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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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MURDERBURGERS:
Burned Out/Worn Out: CD
I’ve actually eaten at Murderburger. It’s a hot new pop-up restaurant that serves, of course, delicious burgers. Those burgers are made out of the ground and grilled flesh of hapless bands that have been found guilty of making tedious and generic pop punk, much like the smiley-faced bullshit on this disc. Normally I don’t eat meat, but I made a delicious exception when I went to Murderburger. Next time the band Murderburger plays “Braindead (from Hanging Round with You),” I hope they keep their eyes open for the staff of Murderburger the restaurant. I’d hate to see these kids end up at the wrong end of a spatula before they have a chance to make amends by writing some original songs instead of this worn out garbage. –mp (Monster Zero)


MONEY IN THE BANANA STAND:
There’s Always....: CD
On the surface, this sounds like your average indie punk band with Toys That Kill and the like pretty well represented in their record collection(s). Pay a little closer attention and they’ve got lyrics that are topical without getting too preachy and the music has a bit more going on in time changes and sly references to other musical genres. It ain’t my bag of marbles much, but they do what they do quite well. –jimmy (Bird Law, no address)


MIND SPIDERS, THE:
Self-titled: LP
Listening to this album started a chain reaction. There’s the obvious Marked Men and High Tension Wires connections (vocalist/guitarist Mark Ryan is also in those bands) and for some reason I found myself thinking of the Chinese Telephones. I immediately had to listen to High Tension Wires’ Midnight Cashier LP, thenMarked Men’s Ghosts and On the Outside LPs. I couldn’t find my Chinese Telephones LP. (Guess I sold it; I remember not caring for it at all. I can’t remember exactly what connection Chinese Telephones had to Marked Men. I think both Mark Ryan and other Marked Men vocalist Jeff Burke had a hand in writing/recording the Telephones’ album.) I had a deeper appreciation for these four albums after this marathon listening session. Note: I didn’t feel the need to listen to Marked Men’s Fix My Brain on account of knowing that record inside out and also because it feels different than other Marked Men records. I’d say Mind Spiders sounds closest to Ghosts-era Marked Men. Then I realized it was like 1:00 a.m. and I had to be at work at 8:00 a.m. –Sal Lucci (Dirtnap)


MIGHTY SPHINCTER/PULLING TEETH:
Split: 7”
The split, apparently only available with the aforementioned single, features hardcore band Pulling Teeth (with Integrity’s Dwid Hellion on vocals) running through later Sphincter track “The New Manson Family,” and the belles of the ball themselves running through a version of their own “Holy Unholy” with someone named Nick Fiction doing the warbling. True to form, both singles prominently feature mummified babies on their respective covers and inner artwork. While nothing here reaches the heretical depravity of “Temple Dogs,” “Waltz in Hell,” or “120 Days of Sodom,” it’s nice to see these guys back on the scene and in such fine form. One hopes they’ll see fit to reissue their back catalog and start work on some new, equally creepy noise. –jimmy (A389, a389records.com)


MIGHTY SPHINCTER:
Resurrection: 7”

I’ve made no secret of my long-standing adoration of Mighty Sphincter. The result of a conglomeration of older Arizona punkers getting together to take the piss out of 1980s punk rock, their early efforts sounded like a more musically sophisticated and sonically bombastic strip-mining of the same horror film schlock that gave the earliest incarnations of Christian Death their edge. Rather than merely wax poetic and dabble in cheap parlor heresy, Mighty Sphincter opted to delve into full-blown blasphemy, perversion, and shock lyrics with enough virulence to outrage the average uptight, homophobic hardcore kid and enough humor to keep those smart enough to figure out who the joke was on (and considering their singer had horns glued to his head, it wasn’t too hard to figure out they were having fun at others’ expense), smiling from ear to ear. Eventually, they dropped the shock tactics and headed down a more traditional gothic metal road, though they still managed to make that trip as bumpy as possible before disappearing sometime in the early ‘90s. Now, it appears they’ve decided to rear their heads and release a couple of new 45s. Resurrection consists of two reworkings of tunes previously explored on their Ghost Walking Double EP twelve-inch more than a quarter century ago. The title track is pretty faithful to the original, with a tempo that would make the Melvins envious in its sludge and gloomy lyrics, while “Inferno of Joy” has been reimagined as an almost Parisian street dirge, with what sounds like a concertina sharing space with acoustic guitars.

–jimmy (A389, a389records.com)


MIDDLE CLASS TRASH:
One Thing Left:: 7” EP
Wow, just....fucking wow. Tight-as-fuck hardcore, lotsa tempo changes, a band that’s working like a well-oiled machine, and lyrics addressing mindless consumerism, anesthetizing reality away and mankind’s continued steady march toward oblivion. Angry, intelligent, sophisticated, and just plain fucking great. One seriously couldn’t ask for more. –jimmy (Jailhouse)


ME FIRST AND THE GIMME GIMMES:
Go Down Under: CDEP
1995, really? Someone who’s drinking age now was five years old when Gimme Gimmes started? That doesn’t sound possible. Well, their gig’s well documented. Dudes from NOFX, Swingin’ Utters, Foo Fighters, No Use For A Name. Themed albums, taking standards, plugging in overt punk rock references (DOA and Black Flag in this one), adding real drums and guitars, and wham-o, a decade-and-half-and-still-going worth of material. I’ve been told by bands visiting Japan that Me First songs are playing over the loudspeakers at the airport, so they must be doing something right in the international royalties market. This time, they go to the world’s largest island (or smallest continent, you decide): Australia. They tackle everyone’s favorite autoerotic asphyxiator, Michael Hutchence (INXS), Olivia Newton John (who’s pop took nasty Nazi Rudolph Hess into custody at the end of WWII so he could face trial at Nuremburg), the undeniably great Easybeats (onstage back flips in the mid ‘60s!), and the Sammy Hagar-penned, Rick Springfield-performed “I’ve Done Everything for You.” Fun. Are the Gimmes going to discover the cure for AIDS? No, but they continue to prove that laughter’s a great medicine. –todd (Fat)


MCRACKINS:
Live from Thunderbird Radio Hell: CD
Yes, the impossible has happened! The Mcrackins have found a way to release yet another musical offering! I appreciate the ridiculously prolific nature of this band, but I just don’t think they’re amazing enough to make me that excited about any particular record. This one might rise to the top of the pile, though. It’s a live recording from an appearance on a radio show with Nardwuar the Human Serviette! There’s some amusing between-song banter and thirteen songs of the Canadian pop punk persuasion. I recommend playing it in your car and pretending that you just happened upon it on the AM dial. I guarantee it will be way cooler than anything on the actual radio. –Maddy (Killer)


MARK SPARKLES, THE:
Pass: 7”
Let me just say this: Pass is definitely rough sounding. I mean, it sounds really rough—and this is from a guy who adores Shotwell, for Christ’s sake, a band not exactly renowned for the sonic integrity of their recorded material. I think the problem lies in the fact that it was mastered very low, and the way the drums were recorded here—when there’s drumming—everything sounds very hot, almost like the needle’s running across the record. It’s too bad, too, because the band itself reminds me of stuff like Punkin Pie or Abe Froman—frantic, energetic blasts of joyful raucousness with traded-off male and female vocals, on the snarling, ragged (right) side of pop-punk. Were these tunes presented in a more listenable format, I have a feeling I’d be loving them. As it stands now, and it pains me to say it because the folks involved with Abandon Hope seem like very cool, enthusiastic people, but the recording may actually be too rough to get much enjoyment out of the songs themselves. –keith (Abandon Hope)


LOVE ME NOTS, THE:
The Demon and the Devotee: LP
Classy, seductive, style-conscious, Detroit-inspired garage rock from Phoenix, AZ with respectful-to-their-vision Jim Diamond production. So, if you’re thinking, “Huh, you could almost be explaining the Detroit Cobras,” yeah, you got me. The organ’s more churchy and slithery than, say, on-fire Bomboras. The vocals are more plaintive than the chanteuseyness of the Detroit Cobras or as shouty as the Gore Gore Girls. Often, when the tempos slow, there’s less of a classic rhythm and blues or soul feel, instead a late ‘80s-early ‘90s college rock backdrop; along the lines of The Church or The Breeders. In fact—and this will probably help out ten people—a more garage-conscious, restrained interpretation of The Wiretaps. (Who are well worth seeking out.) That all said; it’s a very enjoyable record. It’s got nice stomp, swagger, and celebrates with impeccable musicianship and distinctive song writing. –todd (Project Infinity, kat@projectinfinity.com)


LOSE THE TUDE:
Self-titled: 7”
Topically progressive, posi hardcore from Ohio that splashes itself in the cologne of garlic, Charles Bronson (the band (for sure), perhaps the man (not sure)), human sweat, Spazz, and the backbone chanty wangdoodle of Youth Of Today without the outright laughable bits. By looking solely at the inside cover, I thought they hailed from a land like England that had cops with funny hats, and wondered if that the cop who’s covering a streaker’s naughty bits with his helmet put it back on his head after covering the dude’s sweaty penis, or charged the hippie with willful destruction of public property. If pro-graffiti, anti-corporate shoe, anti-apathy, dealing-with-jealousy and the-creeping-disease-of-jadedness hardcore sounds like go time for you, Lose The Tude’s ready to be laced up to start doing musical pushups in your ears. –todd (Sacred Plague)


LIFE AND TIMES, THE:
“Day II” b/w “Day III”: 7”
Side A is the type of rhythmic indie rock that post-hardcore guys from DC play. Side B is acoustic and shoegazey. The band recorded this themselves and added a lot of atmospheric affects, which are nice but muddle the vocals, which are low in the mix and makes them more textural than leading. –CT Terry (Hawthorne St.)


LIARBIRDS / BRICKFIGHT:
Split: 7”
Liarbirds: I think my band played their last show in Minneapolis and I have a vague recollection of someone telling me I should really check them out, which I didn’t. Instead, I stood in the lawn of the house they were playing, drinking and talking to some friends I| hadn’t seen in a while. Their side of the record confirms that I am an idiot. Those friends could have waited twenty minutes. This is some great Midwestern punk rock, like a snottier Smoking Popes or maybe Vacation Bible School. Brickfight: In some ways I feel like this band is severely underrated. Aside from some high praises from Mitch Clem, I rarely hear much buzz about them. Maybe I’m just not looking in the right places. At any rate, Brickfight, like Liarbirds, plays great Midwestern punk rock (though these guys are originally from Ft. Worth) but with a bit gruffer of an edge. A solid split, indeed! –Chris Mason (Let’s Pretend)


LEAD THE WAY:
And in Vengeance We Strike: CD
Substantive lyrics running the gamut of bullshit the dominant society’s shoving down the average schmo’s throat coupled with modern punk that would probably fit right in the average Hot Topic’s playlist without anyone batting an eye. Either it’s a brilliant attempt to subvert the corporate punk status quo, or an attempt at making the heads of folks like me explode. Either way, I imagine they succeed. –jimmy (Not Shy Of The DIY, notshyofthediy.co.uk)


KOMATOZ:
Two Hands: 12”
This band is from St. Petersburg, Russia and call themselves “aggressive thrash punk.” Despite the gnarly d-beat-inspired cover art, this band seems like they would be more home on tour with more commercial metal acts than on at a hardcore show. The music is full of double bass and vaguely crusty chug-a-chugs broken up by some generic lead work. The vocals don’t really do anything for me. I hate to be negative in reviews and I’m sure this would probably appeal to the whole Eulogy/Deathwish Records crowd, but outside of a couple cool riffs in songs like “Emptiness,” pretty much everything about this record reminds me of seeing all those boring jock bands in the early 2000s. I am also writing this entire review assuming this record is supposed to be played at 45 RPM, but at 33 RPM it sounds only slightly more interesting. –Ian Wise (co-release, myspace.com/komatozpunk)


KING KONG MAGNETICS:
Futuristic Money Makers: CD
Sixth-tier rap crap with rudimentary rhymes and an obsession with pussy and blowjobs. No prude am I, and I’m easily one of the most hip hop friendly folks on staff, but Kool Keith, or even Luke Skywalker, these guys decidedly are not. –jimmy (Pancake Productions, pancakeproductions.net)


JOYSIDE:
Booze at Neptune’s Dawn: CD

Not at all what I was expecting. Beijing’s answer to The Swell Maps with a little Johnny Thunders and Lou Reed thrown in for good measure. I’m really digging this.

–Chris Mason (Tenzenmen)


JFA:
Speed of Sound: CD
This came out last year some time but I just got around to getting it and I didn’t see a review of it up on the Razorcake site. Skate rock legends JFA crank out their first studio record since 1999’s Only Live Once. If you’re familiar with JFA, then you know the deal: rough and tumble punk rock dedicated to a life of skating, surfing, and being the life of the party. Singer Brian Brannon’s voice is like the hanger of an Indy 215 barking on pool coping—a sound that many would find grating, but to those in the know, it’s best thing ever. Never a band to settle into a pigeon hole of “hardcore punk,” there are even a couple of groovy jams with an electric piano. This should be the soundtrack to your next bowl session. –ty (DC-Jam, dcjamrecords.com)


JACK OF HEART:
The Wedding: 7”
Jack Of Heart is a group fronted by Frenchmen Piero Ilov (formerly of The Fatals, currently in Demon’s Claws). Power pop, girl group and garage rock fans take heed: this 45 is a burner. The A side is incredibly sweet-sounding—like something off No Bunny’s recent LP. The B side is a cool cover of ? & the Mysterians’ “96 Tears.” Well worth picking up, from New Zealand’s finest garage label, Perpetrator Records. –ryan (Perpetrator, myspace.com/perpetratorrecords)


IMPO AND THE TENTS:
Self-titled: LP
Trebly. Fuzzy. Big boots and short skirts. Skinny ties and ill-fitting suits and an ardent love for 196something. Straight outta the garage, shot through with a mild dose of potty humor and, overall, a pretty convincing piece of work. I’m sure Ryan Leach could go on and on about a band like this, but my working knowledge is pretty slim. Best I can come up with is if the Groovie Ghoulies had been less into horror flicks and the Ramones and more into Nuggets comps and drawing dirty pictures on the bathroom wall, they may have sounded pretty similar to this. Features one of the most harmlessly idiotic but vaguely disturbing record covers I’ve seen in some time—and they actually sound more tuneful than I expected from the cover. If you can make it past that, you’re set. Milwaukee seems a big town for these kind of ‘60s proto-garage bands, and I have a feeling more than a few folks here would fall in love with these guys if they heard ‘em. –keith (Alleycat)


HZERO:
Caña Antigua: 12”
Had no idea these guys were still around. I have their Dias de Rabia Noches de Furia EP from around 2004, and it’s pretty solid trash with some youth crew influences. They’ve changed the sound slightly on this outing. It’s a bit more rock influenced (you can definitely here some Turbonegro in their sound now), which has erased most of the youth crew elements. But, maybe for the better. The songs are stronger and amid all the speed and hardness, the songs are catchy as hell. Songs like the title track start off in a blinding fury, then throw a changeup that shifts the tempo down a touch and brings the rock elements to the fore. “Volver Cargado” is another ripper on here with a break that hearkens back to the “Apocalypse Dudes.” Pretty good record. –Matt Average (Sell Our Souls, selloursouls.com)


HOMOSTUPIDS:
Strawberry Orange Peach Banana: LP
On earlier Homostupids vinyl, I was suspecting a “maturation” along the lines of the Spits. Cretins that, instead of huffing furniture weatherproofing spray, were cultivating a certain type of mold to inhale that’d make the band both stupider and smarter. I was pretty far off. What I wasn’t expecting was art, like “I don’t quite know what to make of it, so I’m gonna shut up—wow, that person’s doing a lot of explaining—and see if there are free drinks around here somewhere” art. But, christ, when they kick all the instruments in the same direction, damn if they don’t harness a hearse running into a power line chaotic electricity of This Moment In Black History or Sun God. Then it goes into what sounds like practice tapes, various water sounds, banjo (or is it cello?) recitals, noise-as-noise, and sounds of kids saying stuff and art, sometimes within the confines of the same song. This record’s corrosive, like battery acid. It’s not like I’m bored or I’ve got something pressing to do right now, so I’m going to soak in this LP a bit longer, see if any vistas open up. I totally understand if you’ve got stuff to do and think it’s sorta annoying or unfocused. –todd (Fashionable Idiots)


HOLIDAY BAND:
Memory Map: CD
The first thing that came to mind was “Geggy Tah,” an assessment I immediately dismissed, but have now grudgingly gone back to. While they don’t really sound anything like them and don’t have the same bouncy quality in their songs, the eclectic quality of Holiday Band’s approach to indie rock—melding dissonance with multi-part harmonies ‘n’ such and not afraid to bypass the usual conventions of the genre on occasion—keeps bringing that old alt-rock band to mind. Can’t really say they totally won me over, or that this is really in the ballpark of something I’d listen to with any regularity, but I definitely appreciate their efforts to do things a bit differently, and at this moment it worked for me on some level. –jimmy (Joyful Noise)


HEWHOCANNOTBENAMED:
Sunday School Massacre: CD
What is the first thing you think of when you think of Dwarves’ guitar maniac HeWhoCannotBeNamed? All I can picture is wrestling masks and sweaty scrotum. How would you imagine that mask and balls would come across in an audio format? Well, actually it turned out pretty great. It’s like when Dee Dee would sing on Ramones songs. It sounds like the same band, but somehow different. The tracks here are pure Dwarves through and through, but HeWho’s voice is a little rougher than Blag’s, so it comes off slightly different. Speaking of Blag, he and other Dwarves make appearances as well. The subject matter is pretty much what you’re expecting, too. Sex, drugs and any/every deviant behavior know to man (and some unknown!). A great way to kill some time while waiting for that next Dwarves album. –ty (Greedy)


HERDS:
Michigan: EP
Noise-drenched, slightly metal flavored, elbow-to-the-neck hardcore from Milwaukee. Rorschach heaviness doused with the piss and sweat leftover from a Nine Shocks Terror show. Not as fast as their previous records but still as thundering. There’s a man vs. nature/the elements theme going in all four songs. Don’t throw away that spaghetti-thin strip of paper inside the cover; it’s a download code. –Juan Espinosa (Residue, residue-records.com)


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