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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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EVERETT BROS. MOVING CO.:
Moving Misfortune: CD
This record sounds like the kind of lame, garden-variety alternative tripe that noodles around with various genres (a bit of bluegrass, a bit of hippy-dippy, a bit of rock, et cetera.) and sounds like it should be the main draw on “alternative night” in a college bar frequented by frat boys and other self-entitled higher-ed fucks. This record isn’t bad in and of itself, but it’s just so damn boring. There’s no edge to any of it, and it sounds like the bands that played at the Bradford Beach Club (worst Milwaukee bar, ever) that I would go out of my way not to see.  –The Lord Kveldulfr (75 Or Less)


EXECUTORS:
All Against All: LP
Raging hardcore punk borrowing equally from U.K. 82 and Nardcore. Lyrical themes are of the standard “punks vs. the rest of society” but provide excellent singalong material, if nothing else. Musically sharp and as arresting as Generacion Suicida while devastating as any Direct Control record. Perhaps destined to be a sleeper hit of a record, but not if you know what’s good for you.  –Juan Espinosa (Dead Beat, dead-beat-records.com)


EXPLOITED:
Horror Epics: LP
When I was a nipper in the mid-’80s, the Exploited were seen as being clownish. I was too late for the first wave of ‘81/’82 punk and by the mid-’80s I was busy being surly with Crass, Conflict, and U.K. Hardcore. The Exploited were giant mohicans and bondage trousers, spitting and fighting, playing dumb songs about chaos and hating everyone. When I actually listened to them, I realized they fucking rip. From then on, I’m more inclined to throw on the Exploited than Crass. True story. This LP was their fourth and the last one of any relevance before they went metal and Wattie braided his mohawk. While this LP is nowhere near the genius of Punks Not Dead or Troops of Tomorrow, it is still a great listen, from the tribal drums of the first song to one of my personal faves—”Maggie” with the unforgettable, “Maggie… Maggie you cunt” chorus. Every punk should own at least one Exploited record (or many, like me). Get the other three first, but pick this one up too if you think you’re punk enough.  –Tim Brooks (PHR)


FACE TO FACE:
Protection: CD
What’s old is new, right? You’ve got to hand it to Fat Mike, along with every active veteran band on his label. They’ve really done a hell of a job after all these years of keeping their brand and their bands relevant. We’re well past the “skate-punk revival” phase, so credit given when credit’s due. Protectionmarks Face To Face’s return to label after about twenty-five years, since the release of their debut (and much loved), Don’t Turn Away. They are poised to return to their roots. Truthfully, it’s been a long time since I’ve heard a new record of theirs. Scott Shiflett is still “the new guy” to me, and he’s been in the band for twenty years. The last album I owned was likely their self-titled record from 1997 (which was around the last time I saw them live, as well), but I am aware they never deviated too much from their original sound. And, while credited as a band with the classic Fat Wreck drum beat, that really isn’t the case, given most of the tunes had a unique, slightly-beyond-mid-tempo pace. I can’t think of many other bands from that era that had the same set tempo. Protection, though, is likely the closest they’ve gotten to the sound they achieved on Don’t Turn Away and Big Choice. While also largely credited to the incredible job done by the Blasting Room trifecta of Bill, Jason, and Andrew, we can acknowledge this isn’t an easy task. The record starts out with “Bent But Not Broken” and doesn’t let up—no ballads, no excessive ambience, and lots of “whoa oh’s.” I’m sure this release will entice those to dig a little deeper through the last couple of albums, myself included.  –Steve Adamyk (Fat, fatwreck.com)


FEAR:
Neighbors: 7"
From the vaults comes this three-song record featuring John Belushi on vocals. The 2015 remix starts things off with a crack and it ends with the original 1981 mix by Steve Cropper (yes-that Steve Cropper who recorded with Otis Redding). The Cropper mix features some dialogue from the movie. Sandwiched in between is the original Fear version. This will wet your whistle until more Fear reissues come down the pike.  –Sean Koepenick (Atom Age Industries)


FLAME ON:
Corrupt Mind: CD
Flame On’s only vinyl release is close to my heart as it came out when I was sixteen. It blends with long summer nights with friends; not a care in the world when the U.K. punk scene was a small family of like-minded folk. To me, the songs still stand the test of time twenty-five years later, sounding very English, yet clearly influenced by the American bands… with touches of the Descendents, Embrace, and Articles Of Faith. This disc has the 7” and a pile of demos, which all sound pretty good. If this lot were a football (soccer) team, they would be second division, for sure. Of all the Boss Tuneage recent catalogue of history, this is probably the least mandatory. If you were there, it’s worth the price of admission. I still think what Aston is doing—pulling together the history of a time—is admirable and I continue to look forward to each and every one.  –Tim Brooks (Boss Tuneage)


FOURS, THE:
Weekly Elbows: LP
Quiet, understated, dreamy, frequently odd, lo-fi bedroom pop. Similar to Tom Grrrl if that dude really wanted to cop on the Beach Boys and turned down his distortion pedal. Would not be surprised at all if this was a one-man project.  –Keith Rosson (World Of Birds)


FOX FUN / GROWING PAINS:
Split: 7" EP
Fox Fun: Budget production power pop with some tasty hooks and a hint of flanger in the guitars. Growing Pains: Late-’70s indie-punk feel to the tunes, along the lines of bands like the Hates. Pretty good EP all ‘round, I gotta say.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Glad Fact, gladfact.com)


FREEZE, THE:
Someone’s Bleeding: 7"
As we wait patiently for a new full length, this four-song single comes to keep the wolves at bay. Clif Hanger can still pen a catchy tune, and the band is solid from the first note. The title track is my favorite here. Re-mastered by Tom Lyle, so you now the sound is on target. Highly recommended.  –Sean Koepenick (Dr. Strange, drstrange@drstrange.com)


FRUSTRATIONS / GAZER:
Split: 7"
Frustrations: Wow, it’s been many a moon since I’ve heard anything from these kids. They still sound like they’re mining tunes from punk’s artier fringe to good effect, and even throw in some skronking sax for your listening pleasure. Good to hear something new from ‘em. Gazer: These kids are also mining from punk’s artier fringe, though they’ve definitely tapped into a much more aggressive—dare I say hardcore—vein. They alternate between pulverizing their instruments and quieter, unsettling interludes. Nice work.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Glad Fact, gladfact.com)


FUTURE IDIOTS:
Murphy’s Law: CD
I’m not familiar enough with the Murphy’s Law catalog to know if they ever released a record entitled “Future Idiots,” but this is Scandinavian Fat Wreck kinda music, where it sounds like they spent about four paychecks and a ruby on the drum sound alone, which sounds like a very well-miked basketball, which I can’t stand. I hate to break it to ya, but if you think this is a cool drum sound, there ain’t no “Future” component to the Idiocy, if you huff what the Rev is farting. Only two songs out of eleven are under three minutes in length; two also exceed four minutes. Again, if you think pop punk is constructed around creating three-and-a-half-minute songs, you are not only completely clueless about how the physics of your chosen socio-acoustic milieu operates, but you’ve also severely and repeatedly overestimated your ability to hold the listener’s interest. I fuckin’ hate records like this. However, you all seem like cool guys, so we should hang out some time. BEST SONG: “Stranglehold,” although I admit I did not listen to it. BEST SONG TITLE: “This Isn’t D&D,” although it might as well be. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: My local record store won’t buy any CDs that don’t have UPC symbols, so I owe you guys a classy solid. ­ –Rev. Norb (Pacific Ridge, pacificridgerecord.com)


GAUCHO:
Desplazados: 7"
Members of S.H.I.T. playing distorted UK82-style punk with some anarcho influence. The songs are good but the recording seems sort of dried out. The guitar tone changes as the record progresses, and the B side has more oomph to it, which makes it more enjoyable. These guys are doing something similar what Rixe are doing but with a more lo-fi lean to it.  –Ian Wise (Iron Lung)


GET BENT:
Discography: LP
Having listened to Side A of this record in demo format for many years, I was stoked to see this band’s discography being released. Careworn, thoughtful punk that merges the political and the personal in a way that comes off as earnest rather than cloying or demeaning. Jagged melodies akin to the inevitable—there’s a heavy similarity to compatriots Latterman—but also the Insurgent, State Lottery, and RVIVR. The second side seems fuller, the songs busier and still really good, but also a little less nuanced, though maybe that’s simply because I haven’t been listening to those songs for years and years. This is a terrific band, and my only complaint is that no lyric sheet was included—these songs seem smart as hell and it would’ve been nice to finally peruse them in complete and printed form. Regardless, this one’ll definitely spin frequently around here.  –Keith Rosson (Dead Broke)


GIANT PEACH:
Tarantula: LP
This is a bit like if J Mascis also played guitar for The Breeders but Kim Deal still sang. It’s fuzzy, buzzed-out, ‘90s-style melodic punk that teeters on the indie rock distinction. Not really what I was expecting (here’s a tip: if you don’t know the band, it never is what you expect), but in a very positive way. Shoegaze/garage/dream pop stuff ends up finding me. It’s not that I don’t like it—The Jesus And Mary Chain is one of my favorite bands of all time. But I’m continuously weary that it’s going to be too synth-heavy or pretentious art rock. There’s always a risk involved with that cross section of genres, so I just stick to listening to Psychocandy more. Giant Peach found the right balance. It’s bright, pretty, and dazing. Like if Lisa Frank’s art had a soundtrack.  –Kayla Greet (Shitty Present, theshittypresent.storenvy.com / Don Giovanni, dongiovanni.com)


GLEAM GARDEN:
Singles 2006-2013: CD
As the title suggests, this is a discography of singles by Japan’s Gleam Garden, who, to these jaded ears, sound like Tiltwheel crash-landing in a late-’80s post-hardcore paradise. I can’t help but make constant comparisons to Swiz and Soulside with this one—GleamGarden’s sound is raw and earnest, but there’s sophistication and craftsmanship to these songs. When punk rock steps out of its insular three-chord 4/4-beat safe-zone, records like this result. Good stuff.  –The Lord Kveldulfr (Snuffy Smiles)


GLITTER:
Ancient Rome: LP
This record contains ten songs of primarily guitar based indie pop with deep-rooted ‘80s influences. I’m a big fan of many of the bands from the infamous ‘80s UK C86 Scene, and while Glitter seems like they likely draw influence from this era, I feel like there is something missing here preventing me from really making that link. The contemporary band Literature is a good comparison and reference point seeing as both bands seem like-minded, both are from Philadelphia, and both sound quite similar at times, but Literature really seem have a spring in their step and an upbeat demeanor that Glitter often seems to lack.  –Mark Twistworthy (Square Of Opposition, squareofopposition.com)


GO WHITE BRONCO:
Population: Ghost Town: LP
This album is sublimely beautiful. There are few bands with the ability to be both uplifting and calming at the same time, but that’s what Go White Bronco gives me. It brings about a state of tranquility as the acoustic guitars and vocal harmonies cleanse me from head to toe of the invisible detritus which I often find hanging onto me. The trio contains personnel from Iron Chic and Fellow Project—to name but a few—but this is so different from either of those two bands that it would probably cause some head scratching as to which genre it should come under in a record store. I would see it straddling indie and folk, and at times it really reminds me of a simpler version of the English band Gomez. I’m also pleased that the record includes the 2011 single “Life as a Monument” which is a stunning piece of songwriting.  –Rich Cocksedge (86’d, 86drec.com, wells@86drec.com)


GREAT LAKES:
Wild Vision: LP
Great Lakes is a band led by Ben Crum, the Brooklyn, NY via Athens, GA based musician who has been assembling bands and releasing records under the Great Lakes moniker for the past twenty years. With the release of this, the fifth Great Lakes full length record, he and his band have made an album that really feels extremely personal even without really paying attention to lyrical content. Wild Vision is most definitely a rock record, albeit one peppered with strong country influences throughout often due to its excellent pedal steel guitar pushing that twangy feeling on nearly every song. Despite the mostly low-key country vibe, the record has some really strong classic rock guitar moments as well, at times bringing to mind some of the country tinged rock output of Neil Young. Honestly, when I put this on the turntable the first time, I was really skeptical that I would like it all the way through. By the time the second side ended, I could truly say without a doubt that I am a fan, so I turned it over and listened to it again.  –Mark Twistworthy (Loose Trucks, greatlakesbencrum.bandcamp.com)


HIGH ANXIETY:
Camo: LP
High Anxiety is for fans of Tom Waits, Harley Poe, Mischief Brew, campfire storytelling, salvage yards, homemade instruments, and sleeping out under the stars. I like punk and I like jazz, but I’m not sure if I like the recipe that produced this LP, even if I admire all the influences present.  –Jon Mule (Bandwagon, bandwagonrecords.com)


HIGH DIVE:
New Teeth: LP
Although High Dive features Ryan Woods of Defiance, Ohio, it sounds more like Nana Grizol, with jangly guitars and pop orchestra ballads. Lead singer Toby Foster calls to mind Matt Tobey and Paul Baribeau—the type of plaintive singing that’s instantly disarming. He belts deeply personal and relatable lyrics: “I’ve found that the best words to say are the ones where you don’t say anything.” Ginger Alford, of Good Luck, contributes backup vocals and sings lead on “Coffee and Ice Water” and “Untouched.” She has one of my favorite voices—period. No song immediately grabbed me at first, but New Teeth sinks in slowly. After repeated listens, the lyrics began to tangle me up with their sincerity. The melodies, the keys, the harmonies all started to shimmer. It’s a record that wants to keep you company.  –Sean Arenas (Salinas, salinasrecords.com)


HORACE PINKER:
Recover: 7"
Since 1991, Horace Pinker has been at it, and I hate to be a curmudgeon, but their brand of angsty melodic pop punk has been oft-repeated during the last twenty-five years. For diehards, Recover is a must-have, as it’s been a while since Horace Pinker’s last release. For everyone else, these three songs retread familiar pop punk tropes: anthemic choruses, simple guitar licks, gruff vocals. There’s no new noise here.  –Sean Arenas (Dead Broke, deadbrokerekerds.com)


HORRIBLE THINGS:
Everybody Else: LP
This “group” out of Chicago does a great job of treading the line between pop punk and emo. I use the word “group” loosely as this really is a one man band. Tim Reynolds of Hospital Job not only wrote all the songs on this record but played every instrument, including back-up vocals to his own singing. On the first spin, Everybody Else was already an enjoyable record, but knowing now that this is essentially a one man band really elevates the production and songwriting for me. In the same way that a band like Jimmy Eat World delivers on both pop punk and emo sensibilities, Horrible Things come from both genres and merge into something altogether new. The guitar work is bright and fast, the drums are rapid-fire but not overbearing, and the bass is dirty and deep. It’s a more mature bubblegum punk with introspective lyrics tinged with just a bit of snottiness, palm muted breakdowns, and Iron Chic-like background “whoa-ohs.” A solid release overall.  –Kayla Greet (Secret Pennies, secretpennies.com)


ILLS, THE:
Fuck This Planet: 10"
Mid-paced, trashy punk paying homage to the Orphans or perhaps even Loli And The Chones. Co-ed vocalists sing about drinking, killing, being a loser, and not giving a fuck. I imagine every member of this band either wearing a leather jacket or very little else. Fun stuff.  –Juan Espinosa (No Front Teeth, theillsrock.bandcamp.com)


INSURRECTION:
LTC 203: 7"
Two songs from a band that called 1980s Arizona home. Both sound like they were listening to a lot of Code Of Honor and Flipper—slow (with one track breaking up the dirge with a burst of thrash), yet controlled in execution. Kinda bummed this—recorded in 1987 and released now—is apparently their only released material, ‘cause it’s pretty danged good.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Slope)


IRON GUTS KELLY:
Bloody Kansas: CD
Iron Guts Kelly from Lawrence, Kansas play heavily produced and polished tough-guy hardcore. They are the kind of tough guys who won’t stop telling you how tough they are. I get it already! You could kick my ass. The cover art and album title make me want to think that this is some sort of concept record, but the concept itself escapes me. Is it about Bleeding Kansas, the bloody anti-slavery revolution that took place in the mid-1850s? Is it about war and violence in general? Whatever it is, it misses the mark for me.  –Jon Mule (Violent Pacification, violentpacification.com)


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