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Music Reviews of Punk, Indie Rock, Emo, Ska

Guttermouth - Shave the Planet

GuttermouthShave the Planet Buy it at Amazon

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Ten albums sure does seem like a lot for a little pop-punk band like Guttermouth. Sure enough though their latest “Shave the Planet” is their tenth album. Still delving into the immature lyrics and glorified melodic punk that NOFX once dominated, Guttermouth are that Warped Tour band that seems to pop up every year on that famous tour with people saying “oh wow you guys are still around”? To be fair though, Guttermouth actually IS a punk band with plenty of run-ins with the law—one such incident was being banned for two years from Canada due to a public indecency situation.

- J-Sin

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The Goodbye Kiss - The Goodbye Kiss EP Editor's Pick

The Goodbye KissThe Goodbye Kiss EP Buy it at Amazon

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Pop-punk’s soft melodies and indie rock’s cleverness aside, The Goodbye Kiss mangle pop into something that’s listenable again. Their vocalist doesn’t always hit the perfect note but that’s what gives the album a sense of reality that most emo/indie rock acts can’t touch in these studio-provided perfect-pitch days. You can hear a bit of Sunny Day Real Estate and the Promise Ring influencing a number of the songs on this all-too-short self-titled debut. I love the strings on “Bestowal Upon the Acquistive”—they give the song an undercurrent of urgency that is felt by even the most passive aggressive types.

- J-Sin

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Goons of Doom - The Story of Dead Barbie & Ghost

Goons of DoomThe Story of Dead Barbie & Ghost Buy it at Amazon

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Nice tits. I know that’s what you’re thinking when you see the cartoonish cover art of Goons of Doom’s latest album. I mean did any guy grow up not stripping a Barbie down to giggle at her bare bosoms when he was Elementary School age? Australian punk band Goons of Doom know their audience and manage to strip down punk rock into a pub-crawl to beat all pub-crawls. Their manic vocals and weird songs may make your head spin but if you give them a fair shake you’ll be reaching for that “repeat” button in no time flat.

- J-Sin

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The New Tragedies - VanityVanity Editor's Pick

The New TragediesVanityVanity Buy it at Amazon

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Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young have a wild sense of influence on artists even today. The New Tragedies combine that famous quartet (and sometimes trio)’s use of vocal harmonies and stellar lyrical content. Stirring harmonies and gripping lyrics aren’t the only focus that one would find when they listen to the New Tragedies for the first time. Indeed, if you are looking for a true focal point you need to at once peer deeply into the enigmatic and energetic songwriting which is surprisingly ingenious despite its stripped down appearance. Engaging!

- J-Sin

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Isabelle's Gift - American Idle

Isabelle's GiftAmerican Idle Buy it at Amazon

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Produced by Jared Little (Bloodhound Gang) and Patrick Hutchinson (Queens of the Stone Age, Desert Sessions), you’d think there’d be an element of humor to go along with the stoner rock. Well there is. To some extent. But fuck all that, this album really just wants to rock your cock off and throw your balls to the wall with a dense distorted miasma of filthy guitar. Southern rock elements spice the album up a bit but it’s a take on Monster Magnet’s finest and the Stooges’ punkiest.

- J-Sin

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Park - Building a Better ______

ParkBuilding a Better ______ Buy it at Amazon

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Produced by Cameron Webb who has produced albums by wildly different acts like Over It and Motorhead, “Building a Better _____” is a pop-punk melodic rock album that sugarcoats vocals with a veneer that make for a perfect case of awesome. The Mad Libs inspired title shouldn’t lead you to think that this is a plug-and-play type of band. Often their songs range into atmospheres that aren’t normally explored by cookie-cutter acts. Some of the guitar melodies seem culled from influential albums by the Get Up Kids and Dashboard Confessional or even Jimmy Eat World. Emotional pop-punk with indie rock roots that refuses to be Fuse TV’ed.

- J-Sin

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Hopewood - Hopewood Editor's Pick

HopewoodHopewood Buy it at Amazon

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Wow. Hopewood’s debut might only be three songs long but in the sixteen minutes it takes you to finish this EP your breath will gone. How could you take time to breath when you could potentially miss one second worth of their amazing post-rock experimental shoegazing guitar? A band in the vein of Explosions In the Sky, Mogwai, and several post-emo indie outfits, Hopewood add string arrangements to their amazing depth with a breadth that is completely peerless and undeniably addictive. Vocally it’s stirring with emotionally wrought lyrics and piercing melodies. Unbelievable. If you don’t own this EP, you’re missing out.

- J-Sin

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The Grates - Gravity Won't Get You High

The GratesGravity Won't Get You High Buy it at Amazon

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Brisbane’s The Grates begin with a woman singing that stirs you up and shifts you into ghastly apprehension. After that creepy introduction is over, they unleash their torrid display of catchy melodies, punked up rock rhythms, and gnarly garage rock guitar. Minimalist rock ‘n’ roll that the White Stripes would approve of, “Gravity Won’t Get You High” manages to carve a niche into the “The” rock sound and make it sound fresh again.

- J-Sin

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Anchors For Architects - Dirty Settlements

Anchors For ArchitectsDirty Settlements Buy it at Amazon

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In today’s Israeli conquests for more land, “Dirty Settlements” could have more than one or two meanings. Anchors For Architects however want you to associate it with their loud garage rock album. Utilizing angular guitars with discordant harmonies and groovy bass lines, the band chugs away. As it is their sophomore album and followed their second U.S. tour, the band is no stranger to many folks who pay attention to the underground scene in their native L.A. Frenetic indie rock that culls a bit from the Fugazi library.

- J-Sin

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Freeheat - Back on the Water Editor's Pick

FreeheatBack on the Water Buy it at Amazon

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Jim Reid, he of Jesus and the Mary Chain fame made more music with his group Freeheat along with his bandmate Ben Lurie. And just like that aforementioned gem of a rock band, Freeheat composes influential and stirring rock. Huge guitars that swirl and grind away with a hollow body sound mixed in there at times remind one of his more famous act but also of the dreamy shoegazing of My Bloody Valentine. Having released two underwhelming EPs, not many had heard of Freeheat. But things will change with this challenging full length that dips into psychedelic rock and strangles the noise out of post-punk indie. Nifty kids will dig this.

- J-Sin

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