Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Speedy Ortiz - "Ka-Pro!" b/w "Hexxy"

If you picture what would happen if Laura Stevenson and Dinosaur Jr. were playing at the same time then Speedy Ortiz would probably look a lot like that.  I reference the Stevenson influence for the wonderful and strong melodies that are belted out by the female main vocal.  The Dinosaur reference comes from the overblown distorted madness that follows. 

This may sound strange, but take a listen to it before you judge.  Things actually pan out very well and the first track shows how this band can really pull off such a distinct sound without sounding like they are trying to make pieces fit where they don't. 

The second track keeps in the same vein, though, perhaps adding a little bit of a Sleater Kinney feel, in which the blown out distortion seems a little bit more on the leash.

Listen to it here.

Raised By Wolves - Born Blind

Raised By Wolves have a recording sound that makes me feel like this could have been recorded back in 1996.  I mean that as a good thing.  It's raw and honest, which personally I prefer this particular type of hardcore to not be too polished.

Raised By Wolves are a heavy hardcore band that seem to move back and forth between modern hardcore bands and some of the more classic 90's style.  "Quitting Time" is more of an onslaught of moshy, angry madness, whereas "Rescue" shows the bands more melodic sensibilities. 

I'm impressed by the delivery.  The vocals come off as honest with their throaty desperation and well placed cadence. All the right ingredients are there to make this a catchy couple of songs for fans of Have Heart, Snapcase, Insurrection, etc.

Listen to it here.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Gouge Away - Demo 2013

Gouge Away is from Washington DC and play an exciting, upbeat brand of punk/hardcore with a melodic tone to it.  The songs have a great 'get up and go' feel to them with a great urgency. Fans of the Ebullition/Kirsh sound will enjoy this and perhaps if you're into an angrier, heavier version of Swiz or Dag Nasty you'll be able to get down with this.

The distinguishing characteristic here seems to be how the guitars are working.  One guitar seems to focus on raging out the standard three or four chords, while the other is always experimenting with a noisier, lead part.  It creates a nice, consistent mix that keeps the verse/chorus format interesting and fresh.

The recording has a nice, bright sound which seems to emphasize the urgency even more.  There's a tasteful flanger effect on the guitar that doesn't distract the listener, but actually seems to work well.  Trebly, sparkling bass tone holds up the back end adding more dimension to the overall sound.

Have a listen here.

Dads - Pretty Good

Dads are back with a new four song EP which shows the bands progression to more mature and introspective song writing.  With these four tracks Dads is all grown up, with haunting melodies and moody guitar effects.  Just for good measure you'll hear a smidge of their old upbeat style on "Can I Be Yr Deadbeat Boyfriend" which includes a straightforward verse/chorus format.

What I find very impressive on these songs is the great vocal range.  In this respect you can really see how far this band has come in locking down their vocal abilities.  There's definitely some Minus The Bear influence happening at times and it's pulled off pretty flawlessly. 

The production here is on point, creating a really nice, huge sound for this two piece band. This is something I'll be listening to all month.  

Have a listen here.

Gatherer - Caught Between a Rock and a Sad Place

Gatherer has the whole Pianos Become the Teeth/Touche Amore thing down to a science.  They pull it off well and if you're into that sort of style then you'll have another band to add to your library.  Though there are some aspects of their own making, like the melodic vocals at the end of "I Have Seen Mountains" or the beginning of "108" and various group vocal parts (see "Campfires").

The production is well balanced and highlights each aspect of the music well.  The lyrics seem mostly personal in nature, though, 90's hardcore fans will find it ironic that they have songs called "108" and "Death Bed" on the same release.

Listen to it here.