July 23, 2012


Well I've probably put this off for too long.  Brendan and I started Really Important Reviews in February 2009 on a whim, on a shitty little google-sites layout, bored out of our minds and eager to share our pre-teen opinions with the world. Owen hopped on in May, and we moved to official website format. Unable to maintain that, due to money problems and frustration with fairly basic html, we decided to make it into a blog, and the rest is history. Though we may not be fantastic writers, we've still grown a hell of a lot since we started out (see any review from 09/10), and I'm proud of what this blog has become over the years. We've gotten a handful of requests from various artists to review their stuff, which admittedly feels awesome, not to mention that Owen's "free swag stack" has grown to two cds! If anything, it's been an amazing experience.

We've decided though, that reviewing music just isn't fun anymore. It turned from "Yesss, can't wait to write about this!!", to "Oh shit, something else I have to write about. Alright, might as well." As far as 'Charlie Reviews' goes, I had high hopes for that as a series, but I honestly don't see it making a comeback either. I have a few ideas, but my dog is a pain in the ass to work with. He's no Air Bud, that's for sure.

However, Owen and I have thought about starting another blog. Unfortunately thesnackbowl.blogspot.com is taken (bastards), but we'll figure something out. Our hopes are that it'll be a less-serious, more eclectic blog, where we'll post anything and everything; short reviews, cool findings, funny pictures, interesting articles, lists (we do have a lot of fun with those), and even some of our own little tunes (Owen and I are working on our own musical projects). If Brendan joins too, it'll inevitably turn into exclusively cat pictures, but we'll manage. So I promise you that we'll start this project by the end of August, if not within the following weeks, so check back soon!

On a side-note, I have a RateYourMusic account, where I sometimes give short little reviews for albums, if you're at all interested.

Thank you for being, and stay awesome, k?

 Was that too weird of an ending? Oh whatever. Thank you for reading.


April 28, 2012

Charlie Reviews: The Men - Open Your Heart

Check out Charlie's opinion about noise rock/hardcore punk!


April 22, 2012

Review: Ty Segall & White Fence - Hair

Ty Segall and Tim Presley, a.k.a. White Fence are busy guys. But so is everyone else in the garage rock scene, it seems. The usual yearly string of releases from these guys started earlier this month, with the release of White Fence's nostalgia-fueled Family Perfume Vol. 1 (Vol. 2 coming out in May), which would have been considered slightly ahead of its time, had it come out in 1968. Now here we are with Hair, a similarly 60s-esque record, devoid of fillers and filled to the brim with catchy riffs and explosive energy.

The album opens with "Time", a track that should signify which of the duo's styles comes through more, and who drew the short stick, so to speak. To be honest though, it isn't immediately clear who comes out on top here. There styles are so similar that if there is a heavy lean towards one or the other, it's hardly noticeable. The track starts off with an eerie count-up, followed by 3 banged-out chords bleeding in anticipation, then out of nowhere the song goes soft and kicks back for a few minutes, but picks right back up towards the end. The next track, "I Am Not A Game" is nothing but pure feedback-soaked bliss. I'll be damned if this isn't the best song of Ty Segall's career. Other stand-outs include the firm-footed "Easy Ryder", the psychedelic, sunshine-drenched "(I Can't) Get Around You", and the quickly-paced "Scissor People", which pulls a few tricks here and there.

There are little moments on this that make me love it even more, like the incredible solo on "I Am Not a Game", the steady beat on "Easy Ryder", the piano solo and Ty's pouting on "Crybaby", the harmonies and brief transposition on closer "Tongues", the amount of 60s influence shining through "I Can't Get Around You", the unexpected raw takeover of "Rag", and so on. If there's one thing these guys have been consistent with over the years, it's changing things up, no matter what, so it's no surprise that they've refined this even further with Hair. It's easy to guess why they've managed to stick out in the increasingly-overcrowded garage rock scene.

I have mentioned a few key tracks here, but honestly, all of these songs are fantastic in their own right. It's got so much raw power, but at no point does it drag down or forget the listener. To put it simply, Hair is pure, jangly fun, released at just the right time. Quite frankly, it's better than anything these two have done before. I feel like it's already summer, and only these guys can do that for me.


April 3, 2012

Review: Zammuto - Zammuto

Nick Zammuto leads a simple, peaceful life somewhere hidden away in Vermont with his wife and kids. That's where he runs his merch shop, where all of the architecture is built by him and his wife, where The Books last and final album The Way Out was recorded, and where he spends most of his days. One can only imagine that this is also where he keeps his mouth-watering vinyl collection, from which he draws his famous samples. On this album however, he depends less on sample-usage, and more on his own vocals. But that's not the only thing that's vastly different about Zammuto.

The thing that struck me immediately was the way it opened. Throughout The Books' career, they made a point of not using drums in their sound, and instead used vinyl pops amplified by pvc pipes, guitar cuts, or a cello bow hitting its strings. But instead of avoiding this again, the album opens with a set of bombastic drums, which I thought was pretty funny. The exuberant "YAY" continues with Zammuto's signature boyish vocals, which are hard to recognize at first, due to the fact that they're chopped up to the extreme. It's either something that you'll instantly dig, or that will instantly put you off.

All of the tracks here are distinctly different from each other, which applies for most Books records. On Zammuto however, almost each track introduces a different vocal effect. But instead of smothering the simplistic charm of his voice as you would expect, it makes the songs a lot more enjoyable. On "F U C-3PO" for example, the lower-harmonizing effect on his voice adds a whole new texture to an already incredible song. The overwhelming use of auto-tune on "Too Late to Topologize" didn't have me sold at first, but I got used to it, and it's actually one of my favorite tracks. Other fantastic tracks include "Idiom Wind", with its dramatic string section, which goes sinister towards the end, and the equally-dramatic "The Shape of Things to Come". Even the 37-second "Crabbing" is captivating, though the concept is simple; a sample of a man from a 40s or 50s movie, but with the pitch of his dialogue edited to fit a sort-of honky-tonk piano melody of the same era. I'm still not sure how I feel about "Zebra Butt", the most bizarre track on the record, but it sure is catchy as hell.

This is an album full of life, packed with wacky sounds, catchy syncopation, and oddly-satisfying experimentation that I can only assume is the product of bottled-up boredom in an isolated home in rural Vermont. Zammuto is a pleasant surprise, unexpectedly risen from the ashes of a once-great project. There's no telling where this guy is going next, but I'm sure it'll be just as great.


April 2, 2012

Review: Whirr - Pipe Dreams

There is a common preconception that shoegaze is easy. However, after several toss-away debuts over the past few years have taught us, simply stacking loads of reverb on slow burning guitar riffs does not make an album hip, trendy, or exciting. While Whirr's newest release Pipe Dreams may not be of the garbage-bin quality that several of the most recent attempts at shoegaze have been, the band's latest record is not without its faults. When at their most adventurous, Whirr are brilliant. However, the shoegazing group have a tendency to hide boring tracks behind layers of reverb.

Reverse, the album's opening track, is fantastic. Its soothing female vocals and gentle fuzz are nothing more than a tease of what is to come. Junebouvier, Home Is Where My Head Is, and Toss are all enjoyable songs that I see myself listening to for a while to come. The two minute and forty second blasts of blissed-out fun do The Jesus and Mary Chain proud, and Flashback is more than a subtle acknowledgment of the work of Galaxie 500. However, these songs sit on either side of the six minute snoozer, Formulas and Frequencies, which is a bit of a downer in the middle of the album. Hide and Wait, two of the last few tracks on the album, also feel empty and unfinished. The B-Side will leave most listeners wishing for just a bit more.

Regardless of what you think of Pipe Dreams, it won't take you long to make up your mind. These three minute tracks are easily digestible and, for the most part, are worth a listen. Although the album can get boring, Whirr reach career-long highs on the standout tracks Junebouvier and Home Is Where My Head Is.