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October 2014
Mumblr
"Full Of Snakes
"
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The major takeaway for Mumblr’s new album Full Of Snakes (Fleeting Youth Records) is that it really takes balls to write songs that truly say nothing. As counter intuitive as it may sound, there really is something admirable in using music to not really express all that much. Any jerk with a voice and a few chords can say a whole lot about how their ex is horrible; what really matters is how much of that content is actually worth hearing. And brother, Mumblr has found a way to make saying nothing profound.

On the surface, the album initially sounds like some sort of early 2000’s generic pop-punk; the first song “Got It” opens with that familiar sense of vague, safe anger. It’s very “high school” reminiscent, right off the bat, with lines like “I got it if you want it” and “I’ll invite you to my room.” But as the song closes and we drift into “Sober,” the tone very gradually starts to feel off. It starts to feel a bit weirder, with this sense of reckless abandon that you only hear in a Violent Femmes song. And it’s not that one is true, and the others is not; this album is walking a razor’s edge between the most self-aware of indie post-punk and the obliviousness of adolescent guilty pleasures.

And while that may sound like a chaotic mess, the seventeen-track full-length really is the having-and-eating of one's cake. We get the indulgence of grandiose guitar riffs and over the top shrieks, but with just enough originality in the composition to give it a sense of being slick and even avant-garde. Don’t let the outward sense of crazy abandon fool you - this thing is airtight. And a lot of that can be chalked up to Nick Morrison’s vocals; he brings a real sense of cleverness to the whole thing, in no small part to the fact that he can turn his voice on a dime.

One endlessly fascinating reoccurring theme is the use of repetition in their lyrics, with phrases like the aforementioned “I got it” and “someone’s been sitting in my chair” echoed over and over again, beyond the point of simple parody. It’s that old artistic trope of repeating something until it becomes meaninglessly applied to lyrics, and it’s interesting to hear expressions of youthful angst to become so alien and meaningless.

They take these universal touchstones of adolescences, including the use of “shock” lyrics such as “if God is a woman I’m going to hell” and gleefully drive them into the ground while enjoying the ride. It’s fun, it’s cool, and will leave you thinking more than any other post-punk album in months. And it does so while still being a genuinely fun throwback to a sort of music that you don’t really hear in earnest these days. - Daniel Ludwig

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Q.D. Tran’s 40 Favorite Philly Releases of 2012

Q.D. Tran’s 40 Favorite Philly Releases of 2012

Every year I never have the intention of making a year-end list, but then I start seeing others rolling out, and think to myself - why not? There are plenty of Philly releases that deserve to be mentioned each year. I might as well give into the fact that another one will be coming next year. 2012 is/was a great year for local releases. I started off wanting to keep my list to 20, and obviously things didn’t go as I had planned. I just kept coming across more albums that I felt should be included. I finally decided to cap it off at 40 (though I still could’ve added more - my apologies to those who weren’t mentioned) or else I would’ve never gotten around to getting it up. Well, here is my final post of 2012. I look forward to seeing you on the other side. Happy New Year, and cheers!!! - Q.D. Tran

 

1. Spacin’Deep Thuds (Richie)

 

2. LushlifePlateau Vision (Western Vinyl)

 

3. Ghost LightAwful Feelings (Single Girl Married Girl)

 
4. Cousin BrianFirst (Mallrat)

 
5. TJ Kong and the Atomic BombManufacturing Joy (Self-released)

 
6. Dr. DogBe the Void (ANTI-)
7. Hop AlongGet Disowned (Hot Green)
8. AsaadWhite (Self-released)
9. Daniel BachmanSeven Pines (Tompkins Square)  
10. Work DrugsDrift (Bobby Cahn/State Capital)
11. StreetwalkersCassette One (Self-released)
12. Cold FrontsPretty American (Self-released)
13. Grande Marshall800 (Self-released)
14. VacationerGone (Downtown)
15. Ape SchoolJunior Violence (Hometapes)
16. GracieTreehouse (Small Plates)
17. Radiator HospitalSome Distant Moon (Forward)
18. PO PODope Boy Magick (Mad Decent)
19. Swearin’Swearin’ (Salinas)
20. Meek Mill Dreamchaser 2 (Self-released)
21. Family Band Grace & Lies (No Quarter)
22. Sun Airway Soft Fall (Dead Oceans)
23. White BirdsWhen Women Played Drums (Grizzly)
24. Wrecking CrewWu Tang Pulp (Self-released)
25. Arc in RoundArc in Round (La Société Expéditionnaire)
26. NothingDownward Years to Come (A389)
27. Far-Out FangtoothThe Thorns (HoZac)
28. Residuels – Residuels (Self-released)
29. Rich MysticsLOVERDOSE (Self-released)
30. Orbit to LeslieWhitemarsh Woods (Self-released)
31. Power AnimalExorcism (Human Kindness Overflowing)
32. LanternDream Mine (Bathetic)
33. Buried BedsSmall Stories (Self-released)
34. Brendan CodeyCasco (Treetop Sorbet)
35. Laser BackgroundLaser Background (Stroll On)
36. Ghost ShipGolden Girls (Self-released)
37. Cheers ElephantLike Wind Blows Fire (Self-released)
38. Strand of OaksDark Shores (Self-released)
39. Chris ForsythKenzo Deluxe (Northern Spy)
40. Night SinsNew Grave (Avant!)
 
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