New Jam from Legendary Wings

In what has already been a great year for Dirtnap Records, they continue with the latest release from Legendary Wings.  The group has a little bit less power-pop then recent releases from the likes of White Wires or Mean Jeans, but what it lacks in the pop vein is made up with a sincere rock n’ roll enthusiasm that’s bound to be the soundtrack to my Friday.  There’s an obvious spirit to the band, and it shines through in the tune we’ve got below.  If you dig it as much as I do, pick up their album, Making Paper Roses, which comes out on October 9th. Nooge.


Download:Legendary Wings -Paper Roses [MP3]

Sweet Rocker from Something Fierce

I’m always down to represent for Dirtnap Records, especially when they come into Texas to dip their toes in our rock n’ roll talent pool.  They’re set to release a one of a kind (1000 copies only/ever) split between Houston’s Something Fierce and Denton’s Occult Detective Club.   I’m personally excited because it signals a bunch of new material that’s supposed to come from Something Fierce in early 2013 (if the world doesn’t end).  Our first listen comes from the Houston act, and it demonstrates how the band has grown up, giving up a tight little effort filled with chugging energy and bratty swagger. My favorite!


Download:Something Fierce – Warlords Of Information [MP3]

New Power Pop Jam from The White Wires

Ever since the new album from The White Wires arrived in my mailbox the other day, I’ve been jamming it as loud as I can around the house.  The Canadian group has signed on with the good folks over at Dirtnap Records to release their album WWIII, which will be in stores on July 31st.  It’s exactly what you want in a power-pop record, and this song epitomizes the feel of the release, with bouncing garage rhythms and just the faintest hint of melody in the vocals.  If this doesn’t lift your spirits a little bit, then I don’t know what will.


Download:The White Wires – All Night Long [MP3]

Scuzzy Beach Rock from Guantanamo Baywatch

Dirtnap Records has done a pretty solid job with releases this year, and they might just have another one on their hands with the new record from Guantanamo Baywatch.  The album is called Chest Crawl, and this track is pretty much a solid snippet of what the whole thing will sound like to your ears.  It reminds me of a weird surf rock jam that lives somewhere between Thee Oh Sees and the Cramps.  It might not be for everyone, but it’s the kind of stuff I’ve been into lately. Give it a little taste.


Download:Guantanamo Baywatch – Boomerenga [MP3]

New (ish) Rocker from Mean Jeans

As we finally get our feet back under us after the work leading up to SXSW, I really wanted to toss out this track that’s been living in my inbox.  The song comes from the new Mean Jeans album, On Mars, which will be released by the excellent folks over at Dirtnap Records on April 17th.  If you’re in need of an energetic boost to get your Monday off, then be glad I saved this number until today; it builds with infectious hooks, then bursts off into a snotty vocal delivery.  You’ll definitely find the cure for a case of the Mondays by turning this one up!


Download:Mean Jeans – Anybody Out There [MP3]

Mind Spiders – Meltdown

Rating: ★★★½☆

It’s always good to know that a rocker never dies.  Mark Ryan’s one such dude, giving it his all in the past with the Marked Men; now he’s refueled his passion with Mind Spiders.  Meltdown is the group’s second album in less than a year, and their latest release for Dirtnap Records has them picking up precisely where they left off–and now with more drums!

On the first few listens, you might think that opener “You Are Dead” bares a strong resemblance to Jay Reatard, as there’s that scratchy vocal, not to mention the way the lyrics are displayed that lets you gravitate towards the notion. But, the usage of two drummers has captured the explosive capacity of the group as a whole, something the aforementioned singer never quite had.  And as Meltdown goes further with “Beat,” the chorus indicates that this is definitely a shout out to punk rock. Chugging guitars push you forward, but the chorus will bring the punk rock all the way home, even as the band steadily pounds onwards.

When you stumble upon “More Than You,” you might literally stumble, as it’s the first Mind Spiders track, on this effort at least, that’s not jagged and dirty.  Yes, there’s a bit of a haze coating the sound of the recording, but lurking beneath is a really nice bit of melody. Not to be a spoiler, but if you’re listening as you’re reading, you’re going to find that a lot more of the tracks on Meltdown resemble this number, as the latter half of the record takes a similar approach to this song. “Skull Eyed” takes on a similar pacing, but there’s definitely a haunting electronic element presence, which displays the risks that Mark Ryan’s willing to take with this group.  I’d be interested to see what this sounds like live, as there’s definitely space to pick up the pace in a forceful manner. “Meltdown” closes out the album with an almost carnival-esque electronic playfulness that continues Side B’s theme of musical exploration, only doing so in the instrumental manner; this all hints that Ryan might possibly be trying to figure things out for the future.

Taken as a whole, Meltdown‘s a solid record, though a little bit disjointed in its sonic construction.  It brings on full-frontal rock n’ roll ferocity from the get-go, giving you a hefty does of energy on Side A.  Side B, however, demonstrates that Mind Spiders are still working out some of the kinks as they continue to forge a path for themselves.  It actually makes for the perfect vinyl listen, giving you two side of a most excellent band. We’ll just have to wait and see which path the group takes as they bound off into the future, but let’s rest assured that even when they’re figuring things out, they’re writing tracks that are better than most of the bands out there.


Download: Mind Spiders – Wait For Us [MP3]

Sonic Avenues – Television Youth

Rating: ★★★★☆

Over the last decade or so the United States has been flooded by wave after wave of Canadian bands, with a great deal coming from Montreal.  While the majority of Montreal’s exports have predominantly dwelled in the artistic pop spectrum with the likes of Arcade Fire at the helm, it’s not all the city has to offer.  Sonic Avenues are an energetic foursome kicking out power-pop/pop-punk on Television Youth the likes we’ve all been missing.

“Givin’ Up On You” jumps you right into the brash affair with a furious drumming and the ghost of Chuck Berry’s guitar being played at maximum speed. You’ll do more than just stomp your feet or tap your toes with this number; if, like me, you’re versed in the old school, you’ll surely be pogoing around your office cubicle or dorm room. A few minutes away lurks one hell of a single, the one that gives the album its name, “Television Youth.”  There’s not just one thing that makes this track stand out; you can pick between the drumming, the “oohs,” the gang vocals or the guitar playing.  Regardless, songs like this deserve to be played by everyone, loud and in close proximity to your annoying neighbors.

Sure, there’s been a handful of other bands banging away such Exploding Hearts influenced pop, but I don’t really feel as if any one has turned the volume up quite as loud as Sonic Avenues.  “Late Summer Goner” and “Fadin’ Luv” both bear a small resemblance to Gentleman Jesse and His Men, but these Montrealers hit it just a bit harder, giving them a much more punk sounding monstrosity of a record than many of their peers.  Perhaps it’s just a little bit more of an unabashed approach to kicking out the classic sounds; whatever it is, it works throughout Television Youth.

You can’t help but find every little touch on this full-length slightly more than infectious.  Pushing through the album is easy, as its brief, allowing you to put all your energy into ransacking your room in joyous abandon.  Even if you start to think that it all blends together, even a bit, you find exciting tracks like “Back Up Back Down” hiding at the end, assuring listeners that no matter how much you think you love your power-pop, you can never get enough of it when it sounds this good.

Admittedly, Sonic Avenues haven’t broken any brand new ground with their latest effort for Dirtnap Records, but they’re execution of the craft revitalizes the genre just a touch, bringing a faster more ferocious variety than many of their predecessors or peers.  Each time I press play on Television Youth, a smile lights up my face, ready for my body to contort spastically as I flail about.  You can’t ask for much more in a record than that; proof that these dudes are on top of the game.


Download:Sonic Avenues – Television Youth [MP3]

Noisy New Punk Jam from Mind Spiders

Last year I raved about the self-titled debut from Mind Spiders, so I was really excited when I found out the band would already be releasing their new album Meltdown almost less than a year later.  Said record is set to come out on February 21st via Dirtnap Records, and you’ll definitely find some differences this go around, at least if this first preview is any indicator.  Their last effort was pretty straight forward rock n’ roll, but here you’ll hear a little bit of a scuzzier performance from the band, reminiscent of Blank Dogs.  It’s coated in some sort of dingy wash, yet that’s not going to take away from the fact that the band still know how to kick out the jams.  For me, it’s Jay Reatard meets Mike Sniper, which equals awesomeness to the max!


Download: Mind Spiders – Wait For Us [MP3]

Free Week Recommendations for Thursday!!!

Things are heating up with Free Week, with tons of shows being lined up for your enjoyment.  The schedule might seem busy, but like SXSW, half the fun is skipping from club to club to catch your favorite acts.  Here’s where you should be on Thursday:

The Energy @ 29th Street Ballroom — Energetic punk band that just signed to Dirtnap Records.

Wes Coleman @ Red 7 — They call him the trashcan troubadour, I just call him a great songwriter with a dash of dirt.

The Sour Notes @ the Mohawk — One of our favorite Austin acts who continue to get better with age.

Tow the Line @ Scoot In — Former bros from Recover and the Visitors bring you some rock. 

Here’s some tracks to sample: The Sour Notes, Wes Coleman, Tow the Line:

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New Jam from Little Cuts

On a day when the announcement of a new Shins record is probably taking lots of attention, there’s news from the former Shins camp that, for me, is just as exciting.  Former member Dave Hernandez who made his fame pre-Shins with Scared of Chaka has a new outfit titled Little Cuts.  The band is set to release their first 7″, Plastic Disaster, via the excellent Dirtnap Records, and this track we’re premiering is excellent.  It’s got this brooding post-hardcore feel to it, but still is able to maintain a great bit of pop sensibility, showing that the band can go any which way; it’s everything you want if you’re an old rocker growing up.  I’m pretty excited for this, and I hope you are too!

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