Archive for October, 2018

This is the debut EP from the trio that is Cheerbleederz. The four songs are wall-of-guitar pop with the most gorgeous harmonized vocals I’ve heard in a long time. One of the key things I love is how the instrumentals are grittier and more rhythmic, while the vocals seemingly glide above, serene and angelic. I adore the huge sound of the chorus on “Don’t Hesitate,” and how it contrasts with the sparser guitar of the verses. The constant beat and drone of the rhythm section, unceasing, unchanging, reminds me of Stereolab a lot, and in turn, the amazing minimalism of bands like Neu! going further back. And the closer, “Cabin Fever,” starts out with glorious a cappella harmonies. This was the lead single, and it’s a short two-minute track that includes the repeated refrain, “I think that we’re all doomed.” Why? Because of a crush. Don’t we all feel that way in the initial stages of a crush? I look forward to more from Cheerbleederz.

Check it out here: https://cheerbleederz.bandcamp.com/

PS

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Active since the mid 1990s, Cursive have been a prolific band, releasing numerous LPs and EPs. Yet I’m wholly unfamiliar with this band. This record, though, makes me want to delve into their back catalog. The band has been described as emo-tinged post hardcore, but I think that does them a disservice. They’re much more than that. Sure, there are elements of emo and post-hardcore. But also, Cursive are an incredibly creative, orchestral indie rock band. The arrangements are thick and non-traditional, with piano, cello, chimes, violin and synths. The judicious use of noise adds a darkness to some of the tracks. Some may say that some of the tracks get too close to a progressive rock sound, like many overblown rock bands were doing in the 70s. And there’s some truth to that – the arrangements are big, the songwriting complex. But these songs are just plain good. The edginess and roughness keep it from getting too wanky.

Right from the dark, noisy opening of “Free To Be Or Not To Be You And Me” you can tell this is something different, something out of the ordinary. The anger in the vocals is palpable, the vitriol spewing forth (thus the album title). The pounding rhythm of the song is repeated in the snare drum on the second track, “Pick Up The Pieces.” “Under The Rainbow” is a hard-hitting track with a unique chord progression that gives occasional relief from the intensity, like a tiny bit of hope amidst the hopelessness. “Ouroborous” is a favorite. It reminds me of the late, great The Fire Show, of Chicago, and has an evil circus feel to it. “Life Savings” starts with screeching guitars and tired sounding female vocals, providing an aching sense of pain. And the closer, “Noble Soldier Dystopian Lament,” seesaws between angry, dissonant pounding from the whole band and a thin, sad, dreamy sound. This is adventurous, creative stuff.

Check it out here: https://15passenger.bandcamp.com/album/vitriola

PS

Last spring Debt Neglector released their debut LP and I commented that I couldn’t wait to hear what they did next. Well, next is here! This six-song EP continues the Orlando band’s powerful music, which I’ll dub pop-core. It’s pop punk, but with a harder post-hardcore edge. There’s less diversity on the EP than there was on the LP, but the songs are still catchy and strong. I still hear some Rocket From The Crypt influence, particularly in the use of driving guitars, chord progressions, and bass lines in “Go Fund Yourself.” I really like “Wrong Side,” a catchy song about being on the wrong side of “it,” whatever “it” may be. It’s simple, but it’s definitely an earworm. Likewise, “R.P.F.O.” is super catchy. I really like it when music is melodic and bouncy, yet aggressive at the same time and Debt Neglector do that really well. The title track closes things out as the hardest track of the bunch, with an almost metallic feel, with Metallica-style vocals. Now, to get Debt Neglector to tour the west coast of the USA!

Check it out here: https://debtneglector.bandcamp.com/album/the-kids-are-pissed

PS

Australian indie-rockers Dental Plan have released their debut EP, three songs of pleasant music from the trio. They’re indie, bordering on pop punk and power pop, but not solidly falling on either side of the fence. Though they break no new ground, the songs are decent enough to listen to. They jangle on the thinner parts, and sound fuller than a three piece in the thicker parts. Two bits of (hopefully constructive) criticism: The first and last songs, “Weighed Down” and “Stare at the Sun,” sound too much a like. They’re the same exact tempo, have the same feel, and the melodic lines have too much in comment. Vary things more. And the vocals on “Stare at the Sun” just seem a bit off, a little too loose. The middle track, “Deep Low,” is a slower one with a grungier, darker feel than the other two. I normally like the jangle, but this track may be my favorite of the three.

Check it out here: https://dentalplantheband.bandcamp.com/album/dental-plan

PS