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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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NOW IN 3D:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Honestly didn’t know what to expect from this, but was immediately won over by the simple, potent thud-punk they dropped. Synth and reverb-drenched vocals add to the proceeding in a way that would likely make the most ardent fan of the Spits giddy. Limited to 150, so act fast, punker. –jimmy (Total Twitch, totaltwitchcassettes@yahoo.com)


BEVERLEY KILLS / DESTRUCTORS:
C’Etait la Guerre: CD
Another great split EP with the Destructors, and strangely—like the other such split EP I’ve reviewed featuring the Destructors—their savage punk pummeling teamed up with a poppier, sizzling band with a female vocalist. I love the two wildly different sounds on this record. The Destructors are, well, the Destructors: raw, savage, and pulling no punches. Beverley Kills remind me sorta of X-Ray Spex meet Rancid, but with a better vocalist and better harmonies. This was a great record for me: Beverley Kills had me bopping and oh-oh-ohing around the room, and then the Destructors would come on and I’d want to go out and get into fights. Both bands whipped me into a frenzy; good work, people! –The Lord Kveldulfr (Rowdy Farrago)


NOT ON TOUR:
Self-titled: Cassette
Poppy punk from Israel. Something about them reminds me of the Juggling Jugulars; could be the hyper tempos and the tight musicianship. They have some stop-go parts that are pretty on it, and the songs move pretty quick without being a blur. This isn’t really my preferred style of music, as I prefer music with a bit of darkness and less sunshine. However, if you like ‘90s pop punk and all its offshoots, this might be worth your time. It’s not some wimpy shit made to sell tennis shoes either. Comes packed in a cloth wraparound cover from a label that usually puts out the dark and heavy stuff. –Matt Average (Halo Of Flies, haloffliesrecords.com)


BELT OF VAPOR:
Buck: 7"
Some Spokane skronk rock for ye here. The title track is the more straightforward of the two, recalling at times a less “rock” Clawhammer. The flip, “Genius/Failure,” starts off along the same lines before dropping off the assault and pushing the intensity in a new direction anchored by a hypnotic guitar pattern with a pulsing bass line. –jimmy (Whoa! Boat)


NIGHT STALKERS, THE:
Demo: Cassette
Here’s the deal; with a band name like The Night Stalkers it’s a pretty safe bet they’re not offering up some profound thoughts on politics or life in general. If you expect snot-nosed, offensive punk rock, then you’ve found the right band. The Night Stalkers crank out some nasty hardcore punk with a huge dose of garage in the sound. Lyrically puerile with songs like “Fuck All Night,” “Drug Visions,” “True Punk Fags,” and their theme song—which talks about killing people and watching them die—it’s no mystery what their angle is. I like this tape quite a bit, actually. I like scum bands with scum lyrics. It’s the same reason I’ll read Dennis Cooper or Peter Sotos; I’m fascinated by the dark and degenerate things in this world. Obviously, The Night Stalkers aren’t looking to provide any deep thought or inspection on the darker side of life, they’re just looking to offend and disturb, and I like that. It’s good to get dirty and have the ugly things shoved into your sterile world, to let you know things aren’t going to be “groovy” or nice. Plus, being offensive is fun. –Matt Average (thenightstalkers.bandcamp.com)


NIGHT BRIGADE, THE:
Save My Soul: EP
Upbeat, straight-ahead punk which would’ve fit perfectly on the second Give ‘Em the Boot comp. Fourteen-year-old Rene would play this as he carefully spiked his hair and adjusted his but flap. I can’t deny the trombone on “We’ve Gone Too Far” friggin’ rules. In fact, this whole thing is pretty rad. More bands should go for the old school Rancid gruff and shave off the beards and poppiness. –Rene Navarro (Sexy Baby, sexybabyrecords.com, RottenFNFrults@yaoo.com)


BEATEN HEARTS:
Red Line Gurls: 7”
Don’t know diddlysquat about these guys but this ain’t half-bad. Sort of a Ramonesy/Johnny Thundersish thing goin’ on. “(This Is) How It Ends” is a fine little garage rock ballad. (Well, it’s ballad-ish, anyhow. Balladesque maybe. Yeah, that sounds professional....) Still think that only Big Star is allowed to spell girls like “gurls,” but that’s just me. –Ryan Horky (Sonic Jett)


NFFU:
Scream Along: CDEP
Pretty much yer average template-hugging hardcore here. With songs addressing unity, Nazis, and the futility of military life, it’s clear their hearts are in the right place, but musically there’s very little to differentiate them from a thousand other bands playing halls, basements, and backyards. Here’s hoping they find that one thing that makes them different and they milk it for all it’s worth. –jimmy (1332)


BADDAT FOR TRUBBEL:
Det Har Ar Inte New York: LP
I bought this record on a whim and a misunderstanding. I thought it was a reissue of a late ‘70s/early ‘80s Swedish punk band, but it is actually a reissue of a modern Swedish band that goes for that Killed By Death, late ‘70s/early ‘80s sound. Twenty songs (fifteen from the original album and five from an EP) in way less than a half hour. The mix is pretty murky, most notably being that the bass doesn’t really make itself known until the last five songs (the aforementioned EP). Perhaps a little too much low end in the guitars? There is minimal-to-no guitar chicanery and some weird yakkety sax on “Sant Ar Livet.” The liners have English translation of the Swedish lyrics and chords for those so inspired to play along at home. –Sal Lucci (1-2-3-4 Go!)


NAPALM RAID:
Mindless Nation: LP
Pretty rad, aggressive crust from these wild Canucks. Wouldn’t refer to it as mind-blowing, but they play what the lovers of this genre want to hear quite well. I have a major soft spot for songs about killing cops and for bands with enough balls to come play in Tijuana. They have both. This is supposed to be one of the most dangerous places in the world if you believe everything you’re told. Luckily, these guys scream, “I can see the holes in your made-up stories.” They even had enough trust in this scene to not ask for a guarantee, in fact, donation only. Mad respect and headbanging is evoked. –Rene Navarro (Rust And Machine, rustandmachine.com, rustandmachine@gmail.com)


BAD DADDIES / WHITE FANG:
Split: 7” EP
Bad Daddies: A smattering of short, simple, punk tunes, raw ‘n’ ADD-length. Get in, make yer point, get the fuck out. Gotta love that. White Fang: Two tunes, one slower and a bit artier, second one a bit thrashier without sounding like it’s trying its dangdest to pander to some bullshit “core” template –jimmy (Finch)


AUSCHWITZ RATS:
Demo: CD
Decent punk in line with the Punk Core stuff but filtered through Poland to give it more of a grittier edge. The vocalist sounds like he’s blown his chords to hell and could be fronting a crust band. The songs range from speedy to mid-tempo, near ska-inflected at times. Not my favorite style of music, but you could do worse. –Matt Average (Pasazer)


MUSIC FROM THE FILM:
Vi Kommer Til A Fa Deg: CD
Not to be confused with a movie soundtrack, this release fits in the difficult/noise category for those who are counting. What you get are twenty-two tracks of disjointed cacophony of the type that finds a home on late-night public and college radio stations. This stuff is pretty heady and custom made for your next lysergic bedroom party. Many of the instruments listed on this disc are conventional though not necessarily played in a conventional manner, which is interesting. If anything, this CD really challenges the notion of what one considers “music.” I don’t know if this release will attract the unconverted, but for those already familiar with this sort of stuff, this may well be worth seeking out. –Garrett Barnwell (zeromoon.com)


AW SHUX:
The Montgomery Sessions: CD-R
Admitting I know fuckall about them outside of what I could scare up online, Aw Shux seem to have originated somewhere in California circa-1997, and it appears its members have since spread to other parts of the country. The tracks here are from some recording sessions taking place in Alabama during a period spanning 2001-2011, with slight variations in production quality apparent from song to song. What you’re getting here is essentially first-tier, vaguely poppy backyard punk rock in all its primal, rudimentary glory—straight-ahead guitar work, oom-PAH-oom-PAH-oom-PAH drumming, and song structures that make the early Queers sound like Bach at his most baroque. Not that it’s without its charms, I’m just sayin’ that if you’re looking for the musical sophistication of Beneath the Shadows-era TSOL, you’re barking up the wrong tree with this ‘un. –jimmy (Graves End)


MIKAL CRONIN:
Self-titled: CD
Solo album by the bassist of the Moonhearts. Cronin plays most of the instruments on most of the songs, calling in friends for drums on some of the tunes (Ty Segall, Charlie Moonheart). Some of the more frantic songs are not unlike Ty Segall, but the majority is more pop and layered. Some songs are sad; some are about the existential crises we all face as our twenties progress. “Gone” is my pick for best song. Dig the Jethro Tull-like flute jam at the end of “Is It Alright”! –Sal Lucci (Trouble In Mind, troubleinmindrecs.com)


ATOM-AGE, THE:
The Hottest Thing That’s Cool: CD
New York’s all right if you like saxophones… only this is Berkley and there’s no sign of Lee Ving. The Atom-Age from Berkeley, CA comes from the John Reis RFTC school of vocals; power chord guitar melodies and those god damned ever-present saxophones. The stand out track “I’ve Been Thinking” moves away from the Reis-formula and reminds me of the ‘90s New Orleans garage rock band Royal Pendletons by leaning more towards catchy ‘60s frat rock. All of this isn’t to say The Atom-Age is bad at what they do, they’re not—however, at the end of the day, it’s just too derivative for me. –Mark Twistworthy (Asian Man)


ANIMAL INSTINCT:
Unfinished Business: LP
Pretty solid gruff hardcore from this band from Switzerland. Sounds like a cross between Warzone and more recent European stuff like Dead Stop. There are gang chorus vocals for days and the tempo is pretty quick. There is a Killing Time cover on here, leading me to believe the NYHC influence is not accidental. –frame (Take It Back)


AMERICAN SUN:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Little bits from here and there—garage rock, psych, art punk—Osterized together and topped with a delivery reminiscent of a Novocain hangover. Woozy, but good. –jimmy (American Sun)


MEINHOFF:
Monster: LP
So, crust bands get to make the same damn, shitty record over and over but I have to find original ways to review it. How in the hell is that fair? Well, anyway, there are two kinds of d-beat, slow and fast. If you’re a crust fan, you probably like both, but for the sake of description, this is slow crust. And you would probably buy it. –Craven (Nikt Nic Nie Wie)


MCFLYS, THE:
Nights like These: LP
Something has to be done about these dorky pop culture band names. I figured this had to be Mutant Pop-style pop punk and that is exactly what it is. Songs are okay, but I had enough of this style by the end of the ‘90s. If you just can’t get enough Weasel/Queers/Lillingtons worship, you could certainly do worse. –frame (Night Fighter)


MAUSER:
Isolation: 12” EP
Crusty, sloppy Discharge worship. Neither appalling nor memorable. –jimmy (Vinyl Rites)


MAGIC CHRISTIAN w/GORD LEWIS:
“Let’s Shake” b/w “Teenage Head”: 7”
Something totally left field from the Schizophrenic camp at first look. But it makes sense after a little research. Magic Christian is an all-star band based out of San Francisco featuring Cyril Gordon from the Flamin’ Grooves, Clem Burke from Blondie, and Eddie Munoz from the Plimsouls. To round out the group, they include vocalist Paul Kopf. Gord Lewis is from the band Teenage Head out of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada whose heyday were the late ‘70s through the early ‘80s. The Hamilton connection and the historical nature of this lineup of this release show me why Schizophrenic jumped to get this out to the world. The collaboration on two songs is the end product here. “Let’s Shake” is a Teenage Head song which was released in 1980 and “Teenage Head” is a Flamin’ Grooves song from 1971. I have to admit that my ‘70s punk is weak and I have no memory of Teenage Head and what they sound like. I only know of the name. But “Let’s Shake,” I have read, was very popular in Canada at the time. It reminds me of the garage punk sound of the ‘70s. The Stooges and New York Dolls come to mind. I definitely have no clue on the Flamin’ Grooves. A bit too obscure and off my radar, probably due to them existing right after I was born. “Teenage Head,” to me, has that southern rock feel with a jam band vibe of the time period. Not my cup of tea, but it does sound proficient in execution. I know I’m not the audience for this but I know there is a huge audience for this who will really appreciate the endeavor. –don (Schizophrenic)


M.O.T.O.:
E Pluribus Moto: LP
Another old MOTO cassette reissued, this one from 1993. While I’m sure the original version of “It Tastes Just Like a Milkshake” ((as recently exhumed by the ever-graceful Nobunny)) will have all the kids pantin’, as will miscellaneous MOTO gems from all values of the Perversion Spectrum—from pure ((“I’m On Your Side I’m On It”)) to light ((“Straighten It Out”)) to heavy ((“Milkshake”)) to flat-out filthy ((“I Wanna Stick Myself” “Cancer In My Dick”))—on the whole, the very drum machiney sounding drum machine and the extended interludes of indulgent goofing off towards the end make this album less of a must-have than its spiritual sibling, “Bolt!” If anyone’s ever gotten laid whilst “Reading The Book Of My Life By The Light Of Your Love” was playing, I’d like to hear about it. BEST SONG: “It Tastes Just Like a Milkshake” BEST SONG TITLE: “Reading The Book Of My Life By The Light Of Your Love” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Comes with a fancy embossed gold foil “19th Anniversary” sticker on the front, which i find uproarious for some reason. –norb (Rerun)


1125:
Plonie Mi Serce: LP
First impression I had here with my limited knowledge of hardcore and straight edge music was that this bands reminded me greatly of the band Strife—metal guitar licks with heavy-handed chords when they are playing slow. Very tough sounding. Things start to get moving when they are playing at faster tempos and this is where the band shines. The band minus the vocalist is a perfect package. The vocals are an acquired taste though. They are really low and have a growled sound; sounding like something I would picture more in a black metal or grindcore band. But with multiple listens, it starts to work with the music. I have read that the band’s popularity with Poland is long-standing. Not sure of their worldwide appeal, but from what I have heard that is popular in the genre, this band, in my opinion, stands amongst them. –don (Pasazer)


ZOO PARTY:
You Must Be Joking: CD
Another album of tasty, driving punk rock from these Swedes. At times sounding like the Damned with a bit more “street” added, they dish up some catchy tunes with “old school” tinges and none of the mothballs. Like last time, OG punker pals Glenn Matlock and Brian James provide the occasional guitar part, adding a bit of flair to the fist-pumpin’ anthems presented here. –jimmy (Devil)


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