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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

BAD WIRES - F%*&ed Up and Live CDEP

This came to my attention as a surprise while looking online so I decided to take a chance. Intended as an EP for their SXSW Tour, the debut from Bad Wires blasts out the speakers with a raw almost feral type of hard driving underground rock taken from a mix of rehearsal space recordings and a couple of tracks from their interpretation earlier this year of Mussorgsky's Pictures of an Exhibition. From noise leaning rock rave-ups to classical rearrangements, the band puts their spin on the songs with tight tempos and incendiary guitar work that even in this live and rough audio setting rips the listener's face off and demands a response. It's far from a perfect recording in some ways but it captures the energy of the band live and should be a good jumping off point for those curious as well as those of us waiting for the debut album. It's interesting to watch Bad Wires evolve and create on this EP; now I need to head on off to buy this for myself. (BOONE)
(badwires.bandcamp.com)

THE BRALETTES - Cheers! download album

This was still in the pre release stages when I did the interview with them so I didn't get a chance to really hear this until a month or so after it came out in mid January. The debut full-length from The Bralettes delivers some simmering low fi leaning indie rock that hints at pop and punk at moments. Framing personal themes both directly and within a more story like approach (especially notable on the album opener) the songs here maintain an honesty where the listener gets enough info to know what's going on within the bittersweet sounding guitars, to the point beats, and simmering yet breezy pace of the music. The Bralettes may have been learning as they went but the band has taken their influences and created something that manages to be comfortable without seeming old hat. Catchy debut from a band that has me curious about what they'll come up with next. (BOONE)
(bralettes.bandcamp.com)

CLIQUEY BITCHES - download EP

This came to my attention after taking a break from doing this issue caused by technical errors. The debut from Cliquey Bitches (formerly known as Scorpio Scorpio) is an energetic catchy blend of pop melodies meets punk energy harnessed into songs with hooks sharp enough to cut a tin can with (though you wouldn't want to). Crunchy guitar and hook laden organ fuel songs that reference being alone, relationships that fall apart, learning to carry on and the like. Mining the gray area between pop, indie, and punk, the trio delivers with a raw edged breeziness that comes from left field and refuses to let up. While I'm not sure whether this is the start of a new band or merely a one-off, the music here reveals a group that seeks to carve their own aural pathway and may snare the listener without realizing it. Only a download for now but will see if they decide to put this out on tape or CD or vinyl and let you know any news on that front. (BOONE)
(allisonwolfe.bandcamp.com)

THE DOLLYROTS - Everything/Do You Love Me

I'd known that this band was working on a new album they were funding themselves but was surprised to learn this single was dropping so I took a chance and streamed it. The A side ("Everything") is an anthemic punk rock love song with driving melodies and a catchy as hell chorus that almost dares you not to sing along. The B side is a cover of the Contours' classic, bringing the oldies 60s era pop influence of the band to the forefront and rocking it up a bit. Both tracks are prime Dollyrots - catchy punk flavored rock that owes as much to vintage AM radio pop as they do to the loud fast rules ethos of 76 and unapologetically so. Once again the Dollyrots prove that poppiness in punk rock doesn't have to neuter the subgenre - as long as you know where to find inspiration. Kudos to Wicked Cool Records for putting this out as both a download and a seven-inch. (BOONE)
(thedollyrotswcr.bandcamp.com)

EX HEX - It's Real LP

I was beginning to wonder what happened to this band when news emerged they were working on a new album; so when this was available to stream pre release I decided to listen. On their second album Ex Hex unleash some driving rock'n'roll full of hard edged guitars, tight song hooks, and songs that detail the ups and downs of relationships and life. The songs are almost absurdly catchy with tasty guitar licks driving these potential anthems along; catching your ear and not letting up throughout. It's Real exists on multiple levels, whether it's hinting in the lyrics that all may or may not be as it seems in these personal songs or in the catchiness and passion of the music it manages to live up to the title. In a truly just world Ex Hex's latest disc would be getting some decent airplay on rock radio but, since we don't live in that world, you'll have to check it out for yourselves and make up your own mind. Personally, I say take the chance and get it. (BOONE)
(Merge Records. P.O. Box 1235. Chapel Hill, NC 27514. mergerecords.com)

MR. AND THE MRS. - Look Ma' No Microphone LP

I'd known a little about this release for a month or so but hadn't really taken the time to check it out until I was putting this issue together. On this album, Mr. and the Mrs. take their style of raw garage punk down a different path by offering up a collection of instrumental rave-ups. With a sonic bed of drums and noisy, overdriven to near fuzz level guitar along with some reverb and tremolo the duo create a series of sonic moods that take punk and garage rock and delve into surf and other semi related sonic journeys in these aural explorations. What emerges allows the mind to roam as if the audio version of some strange movie that references monsters, horror, fascism, corporations and the like without a single lyric. Look Ma' No Microphone takes Mr. and the Mrs. Away from their vocals but allows the dark moody nature of the music to bubble up from underneath and take control - and is the better for it. While it's only available as a download for now the duo is working on getting it available on both cassette and vinyl, thus the reason we're saying it's an LP rather than a download album. (BOONE)
(mrandthemrs.bandcamp.com)

POTTY MOUTH - Snafu LP

When news of this album broke over the Internet my interest was piqued on multiple levels so when I finally got a chance to give it a listen I took the plunge. On their latest album Potty Mouth tears into a batch of buzzy guitar fueled underground rock fresh from the oven full of poppy hooks and a blend of gooey harmonies and crunchy guitars. These personal tales draw in a range of influences and sonic ranging from pure pop to punk edginess to even the occasional hint of post alt indie rock at times. Within this loose aural framework comes something extremely catchy that demands a reaction and puts a smile on your face. Potty Mouth's latest delivers the goods for those wanting tight well crafted underground rock that can exist in both the power pop and punk worlds. I have to say that I highly recommended this album - now I need to go out and buy a copy of this. (BOONE)
(Get Better Records. P.O. Box 19267. Philadelphia, PA 19143. getbetterrecords.bandcamp.com)

THE SILVER MACHINE - Standing on the Bare Ground LP

I came across news of this while I was killing time online and it piqued my curiosity enough that when I had a chance to give it a listen I decided to take it. The Silver Machine delivers moody spacey dirge rock filled to the brim with the point drumming, spaced out synth lines, and tweaked out guitar. The end result are songs that can go from near hypnotic ex to trippy rock rave-ups as the album progresses as they hint at psychedelia, neo glam space rock and the just plain trippy. Blurring the lines between what's personal and what's more obtuse, there's something about this album that makes it appear to come out of left field yet somehow hit familiar points of reference. It's that listenability that will snare you and refuse to let up. I know The Silver Machine might not be every reader's bottle of whiskey but this album has an amount of mystery to it that will make you want to come out in the hopes of finding out more about what lies beneath. (BOONE)
(Alternative Tentacles Records. P.O. Box 419092. San Francisco, CA 94141-9092. alternativetentacles.com)

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