Too Late To Stop Me Now: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 58
Obligatory Disclaimer: Record reviews are a tricky business. It's one thing to enjoy music, but to, like, pick out what you like about it? That being said, if I review your thing and I didn't like something, don't feel too bad. My opinion doesn't matter all that much.
Dennis Baker - The Reptilian Existence - self-released - 12 songs - Download
I have absolutely no background information to give you about Dennis Baker, other than I previously reviewed a CD of his and this is the first release on his Bandcamp. Don't know if that helps you at all. I have to be honest, this album confuses me. It's some strange singer-songwriter bedroom pop thing. Definitely lo-fi (his tags online say 'no-fi,' but I think that's a little harsh), definitely pretty weird. "Robot Bomb" got me thinking of Bob Pollard for some reason. "Unlock Your Moon" and "Conclusion Illusion" find him swapping the acoustic guitar for various keyboards. Something about this makes me feel like I'm intruding, I don't know why. It's also pretty weird to hear something as strange as "Reptilian Sunrise" coming from such a plain-sounding name like Dennis Baker. To be frank, I don't get it, I don't exactly like it, but it is interesting to hear something like this every once in a while– something that I can't even think of anything to compare it to or even what genre it is. I'm befuddled. 3/5
The Sight - Nite Vision - Blow Blood Records - 4 songs - Cassette, download
I'd classify The Sight as a true supergroup: you've got Ricky Hamilton (Fascinating, The Nico Missile, etc.), Adam Spektor (Heavenly Queen Of Hell, Fascinating, etc.), Carter Luckfield (The Nico Missile, Pig Flayer, etc.), Drew Ritchey (Cheap Clone, Shitbox Jimmy, etc.), and Noah Depew (Air Sicily, Jim Davis, etc.). That's an all-star lineup of the current scene for sure. This one's an all-out power popper. If you've been reading this column for a while, you probably know that I'm kind of a fan of power pop. And this is the real deal. All four songs here have really grown on me and I liked them to begin with. This tape would be worth it for the last song alone, it's that good, but the other three songs are all pretty darn good too. "Tip Of My Tongue" has some interesting harmonies in the chorus that didn't quite go how I expected them to (in a good way). "Rite Of Spring" has got a more glam rock vibe to it. There are two (both good) guitar solos on "The Last Dime"; I'm gonna make the call that the first one is Carter and the second one is Spektor, but I'm probably wrong. Oh yeah, and "Time Lapse." For some reason I'm getting Who vibes (I can't explain it, and that's not a Who joke). The whole band just brings it on this one (particularly the drummer– don't tell him I said that). This song is so good. Immediately shooting towards the top of my "favorite local songs 2017" list that will never be published. That solo at the end has gotta be Adam, since I've heard him do something similar in Queen Of Hell a couple times. Please write in and tell me that it's Carter. I'll issue an official apology. Every time I've listened to this tape, I've immediately flipped it over and listened again (program repeats on both sides, ya see). I have a couple minor complaints, but I'm not gonna even get into it because this is a demo anyway and even with the issues I have I still like this a lot. I'd like a full LP's worth of this, please. 4.5/5
(blowbloodrecords.bigcartel.com for the cassette, blowbloodrecords.bandcamp.com to download)
Vanilla Poppers - Vanilla Poppers - Lumpy Records - 10 songs - LP, download
I think that this might be the final statement from the original Vanilla Poppers, seeing as the group's members are now scattered across the globe. Fortunately, it's a good one. This is a totally solid punk LP. No gimmicks, just punk. I don't think there's a bad song on it, just ones that aren't as good. In Lumpy's description for this one before it sold out from his site, he said something like "the rhythm section makes me shake my head." And I'd have to agree with that. Not only are the bass and drums pretty unstoppable throughout, but the interaction (for lack of a better word) between bass and guitar are pretty compelling too. And then there's Christina's raging snotty Australian-accented vocals just cutting through the whole thing. I'm glad that this record is as good as it is. First, several of these were first recorded for a tour tape that I didn't really dig (those being "Hands & Knees," "Hole's The Goal," and "The Dark"– the latter two of which are among my favorites here). Then the 7" was perhaps a bit underwhelming (though I guess I was in the minority as I still thought it ripped). And to top it off, I have the tape version of this very record that they were selling on tour and the sound quality sucks. I was uncertain as to what this LP would hold and I'm pleased to say that the VPs came back, said "screw you," and put out a darn good punk LP. I hear a bit of hard rock on some of these songs ("A Better Ride Than You" and "I'm Good" in particular), but maybe I'm just saying that because I've seen guitarist Jo wear a Thin Lizzy shirt so many times. Anyway. A good record. The best Lumpy record since Janitor Scum? 4.2/5
(the LP is already sold out from Lumpy, try feelitrecordshop.com or an area store; download at blowbloodrecords.bandcamp.com)
Are you a local-ish band? Do you have a record out? Email email@example.com or send it directly to Observer headquarters: The Lakewood Observer, c/o Buzz Kompier, 14900 Detroit Avenue, Suite 205, Lakewood, OH 44107.