Reviews

Dirtnap

Fox Face End of Man LP

Milwaukee quartet FOX FACE makes a slow and soft but extremely sharp mind-melting version of Midwest punk. The band doesn’t rely on fast grooves or crushing riffs, instead allowing for the music to build in chaotic rhythm. No extra padding needed; just true guitar-led punk rock. The tracks on this LP are lyrically potent, describing our turbulent times in true sneering punk fashion. They take influence from a wide variety of punk bands all the way from VIOLENT FEMMES to SLEATER-KINNEY. Truly a very cathartic and timely release.

Good Shade Way Out LP

This fourth full-length release from Columbus, Ohio’s GOOD SHADE goes between extra fast, melodic power-pop and more tender, meandering ballads. The moments of glory are the simple, understated interludes between overwrought vocal melodies and multi-multi-layered guitar leads. While the band has a full lineup for live shows, all parts of the recording are written, performed, and recorded by one member. It’s an impressive accomplishment, but not likely to appeal to fans of punk.

Martha Love Keeps Kicking LP

Pop-punk with twangy guitar parts that was all the rage with the Fest crowd some years back. From what I gather, everybody contributes vocals individually, but the magic happens when they harmonize. Good stuff. Bonus points for having a song called “Wrestlemania VIII”!

Personality Cult New Arrows LP

A tidy little pop punk rager from North Carolina’s Ben Carr. It was recorded by Jeff Burke of RADIOACTIVITY and MARKED MEN, which should give you some pointers as to the sound, and the music hums along with a similar propulsion, but there’s something snottier and less romantic about PERSONALITY CULT’s songs. Layer upon layer of immediately memorable hooks and melodies draw on elements of BUZZCOCKS at times, and SCREECHING WEASEL at others. Fans of any of the bands mentioned are advised to have a listen.

Personality Cult New Arrows LP

This is North Carolina group PERSONALITY CULT’s second LP. It features past members of MIND SPIDERS, BASS DRUM OF DEATH, and too many others to list in this review. Serving up tunes that bring to mind the garage punk revival of the early 2000s, with an undertone of almost post-punk-like minor key explorations. Some songs move towards more of a garage pop vibe, while others have stronger punk leanings, maybe a DICKIES influence peeking through at times? The moments when they throw out curveballs, like unexpectedly dissonant guitar leads or back-up vocal parts, end up being my favorites.

Steve Adamyk Band Paradise LP

I love STEVE ADAMYK. If I liked guys and he liked guys and I wasn’t so much older than him, I’d probably ask him to marry me. Either him or Bobby Martinez. Anyway, you get here just what you’ve grown to expect: extremely catchy, infectious power-pop. As soon as you put the needle down, you start bouncing your head. It’s immediate. These dudes just consistently deliver. It’s catchy and melodic and all that, but don’t think that must mean that this isn’t raw rock’n’roll. Great record.

The Ergs! Time and the Season EP

At long last, the ERGS! have returned and blessed the universe with a new 7″. Two originals and two covers make up this record, and these Jersey fellas haven’t lost a step. The originals are the highlights here. “Ultimate Falsetto Book” is a mid-tempo toe-tapper, while “Half Empty Strip Mal” is a faster, more upbeat ditty. Both are classic ERGS!. As for the two covers, the first is their version of “Say You’re Sorry” from ’60s garage band the REMAINS, which sounds like it could have been a lost DESCENDENTS song. Finishing up this EP is a cover of the ZOMBIES’ “Time and the Season.” This is pretty much a spot-on cover, just a bit beefed up. All in all, a solid and welcomed offering from Jersey’s best prancers.

The Hussy Looming CD

This is a fun poppy garage record. It’s got that modern fuzziness backed with bouncing drums, and some manic keyboard sounds occasionally appear. Heather Hussy has a clear, strong, powerful voice that makes you think she could easily replace one of the current Top 40 female singers if she was so inclined. I’d assume that would be a “no,” but I’m saying it anyway. Bobby
Hussy sings with JAY REATARD-type inflections. His voice is softer and more sing-songy, but the style gives a Reatard impression. The vocal duties are traded off on this LP, which keeps the whole thing sounding fresh.