New Music | Friday Roll Out: J. Robbins, FeverSleep, Milliseconds, tittygraveyard, The Menzingers

Does life sometimes disrupt the steady pace in which we live? Of course it does and so I don’t need to go into detail about things but here are some shorter takes this week. I’d apologize but at least we have this today.


Grabbed this one and didn’t know what to expect. I think I had some preconceptions about Milliseconds, the trio of Joe Easley and Eric Axelson (The Dismemberment Plan) and Leigh Thompson (Vehicle Birth). But what those preconceptions are, I’m really not sure about. If you’re a fan of either of the groups the band members were in, you might want to pump the breaks because this isn’t either one of those. For the band’s full length debut, So This Is How It Happens (Spartan Records) we get a clear pop record with semblances of former glory.

Please don’t misconstrue this, this is a good album with a couple of clear and precise singles which may lay a career at the band’s feet for a couple of albums. I find myself – my body – moving with “No Peaches” with Thompson’s voice soothing over the rhythm the band delivers. The band plays a little with dynamics here but it’s nothing too deliberate. I keep going back to “Every Day is Decided” which seems to be one of the band’s more inventive songs, led by a melodic bassline, lightly strummed guitars, with a hum in the distance before the band shifts gears with distorted guitars, and back again. The band plays with this formula for a bit here and it’s fine because it works to the group’s advantage. Throughout So This Is How It Happens, there are delicate moments. This, juxtaposed against the louder portions are what just might make this band an interesting listen in the future. We’ll see what’s next for Milliseconds, I’m still on the fence.


We don’t know who needs to hear this but J. Robbins (Jawbox, Channels, Burning Airlines) is masterful at his craft. While this is something new, it’s also something old, but when old meets new and it’s interpreted by Robbins, he makes it his own. You’re probably wondering “What the hell are you talking about?” and I’m about to tell you so calm the fuck down. Well, the songwriter/producer has released the new Three Masks E.P. which is comprised of three cover songs Robbins says “I love dearly.”

On Three Masks, he opens with his version of “Dear Friends Around The Corner,” originally penned by Einsturzende Nuebauten. Sure enough, his guitar tones & intonations create a warmth that has his signature all over it. Neubauten’s song structure allows him the maneuverability to make slight changes but the line is so blurred there it doesn’t matter and it’s captivating. When he shifts dynamically, his current and former bandmates assist with the takeover. Yeah, I’m here for it. And with a surprising turn of events, he covers the Velvet Monkeys’ “Everything is Right,” the NYC superpowered group fronted by Don Fleming which featured an array of musicians (Thurston Moore, J Mascis, Julia Cafritz) but that’s a story for another time. The Robbins version pretty much sticks to the same formula Fleming and his camp created but Robbins’ is more aggressive & direct. The banking vocals are a great touch. Last but not least is “I’m James Dean” written by hardcore punk act Government Issue, a band Robbins was a part of at one time. Things take a turn here when Robbins reworks a 14-second song into an electronic number clocking in at almost 5 minutes. Definitely different without a hollered “1-2-3!!!” But in all, Three Masks lets us all know J. Robbins is here and still fucking things up!


It’s probably going to be that moment you ask “What is this fuckery?” because you may not understand the sheer brutality that goes into the opening “Freak Show” track, which is as apropos as anything to begin with. But I’m getting ahead of myself and going in knowing next to nothing about tittygraveyard is probably the best thing to happen to me. As with you, there’s no preconceived notion and we’re far from having any expectations. But things seem to make a little more sense when I realize tittygraveyard is half of Arizona’s Snailmate who I thought was interesting when I watched them perform right before the world shut down. Tittygraveyard – a name that makes me smile every time I say it out loud is the moniker of one Bentley Monet and the majority of beats provided were created by Voiddweller, Coolzey credited on “Silly.”

The self-titled (Fake Four Inc.) seems like an experimentation in sound and while the songs are comfortably nestled in brevity, they’re sonically astute. Now tittygraveyard attempts to walk that fine line between pop & noise but it’s noisy with glimpses of pop or melodic tones. tittygraveyard is fucking with everything and “GET HELP!!!!!!” midway through finds solace in something much more melodic than most other things. Electronics with analog equipment seems to be utilized on this release but it’s way past being utilized in a way that we ever see. That was the interesting thing about Timmy Taylor and the Brainiac crew and how they were able to manipulate their instruments in a way that would make the band derivative unto itself. This isn’t a comparison but in a way that’s what tittygraveyard is doing here as well. tittygraveyard is now fucking things up doing things the only way tittygraveyard can…and it’s a pleasure to hear the fuckery.


I’ve been somewhat enthralled here, not by what I think is something nostalgic but by something that’s memorable and full of energy. It’s that youthful energy I’m referring to and I’m ok with that. The Portland, Oregon FeverSleep has a sound that may remind you of a number of things, a variety of sounds that storms through hardcore punk or a caffeinated power-pop heavy on walls of guitar. I don’t know anyone not up for something abrasive, catchy, and powerful all at once.

The band has just released its new Self-Titled EP (Thirty Something Records) and yes, within the five songs here, there’s emotion running rampant throughout it. You can feel it within the music itself and if you need an example, “Reckless Engineers” has a timbre that’s melancholic, but the band isn’t wallowing in misery, releasing that inward anger, outward. Dual guitars cover all the walls around as the rhythm is far from being contained. THIS is what we all need now, a group that’s willing to put it all on the line. If that isn’t enough, take a listen to “Little Pins,” which offers more of the same but FeverSleep’s delivery is visceral and engaging. While Farrell & Vera’s guitars are persistent, Jewett & Drislane’s rhythm is the driving force! We should all be grateful for this release it’s powerful.


The pop-punk outfit The Menzingers is back with its eighth full-length release, Some Of It Was True (Epitaph). If you like them, cool. If you don’t, cool. Yeah, that’s all I’ve got.