Monday, June 30, 2014

Pinback - Information Retrieved Pt. B 7"

Pinback – Information Retrieved Pt. B 7”
Temporary Residence, 2011
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2013
Price: $1
Despite not knowing what band made this 7”, I bought it based on the really pretty cover art. With a little research at home, I discovered that this is the second of three 7”s Pinback released for Record Store Day in 2011. The three 7”s featured singles from the group’s most recent LP: 2012’s Information Retrieved. The 7” was supposed to come in a paper sleeve that listed the vital information (and even included Pinback/Record Store Day evidence tape!). I’m a fan of fun packaging, and the evidence theme of this 7” is a neat enough treat that it outweighs my hate for bands leaving their goddamn band name off the goddamn record and sleeve. Even more fun: the b-side ends in a locked groove that plays an “annoying, high pitched mechanical noise,” which is listed on the fake evidence form that comprises the inside of the sleeve. Oh yeah, and I suppose there are songs, too. BUT THAT PACKAGING! Pinback has always been one of those bands that I’ll enjoy while listening to their music, but totally forget what they sound like the second it stops playing. It’s the same way with Broken Social Scene. Totally fine, technically well crafted, but lacking whatever it is that encourages memorability. I am making it sound worse than it actually is. A-Side “True North” is a lovely piece of moody indie rock with a bit of prog-rock influence tossed in for good measure. The band is tight and the music is enjoyable, but I just can’t pin down what is missing. But in all likelihood, nothing is missing and this just doesn’t press my buttons the way it might press the buttons of others. The b-side “Cload ‘Q’” is just as good, and I’m thinking maybe Pinback’s place in my catalog is as a band that crafts excellent background music. These tracks seems perfect for late night illustration sessions.

"True North"

Friday, June 27, 2014

Wilson Pickett - "I'm in Love" 45

Wilson Pickett – “I’m in Love” 45
Atlantic, 1967
Acquired: Crossroads Music Exchange, Used, 2013
Price: $1

Considering that Wilson Pickett cannot be fucked with, I knew this one was probably going to be a safe bet. In my head, “I’m in Love” was going to be Pickett’s version of the John Lennon penned “I’m in Love” (sapped of all emotion by the Fourmosts who popularized the track). Though the time period is right, I don’t know why I thought this was going to be that song, but at a buck, with someone as eternally excellent as Pickett, there was no reason not to take a chance. This “I’m in Love” (written by Bobby Womack, who wrote many of Pickett’s late 60s hits) is an impassioned, soulful ballad that doesn’t even have to try. It floats on a mournful little guitar riff and Pickett’s croon. Horns show up on the chorus with the backing vocals to round out a terrific single. B-Side “Stag-O-Lee” is Pickett’s boisterous rendition of the traditional folk tune “Stagger Lee” about a pimp wasting a dude in order to get back his brand new Stetson hat after losing it in a hand of cards. It’s rather grisly murder ballad towards the end, but that only makes the pairing with the upbeat R&B more entertaining.

"I'm in Love" 


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Pest 5000 - "Cold Feet" 7"

Pest 5000 – “Cold Feet” 7”
Derivative!, 1996
Acquired: Love Garden Shotgun Room, Used, 2008
Price: $.25
Canadian group Pest 5000 operated from 1993-1997, and it really doesn’t get any more mid 90s than that. Their sound is like a warm blanket. I have a very strong connection to that time period in regard to music. It’s when I did a good deal of growing up, and when I started developing my taste in music. Not to say it was good taste, but I realized that the glossy mainstream pop that we listened to when the neighbors carpooled us to school was unappealing and that I’d much rather listen to the glossy mainstream alternative rock that co-dominated the radio waves in that post-Nirvana period. Gin Blossoms, Goo Goo Dolls, Everclear, Bush, Dishwalla. Those bands got scratched into my soul over the various summers of my youth. Pest 5000’s lo-fi indie pop was the alternative to the alternative. While they were also benefactors of the grungy atomic bomb that hit the reset button on popular music in 1991. “Cold Feet” is a fuzzy, catchy little number that deserves to be played on repeat. It isn’t as dated as a lot of the music from that period and sounds a lot like the bedroom pop being crafted by thousands of twentysomethings in 2014 (the more experimental, electro leaning b-side “Where the Moon is” doesn’t hold up nearly as well). Pest 5000 win extra points for having released one of the last 7”s on the bygone and beloved Harriet Records label. In the group’s five-year lifespan, they released one full length LP, an album of b-sides and remixes, and a handful of 7”s. It’s a respectable offering from a period where bands seemed to exist for a couple of 7”s and vanished off the face of the earth (or, more likely, were dissolved into other bands).

"X-ing Things," from the band's lone LP Interabang. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Gut Feeling: A Sunny Day in Glasgow - Sea When Absent

A Sunny Day in Glasgow – Sea When Absent
Lefse Records, 2014
Fewer things are satisfying than falling head over heels in love with a band upon the release of their fourth album. It means there are three more records to devour and an opportunity to trace the band’s evolution from their humble beginnings to the moment they blew your mind. A Sunny Day in Glasgow craft a weird and wonderful alchemical pop music. It’s like electro pop, but the electronics and synthesizers are muted, distorted and subdued to a point where they feel totally organic. They feel like a ripe, fuzzy peach, buoyed by the sweet, often tandem, vocals of Annie Fredrickson and Jen Goma, with the guitars occasionally slicing through and adding both a sense of grandness to these humble bedroom pop arrangements.

Despite the group’s American roots, their sweet, hazy pop songs recall a gentler My Bloody Valentine and feel like an evolved version of the Sarah Records bands of yesteryear. Though the songs aim for the ethereal, they always feel personal. The songs are so intimate that it seems like a bit of trickery that there wasn’t a time during Sea When Absent’s recording when the whole band was together in the same room. But then again, the modern world excels at keeping us connected to each other even when we are far apart, and this album feels like a testament to technology’s double-edged sword. It’s a great record to put on, sit back, and soak up.

"In Love With Useless"

Friday, June 20, 2014

P.E.Z. - Poser in My Bedroom 7"

P.E.Z. – Poser in My Bedroom 7”
K, 1996
Acquired: Love Garden Shotgun Room, Used, 2008
Price: $.25
Olympia duo P.E.Z. deliver a pleasant form of bedroom pop a la Built to Spill and any number of mid-90s bands from the Pacific Northwest who championed heartfelt indie pop with just the slightest bit of strangeness peppered in to really give the era a unique stamp. Modest Mouse is another obvious touchstone, which makes a ton of sense as band member (and producer) Steve Wold (AKA Seasick Steve) produced their debut LP This is a Long Drive For Someone With Nothing to Think About in addition to providing his own folksy contributions via slide guitar and mandolin. Fellow P.E.Z.zer Scott E. Schuster is apparently a ghost, seeing as his only listed contributions on Discogs are this 7” and P.E.Z.’s 1994 LP w.a.i.t.i.n.g. Though both tracks on this 7” tend to meander on a bit too long, they don’t overstay their welcome and both are wonderful, laid back jams.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cancelled Concert Review: Guided by Voices in Lawrence, KS

Cancelled Concert Review: Guided By Voices at the Granada
Lawrence, Kansas
“I just bought tickets to the Guided by Voices show” were words I never thought I would ever get to utter, much less twice. The first time I got to say them was in 2010 when GBV reunited. I impulsively found the closest city they were playing (Minneapolis) and bought tickets. I didn’t know anyone in Minneapolis, and I didn’t care. We were going. It was one of the best nights of my life, and Jenny and I were so charmed by the Twin Cities that we ended up moving there for a year and a half. Thanks, GBV.

The second time I got to say those aforementioned words was a couple months ago when I saw that GBV were touring in support of their latest reunion album Cool Planet (although it might as well be all six of the albums they have released since reuniting). I saw they were playing Lawrence, and my heart skipped a beat. Then I found my mother in law’s laptop and ordered tickets for me and my brother Ethan. All with a newborn baby on my lap, trying to ensure entry to the Promised Land and keep the little one from crying.

I proceeded to plan the next couple of months around that show. All anxieties were mitigated by the fact that very soon I would be seeing my favorite band for a second time. It was a minor miracle, I couldn’t wait. It was my Father’s Day gift to myself. Two days before the show, I got an e-mail from the ticket servicing site saying that my tickets would be refunded because the show had been canceled. My heart broke. I’ve had my heart broken a couple of times in the past, and this felt just like that. Real ache. Betrayal. All the hopes you had squashed like a bug under a steel toed boot. Right before starting a shift at work, no less. It ruined my day. Things seemed a little bit more dull. It was like the Christmas morning after the Grinch stole Christmas. There would be no burritos, there would be not playing catch in the park with my brother beforehand, there would be no jars of beer at Harbor Lights, there would be no fist pumping and celebrating with my Lawrence bros who understand the deep, metaphysical pull of Dayton Ohio’s Finest. Only the infinite sadness.

I want to think that it’s no one’s fault. Shit happens. These guys have personal lives, and I can only believe it was some sort of personal matter that would cause GBV to cancel a show. The more cynical part of my brain immediately went to “Well, if these guys stopped drinking so hard maybe they’d be up for playing! THEY’RE GETTING TOO OLD TO DRINK A BOTTLE OF TEQUILA ON STAGE EVERY NIGHT!” It makes it hurt a little more not getting an explanation. Just a “we’re not playing your town anymore.” I wonder if they didn’t sell enough tickets to warrant a stop in a small market that most bands usually ignore. It felt special that they were coming through Lawrence again (they came through last year, when I was still in Minnesota, and I heard stories from basically everyone I knew about how great it was. But then again, when would it not be great?).

Alas, a great day is lost and who knows if the date will be made up. I’m particularly “Aw man” about it because since becoming a dad, I basically don’t have time to go to shows anymore. It’s a trek to either Lawrence or Kansas City from out here in the sticks and I didn’t even make it to Larryville when the Hold Steady came through last April. AND I ALWAYS GO SEE THE HOLD STEADY NO MATTER WHAT (Note: I didn’t go out of solidarity, because my wife is just as big a fan as I am and it would have felt wrong singing along to all our favorite songs without her). It was going to be a day of existing as a dude, something I haven’t had in a very long time. Maybe this is what hell is like. You find out Guided by Voices is coming. You get yourself worked up. And then they cancel two days before the show. Fire, pitchforks, pff. Eternal Torture for me is the void where a classic night of rock and roll and drinking should have been.  

I’m going to choose to believe that Mitch Mitchell took a fistful of magic mushrooms and wandered off into the desert and it took them three days to find him. Or Bob Pollard needed a liver transplant. Or maybe he got arthritis from too many leg kicks, who knows. Those are viable excuses. If they cancelled because they booked a late night TV gig (which wouldn’t be the first time Lawrence was given the shaft because of Letterman, etc) or because they didn’t sell enough tickets, that’s some inexcusable shit. I mean, not inexcusable enough to cause my rabid GBV love to falter or to buy tickets the second they go on sale when if they make up this gig. I’m upset, but I just can’t stay mad at the greatest band of all time. Besides, seeing a band I never thought I'd ever get to see twice would be cheating the Gods.

The Patchy Skies - "Markings" 7"

The Patchy Skies – “Markings” 7”
Extra Small, 2006
Acquired: KJHK Music Staff, New, 2007
Price: $0
It’s absolutely amazing how much music gets made and recorded. Just unfathomable. So much so that sometimes music, like this 7” from San Franciscan all-girl lo-fi bedroom-pop trio The Patchy Skies sounds like white noise. The hooks are unremarkable, the recording muddled (almost assuredly by design), and it’s hard to differentiate this from any of the myriad quasi-punk lo-fi bands who operated in the mid-00s. This feels like a standard KJHK music staff review from that era. The gravel you dig through and occasionally stumble across a nugget of gold. There’s nothing wrong with gravel, it’s fine, even necessary, but ultimately I can’t even remember what these songs sound like five minutes after listening to them. The significance of The Patchy Skies is that they were the starting point for frontwoman Jess Scott for her next band Brilliant Colors, who released two Black Tambourine-y records on Black Tambourine’s label Slumberland (the ultimate purveyors of hazy throwback dreampop).

Here's the Brilliant Colors track "'Round Your Way." For the Patchy Skies, imagine this, but recorded in a dumpster.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Parliament - "Chocolate City" 45

Parliament – “Chocolate City” 45
Casablanca, 1975
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2009
Price: $1

Though the shoddy quality of the vinyl makes this track pretty difficult to listen to, the fantastic satire of Parliament’s “Chocolate City” comes through loud and clear. “God bless CC and its vanilla suburbs,” George Clinton sings midway through a song full of excellent one-liners. “They still call it the White House, but that’s a temporary condition too, can you dig it CC?” is a great one. Clinton & Co strike a perfect balance of tongue-and-cheek (“Richard Pryor, secretary of education”) and searing social commentary (“Hey, uh, we didn’t get our forty acres and a mule/ But we did get you, CC, heh, yeah”). Where Parliament are best known for their weirdness and unbeatable funkiness, “Chocolate City” grooves on a powerful, yet minimalist bass line, some synthesizers, terrific backing vocals, and a spoken word delivery to pay tribute to the inner cities abandoned by white folks and acquired by African-American communities almost by proxy. Though the song has a fine sense of humor, it has an even finer desire to forge a sense of unity, community, and pride amongst the inhabitants of the “Chocolate Cities” popping up across America throughout the 70s (“We’ve got Newark/ We’ve got Gary/ Someone even told me we got LA/ And we’re working on Atlanta”). It’s potent stuff, perfect for a college essay on America’s often troubled relationship with African-American culture.

"Chocolate City"

Friday, June 13, 2014

Gut Feeling: Tigers Jaw - Charmer

Tigers Jaw – Charmer
Run for Cover, 2014
I love a good break-up album, but it’s another beast entirely when the break-up in question is the band producing the record. During the recording of Charmer, Tigers Jaw effectively parted ways. Three of the five members walked out, but not before finishing the band’s third album like a parting gift. That knowledge hangs over Charmer like a black cloud, but the saddest thing is that this album is fantastic and even though the two remaining members of the band claim they’re going to soldier on, this incarnation of Tigers Jaw is effectively kaput.

While Tigers Jaw doesn’t break much new ground, their brand of emo-revival infused indie rock is both catchy and emotionally gratifying, which is super satisfying. The album’s title doesn’t lie; this one is an absolute charmer. Despite a pretty standard indie rock set-up, the band’s pop-punk roots show in their gift for a good hook. There is a surprising amount of diversity in the vocals, which not only keeps things fresh but also keeps the perpetual emotional resonance churning.

Despite the upbeat tunes, these songs are deeply felt. I don’t know if people are into that, it seems like it might be uncool to get ultra emotional in music, or maybe it’s coming back (see: the aforementioned emo-revival). Does that bother these bands? The emo tag? I’d like to think they’re above it and embrace the tag because A.) it’s true and B.) it’s way more in the spirit of Sunny Day Real Estate than Dashboard Confessional. Or maybe, in Tigers Jaw’s case, less Sunny Day Real Estate, more a less dramatic Brand New with a little Morrissey moroseness peppered in for good measure.

Details of the band’s demise are pretty hazy, but the minor triumph they’ve left behind stands on its own. I suppose it’s better to have your crowning achievement be the thing that destroyed you, because at least you know at the end of everything it was worth it. Charmer is one of those albums that reminds me that a band needn’t reinvent the wheel for me to sing their praises. Honestly, a solid record embedded with tangible passion is usually enough to make me happy. Which is why I have listened to this record twenty times in the last week. Honestly, over the past 13 years, every time I listen to a record I think about what I’m going to write when I write about it. My brain is broken that way. Since I was old enough to care about music, I started writing about it, and this album somehow managed to shut down (or at least numb) that part of my brain for a good while. I had to catch myself just enjoying the music, getting lost in the gorgeous boy/girl harmonies that occasionally pop up here and there. The simple yet soulful quasi-solos. The little keyboard lines that seems to run through all the songs like a common thread. I kept thinking about how thankful I was that this album even got finished. It made me contemplate the mortality of all the pleasure I took in listening to this record on repeat. Sometimes it’s just nice to be thankful. To enjoy what you enjoy, appreciate what you can while you can, and get lost in the tunes.


"Nervous Kids"

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Nicole Panter - The Story Lady 7"

Nicole Panter – The Story Lady
Kill Rock Stars, 1996
Acquired: Love Garden Shotgun Room, Used, 2008
Price: $.25
The back of this 7” warns: “CONSUMER ADVISTORY: THE ENCLOSED VINYL CONTAINS PROSE!!!” Fair warning! I clearly didn’t see it when I picked this up, but even if I had, the Kill Rock Stars logo on the back was like a seal of endorsement and, at a whole quarter, impossible not to purchase. What we have here is a micro audiobook on wax. Four short stories by the former manager of the Germs. Most of the stories failed to harness my rather short attention span and was promptly returned to a massive stack of recently acquired 7”s. Listening now I enjoy these tales more. There is one about westernized Indian food (and food in the western world in general) compared to the food in actual drought-ridden India was particularly striking. Traveling through India Panter notes, “the eyes of these people lance me. They are not angry, they are not hostile, they are simply hungry.” Another potent piece is “Fuck You Punk Rock/77” which plays almost like slam poetry but is really just an impassioned recollection of punk rock being used as a tool for belonging from someone who was there. While it’s a little odd finding stories on a 7”, there’s a certain power to the way the needle spins over nothing at the end of the heartbreaking and harrowing story from a fucked up upbringing (the lone track that populates the b-side, “The Baby”) that makes the whole thing hit you like a ton of bricks.

None of these tracks are available at the web, but there is a spoken word track up on Panter's bygone Myspace page. The graphic sexuality of the piece had me blushing so hard I couldn't even dig for the embed code. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Gut Feeling: Say Anything - Hebrews

Say Anything – Hebrews
Equal Vision, 2014
Hebrews needs to be held up as a perfect example of when good intentions and great ambition produce incredibly problematic results. Usually an album that succeeds occasionally does so on a song-by-song basis, but Hebrews can go from awesome to awful at a moments notice. A track with a terrible verse can have an incredibly satisfying chorus (“Kall Me Kubrick”) and vice versa. Max Bemis can make his voice sound impassioned and insane (not the good kind) from second to second. It’s just troublesome because you can tell he is very into the words he is spewing. It’s all incredibly personal, but there are WAY too many references to pissing and too many silly lines that make this lyrics sheet feel like a stream of consciousness word salad that Bemis never bothered to whittle into strong songwriting. Bemis’ occasionally grating vocals make the worst lines particularly agonizing, but hey, that’s part of the experience. I guess.

The decision to replace the band’s usual guitars with a goddamn orchestra is a bold one, and while it somehow makes the record less dynamic, it’s at least an interesting move. An iffy one, but points for trying. It definitely sounds like fun was being had, and if this breaking out of the comfort zone helps the band make a better follow-up, that’s fine, but overall Hebrews feels misguided. Or maybe this is just Say Anything. I should probably confess that I haven’t listened to a one of their albums since their breakout 2004 gem …Is a Real Boy and while I wasn’t exactly expecting the music here to match the emo-heavy pop-punk of that album, I think I expected more restraint (I just spent a half hour getting caught up on the band’s singles from the last 10 years and goddamnit, another mixed bag. I particularly liked “Shiksa (Girlfriend)” and thought “Baby Girl, I’m a Blur” was some of the most neutered, watered down shit I have ever heard, which is insane since not only are these tracks on the same album, they’re sequenced side by side). Bemis comes across as a guy with a lot of interesting things to say but lacks a way to articulate the shit in his head in a way that makes it meaningful. It’s obvious he’s a deep dude who grapples with faith, love, new fatherhood, and culture on a regular basis and he’s very endearing, but some of this shit is just embarrassingly bad. He even sings the line “Some say I’ve lost my touch at crafting Say Anything songs” on “Lost My Touch.” The line is supposed to be a stab at the critics, but might be a more personally self-critical.

Now that I’m done pissing in this records mouth (seriously, the references to mouthpissing on this album are infectious), I should note that while Hebrews is a total mess, there are some really terrific moments. Namely Hebrews’ showstopping standout “The Shape of Love to Come” (featuring ethereal backing vocals from Bemis’ wife Sherri Dupree-Bemis, who is all over this album in voice and subject matter as you’d expect) which caught me off guard. Probably because it’s the most restrained track on the record: the one where Bemis really reigns in all of his bad tendencies towards theatricality and gets to the meat of something meaningful. It’s an incredible sweet love song punctuated by huge, melodramatic strings. Another boon for Hebrews is the fantastic array of guest vocalists Say Anything were able to wrangle. Gareth and Kim Campesinos from Los Campesinos!, Chris Conley of Saves the Day, Matt Pryor of the Get Up Kids, Aaron Weiss of mewithoutyou, and Bob Nanna of Hey Mercedes make up a rogues gallery of emo greatness, so that’s a plus, but damnit if they can’t find anything more meaningful for most of these people to do than sing backing vocals. It’s the thought that counts, but the problems with Hebrews are systemic. Still, it’s better to be overly ambitious and fail than to be some soulless alternative rock radio band and even though this record is full of groan-worthy moments, it’s at least an album I can respect.

"Judas Decapitation"

"Nibble Nibble" 

 Stray Observations:

* Given Bemis’ love of theatricality, Hebrews would make a better one man show on Broadway than a music album.
* “American indie rock is a game of pricks!” Ha!
* The orchestral music is actually quite beautiful at times, particularly on “Kall Me Kubrick,” which unfortunately devolves into Bemis saying the word “Swastika” a hundred times with a mouth full of marshmallows. The line “let the Bemis die alone” is just one example of the painful self-awareness that haunts Hebrews
* “She moved to Italy with Johnny Depp/ He swooped in quick on his jet when he left.” Oof.

* Bemis’ biggest examination of his Jewish heritage, “Push,” strikes a nice balance between theatricality and restraint. The song gets a little histronic towards the end, but it’s as forgivable as any of the other faults with Hebrews because at least it’s impassioned.
* Hell, maybe the lack of guitars was the problem all along. The guitars come flooding back in on closer "Nibble Nibble" and they do a fine job balancing the whole affair in a way that I wish the whole album sounded like that song. But I understand. Every band has to do a record that sounds totally unlike their other albums. Destroyer's Your Blues, Kanye West's 808s and Heartbreak, the as of yet unwritten album I'm going to write composed of samples of drops of blood falling into a bowl of my own tears. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Gut Feeling: Fucked Up - Glass Boys

Fucked Up – Glass Boys
Matador, 2014
Glass Boys feels like a breather, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. For a band that has spent so much time crafting high concept albums (2011’s absolutely brilliant, exhausting, and convoluted David Comes to Life) and EPs (namely their Chinese Zodiac series, each featuring a lengthy track) Fucked Up’s latest long player plays like good old fashioned hardcore punk rock. It feels like a normal record, and there’s nothing wrong with that. There is a normal number of tracks (10) and a normal running time (just over 40 minutes) and plays like a culmination of all the great work Fucked Up have been doing throughout their highly prolific and exclusively excellent career.

Fucked Up’s greatest asset, an ability to craft songs that are both highly aggressive and highly melodic, is in top form here. Pink Eyes may play the part of a traditional punk singer (lots of screaming, lots of bleeding) but unlike your everyday screamers, his bark has so many different shades and tones. The way he can subtly layer melodies into the vocals in a genre where they’re traditionally a flat wash of noise is at least deft and at most masterful. There’s so much personality and truth in his delivery, and it’s exactly what is needed to compete with the rest of the band’s stunning compositions. Hardcore punk was never supposed to sound this beautiful, this deliberate, or this crisp. The riffs bleed anthemic and occasionally crib classic rock to take things to another level, the harmonies occasionally float in to offset Pink Eyes’ holler with great effect, and the drumming, Jesus Christ, Jonah Falco’s drumming takes on a life of its own.

Glass Boys finds a band firing on all cylinders and coasting on greatness. There aren’t any big changes, no bold maneuvers, just a group of Canadians at the top of their game, playing punk that is so tight, engaging, and intelligent that you just kind of have to set aside 40 minutes to soak it up like a sponge. It’s an immensely satisfying effort that, despite lacking the over-ambitiousness of the band’s last couple of albums, should find itself lodged near the top of the band’s catalog when all is said and done. Which, I’m only assuming, won’t be anytime soon.

"Sun Glass" 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Pain - "Jabberjaw" 7"

Pain – “Jabberjaw” 7”
Springman, 1999
Acquired: Springman Mail Order, New, 2002
Price: $4
Oh man, I’ve been dragging this one around for years. This was one of the first 7”s I ever bought. It was those halcyon days where I’d just gone to a ska show and was VERY into the possibilities of ska punk. That lasted a few months. Long enough for me to get a bevy of vinyl from Asian Man Records and Springman Records. The words “ska punk” is used derisively by pretty much everyone who thinks they know better, but these three songs are pure joy. The horns aren’t obnoxious and are used more to accent these funny little pop songs.


Monday, June 2, 2014

P.A. - "No Blue Dye" 7"

P.A. – “No Blue Dye” 7”
Cass Records, 2005
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2010
Price: $.25 

This was purchased in a great era of 7” buying. Between 2008-2011 I bought almost exclusively 7”s. LPs had just become too rich for my blood. I had to start paying back my student loans, I’d quit my job at the public library, and there just wasn’t an extra $40 to blow on records every couple weeks. What was I supposed to do? The solution: Buy records that looked moderately cool for bargain basement prices. So I ended up with a lot of records like this P.A. 7”: Records that looked like they might be gems but ended up being wholly average. This 7” is enjoyable but recalls the post-Franz Ferdinand/Arcade Fire indie rock boom of the mid-00s before guitars were wholly overtaken by computers and skinny jeans. Could be worse, but it basically sounds like the white noise machine we use to get Rosie to sleep. P.A. is not an easily searchable band name, but I was able to glean that the band was from Detroit.