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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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BELLHAUNTS:
Bad Wolf: CS
Bad Wolf is the first proper cassette release from Bellhaunts, Santa Ana’s dreamiest dark lord-loving babes. Imagine if RVIVR and Sleater-Kinney teamed up to engineer an opening act for a Joy Division show in a dirty alley on the outskirts of Disneyland. Songs range from pop punk to grungy anthems, driven by catchy co-ed hooks, huge drums, and spacey lead guitar. Cassettes are lo-fi in a charming way, wrapped up in graphic art by local zinester Melina Mena. A few songs feel a little long but not enough to detract from the overall goodness of the nine tracks; while their style meanders, it never abandons. It’s a shame that these folks can’t go back in time and be born in The Pacific Northwest, because if they were from Olympia, Southern California might appreciate them more. –Candace Hansen (Self-released, bellhaunts.bandcamp.com)


BLODAD TAND:
Alt Delete: 7" EP
Given this band’s pedigree—a buncha Swedes who’ve played in bands that are household names in the fjördcore pantheon—this was a bit of a surprise. Mid-tempo hardcore with clean-channel guitars and a yelly singer is what you get for your buck here. It’s good, but I can’t help but imagining all the bummed “crust” punks plopping this on the turntable and not hearing the usual Discharge-on-overdrive they likely expected. It’s good to rattle their cage every now and then. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dirt Cult)


BLOOD COOKIE:
Sad Party Animal: CD
Their preceding album, Disappoint Yourself, was an ambitious bit of noise-rockin’, and this one follows along the same stylistic lines. Big diff here is that the songs are much more focused in delivery, adding much more impact to the final result. Not that its predecessor wasn’t great in its own right, but the results here are definitely more cohesive when taken as a whole, which is never a bad thing. If they’re not careful, they’re gonna make me a bona fide fan. –Jimmy Alvarado (Blood Cookie, bloodcookie.bandcamp.com)


BOSS EYE:
Plays Cottage Vortex: LP
Wow, apparently I’ve hit the noise mother lode this cycle. Some prime Texas weirdness here—a bit of garagey rockin’ mixed in with some skronkin’. At times dark—as in crawling around a musty cellar—and always noisy, this definitely hits the spot. –Jimmy Alvarado (Twistworthy)


BROCCOLI JELLY:
Sleepy Dogs: CDEP
‘90s-sounding, Green Day-ish pop punk. Unlike Green Day, they have ridiculously long songs. It just doesn’t work. Sorry dudes, between that and the terrible band name, I just can’t get into it. –Ty Stranglehold (Broccoli Jelly, broccolijelly.com)


BUCKET FLUSH:
A Great Place to OD: CS
Ah Bucket Flush, we meet again. I recall that last time I said they, “Made The Mentors sound like Minor Threat.” Let’s see where the boys are at these days. Yep, sleaze punk as far as the ear can hear. I think they’ve toned it down a bit since last time, but it serves them well. Fast blasts of straight-up punk rock with no songs breaking the two-minute mark. I could see these guys touring with Dayglo Abortions. –Ty Stranglehold (Southern Druid, southerndruidrecords.storenvy.com)


BUMMER’S EVE:
Self-titled: CD
Here’s one easy one to get lost in. Bummer’s Eve’s debut is longer than you’d imagine (and jumps around a few genres), but doesn’t bore for a second. From the beginning to end, it’s a strong, cohesive, and well-sequenced record. Starting off with an almost gothic, dark vibe in “I Want Your Drugs,” followed by a thundering, Oblivians-style thumper on “Butterface”—it’s a great listen. There’s no shortage of psych-party jams on this album, either—even hitting some Sabbath-like, stoner tones at times. A strong release and Bummer’s Eve are likely great live, so check ‘em out. –Steve Adamyk (almostreadyrecords.com)


CHERRIES, THE:
Self-titled: CS
Fairly tuneful eleven-song cassette of indie pop type stuff from this band from San Francisco. Off-key vocals and a sound that veers into super poppy pop punk at times, a lot like the Chubbies. –Mike Frame (dacherries.bandcamp.com)


CHILIS?!?!?:
Finally: CD
This two-piece with male and female vocals has some (both?) of the same members as another band I reviewed a while back, Bachelor Paradise. I didn’t really care for them much and I like this even less. Sometimes the vocals run over the other and don’t mesh well together at all. The male vocals are dull and flat and the female vocals sound like the type I’ve heard at a million coffee house shows. –Kurt Morris (No address listed)


CHUMPS:
Gimme Headache: LP
Fitting farewell to one of Austin, TX’s stalwarts who have called it a day after eighteen-odd years (I think this was actually recorded a few years ago). The pic on the back of the record sums this band up with a live shot of their crowd, fists in the air and smiles on faces. Dumb as a bag of hammers punk that sounds like a load of bands from the ‘90s on Rip Off Records. Now every fucker is too cool for school to stick on a leather jacket and have some fun. Not these goons. I don’t go to too many beer-soaked bars to watch dudes in stripey shirts play back-to-the-wall punk these days, but I sure am happy shit like this exists. Nice one, lads. –Tim Brooks (Super Secret)


D-ROID:
Terror from Above: CD
I feel like this band probably thinks they sound like Dystopia or His Hero Is Gone. Totally generic sludge interspersed with parts that kind of sound like Limp Bizkit. I honestly am having a hard time telling if this record is a joke or not. –Ian Wise (Self released, d-roid.bandcamp.com)


DEAD CLONES:
Self-titled: CD
Dead Clones are mid-tempo, Brazilian horror rock. Not really all that exciting or ground breaking, but decent for sure. What really stands out is the great band name and artwork. Great use of the Evil Dead font and skeletal type creeps in black, white, and red. Striking! Hands down the best song title is “Schizoid Freud.” I don’t know why, but every time I think of it, I laugh. It is safe to say that Dead Clones are definitely better than whatever passes as the Misfits these days. There is some mid-era Damned action going on with keyboards and saxophone in the mix. I guess if I had a complaint it would be the song lengths. They drag on and on, with some hitting the five- and six-minute mark. My attention span just can’t take it. I’d say Dead Clones would make it into a Halloween mix I was putting together. –Ty Stranglehold (Dead Clones, facebook.com/deadclones)


DEAD CLONES:
Self-titled: CD
Fair to middling rock/punk stuff outta São Paulo. Not terrible, but it never really gets a good head of steam behind it to lurch it forward in any way that would make it memorable. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dead Clones, facebook.com/deadclones)


DEATHLESS, THE:
The Gates to the Deathless Are Open: 7"
Well, this one’s complicated. First of all, as a hardcore record, it definitely kicks ass. But this seems to be... meditationcore? Take the song “Cushion Revolution,” where they shout, “It’s time to take some action! / Sit!” Yep, they’re pushing Buddhism. I have nothing against Buddhist thought. In fact, I get a lot out of it. I love Thich Nhat Hanh and the Tao Te Ching. I can even take something from what The Deathless have to say, especially on, “Perfect Imperfections”: “We’re all perfect in our imperfection / And I’m an image of your reflection /…I see love, I see compassion, I see faith!” I’m just suspicious about pushing spirituality in hardcore. I don’t want to be accepting only to find out they’re a bunch creeps. I have to say I get the heebie-jeebies when they reference the Hare Krishnas. Yeah, I remember when the Krishnas were exploiting hardcore to literally recruit for a cult, but I think they’re just an influence on The Deathless. I’m still a little ehhh, but at the same time I think their message is valid if you take the right things from it. It’s also what I like about the band. It’s what gets them charged and rockin’. I just don’t want to set a bad precedent. We’ve been burned before on this shit and certainly don’t need a revival. However, for a discerning listener, there’s some great finger-pointing youth crew hardcore and a pretty positive message. –Craven Rock (Chapter 11, corpitus.com, chapterelevenrecords.com)


DIRTY LIMBS / EVELYN:
Split: 7" EP
Fresno has an oasis of weirdos within the Central Valley bleakness, which is meant in the most endearing way possible. Dirty Limbs shines with a cool mix of Castleface garage and the simplistic ‘90s Nirvana sound in “Proto Punk” and “Sweet Vicious.” Flip to the B side on this split with Evelyn for “Future Primitive” and “Heir Apparent.” It’s a bit kookier, more saccharine, but equally melodic with a similar ‘90s alt/garage vibe. Simple and sweet, on milky white vinyl. –Camylle Reynolds (Manor House)


DOUBLE CHEESE:
Self-titled: 7" EP
Jangly French garage rock with the cheek to lead off with a catchy ditty called “I Hate the Sixties.” The three other tunes here follow the same formula, making clear that the stylistic selection of the opener wasn’t a piss-take. –Jimmy Alvarado (Frantic City, franticcity.free.fr)


DUMB VISION:
Self-titled: CS
It’s hard to know what to say other than “this is a punk band,” but I do like it. Production is at the appropriate grime level and the music is cheap beer. Dumb Vision is a Miller Lite tallboy, if you need me to be specific. Please know that’s a compliment. They’re fine. –Matt Werts (Rare Plant, dumbvision.bandcamp.com)


EVERYDAY OBJECTS:
Ripper/Slasher: CS
Well, this is dark and uncomfortable. Four tracks of dissociated, post-punky hardcore with unsettling monotone vocals. The lyrics are rife with serial killer references and blasé death threats to the general public. A Flipper sort of nihilism radiates off this thing; the band probably would have printed the artwork in black on black if they could have. The sing-songy way the vocalist drawls “Track mark arms race” over and over at the end of the cassette is the most shudder-inducing thing I’ve heard in months. But for some reason I let it flip and start over again? –Indiana Laub (Self-released, mincemaim@gmail.com)


FUCKING:
Intimacy Issues: 7" EP
Maniacal hardcore noise punk-as-shit-punch-to-the-throat that you’ll never see coming. –Camylle Reynolds (Self-released, fuckingpunks.bandcamp)


GOOCH PALMS:
Novo’s: CS
So Gooch Palms is a two-piece who expatriated from Australia to L.A. to spread their self-described “shit-pop” to all of us Yanks. One plays guitar while the other stands up playing a drum. It’s rock and roll, and they seem to care, but their production is too trendy in the way that their label, Burger Records is—measured-and-clean-sounding, feedback-laden, psych garage. I’d really like to get down to a band cool enough to describe their music as “shit-pop.” They’re allies, I think, but bad influence corrupts good rock and Novo’s just doesn’t rise above the never-ending hipster influence it seems to be mired in. Avoid rock-stopping associations. –Craven Rock (Burger)


HALEBOPP ASTRONAUTS:
Self-titled: LP
Songs about sci-fi monsters, jerks, and poseur girls. What else do you need to know? But for the record, I’m hearing Face To Face, Dopamines, even some NOFX sprinkled in for good measure. “Losers Anthem” and “Bull Street Inn” are my go-to songs on this record. The last time I was listening to a punk band from Charleston, SC it was 1995 and Honey Wagon was on stage. It’s been awhile, Charleston. Will there be more? –Sean Koepenick (Self-released)


HALFSOUR:
Tuesday Night Live: : LP
Dynamic indie pop from Boston, with a man and woman alternating songs. It’s sugary without being soft, rocking without being boorish, layered without being slick. Reminds me of C86 stuff, especially The Wedding Present. There’s a song called “Pleasantly Whelmed,” which sums up this whole experience perfectly. –Chris Terry (jigsaw-records.com)


HATE:
Self-titled: CD-R EP
Boyle Heights hardcore that just fucking wallops from the word go. Instead of opting for the Casualties-influenced so-called street punk template that’s all the rage in the backyards these days, these cats dig deep into the catalogs of Chaos U.K. and Disorder and just let fly with some of the best hardcore to come out of the local scene in fuggin’ ages. Coming where I come from, I wholly admit my bias, but for my money this is thee standout release of the issue. –Jimmy Alvarado (Hate, hate666.bandcamp.com)


HEAVY TIMES:
Self-titled: 7" EP
This is the first time I’ve heard of this three-piece from Chicago. All of the tracks have a quick, pop punk sound, but at the same time, have a slight shoegaze element to them. Which is something I can get into. They’re already three LPs in, so I’m going to check those out as well. –Becky Rodriguez (HoZac, hozacrecords@gmail.com, hozacrecords.com)


IMPO & THE TENTS:
Anxious Times: 7" EP
Another round from these cats who continue to marvel us by sounding like the Dickies playing power pop while keeping things from sounding rehash. Tunes are fresh, catchy, and they continue to set the bar quite high for themselves and others looking to play to this niche. –Jimmy Alvarado (Alien Snatch)


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