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Vattnet Viskar - Settler (Cover)
Vattnet Viskar: Settler
Century Media Records
Two albums in, post-black metal outfit Vattnet Viskar seems to be hitting its stride with Settler. If that sounds like a backhanded compliment to the band’s output thus far, it’s unintentional, but Settler’s merits are such that it considerably eclipses the band’s first full-length, Sky Swallower. Within a metal perspective, at least, the records are like total opposites. Sky Swallower was defined by space"droning passages of acoustic, plaintive Earth-esque tones in between spastic grinding bursts. It is very much an autumnal record. Settler goes the opposite route, packing in grinding aural assaults bing bang boom. [more]
Craig Ibarra - A Wailing Of A Town [Book] (Cover)
Craig Ibarra: A Wailing Of A Town [Book]
END FWY
It would be understandable if the reason a large majority of the people buying this book were doing so due to the fact that San Pedro was the home of the Minutemen, a trio that created a sound which defied normal confines even within the expansive early days of punk rock. However, despite at least one quarter of the 344 pages focussing heavily on the trio of D. Boon, Mike Watt and George Hurley, there is so much more to be found throughout this oral history. In spite of the variety contained between the covers, the front features a picture of Dennes (D.) Boon, Minutemen guitarist, vocalist and a man whose life was cruelly lost in a car accident in December 1985. [more]
Sweet John Bloom - Weird Prayer (Cover)
Sweet John Bloom: Weird Prayer
Tiny Engines
By the time the amp buzz quits at the end of Weird Prayer, you'll be pretty much convinced that Sweet John Bloom are the real deal. If you're a fan of Superchunk and Japandroids, then these short, wild, frantic bursts of energy that form their debut full-length are just for you. They way they blend indie rock, basement power-pop and punk in just over 30 minutes suspends your beliefs and, ultimately, ends up proving to be a near-perfect gateway to a world of summer anthems. [more]
Lady Bones - Dying (Cover)
Lady Bones: Dying
Midnight Werewolf
Lady Bones are something I only recently caught wind of and very quickly, I found myself hooked on their discography. They offer a lighthearted take on indie-rock but as poppy as they get at times, there are a lot of post-rock and grunge undertones, swirling around -- very subtly so on Dying. In fact, they've gone to the more serious ends of the indie spectrum as years elapsed, making music for grown-ups with a sharper and more realistic edge. Even if you never heard them before, this is a great point to get acquainted because it's their best work to date. Great lyrics, a powerful musical drive and a catchy sensibility that'll surely have more people taking notes. [more]
Pocket - Full Bloom (Cover)
Pocket: Full Bloom
Broken World Media
Full Bloom, the debut LP from Philadelphia post-hardcore three-piece Pocket, continues to show the magic that Philly has, which to an outsider like me, is something that I really want to experience first hand. The craftsmanship on the record is something that definitely feels tailored for fans of bands like The Hotelier, and more recently, the likes of Sorority Noise and Annabel. The latter two, plus another Philly gem in Hop Along, had me thinking I'd topped out my quota of emo-praise for the year, only for Pocket to come along with a swift and sturdy introduction. [more]
Geza X - You Goddam Kids! [Reissue] (Cover)
Geza X: You Goddam Kids! [Reissue]
Burger Records
The term “long lost classic” gets thrown around so much in punk rock that by now, it basically means any record that is slightly better than mediocre. The result is that when records truly are classics, they get washed away in the clutter of punk’s obsession with cataloging everything. (Though, to be fair, punk’s history of archiving everything certainly has its benefits.) Geza X’s sole LP, You Goddam Kids is one of the victims of this. At this point, most people don’t even know about despite the fact that it’s one of the weirdest and most interesting punk records from early west coast punk. [more]
The Front Bottoms - Cough it Out [Digital Single] (Cover)
The Front Bottoms: Cough it Out [Digital Single]
Fueled by Ramen
I'm always a bit wary when The Front Bottoms release something new. Their self-titled is essentially perfect, and showcases the band at their best. Luckily, the follow-up, Talon of the Hawk, was pretty wonderful, too. Since then, though, the band's popularity has been growing at an astronomical rate. They've gone from being that small quirky band who supported The Menzingers at the Hare and Hounds that one time to one of the biggest bands in the entire alt scene. The thing about The Front Bottoms is that typical "Front Bottoms charm" they have. I'm not sure how to define it. I think it's Brian Sella's unique vocals or maybe it's the frantic drumming. [more]
Desaparecidos - Payola (Cover)
Desaparecidos: Payola
Epitaph Records
First off, yes, you've heard quite a bit of Payola already. Let's get that out the way. Secondly, Conor Oberst continues to show why he's still one of the most powerful voices in the punk arena today. The 13-year wait's been worth it because Desaparecidos once more churn out a melodic, fist-raised-in-the-air political-punk art piece that'll do well to remind the general public of the change we clamor, cry out for and that which we need. There are few surprises here if you're familiar with the band as it's packed with shout-along anthems, mired in unrest and as usual, a perfect mouthpiece for Oberst to wage war over. [more]
Young and Heartless - The Pull of Gravity [Reissue] (Cover)
Young and Heartless: The Pull of Gravity [Reissue]
Hopeless Records
It's a good thing Young and Heartless are getting this reissue under Hopeless Records out. Between these guys, Worthwhile, Milk Teeth and Trophy Eyes, I think there's a movement building on the label that's made even more interesting given that old-schoolers like Taking Back Sunday, The Used and Bayside, among others, have set up shop here as well. Both groups offer a stark contrast with the former coming off as the raw underground rising as opposed to the mainstream marketables still looking to maintain a presence in the current scene today. [more]
Oso Oso - Real Stories Of True People, Who Kind Of Looked Like Monsters (Cover)
Oso Oso: Real Stories Of True People, Who Kind Of Looked Like Monsters
Soft Speak Records
Jade Lilitri's got quite a storied career in a relatively short space of time. From State Lines to osoosooso, it's always been about candid, catchy statements while doing his utmost not to become too stagnant or too stale in a pop-punk arena that seemed saturated and uninspiring at times. His music helped fill my Joyce Manor downtime and why not? It's vibrant and full of energy. In the past he's always had a lot to say and now, being more of a lone wolf than ever, it seems that as time has passed, he knows exactly what to say at exactly the right time. [more]
Bad Cop/Bad Cop - Not Sorry (Cover)
Bad Cop/Bad Cop: Not Sorry
Fat Wreck Chords
Bad Cop/Bad Cop have been putting in quite a bit of time in the punk scene. They have released two EPs and they have played countless shows throughout Southern California, they have opened for big name punk acts like Me First and the Gimme Gimmes and Good Riddance, and they even performed at Punk Rock Bowling in 2014. After all of those shows, the band brought the best of both of their EPs plus much more to the table for their first full length titled Not Sorry, which was produced by none other than Fat Mike. [more]
Fucked Up - Year of the Hare [12-inch] (Cover)
Fucked Up: Year of the Hare [12-inch]
Deathwish, Inc.
Fucked Up’s last album, Glass Boys, was a sort of codification of the band. Following a string of conceptual releases, including an album about the sun (sorta) and a meta-album about the band themselves, the band’s own Damian Abraham openly contemplated the band’s next moves in interviews: “When David Comes To Life was done, we weren’t sure we were going to make another record because it felt weird to try and make a record after that. [more]
The Scandals - The Sound Of Your Stereo [Reissue] (Cover)
The Scandals: The Sound Of Your Stereo [Reissue]
Say-10 Records
Hailing from Bayonne, New Jersey The Scandals are probably one of the most hard-working bands out there and for some odd reason they tend to be criminally overlooked. The band has been around for quite a bit. They have opened for notable acts such as Bad Religion and The Gaslight Anthem as well as playing big festivals like Fest and Pouzza Fest. The band released their first full length, The Sound of Your Stereo, originally on Skeleton Crew Records in 2010, but now five years later Say-10 Records has given this fourteen-track album its first vinyl pressing that it so rightfully deserves. [more]
Mischief Brew - This is Not for Children (Cover)
Mischief Brew: This is Not for Children
Alternative Tentacles
This is Not for Children is Mischief Brew laid bare. Right away, the first noticeable thing about the album is that the band’s clattering, skittering, clacking racket has been boiled away, leaving just the band’s three main instruments. Likewise, where the band used to be a rolling tumbleweed, speeding up as the wind would direct them, they now are firmly in the driver’s seat. These tunes radiate with the high adrenaline, vibrating pulse of early and mid-anarcho punk. But, whereas many of those early anarcho-heroes kept themselves coated in grime and glass, there is a clearer, brighter sound here, a la New Model Army or even Stratford Mercenaries. [more]
Rebuilder - Rock & Roll In America (Cover)
Rebuilder: Rock & Roll In America
Panic State Records
Is there such a thing as mature pop-punk? If so, then Rebuilder are one of the best bands doing it. Their 2013 self-titled EP was a pleasant surprise and showed they had the chops to go far. Two years down the line and it seems that they've decided to explore a bit more and open up towards a sound that's a bit more dynamic than Rebuilder -- and in doing so, they show that they're fully ready to travel the long road and make it theirs. This album's more wholesome and feels like a sonic shift in the right direction -- one that's riskier and bolder, but still cultivates a sound that doesn't shy away from the melodic punk prominent on their previous stuff. [more]
Great Lakes USA - Stumbling Distance (Cover)
Great Lakes USA: Stumbling Distance
Black Numbers
Boston's Great Lakes USA were already pretty fucking good before the addition of No Trigger guitarist, Mike Przygoda, to the mix. If ever there was a move to kick things up a notch, this would be it. 2012's Live Fast, Die Whenever was an album that came out of nowhere and really stuck with me. It was one of that year's most solid pieces of punk rock and if you were into that record, then I can assure you that you're in for a treat here. These six songs offered on Stumbling Distance are a brilliant follow-up and definitely highlight how they've gone from strength to strength. [more]
Dikembe - Ledge (Cover)
Dikembe: Ledge
self-released
Some bands gradually tease their shift in sound, cleverly placed over a period of time. Ceremony's one band that pops to mind. Pianos Become The Teeth also did it between full-lengths, as did Title Fight. Then, to use another recent example, some bands just drop it left-field, as seen with Superheaven (formerly Daylight). Dikembe falls into the former's territory as they shifted their trajectory from the indie/punk scene into a more reclined '90s state of affairs over the course of three years. While Broad Shoulders and their earlier work packed a lot of vibrancy, from Mediumship onwards, you could sense them slowing down the ship, steering into calmer waters. [more]
Ceremony - The L-Shaped Man (Cover)
Ceremony: The L-Shaped Man
Matador Records
Let's get this out of the way: Ceremony's sound has evolved. If you thought Zoo was a departure from Rohnert Park, or that Rohnert Park was a departure from Still Nothing Moves You, you'll surely think The L-Shaped Man is another departure, and you'd be correct. While opinions about the band's evolving sound are many and varied, in the final analysis, the key question is whether the music is good, rather than whether the next album sounds like that last, and the answer to that question is a clear yes. [more]
Tau Cross - Tau Cross (Cover)
Tau Cross: Tau Cross
Relapse Records
It’s fitting that Tau Cross’ self-titled debut opens with a track called “Lazarus.” In more ways than one, the band itself is a rebirth, or, return from death, for frontman Rob Miller. When his previous band, punk legends Amebix, suddenly ended in 2012 following their excellent Sonic Mass reunion record, it was unclear if it was the end of the line for Miller, who hadn’t released music for decades preceding Sonic Mass' arrival. Little did we know, the whole time something was growing from Amebix’s ashes. [more]
Delinquints - Punish The Wicked (Cover)
Delinquints: Punish The Wicked
Self-Released
Toronto, Ontario’s Delinquints have been rockin’ the Canadian punk scene since 2002. For you Kenny vs. Spenny fans, you may have seen the band perform an hilarious hardcore song with Kenny Hotz in the episode “First Guy To Stop Singing Loses” (skip to 14:48). After a two-year hiatus, the Delinquints reformed in 2014 and on April 27, 2015 they released a digitally re-mastered version of their Punished the Wicked release, which was originally out on May 28, 2010. Of the seven tracks on this EP the most standout one is the song “Holidays. [more]

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