Say-10 Records – Release Date: 4/24/12
Brian Moss, former front man of The Ghost, Hanalei and Olehole, is fronting a new four-piece called Great Apes, hailing from San Francisco. Moss polishes his unique singing style but also trims the fat for a new, minimalist effect. On Great Apes’ debut 7”, Moss offers the most melodic and upbeat songs of his musical career. “Sam’s Song” opens the 7” with feedback and rhythmically-backed guitar notes before Moss’s gritty and urgent voice weaves everything together. There’s a catchy bridge where the lead guitar gets just a little time to shine before it all jumps back to the chorus. “Detonator” is a yearning, upbeat pop punk song, utilizing palm-muted guitar chords and transitioning to open ones, creating a bouncy, driving momentum. “I wanna be your instigator/I wanna be your detonator/I wanna be your…your detonator.” The lyrics are simple, direct and sung with sincerity. “It’s a Trans’ World” is a simple and fast, catchy four-chord tune sung with an air of liberation. Moss’s somewhat erratic and unrestrained emotional style of singing shines on this song about fine lines. The chorus sings, “They wanna make my choice/they wanna take my voice/it’s just natural, it’s a trans world/they wanna smother me with their insecurities/girls will be boys and boys will be girls.” This self-titled 7” is the first in a three-part series to be released this year. There will be additional label collaboration with All-In Vinyl, Mission Social Club and one more that hasn’t been announced yet. Currently, the band is streaming a few teaser tracks on its Bandcamp page. Stream “It’s a Trans’ World” below.
– Jason Duarte
Fat Wreck Chords – Release Date: 7/03/12
With their latest album, Freak Out!, Teenage Bottlerocket has assumed total control of the modern day pop punk throne. While their sound is undeniably influenced by The Ramones and some of the classic Lookout! Records bands of the ‘90s, this time around they’ve diversified their songwriting and basically improved on all aspects of what they do. Everything from the vocals to the musicianship has been kicked up a notch, and such enhancements are evident on each of the record’s 14 tracks. Songs like “Necrocomicon” and “Maverick” incorporate topical and clever humor in their lyrics, as the first deals with zombies taking over the San Diego Comic-Con and the second pays tribute to the hit 1986 film Top Gun. Things take a more serious turn on “Done with Love,” when singer/guitarist Kody Templeman laments a failed relationship with considerable honesty and vulnerability. It’s definitely one of the album’s top songs, if not one of the finest he’s ever written. Templeman again succeeds on “Summertime,” a sugary love song that’s best enjoyed while driving with the windows down and the volume all the way up. Not to be outdone, singer/guitarist Ray Carlisle contributes a contemporary-sounding gem called “Never Gonna Tell You.” It finds the band navigating unfamiliar musical territory with great success, and the same goes for the record’s final entry, “Go with the Flow.” This Sludgeworth-inspired tune is also sung by Carlisle and it fittingly concludes the album on an introspective note. Freak Out! will likely be remembered as Teenage Bottlerocket’s defining full-length. It’s certainly one of the most memorable pop punk releases to come along in recent years and one that needs to be heard by any and all fans of the genre. Take a listen below to “Done with Love.”
Bill Solleder, former Blue Meanies singer and formerly known as Billy Spunke, recently unveiled a new band called Holy Shakes. The group is based out of Hot Springs, Arkansas and also includes guitarist Bobby Missile, bassist Brian Lee and drummer Justin Castleberry. Last month they released their debut full-length, Feast or Famine, via Thick Records. We spoke with Bill and talked about how the band formed, what they sound like, where the new album was recorded and more. Continue Reading…