Monday, October 29, 2012

Reviews - 10/29/12

Kobanes - Demo - Unabashed Ramones worshipping is often a razor's edge.  On one side, bands have made a career out of it or at least kick-started a career (read: the Queers, the Donnas, the Riverdales, etc).  On the other perilous side, if done incorrectly, you can get some of the most basic, unimaginitive boring bullshit you've ever heard.  Fortunately, the Kobanes fall into the former category.  That's not to say that we're guaranteeing that they'll actually make a career out of their music, but they clearly have figured out that while that Ramones-y formula may seem seductively simple, you still have to write good songs, know how to play, keep it supa-tight and all that good stuff.

Look, you won't be surprised by what you get from the Kobanes.  1,2,3,4's, whoa-oh's, love songs, hate songs and songs with "I Don't Wanna" in the lyrics but they throw in enough of their own little twists and sense of humor to make it work.  Plus, mechanically-speaking, I've always felt that the most important thing for a band playing this style of music is for the guitars and the bass to be in absolute lock-step in order to create that buzzing, relentless drive.  If it gets sloppy, then the whole things falls apart and the Kobanes don't allow that to happen.

I think the CD they sent in had a few tracks from each of their 3 albums so check out the link below and dig them for yourself.  (

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Reviews - 10/13/2012

Part III of our Cut Throat Records appreciation post and the hits keep coming.

Gun Crazy/Teen Cool Split 7" - This is going to be a little backwards as the Teen Cool side got the first listen.  Looks like Teen Cool was around from 1993 to 2003 which is an impressive run for a band and, holy shit, Toby Marsh of Motards relative-fame was in the line-up for these guys.  Fuck, how did I miss out on all these bands?  Anyway, more really good stuff and for the entirety of the first track, "Crash and Burn Kids", I was trying to place which British singer the Teen Cool singer sounded like.  Anyway, when the opening riff of track 2, "Dilemna Doll", kicked in, it all started to make sense.  That opening riff is really similar to the main riff in "Art School" by the Jam and that kick-started by slow, slow brain into realizing that the singer's voice sounds a lot like Paul Weller, also of the Jam.  Soooooo, Teen Cool kind of sounds like a bit-faster, bit-more-reckless version of the Jam.  Which is good.

As for Gun Crazy, more good stuff dealing with things that a lot of good punk rock songs deal with.  In particular, factory lines in the song entitled "Factory Line" and interacting with bad news chicks named Jane in the song entitled "Talk to Jane".

Libertine - Guttersnipe Glamour 7" - This one wasn't quite as cool.  Kind of reminded me of another TX-based band from around the same era (that being the late 90's/early 00's) called the Dead End Cruisers.  Saw them open for Pegboy in Austin many moons ago, bought their CD, listened to it once or twice and eventually sold it on Ebay.  How's that for an obscure reference?  Anyway, pretty standard sleazy rock 'n' roll and the last track on this little EP is indeed a stab at a reggae-ish song.  And as discussed elsewhere on this blog, lots of bands of this era tried to pull this off and it never really worked.  And sure enough, this tune isn't so good either.

The Stupor Stars - Poison Arrows 7" - Great name for a band, first off.  More importantly, this little sampler platter serves up 3 delectablely catchy morsels.  The title track has that melancholy-yet-boundlessly-enthusiastic mix that makes music beautiful and makes you, the listener, play it over and over.  Things get a little more mean-spirited with "Don't Fight Us" but it's still catchy as all get-out.  Wrapping up the 7" is another willy of a dilly of a ditty called "Hey Maita" about a beautiful black-haired girl.  And goddamn, is there anything finer than a beautiful black-haired girl?  Both songs feature one of this reviewer's favorite, but difficult to describe, things in punk rock tunes.  That being that millisecond pause between a verse or chorus ending and a really solid guitar solo starting up.  Like, not a full breakdown, but just a split-second pause where everything drops out and then, "SKRUUUUAAAAHWAAAAHWWEEE" or however one might put a solo into the written word.

Anyway, you and I...we together...should find out if these guys and 1 gal put out any other records because these 3 songs are great.

The Monocles - Out of Your Mind 7" - And finally, the Monocles.  Pretty strong stuff and the first track "Out of Yr Mind" kind of reminds one of the Spits in that it's catchy punk rock and roll stuff with kind of weird sounding distorted vocals.  The second track is a bit of a groaner, but the 7" rebounds quite nicely on track 3, "Darken Your Door".  Yes it does.