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Issue 152-153_ Records that Escaped Reviewing

Here at The Trouble With Normal we remain interested in hearing some of the music that you have been making and recording - and have been since the fall of 1992. Feel free to send your vinyl, CDs or tapes ("for sale" only or at least take the effort to make a cover for them. This goes for CDR's also.) to our cramped but we call it home P.O. Box so we can possibly review it. It may take us a while to get to them (we do have obligations in our lives not related to this zine) but we will review them in time and guarantee an honest review Until the next issue, here are some recordings that just might interest you. Please feel free to read on, get interested, and hope you find something you like. Hope to hear your music soon. Boone.

ALICE BAG - Blueprint LP

News of a new album from Alice Bag was some of the more anticipated news amongst those in the underground so when it broke that it was coming out I had an opportunity to check out a pre-release stream of the record. On her latest solo album, Alice Bag delivers a wide sonic vision that goes from punk to melodic rock to R&B grooves, moody ballads and back with songs tackling the feeling invisible, the pay gap, self acceptance in the face of societal shaming, falling out of love, and racism in the justice system (and resistance to it) amongst other things. Tight hooks and well done melodies build a sonic bed for this blend of personal and political tales that can tug at the heart and evoke anger all while staying catchy and listenable throughout. Musically, Alice Bag carries on the diverse sonic journey of her last album, proving punk can be as much a state of mind as anything else. Pick this up and experience this disc for yourself; trust me on this one. (BOONE)
(Don Giovanni Records)

D.O.A. - Fight Back LP

I've been busy with work et al so when I learned there would be a new D.O.A. album I was immediately psyched and knew I'd have to give it a listen the first chance I had. The Vancouver hardcore pioneers throw down a blend of raw stripped down punk rock calls to action full of overdriven guitar, go for the jugular rhythms, and a ton of attitude. Whether singing about police abuse and killings and the dangers of state control or odes to bad beet and hockey, the band fires with all guns blazing and a straight ahead sonic approach that allows for some side turns but stays the course throughout. They even incorporate a country vibe (the real stuff, not the Nashville pop shit) on a couple songs yet manages to keep true to their sonic vision. It's an intense aural vision reflecting situations gone mad and the need to fight back against what seems like an overwhelming amount of shit. D.O.A. continues to show why confrontational punk rock about actual things that matter is still relevant and fresh, especially in the age of electoral vote winner Donny and the damage him and his minions are capable of inflicting on us.
(BOONE)
(Sudden Death Records. Cascades P.O. Box 43001. Burnaby, BC V5G3H0. Canada. suddendeath.com)

LEMURIA - Recreational Hate LP

When news of a secret recording from Lemuria was offered online a number of people were wondering and placed an order (even though they were uncertain if it was something they already had). On the day said offer expired it was revealed that the secret album was a new record from the band, taking everyone by surprise. The latest from Lemuria starts with a lilting solo voice and arpeggio picked guitar before veering into the mid tempo driving blend of punk meets indie pop the band has almost trademarked by now. With a tasty blend of simmering guitars and in the pocket rhythms, the songs become a jumping off point for the band to explore other textures, including the occasional acoustic guitars, keyboards, trumpet, pedal steel, and noise elements. The result is a more nuanced record that focuses inward a bit lyrically and lures the listener in subtly throughout its course. It's a slight change of pace from their previous work but manages to carry on the sonic journey Lemuria has been on for about 14 or so years now. Give it a listen and make up your own mind. (BOONE)
(Turbo Worldwide Records. Available via Asian Man. P.O. Box 35585. Monte Serrano, CA 95030. USA. asianmanrecords.limitedrun.com. Also available from lemuriapop.bandcamp.com)

ROYAL BRAT - Eyesore LP

I'd been wondering what was up with Royal Brat lately when I heard this album was coming out; thus I knew I'd at least have to stream it at the first available opportunity. The debut full-length from this Minneapolis based foursome picks up where their cassette EP left off, throwing down some catchy driving punk rock. Raw baritone guitar chords and tight and concise rhythms fuel songs that references misogyny, struggle, and sexual assault within these short sharp sonic shocks. Played with a fiery fury, the music burst out the speakers almost as if it will blow up your stereo, these songs are the angry pro feminist and pro queer sonic calls to arms that links the personal and political and makes you like it in the long run. Once again Royal Brat have shown why they are a band to be ignored at your peril. This may be one of the highlights of 2018 so far so you may want to check it out and give it a listen. (BOONE)
(Moniker Records. P.O. Box 891287. Chicago, IL 60608. monikerrecords.com)

SUPERCHUNK - What A Time To Be Alive LP

I had an idea that this was in the works but had been busy with the paying job and life so it was a surprise when I learned how soon it was coming out; thus I came across and pre-release stream and gave it a listen. The latest from Superchunk finds the Chapel Hill based foursome starts off with a simmering mid-tempo title track before jumping into a mix of driving and terse punk infused underground rock that details personal ups and downs within a backdrop of the current social and political situation (yes, I'm talking about life under electoral vote winner Donny and his ilk). Mixing steady yet driving rhythms with a blend of acoustic and electric guitar hooks, these songs are part tales of longing, part battle cries decrying what's going on around us as they tackle bad choice, people being erased in the larger scheme, whether it's the danger in front of us to break the glass or referencing Chelsea Manning]s ordeal in contrast to actual traitors. Melodic and hook driven yet with a sharp current underneath, this album finds Superchunk mining the underground rock gray area between the tense and the poppy for something that fits the current mood for many while reacting against the expectations to just go along and shut up. (BOONE)
(Merge Records. P.O. Box 1235. Chapel Hill, NC 27514. mergerecords.com)



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