Monday, April 20, 2009

Is This Thing Working?

The new Bomb the Music Industry! album Scrambles is a great piece of music . I mean that not only in the “you need to hear this if you love punk/great music,” but because this band makes me feel good about life in general*. With a true DIY ethic, donated on-line music, make your own merch, and cheap all-age shows; Jeff Rosenstock and crew rock it for the kids.

Rosenstock is the ringleader and originally the sole musician. The electronic elements on tracks like “It Shits!!!” and “Saddr Wierdr” remind you just what a bored kid with a computer can do (think Adam and his Package). The change came 07’ when he got a full band to record and tour with, a change that has ultimately bettered his brainchild. The bands hardcore elements continue to be threaded into broader songs, but stays true on “Gang of Four Meets the Stooges (But Boring).” Bomb the Music's lyrics have always been drunk with humor and self- deprecating insight. On “(Shut) Up The Punx!!!” he screams “ The last thing I want to be / Is another negative asshole / Like God speaks through my acoustic guitar / and I have a perfect set of morals!”

What makes this gem stand out is the songwriting on anthems like “24,000,000” and “Sort of Like Being Pumped.” There is an emotional tenor driven by the decked out band that parallels Rosenstocks lyric conviction, for all that it's worth. Bomb the Music Industry! has always been comically vulnerable, on Scrambles they can unabashedly say they got it right.

*Others included in this category are classics like PB & J and Joe Paterno.

Monday, April 13, 2009

More Open Road Please

This past week the sun has decided to represent for a bit before inevitably retreating until mid June. The rising temperature has stirred my desire for making an escape.

Vulture Whale hail from Alabama but remind me of the Violet Femmes (Milwaukee, MI) amongst others, and even rock a little “the boys are back in town” groove on “Tote It to Cleveland, AL.” Their self-titled* album is with out a doubt a willin’ road trip I would leave blaring out the car windows.

They play with guitar twang inspired by spare change, and kick ass on the rockabilly “Guillotine." On songs like “Head Turner,” their opening lyrical humor is both cynical and disarming; “You look good / for a woman you age / I’ll let you know / when you need old lady shoes.” For those who initially perceived this as just another indie band who captured a hip band name without any substance will be surprised.

The album opens and closes with an electronica blip, the humor continues on “Sum Yung Scientist,” but laughs alone on tracks like “Sugar” and “What Do.” On their second album Vulture Whale captures how to smile at the rust gathering around the engine block and chase the sunset.

* I think Vulture Whale has two albums out, and both are self-titled.