Is it the same , or did you remodel?

by on July 29, 2004 @ 4:08 pm

So, this may not mean much to those of you who haven’t been following the MidWest music scene for the past ten years, but it means a good amount to me. See, Truck Stop Love is playing some reunion shows. The shows occur at Auntie Mae’s in Manhattan, KS, and the Bottleneck in Lawrence, KS, on November 11 and Novemeber 13, respectively.

For those of you not familar with the group, Truck Stop Love was a four piece country rock outfit from Manhattan, KS, that played around the country in the mid-90s. Made up of Rich Yarges, Brad Huhmann, Eric Mozier, and Eric Melein, they released two albums on Scotti Brothers Records- a self-titled EP, as well as the full-length How I Spent My Summer Vacation.

The group never received any sort of major success, but their legacy remains. Drummer Eric Melein went on to fame in Ultimate Fakebook, who coincidently recorded a version of Truck Stop Love’s “Nothing Left to Start.” That track can be found on the Initial Records re-release of Electric Kissing Parties, as well as the band’s split seven-inch with the Stereo.

The funny thing is, had the band come along just five years later, they would have found themselves in good company. While their Replacements-meets-Hank Williams style of music didn’t go over big in the mid-90s, you can now find bands like the Old 97s and the Von Ehrics doing quite well on the same sort of sound that Truck Stop Love did so well.

The band’s releases are now out of print, but you can easily find them used on for cheap. Do yourself a favor and check them out. And, hell, if you’re in the area come Novemeber, make sure to swing into one of the aforementioned clubs. You’ll be happily entertained.

What a waste of plastic

by on July 21, 2004 @ 2:54 pm

There’s a new movie called Wicker Park coming out in September. It has Matthew Lillard and Josh Hartnett. This should be enough to make you avoid the theatre like the plague.

Of course, if that wasn’t enough, the soundtrack features a cover of “The Scientist” by Coldplay. The cover is done by Johnette Napolitano & Danny Lohner. Napolitano, you may recall, was the lead singer of Concrete Blonde. *shudder* I’d sooner drink paint than listne to that.

CD Review: the Briggs – “Leaving the Ways”

by on July 20, 2004 @ 3:25 pm

Hey, all right… SideOne Dummy seems to have found a replacement for Madcap. That’s good. As diverse as the label is, it’s good for them to have a streetpunk act. Granted, there’s nothing that sets the Briggs apart from the Casualties, Madcap, One Man Army, or the Swingin’ Utters, but they sound pretty tough.

Leaving the Ways is pretty much five songs of straight-ahead oi- typical brusque lyrics with meancing delivery and guitars that are more punk rock than straight punk. The last track is, well… not oi. The EP’s final song, “Top 40”, is a complete dub-wise tune that threatens to blow out the subwoofer on your stereo.

Not a bad EP, and if you’re into any of the band mentioning previously, it’s worth a spin or two in your CD player. For your average punk fan, though, it’s not going to really blow your skirt up.

SideOne Dummy Records
the Briggs

CD Review: Communiqué – “Poison Arrows”

by on @ 3:18 pm

There’s a part of me that simply wants to dismiss Communiqué as a Hot Hot Heat rip-off act, and leave it at that so I can go back to playing solitaire. Unfortunately, the band is not that easily summed up.

The band does, in fact, sound an awful lot like Sub Pop artists Hot Hot Heat. However, where Hot Hot Heat is more punk and abrasive, Communiqué goes a smoother route. For the first thing, Communiqué is a much more pop-oriented act. Rather than go for an angular sound, they lean towards more mellow song stylings. In fact, it’s almost as if the act is an organic version of the Postal Service. They’re the same mellow dance-oriented sounds, only played with instruments, as opposed to being programmed into a computer.

The vocals, at times, resemble pop-era Police and the keyboards are more New Wave synth-style than most acts that attempt the sound. There were a few times I thought I was listening to Pleasure Victim-era Berlin, they hit the early ‘80s sound so well.

Certainly, it took several listens to Poison Arrows before I got over the similar sounding nature of Communiqué, but I am now trying to pass off the name of the band to anyone I can. It’s not an instant “holy shit” listen, but the album is certainly well worth the time it takes to grow on you.

Lookout Records


by on July 18, 2004 @ 1:10 pm

Is it just me, or does Travis from Piebald look like the autistic guy from American Splendor in the band’s new video for “Haven’t Tried It”?

Sorry I haven’t posted anything in over a month. I got engaged and I’m quitting drinking and frankly, it’s made me a miserable person to be around. The quitting drinking… not the enagagement.

More musical inanity will be forthcoming regularly from now on. Promise.

CD Review: Various Artists – “Warped Tour 2004 compilation”

by on June 20, 2004 @ 12:17 pm

Another year, another Warped Tour compilation in the stores. As per usual, it’s a sampling of all the bands that have played and will play the tour. Granted, if you’re a fan of any of the bands on the comp, then you most likely have the songs that are contained on the two discs.

That’s sort of the downside of the Warped Tour comps, really… they’re pretty much all previously released material. And while that might make for an easier job for SideOne Dummy, in that they don’t have to pester bands for unreleased or live stuff, it makes the cds less of a necessity for fans.

Granted, the cds are pretty damn cheap, and while you get a healthy dose of bands you’ve probably heard before, there’s also a heaping helping of bands you’ve probably never heard before. I mean, while I’ve heard of Hazen St. before, there’s gonna be some kids out there who haven’t, and this is going to introduce them to the band.

When it’s all said and done, this is a pretty cheap two disc set, and if you’re the sort of person who’d rather sample bands via purchasing music instead of downloading it, this is a good set. Two discs, fifty bands, a cheap price tag, and the opportunity to hear some new music. Think of it as a licensed mix cd with good cover art.

SideOne Dummy Records
Vans Warped Tour

CD Review: Hawthorne Heights – “The Silence In Black and White”

by on @ 12:12 pm

What the fuck is up with poppy music becoming a bad thing in the punk scene? You’d think a band would be happy to be melodic and catchy, and kinda-sorta mellow. But no, they have to be hard and heavy, and completely screw up what could be a good record.

Hawthorne Heights could be a very good mellow, poppy indie band. However, those bands (with the exception of Death Cab For Cutie and a few others) don’t get into rotation on regular radio stations. So, they have to be slightly heavy and angsty.

Basically, what that means is this: you take a typical, run-of-the-mill indie rock release and add in a screamer. Everyone is credited in the liner notes with “vocals.” Someone needs to be credited as “asinine jackhole who ruins perfectly good songs by screaming instead of actually singing.”

Now, don’t get me wrong. I like bands like Poison the Well, Atreyu, and Thursday. However, these bands are unequivocally HEAVY. They have breakdowns, they rock, and are music to which you can headbang. Hawthorne Heights, on the other hand, is band that (were it not for the fucking random shrieks) is much more suited to shoegazing and mild head nodding at best.

The Silence In Black and White is not an anomaly, unfortunately. I could stand with it being the only example of its kind. The sad fact of the matter is that Hawthorne Heights is not alone in its need to add some hardcore cred to an otherwise poppy sound. See, even New Found Glory has gotten into the act, and you can hear it on their new single, “All Downhill From Here.” Listen closely, and you can hear screaming in what is otherwise a perfectly normal pop-punk song.

Dammit. This could be a really good record. And even if it wasn’t above average, it’d still at least be good. This, sadly, is an exercise in annoyance. Maybe if someone on the ‘Net gets clever and removes the screams and returns it to normalcy, I’d be able to listen to it again. As it is, I’m not even going to sell it to the record shop down the street. I’d be too afraid that someone else out there might actually buy it.

Victory Records
Hawthorne Heights

CD Review: Atreyu – “The Curse”

by on @ 12:07 pm

Finally, a band that isn’t fucking confused as to what they want to sound like. Atreyu’s debut album was rich with promise, but lacked a lot of focus. The elements of hardcore, metal, and melody came together on songs like “Lip Gloss and Black” and “Ain’t Life Grand?” but failed on others.

Happily, with The Curse, Atreyu has found a sound that fits them like a glove. Rather than try and meld hardcore and metal, the band has gone almost completely in a direction that mixes the driving force of Slayer with the lyrical musicality of Iron Maiden. There’s no random shrieks or screams on this disc. The band manages to mix the singing with the screaming in a way that shows they know what their sound is supposed to be.

This is a band that wants to be heavy. And damn if they don’t succeed… and well. The guitars are sickeningly crunchy, and the drums and bass boom with authority. “Bleeding Mascara” has next to no hardcore influence, and is amazingly metal for a Victory act. There’s a definite reason Atreyu is on this year’s Ozzfest. They’re going to fit in just fine alongside Judas Priest.

Victory Records

Ooh, baby, you want me?

by on June 1, 2004 @ 4:41 pm

So, having gone to the Suicide Girls show last night here in Lawrence, and having had a chance to think over what went on, here’s the down-low on the whole thing…

The show was rather amusing. It was more burlesque than nudie show. Very much done for laughs and naughtiness, rather than sexy or dirty. It was pretty much amateurish, and featured a few more strip club moves than actual dancing. There was a girl named Eve who did a dance with a hula-hoop that has set my expectations for limberness to new levels, tho’.

The whole idea of the girls redefining notions of beauty and it being an empowering thing is a complete load of hooey. Seriously, while the girls have tattoos and piercings and whatnot, if you were to remove said piercings and tattoos, the girls would ALL be considered attractive by the average American Joe.

Yes, the tattoos and piercings and oddly colored hair are what define said Suicide Girls. However, none of them are in an any way unattractive. They’re all pretty slim and/or fit, have perky breasts, and pretty faces.

The crowd at the show last night had a good selection of women, many of whom had come together, but the ratio was still nearly 3:1 in favor of the men. And I find it ironic that because the show is done “all in fun”, the crowd was more of a hipster shindig. These are guys who wouldn’t be caught dead in a strip club, as opposed the the smaller contingent of greasers, rockers, and punks. The greasers, rockers and punks not only would be caught dead in a strip club, there’s probably a few who are making it their life’s work.

It all boils down to this- if there are pretty girls stripping down to thongs and tape over their nipples and moving their bodies in ways that makes things jiggle nicely, there are going to men there, leering. Toss in some pseudo-lesbian elements, and the men will leer and cheer.

Seriously… it’s not like I went to support women empowering themselves or redefining what standards of beauty are or because it was kitschy. I went because it was cute girls with piercings and tattoos getting nearly naked and doing naughty things to good music.

Not a bad deal for ten bucks. The burlesque bits could have been played up a bit more, however, other than that- I have no complaints. I mean, it’s not very professionally done, but if you’re in the mood for something different, it’s worth a look-see.