I gave P.S. Eliot’s debut Bike Wreck Demo a fair few spins when it came out early last year- a fun, shambolic record that eventually fell apart into playful acapella nonsense. It was always gonna be interesting to see what a full-length sounded like- and with the band’s (relatively) recent Introverted Romance in Our Troubled Minds, my expectations of quirky quick-fire eloquence have been amply fulfilled.
Losing a lot of the appealingly chaotic lo-fi silliness towards a slightly more polished, accessible sound (think mid-career Pavement), the record is nonetheless a pretty awesome collection of songs. Don’t let the pop-punk label put you off- P.S. Eliot are perhaps most reminiscent of Lemuria, keeping the melodic memorability but with (to me) more lyrical strength. For a less referential summary, think intelligent fuzzy girl rock that works an understated, playful charm. A lot of the songs from the Demo EP crop up in more polished form here, including the fantastic Troubled Medium, an anthemically scuzzy slice of yelpy goodness that closes the album. Clocking in at just over half an hour, Introverted Romance… is a quick listen that rewards repeat listening.
Won’t keep y’all too long- just wanted to give a shout out for a band that need more love. Check out the band’s Myspace for some tunes, or their blog for sporadic horses-mouth type jazz.
Happy New Year 2010. In the words of the Steinways, “fuck, I feel old”.
Iron Chic – Shitty Rambo
First release on Dead Broke Rekerds from a melodic punk band featuring Latterman alumni Phil Douglas and Brian Crozier. Shitty Rambo is definitely an improvement on their debut release, but follows its lead by having a great first track followed by some lesser-but-still-good songs. There’s great use of gang vocals on occassion, but the band are still lyrically awkward, and the EP rarely goes beyond ‘good’. Well worth checking out, though hardly essential- and firmly behind Shorebirds in terms of post-Latterman projects. You can blag their Demo EP from If You Make It. Word.
Grynch – Chemistry
Meet Grynch, a promising (if egotistical) Seattle hip-hop artist- an odd choice for this blog, but still well worth a look. His new EP, Chemistry, was touted by Berkeley Place, and it’s a good call; Grynch has some great beats and his flow is smooth (yeah, I know, I feel awkward saying stuff like that as well). Aside from the odd and hilarious ode to his Volvo- and some good guest vocals- one of the best things about this EP its being free to download. A suprisingly polished product, Chemistry is a solid release, even to a non-expert like myself- and Grynch is a name to look out for.
Transit – Stay Home
Credit to CYSTSFTS for this one. This EP ticks all the right boxes- gang vocals, competent lyrics, good influences. The band have earned comparisons to Polar Bear Club, but the similarity is mostly in terms of technically unconventional song structures. This is firmly a pop-punk record, and a good one at that- even if it has enough hardcore and emo tinges to ensure that the band’s audience could increase massively. Stay Home is consistent throughout, although “Nameless” is particularly excellent. This record is on regular rotation at chez Mike- check out a couple of tracks here.
Lawrence Arms – Buttsweat and Tears
Offering serious competition to the Menzingers for the title of “EP of the year”, the Larry Arms are back with five tracks of searingly melodic punk rock awesomeness. There’s some of the band’s best material on here- “Spit Shining Shit” and “The Slowest Drink…” being my two particular favourites. Vocals are swapped in a much clearer way than their (definitive) last album, Oh Calcutta!, and the result is a suprising amout of variety for a short EP. As usual, the lyrics are out-fucking-standing. Download the track “Demons” here, and read what Brendan himself has to say about it here.
While most people I know are hitting the festival circuit or lapping up the latest electro hipster fad band, most folk round these parts seem to be more stoked for the upcoming Lawrence Arms and Frank Turner (and in my case, Banner Pilot) releases. But don’t despair, there’s plenty to keep y’all going in the meantime…
American Steel’s latest album, “Dear Friends and Gentle Hearts” drops this week, and it’s well worth a listen. For the uninitiated, the band have a couple of tracks from the album up on their Myspace profile. As does the aforementioned Mr. Turner.
Also, if you haven’t checked out the new Cobra Skulls and Dear Landlord album streams on Punknews, you should rectify that. The Cobra Skulls one doesn’t seem to be the full album, but it’s still well worth a listen.
Those truly at a loss for music-related timewasting can follow the progress on the Banner Pilot album on their Twitter page, or decipher Lawrence Arms news amidst the colourful rantings on Brendan Kelly’s blog.
Oh- and Passion Pit aren’t all that bad really. Can I still have my anti-hipster punk points though?
Sorry, Metro Station. You now longer hold the title of ‘worst music video ever recorded’.
Looking through a fellow blog’s review of a recent mc chris show, I was intrigued by the choice of supporting act- Florida’s genre-hopping Whole Wheat Bread.
The ‘pretentious English student’ part of me thinks that mc chris chose the band as an ironic inversion of accusations of cultural appropriation. Whatever they are, they’re definitely interesting- although i’ll be the first to admit i’m probably several years too old to be listening to them.
I’m pretty sure there’s a rule of music journalism that goes something like: “Bands that explicitly aim at genre crossover often come across as forced, whereas bands that try and merge influences and come out with something new are doing something more interesting”.
I’m not sure where these guys lie on that scale. I’m not even sure the whole thing isn’t some kind of clever postmodern joke.
The first single is of the Linkin Park variety, but the album as a whole takes itself less seriously. So- just another teen-friendly pop-punk band, or a sign of crossover potential? Any thoughts?
Oh, and no prizes for guessing the main musical influence on this one…
Hey hey! My name is Mike. On this day 23 years ago, I was born- as such, today seems the perfect day for my first post here. And just to mess with y’all, it’s gonna be another non-punk post. Sacrelicious!
Momus is a Scottish-born artist who’s been kicking around the outskirts of pop culture since before I even came into being. The music itself? Ironic pop which rips the piss out of whatever genre of music is contemporary to the time. Add in an obsession with sex and relentless self-analysis, mix with an embrace of technology and japanese mythology and you’ve got one the most interesting musicians around (at nearly 50, Momus is still frantically creating music, books and performative art).
In a feat of Jeff Rosenstock-equalling awesomeness, Momus recently released his first 6 albums for free- and given that they are getting on a bit, they’ve held up remarkably well. 1988’s “Tender Pervert” is probably his best, a coyly intellectual gay-themed album about sexual perversity released against the backdrop of an archly repressed Thatcherian Britain.
“The Homosexual” is a wonderfully bitchy song that straight/bi guys who got called “gay” through high school will revel in. “A Complete History of Sexual Jealousy Parts 17-24” showcases Momus’ self-deprecating wit. “Bishonen” and “The Charm of Innocence” are epic, short story-esque biographies. But there’s not a dud on here.
Download the whole album from here, read the insightful notes, then visit his blog here. You won’t regret it.
Well, that’s all I got. Peace!