Cementing The Seams

The Plot Sickens

     


I've probably heard this record as much or more than any other this year (probably not actually) but never intentionally.  My girlfriend played it for me as many times as I can count, and she was onto something.  Totally catchy indie-pop, a lot of memorable songs, utterly unboring.  This band used to be called The Jakes but for some reason decided to change their name from something lame to something totally inexplicable.  I've realized that I hate comparing bands to other bands unless the resemblence is completely obvious to me, which is to say, I can't really think of a band to compare Young The Giant to.  I'm certain it can be done, it's not really groundbreaking stuff here, just better than most.



I don't know why it took me so long to listen to this.  More crusty hardcore in the vein of Alpinist (they are actually recording a split together soon I guess).  Sorry these posts are sorta one-track and way behind but I've been playing catch-up due to unreliable internet and more unreliable laptop.



Buy it from Halo Of Flies


Chicago hardcore band Like Rats follow up to 2009's stellar demo EP with 5 more near-perfect crust-influenced punk rock  Their metal roots are a bit more exposed this time which makes for some immense riffs.  Whatever.  Just trust me.  You want this.

Download and buy from LikeRats.net

OOOKKKAAAYY!

So now that we all know that I was serious I'll just quit apologizing and get on with it.

There probably isn't a lot I can say about this record that hasn't already been said.  You've probably heard it and if not you've surely heard of it. AND IF NOT, well then you are in for a treat.  Earlier this year (in like September or something) German crust dudes Alpinist released their second full length LP, the much anticipated follow up to "Minus.Mensch" (probably the best record of 2009), called "Lichtlaerm" which means something in German duh.  This was easily my most anticipated record of the year unless I said that before (maybe about Dolcim) and damn did it live up to my expectations.  Is it as good as the first one? Probably.  Do I like it as much? Easily.  Are Alpinist my favorite hardcore band? Most definitely.  Unless I already said that (maybe about Loma Prieta).

Alpinist on myspace

Buy it.

Get it.

9:35 PM

not dead

I promise. Just taking longer than it should to get my shit together.

Upcoming posts:
Alpinist - Lichtlaerm
Like Rats - s/t 7"

Also, order the Cease Upon The Capitol - The End Of History 7" repress from www.meatcube.com

Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.3


I want to call Drainland "devastating" or some crap like that but it seems kinda trite.  The band describes it as "kinda Unruh/Cattlepress/Godflesh inspired stuff" which essentially boils down to a middle ground between hardcore, metal and punk a la Titan or Hammers.  Which of course totally agrees with my taste as of late.  Drainland are from Ireland and the rest of their catalog (a split 10" with Scottish grindcore band Grinding Halt, and a 3 song ep) is pretty good too, but "...Our Troubles..." is their best ouput so far.  6 songs of (fuck it) devastating hardcore that will rattle your skull from beginning to end and for the perfect amount of time.

For fans of: Hammers, Godflesh, catholicism, potatos

Stream and Download at Drainland's Bandcamp

Buy it from IFB Records

More great stuff from the inbox.  Sirs are a band from New York who do the up-tempo emo revival thing.  Poppy hooks, gang vocals, twiddly guitars.  It's nothing new but you have to admire bands that do this sort of thing as well as Sirs.  I don't know if this is available on a physical format,  but if it was I would suggest that you buy it.  If it isn't though, they are soon releasing a split 7" with Chalk Talk, a band with whom they have a lot in common and that my girlfriend loves.  So I imagine I'll be hearing a lot of these dudes in the future, which doesn't bother me a bit.  If you are into bands like Algernon Cadwallader or others of that ilk, then definitely give Sirs a shot.

For fans of:  Cap'n Jazz, Monument, Chalk Talk

Stream and Download at Bandcamp


Let me apologize for the recent downtime around here. I recently moved into a new apartment and haven't had internet, or time for listening to music (though I have been occasionally tweeting and tumbling from my phone). Therefore, I have a stack of new records I haven't listened to yet and an inbox full of good music. Anyway, we are now mostly moved in so I should have a little more extra time that I plan to fill with music.

With that out of the way, Ekt Ack are a group of guys from Croatia with a 90's post-hardcore vibe that draw from a lot of different styles of the era. I want to compare them with Jawbox, Drive Like Jehu and Hum all at the same time, but that doesn't really make sense until you listen to it. I'm a sucker for all that stuff though so Ekt Ack really appeals to me. "Manifolds" is really, really good but unfortunately it's only 3 songs. I don't know what these guys are up to in the future but I really hope it involves more releases. Ekt Ack made my day.

For fans of: Those bands I mentioned

Ekt Ack at Bandcamp


Get it.

This will be short.  I've posted stuff by this band before and they absolutely shred.  This collection was released on their recent US tour with June Paik on CD and contains the band's entire discography up til now.  It even has their 2 tracks from their new split 7" with June Paik on React With Protest.  So you've heard me go on about their LP and split 10" with Resurrectionists (in fact I'm putting this on my turntable right now), if you didn't grab those then, do it now.  This is so much good hardcore in one package it's retarded.

For fans of: Alpinist, Hammers, His Hero Is Gone

Battle of Wolf 359 on Myspace

Get it.

Buy their stuff from Meatcube or Vitriol  (both for US buyers)

Lately it seems like any time the term 'math rock' appears anywhere it is clear impetus for somebody to mention the band Tera Melos.  I'd heard their previous material and was always pretty quick to shrug it off, but "Patagonian Rats" demands attention and deserves it too.  Of course all the elements are there; complicated meter, angular rythms, songs that could easily be 2 or 3 different tracks.  Tera Melos don't do anything that hasn't been done already, but they certainly do it in style.  One of the things that seperates "Patagonian Rats" from the rest of their material is the amount of vocal work.  A noticable increase worked heavily in their favor on the new LP (then again, you may be aware my prejudice regarding instrumental music).  Here is how much I like this album:  I bought the double LP for $20, even though I hate double lp's and I think $20 is too much to pay for a record.  Now when somebody mentions 'math rock', even I will say "did you hear the new Tera Melos?"

For fans of:  Other Men, Les Savy Fav, Dismemberment Plan

Stream it on Bandcamp

Buy it.  (on vinyl with 3 exclusive tracks)

Get it.

So I realize that you've probably seen every post I've made lately coming from a mile away, but whatever.  At least I'm posting something right?  Anyway, this is another record I have to say something about based on the number of times I've mentioned it since it was announced.  I feared it would never come out, but at long last (a pun by accident!) it has.  Released by the ever-dependable React With Protest on black and green vinyl with a bunch of different color covers, the collaboration of two bands this good demanded that I at least buy two.  So I did.  Dolcim contributes an alternate version of "Richard (54, Priest)" and Hammers offer up two new songs that are out of this world.  As much as I love Dolcim, Hammers really shine on their side of the split.  As much as I hoped this EP would be good I think my expectations were surpassed.  I haven't listened to the link I'm posting, so I hope it's not messed up or anything.  But if it is, so what, you should be buying it right now anyway.

For Fans of:  His Hero Is Gone, Alpinist,

Stream Hammers' Side at their Bandcamp

Get it.

I was familiar with Hostage Calm before listening to their new LP but it didn't really matter because it sounded nothing like I expected.  Hailing from the indie/punk hotbed (evidently) that spawned recent emo revivalists My Heart To Joy, and Make Do And Mend (Connecticut), Hostage Calm have produced a over-the-top-catchy and imminiently listenable new record that plays effortlessly from start to finish.  I hesitate to call it pop-punk because I feel like it implies a level of simplicity that the record far overshoots, but, there really isn't anything else to call it.  It is pop and punk and it is pretty brilliant.  The songs on the record are all so varied almost every one reminds me of something different (a few sound like Blueline Medic, others like Santana), and I can hardly remember which parts fit into which songs.  I've been listening to it for a couple weeks solid now and it still keeps me guessing.

For fans of:  Polar Bear Club, Pilot To Gunner, The Loved Ones

Hostage Calm on Myspace

Get it.


Buy it from Run For Cover Records

Good news: Dolcim's sophomore LP is out.  Bad news:  They are playing their final show in Nashville on August 9th.  Good news: "We Carry The Fire" is really good.  Bad news:  It's still not available stateside (that I can find) other than (I assume) from the band.

"We Carry The Fire" is the next logical step for Dolcim.  They've almost completely shed their remnant screamo sound for a more hardcore-leaning, His Hero Is Gone style feel on this LP, and I couldn't be more pleased.  In a way I suppose Dolcim sortof mirrored CUTC in that they both produced two amazing records that sound completely different, which, in hardcore, is pretty much the perfect career.  It's a shame that Dolcim won't be releasing anymore material (aside from the already recorded split 7" with Hammers), but I'm sure these dudes will get up to something just as exciting in the future.  Until then, I will enjoy the hell out this record.  Every time I listen it gets better.

For fans of:  Cease Upon The Capitol, His Hero Is Gone, Alpinist

Dolcim on Myspace

Get it.

This record took me by surprise for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, I didn't know it was coming out.  Secondly, it is so so so good.  If you aren't familiar with Les Savy Fav they have been one of the best indie/post-punk bands going for quite a while.  Their first release since 2007's "Let's Stay Friends", "Root For Ruin" finds Les Savy Fav polishing their chops with an even better LP that demands to be listened to all the way through, every time.  "Root For Ruin" opens with a few tracks of throwback Fav, songs that sound like they could have festering unrecorded since early in the band's career.  Classic angular guitar work and dynamic composition immmediately reminds long time fans why they are still listening to this band until the record shifts moods with a couple of tracks that would satisfy even the most die-hard Modest Mouse apologists.  The rest of "Root For Ruin" continues to up the ante to an appropriate climax in the last few songs that makes me want to start the record over from the start.  Not a throw-away track among the bunch, "Root For Ruin" will definitely be one of my favorite records of the year.

For fans of: Q And Not U, Dismemberment Plan, other stuff from that era

Les Savy Fav on Myspace

Get it @ Dark Center Of The Universe

3:52 PM

BOYL #8: Tilts


Tilts performing "Sidepipin'" at the Firebird in St. Louis, MO on 5/28/10.

The Run-down:  Tilts is the new project of former Riddle of Steel guitarist/singer Andrew Elstner which also includes members of Shame Club.  They take the schlock rock elements of the last Riddle of Steel record and crank the knob to eleven, describing their sound as "The Immigrant Song meets Dukes of Hazard while listening to Brown Sugar in the General Lee somewhere in the year 1984."  Pretty much spot on.

Why this video is awesome:  Everything is dripping with awesomeness.  The clothes, the lights, the smoke, the guitar solos.  This is pretty much what rock and roll is supposed to look and sound like.

Like Rats are a punk/hardcore band from Chicago, IL that play a stripped down, d-beat influenced sort of punk rock.  Also, it comprises members of always well-recieved Weekend Nachos.  Later this month they will be releasing a 5 song 7" EP with Cosmic Debris records, the label responsible for the new Ambulars 7" "Nothing To Say From Miles Away".  Last year Like Rats released an 8 song EP which can be downloaded for free and is simply awesome.  Get it now, then buy the 7".

Listen and Download at http://likerats.net/

Sorry!  Summer is a super busy time for me, so I haven't been able to update recently.  I've hardly been able to find the time to listen to anything new.  I feel kindof obligated to post this though.  Partly because I will support this band for all time no matter what they do, and also because I feel like maybe it's expected of me to write something about it.

Anywho, for a while I thought "Dark Mountain" was to be Loma Prieta's last release, so imagine my surprise when I discovered they were putting out a fourth LP, and we hardly had to wait, gritting our teeth in typical punk fashion, for it to come out.  "Life/Less" promised to be Loma's "fastest and most hardcore sounding album", and it is.  I don't know what I was expecting to begin with, but as it turns out that "Life/Less" sounds exactly like I wanted to.  Every Loma Prieta record is its own entity to be sure, and the this one is as comparable to the rest of their catalog as each of the others.  Does that make sense?  Suffice to say that "Life/Less" cements the band's evolution from a screamo project to something else entirely, and their continued refinement make them absolutely one of the best bands in hardcore, and with this release, undeniably my favorite.
      A while ago, they sold the test pressings of the record (I of course had to leave on a boat trip the precise moment they went up for sale) and one of the gentlemen that purchased a copy made a rip of it.  The other copies of the record have been up for pre-order, but for the time being the band is touring Europe, so their US webstore is sold out right now.  But I'm sure they'll have it in stock when they get back.

For Fans of:  The other Loma Prieta records

Loma Prieta on Myspace

Buy it from Discos Huelga (when they get back)

Visit The Thinner The Air to Get It.

I should have posted this ages ago, but I'm just lazy I guess.  The Minute Intentions of a Boa Constrictor are a Minneapolis duo who recorded at least one "art punk garage pop" EP that rules pretty god damn hard.  I would attempt to describe it, but honestly it wouldn't sound any better than "art punk garage pop", so I won't.  I suppose it has a lo-fi element and a sense of sincere weirdness that would make Mike Watt and D. Boone proud.  Anyway, it's awesome and I like it, so you might too.

Stream it, Download it, and Buy it at their Bandcamp

I'm not sure exactly what I'm about to write about this record, although I can pretty much assure you that no matter what it is, it will fall short of the praise I think it really deserves.  Sleepies are a 3 piece pop-punk band from Brooklyn who just released their first full length LP in an edition of 200 copies.   Let me begin by saying that it is a crime that only 200 copies of this album exist.  Though I suppose at this day in age, the amount of physical copies of an album has relatively little to do with it's exposure in the right conditions.  But I digress, Sleepies mash together some of the catchiest pop-punk with some of the most well-placed post-hardcore influenced guitar riffs I can recall hearing, ever.  That probably doesn't make any sense, but whatever.   Basically they sound like if Drive Like Jehu and Pavement had a baby that moved to Detroit and released an album on In The Red Records.  This record will absolutely be my go-to jam all summer long, and most likely for a long time after that. It is incredible.  Here Come The Sleepies.

Lastly here is a mission statement from the band
"We endorse:
- House shows
- John Madden
- Imaginary band feuds

We have no time for:
- Machismo
- The last episode of Battlestar Galactica (Seriously, [SPOILER ALERT] Starbuck is an angel??? What the frak...)"

Sorry about the BSG spoilers

For Fans of:  Drive Like Jehu, Scared Of Chaka, Pavement

Sleepies on Myspace

Buy The LP 

If you're like me, you have a weird aversion to musical acts that are just a dude's (or lady's) name.  Somehow, I'm more willing to listen to a solo act if the project has some unnecessary moniker.  Strangely, bands that use a person's name don't evoke the same distaste (i.e. Ethel Meserve, Doris Henson, Amanda Woodward, Jackie Carol etc).  Basically I'm writing about this to illustrate how stupid I am, because this guy Ajay Malghan sent me an email with a link to his new album "...In The Future Everything Is Perfect", and I will now listen to it all the time.  "Future" (as it will be called to the remainder of this review) is a swell example of non-pretentious indie rock that isn't as popular as it should be.  No flash or pomp, just really solid traditional song-writing and catchy melodies, mixed in with a bluesy feel that makes me want to play it loudly.  Also, I suppose I should mention that "Future" was written, performed, and engineered by Malghan alone, which is no small feat.  So check this out.  It's free to stream and free to download, so you have everything to gain.

For fans of:  The Black Keys, Colour Revolt, Constantines

Ajay Malghan at Bandcamp (stream + download)

This came in the mail last week.  I bit the int'l-shipping bullet and pre-ordered it because I really liked Battle of Wolf's LP from last year, and they were offering a special version if you pre-ordered it (and I'm a nerd), and I felt like spending money.  It was impulsive, that's what I'm saying.  Anyhow, I'm really glad I did because especially impressed with this release.  Battle of Wolf delivers huge on their side with 3 of the best songs they've recorded.  Not much is new but this band does keep getting better and better as time goes on.  If you're familiar with BoW you should probably know what you're getting.  If you're not, expect some hardcore mixed with screamo mixed with d-beat... really these guys are prolific style-blenders, and do it while maintaining ferocious melody and their own unique sonic stamp.  No matter what their influence you pretty much can't mistake Battle Of Wolf 359, and no matter what it will pretty much kick ass.  Resurrectionists' side of the split actually came as a surprise to me.  Not because I didn't know what I was getting into, but because I was so into it.  I'd heard their demo a while back and tried to enjoy it a few times but it always seemed to fall a little flat.  Now though, they have carved out their sound and honed their frantic musical engery in such a way that is quite enjoyable and compliments the other side of the record very well indeed.  Resurrectionists just released their first LP, which I am retroactively kicking myself for not ordering because I'm certain it's not available in the US right now.  Anyway, on their side they offer up a little faster paced mix of grind and power violence that might knock you out.  This album sounds really great (in the recording/fidelity sort of way) and is packaged really well.  It pretty much rules all around.

For fans of:  Dolcim, Graf Orlock, Hammers


Battle Of Wolf 359 & Resurrectionists on Myspace

Get it.

Buy it from Moment Of Collapse Records

Yeah, so I've posted about this band a few times, talking about how they are the next big thing and all that jazz.  This probably isn't true, but it pretty much should be.  They have all the right elements: catchy songs, hip tour-mates, an aire of sincere non-suckiness and occasional gang vocals.  Seriously though, these are some of the best punk songs I've heard in sequence in I don't know how long, and if the world is a fair place (it isn't) these guys will be huge (they might).  Punk-huge anyway.  So, I'm posting this because you can now purchase the cassette version (read: only version) of Hoop Dreams from Mountain Man Records.  If tapes aren't your thing, evidently Protagonist Music is handling a vinyl release before the summer, but I don't really know anything specific.

For fans of: Spires, The Sidekicks, Get Bent

Big Kids on Myspace

Get it.

Buy it from Mountain Man Records

One of my most highly anticipated releases of this year has finally been released and I am thrilled not to be disappointed.  If that sounded sorta tongue-in-cheek it wasn't meant to be, it was merely a comment on my track record of "most highly anticipated releases" lately.  "Completely Removed" is the new album by DC math-rock group Medications, who, if you don't know, is made up of former members of Faraquet.  Medications had previously extrapolated on the Faraquet sound, refining it albeit roughening the edges a bit.  Now, if you had been following this release (like me) you probably got the hint that the new record would be a significant departure sonically from their first 2 releases.   This turned out to be so true that I'm surprised it didn't elicit a name change, what with the band losing a drummer and functioning/recording largely as a two-piece.  Normally I'm not always on board when bands try to reinvent themselves (I say 'try' but it may have been an accident), but it's pretty hard to stay mad at these guys.  "Completely Removed" showcases the range of skill and songwriting Devin Ocampo and Chad Molter are really capable of, and they are seriously capable.  Most of the songs on "Completely Removed" exude a poppy/catchiness that have never really strove for but just happen to be really good at.  Of course their instrumental chops are not to be ignored and while their math-rock roots are still ever-present (if subdued a little) they do a lot of experimenting that seems to jump around from song to song.  There are as many Pink Floyd as Faraquet moments, though this is in no way a bad thing.  Suffice to say, however different "Completely Removed" is from the rest of the Medications catalog, it's a worthwhile addition and one of the best records I've heard in quite a while.

For Fans of:  Faraquet, Karate, Beauty Pill

Medications on Myspace

Get it.

Buy it now from Dischord Records

So this has been playing on my computer/ipod/brainwaves for probably 5 months now and I've yet to post it for reasons I can't really think of.  The Ambulars are a pop punk act from DC (jesus, I swear I don't do this on purpose) who play some of the only pop-punk I've been able to tolerate.  I blame this partially due to the begrudging winter season here.  So now that spring has arrived I'm getting back into the genre (because pop-punk is the genre for spring you know) and this record just keeps getting better and better.  It's an appropriate mix of sweet, catchy, and original that is just long enough not to get boring.  It should be noted that I have probably listened to the song "Bookmarked" a number of times that would require scientific notation to write out.  So, if there is still snow melting wherever you are, listen to this and celebrate.

For fans of:  Good Luck, The Ergs!, Lemuria

The Ambulars on Myspace

Get it.

Firstly, let me apologize in regards to the lack of updates around here lately.  To be honest, I've been listening to old music a lot lately and haven't heard anything new that has really caught my attention.  I intend to change this pretty much immediately.  So check back, and if you want, recommend something.


That said, I did get some mail worth listening to recently.  The Gifted Children's first release of 2010 is "Please Freeze Me", a full-length cd that strives to capture the mood of winter, and though it's pretty much spring now, I can still get into this.  Their description is pretty right on: "Please Freeze Me" definitely has a wintery feel, and sounds pretty much like you might expect.  Lots of minor chords, piano, slow meter, melancholy, and general solemness that one would associate with 4 hours of daylight and 300 inches of snow (I'm from Alaska).  But it's not all sad, it seems they couldn't resist including some signature pop jams, including (but not limited too) probably one of my favorite TGC songs "Unlimited February".   Check it out.

For fans of: The New Pornographers, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Capstan Shafts, Guided By Voices

The Gifted Children on Myspace

Big Kids are a punk band from Oakland who plan to embark on a west coast tour this summer with fellow Bay Area punk rockers Dead To Me and emo mathletes 1994!.  It shouldn't surprise you that these dudes are awesome, what with all the top tier punk/hardcore music coming out of the Bay Area as of late.  If you are familiar with what I'm talking about then you shouldn't need any convincing.  If you're not, then trust me, you reaaaallllyyy should be.

Big Kids on Myspace

Fine Lines were a DC post-hardcore band that weren't around for very long.  Their only releases were this demo and split cassette with Maryland emo revivalists Boost, who are pretty damn good as well.  They don't really typify what you'd expect a DC band found on this blog to sound like, but they do claim to sound like "if Rites of Spring wore mittens while playing their songs" which seems pretty fair.  Though technically I suppose they are on par with Rites of Spring from a musicianship standpoint.  They do showcase some seriously awesome angular guitar noise with an ear for that melodious middle-ground that a lot of bands fall just short of.  It's a real shame that this band didn't go places because everything the recorded is way good.  So check them out.  You can also follow a link on their myspace page to download their split cassette with Boost.  I recommend it (and Boost too).

For fans of:  Drive Like Jehu, Ampere, Challenger

Fine Lines on Myspace

Get it.

Hey everybody.  In the mood for some screamo? Me neither!  Actually though, this band is pretty good.  Reminds of early Cease Upon The Capitol, which is why I like it.  Anyway, these dudes are from Malaysia, so of course "Tin Kosong" was released by Utarid Tapes (cause, you know, they are from Malaysia too), who pump out some really good shit.  It also has some really awesome packaging.  I totally want one, but like most things, nobody carries it in the states.


For fans of:  Cease Upon The Capitol, La Quiete, Funeral Diner

Dramacoma on Myspace

Get it.



Office Of Future Plans performing a new song at Rock'n'Roll Hotel in DC 10/30/09


The Run-down: Office Of Future Plans is the new band featuring J Robbins (ya know) and Darren Zentek (of Kerosene 454 and Channels). They've been playing sporadic shows, recently opening for the Mission of Burma reunion. Needless to say I'm way excited about this band. From what I've heard so far it sounds pretty much like Channels, but I imagine it will turn out to be something all its own.

Why this video is awesome: The song is fucking great, it's easy to hear, and Robbins is wearing an ape suit (I probably watched this video 4 times before realizing that). Also Gordon Withers on cello.

**BONUS CONTENT: Robbins and Withers performed a bunch of acoustic songs from most of J's bands last week at Story/Stereo in DC, a performance arts center co-curated by Chad Clark of Smart Went Crazy and The Beauty Pill. The whole thing is streaming here and will be formally released sometime this year by West Main Development.  Check it.

Earlier today I was reading some months-old missive about the band The Shins breaking up and thought two things.  1) I actually like The Shins, but wasn't at all upset about their breaking up.  I suppose I just have no desire to hear a new Shins album. 2) Maybe now Scared Of Chaka will get back together.  This of course will never happen, but it lead me to a third thought: HOLY CRAP I haven't thought about or listened to Scared Of Chaka in way too long.  The reason I was reminded of Scared Of Chaka is that they are sort of tangentially connected to The Shins, in that they share the same guitarist/bassist.  He was also in band with The Shins' singer (called Flake Music) who released a split 7" with SoC.  Other than that they are in no way similar, so this whole Shins introduction is pretty useless and going nowhere.

I first encountered Scared Of Chaka on a sampler cd sent to the record store I worked at. I don't actually remember how I got it, it may have came in the mail, or I could have dug it out of a box (I should edit this out, but I'm not going to  Sorry you had to read it. And this.).  Anyway, the cd was some sort of not-for-profit promotion released by Sub City Records (a division of Hopeless Records) that had something to do with blindness prevention (it's only now occuring to me that this could be metaphor) and featured bands like Fifteen, Dillinger Four and Kid Dynamite.  In contrast to the absolute garbage that this label puts out today, this compilation was exactly what 14 year old me was into and Scared of Chaka stood out on a roster of pretty fucking amazing bands.  So I immediately ordered their most recent LP ("Tired Of You"), and played it constantly.  Now it's one of my all time favorite punk albums.

For fans of:  Dillinger Four, Deadly Snakes, Hot Snakes...  Regular Snakes

Scared of Chaka on myspace

Get it.

This is a follow up post to that one about Smart Went Crazy, so it'll be short.  I listened to this record a couple times recently and, as it turns out, it's a little better all the way through than I remember it being.  Like I said before Beauty Pill takes Smart Went Crazy's "art rock" tag to heart and builds on their foundation of excellence.  It does get kinda weird in some places but overall, "The Unsustainable Lifestyle", Beauty Pill's only full-length, is an excellent, laid-back listen for any fan of the DC sound or indie-rock in any respect really.  A few filler tracks don't detract from an album full of excellent sleepers.  It's a grower though, so give it time.

For Fans of:  Smart Went Crazy, The Most Secret Method, The Arcade Fire (lol)

The Beauty Pill on Myspace

Get it.

Yeah, so if you've been following along you've heard this all already, but its finally done and compiled for downloading.

Im not sure I'm exactly 100% pleased with the way this came out or how it reflects the year or whatever, but I'm satisfied with it at least.  Of course there are like a million songs I left out and a bunch I wanted to add after the fact, but I wanted to keep it short and concise.  So here you have the 13 songs I liked the most in 2009.  Kinda.

1. Tigers Jaw - "Spirit Desire"
2. The Gifted Children - "No Saviors, Please"
3. The Life & Times - "Fall of the Angry Clowns"
4. Shelflife - "Infinite Landscapes of Pillows and Blankets"
5. Kidcrash - "Grim Collections"
6. Loma Prieta - "Exit Here"
7. Canadian Rifle - "Swallow The Landfill"
8. Ex Wife - "Butcher"
9. Paint It Black - "Bliss"
10. Dolcim - "Alvis Has Left The Building"
11. Alpinist - "Schalterhygiene"
12. C'est La Guerre - "The Beginning"
13. Graf Orlock - "Voice of America's Sons"

Get it.

Stream all the songs on CTS's Tumblr

Please Note:  I tried to tag these correctly and in the most efficient manner.  If there are any glaring problems, shoot me an email or leave a comment. Or something. 

Chambers comprises former members of Italian screamo outfit Violent Breakfast.  I never really got into VB, but Chambers have marked a change in sound that made me take notice.  They have moved in a more post-rock/hardcore direction and have released one LP that sounds really fantastic.  Of course I've only heard 2 of its 5 songs, but I'm pretty blown away already.  If I can find it distro'd in the States somewhere I'll definitely pick it up.  Unfortunately, paying both the european markup and overseas shipping makes things really cost-ineffective for buying tons of records I want.  Anyway, check out Chambers, because they are really good.  If anyone has a tip on where I can get this in the US it would make my day.

For fans of:  Violent Breakfast, City of Caterpillar, A Day In Black & White

Chambers on Myspace

Today I got the only piece of musical mail I'm expecting to recieve this month, and it's probably the only one I'll need.  In the package was a copy of Ex Wife's demo CD and a copy of their first album "Everything Was Beautiful".  I had high expectations for Ex Wife's newest release and they have pretty much cemented their place as my new favorite band.  Blending emo, pop-punk and hardcore is something it seems like a lot of people are attempting to do nowaday's, but nobody nails it quite as well as these New Jersey dudes.  There is a subdued catchiness to their simple but highly infectious means of songwriting.  I haven't wanted to jump around and sing songs at the top of my lungs in a long time, but it's precisely what I want to do when I listen to "Everything Was Beautiful".  The record flows from song to song really well, although I could anticipate somebody arguing that it's because all the songs sound sort of the same (because they sort of do), but when they rule this hard, it's not really a complaint.  Evidently, Ex Wife has added a bassist and wrote some new songs. So expect more awesomeness in the future.  Thrilling.

Anyway, I implore you to buy this, it's only 5 bucks plus a couple to ship.  Send them an email at:
exwifenj [AT] gmail [DOT] com
and they will hook you up proper.

For fans of:  Algernon Cadwallader, Monument, Drive Like Jehu

Ex Wife on Myspace

Get it.

So, it's been a month and half of another month already into 2010 and I still haven't posted anything from this year yet.  Really it's because I've been holding out on posting this record (the band was supposed to put up a link for download but haven't yet), but I don't really feel like waiting anymore.  Anyway, I've mentioned these dudes a few times before but I'll give you the run-down again:  Hammers are a UK hardcore band who play d-beat/crust punk in the essence of His Hero Is Gone and Tragedy.  I recall them having a quote written somewhere that went something like "too punk to be metal, to metal to be punk" and I think that sums them up pretty well.  Anyway, this band is way good and this LP kicks ass on top of looking brilliant.  The covers and b-sides are screen printed by hand.  I don't know if they have any of the black copies left (there are 100), but I managed to pre-order this, and I'm really glad I did.  The other version is white with black screen printing.  In addition, you may already know, but Hammers are planning to release a split 7" with Dolcim on React With Protest (which should be out any time) and a split 12" with Alpinist, which somebody at ADAGIO830 told me they would be handling (but it's a ways off).  You can't play with bands like that and not rule, so give this a try if you dig hardcore.

For fans of: His Hero Is Gone, Dolcim, Alpinist

Hammers on Myspace

Get it.

12:40 AM

Cowards update!


A little while ago I posted about this band Cowards who were releasing their final EP "Solitude" before playing their last show (last weekend). Then, as you may have discovered, the link to stream their album from Bandcamp was down for a while. But wouldn't you know it, I got an email from one of the Kyles (if you recall, Cowards is a three-piece consisting entirely of Kyles), and "Solitude" can once again be streamed AND downloaded by donating a minimum of 50 cents.

Stream & Download "Solitude"

I have to post this.  There isn't any way around it.  Canadian Rifle are my favorite punk band and this 7" (their first) is perfect.  I first discovered this band because I read that it featured members of Hellbender and Challenger (which I took to mean Al Burian) and I grabbed it immediately.  Later I would learn that the artwork and layout were done by Al Burian, but he wasn't actually in the band.  It didn't matter though because even Al Burian couldn't make this band (and especially this release) any better.  It has gone through a few different pressings on various colored vinyl/sleeves, and one day, out of pure love, I'll own them all.  Right now I'm good with one, until it stops playing.  A few distros still carry the represses of this I think.  So pick it up.

For fans of:  Jawbreaker, Leatherface, Youth Brigade

Canadian Rifle on Myspace

Get it.

This is fantastic.  Somebody recommended this record to me the other day and the way they described it was irresistable (more on this later).  So I did some looking around and found a copy to listen to.  This is totally the type of thing I hope for when somebody recommends me an album.  Future Adventures are a short lived side project of members of UK emo band Spy vs. Spy.  I was told that they sounded like "Kidcrash meeting Traindodge" and that description needs no refining.  It has the thumping bass and power of midwestern math-rock (you know, Traindodge) and the flowing guitar work of modern emo (a la Kidcrash), all worked into long, multi-structural songs.  They also occasionally bust in to some excellent atonal post-hardcore stuff reminiscent of At The Drive-In and Kerosene 454.  I think all the name dropping here suffices for a review right?

The person who recommended this runs a blog here.  I can't read Danish, but it doesn't really matter because the music posted is all great.  Check it out!

For fans of: Kidcrash, Traindodge, At The Drive-In, Bear Vs. Shark

Get it.

Since day one I've been intending to post this album, because it's one of my all time favorites.  Smart Went Crazy are from D.C. and share obvious connections with other Dischord bands like Jawbox, The Most Secret Method, and the like.  Members of SWC went on to play in bands like Faraquet and The Beauty Pill.  I hear them referred to a lot as "art-rock", a distinction I can't really peg to any other bands, maybe people think Smart Went Crazy are too self-aware.  I think they get the tag because of a certain level of weirdness, both lyrical and instrumental, that the band exudes, but I suppose it works (although more-so with The Beauty Pill, who seem to have taken "art-rock" to heart and upped the weirdness quotient exponentially).  Anyway, this album is killer all over and is absolutely essential for fans of the ilk of post-hardcore you'd find on this blog.  I'm not going to think about it at length, but I'm going to jump the gun and say that "Con Art" probably has the best b-side of any record I own.  It is, however, sort of a grower, so stick with it.  Try not to get discouraged by the artsyness of it all.

For fans of: Jawbox, The Most Secret Method, Shudder To Think

Smart Went Crazy on Last.fm

Get it.

That isn't a typo, the name of this album is "The Delicious The Delicious" (self-titled2 ?) and it's totally out of place here.  So why am I posting it?  I don't really know.  I suppose because it's awesome, and because I don't really understand why this band isn't gigantic.  The Delicious are an indie-pop group from Bloomington, Indiana who have a totally unboring sound and a singer with a ridiculous moustache.  I'm not really in to kitschy indie-pop, but this is just so unrelenting.  The Delicious are either 100% sincere in their swashy rubbernecking (this means nothing but it seems only nonsense can accurately describe them) or absolutely faking it.  It can't be anywhere in between.  Either way though, they make intoxicating and catchy pop music that employs a lot of really interesting elements.  I'm still trying to figure out why Vampire Weekend exploded and these guys didn't.  Anyway, this record actually starts a little slow but once it picks up it doesn't let down.  In 2008 they released an equally solid EP called "Postcard To My Sewing Circle", did a Daytrotter session and toured, rereleasing this album in 2009.  I don't know if they plan to release anything in the future, but they have a pretty awesome unreleased track on their myspace.

For fans of:  The Unicorns, Vampire Weekend, Dismemberment Plan

The Delicious on Myspace

Get it.

First:


Check this out.

Second:

These should come up daily, but you can also ignore it.  When it's over (probably about 2 weeks from now) it will all get RAR'd up and posted right here.

Enjoy

I said I'd post this so here it is.  Another entry in the "1998 was the best year ever" campaign.  Anyway, I've been really into this band lately (and actually the reason I started spinning that Sense Field record is because Compound Red's first LP reminded me to) and this release is a pretty essential part of my music collection.  It sounds more polished than the rest of their releases.  If you listened to that 7" I posted a while back you'll definitely see what I mean.  The guitars are a little less crunchy and the vocals come through a lot better.  Whether or not that is a good thing remains to be said.  Still, "Always A Pleasure" has some of the best fucking emo/math-rock riffery ever (see "Return", "Cancel The Sound").  All in all Compound Red's swan song is the cherry on top of an excellent discography and an underexposed career.  If you're a fan of emo, you must hear this.

For fans of: Vitreous Humor, Castor, The Promise Ring

Compound Red on Myspace

Get it.

Polina are a screamo/hardcore band from Newfoundland, Canada, who count Kidcrash and Loma Prieta among their influences.  They have a self titled EP available on CD-r and soon on cassette via premier tape label Utarid Tapes.  The songs up on their myspace are a little rough around the edges, and sortof metally at points, but these dudes have definite potential.  I'll probably be ordering the EP when 'no-record February' is over.  Did I mention I'm not going to buy any music this month?  Check these guys out.  Also, Polina features a member (perhaps actually) named Falco.


For fans of:  Loma Prieta, Joshua Fit For Battle


Polina on Myspace

Buy the EP

Sense Field were formed in 1991 after the split of 80's hardcore punk (y'know, the zine-making kind) band Reason To Believe.  "Killed For Less" is their second album and was released by Revelation Records (who released a zillion amazing hardcore records and were wont to trade discography items for Star Wars merchandise).  They were one of those bands bands that pretty much cemented the 90's post-hardcore sound along with Jawbox, Sunny Day Real Estate and others.  Also like those groups, later on in their career they brushed shoulders with major labels and found a small amount of commercial success.  Probably their most well-recieved record, "Building", came out just after "Killed For Less", so you might check that out as well.  But I have a special place for this record.  I think I bought the LP for $4.

For fans of: Jawbox, Sunny Day Real Estate, Texas Is The Reason, Castor 

Sense Field on Myspace

Get it. **now in better quality**

Perhaps you have noticed a thing or two changing around CTS.  Perhaps this is your first time reading it. Whatever.  Either way one of the things you would have noticed would be the links directly above the newest post for emails, Tumblr, Twitter (i know) and Dead Format.  Yes, I stole the look AND some of the icons directly from my girlfriend's (very popular) blog .:The Batcave Below:.

The most recent change is on the right.  Over there is the feed from my Tumblr page.  Tumblr is pretty cool and great for posting random shit, but it's a little too messy to make a complete move.  So there will be supplemental stuff going on over there all the time (posting random pictures/links/reblogging/general cool shit), and you can check it all out in the little box on the right.  OR.  You can just head on over to Cementing The Seams on Tumblr.

Rad!

So, as you may know, Cease Upon The Capitol are one of my all time favorite bands, and are almost certainly the one I'm the most obsessed with.  I ran across this archive of songs a while back but hadn't really listened to it because it seemed like just a compilation of songs on other records. This is basically true, but after I finally gave it a thorough listen I noticed a few things.  First I'll post the tracklist, then go on rambling about some shit you're sure not to care about.


 Protocol For The Left
 Body By Design
 King Of The World
 Turn Offs Include 
 Scaleback The Dosage
 Lullabies And Bad Dreams
 More Red Lines
 Bombs Away

So, to begin with, the first four songs listed were all released on their 7" in the Ape Must Not Kill Ape/From A Strangers Hand single series.  However, the versions here are mastered differently.  In the 7" versions, the bass is turned up really high and its all twangy and overpowering.  The mastering here tones that down and makes the songs much better.  "Scaleback The Dosage" and "Lullabies & Bad Dreams" both appear on the split 3" CD with Silbato, but this version of "Scaleback" is significantly longer with a different beginning and end.  "Lullabies" is pretty consistent with the Split version (it also appears on the first LP).  "More Red Lines" is an alternate version of "The End Of History" from the 7" of the same name which is different from both that version and the one on their demo CD.  "Bombs Away" appears to be unreleased elsewhere.  It's possible that this is a rip of their European Tour CD-R, which (from my futile research) is limited to 39 copies.  But I just don't know (if this is the case, the songs are now horribly out of order.)

For fans of:  Dolcim, Loma Prieta, The Third Memory


CUTC on Myspace

Get it.


Cowards are  3 dudes, allegedly all named Kyle, from Minneapolis who play punk/post-hardcore in a manner which does not suck.  Evidently the Kyles are breaking up, which sucks because this is the first I've heard of them.  Anyway, you can stream their new EP "Solitude" here.  It will soon be available for download-by-donation, and I don't know how long it will be up, so listen now.

Also, I'm not all that familiar with the website Bandcamp, but it seems like every band should use it instead of Myspace.  That being said:

Cowards on Myspace

Stream "Solitude"


The more I think about it, the more it becomes apparent that 1998 was the best year for music ever.  I haven't listened to this album in probably 5 years (this was one of the old cds from my collection I was referring to), and right now it's blowing my mind all over again.  I don't use the term "chill" very often but I like it here.  Karate are probably one of the better indie-rock bands I can think of, and "The Bed Is In The Ocean" is likely their best album, but it's been a long time since I've listened to this band.  Perhaps my opinion may have changed.  Nevertheless, it's probably their most important.  There are so many bands that ape the sound of this record it's overwhelming.  Maybe it's a coincidence, but I doubt it.  This record is incredible, so if you're in the mood to relax or, well, "chill", put this on.  Every time.

For fans of:  Minus The Bear, Constantines, Pedro The Lion

Karate on Myspace

Get it.

I never really understood this, and I still don't.  For some reason independent punk labels in the 90's occasionally produced music videos for bands that existed in spite of the existence of music videos.  They couldn't have helped promotion, as the market for these bands operated in a completely seperate paradigm than that which would normally employ music videos.  The videos usually only appeared on VHS compilations marketed toward people who already bought the label's music.  This being the case, they were all cheap and awful.  It's like the least 'punk' thing I can think of right now. 

But still, there is something endearing about them I suppose.  To wit:



"Do It For You" by Brand New Unit
-- 
Brand New Unit were a pretty unremarkble band whose one claim to fame is accidentilly writing one of the best songs in the world (up to interpretation).  "Do It For You" is such a good song it's a little painful to watch this video, but it at least makes a little sense.  I get it.



"49/61" by Jughead's Revenge
 --
This is one of those songs that appeared on a VHS compilation tape released by Hopeless Records.  It was called Cinema Beer Goggles and somebody I knew owned it (though I have NO IDEA who it actually belonged to).  This is the only video I actually remember from it because I thought the song was good but couldn't tolerate the video.  Years later the band Bowling For Soup would blatantly rip off this video for the song "1985" (right down the fat dude playing guitar), only they replaced the trendy-punk kid for a blonde lady.



"He Who Laughs Last" by AFI
--
If you can make it past the inexplicable first 20 seconds of this video, you'll hear probably the best song AFI ever recorded that they would probably rather not be associated with.  Anyway, I decided to post this because there is a hilarious scene in the middle whereby Davy Havoc is repeatedly shot and stabbed by the other members (I would assume) of AFI, presumably because he is singing to loudly in the back of their trunk.



"2RAK005" by Bracket
--
God, this band is so good and this video is so stupid and pointless.


Beau Navire are a Bay Area screamo band who released this demo sometime last year and I have no idea why I hadn't heard it until recently.  Anyway, if you're a fan of the frantic, technical guitar-style screamo championed by bands like Loma Prieta and L'antietam, then you're pretty much guaranteed to like these dudes.  They recently repressed this in the states in a run of 50 cassette tapes, and the European version (of the same quantity) will be handled by React With Protest.  This year they plan to release a S/T 7", a split with Chicago band Suffix and another (vague) EP.  Anyway, they're giving away the demo on their myspace, but you can contact them to grab a copy of the demo tape while they last.  Keep an eye out for these guys in 2010.

For fans of:  Loma Prieta, L'antietam, Saetia

Beau Navire on Myspace

Get it.

 I posted a blurb about this band a while back and I finally came across mp3's of their demo, released last year.  Then when I checked their myspace I noticed that their new CDep was finally available.  So that's coming in the mail, and when it gets here I'll be sure to post that too.  Anyhow, if you don't care to read that other post, Ex Wife are a New Jersey twosome who play a raw, bare-bones style of roots emocore.  The demo is good and the songs available for listening on their next release promise a step in a very exciting direction.

For fans of: Algernon Cadwallader, Monument, Drive Like Jehu

Ex Wife on Myspace

Get it.

10:33 PM

Cave Canem


More German crust in the vein of Alpinist.  Don't really have anything to add to that except that you might expect this to be a trend from now on.  Anyway, here is Cave Canem's ("Beware The Dog") 2006 demo and a split with Tampa, FL hardcore outfit The Holy Mountain.  They've got a few other releases (a 3 song 7" and split with Fractura) but these ones stand out.  If you want to check out more stop by Friend or Foe a blog focused on punk and hardcore from Germany (Hannover specifically) run by one of the members of Cave Canem.  You can find the rest of the bands releases.

For fans of: Alpinist, His Hero Is Gone, Hammers


Cave Canem on Myspace

Demo.

Split w/ The Holy Mountain.


Of all DeSoto's releases, this 7" and subsequent LP by Compound Red were definitely the closest to emo that the label ever got.  Compound Red are an emo/math-rock band from Milwaukee, WI, and existed in relative obscurity for nearly a decade.  Why they never achieved a higher level of notoriety (especially being from Milwaukee) I'll never know, because they were one of the most distinctive emo bands I can think of.  To quote a friend (who was talking about this band):  "There is so much good shit out there that nobody cares about".  And that's what Compound Red feels like.  It's criminal they aren't a bigger deal honestly.

Anyway, this 7" is kindof weird because both of the songs appear on "Always A Pleasure" their second and final full length released by DeSoto.  Only, when the songs made the jump, the names, lyrics and vocal themes on both tracks were changed.  It's really fascinating actually, how unique the two versions of each are, even though they have nearly identical music.

I'll probably post "Always A Pleasure" sometime soon.

For fans of: Vitreous Humor, Castor, The Promise Ring

Compound Red on Myspace

Get it.


"As Seen From Above" is the Chicago math-rock band Dianogah's (like the garbage snake in Star Wars) debut full-length.  It's one of the few (mostly) instrumental albums I always think about whenever I suggest that I don't like instrumental music because obviously I'm lying.  Probably the most interesting thing about Dianogah, and certainly the reason I bought the album years ago, is that they don't have a guitarist.  This isn't strange, lots of bands don't use guitars, but instead of using alternative methods Dianogah just employs 2 bassists to achieve their unique aesthetic, an idiosyncrasy that pays dividends.  
 
Dianogah released two more records in the early part of the decade and then finally "qhnnnl" in 2008 which caught me totally off guard.  Both because I didn't expect the release itself, and it was so far removed from their first album.  Over their last two albums they added a guitar, keyboard and exponentially increased the amount of vocal recordings.  I suppose this qualifies Dianogah as "experimental" and I'm sure a lot of people consider this to be true.
 
up next:  more old shit from my cd collection

For fans of: Other Men, Shellac, Faraquet

 


Essential listening for anyone who professes to be remotely interested in hardcore.

 Get it.


P.S. there is still more '09 review in the works.  When I find more time for interwebbing...

I'm afraid I'll come off as a jerk with this post.  But here is the thing.  There were a couple of albums in 2009 I was anticipating to a rather advanced degree.  The bands behind these records had all released albums in 2008 which, in varying, realistic versions of reality, could have easily been the best releases of last year.  Certainly they were in the top 10 if you're interested in quantifying.  I only chose three, because who wants to read about a dozen records that just weren't that good?  Well, I suppose maybe they were that good, but they also ruined my day at least once.  I'm not trying to give these guys poor treatment, and I am DEFINITELY NOT trying to discourage anyone from listening to them.  Actually, it's just the opposite.  I am doing this so that you WILL listen to them.  Because, even if they weren't my cup of tea this year, these guys still rule and this stuff deserves to be posted here (because I'm devestated that it wasn't earlier).


The Sidekicks - Weight Of Air

In some kind of cosmic slap in the face, this record was just voted by the staff of Punknews.org as the best album of 2009 (although it's strangely absent from their reader poll) so obviously it's got some merit.  I'm almost annoyed to admit that I just didn't like the new direction that Cleveland's The Sidekicks took on "Weight Of Air".  If their first 2 releases said anything about them it was that they were easily the best up-and-coming punk rock band in these United States (this probably isn't true, but it has to be pretty fucking close) so I was completely caught offguard when they decided to flip the script with their sole release in 2009.  Perhaps "Sam" was more a farewell to arms than a taste of things to come.  In fact, this seems to be true, but its a shame because "Sam" was perfect.  It's possible I just don't get it.  Maybe I'm like the Radiohead fan who simply didn't like "Kid A" and wasn't afraid to admit it (this is a little bit out of context, but you get the picture).  There are good songs on this record no doubt, and The Sidekicks definitely still write pop-punk songs better than most.  But if they keep releasing material, I don't want to be the "it was all downhill after the first 7-inch" guy.


Cheap Girls - My Roaring 20's

My issue with this album was almost the exact opposite as The Sidekicks' effort.  '08's "Find Me A Drink Home" was fresh, and every song was just refreshing enough to make people stand up and give a shit about a band whose (mostly unconcidered) technical prowess was completely overshadowed by their ability to write effective hooks and nearly the catchiest songs in existence. "My Roaring 20's" does however suffer a bit from that otherwise overlooked aspect of their songwriting.  Before I call Cheap Girls a one trick pony, I'll reiterate, they are good at what they do, which is writing simple power pop tunes that will get stuck in your head for days.  It just seemed like perhaps they could have added something to the mix.  It's been a while since I complained about a band's albums all sounding the same (sort of becuase this is a stupid complaint, because they can't all sound that different right?), but if you make an album that sounds identical to your first one, I'll probably just listen to the first one.  I actually just unintentionally (though unscrupulously) admitted that "My Roaring 20's" is good.  I guess it's just not what I wanted, which (and now this seems utterly confusing) wasn't another "Find Me A Drink Home".


Polar Bear Club - "Chasing Hamburg"

Remember this?  Because I do.  Much to my dismay "The Summer of George" outshined Polar Bear Club's 2009 LP that it was supposed to promote by releasing the best 2 tracks on the album early.  So by the time "Chasing Hamburg" came out I had already heard the highlights roughly 1200 times.  In an equally bewildering and compoundingly frustrating move on the part of PBC, the best song on the 7" ("Dead Man") didn't make the cut, which (by the transitive property) would have made it the best song on the album. As an aside, perhaps choosing to make the best song exclusive to the 7" was pretty fantastic sales manuever because it made "Chasing Hamburg" seem that much more desirable (one could deduce that "if one THIS song isn't going to make the album, these guys have got to have sleeves full of aces". Or something).  Although, this doesn't really make sense because A) a good exclusive track basically gives the EP a right to exist, and B) Polar Bear Club probably doesn't give a shit about record sales.  Once again, let it be noted that this record is not bad, it just isn't as good as I was led to believe.  It has been getting an enormous amount of good press and for good reason.  Most people mention that the album's highlight is the out-of-character track "Drifting Thing" and, with the exception of 2 "George" tracks is pretty much true.  It's catchy, original and contains probably the best (read: only) reference to "Annie Hall" in a punk song since Jawbreaker's "Jet Black".