VARIOUS ARTISTS: Letters from the Landfill: LP

A four-way split featuring some of the best bands that the East Bay has to offer: This Is My Fist, Shotwell, Abandon, and the Peels. Not surprisingly, there’s a general aspiration of East Bay greats of the past (Jawbreaker, Crimpshrine, etc.), but the enthusiasm and excitement of the bands saves them from being tied down to their influences. This Is My Fist: Earnest. Gritty. Intelligent. I’m extremely fucking stoked that they have new songs out. Their first 7” is great, and these four songs are even better. It’s a hell of a nice way to kick off the album. Shotwell: There’s something so familiar about these guys. Maybe it’s the way they always sound hungover, like they want to play fast and yell but they never break out of their midtempo sneer. It’s much better than I make it sound. Abandon: Chunky hardcore that kinda falls into a rut too often for me. If I was at a show where they were playing, I wouldn’t leave, but it lacks that “oh shit, I need to hear that again” quality that the first two bands on this record have. The Peels: Starts off kinda jammy, kinda solo-y, which are two qualities that I very rarely enjoy, but then it settles into a nice, comfortable weirdness. All told, I’ll be listening to the first side a lot more than the second one, but I highly recommend seeking this one out.

 –josh (Left Off the Dial)