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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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FUCKED UP:
Town Comp: LP
Admittedly, I haven’t really sat down and listened to Fucked Up in a while, just recalling them as “that loud hardcore band I’d seen a few times, a few years ago,” so this one screwed with me a little. Apparently it’s a concept album: a collection of b-sides from an upcoming album, turned into “compilation” in the style of ‘70s Euro regional comps, with the help of a bunch of extra vocalists to make the whole thing more convincing (some of my favorites being Sandy Miranda and AC Newman). Admittedly, given the choice, I’d prefer to listen to the proper album, but all things considered, this is a pretty cool record. –joe (Matador)


HEARTBEEPS:
My Bones Are Tattooed: LP
Just plain, fun, punk rock. Loosely Problematics, Rip-Offs, et al. I’m trying not to say they’re ex-TV Killers, but I can’t ignore the fluorescent Post-It on the dust jacket any longer. That, and their sound hasn’t changed much. Plus, everyone can relate to the pangs of “Right Shoes, Right Jacket, Wrong Records.” I really need to cut loose more often, and this is a step in the right direction. –thiringer (Dead Beat)


EVIL STREAKS:
Go Go to Hell: 7”
More ‘60s garage/mod that rock/psychobilly, with a nondescript band and a female singer who sounds like she’s hiccupping lyrics such as, “I wanna be the devil’s mistress” and a couple of “All rights.” Some good effort, but it sounds restrained. –thiringer (Necro-Tone, bigdaddyslug@yahoo.com)


HULLABALLOONS:
For the Sake of the Sun: 7”
First, let me apologize for my review of this record being so late. The record fell behind my file cabinet and I just found it. I didn’t even realize it had gone missing, but I wish I hadn’t found it. No one should make music this insanely poppy and happy, unless you’re skipping barefoot through a park, wearing a daisy chain. –thiringer (Boogie Creek)


KILSLUG:
God’s Funeral: 7”
I would rather suffocate in a tar pit than listen to these two grinding, sludge-like “black metal” songs again. –thiringer (Necro-Tone)


BRIMSTONE HOWL/HELL SHOVEL:
Split: 7”
Brimstone Howl, a heady, fuzzed-out, tuned-in, high-quality garage/punk outfit from Omaha. Hell Shovel, a weird, psychedelic bad trip from Canada. –thiringer (Certified PR)


MAGNUMS:
II: 7”
Lo-fi Atlanta punk with mildly distorted, slightly off-key vocals that feel disconnected from the music— as if they were recorded separately. Feels lightly glammy and ‘70s, but the performances have a chugging seriousness about them. –thiringer (NMG Worldwide)


SLIM CESSNA’S AUTO CLUB:
Unentitled: CD
One of the progenitors of gothic country, Denver’s SCAC continues their decade-and-a-half onslaught of frenzied, otherworldly tones. Well-written and well-composed, their modern mix and production of various old-time musical styles is a little more subdued, yet more refined, than some of their more raw contemporaries. Unentitled has a restrained, matured calm about it; fans of SCAC won’t be disappointed with this addition to the band’s long-running catalog. –thiringer (Alternative Tentacles)


TEEN-REBEL DOPEFIENDS:
Self-titled: CD
Presumably named after a pulp fiction novel, these Loiners (gotta love demonyms) have a harmonious, albeit frustrated, undercurrent, not unlike Jawbreaker or Fugazi. Very apt they’re touring with Unfun. Six electrified-named tracks that appeal to the under-age-twenty-five me and five acoustic unnamed tracks that are theoretically Acoustic Motherfucker Stones-like, appealing to the over-age-thirty-five me. –thiringer (Self-released, teenrebeldopefiends.blogspot.com)


ROMAN CANDLES:
Roman Candles Presents: The Stowaways: A Compilation of Songs 2007-2009: Cassette
Folk punk with an accordion, and while nothing about this is offensive in anyway, it is otherwise unremarkable in pretty much every other capacity. –Jeff Proctor (Aztec)


NOBUNNY:
Love Vision: Cassette
I know this was originally released almost three years ago now, but I don’t listen to my tapes too frequently and have been sitting on this (with all my other cassette review material) for some time. With time comes the opportunity for reflection and over time we’ve seen a number of the tunes from this record become staples of the Nobunny live set and really, become modern classics. Justin Champlin’s Nobunny is expertly adept at writing achingly sweet and humble songs that discreetly cover their lyrical depravity.  This is also, in many ways, the pop music equivalent of found art, borrowing lines and melodies from long-forgotten or ignored girl groups, garage rock, bubblegum pop, and other sounds from the ‘50s and ‘60s. Nobunny breathes new life in to them by appropriating and reinventing them as something entirely his own. This is exemplified finely in “I am a Girlfriend,” which aside from being creepily perfect, borrows from both the Rivingtons and Silence of the Lambs for lyrical inspiration. If you haven’t, for some odd reason, given Nobunny a chance yet, please feel free to start here and then go on to pick up Raw Romance and First Blood, as well. –Jeff Proctor (Burger)


EPIC DEBAUCHERY :
Excess in Moderation: Cassette
Three-piece made up of veteran members of the San Pedro scene. The things that come immediately to mind when I listen are Shark Pants and the Damned, which, while different, aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. What these dudes play is punk rock that incorporates the funky, punk rock soul party that is Shark Pants with brush strokes of Captain Sensible’s psychedelic guitar stylings and a bit of the theatrics of Dave Vanian’s vocals. This is an odd, but interesting and attention-holding couple of songs on this here cassette. –Jeff Proctor (Water Under The Bridge)


DANGEROUS TRAP/END OF SCIENCE, THE:
Split: Cassette
Both bands do spacey, trippy, orchestral, instrumental jams. Very mellow to very excited and agitated, these ambient jams, are expertly played and with plenty of layers to create a variety of nuanced, sonic textures. Fans of Isis, Neurosis, Mogwai, and others will likely find much to like about this cassette. My one issue is that both bands do such similar things that the two sides sound like one band, rather than a split. –Jeff Proctor (Meters And Miles)


SEAN COLE:
Christy Twins: Cassette
Sean Cole, one half of Toys that Kill’s creative force, appears solo here for six tunes that he wrote, played, and recorded by himself. Just vocals and guitar, these are honest, introspective and spare bedroom recordings, like the early Sebadoh demos. It’s nice to hear more of Cole’s voice again. Cassette comes with a download card so you can play these tunes on your various digital platforms. –Jeff Proctor (Water Under The Bridge)


ZAPIAIN:
Jibberjabber: CD
Bad Religion and Face To Face are the overt influences here. These guys have ‘90s skate rock down to a science. Played well, recorded well, but not something I have any interest in. –Jeff Proctor (Unsane Asylum)


PHRASEMONGERS, THE :
Songs of Fight and Failure: CD
Thunders worship with mixed results. –Jeff Proctor (myspace.com/phrasemongers)


ANDY MARCHEL AND THE COCAINE RAINBOW :
Self-titled: CD
Musically, it’s sorta reminiscent of Underground Railroad To Candyland: bounce-happy songs, with fun time keys and percussion, while, at the same time, the guitar sounds kinda sad, adding some emotional depth. Vocals are more on the gruff, blown-out side, however, making the songs a bit more urgent than URTC’s with Todd C’s slackadaisical singing style, though sometimes the vocals sound a little too much like Tom Gabel for me. Otherwise, this is a fine release. –Jeff Proctor (AMCR)


END OF POWER:
Shackled to a Corpse: CD
This is the full-length version, released on Livid Records, of what the band self-released not too long ago as an EP. Here, you get a couple extra tunes and some new packaging. For the unfamiliar, End Of Power is Chris Fields of JCCC, the Dwarves, and tons more along with Russell Guenther and Eric Lukasic, who played with Chris previously in bands like Machinegun and Victory Mansion. Tough, heavy, sludgy stoner rock/doom metal is whatcha get here: Motörhead, High On Fire-inspired tunes. It’s still some really good stuff. –Jeff Proctor (Livid)


BRO LOAF:
Self-titled: CDEP
I understand it’s a joke and I get what they’re trying to do. Living in close proximity to Tempe, AZ and Arizona State University, these guys come across a lot of “bros” and thought it clever to start a band, wherein they dress and act like said “bros” and put on ridiculous, over the top stage shows to showcase how witty they are. Here are a couple problems:  Fashion is fleeting. Mocking it is a trivial pursuit at best. Tastes in general and specifically as they relate to the bro phenotype (hair, clothing, etc.) come and go. Basing your entire band’s cosmology on superficial trends makes you, well, superficial. The other thing is, your band sounds like Guttermouth, which is entirely inexcusable. –Jeff Proctor (myspace.com/broloaf)


THOUSANDAIRES:
Million Dollar Move, Two Dollar Shot: 7”
Like Hot Water Music and Small Brown Bike? These guys do. –Jeff Proctor (Salinas)


STALINS OF SOUND :
Self-titled: 7”
Originally a one-man band featuring Hadi Ziade, former bass player for the Dissimilars, singing and playing guitar backed by a drum machine, Hadi was then joined by bass player Dave Masur, and later synthesizer from former Dissimilars and SlabCity frontman Jimmy the Worm. Employing the drum machine in place of a live drummer makes for a unique twist on the current wave of synth punk bands. While the Spits have perfected the unfrozen-cavemen-discover-synthesizer sound, eagerly and earnestly delighting crowds for fifteen years and still managing to come across as idiot savants, there is something more deviant and sinister with Stalins Of Sound, like world-weary misfits expertly aware of the doom and gloom electronic instruments can bring. Stalins fall in line more with the darker, troubled sounds of Destruction Unit or Digital Leather, however still maintaining a bit of the tongue-in-cheek irreverence of the Spits (songs like “Baton of Discipline” aren’t completely serious). If any of the aforementioned are up your alley, then Stalins Of Sound comes with the highest recommendation. –Jeff Proctor (volarrecords.blogspot.com)


PUBERTY:
“Invitations” b/w “Parties”: 7”
Members of the Shins and the Intelligence get together to play some ultra mellow, smoking jacket cool exotica-inspired garage rock. Sneering, spaced-out, and swinging, you can tell these lo-fi lounge lizards are having a ball. I encourage you to throw this on, shake a martini, and shake your butt. –Jeff Proctor (Telephone Explosion)


DRAGGING AN OX THROUGH WATER:
They’re Gonna Send Me to the Dead Mumford Pencil Box Factory: 7”
Robotic bleeps and bloops and other futuristic sounds flirt with acoustic guitars to create an interesting, curious juxtaposition of sounds. This is like the aural equivalent of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” with the upstart and wild electronic music meeting the rigid and staid folk and country music, with surprisingly successful results. –Jeff Proctor (Stankhouse)


DIARRHEA PLANET:
Aloha: 7”
My first complaint is regarding the shoddy recording; sounds like it was done live on a boombox. Live records are for Cheap Trick. Secondly, if you’re gonna do the wacky band name and wacky song titles thing (“Ghost with a Boner”) you gotta blow me away with either  incredible awesomeness or incredible stupidity. Sometimes it seems like it’s cleverer than it’s putting on, however the troublesome thing to me is that the music seems to be really incongruent with the image the band is putting on, the shtick they’re going for. The music is all this big, fist-pumping anthemic stuff. What they’re singing about though, who knows? Ghost boners, I guess. Anyway, the whole thing reeks of trying really hard at pretending not to try. –Jeff Proctor (diarrheaplanet.blogspot.com)


ATTIC TED:
3 New Songs: 7”
This record is entertaining, intriguing, and thoroughly bizarre. Circus music inspired lo-fi noise pop recorded with what sounds like drums, sparse guitar, and cheap synthesizers on four track, they definitely get a lot of bang for their musical buck, exploring the sonic limits of their instruments and recording equipment, stretching notes and keys in surprising ways. While these guys definitely fly the weird flag, there’s still enough pop smarts going on here for these tunes to be catchy and memorable. This is fun to listen to and worth a chance if you’re into outsider music of various stripes. –Jeff Proctor (Pecan Crazy)


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