Final rules are available for Fox in the Forest, if anybody wants to check them out. Reviews have started coming in and they're very positive so far. I'm sure I'll get clobbered soon, but it feels good right now.
Steady Earnest, "Wear You To The Ball"
Steady Ernest is a side project of an assortment of Boston-area area ska musicians, most notably Dan Vitale of Bim Skala Bim on vocals. Overall, with Vitale's involvement, it sounds a lot like Bim Skala Bim - pretty straightforward ska patterned after two-tone bands like The Specials. I think Bim Skala Bim is great, and Steady Earnest is where you go after you've gone through their discography. Out Of Line is the album to start with for this band.
The Popgun Seven, "From Now On"
Your guess is as good as mine. We have a true rarity here: not in Discogs or Allmusic. I think this is from an opening act I saw one time? Anyway, I have a five song EP from them, and this is pleasant enough. As you've guessed by now, I'm kind of a sucker for horns. Two tracks in a row I've had to upload!
The Karl Hendricks Trio, "The Dress You Bought In Cleveland"
I used to walk up to Jim's (later Paul's) Records in Shadyside in Pittsburgh every Tuesday after class to check out the new releases. It's a ritual that helped form so many of my music preferences, as I perused the new albums and asked the very helpful staff what they thought. One member of that staff was Karl Hendricks, who was always friendly, always helpful, and always had good taste.
I saw Karl play with his band probably dozens of times, as he opened for many of the underground rock acts that came through Pittsburgh at the time. And I never got tired of the band, with their straightforward but heartfelt rock songs. I became a huge fan, and bought everything I could. He signed with Merge Records, and started getting a little more of a national profile, but overall, I think unless you lived in Pittsburgh at the time he was really active, there wasn't much of a chance you were a fan. So, it always felt a little bit like being part of a special club, listening to his albums and thinking, man, he's great.
Karl Hendricks passed away earlier this year, at age 46. He wouldn't remember me, as I was just like thousands of other kids who shopped at his store. But he talked to all of us about the music he loved, and he performed songs from his heart for us. And he's someone who genuinely touched my life. Thanks, Karl.
Much to my surprise, the Descendents got back together for a reunion album in 1996, about a decade after their first run ended. Now, to be fair, most of the band carried on as All, with just a rotating vocalist, so it wasn't like the band entirely dropped out. But, them coming back together to release an album with Milo Aukerman back on vocals seemed unlikely. Even more unlikely: it's actually good! The expiration date on pop punk bands is usually just a couple of albums, but Everything Sucks sounds just like prime Descendents.
Natalie Merchant, "Frozen Charlotte"
I wasn't really much of a 10,000 Maniacs guy. And this is totally fine, but I don't think I'll ever really crave listening to it.