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Issue 157-158 Record Reviews (End of 2018)
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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.

AMERICAN NUDISM - Negative Space EP

I came across this in an email from their record label when I was following up on something else and decided to give it a listen. American Nudism delivers a short sharp blast of electronic based post punk with minimalist arrangements based on 808 influenced beats and simple synth patterns to get the point across. His songs deal with the side of our culture usually glossed over with songs exploring the role of space, our surveillance culture, and how future cops [plays a role], emerging with a sound that calls to mind The Normal or the Screamers at times in its approach and attack. Admittedly this won't be everyone's bottle of sake, but those wondering how a punk attitude might work in other contexts may find something of interest in this EP. (BOONE)
(7 inch vinyl available from: K Records. Box 7154, Olympia, WA 98507 [krecs.com]. Download available from: americannudism.bandcamp.com)

C AVERAGE - III LP

With the other things in my life it sometimes seems almost like a cliché to say an album came across my radar that I wasn't expecting. However this was one that I literally found out about as I was putting this issue together, so I had to give it a listen. On their new album, the band (now a quartet) have fleshed out their sound to create a high octane mix of proto metal and progressive rock complete where intricate yet chunky guitar oozes over shifting rhythms and songs that take unexpected (yet somehow fitting) twists along the way. Mining the murky gray area between metal and prog, the band kicks out the jams with these fantasy tales that allow the imagination play while it sonically rips your face off. Are these songs merely science fiction? Are they a metaphor for how things are? Those are questions left up to the listener. However, with their third album C Average have emerged from a long hibernation (their last album came out in 2001) with a powerful hard as mails rock album that tackles the prog rock and vintage metal blueprint and puts their own spin on it for modern times. If we lived in a cultural environment where rock radio was still adventurous and willing to take risks this album would be at least getting some moderate airplay. Get a copy of this album for yourself - and an additional copy for the prog or classic rock loving person you know who complains that rock is now dead and nothing good comes out anymore. (BOONE)
(Vinyl available from: Adult Fantasy Records [adultfantasyrecords.com] and K Records. Box 7154, Olympia, WA 98507 [krecs.com]. Download available from: caverage.bandcamp.com)

ESCAPE-ISM - The Lost Record LP

I was hoping to review this for last issue but I got busy with work and other life issues so it got pushed back to now. The second album from Escape-Ism finds Ian Svenonius carrying on the minimalist blend of electronic beats meets over distorted guitars and shapes it into a blend of dance rock with indie overtones that can be both groove laden and slightly detached in its delivery. Distorted guitar lines are ladled over buzzy sometimes lo-fi electro beats to make a sound that's crude, a bit corrosive, and walks the thin line between electronic music and garage rock, proudly blurring the boundaries along the way. The Lost Record is a confrontational sonic blow that reveals that underground music can still lure people in if they're willing to take the plunge. (BOONE)
(Merge Records. P.O. Box 1235. Chapel Hill, NC 27514. mergerecords.com)

FATTY CAKES AND THE PUFF PASTRIES - LP

I'd been curious about the band ever since I first heard the name alone so when I learned they had an album coming out I had to hear this. The debut full-length (at least I think it's their first album) from Fatty Cakes and the Puff Pastries is full of rough around the edges but catchy as hell punk rock that tackles topics ranging from sizeism and being in love with a space alien to fighting Nazis, misogyny and disaffected mall employees amongst other things. With a stripped to the core production throughout as well as a hint of tongue in cheek humor at times, the music comes off a slightly scruffy in all the right ways with a blend of catchy harmonies, tight hooks and a clean/rip your face off guitar contrast that boost things up a notch and keep things moving. This is a band that balances humor and anger and may just put a smile on your face as the album goes forward, Whoever said that punk rock can't be fun and have some real content to it obviously has never heard Fatty Cakes and the Puff Pastries. Note to self - get this album as soon as I get a chance to do so. (BOONE)
(Vinyl available from: Emotional Repsonse Records. [emotionalresponserecords.com] Download available from: fattycakes.bandcamp.com)

JOHN GALBRAITH TRIO - Throw It Away CD

I was hoping to get to check this out last issue but life got in the way so I had to push it back until now. The second album from John Galbraith Trio shows John, Nic, and Joey further pushing the band's blend of jangle pop, classic rock, and a touch of roots forward with songs moving towards some different sonic territory. While the tight hooks and knack for personal affable songs remain as potent as ever, they expand on the sonic template with baritone guitar, horns, and strings at some points. In the process the music reveals a multilayered aural journey that trades the fine line between gentle lilting jangly classic pop vibes and go for it driving rave-ups. Once again John Galbraith Trio manages to jump from strength to strength and come up with a different approach to where they're going. While there have been some well deserved props locally for this disc you really need to hear it for yourself. Wonder what JG3 is going to do sonically the next time around. (BOONE)
(johngalbraith.bandcamp.com)

IT'S ME: ROSS - C'est La Vie LP

Finding out about this album piqued my curiosity so when I finally got to listen to a stream of it while putting this issue together I took the plunge. The new album from It's Me: Ross throws down a batch of driving catchy rock that walks the fine but often blurry line between power pop, hard rock, psychedelia, and indie. Based on catchy guitar hooks and tight rhythms, these songs emerge with more hooks than the changing room of a clothing store as they take on the ups and downs of life and relationships. This is one of those albums that sonically kicks you into gear and leads you down the path before you realized how far you've gone. This band has been one of Columbia, MO's best kept secrets for a while but with this album I think there's a good chance people are going to find out about them. By all means get this album in whatever format you use to listen to good tunes. (BOONE)
(itsmeross.bandcamp.com)

MR. AND THE MRS. - The Cost of War is Directly Related to the Desire in the Streets download EP

I was wondering what this band was up to when I found out this was coming out. On their latest download EP, Mr. And the Mrs. Deliver a small sharp shock of garage rock/punk hybrid full of buzzy wall of distortion guitar and in the pocket rhythms. With songs that blur the line between the personal and the political, the tracks have a sonic edge that could cut a tin can, hinting at the duo's mix of noise and songcraft and taking it one step further. It's a ride that grabs the listener and take them on a journey that stops along walls of fuzz and the shores of reverb along the way. While fans of the band will like this, I think the real challenge is playing it for people you know that claim to be into garage rock but aren't in the know to see their reaction. They're currently preparing two albums for next year and, if this EP is a sign, Mr. And the Mrs have no intention of laying back musically. (BOONE)
(mrandthemrs.bandcamp.com)

PADDLEFISH - Spill Me CD

I know this came out a couple months back but it flew under the radar as other things got in the way so I didn't come across the reminder to listen until now. The latest from this (now based in) Chicago band continues the simmering guitar based indie meets alt rock full of crunchy guitars, and a knack for semi languid yet somehow breezy melodies when needed that keeps the energy level going forward. The songs have a crunch that's both edgy yet feels as comfortable as an old gas station jacket you may have gotten at a thrift store long ago. While the band still wears their influences on their sleeves somewhat there's a vibe here that makes you go along for the ride. Fans of 90s indie rock will find a lot in this CD (or cassette, if that's what you're into) that should pique their interest. (BOONE)
(High Dive Records. highdivekc.com)

SWEARIN' - Fall into the Sun LP

One of the big surprises of late 2018 was the revelation that Swearin' was coming out of hiatus and had a new album ready to go after a few years off. The latest from Swearin' burns through an aural haze with some simmering medium tempo hybrid of punk and indie songs where crunchy guitars collide with the laid back vibe in the songs, letting the dichotomy speak for itself. These songs reflect on life, growing up and the issues related to them in all the wonder, concern and other related emotions. While this could've fallen into triteness or cliches, Swearin's earnest delivery keeps the music above the fray on that front. This band has been through a lot since I saw them play at the Hairhole a number of years back and this album shows it's good to have them back. (BOONE)
(Merge Records. P.O. Box 1235. Chapel Hill, NC 27514. mergerecords.com)

KELLY BETZ - Music You Can't Listen To Because It Doesn't Exist CD

I'd been curious about some of Kelly's just released work for a while but work and other things in my life kept me from checking some of them out until I was putting together this issue and came across a few of them, choosing this one to check out for now. On this disc the experimental musician and rapper delivers an album that's part off-kilter batch of hip hop that veers into other genres as well (experimental music, folk punk, industrial, etc). Within these sonic beds Kelly tackles lyrical themes regarding blacking out, people he's met, bad relationships, dealing with someone who's suicidal, et al and how these things may link in ways you don't expect. It's a ride that's sometimes like an aural pinball game as the listener is taken from place to place. Kelly's been creating from a lot of different places lately and I'm curious what the other projects are sounding like. (BOONE)
(kellybetz.bandcamp.com)








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