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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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OLD MAN LADY LUCK:
Self-titled: LP
MOM, SUMMER CAMP IS WEIRD, BUT I FOUND THE ONE GUY WHO THINKS “OBLITERATION” BY BLACK FLAG IS A GOOD SONG!!! Actually, for something i hate, this is not terribly bad. BEST SONG: There are songs? BEST SONG TITLE: There are song titles? FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Record has the phrases “Meat on meat, eh?” and “Get him a glass of meat, eh?” inscribed on the runoff grooves. –norb (Forge)


OLD MAN LADY LUCK:
Self-titled: LP
Old Man Lady Luck busts out heavy instrumental rock that defies easy genre classification. Are they post-hardcore? Post-rock? Drone? They are perhaps a little of each of these things, but they are also so much more. With lots of guitar wankery, frequent changes in tone and tempo, and complex riffs that rise and fall in intensity, each song on this record feels like a movement of a symphony. Combined, the songs on this album reveal a fine tapestry of sound. I continue to find things that intrigue me about this album, even after repeated listens. Regardless of your taste, there will be something about this album that will pique your interest. –Paul J. Comeau (Forge)


OFF!:
“Compared to What” b/w “Rotten Apple”: 7"
Keith Morris and OFF! continue to grab people by the throat and force them to take notice. Hot on the heels of the amazing First Four EP set comes this two-song blast of punk anger. I’ve heard it said that OFF! is too derivative of Black Flag, but I don’t buy it. Keith was one of the architects of that band and sound. Now he happens to have a band that seems to match his vision and aggression. If it comes off reminding me of early Black Flag, that just can’t be a bad thing. I prefer anything that OFF! has put out to anything post-Damaged, anyway. OFF! is on! –ty (Southern Lord)


OBNOX:
I'm Bleeding Now: LP
The solo debut of This Moment In Black History drummer Lamont Thomas is a noisy, cacophonous affair. Hyper-distortioned, reverby guitar, contrasted with an overall lo-fi sound, creates a muddy feel that requires a few listens to truly appreciate. The initial impact of this wall of muddy sound obscures the technical, rhythmic drumming and the elaborate song structures present in the record, as well as burying the vocals deep in the mix. Getting past that, there is a ton of melody and a high percentage of catchy riffs, making for an overall enjoyable record. “Totaled,” and “Daughter” are the two most accessible tracks, demanding repeated listens, but “Gin and Coke Water,” might be the best track on the record once the listener is used to the vibe of the album. This is not an easily accessible record, but it gets more and more compelling with each play. Dedicated listeners will grow to love this, but those put off by their initial impressions will be hard pressed to give this record the attention it justly deserves. –Paul J. Comeau (Smog Veil)


NOW DENIAL:
Fuck Now Denial: 12" EP
Now Denial has never been a band to follow a musical blueprint, and Fuck Now Denial, is among the band’s best releases to date, showcasing their distinctive blend of hardcore, punk, and metal. The intricate guitar work, complex song structures, and willingness to be in-your-face aggressive as well as slower and more melodic, as in the track “Way of the Buffalo,” makes this 12” EP a real gem. –Paul J. Comeau (Tor Johnson)


NORMALS, THE:
Vacation to Nowhere: LP
So awesome! Despite coming from New Orleans, these guys sound like they came from Huntington Beach. If you like the Crowd, Simpletones, and the rest of the
Beach Blvd.
comp, then you will love The Normals. My first exposure to this band was a mix tape a friend made for me that had the song “Almost Ready” from their one and only single. Equally blown away and crestfallen because I didn’t think I’d ever hear more from them. Lo and behold, Last Laugh Records has unearthed this LP, which was recorded in 1979, and for some reason, never released until now. This deserves “classic” status. Seriously, if this had come out when it was intended to, people all over would be having conversations about how awesome this album is, and going song by song, extolling the greatness of everything about this record. The music is well played, the choruses are catchier than hell, the vocals are great. It’s poppy, but still has a tough attitude. All I can think when I listen to this—over and over, and over and over—is, “What a great album!” Twelve songs and not a stinker amongst them. –Matt Average (Last Laugh, lastlaughrecords.us)


NO PROBLEM:
Paranoid Times: 7" EP
I hear a definite mid-’80s hardcore influence here, a period when bands that had been around the block were starting to fiddle with a bit more sophistication amongst the crash-bam. The bulk of the stuff stays in mid-tempo territory and, at times, evokes later-period Minor Threat and Second Wind, but in a way that doesn’t so much sound like them as it does thinking along the same lines, if that makes sense. The redacted lyric sheet visually illustrates the release’s title and, on the whole, these guys put in some fine work here. –jimmy (Handsome Dan)


NINE FINGERED THUG:
BITTER BALLADS: 7"
Sludgy, tribal noise rock courtesy of a band hailing from Raleigh, North Carolina. This seems to be a bit of a concept recording, in that the lyrics to both songs appear to be first-person narratives relating to the relationship of German surrealist artists Hans Bellmer and Unica Zürn, the former best known for his “Die Puppe” series of pubescent dolls, and the latter for her automatic drawings and anagram poetry. If you’re remotely interested in early Swans and the like, you’ll no doubt fine much here you’ll dig. –jimmy (Hollow Bunny)


NIGHT BIRDS:
Midnight Movies: 7"
Earlier in the year, I went on a mission to listen to some of the bands I hadn’t heard that would be playing at Chaos In Tejas this year. I found Night Birds’ self titled 7” (on Dirtnap) and was promptly blown away! I loved the trashy surf punk sound that sounded like it was coming straight out of the Hostage Records scene. Throw in some East Bay Ray style twang and I was salivating for more. This platter is serving up my wish and then some. It turns out that not only do Night Birds share similar influences with me, but also my love of B-flicks! The four tracks here are the Birds’ ode to those movies and the sleazy grindhouses that play them. By the time you read this, I’ll have seen them twice in Tejas and will be awaiting the impending LP. Definitely my favorite new (to me) band of the year so far! –ty (No Way)


NEIGHBORHOOD BRATS:
Self-titled: 1-sided 12” EP
The whole L.A./S.F., northern/southern California punk rivalry is a fuckin’ farce man, designed by lazy minds and a back-pocket excuse to go beating on someone you don’t know. Point in case: L.A. transplant Jenny Angelillo, formerly of the Orphans, taking up the Penelope Houston/Avengers role while one-year-ex-OC dude George Rager plugs in through guitar riffs reminiscent of Circle Jerks “World Up My Ass.” I’m not sayin’ it’s a SF’s band’s lovefest, but borders are for xenophobic fucktards and I’m looking for world peace… one neighborhood at a time. Looking for no-thinkin’, jerk-you-from-your-seat punk rock? There’ll always be worm-wiggle-on-the-floor room for ‘em in my record collection… –todd (Modern Action)


NEEDLES//PINS:
Self-titled: 7" single
Garage punk with a nice dirty sound. The B-side, “Kalifornia Korner” is the better of the two. “Drop It” is okay. A little bit of power pop oozing into the sound. The mood is light, carefree. But that song, “Kalifornia Korner” has a lot of punch and aggression. The rhythm is jumpy and manic and the delivery is more to the point. More songs like this! –Matt Average (Scum Buzz, myspace.com/scumbuzzrecords)


NAPALM RAID:
Trail of the World: 7" EP
All the fury of this Canadian crust three-piece’s live shows is compressed onto their first 7” of new material (The first 7” was a re-release of the demo). Not only is this raw and raging crust in all its gritty glory, but this is also some of the most tight and technical-sounding punk you’ll find in any subgenre. Three originals, plus a cover of “Misery,” by Bastard make this a solid EP that should be added to your collection immediately. –Paul J. Comeau (Rust And Machine)


MUSHUGANAS, THE:
Lows in the Mid 90's: CD
A massive discography CD from this Chicago band that existed from 1993-2003. It looks like they have done a few reunion shows since then. But for those of you who are unfamiliar with the band like me, this is a great place to start. With thirty-two songs here, it’s hard to know where to sink your teeth in first. But if punk with driving rhythms, raspy vocals, and in-your-face drums is your idea of a good time, then this is probably a worthy addition to your collection. How can you go wrong with a band that has a song called “Strawberry Shortcake”? –Adrian Salas (Beercan)


MISCHIEF BREW:
The Stone Operation: CD
With all the northern renaissance artwork in the layout, I was expecting something significantly more evil sounding, but alas, I was bombarded by very competent carnival-punk (more Carnivale than carnival, really) that’s reminiscent of early Against Me! if that band was comprised of creepy, Steinbeckian, travelling degenerates. It’s actually quite interesting and unique, to be honest. Not something I would personally listen to very often, but I know that there’s a lot of interest in this kind of bizarre cross-pollination lately, so hopefully Mischief Brew can get in on some of that buzz. –Dave Williams (Fistolo)


MIGHTY GRASSHOPPERS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
First things first: this is a new band featuring Tony Fate of the BellRays. Second thing: this record has been in constant rotation on my stereo since it showed up. Chock full of killer melodic songs that are equal parts Real Kids and Reigning Sound. One of the vocalists really brings to mind John Felice and several songs here sound like they could have been on the solo record from the Real Kids leader. This could not be higher praise coming from me. The Mighty Grasshoppers are perhaps the rarest of all beasts in current times. The band is simply four guys in their 40s/50s writing great songs with no image to speak of. There is not even a website address on the disc, just a PO Box. It is incredibly refreshing to get an album where the songs are more important than the package and the seventeen places you can buy merch or network with the band and their fans. There are more great, classic-sounding songs here than most bands could come up with in two decades. The songs on this album are timeless and immediate; hummable after only one listen but offering more depth with each spin. The standout track here is “Caravan” with its soulful vocal but every single song on the album is a hit. Highest possible recommendation on this amazing out of left field record. –frame (Vital Gesture)


MICKEY:
Rock 'n' Roll Dreamer: CD
A little bit o’ lo-fi, a little bit o’ glam rock, a smidge o’ theatricality, and a lotta chutzpah make for some interesting listening here. They love their rock with hooks and ain’t ashamed to aim for the fences. Gotta respect that. –jimmy (Hozac, hozacrecords.com)


MANIPULATION:
Self-titled: 7" EP
Hardcore, fast, angry-as-fuck, big in sound, and unrelenting. Side one is a prolonged bludgeon with three tunes and nary a break between ‘em, then they finish you off with two more on side two. –jimmy (Sorry State)


MANIKIN:
Keep Dancing Charlie: 7"
Part of me wants to tell the me who claimed in a review of one of their earlier releases that they sounded like early south bay punk, “Dude, what the fuck were you smoking?” Thing is, I can still kinda see where that earlier me was coming from, ‘cause I definitely hear some punk heft in the two tunes here, along with a bit of Gang Of Four noodling and an almost tribal undertow to the drums. While dashes of darker post punk are slathered all over the chassis, there’s a bit more going on under the hood. This is definitely worth your time. –jimmy (Super Secret)


MAMA ROSIN AND HIPBONE SLIM AND THE KNEETREMBLERS:
Louisiana Sun: CD
More rootsy, bluesy stuff from the great Swiss label, Voodoo Rhythm. Given the title of the record, I suppose it is not a surprise that there is a healthy dose of zydeco and Tex-Mex in the sound here as well. Pretty strong songs and vocals. Folks who appreciate roots sounds would find a whole lot to like here. Kneetremblers also feature Bruce Brand of thee Milkshakes/Headcoats, so any fan of various Billy Childish projects might wanna check Louisiana Sun out. –frame (Voodoo Rhythm)


MALA IN SE:
Self-titled: CD
These kids plant their flag in a lotta terra simultaneously—metal, noise rock, hardcore, ambient soundscapes, and just straight-up noise—and end up releasing one doozy of a listen. There’s precious little here that could be described as “melody” and the going’s pretty much a full-bore assault on one’s hearing with nary a letup in sight. That said, underneath all the skronk and slam-banging can be heard a lot of texturing and layering of sound and the utilization of a wide variety of instrumentation, sampling and such by folks who clearly know their way around what they’re plunking on. The results show a bit more sophistication than the average pack of assholes with little more than a yen to damage some eardrums. Far from easy listening, those who can manage to hold on tight and weather the ride will find the effort worthwhile. –jimmy (Phratry)


MAGNIFICENT, THE:
1981: 7"
The title track is a very catchy punk anthem not pining for one of punk’s many glorified eras, but rather taking on the sense of disillusion kids born in that time period feel at living in the mess of a world their boomer parents made. The flip’s title, “Six Beers (Slight Return),” threatened a disposable paean to boozing it up, and instead delivered a solid piece with acoustic guitar and a catchy hook. A very welcome surprise from what sounds like a really goddamned good band. –jimmy (Drunken Sailor, drunkensailorrecords.bigcartel.com)


LOVEY DOVIES:
Self-titled: CD
Fuzzed-out, noisy rock in the realm of bands like Dinosaur Jr, Archers Of Loaf, and Pavement: walls of distortion, quieter, near-acoustic breaks, tuneful, and driving. In a just world, songs like “Comatose” would be on radios everywhere. Despite the crashing drums and guitars, there’s a forlorn feeling (a mood that repeats in songs like “I Like People”) pervading the whole song. It really pulls you in and changes the mood of the room. Really, this is the type of music that has a few layers going on, making for interesting repeat listens. There’s a particular feeling here that’s enticing, which had me going back to this many times, and allowing myself to get carried away by focusing on the bass lines, or the layers of guitar, or the delivery of the lyrics. The songs are arranged with a particular flow that carries you the whole way through. Well worth the effort to get this one. –Matt Average (Teen Fuzz Swamp Cult Of Swirly Hypnotic Rat Eyes, loveydovies@gmail.com)


LOVE BOAT:
Love Is Gone: LP
Love Boat is a power pop trio from Italy that have kept the mood mostly light, as is the nature of the music. The music is really upbeat and they keep it simple and to the point. The opener, “My Cousin’s Place,” has a slight ‘60s girl-pop touch. What I like most about this record is how they begin side two with “Modern Ties.” This song totally disrupts the sunny mood and brings things down a bit. The tempo is slower and they mix a country and western influence into the sound. A great song and a great change of pace. Definitely the strongest of the bunch. A record for when you want summer in the winter. –Matt Average (Alien Snatch!, aliensnatch.com)


LIKE WOLVES:
Self-titled: CD-R
Sometimes when I listen to some of my favorite old bands, my noggin likes to go off on these flights of fancy of how their sound could’ve progressed rather than how they actually did progress. Not to say that a band progressed incorrectly, though there have been a few that have lost their sheen once they learned that ever-elusive fourth chord, but more a matter of how they might’ve ended up sounding had they taken a different road. Where Like Wolves have gone here could’ve easily been terra in which Black Flag or Die Kreuzen might’ve gleefully stomped had they turned left when they hit that fork in the road—loud, big sound with intricate flourishes and hints of psychedelia smuggled in under all the battering guitars, odd time signatures, and howling vocals. Like the aforementioned progenitors of pummeling punk, these guys have the sense, and skill, to work well beyond simple racket-mongering and instead serve up stuff that would make snooty musician-types pause and pay attention after dismissing it out of hand as “noise.” –jimmy (Hanging Hex, hanginghex.blogspot.com)


LIEUTENANT:
Self-titled: LP
Instead of an X-ray, this record’s the sound of a throat polyp forming a malignant mass. The constant strangulation quality to the vocals reminded me of the evil vulturey things, the Skeksis, in The Dark Crystal. Screaming. (Is it a coincidence that Dec., 1982 also saw the release of Evilive? Perhaps.) There’s-a-”you”-mentioned-all-over-this-album-and-that-person’s-a-fuckin’-asshole hardcore. For fans of Deep Sleep, Night Birds, Code 13. Effective. They haven’t invented a new broom, but they sure know how to sweep. You never really know how dirty something is until you put your back into it. Lieutenant. –todd (Art Of the Underground / Warm Bath / Peterwalkee; peterwalkeerecords@gmail.com)


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