Wednesday, 21 June 2017

'The Shortest Distance: A South Florida Compilation' - Fiddler Records - 1998



'The Shortest Distance: A South Florida Compilation' - Fiddler Records - 1998


So here's a long story. In the early 00s, VICTORY RECORDS released a DVD called 'Release: A Punk / Hardcore Documentary', featuring interviews with lots of bands (including SICK OF IT ALL, FACE TO FACE, YUPPICIDE, IGNITE, WESTON, EARTH CRISIS, AGENT ORANGE, etc.) talking about punk scenes at that time. As well as being a generally cool little documentary, two things really stood out for me: the song over the end credits (which, after some research I discovered was the phenomenal 'Picks' by a band called QUIT), and an interview with a seventeen year old called Amy who briefly chronicled putting on a release show for the first 7-inch that she was releasing on her label.

For years after watching the doc., I listened to QUIT online, and 'Picks' has since become an all time favourite tune (I won't gush too much here, but just hearing the opening chords makes my eyes water), but it wasn't until last year that I decided to see if anything more came of Amy. A couple of Google searches later and I discovered that her label, FIDDLER RECORDS had gone on to put out tonnes of amazing stuff, and were pretty much the catalyst for the success of bands like NEW FOUND GLORY and THE BLED. She'd also recently written a novel called 'A Million Miles' about a girl who was running her own label and going on tour with a band who's record she was putting out.

Inevitably I got in touch with Amy pretty sharpish and ordered not only a compilation that she'd put out in the late 90s that exclusively featured 'Picks' by QUIT, but also her novel and a tee (and a very small hoody). Given that I'd pretty much ordered the comp for one song, I was curious but wouldn't mind if the rest of the tracks didn't hit me quite as much. Boy, was I in for a shock; it very quickly became a favourite compilation (and I've listened to a lot of comps). Just like 'Picks', every track on it pretty much gels perfectly with my music taste; fast, super melodic skatepunk / melodic punk-rock that has that pure energy and rawness that you just don't get with FAT WRECK and EPITAPH bands. There are early tunes from NEW FOUND GLORY, CHRIS CARRABBA (of DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL) and his early band VACANT ANDYS (who were the band on Amy's first 7-inch), some more perfect melodic punk tunes from MILKSHED, DAN'S ARMY, PIVOT, ANCHORMAN, GOING NOWHERE, and ONE + ONE (love that guys vocals), the odd harder tune from bands like LAST MINUTE, and even some ska from POOPY PANTS and KING 7 AND THE SOULSONICS.

I've only listed about half of the bands here, but if you're into real skatepunk, every second of this will be perfect for you; I couldn't recommend it enough. I think the artwork is done by that guy who did loads of stuff for HOT WATER MUSIC too. Sometimes it's hard to get into new stuff as you get older, but this comp from 1998 blew me away in 2016. You can grab it from FIDDLER RECORDS or listen to the whole thing on Youtube. I can also highly recommend Amy's novel 'A Million Miles'.
Amy, you are awesome.


xox

Thursday, 15 June 2017

'Hang In There: A DIY Covers Compilation' review


'Hang In There: A DIY Covers Compilation' review


"This is a compilation that was put together by FOR THE SAKE OF TAPES to raise money for the mental health charity 'Mind', and it's easily one of the best ideas for a comp I've ever seen; all of your fave DIY / lo-fi punk bands doing covers of pop tunes from the 80s to present day. As soon as the comp started with TWO WHITE CRANES' acoustic take on BLINK 182's 'Adam's Song', followed by a great version of CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS' 'Tilted' by SUGGESTED FRIENDS, and WOLF GIRL doing a dreamy cover of 'I'm Not Okay' by MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE, I knew this was going to be a comp that I'd love. There are twenty-three tracks of similar brilliance here, with covers of HOLE, LE TIGRE, and BIKINI KILL by LITTLE FISTS, TOUGH TITS, and DREAM NAILS respectively, as well as pop bangers from KATY PERRY, SEAL, and THE BANGLES by FAGGOT, EMMA KUPA & ANKLES McGHEE and FIGHTMILK. The whole comp is bloody brilliant from start to finish to be honest, but my faves are CAT APOSTROPHE doing ROBYN's 'Dancing On My Own' (it probably helps that I love ROBYN, but this cover is darn good), JESUS AND HIS JUDGEMENTAL FATHER's cover of SHANIA TWAIN'S 'That Don't Impress Me Much', DANIEL VERSUS THE WORLD's absolutely stunning version of ERASURE's 'A Little Respect' (I literally couldn't believe how good this was), and THE POTENTIALS' cover of CHER's 'Believe', pretty much because they put some of that auto-tuning from the original on the vocals in the bridge / chorus and it made me cry with laughter. So yeah, an awesome comp for a great cause that you should check out now if not sooner."


xox

SOUTH GHOST - 'Absorb'

SOUTH GHOST - 'Absorb'

So yeah, Lee's doing another band; this one's called South Ghost and they've just uploaded their first tune to Youtube; it's got lo-fi neon woodsy synth-pop vibes, so if that sounds like your thing, feel free to give it a bash!




xox

Sunday, 28 May 2017

TROPHY EYES - 'Chemical Miracle' review


TROPHY EYES - 'Chemical Miracle' review


So these fellas from Australia play that big pop-punk crossed with new post-hardcore type thing, a bit like like BASEMENT and TURNOVER but a fair bit heavier (it might sound silly, but in places it even reminds me of SOILWORK's catchier stuff), and it's actually damn good; the contrast of styles is perfectly balanced, so we get some nice heavier tones and sections ('Rain on Me' is pretty blistering in places), but the anthemic choruses are also here in full force and had me from the first or second listen ('Nosebleed' and 'Breathe You In' especially), and the tracks 'Chemical' and 'Miracle' (see what they did there?) work as shorter, almost interlude type tracks, the latter of which is really touching. The last track is also an absolute beaut; I couldn't get the line 'I've got friends, but they don't love me like I love them' out of my head for a long time after hearing it. The lyrics to this album are quality throughout actually; really touching and quite harrowing in places. Favourite tracks for me are 'Home Is' and 'Suicide Pact' which are both incredible and probably a good representation of what you'll find on the rest of the album. Loved this far more than I thought I would, and can't help but highly recommend it.

https://trophyeyes.bandcamp.com/album/chemical-miracle

xox

Monday, 8 May 2017

AUSTEROS - 'I've Got This' review


AUSTEROS - 'I've Got This' review


Don't you just love that feeling when a part of a song just indescribably 'clicks' with you and gives you goosebumps? Well, the chorus to 'Dead Cells', the second track of this new EP by AUSTEROS, gave me exactly that feeling. If I were cool I'd probably say it gives me life, but I'll just say I had to replay it very quickly after first hearing it. This three-piece now located in Bristol play indie-punk in a relatively clean fashion with great, bright guitar melodies and catchy choruses with really cool vocal harmonies, all wrapped up in short, energetic pop punk tunes. I couldn't help but notice how much the vocalist sounds like Billie-Joe in old GREEN DAY, and actually musically it isn't far off (think everything before and including 'Warning'); chuck in some of THE ERGS, maybe MODERN BASEBALL if that's your thing, and NEIL YOUNG and you won't be far off I reckon. Best thing you could do would be to check this out for yourself though; every track is really strong, including a lovely, touching acoustic one half way through. Great stuff, and it also has awesome artwork!


xox

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

TANCRED – 'Out of the Garden' review



TANCRED – 'Out of the Garden' review


Crikey, how 90s is this?! For those that don't know, TANCRED is the side / solo project of Jess Abbott who played in the indie-pop band NOW NOW; I really loved her self-titled album, which was all at once dark, cynical, catchy, and funny, and though this is still characteristically TANCRED in some of those respects, it feels like much of the dark tone and atmosphere has been eschewed in favour of all out 90s fuzzy grunge rock, with more drive than reservation. The songs are still considerately structured with some uniquely odd lyrics, and Jess' vocal tone and melodies are as creative as ever, fluctuating between soft drones and surprising highs. A pretty cool album; just expect more fuzzy riffs than the dark and subtle emotion of her previous stuff. Check out the song 'Pens' (which even has a bit of a surf-rock vibe), and 'Swimming'.


xox

Sunday, 18 December 2016

WHATEVERS – 'Totally Buggin'' cassette review


WHATEVERS – 'Totally Buggin'' cassette review


Well, at seven tracks in probably as many minutes, this is one of the shortest tapes I own, but that doesn't make it any less great. WHATEVERS are a female two-piece (drums and guitars with dual vocals) who play very lo-fi pop-punk with funny lyrics and vocal melodies. It's pretty darn catchy with a bit of a 90s vibe, and you definitely won't forget songs like 'I Hope Not Sporadically', 'I Do Not Wear Polyester Hair' and 'Cher and Dionne' any time soon (those song-titles alone should give you a pretty good indication as to the tone of this stuff). A really fun little listen with cool artwork that also comes on a pink shell cassette; ace!


xox