Record Reviews

FUTURE GIRLS: Motivation Problems: CS

This album starts out with some humming feedback before launching into a steady snare; navigating loud, bright guitar riffs that blend in with vocal harmonies. As the release continues on, we get a trade-off of dual vocals that complement each other nicely. Each person in this band has been involved in at least one other punk band of note (Weekend Dads, Crossed Wires, Fat Stupids), yet this is their debut release as Future Girls. The overall sound reminds me of bands like This Is My Fist!, RVIVR, and a bit of The Measure. Topics cover feelings of dysmorphia, depression, and apathy. Self-described as “Bummer Punk,” I think they nailed it. The track “At It Again” has some deft hand claps, and “Slower than the Rest” has this sleepy guitar lead trickling on in the background of shouted lyrics. I’m not in a great state of mind to get really into this, but in a few weeks when I move out of my ex-boyfriend’s apartment, this ought to come in real handy. Expert mastering from Dave Williams at 8 Floors Above, released by Dirt Cult—it’s got all the elements of a classic record. –Kayla Greet (Dirt Cult)

GAMMA GOOCHIES, THE: Return to Planet Beer: CD

This record makes a concerted effort to harken back to the sound of rockabilly, with some added hard rock and garage rock influence. Their approach is generally admirable and includes some really slick soloing and adequately gruff vocals, but after making it through the first few tracks the project seemed uninteresting. The band’s performance is super tight and they really do get the sound down right, but this thing just feels likes another classic Southern rock homage I really don’t need. Highlights like “Two Arms” and “Melinda” manage to pleasantly disrupt the formula, but don’t come close to saving the record from blandness. This isn’t terrible, but I don’t ever want to listen to it again. –Anna Farr (Self-released)

GIANT PEACH: But You Made Me Such a Beautiful Thing: LP

Grungy, dreamy indie rock that’s heavy on the shoegaze and immaculate in tone. I don’t even know which layer of guitars to be listening to, in the best way. Giant Peach’s sound evokes memories of a ’90s that may never have existed, more of a gauzy wash of colors than a distinct image. Can something be soft and heavy at the same time? This is that, in the same way as the most meditative Sunny Day Real Estate can be. The second half of the album really opens up into dreamy sound collage, with a couple songs sprawling past the eight- or nine-minute mark. But this record sounds huge and crushing all the way through, even in its straight-up poppy moments. When like six different Frances Changs come in with the harmonies at the end of that opening song… damn. –Indiana Laub (Dead Broke, deadbrokerec@gmail.com, deadbrokerekerds.com)

GLOOM SLEEPER: Luminous Galaxies: LP

This sent me down memory lane, to when I first heard the Estranged Static Thoughts LP. It has all of the right parts—punchy guitars and lighter vocals that aren’t afraid to sing, rather than scream. The bass and drums keep your head bobbing and make you wanna shuffle your boots. This one was a nice gem this month. –Ryan Nichols (Dirt Cult, dirtcultrecords@gmail.com)

GROSS POLLUTER: “Cynical Scumbaggery” b/w “Piss Popular”: 7”

Goddamn, I miss Smogtown. I have been obsessed with that band from the first moment I heard them back in 2000 or so. Beach punk done right. As the years have passed, the mighty Smog has declined. They kind of imploded, and from the ashes like a phoenix came Gross Polluter. Same band, different singer. It was great, but a different beast than Smogtown. Two 7” singles came out showing that they were a force to be reckoned with. The next thing you know, Guitardo was in the wind and the singer was done… Was it the end? Hell no! Chavez (Smogtown singer) came back to the fold and laid some prime pontification upon these two tracks. Technically speaking, this could almost be called a Smogtown record, but fuck that. This is Gross Polluter’s newest incarnation and it shreds. This Smog City Waver heartily approves! –Ty Stranglehold (Rat Town)

HARABALL: Hypno: LP/CS

Much like No Problem’s recent album Let God Sort Em Out, which saw the Canadian outfit step up its game a good few notches, Hypno finds Norway’s Haraball having a similar burst of third album improvement. Although there are traces of the previously employed raw hardcore attack, now there’s a haunting quality to the songs. It slows things down a touch at times without being detrimental in any way. Some of the songs—most noticeably the title track—feature a bit more musical embellishment, through the use of a synth or by writing longer songs which contain more evidence of the slight change in approach. This is the record that should make people sit up and notice Haraball a bit more. It has for me. –Rich Cocksedge (Fysisk Format, info@fysiskformat.no, fysiskformat.no)

HARD FEELINGS: Sideways: LP

This record should come with a case of Rhinelander shorties and a pallet to dismantle and burn. The northern territories’ purveyors of the finest region rock return with an LP that’s drenched in that beautiful bristled sound and executed with Eric Nelson-like precision. It’s a reflection of life lived and lessons learned. Just because people have been bad to you doesn’t mean you have to be bad to other people. Can someone help me figure out how to get this album to automatically load onto everyone’s iPhone with a scrolling text banner that reads “It’s okay to just be yourself!” in Mike Wilson’s handwriting? Anyone?! Either way, I’ll be playing this record, daydreaming about bonfires in Superior, Wisconsin, and cherishing the honest and genuine people who play this scrappy punk sound. –Daryl (Dirt Cult / Lost Cat)

HATE RECORDER: Most People Are Dead: EP

The focus on the individual parts here sound much more focused than I remember from their earlier recordings. The bass seems to be more of a focal point, especially on the opening track, “Shine, Perishing Republic.” It comes in like something from the Jesus Lizard. For just being four songs, there’s something on this record for everyone: math, noise, punk, screaming, and a Stalin quote. –Ryan Nichols (Humanterrorist, humanterrorist@gmail.com)

HEAVY POCKETS: Pure Evil: LP

I was completely won over by Heavy Pockets’ previous LP, mopeless. Thankfully, the New Hampshire-based trio continues to write short and sweet gems with heartfelt lyrics on their latest full-length, Pure Evil. Shayla’s voice remains vibrant and tuneful, at times reminding me of Allison Crutchfield of Swearin’ and P.S. Eliot. Besides delivering upbeat earworms like “Your Indigo” and “Pure Evil,” Heavy Pockets aren’t afraid to slow down and get, well, heavy on songs like “Nape” and “Headrest,” where it sounds like they’re performing with clenched fists. They included a photocopied zine with lyrics and personal reflections, so you can enjoy brilliant lines like, “I’ve got what you need / TV and gluttony / But your heart flutters a Morse code melody.” This inclusion provides insight and increases my appreciation of the album because Heavy Pockets aren’t afraid to invite people in, to share a part of themselves that many of us instead tuck away. Although only nine songs long, there’s zero pretense and a fuck ton of sincerity. –Sean Arenas (Dead Broke, deadbrokerecords.com / Cat Dead, Details Later)

HECK YES: Get Jazzed: EP

On the surface, everything about this band is ridiculous. Their name is so simple and evocative of the attitude held throughout this EP, and then there are the goofy song titles: “Cirque Du So Long” and “Jesus Gave Up His Weekends for Your Sins,” et cetera. What I’d think if I didn’t already know better is that I should expect to find a set of complete novelty songs with little to no substance. But what’s great is, instead, they’re a tight pop punk band with fast, catchy tunes and high-pitched, gritty vocals à la Dillinger Four. So when Heck Yes tells you to get jazzed, I think you should listen. –Kayla Greet (Tiny Dragon Music)