i'm going to be posting a few record reviews on punkbands.com next week that i wrote as well as finally posting the review for the Julian Day EP. we're also gonna be the featured band for a week and we'll be offering our EP for free download. i know it's egotistical and completely unprofessional to use my website to promote my band, but fuck it, at least we're giving away the record! anyway, here is one of the reviews i wrote that's gonna appear on the site next week:
The Loved Ones – Ditractions
I’d like to happily welcome Dave Hause and company back to a position of relevance in today’s indie/punk rock scene. Their last full-length, Build & Burn, was a disappointment due mostly to a shift in songwriting styles as the blistering pace and excellent vocal delivery gave way to a confusing blend of poorly rendered, Hold Steady-esque poetics and a more grandiose approach. Hell, they even went so far as too include Franz Nicolay in the recording sessions. And Nicolay pops up again on this short and sweet EP, but much more as a textural player and not the spotlight hog he tended to be on the B&B.
The only real misstep here is the inclusion of “Spy Diddley,” which has seen so many incarnations that I’ve lost count. But the other songs included here – especially “Distracted,” “Last Call,” and “Lovers Town Revisited” – offer a great look at what Hause can do when he compromises a bit between what he thinks works and what really does.
“Distracted” steals the show. A great middle ground between the energy of Keep Your Heart and the arrangement of some of the tunes on B&B, this track is the perfect opener and it really helps set the tone for the rest of the release. “Last Call” is a song that I would call “rousing.” Simply put, it gets me fired up. It overstays its welcome a bit, but I was sold on its earnest nature and fantastic performance. “Johnny 99” leaves me torn. I love the tone of the electric guitar – muddy and alone – but it’s hard to get psyched about a song that is so perfect in its original form. I really don’t think anyone should bother covering songs from Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska; face it folks, perfection is simply perfection.
The real surprises come at the end of the release. A cover of Billy Bragg’s “Lover’s Town Revisited,” is turned into a great punk rock anthem while Joe Strummer’s “Coma Girl” gets the torch song treatment with acoustic guitars and softer accompaniments from the rest of the band. The Bragg cover works great, the Strummer tune, not so much, but again, it seems as if Hause is trying too hard by covering a song that was pretty damn good already. Regardless, this EP is well worth the couple of bucks it costs and it helps support the notion that Build & Burn was merely a necessary misstep in the band’s young career.
you can download "Distracted" right here.
now, onto another poem. i feel like i write too much serious shit, so this was a chance to be a bit more comical in my approach, though the ending doesn't really support that idea. i have no clue where the inspiration for this came from (maybe just living in a city), but here it is:
The Alleyway Infantry
They were kneeling,
ears pressed to the pavement,
waiting for tremors which would trigger
the forming of ranks.
They are rising,
shrouded in mismatched patches
of cloth woven into quilts
They have gathered
in the space between the rusted shades
of brick that separate the buildings
and the units.
They snap their shoes of shredded newspaper
to attention, displaying their aluminum
stun guns with pointed bayonet ends for inspection.
They don plastic bag body armor,
knotted to form a protective fiber against
bullets and the sharp edges of dumpsters.
Hailing the arrival of commander-in-chief,
a man by the name and appearance of Grief,
they begin their lemming-march,
out of the alleyway and into the great
expanse of highway, falling quickly to
the legions of ruthless, speeding automobiles.