Reviews July / July 2002
A COMMON GROUND – SEEING CLEARLY FOR ONE MOMENT (CD / RP Punkrock)
After the first few seconds of the first track I thought I put the new Pulley record in my player. But a close examination of the CD itself and the booklet convinced my that these five guys don’t come from the US and that they aren’t on Epitaph, but rather they come from Germany. Now, I had not listened to Pulley or melodycore in general for quite a while, so I was surprised that I liked this album. I mean, A Common Ground aren’t very original, but they do a good job in what they do. I don’t have any further information about the band to tell you, apart from the fact that all members are still pretty young, but they all know how to handle their instruments. All 13 songs are strong and powerful, the production is great, so there’s really no reason why anyone into melodycore (and especially Pulley) should not grab this CD.
A DAY BEFORE SUNRISE – s/t (Demo MCD)
Dani from A Day Before Sunrise sent me this three song Demo CD by this Swiss band. A review of their previous record can be found somewhere else in the review section. I think the band has progressed a lot since the last time I heard them. Even though this is “just a demo” the sound is good and the songs are too. Melodic emo rock with beautiful melodies, acoustic parts etc. If you are interested in this band, please get in touch with them through their website www.adaybeforesunrise.com and ask for the price of this demo. I don’t have any more info about them, but I’m sure you can find out more about them on their website. This selftitled demo is good, it’s DIY and therefore you should support the band.
A MODEST PROPOSAL - ... Of Memories And Dreams (CD / Strage Fruit)
This is the debut release of Cologne, Germany, based band A Modest Proposal. Well, not really, as they already put out a demo CD in 2000, but back then they were still known as Stars on 45. So what do we have here: Nine songs in the vein of indie / emoCORE. I think it's a bit lame to compare a band to Hot Water Music just because the singer's got rough vocals, so I won't do that, hehe. Seriously, the vocals are rough but nevertheless melodic, and so are the songs. Mainly melodic, but with a certain harder edge to it. By the way, they added a short explanation to each of the song's lyrics, so everyone who's to busy to find out what the words mean can find the answer right in the booklet. A modest proposal from me: Go see this band if they're in your town and rock out with them!
A RADIO WITH GUTS – Beat Heart Sweet Stereo (CD / Stardumb Records)
A Radio With Guts is not really a new band, because these guys previously released four albums under the name Connie Dungs on Mutant Pop Records. I never heard of this band before, but according to the info that came along with the CD they played some kind of poppunk. Well, the sound of A Radio With Guts surely is melodic, too, but I’d say the whole feeling of the music is more melancholic. Reminds me to Social Distortion, because both bands have lots of melody in their songs, but they’re far from writing nice happy tunes but rather there’s emotion and heartache all over the place. The only thing that’s not that good are the vocals. I mean they’re ok, but not as strong as those of Mike Ness from Social D. for example. I think they could be more powerful. Anyway, all of you broken hearted people out there, give it a try.
BURN – Last Great Sea (CD EP / Revelation)
In contrast to their latest EP that came out on Equal Vision these are not really new songs by Burn. Actually “Last great sea” contains three songs that were already recorded a decade ago in 1992. That year Burn recorded a three song demo that was never released until now by Revelation. I guess you all know what to expect from Burn because of their classic “…will be judged” EP from 1990. If not, then let me tell you that they play powerful grooving Hardcore with unique vocals by Chaka Malik (later Orange 9mm). By he way, fifty cents of the sale of each CD will be donated to Amnesty International.
CHRISTIANSEN – Forensics Brothers And Sisters! (CD / Revelation)
6 songs with a playing time of over 26 minutes show clearly that Christiansen don’t play some kind of Crust Core. The band is often compared to At the Drive-In or Fugazi. I would say that the vocals are a bit into the vein of At the Drive-In, but the music is really outstanding. After a record on Eulogy Records entitled “Above Lunar emissions” this is their first work for Revelation. Even though I don’t like At the Drive-In that much, Christiansen’s music is really cool to me. The four members played in bands like The National Acrobat, The Enkindels or By The Grace of God before and like their label mates Elliott they come from Louisville, Kentucky. Anyone into driving, powerful and progressive music should check out this promising band.
DAG NASTY – Minority Of One (CD / Revelation)
The flaming head logo on the cover, recorded at the legendary Inner Ear Studios, engineered by Don Zientara. No, I am not talking about the Dag Nasty classic “Can I say”. The legendary Dag Nasty have returned and after listening to “Minority of one” you wouldn’t believe that it’s been ten years since their latest release, “Four on the floor” on Epitaph Records. This is classic Dag Nasty stuff as you all love it, totally in the vein of the aforementioned “Four on the floor” or the band’s alltime classic “Can I say” from 1986 (recently re-released on Dischord along with "Wig out at Denko's"). “Minority of one” starts off with the furious “Ghosts” and it’s like a time machine that puts you back in 1986 when “Can I say” came out, maybe with the exception that the latest Dag Nasty release has a better sound. Ten more songs follow (plus an unlisted one) and it really is a killer album. Revelation Records says that “Minority of one” is the label’s greatest achievement to date, and I think that means a lot for a label that put out records from bands like Judge, Gorilla Biscuits, Youth of Today, etc. Buy this one!
DAYLIGHT – Vague Pictures of Amazing Moments (CD / Incendiary Records)
When I first saw the logo of the band and read the rather pessimistic statement on the inner sleeve of the booklet I expected some metal stuff, but Daylight proved me wrong. Then I read the info sheet and had to smile a bit: “In summer 1997 after some skating Fabian and Mason decided to do something else.” Great, isn’t it? And the music by Daylight is pretty cool, too. They have two vocalists, so you can hear some real melodic vocal lines as well as some screaming parts. Maybe that’s why I feel reminded to bands like Boy Sets Fire (new stuff) or Waterdown when listening to “Vague pictures of amazing moments”. I listen to this record quite often, because there are really some fine melodies on it and the layout is nice, too. Come on, support the German scene, you won’t regret it.
DEGRADATION – Homeward Bound (CD / Competition Records)
Literally after years the first full length album by German old school heroes is finally out. The band was already formed in 1996, but apart from a 7” and some compilations they didn’t put any stuff. Which is sad if you take a listen to “Homeward bound”, because this record is damn good. But on the other hand I’m happy that this LP is coming out at all. Degradation’s members played in legendary German hardcore bands like Eyeball, Upright or In Too Deep, so don’t expect anything but pure old school. Malte’s vocals were criticized in the past, but I don’t know why, because he sounds a bit like that guy in Slapshot (Choke). Anyway, great old school, check it out.
DIRTSHAKES / THE BATTLEDYKES – Boy Meets Girl (Split 7” / Stardumb Records)
This is Volume 3 of Stardumb Records’ Terrific Team-Ups, and this time you can find two songs each by German bands Dirtshakes and The Battledykes. Both play high energy punk’n’roll, The Battledykes with female vocals and Dirtshakes with a cover of the Zeros. So you have four songs, good sound and a nice layout and the choice to buy this one. If you’re into punk’n’roll or simply have to have everything that is coming out on vinyl, grab this one.
THE GET UP KIDS – On A Wire (LP / Vagrant)
“Something To Write Home About” was the milestone by The Get Up Kids and one of those records which started the big “Emo-Wave” in 1999. What followed were several albums by The New Amsterdams and Reggie And The Full Effect which were one reason besides the growing popularity why it took The Get Up Kids three years to release a new album. Expectations were high and now we have “On A Wire”. In all the reviews I’ve read so far it said that “On A Wire” is the logical follow-up to “Something…” and that all expectations were fulfilled. To be honest: I don’t think so and I believe that a lot of people will agree with that (Yes – Stefan). Personally I didn’t know what to expect but surely I didn’t expect something like “On A Wire”. It’s slow and quiet which itself is not a bad thing at all. But it’s quiet in a way that makes me think of stoned Hippies sitting in a smoky room with dimmed lights and playing late Beatles-records. Just listen to that song called “All that I know” and you’ll know what I mean. What the fuck…??? Besides the first three songs this album is really, really disappointing. I think you’d better spend your money on Kristofer Aströms “Northern Blues” album. (Tobias Schach)
GROOVIE GHOULIES – Go! Stories (CD / Stardumb Records)
This is in fact the seventh (!) album by the Groovie Ghoulies and they still play great poppunk that reminds me to the Ramones or Screeching Weasel. “Go! Stories” was recorded in April 2002 with Mass Giorgini at Sonic Iguana Studios (Screeching Weasel, The Queers, etc.) so the sound is destined to blow your speakers. At first I had to get used to Kepi’s vocals, but after listening to this record a couple of times I think they’re cool. Kepi’s also responsible for the crazy drawings in the booklet. Hey, with “Chupacabras” they included a cover by the Super Furry Animals and as their own songs it’s great. Why do I have to smile all the time while playing this album? Well, if this record can make my day, then maybe it can make yours, too, so check it out, it’s great!
LEWIS – Even So (CD / Deep Elm)
Lewis are in a way a typical band for Deep Elm. On “Even so” you can find indie rock Deep Elm became famous for. The effects on the first song reminded me to their label mates Appleseed Cast a bit and to… Led Zeppelin. Please don’t ask me how I came up with the last comparison. Now let me tell you that I really don’t give much about Led Zeppelin, I thought their songs were boring and the vocals sucked. But Lewis are far away from boring 70s Rock. As I said it’s indie rock with beautiful melodies and anyone into Deep Elm’s bands will like Lewis for sure. I can’t really say much more about them, just take a listen and decide for yourself if you like them. Maybe you already know them as they appeared on “The Emo Diaries Chapter Six”. Oh, as with all Deep Elm releases the layout is great.
LOGH – EVERY TIME A BELL RINGS AN ANGEL GETS HIS WINGS (CD / Deep Elm)
“What a strange title for a record” was the first thing that came to my mind when I looked at this record. “Well these songs are pretty quiet” I thought when I listened to the them for the first time. I wasn’t totally convinced back then and after a few songs I listened to something else. The day after, in the evening, right before going to sleep, I lay in my bed reading a book when I decided to have a record playing as some kind of background music. I wanted to give Logh a second chance and put their album on. First I felt the same as when I had listened to it for the first time. But after a while I recognized that I was actually no longer reading but enjoying this masterpiece. And that’s just what it is in my eyes: A masterpiece. I listened to this album over and over again, and it grows with each listening. Although the songs are all quiet, there are so many details to be discovered, so much feelings and atmosphere. Just great. You have to check them out, but prepare to be blown away. By the way: Logh come from Sweden and while Bad Taste Records releases this record in Europe, Deep Elm takes care of it in the US. Highly recommended!
NEWBORN - In These Desperate Days… (MCD / Turnstile Records/Erdkampf Records)
Some of you might know this Hungarian band from their Split 12” with Catharsis. Their sound hasn’t changed since then so here we get five songs in the vein of Shai Hulud. But this comparison doesn’t fit perfectly because Newborn are a bit more melodic and offer some real anthems (“All Roads Lead To Rome”). “In These Desperate Days…” has really kicked my ass and I guess it might be a big surprise for some. To keep it short: In my opinion this MCD is one of the best releases ever in this genre. (Tobias Schach)
NEW NOISE PROJECT – The Difficulty Of Definition (CD / Dead Serious)
I guess the guys from New Noise Project must be pretty annoyed be hearing that their name reminds to Refused, because apart from the name their sound is really different from the Swedish band. If I’m right “The difficulty of definition” is the band’s third full length album. I don’t know the previous two, but supposedly they were into the melodycore direction, inspired by all those Californian and Swedish bands emerging in 1994. “The difficulty of definition” is different. Great melodies, but more in the vein of bands like (melodic) Boy Sets Fire or Saves The Day, you know, this rocking sound that makes you just feel good. Before New Noise Project could release this record they had to face some serious setbacks, because their singer was diagnosed with cancer. But after a rehab program he won the fight against this disease and here they are again with 12 great tunes that everyone into the bands mentioned above should at least check out. Good stuff.
OUT OF SEASON – The Fine Art To Say F..k You (CD / Alternative Skillz)
“To put the band’s music into a certain category is impossible”, says the info sheet. Well, at least this is true, because I don’t think that Out of Season from Germany have found their own style yet. In fact I have the impression that they mix up various elements of their favourite bands or bands they’ve played with and then call it an own song. Quite poor. You can hear out their Samiam influences all over the place, and even though I like Samiam a lot I don’t really care about Out of Season.
POINTING FINGER / IN PIECES – The Distance Between… (Split CD / Still Believe Records)
What do you expect when you see a split CD that shows on the cover two guys wearing college jackets with the words “Youth Crew” and “Straight Edge” on it? Right, nothing but pure old school sXe fury. Pointing Finger come from Portugal and formed in mid 1999 with the intention to play “positive old school with socially aware lyrics”. The singer sounds a bit like Ray Cappo when he was in Better than a Thousand. Cool band, great music. In Pieces from Norway were formerly known as Strikepoint and feel influenced by bands as Floorpunch, Ten Yard Fight or Youth of Today (of course). This first release by Still Believe Records features 8 songs from each band and everyone into old school sXe hardcore should support this young label and two promising bands.
RED ANIMAL WAR / SLOWRIDE – Split (CD / Deep Elm)
The cover and booklet of this split EP features pictures from the killing of John F. Kennedy in 1963. Despite this tragic event I have to admit that the layout is pretty stylish, but I could imagine that some people might by sceptical towards this record because of that. Which shouldn’t be the case as the music’s great. Each band contributes three songs that are previously unreleased, but the cool thing is that the songs are not presented by a band in a row, but after a Red Animal War song a song by Slowride follows and so on. Both bands are really great, but I like Slowride a little more because their sound is more rocking, while Red Animal War are more into the indie vein. Fans of both bands should check out this EP because the songs rule. Just take a listen to the first Slowride song, so fantastic! Get this one.
REDRUM INC. – Cure The Pain (CD EP/ KSE)
The name of this German band and the layout (pictures of Jesus Christ) are very cliché, but who cares. The music reminds me to bands like Madball (the groovy parts) or Pantera, while the third song “Reborn” reminded me a bit to Entombed on “To ride, shoot straight and speak the truth”. This is definitely not the ultimate in originality, but as the band is still pretty young you can give them a chance. If you’re interested get in touch with them though their website www.redrum-inc.de.
SCRAMBLED EGGS – …In Need Of Some Rock (CD / 3Chords)
Scrambled Eggs from Germany present with “In need of some rock” their third album to date. To be honest, I didn’t know the band or their albums before, so I was curious what to expect. The music is pure No Use For A Name when they recorded “Leche con carne” or the next one (sorry, but the title doesn’t come to my mind at the moment). I used to listen to melodycore a couple of years back, but somehow this music is not that special for me at this time in my life anymore (apart from some really outstanding bands that I still like a lot). Sorry guys, nothing for me to go crazy over, but anyone into melodycore can take a listen.
SONIC DOLLS – Riot At The Sheep Dog Trials (CD / Stardumb Records)
The latest album of the Sonic Dolls starts off with a super cool intro programmed on an old Amiga computer (anybody still into these things?) and what follows is classic poppunk in the vein of bands like Screeching Weasel or Riverdales. After almost ten years this is the fourth full length of Eric J. President and his companions and the first one on Stardumb Records. Even though I don’t listen to this kind of sound that often I have to admit that the Sonic Dolls know how to rock. I can imagine that live they must be really really strong. Just listen to “Don’t come around” and you’ll know what I mean. Summer’s on the way when the Sonic Dolls records are playing, no matter if it’s raining outside or whatever. Hey ho, Sonic Dolls go!
THE MILES APART / LIGHTS AT AMBER / MORNING BEFORE - Sunrise People In Sunset Days (Split CD / Strange Fruit)
If I remember right there was a similar release some time ago being a split release with Jimmy Eat World, Sensefield and another band that I don't remember right now. Now Strange Fruit also come up with three bands sharing one CD. These bands are The Miles Apart, Lights At Amber and Morning Before (with whom I already did an interview after the release of their "The new romantics" CD that can be found somewhere else on this site). All three bands go in the same musical direction which is heartfelt indie, but they manage to sound different nevertheless. All in all there are 8 songs on this album, three from The Miles Apart and Morning Before ant two from Lights At Amber. For a first try I recommend listening to the Morning Before songs. Especially their last tracks that closes this CD, "I thought I knew you", is so beautiful. I think this is a cool way to check out some "new" promising bands that should be supported.
Thirty-Two Frames - s/t (CD EP / Revelation)
Jay Palumbo, guitarist and singer in Thirty-Two Frames, used to play in Elliott (the other members of this Louisville, Kentucky, based four-piece used to play in bands such as By the Grace of God, Five Times Fast, XinvictusX, Warcry, Enkindel, etc.). Well, one things for sure, Thirty-Two Frames don’t sound like Jay’s previous band Elliott, but they rather remind me a little bit to Hot Water Music, because of Jay’s rough vocals. But the songs can be compared to Gainesville’s finest only partly, because there are some fast tracks among them. The six songs that are on this EP were already recorded in May/September 2001, so I bet there must be some new stuff on the way from those guys. And if these tracks sound as cool as the ones on this EP here then I’m looking forward to the first full length of Thirty-Two Frames. For fans of rocking stuff in the vein of Hot Water Music etc. this is the right thing.
V/A – My Very Last Breath: The Emo Diaries Chapter Eight (CD / Deep Elm)
Almost every two months a new chapter of Deep Elm’s Emo Diaries is opened. And this time it’s a real strong one. While the last one had some songs on it that were a bit too much in the indie vein in my eyes this compilation shows 12 bands/songs that are all great. I wish Deep Elm would sign each band on this record, but I don’t think they will, right, John? Long Since Forgotten remind me to Deep Elm’s finest Brandtson and they’re great. So are Logh from Sweden (see a review for their full length above), Fading Fast, Down-To-Earth-Approach and almost all the rest. If you didn’t check out the Emo Diaries before, this is the best way to start with.