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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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LANDMINE MARATHON:
Gallows: CD
The latest release from Landmine Marathon (the band’s fourth and second for Prosthetic), finds them showcasing their fullest production and sound to date. The band’s grindcore and death metal roots are entirely in effect over the course of the eight songs. Grace Perry’s vocals sound amazing and are the strongest they have ever been (and they weren’t bad before, by any means). She has been honing her craft and her vocals are the main propellant of each song. While the novelty of a female vocalist may have gained the band some notoriety in the metal scene, by now Perry has made it clear that she can hold her own, and then some. My primary complaint with Gallows (beside the mere thirty minute time length) is the lack of conviction from the rest of the band. The music doesn’t seem to match the ferocity of Perry’s vocals, nor does it excite or break any new ground. There are very few memorable grooves, riffs, or breakdowns and if anything sticks out it is the occasional catchy discernable lyric from Perry. The music plays homage to many genres—hardcore, grind, thrash and death—but on Gallows, Landmine Marathon seems to show themselves to be a jack of all trades but not quite yet a master of any of them. –kurt (Prosthetic)


KOMATOS:
Two Hands: LP
Well, apart from some pretty rad solos (no, seriously!) and a plethora of pick slides, this seems like pretty damn passable d-beat/crust worship with some metallic leanings. Nice production, plenty of skulls, lyrics in Russian and English, and involvement from roughly a dozen different labels. Folks into, say, Portland, OR bands like Hellshock or Nux Vomica would do well to track this one down. –keith (Total Punk)


KING KHAN AND BBQ SHOW, THE:
Self-titled: 7”
It looks like King Khan And BBQ have kissed and made up, as this is their first record since the unfortunate break up in 2010. I don’t know if this heralds a full-fledged return of King Khan And BBQ Show, as details are scarce. On first listen, I didn’t much care for this record. I’ll admit I’m prejudiced against two-song 7”s, especially if one song is a cover. King Khan And BBQ Show’s 7”s and EPs usually leave me flat. I don’t know if they save their B-material for 7”s but I have been disappointed by most of them, which is a shame because I love King Khan And BBQ Show so much. It’s starting to grow on me, though. –Sal Lucci (Sultan, marksultan.com)


KAMALAS:
Self-titled: 7”
It’s like the 90’s are back. The record sounds too slow at 33, too fast at 45 and pop punk is coming out at both speeds. Sounds a lot like a lo-fi Tilt or maybe Discount. This is exactly the type of thing that I would have bought from the Mutant Pop distro catalog and spun a few times. Fans of the late-’90s ragged pop punk style will find a lot to like here. –frame (Fucking Scam, fuckingscam.bandcamp.com)


JOSH DAVID AND THE DREAM JEANS:
Can You Believe We Landed on the Moon?: CD
This is more than a little reminiscent of a very brief period between the first and second waves of U.S. punk, when the old guard was just starting to get taken over by a harsher new breed, yet still well within the period when punk rock was less about being a soundtrack for assholes beating each other up and more about raising a bit of a fuss just for the hell of it. Though I haven’t clue one as to where these guys are from, this specifically reminds me of that little clutch of early Texas bands like Legionaire’s Disease and The Dicks, bands who could make being abrasive and obnoxious sound like the greatest thing in the world. Mr. David sounds here like he’s trying desperately to shred his larynx into tiny bits of confetti, while his cohorts sneak in some tasty, creative bits as they smash and bash at their instruments like they were piñatas stuffed with money. Loud, crude, chaotic and all kinds of fucked up, and you get fourteen glorious tracks of it, punk. –jimmy (Josh David And The Dream Jeans, joshdavidandthedreamjeans@gmail.com)


IRON HAND:
Usurper Divine: 7” EP
Take everything I said about Iron Hand’s Liquid Assets release, and apply it here as well. There are four original tracks on Usurper Divine, including two of my favorite of their songs, “Old Habits,” and “Short Sighted.” There isn’t quite as much guitar wankery on this record as on Liquid Assets, but the riffs are just as awesome, and the lyrics are pointed and political, just the way I like. If crust or d-beat are your thing, you really need to check this band out already. –Paul J. Comeau (Red Scroll, ironhandcrushesall@gmail.com)


IMPOSTERS, THE:
Down by the Bay: EP
What happened here?! I thought their Pool Maintenance EP was pretty good, and heard a lot of good things about their LP (which I’m hoping to one day find). But this is not good. It’s as though they are working through some creative block and hammering out whatever they can. The songs sound uninspired and forced. Sounds like something bands do while messing around at practice, but that’s as far as songs like this should go. Blehhh... –Matt Average (Headcount, headcountrecords.com)


GRANNIES, THE:
For Those About to Forget to Rock: LP
Are the Grannies just a gimmick band, only entertaining because they play in drag? I think not. Now that they’re on their seventh full-length, it’s safe to say that they’re at least somewhat serious about their music. Or at least as serious as a group of grownups with a new song entitled “Denture Breath” can be. This is an almost too pretty package for the seedy Grannies: a beautiful gatefold LP, with a full CD copy of the album included as well. The music is the same as it’s always been, with aggressive verses bookending tuneful choruses/sing-alongs. Lot of similar, better bands (Trash Brats and Diesel Queens come to mind) broke up quickly, so these guys are scoring major stamina points, if nothing else. This is a solid sampling of the Grannies, as good as their earlier records I heard. At this rate, they seem to be in it for the long haul. They’ll be granny age for real by the time they hang it up. –Art Ettinger (Wondertaker, wondertaker.com)


GOD GIVEN ASS:
Checking If They’re Still Alive: CD-R
Atop my list of pet peeves are bands that send burned CDs of their 7” or LPs in for review instead of sending the actual product they wish to have reviewed. I instantly feel as if I cannot give this a fair review because of this, as I believe the review should encompass the entire package, which I don’t have in front of me. That being said, God Given Ass are a band from Finland who sent in a four-song CD-R of their new 7”. Musically, they play no-frills ‘70s-inspired punk. It seems fun and harmless, but I would like to have seen the actual 7” –Mark Twistworthy (Monsp, monsp.com)


GATSBYS AMERICAN DREAM:
Ribbons & Sugar: LP
The internet told me this was originally released by a Seattle band in 2003 and has been reissued on vinyl this year. The internet also told me this was Gatsbys American Dream’s second album and is a concept record loosely based on George Orwell’s important book Animal Farm. In turn, my brain warned me that ninety-five percent of concept albums are pretentious piles of shit and my ears confirmed this important axiom upon dropping the needle: a sprawling crap field of progressive punk emo with shifting time signatures and ill-advised songwriting twists and turns that never allowed any quality hooks to emerge. Avoid this at all costs unless complexity in rock and roll is your bag. –Jake Shut (Overdue Collection Agency)


FUTURE NOW, THE:
“Hangman” b/w “The Runaway”: 7”
I find the first song, “Hangman,” loses me quite quickly and drags on too long. It sounds like an outtake from Superunknown, which I still have on cassette. Busted it out to verify. Yep, sounds like the runt of the litter Cornell refused to sing on. The second song sounds like Stone Temple Pilots, and, yes, that really is all there is to say about it. I guess I just don’t understand the point of releasing something so identical to what I grew up listening to and, in its majority, completely ignoring. Pearl Jam released an album last year, and it didn’t sound like Ten. Real bands have their own sound, or at the very least their own approach. There’s no way this band can claim to have such a thing. –Rene Navarro (Kiss Of Death / Sound Study)


FULL SUN:
High Ceiling: Cassette
Kind of lo-fi indie garage, though that could be the cassette. If I had to put them on a show here, I’d probably pair them with Black Wine—rough around the edges rock that’s both versatile, and that not a lot of other people play that often these days. –joe (Houseplant)


FULL OF HELL:
Roots of Earth Are Consuming My Home: 12” EP
A mix of modern hardcore, crust, grind, and noise. The music is heavy and pummeling, with dual vocals, a massive wall of guitar, and a hulking low end. I like the addition of noise, such as on the opener to “Pile of Dead Horses.” The abrasive electronics at the beginning remind me of Cabaret Voltaire’s “Nag Nag Nag.” The addition of noise brings another dimension to their sound that will separate the passive from the dedicated. “White Mare” is a workout in sound, with electronics bleeding, twittering, and screeching in and out, blanketing a dry vocal shout. The downside of this record is that some of the songs tend to not distinguish themselves too much for the other, as most of side two, and it blends into one tedious song. –Matt Average (A389, a389records.com)


FUCKED UP:
Bonus Singles: 7”
Everyone who pre-ordered the latest Fucked Up LP David Comes to Life got a treat in the form of four limited 7”s. Three of the records have a song on each side, and the last one has one song for a total of seven songs worth of bonus material. While I don’t want to call any of these tracks rejects, there is an unevenness to some of them, which makes it understandable why they did not end up on the album itself. That said, the track “Octavio Made the Bomb,” was my favorite of the tracks on these singles, for its catchy riffs, but especially for its very meta lyrics describing how the album David Comes to Life came about. Overall, I feel these releases are more for diehard fans of the band, but are worth picking up if you come across them. –Paul J. Comeau (Matador)


FREEZE, THE:
Blood Flows Home: CDEP
Three-song release from these long-running Boston punk pioneers. “When the Scum Dries” is a mid-tempo rocker that has a cool swagger to it. The title track is tight and chugs along from end to end. The third song is a Dead Boys cover, which they do in a straightforward fashion. It’s loud and heavy here with super amazing results. I didn’t mention the hidden track since it is more of a spoken word deal. These guys will be touring next year. Hope a full length is coming. –koepenick (Rabid Reaction, no address listed)


FLESH LIGHTS:
Muscle Pop: LP
Flesh Lights is a convincing three-piece power-pop group. Fans of Cheap Time and the Exploding Hearts will likely give Muscle Pop the nod of approval. –ryan (Twistworthy, twistworthy.com)


FIALKY, THE:
Kapitán 77: CD
Fairly pedestrian, yet catchy, street punk. Lyrics are almost entirely in Czech, and there are brief flashes of some more interesting musical ideas bubbling just under the surface, but in the end, it’s all more of the same ol’ same ol’. –jimmy (Papagajuv Hlasetel)


FELLOW PROJECT:
The Buried Life: CD
Starts off kind of folk-punk but gets more rockin’ as things move along. It’s almost like emo went out and met up with folk-punk and the two have a stellar evening at a low-brow microbrewery swapping stories loaded with ironic humor. Me like more with every listen. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Dead Broke)


FED UP!:
Live at WFMU: 7”
New York hardcore band playing live on the radio. Pretty much unlistenable and boring. –ty (Welfare)


FAST BOYS:
Self-titled: 7"
Sorta garage-y rockin’ pop punk that sounds a lot like the Gotohells or Heartdrops. Not my fave style, but this band does it as well as any other. –frame (Young Monster, yngmnstrrecords.blogspot.com)


FACTORY MINDS:
America’s Not at War: CD
Debut release from this Bay Area four-piece. They list The Clash and The Buzzcocks as influences, along with some ska acts. There wasn’t too much ska baloney to make me pull my hair out, but there is a definite Joe Strummer floating around. That’s not a problem as long as it doesn’t go from homage to imitation. “California Sun” and “Waiting in the Cold” were repeat players for me on this one. It’s not all Clash type songs. “Rhythm to My Blues” throws a blues feel into the mix and “Nothing to Give” is a nice acoustic ditty. This band is solid and I’m sure their next record will transcend some of their influences on the next go round. However, I do have one bone to pick with Factory Minds. The insert says “All songs by Factory Minds.” Does that include the end of the last song, too, boys? ‘Cause Paul Simonon and the rest of Havana 3AM may have a few words for you. –koepenick (Arrest)


ENABLER / AMBASSADOR GUN:
Split: CDEP
Enabler play tight, angry, black metal-influenced hardcore with some pretty awesome blast beats and growling, shrieking vocals. The lyrics attack stuff like apathy and religion. Most of all, they have a vendetta against nihilism and sing about staying true to what you believe in, whether or not you have a chance of being heard or things getting better: “You’re so naive to believe that you have a voice/you’re so foolish to think you can make a difference/does that mean you should give up?/you can’t give in/ a lesson in self-control/… to the lack of will that this world has.” Go, Enabler! Ambassador Gun, on the other hand, makes Enabler’s band name literal. By that, I mean that Enabler is providing the means and opportunity for a much shittier band by sharing a tape with them. Okay, that’s kind of harsh, but Ambassador Gun play by-the-numbers crust, metal, whatever... –Craven (Sacred Plague, sacredplague.com)


EDIBLE INTENTION:
Self-titled: CD
This is a posthumous release from a Lansing, MI band that was active from roughly 2007-2010. Once they got outta the practice space, they were basically the house band for the Lansing art-space/all-ages show collective Basement 414. If you lived in Lansing at the time and were remotely plugged into the local punk scene, you probably saw these guys a thousand times. I’m not sure they ever got outta town. They played a pretty intense mix of free-jazz-informed Stooges wail and Minutemen anything-goes stomp. This album was recorded near the tail end of when they were active and sat on the shelf for awhile until the all-around good folks at Good Time Gang Records decided to release it. I was pretty curious to hear this. As much fun as an Edible Intention show was, they could turn into a hot mess of noise pretty quickly. (Not an insult, by the way.) I wasn’t sure their sound could be translated to disc. Producer Tommy McCord did a great job of making them palatable without sacrificing the noise quotient. The vocals are definitely an acquired taste (and they’re mixed suitably low) but I dig ‘em anyhow. Even if you can’t take the caterwaulin’, the guitars are pretty raunchy in a Melvins/Nuggets kinda way and the songs are short and varied enough to hold your attention. The cover artwork totally reminds me of an early ‘90s SST release. (You know, it looks sort of awesomely terrible.) I don’t think this CD would necessarily have the same impact on anybody who wasn’t around to catch ‘em in their prime, but it’s still well worth checking out if you’re into more adventurous (but still way rockin’) sounds. –Ryan Horky (Good Time Gang, gtgrecords.net)


DON’T LOOK DOWN / THE DESTRUCTORS:
Je Suis Radio (split): CD
The Destructors are one of those ‘70s bands that simply will not stop playing and putting out releases ranging from decent to classic. Their four songs included here are a healthy mix of their initial ‘77 sound with a pinch of hardcore thrown in. Don’t Look Down is another high quality British band, although one of their contributions to this split almost kills the whole project. They decided to record a semi-cover, semi-tribute to the classically shitty 1980s radio hit “People Are People,” which manages to be even shittier than the already atrocious Depeche Mode song. I suppose out-shitting notoriously bad Euro-pop is some sort of a cultural achievement in its own right. –Art Ettinger (Rowdy Farrago, destructors666.com)


DISCO BALLS:
Rise and Shine: CD
It appears the Czechs have their very own No Doubt clone band. –jimmy (Disco Balls, discoballs.cz)


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