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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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MANX, THE:
Storms Thrashing Our Vessel: CD
An accordion/banjo/bass trio rock out with zippy tunes that sound like they’ve been listening to Led Zeppelin’s acoustic output at the wrong speed. –jimmy (Sweatband, sweatbandrecords.com)


MANDATE OF HEAVEN, THE:
Mark Music: CD
Had to do a wee bit o’ searching around to find out a little about this band. They appear to have been around long enough to release ten albums, including this, their latest. Tracked primarily by multi-instrumentalist Greg Pier, the songs here are for the most part quirky indie rock that would’ve easily garnered airplay on like-minded stations more than a decade ago. What I read about ‘em leads me to believe this album showcases ‘em with their sound toned down a bit, which if true is unfortunate because what’s left, while well written, lacks much in the way of edge or urgency. Still, while I’m not all that impressed with this, I am interested in poking around in their back catalog to see what I might find lurking there. –jimmy (mandateofheaven.bandcamp.com)


MANATEEES:
“Cat Food” b/w “Tree House”: 7”
My girlfriend doesn’t like most of the music I play, but she loves Manateees’ “Cat Food,” a song told from the perspective of a hungry cat. Probably because she’s a crazy cat person. Featuring members of other Memphis bands that I’m not too familiar with, and yes, three E’s in the name. It’s got that garagey-punk sound I go for, so how about you go for it too. –Sal Lucci (Goner)


LOVELY BAD THINGS, THE:
The Late Great Whatever: CD
Some good solid Slumberland Records-style sounds from this band, sounding lo-fi but tuneful. There is a lot of this stuff out there right now, but I will take this over a lot of the other “indie” type stuff. This band is not nearly as good as Vivian Girls but are much better than BestCoast. The sound is right in there with lots of reverb, girl group backing vocals, the whole bit. –frame (Volcom)


LOUGHTON:
Cheap Shot EP: Cassette

Garage rock that pounds like hardcore and has a singer with a David Yow snarl. Some early Spits, some caveman floortoms. I flipped the tape and it took a minute (in other words, twenty percent of the EP) to tell that it was the same songs on side B. But then, I kept listening, because I liked what I was hearing, even if this short tape is even shorter on ideas. Every whiskey shot tastes the same, but I’ll knock back plenty of those.

–CT Terry (blackpelican.storenvy.com)


LISA DOLL & THE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL ROMANCE:
New Blue: CDEP-R
On first blush, this unassuming CD-R does not appear to portend the overly spectacular; on second and subsequent blushes, it delivers a deliciously monoxide-laden payload of garagey Donnas/Nikki Corvette-isms, seasoned with random injections of the Simpletones, Marked Men and Humpers. Then again, “666ick of It” sounds more like the Avengers than anything else, so what the hell do i know? Rocks like oil stains and shampoo! NICE shampoo! BEST SONG: “Let’s Go.” BEST SONG TITLE: “666ick of It.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: They can’t be on TOO restrictive of a budget. They used two different colors of Sharpie™ on the CD-R face. –norb (lisamarie.doll@yahoo.com)


LEE AND THE LIARS:
Tofu Rock Tofu Roll: CD
Sonically, this is trash rock with a loose delivery and the usual production qualities. The rub, though, lies in the songwriting: instead of the usual Sonics-via-Mummies ‘60s route, these kids dig a decade back from the pack, pilfering from ‘50s doo wop and pop, and even include a cover of the Del-Vikings’ “Come Go with Me.” Can’t say I was bowled over by it, but it was nice to hear something a wee bit of the beaten track. –jimmy (Lee And The Liars, facebook.com/leeandtheliars)


LAYMAN:
World: Cassette
A half-rewound ninety-minute tape with three songs of L7ish alt-rock that warble in and out as the Maxell decides if it’s going to give out. Has this thing been in the mail since 1992? –CT Terry (laymanyl.blogspot.com)


LATE BLOOMER:
Self-titled: LP
Late Bloomer play a mix of grunge and melodic punk. There’s a lot to like here. Melancholy melodies, sing-song vocals, lurch…thud early Nirvana guitars and psychedelic solos. Six or seven of these ten songs would fit on a playlist alongside The Posies, Meat Puppet,s and Hickey. The other ones kill the mood by straying too far into pop punk territory. I’ll chalk that up to a new band finding its sound, and look forward to an even better second LP. The cover art nails the mood: dark and cartoonish but kinda twee. It looks like a crust record as commissioned from Edward Gorey. –CT Terry (latebloomer.bandcamp.com)


KENTUCKY KNIFE FIGHT:
Hush Hush: CD
Right away on this album the band seems to be taking their own advice. Very quiet piano-and-vocal-based song to kick things off. Kind of a Smog or maybe Tindersticks feel from the first song and then things kick into gear. I am much less into the rest of the record. It comes off a whole lot like indie kids who are trying to be all bluesy and rootsy and twangy but without any feel or vibe to the proceedings. The band describes themselves as, “Dirty, dynamic twang from St. Louis, Missouri, fusing dark bluegrass, blues, rock, and punk” and I would say that it falls flat on all accounts. –frame ()


JC SATÁN / PIRESIAN BEACH:
Split: 7”
JC Satan start off with two garage-rock-mixed-with-pop songs that are fuzzed-out jams. They have a nice groove to them and get your head bobbing. PiresianBeach’s two songs are more experimental and trippy, but really flow well on this single with the other songs. Both bands really did a great job. If you’re into the more out-there and non-traditional punk bands, you’ll like it too. –Rick Ecker (RNR666, rnr666.hu)


JACKPINE SNAG:
The Omega Stump: 7” EP
Bluesy grunge—or, the Melvins and Mudhoney fuck incessantly and, on the seventh hour of the seventh day of the seventh month, the latter releases a little sonic gastrointestinal byproduct into the atmosphere for the listening enjoyment of all. –jimmy (Silver Maple Kill, silvermaplekill.weebly.com)


INSANITY ALERT:
Second Opinion: CD
The thrash revival slams on and it’s all starting to blend together. Yes, I’m impressed at how old school Insanity Alert sounds, with the screeching vocals and breakneck pace and songs about beer. However, with roughly five million bands doing the same thing with equal skill, I’m going to need something more, and Insanity Alert just fades into the patch-covered-jean-jacket-wearing crowd. –mp (Self-released, facebook.com/insanityalert)


IDAHO GREEN:
I Hate Your Facebook Page: 7”
Bizarre, unpredictable garage punk. Instead of trying to describe this release as a whole, here’s a breakdown track by track. The release starts with a relatively straight forward punk song that devolves into a guitar-rocker. Think something along the lines of Fidlar. The second track is a really short song that leaves you with no time to form an impression. The third track is backwards. All of it. The fourth track is a joke song with a length of fourteen seconds. The only lyrics are the title of the track. The fifth song is a rock’n’roll jam, probably the best on the record, even if it does start with somebody repeating the band name over and over in an odd voice. Overall, I’d say I enjoyed half of this record. Really, it was the less-than-a-minute-long tracks I could do without. Idaho Green are doing some interesting stuff, and I’m intrigued to see where they end up with their next release. –Bryan Static (Schmodick, no address)


HUSSY, THE:
“Turn It Three” b/w “Firelung”: 7”
Huh. Two-piece from Madison, Wisconsin that gives us a pair of quick, frenetic, somewhat punkish-sounding songs with heavy nods to ‘60s pop. I doubt the totality of this record pushes the three-minute mark, and the energy level seems kinda thin. Reminds me of stuff like The Cynics and other bands on Get Hip way back when, but ultimately falls pretty flat in regards to making much of an impact. –keith (Certified PR)


HUMANS:
Milk Pond: 7”
A Bloomington, Indiana band on a four-song single of jazzy punk and hardcore. It has manically screamed vocals, thick bass, intricate guitar playing, and crushing drums mixed with time signatures all over the place, combined with a sense of bringing back the style of the Dead Kennedys, but still keeping their own twist to the proceedings. It’s a real interesting single that kept on getting better the more I listened to it. –Rick Ecker (Glory Hole, gloryholerecords.com)


HOT LZ’S, THE:
Bringdown Comedown Putdown: 7” EP
Fairly meat and potatoes punk ‘n’ roll stuff, kinda reminiscent of the Mau-Maus in places, but on the whole it more or less fades soon after listening. Cover has logo with what I thought was wax but turns out to be glow-in-the-dark paint slathered all over it. –jimmy (The Hot LZ’s, thehotlzs.bandcamp.com)


HOT GRAVES:
Fashion Victim: 7” EP
Four tracks of guttural, nihilistic thrash of the type heard in a million basements and backyards. They do the genre well, but ultimately sound like everyone else, which might actually be the point. –jimmy (Bigger Boat)


HESSIAN (A.D.):
Manegarmr: LP
Sweet jeezamoli. Basically, I’m gonna be psyched as shit about anything that Belgium’s Church of Ra camp dabbles in (Amenra, Blind To Faith, Oathbreaker, etc.), but this Hessian LP easily defies my already-high expectations. Picture Clandestine or Left Hand Path-era Entombed (Manegarmr was even mixed at Stockholm’s historic Sunlight Studios by veritable architect of sonic heaviness Tomas Skogsberg) with a hearty dose of the Clevo sound, plus plenty of “blackened” melodic choices and you’d be on the right track. Smart, dark, vicious hardcore that’s absolutely vying for a spot in this year’s “best of” list. –Dave Williams (Southern Lord)


HARD RESISTANCE:
Lawless & Disorder: CD
I’m hearing a lot of DRI, Discharge, and Ministry all kind of blended together with growling hardcore vocals in the Sick Of It All/NHYC style. I had to laugh when read the dude from Biohazard was a guest on a song, but it’s a good example of how committed they are to the style. (Snicker.) Did you know the lead singer of Biohazard has the title of one of his albums tattooed on him and its spelled wrong? Hah! Hah! BIOHAZARD! FIVE BLOCKS TO DA SUUUUUBWAY! I WALK ‘EM EVERYDAY! Sorry, Biohazard just gets me goin’. ANYWAY...for better or worse, Hard Resistance has that Headbanger’s Ball-ready Victory Records-style production, but they sound way more legitimate than of those “core” bands on Youtube these days. They appear to be some older pissed-off dudes from Europe (doesn’t say where they’re from, but clues point to Belgium), not overly tattooed, spock hairs from the suburbs. Most of the lyrics are railing against the government, Christianity, and oppression. It’s pretty good, but I doubt I’ll feel the urge to come back to it. –Craven Rock (Strength, info@hardresistance.be)


GREENBACK HIGH:
Bombs Away: 7”
Vancouver vets drop two tracks of streetpunk spiked with bits of pop. The title track sounds reminiscent of some long-lost ‘70s punk band, while the flip could’ve come outta the U.K. around the same time with no one being the wiser. –jimmy (Greenback High, facebook.com/greenbackhigh)


GO, THE:
Unreleased 1996 – 2007: 5 x Cassette Box Set
Wow, what an introduction to an older band who are actually new to me. This is a set of five cassettes by The Go spanning their existence up until 2007, each one representing either a two- or three-year span and featuring previously unreleased outtakes, demos, and live performances of album songs all boxed in a neat eight and quarter inch plastic box that opens up like a book. What initially appeared to be overkill to me wound up being a very pleasant surprise. The Go embrace a bevy of ‘60s influences that are not just limited to musical (MC 5 of course, the Rolling Stones, etc) but also apparent in their fashion sense which, upon first glance, fooled me into thinking that these cats were truly a ‘60s band. The earlier recordings have a slight psychedelic feel to some of the songs but they’re still garage-rock based more than anything. Further on down the road, the songs get a lot looser and rockin’, especially when the guitar amps get cranked the fuck up. It’s great rock’n’roll for sure but I have to admit that I see myself as only a casual admirer after listening to this. I get the feeling that this was laboriously crafted with love and intended solely for those who are already admirers of the Go. This box set also includes a full color booklet with liner notes, a pin, and a hilarious comic book which sweetens the deal even more if you’re a diehard fan. –Juan Espinosa (Burger)


FUN SIZE:
Since Last We Spoke: CD
Reunion record from a Richmond, VA band who apparently released a 7” and an LP on Fueled By Ramen Records in the late ‘90s. Following the breakup, one member or more went on to form the band River City High and this sound is right in there with that. Very mid-90s-sounding with a real Face To Face sound. At their best, Fun Size also sound like a slicker Strike Anywhere. Not a sound I am especially excited about revisiting, but the band is solid and the songwriting is decent. I am sure there are tons of people excited about a new record by this band. This sound seems to be very big with folks still. –frame (Self-released, funsizerva.com)


FORCE-FED DRUGS:
Self-titled: Cassette
This crazy mess of a powerviolence demo features great male/female dual vocals and fun, simplistic hardcore lyrics. My favorite track is called “Dear Pigs,” a not so subtle anti-cop song, presented in letter form. The physical version of this release is limited to fifty copies, but is still available as of this writing. I think these songs might have been recorded live, on a boom box, which legitimizes the fact that it’s a cassette-only release. There are worse drugs to be force fed than Force-Fed Drugs, that’s for sure. –Art Ettinger (Self-released, forcefeddrugs.bandcamp.com)


EX-BOOGEYMEN / WAYLON THORNTON AND THE HEAVY HANDS:
Split: CD
In the liner notes, there are pictures of a bunch of nice looking people. Supposedly, these are the members of the two bands. Having listened to the CD, I know that this is a ruse. This music is clearly made by backwoods cannibals who would just as soon eat my eyeballs out than smile at me. This is country music at its ugliest. They probably recorded this while sucking marrow from the bones of the rats they found in Hank William’s grave. Also, the song “I Want to Be Dave Vanian” is really fucking creepy in like eight million ways. –mp (Self-released, facebook.com/theexboogeymen)


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