Posts Tagged ‘vol 4’

Bunnygrunt at Pop! Stereo

I have to admit when the new Bunnygrunt album showed up and it looked like Black Sabbath’sVolume 4 I was really, really hoping they did a twee pop cover record of the metal classic.  I wasn’t disappointed that they didn’t because the songs that actually make up their version ofVolume 4 are pretty darn strong on their own without the hand of Ozzy overseeing it.  While not Sabbathy in the least Bunnygrunt crank up the guitars, fire up the twee and bash heads with indie rock on this romp through jangly guitars, cuddle core choruses, and a whole hell of a lot of fun.
What I found most interesting about Volume 4 was just how indie rawk these guys have become.  This isn’t Jen Fi in any way shape or form and the whole thing kicks butt from start to end.   Regardless of what direction they take on any of the songs here, each of them are as catchy as the flu and have that wry sense of humor the band has always had.  I mean the first song is called, “Gimme Five Bucks,” how can you not chuckle at songs like that especially with a giant Ozzy cat on the cover of the record.  Throw in sugary sweet girl/boy vocals and you have a record that’s just about as perfect as lo-fi can be while not taking itself too seriously.  I think this is why I’ve always liked Bunnygrunt; they’re seemingly goofballs who still have incredibly awesome tunes.
While Volume 4 is a 100% Sabbath free, it is filled with 100% awesomeness that straddles the line between indie pop and indie rawk with superb balance.  The record is a harmonious ruckus and is a solid notch in Bunnygrunt’s legacy of indie pop goodness.  Now if we can just convince them to do a tweepop version of “Supernaut,” that would be amazing.


Antlered Auntlord, Bunnygrunt, and Try the Pie at Jersey Beat

Antlered Aunt Lord

This has me excited! Why? Back in the late 70s and into the 80s, there was some incredible music being made. There was a veritable explosion of diversity and experimentalism in musical styles in the wake of the disillusionment with arena rock and disco. Punk and hardcore won the day, in the underground, before evolving into somewhat more conventional grunge, pop punk, and indie-pop, but there was that brief, wonderful period where you could buy all sorts of records from bands playing weird, quirky sorts of stuff. And now you can again. Antlered Aunt Lord, the name used for Tunabunny drummer Jesse Stinnard’s solo work, has released an album so different from anything else coming out these days. Reportedly, the nineteen tracks here come from a vast library of recordings Stinnard has stashed away, and it seems that these represent his musical sketchbook, if you will. Some of the tracks are nearly fully realized, if a bit lo-fi in the recording department, while others seem to be ideas that are merely outlines with a promise of what might come if ever filled in. What comes through very clearly, though, is Stinnard’s exuberance; he is very obviously passionate and joyful about his music, and it shows in the recordings. The album opens with “Events of the Future,” itself opening with some noise and guitar doodling and tuning, before bursting into a keyboard driven garage-rock track, with undertones of doo-wop and hints of Spanish bullfights. The birds are singing along on this one, literally. You can hear them quite loudly in the mix. “Abandoned Car” has an awesome minimalist melodic line, super lo-fi recording, and nerdy vocals that you can barely make out. “Monopilot” is an out-and-out psych-folk-rock track that sounds like something out of the late 60s, while “The Beezwax” is a cool, simple nerd-pop track. “Epa” is humorous, with its loping rhythm and non-stop “boom-chick-a-boom” repeating over an over underneath the lead vocals. “Yr Right” is noisy, manic track that sounds like it could be an early pop punk track, heavy on the punk, but super distorted. “Sigil To Noise” may be my favorite track on the album, with angularities that belie the melodic nature, and a throbbing undercurrent that keeps propelling the track forward. The trick is the substantial silence that makes you think the track has ended, but then it bursts back for a powerful conclusion. “Hi Beam Hi Priest (Blinker Fluid) is just plain awesome in its new wave lo-fi pop-ness, with loud/quiet sections and tons of synth. The closer, “Save The Very Best,” is aptly named – because you save the very best for last, natch. It’s a drunken Cajun Irish reel of some kind from an alternate universe that lurches and staggers through to its uncertain conclusion. A few of these tracks have also been made into music videos, which are available on youtube and are just as creative as the music. Recommended!


OK, folks, if you’re going to put out vinyl records, there’s a critical piece of information you need to include on the label: the speed at which to play the record. This is especially true if the speed is not the “standard” for the size of the record. This 12” album is to be played at 45RPM, not 33. That said, once I found the right speed, I found some pretty damn good lo-fi music that varies from indie-pop to punk to art-pop. Each side has four tracks, and the musical quality improves as the record progresses. The opener is a short, throwaway track that’s pretty much all instrumental, while “Just Like Old Times” is a pretty indie-pop track, as is “Open My Eyes,” though the latter is a little harder around the edges. “Chunt Bump” is the long epic track of the album, and it’s got a cool prog-rock feel to it, especially toward the end, when the strings come in, and it gets a retro 70s feel. The B-side opens with “The Book That I Wrote,” which also has a bit of a retro 70s psych rock feel, while “I Quit, Mr. White” is a nice Replacements-like track. “Frankie Is A Killer” is a full-on proto-punk track that could have come right out of the mid-70s, and the closer, “Still Chooglin’ (After),” is also proto-punk. I like the raw honest feel of these tracks – there’s no pretense here. I just wish the recording quality had been a little better, because these are good songs.

Try the Pie

Try The Pie is the work of Bean Tupou, a Bay Area musician who is deeply involved in the DIY music community. “Rest” is Tupou’s second full-length album as Try The Pie, and consists of a collection of early recordings made in the period of 2006-2008. Acoustic guitar and vocals, including overdubbed harmonies are featured on these lo-fi home recordings, plus occasional ukulele or percussion instruments. As a result, it certainly sounds more like song sketches and demos than a fully realized album, but I think that was the point. As a look into Tupou’s creative mind, it works. You hear all of the ideas, seemingly as they’re forming, and all of the mistakes, too. Tupou has a pretty enough voice, and the songs are sweet and melodic, but they aren’t groundbreaking or revelatory. As a person with a relatively short career (though certainly busy with a number of other projects), I question whether the world needs to have this sort of release right now. I mean, Try The Pie’s debut LP only came out this past spring. I think I would rather hear a regular studio album of fully formed songs that have been honed through live shows. Save the song sketchbook for several years from now, assuming you’ve toured extensively and developed some sort of following.


Bunnygrunt at Maximum Rock and Roll

Even though the title, cover artwork, and the first few seconds of each side are pretty clever jabs at Black Sabbath, this group doesn’t appear to be the slightly hilarious stoners blaring tired-ass doom I expected, and I am super thankful for that. Instead we have some super basement pop that is slightly jangly at times and just a little bit cute. not so cute that you might vomit, but yeah, it’s pretty fucking cute. This is a good 90’s feeling record that I would totally blare while I clean the fuck out of my house. Like maybe if the Look Outs were on Plan -It – X (sorta) but semi-secretly wanted a record deal. Sorry, but I like this.

Bunnygrunt at KDHX

When it comes to noisy, giddy, poppy punk, Bunnygrunthas been setting the standard in St. Louis since the early ’90s. “Still Chooglin’ (After All These Beers),” an affectionate sendup of sloppy and speedy two-chord bar rock (if not CCR itself), shows they’ve still got a lot left in the tank.


Bunnygrunt at Throw the Dog A Bone

Click through for their review of Indietracks!


Bunnygrunt at Stereo Embers

Born in the tweedledum, B&S-addled mid-nineties (their 1995 Action Pants! debut is an aggro-primitivist lost classic of that most precious of canons), St Louis band Bunnygrunt has done what few bands have the guts, gumption, or reckless heart to do any more: they hit the neverending road and ground it out, criss-crossing the frayed ribbons of our once-mighty land like wayward indie pioneers in a combination Econoline van and Conestoga wagon, finding along the way a grueling redemption that has left them taut, lean, and beautifully jaded, experience etched into their collective psyche like an outlaw gang’s initials carved in a deathless oak. What’s resulted is a transformation, the band evolving via that truest and most mythical of American rock’n’roll litmus tests into a mini-rager of seasoned rock band, albeit one with that pulsing pureness of ramshackle spirit still under-girding the cumulative dimensions of noise built above it.

Though the CD and cassette versions sport eight additional tracks we think it best to treat it like the vinyl LP thatVol 4 was born to be. Within that framework you’ll find such gems and oddities as the Velvet Underground sounding like an apostate Monkees covering the Dwarves (marvelous closer “Still Chooglin’ [After…]”), Vaselines-like workouts (“Just Like Old Times,” “Gimme Five Bucks”) had those crafty Glaswegians somehow acquired a healthy layer of midwest American punk crust, a “Neat Neat Neat”-based rave-up studded with mega-nimble bass playing, a summer-driving guitar solo and abiding stoner modesty (“The Book That I Wrote”), plus a raucous live outing (“Frankie Is A Killer”) that morphs from a vague PiL bassline intro to Ramones-y new wave – while sounding exactly like neither – in the blink of a lager-lidded eye. Trophy, though, goes to the 7-minute opus of bolt-cutter pop “Chunt Bump,” titled like a Fall song but played like Rocket From The Crypt on continental holiday, an autobahn of sound repurposed for the Great Plains blue collar breadbasket.

Whereas “indie as fuck” can have multiple meanings these days and for good reason (gee, whatever happened to Animal Collective?), these guys earn that badge for all the right reasons. A resplendently American don’t-give-a-damn rock album that cuddles with its spikiness. √√√¼


Bunnygrunt at Neufutur

While the band and label are still opting to describe Bunnygrunt as “Cuddlecore,” I think Power Pop does just fine here as a descriptor. The latest from the St. Louis band, Vol. 4, their sixth album, is brimming with infectiously addictive songs that span anywhere from one-to- seven minutes, but the band really excels when focusing on three-minute sing-alongs like “The Book That I Wrote” and “Frankie is a Killer,” jangly guitars, pounding drums and male/female vocals trade-offs.

The CD and cassette version of the album (cassette, sigh) also includes eight bonus tracks. Hidden among those add-ons is the fantastic (and hopefully) autobiographical, ridiculously charming rocker “Don’t Forget Who Your Friends Are.” That one song alone would be worth the price of the record, but lucky for you there are plenty of others great songs here competing for your attention.


Bunnygrunt at Pittsburgh in Tune

Indie outfit Bunnygrunt have been at it, off and on, for more than 20 years without ever capturing the mainstream’s fancy. Matt Harnish and Karen Ried are the guiding creative forces behind the trio’s blend of 90’s-era indie pop and DIY punk and fifth full-length “Vol. 4” is their first album since 2009’s “Matt Harnish & Other Delights.”

It’s a 16-track, 44-minute slab that sounds very rough around the edges — not unlike a collection of demo recordings — but an album that I find growing on me each time I give it a spin. The centerpiece of “Vol. 4,” without question, is seven-minute opus “Chunt Bump.” It’s a remarkable tune that offers a glimpse into just how good Bunnygrunt can be.

Unfortunately, the rest of the record can’t quite measure up, though Bunnygrunt manage to impress on “I Quit, Mr. White,” “Still Chooglin’ (After …),” “He’s About a Leaver,” “1000% Not Creepy (Tweepop Version)” and “Don’t Forget Who Your Friends Are.” This one merits some attention.


Bunnygrunt at Trust the Wizards

Click through for a review of Indietracks!


Bunnygrunt at Maximum Rock n Roll #387

Never heard of these folks before this gem landed on my desk (so to speak), but sure am real glad to make their acquaintance. Apparently, they’re a sort of legendary (in a very small way) indie-pop/rock band, whose main claim to fame is that one of their songs back in the day (like in the 90’s) was used in a Billy Bob Thornton pic. Regardless, this is a fantastic effort. Lots of indie pop and rock, for sure. But lots of power pop too, and 70’s rock (a la Cheap Trick), and even some bonafide punk n’ roll. Eclectic and awesome in every way. Like a Lemonheads greatest hits, Just better.