Thursday, March 11, 2010

Rookie Lot / Yearly - 7" Split EP

Both Rookie Lot and Yearly were Long Island/New Jersey emo/punk/melodic hardcore bands with extremely short lifespans. Formed during the late 90s, neither of these bands made a huge impact and dissolved relatively quickly. So what makes this release so exciting? Well, consider the bands that the members of both Rookie Lot and Yearly went on to form or join. After The Rookie Lot disbanded, Jesse Lacey, Garrett Tierney, and Brian Lane formed Brand New. Brandon Reilly went on to found both The Movielife and Nightmare of You. Alex Dunne joined Crime In Stereo. From Yearly, Eben D'Amico went on to join Saves The Day, and the rest of the members formed The Stryder. Swallow all that at once.

This 7" Split EP features two songs from each of the bands. Both of the Rookie Lot tracks are obviously heavily influenced by Lifetime and Saves The Day, a direction which would continue with the bands that formed out of it. The Yearly's songs are both raw, but they showcase an obvious talent both technically and in songwriting that made them a potential emo super-group that may have broken up too soon. This release is very rare (only 1000 pressings were ever made) and it isn't easy to even find mp3 copies. Enjoy!

Rookie Lot - Anime

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Ambulars - Summer of the Ambulars

Okay, so let me start off this post by saying that I swear I am not going out of my way looking for dual male/female vocalists bands, but it sure seems like all of the bands I am digging these days fall into that mold. To be honest, I actually don't really know much about The Ambulars, other than what I've been able to read on their relatively thinly populated myspace and a blog entry or two. What I do know is that they were recommended to me by a friend, and the second I started listening, I thought "Yeah. I really dig this."

The Summer of the Ambulars is an appropriate title for the sound of this EP. Leaning more towards the pop-side of the pop-punk genre, The Ambulars have a sound that is makes me grasp at both Jawbreaker and Jimmy Eat World at the same time. I want to walk around in the springtime and get this stuck in my head. What really struck me about their sound was that the obviously DIY production value seems to point to something that would sound fucking great live. That is a great quality for a pop-punk band to have. Check this stuff out and keep an eye out for them hopefully coming around to your town.

The Ambulars - Northern

I can't find any place to purchase this EP online right now, so uh... download it and buy it on vinyl when they come to town!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Iron Chic - Shitty Rambo EP

Admittedly, I have a soft-spot for New York/Long Island pop-punk. Iron Chic is a band that has proven that they are no exception to this rule. Iron Chic showed a ton of promise with their initial demo release and was hailed by some as the band that might keep Long Island pop-punk alive. I think those some were right.

Shitty Rambo, the 7" EP release from 2009 showcases a mid-tempo and super melodic sound that translates as well to studio recordings as any punk you will hear. The lyrics are well written, the singing dynamic, and the guitar parts memorable enough to not pass off as just another 3 chord band. Honestly, to me, this is one of those bands that sounds poppy and slickly produced enough while still remaining loyal to the slightly harder sounds of punk that could unite and be enjoyed by both kids who enjoy Brand New/Taking Back Sunday as well as Latterman/Small Arms Dealers. Really great stuff here.

Iron Chic - Don't Tell Me Stupid, Don't Show Me Fuck You

Buy this album (First Pressing is SOLD OUT!)

Download this album

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Moment - Moment EP

Moment holds a certain nostalgia for me. A Boston based emo/melodic hardcore/pop-punk outfit that really took off in the scene just as I was starting to look beyond my Drive-Thru Records compilations, Moment put out not just some of the best stuff in the Boston area, they put out some of the best stuff from anywhere during their time.

While the band put out several releases, including a full length album titled Songs For The Self Destructive,my favorite was always their self titled Moment EP. The five song EP clocks in at just 12 minutes and 16 seconds and has only one song over 3 minutes long, assuring that none of the emotional and melodic songs have a chance to get old. The song structures and pace change constantly, and the vocals switch between melody and screaming seamlessly. This is emo/melodic hardcore done right.

Moment - To Cancer

Buy their full length Songs For The Self Destructive

Download this EP

Smackin' Isaiah vs Driveshaft

This isn't really what I usually use this blog for, but this was too funny. Remember the New Bedford based band Smackin' Isaiah (now A Wilhelm Scream)? Well, I was listening to one of their old albums and realized that their song "Shot" sounds just like the fictional band Driveshaft's hit single "You All Everybody" from LOST! Check it out.

Smackin' Isaiah - Shot

Driveshaft - You All Everybody

Sunday, February 28, 2010

RVIVR - Life Moves 7"


I decided to keep the ball rolling on male/female dual vocaists with this post and RVIVR is a great band to go with. Another offshoot of Latterman/Shorebirds, RVIVR is a pop-punk band that does everything right. Their vocals are scruffy, their hooks are tight, and their "whoa-ohs" are as well placed as any pop-punk band you'll hear.

Life Moves is a 7" that sounds like it was recorded in a basement. For some releases, that might not be a good thing. For this one, it is absolutely fucking perfect. The basement sound makes you want to drop everything you are doing right now, buy some beer, find a basement show to crash and have the best time of your life. The songs, like Shorebirds songs, are not about girls. This band doesn't want to whine about feelings, they want to smash a public officials face with a brick. That doesn't make the songs any less catchy, though, and I guarantee you will be humming every one of these tracks all day. This is one of my favorite releases ever and is, unfortunately, now completely sold out, so download away, sing the fuck out of these songs, and get pumped for the full length that they are recording right now.

RVIVR - Plenty of Time

Download this album

Friday, February 26, 2010

Lemuria - The First Collection


Lemuria, a pop-punk/indie band from upstate New York, is one of those bands who put out a large amount of material long before they ever recorded a full length. Splits with Kind of Like Spitting, The Ergs!, and Off With Their heads, as well as their extensive touring and friendships with people in seemingly every city across the country made them a favorite amongst pop-punk fans even before they released Get Better, their proper full length album.

The First Collection is a compilation of most of Lemuria's recordings from before Get Better. The dual male/female vocals, the obvious influences from several genres, and the undeniably adorable lyrics make this one of my favorite bands and releases of right now. In most cases, using the word "cute" to describe any band that somehow fits into the "punk" genre would be an insult, but in the case of Lemuria, cute is exactly the right word to explain why this band rules. Check out this earlier stuff, and then get out and go see Lemuria as soon as you can.

Lemuria - The Oragamists

Buy this album

Download this album

Lanemeyer - Stories For The Big Screen

Lanemeyer, an often overlooked pop-punk band from the 1990s, takes it's name from the lead character of the 80s film Better Off Dead. The film is an absurdest dark comedy in which Lane tries to kill himself in numerous ways after breaking up with the love of his life. Lanemeyer, the band, takes much more thanjust it's name from the character-- it takes heartbreak and sadness and makes it as fun as hell.

Stories From The Big Screen, the debut EP from Lanemeyer, is 7 tracks of some of the best late 90s style pop punk that you will hear. Strangely, when bands like Blink 182 and Fenix TX were taking off, Lanemeyer's fast, catchy songs never hit the Mainstream. Perhaps it was lead singer Chris Barker's (who later went on to form A Day At The Fair) unique voice, or just an instance of not falling into the right place at the right time. Whatever it was, this album is every bit as good as the best 1990s pop-punk (and much better than a lot of the most popular 1990s pop-punk!). It's very hard to find copies of this for purchase, so go ahead: download and enjoy.

Lanemeyer - Figure It Out

Download this album

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Movielife - This Time Next Year


The Movielife is one of those bands that pretty much everyone who listens to pop punk today and is under the age of 30 listened to at one point in their life, whether they admit it or not. One of the things that I think a lot of people don't realize is that 10 years later, this stuff still really holds up. A band that broke up before they could go down the wrong path musically, The Movielife is some of the best pop-punk this side of Lifetime and Jawbreaker.

This Time Next Year was released in 2000 by Revelation Records. Hardcore influenced pop-punk seems like one of those genres where bands and releases are a dime a dozen these days, but at the time This Time Next Year stood out, and it still does. Vinnie Caruana's lyrics and voice both combine the streets of New York with the breaking of a heart. The songs are catchy, the guitars are loud, and you'll be fist pumping your sad little heart out.

The Movielife - This Time Next Year

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Shorebirds - It's Gonna Get Ugly


Shorebirds is a group that, considering their amazing pedigree, completely flew under the radar during their short time together. Featuring Matt Canino from Latterman and Chris Bauermeister from Jawbreaker, this band's lineup is like some kind of dream. Sadly, this album was the only full length that the band ever released. In fact, It's Gonna Get Ugly was released post-breakup in 2008.

Luckily for all of us, their one full length lived up to the high expectation set by both their outstanding lineup and their great self titled 7". This album will make you want to sing at the top of your lungs while you are riding around in a homemade tank destroying everything that stands in your way (the subject of the lyrics to track 10 The Ballad of Marvin Heemeyer). The vocals and recording are rough enough to let you know that these guys are seriously DIY, but the hooks and talent let you know that they are professionals too. Let's face it, these are musicians who know great songs and prove it here. Be sure to grab this.

Shorebirds - Olympia Autumn Morning

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dear Landlord - Dream Homes


A friend of mine once asked me, "can you still write a song if you only have three chords?" Well, the short answer to that is "fuck yes." While it wouldn't be fair to imply that Dear Landlord, a pop-punk supergroup of sorts consisting of members of The Copyrights and ex-members of Rivethead, is limited in their ability to a few simple chords, it most certainly is within fairness to say that they have managed to take some of the most simple and fun parts of punk rock and used it to make something awesome.

Dream Homes, the band's first LP, is 14 tracks of fast, fun, and extremely catchy songs about the best and worst times anyone can have. The lyrics are relate-able: shitty living conditions, heartbreak, drinking to excess, and any number of other problems that all of us have experienced. The dual vocals are endearing and the energy is at full force through the whole album. The album doesn't necessarily break any ground, but it doesn't necessarily have to. It's great for what it is. No doubt one of the best albums of 2009.

Dear Landlord - Landlocked

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Saves The Day - Ups & Downs: Early Recordings and B-Sides


Saves The Day, sometimes referred to jokingly as "Jersey's Second Best Dancers" in response to their earliest stuff's obvious Lifetime influences, has had some serious ups and downs over their now long career. Lineup changes, style changes, voice changes, and a brief stint with pink hair have all changed the sound of this pop-punk/emo/power pop band pretty drastically. This compilation, as it's title suggests, is a collection of harder to find Saves The Day songs. It is also a compilation of some of their best work.

As mentioned, the band is often compared to Lifetime. I tend to agree, but not in a mocking way. The early recordings by Saves The Day, including many found on this compilation, take the best elements of super sweet melodic hardcore/pop-punk that everyone loves in Lifetime and add the incredible lyrics and unique voice of Chris Conley, producing some of my favorite tunes by any band. My favorite track is "Sell My Old Clothes, I'm Off To Heaven", a heartbreak anthem that showcases the amazing songwriting ability of an extremely talented band. The compilation also includes a couple of covers, one of The Clash and one of The Descendents "Cheer", both which are a great window into the early development of a band that formed when all of the members where very young. If you are a fan of Saves The Day, or really any New Jersey style emo/punk then you need to get your hands and ears on this.

Saves The Day - Sell My Old Clothes, I'm Off To Heaven

Teenage Bottlerocket - They Came From The Shadows


Do you like The Ramones? Do you like Blink 182? If you answered "yes" to either of those two questions, congratulations! You are two things.
1. You are not a complete moron.
2. You are, or are going to be, a Teenage Bottlerocket fan.
Teenage Bottlerocket is a straight ahead pop-punk band from the great state of Wyoming featuring Kody Templeman from the incredible pop-punk outfit The Lillingtons.

They Came From The Shadows, the fourth full length from Teenage Bottlerocket, introduces almost nothing new to the pop-punk world. However, the band manages to take this lack of novelty and turn it into a strength rather than a weakness. When you listen to this album you will have flashbacks to some of the heroes of the genre-- The Descendents, The Ramones, The Mr. T Experience, Screeching Weasel, etc. That said, They Came From The Shadows is one of the best pop-punk albums of 2009. This album comes at you full blast from the very first track, "Skate or Die" (which may be the best track on the album) and never slows down. When you step foot onto this ride, you do not get off until it is done. The hooks are as catchy as the common cold and the guitar solos as slick as the foot bridge in The Goonies. If you are looking for something to sing along with while you walk to work, look no further. This is your album.

Teenage Bottlerocket - Skate or Die

Well, I got an e-mail telling me to take this album down. Sorry! Buy it anyway, these guys rule!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Ergs! - Dorkrockcorkrod

It seems only appropriate to use the first post in this brand new blog to talk about the best album from the band who's song the blog is named after. The Ergs!, a three piece outfit consisting of Mikey Erg, Jeff Erg, and Joey Erg, take all of the best elements of pop punk and manage to make them even better. Their songs are catchier, funnier, and more sing-along-able than anything else to come out in the last decade.

While just about everything The Ergs! did in their roughly 8 years together as a band was top level for the genre, few would argue against the fact that Dorkrockcorkrod is not only their best all around effort, but also arguably one of the greatest pop-punk albums of all time. The choruses, humor, and ability to actually play their instruments with skill should give a lot of pop punk fans flashbacks to The Descendents (in the best kind of way). Again, like The Descendents, most of the tracks are cheeky songs about love, girls, and heartbreak, but they also make sure to keep politics in the mix without ever losing sight of the fun. "Pray for Rain", a straight ahead pop song that will be in your head for weeks at a time, is arguably the best song on the album, although really the argument could be made for any of the tracks here. If you listen to this album and don't want to hit repeat after you finish it, this blog is not going to be for you.

The Ergs! - Pray For Rain