Animal Skins – B EP

May 14, 2012

Alright, so this post is long overdue. In fact so overdue that I’m no longer sure how active they are. Regardless, this band of guys from the great city of Boise, ID accomplished something really awesome with this EP. Imagine Botch with some punk-inspired grooves and an overarching stoner-metal influence. Really impressive blend of technical know-how with an intentional lo-fi sound. I’m not sure how they acquired a picture of my uncle for the cover of this EP, but that’s cool, I guess.

I happened to catch this band in Missoula, MT in one of a few of their iterations while they were playing a couple shows with our friends, Corsair Wolves. They played a show that I would describe as haunting. During their entire set, most of the people peacefully drinking their beers in that basement became afraid for their safety in the most pleasant way possible. Anyway, I hold this band in high regard and hope they continue to put out awesome stuff at some point. Also, a few of the dudes are now playing in another really cool band called Sinews that will hopefully getting some more stuff done soon.

Follow the link below to download both the B EP, as well as the A EP (which is also pretty cool), and maybe message about buying a physical copy (the big cartel link doesn’t work!).

Bandcamp/Download.

Avair

April 24, 2012

Avair is a two piece band born from the same pit that birthed Black With Sap (ahem, Southeastern Idaho). If I had to describe their sound, I would say 1994! meets Ape Up! with some extra emotional edge. It’s some damn good stuff. The band handmade 100 cassettes of their first release, Fathers, which we will be selling in the BWS store very soon. 15 of these are a deluxe version, packaged in a custom shadow box with all sorts of cool shit. Sean and Alex really knocked these out of the park. Check out both versions of the tape here.

Download from Bandcamp.

The band and I are in the process of booking a Northwest Summer Tour. If you can help out in any way with one of the dates below (or think we should change the route up a bit), please email Sean at avairtheband@gmail.com. Here are the days we’re looking at:

June 15 – Idaho Falls, ID (@ The Wax House)

June 16 – Missoula, MT

June 17 – Spokane, WA

June 18 – Seattle, WA

June 19 – Olympia, WA

June 20 – Portland, OR

June 21 – Eugene, OR

June 22 – Boise, ID

June 23 – Salt Lake City, UT (Crucial Fest 2012)

p.s. I love you.

Texas Instruments

January 11, 2012

No not the calculator manufacturers you dummies!

Texas Instruments is a screamo/emo/post-hardcore band from Kansas City, Missouri. I saw them, along with two other Kansas City bands, Regret, The Informer and Battle Royale, last night. I’d never heard of any of them before but damn, they all blew me away. I picked up a four-way split tape from each of them and one more band who isn’t a part of the tour. You can listen to each bands contribution on their bandcamps. Definitely check out Texas Instruments‘ older material too, it’s not recorded as well but it still kicks ass.

They’re on tour so be sure to go see them all if they find their way into your neighborhood.

Here’s a plague doctor to motivate you to listen to them. Listen to the doctor.

Bandera – II

November 8, 2011

Bandera is a post-hardcore band from Toronto that put out one of our favorite cassettes of last year. We were able to distro a few copies and they went like candy (seriously, check out that album here). The self-titled, 10 song offering was the perfect combination of post-punk, hardcore, Euro-screamo, and maybe even a touch of emo violence.

The band’s new album “II” builds upon the powerful sound of the group’s first album, but in a much more nuanced presentation. Post-hardcore influences like Fugazi are more pronounced (especially in the vocals). This time around, the songs are much more tuneful and dynamic. Bangers like “I Taught You How To Hang Out” and “Ask Us About Y2FSU” start in a groovy post-punk manner, then slowly devolve into howling, haunting hardcore. “Tim Talks Colonialism” is a showcase of the bands driving, skillfully rhythmic, and discordant instrumentation, while “Tom Jane Just Wants His Kids Back” shows the band is capable of being haunting, energetic, and catchy all at once (not to mention it’s a great Arrested Development reference). This 12″ is coming out on 3 different colors with handscreened covers. We’ll be distroing it soon, but I encourage you to preorder it directly from N.C.J.T. Records. I think this band is awesome and I’d love to see them gain a US following.

Preorder.

Download.

Book of Caverns is post-hardcore band from Canada that I think deserves more exposure. We were first introduced to them by Kevin of Bart Records, who put it out. I can’t really describe what is special about this band, but it’s there. Buy our last copy of this tape if you feel like it. If it’s not gone soon, I’ll probably steal it for myself. Here’s what Kevin had to say about the band:

“Book of Caverns play post-hardcore with leanings into post-rock territory. Usually that means songs that go forever, and eventually nowhere ~ but in this case it means something far greater than your modern-day Envy… I’ve watched Book grow from a band unsure of where they’re headed into one of the best bands in Alberta. And I feel like Book are only just hitting their stride. This next year is going to be the Year of the Cavern. The musicianship is impeccable. Andrew is one of the most unique vocalists (not to mention one of the best lyricists) in the genre (let alone our little corner of it).”


Buy.

Download.

What do you get when you mix The Blood Brothers, At The Drive In, Algernon Cadwallader, 2 drummers, 2 vocalists, twinkly/mathy guitars, and Scottish accents? Well, I’d say it has the potential to be a drool-worthy combination, or a recipe for total disaster. At about the 5 minute mark of Dananananaykroyd’s debut full length, you’ll probably have made up your own mind on the band’s strange sound.

First thing’s first. Let’s get that name out of the way. It’s fucking stupid, right? I mean, there are some long and obnoxious band names out there, but these guys might just take the cake. If you have to put your own name in a song to demonstrate how it’s pronounced (which is the first thing you’ll hear on the whole album), you might have gone overboard. But, find it in your heart to look past the name and give this album an honest listen, and you might find some gems.

“Hey Everyone!” is an album that dips and sways in all different directions, while never totally losing its form. The band merges pop-sensibilities with an onslaught of technical, melodic guitars and growling dual vocals. Occasionally, the band devolves into post-hardcore freak-outs (see the ending of “The Greater Than Symbol And The Hash”), or puts a little hop in your step with extremely catchy compositions (as in “Black Wax” and “Some Dresses”). The band even adds in a few melancholy tapping parts and vocal harmonies that would make American Football fans proud (see the bridge in “1993”). When it comes down to it, Dananananaykroyd have made an album that might not be easily digested on first listen, but has some serious pay-offs for patient listeners.

Download.

Also, check out the video for the single “Black Wax”:

Trophy Scars just seem to get better with every release. The post-hardcore veterans have been moving towards new territory with each new release, ever-evolving their diverse and eclectic sound, and this EP really hits the mark. As always, vocalist Jerry Jones keeps the songs interesting both vocally and lyrically with recurring themes of Hell, The Devil, darkness, insomnia, and pill addiction, and a variety of diverse vocal styles. Musically, the band blends post-hardcore, jazz (very prominent on “Trazodone”), blues (“Darkness”), Tom Waits-esque Rock and Roll, Jangly guitars, even glimpses of Emo and Post-Rock. In my opinon, this is in the running for the best EP of the year.

Buy.

Download.

This band came out of left field for me and ended up kicking me in the side of the head. I think I initially hesitated to listen due to the fact I thought their name was dumb. Oops. There’s a lesson to be learned here; and no, it isn’t “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” because it isn’t a cover, it’s a band name. The lesson is that life is full of regrettable decisions and life goes on.

So much solid material here in an all-too-short 14 minute package. Cattle Drums, for some reason, remind me of what Nada Surf could have sounded like if they decided to grow some bigger balls while writing their song “Popular.” The vocals are a combination of talking, singing, and shouting. The best description I can come up with is that Cattle Drums take Brainworms’ sound and sprinkle some extra twinkle top of the whole recipe, filling the void that Brainworms left in my heart when they broke up.

” Sluts and Coconuts” and “Two Pigeons” are the two shining moments on this brilliant ep. “Two Pigeons” has a rollicking country sound to it, enhanced by banjo plucking and gang sing-a-longs. Despite ambiguous lyrics, the chorus for “Sluts and Coconuts” sends shivers up and down my spine. You’ll see what I mean.

From what I can tell, these guys are part of that whole scene with Sirs and Zona Mexicana which seems to be really burgeoning right now. Everything coming out of there puts an awesome spin on the midwest emo sound. Check them out and order a copy of their EP with the money you have left over after buying your P. Diddy shrimping boat.

EDIT: Haha. I just found a punknews.org review for this that also mentions Nada Surf’s “Popular.” I swear I didn’t find that until after I wrote this. I’m glad the feeling is mutual though.

Buy.

Myspace.

Download.

Balance and Composure

January 26, 2010

Balance and composure is a post-hardcore/punk band from Doylestown (PA?). They remind me of a more No Idea-influenced I Am the Avalanche. These guys have a unique sense of melody that is unmatched by most bands within this genre. They have an upcoming split CD with Tigers Jaw coming out in May on No Sleep Records. Definitely keep an eye out for this band, they’re on the up and up. Included here are their two EPs they have out thus far. The first was self-released in 2008, titled, I Just Want to Be Pure. The second is the No Sleep released 2009 EP called Only Boundaries.

Download.

I’m not sure if this is available to buy from anywhere still.

Download.

Myspace.

Buy.

Trophy Scars play a blend of post-hardcore that is very complex and eclectic, influenced by everything from early emo to hip hop to Tom Waits. Their contributed song ”August, 1980″ builds off of the more bluesy and orchestrated sound present in Bad Luck, and is, in my opinion, one of the better songs the band has ever written. I am a huge Trophy Scars fan, so that’s really saying something. With the song “So Lightly Thrown”, The Saddest Landscape proves that they are still a force to be reckoned in the early emo/screamo realm. Andy Maddox’s vocals alone (especially near the end of the song) were enough to hook me for good, but the instruments also match his intensity perfectly. Dylan and I both own copies of this record, and we love it. Buy it from our friends at Bear Records and spread the love!

Review.

Buy.

Download.