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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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TOM 77:
Přišel čas: CD
At first I though this Czech (?) band would be fairly typical Eastern European punk, but I was so very, very wrong. The best way to think of this is to picture a Czech incarnation of New Model Army with a bit more Irish influence in the songwriting. This is a really solid record, and if you’re into that sound you may well like what you’ll hear. However, the New Model Army comparisons stop with the music. Since none of the songs are sung in English, I can neither confirm nor deny that the lyrical content has the same delicious bitterness that pervades NMA’s songs. Good stuff. –The Lord Kveldulfr (PHR)


FRENCH INHALES, THE / BOTTLE SERVICE:
Split: 7” EP
French Inhales: Echo/delay-happy art punk along the lines of art-pop era Sonic Youth. Bottle Service: Sloppy, energetic trash punk from a former Teener or two. Good split that shows a desire to fuck a little with comfort zones of those who insist on living within the confines of one pigeonhole. –jimmy (CQ, cqrecords.com)


TIMMY’S ORGANISM:
Raw Sewage Roq: LP
Burner alert! Timmy’s Organism is Timmy Vulgar’s project (formerly of The Clone Defects and Human Eye). Album slays. Like John Wesley Coleman, Vulgar pulls lyrics from the most unexpected places—like childhood memories of watching Clint Eastwood movies. Stoked “Mind over Matter” is included on the LP (a different version appeared on a Goner split with JWC III). Song has some of the best lyrics ever penned: “Eating outta a garbage can/I don’t need responsibility, man.” Timmy’s on another trip. He can cook amazing Mexican food. Record awesome albums. Dress amazingly. Dude rules at life. Pick this record up, pronto! –ryan (In The Red, intheredrecords.com)


FOURTH ESTATE, THE:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Modern punk stuff along the lines of Rise Against ‘n’ such. If that’s your preferred punk ghetto, you’ll love this. –jimmy (Fat Sandwich)


TELEDROME:
Double Visions: 7” EP
I have been hearing a buzz about this band for sometime now. But as usual, I come into the picture late. I heard a couple of tracks off this LP online and I couldn’t believe how good this band is. The songs were infectious and I needed more! I downloaded this LP, three EPs, and the demo. To let people know that I do not download maliciously, I ordered all the records from various distros the same day. I am still a bit of a record nerd, even though my purchasing has tapered lately. I haven’t been this giddy about a band in a while. The entire record from start to finish is a wonderful aural experience. Not one song is filler. Each song differs from the other yet compliments one another. I just can’t seem to nail in my head all of what I’m hearing. I hear a bit of ‘60s garage punk, surf, post punk, and the darkness of death rock. But all the songs contain a catchy melody that makes them instantly likable. The guitars add texture and a moody atmosphere. The vocalist, Manuela, writes introspective and dark lyrics that she delivers with power and conviction. I keep thinking she has the vocal pipes of someone extraordinary like Grace Slick, and, at other times, like Celtic artist Loreena McKennitt. But that doesn’t perfectly identify her since she really stands on her own. Production benefits the drums and bass here. Both are delivered with impacting power. I have read and heard complaints that the LP is a bit too sleek and polished. I have to disagree with that. It adds to the growth of their music and showcases them with precision. It would not surprise me that this band crosses over and gains a larger audience. This band, to me, is that good. Hearing their discography backwards, the demo has a loose punk feel. The production is raw and vocalist Manuela’s delivery is less controlled, with more spite and snot. Come the first EP, she finds her voice and delivers it with such magic. Now my quest is to find a physical copy of the demo and possibly get the Japanese EP compilation. –don (Deranged)


TELEDROME:
Double Visions: 7” EP
A melding of punk guitar slash, new wave synth, and drum machine, the five tracks offered up here give brief (nary a one hits the two-minute mark) glimpses into an alternate reality where black-clad denizens get their boogie on like the night won’t ever end. The mix could use a little less lo-fi and a bit more low-end punch, but, at the end of that day, that’s like bitching that the peach you’re eating ain’t quite “peachy” enough. –jimmy (HoZac, hozacrecords.com)


FORTH YEER:
Regulators: CD
Really? Did these guys spell their name this way? Yes they did. I’m not even going to get into that shit. You can decide for yourself how many different ways their name is incorrect. Like the name, the band sucks. They sound like they should be playing at a state fair somewhere, or in a crappy little bar in a small town. For the most part, this shit is slow, crappy rock’n’roll. They actually have three guitars. The lyrics are about how much they drink and fuck. Supposedly. I think these guys want people to think they are some kind of outlaw rock band, but they’re actually not that tough. On the cover, they even put the Parental Advisory label. That hasn’t been cool for like twenty years. On the insert, there’s a picture of all six of these guys with guns. Stupid. Just really stupid. –Nighthawk (1332)


TEENAGE BOTTLEROCKET:
Freak Out!: CD
Wow, this CD is like listening to two different bands. One rocks a humorous Hanson Brothers vibe complete with clever—bordering on hilarious—lyrics and the other leans towards a more pop than punk sound that I couldn’t get into. I imagine that there are two distinct songwriters at work here, as the songs bounce back and forth between the two styles. It is all done well though, I would just personally prefer more of the clever, funny stuff and less of the poppy love songs. –Garrett Barnwell (Fat)


FOR THE KID IN THE BACK:
Loss: CD
Beta-male diddler folk. –Craven (No address)


TEENAGE BOTTLEROCKET:
Freak Out!: CD
This record defies all known rules of physics. I mean, there must be some really clean water in Wyoming. I have no other way to explain how Teenage Bottlerocket tops themselves with each new release. If you don’t like songs with titles like “Cruising for Chicks” and “Punk House of Horror” then you may have a screw loose. “Never Gonna Tell You” is probably their catchiest tune since “Bloodbath at Burger King.” That’s saying something, folks. Do yourself a favor and pick this up, since you’ll want to know all the words by the time they hit your town to blast the doors off the hinges live. I know I do. –koepenick (Fat Wreck)


SUGAR STEMS:
Greatest Pretender: 7”
Two tracks of cute and cuddly pop punk with vibrant, clean-toned guitars and a vocalist who sounds an awful lot like Cyndi Lauper at times. If you’re into the power pop bands on Burger and worshiped the Dangerloves, then you’re in for a treat. –Juan Espinosa (Certified PR, certifiedprrecords.com, sugarstems.com)


FIGHT, THE / REPRESION:
The Fight Against Represion: 7”
The Fight is a Polish band that plays solid, mid-tempo, low-end hardcore. For all I know the shitty production on the songs might hurt them, but without anything to compare it to, I kind of like the muddy sound quality. They remind me at times of emo/crust crossover stuff that Ebullition was putting out in the nineties. Their lead singer has a ragged, shouting vocal style. The song topics vary from the personal to the political, but I can’t help but like the one where she sings about her dog the best. Represion are a Basque political band with a whole lot of revolutionary spirit. They’re kind of crusty but more interesting, not unlike Nausea, but way faster. Similar to The Fight’s side of the record, they also have a cool, lo-fi recording that allows the tight, thundering drumming to stand out; as well, the overexcited lead singer who’s often backed up by the rest of the band on some gang vocals. –Craven (Nikt Nic Nie Wie, info@nnnw.pl)


SUFFERING LUNA:
Blood Filled Bong: Cassette
Blood Filled Bong is one grotesquely weird, innovative metal tape. It’s a seven part movement, starting with an intro/skit of a ritual, in which, cops, immigration officers, oil company CEOs and filth of that ilk are getting decapitated. You hear their blood being poured into a bong, then the gurgle and huff of someone taking a giant rip. Then the first song kicks in, it’s a thrashing, snarling number with some crazy industrial bleeps and screeches. This is followed by a slow, dirgey number with ambient growling vocals and thick, layered washes of sound. From there they build tension with a noisy, atmospheric bridge and then pick up the pace a bit. Things move like this, variant, but always heavy. Eventually, I lose track and it becomes the one long piece that it’s intended to be. It all ends with a wing nut, paranoid Leftist rant, which makes absolutely no sense, but sounds awesome. This is enthralling, menacing anarcho metal for the strong of heart. –Craven (To Live A Lie )


FAGETTES:
Volumes 1 + 2: Cassette
Garage rock revival stuff with lots of reverb and very little heart. They sound like Hunx And His Punx or something of that ilk, but played so flat and passionless that all I can think of is that band from Degrassi High. Maybe they’re trying to jump on that whole Vice magazine garage rock wave. –Craven (Stimulation Addict, no address)


STRONG INTENTION:
Razorblade Express: 7”
Several years ago, I acquired a copy of Strong Intention’s debut album Extermination Vision through a blind trade and was completely blown away by their reckless disregard of speed limits ala fellow East Coast veterans Drop Dead. That was back in 2003 and while I was aware of the Maryland thrashers’ constant touring, I was not hip to the fact that since that full length they have only released one other split 7”. No matter: they’ve not lost any of their edge and it seems as if taking their time between records has only made them even sharper. One stylistic change to note is their dabbling in the stoner/sludge territory which can probably be attributed to Michael IX Williams’ (Eyehategod) presence on two of the five tracks. But just when you think the bong rips are going to lead the charge, the thrashing of a lifetime ensues and doesn’t stop until all the posers are laid to waste. Criminally underrated and rarely acknowledged in the underground, Strong Intention are the real deal, folks. –Juan Espinosa (Patac, patacrecords.com)


EN EL ABISMO / NATIONAL DISASTERS:
Vestigios de la Civilizacion: CD
I haven’t even pressed play yet, but would like to note there are four tracks and this thing is fifty minutes long. For some people (me) that’s no bueno, but let’s press play, shall we? I really dug the layout, translated lyrics (both bands sing in Spanish), and the fact that it’s released by multiple labels. En El Abismo play some really heavy, grindy punk with random three minute instrumentals that sound like they belong on a Sunny Day Real Estate album. Maybe my attention span isn’t what it used to be, nor is my morbid interest in everything burning down, but this kept losing me. National Disaster play super technical spacey punk and also sing about how everything is fucked up and gonna burn down. They’re fucking tight; solid drumming. I wish both these bands could somehow just get this on a 7”. –Rene Navarro (Black Waves Ocean/ Rotten Cats/ Ecabrupto/ Kotze Tapes/ Inget Javla Chafs)


STRAIGHTJACKET NATION:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Simple, potent, pissed-off hardcore—take a line or two of lyrics, set ‘em to a riff, and beat both mercilessly for a minute or two. Repeat twice more. Works just fucking swell, thank you much. Three tunes, not a clunker here. –jimmy (Iron Lung)


STOP BREATHING:
Self-titled: CD
Fourteen quick bursts of hardcore with just the briefest hints of metal wickering underneath, mostly in those guitar solos that weave in and out of the songs. Comparisons to Dr. Know and RKL definitely come to mind—it’s that kind of frenzied hardcore. Comprised of folks from Glass And Ashes, The Missing 23rd, and The Fucking Wrath, Stop Breathing makes it all sound pretty effortless. It’s all a little too ceaselessly ferocious for me personally, (I have grown old, old and weak, and keep waiting for them to change it up a bit) but again, they just nail it. Aesthetically, the best parts here are the cover photo, which is straight up brilliantly done, and the back logo, with the No Idea stressface and Doug Moody/Mystic Records skull mixed together. –keith (No Idea)


ELEGY:
Cemetery Earth: 7”
This debut EP oughta cause waves outside of the Bay Area. In five songs, Elegy brings back early ‘80s U.K. punk in the same vein as GBH and Discharge. Out of San Francisco, this three-armed band shreds like a chainsaw with dense chords creating that deep, dark wave of guitar that makes you grit your teeth and take that first step in the pit. With racing drums hurtling bald faced toward oblivion, this is pyramid-studded, leather-jacket-wearin’, mohawk-sportin’ kind of punk. With a little improvement on mixing, Elegy should be your next favorite up and comer. Looking forward to more tunes. Recommended. –Kristen K (Shadow Of Fear)


STATE OF MIND:
Knowledge of Self: 12” EP
Describing their sound as “groovy NY-styled hardcore,” I was eager to put this 12” EP on the turntable. While I do pick up some traces of the influences they cite, the vibe on this EP is more generic radio rock-sounding than hardcore. The riffs were rather forgettable, easily fading to background noise every listen. Coupled with a very polished production, especially in the vocals, which had this echo-y middle-of-the-mix sound that I associate with commercial rock music, and the result was nothing that stuck with me on any level. While I support the band’s “anti-racist, antifascist, religion-free, gay-positive, pro-choice, drug-free, and animal-friendly attitude,” as stated in their description, and presented in their lyrics, musically this did very little for me. –Paul J. Comeau (Take It Back)


E.T. HABIT :
Starside Devastation: 7”
Jammy space rock stuff smart enough to temper the Hawkwind worship with a little dollop of early Chrome to help it all go down nicely. –jimmy (HoZac)


STANDARD AND POOR:
Let’s Take Care of Our Own: 7” EP
Leather-jackets-and-jeans-and-standing-against-a-brick-wall punk from Southern California, which puts them at a strategic disadvantage right off the bat since they don’t really have brick walls against which to stand in earthquake zones, or so i’ve been told. The A-side is a sort of pseudo-UK melodic street punk anthem type deal, with ringy guitars and various exhortations and laments upon the state of domestic and foreign policy and such ((“Let’s take care of our own / if they need our help, I’m sure they’ll phone”)). B-side starts with “Let’s Go”—a song that somehow manages to use the title of a Ramones song for a completely unrelated song about going to see the Ramones ((fellows, please note this ship has sailed)) —and ends with the best song of the bunch, “Love Knot,” which is about tying up girls in the basement. No wonder they don’t wanna go down there, daddy-o! I like this 45 better than that album with the pink cover they put out a while back; their star is definitely in the ascendant. All they need are some bricks and they’ll be on their way. BEST SONG: “Love Knot” BEST SONG TITLE: “Let’s Go” i suppose. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: It says “All songs written PREFORMED and produced by Standard and Poor” in two separate places on the record packaging. –norb (D-Spite My Height)


DRUNK IN A DUMPSTER:
Money Shot: LP
Am I in a fucking time machine? How come I’m back in the nightmare that was the ‘90s again? For all you lucky pups who cut their teeth on Y2K thrash or the smorgasbord of fantastic tuneage we have at our fingertips now, the ‘90s were a lean time at best. I was lucky enough to catch the ‘80s but really came of age in the dreary ‘90s. This record takes me back to that age like a fuckin Delorean. This sounds like the bastard son of Quincy Punx or Submachine or any number of bands who sat right smack dead center of the genre “punk.” Songwriting is simple at best, gruff vocals, slightly metallic riffs that all sound the same, and songs about drinking and all that shit by someone who spends most of his day in a glue bag. I would have thought this was okay twenty years ago I’m sure… but there wasn’t a whole helluva lot to beat it. These days with a huge and varied international punk rock menu, this is the last thing I’d dig out. Props for the repurposed Eagles LP cover (they wrote the band name straight onto an Eagles LP cover). No offence bros, but this blows. –Tim Brooks –Guest Contributor (No Profit, Noprofitrecords@hotmail)


SQUISH:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Took me a few minutes of genius-me going, “Sweet minty Jesus, HoZac’s really pulling out all the weirdness stops with this one” before I realized I had it at the wrong speed. What I thought was a bit of drony minimalist art-punk brilliance turned out to be sloppy minimalist punk brilliance. It’s good, but you’ll have to excuse me while I slow it down to a crawl again…. –jimmy (HoZac, hozacrecords.com)


SPIDERBAGS:
Shake My Head: CD
Fairly middling barroom alt-rock stuff here. The loose, vaguely rootsy vibe of the music is fine enough, but the flat, laid back vocals give the whole thing a “Slash Records farm leaguers” feel. The most engaging song on here, “Shawn Cripps Boogie,” is an instrumental with a repetitive, almost haunting structure that recalls the instrumental version of “Sound on Sound” on the Big Boys’ Wreck Collection, but the rest is pretty unmemorable. –jimmy (Odessa)


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