Cementing The Seams

The Plot Sickens

     



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**