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
“I wouldn’t listen to this alone if I were you. These songs are truly HORRIFYING!!!” said me.
Then you were like “…….”
And I was all “…….”
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!
Ok stay with me here.. Hadokowa is a French speaking robot from Taiwan (Home of oyster omelets and Taipei 101). Still with me? Ok good.. The robot has generated an algorithm for interlacing punk rock with 8 bit Nintendo sounds. Yes! Actually I think it’s just these two people who make the music, but anyway, they want you to believe it’s a robot, which is fun, so let’s go with it. There’s nothing quite as nostalgic as video game theme songs from the 90’s. They take me to my happy place. Sometimes you’re going to get really weird random stuff on this blog. Just deal with it ok. This is awesome, and there’s a song about people treating dogs like humans.
Washer – All Aboard [But it on Amazon!]
Grungy indie punks from Brooklyn mixin’ up a bowl of grooves for us with killer vocals. Really scrappy songs that get stuck in your teeth and stay there, like when you eat ribs and you don’t have a toothpick. This could be my favourite release this month. I mean I associated it with oral hygiene. That’s saying a lot. Everything is solid here. If you don’t eat meat you can compare it to eating a mango off the pit. Like someone just hands you a mango and you have to eat it with your bare hands. No knife. This is the perfect compliment for any band. Listen on Bandcamp
The Fiasco Kerfuffle – Get A Job
This is bedroom emo at it’s emoest, and also it’s bedroomest. This is definitely just a really sad guy sitting on the edge of his bed making brilliant songs that no one will ever hear, other than me, and maybe you, if you go to his page. I really hope you do. So few people have a knack for lyrics like this. The subject matter is self-deprecation at it’s self-deprecationiest, and maybe it gets you a little down, but what’s wrong with being down? I like being down. I feel most comfortable when I’m down. What is this ‘up’ I’ve heard so much about? What’s up!? Down with up! Everything about this works perfectly. It’s a beautiful accident. Even the bad mixing and shitty white-noise just add to the sadness, and thus strengthens these songs. Listen on Bandcamp
El Googly Diablo – ST [Buy it on Amazon!]
They do it in the name of love. They write these beautiful songs for you and me in the name of love, and all that is good. All that is punk, all that is weird. El Googly Diablo is the name of the band. It’s a weird name, and don’t let the spooky cover art fool you. This album is inspirational and uplifting. It’s endearing the way a wet dog is. It’s so cute but its fur is gross right now. Are you going to pet the wet dog anyway? Well? I’ll pet this fucking dog all day. Maybe just like on it’s head though. You know, where it’s still mostly dry. Listen on Bandcamp
Ueckers – 2 Balls 2 Strikes
Anytime there’s a decent Snot-punk album released, it’s automatically in consideration for the top 5, even when all of the songs are about beer league baseball. It doesn’t matter what the songs are about ok, as long as they’re clever, and this is clever stuff. They’ve got the background vocals perfect too. If you’re a grease-punk and you also happen to be on a softball team, I may have just found your favorite album of all time. Don’t be fooled by bands like Modern Baseball or Canadian Softball. Those bands don’t even talk about balls. What kind of deceptive bullshit is that anyway? Listen on Bandcamp
Soapboxer – Lush [Buy it on Amazon!]
Good news from Thunder Bay! Said the headline never. Zzzzing! Seriously though if you’re Canadian you know this town has it’s share of problems, but Soapboxer, for all I know, doesn’t appear to be one of them. If anything they’re a break in the clouds for that truly horrible place. I’m totally kidding. Thunder Bay is fine (if you’re not Native). KIDDING! (kind of). This is shoegazie emo stuff with dreamy vocals and poignant lyrics that make you want to be young again. Unless you’re still young. I don’t know how it makes you feel if you’re still young. Probably a little sad. By the way, this album is choice! Listen on Bandcamp
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.