Endless NowMale Bonding
English band Male Bonding have been labeled as a punk rock band, although I'd say they are closer to pop punk. Endless Now is the follow up to their well received debut, last year's Nothing Hurts, and finds John Arthur Webb, Kevin Hendrick and Robin Silas serving up carefully crafted '90s-ish rock. Unsurprisingly the album was produced by '90s mix master John Agnello, who has worked with The Kills and Sonic Youth. Male Bonding have consistently drawn comparisons to Dinosaur Jr., who Agnelo has also produced. I can definitely understand this observation, especially on tracks like What's That Scene? and Dig You Out. Male Bonding's sound may call back to a different ear but it's their energetic execution that makes Endless Now a must listen in the present day.
Channelling Your Fears
Heartbeats & BrainwavesElectric Six
The recently released Heartbeats and Brainwaves is Detroit sextet Electric Six's eighth studio album in eight years. Their frantic output may lead listeners to expect a decline in quality; yet when your musical style crosses so many genres it's easy to mix it up. I'd wager most of you have heard the band's most popular song Danger! High Voltage in a commercial or otherwise. Most of the tracks found on Heartbeats and Brainwaves aren't too far off from Danger! or their other mega hit Gay Bar. Yet there are some divergences, most notably the '80s-infused We Use the Same Products. Whether you're in the mood for disco-punk or shiny synths, Electric Six are here for you. LED codpiece not included.
Divine ProvidenceDeer Tick
Deer Tick's fourth album, John McCauley & company continue to deliver their signature alt-rock, country-tinged tunes. There's nothing as sweet as Friday XIII or These Old Shoes. Instead Divine Providence contains party anthems (Let's All Go to the Bar), folk ballads (Mr. Cigarette) and familiar angry rants (The Bump.) Deer Tick's music sounds as if it were recorded in a dive bar, surrounded by spilled beer and clouds of cigarette smoke. According to McCauley that's not far from the truth.
“I can’t even guesstimate how many beers we drank,” McCauley told 77 Square of the Divine Providence recording sessions. “We were definitely ourselves.”
Tarot Classics EPSurfer Blood
Astro Coast, Tarot Classics demonstrates Surfer Blood's continued confidence at pairing competent pop rock with punk riffs and frenzied feedback. The four tracks are a billowy pop piece (Drinking Problem), a rocky kiss off (Miranda), instrumental done right (Voyager Reprise) and a toe tapping, beach ready single (I'm Not Ready, listen below.) Looking ahead to Surfer Blood's next release, here's hoping this Florida five piece will continue to pair sunny themes with the chilly disposition they've crafted for themselves.
I'm Not Ready
Exits & All the RestGirl In a Coma
Girl In a Coma's Exits and All the Rest is reminiscent of the '90s. However instead of Dinosaur Jr., Girl In a Coma are more aptly compared to Magnapop or The Breeders. This indie Mexican-American trio, made up of sisters Nina and Phanie Diaz along with Jenn Alva, signed with Joan Jett's Blackheart Records in 2006. If Smart is any indication, Exits and All the Rest will be softer than their previous efforts. I adored their '07 debut Both Before I'm Gone, which was more in line with the Joan Jett, hard rock aesthetic. They may have mellowed out a bit but what Girl In a Coma are presenting is still robust enough to rouse a comatose music fan out of a mainstream induced slumber.