Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Bat Bites- The Bat Bites

The Netherlands have made an appearance in the documentation of punk rock I want to make sure gets heard this year due to the well established pioneers of it's scene coming back with some fantastic releases. This has been a huge blessing to the global community but it's always nice to add another piece to the equation due to one of it's newer bands. Established since 2008, The Bat Bites are a great four piece band from Rotterdam that take a route of bands like the Teen Idols with both girl and guy lead vocals. That's really cool and I've been a fan of them since hearing their EP "Creatures Of The Night" a few years ago. They put out one more since but have had yet to produce a full length until now! The time has arrived for something that is a great honor of mine to present to you all, their first self titled LP, "The Bat Bites".

The songs were produced, recorded, and mixed during January through February of this year at West Side Aight Studio by none other than the talented Simon Speechless who's definitely made his presence known in my reviews this year. His production is fabulous as always and has really given definition to this band's sound! Like I've never heard before actually. Mastering was done by Justin Perkins at the Mystery Room. Photography was done by Jaap Kooiman. I really like the one that was chosen for the cover showing The Bat Bites in a backstage moment giving a great representation to their fun persona. Beautiful work on the photographer's part there. Artwork and layout was handled by The Bat Bites. Official release date is happening on September 5th by Monster Zero Records and you'll be able to pick it up in the form of a really pretty grey marble LP or CD. Digital will be available through iTunes and bandcamp.  

I think a distinct evolution for the band can be heard right from the start in the first few seconds of track one, "Tomorrow"(check it out here). This is due partly to the excellent recording quality but there's also an unmistakable advancement in  sound. It's much more defined than the previous two releases which I won't discount at all because the character of their songwriting I like so much has been present since day one but they've most certainly grown into a stronger confidence. There's a step up in everything. Merel and Mikey's vocals, Florian's presence on bass, all the way to Ivo's added touch as drummer since joining last summer. On a sidenote, this is the third time he's appeared on Ramona Confidential in yet a different band and I think it's just time to give him his title as 'Ivo Backbreaker: the Dan Panic of the Netherlands' haha. He really is! Anyway, back to that track one. It's lovely and shows The Bat Bites flavor of punk rock influenced by the pioneers of their area like the Apers, American classic pop punk, and their own unique personality. "Let Her Go"(listen here), a tale of lost love, was the next and only other song leaked until release happens this time showing Mikey as a lead. He sounds excellent too with his made for pop punk vocal tone. I love the way he and Merel play off of each other when the role is switched. They are equally as supportive. Out of the thirteen songs Merel, Florian, and Mikey contributed, there wasn't one that fell flat for me as a listener. Merel did some great ones about love like "I Wanna Be The One With You" and my favorite of hers, "Everything Will Be Fine". "Cigarettes" is a perfectly arranged one as well with some great changes and a pretty lead. The biggest surprise was "Heartbreaker". It comes across with such a beautiful 50's/60's doo-wop feel and features none other than Kurt Baker who added some guest vocals that worked out really well. It's the most different but still fits in the album just fine!

Aside from them just being a good band, this is honestly the best female/male shared lead vocal pop punk record I've heard in a long time. That's something that's always welcome and they've got it down to a catchy science so make sure to pick up the record once it's out! Follow The Bat Bites on facebook and twitter if you haven't yet to stay informed with upcoming shows and whatever else they have on the way.

The Bat Bites are...
Merel- Guitar and Vocals
Michael- Guitar and Vocals
Florian- Bass and Backing Vocals

Guest vocals on "Heartbreaker" by Kurt Baker

Tracks 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, and 13 written by Merel. 2, 8, 11, and 12 written by Florian. "Again And Again" written by Mikey. "Cigarettes" written by Florian and Mikey.

1. Tomorrow
2. Let Her Go
3. Everything Will Be Fine
4. Would Have Could Have Should Have 
5. I Wanna Be The One With You
6. Cigarettes 
7. The Numbers
8. She Said She's Fine
9. One Day
10. Again And Again
11. Heartbreaker 
12. One More Drink
13. Won't Turn Off The Lights 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Horror Section/Eaten Back To Life- Split In Two

This has been an overall kick ass year for punk rock/classic pop punk. So many bands from all over the world have been making their presence known with wonderful full length LPs but another part of the underground scene I quite enjoy as well is finding a cool split. A split is a fine art and when done right, it can get you into a couple great bands. This is the case with one coming your way soon featuring two from the St. Louis,MO area, both having a great love for horror and classic pop punk but each having their own unique presence. I had first heard of Eaten Back To Life a couple years ago and then the newer Horror Section more recently who have seemed to be quick in gaining a following right from their inception. They've teamed up to put out a split showing their best work yet and it's aptly named "Split In Two". That's what I want to make sure you guys know about this time! 

The songs were partially recorded but fully engineered, mixed, and mastered by Gabe Usery who is also the drummer of Horror Section at Encapsulated Studios. Additional recording of all guitars and bass for Horror Section were recorded by Tommy Boyer at the Ripped Room. Eaten Back To Life bass was recorded by Eric Perry at Slug Studios. The cover which has a punk rock zombie sliced in half with its guts and blood spelling out the band names was done by the talented Ole O'Brian of Ole Art. The colors are great and it looks awesome as a poster too. I love it. The mighty Eccentric Pop Records who is easily becoming my favorite American label has a pre-order up and running already with the official release date of September 4th quickly approaching for the LP. It has been pressed on toxic green colored vinyl with digital download and is limited to 300 copies. In addition to that, the record comes with an eleven card trading set featuring custom, full color artwork done by Brad Fann for each song on one side and the corresponding lyrics on the other. That's a pretty cool alternative to the standard insert you usually get inside of a record jacket! You know, if you're a collector dork like me haha. Digital only will be available through the label's bandcamp page and if you only do CDs, the bands have you covered with one that's self released and you can get by writing to them.

Ok, let's get into the songs! There's ten in total, five from each band which I think is a perfect amount. Side A belongs to Horror Section and opens up strong with "Homecoming". It's right away a great representation of their 90's to second wave sounding melodic pop punk. Think anywhere from The Lillingtons to Teenage Bottlerocket. Teflon Dave's dreamy, Dr. Frank-esque vocals add a nice contrast against the backdrop of very much horror themed lyrics he writes and creates a crossover effect to traditional pop punk fans who don't usually listen to the genre this theme is usually found in. They come across as sugary love songs and are super catchy! "Cut You Up" is the only one that goes outside of that formula with a meaner sound and has a great video with clips from A Nightmare On Elm Street(click here to check it out). "Crawling To You" is my favorite on their side with such a pretty melody and some well placed keyboards. Horror Section gave the sweetness and Eaten Back To Life is arriving on Side B to kick your ass with a much different vibe. Nick's growling vocals set a scarier tone in the songs that also pull from the same kind of musical influence but it has a bolder approach with guitar solos that have almost a metal feel. They never cross into typical horror punk though due to the overall foundation and beautiful harmonies added in by Tommy. Their voices are polar opposites but play off of each other well. "Tall Man", based off of Phantasm(watch the video here), starts out with some eerie keyboards and launches right into their slasher pop punk formula with one of those killer solos I mentioned. As a Ramones fanatic, I like the strong statement they make using few lyrics with "Rhea-M" which also has a cool video(see here) but my favorite is the last one, "Blood And Guts". That's probably one of the most morbidly romantic songs I've ever heard and I adore the vocals.

There's my take on "Split In Two". If you're into punk rock, classic pop punk, or old school horror movies, go place an order with Eccentric Pop! This record definitely has the ability to appeal to many different kinds of listeners due to the approach both Horror Section and Eaten Back to Life have. I can't wait to give it a spin on my turntable. As always, stay tuned to their facebook pages(links can be found in the sentence before last) because it seems like they're always working on something new!

Horror Section is...
Teflon Dave- Lead Vocals, Guitar
Tommy Boyer- Lead Guitar, Vocals
Nick Habit- Bass
Gabe Usery- Drums

All of their songs written by Teflon Dave

Eaten Back To Life is...
Tommy Boyer- Lead Guitar, Vocals
Nick Habit- Lead Vocals, Guitar
Eric Perry- Bass
Jake Pfaff- Drums

All of their songs written by Tommy Boyer

Side A(all by Horror Section)
1. Homecoming 
2. Survive 
3. Cut You Up  
4. Crawling to You 
5. Deans Daughter 
Side B(all by Eaten Back To Life
6. Tall Man
7. Locked In The Basement 
8. Undead  
9. Rhea-M 
10. Blood and Guts