Reviews for [RL39]
Dude Japan/Weed Hounds "split"
Strong Island REPRESENT!
Just released on Rok Lok Records, this new split 7" features two of Long Island's better acts, Dude Japan and Weed Hounds. Dude Japan opens things up with their solid take on 90s indie. It's not mindblowing, but it's certainly refreshing to hear an indie rock band that loves bands like Further and the Cherry Smash rather than, uh, whatever it is the glut of shitty indie bands listen to nowadays. I'm clearly out of touch, but what you need to know is that this band loves some good shit and it shows. "Smile & Shut The Fuck Up" is a wobbly, jangle pop romper, though I'm not really into it, it's still somewhat enjoyable. The real winner on their side is "The Storytellers," a more melancholic and gentle take on their sound. If this was their only song on the split, their side would rival the flipside. Instead, I'll just have to start the record at the halfway point.
The Weed Hounds side consists of "Hard Drivin'," which is undeniable proof that the band is more than just a fluke with a great demo. The song is probably the most propulsive thing the band has recorded, though it still manages to break for brief, fragile refrains. This is definitely the highlight of this release and the main reason to check out this split. If you loved the demo, you'll love this. If you haven't heard the demo and are into shoegazey indie pop, then this is definitely for you.
This is still available from Rok Lok, so be sure to pick up a copy. Weed Hounds has two 7" single versions of their demo coming out, as well as a new single, Beach Bummed/Skating Away From The Cops, on Iron Pier which promises to be awesome. No idea what Dude Japan is up to, but "The Storytellers" makes me want to check out more.
In my continuing efforts to play catch up on things that I had originally intended to get to before the move, here is another record that just recently came out that Iíve been giving plentiful amounts of attention. I wrote about Weed Hounds and their stellar demo cassette that seemingly everyone loved as well not too long ago on the blog, so I think that was my main motivation for buying this split originally. I hadnít heard much of Dude Japan before this record, aside from a some tracks here and there and everything that I heard sat pretty well with me, so there was a bit of anticipation to get to hear more of them too.
Released by Rok Lok records in conjunction with SNCL earlier this month; Dude Japan offers two quick and rather pleasant cuts of indie-rock that kind of lies somewhere between Superchunk and Archers of Loaf. The first track of theirs ďSmile & Shut the Fuck UpĒ starts off with everything seemingly out of tune; however quickly brings it back together to turn into a bit of a carefree/summertime anthem. They pretty much hit the mark when it comes to the sort of feel good indie-pop rock that came out in the 90ís, Iím definitely digging it. Look forward to more.
Weed Hounds put down one track here titled ďHard DriviníĒ on the flipside and itís yet again another winner of fuzz filled indie-pop. For whatever reason I seem to be drawn more to Laura Catalanoís vocals on this track more so than really anything that I heard on the demo. Whatever the reason may be, I hope it continues. Fans of the band and their demo will certainly want to pick up this split.
For those interested in picking this up, here in the US you can hit up Rok Lok or for those overseas head over to SNCL to get a copy. Definitely worth the cash.
Band names are getting worse. Have you noticed? I have. Itís just unacceptable. From now on, you should just be named after a list of your names, first or last, depending on if your parents were cruel, like Crosby Stills and Nash. Shit like that pulls no punches. Itís just three guys. You donít have to like it, but itís impossible to hate. Itís clear that gobshites with guitars canít be trusted to give their band a non-repulsive name, so thatís the way it just has to be. Iím not having any of this Dude Japan lark. In fact, Iím quite strictly opposed to the word Dude in general anyway, so to hear it in a band name makes me wince just a little bit.
Itís a good job Dude Japan arenít shite. In fact, they are really pretty great, and not shite at all. Itís actually a shame thereís only 2 tracks here, and not 10, because 10 is more than 2, and 2 isnít very many. So thatís a kick in the shitter. But, the 2 tracks you do get are gnarlyrad, and it made me not want to flip the record over, in case I was greeted by something not as gnarlyrad as Dude Japan. Whilst the other song didnít reach the same gnarlyrad levels as DeeJay, itís still the dogs knees. Japan Dudes are that sort of super-good-time-fun indie rock that youíve been dying to hear done properly for a decade or two - but it always fell short Ė done right! Toe tapping, finger clicking, belly rubbing melodies, and an oscillating, slightly off kilter noodling guitar, a little like Pavement, but way more pop. Righteously pop. Pop as fuck. Up the pops. Great side A. Extremely play-over-and-over-again-able.
Weedhounds calm things down a little. Their tranquil, reverb soaked post-something rounds the split off nicely. A calming climax, just when you were ready to inhale helium balloons and barf on the big wheel from the rampant giddy fuzzpop on the reverse, sounding almost like if Pains turned off the distortion pedals for a few minutes. Sickly sweet harmonies, drenched in sports-hall reverb and placid string jangling. The split has it all, well, a bit. Kind of. Good!
- Suspect Device
These bands were both new to me, which is nice, and even better they are both really good, dodgy band names aside. Both bands I think have sounds that remind me of the great days of yore when the Chapel Hill bands were around and I could see both of them fitting nicely onto a soundtrack from an old skate vid, which is a true sign of greatness as far as I'm concerned. There is that kind of sloppy but rocking out thing going on throughout but Weedhounds have a more European sound I think, not too sure why though to be honest? Dude Japan do 2 songs and to me are the slightly better of the two, and they have the great Phil Douglas at the recording/mixing helm, whilst Weedhounds give us 1 song. As well a the Chapel Hill kind of sound I also hear a bit of Dinosaur Jr and maybe early Lemonheads? All good I'm sure you agree. Good artwork, but slightly disappointed there is no download code thing, but I am left wanting to hear more from both bands.
Like myself, Rok Lok's Mike Andriani has a deep love of '90s US indie rock, and it clearly shows in his own band's debut vinyl release (following their demo cd-r that's been repressed on cassette and then just recently on a 7"!). These two Dude Japan songs sound like they could've been taken off of a lost Merge release from a band like Chisel, Small or Spent circa 1993. Which is, to say, full of energy and guitar melodies! On the flip, we have a song from the Weedhounds, and though they may have a rather unfortunate name, their "Hard Drivin'" sounds a lot like Velocity Girl back when they rocked a bit harder. All in all, a really great single! MTQ=3/3