Thursday, March 21, 2013

Marshall Artist - Your Kung Fu Is Pretty Good (Coldfront, 2001)

The last time I went to visit my parents in the States (yeah, I call the U.S. "the States" now), I had a few record orders waiting for me. My favorites of the bunch were Lovejunk and this CD by Marshall Artist. This album would actually make my best of 2012 list, except that it came out in 2001.

I was familiar with Coldfront Records (Limp, Moral Crux, Wynona Ryders) and remember reading at least 1 glowing review of this album somewhere when it came out. But I don't think I have ever seen another physical copy of this before. Somehow I never came across the CD on my weekly trips to Amoeba Records in S.F. either. And I still don't know anyone who has even heard of them.

For some reason, that glowing review (which I can't actually remember in detail) has always stuck with me, so in old school fashion, I ordered this CD late last year having never heard the band (Barnes & Nobles, sealed, $1!). When I found it waiting for me at home, I was a little dubious at first. The artwork and layout wasn't much to look at. But it came with a Coldfront catalog with descriptions of their releases. It mentioned that Marshall Artist had members and guest musicians from the Fastbacks and the Posies. It also mentioned that this was one of the (I think) label owner's desert island albums.

Now I like the Fastbacks enough. Never heard the Posies. And desert island, I wouldn't go that far (as to actually come up with desert island albums). But when I finally put this CD on, I couldn't stop listening to it. Basically, this is a pop punk band, but totally unique and just a little bit quirky. The first thing you'll probably notice are the guitars. These guys are shredders. The punk chugs sometimes give way to more galloping metal rhythms, with little solos and fretboard gymnastics every now and then. Two singers share duties with Kim from the Fastbacks providing some backups and lead vocals on a song or 2. The guy who sings more of the songs has a slightly whiny voice, but not in an annoying way. It's an interesting complement to the metallic guitar parts. Not metallic in an old Fat Wreck/skate punk way. Imagine a mix of the Fastbacks and Sicko and you're somewhat close.

I highly recommend checking out this album. I don't think they got their due when they were around and it's a shame that they didn't release anything else.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Check Out: Ningoonies

Spain, or Barcelona at least, hasn't proven to have much of a pop punk scene. From another pop punk fan I've talked to, I guess most foreign bands skip over Barcelona and the few shows that do take place aren't promoted well. San Francisco was getting the same way though, so maybe pop punk is better suited for smaller towns. City slickers just like house and jungle and dubstep and bleep blorp music now.

That said, Madrid seems to have produced a catchy band with a great name called Ningoonies. I've just heard about them today, but they've apparently been around for years, playing (mostly) female fronted poppy punk.

If you're a fan of the Fastbacks, the Muffs, Screeching Weasel, the Lillingtons or the Manges, this is right up your alley.

Monday, March 11, 2013

These guys make the Beatles sound like a pile of puke!

This video is from an old Spanish movie. From other clips, it doesn't look that funny, but this song is amazing. It's probably a little sad that their English is still better than my Spanish.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Brand New Unit - Some Old Units

Okay, another one that JGoon will probably enjoy, hopefully others as well. I forget where I heard about Brand New Unit, but I believe I heard them described as "melodic hardcore" and that was enough. It may have actually been from the review shown on this page. Excursion put out their first CD, which I ordered soon after its release. Another Can I Say? Sign me up!

Dag Nasty comparisons aside, Brand New Unit was definitely a unique sounding band. A little too poppy for their Canadian and Northwest peers (Sparkmarker, Strain, Undertow), but heavier than the pop punk bands that permeated that time period. The singer had a good voice, whether singing or yelling. And the guitarist, Jinx, had a cool, slightly metallic style that was a little reminiscent of Brian Baker.

BYO Records was a good fit for their 3rd CD (which was really just a compilation of some European EPs) with its roster of classic melodic punk and some newer bands like Jughead's Revenge and Bouncing Souls. The band never really got their due though. Maybe because they didn't tour the U.S. much, maybe because they couldn't really be lumped in with either pop punk or hardcore, or maybe because their releases weren't the easiest to find at the time. Not everyone was addicted to mailorder like me.

They only released one proper album called Diddley Squat. It seems to be out of print, which is a shame since it's probably the best of their 3 full length CDs. But maybe I'll post it soon. The drummer went on to join Gob on their best album (in my opinion) How Far Shallow Takes You.

I was lucky to see them play with Link 80 one time in Milwaukee with JGoon. I'm not sure if many people were there for them though. I don't really remember seeing/hearing Link 80, but I know that 1) they were like a ska/hardcore band, 2) the singer was romance writer Danielle Steel's son, and 3) the same singer killed himself not too long after.

Anyways, I've put together the remaining tracks that weren't on their other 3 CDs. I think these are some of their best songs, especially "Left Behind." The live stuff isn't too exciting, but it does feature a previously unreleased Minor Threat cover. So it's got that going for it, which is nice.

Empty Useless Air CDep (Burning Heart, 1999)
   01) Out The Door
   02) Empty Useless Air
   03) No Cure At All
   04) Get Your Trash On
   05) What Do You Care For?
Kill Sadie Split 7" (Modern Radio, 1999)
   06) Left Behind
Quickdraw Richy Rich 7" (Heartfirst, 1995)
   07) Twist My Arm
   08) Land Of The Free
VA - VMLive Series 2, Volume 1 CD (VML, 1999)
   09) Live To See Another Day
   10) All For Nothing
   11) It Follows (Minor Threat)
   12) Crack
   13) Deep Freeze

Friday, March 1, 2013

About Downloads

So mediafire is a dick. What else is new? I've only had a couple of my files denied so far, which isn't too bad, but still really annoying when it's music that's unavailable otherwise. Oh, sorry 1 Missing Persons song is available on a Best Of The 80's CD! I'm not sure how mediafire is in cahoots with Amazon now or how well Amazon even pays the artists for MP3 downloads. I do occasionally buy MP3s from Amazon, but I prefer bandcamp.

Anywho, I'm going to start putting a password on some of the downloads. It's over there in the top left in the About section. If that doesn't work, I'll have to look at other options. I know a lot of other blogs have had to do the same with a much larger backlog. And please let me know if any of the links aren't working.