Posts Tagged ‘razorcake’

Presents for Sally at Razorcake

Very accurate ‘90s shoegaze dream pop that pairs well with cooler temperatures and falling leaves and insert-favorite-autumn-thing-here. Too much of a copycat band for me to really get down with them, but they’ve got charm. “We Fought Lucifer (And Won)” and “Sleep Tight” could easily soundtrack your “College Dorm, 1993”-themed Halloween party.

Joanna Gruesome/Trust Fund at Razorcake

Trust Fund took me a couple listens to warm to. I like the unpolished style, and the vocals, when they harmonize, are great. They can get a little too precious sometimes, but then the majority of the time they’re pretty good, whether it’s a guitar buzzing with distortion, or the harmonized vocals, or even when whoever is taking the lead vocal really sings and doesn’t do the spoken thing. The way they sing in “Scared” is great, with the backing vocals, how they play off one another and stay on point when the song changes tempo. The horn that comes in around the middle of “No Pressure” makes the song! It adds a little extra character and emphasizes the morose tone of the song. The more I listen to their side, the more it grows on me. If they did a tour of playing only living rooms, I bet it would be great. I have to admit this is the first time I’ve listened to Joanna Gruesome, which only shows I’m lazy, as I tend to check out just about anything connected to Slumberland records. This is the kind of pop I really like. It’s tuneful, sugary sweet in parts, noisy, slightly jagged, and a combination of dreamy guitars and dreamy female vocals. “Jerome (Liar)” starts off their side very upbeat, then they transition into “Satan (Desire Edition)” which is downbeat and a touch noisier. I like the bit of distortion that is put on the vocals, and when the song suddenly picks up and gets a little heavier, I’m over the moon. The vocals on “Coffee Implosion” are perfect. Songs for listening to when winter starts to melt into spring. –Matt Average

Joe Jack Talcum at Razorcake

I confess: I am not, nor have ever been, a Dead Milkmen fan. I mention this because Joe Jack Talcum is the guitarist and a vocalist in the revered satirist punk outfit from Philadelphia. Being unfamiliar with the Milkmen’s albums has allowed me to be objective when listening to this collection. Ultimately, I was pleasantly surprised. The songs are lo-fi, which accents Talcum’s breathy voice: Imagine shutting your eyes while behind the wheel of your car, the windows cracked open so that a hiss of air blows pass your ears. Daniel Johnston and Kimya Dawson are obvious comparisons; however, Talcum’s songs are less disjointed and agonized, rather more assured and sardonic. Talcum practically hums over foreboding organ notes on one of the LP’s most haunting moments, “Go.” The songs meander into each other like a daydream until the instrumental, “Sweet and Sour,” and “Be My Property” interrupt the slow tempos with electric guitar and hard-hitting drums. B Side opener and highlight “Another Time” is a contemplative folk song in the vein of Elliott Smith and the musicians of label K Records, while “Forever Expanding Dream” is as meditative as the title suggests. Home Recording’s is bedtime listening that will infiltrate your dreams with its understated melodies and blanket you with its warmth. –Sean Arenas

Crayon at Razorcake

Crayon were an early ‘90s lo-fi twee punk band from Bellingham, Washington. They thrived on zine culture and shared the stage with Superchunk and the Melvins. HHBTM have lovingly reissued their album, Brick Factory, which has been out of print for years. Besides the LP, the download code also includes twenty-one extra songs from compilations and various singles. Upon my first spin, I am immediately struck by the similarities to Sebadoh. (The liner notes point out that Lou Barlow once “cited the album as one of his favorites of the year.”) The guitar playing is sparse and minimal, while the vocals are shrill and aggressive, like a disgruntled sixth-grader. Crayon only partially grew on me after repeat listens. Songs like “The Snap-Tight Wars” and “Reason 2600” are delightfully understated and sincere like scrappy Silkworm or Guided By Voices, but the amateurishness and high-pitched vocals verge on aggravating during “Hope in Every Train,” “Crown,” and “Knee-High Susan.” I suspect that if Crayon pushed onward then subsequent records would have featured more mature songwriting. As it is, Brick Factory is only for collectors of lo-fi indie punk of the ‘90s ilk. For everyone else, Crayon may leave you tickled but unsatisfied. –Sean Arenas

Back in 1993 I stumbled upon the indie pop scene via a late listening of the classic Unrest LP Imperial F.F.R.R. at Blacklist Mailorder. I was listening to Velocity Girl already, but something about that Unrest LP really affected me, and put me on the path to wanting to hear more bands that were in the genre. About a month or two later, I picked up the One Last Kiss compilation and was floored by the lineup. Crayon is on that comp, sandwiched between Tree Fort Angst and Jane Pow. I listened to that comp on a daily basis for most of the year, playing it for anyone who happened to visit me. I looked for material from all the bands on there that I liked. Crayon was definitely one of those bands. –Matt Average

Eureka California at Razorcake

Pleasant pop offerings from Happy Happy Birthday To Me are not unusual, and Eureka California (no comma, and from Athens, GA, not Eureka, CA) is no exception. This platter offers eleven fun scrappy pop songs with a punk bent from a two-piece on guitar, vocals, and drums. The songs range from happy, to smartass (see “I Bet You Like Julian Cope,” which uses its title as half the lyrical content), to introspective. The music has variety, but comes together cohesively as a singular piece, and the vocals are a nice snotty whine that has an underlying sense of urgency that give the songs a sense of honesty. EurekaCalifornia might have been more appropriately called SacramentoCalifornia, given the semblance they have to bands from that fair city (that’s a really good thing). –Vincent Battilana

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Bastards of Fate at Razorcake

This is a pretty trippy record. The songs switch from a pop sound to nursery music to a campy goth thing. The cover has a picture of a model-sized Swiss-looking mansion through psychedelic eyes. It’s a perfect image for their music. I should also mention there’s a great cat family album photograph on the back. This is the type of music that I imagine Beetlejuice listens to presently. BAF fall somewhere between Sparks and Mindless Self Indulgence. If you want to listen to the soundtrack of a bad trip without the effects of actual drugs, put this record on.

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Casper & The Cookies at Razorcake

Casper & The Cookies are an Athens, GA pop band that can be loosely linked to the Elephant 6 Recording Company Collective because of one of the members having been in E6 bands Of Montreal and The Sunshine Fix, among others. Musically, they don’t stray far from the pop side of the E6 aesthetic—poppy and quirky with new wave tendencies at times. Athens has a long history of poppy and quirky indie-rock bands, starting with R.E.M. and the B-52’s, and this influence can still be seen and heard today, with this record being no exception.

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Muuy Biien at Razorcake

If you can weather the ambient intros on both sides of the record then you’re in for some spastic dance punk with noisy guitar accidentals, chunky bass lines, and bestial howls galore. This is a difficult sound to leash, but Muuy Biien has lassoed it like a wild animal tamer. You can almost taste the salty sweat dripping off your brow from the inevitable nonstop pogoing while these dudes thrash out some tasty tunes with “fuck all” attitude. D.Y.I. (do yourself in) got me undulating in my rickety desk chair. Recommended for the secret freak in you.

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