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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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D.R.I.:
Crossover (Millennium Edition): CD
BeerCity has been putting out a slew of amazing D.R.I. reissues. This is a particularly fancy package in that it comes with the complete remastered Crossover LP, six live tracks from The Ritz, two demo tracks, and interviews with all four band members. I was one of those “nose in the air” punk rock kids who got really super pissed at all things metal back in the day. If you’re one of the people who feels that crossover almost killed hardcore, then D.R.I. is one of the main bands to blame. I hadn’t heard this album in ages and it’s still super metal, a.k.a. fucking painful, at times. Much of it is straightforward, brilliant 1980s hardcore. But there are all of these lame metal riffs interspersed to slow down the fun. In any event, this piece of history is back for reassessment. Personally, I still can’t get past my childhood aversion to the diluting of hardcore. Give me D.R.I.’s earlier material over this one any day. It’s certainly not without merit and some of the songs kick ass. D.R.I. completests will be all about these nifty new reissues, for sure. –Art Ettinger (Beer City, beercityrecords.com)


D-NICK THE MICROPHONE MISFIT:
Graphic Novel: CD
Hip-hop with storytelling lyrics that drive home positive messages about healthy living. The rhyming isn’t too complex, but that just makes it more accessible, and serves to drive home the points of the songs. The beats are funky and daring. This is more KRS-One than after school special. –CT Terry (bookthefitz@gmail.com)


DIALIS:
Precatio: CD
Flutes, violins, and piano coupled with Franco’s voice, which is a lighter version of Peter Steele’s of Type O Negative, makes for a dark folk sound from this duo out of Italy. It sounds like something that belongs on Projekt Records. Musically epic with songs containing similar melodies, this album could have benefited from some editing and variation to keep the listener engaged. –Kristen K (Self-released, myspace.com/dialis)


DETROIT 442 / FUNERAL MARCH:
Split: 7” EP
Detroit 442: The fact that they share their name with one of my favorite Blondie tunes piqued my interest enough to pick this up. While they don’t sound anything like Debbie and the boys, they do manage to turn in two tunes that sound like DOA outtakes. Funeral March: Catchy, mid-tempo punk stuff. Singer sounds vaguely Misfits-era Danzigesque, which ain’t necessarily a bad thing. –jimmy (detroitnoise.com)


DESTRUCTORS, THE:
Politika: CD
Sweet minty Jesus, either these guys are striving for some sorta fuggin’ record for most releases by a punk band or they’re trying to catch up to the UK Subs. As implied by the title, the connecting theme here is politics, married to the slam-bang U.K. punk these cats have been delivering since the early ‘80s. Not quite as consistently solid as some of their other umpteen releases, but by no means crap. –jimmy (destructors.co.uk)


DESOLATION:
Rest in Panic: EP
I have found Desolation records to be generally a lukewarm listening experience. Not bad, but could be better. They sounded a bit flat. However, they are starting (are they a functioning band again?) to be a bit more interesting. The influence of Tragedy hangs heavy in the air for sure, but on the first couple songs here they have more speed, and, as a result, the sound is more abrasive and jagged. The vocals are barked over the top without character, which bogs things down a bit. The strength of their songs is found in the tempo changes and the percussion. Here they can demonstrate their sonic power and pull the listener in. Their best song is without a doubt found on the B side, “No Steps Forward.” While still retaining the heavy and dark qualities, they also manage to be tuneful and the result is aces. More songs like that and they could be so f’ing great! –Matt Average (Prank, prankrecords.com)


DESOLATEVOID / THE LAST VAN ZANT / THE PARISH:
Split: CD
Desolatevoid are a mix of crust and hard rock. A weird combo, but they pull it off. The vocals are throaty as hell and the music is heavy. It’s not bad, but the dual vocals and the grindcore style shrieking starts to grate after a while. The Last Van Zant, sounding nothing like Skynyrd, are more on the speedier side of the spectrum. The Parish slow things down with some riffage akin to Sleep and the Sword. I find I listen to their section of this three way the most. The only thing that mars their material is the Cookie Monster vocal style. –Matt Average (C.A.H., cahrecords.com)


DEAD UNCLES / DYLAN BREDEAU:
Split: Cassette
Dead Uncles: The last time I listened to this band was their first demo. I really didn’t care for it. Well, I’m still not sold, but I don’t get angry listening to DU’s pop punk this time around. Dylan Bredeau: I’m pretty sure that this is not just one guy, but I’m not interested enough to get the insert to check. Garden-variety melodic/post-hardcore. –Vincent Battilana (Stop This Coffin / We Rise)


DELANEY DAVIDSON:
Self Decapitation: CD
Rootsy Americana with some punk thunk to give it some heft. Occasionally, it sounds like Leonard Cohen channeling Jelly Roll Morton, which ain’t a bad deal at all. –jimmy (voodoorhythm.com)


DANGERMAKER:
Self-titled: CDEP
This is painfully generic “Alt-rock.” Like pay-to-play residency at the Whisky generic. Although, according to the sticker on the CD, this is produced by Scott Llamas! It’s good to know that the Renegade is still keeping busy… On further inspection, it appears that I am thinking of Lorenzo Lamas. Damn. –Adrian (Self-released, Dangermaker.com)


(DAMN) THIS DESERT AIR:
Distance Waits: CDEP
Call me snooty, snotty, whatever, but I think this sounds way too polished for me. Something KROQ would bust a nut over playing ad nauseam. Reminds me of ‘90s alt rock by way of Bush and Stone Temple Pilots with smoothed-out, pretty boy vocals and grungy guitars. Sorry, just not my thing. –Kristen K (Pop Up)


D9:
Self-titled: CD
Clearly, the powerviolence thing is enjoying a bit of resurgence right now, and while it seems to me that I should enjoy the combination of crushing, sludgy tempos and insane fast parts, the whole genre has always sounded somewhat disjointed to me. I mean, even the shortest, speedy punk songs can be written well, but powerviolence (worst fucking genre title ever, by the way) just seems like a bunch of mediocre musical ideas sandwiched together with any sense of cohesion abandoned for the sake of a particular formula… a formula that doesn’t do anything for me at all. Anyway, D9 are an Israeli band of the aforementioned persuasion, who, as far as I can tell, bring very little of interest to the table. But maybe these guys are the best thing to happen to powerviolence since… I don’t even know. I don’t get it. –Dave Williams (Urban Decay/HCB, myspace.com/urbandecayrecs)


CONVERSIONS, THE:
Spineless Wonders: LP
Ack! It’s like I’ve accidentally travelled back to the mid-90s. Get me out of here! The Conversions sound like a band heavily influenced by what used to be called “emo” in the 1990s—Hose Got Cable, Three Studies For A Crucifixion, Iconoclast (East Coast), AmberInn, etc., etc. Sort of minimal in sound, a lot of disjointed time changes, and growly vocals that sound like a recitation of the lyrics. Now, just like then, there’s something about this music I just cannot connect with. There’s no flow, no real fire. Too caught up in being a throwback to a time best left alone? –Matt Average (Ride The Snake, ridethesnakerecords.com)


CORDE, LA:
Back in Salem: 7”
Two great slices of moody, guitar-driven punk-wave stuff that deftly balances on the fine line between art and punch. There’s a definite dark quality to the tunes, but they thankfully refrain from slathering on layer after layer of “Ooooh, we’re spooky” and instead go for a sophisticated whop upside the noggin. –jimmy (lacordsf@gmail.com)


CREDENTIALS, THE:
Routines: LP
I’ve almost become immune to the gritty-voiced pop punk thing. The constant overexposure has driven me to a complete state of apathy for most of the genre. So why is it that The Credentials stand out to me? Maybe it’s their insane amount of energy. This shit feels like it’s live in my living room. I honestly can’t figure it out, but I’m enjoying their music too much to give a shit. I mean, you have to at least give these guys credit for self-releasing their own LP. That takes some balls. –Bryan Static (Self-released)


CREDENTIALS, THE:
Routines: LP
Pretty solid pop punk on a really nice looking swirled piece of vinyl. You could do a lot worse with your record listening time. –Ryan Horky (Self-released)


CONSTANTS:
The Foundation the Machine the Ascension: 3 x LP
This sounds like the kind of stuff they used to try to pass off as hardcore on MTV2 during my last year of high school. I can picture this band opening for Hoobastank or Incubus. The best compliment I could give would be that they sound as if the Deftones got a singer with a whiny emo voice and their guitarist forgot how to play riffs and just created “ambience” with zero substance. What a waste of some really nice, triple LP, super sweet packaging. –Rene Navarro (Mylene Sheath)


CONCRETE GODS, THE:
Welcome to the Empire Club: CD
The past is a double-edged sword. Some seek refuge in it, creating something that, at times, is wonderful in its reuse of old tropes that have gone the way of the dodo. The flipside consists of creations that use out-of-date material as their foundation for what they hope is new. Concrete Gods are some sort of amalgamation of the Clash, Sham 69, and the Jam, but unless you really wish to have the lost demo tapes of all three bands, give this record a pass. –Bryan Static (Underground London)


COMRADES, THE:
Faceless Landscape: CD
Though they don’t really sound like ‘em, the veritable hodgepodge of weird rhythmic timings and theatrical vocal delivery these guys put into their music brings to mind Secret Hate, who did much the same with hardcore back in the ‘80s. Though a lot of what they do may be is skewed and lyrically astute enough to leave most of the parrot-punk punters back at the starting line, they are no strangers to pop sensibilities, making sure to add the occasional sing-along part to keep the kids attentive. –jimmy (thecomrades.com)


COBRA:
Hello! This Is Cobra + ...Is Back: CDs
Oi stuff from a band that’s apparently been one of Japan’s best kept secrets for quite some time. While ...Is Back is the rawer of the two, it’s Hello! that boasts the catchiest, most anthemic tunes. What lyrics there are in English indicate while they aren’t much deeper or topical than the “let’s get drunk! Oi Oi Oi!” of too many of their American and English peers, they do know their way around a hook, which gives ‘em some additional points. –jimmy (joepogorecords.com)


CLASS ASSASSINS, THE:
You’ve Got It Wrong: CD
Catchy, anthemic punk rock. More often than not, they sound like later Channel 3 with a wee bit more oi in the mix, with sly nods in the guitars to bands like Blitz ‘n’ such. –jimmy (insurgence.net)


CHILD BITE:
The Living Breathing Organ Summer: CD
The band hits off-kilter grooves and spazzes out over them with guitars, keys, and carnival barker chants. But the one-sheet ruined it for me. They say they sound like The Birthday Party. All I hear is fake deep vocals. They say they sound like Devo. I hear a band playing with corncobs up their asses. In defense of the one sheet, it helped me decipher the band name and album title, which are written in script that made the CD look like “The Live Wing & Creativing Orgasm Liniment” by Wild & Te. Still, the overall effect is cool and theatrical and since they list about a hundred auxiliary members, I bet their stage show is a spectacle. –CT Terry (Joyful Noise)


CHARLES ALBRIGHT:
I’m on Drugs: 7” EP
Mildly over-the-top one-man-bandism with poundy drums, blistery guitars, and squawky vocals! And, while i appreciate the appropriately mononucleotic flipout of “I’m On Drugs” as well as the crunched-out “Tell Her No”-esque riff of “I Wanna Hold You,” it’s really the mindlessly positive “I’m Just A Fine Young Man, And I’m Doing So Well” gutter-raver that sends me on a one-way trip to Albright-ville. I mean, as many times as he says it, ya can’t help but buy into his conviction. Better than self-hypnosis AND a Thighmaster®! BEST SONG: “I’m Just A Fine Young Man, And I’m Doing So Well” BEST SONG TITLE: “I’m Just A Fine Young Man, And I’m Doing So Well” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The A-side and B-side are identical, with a run-off groove message reading “CUT BY ((Japanese characters))!!! Ya dig?” –norb (Charles Albright)


BUTCHER COVER:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Noise-mongering from two guys with no shortage of vitriol and access to a four-track. –jimmy (lemon-session.com)


BURNT CROSS:
Brian Haw: EP
Excellent U.K. anarcho punk. Seriously, this is some of the best of this style I’ve heard in many, many, many years. Well over twenty years, for sure. I honestly think this duo measures up to many of the classics. The vocalist reminds me a lot of the singer from Crisis, in sound and style. The music is basic and driving: repetitive rhythms and a guitar that hammers at a steady rate. “Governed by Fools” is the best of the bunch, and, really, all four songs are great. But that song in particular stands out, as it has more of a punch to it, and there’s a little more going on in the music. It’s pretty obvious these guys are not some pose or some excuse to dress in black. They mean it. –Matt Average (Loud Punk, loudpunk@gmail.com)


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