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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 - Travelers download single

I was looking around online during some down time when I found out about this track so I gave it a listen and decided to download it. "Travelers" is a simmering moody track that walks the line between pop, art rock, and a hint of punk with a mid-tempo feel that helps drive this ode to people in our lives who've since passed on. While the track seems restrained at points that also seems to keep the vibe of the song in check, letting it breathe at its own pace rather than forcing it into a faster feel or attack. In the description Alice describes the song as a sketch at this time but even though it may emerge in a more fleshed out form later I encourage people to give this a listen now and decide for themselves. (BOONE)
(alicebag.bandcamp.com)

BIG MEDICINE - Live at Café Berlin CD

I'd been hearing about this for a while so it turned out to be a very interesting surprise when I found out it was finally out when I was back down in Como around the first of December. On their new CD, Big Medicine offer up a show they did at Columbia's Café Berlin from early March 2016 (if memory serves me correctly). On this night Eddie and the band delivered a batch of bluesy roots rock and country songs where simmering rhythms collide with a mix of clean, vibroverb fueled, and dirty lead guitars in tales of life, struggle, love, lust, time et al. Also in the mix is the fact that almost half the album's songs are previously unreleased (though several have long been played by the band live over the years) adding even more incentive to pick this baby up. Big Medicine has long tread the grey area between rock, blues, and country and while the twang seems prominent a complete listen reveals they still can't be so easily categorized. It's about time this came out. (BOONE)
(See facebook.com/eddie.boster for more information)

THE HOOTEN HALLERS - Live in Missouri CD

I would've loved to get this in the last issue but its release date would be a couple weeks after the last issue came out so I had to wait until now. This time around The Hooten Hallers document their raw blend of bluesy high energy underground rock from a May 2018 show at The Blue Note in Columbia. Driven by a blend of raunchy guitar and bass saxophone fueled grooves, the band's live experience was captured full throttle with their take it or leave it attitude on full display. This band won't be everyone's cup of bourbon but for those wanting a blend of something bluesier and more than a hint of punk attitude, The Hooten Hallers remain one of the Missouri's best kept underground rock secrets - though given some of the tours they've been on lately both in the States and abroad that may change to some degree in the near future. If you're the least bit curious I encourage you to check them out, if you're already into the band you probably already have this or plan to get this. (BOONE)
(thehootenhallers.com)

POUTY - Adulting/Not for You download single

I was looking around online for something when I decided to take a break and find some music, coming cross this in the process. Pouty delivers a couple of pieces of lo-fi leaning indie rock built on buzzy guitars meets simple beats and clear as a bell vocals. "Adulting" is a lingering song that starts clean and builds up into a sonic oomph that's both surprising and subtle. "Not for You" is a rougher songs built on a bed of distorted guitar with a hint of psychedelic leanings here and there (to my ears anyway). Both songs draw from a comfortable indie rock sonic bed but hint at something deeper within them that's not beholden to the subgenre. I don't know what Pouty will do down the road but this download single is an interesting start. (BOONE)
(getbetterrecords.bandcamp.com)

REDD KROSS - Teen Babes from Monsanto: Version Especial LP

Yes longtime readers - this is exactly what you think this is. Redd Kross have reissued an expanded version of their legendary 1984 EP of covers {and an update of their own song "Linda Blair"). On the original, the McDonald Brothers et al took on songs from Kiss the Stooges, Bowie, bubblegum songwriters Boyce and Hart among others and turned them into raw edged rock weapons that hide in the shadows between glam, punk, metal, and pop. This time they expand the palette as they give songs from the Beach Boys, the Partridge Family, The Kinks et al the band's sonic treatment and in the process once again make a record that's part homage to their roots and part sonic deconstruction. As with many things in Redd Kross' sonic evolution this shouldn't work but somehow works better than envisioned. While the original version likely polarized punk rock when the band unleashed it in the mid 80s, its re-emergence shows a band rebelling against punk expectations and remolding the subgenre in their own image. If you have the original version you should get this to hear the extra songs. If you don't own it you may want to check it out. (BOONE)
(Merge Records. P.O. Box 1235. Chapel Hill, NC 27514. mergerecords.com)

REDD KROSS - Hot Issue LP

This came out at the same time as the Teen Babes reissue so it feels right to see what this album's about as well. Hot Issue is an odds and sods collection of unreleased and rare tracks from various moments of Redd Kross' roughly 40 year (give or take a couple) career. Walking the thin line between the band's poppier elements and knack for off kilter underground rock the songs here take the listen on a journey that can go from rocking to trippy to trashy punk rawness and back (including what appears to be an embryonic version of a song that would be revamped for their 2012 LP Researching the Blues) where happy vacation odes meet with more sardonic garage psych flavored personal tales meet tracks laced with a hint of horror. In other words it's Redd Kross at their most wonderfully bizarre where the obscure reference lies in a blatantly commercial song and expecting the unexpected is the one thing listeners should realize. Like the Teen Babes reissue it won't be everyone's cup of hard soda but their fans will totally understand. If you've ever been curious about Redd Kross you may want to give this a listen. (BOONE)
(Merge Records. P.O. Box 1235. Chapel Hill, NC 27514. mergerecords.com)

WAR ON WOMEN - Live From Magpie Cage EP

I didn't know this was out until I was searching for something online and came across this so I decided to listen. On this EP, War on Women go to Magpie Cage studio and offer up acoustic versions of a handful of songs from their repertoire. The change in instrumentation finds the songs taking on more subtle textures and revealing the emotions that fuel the anger as the band takes on the sexism and misogyny in the world around us. Done live and direct, the songs take the full throttle power down a different path and manage to show how good songs can adapt to various situations. I know I'm biased but this is definitely something you should check out if you get a chance to do so. Wish I'd known about this sooner. (BOONE)
(Bridge 9 Records. 119 R Foster St. Building 4. Floor 3. Peabody, MA 01960. Bridge9.com)


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