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For over 27 years we here at The Trouble With Normal have been interested in hearing some of the music that you have been making and recording. 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 CD-Rs also.) to our cramped but we call it home P.O. Box so we can possibly review it. If your release is only available as a download send us a link and we'll check it out as well (as with CD-Rs and tapes please make a cover for 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. Boone

FEA - No Novelties LP

This was an album that I was wondering about since I first learned it was in the works so when I got a chance to stream it I dove right in. The second album from Fea continues their trajectory of driving melodic punk rock with lyrics in English and Spanish. Songs tackle life on the road, relationship issues, the effects of social media and sociopolitical issues with a driving rhythm section and tight hook laden yet heavy guitar throughout. With a new guitarist and a slightly smoother production the songs capture a high energy vibe, pushing the sound forward while letting the songs breathe. No Novelties is a catchy slab of anthemic modern punk that continues Fea's knack for driving songs while showing they still offer some surprises along the way. (BOONE)
(Blackheart Records)

JOHN GALBRAITH TRIO - All the Little Things CD

There has been a number of discs I'd been curious about with this one being fairly high on the list so when I heard it would be up for a pre physical release stream I decided to give it a listen. The latest from John Galbraith Trio starts on a more introspective note with acoustic instruments taking center stage as they venture form introspective ballads to up-tempo power pop along the way. With the trio centering the songs, they flesh out the sound at times with horns, electric piano (they became a quartet partway through making this) giving the music a vibe similar to late 60s/early 70s rock before closing with a blast of sonic energy. Galbraith and company have long been one of mid Missouri's more interesting acts when it comes to melodic rock and power pop and they again take the listener down an unexpected path. Definitely give All the Little Things a listen and make up your own mind. (BOONE)
(cdbaby.com/JohnGalbraithTrio for more information)

THE MUFFS - No Holiday double LP

This is bittersweet to review on several levels as it shows both a return of sorts and a swansong. On their new album the Muffs take on songs written [but left off albums] between 1991 and 2017 for a wide reaching album that can go from mid tempo driving rockers to more introspective ballads (with one almost hinting at country flourishes) on a dime. There is a sense of both hope and reluctance in these songs as takes on love, loss, and carrying on shine through these tracks, walking a thin line between the romantic and the melancholy on these 18 tracks. No Holiday does wrap up the Muffs' legacy on a sad note as founder Kim Shattuck died of ALS very shortly before its release but it does reveal a long ranging sonic vision and reveals what the band was capable of. It's sad that it had to end this way on multiple levels but at least we can put on the records on and have the music. (BOONE)
(Omnivore Recordings)

NEGATIVLAND - TrueFalse double LP

A lot has been going on lately but when I learned this album was coming out I knew I'd have to take some time and give it a listen. The new album from Negativland finds the long running multimedia guerillas going down a more song focused path, combining their cut and paste technique to an minimalist leaning electronic music sound bed. What emerges is a surreal travel into the state of American society in an age where what is true and what is false is open for debate. Mixing recorded samples from various sources with cut and pasted bits from band members, the songs are commentaries that look into topics such as social media, isolation, money, and how these both interconnect as well as how they seem completely separate from each other. With both current members as well as contributions from members who've died in the past few years the overall effect seems to gently lead the listener into the fray, only to have them jarred along the way by what they encounter. Longtime readers already know what to expect from a Negativland album but those unfamiliar should give TrueFalse a listen and decide for themselves what is true and what is false - or what's somewhere in between. (BOONE)
(Seeland Records. negativland.com)

SHEER MAG - A Distant Call LP

This came out just before I saw them play live a few months back but due to various obligations (including my paying job) I was unable to fully take the time to listen until now. The new album from Sheer Mag explodes through the gate with some driving anthemic hard rock built on dual and triple guitar arrangements, tight hooks, and a pushing rhythm section that keeps things pushing forward while the song remains in focus. Tackling personal themes with hints at the sociopolitical throughout, these songs capture the ears and take you on a sonic journey that takes a vintage hard rock vibe and shakes it up in a modern context where things might have more underneath the surface than thought on first listen. In a perfect world this would be played on whatever passes for album rock radio these days but, for better or worse, it remains underground ready to capture people unaware of what to expect. On their second album (third if you count the compilation of their first three EPs), Sheer Mag continues to show that hard rock can still be interesting and vital regardless of what influencers and the corporate media want to tell us. (BOONE)
(Wilsun RC)

TSUNAMI BOMB - The Spine That Binds LP

When I learned that Tsunami Bomb was returning to the forefront with a new album I have to admit I was surprised so when I had a chance to hear a stream of it I took the plunge. On their new album Tsunami Bomb tear things up with some driving high energy punk rock full of chanted choruses, driving guitars, airy keyboard lines, and a rhythm section that comes across like a knockout punch. Emerging from this are songs that tackle topics such as life, anger, misogyny, and the end of the world among other things with a mix of anger, assurance, and even some vulnerability that keeps you interested and curious. Tsunami Bomb's new album takes both personal observations and calls to action to heart with energy and power that demands the listener get off their ass in more ways than one. It's always good to know that albums can still have reasons to exist and this disc is proof of that. (BOONE)
(Alternative Tentacles Records, P.O. Box 419092. San Francisco, CA 94141-9092. alternativetentacles.com)









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