I intended to just pick up the new record of MONO and get a couple of tickets for the upcoming HAMMERHEAD show in April. Turns out the record wasn’t there yet and the show was sold out so I had to shift my focus towards other things:
ME FIRST & THE GIMME GIMMES “Willie” 7″
ME FIRST & THE GIMME GIMMES “Kenny” 7″
Ever since those guys released their first record they made a habit out of putting out an enormous number of 7″‘s with bonus tracks of coverversions of the artists they were covering on their full length LPs. So these are two remnants of their “Love Their Country” LP featuring songs by Willie Nelson and Kenny Rogers. Nothing special, there might be no reason to get this at all. It’s all a collector’s gimmick in the end. But I still like this. And I really want to know where they dig up these crazy pictures they put on the front of their records. Seriously, it’s hilarious. To me that’s one of the reasons why I keep on searching for those 7″s.
DEATH IS NOT GLAMOROUS “Soft Clicks” LP
This Norwegian melodic hardcore outfit has been the talk of the town for the past couple of years, I guess. I can’t really see the reason for this although I have to admit that their catchy melodies stick with me as well. They simply know what they want to do and they manage to do it pretty good. I believe I’m not spoiling the party for anyone when I say that this is totally influenced by this American band called Lifetime. As said before, very catchy yet still with the power and the energy of a good hardcore band Death Is Not Glamorous are a sure bet to get bigger and bigger as time moves on. The cghange speeds from time to time which only adds to it.
The only things that nags me a little bit is the voice of their singer. Surely a clear voice isn’t something you want to have for a sound like this, but sometimes he seems to try a little too hard. Anyway, this is a great record and the band is touring all over Europe so be sure to catch a glimpse of them when they rock your town.
VARIOUS ARTISTS “All Aboard – A Tribute To Johnny Cash” LP
I always liked tribute albums and coverversions (just see my fondness of Me First & The Gimme Gimmes), especially because you get the chance to listen to different bands and their approach to a certain artist who they might adore one way or another. And while it might be even more interesting to grab a record featuring interpretations by bands of an unknown artist, a Johnny Cash Tribute is a sure shot for me.
This one starts of with the Boucing Souls version of “Man In Black” which is and upbeat streetpunk song. Next up is a band I never heard of before (Fallen From The Sky) who try to get some sort of country feeling into their version of “Country Boy”, but in my opinion they fail. Just using a slide guitar won’t make it better in any way. Chuck Ragan (“Wreck Of The Old 97”) is much better there. I guess you can really sense that the way he sees himself as a songwriter is somewhat similar to the approach Cash took. This country music for sure but the way he sings it makes it punkrock-ish again. Great song, great interpretation. Joe McMahon uses “Let The Train Whistle Blow” to add trumpets to his rendition of the song making it a little bit more like a party song, while Ben Nichols, who is up next, delivers a very spartanic approach to “Delia’s Gone” with his him and his guitar. Although I have to admit that I think nothing beats the deperation of the original song. The Gaslight Anthem look like they are predetermined to play songs by great American artists, but their version of “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” was somewhat surprising. Very dark and not in any way like the music the band usually plays. The Loved Ones turn things around to a more rocking approach with “Cocaine Blues”, still this just doesn’t get to me as I think it’s lacking a little bit of life. On Guard seems to be a one-man project and is instrumenationwise pretty close to Cash. Which makes this version of “Give My Love To Rose” not very special at all.
The B side starts with Casey James Prestwood who delivers a bluegrass version of “I Still Miss Someone” with nice backing vocals, slide guitars and a violin. MxPx then butcher “Hey Porter” which is nothing but an average and boring upbeat melodic punk song in their interpretation. A good coverversion to me enables the listener to still recognize both influences, the original artists and the band who does the cover. Both are not in this at all. The Flatliners on the other hand get closer to my ideal with “Cry, Cry, Cry”. As expected the Dresden Dolls are a much better fit for a tribute sampler. Their version of “Ballad Of A Teenage Queen” is completely different from what all the other bands did on this one. It’s the typical Dresden Dolls sound but at the same time it’s a great version of a Johnny Cash song. The following version of “Folsom Prison Blues” by Chon Travis is a bit too plain for my liking. Yup, it’s fast, acoustic, country, but it just doesn’t stand out. Could have done better with that one. I guess you have to come up with something very special for the most famous songs. The Saint Catherines streetpunk version of “There You Go” would be something I would have preferred. Although it’s not something special they way they play it has a lot more feeling in it. Russ Rankin rounds of the record with his version of “I Walk The Line”. He’s pretty honest in his liner notes saying that he chose the song because of the challenge it poses to his voice and that this was his first experience doing a very “stripped down” song like this one. A bonus track is another version of “Delia’s Gone” by Ben Nichols, still I can’t really see the difference to the first version.
All in all a nice record with interesting versions of Johnny Cash’s songs. The sleeve notes feature thoughts by every artist on why they wanted to play that particular song they chose for the record which makes it even more fun. One of the better tribute records.
OMEGA MASSIF “Kalt” Picture LP
This is one of the countless postrock outfits which sprung up over the past few years, but they are one step ahead of the pack. Just take the name of the band, this is truly massive stuff. Omega Massif released these songs as a demo in 2006 and this time they bring them around on a very nice picture LP. They only thing I hate about releases like this one is that there is no real cover for the record. Anyway, this one features four all instrumental neckbreaking songs with lots of power and fierceness. The whole atmosphere of the record is just as the title (“Cold”) says, dark and gloomy, like walking through a winter’s night without any light from the stars or the moon. And yet there are those small moments when they step back a little bit to take the listeneron a journey to slightly warmer places where there might be a chance to see the sun. There is no way those guys have to hide behind their international counterparts. They are even going to play the Roadburn Festival in April, so there you go.
UNION TOWN “self-titled” LP
This one’s unexpectedly old-fashioned, but in now way meant to sound derogatory. I heard a lot of people rave about Union Town before, but I never managed to grab the record. This one has the feeling of the late 80s/early 90s to it. A nice mixture of punkrock and hardcore bands like Four Walls Falling or Dag Nasty used to play. In that sense it’s very sympathetically out of place from what the current hype bands use to play. That’s what I meant when I labeled it old-fashioned. Of course it’s always nice to hear something new, but I also like it when bands pick up on some traditional approaches to punk music. And this is a record which definetely does that. Great.
GLASSES “self-titled” LP
Glasses is a new band from the Aachen area featuring members of Eaves/Trainwreck, which might give you a glue as to what this record might sound like. The thing itself looks rather spartanic. No real hardcover, just a cut paper in a plastic sleeve. The record is one-sided with etching on the non-used one. The music sounds somewhat different from what I expected. Eaves and Trainwreck used to be very chaotic hardcore bands, albeit they had hard riffs to break down and put back a little bit of order in their sound. Glasses on the other hand remind me a lot more of those D-Beat Portland hardcore bands like Tragedy. Still they have some moments in which the chaos breaks through. Must be a blast to watch them play live.
GHOSTLIMB/PERTH EXPRESS/TRAINWRECK/ZANN “Split” LP
Speaking of Trainwreck, they joined forces with three other bands on this rather unusual split release. I am used to bands sharing a record, but a deliberate 4-way split LP is somewhat different. The make-up of the sleeve is very thoughtful indeed. Each band gets an equal share with the front cover being split into four triangular parts which you bend backwards to take out the record. Does this make any sense? Anyway, I think it’s a fantastic idea. Music-wise there’s not that much of a surprise as all bands take a rather chaotic approach as to how they play their sound. Still there are very small nuances of differences between the competitors and that’s what makes this worthwhile. Perth Express (who split up recently, so this is the band’s last release) sound a bit more straight forward to me where as Ghostlimb seem to accelerate their speed a little bit more. We played with Zann a few years ago and the image I had in my band was that of a stereotypical chaoscore/screamo band and it seems that nothing has changed that much. Still their sound really fits on this record. I really like when they break down their sound for some slower parts. This is a very nice pick-up if you want to check out a lot of bands one just one record.