Saturday, April 21, 2012

Steiner Street - Time & Temperature

This review has been published on DyingScene.

Some of you may be wondering where Steiner Street is located. Like me, you've been a resident of Pop Punksville for a couple of years now and you think you've got a pretty good grasp on every square inch of the area. You know that by walking too far down Fall Out Boy Lane will take you to the fashion district, and you also know that by keeping it positive you'll wind up walking down Wonder Years Road. You know that the Boulevard of Broken Dreams holds a high nostalgia factor, but it should be avoided these days because it intersects with the fashion district no matter how much fanboys will deny it. You've spent countless summer nights at the Joe Queer Beach or Leftovers Dance Hall, and during that cold and depressing winter break two years ago, you lived at your part time job in the Schwarzenbach Art Building.

Enough reminiscing- are you still wondering about Steiner Street? Go over to the Saves the Day Center and head left until you reach Title Fight Avenue. Head West two more blocks from there until you've reached the Man Overboard Underpass, and you'll find yourself at Steiner Street. It's kind of a niche area, and maybe not all of your friends would enjoy hanging out there, but as long as you're enjoying yourself that's all that matters.
If you find yourself at the Loss for Words Waterfront, you've gone too far.
Imagery and allusions aside, Steiner Street is a melodic pop punk band from Portland, Maine. Their debut full length, Time & Temperature, is a fun pop punk album that pays homage to classic acts such as Lifetime and Daggermouth while also sounding vaguely similar to more contemporary artists. It's almost as if Title Fight and Man Overboard had a kid (More imagery, sorry).

Time & Temperature sets the mood with I Should Have Never Had a Birthday, starting off slowly before transforming into an upbeat number about heading forward into the future without regret, filled with quick rhythm, fast guitars, and even gang vocals toward the end. While not every song on Time & Temperature has every single one of these elements, I Should Have Never Had a Birthday shows off what the album is all about and what's to be expected. Things really pick up in the album's second track, Fish in a Barrel, a blistering fast and melodic pop punk song that wouldn't be out of place on a late 90's New Jersey Pop Punk record.

Other stand out tracks include Make It Count, a catchy group sing-along with an infectious lead guitar that recalls blink-182; the defiant-sounding Hey Prew, which really reminds me a lot of Lifetime; and, despite falling into almost all of the clich├ęs of an album closer including a slow start and a build-up to shouted choruses over fast riffing, the 4 minute Quite Literally the Drink That Killed Him. I'll admit that not every track is perfect- the finger tapping solo on Frost, while performed well enough, is odd to hear because finger tapping has never really had a place most subdivisions of punk rock... unless you're in Less Than Jake.

With a run time of 25 minutes, Steiner Street has managed to record an impressive debut. The production on Time & Temperature is clean sounding, but at the same time it still has a raw and sincere energy to it- something that often gets lost in the studio recording translation. In these 8 songs, Steiner Street successfully avoids falling into the pitfalls that many other bands do. To anyone who feels that pop punk has gone soft over the years, Steiner Street's Time & Temperature may be just the thing for you.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Joyce Manor - Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired

Joyce Manor's sophomore effort, Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired, runs 9 tracks and 13 minutes long. That means individual songs on Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired average just under 90 seconds in length. It takes longer to finally get it in your head that the album title isn't "All Things I Will Grow Tired of Soon" than it does to listen to Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired. (And when I say that about you, I'm really just talking about me).

The short playtime of the album does kind of bring up the question "isn't this just an EP?" but this is punk rock here so that part doesn't bug me too much. Joyce Manor has always had a minimalist-like approach to almost everything, so it's no surprise that they would continue to bring very little to the table. Even the album's artwork (which even has an homage to the Germs, if I'm not mistaken) takes an uncomplicated approach- this is all stuff that's very appealing these days when the scene is overrun by lots of bright colors and fancy fonts.

I read somewhere that the band made a self-prophesy that Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired would be their Pinkerton: a record that is initially misunderstood by the masses and accepted as a classic over time. I think that's a little cocky, but who I am to say that it won't happen? It's definitely short enough that it can be listened to multiple times in a row without getting sick of it, but there's still something about it that makes me unsure about it overall. Given that the songs barely run for longer than 2 minutes, sometimes the songs will end before really leaving an impact. That might be a problem resolved with a few listens, although whereas an album like Pinkerton has a lot going not only in the songs, but also in the intros and outros, the songs on Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired all start and end without any kind of build up of epic proportions.

Arguably he most interesting track to discuss is the cover of Video Killed the Radio Star, which is stuck in the dead center of the album. Rather than playing it safe and remaining faithful to the original, Joyce Manor completely deconstructed the chorus. Think about that for a second. Deconstructed the chorus to an 80's pop song. Not just any 80's pop song, but one that is pretty well recognized. You've gotta have balls to do something like that, so kudos to Joyce Manor.

Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired is not a bad album at all. I like it, but there's still something a little alienating about it to me. Maybe I just "don't get it" and I won't for a few more years, but when an album is this short I don't think there's a whole lot to "get". There are acoustic songs (Drainage, I'm Always Tired), electric songs (the other seven), some songs are good (See How Tame I Can Be), while others are really good (If I Needed You There). Maybe in 2017, I'll listen to Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired again and it will seem like a masterpiece, but for the time being I think it's just another solid release from Joyce Manor that fits in well with the rest of their output.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Refused Are Fucking Dead No More

Last night I saw Refused at Coachella. More accurately, I watched the live stream of them playing at Coachella. Either way, I wasn't able to sleep, it was 2:30am and I came across an article on Punknews reporting that Coachella would be streaming certain acts all weekend.. including Refused at 2:20am that night.

Of course I immediately opened the stream.

A little background information: I was only 10 when Refused released The Shape of Punk to Come. I was still a full year and a half away from actually listening to music on my own, and two years away from listening to anything that could even be remotely described as "punk" (no matter how mainstream it might have been). So Refused weren't exactly a group that broke my heart by disbanding. And even when I did finally hear about them (I believe it was around 2002-2003ish),  it wasn't exactly my cup of tea. At the time, I was just discovering punk bands outside of the Ramones, so if it wasn't something that was loudly shouted and finished after 90 seconds, I didn't care much for it. Sure I liked New Noise and Liberation Frequency, but overall I just wasn't mentally prepared for something so experimental and different- even if it was rooted in the same stuff that I loved (I felt the same way about the Minutemen, the Nation of Ulysses, and the latter-day works of Black Flag and Fugazi too, so it wasn't anything personal against Refused). It wasn't until I was in college, when I revisited The Shape of Punk to come, when it really clicked with me. Did it become my new favorite album? Not really, but I finally began to understand what made it so revolutionary.

That said, getting to see them perform last night (albeit via a terrible, choppy webstream due to me using my tiny little netbook), was still something I'm glad I got to experience. I'm sure that watching the stream paled in comparison to actually being there in person, although it's not like I was going to be at Coachella anyway. I'm not going to do an actual show review, partly because I didn't actually experience it in person, but also because I didn't quite catch the whole performance... The band still had tremendous amounts of energy at the end, so I would assume that they still had that spark the entire time. They tore through songs like Refused Are Fucking Dead, Worms of the Senses / Faculties of the Skull, and New Noise, and I wouldn't be surprised if their set was almost entirely composed of songs from The Shape of Punk to Come. It was nice to see that they haven't let their time apart slow them down, even if their post-Refused projects have taken a slower approach. My only regret is that I wish I had gotten to experience it live.

Toward the end of the set, Dennis made some remarks about how cool it was to be playing for such a large and responsive crowd. To paraphrase him, it was "humbling to four guys from Sweden, especially when considering that [their] last US show was in a tiny Virginian basement to 40 people." I'm sure it was humbling.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Radio Reds - Let It Show

This review was originally published on DyingScene. Some alterations have been made from the original (mostly toward the end).

The Radio Reds are an indie / post-punk band hailing from Greensboro, NC. Their music can sometimes be rather bleak sounding, while at other times the jams are kicked out with an upbeat intensity. Evoking the Replacements as equally as Sunny Day Real Estate, the Radio Reds show off their songwriting chops and ability to rip off their musical forefathers without actually sounding exactly like them on their newest EP, aptly titled Let It Show.

Lyrically, the Radio Reds take somewhat of a downer approach, the general theme of the songs are centered on feeling disconnected from their generation, moving on from the past, realizing that life is fleeting, and getting older. While most bands sing about these topics with a jaded cynicism, lead singer and lyricist Stephen Kent still has his shimmering ray of light at the end of the tunnel, even going as far as to proclaim that “everything is alright” and “[we] will be just fine.”

The music on the EP complements the lyrics well, conjuring up the same feelings that the lyrics aim for, fitting like a properly-sized glove. Opening track, Disconnected, begins with a slowly strummed chord progression, creating a sense of loneliness before launching into the song. Lucky Strike sounds almost like it could be an early Gaslight Anthem tune; while the intro to California Snow pays homage to Paul Westerberg, specifically We Are the Normal, the Goo Goo Dolls tune that Westerberg co-wrote. The final track, Bedroom Noise, is the most cheerful sounding of the bunch, starting with a gang of “whoas” that recall a variety of bands, from Against Me! to Junior Battles. Perhaps it’s just the joyous tone of the track, but it almost sounds like it’s from a different recording session.

Clocking in at seventeen minutes, “Let It Show” is an impressive release from a band that has only been together for a year. Demonstrating their capabilities to write a song that sounds fresh while simultaneously bringing the sounds of the early 90’s indie rock scene to mind, these four songs go nicely with all the other bands out there doing the same thing. The Radio Reds just might be on their very way to becoming college rock superstars (that's not a real thing, but you know what I mean).

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Top 10 Against Me! B-sides

Last year I wrote about 10 of my favorite Green Day b-sides, and, to my knowledge, it was pretty well received. And ever since I saw Tom Gabel perform on the Revival Tour, I can't stop thinking about how much Against Me! means to me (and how this summer it will have been ten years since I first heard of them), so I thought I'd make a list of 10 of my favorite non-album tracks. It beats my original idea, which was to just go through their entire discography and do... something. I hadn't figured that part out yet, which is why I didn't do it.

On with the b-sides!

10. Janie Jones (The Clash cover) (Commercially unavailable, recorded for the AV Club)
Once Against Me! began to gain a larger audience, they got a lot of comparisons to the Clash in terms of the energy present in their songs. I'm also sure that Tom Gabel and the rest of the guys are huge fans of the Clash. So when they performed a song for the AV Club's Under Cover series, I think it was fate that they would get to pick Janie Jones. The cover itself is pretty faithful to the original, which is kind of boring in a way, but that doesn't make the song any less fun to sing along with.

09. Hot Shots (Appears on Black Crosses as an outtake from the White Crosses sessions)
I'm not sure why this song didn't make it on to the final album, it's pretty awesome. Featuring guest musician, Jon Gaunt, on the fiddle, the band almost takes their sound back to very folky inspired punk. What's more is that this demo was recorded before Warren Oakes left the band, so there's that "classic line up" feel to it, too. I'm not sure how much of a 'b-side' this is, seeing as how Black Crosses comes included with the re-issue of White Crosses.

08. From Her Lips to God's Ears [Energize-O-Tron Remix] (Appears on the From Her Lips to God's Ears 12" Single)
I tend to think remixes are pretty lame. Hell, even this one is kind of lame, but I have a soft spot for a remix if I really love the original. Plus, this one was done by Adrock of the Beastie Boys. So that's kind of cool. It's also not 4 minutes long like the Don't Lose Touch and White People for Peace remixes, which is great for my attention span.

07. Unsubstantiated Rumors Are Good Enough for Me (To Base My Life Upon) (Electric) (Appears on the Sink, Florida, Sink 7" single)
I just really love that bass. Overall I think the melody works better with an acoustic set up, but I love how it has a completely different energy from the album version.  There was an alternate electric take that was released on The Original Cowboy that isn't vastly different from this version.

06. Bastards of Young (The Replacements cover) (Appears on We'll Inherit the Earth: A Tribute to the Replacements)
I didn't start listening to the Replacements until after I heard this cover. Coincidence? Hardly. Another relatively faithful cover, but there's enough going on that it keeps it interesting (unlike their cover of Here Comes a Regular which really only appeals to fans of both bands).

05. Up the Cuts (Acoustic) (Unreleased)
One of the better songs on New Wave, I like this version because it shows that the band will still record alternate versions of songs while in the studio even if the acoustic cuts don't make the album like they did on As the Eternal Cowboy.
04. Wagon Wheel (Old Crow Medicine Show cover) (Appears on PROTECT: A Benefit for the National Association to Protect Children)
There are a lot of covers of this song. This one is actually pretty tame, as it's just Tom and an acoustic guitar. But it's still the first version of Wagon Wheel that I had ever heard, and even if I do cringe at the lyrical change "fit for the sun" (as opposed to the original "before the sun"), it still holds a special place in my heart.

03. Untitled (aka, Graceful Concession; aka, Rock and Rollers) (Appears on New Wave B-sides)
Lyrically this might be one of my favorite Against Me! songs because it sums up exactly how I feel whenever I try to write a song: no matter what I do, I'll never feel like it was be anywhere near as good or meaningful as all of my favorite bands and their songs. The title of this song is pretty baffling: the acoustic version (which was posted on Tom Gabel's MySpace page awhile back) goes by Graceful Concession, while I've also seen it referred to as Rock and Rollers (admittedly though, I don't see that title floating around as much anymore).

02. You Look Like I Need a Drink (Acoustic) (Appears on the Cavalier Eternal 7" single)
This one is a lot of fun to play. Much like Unsubstantiated Rumors..., this one has a completely different energy from the album version, and I think having those two energies for the same song really captures what Against Me! is capable of doing.

01. Sink, Florida, Sink (Electric) (Appears on the Sink, Florida, Sink 7" single)
This shouldn't even count, since they play this version all the time. But fuck it, I don't care.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Blackmarket Syndicate - And the Peasants Rejoiced

This review was originally published on DyingScene.

Do you miss the sounds of punk rock from the early 90’s? Looking for a new fix but to no avail? Well look no further than Blackmarket Syndicate, a punk rock band straight out of Houston, TX, and their newest album, And the Peasants Rejoiced. Oh, but you say that you’re broke? No problem! Just follow these five easy steps and you’ll be rocking out to your own homemade Blackmarket Syndicate - And the Peasants Rejoiced in no time.

Step 1: Find your copy of the Hectic EP by Operation Ivy. You can also use either Energy or the discography LP, but I think that Hectic provides the best results. You’ll want to cut out all the ska stuff, so no upstrokes or anything. This will mostly be used for the harsh snarls of Jesse Michaels. Once you’ve finished that, place on the side for now.  

Step 2: While you’ve already got a decent haul of Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman playing together from the Hectic EP, you’re going to also want to throw in the first Rancid album (the 1993 self titled with the gun cover) for a bit of a more refined sound. Place alongside the Hectic EP when done.

Step 3: Take one of your favorite punk albums with a heavy lyrical emphasis on the working class, preferably from the Hellcat or SideOneDummy rosters. In all likeliness, this album will be a Street Punk or Oi album, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be just as long as the songs are about working side-by-side with your brothers (literally or figuratively) in a blue-collar environment. I personally recommend something by Street Dogs, but whatever floats your boat. (FYI: Selecting something by Dropkick Murphys means extra work as you’ll have to cut out all the bagpipes).

Step 4: Throw it all together in a shaker and work it.

Step 5: To finish things up, take some shavings made of the first album by Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards album and place it on top.

Presto, you’re done! Now you have your very own copy of the new Blackmarket Syndicate album to be enjoyed whenever you want. Can be served chilled or room temperature. Best served in a skate park.

Homemade album art not included.
Some other things to note:
- For a healthier option, you can substitute the first Rancid album with a copy of the US pressing of the Clash’s first album- although listen to that bass on Greed and Hate or Avalanche and tell me you don’t hear Matt Freeman’s influence. I don’t think it’s possible.
- Conversely, for a treat that’s extra sweet, you can grind up One Man Army’s Victoria and add it to the mix before Step 4. 
-Remember: shaken, not stirred. (This is important!)
- In all seriousness though, I really enjoyed this album: it’s something that’s new, but also manages to kick in a sense of nostalgia.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Light Years - Just Between Us

This review was originally published on DyingScene

Light Years are a pop punk group from Kent, Ohio. They play fast, short songs about self-doubt, not wanting to fade away, and girls (or rather, a lack thereof). Like many modern pop punk bands these days, they take heavy influence from blink-182, The Get Up Kids, and Lifetime. Unlike many modern pop punk bands, Light Years doesn’t have a gimmick, like dropping breakdowns left and right or coming up with a slogan that’s barely applicable to their music. In many ways, it creates an air of sincerity around their music that not every band can claim that they have.

The band’s newest EP, Just Between Us, takes a couple of steps up from 2011’s This Will Come Back to Haunt Me. The band’s vocals have improved, sounding more comfortable and at home than before. They still take a dual approach similar to Man Overboard, but rougher sounding and less nasally. The production is better than the previous EP, giving the songs a clearer and crisper sound, allowing for a more enjoyable listening experience. Musically the band sounds stronger than most others in the scene, opting for an early Saves the Day route rather than the exceptionally poppy sounds that so many like to imitate. Light Years is still very melodic and bouncy- but whereas some blur the lines between pop and punk, Light Years is undeniably a pop punk group.

In general, pop punk is a genre that limits itself in terms of lyrical exploration. Sometimes bands will write songs that defy the genre’s limits, but most of the time they stick to three chord songs (occasionally four) about girls or being a loser that can’t get girls. However just because it’s been done before doesn’t mean that it can’t still sound good or be fun to sing along with. That’s where Light Years shines, writing songs with catchy lyrics that it’s possible to be singing along with the chorus during the first listen. While the lyrics could be a little more self aware of what they’re saying (especially in Liar…“I’m a liar/I twist my words because the truth hurts/I’m growing tired/of always chasing after you”. It’s almost as if they don’t realize she’s probably running away because of all the lying), at the same time they feel as if they were primarily written to be shouted along in large groups of people, which means these songs beg to be heard live.

Lyrical missteps aside, Just Between Us shows just how much Light Years has progressed in the short time in between their first and second releases. While it’s far from being perfect, Just Between Us is a sign that Light Years only has room for improvement. If they continue this growth streak between releases, it won’t be long before Light Years releases their own equivalent to the Upsides.

I Call Fives - Someone That's Not You

This review was originally published on DyingScene.

Being a fan of pop punk these days is hard. Your genre of choice is literally that geek with the Chuck Taylors and a tendency for being excluded from the other high school cliques. Now factor in that the genre has been overrun by New Found Glory and The Movielife wannabes, as well as the fact that the world has all but forgotten about Lookout Records, and you’re not left with much- just a sea of brightly colored hoodies and bad tattoos all calling for the defense of a genre that’s now a shallow reflection of what it once was.'

That’s where I Call Fives, and their newest EP, Someone That’s Not You, come in. With a unique style that can only be described as “been done before” and “No really, I swear this has been done before” I Call Fives is one of the newest quintets on the scene to have been raised on albums such as Nothing Gold Can Stay and Can’t Slow Down. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with this, because sometimes it works out really well. The problem is that I Call Fives, like many modern pop punk bands, focus far too much on the pop, and not enough on the punk, and they lack any kind of defining characteristic to make them stick out above the rest- unless you count their kind of ridiculous name.

In short, this band gets compared to the likes of early All Time Low (people like to stress the “early” part as if there’s a huge difference), and that comparison isn’t too far off. Each track follows the same formula: a verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure? Check. Lyrics, which describe the betrayal of a nameless girl that made the unforgivable mistake of no longer being romantically interested in the protagonist? Sure. Fancy leads sprinkled around while the drums are just there and the bass might as well have been left out of the mix? Of course. An acoustic song that eliminates the bass but still otherwise follows all the other rules? You betcha!

Scoring an average of about 8 on the Pundik-nasality scale, Someone That’s Not You meets all of the modern pop punk standards with ease. I Call Fives even fills their 90’s nostalgia quota on the final track, a cover of Third Eye Blind’s How’s It Going to Be?. It’s an inoffensive cover, it gets beefed up a little, and played slightly faster, although overall it’s not too far off from the original. It would have been more interesting to hear if they did more to turn it into their own song.

Don’t be mistaken- I Call Fives is good at what they do. They are able to write a really catchy hook with relatable lyrics that are sure to resonate with tons of young teenagers. There’s nothing wrong with any of that- teen angst will always have an innate fan base somewhere out there – although somewhere down the line the band will need to develop a personality other than ‘sounding like old All Time Low’ if they ever want to distinguish themselves. Someone That’s Not You is sure to please those who were too young to remember, or those who get nostalgic about the heyday of Drive-Thru Records, but everyone else looking for a sugary pop punk fix will feel underwhelmed.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Revival Tour Spring 2012

So a week ago I went to the Revival Tour during its NYC stop. Technically it was the second NYC stop, just on the same night, but that's unimportant really. What I'm getting at is that I went, and that the show started at midnight.

The only thing that I can really say is that it was unlike any other show experience in my life. I've been to some really great shows before, but the Revival Tour is really unlike anything else that's happening in punk rock these days (I'm sure it still happens a lot on a regular basis in the folk circles though). I had heard about how collaborative the tour is, but hearing about it isn't quite the same thing as seeing it live. Seeing all those guys up there at once, singing each other's songs, is an amazing thing and there's no way that I can really put it into words. I know this tour has been happening for four years now, and I'm kicking myself for never having gone sooner. I really lucked out with this year's line up (Ragan, Gabel, and Andriano), and I was especially lucky that Dave Hause decided to stick around for the NY dates. The only thing missing was Brian Fallon, but there's always future Revival Tours. For more actual info on the show, I wrote a review that was published on DyingScene. You can check it out there.

All I know is that if you told seventeen year old me that one day I would see Dave Hause singing alongside Tom Gabel and James Bowman, I wouldn't have believed you. But now here I am, five days later, and I'm still in disbelief that it happened.

I hope next year they can nab Chris Farren (Fake Problems), Micah Schnabel (Two Cow Garage), and Chris Wollard. Wishful thinking, perhaps, but it would be so awesome to see Chris Wollard on a bill like that.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Great Apes - Great Apes

This review has been published on DyingScene. It can be read here:

Great Apes is a punk band out of San Francisco and features members (and ex-members) of Hanalei, Monster Squad, The Landlords, and Burial Year, among others. The band plays a style of punk rock that’s comparable to gruff pop punk such as Crimpshrine or 90’s post-hardcore like Hot Water Music, with just a hint of Jawbreaker thrown in. Admittedly that’s a bit of a lazy comparison, especially when there are legions of bands that sound like that these days, but just go with it for now.

Last December, Great Apes went into the studio to record some brand new tracks to be split up between various 7-inch records to be released in 2012. The first 7-inch, simply titled Great Apes, will be out on Say-10 Records, and contains three tracks. To put it bluntly, these three songs are some of the best nine and a half minutes released so far this year.

Things start off with Sam’s Song. It sounds vaguely reminiscent of Jeff Ott’s catchier songs, but at the same time it has its own feel to it, making any similarities to the Bay Area band more of an homage than a direct rip off. The track is a promising start, showing off the band’s songwriting chops, but things only pick up from here.

It’s A Trans World, the second track, is the highlight of the release. Beginning with a sound bite that sounds like it was ripped directly from a 70’s grindhouse flick, the song quickly transforms into chugging guitars and pounding drums. Lyrically the song tackles the difficulties faced by the Trans community on an everyday basis; standing up against those who feel they have the right to demonize and take away the voices of those who don’t identify with any preconceived notions of gender in our society.

While It’s A Trans World emphasizes the band’s abilities to write some strong lyrics, the final track on Great Apes, Detonator, shows off the band’s ability to write an incredibly catchy hook (assuming that the choruses of the previous two songs weren’t enough). There’s the slightest tinge of Blake Schwarzenbach in lead singer Brian Moss’ vocal performance as he tells the tale of a person who has chosen to settle down in a life of being a shut-in, and wanting to help them break out of their newly adopted shell.

Like J Church, Fifteen, and the Broadways before them, Great Apes have managed to seamlessly blend socio-politically conscious lyrics with a catchy punk melody, wrapping it up in a nice three minute package. While it’s only three songs long, the first in this series of 7-inches goes a long way, and Great Apes have set the bar unfairly high for themselves and the remainder of their upcoming releases. This is definitely a band to watch for in 2012.