Saturday, March 31, 2018

Review: Spells

Spells
Big Boring Meeting 7-inch (Snappy Little Numbers)























There’s a lot of talk out there about the perils of living in bubbles — liberal or otherwise. And I get that it limits perspective and can keep one out of touch with the rest of the country. But I have to say, I’m quite happy in my bubble where I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like loud punk rock. And as such, I don’t have to hear anyone talking about how he or she doesn’t like the new Spells record. And that’s fine with me, because it’s a new Spells record. And new Spells records are good. And this snappy little 7-inch fits the template of an excellent Spells record, in that it’s a damn enjoyable bit of vinyl. The six-song single commences with “Deceiver” — an expertly executed grungy pop-punk track that’s comfortably on par with the band’s best songs (maybe even in the top-five, if I ever decided to rank them). “No AC” is a rollicking number about not having an air conditioner in a hot Los Angeles apartment. It’s a sentiment to which I can relate — having experienced the dark, often suicidal thoughts that can occur when the temperature won’t go under 80 degrees in living quarters where sleep is an absolute requirement. Awhile back the group wrote a song where several members shout, “Spells rules, yeah.” Big Boring Meeting is proof that this sentiment is as true now as it was back then.

For more info, go here.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Review: Hooper


Hooper
No Monument (Snappy Little Numbers)





















A lot of times, bands have a knack for never quite making it to their sophomore albums. And that’s especially true for musicians with full time jobs and families. Still, Hooper — unequivocal adults, all three members — somehow found time to write, record, and release a follow-up to its first, How to Become a Ghost. The record, No Monument, showcases the band’s proficiency for writing punkish rock songs full of hooks and melody without venturing anywhere near the pop punk genre. It would be like stacking Weezer’s debut record on top of a copy of American Steel’s Jagged Thoughts and then melting them (assuming the resulting mess of vinyl would somehow maintain traits from each group and still play on a record player; but I digress). Side A kicks off with “Red Shift (and the Irish Goodbye),” a bittersweet ditty with singer/guitarist Trevor McMorris singing, “The beat gets worse from all your hunting, when you wear down the ground pursuing your prize. When you feel you have so much to give, so you take, take, take.” The song “Unfinished Basements” takes a musically catchy and lyrically biting point of view on revisiting roots. And “Anyone Vs. the Harlem Globetrotters” — the only one fronted by bassist Mike Taylor — is a tuneful, melodic number that’s one of the highlights of the second side. No Monument expounds upon the sonic capacity of Hooper’s first release as it captures its members at the apex of their songwriting prowess. 

For more information: Go here.

Surviving a Bad Review


Surviving a Bad Review

With the meteoric rise of the amateur critic, hardly anyone can escape the crosshairs of the bad review these days. From shortsighted, petty business assessments on Yelp to snidely tearing apart media on Amazon, bad opinions of your life’s work have never been easier to dispense. And thanks to the ease of accessing the internet, reading horrible, poorly-worded analyses of your blood, sweat, and tears is conveniently a click or two away! How’s that for modern living?

Even though a bad review can cause some serious soul damage, it’s nevertheless a right of passage. If you’ve never been on the receiving end of one, it’s because you’ve never made yourself vulnerable by opening a business or creating and releasing art. But if you really put yourself out there, really make a commitment to try hard in life, some jerk with an internet connection and an opinion will fucking hate you for it, and they will say really shitty things.

So what’s a creator to do?