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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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PERRY H. MATTHEWS:
Self-titled: CD
I don’t like it when a band’s name can be mistaken for an individual’s name—it presents confusion into my record-filing system, which is the only thing in my life that is consistently orderly, stable, and reliable. It also fucks with my grammar, and I have a vested interest in such things. I may be showing my age through such unnecessary griping, and if that means I’m becoming a curmudgeon, so be it. Now then, this is a pretty good record. The sound is hard to define. I mean, it’s rockin’ and all, but not in the style of normal 4/4 tempo’d rock‘n’roll doodlings. This has more starts and stops, more changes in rhythm and melody, more off-kilter fillers than standard rock. All in all, it has an early- to mid-‘90s middle America sound (the band is from Omaha, after all) mixed with tantalizing bits of the arty and the experimental. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but now I can say that I like this record—Perry H. Matthews is one of those bands that you have to break in like a new pair of sneakers, but once broken in they feel real nice. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Doom Town)


PAULIE THINK:
Feel This: CD
To compare Paulie to Eminem would be too easy, especially when you hear his slightly nasal voice. Nevertheless, similarities to Slim Shady end there. Paulie intends to make people think. Don’t let his vocal shenanigans and skits fool you. With this new album he aims to teach with his faculty of MCs about everything from pinball to war to crack and black holes. His lyrical prowess is best displayed in “Takin’ out U $uckas,” as he spews a stream of rhymes with unwavering accuracy. The production is also impressive, with a fresh supply of loops, synths, and effects with a sinister lean like that of Immortal Technique. “Catch Me If Ya Can” shows off some turntablism and fades out with an awesome police siren scratch. If your idea of punk music isn’t restricted to a four piece band, or even if it is, Paulie and company will add another spin on resistance and DIY culture. –Kristen K (DIY Bandits, diybandits.com)


PAUL CARY:
Ghost of a Man: LP
I thought that this was going to be some indie singer-songwriter deal from the calming green cover and the artist’s name and album title. I was somewhat surprised to find that Paul Cary is a three-piece lo-fi bluesy garage rock band. The title of the record is appropriate, given its ghostly sound. Not really my speed, but interesting and decent. –Vincent Battilana (Stank House, stankhouserecords.com)


PAUL COLLINS:
King of Power Pop!: CD
New solo record from the ex-Nerves member. Capitalizing on the strength of his last record, Collins kicks it into high gear here. “Do You Wanna Love Me?” with Wally from The Romantics on harmonica burns hard. But “Losing Your Cool and “Off the Hook” also rival any of The Beat’s early releases. “The Letter” is a cool nod to Alex Chilton and the title track is a nice homage to power pop and its members. Rock on with your Rickenbacker, Paul! –koepenick (Alive)


PART TIME CROOKS:
House Arrest Demos: CDEP-R
Hardcore punk rock that sounds like MDC being sung by the guy from the Angry Samoans. Not bad at all. Though I did find their rendition of “Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye” re-titled “Troops” to be a little too ridiculous to take seriously. –Bryan Static (8 Up)


PAPER ARMS:
Days above Ground: CD
The first song on this album is a song called “Outbreak.” Lines one and two rhyme the words “outbreak” and “compensate.” I hated that for some reason. It’s all downhill from there. Very generic, “alternative” sounding music. Nothing there for me. –Billups Allen (Poison City, 400 Brunswick St., Fitzroy, Victoria 3070 )


PACER:
No. 1: 10"
Melodic hardcore anthems done tight ‘n’ punchy with lots of dynamic changes and group choruses, plus a little ’77 snot for flavor. There’s an air of nostalgia as they sing about friendships passed, but the music’s so energetic that you know more good times are ahead. Do you ever get mad at a record because you want to sing along but don’t know the words yet? I just did. From London. Seven songs. Awesome bass fills. –CT Terry (Chunksaah, chunksaah.com)


P.S. ELIOT:
Living in Squalor: 7" EP
This is the first I heard from this band, but I see that they have a full-length on Salinas. The five tracks on here have me convinced that I need to pick that up sooner or later. Awesome female-fronted, mid-tempo indie rock that is like a way better Simpatico-era Velocity Girl. If this is the result of the band living in squalor, well, sorry to say that I think they shouldn’t look to migrate anytime soon. And, in case you were wondering (or simply waiting for a T.S. Eliot reference), the way this record ends is not in a whimper. –Vincent Battilana (Freedom School)


P.S. ELIOT:
Living in Squalor: 7" EP
About four seconds into this record I got that rush of adrenaline that comes from hearing something that truly excites me. Upbeat, rocking music with scrappy female vocals. Yeah! And it just got better from there. These folks write songs like real pros, but resist the temptation to sand off the rough edges that make their whole sound passionate and engaging. This release proves this band is versatile without being uncentered. “Acid Flashbacks” starts off mellow and works itself into an amazing rage, whereas “Dark” starts off with high energy and sails along at a steady pace. I like all five songs on this EP and a full length can’t come quickly enough. Totally my kind of thing. Yours too. –jennifer (Freedom School)


OUT ON A LIMB:
Self-titled: 7"
Moody punk rock with rock and roll guitar solos and blown-out vocals; all told a bit similar perhaps to the early Murder City Devils efforts. Not a bad outing. Nice lizard person artwork on the cover courtesy of Alex from the Hex Dispensers. –Jeff Proctor (Destination Unknown, destinationunknownrecords.de / Thrashbastard)


NOBUNNY:
First Blood: LP
I don’t know where Nobunny found the time to record this album (or the 7” that came out at the same time.) He’s a touring machine; seems like he’s always on the road. The man, err, rabbit has magical powers and we’re lucky for it. First Blood is and isn’t what you would expect from Nobunny—it’s got his trademark catchy punk pop but the recording quality of this album is much better and seems a little more thought-out than his previous two (Love Visions and the cassette-only Raw Romance) where the listener gets the impression the songs were recorded on the fly, as Nobunny was writing them. Not high-fidelity but not quite low-fi. There are plenty of his typical dirty/pervo songs, like “(Do the) Fuck Yourself,” but we get to feel a little more of the heart of the man in the body of the beast. The T. Rex-sounding “Breathe” and “Live It Up” show the listener Nobunny’s ethos (“I’m a die poor/spend it young”) of living in the now, consequences be damned. “Blow Dumb” is pure Velvet Underground. As good as this album is, Nobunny is best caught live. –Guest Contributor (Goner)


NOBUNNY:
Brace Face: 7" EP
First time hearing Nobunny. Hmmmm.... What’s the obsession with mouths? The double entendres are funny and the music is something I’d throw on if I was spinning records at a party instead of sitting in a corner telling a friend that everyone else in the room are a bunch of dumbasses. This record’s not going to bum anyone out, unless they’re an uptight asshole. Seriously, this music is fun, and it sounds like Nobunny is out for fun above and beyond anything else. Three songs about mouths and some whistling in the song “Your Mouth” with the line, “Just can’t ignore it, I’ve got something for it” pretty much sums up the whole affair –Matt Average (DMR)


NOBUNNY:
Brace Face: 7" EP
Coming out at the same time as his new album (First Blood) is a new three-song EP of patented Nobunny. “Brace Face” is about young, innocent love (the end suddenly morphs into Gentleman Jesse’s “I Don’t Wanna Know.” I don’t know why, but I think it’s hilarious.) Next is a cover of M.O.T.O.’s “It Tastes Just like a Milkshake” that fits well with the oral-fixation theme of the record. “Your Mouth,” what can I say (“Lollipops and kisses/Your mouth!” ah, if I have to explain it, you wouldn’t understand.) This record is well worth your money. See Nobunny live. That’s where it’s at. –Guest Contributor (Douchemaster)


NO PROBLEM:
Your Eyes: EP
Hardcore punk that’s as tuneful as it is blazing. I’d say this is more along the lines of mid-‘80s hardcore, where speed was giving way to more thought-out song structures and writing songs that would stick in the listener’s memory long after the record was over. “Something Out of Nothing” is a total ripper with the fast and tense pacing, jumpy rhythms, and a riff that sounds similar to Black Flag’s “I’ve Had It.” “Your Eyes” is the other tune that sends this one over the edge. A little noisy and messy, then they throw in a sing-songy chorus with some “ahhhhs” in the background. The two contrasting styles work well together and strengthen one another. Woop! –Matt Average (Handsome Dan, handsomedanrecords.com)


NO ESCAPE:
Generation Trap: 7” EP
Four tunes of mid-tempo Spanish punk with interesting leads. The tunes are anthemic in a not-overt way, the hooks are subtle but effective, and the English lyrics succinctly make their point, though the occasional awkward phrasing does pop up now and then. –jimmy (nodo50.org/trabucrecords)


NO BABIES:
Miskatonic University Fight Song: 7” EP
Screechy, yelly, discombobulated, skronky, hyperactive, arty stuff that has a song named after jazz percussionist Max Roach. Personally, I like a bit more cohesion and narrative in my music, but if you like being inside of an orchestrated car wreck as it happens—think along the lines of the Peppermints, Kreamy ‘Lectric Santa, or the most succinct Bongwater and Sun Ra—then this may just be your type of homemade-chemical poison/freakout. My favorite track has some nice banjo work on it. I’ve never really been able to get into music that sounds like intergalactic beings making squeaky balloon animals. Your mileage may greatly vary. –todd (Arkam)


NIGHT SIEGE:
Sacrifices: CD-R
Total Scandinavian punk worship (a la Severed Head Of State) from what could possibly be a Scandinavian band, though I can’t tell you for sure because they don’t bother to mention where they’re from. A proper, legitimate release wouldn’t seem out of order. –Juan Espinosa (Self-released, night_seige@hotmail.com)


NIGHT BIRDS:
Self-titled: 7" EP
Driving, surf-inflected punk heavy steeped in early ‘80s California punk influence. They keep things ratcheted up and tight enough, with enough hooks to please the most ardent beach punk fan, which is kinda funny considering they seem to hail from New Jersey. –jimmy (gravemistakerecords.com)


NEW CREASES:
About Last Night: CD EP
These four songs hit my pop punk sweet spot. The music has plenty of hooks leveled out with just enough aggression to keep things hopping. The guy-girl vocals also play happily on the side of endearing and not annoying, like a lot of other pop punk purveyors. Think of this as This Is My Fist’s slightly less gravelly siblings. This is over pretty quick, but I would happily pick up whatever else these guys send down the road in the future. –Adrian (No Breaks / Traffic Street)


NEW CREASES:
About Last Night: 7"
I’m not quite sure how to react to this 7”. Not because it has some dubious message or something of that ilk, but rather because I can’t really remember too much about it five seconds after I take it off my turntable. What I do recall is that it has male and female lead vocals and is of the pop punk variety. Outside of that, I don’t have anything to say on the matter. –Vincent Battilana (No Breaks / Traffic Street)


NATURE BOYS:
Self-titled: LP
Dirty, grungy (sorry about that word, but yeah, kind of grungy) rock that’s thick and deep. Maybe they are fans of Melvins. They got that kind of wandering heaviness but with female vocals. Wait—second song is faster, more of a Damaged feel. Third song is plucky, moody singing from the guy guitarist. Fourth song back to the heavy sludge. This is all different from the great photos of cool-looking dogs (Willard looks like a genius.) on the back cover. I expected some weepy stuff but this is more thick and real. Pleasantly surprised. Extra points for Nature Boy wrestler photos on the sleeve. –mike (San Huevos Records, natureboysrocknroll@yahoo.com)


NATIVE CATS, THE:
Always On: LP
Native Cats are a Tasmanian two-piece that consists of drum machine, synthesizer, live bass, and vocals. It all amounts to, roughly, stripped down, bare bones Bauhaus or Depeche Mode: arty, gloomy, droning post-punk, though not quite dense and brooding enough to be dark wave. I like it. –Jeff Proctor (Ride The Snake)


NAPPIES, THE:
Next Stop Styx: CD
Queersy pop punk with lyrics about Bubblegum horror parties, dancing on graves, and waiting for characters from Samuel Beckett plays. –jimmy (Cheapskate)


MUSIC FROM THE FILM:
“Bit” b/w “Crushface”: 7"
I reviewed a CD from these noise artists not too long ago and found it to be too much, well, noise. However, the a-side track here, “Bit,” with its train whistle, theremin, glockenspiel, and banjo interplay has a frolicking spiritedness that is quite enjoyable. “Crushface” is a little less spritely with its droning rhythm, but still manages to maintain a sense of frivolity. I had fun with this record. Comes on clear gold vinyl, and they were also kind enough to include their own 45 adapter with multiple holes punched in so you can get a more wobbly, wavy sound out of it if you want. –Jeff Proctor (myspace.com/musicfromthefilm)


MOTHER’S CHILDREN:
That’s Who!: LP
Nice mix of sixties jangle, seventies power pop, and punk velocity here. The playing’s impeccable, the songwriting’s strong, and they deliver the goods with conviction and oomph. Fans of the Boys and early Jam will no doubt find much to dig here. –jimmy (derangedrecords.com)


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