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Upset with Potty Mouth, Psychic Teens and The Pretty Greens – Kung Fu Necktie (Philadelphia) – February 9, 2014
Mission of Burma with Bleeding Rainbow – First Unitarian Church (Philadelphia) – February 8, 2014
Please see my full review here.
Bleeding Rainbow – Interrupt (Kanine)
Though this won’t be out officially for a few weeks, I was able to get a copy of this the other day and so I feel like it’s OK to mention it here. This Lp may be even better than last year’s Yeah Right, which made my Top 10 of the year. This time around, Bleeding Rainbow shed more layers of dream-pop and shoegaze (though it is still there, just more in the background) to reveal a tight, taut band in thrall to prime-era Sonic Youth and similar bands (I was told that Mission of Burma was a prime inspiration during the making of this record) while retaining their own spin on that style (witness the almost X or Redd Kross-like harmonies of co-vocalists Sarah Everton and Rob Garcia that also made Yeah Right so enjoyable). The highs may not be quite as high here (there is nothing as immediately breathtaking as “Waking Dream” here, but a few songs come close), but I think this is a more consistent and perhaps more accomplished effort. Get it!
Potty Mouth – Hell Bent (Old Flame)
No, this all-female band from Western Massachusetts is not at all a Bratmobile clone, though the name may initially throw some off. If anything, they are a bit closer to Sleater-Kinney (though only in passing), but not really. On this, their debut album released last year, they could’ve fit in easily among the myriad of indie bands of this style in the ’90s, but very few of them wrote songs with catchy hooks and intelligent lyrics like “Black and Studs.” Here is another great band of recent vintage that blurs the line between punk and indie rock.
Potty Mouth – Sun Damage EP (Puzzle Pieces/Ride the Snake)
This is their debut EP from 2012. Although the album is a bit stronger, the blueprint for their sound was already in place here from the evidence at hand. There’s nothing that’ll take your breath away on this like “Black and Studs” or make you laugh like “Shithead,” but these are all really strong songs.
Speedy Ortiz – Real Hair EP (Carpark)
The major difference here from their fine, Helium and Polvo inspired 2013 debut Lp Major Arcana is an upgrade in production and sound quality courtesy of Paul Q. Kolderie and Sean Slade. The ubiquitous ’90s alt-rock production/engineering combo is a natural and great fit for Speedy Ortiz as I think these are their best songs to date. The lyrics are a bit more self-referential and less breakup-inspired this time around, too. And though my promo of this is just a CD and jewel case with no cover, the artwork I’ve seen online is absolutely gorgeous, too, and it’s worth buying a copy for that alone!
The Pretty Greens – “Jealous Waves” EP (February)
The only thing I’d heard by this band to date was a rough-sounding, yet still quite enjoyable homemade cd-r that they were nice enough to give me a few years ago. Thus, I was happy to see that they are playing out again and have released this brand new digital EP. The sound reminds me somewhat of female-fronted early ’80s U.S. post-punk/college rock bands like Salem 66 or even very early Romeo Void (though with slightly surf-influenced guitar playing) and the recording quality here is far better than anything I’d heard by them to date. It should also be mentioned that “Make the Night a Little Longer” is a cover of a song by The Shirelles. You can check out “My Heart is a Lonely Hunter” here.
Various Artists – Guided by Voices tribute EP (Salinas)
This is a 4 way (!) split 7 inch with Screaming Females, Swearin’, Upset and Waxahatchee each covering Guided by Voices tunes. It came out in the fall, but I finally got a copy when Upset played here last weekend. With such great bands and terrific source material, I expected this to be a strong release and boy does it deliver on all cylinders! All four songs are strong here, so it’s hard to pick a favorite, but at the moment it may have to be Waxahatchee’s take on “Liar’s Tale.” Upset’s “Chasing Heather Crazy,” “The Official Ironmen Rally Song” (Swearin’) and Screaming Females’ take on “A Good Flying Bird” are all top-notch, too, though!
The Casket Girls – True Love Kills the Fairy Tale (Graveface)
In addition to being a terrific record store, Graveface Records & Curiosities is also a promising label thanks in part to this terrific band, also based in Savannah, GA like the store and label. I became aware of them recently via some early singles, but this blows those out of the water. Simply put, this is dream-pop that does not skimp on the hooks and catchiness and I am enjoying the heck out of this record. At first, they made me think of Metric at their early to mid ’00s best, but now some of this reminds me of The Raveonettes‘ dreamier material. This is a fantastic release and I have to thank Elizabeth Klisieiwicz for hipping me to it.
Arctic Flowers – Weaver (self-released)
This is only out digitally now, but is due to be released on vinyl in April. For now, you can stream and buy it here. As much as I love their previous releases Procession (an EP) and their debut Lp Reveries, this might be their best work to date. Some of this even reminds me of Love of Diagrams and other similar bands like the great Infinite Void, but as always the guitar work reminds me heavily of Rikk Agnew and the vibe is dark/goth/post-punk like a modern peace punk version of 45 Grave! The band is notably tighter than they were a few years ago, too, and the recording sounds better, too.
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