Friday, January 16, 2015

Cassette Review: Jowls/Socialites split (OJC Recordings)

[$3 // Edition of 20 //]

When I saw this split on Bandcamp I knew I recognized Socialites as I reviewed their cassette "Pretty Ugly", but having never heard of Jowls before this was going to be fun because as much as I enjoy OJC Recordings I'm never really sure what their artists are going to sound like.   I'm not sure why, but sometimes I think of them as having a certain sound and whenever I think I have it pegged I end up listening to a cassette like this and think, "Nope, OJC is not *that* label".  (If I had to guess based on past memories I would have said that Jowls would be something between punk and pop, but not too poppy.   Maybe not quite the Mr. T Experience but something along those lines.   Yeah, I don't know where I get these assumptions from anymore)

Jowls is the first four songs of this split which also happens to be Side A.    It begins with a scream which brings out some distorted rock that I feel has this certain punk quality to it yet also felt demonic somehow.    It's not quite TSOL or someone along those lines, but there is certainly an old school punk feel to it with a slight bit of hardcore mixed in.     It's not really something I can explain though, which is probably for the best because it just helps Jowls to stick out that much more.

Their third song, for example, has this distorted loop going through it that could bring out a number of influences from early era Nirvana to Sprung Monkey (their earlier stuff too) yet I just can't help but thinking of it as having some sort of metal influence as well, falling somewhere between A Perfect Murder and Black Sabbath only with Jowls' own personal twist.    To have these four songs straight up old school punk mixed with hardcore would have been awesome but the metal and whatever is going on during the fourth track just makes it that much better.

While listening to this cassette for the first time, and as such hearing Jowls for the first time, I went over to Bandcamp, did a search and found Jowls and immediately downloaded all of their music up for grabs.    I highly recommend that you buy this cassette and then do the same because when this cassette sells out and you download something by them and want it then I don't want to have to be the one to say "I told you so".

For the second side of this I actually went and did something that I've never done before and read my review of "Pretty Ugly".   I'll tell you that I never like to read prior reviews when reviewing something new by any artist because I feel like it might hinder my new review.   If I said once before that an artist sounded like someone else, then sometimes that's all that I can see going into the new review and I question whether or not it's worth writing a review since I'd feel like I was repeating myself.

Since this is a split though, you really should already be sold on this based upon the Socialites side because, well, if you read my review of "Pretty Ugly" and liked it then you're presumeably already all over this cassette.    If you aren't then it's just your loss because Socialites crank it up somewhere between H2O and The White Stripes or a raw version of Tora Tora Torrance, who were already pretty raw in their own rights.

One thing that stood out about my previous review that remains here is the fuzz and, yeah, it was one of my first notes prior to reading my review of "Pretty Ugly" and it still stands for the first two songs.    The strange part though is that after the first two songs (which are noted both on Bandcamp and in the j-card) there is this slower, instrumental guitar hum that could be a bridge in a Nirvana song from "Something in the Way" or the like.   I feel like it might have been done and not documented to fill the side but it's still rather good and worth sticking around for as much as the other two songs which have the truer sort of Socialites sound.

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