Skipping Girl Vinegar: Keep Calm, Carry the Monkey

It’s not even noon and I have done my work for the day…market research, exciting, right? Now I’m going through Skipping Girl Vinegar’s Twitpics and it is full of a little monkey named Baker. He appears to be the band mascot and the obvious reason their latest album is called Keep Calm, Carry the Monkey. There are happy parts that resemble a hippy throwback, but other parts that make me reach for a blanket to hide under because they go over the edge of creepy.

Do we start with the bright side? Nah, let’s go with the darker side…Once you hit “Central Station” it appears a dismal tale of a man leaving something behind as he gets “Hell Out of Town.” Both are spooky and render images of a rundown train station. This guy’s dark adventure doesn’t stop there. It follows him into the woods with “Moose Tracks Me Deep” which is quick but leaves you with goosebumps, and “Castles Full of Storms.” One can’t stress enough how much these four songs are perfection for Halloween.

That group of songs appears a bad part of one guys life, but then you get “Chase The Sun” and smile. The sun is a symbol of positivity you can’t help but want in your life. It has a 60’s/70’s feel to it, as does “One Long Week.” The best track to get one in a better mood is “Wasted” because like in life, a drink can often times turn things around.

Skipping Girl Vinegar is made up of three ladies and a pair of gentlemen from Australia who have created Keep Calm, Carry the Monkey. It’s an album that falls into an indie category for its overall feel, but has some folk elements. Their ability to pour a dreary story in between happier tracks makes this album a perfect fit for fans of The Agiles and Lundi. Keep Calm, Carry the Monkey is out now and if you were lucky enough to be in New York for CMJ a week or so ago you might’ve caught them, but if you missed them there be on the lookout on their site for more dates.

Mixtapes: How To Throw A Successful Party

Every time I try to plan something with my friends I’m met with excuse after excuse for them not to show up. I’ve gotten used to party of twos and threes on Saturday nights and birthdays. So when I popped in MixtapesHow To Throw A Successful Party, I thought I was going to get some helpful tips and be able to throw those types of parties you see in teen movies. I didn’t get that, but I did get reminded of a movie throughout the entire record.

Who hasn’t seen Juno by now? Well if you haven’t here’s the Wiki page. For those who have, remember that Juno and Paulie Bleeker were into music and once in a band together before the whole pregnancy thing. Then at the end they sang their interpretation of The Moldy Peaches “Anyone Else But You.” That’s what How To Throw A Successful Party sounds like right from the start with “10 A.M. (how to successfully start the day).” It’s this back and forth between a guy and a girl that sounds like two friends on their front porch steps. It’s not refined and there are some bumps.

How To Throw A Successful Party is a stripped down Pop Punk record. It’s not over the top in the instrumental department. It’s more of a campfire sing along that follows a day in the lives of these people starting at 10am and wrapping up at 5am. Each song is an hour of the day with a message. At “Noon (protest song)” you get a track that paints a picture of Mixtapes hating everything around them from people who write “songs to get laid,” to the scene. Being my favorite on the record and being so early in the day, I mean album, it was hard to get behind any other songs.

“4 P.M. (safe)” sounded like Simple Plan when it began so that was an interesting turn of events, while “8 P.M. (the apple barn)” redeemed itself to me by ending with lines from Heathers.

Mixtapes didn’t teach me any party planning skills, but did give me a couple songs to take along with me on my daily routine of nothing (yup, for those of you who follow my story…I’m still in job purgatory). How To Throw A Successful Party was like if Ellen Page and Michael Cera’s characters in Juno got their band back together, is for fans of Candy Hearts and Handguns, and is out October 30th on Animal Style Records.

Seaway / Safe To Say: Split

Halloween is coming up and I actually tried to plan a group costume, but it’s hard for a fat girl to find a flattering dress on top of one that’s baby blue. That color seems to have peaked in 1999. So I had to give up the idea of being one of the Powerpuff Girls, and just go through pictures of other people who were able to pull off a collaboration. Now I don’t know if Seaway and Safe To Say have any plans to team up for Halloween (do they do that in Canada?), but I do know that they worked well enough together to go in halfsies on Split, a Pop Punk record that’s heavier at the start and eases up towards the end.

Seaway’s brand of Pop Punk is more aggressive than their Split partners, Safe To Say. Each track is quick and to the point and doesn’t lay down any type of bullshit when it comes to being upset. That’s the case with “Homewrecker,” a track that could help ease a broken heart. But it’s “Middle Finger” that’s got the golden ticket. The best lyrical “fuck you” comes with the line “every time we fucked I wasn’t thinking of you.”

Safe To Say had more of a soft center to their music. “Wished You The Worst” is only 35 seconds long, but it was long enough for me to say that musically, both bands are on the same page, but there’s a more youthful sound in Safe To Say’s music. They’re like a little brother to Seaway. When it came to “Entirely” and “Dead Birds” there was no clear winner in my books. Both are easy on the ears and have killer choruses that make you want to spend the day doing nothing but listen to them on repeat. While that’s not productive, it sure beats working, right?

There are so many bands that fall under the Pop Punk umbrella, and Seaway and Safe To Say are two of them who have teamed up for a record that’s sure to be a good addition to anyone who already has Forever Came Calling and To Tell The Tale. Split is out now on Mutant League Records, so get it and enjoy.