Saturday, April 7, 2018

April 2018 Reviews

April 2018 Reviews

Beta Boys – Brick Walls 7” (Total Punk)
Total Punk certainly does live up to its name and Beta Boys is no different. Beta Boys plays a Germs style primitive punk and drags those songs through the scuzz and mud. “Brick Walls” is a slow grinder, think of the breakdown in a hardcore song, but the entire song is that breakdown. “Littered Streets” is the punk/hardcore song that the breakdown came from, but never got added. After releases on Goodbye Boozy and Neck Chop, Beta Boys don’t seems to be stopping anytime soon. For fans of early LA punk meets ‘80’s punk/hardcore check it out.  – Ed Stuart

Bundles – Deaf Dogs LP (Gunner)
Boston’s Bundles are here with their debut LP, Deaf Dogs. I first heard Bundles on an earlier split with Dan Webb & the Spiders. Bundles exists somewhere between Avail, Long Island punk and a touch of Midwest. Deaf Dogs, pulling from a few different sources, seems to be set up with a rocker and followed by a Long Island influenced heartfelt number. This is emotional melodic punk, without the emo stigma, that isn’t afraid to do either. – Ed Stuart

The Carousels – Sail Me Home, St. Clair LP (Kool Kat/Sugarbush)
The Carousels are really a throwback to an earlier era. What era, you ask? Sail Me Home, St. Clair is a mix of folk, Americana, alt-rock country and ‘60’s California pop, that was turning radio dials in the ‘60’s/’70’s. The Carousels are from Scotland, which isn’t the hotbed of alt-country Americana, but maybe there is a burgeoning scene there. Sail Me Home is the second LP from the Scottish band that picks up where their debut, Love Changes Like The Seasons, left off. It’s like Neil Young and The Byrds moved to Scotland or the city of Keith (where the Carousels are from) got transplanted to California.  – Ed Stuart

Cold Leather – Past Remedy 7” (Sabotage)
Following 2016’s demo, Cold Leather has their first proper release with Past Remedy. Berlin’s Cold Leather features members of Pretty Hurts and Cult Values. Past Remedy is billed as early Dangerhouse punk meets ’81 Berlin, but I don’t really get that feel from Cold Leather. Instead the band mixes ’77-’79 punk and post-punk with a knack for angular guitar riffs. – Ed Stuart

Faz Waltz – Julie 7” (Spaghetty Town)
The more I think about it, this marriage of Faz Waltz and Spaghetty Town makes total sense. Hot off the heels of Dr. Boogie, Spaghetty Town releases Faz Waltz. Faz Waltz hail from Italy and graduated from the Bolan Academy of Music. Julie keeps this tradition going with adding touches of Slade and Sweet guitar driven glam-pop. Faz Waltz are veterans of this scene, sound and style and its shows since both tracks ooze ‘70’s glitter sleaze so effortlessly.  – Ed Stuart

Jeff Rosenstock – POST- LP (Polyvinyl)
After his critically deemed magnum opus, Worry, was released two years ago some have waited with baited breath for Rosenstock’s follow up. Instead of releasing POST- in a storm of hype, Rosenstock dropped the LP silently by just posting a link. Some have deemed Rosenstock as a millennial pop-punk lifer, which seemed arguably skewed considering he is thirty-five. Is POST- Worry part 2? No. POST- does tackle some of the same topics, but it’s more politically focused and than Worry. While, Worry, was more or less a pop-punk LP with seconds long songs as interludes, POST- is a meatier affair. Rosenstock has bookended this musical sandwich with two songs that total nineteen minutes while the middle is filled with his trademark pop-punk meets Weezer with touches of ‘80’s/90’s indie rock. “Yr Throat,” “Melba” and “Beating My Head Against A Wall” leads the pop-punk charge while “9/10” goes for more introspective. The long songs are a bit labored and seem a little out of place. POST- is a sandwich where I would get rid of the crust and just focus on the middle to keep you satisfied. – Ed Stuart

Mean Jeans – Jingles Collection LP (Fat Wreck)
What happens when a punk band decides to write jingles? First of all, they get turned down by several of the companies they decided to honor with a jingle. Second, they start getting a lot press for their failed efforts. Third, Fat decides to package all their attempted jingles into an LP. So there you have it. Songs about brands like “Sizzler” to “Skoal” and “Mountain Dew.” Mean Jeans channel the Queers pop-punk and play these jingles with tongue firmly planted in cheek. – Ed Stuart

The Number Ones – Another Side Of The Number Ones 7” (Static Shock)
Number Ones may be the closest band to Good Vibrations sound playing today. Does it help they are from Dublin? Sure, but it’s their sound and their songs that really make the difference. Their S/T LP introduced the world to their Protex meets Undertones meets Northern Ireland sound. Another Side Of The Number Ones, released three years later, shows that band hasn’t lost a step at all. Sure you could argue they have an Exploding Hearts rough and toughness to hide the sugary pop underneath. “Lie To Me” is phenomenal and so are the rest of the songs. Number Ones have announced they are back and started off power-pop 2018 with a one hell of release.   – Ed Stuart

Ruler – Ruler 7” (Secret Mission)
Yes, The Raydios are done and dusted, but that didn’t mean Fink decided to take any time off. He’s back with his new band, Ruler. Ruler has Fink, duh, plus members of The Raydios and Intimate Fags. Ruler is closer to Teengenerate than Raydios, which won’t cause a lot of complaints. If you have liked Fink’s bands over the years, then Ruler is a must have. Ruler is a ’77 barnburner of razorblade guitar riffs played with KBD meets garage meets early Kids intensity.  – Ed Stuart

Silent Era – O Horizon LP (Sabotage/Last Hour)
Tilt meets early Samhain with touches of early Christian Death and T.S.O.L. Silent Era, hailing from Oakland, brings back an older East Bay sound that I haven’t heard since the early ‘90’s. The dark tinged melodic guitar is upfront and stands out through O Horizon. The guitar does a lot of heavy lifting but it measured by the steadily driving rhythm and female vocals.  – Ed Stuart

Spanish Love Songs – Schmaltz LP (A-F)
According to a couple of articles I read, Los Angeles’s Spanish Love Songs are either sad or grouchy punks. I wasn’t sure those were punks categories, but I guess everything is up for grabs in the sub-genre world of music. What about nostalgic? Schmaltz at its core seems like ‘90’s emo-punk, Get Up Kids mixed with later Menzingers. The vocals are drenched in emotion; remembrance and the stop-start hallmarks of emo/’00’s punk are ever present. – Ed Stuart

Telephone Lovers – Two Dollar Baby 7” (Disconnected/Burger)
Telephone Lovers have been honing their sound and chops in LA’s watering holes for a couple of years. The Lovers, led by Teddy Too Much, feature a cast of characters from Dr Boogie, Black Mambas, Maniac and Images. Two Dollar Baby shows more of the Lovers Real Kids rock n’ roll side without their tough pop. Telephone Lovers forsake their Plimsouls touches for the pop grit of The Beat. “Two Dollar Baby” is steeped in classic ‘70’s riffs that it could of followed Dwight Tilley or Flamin Groovies on the radio. This 7-inch is being billed as a double A-side which I can see after hearing “Real Action” the pop to the power of “Two Dollar Baby.”  – Ed Stuart

Terminal Mind – Recordings LP (Sonic Surgery/Super Secret)
With the amount of stuff coming out of the so-called punk vaults, they better rent out a few storage lockers. This time around it’s Terminal Mind from Austin. True to form with other release of this nature, Terminal Mind’s heyday was 1978-1981, but this isn’t an LP lost to time. Recordings are a mix of the band’s only release EP, unheard demos and live recordings. Terminal Mind played shows with early TX punks like the Huns and Big Boys, which the drummer would join later. Terminal Mind is a mix of Wipers style punk, Pere Ubu and touches of early Wire with deadpan vocals.  – Ed Stuart

Tres Oui – Poised To Flourish LP (Shrimper/Revolver)
Right off the bat, Tres Oui reminded me of ‘80’s – ‘90’s UK ranging from Smiths to Ride. I guess now it’s called jangle-pop, but it’s very melodic guitars with upbeat drums. Tres Oui is made of members of Literature. Poised To Flourish, the band’s debut, songwriting sounds heavily influenced by Johnny Marr and early Robert Smith, which isn’t a bad thing at all. Tres Oui does a fine job of not being ‘80’s worship and incorporates touches of newer indie bands without losing their infinity for their UK heroes. – Ed Stuart

Various Artists – Spring 2018 LP (Rockstar)
Rockstar has issued another free compilation featuring many of the label’s bands both past and present. Compilations are always a little hard to pinpoint especially when there isn’t one clear direction or theme. Rockstar has no obvious theme other than showcasing bands. One thing about Rockstar is they do like musical diversity in bands. The comp starts out with new band Chiller and few songs later has a song from Chip Hanna’s solo effort. Rockstar has put out releases from known bands like Toys That Kill and Miscalculations and smaller bands like Modern Pets. Rockstar has put a together of bands that range from ’77 punk to arty UK ’79 to pop-punk. – Ed Stuart