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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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WEIRD PARTY:
Hussy: LP
I would not be able to defend this next choice of words particularly well under stringent cross-examination, but, for some reason, i want to say that this sounds like a cross between Bullet LaVolta ((Steel Pole Bathtub?)) and Elvis Hitler. I really did not think much of this the first time i played it, but on second spin it seems okay. Apparently their genius marketing stratagem of having tits on the front cover AND the record label is softening my psychic defenses. BEST SONG: “Cockroach Heart” BEST SONG TITLE: Either “Cockroach Heart,” “Turkish Detergent” or “Itinerant Romeo.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Run-off grooves on both sides are inscribed with the phrase “RIP BUGGY,” unless it actually says “NIP BUGGY,” which it might. –norb (Sex & Death)


VITAMIN X:
About to Crack: LP
Who remembers Y2K thrash? Hello? Oh, wait, that was twelve fucking years ago! Most of you were still learning the alphabet. I saw this band somewhere around that and they (along with bands like Lifes Halt) epitomized the sound of the time. Fast-as-shit thrash influenced by bands like Negazione, Ripcord, Heresy ,and SS Decontrol. For me, that era was such a breath of fresh air I can still rock the vibes and get the chills. This album (recorded by Steve Albini) is this Dutch band’s fifth (!!!!) album and does little to deviate from the formula they helped create: hyper positive hardcore thrash that gets the circle pit going, and is as good as anything they’ve done before. If I was being old and jaded, I’d ask why we really need a fifth Vitamin X LP of a rehash of a rehash… luckily I’m super posi, so dig in kidssssss. –Tim Brooks (Tankcrimes)


VICE SQUAD:
London Underground: LP
On the plus side, this is a wee bit better than some of the other recent stuff Beki’s been putting under the Vice Squad banner. The songs are more “punk,” I guess, with less of that icky metal tinge to ‘em. Then there’s the slow, painful slide down the other side: the songs are not particularly interesting, or all that good for that matter, and the whole thing sounds like what it is, namely someone milking the cache earned by an earlier incarnation of their once-legendary band some twenty-five years past when they might’ve been able to pull it off. Believe me, I really want to like this, but while the intentions of Beki and her mates might be sincere, there’s damn sight little here that either sounds or feels sincere, and that is one helluva bummer. –jimmy (Last Rockers, distributed by phr.cz)


VIBRAM 94:
You’ll Never Take Us: EP
Recorded in ‘94, this has sat gathering dust for the last eighteen years but is finally seeing the light of day. Back when U.S. oi was at its heyday with bands like the Templars and Oxblood, this is cut from the same cloth. Featuring two members of the Templars you can imagine where this going… Straight-up oi, with more than a nod to classic old U.K. skinhead bands like On Parole. The cover art is a burly skin battering cops. I don’t have tonnnnns of time for this kinda thing, but this is worthy of your time if you dig skin vibes. –Tim Brooks (United Riot, unitedriotrecords.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
These Troublesome Thinkers: CD
There’s no way in hell there’s that many people who will outright enjoy all forty two tracks (two hours!) offered on this comp. There’s everything from metal-ska to techno-hardcore alongside more conventional acts practicing their brands of skate rock and pop punk. The points where I found myself cringing were few compared to points where I found myself silently nodding my head along to the beat. It hits a lot of good bullet points for a comp to hit. Diverse, cheap, overstuffed. –Bryan Static (TNS, tnsrecords.co.uk)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Gravesend Records #1: CD
Dunno if this is a traditional comp or some sorta label sampler with a lazy title, but there are twelve tracks total from three bands. Snag: Straight-ahead punk/hardcore with tempo changes and a catchy quality to the tunes. Aw Shux: simple oomPAHoomPAH backyard punk from these cats, not unlike the stuff that was on their recent CD. Set Aside: from what I’ve been able to gather, this is not the East L.A. band of the same name that’s been around forever and a week, but another band hailing from somewhere just south of San Jose. Their tunes vary from faster boogadaboogada-beat stuff to slower stuff with vague “street” leanings, all of which built on a thin, poppy vein. –jimmy (gravesendrecords.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Destroy Music Start Your Own Band: LP
A comp that hits a soft spot in me because it is a tribute to Imants Krumins, who lost his fight with cancer at a young age of fifty-nine last year. He had history in the Toronto scene. He was probably the only person remaining and still active from the infancy of punk to his last breath. Legend had it that he had one of the largest personal collections of punk records in the world. I witnessed firsthand his buying habits. He bought with a feverish pace. He is a man who I met in the late ‘80s on a couple of trips to California to go record hunting. I also hung out with him on a couple of trips when I visited Toronto. The last trip back in 2006. He was a wonderful host and took really good care of me during my trip. It felt like we never had a gap in our meetings. So, this comp is fitting tribute since it features current bands from his hometown of Hamilton. A good variety is provided here. Punk rock, street punk, pop punk, indie, and more is the mixed bag provided. My favorites from that scene, Haymaker, provide an original and a Suicidal Tendencies cover that make it all worthwhile for me. There is a good variety here that any good comp should provide. –don (Schizophrenic)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Bullsheep Detector: 2 x CD
A collection of assorted demos, singles/EP tracks, and comp tracks circa 1980-1984 from Welsh bands Abnormal, Armistice, Classified Protest, Condemned, Corruption, Death Patrol, Impact, No Label, Pseudo Sadists, Reality Attack, Secluded, and Skull Attack. Like Crass’s similarly named Bullshit Detector comps, sound quality and musical competency varies from one band to the next, but things are never wholly unlistenable (though I imagine ears not attuned to decades of rough punk listening made by any means necessary may beg to differ) and offers an all-too-rare opportunity to sample some of the really underground stuff that bubbled up in the wake of Crass, Conflict, Subhumans and many others. –jimmy (Antisociety, antisocietyrecords@yahoo.co.uk)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Bring Beer: LP
From what I’m able to gather by poking around the web, this serves as one o’ them special Record Store Day releases, as well as a sorta sampler for the 12XU label and a benefit comp for a Texas record store. Can’t argue with that, and good on ‘em, considering the constant hemorrhaging of independent record stores we’ve been experiencing the last few years. Anyway, you get a wide variety of interesting bits of rambunctiousness—quasi-space jam music, hardcore, noise, punk, mellow guitar rock, and numerous places in between—courtesy of Cruddy, The Golden Boys, Chris Brokaw, James Arthur’s Manhunt, The Flesh Lights, Naw Dude, Carolee, Marriage, Philip Sambol, Followed By Static, Nazi Gold, G.Green, Rhett And Dean, and Air Traffic Controllers. Most samplers are plain godawful, but I gotta say, the diversity of sounds, the creativity in evidence, and the fact that the songs don’t feel like throwaways the bands merely “donated,” makes this several cuts above the usual dreck. –jimmy (12XU)


UNHOLY TWO:
Cut the Music (I Am the Nightstalker): 7”
I’ve seen this band a handful of times live and they’ve never sounded in person like this record does to me now. This offers a wall of cacophonous sound which is noisy and ugly-sounding and somewhat ‘90s-influenced while sonically bringing to mind bands like Clockcleaner, Drunkdriver, and the Brainbombs, both in musical chops and lyrical subject matter. How this single differs from those bands is, dare I say, that there is a hook in these tunes that the previous bands often lack. Now, that’s not to say that you’ll be humming these two songs while in the shower or anything (unless you’re a total weirdo), but there is definitely a noisy, rhythmic musicality that runs throughout. Recommended. –Mark Twistworthy (12XU, 12xu.net)


TRANSGENDER SEX OFFENDER:
Could Live Next Door to You: CD
Sloppy rock/punk hybrid stuff with a vocalist or two screaming largely unintelligible lyrics to songs that hint at a lotta pisstaking going on. –jimmy (Mystery School, mysteryschoolrecords.com)


THEM MARTYRS:
Wretched: 12” EP
Pummeling, crusty hardcore from Ireland that treads so hard through the dirt that you’re not even phased by the occasional Tool-esque vocals. They achieve a range of diverse sounds all within the genre they’re playing. Atmospheric soundscapes become apocalyptic ruins in seconds. It’s all packaged in album art that’s pleasantly confusing and totally unlabeled for maximum brutality. This is your winter cider soundtrack. –Daryl Gussin (Girth / Randal / Champion Edition, championeditiontapes@gmail.com)


TERLARANG / JAGERNAUT:
: Split 7”

Terlarang are your everyday cookie cutter thrash featuring spastic vocals and those blast beats which are oh-so-easy to learn but are rarely played decently. And what’s up with that flat-ass guitar track? Jagernaut, on the other hand, have a little more going for them with their straight-up crust attack reminiscent of later period Phobia. Woops, they almost ran out of gas during the blast beat on that last track. Keep practicing guys!

–Juan Espinosa (Suburban White Trash / Black Trash / Tenzenmen / Screaming Victims, terlarang@yahoo.com, jagernautwar@gmail.com)


T. TEX EDWARDS:
Intexicated!: CD
This is an eclectic mix of psycho Elvis country, later-era Ramones jams (think “Poison Heart”), and bizarre comedy songs from the guy who led the Nervebreakers. Quick history lesson: When the Sex Pistols toured Texas, they played a show in San Antonio, TX (my hometown!) and the Nervebreakers opened up for them. One of their songs was covered by the Angry Samoans. As for this record, the country songs are the songs that are easiest to digest. As far as I know, this is just a bunch of odds and ends recorded at various parts of Edwards’s career and, boy howdy, does it feel that way. This honestly probably shouldn’t even have been released. It feels like table scraps, which a good B-sides collection shouldn’t be. Not worth the effort it takes to listen to. –Bryan Static (Saustex, saustexmedia.com)


SWEETPUPS:
Demo: Cassette
This three-song demo has pop and punk influences with a touch of organ and reverb-drenched guitar that, at times, gives it a surf rock feel. Containing an ex-member of The Cute Lepers, this primarily female band (the drummer is a dude) definitely sits more on the pop side of the fence, which is a good thing. I can also hear quite a bit of a ‘60s girl group influence seeping through. The songs are catchy and done well, but lacking in vitriol. –Mark Twistworthy (Sweetpups, facebook.com/sweetpups)


SWEETHEART:
XOXOX: CD
Having a bit of a tough time with this one, ‘cause… okay, the songs are goddamned catchy, okay? Thing is, the whole endeavor feels so contrived, so utterly manufactured, sicky-clean, and primed to grace the next teenybop love flick that it’s a bit hard to claw through the plastic ‘n’ get to the gritty human bits. Was gonna say that it might have a bit more sway with me if I was fourteen, but then I remembered at that age I was enamored with Black Flag and fully committed to ruining other people’s days. –jimmy (Sweetheart, iheartsweetheart.com)


SURGEONS:
Whip Them Lord: 7”
I saw these guys live a couple months back at Que Sera in Long Beach. While they were pretty good, that show was no indication of how good this record is. Definitely one of my favorite records of this year. They have a sound rooted in the early 1980s SoCal punk sound, with a nod to bands like Christian Death and TSOL with the dark and sort of gothy/deathrock style in the bass. The songs are at a mid-tempo gait, which allows the tension to take hold at a constant simmer. The guitar churns and scratches; the vocals are delivered in a direct, but not overbearing way. They have a sense of desperation without sounding fake or forced. Everything comes across loud and clear. There’s a sense of minimalism in the lyrics and songs. No filler, no wanky shit. Just the kind of songs you want to hear more of. It’s the bass that pulls me in and has me hovering over the turntable for another spin. Planning to catch these guys again in a couple weeks in some all-ages space in downtown L.A. –Matt Average (Total Punk, floridasdying.com)


SUICIDE NOTES, THE:
Suicide Notes: 7”
Bubblegum pop punk fronted by multiple female vocalists, which is decent enough in execution but lacks any real spark to make it stand out from the rest. Apparently, this band includes an ex-member of The Epoxies, who I loved, but it’s not really coming through here. This has potential and is certainly not the worst thing I’ve ever heard; it’s just not too terribly exciting. –Mark Twistworthy (Hovercraft, hovercraftpdx.com)


SUBVERSE:
Aural Regurgitations: CD
Subverse were a late ‘80s Vancouver thrash band who toured with MDC. This thirty-three track CD collects their EP, split 12” and demo. While their metal/hardcore fence riding sounds kitschy in 2012, they play with a newness and sincerity that makes this totally kick ass. If you’ve ever risked life and limb to steal a Metal Blade tape from your older brother’s room while he was in the garage huffing paint, Subverse will hit a pleasure center. Snap it up if you like Voivod and Anthrax. –CT Terry (bosstuneage.com)


STARING PROBLEM:
Self-titled: 7”
Illinois band Staring Problem play the type of post-punk that uses the bass as the lead instrument. Think Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division or early ‘80s Cure, but sped up a bit. Goth is back and it’s weird, because I work at an art school and now nineteen-year-old students dress like the women I was attracted to twenty years ago, when I realized that I wanted nothing to do with the preps. Three songs. Little bits of shoegaze and lo-fi pop for good measure. –CT Terry (blvdrecords.com)


SPENCEY DUDE & THE DOODLES:
Night Problems: LP
Snotty Oakland punk with short songs about girls, pizza, and more girls. Fans of Lookout Records, immaturity, and dudes talking about girls will dig this. –Matthew Hart (California Clap)


SOMETHING FIERCE / OCCULT DETECTIVE CLUB:
: Split 10”
Something Fierce’s sound is hard to describe and regularly argued over. It’s almost like they’re playing high-energy post-punk that’s actually fun to listen to. And above all, there’s no doubt that they do it well. Last year’s Don’t Be So Cruel LP is still in constant rotation, and these songs won’t be any different. Occult Detective Club crank out four classic punk jams. The vocals got some gravel to them; when the guitar leads kick in the world just feels like it’s rotating a little faster. I almost expected the solo in “Ships at Sea” to disrupt orbit, but it looks like that was just wishful thinking. –Daryl Gussin (Dirtnap)


SNAKE ISLAND!:
Self-titled: Cassette
Dirty, stomping blues riffs and a swaggering beat that verges on psychobilly at times. An indelicate mixture of the Cramps and White Stripes. Six songs, limited to one hundred copies, comes with a download code. Nicely done, as songs like “Oh Lord” come across as both reasonably rocking as well as mournful and kinda desolate. Not my thing, but they’ve got the bravado to pull it off. While I may not be swayed, gentlemen, I’m reasonably impressed. –keith (Rainy Road)


SLIPPING GRIPS:
Rural Blues Demo: CD-R
This CD-R is full of angry rudimentary lo-fi punk that sounds home recorded with just guitar, drums, and vocals. If they could transfer some of their abounding lyrical virulence into increased musical savvy, then they might be on to something. –Mark Twistworthy (Slipping Grip, facebook.com/slipgripproductions)


SIREN SONGS:
Demo 2011 II: Cassette
This six-track demo from a foursome out of Vancouver barrels out the gate with bright female vocals and pop punk power chords. Solid, feel good tunes from snout to tail with pit-friendly song structures and choruses you can’t help but sing along to. “Sunny Days” and “Nuclear Son” sprinkles in male vocals, reminding me of The Mark Sparkles with that same ebullient pop punk energy, while “Cans on a Shelf” had me circling my living room. “Secrets” takes it down a notch with an acoustic track, but the sound quality isn’t anything to write home about—so much so that the track is barely discernible. But don’t let that detract you from throwing this in the ol’ tape deck. Recommended. –Kristen K (Dead Broke)


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