Thursday, August 8, 2013

Mission Of Burma - Signals, Calls, and Marches

I still listen to Blink 182's Dude Ranch frequently.

I preface by stating I do this completely unironically. Yeah sure its a testament of my generation's prolonged adolescence, and it reeks of nostalgia, but on its own merits its a great pop record. Some kids really got into that Nirvana stage. At age 14 I got into a Dude Ranch phase.  

You know how you end up at a party and someone puts on some old dad bands like Hall and Oates or Kenny Loggins, and everyone collectively loses their minds sings their inebriated hearts out cause everyone knows the chorus to "What a Fool Believes?". Or they play some early 00's R&B that we all remember from being on TRL for like two weeks straight at the number one spot? If someone put on "Waggy" (objectively the best Blink-182 song) or "Apple Shampoo" I wouldn't bat an eye. Dude Ranch isn't reserved for drunken nostalgia sing-along party time.

Mission of Burma's Signals, Calls, and Marches is somebody's Dude Ranch. There is some 40 year old dad out there who thinks this is one of the best records, even  without his rose-colored glasses on. He tells his shitty children "This is real punk kids" and they ignore him until they are in college and realize how cool he was/is.

Mission of Burma is  Early 80's American post-punk, with angular guitar riffs, big drums, and introspective, relevant lyrics. With just the perfect amount of pop hooks, they remind me of if Les Savy Fav was around 30 years ago. Critics view their second release, Vs. as their strongest work, but start here with Signals if you want to dig in.

"Academy Fight Song" and "That's When I Reach for My Revolver" are standout tracks, with "This Is Not a Photograph" being my personal favorite. Burma's sound still stands out even years later, and they actually got back together few years ago and have been putting out some new records. Check out their first release below.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Hard Girls - Isn't It Worse

I don't know if its intentional, but why do bands generally put their best songs on 7"s or split records? Is it because they can squeeze all the goodness of themselves into a few songs, rather then the tedious work of creating a full LP? Or do they know people like me will hunt and track down everything they have ever recorded and listen to them, to realize that some split they did with some even more obscure band with one song each has their most amazing, quintessential work? I know there is a whole collective of people who praise the 7'', but seriously, come on.

Hard Girls have two full records and several splits with a bunch of other great bands. Their newest release Isn't It Worse, luckily has a record full of those one track split jams. The track "Swamp With Potential", sounds like it would come straight from a cassette-only demo they released with only a 100 copies. It sounds pretentious, obsessive, and inane, (cause it totally is) yet Hard Girl's approach of indie-punk: melodic-driven guitars, alternating vocals, and the feeling that they were obsessed with Dude Ranch and Slanted & Enchanted, gives me every reason to make it so.

Hard Girls' continuously puts our feel good jams that sound best in the shitty stereo system out of my 92' Corolla, or as the video expresses above, eating junk food and getting wasted while playing out scenes from the VHS version of Major Payne with your buds.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Oshwa - Transmissions From the Mid-West: A Real-America Tribute

My mom is the biggest Sade fan.

Recently I have seen more people listening to her records and came to the conclusion that I have not met a person who does not like Sade. Its impossible."Smooth Operator" is what she is most known for, but come on', we can all agree "No Ordinary Love" is her best song. so smooth.  It's so surprising to see her continued relevance, since 80's R&B production values were so horrendously bad, like really bad. (unless its Computer Love, it's still great).

Every single person I have shown Oshwa, has not like it. They've hated it. Which is too bad, Because vocalist/guitarist Alicia Walter's voice is something akin to Sade. It definitely is distinct, which is what turns people off, as I've heard my coworkers say "sounds like she's in the wrong band." But its so melodic, flowing, and gentle, but also manages to bellow over the twinkly guitars, and loose, sporadic drums. 

Oshwa has the tinge some math rock,  twinkly and melodic but similar to Dirty Projectors, but enough free verse styling of Storm and Stress to make it less like a pop album. The three tracks on Transmissions are all great, with the second song "Grar" being the standout track. check it out if your in the mood for some relaxing, bedroom math pop.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Ovlov - am

When I was kid, Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" music video was the most amazing thing to me in the world. My parents have told me that when it would come on TV, I would lose my shit. They don't know why, and neither do I. There was also no sense of diminishing returns of my enjoyment of the song, every time I would equally lose my mind over it, dancing like a mad man. 
Ovlov sounds nothing like Peter Gabriel.

However, they have what I would describe as the Peter Gabriel effect. 

Their newest record, am, is packed and stuffed with so many solid riffs, which are reminiscent of Yo La Tengo, Sneeze, and even MBV. I'm a sucker for an album with catchy yet abrasive riffs, that most of the time vocals are simply an afterthought. Ovlov's vocals fit, the lo-fi tone with an emo approach. For some odd reason, the best way to sum them up is "Emo-Mclusky".

Ovlov's entire back catalog is for free download on their bandcamp, which are all equally fantastic.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pangea - Living Dummy

Double post day! Whoo! Listen to this awesome garage fuzz and then go to the Burger Boogaloo and listen to it some more. Lo-fi scuzz punk to match how you feel inside.

Daniel Striped Tiger - No Difference

Daniel Striped Tiger fucking owns and this album is basically just 30 minutes of awesome riffs and punishing grooves. I know the "new Max" is all into keyboards and tone sounds and shit but hopefully that's all on its way out. Listening to this album right now is the equivalent of taking your first breath of air after being underwater, then immediately punching the paramedic in the face and stealing his dumb fanny pack.

Sorry for the YouTube links. Download here.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Summer Jamz

This is not a post about songs that are about summer or songs that remind me of summer in any way. My taste in music is season independent. This is mostly a post of music I will soon associate with summer.

Here are some ideas I associate with summer: not going to school, staying up late, driving, not wearing a shirt, drinking beer, going to work, walking, blinding sunlight, cutoffs, getting ignored by women, riding my bicycle, going to the beach and remembering I don't care about the ocean, sleeping naked, listening to my ipod while going somewhere by myself, sitting on the diving board in my parents' backyard, and that's it.

00:00 NPTO - Whatever Brains
03:10 Kaspar Hauser Lied - Glocca Morra
05:40 Sass - Slam Dunk
10:04 Get Us Here - For Serious This Time
13:15 Sea Babies - Beat Happening
15:52 No Safe - Fat History Month
17:34 S'okay - Love of Everything
20:15 Harness Your Hopes - Pavement
23:40 Way to be Tall - By Surprise
26:53 Pets - Pile
31:09 Paper R.T. - Big Soda
32:45 Red Bullgirls - Sneeze
35:20 Vice City - Summer Vacation
37:05 The Kids are Fucking Brilliant - The Max Levine Ensemble
39:13 Great Plans - Mike Huguenor
40:34 Not a Care in the World - Beat Happening
44:14 Catchin' the Vibe - Quasimoto
46:56 A Turreted Berg - My Disco
51:06 Drive Through Rainbow - Love of Everything