Monday, September 21, 2009

Let Destory Nate Allen destroy you.

Destroy Nate Allen.

Who: Married folk punk duo from Portland, Or.

What: Two new records; Perfect Recipe for a Smile + Don’t Let This Smile Fool You.

Why: Because you should listen to good, honest, sincere music.

The first of the two new records Perfect Recipe for a Smile captures the duos live setting perfectly. Seeing Destroy Nate Allen play four times at Cornerstone 08’ made me fall in love with them. The charm and intimacy at their shows are what makes the performances so wonderful. Armed with just a guitar and a few shaken percussion instruments, Nate and Tessa sing about their relationship and other things.

The opening track on this record, Anchors Away, sounds like the opening song to a live show. “Turns Out Your Perfect For Me” sounds like what Against Me’s Cavalier Eternal should of sounded like. A love song with boy and girl vocals about how in love with each other they are. “Recipe” is a cute song about cooking, but the first time I heard it, I found a great metaphor for the chorus. The recipe could be falling in love. The chorus says “Follow the recipe the first time that you do, after you do that you can add things to it, follow the recipe the first time that you do it, after the first time there’s nothing to it.” I don’t know, maybe my metaphor is terrible, but it’s a good song, I promise. “Loving You” is a, you guessed it, love song about the couples relationship. The great thing about this record is that they don’t mess with their formula, they know what works, and they know how to work it. The old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and Destroy Nate Allen is in perfect working condition. Live show sing-a-long “White Flag” is present here. It was previously on Take it Easy but with Tessa singing along it adds a whole new depth to the song. Songs “His lips are sealed hallelujah” and “Despite it all” show that Nate and Tessa know that their formula works and they know how to use it. Splitting vocals or singing together and bare acoustic guitar are all this couple needs to have a good time. It really shines through on “Despite it all.” The next song “Steady” reminds me of "Soco Amaretto Lime" by Brand New. Not musically, but just the feelings and the way you can connect with the words. “ I am Alive” is a song about being alive. It reminds me of a 60’s folk song Phil Ochs could of sang. It’s not a protest song and it doesn’t really tell a story but sonically it feels like it could have been written in the same area as Ochs or Dylan. Album closer “Smile” is a slower number with minimal strumming. During the chorus Nate and Tessa sing “Smile, Smile my friend, this is the end.” It’s a beautiful way to end the album. Honestly, if I die and get into Heaven, if this song is playing, eternity will be wonderful.

All in all, this album reminds me of my youth, not because it mentions anything from my past, but because of the repeatability of it. After listening to this album three times in a row, I got this strange feeling like I had just witnessed something wonderful. Sure enough, if you listen to this album you’ll get the same feelings.

“Don’t let the smile fool you” is just Nate and his grandfathers banjo.

Phil Collins - great song, great melody, and it will get stuck in your head for days. Might be the strongest track. When Nate sings, “You make every single day a holiday” you can tell he means it. This is a great opener to a record that could easily bring you back to the 1950’s with Woodie Guthrie train hopin his way across America.

The next few songs are just cute love songs to Tessa. Breaking strings, getting older, or just a song about his smile, Nate can really capture his feelings with the words he writes. If you’ve ever seen this duo live, you’ll completely understand the song “Guitar Strings.” I’ve seen Nate break a guitar playing live, nonetheless, just the strings. “Glow in the Dark” is a beautiful love song about holding hands and being in love. With Lyrics like “Hold my hand, we’ll grow in the dark together” really let you know how in love Nate really is.

The Song “How to make a Girl cry” is the LOVE song of this record, sure all the songs are love songs, and make you think of how happy and perfect for each other this duo is, but Nate sings directly to Tessa in this song, and it really lets you into the relationship. Like I said, Nate can capture any moment beautifully with this choice of words.

“Grandpa” will pull on your hearts strings simply because Nate’s singing to his grandparents while playing on this grandpa’s banjo. The lyrics sound like they were written to his grandparents after they passed. It’s a beautiful way to communicate to his loved ones that he may or may not have in this world anymore. The next two songs are just songs about Nate’s life. They are both about suffering but they are sung the only way Nate knows how. Honestly.

Pardon Song is the album closer. It’s a cute love song, but it doesn’t have the desperation the rest of the album does. They might sound like a negative thing but its not. It’s simple and lovely. It’s about riding a bike, but not really. The songs about life and how sometimes it necessary to slow down the ride you’re taking and put things into perspective. Everyone needs to hear that every once in a while.

All in all, Nate is magical. Tessa is magical. Not like a magician but more like those memories you have that always put a smile on your face. Nate and Tessa are timeless, and honest and sincere, and an absolute joy to listen to. It could be a fun folk-punk record or just a great stripped down record with just a banjo and Nate’s voice. Lovely people making lovely songs. What more could you ask for? The only thing I can think of is more songs from this great duo. Pick up these records and the rest of their releases. You won’t be let down.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Splits are fun. I'm currently doing four or five myself. I can tell you that they are easier to make, but almost more stressful to make at the same time. I can't imagine how odd it must have felt for these bands to only put a handful of songs on a CD with others. But each individual artist, the Rhode Island State Police, Blight, and Your Yellow Dress, shine in their own distinctive ways on this three-way split.

The Rhode Island State Police is from Olney, IL. I've known Logan since the last half of my teenage years. I've seen him play numerous times, and have played shows with him on more than one occasion. If it wasn't for him, I'd probably not be writing this review or playing music. So this release is a little biased and close to my heart. OK, sorry for getting a little mushy, mushy on you. With that being said, let's get on with the actual release. RISP have three songs about going crazy with very pretty guitar work and soothing vocals. If you have heard any previous material from Logan, you'll definitely be able to tell how much his singing and recording abilities have developed since his last few releases. The songs seem to have this haunting tone about them. Maybe it's the samples Logan decided to use or the sparse guitar work on "mountainsmountains", because all of these songs have this almost overly melodramatic tone about them. Maybe it is lyrics like "Because these feelings never change" in "The (Moment) of Clarity" that give the songs those sorts of feelings. Maybe it's the droning feeling of the cello on that song. It's probably all of those things combined that give it that feeling. All of these songs feel like Logan was going insane and instead of committing himself, he decided to write some fantastic tunes. My personal favorite song on this release "this medication" is just as haunting and manic-depressive as the rest of Logan's songs on this release.

Blights songs, while the quality of them is significantly lower than the other two artists; I think that only aids his songs moods. They feel almost too intimate and close to home, but that's definitely a good thing. "Completely Unarmed" feels almost like an early 60's protest song. That's not to say that these songs are protest songs, they are, from what I can tell, lost love; they just feel as intimate as that era's songs feel. "Rapture Wore Sequins" feels just as haunting and intimate as RISP's songs.

The biggest disappointment for me on this split was "Moonlight Dance." This was my first introduction to Your Yellow Dress. I like what the music is doing a lot. The only problem I have is the singer sounds like he could be singing for that band She Wants Revenge. I think I'd be ok with this if it was a consistent basis, but it seems like this is the only song that he has that singing style. "At the Window" is the single instrumental track on this release. The title is aptly fitting. "Hymn for Separated Lovers" sounds much like "Moonlight Dance." Well, at least the instrumentation does. The male and female couplets singing "I love you, I miss you, come back soon" does exactly what this song is meant to do. The trumpet that is appropriately placed at the end of the song completes the longing felt throughout it. "Away From You" is sort of a pop-tinged ukulele song. It feels much like the other songs of Your Yellow Dress's on this release, yet it doesn't get old. The song changes rhythms and moods about halfway through. The electric guitar/ feedback at the end of the song feel rather out of place, and is distracting to the rest of the beautiful instrumentation going on. Even with the things I thought were out of place or overplayed or whatever, I still think that the Your Yellow Dress songs are fun and a pleasure to listen to. I look forward to listening to the rest of their catalog.

Overall this release is a very good release. The Rhode Island State Police tracks make me hopeful and eager to hear more material soon. Blights two intimate songs made me want to listen to Bob Dylan again, and definitely sparked my interest in his music, and Your Yellow Dress's songs perked my musical ears up, and if anything else made me interested enough to look into the rest of their catalogue. If you are looking for distinct and diverse music on a single release, this is definitely for you. If you are looking for good lo-fi music, this release is for you. Hell, if you are looking for songs to help you with your manic-depression, this release is for you. What I'm saying is, if you are reading this review, this release is probably for you. Go buy a hardcopy now or download it from CLLCT. You'll get all the lo-fi goodness that you love.

Download It
Rhode Island State Police Myspace
Blight Myspace
Your Yellow Dress Myspace

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Morgan Enos "Lucky Stars"

Morgan Enos is a 16 year old singer/songwriter from Atascadero California. Morgan embraces his influences like a patch on some punk kid’s jacket. The best part about it is that he never lets his influences drown out his own character. His Debut album “Lucky Stars” will break your heart, put it back together, and break it again, and give you the hope that you’ll be ok again soon.

Lets talk about his influences for a minute, throwing out all bright eyes comparisons, Morgan reminds me of the lo-fi intimacy of the Nick Drake records I fell in love with so long ago. His guitar work is very similar to Drakes and the delicate tones in his voice reflect any song off of Drake's Pink Moon.

With lyrics like “hearing signals in empty parking lots i'm caged in radio waves i'm caged in sullen days” let you closer to Morgan’s fragile world than any cuplet I was writing at his age.
Songs like “Fill my head with sunbeams” and “a Bird and a Wire” remind me of the times I would sit in my room in the middle of the night and just write this delicate heartfelt songs that no one will ever hear. Luckily for us, Morgan wants us to hear them.

“The Crane” feels like that breath of fresh air that you finally get after being in that relationship that was wrong from the beginning. “i will walk home, and i will step right through that front door and live another day without thinking of you” is the perfect ode to this relief that all of us do not ever enjoy getting, but once we get it, the world has been lifted off our shoulders.

At first the drumming on “Jupiter” was distracting , but that only lasts until the harmonica comes in and then the song feels very full. “Seventeen Flowers” seems to be that song that you hear after a loved one dies, but it somehow gives you the hope that everything is going to be alright.

“Mathematics” has this urgency that you only hear on records that change your life. You can’t tell if he is singing on his last dying breath, or his last ounce of hope but whatever is keeping him holding on, you feel very much a part of and you hope he never looses that hope he has. You cant tell if he wants to ruin his life or embrace it to the fullest, but either way we’ll be here fully supporting him.

The Title track again embraces Morgan’s delicate voice and his vivid imagery in his lyrics. With words like “ I am a bookless page, i found my future age dying on the shoreline of the empty air i breathe” I just want my wrap my arms around Morgan and tell him everything is going to be ok. I just want to tell him if he goes down we go down together. Morgan lets us into the deepest parts of his heart in a very unforced and honest way on this record.

My only complaint is the ending untitled track, though its interesting it doesn't fit all with the rest of the album. It doesn't take away or distract from the album, it just seems a little unnecessary.

I recommend downloading or picking up a hard copy of his album for anyone. Morgan will tell you who you are, and who you are becoming. It’s not often someone as promising as Morgan comes around. Pick this up and thank yourself latter.

Download "Lucky Stars"
Morgans Myspace


It seems like a lot of you had been keeping an eye out on his for quite some time and it hasn't been updated since the first two weeks i have had it. I apologize and offer a brief but honest reason why.

Sometimes life gets busy and overwhelming, in the time that I have been absent from this blog i have : spent 3 weeks in California, moved to a new state, transferred schools, became an art major, almost failed out of all my classes, and got about 3 weeks behind in school, only to catch myself up later.

Life got more busy than I have ever been in my life and the semesters about to wrap up. I don't see it slowing down anytime soon but i'm going to do my best to at least update this once a week. so be on the look up for that!

I'll announce this hear.

Split with Existential Hero will be out within the week (unless something TERRIBLE happens and it just doesnt, but it will.) It's going to rule.

Split with Patrick Ripoll will be out SOON , all i need to do is record the covers and maybe re-record one song. It's going to rule.

The other splits will be happening within the coming months. I'm hoping to have the split with you crumbling out before the show we are playing with Brother Bird at the end of December. It's going to rule.

Anyways, thanks for everyone who reads this and who talks to me about it, it'll be a regular thing from now on I promise.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

RedBear - Hollywood Taoism



To begin with, James Eric wrote an excellent review of this album over at a while ago. But since Patrick (the man behind Redbear) just recently put this album up on , I only heard of it recently. Mr. Eric’s review does a great job at pointing out a lot of things about the album that absolutely true and beautiful. I just thought a few things to add.

First off, Redbear’s “Love Songs for a Nihilist” is probably one of my releases from a DIY folk artist. Period. But I’m here to talk about his new album and not of the years past. Hollywood is oceans away from any old material that Patrick has released. I can not help but feel that Patrick was listening to a lot of k records and pwelverumandsun bands: including but not limited to, Karl Blau and Thanksgiving. He might or might not be listening to be these bands, but if Phil Evrerum heard this album. I’m quite positive he’d want to put it out.

The opening track [ ]'s rhythmic drumming that seems to be fed through some effects pedals that even reminds me of some Boredoms material. It is quite the perfect introduction to the new Redbear.

“Don’t Haunt Me Yet” shows the influence of Phil Evreum and company pretty blatantly. The good thing about Patrick is that he can pull off wearing his influences on his sleeve very easily, yet still hold true to that signature Redbear sound. The main thing that sticks out on this track is Patrick utilizing his voice as another instrument and not just a machine that spits out words.

“Home is a Hell” with its taps and bumps reminds me the most of the songs every kid in every dysfunctional family across America sings. “Home is the hell that you hold in the closest of hearts” has been sung on every bedroom floor in America. It's filled with jealousy and anger and hope and despair all in two minutes and twenty seven seconds.

“Walks among us” feels like the song Patrick wrote at 3 in the morning with its simple strumming, and quiet taps and bumps. He seems to be on his last edge, yet desperately trying to hold on. “Holding God above your only equal, now that’s wrong” only exemplifies this.

“Life on a Map” is the most far from the obvious influences we hear on the record. The taps and bumps are still there, but it’s the guitar work and the vocal styling that reeks the most of Redbear’s persona. Again, Patrick does a rather good job of pulling in his influences while keeping the songs Redbear songs.

“Forrest of Legs II” has infectious lyrics like “do you feel the tension between the trees and the moons, its that feeling you get when you finally realize where you are.” The drumming and guitar work on this song feel like it could be a b-side to The Microphones “The Glow pt. 2” and that definitely is not a bad thing at all.

On the track “Cook County” Patrick sings about some of the ups and most of the downs of Chicago city living. Being a native of the Chicago-land area, this song struck a chord with me.

“All my Friends are Dead” simple guitar work really lets Patrick's voice come to life and stand out. Even with his vocals standing out, it is the weakest track on the record. It’s a relatively short song and it doesn’t seem to go anywhere. But just because it’s the weakest track does not mean it is a bad track. It just only works in this collection of songs and not on its own.

“Circular” is the last actual song on the album and the finger picking reminds me of Owen so much. It beautifully brings the album to a slow end. Mostly instrumental, it makes the album feel complete and focused.

The noise interludes are most reminiscent of Karl Blau, especially his later material. “Therapy Session” sounds like what I felt like after my counseling sessions for my mothers alcohol problems in 7th grade. “Dinner Party” sounds like a pack of starving cannibals finally finding some fresh skin to eat. “Three suns” is the least noisey and is actually just an impressive instrumental track showing off Patrick’s skills on the guitar.

“Hollywood Taoism” is the last track on the album and I think it fits perfectly as a closer. People would and will debate whether the closer should be a noise interlude or an actual song. I would lean more towards an actual song, but the title track seems perfectly named. The sounds that flood my ears feel like every single soul that has ever been corrupted by a bad Hollywood movie is screaming from the gates of hell to get them the fuck out of there. Patrick felt trapped and this record was his escape.

This is RedBear at his best. There is not a bad track on this album. Download this, buy it, burn it for your friends, tell everyone about it. Its refreshing to hear someone sound so original yet know what his infulences are. Patrick really became his own song writer on this release. He found out where is going and that no one is going to stop him. Redbear is Here to stay.

Download Hollywood Taoism
Redbears Myspace

Friday, July 18, 2008


In the past year and a half. Ripoll has released a slew of material. Two folk albums and quite a few glitchy, noisey, electronic albums. His album “disorient” got rave reviews from

But Spawning is Patrick ripolls third folk album. With this Patrick grows as a song writer leaps and bounds. He capitalized on his strengths from “PRAISE THE LORD” and left all the filler out. Everything from song structure to singing styles to the chord progressions reeks of Patrick Ripoll.

Album opener “spawning” slowness is a good start for such a desperate sounding album. The opener reminds me of the tv show “The Angry Beavers.” One of the tv shows episodes is called "Spawning" and the beavers freak out about the salmon being pissed off at them. The Tv show and the album have nothing in common besides the titles.

The track “Smile” reminds me the most of “Praise the Lord” The song is about Patrick’s feelings for an underage girl. Normally the song would make chuckle a little bit, but Patrick’s honesty on this track, as well as the rest of the album, is what rounds the songs, and over feeling of the album.

“so if you're game, than so am I
lets see how far this thing can fly
before we have to crash or land into the Baltic Sea
Cuz a successful pilot I am not
but I got faith and that's a lot
I'm sure Amelia Earnhardt would agree with me”

Ripoll’s lyrics on this album come with imagery that paints the Mona Lisa in your mind. So vivid and detailed. It is one of the albums strong points. Songs like “except you” “Another Fucking Titanic Song” and “Jason Voorhees, Working Class Hero”

The song “The Coward” reminds me of every low point in my life with lyrics like

“Rotten with excuse
I tie my own nooses
You know what abuse is
this abuse is what I love best”

But the infectious chorus at the end gives me hope that life will be ok again thanks to a wonderful friend.

“Nervous Laughter” is just another combination of Patrick’s lovely imagery and catchy infectious singing.

The electric guitar on “Spawning (Reprise)” in my opinion takes away from the songs great lyrical imagery. It’s a strong song, but the electric guitar doesn’t work well admits the rest of the album.

The albums short closer “Jenny” was a last minute addition to the album according to Ripoll. I think it’s the perfect closer. It shows Patrick at his most vulnerable, well the whole album shows him at his most vulnerable while still striving to mature in his song writing with the structure of the song.

Spawning remind me of the desperate moments in life where things could go horribly wrong, or completely work out at any moments notice. Amidst the fragility of life, Patrick Ripoll gives us reason to hope.

Listen to and download "Spawning"
Patrick Ripolls myspace

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

this is going to rule.