Tag Archives: New

EP Review: The Wealthy West – Volume 1 – An EP

I am back.  That’s right folks, I survived the mean streets of West Virginia once again.  After a week-long escape from everything, I am back.  I have a test already in the class I decided to take this summer so most of this weekend will be focused on studying for that.  I am, however, in need of a break so I thought I would hammer out a quick review of a pretty sweet up and coming folk act.

I would imagine that most of my readers know I have a certain love for Austin, TX.  I think everyone needs to check out that amazing city at least once in their lifetime.  I know I am itching to get back there one day soon.  Anyways, I speak of Austin because that is where Brandon Kinder who goes under the moniker The Wealthy West resides.

Many may know Kinder from The Rocketboys, an indie rock group that he supplies lead vocals to.  Kinder decided to try something on his own, a more personal folky project he calls The Wealthy West.  Fans of soft-spoken indie / folk music (Americana) will really get a kick out of his five song EP entitled Volume 1 – An EP.  It is powerful in the heartfelt department and can easily be compared to Ray LaMontange, Joe Purdy, Frightened Rabbit, and even that of the Avett Brothers.

“Love Is Not Enough” starts off the EP with a nice acoustic riff accompanied by piano playing making for a fun track that just seemed to end way too soon.  “Another Bad Idea” followed in a more gentle indie rock sound that included background vocals and even chimes.

Once I heard “Give Me Resurrection”, I could not help but think of Purdy and LaMontange as Kinder sings slowly over a faint playing acoustic guitar accompanied by whispering background vocals.  The song was really a beautiful piece to check out and had powerful lyrics focusing around the strength of love.  “Home” picked things up in the EP with harmonica joining Kinder’s signing.  “Not A Pretty Pair” ended the quick EP with a more driven sound throughout although singing of remaining stationary due to lack of time.

It’s no mystery anymore, Americana is where it’s at these days and Kinder has no problem writing his own songs to accompany the latest and greatest of a very solid genre of music.  Volume 1 – An EP was a nice and quick listen leaving me, the listener, wanting much more to hear.  With only five songs, I am curious to see what else Kinder has to offer in the near future.

The Wealthy West - Love Is Not Enough

Album Review: Fact To Face – Laugh Now, Laugh Later

I am seriously in an old school punk rock overload as of late these days and could not be happier. It seems as if all these bands I used to adore as a kid are coming out of the woodwork and are releasing albums as well as touring in support of them.  In the last week alone I have seen live performances by some amazing bands from the 80s and 90s including Bad Religion and Strung Out. There is one band though that I was most excited for, a band that I was more or less obsessed with in my high school years.

Seeing Face To Face live completely blew me away.  I saw them last summer at the Warped Tour and they sounded great, but their set was so short it was almost depressing.  For more on the show check out the review I posted last week.

Let’s talk about Face To Face…

Trever Keith and company may have stated that Face To Face was done back in 2004 due to indifferences, but just four years later the band decided to regroup but had no plans on releasing new material.  Featuring Keith (the only original member), Chad Yaro, Scott Schiflett, and Danny Thompson, the California punk rock act is back in the scene.  Not only have they been hitting the roads, but they have also decided to drop an all new album titled Laugh Now, Laugh Later on Antagonist Records. This is the band’s first album release in almost eight years.

“Should Anything Go Wrong” opened the album off strong and almost sounded as if the band never took a break.  With a catchy chorus and fierce guitar playing, the song reminded me why I have loved this band for so long.  “It’s All About You” follow and was a little less intense, but Keith’s lyrics just made the song as well as the fun guitars throughout, especially midway through.  Just two songs in on the album and I was already impressed.

“The Invisible Hand” was an instant classic to my ears.  With lyrics of trying to grasp on to what you can not have, the track immediately was lodged in my mind.  Although I liked the bass lines in “Bombs Away”, I felt the song was a little too Ignorance Is Bliss for me and I just could not get into it.  “Blood In The Water” was a good track though and begged for another listen as was “What You Came For”.  “I Don’t Mind And You Don’t Matter” really could have been left off the album as it just did not fit in with the rest.

“Stopgap” was a nice harsh track with Keith repeating  “you got something you want to say to me / so what’s your story better get it straight / don’t waste my time with your apologies” throughout carried by some great guitar work and drumming.  In a more positive feel, “All For Nothing” was a decent love song that had a couple Social D-sounding notes thrown about.

“Pushover” tried hard to hang on to the old school Face To Face sound.  While the track sounded great, I felt the bass riffs could have been faster and heavier.  They seemed to hide behind a lot of the track on the album, especially this one.  The track was also incredibly short and just dropped off leaving “Under The Wreckage” to close things up on the album.

interviewed Keith a few years back and remember him saying that they missed playing shows and he had no intentions on recording new material.  It did not sound like he was that excited to create a new album as much as he was with playing older material, but I am pretty sure the tables have turned.  Laugh Now, Laugh Later may not be the best thing I have heard come from Face To Face, but there are a couple gems in there.  I am just more thrilled the band is back and doing their thing.

As previously mentioned, I saw them live about a week ago and they killed it on stage.  Throughout their set their played three of the new tracks and, to me, they fit in just fine with all of the classics they created years ago.  The one thing though that impressed me the most though was how happy Keith and crew were on stage.  They were having a good time doing what they love best and as a fan, I could not ask for anything more.

Album Review: Swingin’ Utters – Here, Under Protest

I am sitting here trying to figure out how to start this review about an Oi!/Street Punk/Folk band that has been around for over two decades.  They are one of the O.F.W.C. (Original Fat Wreck Chords – I made that up) members and have been a huge influence to my punk rock ears ever since I was a teen.

The band I speak of is none other than the Swingin’ Utters and after eight years, the band has dropped Here, Under Protest, perhaps the best thing I have heard ever from the San Francisco band.  Seriously, I can not stop listening to this album, it is amazing.

Where do I start?  Could it be that the band sounds more polished than ever?  Could it be that Johnny Bonnel, Spike Slawson (Me First & The Gimme Gimmes), Daris Koski AND Jack Dalrymple (Dead To Me) share singing duties throughout the release without any sort of conflict?  With all the elements making up the Utters these days, one would think they are a modern day punk rock superband, one I should add that is not a complete joke.

Orson Welles is heard at the beginning of the CD saying “here under protest is beef burgers.”  This line comes from the historic film icon when he was narrating a advertisement for a British company called Findus.  Yes, I searched the internet to find that out.  I knew it was his voice the moment I heard it, but wanted to know more.

“Brand New Lungs” started off the album and I knew right then that the album was going to be an instant gem.  Granted I already had heard the song last summer when the band dropped a 3-song 7″ to tide fans over till the full-length released, the fact of the matter is that the song is solid and perhaps the catchiest track on the entire album.  Bonnel’s raspy voice has never been more welcomed to my ears during this song.

“Taking The Long Way” followed and just kept that great sound continuing to impress me.  The lyrics were interesting as they spoke of basically planting your feet.  “Kick It Over”, featuring Koski on vocals, was a great track that shied away from the usual Utters sound and hinted back to the earlier days of punk rock.  “Good Things” was a little heavier with Bonnel just giving reasons throughout to get hammered.  They don’t call him Johnny “Piss Pants” for nothing you know…  “Heavy Head” was just a smooth track – Nothing more, nothing less.

“(You’ve Got To) Give It All To The Man” was the heaviest, old-school Utters sounding track on the entire album.  Fast paced and to the point, this song screamed 90’s punk rock all the way through.  “Time On My Own” had Koski back on lead vocals and continued with that fun punk rock vibe that took me back to a teen.

The folky “Scary Brittle Frame” may have sounded like nothing else on the album, but it was my favorite track.  I really wish the Utters would just drop an all folk album one of these days.  They do such a great job creating songs here and there that can be found throughout their catalog it would just make sense a full length.

The final track on the album, “Effortless Amnesiac”, was another catchy as hell punk track with Dalrymple taking over vocal duties.  After hear this track I really hope, should he stick around with the band, that he be featured on more future tracks seeing how his singing fit in so well with the music.

It amazes me that a band that has been in the game for so long still has no problem creating such a great release.  Here, Under Protest is good, wholesome punk rock from a group of guys who know exactly what they are capable of.

This new Utters mateiral may not be as Oi!/Street Punk/Folky as they used to be and rub off more as Filthy Theiving Bastards at times, but that is ok by me.  Here, Under Protest, hands down, is one of my favorite punk rock albums so far in 2011.  20 years in the business is never an easy feat, but the Utters have no problem continuing onward.

Swingin' Utters - Taking The Long Way

“Be Your Bro” With Those Darlins

Next Tuesday, Those Darlins will be releasing a 7-inch of two new new album songs entitled “Be Your Bro” and “Let U Down.” This is the first taste from their sophomore album Screws Get Loose that is dropping at the end of March on OH WOW DANG Records.

It is safe to say I am excited. If anyone knows anything about me, I am a big big Those Darlins fan.  After seeing them last Fall, it is safe to say I am stoked to hear their new release.  They changed their sound up a little and it sounds amazing.

7″ Track list
Side A) Be Your Bro
Side B) Let U Down

Those Darlins are currently touring in support of their new release. When these girls (and Linwood) tour, they tour…

Photo by Veta&Theo for Ovvio Arte

TOUR DATES:

JANUARY
27 – Oxford, MS – Proud Larry’s
28 – Hattiesburg, MS – Thirsty Hippo
29 – Auburn, AL – The Independent

FEBRUARY
17 – Fayetteville, AR – George’s Majestic #
18 – St Louis, MO – Pageant #
19 – Chicago, IL – The Vic #
20 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue #
22 – Louisville, KY – Headliners #
23 – Cincinnati, OH – Southgate House #
24 – Asheville, NC – Orange Peel #
25 – Atlanta, GA – Buckhead #
26 – Charleston, SC _ Music Farm #
27– Jacksonville, FL – Freebird #

MARCH
1 – Orlando, FL – Plaza Theater #
2 – Tampa, FL Skipper’s #
3 – Tallahassee, FL – The Moon #
4 – New Orleans – Tipitina’s #
5 – Houston, TX – House of Blues #
17th-20th — Austin, TX — SXSW
24 – Washington, DC – The Black Cat +
25 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom +
26 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom +
27 – Boston, MA – Middle East +
29 – Providence, RI – Firehouse 13
30 – New Haven, CT – BAR
31 – Baltimore, MD – Golden West

APRIL
1 – Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall +
4 – Omaha, NE – Waiting Room +
6 – Denver, CO – the Bluebird +
7 – Salt Lake City, UT – the Urban Lounge +
8 – Boise, ID – Neurolux +
9 – Seattle, WA – the Crocodile +
10 – Portland, OR – Dante’s +
13 – San Francisco, CA – the Independent +
14 – Santa Cruz, CA – the Rio Theatre +
16 – Santa Barbara, CA – the Mercury Lounge

JUNE
2 – Ozark, AR – Wakarusa Festival

# w/Old 97’s
+ w/Black Joe Lewis

Album Review: Fat Music Vol. 7 – Harder, Fatter + Louder

Hey kids, I want to let you in on a little secret.  Before the internet and digital downloads were around, there used to be this thing called a CD compilation ( and before that they were  called cassette compilations).  It was a CD full of choice tracks that record labels would sell at a discounted price (usually) to help share the music of bands that appeared on their label.  No, I am not talking about that never-ending Now That’s What I Call Music series (seriously, when the hell is that garbage going to end?).   I’m talking about music that actually mattered: non-comercial goodness.  More specifically I am talking about punk rock comps.

Today there still are comp CDs released out there, but they just are not the same and most are digital downloads in an effort to save money in this ever struggling business music.  AMP Magazine did a good job for a while there releasing free comp CDs with their magazines, but after a while I just got bored with them.  The 2cd Warped Tour comps are good and feature a ton of bands on them, but I can not stand most of them.  It just seems like the comp CDs of my younger years always had quality songs from great artists that I could appreciate.

Back in my day, man I sound old, I used to eat up punk rock comps when they came out.  Labels like Fat Wreck Chords, Nitro, Hopeless, Vagrant, and Recess (just to name a few) released some killer comps in the 90’s that helped supply new music to my ears.  I did not have the luxury back then to sit at a computer and type in “new unheard of punk rock music I will enjoy”  and get instant results.  I actually had to go to a music store, many of which are extinct, and BUY an actual CD with money and not a debit card.  Ok, I think you get it.

Whenever I think of punk rock comps I always think of the Fat Music series.  Created by Fat Wreck Chords in 1994, the Fat Series were a series of comps featuring bands on their label that were sold for cheap.  I loved the variety on each release and always found a new band on them to appreciate.

Keep in mind this was before you were able to burn CDs at the click of a mouse.  You kids these days have no idea how easy you have it.  I remember the days where I had to actually make mix-tapes because it was the only way…  So yes, comp CDs were where it was at.

The Fat Music series stopped in 2002 with Uncontrollable Fatulence and soon moved on to digital downloads like everyone else as it was a new era of music and, let’s be honest, they needed to cut corners to keep the business alive thanks to illegal downloading.

I really thought that it was the end of a good thing, that is until Fat Wreck Chords dropped Harder, Fatter + Louder last November.  After a 8 year break, the god people of Fat Wreck Chords decided to drop an all new comp featuring newer acts as well as older contenders. I felt like a kid all over again once I had the copy in my hands, I even used my teeth to rip the plastic off the CD.

On the 7th volume of the series, Fat Mike – owner of Fat Wreck Chords, took 22 songs from upcoming Fat releases as well as a couple older tracks that dropped around in ’09 and ’10.  The result is once again a perfect mix of tracks by a bunch of talented bands.

I was stoked when the first song, “For Better, For Worse”, played on the CD by a band I was not familiar with.  It was an instant reminder why I always loved comp CDs.  The band called, Old Man Markley, is not like any band I have heard on the Fat Wreck label as they are more a folky friend jam that emulates both Flogging Molly and the Avett Brothers in a way.  Coincidentally, their debut on Fat entitled Guts N’ Teeth just dropped this past Tuesday.

Throughout the comp, there were a lot of acts I was already aware of like The Flatliners, Mad Caddies, Tony Sly, and of course NOFX.  Honestly, Old Man Markley was the only band I did not know of prior to listening to the comp but I was stoked to hear new stuff from Cobra Skulls and Chixdiggit!.  Most of the tracks were from upcoming albums giving a taste of good things to come and the rest were obviously already released gems.  Regardless if I had heard them before or not, the collection of songs brought together was good.

If Fat Mike asked me to make a mix I honestly think that: a.) That would be the absolute shit. b.) I would have a hell of a time taking the right songs and limiting them to just one CD – I’ll leave it to the pros.

If you are looking for a punk comp this year go out and grab yourself a copy of Harder, Fatter + Louder.  At just $8 bucks for the CD, there really is no excuse not to get this if you like your rock punk.  Come on, all the cool kids are doing it.

DOWNLOAD THIS! – Cobra Skulls – “Hot Sand”
DOWNLOAD THIS! – Old Man Markley – “For Better, For Worse”