Also Known As...: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 72
Disclaimer: Record reviews are a tricky business. It's one thing to enjoy music, but to pick out what you like (or dislike) 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.
Fan Fiction - I Thought You Said The Legend Wasn't Real - Just Because Records - 12 songs - cassette, download
Fan Fiction is a great name. I'm not sold on the title yet. The players here are a guy who has no Discogs page, so who knows; a guy from Prisoners (whose Discogs page won't show up for some reason and I had to go to the page for the Prisoners LP to make sure it was him– someone get on this); Joe, who put this tape out; and Drew Ritchey, who has played in a variety of good bands and is the drummer here. I can't quite come up with what genre I would call this. It's a little too power poppin' and punkin' to just be straight indie rock, but I can't call it punk or power pop or pop-punk or punk-pop either. It's somewhere in there. The songs have kind of a '90s feel to them, but differently from how, say, Cheap Clone's songs have a '90s feel. Fan Fiction might be somewhere in the continuum between Cheap Clone and Classic Sand, but also sound only mildly similar to either band. Royal Headache almost comes to mind, but also not quite. "What I'm Thinking" starts with (and comes back to later) a part that made me think these guys might sound like the Joe Jackson Band, but they do not (by the way, I mean the Joe Jackson Band of the first two albums more than "Beat Crazy," in case you were thinking I meant that Fan Fiction have some weird reggae element– they don't). There's definitely at least two people doing lead vocals here; I'm assuming Dan Whiteley and Josh Goldberg since I can't remember Joe Vecchio taking the lead when I saw them live, but maybe he did and I forgot? For some reason, I now cannot hear in my head what his voice sounds like to try and figure this out. I should've emailed him and asked him to send me a recording of him reading the newspaper or something. One of them (the one who sings lead on "Motorcycle," among several others) keeps catching me off guard because there's a certain quality to his voice that sounds almost like Adam Spektor, who is in many other bands, but not this one. I just can't figure it out. Anyway. Bright, hooky guitar pop. That's a good way to really boil it down. I think the B side is stronger (it helps that "Landlord" (the best song here, total hit) and "Bloodless Coup" are both on it), but the A side has some good material as well, particularly "Affirmation" and "Leave Guns." Overall, a listenable, hooky tape. 3.5/5
Swirly In The Fryer - Swirly In The Fryer - self-released - 11 songs - cassette
This is the swan song of Swirly In The Fryer, released in tribute to their late frontman Dan Khanin. 11 tracks of…garage punk with a heavy surf influence? Surf punk with heavy garage leanings? Garage surf with a punk attitude? Something like one of those things. Reverb-heavy guitars with raspy vocals, somehow simultaneously tight and sloppy. There's some stompers (particularly "Grim Reefer"), some haunted house types like "Witches Tit," some garage punkers ("Omega Smoka") and some garage groovers ("Jewish Girls"). There's some catchy stuff in here. More highlights include the unstoppable "Hanged Man" (though I prefer the faster version from "Short Shorts"), the song that is listed as "Sleeptalking" but I'm pretty sure isn't, the song that isn't listed as "Sleeptalking" but I'm pretty sure is…I feel like this is a good tape to have on loud in the car while you cruise around with your friends. A solid release by a solid band. 3.5/5
(I don't really know where to get this– if you email email@example.com, they might be able to help you)
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.