October 27, 2012 by Daniel
Over the summer, my favourite record label Quote Unquote Records, released a whole bunch of albums. I did not know this until a few weeks ago, and I resolved to listen to them post-haste – here’s what I thought about ’em. Keep in mind that whether I liked them or not, they’re all available for absolutely free on Quote Unquote’s website, so you may as well check them out for yourself, really.
1. First up is Life’s A Gas by Boboso. It’s their first (and right now, only) hip-hop release, and hey, it’s pretty cool! All of the beats are taken from really old jazz or ragtime music, so it’s got this really cartoon-y vibe that I’ve never heard before. And Boboso himself is a cool rapper, with a unique flow and some pretty crazily inane lyrics. The thing is that the album itself just doesn’t really last it’s runtime – most of the guest stars fail to live up to the high bar set by Boboso’s rhymes, and they’re on almost every track. So the real problem is not that there’s too much of the guy, but actually not enough – on his own album, no less.
2. The second one of these was Bardamu by Mike Huguenor, who’s one of the members of another Quote Unquote band named Shinobu. Huguenor’s album sounds, well, a lot like Shinobu – it’s this sort of emotionally-charged, mellow-ish punk music, and I feel pretty much the same way about it as I do them. The lyrics are good, I like the sound overall, and this one has the benefit of being a really short EP, but it doesn’t really do much for me. There are moments of greatness on here – the intro track is an instrumental that merely consists of some guitar chords with a lot of space in between them, and it sets up a lonely atmosphere that’s incredibly effective. But then the second song comes in and it’s the same ol’ punk/alternative stuff, and it just doesn’t really affect me in any emotional way.
3. Now, this is a cool one – The Sausage Factory by Sean Eldon. This guy is an alumnus of Arrogant Sons of Bitches and Bomb the Music Industry!, and is also the brain behind, who I love. He was working on the second Cold Electrics record and ended up ditching for this album, which consists of weird pop music, and it turned out great. What’s nice here is that it’s very clearly the same guy from Cold Electrics – the interesting guitar parts, wry lyrics, manic vocals and general weirdness is still there, it’s just expressed through more conventional song forms, trading in the bizarro punk/prog of his Cold Electrics material for a groovy, psuedo-R&B kind of thing. Really unique, check it out.
4. We come now to Don’t Let Me Lose Ya by Kevin Seconds, formerly of 80’s hardcore band 7 Seconds. I don’t really like it at all – it’s very earnest and very genuine, but I find it incredibly boring. So there.
5. Finally, I listened to Jeff Rosenstock’s just-released mixtape I Look Like Shit. Now, one must be aware that, what with Bomb the Music Industry! being basically my favourite band and Rosenstock himself being the only musician that I have no skepticism towards, I am extremely biased in this regard. So it should come as no surprise that I adore this album. There aren’t any great strides here – if anything it’s a return to form, back to the one-man-band, sampled-drum days of early BtMI! records – but it’s full of the same high caliber of songwriting that I’ve come to expect from Rosenstock, and makes the news of BtMI’s soon-to-be breakup much less depressing. Which is ironic considering that this is probably the darkest material that he’s released yet – in his own words “the majority of this record is about fear and death”. Sorrow over lost friends, crippling depression, and contemplations of suicide abound throughout – and yet the album ends with the goofiest song he’s ever recorded, a cover of “I Don’t Wanna Die” by Japanese punk band Ging Nang Boyz, which includes a repeated refrain of “YES YES YES YES YES”. What’s surprising about this album is that despite the fact that it consists of songs that have already been released and odds and ends from various unfinished projects over the last two years, there’s a remarkable amount of thematic consistency here. The only problem I have with it is that after hearing what Rosenstock can do with a full band, it’s a bit of a bummer to see him having to go back to the electronic drums – they certainly sound better than they ever have, and I understand that it’s a necessary evil, but after three full-band BtMI! albums, it’s hard to get back. Still, you should really check this album out, it rules.