Music Advance Reviews (36)
I know that I came across Banquets a bit late, but I have been a fan of the Banquets since their self-titled album came across my desk a few years ago. And ever since then, I have waited for their releases and splits like I used to wait for bands in high school. They were the perfect balance of punk attitude and pop hooks. They were fucking infectious. They had the songs that you couldn’t help but turn way up, sing along, and smile.
I feel like I don’t have to write these intros anymore, when it comes to the Rentiers. Just reference this Rentier’s review, or this or this, from when Joel was in another band. So you get the point right? I’m a fan. You know what I think of his music and artistry. So lets just get down to the music on this EP, Black Metal Yoga / Drunks and Stoners.
A few years ago (maybe two?) Big Awesome released the Birdfeeder EP, it was 4 tracks that simply ended too soon. Now, they have finally released Party On which is their first full length. Party On is a record that ebbs and flows and takes you in surprising directions.
I am obsessed with the first track, What Grows Up Must Come Down, though I am not quite sure how to articulate why. It is an alternative track with a killer hook and a 80s new wave vibe. It has this visceral quality that hit you right in the gut and starts haunting you.
Hooper, gives the listener a feeling of intimacy, the track is filled with insight references and specific names, yet we never feel alienated, since the subject is so universal. “when I was young, those were the days / before we went our separate ways / we met each night between those streets...this has made me the person I've become”. Wolf is a chaotic indie garage rock track that approached you aggressively with them music then punches you in the guy with it’s lyrics and what they infer, “I heard the words you spoke to me / but they just ran right through my skull / I never thought you were serious / you were always crying wolf / I owe you a big apology / I owe you a little more respect”.
To Live and Die In The Dirty South is a song that seems a bit hopeless, and the lyrics are full of resignation, “I've been here eight years and nothing's changed / a few more roads don't mean a thing / there's nothing I can do and nothing I can use...I've watched this fire burn / and turn into a pile of coals / this town seems to bury me” and while Party On starts off echoing those sentiments “but I'm too tired to turn around again / I look all over and I find love at the end” it takes a turn “I'm picking up again / I'm moving straight ahead / I can see a light at the end”.
Warnings has a chaotic creepy kind of vibe and Birdfeeder pt II (The Reckoning) is a messy track (and I mean that in all the best ways) with a killer extended metaphor. “I've been feeding birds again / the kindness spreads around / they've landed on my bench again...I have given all I could give / but then I realize I'm wrong / as long as I have love to give...I watch them fly away again / it hurts to say goodbye / I watch them flying back again...I pick my head up and see / the beauty that surrounds me”.
Through some of the lyrical content I started to put the pieces of the puzzle together, an attitude, a vibe, a reference to Cafe Metro until it all came together. One of the band members spent sometime in my hometown area, going to the same venues and being exposed to the same awesome scene. I am not sure if the connection to this album comes from that frame of reference, or if that will spread across to all of those punk who grew up in small town scenes, but I’ll always root for some hometown band members.
Party On’s sound is true to what we loved about Birdfeeder, it is still the hybrid of emo/indie/garage rock that was awesome about, but it is more mature and robust.
It is no secret that I am somewhat old fashioned…I don’t know where my phone is more than half the time, I still read books on paper, I don’t respond to emails and messages promptly, I miss having flyers in my back pocket, I miss albums, and cds, and tapes. But, I must say, that this internet age of connectedness has put me in contact with some amazing people. One of them being Joel Tannenbaum from Plow United, Ex-Friends, and now The Rentiers. Through PR people and this great internet, Joel reached out to me and I have had the opportunity to gain insight into the music in a way that I wouldn’t have a few years ago, and it’s always exciting to get an email with a new link in it.
Violent Soho is an Australian band who is carrying on the tradition of grunge/indie/alternative in their home country to sold out tours. We here in the states seem to just be hearing about them thanks to Side One Dummy. Their latest release, Hungry Ghost, is a furry filled record that will accost American fans.
Sunken Monkey is a straight forward pop punk band and Party Scars is an album full of super catchy and fun tracks with a heavy guitar and drum combination. They are not afraid to sing out or get a hook stuck in your head most times in under 3 minutes. That’s What She Said may have the catchiest use of “fuck you” that I have ever heard, Too Old For This Shit was made to sing along to, and After All shows a more serious side of the band (though never too serious). I am usually not a fan of the random acoustic track on an album, but Til Death Do Us Party is actually pretty damn good, it has a great gruff raw quality to it (and it is just as unsentimental as the title would lead you to believe).
As I was trying to boil down the virtues of this record, I went back and forth, trying to put my finger on exactly what drew me to it. It ends up it is something underneath all the music and all the lyrics, what makes this album appealing, is that you can tell that they are just having a damned good time. The album is personal, but in a not too serious, I don’t fucking care what you think sort of way. Excited to see where these guys will grow.
Okay, I seriously have been listening to this album nonstop in my car, it hasn’t even occurred to me to put in another album, I just let this one start over…again and again. Gnarwolves’ self-titled album is one of my favorite albums that I have had the pleasure of reviewing. It is loud, fast, aggressive punk rock, with a melody and a soul.
Okay, so, Living Room’s sound is not my typical style, but Moonchaser accosted and grabbed me immediately. Every single track on Moonchaser is robust, layered, raw, and honest – all those elements make up a special album. Living Room made me sit up straight by forcing me note of the art of the music and pure emotion that was poured out in each of these songs. It feels intensely personal, it is pure emotion, layered out in three minute(ish) bursts.
Do you all need another Ex Friends review from me? Too bad. I am a big fan, and the Animal Needs EP is no exception. It is fast, fun, upbeat, and solid punk rock. The pairing of female and male vocals on Don’t Do It Like That are great, they work together in sections and bicker in others (kind of like the musical version of a concrete poem). Real Life is an old school punk track, full of attitude and snarls and barely a moment to breathe. Word Police is a tongue in cheek slightly vulgar good time song. And Fadeage is my pick for best track on here, not only is there a saxaphone in the middle, it is the fullest track. It has the great attitude that the rest of the EP does, but it has some awesome hooks, and great depth. Also, it has the gravely vocals that I love and make a point to mention in every review, so here it is for this one, they rock in this track.
As a recent transplant to Pittsburgh, I am still hesitant to think of myself as a local, and have a price in local bands, but man, I am super psyched that White Wives are a local band. At the very least, that means that they will play some Pittsburgh shows.