Young Mountain - A Billion Times Around  (Cover Artwork)

Young Mountain

A Billion Times Around (2011)

Get Better!

Plan-It-X Records has sadly decided not to continue amid circumstances I'm sure you have read about on Punknews. A truly upsetting series of events led to the label's downfall and many fans of the typical style of Gainesville folk punk that is associated with the label were heartbroken and lost. Perhaps to keep these fans entertained until Plan-It-X Fest, Young Mountain's debut album A Billion Times Around offers a folky, poppy, punchy style of punk that is truly an ear-refresher when a record like this is being sorely missed, albeit with minor and non-distracting issues. Although Keene, New Hampshire-based Young Mountain are roughly a thousand or so miles away from the label's home base of Gainesville, Fla., geography doesn't mean shit when you can sonically HEAR the similarities.

A Billion Times begins with a quote from every punk's favorite philosopher and general badass Henry Rollins. I am assuming, but don't quote me on this, that this is from The Henry Rollins Show and it kicks off the album on a great note, flowing seamlessly into the opening track "PC Doesn't Stand for Personal Computer Anymore". This is a good song to begin the album, for it shows a good indication of what a lot of the album will sound like: pointed and speedy, rough production, and herky-jerky singing. It is a great opening track and sets the tone for the album. Subsequent tracks like "Mixed Signals", "Your New Boyfriend Wears an Amon Amarth T-Shirt" and the record's title track all follow a similar structure and lyrics. Fans will recognize a few of the tracks from earlier work, including the violent and hilarious "I Hope the Cannibals Turn You Into Stew" and the fan favorite "97' Blazer", both rerecorded and face-lifted. The first real change-up comes in the fifth track, "All Growed Up", with more mature lyrics and a more interesting structure. Heck, comparing this song to "Cannibals" is like Milo Goes to College to I Don't Want to Grow Up. Another change-up comes about at track 7, "First World Problems". A bouncy rhythm section and faster lyrics, along with a "damn them all to hell" motif makes this one of the standout tracks on the record, being one of my favorites.

There are some minor issues with this record. As debuts go, this falls in line with having the majority of songs sound similar. Perhaps some listeners could find issue with that and get sick of it by track 10 or 11. I enjoy this album a lot and I find that this album is impressive in its similarity, playing a style of music that the band obviously loves and never touting some bullshit, so-called "complex" sounds that just end up being a cacophony. This record holds true to great sloppy, fast and fun punk albums of yesteryear. I think that Plan-It-X a few years ago would have loved to sign these guys. Since that door has sadly closed, the band has taken it into their own hands, with their drummer owning and operating Keene-based "not-for-profit" record label Get Better! Records, who held a successful festival in April. The future is bright for this young band, and expectations are going to be high for a followup to this stellar folk punk gem.