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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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LANSBURY:
Everything Went Static: LP
Lansbury play ugly ‘n’ angry metal punk, like Poison Idea. The riffs are catchy as hell, hitting that Motörhead balance of thrash and blues, and the musicianship is tight, allowing the band to transition into breakdowns and well-planned solos without sounding like a punk band with one metalhead member who whines if he doesn’t get a chance to shred. Ten songs on one side, the other side being dedicated to anti-TV silkscreening. I’d get in the pit for this.  –Chris Terry (lansburypgh@gmail.com)


LEECHES:
Lords of Dullsville: LP
I heard a rumor that this band was formed in Los Angeles in the early ‘80s and hung out with Black Flag in the Keith Morris days. The singer’s dad was an experimental physicist who invented a time machine powered by, coincidentally, wild sounds. They used this machine to blast out of the early L.A. punk scene thinking their music was too futuristic and landed in current day Australia, only to find that their music is now sort of retro. But they’re still filled with rage, and they’re using modern tricks to make sure their records pack the appropriate punch. By the sound of Lords of Dullsville, they’re quite successful. This is all just a rumor, of course.  –mp (Bridge Sounds)


LEMONS, THE:
Hello, We’re the Lemons: Cassette
It’s a little disarming to listen to a tape which sounds so earnest and cute, but, here are The Lemons. Fans of Guided By Voices will be stoked, as The Lemons adhere to GBV’s all killer, no filler formula, cutting things like bridges and verses out of the equation in favor of big hooks. And not just hooks, mind you, but the kind sung with soaring harmonies akin to the Mamas And The Papas and/or the Association. The recording here is lo-fi, which adds to the overall effect, like stumbling on a box of old singles at a yard sale and taking them home to discover they’ve been played almost (but not quite) to death by loving fans over the years. All that in something like fifteen minutes, which means, of course, that you’ll listen to this one again and again and again.  –Michael T. Fournier (Burger)


LENGUAS LARGAS:
Come On In: Cassette
Lenguas Largas play sexy music. The kind that is unafraid to admit, “I’ve been thinking with the wrong head.” The freak in me comes out in full bloom whenever their sensuous melodies drip out of my speakers and into my ears. In my car I feel my gluteus maximus begin to twitch then involuntarily undulate to the hypnotic rhythms. It takes only moments before I begin to brazenly head bang, singing sloppy Spanish in an awkward falsetto. Genre? Good vibes. They multiply the weirdness of Shark Pants and Swing Ding Amigos tenfold into a kaleidoscopic hallucination. The vocals confidently croon while the guitars wail Space Age art rock. The blankets of reverb will warm any icy disposition. I heard that these folks electrify the room with their performances, filling the stage with several guitarists and multiple drummers. It’s remarkable that Lenguas Largas are able to circumnavigate the too-many-cooks-in-the-kitchen dilemma and simply belt out soulfully. If they’re half as spellbinding live as they are recorded, then I imagine that they leave the whole room possessed.  –Sean Arenas (Burger / Recess)


LENGUAS LARGAS:
Come On In: LP
My first time hearing Lenguas Largas was live at Awesome Fest a couple of years ago. It was pretty amazing and I was pretty wasted. I picked up their self-titled record a while later and just couldn’t wrap my head around it no matter how hard I tried. Something about it just kind of put me off. My wife Elise, on the other hand, became obsessed with the record. It was out of this obsession that I decided to order a copy of their new LP for her. I am sure glad I did, because it is so fucking great! Whatever I was missing on the last record suddenly clicked for me on this one. It is so weird, yet so endearing. It makes me feel like doing hallucinogens in the desert (in a good way). Layers upon layers of seemingly unrelated sounds coming together to lustily mess with my eardrums in not entirely appropriate ways. I can’t get enough. I’m going back to take another crack at that other album.  –ty (Recess)


LENGUAS LARGAS:
Come On In: LP
There’s a line toward the beginning of The House on Mango St. where Sandra Cisneros is describing her father shaving in the morning, listening to records by dramatic singers who make “music like hiccupping.” Isaac Reyes has one of those reeling, all-in voices, which makes even the strangest Lenguas Largas songs (for instance, the ultra-catchy “Ese Culito,” which my shitty Spanish has me thinking is about wedgies) sound rooted in time-tested traditions. For their second LP, this Tucson band has streamlined their approach, taking the sprawling and flailing impulses that put their first album all over the map, and averaging them into a hit-after-hit rock’n’roll LP that maintains the cinematic scope, desert-fried weirdness, and classic melody that makes them such a fascinating band. This may be my favorite rock album of the year. PS: These guys slay live. I saw them in L.A. this summer and they had three drummers and four guitarists. I danced sexy when they played, “I Feel.”  –Chris Terry (Recess)


LIBERATED SQUID:
Double EP: CD
I don’t know a lot of punk bands from New Zealand. This disc intrigues me. The songs have a mid-tempo sing along feel with an almost dreamy, ethereal feeling throughout. Can you imagine Menace songs being played by Jesus And Mary Chain? Neither could I until I heard Liberated Squid. I wouldn’t have expected myself to like this all that much, but here I am listening to it again and singing along. Nice work.  –ty (facebook.com/liberatedsquid)


LICKERS, THE:
Get Licker’d: CD
How can you not dig a band whose online description is “we are six tits and a dick!” But the music is top shelf too. “Cougar,” “I’d Rather Die,” and “Whiskey/Beer” tear it up with reckless abandon. If L7 had Philthy Animal on drums, they would get a sound that was comparable to this band. Here’s hoping they play outside of Indy sometime soon.  –koepenick (thelickerband.com, press@thelickersband.com)


LINE TRAPS:
Demo 1: Cassette
Perfectly reasonable garage punk from Victoria, B.C. that isn’t bad, yet, I’ve been rocked harder. Too many recycled riffs and dumb lyrics like “she’s electric” and what sounds to me like “are you a square...are you a nerd/or a punk rock turd” give the band a disposable blandness. Good rock has often been dumb, but at this point in rock ‘n’ roll history it’s just regressive. I want more.  –Craven Rock (Shake!)


LIVING ALONE:
Self-titled: 12” EP
The packaging had me fooled into thinking I would be diving into another indie rock bedroom tape introspection that got pressed to vinyl. Screen printed letting and a photo (actual photo) scrapbook cornered onto the cover. Man, I love creative, well executed packaging and I love good surprises. Living Alone blast out a slightly rougher Iron Chic sound, complete with shout-a-longs and hooky leads, but with less pro-production sheen and more punk bombast. Very limited first press (one hundred), so get on it.  –Matt Seward (Sonic Mystics)


LOW CULTURE / NEEDLES//PINS:
Split: 7”
Dirtnap has pulled off a masterstroke in combining Low Culture and Needles//Pins on this split. Both bands are similar yet dissimilar enough in their respective sounds to allow for two distinctive, and thoroughly enjoyable, sides. The similarity is provided via a quality which flirts with lo-fi without losing too much of the high fidelity that makes the fuzzed-up guitar a key element for each band. Low Culture offers a slightly more atmospheric pair of songs with the echoic vocals sitting back in the mix and aiding a nippy surf feel to the tracks. Needles//Pins is a bit more to the point and in your face using a snottiness that wouldn’t be out of place on early Screeching Weasel releases. Both bands produce one track verging on the realms of genius with Low Culture’s “Revolutions” equaling anything from its album Screens—one of my favorite records of the last five years—with Needles//Pins supplying a magical riff and lyric combo on “Bored” that gets me all revved up and ready to go.  –Rich Cocksedge (Dirtnap, mail@dirtnaprecs.com, dirtnaprecs.com)


LUUM:
Self-titled: 7”
Spazzoid depresso punk. That part in the second song where the singer just growls wordlessly and belligerently for twenty seconds over a funky bass line? I’m pretty sure that is the chorus. The guitar sounds like outer space noises and the singer probably pulled a muscle in his throat when recording this. With this type of band, you probably should buy their record just to keep them from throwing a waffle iron through the windshield of your car.  –mp (luuuum.blogspot.com)


MAD CADDIES:
Dirty Rice: CD
I had to go back into the archives to confirm that I really hadn’t liked their Live in Toronto record. This band is probably the reason that Fat Mike plays too many ska-rock tunes in NOFX’s set now. It’s hard for me to tell if I dislike these guys more than Less Than Jake, but maybe I’m going a bit off point. I didn’t like them in 2004 and ten years later, nothing has changed. Who would have thunk it?  –koepenick (Fat, fatwreck.com)


MAIMED FOR LIFE:
Self-titled: LP
This is a re-release of a somewhat obscure 1985 hardcore EP, along with six additional, unreleased songs. Aldine Strychnine, who went on to play in Poison Idea, is the vocalist. Not just a record for collectors or historians, Maimed For Life represents the best of a tumultuous time in the history of punk rock, when hardcore thought it was waning and crossover was seemingly about to destroy it. The fact that a record this lovably corny can still pack a punch is a testament to the timelessness of songs about war, being an outsider, and hanging out. Major kudos is in order to National Dust for dusting off this classic material.  –Art Ettinger (National Dust)


MAKE IT PLAIN / DEEP POCKETS:
Split: 7”
This split sounds like it was plucked directly from the Empire Records back catalogue. Deep Pockets captures disillusioned attitude of ‘90s-era youth with lines like, “Staring at the floor is our favorite show” and “I seriously considered going back to get my associate’s degree.” They use the same speak-singing and minimal guitar that is reminiscent of Sebadoh. Where Deep Pockets is a rad ‘90s record store, Make It Plain is the small coffee shop you go to down the street for poetry readings and in house performances. The music is catchy; you’ll be singing “I need a fresh start” softly to yourself after just one listen. “ICU” is moodier and reminded me of The Cranberries. Recommended for the nostalgia factor.  –Ashley (Dead Broke, deadbrokerecords.com, deadbokerec@gmail.com)


MAN, THE:
Self-titled: 7”EP
Take heed, label reads 45 RPM, but it’s 33 1/3. Took some fumbling to find this out, so save yourself sometime and stick with 33. With their blown-out garage punk sound, Reatards, Useless Eaters, and Tyrades come to mind. A strange comparison to a slowed-down Gag as well, which is weird, but somehow apt. Speaking of gags, they are somewhat elusive online, linking you to a fake site that propagates what exactly “the man” is, containing pseudo business jargon about synergy and bullshit like that. It’s all fine and dandy if you don’t care about actually learning anything about the band. One special tidbit I found snooping though: in Chicago they opened for the band called Death, which I thought was pretty rad. Don’t let the Man fool you. Bullshit aside, this EP is solid…when played at the right speed.  –Camylle Reynolds (TallPat, tallpatrecords.com)


MANDATES:
“Suspicion” b/w “Wastin’ Time”: 7”
Here comes a brand new single from Calgary’s pop rockers. I can’t get enough of these guys and these two tracks just keep bringing the hits. Fans of Bad Sports (and any of the stuff coming out on Dirtnap, for that matter) would do well to take note. My only complaint is that it is all over too fast. Off to flip the record again.  –ty (Teenage Rampage, teenagerampagerecords.com)


MANTS, THE:
Destroyed by Fuzz: 7”
Once upon a time in the mid-1990s, garage punk ruled the land. Labels like Crypt, Estrus, and Lance Rock put out the raw sound that was the antithesis of the “big rock” sound that was gaining traction in the mainstream. That is when I first heard The Mants. From Planet X (via Calgary, Alberta), The Mants were half man, half ant, and all action! Their 7” singles brought the primal stomp that they knew we filthy primates wanted to hear. Songs about enslaving humanity and/or getting in your pants were the order of the day… Then they disappeared. Some claimed the government finally caught them, and some said that they finally headed back to their own galaxy, but the bottom line was that our insectoid rock overlords had left us. Flash forward a couple of decades. After being dormant for so long, The Mants reappeared (and in my town no less!). Shows were played and primates were enslaved once more in the fuzz trap from Planet X. Now they have unleashed their latest vinyl weapon upon us. Four quick blasts of the stuff of legend. Fuzz guitar with vocals to match, and a back end that will make you shake yours like a mating ritual with the queen of the colony. Hide your women and your sugar supply because The Mants are coming for you!  –ty (Manglor)


MARDOU:
You’re Not Going to Live Forever: Cassette
Really interesting, grungy post-punk, that, despite combining two of my most loathed “revival” subgenres, I am really digging. Combining melodic, jangly guitar lines over early New Order-esque dancey rhythms and more straightforward Milk Music-style heavy-but-catchy noise, Mardou comes across as sincerely emotive rather than simply faux-nostalgic rehashers. Recommended. –Dave Williams (Let’s Pretend)


MARGY PEPPER:
Deep Water Dark Water: Cassette
Some sweet indie alternative pop punk coming from Margy Pepper. With their harmonized female vocals, distorted bass and clean melodic guitar, and drums that stumble along, there are elements of influences like Grass Widow, Hole (minus Love), and even Potty Mouth, but the closest I can compare them to is the band Susan out of L.A. Songs don’t vary widely from one song to the next, not to say they are a one-trick pony, but the progression of their songs seems to stay pretty linear. Still charming.  –Camylle Reynolds (Nervous Nelly / Queer Punx Nashville, nervousnelly.storenvy.com)


MARK PLASMA:
Embrace Technology: Cassette
Another interesting release from tape-centric label Social Cancer. It makes sense that a label based in the SteelCity of the South would find space for Mark Plasma on their roster. Distorted noise, electric beats, and surf music blended into a listenable audio two-minute Pollock painting. Embrace Technology would have sat nicely next to those weird projects Vermiform released in the mid-’90s (think Worst Case Scenario).  –Matt Seward (Social Cancer, socialcancer.net)


MARY MONDAY:
“I Gave My Punk Jacket to Rickie” b/w “Popgun”: 7”
HoZac digs deep and pulls another gem from the punk rock ether. Originally released in 1977, “Punk Cabaret” musician Mary Monday’s sole official recorded output is comprised of two puissant punk barnstormers that pummel and swagger with the best of that mythical year’s more revered releases. Buzzsaw guitars, hooks, and attitude to spare, it’s all here, and you don’t have to shell out the monetary equivalent of a car down payment to procure a copy. High fives all ‘round.  –jimmy (HoZac, hozacrecords.com)


MEATBODIES / WAND:
Split: 7”
Split 7” centering around the theme of the void, AKA nothing. Meatbodies’ “Feed the Void” is a psych-y, drawn-out, echo-heavy pulse of drums and bass. Wand’s “Take Me Back to the Void” is a guitar-heavy space panic that moves in and between time itself. Mash your head into the speakers and die. Now thisis what music sounds like!  –Alanna Why (In The Red, info@intheredrecords.com, intheredrecords.com)


MEATBODIES:
Mud Gals: 7”
Sort of a hard rock, sludgy garage hybrid. While still firmly in the here-and-now of 2014, ITR’s been sounding a little ‘70ish lately. That’s not a slight at all: “Mud Gals” is a solid 7”.  –ryan (In The Red, intheredrecords.com)


MIDWEST BEAT, THE:
Free of Being: CD
Part of me wants these guys to pick a side: are you power poppers or hippies? They go back and forth between the suburbs and the woods. But then also: they seem to be aiming at cool eleven-year-olds, the ones who read Calvin & Hobbesand watched Pete & Pete and never forgot that Polaris song. I’m not saying this is alt psych pop for tweens, but I mean it’s close. Makes me want to have misfit pre-angst kids and take them to a museum. Everyone get in the Forrester.  –Matt Werts (Waterslide, watersliderecords.com)


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