Lavender Town – Free Throw
2013 – Meadowbrook Records
Emo/ Rock/ Alternative
Beginning with a nonsense spoken interlude about a band member’s girlfriend dumping him and then moving directly into an incredibly bland and predictable track about pretty much the same subject matter, this EP was pretty disappointing right from the start. I mean, the lyrics are awful, the production is subpar, and the music itself is the same stuff I’ve heard a million times before from every other emo band that has ever existed, but at least some of them tried to make it interesting.
Following this laughable opening track the listener is treated to the even more terrible Now With. The guitar licks are some of the most derivative I’ve heard in a while, the drum beats have no life in them, and the bass lines were so bland as to be inaudible, but the worst bit here is the truly atrocious vocals. Switching from an unconvincing juvenile whine to an attempted metal-style scream, the just-on-key vocals on this release just irritate to the point where one can’t focus on anything else but how annoying they are. I mean, the music was crap to begin with and these vocals lines (not to mention some of the most self-obsessed and worst written lyrics I’ve heard in a while) compound the whole mess until it’s almost unlistenable.
In summary I’ve got to say that Free Throw’s Lavender Town really isn’t a shining gem of the year, and definitely not of my best finds on Bandcamp. I really can’t see anything much in the future of this band, and I can’t bring myself to recommend them at all.
Kool Is The Rool – Free Pizza
2011 – Boston DIY
Alternative/ Rock/ Low-Fi
Quirky, irreverent, and full of a great sense of fun Free Pizza’s EP is an odd mixture of standard indie-rock guitar lines, jokingly crooned vocal melodies, and self-consciously awful production values. All in all, this mix makes for a strange listening experience which I still haven’t worked out whether or not is actually pleasant. I mean, almost every aspect of the recording is undeniably bad (the vocals are out of tune and barely audible, the music has no real structure and isn’t levelled properly at all), but it’s still somehow a whole lot of fun.
There’s just something in these five tracks that just begs you to try and dislike it, which makes it so much harder to. The time signature changes, bouncy keyboard interruptions, the slurred/shouted vocals: they’re all so on purpose that you’ve got to assume that there’s something more to this than just a load of guys who can’t play. I’m not entirely sure what is actually going on here, but I’m somewhat drawn to the idea of sticking around and seeing what else this weird band has to offer.
I mean, if they just keep on going with this nonsense then I have no doubt that they’ll remain underground, but at least they’ll be making some great and interesting music, and if they clean up their act on later releases then I’ll know that this moment of ingenuity was all just one massive fluke.
Get EP here: http://boston.bandcamp.com/album/kool-is-the-rool
Road Warriors – Zero Progress
2013 – Not Punk Records
Punk/ Hardcore/ Oi!
Short, fast, loud, this three track hardcore EP just thrashes, crashes, and rocks its way through low-production values and mediocre playing before ending up on a great note of real punk rage. Every piece of shouted vocal, every thrash of guitar, every slam of drums; it all seems so sincere and there is such an excess of power and energy on this release to back up their anti-establishment stances.
Really what I find most exciting about this EP is its complete lack of pretension. I mean, the music is really nothing special and I’ve heard the same things done better by hardcore bands back in the eighties, but the guys from Zero Progress just don’t seem to care at all about whether or not they come across as derivative. They just want to get up there on the stage and get all of that aggression out, drink some beer, stage dive, and have a really great time, and this sense of violent good-nature just pervades the record to the extent that I, as a listener, just want to kick back and have some good old fashioned punk fun too.
My only real issue with this EP is that, at three tracks, it’s far too short. I mean, none of the tracks even hit three minutes (which is definitely not a bad thing for this kind of music), and consequently the whole experience of this EP seems to be over before it’s even begun. I guess I would have liked to be given to time to actually be able to really get into the mood of this hard-rocking release.
Get EP here: http://notpunk.bandcamp.com/album/road-warriors
- Adventures In Bandcamp: Volume I (Planet Ragtime/ Broke For Free/ Northamericans) (ljfacesthemusic.wordpress.com)
- Project Bandcamp (ljfacesthemusic.wordpress.com)