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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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SCURVIES:
Don’t Let Me Go: LP
This is not a sit down record. This is a dance through the room kicking all the chairs over record. It’s a cocky record. It’s a “fuck you, I’m going to play this riff one more time even though I’ve probably played it too many times already just because I think it sounds cool, so get out of the way” record. Even when this record gets contemplative, it does so without getting wishy washy or teary eyed. “This heart is gonna break tonight,” it shouts, almost proud of the fact, ready to move on and keep filling your ears with punk rock‘n’roll. –mp (thescurvies.com)


SCREAMING FEMALES:
Ugly: 2 x LP
Screaming Females come through with yet another full-length (their third in four years and fifth overall) of their powerful take on ‘90s grunge rock and the more musically adventurous bands on SST. (SWA anyone?) This time around it seems as if the spotlight is on Marissa’s ferocious vocal range, but not left out of the equation is her magnificent guitar work which is further magnified with a terrific rhythm section. Speaking of her axe-wielding prowess, why she is not on the cover of one of those glossy guitar magazines is beyond my comprehension. Those fucks sure know what they’re talking about, don’t they? If you’re already a fan then this record will only strengthen your allegiance. If you’re curious then don’t hesitate to pick this up or any of their other records. They all rule! –Juan Espinosa (Don Giovanni, no address listed)


DEAD PEOPLE:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Gnashing, churning garage rock with all the stomp and swagger one expects and vocals that have that “recorded at the bottom of a ten-foot pool situated in the far end of a cavernous hall” recording quality in full evidence. –jimmy (Windian)


ROMAN CANDLES:
This One Is for Terminal Boredom: Cassette
There’s a classic scene in the movie Animal House where John Belushi’s Bluto character comes across a young man at a toga party earnestly strumming away on an acoustic guitar to a group of enthralled co-eds. In a fit of pique our hero grabs the guitar and promptly smashes it to pieces. Besides being one of my favorite movie moments, this guitar killing is the feeling that overcomes me while listening to this cassette. Seven songs of Townes Van Zandt depression channeled through Rodney Anonymous of The Dead Milkmen vocals. I thought perhaps lyrics like “I want to star in an Airplane movie” signaled some humor; after all who wouldn’t want to star in a movie with the late, great Leslie Nielsen? But alas no, our bard wants to star in a movie played on an airplane, which no one in fact watches. This is someone’s creative effort written self-admittedly during or right after college amidst a bout of depression. If poorly recorded acoustic ballads of sadness, love, and loss are your thing, this might just be right up your alley. –Mark Twistworthy (Roman Candles, Self-released)


DEAD NORTH / STRONG CITY:
Split: 7"
Nothing outright terrible here. There can’t be anything too special when the only thing that stands out is that I’m probably distantly related to one of the dudes in StrongCity. Genealogy as fuck! –megan (Bloated Kat)


REVENGINE:
The Absence: CD
Holy hell, what a pile of garbage this is. Alternative metal of the worst order is what you get here. Think Three Doors Down, Creed and you’re on the right track. This went in the trash before the first song finished. –Jeff Proctor (revengineband.com)


DAN MELCHIOR:
Yachts: 7”
Two tunes of droning sludge with slight slivers of early Pink Floyd, of all things. The third track starts off sounding like your average garage rock band, then is overrun by two guys holding a conversation about how great the band is, their influences and so on, resulting in a snarky piss take on both the latest “cool” band and the dipshits who prattle on and on about ‘em. Can’t say I was floored by this from “go,” but it definitely got my attention. –jimmy (HoZac)


PULLMEN, THE:
The Western Score: CDEP
From the first few notes of “Ponderosa (Prelude),” images of Southwestern red rock formations began to form in my mind’s eye; even a coyote howled in the distance. Yeah, it’s like that. Taking it further than folk punk, these boys out of Ventura, CA have blazed a trail straight into cowboy punk. If The Man with No Name played the guitar and spoke more than a few choice words, he would’ve rocked this shit. Almost Southern gothic, “Dear Ramirez,” starts off like a Leonard Cohen track, with Shane’s vocals dipping into a sultry baritone as guitar chords plod along slow and methodical, a crashing cymbal punctuating like an exclamation point. “When the Rope Pulls Tight” turns things up by throwing Heather Rae of Rumbleweed and Moonshine Boys into the mix for a knee slappin’ duet. More please. Recommended. –Kristen K (Self-Released, thepullmen.com)


DALAPLAN:
Trillar I: 7”
The dark cover photos and Swedish origin of the label leads one to believe it’s gonna be a dark punk/metal ride, but lo and behold, these cats love their ‘60s beat records. Catchy, clean, and stompin’. –jimmy (Gaphals)


POPPETS:
“The Long Highway” + “Heaven Only Knows”: 7”
If you listen really closely, buried under all that white noise, are a couple of amazing pop songs. And, honestly, that’s how I like my pop; under some grime and without the benefit of a six-hundred-dollars-a-day recording budget. I was excited to flip this over until I realized it was a one-sided 7”. You teases! –Chris Mason (No address)


CYANIDE PILLS:
“Johnny Thunders Lived in Leeds” b/w “She’s So Shallow”: 7”
Two snotty garage punk tracks from Leeds’ Cyanide Pills are featured on this catchy single. The lyrics to “Johnny Thunders Lived in Leeds” are hilarious and the tune is totally rocking, too. It’s a toe tapper for sure, exuding all of the markings of a well-planned recording session. Damaged Goods released the corresponding full length, which is also well worth looking for. Sleazy heroin rock isn’t for everyone. It’s just for everyone with taste. –Art Ettinger (Wanda)


CRUMBCATCHER:
Fired: CD
Rootsy indie punk stuff with some other disparate influences thrown into the mix. At times they sound suspiciously close to the Violent Femmes, but without the fear of electric instruments. –jimmy (reverbnation.com/marckennedy)


PLATES:
Self-titled: LP
A band that’s not easy to pin down stylistically (which is a great thing). A lot of noise and weird sounds bubbling up in the songs, and despite all that, the songs are catchy. The riffs are solid and have this winding and meandering way at times; others that are a little more direct (“Sociology 101”).  Then sometimes they throw in some sounds from left field, putting a different feel in the music. Mix up garage rock, psych, hardcore punk, and you get something along the lines of Plates, though they’re not that narrowly defined. A song like “Arrows” hearken back to early to mid-‘80s hardcore, where the song goes back and forth between mid to fast pacing and builds and builds as the song winds on. “Local Legend” has a manic energy. It’s fast and speedy, then slow and lumbering with an almost “blehhh” vibe akin to a string of overcast days. Their cover of Gun Club’s “Sex Beat” is so-so, but the rest on here are worth your time and attention, especially the awesome “Day Planner,” which has a psych vibe crossed with a mid-tempo hardcore temp and execution. Hearing bands like this, where they’re taking a few genres and mashing them up into something new and different, make me wonder what sort of new sounds and styles await us on the other side. –Matt Average (Big Neck, bigneckrecords.com)


CLUTTER FAMILY:
Freak It: Freak It: CD
Sounds like a power pop version of They Might Be Giants. Since there are few things in this world I loathe more than quirky pop, I did not like this at all. –frame (Self-released)


OLDFASHIONED IDEAS:
Promises Mean Nothing: CD
In just three years, Sweden’s Oldfashioned Ideas have made quite a dent on the worldwide streetpunk scene. This is their second full length album and it doesn’t disappoint. Reminiscent of Montreal’s Ripcordz, but with more of an oi influence, fashion punks everywhere will dig this release. And as was the case with their first album, there’s a photo collage on the insert to remind U.S. punks how much uglier we are than our European analogs. Singer Per has a solid, emotive tone to his style that sets these guys apart from the competition. Not that there’s a competition. Although I’d rather watch a streetpunk competition than any of the presently existing organized competitive events that this world has to offer. –Art Ettinger (Switchlight)


CHURCHWOOD:
Just the Two of Us: 7”
This is another blues-influenced rock‘n’roll outing brought to you by the good people at Saustex. Looking at the picture of Churchwood playing on the back cover, the prevalence of pork pie hats and shirt collars spread over jacket lapels might make you guess that a.) the sound will be somewhat rockin’, like a decent house band at a watering hole somewhat left of center, and b.) harmonicas rule the roost. Such a guess is exactly what the titular A-side provides, but the B-side, “Metanoia,” is a quirky ditty imbued with a Southwestern aura as if the Dead Milkmen spent way too much time in west Texas. Were it not for the B-side, I might not like this record so much, since the A-side is so standard. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Saustex)


CHIEF FUZZER:
Transcendental Road Blues: 7”
A-side is a muted, bluesy tension-riddled number that sounds like the aural equivalent of hitchhiking late at night in the middle of nowhere. The B-side, “Bad She Gone Voodoo,” also has that bluesy influence, but this tune is louder and more rockin’ than the almost oppressive feel of the A-side. Also, the record comes with a download card to get more tracks. All in all, a decent record, but I wasn’t totally blown away. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Saustex)


OLDE GHOST:
If We Ever Get Out of This Alive: EP
Life can be circular with attitudes and fashions coming back around once the original purveyors have long since given up and the “kids” reinvent the wheel. Seems that we are in a ‘90s throwback era, which for any of us who lived through it, seems like a dreadful idea. Olde Ghost from Seattle is digging back into that hazy post straight edge era just before everyone went emo. I’m not knocking it, ‘cause I’m sure this lot are a bulldozer live. Off kilter Flag-esque riffs mixed with Swiz or maybe shit like Struggle and some of the mid period Revelation Records stuff. I take comfort in the known, the familiar, but while this checks all the “hardcore” boxes, it barely got my heart rate up and after the record disappeared back in its sleeve, I knew it would never see the light of day again. –Tim Brooks –Guest Contributor (facebook.com/OldeGhost)


CAMPAIGN:
One Night Weekend: 7”
Poppy modern indie-punk with all of the requisite pieces in evidence to maintain a foothold in their designated pigeonhole—non-straightforward chord structures and raspy vocals that kinda sing-shout the choruses and counteract any potential vulnerability found in the personal lyrics. –jimmy (No Breaks)


OHADI:
The Way to the Heart: CDEP
I can’t tell from ye old internet if these dudes are still around or not. Either way, I was not a fan of this nü-metal slab of tunes. Nothing stood out and the guitar pyrotechnics were weak. Sorry, but this EP and Coors Light both suck. –koepenick (1332)


BROTHERS GROSS, THE:
Get Soaked: LP
These Indiana siblings start out sounding akin to that crawling garage sound of Y2K-era Detroit garage champs The Go, with “As The World Goes Round” ((noting—correctly—that “Search and Destroy” was at the top, not bottom, of Iggy’s vocal range)), and continue to touch on the whole Go/Stooges/Detroit thing periodically throughout the album ((“Cheetah out on the Street”)). In what can only be perceived as a bald-faced motion to restore their civic pride, however, they quickly swing to more overtly poppy branches with stuff like “Walk Away” and “Girl like You,” which might as well be by fellow Hoosiers the Happy Thoughts for all you know. The album’s contents are a little too all-over-the-place to produce a deep, alpha-state groove in the listener, but all the songs are pretty dang good; I’m going to recommend you buy 144 copies because that will be funniest. BEST SONG: “Don’t Want Nobody” BEST SONG TITLE: Anything but “Cheetah out on the Street,” that just sounds dopey. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Background singing on some songs supplied by Devo Freckelton! –norb (Bad Track)


O INIMIGO:
Imaginário Absoluto: LP
Heavy mid-‘80s feel to the proceedings here, and I mean that in a proto-emo/hardcore way, as opposed to the usual withering assault for which Brazil’s hardcore punkers have long been associated. The songs show a bit more sophistication than the usual fare in both writing and execution, with dual guitars alternating between barre chords and noodly leads and the bass player wiggling in between. This one’s produced by Mr. Stephen Egerton, which means a loud, clean production and explains the thread of Descendents influence throughout, though the singer eschews trying to sing, for the most part, and instead delivers lyrics in both Portuguese and English in a higher pitched howl. At the end of the day, I can’t say it quite works for me, but they do sound like they’re trying to distance themselves from the pack, which is never a bad thing. –jimmy (Nada Nada, info@nadanadadiscos.com)


BOBBY JOE EBOLA AND THE CHILDREN MACNUGGITS:
¡Carmelita Sings!: Visions of a Rock Apocalypse: CD
Well, it’s certainly wacky. I think I can say that right off the bat. John Geek of the Fleshies and other Geekfest-associatedBay Area musicians make up this band that also seems to be partly comedy troupe. There are elements that remind me of Jello Biafra and his various musical endeavors—flamboyant, theatrical vocals, extensive liner noting, and collage art. And like Dead Kennedys and Jello’s solo work, lyrics are humorous with political and social commentary. The main difference is that whereas Dead Kennedys were a band that wrote songs that were also funny, these songs seem like they were meant to be funny first and songs secondly. Personally, I think this makes both the humor and music suffer and what you wind up with is more of a punk rock Ray Stevens, as a lot of the jokes come across as strained and dated. This is probably a great musical artifact for the people who experienced this firsthand and got to be a part of the Geekfest scene but I can’t see myself reaching to put this one on again. –Jeff Proctor (Silver Sprocket)


NÜ SENSAE:
Sundowning: CD
This album is like a backstage uppercut from Courtney Love prior to her screaming belly flop into Hollywood’s Sellout Hall of Fame. Listen up, Courtney. Take notes, honey. This is what you used to sound like when you gave a shit. Now onto the review: If an album could do a stage dive, Sundowning would be crowd surfing right now. Andrea’s hawkish cry is nothing less than compelling and she’s clearly one of the best vocalists I’ve heard in quite some time, blending the best qualities of Love and Donita Sparks—all razors and glass shards. This trio out of Vancouver has produced a handful of albums and 7”s, most notably Tea Swamp Park. Described as sounding like a car careening off a cliff with speed drum tempos and melodic hardcore guitars, Nü Sensae has brought Seattle-style grunge kicking and screaming into the future. Thank you, thank you. Recommended. –Kristen K (Suicide Squeeze, suicidesqueeze.net)


BLOODY SOULS:
Odds and Sods, 2002-2012: CD
Great collection from New Zealand garage rock band The Bloody Souls. We’re talking lo-fi, early ‘90s Crypt style with this group (all levels are in the red). Not surprising—the group is fronted by Andrew Tolley, ex-Hasselhoff Experiment and head honcho of Perpetrator Records. Couple of covers (Chrome Cranks, Oblivians) and about eight originals. Recommended. –ryan (Self-released, facebook.com/pages/bloody-souls/57300875732)


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