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Record Review Overflow From Issue #37, 1 of 2
You don't even have to retype it for your press sheet.

By Staff
Thursday, May 10 2007

7 SHOT SCREAMERS: In Wonderland: CD
Crisp, clean psycho-punkabilly with a sharp, jumpy, up-tempo beat that feels as carefree as an after-hours party. They don’t have to concentrate on what they’re playing, it’s completely second nature, and they just concentrate on delivering a rockin’ good time. –Jessica T (Big Muddy, bigmuddyrecords.org)

ALERT! ALERT!: First Aid: 7”
This is some serious skate thrash! I had to go back and check to see when this was recorded. The sheet says 2005, but I’d swear it was ‘85 judging by the style, content, and recording quality. Five songs of all-out skate rock as it was meant to be. The fast parts are really fast and the breakdowns have a groove. Throw in some tag team vocals and we’ve got ourselves a winner. “To all the kids who still skate for fun!” Indeed! –Ty Stranglehold (Cassette Kill, no address)

ACCELERATORS, THE: Haven’t You Heard: CD
Not to be confused with The Accelerators, whose 1979 Itty Bitty Baby EP is considered a West Coast punk classic, or The Accelerators, whose 1984 Public Enemy No. 1 EP is considered an East Coast classic, these Accelerators play loud punk pumped up with more than a little rawk and atonal vocals. Can’t say I’m all that impressed with it, but I’ve definitely heard worse. –Jimmy Alvarado (Bitchin’ Riffage)

For years now I have had a severe distaste for Gene Defcon, the always-a-child artist of mindlessly strange obscure short songs, usually accented with Casio play sounds. I have destroyed multiple Gene Defcon CDs, spread my message of distaste for Gene Defcon to friends, and forced people to listen to his music just to prove that he is indeed one of the worst artists ever to exist. Quite frankly, Come Party with Me 2000 is the type of thing I hope I never have to listen to again, but God knows I’ll get dragged into it at some point in order to win an argument about the worst album ever. Alexis Gideon reminds me of Gene Defcon if Gene tried to do more rapping and had more of a Ween influence. Upon hearing the Casio-backed track, “Casio Elation,” I seriously wanted to punch my computer monitor. This isn’t as bad as Gene Defcon, but hell if it doesn’t piss me off nearly as much for it’s (amongst other things) a complete waste of so many peoples’ time (including my own) and waste of natural resources to make this garbage. –Kurt Morris (Sickroom)

ANXIETY ATTACK: Self-titled: 7” EP
Mid-tempo hardcore from a tight band with a screamy vocalist. Not bad. –Jimmy Alvarado (Big Brown Shark)

Female pop in the vein of Manda And The Marbles, but with a bit more edge. They throw out tons of hooks, but I’m just not biting. –Megan (Hair Ball 8)

It’s nice when you get something you just didn’t expect. Armedalite Rifles are punk rock with somewhat of a minimalist sound. Don’t confuse that with lo-fi; it’s not. It is just very stripped down and to the point. Said point is the current state of our society (corporations, Bush, and all the other crap ruining our lives). Lyrically, I’m reminded a bit of Stiff Little Fingers mixed with a touch of Fifteen. I was also pleasantly surprised to get a little Minutemen styling thrown into the mix, too. I’ll be watching for more from these guys. –Ty Stranglehold (no address)

ATMA, THE: On My Artichoke: CD
They claim to be very arty, are obviously qualified to slang geetars, and I’ll concede they occasionally tread on some diverse musical territory, but on the whole they don’t sound particularly unique from most of the other thousand alternative rock bands that have slugged it out in the L.A. club trenches over the past decade or so. –Jimmy Alvarado (The ATMA)

B.Y.O.W.: Bring Your Own Weapon: CD
The beat up guy on the front cover and the taped-up fists on the back lead me to believe that this was going to be another tough-guy, meathead hardcore band… and I was right. When I first put this on, I was kind of liking it. Tight and raw, everything sounded good until I caught some of the lyrics. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I am far from the PC police and have written some pretty off-color lyrics in my day, but I’ve never seen so many unresolved issues crammed into a bunch of songs as this. Scanning the lyrics, I found out that the guy was obviously ditched by his girl and he lashes out accordingly in a good portion of the disc. We also find out that his family life was shitty and his parents medicated him and he’s still supposed to be on meds, but chooses not to (bad call). He also wants to bomb the Middle East and bad drivers (Well, I kind of agree on the drivers part). This could have been good. –Ty Stranglehold (Malt Soda)

BARBARELLATONES, THE: Invasion of the Surf Zombies: CD
Nineteen long, drawn-out surf tunes peppered with creaking doors, horror screams, and nasal, sneering vocals. Granted, they’ve been around a long time and their musicianship is top-notch, but I’m weary of dreary monster surf parties, surf zombies, Mothra, bat queens, space kitties, the wicked wahine, and tranni (SIC) troglodytes. –Jessica T (Self-released)

BENARD: Self-titled: CD
Apparently, these guys played Fest V, but unfortunately, I missed this year’s festivities. They compare themselves to At The Drive In and Twelve Hour Turn and I hear slight resemblances. The vocals are especially reminiscent of Cedric from ATDI at times. Musically, I think this is good stuff, albeit not completely original. Jagged, yet melodic at times, with confusing song titles like, “I Wish I Were a Penguin.” If you dig post hardcore that leans towards the ever-dreaded emo but doesn’t cross the line, check this band out! –Buttertooth (Alaska)

BIG SUR: Und Die Scheibe Andert Sich Immer: CD
This group is comprised of members from the Mars Volta and Air. Thus, there must be boundless indie street cred (okay, more like “Indie Street-Team Cred”) surrounding these guys. Chances are you have already read about this (Will the real Pitchfork and Buddyhead readers please stand up?) and choose whether this tickles your fancy. Perhaps you are an avid Razorcake devotee and ignore such digital riff raff. When it comes down to it, this record sounds quite smooth and fluid. Big Sur experiments with playing some funky grooves and the guest appearance from Money Mark (of Beastie Boys fame) on keyboards fits quite well. At times, the songs sound minimal enough to be described as somewhat nondescript. This music is mostly reminiscent of the material that is played during the sex scene of a rarely watched HBO miniseries. There are some pop sensibilities that are apparent, but, in essence, this does not really command my attention. This is perhaps worth a download if you are fans of their main bands. –Chris Prorock (GSL)

Loud rock/ metal with song titles like “End of the World Sex Party,” “Slave to Your Rock and Roll,” and “Drunk as Fuck.” Although it was well executed and the band was tight, it ultimately never registered past background music. –Jimmy Alvarado (No List)

Eighties-influenced bands that bring to mind Echo & The Bunnymen, Joy Division, and A Flock Of Seagulls. That last one was not on the sticker that came with the record. Seriously, if you liked anything about those bands, this may be something that would catch your ear. “I Like U” and “Midnight Sun” are highlights from the disc for me. Skeletal guitar, distinctive vocals, and a pulsating rhythm section blend together to make a solid debut. Expect more good things from this outfit. –Sean Koepenick (Idol)

BLAG DAHLIA: Nina …And Other Delights: CD
A spoken word outing from Blag The Ripper this time around. This disc consists of Blag reading the column that he writes on a radio show, some improv pieces, and some chapters from his new novel Nina. While I find most of what Dahlia does funny, the reading of the columns left me wanting a little more. The best parts here are the readings from his book in all their deranged glory. I would surely pick up a copy of an audio book if he was reading it. –Ty Stranglehold (Greedy)

BLANKET OF M: Self-titled: CD-R
M for Misfits, I assume, since they sound best when they’re sounding like the Misfits and, frankly, not too good when they’re not. I bet they’re tremendous fun at house parties. –Cuss Baxter (OBZ)

BLOODY WALL OF GORE: Greetings! From Plant BWOG: CD
Okay, I think I’ve been outsmarted; this goes from jazz with really juvenile lyrics (like about having sex with squids), to growly death metal (with lyrics that sound like they’re making fun of growly death metal). It’s a valiant effort, just a little too “wacky” for me. –Joe Evans III (Self-released)

Once I got past the annoying “sound of someone getting their ass kicked” intro, this was pretty good up-tempo street punk fare. The singer’s voice has a unique quality that I like. The music is well played, but for some reason, the snare drum is really loud and in the front of the mix. It’s really distracting, to the point where it’s making me enjoy this less. I’d like to hear a better recording. –Ty Stranglehold (Lude Boy)

BRADLEO ADMINISTRATION, THE: Happy, Lucky, and Going Places: 7”
The Bradleo (yes, one word) Administration is (I guess) a solo vehicle for a guy named Brad Leo— not to be confused with balding front man Ted Leo. The A side of Brad Leo’s single is influenced by that power-pop stuff Alex Chilton didn’t make a career out of; the same music Bobby Stinson played and now (seeing as he’s dead) doesn’t. The B side reminds me of Peter Laughner’s home recordings (although Peter Laughner doesn’t make home recordings anymore because he’s dead, too. Had Peter not indulged in a case of Grolsch a day, coupled with lumps of methamphetamines, he’d currently be fifty-four years old). So, yeah, this is all great. You see the keywords (Laughner, Chilton, etc.) and you’re all set to buy this record. Just hold on, chief. I can tell that Leo (as in Brad) likes good music, but it’s hard to produce it. My girlfriend says this record is a three out of ten. I told her that if I played Peter Laughner’s home recordings for her, she’d give them a two out of ten. So, anyway, elitism aside, this record is a five out of ten. This group (or Brad Leo) shows promise, but they’ve got some work cut out for them. Maybe a strict diet of Thomas Wolfe and Jack Kerouac could get them up to speed. I’m not sure—I’m neither Lamont Dozier nor the Colonel Tom Parker, just a cantankerous rock critic and bass player. –Ryan Leach (Floridas Dying, floridasdying.com)

BRIAN WILSON SHOCK TREATMENT, THE: Lords of the Infinite Cosmos: 7” EP
Present are so many of the decorations I associate with psychedelic rock—the organs, the distorted lead vocals, the whispered backing vocals, noodling guitars and references to outer space—but the songs feel half-baked, stuck in "here's a cool part" mode. (Except for "Can U Feel It?" whose guitar riff pulls together a catchy slab of indie rock.) Then again, consistency is not what I expected from a band named after the poster child of instability. –Mike Faloon (Slutfish, www.slutfishrecords.com)

CANDY: Self-titled: CDEP
Candy hails from Southern California and sure sounds like it. These five songs are chock full of Epitaph Records style riffing and that trademark style of harmonizing that all those bands on that label employ. Every song on this EP cannot be remembered distinctly. I can only recall the collective sound of the band. This is a somewhat negative characteristic for a band that is maneuvering into the treacherous territory of Southern Californian chain wallet skate punk. I feel that this style of punk rock is increasingly generic and follows a rigid and hollow template. I am surprised that the institution of “mall punk” is not already played in airports by now. I had to go back and listen to this again so I could compose this review. This would have served better as a demo so that the band could take more time to craft their own sound. Better luck next time, gents! –Chris Prorock (Vending Machine)

Riddle me this—what kind of band does not list the song titles on their record… anywhere? No need to answer since the CD is horrible. Lackluster arrangements, awful vocals. Stay away from this like a flu virus. –Sean Koepenick (Forever Escaping Boredom)

CHOOGLIN: Self-titled: CD
Punk-informed ‘70s rock from Minnesota. Think Grand Funk or Mountain meets the Hellacopters. Better than most Scandi rawk but would be stronger if they would let off the gas once in a while. Some more dynamics would really make this stuff killer. Pretty good disc overall from this band featuring ex-Midnight Evils. –Mike Frame (Self-released, www.chooglin.net)

CHUCK RAGAN: Valentine b/w Do What You Do: 7”
Acoustic music’s a slippery slope. So much can go so wrong with it almost immediately that it’s hard not to flinch when someone you admire musically goes about it solo. Cafés across this great land of ours are lousy with examples of once-good ideas gone horribly hippie or Hallmark card wrong. Thankfully, Chuck Ragan’s a modern-day warrior, golden dude, and no stranger to the acoustic guitar. (Check out Rumbleseat.) It’s little records like this where time gets elastic, and that part in The Decline of Western Civilization where these crazed people talk about punk picking up where the folk tradition left off—and you think Claude Bessy’s totally out of his mind—makes sense and snaps back on itself. It comes to this: with music that’s at the tip of an arrow, aimed true, words like “punk” and “folk” take a back seat to resistance music, to carving your own music into hard surfaces, and being honest to yourself, which, I believe, Chuck is doing. Great stuff. –Todd (No Idea)

COHO: Things Change: CD
Coho is a Seattle-area band whose music contains reminders of such indie rock bands as Explosions In The Sky and Minus The Bear. At the beginning of some of the tracks and in between are tunes about Gandhi and losing friends that all seem really heartfelt and endearing. The vocalist (no clarification is given on which member it is) has a really great voice that’s engaging and strong. None of this is very original or groundbreaking, but with such great vocals and a nice mix of electronic beats and acoustic guitar, Coho definitely stands out a little bit compared to the general indie rock masses. –Kurt Morris (Lujo)

COLDBRINGER: Lust and Ambition: 12”
My friend Mary plays drums for this dirty rock and roll band from Portland, OR. She was a rocker since the day I met her in Tempe, Arizona eight or nine years ago. It’s good to see she’s still rocking out! Coldbringer plays the raunchy style that still stays true to rock and roll. I could see these guys and the Triggers getting along great in the Pacific Northwest. Throw this alongside your Turbonegro, AC/DC, or whatever scummy, oozing, sounds you prefer coming out of your turntable. –Buttertooth (Dead Ideas)

Well, Converge is back with a new album, and frankly, it sounds just like all their other albums. I’m sure there are still lots of people in the world that still like this kinda metalcore screamy stuff, but honestly, I got tired of it about five years ago. If you like Converge, get this. It’s exactly what you’ll be expecting. –Ben Snakepit (Epitaph)

CRAP CORPS: Self-titled: 7” EP
Being the total ninny I am, I listened to the first side of this on 33 1/3 instead of 45 and thought, “Man, these guys are pretty plodding for a hardcore band.” Now that I’ve got it on the right speed, what I’m hearing is no frills hardcore from an all-female band that sounds angry enough, but never quite manages to push things close enough to the edge to kick in a “wow” response. –Jimmy Alvarado (Big Brown Shark)

CRUSTIES, THE: Rat’s Revenge: CD
I gotta tell you, with a name like The Crusties, I was expecting a bunch of guys with lots of spikes on leathers and Conflict patches. Not even close. The Crusties here sound more like a straight up punk band circa the mid ‘80s. That is, until the horns kick in. Speaking of the horns, they’re not ska horns, or Rocket From The Crypt-sounding horns… I really don’t know what the deal is with the horns, but I do know that they just don’t work for me. They really take away from what could be interesting music. The music is punk, but the vocalist sounds almost like some bastard combination of some rockabilly singer and the guys in the Nobodys. The usual song topics are here: fashion punks, small towns, rednecks, and G.W. Bush. Not terrible, but, at the same time, it’s just not doing anything for me. –Ty Stranglehold (Beer City)

DAN PADILLA: Self-titled: CD
You know what I like about us? We’re too damn good, too damn drunk, and too damn ugly to be popular. All of this will never be ruined by an influx of shitty sixteen-year-old kids or a full color exposé as the latest threat to America’s youth in USA Today. Only fat people with drinking problems want to be/ care about fat people with drinking problems! This shit is foolproof until we die or get committed! I’ve never seen Dan Padilla, the man or the band, but I know for a fact that it’s bands like this that make me happy to be a part of all of this in whatever ways I find myself and charged to keep at it despite the deepening debt and Fest AIDS, which is sure to strike again this year, as it does every year. Musically, it’s just about what you’d expect from the sum of its parts (dudes from Tiltwheel, Bloodbath & Beyond, and Altaira). Gritty and a little jangly, at times almost a little country/ bluesy, pop punk with a touch of early Jawbreaker, Leatherface, and probably Hüsker Dü. Little confession…don’t much care for all that much Hüsker Dü. Sorry. Bonus points for stealing from New Order and The Misfits on one album. You have serious fucking problems in your life if you don’t like the song “Chaparral Real” from this record. Problems that I will probably have to fix with a lead pipe if we should meet in a dark alley. –Stevo (A.D.D.)

DARK WATER TRANSIT: Dawn of the Goblin: CD
I’ve never heard Dark Water Transit before, so I don’t really know what they sound like, but this album is a cover of the Dawn of the Dead soundtrack, originally written and performed by Italian masters Goblin. The Dark Water Transit guys got permission from Goblin to do this cover album and HOLY FUCK is it AMAZING! Faithful enough to the original versions and yet they add just enough to it to make this disc sound fresh and exciting. I really, really like this. –Ben Snakepit (Let Em Talk, letemtalk.com)

The DC Snipers kick this off with “Baby Don’t Be So Violent,” which is about two hundred times catchier and more traditional sounding than their Missile Sunset CD. Which isn’t to say they’ve gone soft. The song absolutely rocks, but in more of a Dead Boys/ Real Kids sort of way. They follow with “Dirt Bag,” in much the same vein. Both tracks sound like they were recorded totally in the red, all bleary and compressed. The flip side finds The Tampoffs playing at top speed through two ultra-catchy songs, “Gentlemen” and “Lead,” both staples of their live show. I’ve seen the Tampoffs a few times, and always enjoyed them, but this recording doesn’t really capture the joy they display live. –Brian Mosher (Daggerman, www.myspace.com/daggermanrecords)

Solid, straight ahead hardcore that keeps the pace a-chuggin’ and the mood festive. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.deadneckfury.com)

DEFECTORS, THE: Bruised and Satisfied: CD
Based on all its ingredients—strong ‘60s garage tunes with a gloomy tinge, Farfisa organs, sound quality that doesn’t sound like utter shit—I should be lapping this up with a large spoon, but something I just can’t place my finger on is keeping me from doing so. Best I can figure is it’s missing just a smidge more oomph to push it over the edge. Gonna hafta listen to this one a while longer and see if it grows on me. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.badafro.dk)

DEMON SEEDS, THE: Have a Date with Death: CD
Three fresh-faced, mostly clean-shaven Bostonians (two of them from Crimson Ghost) and a cherub-cheeked twenty-something gal (Is she the Farfisa-ist or the model?) holding a giant plastic scythe, punch out thirteen (sigh) evenly toned, evenly spaced, evenly timed rehashed college-town surfabilly. Monotone and dreary, like Pleasantville before Reese Witherspoon. –Jessica T (Necro-Tone)

DENNIS: Wasted Days, Follow Dreams: 7”
I desperately need a classification lesson for all things screamed. This is all soft, soft, kick drum, fast, back to slow, kick drum to fast, and sounds like they went to art school? So, what the hell does that make this? I’m not sure what it’s called out there, but I usually call it crap. –Megan (Spicy Soup)

Radicus: They ain’t bad, but there’s a “rock” undercurrent that just don’t sit well with my tastes. Destructors 666: One rock-solid mid-tempo number, one that burns at a slower pace, and an unfortunate cover of “Kick out the Jams.” Given the number of Destructors-related EPs I’ve encountered over the past twelve months, I’m figuring they’re overdue for a full-length. –Jimmy Alvarado (Rowdy Farrago)

DIANE AND THE SHELL: 30,000 Feet Tarantella: CD
Slow, monotonous, repetitive, pretentious. Piano, guitar, xylophone, drums. I guess it’s some kind of jazz. –Cuss Baxter (Australian Cattle)

DIRTY NOVELS, THE: Pack Your Pistols: CD
Cool band from the Southwest, coming on like the more recent Makers stuff, which I love. Some Gun Club style influence creeping in as well. Dug the first six tunes but the last four are killer: total glam punk chestnuts to finish out the record. Great stuff! Seems to sound better the more I listen to it. A band to watch, for sure, if you like glam punk. –Mike Frame (self released, http://www.thedirtynovels.com/)

DISCO FOR FERNS, A: Arterial Spray and Puss: CD-R
I’m guessing they mean “Pus,” but I could be wrong so I didn’t slap a “[sic]” on there. Nearly unlistenable homemade grind; sounds like it might be okay if you could hear anything besides the vocals, but six minutes of yelling isn’t rock‘n’roll, and it isn’t music, and it isn’t yelling, it’s shouting. –Cuss Baxter (OBZ)

DOWN AND OUTS: Minneapolis: 7” EP
The title track is a nice bit of poppy punk. “Violence in the Streets” is a bit more oi-inflected with raspy vocals, single-note lead, and a chanty chorus. The winner here, though, is “Our Day Out,” a stunner in the Stiff Little Fingers mold. I’d be interested to hear what they’d manage to muster up for a full-length. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.ratpatrolrecs.com)

Punk? Oi? New wave? Pop? I can’t really get into putting a label on this, but I can tell you that it is pretty damn cool. It’s not hard to tell that Dreadful Children hail from the same area and are friends with The Briefs. The two bands do have a similar sound, but there is something distinguishing here. The guitars are a little more garagey and there is a little less snot in the vocals. I found myself liking this more and more with each song that went by (“Hopefully” is one of the best songs I’ve heard all month!). I’d really like to see them play live now. Just a small hop over the border, boys! –Ty Stranglehold (Street Anthem, no address)

ELLEGARDEN: Riot on the Grill: CD
Unfuckingbelievable. This band has sold like 700,000 copies of this record in Japan and it sounds like they could do the same here. Somewhere between a perfect synthesis of Blink 192 and like New Found Glory or some such nonsense. I totally did not expect this music to come out of these people, given the nature of what most Japanese punk I’ve come across sounds like. And the cover of this thing—which is a delightful full color gatefold cardboard deal; the Japanese really know paper. Some lyrics in English, some in Japanese. Not terrible if you like that sort of over-the-top, radio-ready emotional pop punk. Which, for the most part, is terrible altogether…but this isn’t that bad. –Stevo (Denko Secca, www.denkosecca.com)

You know how you slop something together because you need to eat, but don’t really care what it is? How, while you’re eating, you sometimes forget what you’re even eating because it’s just that unremarkable? That’s how EFA is for me. Decent enough hardcore that does the trick well enough, but I just end up forgetting that I’m even listening to anything. –Megan (Self-released)

EVICTION PARTY: Self-titled: Cassette
Twelve nice tracks from Halifax, NS; real nice ones. Rough around the edges poppy punk with a swell amount of jangle on the guitars and a few ca. 1966 Beatles-sounding licks, dual-gendered singing, and well-written songs for what sound like pretty young kids. Lyrics seem a little on the emo side, but not for emo’s sake, just cause that’s what they’re thinking about, kinda like before “emo” was a bad word. –Cuss Baxter (Self-released, http://www.myspace.com/disvictionparty)

EXIT CLOV: Respond Respond: CD
Two violin players? Can that be necessary? Well, regardless, the result is pretty darn good. With their slightly arty pop, smart lyrics, and melodic hooks reminiscent of The Pixies, Exit Clov disguise their often disturbing themes beneath a shimmering mix of fuzzy guitars, soaring keyboards, and the aforementioned violins. It’s all very tastefully done and well balanced, never giving you too much of one thing. These are the kind of songs that may not seem super catchy while you’re listening, but which you’ll find yourself whistling later. Plus, who can resist a song called “Communist BBQ?” –Brian Mosher (Livewire)

EYES SET TO KILL: When Silence Is Broken the Night Is Torn: CD
Male screamo vocals matched with female vocals reminiscent of Evanescene over metal riffage. –Donofthedead (Self-released? No address.)

Hailing from the hometown of Jack Kerouac, Fenwick are a three-piece punk rock band. They don’t do anything fancy, preferring to keep it simple and straight forward. That’s the good news. The not so good news is that, largely because of the singer’s lack of range, every song tends to sound exactly the same. If it was a single, I’d probably say it’s a pretty good, Muffs-style, aggressive melodic punk. As an eleven song full-length, it’s repetitive and boring. –Brian Mosher (My Little Rock Star, www.mylittlerockstar.com)

FUTURE VIRGINS, THE: Self-titled: 7”
Ashley’s voice has a home, and that home is in the medium of vinyl. I will never again be tricked into thinking anything else. This 7” is five glorious tracks of thrashy pop punk poetry from ex-members of Sexy and the Jack Palance Band. If you liked any of the previously mentioned bands, there’s a good chance you’ll LOVE this 7”. This is what oldies radio would sound like if they ate out of dumpsters and read Hesse. –Daryl (Plan-It-X South)

GHOSTLIMB: Self-titled: CD
Driving, relentless hardcore that has no problem getting just a little tech with their guitars. Musicianship and production quality are all top notch, and they get a good number of style points on the impeccable medieval theme of the album art, but the font style is kind of at the expense of being able to read the lyrics. But, then again, my eyes aren’t so good, and sometimes I like to pretend I don’t even know how to read. –Daryl (Gunslap, jason@graforlock.com)

GHOULTOWN: Bury Them Deep: CD
Oh, cute; it’s a scary cowboy-themed psychobilly band. The promo photos are the best part of this. They’re all wearing dusty leather vests and animal teeth necklaces and Rob Zombie cowboy hats and stuff, but also with eye makeup and Myspace hair. Poor guys: real cowboys would kick their asses, and real Hot Topic mall punks would laugh at them for dressing like their redneck uncle. Musically, it’s kinda rockabilly-inspired hard rock, rather nondescript, with songs about banditos and stagecoaches and train robberies and tombstones. The whole thing is so contrived, I bet in three years they’ll be playing stoner rock or pop punk. –Ben Snakepit (Zoviet)

GIANT ROBOTS, THE: Too Young to Know Better…Too Hard to Care!: CD
The organ player drips with sexuality, the bass player’s mini dress leaves just enough to the imagination, and, apparently, there are a couple of guys in the band that I must’ve overlooked in the album artwork. The Giant Robots are a good-lookin’ foursome from Lausanne, Switzerland with the musical chops to make you forget…okay, you’re not going to forget how pretty they are, but they’re not getting by on looks alone. Too Young to Know Better… will make you think you’ve time warped back to Paris, circa 1966, and are attending an all-night, garage-pop party. The songs on the CD are conveniently labeled with a title and the style in which they are played. Track one, for instance, is called “Come on Back” and is played in the style of “garage jerk.” I don’t know what “feudecamp hip” is, but “Share My Love with You” is one of the standout tracks. The perfect soundtrack to your next ‘60s dance party. –Josh Benke (Voodoo Rhythm, www.voodoorhythm.com)

Psychobilly bands are filtering out of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties like the Lost Boys, usually hitting the mark, and the Graveside Rockers are no exception. But the tight musicianship and dark camaraderie are undermined by fictional lycan and fallen angels roaming the night, blood-stained ground, and a singer who unwittingly sounds a little like Biafra. –Jessica T (Self-released)

GROVER KENT: Running Out of Ramones: CD
When I first saw this in the mail, my first thought was that these are the type of dudes who could play power chords and give the Ramones all handjobs simultaneously. This is still probably true, but it’s okay because all seven songs are just super fucking fun. Of course, it gives its propers to the Ramones by the second song (and album’s namesake) chock full of “sniffing glue” and well-timed handclapping. The song, “Old Man Conroy” tells the disturbing tale of an aging punk rocker who “would rather get a good night’s sleep/than sit through three more bands” and can’t wear Chucks ‘cause he hurt his feet. The pop genius of “Killing Time at the Book Depository” is my favorite song on the album, even though I was disappointed it wasn’t about assassination. And not to mention that with the median song length is less than two minutes, there is minimal boredom; it’s too catchy and fast to skip tracks. –Comrade Bree (Self-released, groverkent@hotmail.com)

HATEPINKS, LES: Tête Malade/Sick in the Head: CD
These nine songs sound pretty much exactly like the forty-one songs on the Hatepinks CD i reviewed last issue, except the titles are a little cleverer and the music not quite as right-the-fuck-on as before. Other than that, everything sounds and looks exactly as it has done in the past. Is there anyone else on this staff who is allowed to review records by this band??? BEST SONG: “My City Is Sick Of Pizza” BEST SONG TITLE: Either that or “Should I Kill Myself Or Go Jogging?” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Innersleeve words of wisdom: “Vraiment déteste les kids.” True dat, bro. –Rev. Nørb (TKO)

HEAD: No Hugging No Learning: LP
Finally! Nearly ten years after their first full length and six years since the last single, Head, from Seattle, are back. Strong as ever with their Angry Samoans-meets-Ramones madness. Great songs, totally dum and stoopid in the best way. Comes with huge poster that will look great on your wall. Keep your eyes peeled for a single on Goner Records this year. An all time favorite of mine, glad to seem them still kicking ass. –Mike Frame (Evil Clown)

HELL ON EARTH: Early Years - Hell Never Let’s Go! Pt. 1: 7"
Fifteen song demo from a black metal band recorded on a 4-track that sounds more like it was from a boombox. –Donofthedead (Trigger on the Dutendoo, trigger.on.the.dutendoo@gmail.com)

HOLLYWOOD BLONDES, THE: Fifteen Minutes of Lame: CDEP
Pretty straight forward Ramones-core pop punk. I can’t say this is the most original stuff I’ve heard, but it’s not bad, and they win points for the song “Tina Is a Headcase.” The only other point I’d mention is that for stuff like this, I’d rather hear more than six songs over the course of fifteen minutes. –Joe Evans III (Self-released)

HOME AND GARDEN: History and Geography: CD
Home and Garden’s History and Geography is an obscure gem; this underappreciated early ‘80s Cleveland-based act deserved more. Probably best known for having Pere Ubu’s Dub Housing rhythm section, Home and Garden imploded just after its inception (apparently lasting only three shows). Obviously, the rhythm section is fucking amazing; this is probably Maimone and Kraus at their most primal. Vocalist/ lyricist Jeff Morrison is surprisingly poetic (I mean this band’s from Cleveland. Two strong lyricists—David Thomas and Peter Laughner—coming from a town best known for steel production and flammable rivers boggles the mind. Three seems impossible.) Anyway, yeah, Morrison spits out these brilliant existentialist, dada-influenced lines fans of LiLiput, Jean Paul-Sartre, and Pere Ubu will love. The Roxy Music influence is charming—Eno synth pervades (or should I say Allen Ravenstine?)—and Morrison sounds like a less melodramatic Bryan Ferry. Easily as rewarding as Savage Republic and 100 Flowers at their best, History and Geography is one of the few records I wholeheartedly endorse. Stuff it up your ass, Christgau. LEACH CONSUMER GUIDE RATING: A+ –Ryan Leach (Exit Stencil, exitstencilrecordings.com)

HOODS UP 495: Dropin’ Many Putins: CD
I really want to like these guys, and I really, really tried. Politically, their hearts are in the right place and their skills as rappers are not terrible, which is sayin’ a lot considering we’re talking about Russian nationals here. Their efforts to mix punk and hip hop, however, manage to suck out what is compelling about both of those genres, leaving what is essentially ho-hum music that really doesn’t move past the “background music” category, provided that there is absolutely nothing else to play in the background in its stead. Sorry, but it just ain’t cuttin’ it, especially when you misspell “Droppin’” on your cover. –Jimmy Alvarado (daddydamage@gmail.com)

Hey, another Seattle band. There’s a lot of ‘em this time around. The Insurgence really remind me of some of the bands on Hostage Records. I’m hearing some Broken Bottles, The Pegs, The Drips. I guess, ultimately, it would be a SoCal sound of the Social Distortion variety, but taking on a life of its own. The last song on this three-track record switches gears into a full-blown hardcore assault that sounded really good. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more from this band. –Ty Stranglehold (Floatation)

Invisible Is the Best: CD
Trying to intellectualize what the Intellectuals do would be insulting to the intellect. It ain’t chaos theory, though it is splendidly chaotic; it ain’t quantum physics, though listening to ‘em will make you want to get physical with the opposite sex. What it IS is a stroll through the rock’n’roll section of the id, beer-drenched, wild-eyed, libidinous, making out with the gorgeous girl next to you while checking out the other gorgeous girl standing behind her. Great guy/ girl vocal exchanges, a la the Lids, pluckily sinister organ sounds like Cococoma and the Juvinals, and a fuzzed-out guitar that sounds like the amp is seconds away from blowing up. I gotta find me a shirt that says “Italians do it better!” –Josh Benke (Dead Beat)

JERK ALERT: Self-titled: 7” EP
Would-be quirky punk stuff with wiggly vocals. –Jimmy Alvarado (Eradicator)

Imagine going to a club to see a band and the place is completely spotless, not a speck of dust anywhere. You head to the bathroom and it’s as sterile and antiseptic as an operating room. The bar is polished so that you can see your reflection in it and every time you pick up your drink the bartender is there to wipe up the ring of moisture your beer bottle left. The place is so clean that it lacks character. That’s how I’d describe the production of Jett Black’s Dead Town. It’s like there was a button in the studio marked “removes all excitement, energy, and soul,” and the band pointed to it and said, “Let’s push THAT one!” Technically, they play leads without missing a note, stylistically, they lean heavily towards “rawk,” which the do well. But, I’ll be damned if I have to hear any more of it. They sing songs about drinkin’ whiskey and screwin’ women, but the only one who gets fucked here is the listener. –Josh Benke (Fivecore, www.5corerecords.com)

Judder and the Jack Rabbits are a psychobilly outfit from Norwich, England, and this CDEP represents their first demo. The included “Brief History” claims that they play “Demented Are Go type psychobilly mixed with the kind of hardcore punk bands like the Nerve Agents would play.” That pretty much sums it up. Since this is a demo, it’s woefully (and perhaps understandingly) underproduced, and I think that’s where my reservations with the record arise, but not with the band. I think that this demo shows some real promise from these guys, but what I’ve got in my hands is not that compelling. It sounds like a basement recording made after three days of no sleep—a bit sloppy and lacking the production value that would accurately represent a band that gets good response from their live act. –The Lord Kveldulfr (www.myspace.com/judderandthejackrabbits)

KEG KILLERS: Self-titled: CD
What do you get if you combine the pop hooks of the likes of Ramones or Teenage Head with the downright sickness of Dwarves or The Mentors? It’s all right here on this CD. You just can’t help but to bob your head to the beat of these mid-tempo punk blasts while getting a laugh at words ranging from alien women (“Space Bitch”) to the dodgy past of the newest addition to the Catholic Church (“Nazi Pope”). The influences are worn on their sleeves with pride. Booze, drugs, horror, and science fiction all blend together to create the world of the Keg Killers. The band just keeps getting better with each release. –Ty Stranglehold (www.100percentwild.com)

KILLING CALIFORNIA: Ropeless Romantics: CD
It’s another case of “book by the cover.” For some reason, I was expecting Killing California to be in the vein of Alkaline Trio or the like. I’m not really sure why I had this in my head, but that’s what I was picturing in my mind as I popped the disc in the player. I was way off. In reality, the band has a lot more in common with the likes of Agnostic Front than Alkaline Trio. This is really heavy, mid to up-tempo punk stuff. The vocals are gruff but listenable. There’s some Death By Stereo in there too, which isn’t a bad thing. It’s circle pit time. –Ty Stranglehold (Breaklight)

KING BLUES, THE: Under the Fog: CD
There is something so inherently tacky about an Anglo chap shouting his political incantations in a bogus Jamaican accent. Clearly, if this bloke were to try and lift some verbal cues from Lee “Scratch” Perry and perhaps the backing band tried to sound more like The Upsetters, I would dig this release more. The songs range from roots reggae that dabbles at times with some Billy Bragg-esque type folk instrumentation and ska-heavy hip hop. The songs are performed well enough and the production has a modern feel to it. The group chooses to sing about leftist politics and, at times, can sound naïvely juvenile. Thus is the case when they tackle the maelstrom of international arms in the song “Duck and Cover.” Lyrics include “Where did I leave those weapons of mass destruction? Did I leave them in the car? Did they fall in back of the sofa?” It is important to note that they did not print the lyrics to this song in the album jacket. Perhaps they are onto something…. –Chris Prorock (Household)

LEFTOVERS, THE: Steppin' on My Heart: 7” EP
The Rally Records website offers a testimonial, written by Larry Livermore, that raves about the Leftovers live act, complete with references to the MC5 and the Who. The good news: we’re spared clumsy Sun Ra covers and dopey rock opera. The bad news: we’re also left without the “holy shit!” explosiveness that I believe Mr. Livermore was referring to. What did make it to wax on Steppin’ on My Heart is mostly garden variety pop punk, the sort of “my girl hurt me” Ramones-core that once flooded the Lookout offices. It’s not awful– I’ve come to like the title track—but it hardly merits breaking the glass on your emergency supply of kneepads. –Mike Faloon (Rally)

LEMURIA: Art of the Underground Single Series Vol. 10: 7”
Female-fronted alt-pop with loud guitars. Singer sounds a little like Björk with better vocal control. A-side had a pretty driving beat, while the flip slows this down enough to slather on the pretentiousness. –Jimmy Alvarado (Art of the Underground)

LIGHTS, THE: Diamonds and Dirt: CD
This starts off sounding like minimalist rock that reminds me of Beat Happening if they had had a better rhythm section. I hear a little Velvet Underground influence, too. Then it sorta beefs up into a Fugazi/ Jesus Lizard kinda college post-punk thing. Not something I’d play every day, but it’s good for what it is. –Ben Snakepit (Wantage USA)

Once you get past the hideous cover art (two things: 1. If you’re drawing a picture that’s going to be Xeroxed, don’t use a pencil or a ballpoint, and 2. A naked lady’s milk duds only point toward her feet if she’s standing up. If she’s being crucified upside down, they’ll point toward her head. They’re filled with bird seed and silicone, not helium. Most times, anyway.) you get something roundabout old U.K. Subhumans or Disorder, bristling with trebly monotony and razory guitars and stuff, though, weirdly, one song sounds like Marginal Man. Lyrics are largely misspelled, which is just as well since the handwriting is largely illegible. Seeing as they live about a mile from my usual grocery store, I intended to write this review in my car in front of their house, but there wasn’t any parking so I went and bought bagels instead. –Cuss Baxter (Self-released)

I fucking love The Lillingtons! Of course, they will never be able to top the Shit Out of Luck LP and the I Lost my Marbles 7” EP, when the pop punk scene was at its height, and everyone was gloriously making out at the Concert Cafe in Green Bay, Wisconsin, while wearing pink Converse shoes and getting drunk. Sadly, those times cannot be replicated, but we can still listen to The Lillingtons and jump around and want to kill ourselves because it’s not 1996 anymore. (And you thought YOU were devoted to pop punk!) This is good stuff, nonetheless. If it were a cereal, it would be Quisp, the nostalgia cereal extraordinaire! –Maddy (Red Scare, www.redscare.net)

LOST BOYS, THE: Self-titled: CD
With song titles like “I Killed Bambi’s Mom” and “I’m Stuck Next Door to Sally More,” I pretty much banked on this being goof punk from Dickies-land, but it veers much further into hardcore territory than anything else. Ain’t terrible, ain’t stunning. –Jimmy Alvarado (Lost Boys)

Demo quality punk stuff that strangely sounded to me like a long-lost Faith practice demo in some places, although I don’t think a song with the title “Shit on My Chest” would’ve made it into their repertoire. Ultimately, all this elicited was a succession of yawns. –Jimmy Alvarado (No address)

MASSAPPEAL: Nobody Likes a Thinker: CD
Hmm. A CD put out by a label that threatens to wreck my “audio or computer equipment” by including “copy-protection technology” to prevent my copying it, and yet assumes no liability for said damage. They have U.S. and European divisions, and even has a buncha people with lofty titles like “Retail Promotions” and “National Sales Manager” on the payroll. Punk fucking rock, man. Hard to believe they started out in a basement and used to put out stuff by anarcho-punk bands like Destroy and Misery. Wonder if the label heads drive Hummers. –Jimmy Alvarado (Relapse)

Really wasn’t expecting much from this. I mean, the cover looks like it belongs on some nondescript black metal album, and the clandestine obscenity of the band’s name didn’t set my expectation bar very high. So imagine my surprise when I found myself scooping my brains off the floor midway through the first track. These guys dole out five tracks of heavy-duty gruff ’n’ tumble thrash with lyrics only slightly more complex than Discharge’s slogan-as-haiku approach. If you’re lookin’ to give yourself a headache in all the right ways, these guys will more than do the trick. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.mehkagont.com)

MEISCE: Bored of the Dance: 7”
While I can totally get behind offing Michael Flatley, and have spent more than a few boozing sessions “Drunk and Alone,” I’m sooo fucking burned out on the whole Irish-influenced “folk punk” thing that the only thing I could think of while this was playing was jamming something sharp into each ear and gently wiggling it until the bad noise stopped. Methinks that 33,858 bands all aping the Pogues is more than enough at this point. Time to give it a rest, kids. –Jimmy Alvarado (Fistolo)

MODERAT LIKVIDATION: Marionett I Kedjor: 7” EP
A reissue of a classic slab of Scandinavian hardcore first released in 1983. As can be expected, the music is mostly fast ’n’ angry, although the band loses none of its power when it occasionally shifts into low gear. Simply glorious. –Jimmy Alvarado (Havoc)

MONSTERS FROM MARS!: Surfing through a Creepy Castle: 7”
Read the name of this 7” again. Got that mental picture? Well there you go. The Munsters meets Beach Blanket Bingo. I’ve got some kooky, happy goth friends who like to throw mustache parties and tiki luau parties and pirate parties and any other themed dress-up party you can think of all year around; a unique mixture of bats and skulls and high-spirited fun, so naturally they were the first thing that popped into my mind when I heard this. It could be the perfect soundtrack for their next Halloween graveyard beach party. Kookiness aside, it could be too easy to file this under “novelty,” but unlike a novelty that grows tiresome with repeated exposure, this band actually becomes more enjoyable with subsequent listens. They kick off with the mood-setting “Escape from Castle Wolfenstein,” followed by the imagination-spinningly titled “Driving the Monkey to the Airport.” On the flip side is a cover of the Britney Spears song “Toxic” (!), which I never deigned to hear until now and when I did, I realized the brilliance of the Monsters From Mars! cover. They wrap it up with the slowed down “Telstar,” a tune that gives me nostalgic memories of ice skating hand in hand with my sweetheart at the local rink, except I’ve never actually done that before. Madcap fun! –Susan Chung (Tic Tac Totally)

NERVOUS DOGS: Avenida Sevilla EP: 7”
Dave Drobach (Grabass Charlestons, Stressface) and Patrick and Ryan Quinney (both of Fiya) combine their powers to create this self-released 7" EP. Song subjects range from poking fun at the college football fanatics who inhabit their town to having to watch their father fight a fatal disease. Anyone who’s already a fan of the Gainesville sound should check this out. –Daryl (Nervous)

NO GOAL: Demo XXX: 7”
Another round of tough guy hardcore, please? Thank you. The music here all sounds good, if not typical. Songs about religion sucking, government sucking, school sucking… all written to spastic hardcore with churning breakdowns in the middle. I think that No Goal’s real goal is to bum everyone out. I actually liked the record, but now I’m depressed. –Ty Stranglehold (No Goal, no address)

NO SLOGAN: Obreros al Poder: 7” EP
Okay, no foolin’, these guys are getting really fucking good. While I’ve had a bit of a soft spot for ’em since I first heard ’em a couple of years back, they’ve developed the same sense of cohesiveness that Pomona locals Manson Youth demonstrated on their classic EP way back when. The songs are fast, tight, and almost flawlessly delivered (there’s GOT to be a flubbed riff buried in there somewhere), the lyrics are topical without being preachy, personal without being obscure. With this EP I’m officially a full-fledged fan, which means if they up and call it a day before managing to put out a full-length, I’m gonna hafta hop a plane to Chicago and utilize a little old school East Los Chicano-punk “reasoning” to get ’em to rethink that decision. Buy many and play ’em often, kids. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.southkorerecords.com)

NO SUBSTANCE: The Last Seven Songs: CD-R
English chaps rocking early ‘80s American punk in a real decent fashion. Decent and already broke up. Only 150 made. Hoo-rah. This has been my shortest review ever. –Stevo (At The Library, www.atthelibraryrecords.co.uk)

Every now and then something makes it into the review pile that is so weird it defies categorization. The cover makes this look like the work of some third-rate black metal garage band, but sounds like a Godspeed You Black Emperor-penned soundtrack for one twisted fuckin’ movie. Titles like “Squid Boy” and “Sssix Foot Albino Penguins” are coupled to music that is more exercises in atmospherics than “songs,” all of which are delivered via assorted xylophones, acoustic guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and weird-ass vocals. All this, of course, adds up to a listen not only worth the effort, but I can safely predict will be one of the most original things you or I will hear all year. –Jimmy Alvarado (Tuesday’s Music)

ONLY CRIME: Virulence: CD
This is the second release from this super group comprised of members of Good Riddance, Descendents, Bane, Converge, and others. Much improved from the first, but carries on the sound of a heavier Good Riddance, due to Russ Rankin on vocals. It’s a combination of melody with the punch of hardcore, meeting rock power. The guitar work is more adventurous with accents and more dissonant notes to add to the layers of the songs. The production is strong, making the songs come across solid and easy to listen to. I like it when you can hear every instrument in the mix. Consistent from start to finish. Listened to this more than a few times and I can say personally that it was an enjoyable listening experience. –Donofthedead (Fat)

OVERLORD: Ticker Symbols: CD
This Philly five-piece plays jangly ‘50s/ ‘60s pop rock reminiscent of the Beatles meeting up with Guided By Voices and running into Belle & Sebastian. Throw some Elvis and Jetenderpaul (anyone remember them?) in there and fourteen songs and thirty-five minutes later you have their album. Most of the songs are catchy, upbeat, and definitely a throwback to another era when rock and roll was simple and straight-forward. That’s not to say that Overlord’s style is entirely from your parents’ generation; they’ve obviously had their share of filtering all of it through an indie pop filter in order to throw a few curves in there. I’m not real excited about this, but neither can I just say that it sucks because it’s well done and well produced. However, I can’t imagine too many Razorcake readers being real stoked on this. –Kurt Morris (Storm Tower)

PARASITES, THE: Retro-Pop Remasters: CD
All hail the most-forgotten, underrated pop punk band of all time! The band that, unlike, say, The Connie Dungs (sorry!), deserve to be included in the best bands of all time, alongside the Beach Boys, the Clash, the Ramones, et. al! The band that defined my first serious (and very pop punk) relationship! The band that I almost went to see in California except I took too much ecstasy, and instead of having sex and going to the show, ended up being examined by paramedics in a sleazy motel room! The band that I subsequently listened to while crying myself to sleep in self-pity after breaking up with aforementioned boyfriend! This CD is all remasters, by the master of pop punk, Mass Giorgini! Dave Parasite is the king of over-the-top lyrics (“Now I really know what it feels like...to die!”) My only complaint is that none of the seven-inches made the cut. But, hey, I’m a dork that way. If this were a cereal, it’d be Lucky Charms. Seriously! –Maddy (Go Kart)

PAINTED BIRD: Selected Songs EP: 7”
Sometimes I’ll hear a record or go to a show that will just make me think, “Oh…another three dudes started a band.” –Comrade Bree (RFC, www.birdsf.com)

PROZACS, THE/ JOHNIE 3: We Should Split: CD
Pretty standard Queers-influenced pop punk, with hand claps, harmonies, et. al, but I just couldn’t get into it. I think both of these bands belong to the Nobodys school of pop punk; i.e. lots of people like ‘em, and I’m too lame to figure out why I don’t. So, if you like the Nobodys, check this out. If this were a cereal, it’d be regular Cheerios. –Maddy (Cheapskate)

The preponderance of metal in their hardcore renders this essentially unremarkable. The brevity of its running time makes listening to it tolerable. –Jimmy Alvarado (Chainsaw Safety)

RETARDED, THE: Gambling on Rock: 7” EP
One problem with a parody is that you have to engage in the activity in question in order to take your shots at it. An insightful parody of shuffleboard, let's say, requires playing shuffleboard. Not a good time. In the realm of music, a better example perhaps: I love Spinal Tap the movie, but never listen to Spinal Tap the band. The Retarded, decked out in Kiss make up, are subject to the same rules. They have to play rock—not punk, but regular old, break-out-the-lighters-and-let-the-riffs-rip rockin—in order to make fun of it. Not a good time for this listener. I'd say they gambled and lost. –Mike Faloon (It's Alive, www.itsaliverecords.com)

RIPCORDZ: 100,000 Watts of Power: CD
With twenty-five years under their belts, Montreal’s Ripcordz continue to pump out classic singalong punk albums with a quality and ease that is almost unnerving. The funny thing is that they remain more or less unknown outside of Canada, and I’m pretty sure they’re fine with that. 100,000 Watts of Power is an amazing record. Not only do they continue to play what they’ve always done best, but they’ve added some layers that I’ve never noticed before. This time around, the first thing I thought of was Leatherface. It shouldn’t be a far stretch, since Paul’s gravely voice is quite similar to that of Frankie Stubbs, but I never made the connection until now. It’s so damn good. Fans of stuff out there on labels like Hellcat and Sailor’s Grave should take note and search these guys out. –Ty Stranglehold (Mayday, www.unionlabelgroup.com)

ROYAL PAINS: Get Punched: 7”
This is catchy enough, but I just can’t get into it. On the title track, I can’t tell if it’s a joke (which isn’t sarcastic enough to work) or serious (where it’s kind of ridiculous and on the meathead side of things—“Goin’ out with the girls tonight/ You know there’s gonna be a figh./ Got my brass knuckles in my purse.”). I like the gruff male vocals, and the female’s can be nice but they tend to venture into squeaks in strange ways. I mean, I can love it when it sounds like a six-year-old girl is singing (I love the Grumpies), but here, she sings (and can sing well) at a lower range, but then, for no apparent reason, a mouse weasels its way out of her throat. This is especially true on “Pressure,” which, if not for that, may have been the strongest track. –Megan (Jonnycat)

RTX: Western Xterminator: CD
The first track sounds like Perry Farrell singing for Jefferson Airplane, with a seven-year-old playing fanciful flute solos throughout. The rest of the songs sound like Marillion with a digitally enhanced lead singer; so digitally enhanced, in fact, that it starts to sound like a robot. At least the guitar playing sounds real, even if it is a bit over the top, in a Joe Satriani sort of way. All of which serves to almost completely obscure the fact that there are some really good, catchy, hard rock songs contained here. I’d be interested to hear what they sound like played by a real band of human beings. –Brian Mosher (Drag City)

RUINED, THE: Here Lies: CD
I’ve always been a sucker for the whole “horror” thing in music and film, and I’m especially appreciative of the fact that they don’t ape anything Danzig’s been involved in. I also like the fact that they’re not afraid to drop in a comment or two about current affairs. Their rock-heavy take on the modern-punk thang, however, really ain’t my cup o’ lemons. –Jimmy Alvarado (Rowdy Farrago)

I tried to get into this, but just couldn’t. Kinda slow, jagged punk rock with really bad cover art. Not my thing, but hey. If this were a cereal, it’d be regular corn flakes. Not for me! –Maddy (Self-released)

SERLINGTONS, THE: Root Beer Fueled Rock N Roll: CD-R
Ramonesy pop punk, with liner note dedications to, um, Joey, Johnny, and Dee Dee Ramone. Hey, at least they didn’t thank C.J. Sadly, nothing interesting here. Although they did manage to design their CDR to look like a record. If this were a cereal, it’d be generic corn flakes. Give me something new! –Maddy (Idiot, xidiotrecordsx.com)

SHAT: Cuntree: CD
Upon completion of this release I felt as if I walked into an inside joke that leaves only the band in a state of furious, madcap laughter. This record has managed to place in the top slot for my own “Most Infantile Record I Have Listened To” list in my own head. This consists in entirety of punk-cum-metal-idiotic-odes to pussy, boobs, bodily fluids, and sex. Shat features an ex-Dillinger Escape Plan member and underground porn star, Jeff Wood, on bass. This album is terrible but it should be noted that the band is highly enthusiastic about the material and lyrics. This release sets a somewhat high standard for low brow humor. The lyrics reach a point of being so intrinsically dumb that they reach a level of almost being avant garde: “Eating a girl out is the most brilliant thing.” They were also clever enough to sequence the sixty-nine songs so that they would fit into sixty-nine minutes in length. The all-knowing genius squad over at Buddyhead (who actually spent money on this) tagged this fact as a selling point, enough to provide this information for the discriminating listener as a sticker on the cover. Perhaps such marketing antics are necessary when the songs cling so tightly to gimmicky nothingness. The winner of Buddyhead’s top tax write off of 2006 is Shat’s Cuntree! –Chris Prorock (Buddyhead)

I’ve been blessed with some amazing skate rock this time around. First of all, you need to watch the classic Powell Peralta video The Search for Animal Chin in order to understand the band’s name. Now that’s taken care of, it’s time to rock out. Sheglank’d Shoulders are a skate rock band in the purest form. Yes, every song on Endless Grind is about skating and its many facets. From the amazing ups of “Skateboard Hooligans” (the first skateboard oi song I’ve ever heard) and “Paradise Is an Empty Skatepark,” to the tragic lows of “Flatspot Hell,” and “Too Twanked to Skate,” these boys rip it up. Anything on this disc would fit in on Thrasher Magazine’s hallowed Skate Rock compilation series. Calgary has a rich heritage in skate rock and I’m happy to report that Sheglank’d Shoulders are representing nicely. Now shut up and skate! –Ty Stranglehold (Handsome Dan, www.handsomedanrecords.com)

SHINOBU: Westward, Ho!: CD
I was really impressed a year or two ago when I heard Colossal’s Welcome the Problems; I thought it marked a big change in the type of stuff Asian Man was releasing and made me hopeful that the once stereotypical ska label might be able to stretch and expand their roster. So when I saw Shinobu’s bio and the references to Weakerthans, Pavement, and Sebadoh, I thought that Asian Man had done it again. I guess not. Shinobu seems to be a band not living up to their full potential. Most of their songs just tread water as the singer tells a story that didn’t seem to interest me enough to even want to read the lyrics in the booklet. In a number of the songs, the vocals were just annoying; out of tune or either really flat. It seemed it was hard for a happy medium to be found for the band. And in some regards, like many of Sebadoh’s albums, some of the songs on Westward, Ho! come across as jovial wankery, the musical version of an incomplete sentence; or if it is complete, it’s using the wrong adjective or verb. In the end, it just doesn’t add up and makes for not only a disappointing listen, but a fairly annoying one at that. –Kurt Morris (Asian Man)

Amazingly, my old band wound up playing in Rosswein, East Germany once…and, although we played with a bunch of bands that night, The Shoemakers were not among them (unless i got drunk and forgot something). I mean…what are the odds that you travel halfway around the world, play in some not-exactly-on-the-map burg like Rosswein, and NOT manage to hook up with the local punk kingpins? The mind boggles. In any event, The Shoemakers can be perhaps semi-adequately described as a broke-ass East German street punk version of 999, which perhaps i don’t mean in the nicest way, but i do mean in the, oh, i dunno, second nicest way or something. This record is c

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Arts Commission.
Department of Cultural AffairsLos Angeles County Arts Commission

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