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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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ACxDC:
He Had It Coming and The Second Coming : 7” EP
A couple o’ reissues here: He Had It Coming was originally released in 2005 and The Second Coming apparently first saw the light of day in 2011. The music is of the grind/powerviolence extreme of the hardcore genre, with blurring beats, screaming fetus vocals, and smart, sarcastic lyrics that address wider concerns about religion and the dumbing down of America via short blasts about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Jersey Shore, and dead sitcom characters. Both are on colored vinyl. –jimmy (To Live A Lie)


ACE HIGH CUTTHROATS:
Black Fire: CD
The first song on this album is nearly five minutes long. It dangerously toes that thin line between “hard rock” and punk. Thankfully, things pick up a little after that—there’s still some pretty overwhelming Heartbreakers/glam elements going on, but at the very least the songs start landing in the two to three minute mark. It’s still kind of, you know, self-aggrandizing and excessive and maybe a little wanky, but shit, this type of music is built on excess and wankery. They actually remind me quite a bit of Kansas City’s Architects, who did a great album called Vice a few years back. That one’s just such a gleefully unabashed stomping, swaggering rock record—and I feel like Ace High Cutthroats are edging into that same area, but their chops just aren’t quite up to snuff yet. But a promising debut for sure. –keith (Ace High Cutthroats)


ABORTTI 13:
Ulos!!: LP
Abortti 13 is one of my favorite bands these days; the kind where when I see their records I start to get all sweaty and anxious; feeling like everything needs to come to a halt that very moment so we can put their latest record on and give a few spins. When I saw this LP, the room started to spin. All rational thinking went straight out the window. I get home and put it on. So far so good. On par with their other releases (splits with Sekaanus, and Pyhäkoulu, and their Viimeinen Verilöyly EP. The rap bit at the end of “Vapaus” doesn’t work, but maybe that’s a matter of opinion. It just sounds out of place. Other than that, this is a pretty consistent ripper. My favorite song on here is “Psykopaatti” which has a death rock vibe at the beginning with the organ and somewhat creepy guitar intro. Then it cruises into a catchy mid-tempo song that’s a nice change of pace among all the slightly speedier, straight-ahead numbers. Abortti 13 is a hardcore punk band from Finland who started in the early 1980s and still manages to have the sound and energy of that time thirty years later. No easy task! Skip the latest hype band from whatever hyped scene. Get this instead. –Matt Average (Killer, killerrecordsfinland.com)


ABOLITIONIST / FOOLS RUSH:
Split: 7”
Abolitionist: Fuck yeah! Remember how good Propagandhi was before they became a metal band? Well, Abolitionist reminds me a lot of that. This song is a bit less blatantly political (no “stick the fucking flag up your ass” moments) and the guitar work is a bit less complicated, but Abolitionist’s delivery is urgent and honest. This song is great. Fools Rush: I’m not at all opposed to wearing your influences on your sleeve, but, fuck, it’s like the guys took a photocopy machine to Against Me!’s first few records with this song. I’d be willing to give them another chance, but this song did not make a fan out of me. –Chris Mason (1859)


2ND DISTRICT:
The Love Has Gone: 7”
Weird female-sounding male vocals permeate this neat-o gloomy German outfit that self describes as “glam punk.” Both of the two songs included on this single rip in the best possible ways. There’s certainly a very new wave-y feel to 2ndDistrict, particularly with the vocals. An associated music video I checked out online had me laughing out loud, but 2nd District is kind of awesome despite their goofiness. I won’t be donning any eyeliner when I go out tonight, although this record had me at least consider doing so. –Art Ettinger (Wanda)


2009:
Stuck in the Paste: 7”
This record sounds like it was recorded on a 4-track. Very low quality. Which normally isn’t that bad of a thing, but it’s hard to make out what’s going on with some of these songs. One of them is an acoustic number which made me feel really depressed. Side B is really slow and made me anxious to put on another record. There’s no info on these guys. Just lyrics are included, and they didn’t get me very excited. –Nighthawk (No Breaks)


12XU:
Les Grandes Marées: CD / LP
I have always appreciated when bands whose mother tongue is not English perform their music in that primary language. I usually have no interest in figuring out what they’re saying, but instead find the vocals to act as an instrument, becoming another tone. France’s 12XU provides the right vocal sound (utilizing two vocalists) to compliment their punky emo pop stylings. And it does so quite well—energetic when need be, passionate where appropriate, but always right on the money. The music is generally fast (eleven songs in twenty-five minutes) but not reckless. It’s catchy and fun but not irreverent. I’d heard some songs by 12XU on previous seven inches but this full-length is far superior to any of that. There may be a part of me that is unable to completely relate to it since it’s being sung in French, thus, it may never be my favorite album, but I still can’t deny it’s a fun, endearing listen and therefore comes recommended. –kurt (Bakery Outlet)


10¢ FUCK FLICKS:
Eight Songs about Drugs and Sex!: 7”
Straight-up, grain alcohol-pounding punk rock’n’roll that pumps the blood of the same vein per The Candy Snatchers, Pleasure Fuckers, Nomads, Temporal Sluts, and hints of The Cramps. Admirers of said bands will find this EP a fitting addition to their turntables, and with the two bonus tracks that can be had with the included digital download card, everyone’s a happy fucking camper. –dale (Drug Front)


SNOOKYS, THE:
Automatic Stomp: CD
Punky bar rock stuff here. While the restrained quality of the recording makes the resulting CD not exactly a stunner, the songs are strong enough and the performances spirited enough that I’m willing to bet this is one of those bands that can handily rip shit up live and would likely turn in a corker of a release with a producer who knows what he’s doin’. –jimmy (Night Fighter)


PHARMACY:
Dig Your Grave: 7”
I wrote three reviews for this record: 1) I thought my case of food poisoning was gone but this record made it come back. 2) If you think skim milk is exciting, you should really check this record out. 3) The least boring thing about this record is the misspelling of the title track on the back of the record. Mystery! –mp (Kind Turkey, kindturkeyrecords.com)


VELOCICOPTER:
Self-titled: CD
Yet another band that falls somewhere between punk and club rock. Nothin’ miserable, nothin’ memorable. –jimmy (No address)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Well I Don’t See Why Not: CD
This is a compilation of twenty different songs by twenty different artists, primarily from the Pacific Northwest. They’re all previously unreleased and I can’t say I’ve heard of more than a couple, so I knew I was in for a new listening experience. I only liked six of the songs, so I’ll just focus on them and what I liked. Little Angry: Reminds me of an old indie band from the Midwest called Jetenderpaul. Somewhat surf-influenced with blissed harmonies. Kickball: I’d heard of this band before and their jangly sound mixed with male/female combination was endearing and heartfelt. Broken Water: Distorted guitar with low vocals—perhaps influenced by Unwound? Gunmothers Head: Totally Bee Thousand-era Guided By Voices. Love it. Eleanor Murray: The sound is folk-influenced, but Murray’s quavering voice and the backing of a full band make it a strong contribution. Black Tail Dear: An instrumental tune driven primarily by the piano, it builds in repetition and then quickly dissipates. Despite the redundancy, it’s quite moving. Considering I only liked six songs out of twenty, I don’t know if I can entirely recommend this, but it’s always nice to hear some new, quality songs. –kurt (msvalerieparkdistro.com)


VAJRA:
Pleroma: CD
Ethereal goth rock in the same ballpark as Faith And The Muse, but with more guitar crunch and less Christian Death. –jimmy (thevajratemple.com)


V.T. MARVIN:
Neposlusni Tenisti: CD
V.T. Marvin plays poppy Czech punk with strong hooks. Lyrics are in Czech, and I couldn’t find translations online, so I’m not sure what they were singing about, but the choruses were pretty darn catchy. If pop punk is your thing, this is totally worth checking out, but I think those who understand Czech will appreciate this the most. –Paul J. Comeau (phr.cz)


TWO TEARS FOR BARBARELLA:
Hidden Depths: CD
Mellow college radio-friendly indie rock stuff with non-distorted guitars and “quirky” just oozin’ off of it. –jimmy (F Spin, f-spin.de)


TONY JONES & THE CRETIN 3:
Live at Trash Bar: CD-R
The Trash Bar is a kind of shitty place to drink and see bands in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Like, in theory, you’d be happy with a simple dive-y place, but once you’ve been around for a while and paying close enough attention, you notice, “Oh, there are other places around here that don’t try to come off as ‘shitty,’ are actually fun to play, and aren’t terrible.” Then again, it stays in business because some people just don’t give a fuck beyond finding some crappy beer and playing to a few drunks and uninterested doormen/sound guys. Upon listening, Tony Jones & The Cretin 3 are one of those bands. –joe (Cretin, tonyjonesinri@gmail.com)


TINNITUS:
Gehenna: 7”
Powerviolence. It’s just never been my thing. I couldn’t even tell you if this band’s doing a good job of it or not. The transitions from raging fast parts to trudging slow breaks are awkward to my ears. Fans of the genre might eat this right up, but it doesn’t do too much for me. –Dave Williams (To Live A Lie, tolivealie.com)


TIM BLOOD AND THE GUTPANTHERS: : :
Self-titled: CD
Ragged-sounding indie/punk sounds for fans of the No Idea/ADD Records catalog. Not a whole lot else to say—probably as good as most bands you see at a house show on a weekend. –frame (Ctrlforce, ctrlforce.blogspot.com)


TERRORIST / UNTALENTED, THE:
Split: 7” EP
I never thought I’d come across a split between two bands that sound exactly like Leftover Crack without the ska influence. And just like LOC, both bands would like for you to believe that anarchy is achievable by spray painting walls with circled As and getting loaded. Yawn. –Juan Espinosa (Harvest King, harvestkingrecords.com)


TERRIBLE FEELINGS:
Shadows: LP
Indie-punk with a darkness theme lingering in both lyrics and style. Imagine Deborah Harry fronting TSOL, though definitely not as musically reckless. If you ever see me dressed like one of the dudes on the cover of this record, please don’t hesitate to kick me square in the ass. –Juan Espinosa (Deranged, terriblefeelings.com)


TENDER THRILL / ZULU PEAIRS:
Split: 7”
Tender Thrill are clearly more Tender than Thrill, providing “Geena”—a loud, plodding, forgettable pop song ((well, i think it’s a pop song. It’s got kind of jangly chords and shit)) with the same one-measure, über-basic drumbeat repeated for a two minute, forty-nine second period that seems more like forty-nine minutes and two seconds when you actually gotta sit through it. Zuzu Peairs fare a little better with “Feel Me,” which sounds a trifle like what a Hunx song might sound like if he was, you know, a serious Rock Dude and stuff. My unarousal is so big it’s fluorescent. BEST SONG: Zulu Peairs, “Feel Me” BEST SONG TITLE: Zulu Peairs, “Feel Me” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I have spent over ten minutes trying to find one thing either Fantastic or Amazing about this record. –norb (Disco-Lite, discoliterecords.com)


SUBWASTE:
Broken Machine: CD
Fresh and clean-sounding street punk. Soaring guitars and lots of gang backup vocals. I would have expected myself to listen to this once and move on, but it’s really growing on me. I really like the singer’s voice and the songs are catchy in a good way. I’d say this is better than anything that Dropkick Murphys have put out lately, but not as good as Street Dogs, if that makes any sense to you. –ty (Warbird)


STRUCK A NERVE:
Self-titled: 7”
Hailing from the U.K., Struck A Nerve plays solid melodic hardcore with a strong modern youth crew influence. Musically, there’s not much to set them apart from other bands of their ilk. The riffs are solid and they combine together into tightly written songs, but nothing about them grabs me or makes them stand out to me in any way. Where the band shines, though, is in their vocals. Struck A Nerve’s vocalist Matt doesn’t just scream or shout, he also sings, and sings well. His great vocals really polish up the band’s sound, making otherwise middling hardcore songs sound really great. If you’re a fan of melodic hardcore, this is definitely worth a listen. –Paul J. Comeau (Seven, struckanervehcuk@gmail.com)


SPLINTER CELL:
Will You Be My Friend?: CD
It sounds like the guys in this band aren’t quite sure what they want to sound like, but they are leaning towards really bad rockabilly. The guitar player sounds talented, but he noodles around on the damn thing a little too much. Within a lot of the songs on here are quite a bit of strange time changes. Too many for my liking. This CD just made me feel really bored. If I saw these guys live, I would probably leave whatever venue they were playing at. They have a song that’s all about Robitussin, and another one titled “Octomom.” Give me a break. To answer the question in the CD title, “No.” –Nighthawk (Meth Bog, myspace.com/methbogrecords)


SHANGHAI WIRES:
Black Waves: LP
Snotty ‘77-style street punk. The opening track sounds unmistakably like Defiance’s “No Future, No Hope.” Song topics range from sinking Kamikaze ships, spitting razor blades, and several references to radio masts. Rock’n’roll guitar bends and single syllable vocal snivels. Surprisingly, I really like the drum sound on this record. If you’re looking for something fun to skate to: this is your album. –Guest Contributor (Pure Punk)


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