Overlake – Giant Sighs of Beautiful Relief…

Overlake – Giant Sighs of Beautiful Relief…

Killinghorse Records

Killinghorse Records

My band, Dollar Store Riot, humbly shared the stage with Overlake back in January 2014 @ NYC’s Parkside Lounge.   When the show promoter told me we will be playing with a “shoe-gaze band from Jersey City” I was immediately intrigued.  A shoe-gaze band in 2014?  And from Jersey no less?  Fate took the wheel as I was one of many completely blown away by their set and eagerly looking forward to their soon to be released record to validate that what I heard live beautifully transposed to any type of recording.

And boy, were things quickly validated.

Sighs, Overlake’s first full length release on NJ’s own Killing Horse Records, was released yesterday (4/15) , but I have been devouring the pre-release sale free mp3 download of the album for weeks now.  Sure band members Tom and Lysa were sweet to buy me a birthday shot at the above said post-show, but that doesn’t influence nor change the fact that Sighs is hands down a consistently solid fucking effort and one of the best releases of 2014.  For certain you can hear pinches of I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One, dashes of  Loveless and touches of You In Reverse.   Based on the recent press, a lot of the equally impressed critics do too, claims the band won’t deny, yet somehow pull off their own smorgasbord of familiar sounds with unique freshness.

Overlake Band Album Review Killing Horse Records band van

Sighs is simply a beautiful, whispy, swirly reverby experience (just what you expect from a shoe gaze band in 2014…from Jersey no less) from start to finish with too many good songs to mention (read: ALL of them, my favs being ‘Disappearing” and “Our Sky”).  It is a perfect soundtrack  for a stroll through lonely, rainy NYC streets or Sunday drive through the sunny, Jersey burbs.  If you need further proof,  Sighs is probably one of the very, very few records I overheard my 9 year old son whistling along too in the back seat.  Get. It. Now.


Fri 4/18 Court Tavern, New Brunswick NJ – Overlake w/ Wreaths, Cicada Radio, TV Sound – 4 Year Anniversary Show for Killing Horse Records
Mon 5/19 Baby’s All Right, Brooklyns – Overlake w/ The Everymen, The Brooklyn What

Singles & Bands to Watch: Mutes, Stagnant Pools, Milan Jay, The Van Doos and Distortion Girls
Are you a GBV/Nada Surf fan? Doug Gillard’s New Album ‘Parade On’ is Guitardedly Good
STALK RS BACK: Soudcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Leave some comments and shit. Hit that little blue FB like link. Cool.

Genius: Beaches…sand seeped into the sun-soaked, bologna and mustard sandwich…

Genius: Beaches…sand seeped into the sun-soaked, bologna and mustard sandwich…


Genius is a band from South Korea but going for an American sound heard many, many times before, yet not easily definable.   If pressed for comparisons with Western counterparts, I would say somewhere between the Night Marchers(San Diego),  maybe even Spoon-like (Austin), even coming off vaguely Violent Femmish (Milwaukee) at times.

Overall Beaches, their 3rd full length album, is not bad but doesn’t stick either.  While some songs like “Simple and Normal”, “Catch A Job” or Thanksgiving” catch your attention, interest quickly wanes like a roller-coaster reaching the crest before the inevitable plunge to quickly finding something else to listen to.  After a couple of struggled listens, I can’t tell if Genius’ tedious, lackadaisical approach is deliberate and they are just too cool for school for everyone (especially themselves), or just plain lazy.

RIYL: Teengenerate, Nine Pound Hammer, Empty Records

Spoon- Don’t Make Me a Target
Violent Femmes – Promise

Made Violent: Buffalo Gone Beautifully Violent….

Made Violent: Buffalo Gone Beautifully Violent….

inside-out Made Violent - single
SINGLE REVIEW: Made ViolentBuffalo is your typical sleepy, usually cloudy, upstate NY blue collar type of city and was once my old stomping ground, when I attended SUNY Buffalo in the early to mid-90s.  No, not “Buff State”, where besides some cool friends, Fugazi and Quicksand played once, and oh yeah, the Chili Peppers actually played a show in a classroom and being steps away from the coolest record store on the planet  (Home of the Hits-RIP) were the only things going for it.  And no, not UB’s sterile, Greek-infested North Campus.  Classes? yes! Live? Fuck no…

Us cool cats lived in University Heights, an eerily quiet neighborhood near UB’s South campus where many working families lived but never seen.  Rent was dirt cheap and the houses were this close to being condemned.   We were dirt poor, but said “fuck it anyways” and lived on booze/pot,  4/$1 mac-n-cheese and 5/$1 packages of Ramen Noodles when on sale at Tops.  

It was a time my wife’s boyfriend bar-tended with Johnny “Goo” “and Nevermind” was righteously ripping the music world a new one (buying my own copy with 100% financial aid funding).  It was a time when the school’s entertainment section of the newspaper (Prodigal Sun) discreetly revealed where that weekend’s loft/house parties were and what bands were playing because a party without at least 3 bands simply did not happen.   Bands like my housemates in Every Thirteen Days and Kindergarten and Tugboat Annie, and Spavid were playing constantly and Cash Cow Records were pumping out 7 inches at breakneck speed (all RIP).  “Larger” acts like Versus and even Rochester’ power pop darling’s Muler (thankfully, still alive and kicking)made a couple of road trips the City of Good Neighbors.  And despite the Goo’s starting to wear leather pants and, to our collective dismay, declaring on MTV’s 120 Minutes (RIP) that one didn’t exist, Buffalo DID have a kick ass music scene at that time.

But does it now?

So judging from above, you might think you are going to have to seriously impress the fuck out of me, especially if you are a Buffalo band twenty years on.  Ummm yeah, but then I was recently introduced to Made Violent.  3 young lads sporting the 90’s look (flannels and Westerberg-ish, moppy hair) but not necessarily the sound.  “Doolittle” and “Spiderland”aspirations of the past century has given away to a confident, robust, updated Strokey sound.  I could easily say “eh, already heard…next…” but their songs “Inside Out” and “Wasted Days” caught my attention, made my head bob, my foot tap, and “liking” their Facebook page

DOWNLOAD: Made Violent Inside Out MP3 – Single

If Made Violent is what is currently going on in the Queen City, sun rays have broken through those usually pesky clouds and hopefully will shine down for quite some time…

RIYL: Made Violent is totally recommended if you like any of the bands below…

Tugboat AnnieYou Want It To Be Bad MP3 from Superfriends* (1997) As great a pop band as Nada Surf IMHO
Every Thirteen DaysBride Stripped Bare MP3 from E’Tant Donne’s(1994)
KindergartenHere Don’t Eat Our Friends from Iphigenia (1995)
MulerSuite Marine MP3 from Hope You Found a Home
SpavidShe Uses It For Bird Poison MP3 s/t (1997) – This totally sounds like later era fugazi.

Free Singles + MP3s by Pedal Distorsionador, Arc Rev One, Martin Van Ruin, Saintseneca, Emil and Caroline
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