Smile Politely

B-Sides: October 2014

Kowabunga! Kid — Halloween Flexi

Kowabunga! Kid take an unexpected turn on their new flexi. What started out as a more of a joke surf-pop band has matured into a something a little heavier and a little more experimental. This 7” marks a change in K!K’s sound from what they call “punk pop” to something greater than that. Of course it’s still punk, but it’s definitely more than pop at this point.

“One Foot in the Grave” immediately introduces a new vocal style Aaron Shults takes on for this recording — more of a screech akin to that of Wolf Luv’s Asswolf — complimented by a brief but noisy mid-song breakdown. “Surf Witchery II” rounds out the other side of the flexi with some freakishly slanted surf rock — a reprise to “Surf Witchery,” found on a previous 2012 Halloween Cassingle the band had out on Lumpy Records.

Seeing K!K commit previous recordings to tape and wax was nice, but this flexi 7” is undoubtedly their best achievement yet. Not to discount previous things the trio has done, but this one’s really got me thinking…what will Kowabunga! Kid do next? — Maddie Rehayem

Krelboyne — Linger || The Light Fades

With their new album’s longest track clocking in at under three minutes, Champaign punk quartet Krelboyne have packed a lot of emotion into tiny little receptacles. Sometimes ambient, moody intros give way to confessional lyrics that burst into full-band onslaught; other times songs are hard and heavy from the get-go. Bassist Tyler Alan Day’s screams are a welcome complement to guitarist Tyler Headrick’s lead vocals, which proudly bear their midwestern emo heirtage as much as the twinkly clean noodles and octave chords abound. Linger || The Light Fades is a rather pretentious title, but it’s a key signifier that the songs presented here are coming from a serious state of mind. The recording is well put-together, each instrument occupies its own space — however, these songs beg to be seen live to capture the pent-up energy they tease. With generally good riffs and some nice lyrical turns here and there, Krelboyne definitely shows they’re worth paying attention to, and might just sneak up on us by kicking unforeseen amounts of ass.  Bonus points for naming the instrumental second song on the album “Track Two.” — Isaac Arms

These songs welcome you into themselves like a phantom’s finger beckoning. They seem shorter than they are; by the time you’re acquainted with your surroundings — relatively comfortable in them — they’re over. It’s not exactly abrupt… just enough to ensure you’ll consider its message in that space between the end and the beginning of the next song.

One thing that makes this album feel so good is that it absolutely builds upon the band’s debut LP: there are similar chord changes, melodies, tempos, et cetera. However, Captured Ghosts experiments more with timbre — which is terribly exciting, because it’s done well; the added layers and sounds don’t call too much attention to themselves. They settle in, and support the songs. This is a band that’s comfortable in its own skin pushing its own buttons. The players are all in the pocket, they know who they are and what they’re doing. But something about the songs does indeed seem haunted.

This album is less of a collection of songs and more of a whole message in separate movements. Shadows On a River’s debut has so many tunes that seem to stand on their own, and, being a self-titled release, they served the purpose of establishing the band’s sound and identity. The songs on this album all feel like different parts of the same story; and it’s a story you’re just enthralled by, and delight in listening to.  The sad bits don’t make you sad — you just feel fulfilled from having gotten to hear what the ghosts have to say. — Isaac Arms

Slam Dinner—Slam Dinner

It’s frightening to be a millennial these days. Slam Dinner are four young guns making music about just that—struggling to find motivation and being consciously over-privileged yet under-achieving. It’s a hard knock life for a sad kid in college. Fortunately, they’re not the first generation to go through this sort of thing – the emos of the 90s did it first, and their influence can be heard loud and clear on the band’s self-titled debut tape.

Five songs thick, the tape is balanced, equal parts singing and growling, simmering guitars and fuzzed out bursts. The recording is clean and professionally done, which brings out the clear tapped out guitar parts in contrast with the tasteful distortion. It’s the little touches like the intro and outro that frame “Bunsen Burner” or the way that “Bury Me In My Black Hoodie” changes tempo throughout its four-minute run that make Slam Dinner really worth a listen. Put this in your scrapbook of Urbana emo. — Maddie Rehayem



B-Sides is a monthly article designated for local albums released that might get overlooked for feature articles, but are definitely worth discussing. If you’re interested in your band’s record being featured on B-Sides, let us know at Note: Because some albums featured in B-Sides are released at the end of the previous month, we sometimes bump them to the next month.

Related Articles