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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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BURNING LOVE:
Demo + Don’t Ever Change: 7”s
This is what I expected from Born Dead Icons! When I first read a review of that band and they were described as a punk rock Motörhead, I made a bee line for their records. And while I like Born Dead Icons, I’ll admit I was kind of disappointed. Were my expectations too high? Possibly. Did I have very few expectations for Burning Love? Yes. But holy shit! The demo record is good, but “Don’t Ever Change” sounds like it was spawned by quarrelling monsoons. Punishing, unforgiving, punk rock Motörhead. –Daryl Gussin (Deranged)


BROKEN PATTERNS:
Germs + Stereo Type: EP + EP
Two discs with four tracks each of punchy Southern California punk rock that would’ve had ‘em sharing bills with the Cheifs and Rodney B. frothing at the mouth were this 1981. Hell, the chorus “Glad to Meet You” sounds like they immersed themselves in Political Crap’s “Slow Death.” Swell tunes, screened covers, and colored vinyl make these worth the search. –jimmy (sixfeetunderrecords.com)


BRING THAT SHIT! / BASTARD SONS OF BUKOWSKI :
Split: CD-R
These two bands could easily fit on the 625 roster. Bring That Shit! are thrashy, no-frills hardcore. Sounds like they listened to a lot of early Negazione, Indigesti, and Scholastic Deth. Their songs are fast and short. “Everyone Get Fucked” is their best song, without a doubt. Bastard Sons Of Bukowski are heavier with some thrashy elements. Around about the time their half of this split came on, the CD-R I have started skipping quite a bit... –Matt Average (Bezerker, myspace.com/xbezerkerrecordsx)


BRIGHT EFFS:
Be Honest: CD-R
Formerly known as Submarine Spaceship, this is a two-man team of guitar and drums with both dudes handling vocals. One of the vocalists reminds me of Isaac Brock from Modest Mouse but the music doesn’t have much in common with that Pacific Northwest act. It’s faster and less quirky. There tends to be a heavy emphasis on some spastic drumming and the songs do have the ability to garner some hooks, but it’s more indie than punk. It’s too bad these guys broke up; I wouldn’t have minded hearing more of their stuff. –kurt (Gnarly As I Wanna Be!)


BOOKOVEN:
The New Old Testament: 7”
Kind of like some hipster retelling of the Old Testament, with dark electronica as the background music. The note to the reviewer that was included claims that it’s an attempt to mock religion, but it sort of fails in that regard. Instead, this record is an innovative and playful modernization of the Old Testament. I like it, but not for the reasons that its creator intended for me to like it—rather than mockery, it shows that these mangy old Near Eastern myths might still make sense to us at some level if we package them in a modern idiom. Interesting. –The Lord Kveldulfr (bookoven@gmail.com)


BLACK TRIANGLES:
Mannequin: EP
The first thing that comes to my attention is how much the singer sounds like Chris D from the Flesh Eaters. Snarled and snotty. Then I’m struck by how good this whole record is. I mean really good. Three blasts of lo-fi hardcore punk. It’s raw, nasty, and nearly annihilated with lyrics that are peculiar and interesting, such as “I’m just a dick in the fucking sand....” in the song “Crossed Out,” or in the song “Unexploded Ordinance,” the vocalist spits this gem forth, “I like to get fucked for insulin...” Wha? I like what I hear and I want to hear more. It’s dark, unhinged, and not playing by the rules. I hear there’s a follow up EP coming out on Cowabunga soon-ish. But for now, get this and soak it in. –Matt Average (Stress Domain, deadinapileofchairs@gmail.com)


BLACK CONGRESS:
Davidians: 7”
Reminds me of Circus Lupus, who were influenced by bands like Scratch Acid and Jesus Lizard, only not as dark and not as intense. Black Congress are like a watered-down version of those bands. For one, the drums and bass are not as dynamic as Ray Washam and David WM Sims, and, let’s be honest, those two together is what made Scratch Acid so deadly. If you’re going to tread similar territory, you need to either equal or be better than that. These two songs go by without much incident. –Matt Average (Team Science, teamsciencerecords@gmail.com)


BATUSIS:
Self-titled: CDEP
It’s perfectly natural to expect some bluesy glam-punk from a band led by Sylvain Sylvain and Cheetah Chrome, and you get that in spades over the four tracks here. “What You Lack in Brains” would’ve fit quite nicely on the last couple of Dolls albums. Good stuff all around. –jimmy (smogveil.com)


BATTLE RUINS:
Self-titled: 7”
Hard-nosed oi!-core about how cool war is. This music is so tough that I was scowling while listening to it, and my girlfriend walked by and asked what was wrong. Then she asked if I was listening to The Misfits. This is a vinyl pressing of four of the five songs on their demo. –CT Terry (Rock ‘n’ Roll Disgrace)


BATTLE RIFLE:
Guaranteed Ta Rattle Dat Trunk!!!: 7” EP
Grindy ADD-core that’s pretty much mix’n’match with most any other band playing the same stuff. The smartass, gangsta rap-inspired song titles are a hoot though—”I Believe You, but My Tommy Gun Don’t, Bitch,” “Bow to the Chocolate Crucifix,” “Ain’t Got No Love for Dem Triflin’ Ass Hoes,” you get the picture. –jimmy (trekbgh@yahoo.com)


BASTARD NOISE, THE / ENDLESS BLOCKADE, THE:
The Red List: CD
Bastard Noise is sounding more like later period Man Is The Bastard. As though they’re picking up where they left off with “Thoughtless”: signature bass domination from Wood, with blasts of electronic noise from Nelson. They veer off path with “USA Today,” which is more of a soundscape and really suffers from too long of a duration, and “Underworld” which segues from “Mutant World of Shame.” This has its moments, but this group is capable of doing better. The Endless Blockade, as always, destroy. They’re delving more into the noise similar to Bastard Noise on here as well. “Deuteronomy” is a bit of an epic, with some of the headiest lyrics I’ve yet to encounter in the underground music scene—religion, politics, manipulation all in one song. “Advance Directive” sounds like a song on fast forward and looped, and “Model 49 Rebreather” is an exercise in noise and endurance. –Matt Average (20 Buck Spin, 20buckspin.com)


BASS DRUM OF DEATH:
High School Roaches: 7” EP
“High School Roaches” is the catchiest tune here, a nice bit of trash with a memorable hook in the chorus. The other three tunes are equally well done, with “You’re Haunting Me” being the zippiest and “Spare Room” being the most brooding and experimental. Nice bit of work here. –jimmy (Baby Donut, no address)


BALACLAVA:
Shame: 7”
I don’t spend too much time, err, really any time at all listening to crust or d-beat. I mean, my favorite Dis-band is Discount. Thus I can’t really say if this going to float the average crusty’s boat or how it compares to genre-mates. Personally, I think it’s okay, but, as I said, I don’t really have a good basis for comparison. –Vincent Battilana (Forcefield)


BAD TASTE:
I Was a Teenage Jack the Ripper: 7” EP
Eighties-tinged hardcore that sounds like they’re paddling for that spot between Negative Approach and Bad Posture. Tunes are solid, ADD length, and appropriately primitive. Also includes a sloppy cover of “Summertime Blues.” –jimmy (feralkidrecords.com)


AYE-AYES, THE:
Bravado: CD
Pretty general rock’n’roll, though it’s kind of quiet and reserved most of the time. As I keep listening, there’s a few goofy moments where I’m briefly reminded of Egghead, but they’re very brief. There are a few odd solos throughout, but I can’t really figure out any specific influences. Ultimately, the whole thing feels thrown together. –joe (Self-released)


AUDIO OK:
Good Men: CDEP
Weird sounding. Like if you got Bela Lugosi to actually front a minimalist post-punk/goth band. A bit more German though. Unfortunately, that’s a little cooler sounding than the results here end up being. –Adrian (Pussycat Kill Kill, info@pussycatkillkill.de)


ANGRY SNOWMANS:
Self-titled: CD
It’s weird getting a Christmas CD in June and even more odd is me listening to one. A fun collective from Victoria, BC who have taken the model that Manic Hispanic have made popular and bring you elf-core. They take many OC and punk classics and put on the X-mas and elf flavor on top. Taking the Misfits “Last Caress” and making it into “Last Christmas” or converting the Adolescents classics “Kids of the Black Hole” and “Amoeba” into “Elves of the North Pole” and “Hannukah.” Definitely a keeper and that one record you go to when making X-mas mix tapes for you friends as gifts. I wonder if they only play the last three months of the year? –don (Angry Snowmans, myspace.com/angrysnowmans.com)


ANCHOR, THE:
Self-titled: CD
It took me a couple of spins, but this is pretty alright. This album is straightforward, gruffy, pop punk of the melodic variety. One guy sounds like Jason Shevchuk and the other sounds like… well, a dude with a beard and possibly camo shorts. Listening to this makes me regret not going to see them when they swung through a few weeks ago, due to it being a work night (ahh, for the days of not worrying about getting less than eight hours of sleep). Is it groundbreaking? No, I wouldn’t say that, but the songs feel comfortable. I mean that in a good way. This would be a good soundtrack to go out for a walk when it’s warm out to decompress. Summer day punk rock… is that a genre yet? I was gonna try to avoid doing name drops this time, but I can’t avoid it. This sounds like the missing link between None More Black’s Loud About Loathing, Banner Pilot’s Pass the Poison, and a dash of Lawrence Arms, which is pretty good company in my book. –Adrian (ADD, Hot Dogs & Records)


AMISTAD, THE:
Kept Under by a Generation of Ghosts: CD
The Amistad are a British band that plays poppy emo punk, whatever that means. I already referenced them in another review I’m working on, but there are a lot of similarities between this band and the band The Reason from Ontario. I’m kind of tired of hearing so many bands that sound like this but, at the same time, keep me from hating them because their songs are kind of infectious. They provide no redeeming value but do provide some good toe tapping, head-bobbing times. Chances are, however, that you already have albums by bands like this in your collection that are just as good. These albums are the hardest to review, so check it out at your own risk or you too might be sucked into the great sound of mediocrity and indecision. –kurt (Bombed Out, bombedout.com)


ALICJA-POP:
“Shining Apple” b/w “Walking the Cow”: 7”
If you haven’t listened to I’m Your Negative by the River City Tanlines at least 1,000 times, I highly encourage you to track down a copy and indulge in the brilliance that is that full-length. Within that album you are exposed to a vast array of tempos and variances of hostility. From the most seemingly mellow to the most completely unchecked, unhinged, borderline psychotic aggressiveness. Moral of the story; Alicja Trout (songsmith of the River City Tanlines and the 7” at hand) has this ability to write these incredibly diverse songs that ooze of passion and complexity while always being completely and undeniably hers. So when a 7” single comes through that’s Alicja Trout recording two nonchalant synthy slow jams, it’s very easy for me to exit my world of angry, hostile, prejudices against stuff of the sort, and enter her world of tried and true songwriting, hence, me enjoying these songs for what they are. And they are awesome. –Daryl Gussin (Certified PR)


AGATHA:
Panic Attack: Cassette
Definite Olympia sound from the 1990s. Take some Bikini Kill, throw in some Sin 34, and you sort of get what this sounds like. Raw punk that refuses to be a pose. There’s a message in the lyrics and it’s delivered with convincing anger and insight. My favorite song of the seven is “Buying Time.” The music is urgent and the lyrics are great, with lines like; “Let us learn from our parent’s past / Put time in our communities, not in our shopping bags,” and “I’ve never had a picket fence, and I don’t want a cul-de-sac!” I’m a middle-aged old bastard, and lyrics like this still ring true! –Matt Average (agatha206@yahoo.com)


ABSINTHE ROSE:
Diggin’ Ditches & Escaping Holes: CD
I’m not normally a fan of the singer/songwriter setup. This hasn’t changed my opinion. A hatchling of politi-chick Ani DiFranco, Ms. Rose rips acoustic chords and pleads into the mic. If duplication is flattery, Ani should be blushing. Unfortunately, most of the melodies and rhythms sounded recycled and I would have appreciated more of a political slant instead of a broken hearted one. –Kristen K (Screech Owl, screechowlrecords.com)


ABOVE THEM:
Keep Smiling: CD Single
Two-song CD single from this U.K. punk trio. First song is from their first full length-Blueprint for a Better Time, while the second track is an acoustic reworking of a song from their first EP. Tough to judge a band on six minutes of material, but these tunes have got me amped up to do something nutty—like go grab a Big-Un at a 7-11! Next time send the whole record, boys. –koepenick (Inhaler, inhalerrecords.co.uk)


YOUNG LIVERS:
Of Misery and Toil: CD
While I “liked” The New Drop Era when it first “dropped” (not funny), for some reason I was quick to kinda shrug it off as yet another “We’re from Gainesville and man we dig HWM” band. It wasn’t until seeing Young Livers play that it really hit me. The on-stage intensity completely floored me, and since that Common Grounds set they’ve become a staple of my daily listening. And, sure, probably no one would be surprised to learn this band is from Gainesville, but they certainly bring a lot more to the table than I initially gave them credit for. The passion on this record (and its predecessor, for that matter) is palpable. But dang, the more intricate harmonies and melodies, both vocal and instrumental, totally rocket Of Misery and Toil to a different level than Young Livers’ debut. I can’t wait to see this band again with these songs in my brain, inevitably shaking an angry-yet-hopeful fist in the air and shredding these vocal chords. Killer. –Dave Williams (No Idea)


ALPHABET, THE:
Demo: CD-R
Energetic indie rock with Built To Spill guitar noodles. Keep an eye out for this band, but do your ears a favor and skip this demo because the recording is so trebly that it hurts to listen to. I kept going, “Hey, this sounds cool!” then turning it up and shouting in pain. –CT Terry (myspace.com/thealphabetva)


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·IMPULSE, THE / BOY GIRL
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