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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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FINLAND STATION:
Fat Accompli: CD
Finland Station is a very Dead Kennedys-influenced, fast old school punk band from L.A. It’s refreshing to hear something this straightforward coming out in 2010, although there’s a slight avant-garde undercurrent present throughout. Maybe it’s unfair to stress the DK influence, but the singer sounds like he’s doing a flat-out impersonation of Jello Biafra. Maybe in the future, Elvis impersonators will be replaced by Biafra impersonators. Interesting concept, no? In any event, Fat Accompli is a seriously enjoyable album. –Art Ettinger (Self-released, finlandstation.com)


FIGHT, THE:
Maldicion: CD
This band sounds heavily influenced by the ‘90s hardcore punk bands that were coming out of Europe. The music is tuneful while having a crunch, there’s time changes galore throughout the songs, production is clean, and there’s a forlorn feeling throughout. Musically, this isn’t bad. But the vocals sound out of place. They’re growly and cracking and somehow flat. It’s as though she’s just reciting the lyrics without putting any real emphasis or strong feelings into the words. If she was singing in a band like Detestation, it would totally work. But the music The Fight is playing is a bit more refined and has more depth. It takes more than yelling to be convincing. –Matt Average (Nikt Nic Nie Wie, nnnw.pl)


FED UP:
Sheer Poetry: LP
Weak ass bro hardcore played by knuckle-dragging imbeciles whose IQs are consistent with the number of their collective toes and fingers. If this steaming turd is “poetry” then the JerseyShore is Broadway theatre. I didn’t even bother listening to side B. No one should. –Juan Espinosa (Welfare, welfarerecords.net)


FANGS OUT:
Speech Shadowing: CD
Minimalist post-punk stuff from a group that appears to be a duo with other musicians occasionally pitching in when the need arises. The mood of a lot of the stuff here is kinda gray, as opposed to “dark,” though they are savvy enough to temper the inevitable artiness with enough pop sensibilities and end up with a tune or two that are gloomily danceable. –jimmy (etxerecords.com)


FALSE ALARM / YOUTH GONE MAD:
Split: CD
This phenomenal twenty-seven song split CD includes a full length from each band, with each featuring celebrity cameos. The Youth Gone Mad album includes some guest vocals and instrumentals from Dee Dee Ramone and the False Alarm album includes Cheetah Chrome, Rick Wilder, and De De Troit. Tragically, the singer of False Alarm (like Dee Dee Ramone) died a drug-related death a few years back. It’s hard to dissociate these bands from drugs, with almost every track taking on an aura of heroin punk. The final track, “Dee Dee Deceased” by Youth Gone Mad, is an eerie tribute if ever there was one. In any event, this non-glamorous set of albums needs to be heard. –Art Ettinger (False Alarm, myspace.com/falsealarmrecords)


FAINTEST IDEA:
Ignorance Is This: CD
This is on the better end of bands that sound like Rancid. The vocalist is better than usual, which I am finding is pretty key when you are playing in this arena. I don’t have to tell you that there are ska songs. The weird thing about this band to me is that the horns are ongoing. I find the horns a little distracting when the band is not playing ska riffs, but I guess you can’t have those guys just standing around like the Saturday Night Live band during a monologue. These guys are good at what they do; I’m just not that into Rancid. –Billups Allen (TNS, tnsrecords.co.uk)


FAG ENABLERZ:
God Hates Fag Enablerz: Cassette
No doubt the name caught my attention. Plus it set my expectations pretty high. I figure if you’re going to have a name like that, you better have the music to back it up. Something tough, something offensive, something good. Instead, the music on here is run of the mill punk rock without much of an edge or bite. “The Watcher” is their best track. It’s a mid tempo crawler with darkness. The type of song you listen to while driving around L.A. at night. “I Love You” is the other song on here (there’s six total), which is a bit of a quick tempo song that has a bouncy rhythm. It bogs down at one point when they slow the tempo down and speak then yell the lyrics over a drum and bass break. If they shaved some time off this song and focused it, then it would have been a better tune. A lot of filler on this one. –Matt Average (heavychongo@gmail.com)


ELF POWER:
Self-titled: CD

Athens, GA outfit that have been around for awhile, including a stint playing with Vic Chesnutt. There are eleven songs on here that fly mostly under the radar. Other than the fuzz-bass bomb on “The Concrete and the Walls,” there wasn’t too much here to draw me in. The artwork is pretty cool, though. Fans of low-fi twee pop may get a kick out of this one, but it was not my bag.

–koepenick (Orange Twin)


ELECTROCUTIONS, THE:
Locked Gates/Lonely Roads: CD
Rock solid Dirtnap-tinged punk stuff with politically charged lyrics. The vocals aren’t the strongest aspect to this—in spots it almost sounds like a live recording—but they more than make up for it with good songwriting and on-point playing. –jimmy (Big Neck)


DRYCONDITIONS:
Into the Night (Black Light): CD
Swiss “post-hardcore,” which in this case translates to vaguely edgy pop stuff that could easily be slipped into the lofty echelons of alt-rock radio fodder. –jimmy (808records.ch)


DRI:
The Dirty Rotten EP: 7”
I wish I could say that this was my introduction to DRI. But, alas, I was a teenage butt rocker and the same older cousin who turned me onto Iron Maiden (or “the Maiden” as we referred to them) also lent me a copy of Crossover. And while I didn’t hate it, it didn’t live up to the tales of security guards being thrown through walls full of mirrors at a rather unruly concert attended by my aforementioned cousin. Being a bit unimpressed with the album, I largely ignored any and all DRI releases for a long time. Especially the ones where it seemed as if their hair just kept getting longer. It wasn’t until I heard Capitalist Casualties’ take on “Dennis’ Problem” that I was encouraged to give them a second chance, which meant taking a chance on purchasing a CD. You see kids, back in those days you had to actually go to a record store, search through racks, and pray to whatever deity you believed in that they had what you were looking for. Finally, you had to decide whether or not it was worth shelling out the money. CD’s have always been expensive, but back then you didn’t have the option of downloading a file online for free so you couldn’t really argue with the prices no matter how ridiculous they were. (Not to mention being the only punk kid in the record store with no one around to vouch for the purchase.) Buying the Dirty Rotten EP CD was the best decision someone else ever made for me, but even better than that was when they let me borrow it and then forgot about it. This was the DRI I was hoping for. The DRI that crammed an incredible twenty-two songs of pissed-off hardcore that remain timeless and largely unmatched in relevance and intensity. If you’ve never heard DRI and you fancy yourself a hardcore fan, you simply cannot go wrong with this record, presented here on lovely colored vinyl and on its original format. This is the holy grail of classic American hardcore punk. –Juan Espinosa (Beer City)


DRESDEN:
Final Hour: CD
Crust trappings—apocalyptic art, long strums on downtuned guitars, thrashy beats, metal riffage, growly/shouty vocals—coupled with often personal lyrics. This pigeonhole is usually not my preferred go-to spot, but these cats ain’t bad at what they do. –jimmy (profaneexistence.org)


DISCO LEPERS:
Rose Alley Inbreds: CD
To put it politely: a full-length’s worth of what sounds like South Park’s Eric Cartman fronting some treble-heavy and wincingly generic cowpunk. The novelty wore off after about half a minute. Meanwhile, they cast their net of offensiveness far and wide and finally came up with a button-pusher: songs belittling rape victims (“Rapist With a Heart of Gold”) will never be funny, no matter what wacky genre-spin you put on it. –keith (Shattered Debauchee)


DIRTY FILTHY MUGS:
All Yobs In: CD
From the first three seconds of this CD playing, I liked it. Usually, it takes me a little bit of time to warm up to something, but this is darned good: banjo-filled folk music that made my day the moment I heard it. I was almost scared to move to the second track, thinking it was too good to be true, but then, lo and behold, another good song in a completely different style, consisting of punk tones with background cockney essence with a theme of beer drinking. This band consists of ex members of Swingin’ Utters and you will probably warm up to them as fast as I did if you like a band like early Dropkick Murphys or other bands of that nature. –Corinne (DC Jam)


DEREK LYN PLASTIC:
The Smell of My Room Vol. 1: Drug Sounds: CD
Superficially, it’s easy to think that Derek Lyn Plastic doesn’t give a shit. First of all, the name Derek Lyn Plastic doesn’t actually appear anywhere on the album artwork. What does? A picture of a giant penis. If that doesn’t say “I don’t give a shit,” I don’t know what does. Look a little closer and it becomes clear that, although this may be “I don’t give a shit” music in terms of its philosophy, it’s not in terms of its craftsmanship. It’s a perfectly precise cacophony of confidently sleazy vocals, garage guitar solos, and dark new wave sounds. This is what you dance to after you break someone’s nose. –mp (NMG)


DEAD SOUND:
Monuments to Alienation: CD-R
First off, propers are in order for the effort put into the artwork accompanying what is, according to the liner notes, a demo. However, I put it in two CD players, into two computers, a DVD player, I put it on a boat, threw it in a moat, put it on a horse, spun it on some borscht, I plopped it on a hat, I dangled it on a bat, I smote it with a knee, and I treated it nimbly, but try as I might, there doesn’t seem to be anything on this here disc to be played. –jimmy (deadsoundfl@gmail.com)


D.O.A:
Talk-Action=0: CD
New one from Shithead and the gang. Hard and heavy, these guys have been on a hot streak lately with this one and Northern Avenger. And I was just lucky enough to watch them play from the side of the stage recently in Ohio and they still bring it live like a hot iron to a steer’s ass! Standouts on this one include “I Live in a Car” and “Don’t Bank on a Bank.” “The R.C.M.P.” sounds like The Sex Pistols, but not in a fawning tribute sort of way. There’s even a song about Star Trek, so what more do you need? –koepenick (Sudden Death)


CHRIS CONNELLY:
How This Ends: CD
Connelly is one of the many cats clustered around bands like Ministry, Revolting Cocks, KMFDM, Killing Joke, et al., and it shows here on his latest solo album. The “tunes” here consist of two tracks clocking at around a half-hour each, that in turn consist of people speaking and singing pieces about “death, genocide, homicide by corrupt powers upon innocents” over alternating bouts of noisy soundscapes and quieter piano interludes. The results often sound like the soundtrack to a splatter flick directed by Luis Buñuel. Decidedly not something to play at a birthday party for a manic depressive, it nonetheless is quite effective in its intent and definitely worth the time of those willing to invest the time in paying attention. –jimmy (lensrecords.com)


CHEAP SOLUTION:
Demo: Cassette
Hardcore is my Achilles’ heel. I listen to a good amount of it, but it’s by no means my favorite genre. My major problem is being able to distinguish between bands. They kind of collide with one another in my head. While I might not be able to immediately distinguish between Articles Of Faith and Social Unrest, I can tell you that this particular recording reminds me of Kill Your Idols and I thoroughly enjoyed it. My main annoyance was the medium of choice: cassette. Seriously, guys, cassettes are a pain in the ass. There’s no way to only listen to certain songs and there are very few places where a cassette player is readily available. What’s with the revival of these things? I guess if you have a cassette player in your car, but a better solution to that shit is to buy a CD player and get one of those input to cassette converters. Don’t bring back shitty formats just for the nostalgia of it all. That being said, I’m looking forward to the Betamax renaissance of next year. –Bryan Static (Fuck You In The Head, no address)


CAT PARTY:
Heartache over Headache: EP
This is a slight progression on their LP from a year or so ago. Heavily influenced by mid-’80s U.K. post punk, somewhere between The Southern Death Cult and The Wake. There’s a very cold and gray feel to their sound. I listen to this and think of standing on a foggy beach with the wind cutting through me. Instead of being irritated or uncomfortable, I feel enlivened and compelled to believe just about anything is possible. Much the same way I do when I listen to this record (and their LP as well). There’s an awareness of the past, and a forlorn feel, but there’s a sense of a brighter future for the taking. I like that the bass is very prominent, as it should be for this style. It provides the warmth. The guitar has a soaring feel at times, as everything moves forward at a good pace. When the vocals stop in “The Digital Age” and the guitar takes over at the end, it is so good that it requires repeated listens. It changes the mood from pensive to liberated, as suggested in the lyrics. The title track seems to be a song of regret, and the feeling comes across well. The music is more about communicating emotions and thought instead of bashing you over the head or being a soundtrack for a party. The sort of record you listen to alone in your room with the door closed. –Matt Average (Flat Black, flatblackrecords@yahoo.com)


CAMPAIGN:
It Likes to Party: CDEP
I try to go into this as open mindedly as I possibly can. I really do. That said, I really couldn’t go into this disc with a clear slate after looking at the cover photo. Seriously dudes, the tight denim jacket to bead ratio is off the charts! Factor in the “sullen, staring off into nothingness” looks on the band members’ faces and green screen that someone forgot to digitally enhance and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Odds were meant to be beat from time to time, and somehow I actually like the tunes within. Most of them anyways. Sure, there is a goofy emo-fied breakdown here and there (and there and there) but the tunes themselves are quite catchy and the vocals are pretty good, too. I’d like to hear some more and see less. –ty (myspace.com/wearethecampaign)


CAGEMATCH:
Self-titled: CDEP
Seven songs of heavy hardcore that come in, do their damage, and are out in under ten minutes. Not bad stuff at all. The first and sixth tracks come in with a slower sludge heaviness somewhat like Akimbo and the rest of the tracks are short, fast, bursts of super-pissed, super heavy hardcore aggression that would make Tragedy and From Ashes Rise proud. –Adrian (cagematchband.com)


BURNITDOWNS, THE:
We’re Not the Things We’ve Done: CD
Album artwork is admirable, but then again, I like anything with an eye patch. In this album, you will find an unlikely, but commendable, combo of country, punk, and hootenanny with some unexpected input from a banjo and a glockenspiel. I’m hearing fun, enthusiastic tunes with solid heart. –Corinne (Rubber Factory, rubberfactoryrecords.com)


BREAK IT DOWN:
Three Songs: CD
This is not really hardcore, it’s more like late ‘90s Epitaph generic Pennywise-sounding stuff. The music isn’t really heavy, but there is occasional chugga chugga that might sound a bit more raw live. That still wouldn’t change the fact that the lyrics say very common things phrased in common ways. It was recorded very cleanly, there are guitar leads and all that kind of stuff, but nothing really sounds heavy or, like, you know, hardcore except for the last minute of the last song which is the saving moment for this demo. The vocals are what really don’t do it for me. One moment he sounds like he’s going for the Jello Biafra thing, then its just generic pop punk vocals, then gravelly punk vocals, then hardcore vocals. From song one to three, the vocals go up a notch in terms of what I enjoy. There would still have to be one more notch up in the vocals, then two notches down in the recording quality for me to be truly stoked on this. –Rene Navarro (myspace.com/breakitdownhardcore)


BLACK100S, THE:
Fins: CD
It’s probably just me being a jerk, but I can’t help but wonder why people take on “full band names” when it’s clearly just one person. That said, I make big deals out of nothing at times. This is solo acoustic type stuff that skirts the line between solo blues and folk. It’s not bad, though it starts to drag after a while, and while people into this kind of scene would probably be more into it, I’d probably like it more as an EP. –joe (Self-released)


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