SOME PRODUCT!

Rather than the formality of actual in depth, lengthy reviews (getting much too lazy for that) here’s a few things I’ve bought (or heard) over the last few weeks or so, and a couple lines on what I think of them. You should buy most of this stuff, too. (NOTE: some of this product is actually not “new” new but new to me only.)

BEADY EYE – Different Gear, Still Speeding.

So arrivith the first post-Oasis record. It actually must be tough putting out this record if you’re Liam. As popular as Oasis were/are, one, there’s no way this will hold up to the Oasis legacy, two, there’s no way that songwise, it could be as good as their finest moments, and three, there’s so many critics and anti-fans rooting against this band just because. Bottom line on this one – if you are an Oasis fan, you should eat this up. It’s neither magnificent, nor is it a failure. It will do nicely in a pinch. It hits highs (“The Roller,” “Kill For a Dream,” “For Anyone”) and suffers lows (“Beatles and Stones” lyrics are enough to make Noel’s output look like poet laureate material. “Standing on the Edge of Noise” wears out its welcome pretty quickly as well) Alot of it is overlong. But alot of it is catchy as shit. This is what it is. You know whether or not you should buy this one. (Myself, I picked it up on iTunes, and vinyl.)

DROPKICK MURPHYS – Going Out in Style.

Much like Beady Eye, you know what you’re on board with when you pick up a new DKM record. The formula for success for DKM has been perfected, and is replicated here. It’s loud, raucous, and the songs are as catchy as ever. The production is slick, and the sound is crystal clear. Thematically, “Hang ’em High” sets things off with an us vs. them theme that prevails throughout the album, and really, throughout the band’s entire catalog. The Irish trad stuff is covered in the old rave up “The Irish Rover” and the band start trading body blows with the heavy hitters as Springsteen pops up on Peg O’ My Heart. Roots are given proper nod in the lyrics of “Sunday Hardcore Matinee,” which in a twist (or maybe not so much) acts as more of a banjo/accordion driven shanty than anything that SS Decontrol or The FUs would have spit out…but still, a winner. All in all, chalk it up in the win column for a band that remain as true to their roots and deliver on their terms as much as any I can imagine since The Clash.

TOMMY & THE TERRORS – (Collection of eps. 4 Subculture Records. Coming Soon.)

Euro collection of a variety of Tommy & the Terrors eps (excepting On the Run), this is some strong, substantive work. Including their most recent (and best) material in Problem. Reaction. Solution, it is a must own for fans.  From some of their catchiest in anthems such as “On the Avenue” to some of their hardest  in offerings like “Revenge.” It runs the gamut stylistically and shows the range, longevity and determination that the Terrors are capable of. Pick up as soon as will allow at http://www.4subculture.com.

NIGHT BIRDS – “Midnight Movies,” “Killer Waves,” “s/t”

These Night Birds releases are a breath of fresh air, and kind of exactly what I needed as of late. Kind of early SoCal-ish Adolescents/snotty punk rock, combined with moments of surf and other such animated absurdity. A really good group of songs, that when digested together, almost acts as a cohesive full length. Well worth picking up for sure.

CRO-MAGS – AOQ REISSUE

It’s AOQ rereleased on gatefold, with three demo tracks. What’s not to like?

THE VACCINES – Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra) single

Lauded as the next big thing in England, “Wreckin’ Bar” certainly lives up to such hype. It’s been called The Ramones meets JAMC, and that’s pretty accurate, I guess. Nothing I’ve heard from them since really delivers in this style, or at this level of excellence, but I’d still keep my eye on this group, based on the exuberance this tune delivers in a mere 1:20.

THE BROKEN VINYL CLUB – “I Want You Girl” single

Was tipped off to this re: Eddie Pillar’s Modcast on iTunes (typing that title makes me a little queasy) but nevertheless, the band (and this single in particular) is superlative. It’s basically an update on the formula of The La’s, and it works its magic in a very similar way: beat combo and retro sounding for sure. But it quickly burrows its way into that place in the subconscious where you store such songs, and takes firm root there. An accomplished effort from this Welsh band.

THE BRIGHTS – “Footsteps” single

Another tip off from Eddie Pillar, this one differs emphatically from The Broken Vinyl Club, but is nevertheless just as meritorious. The Brights, on this tune, sound like Paul Heaton crooning whilst vintage Marr, Rourke and Joyce deliver righteously in the background. It really is as simple as that. TOPS.

THE METHOD – “We Don’t Know” & “Take Your Shot”

“We Don’t Know” exists as a neoteric, mod-inspired, freak-beat; as if the soundtrack to an imaginary  film set in the 60s. (see: The Quadrophenia dance scene.) I’m not going to exaggerate – it’s not wholly original, but it’s inspired lunacy sets the wheels in motion and  gets the blood flowing. “Take Your Shot” is less manic, more measured and not as successful, but still, interesting for its sheer worship of the style it apes.

THE PENNY COCKS – “Burning Down My Youth” ep

Hailing from Barcelona, the descriptives hurled at this group operate right “in my wheelhouse,” as they say. “Chiswick records/The Jam/The Undertones/early Skrew” was what I’d read, and it would take a wonder for any band to live up to such identifiers. Alas, as good as this group is, especially in today’s scene, it falls well short of such luminaries. The vocals, while in English, remind me of such Japanese bands as LRF as well as the group Badlands. I know that sounds off, but they really do sound Badlands on some cuts, and LRF-ish at other moments (title cut esp and the Satan’s Rats cover that closes): English, but not quite England/American sounding, which is 100% understandable, obviously. And that’s not a bad thing, either. The accompanying instrumentation does sound like it’s 77 forbearers, perhaps getting a little more manic in places, but it is definitely first rate. All in all, though not living up to the comparisons to the legends (and who could?) the Penny Cocks are definitely an outstanding entry to the punk rock/skinhead scene, and one to watch for.

The EFFIGIES – live soundboard from OZ. 1981

Please visit this website and download this live set to see why The Effigies were among the most interesting of all the “hardcore” bands from the early 80s. A definite influence from bands like The Ruts made them stand aside from their peers. Emphasis on the groove of the tune, and made rock solid by Kezdy’s growls and simple, plodding messages. http://morethanawitnessarchive.blogspot.com/2011/02/effigies-oz-chicago-il-41081-soundboard.html

GENTLEMEN JESSE – She’s a Trap single

Gentlemen Jesse continues to bring the Nick Lowe-styled power-pop. Keep it coming. While breaking no new ground (see review of the first LP on this site) it continues to breed the quality. Pick this up.

BLUR – Fool’s Day single

Finally picked up a copy of this limited Record Store Day-only Blur release, the first (and only new song) post Blur break-up. It’s basically a mid tempo, reflective loop of a song, that breezes along in a very determined Kinks-ian way as the day of the title might suggest. The lyrics are top shelf, which is fairly standard now for the autobiographical Damon Albarn. They appear a non-fiction narrative about the day of this songs’ recording, musing the heaviness of Blur’s past, as well as their reconciliation. Graham is given the opportunity to  veer off into his own little esoteric weirdness, and Alex and Dave are in fine form as well. And all seems right with the world.

MALE NURSES – s/t ep.

Some pretty competent & catchy 80’s inspired HC from this Boston band. Snotty vocals, shredding gee-tars, and a healthy dose of imbecility are the order of the day. Recommended.


OFF! – First Four Eps box set

On paper, it probably shouldn’t work. Pensioner Keith Morris teams up with Mario Rubalcaba and Dimiti Coats and shreds some very early 80s SoCal Black Flag-ish type shit. The box set contains some excellent Raymond Pettibone art, and it pleases me to give this whole thing a thimbs way up. As an inspired whole, this thing delievers 4 eps, with excellent packaging and is WELL worth recommending. Buy at once.


IRON & WINE – Kiss Each Other Clean

I knew nothing of Iron & Wine before hearing “Walking Far From Home” from this record, it being a travelogue of somewhat  O’Brother Where Art Thou?-conjured visuals, combined with a theme that is almost Odyssean in its quest. Needless to say, I became somewhat interested. I heard another cut on NPR, that brought to mind solo Alex Chilton, so I decided to purchase the record. I’m pleased with it overall. It is stylistically interesting and doesn’t take root in the same place often – in parts slower, in parts near Steely Dan-ish, and at many spots in between. I’m told the old school Iron & Wine fan base were none too excited to see the instrumentation branch out beyond simple acoustics, so pissing off the hipsters seems another solid reason for giving this one the thumbs up.

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2 Responses to “SOME PRODUCT!”

  1. been blastin beady eye for a while now. beyond “beatles n stones” track, i am diggin all of it…took a few listens, but it’s way good

  2. “Beatles ‘n’ Stones” is actually a catchy tune but the lyrics are hard to get past. The real clunker to me is “Standing on the Edge of Noise.” Everything else is at least head-noddingly decent.

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