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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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KIDS OF ZOO:
Self-titled: LP
Just when you think you have these Australian skronkers pegged as the less jazz-flecked cousins of early-period Saccharine Trust, they drop into the deep end of the pool and swim out to edgier, dissonant, and darker waters. At turns hypnotic, moody, heavy, and always noisy as hell, this is one folks are gonna be searching out in future times. Apparently limited to three hundred copies, so act fast, suckas. –jimmy (Adagio 830, adagio380.de)


KEVLAR BIKINI:
Explodisiac: CD
Great name and they are from Croatia, to boot. Metal that kicks your head in until you say “thank you.” With song titles like “Supersized Buttcake” and “Urinea,” you know that you are in for a pummeling. I want to get one of those boomboxes guys. Can you mail me one? –koepenick (Self-released)


JOINT D≠:
Strike Gently: LP
Formerly Joint Damage and sued by Joint Damage™ (the insert includes a copy of the cease-and-desist. Nice touch.), it’s speared by Nick of Logic Problem and Brain F≠ (pronounced “flannel”: that ≠ sign comes in handy). Brain F≠ is a nice vista to look at Joint D≠. Two steps back and it sounds like a belt sander, which works as an effective exfoliant for prying parents and thin-skinned rock rap hip hoppers who played the Dunkin’ Donuts Stadium in Rhode Island. But up close, the DNA’s tightly wound double helixes of melodies and a virtual who’s who of start-naming-your-favorite-Japanese-and-Scandi-hardcore bands. And when I start having discussions with myself of, “Who put Stalin into my Gauze? Who Terveet Kädet’d my Hjertestop?” Out of North Carolina? Of course it makes sense that Daniel of Sorry State had his hand putting this out. Of course it’s pitch perfect world-is-local, local-is-world hardcore hardcore (hardcore without foot-long goatees, basketball jerseys, or a silly dude who goes by “Ballz” in the band). “Defect Defect doppelgangers?” I ask myself. Who cares? It rules and sure as fuck isn’t the clowns in Joint Damage™. Chalk this up as Nikola Tesla approved. It’s got magnetic flux density through the roof. –todd (Sorry State)


IMAGES:
Thought Patterns: EP
Images are situated betwixt power pop and poppy punk in the vein of Undertones and Buzzcocks. The songs are upbeat and never stop. Everything is up front and right there in your face. They keep it simple and to the point, which give the songs that extra punch. “Caught Me Off Guard” is definitely the stand out here. Mix up some early Descendents with the Buzzcocks and pour some syrup on that. It’s poppier than hell, and like anything sugary, you keep on wanting more. I have made the motion that this is thee official song of the summer, along with limeade being the official beverage of summer 2012. –Matt Average (Water Under The Bridge, waterunderthebridgerecords.com / 45RPM, calimucho.com)


HUSSY, THE:
Stab Me: 7”
Where was this band when I had the misfortune of living in Madison, WI for three years? This insane Madison two-piece with a strange sound and neat-o male/female vocals is prolifically releasing a lot of material of a fairly diverse variety, but all firmly planted in the scummier underbelly of garage punk. The four songs included here are very, very catchy. I’d rather see them team up with at least another bandmate or two, but who am I to step on their toes? The title song is also on their latest LP and they even put together a wacky video for it that is well worth looking up online. Zany, goofy, and a shitload of fun, The Hussy takes all pretension out of the garage punk scene and stabs it in the face. –Art Ettinger (Eradicator, eradicatorrecords.bigcartel.com)


HIGH DIVE:
Self-titled: CD
I ain’t exactly the world’s biggest Defiance, OH fan or anything, (Ryan Woods is in both groups) so I wasn’t expecting too much from this, but I gotta say I’m pleasantly surprised. This is catchy, jangly punk from Bloomington that focuses mainly on LGBT issues with a smattering of general “what does it all mean” type lyrics. The singer kinda sounds like Matt Tobey. (Mostly because neither one is necessarily gifted with an amazing singing voice but they just go for it and make it work for them anyway, though they occasionally use similar melodies, too.) High Dive isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel here, but there’s a lot to enjoy if you take the time to let the songs sink in. This one’s a grower. –Ryan Horky (No Idea, noidearecords.com)


HAWKS AND DOVES:
Year One: CD
Full length album featuring members of Planes Mistaken For Stars and Hot Water Music. This sounds like pure alt radio 1997 to me, with hints of later Helmet, the Toadies, and Pond or similar grunge/post grunge type of sound. –frame (No Idea, noidearecords.com)


GRANDMA’S BOYFRIEND:
Self-titled: 7”
This is chock full of sappy songs of unrequited love and/or murder! Musically, they sound like a less punk version of the Groovie Ghoulies mixed with a super power pop version of The Ramones. They blaze through six catchy tracks here, most of which are barely over a minute long. I liked this quite a bit. –Mark Twistworthy (Log Lady, theeloglady@gmail.com)


GOLDEN BOYS, THE:
Dirty Fingernails: LP
Dirty Fingernails is the fifth LP from this Austin TX quintet, and honestly I think it’s really the first record of theirs that truly feels like a conceived album rather than just a collection of songs. While the Golden Boys roots are in wild and raucous garage rock, this album is largely full of anthemic hits that are guaranteed to stick in your head for days. This record presents them as kind of like a less refined, more musically raw answer to modern garage rock elder statesmen Reigning Sound, while at the same time giving a nod to the hooky pop of Elvis Costello And The Attractions. While songs like “California,” the title track “Dirty Fingernails,” and the re-recorded version of “Older Than You” are all standouts (although the slightly heavier, original version of “Older Than You” from the Casual Victim Pile compilation is even better), my favorite track is the closing track “We Are Young.” Dirty Fingernails is easily on my top five records of 2012 so far, and I predict it’s there to stay. It’s an instant classic and gets my highest recommendation. –Mark Twistworthy (12XU, info@12xu.net)


GIT SOME:
Self-titled: 7”
This 7” offers up three tracks of noisy and distorted rock’n’roll: catchy riffs—with just the right amount of guitar wankery—and sung/yelled vocals. Side A features two short rippers in “Exhaustion=Feracity,” and “Wipe the Brain.” While Git Some are good when they tear through riffs like demons, the real gem for me was the slow burner “Accountability Starts with Me,” on the B-side. Here, the band gets slower, heavier, and a bit more lumbering with their riffs. It allows room for a more expansive sound. The sticker on the cover says that Git Some Features two members of Planes Mistaken For Stars, but this 7” is so good I think we can forgive them for past sins. It’s a follow up to their 2010 LP Loose Control, and highly recommended. –Paul J. Comeau (Alternative Tentacles)


GENTLEMAN JESSE:
Leaving Atlanta: CD
Finally! The follow-up to Introducing! At least that was my feeling when I first got this. I wasn’t quite too sure what to expect when I put this on. I knew that I was definitely in for some good power pop, but I didn’t know how good. 2008’s Introducing was nothing less than excellent (admittedly, it took me a while to come around…). About the time I started listening to the first LP nonstop, I started reading about how a new one was coming. Then a 7” that would put most power poppers to shame came out on Douchemaster, yet it failed to leave any sort of lasting impression. With still no word of when what is now Leaving Atlanta was coming out (at least none that I could see), Hozac issued a GJ 7” that was every bit as good as the first record; it really got my hopes up for this album. So, you see, I was a bit uncertain what was gonna happen when I put this one on. I listened openly with a touch of apprehension. Sonically, this is a really lovely recording. No doubt. The instrumentation is all that I could hope for, and the vocals are on point. However, lyrically, it just hasn’t clicked with me just yet. While Introducing had a real sense of desperation, of simultaneously being both hopeful and hopeless, Leaving can come across as whiny at times. I truly believe that the apprehension I went into this album with made me look for something, but I’m still not certain whether what I found is actually there. That said, I think you should check this record out if you had a love of the first LP. It is still better than the gross majority of power pop I have heard lately, and probably better than whatever you’ve been hearing recently. –Vincent Battilana (Douchemaster)


FUNFUNS, THE:
Self-titled: 12” EP

As the name alludes to, this is poppy stuff. But, fortunately, it’s not some saccharine shit that insults your intelligence. More somewhere between early punk and power pop. They have a keyboard that gives them a new wave aspect, but I doubt they were rocking the skinny ties and pinstripe shirts. “Wait Forever” is maybe my favorite song on here. It has a simple chorus that burrows into your brain, but the delivery and the tone of the song are what will have you coming back. It’s the type of song you throw on the end of the summer mix tape or CD-R. The song, “Everybody Likes You (I Don’t)” delivers on the promise of the title.With a title like that, it better be punk. It’s the most direct song on here. The speed is turned up a smidge, it’s a little agitated in delivery, but they keep all their pop sensibilities intact. Recorded back in 2008, and finally seeing the light of day, members have moved on to other bands like the Zebrassiers. A mere three hundred of these exist. Whoa!

–Matt Average (P. Trash, ptrashrecords.com)


FROZEN TEENS:
Self-titled: LP
Sometimes sad and mopey, sometimes possessed and bouncy, always unequivocally melodic. Frozen Teens create songs that feel like naturally intricate webs pulling influences from some of the roughest and toughest scrappers, as well as poppy pretty boys in matching outfits that their manager picked out for them. Midwestern, desperate power pop; land-locked and frozen in. The only viable escape is being as tuneful as possible. At which Frozen Teens have definitely succeeded, and in the process have written an album that would easily appeal to patrons of both Goner and Recess Records. –Daryl Gussin (Mauled By Tigers / Do You Hear We)


FORBIDDEN DIMENSION:
The Golden Age of Lasers: LP
Like an ancient television set collecting dust in the attic that suddenly clicks on, through the static comes a transmission from elsewhere. A ghoulish host brings a cavalcade of short stories. Horror, science fiction, and all manners of the macabre are covered. Musical tales of wolves, witches, and Tor Johnson that fall in place somewhere between The Mummies and Motörhead—or maybe the Damned and the MC5—or maybe all of them thrown in a Necronomicon-induced vortex. In reality, Forbidden Dimension hails from the frozen tundra of Calgary, Alberta. First reanimated in the late ‘80s, the band has been popping out of crypts from time to time over the last twenty-plus years to inject us with the best in Canadian creep rock. The Golden Age Of Lasers has the band on point, as usual. There is a little more ‘70s rock swagger thrown into the mix compared to earlier releases but it all seems to work. The album is solid as a whole, but my favorites here are “Tor Johnson Mask,” “Eine Kleine Frostmusik,” and the record’s closer, “Lillydale Orphanage.” Press this puppy in purple marbled wax and wrap it in the always amazing artwork of TomB (the alter ego of front man Jackson Phibes), and call it a classic! A must for lovers of Misfits and Hex Dispensers. –ty (Saved By Vinyl, savedbyvinyl.com)


FAT HISTORY MONTH:
Fucking Despair: LP
I think of slowcore indie rock as drowning in its own self-seriousness, but Boston two-piece Fat History Month make it unique by injecting their songs with pitch black humor. I call them “Smartass Slint.” Their squalls of backwards-sounding guitar go on for ninety seconds or eleven minutes, and have titles like “You Can Pick Your Nose, You Can Pick Your Friends Nose, But You Cant Escape Your Horrible Family.” This band is the friend who you love for their biting jokes, and when they do something horrible to themselves you feel bad for laughing through their cries for help. –CT Terry (Sophomore Lounge, sophomoreloungerecords.com)


ELVIS CHRIST:
“Rock & Roll Savior” b/w “Wild at Heart”: 7”
Bands with Elvis, Hitler, or Christ incorporated into the name generally get an admittedly unfair strike from me. That sort of egregious name-dropping brings to mind the “Jesus Was a Cunt” shirt, which I feel reflects poorly on agnostics more than it serves to freak out the squares. Anyway, “Rock & Roll Savior”won me over right away. It’s a solid fifties rocker with a punky tempo and Hunx-esque vocals. Moves and grooves. Good one. Screw me. What’s in a name, anyway? –Billups Allen (1-2-3-4 Go!)


ELSINORES, THE:
No Love Lost: Cassette
Last time I heard this band, I wouldn’t have compared them to the Denton crop of garage punk bands (I don’t know why, but the guy singer’s voice specifically reminds me a little bit of the dudes from Occult Detective Club). Either way, their quality has not dropped on this tape and The Elsinores are still producing a great brand of lo-fi pop songs. Sugar in the songwriting, dirt in the production: what a beautiful recipe. –Bryan Static (Karmic Swamp, karmicswamp.org)


EL PATHOS:
Hate & Love: CD
These Austin, Texas dudes bring a refreshing cocktail of some ‘60s psych punk and Iggy-style rock to the table while managing to not sound like either. El Pathos is a punk rock supergroup of sorts, as the rhythm section is being held down by Buxf Parrot and Pat Doyle of the legendary Dicks and Offenders respectively. Pedigree aside, this disc kills it in a totally unexpected way. Every song has its own identity and vocalist David Duett has a strong enough presence to keep it all together. This disc hasn’t left my rotation since I got it. Totally worth seeking out. –Garrett Barnwell (Saustex Media, saustexmedia.com)


EDDIE BROCK:
Brand New Day: EP
These fuckers crush all that get in their path; hardcore in the vein of Infest and Crossed Out, with a heavier-than-hell low end that just decimates. Distortion that tears holes into the air, a vocalist who has a deep, throaty, abrasive growl spitting out words that are near blind with rage like no other, and percussion that cracks skulls. The songs are dense and create a massive wall of sound that is imposing enough to clear a room of the timid. Great stuff! I thought their split with Lapse was pretty good, and they’re even better here. –Matt Average (A389)


DYKEMANN FAMILY:
Self-titled: 7”EP
Break out the pomade and creepers; this is old timey garage from Croatia served up with a side of surf and rockabilly. Perfectly pitched screams and howls the likes of Frank Black, punctuate this American ‘60s style rock’n’roll with influences by The Cramps and The Dead Boys. Right out the gate, “Wasted Boy” goes headlong into a frothy four-four rhythm and holds steady throughout the four new songs. If this doesn’t make you move, you ain’t got ears. Recommended. –Kristen K (Disco-Lite, discolite@gmail.com)


DRUG PROBLEM:
Self-titled: LP

This is a proper vinyl issue of a tape this New Zealand band released in 2009. When it was given to me, I was told it was “like a more extreme Dystopia,” and while they are missing key components of the comparison (the guitar tone, etc.), the feel of the music reminds me a lot of the first time I heard Dystopia. The bulk of the record is a lurching, lumbering mess; slow but moving ahead with an energy that makes it feel like it might just fall over on top of itself. The fast parts are interspersed at irregular intervals, and don’t do much to relieve the tension. Listening to this album actually hurts, it makes me feel claustrophobic. This is the soundtrack to waking up every day and having to work a job you hate because you have to survive, and wondering if the tradeoff is even worth it. This band broke up in 2010, so I feel like this record is probably flying below the radar in the U.S., but if sludge or powerviolence is your thing, this record is more than worth the effort of tracking down.

–Ian Wise (Diseased Audio, diseasedaudio.blogspot.com)


DOPESTROKE:
EFIL4ZKNUP: CDEP
Melodic hardcore founded on taut gang vocals and crackling percussion barrels forth from this foursome out of Philly. Slated to play at Philly Punx Picnic, the city’s annual DIY festival, Dopestroke is quickly gaining attention for their celebrated drug use and “fuck the police” ‘tude. No fluorescent energy drinks for these guys, cocaine and hallucinogens are their bread and butter. “We Get High” is my fave of the five tracks as they wax poetic on chemical enhancements with tight lyrics and guitar strokes to match. A force to be reckoned with. Recommended. –Kristen K (Eaglebauer Enterprises, mpurchla@yahoo.com)


DIVERS:
“Glass Chimes” b/w “Montrose”: 7”
First vinyl outing by some ex-Drunken Boat gentlemen playing poignant and heartwarming punk ala Mush, meeting the undeniable energy of a truly powerful live band. The A side is a duet with Erica “Yeaaahhh!” Freas of RVIVR, and the B side is an endearing tribute to Jamie Ewing packed with hat tips to specific highlights from the Bent Outta Shape catalog. This record doesn’t stand a chance against the dangers of frequent re-listening. –Daryl Gussin (Rumbletowne, rumbletowne.com)


DISCONNECTS, THE / CRAZY AND THE BRAINS:
Split: 7”
The Disconnects deal out three solid rock blasts of punk ‘n’ roll. Driving guitars and snotty vocals. Way fast and well done. Crazy And The Brains also have three solid punkers, including a cover of The Ramones’ “Oh Oh I Love Her So.” The only difference is Crazy And The Brains carry their melodies with a xylophone. “A xylophone?” you ask. Yes, a xylophone. And it endures well beyond the novelty. Really good instrumentation. Score one for originality. It just works. Great record all the way through. Worth whatever people are paying for seven inches these days. –Billups Allen (Baldy Longhair)


DISCO LEPERS:
Club Sarcoma 18-30: LP
Another full length dose of trebly, snotty punk rock mayhem from these obnoxious louts with a singer who sounds like he’s taken third place in an Eric Cartman sound-alike contest. With song titles like “100 Hep C Trannies in the Public Pool,” “The Government Took My Virginity,” and “Teenage Menopause,” you can bet you’re not gonna get MDC/Crass-styled proselytizing about the sorry state of the planet, but then again, do you really want that from a band called Disco Lepers? –jimmy (Pure Punk, purepunk.it)


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