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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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ANTIDOTE:
Thou Shalt Not Kill: 7"
Antidote were one of the bands in the first wave of NYHC, along with the likes of Reagan Youth, the Bad Brains, and the False Prophets. Their importance in the “history” of the scene is that they were more in line with bands like Agnostic Front or Warzone, but released this record a couple of years before any those bands got their footing, so they can be pointed to as the “originators” of that NYHC style. The production is above par for the era, and there are some genuinely exciting moments like the killer breakdown on “Foreign Job-Lot.” Bridge 9 has done some great reissues in the past (Project X, The Trouble, Agnostic Front), and them releasing this makes sense to me. I think it’s a good thing for them to do because they reach a lot of kids who wouldn’t otherwise check out or have access to older hardcore. That being said, I think the record is great as a time piece; but I know for a fact that my hardcore archival nerd-dom affects my opinion on this more than just a little, and the passive listener should stick to the aforementioned bands. –Ian Wise (Bridge 9)


ANOTHER SATURDAY NIGHT:
Self-titled : LP
Loose rock a la the New York Dolls and early ‘70s Rolling Stones, but not remotely as exciting. A related side note: bad idea to name a band after one of the most popular songs in the entire world—really tramples the idea of SEO. Yes, I Google bands when writing reviews. Research provides context. –thiringer (Slow Gold Zebra)


ANNE FRANK ZAPPA:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Excellent European garage rock. It’s super noisy with tons of feedback, which is something you want with this kind of thing. There are influences that creep through, ranging from Teengenerate to early Black Flag, with a few moments of power pop as well (if power pop was super loud). Apparently, these are all guys who’ve been in numerous other bands. It doesn’t surprise me, because they know what they’re doing and they’re really good at it. Fantastic stuff. –joe (Stardumb)


ANIMAL LOVER:
Self-titled: 7"
Noise rock from a band that knows how to lock into a groove and milk from it every ounce of chaos possible. While they don’t let up on the volume for one second, they do know how to manipulate the throttle to keep things interesting. –jimmy (Bumpkin Pie)


ANGIE OASE:
Pistol Shot: 7"
Minneapolis’ Angie Oase meanders through dreamy and starry-eyed songs with her girlish voice and unobtrusive electric guitar. So tempered, mellow, and ethereal bluesy, I imagine this will pop up in some independent art film. –thiringer (Self Released)


ANDERS THODE:
Self-titled: 7"
Poppy punk stuff that sounds like it was recorded on a tape recorder wrapped in pillows. The songs are actually quite good, but the sound quality really doesn’t help the cause. –jimmy (Leather Bar)


AMPLINE:
You Will Be Buried Here: CD
College friendly alt-rock. –jimmy (Phratry)


ALEX AND THE IMAGINARY FRIENDS / VALENTINE / TANNER WILLOW / WINTER WINDS:
4 WAY SPLIT: CD-R
If you swear that acoustic singer-songwriter stuff is where music’s most honest, heartrending revelations stem from, this solid but ho-hum four artist project is up your alley. Alex And The Imaginary Friends (which is probably just one guy here) pull off a swell Chris McCaughan impression as they talk about aging and getting grim in the decent “Growing Up Is Giving In.” Valentine’s “A Plea for Something” is the least appealing of the four songs. It’s plagued by grating, whiny off-key notes, even if it does pick up toward the end with the addition of claps and muddled chants. Tanner Willow wishes on a star in “Starlight Starbright.” It’s a childish, unimpressive move that’s compensated for via a decent hook. Closer “This Is The Biggest Thing (Of All Things We Deserve),” as executed by Winter Winds (a.k.a. Eric Doucette), delivers a mature, beautifully assembled little song. It’s nothing mind-blowing, but it delivers on the sense of sincerity so important to this sort of music. Production quality definitely varies between tracks: while Winter Winds’ song is warm and full, the Valentine track sounds like it was recorded on a computer setup. As of this writing, you can catch the whole thing at http://the4waysplit.bandcamp.com. –Reyan Ali (Raise Your Fist)


ADJUSTERS:
Reckless Relations: CD
Forget all your troubles with the down and dirty rock’n’roll (a la Dead Boys, Heartbreakers, Humpers, et al) of this London band. Plenty of sneering vocals, wah-wah guitar, trashy drums, and even a lot of rock piano to keep toes tapping and heads nodding in time. Hot little numbers: “Too Bad,” “Kickin’ down the Doors,” “Misery Addict,” and “Let’s Dance.” –thiringer (Zodiac Killer)


ABORTTI 13 / SEKAANNUS:
SPLIT: EP
Is there a hardcore punk cabal in Finland that has Abortti 13 and Sekaannus in suspended animation, and every so often they bring them out to record some music, then put ‘em back in the fridge until it’s time to unleash some more awesome music on the world? The Abortti 13 songs are new songs they wrote and recorded a bit after they put out their Viimeinen Veriloyly EP, which was songs written in 1983 and recorded in 2009. This stuff is along the same lines. How do these guys do it? Sounds like classic Scandinavian hardcore from the ‘80s, even though it’s 2010. Unbelievable!! Four rippers that pack a powerful wallop. I especially like the chaotic nature of “Ei Selityksia” with stop-go breaks and a tempo that sounds like it’s about to spin out of control. Then, there’s the excellent “Laumasielujen Valtakunta,” that’s mid tempo and has a really good, classic punk guitar break. Sekaannus are from the same area and time period as Aborttti 13, and share some similarities with Abortti 13, but Sekaannus are slightly more catchy, a little more tuneful, and just a touch more polished. However, they’re just as blazing as the former. “Kuvat” worked its way into my mind and had me singing “Huvia huvia, kuvia kuvia!” (which translates roughly to something like “Pleasure! pleasure! image! image!”, hmmmm....). “Saatan Lampaat” end their three song set with its fast-paced tempo that blazes through with abandon without ever tilting into thrash territory. Well crafted music that hits where it counts. I truly love this stuff. –Matt Average (Killer)


ABE VIGODA:
Crush: CD
Cold wave-flavored indie rock. Judging by the commercial-radio-friendly appeal of the music, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if these guys soon landed a major label deal and a song from this found its way into a car commercial. Unfortunately for these guys, the readership of this humble little fanzine would more than likely find this as appealing as shopping for designer scarves. –Juan Espinosa (Post Present Medium, postpresentmedium.com)


1981:
Self-titled: EP
One those records that the more and more I listen to it, the more I like it. 1981 sort of remind me of Giant Haystacks, with their minimal style that’s filtered through the Minutemen and the Postcard Records sound. “Faster and Forward” is the most upbeat of the three, but the two songs I return to most are the two on the flipside, “Blind Acceptance” and “We Don’t Share the Truth.” These two songs are a touch darker, there’s a forlorn mood throughout, and the alienation and general malaise expressed in the lyrics comes across well. I like this record quite a bit, and I wonder if we’ll hear more from them. –Matt Average (Passing Bells)


123 SASS!:
Self-titled: CD
I think I hear an accordion or one of those air organ instruments; interesting choice. Lyrical content is silly yet some has some meaningful weight to it. The balance between catchy light-heartedness and a deeper point of view was a refreshing change from the same ‘ole boring songs I’ve been exposed to lately. In the wise words of the female vocalist of this band, “Shake your hips now, shake it, shake it.” –Corinne (Arkam)


ZEBRASSIERES:
Gooey Zoo: 12"
As happens on occasion, this review will seem somewhat biased because friends of mine are in this band… and I mastered the record… but I believe I can remain objective. My objectivity becomes even more suspect since this record is FUCKING AWESOME. Seriously, this is some incredibly catchy pop in the vein of Devo-meets-Ramones-meets a bunch of garage bands I’ve never heard. Insanely memorable keyboard lines and vocal melodies that invade your brain for weeks. This isn’t even really my type of thing, but it’s quite obviously a cut above most of the bands that’d have “organ-driven” or “keyboard-fuelled” in their write-ups. Beautiful layout, too. Definitely recommended. –Dave Williams (Going Gaga)


YOUNG OFFENDERS:
Leader of the Followers: 12"
You know what sounds like fun? A pop punk band that uses a lot of harmonized singing. It’s like they are ripping through their own song, bopping up and down, and all screaming together because they love what they are doing so much. No pretension, nothing forced, just a bunch of musicians who love playing in a band. Okay, I suppose some douche-punk bands do this too. But you can feel honest enthusiasm in the Young Offenders, just bursting through a song staring at each other, going, “Fuckyeah, isn’t this fun?! Holy shit!” The Young O’s got real tight control with their peppy anthems, getting into some great themes, singing smart lyrics, and then getting out the door. Feels like some of the better quickpop bands from the ‘80s that had something to say and loved doing it. –mike (Deranged)


YEAR ZERO:
Year One: CD
Clean yet dirty. Completely put together, but scuffed. Shiny but “imperfect.” Melodic, but not future-insulin-injections sweet. Tough, but not street fight tough. Twisted cords in a thick rope tough that can hold a lot of weight tough. Year Zero’s from Ottawa. They’ve somehow fused stuff that usually doesn’t go well together, that actually sounds a little shitty when I’m writing it out: The Carbonas with Pennywise. Marked Men with early Good Riddance. It’s a strange alchemy of high-end-sounding production with fangs, anthemy parts, and spikes rolling along on the chassis of prime, searing garage rock hookery. If I wasn’t listening to it right now, I wouldn’t believe it myself. But isn’t that the point of great new music? To be a little confounded, yet excited? To set new expectations? To let the magic just come even if it doesn’t make a lick of “music logic” sense? I have no idea how they pull this off without it being absolute poo. It’s gold, though. Surprise of the issue for me. Highly recommended. –todd (Young Modern)


WOVEN BONES:
In and out and Back Again: LP
Lo-fi garage rock with a droney, sleepy, dreamy side. Sort of reminds me of Suicide, Wet Hair, but instead of synthesizers, Woven Bones use guitars that have a dirty fuzz. Admittedly, this took me a few listens before I could get into it. It’s one of those records that reveals itself to you as long as you meet it in the middle. Gotta give if you wanna get, I suppose. “If It Feels Alright” and “Creepy Bone” are immediate attention grabbers and “Blind Conscience” is a nice way to close the album off. It’s a steady-going tune that’s sleepy in a good way. Shoegazer-like, without the dense wall of distortion, and in place of the soft vocals there’s a nasally snarl. But it all works. There are some songs that have a fast pace, but, on the whole, this is one of those albums you put on, go sit on the couch, and stare at the ceiling fan, thinking about how the light and shadows create optical illusions, such as the fan reversing direction for a few seconds. –Matt Average (Hozac, hozacrecords.com)


WORLD/INFERNO FRIENDSHIP SOCIETY:
Vox Inferne: 7"
I am a huge World/Inferno fan, so when I saw there was some new material following 2007’s Addicted to Bad Ideas I was stoked, even if it was only three songs. This is a bit of an oddity though, even for such a weird band as the multi-member cabaret punk collective that is World Inferno. This single is composed of the three a cappella songs done in multi-part harmony by the band back in 2006 that were never released until now. One of the songs, “Paul Robeson,” has been recorded at least twice before by the full band, and the other two songs “The Devil Boy’s Last Hurrah,” and “Istanbul, Drowned Blue Shoes” appear to be unique to this release. The songs are deftly done and a lot better sounding than, say, Jub Jub, but these feel more like pleasant oddities rather than really essential pieces of the bands discography. Still, it is nice to have more material from the band in some form. –Adrian (Team Science, teamsciencerecords@gmail.com)


WORKHORSE III, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Female-fronted riff rock. Tunes are well crafted and well played –jimmy (DRP)


WILD THING:
Age Difference: EP
Well, well, well... a punk band from San Francisco that is actually worth a shit. Not that Los Angeles can boast anything of the sort, because this city is certainly in the dumper when it comes to punk bands these days. I may be jaded, but I’m no fool. I just happen to know good from bad, substance from hype. Wild Thing are definitely drinking from the well of punk rock past, but they do it well, and it sounds legit, and not some “phone it in and let’s get out of here” type deal. The guitars have a jangly sound, the drums sound like they were recording on phone books (a plus when it comes to bands like this), and the vocals are a bit snotty, but not overdone. It’s like the singer (Brace from Warkrime) knows he can’t really sing, but it’s not like he gives a shit in the first place. It works here. “(Now I Wanna Die in a) Nuclear War” is the most manic of the three, while the title track and “I’m Smoking (Leave Me Alone)” are mid tempo and catchy. Record buyer, proceed accordingly. –Matt Average (Daggerman, daggermanrecords.com)


WILD AMERICA:
The Sea: 7"
If you’re expecting Party Garbage you will be sadly disappointed, but if you’re looking for passionate introspection to the soundtrack of “mellowdic” punk melancholy, than this is all you. Imagine collegey rock in the dirty Austin, TX punk scene playing dirty house shows. I remember seeing them live and picking up their demo last year and it wasn’t as toned down, but the end result is pleasant with a slightly deranged subtlety to it. –Daryl Gussin (Freedom School)


WHITE WIRES, THE:
Self-titled: LP
Despite the arty cover with three bodies with heads replaced with assorted types of plugs, the music here dances on the line between simplistic punk, garage rock, and ‘60s pop. I wanna say they remind me a little of Masters Of The Obvious, but maybe with not quite as much “punk” mixed in. –jimmy (Douchemaster)


WHITE LOAD:
My Wall: EP
I feel like a complete dildo for passing up their debut EP when it came through here a while back. I found it sandwiched in with a bunch of garage and pop punk records. So, being the nub I can be, I thought these guys were more of the same. Fucking hell, was I completely wrong. I need to stop being a nub, really. White Load are A-fucking-one prime hardcore with a raw and trashy approach. Providence, RI must be proud of these fellers. I would be. You get three quick and scalding blasts of music here that separates the lifers from the part timers. The title track is thrashy and trashy, stop/go and chaotic. The levels are certainly in the red on this recording. Distortion permeates every thing. The second side is the same: distortion, blown out with white noise swirling in the current. The singer sounds like he’s had a few days of no sleep, stuck in a hot box, and the lights are always on. Unhinged and falling into the abyss. There are only three hundred of these records on the planet. I suggest you get one as soon as humanly possible. I’m taking mine to the grave. –Matt Average (Ken 75, kenplastic@hotmail.com)


WHITE FLAG DOWN:
Malcontent Killing Machine: CD-R
White Flag Down? Didn’t I just see a White Flag reunion show? Kidding aside, this corny band of fashion punks and skins from L.A. is precisely what my simpleton ass craves. While most listeners probably will start rolling their eyes at the intro sample from A Clockwork Orange, I got all excited. Reminiscent of mainline street punk in the vein of Lower Class Brats, there’s a well-studied balance of old and new here that gets me giddy. Coop, the singer, is forty and you have to respect him for not giving up on old school punk imagery and style. Plus, his voice is weathered, distinctive, and all around killer. I heartily recommend these guys. –Art Ettinger (Safety Pin, myspace.com/13spr13)


WANKYS, THE / LOTUS FUCKER:
Split: EP
Two bands of different weights. One light, the other heavy. The Wankys (ex-early Extreme Noise Terror and Varukers) are blown-out noise similar to early Disorder, Satanic Malfunctions, and Chaotic Dischord. Feedback, minimal drumming, and a vocalist who spews the words out fast and sort of growly. If you like noisecore, then you’d probably like these guys. Doesn’t do much for me. There’s no low end, and it just goes by without incident. Too light. Lotus Fucker, on the other hand, steal the show. They have a definite heaviness in their sound, while still being (semi) fast and noisy. Two songs that go by in a blink of the eye. Would like to hear more from Lotus Fucker. –Matt Average (Katorga Works, katorgaworks@gmail.com)


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