Hailing from Mexicali Mexico (Home of, umm, hot weather, and right across the border from Calexico USA. Isn’t that cute? You know, in my province, there’s a lake that spans the border between Canada and the US called Lake Koocanusa. It’s a mash up of Kootney/Canada/USA. I’m full of fun geographical facts like this) Juan Cirerol has been hammering out the tunes for a while now. Over 200 of them apparently. I’m willing to bet they’re all as enjoyable as this collection. He’s like all of your favourite old-timey country/folk singers, but en Español and maybe with a bit more attitude. I’m sure Mexico has it’s own storied history of country/folk stuff, but I’m not going to pretend I know anything about that, so yeah.. Just imagine Woody Guthrie or Bob Dylan in Spanish. I’ve been listening to this all week at work within earshot of my lovely Peruvian co-worker, so I really hope the lyrics are SFW, cuz I honestly have no idea. Oh god, what if this is Anti-Peruvian music?
Strange Ranger – Daymoon [Buy it on Amazon!]
This album made the top 5 before I even heard it. I guess I’m a bit biased. They put out what was, in my opinion, the best album of 2016, Rot Forever. They were called Sioux Falls back then. To me, that was the perfect record. It quickly became one of my all time favos, so predictably, this one doesn’t quite live up to the hype I created within myself. Still, it’s rad as Hell, and Hell is pretty rad,, or so I’m told. I don’t necessarily want to go to Hell per se, unless maybe I had like a fire-suit or something. Listen on Bandcamp or Spotify
Pinky – Mood Swings
The album art is misleading. I expected it to be pop punk or one of those ‘gnar’ bands. Instead it’s shoegazy melodic hardcore in the vein of Title Fight, which I am highly in favor of. Especially when it’s done right. These guys are doing it right and killin’ it. Like multiple-stab-wounds killin’ it. I can’t stress enough how perfectly this was executed. Here’s hoping they have a lot more songs under their belt or in their back pocket or up their sleeve or in whatever other part of their clothing. Maybe in their backpack if they have one. I don’t care, just hand it over. Listen on Bandcamp
Simon Joyner – Step Into The Earthquake [Buy it on Amazon!]
I don’t think anything can be said that isn’t already implied when you say the man’s name. I mean, he is a freakin’ delight to listen to. This guy makes better Bob Dylan albums than Bob Dylan does. Well, better than he has in a very long time anyway. Big, dusty old songs that make today’s mainstream radio-folk seem utterly and completely irrelevant. If Bob Dylan listened to this album he would mumble an entirely incoherent sentence. If Bob Dylan read this review he would start shouting out verbal crazy like that guy on the train people don’t want to sit next to. In conclusion: Bob Dylan was amazing. Simon Joyner still is. Listen on Spotify
Atlas – S/T
Straight out of The Big Diaper, Toronto Ontario. That’s what the locals call it right? As a Canadian who doesn’t live there, I’m actually obliged by law to shit-talk Toronto. I think they really do call it that though. I’m pretty much positive. The weather here in Vancouver is beautiful by the way. Look, I don’t want any trouble. This is an awesome record. They should be in the conversation along with all those other big emo-revival (a term even stupider than ‘emo’ itself) bands, like MoBo and Sorority Noise and the such. An argument could be made that these guys are better than both of those bands. Now I’m not the one starting that argument. I’m just saying it’s absolutely true and if you don’t think so you’re just wrong. Listen on Bandcamp
Poster-iti – Sarı Çizgiyi Geçmeyiniz
Joe Strummer was born in Turkey you know.. That’s up against the point though. I don’t understand the words on this album, but I still find myself singing along to it. It’s super catchy 80’s style punk. A little first-wavy, a little hardcore. It’s actually a re-issue, but I’m including it anyway because it’s totally awesome and it does have some unreleased material on it. The original album was released in 2005 to much acclaim in Turkey. Actually, I made that up. I have no idea how well it did in Turkey, but in my imagination this was an instant classic and the punks went fuckin’ bananas for it. Listen on Bandcamp
FROM: C. THOMAS WARMUTH (EL GOOGLY DIABLO)
There’s a running joke in the band that the name El Googly Diablo is Spanish for “ex-girlfriend.” The truth is, years ago I had a friend who had a lazy eye and she had a crush on me, which of course I was oblivious to. My girlfriend at the time did not like this woman so she nicknamed her “El Googly Diablo.” My ex and I are still pals so when it came time to name the band I reached out to her for permission to use it, because it sounded as silly as I feel most days. Plus naming the band “Taco Fiesta” seemed like it might be a little too confusing for folks when printed on a flyer.
Hey, thanks for the intel man. It’s a great name for a band. ‘Taco Fiesta’ would have been great too but you would have been inundated with hungry, and then hangry, fans at every show. Unless you supplied tacos. Hey there’s an idea!
This is the kind of thing I really geek-out over. I automatically go four-eyed for anything 80’s Hardcore. I also get my pocket protector out for small town punk scenes. Here we have a merger of both. Two nerd-worlds colliding, if you will. Sending me into an intoxicating dweeb-rage of hardcore poindexteria. I know this is coming across as jovial but I’m actually in a really bad mood right now. Not because of this awesome hardcore though. If anything it’s helping. From Disillusion Records, this is the Welcome To The Circus comp, which chronicles the Tucson AZ (Home of cactus) Hardcore scene of the early 80’s. There is so much cool stuff on here. I’m like a kid in a candy shop (that only sells nerds).
If you know anything about me (and I hope you don’t), you know (you shouldn’t) that I’m a super-nerd for Lookout! Records and Mutant Pop Records. Most people are familiar with Lookout! but not everyone remembers Mutant Pop, so here’s a little blast from the past.
Way back in the 1990’s there was an influx of, what’s commonly known as, Pop Punk. I don’t like calling it that though, because when someone says ‘pop punk’ the first thing I think of is every band that was on the Survival Of The Fattest comp, and though that stuff was fairly rad, it’s not at all what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about what was on the Punk USA comp. I sometimes refer to it as grease-punk or weasel punk, leather jacket punk (not to be confused with spikey jacket punk), snot punk if you will; That late 80’s/early 90’s Ramones-revival punk, made popular by bands like Screeching Weasel and The Queers. It’s pop punk. Everyone calls it pop punk, but it’s not the same as the other pop punk. It’s Mutant Pop Punk. It’s more like rock’n’roll punk. It’s more Buddy Holly with distortion than it is The Descendents with a skateboard. I know, it all gets very confusing. I still have no fucking clue what the difference is between Crust and Grind.
Mutant Pop Records was a label that came out of Corvallis Oregon, which is where Oregon State University is. It was kind of like a pit stop for a lot of touring bands back then. Like Olympia junior or something. This label was fanatically committed to pumping out the greasy style of punk I speak of. I mean they put out tons of bands, and every one of them followed the exact same formula for punk rock’n’roll. They all sounded exactly the same. I mean they all practically had the same album cover, of the band standing there in leather jackets looking as uncool as possible. It doesn’t matter ok. It doesn’t matter how many bands sound exactly the same. They’re all going to be awesome because it was the most awesome genre of all time ok. That’s what Mutant Pop and I understand and so few other people do. It’s ok though. That’s not what I’m trying to show you with this post.
Really I just wanted to share this cool clipping from the Mutant Pop ‘ZINE’. This was issue #9 from February 1995, and it featured a lot of cool stuff. I do recommend exploring the website. You can find the zines in the Old Catalogs section. If you’re strapped for time though (God you must be important), then at least check out the pic below. It’s from the TOP 10 of ‘94 section which featured submissions from quality dirtbags like Ben Weasel & Joe Queer and (as seen below) the very best person of all time, Blake Schwarzenbach. You know what’s really neat-o is the incomplete submission and apology from Corin Tucker of Sleater Kinney fame, talking about her new band.. Sleater Kinney! Wow cool right! This whole post was leading up to this moment.
Brought to you by Saltillo Mexico,,, sarapes! And also this extra-screamy emo band called Cuando Ya No Importe. Just off the top of my head, I believe the English translation is “When it Doesn’t Matter Anymore” or “Past Caring” ..Something like that. Not to be confused with the book of the same title by Juan Carlos Onetti. The band seems to be paying tribute to the existential mindfuck that was that novel. They have a quote from Onetti on their bandcamp page. I haven’t read the book myself, but I just put it on my To-Read list, so thank you for the recommendation guys! By the way, the music is dark, the lyrics are darker, it’s just lights out across the board here. In a good way.
Briar Burns – No Sauce No Paper No Clout
Static-heavy hill-fuzz from Sioux City Iowa. I hope they never upgrade their recording process because I don’t think this would sound as awesome if it were a quality recording. Never have I related so profoundly to a song as I do to track 5, Depression Sandwiches. Now I understand why they tagged themselves as “sad”. It is sad, but in a don’t-feel-sorry-for-me-cuz-I-don’t kind of way. This is clever as fuck and funny. Funny in a simple, yet deeply moving, sort of way. I mean this thing could really make it hard to decide whether you want to laugh or cry. I don’t know about yous guys but that’s exactly what I want from my music. The last line of this album is “My life is pretty bad”. You see what I mean? Listen on Bandcamp
Baby! – Sunny, FL.
There’s been some great releases this month, but I keep coming back to this one. It’s summer in a bottle. I mean album. It feels a bit like the beach. Or maybe a hot car with no A/C. It also kinda sounds like you’re lying, tummy down, on a summery looking bed, in a summery looking bedroom, window is open, breeze is pushing at the white curtains, your feet in the air, ankles crossed, you’re reading an Archie comic, bobbing your head.. How do people read and listen to music at the same time though? If you can do that you’re the embodiment of Satan ok. You’re horrifying. Oh yea, this is a good album. Listen on Bandcamp or Spotify
Tiger Beat – The Story Begins Here
Here’s a couple dudes just keepin’ ‘er simple and gettin’ ‘er done. It’s so basic and repetitive but goddamn is it catchy. It looks like they perform as a guitar & bass duo with a drum machine in back of them. They’ve also mastered the art of rock’n’roll background vocals or vocal layering, whatever the boring I’m-so-cool-when-I-talk-about-music term is for it. It’s irresistible. There’s a kind of drone to this, because of the never-changing drum patterns, that I find rather pleasing to my ears. I think this would be best listened to in a smoke-filled basement while sitting on a dirty couch. A chesterfield if you will. Listen on Bandcamp
Luke Seymoup – The Professional [Buy it on Amazon!]
If this were a kickball tournament, Australia would be in first place, because they are seriously kicking balls right now. I think an Aussie band has been included in every Top 5 I’ve done this year. They just keep ‘em comin’ don’t they? Enter Luke Seymoup, (like Seymour but with a ‘P’). I know.. It’s ridiculous.. Just like it’s ridiculous how awesome his music is. It’s like a new wave olive with a folk-punk pimento. Mmm! His official moniker is “The Godfather of Punk’n’B”. Sure, let’s go with that. Sorry about the olive analogy.
PS: And the kickball one.
Listen on Bandcamp or Spotify
Two And A Half Giants – CPR (Cell Phone Recordings)
I’m a bit of a sucker for shit recordings. This one is a little shittier than I would normally prefer (I mean come on. I have standards) but considering this was recorded on a cell phone, it actually sounds pretty decent. I’m assuming it was recorded on a cell phone. That’s what the title would have me believe anyway. Ok so when you listen to it, try to imagine what it would sound like if you were in the room with them and not listening to it over the phone. If you really try, you can get there, and that’s when you’ll realize this is a pretty awesome band. Hey guys, if you’re reading this, please do put out more music, and let me know when you do. Thanks.
PS: Take care of that cough.
So this is like a tape comp they were giving out at Decolonise Fest in London I guess. What the shit is Decolonise Fest, you ask? Good question! It’s complicated. Click this link and read all about it, or don’t. What I’m here to tell you is, this thing is bursting with flavor. Musical flavor. So many dope bands. There’s a Spics Girls cover on here ok. Do I really need to say anything more? Fav Track: To Leave by RAGANA.
Ok, I’m about to make some wild assumptions here. Карамельный узник is the name of the band, and it translates, as far as I can tell, to ‘Caramel Prisoner’. Now, perhaps ‘Caramel’ is the closest translation for a term used to describe either Asian-Russians or Aboriginal-Russians, maybe a mix of both? The band is from a city called Yakutsk in a remote part of Eastern Russia. I know these parts of Russia have Aboriginal people similar to Canada’s Inuit, and they may also have Chinese and Mongolians. Based on the youtube videos I’ve seen of the band, I’m assuming they fit into one or more of these minority groups, which is pretty cool if you consider they’re in the middle of nowhere, frozen-hell, Russia, making a fuss with killer punk tunes. If that’s the case (and I know I’ve totally built my own narrative here) then they are using punk in the way it was truly intended. You gotta listen to this.
[Buy it on Amazon!]