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ISSUE 171 (28TH ANNIVERSARY) RECORDING REVIEWS
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For 28 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 CDRs 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'l check it out as well (as with CDRs 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

BEAUTY PILL -Please Advise LP
I was wondering what Beauty Pill was up to when I found out that they had a couple of albums in the works; upon learning about this one I picked up a bundle and gave it a listen. On their latest full length, Beauty Pill leans more towards a mix of electronic music combining samples, loops, and electro sounding beats to the band's introspective yet alluring take on underground rock. Artsy and sometimes jarring, the music here takes the listener by surprise and takes them into a place where the unfamiliar lingers and once doesn't know what to expect next. Blending originals with a cover of "Tattooed Love Boys" that goes to an area the Pretenders would never go, the handful of tracks here take elements of what's heard on dance floors and mutate it into thoughtful sonic commentary on the world around us. The vinyl, CD, and cassette versions each include a different track exclusive to that format which makes each physical copy something a little different than the other ones. Beauty Pill has always had something that lures me in and gets my attention and this release is no exception. Whoa!!! (BOONE)
(Northern Spy Records. 122 Washington Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11205. northerspyrecs.com)



KELLY BETZ - The Outsider download album
I was barely aware of this coming out even though I interviewed Kelly last issue so when I found out I had to give it a stream and find out for myself. On his latest Kelly's music takes a darker turn as his indie pop rock songs get pushed by distorted bass lines and elements of dissonant guitar throughout. Along the way he gives us songs about coping, relationships, not sleeping and other issues related to life as an outsider in this society. It's a moody intense aural ride that can take the listener by surprise but is chock full of hooks and has a comfortable feel that acts as a sonic spoonful of sugar to let the music go down easier. Kelly has long had an interesting and diverse sonic output in punk, indie, and rap and with this he's creating something that stands on its own while not alienating listeners all that much. Need to buy the download of this in a moment. (BOONE)
(kellybetz.bandcamp.com)



ARRINGTON de DIONYSIO - Lungs download album
I know this has been out for a little while but a number of work and life circumstances have kept me from being able to get to this album until now. On his latest album Arrington creates a surreal eclectic sonic landscape that can go from noise to a somber solo experimental sax piece to throat singing and the like to create audio pieces that seek to confront, shock, and even enlighten at moments. Striving for art and communication over what's easy the music here often seems on the spot but may in fact hide things deeper within, knowing more than a casual listener may think at first. I admit this album may be unsettling for some people but those who take the time to listen may find the challenge to be one they'll appreciate by the time it reaches it s sonic climax. Listen and make up your own mind[ I only hope this review's description did justice to the album as a whole. (BOONE)
(arrington.bandcamp.com)

L.A. MACHINA - "Welcome to the Machina" single.
I heard a snippet of one of these songs and was curious so I went and purchased the seven inch a couple of months back but couldn't really listen until now due to postal delivery times et al. On their latest single L.A. Machina throw down an incendiary brew of hard driving power rock that demands your attention. "Not Another Teenage Head" is a feral blend of guitar hooks mixed with slight traces of noise rock and post psychedelia. On the flip side "Go" is a breezily fast in your face punk infused rocker that kicks out the jams and goes for the throat in its catchy melodies and lurking bass edge that waits for the kill. Both songs are high energy, blasting through the speakers and have enough of a blend of power, aggression, and hooks to appeal to fans of punk, metal, and noise. In a perfect world this single would receive at least semi moderate airplay on those mersh radio stations that brag about playing "everything that rocks" but since it's not that world get this single, enjoy and remind yourself what others are missing. (BOONE)
(Alternative Tentacles Records. P.O. Box 419092. San Francisco, CA 94141-9092. USA. alternativetentacles.com)

PLEDGE DRIVE - Second Impressions cassette EP
I was online looking at some reviews on MRR's website when I came across a review of it that piqued my curiosity so I gave it a listen and had to tell you about it. The latest from Pledge Drive delivers powerfully frenetic underground rock with elements of early post punk in the mix. Blending driving guitar fused hooks with squawking bits of sax and catchy rhythms makes for these songs taking on conspiracy theories, pyramid schemes, and assumptions about vegetarians and protein among other things. Walking the thin line between the catchy and the off kilter this band draws from early punk and post punk but adds their own take on the style. There are still a few cassettes of this available but there's a chance it might be download only in the near future due to limited edition. Surprised that I hadn't heard of Pledge Drive sooner and think you should check it out. (BOONE)
(What's Your Breakfast Records)

RIBBON STAGE - My Favorite Shrine EP
I had been curious about this release for some time so when I was putting this issue together I was looking around for some music and decide to give this a spin. Ribbon Stage offers us a few short sharp slabs of poppy garage leaning rock that draws from the indie rock scene of the early to mid 90s, taking the songs to their basic essentials. Reverb fueled guitar and simple beats bordering on the primitive power these personal songs that walk a thin line between introspection and heart being fully on sleeve. It’s simple yet somewhere under the surface there’s something here that has more of an edge than expected in these lo-fi songs. Admittedly, Ribbon Stage is not reinventing what indie has become in 2020. They have managed to put a fresh spin on the stripped-down to the basics instrument approach and indie rock attitude that proved this kind up music in the underground is a close, almost cousin to punk. Good music in this seven-inch. Now I need to pick up a physical copy of this . (BOONE)
(K Records. Box 7154. Olympia, WA 98507. USA. krecs.com)

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