Feb. 26 2014 02:00 PM

You sent it in, and we reviewed—whether you like it or not

Joe Flatt
Coffee Break 

Everything about this is bland— uninspired lyrics are met with flat vocals, simplistic acoustic guitar and woodblock. Each song presents the same tired formula. This coffee break puts me to sleep. Yawn. joeflatt.com

—Jen Van Tieghem

The Flowerthief

This classic-rock quintet has professional chops—especially the drummer. If you’re into tie-dyed guitar riffs and a moody Doorsstyle organ, you’ll have fun listening to these dudes. theflowerthief.bandcamp.com

—Joshua Emerson Smith

Don Forla
nativewisdom <-> gregorianblues 

There’s something a little, well, off about Don Forla. And I mean that in the best way possible. From the moment that nativewisdom <-> gregorianblues begins, he takes the listener on a disorienting, albeit playful, ride through psychedelic vaudeville freakouts, intertwining the complex hobo blues of Captain Beefheart with the lo-fi folk of Daniel Johnston, all narrated with the hushed and muttered vocals of an uncomfortably unstablesounding weirdo. He incorporates Latin and Southwestern touches on “Breakin in My Shoes,” which sounds as if it could have been plucked from a David Lynch film. And “The Future Sucks” is downright dreamy in its dense array of soothing guitar sounds and unexpected bursts of effects. I’m not sure I entirely understand Don Forla, but I definitely like his music. donforla.bandcamp.com

—Jeff Terich

Free and Easy Wandering
Work-In-Progress EP 

Three solid, if unexceptional acoustic-folk demos about busking, bartering and being a rambling man. Fella has a decent voice and affective storytelling, but the subject matter and sentiments overall are about as relevant as an Occupy rally. freeandeasywandering.com

—Seth Combs

Friction Monster

This one’s all over the place. There are ambient rock songs, like opening track “Waiting,” which combine interesting layers of vocals and synthesized sounds. And then, midway through the album, Friction Monster take a hard left into a screamo realm that I’m don’t particularly like. The music and vocals are strong throughout, as is the production quality. Their better tunes remind me of the better years of Our Lady Peace, which in-trigues me enough to want to catch them live. frictionmonster.com

—Jen Van Tieghem

Fuckin’ Duh
Fuckin’ Duh Mixtape ‘14 

Fuckin’ Duh is every bit as lowbrow and obnoxious as you’d imagine it to be. Maybe more so. This mixtape is nine tracks of poorly recorded dick jokes over DIY Casio beats, and while it’s consistently borderline unlistenable, there’s a kind of “Aristocrats” level of high art to their lowbrow tendencies that makes their shtick admirable as a whole. “Intellectual Head,” for instance, imagines blowjobs as a transfer of knowledge (“We’ll call this head intellectual / because you’re blowin’ my mind”) and then closes with the chant, “Feelin’ titties, feelin’ titties / feelin’ breasts.” For some reason, closing with “breasts” rather than one more “titties” just seems like an inspired move. I feel dumber, and yet richer, for having listened to Fuckin’ Duh. fuckinduh.bandcamp.com

—Jeff Terich


Hell yeah! Fuckin’ rock that shit, dudes. I hope you were wearing codpieces and spandex while recording this, ’cause this is heavymetal to the core. A little Maiden here, a little Halen there, a little folksy Zep guitar work thrown in for good measure. Hot licks all around, baby. Now, where’s the cocaine? reverbnation.com/fused

—Peter Holslin

Dan Gindling

It’s all me, but when I look at Dan Gindling, I can’t help but think of ex- Good Morning America host Charles Gibson. And I imagine if Gibson—maybe during an interview with Gordon Lightfoot or something— had spontaneously grabbed a guitar and busted out one of the stronger tunes from Fingerprints, there’s a good chance it would’ve gone over pretty well. I mean, I can totally imagine saying to my TV, “Hey, that guy’s actually not half bad.” reverbnation.com/dangindling

—Scott McDonald

The Hand of Gavrilo
The Demo 

With a name like The Hand of Gavrilo, I expected some dizzy combination of psychedelia and schlocky horror, à la Manos: The Hands of Fate. That’s not too far off from what The Hand of Gavrilo sound like, as a matter of fact—though their name most likely refers to the Serbian assassin credited with starting World War I—their effects-heavy psychrock coming across like an altrock Blue Cheer with a touch of The Mars Volta’s rhythmically complex prog. It’s hard-rocking, super-fun stuff, and with a slightly bigger studio budget, these guys could do some serious damage. thehandofgavrilo.bandcamp.com

—Jeff Terich

Hanging from the Rafters
Box of Songs 

This female-fronted three-piece reminds me of Everything but the Girl if only they were filtered through a prog-rock lens and the more sinister of Massive Attack’s low-tempo grooves. The album never really gels as a whole, but they seem to be headed in the right direction. soundcloud.com/hangingfromtherafters

—Scott McDonald

Sharon Hazel Township
14 C Bags Earnest and raw, Ms. Hazel definitely puts her heart into these eight tracks. But, to me, the folky, acoustic, pseudo-blues back drop that frames it isn’t working. Hazel is charismatic and definitely has something to say. I’d just love to see her experiment: Get all Saul Williams and really let loose, try some spoken word or fiddle with electronic elements. The dish is there; I think the recipe just needs a few more herbs and spices. reverbnation.com/sharonhazel

—Scott McDonald


Have you ever walked down the street and written a song based on your observations, to the rhythm of your footsteps? Something that might sound like: There is a man / there is a bus / hope it doesn’t rain / cuz then it might rust. Most of Headsick’s songs have this quality, but turned up to a grungy extreme. However, according to their Facebook page, the singer is a diagnosed schizophrenic, which gives his mental turmoil—a common lyrical theme—added poignancy. It’d be a mistake to confuse these songs with run-of-the-mill adult angst; rather, they offer an intimate portrayal of mental illness and one man’s struggle to cope with it. reverbnation.com/headsickepic

—Ryan Bradford

The Heart Beat Trail
Fear of Being Alone; Halloween Annual No. 3 double EP 

The first of these two EPs is an alt-country affair complete with twangy tremolo guitar and lyrics full of cliché cowboy jargon. It’s as hokey as a Wild West town in an amusement park, and the whole act comes off as completely unbelievable and disingenuous. The second half of this collection doesn’t deviate too far from the first. It has a bit more of a spooky ’60s psychedelic vibe to it but feels equally as inauthentic and uninspired. theheartbeattrail.bandcamp.com

—Jackson Milgaten

Hellnote My cassette player broke a while back, but I still got that warm cassette-listening vibe from the digital version of this dope hiphop beat tape. Filled with soulful beats and heady rhymes, it finds the local duo showing love for old-school hip-hop, J Dillastyle beat science and ravenous crate-digging. A little too choppy at points, but, all in all, it’s ideal for a blunted head-nodding sesh. hellnote.bandcamp.com

—Peter Holslin

Buzzkill the Magnificent EP 

Those of a certain age might remember the days of horrorcore and vintage RZA beats that could have very well been the score of a slasher film. Something tells me these beatmakers do, as well, and good on them for it. However, most of the instrumental tracks last less than a minute. Flesh ’em out a bit more and get a capable MC on there and they might be a local hip-hop force to be reckoned with. Good stuff nonethe less. hellnote.bandcamp.com

—Seth Combs


A reggae album that’s more Carnival Cruise than Pacific Beach bro party, Hirie drags through one squeaky-clean riddim after another in a homogenous display of what a tour guide speaking in a fake Jamaican accent would call “island vibes.” hiriemusic.com

—Peter Holslin

Outside Your Door 

When your names are Fat Lando, Lolita and Rhino, not to mention that you have legendary Seattle producer Jack Endino on board, and your one-sheet says the band “continues to keep guitar rock alive,” you have to be aware that you’re building some lofty expectations. And while Outside Your Door has a few nice moments and plenty of nifty guitar work, it never lives up to that promise. sound cloud.com/hocus-music

—Scott McDonald

Return of the Comeback 

Not a single song on Return of the Comeback reaches two minutes, and none of them has to. They get in, make a mess, tear shit up, break the windows, annoy your neighbors, piss on your lawn and then get the fuck out before the cops show up. Their methods mostly involve three-chord punk songs played loud, fast and with snot-rockets to spare. It’s punk rock the way it’s been done for nearly 40 years, and it sounds just fine to these ears. facebook.com/hoodrat666

—Jeff Terich

Inciting Riots
Grey Test Hits 

Grey Test Hits is a collection of punk songs from various EPs and albums released by Inciting Riots between 2001-2009. “Me & My Attitude,” “Oi Boi,” “Road Kill” and “If Not for the Ramones” are all culled from 2004’s Tim Goes to Prison and are their best offerings here: a mix of vitriolic, spirited vocals and grungy, fuzzed-out guitar set to pummeling drums. Sadly, the remaining cuts lack any urgency, often plagued by bland lyrics and dull, punk-by-thenumbers riffs. incitingriots.com

—Dustin Lothspeich

Continue reading: Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6 | Page 7 | Page 8 | Page 9 | Page 10 | Page 11 |