Just Because

Brat Curse Brat Curse LP

Straight out of Columbus, OH, BRAT CURSE leans heavily on a mixture of power pop and grunge. It takes some real vision to take two distinctly different genres and squish them into one band without it being a jarring clash between the two, though they manage to remind me of MARKED MEN, the BREEDERS, and LUSH all at the same time. There’s this beautiful guitar part over the bridge of “Under the Gun” that just screams late-’80s shoegaze. It’s almost like feedback, but instead it builds into this screechy warble that when put into words doesn’t sound appealing, though I promise it is! A layer of dreamy wash of melody undercuts many of their tracks, really making a case for adding shoegaze to their list of styles. They have a soft reverb on the vocals, snappy drums, and guitars that both wail and crunch. It’s mellow, yet upbeat. I’m into it.

Cheap Clone New Paltz / Walk to Canada cassette

Two-song cassingle put out to coincide with the band playing their final show. Both songs are super catchy, jangly ’90s-inspired pop, and sure to get stuck in your head for a while. Admittedly, it kinda feels like I’m watching the end credits of an episode of The Adventures of Pete and Pete, tho.

Marty Brass Painted Glass cassette

The last few years have shown an enormous uptick in the number of solo projects releasing music, and understandably so. You tell all the weirdos out there that they can’t go out and make music with their friends, and I really only see a few options as to what the reaction to that will be. Thankfully, our dear MARTY BRASS seems to have chosen the more constructive of those potential paths and has graced the world with an absolutely delightful cassette of solo music. Eight songs of masterfully crafted power pop/garage-pop from this talented gent from Cleveland, Ohio, one being a lovely version of a ROLLING STONES song. It’s beautiful, it’s catchy, it’s driving, it’s well-played on every instrument, it’s pop music at its absolute best! (And I have it on good authority that there’s plans to take the live band version out on the road in the coming months!) Two years in and one would assume we had seen and heard it all by now, but MARTY BRASS shows that there’s still new solo projects worth checking out.

Part-Time Lover Living in the Past cassette

Living in the Past is a cassette collection of the complete recordings by Cleveland, Ohio-based PART-TIME LOVER. Seventeen tracks of catchy pop-psych from a project that has been releasing music for the better part of a decade. Some of the songs lean a little more on the indie/folk side of things than the psychedelic, but it all seems to work for them. If this band or this style of music is up your alley, this is almost definitely the tape for you.

Red Devil Ryders Pour Me Another One LP

It’s going to take me some time to digest this one. It’s an interesting sort of combination of late ’60s/’70s blues, folk, glam (a tad), and even what some people might call “hard rock.” (I can’t believe I actually wrote that.) I find the production a bit fuzzed-out, which required some adjustment. As I read this, it’s like I must totally hate it. I don’t. I will say that I think it’s a bit of a stretch that it’s finding itself being reviewed in MRR. I do find I tend to like the zippier numbers just a little better. If you’re at all intrigued by the description, you should make the effort to give it a listen.

Suitor Communion cassette

Debut EP from this Cleveland duo, initially available as a digital-only release, now expanded and issued on cassette for the first time by Just Because. The base sound here is post-punk, but over these ten tracks you get to hear it applied across a handful of subgenres. The album opener “Communion” pairs a CURE-like instrumental track with lush dream pop vocals, which is then followed by a slower, stripped-down post-hardcore number. Other tracks touch on WIPERS-esque punk, garage-y post-punk (in the vein of the A FRAMES), indie pop, and even a bit of Krautrock. In addition to the production, the vocalist really helps tie this thing together. Her super sweet voice floats alongside the track like a narcotic haze, making it easy to enjoy the ride, even when the drive could be a little smoother. Worth a listen!

The Missed Stiff EP

This is a three-piece featuring Mickey Mocnik from NERVOSAS on guitar and vocals. The song “Stiff” is so strong. It starts out with a basic beat with drums only, but then a heavy and twangy guitar riff cuts through for a measure or two before we hear Mickey’s wail to really kick off the song. “I Wanna Know” is a fucking great song too, but it’s quite frantic and I think it helps build the momentum they showcased in “Stiff.” There’s moments where I hear a lot of SHEER MAG, and by association THIN LIZZY, though I wouldn’t pigeonhole the MISSED as a power pop band. They have an awesome grit, fuzz, and sharpness to them, but also so much sweet, sweet melody. Great band.

The Speed Humps Consumption cassette

Four originals and two DWARVES covers comprise this most recent release by the SPEED HUMPS from Ontario, Canada. The originals are all in the faster realm of mid-tempo as far as hardcore punk goes. This band appears to have three different vocalists, with both guitarists and the bassist sharing the duties. The vocalist that does a majority of the songs has barked discernibly yet choppy style, not unlike UNIFORM CHOICE. The second takes the lead on the incredibly confusing song “Dick Dungeon” (is it really about accidentally seeing some dude’s business in the bathroom of a bar?), and has a lower, growlier, Matt Freeman kind of gurgle to his voice. My favorite sounding of the three vocalists is the member who sings the two DWARVES cover songs. I can hear her chiming in singing backups in the originals, but she sounds super cool as the lead vocalist.