The Humanoids Year of the Snake seven-inch and The 75s Stereo EP

Feb 25, 2009 at 4:00 am

The Humanoids play fast, sharp punk-rock songs with an even split of grit and humor, so it's fitting that the quintet's most recent release comes via a seven-inch record. The vinyl format gives the band the right space constraints (three songs are squeezed onto Year of the Snake), and the analog hiss of the shellac matches the Humanoids lo-fi, quick-and-dirty aesthetic. The title track is bouncy and frenetic, and the song manages to be simultaneously buoyant and bruising. "Drawing Bored" is a bit more whip-smart, and the thumping coda suggests that drummer Shaun Morrissey may have the strongest right foot in town.

The 75s' latest offering is likewise short and sweet — the three-song Stereo is deemed an EP but plays more like a strong single with two so-so b-sides. "Stereo" is the lead cut here, with singer/guitarist Laurel Mydock's affectless vocals recalling the pop naiveté of K Records' mid-'90s roster. Mydock's fuzzy guitar chords and Scott Lasser's drums give the songs a good deal of heft, but Morgan Nusbaum is the band's secret weapon: Her simple, plangent bass lines add a poppy counterpoint to Mydock's chug-a-lug guitar parts, and her harmony vocals swoop in and commingle with Mydock's oft-buried vocal lines.