REVIEW: Happy Diving’s “Big World”

 photo HappyDiving_cover_zpscd30dbb4.jpg Upon listening to the opening song on Happy Diving’s new album Big World, it lead me to wonder how they’re going to keep up the massive flux of distortion they’re placing in the song. I love distortion and there’s a lot of harmonies going in the playing but can they keep it up? They do with their next song “Space Ooze” and I have to prepare for the massive punch these guys are going to supply. They don’t lighten up their intensity until the half way point when “Sad Planet” begins, only to realize the verse are the sensitive part, the choruses (or what they call choruses) is a much bigger punch into the gut. They repeat the formula on the second half of the song, keeping things low and to the floor until the 10th and final song, “10”, and then they bathe in walls of feedback. In between this, they sing songs of strength, power, loss, love, and wonderment, and they may do it in a way that some may overlook due to the velocity of how loud they play (or how bold the music is mixed). Fortunately, the album is mixed nicely, it doesn’t sound terrible by any means, it’s something that can be handled if you can tolerate the loudness. I happen to love it and when it comes time for the band to take a breathe, they do it nicely before they suffocate until the album properly ends.

REVIEW: Trust Fund/Joanne Gruesome’s split 12″ EP

 photo TFJG_cover_zps955e5ddd.jpg If you know of Joanne Gruesome, you’ll be glad to know that they have three new songs for your listening pleasure. If you don’t know who Trust Fund are, get to know them on this brand new split 12″ EP.

Joanna Gruesome’s music may be called an in between release if you wish to call it that, but I simply consider it new music that they felt like releasing. I enjoy the dual vocals between Alanna Gruesome (McArdle) and Owen Gruesome (Williams). as it sounds good and is perfect for one another, you can place your emphasis on whomever depending on your mood. While all three songs are quite good, the one that jumped on me the most was “Coffee Implosion”, I love how it builds up but never to the point of an actual implosion, almost as if they’re saying we can take you there but not on record. Not yet.

Trust Fund also have three songs to discover. They are a spirited band. also from the UK, signed to Reeks Of Effort records and come off a bit like a cross between Weezer and The Go-Go’s, both retaining a pop passion but also not being afraid to rock out with bravery and soul. “Scared” is the second of three sides on their song and that’s the winner for me, although “No Pressure” is the most poppy of the three, light and sensitive but also crisp and strong.

It’s a nice set of indie pop music from two bands who are doing it with class, and I’m glad HHBTM Records put them back to back for this EP.

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.)

SOME STUFFS: A new album from Smegma is on its way

Smegma are one of Portland’s best known unknown bands, known for their incredible and warped sense of creativity. They’ve been doing this for over 40 years and now they’re going to release an album of mostly new music called Mutant Stomps. These songs were taken from sessions recorded between 2012-2013, while one selection is taken from their archives recorded in 1975. The album will be out on November 23rd and will be pressed on vinyl as well, in a limited edition of 100 copies. The record can be pre-ordered by clicking here.

VIDEO: Naomi Punk’s “Television Man”

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Television Man is the latest album from Naomi Punk and the group decided to make a video for one of its songs: the title track. As for the concept of the video, director Robin Stein was “able to manipulate video imagery, highlighting how “The contours of extreme musculature could become an abstract and dark visual medium.” If that sounds trippy or far out to you, see what happens.

RECORD CRACK: A new box set of R.E.M. 7″ singles is on its way

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Capitol/UMC will be releasing an R.E.M. box set of 45’s in time for the holiday season, and this one represents their time on IRS Records. 7IN – 83-88 features most of the 45’s R.E.M. and IRS released in the United States with two exceptions: The “Wendell G” record that came as a double 7″ and a single for “Finest Worksong”, both of which were UK-only at the time. Here’s a full list of what will be in the box:

“Radio Free Europe” / “There She Goes Again”
“So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry)” / “King of the Road”
“(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville” / “Catapult” (Live)
“Can’t Get There From Here” / “Bandwagon”
“Driver 8” / “Crazy”
“Wendell G” / “Crazy” + “Ages of You” / “Burning Down” [U.K. double-pack, previously unreleased in U.S.]
“Fall On Me” / “Rotary Ten”
“Superman” / “White Tornado”
“The One I Love” / “Maps and Legends” (Live)
“Its The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” / “Last Date”
“Finest Worksong” / “Time After Time” (Live) [U.K. single, previously unreleased in U.S.]

Two of the hits in this box, “The One I Love” and “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”, have given the band some of the most airplay in their catalog, not bad for songs that were theirs before they jumped to Warner Bros. Records. Each of the records in the box are packaged in replicas of the original picture sleeves. 7IN – 83-88 will be out on December 8th.

SOME STUFFS: Soundgarden to release 3CD rarities compilation

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In time for the holiday season is a 3CD compilation album from Soundgarden that gathers various rarities throughout their career. Echo Of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across The Path will feature seven previously-unreleased songs, so even if you are a Soundgarden fan and claim to have everything, there’s a bit more that you’ll need in your collection. Here’s the track listing:

CD 1 – Originals

Sub Pop Rock City
Toy Box
Fresh Deadly Roses
HIV Baby
Cold Bitch
Show Me
She’s A Politician
Birth Ritual
She Likes Surprises
Kyle Petty, Son of Richard
Exit Stonehenge
Blind Dogs
Bleed Together
Black Rain
Live To Rise

CD 2 – Covers

Swallow My Pride
Smokestack Lightnin’
Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey (John Peel BBC Sessions)*
Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) (John Peel BBC Sessions)*
Come Together
Stray Cat Blues
Into The Void (Sealth)
Girl U Want
Touch Me
Can You See Me? (Friday Rock Show BBC Sessions)
Homicidal Suicidal (Friday Rock Show BBC Sessions)
I Can’t Give You Anything (Friday Rock Show BBC Sessions)
I Don’t Care About You (Friday Rock Show BBC Sessions)
Waiting For The Sun (Live)
Search And Destroy (Live)
Big Bottom (Live)
Earache My Eye (Live)

CD 3 – Oddities

Twin Tower*
Jerry Garcia’s Finger
Night Surf*
A Splice Of Space Jam
The Telephantasm
Black Days III
Fopp (Fucked Up Heavy Dub Mix)
Big Dumb Sex (Dub Version)
Spoonman (Steve Fisk Remix)
Rhinosaur (The Straw That Broke The Rhino’s Back Remix)
Dusty (Moby Remix)
The Telephantasm (Steve Fisk 2014 Remix)*
One Minute Of Silence

Some of these tracks were released as B-sides, others go back to their days at Sub Pop. My favorite track, “HIV Baby”, is from the Sub Pop 45 release of “Room A Thounsand Years Wide”. A major highlight on this will be a new song produced by Jack Endino called “Storm”, the first time he has worked with them in 24 years. Echo Of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across The Path will be released on November 24th, and can be pre-ordered below from Amazon.

VIDEO/FREE MP3 DL: Kink Ador’s “Hold on Tight”

Kink Ador is not the name of any of the members in this group, but it is the name of the band, so get to know this Nashville trio. They’ve released an EP called Free World and are hoping it will cause a few ripples in their path, so have a listen to an original song called “Hold On Tight”, which encourages lovers and lovers-to-be to be strong in a relationship situation. If you’d like to hear more of their music, go to the official Kink Ador Soundcloud page. IF you find “Hold On Tight” to be worthy enough of a download, you may do so below.

RECORD CRACK: Red Red Meat vinyl reissues are on its way

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Originally released on Sub Pop Records, the Red Red Meat discography will be reissued through Jealous Butcher Records on a one-by-one basis, beginning on November 11th with There’s A Star Above The Manger Tonight. While the original LP’s were released as single LP’s, these new pressings are newly remastered and thus being done as 2-record sets. Bunny Gets Paid will be out on March 24th of next year and Jimmy Wine Majestic gets a summer release on August 18th. Each album will have bonus tracks and the artwork will be “re-envisioned”, which means you’ll not get the original artwork but will see it in an all new way, specifically for this pressing.

If you’re a deep fan of the band and are asking yourself “wait a minute: you’re missing one more album”, this is when I drop the news about it for you. Their self-titled 1992 album will be making its vinyl debut in two different ways: both as a single LP (150 copies) and as part of the double LP reissue program, which means the double record pressing will have the bonus tracks. On top of this, Jealous Butcher are also going to compile each of the 2-record sets to create an 8LP book, enclosed in a box, hand assembled. Only 100 of this 8LP box will be made, all being done in Portland, Oregon because they can. There may be a 9th LP featuring live recordings, no word on if it will be sold separately or only part of the box, so only time will tell. The box will be out on October 13, 2015.

SOME STUFFS: The Chills to release “The BBC Sessions” compilation

The Chills are coming out with a compilation album on November 3rd and 4th, which means it’s so massive that it will take two days to release it. Jokes aside, the compilation of BBC Sessions the band did between 1985 and 1988 will be called, appropriately enough, The BBC Sessions (Fire), remastered from the original tapes. You may have a listen to one of the songs from it, “Rolling Moon”.