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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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NIKKI LOUDER:
Trout: CD
Took a minute—after listening to release upon release adhering to some sort of template or another—to get the noggin around this slab of noise rock, but it was worth the effort. Lots of dissonant guitars, weird rhythmic noodling, and the like, as can be expected. When they really get going, however, the repetition gets hypnotic and almost psychedelic as each song stretches out. Not for everyone, I reckon, but those in for this kinda thang will find much to dig here.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Moonlee)


NO MARKS, THE / SPOILERS:
Split: 7”
A while back I received the LP by England’s No Marks and was really into them. They play a melodic style with lots of guitar parts that reminded me of Leatherface. Well, they’re back and this time they’ve brought their pals Spoiler on a split 7” endeavor. The No Marks play upbeat melodic punk with solid production. The singer sounds a lot like the singer from Whatever… (amazing ‘90s Cleveland punk band that is hard to Google search). That is a good thing. On the flip is Spoiler who instantly made me think of Snuff. That faded when the vocals kicked in, mainly because I don’t imagine there is anyone else out there who sounds quite like Duncan Redmonds. This is some great, fun poppy punk action. All in all, a good release from a couple of bands that are doing a great job at what they do. I always look forward to hearing more.  –Ty Stranglehold (Brassneck, brassneckrecords.bandcamp.com)


NOTHING BAND:
“3” b/w “Aloner”: CS
Arty (?), experimental (?) one-man-band janglings that go nowhere fast and annoy me even faster. Lots of feedback, some rhythm, vocals inserted here and there, squealy saxophones or something, and the whole point of it all seems to rest in its seemingly pointlessness. Doesn’t do it for me. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Self-released)


NUCLEAR FAMILY, THE:
Self-titled: EP

Grabbed this thinking it was something new by the punk band Nuclear Family, who released a great LP on Loud Punk. Wrong band. I should have paid closer attention to the “The” in their name, and not think maybe it was a mistake on the artist’s part. This Nuclear Family—TheNuclear Family—are a grungy sort of noise rock band. Crunching riffs, thundering drums, and a layer of distortion over the whole thing. The male and female vocals work well, as they tend to do with this style. The riff change towards the end of “Milk & Metho” is pretty good, and one of the more driving elements on this record. “Crash” is the best of the four here. The structure has more going for it with changing tempos, more texture, the dual vocals, and a somewhat intense approach. This is good, but I get the sense that their strength is in their live performance. 

–Matt Average (Urge, urgerecords.bigcartel.com)


PAINTED ZEROS:
Floriography: LP
Floriography is the recording project of Katie Lau, a songwriter, singer, and guitarist with an enviable vocal style somewhere in the ballpark occupied by Sinead O’Connor and Jolie Holland. Lau fronts an indie/pop/rock band—a three-piece live—whose music ranges from distorted (though not aggressive) alternative rock to lush, layered (but not over-produced) indie pop. All styles are executed in perfect balance to tell a story of heartache and heartbreak, a theme that runs throughout the entire album. Haunting, melancholic, and captivating.  –Chad Williams (Don Giovanni, dongiovannirecords.com)


PALBERTA:
Hot on the Beach: CS
Is it punk? Kind of. JMC Aggregate put out this cassette and described Palberta as “no-wave bounce,” which speaks to the dissonance that tends to characterize Palberta’s tracks as well as their inescapable catchiness. These songs are ear worms, but in a gross way. The guitars are spare and angular. The lyrics are shouted or screeched or occasionally sung in a funny voice. The last track on this cassette is a thirteen-minute drum machine jam with the words “it’s prolly for the best” repeated continuously over consummate giggles. –Lyle  –Guest Contributor (JMC Aggregate, jmcaggregate.com)


PINK SMOKE:
Weirdorama: Weirdorama
If you are a fan of Riverboat Gamblers, you should probably check these guys out. I’m not sure what it is about Texas that produces such great punk’n’roll bands, but I appreciate it. The guitar tones are as warm as the Dallas sun, and each tune is catchier than the last. Highly recommended! –Jackie Rusted (pinksmoke.bandcamp.com)


POINTED STICKS:
Self-titled: CD
This Canadian quintet has been kicking out their own brand of power pop off and on since 1978. I call that sticking with the program. This album opens up with positively adorable Doo-Wop-style ditty titled “La La La,” and it’s all over the place from there. Pointed Sticks have a little something for just about everyone: an acoustic sounding instrumental that noodles about, showing some serious guitar chops; some rock’n’roll; some bluesy bar rock; ‘60s British Invasion-sounding stuff; there are horns, an accordion—and fuck it—a cowbell! All this comes wrapped in a power pop package that is totally timeless. –Jackie Rusted (Sudden Death, suddensuddendeath.comdeath.com)


PRIMITIVE CALCULATORS:
I’m Fucked: EP
Two brand new songs from the ‘70s synth punk Primitive Calculators are teeming with huge noise-synth sounds. “I’m Fucked” is super-out-there, deep-space weirdness. I’m pretty sure that “BAD” is a bizarre noise-industrial cover of Michael Jackson’s “BAD”? Nuts. Fucking love this.  –Camylle Reynolds (Emotional Response, jenandstew.com)


PRODUKT:
Skabosa: LP
Tragedy-esque darkness from Poland. Not terribly groundbreaking, but monolithic and pummeling, which is really all you need. Even dramatic at times without trying too hard. It’s been done, though when Produkt do it, I believe it. –Matt Werts (Pasazer, pasazer.pl, Trujaca Fala, trujacafala.com)


PROGERIANS:
The Fabulous Progerians: CD
Sludgy, punky rock that sounds like a cross between a ‘core-influenced Sabbath and every heavy mosh breakdown ever conceived. –Jimmy Alvarado (Hannibal’s Records, hannibals.com)


QLIPHOTH:
Self-titled: CS
My old boss told me that when he was in college and bought a CD player, he smashed open all his cassettes and shot the spools out his second-story window at passing frat boys, yelling “YOUR TECHNOLOGY IS INFERIOR!!!” as he did so. I hope he returns as a post-graduate student, as he can add this screamy hogwash to his arsenal. BEST SONG: Fuck you. BEST SONG TITLE: “Botched.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Sorry, wrong number. –Rev. Norb (Dead Tank)


R.U.T.A.:
Gore: LP
Polish punk rockers and folk musicians united to play and record an album of traditional Polish serfs’ rebel songs, using traditional instruments. The power in politically relevant folk songs, in rebel songs, in protest songs, lies in the words. Consequently, even though an English translation is thoughtfully included in the lovingly assembled booklet that comes with this album, I find it difficult to really feel the music, to connect in the same way I can with a Joe Strummer, Billy Bragg, or Tim Barry. My loss, I’m sure. If you have any understanding of the Polish language, or are better at absorbing music sung in a foreign language than I am, then this record would be a solid pickup. –Chad Williams (Pazazer, pasazer.pl)


RAD:
Return of Thrash Radical: CS
This is the long-awaited demo out from the Sacramento hardcore band Rad. Straight D.R.I., Reagan Youth, ‘80s-style thrashcore. It’s a full-on assault that lasts for barely five minutes, shredding through eight (eight!) songs. Nerdcore lyrics and a brutal sound. Ridiculously good. Only fifty demos made. Heads up to a possible 7” in the making. –Camylle Reynolds (Sacramento, sacramaniacs.com)


RADON / SHALLOW CUTS:
Split: 7”
Whoa! Okay, so “Volume 1 Brooklyn” is a reply to someone who wrote this on Facebook: “Aaron Cometbus and Travis Fristoe wrote a book about Radon. We wrote about that book. If Radon wrote a song about us, that would complete some kind of circle.” And then they got a song from Radon! The author wasn’t even a big Radon fan! I reviewed that book! All I needed to do was ask in a somewhat charming matter? I’m green with jealousy over here. All ranting and sour grapes aside, let’s get to the song. It starts out strumming and quiet with familiar, obtuse Radon lyrics. Louder riffage comes in bursts for the chorus. It’s a quieter number, but peppy and upbeat. It’s not bad. It sounds more like one of those songs Fay Wray wrote about Radon than Radon. It’s not their best, but any Radon is good Radon. Shallow Cuts really bring it with two songs about happiness. “Wintersong” goes like this: “The streets are covered with melting snow / we can go anywhere we want to go / everything seems alright today / I don’t trust myself / I feel okay.” “Ocean” is in the same vein. It reminds my own really good days when the sun goes down and everything is just right. They’re written in the present tense, not nostalgic. They’re redemptive in the way they remind you there were those days and they’ll come again. Since both these songs work together on that theme, I can’t wait to see where they go next. I’ll be following Shallow Cuts. –Craven Rock (No Idea)


RADON / WORTHWHILE WAY:
Split: 7”
Gainesville punk scene granddads Radon kick off this gorgeously appointed No Idea Records split—seriously, do yourself a favor and look up the album art by Worthwhile Way vocalist Mayu Toshima—with “Headaches and Bullshit.” As the song runs through its scant two and a half minutes, it feels at once increasingly relatable and like some sort of grand inside joke. So, basically, it’s a Radon song. Stuck in your head after the first listen, the track leaves you desperate to spill your drink and scream along as soon as the crescendo of “heading weeest” kicks you in the gut. Never getting the chance to one day yell the line, “I’d thank you all to go take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut” at a live show would be a travesty. Bringing up the rear are country/folk punks Worthwhile Way from Tokushima, Japan. Their entry “After the Rain Comes Sunshine” is just as posi and upbeat a rallying cry as its title implies. A bright, shiny harmonica melody takes your hand and leads you into the happiest, bounciest folk-infused anthem to ever take form on either side of the Pacific. With a little bit of twang and a whole lot of heart, the track is essentially one great big musical smile. Toshima’s assurance that “everything is going to be all right” officially needs to be on repeat forever for anyone who lives in a gloomy climate. –Kelley O’Death (No Idea, noidearecords.com / Eager Beaver, eagerbeaver.shop-pro.jp)


RAMONES:
Do You Remember Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio? Live ’95: CD
While the authorization of this recording is probably questionable, for fans it is worth a listen. This was a radio broadcast of a show in Buenos Aires on October 5, 1995. Thirty-three songs of pure Ramones goodness as the Spanish DJ chimes in “Viva Ramonez!” at the most awkward moments.  –Sean Koepenick (RoxVox)


RATS IN THE LOUVRE:
Self-titled: LP
Serpentine death-throes straight from the mid-to-late ‘80s. Razor sharp, careening so close to the edge. Snaking bass, twitching guitar—I’m trying too hard to not say “post-punk,” because Rats In The Louvre would have fit any Masque bill. Surgically carving their own space (think Flesheaters or White Murder), their self-titled first endeavor is a giant piece of granite on your auditory lap; its sheer weight refusing to be ignored. Jerk back and forth and get cozy in the uncomfortableness. So, so, so good.  –Matt Seward (Water Under The Bridge, waterunderthebridgerecords.com)


RAYDIOS, THE:
“Craps” b/w “Teacher’s Pet”: 7”
Fink from Teengenerate seems to have a band for every speed. Seventeen years of The Raydios and it’s hard to tell an early single from a later one. The Raydios trade the Teengenerate fuzz for furious ratchet riffs. “Craps” rails at Registrators’ speed while “Teacher’s Pet” slows enough to throw in a catchy harmony. If you’re into this gang’s bands, the Raydios still have it.  –Billups Allen (Secret Mission, secretmissionrecords.com)


REALITY SHOW, THE:
Vicious Cycle of Life: 7”
This brutal and fast powerviolence record is on the more metal end of that subgenre. Once it speeds up and there’s less time for camp metal guitar lines, it becomes more palatable for my punk snob ears. They’re from Finland, with two of the three tracks featuring English lyrics. The third is in Finnish. Some powerviolence is oddly accessible, but this is less so, with the focus on showy speed musicianship. I like the throwback to a decade ago that seems to be happening on this record, but it still has me scratching my head at times because I think they’re going for a relatively broad audience, at least within hardcore’s circle. Vicious Cycle of Life is vicious indeed. –Art Ettinger (Räkälevyt, diyturku.net/rakalevyt)


REG BLOOR:
Theme from the Imaginary Slasher: CD
Theme from the Imaginary Slasher is nothing short of totally insane. Instrumental and experimental black metal, performed entirely on guitar. The instrumentation is beyond impressive. At times, it has a MIDI/8-bit video game sound to it that’s totally surreal. Cool stuff.  –Steve Adamyk (regbloor.com)


REGRESSIVES, THE:
Self-titled: CD
I love it when I get a record to review that seemingly has obvious influences but I just can’t put my finger on it. All I know is that it is great. This Regressives’ disc is exactly like that. I feel like I could list a bunch of great bands that this reminds me of, but it wouldn’t quite do the trick. The music is hard-driving punk rock with good harmonies and gruff vocals. There is anger and social awareness in the words. This gets better with every listen. I am on a mission to learn more about this band.  –Ty Stranglehold (The Regressives, theregressives.bandcamp.com)


REV. NØRB AND THE ONIONS / LAST SONS OF KRYPTON:
Split: LP
I have no way of being objective when reviewing this record. But, really, what kind of robot listens to music objectively anyway? My first move out of my hometown was to Green Bay, Wis. This move was driven almost entirely by the fact that, at the time, Green Bay’s punk scene was super fun. I was closer to Minneapolis, but that was kind of crusty back then and not really my thing. With the Concert Café at the epicenter, Green Bay was packed full of bands that were less into posturing and more interested in having a good time. So I moved to the other side of Wisconsin, got a shitty job at a factory, and spent my nights rocking out to bands like Last Sons Of Krypton, the Onions, and Rev. Nørb’s old band Boris The Sprinkler. This record brings me back to those nights, when I met some of the best friends I’ve ever had. These bands still rock with zero pretension. There is no objective in these grooves other than to have fun, and they still deliver smiles with every lyric, every riff. That’s timeless.  –MP Johnson (Self-released)


RIVERBOAT GAMBLERS:
Time to Let Her Go: 7”
The second single in the series of new Riverboat Gamblers 7”s being released on End Sounds offers two songs: a new original and a cover of the Soft Boys classic “I Wanna Destroy You.” The A side is a great up-tempo punk/pop tune that could certainly stand up amongst any of the classics that the Riverboat Gamblers have pumped out over the years, while the Soft Boys cover is pretty close to the original. I’ve been a fan and friend of the Riverboat Gamblers for many years and while their sound has definitely come of age since their earliest records, this release takes me back to the same feeling as some of their most revered releases, just with a better recording. –Mark Twistworthy (End Sounds, endsounds.com)


ROTTEN:
Punk Cult Fetish: CS
Is it “Rotten” or “Rotten (UK)”? I have no idea. Are they from the U.K. or are they from Rochester, N.Y.? I’m pretty sure the latter of each inquiry is correct, but who the fuck knows? Whatever the fuck they’re called (WFTC is the acronym/abbreviation I will be using for the duration of this review) and wherever they’re from, they are punk as fuck, and in the end, isn’t that all that really matters? WFTC kicks off this collection of singles and B sides with a cover of The Exploited’s “Sex and Violence.” The recording is pretty muddy. It makes me miss the purity of sound from the toms and bass of the original, but for a young band’s demo, I appreciate the rawness of it. The production quality stays pretty consistently poor for the next few songs, but right around the third release showcased, WFTC really starts bringing their A game. At first exposure, this really looks like a forgotten gem from the past: the cut-and-paste album art, cassette format, the sound, the rage, and the “Oi! Oi! Oi!’s.” Let WFTC take you on a journey back in time! –Jackie Rusted (Jelly Music Inc., jellymusicinc.bandcamp.com)


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