It's Friday Music Reviews! Don't Be Alarmed, the Lizards Have Been Retired

As always here's some hockey stuffs people I dive into this week's reviews. If you stumbled across a brief post from earlier this week then you already know about Cait and here ongoing series about punk bands that love to roll around in some tasty hockey goodness. The first post featured the Hanson Brothers, and since then she's looked at hardcore, straightedge band Slapshot and, most recently, the hugely popular Dropkick Murphys. Cait even has a video and some pictures of the Bruins loving DKMs playing in Vancouver not to long after the Canucks lost out to Boston. So, I say that its worth heading over to HockeyN3rd and catching up on the series.

Wednesday evening I was able to enjoy my first ever Skate of the Union event and got to be there for the unveiling of the new Predators gold jerseys. I of course warmed up greatly from my initial impressions and am looking forward to wrapping one around my body in the next few months. Chances are you can get really detailed and wonderful impressions of the event from the real bloggers, but it was all good stuff. Also... massive discounts in the pro-shop... so I bought me some mugs.

mmm... tea

Ok... Reviews after the Break!

You know all those solo-folk albums recorded by the front men of notable, and not-so-notable punk bands? They are efforts to express their evolving ideas of punk culture, politics, and experience, and some of them are extremely good. Chuck Ragan, Tim Barry, and Frank Turner have all pulled the sound off spectacularly. Ok, well this is a terrible comparison. Restorations looked to go in a similar direction but instead of an acoustic guitar what we hear is a more flesh out, layered sound that spans a dozen genres. Both lyrically and musically I felt like the band was demonstrated where they had come from and what they had learned over their years. The best way that I’ve found to describe the band is if The Gaslight Anthem (I’ll use them for convenience purposes) were more into like post-punk infused Americana and fronted by a throatier Blake Schwarzenbach. In totality Restorations’ debut is a thoughtful, mature album that I believe would have vast underground appeal.

The Gateway District – Perfect's Gonna Fail

First off, The Gateway District is made up of members of the Soviettes, Dear Landlord, and Banner Pilot, so you know that the folks that live over at Punknews.org are just going to drop what their doing and make with the groveling. At the core Perfect’s Gonna Fail is poppy melodic punk song after poppy melodic punk song fronted with some really great female vocals (and female backing vocals). No track breaks the three-minute mark and many of them fall short of the two-minute mark. You can be sure that you’re in store for some classic style punk. The album really stands out when you put it into context, the wonderfully enjoyable Summer Album. I can easily see myself driving around in the 100ยบ weather and blasting the album for a few months before the winter weather starts in. On the downside of things no tracks really standout from the others, although I’m personally fond of “New Hands.”

Atlas Losing Grip – State of Unrest

Do you miss punk rock from the 90s? Yes? Then you’ll probably love Atlas Losing grip and State of Unrest. The band is described as melodic hardcore/punk, and what that translates into is skate punk, technical skate punk, technical skate punk from Sweden to be super specific. I’ve always had a soft spot for Swedish bands like Millencolin, the Satanic Surfers, and the criminally underrated Randy. So discovering Atlas Losing Grip, fronted by Rodrigo Alfaro of the Satanic Surfers, was a real treat for me. Beyond those sounds the vocal delivery reminds me at times of Bad Religion, non-aggressive Propagandhi, and Strike Anywhere (on some of the hooky choruses). I say non-aggressive, but I do not mean that there isn’t a lot of power and energy behind all of the songs. The clear vocals work well while delivering the literal and refreshingly earnest lyrics. The subject matter tends to rest on personal songs, a song or two about a girl, and a pile of tracks tackling religion. The songs are catchy, the lyrics are more often than not are enjoyable… but there is one pretty weak moment. Towards the end of Different Hearts, Different Minds the band attempts what I think is supposed to be a breakdown. It doesn’t work, its awkward, and it throws off the pacing of the song. Fortunately it goes away and never comes back.

To end today’s blog post I wanted to quickly mention the band Grim Luck!. They are a ska/punk that influenced by Streetlight Manifesto, The Arrogant Sons of Bitches, Squirrel Nut Zippers, and a whole lot more. I’ve really enjoyed their albums and the music has gotten progressively better with each release. The main reason that they garner a special mention is because they make all of their music available for free. Head on over to A Machine Built By Friends and grab those albums.

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