Eureka California at Get It On Vinyl

What got into to Eureka California? Just last year we were reviewing their sophomore LP, Crunch, and going off about how much we dig their ability to make power pop excellence with a minimalist line up, fierce guitars and gut pounding drums courtesy of Marie Uhler.

It would appear that with their new LP, Versus, they were simply waiting for the leash to be cut, and oh has it ever. Versus is a fast paced, white knuckle ride into pop punk supremacy. The A-side dominates in tempo. The opening track, “Eureka California’s Night In” sounds most like their previous work with the energy level threatening to blow out the speakers. Without hitting the breaks, “Sign My Name with an X” opens with so much thrash we fear the needle jumping the groove. Jake Ward’s vocals are mixed expertly and somehow do not get drowned out. Ward has that unique quality, being able to find distinction and rise above everything.

One of our favorite tracks is “Realizing Your Actuality.” The song sounds like a mid-90’s Tripping Daisy cut. The lyrics are short but the guitars absolutely dominate. The outro is a submersion into alt-rock paradise.

Luckily the album also allows you to catch your breath. Tracks like “Everybody Had a Hard Year” and “Fear and Loathing in the Classic City” give us Ward solo with an acoustic. While they certainly bring the energy level out of the stratosphere, they frame the LP sides nicely.

By far our favorite track on this stellar LP is “I Will Write Mine Over Potomac.” The lyrics grow deep, the metaphors are more cryptic, and between the soft vocals and guitar sessions everything melds together in full force and there is a moment of pure rock nirvana.

Whatever did happen to Eureka California that made them reach this level, it was an excellent move. Crank it up. Kick the amp. Versus is quite possibly best rock record you will hear all year.

The Vinyl

Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records continues their dedication to releasing top notch LP’s. Pressed on translucent green wax, the LP includes a full color jacket, download card, and lyric sheet. Pick up a copy from your local independent record store or directly from HHBTM Records.



Bloody Knives at Here Comes the Flood

Austin band Bloody Knives are into gritty industrial noise-rock with forays into drones, ambient, electronics and shoegaze. This latest album I Will Cut Your Heart Out For This is a sonic assault, a search-and-destroy raid that comes howling from the speakers, telling dark tales of doom and death. They don’t pause fro breath between tracks, but keep adding motifs and textures, building a towering wall of sound.

They offer a ride to the back alleys, where bad things are bound to happen. It’s a journey that will be too weird and downright scary for most – and they may scratch their heads at tune called —-. For those who wondered what a mix of the Sisters of Mercy and Sonic Youth would sound like, the answer is: the Bloody Knives. Handle with care.


Eureka California at AllMusic

Over the course of two albums, the Athens, Georgia duo Eureka California staked out a place as breezy, fast-working punk-poppers with a foot in the twee pop world and a healthy obsession with the slacker noise of the early to mid-’90s. Their third album, Versus, is still firmly in that realm, but singer/guitarist Jake Ward and drummer Marie A. Uhler have upgraded in two important ways. Firstly, their songwriting keeps getting better. The first two albums were catchy and fun, occasionally very sticky. This time around, almost all of them sound like half-forgotten gems from the ’90s or tracks that would brighten any modern noise pop mixtape. Secondly, the sound of the album is worlds ahead of the first two. It’s their first done in a real studio and the production by HookwormsMJ gives them a huge sound, with Ward’s guitar nothing short of immense. It sounds like he dropped his amp down a flight of stairs and shook everything loose in all the right ways. Another guitarist may have taken it into the shop for repairs; Ward cranks it up all the way instead. It’s fuzzy, thick, and heavy, and threatens to drown every song in gooey noise. Luckily, Uhler is up to the task of battling Ward’s noise and their duel is a thrilling thing to hear. Ward has to up his vocal game too, something that only gives the album more urgency and drama. Songs like “Cobwebs on the Wind” and “Sign My Name with an X” jump out of the speakers, ready to bludgeon everything in sight with frantic abandon. Others have a less energetic approach. “Realizing Your Actuality” and “I Will Write Mine Over Potomac” have some resigned restraint, though the guitar never stops sounding like a deranged and broken beast of some kind. Only the acoustic songs on the second half of the album give the listener a breather. Overall, the album is a giant leap forward for Eureka California, giving the duo’s fun songs and peppy outlook a welcome dose of slime and live-wire energy. Versus is a thrilling, skillfully done makeover that took a good band and pushed it in the direction of great.


deardarkhead at AllMusic

Active since the late ’80s, New Jersey-based dream poppers Deardarkhead only have a handful of releases to their name, and merely one of them is a proper full-length. That album, Unlock the Valves of Feeling, appeared back in 1998; since then, the group’s original bass player and vocalist Michael Amper departed from the group in 2009, and the band soldiered on as a vocal-free trio along with replacement bassist Kevin McCauley, who joined in 2010. Following Captured Tracks’ 2011 anthology of the group’s early-’90s EPs (Oceanside: 1991-1993), Strange Weather is Deardarkhead‘s first newly released material of the 21st century, and it reveals them as an impressive instrumental unit with no apparent need for useless, empty words. The EP is far more focused than one might expect of an instrumental EP from a band that formerly had a vocalist. The group’s music has often had an urgency to it — they’ve never been the type of shoegaze band to stick to hazy, stoned-sounding slow tempos — and here they sound positively energized and vibrant. There’s a bit of a post-punk, Cure-esque jangle to the guitars, but they don’t drown them in effects. The melodies are clear and upfront, and strangely enough, it almost seems like the band has gained more of a pop sensibility since losing its vocalist. All of the tracks sound different, from the thundering toms of “March Hares” to the slightly heavier, more psychedelic guitar textures of “Thinking Back,” so the songs all have distinct personalities rather than just sounding like variations on a similar groove. There’s a tinge of wistfulness to the melodies, but overall they sound bright and summery. Deardarkhead are commendable for their preference of the EP format, as their releases usually don’t wear out their welcome. Strange Weather feels like a fresh new start, even if it’s been at least half a decade in the making.


Eureka California at Broadway World Music

Click through for the album announcement!


Eureka California at Performer


deardarkhead at Ringmaster Reviews

Rousingly fascinating is probably the best way to describe Strange Weather, the new EP from New Jersey trio deardarkhead, that and gloriously suggestive. Across six tracks as cinematic as they are emotionally intimate upon the imagination, band and release immerses the listener in its and their own sculpted exploits. The release is an anthem to the conjuring of bold imaginative adventures and a tapestry of creative virulence for ears to bask in.

The beginnings of deardarkhead go way back to 1988 since when the band has released five recordings on their own Fertile Crescent Records label with a retrospective of their early work additionally released in 2012 by Captured Tracks. Their distinctive fusion of post punk, indie rock, shoe gaze, and dream pop has been greedily devoured by an increasing many whilst their live presence has seen the band play with the likes of Supergrass, The Psychedelic Furs, Everclear and The Lilys amongst numerous other. Despite numerous compilation appearances, and that 2011 retrospective  Oceanside: 1991-1993 since last album Unlock the Valves of Feeling was released in 1998, you might say that deardarkhead have been a ‘forgotten’ treat by many; if so that is set to inescapably change with the release of Strange Weather.

Always luring inquiring interest with each release, the band has probably ignited the strongest intrigue with the new EP as it is their first without long time singer/bassist Michael Amper who left the band in 2009. His departure only seemed to ignite a hunger to explore their instrumental side as remaining members, guitarist Kevin Harrington and drummer Robert Weiss proceeded to move in that direction and perform instrumental shows after linking up with bassist Kevin McCauley the following year. The suggestion is that the band is looking for the right vocalist to bring in but on the evidence of Strange Weather, and its empowering potency, you wonder if it will be any loss not finding the right man.

From its first track Strange Weather has ears and emotions enthralled, the imagination just as swiftly ignited as Falling Upward emerges from chilling winds within a dank atmosphere. It is pulled from the wasteland by a nagging guitar, its sonic lure soon colluding with the resonating bait of the bass and crispy textured beats. With them comes a tenacious catchy resourcefulness which infectiously lines the post punk hook and bass groove which subsequently entwine and enslave ears. All the tracks to the EP spark ideas and mental imagery, ones sure to differ person to person, but a cold war like landscape is ours adventure for the opener no doubt helped by having recently watched Deutschland 83. There feels a cinematic kinship between the band’s sound and those visuals with every leap into the sonic tapestry of the song pushing the story along.

With a touch of Leitmotiv to it, the track is a riveting start, leaving ears and pleasure lively and ready to embrace the warmer jangle of Sunshine Through The Rain which follows. There is a calmer air altogether to the song, a melodic radiance which wears the scent of eighties indie pop yet contrasts it with a steely proposal from bass and hypnotic beats. Again captivation is a given to its My Bloody Valentine aired persuasion though it is soon outshone by the thrills and dramas of both Juxta Mare and March Hares. The first of the pair unveils a sultry atmosphere around a delicious melodic hook and bassline which would not feel out of play of a sixties/seventies TV spy thriller. Its lean but thick lure is the spring for an evocative weave of sonic enterprise and suggestive melodies, all courted by the dark shadows of bass and the persistently jabbing swings of Weiss.

As outstanding as it is, it too gets eclipsed by its successor, March Hares stealing the whole show. From the pulsating rhythms of Weiss to the snarling tone of McCauley’s bass, the track has ears and an already lustful appetite enslaved. Their irresistible bait is then entangled in bewitching tendrils of sonic imagination from Harrington; the song subsequently swinging along in the web of their united craft and invention to entice body and spirit further. In full stride, the track has a great feel of The Monochrome Set to it, indeed Harrington’s stringed adventure carries a touch of the English band’s guitarist Lester Square to it as a House of Love shimmer and Birdland like rowdiness add to the slavery.

Ice Age immerses the listener into chillier post punk climes next; its nippy atmosphere and almost bleak ambience tempered by the sonic elegance seeping from the guitar within the anthemic tenacity of the drums. Again it is fair to say that the song lures physical and emotional involvement with ease before Thinking Back explores a maze of reflective melodies and evocative grooves within another addictive rhythmic frame. There is an essence of Echo & The Bunnymen and Bauhaus to the track as post punk and gothic lit shadows and depths spread through sound and thoughts.

The track is an imposingly mesmeric end to a spellbinding release. Strange Weather will have you breathless, excited, reflective, and going on a myriad of imagination bred adventures with its suggestive incitement. We are no experts on deardarkhead and their releases to date but the EP has to be up there as possibly their greatest moment yet.

The Strange Weather EP is released March 25th via Saint Marie Records on Ltd Edition vinyl (100 Black / 150 White with Red Blue and Black splatter) and as a download @



Eureka California at Atlas & The Anchor

“Cobwebs On The Wind” (Today via Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records, the Athens, Ga based garage-punk duo consisting of Jake Ward and Marie A. Uhler have released Versus, their third album in as many years and first recorded in a studio where raging, energetic rhythms, 90’s-inspired fuzzed-out guitar crunch and power-punk melodies collide.)


Eureka California at Pop Shifter

Making a lot of music in a short amount of time can result in one of two very different outcomes: slapdash garbage or effortless fabrication. Versus is Eureka California’s third release in three years, and demonstrates the latter. The record has a sense of urgency that showcases the band’s hunger, rather than just being an outpouring of unnecessary noisy drivel.

The album encompasses exactly what a good garage rock band sounds like: youthful, gritty, and naturally sloppy. And while the songs featured on the group’s latest effort aren’t outright original, there is a sense of identity with the genre that it falls into.

An impressive feat for Versus is that the album incorporates different themes and styles, without sounding incoherent. The majority of the tracks are quick, two-minute punk songs with a couple of notable ones being “Sign My Name With An X” and “Sober Sister,” but there are a few slower, acoustic songs, like “Fear and Loathing In The Classic City” and “Everybody Had A Hard Year,” that act as a delectable palate cleanser.

Perhaps the most fleshed out track on Versus is “Realizing Your Actuality.” Only one of two songs over three minutes, an added level of polish helps it stand above the rest. While still fitting in with the tone of the record, there is a special kind of magic attached to it that the others don’t have.

The album artwork is bright and colorful, just like the music. The cover features a vibrant yellow background and a slew of green tequila bottles with the duo’s faces drawn on. When coupled together, the playfulness of the art gives the album a new flavor.

Eureka California isn’t the type of band to take over the world. Instead, they are more likely to take over your playlist for an extended amount of time due to their solid effort with Versus. The record is fun and angsty, without being insolent, and is perfect for anyone who enjoys modern punk music.


Blessed Isles at For the Rabbits

It’s been five years, and four different states in the making, but the debut album from Brooklyn duo, The Blessed Isles sounds like it was time well spent. You’ll have to wait until next month to hear the fruits of the bands labours, but today we’re delighted to share their new single, Confession.

Whilst The Blessed Isles are a band who embrace the dreamy-wash so favoured by the current shoe-gaze revivalists, what makes them stand out is their unwillingness to compromise their natural pop instincts. Beneath Confession’s hazy synth-blur are hooks, and lots of them, they take influence from the shifting sands of alternative British-pop whether they come in the shape of Human League like drum-machine beats, or the chiming guitars of New Order.

In era where so many acts are happy to produce pleasant but forgettable sonic-dreamscapes, The Blessed Isles are a band who take those pillars and turn them into something all together more interesting, but don’t take our word for it, listen to Confession below.