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For almost 30 years we here at The Trouble With Normal have been interested in hearing 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-R's 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 other obligations in our lives) 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

KELLY BETZ - Losing Everyone Is Easy download EP
Musically Kelly Betz is an artist who has taken us on diverse rides so when I learned about this new release I knew I had to give it a listen. On this mini album Kelly goes for indie rap over electronic sonic beds with heavy synth presence that often lean towards a bit of distortion. These songs appear to be tales of antisocial behavior, loss, and dealing with the need to move on among other things. While the sound is modern and fits a lot of what rap sounds like today the vocals are buried in the mix at a couple of points and that almost hinders the overall effect as the EP continues. Even when that's taken into account it still remains a good listen and manages to add another dimension to Kelly's diverse output over the past year. Kelly Betz' work is known for being willing to take risks and this is no exception. As he moves to Chicago I wonder what direction his art will take. (BOONE)
(kellybetz.bandcamp.com)

THE DARTS - Love Tsunami single
I learned about this single when I was preparing for my interview with this band for the previous issue so when I got the chance to give it a listen I dove in to stream it. On their latest The Darts (U.S.) throw down some raw and energetic garage rock built on fuzzed out guitar leads, reedy combo organ and in your face beats in these three short sharp audio blasts. "Love Tsunami" tears through the speakers with all systems at go as it goes for your ears and your jugular. "Shit Show" builds on the sonic contrast between simmering mid tempo verses and full on rocking choruses. "Underground" wraps this up with a straight up garage punk rave-up. All three songs have a catchiness that demands a reaction and will likely have you wanting more. Yeah, I admit I'm biased here but once again The Darts shows how vital garage rock and its links to punk can be even in this age. There were some picture discs of this available at the live shows in May and June of 2022 but they're likely all sold out but I hear a seven-inch should be coming soon. (BOONE)
(Seven inch coming soon from Adrenalin Fix Records. Download available from: thedartsus.bandcamp.com)

DFMK - Dame Peligro single
I heard about this and was curious so when the seven inch (on red vinyl) came my way as part of AT's singles club I gave it a spin when I had time. On their latest single, DFMK throws down the sonic gauntlet with some aggressive punk flavored rock'n'roll that walks the line between punk and hardcore. Loud fast songs built on aggressive wall of crunch guitar work drive these short sharp sonic blasts with Spanish lyrics delivered with full ferocity and enough energy to power a medium sized city. This band has harnessed their sound over the years and it shows on these songs. I'd never heard of DFMK before learning of this single but now am curious to hear more from them. (BOONE)
(Alternative Tentacles Records. P.O. Box 419092. San Francisco, CA 94141. alternativetentacles.com)

GENTLEMEN ROGUES - Francy/I've Got A Match
I was looking around online regarding new music out there when a review of this piqued my interest so I ventured out and streamed it. Gentlemen Rogues are a melodic blend of punk meets power pop where crunchy yet jangly guitars meet straightforward drums on these two songs. "Francy" is a driving blast of punk full of saturated guitar work and a lot of energy. "I've Got A Match" on the flip side is more on the jangly near ballad side with a simmering tempo and a more introspective feel. Both tracks are short and sweet, not claiming to be anything they aren't as they make their case and get out. This is sonic comfort food of sorts for a lot of fans of old style melodic punk and early power pop (though a bit raw by the standards of the latter) and should be something that readers will find a lot to enjoy here. (BOONE)
(Seven inch available from: Snappy Little Numbers Records: snappylittlenumbers.limitedrun.com. Download and limited edition tri color 7" available from: snappylittlenumbers.bandcamp.com)

THE LINDA LINDAS - Growing Up LP
I've been curious about this band ever since I first saw footage of them playing in a library during the pandemic. On their full-length debut this young quartet blazes through some melodic catchy punk rock that walks a fine line between polish and crunch. Their songs about the various aspects of being young such as feeling out of place, talking to themselves, growing up, dealing with racist sexist boys et al are fueled by catchy harmonies driven by a straight-ahead rhythm section and often overdriven dual rhythm guitars to push things home. Within this framework the band experiments by adding an electronic drum beat or elements of Latin music on occasion. The Linda Lindas have gotten a lot of notice of late and, while this album is a little different from their live performances (or at least the footage I've seen) it shows a band taking the world around them and letting it shine through their music. Definitely put a smile on my face. (BOONE)
(Epitaph Records)

THE REAL DISTRACTIONS - Stupid EP
This is another band that caught my attention when looking elsewhere online so I decided to stream this. The Real Distractions throw down some straight for the gut underground rock'n'roll where overdriven guitars and a knack for driving but catchy hooks. In the process their songs come out with an attitude that's rough around the edges and wears it as a badge of honor as they take on topics ranging from general stupidity to the problematic side of FOSTA/SESTA et al. Musically this band seems to take their roots in early punk and proto punk and reshape it in a sound that's familiar but not an exact clone. This band knows their wheelhouse but makes it work for them and has you wanting to hear more along the way. This 45 is a split release between Perennial Records and K Records. I highly recommend giving The Real Distractions' music a listen and making up your own mind. (BOONE)
(Vinyl available from: K Records. Box 7154. Olympia, WA 98507. Download available from: therealdistractions.bandcamp.com)

PICTORIA VARK - The Parts I Dread LP
I'd seen the name mentioned a couple of times but hadn't heard her work until recently when I had the chance to give this a listen. On her full-length debut Pictoria Vark delivers a collection of indie rock (for lack of a better term) that often touches base with folk but also has footing with noise and elements of psychedelic music along the way. Driven by her vocals and bass lines, these simmering tempo songs detail the struggles of growing up melding acoustic and electric guitars in a languid vibe and at several points ride dynamic extremes from gentle to noise when necessary. While there is a melancholy here there also is a sense of hope as well. This album might not be every reader's bottle of whiskey but those seeking something a little different should take the chance and give this album a listen. (BOONE)
(Upcoming vinyl copies available from: Get Better Records. P.O. Box 19267. Philadelphia, PA 19143. gettbetterrecords.com. Download available at: pictoriavark.bandcamp.com)


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