In a couple of seconds you will be redirected to our new site. Click here if you can't contain your excitement.


Egypt Central – White Rabbit

- by Thomas

Next to the American bands that come over to Europe and that everybody knows or who at least have somewhat of a following, there are plenty of other bands that never make it over here and that no one in Europe has ever heard of. In the case of Egypt Central it becomes obvious that that is not necessarily a bad thing. By the way, raise your hands if you think this could very well be one of the worst bands names. Ever.

“White Rabbit” is apparently already the band’s second album and it’s filled with the kind of modern rock/metal that got big in the early naughties thanks to labels such as Wind-Up Records and bands such as Sevendust or Puddle Of Mudd. They’re not doing a bad job of imitating those bands who – let’s face it – weren’t exactly great to begin with. There’s a metallic sheen to all of the songs which come with big choruses that are easy to remember. But nowhere do these Memphis natives show a face of their own. Paint-by-numbers nu metal… yeah, I got over that a long, long time ago.
Score: 3 out of 10

The Devil Wears Prada – Dead Throne

- by Thomas

I’ve never really cared for The Devil Wears Prada… they were one of those Hot Topic bands for 15-year-olds I didn’t give a damn about. Their sound was inconsistent and kind of ridiculous and over the top. But even I have to say that they are pretty good at what they do on “Dead Throne”, the band’s fifth album.
Is it really that different? Nope. Innovative? Hardly. Catchy and effective? Yes! Okay, so the screams are still formulaic as fuck but the choruses with clean vocals are pretty sweet as are some of the breakdowns. There’s even room for some more use of atmospheric parts in songs like “Kansas” and “Chicago”.

I’m not sure how much producer Adam Dutkiewicz had to say about it but fact is that this is a big step forward for these guys. Now, if only we could get them to stop using those annoying screams and we might just get there.
Score: 6 out of 10

Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster – IV

- by Thomas

I went into this one with good hopes. After all this is the band that gave us the imaginatively titled albums “II” and “III” which both are hard rockin’ party albums. And I have to say that Ma Baker’s offspring is off to a good start with the two stompers that are “In Dead We Drown” and “Save Me”. They come with that swampy, Southern style mixed in with loud guitars and the kind of bigass groove that made Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster stand out in the first place.

But then Dallas Taylor and co. break out material like “Faith Healer (Bring Me Down)” and “Open Your Eyes” for some reason. Now, if I wanted to listen to cheesy hardrock, I’d be off listening to Ratt or Poison. As if those two songs aren’t bad enough, you get more of that let’s-aim-for-the-charts dribble in the form of “Taking Me Water” and “Off To The Laughing Place”.

It truly is a shame that such a fun band as Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster manages to lose all of its appeal with one single album but somehow these guys managed to get the job done only to end in the PunkRockTheory ranking right next to Staind and Nickelback.
Score: 4 out of 10

So Many Ways – S/T

- by Thomas

So Many Ways is a good name for this band. Especially when it comes to their rhythm section who seems to veer off in all kinds of directions. Two years into its existence they’ve already worked their way up to their third incarnation. Now, I can imagine that it’s hard to keep up with two guitarists shredding as fast as guitarists Jason Milbank and Murphy Welch but it comes with a very high Spinal Tap vibe.

Anyway, after getting rid of their keyboard player after EP #1 (“Real Talk”), they started fooling around with slightly heavier influences on EP #2 (“Floridian”) while still very much remaining a pop-punk outfit.

On their new self-titled EP they took it all to the next level and come off sounding technically proficient, catchy and aggressive all rolled up into one. It makes for one hell of a ride with “Murf’s Life Hints” as my personal favourite. Fans of H2O and New Found Glory should take note that there’s a new kid in town.
Score: 7 out of 10

Trapped Under Ice – Big Kiss Goodnight

- by Thomas

Trapped Under Ice already got a lot done in the couple of years that they’ve been around: a demo, an EP, a split release with Dirty Money and a full-length. And now they’re back with another pretty solid album called “Big Kiss Goodnight”.

Don’t expect anything funny or experimental, this is straight-up, pissed-off hardcore. The kind that will make you want to break someone else’s jaw. Oh wait, they already did that! Basically “Big Kiss Goodnight” is half an hour of metallic hardcore that comes with plenty of NYHC influences. Plus it packs breakdowns in all the right places and to top it all off they injected everything with just the right amount of melody. Just like this review, this album is kinda formulaic. But hey, there’s nothing wrong with that when it’s done well. I hope the band feels likewise about my review.
Score: 8 out of 10

H2O – Don’t Forget Your Roots

- by Thomas

On their latest release, H2O tackle a bunch of covers from bands that have inspired them like 7 Seconds, Sick Of It All, Descendents, Gorilla Biscuits and Madball among others. Skarhead did a similar thing a while ago and I’m glad to say that “Don’t Forget Your Roots” turned out a whole lot better.

Toby Morse and his friends give all of the songs the H2O treatment, meaning there are plenty of loud guitars and everything comes with a poppy edge. Other than those elements, these really are ‘just’ covers… they stay pretty true to the originals. Of course you can always start a discussion about whether or not albums like this one serve a purpose but hey, it’s here, it sounds pretty good and I have better things to do than start pointless discussions.
Score: 7 out of 10


The Bombpops! interview

- by Thomas

Looking for some Ergs-like pop-punk tunes with female vocals? Well, look no further than the Bombpops! who recently dropped a new EP on Red Scare. They impressed us enough to do an email interview with them so read on...

PRT: Who are you and what would you like to tell our readers about yourself?
Jen: My name is Jen and I play guitar and sing.
Poli: I’m Poli and I play guitar and sing too.

PRT: Could you give me the history of The Bombpops written in less than one minute starting… now!
Jen and I met in 2005 at a local rehearsal studio and started playing in a band together. We wanted to play punk, so we started writing Bombpop songs together, found Dylan to play drums, and formed the band in early 2007. We have had multiple bass players over the years, currently Neil is the best and hopefully last.

PRT: Was there a specific moment or an occasion when you realised all you wanted to do was be in a punkrock band?
Jen: For me it was the first punk show I went to when I was 12 years old. My mom took me to see Phoneix TX, Bad Religion and Blink 182. And I knew from that day on I was going to be in a punk band. I had been listening to punk bands for years and had been playing guitar for a about a year before that show, but after seeing it live, I knew there was nothing else I wanted to do.
Poli: I think I have always known I have wanted to play music, and there have been many moments that have made me realize this is all I want to do. Once I started playing real shows, and touring it really hit me. When I started waking up and only thinking about the band and the opportunities in the future I knew that that this is what I had to do.

PRT: For people who haven’t heard you before… if you were the lovechild of two other bands, which acts would’ve had sex and which position were you conceived in?
Jen + Poli: If No Use for a Name and Pulley tagged teamed The Ataris, we would be would the bastard child. But there is also a pending paternity test involving Lagwagon.

PRT: “Stole The TV” is your third EP and you still sound the same on it as before but it all sounds tighter and better than before. Think you’re about ready for that full-length?
Jen + Poli: Thanks, we would love to do a full length someday soon... a year after we started the band we recorded a full length and we never had the money to get it pressed, so it never got released. We figure it was a good thing though, because then we had better/newer songs, and spent the money getting those recorded and released. One day when we are running low on cash we plan to release those as some kind of “lost tracks” album.

PRT: Since your second EP, you’ve been with Red Scare… seems like a good fit, right?
Jen + Poli: Red Scare is a great fit for us. We’ve all been fans of the label since it’s beginning and we’re so stoked to be apart of the family.

PRT: With two girls in the band playing the guitar and sharing vocal duties, was it a conscious decision to get two guys to even things out? Never thought about making it a girls only kinda thing?
Jen + Poli: We never thought of making it a “girls only kinda thing”. When we started this band it wasn’t like “Ok we’re gonna start a girl band cause we’re girls”. It was just how a lot of bands start, two really good friends who write songs together and set out to find the right musicians to complete the band.
However, since the band first started we have had our fair share of line-up changes and we never considered seeking out another girl. One reason being that we didn’t know any, but mainly because Poli and I are best friends and we have a unique chemistry and sense of humor that a lot of girls don’t get. It would just be weird for us.

PRT: What’s up next for you the Bombpops? More touring, maybe Europe?
Jen + Poli: Well so far we have some awesome shows in January with NOFX, you can check out our facebook for all the details. Also, playing Way out West fest this spring, and definitely a lot of writing in between! We want to record another EP soon, maybe a full length? We are up for anything. Europe is what we are most definitely thinking and working for. It would be a dream come true to go tour there.

The Horrible Crowes – Elsie

- by Thomas

Writing this review without mentioning The Gaslight Anthem – Brian Fallon’s other band – would be hard so I figured I’d get it out of the way right from the start. So… The Horrible Crowes is Brian Fallon’s side-project that he started along with his guitar tech, Ian Perkins. And while first single “Behold The Hurricane” does sound like something off of a Gaslight Anthem album (probably to lure the fans), opener “Last Rites” immediately shows that this is a completely different kind of thing. The songs on “Elsie” are more subdued and darker.

There’s a lot to discover on here… “I Witnessed A Crime” works thanks to that organ that’s in there alongside Fallon’s spoken word delivery. “Sugar” and “Black Betty And The Moon” are just plain beautiful and closer “I Believe Jesus Brought Us Together” will get you choked up with its story about two lost souls finding each other.

“Elsie” is the kind of album that plays well on a dark night, when it’s cold outside and warm inside. I already knew that Fallon was a good songwriter but it’s nice to see that he break out of his ‘formula’ and come up with equally heartbreaking tunes.
Score: 8.5 out of 10

Fountains Of Wayne – Sky Full Of Holes

- by Thomas

Named after a store selling garden ornaments, Fountains Of Wayne have been cranking excellent tuneage since 1996 without changing a whole lot in their sound. And why should they? Like I said, they know how to write excellent tunes. Or don’t you remember “Radiation Vibe”, “Leave The Biker” or “Stacy’s Mom”?

“Sky Full Of Holes” is yet another powerpop album full of stories that come complete with punchlines and ridiculously catchy choruses. This time around they did however slow things down a little with more emphasis on acoustic songs (“A Road Song”, “Firelight Waltz”). It only makes their character sketches come more to life which can’t be a bad thing, right? Take the hapless entrepreneurs in “Richie And Ruben” or the boozer that is longing for love on a train (“Acera”)… both are kinda sad but the lyrics come with a wink and you can’t help but sympathize.

It’s good to see that 15 years in Fountains Of Wayne are still going strong on album number five and still know how to charm the listener. Here’s to fifteen more!
Score: 7.5 out of 10

Saves The Day interview

- by Thomas

It's Saves The Day people... who the fuck needs an introduction! Check out their new album. It's called "Daybreak" and it's out now on Razor & Tie.

PRT: In an old interview from 2001 they asked you what Saves The Day is all about. You stated that you simply like to play music. Ten years down the line, is that still what it all boils down to?
Chris: Yes, it's always been about the joy of making music for me. Financially it's an unpredictable occupation, so you really have to love what you're doing in order to persevere through the lean years. I love listening to music, writing songs, jotting down words, bringing the songs to life in the studio, and taking the music on tour around the world. It's a gift in my life to be able to follow my passion for music.

PRT: “Daybreak” is the last part in a trilogy that started with “Sound The Alarm” and “Under The Boards”. Do you feel like you’ve come full circle with the release of the new album?
Chris: I feel like I've finally come home to myself. The trilogy was my way of directly confronting the issues in the depths of my mind which were holding me back from being the best person I can be, and Daybreak is about learning to accept yourself and the world at large no matter who you are or what the world has become.

PRT: How did you come up with the idea to make a three album trilogy in the first place?
Chris: In 2004, I was in a dark place, fighting against the world around me and trying desperately to change without knowing where to start. Our country had just gone to war for reasons beyond my comprehension, the world economy was beginning to crack, and people were angry and looking for things to blame. At the same time, I was about to become a father and I knew it was time to learn how to live in the world without fighting against it so that I could be a positive role model for my daughter and our family. So I dove into the darkness of my mind, the angry cynical maniacal delusions and paranoia and I started writing about what was there as a way to get to the bottom of my pain, as a way of letting it all out. My intention was to pull myself out of the darkness and bring myself back to life so I could find peace in the midst of a complicated world. I realized early on that it was going to become a monstrous sprawling project detailing the deconstruction of my emotions and my eventual rebuilding, and it would be a multiple album arc. Sound The Alarm is about the anger and the pain. Under The Boards is the transitional album about the realization that things need to change. And Daybreak is about learning to accept ourselves and the world as it is so that we can respond to the challenges of life not with anger but with compassion.

PRT: It seems that this time around the lyrics are more accepting and even positive. Is that the new Chris Conley or is it just the first time you’ve felt like expressing yourself that way?
Chris: I have felt varying degrees of happiness in my life and written about it in the songs, but I have never known inner peace before Daybreak. The positivity and acceptance on Daybreak is a reflection of my new found sense of stability and structure, and the music and lyrics on our albums are always an honest portrayal of my inner life.

PRT: The first song is split up into five parts. What’s the idea behind that?
Chris: The second side of Abbey Road by The Beatles is one of my favorite musical pieces, and I've been fascinated by irregular song structure in pop music for quite some time. The epic opening track on Daybreak is my response to the musical suites that have moved me, and it's a fun exploration of music outside the normal bounds of expression.

PRT: There’s a couple of songs where the title is just a letter (“E”, “Z”, “U”, “O”). Can you tell me a bit more about that?
Chris: The letters in the original Greek Alphabet are symbolic of humanity's spiritual ascent and also pertain to numerology which has its own scientific and metaphysical symbolism. I don't want to give away the significance of the lettered titles from Daybreak, but you can find out quite a bit of information by visiting your local library and investigating the symbolism of the ages.

PRT: The least you can say is that your sound has evolved over the years. I feel like there’s something to be said for that but equally for bands who simply stick to what they know. Have you always known you’d fit into the first category or is that something that happened gradually and naturally?
Chris: While I'm obviously aware that the band changes from record to record, I've never thought about the band's evolution when writing new material. When I'm working on songs, I'm just enjoying myself, playing guitar, and venting my emotions through the words. It's as simple as that really. I have no awareness of the outside world as I'm writing, it's just me and the guitar, the chords and the melody, my feelings and my words. I'm proud that our band has continued to be viable without straining to have commercial success. In this day and age of music, it's a remarkable feat.

PRT: You’ve had quite a number of line-up changes over the years. Are you secretly a bit of a dicator?
Chris: Yes, I am secretly a bit of a dictator, but I'm benevolent, and all I'm looking for from my bandmates year to year is quality musical output and a good work ethic with the ability to be a team player setting aside any selfish musical tendencies for the benefit of the group as a whole. Now that I have a solid lineup with Arun, Rodrigo, and Claudio, I can relax into the music and focus on the future, knowing we will be together for years to come.

PRT: And does it feel now like you have a solid line-up?
Chris: This is the most solid the band has ever been. We all enjoy each other's company, and we love playing together on stage and in the studio. We can't wait to make the next album and take our music on tour across the globe and into backyards the world over.

PRT: I read that you recorded the new album on your own without having a label behind you. Is that the way things work now?
Chris: Ideally, we would have a label to fund our recordings, but when we made Daybreak, we had to work on our own waiting till the album was finished to find a label to release the album. Hopefully in the future we will have financial backing when we enter the studio so we don't have to pay for the recording out of our own pockets.

PRT: Having been around in the music industry for quite some years now, what’s your opinion on how things have evolved?
Chris: When the band first started, there was no notion of stardom in the underground music scene, you made music because you loved it and you loved the connection with your fans and the bands you played with. In the early 2000's the whole scene blew up and became centered around success and celebrity. The music lost its sincerity as bands came out of the woodwork looking for instant fame and fortune. Thankfully, the lack of money in the music industry is forcing some of the less talented groups out of the limelight making room for more dedicated harder working bands with passion and heart.

PRT: In the past you’ve had a not so good experience with a major label. Would you ever consider signing with one again?
Chris: Probably not, but only because most major labels do deals which encompass the entirety of the bands' financial intake, as opposed to solely taking a percentage of the bands' record sales.

PRT: Looking back on 17 years of Saves The Day, is there anything you would’ve done differently?
Chris: Just briefly I have to mention that Saves The Day began in 1997, so it has actually only been 14 years of the band as of now. I started playing in bands in '94, but we didn't turn into Saves until '97. Having said that, there isn't a single thing that I would change about the band's history, since I learned from every twist and turn along the road, and I value the knowledge I've gained along the way.

PRT: Enough about the past… what does the future look like for Saves The Day?
Chris: I do an acoustic tour in January/February of 2012, and then the band heads to Australia shortly thereafter for the Soundwave Festival before headlining the States in the Spring. We're hoping to come back overseas next summer for the festival season and then perhaps a support tour in the Fall, and then we'll head back into the studio to start work on our next album in the Winter. Stay tuned, tell your friends, and come rock with us at the shows!


The Breakers – S/T

- by Thomas

The Danish rockers that make up The Breakers have a new self-titled album out, their third already. Little Steven Van Zandt saw good things in them and not only signed them to his label but also produced the whole thing and even co-wrote a couple of the songs. Interested what that sounds like? I was.

While they’re not doing anything new with (just following the sticker here) a Stax-like rhythm section, Stones-y guitars and a vocalist who sounds like a dead ringer for a younger Rod Stewart, these guys have all the right ingredients to write some tasty songs. And they do. From stompers like opener “Start The Show” to more soulful ballads like “Union Street”, The Breakers have all the bases covered. And while they are pretty good at what they do, they do still very much remain a retro band that lacks that special something the originals had.
Score: 6 out of 10

Kid Loco – Confessions Of A Belladonna Eater

- by Thomas

Kid Loco is the alter ego of French musician, DJ, remixer and producer Jean-Yves Prieur, who has previously spent time in several punk outfits before going all hip hop and reggae on his fellow Frenchies.

With “Confessions Of A Belladonna Eater” he’s veering off in yet another direction. It’s lavishly arranged pop music that reminds me of Belle And Sebastian and Air among others. Prieur handles most of the vocals himself but occasionally gets help from two girls… which is a good thing because the guy doesn’t have much of a singing voice to be honest with you.

I can see what he’s going for and I have to say that he does a pretty good job. But there’s something that sets him apart from the abovementioned bands and that’s just plain good songwriting. Everything sounds great (the guy is a producer after all) but the songs just don’t stick. And a crappy cover of Iggy Pop’s “The Passenger” doesn’t exactly help things move forward either.
Score: 5 out of 10

Dawes – Nothing Is Wrong

- by Thomas

The rootsy indierockers that make up Dawes are back with the follow-up to “North Hills”. This one is called “Nothing Is Wrong” and on it they use the same elements that made their debut a standout release. It’s the combination of vocal harmonies, sweet guitar sounds and a Hammond organ alongside Taylor Goldsmith’s warm vocals that does me in.

If you’re into The Jayhawks, The Band, The Eagles, Neil Young and Jackson Browne (who even sings along on “Fire Away”), you’ll be wanting to hear songs like opener “Time Spent In Los Angeles”, “My Way Back Home” and closer “A Little Bit Of Everything”… they just prove that good music is timeless.
Score: 8.5 out of 10

John Wesley Harding – The Sound Of His Own Voice

- by Thomas

John Wesley Harding sure knows how to pick his friends… on “The Sound Of His Own Voice” he is backed up by the Decemberists, Peter Buck, Rosanne Cash and Scott McCaughey among others. Not that he needs all those big names to draw attention to his songs, the songs more than speak for themselves.

As happy and poppy as they may sound, the lyrics are not. But they’re smart and sometimes they sting a little. It’s a winning combination and with this album he’s crashing right into Elvis Costello’s backyard. Just have a listen to “Captain Courageous”, “There’s A Starbucks (Where The Starbucks Used To Be)” and the bittersweet “The Way We Weren’t” and try not to be won over.
Score: 7.5 out of 10

Tom Freund – The Edge Of Venice

- by Thomas

You may have already heard of Tom Freund and his hat without even knowing it. He’s worked with Ben Harper on 1992’s “Pleasure And Pain” and has had bass duty throughout the nineties for The Silos. He has since then moved on to a solo career with “The Edge Of Venice” already being the good man’s seventh album.

Produced by John Aagia (John Mayer, Jason Mraz, Dave Matthews), Freund made an album of carefree pop sounds that come with an alt-country kinda vibe. I bet Tom Petty would approve of this. There are no multiple layers here, no experimenting… just solid songwriting that makes sense, the kind that hits just the spot.
Score: 7.5 out of 10

Hooray For Earth – True Loves

- by Thomas

Hooray For Earth already spreads a positive vibe with its very name and that positivity can be found all throughout “True Loves” as well. It’s a strange mix of slick melodies, dreamy vocals, heavy bass sounds and a lot of synthesizers. A whole lot.

It’s pop music for the new millennium and for once I am a fan. Because no matter how goofy or bombastic things become, I find myself thoroughly enjoying this one. It’s kinda like what you were hoping MGMT’s “Congratulations” to sound like and it leaves me with a big smile plastered all over my face.
Score: 8.5 out of 10

Ty Segall – Goodbye Bread

- by Thomas

Ty Segall (or Eric Bauer as his parent know him) already made something of an impression with last year’s “Melted”. Instead of resting on his laurels, the man is already back with a new album called “Goodbye Bread”. Gone are the uptempo rockers of “Melted” (except for “California Commercial” which still comes with a strong Sonics vibe), please say hello to Beatlesque harmonies and T. Rex comparisons. Oh, and the Black Keys are never that far away either.

While still maintaining the sloppiness that seems to be a must with lo-fi recordings, this is a guy who knows very well where he’s going. Songs like “” and “” are pretty friggin’ good. Unfortunately there is also a way lesser song on here for every good one. That’s because Mr. Segall likes to lose himself in psychedelical experiments from time to time that only lead to failure.

“Goodbye Bread” is a good album but not one that will bring him into the spotlights. To really stand out, he should lose the experimenting streak on his next album. Which will probably come out in a couple of months?
Score: 6 out of 10

Sixteen Horsepower – Yours, Truly

- by Thomas

Throughout the nineties and up until 2005, Sixteen Horsepower has always managed to impress with their mix of rock, religion and more traditional Americana sounds. Since their demise we’ve already had two live albums and one with leftovers but up until now there hasn’t been a retrospective.

“Yours, Truly” is made up of two CDs. The first one is called “People’s Choice” and its tracklisting is made up entirely by the fans. Seems like “Secret South” is the fans’ favourite album because it’s represented on here with five songs. This in stark contrast to “Hutterite Mile”, the only song off of “Folklore”, the band’s last album.

The second CD is “Rarities” and is filled with just that. Demos, a remix, B-sides and three covers including one of CCR’s “Bad Moon Rising” and The Gun Club’s “Fire Spirit”.

This one serves as a solid introduction to those of you who have never had the pleasure of submerging yourself in the world of 16 Horsepower while longtime fans will have more fun with the second album. It’s a little bit for everyone and it comes wrapped in a pretty slick packaging.
Score: 8 out of 10

Jeffrey Foucault – Cold Satellite

- by Thomas

Jeffrey Foucault is an American singer-songwriter who has been writing some pretty stellar tunes for a couple of years now. Earlier this year he dropped “Horse Latitudes” and after that one got a good reception, they decided to give the previously digitally released “Cold Satellite” a CD release as well.

Based on the work of a young American poet named Lisa Olstein, Foucault put the words to music with the help of Billy Conway (Morphine, Twinemen) on drums, Jeremy Moses Curtis (Booker T) on bass, David Goodrich (Chris Smither) on electric guitars and Nashville session veteran Alex Mccollough on pedal steel. The result is a beautiful Americana album with a country polish and the occasional loud guitar outbreak that could give Crazy Horse a run for his money.
Score: 8 out of 10


Brand New – Your Favorite Weapon (Deluxe Edition)

- by Thomas

Triple Crown joined forces with Razor & Tie for the 10 year anniversary edition of “Your Favorite Weapon”, the album that put Brand New on the post-hardcore map. It was a great album then and it’s still a good album now that it’s been remastered. There is a lame joke to be made about a band called Brand New re-releasing a 10-year-old album, but let’s not and say I did. The deluxe edition comes with new artwork and a bunch of demos, three of which you’ve never heard before.

The Brand New you’ll hear on “Your Favorite Weapon” is obviously not the same as the evolved and matured Brand New of 2006’s “The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me” or 2009’s “Daisy” but this is still worth listening to and not only because of nostalgia.
Score: 8 out of 10

Ghost Robot Ninja Bear – S/T

- by Thomas

After the demise of Nakatomi Plaza, I was worried that I’d have to keep making do with their old albums. Luckily it didn’t take Oscar A. Rodriguez long to start a new band. His new pet project is called Ghost Robot Ninja Bear and after the releases of two EPs, he recently dropped a first full-length.

Sticking with Nakatomi Plaza’s sound for the largest part, this self-titled debut immediately sounds familiar with plenty of big guitars that go from soothing to all-round destruction in mere seconds while the rhythm section is tight and loud with Rodriguez belting over it all. Opener “The Curtain Call” serves as the perfect introduction of things to come with bigass riffs washing over you before a catchy chorus kicks in. They keep this up throughout most of the album but will occasionally throw in something a little more mellow like “I Can’t Decide” which comes with a Dinosaur Jr touch.

Whatever kinda vibe they’re going for, Ghost Robot Ninja Bear always pulls it off. It takes a couple of listens to really get into this album but after that it’s hard to stop listening to it and it’s to see that Rodriguez is still around making quality tuneage.
Score: 9 out of 10
no label

Cobra Skulls – Agitations

- by Thomas

The dudes that make up Cobra Skulls are back with their third album. This one’s called “Agitations” and on it you’ll hear more of that Against Me, Dead To Me, The Lawrence Arms kind of punkrock that these Nevada natives have made a name with for themselves over the past couple of years.

They’re off to a great start with the one-two punch that is “Six Degrees” and “Iron Lung”. A track like “On & On” is another solid punkrock tune with its catchy chorus and a driving rhythm. The problem with “Agitations” is that there are a couple of songs that are just too run-of-the-mill to make much of an impression, something that is accentuated only more by Peralta’s slightly monotonous voice. It doesn’t make “Agitations” a bad album but I thought there was gonna be more to love.
Score: 6.5 out of 10

Aiden – Some Kind Of Hate

- by Thomas

For the second time this year, the guys in Aiden put on their make-up and spent hours combing their hair. The follow-up to “Disguises” is called “Some Kind Of Hate” and sadly this one is no improvement over the last one. Everything my buddy Jan said about that album can be applied to this one as well, so go ahead and read it there. That way I don’t have to waste any more time listening to this piece of crap.

Just wanted to add one point Jan didn’t mention in his review… how terrible is Wil Francis’ voice? Seriously! It’s flat like a 6-year-old girl’s chest (hey, I guess that’s their fanbase!) and more than once seriously off-key. Which makes it even funnier that in the liner notes he himself writes: ‘my mother used to tell the neighbors that it sounded like I was killing cats on account that I couldn’t sing hardly at all’ (sic). Newsflash… you still sound that way buddy!
Score: 2 out of 10

Make Do And Mend – End Measured Mile

- by Thomas

After two EPs, the guys in Make Do And Mend felt ready to drop their first full-length. It’s been out for a while on Panic Records already and Shield Recordings took it upon themselves to release “End Measured Mile” over here. For which I would like to thank them because it is a fucking great album.

Opener “Unknowingly Strong” takes you right to Hot Water Music’s “Caution” days and show that melody and being abrasive can very well walk hand in hand. The sheer power with which they knock songs like “Ghostal” (with guest vocals by La Dispute’s Jordan Dreyer) and “Transparent Seas” out of the ballpark are a dead giveaway that these guys have their roots in the hardcore scene. And if you couple that energy to great guitar leads and James Carroll’s gritty voice, well then you’ve got yourself a damn fine album that deserves to be played over and over again.
Score: 8.5 out of 10

Counterparts – The Current Will Carry Us

- by Thomas

“The Current Will Carry Us” is the name of Counterparts’ second album and it’s a no-frills kinda hardcore affair where they crank out the heavy and get the job done in just over half an hour. Contrary to a bunch of other bands on the Victory roster, these Canadians rely on passion and anger rather than technical prowess and experimenting with different styles.

Songs like “MMVII” and “Jumping Ship” are dirty and frenetic hardcore tunes with melodies that lurk in the darkest corners and quite simply, they will kick your ass. When you play in a hardcore band, you’re not going to reinvent the wheel… but I doubt that’s what Counterparts is about. Just like their countrymen and labelmates in Comeback Kid, these are guys that want to plug in, play loud and get the fuck out. If this was Facebook, I would ‘I like’ this album right away.
Score: 7.5 out of 10

Dead To Me - Moscow Penny Ante

- by Thomas

2009’s “African Elephants” was a love it or hate it kind of an album with Dead To Me incorporating a fair amount of dub and reggae into their snotty punkrock. I never really got into it but I was still curious to hear what they would come up with next. Luckily for me they went for the loud guitars again on “Moscow Penny Ante”, an album full of punkrock anthems.

Producer Matt Allison did a great job (as always), making everything sound all nice and crispy. Chicken takes lead vocals on most of the songs on here with new guitarist Sam Johnson (VRGNS, New Mexican Disaster Squad, No Friends) chipping in every now and again. The other new guitarist responds well to the name Ken Yamikazi (Western Addiction) does a nice job of dropping melodic riffs over a gritty foundation.

With less “African Elephants” and more “Cuban Ballerina”, “Moscow Penny Ante” is a return to form for these geography-loving punkrockers. Just like The Dopamines or Banner Pilot, Dead To Me aren’t reinventing the wheel here… they’re just about writing fun punkrock songs that can whip a sweaty basement crowd into a frenzy in one minute or less.
Score: 8 out of 10

Nothington – Borrowed Time

- by Thomas

“Borrowed Time” is lucky number three for Nothington. Their first two albums weren’t bad either but they never really stuck with me. This time around however, Jay Northington and his buddies wrote a bunch of songs that are far more agreeable.

Chris Matulich handles a lot more of the vocal duties than on “Roads, Bridges And Ruins” and it’s that interaction between him and Northington that makes “Borrowed Time” way more fun to listen to. Their Lucero meets Social D kinda punkrock didn’t change all too much with the hard-hitting rhythms, loud guitars and catchy hooks still in place.

Listening to songs like “End Of The Day” and “Hopeless”, I have to say that this really is the band’s best work to date and I can’t find anything that can still hold them back this time around!
Score: 7.5 out of 10

Elway – Delusions

- by Thomas

After a mellow intro that also serves as a throwback to the band’s past (10/4 Eleanor is their previous name), they kick out the jams with “Passing Days”. One thing that becomes clear from the get-go is that even though these guys are from Colorado, they sound like a bunch of great Chicago-based bands. Yup, think Larry Arms and Alkaline Trio for your RIYL.

Gruff yet melodic and with more whoa’s than you can shake a stick at, that’s Elway in a couple of words. Songs like first single “Passing Days” or “Song For Eric Solomon To Sing” now have a little place in my heart (hey, it’s almost Christmas… I’m allowed to be corny!) and Elway show they deserve to have their own spot in the poppunk scene, saturated as it may be.
Score: 8 out of 10

Close Your Eyes – Empty Hands And Heavy Hearts

- by Thomas

Last year Close Your Eyes already surprised me with “We Will Overcome”, an enjoyable album if you’re into melodic hardcore. Without wasting any time, these Texans got their asses back in the studio and recorded the follow-up. They haven’t changed much on “Empty Hands And Heavy Hearts”… just more of the same hook-laden hardcore that sounds like a mix between Comeback Kid and Ignite.

Opener “Hope Slips Away” sets the pace right from the get-go and they keep on racing at the same speed through the rest of the album while throwing catchy choruses and tasty breakdowns on top of each other. There are hints of A Day To Remember and Take It Back here as well and basically it’s wholesome hardcore all around.

Simply put, you can’t really go wrong with this one if you’re into any of the abovementioned bands.
Score: 7.5 out of 10

Gameday Regulars - … But It’s Hell In The Hallway

- by Thomas

Gameday Regulars are three dudes who obviously share a love of sports and while one might expect them to live in Gainesville and sport beards listening to their debut EP, these guys are actually from NYC.

“… But It’s Hell In The Hallway” comes with six songs that would make Chuck Ragan & co proud… driving rhythms, loud guitars injected with plenty of melody and vocals so gruff that you could use them to scrape anything off of your shoes. “Hearts And Bones” and closer “The Whiskey Keeps Us Young” sound like two songs Hot Water Music just hasn’t gotten round to recording yet. If this is just their debut, I can’t wait to hear what they’ll come up with next!
Score: 7.5 out of 10

Mixtapes – Hope Is For People

- by Thomas

Can anybody still keep track of all the Mixtapes releases that keep popping up? I sure can’t! This Ohio outfit sure is a busy bunch, something that is also reflected in their upbeat happy brand of pop-punk.

“Hope Is For People” is a new 5-song 7” filled with catchy melodies, male/female vocals, lots of energy and a Metallica reference (“The New Ride The Lightning”). Which only adds to the coolness. Mixtapes are not about reinventing the wheel but they bring their songs with so much enthousiasm that it’s hard not to get caught up in it.
Score: 7 out of 10

Me First And The Gimme Gimmes – Sing In Japanese

- by Thomas

Earlier this year the Gimme Gimmes released “Go Down Under” for their upcoming Australian tour. And now there’s “Sing In Japanese” for their… yes, Japanese tour. Doesn’t seem like they’re spending a lot of time anymore on coming up with original themese, does it? Makes me wonder what’s next… Fat Mike drops an EP with The Jam’s “Shopping” and Dolly Parton’s “The Bargain Store” next time he decides to go to Wal-Mart?

Anyway, there’s six songs on here that get the royal Gimmes treatment and I don’t know a single one of them. I’m sure “Kokoro No Tabi” and”22 Sai No Wakare” were huge hits in the land of the rising sun but when you don’t know the originals, it’s just not funny.

I’m sure they’re still having a blast playing sped up covers but I’m getting tired of them milking this one-trick pony… on a sidenote this made me wonder if you can even milk a pony? Whatever. They should just keep it in the basement.
Score: 4 out of 10