REVIEW: Joe Jack Talcum’s “Home Recordings 93-99″

 photo JoeJackTalcum_cover_zps2dca5ffb.jpg You may know of Joseph Genaro as one of the members of The Dead Milkmen but he also recorded some material under the name Joe Jack Talcum, who you may be more familiar with. HHBTM Records has released a new compilation of his home recordings called Home Recordings 1993 – 1999, which were recordings between 1993 and 1999. I could easily say “that’s it, that’s my review, I’m outta here” but you want to know what it is. All of them are basically demos of songs he would later do or songs he ended up recording for himself, and this is a different perspective of what he has been able to do throughout his career. Most of these are mastered from Genado’s own DAT’s while one song comes from a cassette so if you want it to sound and feel rough, it’s here in all of its rugged glory. These songs could easily be adapted into new arrangements, or cover them as is and see how far these songs can go. Listen to “Call me A Fool”, “One False Move”, “The Sun Shines Out Of My Asshole” or “Another Disgusting Pop Punk Song” and give renewed life to these songs, as they are doing on this new compilation.

(You may order Home Recordings 93-99 directly from HHBTM Records.)

REVIEW: Crayon’s “Brick Factory” (vinyl reissue)

 photo Crayon_cover_zpsc6625b73.jpg If there’s one thing that Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam did for the Pacific Northwest, it showed that it was a great place to find lots of great. The band thing is that the hype of grunge made countless fans assume that all bands sounded the same and had the exact influences. Not every band was super-polished or had the publicity teams to make them a powerful force. Take for example, a group from Bellingham, Washington named Crayon. They released a small handful of 7″ singles and EP’s before they came up with their debut album in 1994. The spirit of Brick Factory (HHBTM) sounded like a group that were willing to show how new they were, even though they existed for four years. They weren’t too polished or sharp, nor did they want to be. They wanted to twist their style of pop music with a lot of garage rock and noise, as if they wanted to join Sonic Youth, King Missile (Dog Fly Religion), Coffin Break, or Hazel and have a huge party. It was loose punk rock with a poppy edge, and their album sounded like something you’d pop into your cassette deck and just get drunk.

That album is now 20 years old and the spirit lives on with its reissue, which has come out on vinyl for the first time. You might assume that having fourteen songs on an album is too much and would lower the sound quality, but the original album was under 40 minutes, which means the sound quality is excellent. Some may feel indie music from the early 90’s have been lost in time but as far as the fans are still out there and show how much this music moved them, a reissue like the one for Brick Factory will continue being reissued. If you get the digital version of this album, you’ll get seven more songs that are from their earlier singles. Brick Factory may not make you feel as long as you were 20 years ago, but it is sure to remember why these songs trilled you in the first place.

(You may pre-order the LP directly from HHBTM Records.)

REVIEW: Moyamoya’s self-titled debut album

 photo Moyamoya_cover_zps92407880.jpg Whether you call it math rock, progressive rock, or some other compound phrase that balances of the music, Moyamoya are a complex band that utilizes chords, phrases, and perhaps more importantly, time, and display this nicely on their album for Fort Lowell Records. They don’t only play their rhythms in 4/4 time, they’ll fool around with time signatures but doing the math thing is not what will pull listeners in and keep them there. What I also like about these guys is how they play with the sense of time, stopping to play for one moment while the feedback baths all over everyone, before returning. Eventually. Not bad for a band that had taken five years for them to finally record and release their first solo album, but that’s what it is, and the time to do so has resulted in something that I don’t want to call a statement, but it is more of a calling to let people know that a band like theirs exist, and it needs to be listened to seriously. I’m not saying they are serious to the point of being too heady, but they sound like they’re having fun. They just want to concentrate on the situation at hand and get involved in a word that even the press release makes clear: a “groove”. They turn up the guitars and bass to bring the volume up to the limit, anchor it with a solid drummer and just pull things in. The more interesting thing is that these guys rotate what they play, so if one of them wants to play the guitar in a song, he will. If he wants to play the drums in the fifth song, he’ll get there. The group used to have a vocalist but no longer, they wanted to floom through an instrumental shoot and if this is what they’ve ended up with, one only wonders where they’ll head to next. I can already see Moyamoya playing games with crowds when they perform, only for the band to know that they’re just playing for the hell of it and each other. To pull in more fans is a part of their fun, no headiness necessary.

REVIEW: The Good Graces’ “Close To The Sun”

 photo TheGoodGraces_cover_zpsbf91dba4.jpg The Good Graces is a humble product from singer/songwriter/musician Kim Ware, and upon listening to the opening tracks, you may be quick to assume that she is all about keeping to an acoustic basis with music of a folk, country, or Americana nature. As you listen further into Close To The Sun (Fort Lowell), she becomes a bit more than those assumed basics. You can say that Ware cares for the craft of pop music, as the way she develops her songs are intricate yet powerful. The lyrics range from feeling lost or fearful to tunes with stories of love and hope. What I like is how she starts the album with a song called “I Don’t Know Where To Start” before she begins to go through her surrounds and where she would like to be. When she eventually finds a place of comfort, she reaches her last song, “Before You Go”, a song about finding someone she trusts and knowing that she can have one last message as a way to let them know she will always have them in their thoughts. If you are able to think of it, it’s a loosely compiled songs where she goes through the motions and emotions and does it not unlike people like Suzanne Vega or Tanya Donnelly. She even rocks occasionally, which is sure to bring new audiences to her. If you think of it in a different way, while the album doesn’t have a solid concept or a conscious running theme, it is united by the power of something. Maybe metaphorically it’s the sun, or the sun used as a metaphor for the guidance she will keep to herself in her journey. It will help listeners realize that regardless of what one holds as a metaphor, keep to your integrity and you will eventually find your way to the paradise or sunshine you seek.

VIDEO: At The Gates’ “Heroes And Tombs”

There was a time when a band like Venom could be At War With Satan but it’s 2014 now, and At The Gates want to tell you what they’re At War With…Reality That’s the title of their latest album released almost a month ago and “Heroes And Tombs” is a new clip from it that may either lead you to throw your TV into the wall or cause you to headbang during all times of the day. You have your preferences, but it’s best to do the latter.

VIDEO: Yacht Club’s “Picture Perfect”

“Picture Perfect” is the new song by Yacht Club that is taken from the band’s new EP, Burnt Cream. The title may sound odd but if you are a foodie, you’ll know that burnt cream can often make desserts a delicious delight, perhaps like the music on this EP. You can find out through the video if it is delectable. Have a listen to the EP below and if it’s to your taste, buy the cassette by heading to Burger Records. IF you prefer vinyl, Big Love Records out of Japan are releasing it. For you fans of dead media, a VHS tape EP is being made featuring two videos from Burnt Cream.

AUDIO: Bella Novela’s “Four Walls”

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Bella Novela are a Los Angeles trio who released one album to their name and they’re going to do it again with a new release called Telemetry (self-released), said to be a concept album.

This was the first sentence I made when I wrote about this group, and I had one song to share. Now they have another that is a taste of what their forthcoming album will sound like, which sounds like some primal hard rock with a mid-80’s feel to it. Try out “Four Walls” and see if it moves you. Telemetry will be ready on November 25th.

VIDEO: Skrillex’s “Fuck That”

Not needing TV airplay can be a good thing for artists who want to show how bold they are, or how they want to be pereceived as bold. Maybe this is why Skrillex wants to present himself, as someone who is bold with a song title like “Fuck That”, or maybe he has the attitude to make it a legitimate thing. Have a listen and you may say “fuck that, John, you don’t know what you’re talking about.” The thing is, all I’m doing here is telling you about his new video, I didn’t have an alterior motive so to you, FUCK THAT! See how that works? Now press play.