Polyphony / The Planet You “Art is Useless” Split

a2889393831_16It’s been a long time. Over a year would be a generous understatement since I’ve heard anything from Maplewood’s Polyphony. To be honest. I recently found myself wondering if their time together had come to a quiet end. Thankfully, Polyphony doesn’t to do anything quietly.

While this split only features one offering from each band. Polyphony’s “Reason to Prevail” and “Roses are Subjective” by The Planet You. I find each of these songs to be infallible testaments to the power of a good split. While two very different bands with Polyphony’s mathematic, yet unwound madness and the technical melodies Montclair’s The Planet You offer. They share more similarities than one might give them credit for.

These two bands match up well on this split. A wake up call that old favorites Polyphony are still going strong. A reminder of how refreshing it is  hearing and learning about bands to keep my eyes and ears on. JD

Download it Here

Agree to Disagree -If You Think We Suck Now…

a0593354697_16While “If you think we suck now. just wait til we sell out” is a 2014 release. Massachusetts Agree to Disagree and their ambitious sixteen song imprint are as new to me as last night’s bowl of mac n cheese.

What I really appreciate about Agree to Disagree is that while they might easily find themselves swimming in the same waters as most of the dye in the wool Pop Punk bands you may have heard since you picked up your first Blink 182 album. Agree to Disagree have a gift of shifting from the more heartfelt and emotionally drench ballads to a more aggressive, punchy Punk sound.  “On my own” serving as a perfect example. “Reunion”, one of my personal favorites feels like it could have been a hidden track or beefy B side on Saves The Day’s “Through Being Cool”. “If you think…” is highlighted by big riffs and chord changes. A vocal style that remains uplifting throughout. Overall, this was a really good listen. An album that seemed to build on it’s promise with each song. JD

Agree to Disagree

 

Remo Drive – Breathe In /Perfume 7′ Inch

Drawn to the cover and the simple fact that is the lone vinyl record amongst a sea of Cd’s, cassette tapes and shirts. I picked up a copy of Remo Drive to through a few extra bucks to one of the touring bands. “Here’s you two slices of pizza and a fountain drink” I thought as I dropped my Lincoln on the merch. table.

a0985612513_10Side A’s “Breathe In” is a real attention getter with its quirky guitar leads and shouted vocals. The song as a whole winds and twists its way too your heart. Punk rock with an emotional vibe that feels as Midwest as the band’s Minnesota routes. Side B’s “Perfume”, takes a more poppy approach to introduce itself. Though not overwhelming. There’s a bit of a Promise Ring feel to it. Overall, a good sampling of what Remo Drive have to offer. Each song having a different effect on me. While good, these two songs didn’t do much to solicit further listening. The record itself comes on [blue swirl vinyl.) Which for me personally, was a nice surprise. For more information on the band and any of their previous work. Check out the links below. JD

Bandcamp

Facebook

Power Face – S/T 7′ inch

Having started Document Fanzine less than a year ago. We really haven’t gotten to the point where we’re getting a whole lot of submissions for reviews. (Something I sincerely hope changes in the near future.) Interesting how the ones we’ve received have either come from publicists peddling music we, or at least I, have no interest or intention of taking the time to review. Or, as in this case. Bands from far away with something more up our alley . On what I believe is the band’s debut 7 inch. Power Face get right ta0076224816_16o the point and up in your grill with a fast paced, raw Hardcore sound that’s sprinkled with elements of Speed Metal. (Most evident in the bands potent guitar assault.) With six of the seven songs coming in at under two minutes. There’s really little room for any break downs or mosh parts, which is fine. Not bad for what it is. Still, nothing that would really inspire more than a casual listen. On the down side. Power Face have some of the worst vocals I’ve seen in quite a while. Something I would have most likely missed if the actual lyrics weren’t included. “Come with me if you want to live. Walk the road of fire and sin.” Lead me to think this band is either in middle school or just don’t have a lot to really talk, or in this case, sing about. Not that I’m saying a Hardcore bands lyrics should change the world. Personally, I just prefer a little less role-playing in my Hardcore music. Not bad, but nothing special either. Proceed with caution. Power Face don’t really offer much in the information department on their social media pages. Regardless, I’m leaving a link to the bands music. This way, you can form your own opinions.  JD

Power Face

Savages@ The Warsaw, Brooklyn 3/29/16

Savages have been on everyone’s “must see new band” list lately and there’s a definite reason why. They play dark moody indie rock that oozes ambiance and swagger. This was the first time back in New York for the London based band since their nine show run in early 2015, this time moving up to Irving Plaza (which they played the night before) followed by this show at The Warsaw in Brooklyn.

There was such a great vibe, definitely one of my favorite shows in a long time, plus we even made it home just in time to catch their performance on The Late Show. They played 18 songs total, which included a majority of the material from 2013’s “Silence Yourself” and their most recent, “Adore Life”. Full set list and photos below. The show opened with an experimental electronic/live percussion set by Brooklyn based Australian native Angus Tarnawsky.

I Am Here
Sad Person
City’s Full
Slowing Down the World
Shut Up
She Will
Husbands
Surrender
Evil
When in Love
I Need Something New
The Answer
Hit Me
No Face
T.I.W.Y.G.
Mechanics
Adore
Fuckers

Words and photos by Jason House

Angus Tarnawsky
tarnaw1

Savages
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Desir Decir – Even the Earnest Learn

a0796268216_16With a title that gives even the most purposeful head case like myself a shot at redemption Desir Decir’s “Even the Earnest Learn” is a shot in the arm for the working class humps and dreamers of the world. Featuring present and former personnel from The Life Eaters, The Everymen and more. It’s a wonder this hard working, hard touring band ever found time to get back into the studio. On their followup to their 2014 debut “Mechanics” the trio of John Feuerbach, Greg Reyes and Mitch Cady return to Killing Horse Records with six songs that display a sense of growth and determination. Upon being handed the CD by the bands drummer earlier today. I was given enough time to thoroughly ingest each song while navigating the series of potholes and traffic congestion we’ve all come to call Hoboken.

The cleverly titled “Postpone the Orioles” jolts you out of your seat with it’s rallying cry “Can’t Stop the Train from Coming”. “Semetary” follows with it’s Ramones inspired opening cry and it’s Johnny Thunders swagger. “Roy’s on the Table” follows with crash course mix of early 80’s Power Cow Punk meets Social Distortions dirty boogie vibe. There is an overall grit and dirtiness going on here that leads me to think these guys have seen many a night both in front of and behind the bar. As each of these six bangers feature a good sense of story telling. While I made earlier comparisons to The Ramones and Johnny Thunders. Closer and more current comparisons can easily be made to Gaslight Anthem, The Legendary Shack Shakers and Desir Decirs’s brethren The Everymen.  Recorded and mixed by the very skillful hands of Mike Moebius at local legend Moonlight Mile Recording. The band will be heading back out on tour in January and plan to release a 7′ inch EP in early 2016. So be on the lookout. J.D.

Available Here

The Courtesy Tier – Little Rock Single

COURTESYTIER-LITTLEROCK-400It’s been quite some time since I’ve had the chance to really catch up with Brooklyn’s eclectic and admirably eccentric The Courtesy Tier. So much so, that I barely recognized the the dynamic duo of Omer Leibovitz and Layton (aka DJ Laytronic) Weedman have, with the addition of bassist Alex Picca, become a trio.

As I gazed into the bands latest three song offering I was immediately returned to the elements that always endeared me to the band. Their smart mix of Blues Rock, distortion and eccentric guitar noise always rewarded my quest for something unique and uniquely off center. A gift that sets them apart from many of their contemporaries. Often causing me to scratch my head, wondering “Are you sure this is from Brooklyn?”

In regards to these three songs. The Courtesy Tier have definitely opened up their sound by moving on to become a trio. While “Little Rock” and “Green” maintain the groups haunting, yet uplifting vibe. It’s “Childish Blues” that really triumphs. Reaping the rewards of bring bassist Alex Picca on board. It’s funky, fuzzy and downright dirty. Well done. Well done, indeed. J.D.

Available Here

 

Point Blank – Demo 7′ Inch

nly006My love and appreciation for the format known as the 7″ inch EP has never waned. That short, yet enduring burst of energy and emotion. The kind that nourishes the soul while leaving enough room to keep you yearning for more. The same can easily be said about the original demo format. So when a demo is good enough to warrant a vinyl resurrection. Chances are good that it’s going to produce rewarding results.

As more than thirty years have passed since I was an earnest Hardcore Kid from Queens, NY. That early to mid 80’s sound that New York bands such as Agnostic Front, The Abused, Antidote and Major Conflict created still resonates with me more than anything that came later. Point Blank more than honor that sound without making it feel like a nostalgic trip or gimmick. Easily done considering half the band served time in the early days of what was NYHC. With Dan (Danny Dog) Derella being an original member of Underdog and singer Ken E. Wagner spending copious amounts of time-serving on the front line of what become the New York Hardcore scene.

The imagery, packaging and most importantly, the sound draw the listener in. Reminding the listener of a time when Hardcore music drew influence from Punk. Yet to explore and eventually find itself more aligned with Metal.

A lot can be said about the simple, yet direct approach that set the early 80’s Hardcore sound so far apart from anything that had been created before it. Point Blank serve that approach rather well without sounding outdated or nostalgia driven. From the rolling bass that leads the attack of “No More” to the marching leads and directness of Ken’s higher pitched vocals on “Fuck Off”. These eight songs make this kid from Queens remember that, while NYHC may not have originated in Queens. The borough was responsible for some of it’s best output. Point Blank remind me of all the elements that made me love Hardcore in the first place… And that, my friend, is as good as a recommendation I can give. Thanks and praise go out to Not Like You records for making this happen. This is the same label that recently brought us  The Faction – “Pegged for Live” and McRad – “Lion Pure” J.D.

Available Here

 

Howlish – Outer

a2757182518_16Philadelphia’s Howlish are an ambient / alternative that has been playing together since 2014 when, still a very young band, released their debut EP “Open House”. Since that time, the quartet of Mark Watter – vocals/guitar, Karl Germanovich- bass, Taylor Cullen – drums and Brendan Sweeney – lead guitar have been making a name for themselves with shows up and down the East Coast. (a.k.a. The Best Coast) With their sophomore release “Outer” due out any day now on “Sniffling Indie Kids”. I was able to scoop up a copy to get a listen to what the future holds for Howlish, Sniffling Indie Kids and the rest of this big, flat world.

On their followup “Outer” Howlish create a spacious and atmospheric eight song gem. Moving slowly, though not without purpose with both skill and grace. The opener “Woods” moves along at a slugs pace, infiltrating the senses with it’s nurturing simplicity and dreamlike vibe. “Black Ice”, not to be confused or even seen on the same iceberg as AC/DC’s samely titled album and song follows with it’s shoe gaze meets dream pop leanings. Seemlessly solidifying “Outer’s” statement of purpose. There’s a sense of restraint throughout that has the listener wonder if these whispers are just heavily guarded screams waiting to emerge from their cocoons. My personal favorite “Fader” seems to beg the question in an even deeper sense with it’s engaging guitar eccentricities. “Outer” lifted this listener up in more ways then one. I’m glad I took the ride. J.D.

Howlish on Bandcamp                                                                                                                 Coming Soon

 

Ajax – S/T 7″ inch EP

beir019Sometimes you can tell that you’re not going to like a record by not immediately knowing what speed it should be played at. In the case of Ajax. I had no fucking idea. After a couple of tries I decided ’45 might work best and moved in curiously with a somewhat open mind.

On the bands 2nd EP and follow-up to their debut 7″ inch on Katorga Works. Ajax  move to Beach Impediment Records looking to expand their brand of American Hardcore goes to the Swedish Institute of Barking Vocals Academy . While managing to display some sense of musicality in the musical sense . (Most evident in some of the guitar arraignments.) It’s the barked, gargle with razors vocals that dominate throughout. Making the most impression here… and that is, unfortunately, not good at all.

By the time it was the needle brought me to the end of ‘Paper Steel’. I really didn’t care. I just wanted to move to whatever else I could get my hands on. While these four songs feature decent lyrics and the cover art has a nice sense of weirdness about it. It’s the music that just falls flat on these ears. While many are drawn to this style. My tastes tend to use a gag reflex as a defensive mechanism in these matters. J.D.

Available Here