Tag Archives: Album

Album Review: Dirty Tactics – It Is What It Is

Philadelphia punkers Dirty Tactics are officially the band I overlooked last year.  In a day and age where punk rock music is taking all sorts of diversions into different genres, sometimes I am just hesitant of checking out newer acts.

Maybe it’s the old man in me telling me to hold back as I sadly think I have heard it all or perhaps I’ve just grown tired of band after band sounding alike.  Whatever the reason is, I am glad I took a moment to pop in It Is What It Is, the bands sophomore album on Say-10 Records.

From the very start of the CD I was into it.  It was not because the band exploded into a infectious jam (that was later), it was because of a certain dated excerpt of an interview that opened the album.  Where as I can not pinpoint who the actual band is that is being interviewed, someone who sounds an awful like Mick Jones of the Clash says “it’s just like, there just has to be new groups and that’s just what you got,” when asked where punk rock started.  Without time to agree with that statement, Dirty Tactics jumped into “When You Wake Up” a dirty DIY sounding catchy-ass song.

“Baltimore” followed the opening track continuing with an infectious pop-punky (see, I told you that happened later) song that won me over mostly thanks to the use of the organ throughout.  Begging to be sung along to was “The Process”, a pop-punk heavy track wit a dab of clapping to keep that good feeling going.

“Secret Lives” had an interesting prelude to an amazing track.  “Train Song” proved it is ok to play organ in a punk rock song and have fun doing so.  All I could think to myself is how amazingly talented these guys were and I was only halfway thought the album.

“Arkansas” was unlike any other song previously heard and perhaps my favorite.  Upright piano, almost whispering gruff singing, and distant percussion brought together this quick gem of a track that begged to be listened to over and over again.

The shift in sound also applied to the final track “Blind Man”, a trippy track that sounded almost as if Jeffrey Lewis wrote it.  Even if it was out of the norm I loved it and especially appreciated the repeat of “it’s what you got” taken from the opening sample at the songs end.

Dirty Tactics are group of talented and hardworking musicians that make punk, well…punk.  They recorded the It Is What It Is themselves, work their day jobs when home, and tour when the time is right.  I only hope to catch this band live one day.

It Is What It Is just isn’t just an album that I’ll be listening to a couple of times and forget about…and yes I mean that.  I am pretty sure they will remain in regular rotation for me for quite some time.  If you have not heard of Dirty Tactics yet make sure you put that on your to do list.

Album Review: J. Roddy Walston & The Business – J. Roddy Walston & The Business

Just when you think you have heard it all, along comes something new, something that I just have to talk about.  Every once in a while, a band drops an album good and so different that once it hits my ears, all I can do is play it over and over.  Recently, rather this past summer, I was introduced to a band that had me going crazy for more.  The band I speak of is J. Roddy Walston & The Business.  If you have not heard of this band already you are missing out (I may say that a lot, but in this one instance I mean it).

So who do they sound like?  Imagine the Beatles, the Kinks, Queen, Cheap Trick, Led Zeppelin, and throw in some Jerry Lee Lewis.  There are far more comparisons to be used, but the previously mentioned bands were first to come to my mind.  From beginning to end the band’s self-titled sophomore album on Vagrant Records, J. Roddy Walston & The Business does not let up.  It’s a bare-boned non-overproduced album that leaves any listener hungry for more.

J. Roddy Walston?  More like J. Roddy Awesome…

The moment the piano started on “Don’t Break The Needle”, I knew I was in for something good. The hoot-hollering track full of dark references of addiction carries on with laughter in the singing, pounding piano playing, and guitar playing that’ll easily peer pressure the listener into wanting more.

“Used To Did” simply rocks.  With lyrics like “I got this gun girl, it don’t miss, it makes babies,” how could you not agree?  From J. Roddy’s broken-record lyricism to the heavy shedding guitar playing, this track is all about not caring and Rock ‘n Roll.  Just watch out for that gun.

My favorite track on the album hands down was “Brave Man’s Death”.  Happy as it may seem while listening to, the song itself tells of a selfish dysfunctional life lesson no one should ever be subject to.  Still, I have found myself on more than one occasion screaming the chorus at the top of my lungs alone and with friends.  It is a refreshing song when the moral of the story catches up with you, but until you get there you will be lost.

Easily an instant classic, “I Don’t Wanna Hear It” has everything included in a track to be liked by anyone who fathoms themselves a music lover – a southern rock jam, group vocals, and a bad ass attitude.  Continuing with that feeling was the closing track “Use Your Language” a twangy track that made me want to clap my hands, stomp my foot, and sing along.

I really should have had this review done months and months ago, but all excuses aside, this Baltimore foursome (originally hailing from Cleveland, TN) has been in regular daily rotation since the day the album hit my hands over the summer.  J. Roddy Walston & The Business has become an instant Rock ‘n Roll album that I will spin for years to come.

Having only caught one live song by them this past Fall when they opened for Shooter Jennings (I literally arrived just as the band played their set-ending song) I can tell you this: The band rocks on so many levels.  The excitement that that foursome bled onto the crowd made me smile.  I am sure that hardly any of the crowd knew who J. Roddy Walston & The Business was when they entered the Beachland Ballroom that rainy October night, but I know they left with something that tasted ever so good to their ears. I was there, I know they liked it…

J Roddy Walston and The Business – Don’t Break The Needle from Vagrant Records on Vimeo.

Album Review: Bars Of Gold – Of Gold

Bars Of Gold (BoG), a new project including former Bear vs. Shark (BvS) members Marc Paffi and Brandon Moss, recently released their debut album entitled Of Gold through Friction Records.  Moving from the post-hardcore sound the band carries a more punk rock / indie rock sound.  BoG may not necessary cater to many BvS fans out there on this release, but after just one listen, I am a fan.

A Nintendo-y opener, properly titled “Boss Level” started off the album with me scratching my head wondering what the rest of the album would entail.  Not that there is anything wrong with a little 8-bit-core, it was just unexpected.

“Heaven Has A Heater” focused more towards an indie sound with a punk singing style that really sounded amazing.  This is definitely a track that needs to be checked out.  While I am talking about tracks that needed to be checked out, listen to “Birds” as well.  The sound was like what might happen if Modest Mouse and Talking Heads decided to collaborate.  It was catchy and bizarre all at once.

“The Hustle” was unlike any other track on the album and by far the most entertaining to my ears.  The banjo almost hypnotized me throughout the wild folk-heavy track with Paffi’s vocals howling all over the place.  Dare I say Hot Water Music vocals meets Travis guitar playing?  Yes, I just said that.

The melodic “………….” was a nice, chill track to listen to at the start but soon had a little group vocals going on in the background leading up to Paffi taking over.  The song reminded me of Cursive track in a good way.

“Cannibals” was a great track to sit back to and just enjoy.  In the true spirit of indie rock, this song kicked ass and I loved how the beginning crept up around you and then just turned into a mad frenzy of insanity.

It’s nice to see musicians move on in differnet directions without sounding like they are trying too hard.  Bars Of Gold have a good sound going for them and I am loving what they have created.  I am sure there are BvS fanatics out there wondering what happened and it is expected, but I have the feeling that once a few of them make way through this album they will grow to appreciate all that it is.

2010 is coming to an end and I think I have found my favorite indie-ish rock album of the year.  Check it out for yourself:

Contest: Win A Pair Of Tickets To The 9/21 Those Darlins Show & Their Night Jogger 7″!!!

Update: Contest is CLOSED!  Congrats to Gretchen for snagging up the Those Darlins prize pack courtesy of Oh Wow Dang Records!  Have fun at the show!!!

I have a pair of tickets to the upcoming Those Darlins show at the Beachland Tavern on 9/21 for one lucky winner.  I will also toss in freshly pressed copy of the their recently released Night Jogger 7″ as well.  See below for how to win…

Those Darlins are back at it again.  The trio of fine, fun ladies and drummer Lynn are back on the road looking for a good time nightly in various cities across the good ol’ USA.  Recently the band dropped a split 7″ featuring a new Those Darlins track on one side and a Funstix track on the other.  This is just a small taste of their new album which is scheduled to drop in early 2011.

Head over to the Those Darlins revamped web page for a listen at both tracks and even score yourself a free download of “Night Jogger” for a limited time.

Better yet demand that all of your friends head up to the Beachland Tavern with you on 9/21 to check out these country/punk darlings and Turbo Fruit.  It is going to be a good time and your help is needed to bring the party.  If you do not, you are missing out.  How do I know?  Because I have been there, done that, and would not mind doing it all over again – in fact I will be there (please hold your comments).  Their shows are not to be missed so just get your butt up there ok?

So how do you win?

All you have to do is comment below and make sure you enter a valid email address.  One winner will be chosen randomly to win a pair of tickets to the 9/21 Cleveland show and a 7″ of Night Jogger.

This is for the Cleveland, Ohio show only so I need to keep this contest local.  This contest was made possible buy the amazing folk at Oh Wow Dang Records.  I will pick a winner on this Saturday Monday evening, so hurry up and throw down a comment!!!

Tour Dates (in case you were wondering…):

9/10 – Atlanta, GA – The Earl #
9/11 – Asheville, NC – The Grey Eagle #
9/12 – Myrtle Beach, SC – Island Bar
9/14 – Chapel Hill, NC – Local 506 #
9/15 – Washington DC – Black Cat #
9/16 – New York City – Bowery Ballroom #
9/17 – Cambridge, MA – T.T. the Bear’s #
9/18 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl #
9/19 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie (early show) #
9/19 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie (late show) #
9/21 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Tavern $
9/22 – Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall $
9/23 – Pygmalion Festival – Champaign-Urbana
9/24 – Iowa City, IA – The Mill $
9/25 – Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon $
9/26 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue @ 7th St. Entry $
9/28 – Omaha, NE – Slowdown $
9/29 – Lincoln, NE – Lincoln Calling
9/30 – Kansas City, KS – The Record Bar $

10/2 – Louisville, KY – Headliners Music Hall
10/7 – Dallas, TX – Sons of Hermann Hall %
10/8 – Austin City Limits Festival
10/8 – ACL After Party @ Emo’s +
10/9 – Laredo, TX – Old No. 2

# W/The Strange Boys & Gentleman Jesse and His Men
$ W/Turbo Fruits
% W/The Soft Pack
+ w/The Black Lips

Fake Problems – Real Ghosts Caught On Tape – Album Review

There was a time and place when I liked the band Fake Problems because they sounded like some other band out there that I enjoyed that will remain unmentioned.  The similarities between them and this certain Gainsville, Fla. act I speak of were clear but never to be considered a rip off, at least to my ears.  I soon learned of their hard working antics, their harsh stories while touring and most of all their passion for what they love to do.

I recall the first Fake Problems release as being an enjoyable punk/folk sing-a-long jam while the follow-up showed a clear change in their style.  Now dropping Real Ghosts Caught On Tape,their third full length release, Fake Problems really have evolved from a one time punk rock sounding band into a fine-sounding rock n roll outfit that impresses me on a few different levels.

Still kicking it with Side One Dummy Records, the Naples, Fla. foursome is back with all new material bordering on more of an indie-rock feel without letting go of their roots.  There is this major fun change though that is heard throughout making me think that Fake Problems has pointed their style in a different direction almost hinting back to the 60’s.   Real Ghosts contains 11 toe tapping songs that will easily compliment any good day you are having.

The opening “ADT” won me over immediately.  I loved the drum playing, the white-collar rock n roll strums and of course the, dare I say, heartfelt lyrics.  It was easily the catchiest song on the track.  Following was “5678”, a more dance-causing, Electric Six sounding, jam worthy of multiple listens.  Again, another catchy track especially with the “everybody’s clapping along” chorus.

It’s not all about the fun though on the album, just listen to the lyrics on “Songs For Teenagers”, a beautifully done tune but with a saddened message about letdowns, suicide contemplation and drug use.  “Soulless” on the other hand was fun-major, if that makes sense, with tons of energy slapped into the 60’s-ish, girl doo-whopping track Phil Spector would even enjoy (I have the feeling I am not the only one who has said that but oh well…).

Real Ghosts is well written from start to finish and if anything, the band has proved on how they have matured as musicians.  With hints towards So.Cal. indie-rock and sandy beach jams they have not forgeotten where they came from.  Real Ghosts is a whole more fun and a lot more mainstream friendly than their priors, but don’t be too quick to throw that “sellout” label at them.

In a sense sellouts happen because it there is a certain element that grabs attention – it happens all the time if you think about it (i.e. Gaslight Anthem, Flogging Molly, 1/2 the bands on the Warped Tour).  Sure, sometimes bands throw in a huge twist to earn more green in their wallets but this is not the case with Fake Problems.  They are a fun and hardworking act that dropped a great, fun album aimed at anyone out there who is looking for a upbeat and catchy album to listen to.