REVIEW: Smokejumper: 2012 Singles #1, #2 and #3

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Smokejumper is doing a monthly single series that they’re releasing online. So far they’re all pretty damn great; here are the first three they’ve done. They all include one original and one cover. (You can get them on Smokejumper’s bandcamp page).

Saturday Night Bonfire Beach Party – Monthly Single #1 March ’12

Cover‘Saturday Night Bonfire Beach Party’ is the first song of Smokejumper’s single series; it’s a perfect pop punk song, especially with summer just around the corner in March. This song instantly shows the band have stepped up their game, it’s better than any of their previous stuff.
The cover they did for the first single is a Mountain Goats cover, ‘No Children’, I’d have never guessed that this was a Mountain Goats cover, then again Smokejumper doesn’t sound much like the Mountain Goats either. I really like this because it doesn’t sound anything like Mountain Goats, it gives this song totally new life, and it’s a great cover with a new sound to it.

1. Saturday Night Bonfire Beach Party
2. No Children

Bear Attack – Monthly Single #2 April ’12

Cover‘Bear Attack’ only has one problem; Smokejumper will never have a better song. Bear Attack is fucking perfect. It’s a fast punk rock song about; well it’s about a massive Bear Attack. Maybe the best song of the year.
The cover they went with for this single is Cock Sparrer’s ‘Where Are They Now’. I’ve never listened to much Cock Sparrer so I don’t have a comparison here but as far as the cover goes I really dig it. It’s a great pop punk song, reminds me a bit of Mr. T Experience, I think that’s mostly the vocals though.

1. Bear Attack
2. Where Are They Now

The Ballad of Elvin Crab – 2012 Single #3

Cover‘The Ballad of Elvin Crab’ is Smokejumper’s third entry in the single series, and another great pop punk song by the band, this one is almost as good as ‘Saturday Night Bonfire Beach Party’ which was a great song. These guys have really made me want to hear more of their new stuff as soon as possible.
The cover for this is one I’m very familiar with, a Mr. T Experience song that gets overlooked by most people, ‘Naomi’. MTX is my favorite pop punk band so I was really hoping they didn’t fuck this one up. They didn’t. It’s an A+ cover of a great song. I’ve really got to commend the vocals here too; they do a nice job at what’s probably one of the harder MTX songs to get the vocals right on.

1. The Ballad of Elvin Crab
2. Naomi

Get it from Smokejumper HERE

SHOWS I SEEN: Mr. T Experience – February 25th 2004 – Talking Head – Baltimore, MD

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Talking Head – Baltimore, MD

Wednesday February 25th 2004

To this day this is still one of the best shows top to bottom I’ve ever been to, maybe even the best. Partly due to the fact that going into this I knew MTX and I kind of knew Beatnik Termites, besides that it was just filler, or so I thought.

 

Gamma Rays – Gamma Rays were awesome, I got turned into an instant fan. I got to see them a couple more times before they broke up after this, they were always good but this was the best I’d ever see them.

Proteens – Another band that made me an instant fan, great pop punk, super cool, I bought some Proteens stuff pretty quickly after this show.

Copyrights – A band that I can’t imagine playing the Talking Head today, this was my first time even hearing them. Catchy as hell, I knew this was a band to pay attention to. They weren’t quite as energetic as they are today if you see them but they were solid as hell.

Beatnik Termites – Beatnik Termites almost stole the show with this one, I’ve seen them a bunch of times since this, and they’ve always been good but this was by far the best I’ve ever seen the band. Amazing pop punk, great stage presence, everything you want from a great band.

Mr. T Experience – The first and (so far) only time I’ve seen my favorite pop punk band of all time. They played for a good amount of time and played a lot of awesome songs. Dr. Frank even did some of the acoustic stuff. It was basically everything I could ask for…except that it did end at some point. I’d love to see MTX again because they were so damn awesome this time around.

REVIEW: Andromeda Klein

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Andromeda Klein isn’t the most popular kid in school, in fact her best and only friend (besides her cat) just recently died, on top of that she has bad hearing, fragile bones and low self-esteem to boot. Her life is basically working at the local library, avoiding her mom and magic. Now when I say magic I don’t mean she’s working on card tricks, she’s more into the works of Aleister Crowley. This comes in handy sometimes because she’s been having these strange dreams that are trying to tell her something, luckily she can intrepid some of them and will hopefully get to the bottom of it. This she has to balance out with school, saving books at her library and dealing with “friends” a guy who’s trying to be her boyfriend and the one she wants to be her boyfriend ignoring her. This isn’t your typical teen novel, nor what I would expect from this author but in the end I liked it. The biggest thing was expecting the whole occult/magic theme to drop and it never did, once I realized it was here to stay the book was somehow more enjoyable. Written by Frank Portman aka Dr. Frank, the same Dr. Frank from the pop punk band The Mr. T Experience. This is his second book, the first, “King Dork” was one of the best books I’ve ever read and seemed to be a pop punk novel. This one had the same outcast teen ideas of the first, and most of his songs, but took a different road. While “Andromeda Klein wasn’t as good as “King Dork” it was a good read. And if anyone has read Dr. Frank’s first book, keep a sharp eye out and you’ll catch a pretty cool cameo appearance if you’ve got a decent memory. Clocking in at 432 pages, I can’t wait for Frank’s next book (or album).

Get Andromeda Klein from Amazon HERE

REVIEW: King Dork

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The Mr. T Experience is one of my favorite bands, Dr. Frank is one of my favorite song writers, so when I heard he (aka Frank Portman) was writing a book I couldn’t wait for it to come out. I expected it to more or less be a novel version of an MTX song, this is almost exactly what I got. This is one of my favorite books I’ve ever read. Tom Henderson is you’re typical high school kid (at least if typical to you is the kid just trying to get by and seems to be failing at everything, and being the outcast while everyone else seems to be popular). Him and his best friend Sam Hellerman spend their time talking about girls, making up bands that will never exist and wondering why everyone seems to be in the ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ cult. Oddly enough with this book he stumbles on a secret code that was in his late father’s copy of the book. Now he sets out to discover the mystery of his dad, still while trying to balance school, girls, and a mom and wanna be pal of a step father. If you like the band Mr. T Experience, you should be right at home with this book, even if not, if you were the kid that didn’t quite fit in in school and couldn’t score to save his life, it’ll be like reading you’re memoirs. 368 pages makes up “King Dork” (also the title of an MTX song), this also makes for a good launch pad to get into Frank’s next book “Andromeda Klein”.

Get King Dork from Amazon HERE

Weekly Band Profile: The Queers

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Name: The Queers
From: Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA
Web Site: http://www.thequeersrock.com/
Lifespan: 1982-Present
Genre: Punk, Pop Punk
Best Release: Love Songs for the Retarded
Releases:
Grow Up
Love Songs for the Retarded
Beat Off
Rocket to Russia
Move Back Home
A Day Late and A Dollar Short
Don’t Back Down 1996, Lookout!
Punk Rock Confidential
Later Days and Better Lays
Beyond The Valley…
Pleasant Screams
Summer Hits No. 1
Munki Brain 2007
Surf Goddess
Everythings O.K.
Bubblegum Dreams
Today
Suck It
Live in West Hollywood
Weekend at Bernie’s
CBGB OMFUG Masters: Live 2/3/03, The Bowery Collection
Alive Hollyweird
Info:
One of the first “Ramones-core” bands around they’ve also got a very heavy Beach Boys sound to them. The Queers along with Screeching Weasel and The Mr. T Experience basically started what’s known as pop punk today. All three bands were on Lookout Records and ruling the 90’s with their poppy punk rock songs. The Queers are the strongest going of the three today still actively touring and putting out albums. If you ever get a chance to go to a Queers show don’t pass it up, it’s always a fun time.

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