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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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FIGHT AMPUTATION:
Constantly Off: CD
Sludgy noise rock with just enough culled from the original Sabbath source to give it a nice pop undertow at all the right moments. If you’ve been longing for the missing link between Eyehategod and Nirvana, you’re gonna love this.  –jimmy (Knife Hits, fightamp.com)


FIRE RETARDED:
Live at Turkeyfest 2014: CS
Wacky band names is a hurdle to overcome when I am checking out a band. Something that is a play on words but not even witty is even harder to get past. Live recordings are generally not something that translate well either. Fire Retarded are not able to get past these things with this release. They play noisy, garagey-sounding stuff that would be right at home on Big Neck or In The Red Records. The set here includes covers of Digital Leather, Motörhead, and Stooges. This is exactly what a cassette release should be: a cool release for fans of the band in a limited edition.  –frame (Rainy Road)


FROTH:
Bleak: CD
Holy shit is this album sugary sweet! I dig blissed-out, sun-drenched power pop/shoegazer and Froth delivers on Bleak. I hear a bit of Omaha’s See Through Dresses in the music, but JooJoo Ashworth’s reverb vocals are warmer than the Dresses. When I say the sound is poppy, though, that doesn’t mean it’s happy. There’s a tinge of sadness in some of the songs, which I appreciate. It’s as though the music didn’t get the message that the lyrics aren’t totally upbeat and the vocals have a bit of remorse in them. Whatever the case, it’s still perfect driving music for that warm sunny day. –kurt (Burger)


FUCKING:
Atomic Orgasm: 7” EP
Chaotic-as-hell hardcore punk from Minneapolis. Four songs that sound like they’re teetering on the edge of falling completely apart. They sound like they’re literally fucked—the drums are non-stop pounding, the guitar churns and races, and the vocalist sounds like an angry Rowdy Roddy Piper. From the opening blast of “Dirty Bomb”—which opens with a quick burst of drums and races headlong into the spinning storm of sound to the closer “Sexual Frustration,” which is more grim than you can imagine—I envision live shows to be ten minutes of spit, sweat, space issues, flailing legs and arms, and equipment flung around the room by these cranked-out apes. “Wound” is my go-to of the four. The vocals sound slightly unhinged, as he realizes he’s “kept alive as punishment.”  –Matt Average (Fuckingpunks, thepower.thepassion@gmail.com, fuckingpunks.bandcamp.com)


FUCKING:
Atomic Orgasm: 7” EP
Spazzed-out thrash from Minneapolis. They have that same off-kilter, sloppy-but-tight quality that made early Gang Green such a hoot to work for, as well as a singer who works his cadence more as a counterpoint to all that mayhem rather than going the speed-rap route. Nice work put in here.  –jimmy (Fucking)


GAMMA GOOCHIES, THE:
Never Learned to Dance!!!: CD
Never Learned to Dance is working class rock’n’roll for folks into: dancing, fun, fedoras, drinking, dive bars, tattoos, barbeques, Rancid, and Chuck Berry. Or maybe I’m completely wrong and you should find out for yourself.  –Ryan Nichols (Foreign Frequency, goochiemani@gmail.com)


GENKI GENKI PANIC:
Ghoulie High Harmony: CD
What makes good surf music? Is it enough to be competent? Is it enough to come up with clever song titles like “HPV Lovecraft”? Personally, I need more. I need a band to take a few steps away from those old Dick Dale clichés and give me something I haven’t heard. Otherwise it’s just pleasant background music while I do the dishes. On the first few songs on this disc, Genki Genki Panic goes through the surf checklist and then start to add their own stamp, like the weird groove they lay down on “Sexting the Dead” or the creepy wailing that cries out from “Slaughterhouse ‘69.” Things get darker as the disc progresses, and it becomes clear that this isn’t the same old surf.  –mp (Canker Bay, facebook.com/genkigenkipanic)


GEOFFREY Oi!COTT:
Sticky Wickets: CD
For once I’m a little disappointed that a band actually managed to include lyrics with the album.I was totally into the first song when I thought it was about tacos —turns out it’s “tackle,” not “tacos.” Geoffrey Oi!Cott is just your average street punk band, from Yorkshire, England. I’ve been over street punk since I was finally able to admit to myself that, for me, a mohawk is nothing more than a labor-intensive hairstyle. The whole genre ended up being more work than I was willing to invest in music I wasn’t truly passionate about. If you are fucking bonkers for street punk, these guys are legit, and the accents are real.  –Jackie Rusted (Boss Tuneage, bosstuneage.com)


GEZA X AND THE MOMMYMEN:
You Goddam Kids!: CS
This is a cassette release version of a bizarre 1982 avant-garde punk record from Geza X, who is best known for producing classic records from The Weirdos, The Avengers, The Deadbeats, and many, many more. I’d say that I don’t know that this material holds up so well, but I’m not sure it ever was something that many people would connect with. It’s still a very interesting, ultra-cool set of songs, despite the semi-dated, new wave style prevalent throughout. I’m not dogging a classic here, and I personally think it’s a terrific release. Yet unlike some obscure punk records, it’s no surprise that this one didn’t find an audience, despite Geza X’s pedigree. Those who think that punk should be weird won’t want to miss it, whereas others will find it valuable simply as a document of its time. Either way, it’s well worth looking for, and it’s well-suited for cassette treatment.  –Art Ettinger (Burger)


GINO AND THE GOONS:
Push Your Luck: EP
Lo-fi rock’n’roll along the lines of the Heartbreakers, just a bit more lively and sort of updated by the current wave of punk greats like Buck Biloxi (who makes an appearance here), Lumpy And The Dumpers, Black Mambas, and Sick Thoughts. The songs are mostly mid-tempo, catchy, and have a cruising around vibe to them. This isn’t the in-your-face kind of punk. More swagger and hanging out than snotty attitude. The repetitive choruses have a way of burrowing deep into your brain, for sure. A couple of listens, and you will have the choruses to the title track and “Ball Me Out” running through your mind for days.  –Matt Average (Pelican Pow Wow, pelicanpowwow.com)


GOLDEN BATS:
“Godhead” b/w “Bunny Lake”: 7”
Holy shit, this is evil. Each of these songs rips into a crushing stoner metal dirge right out the gate and never lets up. This has a real sludgy Neurosis feel to it. And was that a fucking organ? The vocals, echoing up out of some profane chasm, actually have more of a hoarse, desolate hardcore vibe than anything—sort of reminiscent of early Ceremony, minus many beats per minute. Extra points awarded for incorporation of alien laser sounds at the end. –Indiana Laub (Coffin Cut, coffincutrecords.blogspot.com)


GOOD GRIEF:
“Lay the Blame” b/w “(I Don’t Really Want) Revenge”: CS
Here’s a quick cassingle’s worth of straightforward melodic garage punk. Two mid-tempo jams full of fuzzy, buzzy guitars and nonchalant Ramones-esque vocals. It all comes together for a laid-back, lo-fi Marked Men effect. This would also go pretty well with the Hot Breath cassette I’ve been playing all summer, which is a good sign. Fun and promising. –Indiana Laub (Self-released)


GOOD SHADE:
Self-titled: LP
If I were to listen to the first thirty seconds of each track here, my review might read something like: “Poppy power punk. Impressive vocabulary. B-.” But when I dig deeper I come across layers, caves, and forks in the road that definitely catch me off guard. The harmonies and layers on “Monument Utopia” remind me of a progressive rock opera and it works. In other places, the surprises are more hit and miss. The song “Dang” just does not sit right with me. I am more distracted by the playing than pleasantly surprised by it. Whatever I feel about it, Good Shade is willing to take some risks and that should be celebrated.  –John Mule (Gut Genug, sidengo.com/gutgenug)


GRUBS, THE: Dirty Love:
Dirty Love: CDEP
Here’s what I liked about this CD right away: the lyrics are on yellow lined paper and there is a drawing of Hank Hill next to them. Meanwhile, the cover looks like this band met at a dispensary in Boulder, CO. The Grubs play fast pop punk that sounds like it was made in a rural town. The vocals have a rough-around-the-edges, Youth Brigade thing happening while the music sounds like it’s fueled by Pabst—or maybe Milwaukee’s Beast.  –Ryan Nichols (Self-released, thegrubsmusic@gmail.com)


GUILTY BY ASSOCIATION:
Coming Home: CD
Las Vegas locals third full-length release and their first on Squidhat. Not necessarily my thing, but if mid-tempo, tough-guy hardcore is yours, you should not be disappointed.  –Garrett Barnwell (Squidhat, squidhatrecords.com)


HARAMARAH:
We Are All Broken: EP
If this band had existed fifteen years ago they would have had a couple records on 625 and probably a West Coast tour under their belts. They play no-frills hardcore punk that sounds influenced by the golden era of 625 Records and early 7 Seconds. The playing is sort of sloppy and the timing is off here and there, but these guys are more about conveying urgency than proficiency. The songs on the first side don’t have much punch to them. It’s when you flip over to the second side that they slightly improve. The songs have a bit more energy, especially “Klise” and “We Got That Spirit.” If they had more songs like those, then I would feel okay saying to get this. However, though it isn’t terrible, this record is really more like a demo and shows room for improvement.  –Matt Average (Kibou, kibourecords.bigcartel.com)


HEY HALLWAYS:
“Absence Makes the Heart Forget”: 12” EP
Fischer is a hugely influential band for me. Their brand of aggressively anxious emo-tinged punk got me through some of the best and worst times. I put them on whenever I need a blueprint for killer songwriting and inventiveness. Since Fischer’s dissolution, singer/guitarist Jason Brownstein has kept busy drumming for Joyride! and playing bass in hardcore outfit Permanent Ruin. Hey Hallways (named for a Fischer tune) are a return to Brownstein’s inquisitive roots: “What was it like when I was young?… / Was I the good son? / We lose so much every time we tell someone to go.” The hooks on these five songs are clear, even if the quality is bedroom lo-fi and Brownstein’s voice is achingly subdued with a sleepy inflection. Although this is more low key and solemn than Fischer, I’m reminded of The Weakerthans, where the vocals and lyrics are the central focus. Hey Hallways just might make the most indifferent person feel something.  –Sean Arenas (Salinas, salinasrecords.com)


HINDS / PARROTS:
Split: 7”
What we’ve got here is a big hole 45 from the Burger Records goof pop empire. Hinds do a song called “Davey Crockett,” which seems to be the song “Farmer John” with the words Davey Crockett in place of the original title. The backing vocals and tempo are the same and the results are unnecessary at best. The Parrots side of the record is a reverbed-out slab of lo-fi garage with indecipherable vocals. Not really anything mind blowing or essential here, especially when this label has amazing full-length albums from The Muffs and The Go that could be picked up instead. File under “too goofy to be taken seriously.” –frame (Burger)


HMAS:
Fear God Honour the King: LP
The story goes that these Tasmanian hellraisers recorded the tracks in 1997 then in later years lost the master tapes, so what’s presented here is an early mix. Had they gone any number of different routes, this would’ve been easily lumped into the indie rock pigeonhole. Instead, you get a mish-mash of chaotic song structures, seriously overblown guitars, off-key vocals, and plodding rhythms. Wonder of wonders, it fucking works. This ain’t something you’ll likely hear booming out of a passing car, but it’s definitely an interesting listen—a total mess, to be sure, but one with lots of interesting ideas buried within for those feeling adventurous. –jimmy (Homeless)


HOLY SHIT! / GROANING GROOVE:
Split: 7”
Have you ever chugged a bunch of soda and eaten somebody’s face off, but in a really friendly way? Holy Shit! are from a world where manically eating somebody’s face off in the midst of a sugar rush is the equivalent of a hug. Fast, friendly, foaming-mouth, face-eating hardcore. Groaning Groove takes a similarly spazzy approach to their hardcore, but with a little more rock’n’roll swagger. –mp (Snuffy Smiles)


HUNCHES:
“You’ll Never Get Away with My Heart” b/w “Like I Could Die”: 7”
This band was big news a decade or so ago when In The Red Records was all the rage. It’s swaggering, ugly garage punk taking cues from NY bands of the late-’70s and Jay Reatard-style blowouts. This disc is their first demo and is a more innocent take on their influences. The A side sounds like the Reigning Sound. The flip sounds like a strangled Radio Birdman. Really worthy disc that surprised the hell out of me and is getting repeated turns on the player.  –Tim Brooks (Almost Ready, almostreadyrecords.com)


HUSSY, THE:
Live on WFMU: CS
The Hussy are a Madison, WI duo that has been pumping out their brand of loose and fun garage punk for a few years now. This cassette features songs from two different WFMU sessions. If you’ve ever listened to any of the consistently good bands that WFMU hosts in their studios, then you know a little about what to expect here. The sound is raw and unproduced, just as it sounded being broadcast over the radio. It gives a good idea of what the band sounds like live, which is always fun in The Hussy’s case.  –Mark Twistworthy (Rainy Road, rainyroadrecords.com)


INVISIBLE TEARDROPS, THE:
“14 Eyes” b/w “Tonight I Will Possess Your Soul”: 7”
Two tracks of garagey, Farfisa organ-soaked Munsters rock. The Teardrops shares at least one member of The Pine Hill Haints, so if they shake your bones you will probably be okay with this record. I’d venture to guess if you are a fan of anything Arkam puts out you would be quite pleased with this. As a neophyte, I find the spooky Flat Duo vibe to be pretty swell and this certainly puts Arkam on my radar.  –Garrett Barnwell (Arkam, arkamrecords.net)


HYPER TENSIONS:
Creatures: CS
Dude, who needs caffeine when you could just listen to Hyper Tensions? Pop this sweet cassette in the ol’ deck as soon as you crawl out of bed and you’ll be headbanging the morning away as soon as the first chorus hits. An adrenaline shot to your earholes, Hyper Tensions adeptly wield bluesy, Southern rock-stained riffs and lethal drum and bass grooves to melt your ugly little face off. It’s like if Led Zeppelin and Thee Oh Sees had passionate unprotected sex: nine months later the baby stork would deliver this cassette to their doorstep. Welcome to the world, Hyper Tensions—it’s good to have you here. –Simone Carter  –Guest Contributor (Let’s Pretend, letspretendrecs@gmail.com, letspretendrecords.com)


IT REALLY IS:
Self-titled: CS
Weird, noisy, outsider garage punk’n’roll from Iowa with two drummers and tons of energy. The drummers (who seem to mostly play together) give the band an almost noise-rock feel at times, but the decidedly punk vocals really drive the band in the right direction. On first listen, this honestly didn’t do much for me. But after listening to it again now a few days later, I’m enjoying it much more, finding the songs getting stuck in my head. Good stuff.  –Mark Twistworthy (Rainy Road, rainyroadrecords.com)


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