Less Than Jake, A Place To Bury Strangers, Weekend Nachos – EP Round Up

Round up of recent EPs, releases and stuff I’ve discovered in the last week. Less Than Jake are back on the horizon making more trombone-swinging songs about traveling and such like. Hardcore-thrashers Weekend Nachos are set to release a split EP with Lack of Interest and it sounds the absolute bomb, whilst A Place To Bury Strangers add noise with more noise to create audi0-meltdown.

Band – Less Than Jake
EP – Seasons Greetings!
Label – Sleep It Off
Release date – out now ($5 download)
Sounds like – pez dispensers clicking

Less Than Jake have been around for 20 years and they still sound fresh and full of pez, brass and pogoing good-time anthems. Must be something in the water in Gainesville. I could harp on about maturity in their sound, but that’s not going to happen. Like their vibrant style on ‘GNV/FLA’ – this harks back to the time when ‘Borders and Boundaries’ was such a vital, beating heart of ska-punk. ‘Seasons Greetings…’ is packed with warmth. ‘Fine Points of Forgiveness’ is particularly sweet-sounding, with Roger’s forever youthful, nasally drawl complimenting the jaunty, pop-punk bounce, backed nicely by the slightly muted horn bleats (think Rocket From The Crypt brass compared to Reel Big Fish). It’s infectious; something that Less Than Jake excels at.

‘Younger Lungs’ is reminiscent of ‘Hello Rockview’ – the delivery and call-and-return vocals between Roger and Chris work superbly. ‘A Return to Headphones’ is a blaring storm of swirling trombone and sax, choppy ska-upstrokes and is easily one of the best songs they’ve written in the last 10 years. ‘Done and Dusted’ feels like a Mad Caddies track to begin with; Chris’s vocals are rough and broken, there’s an edge of melodrama, but like all Less Than Jake songs, the chorus swings in with that hook, the familiar crunching guitar chords and it’s roaring for you to bounce around like a maniac.

‘Seasons Greetings’ proves that Less Than Jake are as consistent as ever – kings of a genre that they’re incessantly pumping new life into and on the strength of this 5 song EP, long may their reign continue.

Band – Weekend Nachos
EP – (Split 7” with Lack of Interest)
Label – Deep Six Records
Release date – (Weekend Nachos side is free on their facebook – 7” out on their west coast tour, April 20 – May 6.)
Sounds like – taco bell hi-fives

I fucking love Weekend Nachos – ‘Worthless’ was one of my favourite albums last year, so to hear that the bro-core styling of the WN crew have recorded some more insane noise is a big hell yeah. This part of the split clocks in at an impressive 4 minutes and 29 seconds. If you enjoyed ‘Worthless’ this pretty much picks up from where that left off. The vocals to some extent sound even more warped and chaotic. On ‘Critical Mass Death Penalty’ the sheer panic/terror that pulsates from the barking mad vocalist is apparent, especially when it all breaks down in a hailstorm of mangled riffage. ‘Toothpaste’ is 30 seconds of balls to the wall, punk rock mashed through a fine mess of Despise You-style, blunt hardcore.

‘Backwards’ is a stabbing, strut of 90s-style hardcore gruffness, all sneering attitude and bloody knuckles. ‘Livin’ The Dream’ is a minute long moshcore anthem that splices noise-rock and the same relentless brutal beatdowns in one package of screeching feedback.

The thing with Weekend Nachos is; they never want to outstay their welcome. Each track is performed in the style of “let’s get this shit done as quickly as possible so we can go to taco bell, get some beers and fucking party.” I’m totally down with that, seriously. I wouldn’t be surprised if they operated a three-takes and that’s it policy to their recording.

These songs never feel particularly hate-filled, more relentlessly over-the-top with an insane rabid delivery. It makes you want to jump around like a twat and feel awesome. Bro-core Jock-baiting crust punk has never sounded so tasty.

Band – A Place To Bury Strangers
EP – Onwards to the Wall
Label – Dead Oceans
Release date – now
Sounds like – digging a hole

There’s something wonderfully dead sounding about ‘Onwards to the Wall.’ Opening track ‘I Lost You’ in particular, is one long howling crescendo of ethereal guitar strangulation. The hollow opening rumble of bass and drum, followed by the lamenting cry of the guitar sends a chill down the spine. The vocals are spirit-world style creepy; fading in and out of the rising shriek of the guitar that reaches wall of sound levels, a minute and 20 seconds in.  It’s an excellent opener – relying on making the listener shift uneasily as the battering ram of continuous drumbeats, filthy bass and mangled guitar wrenches a tortured casterwaul of explosive sound.

The shrill guitar shred on ‘So Far Away’ is possibly causing damage right now. Note, A Place To Bury Strangers can only be played at one volume – “louder than you’re currently playing it at, you pussy.” This track seems to get better the louder it gets – new unheard effects and roars punch through this tidal wave of distortion.

The beginning of the title track is incredibly beautiful – a stunningly, mellow build of lapping bass notes over a continuous drum loop. As the song grows; the guitar swings in and out – possibly not being played, more hit, shaken, thrown and dropped near a speaker to get the right effect. The guest-female vocals add a gentle, mesmerising depth, especially layered into the brooding male lead. On ‘Nothing Will Surprise Me’ noise dominates, as does the robotic shred of vocalist Oliver Ackerman – uncomfortably loud and terrifying guitar tones that sound like someone’s crushing a saxophone with a speaker.

A sinister, uncomfortable storm – I even swear they sampled the sound of a borer on ‘Drill It Out’ – which is like something Leatherface, The Dentist and Predator would make if you gave them the right instruments.


Less Than Jake
A Place To Bury Strangers
Weekend Nachos

By Ross Macdonald

Lizard Hips

Junior Vice President of Keep It Fast. In other news: I work in social media, talk about dinosaurs, run a book club and have amazing facial hair. I am also a male man who is still not dead.

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