Saturday I got to see Toys That Kill play the best version of this song I’ve ever heard them do. I’ve seen this band a lot in the last year and heard them play this song many times, but Saturday’s performance of this one in particular is gonna be hard to top. This tune, “I’m Foaming”, was already one of my favorites from their most recent record Fambly 42, but Saturday’s show really made me realize that this is one of my favorite tunes of theirs period. The piece has a great energy build in between the verses with those long periods of droning only to have the band come down hard on their chords when their verses and choruses kick in. What was so striking about the performance over the weekend was that their droning sections were even more drawn out, sludgy, and intense in sound and when they finally did hit their verses the band landed on their down beat like a ton of bricks. It was amazing. These guys continue to be one of my favorites to see in LA. On Saturday night at the San Pedro Brew Co., the first time I’d seen them in the new year, they absolutely killed it.
More information on Toys That Kill can be found at their official site and Facebook. Copies of their most recent album, Fambly 42, (which landed on many Top 10 Albums Of 2012 lists) can be picked up via Recess Records.
FUN FACT: I thought of this joke back when “We Control the Sun” came out, but it’s taken this long for Toys That Kill releasing a new album at the same time I was doing NN2S to happen for me to actually use it.
No matter how much overdue maturity has blossomed in the past few years or how much focus I continue to develop, making lists designed to foster personal growth and interpersonal harmony remains an absolutely terrifying undertaking. Still, onward. Always.
Go here for more Toys That Kill info. They still do punk rock right.
Toys That Kill also dropped a new full length this year, Fambly 42, and their first long playing release since 2006’s Shanked. I had the opportunity to be at the band’s record release show with Mike Watt & The Missing Men down in San Pedro and had a most enjoyable time hearing the guys play through all of their new tunes live. The record marks the band’s trying something new by recording and mixing the album entirely themselves at Todd Congelliere’s Clown Sounds studio and do they ever pull it off. The recordings sounds earthy yet clean and the album itself is beautiful both in parts and as a whole. Fambly 42 shows the Toys That Kill fellas growing as a group while never loosing their distinctive sound and style which attracted us to them in the first place. Plus, as the tune above demonstrates, the record features some of their most catchy and fun songs to date. If you haven’t picked up a copy of this record yet, definitely snag a copy immediately. And if you’re up in S.F. tonight, go ring in the New Year with them at the Hemlock.
This is one of my favorite records from 2012. The world didn’t end and Toys That Kill put out this awesome garage/pop punk album, Fambly 42. It was a win/win year for me. Actually, the S&N logo is a picture of the clear orange vinyl of this record.
For those of you that have been following this blog since it’s inception a few months back, then you know my first post was about Toys That Kill. I picked them because I needed an awesome band that I could talk about easily so that I could get my writing legs underneath me. Toys That Kill more than fit that criteria. So here I am some months later and Toys That Kill have released a new album and I had the pleasure of attending their record release show at the San Pedro Ballet School where they played with Mike Watt and his Missing Men, Screaming Females, and Manhattan Murder Mystery. The concert was one of the best nights I’ve had all year. I’ve been stressing out a lot lately due to a number of various issues and going to that concert with my buddy Kyle was just the loosening up I needed. I didn’t really get to see Manhattan Murder Mystery but I did get to see Screaming Females and pretty much stared at/listened in utter amazement to Marissa Paternoster’s ridiculously skilled guitar playing. I wrote up a piece on them and their new album “Ugly” which can be found here. However, it was the promise of Toys That Kill and a whole album’s worth of new material that got me out of the house that evening in the first place so I was very much looking forward to their performance. From the first drum hits and notes that were strummed you could feel a charge flowing through the entire place. You could watch the whole crowd slowly go into more and more into a frenzy of motion and I know I didn’t stand still for the entire duration of their set. Toys That Kill have been at this for more than a decade and at this point seem to have mastered the art of controlling the flow of crowd energy like a spigot controls water. They know when to build pressure, when to unload it, and when to give everybody a minute to catch their breath before the next bit of wildness. It’s a skill honed over years of experience such as this band has. The other thing that is immediately noticeable about Toys That Kill’s playing at this point is how tight of a unit they are. Todd, Sean, Chachi, and Jimmy have been at this long enough that their reactions to one another as musicians is instinctual and it shows. Their sets are always at the highest level of consistency and the other weekend’s set was no different except that it had a little bit more electricity in the air to celebrate the new record. I had a fantastic time and it was great to get in the pit (something I rarely do these days) and dance. I felt super relaxed after the show was over and proceeded to go home and sleep like a baby.
As far as their new album “Fambly 42” is concerned, it seems like the band was able to transfer the delivery of their live performance to vinyl more accurately than any of their previous records. This is not to bash any of their previous efforts as I sincerely love all of their other albums. This one just feels the most natural. The flow of the tracks fit together seamlessly, raising you up and bringing you back down at all the right times. Another thing that may have contributed to such awesome energy on the record is that it was recorded at Clownsound which I think may be code for casa de Congelliere giving the band a comfortable and familiar environment to lay down these tunes (a home field advantage if you will). The record is distinctly Toys That Kill, you could’ve put this on without telling me what it was and I would’ve identified it from the first song. However, “Fambly 42” has the boys continuing to grow as a band and push their sound to new heights.
Just listen to “Waltz One Million”, it has that fire that Toys That Kill is known for but at the same time their is something new, maybe a vulnerability that wasn’t there before. The lyrics are amazing, lines like, “Knives sit still in the kitchen drawer / Not knowing what all the cuttings for” and, “Make that call your son is dead / He was crying like a child on his fold-out bed” completely blow me away. They paint incredibly intense images in my head as the song roars from my speakers.
Another one of my favorites is the opening track “The Nervous Rocks” with it’s explosive energy that just makes me want to form a one man dance pit in my room. Like the album itself, the song is fantastically structured. It’s got that first blast of juice followed by a nice little soft breakdown to build up anticipation followed by the blowing off of that pent up energy. It’s a ripper in true Toys That Kill fashion.
Speaking of rippers, “I’ve Been Stabbed!” is my favorite of the super uptempo numbers on the album. “I’ve been stabbed in the back by a lightening bolt / I’ve been hung out to dry in a swimming pool / But I gotta ask do you know what we’re fighting for? / I dunno what we’re fighting for." Awesome lyrics, that just beg to be screamed along to.
The last track I’ll share with you, "Clap For Alaska”, closes out the record and it does so perfectly. I think it shows off the new directions the band is going in but still exemplifies all of the qualities that make Toys That Kill fantastic in the first place. I especially dig the catchy sing a long chorus and the vocal round that the song ends with.
To summarize, the whole album is incredible. So much so that I’m surprised they don’t play “Fambly 42” in it’s entirety just for fun one of these nights. The album flows like a river with it’s smoother sections and it’s rapids during which nothing seems out of place or forced. It shows the band building on their foundations and evolve as song writers while still staying true to the identity of the group. It’s bands like Toys That Kill that continue to keep the spirit and ideas of punk rock alive and this album as well as their live performances are a testament to that. I’m in the process of trying to make the South Bay of Los Angeles my permanent home and in doing so I look forward to having regular Toys That Kill shows as a staple of my life down here.
Awesome photos from the record release show including the one above can be found at Shanty Cheryl’s Blah! Zine page.
More information on Toys That Kill including tour dates (of which they have many coming up) can be found on their official site and Facebook page. Copies of “Fambly 42” can be purchased from Recess Records, Interpunk, and a whole host of other distros. Toys That Kill will be touring a lot this summer including appearances at Chaos In Tejas as well as Hawaii so you basically have no excuse no to see them soon.