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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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FUCK KNIGHTS:
Let It Bleed: CD
The Fuck Knights are a Minneapolis band with ‘60s garage influence and a punk rock vibe. There are thirteen songs and thirty-eight minutes of music that will make you twist your hips and want to get out on that dance floor. There’s even some saxophone and trumpet on some songs, too, and it helps to round out the sound. Vocally, I’m reminded of Chris Leo from The Van Pelt; a little obnoxious but with some heart and soul. Not entirely my type of package—it’s not like they’re reinventing the wheel—but it may do something for a number of Razorcake fans. –kurt (Boss Hog; myspace.com/bosshogrecordsitaly)


FORMOGENHET:
Ar Det Någon Som Ar Snål Så Ar Det Du!: EP
Somewhat decent hardcore punk out of Sweden. The style is loose and light. Kind of makes me think about bands like Sista Sekunden, and Hero Dishonest. There are moments where this clicks, but there’s a lot of times where it feels/sounds like they were just fucking around and filling up a lot of empty space (such as the whole second side of this record!). If you come across this in the cheapie bin, then why not. But as for paying full price, keep on going ‘til you find something more worth your time. –Matt Average (Formogenhet, formogeneht.com)


FATAL FIGURES:
Blue Zed: 7”
This here is a two-song single featuring members of the Blowtops. Fans of that band will find a whole lot to like here; the same noisy garage-influenced stuff is at play. Not my favorite sound, but this band is as good as any of their influences. –frame (Big Neck)


FAT SHADOW:
Foot of Love: LP
I was somewhat attracted to Fat Shadow’s offering of female-fronted alterna rock with its pop punk undercurrents that surface well when they do. Their sound was a nice surprise, as the picture of the nude woman with flower-laced hair entering a snow-covered cement tunnel on the cover had me anticipating some indie-hippie nonsense. While I do find this LP decent, I don’t think I could sustain many more listens to it. A good effort and entertaining, but it ultimately fell a bit flat and left me uninspired. –Vincent Battilana (Houseplant)


EXPLOSIVOS, LOS:
Primeras Grabaciones: CD
People can forget how much punk really took from garage rock. And then there are the people who are all too familiar with that. Los Explosivos tattoos their influences right on your face and then proceeds to cover the songs of their heroes anyway. As opposed to their major influence, The Sonics, Los Explosivos benefit from having the bulk of forty more years of music to draw influence from. The sheer intensity of the primitive trashing they unleash on their instruments is astounding, to say the least. The vocal stylings of drummer Ernesto push their record from good to really good. Highly, highly recommended. –Bryan Static (Boss Hoss, no address)


EVERYTHING SUCKS:
We Suck So You Don’t Have to: 7” flexi
Looks like modern pop punk from the front cover and shitty throwaway hardcore from the back. Sounds like post-hardcore with the spoken vocals and occasional bursts of yelling thing. First song seems to be about how things suck when you’re older because of money. I can’t say that they are wrong wholesale, but there’s more to it than that. I would have to say that the other song is about how people shouldn’t be righteous about what they do or what they own because that’s not who they are. That first point seems to require that you are apart from (at least some of) your actions and experiences. I can’t buy that. While I agree that possessions don’t make a person, they seem to be an upshot of one’s desires. Are our desires not an integral part of who we are? Now, the question of whether we should act righteously for any reason is another is something different. The sound is kind of attractive, but the lyrics turn me off. –Vincent Battilana (justaaudial.net)


ENTH:
Self-titled: LP
The barely legible metal font superimposed on images of graves and clocks on the cover of this thing let you pretty much know what you’re getting before you open this record up. The record is two long-ish doomy metal tracks along the lines of early Iron Monkey/Cough/that one Weekend Nachos record. The record “takes off” halfway through the first side, and I have to admit that the riffs are good when they’re there. The goth parts are good and I wish that element played more of a role in the whole recording. I don’t mean to slam the album, as I did enjoy listening to it, and I’m thinking that my atypically happy mood is affecting how I feel about this. It’s a fine example of the genre and my friends that are more into this sort of thing would appreciate this a lot more. My only legitimate complaint about this record is that it is a perfect example of why I’m sick of goofy subgenre vocals. The low end vocals on this record sound terrible and I think if they had just done something that was more conducive to their natural voice; it would have sounded a lot better. Despite this oddly negative review, I’d rate this at a strong 3/5 stars. If this is your sort of thing, I feel obligated to let you know that, apparently, only fifty copies are available in the U.S. –Ian Wise (Halo Of Flies)


ENERGY, THE:
The Energy’s First Album: LP
Boy, did this one catch my eye when I opened the review box. The cover has a dense, psychedelic design silkscreened in red and blue for a “need 3D glasses” feel. The music is similarly disorienting. Churning, five-minute punk songs with the occasional brain-frying rock’n’roll lead, topped off with Spits-ish vocals chanting some modern Telltale Heart serial killer shit. I was hooked upon first spin and have played this record a lot, trying to find a concise way to describe it. So, what am I hearing here? Reagan-era T.S.O.L. hardcore that mixes in rock’n’roll, “Loose Nut” Black Flag creepy neighbor music, Fucked Up’s songwriting filtered through garage rock with much better results, me standing up and feeling short of breath while turning the record over again…. –CT Terry (teamsciencerecords.com)


DUN2DEF / DESTRUCTORS, THE:
Ten Years / Wohlgefuhl: Split: CD
Here we have a split CD from a couple of British punk rock bands. First up are Dun2Def. Get beyond the band name and you’ve got some pretty kickass, hard-driving punk rock with plenty of political and social commentaries. Very good. The cover of Squad 21’s “Antisocial” is icing on the cake. The Destructors are up next. Pretty similar in content, but these guys are a little more rough around the edges. Holy crap, was that really a song about Reagan, Stalin, and Thatcher? I realize that these guys have been around in various forms since 1977, but I still had to check the recording date. 2011! Don’t worry. They get up to Obama a few songs later. It’s all pretty decent, but the Anti-Flag cover (“My Little Go-Go Dancer”) seems a bit out of place. –ty (myspace.com/dun2def, destructors666.com)


DOG FIGHT:
Demo 2011: Cassette
The interesting thing about Dog Fight is that their lyrics actually sound less like lyrics and more like song titles for other, possibly more badass, records. Check out the lyrics to the first song, “Thought Control”: “Deaths [sic] Destruction / Violent Oppression / Thought Control / Suicide Escape Plan.” Now, come on, does that not sound like the song titles for a kickass EP or what? As far as their actual demo: it sounds like they like Infest. It sounds like this was recorded live, possibly in someone’s kitchen. It sounds like they turn the vocalist’s reverb way up on the fourth song, “I.D.C.,” which, surprisingly, works in their favor. Despite its limitations, this was actually a pretty cool release, and as a demo, it certainly gets the job done. –keith (Dog Fight)


DIMENSIONS, THE:
Self-titled: 7” EP
German street punk-inflected pop that’s really catchy but is coupled with lyrics that make one really wish they’d stuck to their native language instead of English. –jimmy (The Dimensions, thedimensions@gmx.de)


DEATHRATS:
Give Up: 7” EP
A slow intro gives way to a full-on assault of spastic thrash. I gave up on following along with the handwritten lyric sheet by the time the second song, coincidentally titled “Give Up,” started. Six songs, fast, flailing, barely in control and over before you can sit down to give a listen. –jimmy (To Live A Lie)


DEAL’S GONE BAD:
Self-titled: 7”
I really wanted to like this. I rarely like ska, because it usually sucks. However, I was a big fan during the third wave and always hope for a pleasant surprise. With all of the intense loathing everyone has for ska, I really wanted Deal’s Gone Bad to be good. Hey, I root for the underdog. I also respect someone playing ska these days, because you know dam well that it’s what they want to be doing. Sadly, Deals Gone Bad isn’t a credit their reviled style. This sounds a lot like UB40 or some other middle-of-the-road, pseudo-reggae/ska from the late eighties. Prepare yourself for the cover of Otis Redding’s “These Arms of Mine” on side two. It’s really going to piss you off. –Craven (no info)


DEAD ACES:
Best of Luck in Your Future Endeavors: CD
This is another one of those cases where you can judge a book (or band) by its cover. Tattoo-styled lettering and songs titles like “Friday Night,” “Working Class,” and “Labor vs. Management” led me to correctly deduce some sort of street punk going on here. Yep. I just don’t find it all that interesting. –ty (myspace.com/deadacestroy)


DARK LION:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Skronky hardcore, not unlike what would’ve happened if Lydia Lunch had been more interested in killing cops and George W. Bush than free jazz. Angry, wholly devoid of melody, and blessed with creativity that only the inept can wield without sounding pretentious. Play it for your favorite DRI fan and gleefully watch them cringe. –jimmy (Static Gold)


CROISSANTS, THE:
Self-titled: 7”
Trashy pop punk of the highest order is what you get from this Sacramento three-piece. Lo-fi and DIY, these Croissants are filled with distorted guitars and snotty, sneering vocals. These numbers are also incredibly peppy and catchy, with lots of “Oh Yeah” choruses. Reatards and/or Nobunny fans will rejoice with this little gem of a record. –Jeff Proctor (lecroissants.blogspot.com)


CRIMINAL CULTURE/WAX PHANTOM:
Split: 7” EP
Criminal Culture: Wait, what gives? I thought emo had gone off and died a mopey death. Wax Phantoms: Two tracks of moody, poppy punk, with “Don’t Bother to Bury Me” being the stronger of the two. –jimmy (Kiss Of Death)


CRAZY AND THE BRAINS:
Don’t Need No Snacks: Cassette
How much do you like the sound of a xylophone? Do you like it chiming again and again, crawling into your brain through your ear canals like some sort of mind slug? Do you like it wrapping its shiny essence around your thinking muscle, squeezing it until you go all zombie-eyed and start kicking your legs and clapping your hands? Do you like it layered under terrible lyrics about loving Lindsay Lohan and wanting to be on Saturday Night Live? Does anyone like xylophone that much? –mp (Baldy Longhair)


CREEPS, THE:
Lakeside Cabin: LP
This is a vaguely conceptual album about serial killers stalking and slaughtering women and… well, mostly just slaughtering women and running from the law. When people complain about sexism and misogyny in horror, this is the sort of stuff they’re talking about. That doesn’t bother me nearly as much as the lack of originality. Wouldn’t one song about stalking and killing women have done the trick? Was it really necessary that half the songs on the record have that theme? Couldn’t they have snuck in one song about gutting a dude or a cat or something? Boring. And to make matters worse, there’s no teeth. Musically, it’s goofy and bouncy and I don’t even buy the shit they’re singing about. It’s really just pretty pathetic. –mp (Black Pint / It’s Alive)


COP HUGGER:
Tape 2: Cassette
Pretty boring, hardly noticeable hardcore. Kind of like a slowed down Suicidal Tendencies with a Descendents influence. –Craven (Gnarly As I Wanna Be)


COMPLETELY FUCKED:
Prognosis Negative: Cassette
Your basic youth crew-inspired thrash with angst and bitterness spewing from both ends. I’ve definitely heard worse, but that isn’t saying much about these cats. Then again, what did I really expect from a cassette with a drawing of a demonic Jerry Seinfeld? Try again, guys. –Juan Espinosa (Self-released, no contact info)


COLONIX:
Self-titled: 7”
This totally kick-ass six-song 7” has a very 1990s feel. Colonix is from Seattle, but they’d fit in great on a Boston punk show circa 1996 with August Spies and The Unseen as openers. The vocalist has a higher-than-tenor-pitched range, adding to the snotty fun. When’s the next street punk revolution coming? It’s long overdue. Bands like this never stopped filling America’s basements, but there seems to be a recent renewed broader interest in street punk, with new bands like Colonix and Cerebral Ballzy putting out records left and right. The smell of beer and butt sweat can be a beautiful thing. –Art Ettinger (colonix77.blogspot.com)


CITIZEN USELESS:
The Presidents of the United Mistakes: CD
On the one hand, this is fairly generic punk/hardcore stuff. On the other, they’re pretty tight and do what they do well. In the end, however, nothing really registered much past background music. –jimmy (P.I.G.)


CAPTAIN NOWHERE:
Party Time, Inc: LP
Party Time, Inc. is obviously a tongue in cheek title, as any party with this as the soundtrack would be very unpleasant. This is deep, brooding music; music that you listen to when you can’t see straight and need to trance into another realm. You won’t lose yourself in the rhythms, but the noise will become white and you’ll see a bigger picture of something. Musically, take the boring parts of NoMeansNo mixed with psych-inspired garage rock like Thee Oh Sees and then you have Captain Nowhere. I guess a recording causing emotion isn’t all that bad, but I could never listen to this again. Four songs on neat looking vinyl, though. –todd (Idiomism, no address)


BUGS, THE:
eHarmony Rejected Me: 7”
Holy crap, a new Bugs record! Right off the bat, I can’t help but notice that this 7” is an actual single—three songs opposed to the last one’s eleven. In other words, it’s over super fast! The good news is that we have three more hilarious tunes that sound somewhere between Too Tough to Die-era Ramones and early Queers. I need more songs! –ty (myspace.com/surfinkirecords )


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