Half Japanese – Volume 3: 1990-1995

With the still-fresh Volume 2: 1987-1989 set, Fire bottled-up three of the most accessible and distinctive Half Japanese albums (with associated archival off-cuts) for novices to find an easy way into the most sprawling branch of Jad Fair’s vast discography.  The newly-released Volume 3: 1990-1995 is a far gnarlier collection that takes a braver … [Read more...]

Half Japanese – Volume 2: 1987-1989

With such a thorough job having already been done in expansively restoring Half Japanese’s primordial works with the gargantuan Half Gentlemen / Not Beasts boxset in 2013 and last year’s Volume 1: 1981-1985 collection on Fire Records, approaching another 109 gathered tracks with the newly-available Volume 2: 1987-1989 selection is a somewhat … [Read more...]

Protomartyr – Under Color of Official Right

The term “post-punk” has perhaps become one of the most versatile, and perhaps overused, terms in modern music. But this is not meant as a slight - what might seem overwhelming has also been a welcome mat for some of the most inventive and enjoyable music in the medium. Protomartyr is one such band to find a home in these cracks, and Under Color of … [Read more...]

Traams – Grin

Traams seem as if they have appeared fully formed from practically nowhere. The Brighton trio has made the sort of impact in only a few months that many bands spend years formulating, and with often less than satisfactory results. No such issues for Traams though. They first appeared on assorted blog site radars in June of this year after forming … [Read more...]

Caravels – s/t EP

I have been on a bit of a hardcore kick as of late, but I was looking for something that had intense emotion and melody. It's an odd combination, but quite a few bands are using these dynamic as of late and it works quite well as you have elements of both post-rock and post-hardcore that play off of each other's opposing tendencies.  Caravels is … [Read more...]

Imperial China – Phosphenes

Phosphenes is one of those rare albums that melds instruments and styles into a concoction that defies easy categorization and still succeeds at what it attempts. From the driving, headlong rush of "Mortal Wombat" to the contemplative soundscape of "Go Where Airplanes Go," Imperial China continually hits the mark on this debut album. Consisting … [Read more...]

King of Conspiracy – “Youth Against the Empire” CD Single

King of Conspiracy is a three-piece band from Paris, France who make time in London, England. By that I mean the trio seems to spend a lot of time in the UK. I don't know much about the current punk scenes on either side of the Channel, but this is one young group that should be gathering fans with lightening speed. Energy abounds even though … [Read more...]