The Hibernauts – Periodic Table

The Hibernauts – Periodic Table / 2007 Self / 7 Tracks / http://www.thehibernauts.com /

While the opening of “Off Key And Violent” does not sound much different from what a countless number of indie rock bands are doing at the current, The Hibernauts step up their game immediately and come forth with a catchy, hooky set of vocals. Of course, the instrumentation is driving and supports the vocals much the same way that the latest Death Cab For Cutie album did. Hints of Weezer, the Bay City Rollers, Matthew Sweet, and other disparate acts unite together to give The Hibernauts a sound that few individuals have ever heard before. “Sleeping In Space” is another tracks that follows in the styles first broached by The Hibernauts during “Off Key And Violent”. I don’t mind the track, but the band seems to throw in individuals to this track without any further context to what “Mission 221” may be. Continue reading “The Hibernauts – Periodic Table”

Botox Party – E.P.

Botox Party – E.P. / 2007 Upchuck / 6 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/botoxpartyva / http://www.upchuckrecords.com /

Aside from some crust punk albums, the runtime of “E.P.” has to be some of the shortest I’ve ever heard. This does not mean that the harder edged punk music of Botox Party is forgettable. In a way, a track like “Problematic Emotions” calls forth bands like Pulley and “Cheshire Cat” or “Buddha” era Blink 182. The production is a little bit on the weak side, but does not hinder the harmonies used by the band. Blending this Pulley/Blink type of sound with Misfits-like vocals at points during “E.P.” show that Botox Party know the genre well. “Elitist Social Class”’s opening has hints of eighties metal present in the guitar riff that fuels the song, but the vocals bring the band into more of a pop punk sound. The rapidly spat-out vocals of “Elitist Social Class” make for another short (sub two and a half minute track), keeping the energy of this recording up. Continue reading “Botox Party – E.P.”

The Hazey Janes – Always There

The Hazey Janes – Always There / 2006 Measured / 3 Tracks / http://www.thehazeyjanes.co.uk /

“Always There” is the first track on this EP, and it sounds like The Hazey Janes have heard a lot of “Big Me”-era Foo Fighters. The opening strains of the track have a high amount of this influence, with only later the band taking a sixties boy band (think a blend of equal part Beatles and Beach Boys) sound. “Always There” is a track that relies heavily on earlier styles, but the energy brought to the track by The Hazey Janes is solid enough to keep individuals interested. The use of multiple instrumental levels beyond what is traditionally heard from the band is what makes this barely two minute track into something that individuals have to write home about. “Something Between Us” has a similar spring in its’ steps, operates from the same stylistic approach, and provides individuals with the second straight Hazey Janes track. The band works in a larger band during this track, as there are slower and quicker parts of this track. The use of multiple vocal layers during this track is similar to how this construct was used during “Always There”. The band makes a strong start during this mini WEP,, and the band’s retro sound will be something to enjoy regardless of one’s musical tastes.

Top Track: Something Between Us

Rating: 6.5/10

Scene of Action – S/T

Scene of Action – S/T / 2007 Pop Smear / 5 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/sceneofaction / http://www.popsmearrecords.com /

I have to be honest here. When I first the instrumentation at the beginning of Scene of Action’s disc, I heard The Killers. In much of the same way, the first time I heard the band’s vocals on “Daydream Stop hock”, I thought they paid off Gerard Way to do the vocals. The vocals do stop being such a direct imitation when the band hits the chorus, but the band struggles with providing a unique product for the entirety of the inaugural track. While individuals that have gotten into pop music in the last few years will not know it, “Conscience Ache” sounds as if Scene of Action have taken their fair share of late nineties British rock, specifically Placebo and Muse albums, into the recording booth with them. Continue reading “Scene of Action – S/T”

Caleb Micah – Come Home

Caleb Micah – Come Home / 2007 Aux / 6 Tracks / http://www.calebmich.com / http://www.auxrecords.com /

“Come Home” starts out with “Juan Shoe is Gonna Rock You!”, a track that uses a duet of vocals done in a back and forth style that is given the perfect amount of support by the slightly country-tinged sound of the guitars and drums. This style reminds me vaguely of The Anniversary, but don’t get me wrong; Caleb Micah’s work here is unique and amazing in its’ own right. I could completely seeing “Juan shoe” being the next black sheep-type of hit. Micah’s vocals are incredibly hard to pin down in regards to what influences eir; during “Science (As In, She Blinded Me With), one can hear a tension between two distinctly different sounds, being those of Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) and Goo Goo Dolls. Continue reading “Caleb Micah – Come Home”

The Action Design – Into A Sound

The Action Design – Into A Sound / 2007 Pop Smear / 6 Tracks / http://www.theactiondesign.com / http://www.popsmearrecords.com /

The first track on “Into A Sound” is “The Scissor Game” and it gives The Action Design a rock meets goth type of sound that really brings the band into a Nightwish or an Evanscence sound in my opinion. The second track on the disc is “Eyes On Me”, and aside from being a more pop-influenced track, hints of dance music present themselves just as the Rasputina influence does. The end result is that The Action Design is a catchy act that is quite like a chameleon; each track varies the approach enough that individuals are always left wondering what is next from the band. There are only six tracks on “Into A Sound”, and six different sounds promptly issue forth from the disc. The best track on “Into A Sound” has to be “City Committee”. Continue reading “The Action Design – Into A Sound”

Monikers – Eat Your Young

Monikers – Eat Your Young / 2006 Kiss of Death / 5 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/monikers / http://www.kissofdeathrecords.com /

“Eat Your Young” starts out with “Information”, a track that has a emotional blend of guitar and drums until the slightly snotty vocals of the band kick in in a very Fat Wreck type of style. The production of the disc seems to oppress the guitars and vocals while giving an accurate sound to the deeper (drums and bass) parts of the band. Still, the catchiness of Monikers shows through and “Information” is a track that succeeds through appreciation of mid nineties punk, grunge, and a little bit of the current energy of rock music. The very dense style of the tracks means that the sub-three minute runtimes of tracks like the aforementioned “Information” and “Two Stories” feel as if Monikers have given their fans a five minute long opus. Continue reading “Monikers – Eat Your Young”

Sleeping Pilot – Panic Sex

Sleeping Pilot – Panic Sex / 2007 Sonic Deadline / 8 Tracks / http://www.sleepingpilot.com / http://www.sonicdeadline.cjb.net /

Sleeping Pilot start off their “Panic Sex” with “()”, a very dark and brooding track that gains energy slowly, rending individuals with confident and aggressive guitars and at-attention drums, just waiting for the right moment to strike. Despite this deep and dark sound first shown by Sleeping Pilot, the use of brooding arrangements is aesthetically similar to Nada Surf’s “Popular”. After the band kicks into “The Law of Falling Bodies”, the formula is much different. An energetic brand of hardcore is what awaits listeners, with hints of Converge and At The Drive-In prevalent. The wind-swept audioscapes of Sleeping Pilot during this track is the band’s own sound linking up with their influences, making for a very unique style encountered here. Continue reading “Sleeping Pilot – Panic Sex”

Fangboner – A Joke Gone Bad

Fangboner – A Joke Gone Bad / 2007 Lightning Rock / 5 Tracks / http://www.fangboner.net / http://www.lightningrockrecords.com /

“Quiet Riot” is the first track on “A Joke Gone Bad”, and it shows Fangboner as an act that is very in tune with the punk rock of acts like The Weirdos ad The Dickies. The vocals of Sheamus Carney remind me a little bit of Devo, and the heavily-rock based punk style of Fangboner provide individuals with something new couched in a style that is decades old. The production is interesting in the sense that it operates much in the way that it did when the early punk bands cut their albums. This means that there is a little bit of an echo present, but the instruments themselves sound almost as if individuals are standing right next to the band. The drums are splashy, the fuzz of the guitar comes through perfectly, and a song like “If Only It Was Always This Easy” is made the stronger by it. Continue reading “Fangboner – A Joke Gone Bad”

Collin Raye – Selected Hits

Collin Raye – Selected Hits / 2007 StarPointe Records / http://www.collinraye.com / http://www.starpointerecords.com /

What Collin Raye does on eir “Selected Hits” is essentially make a Greatest Hits EP. Like many greatest hits albums, there are a few new tracks to whet the appetites of completists (this time, “A Soldier’s Prayer” and “Quitters” make their appearance). Also like many greatest hits albums, there are tracks that everyone that is a fan of Raye’s would know, a listing which includes “That’s My Story (And I’m Sticking To It)”, “Little Rock”, “I Think About You”, and “Love Me”. There is a minor twist on the greatest hits idea with “Selected Hits”; the songs here are not what individuals know as being the “studio” version, but rather mark a live recording that Raye did with the Salt Lake Symphony. The production of these tracks are all excellent, and allow listeners to hear exactly what type of variations Raye added to these already classic tracks. Continue reading “Collin Raye – Selected Hits”