Doesn’t English (#015) – Bonjour Machines

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Whoever said mathy emo doesn’t sound good in Hebrew was a liar! What? Nobody ever said that? Well they better not have, otherwise they’re going to feel pretty stupid when they listen to this. Holy crap! Straight out of Tel Aviv Israel (home of arid weather) this is Bonjour Machines, which I can translate for you because I speak French. It means “Hello Machines”! Are they saying hello to the machines or are they, themselves, machines that say “hello”? That is the quandary that is this band. If you dare to attempt this riddle you will first need to subject yourself to an ear-pummeling of rad tunes with extra chutzpah! Either I’m adorably ignorant or I’ve just offended an entire nation. It’s a risk I often find myself having to take. Anyhow, this is a fairly unsucky album.

 

Top 5 Albums/EP’s That DON’T Suck [JULY 2018]

vacant company decolonizeVacant Company – Decolonize
Ok every hardcore band currently in existence, I’m afraid I have some bad news for you. The bad news is called Vacant Company. Unfortunately for you they have raised the bar just a tad. You’re all going to have to regroup and come up with something better now. Hey, that’s just the way it goes. Sometimes you get schooled. Let this be a lesson to you. Your best bet is to study this album, listen to it day in and day out; While you make breakfast, while you drive in your car, and while you sleep at night. Then try to (and good fucking luck with this) come up with something of your own that is on the same level. It’s not your fault this band is just trailblazing your asses, but that’s the reality you now have to live with. Don’t be discouraged. Don’t give up. You can do this. I believe in you some of you a small a very small few of you.   Listen on Bandcamp

dim it feels like homeDim – It Feels Like Home
The lessons just keep on coming don’t they? Here you go fledgling screamo bands, this is your homework. Listen to it a lot. Commit it to memory. Take careful notes and practice practice practice. Maybe someday you yourself will put out something this goddamn brilliant. I’m not going to sugar coat this for you. You probably do suck a lot, but maybe, just maybe you have what it takes. And by ‘what it takes’ I mean Dim. Dim the band, not the mental misalignment or lack of lighting. Is this emo at it’s screamiest? No, it is not. Is it Screamo at it’s emoiest? I don’t think so. This is what you call warm porridge. What a stupid word porridge is. Porridge. Say it, porridge. It’s starting to sound like a Descendents song. Is that a Descendents song? Goddammit I can’t believe I’m actually about to google this.   Listen on Bandcamp or Spotify

bad shapes rough edges epBad Shapes – Rough Edges
Incredible lyrics go a long way towards making me love a band. I’ll even forgive some pretty awful musicianship in lieu of some quality wordsmithery. This album is not an example of that. This is one of those scattered-chance situations where you have both worlds colliding like two sides of a zipper, thus closing the jacket of perfection.. What in holy hell am I typing right now? Sorry about that. I thought I had something. You get the idea though right? This is a really good little EP. Actually it’s not that little; these are some pretty hefty songs. One of them has what appears (can things appear sonically?) to be voice clips of alien encounter anecdotes. I mean damn. I bet aliens can appear sonically. If you live in Philadelphia you would be remiss to not see this band play live. I’m jealous that you even have the opportunity to do so. I can sense how mind-blasting this would be in person. Listen, you’re just a fool if you don’t go to their next show pal. Unless it’s on a weeknight. If it’s on a weeknight you should probably just stay home and get to bed at a decent time. I’m ok with that.   Listen on Bandcamp

special moves julySpecial Moves – July
I don’t know about you, but I like my lo-fi vocals super fuzzy and extra squealy. No, seriously I do. It’s Frederic Chopin to my ears. I heard an interview with Vinnie Stigma on Turned Out A Punk once and he was talking about how punk rock made him a lover of awful vocals, and how he often judges a band by how crappy the singer is. The worse the voice the better. I tend to operate under that same logic. Don’t get me wrong, I love the voices of people like Lauryn Hill and Percy Sledge, but I’ll take Ron Reyes or Milo Aukerman all day over some pretty singer. Adele can go to uh-hell! Anyway, so if the singer for Special Moves is reading this right now, he’s either nodding his head in agreement, or he’s just had an awakening from years of denial. Sorry pal, your voice is trash, and by trash I mean solid gold! Everyone should support Reflective Tapes by the way. They’re putting out so many rad cassettes. Get this and put it in your ghetto blaster.   Listen on Bandcamp

way no bueno self titledWay No Bueno – Self Titled
If punk rock is an aquarium (and I’m almost certain it is), then these lads are the catfish. I’m not trying to imply that Way No Bueno are a bottom feeding band by the way. I just mean their music sounds a lot like how catfish probably tastes. I’ve never actually had the privilege of eating a catfish (I live in salmon country) but I’m assuming it’s as sweet and tender as these tunes are. A little bit greasy too, but hey, grease has important vitamins in it. I’m pretty sure it’s high in vitamin L. There’s no need to fact-check me on this. Haha relax, I know what I’m talking about. Isn’t it weird how British people say ‘vitamin’? There’s that one Big Audio Dynamite song where Mickey Jones keeps saying “Gimme another hit of vitimin C” over and over. Like he says it about 400 times in that song and by the end of it you’re almost convinced that maybe you should start pronouncing it that way. Almost, but then you remember Mick Jones was kicked out of the Clash for a reason; He was a mole for the Queen. Again, no fact-checking please.   Listen on Bandcamp

ENDNOTES:
Hey thanks for reading. I hope you found something you liked. I’m trying to make this your favourite new music resource. This is where you’re going to find the weird bands you’ve never heard of. The ones hiding deep inside the internet that your algorithms can’t locate. Please tell your friends and stay tuned! You never know what I might dig up next. Also, be sure to check out the Scrap Heap for loads of great bands that didn’t make the top five. Ok bye!
-Steve Doesnt

COMPOST (#014) – Open Door Records

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My personal feelings about children are generally negative. I mean I do not like them very much, but the thought of them being mistreated infuriates me to no end. If you feel the same way you should contribute to one of the organizations helping the kids at the border. Better yet, you can purchase this wicked comp from Open Door Records, and the proceeds will be donated to the cause. I mean you help kids and you get a bunch of cool tunes. Sounds like a solid plan to me. It’s unfortunate that such a comp even has to exist but let’s not get me started on a political tirade right now. Just go get this thing. It’s full of squeaky-clean pop punk, emo, some screaming, a bit of funk(?), and some other stuff. Whatever, it’s mostly/partially good. The Smilies are on here but their best song is not. Are you sold yet? I know I’m making this sound incredible.

Throwback 13th (#007) – David Dondero

aaron cometbus add toner punk flyer

“Better leave before it blinks. I think the sky, it’s a sudden open eye”

A lot of musicians have paid their dues. A lot have earned their stripes. Most of them have gone on to achieve some level of notoriety, but there’s one who, after 25+ years grinding it out, is still, grinding it out. Is it for lack of talent or for lack of interest? Me thinks it’s the latter. Sometimes you just don’t win the musical-success lottery and I don’t think David Dondero gives a shit. I do think you should know who the hell he is though.

I’ve been reading a book called Add Toner by Aaron Cometbus. It’s his second collection of assorted Cometbus zines from the 90’s & 2000’s. It’s an enjoyable read but not as good as his original omnibus called Despite Everything. They’re both great, but what can I say, I like rating stuff. There is a really cool section in Add Toner though, about the time Aaron spent living in Asheville North Carolina. While residing there he helped cultivate a little punk scene by running an all ages venue called Oh My! and by designing show flyers. A lot of the flyers are featured in Add Toner and I was so incredibly thrilled to see the one pictured above.

In the early 90’s David Dondero lead a punk band called Sunbrain out of Clemson South Carolina. Their first album, Perfection Lies, has been cited by Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes as one of his foremost musical influences. Infact, I think it’s fair to say, Dondero invented the vocal style that Oberst has had so much success with. Conor and David actually collaborated later in life on a Deseparecidos song and one of David’s solo songs. You can hardly tell their voices apart. Perfection Lies is truly a masterpiece of an album, and Sunbrain probably should have been in the same conversation as a band like Jawbreaker, or maybe an entirely separate conversation of their own. They were innovators of a sound that was never fully explored. And so the grind continued.

After Sunbrain, Dondero probably did some other stuff, but I’m not a fuckin’ biographer so I can’t speak to that. He eventually ended up drumming for the infamous Florida folk-punkers, This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb. The band (unintentionally) responsible for 2 bomb scares. I think he did vocals for them too cuz I’ve heard songs that sound exactly like him.

After Pipe Bomb the real grind began. David embarked on an arduous solo career that continues to this day. The weird thing about this show flyer though, is that both David Dondero and This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb are listed on the bill. I’m wondering if David played drums in the band and did a solo set by himself, or if this was after he quit Pipe Bomb. Maybe this is the show where they met and he joined Pipe Bomb that night! Unlikely, but that would be cool. If anyone knows, please write to me.

In 2018 Dondero is still barely scraping by as a musician. NPR named him one of the greatest living songwriters, yet he continues to grind, usually as an opening act for semi-successful bands. His solo career has lasted nearly two decades. The solo albums are the ones I’ve made the deepest connection with. If you’re not familiar with them, please familiarize yourself with them immediately. Like right now. Well finish the last paragraph first and then do it you animal.

I have this thing where if I don’t get 8 hours of sleep I’m completely useless. I also have this thing where I go to a job every morning to pay my bills, so I did not see David Dondero when he was here to open for Pedro The Lion on a Tuesday night in May. I know, it’s terrible right? I feel deep distress every time I think about it. He really is one of my heroes, but I guess I’ve got to pay my rent or whatever. If you see David Dondero, if you know him, if you bump into him, shake his hand for me and tell him sorry, and tell him thanks.

(Do you guys think my blog is going to get flagged for using the words ‘pipe bomb’ so much? If you found my blog because you are a terrorist, please go away and stop doing terrorist stuff).

Top 5 Albums/EP’s That DON’T Suck [JUNE 2018]

snail mail lushSnail Mail – Lush
Let us cast our thoughts backwards in time. All the way back to the year of two thousand and sixteen. Ryan Lochte was prank calling 9-1-1 in Brazil, Finding Dory was touching the hearts of a nation, and the Earth, collectively, was forfeiting all of it’s marbles. Also it was a very strong year for new music. If it weren’t for Rot Forever by Sioux Falls, Habit by Snail Mail would have been the best release of that year. Those two releases still hold steady as my top 2 of the past 5 years. Stands to reason that I had high expectations for Lush. Expectations were not met. I knew going in that they wouldn’t be. Habit was just too perfect. Doesn’t change the fact that this is an incredible album though, and I will re-evaluate my position on this after listening to it a few hundred more times. Believe me, I’ll be listening to it a lot this summer, and if you have any sense whatsoever you’ll be doing the same. If you lack sense, I’m afraid I can’t help you. I’m operating on a very limited stockpile.   Listen on Spotify

new speedway total babeNew Speedway – Total Babe
Forget about the old speedway, it’s all about the New Speedway now. Get your funny cars gassed up and burn some rubber. By the way, this is the least motor-sports sounding album of all time. I don’t know what a motor-sports album should sound like, per se, but I know it shouldn’t sound like this. I’m not here to figure out why this band call themselves New Speedway though. That’s none of my business. I’m sure there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation. What I need you to understand is that this here album is a fuzzy stroke of genius. It will capture you, it will put a bag over your head, it will throw you in the back of a van and it will inflict Stockholm syndrome upon you. Prepare yourself.   Listen on Bandcamp

ugly couple spill your gutsUgly Couple – Spill Your Guts
Oh man this is scratchy watchy Tallahatchie, and by Tallahatchie I mean Tampa. That would have made so much more sense if these fellers were from Mississippi and not Florida. If you can’t figure out what the hell I’m talking about, well la-tee-freakin’-dah! You with your fancy normal brain! There is a lesson to be learned here. Mental illness is a serious problem, and I’m not talking about myself. I’m talking about Billy Joe Mcallister dammit! This write-up has been a riddle. If you can figure out what I’m even talking about you will unlock the secret. POSTSCRIPT: The secret is that this album is dope af!   Listen on Bandcamp

nevasca collecting dustNevasca – Collecting Dust
As if there wasn’t reason enough already to visit the quaint little country of Russia, now we have Nevasca, and let me tell you; This band alone, is making me want to pack my bags. Something tells me they’re not coming to Vancouver anytime soon, so intercontinental air travel seems like the only answer. In all honesty though, there’s only one band I would put that much effort into seeing. They’re called Jawbreaker and I already saw them sooo, yeah, I’m better than you. Anyway, I do feel like this band would be pretty mind-blasting live. It’s one of those things that should happen by accident though. Like “Oh I was in Russia and this guy Sergei gave me some weird Vodka and I ended up in a dank back alley where I stumbled through a purple door into this underground bar and I saw this mind-blasting band called Nevasca”. You know, something like that. I highly recommend you all accidentally do that.   Listen on Bandcamp or Spotify

the 1-2 manys spell atticThe 1-2 Manys – Spell Attic
I always say the coolest time to go back to would be the early 60’s. It’s such a white person thing to say, and my girlfriend Zainab would always be like “ugh yeah, I’m sure it would be great for you!” Her trepidation, of course, based on all the openly racist people back then, just being openly racist and oppressive. Not like today where.. Oh wait. Anyway, umm look the good news is, you can still listen to the music of the 60’s and be transported back to a highschool sock hop sans ignorant rednecks. And if the Righteous Brothers aren’t ruckus enough for you (you’re wrong btw, the Righteous Brothers are ruckus as fuck! but I digress) you can listen to a good old bubblegum punk band like the 1-2 Manys (great band name). Lucky for you they just put out an EP. Go do the twist to it.   Listen on Bandcamp

ENDNOTES: I know this months top 5 is coming to you a few days early. This is because I’m heading out on a road trip tomorrow and wont be back for 10 days. Hopefully there aren’t any mind-blasting albums coming out this Friday. I hope everything that comes out in the next 3 days is absolutely awful. All of it. Let it suck so much. A pox on all of your new releases this Friday. A hex upon you! Let your music be the worst music of all time. Die Die Dieee! Wow too far. Anyways. I’ll be back later. Don’t forget to check the Scrap Heap for all the other cool stuff that came out this month.

COMPOST (#013) – Jeruk Records

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Last month’s Comp Post spurred on a major Mutant Pop Records nerd-out. This month I’m trying not to have a full on Lookout! Records nerd-out. Back to back nerd-outs are not good for my sperm count, and a Lookout! Records nerd-out is like the motherload of all nerd-outs. (My Google analytics told me I need to use the words ‘nerd’ and ‘out’ more often). I’m just going to explain this quickly and then get the hell out of here before something weird happens. Jeruk Records is an Indonesian label that appears to specialize in 90’s-style pop punk of the weasel persuasion. They’re going to anyway. It looks like they only have 2 releases on Bandcamp so far, this comp being the first. An introduction, if you will, to the kind of kickassery they’re planning on dishing out. Keep a close eye on these guys, and don’t be surprised if you see me talking more about them in the future. I have to go, this is getting too intense! Giggity!

POSTSCRIPT: Sorry about the Quagmire thing.

From the DOESN’t SERIOUS COMEDY DEPARTMENT – Tumble Turn

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Everybody now! “Fishing for carp! Fishing For carp! Fun to catch but they taste like shit! Fishing for carp! Fishing For carp! Fun to catch but they taste like shit!” Oh man, this is going to be stuck in my head for days. Carp are one of the dumber looking fish, I must say. It’s no wonder they’re so much fun to catch. I’ve never caught one myself, but I saw one in a ditch once and it looked fabulous. Boy I could talk about carp all day but there’s so many other fun topics on this album. Collecting cans, for example, and taking them to another state to make a profit, like Kramer and Newman tried to do in that one episode of Seinfeld. Only this time it’s in Australia so there are poisonous birds flying around. Another thing they touch on here is sausages. Who doesn’t like to touch on sausages right? These particular sausages are from a store called Bunnings which I guess is like an Australian Home Depot but with a way better name, and the vendor in the parking lot sells sausages instead of just hot dogs. Or maybe hot dogs and sausages are the same thing in Australia. That’s none of my business though. What I’m most intrigued by is that both stores sell meat in their parking lots on opposite sides of the world. We’re all the same you see. That’s what this album is really trying to tell us.