with a Rock N’ Roll heart.  This band consists of members from Iron Chic, American Hellfire Club, Sister Kisser, among others. This is the bands first full length already having a fist full of 7”s under their big belt buckles. I know the word “country” scares a lot of you PUNX out there but all labels aside; this is some top notch earthy Rock N’ Roll with heavy introspection.  Along the same lines as Lucero, Ryan Adams and early Wilco, this is one rock solid release; I’m going to see if I can find me the rest of their stuff!   – Jay Castro

Trioxin Cherry  Let's Take Off And Nuke The Site From Space LP (STP Records)
This debut album from a trio of malcontents from Nottingham, UK hits hard takes no prisoners and laughs in your face all while doing so. The punk rock in this record is heavy and fast, the guitars are loud and there are hooks galore. The funny thing is: with all that I described above which leans on the music having a sense of urgency, the band weaves a lot of pop culture references and jokes throughout. It’s like the equivalent to watching Evil Dead II for the first time and asking yourself: wait, was that supposed to be funny? Because it was but judging by everything else that’s going on it shouldn’t be!
  – Jay Castro

Trioxin Cherry has a healthy dose of paranoia and futuristic warnings. “We’re never going to survive,” “There is no hope for the human race” type lyrics set against a horror punk backdrop with a lot of heavy guitar riffage and Subhumans (UK) punk without tongue planted firmly in cheek.  – Ed Stuart

Unwelcome Guests – Wavering LP (Dirt Cult Records)
When I listen to Warning, I can’t help, but think of early Menzingers/Gaslight Anthem, which begs the question why did Epitaph go after the The Menzingers and not Unwelcome Guests too? Who knows? Enter Dirt Cult to the rescue to put out Unwelcome Guests. Warning is a heavily melodic LP that rivals early Gaslight Anthem in both pop and grit. This is the punk-pop of basement shows where kids hide their beers in bags, sing along to their voices are hoarse, sleep it off and then do the same the next night.  – Ed Stuart

Strong, sweaty and highly melodic anthems crowd this New York band’s second LP following 2010’s Don’t Go Swimming full length. This time around the band seems to crank up the volume a bit more. The music on this record has a very likeable New Jersey/blue collar aesthetic to it, which I totally love. I’ve said this once and I’ll say it again; if you’re in a band you don’t have to be original, just put 100% of YOUR blood, sweat and tears into it and the rest will fall into place. Unwelcome Guests sliced veins, bursting sweat glands and exploded tear ducts spill all over their finely crafted and sincere Rock N’ Roll tunes; absolutely terrific album for fans of The Loved Ones, Smoke or Fire and Gaslight Anthem.  – Jay Castro

Sightlines/Crystal Swells – Split 7” (TRBL FCKR/Alarum Records)
Sightless start things off with some light, crispy and airy pop punk that almost strays into indie rock territory. Crystal Swells has a more noisy, aggressive and dark side to their songs. Kind of reminds me of early A Place to Bury Strangers. Both bands do a great job of bringing the rock to the table. If someone were to ask me to pair these two bands on a release I would probably refuse, but they actually go pretty good together as long as you listen to Sightless first which greets you at the entrance of the dark tunnel you are about to go into and Crystal Swells is what you encounter as you venture on in. 
– Jay Castro

Sightlines mix both punk-pop and ‘90’s alternative in much the same way Jawbreaker and Guided By Voices did. The vocals are very close to later Jawbreaker in both delivery and melody. Sightlines, especially on “Foreknowledge,” have guitar lines much like Guided by Voices. On the flip side, Crystal Swells is one hot mess and I mean that literally not in some figurative fashion way. Crystal Swells over the course of two songs takes no prisoners. Where as Sightlines, is the cleaner and prettier of the two bands, Crystal Swells is the noisy neighbor downstairs who won’t shut up. Crystal Swells is awash in a sea of lo-fi grit that takes cues from Jesus Lizard as it does Rip-Off and budget rock sounding punk bands.  – Ed Stuart

Blow Up – Teenage News 1976-1980 LP (Self-Release)
Rock N’ Roll is full of stories just like this where a highly critically praised band with a fan following never catches on, goes unnoticed and the recorded songs are never released. This is one of the most common stories in the annals of Rock N’ Roll and here is another case where sometimes promise doesn’t amount to anything. Blow Up was a band that started as kids in 1977 and played a great mix of glam, punk and power-pop where Mott The Hoople meets Riff Raff meets a softer Saints meets Powerpearls compilations. Blow Up was supposed to have a single on Bomp that for whatever reason never materialized. Instead of wondering why these songs were never released before, let’s just rejoice that they are available now. – Ed Stuart

A band that lived many moons ago in a land called California that seemed to be on the brink of breakthrough, at least on a cult status anyways but kind of petered out over time.  They opened up for great bands like The Replacements, and even Dead Kennedys but from what I can see had a constant revolving door of members. This is another compilation of Blow Up’s demos, live and unreleased tracks compiling the bands earlier years, the LP Groovy Dynamite Heavy Now (1981 – 1988) chronicles the bands later career. This is some sloppy, juvenile Rock N’ Roll with heavy glam influences.  There are some real gems in here, Blow Up falls somewhere in between The Heartbreakers and The Real Kids realm and that’s a fantastic land in which to dwell in!  – Jay Castro

Petty Things – Year of the Dog LP (Rubber Brothers Records/Gnar Tapes)
Tempe AZ’s Petty Things take a lot of elements from 1960’s rock and cradle it, nurture it, and not a moment too soon present it to us in a highly charismatic fashion. Year of The Dog has lean and loud guitars with hooks o-plenty, drums that sound like their being played with cinder blocks instead of sticks and a front man with a commanding voice to put all these things in line. I hear Sonics muscle, Seeds energy and even some Tommy James and The Shondells in there just to round out the effort. Wonderful record, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it and I will continue to do so!    – Jay Castro

If the 13th Floor Elevators and The Sonics had a side band it might sound something like Petty Things. Short, simple, upbeat garage rock songs with a psych topping twist; that makes Year of the Dog quite a surprise LP. Petty Things is one of a myriad of new bands sprouting from Arizona and is proving why AZ is establishing a reputable scene.  – Ed Stuart

Faz Waltz – Back to Mondo LP (Piovra Records/White Zoo Records)
Now, there are a lot of claims that Elvis didn’t really die and numerous, albeit dubious, sightings have been used to support this notion, but after listening to Back To Mondo, I’m wondering if Marc Bolan didn’t fake his own death too. Faz Waltz is no copyist by any sense, but they might just worship at the church of Bolan. Back To Mondo is chock full of tougher T. Rex riffs mixed with Sweet swagger. If you are a fan of Giuda, ‘70’s Glam/Bovver Rock, Back To Mondo is for you. In addition to producing some of the world’s best soccer players, Italy is now producing some of the best in glam rock as well.  – Ed Stuart

Italian Glam/Punk superstar upstarts Faz Waltz come at us again with even more hooks, charisma and relentless energy than ever before. The band’s previous efforts, like 2011’s Life on The Moon, seemed to be heavily influenced by Marc Bolan. Back on Mondo is the band’s third LP and, much like teammates Giuda, have now added Gary Glitter, New York Dolls and some David Bowie into the skirmish with explosive results. For anyone that likes any of the above bands, by whatever means possible get your greasy mitts on this album, play it loud and let your eyes roll back into your skull and fall into everlasting bliss. – Jay Castro

Needles//Pins – Outta This Place/Date Night (You Bring the Napalm) 7” (La-Ti-Da Records)
Needles//Pins once again come at us blasting their punk rock cannonballs using power pop cannons on their latest 7” that came out late last year that showcases two prime cuts of this stellar Vancouver outfit. The A-side is a feel good Saturday night anthem and the B-side has Needles//Pins longing for their significant other and features backing vocals from Vanessa of The Ballantynes fame. If you ever wondered what Stiv Bators would sound like singing for The Undertones, well here’s your chance to find out.  – Jay Castro

Needles//Pins might be the band that justifies why you ever liked power-pop-punk in the first place. Instantly recognizable anthemic riffs that owe as much to The Undertones, as they do to any other band that came from Northern Ireland in the same time period. Hot of the heels of the 12:34 LP, Needles//Pins pen this two song classic that is arguably as good as anything you heard from ’76-77 UK punk. The only problem with this 7-inch is deciding which side you want to play first. – Ed Stuart

Jay Vons – Night (Was Stealing From the Sun)/Days Undone 7” (La-Ti-Da Records)
Ex-Reigning Sound and Robbers On High Street combine to make one hell of a Northern Soul/Motown influenced 7-inch. Jay Vons are awash in heavy organ (think of the Hammond/Farfisa) kind and sweet, soulful melodies and driving rhythm. Where “Night (Was Stealing From The Sun)” is the dancey, upbeat organ driven personality driven go-getter while “Days Undone” is it’s lounge-soul, funk guitar driven, dirty sax wielding, dive bar visiting cousin.  – Ed Stuart

This is my first time listening to this band and boy was I surprised. It’s great that people like La-Ti-Da Records realize that some of us that listen to punk rock aren’t lunkheads and appreciate other types of music. The Jay Von’s saunter on over to us from New York featuring members of Reigning Sounds, Robbers on High Street, and a few others. The music is well-crafted lounge/soul/R&B with an organ that’s there to make sure our hips don’t stop swingin’ and our fingers don’t stop snappin’. This 7” also came out late last year and I’m glad too much time didn’t pass before I was able to hitch a ride on the Jay Von’s soul train!  – Jay Castro

Steve Adamyk Band – High Above/Hate Myself/A Promise is a Promise 7” (La-Ti-Da Records)
We’ve written many times about Steve Adamyk and anyone that reads Audio Ammunition regularly knows that in our minds, this band can pretty much do no wrong.  For anyone that doesn’t however here is a brief synopsis: SAB is a smart, meaty, infectious aggro-pop punk band from Ottawa that parks their car in the same garage as bands like My Brain Hurts era Screeching Weasel, Snuff/Guns n’ Wankers and 1970’s punk poppers like Generation X and Buzzcocks. If you are a fan of any of the above-mentioned bands, its high time you get into SAB and this is the perfect place to start.  What am I saying, anywhere is a great place to start with these guys! – Jay Castro

If for some reason, you have not heard Steve Adamyk Band, this 3-song 7-inch is a great place to start. Steve Adamyk Band continues with every release to strengthen his grip on the punk-pop foundation that the band has already built. High Above/Hate Myself/A Promise is a Promise is full of Ramones meets Buzzcocks meets Lookout Records (think Queers and Screeching Weasel). Steve Adamyk Band plays straight ahead punk that has no problem mixing pop melodies and harmonies into its attack. – Ed Stuart

The Wild Ones – Day Drunk/Come Around 7” (La-Ti-Da Records)
Oh, Wild Ones you will be missed. This year The Wild ones called it quits, but we are going to review this 7-inch anyway. The Wild Ones were one-part Nikki Corvette, one-part surf-pop and one-part ‘60’s girl garage. Day Drunk/Come Around is an ode to an era where precious “oohs” clung to treble driven melodies for dear life and when you weren’t going on a fun filled trip to the beach in 1960’s California during the day, you headed to the dance hall for a late night slow dance with your best girl who is aching for a kiss. – Ed Stuart

Sadly this Santa Cruz quartet of untamed ladies broke up earlier this year, but not before we managed to nab an interview with them and thankfully not before releasing this record. They have a full length and another EP up on their Bandcamp page. These two songs finely display Wild Ones unique and delicate approach to the Shangri-La’s meets Nikki Corvette in the bowling alley parking lot sound. The song “Come Around” is such a perfectly executed 1960’s style girl group love song it would fit perfectly in Phil Spector’s box set Back to Mono, a perfect example of “going out on top!”  – Jay Castro

The Forty Nineteens – Spin It LP (Heyday Records)
Temecula is more known for producing wine-tasting events, vineyards and idyllic wedding locations than it is for producing Rock N’ Roll bands, but don’t let The Forty Nineteens know that. On Spin It, The Forty Nineteens are writing the songs that have a healthy mix of Tom Petty/Bruce Springsteen American Rock N’ Roll mixed with ‘80’s pop rock and Graham Parker, basically the songs that when I grew up were played on the radio. The Forty Nineteens are a mix of members from Mary’s Danish, The Leonards and US Bombs, but neither band would clue you in to the songs that Forty Nineteens are playing on Spin It. The Forty Nineteens sound as if they could hold there own against their influences from the late ‘70’s/’80’s. – Ed Stuart

This is one finely crafted record, especially for those of us that are old enough to remember the 1980’s. This ain’t any kind of new wave record though. Temecula, CA’s Forty Nineteens take their influences from the likes of Tom Petty, The Stray Cats, Elvis Costello and even The Fabulous Thunderbirds at times. Produced by David Newton (Mighty Lemon Drops) and mastered by Paul de Gre (Peter Gabriel, X, Los Lobos) with their sophomore release; the Forty Nineteens seem perfectly positioned for world domination.   Jay Castro

Dinos Boys – Last Ones LP (Die Slaughterhaus/Oops Baby Records)
Formed in 2011 in New York then moved to Atlanta, the band has released a song on an Oops Baby records comp and a 7” before releasing this LP. So don’t worry, you haven’t missed too much, there is still time to go find everything this band has done and you’ll want to as soon as you hear them. Dinos Boys create a riotous sonic stew of bands like The Briefs and the Stitches but with a power pop execution. The boys spin it with a flavor all their own. Bands like The Damned and Menace also come to my mind when listening to this record. One of just a hand full of records released so far this year to absolutely enslave my mind.  – Jay Castro

If we practiced, it wouldn’t be fair for the other bands we play with because we’d be too good” was one of the many memorable quotes I read from a CMJ article on Dinos Boys. If Last Ones, is evidence on their version of non-practicing, then please continue not practicing because this LP kicks ass. Dinos Boys emerged from the ashes of Atlanta’s Heart Attacks and Beat Beat Beat. When Chase (Dinos Boys singer) is not jumping into trashcans in Biters videos, he is singing some the catchiest punk you have heard in years. Dino’s Boys are ’77 punk with heavy dose of attitude; think the Stitches, with hints of The Kids, The Saints, The Briefs mixed through a budget/garage punk blender. Atlanta has another shining star. – Ed Stuart

Mallevs – Mallevs EP (Ascetic House)
I’m not exactly sure what I’m listening to here or what I’m supposed to take away from it. Mallevs conjure up some serious atmospheric mechanical doom noise that sounds like early Wax Trax Records stuff. This EP really doesn’t get going until the third actual structured song In The Dark, which is quite good and has a lo-fi, tinny, drum machine droning mixed with a white wash of ghostly vocals. This is for fans of Throbbing Gristle, Prurient (when they used to put out records that sounded like they were recorded inside Satan’s flatulent anus) and all around spookiness in general.  – Jay Castro

Industrial influenced music that draws from Skinny Puppy, Throbbing Gristle, with light hints of Christian Death and Bauhaus and European cinema. Mallevs is more concerned with evoking mood and emotion as opposed to any recognizable hook to hang your hat on. This, arguably, is the soundtrack of the dark, dank corner of the abandoned warehouse where you know something, most likely violent, is going to happen to one of the movie’s main characters. – Ed Stuart

Wyldlife – The Time Has Come To Rock & Roll LP (Self-Release)
This is the New York quartet second LP following 2011’s self-titled debut and thankfully not much has changed since. On their second LP the band continue to spew their fun, ultra catchy, high energy bluesy power pop influenced punk n’ roll so all those kids who get sent to the principal’s office have something decent to listen to. If you’re a fan of The Cry!, Biters, eternal adolescence, cheap booze, tight pants and tattoos and honestly what real American isn’t! So go grab yourself a copy of this record tonight on the way to the Rock N’ Roll club.  – Jay Castro

If you think Rock N’ Roll is dead, then you need to listen to The Time Has Come To Rock & Roll right now and I mean right now. This is the new soundtrack to decadent nights fueled by booze, loose women, cheap thrills and vague memories of the night before. “Saturday Night,” is as if the Bay City Rollers lived in LA during the ‘80’s Sunset Strip era and partied like Motley Crue. This is a mix of AC/DC, early Humpers, D Generation, mixed with the pop melodies of ‘70’s power-pop and glam. Much like Biters (Tuk produced this LP), Wyldlife is at the forefront of bands that aren’t afraid to mix the tough with the tender.  – Ed Stuart

Sonic Avenues – Mistakes LP (Dirtnap Records)
My first reaction when I read the album title was uh oh, is the band confessing something concerning the contents here in? But when I started listening to the album, there is nothing here that can be considered erroneous by anyone. This time around, Sonic Avenues seem to take a slightly different approach; infusing some dB’s style harmonies and jangly guitars into the mix. However the music still propels in precisely timed and placed explosions with Max’s snotty vocals and JC’s hammering drums that will still bring the building you’re in down on your head.  – Jay Castro

I know by saying that Sonic Avenues are a good band is not really going out on a limb. So I would have more surprised if Mistakes, the third LP by Sonic Avenues, was a clunker, but it most definitely is not. Mistakes is full of the trademark attention to songwriting and melodies that made their previous two LP’s, Sonic Avenues and Television Youth very good. Sonic Avenues mixes all the best elements of Buzzcocks, 20/20, Generation X and add some ‘80’s radio-pop melodies that you leave on repeat and have no problem doing so.  – Ed Stuart

SIANspheric – The Owl/Smokin’ Ritchie 7”  (Noyes Records)
This Canadian band has been around since 1994 releasing their brand of unhurried, atmospheric indie rock like smoke slowly engulfing the planet. They have a hand full of releases, their debut Somniun being their most admired, even lending a couple of tracks off of it to the TV show version of La Femme Nikita. Everyone compares them to bands like Slowdrive or The Verve and their early stuff sounds more to that style. The two songs on this album however I hear the early emo stuff in it like Christy Front Drive or Clarity era Jimmy Eat World and even post rock like This Will Destroy You and God Speed! You Black Emperor. If you’re life sometimes needs some tranquility, then SIANspheirc is the perfect soundtrack.  – Jay Castro   

When you see the word spheric in a band name, you can be pretty assured the songs will not be under two minutes and this is the case with SIANspheric. “Shoegaze-space-rock band” is right. The Owl/Smokin’ Ritchie reminds me of My Bloody Valentine, Swervedriver, Ride and other lesser-known shoegaze bands of the ‘90’s alternative rock scene. There is something to be said about perseverance especially in the music world where bands break-up as quickly as they get started, but SIANspheric have been around fourteen years. If you have the patience to let songs grow and build, then SIANspheric is for you.  – Ed Stuart

The Chiefs – Speed Rock 7”  (Bachelor Records/Bachelor Archive)
Not to be confused with The Chiefs from LA, this Chiefs is from a small town Austria. The story behind this release is that The Chiefs played one show before calling it quits that may or may not have been caused by having money that they couldn’t spend at the bar. Speed Rock is taken from recently unearthed practice tapes and lean more towards to early punk like The Ramones, The Saints and The Kids as it does to late ‘60’s proto-punk like those Back To The Grave compilations and early Yardbirds simplicity.  – Ed Stuart

Not to be confused with Southern California’s Chiefs that brought us the fabulous song “Tower 18” among others. This Chiefs is also from the late 1970’s but from the other side of the world, Austria to be exact. This here 7” is the only thing this short lived band ever recorded. Legend has it they practiced 5 times and played 1 show then kaput!  Three songs that have a similar sound to that region’s other bands that appear on Killed By Death/Bloodstains comps. Try to imagine part Germany’s Pack, Belgium’s The Kids and Raxola. This is some pretty primitive recording, but the punk Rock N’ Roll fury shines through despite the fact. Essential record if you are a fan of the above mentioned bands or compilations.  – Jay Castro

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