“Blast Exhaust” / “So Bored”: Split: 7”
Cheeky: Now why did you have to go and break up? There’s a nice bit of see-sawing on these two songs between more dissonant, throat-chopping hardcore directness (“your shit sucks”) and tones of the more aching punk-with-melody variety (Bananas, not managers, publicists, and Pro-Tooled hair gel). A punk gang with lots of heart? That’s what I think. Tenement: Disarmingly confident in exploration, Tenement’s an exciting progression in this post-Ergs! world. The ability to pull simultaneously from punk’s deep heritage and make it sound like it never had a care in the world, that they’re kids with their arms out a van window on a summer’s night—that’s a thing of beauty. I have a deep love for Midwestern punk—Dü, ‘Mats, ChiTels, D4—and if Tenement stays together as a band and keeps releasing records, they’ll be no mere blip on a radar, but a rock in the stream that other bands flow around. Two excellent songs on their side. –Todd Taylor (Let’s Pretend / No Brakes) Reviewed in Razor Cake Magazine

Life Stays Great: 7”
Parlor are a paradox. Parlor play with spastic energy, but are stop-on-a-dime tight. Parlor incorporate the tropes of surf and ‘60s garage into their sound, but come off totally original. Parlor make technical parts sound simple. Parlor make weird song structures come off as pop hits. Parlor’s record turns itself over and when it starts again, the songs sound new. –CT Terry (Let’s Pretend/Houseplant, letspretendrecords.com) Reviewed in Razor Cake Magazine

Self-titled: Cassette
Weird, ethereal vocals over a slightly surfy guitar, but it’s not quite surf. It’s kind of psychedelic with a ‘90s college rock feel to it at times. Sometimes it almost seems to get mathy, but it never loses its pop sensibilities. It’s creative and well played, but it sounds too lackadaisical and stoned. It just lacks spirit. It reminds me of some of the music made by the San Francisco punks who crossed over a bit too much into the hipster territory and could afford too many records. I know that’s harsh, but that’s just what it reminds me of. It’s not because it’s too experimental or not punk enough, it’s just something about the way it feels. –Craven (Let’s Pretend) Reviewed in Razor Cake Magazine

Split: 7”
Yay! Here come six new nuggets from Georgia’s infamous Peter Stubb, a grindcore version of Daniel Johnston. Expect more of the same melodic, death metal vocoder vocals with each track spanning one minute a piece. “Darlene I Still Remember” is the game changer—opting for lighter chords, plus Stubb’s voice sans vocal enhancements, leading to a sweet fade out. Not bad for his first 7”. This is a must for Stubb fans. On the flip side, Indiana’s Nocturnal Feeding offers up his latest EP, Visitors from the Void,three new folky tracks constructed solely on acoustic guitar. At times, the vocals on NF are piercing, and not in a good way, but don’t let that stop you from picking this up. –Kristen K (Let’s Pretend, letspretendrecords.com) Reviewed in Razor Cake Magazine

Piranha Death Groove: Cassette
The sheer weirdness of the music on this cassette overcomes all the superficial strikes against it (cheesy porn samples between songs, logo blatantly ripped off from the band Death, etc). Simple, catchy guitar parts collide with growled vocals and dance beats. Songs start and end in the wrong places. I’m pretty sure I heard synthesized handclaps. Or is Peter Stubb a robot? Maybe he’s a robot werewolf. No, he is probably an alien with no concept of what music is supposed to sound like, because music is definitely not supposed to sound like this, and that’s what makes it rad. –MP Johnson (Let’s Pretend) Reviewed in Razor Cake Magazine

Self-titled: LP
There’s a neighborhood just north of downtown Cincinnati called Over-The-Rhine that was formerly one of the most proud and historic neighborhoods in the country. However, on the back of race riots, white flight, swanky malls, and restaurants on the Kentucky side of the river, and an increased number of “undesirable” folks in recent decades, OTR has been considered an uninhabitable black eye for the city. Maybe more of a black hole. This is the community that Vacation calls home. While it may not be explicitly expressed on the record, the feeling of Over-The-Rhine permeates this entire LP. Songs about friends who stick with you and friends who don’t, songs about dickhead cops and yuppie bosses, songs about riding your bike through your neighborhood as it gets co-opted by suburbanites one Friday a month, songs about misbehaving with friends on rooftops and writing songs about girls there the next day. Musically, it’s a punk record from the land of Guided by Voices. The drums and bass plod out your daily walk to work while the guitar is the nightlife: ranging from sunny and romantic to wild and thrashy. They thank Main Street OTR in the insert, but, for me, it may as well be the title of the record. I fully recommend it. –Nick Toerner (Mandible/Let’s Pretend) Reviewed in Razor Cake Magazine