REVIEW: House Boat – "The Thorns Of Life"

Hey, more pop punk. Anyway. House Boat is a super group type situation. So, blah blah The Steinways, The Ergs!, Dear Landlord, Off With Their Heads, and Rivethead blah blah. As far as sound, this basically sounds like The Steinways, but a little less goofy. It is pretty awesome.

At first glance, one would assume this is just a shit mix of better things. I mean, the cover and layout is the same as Television City Dreams (by Screeching Weasel). The title, The Thorns Of Life, is a reference to a latter day Blake Schwarzenbach band. Then we have the drawn out/funny song titles like, “I Live Directly Across The Street From The Outback Steakhouse” and “Throwing In Those Weird Chords Did Wonders For The Copyrights And Dopamines (Theme From House Boat).” This record would, to people unfamiliar with the band, look like just another shitty pop punk record. Luckily, it is not.

The overarching theme of this record is being old, pessimistic, and jaded. But, save for a few parts here and there, this record sounds bouncy and poppy. The pity parade never gets too overbearing. Mostly it is just the kind of record that old bastards who grew up in the punk scene can get stoked on.

Where this record separates itself from the previous record, The Delaware Octopus, is that it allows a little more depth. I hate when people say a band matured. That said, this is more of a “mature” record. “Pityscapes” and “Bug Out” manage to sidestep the genre standards. They are slow to mid-tempo. The latter being a mostly acoustic ballad. It can be a bit bad for the flow of the album, but both songs are great.

Basically, this is a pop punk record for people who are tired of the high school schtick. Yeah, you still get the pop punk love songs. The only difference is that now they are written by adults being adults (instead of adults writing like they are in high school). And, maybe they are a little less optimistic.

And, you know, “Real Life As A Metaphor For Real Life” and “A Song In Which I Try To Convince Myself To Stop Being Such A Fucking Idiot” are totally awesome.

BUY IT ON VINYL (Traffic Street Records / Kiss Of Death)
BUY IT ON CD (Traffic Street Records / Kiss Of Death)

Best of 2011

So, it is that time. Year in review lists are always kind of annoying. I will make a list now, then look back and disagree with myself later. Sometime in march, I will be pissed at my list. But, before I make the list, I guess I should do a quick thing.

2011 was an interesting year. It was really good at times, and really fucking terrible at others. A lot of stuff associated with this blog fell on the good side. Back in March, I dropped the Emo Is Not Dead article. Initially, it was just going to be a stupid article (not unlike the other “articles” I have written). It seemed like that shit struck a chord. As a result, I got a bunch of people coming here, I started getting promos, and I got my first troll. So, you know, that was pretty sweet. Thank you to all the awesome people who sent me promos, linked to shit I wrote, sent leads about things to check out, and just generally helped me make content happen. Ever since March, I have kind of been forced to feel like this blog is actually something worth doing. Specifically, thanks to Count Your Lucky StarsTiny EnginesSquare Of Opposition, and Topshelf for putting out so much awesome shit this year. I look forward to giving you all my money in 2012.

On the flip side, the latter half of this year has been a shit storm. Goofy shit kept happening, from the stupid MS diagnosis back in August to the current broken molar / swollen jaw I have now. Medically, this year has been stupid as fuck. The reason why there was a drop in content is due in large part to all that. I know that seems like a cop out, but it is what it is. I try my best to keep up with shit though. Whatever. On to the lists.

In no particular order, the top records of 2011 were:


  1. Restorations – S/T
  2. Boris Smile – My Love Powered by 10,000 Practice Amps
  3. House Boat – The Thorns Of Life
  4. The Copyrights – North Sentinel Island
  5. Football, ect. – The Draft
  6. Candy Hearts – Everything’s Amazing And Nobody’s Happy
  7. Andrew Jackson Jihad – Knife Man
  8. Algernon Cadwallader – Parrot Flies
  9. Into It. Over It. – Proper
  10. P.S. Eliot – Sadie  
  1. These Branches – The Payoff
  2. Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate) – Home After Three Month Away
  3. Grown Ups – Hand Holder
  4. You, Me, And Everyone We Know – Things Are Really Weird Right Now
  5. Family Lumber – Look To The Sidelines
  6. Dowsing – All I Could Find Was You
  7. Dikembe – Chicago Bowls
  8. Lemuria / Cheap Girls – Split
  9. Circle Takes The Square – Decompositions – Vol I. Chapter 1. Rites of Initiation
  10. Bonjour – Motivational Suicide
  1. Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate) – On Time Spent Waiting…
  2. Lemuria – Pebble
  3. The Horrible Crowes – Elsie
  4. Laura Stevenson and The Cans – Sit Resist
  5. Thursday – No Devolución
  6. Spraynard – Funtitled
  7. Stage Fright Therapy – Stealing Salt Shakers Again
  8. Deer Leap / The World is a Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid to Die – Are Here to Help You
  9. Timeshares – Bearable
  10. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Belong
OK. That is it. Anyone from Chicago going to be at the Dowsing / E!E! (IWALE) show tomorrow, I will see you there. Look for the giant dude wincing in pain. That would be me. Stupid tooth.
In closing, fuck all the bands that I like who broke up this year. Especially you, Snowing.