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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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PULLMAN STRIKE:
People We Know: CD
For whatever reason, I was expecting this to be a melodic hardcore album from the cover, but was surprised to find this was instead an alt-country album. In other words; more Lucero, less Bridge 9. Really, this is pretty fine. There’s some lap steel over a nice, crunchy foundation of guitar, bass, and drums. And the singers put in just the right bit of soulful drawl without going into irritating twang. This band trades in more of a southern Americana sound, rather than rockabilly or cow punk. I would say this is summer, front porch, evening music. Pullman Strike is indebted to bands like Lucero and Slobberbone but they hold their own very well. I would say this is definitely worth a listen. –Adrian Salas (Self Aware)


PLF:
Pulverizing Lethal Force: CD
Re-press of their debut album from some time back. Listening to this, it’s easy to understand why people are stoked on this band. When it comes to grind, not many can touch the ferocity of PLF. They crank this stuff out with unrivaled power. It’s fast and precise with an avalanche of sound that crushes everything in its path. The dual vocal attack is both corrosive and abrasive, so you get it from all sides. They keep the energy constant, shifting tempos to keep it interesting, and it’s as fast as it is catchy, which is no easy task. Every song on here is a crusher, but the tracks that really stand out are “Black Robe,” Human Shield,” “Pinnacle of Weakness,” “Siege of the Headbanger,” “Fighting the Urge,” and the rest. –Matt Average (Haunted Hotel, hauntedhotelrecs.com / To Live A Lie, tolivealie.com)


PIZZAHIFIVE / HOOKER SPIT WINDEX:
I Thought We Were Friends: Split 7”
Don’t let their silly name fool you, PizzaHiFive are some serious grind. With dual banshee screams and guttural vocals, super tight blast beats, and riffs that slay, the eight tracks on their side of the split are everything a grind fanatic could ask for. If that weren’t enough, the Hooker Spit Windex side of the split offers up a helping of crust-tinged grind. I like that Hooker Spit Windex mix up some of their tempos, and it’s not just all blast beats all the time. Sadly though, the band broke up several months before this 7” showed up in my mailbox. Fans of grind take note. –Paul J. Comeau (Rad Girlfriend, radgirlfriendrecords.com)


PERSONAL & THE PIZZAS:
Diet, Crime, and Delinquency: 7”
Just when the burns on the roof of my mouth finally healed from the last time, here comes a piping hot new slice from Personal & The Pizzas! The boys are back in fine form with three more rippers. I gotta say that as much as I love the tunes, I’m just as big a fan of the intros that Personal lays down on some of the records. This one had me choking on a crust! Keep up the good work, Numbnuts! –ty (oopsbabyrecords.com)


PANGEA:
Killer Dreams: 7”
Maybe you had to be at VLHS for the Halloween show, maybe I’m nuts, or maybe it’s obvious, but I think the song “Plasma” on the B side sounds like Nirvana. Like everything that kicked ass about that band squeezed into a song. As a Nirvana fan, I know it’s not possible, but I was fortunate enough to see them do that cover set on Halloween and I’m telling you, this is just as dead on. The rest of this 7” is Pangea belting out three more slices of punk rock and roll perfection. Referring to this as catchy doesn’t do it justice. It doesn’t just catch you, it makes you want to be caught. The song “Love & Alcohol” has gone into my top five love songs of all time list. It’s up there with Ray Price performing “For the Good Times.” To be honest, I didn’t think this band could—or needed to—get better, but this recording proves they did. –Rene Navarro (Lauren / Ghostbot)


MIND AS PRISON:
Maryland Grindcore: EP
Though I don’t listen to grindcore nowhere near as much I used to, I do know a good grind band when I hear it. And pardners, these guys are good! The music is near-blur with thick and heavy guitars cranking out a sheet of abrasive distortion that will rip your ears to shreds. The vocals are in the low and high registers, giving the songs an extra layer in the din of hellish noise. What’s most impressive is how heavy they can keep the music despite it being white-knuckled fast. They’re up there with the great grind bands of the ‘90s. If they would have existed around 1995 to 1998 or so, I would imagine Mind As Prison in the same league as something you would have heard on Pessimiser. You better believe! –Matt Average (To Live A Lie, tolivealie.com)


MAXIMUM EFFORT:
Demo: Cassette
Hardcore punk and UFO/conspiracy theories? It’s a wonder more bands haven’t tread this territory. The only other band I can immediately remember is Darvocets. But Maximum Effort is less paranoid and more direct and defiant in their approach. Stylistically, these guys have a mid-’80s Midwest sound that’s tuneful, with some urgency to keep it moving forward. They never really tip it in the red, speed-wise. Instead, they create a tension in the song and generate energy from that. As a result, the songs are easily remembered long after, unlike that night a friend and I were driving around in the Nevada desert, then, suddenly, I guess it was days later, even though it felt like minutes, we awoke in a police station in Saskatoon, Canada. Strange times. I have these peculiar visual flashes sometimes, though I can’t tell what they are. Bright white light and fuzzy forms floating about a very clean room. Anyway, I digress... Back to the music. Keep it on the music, as it does help drown out this constant humming my head that sounds like the low murmur of a million voices from across the galaxy. There are seven songs on here that vary in tempo and the pacing is pretty good. Peaks and valleys! Songs like “Outerspace” are a happy medium, in contrast to songs like “CIA Man,” or “Dulce, MN.” Then there’s the frantic energy of “Rep/Dem Bullshit” about the shadow government. One side of the tape has sound bites about UFOs and the CIA in between songs, and the other has the songs uninterrupted. I’m curious to hear what they do next. This is pretty good. –Matt Average (Maximum Effort, flizzbangmuck@yahoo.com)


JONPOLNARIZ:
Apie O A Caballito: CD
Puerto Rican garage punk rock that’s raw, toothy, full of heart, and fun as hell. It’s muddy and lo-fi as shit, with a saxophone here and there, showing its Latin influence. This is really great stuff that the slightest cleaning up or glossing will surely hurt. Can I just say, in my limited knowledge, that Puerto Rico is damned good at punk? –Craven (Self-released, lcodrnr@hotmail.com)


JOHNNY ILL BAND:
Self- titled: 7”
I really liked the A side best. It’s upbeat and depressing in a manner reminiscent of The Modern Lovers. A song about hating winter. I also yearn for summer nine months out of the year. The B side concept is great. Both songs are a person’s name with a cute ‘lil drawing and bio. They really turn up the tempo on this side, exuding some fun, twitchy energy. Very glad to discover this cool band. –Rene Navarro (X!, info@x-recs.com)


JAWAZ, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Not quite like a Sandcrawler lumbering through the Jundland Wastes searching for debris to sell, these Jawaz are more of a straight-up hardcore band with a great vocalist who actually sings! This is just a demo, but it sounds great. Can’t wait to hear more. Utini! –ty (Self-released)


HARSH VIBES:
Self-titled: Cassette
Hardcore that slows to a Born Against dirge at the right times. Played just sloppy enough to sound dangerous. Like peanut butter, this is nothing new, but impossible to criticize. –CT Terry (crapoulet.fr)


GRIN AND BEAR IT:
Self-titled: EP
This reminds me a lot of hardcore in the mid-’90s; somewhere between hardcore thrash and powerviolence. The era of bands like Hellnation, Coleman, and Nema. This stuff is fast, noisy, and chaotic! They have some mid tempo parts to hook you in, but, for the most, part it’s played at eye-blurring speeds. Though “Scared” (best song on the record!) slows it down and gets dark and brooding with a nice bass riff that pulls you in before it is eventually blown to hell and back, obliterated the crush of speed. The riff that comes in between the speedy bits of “Deserve” is great. Simple, but effective, and they pull it off smoothly. The drums are wailed on, same with guitars. It makes me wonder if they ever fuck themselves up, such as mash fingers, or slice a hand, with all the thrashing. –Matt Average (Allergic To Fun, allergictofun.blogspot.com)


GARRISON, THE:
Subversion: CD
The Garrison plays punk reggae with strong political lyrics. They’re from Malaysia and the singer El Pheng has a really cool accent / English lyric pronunciation. As influenced by actual reggae as they’re influenced by The Clash, these guys are seriously rebellious, but still know how to create happy-sounding music, even if the lyrics are primarily about despair. Subversion is very, very catchy, with a level of vitality that’s rarely present in records by bands in scenes that have been around forever. Global capitalism sucks, but at least global DIY punk is one of its byproducts. Some of the specific politics discussed in the lyrics aren’t easily understood outside of Malaysia, which adds to the charm. There is nothing not to like here, and it is way less contrived sounding than similar stateside groups. These guys are definitely having more fun than the stoners listening to Bob Marley in your local campus dormitory. –Art Ettinger (Knot, knotrecords.wordpress.co)


FEAR OF LIPSTICK:
Seasons: LP
I’ve always dug these dudes ever since I saw them rip it up at Insubordination Fest in Baltimore many moons ago. They don’t disappoint on this new slab of spit and vinegar. Tight arrangements, furious drum fills, guitars that don’t let up for a millisecond, and vocal hooks galore. I don’t know if this is some kind of space age trip, but I like the one-two punch of “Tie Fighter” and “Satellites” on this record. Watch out Teenage Bottlerocket, these guys are nipping at your heels! –koepenick (P.Trash)


ENFORCERS:
End of Time: LP
Haha. Probably these guys wouldn’t remember, but I kinda came-of-age alongside some of these Montrealers in their previous bands, A Death For Every Sin and Final Word. Ottawa and Montreal are only a short drive apart, and the respective hardcore scenes in the mid-to-late ‘90s were essentially one slightly bigger family. The Montreal guys were always deeply into the Profile/Rock Hotel NYHC world, and Enforcers certainly suggests that not too much has changed. Tight-as-a-drum, heavy metallic hardcore that channels early Leeway, Best Wishes-era Cro-Mags, Killing Time, Breakdown, and the other usual suspects. By no means a reinvention of the wheel, but well-done and expertly executed. A tip of the hat made with an accuracy that puts their decades-long infatuations on display. Good stuff. –Dave Williams (A389)


EDDIE BROCK / LAPSE:
Split: EP
Two powerviolence bands who vary the style enough to stand apart, sound-wise, from each other. Eddie Brock have a good dose of metal (more in tune with Integrity than grindcore) in their guitar sound and riffs, not to mention they are a little faster than Lapse. Both songs, “Pointer Thumb Pinky” and “Absol” bleed together, and you have to listen close, as they are a bit similar in tone. The song goes from fast to a slow pace, then they pick it back up with some back and forth at the end. Some riffs remind me of the metallic hardcore bands of the ‘90s. The side of this split that I play most is Lapse. They have a more traditional powerviolence sound, drinking deep from the well of Infest and Lack Of Interest: drill sergeant-style vocals, crushing riffs, a good amount of low end, and some noise (opening of “Barbarize”) thrown in to keep things interesting. When they hit the high speeds, it’s akin to getting tossed around in a triple set of eight foot waves. They deliver this stuff with undeniable intensity. I can’t stop playing their side! Fuck... So damn good. –Matt Average (To Live A Lie, tolivealie.com / Hostile Input, hostileinput.com)


DISCHARGE / OFF WITH THEIR HEADS:
Split: 7”
Ty wrote the serious review of this, so here goes. Discharge: A.) Can I make a rule? Only Discharge, Motörhead, and the Ramones can wear their own band’s T-shirts. All other bands who do it are dinks. I think that if you invent a genre (d-beat) and a subclass (dis-bands), you can set your own rules. Casualties, please don’t beat me up. B.) Man, it sure looks like the same clock that Jawbreaker has on the cover of 24 Hour Revenge Therapy. C.) Discharge sounds like how I remember them: slightly faster Motörhead, obsessed with terrible, bad shit—rapes, holocausts, children gunning down children, mass graves. Off With Their Heads: Psychically, this is off the charts. A Bill-Beltone-penned tune, Welly Artcore graphic design, Todd Congelliere recording, Mike Watt on bass, Shanty Cheryl on camera, Jimmy Trash on drums, Discharge the Mr. Roper-type neighbor—Ryan Young is living out so many punks-over-twenty-fives’ fantasies simultaneously that your head may explode… and the song’s really good. Ryan’s like a wizard of punk fantasies. Rad. Hey, the labels are mixed up on my copy. –todd (Drunken Sailor)


DECKER:
Rekced: LP
Dave Decker is a friend of mine. Well, it’s 2012 and we’re facebook friends. We’ve talked online a few times, but we’ve never met before. The thing is, after listening to his first solo record I feel like I know him really well. If there is one thing that can be said, it’s that he wears his heart on his sleeve and this record is quite an emotional rollercoaster. The tunes are solid (as are his friends Bill and Todd, who play with him), and I find them stuck in my head quite often. I’m pretty sure there will come a time when we wind up grilling meat and drinking beer together. –ty (ADD)


DAMN BROADS:
Loud, Fast and in the Dark: CD
Damn Broads play catchy punk spanning several subgenres, including street punk and some ska influences. Blazing fast riffs and lots of crew vocals are the common threads throughout these songs. Guitarist Crazines shreds throughout, perhaps revealing some metal influences in her playing, but this is a punk record through and through. Turn it up and sing along, or get to one of their frequent gigs in CT and experience it live. –Paul J. Comeau (Damn Broads, facebook.com/damnbroads)


CENOBITES:
Self-titled: CD
Cenobites are the hook-wielding torture-demons from Clive Barker’s novella The Hellbound Heart and the Hellraiser movies. “We have such sights to show you,” Pinhead, the leader of the Cenobites, promises in the classic line, offering an indescribable convergence of pleasure and pain. In a way, that’s what this band offers, too. Although I would say that the pain of listening to nineteen of their sloppy, angry hardcore songs far outweighs the pleasure that arrives when it’s over. –mp (reverbnation.com/cenobites)


CEILING STARES, THE / SUPER VACATIONS, THE:
Split: 7”
On purple vinyl, Pennsylvania’s The Ceiling States kicks things off with “A Tunnel through the Air.” This psychedelic garage rock track is stuffed to the gills with fuzzed-out guitars, a jangly hook, and ethereal group vocals. Evoking a blend of The Electric Prunes and The Strokes, my only qualm was I wished they threw on another track. The Super Vacations turn up the dial with two new songs, “Hexing” and “Controller.” Their brand of garage, dream rock is something akin to Teenage Fan Club played on 45 RPM, with languorous vocals seeping through a heady gauze of stripped-down Joy Division-type guitar chords. Recommended. –Kristen K (Velocity of Sound, velocityofsound.com / Sweaters & Pearls, sweatersandpearls.com)


CASTET:
Perly Z Lamusa: 7” EP
A Polish hardcore band pays tribute to their influences, covering songs by Circle Jerks, Terveet Kadet, Klaus Mitffoch, Cymeon X, Ustawa O Mlodziezy, ID, HCP, Brudy, and Prezejebane. They do ‘em justice, which I guess is the least one can expect from an endeavor such as this. –jimmy (Pasazer, pasazer.pl)


CASTET / WHITMAN:
Split: 7” EP
Castet: Polish thrash that sounds like it’s comin’ at ye straight outta 1983. Short, fast ‘n’ pissed. Whitman: One up-tempo cover of Social Unrest’s “Mental Breakdown” and one slower paced anthemic original. Two thumbs up, one for each band. –jimmy (Pasazer, pasazer.pl)


CASSETTES, THE:
I’ve Been Gone Far Too Long: 7”
This band is from Washington D.C. and claims to be “steampunk.” Oops, I’ve said too much, you have already judged, haven’t you? –Corinne (Flannel Gurl)


CASH FOR YOUR STORIES:
Self-titled: EP
Okay punk from Manchester that sounds like Leatherface filtered through late ‘80s Dischord releases. The music has a crunch to it without being overbearing. Amid the thud is a strong, tuneful element to move the song along. The songs never break into a quick pace, and there’s not a lot of distortion in the sound either. Instead, the music is a little more layered, almost methodical, like in “Sobotka,” with how it climbs and meanders, as well as having stop-go parts. The standout on here is the opener, “Stand Your Ground,” which has a near anthem like feel about it, due to the chorus and subject matter. –Matt Average (Andi’s Friends, myspace.com/andisfriends)


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·MALE NURSES
·HEARTATTACKS, THE
·Dance of Days: Two Decades of Punk in the Nation’s Capital
·CHAIRMEN OF THE BORED, #19
·PRICKS, THE
·NOT LIKE YOU ISSUE 2
·FICTION, THE/BIRTHDAY BOYS
·QUIT YOUR DAYJOB
·CITIZINE


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