Over the course of the summer, I picked up a bunch of seven inch vinyl records. I have to say that when it comes to punk rock I find the seven inch to be the best way to have your music presented. Most songs are short, you can always opt out for 33 rpms if need be, and you still have the ability to make cool artwork and include a lyric sheet that doesn't need a magnifying glass to read.
During the course of my band's existence, we've managed to meet not only jaded old fucks like ourselves who still enjoy a good Flipperesque groove or hollerin' vocals but also the younger generation who still uphold and revere the finer traditions of underground punk music by still putting out seven inch records.
And even - gasp! - cassettes.
So now I've finally managed to get off my ass and write about some of these records because well I was moved to write about them.
(Sorry State Records)
This is the debut from the pop punk phoenix that rose from the ashes of Raleigh's Street Sharks. And when I say pop punk I mean that the music that lies here within contains melody which is often lacking and overlooked these days. This is the stuff fanzines like Razorcake go apeshit over. Smart lyrics and crisp art direction to boot. Soon to be Sorry State Records best seller.
Side 1 vs. Side 2: Side one wins.
No Shore EP
I recently saw these guys and was completely blown away by their enthusiasm and - most importantly - their delivery of old school hardcore. Reminds me a lot of Agnostic Front's early Victim In Pain record. This EP definitely takes me back to being 20-year's-old and mad at the world but without sounding contrived:this is angry music for angry people (with latent Negative Approach-isms].
Side 1 vs. Side 2: Side 2 wins because the track "Ritual" is badass.
The Worst Kids Ever
Fuzzed out, in-the-red raunch 'n' roll with songs like "I Can't Wait To Hate You," "Spilled Beer," "I Wanna Fuck Right Now," and "I Spent The Rent." If yer not down with drunken lo-fi gee-raj rawk then please move along. You may need a Devil Dogs or Dwarves record for as a token for entry into the Worst Kids' world. Record comes complete with un-PC cut & paste cover.
Side 1 vs. Side 2: Side 1 because it features the one-two punch of "Spilled Beer" into "Swimmin' In Hot Dogz"
(Squirrel Heart Records)
Chicago band with loose ties to ex-Hellbender, ex-Milemarker, ex[?]-Challenger and Burn Collector Al Burian. Punk but not hardcore if that makes any sense; this used to be called post-punk before the snarky goth math-rockers got a hold of the moniker. Green vinyl, great lyrics and top notch art.
Side 1 vs. Side 2: Side 2.
Toys That Kill
Having been an on-again/off-again contributor to Razorcake over the last few years, I had always seen the name Toys That Kill in the fanzine and read the high praises lofted upon them but until now had never actually heard the band. Fucking shit I've been missing out on some awesome songs that dredge up the ghosts of the Replacements, Pegboy and Hot Water Music. Drunken Billy Goat Gruff vocals with real life lyricism.
Side 1 vs. Side 2: Side 2, er in this case Side B because "02" could be the best song ever... right now... on my turntable.
Tiltwheel/Off With Their Heads
(Fast Crowd Records)
First off, this comes on orange colored vinyl. OWTH delivers one of the finest two-song sides ever. There's '77 Thunders in there, the drunken revere of the Dropkick Murphys (without the overstated working class cheese) and some Rezillos. You work. You play. You party... period. Tiltwheel does their best to keep up with OWTH on side two. Each band cover's a song from the other which helps shine light on what spectrum of the punk rock continuum these guys fall on. This is the sound of Minneappolis-meets-Gainesville; this is the sound of independent music and the sound of house party basement shows; this is the sound of now.
Side 1 vs. Side 2: It's a freakin' tie!
Appalachian Terror Unit
Armageddon Won't Be Brought By Gods
West Virgina crust (with an umlot!) Bullet belts and anarchy my friends. Honestly, that Ford Econoline van and the acetate used to make your record is far more evil than halogen light bulbs, but like Oprah with James Frey I can overlook it! It is what it is and I tend to dig "is" stuff like this. At least for a song or two. Discharge anyone?
Side 1 vs. Side 2: Side 1... who ever gets to Side Two?