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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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COLIN’S GODSON:
Into Space: CD
This CD looks like a record. It’s black and even has the grooves on top. I honestly thought it was a record, but it wouldn’t spin on my roommate’s record player. So that’s interesting. I was confused because it is packaged in a 7” jacket. From what I can tell, these guys are from England. But then again, I thought the Transistors were also, and they told me they were from New Zealand. So what do I know? Nothing, apparently. All the songs are about them going into space, so either this is a concept album or they are space nerds. I’m not really sure. These guys really threw me for a loop. Good work, lads! The artwork consists of a scene on another planet, and on the inside, there is a comic strip all about them going into space. So if you like English dudes and space, get this. –Nighthawk (Puzzled Aardvark, colinsgodson.com)


CHINESE BURNS:
Calculator : 7”
“Calculator” is three-plus minutes of repetitive genius, milking its two chords for all their worth on top of a bubbling rhythm section. “Oh How I Struggle” continues along the in the same minimalist mode, albeit with a more propulsive beat, until they decide to drop a third chord in around the minute-twenty mark. “Kiss Fist” is easily the most “traditional” punk of the lot, a roaring bit of work with a soaring delivery and a more standard structure. The closer, “Steal Your Prayers,” reverts back into minimalism, with a (mostly) two-chord riff a la the Heartbreakers’ “I Wanna Be Loved by You,” being sure to put much emphasis on the stomp. –jimmy (Windian)


CHEATS, THE:
Pussyfootin!: CD
Sounds like what you get if you subtract whatever was interesting about Rancid or the Candy Snatchers from Rancid or the Candy Snatchers, put Jeff DeGoey of Moral Disgust on vocals, and then tailored the results just enough to produce an end product acceptable to the Whiskey Rebel. Punk rock that a soundman would like and me without my laminate. Alas. BEST SONG: “Life’s Short” BEST SONG TITLE: “Mystery 37” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: “Sin for a Living” is not the Meatmen song “I Sin for a Living,” “Gotta Get Away” is not the Stiff Little Fingers song “Gotta Gettaway,” and “I Don’t Need You” is not the Moral Crux song “I Don’t Need You.” But it would be cool if they were. –norb (Screaming Crow))


CALIFORNIA X:
“Sucker” b/w “Mummy”: 7”
Sludgy and heavy indie rock with no shortage of hooks. This fits in nicely along with bands like Tenement and Milk Music. I’m so stoked that it’s suddenly became cool to take one’s cues from Dinosaur Jr. If only I’d thought that way when I was learning to play guitar... –Chris Mason (Sound Of Sweet Nothing)


BURNING LOVE:
Rotten Thing to Say: CD / LP
The latest long play from Toronto’s Burning Love is fourteen songs clocking in at over thirty minutes, which means a number of short songs. Unfortunately, Burning Love decided to include an “Intro,” “Outro,” and repetitive track (“12 31”) in the middle, which means there’s some throwaway material on here. But beyond that there are some great songs on Rotten Thing to Say. Highlights include “Superstitious Friend” and “Broken Glass,” the last real song on the album. The music on all these songs is snotty, rough, and gruff hardcore punk, noted most fully by the great guitar sound. Lead singer Chris Colohan’s vocals are harsh and accent the tough nature of the music. The lyrics are really strong, intelligent, and work well with the music. I’ve listened to Rotten Thing to Say more than a dozen times now and while I can’t say it’s as good as their debut, Songs for Burning Lovers, (it lacks some of the catchiness of that work) it’s still a good album of blistering hardcore. –kurt (Southern Lord)


BRICKFIGHT / BOXSLEDDER:
Split: 7”
Two bands from Chicago that know what they’re doing. These songs were recorded in the basement of Boxsledder’s drummer. Brickfight: I’ve seen these guys live several times and they’re great. The songs on here are upbeat, with lots of group vocals. There is a very strong guitar presence. The lyrics are about shit not working out how you wanted it to and moving on. I can relate. Boxsledder: Like Brickfight, this band consists of four dudes. They are a bit faster and the guitars move around more. Their lyrics are about life sucking, for the most part. The singer holds notes very well and the drums bounce around a lot. Really great cover art by Jason Neumann. Each side is a drawing of each band, hanging out and partying. A definite purchase. –Nighthawk (Self-released)


BOOTSCRAPER:
Self-titled: CD
This sounds like something that should be played on a pirate ship. I really hate this kind of stuff. Decided to look at the insert and there’s really lame artwork of them playing on a pirate ship. Real original. Watch out for the curve balls. Sarcasm. The term “Aggro Folk” is prominently displayed, yet this isn’t aggressive or folk, it’s just bad. –Rene Navarro (TNS)


BOBBYTEENS, THE:
Back in the Saddle: Cassette
The Bobbyteens are the queens of snotty punk and roll and here you get a twenty-seven song sampler on one affordable cassette. This collection pulls songs from 7”s, comps and includes big chunks of their full-length albums. “Gonna Get Down” and “Baby Doll” deserve punk classic status. Essential. This tape is the perfect accessory if you plan to chew gum, lean on a jukebox, or steal a Datsun. –Billups Allen (Burger)


BLOODSHOT AND DILATED:
Bad Intentions: CD
Depending on the amount of hair and wax buildup in your ear holes, this band might sound similar to late-era Exploited, Accused, and Rocking Dildos. Raw, hyper, Wattie-just-threw-up-in-my-mouth, jacked-up metal-punk that is so excited to kick your teeth down your throat that it trips over its own spiked storm trooper boots as it lunges towards you. This has a sense of alarm to it, like when you’re witnessing street-level violence suddenly erupt in a crowd and some hapless schmub gets chased down and beaten into a pile of raspberry preserves by a pride of wide-eyed sociopaths swinging toilet plungers with nails sticking out of the rubber cups. After seeing the cheesy cover with the played-out Mohawked Skull character, I was ready to skewer this thing with a thousand fondue forks and feed bloody chunks of it to Andrew W.K. I mean, as iconography goes, even Wattie himself realizes that the Mohawked Skull has jumped and humped the shark so many times that the pedophiliac clown, Ronald McDonald, is now considered infinitely more sinister. B&D does come, in many ways, teeteringly close to being some flatulent tough-ass metal pud-jerk, but it’s saved from that ignoble fate by virtue of its own hair-on-fire intensity. Even if these guys wanted to strike sulky, tough-guy Danzig metal poses, they simply don’t have the time. Not only is this turnip truck on fire and mowing down pedestrians as it careens down the street out of control, but these chaps are busy wiping the guts and juices and human debris from their faces as they speed ever onward. When the stick shift breaks off in your hand and the brakes fail, there’s no time for puff-chested Alpha Male posturing. So you might want to wear a mouth guard when you listen to this disc. In fact, I recommend sticking some Martha Stewart brand salad tongs up your ass because once you subject yourself to this sonic onslaught, you’re going to need something to help you unpucker your butthole. –Aphid Peewit (Self-released)


BLANC:
Tin Griots: CD
Three-piece from Hanover, Germany fires back with a thirteen song opus. The guitars are like fine bristles rubbing your brain cells gently. Don’t give up if the lyrics initially throw you for a loop. Just grab the lyric sheet and hold on. The melodies still hold up nicely. I’ve never had “Japanese Wine” but I’m sure it is at least as good as AC/DC’s latest vintage. Excellent work here, gentlemen. Give this a shot, people. –koepenick (Jelly)


BILL BONDSMEN:
Overcrowded Control: 7”
Got a demo from them early on and have rather enjoyed watching how they’ve come along over each subsequent release. They eschew the thrashier aspects of their persona here, opting for two rock solid bits firmly rooted in hardcore, but show a marked progression in their approach to that genre that is more along the pioneering excursions of bands like Die Kreuzen than the perpetual regressions of, say, Agnostic Front. In all, this is some prime-grade work here. Keep pushin’ against them boundaries, guys, ‘cause what you’re mining can only get more interesting if you do. –jimmy (Bill Bondsmen)


BEST PRACTICES:
The EP: LP
Best Practices strive to, in their words, “return to the fundamentals of punk rock,” and I feel they succeed in many ways. This one-sided 12” EP is filled with super-catchy power pop and garage punk riffs played with almost hardcore punk intensity. If this record doesn’t make you head bang, fist pump, or foot tap, then you must be catatonic. The song “Triple Kittens” is my favorite, featuring some of the best riffs on the album. The tracks “Future Cougar,” and “Get Confident, Stupid,” are also favorites for having such hilarious names. Featuring current and former members of Light The Fuse And Run, Wow, Owls!, Weak Teeth, and Jesuscentric, this is not a record to sleep on. I highly recommend it. –Paul J. Comeau (Tiny Engines, will@tinyengines.net)


BARONESS:
Yellow & Green: 2 x CD / 2 x LP
While not quite as fierce as previous albums, the whole of this double album shows this Savannah, Georgia, four-piece maintaining more accessibility (seen in its ability to put some hooks on songs like “Eula” and “Take My Bones Away”) but still not proposing such a commercially viable sound that they’re not willing to put some instrumental tracks over these seventy-five minutes. Yellow seems the more aggressive of the two albums, while Green is a little more reflective and mellow, although neither are consistently tied down to those descriptions. Some talk on the interwebs suggest there are those who are disappointed at Baroness’s not being as heavy on this new release. I never thought they were that fierce to begin with. Yellow & Green makes perfect sense so far as I’ve observed in their history. Yellow is the disc for the old fans—there’s still some fire to their craft—while Green shows some depth to Baroness—perhaps a sign of things to come? The fact is that there are some good songs on here—ones that will get stuck in your head, others that still retain some great riffs to them, and yet another group that displays a band willing to expand their sound—not for the purpose of selling out, but because they’re more than one-dimensional. This is not always something that all music fans (especially those in harder music) seem willing to accept, but which can still hold a great deal of power and emotion in the music. Life isn’t always about clubbing one another in the mosh pit. –kurt (Relapse)


BAD MAMMALS:
Self-titled: 7”
I can’t listen to this. The vocals are just fucking gross. The record is heavy (not in sound, but weight). Seriously, what is that? 180 grams? That money’d be better spent on better recordings, preferably of a band none of the people here are involved in. –megan (Bonfire Club/No Breaks, nobreaksrecords.com)


BAD DOCTORS, THE :
Distractions: 12” EP
You might be confused as to what decade it is when you first listen to this record, but do not be alarmed. Grab your smartphone and pull up your legwarmers. You have not been teleported into the ‘80s. Instead, you are appreciating the sonic awesomeness that is the no-wave band The Bad Doctors. Worshipping at the altar of Devo, The Bad Doctors crank out seven of the catchiest songs you’re liable to hear this year. The EP comes out of the gates with the up-tempo title track “Distractions.” It bounces back and forth between up-tempo tracks and more meandering tracks. “Gunpowder (Nicaraguan Feeling)” and “Candy,” were my favorite tracks, though it’s difficult picking favorites on an EP so packed with great music. My only disappointment with this was a lack of lyrics in the album liner notes. That aside, if synth-y no-wave is your thing, definitely check out The Bad Doctors. You won’t be disappointed. –Paul J. Comeau (Bad Doctors, thebaddoctors@gmail.com)


BAD COYOTES:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Slightly blown-out, medium-fi (?) punk/garage stuff. The focus here is less on ‘60s slop and more on Pagans-styled ‘70s slop, which is a nice change of pace. –jimmy (Eli’s Mile High)


AWFUL MAN:
Waiting for the Tanks to Come Rolling in: 7”EP
Just like the artwork, Awful Man is a sloppy, exuberant collage of music that’s also reflected in the accompanying zine/lyrics sheet: Propagandhi, Cometbus, GC5, Cleveland Bound, Crass all cross borders and overlap and glue and pull at the corners and warp. With ultra-high self awareness as a person, as a member of a band, of a person in a conflicted society, Awful Man also has some of the punk-smartest/punk-funniest/punk-saddest lyrics I’ve read in quite some time. “Fuck, man, what’s it all about? Is it just dumb fucks playing in basements? Are our lives completely controlled? Are these just costumes to a play that’ll never have a dress rehearsal?”—those types of things that keep paying-attention, angry-but-pragmatic punks honest and on their toes. Great stuff. –todd (Dead Broke / It’s Not A Phase Dad / Awful Man)


AUSHWITZ RATS:
Demo: CD
Why is it that a majority of the time I like a band so much more if I do not understand the language. Snob? Yes, sometimes. This is the case here with this band from Poland. To me, and I could easily be wrong, but they remind me of bands like Total Chaos, the Casualties, and bands on the Punk Core label. Those bands, I would be biased on immediately and probably write them off before listening. But the appeal of music from afar grabs my attention. At first listen here, gravelly vocals over melodic mid-tempo street punk is what these ears experience. Gang choruses that bring images of a cheery bunch with pints in their hands, singing a favorite song also is what I imagine. For a demo, this pretty good stuff. –don (Pasazer)


ARRESTUM:
Ihmistieteet: 7” EP
Loud ‘n’ rambunctious crust punk from Finland. They keep the most overt metal and Discharge influences more or less at bay while retaining the propulsion and dark theatricality that comes from the best parts of both those influences. –jimmy (Parta, partarecords.com))


APERS, THE:
Live at the Eldorado: CD
The Apers have been around forever, pumping out their brand of Screeching Weasel worshiping punk rock with a European twist for years. This record was recorded live, something that I must admit I’m not a huge fan of. All of the stereotypical trappings of a live record are here. They end up coming off either insincere, forced, or both. Those complaints aside, if you’re a fan of the band already, you may really enjoy this, as they are competent at what they do and the sound from the live show is good. Fans of The Queers, Screeching Weasel, and other snotty juvenile pop punk bands take note. –Mark Twistworthy (Asian Man, asianmanrecords.com)


ANTiSEEN:
New Blood: CD
I’ve been singing ANTiSEEN’s praises since becoming a fan in the early 1990s and will continue to do so. 2013 will mark their thirtieth year, which is no small shakes for a band of any genre, let alone one that formed during hardcore’s heyday. Staying true to form after three full decades, ANTiSEEN retains their unique sound, playing Ramones-influenced punk through heavily distorted guitars, with a pinch of country and hardcore thrown into the mix. This thirteen-song collection was released in conjunction with their 2012 European tour and it collects songs from various singles from the last few years. Their current lineup is as good or better as any they’ve had, with their live shows consistently kicking ass. My favorite of the original songs included here is the instant classic “Curses,” with covers of the Ramones hit “Chainsaw” and the traditional tune “Black Eyed Susie” being two of the other standout tracks. ANTiSEEN fans will love this album, as will anyone willing to give them a chance. Always prolific, especially in terms of putting out 7”s, how many more ANTiSEEN releases will emerge in their upcoming fourth decade as a band? Bring them on! –Art Ettinger (Switchlight, switchlight-records.com)


ANARCHUS:
Final Fall of the Gods: Cassette
Six tracks of fairly brutal grindcore from South Florida. The performance is just loose and ragged enough to keep things interesting, which at times reminds me of Void, oddly enough. The vocalist sounds like he just ate a beer bottle which is also pretty cool. You can tell these kids are excited about what they are doing which really translates into this tape being a total keeper. –Garrett Barnwell (Rigid)


AMERICAN STEEL:
Dear Friends and Gentle Hearts: CD
Grown-up pop punk—polished production, expert musicianship, earnest vocals, and lyrics filled with personal introspection all wrapped up in snappy two and three minute packages. It doesn’t do much to excite me, however. And it’s not for a lack of fist-pumping choruses. Don’t worry guys, it has plenty of those. It’s just not exactly my bag, but I can see plenty of kids and grown-ups alike getting down with this album. My one real issue with the record is the line “haters can blow us” in the song “Your Ass Ain’t Laughing Now.” This is a pet peeve for me, but I really dislike the term “hater” and how it has permeated American English. And using it in conjunction with some lame, macho threat that were one to hate on them that fellatio would—by the hating party—then be a requirement is absolutely ridiculous. Firstly, it’s lazy songwriting. Secondly, it’s treading on offensive. –Jeff Proctor (Fat)


ADULTS, THE:
Say Hello: CD
Modern pop punk addressing more—ahem—adult concerns than the usual farting/girlfriend/vapid shit that plagues this pigeonhole. Ain’t my preferred cup o’ poison, but the songs are tight, catchy ‘n’ not embarrassing. –jimmy (The Adults)


ADAPTIVE REACTION:
Scream the First Few Bars and Family Entertainment: 7” EP, CD
Weird mix here of punk, goth (?), synth rock, and maybe a little psychedelic rock. At times they sound like an almost punkier Chrome, especially on “Suffragette,” but too often the results sound like they land just shy of the sweet spot, especially when the male vocalist’s growl takes center stage. Family Entertainment collects the four tracks from the EP with those from two other EPs, plus some unreleased ditties, some of which have a sort of drum-machine-techno-punk hybrid to the mix of styles. –jimmy (Adaptive Reaction)


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