Record Reviews

BEND SINISTER: Tape 2: LP

A while back I thought to myself “What would the perfect garage noise band sound like if it ever could exist?” I dreamt up a scenario where this could be achievable whilst being completely oblivious to Bend Sinister or the A Frames (who they later came to be). After listening to this collection of tracks, I’ve concluded that there is no need for anyone to try anymore: Bend Sinister was that perfect band. Listening to these songs I can’t help but imagine a band rehearsing in the laundry room of a shitty apartment building by guys who could give half a shit if they were to be caught. You like Wrangler Brutes, Retainers, or any band on Rip Off Records? That’s nice but Bend Sinister rends all those bands and several others obsolete. There’s only four hundred copies of this floating around out there so don’t sleep. –Juan Espinosa (Homeless, homelessrecords.bandcamp.com)

BETA BOYS: Brick Walls: 7”

Two tracks of noisy distorto-punk. “Brick Walls” is a slow-burn jam, fucked yet catchy in an earwormy way, while the flip, “Littered Streets,” barrels in and thrashes things up for a minute and a half before heading for the exit. Prime pickin’s for wrecking your hearing. –Jimmy Alvarado (Total Punk, floridasdying.com)

BLACK ADIDAS: Self-titled: LP

You had me at Black Adidas. This is definitely a less-is-more kind of rock’n’roll band. Musically approaching rock’n’roll the way The Icarus Line used to, with a moody, sexy, punk attitude. Their subject matter, on the other hand, is straight forward, with no BS, which is executed right away with the opener, “Free Shit.” –Ryan Nichols (Digital Analog Records, blackadidasmusic@gmail.com)

BLACK BLUEBIRDS: Like Blood for Music: CD

Do you remember that scene in the movie Ghost World where Steve Buscemi’s character goes to see a legendary blues guitarist open for a cheeseball blues-rock act called Blues Hammer? Now bear with me and imagine that Ian Curtis somehow lived, and many years later was washed up and trying to eke out a living playing any gig he could get. He would be touring the land opening for Black Bluebirds. It is unsettling to me how much I dislike this. It’s as if you took the aforementioned Joy Division frontman, mixed him with a mid-’90s version of Bruce Springsteen, and sucked out all the lyric writing ability. Throw in some ripping Blues Hammer-esque leads, weird keyboards, and corny backups… This is all kinds of wrong. –Ty Stranglehold (Tinderbox Music)

BOBBY FUNK: Avocado Stains: 7”

I saw Bobby Funk a couple of years ago and was impressed at how good the band was live. It had that something special about it which helped the band stand out from so many others, both new and old. The music sounded fresh, although without being unique, and the band appeared to be having a great time on stage, which added to the infectious nature of the show. For my sins I’ve missed Bobby Funk a few times since then but this avocado shaped—I kid you not—record is a fitting reminder of what I enjoyed about them that night. With a dash of humor and irreverence, reminiscent of Wonk Unit, backed up with a hint of attitude, this is a band worth keeping an eye on. –Rich Cocksedge (TNS, info@tnsrecords.co.uk, tnsrecords.co.uk / Autonomonster, autonomonsterecords.bigcartel.com/Krautpop!)

BOOZE AND GLORY: Reggae Sessions Vol 1: 3 x EP

Triple pack of reggae versions of longtime London oi merchants’ songs. I love my rocksteady and reggae—and these versions work just fine—but are they really necessary? Decent enough tunes, but if I’m going to listen to reggae, I’ll listen to the greats. Each 7” has a stereo and mono version of each song which is overkill too, as I couldn’t tell the difference. Fans of two tone, rocksteady, and the Booze And Glory would probably get a kick out of this, but I can’t see me spinning this again. –Tim Brooks (Pirates Press)

BOWS: Never Unite: 7”

Bows is a Japanese melodic punk band. This three track-EP mixed melodic punk and howled vocals into a neat release. The first track, “Neverunite,” features extremely growly vocals over some mostly pop punk instrumentation that occasionally veered off into experimentation. The next two tracks, “Against the Wave of Depression” and “Why Does It Always End Up Like This” sound very similar. This group has an interesting sound that a lot of melodic punk fans would enjoy, but ends up a little repetitive. They’ll certainly be an interesting group to keep an eye on, but this release was a little bit wearisome (which is something of an achievement for a 7”). –Anna Farr (Brassneck, brassneckrecords.bandcamp.com)

BREEDERS, THE: All Nerve: LP

It’s 2018 and I am reviewing a new Breeders album. I can’t quite wrap my head around that. From the first note of the first track, I am instantly taken back to my late teens. Kim Deal’s unearthly voice impossibly sounds exactly like it did twenty-five years ago and the music picks up as if the band never went away. I read somewhere recently that the band considers this album the true follow up to their magnum opus, 1993’s Last Splash, and I fully agree. With lilting surf guitar, off-kilter changes, and cryptic lyrics, the band embraces what it is, and what it has achieved in the past without becoming a nostalgic rehash. The world still needs The Breeders. We just didn’t realize it until now. –Ty Stranglehold (4AD, 4ad.com)

BRUISER QUEEN: Heavy High: LP

Whoa-oh- and ooh-heavy garage pop punk. I’ve heard plenty of combinations of those sounds, but Bruiser Queen puts the ‘60s pop influence front and center, from the soulful vocal harmonies to the well-placed hand-clap and organ parts. “Have Fun” is simultaneously a total banger and chill as fuck. I have to mention that the album art is one of the best things about this release—whoever was responsible for the carnival photographs, you nailed it. –Indiana Laub (Certified PR, certifiedprrecords.com)

BUNDLES: Deaf Dogs: LP

I mean, the end of 2018’s a ways away, but damn if Deaf Dogs isn’t contending for album of the year for me. Holy cow. I loved last year’s split LP with Dan Webb & The Spiders, and now there’s twelve new songs to freak out over. They’re short, compact, frantic, rough-hewn, ferocious and catchy songs, and just about perfect. See, Bundles—and this is important, folks—is one of those bands in which I have zero idea as to what they’re saying, but they say it with such emotion and conviction that I am wholeheartedly convinced anyway. “If I’m convicted, I’ll resign. But I’ve killed all the judges and it feels right. Now I’m taking hostages and bullet wounds and all I think about—you just move the way I like.” I… you got me, guys. No fucking clue what you mean in any of this stuff, but there is such inherent, unbridled passion in these twelve songs, and buoyancy and joy and anger and teeth, that I just love it anyway. Catchy and fierce and recommended. I really hope they tour here. Punk. –Keith Rosson (Gunner USA)