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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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DESGRACIADOS:
Humanidad en la Oscuridad: 7” EP
Some flat-out scorching hardcore en Español coming at ye from, of all places, Canada. Even at its fastest here, the band keeps the tempos within the “human” range, yet delivering the goods in such over the top fashion they end up hitting that sweet spot that makes ye wanna bounce off the walls, drool uncontrollably, and beg for more than the four blasts of tuneage offered up here. Here’s a chance to get in on the ground floor ‘cause, if they keep things up the level of quality in evidence here, I’m predicting they’re gonna be fuggin’ huge.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Deranged)


DEVIOUS ONES:
From the Stylus to the Speaker: 7”
Detroit’s Devious Ones exploded onto the scene recently, with this two-song 7” as their second release. Playing power pop with a new wave slant, they are like a less-contrived version of The Briefs, not that there’s anything wrong with The Briefs. The production is flawless on these two tracks, well showcasing the punchy fun. It’s time for an LP!  –Art Ettinger (Rust On The Blade, deviousones.bandcamp.com)


DFMK:
7 Canciones Sobre un Individualismo Radical: 7”
After about two years of hearing the praises of the Tijuana superstars known as DFMK sung by a large swath of friends, I finally got to see them last fall during the Razorcake residency at Pehrspace. I was blown away both by how great the band is musically, and also by the completely visceral and engaging performance, led by the extraordinarily animated and charismatic frontman Mr. Cap. And the greatness of the band is fully captured on this here slab o’wax. Here you’ll find an incredibly tight and focused band that’s firing on all cylinders and delivering a ferocious, bombastic, confident, and swaggering blend of punk and rock’n’roll. To my ears, I’m hearing a nod to early ‘80s Southern California hardcore pioneers, a la the Circle Jerks, with heavy heapings of blistering rock’n’roll in the vein of Mudhoney and New Bomb Turks, however, with even bigger, beefier, guitars. This is some crucial shit that you’re going to want to own.  –Jeff Proctor (La Escalera / Get Better)


DIAMOND GUTS:
Short Rips: CS
Ten songs of hooky, surprisingly punchy slacker punk. The singer’s got a melancholy Lou Barlow sound, but the low-fi music’s more concise than Sebadoh. It’s got a balance of punk and catchy ‘60s rock similar to what you find in pre-fame Nirvana songs like, “About a Girl.” I apologize for not having more contemporary reference points, but it speaks well for this band if they can get a salty old guy excited by playing the stuff he was sick of twenty years ago.  –Chris Terry (secretawesome.us)


DIRTY FENCES:
“Tommy & CC” b/w “I’m Here”: 7”
I was really excited to give this single a spin because of its immediately recognizable queer BDSM leather daddy imagery on the back cover. Given the art, I had high hopes it would boast hardcore Gravy Train vibes, but alas, another rock’n’roll single. Although, it’s a pretty good one. Lots of ‘70s sad boy rocker feels. Kind of glam, kind John Cougar Mellencampy, kind of Ramonesy. There is a Man on the Run reference. They ask the listener to “Telephone” them. It’s cool. I’ll probably listen to it again because I love the art and sometimes I’m a little bit of a sucker for campy shit that sounds like old denim.  –Candace Hansen (Die Slaughterhouse, dieslaughterhouserecords.com)


DISSIDENT CLONE:
Creating the Consumed: 7”
Crusty grindcore with death metal tendencies from this Minnesota two piece. The lyrics are heavy on the Assück side of the political spectrum (anti-capitalism, et cetera) while the musical savagery is accented by Malevolent Creation-style guitar licks. The recording quality has some jagged edges but gives it the kind of charm you can’t buy with Relapse Records studio money. There was some serious special attention paid to the packaging with the 7” booklet stuffed inside an 8 ½” x 11” poly bag with a giant foldout newsprint poster, tons of stickers, and a button. I bet these dudes slay live.  –Juan Espinosa (FTWNU2, ftwnu2.com)


DISSIDENT CLONE:
Creating the Consumed: 7”
Is it possible to play bass while simultaneously using the strings to strangle people? Because that’s what this sounds like. Heads just locked against the fretboard while faces turn red and eyes pop out of their sockets. Rumbling. And I’m sure the guitar is slick with blood. Are those drums or electric skulls being beaten with severed arms? The singer’s voice is like the howl of a yeti, blasting out words and the undigested bones of his enemies. I just listened to this record eight times in a row and I’m not entirely sure where this pig carcass came from. And that’s definitely not my blood.  –MP Johnson (FTWNU2)


DIVERS:
“Achin’ On” b/w “Can’t Do That”: 7”
A-side’s a raucous, upbeat original that frustratingly devolves into an intentional record skip/sound collage thing halfway through. B-side’s a way subdued cover of Dead Moon’s “Can’t Do That” that’s disappointingly over just when it reaches its crescendo. Band’s definitely capable of some good stuff, but all in all this was a little disappointing.  –Keith Rosson (Dirt Cult)


DODLAGE:
Self-titled: 7”
Proper d-beat from the Capital of crust itself, Portland, Ore. Ten politically charged, pissed-off songs that rip from one side to the other. Authentic guttural vocals— insanely tight and recorded with enough grit to make them unique. Better than most who try to pull this off.  –Steve Adamyk (wargame-records.blogspot.ca)


DOKUMENTIA:
Susi Sol: CD
I really hate writing short reviews, but I also love writing about lyrical content and intention in the records I cover. Since the only Finish word I can think of off the top of my head is Helsinki, music-only review it is! Though I did use ye ol’ Google translator for the song titles, it didn’t provide much insights besides that the record is called Wolf Sounds. These guys are from Lapua, with all the songs in their native language. It’s pretty hardcore punk for the majority of the record, though there was one track that struck me by surprise: “Paikka Varattu (JazzClubMix).” This has stripped-down drumming with a jazzy lead on the electric guitar and an acoustic in the background. I’m guessing it’s pretty tongue in cheek, like the Dead Milkmen’s “You’ll Dance to Anything,” but who knows. Otherwise, the rest of these songs sound like they could have been on an early Epitaph comp, or This Is Finland, Not Boston if that were something that actually existed. All of their tunes are available on their website where they encourage people, in English, to “Click picture, download, burn on CD, and print covers,” which I think is pretty cool.  –Kayla Greet (Mankat Vastakkain, dokumentia.net)


DRUNK IN A DUMPSTER / NO ANGER CONTROL:
Split: 12”
Drunk In A Dumpster are doing some pretty convincing thrash with punk roots like Common Enemy or early Municipal Waste. They’re old enough to remember the late ‘80s (the singer was in Order Of Flagellants and some other bands you’ve never heard of) so there’s not really a lot of posturing. There’s a little too much tongue-in-cheek for me on songs like “Thrasheville,” but they’re having a good time so I supposed it can be forgiven. The riffs are good, the recording is big, and the vocals are energetic enough to keep you paying attention. No Anger Control are doing more of an old school East Coast hardcore thing with some metallic tendencies on the breakdowns. The lyrics for both bands are pretty simple with a lot of singalongs. The structures are also simple. This split works because a fan of either band would probably easily get into the other side, but each band has their own style.  –Ian Wise (No Profit, noprofitrecords.com)


DYSNEA BOYS:
Forgot How to Read: LP
It may seem like I’m splitting hairs, but hear me out. “Skate rock” is not the same as “skate punk.” The former was a movement in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s spearheaded by Thrasher magazine and a number of bands who rode boards, like Big Boys, JFA, Drunk Injuns, The Faction, and others. Skate punk, on the other hand, is more of a ‘90s-centered thing (think big pants and chain wallets). I like skate punk just fine, but skate rock is where my heart is. Dysnea Boys know exactly what I am talking about. They are a band that would fit seamlessly onto any of those early Thrasher compilations. You can feel the same hit of adrenalin listening to this that you would when discovering an untouched skate spot—anticipation, aggression, and joyous freedom coming together to an explosive moment in time. Canadians, Americans, and Germans came together to make what I would consider a damn near perfect album. Vocalist Jason Honea (formerly of Social Unrest) reminds me so much of Restless Spirit from Drunk Injuns at times it’s uncanny as he powerfully drives the songs with his distinct voice. I hope to the almighty concrete skate gods that Dysnea Boys will make the trip over to North America sometime soon. This band has become essential to my life.  –Ty Stranglehold (Take It Back)


EMPTY MARKETS:
Stainless Steel: LP
Hailing from Austin, Texas, Empty Markets is noisy and energetic, but somehow restrained; there is a defiant logic to the chaos, like a less drone-y Lungfish or a more frenzied Nation Of Ulysses. Lead vocalist Drew Schmitz (bassist for the excellent Hex Dispensers) belts over his atonal riffs, while bassist Wendy Wright contributes full-bodied backing vocals. Drummer Jordan Rivell deserves a medal for making sense of the discordant riffs. I’m always impressed by three-pieces that sound just as full, if not more so, than most four- or five-piece bands. Ultimately, Empty Markets delivers addictive earfuls of genre-defying anti-melodies.  –Sean Arenas (12XU)


EPIC PROBLEM / THE SLOW DEATH:
Split: 7”
One band from each side of the Atlantic Ocean, both with a penchant for gruff, melodic punk rock played with plenty of gusto. Epic Problem packs more of a punch on its two songs, both of which have a cleaner sound than The Slow Death, whose offerings contain a bit more grit along with the slightest of nods towards country/Americana. A match up of rambunctious proportions.  –Rich Cocksedge (Brassneck, brassneckrecords.bigcartel.com / Rad Girlfriend, radgirlfriendrecords.com)


FACTION, THE:
Corpse in Disguise: 12”
The Faction’s 1984 7” reissued in an expanded edition for Record Store Day. I believe this is the last recording of the original lineup. If you’re unfamiliar with the Faction, they are a halfway decent SoCal hardcore band that was active in the early 1980s and were somewhat big because they supplanted themselves in the skate community (Steve Caballero was the bassist and eventual guitar player). If you’re into harder but melodic bands from the early L.A. hardcore scene (Adolescents, DI, TSOL) then this is a slightly more obscure release from that era that is worth your time to check out. There are a couple tracks thrown on the end (“Pegged for Life,” “Demons”) that were also on the CD discography a few years back but weren’t on the original release. Cool blue vinyl.  –Ian Wise (Beer City, beercity.com)


FACTION, THE:
Dark Room: 12”
While most folks know them as the mid-’80s skate punk band that Bones Brigade legend Steve Caballero played in, San Jose’s The Faction weren’t just a side project or a band of skaters playing in a punk band just for fun. Mixing up the tempos and incorporating a darker edge, they also weren’t a typical skate punk band. In fact, they resembled the 1983 iteration of their contemporaries D.I. in vibe and vocal delivery, much more than any skate punk band of the era. And while D.I. largely opted to lose their slower, darker songs in favor of faster and more melodic tunes in 1985, The Faction doubled down. Pushing the boundaries of solid, mid-tempo punk into the metal realm with scorching riffs, solos, and an even more sinister vibe (notwithstanding the all-time thrash-punk rager “Tongue Like a Battering Ram”), this EP ranks as one of 1985’s best punk releases, now thankfully available on vinyl again, courtesy of Milwaukee’s best!  –Chad Williams (Beer City, beercity.com)


FACTION, THE:
Epitaph: LP
Re-ish of the final breaths of the most crucial skate punk of all time. Seems like all their gear is being faithfully reissued (at last) by BeerCity. This band is famous for leading the skate punk pack with Steve Caballero on guitar, but that aside they were a classic left coast hardcore punk band. I guess they have a sorta L.A. vibe going on (even though they were from San Jose), not unlike the Adolescents. While I would lean to No Hidden Messages LP or Dark Room 12” for their absolute crucial jams, this 12” is no slouch. The fucked up version of “California Dreaming” is boss. Wish the cover was an exact repro instead of a bastardized version. Still a worthy re-is.  –Tim Brooks (Beer City, beercity.com)


FACTION, THE:
Yesterday Is Gone and No Hidden Messages: LPs
BeerCity kicks down with a couple more punk obscurities for Record Store Day 2016. The Faction were one of the premier “skate rock” bands making the rounds in the early ‘80s, and even included bona fide pro skater Steve Caballero in their ranks. Both records were originally released on IM Records in 1983. Yesterday Is Gone is a 12” version (white vinyl) of their debut 7” EP, and is rife with the quintessential “thrash” sound of the time: most of the tunes zip on by in short order with lyrics addressing both the political and personal, and a clean, tight sound reminiscent of bands like Code Of Honor. The Beer Boys have seen fit to include the band’s two tracks originally on Thrashermagazine’s old Skate Rock Vol. Onecomp for good measure. No Hidden Messages(clear green vinyl), their first full length, travels much along the same path with more tunes opting to shift into comparatively lower gear, and the lyrical subject matter starts to incorporate some horror elements and the occasionally more mundane woes of the early ‘80s teenage male. Nice reminder of a time, attitude, and style that one doesn’t come across quite as often these days. As an aside, some of the lyrics, like those for “Why Save the Whales,” cracked me up. To wit: “Funds collected in a humane cause / to rescue a mammal with enormous jaws / one ate Pinocchio, but you don’t care / solicit money using solemn stares….” Ah, ‘80s punks. We were a fuggin’ funny lot.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Beer City)


FALCON, THE:
Gather up the Chaps: CD
Oh man, how do I approach this CD subjectively? I will shamelessly admit that I have been a Brendan Kelly fanboy since the days of Slapstick, eagerly lapping up most everything the man has been involved with. That said, for being a side project kind of thing, this—as with past Falcon releases—freaking rules. What really stands out to me this go round are the strong vocals from the whole crew—Brendan and Dan specifically. Song craft and performance are, as usual, spot on. Go on, go get you some!  –Garrett Barnwell (Red Scare, redscare.net)


FANTASY ARCADE:
Self-titled: 7”
As the name indicates, this is fantasy-themed doom metal hailing from San Diego, featuring members of Life Crisis and Death Crisis. There are moments that thrash (which I prefer) and moments that sludge onward (although with a welcome brevity). The record has enough references to dwarves and gnomes that your local D&D or Magic, The Gathering meeting will thank you for putting it on so long as they enjoy rocking.  –Lyle (Too Old To Die, fantasyarcade.bandcamp.com)


FANTASY ARCADE:
Self-titled: 7”
Debut release from this San Diego trio, featuring a gaggle of longtime scene veterans who’ve cut their teeth in a plethora of punk, hardcore, and metal bands over the last thirty years or so (past bands include Life Crisis, Death Crisis, Titanarum, October Allied, amongst many, many others). Fantasy Arcade rips through a half dozen quick, pummeling blasts of incredibly tight, intricate, and complex hardcore with heavy-as-fuck guitars, monstrously pounding drums, dizzying time signatures and tempo changes, plus healthy amounts of doom and thrash mixed in to satisfy the cravings of your inner hesher. Also, the fantasy in the band’s name is no coincidence, as song titles, such as “The March of the Gnome Army” and “The Dwarves Are Missing” are found here, along with other lyrical themes, such as wizards and warlocks. The fantasy game is strong with these dudes. This is a fun listen. Blast this shit at your next D&D game or Game of Thrones watch party.  –Jeff Proctor (Too Old To Die, fantasyarcade.bandcamp.com)


FEVER DREAM:
Masses: CS
Angry and adequate hardcore. I can’t say I was impressed the moment the cassette started playing, but the further I got in, the more I was intrigued by the band’s ability to weave structurally interesting hardcore into a cohesive release. At times, the singer’s screech can reach Eric Cartman levels of absurdity, but generally their delivery plays off the band’s solid meat-and-potatoes delivery very well. On the other end of the spectrum, the screams hit the right levels of cathartic harshness that thrives so well on hardcore records. Certain songs work better than others and at times the songwriting feels like it’s running out of steam (see: the guitar solo in “Befall”), but a valiant effort; one that deserves praise.  –Bryan Static (Self-released, feverdreambk.bandcamp.com)


FILTHY TWOLIPS:
Get Moist: CDEP
Filthy Twolips bang out punk rock that is a bit beyond the realm of serviceable: very short songs about pooping and other bodily functions not normally discussed in polite company. All in all, this is straightforward, thoroughly unprofessional (in the good way), and offensively gross punk rock. It’s somewhat in the vein of Blood, Guts, & Pussy-era Dwarves, but not nearly as sophisticated, both musically and lyrically.  –The Lord Kveldulfr (No address listed)


FLINGUE, LA:
Piss-Tape Zéro-Quatre: 12” EP
I kind of like the idea of this mob’s stiff, haranguing Euro punk being a perennial emission—kind of like reading Supermancomics; you can check out for years and check back in and not have to worry too much about having lost your place. In terms of a more local yardstick, this is probably more or less like what the Briefs would sound like if the Briefs sang in English. Well, that and German. Throw in the occasional Shane-White-esque lead and I stick a sock in my long-standing complaint about how French bands ought to let ‘er rip en Français more often. I miss the 999 cover on the other record but the song about the hamster sounds about right. Faire l’andouille! BEST SONG: “Tanz auf dem Müll.” BEST SONG TITLE: “A-N-G-S-T.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: What appears to be a record jacket is just a square piece of cardboard printed on both sides. It’s always something.  –Rev. Norb (Wanda, wandarecords.de)


FLYING OVER:
We Are Outsiders: LP
Flying Over are a French garage punk band who take major cues from mainstays like the Buzzcocks and the Ramones while mixing in a bit of ‘90s garage rock attitude. In fact, the very first few notes that come from the turntable upon putting this on immediately makes me think of the intro chord progressions from “You Tear Me Up” off of the first Buzzcocks LP. There are certainly worse records that a band could take influence from, so you’ll see no complaint from me. Overall, this is a solid, no-frills, fun rock’n’roll record, which, while not breaking any new ground, still mixes up enough swagger and catchy hooks to keep me interested.  –Mark Twistworthy (Adrenalin Fix, adrenalinfixmusic.com)


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·LILLINGTONS, THE
·HAVOC, THE
·MORNING GLORY
·TEE PEES, THEE
·SLUT RIVER
·WHITE LIARS, THE
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·MAHONIES, THE
·SICK/TIRED


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