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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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RULETA RUSA:
La Ley: 7”
The title track is an attack on asshole cops told in the first-person. The flip, “Psoriasis,” is both about how fun suffering from that particular malady can be and a comment on the state of America’s healthcare system. This one’s a bit of a departure from the usual Modern Action fodder, in both delivery (both songs are in Spanish, which is no surprise considering a member or two were in Peligro Social) and sound (less reliant on late’70s/early ‘80s West Coast punk conventions and a bit more hardcore welded into their DNA), but it’s no less crucial. It’s limited to 450 copies, but act especially quick ‘n’ order direct from the label and you may be lucky enough to get one of the one hundred copies that has a bullet casing wedged into the record’s center hole. –jimmy (Modern Action)


RUBRICS:
Sow Your Seeds: 7”
This trio out of South Carolina’s May 2011 release includes four new tracks of kick your ass power punk. Combining growling, death metal vocals, amphetamine-induced percussion, and meaty chords the likes of Propaghandi and Born Against, this oughtta be the next thing you pit to. Hitting on topics like freedom, injustice, and that steely-eyed commitment to punk theology, Rubrics brings some of the principle concerns of the genre to the table. Switching things up, “Never Grow Up” passes the mic to female bassist/vocalist, Kerri, whose vox reminds me of Eve Libertine spliced with Joan Jett. Well written, well played. I dare you to stand still while listening to this. Recommended. –Kristen K (Sidejar, sidejarrecords.com)


RESIST:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Wow, been a while since I’ve seen this name on a new release, and, according to what info I was able to glean from the ‘net, this is their first new output in fifteen years. One thrasher and two comparatively mid-tempo workouts here, with socially aware lyrics screamed out and a musical approach that manages to be both straightforward and non-generic. –jimmy (Profane Existence)


RED MASS:
Self-titled: 7”
Dark, unique, hypnotic, and faboo, this definitely had a more lasting impact than the previous release I heard from ‘em. At times, they sound here like The Dicks trying to hit one outta the art-punk field. Fuggin’ love it. –jimmy (Certified PR)


RECKLESS:
Ocean: LP
Phenomenal. On one hand, sure, you can pin this record down in a sentence: melodic crust with personal lyrics. That’s its center. But, goddamn, there’s something really awesome going on here that takes it beyond that. Taking the swagger and fury of bands like Tragedy or Fighting Dogs and blending it with a thrumming undercurrent of melody, Ocean is eight songs that manage to perfectly hit that stride. Vocalist Chainsaw (!) has a great range—she generally sticks with a more gravelly approach that suits the music perfectly (think of the Distillers and you’ve got the right idea), but there a few softer moments scattered throughout that she softens. The lyrics deal with domestic violence, alienation, struggle, and loss—in a way that’s smart and moving and transcendent. The solo on “Forget About It”—one extended note at a time—is bone-simple, but it’s searing and awesome and works ridiculously well. Like I said, Reckless seems like a band that’s pretty easily summed up—but this is one of the records that just came at the right time, and I’m all the better for it. This shit is punk, and get my highest recommendation. –keith (Reckless)


REACTORS:
“It’s Not Important” b/w “Cold Eyes”: 7”
One of many bands to adopt “Reactors” as their moniker, this band hailed from early ‘80s Austin, Texas. They never reached the level of popularity of fellow citizens Big Boys, the Dicks, or even The Huns, and only managed this sole single as their recorded legacy. Both tracks are potent bits of dingy punk rock, but it’s the flip, “Cold Eyes,” that seems to get the Killed By Death clones all hot ‘n’ bothered, and with good reason. A nice reissue here, with a replication of the original cover, plus photos and an interview with one of the members gracing the inside of the sleeve. –jimmy (Rerun)


RATIONS:
How Much Land Does a Man Need?: 7”EP
I loved Rations last record, so it was no surprise that I love this one, too. There are many adjectives that come to mind to describe their music, but beautiful is the one that keeps coming back to me. It makes me feel warm inside. Not necessarily a happy, warm feeling, but maybe something between that and that warm numbness in your face after taking a shot of whiskey out of a metal flask on a cold winter night. Rations takes me to my early twenties. All ages halls and basement shows where the bands said what they wanted with feeling. It’s a good place to be. –ty (Drunken Sailor, drunkensailorrecords.co.uk)


RAPID LOSS:
A Dark Place: 7” EP
This screams prime-grade Midwestern U.S. hardcore circa 1981, but it’s not only of recent vintage, the band hails from Alberta, Canada. Sound’s tight, angry ‘n’ gruff, and it’s clear right off the first listen they aren’t just going through the motions. –jimmy (Rapid Loss)


PUSHERS, THE :
“750 Bonneville” b/w “Bad Bank Blues”: 7”
Predatory piano and a punchy saxophone are right in the middle of straight-ahead New Beach Alliance punk brawl? Huh? The two new instruments work—no ska taint, no jazzy Bill Clinton-isms, no la-ti-da twinkling the keys—and add a new, memorable dimension to the Pushers usual street fight on wax. The two songs give a strange, but cool, mental image. Like Little Richard and the Pinetoppers getting sun with tattooed, teeth-missing punks on a nuclear beach, all getting along and raising a ruckus. Recommended. –todd (Hostage)


PUMPHOUSE GANG:
Self-titled: LP
The Sing Sing label seems to be taking up where Radio Heartbeat left off in the power pop reissue department. The unfortunately-named Pumphouse Gang played punk-inflected rock’n’roll and pop in the U.K. in the mid-’70s. I can’t help but chuckle looking at the guys in the band and thinking about them singing songs about teenagers. All kidding aside, a quality reissue of a lost power pop gem. Heavy stock glossy cover and informative, if brief, liner notes. For fans of The Beat, The Boys and RadioCity. –Sal Lucci (Sing Sing)


PSUDOKU:
Space Grind: Cassette
Intergalactic, hyper-speed grindcore madness from Poland: shit your pants riffage, incredible tightness, and precision that would make Jon Chang smirk with envy. All this performed by a one man band that also goes by the moniker of Parlamentarisk Sodomi, a powerviolence band. Constructing this album must have been a labor of love, for sure, because the consensus is that grindcore’s definitely not for everyone (too metal for punks, too punk for metalheads.) Love it or don’t, get the fuck out of the way if you hear this blasting from someone’s car stereo! –Juan Espinosa (Revulsion, revcords@gmail.com)


POST TEENS:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Sometimes that overdriven, lo-fi approach to recording is pitch perfect to what a band’s trying to get across, and this is a perfect example. The muddied, blown-out sound complements well the piledriver beats ‘n’ slashing hooks the band’s doling out like some sorta hardcore band trying their best at breaking the Top 40. Not quite as poppy as, say, the Marked Men, but no less intense. –jimmy (Post Teens)


PENETRATION PANTHERS:
Perpetual 80’s: 7” EP
A member or two of Gehenna and Gravehill get their punk on. The results have a sorta “what if Black Flag had come from Detroit” feel—sludgy, but raw and rockin’. –jimmy (A389)


PEEPLE WATCHIN’:
Demo: Cassette
For those of you, like me, who were bummed out that The Credentials called it quits way too soon, Zack is back with a brand new band and it’s a total rager: pop punk that could have come right out of the early ‘90s Gilman scene. But they’re a bit more mid-tempo and melodic that Zack’s previous band. A couple of these songs have been stuck in my head for days, something that The Credentials, no matter how good they were, never seemed to do. –Chris Mason ((Self-released)


PALE CREATION:
Twilight Haunt: LP
I sense some kind of dark, spiritual connection between Dom at A389 and myself. Not only does A389 consistently release the best current hardcore records around (and thanks to A389 and Deathwish, there are a ton of great new bands getting the exposure they deserve), but it also re-releases some essential records that could otherwise be doomed to obscurity. A389’s newest reissue is an absolutely crucial slab of Clevo “Holy Terror” hardcore: Pale Creation’s sole full-length release to date, the crushing Twilight Haunt. Admittedly, I was never completely sold on Pale Creation at the time of this record’s initial release. Perhaps my angry, youthful exuberance was so deeply entrenched in the more linear and breakdown-smattered writing of Integrity and Ringworm (and yes, One Life Crew) to understand why Pale Creation garnered so many comparisons to these bands. But as my musical priorities evolved from kickbox-moshability to complexity, atmosphere, and proficiency, Pale Creation became a staple in my listening. Sure, one can still draw comparisons to the more visible Clevo/Holy Terror bands, but Pale Creation are an incredibly unique beast, incorporating off-kilter rhythms, bleak soundscapes, and nods to a plethora of darker genres and subgenres across the musical spectrum. A phenomenal record (not unlike their newer releases!) that I never managed to pick up back in the day, so it’s safe to say I’m thrilled to have my paws on it now. Brilliant. –Dave Williams (A389)


ORCA TEAM:
Take My Hand: 7”
Seattle’s Orca Team offer up three tunes that recall a time where guys would wear suits and ladies would wear dresses to go dance to rock bands, after flipping a nickel to a soda jerk for a glass of pop. This is some classy stuff that has hints of proto psychedelia (that would later be fully realized in the hits of Nuggets). Neat stuff! Get on it. –Vincent Battilana (HHBTM)


OPPOSITION RISING:
Aftermathematics: CD
An odd amalgam of tough guy hardcore and intelligent, political punk, Opposition Rising is an up and coming Boston band to watch for. In an era when musicians justifiably complain about music piracy, Opposition Rising takes the opposite approach, giving copies of this CD away for free. The entire album is likewise available online for downloading, with a link to by the LP, for those reeled in by the free version. The tough guy bits are interspersed with odd ska breakdowns that are only odd in that they somehow don’t seem at all out of place. The frontman’s vocals are way above average, too. No opposition here. –Art Ettinger (Opposition, oppositionrising.com)


ONIONS, THE:
“Alien Astronaut” b/w “Till the End of the Night”: 7”
Solid 7”. As the name implies, “Alien Astronaut” has a science fiction feel to it. The track’s heavily-phased guitar and subject matter leads me to believe The Onions are big fans of the Necessary Evils. “Alien Astronaut” has a really fucking vicious vocal delivery—not quite Tomata du Plenty heavy (what is?) but not too far off either. B side is chockfull of Johnny Thunders riffs and is nearly as cool as the A side. Added bonus: cover art by Bob Scott (Mongrel Zine rules). Recommended. –ryan (Certified PR, certifiedprrecords.com)


OLD WIVES:
Backed in a Corner: CD
The opening track on this disc is amazing! It’s so good, in fact, that I felt that the rest of the disc couldn’t live up to its awesomeness. It’s not that the rest is bad by any means—it’s standard pop punk stuff—but, damn, that first song stuck with me for awhile. It would have been great to have that song on a 7”. –ty (When’s Lunch)


OLD FLINGS:
2011 Demos: CDEP
Old Flings started as an attempt to put some muscle behind singer and acoustic guitarist Matt Evans. It turned into a legitimate band that has a Hot Water Music influence but with, perhaps, a little more indie and punk sound. It’s quite different than Evans’ hardcore punk band, Just Die! There’s nothing complicated or unique here, just six songs with strong, endearing vocals and a sound reminiscent of Liars Academy—which is probably why I find this release so up my alley—as I always thought they were a pretty underrated band. The fourth track, “Stranded,” is the one exception to this, with an acoustic sound and a contribution from someone who sounds like Cat Power (but I’m assuming is not). It’s a very beautiful song and serves as a nice break from the punk material. My one major complaint is that sometimes Evans’ vocals fall a bit flat and the lyrics, while not stupid, aren’t as powerful as they might be. Considering these are demos, though, they’re not too bad. I’d be interested in hearing what they do with a full-length. –kurt (Bitter Melody)


OBN IIIs:
The One and Only: LP
This might be the best record I’ve bought in a long time. I almost didn’t buy it because of the price. (Fourteen dollars at my local record shop!) I’m trying to come to grips with the increasing prices of records (even used ones, jeez!). Anyway, attitude-laden punk rock’n’roll. Opening track “If the Shit Fits” probably best sums up OBN IIIs. “New Dark Age” is Mr. OBN III’s homage to Iggy Pop. Production is lo-fi but you can tell the band is competent and also spent time and effort recording the songs. I really dig the bass tone but it sometimes gets a little lost in the mix. OBN III himself is a prolific man, doing time with The Bad Sports, John Wesley Coleman, and probably others. I hope to see this band live sometime soon. –Sal Lucci (Tic Tac Totally)


NOW DENIAL / GET LAID :
Hungrier Than the Wolf: Split: 7”
Now Denial, Massachusetts’ titans of heavy music return on this split 7” with Get Laid. Making music with no regard for genre boundaries for nearly ten years, Now Denial offers up two of their best yet on this 7”. Of the two songs, “Wasted Lives” was my favorite. Filled with strong hooks, and a mix of both screamed and sung vocals, this song embodied everything I find awesome about Now Denial. Boston’s Get Laid are a screamy and thrashy affair. Hardcore punk that made me think of a heavier X. “Artex” was my favorite of their three songs. While I enjoyed what they had to offer, after a few listens I stopped flipping the record and just listened to the Now Denial side on repeat. It’s just that good. If you’ve never checked out Now Denial, this is a great way to get into the band before picking up their latest full-length. And, who knows, maybe you’ll find yourself digging Get Laid as well. –Paul J. Comeau (Get Young, contact@nowdenial.net)


NO TOMORROW BOYS, THE:
“(Do The) No Tomorrow Twist” b/w “Neanderthal for Your Love” : 7”
Hailing from a planet with leopard-spotted skies, where press release references to juvenile delinquents, leather jackets, switchblades, pompadours, and Little Richard are still interesting, the No Tomorrow Boys attempt to tunnel out of the Dullsville County Jail with just two guitars and some drumsticks. Their plan—as exemplified in the anthemic call to arms “(Do The) No Tomorrow Twist”—is a fairly well concocted one; the song jets right along at an admirable level of attempted raucousness. But, as so often happens to the best-laid plans of be-pompadoured mice and leather jacketed men, the whole restored ‘57 Custom apple cart is overturned by the sad fact that i have to sit on the living room floor in the lotus position with headphones on and the volume cranked whilst doing weird things with my fingers and palms in a state of utmost psychic concentration in order to mentally discern exactly WHERE THE HELL THE GUITARS ARE in the mix of this record. I mean, the drums and vocals are fine, but the guitars are like two tiny bugs and there is no bass. I’m going to find it awfully hard to screw at the drive-in with guitars this absent. And it’s not like this is some big shambolic echoey sonic muck where the guitars just wound up getting buried in the endzone; this shit is direct and clear and focused. It’s just largely inaudible. Kind of a cool record on several levels; alas, said levels do not include the guitar levels in the mix. BEST SONG: “(Do The) No Tomorrow Twist” BEST SONG TITLE: “Neanderthal for Your Love” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Etchings in the vinyl’s run-off grooves read “HOT DAMN, TAMALE!” and “LJMF.” –norb (Teen-Age Riot)


NO COMPLY:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Spastic, warp-factor-nine hardcore/grind stuff. –jimmy (To Live A Lie)


NITAD: En Ding Ding Varld:
En Ding Ding Varld: 7” EP
On this latest EP, Nitad take the mid-tempo hardcore they’ve dealt in the past and take it one step further. The three tracks on the A-side just grind and churn their way into your noggin’, while the lone track on the B-side, “Leva Bara För Att Dö,” adds a bit of post-punk to the mix to twist things up even further. Great stuff from a great band that continues to find new an interesting little cubbyholes to dive into and explore. –jimmy (Adult Crash)


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