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October 2014
"Full Of Snakes

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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New Music Video: "Sweet Marcelle" - The Lawsuits

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Spaceship Aloha Opening for Sinkane & Helado Negro at JB's Oct. 7

Now that Man Man's tour schedule has slowed down for a bit, it seems that the band's drummer/producer Christopher Sean Powell, a.k.a. Pow Pow, Powserati, PayPow, will have more time to explore new musical terrain with his electro-tropicalia side project Spaceship Aloha. The one-man band finds its origin on the island of Maui, where Powell and his wife "were married by a mystic in the rainforest on the Road to Hana." He became engrossed by the Hawaiian music that dominated the FM airwaves in his 1987 Toyota Camry rental. Upon his return to Philly, the Polynesian influence began to seep into the beats that he created with his trusty Akai MPC 1000, which led to the creation of Spaceship Aloha's debut album Universe Mahalo: Volume #1 (Data Garden). The mothership will be touching down on the stage of Johnny Brenda's this evening when Powell opens for Brooklyn's Sinkane and Ecuadorean sound sculptor Helado Negro. Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 9pm, $12, 21+ - H.M. Kauffman




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