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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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MORROW:
Self-titled: CD
This album reminds me of forgettable opening bands in D.C. during the ‘90s. There is some discordant energy and consideration given to songwriting, but there is nothing solid to latch onto. It sounds pretty generic to me, but there may be something here I don’t understand. –Billups Allen (excursionintotheabyss.com/morrow)


MOONHEARTS:
Self-titled: LP
Many may not know this, but there’s this gutter that curves through the city of Los Angeles called the L.A.River. There are definitely beautiful parts to it, but for the most part, it’s the easiest way for trash to make its way to the ocean. And when the water/trash finally arrives at the Pacific, it’s a pretty terrible sight. But hey, it’s the coast, which is pretty cool. Moonhearts (formerly Charlie & the Moonhearts) remind me of this locale. The scummiest little chunk of paradise. It’s catchy, well-played beach music with a raggedy charm. Like “things aren’t going so well, but at least we’re on the beach doing what we want.” And while fuzzed-out garage rock is currently taking its toll on my patience, you gotta admit this is a great-sounding record that totally rips. –Daryl Gussin (Tic Tac Totally)


MONKEYTOWN:
Still Life with MonkeyTown: CD
Annoying, loose punk rock with the occasional harmonica. The vocalist often sounds as though he’s mentally handicapped and not in a cool way. I couldn’t stand this. I could see how in a way Monkeytown was trying to sound a little bit like Jawbreaker, but the vocals are so horrendous and off-key that they take any sense of this being rewarding and enlightening and make it excruciating to listen to. –kurt (myspace.com/kneedeepinninjas)


MONKEY POWER TRIO:
Tearing Down the Parthenon: 7"
According to the band’s website, “The Monkey Power Trio only plays one day a year. On that day, they only work for a few hours. In that time, they somehow always manage to create works of inspired genius.” Obviously, there’s sarcasm in that, but I can’t help but think about how “24-hour create-a-zine projects” almost never produce a good zine, even though it might be fun to be involved in doing it. I can’t imagine going back and listening to these songs again. The songs are pretty basic, mildly catchy pop tunes with boy and girl vocals. At first, I was excited because their record cover art is amazing—it features cartoon drawings of monkeys trying to, of course, tear down the Parthenon, but, sadly, the music didn’t live up to the cover art. If this were a cereal, it’d be regular Alpha Bits (the ones without marshmallows). Not horrible, but if you could never eat them again you probably wouldn’t even notice and probably wouldn’t care. It doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing as a project with your friends, but I don’t understand why you’d bother releasing it. –Maddy (Pocahontas Swamp Machine Recordings)


MOLESTED YOUTH:
We’re always Going to Have Breakfast Alone: 7" EP
Hardcore with alternating slow/fast tempo changes in the tunes. –jimmy (derangedrecords.com)


MOJOMATICS, THE:
Love Wild Fever: 7"
Title track is a nice garagy rock rager with harmonica solos interspersed throughout. Note to collector geeks: according to Big Neck’s website, the B-side here is, in fact, not “Heavy Dose of Sympathy,” but another tune, a country-tinged track called “Tears Fall Down,” which they noticed too late and decided to leave well enough alone since the record is almost sold out anyway –jimmy (bigneckrecords.com)


MODERN PETS:
Deformed Kids: Cassette
In a word, fantastic. I believe that the word to best describe Modern Pets’ sound is “zippy”—poppy, razor-sharp punk rock. Often referred to as “spazzcore” (but that term is perhaps a bit misleading at times, unless used in reference to Boris The Sprinkler), zippy bands (according to my definition of the genre) include the likes of the Briefs, Terror Pop, and the zippy all-fathers, the Toy Dolls (the three that came immediately to mind). Modern Pets are a welcome, welcome (German?) addition to that tradition, and they carry the torch very well. The mix on this six-song cassette is a bit muddy, which is unfortunate, but that did not stop all that wonderful zippiness from coming through; I long for the day that I can hear something from these guys with better production because this tape has kept me bopping for hours and hours. If, for some reason, you’ve been looking for a reason to drag out the tape deck again, this is it. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Fuck You In The Head, myspace.com/fyithrecords)


MODERN ACTION:
Molotov Solution: CD
It’s not wholly surprising that Modern Action sounds like a mix between the Briefs and the Bodies because it’s comprised of members of both bands. What is surprising is that the entire record has the production feel, the vocal delivery, and the smooth-yet-rough delivery of Bad Religion’s How Could Hell Be Any Worse? and the suburban deathtrap, “here’s your needle” feel of Smogtown. Has the New Beach Alliance shifted northwards? I dunno, but I like it. –todd (Modern Action)


MINUS APES:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Thuddy punk/hardcore with English lyrics from an apparently German band. Things stay on an even keel for the most part, with the band opting to pummel and seethe with a clean sound rather than slash and burn through a wall of distortion. –jimmy (thrashxbastard@yahoo.de)


MILLIONS OF THEM:
Failures: LP
This is hardcore in the way that Converge or Hope Conspiracy is hardcore. It’s fitting that they recorded this with Kurt Ballou (of Converge). I don’t think that the hardcore bros will like it terribly, which isn’t a bad thing—they are more about playing hard than playing as background music for thugged-out dance crews. Not bad for what it is. –Vincent Battilana (Adiago 830)


METH MOUNTAIN:
Discography: Cassette
Another of those instances where I find out about an awesome band once they’ve split up. I wish they would have stuck around a bit longer. I could have then obsessed over them, bought up their vinyl, and hoped they’d one day come play L.A. But nope. They called it quits this past February (2010). Fuckin’ nuts... What needs to happen is they need to rethink this decision, get out of town, tour, and rule the world, or at least the world of the hardcore scene. Their sound is hardcore that’s fast without being ridiculously fast, raw, and distorted, and they throw in some curves with forays into noise as well as the sludge number, “Devil’s Lettuce.” If you like bands like Total Abuse and Fresh Meat—and who doesn’t, really?—then I recommend this. All this stuff was recorded in a year. It shows a band who was progressing their sound and could have gone on to make some greater records. Glad I grabbed this one! –Matt Average (Self Aware, selfawarerecords.com)


MERMAIDS:
Tropsicle: CD
While Tropsicle is a poor choice for a CD title, the music by Mermaids isn’t equally horrendous. Mermaids takes one back to a 1950s or ‘60s sound of garage-y rock with some nice oohs and ahhs wrapping the sound in a delicate yet catchy surf pop. I was reminded of Delta Haymax (anyone remember that Seattle band?) and the Beach Boys, but Mermaids retain enough indie sensibilities to not sound like a bad stereotype of the sound. This isn’t necessarily my cup of tea but it is pleasant enough to listen to and worth your time if you’re dialed into the world of Southern California blissed-out pop music. –kurt (Pretty Ambitious)


MENTORS:
Oblivion Train: 7"
The blurb on the back says the recordings here date from 1977 and, if true, it’s pretty clear the Mentors were well entrenched in their later shtick very early on—“Oblivion Train,” an ode to drinkin’, is similar in style to their later hit “Get Up and Die,” while the flip, “Cornshucker,” regales with tales of shenanigans in a brothel. Sound is very-good-demo quality, the front cover looks like they were aiming for a “Sub Pop Singles Club” look, and nice pics of the boys (including one of a comparatively thin El Duce) as fresh-faced degenerates grace the back. This is definitely a must for any fan. –jimmy (Stool Sample)


MENTORS, THE:
You Axed for It: LP and 7”

Before I get to heaping steaming superlatives on the timely re-issue of this punk-metal classic, there is some business I need to take care of first. Along with a sticker announcing that this is a limited edition pressed in “pink beef curtain” vinyl, the shrink wrap of this record is also festooned with another sticker touting You Axed For It as being “rape rock at its finest.” The thing is, the label “Rape Rock” not only misses the point, but it just isn’t funny. And if you’re somehow listening to and enjoying the Mentors without humor being one of the main motivating factors for doing so, then you are quite likely a dim and possibly dangerous fuckwit who should avoid ever interacting with women, children and animals. It was their lewd humor and depraved lack of decorum that gave the Mentors the stubby, stinking pig legs that have carried them through the years to a place of relevance here in 2010, not any attempt to be perceived as a real sociopathic threat.

The only way the label “Rape Rock” would be funny would be if it originally came out of the mouth of an aghast listener, someone along the lines of a Tipper Gore or a Mr. Rogers. Or, in contemporary terms, a Glenn Beck. Now, I admit that there is a song on this record called “Sleep Bandits”that might just be Rohypnol inspired. But my guess would be that if the Mentors ever played around with date rape drugs, it was for their own trashy high and was not used as a tool of a genuine sexual predator. I’m not sure about Sicky or Dr. Scum, but I seriously doubt that El Duce—the late lyricist and soused figurehead of the Mentors—could’ve even managed to sift through his own alcoholic haze enough to rape an inflatable sex doll, much less a living human woman, what with that drooping, booze-filled blubber stick of his. El Duce’s real life “rape” victims, I suspect, were sinks, tubs, and toilet bowls. Truth be told, “Rape Rock” is a label much more appropriate to GG Allin than the Mentors. If anything, the Mentors are more Peeping-Tom Rock than Rape Rock.

Now that I’ve gotten that all straightened out, another mistake has always been to write off the Mentors as mere fatuous oafs laying in puddles of their own filth and laughing at their own farts. As oafish as their sexual slapstick was, Duce was something of a savant, possessed of a sophomoric cleverness that was leagues above that of the lowly jerk-off booth wino he might’ve appeared to be. El Duce was the Shel Silverstein of drunken smut. All you need to do is read the lyrics of songs like “Golden Showers” and “Sandwich of Love” to see that there was a bozo poet laureate behind the bleary frog eyes, lecherous mug, and swinish behavior. And You Axed For It shows El Duce at has poetic best, infamously rhyming “anal vapor” and “toilet paper,” among others. And as if pink beef curtain vinyl wasn’t enough, this re-issue includes a special 7” record containing two never-before-released tracks recorded in Dr. Scum’s basement in 1977. So how can you go wrong? But you better rush out and grab one of these quick because it’s apparently a very limited edition of only 500. My guess is that these filthy little treasures are going to get gobbled up pretty quickly, simply because You Axed for It captures the mighty Mentors at the absolute summit—and nadir—of their prurient, pull-my-finger powers. This is Peeping-Tom Rock at its finest. Screw social networking, social leprosy is where it’s at! –aphid (Stool Sample)


MEGACOOLS, THE:
Introducing the Fun Police: LP
The only thing that I had heard previously from The Megacools is a two-song 7” they did in 2006. The A-side of that disc features a song called “Weird Dreams Are Crazy,” which kinda sounded like Can-influenced punk. The track on the other side of the disc, “You Don’t Send Me Flowers,” had some psychedelic garage stuff going on but fundamentally KBD. Awesome stuff. This, the debut LP from The Megacools, comes four years later. While not a total departure from the above-mentioned 7” because of their shared old school sounds, this was definitely unexpected. I have no clue what happened over the course of those four years, but this LP frenetic hardcore punk. It’s like they were listening to Back from Samoa and thought it was good but a little straightforward and boring. I’d totally recommend picking this up, but here’s the rub: only one hundred were made and the note attached to the LP says that it’s sold out. The note did suggest looking in distros, and so do I. So worth it. –Vincent Battilana (Sacramento, no address)


MEGACOOLS, THE:
“Weird Dreams Are Crazy” b/w “You Don’t Send Me No Flowers”: 7"
I need to immediately point out that both of these songs are lyrically sparse. In fact, the lyrics of each song consist of that song’s title and very little else. I was hoping to like this more than I did, simply because I highly approve of the prefix “mega” especially when paired with a positive adjective like “cool.” While we’re on the subject of adjectives, “You Don’t Send Me No Flowers” is howly (bad) where it could have been yelly (good) and the music is honestly a bit wanky (bad) for punk rock. “Weird Dreams Are Crazy” is a bit more fun, with all three band members taking turns on vocals and overlapping each other in an appealing way. These folks are obviously talented musicians, but I really wish they were talented songwriters, too. I wouldn’t want to listen to this 7” again, but I have hope for future releases. –jennifer (Megacool)


MEERCAZ:
Self-titled: LP
Pretty tepid rock’n’roll record. There’s some ‘60s rock mixed with some low budget space rock attempts. Sometimes this can be a good, and even great, thing. But on here, it sounds pretty blah. The songs pass by without much notice. Really, the only thing that stands out is when the songs become really indulgent, underscoring the mediocrity of it all. –Matt Average (Tic Tac Totally, tictactotally.com)


MEASURE [SA], THE:
Notes: CD
Riding with The Measure [SA] now is like visiting someone who knows their town inside out. Not just the punk houses. All the shortcuts, the back allies, the pot holes, the places that smell good outside. The best donuts. The community centers. The places that can’t be found anywhere else in the world, from parks, historical markers, to where to watch the sunrise. Wanna go on a bike ride? They know tons of routes and will wait for you if you get winded. The elements that first made me blush how much I liked The Measure [SA] are still all there: the sincerity, the sweetness, the songs bursting with tenderness and fury. Artful but approachable. Awkward but endearing. Shy but open. Talented but not boastful. But with Notes, there’s a fantastic sense of confidence. Of a wide-stanced resilience. They sound right at home in hardcore blasts, heart-core explorations, and stripped-down, elegant elegies. The range is all within their means, and it’s a wonderful ride that I’m enjoying with every spin. –todd (No Idea)


MAYFLOWER:
Second Best Sunsets: LP
Mayflower got tired of waiting for Dillinger Four to put out Civil War, so they decided to write and record their own Dillinger Four record, except it’s just now coming out. –Jeff Proctor (Kiss Of Death)


MAYDAY!:
Self-titled: 7"
By the band name and record sleeve with the bombed out city and freeway scene, I was fully expecting screaming crusty political hardcore. I was more than surprised to have the record kick off with a surf instrumental! Whaaaaa? After the intro, the surfiness continues with powerful, driving female vocals that kind of remind me of the amazing Arctic Flowers. The flip side is the epic “BlüdBeach” which can only be described as the B-52’s on a summertime suicide mission. I love this. I want more! –ty (Feral Kid)


MATURE SITUATIONS:
Old Hands: 7" EP
Piss-take Plastic Surgery Disasters front cover art, back cover with a pic of Biafra altered to look like he’s getting mobbed by balding older men. Three tunes of mid-tempo hardcore and one thrasher on the wax. “Scooters on the Street” is the pick to click here. –jimmy (derangedrecords.com)


MANUAL ZOMBIE:
Self-titled: Cassette
This shit makes me uncomfortable. An acoustic guitar is plucked and distorted, an old country song being melted over flames. It’s pushed aside by a sparse snare beat and an array of psychotic electric guitar riffs. The voice that whispers over it all is unhinged and sick, a kidnapper leaning into his victim’s ear. I can’t wait to hear more –mp (Self-released, myspace.com/manualzombie)


MANUAL ZOMBIE:
Fresh Milk: Cassette
With early Nirvana similarities, this is one of the most quietly disturbing albums of the year. Bleak lyrics mumbled unintelligibly paired with a deluge of grungy guitars make up the components of this Brooklyn trio’s living dead. Plagued by addiction, disease and botched suicide attempts, Fresh Milk is anything but hopeful or optimistic. “Sniffing Glue” starts off in a gauzy haze like an intro by The Velvet Underground and quickly mutates into a rattling wall of guitar effects and pained, hungover vocals, while “Tetanus” has a driving hook and thundering drums. Great guitar work all throughout. If you dig lo-fi grunge with a shot of self-loathing, this is for you. Recommended. –Kristen K (Self Released, myspace.com/manualzombie)


MALE NURSES:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Every now and then, I hear a band that makes me wish I had a Way-Back Machine like Mr. Peabody, just so’s I could toss in a hardcore band, set the timer for 1981, and enjoy the resulting freakout. Male Nurses are one of those bands, and not to say they sound dated or tired, but I’d kill to see ’em sandwiched between Jerry’s Kids and SS Decontrol in their prime just to watch the punters shake their heads in disbelief. Great hardcore here and, not surprisingly, it’s on Deranged. –jimmy (derangedrecords.com)


MAINE COONS, THE:
H.L.I.I.G.T.F.Y.T.F.G. EP: One-sided 7” flexi
The Maine Coons sound like they’d fit right on the tail end of Estrus’s roster, like the Fireballs Of Freedom mixed in with early this decade’s In the Red Dirtbombs output. Late ‘90s/early ‘00s garage rock with Farfisa and some sort of tinking bell and pull flute. It’s pitch perfect. They know exactly what they’re going for and it doesn’t come across as gimmicky. The format’s pretty great: flexi discs done in batches of fifty or a hundred, silk-screened covers, all very tight and great sounding. A nice surprise. –todd (Gebos! Brand Circular Plastics, gebo.bigcartel.com)


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