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30.12.09

Sunny Day Real Estate – Diary


For all those little emo wankers out there who think that they know what it’s all about because they have the latest Fall Out Boy album, please check out this re-mastered version of 1994’s “Diary”, Sunny Day Real Estate’s first album. It comes with all the goodness that was already there back then plus two songs off of the “Thief Steal Me Like A Peach” 7”.

Right along the time grunge was making us all dress in flanel shirts, these guys were doing something else. They loved playing around with soft/loud dynamuics in their songs and along with emotional vocals and loud guitar eruptions it made for a winning combo. Just listen to opener “Seven” or - the ultimate SDRE song - “In Circles” and you’ll find out why these guys are called the pioneers of the genre. Hugely underrated, even after fifteen years.
Score: 8.5 out of 10
http://www.subpop.com
http://www.sunnydayrealestate.net

Fruit Bats – The Ruminant Band


The connection between Califone, Vetiver and The Shins…. Anyone? He’s called Eric Johnson and except for having played in the first two and still playing in the last band, he also has his own project called Fruit Bats. Whereas he did pretty much everything himself with a revolving cast of friends helping out on the first three albums, “The Ruminant Band” is made by a full band.

Expect to hear a mix of Neil Young, The Beatles and The Band. Or to keep things more current, The Shins. They’re not doing anything you haven’t heard before but it still is a beautiful collection of cute guitar pop songs that grows on you as you listen to the album more than once. Just pop the disc in your CD player, sit back and wait for the sun to come out of your speakers.
Score: 7.5 out of 10
http://www.subpop.com
http://www.fruitbatsmusic.com

Ingenting – Tomhet, Idel Tomhet


I have no idea what this Swedish bunch is singing about but fact is that “Tomhet, Idel Tomhet” is an album that went down well with me. Opener “Halleluja” is an epic pop song and the same can be said about the next track, “Medan Vi Sov”. Kent and Coldplay are two of the names that come to mind.

For the remainder of the album these guys take us on a trip past bombastic pop, sparkling indie rock and a duet which all lead up to the 10-minute long closer “Lat Floden Komma”, a piano ballad that drowns in a sea of distortion towards the end. The melodies on here are very catchy (too bad one can’t sing along unless you understand Swedish) and the production is slick as can be. A very sunny pop album with a couple of bittersweet undertones, just the way we like ‘em!
Score: 7 out of 10
http://www.labrador.se
http://www.nadazipp.se

School Of Seven Bells – Alpinisms


When Secret Machines guitarist Benjamin Curtis came across the twin sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza, it didn’t take long before School Of Seven Bells was born and the rest of Secret Machines could start looking for a new guitarist.

Named after a mythical academy for pickpockets, School Of Seven Bells play something that lingers between dreampop and shoegazer while relying most of all on the vocal harmonies of Alejandra and Claudia. Sometimes this works to great effect like on opener “Iamundernodisguise” or “Half Asleep”. At other times unfortunately (“Sempiternal/Amaranth”), dreampop quickly turns to sleeppop.

They are onto something though (and I’m not just referring to the fact that this band features two smokin’ hot twins singing together) so who knows what the future will bring!
Score: 6.5 out of 10
http://www.ghostly.com
http://www.schoolofsevenbells.com

Worn In Red – In The Offing


Virginia has to be pretty cool place to live if you’re into solid punkrock and hardcore. Last in a long line of f-ing great bands, is Worn In Red who seemingly come out of nowhere with “In The Offing”.

Combining the sounds of mid-tempo post-hardcore with some good ol’ Washington DC sounds is a genious move. Right from the start these guys go for the jugular with gnarly vocals and a shitload of excellent riffs, blending sheer power and melody like Planes Mistaken For Stars did so well. Then proceed by adding some Fugazi, Quicksand and Modern Life Is War to the mix and you’re there. What that sounds like exactly? Pretty damn awesome if you ask me. I’ve been listening to this one for weeks now and still haven’t grown in the least bit tired of it.
Score: 8.5 out of 10
http://www.noidearecords.com
http://www.myspace.com/worninred

Your Demise – Ignorance Never Dies


What started out as a cover band, grew into a ferocious hardcore beast who on “Ignorance Never Dies” show they simply cannot be tamed. Don’t know why it took me up until now to get to know them, especially seeing as they already released one other full-length and two Eps, but boy, am I glad I got to hear this one.

Heavily influenced by both Sick Of It All, Hatebreed and Comeback Kid, these UK lads tear it up on all of the songs on here without coming across as a mere copycat. They are very good at what they do as is aptly proven on cuts like opener “Ignorance Never Dies” and “Nothing Left But Regret”.

I have no idea who came up with the idea to throw in three drum n bass/dubstep tracks as well but “Hypochondriac”, “Unknown Dub” and “Great Shape” are a welcome relief from all the violence that is on display here.

Turn the volume way the fuck up and watch this album go off in your living room like a small nuclear device. No wait, make that a big fucking A-bomb!
Score: 8 out of 10
http://www.visiblenoise.com
http://www.myspace.com/yourdemise

V/A – Saw VI OST


Another year, another installment in the Saw franchise and of course, another soundtrack filled with hard-hitting tracks. This time around it’s Hatebreed kicking the door wide open with “In Ashes They Shall Reap” before Lacuna Coil get their turn.

After that it’s a barrage of names that you haven’t heard together yet, ranging from Mushroomhead and Danko Jones to Outbreak and Nitzer Ebb. The whole thing ends with a couple of noble unknowns that may or may not become any bigger after this.

Kittie, Suicide Silence and Converge provide some of the album’s loudest moments while acts like the abovementioned Lacuna Coil and Mushroomhead deserve to wake up in a room while hearing Jigsaw tell them that he wants to play a game.

‘Music from and inspired by Saw VI ‘is what it says on the CD but honestly, it’s just another collection of bands who have recently dropped a new album and want the world to know about it.
Score: 6 out of 10
http://www.trustkill.com

Heavy Trash – Midnight Soul Serenade


The unholy union between Jon Spencer and Matt Verta-Ray reigns supreme once more on “Midnight Soul Serenade”, their third album. The opening duo of “Gee, I Really Love You” and “Good Man” immediately set the tone for an incredibly fun rockabilly album with the cover of LaVern Baker’s “Bumblebee” solidifying the deal.

Next up is “The Pill”, a darker song that - just like “Sweet Little Bird” – sounds like something they dragged out of the local swamp. But it’s not all gloom and doom on here. Hell no! Just check out the extremely catchy “(Sometimes You Got To Be) Gentle” and try not to smile.

While the album doesn’t sound different from its predecessors, this is once again an amazing album where you’d be hard-pressed not to pick up on the fact that Spencer and Verta-Ray were having a great time playing their modern take on rockabilly.
Score: 8.5 out of 10
http://www.crunchy.dk
http://www.heavytrash.net

Devil Eyes – S/T


The name of the band coupled to the uglyass artwork should already tell you one thing, this is no pretty music. This Canadian trio knows its way around the distortion pedal and are glad to show you just how they do it.

Throughout nine songs they manage to make a whole lot of noise that can and should be categorized under the punk/garage moniker. Despite the fact that the drummer’s first name is Zen, his rhytms are anything but that. Couple it to rumbling bass lines and to a vocalist who not shreds both his vocal chords and his guitar strings. Okay, the clarinet solo on “Noctilucent Ghost” practically drove me crazy but then again, I had been warned that this is no pretty music.
Score: 6 out of 10
http://www.signedbyforce.com
http://www.devileyes.ca

Slaraffenland – We’re On Your Side


“We’re On Your Side” is album number three for the experimental pop band that is Slaraffenland. This is their most accessible album to date and the one that should get them out of the shadows of Efterklang (who also happen to be the owners of the label). They tried really hard to achieve this and unfortunately it seems they tried a little too hard.

On the new album they pull out all the stops and right from the start a barrage of sounds washes over you ranging from strings and vocal harmonies to horns and guitars along with busy rhythms that sound like they were played by a hyperactive six-year-old with a toy drum set. All this does not hide the fact however that the melodies don’t stick and the songs just kinda float out there somewhere.

There’s definitely something there but on “We’re On Your Side” these Danish dudes fail to present it properly.
Score: 5 out of 10
http://www.rumraket.com
http://www.slaraffenland.net

Sweethead – S/T


Sweethead is Troy Van Leeuwen’s new project… you might know him better as one of the Queens Of The Stone Age. So whoever cooked up the idea of releasing his album around the same time as Them Crooked Vultures’ album, probably wasn’t thinking straight.

Backed up by the rhythm section of The Mark Lanegan Band and with Serrina Sims holding her own behind the mic armed with a sultry, seductive voice, Sweethead sounds really good on paper. Yet on their self-titled album they come off most of all as a non-inventive version of the Queens.

It’s sleazy, it’s got those hip-gyrating rhythms along with fuzzed up guitars yet somehow it just doesn’t work. The real star of the album is Sims and her sexy voice. But even she would have to admit that they don’t come close to Spinnerette, another female-fronted band with a Homme connection who released a kickass album earlier this year.
Score: 6 out of 10
http://www.strangeaddictionrecords.com
http://www.sweethead.net

The Mary Onettes – Islands


Sweden’s The Mary Onettes are back for round two with “Islands” and haven’t really changed anything about their sound. Just like on their debut they owe pretty much their entire sound to the 80s and will probably make you think of The Cure or Echo & The Bunnymen more often than is good for them.

Okay, that sounded kinda negative… which they don’t really deserve. The songs on “Islands” might have some very depressive titles (“Once I Was Pretty” or “God Knows I Had Plans”) but there’s nothing depressing about the songs themselves. Dreamy pop tunes with richly layered synth arrangements, catchy hooks, big choruses and a very slick overall sound make this one entertaining album with opener “Puzzle” as the absolute highlight.

I would’ve gladly given them a higher score but unfortunately a couple of filler tunes like “Cry For Love” found their way on the album as well and drag the whole down just a little bit.
Score: 6.5 out of 10
http://www.labrador.se
http://www.themaryonettes.com

Outbreak – S/T


Back in June I was asking for a new full-length and here it is! For a while it seemed like there wouldn’t be another Outbreak album with all of the band members focusing on Cruel Hand, but vocalist Ryan O’Connor rustled up an almost entirely new line-up and to keep things in control entirely, decided to release it on his own label, Think Fast! Records.

Right from the get go it becomes obvious these Maine natives still like their hardcore short and furious, the way it was played back in the 80s. Sometimes they even need less than a minute to get their point across… just get those drums racing forward with guitars firing from all cylinders to provide the perfect backdrop for O’Connor’s snotty vocals.

They may sound a little less piss-and-vinegar than on past releases but this self-titled album is still one tasty slab of hardcore.
Score: 7.5 out of 10
http://www.thinkfastrecords.com
http://www.myspace.com/outbreak

29.12.09

Harley’s War – Hardcore All-Stars CD/DVD


Because the age of quarrel between John Joseph and Harley Flanagan still doesn’t seem to have come to an end, Flanagan is now coming out swinging under the moniker Harley’s War. Along with former members of Bad Brains, Agnostic Front, Warzone and Suicidal Tendencies, he just released “Hardcore All-Stars”. It comes packed with content on both a CD and a DVD.

First off on the CD are twelve new tracks of metallic hardcore with a mid 80s flavor that don’t equal the first two Cro-Mags albums but still come with a nice groove and plenty of aggression. Next up are four demos from 1982 (very raw, very fierce) and a 16-song live set recorded at CBGBs including quite a few Cro-Mags classics (not always great quality though).

The live material on the DVD features a ton of stuff recorded in NYC, Germany and Japan alongside a couple of videos, a short documentary about closing CBGBs and an interview with Flanagan.

Overall I’d say this is a case of quantity over quality but I don’t think the real Cro-Mags fans will frown on it.
Score: 6.5 out of 10
http://www.mvdaudio.com
http://www.myspace.com/harleycromag

Andrew Jackson Jihad – Can’t Maintain


“Can’t Maintain” is the name of Andrew Jackson Jihad’s second full-length. This Phoenix, Arizona based outfit manages to charm the hell out of me with their latest batch of 13 folkpunk tunes.

This time around the arrangements are more rounded out with a whole bunch of friends contributing to the album with a wide variety of instruments, which only make the album more attractive and charming. I wouldn’t use those two words when it comes to the lyrics though… self-loathing and self-deprecating are more like it and shine through in song titles like “You Don’t Deserve Yourself” and opener “Heartilation”.

Despite the lyrical content, “Can’t Maintain” is a fun and upbeat album that doesn’t bore a single second that fans of Against Me and the likes should check out.
Score: 7.5 out of 10
http://www.asianmanrecords.com
http://www.andrewjacksonjihad.com

Tegan And Sara – Sainthood


The Quin sisters are back with album number six. It’s called “Sainthood” and it’s once again full of catchy indie pop songs sung by every lesbian’s wet dream. According to Tegan and Sara, their two most popular albums to date were the last two (“So Jealous” and “The Con”), so it made sense to them to bring in the two producers responsible for those albums, Death Cab’s Chris Walla and Howard Redekopp.

The biggest change is that they brought in a whole battery of synths and keyboards, which helps lend them a more post-punkish vibe. Other than that, not a lot has changed and that’s a good thing. The sisters’ harmonies are still a pleasure to listen to even though the lyrics are still rather dark and not so innocent anymore. Their newfound sound fits the lyrics to a tee and it makes “Sainthood” their most accomplished album to date.
Score: 8 out of 10
http://www.sirerecords.com
http://www.teganandsara.com

The Dead Formats – S/T


The Dead Formats is a relatively new band out of the UK who made quite an impression on me with their self-titled EP. Think The Bronx with plenty of dub the way The Clash used to play it injected into the songs for even more bite.

Opener “Again And Again” comes with rumbling bass lines, riffs that sting and a vocalist who’s all over the place with the rest of the band backing him up with gang vocals. Okay, so the solo towards the end of the song isn’t all that it should be but they play the song with so much energy that it’s mighty convincing nonetheless.

Same thing goes for all the other songs on here… they’re all full of energy, pack a mean punch yet are decidedly catchy and wonderfully messy with the two vocalists stumbling over each other.

They’re not quite there yet but give these guys a little more time and I’m fairly certain they will blow us all away.
Score: 7 out of 10
http://www.visiblenoise.com
http://www.myspace.com/thedeadformats

Classics Of Love – Walking In Shadows EP


When Asian Man Records owner Mike Park approached Jesse Michaels at one of his solo shows and asked him to record some of the songs he wa splaying, Michaels was game but wanted to do it with a full band. The former Op Ivy frontman surrounded himself with members of the outfit Hard Girls and named the new project after a line in the opening track of “Last Wave Rockers”.

There’s plenty of variety on sale on this 6-song EP. Opener “Countdown” is a rocker with jagged guitars that lead up to a big chorus while “Slow Car Crash” is a solid punkrock song. “No Return” on the other hand lies pretty close to what Michaels has done in the past with Common Rider. And so it keeps on going.

With only six songs, “Walking In Shadows” certainly doesn’t wear out its welcome but instead makes me want to hear more. Luckily it seems there’s a full-length in the works as we speak!
Score: 7 out of 10
http://www.asianmanrecords.com
http://www.myspace.com/classicsofloveband

1997 – Notes From Underground


Releasing three albums in as many years is something you don’t hear that often anymore in today’s music industry. Hell, it’s even becoming increasingly rare for the same band to release three albums on the same label. Yet here’s 1997 doing just that and not only that, they consistently keep getting better with every single release. Quite a feat, considering all the line-up changes the band has been plagued by.

“Notes From Underground” opens with the eerie yet appealing “#1” before launching headfirst into the country-infused “Hold Yr Breath”… two for two as far as I’m concerned, even though “Hold Yr Breath” is running a bit too long at five and a half minutes. With no less than three vocalists in the band (two dudes and one girl) there’s enough variation to last an album. Yet the band doesn’t stop there and covers a wide variety of sounds on “Notes From Underground”. You’ll pick up on Death Cab For Cutie and Bright Eyes influences but Brand New is lingering in there somewhere just the same and they don’t shy away from the occasional outburst either. It all makes for an entertaining listen that I for one still haven’t grown tired of.
Score: 7.5 out of 10
http://www.victoryrecords.com
http://www.partylikeits1997.com

This Time Next Year – Road Maps And Heart Attacks


On “Road Maps And Heart Attacks” This Time Next Year make poppunk shine once again. Named after an album by The Movielife, it’s not hard to imagine what these guys sound like. I’ve always been and always will be an absolute sucker for catchy melodies played over muscular punkrock and these guys really excel at just that. Take opener “Rise & Fall, Curtain Call” for example… it’s energetic and melodic and with the twin guitars of Dennis Cohen and Brad Wiseman feeding off of each other over a beefed up rhythm section. Then add vocalist Pete Dowdall and his nasal delivery… it just works on all the right levels. Think New Found Glory’s Jordan Pundik if you’re looking for a point of reference.

Listening to a song like “Alex In Wonderland” you’ll quickly notice that it’s not just vocally that these guys have a thing or two in common with NFG. Another name that comes to mind are Equal Vision alumni Saves The Day. If honest and heartfelt poppunk is your cup of tea, then don’t make the mistake of missing out on this album.
Score: 8.5 out of 10
http://www.equalvision.com
http://www.myspace.com/thistimenextyear

28.12.09

Jeremy Chatelain interview


Jeremy Chatelain has already had quite the musical career up until this point. He's played in hardcore bands such as Iceburn and Insight, played bass for Jets To Brazil and Helmet and sang for the all-star band Handsome. And as if all that isn't enough yet, he also has a very solid solo project called Cub Country. It's under that moniker that he recently released "Stretch That Skull Cover And Smile" (out now on Future Farmer Records). Check out the album if you get the chance and read the email interview we did with the man.

PRT: So let’s start with an easy one… when did you first get the idea that you wanted to get involved with music? Was there like one specific moment or occasion?
Jeremy: When I was a child, I worshipped the band Kiss. I had daydreams of being Ace Frehley or Gene Simmons and playing an electric guitar really loud in front of a stadium full of people. But, I grew up in suburban Salt Lake City, and I don't think that I believed I could actually be directly involved until I was a teen-ager and I got a guitar and discovered the simplicity and power of barre chords and punk rock music. My first band opened up for B'last and Soulside in SLC and I was hooked!

PRT: While looking up more information about you, I ended up on Wikipedia. What does it feel like to have your own page on there?
Jeremy: I hadn't really given it a thought until I was working as a mentor for teen-agers and one of them told me that he read my Wikipedia page. I had to go on and read about myself and make sure it was all true. The information is pretty spotty. I wish there was more history about projects that I actually cared about, but what am I gonna do? I'm not gonna get on there an doctor my own page. At the end of the day it's flattering to think that someone cared enough to create that page.

PRT: Also through Wikipedia I learned that there’s another Jeremy Chatelain in France who’s a singer as well as an actor and fashion designer to boot. Have you already heard about him?
Jeremy: Oh yeah. I've received letters from publishers and performance rights organizations asking me to claim royalties from all of these French songs. I think he's rather popular in France. I think he's a star. You couldn't say that about me. We are friends on Facebook and maybe we'll collaborate on music someday. Ha!

PRT: You started your musical career with Iceburn and Insight, which was one of Victory’s first bands ever. So it’s fair to say you were heavily into hardcore. What was it that drew you to the genre?
Jeremy: Obviously the energy, urgency and the fact that anyone could be in a hardcore band drew me to the genre. And, yes I was really really obsessed with hardcore for years of my life. In fact, I think it informs me even today.

PRT: Do you think all hardcore bands automatically come with an expiration date?
Jeremy: Maybe, since the beginning of hardcore, it's been about change, evolution and revolution. I think that bands burn brightly for short amounts of time and then break up early very naturally in that genre. I always looked up to the Dischord bands, and they usually only put out a single record or two if they were a little older. Hardcore, to me, is a youth movement, and youth is fleeting.

PRT: Handsome was up after that with an amazing line-up, one great album…and then nothing. What exactly happened there?
Jeremy: We actually released two 7" singles and the LP. We came together due to the dedication of Peter Mengede, who basically put the band together member-by-member. Therefore, naturally as we were making music we were also getting to know one another on a deeper level. I think it was a rough transition as everyone was a really disparate personality coming from radically different backgrounds to try and collaborate on this intense record. We couldn't last through the chemicals, attitudes and poor decisions made for us by outside sources. It was a brilliant learning experience that I'll never come close to again.

PRT: Have you ever talked about a possible Handsome reunion?
Jeremy: No, but it would rock! Pete Hines and I actually see each other regularly. He's a sick drummer and I'd love to play those songs with him again. We'd have to fly Peter back over here from Australia.

PRT: From there you went on to Jets To Brazil, which was completely different from anything you had done before, one of the original emo bands. If you see what they call emo nowadays, where do you think it all went wrong?
Jeremy: From my point of view, the original "emo" bands were Dischord bands. Jets To Brazil was a pop-rock band to me. I think that Blake's girlfriend at the time actually said that she thought we were all 50's music geeks living out our dreams. "Emo", like any other musical tag (ie: Grunge, Indie, Alt-Country, etc, etc) is a product of media sources that need to label music in order to market what they think might be a confusing sound. It's all music, isn't it? In fact, most of it is pop music. Emo now is nothing but haircuts and tattoos. The related music is void of most anything original.

PRT: While being with the Jets, you also launched your side-project Cub Country. This while I read somewhere that you grew up intensely disliking country music. And then you go on and start this rootsy folk/blues/country project. What’s up with that?
Jeremy: Following through with the ideals of "hardcore", I always wanted to try different things and keep myself creatively charged. Blake's prolific writing in Jets to Brazil inspired me to start writing my own songs. I came up with a moniker and new idea for my material and started writing. The songs poured out from a really pure and simple place and took on a life of their own. It was a whirlwind of creative activity involving everyone around me trying out new ideas and sounds. I still feel really proud of the records I've made and the people who have been involved. The "rootsy" thing happened on it's own..... it must be the way my soul sounds when it sings. Ha!

PRT: Is Cub Country it for you now? Or are there other projects in the works as well?
Jeremy: I'm writing for a new Cub Country record now. I think we're going to start recording in January of 2010. I've also got some plans to start writing sugary pop songs with a group of old friends in Salt Lake City. And, I'm writing a few songs for hire as musical practice. I think that Cub Country is the perfect vehicle to grow old with. I can see myself singing these songs into the Autumn of my years. These songs make the most sense in my life.

PRT: You’ve also filled in as a bassist on Helmet’s “Size Matters” tour but weren’t able to join the band due to other commitments. Again something very different after Cub Country and Jets To Brazil... what was it that made you want to work with Page Hamilton?
Jeremy: Page is a great and inspiring musician. I made the Helmet connection through an old friend of mine, Chris Traynor, who has played on all the Cub Country records as well. It's a small musical world. I would have been stupid not to play with Page, Chris and Johnny Tempesta. Those tours were incredible. Helmet music is really fun to play. It's like primally heavy and groovy. All the best qualities of a heavy band. I thought that it would be a great challenge for me to learn 30 Helmet songs, and it was.

PRT: “Stretch That Skull Cover And Smile” is the name of your latest album next to being a quote from Kerouac. Just like him you’ve lived and travelled all over the place. Is he one of your bigger influences when it comes to writing?
Jeremy: I wish my writing could hold a candle to his writing. I think that his writing is really fast and drunk and full of life and death at the same time. It's really fun to read. I would hope that my writing resembles his, but I don't think it does. I latched on to the phrase "Stretch That Skull Cover and Smile" while I was reading a Kerouac book in an airport, and it didn't leave my mind.

PRT: From what I’ve heard it seems that this one has more of a rock ‘n roll feel to it. Is that what you were going for or do you just wait and see what comes out?
Jeremy: It's a little bit of both. I always wanted Cub Country to be a rock and roll band. But, it has a lot to do with the people who participate and what they bring to the musical table. I think it's a really natural progression in Cub Country's musical life.

PRT: Looking back on all the different bands you’ve been a part of, are there any things you would do different if given the chance to do it all over again?
Jeremy: I always have moments in my mind when I have the perfect solution to save the band or send my musical career into a different direction. But, it's not real. I'm grateful for all of the people that I've had the opportunity to be involved with on a musical level and I know that everything happened as it did for a reason. It's been a great ride and it continues to be one.

PRT: What can we expect from you in the coming years? Any plans to come over to Europe anytime soon?
Jeremy: Like I said, I'm recording a new Cub record in 2010. I'd love to keep playing music with the people I love for the rest of my life, so here's hoping that it happens. I'm always up for a new musical experience, so we'll see what the future holds. I'd love to come to Europe and play. We'll see what happens this year.

PRT: Any last words for our readers?
Jeremy: I love you all. Check out "Stretch That Skull Cover and Smile" to see what I've been up to. Thanks.

And Then There Was You – What Doesn’t Kill Us, Makes Us Stronger


And Then There Was You gets to call Florida home and present us an album full of catchy poppunk songs that are high on energy and gang vocals that pop up in early every song. There is the occasional breakdown and outbreak of violent screams which I can’t really hold against them because it’s done quite tastefully.

While you’d be hard pressed to find anything truly original on “What Doesn’t Kill Us, Makes Us Stronger”, it is a decent enough album that fans of Four Year Strong and Set Your Goals will surely enjoy.
Score: 7 out of 10
http://www.indianolarecords.com
http://www.attwy.com

Brides – Ocular.Unveil

When I think of Brighton, I think of a seaside town in the UK plagued by near constant rain. Now I’ll have to add the band Brides to my – admittedly – limited knowledge of the town.

These dudes rip it up on their Visible Noise debut with their brand of post-hardcore that has as much to do with Hot Water Music (the gruff and gritty vocals of one of the band’s vocalists) as it does with early A Wilhelm Scream (the technicality and aggression).

The dual vocal attack between Max and Tristan works well even though some of the transitions feel kind of awkward. But other than that I have no real qualms with this album. It’s a high-energy affair that rings out at just under half an hour and by combining elements from all over the heavy music spectre, they definitely do not repeat themselves on “Ocular.Unveil”.
Score: 7.5 out of 10
http://www.visiblenoise.com
http://www.myspace.com/bridesmusic

Vic Ruggiero & Kepi Ghoulie – The New Dark Ages


What to expect when The Slackers’ Vic Ruggiero and Groovie Ghoulies’ Kepi Ghoulie get in the studio together to record a split? Well, listen to “The New Dark Ages” and find out.

What you get is a bunch of laidback, rootsy tunes with a sixties pop vibe including covers like Chuck Berry’s “Don’t Lie To Me” alongside a couple of originals. Both Ruggiero and Ghoulie do a great job, especially considering the fact that they recorded the whole thing in barely four hours. My favourite on here would have to be “If You Need Me” which comes off as slightly Dylanesque with some nice mandolin to boot.

Another fun release by Asian Man which is available only at shows and through the Asian Man website.
Score: 7 out of 10
http://www.asianmanrecords.com

Acirema – American Nightmare


On “American Nightmare” Acirema (America spelled backwards) is desperately trying to sound relevant but it’s like flogging a dead horse. Their brand of metalcore has been done countless time before and the end result sounds as uninspired as their band name.

Sure, they play tight but all the breakdowns, dual guitar riffs, double bass drum action and growls in the world can’t save this release from being cliche-riddled and unnecessary.
Score: 4 out of 10
http://www.indianolarecords.com
http://www.myspace.com/acirema

22.12.09

36 Crazyfists interview


36 Crazyfists has already been around for quite some years, 15 to be exact. Guess it felt like the right them for them to release their first ever live DVD. It's called "Underneath A Northern Sky" and it's out now on Ferret. We tried to do an email interview with Brock but this is all we got back. Sorry it isn't more!

PRT: You recently released your first ever DVD… how come you felt the time was right for it?
Brock: Well after 15 years of making music with the band we were finally able to get our label to help us put something out.

PRT: Not only is “Underneath A Northern Sky” a live DVD, it also shows the band’s trajectory all the way up to where you are right now… how do you look back on the first 15 years?
Brock: I look back fondly and realize that time is flying by.

PRT: You’ve been around long enough to have a demo that was still released on cassette and had to work yourself up on your own. Do you think things have become easier for bands that are starting out now with the internet and all kinds of new technologies?
Brock: Well having the internet is definitely a tool we didn't have in the early days. I think it's pretty cool that you can look up bands on the myspace page and listen to their music right there...Technology has its pros and cons though.

PRT: You’ve already had a couple of successful albums, toured all over the world several times… are there still any goals you’d like to accomplish with the band?
Brock: I just want to continue to grow each with each record musically and to continue to travel the earth playing killer festivals with my favorite bands and friends.

PRT: How important was it for you to film the movie in Alaska instead of somewhere else?
Brock: ALaska is our soul and I mean that in a way that the place has such a hold on us mentally and physically. The place just nurtures and helps grow people in a way that it has such a tight hold on my heart. Couldn't have been filmed anywhere else.

PRT: Not really a question… but when I saw you guys rehearse in the movie, it looked like it was pretty damn cold there. It made me wonder how come your songs aren’t a lot shorter!
Brock: Ha, yeah we have a beautifully cold winter up here.

PRT: Which brings me to a new album that you’re working on right now. Can you already tell us a bit more about it?
Brock: We are knee deep in the writing now and it feels great to be creating a new chapter of the band. Can't really say much about the songs yet but i'm stoked on the outcome so far.

Rise And Fall – Our Circle Is Vicious


Our Belgian hardcore pride is back with another ferocious assault on all your senses. The new album is called “Our Circle Is Vicious” and in Deathwish these guys have found a label where they feel right at home with all the Doomriders, Pulling Teeths and Blacklisteds of the world.

Do yourself a favor and check out one nasty as fuck album that becomes even more impressive thanks to the solid production job by Kurt Ballou himself. The material on here is way more mid-tempo than anything they’ve done on “Into Oblivion” and if I’d have to describe it one word, I’d go with vile. Within the songs that range in length between one and five minutes, Rise And Fall play with dynamics to their hearts’ content (“In Circles”) but still find time to let a song simply rip you a new one (opener “Soul Slayer”).

With “Our Circle Is Vicious” the dudes that make up Rise And Fall prove once again that they’re a powerhouse in the making and looking at their grueling touring schedule I don’t think they will rest until they’ve convinced everyone of just that.
Score: 8 out of 10
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.myspace.com/riseandfall13

Nathan Xander – The Fear


More singer/songwriter talent is brought to us this month by the fine people over at Deep Elm. Chicago native Nathan Xander may have more than a few things in common with Dylan but his folksy tales with an alt-country twist exude honesty and sincerity. Two traits I can always appreciate in my music.

The album opens very strong with “October” and “Colors”, two songs that people like Jeff Tweedy and Gram Parsons would no doubt approve of. Unfortunately songs like “John Wayne” are present and accounted for as well and drag the whole thing down a bit. But then along comes a song like “Martyr’s Song” and all is forgiven. Or listen to “The Alchemist” and find yourself in a smoke-filled bar full of drunks after about 14 seconds flat.

If you’re into Americana or rootsrock, you might want to check out “The Fear”. It’s not a classic but the man has some serious songwriting chops regardless.
Score: 6.5 out of 10
http://www.deepelm.com
http://www.myspace.com/nathanxander

Ike Reilly – Hard Luck Stories


The times they are-a changing indeed and Ike Reilly is here to document it all for our offspring. Music nerds all over the place have been calling this guy the second coming of Dylan and with his ability to spin an engaging story in a folk meets rock n roll setting, it’s not hard at all to figure out where the comparison comes from.

On his latest album “Hard Luck Stories” he may sound more melodic than on his past releases but his dark and sharp sense of humor is still intact. And whether he’s singing about the war on drugs or Iraq War veterans, it’s his poignant and witty observations that always end up stealing the show.

That’s not to say the music itself takes second chair. Just check out “Lights Out Anything Goes” and consider yourself converted. And as if that isn’t enough yet, then maybe the fact that both Shooter Jennings and David Lowery are fans and help out on the album may convince you.
Score: 8 out of 10
http://www.rockridgemusic.com
http://www.ikereilly.net

Atreyu – Congregation Of The Damned


I’ve always liked Atreyu ever since I heard “Suicide Notes and Butterfly Kisses” back in 2002. I followed them throughout their Victory years and – unlike many others out there – didn’t even turn my back to them when they signed with Hollywood (US) and Roadrunner (for Europe) and released the way more accessible “Lead Sails Paper Anchor”.

“Congregation Of The Damned” sees the band doing an Avenged Sevenfold, focusing way more than ever on the rock and metal influences in their music with tons of guitar solos guiding us through all thirteen songs straight to the slick singalong choruses. I’m sure producer Bob Marlette (Ozzy Osbourne, Airbourne) had something to do with it but Atreyu really does sound epic on this one! So who cares that they lost sight of their screamo roots more than ever? I sure as hell don’t.

Alex still screams like he used to but isn’t afraid to experiment with different vocal styles just the same while cool dual riffage is setting him up for yet another bigass chorus. It’s almost too smooth at times. Almost becoming a guilty pleasure with both the vocal melodies and guitar riffs being so damn catchy you’ll remember them after just a couple of spins.
Score: 7 out of 10
http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com
http://www.atreyurock.com

The Swellers interview


The Swellers have been around since 2002 and things have been going steadily uphill ever since, with things really taking off since they signed with Fueled By Ramen and the subsequent release of "Ups And Downsizing", one of this year's best punkrock albums if you ask me.

PRT: Did you catch any flack for signing to Fueled By Ramen? It's been a while since they signed a band like yours.
Nick: A lot of people at first questioned why we chose them, and not a different punk rock heavy-hitting label. We just wanted to do something different, and FBR has a pretty great track record of working hard for their bands. It took about 2 weeks into our album cycle for everyone to realize that FBR was a great move for us. Things picked up really quickly.

PRT: For people who haven't heard you guys before, if The Swellers were the lovechild of two other bands, which acts would've had sex and which position were you conceived in?
Nick: Bad Religion had sex with Jimmy Eat World. Then Millencolin had sex with Weezer. Then the children of those two children is The Swellers. That child was a product of artificial insemination and a c-section. Thank you.

PRT: Over the years you've had a number of line-up changes, but it seems like you've got a solid line-up now. Did that have any influence on writing and recording the new album?
Nick: Solid line-up for sure. Anto and Ryan are both tour-machines who love rock and roll. Ryan played on the record, and added his own flavor, which was awesome, but Anto didn't join till after recording. It definitely makes our live show even better. Those guys rule. Jonathan and I are brothers and have that chemistry naturally.. but Anto and Ryan seemed to just fit in perfectly and we've only known them for a few years!

PRT: "Ups And Downsizing" has been getting rave reviews all over the board. Unfortunately this often goes hand in hand with the diehard fans feeling a little let down. Have you noticed this?
Nick: The only diehard fans' disappointment that I've heard is the fact that there "aren't enough fast songs". I think there is 1, maybe 2 fewer fast songs on this record than on My Everest. I'm not losing sleep over it. We wrote what we wanted to write. I'm just happy most of the people who've heard it really like it! A lot of people also don't realize that we recorded Ups and Downsizing with our own money, WAY before any label wanted to sign us. Definitely didn't change our sound for anyone. Stoked on that.

PRT: The lyrics on your album are still dark but they seem a little more hopeful this time around. What was your inspiration?
Nick: When you grow up, you learn and experience new things. During the writing process, terrible things happened, and then they started looking up. Usually everything can be solved, even when it seems like they can't be (for instance, suicide, in our song "Feet First"). Definitely an underlying theme on the record.

PRT: Another Flint, MI native made a documentary about downsizing. Was "Roger & Me" an inspiration for you guys as well?
Nick: Absolutely. I love what Michael Moore does. Spending a lot of time in Flint really shows you that he's telling the truth about the city. I think everyone here has that feeling. But things are looking up! Flint is becoming a bit of a college town now. Unreal.

PRT: You've recently toured with Paramore and you're now on the road with Less Than Jake. How different are these tours from what you've been doing in the past and how has the overall response been?
Nick: Paramore tour was huge for us. We ate like kings every day. Very corporate and structured tour, though, which we weren't used to. But Less Than Jake.. man.. what a fun tour. So relaxed, so many cool kids at the shows, so many fewer autographs we had to sign. Both were awesome in their own right. Response was wonderful from everyone.

PRT: I heard that you'll be coming over to Europe next year! What can people expect from a Swellers show?
Nick: Yes! So excited about Europe. As far as our live show, you can expect 4 real dudes, playing real instruments, real songs, and a lot of real sweat. Expect to get wet if you're in the front row.

PRT: Other than a European tour, what else is ahead for you guys? Tour, tour and then tour some more?
Nick: Never gonna stop touring. Warped Tour is looking pretty good for this summer. We'll keep everyone posted.

PRT: Any last words for our readers?
Nick: Thanks for all of the support. You guys rule. Thanks for the interview!

21.12.09

Flight Of The Conchords – I Told You I Was Freaky


Apparently the two dudes from New Zealand ran out of ideas while writing the second season of their show. “I Told You I Was Freaky” culls thirteen songs from that season and while heavily drawing the hip hop and r&b card, it’s good for at least a couple of laughs.

Opener “Hurt Feelings” sounds like something Outkast could’ve released and makes fun of all the tough guy gangsta rappers out there and “Rambling Through The Avenues Of Time” is a solid Dylan pastiche with lines like ‘she reminded me of a winter’s morning – what, frigid?’. But for every spot on song and line there’s a clunker on here as well (the seventies rock of “Demon Woman”, “Petrov, Yelyena And me”) and way too many really lame jokes.

If I want an HBO production to make me laugh, I’ll still pick Entourage or Curb Your Enthusiasm over these guys anytime.
Score: 5.5 out of 10
http://www.subpop.com

Pissed Jeans – King Of Jeans


On album number three, the dudes that make up Pissed Jeans sound even rawer than before. I’m guessing producer Alex Newport (Sepultura, At The Drive-In) had somehing to do with that. Not that I’m trying to sell these guys short. After all they were already doing just fine on their first two releases. But hey, does it really matter who gets the credits? Not to me it doesn’t. Not as long as you get an album that throbs and slithers like this one does.

With the spirit of bands like Black Flag, Tad and The Jesus Lizard never too far away, Pissed Jeans finds their lyrical subjects handed to them on a silver platter simply by growing up and picking up on the absurdities of everyday life. Thanks to the loud and obnoxious guitars and Matt Korvette’s slightly slurred vocals only being reigned in by pounding drums, these guys produced one glorious mess that is nothingif nott a painful pleasure.
Score: 7 out of 10
http://www.subpop.com
http://www.myspace.com/pissedjeans

Grand Archives – Keep In Mind Frankenstein


Whereas you could still hear the echoes of Band Of Horses lingering on Grand Archives’ debut album, this time around Mat Brooke has made the gap between his project and his collaboration with Ben Bridwell even wider, evermore embracing the neo-folk direction he’s been aiming for.

The songs on “Keep In Mind Frankenstein” all gently trickle along with the ghost of Simon & Garfunkel never too far away in songs like “Witchy Park / Tomorrow Will (Take Care Of Itself)” and the lap steel whipping up a country feel in songs like “Oslo Novelist” or “Dig That Crazy Grave”. The vocal harmonies on this album are nothing but stunning with both Sera Cahoone and Jenn Ghetto from Brooke’s first band Carissa’s Wierd helping out on several songs.

It’s all very slick, poppy, easy to swallow and nothing but beautiful. If this is what we will get to hear from Grand Archives in the future, I absolutely don’t mind him leaving Band Of Horses.
Score: 8 out of 10
http://www.subpop.com
http://www.grandarchives.com

Esprit De Corps – Under Constant Influence EP


Denver’s Esprit De Corps need just five songs and just under fourteen minutes to waltz in the place and make an impression. The ladies will no doubt like the occasional keyboard sounds that pop up all over the place and of course the band’s classy French name. Older people will listen to “Black Gold” and look back on their youth, remembering what it was like to be so vibrant and full of energy while young guys will be overwhelmed by the gruff and passionate vocals, the loud guitars and the rolling rhythm section.

Call it post-whatever… fact is that Esprit De Corps is another band that rocks very hard and that contributes to Denver being called the rock capital of ummm, Colorado. If you’re into Polar Bear Club or Recover or Planes Mistaken For Stars, you’re gonna be all over these guys
Score: 8 out of 10
no label
http://www.myspace.com/theedc

Friends Of Friends – Deep Search


Holy crap, I’ve been listening to this album for what seems like forever now and I still haven’t grown tired of it. Friends Of Friends is an outfit that operates out of Tallahassee, FL but that’s pretty much all that they have in common with Creed.

On “Deep Search” they prove that they run a tight ship even though their course may seem to be randomly plotted all over the map. They wouldn’t look out of place on No Idea with their gruff vocal work and loud distorted guitars yet I’m willing to bet they have the entire Archers Of Loaf discography at home just the same. Next to the jangly indie rock and rowdy sounds, they also know their way around a melody and like to throw in sound bites in pretty much every song.

That these guys haven’t been picked up by a label yet is of course just a misunderstanding that should be rectified in what can only be a matter of weeks. Until this album gets a proper release, you might as well go ahead and download it for free over at their MySpace page.
Score: 9 out of 10
no label
http://www.myspace.com/tallyfriends

16.12.09

Hardcore For Life - 19 December - Jeugdhuis Malmejo Oostmalle


Zoals je waarschijnlijk al weet laten 3 Studio Brussel presentatoren zich binnenkort weer opsluiten in het Glazen Huis in Gent.

Van 18 tot 24 december dragen Siska, Sofie en Sam hun steentje bij in de strijd tegen Malaria. Ook wij willen hierbij helpen! Jeugdhuis Malmejo en Pop In Malle slaan onder de noemer 'Hardcore For Life' de handen in elkaar.

Op zaterdag 19 december zakken heel wat hardcorebands uit de regio af naar Jeugdhuis Malmejo in Oostmalle. Vanaf 17uur kan je bij ons terecht om 8 kleppers aan het werk te zien. Bovendien vragen we maar 5 euro inkom. Zo koop je symbolisch een muskietennet en red je een mensenleven.

Ook jij kan Studio Brussel dus helpen in de strijd tegen Malaria! Afspraak op zaterdag 19 december vanaf 17u in Jeugdhuis Malemejo in Oostmalle!

--

Meer info : Inne van Boxel , inne.vanboxel@gmail.com , 0473 54 59 52

6.12.09

It Dies Today – Lividity


“Lividity” is already album number three for It Dies Today but their first with new vocalist Jason Wood (he used to play bass in Still Remains). The bad news is that the poppy parts with clean vocals are still there and are still equally unimpressive. The good news however is that the heavy parts are really heavy, especially thanks to some impressive drumming over the metallic chugga chugga riffs. If they would focus on bringing the brutality, It Dies Today would have a serious shot at becoming a real player in the metalcore scene. Something they prove to be capable of with a song like “The Architects”, which sees them incorporating some death metal vibes. But too often the clean vocals drag everything back down to mediocrity.
Score: 6 out of 10
http://www.trustkill.com
http://www.itdiestoday.com

A Skylit Drive – Adelphia


This is a perfect example of why I sometimes - like Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon - think that I’m getting too old for this shit. If bands like this become successful, kids these days simply have no good taste whatsoever. And it’s a remark like that that makes me feel old because it’s the kind of stuff my dad used to say when I was a teenager.

That doesn’t take away from the fact that on “Adelphia” A Skylit Drive sounds like every other shitty screamo band out there with vocalist Michael Jagmore and his girly voice as the absolute worst thing about them.
Score: 2 out of 10
http://www.hasslerecords.com
http://www.myspace.com/askylitdrive

Strike Anywhere – Iron Front


After a while of being relatively quiet for a hardcore band, Strike Anywhere is back with a new album on a new label. They traded in Fat Wreck along with one guitarist for Bridge Nine and are now striking hard again with this damn fine new release called “Iron Front”.

They waste no time getting the party started with “Invisible Colony” before upping the ante with “I’m Your Opposite Number”. This is prime melodic hardcore punk and they manage to keep it up all the way to the last notes of “Postcards From Home”. If you feel like partying for a cause, there is simply no going wrong with this one. Hell, it even makes me forgive them for “Dead FM”!
Score: 8.5 out of 10
http://www.bridge9.com
http://www.strikeanywhere.org

Skindred – Shark Bites And Dog Fights


I don’t think there are any other bands out there that manage to combine reggae sounds with loud guitars quite like these guys do. Sure, you had the Bad Brains but they are in a league of their own and actually don’t have a lot in common with these guys.

On “Shark Bites And Dog Fights” South Wales’ Skindred launches another batch of ragga metal tunes and do a solid job with them. They show this right off the bat with “Stand For Something”, a powerful song with some electronic touches and an infectious chorus. Most of the other songs follow that same structure except for the mellow “Who Are You”, the only song that didn’t need to be included for me. Other than that this is a short (only 30 minutes) yet enjoyable album. Hell, even the cover of Eddy Grant’s “Electric Avenue” is fun!
Score: 7 out of 10
http://www.bielerbros.com
http://www.skindred.com

Grant Hart – Hot Wax


Grant Hart, the drummer and songwriter for iconic indie outfit Hüsker Dü, has been less prolific than former bandmate Bob Mould in the 20+ years since the band's breakup but he’s back now with « Hot Wax », his latest solo effort.

The album opens nice enough with « You’re The Reflection Of The Moon On The Water », a song with rolling drums and nice organ sounds before launching in the Beach Boys tribute that is « Barbara ». It’s a fun pop song but never comes close to the brilliance of Brian Wilson himself. No, then i prefer « School Buses Are For Children » which is as much fun as the song title itself.

« Hot Wax » never soils the legacy of Hüsker Dü but it’s never really spectacular either. It’s like a visit from that one friend you see once every five years or so, where it’s always a good times when you do see him but you don’t care either if the visit is postponed for another year.
Score: 6.5 out of 10
http://www.mvdaudio.com
http://www.granthart.com

5.12.09

Static Radio NJ – One For The Good Guys EP


Ah, sweet! Static Radio’s debut 7” (out on Chunksaah) with a couple of bonus tracks for my listening pleasure. And what a pleasure it is for all us Yemin lovers. Okay, so these guys are probably sick and tired of being compared to Paint It Black and Kid Dynamite and Lifetime (next time I swear I’ll sum the names up in reverse order just for variation’s sake), but that’s what you get when you play melodic hardcore and hail from New Jersey.

In just ten minutes these guys tear their way through seven songs and all of them are excellent. In the inlay it says ‘a little less tough, a lot more awesome’ and that about sums it up. See? It takes these guys only eight words what takes me two whole paragraphs.... amazing!

Hey guys, if you happen to read this review... get your asses over to Groezrock next year and this time please don’t cancel!
Score: 7.5 out of 10
http://www.theblacknumbers.com
http://www.myspace.com/staticradio

Rock, Star – Inamorato


Recorded way the fuck back in 2000, it’s a shame it took until now for this album to get a proper release. Thanks to Black Numbers (well on its way of becoming one of my new favourite labels) it now has finally been released on CD.

Rock, Star is a band that gets to call New Brunswick, NJ home and as we all know by now pretty much every band out of that region is worth your time. These guys are no exception to that rule and know how to convince with a melodic take on hard-driving rock that brings back memories of Lifetime, Bouncing Souls and Samiam just the same.

Even though it was recorded almost a decade ago, I wouldn’t have known it if I hadn’t read it. The music sounds just as crisp and fresh as anything that’s recorded today. Guess that’s what happens when you put a bunch of passionate people together who play the music they love.
Score: 7 out of 10
http://www.theblacknumbers.com
http://www.myspace.com/rockstar

Higher Giant – Al’s Moustache 7”


On “Al’s Moustache” Higher Giant simply picks up where they left off with their first 7”, aptly titled “The First Five”. This supergroup consisting of members of Token Entry, Grey Area, WARZONE, Lifetime, Kid Dynamite and Paint It Black blasts through four superb slabs of hardcore-flavoured punkrock with a poppy twist that never strays too far from what they’ve been doing in the past in terms of energy and integrity. It’s all pretty damn good and if you’re a fan of CIV or the Bouncing Souls there’s simply no going wrong with this one.
Score: 7.5 out of 10
http://www.theblacknumbers.com
http://www.myspace.com/highergiant

Marcy Playground – Leaving Wonderland... In A Fit Of Rage


What was originally planned to be Marcy Playground frontman John Wozniak’s second solo album turned instead into the band’s fourth full-length. You might still remember them from “Sex & Candy”, the only hit they ever had as far as I can remember. Hell, I didn’t even know they were still around but apparently they’ve kept on going all those years.

There’s nothing really wrong with “Leaving Wonderland... In A Fit Of Rage”. Just like there wasn’t anything wrong with 1997’s self-titled debut. It’s catchy and fun rock with the occasional mellow moment thrown in and Wozniak still sounds like a Billy Corgan who can actually sing. And yes, the man can still write catchy choruses for songs that all sound pretty diverse. Basically, this is just a fun album.
Score: 6.5 out of 10
http://www.wozrecords.com
http://www.marcyplayground.com

V/A - Ciao My Shining Star : The Songs Of Mark Mulcahy


Mark Mulcahy is one of those songwriters that make you wonder why a tribute album has never been bestowed upon them anytime sooner. But hey, better late than never! “Ciao My Shining Star” features a wide variety of songs written by this former Miracle Legion and Polaris frontman. On a sadder note, the album also serves as a benefit for Mulcahy whose wife recently passed away, leaving him behind with their twin daughters.

But if it’s any comfort, it is an amazing tribute that highlights the man’s songwriting capacity with songs being performed by everyone from Thom Yorke, The National and Michael Stipe to Juliana Hatfield, Frank Black and Mercury Rev. Almost all of them manage to make Mulcahy’s songs shine as much as the originals with a special shout-out going to PRT favourite Frank Turner with his intense take on “The Quiet One”.

Twenty-nine additional tracks, including contributions from A.C. Newman and Buffalo Tom, are also available for purchase online.
Score: 8 out of 10
http://www.mezzotint.com

PJ Bond – You Didn’t Know I Was Alphabetical


Having previously served time in Outstanding Simon, The Color Fred and Marigold among others, PJ Bond felt the time was right for a solo album. And while I don’t even know the guy, I wholly agree with him.

Call it americana, indie folk or country, I really don’t care. What I do know is that “You Didn’t Know I Was Alphabetical” is as solid a collection of acoustic-based poppy singer/songwriter material as anything I’ve heard in quite some time. It’s a little bit of Ryan Adams, Elliott Smith and Rocky Votolato all humping each other in one big, cozy sausage party with PJ Bond as the result. I really like the way he spins a story over bouncy little numbers and I’m really digging the album title and artwork as well.

I guess that what I’m trying to say is that I’d like to nominate the guy for best songwriter you haven’t heard of before and are most likely to miss out on. And yes, you should be ashamed of that.
Score: 7.5 out of 10
http://www.theblacknumbers.com
http://www.myspace.com/pjbondmusic