REVIEW: Overo – “Cold Concrete​ / ​Shattered”

overo

Overo is a band that I was stoked about the minute I heard they existed. The band is made up of Lindsay and Mercy from Football, etc., Brendan from Perfect Future, and John from Rose Ette. I’m not going to bore you with a lot of introduction and bullshit. Suffice to say, that is a goddamn line up.

The release here is a two song demo/single. The two songs featured are solid post-hardcore, but they also embraces the emo and punk connections. Both have a strong quiet/loud dynamic, but in notably different ways. “Cold Concrete” nails that dynamic with the vocals. “Shattered” with the music. Lindsay Minton and Brendan Stephens have very different vocal styles, but they work really well together. “Cold Concrete” has the former’s singing delivery going head on into the latter’s more yelling/screaming delivery. “Shattered” features more vocal interplay, with both singing at the same time.

I really enjoy how the song play with the post-hardcore style in different ways. “Cold Concrete” has a punk aggression to it. It’s a short song that drives to it’s conclusion. There isn’t a lot of posturing, but there are great riffs. “Shattered” is more jagged and angular. It starts with a minute of delicate guitar work before it crescendos into a mathy kind of jam. The guitar lead is fantastic and the shift at the midway point is a thing of beauty.

The long and short of this is simple. You’ve got a band with a killer lineup making two of the strongest genre songs I’ve heard in a minute. If there was a release more in my wheelhouse, I sure haven’t found it yet. Here’s hoping we get more stuff from this band.

Overo
Bandcamp / Buy It

Song Of The Week (01/25/19)

Porteau – “River Song”

From the inbox:

At the time, the lyrics were simply poetry I wrote in a journal during summer evenings spent in a remote Alaskan village. We were independently writing ideas/songs that neither of us necessarily intended to combine together; we weren’t trying to write a record. This poetry was a catalyst, and “River Song” as a whole naturally revealed itself.

I found myself inspired to write “River Song” while watching salmon swim in the streams. Their journey back to spawn is magnificent – one that brings life, but ultimately ends in death. Using the earth’s magnetic field, like a compass, the salmon return to their final resting place.

I was struggling to wrap my head around accepting the natural cycle of life. Seeing the salmon’s instinctual guidance drawing them back to their place of birth helped me discover where I needed to be.

“River Song” is not a story with a concrete ending. Ask yourself – do we really have a choice? Does instinct guide us home?

Sometimes you just want to listen to a pretty sounding song. Y’know?

Porteau

Song Of The Week (01/19/19)

Gadget and the Cloud – “Too Soon To Say”

I’ve talked about Gadget and the Cloud a few times before. I’m continually impressed with how Kelly Doherty progresses as an artist. I really liked her first release, October 31st. Her 2018 full length, Songs For Sad People To Dance To, was one of my favorite records from last year.

If I’m being honest, I don’t know a goddamn thing about this kind of music. Like, is this downtempo? Is it lofi? Can we safely call it ambient? No fucking idea. I know that I like it though. Moody synths and a great vibe. “Too Soon To Say” has me looking forward to whatever she does next.

Gadget and the Cloud

REVIEW: The Flips – “Exactly Where I Should Be”

I’ve spent a lot of time playing the genre purity game. Especially with punk bands, but especially with emo bands. I’ve overlooked, or written off, a lot of bands because of this. I never really trust bands who sound too clean, or too close to whatever “mainstream” sounds like. I mention this in passing because, despite being local, I probably wouldn’t have ever listened to The Flips. That said, I’m glad I did.

The Flips have been kicking around since 2011. They’ve got two full lengths, two EPs, and a split under their belt. In order to do my due diligence, I went back and listened to everything. There is a lot to like, and the band has shown a lot of growth. Their previous releases were raw and loud. Based on their latest EP, Exactly Where I Should Be, you probably wouldn’t expect it. The band had talent and heart though. It’s what stood out to me. They were still finding their voice, but they had potential. The first EP kind of had a Knapsack vibe going through it. The two LPs both had a darker, riffier sound. But, starting with Better Days, you could see the band starting to shift. Then the split with Pelafina took it further. It was, up to that point, the poppiest the band had sounded.

Anyway, that was a long walk to get here. Long story short, Exactly Where I Should Be is a shiny slab of emo influenced alternative rock. You know exactly what you’re getting as soon as “What’s the Plan?” starts. This is a record that is full of hooks. And that is exactly what makes a slower song like “Sadder Days (For Gene & Jo)” stand out. The former being a guitar jam that has a Jimmy Eat World vibe. The latter is built around the keys, and takes it’s time to reach the end. They are both definitely standout tracks. They also serve as great bookends. This isn’t to say the remaining three tracks are filler. In fact, I’d throw “Right Now” up near the top as well. It, along with “Promise Ring” and “The Point,” all propel the record forward with a great mix of emo, alternative, and pop punk. On a technical side, I love the production and the mixing. Everything sounds crisp, and nothing gets lost.

So, I mean, let’s wrap things up here. Exactly Where I Should Be is probably my favorite batch of songs The Flips have put out. I like bits and pieces of the older stuff. My main criticism, outside of a few lyrical missteps, was that the songs were all too long. That isn’t the case here. Even with a six minute song, this record fucking goes. Give it a listen if you haven’t already.

The Flips
Bandcamp
Buy It

YEAR END! – Top Records Of 2018

Hey, 2018 sure was thing. After almost a year away, I brought this blog back a few months ago. I plan on actually updating on a more regular schedule in 2019. But, that is a problem for 2019 Joe. Anyway, here are my top records of 2018. In alphabetical order, because it just makes sense.

BEST RECORDS:

  • Dessa – “Chime”
  • Dogbite – “True Lofi Will Find You In The End”
  • Drug Church – “Cheer”
  • Gouge Away – “Burnt Sugar”
  • Headlines – “MMXVII”
  • Heavy Mantle – “Weights & Measures”
  • Hop Along – “Bark Your Head Off, Dog”
  • Krimewatch – “Krimewatch”
  • La Luz – “Floating Feature”
  • Lala Lala – “The Lamb”
  • Late Bloomer – “Waiting”
  • Lilith – “I’ll Come Over B/W In Real Life”
  • Miranda Winters – “Xobeci, What Grows Here?”
  • Miserable – “Loverboy”
  • Mitski – “Be The Cowboy”
  • Mothers – “Render Another Ugly Method”
  • Nectar – “Knocking At The Door”
  • Ogikubo Station – “We Can Pretend Like”
  • Open Mike Eagle – “What Happens When I Try To Relax”
  • Restorations – “LP5000”
  • Tancred – “Nightstand”
  • Tanukichan – “Sundays”
  • There’s Talk – “Bathed Water Moon”
  • V.V. Lightbody – “Bathing Peach”
  • Worlds Greatest Dad – “Get Well Soon”

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

  • Absinthe Father – “Jane”
  • Ivy Sole – “Overgrown”
  • Petal – “Magic Gone”
  • Roy Kinsey – “Blackie: A Story By Roy Kinsey”
  • Smol Data – “Smol Data: An EP”
  • Snail Mail – “Lush”
  • Steady Holiday – “Nobody’s Watching”
  • Swearin’ – “Fall In The Sun”
  • Tony Molina – “Kill The Light”
  • Young Animals – “Disposition”

All things considered, Be The Cowboy was my favorite record this year. Or, at the very least, the one I listened to the most.

So, yeah. There you go. Here’s a Spotify playlist

REVIEW: Ogikubo Station – “We Can Pretend Like”

The best thing about punk rock music is that the artists you love get older with you. And the artists who maybe grew up before you are going to be there when you finally catch up. Ogikubo Station is a mix of two different periods in my life coming together. Mike Park represents the stuff that got me into the music to begin with. All those Asian Man Records bands that were so vital to me getting into underground music as a teenager. Maura Weaver is that punk rock I listened to in my mid/late-20s when I was still fucking up a lot, but finally getting around to being an adult. Ogikubo Station, as a whole, feels like I finally caught up.

All things being what they are, We Can Pretend Like is an amazingly solid indie rock record that still has punk rock in it’s blood. I know it’s a weirdly specific phrase, but the singer/songwriter side of the band really shines through. The songs, though simple, have a lot of heart behind them. They are enjoyable, even if the subject matter is a bit heavy. If I had to spotlight some specific songs, I would definitely have to talk about “Drowning At The Watering Hole” and “Strong As You.” The former because it’s just a really great song. Honestly, there is a really sad song hiding behind the new wave synth line and the poppy guitars. You’ve got a tale of loneliness, dependency, and co-dependency. The latter stands out to me for more personal reasons. Hearing a song about a parent dying snuck the hell up on me at the laundromat. That is such a specific feeling. It’s one that you forget is still raw, even after time has passed. Other standouts are “I’ve Been Thinking Of St. Louis” and “The Prettiest One.” Both have a kind of twang to them. It really adds a dimension to the whole record.

I kind of question the need to write up this record. All the big sites already covered it back in August. I’m two months behind as usual. I just really like it. But, of course I do. My love of Asian Man Records has been well documented here. Bias aside, I think this is a record that has something for everyone. If you like indie rock, you’ll like it. If you like punk rock, you’ll like it. If you like Mike Park and Maura Weaver in their previous projects, you’ll like it. Just give it a listen if you haven’t already.

Ogikubo Station
Asian Man Records
Bandcamp
Buy It