Does This Please You?: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 65
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.
Cleveland Toy Factory - Cleveland Toy Factory - self-released - 5 songs - cassette
A document of some strange band (project? is that a better term? who knows?) featuring Mr. California. From what I can tell, the concept of this is that most of it (all of it, maybe) was created using toys. Some toy instruments, others just noise-producing toys. It's pretty weird. "Banana Panther" is kinda creepy-sounding due to the droning synth in the background. I think my favorite is "Play Time With The Grady Twins"– there's some guitar playing in there that definitely sounds like Mr. California (but perhaps it is Samantha, the other member of the group according to the sticker I saw at My Mind's Eye). The best title is "Don't Bother Me I'm Busy." Dude, I don't know. It's kind of straddling a fine line between entertaining and annoying. For fans of Deutschland Jerky Rave and/or Sesame Street? 3/5
(I have no idea where to get this. Try a local record store?)
Cotton Ponys - Daddy Stitches - Quality Time Records - 8 songs - cassette, download
People really seem to like this band around here. I have just been unable to get into the whole thing. "40 Watt Twat" is a decent punker. Musically, I kinda like it. Lyrically, it's okay. The thing that really bothers me is the screaming vocal style, a recurring issue I have throughout this tape. I don't mean like hardcore screaming, I mean just like using your voice at the highest pitch possible for no real reason other than you can. It's the same reason I have trouble getting into BB Eye. If you're doing it on every song, it ends up being kinda one-note, ya know? I think the topic of "Vicky Shreds The Cowbell" is pretty lame (okay, so I did laugh at "she sounds just like Jimi Hendrix on the cowbell"– that's absurd enough that I like it) and the same vocal problem continues. Again, I don't dislike it musically. "Bloody Mary" adds a bit of a country feel and Miss Macy tones down the vocals. In fact, the raspy quality of her voice works pretty well here, especially in conjunction with the "ooh ooh" harmonies. I also like how amateurish it sounds– drummer Nat Cherry is playing something that's basically a disco beat instead of, I don't know, something that makes a little more sense. Some cool accordion on here too, you don't hear that everyday. I think "Sweet Release" is pretty listenable as well– I believe Macy and Jenna share vocals on this one. It sounds like it's got a nice, sloppy guitar solo, too, but it's buried in the mix so I can't say for sure. I keep going back and forth on the title track. Musically, it's nice and ominous. The lyrics are pretty dark. But again, the vocals get on my nerves a little bit and the baby noises get on my nerves a lot. There's just something about…I don't know, the aesthetic, I guess, of this band that I just can't get into. The one song where the screaming works really well is "Bitch Bun," because it gets so hysterical. If this had been the only song with that, I would have no problem with it. "Teenage Nightmare" brings back the cowpunk flavor, which works pretty well. And then "Honey Brown" is the last track, which really just brings to the forefront all I dislike about this group. It's very annoying. Even musically, this one doesn't do it for me. Oh well. My opinion on this doesn't really matter, I guess. I know most people seem to really love this band, so good for them. I just can't dig it to that extent, I guess. 3/5
The Exploding Lies with help from The New Planet Trampoline - Obscured By Cloud Nothings - Davenport / Mercyful Tape - 5 songs - CD, download
An interesting release in that it doesn't sound much like the Exploding Lies, New Planet Trampoline, or Cloud Nothings. I guess it kinda sounds like Pink Floyd in places, but to be completely honest, I don't know that much of the PF discography past the Syd Barrett stuff. Oops. There's an instrumental "Theme From Obscured By Cloud Nothings" that starts and ends the disc (the second one is a reprise) that's…I don't know, jamming? To be completely honest again, most of this release is operating within a genre that I'm not quite up to snuff on. "Feel" is a bit folkier and melancholy, and is decent enough as a song but goes on too long. "Oaxaca In Stavros" is pretty short, with just a mandolin and acoustic guitar and a bit of a Spanish feel. "Passing Time" is probably the track I like the most here, though it's a bit too Santana for my tastes. It is, however, uptempo and it features Matt Cassidy on guitar, so there ya go. The thing that this leaves me wondering the most is in regards to the title; is it a playful tribute or is it older guys (I'm sorry for insinuating you're old, everybody, I'm just trying to make my point) making fun of moderately successful younger people? For some reason, I feel like it's the latter, which I don't like, but then on the other hand, I think Ben Gmetro (who is on here as a member of NPT) is in a band with TJ Duke (you may know him from Cloud Nothings), so I'm probably wrong. I don't know, man. 3/5
Glass Traps - Glass Traps - self-released - 8 songs - LP, download
Vinyl debut from Glass Traps, featuring members of Tonawandas, The Missed…I don't know, 30 other bands, probably. Scarcity Of Tanks, there's a good one. Glass Traps play a pretty poppy, catchy brand of post-punk. Plenty of hooks. The guitars are chorus-heavy (good interplay between Chuck Cieslik and Matt Hallaran too), the vocals are dramatic as the style seems to demand, but not overly so (this is a complaint I have about certain Pleasure Leftists songs (don't tell Steve I said that)). Decent stuff. I don't usually go for this genre, but I liked this record well enough. "Cold Cut" is tense and pretty good. On the first listen, I didn't have the lyric sheet in hand and on the song "Line" I was thinking, "ha, it kinda sounds like she's saying 'Billy Idol' at the end." Then I looked at the lyric sheet on the second listen and she is, in fact, saying 'Billy Idol.' Huh. Lamont Bim Thomas provides backing vocals on "Freight Elevator," so you Obnox completists should grab a copy. If Matt Hallaran didn't come up with the opening riff of "Super Protected," I'll be shocked. It's very much in his style. I shall say no more. "Obron" totally sounds like The Cure, which is cool, I like The Cure. Enjoyable post-punk / gothy stuff. 3.5/5
Are you a local-ish band? Do you have a record out? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or send it directly to Observer headquarters: The Lakewood Observer, c/o Buzz Kompier, 14900 Detroit Avenue, Suite 205, Lakewood, OH 44107.