Garbage Can...in which one lucky reviewer get to sift through the dregs of the TB head office and see what comes up. Will it be their lunch? Or a hot new band that has slipped through the cracks? One lucky volunteer will be assigned the task of reviewing as much crap as I can stuff into a box. This installment's victim...Atlanta's Ryan Dinosaur - GG King cohort, Scavenger of Death co-conspirator, former Bukkake Boy, and current Evaporated Brain and Predator (amongst other projects). Stay tuned to see who gets ten pounds of crap in a five pound LP mailer next...
KAM KAMA "Passer-by" b/w "Joseph Stride"
Two tracks of by the numbers, uh, elevator art rock. It’s not bad, just completely underwhelming, from the fake Nirvana font on the cover to the guitar work, which reminds me of the old man in the tuxedo shirt who plays white-toast jazz on his Casio in front of customers at the nice Applebee’s in the sticks. “Passer-by” (do you need the hyphen?) has so much forced interplay going on that I had to check and see if this wasn’t in fact dad rock, and “Joseph Stride” on the flip was definitely crafted with some sort of mashup app, probably called “Song Abomination” or something, that bastardizes The Sound’s “Jeopardy” and Joy Division’s “Shadowplay.” It even has that little sonar sound, but hey, maybe they are just fans of K-19: The Widowmaker. The vocals sound like they emanate from a collegiate nerd with no real life experiences and one undescended testicle, so at least they’re true to themselves.
Recommended for: People who don’t read tablature because they can actually read music.
SUBURBAN MOMS "Turning Schools Into Stones" b/w "Tolerating Intolerance"
Juvenile hardcore that never breaks a sweat. It trots along with a singer that mostly phones it in. The musical is very forgettable, so I’ll focus on their complete failure to use words and phrases to any end. I mean what the fuck do these idiots have against moms? I could go into a discussion here but, having lurked on the TB forums long enough, I know that most of you understand immediately.
I’m assuming “Turning Schools Into Stones” is a reaction to Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a bestselling novel by Greg Mortenson, but I have no way of knowing what bullshit crapehanging argument these fools come up with because they only include the lyrics to the B-side, which include zingers like “expiring farmers with no armor, shaking hands, closing plans.” It’s like they watched Steve Ignorant talk in his sleep and wrote down everything he said. But anyways, on the back cover it says “Please refer to the ‘Pharma Soup’ LP for the lyrics to “Turning Schools Into Stones.” A google search turns up nothing, so I guess that never happened. Also, it’s hard to tell because the back cover art features a pixellated reproduction of shitty handwriting, but I believe they misspelled “troops” as “troupes.” This shit is normal and was created by normal people, and WARCRY said it best: “Fuck Off Mainstream, Mainstream Fuck Off.”
FFO: Bands populated by dudes who will be lawyers 2 years from now.
MUSIC BAND - 4 Track EP
MUSICBAND. Why the name MUSICBAND? Do you think they rehearsed the answers they were gonna give to the head honcho of Hellcat records? “You know, we didn’t wanna be a pigeonhole. We take ideas from everywhere, man. We aren’t punk, or rock, or ska, or oi, we’re just a music band.” In true Oi! Spirit, they’ve at least given us bang for our buck, tossing 4 tracks on one 7” -- good on ya mates! The second track, "Heroes", is DROPKICK MURPHYS without any Murphy. If The Departed was adapted into a TV show mimicking the plot and setting of Cheers with a bunch of “hard” characters in shitty hats and suspenders, this would be the theme song for the pilot, to be replaced if the show was picked up and provided with any budget whatsoever. At least one of these guys has a singer/songwriter side project.
The B-side is more of the same. This is the kind of music that has actual Irish people shaking their heads, but the guy who grew up next door to me would love this. He also loves memes, has about 10 different Guinness t-shirts, and wore a train conductor hat to his mother’s wedding. Every Halloween since The Dark Knight Rises came out he’s dressed up as Bane, even though he has the tits of a curled up manatee, and the next day he invariably posts a photo of himself at a party, his wasp-swatting limbs cinched Lenny-style around the waist of Little Meth Riding Hood, his hands groping expectantly towards her bases as her stiff smile quietly pleads with the photographer. He has never eaten a salad and wears a sweatband when he waits tables.
Their last track demonstrates their viability as a Warped Tour act, treading the territory between RANCID throwaway track (and think of how many tracks RANCID has kept!) and H20 throwaway track. The last 20 seconds is just them talking and laughing way too hard for it to be genuine, basically playing the game of who is easiest to please. They all win. FFO: People out of high school who wear plaid bondage pants, suburban kids with a police record who are still too young to drive. SCUM STATS: produced by Pat Goon.
CHEAP RIOT "Part-Time Vacancy" b/w "Man of That Kind"
Take the most trite aspects of shambling, garagey pop punk and have them performed by people who may or may not finger dogs. Look at these dogs! The A-side is some cutesy Wes Anderson hotel paramour car insurance jingle, while the B-side should be included in the Encyclopedia Britannica’s multimedia version as an audio example of caterwauling. Yikes! I guess they don’t have auto-tune in France. And look at the sideburns on these dildos! Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to see that someone else caught Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes when it was on Netflix, but unless they’re extras in Downton Abbey they need quit the Mr. Hyde look. They took a band photo in front of a closed restaurant, that should tell you everything.
Recommended for: musically inclined, punk-oriented American nationalists looking to stroke their egos.
NORMS - 4 Track EP
Fast, politically aware hardcore from Budapest, with lots of quick changes and shifts in speed. Whatever, this isn’t that bad, it’s just a little boring and poorly executed. Perhaps a bit behind the times as well, but hey it’s Budapest, give em a few years to account for the Iron Curtain. This isn’t something I’d expect to see reviewed on Termbo, but it reminds me of Ruleta Rusa, a band I’m not fond of but that probably gets more traction among the VLV crowd (am I allowed to reference that here?). They shoulda kept this cookie in the oven a little longer and the drums are weak, but with everyone tripping over themselves to mount the rod of whatever new skinhead HC band that comes along, I’d just as well listen to this. If this shit was on a Sex Vid record a few years ago a lot of you would have been into it. They definitely don’t need three inserts, though.
GOLD CROWNS "If Looks Could Kill" b/w "Moonshine"
A real headscratcher here. Two indie-oldies slow-dance croakers with female vocals, but the art looks like some screamo record from the Oughties, what with the minimalism and the girl falling through flowers and the abstract dot. To add to the confusion, this thing has blank labels. Fight center label gentrification!
Instrumentally, you’ve heard this before, and the reverby production does something to take you back to that part in Back to the Future in which Marty is about to make it with his mother, but the vocals: OOF! This chick really has me in her corner, because she hits that sweet spot just enough so that I can envision what the song would be like if she had chops. Unfortunately she doesn’t, and her reedy, pitchy wail turns me off. My wife said the vocals don’t bother her. If I had Simon Cowell’s phone number I’d play it for him and we’d have the final word. Either way, you don’t need this.
FFO: NPR coverage of SXSW.
MINES/HUNT HUNT HUNT CAMP split 7”
The wayward spirit of youth rewarded with digital silver for the sacrifice of its bosomy home, a plaintive rendezvous with a stark past, lost in delay and the ether of umbrage, an odyssey of love’s eternal homing pigeon faring darkly upon the lush waters of a crescent horizon, searching for a sign of its equivalent among the endless buffet of trade winds and the sigh of crushing, opaque depths, each fathom revealing a further darker realm like the turn of a page. What does it mean to love? What does it mean to be alone? What does it mean to write the same goddamn song that every other laptop-totin’ twenty-something class-skipper wrote 10 years ago?
MINES kick this shitpig off with an indie-rock helping of jangly chords, incessant noodling keys and strings, and grating samples, all to the beat of what sounds like the default Frooty Loops drum machine. Add some delayed, somewhat buried vocals, and you’ve got a recipe for something completely forgettable. The song gets a little ugly in a refrain after the verse, and the conflict that arises is the only notable thing. Otherwise I’m pretty sure there is a button you can press in Garageband that will write this song for you. This song is titled “Addict,” but it probably refers to cigarettes or an MMORPG. HUNT HUNT HUNT CAMP, who probably don’t like to hunt very much, deliver some minimalism and broken-up digital percussion ala THE POSTAL SERVICE or THE ONE AM RADIO (except without the mitigating/exacerbating factor of being a Harvard student). If you get can get past the saccharine modern-gospel vibe of the chord progression and dual male/female vocals, you will instead be disappointed by how short this track is. It buzzes by before you’ve even settled back down on the couch and noticed that this song is titled “HVYMTLKDS.” I don’t know where to start with why I hate that, please see the attached chart. This track is way better at 33 rpm, at which speed the male singer of HHHC sounds like Buffalo Bill. Would you fuck me? This is the soundtrack to the low-budget sequel to Juno.
If Lisa Frank designed American military drones, the video feeds would look like this record cover. They’re going for Margery Kempe but come off as the infomercial guy in the Riddler suit who is gonna save you money with government programs.
Recommended for: those who constantly complain about allergies, the frat boy or sorority girl who is the “total music snob” of their chapter.
RABBIT HOLES "It's Not Alright" b/w "I Ain't Coming Back Tonight"
I’m not really in a position to talk smack about stupid band names, but I hope these guys understand that the handle they chose has me picturing Bunnicula’s tookus hovering above a fresh tumble of pellets. This music is no trip down the rabbit hole, that’s for sure, as we’re instead treated to two pretty standard punk tunes that clearly draw from the Denton, TX scene. “It’s Not Alright” starts off with some upbeat half-decent ADVERTS worship, but the chorus is a heinous, melodic, warbling crescendo with a bumpy landing. If you’re looking for punk’s answer to “We Are The World,” look no further. The guitar break that follows is completely uncalled for, and the song never gets back on track, instead devolving into garagey pop-punk. The b-side is a good indicator of what the MARKED MEN would sound like if they didn’t have cool voices, cool production, or a sense of their own identity. All three guys have their photo on the back, and they’re all wearing sunglasses. And what is with bands putting their bandcamp page on their record? I have the damn thing in my hands, I have more than enough info. Pump the brakes. FFO: Ramones tribute albums.
(Big Action Records)
THE FUNS "Concrete" b/w "It's Strange I'm Here"
Simple, boring, plodding indie rock, with a guy and girl sharing vocal duties. The recording has a dark n spacey sparkle to it, but that’s not really enough. To these young shoegazers writing music is probably just one of those annoying motions they must go through on their path to inevitable stardom. The two tracks both ride on two notes, relying on some fx-laden vocals to carry the song. The problem is that doesn’t work when your vocals don’t cut the mustard. On the A-side, the singer sounds like some moaning prophet who is hopeless, forsaken, and regretful of the Indian food she had for lunch. On the B-side, the vocalist sounds like she is practicing her haunting skills in her bedroom, but is afraid to get really into it because she gets embarrassed when her dad gives her tips. The drummer can’t keep his pace, but that doesn’t bother me. Still, if I notice it, you know it’s bad.
FFO: Going to New Year’s Eve parties and pretending to be British, getting angry when your friends don’t want to go along with it.
GOING TO HELL "Lick Your Wounds" EP
That name: how evocative! Incidentally, I believe Framtid would have done better to title their recent LP "Civilization is Not Doing So Well". Maybe they’re going for understatement. We have here four generic punkrock numbers, all loosely in that upbeat vein of rehashed streetpunk that can be found on Epitaph’s Punk-o-Rama compilations. Not a lot of hot lead action until the last track, when out of left-field a wah-pedal afterthought summons itself to run riot over the track. So much for understatement. Nothing really to report from the lyric sheet – half of it reads like an amalgamation of vindictive and self-pitying text messages.
The sleeve looks like it was designed in MS Paint ’95, and they have a link to their big cartel on the back of the 7” sleeve alongside an INCORRECT link to Facebook. Where’s the Twitter and Cafepress thongs? It’s good that they’re hustling their wares, because straight edge kids buy everything and they love this kinda shit (see chart). In fact, this is a lot like RIGHTEOUS JAMS without the breakdowns or workout regimens. Honestly, I’m kinda digging the fuzzed-out scoopy guitar sound, but they shoulda checked those weakass pubrock riffs at the door. More street punk and less Chuck Berry. These guys give off a burly sound, but in the picture on the insert the singer looks more like a reborn black-metaller gone to seed than the meat-headed malt-swigger I was expecting. He’s attempting a rock’n’roll stance, but looks like he just bowled a gutterball. A glance at their facebook page reveals the reality of GOING TO HELL: an old goober in a Black Flag shirt, Sebastian Bach’s stuntman, and two different versions of Travis Barker. Yea, boys, you are going to hell.