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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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WHISKEY & CO.:
Rust Colors: LP
If one doesn’t know Whiskey & Co.’s heritage, doesn’t read any of the lyrics, doesn’t pick up on a single clue, that dummy could say, “Man, I hate country. Why’re you wasting time on this? My mohawk’s droopin’ over here.” Let me lay down a basic fact. DIY punk in the 2010’s is what punk’s been promising for decades: a lifelong lifestyle. (Not a clothes-style or hairstyle or a simply purchasable-as-a-jumpsuit commodity.) And I relish the fact that dyed-in-the-wool, not-getting-younger punks are fully embracing other traditional musical forms without discarding their ideals or the essence of rebellion, fun, broken hearts, and questioning. And Whiskey & Co.’s no awkward or embarrassing hybrid country-punk (or cowpunk), stapling loud guitar sounds onto everything. If Waffle House America wasn’t Wal-Mart glassy-eyed for ball-draggin’ obesity-inducing pop country, Kim Helm and the boys’d be on jukeboxes next to Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, and the Pine Hill Haints from shore to shining shore. They ain’t, and that’s partially why I’m continuing to celebrate them on this end. –todd (No Idea)


WHEELS ON FIRE:
Liar, Liar: CD
This is some of the catchiest, peppiest, poppiest garage rock that’s ever come across these ears. Sweet and soulful chords ring out while organ swirls and tambourine, glockenspiel, and horns make cameos at this reverb-drenched sock hop. Exploding Hearts meets Tommy James And The Shondells. The Real Kids and Flamin’ Groovies split a bill, sharing a van and some beers with The Swinging Medallions and Question Mark and the Mysterians. That’s what you get here. All of it is absolutely delightful and a joy to listen to. –Jeff Proctor (Alien Snatch)


WHATEVER BRAINS:
Self-titled: 7”
I guess you would call this experimental, noisy stuff. The A side I could hear all day and somehow it just doesn’t register in my brain. It’s like it sends out a magnetic signal that makes my brain just go somewhere else. I only just realized there are two tracks on that side, neither of which are in any way discernible to me. Easily ignorable, let’s put it like that. The B side isn’t that bad, but it’s not that great either; regardless of the Minutemen reference. I’m really whatever about the Whatever Brains. –Rene Navarro (Sorry State/ Funny Not Funny)


WEDNESDAY NIGHT HEROS:
Fit the Description: 7”
Turns out this band already broke up, as I recently saw an ad from a band which rose from its ashes in this illustrious magazine you are holding. This came out two years ago, so I guess it’s not all that shocking. Fast paced, basic punk. Sounds like early Anti-Flag, but not nearly as good. Nothing on this 7” will blow your mind. Three punk songs: one about hating cops, one about hating people, and one about hating your job. While I agree with these sentiments, this won’t be the soundtrack to my discontent. –Rene Navarro (Problem Child Music)


WE ARE HEX:
Kill the Goer: CDEP
There used to be a time where I placed a curse upon the words post punk. It always kind of annoyed me how anything could be post-”thing that never stopped existing.” I mean, Iggy Pop was considered proto-punk until 1977 at which point he was considered post-punk. How the hell does that work? Eventually I learned of the ways of Gang Of Four and Wire and I stopped being so bitchy about the semantics of it all. We Are Hex continue in that line of post punk with the production values to match. Their songwriting skills are not too shabby either. –Bryan Static (Roaring Colonel)


WATCH YOUR BACK:
Traditional: CD
Hardcore Finns. Eighties-style. Fast, noisy, and shout-y songs that clock in at a one-minute average. –thiringer (self released, myspace.com/wybhc)


WARHAWKS: : :
Mobilize: CD-R
Had I a nickel for every album I’ve heard that could unquestionably be called a punk album, I would have less nickels than you think. Warhawks’ Mobilize is easily one of those albums. I tend not to favor albums like this. There are thoughts and ideas in it that stray from the set formula of thrashy hardcore, but ultimately the template remains firmly in use. Not for me. –Bryan Static (CrabAss, no address)


WAGNER LOGIC, THE:
Self-titled: CD
This is a chunk of decent indie rock. It’s actually pretty competently done in a shoegazey way, due to the big, effects-drenched guitars and chorusy vocals. My main problem is that it never really clicked with me in a big way. If the album tipped a little to the direction of either more experimental or bigger hooks, the band would have elicited some stronger response. –Adrian (Wilderhood)


VOLXSTURM / HARRINGTON SAINTS:
Split: 7”
You’d be hard-pressed to find a subgenre of punk that I enjoy less than bad “street rock.” Songs about factories, unions, boots... fuck. So ridiculously boring. There are a few bands who still do this well, but the ratio of great to mediocre/godawful is a painful one. Just so useless. Give me Blitz or ‘Sparrer any day, but this record is forgettable at best. –Dave Williams (Contra/Longshot)


VOLT PER OCTAVES, THE:
Via Human Error: CD
By the looks of the cover art and the lyrics of one of the tunes, it appears this group is a family affair with a few special guests, including Parliament/Funkadelic’s Bernie Worrell joining in the fun. What you get here is mostly instrumental synth stuff that’s often spacey and occasionally funky. Was intrigued enough by one of the instruments utilized, the Korg DS-10, to look in to see what it was. Turns out it’s a full-blown synthesizer application you can get for the Nintendo DS game that offers the potential for making some interesting noise, and it appears these folk are making good use of it. Fuggin’ technology, man. –jimmy (The Volt Per Octaves)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Revelation 150: Past Present: Breaking out the Classics: CD
Heres’s a new compilation where the long-running hardcore label celebrates their history with new and old bands covering material from across the label’s history. I dug the Bold stuff when they tackled Supertouch’s “Searchin’ for the Light” and also when other bands threw out Bold songs. So I guess I may need to get me some Bold, eh? Mikoto’s take on Texas Is The Reason’s “Back and to the Left” was also a standout. And, of course, Walter Schreifels’s contribution doesn’t disappoint because, uh, it’s Walter! The rest of the songs all had a sameness to them that was hard for me to overcome. But fans of this label’s bands will have a field day with this record. –koepenick (Revelation)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Quincy Punx WM3: 7”
How can this not be a win/win situation? Some great bands covering songs by another great band for a great cause. Woooo! I’ve been a fan of Quincy Punx for a long time. We’ve got three songs from an upcoming tribute album and a fourth track exclusive to this record. All four bands are great (P.O.S., Off With Their Heads, 20 Dollar Love, and Torch The Spires) with their respective songs, but it’s Torch The Spires that come out on top for me, mainly because “Tina” is my favorite Quincy Punx song. One hundred percent of the profits from this record go to the defense benefit for the West Memphis Three. Something I can definitely get behind. Great work, folks! –ty (Crustacean)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Punx Don’t Drink: 7”
Always a fan of making overwhelmingly untrue statements, I was totally stoked when I saw this four way split. Cold Shoulder (Indiana), Coke Bust, Poison Planet, and Boiling Over each contribute two totally pissed-off ragers. I’ve always welcomed straight-edge, not necessarily as a personal ideal, but as an important part of punk rock. So if this record “embodies the new face and attitude of Straight Edge” (from the liner notes) I say kudos, these bands are passionate and intense and they don’t just sing about generic, backstabbing bullshit. But we all have our own battles which we have to fight in our own ways. And some punx drink. –Daryl Gussin (Third Party)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
My America: A Tribute to Quincy Punx: CD
On one hand, I think it’s pretty cool that Mike Robertson, drummer for old Minneapolis snot-punks Quincy Punx, has become at least mildly politicized. In an effort to lend some kind of meaning to his band’s output, or at least minimize their wasted potential writing a bajillion songs about beer and not giving a fuck, he’s assembled this record. Twenty-eight bands cover Quincy Punx songs, with all the proceeds going to the West Memphis 3 Defense Fund. The WM3 were three teenagers convicted of the 1993 “Satanic cult” murders of three young boys, with little physical evidence to back up the convictions. It’s a fascinating and resoundingly sad story, the investigation itself rife with clusterfucks. On one hand, it’s impressive that the story of these convictions has politicized Robertson to the point that he’s released a benefit record. On the other hand, wouldn’t a straight-up compilation have gotten the point across better? A covers album—especially of these guys—seems pretty unnecessary. The Quincy Punx were pretty crappy the first time around, and even with big names like Off With Their Heads, Misery, and P.O.S. on the bill, this is a pretty lame album. The Ugly Fat Kids covering “Eat a Bowl of Fuck” doesn’t really bring much to the table, and while the intent is admirable, there’s only so many ways you can add some spice and variety to the Quincy Punx catalog. –keith (Crustacean)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Fresh Cuts & Cigarette Burns: 7”EP
Well, none can truthfully say that the six-band compilation 7” is an overpopulated genre, that’s fo’ dang sho’. In any event, hey! This record sounds like hardcore! And not the shitty kind that we’ve been having for the last twenty-eight years, either! The kinda good stuff, from like summer 1982 or something! Of course, they changed the sweetener in Lipton® Sugar-Free Iced Tea with Lemon™ since then, so i really can’t go home again ((and, hell, you can’t even get Tab™ in the glass returnable bottles any more)), but still, if you can find a better six-band 7” ep, i say BUY IT! The FNU Ronnies’ band name makes them sound like they’d be from Boston, but they actually sound more like “Let’s Go Die” from “Land Speed Record,” which was written by not Bob, not Grant, but Greg Norton, so all college rockers please go fuck themselves. Sick Jump! sound sort of like the last bit of leftover Keith Morris vocals from “Fix Me,” but, then again, that new Southwestern Airlines® TV commercial music sounds like an acoustic version of the last few bars of “No Values” so i guess this is timely and topical. Kill The Hippies are slightly jazzier, but, since they say right their in their band name that they are all about killing hippies, they are obviously on the up and up. The Curtains sound slightly spooky and gothy, what with the flanger and all, that i was wondering if there was gonna be some kinda “Hell Comes To Your House” kinda punky/gothy Side 1/Side 2 dichotomy, but White Load mostly just yell “NOTH-ING-IS-FUN-NY!!! NOTH-ING-IS-FUN-NY!!!” as they thrash park benches into soft mossy toothpicks Boston Not L.A. style ((or do i mean LAMA?)) so i’d say that was a false alarm. The Flying Trichecos end things tensely, i think. Better than A Collection of Question Marks! Happy days are here again. Wait, no, i meant UNHAPPY days. Well, you know what i mean. BEST SONG: FNU Ronnies, “Ain’t No Place.” BEST SONG TITLE: White Load, “Nothing Is Funny.” Or maybe that’s the best song, and “No Control But Dance Control” by Kill The Hippies is the best song. I’m not sure. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Run-off grooves on both sides are inscribed with the message “Trutone NY Carl 3-09.” –norb (Criminal IQ)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Daddy Rockin’ Strong: LP
Subtitled “A Tribute to Nolan Strong and the Diablos,” this cover comp is pretty damn spectacular. Nolan Strong had a beautiful, high voice that epitomized ‘50s soulful sound, with great harmonies from the four-man Diablos, and solid backup band with tight rhythm pounding out the sonic sounds. In order to live up to that high standard, The Wind Records teams with dependable Norton Records to get a killer group of contemporaries: Mark Sultan, Dirtbombs, Dan Kroha, Reigning Sound, even Andre Williams playing with the A-Bones—you could not ask for more, but you get more bands—twelve hits. Kickass guitar, powerful throbbing songs galore, great singing from the heart, music from the soul. It’s a classy mix—bands that show the great rock and roll we’ve got to experience in the last two decades celebrating where the original power and soul of rock (and pop) all started from. This album is a party. –mike (Norton)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Crustacean Records 2010 Sampler: CD

I’m usually a little late to the party, so I am quite happy to report that this nifty little sampler just turned me onto four of my new favorite bands. The disc is stuffed with a nice cross selection of the label’s output including the Soviettes, Awesome Snakes, and Fuck Knights. But far and away, the tracks by Droids Attack, the Gusto, Drunk Drivers, and the Giraffes blew me away the most. This sampler single-handedly sent me scurrying to Amoeba over the weekend looking for the above-mentioned bands material. You really can’t ask more from a label sampler than that, can you? –Garrett Barnwell (Crustacean)

–Garrett Barnwell (Crustacean)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Ain’t No Shame Volume 1: CD
Ultimately, there are two types of compilations. The sales pitch (here’s what our label has to offer), and the much more broad “I’ve got an idea.” This is the later; with a collection of bands that have all played the same stage in the outside patio of a Mexican restaurant in Gainesville (if nothing, I know I’ve seen Stoned At Heart there before). While it seems like a pretty budget operation (everything’s hand-done, and I realized the labels are reversed) it only adds to the charm to this collection of mostly Florida/Southern area bands. Plus it’s a benefit record. Track down a copy and put it on at your next party. –joe (Boca Fiesta)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
8^ Comp: CD-R
8^ is a punk record label out of Missouri and this compilation is best suited for folks connected to that local scene. Pretty standard three-cord oi punk and hardcore here, not to imply that it wasn’t without some perks. I found the chorus of The Unpatriotics’ gang-vocalled anthem, “Run from the Police” to be a lot of fun. It went like this, “Run, run, run/Runnin’ from the police/We run.” The Rooftops give us two upbeat contributions, which were also pretty rocking, especially “5th and Hope,” a proud working-class self-destruction fist-pumper with hilarious lyrics. “When I was seventeen I drank too much/now I’m much older and I drink too much.../cold wind blows I can’t take anymore/spending all my money on the booze and the whores.” Badplant had some decent throaty, snot-vocalled punk with gang choruses and Stereo Atomico’s shitty/good, barking, thud hardcore made me smile. –Craven (8^)


TY SEGALL:
Melted: LP
I’m still up in the air on Ty Segall. I really want to like him. The first time I saw him (SXSW 2009) I thought he was the next big thing, heir to Jay Reatard’s garage pop wunderkind throne. His performance at SXSW was barely controlled chaos, but Segall and his band managed to keep the songs just this side of falling apart. Subsequent performances I witnessed didn’t quite match the power of the first. Segall’s recorded output does capture his live essence, something not easy to do, especially with noisier, reverb-heavy bands. But there’s something about his albums that doesn’t grab me the way that first live show did. I really like his self-titled album on Castle Face, but Lemons, his second album, didn’t flow for me. Melted is better, but still doesn’t quite match up to his first. Best tracks: “Girlfriend” and “Imaginary Person.” –Sal Lucci –Guest Contributor (Goner)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
50: CD
At this stage in the game, one can’t help but to expect copious amounts of Ramones/Queers worship when wading into the pop punk morass, and this compilation, featuring fourteen bands (in order of appearance: Sonic Dolls, Peawees, The Stilettos, The Apers, The Manges, Dirtshakes, Accelerators [apparently an entirely different band from the two or three that have gone by this moniker over the past decade], Zatopeks, Kepi Ghoulie & Jerry Hormone, El Pino & The Volunteers, The Windowsill, The Popsters, Beyond Lickin’, and Brandon Tussey) each playing one cover and one original, definitely has its share. What it also has is a number of different approaches to the pop punk pigeonhole in evidence as well, with bits of surfy twang, early ‘60s pop, and even bad ‘70s schmaltz making an appearance. Though the primary selling point here was two tracks by Italy’s Peawees—and they handily deliver the goods—The Manges’ take on The Methadones’ “Say Goodbye to Your Generation” was definitely a bonus highlight. –jimmy (stardumbrecords.com)


UNION ELECTRIC, THE:
Thylacine: 7”
The Union Electric is reminiscent of Camper Van Beethoven’s eclectic later material. They play old school indie rock, but each song has a tweak, a new idea, or, at worst, a gimmick. While Camper’s snotty vocals showed that they were always playing tongue in cheek, The Union Electric guy’s voice is deep and serious, like the guy from The National or even NickCave. Side A has reverby Western flourishes along with rock guitars and Side B is a college rock song about a retired exterminator, with a hook that goes “That’s how you kill them/Attract them to the poison.” I want to hear more, but maybe just because I can’t get a read on what the average Union Electric song sounds like. –CT Terry (Union Electric)


TRICLOPS!:
Out Of Africa: Tape
I’ve seen them live a few times before but haven’t really sat down and listened to a full album, which is where I feel they really get their point across as far as layers of noises and effects. Maybe it’s just listening to it on a crappy tape deck, but something about it reminds me of all the post hardcore screamo that was going on a few years ago, only less tough guy and more weirdness. That’s a good thing. Was this the one that was originally on Alternative Tentacles a year or so ago? Because this feels like it would be the pinnacle of all the super weird noise stuff like Pachinko they were putting out for a while. –joe (People’s Republic of Rock and Roll)


TRANZMITORS:
“Sunday Morning” b/w “Jimmy’s at the Mod Shop”: 7”
If Elvis Costello was dead, his boner’d go through the coffin at the deliciousness of how the Tranzmitors improved on some of his tastiest musical ideas; distilling and reducing the recipes to pure, powerful sugar-coated punches. Paul Weller’s not dead, but he’s got a massive boner for the Tranzmitors, too. Scale up that small monkey bar of boners and you too can climb up to get an unfettered gaze upon a small constellation of power pop perfection. I’m no lawyer, but I advise you to get any and all Tranzmitors. They’re the reason the northern lights are so bright. –todd (Meaty Beaty / No Front Teeth)


TRANZMITORS, THE:
“Get Around” b/w “It’s Not Your Call”: 7”
I can’t possibly think of something to say about this band that hasn’t been said before. They absolutely kill at Undertones style power pop. I saw them play for the first time a while back and couldn’t believe how tight they were. The harmonies, the leads, they pull it all off live, too. When they first started trickling 7”s across the Canadian border every couple weeks, I felt they were kinda overrated. Now, I think they’re probably one of the absolute best power pop bands around. –Daryl Gussin (Dirtnap)


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