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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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D-CLONE:
Creation and Destroy: LP
Holy fuuuuck!! As soon as the needle hits the groove, you are hit with a massive wall of sound. I like how the drums open the song “I Wish...”. My jaw hit the floor with a thud as soon as I heard the thunder! The urgency is undeniable. It’s as though their lives depend on cranking this song out and pushing as much noise as possible through your speakers. Amid all the white noise you can hear the bass playing some catchy lines… and the drums... this guy is a god! You have to hear it to believe it. I like that they put a lot of low end in the mix, as it keeps the songs from floating away. It’s great when you can feel the bass run through a wood floor and up through your body. Totally puts you in the record. This isn’t a record you listen to with the volume down, or midway down. You listen to this cranked all the way up. AWWWWESOME! Comes packaged with a large tour poser as well. As if you need any more incentive. –Matt Average (540, timmy@chaosintejas.com, chaosintejas.com/540/index)


DAMAGE DONE, THE:
Nothing Is Over: LP
The Damage Done are a melodic hardcore band from Seattle. This record reminds me of a lot of things, but not enough to pigeonhole it with any one specific sound or scene association. It has the vibe of a ‘90s emotional hardcore record but with the sensibility of something much more modern and less contrived. Heartfelt and genuine-sounding with plenty of singalong parts, this record is sure to please. –Mark Twistworthy (La Escalera, laescalerarecords.com)


CURMUDGEON :
Self-titled: EP
Decent modern day powerviolence. Kind of reminds me of Spazz, with a singer who sounds like Max Ward did in Scholastic Deth. The songs are short and to the point. They stay to the formula, which I’m sure a lot of people like. But there’s not much here to make them stand out from the legions of bands playing this style today. It’s not a terrible record, but not one that will get many listens as the years tick by. The packaging is nice, though. Comes housed in a cover with the back folding out, a lyric sheet inside, dark gray streaked vinyl, and an obi band to keep it all together. –Matt Average (To Live A Lie, tolivealie.com)


CROOKED BANGS:
Self-titled: LP
Going off the cover art, I was expecting some weirdo-style post-punk, or fucked up, drugged-out garage racket. Instead, this is tepid rock that is as safe as milk. Play this at your company dinner party. No one will be offended, if they even notice. Blehhhh.... –Matt Average (Western Medical, westernmeds.com)


COLIN’S GODSON:
Colin’s Godson in Time: CD
Quirky British pop with keyboards that reminded me of equal parts Pink Floyd and Everything, Now! (It’s okay if you don’t know who they are—I do, and that’s all that matters.) The eleven songs on this album clock in at fifteen minutes, so it’s a bunch of quick songs along with some throwaway tracks. There is some sort of theme regarding the band going back in time to recover some items or something—there’s a comic about it with the CD. I didn’t really care enough about it to see how the music and lyrics matched up with the comic. I suppose if you’re into British pop music with keyboards and songs about traveling in time, then you’d probably like this. –kurt (Puzzled Aardvark, colinsgodson.com)


COBRA SKULLS:
Eagle Eyes: 7”
There are three songs here. They are all mid-tempo rockers. “Eagle Eyes” is on Side A. On Side B, “Internal War” leads into “Walk Away.” Definitely a nice pick up for fans of the band. As a bonus, this record was mastered in Stockholm, Sweden. Interesting. –Nighthawk (Fat)


CLUSTERFUCK / COJOBA:
Split: EP
Clusterfuck play speedy hardcore stuff that has some whacky elements that I can’t connect with. Kind of reminds me Litmus Green mixed with In God We Trust Dead Kennedys, but more modern. I do like the Cojoba stuff more (didn’t they used to be a harsh thrash band?). Their sound is speedy, but not thrash. More on the nervous kind of hyper side. Taina’s vocals are the definite standout. Delivered nice and clear, but with a lot of passion. I do think the music can benefit from just a little bit more fire in the playing. –Matt Average (Computer Crime, computercrimerecs.info)


CHILLED MONKEY BRAINS:
We’re All in This Together: CDEP
Coming out of Tallahassee, FL with their new four-song EP, this seven piece band, has come up with a winner. They play a mix of hardcore, punk, and ska and have dual trombones for something a bit different. I’m glad that this isn’t too much in the third wave style, but has the punk and hardcore along with the ska. The songs mix up the styles pretty good and keeps the pace going through this release. They have pretty clean production which makes the release a catchy, easy to get into bunch of songs. These guys sound like they would be a good time live. –Guest Contributor (Swamp Cabbage, swampcabbagerecords.com)


CHANNEL 3:
Land of the Free: 7”
New single—first from these punk rock giants in quite some time. The record comes with a nifty “fake ID card” that offers up seven extra bonus tracks. Two from previous compilations, but it is nice to have them all in one tidy package. “This Calls for a Drink” blows by the listener at one hundred MPH. “Make It Home” is the super catchy pick of the new material. Ultra-melodic and engaging from end to end. Grab this now on blue wax directly from the record company’s website. –koepenick (Hostage, hostagerecords.com)


CATHOLIC GUILT:
Leather Jackets Only: Cassette
It takes a lot to stump me, but this art-rock tape has me at a total loss. Noisy, funny, and confusing, I do not get what Leather Jackets Only is about. Indescribable mush, peppered with bings and zings, this is less irritating than just plain weird. The band has some really cool merch though, including nifty high heels featuring their fun anti-religious logo. Leather Jackets Only is for friends of the band only. –Art Ettinger (Zeng, catholicguilt.bandcamp.com)


CAFFIENDS:
Boris Dogavitch: 7”
An eight-song pop punk snot fest from this three-piece band from Florida. I know, pop punk, stop! I usually say that too because of the lousy pop punk that is out there, but these guys are really good. They play fast, have snotty and funny lyrics, and cover the Descendents song “Coffee Mug” really well. If I still had my radio show, I would definitely play this because it was a lot of fun. I hope that they do a whole album soon. –Guest Contributor (Swamp Cabbage, swampcabbagerecords.com)


BUCK BILOXI AND THE FUCKS:
Weirdos on the Street: EP
Minimal lo-fi/no-fi type punk rock type stuff here. This is the kind of stuff I always hope to stumble on when I’m at record shops fingering through the racks. The cover art is jacked up and makes no sense whatsoever. The kind of thing that is vexing to the fan with limited funds: “Do I pull the trigger and get this, or go the safe route and get the record with torn apart bodies on it and four songs about how war is bad?” The wise decision for you would be to get this, as this is something you will still listen to in years to come. Four songs of scratchy guitar sound similar to “Nervous Breakdown” Black Flag, and drums and vocals. I don’t think there’s a bass here. Whatever, it’s still a pretty damn good record. Plus, this has the attitude that many bands try desperately to attain. The title track is evidence, listing a few of the less desirable elements of society and declaring his hatred towards them. Then you get a couple songs; “Shut the Fuck Up,” and “Shut the Hell Up,” just in case you didn’t listen the first time. Seek this one out. –Matt Average (Orgone Toilet, facebook.com/pages/Orgone-Toilet)


BUCK BILOXI AND THE FUCKS:
Self-titled: 7”
This is what the punk rock of today should sound like. Only slightly more awesome than No Bails. Shit-fi guitar tone that I drool over every time I put this slab on. For fans of Sharp Balloons, Budget Rock, or just plain old fun. “Shut the Fuck Up” or “Shut the Hell Up”—you decide! –Sal Lucci (Orgone Toilet, facebook.com/pages/Orgone-Toilet)


BRENDAN KELLY AND THE WANDERING BIRDS:
I’d Rather Die Than Live Forever: CD
The singer / bassist from The Lawrence Arms has put out a new CD after a previous EP. It has hardly anything in common with The Lawrence Arms other than the raspy vocals. This has only two songs that could be considered punk rock, with the rest being more rock and acoustic songs, but they are infused with a punk spirit. You have good production on here and really good lyrics that make this a very cool change of pace for when you need something not in your face, but a bit more laid back that still has a bite to it. –Guest Contributor (Red Scare Industries, redscare.net)


BRAINS, THE:
Drunk Not Dead: CD
Montreal’s premier psychobilly band is back with thirteen news songs about horror, cars, and drinking, but they do a damn fine job within those confines. They throw in some pretty good punk on here as well—nice and speedy. They put a lot of feeling into what they do and make it convincing, plus you get one song in French and one in Spanish for something a bit different. The songs have a ton of singalong parts and on this third album, great playing and production. These guys should be in jukeboxes in bars and you should throw some coins in and dance around like a nut to these songs. –Guest Contributor (Stomp, stomprecords.com)


BLACKBIRD RAUM / HAIL SEIZURES:
Split: 7”
Folk punk reminds me of dubstep in a way; every song works its way toward the same tired riff that everybody’s waiting for and then everybody freaks out. Take Blackbird Raum’s song. It starts out with a shitty bagpipe playing... building tension... and then those pipes fade into the background as a guy starts playing a banjo and shouting off-key... wait for it... THE BIG DROP... then all of the band starts shouting at once to that goddamn faux-Eastern-European, yee-di-i-yee-de-i folk loop, the standard of every goddamn folk punk song with that horrible yut-dut-dut-duh accordion and saw and washboard and... I dunno, who the fuck cares? My friend, who knows Blackbird Raum, claims they have an excuse because they are, in some way, originators of this horrid sound. Fair enough, but that makes them even more accountable for inspiring such a horseshit genre. I’ll give them credit for being more complicated and having more parts and changes than your average oogle, folk punk band, but it makes them no more bearable than the rest. So, anyway, after trashing the entire genre, I have to eat some crow and speak up for Hail Seizures. They’re the exception to the folk-punk-sucks rule. They fall into some of the same trappings, sure. For instance, the shouting gang vocals are a bit too much at times, but you’ll never hear that horrible loop. Basically, they’re just a fast-as-hell acoustic punk band with, at times, a metal complexity building and expanding on their sound with some crazy breakdowns here and there. They’re from Olympia, so I’ve always kind of considered them one of the Northwest’s biggest secrets. This isn’t some of their best work. I like their album For the Ruin far better because individual songwriters in the band had a chance to shine Wu Tang-style, rather than constant gang-shouting, but still, this is a good couple a tracks from them. –Craven (Gox, goxrecords@hotmal.com)


BLACK SPIRALS:
Consuming the Rests: CD
Nine tracks of brutal metallic hardcore in almost as many minutes. They have a very American d-beat kind of vibe, which isn’t something I would expect to come from Paris, France where they apparently hail from. This is good stuff if you like your punk rock to be of the “shirt off in the pit” variety. I would personally like the songs to be a bit longer and fleshed out further with some breakdowns, but to each their own. Still good stuff, provided you don’t mind leaving your CD player on repeat. –Garrett Barnwell (SBS, fuckyeahsbsrecords.com)


BIRTH DEFORMITIES:
Suburbanized: 10”
Borrowing heavily from southern California ‘80s punk and hardcore, Birth Deformities unveil an onslaught of eleven tunes of suburban angst, self deprecation, and downright hatred towards anyone and everyone—including themselves. Birth Deformities have done an amazing job of converging two completely different styles from two completely different regions that obviously didn’t care much for each other. Try to picture if T.S.O.L. was booked with Agression, 45 Grave, and Stalag 13. Yes, the pit would not be a pretty sight for anyone who wasn’t ready to get a bottle chucked right at their head—and that’s exactly what I’m picturing as this record spins. And in the true spirit of the ‘80s, Birth Deformities doesn’t care if they bum you out with their offensive lyrics during a time when being “cool” with everyone means watching what you say. Top it off with great cover art, a giant poster, and a silk screened dust sleeve with the album’s lyrics. Impressive! –Juan Espinosa (Cowabunga, no address)


BIRDS IN ROW:
You, Me & The Violence: CD
Imported from France, Birds In Row deliver a furious assault of metallic-tinted hardcore. Given the rawness of much of this album, it makes perfect sense to see it appear on Deathwish. The label nearly has the market cornered on raw, aggressive hardcore, making Birds In Row a perfect addition to their roster. Where Birds In Row excel, is in their ability to keep hitting you with a flurry of intense riffing and not let up. When they transition into breakdowns, you’re so pumped up, you can’t help but want to mosh or sing along. This intensity succeeds on the shorter, aggressive tracks on this album, particularly the opening four tracks. On songs towards the end of the album, particularly on the sprawling closing track “Lovers Have Their Say,” things get a bit meandering and don’t hold the listener’s attention as well. I think these songs were meant to have an epic vibe to them, the kind where you had your arms in the air screaming along, but I found that the muted guitar, subdued drums, and distant, muffled vocal screams of these sort of tracks rang hollow compared to the straight-ahead fury of the first four songs. Not many bands can pull off moody, melodic, or subdued sounds without sounding derivative or cliché, and I think Birds In Row falls into a bit of that at times on You, Me & The Violence. I think what would have made this better for me would have been a lot more “go” to go with the “slow” on much of this record instead of packing all the intensity into the first four songs. Every time I reached the end of this album, I either wanted to rage to the first four tracks again, or listen to something else. After a few listens, you might feel the same way. –Paul J. Comeau (Deathwish Inc.)


BEST, THE:
“Black Triangle” b/w “King of the Underground”: 7”
This pair of super bouncy power pop songs snuck up on me. It feels a bit forced and technical at first blush, but then it takes the classic rock riffs it is grounded in and spits them back out. I can’t say that this 1970s pre-punk tribute fully works, but it does convincingly deliver the goods if glam homage is what you seek. I’d rather listen to anything by Black Flag than the song “Black Triangle,” though. Color me simpleton. –Art Ettinger (Twistworthy, twistworthy.com)


BESIDE MYSELF:
Here’s to You: CD
This handily vacillates between poppy punk and stuff more akin to bands like Rumspringer, well written and possessing some effective hooks. My only problem here is a singer whose emoting distracts rather than complements the songs. A bit more nuance and actual singing and this would’ve been aces, right down to the unlisted cover of the Jam’s “That’s Entertainment,” instead of take it or leave it. –jimmy (La Escalera)


BELUSHIS, THE:
Shaker: LP
Twelve songs on red vinyl. As a bonus, a CD is included. Don’t get excited; it contains the same songs. This is yet another crappy attempt by some older guys to play rock’n’roll. They fail miserably. One thing I will say is that I was once in a band called The Belushis. We were better than this. The band thanks Audiopile Records, but it’s not clear whether or not that is who released this. On the record, CL003 is printed on the side, but I’m not sure what that means. –Nighthawk (thebelushis.com, thebelushis@hotmail.com)


BARBARAS, THE:
2006–2008: LP
I am so happy this record is finally seeing the light of day! Originally slated for release on In The Red some years ago, the recordings were thought lost on Jay Reatard’s computer after his death. It’s sad that this band hasn’t done more (except for a three-song EP on Goner, all of which is represented here.) I think it had to do with some of the guys being in Jay Reatard’s touring band for a few years. Other members of the band went on to form The Magic Kids, who I liked enough but nowhere near as much as The Barbaras. Good rock’n’roll pop, with a touch of mystery, balloons, and inside jokes. One look at the pictures (and remembering the one time I saw ‘em) tells you that The Barbaras were best experienced live. –Sal Lucci (Goner)


ASTRONAUTS / DESTRUCTORS, THE:
One Wave/Schwerpunkt: Split: CD
Both of these English bands seem like they have been around forever. To anyone familiar with both bands, the pairing on the split might seem an odd choice but, actually, it works out quite nicely. The Astronauts seem to be doing more of the melodic mid-tempo stuff with varied instrumentation while The Destructors keep it straight up more in the classic English punk vein. Subject matter is probably what you would expect: war, death, politics, and the dire state of the world economy. Although pretty gloomy, considering, there is a lot to like here. It is also good to see both bands still cranking material out this far into their careers. –Garrett Barnwell (Rowdy Farrago)


APOGEE SOUND CLUB:
Belligerent: 7”EP
Riding the airwaves out of California’s Bay Area, this threesome drops a bomb of anarchic agenda on the masses. With an illustrated singalong booklet and manifesto claiming punk has been dragged to the murky depths of mainstream society, Apogee reminds us art should be dangerous. With a steady hand, they aim at taking down authoritarianism, addressing police brutality and the nefarious tentacles of government in “The Pig Song,” their most melodic of the four tracks. “You Fill Me with Inertia,” the instrumental cut of the bunch, and “From End to Beginning” bring up PJ Harvey’s Rid of Me, with jangly, disjointed guitar work that still manages to eke out a melody long enough to get you moving your feet. Recommended. –Kristen K (Fullyintercoastal, fullyintercoastal.com)


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