Category Archives: Updates

A Kick In The Pants # 7 – Night Birds

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I pumped up the Night Birds at the end of last year with an early review of the Midnight Movies 7″, and then again when counting down the best releases of 2010. After seeing them splash, slice, and writhe through a set in some punk’s living room last month, and giving their latest release, the singles collection Fresh Kills Vol. 1 a few dozen spins, it’s time to kick you in the ass again, so that finally the message gets through.

I’ve already given the low down on the sound. 80’s surf punk that roars at you with menace and insanity. Like that crazy guy on the corner, hollering about the end of the world. He’s obviously nuts, but whether the warning or the performance intrigues you, you have to stop and listen. The songs albeit morbid are infectious, and before you hear the last resonating note of their cover of Eddie & The Showmen’s “Squad Car,” you’re ready to hear them all again. “Midnight Movies” and “Bad Biology” pay homage to B-movie icons while stirring up a catchy ruckus, “Killer Waves” isn’t too much on the nose of horror surf, and “Prognosis: Negative” is a hypochondriac’s worst nightmare. “Paranoid Times” might possibly be the most classic 80s punk track of them all – a scathing breakdown of our government, the military, and the fear mongered/mongering that surrounds us in this country. Overall, pretty scary themes that match the intensity of the music.

This disc will catch you up on everything the band has recorded so far, and will hopefully prepare you for the forthcoming full-length. The whistle has blown, the ride is about to begin. Grave Mistake will hook you up with boarding passes.

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Fishboy – Classic Creeps

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Once in a while a release comes along that you just have to tell others about, even if it’s just a funny thing that you want to spread like a joke that gets forwarded in e-mails around the office. Enter Fishboy.

It’s self-proclaimed EPIC POP and I won’t argue with that. Imagine the love child of a classic-era Elephant 6 band and They Might Be Giants. Acoustic and amped, peppy and cute, but with a black comedy side as well. The fact that Happy Happy Birthday To Me is putting this out might also help you calibrate your audio compass. Each song tells the story of a different character, all in some way connected, and as the album progresses the story unravels until a climactic conclusion brings many of the characters together (note: the story involves time travel… and an owl). If it sounds convoluted I assure you that it is not. To lessen the strain on your brain, the album itself is accompanied with a handy-dandy comic, so you can see and read the story as it plays!

Yes, taking note of the gimmick is unavoidable (though it is kinda cool) but luckily the music can stand alone on it’s own. Check the link for the complete album stream and the comic for the full Classic Creeps experience.

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Yep


Belleville vocalist/guitarist Mark Caputo and Rubinoo/Vox Pop guitarist/vocalist Al Chan collaborate to make an exquisite cover album. Excellent production here: Very clean guitars and crisp, layered harmonies that sound sunny and confident without a hint of slickness or digital spit shine. The influences on sound are pretty narrow, though awesome: the country-fied incarnations of the Byrds, Teenage Fanclub, and the Everly Brothers (whose “So Sad” is covered here) have probably been in heavy rotation at the Yep HQ. The nods to other artists branches things out a bit more, as the Pernice Brothers, The Kinks, and Richard Buckner all get treatment. Aside from the sound and selection being up my alley, the duo also earns triple bonus points for providing a tolerable take on Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” throwing in one cool original, and turning me on to a new act. Along with their cover of “Hesitating Beauty” (from the Billy Bragg/Wilco/Woody Guthrie project Mermaid Avenue), the song “Noise and Confusion” is my favorite song on the album. Note to self: Look into the Alan Wauters Alliance. Once is an obvious labor of love, and one of the highlights of my year so far. Check out the site here and a few tracks below:

Crestfallen (Pernice Brothers Cover)

Noise And Confusion (Alan Wauters Alliance Cover)

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Tumblr, bot.

The BTID machine has a Tumblr that y’all should follow. You’ll find more frequent (though no less important) posting about all the nobodies who should be somebodies and whatnot. Click the big-ass T to bask in its potential glory.

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A Kick In The Pants # 6 – Mike Faloon

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Despite this being a music-focused site, I figured a book review could sneak into the BTID pages, make it’s mark (if only as a debut for this type of thing), and probably hijack an eye or two. I base this solely on the fact that Mike Faloon is “one of us.” Us writer/music nerds have a code or something, I think. Faloon has the ‘zine world’s stamp of approval: As writer, editor, and publisher of the pop culture ‘zine Go Metric!, he’s been getting the dish from all your favorite bands, writing succinct and sly music reviews, and in general providing the most intriguing creative writing seen in indie mags over the past dozen years. Simultaneously ridiculous and clever, Go Metric! is the standard for short attention-spanned aficionados of travel, movies, music, comics, and pop theories.

So, a collection of short stories comes together in his first book, The Hanging Gardens of Split Rock, and they do not disappoint. The writing itself is more than competent and very welcoming to those interested in a “light” read. His attention to detail is very casual, and the occasional digression about a certain character or setting brings people and places to life without any pandering or pretension. Faloon sometimes even eschews the “show don’t tell” writing rule because hey, sometimes two brothers making a bank job getaway in a donut truck is just that, and you’ve gotta call ’em like you see ’em.

Which brings me to the single most enjoyable part about the book. The characters and their personalities, in situations exciting or mundane, are such a joy to read. The father/board of education candidate/little league coach who has his son bean an autistic teammate during batting practice so he won’t have to field him during the game, the man who dreams of releasing a country & western opera album (not a rock opera album, this is totally different!), the list goes on for most of the 15 pieces here. You love the lovable underdogs, and you love the despicable antagonists, mostly because they provoke equal parts sympathy and laughter.

And of course, for the music geeks there’s some nuggets to gobble up. An article that waxes philosophic on the merits of arena rock and prog rock, an adventure at the jam band festival Camp Bisco (yes, even the wasted Phish-heads are likable), and finally the high school kids who try to win the battle of the bands. There’s a bunch more tossed into many stories, all of which once again reminds us that the author is truly speaking our language.

Pick up the book for 6 bucks at Razorcake.

Go Metric in web form.

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Saying ‘Hi’

It’s about that time to update everyone on a few happenings here in the BTID camp. I will be relocating back to the Fishtown/Northern Liberties of Philly in late March. Why is this important, you wonder? It means more live music, copious amounts of craft beer, more networking and interaction with local musicians and participation in events/charities/etc. After a while I might be able to forge BTID into a bona fide source for news and discussion on a wide variety of topics as opposed to just ‘some guy’ dropping in to post mixes and one-liner reviews on occasion. I’m totally psyched to get a second crack at the city. I’ve been there before but it was in a more tumultuous (read: broke and hectic) period of my life. The commute to work (King Of Prussia area) forced me out into the suburbs 3 years ago but ever since I’ve felt like I’ve been on the outside looking in, sacrificing quality of life for convenience I suppose. So if you are in the area and want to meet up for beers, band practice or shows – holler.

For example, I released a Capstan Shafts EP over 5 years ago when Dean was still pumping minute-and-a-half jams into a boom-box and I have STILL not had a chance to catch up with him live. Granted, he refused to play out during his formative years. That’s all going to change tonight at the M Room as he’s now touring with a full band, fuller sound and critically lauded album out on Rainbow Quartz – home to local favorites The Asteroid #4. At first it was a shock to hear all the songs from the CS canon done up with production and contributions but the melody and storytelling prowess force their way out of the songs no matter how they’re presented – a big part of why I love Dean’s music so dearly. Maybe I can coax him to fire up a Kickstarter campaign to press the fabulous Revelation Skirts to vinyl. I’ll expect you there if you have no plans. Say ‘hi’.

While on the subject of the extended BTID family – The Gifted Children are at it again, releasing free EP’s and shiz. Fallacy Stilts promises a ‘quieter’, subdued affair with more ‘pretty’ and less sonic assaulting. I’ll take this Buffalo/Rochester collective’s music any way they wanna give it to me. I dare you to stream/download the hazy, daydreamy leadoff track below without wanting to press repeat over and over and over again. You can still grab a copy of the 5CD Building Your Lo-Fi Shelter boxed set as well as the One Clear Minute 7″ series straight from their virtual merch table. If times are tough you shouldn’t leave without downloading the free and most excellent Open Windows and Turncoat Spring EP’s here as well as the (*wink wink*) BTID-released Commonwealth Squelch EP here.

The Gifted Children – If The Accident Will

Fellow coal-regionites, Kid Icarus, are following up their smashing 2010 LP (previously pimped here) with a cassette EP on Stress Carrier. But that’s not the only bit of good news – KI have expressed interest in recording an EP to be released right here on the BTID netlabel. I’m not making any promises but I feel this is where my vinyl-pressing career will begin… Check out a few tracks below including the jangly, organ-fueled title track.

Ghost Town Feeling
Spector Road

Last but not least I heard from a little birdy that The Wiggly Tendrils will be readying a new release very soon with an exciting story behind it. This is assuming you didn’t realize there’s an exciting story behind everything they’ve written to date. I’ll leave you with a recent favorite to chew on until then.

The Wiggly Tendrils – The Internet Never Forgets

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