Album Reviews, Headlines

Review: Broadcaster – A Million Hours

broadcasterThere has always been something about Long Island, NY. The number of terrific bands that have come out of this stretch of land could fill stadiums a plenty. Three-piece rock trio Broadcaster could very well be the latest in a long line of Long Island bands to really make themselves household names.

Taking cues from terrific prairie rock favourites The Weakerthans and older time punk rock/indie stalwarts Jawbreaker and Superchunk, Broadcaster mix the best elements of Southern-tinged rock with uptempo, emotionally charged punk. Following on from the terrific 3-song 7” Tightrope Walker (listen to the title track, it’s just fantastic) comes their new full length A Million Hours.

From the get to, the band forge their sound in chunky riffs, whoa-whoahs and some good time melodies that bring back some of those great Lookout Records pop-soaked punk days. The song “Jamie” could easily be something Limbeck wished they had written while “Show Me Something New” traverses down a road paved by the likes of Husker Du and to some extent, early Gin Blossoms. Songs like “I Don’t Wanna Talk” have got a little bit of Lucero in them while “Petrified” is perfect for long breezy drives with the window down.

All through the record I kept telling myself, in slight bewilderment, “How good is this??”, and my only serious qualm was the lateness of my arrival to the Broadcaster party. The record has got a distinct sound, one most would find familiarity with upon finding out it was produced by Jawbox’s J. Robbins. The guitars are thick, the percussions distinct, and the fuzz portion of the harmonies all well in tune.

The only thing really missing from the album is the inclusion of the song “Tightrope Walker” as that song particularly, is still the best song the band have written thus far. Nonetheless, A Million Hours closes off particular strong with “Wasting Time With You” and “World Turned Gray”, providing listeners plenty to be excited about going forward.

While Long Island may stand in the shadow of their big city counterparts, the long line of bands that have stepped out from this shade have leapt far higher than a great number of NYC rock stars. There may be something in the water in Long Island, but maybe Broadcaster are just damn good, regardless of where they’re from.

[rating=4]

 

Listen: “Tomorrow”

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Broadcaster’s A Million Hours is out now via Jump Start Records.

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Album Reviews, Music

Review: California X – California X

californiaxI am not sure if it is merely coincidence that both California X and Dinosaur Jr. hail from Amherst, MA, but while Dinosaur’s pedigree is an established one, it shouldn’t take long for California X to emulate their more famous city mates. True to form, California X’s love for a heavy guitar riff is something out of the J. Mascis songbook but there’s just something incredibly refreshing and pulsating about this self-titled debut.

38 seconds into the opening salvo of “Sucker” and you get an inkling of what the rest of the record will sound like; a giant wave of grunge-soaked post-rock that has more surprises than it does homages. Take the percussion heavy intro to “Lemmy World’s”; an albatross of a song sonically, but resplendent with pretty melodies and soaring vocals.  “Spider-X” is full tilt rock n’ roll while “Curse Of The Nightmare” has a little Braid in its undercarriage. But it is with “Sucker” that the release really gets you- a mammoth 6.43 long; its slow but ascending nature is what California X is as an album. It is a mostly mesmerizing exercise into turning it loud and letting it loose.

Sure, it sounds like Dinosaur Jr., but it’s got some Jawbox, some Burning Airlines and some Braid in there along with a lot of its own attitude. The only remaining question is: where has this been for the last few years? California X is sludgy, noisy and anthemic; a real pretty kick in the eardrums and it’s been awhile since a thick guitar riff and a melody sounded this good. (Don Giovanni Records)

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