Weird things lead me to pull records out of the slush pile. I saw the title of this one, which could either be a self-indulgent, whiny emo title, or could be a reference to one of Steinbeck’s greatest novels. Then, when I see it’s on a record label that’s most likely named after Steinbeck’s hometown, I’m sold. Well, the good news is that it’s not emo. Not even close. It doesn’t really have anything to do with Steinbeck, but the first song is called “Free Brewery Tour,” which is good in a whole other way. So what does it sound like? At first listen, it came across as pop punk, but there was something in it that kept me listening. Something a little more raw and a little more sincere. The vocals are nerdy and gruff at the same time, and the drums really power the songs ahead. It’s like these guys learned that the secret behind Screeching Weasel had something to do with Dan Panic’s drums, and they decided that, if they were gonna borrow from the pop punk masters, then they’d have to look to the back of the stage. This is their first release, and it’s not a bad one at all.