I have a stack of CD’s sitting on my desk here at work, all waiting, begging, pleading with me to listen and review them. I also, on an almost daily basis, come across or am directed to bands online that have records streaming or available for download or just wanting my patronage. And it sort of sucks because I love discovering new bands but god, so many of them are really bad. It’s difficult to sift through them all and find the gems.
You occasionally do find them though, and then I end up wasting the whole day trying to friend them on Myspace and listening to them when I should be filing stuff or making information packets or writing the news. And then I struggle to write a review of their record or demo or a little mention somewhere so that they can get some deserved press. So I’ve decided to just lump them all together into one big thing. So, here we go;
First up in today’s cattle drive of cacophony is Tigers Jaw. Surprisingly tight, fast, and melodic pop, this Scranton PA’s band S/T full-length really isn’t done justice by the press release. It says “indie”, but it sort of sounds like what Scream Hello is trying to do, a maturation of pop-punk that isn’t mopey or vaguely flailing at trying to be grandiose. I mean it’s not perfect (to be honest the vocals sound like it could be anyone from a number of other bands out there right now) but I could see myself definitely listening to this more than once, it’s in the vein of a more upbeat Paper Moons, who I’m a fan of. Tigers Jaw aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel, or themselves for that matter. Which is fine by me.
Young Lady are a little artsy. Which to be totally honest, coming from a bunch of guys who used to be in bands like Boysetsfire and one of my local favorites (before their breakup) Dear Tonight, doesn’t surprise me. But this isn’t necessarily another “artsy” hardcore band. They sent me nudes and love letters through Myspace (ok that’s sort of a lie) and lo and behold, here I am. A less technical These Arms Are Snakes comes to mind, that sort of mix of hardcore influences but with a definite melodic, experimental, almost jazzy(?) edge that reminds you they’re right on the line between totally flipping out and totally geeking out. I like it, I’m stoked to see where this band’ll go.
I got Drink Tea by I Am The Branch in the mail from a record label, who’d asked if I would be interested in reviewing some of their bands. Sure, why not. Even though, as I sat and listened to it, it’s not really my thing. Apparently floating between a full band and just a solo project for Robbie Pieshke, this is soft, ambient music, drawing on indie rock’s lighter side (if such a thing exists), strings, acoustic guitars, and emotions that I normally just keep bottled up inside for my own good. I’m sure if I was more “into” experimental folkish/indie music like this or Bright Eyes or Pedro The Lion or whatever, I’d love this. As it is right now though, I mostly can just sort of appreciate it.
Before you think I totally sold out and gave away my Scream, Gorilla Biscuits, and Unsane records, there’s Rebuilt, from Seattle WA.
The name might sort of give away the fast, hard, simple, and upbeat hardcore sound of this band, but stumbling across them, I’m pleasantly surprised. They don’t sound like another Bane knockoff, doing heavy and ridiculously “brutal” hardcore in the name of brotherhood and positivity or shit like that. Yeah it’s fast and hard, it’s fucking hardcore! From the same neck of the woods (more or less) as one of my favorites, Shook Ones, I’m gonna be keeping my eye on this band.
I’m gonna admit to this right now; My girlfriend’s brother gave me Leviathon‘s demo CD, Day Of Reckoning. It’s his band. Now, normally my daily exposure to metal is limited to Pig Destroyer and old Metallica songs (my first concert ever was a Metallica one). I was surprised the first time I heard Leviathon, and not in a bad way. While it’s no Municipal Waste-style thrash or Melvins sludge-drilling into your brain, they have enough sense to know not to overdo it when it comes to riffs and the dreaded double bass drum. It’s hard fucking metal, ands there really isn’t much anyone else can say to describe it differently. If they ditched some of the nu hardcore/nu metal-ish breakdowns, they’d be good. Better than a lot of other metal bands I’ve heard, and being the only punk back in high school with all metal friends, I’ve heard a lot of metal.
And finally…there’s 86in1. I don’t really know what to say here. Like I really have no way of describing just how ridiculous and incredibly this band is. My girlfriend introduced them to me, they’re some friends of hers who have all been in a bunch of great hardcore and punk bands, playing spastic, brain-addling, non-serious, almost-too-smart-to-be-parody punk rock. You can’t really go wrong with a song about L Ron Hubbard, now can you? No, I didn’t think so. She’d played a few songs of theirs to me when we first started dating and on our recent trip to Ohio, she found a copy of their record and we brought it back to NY with us. Best decision ever? I think so. They’re probably my most favorite band in the world right now, so the only thing that bums me out is that they weren’t a formal project of any sorts. But then again, the best stuff isn’t always traditional or “formal”.
Anyway, yeah, there you go. I got lazy, spent three days writing this when I could have been paying rent or balancing my checkbook or doing actual work, and here we are. Hope you enjoy.