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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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DUANE PETERS AND THE HUNNS:
Tickets to Heaven: CD
Quick on the rebound from the seemingly just released "Unity" LP, it can be said that the ink‑filled, tooth‑deprived, Beer City pro skater main man with two bands, Duane Peters, can put together two great albums quicker than it takes a normal band to put out a shitty one. What's alarming is how essentially flawless the spirit of mid‑tempo '77 punk spins into the '00s without it smelling like rotting meat or another tired dance around a grave. Broken hearts, broken bottles, broken dreams, broken streets, broken unions, and broken lives are the song themes, all told with conviction, all told in pirating, street riot vein of poetry. Maybe because I stood on his side of the stage when I recently saw them live, and his monitor was under my arm, but Mark "Anarchy" Lee (ex‑Humpers, ex‑Crowd) is probably one of the most underrated rhythm guitarists playing punk these days, providing a huge amount of swagger, hum, and melody that would probably just sound like a rehash of popular favorites in lesser hands into huge, dense, vital songs. Again, it sounds almost too good for how quickly it was put together. What follows is me bitching about language details. Just remember it's a fucking good album. On the cover, there seems to be a little confusion in the Duane Peters and the Hunns camp with the name. Is it "Hunns" as the big red rectangle on the top left corner the CD label suggests or is it "Duane Peters and the Hunns" as the spine and little insert insist? And when we're at it, "Hunns" (assuming we're talking about the nomadic, Asian people who decimated large parts of Central and Eastern Europe in the 5th century under Attilla, is misspelled. Yet, it's spelled correctly in the "Hymn of Attilla." I understand this is merely a quibble and it also nicely fits The Hunns into the grand tradition of misspelled punk names like The Cheifs, The Descendents, and Agression.) One last thing and I'll shut up. My eyes cross when I try to read the lyric booklet. Maybe that's just the lord's way of telling me to go get the vinyl and get it full sized. –todd (Disaster)


DRUNKS, THE:
Ruin It for Everyone: CDEP
Sub‑par skinhead shite. –jimmy (TKO)


DRILLER KILLER:
And the Winner Is: CD
Metallic hardcore reminiscent of old Broken Bones crossed with Sodom. Not bad. –jimmy (Osmose)


DOWN BY LAW/PSEUDO HEROES:
Split: CD
Pseudo Heroes: As a pop group, their intricate guitar work and soft melodies offer nice counterpoint. As a punk band, they're pretty weak. Down By Law offer up five truly bad covers of some rock staples. –jimmy (Theologian)


DIESTO:
Outland: CD
Dude, Soundgarden sucks. –jimmy (Elastic)


DECALS:
You (That: 7"
Tight, female‑fronted punk rock'n'roll. The songs are well written and poppy in a good way. I think I'm keepin' this puppy. –jimmy (Fan Attic)


DEAD KINGS:
Self-titled: CD
The "Teenage Lobotomy" cover was a mistake. The cover of "Fortunate Son" was pretty dumb. The cover of "We Bite," however, was just plain cruel. –jimmy (No address)


CRUXSHADOWS, THE :
The Mystery of the Whisper: CD
If there is one truth that becomes more apparent with the passing years, it is that the goth scene just won't stay dead. For every kid who trades in their Specimen collection for the latest Bis album, it seems that two new adolescents are drafted into the legion of darkness. While many people will agree that "Darkwave" grows more tedious with age, some seem to find solace in stagnation. We can always count on a band of teenage night‑creatures (and their middle‑aged admirers) to take the look and sound of 1980's post‑punk and drive it further into the realm of self‑parody. "The Mystery of the Whisper," the latest disc from the Cruxshadows, more than aptly proves this point. Upon first glance, it's obvious that the Cruxshadows are the poster children for all that is spooky. The packaging embodies every cliche of the scene (or is that "lifestyle"?) ‑ spiky hair mixed with too much black eyeliner, bell‑sleeved dresses, ankhs, computer‑generated infernos, etc. As the album begins to play, the uber‑gothness of the Cruxshadows becomes even more obvious. Opening with the track "Isis & Osiris (Life/Death)," the band conjures up the spirit of Dead Can Dance. Lead singer Rogue does his best to capture the Middle Eastern‑vibe that sends all of the corset‑clad girls running to the dancefloor. Eventually, the Cruxshadows settle into the sound that dominates this lengthy release ‑ overly dramatic synthpop set off by flat vocals and lyrics that could have been lifted from SNL's "Goth Talk." Throughout seventeen tracks, listeners succumb to such profound statements as "everywhere I go they all stare/I don't understand why they care/ They stare at me all in black/ And when I turn they stare at my back." Needless to say, the Cruxshadows prove that we need to seriously consider driving the stake through goth's tortured heart once and for all. –liz (Dancing Ferret Discs)


CROM:
The Cocaine Wars 1974 1989: CD
I guess this is supposed to be some sort of grind "concept" album, but it doesn't work very well as a release, period. All the songs seem half‑done and sound like they probably wouldn't have been all too hot anyway, 'cause they all seem to go "blurp...blurp" and end up nowhere. Grind doesn't really bother me too much, provided it's done with some care, but this seems like such a lackluster, half‑assed attempt that it's damn hard to even begin being interested. –jimmy (Pessimiser)


CORVUS CORAX:
The Atavistic Triad: CD
Big, blustery black metal that was interesting for approximately two and one‑half minutes of the first 15 minute track, then I found myself thinking about my new socks. They're very nice socks, by the way. –jimmy (Dark Symphonies)


CONFORMISTS, THE:
Black Dhalia: 7"
Imagine the Jesus Lizard on downs. That was meant as a compliment, by the way. –jimmy (The Conformists)


COFFIN SHAKERS:
Halloween: 7"EP
Picture Johnny Cash on a horror/B‑movie trip. –jimmy (Reanimator)


COCKROACHES:
No Boarding and Pop Fodder: CD
Judging from the first song, this Russian band apparently falls in the pop punk pigeonhole. The reason I really can't say for sure is that the disc began skipping midway through that song and I couldn't get it to play any others on the disc. Upon ejecting it, I found that the reason that it wouldn't play is because it looks like someone dragged it face down through a gravel quarry.

 

Yup, they play pop punk. There's even a fucking ska song. Christ, is there nowhere on this god‑forsaken planet that hasn't been infected with this crap? To call the music here drivel would be to compliment it. This disc, by the way, looked like someone tried to polish it with a piece of coarse sandpaper.

–jimmy (www.tarakany.ru)


COCK SPARRER:
Live: Runnin: CD
You can't really say that Cock Sparrer is breaking any new ground these days. This is a recording of their show in San Francisco last February. They played most of their hits: "Runnin' Riot," "Where Are They Now?" "Riot Squad," "Argy Bargy," "England Belongs to Me," and so on. The recording quality is high. It sounds great, and the songs are really good songs. The only problem I have is that I've heard them all so many times now that I wish they'd write some new fucking songs. They also have kind of a rock star way of putting on a show: they say the name of the city the same way Spinal Tap would, they tell the crowd that they're great audience, they encourage you to sing along with the hits, etc. So if you're a Cock Sparrer nut (no pun intended), if you want to relive the last time you saw Cock Sparrer, or if you've never heard them, this would be a great album. Otherwise, well, you've heard it. –sean (TKO)


COCK SPARRER:
England Belongs to Me: CD
A compendium of their early singles, this release also serves as an interesting document of the evolution of this long‑running band. The earlier tracks owe more than a little to the pub rock sound that was prevalent when the band started back in the '70s and, as the disc progresses, you can hear the development of the hard, yet very poppy sound for which they are known. Toward the end, the listener is also treated to a lesson that plagued many English punk bands (Adicts, SLF, Angelic Upstarts) during the '80s: overproduction can ruin even the best song. Still, this is more than worth the price of admission just to hear early versions of classics like "Running Riot," "Argy Bargy," "Working," and a great live cover of the Clash's "White Riot." –jimmy (Taang)


CHUBBIES, THE:
American Swagger: CD
The Chubbies is just one girl, Jeannette, and she is DIY. This album is a collection of demos written, recorded, mixed, produced and starring her. After 22 other releases as The Chubbies, Jeannette decided to go back to basics for this one. This album was recorded on an 8‑track in her bedroom. The booklet is very Storytellers with a short description of what the songs are about before the lyrics are given. A recommended listen for anyone who owns a virgin 8‑track who needs to hear how it's done. –Guest Contributor (Filthy's)


CELL BLOCK 5:
Push It: CD
Pretty run‑of‑the‑mill punk/hardcore with a Dwarves influence. It's better than some, but still not particularly crucial to these ears. –jimmy (Industrial Strength)


CAUSEY WAY, THE:
Causey Vs. Everything: CD
A lot more sultry than previous releases, it seems that Causey is personalizing his message to each and everyone of us. The more blatant new wave trappings have been updated to something I can't exactly place, but enjoy immensely ("Newest Wave," perhaps). All I know is that their sound is slithery, bouncy, and saturated with space‑reverb guitar that borders on a rapture of sorts. This time out, Causey's high‑pitched voice is augmented by the smoky female esophagus of The Truth Causey (I believe. Scant details are on the CD packaging itself) that develops yet another dimension to Causey's already considerable musical arsenal. There are also quite a few slower and mid tempo songs on "Vs. Everything," that bip, bop and bounce around in really intriguing ways, avoiding the continual trap of boring the audience with mere repetitious masturbation. My sole quibble is that there are no sermon transcriptions to the songs accompanying the release; instead there's a picture of a shirtless Causey frolicking in a field of yellow flowers that's so funny I want to get the LP version so it's bigger. All in all, a fantastic release that'll be sure to swell the minions converting to The Causey Way. –todd (Alternative Tentacles)


CAUSE FOR ALARM:
Nothing Ever Dies (1982 99): CD
Back in the day, these guys were one of New York's best. They released a smoking debut EP, then faded into obscurity until they reformed a few years ago. As this "greatest hits" package so painfully illustrates, they shoulda left well enough alone because, aside from the few tracks from that debut, this stuff sucks in ways that would make the Cro‑Mags envious. –jimmy (Victory)


CATTLE DECAPITATION:
Decapitacion: 7"EP
Look at the band name. Guess what they sound like. One‑sided, three songs, all in Spanish, and the singer sounds like he ain't a native speaker. –jimmy (Accident Prone)


CANNANES AND STEWARD:
Communicating At An Unknown Rate: CD
Nope, I won't be needing any downers tonight. –jimmy (Yoyo)


CANDY SNATCHERS:
Ugly on the Inside b/w Party Girl Cocaine County: 7"
If Chuck Berry was a bunch of much paler guys, hopped‑up, drugged‑to‑the‑gills, and bleeding, he'd be the Snatchers. These guys are the anti‑venom to pre‑manufactured teleprompter and dance instructor pop. Two fast, drunk and plunder songs. The only question I have is why did someone Photoshop a can of cat food on the cover? –todd (Get Hip)


BUSTED LIVES, THE:
The Winner: CD
Not as crazed as their last album, but that doesn't mean that this isn't up to its eyeballs in bad drug‑induced psychosis. As I listened to this, I pictured Black Randy fronting an early incarnation of the Flesh Eaters writing desperate love songs to The Reatards. Then again, I could be way off the mark with that description. It wouldn't be the first time. Look, just send 'em your fuckin' money. You won't be disappointed. –jimmy (Blueball)


BURNMAN:
Notes for a Catalogue for an Exhibition: CD
It's no secret by now that I hate emo in all its sickly hues, cacophonous tones and pretentious intents. A good day for me would be one in which all the little emo lemmings took a flying fuck off the nearest cliff, taking every one of their putrid CDs along for the ride. That said, I liked this disc. Sure, it has its share of overblown artistic reach, soaring guitars and stream of consciousness lyrics, but it also has one hell of an edge, and that alone allows it to pull itself out of the dung heap. Behind all the usual trappings is one mother of a rhythm section, notably a drummer who lays a solid foundation by gleefully wailing on his skins in wild abandon, giving the whole thing an almost early Die Kreuzen intensity, albeit sans the thrash beats. No faggy boo hoo cry in my Fugazi backpack swill here, boyo. This stuff is as anything remotely related to punk rock should be: a pure emotional purging of anger, desperation, rage, tragedy and every other negative adjective you can think of. Fuck, I could probably stomach all the whiny crybaby shit all those other bands force‑feed the masses if they at least sounded the least bit upset about the whole thing, you know? Despite all the annoying genre trappings to be found here, these guys sound pissed off and that makes all the difference. –jimmy (No Idea)


BS2000:
Simply Mortified: CD
King Ad Rock and the drummer on the first Suicidal Tendencies album get together with their Casio keyboards and beat boxes and make a lotta noise. Well, most of it ain't "noisy" per se. My girlfriend's mother has this strange recording of that old '70s disco hit, "Popcorn," done by some Latino group whose name escapes me right now. This reminds me of that cover being covered by a punk band that spent too much time listening to the music emanating from their Atari 2600 games. It's a fun, interesting listen and, with a little aggro, they could be contenders for the Screamers synth‑punk crown (I'd like to see what they could do with that band's "122 Hours of Fear" or "Magazine Love"). I'll probably glean hours of enjoyment driving people crazy with this disc, but I highly doubt that they'll reap the rewards of a hit song, except maybe in Japan, where it seems any band that isn't Japanese are huge. Ask Citizen Dick. –jimmy (www.grandroyal.com)


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