Truth Club - 'Not An Exit'

Steve Prefontaine was one of the greatest runners and personalities ever to exist in the sport. He was under six feet, had one leg shorter than the other, and still managed to dust every person that towered over him because, to him, there was literally no other option. “To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift.” 

So what exactly do the big lads of NYC and across the pond in the U.K. think they’re going to do when Truth Club steps up to the start line? To be quite honest, I don’t even think they’ll be able to get a step in before they’re left in the wake. 

Truth Club is an avant-ferry-garde, rare earth metal, post-punk group out of Raleigh, North Carolina and their newest release, Not An Exit (Tiny Engines) is an absolute slammer. 9 songs filled with layers of anxiety, longing, and dissociation that not even a trailer truck full of Prozac would slow these folks down. These songs are the culmination of early British post-punk grooves slammed head on with high pop sensibilities, say for instance if Bauhaus was walking down an alley, came across the Killers and the Strokes, and a brawl ensued. The instrumentation on these songs is perfectly arranged and you can’t help but boogie in your room by yourself in the dark while a candle is flickering in the background. 

Although there are dark tidings accompanying this album, there is still room for hope and beauty. “I Know There Is” starts it off with a message- “I hope that you hope that there is a right place for us”. Reflecting over anxious thoughts or morose feelings can only get you so far until you’re left empty with no growth, but Truth Club is able to do push ups during their deep digs and extract earnest meaning from their experiences. 

“No Planned Sequel” goes through so many different phases, ending with a gut punch of guitar and lyrics that blindside you, “I’m impressed with your willingness to redact unwritten contracts for the sake of potential mutual happiness and no planned sequel” Being vulnerable takes courage and the risks that come with taking off your armor sometimes become so overwhelmingly scary that if something isn’t continuously guaranteed then what’s the end goal? Is a day of true happiness really worth it if you don’t get to experience those vivid emotions again? Truth Club understand this type of reflection on relationships and emotion isn’t easy and taking responsibility for your own faults is crucial if you want to grow. In the end, these folks have created a phenomenal, concise record and want you to know that lying to yourself about the past and your interpretation of it only furthers the depressive cycle.

You can’t live without truth. 

RIYL: Quietly freaking out while your friends have a good time, Protomartyr, Everything all at once in your mind//nothing at the same time, Ba uhaus versus the Killers and Strokes in an alley fight,  Trying like hell to jitterbug your anxiety away

Favorite Tracks: Student Housing, No Planned Sequel, Tethering, Not an Exit

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Written by Ira Mason (@spookEguy420_69)


halfsour - 'Sticky'

Well... what’re you looking at? 

Listen, pal. I know the riffs are choice and the rhythm section is keeping the angst in the forefront, but that doesn’t mean that you get to talk about Pearl Jam while they’re playing, frick Pearl Jam. Eddie Veder can go kick rocks. 

halfsour is a power-pop three piece hailing from Boston and Sticky is their second full length following 2016’s Tuesday Night Live, released through Jigsaw records in 2016. Their newest, released through Fire Talk and Disposable America, is a powerful, concise zing dinger that brings the crunch with a steady stream of honesty, intimacy, and frustration. This is pop, this is punk, this is definitely not pop-punk. Boy howdy no siree. Those lame-o’s wanna get out of this town; halfsour wanna burn it down and analyze every burning ember to make sure we do better next time. 

The single “Blurred Camera Phone” helped to set the tone for what the lyrical environment of this album was going to entail. It’s a reflection of an everyday event pushed to profoundness by the instruments behind it and the strength in Zoe Wylner’s voice. I guess I should really think twice more about the shit I do everyday. With Sticky, the best parts are found in the small details and a constant reminder of how I need to slow down and think about the reason why I couldn’t stop staring at the one oil stain on the road for 4 hours when I was working as a flagger for PennDOT during the summer after my freshman year of college.

The reason I bring up that job specifically is because something about this album brings the memories of standing around and flipping a “STOP/GO” sign for hours up to the forefront of my mind. This album is strong in painting cohesive pastiches that meld together in the form of a landscape much akin to the cover art. Everyone talks about how at a certain point when you’re driving, the landscape blurs together to form one image, but what happens when you stand around for hours on end staring at the same patch of road, same group of people, and same trees? You’re mind begins to create a cohesive image of how this landscape is affecting you, and once you’ve created that image, what’s next? For halfsour, the only obvious conclusion is to write about the things that have occurred within this image in order to make sense of the mundane. 

There’s a moment in Paris, Texas when Harry Dean Stanton’s character, Travis, is picking up his son from school and they begin walking home. What could be scene as a simple, everyday task in any parent’s life becomes elevated because the focus is beyond the environment of the school and city which have become the blurred, still background. Take a moment to look down at an oil spill, or consider why those two people were walking the whole way home separated across the street? Everything’s important, even if it’s just gum on the sole of your shoe. 

RIYL: Scraping your knees in the summer, drinking on a stoop yelling about it all, the best flannel….you know the one I always wear, The Breeders, Guadalcanal Diary, Speedy Ortiz

Favorite Tracks: Blurred Camera Phone, Built-In Guilt, All Gone, Big Teeth, Milk Bath

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Written by Ira Mason (@spookEguy420_69)


DEHD - 'Water'

Ahhhh here it is….that first thicc sweat of the summer. Soon enough it’s going be too hot to move and we’re all gonna die from global warming, but let’s just take moment to bask in the transition from winter to spring and from spring to the warmth of early summer. At this point every year I think back to when I was living in a dorm going to school at the University of Pittsburgh with one of my best friends. We both had penny boards and had been exiled to dorm purgatory over the harsh winter leading into finals hell. Finally we were free and he asked me if it was time to “Boardenburg”?, to which I opened the window, felt the warm sunshine, and said hell yeah. Cruising thru Oakland and feeling absolutely free, there it was, bliss.

DEHD is a trio from Chicago that’s been consistently been putting out great tunes since their self-titled album in 2016. Water, released this May has been another hurdle forward for these psych drenched garage rippers. These 13 songs fly by and are so enjoyable as they take you through different lanes of psych, garage rock, and absolutely stunning VU grooves. The guitar and bass are locked in so tight to their minimal, yet powerful melodies and everything is brought to an exclamation point by the drums. The drums on this album are bop hoppin all over the place in the best way, creating grooves and fills so choice. This is an album to feel like a smiley dirtbag too.

The other luring aspect of this album is the vocals, which I feel can only be described as chameleonesque; leaving you on your toes trying to pin down who the vocalist is emulating. The song “Wait” brings to mind Richard Hell’s drawl and songs “Lucky” and one of my favs off the album, “Lake”, have hushed lush vocals that are reminiscent of the Zombies, but much more relaxed, like if the Zombies knew how to kickflip and ate at Taco Bell. In the end the vocals here are of their own brand and to try to keep at this name game of who sounds like what takes away from how the singing is, which is, very good.

Ultimately, DEHD have created an album that slowly walks you through feelings and emotions in order to process things in the summer sun. When I write reviews I make it a point to listen to an album at least 3-4 times before writing a word. Everytime I listen thru this lovely album I get to the song “On My Side” and when the chorus hits I’m welled up with emotion about the memory of “Boardenburg”, the feelings of abandon and joy, and I realize that this band has punched me right in the stomach. I’m not young anymore, but I’m still young, and so are you, and that’s good and we’re going to try to make sure others know that too. Time is on our side and love is calling.

RIYL: Dirty hair doo-wop, Hanging ten at the sock-hop, Richard Hell wearing a Zommy Bamaha shirt, Feeling them Feelings

Favorite Tracks: Lucky, On My Side, Push the Crowd, Lake

Written by Ira Mason (@spookEguy420_69)


Soundcheck - April 26, 2019

Every week or so we will roundup some songs we really dig and share them with you. We hope you enjoy these as much as we do. Have a nice day. (Sorry we have not done one of these in a while!)

Being Dead - "Apostle's Prom

The whole EP Fame Money Death by Being Dead is so enjoyable. Seemingly light-hearted and fuzzed out, this two piece from Austin, TX makes rock quite entertaining. "Apostle's Prom" has a slow burner feel that makes you wanna drop dead on your bed, kick your feet up, and play air instrumentals. The commentary at the end before the final moments of the track is just so raw. Honestly epic. Music just isn't like this anymore. I'm going in for seconds on this. 

Shormey - "Boogie Island" 

Do you need a pick me up? Shormey has the goods for you. Cruise into positivity with  "Boogie Island." As you could assume from the track name alone, this single is rather groovy. Combining sounds of psychedelia, disco, and soul, Shormey Adumuah whips up music her own way from the confines of her bedroom. I can't help but move to this. People need to smile more. Seems like Shormey will be attacking just that on Boogie Island Vol 1., which is dropping May 10 via Citrus City.  

Pale Spring - "Happening" 

I don't know what it was but I got my hair cut a little bit shorter yesterday... was really feeling myself... this song kinda hits in the same vein. Own the club in the shadows of others being ridiculous. Emily Scott's vocals shimmer over top gloomy electronic production to deliver a fully realized and original goth-pop sound. Look out for her debut full-length CYGNUS next month. It'll surely be tighttt. 

Wild Firth - "Nevermind" 

Wild Firth just released their new album Lawn Memory TODAY! "Nevermind" is a cut off that record. There is something to be said about this self-described "blissed out" indie rock. The droning garage tones on this track are so comforting. I definitely dig Will Fraser's vocals as well as they fluctuate between lethargic muttering and cracking high pitch calls. I'm in for the ride. Check out the complimentary "vision quest" below and spin the full album if you like.

Peter Cat Recording Co. - "Floated By" 

This jazz track really caught my attention. The video is just as captivating as it dives head first into Indian culture at frontman Suryakant Sawhney's own wedding. I love every bit of this. A beautiful horn section, smooth drums, confident vocals, guiding guitar... this is it :) 

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Mini Dresses - 'Heaven Sent'

I don’t think I could ever live anywhere that doesn’t have a noticeable change in seasons. Don’t get me wrong I completely understand why southern places like L.A. have their draws, the weather is incredible//sunshine forever, but there’s just something about it that my brain can’t get behind.

I was talking to a friend recently who said something along the line that they read somewhere it’s more difficult for folks living in stable climates to have more specific lines on their memories, like instead of a season they look to specific years as indicators since no markers of season change aid in their recollection. I have no citation and you can snopes me all you want, but the idea really struck a chord in me and right after that I put this album on.

Mini Dresses are a band from Boston, Massachusetts who create music that you crawl out of your seasonal depression to. Prior to this release, they’ve been consistently recording and releasing solid music since 2012. With Heaven Sent, their second full length after a self-titled album and a string of solid EP’s, Mini Dresses have really locked it in. Right off the bat “I’d Notice” comes in strong with driving drums and bass that compliments these slick dream grooves, and then there’s the guitar just willing you to open your blinds. Once you rip the curtain back, here comes the sunshine and the vocals.

How long has it been gray? God damn it’s bright, but wow I guess my body already drug me outside. I’m laying down in the grass and never moving.

Photo: Ty Ueda

The vocals on this album are pristine and the effects and production added to them only accentuate how strong they are, these aren’t masking effects, these are cherries on top. “Heaven Sent” is playing as I stroll along the street on this ridiculously Spring day; taking note of the blooming flowers amongst thoughts of relief that winter is over. This album to me is one of noticing change but also being thankful for how it got there. Winter is always tough, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything because there’s something beautiful about making memories with snow and solitude and struggle that wills spring to come and without it how do we know what progress is?

As I’m walking along thinking about all of these things, getting all up in a stoic tizzy, “Lady Running” begins and I’m stopped dead in my tracks. This is SPRING, I’ve made it once again, and I’m different than before, just take a minute. Crying as I’m walking the album continues and Mini Dresses have nailed the peaks and valleys of early spring, from “Shadow Play” to “The One Who Heard You”. Blooming, changing feelings, and a lot of dreaminess, yes thank you Mini Dresses, and thank you album art for invoking the same feelings.

In the end this isn’t a diatribe against warm climates, these folks are from Boston and I’m from Pittsburgh. This is as much a sunshine summer album for some as it is a springtime bop, but this is where I’m at now and this is how I feel about it. My only hope is you folks listen to it and feel yourself filled with bright beams and pensive thoughts in any type of variety like I did as soon as I hit play.

RIYL: Beat Happening, Alvvays, The Feelies, Beach House, Seasons changing//Sunshine//Snowfall

Favorite Tracks: Lady Running, Heaven Sent, I’d Notice, The One Who Heard You

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Written by Ira Mason (@spookEguy420_69)