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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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VAMANOS:
A Ten Inch at 45 RPMs: 10” EP
Garage guitar/drums two-piece rocking stoner grooves replete with hesher ‘stache. Followers of nouveau ‘70s classic rock groove popular around the South (Jeff The Brotherhood, Bass Drum Of Death, Jawws) will find enough to latch on to in Vamanos, but the chorus of “Jackie O,” the last of the six tracks, is the only thing I remember about the EP, even after repeated listens. Personally, I want something a bit more memorable (especially on such a promisingly named label).  –Matt Seward (King Pizza, kingpizzarecords.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Destroy All Art: LP
I’ll acknowledge right off that I got the second pressing of this here comp. I totally slept on the first press, being skeptical about comp-ing the ‘90s. Do you remember “ska punk?” Yeah. Then I dialed back my spazz-burst and remembered the good records I bought that decade, the great bands I saw, the great bands I passed on seeing (Teengenerate, why?) Destroy All Art is everything a comp of ‘90s punk should be. I haven’t heard most of the bands, haven’t even heard of three-quarters of them. Liner notes include band info, sleeve pics, and pressing stats. Now I’m in a memory rabbit hole of ‘90s record-buying records adventures... Buying the same records as your friends because you went to the same shows or the same stores together... How the tastes of the record store clerk really influenced what everyone bought (Alan from Flipside Records in Pompton Lakes, NJ, I’m thinking of you!)... Mail order being a dodgy affair (remember putting second and third choices on your list in case someone was out of stock? Remember mailing cash and actually expecting someone to send you a record?) There are no low points on Destroy All Art, but my high points are I’m Gonna Stab You’s “The Slide,” Epileptix’s “Self-hate,” (liners say this was a Timmy Vulgar band? Epileptix are one of the two bands I remember hearing back in the ‘90s) Last Sons Of Krypton’s “Atom Bomb,” (the other band I remember hearing back then) and Red Stars’ “Welcome to the Party.” I’m most surprised how good these songs sound. I certainly remember buying many records that sounded like the band’s drum set was made of cardboard boxes. Pair this record up with the other recent comp of great ‘90s no-hits, We’re Loud.  –Sal Lucci (Rock N’ Roll Parasite)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
The Dicks from Texas and Friends: CD
Like most compilations, tribute records are dicey, and I’d venture to say even more so because the music of the original artist is often long ago ingrained in the psyches of so many fans. Most comps. likely end up in assorted landfills, to be found centuries later by intrepid diggers who will take one listen and not look fondly on this civilization. This here is an exception. A ton of different folks paying their respects to one to Texas’ finest bands, some you likely know, some you don’t—Brian Winterman, The Bulemics, The Surlys, Cunto!, Brewtality Incorporated, Black Irish Texas, The Beaumonts, Pocket Fishermen, The Gay Sportscasters, Poor Dumb Bastards, The Dickins, New Mystery Girl, El Pathos, Black Eyed Vermillion, The Fuckemos, The Flash Boys, Churchwood, Jesus Christ Superfly, The Jesus Lizard, Doug Hilsinger, Texas Terri & The Stiff Ones, The Offenders, Mike Watt & The Secondmen, Scorpio Rising, The Punkaroos, Pretty Mouth, and Garish—and many take the time and trouble to serve up their own interpretations rather than play it by the numbers. The further they stray from the originals, the better the results. Sure, there are some less than stellar entries (and no, I’m not gonna point ‘em out, you damned troublemakers), but even those never despoil their own reputations or the Dicks. Nice to see that, like the tributees, this comp is a cut above the rest.  –Jimmy Alvarado (The Dicks From Texas, thedicksfromtexas.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Under the Covers with Satan: LP
Songs about the devil, sung with varying degrees of cheerfulness. The Decliners do Mötley Crüe, Perfect Monster does Coven, and Deity does Ministry. The other selections are a little bit out of my wheelhouse. There are some red hot coals spread out in this fire. If you worship Lucifer, grab your pitchfork and give this a spin.  –Sean Koepenick (Volume Bomb, volumebomb.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Without Kibou There Is Nothing Volume Four: 7" EP
Nice comp of hardcore goodness featuring tracks by Sick Monkeys, Active Minds, Slug, Rats As Big As Dogs, The Domestics, Violation, Dis-Tank, Pogo Assault, and Ziplock, respectively. One track each, no bullshit, no filler, no overt metal wanky-wanky, and definitely worth a listen.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Kibou, facebook.com/kibourecords)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
World of Birds Records – Affordable Luxury: CS
This is a compilation sampler cassette. There are four bands on it. They have two songs a piece. Each of these songs has a reverby, bright, jangly guitar thing going on. The vocals whisper by like vapors. Yaaaawn. I think I like the last song best, but I can’t tell if that’s because it’s the indicator that the record is over. It’s called “Wait in the Car.” Though if I was, I might shut it off. From their website, the label says: “World of Birds Records is a boutique art production agency with our eyes and ears on what’s next.” Sometimes the bougie, pretentious, indie rockers’ pants are so tight that they constrict blood flow to the brain. Affordable Luxury? Is that like “acceptable gentrification?” Stay the fuck out of my neighborhood. There should be plenty of copies to distribute at your cocaine art parties. Stick to that.  –Kayla Greet (World Of Birds, worldofbirdsrecords.com)


VETERANS, THE:
Quartet: 7"
“Rocket Summer” is a fun, catchy Ramones-style pop song. However, on with deeper scrutiny, I realized it gets into a relationship getting fucked by the false nature of our cyberspace reality: “Watch the human race float in the cyberspace / it’s a nightmare on a soft bed / watch your point of view just become excuses for lost time, in a lost world.” Just crawling out of a Youtube hole before writing this, I totally feel this guy’s sentiment, wanting to shoot off into the sky in a rocket “for better times coming.” There is some really nourishing stuff under the icing here. Even the artwork—the comic book illustration showing rockets shooting off around Easter Island statues—and we all know what happened there. The B side is “The Whole World Lost Its Head,” a cover from the sadly overlooked, grown-ass woman era of The Go-Go’s. A hard tune to fuck up in any right, but The Veterans pretty much match them. Now to get The Go-Go’s to cover “Rocket Summer.”  –Aaron Zonka (It’s Alive, itsaliverecords.com)


VOICE OF DOOM:
Scared to Death: CDEP
Something raggedly charming about these guys. The boom-bap rock/punk hybrid thing they’ve got going on, the horror imagery, the dirt-simple riffs, the vocalist’s croon that vacillates between Danzig and Reagan Youth’s Dave Insurgent. It’s pretty enjoyable, all told. CDEPs are a woefully unfortunate format, but these guys are clearly enjoying themselves, and that sense of fun shines through.  –Keith Rosson (Pyrrhic Victory)


VON, THE:
Ei8ht: CD
Sounds like the heavier stuff they used to play on the college rock stations in the late ‘80s, back when Faith No More and Wiseblood and the Cult were a thing. I do not miss the late ‘80s, back when Faith No More and Wiseblood and the Cult were a thing. “Cry of War” isn’t terrible, but I think I speak for all Mr. T Experience/Rip Offs/Four Slicks fans when I say DEATH TO FALSE VONS!!! REPENT, you slick fucks! BEST SONG: “Cry of War.” BEST SONG TITLE: “Atomic Sun.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: For promotional use only.  –Rev. Norb (Tinderbox)


WALTER DANIELS:
Almost Hit by a Truck: 7"
The title track is a recounting of the titular tale accompanied by a ‘60s-sounding backing track, with minimal percussion and tremolo-laden guitar. The flip, “My Mind Got Bad,” is a country blues ditty about a love gone wrong, naturally.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Spacecase, spacecaserecords.com)


WARBOYS:
Hot Brass: CD
Punk rock’n’roll a la Riffs, Radio Reelers, Humpers, Joneses, and Heartbreakers. Nothing new and nothing wrong with that. This seems to be their first effort, and it’s a solid one. Every scene needs a band like this, and Charlotte, NC is lucky enough to have these boys.  –Chad Williams (Mystery School, mysteryschoolrecords.bigcartel.com)


WET ONES:
Self-titled: LP
The Black Gladiator imprint of Slovenly Records have absolutely been on a roll lately, seemingly putting out all of the best of the scummiest garagey punk bands out there. They seem to be a fan of bands who have adopted the recording technique from the first Guitar Wolf record – everything turned up to 11, the EQ meters all peaking well into the red, often resulting in a ridiculously distorted but super great mess. This LP by Wet Ones record is no exception, adopting the super-loud and distorted technique on many songs, especially with the vocals. I hear The Spits influence in some of these songs at times, just enough to not be too much. Overall, this is exactly what I want in a skuzzy, garagey punk record. Great short songs with hooks, but ultimately so distorted and fucked up that you don’t realize until the next day, when you can’t get that chorus out of your head, that the songs are actually really, really catchy.  –Mark Twistworthy (Black Gladiator / Slovenly, slovenly.com)


WHY+THE+WIRES:
Flame Failures: LP
I’m going to say I think there’s a good record in here somewhere, and that fans of mathy post-hardcore could get something out of this. Mostly, it feels like Why+The+Wires are stuck in the early ‘00s, fighting like a motherfucker not to be in any way contemporary. I want to play them Daryl Hall’s “NYCNY” or something by The Hal Al Shedad and be like, “What if you did something like this?!”  –Matt Werts (Jetsam Flotsam, jetsam-flotsam.com, One Percent Press, onepercentpress.bigcartel.com)


WITCHES WITH DICKS:
Not Just a Passing Season: LP
Witches With Dicks is a lovable, longstanding Boston pop punk band with a strong resemblance to The Arrivals or Dillinger Four. It’s a pleasure hearing these new tracks, all of which shine due to ideal production. The vocals have a nice edge to them, keeping the singalongs decidedly non-corny, which is no small feat. Even more so than with most other bands, hearing this release on vinyl demonstrates how much better a record sounds than a shitty download. Seek out this gem of an LP if you enjoy powerful, melodic punk. It’s absolutely incredible.  –Art Ettinger (Self-released, witcheswithdicks.bandcamp.com)


WITCHING WAVES:
Crystal Café: LP
Was kinda thrown by the name a bit—figured it was gonna be some sorta death rock adventure—so I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be something else. Noise pop is the order of the day here, catchy and abrasive, sometimes sounding like a weird mix of Sonic Youth, the Wipers, and some obscure Crass-affiliated band.  –Jimmy Alvarado (HHBTM)


WOOD CHICKENS:
Live At Karl’s Castle: CS
This here is a thirteen-song live cassette of the kinda thing that would have been on college radio in the late ‘80s. Kinda goofy with a bit of a cowpunk vibe to it.  –Mike Frame (Rare Plant)


WRECKED LEXUS:
Produced by Joan Jett: CS
Nice, raw, smackaround pop punk from some subterranean crud temple in Pittsburgh. I’ve heard quite a bit of pop punk that doesn’t suck in the last few weeks. Are you feeling okay, pop punk? This shit is brawny. If they did a cover of that song “Totaled Volvo” by the Disturbed (the late ‘80s Rhode Island pop punk band, DUH), that would be awesome. If this wasn’t on cassette, that would probably be awesome as well. BEST SONG: “Stupid Words.” BEST SONG TITLE: “Rip This City.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I dunno what the difference between “produced by” and “recorded by” is, but the J-card indicates this was recorded by Dave.  –Rev. Norb (Self-released, wreckedlexus.bandcamp.com)


1ST:
Fizzed: CS
First song sounds like some dude doing karaoke to Metal Machine Music. Second song sounds like a slow-motion ballad played by a microscopic New York Dolls in a big fish tank. It goes on from there. BEST SONG: “You Ain’t Never.” BEST SONG TITLE: “Oh Donovan.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I forget the name of the font they use, but it’s the same font I used for the Parasites Nyquil-Fueled Rock Armada album cover. –Rev. Norb (World Of Birds, worldofbirds.com)


AEROSOL BURNS:
Afraid of the Phone: 7"
Looks like we have a single from a new band featuring Matt Mayhem of the legendary Young People With Faces! Great, tuneful power pop is what this band plays, and they are one of the very best bands playing that style these days. Looks like two members of this band are also in the Chain Letters, who put out a great single on this same label a few years back. Honestly, what this sounds like is a super poppy version of the mighty Head from Seattle. Highest possible recommendation on this great two-songer! –Mike Frame (Pogo Time, no address listed)


ANDREW BUSHARD:
and Unique Romantic Songs: CD
I can’t decide if this home-studio, one-man-bandish thing (Why, why is there so much of this shit these days?) is just that terrible, or if the artist (?) is trying to make something so terrible it’s “good.” For the record, I got sick of that kind of irony fifteen years ago, so if the latter is in fact the purpose, it’s still terrible, if not more so since the joke falls flat. Warbly, nasally, monotone vocals, often with a single note the Casio keyboard in time to the syllabics, with no real melody to speak of. Fifty minutes that I’ll never back. Sheesh. –The Lord Kveldulfr (No address listed)


ATOWN SLUTS:
King Allentowns Lehigh Valley Scenester Club: CD
Simple, barely-held-together punk rock based on rudimentary riffs. Clearly aiming for the “fuck” band niche. Effective in spots, but largely forgettable. –Jimmy Alvarado (ATown Sluts, atownsluts.bancamp.com)


AVENUE Z:
Azimut: LP
Mix of surfy garage rock, art rock, and prog-rock synth. Yep, you read that correctly. Somehow it bucks the odds and works in ways it has no business working. Hands down, one of the more interesting listens in a while. –Jimmy Alvarado (Slovenly, slovenly.com)


BACHELOR PARADISE:
Lots of Water & Be Nice to Yourself: CD
Analog, lo-fi, lazy pop would be a good place to start on this shiny little disc. It’s perhaps a little too lazy for my personal taste, but the sense of fun and the spirit of youth come over loud and clear, so plan accordingly. –Garrett Barnwell (Self-released, bachelorparadise.bandcamp.com)


BARELY FREE:
3 Pounds of Flax Vol. 8: CD
Say the album name three times fast. That’s what the rapping on this CD sounds like. –Chris Terry (barelyfree.bandcamp.com)


BAZOOKA:
Useless Generation: LP
Was fond of their debut, and this one ain’t no slouch, either. This is a bit more of a direct attack than its predecessor, yet these Greek noise mongers still manage to deliver a potent mix of punk and lysergic-drenched garage rock. Angry and boisterous, as well as creative and more nuanced than might be evident at first blush, this bad boy has all earmarkings of a band firing on all cylinders. Thumbs way up. –Jimmy Alvarado (Slovenly, slovenly.com)


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