Posts Tagged ‘Punk Rock’

c.o.o.p.: Everything is Stolen

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015

What if Gary Lewis had grown up listening to the Descendents? It might have sounded something like this new EP from the Los Angeles-based c.o.o.p. Stream their EP below, and download for free from their website.

The Muffs: The Muffs

Saturday, August 15th, 2015

Muffs_MuffsThe Muffs debut reissued with ten bonus tracks!

When the Pandoras turned to metal and subsequently dissolved in the wake of Paula Pierce’s death, Kim Shattuck and Melanie Vammen joined with Ronnie Barrett and Criss Crass to form the pop-punk Muffs. Vammen moved from keyboards to guitar, and Shattuck from bass to guitar, principal songwriter and lead vocalist. Barrett (bass) and Crass (drums) provided a solid rhythm section behind Shattuck and Vammen’s wall of electric guitars, and Shattuck sang with the assertiveness of someone who, after years as a band member, was raring to step out front. Shattuck wrote about her relationship with then-boyfriend Barrett, those around her, including the stalker of “Everywhere I Go” and her former bandleader Paula Pierce on “Eye to Eye,” and the occasional fiction, including the girl-group tinged “Baby Go Round.”

Omnivore’s reissue expands the original album with ten excellent bonus tracks, including a radio remix of “Lucky Guy,” the demo version of “Everywhere I Go” (which was on the original cassette release of the album), and eight previously unreleased 4-track songwriter demos. The latter include early versions of the album’s “All For Nothing” (with an electric guitar that was changed to acoustic for the finished track), “Not Like Me” (without the final version’s bouncy bass and drums), “Saying Goodbye” (originally titled “Saying Goodbye to Phil” and taken at a slower tempo), and a demo version of Blonder and Blonder’s garage rocker “Ethyl My Love.” Also included are four otherwise unrecorded titles, including the Joan Jett-styled “I Don’t Expect It” and the retro “Something on My Mind.”

The reissue includes remastered sound (by Gavin Lurssen and Reuben Cohen of Lurssen Mastering), a 16-page booklet with liner notes from Kim Shattuck and Ronnie Barnett, informative, track-by-track song notes from Shattuck, detailed credits and a wealth of period photos. This is a nice upgrade for fans who already have the original release, and a good introduction for soon-to-be fans. [©2015 Hyperbolium]

The Muffs’ Facebook Page

The Crags: Long Shadow Day

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Crags_LongShadowDayIntoxicating combination of country, punk, rockabilly and surf

When last heard from, this Durango, Colorado band was sporting a charming lo-fi sound. Three years later, their production is richer, their arrangements more polished and their musical scope widened. Tracy Ford sounds like Patti Smith backed by a rockabilly band on the opening “It Can’t Be So Hard,” and just as you’re settling into the two-step groove, Tim Lillyquist lays staccato surf picking into “Walida.” The band’s punk-rock, country, psychobilly, doo-wop and surf sounds are surprisingly sympathetic to one another, with Lillyquist’s guitar and Ford’s varied vocal moods tying it all together. There’s chicken-picking (“Tokyo”), ‘50s styled balladry (“Where Can I Go”) and even drippy neo-psych guitars (“In the Breeze”), and the distance between them all is shorter than you might imagine. [©2015 Hyperbolium]

The Crags’ Facebool Page
The Crags’ Reverb Nation Page

Various Artists: ‘Twas the Night Before Hanukkah

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Jews sing of both Hanukkah and Christmas

A musical battle between Hanukkah and Christmas is really no battle at all. As the popularity of recorded music grew through the twentieth century, so did the Christian-to-Jew population advantage. A 50:1 advantage in 1900 grew to a 150:1 advantage by 2000, and magnified by Western commercialization of Christmas, its celebrants produced an unparalleled abundance of popular holiday music. Hanukkah, in contrast, mostly made good with candles, dreidels, latkes and music that bore more resemblance to traditional Jewish melodies than the top of the pops. Sure, there’s the catchy “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel,” but it’s more of a nursery rhyme than a hit single, and Adam Sandler’s “The Hanukkah Song” (covered by both Neil Diamond and the hardcore rockers Yidcore) was a heartfelt, but ultimately self-conscious response to the dearth of Hanukkah songs. Beck, They Might Be Giants and Ben Kweller, to name a few, have given it a shot, but don’t expect to be humming along to a Muzak™ version of Tom Lehrer’s “I’m Spending Hanukkah in Santa Monica” any time soon.

Even with the LeeVees’ Hanukkah Rocks on the shelves, Hanukkah fights the musical battle with both arms tied behind its back. If Christmas is the Beatles, Hanukkah is at best a lounge band covering the Four Seasons (cf: The International Battle of the Century). The relentless repetition of Top 40 hits, on the radio and in stores, has made dozens of Christmas songs icons of the season. And in keeping with the secularization of Christmas as aU.S. celebration, many of the best-loved Christmas songs were written or sung by Jews. The Idelsohn Society’s two-disc set traces the transformation of Christmas from a religious holiday to a popular bonanza, and further emphasizes the second-banana position into which the relatively minor holiday of Hanukkah was pressed. The songs on disc two demonstrate how Christmas cut across cultural lines to become as much a secular seasonal feeling as a religious celebration. As the set’s liner notes point out, American Jews celebrated Christmas “not because it was Christian, but because it was American.”

At the same time, the designation of Christmas as a national holiday in 1870 set off a desire among some Jews for Hanukkah parity. And though Hanukkah songs were written and revived, none ever reached true popular acclaim. Disc one, “Happy Hanukkah,” includes historical odes, folk songs (including Woody Guthrie’s “Hanukkah Dance”), traditional melodies, klezmer, cantorial standards, children’s songs, chorals and humor. The disc’s one hit is Don McLean’s “Dreidel,” which just missed the Top 20 in 1972, and is really only Hanukkah-themed in its title. Disc two is filled with popularly familiar artists (The Ramones, Bob Dylan, Benny Goodman, Sammy Davis Jr., Herb Alpert, Mel Torme), all of whom are Jewish. The song list features many perennials, including Irving Berlin’s classic “White Christmas,” which author Phillip Roth characterized as subversively turning “Christmas into a holiday about snow.”

The two discs and accompanying 36-page booklet are entertaining and thought-provoking. The story of Jewish assimilation into American society is perhaps nowhere more evident than the secularized national celebration of Christmas, and the failed (and perhaps misguided) attempt to bring Hanukkah to parity. Christmas iconography – Santa, reindeer, snow, trees, candy canes, decorations, lights and brightly wrapped presents – are generally more visible than Christian religious symbols, and the holiday’s musical hits, even when referencing historical places and people, have more often taken a general celebratory tone than one of liturgy or dogma. Jews may sing a Hanukkah song or two by the menorah, but the soundtrack to most holiday gatherings, office parties and shopping – for Jews and Gentiles alike – is filled with Christmas music. [©2012 Hyperbolium]

Personal & the Pizzas: Diet, Crime and Delinquency

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Joey Ramone meets Stiv Bators and Handsome Dick Manitoba

This three-song EP could easily be lumped into the neo-Ramones category, but as Jason Diamond of Impose Magazine suggests, there’s a strong helping of Stiv Bators’ post-Dead Boys pop, and the opening monologue (which tells kids to smoke, drink, fight and eat pizza) rolls in the self-aggrandizing style of the Dictators’ Handsome Dick Manitoba. The closing “Bored Out of My Brains” is among the best Ramones songs never actually written or recorded by the Ramones. [©2011 hyperbolium dot com]

Personal and the Pizzas’ Facebook Page

Henry’s Funeral Shoe: Donkey Jacket

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Welsh power duo cranks up blues-rock riffs

Going the reductionist power trio format one better, this Welsh duo features brothers Aled and Brennig Clifford on guitar/vocals and drums, respectively. With cues from the White Stripes, Black Keys, Two Gallants and others, The Cliffords buzz through heavy blues-rock originals that offer room for Aled to display his guitar playing prowess. Unlike the sonic pounding of labelmates Radio Moscow, Henry’s Funeral Shoe takes a more nuanced, and less psych-influenced, approach to their jamming. Aled’s playing follows more in the vein of British blues-rock giants like Peter Green and Rory Gallagher than metal or prog-rock players, and though he can pierce your eardrums with high, loud notes, he also plays slide and strums an acoustic on “Bottom is Top.” The songs bear the influence of everything from Robert Johnson to The Who, amplified by the volume of metal and the ferocity of punk rock. The hammering power chords of “Dog Scratched Ear” give way to the dobro-styled intro of “Mission & Maintenance,” which ramps itself into a howl stoked by Brennig’s drums and John Edwards’ harmonica. The band neatly ties together acoustic roots, early-60s electrification, late-60s jamming, early-70s excess and the late-70s punk-rock rebuttal; it’s a heavy trip. [©2011 hyperbolium dot com]

MP3 | Dog Scratched Ear
Henry’s Funeral Shoe’s Home Page

Eddie and the Hot Rods

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Some days it feels as if Eddie and the Hot Rods was the hardest rocking band of the 1970s. Rising between the craft of pub rock and the back-to-basics energy of punk, the Hot Rods had chops, hooks and fire, especially on their second album, Life on the Line. They weren’t afraid of guitar solos, stretching out on record and stage with tremendous magnetism and power, but never falling into to the hackneyed antics of arena rock.

Gardens: Gardens

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Driving Detroit rock spiked with punk and psych

Detroit may have taken a body blow from the recession, but it only seems to have intensified the city’s music. This Motor City quartet has the aggressiveness of a ‘70s punk band weaned on the Stooges, Amboy Dukes and MC5 and the range of a band that’s listened through the transitions from garage to psychedelia and punk to post-punk. Things fall apart, Velvet Underground-style, on “Ideas to Use,” but snap back together for the driving bass-guitar-drums riff of “Safe Effect.” Touches of organ and a low-key lead on “River Perspective” down shift momentarily, as does the experimental “Poems,” but it’s the mid-tempo, hard-strummed numbers that will move you and make you move. [©2011 hyperbolium dot com]

MP3 | Safe Effect
Gardens’ Home Page

The Mad Tea Party: Rock ‘n’ Roll Ghoul

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Rock ‘n’ roll Halloween!

Just in time for Halloween, Asheville’s Mad Tea Party (not to be confused with some other teabaggers that’ve recently been in the news) unleashes this four-song EP of horror-themed rock ‘n’ roll. The title track sounds as if the Fugs returned from the grave as a punkabilly band that feeds on the flesh of its own critics. “Possessed” digs up the bones of classic ‘60s garage rock, with Ami Worthen singing like Elinor Blake fronting the Pandoras, and producer Greg Cartwright ripping a Pebbles-worthy guitar solo. Forrest J. Ackerman would have appreciated the ukulele-fueled ode to Vincent Price’s “Dr. Phibes,” and the doo-wop party-vibe of “Frankenstein’s Den” sounds like the Coasters meeting up with Bobby Pickett’s Crypt-Kickers over a witch’s cauldron. You can’t play “Monster Mash,” “Great Pumpkin Waltz” and “Thriller” all night long, so add these tracks to your Halloween playlist today! [©2010 hyperbolium dot com]

The Mad Tea Party’s Home Page

The Bulletproof Vests: (Don’t) Throw My Love Away

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Throwback garage rock meets power punk

This Memphis quintet plays amped-up garage-pop that lives somewhere amidst the scratchily anthologized garage-rock singles of AIP’s Pebbles series, the power-punk ethos of the Buzzcocks, the post-punk aggression of The Fall, and a splash of surf-rock in the guitars. The result is more vintage Northwest than Southern. Their latest release is, appropriately enough, a mono 7” available via Goner Records and Bandcamp. Or if you’re stuck in the modern world, you can name your own price for a digital download. [©2010 hyperbolium dot com]

MP3 | (Don’t) Throw My Love Away
The Bulletproof Vests’ MySpace Page