Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

This Drama creates solid, entertaining punk with some pop leanings

May 23, 2010

This Drama’s San Diego XIII features punk that flirts with poppy intentions and has some dance rock thrown in for good measure. If that sounds even remotely intriguing to you, this album is a good investment.

There’s honestly not much more I can say to convince you that doesn’t fall under that previous statement. The band cranks out the tunes with charging riffs, hollered vocals and the requisite amount of snare. Some songs are ready-made for pogoing (“She Had a Knife!” ). Others beg to be moshed to (“Strictly Dishonorable”). “Tiger vs. Lion” has a tight dance vibe that is way more uninhibited (in a good way) than any of the Killers’ or the Bravery’s work. “Fish Taco” takes a fifty-three second detour into metal.

The hollered vocals aren’t as raw as Latterman’s, nor are they as soft and melodic as radio-friendly pop-punk bands. They fall somewhere in the middle. They’re able to be yelled along to, but they’re also able to be sung. There’s group vocals, too; no worries there. They go all-out rage on “F*ck Your Local Scene,” and given the title and song sound, it totally fits. “Hungry Eyes” also has some pretty intense vocals, but the music of the song is less ferocious than the aforementioned.

The highlight tunes here are “Tiger vs. Lion” for its aforementioned dancy goodness, and “Hungry Eyes” because of the little intro (I know that sounds weird, but you’ll remember it and listen to “Hungry Eyes” more because of it). San Diego XIII is a good pop-punk album. There’s nothing ground-breaking about it, but it’s solid, enjoyable and worth popping in the CD player when you’re knocking about town with the windows down.

Latterman-We Are Still Alive

September 1, 2006

Band: Latterman

Album Name: …We Are Still Alive

Best Element: Sincerity

Genre: Punk Rock

Website: www.lattermanband.com

Label: Deep Elm Records

Band E-mail: lattermanband@hotmail.com

It’s not everyday you hear genuine punk rock anymore- let alone competent punk rock. Yet Latterman, a four piece punk band from Long Island, NY, have achieved just that with their latest album …We Are Still Alive. As the title implies, it pays homage to the finer days of punk: back in the glory days, before the corporations realized there was money in punk rock, skateboards and ridiculously strong hair gel.

On trying to review this CD I kept picking out these little minor flaws: off-shot production, key issues on vocal harmonies, swaggers in the tempo etc…yet none of this made the album any less enjoyable. Generally speaking, I would have been off-set by these annoyances. Then it clicked in!

SINCERITY…. Yep- sincerity. That was it. None of the so-called “flaws” even mattered. This album has heart, which is something no engineer, click track, or vocal instructor can get for you. Out of a field over-saturated in piles of manure comes four guys who break through the barriers and overcome all the obstacles thrown at them just by picking up their instruments and rocking out. As a musician there is nothing more gratifying then loving what you do… and through Latterman’s music (and lyrics) there is no question that despite the hard times and sorry state of the mainstream media they have accomplished what a very small percentage of musicians can achieve: SATISFACTION.

Though a short listen, …We Are Still Alive is entirely gratifying with ten songs balancing just over the 30 minute mark. All songs are good, but my personal favorites would have to be “Mumbled Words and Ridiculous Faces”, “I Decided Not to Do Them”, and “This Basement Gives Me a F*cking Headache”. Also I really like the album closer, “Will this be on the Test?”, which ends things off on a solid note by declaring at the end of the song: “I’m still learning, We’re all still learning that we never have enough space but we seem so far away. I’m listening.”

And I, for one, will keep listening for more from Latterman! And if you feel like something is lacking in your punk rock diet I suggest you start listening to this immediately.

-Josh Hogan

josh@orchidscurse.com

Latterman-No Matter Where We Go…!

January 1, 2006

lattermanBand Name: Latterman
Album Name: No Matter Where We Go…!
Best Element: Charging Punk that should revitalize punks.
Genre: Punk Rock
Website: www.lattermanband.com
Label Name: Deep Elm Records (www.deepelm.com)
Band E-mail: lattermanband@hotmail.com

I know the guys in Latterman. Not well, but I know them. They played a show where I go to school and stayed in my dorm room. They were mostly under the weather during that gloomy weekend and the bass player/lead singer Matt Camino had a horrible sore throat. However, they played their hearts out and Matt sang with all the passion he could muster, hoping that would be enough to overcome his sickness. For a good twenty minutes, it did. Despite what the band had been handed, they still pulled through. That story pretty much sums up the new Latterman record. No Matter Where We Go…! is a powerful and direct statement of friendship, perseverance, and hope that has been needed in the punk scene for quite some time. Everyone say hello to your new favorite band. Their name is Latterman.

The record starts off with sounds that would be coming out of a show right before a band plays. The guitars are beginning to mesh together and people a talking in the ambiance. There is an electricity in the air that is going through all the bodies of the souls in the confined space. Then, as the sound reaches its zenith, all noises cuts out to reveal a lone guitar chord being strummed at mid tempo. It has a triumphant ring that sets the mood for the rest of the album. Drums come in, shouted vocals tear through like vigilantes of hope in a dense amalgam of punk rock removed far enough from Hot Water Music to be different yet familiar. The whole record is like this. And yes, it builds upon itself like a story, so there is no use skipping tracks. But if it is urgent, then the best suggestion would be “Fear and Loathing on Long Island”. It stands as the catalysis of the record, bringing together sing-alongs reminiscent of the Bouncing Souls and lyrics of self motivation and realization.

This is one of the year’s best records and a one that should propel them into the same territory that Against Me was in about three years ago. Latterman, like Against Me, has the ability to make people believe in the power of music and to believe that one person can make a difference.

-VicA

jsonmusic@Hotmail.com

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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