REVIEW: Moral Straightjacket – “I’ll Be Your Rainbow”

msjibyr

Moral Straightjacket are a two piece band from Irvine, California. They’ve been steadily releasing records for a few years now, and their new EP is a great addition to that discography. I’ll Be Your Rainbow is a stellar three song primer of what this band can do.

Moral Straightjacket are primarily a “post-” band. The mix of post-hardcore and post-punk gives the band a bigger sound than duos usually have. The songs are primarily built around guitar and drum, but they don’t sound limited in scope or nature. I’ll Be Your Rainbow is a great example of a band doing a lot with a little.

The vocal duties on this record are split. One track for each member, and one featuring guest vocals from M. Blue Wizards (vocals by John) and Blood Orange (vocals by Lucas) provide bookends. The vocals are what really make this band stand out to me. John has a very standard voice in genre terms, and Lucas sings in a baritone voice that still isn’t very common in genre music (or rock music in general).

The three songs cover a lot of ground musically. “Blue Wizards” opens the EP, and it fucking goes. It has a very Repeater-era Fugazi vibe to it. “Evergreen” has a much more mellow vibe. M’s vocals hold court on this one, and goddamn does she sound good. The acoustic driven “Blood Orange” calms things down even more as a closer.

Moral Straightjacket has been around for a minute now, and they’ve got a really strong discography. There is no reason not to check this out. I’ll Be Your Rainbow is probably one of my favorite post- records so far this year. And, seriously, “Blue Wizards” fucking goes.

Moral Straightjacket
Ruined Smile Records
Bandcamp
Buy It

 

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Song Of The Week (6/30/17) // Basement Revolver – “Tree Trunks”

I primarily focus on full records, but there are great singles and videos floating around. Here is a thing you should listen to.

Basement Revolver – “Tree Trunks”

From the inbox:

“‘Tree Trunks’ was written when I started experiencing panic attacks for the first time, and my increasing need to find a professional who could help me to find better ways to cope. It also tries to mirror how I imagine the environment feels sometimes – and how the environment is tied to many people’s mental health. I was very fortunate to find the help that I needed and I would encourage everyone to go after the mental health resources that are available to them.”

Look, Basement Revolver is the kind of band I’ll always be into. I’m a sucker indie rock that is fuzzy, melodic, and maybe a bit drone-y. It’s one of my favorite things. I’m excited for the record. Their new EP, Agatha, drops on July 21.

Basement Revolver
Yellow K Records (US)
Fear Of Missing Out Records (UK)

 

Song Of The Week (6/23/17) // Man, Woman, Friend, Computer – “Exordium/Outgrown”

I primarily focus on full records, but there are great singles and videos floating around. Here is a thing you should listen to.

Man, Woman, Friend, Computer – “Exordium/Outgrown”

From the inbox:

The film is set to the first and final tracks of Man, Woman, Friend, Computer’s debut album, with a newly-composed interlude between the tracks that connects the songs — both musically and narratively — into a cohesive score.

Titled “Exordium/Outgrown,” the film tells the story of a spaceman who comes to terms with isolation and loss as he cares for an injured alien creature. It combines centuries-old Czech marionette techniques with modern materials and found objects, creating an analog reimagining of the space age that points to the the loneliness of the digital world, and to the new distances we create as we try to conquer the old.

The video was made by Yuliya Tsukerman, who is currently an artist-in-residence at Mana Contemporary (BSMT). It’s a great piece of handmade marionette work that was created over the span of four months.

The two songs featured are from Thomas Echols, an Austin based musician performing under the name Man, Woman, Friend, Computer. His full length came out back in December. It’s well worth a listen.

Yuliya Tsukerman
Man, Woman, Friend, Computer

REVIEW: Football, etc. – “Corner”

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It’s kind of hard to write about Football, etc. at this point. I been writing about them for about as long as I’ve been running this blog. I first talked about them when I wrote up their First Down EP. I also covered their previous two full lengths (The Draft and Audible), their Disappear EP, and their split with Plaids. There isn’t much to say about them that I haven’t already said sometime in the last six years.

Football, etc is one of my favorite bands to have come out of that late 2000s emo scene. They were right there at the start of the emo revival (or whatever), and they’ve outlived many of their peers. In fact, Football, etc. are one of the bands I most associate with the current genre. They’ve put out consistently great records. They do that second wave emo sound better than most current bands going. They are a torchbearer. Corner is another example of all that.

Their third full length, and first on Community Records, is a distillation of the growth the band has experienced. While the songwriting and vocal performance from Lindsay Minton is still the goddamn show, it has become more and more about how the trio works together. Allowing certain pop influences to shine through have made the rhythm section of Mercy Harper and Daniel Hawkins an unstoppable force. “Foul” and “Nutmeg” are perfect examples of how the band can absolutely fucking go. Minton’s guitar is still out there twinkling, but things really pop when she gets some distortion going. Her vocal delivery sounds as strong as ever. There is a much more dynamic range than on records past. A song like “Space” wouldn’t​ be horribly out of place on a record like The Draft or Audible, but it certainly would be the outlier.

Corner is the sound of a band that has matured beyond being a “genre band.” You can still call them emo, and you’d be right. Football, etc. are much more than that though, and it’s great to see that they’re still growing.

Football, etc.
Bandcamp
Community Records (USA)
Barely Regal (UK)
Stiff Slack (JPN)

Song Of The Week (6/16/17) // Livingmore – “Cocoon”

I primarily focus on full records, but there are great singles and videos floating around. Here is a thing you should listen to.

Livingmore – “Cocoon”

From the inbox:

“Los Angeles duo, Livingmore are ready to emerge from their cocoon with their debut record, Ok To Land. Taking cues from acts like Rilo Kiley, Mitski and Jenny Lewis, and adding their own eccentric and optimistic touch, the indie two-piece have channeled the ultimate feel good album, Ok To Land, just in time for summer. Their first track, “Cocoon” is the perfect soundtrack for long, lazy summer days – with licks of western guitar and crooning vocals, do not sleep on this LA based act.”

This song is what sugar would sound like, and I love it.

REVIEW: The Lillingtons – “Project 313”

lillingtons313

L-I-L-L-I-N-G-T-O-N-S

The Lillingtons always feel like two different bands to me. There is the standard pop punk band doing standard pop punk love songs, but then there is the sci fi/horror/b-movie influenced band who put one of the best genre records ever (and two additional classics). The problem with the former style is that Kody Templeman does that style with way more gusto in Teenage Bottlerocket. The Lillingtons, despite being the older band, suffer as a result of this.

All that being said, after a roughly 10 year hiatus, what does a new Lillingtons EP sound like? Well, it kind of sounds like a Teenage Bottlerocket record. Ok, that’s a little shitty to say. It’s definitely a Lillingtons record, but it feels more Shit Outta Luck than Death By Television to me. The first two songs, “Until The Sun Shines” and “Rubber Room,” come off as retreads of things the band has already done. Like, “Rubber Room” feels like an ehhh version of “I Need Some Brain Damage” mixed with Teenage Bottlerocket’s “Welcome To The Nuthouse.” The other two songs are more in the b-movie side of things. “Project 313” is about being stuck on a rocket in space. “It’s On” is about a succubus, but is also a pop punk pastiche of 80’s cock rock.

Project 313 sounds exactly how you think it would. Simple pop punk in the tradition of Lookout Records and the Ramones. Genre fans will love it, genre haters will hate it, and no one will learn a goddamn thing. And isn’t that good enough?

The Lillingtons
Red Scare Industries
Bandcamp
Buy It

(Usually I embed Bandcamp or Soundcloud stream. Only one song was playable on Bandcamp at time of writing. Had to use a Spotify link instead, I guess. Sorry.)

Song Of The Week (6/9/17) // gadget and the cloud – “Continue”

This blog will be seven years old on Tuesday. I figure I should finally do a new feature or something. Song of the week is the way to go, I guess.

I primarily focus on full records around here, but there are great singles and videos floating around. Here is a thing you should listen to.

gadget and the cloud – “Continue”

There is a new(ish) gadget and the cloud song out. It actually came out last month, but I’m really slow about things. “Continue” is yet another great track from Kelly Doherty. Subscribe to her Soundcloud for more chilled out tracks and instrumental beats.