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Company Car
Stop Hitting Yourself
Company Car Music, 2011
www.companycarmusic.com
Reviewed by Kent Manthie

A new DIY band that hails from San Francisco, Company Car, is a basically listenable, not off-putting band that has a certain upbeat quality to their songs that, unfortunately, we have to put in that box called “Emo” – now, after so many hits to the genre, kicks to the balls and put downs and plain dismissals, it’s almost not fair to even call yourself “emo” anymore because of the negative connotation it has, but to be fair they have a good, rocking ambience about them, not just dwelling on chicks and materialism, they do get in to other ideas, at least taking the time to do some thinking about what they lyricize about, etc., but it’s the sound that just doesn’t prick up my ears, you know? It’s just a generic, radio-friendly “emo-rock” style – while they may not be singing “emo” subjects, the music screams “emotional outburst”.

I wish Stop Hitting Yourself could’ve been different – a more personal, maybe introspective type of new sound that has more of a chance to be noticed than the musical equivalent of a “red” Honda, you know?

The one song that does stand out is the title track, “Stop Hitting Yourself” – it works with the heavier beats, the time changes, the hard-charging attitude. Basically, it’s a song that I think I would enjoy seeing played live – watching a band play their music, whether live or in a video somehow adds a certain visual quality, where instead of the lack of imagination that is inherent in just hearing it gives one a different take on the song, in a more meaningful way. Another song that breaks out a bit is “Phillips Head”, which has a bit more of an edge to it that makes it stand out a little more. Conversely, the next tune, “Weekend” slows things down a bit, it’s not quite a ballad, but starts out with a morose beginning and then speeds up back to the “emo” feel, but with its time changings and its ups & downs it shows at least a little variety to it. While one doesn’t need worry about the mood of the album going too far one way or another since it’s all pretty much a rousting record that serves as a platform for a new band and the songs that they’ve written, it goes on to the latter part of the disc, with songs such as “Volunteer Firefighter” and “English Eye” not being filler, like some overstretched CDs do to fill up the space on the disc – with an average of 80 minutes of time on a CD an ambitious band might want to work and work and fill up that disc up to its limit just so there’s no time wasted. Well, you don’t have to worry about that on Stop Hitting Yourself, it basically continues on in the last three or four songs in the same verve they started off with, so that you won’t get that “are they ever gonna end?” feeling. “Connecticut” – is a cut that’s got a few extra chops on it that make an extra mark – some splashy guitar hooks and turns that take fast bends. Also worth a mention is the final track, “Silhouette” which, if you get through it, rewards you with a song that has a more raw and fiery edge to it.

All in all, Stop Hitting Yourself is a worthwhile rock record, one that you probably might hear on you’re local modern rock station one of these days. And if you do – bug the DJ to quit playing the one song that they’ll end up playing over and over forever – and tell him you want to hear “Silhouette” – not a huge departure, but one that will have you taking them a little bit more serious. Seriously! -KM

The Young Republicans
What’s Yours is Mine
Self-Released, 2011
www.mikeferraro.net
Reviewed by Kent Manthie

The name of this band is either a hilarious form of irony or it’s a statement of the way these guys think and act. I’d sure like to think it’s the former and not the latter, because if it is the latter, then, well, you can count me out as any support mechanism. I, myself do everything I can to bring down the GOP and their screwed-up constituents-idiots who actually vote against their financial interests just because they’re man is anti-abortion or is some fringe kook who wants school prayer back, the 10 commandments in state government buildings or some crazy, silly stunt like that, which of course, will never happen.

Anyway, so far, while listening to What’s Yours is Mine is telling me that they are more of the latter – the facetious, ironically named band for whom the right-wing is as abhorrent to them as to any other educated, unbrainwashed person in the country.

Actually, these Young Republicans are pretty cool, they have a mellow, acoustic guitar-driven sound that is endearing and at the same time rather catchy.

The main force behind the Young Republicans is Mike Ferraro, who writes all the lyrics and Jonathan Andrews, with whom Ferraro writes the music. On this CD they are not enslaved to any label. They put it out on their own and so control all the copyrights and make all the money.

Somehow I get this sense of Elliott Smith the more I listen, but not quite as dark or introspective. They have this kind of low-fi thing going mixed with a sort of hip-folk thing-think Folk Implosion (Lou Barlow’s side project with John Davis). I would hope that they stay indie and don’t start getting heavy radio rotation, that would just ruin it all. Part of the allure is the indie/underground thing they seem to have going. If you happen to come across What’s Yours is Mine and you really end up digging it, you’ll get this thing that you’re there biggest fan (and I’m sure there’s a whole bunch of others who feel the same, which is what makes a band like this get a cult-following instead of bloating into some stadium rockers who have to play at these damn huge stadiums just to accommodate all the kids that the local radio station hypes and gives out tickets to. No, they belong in dark little clubs where un-tainted hipsters can go and not be cheek to cheek with some dumb white suburbanite who buys Vans at JC Penney’s.

Some of the cooler tunes on What’s Yours is Mine include “Overdue”, “Absolutely Nothing”, “The Way it Feels” and “Two as One”. Not that the other ones suck – the whole album is a low-fi jamboree, no studio polishing, no propaganda and no REAL Republicans!

Apathy is a word I think of the more I listen to it, so when I think about the sort of audience that they might engender I don’t see a lot of hope in thinking that they will get the facetiousness of the name of their band and then think a little bit about how screwed up this country is and that if they just got all their friends together and actually organized, protested and voted, then things could actually start to change. But sorry to say, apathy is the name of the game and that’s cool, if that’s what you’re into, but – hey – when some corporate-shill starts running the country again and this country is so awful that it is actually better to move to a different country then you can’t really blame anyone but your own do-nothing selves. Sorry – don’t mean to preach, but that’s just the truth and you know I’m right.

Anyway, dig these Young Republicans and don’t accidentally get fooled into going to a REAL Young Republicans meeting – you’ll know you’re in the wrong place as soon as they start talking. -KM

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