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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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BIPOLAROID:
Twin Language: CD
Bipolaroid is such a dumb name, but don’t think about that right now. Don’t think about anything. Listen to these hazy Love-style psych pop gemstones with sleepy Syd Barrett vocals that are so basic and warm and charming and feel perfect with a couple beers (keep adding beers or whatever else as needed, I guess). Better than anything coming out of Burger Records, by a long shot. There’s a photo of the band on the back cover and they look like genuine older dude goofballs, so you know it’s for real. Don’t trust any band under thirty.  –Matt Werts (Get Hip)


YOUNG COCONUT:
I Got a Vibe: CD
This is the twelfth album from a one-man band from Kitchener, Ontario. Comedic, danceable, silly, and energetic, this is very light, poppy material with a sensibility that borrows heavily from Tom Tom Club and Atom And His Package. Relying on a drum machine and other gadgets, Young Coconut also brought in buddies to collaborate on this project, the most essential of which add killer female backing vocals. Alternating between grating and lovable, in the end, the vibe present on I Got a Vibe is one worth experiencing.  –Art Ettinger (Fauxtown)


WOLF-FACE:
Still a Son of a Bitch: CD
This album is full of dicks. No, not the guys in the band. I’ve never met them. The liner notes have dicks drawn all over them. One hard. One is not hard, but freakishly long. One of them is ejaculating. It looks like the wall of a bathroom stall in a Valero somewhere on I-5. As far as the music goes, I like it. I like it a lot. Still a Son of a Bitch has the pop punk melodies and slow-dancing breakdowns of a band like RVIVR but, clearly, without the revolution-promoting gender and queer politics. Wolf-Face has song titles like “I Wanna be a Homo (Sapien),” “What are You Looking at Dicknose,” and “She Swallows.” Umm…all right? According to the back of the album you can “Beat off to Wolf-Face at Facebook.com/pubesonmyface.” I think I’ll just listen some more.  –John Mule (Mooster)


SWITCHBLADE KID, THE:
For All the Sad Bastards: LP
A Memphis rocker’s solo project, with well-written songs that move from post-punk to countryish ballads to literate singer-songwriter material. Save for two tunes toward the end that are dead ringers for early Jay Reatard, the production has a Jesus And Mary Chain level of reverb, which brings the disparate styles together, giving the album a surprising cohesion, especially considering that it was recorded over a ten year period.  –Chris Terry (Miss Molly Music)


SLUSHY:
“Candy” b/w “Pocket”: 7”
This band truly defines the Midwest sound. Or at least what I try to tell my East Coast friends that bands in my neck of the woods sound like. I saw them live once where they played on a beach-themed stage and it seemed so natural. Garage pop without any affectations, as only kids from the flyover states can do. “Candy” is dandy, but B-side “Pocket” is the jam.  –Sal Lucci (Randy)


REACHAROUNDS:
Living in the Future: LP
I like that you can’t judge this record by its cover. Limited to two hundred copies, housed in hand silkscreened covers, this is a labor of love for sure, with packaging that doesn’t at all convey what’s contained therein. Very Midwestern, with a heavy Steve Albini influence, this is unassuming for such a high concept release. I especially love the vicious second track, “Sunday,” which takes anti-religious punk sentiment to the highest possible level. Doc Dart of The Crucifucks would be proud. As accessible as experimental punk gets, Reacharounds certainly reached me.  –Art Ettinger (Push And Pull)


PUNCHLINES, THE:
It Ain’t Funny: 7”
This is what 7”s were made for. Ten punk rock pop singalongs, get in, get out, repeat. It took me one side of close listening and reading of song titles to realize The Punchlines are just that. And they are no joke. Members of The Turkletons.  –Matt Seward (Bloated Kat)


PSYCHIC WEATHER:
Shining in the Red: LP
A full length’s worth of indie-rock instrumentals which mostly come off as rejected Fugazi song ideas.  –Juan Espinosa (Self-released)


PHEMALE:
City Silk: LP
What if Duran Duran had art school beginnings like Devo? Imagine an underground label found those recordings and released them as Hardcore Duran Duran Vol. 1? Melancholy synthpop from “mixed media artist” Michael Donahue. Skinny-jeaned ninety pound teens will find quite a bit to wallow in with a purchase of City Silk. This is not a panning of Phemale, just an observation that it’s no Friday night party record, but definitely a “no girlfriend/boyfriend but that’s okay cause I have my art” record. Creepy minimalist bass/keyboards/samples/loops to express your inner Ian Curtis.  –Matt Seward (Redscroll)


OPPOSITION RISING:
Get off Your Ass, Get off Your Knees: 10”EP
Hailing from Boston, Opposition Rising is a mash-up of a wide variety of genres of hardcore. Usually an attempt at this is the sonic representation of a train wreck but that’s not the case here. The first side is three songs of fast-paced, anthemic hardcore—anthemic without being too singsong and keeping all of its bite. Music to dog pile for the mic to. The second side takes a turn for a different anthem and throws in a lot of ska punk, but, again, not totally shitting all over it. They execute it flawlessly by throwing in lyrics relating to working class issues. I have listened to this record a lot in the last few weeks and will continue to do so.  –Adam Mullett (Riot Ska,chris@riotskarecords.com/ Pirates Press)


NO BUSINESS:
Demo: CD
Awesome demo from No Business out of Oakland. Band features members of Diehard and Detach Dolls. Fierce female vocals, melodic surf guitar, rolling bass, and drums keep things moving. It’s catchy old school punk with great rock and roll hooks. Solid. Can’t wait to see what they have in store!  –Camylle Reynolds (nobusiness1.bandcamp.com)


MALL’D TO DEATH:
More Than a Sinking Feeling: 7”
This new 7” keeps in the vein of awesome modern pop punk like their Minneapolis pals Off With Their Heads or Banner Pilot. Rough around the edges in the vocal department and a solid wall on the music end. Music that gets you riled up. Makes you want to swing your beer and sing along because you know you’ve had those feelings as well. This was released by It’s Alive! and Geykido Comet, so you know you are getting a quality release. This is a very professional looking and sounding record. Very stoked I got to review this.  –Adam Mullett (It’s Alive!)


KOMPLIKATIONS:
Poverty: LP
I wanted this band to be named after that one Monks’ song and maybe they are? Their music is synth-punk more in line with someone like Screamers (though less raw and unhinged), or bleak coldwave stuff. I could see them on a bill with Total Control or something. At first I thought the full, clear production didn’t suit them, but if they were blown out and fuzzy, you wouldn’t be able to hear the killer synth work. Way more than keyboard bleeps and stabs, there’s atmosphere and color, little explosions, and cool tone work. Not too much, it’s just enough. The lyrics are standard “the world is grey/I’m cold” style. Feels like they’re still getting the hang of things songwriting-wise, but they’re on their way.  –Matt Werts (Rockstar)


JAIL SOLIDARITY:
Any Space, Whatever: Cassette
Minimalist, droning noise not unlike some of the more bleak Fan Death Records bands of a few years ago. Think somewhere between the slow parts of Anodyne with the slow parts of Pygmy Shrews but with totally atonal vocals that are either gruff low-end male vocals or high pitched female vocals along the lines of Neon Blud. I find this tape to be a tough listen but maybe live or with a little more thought into the arrangements it might work for me. However, I feel like “thought into the arrangement” is exactly what they’re trying to go against. So… I don’t like this.  –Ian Wise (Self-released)


GORIES:
The Shaw Tapes: Live in Detroit 5/27/88: LP
This record is way better than it has any rights being... I mean, you can’t not love The Gories, but a live recording from America’s (maybe fourth) drunkest garage/punk/whatever-meisters? Seems like a recipe for disaster, but nuh-uh, man, this is thestuff! Definitely a “warts-and-all” presentation, as if it could be anything else! This set was recorded before they laid down their Houserockin’ album. False starts, a blown fuse (or at least the person in the crowd nearest the mic says so), but the manic energy builds and builds over the course of the set, culminating in the best version ever of “Train Kept a Rollin’” (dig the nasty guit-tone) plus an absolutely nutso screaming rendition of “Give Me Love.” The Gories’ version of The Iguanas’ “Again and Again” gives The Black Lips’ version a run for its money. Too much, man!  –Sal Lucci (Third Man)


GOON MAT AND LORD BENARDO:
“What It’s All About” b/w “Stay on Me”: 7”
This is messed-up, dirty traditional blues from a French duo with one member on vocals, playing guitar sitting down and pounding out a minimal drumbeat on a bass drum and high-hat combo with his feet, and the other playing the heart and soul out of his harmonica. The easy reference point here is King Khan And BBQ Show, but this is way more traditional sounding than that. Fans of stuff on the Fat Possum label would eat this up.  –Mark Twistworthy (Voodoo Rhythm)


DIE:
DiE: 7”
DiE is a British band that harkens back to the likes of Jerry’s Kids in its rough and ready hammering across half a dozen blows to the head on this record. Okay, it might be a bit melodramatic to claim the tracks are equal to a physical beating but there is quite clearly a deep, deep well of anger, hatred, and vitriol that has been discovered beneath the foundations of this relatively new band and it’s a well that has burst open, setting free a geyser of molten wrath that DiE has drunk deeply from. Produced by Jonah Falco of Fucked Up, this is ugly, raw, and beautifully uncompromising.  –Rich Cocksedge (Sheer Terror Discs)


CAPITALIST KIDS, THE / THE TIGHT BROS:
Split: 7”
Both Capitalist Kids and Tight Bros play first class, 1990s pop punk in the vein of Squirtgun. It’s precisely the sort of record that can be used to confront anti-pop grumps with a rock solid “bet you can’t listen to this without dancing” proposition. There’s nothing but aggressive joy here. If those of us who don’t hate fun have our way, pop punk is coming back, goddamn it!  –Art Ettinger (Toxic Pop)


ATRINA:
In Planetary Sugar: LP
Dark, serpentine indie rock with crashing crescendos and orchestral chamber pop breaks. Kelly L’Heureux has a smooth voice that fits the album’s many moods, and I suggest digesting In Planetary Sugar from start to finish, as the songs build and wind with purpose. I found this record intriguing, and I can’t stand Slint, who are an obvious influence. Give this a listen, you’ll be surprised.  –Chris Terry (Obscure Me)


ANTAGONIZERS ATL:
Hold Your Ground: 7”
File under: streetpunk full of vague “fists up” lyrics that don’t actually say a lot. At their best they’ve occasionally got a U.S. Bombs or Reducers SF thing going on, but those moments are pretty slim. For the most part, Hold Your Groundis just a little too lackluster and paint-by-numbers to draw many comparisons at all. Between their typo-ridden lyrics—how someone can make a layout look so good and still not be able to catch fuckups like “maybee” and “I like the sound of a traffic jams” is beyond me, dude—and the fact that the flipside of the insert was an ad for their T-shirts, I’ll have to pass. Like I said, downright gorgeous packaging and the spattered vinyl is so pretty I’d like to ask it out on a date, but the music itself, in spite of its proclamations, doesn’t quite pack a punch.  –keith (Longshot)


ATLANTIC THRILLS:
Self-titled: CD
This album has a definite old school garage rock feel to it, complete with Buddy Holly style guitar and rockabilly toughness. Every song tells a great story with choruses that will have you singing along. Order another beer and crank this one up!  –Brent Nimz (Almost Ready)


BAD SIDE:
Everybody Wants Something from Me: 7”
Having reviewed their demo a while back, Bad Side has matured a bit in a few short months. Sure, they still offer up multiple songs of angry punk, but on this release it’s a little more restrained, a little more controlled than the previous demo, and that works for them. At times this reminded me of a more raw version of Pissed Jeans, who I love. Good stuff.  –Mark Twistworthy (Nervous Habit)


BODYFATHER:
Self-titled: Cassette
So, the ‘90s have made a comeback. I suppose there are worse things that could happen. Bodyfather fit in well with all of the other ‘90s comeback companion pieces. This release could hold its own among some of the mid-’90s noisy Dischord Records band like Hoover, The Crownhate Ruin, and Fugazi. It’s done really well and anyone who is into that kind of stuff would likely really like this. There are six songs here with not a single dud in the bunch.  –Mark Twistworthy (Muck Man)


CHILDEBEAST:
The Beastmasters: CD
I’m confused why I’m getting a CD that is seven years old to review. Why did you send this to us? Is this one of those things where you’re just trying to get rid of back stock? If that’s the case, just recycle the components. That’s what I wanted to do soon after hearing this. The group is composed of a male and a female vocalist, sometimes with the guy rapping and other times with both singing. The music often reminded me of some dreamy, but bad, band I’d see at a college coffeehouse back in the late 1990s. There was a flute in a song. No—just no.  –kurt (Fauxtown)


DRUG STORE:
“Deathwork” b/w “Surface”: 7”
This record reminds me of a heavy version of the Butthole Surfers. The track “Deathwork” shifts from slowed-down metal riffs to minimal breakdowns with obscure lyrics over them. The B-side track, “Surface,” is bass-driven and has a Flipper feel to it, only more pissed off. This is definitely the kind of record that your parents will hate.  –Ryan Nichols (Self-released)


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