Slim Wray – Post No Bills

Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

slim_wray_coverIt’s a rare stormy day here in San Diego. I’m kicking it on the sofa with my headphones on, listening to a new EP by the garage/surf act Slim Wray. If I had to to choose one word to describe this new release, (even a made up word) I’d go with “retrolicious.”

The new EP, eponymously titled “The Slim Wray EP” (As it turns out, this EP is actually entitled “Post No Bills”, but you try telling that to my media player du jour! Never the less, all else applies except where prohibited) provides six tracks of 60s flavored garage rock tinted with pop sensibilities akin to Neil Diamond, Tommy James, and The Monkees. The throwback aside you get modern quality recording (so the garage aspect must be by design) and a sound that is well balanced and engineered.

This release is a bit on the outside of my typical genre spectrum, but if you dig retro 60s pop rock, I suspect you’ll wanna check this one out.

The lightning is cutting through the sky outside my window. I can hear a slight rumble of thunder through the cans and rain hitting the concrete in the space in between the tracks. I’m gonna rock The Slim Wray EP out until the tracks end.

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

Headspins – Spinister

Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

© 2013 Headspins

headspins-spinisterHere’s a fun little rocker from the mean streets of Chicago. (or rather maybe the poppy and arty streets) Spinister the debut album by Headspins snaps out 11 quality tracks of really peppy rock and roll in the no-frills necessary manner that only trios seem to be able to muster. This isn’t to say that the music lacks variance or range. The band gets a major boost of sonic diversity by splitting vocal duties between the ⅔ male, ⅓ female cast (in addition to some guests)

The tracks are clearly rock and roll, but there’s an unmistakable punk, surf and alt-rock quality to them all, ranging from Pixies and Primitive vibes to near Tom Waitsesque vocal stylings, all along making me think of the Go-Gos joining forces with The Groovy Ghoulies. The lyrics are clever, “I gave her cash. I gave her more. She spent it all like a drunk sai-lor”, for example. I’m on my second round of listening and I’m damn pleased to say that this release is fun and I’m proabably going to have it one rotation for the next few weeks.

I’m on break from my day job at the moment, so I’m going to keep this brief and say that if you like poppy fun rock and roll, you should take a listen to Spinister by Headspins. I know that I look forward to hearing more of them. headspinsrock.com

–Jerry Actually

Tracks:
1. My Way or the Highway 02:47
2. Fallen Down 02:10
3. Star of the Show 02:53
4. Broken Man 02:46
5. Don’t Worry 01:55
6. Miner 05:36
7. Headspins Go! 02:39
8. Paper Street 02:32
9. Keep It Forever 04:51
10. Problematic Tendencies 02:37
11. Anxiety 04:15

Softie

© 2012 SoftieRockMusic
Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

I’m rocking out to the new release by Wichita’s own Softie. The self-titled release jam packs 15 tracks of guitar/drum duo garage-core onto a single compact disc. The tracks are diverse in their individual manner of rocking, but all are heavy on the rock and roll and to that end, the sum becomes greater than the combined parts. And folks, you just don’t always get that kind of synergy in a duo.

At any rate, Softie has been an on again, off again band in the Wichita scene for around a decade now and while I don’t have a lot of knowledge of their earlier work, I’m digging into what they are dishing up nowadays. I also am fully aware that some of the newly recorded tracks are, in fact, old tracks.

If I had to categorize, which I often do, I’d go ahead and call the band and raw blend of metal rock with a bit of punk edge, some cattle-core and a smattering of comedy. Honestly, I could do without the latter. It feels like the comedy is thrown in as a compensation measure and frankly it is unnecessary. Don’t get me wrong, some of the songs have a comedic base and that is fine, it is the little end thought false settle that seem out of place.

Jaded perspective aside, the songs do still rock. I had the CD in my car for a few trips to work and back and I didn’t opt for another disc, nor did I switch it over to NPR, so that’s a good indicator of my true feeling. Though I may have a slight bias as I know half the band, I’d still listen to this and stop in for a live show or two if I didn’t. My arbitrary points scale may not reflect it though. I’m not a math guy though. You run the numbers.

Bottom line is a fun disc with a rocking core. Go support your local bands and buy a copy, see a show, get some merch. Hell, do it all. http://www.reverbnation.com/softie

–Jerry Actually

The Smears – Freak Show

Rating: ★★½☆☆

I don’t generally review singles, but ok, here’s a go at it. Freak Show by The Smears. This all female punk / rock and roll trio hearkens back to the RIOTGRRL sounds of the 90’s ala L7, 7 Year Bitch and Bratmobile. The difference being that The Smears are from Nottingham (you know, like the sheriff)

The music is solid three chord punk; rhythmically choppy, a bit staccato, if you will. The vocals are of the speak-as-sing variety and production-wise the feel is very garage / lo-fi. It certainly isn’t bad, but I’d really have to listen to more to make a more informed opinion.

–Jerry Actually

Überband – Live In Poland

Uberband

© 2009 Teknobabble Music
Rating: ★★★★☆

The end of the Cold War brought many things. For the West, a long hard battle was won. For the East, doors to unfamiliar lands and individual commerce were opened. Along with that came new freedoms. For instance, the freedom to rock! Flash forward a couple decades and the culmination of the good fight has finally been realized.

Live in Poland, from the planet’s, dare I say, most uber band, Überband. Is a frenetic electric rock monster of the highest order. I’m gonna drop a spoiler here, but, well… Originally released in 2009, and apparently taking several years to makes its way to the West, Überband’s new disc is neither live nor from Poland. This in no manner, stops the rock.

Nine tracks of inane madness are thrust forth with a level of attack that makes you think that Faith No More and Mr. Bungle have been condensed into a singularity. The vocals are hauntingly Pattonesque and the musical melange is both rock and roll, and carnival side show. Songs like, Fuck I’m Richard Marx and Heinz 57 and Cocaine are the slightest indications of the rock laced ironic humor that comprises this Überband.

All said, you get quality rock and roll with a serious Faith No More vibe. More humor based than the aforementioned is, but irony aside, a powerhouse of a disc. I recommend it to you, your mom, your mom’s friend Mary, your mailman, your buddy Steve.

Serve with ample liquor.

–Jerry Actually

Track listing:

1. Intro
2. Fuck! I’m Richard Marx
3. The Net
4. Yello Vulva
5. I Am an Attorney
6. Heinz 57 and Cocaine
7. Sperm
8. Ballad of the Intergalactic Hitman Underwear Fetishist
9. Tonight We’re Going to Drink Alcohol at a Party We Will Attend to Get Drunk [Explicit]

The Bolsheviks – Action Reaction

(c) 2009 Red Square Records
Rating: ★★★★☆

bolsheviks_action_reactionHere’s a headline: Bristol’s Bolsheviks’ Bring It! … “Ok”, you say, “smart guy”. “What is it that these Bolsheviks are bringing?” Well sir, it’s the muthafukin’ rock and roll for one and for two refer to number one. Seriously though, Action Reaction, the new CD from The Bolsheviks is hard to place but hard to put down at the same time. It is an eclectic mix of sound. I hear flashes of spacial sounding guitars ala Voivod and hard driving bass lines akin to Hogan’s Heroes. Hell they even remind me a bit of the Cadillac Tramps on track 6 “Stole My Name”. With all that is a crazy mash up of haunted house psychobilly grooves and an undeniable mod rock Clash factor. Though in all fairness I have no idea if these blokes ever listened to either of those bands, I do know there is a bit o’ psycho in ’em. The Bolsheviks formed in 2005 from the remnants of bands such as Lux, Rout and Misdormeanour. The wide-ranging prior influences of the collective memebers comes together for what works out to be a damn good CD. Apparently the band forewent any digital recording on the CD and went full analog. This decision lends well to the rather basement dwelling / garage haunting vibe that Action Reaction is all about. 11 tracks that combine punk, rock, psycho and and a strong retro vibe. If you can find them on this side of the pond, by all means do. Otherwise I suggest packin’ up the fam and moving to jolly ol’ England to catch some of this.

–Jerry Actually

Roll the Tanks – Suffer City

(c) 2008 INR
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Fire the guns and Roll the Tanks! Here’s the new disc from (now) L.A. based band Roll the Tanks. Suffer City is the sophomore effort from the band. Originally from the Boston area, the band now contends with sunshine and smog. I’m not familiar with the bands prior work, but what I’m hearing on the new disc is enjoyable so far. What you get is 11 tracks of somewhat unique sounding punkish rock somewhere between The Clash and Modest Mouse. In all honesty, I’m rushing through this, but for real I do like what I’m hearing. It (the disc) has a distinct early 80’s vibe to it. I’d even go so far as to say I’ll listen to it again.

–Jerry Actually

The Gaslight Anthem

The Gaslight Anthem "Senor and the Queen" EP (c) 2008 Hey, Gaslight Anthem, New Jersey just called and they want Bruce Springsteen back. No, I am totally just kidding. Gaslight Anthem is a Rock and Roll band from straight outta New Brunswick, New Jersey, and here's the juice: Any band worth their cajones that comes from Jersey owes a bit of respect to The Boss.This EP is full of mad respect.  Senor and the Queen is a bit of a teaser EP after 2007's well hailed "Sink or Swim" and in anticipation of a new forthcoming full length.  However short though it may be, it is packed with guts and rock.  Reminiscient of Bruce, Ryan Adams and Nathan Asher, but with a bit more underlying punk snear.  No matter what, I look forward to the new full length.  In the mean time you can pick up your copy of Senor and the Queen when you catch The Gaslight Anthem on tour in a town near you.  What the hell, go to a town far away and see them and get a copy.–Jerry Actually

Primasonic [Denver]

Primasonic – Denver (c) 2008Primasonic, Denver based Punk (and/or) Rock outfit shakes it like a rock band, not unlike The Strokes, The Hives, The Vines (monosyllabic names ad infinitum) They, however, have some things going on for them that the aforementioned bands do not. Namely, they have four syllables in their band name, and if you don’t count the word “the” (and I dont) that makes them at least four times as good as any of those other bands I mentioned. Seriously though, Primasonic has their roots firmly planted in Rock n’ Roll but with plenty of Punk attitude. Similar to the resurgent sounds of The Humpers or US Bombs. Their new release due out sometime this year packs 13 tracks of spit and vitriol as well as one “radio edit” (we will scratch that one from the record) Hijinks and facetiousness aside Primasonic has got the rock and they bring the chops. Good new music with and old music vibe comein’ at ya straight outta Denver, CO. Plus to prove their mystical combining of the elements, you get the requisite covers of Paint it Black and Something to Do … Bonus!–Jerry Actually

Revolution Mother [Glory Bound]

Revolution Mother – Glory Bound (c) 2007 Cement Shoes Records Is it metal? Is it hardcore? Is it punk? I guess I don’t know. I’m gonna go ahead and call it rock. Revolution Mother is a hard hitting outfit fronted by skate star Mike Vallely. Their brand new disc, Glory Bound comes on strong with the first two tracks, but seems to suffer from musical premature ejaculation. While it opens strong and fast, by track four, “Bullet”, it begins to plod and chug. The rest of the disc may as well be a tribute to Planet Caravan as far as I’m concerned. If Revolution Mother could have maintained the pace, I would have shown it a bit more love, but tracks like the five minute “Burning from Inside” really just made me want to take a nap. It picks up again later in the disc, but to be honest, I’ve moved on. Just one more thing, holy crap! What is with the freakin’ beards? Scary!–Jerry Actually