Sunday, June 22, 2014

Learn to Speak EP by Search/Party

Grade: 8.3
1. We've Got Dodson Here (Nobody Cares)
2. You're Likely to be Eaten by a Grue
3. Better is Always Better
4. Grigsby to Secret Mountain Base

I like this EP a lot, which may surprise a lot of you because I'm so critical of homegrown music. Search/Party is your quintessential punk-pop band and they've fully honed their skills in the genre. The guitars are precise and timed perfectly, the drums are damn solid (I hear too many shitty drummers on Bandcamp), and Joss Rose's vocals are both adolescent and aged simultaneously. Also, the production is great, really great! They did a good job. All this makes for a fucking great band. They lack a bit of originality in my opinion. They proclaim themselves to be alternative ("Pulling influences from every genre"), but I do feel like I've heard music like this a million times. It reminds me of my adolescence, aimless time spent listening to bands like Blink 182, Green Day, Simple Plan, Yellowcard, The Japandroids, etc.. Perhaps since I'm not exactly a punk connoisseur, I have trouble noticing differences amongst punk bands. Regardless, the sound that Search/Party has adopted is strong, and they do anthemic punk-pop quite well.

Track one (We've Got Dodson Here [Nobody Cares]) is quick and smart, mixing metaphors and evoking deep emotions like it's child's play. It tells a story of a forlorn lover who misses his ex-girlfriend. If this isn't cliche enough, the hook uses the ubiquitous Nietzsche quote "What doesn't kill us makes us stronger". Now, if I were a musician, I'd be slow to use any sort of philosophy that was repackaged in a Kelly Clarkson song, but I'm a pretentious dick and there's plenty of room for bromides in punk. The song is also very optimistic, which is cool to see on a punk album. I've often been frustrated by punk albums that are excessively pissy. I like this song a lot, but my biggest critique of it is that it is hook-heavy. Now, this is another prominent feature of punk-pop so my criticism isn't a big deal, but the second song is also really hook-heavy. Two hook-heavy songs in succession seems excessive to me. Lastly, the track name is based on Jurassic Park I think. They name is wrong, which could be an accident or intentional and too esoteric for me to decode. This is funny as fuck BTW.

Track two (You're Likely to be Eaten by a Grue) is slower and sadder than track one. It solemnly takes stock of pains and offers consolation. Though, in my opinion, the consolation feels half-hearted, almost empty. It's an interesting effect. The song is a good change of pace for the record, though it is just as anthemic and hook-heavy as track one. A grue is a mythical monster that has appeared in several works of literature and more recently in myriad internet memes.  

Track three (Better is Always Better) flows seamlessly from track two and eradicates the emotional turmoil purported in that track. It replaces it with a sort of hedonistic whimsy, founded upon softer guitars and soaring vocals. Rose croons about happy memories and is hopeful for those to come. I truly do love this angst-free punk-pop. Track three is definitely my favorite track on this album. It isn't quite as hook-heavy as the first two tracks. Instead, its power is founded on expert vocal layering, that sounds damn perfect. They did a really good job mixing all of this. 

Track four (Grigsby to Secret Mountain Base) takes the emotions back to sadness and introspection. The layering is great on this song as well. These guys are really talented musicians. One can tell that they worked hard on this EP. Nothing is smudged. The lyrics are smart and quick. I think that the title refers to the band's base of operations in Colton, Oregon, but if anyone has any more insight on this (or any other reference), comment below.

This is a really great EP. It's a damn solid punk-pop entry. You should all listen to it.

Cyber Smokes by B K Club

Grade: 4.2
1. A vs A
2. 3 for 5
3. Farting in Church
4. Burning Roses

Listen Here!

I deliberated on whether or not to give this a grade for awhile, but I ultimately decided that it was necessary lest good music loose its value. For if we consider everything to be great, then what is greatness? 

Anyway, B K Club's Cyber Smokes is really strange, good in some regards, ludicrous in others. They adopt a bluesy, approach to teen angst music (very much like some of Okkervil River's older albums). They are fairly good at this. The guitars and rattles are precise and provide a good, minimalist tempo. The instrumentals remind me of Bon Iver which is very cool. Probably the coolest thing about this record is the use of harmonicas (very Bob Dylan) and horns (very Neutral Milk Hotel). 

Track one (A vs A) is probably the strongest offering on this record. It is repetitive and a bit hypnotic. It is somber and serious, admonishing something closely resembling peace (though this theme is later undermined by track 4). It is kind of hook-heavy though.

Track two (3 for 5) is alright. It feels much like a transition between songs. Drew Lane murmurs almost incomprehensible shit while horns and guitars play over him. It really doesn't go anywhere though because the next track is equally absurd. 

Track three (Farting in Church) begins with idiotic scatting for the first minute or so. This would be forgivable if the record was longer than 4 tracks, but it isn't. Only half of the album is actually music, which brings on this aghast sense of incredulity. After the scatting, Drew Lane tells dumb, cutesy jokes for the remainder of the track, which is sort of endearing and not entirely taboo, but the jokes don't really go anywhere. I saw a close resemblance to Radiohead's Fitter Happier, where the vocalist mutters various phrases while music plays over. The entire body of the album is wasted by tracks 2 and 3, which aren't really music in my opinion.

Track four (Burning Roses) gets serious again with dark, antithetical lyrics about murdering someone in a particularly vile, cold-blooded way. This reminds me of Okkervil River's Westfall and For Real. I think that the bluesy, folksy sound is a great medium to explore violence and darkness which are most prominently featured in genres like Metal, Grunge, and Rap. 

Ultimately, Cyber Smokes fails. I don't think that this is a testament to their lack of artistic talent. Rather, I think it's a testament to their laziness. This EP is the inkling of a good idea. It could have been developed far better. Rather than coming up with a few good songs and throwing them out into cyberspace, they should have spent more time honing their songs and adding more. As far as I'm concerned, tracks 2 and 3 should be thrown out altogether or perhaps synthesized into shorter offerings that serve as relevant transitions between songs. I only hope that this inkling of a good idea will eventually become something far better.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Deeper by Blackhole

1. Deeper
2. Not Cool Enough
3. Keep Spitting
4. Art Extortion
5. Lost Sight, Start a Fight

Wen u fav hardcore band puts out a new release
417 band Blackhole just released Deeper. This 5 song release features 4 new songs and 1 song from a past release. The title track, "Deeper" is a really cool intro that was released first and everybody listened to and I absolutely love it.  I mean I like everything about this release. But in all honesty like I said I like Blackhole a lot. Production is really well done on this, and instrumental wise, as always with this band and these guys, these guys are all really good at songwriting. Cool thing, aside from the normal just Hal doing vocals, Dustin and Brennden also make some vocal appearances. I dig it when bands do that. Use what you have, ya know? "Art Extortion" has a really cool message, as do all of the songs on this release. Blackhole carries the kind of message about doing what you do because you love to do what you do and stuff and I don't know just listen to it don't read this this. 

Love the remake of "Lost Sight, Start A Fight" It's one of the songs that I never really payed too much attention to on the self titled, but what with the new sound and the addition of Dustin doing a small vocal part, it's one of my favorite on the releases as a whole. I'm glad they didn't do "Back Alley Brain Abortion" or anything like that because I mean everyone knows that song and stuff but yeah cool stuff. Good job Blackhole. 

Favorite track overall: lost sight start a fight
Favorite new track: Art Extortion (I'm a sucker for talking part things)

check it out through the live stream at at

also check out work ethic record's bandcamp

and also check out blackhole's bandcamp

Tuesday, June 17, 2014



Bed Drowning
Bedroom Floor
Asleep At The Wheel

TONER is an offshoot solo project from one of the guys from the band Casket (r.i.p) based in the San Francisco area of California. Bummer Punk just like Casket, but more of a bummer. TONER brings that "Head To The Ceiling Fan" sound for the EP, and I'm guessing that's just the vibe he's going for here. It sounds good, it's catchy, and it's slow (hence "slowcore", haha). My only problem is that the songs morph together and just sounds like one song with different parts. When I'm causally listening to this, the only way I know that the album has restarted is because of the sample at the beginning of Bed Drowning. But all-in-all this a great first EP and quite relaxing to listen to. Reminds me a lot of Choir Vandals first ep, just more of a bummer though. It also reminds me of Casket, but that's to be expected. Lyrics are typical bummer-punk stuff. I personally connect with Bed Drowning. I'm excited to see what else this guy puts out, in TONER, or another band.
Fav track: Bed Drowning
Link to bandcamp below

Monday, June 9, 2014

New Blackhole out

Local 417 band/probably one of my favorite hardcore punk bands ever, Blackhole released the intro to their upcoming EP, Deeper. This will be their third release and I'm 100% excited about it so check out this track it's great.

Get it HERE

Friday, June 6, 2014

Slobber by Mason Mercer

Slobber {Mason Mercer}
1. Circumcision
2. Hunger
3. Scrappy-Doo
4. Slime
5. The Water Helps

Hailing from Ozark Missouri (hey that's where i live), New York resident Mason Mercer just released his five track release, Slobber. There has been a lot of build up to this release, and now that it's finally out, everyone gets to see what all the hype is about for themselves. Mason's music mixes electronic/tribal beats, guitars, and awesome melodies to make five songs that are really enjoyable to listen to. It's not an instrumental release though, Mason's vocals are relaxed and soothing. The music has just enough swing to it to move to, and all the tracks deviate from one another so it's not like it's boring. Tribal music really interests me because there is so much sound to it. What I really love about it all is that the music goes from the heavy drum/bass/jungle noises to acoustic guitar picking a lead and Mason does a really good job at making this an enjoyable listen. So many different noises being made at once, I love it. Slobber is a great listen and is one that I think you should check out. 

Favorite track: The Water Helps


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Only Truth Remains by ALIENATE YOU

Only Truth Remains | ALIENATE YOU
1. Strife
2. Elephant Skin
3. Place of Suffering
4. Alienate You
5. Follow

So I've seen these guys play live quite a few times, and each time they get the crowd moving so much you'd think they're a touring band from bridge 9. They played 2nd when Backpack (Backtrack) came through and the moshe was strong with this band. Plus these guys just ooze confidence on stage so that's something. These guys are going to go somewhere. 
Okay so as my friend Kasey remarked upon the band during our discussion of them, that's the most megadeath sounding guitar ever. Run times are too long for hardcore, but just about right for that metallic hardcore sound that they are. Wonderful production, progressive songwriting, and the musical talent of these guys makes this release the kind that may just top my top releases of the year list. Now to be honest, I didn't exactly like it when I first heard it. "These guys know what they are doing and they're really good at what they do but I dunno, I can't get into them." Well that was about a week ago and after not being able to get the god damn riffs from "Strife" out of my head, I've listened to this release a shit ton. Cool thing about Strife: Them guest vocals. Even though it's a really fucking long song((for me)), it's really cool and moshetastic.
Travis's vocals are something that on their own. They're like old fashioned hardcore vocals but with that metallic spin on it and even though they give me that angry feeling of listen to hardcore music, whenever he does his "woah ho ho" stuff I just wanna smile and high five him. 
Great release check it out, blah blah blah, all that stuff. This really is a really good release, and if you ever see a show with these guys on the ticket, go to it. 
Superficial remarks: Love Ethan's guitar. Travis is just entertaining to watch live, and they're all really nice guys (to me at least). Vocals are all awesome and get stuck in your head and after hearing "Place of Suffering" once I was able to sing along live. I like the way their bandcamp looks. 

Favorite track: Strife (but damn these are all good)

(can this even be counted as a review)

Spring '14 by Brain Dead

Spring '14 { Brain Dead }
1. The Slam
2. Keep it Away
3. Next Year
4. Forever

How many bands can Texas have. I think if I was ever a politician I would try to get on the side of the Texas music scene (if, in this horrible scenario, hardcore kids voted). Anyway, Brain Dead is a Straight Edge youth band, the kind with x's on their hands, the kind with unlimited posi jumps, and great sounding snares*.
Anyway, in the full 6 minutes that this release is, you've got what ya need to hear. Vocals are short and the music is a banger. The kind of stuff I would mosh to. They deviate their music a lot, especially on the first track, "The Slam". It goes from the mid tempo head banging stuff to the fast skank stuff to the slower two stepping stuff to a cool guitar solo to a beatdown and it all shows you that i don't know how to review music. These guys are good, check them out. Plus it's only like 6 minutes long so download it to add to your collection of straight edge bands/hardcore bands/bands from texas/bands. 
I haven't heard any bad texas bands yet but I'd love to so if anyone finds any send them my way. 

favorite track: The Slam

*I have no idea if the snare sounds good but it stands out a lot to me and one time I watched this band called Homewrecker play a live show and their snare stood out to me and my friend Kasey said it sounded good so I dunno.

Side Note:
I always have split feelings when it comes to edge bands. I love the messages that they are spreading, and I love the music. I could sit and listen to bands like this and No Thanks and Free At Last but then again I don't like when people who are edge throw their opinion on people and say that if you drink the marijuana or smoke the beer you're a stupid butt. I dunno everyone should love everyone but I dig that these guys have their opinions so straight and that they make awesome music.