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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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TOUCH ME SATAN:
Not Respecting the Dead: EP
Well, I’ve cleaned this record a few times and it still skips all over the place. From what I can hear, this is some pretty raw and primal punk. My favorite of the three, and I really wish I could hear it better, is “My First Time.” The creepy bass line really makes the song work. Argh... Really want to hear this more. –Matt Average (Artificial Limb Co.)


TOPLESS MONGOS:
Hey My My: 7” EP
Trashy rock ‘n’ roll, gloriously sloppy and oozing with charm. The instrumental “Theme from Human Centipede” is the clear pick here, but the other two are tracks equally deserving of much turntable time. –jimmy (Mammoth Cave Recording Co., mammothcaverecording.com)


TENEMENT:
Napalm Dream: LP/CD
I saw this band in DC a while back. Amos also played drums with Chinese Telephones at the show, in addition to fronting Tenement on vocals and guitar. He does double duty on this record too. Jesse Ponkamo is his partner in crime here, supplying cobra-like bass runs and an attitude that propels the tunes along. “Running into Mirrors” and “Simple Things (Can Seem So Involved)” are my favorites on this record. Is “Earwig” their tribute to Pegboy? You be the judge. Think early Replacements mixed with Hüsker Dü circa Zen Arcade and we’re entering the same ballpark. Fantastic songs from Wisconsin’s favorite sons. –koepenick (Mandible / Hang Up)


TERRORISTS, THE:
Shoot It Up: CD
Sloppy, primitive punk with lyrics tackling subjects like being broke, doing drugs, prostitution, holding onto a girlfriend who prostitutes herself for drugs, S&M, being an outcast, and the stupidity of supporting troops that are essentially paid mercenaries anymore, the latter of which will likely cause a shit storm in this age of blind patriotism if anyone pays any attention to ‘em. Great hand-decorated cover artwork, too. –jimmy (Fucked Up Recordz)


TEENAGE LOVE 13:
Street Zombie: CD
These guys play their rock in a Dead Boys/Ramones vein. That’s all fine and good, but there is a million and one bands rocking in a Dead Boys/Ramones vein and there is nothing here to separate them from the pack. –ty (teenagelove13.com)


SEVEN SISTERS OF SLEEP:
Self-titled: 12”
This band’s name betrayed my expectations of some hybrid black metal/doom metal mash up (seven as in the Seven Churches album by Possessed and “sleep” as in Sleep who got their name from a Black Sabbath song.) There are some obvious nods at stoner, metal, and satanic influences, which is very promising, but, unfortunately, it doesn’t culminate into the memorable slab of wax that I was hoping for. It’s more like the result of a night spent smoking weed out of a crushed can, listening to Eyehategod and Brainoil. It’s fun but I’m not going to remember much of it later. –Juan Espinosa (A389)


SERENGHETTO:
Self-titled: CD
I hate writing reviews when my girlfriend is around, because she always tries to out-review me. The thing is, a lot of times she succeeds. For example, I was blasting this Serenghetto disc and she said, “I like this, but I don’t know how to describe it.” I described it as art punk. She then one-upped me and said, “It’s AmRep-y without even knowing what AmRep is.” That’s pretty accurate. AmRep-y without being self-consciously AmRep-y… and with a better sense of humor. –mp (Self-released)


SWEAR JAR:
Cuss: LP
Gleefully raucous. A halting, yowling, tightly-wound mess. There’s a whole lot of namedropping in the one-sheet, and a few of them actually seem fairly accurate to this listener: I do hear a few nods to the unabashed structural weirdness and tomfoolery of NoMeansNo, and the crazed bombast of Jesus Lizard. On songs like “Bury My Body,” they go for a more traditional garage rock approach (there’s even a few palm mutes in there!) but, for the most part, it’s crooked, rawboned, dirty shit. They never quite match the full-blown intensity of either band, but they come pretty close. The recording’s slightly murky, but a band like Swear Jar may not benefit all that much from everything brought into the light and examined under a microscope. Their particular vision is not my thing at all, but it’s still a reasonably realized one. Not bad. –keith (Phratry)


RUDE CITY RIOT:
Nothin’ but Time: CD
Quasi-tough guy pop punk/ska stuff. Still makes me laugh out loud when I see non-cholos trying to dress the part, in this case what looks to be their singer front and center on the cover with slicked back hair and only the top two buttons of his shirt buttoned up. Can’t tell if he’s wearin’ Stacy’s shined like mirrors, though. Orale. –jimmy (Stomp, stomprecords.com, distributed in Canada by Warner Bros Canada)


ROCH:
Lightweight Bipolar Mania: CD
Gnarls Barkley-biting, neo-soul hiphop. Roch sounds like a bargain bin Cee Lo Green. In spite of the song, “Visionary,” where he repeats “I’m a visionary” over and over again, it does not convince. I’m not even sure he’s convinced. –Craven (rochout.com)


RINGWORM:
Scars: LP
O. M. G. Easily one of my all-time favorite bands has just unleashed one fucking vicious bastard of a record upon mankind. For those not in the know, with each long-awaited release, Ringworm continues to set the bar for seething, pummeling, evil hardcore, often mentioned alongside fellow Cleveland legends Integrity and tied forever to the Holy Terror sound which has seen a massive resurgence in the past few years. With Scars, Ringworm’s fifth LP in their twenty-year existence, the band leans further into the metal realm, as they have with each successive release, showcasing longer songs and more Bay-Area-heyday and early-Euro thrash influenced riffing, yet opting for a more vicious-sounding production (think Justice rather than Venomous). Predictably, HF’s palpable rage hasn’t quelled even one iota, and all in all, Ringworm sounds more like a solid unit than ever, incredibly invigorated, and I can only assume that’s a sign of more amazing records to come. All hail. –Dave Williams (Victory)


SPACE TRASH:
Vol. #1: Cassette
Had to fix the reel to get it to play. Tapes are still tapes, even with a download code. Lo-fi, punky noise with a slight garage feel in places. Demos be demos... –frame (Self-released)


REACTION, THE:
We Have Nothing to Lose but Boredom: 10”
There is a ‘90s pop sensibility to this record that doesn’t entirely turn me off, but it makes the album hard to pin down. There are later Firehose and Pixies influences bleeding through. This might be a little off, but this is the sort of thing I could imagine Dischord releasing during the “revolution summer.” There was an entire cache of bands that cited the Minutemen, but sounded nothing like them. It was the idea of the Minutemen; the notion that you didn’t have to be punk to be in the punk scene. For a while, hippie ideas were more abundant. Dreadlocks didn’t make you think of Korn and playing indoors was tantamount to selling out. The album sounds like a version of this experimental pop-rocking-pop. A band called Branch Manager comes to mind. Rain Like The Sound Of Trains. What’s the one with the sun drawing on the cover? Anyone? Being hard to pin down is not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe I’m just old. I should get my life together. Is anyone still reading this? –Billups Allen (Let’s Pretend, letspretendrecords.com)


SLIME THE BOOGIE:
Echopark: CD
Female-fronted rock fodder with maybe a hint of punk roots around the edges. –jimmy (Slime The Boogie, slimetheboogie@googlemail.com)


RAD COMPANY:
Bottom Shelf: 7”
Apparently, some dude from Rad Company used to be in some band called Bottom Shelf. These are all old Bottom Shelf songs as performed by Rad Company. Maybe folks that saw Bottom Shelf can get all nostalgic over this release, but if you’ve never heard of these guys, you’re not gonna care. –Ryan Horky (Team Human, teamhumanrecords.com)


POISON PLANET:
Undermine: 7”
I was expecting something a bit more raging, given the monochromatic riot scenes on the cover and the not three but four Xs that grace the cover. Unfortunately, that fourth X doesn’t signify how extra hard they are sonically but merely their commitment to the X. While the sound is palatable—rather straightforward old school hardcore—they are lyrically off-putting. I see nothing wrong with being edge or vegan as such, but purporting that social change starts with clean living and eating habits is a bit absurd to me. I’d think that it would start with not being a jack off. Whatever. Still better than some religious bullshit. –Vincent Battilana (Third Party, thirdxparty.blogspot.com)


SLATES:
Bun Bun: 7” EP
Indie rock with a little Midwestern ‘80s jangle popping up here and there. “Dirty Water” would’ve taken college radio by fuggin’ storm twenty-six years ago. –jimmy (Handsome Dan)


PLEASURE LEFTISTS:
Self-titled: 12”EP
Driving, spacious post punk. Imagine Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures LP on, say, 38rpm with more guitar effects, and a singer that sounds like a Siouxsie Sioux 45 played at, say, 38rpm. Six quick songs that don’t hang around moping, but bring you to a couple of surfy places to prove that they don’t take themselves too seriously. Good live show, too. –CT Terry (Fan Death)


PARLOUR:
Self-titled: Cassette
Weird, ethereal vocals over a slightly surfy guitar, but it’s not quite surf. It’s kind of psychedelic with a ‘90s college rock feel to it at times. Sometimes it almost seems to get mathy, but it never loses its pop sensibilities. It’s creative and well played, but it sounds too lackadaisical and stoned. It just lacks spirit. It reminds me of some of the music made by the San Francisco punks who crossed over a bit too much into the hipster territory and could afford too many records. I know that’s harsh, but that’s just what it reminds me of. It’s not because it’s too experimental or not punk enough, it’s just something about the way it feels. –Craven (Let’s Pretend)


SISTER KISSER:
Vipers: LP
I can’t fault the guys from Sister Kisser too much, but I’ve heard this before. No matter what twists and turns the songs make, I can’t shake the feeling that I’ve owned this record before. So unless time’s become a loop, I’m pretty sure I’m going to put this in the “pass” pile. –Bryan Static (Dead Broke/Gruff Beard)


PARASITE DIET:
God Hates Parasite Diet: 7”EP
Kind of reminds me of a more garage rock-sounding Egghead. At times they come off as super fuckin’ nerdy, in a good way (even with the occasional dual male/female vocals, oddly enough). They’re a bit more trebly and high-end though, but that’s not a bad thing. I like it enough that I don’t mind that they have a song titled “Summer’s Overrated,” so that says something. –joe (Pug Face)


PALA:
We Don’t Exist: LP
Thoughts of Trap Them and Black Cobra come to mind when the sound poured out of the speakers. A blend of hardcore, screamo, and stoner metal are thrown into the mix for the basic structure. The band achieves an added touché for the atmospheric mood they interlace into their songs. They can be gentle like cotton and aggressive like a jackhammer. But, personally, when I hear the screamo vocals or parts that are actually sung at different points, it is a real turnoff for me. When the vocals are pushed and guttural, I feel that it better represents the music. Not really my personal favorite genre, but I can see people who are into this type of music really be into this. I really like the cotton candy pink vinyl, though. –don (A389)


OUR LIFE STORY:
I’d Rather Change Than Stay the Same: CD
Kinda New Found Glory-ish pop punk. The songs are catchy enough and well-played, but this is seriously not my bag. –Ryan Horky (Barrett, barrettrecords.net)


SILK FLOWERS:
The Death of: CD
Some sorta Starvations connection here, with a member or two having served time in both bands. The music here is predominantly acoustic-based folky rock stuff with an occasional country twang to it. Definitely not my cup o’ poison, but the tunes definitely show some work was put into the writing process. If the description piques yer fancy, you probably could do much, much worse than this. –jimmy (Sycophanticide, sycophanticide.bravehost.com)


OLDFASHIONED IDEAS:
We’re in This Shit Together: LP
This is a very limited (250 copies only) LP edition of a popular 2010 Swedish street punk CD. A quality blend of early Euro oi and faster U.S.-based oi/street sounds, there’s nothing not to like about this LP. My favorite song is “Spirit of ‘95,” a non-sarcastic, honest nostalgic trip down memory lane for a time that the band members actually experienced. It’s pressed on cool purple vinyl and packaged in a sleeve featuring a montage of photos of Oldfashioned Ideas and their peeps. The photos help to prove the time-honored truism that European punks and skins are better-looking than their stateside counterparts. I love my friends, but we are fucking ugly compared to this crew. –Art Ettinger (Switchlight, switchlight-records.com)


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