Posts Tagged ‘hhbtm’

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.

 

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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.

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Eureka California at Broadway World Music

Click through for the album announcement!

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Eureka California at Performer

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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.

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Eureka California at Power of Pop

Background
Hailing from Athens, Georgia, Eureka California is a self-described ‘catchy garagey rock and roll band’.  Eureka California has existed in some form or fashion since 2007, but closer to this version since 2010 viz. Jake Ward – guitar/vocals & Marie A. Uhler – drums. Versusis the duo’s third LP.

Strengths
Straightforward alt-rock songs that recall 90s ‘slacker’ rock. Every song sounds like a unique entity in its own right, with thought and effort going into the tunes and arrangements. But if attitude is all, then Eureka California trumps most of the hipster poseurs out there. They come across like the real deal i.e. out of the 90s!

Highlights
“Eureka California’s Night In”, “Sign My Name with an X”, “Sober Sister”, “Fear and Loathing in the Classic City”.

Sounds Like
Dinosaur Jr, Lemonheads, Teenage Fanclub, Gumball, Eugenius.

Bottom Line
A glorious revocation of the early 90s when alt-rock suddenly ruled the airwaves.

Information
Official Site: http://eurekacaliforniaband.com/

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Eureka California at the Red & Black

Athens-based band Eureka California doesn’t boast supreme vocal abilities or particularly complicated instrumentation, yet it succeeds in spite of this.

With the band’s latest album release “Versus,” they exhibit the versatility to embody the original punk movement of the ‘70s as well as its rebirth in ‘90s grunge, while simultaneously making listeners comfortable in the garage-rock scenario that the band thrives in.

Although almost all of the album carries a similar sense of hopelessness and an understanding that society is much less than perfect, it is extremely dynamic otherwise.

The second track “Sign My Name With An X,” feels as though it could have been played at the classic New York City punk club CBGB with an instrumentation that is best described as loud, gritty and in-your-face. With only three unique lines of lyrics, “Oh I’ll show you where I hide/Cause I guess you couldn’t guess/Sign my name with an X,” the track is simple and straightforward at its core, which is characteristic of the punk movement.

On the other hand, “I Will Write Mine Over Potomac” contains a self-aware characteristic of grunge. From the lines, “Is this the way the future’s meant to be/It looks a lot like yesterday to me,” to “Cause sometimes you just want to go/Where nobody knows your name,” the track carries the sense of disenchantment with both society and the future that could also be found in tracks done by the poster-child of grunge, Nirvana. This track also contains a beautifully picked introduction that separates it from others in the album and adds a simplicity to the song.

The ability of the band to represent two unique genres in one album without feeling disjointed is certainly something to note.

Another important success to note in “Versus” is the band’s ability to keep the album relatable, especially to those living in Athens. The track “Fear and Loathing in the Classic City” not only gives a dark narration to the fears of the average 20-something trying to get established, but also ties it back to Athens fairly directly. This song is also the closest thing to acoustic on the album, and it actually works surprisingly well.

Also in the category of relatable is the song “Sober Sister.” Although quite upbeat, it offers a fairly disheartening description of what seems to be the downtown scene that Athens is known quite well for.

Though Eureka California’s latest album carries a similar sense of hopelessness throughout, the album remains dynamic. With it’s often relatable, albeit dark, lyrics, the album is likely to attract listeners from the Classic City as well as elsewhere.

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Eureka California at Mad Mackerel

Versus is Athens GA duo Eureka California’s third album in three years – a white-knuckle ride through a tattered psyche and a brain that just won’t shut up.

Too smart for self-pity and too drunk to think clearly, it is endlessly self-referential and endlessly self-destructive, stuck on a non-stop treadmill of tension and release, of megalomania and doubt.

Versus is agoraphobic fight songs, songs about loving television more than people because people always let you down and the static from the set makes more sense than the static coming out of their mouths. EC songs exist in a world where ordering a pizza is fraught with anxiety and you have to laugh to keep from dying.

Click through to stream the track!

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Eureka California at When You Motor Away

You might think that a band called Eureka California is from California.  You would be wrong.  The band is a duo comprised of Jake Ward (vocals/guitar) and Marie Uhler (drums), and they are based in Athens, Georgia.  Of course, the location really doesn’t matter.  What matters is that when is comes to punk pop and ’90s influenced noise pop, this band delivers the goods on their new third album, Versus.  At times they sound like a fierce four-piece garage band, which certainly is a tribute to Jake’s guitar.  But it also is a tribute to Marie, whose drumming more than holds its own against the shredding.  And when they dial it back and get slow, reflective and acoustic they are just as adept as when they are making four-piece level rock.

Eureka California has always been a good band, but on Versus they have perfected their stripped-down brand of pop punk into a very impressive guitar/drum triumph that may become a permanent resident on your daily playlist.  A few streams are provided below, and you can listen to the entire album at the Bandcamp link.  Trust me, you’ll like it.

Versus was released on March 25 via HHBTM Records, and is available in CD, vinyl, and digital formats.

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Witching Waves at Stereo Embers

These being the days they are, where every man woman child and mother in the indie world are clambering onto a bandwagon laden with carelessly spangled neo-lysergic tropes of every dredged-up variety, its understandable that one could hear the band name ‘Witching Waves’ and be immediately beset by mis-impression, ie assume them to be some sort of, I dunno, wiccan psych or whatever the hell. With great concision of purpose Crystal Cafe, at least as much if not more forcefully as did their 2014 debut Fear of Falling Down, answer any such presumptuous errancy with three simple words: Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

A mercilessly basic trio – Emma Wigham, Mark Jasper, Ed Shellard – punching their way out of London, theirs are not the type waves that roll in pacific and pretty but more the pounding crashing kind. Now you might want to think – and I nearly wrote these words without qualification – that WW have seemingly jumped out of a Nuggets (UK-style) garage and landed in the second decade of the new millennium but, accurate as that may be in some respects – the drive, the unconcern for studio trickery or effects of any kind, just their overall ‘tude – it too lazily overlooks the raging modernity at the heart of this album. Sure, there’s some amp-scarring buzz, there’s some frayed and righteous fuzz, more than a little tumble and roar, and I’ve little doubt the band themselves would mind being thus categorized, but the fact is Crystal Cafe is steeped in 21st C. seethe.

“Seeing Double,” kicking at the pricks of its own youthful frustrations, unsettled, anxious, emerges from a pinched-nerve wince of feedback to tear its anxieties to shreds amidst a kind of guitar-led charge of the dark brigade, its innate paranoia met with a petulant unflinchingness and I think we can call that a draw. “Pitiless,” while attacking (or so it appears) the zombified slicksters that now roam our streets in heartless droves, gentrifying everything that falls under their gaze, does so with a savagely melodic charm, its hook relentless like power pop gone feral, still tightly coiled and all but abrasive in all the right places. Needless to say it’s not a love song. Nor, big surprise, is “The Threat,” which at times suggests to your swooning correspondent a touch of that Opposite Sex album from a few years back (see also the quirkier poppier “Make It Up” and opener “Twister”), boasting that same kind of breathlessly hurtling-forward rhythm and zestful, pop-tinged incorrigibility though here, of course, we’re redder of claw and fiercer of heart. Nor is “Receiver,” another buzz-sawing rama-lama stab at dissecting that universal twenty-something stew of doubt and yearning, ennui and isolation, choosing as its weapons of expression the fusillade rhythm of the Undertones (at their rawest earliest) and the snarled energy of the Stooges.

In short, what I’m sorta saying here, folks – and not to put too fine an edge on it – is that this is punk rock crucially hooked inside the careening corpus of a rock’n’roll sensibility. Jasper’s riffage is healthy, the customary structures are in place – these are all very well-built songs – Shellard’s bass is most often a rumbling menace in its own pocket, but regardless the venom inside the vulnerability is unmistakable. When Emma’s on the mic her tone tends to fall between ‘composure kept’ and a pissed-off panache, sounding certain of herself in an uncertain world, or to put it another way, more Damned Damned Girls than Dum Dum Girls (“Pitiless” even reminds in its racing finish ofArctic Flowers), while Mark’s vocal takes hew toward a sense of desperation, there’s an impatient persuasion straining inside his voice as it crackles with the absurdities of life and a simmering disbelief that said absurdity isn’t obvious to everyone with a couple of brain cells to rub together. So, yeah, don’t get psyched out over their band name. This is, I repeat, punk rock, not by design but because it can’t help but be. Anger (or hurt, or alienation, or…) is an energy, and Crystal Cafe brims with it.

 

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