31-01-13

40 Minute Powernap

Sorry for the lack of updates, peepz. I've been busy not going to shows and I'm still a lazy bum.
Things to look out for, though:
- zine #8, somewhere February or March
- Ten/Fifteen zine by Pejer, with a contributed interview by me
- Crossbonefestzine (22-23/03)
- I have lotsa shows planned in the next months, so that's cool


But first things first.
15 Minute Powernap played their last show evarrrr. Which is sad. Singer Lode decided his baby and his other band were more important. Dude has a baby. No punx.

They were the only band scheduled and it was a Wednesday night so things were rather serene but it was a super fun show. They started out really good, how they always started. The sound kinda sucked throughout the whole show, it was either too loud or too soft, and especially the vocals were wacky. Sad detail, but as true punx we didn't mind all too much.
They played lotsa songs, most of their own, some really good ones that are left unreleased sadly. Some covers, which were alright. Imma be honest here, the show was... well, alright. It could've been better, definitely. But it was funny and fun and they're a cool band, so that made up for the sound sucking and the mistakes and such. It's not like it was bad, either, no sir!

One of the stars of the shows was definitely De Vinger, one of 15MPN biggest fans (and apparently, weirdly enough, also one of MC Karel's biggest fans). He has great moves, and got some dancing going on, so that was fun. He's a real cool dude.
Also the bassist did a half-assed guitar cover of a song I can't remember and they stretched the set out a bit.

Anyway, I'm glad those fuckers are gone. Go listen to F.O.D., everyone.

11-01-13

Munchin' Girls

The UK indie/punk rock/emo scene is booming with talent and I'd like to live there sometimes. Today in my mailbox: yet another proof of that fact.
Muncie Girls' Revolution Summer EP was chilling on our porch and I was really glad. Now it's chilling on my turntable and I'm really glad it's doing that.

Muncie Girls - Revolution Summer (Specialist Subject Records, 2012)

1. Feel It Soon
2. Kasper And Randow
3. Bum Chicago
4. Revolution Summer
5. Railroad



 So, this record came out in September last year. It's their 2nd EP. Or first one if you distinguish demos and EPs as different things. That's kind of a difficult subject (a specialist subject, perhaps! (see what I did there?)). Let's say it's their second 'release', at least I think so. It has amazing artwork and a limited press of the vinyl has a Scrabble template screen-printed on the B-side. That's sold out, though, I think. Doesn't matter, either way it's a pretty package full of surprises.
I didn't really listen to Muncie Girls actively before this LP arrived on my doorstep. It was more of a "whoa, cool"  and "let's instantly buy the shit out of this" situation. Good for the music aficionado in me, not so good for the financial worrier inside me.
Anyway, it's spinning and I'm happy now so that's what's important.
Revolution Summer is an indie/punk rock record extraordinaire. It releases soothing sounds that dance on a the thin line between catchy pop punk and innovative and danceable indie rock. Basically like Weezer. I think? I'm so unsure of a lot of things, still, but I think Weezer is a good reference. Other similar artists include Cheap Girls and Good Luck. Yeah.
The songs are not too far-fetched but they're well-crafted and original. Catchy choruses, great guitar hooks, climactic intros and verses, it's all there. But next to that, there's a world full of interesting riffs, bass lines and drum fills. The "whoa"-part in Kasper And Randow, for example, which includes hand claps and all that jazz, that's something that sparks my smiley sense.
This whole record, though thematically not necssarily positive, seems created with the intention to make people smile. It's upbeat, steady and frivolous. Bum Chicago has this sublime break/outro with a cool drum pattern, completed by this boogy-worthy bass line and a high-pitched solo and it's just makes you go all stupid and ":)". Lyrically though, it's not really positive but it does have an optimistic message (that's open for interpretation of course) and I like that. For example, "Don't hesitate, it'll never put you forward" (from Revolution Summer) could very well inspire you to stop hesitating. Like, now! Not only do the Muncie Girls wanna create an environment of musical joy and semi-poetry, but they also have a message ready for you to read between the lines, or even simply on the lines. The lyrics are not cryptic or anything, but just how I like them: relevant, slightly metaphoric and clearly worded. And it has lots of "whoa"s, which makes this record instantly a lot better than records that do not have "whoa"s. Write that down, "whoa"less bands!
As I'm writing this very sentence, I'm up to my third time listening, and Railroad is definitely the track that sticks around the easiest, and stands out as a hit song or something. It's a rad tune, catchy, it had a super cool intro and outro/bridge and the lyrics/singing is really nice. The singer (Lande, if I'm not mistaken) has a really bright and powerful voice, very enjoyable. When she gets into the chorus of Railroad I just wish she'd never stop. Ever. Well, maybe some time after all. Also, Railroad has a videoclip, and it's cool!
Revolution Summer, although it is the title track and it's a good one, it doesn't stick to the mind as fast as the other ones do. Maybe that's not the point, that's up to them, I'm just putting it out there.

Anyway, I bought the shit out of this EP and now I'm listening and enjoying the shit out of it.
Something you might wanna consider doing.
Know what I mean?
And if you're like "Every inch of me doesn't know if this is right", well then, just "suck it up and give it a try."

09-01-13

Gino's Fuckwads

There's this Belgian band called Gino's Eyeball. They're really popular. I mean, locally, and possibly in the Netherlands and France or something. Maybe even further, I don't know? Anyway, they play lots of shows and have been going for a good 13 years. They released a handful of splits and demos and one full length.
They mostly play cover songs and have fun on stage. That's what they like.

But they have this album, it's called Loose Hips Sink Ships, a nice pun at the proverb "losse lips sink ships", but with certain weight characteristics in mind. And well, it's great.
Gino's Eyeball - Loose Hips Sink Ships (Kickass Records, 2010)

1) Track Number One
2) Oh Well...
3) Fastfood Princess
4) Swing And A Miss XXXXL
5) Kournikova
6) Paris
7) My Girlfriend's Fuckin' Cool + Rad
8) Hey Guys
9) Be Honest
10) State Of Awareness
11) Maybee
12) Britney

So yeah, one full length in 13 years, that's not a path many bands walk. But I can only have respect for the path Gino's Eyeball chose. Naturally. It's their thing. Let the guys do their thing. Their thaaaaaaang.
But I think it's such a shame, cause this is one of the coolest Belgian pop punk/punk rock bands around, and it's such a good album, but at their shows they still mainly play NOFX covers like it's 2001. That's fun and all, but these songs are good and could be equally embraced with dancing and singalongs at shows.
This whole album screams 90s (it's like "NINETIES!! NINETIES!!" the whole time) and California punk rock and sun, skateboarding, girls, dancing. It's catchy throughout the whole album. Okay, Kournikova is an odd-one-out track but that's fine after a fast track like Swing And A Miss XXXXL. That latter song actually has great lyrics that I think every punk rock kid who was ever at a hardcore/metalcore show can relate to. Especially fat punk rock kids.
There's a lot of songs about girls. Mostly celebrities, like Anna Kournikova, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears. Iuxtaposed to these famous chicks are regular girls from our daily lifes, such as the Fastfood Princess, Tom's girlfiend and of course the general, always relevant and inevitable 'the girls'. Lyric-wise, it's all super straight-forward like you would expect. No metaphors, no political messages, just plain old fun. Remember fun? Yeah, me too. Those were great times, when fun was still a cool thing to have.
Musically, mostly power chords, some cool melodic parts, some standard key changes, some great ideas and a lot of punk rock. There's some experimenting with songwriting and transitions, nothing too fancy but it's interesting enough to keep up. My Girlfriend's Fuckin' Cool + Rad goes on for a freaking long time, though. Jeez. Well, long in punk rock terms, of course.
'Nyway, the disc is bound to get you swinging and if you don't watch out you'll be doing your most ridiculous dance moves. After a few listens you'll be singing along, playbacking on your own in your room using whatever as a microphone and generally having fun. There's that word again. Fun. Weird.

Anyway, great album, I was just listening to this and thought I should write something about it cause it's pretty cool.

06-01-13

NOISE = TALK

Scandinavia is a land full of nature, culture and beautiful womenz. Everything has a weird name and the favourite pasttime of any Scandinavian person is burning churches. That is a fact. They're all wicked. Wicked cool, that is.


Stöj Snak - Songs About Beliefs (TNS Records/5FeetUnder Records, 2012)

1. Collateral Damage
2. State Of Mine
3. Party On The Hillside
4. Great Ideas Need Landing Gear
5. No Refunds




Now, the band I wanna talk about is Stöj Snak, from Denmark. Weird name, right? Google translate says it means "noise is present talk", which kinda makes sense but I can't really put my finger on it. The band is the brainchild of songwriter and super-multi-instrumentalist Niels Höjgaard Sörensen (yeah, weird names...), who is credited for vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, banjo, bass guitar, organ, harmonica, toy xylophone, melodica, rhythm apple, hand claps, tambourine, cabasa, programming, song writing, recording, producing, mixing and artwork. That's intense. Damn. He does handclaps too! And what the heck is a rhythm apple even? Anyway, let's not ponder about weird names, credit lists and that jazz. Let's listen to the music.

First track: Collateral Damage. It has a very country-like feel but then the vocals kick in and you immediately get a different vibe. An interesting vibe. They describe themselves as acoustic punk or screamer-songwriter music, which are both pretty accurate descriptions. They managed to create a very full-sounding EP with an array of basic and unplugged instruments. The vocals sound slightly desperate and  have a very dry tone. There's a Ceremony reference in the first song I think, where Niels screams "This is my war!" at the top of his lungs. Could be just another line, which doesn't reference anything, but it made me think of that. Anyway, the bass line is super fun in this song, composition-wise it's well constructed. I have the feeling that solo artists generally can come up with great song structures and compositions cause they can just do what they want, don't need to account for other opinions and they don't need to explain stuff to other band members.
State Of Mine, the next track, is lyrically my favourite on the EP. "Into a place where people really care/Where folk singers and grindcore bands can stand a common ground fuelled by the same raw creative drive/Something more than power chords and beats in double time/Uncompromised self-expression/Just a place where people really care" That's great. Especially the line about folk singers and grindcore bands is cool, cause you realize Niels has interest in both folk music, grindcore, punk, whatever genre and he draws influence from all those genres, not necessarily explicit musical influence but you hear he has a lot of ideas that come from different places in his mind, that's cool. Also, his brother is in Kollapse, the crust band I reviewed a while ago. Party On The Hillside, for example, has an entirely different sound than the previous songs and has a more old school punk rock feel to it. It's a song about escapism and nostalgia to careless times I guess? I'd like to be careful expressing my opinion about song meanings cause mostly I don't nearly understand it as well as it was intended. Anyway, another great song, the shortest on the album and the subtle ongoing guitar solo is a really cool thing to do.
Niels takes a gear back with Great Ideas Need Landing Gear (see what I did there?), and takes a simpler, more upbeat approach. Yet, the vocal qualities remain the same. I really like his voice, he's really on the edge between singing and screaming in this one, and I love when the raspiness comes through as much as I love the clean-sounding yells, as in "It's gonna be betteeeer for everyooooooone". Great track!
No Refunds goes on about the lyrical theme of State Of Mine a bit and has a motherfucking flute solo. I can't remember if I've ever heard a flute solo. It's pretty damn awesome! The song flows really well throughout and is a nice closing track to this second EP, Songs About Beliefs.

So, while you're at it, check out the first EP, Planned Absolescence, cause it's pretty cool too!
Songs About Beliefs came out in November and is available on orange vinyl, pressing of 250, and it looks really nice.
The download includes a bonus track, The City Burns Tonight, which is the most straight-forward track of all. It sounds angry, it sounds enervated, it sound wack and it sounds really soothing at the same time because of the tempo and the smooth outro.