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Album Reviews

Death By Unga Bunga - Tell Me Why EP Review

Dan Burney

Death By Unga Bunga
Tell Me Why EP

Top tracks: Stare At the Sun, Don’t Go Looking for My Heart

Death By Unga Bunga makes fun music—no more, no less. Their humorous name and the nonsensical album art for their latest EP, Tell Me Why, indicate you probably shouldn’t take them too seriously. Tell Me Why EP marks their first strictly American release and it is essentially a sampler of their best songs from 2012 to the present.  If you’re looking for a thought-provoking, emotionally complex sound, look elsewhere. If you want to dance like it’s the mid-2000s, but are tired of listening to the same old Hives record over and over, listen up because Death By Unga Bunga have more where that came from. 

For a garage rock-revival band that seems like they’re late to the party, their sound is quite musically proficient with groovy bass lines and knarly lean-back-into-your-fans guitar solos. There’s also a psychedelic element that broadens their appeal to fans of Wavves and Temples. However, the tambourines, cheesy vocal harmonies, and Ringoesque drum fills make the EP sound more dated than nostalgic, almost to the point of copycatting. I’ll be damned if a couple songs on here don’t make you want to do that swimming dance from the 1960s—you know the one. Any track would feel right at home on a FIFA or Madden NFL soundtrack, and you probably wouldn’t even notice they’re there. Their unique brand of diet yet filling garage-pop isn’t necessarily bad. I like the EP. The last track, Don’t Go Looking for My Heart is a catchy blend of angry beach rock that might even rival the unmistakable tone of FIDLAR. But from a musical and emotional standpoint, this EP does not make the band stand out from their sonic neighbors in the decade-old garage-revival genre or the modern-day indie-punk genre. 

The biggest thing DBUB does right on this EP is have fun. You can tell the band had a blast recording it. It’s clear their live shows are energetic and raucous.  Still, it’s nothing special. It’s not quite punk or dad rock or garage-revival or psych, but it fits safely and snugly in the center. So if you want something new to listen to in that general genre area, I’d recommend Tell Me Why EP, but it’s not going to be the next big thing.

By Alan Tett

Potty Mouth - Potty Mouth EP Review

Dan Burney

Potty Mouth
2015 EP – Potty Mouth

The riotous all girl troupe Potty Mouth has moved in a new direction with their self titled second EP. They released the EP on their self-started label Planet Whatever Records on August 21st. After transitioning from a four-piece group to a trio the girls teamed up with engineer John Goodmanson to create their refreshing new sound. The EP doesn’t lose any of the edge or subtle grunge of their older music but distortion is no longer dominating the tracks and the girls don’t have to be slapped with the lo-fi label. 

Working with Goodmanson, who also worked with bands like Sleater Kinney and Bikini Kill, on the West Coast has left noticeable traces in the new tracks. The tracks are more polished, crisp and upbeat demonstrating also how the girls have matured as a band. Comparing the single, Damages, from their previous album to their newest single, Cherry Picking, one wouldn’t expect they were the same band. “Cherry Picking” is also the first track on the EP immediately laying out the themes of rebellion and individualism for the five track bundle. 

The single opens with fuzzy guitar and deep repeating background mantra, “Fresh, Sweet, Cool, Sleek” which contrasts with the lighter vocals of the chorus. The last verses are broken up by a mini monologue asking listeners to take a hard look at what and who is influencing their lives. Another addictive anthem is, “The Bomb” the third track off the EP. It begins with soft vocals and guitar picking then takes a sharp turn into crashing cymbals, flawless harmonies, and even a mini guitar solo. The lyrics explore self-acceptance and relishing in personal flaws even when everything is a mess. The simple yet haunting hook, “I dropped the bomb and the bomb was me” inspires all to let their freak flag fly high. The closing track, “Truman Show” is more fast paced than the preceding and might have been better placed in the middle of the EP. Either way it is just as catchy with quick drum rolls and light background vocals that are reminiscent of the punk girl bands of the 90s. 

Give the EP a listen if you’re curious about the band’s refreshing sound especially if you’re interested in the next generation of power girl rock or you’re a fan Liz Phair circa 1994 and Bratmobile.

By: Helen Kuhn