Review Rundown: Throwdown, Dashboard Confessional, Ludo, 36 Crazyfists

The Review Rundown takes glances at new releases from Throwdown, Dashboard Confessional, Ludo, a tribute to BYO Records and Youth Brigade and, as well as briefs takes on Lucero’s and the New Collisions’ latest.

File Under: Southern Tinged Hardcore From Orange County
Throwdown – Deathless (E1 Music): Over a decade and more than a handful of studio releases into their career, the band that put West Coast hardcore on the map, Throwdown, are still churning out impressive slabs of circle pit inciting, fist pumping hardcore anthems, most recently with their latest, Deathless, an album that should immediately have Throwdown mentioned in hardcore/metal album of the year conversations. Deathless is a record that even offers different looks as the band do their best Southern metal impression with sludgy, slow moving numbers (“Tombs,” “Widowed”), but Deathless also is comprised of songs that quicken the pace via double bass fills, breakdowns and frenzied guitar currents (“Headed South,” “Black Vatican”). Most of Deathless could have you thinking that Throwdown listened to a lot of Down and Superjoint Ritual, hell, even Pantera, during the albums writing process, but don’t let that scare you. With Deathless, the transitions are seamless, and the execution is near masterful. (
Grade: A
Go Download: “Headed South”

File Under: Female fronted indie new wave
Who Gives a Tweet? (Your Review in 140 characters or less): The New Collisions – ‘Invisible Embraces’ (Frettssongs/State One Music America): Female fronted new wave indie rock produced by Cars founding member Greg Hawkes that sounds like Blondie meets Romeo Void. This isn’t bad. (
Grade: C
Go Download: “Parachutes on the Dance Floor”

File Under: Dashboard Confessional
Dashboard Confessional – Alter the Ending (Interscope Records): Even though Dashboard Confessional made the decision to release both an electric and an acoustic version of their latest, Alter the Ending, the band still included a little from column A and a little from column B, dropping in the unplugged stuff now and again, something perhaps old hat for Chris Carrabba and the boys. Another aspect of Alter the Ending that is old hat for the band is the songs themselves. They are brimming with Carrabba’s painfully relatable lyrics, and while they have gotten a tad more optimistic throughout the years, they still manage to tug at the heartstrings. It’s the combo of Carrabba’s recognizable voice and staunch emotionality that fuel this vehicle, one that gets a lot of mileage out of it. Alter the Ending doesn’t run out of gas and steadily delivers from start to finish, something some of the bands more recent releases can’t say. While the debate for Carrabba to go to a full band will continue to rage on, there should be no doubts that Alter the Ending is a solid step in the right direction. (
Grade: B
Go Download: “Until Morning”

Ludo – Ludo (Redbird Records): With lyrics like “your eyes like apple trees/your voice like spray febreeze/you had the cleanest dirty laundry a laundry mat’s ever seen” (“Laundry Girl”), and song titles like “Ode to Kevin Arnold” and “Hello, My Name is Your TV,” Ludo’s self titled debut succeeds in emphasizing the bands humorous songwriting abilities and overall quirky aesthetic, but the record isn’t simply a 12 track punch line, it has some merit to it as well. Ludo plays host to some of the bands strongest tracks, like “Good Will Hunting By Myself” and “Girls on Trampolines.” Singer Andrew Volpe’s tirade during the former is one of the best lash out sessions put to wax since Axl Rose’s profanity laced outburst on ‘Get in the Ring.’ Sure, they might be all fun and games, but these guys can write a killer record when they want to, and clearly they wanted to here. The fact that this record comes with a bonus live disc only sweetens a deal that was pretty sweet to begin with. (
Grade: A
Go Download: ‘Good Will Hunting By Myself’

File Under: Southern Fried Indie Rock Soul
Who Gives a Tweet? (Your Review in 140 characters or less): Lucero – ‘1372 Overton Park’ (Universal Republic): Gritty, emotional, real, honest. What more could you ask for in a rock record? How about heart-on-sleeve earnest vocals from Ben Nichols.
Grade: A
Go Download: ‘Darken My Door’

File Under: Forefathers of Punk Rock
Various Artists: ‘Let Them Know: The Story of Youth Brigade and BYO Records’ (BYO Records): This well put together box set is just a representation of the music that legendary punk rock label BYO has given us throughout the years. It is a fitting recalling of the impact these bands have had, not only on the scene, but on our lives as well. Hell, impact? These bands built the scene that we call home this very day. If any up and coming punk bands out there want to hear how it’s done, buy this set, as it will make for a nice textbook guide to follow. The CD portion of the box set is full of lightning fast, aggressive yet passionate, raucous punk done right. At first glance the records 30 tracks might seem a little daunting, but they play quick and the record really is over you know it. As with most every release, the record has it’s misses, most notably track Krum Bums ‘Hating Every Minute’ and Matt Skiba’s ‘I Scream.’ Honestly though, this collection is a sure fire success on all fronts - the book is stunning. Its pages feature tons of photos, flyer reproductions a full color discography of the label. The DVD portion is an exceptional documentary beginning with the formation of Youth Brigade (Shawn, Mark and Adam), and continues to rare video clips, interviews with all the involved parties. Check out bonus cuts including interview segments that were cut out. If you want to call yourself a fan of punk rock, you NEED to own this collection, no ifs, ands or buts. (
Grade: A
Go Download: Youth Brigade – ‘Misfortune,’ Blue Collar Special – ‘Believe In Something’

36 Crazyfists – ‘Under a Great Northern Sky (Ferret Music): “We’re just a joking band,” says drummer Thomas Noonan during the bands first ever DVD release, ‘Under a Great Northern Sky.’ “I mean, we’re a metal band, you know, I don’t take any of this seriously,” a statement that really sums up what this release is all about. If you weren’t convinced that 36 Crazyfists, natives of Anchorage, Alaska, weren’t all about having a good time, nothing more should showcase that then the band playing beer pong at a party, a game in which Noonan and frontman Brock Lindow beat their bandmates handily. ‘Under a Great Northern Sky’ is different from most DVD releases due to the fact that it intertwines a documentary with the band performing a hometown show. It makes the DVD fly by, which could be a good thing or a bad thing. There aren’t that many live songs shown on the DVD, but the shows closer, ‘The All Night Lights’ surely takes the cake as the DVD’s best song, but the Alaskan Wall of Death is outstanding to see as well. Make sure you watch the entire effort as the bands ‘Sarengetti: The Rockumentary’ near the end. It’s priceless. And watching the band watch themselves in it makes it all the more better. Oh, and FYI, Sarengetti is the 80’s cheese metal alter ego the band used to have. Ever wished you could hear Lidow sing a song called ‘Rattlesnake Shake’ in falsetto? Yeah, thought so. With ‘Under the Great Northern Sky,’ you will laugh, realize how amazingly well rounded and down to earth the band is, laugh again, see how good of performers 36 Crazyfists are, then laugh again. (
Grade: A