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)

The Best Shit of 2010

Well, it is the end of the year. This, of course, means it is time to pretend my opinions matter, and compile my best of list for 2010.

Obviously, this list is my favourite stuff of the year. You may disagree with it (I like that I am typing this warning when, honestly, no one actually reads this thing [save that one dude, maybe]). So, yeah.

On with the show, motherfuckers.

TOP 10 FULL LENGTHS (in no particular order):

2) Blunt Mechanic – “World Record”
3) Off With Their Heads – “In Desolation”
4) Snowing – “I Could Do Whatever I Wanted If I Wanted
5) Grown Ups – “More Songs”
6) Castevet – “The Echo & The Light
7) Best Coast – “Crazy For You”
8) Iron Chic – “Not Like This”
9) The Dum Dum Girls – ” I Will Be”
10) Alkaline Trio – “This Addiction”

TOP 7 INCHES AND EPS (in no particular order):

1) The Get Up Kids – “Simple Science”
2) The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die – “Formlessness”
3) Lemuria – “Chautauqua County”

STUFF THAT WAS ALSO PRETTY AWESOME (but, not “top 10” awesome)
1) Candy Hearts – “Ripped Up Jeans & Silly Dreams”
2) The Gaslight Anthem – “American Slang”
3) Mi Ami – “Steal Your Face”
4) Shinobu – “Exhaustive, Exhaustive”
5) Grass Widow – “Past Time”
6) The Thermals – “Personal Life”
7) Japandroids – “No Singles”
8) Bars Of Gold – “Of Gold”
9) Sundowner – “We Chase The Waves”
10) MGMT – “Congratulations”

One record missing from all lists is “Ghosts On The Boardwalk” by The Bouncing Souls. The reason that it is not included is because, while it came out in January of 2010, it is just all the songs from their monthly 7″ series in 2009. As such, it was on my 2009 list as the series, and would be poor form to include it this year again. Though, yes, it is totally awesome.

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So, that is the list. More reviews coming this week, as we wrap up 2010.

REVIEW: Off With Their Heads – "In Desolation"

I was late to the game in regards to Off With Their Heads. I did not hear Hospitals until 2008. Basically, I slept on that record for 2 years. I was pretty mad that I did.

A lot can be said for an album that is so fucking catchy, but still so fucking dark. For their Epitaph debut, OWTH have basically taken parts of all their previous releases, and mixed them down to a coherent release.

The songs on In Desolation would stand up against anything in their vast discography. But, with the Epitaph production budget, this record just SOUNDS great. Production wise, it sounds better than an album this dirty has a right to. But, it is not overproduced.

This album is short of filler. Gun to my head, I am not really digging “My Episodes” very much. It almost kills the momentum of the record. This is still an ok song, it just sticks out a little too much. Luckily it falls right at the end of the album, rather than smack in the middle.

As far as stand out song, “Clear The Air” is probably my favourite on the record. It is an excellent closer, and a generally fantastic song. “ZZYZX” is another one of those “fuck you, i just want to be left the fuck alone” type songs. And, goddamnit if they did not do a good job of it. The lead off single “Drive” works well as an album opener. It sets the pace for the whole album well. As for the “deluxe” version Epitaph is selling, there is an extra song called “I May Be A Lot Of Shitty Things, But At Least I’m Not A Rapist Like You.” Pretty much a fuck you song. Great all the way around.

Enough bullshit though. Basically, if you were a fan of Off With Their Heads before, you have no reason not to like this record. A lot of shit has been said about this being released on Epitaph, but disregard any of that. Epitaph got themselves a winner here. Buy this record if you like catchy as hell songs about drugs, depression, stress, and anger. It is a cathartic album, and sometimes that is all you need. I will throw this 4.5 out of 5.