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24.5.10

Stephen Egerton interview


Stephen Egerton might be best known from his work with the almighty Descendents and All but he has just released his first solo album which is more than worthy of your time and money as well. It's called "Seven Degrees Of Stephen Egerton" and it's out now on Paper + Plastick. Please read on to see what the good man had to tell us about it.

PRT: Congratulations with the release of “The Seven Degrees Of Stephen Egerton”… I enjoyed it a lot. But what’s up with the album title? I mean, I’ve heard of the six degrees of separation but what are the seven degrees of Stephen Egerton?
Stephen: Thanks! I'd always heard the phrase as 7 degrees of separation, and I did some checking, and it appears that the actual number is 6.6, so any one person is connected to any other person by a maximum of 6.6 people. As far as how the title relates to the record, it's that I have so many friends in different bands that I'm probably 7 steps away from any band member in the world. The guys who contributed are some of the ones only 1 degree away!

PRT: When and how did you come up with the idea to record a solo album exactly?
Stephen: I moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2003, and haven't really been in a position to commit the time necessary to have a regular band, but I'm still compelled to make music, so I just started doing it by myself. Unfortunately, singing and lyric writing are weak suits for me, so my wife suggested I enlist the aid of friends to help me complete the songs.

PRT: While writing and recording all of the music yourself, you only co-wrote the lyrics to a couple of the songs. Was it a tough decision to outsource that part of the album?
Stephen: Not really. If I'd have had to do all the lyrics myself, it would have taken years to finish. I'm gaining confidence with lyrics and I expect to do more in the future, but for now, this collaborative process is a lot of fun.

PRT: All of the songs are sung by different vocalists. Is there a specific reason you went with that approach rather than putting together a full band?
Stephen: I thought it would make for a more interesting record this way. The way I'm used to making music is with a LOT of practice with bandmates, which isn't practical for me at this point, and I welcomed the challenge of doing the other instruments. I like playing drums and bass as much as guitar, so I thought it would be fun.

PRT: You’ve got quite an impressive cast of friends helping you out. I was wondering though… if you could pick any vocalist to write a song for, who would it be and why?
Stephen: I was lucky on this record to get a chance to make music with some of my favorite vocalists and songwriters and there are definitely others I'd love to make contact and see if they were interested in doing a tune with me. John Lydon, Chris Cornell, Fiona Apple, Elvis Costello, Josh Caterer, Dave Grohl and tons of others. I've got a few songs I could really hear with Dave Grohl's voice, which is just a powerhouse.

PRT: The only song you wrote start to finish is “She’s Got Everything”. Was it an obvious choice to get Milo to sing that one?
Stephen: Milo's voice is perfectly suited to the lyrics for She's Got Everything. I felt like it was very much the kind of thing the Descendents do well, and that it would be easy for him to learn in the limited time he has to commit to music.

PRT: Of the sixteen songs on the album, is there one that means more to you than others?
Stephen: Probably She's Got Everything because lyrics have been such a struggle for me, and I was so happy to have written the whole thing.. and because it's about my wife!

PRT: You recorded, mixed and mastered all of the songs yourself. Do you think it is more difficult that way rather than having a producer tell you that a song is finished? I mean, I guess you can always keep on tinkering and going back on things if you want to. How do you know a song is finished?
Stephen: Deadlines are my friend! I set some goals that way to keep me from going crazy with the whole thing. I entered the whole thing with a very good idea of what I wanted, and pushed to get as close as I could. I could have nitpicked the mixing forever, and I know in the future I'll hear things I'll wish I'd have done differently, but overall I got pretty close to what I wanted from it.

PRT: Is this a one-time thing or are you already thinking about a sequel?
Stephen: I'm planning to do some more in this format. I can't say what yet, but there will be more very soon!

War Of Ages – Eternal


After toursing with Hatebreed and Throwdown among others, it was time to record another albumfor these Pennsylvania natives. “Eternal” is already War Of Ages’ fourth album and for now they are not showing any signs of slowing down. Stagnating then? Maybe. Probably. But in War Of Ages’ case that isn’t necessarily a bad thing seeing as they’re pretty good at playing melodic metalcore that taps from the same vein as Killswitch Engage and the likes.

They also brought in a couple of friends to share in the fun by letting them contribute guest vocals. That’s how come you’ll hear As I Lay Dying’s Tim Lambesis and Josh Gilbert of As I Lay Dying on “Desire” and “Lack Of Clarity” respectively. The real highlight of the album though is the title track which comes with a slightly different vibe, courtesy of P.O.D.’s Sonny Sandoval. Yeah, when’s the last time you heard that name? Anyway, “Eternal” is not a groundbreaking album but is sure is a lot of fun.
Score: 7 out of 10
http://www.facedownrecords.com
http://www.myspace.com/warofages

The Sad Riders – In The End We Always Win


The Sad Riders came to life at a time when Favez frontman Chris Wicky ended up with a bunch of acoustic songs that didn’t exactly go with Favez’ rock tendencies. That’s why he released “Lay Your Head On The Soft Rock” seven years ago. It was a very mellow, warm affair that also gave him the opportunity to work with his brother Greg (Chewy, Pendleton).

Two years ago Favez released the album “Bigger Mountains, Higher Flags”, on which they already broadened their horizon considerably by incorporating piano and the likes. On “In The End We Always Win”, Wicky’s back with a new album under the Sad Riders moniker with a whole bunch of friends and a fresh batch of songsthat might lean closer to Favez’ doings than anyone would’ve thought beforehand. Some of the songs on here like “Travel Light” and “Professional Man” wouldn’t have looked out of place on the last Favez album while the most mellow songs on “Bigger Mountains, Higher Flags” could’ve just as well been mistaken for a Wicky solo song.

Whatever the case may be, “In The End We Always Win” is a highly enjoyable album with poppy songs like “Victoria” (a duet with Heidi Happy), very intimate cuts (opener “Evil”, “Come Out For More”) as well as a bunch of songs in which Wicky lets his love of country shine through (“Mr. Porter”, “You Can’t Go Wrong (When You Got A Song)”). Hell, with “Baby Dancing Over The Sun” he’s even written a track built around a ragtime piano. And I’ll be damned if I don’t like it as well.
Score: 8 out of 10
http://www.twogentlemen.net
http://www.myspace.com/thesadriders

The Dead Weather – Sea Of Cowards


Barely after a year after “Horehound”, Jack White and his buddies are back with another Dead Weather album. As if they’re out to make a point after the – let’s face it – slightly disappointing debut, “Sea Of Cowards” is about as cute as a kick in the face… by a sexy vixen in thigh-high black leather boots.

It all sounds about as gnarly and grimy as if they recorded the whole thing in a really short time. Oh wait, they did. And even more so than on the previous album, Alison Mosshart is the real star here with her sexy as hell shrieks and moans. Along with White, guitarist-keyboardist Dean Fertita and bassist Jack Lawrence, she explores the darkest side of love in eleven songs. Like when she claims that ‘I can smell the gasoline.... I don't want a sweetheart, sweetheart/I want a machine’ in the song “Gasoline”. “I’m Mad” sure lives up to its name and while the bass is rumbling in “Huss And Cuss”, the Hammond organ and the guitar are making each other cum a bunch of times. Absolute highlight of the album however is “The Difference Between Us”, a nasty song driven over the edge by a synth.

Consider “Horehound” the demo if you will… “Sea Of Cowards”on the other hand is one nasty motherfucker that mixes up blues and rock in ways that are probably forbidden in a whole bunch of states.
Score: 8.5 out of 10
http://www.thirdmanrecords.com
http://www.warnerbrosrecords.com
http://www.thedeadweather.com

Defeater interview


Defeater is a pretty cool hardcore band with two releases out on Bridge Nine that you should own. If you haven't already picked them up yet, please do yourself a favor. Read on to see what Jay Maas had to tell us and note the sarcasm after what is most definitely a silly question. If he ever acts this way around you, just remember that people like him usually use sarcasm to hide their insecurities.

PRT: You're nearing the end of your European tour... what's it been like so far?
Jay: It has been unbelievable. We are treated so well here and the kids are so responsive. We get to tour with two great bands, who have become amazing friends of ours. The turnouts have been great and all the promoters have been happy. I don't know what else to say--we are grateful for this every single day. We take nothing for granted and are just truly humbled by how well this all went.

PRT: For the people out there who haven't yet heard Defeater, if the band was the lovechild of two other acts, which bands would've had sex and which position were you conceived in?
Jay: Oh my god. One part SNFU and one part the sound track to the movie "Juice" starring 2Pac Shakur. Your mom showed all of us a new position the other night and it's literally indescribable, but rest assured, it's the position that irrelevant punk band and 2Pac (who is still very much alive) had sex in to form my band.

PRT: You guys were originally called Sluts. Did all of you suddenly get girlfriends who didn't approve?
Jay: Oh cool, another well thought out question. There are only two members of this band playing what they used to play in Sluts. It's a different thing entirely. I assume you'll want me to extrapolate on that a bit. Defeater is the meeting of the right five people. We all share a vision for this project and work hard to make honest music that we are proud of. It is what we plan to leave behind in this life. The creative and artistic aspects of it are the most important parts of the band to me.

PRT: You're signed to a hardcore label, you sound like a hardcore band but at the same time it seems like there's something else going on as well. Do you think you will release music in the future that will have your average hardcore kid scratching his head?
Jay: Every Defeater record from this point on comes with free lice. So yes, if you open any future records directly over your head when you first get them, you will more than likely end up scratching your head; unless you have ungodly will power. Then you'll just really want to, and sneak a scratch when no one is looking, you pussy.We really do not care about genres. If they do something for people, that's awesome. I am a lover of music, not hardcore music, punk music or whatever. I plan to continue to not give a shit about anything except making the best music we are capable of, no matter what that means. Bridge 9 is the best label we could ever ask for and I think it is selling them short to call them a "hardcore" label.

PRT: Both 'Lost Ground' and 'Travels' are concept releases with a whole story behind 'em. Now concept albums aren't that frequent in the hardcore scene. Was that something you set out to do from the beginning?
Jay: I like how you typed "'em," it really gives the illusion that we are actually talking.We did in fact set out to do that from the beginning. As I said before, this is what I want to leave behind. My scope for the band is fairly big in an artistic sense. If people keep enjoying it, that will consequently continue to make me a really happy guy. I spend a lot of time talking about the direction of this band with our singer, Derek, in terms of the story and the music, but also about artwork and how to tie everything into one package. Not everyone will take the time to look deep and pick up on everything, but at least it is there if they want to.

PRT: I read that all future releases will tie in with the story you started on 'Travels'. Are there any plans to continue the story through other media as well? Like a book, a comic, a short movie? I could seriously see you guys pull that off.
Jay: We have definitely talked about a lot of things like that. I just want to make sure if we were to do something outside of the "band forum," if you will, that we take a lot of care with it. I'd rather release nothing than do something that sucked.

PRT: 'Travels' first came out on Topshelf Records before you moved on to Bridge 9, the label for which Seth from Topshelf works. What was it like to get signed to Bridge 9? Can you give me a couple of examples of what that changed for you?
Jay: There is the ceremonial drinking of Chris Wrenn's blood of course, but that's what everyone talks about. I really liked the part when we had to write down our social security numbers and sign our names. It was mind blowing stuff.Bridge 9 goes to bat for its bands. There is no better home for Defeater. What has changed is that now, along with Seth, we work with a crew of really talented people who share our vision for producing music worth listening to. They have opened many doors for us and given us an amazing foundation to create from. We are so grateful.

PRT: Your drummer runs an eco-van company for bands on tour and 'Travels' came out on recycled material. How important are things like that for you guys?
Jay: Very. It really doesn't take much to do your part. Lost Ground was on all recycled materials as well. Actually, everything we do will be. There is generally a way to get things accomplished AND waste less, it just takes a little thought and follow through.

PRT: What's up next for you guys after this tour?
Jay: Writing, writing, writing. We will be playing some shows this summer, but not a ton. I need to record our new record this fall and then it will be back on the road for us. Doin' the damn thing.

16.5.10

Karnivool – Sound Awake


It’s been a while since I’ve heard anything from Tool and it’s been even longer since there was a sign of life from A Perfect Circle. But seeing as I still need my fix of atmospheric rock/metal from time to time, I needed to look elsewhere. And that’s where Australia’s Karnivool comes into play. These guys already caused some waves with 2005’s “Themata” but haven’t stopped growing and evolving since as they show on “Sound Awake”, their first album on major Sony.

They immediately set the bar very high for themselves with opener “Simple Boy”, a moody motherfucker of a song if there ever was one. A gnarly bass line and weird guitar sounds take the lead while vocalist Ian Kenny soars over it all sounding not unlike a more playful James Maynard Keenan. It seems too good to be true but Karnivool has no problems keeping things equally interesting throughout the remainder of the album with songs like “New Day”, “Set Fire To The Hive” and “All I Know”. Or just check out the 12-minute long “Deadman” that doesn’t bore for a single second… kudos to any band capable of pulling that off!

It’s since Dredg’s “The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion” that I’ve encountered a band with an equally impressive sound. These Perth natives managed to couple a brooding atmosphere and beautiful melodies to a great use of dynamics and a lush production and it results in one of the best rock albums you are likely to hear all year.
Score: 9 out of 10
http://www.sonymusic.be
http://www.karnivool.com.au

Tetanus – Such A Loser


Looking at the cover and album title, I was expecting an album full of poppunk songs. Instead Tetanus plays grunge-y modern rock. Songs like the title track and “It Hurts” reminded me of acts like 3 Doors Down. These guys have the skills, the melodies and the groove to make an entertaining album and that’s exactly what they’ve done on “Such A Loser”.

Expect big guitars, a driving rhythm section and a couple of choruses you can instantly sing along. You’d be hard-pressed to find any original ideas on here and they lack just that little something extra to turn a song from simply being good into a huge hit. But overall I’ll go with the simply being good and consider “Such A Loser” a guilty pleasure from now on.
Score: 6.5 out of 10
http://www.bielerbros.com
http://www.myspace.com/tetanusrock

Dirty Wormz – The Parazite


After a very boring intro that drags on for two and a half minutes, Dirty Wormz get into their groove with “Dirty Weather”. Mixing loud guitars with hip hop isn’t exactly now… POD, Insane Clown Posse, HedPE and even Cypress Hill have all done it before. Even these guys aren’t new to it, having been around since 2001 and apparently already releasing this album back in 2006. Don’t know why Bieler Bros is re-releasing this now.

As you may have noticed, all the bands I mentioned above had their share of success a decade ago. I honestly don’t know who is still waiting for anything like this. Everything right down to the masks some of Dirty Wormz’ members are wearing might’ve seemed cool in 2000 but seem dated now. Together with Soil, Bieler Bros is well on its way of becoming the label where this type of bands comes to die.
Score: 5 out of 10
http://www.bielerbros.com
http://www.dirtywormz.com

Soil – Picture Perfect


Soil is one of a few leftover acts from the nu metal scene. They scored that one big hit in 2001 with “Halo”. Since then they lost their singer to Drowning Pool, one of those other remnants of a scene who are still living off of the success of their first album. Unfortunately for them the rest of the world has since moved on.

But even if people had been stuck in the time space continuum with them, then “Picture Perfect” still wouldn’t do a helluva lot. The material on here simply isn’t good enough. Sure, “The Lesser Man” comes with a nice southern rock vibe and there’s a massive chorus in the title track. Other than that it seems like they’re going by the numbers here, rehashing leftover they wrote ten years ago.
Score: 4 out of 10
http://www.bielerbros.com
http://www.soil-music.com

From First To Last – Throne To The Wolves


Damn, are these guys still around? Despite several member changes and changing labels, they simply keep on going. They did grow a little bitter over time, resenting the entertainment industry that welcomed them at first and then spit them back out. That and meeting only skanky whores at clubs seems to bother these guys. The fact that their poppy post-hardcore plain sucks can of course not be to blame.

The whiny vocals, the tiresome riffs, the paint by numbers songs… it’s all present and accounted for. From first to last? Yeah, that seems about right.
Score: 3 out of 10
http://www.riserecords.com
http://www.fromfirsttolast.com

Of Mice & Men – Of Mice & Men


There was already a lot to do around this album before people had even heard a single note. That has nothing to do with the fact that this band share its name with the John Steinbeck novel, but all the more with the fact that this is the new band around Justin Carlile, formerly of Attack Attack. That band had a lot of haters because of their mixing dance elements with hardcore, their particular way of dancing (check crab core on youtube) and yes, Carlile’s screams.

I’m sure they didn’t mind the commotion because they can use all the attention they get. After all, this is some pretty standard post-hardcore/screamo fodder with monotonous screams interlaced with clean vocals, one-note breakdowns and the occasional cookie monster grunts. I’m sure there are worse bands out there, but I’m also 100% positive that there are tons of better bands out there. For the fans of acts such as Underoath and Oh Sleeper I guess.
Score: 5.5 out of 10
http://www.riserecords.com
http://www.myspace.com/ofmice

Artist Vs. Poet – Favorite Fix


Artist Vs Poet has recently released its first full-length and it’s one of those typical poppunk albums where if you strip away the distorted guitars, you might as well be listening to the Backstreet Boys. To disguise this as much as possible, these Texas boys use a lot of bells and whistles, electronic sounds, oohs and ahs.

They’re pretty good at what they do and if you’re into All Time Low or labelmates The Maine, then chances are you’ll like “Favorite Fix”. It’s all generic at best anyway. And I still don’t understand what neon colours, weekly haircut appointments and these songs have to do with punk. Someone please enlighten me.
Score: 5 out of 10
http://www.fearlessrecords.com
http://www.myspace.com/artistvspoet

Opeth – Blackwater Park : Legacy Edition


“Blackwater Park” is without a doubt a classic metal album even if frontman Mikael Akerfeldt doesn’t think it’s all that different from everything else they’ve done over the years. Well, it is. There’s just something about this album that makes it stand out which makes this re-release absolutely justifiable.

Even if you’re not that into metal, you might enjoy this one. Sure, you’ll have some problems with the grunts but Akerfeldt’s clean vocals are just as impressive and the way they switch between metal, prog rock and jazz is pretty spectacular. Another band that comes to mind every now and then is Porcupine Tree, whose Steven Wilson produced “Blackwater Park”.

This legacy edition comes with the album (duh!), a documentary about the making of “Blackwater Park”, new artwork, a brand new 5.0 audio mix of the album and the previously unreleased live version of “The Leper Affinity”.
Score: 8.5 out of 10
http://www.sonymusic.be
http://www.opeth.com

Trash Talk – Eyes & Nines


Trash Talk is back with another full-length which clocks in at 17 minutes, three more than its predecessor. That means more überviolent riffage, lightning-fast drums and pissed as fuck vocals to enjoy as they rage by in the blink of an eye.

My favorite would have to be “Explode” which features some very cool guest vocals by The Bronx’ Matt Caughtran. It’s followed by the only clunker on here, the chugging “Hash Wednesday” which brings down the energy level considerably. It sounds like something a doom metal band would play and it does nothing except bore the fuck out of me. Not sure why they chose to include this one but whatever, the other nine songs will still kick your ass any day of the week.
Score: 7.5 out of 10
http://www.hasslerecords.com
http://www.trashtalkhc.com

The Bled – Heat Fetish


Since their last album in 2007, The Bled have experienced financial problems, changed labels (from Vagrant to Rise) and had to replace 60% of its personnel. That’s the kinda shit that can either make or break a band and listening to “Heat Fetish” I’d say it definitely did not break these guys.

By incorporating even more metal than before into their sound, “Heat Fetish” is a logical sequel to “Silent Treatment”. But whereas that album was at times a bit of a mess, these guys have their shit in order this time around. There’s pure aggression to be found in songs like “Smoke Breaks”, more ‘melodic’ cuts like “Needs” or a combination of both (“Need New Conspirators”). The fun thing is that you can never tell which way a song is going with unusual rhythm structures and plenty of dissonant shredding. The band does its utter best to keep you guessing and keeping you entertained at the same time. Things may sound a bit alike as you work your way down the tracklisting, but if you’re into Every Time I Die chances are you’ll dig “Heat Fetish” as well.
Score: 7 out of 10
http://www.riserecords.com
http://www.myspace.com/thebled

Before Their Eyes – Untouchable


Even though they’ve only been around for a couple of years, “Untouchable” is already album number three for these Ohio-based rockers. Blending post-hardcore tendencies with catchy pop tunes isn’t exactly groundbreaking anymore. In fact, Before Their Eyes’ label Rise Records has been responsible for a fair amount of such albums. Shitty albums even. A whole bunch of them. Luckily Before Their Eyes is better than most at this game.

Opener “Hey Dude!” may start off surprisingly gnarly with some mean screams but it quickly evolves into more teen-friendly stuff that sits comfortably between Saosin and Linkin Park. From there on they stick to the formula of mellow verses that burst open in the chorus. Occasionally they let their hardcore influences run free in a song like “Bulletproof” but mostly this is all pretty radiofriendly stuff.
Score: 6 out of 10
http://www.riserecords.com
http://www.myspace.com/beforetheireyes

Mother Mother – O My Heart


Apparently this one already came out in the States in 2008, but it took people until now to get it out to people over here. Whatever the reason may be, I’m glad it’s out here because “O My Heart” has prove not to be a waste of my time.

These Canadians seem to have one foot planted firmly in the folkpop side of things, while the other drags behind a little and is still stuck in 90s alternative music. The result are multi-layered pop songs that owe as much to The Pixies as they do to say, The Decemberists. It may sound like a weird combo but it definitely works on songs like “Body Of Yours” or “Hayloft”. The songs succeed in building up tension yet are accessible enough to be considered catchy.

Another thing Mother Mother has got going for itself are the vocal harmonies of Ryan Guldemond, his sister Molly and and Debra-Jean Creelman. Their voices rise and fade out together and swirl around one another and help lift the songs to a higher level. Check it out if quirky is one of your favorite words as well.
Score: 7 out of 10
http://www.lastgangrecords.com
http://www.mothermothersite.com

Kong – Snake Magnet


Nevermind the fact that there are already several bands out there called Kong. I’m sure these guys from the UK don’t give a fuck about it either. Even though they are from Manchester, Kong doesn’t sound like anything that city normally has to offer us musically. No, this particular version of Kong is here to make a lot of noise, so much in fact it would make even The Melvins proud. Taking cues from Shellac and Fugazi only makes things even more unpredictable and I find myself being sucked into their maelstrom of noise with every passing song. It ain’t pretty, it’s loud and it sure as hell is obnoxious. So if you like your mother-in-law, chances are you’ll dig “Snake Magnet” as well.
Score: 7 out of 10
http://www.whitedrugs.com
http://www.myspace.com/kongdom

15.5.10

Secret And Whisper – Teenage Fantasy


Following up “Great White Whale”, Secret And Whisper is back with a new album. While they went ahead and called it “Teenage Fantasy”, they could’ve just as easily dubbed it “Great White Whale – part 2”. It really does sound the same as its predecessor. Then again, why fix something that ain’t broken, right?

So these guys keep on cranking out the same kind of sweeping yet catchy, kinda bombastic emorock that comes with just enough bite to not become cheesy. And all throughout songs like “Youth Cats” and “Star Blankets”, the guys in Saosin keep beating themselves up, asking themselves ‘why didn’t we think of that’?
Score: 6.5 out of 10
http://www.toothandnail.com
http://www.myspace.com/secretandwhisper

Queens Club – Young Giant


With some very ugly album art, a Weird Al Yankovic lookalike and electronic dance rock, this Kansas City outfit wants to draw in your attention by sounding like Franz Ferdinand, Editors and Bloc Party. Which is kinda weird when you think of the fact that some of these guys used to be in the ultra-heavy noisecore act The Chariot.

Unfortunately they never come close to the abovementioned facts, making “Young Giant” only an option when you can’t immediately locate your copy of “Silent Alarm” or “Franz Ferdinand”.
Score: 4.5 out of 10
http://www.toothandnail.com
http://www.myspace.com/queensclub

It’s A King Thing – Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo


It’s A King Thing is an outfit out of New Jersey, a place where pretty much every song hopes to be written since there are just too many good bands. That is no different with It’s A King Thing who have more buffalos roaming free in their album title than in all of the United States.

For over a year these guys have been quietly working on their songs, writing and re-writing them and shaping them until they neared perfection only to then record an album that they’re giving away for free over at http://www.itsakingthing.com.

Like Weezer or Death Cab For Cutie in an exceptionally playful mood, these guys string melodies and hooks together in just the right order. No matter if they go at it restrained and minimal (“Kira”) or with distorted chords blazing (opener “Old Hobbies”), it always sounds like a whole lot of fun. So they’re not rewriting musical history with Buffalo times 8… that’s no reason not to check out an album that rocks, is fun to listen to and that is completely free!
Score: 8 out of 10
no label
http://www.myspace.com/itsakingthing

Let’s Wrestle – In The Court of Wrestling Let’s


Great, another UK indie band with jangly guitars… wow, I’m like so impressed. This sounds so incredibly fresh. Never heard anything like this before. Yeah, I’m really not impressed here.

Sure, Let’s Wrestle does a pretty good job with the songs on “In The Court Of Wrestling Let’s”. These lads sound as careless, sloppy and lo-fi as Pavement used to with echoes from everyone from Roy Orbison (“My Schedule”) to Ted Leo (“It’s Not Going To Happen”) passing through. But one can only wonder if the bored demeanor with which they go through the songs is mock or real. I know it would be real with me if I played in a band that soundsl ike everyone else out there.
Score: 5 out of 10
http://www.mergerecords.com
http://www.myspace.com/letsfuckingwrestle

B. Dolan – Fallen House Sunken City


Eight years after the release of “The Failure”, rapper/activist/performance artist/slam poet B. Dolan is back with a new album, “Fallen House Sunken City”. Just like the 2008 re-release of “The Failure” it’s out on Sage Francis’ Strange Famous Records.

It’s not surprising that Sage Francis and B. Dolan hit it off well because both in content and flow, they are not that different from one another. On tracks like “The Reptilian Agenda” and “Fifty Ways To Bleed Your Customer” Dolan isn’t afraid to speak his mind. Lyrically though “Marvin” would have to be my personal favorite with Dolan taking a closer look at the death of Marvin Gaye claiming that ‘his father was a man of the Cross / Who said that his son was a slave to the flesh / When the argument ended, the music had stopped / Marvin was left with a hole in his chest’. Pretty powerful stuff. As is “Fall Of T.R.O.Y.” on which he is assisted by P.O.S. and Cadence Weapon.

The beats on here come courtesy of Anticon producer Alias who provides an enticing and kinda creepy backdrop for B. Dolan to do this thing over. Simply put, “Fallen House Sunken City” is once more proof that underground hiphop has a lot more to offer than its mainstream counterpart where they are too busy sampling 80s hits and counting their money instead of saying something worth being heard.
Score: 8 out of 10
http://www.strangefamousrecords.com
http://www.myspace.com/bdolansfr

The Joy Formidable – A Balloon Called Moaning


The Joy Formidable is a couple that operates out of their bedroom. Some make porn there, others like Ritzy Bryan (vocals, guitar) and Rhydian Dafydd (bass) resort to making music. Don’t expect any intimate singer/songwriter type songs about daisies though. Opener “The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade” packs a mean powerpop punch and sounds downright epic with its fuzzed up guitars and electronics.

On the rest of the songs, this duo continues to string punch and melody together in songs that made me think of The Breeders (the vocals) and Garbage (the overall sound) covering shoegazer songs more than once. And even if The Joy Formidable might not be making porn in their bedroom, the hushed vocals make the result sexy nonetheless.
Score: 7 out of 10
One Records
http://www.thejoyformidable.com

Coheed & Cambria – Year Of The Black Rainbow


What to do when you’ve told the entire story of the Amory Wars in your previous albums? Well, do as Hollywood does and write a prequel! That’s exactly what Coheed & Cambria does on “Year Of The Black Rainbow”. Don’t ask me what it’s all about. I gave up on the stories behind the albums around the first time I ever heard a Coheed & Cambria album.

This album kicks off with a creepy intro before returning to familiar territory on “The Broken”. A very busy, crowded mix of emo and prog rock provides the foundation over which Claudio Sanchez goes off with his voice that reaches both extreme highs and growling lows. Love it or hate it, I guess. Unfortunately this time around I’m going for the latter. The frenzied guitar riffs, the nervous and erratic drum work and that annoying high-pitched voice definitely do not make this a fun listen. One for the fans I guess.
Score: 4 out of 10
http://www.roadrunnerrecords.nl
http://www.coheedandcambria.com

Melissa Auf Der Maur – Out Of Our Minds


The follow-up to Melissa Auf Der Maur’s self-titled debut was ready to go in 2007… no idea why it took them until now to release “Out Of Our Minds”. Maybe it had something to do with the movie and the comic that are being released at the same time as the album? Who knows… this review just deals with the music though.

With opener “The Hunt” we’re off to a not so good start. The songs seems to be building up to a climax that ultimately doesn’t come. I don’t know about you guys but I hate climaxes that don’t come. No, then I do prefer the title track, just like “Isis Speaks” and “1000 Years” a beautifully moody guitar-driven rock song that thrives under Auf Der Maur’s husky vocals. It’s not just her voice that is one of the main selling points here, the music is pretty stellar as well. This former member of Hole and Smashing Pumpkins knows how to write rock tunes that are both dark yet catchy. Kinda like what I would imagine a female version of A Perfect Circle to sound like. And I haven’t even mentioned “Father’s Grave”, Auf Der Maur’s duet with Glenn Danzig… one of the best songs on an already outstanding album!
Score: 8.5 out of 10
http://www.roadrunnerrecords.nl
http://www.xmadmx.com

Bleeding Through – Bleeding Through


After leaving Trustkill and trading them in for Rise Records in the States and the almighty Roadrunner in Europe and after adding No Use For A Name’s Dave Nassie as a guitarist, one would expect a fresh album by these Orange County veterans. Hell, a self-titled album this far in their career? That usually alludes to some serious changes.

Alas, in camp Bleeding Through it shows a severe case of anemia. Literally everything on here is something we have already heard them do before either on 2008’s “Declaration” or even as far back on “This Is Love, This Is Murderous”. I’m sure the fans will love to hear all the blastbeats, bombastic keyboards and Gothenburg-inspired guitar shredding one more time along with Brendan Schieppati’s simplistic lyrics, everyone else should refrain from an album this uninspired.

Oh, the one thing they did change is having bassist Ryan Wombacher take care of the clean vocals… big mistake! The guy can’t sing for shit.
Score: 4 out of 10
http://www.roadrunnerrecords.nl
http://www.bleedingthrough.com

She Bears – I Found Myself Asleep


We already had Polar Bear Club, Minus The Bear, Bear Vs Shark, Grizzly Bear and Bear In Heaven. So I guess it’s only natural that the She Bears of the world get a little attention as well. They claim that attention with “I Found Myself Asleep”, a debut album so full of ideas and melodies that other acts might have turned the material into two albums.

Not so for this sixsome (is that a word?) out of Ohio who start off constructing their songs with a solid indierock foundation and then proceed by adding piano, electronica and a mess of unexpected twists. Or maybe they start out the other way. Not sure. But it doesn’t really matter, now does it? What matters is that the songs on “I Found Myself Asleep” sound full, elaborate yet are concise and catchy at the same time. Arcade Fire and Of Montreal are acts that come to mind while listening to songs like opener “Victim Of Circumstance”, a song in which you are instantly drawn to the dynamic piano playing of Caitlin McGlade. Another highlight is “Black Mannequins” which slowly builds up to a maniacal and completely riveting finish.

These guys and one girl are brimming with ideas they are enthousiastic about and on “I Found Myself Asleep” they manage to pour all that into ten songs that carry out energy and fun… two qualities that help make an album good.
Score: 7 out of 10
http://www.deepelm.com
http://www.myspace.com/shebearsband

14.5.10

The Menzingers – Chamberlin Waits


I wouldn’t want to feed all the bands out there who come out with an amazing debut and then fumble the ball on the follow-up. I think it’s because you have plenty of time writing your debut, but once you blow up all these people are urging you to come with new material as soon as possible. That’s where a lot of bands make a mistake and then drop a half-assed second album. Not so with The Menzingers who top their debut with ease on “Chamberlin Waits”, their first full-length for Red Scare.

They haven’t really changed their sound all that much, they just tightened everything and are looking a bit beyond their comfort zone here and there. What that comfort zone is exactly? Well, these Scranton, PA boys play scruffy yet highly melodic pop punk that takes cues from legends such as The Clash (“Deep Sleep”) but just as easily from current acts like Against Me!, Alkaline Trio and The Lawrence Arms. Loud guitars, a well-placed scream here and there, thumping bass lines and more hooks than you can shake a stick at… it’s all here and it’s played with so much passion that you can’t help but stand in awe. There’s also a more folky song with “Male Call” while a song like “No We Didn’t” are The Menzingers at their loudest.

Great songs, plenty of variety… seriously people, poppunk doesn’t get much better than this
Score: 9 out of 10
http://www.redscare.net
http://www.myspace.com/themenzingers

Nada Surf – If I Had A Hi-Fi


“If I Had A Hi-Fi” is not only a rather nice palindrome, it is also the name of Nada Surf’s cover album that covers a lot of ground in twelve songs. What to think of these indie mainstays covering both Bill Fox’ “Electrocution” and Kate Bush’s “Love And Anger”? They do a great job on both, completely making it their own while still playing hommage to the original.

Their take on The Go-Betweens’ “Love Goes On”is hopeful and rather perky and hearing them rock out on The Moody Blues’ “Questions” while making the pretty parts in the song even prettier is proof of a job well done. There are also a bunch of not so obvious choices on here… Mecromina is a Spanish band I had never heard of until now and I can say the same thing about Dwight Tilley. Both apparently know how to write a good song and I’m curious to find out how the originals sound.

The best thing is that while all these songs are covers, these guys made sure that it always sounds like Nada Surf. And they do it in a way that doesn’t fuck up the original. Not an easy task but one that vocalist Matthew Caws and his buddies tackle with ease. Hell, any band that covers Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy The Silence” and manages to make it sound like something fresh deserves major kudos!
Score: 7.5 out of 10
MarDev
http://www.nadasurf.com

Unwelcome Guests – Don’t Go Swimming


Unwelcome Guests is putting it a bit harsh… if they would want to play “Don’t Go Swimming” in its entirety in my living room, I would definitely invite them in. Maybe even cook ‘em dinner if I’m in a particularly good mood.

On songs like “Might Be Broken” or “Warm Soon” they come out with all guns blazing, while they’re a little more pensive on a cut like “Nothing Here” or even downright sunny on the title track. Think of a punked up Uncle Tupelo and you won’t be that far off the mark. Nothing that will boggle the mind but still pretty good stuff.
Score: 6.5 out of 10
http://www.kissofdeathrecords.com
http://www.myspace.com/unwelcomeguests

A Hope For Home – Realis


Yes, that’s the way to go about it! Bore everyone to death in the first three minutes and then hit them over the head with a bunch of screams and distorted guitars. Emotional catharsis is the word you’re looking for and yes, next to being a big word that is a good thing. But not a good way to start off an album if you ask me.

A Hope For Home apparently didn’t get that memo and it immediately puts a mortgage on the rest of the album that they can’t make the monthly installments for during the rest of the songs. Slowed-down post-hardcore with monotonous as fuck screams and occasional dissonant riffage coupled to atmospheric riffs that bring “Artist In The Ambulance” era Thric to mind. Who’s really waiting for this? You? Fair enough, hope you enjoy “Realis”.
Score: 4 out of 10
http://www.facedownrecords.com
http://www.myspace.com/ahopeforhome

The Ocean – Heliocentric


“Heliocentric” is the first of two albums in which The Ocean wants to criticize christian beliefs. This one is based on the belief that the universe revolves around the earth and everyone from Galilei, Rimbaud, Darwin and Nietzsche contributed ideas and theories to the album which are simply being rehashed in the lyrics. I’m sure it’s all fascinating stuff but it’s as if the band forgot to write actual songs to support the lyrics.

I mean, these guys used to be good with their atmospheric metal that brought both Tool and Isis to mind but there are some really shitty things on here. Take “Ptolemy Was Wrong”, a piano-driven ballad with some of the most boring vocals I have ever heard. Next up is “Metaphysics Of The Hangman” which sounds not unlike a Nickelback/Staind leftover. This is a pretty terrible album and it looks like The Ocean got washed out. That’s not as big a word as “Heliocentric” but it pretty much covers the load here.
Score: 3 out of 10
http://www.metalblade.de
http://www.myspace.com/theoceancollective

Cancer Bats – Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones


“Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones” may be a weird album title but apparently it’s simply the band members’ nicknames put together. Haha… but not really.

Musically not a lot has changed compared to the previous Cancer Bats album, “Hail Destroyer”. Or maybe things rock a tad bit more? Jury’s still out on that one. But there’s no denying that this is another solid hardcore punk album. Cancer Bats simply do what they do best on this one… causing a ruckus with a huge wall of sound. Vocalist Liam Cormier still seems unsure whether to spit out the words or just scream all out and ends up somewhere in between, the rhythm section throbs, pulsates, pushes and pulls and whatever hole they leave open is quickly filled by a whole lot of shredding.

Okay, so it all kinda sounds alike but it’s still a lot of fun to bang your fists to in the moshpit. And as a nice bonus, you get an energetic cover of Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” to boot.
Score: 7 out of 10
http://www.roadrunnerrecords.nl
http://www.myspace.com/cancerbats

Unleashed – As Yggdrasil Trembles


Ah yes, it’s 2:30AM... if this is not the time to worship The Evil Horned One (Blackie for his friends) then I don’t know what is. Now, if I could just find the right soundtrack to go along with my worshipping... As Yggwho trembles? Yggdrasil. Ah yes, the world tree. Well, we definitely do not want Yggdrasil to tremble because that sounds like some pretty evil shit would take place. This Unleashed album will do just fine (note to novel satanists: inverted crosses on the cover are always a good sign). Just have to light some black candles to help set the mood, press play and we’re all set to go.

Wait, what’s this? This doesn’t sound like your typical black metal at all? This is more death metal... Viking death metal to be more exact. I didn’t even have to figure that one out for myself. I just had to wait until track number four (“Wir Kapitulieren Niemals”) where the guys in the band sing it themselves. I actually like Unleashed’s music which is simply solid death metal. Too bad the lyrics are shit and that the vocals are so over the top that the only thing I can compare these guys to is Manowar. Not a compliment coming from me.
Score: 6 out of 10
http://www.nuclearblast.de
http://www.unleashed.se

Wallace Vanborn – Free Blank Shots


Four years into his existence, Wallace Vanborn drops a debut called “Free Blank Shots”. No, we are not talking about some genius toddler here. Wallace Vanborn is a Belgian rock ‘n roll band that’s here to make noise and that just happens to be something they are very good at.

Opener “Rover” immediately sets the tone after having crawled into view through feedback and noisy effects... it comes armed with beefed up drums, a buzzing bass, tons of groove, angular riffs and a nice chorus to boot. “Atom Juggler” is a song that the Queens Of The Stone Age just haven’t gotten round to writing yet and it has S-E-X-Y written all over it. And what to think of “Snails And Bones”, a haunting little ditty where versatile vocalist Ian Clement is joined by Esther Lybeert? It’s easily as good as “Genius Inside The Bear” which comes with a wall of sound so big it could seal off any medium-sized city.

I don’t know where these guys came from all of a sudden but I’m damn glad they’re here.... another fine rock band out of that tiny country where I live that you should keep an eye out for.
Score: 8 out of 10
http://www.pias.com
http://www.wallacevanborn.be

Fiction Reform – Revelation In The Palms Of The Weak


Fiction Reform is a relatively new band who have recently dropped their debut on Basement Records. This female-fronted outfit boasts former members of Bullet Treatment, Civet, Aerodrone and This Is My Empire and together they like to play punkrock with big guitars, catchy choruses, plenty of attitude and a poppy hardrock kinda vibe.

“Revelation In The Palms Of The Weak” is the name of their debut and the ten songs on here remind me of either a catchier version of the Distillers or a more punked up version of Hole. Vocalist Brenna Red has a pretty unique voice that takes some getting used to but by the time tracks like “Small Silhouette”, “Sins Of The Father” or “Mr. Eva Braun” roll by, you’re already singing along while pumping that fist in the air.
Score: 7 out of 10
http://www.basementrecords.net
http://www.myspace.com/fictionreform

Johnny Cakes And The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypso – Rise Of The Pink Flamingos


Johnny Cakes and his Horsemen clearly had a good time recording “Rise Of The Pink Flamingos”. They somehow manage to combine punkrock and ska with calypso music and everything else they damn well feel like. Sometimes this ends up in extremely catchy songs like opener “Swimming In The Summer” and “Something In The Air”, which is actually quite touching (no guys, not my penis). At other times a song seems simply like an excuse to use words like ‘pee’ and ‘butt’ a bunch of times (“Pee In The Butt”, “Eternally Missing You”). Needless to say those are the lesser songs.

It’s their sheer enthousiasm that drew me in though and kept me there for the ride. There’s a lot of potential here, they just need to squeeze it out more (haha). If they do that, there’s gonna be no stopping the apocalypso. For now though, they’re not quite there yet. Is this something you would like? Well, they thank people like Phil Atio, Dawn Keebals and Drew Peacock in the booklet. Did that make you smile? Then yes, this album is very much for you.
Score: 5.5 out of 10
no label
http://www.guttercalypso.com

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club – Buried Behind The Barn


“Buried Behind The Barn” isn’t really a new album seeing as these songs were already recorded back in 2000 and 2001. But for some reason they have never been properly released except for a couple of them who were featured on vinyl releases or on an EP that was limited to 200 copies.

The songs on here are familiar territory for the fans. Slim Cessna and his Auto Club are still singing songs about murderers, whores and the likes and still like to wrap their songs in a musical mix of gothic country, bluegrass, folk and punk. And they still do a great job. Check out the catchy “Port Authority Band” or “Angel”, a very very country-sounding song that wouldn’t look out of place on a Dolly Parton album. And then you still have “Earthquake” to go... apparently it’s label boss Jello Biafra’s favorite song and it’s one hot piete of hillbilly funk if there is such a thing.

Trust me... any band that has songs like this just lying around somewhere, is a good band.
Score: 7 out of 10
http://www.alternativetentacles.com
http://www.slimcessnasautoclub.com

13.5.10

Harper Simon – S/T


At age 37 Harper Simon (son of Paul Simon) drops his solo full-length, a self-titled one. People don’t usually score any points with me when they talk about how they’re going to give their all to the good lord in the first song, but Simon has no problems redeeming himself further down the tracklisting.

Whether you’re listening to the Byrds-like “Shooting Star or “The Audit” which was recorded with a whole slew of Nashville veterans, Harper knows how to string melodies and hooks together in bouncy songs that breeze by and that you will want to hear again. Apparently with some people it does run in the family.
Score: 7.5 out of 10
http://www.tulsirecords.com
http://www.harpersimon.com

The Riot Before – Rebellion


Amazingly only one of the guys in The Riot Before has a beard. I thought there were gonna be more. But hey, there’s always at least one when you hear this kinda music. All kidding aside though, the guys that make up The Riot Before did an amazing job on “Rebellion”, their first full-length for Paper + Plastick and their second overall. They’re basically a poppunk band that throws in some mid 90s emo and then proceed to top it all off with folky influences. Add a production by the mighty J Robbins and you’re looking at a release that you simply can’t go wrong with.

They’ve got a little bit of Hot Water Music going on with the gruff vocals and all but you can just as well pick up on some Jawbox here and there while The Gaslight Anthem is a name that pops up quite a number of times as well. All three of those bands are great in their own right and somehow The Riot Before managed to distill elements from all three and then molded them into something all their own.

I’m thirty now and sometimes feel like I’m too old to still listen to punkrock, especially when I’m at a show surrounded by 16-year-olds. But then along comes an album like this one and right away I remember what got me excited about punk in the first place. “Rebellion” comes with balls, hooks (not in the balls), power, honesty and a shitload of great songs and it’s a must-have as far as I’m concerned.
Score: 8.5 out of 10
http://www.paperandplastick.com
http://www.gunnerrecords.com

http://www.myspace.com/theriotbefore

General Fiasco – Buildings


“Buildings” is a little too catchy to make a smart pun about the band’s name. But it’s true that what these Irish lads are doing on their debut doesn’t make a big splash. They swear by big guitars, lyrics about drinking and try to go for instantly memorable choruses yet never quite make it despite their efforts. There’s simply been too many indie rock bands out of the UK who are better than what these guys do on “Buildings”. I do like the Sheila Divine echoes that pop up here and there but that doesn’t save this album from blending in with all the other ‘not quite’ albums into one big anonymous mess.
Score: 5 out of 10
http://www.infectiousmusicuk.com
http://www.generalfiasco.co.uk

The Avett Brothers – I And Love And You


How many current country artists do you know? Check the Billboard country chart and start scratching your head. For your information, the current #1 is a guy called Chris Young with the song “The Man I Want To Be”.

The Avett Brothers on the other hand seem to have a firm grasp on who they want to be. And they should already having been around for quite some time under the name Nemo and since 2000 as The Avett Brothers. This folky outfit calls North Carolina home and consists of well, The Avett Brothers and Bob Crawford. The latter plays stand-up bass while Scott plays a mean banjo and his brother Seth plucks his guitar strings.

“I And Love And You” is the name of their first major album and was produced by Rick Rubin whose name seems to be a guarantee for success. Just ask Neil Diamond, Slayer, Beastie Boys or Johnny Cash. It’s pretty much a flawless album on which these guys combines country and folk in a magical way while flexing their brain muscles with deep thoughts about love and life. With the lyrics may taking center stage, the arrangements accompanying them are no less beautiful. The vocal harmonies on here along with the country-tinged sounds brought The Jayhawks to mind (“Ill With Want”) while “Head Full Of Doubt / Road Full Of Promise” brings us to Mumford & Sons. The title track is another one of their brilliant midtempo songs . The perky “Kick Drum Heart” on the other hand sounds like Ben Folds at his best. Want some mellow folk? Check out “January Wedding” or “Laundry Room” and consider yourself served.

With “I And Love And You” The Avett Brothers made a varied album and hit a homerun with every single song. I’m pretty sure that it’s not going to take a lot longer before everybody knows The Avett Brothers. Hell, I bet not even Chris Young’s album is as good as this one.
Score: 9 out of 10
http://www.americanrecordings.com
http://www.theavettbrothers.com

Flogging Molly – Live At The Greek Theatre


While their albums have always been solid in their own right, there’s simply no denying that Flogging Molly is first and foremost a live band. Which means that “Live At The Greek Theatre” is a must for all the fans and a good way to get to know these guys for people who have never checked them out before. The band takes you on a journey through all of their releases so far, there’s room for onstage banter and they even throw in a couple of acoustic songs

“Live at the Greek Theatre” was recorded September 12 2009 at the legendary Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. The DVD covers the entire 90+ minutes set shot with 8 high definition cameras and audio was mixed by Ryan Hewitt, who co-produced the band’s recent release “Float”. The DVD also includes all the music videos and a pre-show interview.

Once you look past the incredibly ugly blue backdrop in the first couple of songs and concentrate on the band’s performance instead, you’ll have no problem being sucked in. It looks and sounds great and it took me right back to all the times I’ve experienced this band’s live act firsthand!
Score: 8.5 out of 10
http://www.sideonedummy.com
http://www.floggingmolly.com

Year Long Disaster – Black Magic : All Mysteries Revealed


After their 2007 debut full-length, these guys didn’t live up to their name and went on tours with the Foo Fighters, The Cult and Velvet Revolver instead. They’re back now with a new album that’s apparently based on some book written by some guy about the devil and his quintessential role in the world. I’m sure it’s all very interesting but all I want to know is if they still know how to rock?

I shouldn’t have worried because other than the rather pointless intro and the one ballad on the album (“Seven Swords”), these guys know their way around a distortion pedal and a solid riff. Vocalist Daniel Davis has the perfect voice to go along with the beefed up rhythm section and together they explore seventies rock, some bluesier stuff and a bit of stoner as well, all the while still citing Led Zep as their biggest influence. Can’t really go wrong there, can ya?
Score: 7.5 out of 10
http://www.volcoment.com
http://www.yearlongdisaster.com

Bullet Treatment – What Else Could You Want?


What else could I want? After 28 songs of Bullet Treatment’s hardcore punk? Not a whole lot really.

The band with the biggest revolving door ever threw all their vinyl only songs, covers (The Adolescents, The Descendents, Bad Brains), unreleased cuts and a bunch of leftovers together and dubbed it “What Else Could You Want?”. With members from Civet, Vultures United, The Bronx, Instead, Spinnerette and many many more all contributing to a bunch of songs, you might expect a mess, especially when everything is thrown together on a release like this. But thing actually sound surprisingly consistent. Guess that’s what loud guitars, pissed off vocals, fast drums and a bunch of talented friends do .
Score: 7 out of 10
http://www.basementrecords.net
http://www.bullettreatment.com

The Slackers – The Great Rocksteady Swindle


The more things change, the more they stay the same. Members may have come and gone, but once you pop in the new Slackers album you’ll be once again in for a bunch of laidback tunes that mix up ska, reggae, rocksteady and soul. There may be an instrumental here (“Ain’t No Sunshine”) or an uptempo song there (“The Same Everyday”), laidback and mellow will always be the words you’re looking for. Because that’s what Vic Ruggiero and his guys do best.

The songs kinda breeze by on “The Great Rocksteady Swindle” but that’s just how it is. Even after all these years, The Slackers are still doing what they do best and there’s a lot to be said for it.
Score: 6.5 out of 10
http://www.epitaph.com
http://www.theslackers.com

5.5.10

Worn In Red interview

With Worn In Red, Richmond, VA has another damn fine band to add to its pedigree of damn fine bands. The sheer power that comes off of their latest release "In The Offing" is amazing and should be experienced with the volume turned way the fuck up. Make sure to check them out both on record and live...which will even be possible in Europe pretty soon! Read on to see what the band had to tell us via email.

PRT: First time I listened to "In The Offing", I was actually drewling and had my girlfriend wondering whether or not I'd suffered a stroke. Is that something you hear a lot about the new album?
WIR: Thanks! We are really proud of it and the feedback so far has mostly been super positive.

PRT: To me at least, it seems like you came out of nowhere which of course isn't true. So can you give me a quick history of the band written in less than two minutes?
WIR: Worn In Red was born in Charlottesville during our first practice in late 2004, and congealed over a shared love of Fugazi, Sleepytime Trio, Refused, Planesmistakenforstars, Sunny Day Real Estate, and Hot Water Music. From our inception until mid 2007, Worn In Red played a bunch of shows, did numerous short tours, and released a few things on DC-area labels like Exotic Fever and Rosewater.

In September of 2007, Joe, Brad, and Brendan parted ways with our original singer/bassist, and brought longtime Richmond, VA friend Matt Neagle on board to play bass and to share the vocal duties with Brendan. After only a few shows with this new line-up, we played The FEST 6. The 12-hour drive home seemed to take no time, and we realized that we’d found an exceptional mix of personalities that reignited everyone’s excitement about being in this band.

In 2008, we just tried to keep upping the ante. We did a 2-week tour that January, played a bunch of long weekends, pooled our “stimulus package” money to record "In The Offing", bought a beautiful 1998 15-passenger van, did another 2-week tour in September, played an incredibly fun show at The FEST 7, and did more long weekends. Var Thelin, mastermind of No Idea Records, came to see us play at the Gainesville shows, and we all realized that there was a real admiration for each other’s music and ethics. In February 2009 we did a 3 week tour of the northeast, and then in the early summer of 2009, (and just a month after the mixing and mastering of the full-length had finally finished) we got the call we’d been waiting for: No Idea was going to put our record out. Our record came out at FEST 8 (which was a blast), and then from January - March 2010 we went on a 6.5 week U.S. tour. That pretty much brings us up to now!

PRT: For people who don't know you yet, if Worn In Red was the lovechild of two other bands... which acts would've had sex and which position were you conceived in?
WIR: Randy Newman through a glory hole.

PRT: In my review I namedropped acts like Planes Mistaken For Stars, Quicksand and Modern Life Is War. Are those bands you can relate to?
WIR: Hell yeah! We celebrate their entire catalogs.

PRT: You all hail from Richmond and Charlottesville yet have found a second home in Gainesville. What's it like to be a part of two of the most awesome scenes around? Can you contain yourself or do you still have to change shorts a lot?
WIR: Joe doesn't actually own any shorts. Ha ha. Nah, we all love Virginia. Matt and Brad have lived here all their lives. Virginia is, and has always been, the context in which Worn In Red exists. This area is rich with a history of bands that motivate(d) listeners/participants by example. These bands also knew how to write a memorable fucking song. From Avail to Majority Rule, there are a bunch of examples of what a vibrant independent band should be: Honest, intelligent, relatable, passionate about the music they are creating, and fucking on fire when playing live. Our band exists in that same spirit, and are proud to be a part of Virginia punk rock. And we're stoked to have lots of road family in Gainesillve. It happened pretty naturally though...a lot of our good friends from college all moved down there around 1999 or 2000, and most of them have stayed. So we've always made it a point to get down there even before No Idea.

PRT: The more I read about your band, the more it becomes obvious that you are in it for all the right reasons. If there is one thing that you miss in today's scene, what would it be?
WIR: Well thanks again! Not sure what we miss, but one thing we love about all of this is meeting people and bands that are doing this because they just love playing honest music, and love contributing to this creative community. We've all formed meaningful relationships and gained longtime friends simply through playing in bands, and that pretty much rules!

PRT: On your MySpace page you have sort of a disclaimer... what's up with that?
WIR: Here's the thing on our myspace:
"Please don't send form letters trying to book shows with us, or anyone. The idea of having a connection like myspace should be a good one, not a launching pad for generic bands full of people with dollar signs in their eyes. That said, if you would generally like to play a show with us, are nice people, and have a sound we might be into, let us know. We will never respond to any form letters, and we hope that others will adopt this policy, because if we don't get rid of cookie-cutter bands touring just to feed their own egos, our scene will end up shit.

Also, there's just too much smarmy "networking" going on in general - that shit belongs in a business luncheon, not in a DIY music community. If you're a band or a company we've never met, and you dig our music, take 5 minutes to send us a message and introduce yourselves. It's really not asking that much, and it helps build a buffer against turning this myspace thing into a contest of "which band can waste the most time in front of their computer trawling for friends to artificially inflate the status of their band". We'll do the same if we randomly run across your band/company and we like it enough to say, "hey, let's be 'friends'". We're not trying to be dicks, we're just not interested in being all cold and "business" about music, and it seems that this simple request keeps the corporate-rock wannabes at bay, since they generally have no interest in making any kind of good-faith friendly connection. In other words, if our position on this pisses you off, then it was probably meant to. If you get it, then lets be friends!"

It's pretty self-explanatory...and it kind of acts as a barometer for who is actually interested in us...as in interested enough to read our page and respect that small request. It's not too much to ask, ya know?

PRT: The bad food, the endless drives, the sleeping on floors, the being away from home,... these are all (I suppose) downsides to touring. But what is it that makes it all worthwhile for you?
WIR: Well we don't really tour 9 months out of the year or anything like that...which goes a long way to help keep it fun and exciting for us. I think this year we'll probably end up doing about 3 months out of the year, and that's just enough without being too much. But the drive to share our music with new people, and knowing how much fun it will be to make new friends and visit all of our buds around the country provides a good amount of motivation to keep it up.

PRT: I read something somewhere about a European tour later this year. Do you already have an idea when that would be?
WIR: Yep! It looks like we'll be touring Germany, northern France, Netherlands, the UK, and perhaps CZ for most of November. Stay tuned for an announcement sometime soon. We also have a split 7" with our buds Mouthbreather coming out late summer / early fall on Rorshach Records (and it might be a split with another label). Stoked on that.

PRT: Any last words for our readers?
WIR: Punk Rock Theory rules! Oh, and Jesse Harrison: "Be the beast."