Thursday, April 30, 2015

CD Review: Char-Man "The Found Tape" (Weird Cry Records)

[$8 //]

This is the second release by Weird Cry Records and if you think I'm going through the entire Weird Cry discography you are partially right as I was recently sent a bunch of CDs that are probably something like half of their catalog (?) so I am starting from the first release and working my way forward with the CDs.

Isn't it interesting though that Weird Cry releases cassettes and instead of this being on cassette, "The Found Tape" is on CD?  It does have "tape" in its title.    Anyway, the first song on here is called "Surf Jam" and it is pretty much just that.    Though it is instrumental, vocals do come out in other songs on this CD and it goes into punk with distorted vocals.    It's equal parts thrash and Operation Ivy without the ska elements.    Hints of Minor Threat, Rancid (Especially on "Zero") and some other old punk band on Epitaph or Nitro Records also can be heard.

Though this pattern maintains for the most part, a song like "Old News" brings out the rock n roll guitars ala Rolling Stones.    There are two acoustic numbers on here, one a stand alone song and the other simply an acoustic version of "Running Around" (The acoustic version does sound a bit like Soul Asylum)   Also, some of the songs later on end with the "#2" which I believe means it's an alternate version and "Running Wild" has one of these as well.

A song like "World" shows that Char-Man has their own sound and what a sound it is.   This is as raw as it gets in a lot of ways, and overall the recording sounds like it was recorded live but not in front of an audience.   I don't know why, but when I was a kid growing up I never knew that most bands recorded their albums one instrument at a time and I'm still not sure why they do it.    You rehearse the songs together and play them live together, so mic what needs to be, set the levels and press record.     "The Found Tape" does have that sound of everyone playing together while being recorded and it's not just because they tend to talk to each other during songs.

When I was growing up, the first kind of music I listened to would be considered popular because not only did I listen to a lot of the radio hits but also I was into the classic radio hits as well.   It wasn't until high school when I actually got into punk rock- after an affair with hip hop and, yes, even grunge- and that was back in the late 1990's so Green Day really had just hit with "Dookie" and were on their way with all of these other bands following them.  

I never though I'd sit here, what, twenty years later thinking I'd hear something I've never really heard before in the "punk" genre, but Char-Man has done it and has done it well.   This is quite different from the first Weird Cry Records release (and I am a strong fan of labels that don't get pigeonholed into genres) but not really better or worse in that way.   Anyone who claims to be a fan of punk though needs to have heard this one.

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