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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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DERBY DOLLS / LIBERTY MADNESS:
Split: 7" EP
Derby Dolls: Female-fronted poppy punk tunes, the second of which is the standout. Liberty Madness: Two zippy, thrashy bits of punk rock with some nice backing vocals, either of which is worthy of inclusion on your latest mix tape. –jimmy (myspace.com/thatluxgoodrecords)


DER TODESKING:
Dead Horse: 7"
I played this 7” on my radio show a few weeks ago—having not yet listened to it—and was compelled to shut it off halfway through the song (“Agents of Change,” for those of you keeping score at home) which was chosen for airplay solely on the basis of its occupying the fewest number of grooves on the record. Not one to make snap judgments, I decided to give Der Todesking another shot when I had more time to absorb the music. After all, it was 2:30 AM when I played them on the radio and I was preoccupied with cueing up the next tune (Chinese Restaurants “Queen of the Skanks,” which rules). So I throw Dead Horse on a few days later and am greeted by the title track, the musical equivalent of a howlingly autistic child banging its head against a wall. It has a slow, throbbing bass line, screeching guitars, and a vocalist shouting lame-brained lyrics, culminating in a locked groove of “a dead horse” over and over again until you lift the stylus and put it out of its misery. The flip contains the aforementioned “Agents of Change” and “Kicking and Screaming,” both mid-tempo grinders with vocal deliveries and lyrical content consistent with side A, i.e. neck-strained screaming and stream of consciousness nonsense. This sort of “joke’s on you, audience” shtick might work live, but on record it’s just annoying. –benke (Self-released, no address)


DEFECT DEFECT:
Self-titled: 12" EP
Remember when it seemed like these guys used to play your town at least three times a year? Those were great times. Now after an (understandable) hiatus, they’re apparently back, with more of the straight-forward punk that channels the aggression of Black Flag as well as the slight goofiness (i.e., not taking themselves way too seriously) of the Descendents. There also seems to be a little more of a classic ‘80s hardcore influence (and a little more Wipers-esque weirdness in spots) this time around as well for this fantastic mini-album. It’s bands/records like this that I love to write about. Welcome back. –joe (Residue)


CONFLICT RESOLUTION:
American Internment: 7" EP

Speedy, pissed hardcore from Mesa, Arizona here. Lyrical subject matter is primarily focused on the current state of the United States, with a particularly angry missive directed at the House of Mouse’s apparent decision to close one of their stores particularly standing out. Closes out with a balls-on cover of Suicidal Tendencies’ “Memories of Tomorrow.”

 

–jimmy (myspace.com/goinapeshitrecords)


COLONIAL VIPERS:
Self-titled: CD
With a band name that is a direct reference to Battlestar Galactica, expectations inevitably have to be set low. What you get here is inept, sloppy joke punk with dumb-at-best lyrics, short on prowess and long on chutzpah. Can’t say it really did much for me as a release, but they do have a certain appeal in much the same way bands like Public Humiliation and Pillsbury Hardcore once did. They’re probably a lot of fun to see live, if for no other reason than I have little doubt they play like they’re having the time of their lives, and ain’t that the fuggin’ point, when you get right down to it? –jimmy (Sofa Kingdom, no address)


CRACKS:
Dirty Floor: 7" EP
Five more helpings of sloppy, straight-ahead hardcore. It rarely gets above mid-tempo in velocity, and the singer sounds a bit more Doc Dart-ish than on their cassette of a few years ago, but they get the job done. –jimmy (myspace.com/cracksstab)


CRAPPY DRACULA:
Almost: LP
This band has been, to me at least, the band with the funny ad in Razorcake. Dave Disorder wrote a less than flattering review of one of their 7”s, and the band blacked out a lot of it to make it look like Mr. Disorder was praising them in a very odd way (see p.85 of #48). So I knew that this band didn’t take itself too seriously, but I didn’t really know what to expect—especially with the coked-out art school dropout cover art. What you should expect, if you get this, is noisy and ever-so-slightly abrasive post punk that seems to have a healthy admiration for Mission Of Burma, and a seeming nod to Dead Kennedys (or at least Jello) here and there. The lyrics range from things like hating architects to feeling like a pubescent again. Pretty okay stuff. Things to note: 1) The people on the cover aren’t in the band; 2) it took ten goddamn labels to put this thing out, but not one of them put any sort of contact info on this. –Vincent Battilana (Stunt Academy, Eeefin, Activities, Art Of The Underground, New Departure, Dennison, Feral Kid, Wrong Foot, Waffle Haus, K-Tell)


CYANIDE DESTRUCT:
Self-titled: CD
Slightly sloppy, thrashy hardcore with virtually no metal in evidence. Lyrics are pretty well written and show intelligence well above the “Woo! We’re punk! Let’s get drunk!” –jimmy (Rodent Popsicle)


DEAF WISH:
Reality & Visions: LP
Lots and lots of distortion and noise in general. It reminds me of what started happening around the mid ‘90s, when bands started to go for more of a sonic edge. “Bad Water” is a cool song. Catchy and loud. “Backwards” and “L.H.C” are good as well. If they would have released just those two tracks with “Bad Water,” this would have been a great EP. The other songs are okay, but not a lot of it stands out. Maybe their strength is in the live setting. –Matt Average (Idget Child, Exo, myspace.com/deafwishstyle)


CHILLERTON:
Hollow Lane: 7"
Kinda reminds me of the sound that Jawbreaker used to have way back when, but I could be entirely off base since I didn’t really listen to Jawbreaker all that much. Let me make a hazardous attempt at greater accuracy and say that this sounds like the bands that were coming out in the late ‘80s to early ‘90s when some elements of the punk world were transforming into what would become known as emo. That is not to say that this should be junked as an emo record; rather, Chillerton has that early emo sound (musically) but the lyrical content is not pussified the way that emo developed. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Kiss Of Death)


CHEMICAL THREAT:
The Price You Pay: CDEP
A homemade six-song CDEP with a xeroxed black and white booklet and burnt CD. As expected, the production sounds slightly better than recording a band with a boombox. The playing is likewise very sloppy. The songs were a little bit okay, but Jesus H. Christ, Chemical Threat, do a couple extra takes in the studio so your guitar, bass, and drum tracks don’t have blatant mistakes in every fucking song. Very basic, been-done-before, ‘80s hardcore sound, but far worse songs than the bands that they draw upon for influences. –Jake Shut (Self-released )


CANNOMEN:
7': EP
The label told me to play this at 45 and it was total Chipmunk-core. Then I noticed it said, “For smoke and lightning, play this at 45.” Fair enough. Playing it at the right speed, it sounds like early Replacements worship—rough, speedy, and yell-y. The first track kind of dragged after hearing the lightning version, but the b-side is pretty good. –joe (Flat Black)


BROADSIDERS, THE / AIRES AND GRACES:
Split:: 7"
I couldn’t stop thinking about how much The Broadsiders from Texas sound like The Business, until I checked out their myspace page and saw they’re the band The Broadsiders open for at their next shows. Their lyrics complain that “Tired styles reign the streets.” That is true, and their side of this 7”, while not bad, ironically proves their point. Aires And Graces have one original and a cover of the Dead Boys’ “Sonic Reducer” on their side. The cover is good because, let’s be honest, somehow it’s really hard to fuck up on a song that rad. Unfortunately, their original, while more street punk, is just another oi song about a junkie’s death not being important. These bands really enjoy shadowing The Business. –Rene Navarro (Longshot)


BORN TO LOSE:
The Dreams of Kids: CD
This is a frustrating one. I hit play on this and the music smacked me upside the head and made me pay attention. Alright, forget that whole pirate thing happening on the cover; this is shaping up to be good. Then came the lead vocals. Way up front and cartoonishly over exaggerated. It kept me from focusing on how good the music and songwriting is. He just needed to tone it down a few notches and this record would be excellent. I can’t really tell if that is a second vocalist doing the backups and occasional verses, but the backup stuff sounds great. If all the vocals were that way, they’d be on to something. –ty (Altercation)


BOILING OVER:
Trash City: EP
If this record would have come out during the early 2000s, I bet Boiling Over would really have raised some eyebrows in their native Chicago. Unfortunately, we’re well into a whole new decade and hardcore isn’t quite the same. Even by the bare minimum standards of “at least it’s fast” hardcore, this is pretty basic and unoriginal. Side B of this record is a tad angrier and faster than side A and, during its best moments, brings to mind Tear It Up and Down In Flames. The live action shot on the back of the cover suggests that these guys are quite possibly sincere, fun-loving guys who don’t take themselves too seriously. Then again, there’s also three X’s on the bottom left hand corner. –Juan Espinosa (Lifeline)


BOILERMAN:
Demo: Cassette
What is it about Chicago and excellent pop punk? Screeching Weasel, Smoking Popes… and now Boilerman. They play fast and gritty with catchy little guitar leads and no snot, just sincerity. The raw recording puts the detonating guitars up front and makes the already dynamic songs kick all the more ass. Five songs, summed up by these lyrics: “All I want’s to be productive/But what is there to do?” –CT Terry (boilerxman@gmail.com)


BLOOD BOMBER:
Self-titled: CD
This band’s myspace brags about featuring former members of Dissucks. That caught my attention, since the first Dissucks 7” is one of my all-time favorites. I dug it out, looked at the band members, and didn’t see any matching names. Odd, but that would explain why this band really sounds nothing like Dissucks. I suppose Blood Bomber are good, but all I’m hearing in my head now is “Better Day” from that Dissucks 7”, and nothing on this disc matches that. The dangers of listing your band as “former members of…” –mp (Self-released, myspace.com/bloodbomberpunks)


BLANK, THE:
The Art of Day Drinking: CDEP
A two-man band playing skronky noise rock stuff, with lotsa rhythmic variations and the occasional nod to more jazzy influences to keep things interesting. As with most two-man bands, it sounds a little incomplete and flat to these ears without someone flailing away on a bass. Totally admit it’s a personal preference, one that others may not share, and personal preferences aside, they do what they do quite well and are definitely worth a look-see. –jimmy (theblanktheband.com)


BLACKHEART SAINTS, THE:
Sick in Love: 7"
Based on the band’s name, this sounded exactly like I expected it to sound,: mid- to quick-tempo punk rock’n’roll tunes about hard luck and hard living. Sure, it was rather predictable and bordered on formulaic, but I liked it anyway because this is one of the rock genres that I dig the most. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Electric Heart)


BLACK SCORPIO UNDERGROUND, THE:
Attica: CD
Somewhere out there is a person who is tired of listening to Enigma and wants something a little darker. Maybe they’re looking for a CD with over forty-five minutes of looped, arrhythmic boombox percussion, ambient synths, and cryptic sound bites. If they are, then The Black Scorpio Underground has just the album for them. I’m proud to say that I’m not that person—I’d never get tired of Enigma. –CT Terry (myspace.com/blackscorpiounderground)


BATTLEFLASK:
Smile!... Tomorrow Will Be Worse: CD
I’ve reviewed these guys before. The CD didn’t work. This one does and I like it. Hard-driving punk rock with a bleak outlook on life, but you’re too busy bopping your head up and down to get depressed about it. The singer’s voice sometimes had a bit of a Joey Shithead cadence to it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I could do without the touches of country twang and Dropkick Murphys’ teat suckling though. It’s predictable and the songs are damn fine without it. –ty (Fallen Angel)


BANGERS / BREAK THE HABIT:
Split: LP
Two sides of British gruff-voiced pop punk. Bangers do theirs with little bits of Hot Water Music-esque breakdowns to keep things vaguely interesting. Big sing-a-long choruses probably get the kids all riled up back home. The pacing is a little off, the songs seem to speed up and slow down at awkward times, and the snare pop is pretty annoying. Despite all that, it’s not a bad effort, just nothing terribly exciting or innovative these days, which leads me to the Break The Habit side. My hope is that Break The Habit is a novelty act, the Jewdriver or Manic Hispanic of the shirts off beard-core drones that every other band at Fest has become. How else do you explain these lyrics: “We are singing, we are dancing all night long with our favourite bands to our favourite songs. There is nowhere that we’d rather be, and I’m so glad that you’re here with me. Just another show. Same old bullshit, same old friends.” Same old bullshit, indeed. This is “Bro Hymn,” only with different stripes of shitty beer and bad tattoos behind it. –Jeff Proctor (This One’s For the Crew, myspace.com/thisonesforthecrew)


BAND NAME:
Insert Band Name Hear: CD
This is one disorganized little package here. It took me awhile to figure out that the band is actually called Band Name... Seriously, unless you were entered in some sort of shitty band name competition, you just aren’t even trying. After getting over that little bit of confusion, I found that I really like the music. Jangly, punkish indie rock in the late ‘80s sense of the term. I keep thinking of a way sloppier Dinosaur Jr. or some kind of bizarre Sonic Youth/Dead Milkmen/Superchunk hybrid. Honestly, it’s better than that description looks on paper. One more thing: Hey Band Name! Take a minute and think of an actual band name. –ty (myspace.com/bandnameb4tv)


BABY TEARS:
Self-titled: CD
Overblown, overdriven, and over-the-top sonic bombast. If I was the dude from In the Red Records, I would definitely pay close attention to ‘em, ‘cause they definitely fit within that label’s noisy, trashy rock purview. –jimmy (doomtownrecords.com)


ATOM AGE, THE:
Kill Surf City: CD
Though nothing here really stuck, their approach to the punk thang was just off-kilter enough to keep me interested most of the way through. Not particularly catchy, but well executed with a saxophonist present; thankfully the ska is kept out of sight. Not bad, all told. Just wish I liked ‘em more than I do. –jimmy (Solidarity)


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