“Ways To Hang On” is the second album of Michigan’s THE STICK AROUNDS although the members of the band have been playing together for 8 years and played in many bands before. This is American melodic rock influenced by powerpop. You can hear some REPLACEMENTS influences, or even early REM (“Better Off Like This”) and a bit of NEIL YOUNG (“Man Of Action.”) Fine melodies meet dirty guitars in “Majestic Figureheads”, the songwriting is solid, and the backing vocals always sound good, this is the kind of music you think you’d hear when turning on the radio, lost somewhere in the middle of the USA. The atmosphere of this album sometimes bring BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN and ELVIS COSTELLO to mind and THE STICK AROUNDS sometimes surprise us when adding some epic arrangements (“Hazlewood”.) They show their catchiest side in the last song on this album “Falling Down On You.” If there’s something like classic alternative, then “Ways To Hang On” should fit right in this genre. /Laurent C.
Choke Chains “Android Sex Worker”
CHOKE CHAINS are back with a second album, 11 songs available on beautiful limited edition green vinyl. CHOKE CHAINS‘ music is full of punk/noise/psych references, but they manage to mix them all, and create something very personal. Opener “Big Data Skeptic” is epileptic in a NO MEANS NO way, “Mayan Starship” has a bit of CRAMPS in it, while you’ll hear some punk rock in “Cairo Scolars”, and some garage in “Rat Ladder.” CHOKE CHAINS like their rock’n’roll full of distorted vocals, noisy guitars and larsens, they actually sometimes remind me of GIRLS AGAINST BOYS on “Android Sex Worker”, “Put Your Hands”, or “Lie From Hell” for instance. On this new album, the band knows how to get chaotic without forgetting how to rock, you can even sing along on “Galactic Overlord” or dance to “I Will Break You.”
“Android Sex Worker” also brings early MUDHONEY to mind at times although it definitely has a more apocalyptic, darker vibe, which must be something to experience live. Hound Gawd! Records has brought us a great record again! /Laurent C.
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Choke Chains “Cairo Scholars” 7″
Dark punk rock from Grand Rapids, Michigan, with an original member of DIRTBOMBS (Thomas Jackson Potter), and quite a cool band name, this sounds quite interesting, right? “Cairo Scholars” brings JESUS LIZARD, or even The CRAMPS to mind with some violent, hypnotic, noisy punk rock’n’roll that sounds just as if the band was practicing in your garage. On B side, “Billy The Monster” is a DEVIANTS cover that perfectly fits with CHOKE CHAINS‘ spirit: Creepy, danceable, and chaotic at the same time!
Orange might not be the easiest colour to wear these days, but it looks great on this 7″ vinyl brought to us by Hound Gawd! Records. These two songs will be on the apocalypse setlist, but I really hope I will get to hear more before it happens! /Laurent C.