Blocko: Blocko tread that ever-thin ice that behemoths Leatherface and Hot Water Music have been skating on and carving their own distinctive designs in for years. The good news is that Blocko brings a lot of their own to the table. The guitars swell, siren, and are played urgently, the singer doesn’t strain too hard nor get lazy, and there’s a Jam-like sensibility (and “down at the tubeway station at midnight” feel) hiding right beneath the concrete that makes them very enjoyable to listen to. Their second song, “Black Coffee,” is a cover by a pop band I’ve never heard of, All Saints. It sounds weird on paper, but Die Toten Hosen covered the same song, and, for some reason, it works well with the punk rock treatment. Minority Blues Band: Deep in the vein of Hüsker-Dü-loving DIY Japanese punk, I can’t say anything bad about ‘em. Catchy hooks, lots of similarities to Japanese brethren like The Urchin, for their immediately catchy energy and crazily precise playing, and Florida’s Tim Version for layer upon layer of sounds to wrap your brain around. Super solid, no-fashion, no-pretense punk. Oh, and the best Japanese to English translation? “Without you, nuts go wrong.” Sweet split. Thumbs up.
–todd (Snuffy Smile)