Totally biased music reviews (friends edition): The One AM Radio, The Makeup Sex, It’s Casual b/w Early Man

Besides the camaraderie and the creativity of making the print version of Giant Robot, what I miss most is getting free music. I loved opening bubble mailers full of review CDs with bios, stickers, and other stuff. Sure, 90 percent of it was shitty but I got exposed to a ton of great bands and people that way. Now I have to seek out new music just like everyone else.

That being said, sometimes I still get hooked up. Here’s some stuff I got from friends during my recent Comic-Con trip, with a radical split 7″ as a bonus.

From his usual spot at the Top Shelf table at Comic-Con, my friend and noted indie cartoonist Jeffrey Brown handed me “Accidents and Good Intentions,” a limited-edition 7″ single released in conjunction with the upcoming movie that he co-wrote with director Michael Mohan (right). It is packaged beautifully in a printed envelope with a 7″ booklet of scenes from and images in the movie drawn by Brown. The music? It’s by Hrishikesh Hirway, a.k.a. The One AM Radio (center). “Good Intentions” is the A-side, and comes off like an indie rock, more intellectual cousin to The Descendents “Pep Talk” and Frank Turner’s “Reasons Not To Be An Idiot.” Well played. “Accidents” has a more somber, electronic tone that matches its philosophical lyrics about fucking up for the right reasons. Sad, gorgeous, and probably a spoiler followed by a lovely instrumental. The numbered edition of 250 is not just a collector’s item but a real score for fans of Hirway’s music or Brown’s comics. (Like me.)

Dating back to years ago at the Giant Robot booth, dinner at Phuong Trang on Convoy Street has become a ritual at the end of Comic-Con for my friends, my brother, and me. This time around, I saw the familiar face of O (right) who I usually I spot at the Casbah or ASR. Outside, he introduced me to his friend Joey Cape (middle), who used to sing for Lagwagon and did some acoustic stuff but now plays with a solo band. Then O gave me a something from his latest band, The Makeup Sex. I don’t think the CD is new, but it’s new to me… Following up on the anger of Olive Lawn and hooks of Fluf (his previous bands), The Makeup Sex delivers bitter and brilliant mix of misanthropy and melody. “Everyone’s got their problems, and I’m not saying mine are worse,” O sings, both commiserating with his fellow humans and cursing them at once. It’s pointless to write much more about the band when its tagline, “Love songs in the key of hate,” already perfectly describes its love/hate relationship with music/life. Gotta seek out the more recent EP now.

Okay, I actually paid $6 for the new split 7″ single with It’s Casual and Early Man, but the former band featuring Eddie Solis (left) has been playing a flurry of free shows around town just because he feels like it. That counts, too. This particular release is the first on Mike Conte from Early Man’s Demon Problems records, and his side features an epic 5-minute ripper of the same name from his band’s new lineup featuring my friend Tsuzumi Okai from The Binges sitting in on bass. What can I say, but it sounds a kinda like primo Judas Priest. Badass! It’s Casual balances the Early Man’s high-flying energy with two bombastic hardcore numbers, “Suffering” and “Father To Me.” How two dudes are capable of creating such magnificent heaviness (sorta like mid-era Slayer with early-era Slayer production value, but more punk) is beyond me. Preview the radical cuts at the Early Man site, and then buy the split that comes packaged with a silk screened patch for your library of rad music. Limited to 1,000.