Spraynard – Self-Titled Demo

spraynard

Spraynard – Self-Titled Demo (Self Released; Winter 2008)

Every once in a while I “find” a band that I love and instantly have the urge to search for hours for the rest of their releases, b-sides, etc., just to make sure it’s just not that CD, but rarely will that happen with a 6 song tape handed to me at a show by a band named Spraynard, a 3 piece from the West Chester area.

I got this tape the day after Christmas and I consider it one of the best Christmas presents I received this year, next to my Dwight Bobblehead, of course!

Any song named after one of the best SNL skits since the Will Ferrell-era has a lot to live up to; and Are You Ladies Familiar With The Works of Zach and Cody? starts out with a bang, setting a pace to expect for the rest of the tape. The next track Timmy Gave Me a G is a dancy little minute-and-a-half song about being at a show where you don’t like the people and thinking you’re “surrounded by assholes tonight”.

Don’t Throw Me Down, Clark is next, this song is about the relationship between a boy and his mother, and her use of force to make her son pray before bed; making the boy question the actual existence of a higher being. The bridge of this song is the best part, Mark plays a chord progression like a bass line as Pat yells in the back ground “Please mother, lay your hand down / and I promise when I’m older, I will make you proud…”

Although none of the tracks on this tape are bad, Punch And Pie lacks in comparison to the other songs. The lyrics tell a story about a soldier who just can’t handle his time in combat and is depressed and ashamed of what he has experienced.

The other day I was asking Mark, the bassist in Spraynard, what songs would make the full length and the only one on the demo making the cut is the next song, Ruth Buzzi Better Watch Her Back. This is a great choice on their part, the lyrics tell the best story out of all the other songs. Pat tells of a family who comes to the United States for a new lease on life, and tries to overcome the struggle of starting over and the fast paced American life and “…their ever changing style”. These lyrics, combined with the excellent instrumentation, led to this being the best song on the demo.

Sadly, the tape comes to an end with Mary Swanson; no joke- I laughed for a good ten minutes just thinking back at the limo scene in Dumb and Dumber when I saw the name of this song. Back to the song- there is nothing wrong with this track, it just doesn’t stand out to me!

All in all, this 6 song demo from a band in its infancy is far better then some full-lengths I have heard from bands who have been together for 3 or 4 years. The highlight of the tape is by far the lyrics; Pat‘s ability to write stories from the perspective of so many different people makes it a fun game to try and figure out what the next song is going to be about. On a scale one to five, I give this a 4.7, with Punch and Pie being the only downfall.

Spraynard likes to keep it nineties and has a website where you can check out new things happening with them, new shows, and also download these 6 songs FREE!!

http://www.spraynard.com/

Fun Little Facts about the band…

Spraynard is Dos, Mark and Pat. Dos plays drums. Mark plays bass. Pat plays guitar. We are all known to sing… except Mark.

-The studio they recorded in is in their basement and is run by Arik, the owner of Creep Records. At one time bands such as The Bouncing Souls, The Casualties and Kill Your Idols recorded in this studio.

For More Fun Facts read the Bio on their Website.

The Thermals – Now We Can See

thermals

The Thermals – Now We Can See (Kill Rock Stars; released March 10th, 2009)

This fourth album from The Thermals has thoroughly convinced me- I fucking love The Thermals. Hutch Harris has found the perfect balance for his unique voice on this album. The sometimes over-the-top grating whine that kept them in the “love-hate” and “guilty pleasure” categories for me for their first 3 albums has developed into a really beautiful sound. I have never been able to sit and listen to an entire Thermals‘ record over and over before, but since I brought home the vinyl of Now We Can See, I have been flipping it over and over nonstop, taking it all in.

The songs on this album are longer than the older stuff, but not at the cost of the pop hooks that make The Thermals so fun. I pretty much don’t ever want to stop listening to this record. This afternoon, I was ranting about how much I like this record over IM with my friend Meighan (writer of tremendously amazing blog, My Love For You Is A Stampede of Horses). I asked her if she likes The Thermals and she said, “Is it punk? I don’t listen to punk anymore. It reminds me too much of being a kid. I feel like I’m denying my roots, but it’s true. There I said it.” My response, knowing that she is a fan of The Mountain Goats, was, “Wellllllllllll…. kind of….. but that’s not really a fair way to describe it. Do you like weird voices like John Darnielle?” When she said yes, I sent her a million links to Thermals’ songs and she said, “Oh wow. I LOVE them! Thank you!”

I think that sort of sums up my relationship with this band… the first three records were good, sure, but they felt like they hearkened back TOO much to the days when I was at a show every night, silk screening homemade patches for my favorite obscure pop-punk bands and dying my hair with manic panic. And while that era will always have a place in my heart, I’m 33 years old now (well.. almost) and it almost doesn’t seem honest to blast snotty punk rock anymore. And here comes Now We Can See and it’s all grown up! And not in that horrible “please god don’t let me turn out like my parents” way but in that “I might have a ‘real’ job but I still have a Ramones button on my jacket and the kids at shows don’t think I’m a nerd” way.

The Thermals are just as fun as they’ve always been but I feel like I can totally take them seriously now. They’re coming to SF in May.. I got my tickets today.. I”ll be sure to check back with you about the show.

My favorite new addition to The Thermals‘ sound: Kathy Foster throwing in some vocals!!!  The combination of Hutch and Kathy‘s voices is just… well… totally perfect. Why’d it take you four albums to do this, guys?! (Listen to I Called Out Your Name to hear this!)

My fave song: When We Were Alive