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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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MESRINE / SAKATAT:
Split: 7” EP
Mesrine: Fairly stereotypical grind/metal stuff that vacillates between blastbeats and Discharge-inspired tempos. Sakatat: Pretty much along the same lines: full-on sonic spazz-out with considerably less metal in their delivery than their record-mates. –jimmy (To Live A Lie)


MARVIN GAYS, THEE:
Self-titled: LP
With an album cover simultaneously reminiscent of both Nig-Heist and Rancid Vat, I expected at least semi-greatness from these squiggly Europeans. They turned out to be actually more of a low budget punk-psych excursion, with clean guitars inflicting a gentle punk pounding. The cover feels so much like the Nig-Heist cover in a tactile sense that i keep wanting to call this a cross between the second Jefferson Airplane album and Nig-Heist, but, really, that’s just kinda stupid, so forget i ever said it. Business picks up for a while on the second side, where the tempo ratchets up for a couple songs in a row, but “Tight Little Pussy” this ain’t. BEST SONG: “Get Married,” harrowingly enough. BEST SONG TITLE: “Desperately Ill.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The lightly penciled hand-numbering on the back cover seems to state that I have copy “009/600” independently of which way i have the cover turned at the time. –norb (Frantic City, franticcity.free.fr)


MARGATE:
Rock’N Roll Reserve: CDEP
To me they sound like the early ‘00s, vaguely emo, slick-sounding Alkaline Trio, if they actually were on Fat Wreck. The cover of “Eleanor Rigby” being the second track kind of threw me. I don’t tend to listen to this stuff much these days, but if I was a teenager, I’d be super into it. –joe (Room 57)


LENGUAS LARGAS:
Self-titled: 12”
I actually thought this record consisted of all new songs, but it doesn’t, which is kind of a bummer as I can’t seem to get my fill of these guys. The new stuff sounds a lot more ambient with parts that definitely show shades of Tristeza and The Velvet underground. I was recently fortunate enough to catch them live and they are currently touring with four guitarists and three drummers. No bassist. I’m still amazed at how a small room with forty people in it can ascend to a different realm through punk music. I love that there are still bands out there taking punk to different places and kids that love to smoke weed and listen to live albums by The Who and Grand Funk Railroad. –Rene Navarro (Tic Tac Totally, tictactotally.com / Recess, recessrecords.com)


LAURA STEVENSON AND THE CANS:
Sit Resist: CD
Pleasant, Americana-tinged indie rock with simple songs and big arrangements, like the Arcade Fire or Decemberists. The band photo shows them hiking along a sunny ridge. Overall, this is nice, but a little too mannered. The vocals may be a deal breaker as well, as the woman on the mic sounds like Regina Spektor doing a Geddy Lee impression. –CT Terry (dongiovannirecords.com)


JESUS OR GENOME:
The Veil Is Lifting: 7”
Acoustic stuff—guitar, cello, maybe a tambourine, and backing vocals—with intelligent lyrics. –jimmy (Sacred Plague, sacredplague.com)


HULK SMASH DEER:
++: CD
While I really, really appreciate the title and lyrics to “A Bunch of Your Friends Have Been Raped, It’s Time You Stopped Making Jokes about Rape,” there’s unfortunately little else I can recommend about this band. Entirely too drawn out and reliant on synthesizers and effects-laden vocals, it just trudges on and on. Fourteen songs of what could generously be called prog rock and ungenerously be called a jam band made up of motorcycle guys from the first Tron movie if they were still in junior high. Back to the drawing board, fellas: Dio and Iggy Pop covers did not come close to saving this. –keith (SRA)


HOMEWRECKER / THE LOVE BELOW:
Split: 7” EP
Homewrecker: Hardcore-infused metal with nihilistic lyrics about pain, rage, destruction, etc. Second song even starts off with someone quoting Charlie Manson. The Love Below: More pained metal addressing addiction, being high, and people making the protagonist uncomfortable. –jimmy (A389)


HOLY SHIT! / YOUR PEST BAND:
Split: 7”EP
Holy Shit: You know the days when the Circle Jerks songs are just too War and Peace, just too long? Do you miss Spazz, but prefer fewer blast beats, but still like someone occasionally yelling in a loud, funny voice? Do you like Assrash? Haiku hardcore? Song title of the year? “Dillinger Four.” Your Pest Band: You know those bands that, in every free second, every member does fills and runs and wants the audience to know that they’re “much better musicians” than whatever cover song they’re playing? Japan’s Your Pest Band could be that band, but they’re not. They exercise restraint and humility and just fuckin’ plug into the song and charge, even though the bassist and guitarist sound like they could cover Primus songs in a heartbeat without breaking a sweat. –todd (Snuffy Smiles / Small Pool)


HELLFISH, THE:
Laughing with the Sinners: CD
One minute they’re rollicking through bland, faceless Warped punk fodder, the next they’re delving into bland, faceless rock. I imagine that major label deal is imminent. –jimmy (hellfishmusic.com)


HELL CITY KINGS:
Road to Damnation: LP
Yet another Blank City Blank band to add to the ever-growing pile of hundreds. The sound is Dwarves and Hellacopters with just a hint of street punk, shocking as that may seem. Perfectly good for what it is, but not my favorite style. –frame (Cutthroat)


KOBANES:
False Accusation: CD
It can be really difficult to navigate the oceans of bands that fall under the umbrella of “directly influenced by the Ramones.” I would imagine that it’s even more difficult to play in a band like this and manage to sound good and interesting. I was fully expecting Kobanes to fall flat into that pile of mediocrity, but they didn’t. This is really great pop punk. Solid Ramones worship (with a decent cover of “KKK Took My Baby Away” to boot!) with comedic turns that had me thinking of Nobodys or The Vindictives. They are the type of band that I’ll never remember who they are when I hear it, but I’ll always ask because I like it. –ty (mail@fixingahole.sakura.ne.jp)


HEADLINES, THE:
Wake Up: 7”
Really glossy-sounding pop rock’n’roll stuff with harmonicas and saxophones. I don’t think it’s as bad as that last sentence made it sound, but facts are facts. There are four songs and two of them mention living on “these dead end streets.” That’s a ratio on par with your average Social Distortion album! It’s a (tepid) rock’n’roll revolution? No thanks. –ty (goodwillrecords.net )


TRYSTERO:
The Cold Machines: CDEP
These guys are doing the instrumental post-rock thing like Red Sparrowes or Explosions In The Sky. Only one of the six tracks goes over four minutes, and even that is a pretty modest six minutes, so this is definitely more succinct than the aforementioned bands. Things never get as balls-out crazy as the Don Caballero stuff I’ve heard, so this is probably not the second coming of technical math rock. There are a lot of pretty passages played very heavily with an occasional violin or sound effect dropping in to add to the proceedings. If you need some atmospheric music in your life, you could definitely do worse. –Adrian Salas (Low Brow Lunacy)


HART / CCR W/ SKULLS:
Split: CD
This disc would not read or play, so I am left to review the artwork and band names. Hart rips off the Heart logo to not real strong effect. CCR w/ Skulls must get credit for one lame band name. The skull on the cover ain’t helping, either. –frame (S.R.A., srarecords.bandcamp.com)


HANGOUTS, THE:
A.D.D. Generation: 7”
You might remember this band from their split with Something Fierce last year. The Hangouts are a mid-tempo punk band from this college station Texas with a female-fronted vocalist who takes major cues from Cherie Currie, Debbie Harry, and Dinah Cancer, but, at the same time, doesn’t sound exactly like any of them. Musically, the band is taking a page out of the Ramones sound book, pure and simple. There are six songs here, with the title track being the obvious standout. –Mark Twistworthy (Cutthroat, cutthroatrecords@gmail.com)


HALF HEARTED HERO:
Running Water: LP
It’s hard to believe that the influence of the television channel Fuse has had as much of a lasting effect as it did. I always viewed the channel and the music within it as mere gateway music, things that will get you into other things. This record stuck out to me because of the ability I had to guess the content of the music before even placing the record on the turntable. Ultimately, the band knows exactly what they’re doing, but the product just reminds me of music I’d rather forget in the first place. Much like a terrible practical joke, I only don’t like because I left practical jokes behind years ago. –Bryan Static (Animal Style, animalstylerecords.com)


GROGGS, THE:
3D: 7”
Bad ass jams from these Santa Cruz garage punks, featuring vocals and guitar heroics from DIY champion Keith Thompson (who books shows and does sound all over town), these are four fun-filled, ragged rockers loaded with Nuggets riffs. And the reverb-drenched vocals add a bit of timelessness to the tunes. This is a fun record from the music, down to the packaging: pretty slab of grey marbled vinyl, sleeve artwork in 3-D with a pair of 3-D glasses thrown in, and a download card to boot! Released on the band’s own label, Church Of Sound. –Jeff Proctor (thegroggs.com)


GREGORY ATTONITO:
Natural Disaster: 10”
You know how the Bouncing Souls became really boring and slightly annoying around the time of Hopeless Romantic? Well, after a few more albums of the snoozefest, one might have asked one’s self, how could these guys making anything more boring? Here’s your answer: one of those guys, the handsome vocalist, has released a solo record. These songs have less energy than Mr. Attonito’s stage performance, which could have gained some excitement in the more than a decade since I saw the Souls. Pick it up if the dude’s voice makes you swoon; otherwise, beware of acoustic weakness from another punk frontman. –Vincent Battilana (Chunksaah)


GOD EQUALS GENOCIDE / LIBYANS:
Split: 7”
Three songs each from two clean guitar, woman singer punk bands. There’s an early L.A. hardcore thing going on, and Libyans bring the Germs and even X to mind. Their singer has one of those terrific scratchy-but-tuneful voices, like Annie from This Is My Fist. The vocals on God Equals Genocide’s first song are shrill and off-key and there’s far too much treble. Luckily, the next two songs are a little slower and punchy, with a second vocalist added in for dynamics. I want to hear more from both bands. –CT Terry (Shock To The System)


GODDAMMITBOYHOWDY:
Is Rez Punk: 7” EP + CD
Catchy pop punk and catchy hardcore is the order of the day here. The vocals are varying shades of annoying, depending on which of the aforementioned styles are being showcased. Included is a CD with the tracks from the seven-inch and what sound like either a live or rehearsal recordings of a number of other songs. –jimmy (Minor Bird)


GLAMBILLY:
White BBQ Sauce: CD
This Texas band unloads a full length of sounds perfectly defined by their band name. Glam, garage, and rockabilly can all be found here and sound okay in small doses. The first four or five songs were sounding all right, but, by the end, my interest was starting to wane. –frame (Saustex, saustexmedia.com)


GINGER KID:
By My Side: CD
Handing off between male and female vocals, this debut from a NYC trio combines elements of lo-fi, alt rock, and backwoods folk. From the same cloth of Band Of Horses and Iron & Wine, “Dizzy” has the strongest hook and use of Young’s nasal female vocals accented with gentle lap steel notes, while “Upside Down” has a soft, lilting polka structure. Some of the other melody arrangements never seemed to take flight, but this debut shows potential. For those who lean toward understated folk and blues, Ginger Kid is well worth the listen. –Kristen K (Self-released, myspace.com/gingerkidnyc, gingerkmusic@gmail.com)


GHOST ROBOT NINJA BEAR:
Self-titled: CD
I showed this to my roommate and she looked at the name and said, “Well, at least they have all their bases covered.” And while the act has a stupid name, “they” is actually the vehicle of Oscar Albis Rodriguez, who some might remember from the indie rock/punk band Nakatomi Plaza. And as was the case with the final Nakatomi Plaza album, Ghosts, the music is a little mellower than the early full-out assaults heard on the band’s earlier works; there is very little screaming on the eight songs that make up the self-titled CD. Clocking in around twenty-seven minutes, from the first moment the songs have some good catches and hooks. Oscar has an endearing voice that runs somewhere between urgent and vulnerable. His guitar work helps drive the songs and the band on the album is competent and helps to fill out the sound. The harmonies occasionally utilized add a deeper layer to each of the songs. This is a solid debut from which to further Rodriguez’s “solo” career. Fans of Nakatomi Plaza should definitely check this out. –kurt (self-released; ghostrobotninjabear.wordpress.com)


FULL SUN:
High Ceiling: Cassette
Jeff Grant’s solo project. Like the last Pink Razors LP, things are slowed down to accentuate songwriting chops. Results are like a ‘80s teen movie montage recorded at home. Think sunny, Future Virgins, power pop-inflected pop punk, Exploding Hearts vocals, and some Superchunk thrown in. Full Sun? How about Full length! Keep it coming, Jeff. –CT Terry (houseplantrecords.com)


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