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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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POOL PARTY:
Pool Party Yeah! Anthology: CD
Imagine if the Ramones or the Vindictives grew up in Florida and donned Miami Vice glasses and weird ‘80s mustaches. That’s Pool Party. I don’t get the Iceland references, or how this release is “simultaneously issued and re-issued by Livid”—but it doesn’t matter. This is fun, rockin’, feel-good music. Wow, the keys on “Spy Girl” are friggen amazing (but thanks for not over using ‘em in all the songs, fellas). Really great stuff. Now as far as the tracks “recorded in the future,” and all the live and demo tracks (tracks 13-32), I coulda done without that. The inside joke was lost on me. –mrz (Livid, lividrecords.com)


PINT LIFTER:
Delusions of Grandeur: CD

 

This most definitely feels like what most punk music sounded like when I was a freshman in high School in 1998. Sounds, vocally, like early Avail and, musically, like Jugheads Revenge. Somewhat formulaic, but a sound a lot of people seem to miss. Fast-paced, late ‘90s, circle pit punk.

–Rene Navarro (Self-released)


PAY COLOUR:
Self-titled: CD-R
Six guitar and drum instrumentals. When they go slow, it gets epic like Neurosis. On the faster tracks, the reverb conjures Sonic Youth or surf music. The songs’ loosely-formed nature screams “stoned late night jam session!” but I like what’s going on. It’s eerie and has far more peaks than valleys. –CT Terry (myspace.com/paycolour)


PAPERHEAD, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Neo-retro-psychedelic rock, right down to the backward loops and sitar drone. –jimmy (Trouble In Mind, troubleinmindrecs.com)


PAINT YOUR GOLDEN FACE:
Self-titled: CD
Absolutely insufferable experimental indie rock by a horribly named band. The main defining factor that sets it apart from most rock music in a negative way is a gazillion vocal tracks and minimal instrumentation. There are a couple similarities with some bands I find tolerable, like Old Time Relijun and the modern version of the Flaming Lips, but Paint Your Golden Face lacks anything redeemable. –Jake Shut (Tenzenmen, tenzenmen.com)


P.K. 14, THE:
City Weather Sailing: CD
The P.K.14 is a very progressive-sounding band from China that sings exclusively in Chinese. (So I have no idea what any of these songs are about. Not that that really matters to me.) The press release says they sound Like Television or the Talking Heads, but I don’t hear it. (It reminds me of Radiohead, but maybe that’s the only boring, slow, “progressive” band I know of. Don’t take my word for it.) Just seems like a bunch of boring Chinese guys who are creative and can play their instruments very well. This does not, however, make them an interesting band. It might be an effective insomnia cure, though. –Ryan Horky (Tenzenmen, tenzenmen.com)


ONLY THIEVES:
Heartless Romantics: CD-R
This falls solidly into the alt-rock pond. Sonic Youth guitar bluster meets more traditional indie rock conventions, making for something that’s ripe for radio airplay, and some of it might even be considered danceable. –jimmy (no address)


OBN IIIs:
Self-titled: 7”
OBN IIIs play solid rock’n’roll. Fans of Radio Birdman and Johnny Thunders will eat this record up. Another great 45 from Tic Tac Totally. –ryan (Tic Tac Totally, tictactotally.com)


NO LESSONS LEARNED:
Demo 2010: Cassette
No Lessons Learned sound like Boston and New York “throwback” hardcore circa-1995, as played in 2010—youth crew-ish, but without the straight edge preaching or jock posturing. This is one of my favorite genres of hardcore punk, and it’s great to see a new band playing this style. True to the spirit of the genre of which they are a part, the production quality on the recording is raw, and a bit spotty at times, but endearing. Good riffs, particularly on the breakdowns, get the head bobbing and make the feet want to move. I’m stoked to hear more from NLL and to see them live. If there’s going to be a resurgence of this type of hardcore, look for this band to be at the forefront. Excuse me while I go bedroom mosh. –Paul J. Comeau (No Lessons Learned, facebook.com/nolessonslearned)


NIKKO:
The Warm Side: CD

An album of Mogwai-esque riffs with some depressing lyrics calmly inserted. I am not well versed in shoegazing past the My Bloody Valentine albums. I don’t know if this CD made it to me because there is a punker in the mix or Razorcake is just on a list of music magazines somewhere. I know that there is a cache of bearded punkers with poor hygiene that are playing like this now and, because of their unfortunate choices, the lines between punk, indie rock, and something you might see on Jimmy Kimmel Live are further strained. It is very well produced and the instrumentation is big and dramatic. Beyond that, I am not the one to make comment.

–Billups Allen (Tenzenmen, tenzenmen.com)


NHL 95:
Living Letdown: 7” EP
NHL 95 are a rockin’ melodic punk from Finland, obsessed with the ‘90s, if their first song “History Lesson Pt. 2” is any indication. Interesting riffs and clever but silly lyrics in each song make for one of the most entertaining and enjoyable records I’ve come across in some time. The music gets more enjoyable every listen, but the lyrics while silly and fun the first few times, start to get old after awhile. Still, Living Letdown is a great record, and highly recommended. –Paul J. Comeau (Pop-Poo, nhl95.co.nr)


NAW DUDE / IT BURNS:
Split: Cassette
Naw Dude pillage and plunder through their four songs of Scandi-core-inspired madness in what seems like no time at all. I can hear a bit of Krigshot during their Mieszko (rest in peace, sir) years. Cymbals crashing, deep fryer bass burl, and pissed-off-dog with a sore throat barking vocals. Fucking ace. It Burns are also obviously influenced by Swedish hardcore as evidenced by the Diskonto cover but, to be fair, their originals do tear shit up in an unmistakably American way. Extra special bonus points to them for the lyrics, “I’m going to find a baseball bat and hit a line drive through your skull!” Couldn’t ask for a better pairing of two bands that I will be keeping a closer eye on from now on. –Juan Espinosa (Let’s Pretend, no address)


MYSTIK MOTORCYCLES:
Dress to Impress/Rock & Roll Died in Paris: 2 x CD
This appears to be two full length albums packaged together in one case. There is literally no information other than song titles. While the band name and album titles would imply some serious glam action, the sound is more akin to snotty vocal punk with some glam and post punk influences. The vocals are like The Cute Lepers or similar spazzy-vocalled punk groups. S’okay I suppose… –frame (Self-released, myspace.com/mystikmotorcycles)


MUSICBAND:
Self-titled: CD
Two guitar punk rock, one clean channel and one distorted, which makes for a sound not unlike some of the bands that like to affect a “Pogues gone oi” sound, though they refrain from employing a quasi-Irish lilt. Can’t say it worked for me, but they definitely get some interesting textures and rhythms into the sound, which makes the end result much more interesting. –jimmy (Music Band, myspace.com/musicband)


MANGES, THE:
Bad Juju: CD

I have never understood how so many of the “bigger” pop punk bands attract the sizeable followings they do. The Manges (along with The Apers and a handful of silly-named others) are a perfect example. In the post-”Lookout heyday” pop punk world, it seems like the biggest names are often the bands bringing the least amount of originality to the table, musically and/or lyrically. As someone who came of age in the aforementioned “heyday,” I still tend to check out each new release from these bands, and not once have I been pleasantly surprised by even the slightest veer off of a worn-out path. A beacon of mediocrity.

–Dave Williams (Monster Zero)


LIGHTS AT SEA:
Palace Walls: CD

Palace Walls is seven songs of instrumental post-rock with more indie rock sensibilities. Think Caspian, Explosions In The Sky, and Unwed Sailor. There are the soft to explosive sounds you might find with those bands coupled with a good drive and energy. It’s pulled off well and is nice to listen to. I imagine Lights At Sea’s live show is solid, too. However, I’ve heard it all before, so I can’t say that there is much worth your time here unless you’ve just got a craving for more of the aforementioned bands.

–kurt (Barrett/Mind Over Matter)


LEEVES, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Digging in to Greensboro, North Carolina’s the Leeves first full-length for the first time left me scratching my head. What’s going on here? As each track passed, I had to keep looking at the disc to make sure it was the same one. This stuff is seriously all over the place, but not necessarily in a bad way. To break it down, the band does seem to have at least a few identifiable personalities: Some tracks have a Clash-like reggae feel, while others have a sound that I can only describe as Against Me with the Cure’s Robert Smith singing. Still, other songs reveal a serious party-rock influence while others are blues-tinged. The disc was recorded over the course of a few years, which certainly accounts for some of the continuity issues of the disc. And man, is this disc long. Clocking in at seventy-seven minutes, I found I dug it more when broken down into smaller, easier to digest doses. –Garrett Barnwell (theleeves.bandcamp.com)


KOHOUT PLASI SMRT:
Hužva: CD
I don’t understand what is going on! Everything is in Czech and I only speak Greek! Seriously though, from the band name and album title to the liner notes and vocals, everything is in Czech so I really can’t tell you anything about the band beyond the sound. With Kohout Plasi Smrt I felt like I was listening to a punkier, Czech version of Gogol Bordello. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s also not necessarily something I feel like I need in my life. Thanks, though. –kurt (kohoutplasismrt.cz)


HUMANOIDS, THE:
Year of the Snake: 7”
Kind of post D4 melodi-core, similar to most of the other stuff I’ve heard of theirs, and seen live. It’s not bad, though it sounds like a lot of other stuff, making it a little tough to stand out. Two originals, plus I was surprised to realize that there was also a Wipers cover. –joe (Rock Bottom)


HICKOIDS:
Kicking It with the Twits: CD
Long-running alt-rock cowboys pay tribute to a gaggle of British bands. I’m a bit of a nut about cover songs, but I just couldn’t handle this. Twangy and dull pretty much sums it up. –ty (Saustex, saustexmedia@aol.com)


HEAT TAPE, THE:
Raccoon Valley Recordings: CD
Brett from Dear Landlord/The Copyrights doing some lo-fi pop punk that’s pretty decent, but doesn’t really knock me out. For me, what makes his two other bands so great is how fast, loud, and pummeling they are (both recorded and live), and this kind of songwriting just isn’t quite as effective when it’s played more sloppily to a dirty-sounding 4-track. Probably a lot of folks who are bonkers for Underground Railroad will think this is the shit (although I love URTC, so maybe I’m off there), but it’s just okay to me. –Dave Williams (Red Scare, redscare.net)


HAY PERRO:
Eastern Ideas of Death: CD
A mutation of rock and hardcore, not so much in the stoner rock “let’s mix Sabbath with Black Flag” vein as it is a melding of the two approaches to loud guitar-oriented rock where you can hear both influences right up front. If bands like Annihilation Time float yer boat, this’ll likely do the same. –jimmy (Hay Perro, hayperro.com)


HAUNTED CONTINENTS:
The Loudest Year Ever: CD

 

What this sounds like is what it is: two indie-rock dudes with a yen for Weezer geeking out on various hues of ‘50s and ‘60s music. Amidst the loud, fuzzed guitar and quivering vocals, one can hear bits of doo wop, soul, early Simon and Garfunkel and the like. A novel idea, I guess, but most of it ultimately falls kind of flat and reeks of pretense. Every once in a while, though, they deliver a song like “Nothin’ to Be Done,” which is full of an achy beauty that stands in perfect contrast with the rest of what’s on here and would likely lose some of its luster if they had gone down that road instead and filled the release with songs in the same vein. In the end it feels like an interesting idea that falls short of the mark in execution.

–jimmy (Forest Park, no address)


GRIPPER / THE DESTRUCTORS:
Les Fleurs du Mal: CD
Gripper: There’s definitely a reminiscent feeling of playing Tony Hawk games again right now. I’m not sure if this is a bad thing. Because, you know, those soundtracks were pretty fucking killer. The Destructors: Every time I think I know about all the classic punk bands, I find another that’s been around for thirty years. The Destructors have been on and off the radar since 1977 and their discography is huge! I’m amazed I haven’t noticed them before. A little bit Swingin’ Utters, a little bit Circle Jerks. I’m cool with this. –Bryan Static (Rowdy Fargo, no address)


GÖTTEMIA / LUCKY MALICE:
Split: EP
Hmm. Well, I don’t really like either of these bands. Göttemia play kinda trashy punk rock’n’roll that didn’t hold my interest for more than two short songs and Lucky Malice play upbeat, slightly rough-around-the-edges melodic punk rock with dual female vox, which amounts to being only slightly less forgettable than Göttemia. Just not my thing, I s’pose. –Dave Williams (Tonehjulet Kraftpest)


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