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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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DAGGER DICKS:
“Sharp for You” b/w “Razor Sharp Love”: 7"

Dagger Dicks is an awesome U.K. garage punk band that delivers two very catchy tracks on this 7”. Rather than adhering to the studio trickery or production silliness that permeates the vast majority of today’s garage records, Dagger Dicks present a full, clear sound. Musically similar to the Jabbers, with a slight influence from later bands like the Spider Babies, both songs maintain a fun ‘77 vibe. Not that there’s anything wrong with dopey, but this record is far from it, despite the name and goofy cover art. Anyone with a sense of humor will want to prance around with a knife hanging from his or her fly after listing to this one. No lie.

–Art Ettinger (Meaty Beaty)


DAG NASTY:
Dag with Shawn: CD
Though I was well aware of ‘em when they first started making the rounds, and have heard them innumerable times over the past twenty-five years, I gotta admit I’ve never picked up anything Dag Nasty. My initial reluctance was based on the fact that at the time I wasn’t all that hip on much of the stuff their local contemporaries—Rites Of Spring, Embrace, Gray Matter, et al—were putting out and they pretty much got lumped in with the lot. Once I’d actually heard ‘em and it was clear they were more on the Minor Threat/Second Wind side of the fence, I just never got around to picking up a copy of Can I Say, mostly because so many of my friends had copies that it almost seemed redundant to procure one of my own. According to the liner notes here, these are the recordings of what was to be their initial album, featuring original vocalist Shawn Brown doing the hollering instead of Dave Smalley, who replaced him. When Brown left, the band went back into the studio, redid the whole shebang with Smalley, and released it as the aforementioned Can I Say. Despite maybe some title/lyrical changes, most of the tuneage sounds the same, different singer notwithstanding—the ragers still rage, Baker’s guitar is a punchy as ever, and “Circles” still possesses one helluva wicked hook. Both those new to the band and those who’ve followed ‘em a spell will find much to like here. –jimmy (Dischord)


CUM STAIN:
Self-titled: Tape
Lo-fi garage punk with its mind in the gutter outside some high school. The mood is obviously light and the attitude is more of a laugh than a snarl. If you were to take this serious and get upset, then you need some fucking help. Songs about dicks, sex, and being a dirty loser. Who can’t relate to any or all of that? There are some good songs on here like “Smoker,” “I WANT IT NOW!,” “Jack Shack,” which come on with some speed and a nice low end. Then there are some throwaway songs like “Cum Stain”; “Just another Kid” is a little too precious. Some good, some bad. –Matt Average ( Burger)


CULO:
Military Trend: EP
Un-gawd-damn-believably awesome! Pure fuggin’ godhead hardcore punk rock! No metal, no pop, just straight-up hardcore punk. Four anthems of checking out of society and not giving a fuck who cares. This stuff sounds legit and not some part time pose. Fast, pissed, and catchier than hell. “Shootin’ Glue” will burrow its way into your mind, and the title track is the sonic bull in a china shop. Instruments are beat to hell. I imagine a couple nodes are going to develop on the singer’s vocal chords, but what a great record. Looking forward to their split with Raw Nerve. –Matt Average (Deranged)


CRY COYOTE:
“Cold Storage” b/w “Backwash”: : 7"
Plodding cowpunk from Milwaukee with a slight Gun Club feel. A band with five people should be able to create more noise and a less retrained sound. –thiringer (One Track Mind)


CRUSHED BUTLER:
Self-titled: 7"
More ‘70s cocker rocker than I usually go for, but it’s pretty, err, rocking. Retro release from Windian, originally recorded in 1970. Fans of T. Rex and leather and jeans should apply; fits in with fuzz and garage fans, too. Solid power sound can fuck up your speakers for a good party time. I’m a fan of Windian (Personal and the Pizzas, M.O.T.O., Dan Sartain, etc.). This just hit me different than those bands—which ain’t a bad thing. –mike (Windian)


CRUSADES, THE:
Self-titled: 7”EP
What the Statues are to Canadian office work, the Crusades are to Satan. To the five people that that makes sense to, you’re welcome. Perhaps it’s the Canadian tendency not to boast, but it took several listens for their dark arts to sink in. On the black, glossy cockroachy surface, they may initially sound like a second-run, too-proficient Swedish late ‘90s skaterock band, but you’d be mistaken. At an undisclosed point in time, the thousand hooks fall from the ceiling in some sort of hellishly devised scenario and their trap’s been sprung. You’ve just been ripped apart, but in a melodic punk rock way that uses that CockSparrer “Runnin’ Riot” siren sound effect in one track that dissolves into the sound of crackling embers of a slow-burning fire. Hail the Crusades. –todd (Scared To Death)


CRITICAL CONVICTIONS:
The Crisis of Modernity: 7"
Speedy, angry, über-politicized hardcore from right here in my snowy hometown of Ottawa. Obviously no strangers to the less-accessible side of ‘80s American hardcore and a smattering of Japanese influences, I also draw a lot of comparisons to EastBay bands ala Christ On Parade, Spitboy, Econochrist, etc. Standing out amongst the masses of black-jacketed, bleak-artworked, blast-beaten crusty hardcore bands is by no means an easy feat, but Maxx’s unique (and certainly for the genre) vocal delivery and the hints of melody throughout the record (think maybe even a less-”poppy” Lost World) easily makes this one of the most interesting records of its ilk that I’ve heard in a long time. –Dave Williams (myspace.com/criticalconvictions)


CRISIS HOTLINES:
Self-titled: 7” EP
An interesting side effect of the punk music blog culture and the availability of obscure tunes via Bloodstains and Killed by Death compilations is a whole generation (or two, or three) of newer groups who, in their zeal to play like their heroes of yore, manage to come up with a sound that shows the past’s influence yet somehow keeps things from becoming an exercise in musical necrophilia. The Briefs, The Spits, and The Regulations are the most obvious examples, and Crisis Hotlines do an admirable job of keeping the stale scent of mothballs from permeating their songs. The four tunes here keep things fun and energetic, catchy without being syrupy, and clearly influenced without being overtly nostalgic. Thumbs up. –jimmy (myspace.com/kenrockrecords)


CREDENTIALS, THE: Routine: CD:
Routine: CD
This kind of Dillinger Fourish pop punk stuff with the sorta shouted, sorta sung vocals is starting to be as ubiquitous as the Ramones/Queers template scourge, and like what happened with the latter, the returns are rapidly diminishing with each new band. That said, the Credentials manage to pull themselves across to the preferred side of the “not bad at all” line by writing some engaging tunes and infusing their execution of them with copious amounts of tension and verve. The pace gets to be a bit much after a while, but they do what they do effectively. –jimmy (Traffic Street)


CRANK COUNTY DAREDEVILS:
Self-titled: CD
Loud, angry Southern rock from North Carolina with a Nashville Pussy/ White Zombie feel. –thiringer (myspace/facebook.com/crankcountydaredevils)


COWORKERS / INERDS:
Split: 7"
Good split. Two demented bands that complement each other without sounding similar. Coworkers play dynamic and chaotic hardcore with the occasional blastbeat. This would fit in well at a mid-’90s basement show, but the vocals, which are snarled as opposed to screamed, make the band stand out. Inerds blow through some crust with dustbuster/ nails-on-chalkboard vocals. The raw recording adds to the power. Now, here’s the question: Is the band name a crack on Mac geeks (iPod, iNerd…) or a Skynyrd-esque misspelling of “innards?” Either way, score. Awesome hand drawn cover art, to boot. –CT Terry (Feral Kid/Foot)


CORROSION OF CONFORMITY:
Your Tomorrow: 7” EP
As a fan of the first two COC LPs, I was stoked to check out this 7” which featured a reunited Animosity-era lineup. This EP, essentially one extended song with a drum solo break in the middle, is a far cry from the crossover thrash of the first two LPs. This is mid-tempo radio metal at best. Only die-hard COC vinyl collectors should pick this one up. –Paul J. Comeau –Guest Contributor (Southern Lord)


CONCENTRATION SUMMER CAMPS:
Amour et Sourires: 12” EP
Significantly more tuneful and listenable than one’d imagine a band that leads off with a ditty called “Discharge Were Right” would be, these Spaniards sound like they’ve cribbed more from old Dead Kennedys records ((hold the Jello™)) than Discharge, with just enough tell-tale Rock Ballast that i can tell they’re from the same country as the Pleasure Fuckers. If you are on a scavenger hunt for a punk record by a Spanish band with English lyrics and a French album title, i’d imagine you could probably do worse than this, although the album-ending “Coffee & Coke” shouldn’t drag on that long if it’s not gonna have any saxophones. Arriba arriba abajo abajo izquierda derecha izquierda derecha A B seleccione estrella! BEST SONG: “Rip Me” BEST SONG TITLE: Amazingly, “Discharge Were Right.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Record spine reads bottom-to-top, as is the Spanish custom. Once, i was doing a record cover layout for a Parasites album on a Spanish label, and i thought i would be a dick and put “IN AMERICA, RECORD COVER SPINES GO THIS WAY. PLEASE MAKE A NOTE OF IT” running top-to-bottom on the spine. After i sent in my design, my text was spun 180 degrees, leaving the snarky and now-completely-inaccurate phrase running bottom-to-top. Joke’s on me! –norb (Trabuc)


COMBOMATIX:
Cocktail Scandinavie: 7” EP
These guys don’t kick up dust in the same way as the Rip Off stable of bands and their legion of copycats, but they can rave with the best of ‘em and throw a nice swing onto three tracks of slinky garage rock here and come out on top of a large heap. –jimmy (http://franticcity.free.fr)


COKE BUST:
Lines in the Sand: CD
The vinyl version of this record was released a while ago, but Six Weeks just released the CD with fifteen bonus tracks (all previously released, though on more obscure releases). Coke Bust aren’t opening any new doors in fast hardcore, but these songs are definitely full-on thrash core and full of the vim and vigor you should expect out of the genre. Old Vitamin X comes to mind, and I Object before they got boring. Sure, it all sounds like Minor Threat, but that’s not a bad thing, is it? The older tracks are definitely worth having and are a worthwhile addition to the disc. The packaging is great, as the CD booklet is thick with lyrics, photos, and show flyers. If you’re going to buy a CD version of something previously released on vinyl, you’d want it to look like this. –Ian Wise (Six Weeks)


COMPLAINTS:
Secrets: 7"
Well, damn. Complaints already have an admirable pedigree, just getting out of the gate—you got at least your original Swingin’ Utters bassist and your guitarist from the Radio Reelers here. I mean, come on—the dude who co-wrote “Teenage Genocide” is in this band! This shit’s gonna rule, right? And yeah, all the pieces seem like they should lock into place—the buzzsaw guitars, yelped vocals with just a pinch of Humpers swagger, a joyfully spazzed-out rhythm section, the inevitable denouements against boredom. Secrets sounds like something Dirtnap would’ve been stoked to release, except… well, it’s just kinda sorta there. As in nothing too special. The term “adequately rocking” should never apply to a record, ever, but that’s what we’re looking at here. It’s passable work that got a few spins on the turntable and can now be filed away. I bet they’re a great live band, but the vinyl output falls resolutely in the “mediocre” category. –keith (Meaty Beaty)


COKE BUST:
Lines in the Sand: CD
All go, no fucking slow! Deep Wound perfected it, Coke Bust follows suit nicely. Thirty-three songs compiling their latest Lines in the Sand LP, an EP, and some demo songs. I was almost sure that this was going to be too much for me to take in all at once but, luckily, the longest song on here is only two minutes and the rest speed by in blissful seconds. If you fancy Deadfall or What Happens Next?, then I’m sure you’ll love this –Juan Espinosa (Six Weeks)


CITY OF SHIPS:
Three Mile Bridge: 7"
Having heard a bit about City Of Ships prior to receiving this record, I figured I was in for some pretty standard Isis-inspired melodic dirges, and, brother, that’s a world that I’ve had about my fill of in the past few years. Yet City Of Ships are certainly a pleasant surprise. I’m not going to venture as far as to say that they wouldn’t fit right alongside the scores of NeurIsis biters currently spewing forth from everywhere, but City Of Ships kick up the tempo and melody enough to keep it infinitely more interesting than their legions of “peers.” If you took Oceanic-era Isis or ASTNS-era Neurosis and injected some Young Livers-esque guitar work (note that this record was tracked by Ryan Williams, who has also worked with YLs), maybe a dash of These Arms Are Snakes/Botch quirkiness, you’d be on the right track. Pretty killer stuff. Nice job, fellas. –Dave Williams (Sound Study)


CHURCH OF ABJECT SORROW:
Blessed Sacrament: CD
Swampy, country-inflected murder ballad fodder. –jimmy (Vigilante Abortion)


COBALT CRANES:
Self-titled: 7”EP
Female but sometimes male vocals with a chunky, punkish rhythm guitar in my left ear, a fuzzy lead guitar doing Nuggetsy things in my right ear, a pleasantly farty bass in the middle of my head, and an oft-cymbal-less ((but occasionally tambourine-ful)) drumbeat making me feel that i, or someone, should be shimmying a bit to “Freak Out,” although they probably ended the thing a minute too early for my rump’s tastes. And, now that the taste of my rump has somehow come into play, i think i’ll move on, lest i start trying to draw inane parallels between “Take You” and the fourth Psychedelic Furs album. BEST SONG: “Freak Out.” BEST SONG TITLE: “Freak Out.” Apparently Frank Zappa knew what he was doing, which is surprising. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: French people make their numerals weirdly. –norb (Frantic City)


CHROMATIC BLACK: Self-titled: CD:
Self-titled: CD
Rock music with all the necessary quasi-punk visual trappings in evidence to appeal to those who like the look, but prefer their music bland and palatable for mainstream consumption. – –jimmy (okgoodrecords.com)


CHINESE BURNS:
Rohypnol: 7"
Simple, catchy, garagey ditty with more or less two chords and the words “Come here/you’re beautiful” as its sole lyrics. Surprisingly, it works. –jimmy (Leather Bar)


CHESTY MALONE AND THE SLICE ‘EM UPS / REASON TO FIGHT:
Split: 7"
Chesty: Remember that drummer who was always naked in the Hated video? The one who believed that he had a cosmic connection with the Lunachicks? Well, that’s pretty much how I feel about Chesty—except that I’m not always nude. I also neither play drums nor think that I have a cosmic connection with anyone. Actually, Chesty just kinda reminds me of the Lunachicks. Reason: It’s oi-influenced hardcore, which is far from my thing. Given the type of music, it’s unsurprising that there’s a song for workers on here. What can I say? The workingman gets the shaft again. –Vincent Battilana (United Riot)


CHEMICAL THREAT:
They Don’t Care: CD-R
Über-DIYU.K. punk in all its sloppy glory. Thirteen tracks of mid-tempo tunes that sound clean but nonetheless like they were recorded live in someone’s garage, lyrics tackling police oppression (“Police State/Race Hate,” “Baton Charge”) and more personal (“Job”). The proceedings, on the whole, are along the same lines as your average U.S. backyard hardcore band, which means while not exactly brimming with technical prowess, they are not without their charms. –jimmy (myspace.com/thechemicalthreat)


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