REVIEW: The Taxpayers: Cold Hearted Town

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CoverThe Taxpayers are back with their fifth album ‘Cold Hearted Town’, it’s out on Useless State Records and Plan-it-X Records. Often when you hear things like ‘this is the band’s best album to date’ it’s just some sort of PR bullshit but ‘Cold Hearted Town’ is by far the best stuff I’ve heard from this band. This album is crazy good, I think a big part of that is a lot of the added jazz sound to things; it really works well with everything. Right from the first song ‘Cold Hearted Town PT 1′ I knew this was going to be some top of their game stuff. And this album isn’t one of those ones that starts out strong and loses steam, this thing stays great top to bottom. In fact I think my favorite song is ‘Evil Men’ which is the last one on the album, even though it sounds different than the rest of the songs on the album. The Taxpayers are a band that embodies everything about punk without sounding like your standard punk band and ‘Cold Hearted Town’ just proves that once again. If you like the Taxpayers or haven’t yet heard them this album is one you should pick up as quickly as you can.

1. Cold Hearted Town PT 1
2. Cold Hearted Town PT 2
3. Man in White
4. Plant Oak
5. Lynch Pins
6. Blackridge Theme
7. Something in the Water
8. Purchase Rope
9. Evil Men

Get it from Useless State Records HERE

REVIEW: The Taxpayers: Go to Florida

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This is something you rarely see; in fact I don’t think I’ve ever seen one like it, a documentary about a real DIY touring band. The taxpayers have a decent following but they’re still a pretty small band, this isn’t a NOFX DVD, it’s the Taxpayers and that just makes everything better. It follows the band on their tour with The Wild (another really good band) the two aren’t together for the entire thing but a good chunk of it. You get to find out in part what it’s like to be a DIY touring band. There’s a little bit about how The Taxpayers was started and how they book and get around on tour. You get to see some of the people they meet along the way and find out about when they were living in a storage container for a bit. The DVD has some really great live footage which may be my favorite parts because The Taxpayers are one of the most fun bands I’ve ever seen live. The footage on here still doesn’t do them justice but its pretty rad all the same. The DVD runs about an hour long, there’s also a trailer on here and a couple deleted scenes. My only real complaints is I wish there’d have been more of this, it seems like it just scratches the surface and it seems to just abruptly end. But besides that it’s a fun watch. Anybody that’s into punk bands will probably enjoy this; it’s pretty cool to see how a real punk band hits the road for a change. You can scoop it up from Asian Man records.

Get it from Asian Man Records HERE

Get the download from Happy Family Productions HERE

REVIEW: The Taxpayers: To Risk So Much For One Damn Meal

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Portland, OR’s Taxpayers are one of the most unique bands going right now. ‘To Risk So Much For One Damn Meal’ is the band’s third full-length album, nearly a year in the making the album was recorded in houses, warehouses, parks, and a classroom everywhere from Minneapolis to Portland. The album isn’t just unique because of the sound but also the release, it’s getting the super grand treatment in this department. Plan-It-X Records is releasing it on vinyl and CD, Tiger Force Ultra is releasing it on cassette tape, Quote Unquote Records is releasing it for free/donations, and finally the band’s label Useless State, is releasing it as a zine with essays, science experiments, song explanations, etc, the last page even has a sleeve for the CD. It sounds like the perfect type of release for a Taxpayers album. They’re a band that’s almost indiscernible. They take sounds from everywhere and blend them without missing a beat. You can’t call this band anything else besides a punk band and accurately convey the sound that they put out. This is a band that truly has something for everyone, from the guy that listens to folk, to the kid listening to ski, to rock n roll, pop, country, even a little piano music and a dash of hardcore. If you want to check the Taxpayers out this is a perfect album to do so, it covers their rage perfectly, if you’re already a fan of the band they I say to you that I think this is their best album to date. There’s not one of these thirteen songs that I don’t like. Everyone should check this out, you’re bound to find something you like, and chances are, you’ll be into the whole thing. And (not related to the album really) but if you ever get the chance to see the Taxpayers, do it. They’re a fucking blast live!

1. The Windows Break
2. And The Damn Thing Bit Him!
3. Rapid Movements in a Bottle
4. Everything is Aweful
5. Geodesic Prison Song
6. Louisiana Hot Sauce Rainy Nights
7. Everybody Just Stood There
8. The Cold Front
9. A Matter of Simple Deduction
10. Some Kind of Disaster Relief
11. It Gets Worse Every Minute
12. My Brother Isn’t Dying
13. Let the Wheels Turn Slowly

Get To Risk So Much for One Damn Meal from Amazon HERE

SHOWS I SEEN: Rational Anthem – July 16th 2010 – Charm City Art Space – Baltimore, MD

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Charm City Art Space – Baltimore, MD

Friday July 16th, 2010

Tonight I ventured down to the Charm City Art Space for catch Rational Anthem, and a good show it was. The turnout wasn’t the best but Artscape was happening down town and I blame that. A ride to the city and the venue that normally takes me about 20 minutes, complete with traffic and lights took me an hour and a half. They had streets closed, there were crowds, the whole bit, it was fucked up. But onward to the show!

Due to the aforementioned Artscape we missed the first band Fuck Attack!

The Mostly Dead – These guys totally ruled, they had a lot of energy and great stuff. Rad dudes too.

The Taxpayers – Shit the Taxpayers were a ton of fun, they had the bobsled and a ton of other fun stupid shit to do. If you ever, ever get a chance to see The Taxpayers, take it!

Rational Anthem – This was my 2nd time seeing Rational Anthem, the first was a little over a year ago, they were good, hell they were good enough for me go to and buy everything they had out but damn in the year they’ve gotten so much tighter. Their set was great, everyone should see this band if they get the chance. And they played my favorite stuff, that’s always a plus.

REVIEW: V/A: Get A Better Comp! Volume One

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Get Better Records has released their first compilation, and boy is it a good one. In fact this is the best comp I’ve heard in a long long long time. If you’re into indie, folk or pop punk don’t wait to pick this up, it’s backed with tons of great songs. It took me a good amount of time to get through this because I kept listening to songs over and over. There are a lot of stand outs here on what could be the best of the best, personally I think it’s the Candy Hearts song, but they’ve got a lot of really stiff compilation for that title. Coming into this thing I only knew who five of the bands were, but after listening to the whole things I’m looking to buy albums from most of these bands. And did immediately buy six after I finished. Get on getting this CD (or download) right now!

‘Doin’ It’ A pretty awesome little song, reminds me a lot of some Kimya Dawson stuff. I actually didn’t get to the second song on the CD for a little while because I listened to this a few times over, which I don’t think I’ve ever done on a first run through.

‘Toby’s Song’ A re-recording of a song off of Billy Raygun’s ‘Seasick’ 7”. It’s still a great song, the new version sounds better too, Billy Raygun always bringing the quality pop punk jams.

‘Probably Not’ A new song from Sundials, I imagine this may be from their upcoming album but that’s just a guess. This song is fucking awesome. Like wow, so good.

‘This Life is Caving’ Acoustic punk stuff, pretty good. I dig this song, reminds me of something that Mischief Brew might do, but less folky.

‘So Many Ways to Say I Love You’ This song’s alright, not quite my style but I can see it growing on me. It’s a little like some of Todd Congelliere’s weird solo stuff…but less weird.

‘Here to Play’ This is a great song, no clue who Tragwag was before this song, but less than a minute into it I was looking for an album or something from Tragwag. A dude with a guitar busting out some great songs, or at the very least one great song.

‘The “Z” Sealed it For Me’ A song from their ‘Cut and Paste’ album, this band is really good and so is this song. Iron Chic/Latterman type pop punk.

‘Born-Again Non-Believer’ Starts out with a lot of egg shaker, a pretty cool indie tune.

‘What Did You Do Today?’ A big change of pace here, total punk song here. With fuzz quality recording. This is alright; it’s pretty catchy for what it is. A whole album of this could either be great or really bad.

‘Clean’ We’ve switched to the indie/folk/pop/punk sound that’s been the CD so far and in a big way with this Toby Foster song. And this is a great song right here, I listened to it two or three times in a row before moving on.

‘Dark Wood, Dark Water’ A pretty calming and awesome indie song, somewhere along the lines of Paul Baribeau or Daniel Johnston, but a better voice. I listened to this one twice too before moving forward.

‘Pizza For Easter’ Hands down the best song title on here. But so far this is the only bad song. It’s some electronic mix thing that sounds like club music. Not into it at all.

‘King Kong vs. The US Army’ Second best song title on this. But to go along with the amazing song title there’s a fucking great song to back it up. This is some awesome indie stuff, my first thought was somewhere in the vein of the Weakerthans, but with more energy. I also started looking for albums before the song was over on this one; I also listened to it a few times. (GOOGLE FAILED ME WITH MORE INFO ON THIS BAND, IF ANYBODY HAS SOME INFO HOOK ME UP).

‘What I’m Made Of’ Truthfully the entire reason I bought this comp (or at least 80%) was for a new Candy Hearts song. I love this band, great indie/pop punk stuff. After some of the great songs on this compilation I didn’t think I was going to call one out as the best, but once this started it pulled ahead of the other four songs that were leading the pack. I can’t wait for more releases from Candy Hearts.

‘PC Doesn’t Stand For Personal Computer Anymore’ A catchy folk tune, like the Among Giants song it reminds me of Mischief Brew, but this time with all the folk punk turned on.

‘Spies For A Day’ The Taxpayers are a really fun band, if you ever get a chance to see them don’t pass on it. Their recordings range from ok to really good; this song is on the really good end. One of the best songs I’ve heard from them.

‘Together Underground’ We’ve got another really good folk tune here. A live version too which is a little of an added bonus.

‘New Wave’ New Wave is a perfect name for this song; it’s a new wave punk type sound. I really dig this one.

‘Every Girl is the End of the World For Me’ Closing out this top notch compilation is an acoustic song. It’s not high energy or anything; it’s just a really nice song, done really well. Perfect way to end things here.

1. WATERCOLOR PAINTINGS – Doin’ It
2. BILLY RAYGUN – Toby’s Song
3. SUNDIALS – Probably Not
4. AMONG GIANTS – This Life is Caving
5. JAKE LAZOVICK – So Many Ways to Say I Love You
6. TRAGWAG – Here to Play
7. SPRAYNARD – The “Z” Sealed it For Me
8. DIVIDED HEAVEN – Born-Again Non-Believer
9. THE TWO FUNERALS – What Did You Do Today?
10. TOBY FOSTER – Clean
11. THE LAKE AND THE LION – Dark Wood, Dark Water
12. GALAXY CHANNEL – Pizza For Easter
13. Brooke Pridemore – King Kong vs. The US Army
14. Candy Hearts – What I’m Made Of
15. YOUNG MOUNTAIN – PC Doesn’t Stand For Personal Computer Anymore
16. THE TAXPAYERS – Spies For A Day
17. THE WILD – Together Underground (live)
18. IMPERIAL CAN – New Wave
19. FOR THE KID IN THE BACK – Every Girl

Get it from Get Better Records HERE

REVIEW: Dangerous Intersections I-VI (Traffic Street Compilations)

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Traffic Street Records is still a pretty young label but they’ve established themselves as a standard for quality, besides the great 7″s and splits they’ve put out so far they’ve also got a great series of compilations going for them. It’s rare that I look forward to a comp coming out but it’s rare a series of them is constantly this good. So far Traffic Street’s Dangerous Intersections has made it up to volume six so I figure may as well just go through them all here. Six volumes, four songs, four bands, seven inches.

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Dangerous Intersections I

Released on January 29, 2009, classic cover art by Dick Crawford. Now out of print but here’s the stat’s anyway 300 black, 103 blue-green-silver mix.
First of the Dangerous Intersections series is by Rational Anthem, a fairly average punk song, honestly not the band’s best stuff but it’s still a damn good song. Iron Chic is up next with a pretty melodic song, reminds me of some Hot Water Music jams, I approve of this song and would like to hear more from this band. Amen and the Hell Yeahs, long fucking name, but they’ve got a song about drinking so it’s alright. And closing things out on this first volume is the Unwelcome Guests with a pretty good song. This might be the best song on here if it weren’t for Rational Anthem. Overall a damn fine four song comp.

1. Rational Anthem – Of Kids Left in Cars With Windows Up
2. Iron Chic – I Never Get Winded
3. Amen and the Hell Yeahs – Brothers and Sisters In Bourbon
4. Unwelcome Guests – Floating Away

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Dangerous Intersections II

Released on February 22, 2009, Lauren Measure supplied the cover here, which has really grown on me, I’d hang this thing up on my mantle now….if I had a mantle…and a painting of this big enough. As for the pressing of this one we’ve got 354 black, 117 yellow surprise, 24 citrus, 5 lemon-lime, 4 orange, 3 toilet water.
Volume two has Basement Black starting things off not a bad song but somewhat forgettable, I imagine this would fit well in the middle of a full album. Dead Mechanical is next on the list and they bust it out with a fucking awesome song, worth the price of admission just for this one alone. Pretty Boy Thorson & The Falling Angels, another band with a fucking long name, unfortunately I don’t really care for the song they’ve got here but I’m sure it’ll appeal to a lot of other people, they’ve kinda got a Lucero thing going. The Measure [SA] ends volume two, as normal they offer up a damn good song, these guys rule a whole fucking lot. Dangerous Intersections II had more weak links than volume one but with Dead Mechanical and The Measure [sa] on it, there’s no way you can go wrong buying it.

1. Basement Black – Freedom or Beer … Whatever, Dude
2. Dead Mechanical – Poison Bearer
3. Pretty Boy Thorson & The Falling Angels – Start Me On Interferon
4. The Measure [SA] – How to Thrash a Million

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Dangerous Intersections III

Released on May 13, 2009, cover art that reminds me of a pretty awesome flyer for some reason by Gord Lafler. Record nerds, 301 black, 150 sour grape, 54 crystal scum.
Volume three, The Closet Fairies, things get real fast, real fast, great opener. Apocalypse Meow follows with another great song, volume three is half way over and highly enjoyable with high energy and fun falling out of its pockets. Where can we go from here? Well The Dopamines come in and answer that with a song that i fucking love the title to. And as normal The Dopamines are awesome. The closer is Todd Congelliere, you may know him from F.Y.P and Toys That Kill. A slower song than I had expected not only because of the performer but also the previous three songs set a fast pace. This also sounds like it was recorded in his bedroom, which isn’t bad, I fucking love it. Volume three is the forerunner of awesomeness at this point, I’m actually kind of blown away at how good this one turned out.

1. The Closet Fairies – SKUMPUNK
2. Apocalypse Meow – Babies Got It Made
3. The Dopamines – My Future’s So Bright, I Have to Wear Night Vision Goggles
4. Todd Congelliere – Channel 11

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Dangerous Intersections IV

Released on May 22, 2009, Stewart Breaks brings my personal favorite fucking cover art of the Dangerous Intersections series. 320 black, 175 sky blue, 70 sky grey.
The Strait A’s open Dangerous Intersections volume four, and well, this song is kinda great. Like Bats follows them with a really fucking cool song, this is probably the best song up to this point on any of these. However they’re followed by one of my favorite discoveries of 2009, Rumspringer. I do like the Like Bats song just a bit more, and that’s saying a lot because Rumspringer is really fucking great and this is no exception. Last is Barrakuda McMurder, Steinways fans know what’s up. They have hands down the best song title in Dangerous Intersections history. Too bad it takes about as much time to say the track title as it does to listen to the song, coming in at under a minute, it’s a fun little song but almost gets dwarfed by what was ahead of it. overall, I thought volume three kicked a lot of ass (and it very much does), but volume four just takes it to the next level.

1. Strait A’s – Go Away
2. Like Bats – Sleepwalker
3. Rumspringer – No Lights On
4. Barrakuda McMurder – I Broke Up (With My Girlfriend (So That I Could Write Pop Punk Songs About It))

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Dangerous Intersections V

Released on August 26, 2009, I’m still on the fence as far as this cover goes done by Brett Wensel. 330 black, 167 mineral water, 60 brown trash.
Pretty excited to be listening to all of these right in a row, let’s get going with Dangerous Intersections V. Troublemake opens it up with a great into song, actually it’s just a great song in general, I’ll be looking for some more Troublemake stuff soon. The long named bands is back with The Legendary San Diego Chargers, lucky for them, they’re really good despite their name. A catchy rock jam lets me look past the name of the band. Shang-A-Lang comes in pretty startling after that song, loud, fast, unorganized, I can take a pass on this one. Ending things is another long named Andrew Jackson Jihad, I recently really learned to appreciate these guys, due to a big part of this Billy Joel cover, good stuff. Dangerous Intersections V gets another big thumbs up from me, due in big part to the MVP Troublemake.

1. Troublemake – Use Six or Seven Times and Destroy
2. The Legendary San Diego Chargers – Fred and the Kids Are Dead
3. Shang-A-Lang – Don’t Bring Him Around
4. Andrew Jackson Jihad – You May Be Right

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Dangerous Intersections VI

Released on March 4, 2010, Ryan Agate boasts a wicked cool cover for the latest installment. 333 black, 180 barbicide, 60 UK yellow, 5 smokestain.
Lastly we’re at the final installment (for now) of the Dangerous Intersections series, the long named bands are back again, No High Fives to Bullshit starts us off I really don’t like this song, it may grow on me, but I wouldn’t put that as a reflection on the band because No High Fives to Bullshit has done some pretty good stuff, they can’t all be hits. The Manix have the second song on this thing, and it’s exactly what I needed for some energy, love this song, I’m now stoked on  The Manix. The Humanoids up next, with a pretty good punk song, good stuff here too. And for the final song of the record we’ve got The Taxpayers with a downbeat song, lots of slow guitar strums and slow-paced singing for the first minute until it picks up into something that seems to try a little too hard. I’d give The Taxpayers another try but this song left a bad taste in my mouth. Dangerous Intersections VI was pretty good, much like all the others. It’s a quality series of compilations, looking forward to the next volume already.

1. No High Fives to Bullshit – My Friends?
2. The Manix – Red Truck
3. The Humanoids – Pride by the Barrel
4. The Taxpayers – The Lights

Get Dangerous Intersections I-VI from Amazon HERE

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