Standard disclaimer time: This blog is really not meant for public consumption, although I appreciate every random reader from across the globe. The intended audience for this, which informs the way I write and describe/compare the music, is composed of the friends I’ve accumulated in my life with whom I’ve shared mutual enjoyment of music in the past. My purpose here is to attempt to foster or rekindle that facet of those relationships. Still, thanks for reading, whoever and wherever you are. Also, it doesn't matter whether it came out in 1997 or 2016. If I found out about it recently and I like it, I'll include it here.
Luca Brasi - If This Is All We're Going To Be
Counterpunch - Bruises
Somehow these Chicago skate-punk vets escaped my attention until now (shame on you, friends who were already aware), and their latest, this 2014 effort, is a blistering smorgasbord of metal-tinged skate-punk. They're on the label owned by NOFX's El Hefe, and they're obviously heavily influenced by the Fat sound, especially Strung Out. "Young and Entitled" stood out most to me on the first listen.
Belvedere - Revenge of the Fifth
Worship This! - Mint
Sport - Slow
The vibe is quite similar with Sport but leans more in the emo direction. Their previous album was one of my favorites of 2014 (#5 to be exact) and had a couple 5-star songs. They almost broke up, but found their mojo again during what supposed to be the final tour, and this is the result. It's consistent and solid, but it's not as dynamic as I was hoping for. Accordingly, I'd say you can't go wrong picking almost any song, except "Leaves", which has no percussion and therefore bores me.
Shitty Neighbors - Better Now
Let's keep the punk rock flowing as we turn our ears toward Toledo and enjoy this fantastic cover art. This one's an EP that came into my awareness thanks to Worship This shouting them out after a show they both played. It's solid, it shows massive potential, and all songs are equally worthy of sampling.
Saosin - Along The Shadow
I stayed cautiously optimistic after hearing original vocalist (also of Circa Survive and solo fame) Anthony Greene was making new music with these guys, and yet I was still kind of surprised when I found myself loving most of this. I like their first couple EPs (actually I downright love the first one) and the first full length (self-titled) with Cove Reber singing. It got spotty after that, and I haven't liked a Greene-associated project since Circa's On Letting Go, but I dare say everything has come together for me with the wide range of sounds and punk/metal sub-genres they adeptly demonstrate on this baby. Check out absolute ripper "The Secret Meaning of Freedom" (their first attempt at double-time beats - who does that 13 years into their career? That's so fucking cool!) and the more emo "The Stutter Says A Lot" for starters.
Fairlane/Ringfinger - split 12"
After highlighting Fairlane's latest EP in my last post, I checked out their 4 songs from this split, liked three of four, and ordered the LP from Floodlight Records. They're a good blend of mid to late 90's post-hardcore/emo/alternative (good god I hate that word), and each of their songs are worth at least a cursory listen, but I'll be damned if Delaware's Ringfinger didn't steal the emo show on this one. Check "Night Light" and then download their previous material from their bandcamp.
Elzhi - Lead Poison
Havoc & Alchemist - The Silent Partner
Well, kids, even though Alchemist is on an even bigger roll lately than he was in the late 90's, I still wasn't expecting much from this. I'm also not much into the ignorant thug rap anymore, but Mobb Deep gets grandfathered past that clause, plus Havoc actually sounds like he's getting a little more insightful as he ages (finally). The result is me honestly being pretty fucking blown away by how good this is. There's knock-you-on-your-ass percussion and piano stabs all over the place, creating the best and most consistent soundscape Hav has had since Hell On Earth. It's seriously that good. No bullshitting. I've unfortunately only given it 3 or 4 listens so far, but I can tell you "Impose My Will" and "Just Being Me" are good places to start. It's a god damn travesty this apparently has no vinyl destiny currently.
Apathy - Handshakes With Snakes
You may remember Ap from as far back as 2000 ("The Smackdown" was a hell of an introduction), around the AudioGalaxy days. He has been fairly consistent over the years, with the Honkey Kong album probably being his pinnacle for me considering "Check To Check" is my favorite song of his, but I don't think he has ever made a home run album. That might've changed here. I never really realized how good of a producer he was until now, as he crafted every beat here. I've admittedly only heard most songs once, and I do remember one with a truly awful/embarrassing chorus, but check "Charlie Brown" and "Blow Ya Head Off" for good examples of what I speak. It was pretty damn sweet to have two huge surprises from old heads (this and Havoc) this time around.
Timeless Truth - Cold Wave
Pretty cool cover art, huh? The Large Professor-produced "Wavelength" (see first video) is just as cool. Apparently I've been sleeping on these guys for a good 5 years, which is a shame, and they have at least one other EP and LP that I'll be checking out with my next batch.
Thanks for reading! Come back again in October. I'll be neck deep in Rex Ryan hatred by then.