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Record Reviews

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OBN IIIs:
Worth a Lot of Money: LP
I really like the first two OBN IIIs LPs. They make me feel like the void in rock’n’roll punk was properly filled after The Humpers stepped down. I wasn’t super happy with OBN IIIs third LP, though. The songs slowed down and some of them were too long. But Worth a Lot of Moneystrikes a good middle ground between the “fuck you” swagger of earlier OBN IIIs and the third album. The first time I put this record on, I accidentally put Side B on first and thought the album was a mish-mash of non-flow and confusion. When listened to properly, Worth... works much better. The lineup for this LP is different—and frontman Orville Neely plays guitar—so I wonder how this effects his crowd-baiting antics. There are definite nods to Sonic’s Rendezvous Band and Radio Birdman, and “Let the Music” feels so Thin Lizzy (in tone and lyric subject) that I had to check the credits to see whether it is a cover or not. I bought this LP while temporarily jobless, hoping that it was a good use of my limited funds, and it is indeed worth my money. Hey, no pun intended! –Sal Lucci (12XU)


OBN IIIS:
Worth a Lot of Money: LP
Record of the issue for me, personally. So damn good! I haven’t kept up on these guys like I should, and it is my loss. However, I am catching up. There have been some drastic changes (lineup and sound) since their The One and Only LP. Almost gone are the Stooges and MC5 influences, and in are Thin Lizzy and AC/DC influences (“4KD” cribs a riff from AC/DC). I find this switch suits them better. I really like the early stuff, but this new album is fucking great! Hard rock done properly. No irony, no half-ass pose. The Thin Lizzy influence is strong, especially on songs like “Let the Music” and “What Happened to You.” The galloping percussion and hard-driving riff of “The Stalker” is hard rock bliss, the kind of song you crank way the hell up. The guitar solo sends it over the edge then they switch gears and bring you back down to earth for more. “Dismissive” mixes in Iggy Pop’s New Values to great effect: the vocals are perfect, the musicianship top shelf, and every single song on here is a keeper. In a perfect world these guys would be packing stadiums.  –Matt Average (12XU, 12XU.net)


OUTER SPACES:
Garbage Beach: LP
Twee pop for lazy Sunday mornings together or lonely weekend nights locked alone in a bedroom. Cara Beth Satalino sounds like a Kim Deal you can actually relate to or befriend, as Chester and Ben lay down the syncopated beat of your heart. Outer Spaces sits right next to Waxahatchee and slower Lemuria on the shelf of introspective indie pop. Good stuff. –Matt Seward (Salinas, salinasrecords.storenvy.com)


OUTTA GAS:
Self-titled: 7”
If it’s on Dead Broke Rekerds, can we assume it will be melodic pop punky kinda stuff? That is the case here, with four songs of lo-fi and ragged pop punk. Is this what I have heard of referred to as “region rock”? Pretty solid songwriting and singing and a nice mid-tempo feel to the songs. Not a whole lot else to say. Fans of Iron Chic, Bitchin’, Onion Flavored Rings and the general output of the Chattanooga folks will wanna pick this up. –frame (Dead Broke)


PANKY’S, LOS:
Self-titled: CS
Los Panky’s were a garage rock band from Mexico City who formed in 1963. Virtually unknown due to the band’s short life and impossible-to-find discography, Los Panky’s slipped through the cracks of garage rock history until the son of one of the band’s members recently uncovered his dad’s old records and brought them to the attention of the fine folks at Burger. This cassette compiles the band’s two singles, LP, and some odds and ends. The band takes cues from classic ‘60s rock’n’roll (The Shondells, The Kingsmen, etc.)—and in some cases the songs are simply covers of American hits (such as their rendition of the Vogues’s “It’s a Five O’ Clock World”)—which was a popular practice at the time as further evidenced by other Mexican bands like Los Apson and their cover of “Under the Boardwalk.” That being said, musically it’s nothing groundbreaking or completely original—but it sure is fun to listen to. Time to go flip through my mom and dad’s old LPs to see if they’ve been hiding anything as rockin’ from me.  –Juan Espinosa (Burger)


PART TIME:
“Sometimes I’m Mean, Sometimes I’m Cruel” b/w “Pictures on My Walls”: 7”
Two tracks of slightly glitchy throwback synthpop that kind of meanders around in a way that people who really like throwback synthpop probably enjoy. It sounds very shimmery and bored. I’m sure the work that went into this warrants a more thorough investigation, and I’m sure the right audience would appreciate it, but this is so many circles removed from anything I have ever appreciated.  –Indiana Laub (Sweaters And Pearls, jason@sweatersandpearls.com, sweatersandpearls.com)


PAT THE BUNNY:
Probably Nothing, Possibly Everything: LP
Johnny Hobo And The Freight Trains were the rat kings of nihilistic, self-destructive folk punk, proudly shrieking songs about masturbation, drug abuse, and downright dirty living. Songwriter Pat The Bunny is no longer that guy; however, he still brandishes an acoustic guitar and shouts like he’s on his last legs. On “I’m Going Home,” he sings, “Can you believe there are people that come to me for advice?… / I got sober by going to rehab / Punk rockers ask me how I did it, hoping for an easier way.” His songs are ballads about painful memories, anarchy, and the perseverance required to get through the day. I’ve listened to Pat The Bunny in various incarnations (Johnny Hobo, Wingnut Dishwashers Union, Ramshackle Glory), but never before has he sounded so clear, so concise, and so damn moving. His type of raw, plaintive songwriting is off-putting for many, but for those who don’t mind sharing his misery for a few minutes are bound to appreciate the honesty. –Sean Arenas (Plan-it-X, plan-it-x.com)


PEACH KELLI POP:
III: CD
This is raw sugar, none of that stevia or Splenda crap. I’m getting cavities just by listening to this unabashedly cheerful CD. Allie Hanlon’s voice is confident (and, oh, so sweet), the hooks are playful, and the pink-beach-cruiser vibe is spot on. Peach Kelli Pop is guaranteed to transform your bad-day blues into a rainbow. –Sean Arenas (Burger, burgerrecords.org)


PEARS:
Go to Prison: CD
Maybe it’s the font they used (which is similar to the one Fear uses), but I swear this band was called Fears. Pears are exactly what you expect from Fat Wreck Chords: fast, melodic, pop punk. Although I’m not hearing any reinvention to that genre, these guys play it really fast and play it well. All the songs clock in at the two-minute mark with a great muggy-sounding version of the Ramones’ “Judy Is a Punk” on there. –Ryan Nichols (Fat Wreck Chords, mailbag@fatwreck.com)


PEARS:
Go to Prison: CD
New Orleans band Pears have quickly made a name for themselves, and this is a Fat Wreck rerelease of their 2014 debut. Pears play dirtied-up skatepunk that doesn’t so much blend melody and aggression as dole them out separately. Most of the songs on this twenty-two-minute album have hardcore verses and melodic choruses. They come off disjointed and a little slick, but have a ton of energy and conjure images of huge, nonstop circle pits at Riot Fest and Punk Rock Bowling.  –CT Terry (Fat, Chords, mailbag@fatwreck.com)


PEARS:
Letters to Memaw: 7”
I’ve recently been made aware from several reliable sources who swear up and down that Pears is a band that should be on everyone’s radar. These recommendations were met with skepticism once I realized Fat was somehow involved. However, I put those feelings aside and threw this on with an open mind. There sure are a lot of melodic parts—which are standard for a Fat release—but then out of nowhere bursts of hardcore speed and fury abruptly turn the sap into bile. Imagine a nastier Dag Nasty or the Flatliners gone hardcore. The song on side two “Anhedonia” in particular has the perfect balance of hardcore recklessness and gushy harmonies. As good as this 7” appears to be, I’m not completely convinced that a full-length will grab me the same way. But I’d be more than willing to check these guys out live. –Juan Espinosa (Fat, pearstheband.com)


PETER BLACK:
Clearly You Didn’t Like the Show: CD
If you are a fan of the late, great Elliot Smith, Peter Black—or “Blackie”—is bringing it just for you—and it’s light years away from the Hard-Ons, his Aussie pop punk band roots. Clearly You Didn’t Like the Show is on the lighter side of melancholy. Breathy vocals express the thoughtful, daydream-like, downright playful lyrics (has me fantasizing spring bike rides whilst knock-knock-knocking at winter’s door). Whimsical backing vocals reinforce the carefree approach to the otherwise dreary and serious brand of Elliot Smith’s style of indie folk-rock-pop genre. The album art is really great. Creature from the Black Lagoon meets Howlin’ Wolf’s Rockin’ Chair album—interesting and appreciated.  –Jackie Rusted (Boss Tuneage, bosstunage.com)


PHIL SHOENFELT AND SOUTHERN CROSS:
The Bell Ringer: Live at the Shot-Out Eye: CD
Phil Shoenfelt is a goth rock journeyman who led ‘80s band Khmer Rouge. This is a career-spanning set, live at his favorite pub in Prague. Fourteen tracks of dark and sinister rock, including two Iggy Pop covers.  –CT Terry (philshoenfelt.de)


PINK FLAG:
This Gift of Knives: CS
Ohhh! Some late-’90s Sleater Kinney alt-punk goodness? Count me in. Pink Flag seriously sounds like something straight out of some cassette comp from high school that got passed around from one hungry soul to the next. Pink Flag sounds dark and fresh, sung and played honestly and imperfect. Should be noted that the sound quality of this cassette is stellar—fucking loud! –Camylle Reynolds (Negative Fun)


PINKERTON THUGS, THE:
The Pain and…: CD
Some more quality oi/street punk from these guys who have been around forever. I run into this problem quite often when I am reviewing in this genre: what can I say? Here are the facts. The Pinkerton Thugs are doing it for the workers of the world. The lead singer has a great voice and this album is really well-produced. There is a reason that their name is always one that comes up when talking about the American street punk upswing in the mid- to late-’90s. They are a good band and I am glad to hear they are still going.  –ty (Jailhouse)


PLURALS, THE / BLACK SPARROW PRESS:
Split: 7”
Okay guys, seriously: how cute are The Plurals? I hate to say it for fear of sounding condescending, but for real. There’s something about their seamless blending of fuzzy, frenetic riffs and warp speed drum fills with their inexplicable wide-eyed twinkly-ness that is impossible to resist. “How About the Weather” and “Clouds” call to mind words that seem pejorative—haphazard, hasty, helter-skelter—but in the capable hands of The Plurals, these qualities are gifts, tempering the band’s confidence and talent just enough to make these tracks seem warmly honest. Camping out on the B side are Black Sparrow Press’s “Adult Braces” and “Lady, I Love You,” two equally adorable tracks that are appropriate bedfellows for side A’s compositions. The juxtaposition between the music’s unlikely-animal-friendship levels of delight and drummer Danny Andrew’s gruff vocals ensures Black Sparrow Press’ sound stays sweet without ever becoming cloying. –Kelley O’Death (GTG, gtgrecords@gmail.com, gtgrecords.net / Something Dancey, facebook.com/somethingdancey / Minor Bird, minorbirdrecords.blogspot.com)


POINTED STICKS:
Self-titled: CD
I’ve got to be completely honest. I was scared to listen to this when I saw it in my stack of review stuff. I love Pointed Sticks. They are full-blown Canadian legends. They were architects of Vancouver’s punk rock scene along with the likes of The Young Canadians, DOA, The Subhumans, and others. I love them, but I was scared because I have seen them play twice in the last couple of years and I just wasn’t feeling it. I was worried that I would put this disc on and all of those great tunes from the old days would end on a sour, dull note. I can’t say how relived I am that isn’t the case. Pointed Sticks are old punks in their fifties and sixties who just managed to put out an amazing pop album. These songs are beautiful—not just in how they sound, but in how they are built. I can guarantee that there are legions of hacks out there—being played on the radio and getting awards for music—who are half of the songwriters that these guys are. Is it punk rock anymore? Not really. Do Pointed Sticks really have to prove anything to anyone at this point? No. It’s just good, relaxing music.  –ty (Sudden Death)


POSITIVE NO:
Glossa: CS
Another Positive No release from Negative Fun, this time on cassette. Everyone has a cassette player in their car, a Walkman, and two tape decks as part of their everyday lives like I do, right? No? All grievances aside, cassettes are easy and cheap to produce, and are by far one of the best DIY tools to get your music out to the masses… or a lucky few. Positive No steps it up to the plate with twelve songs. There is no escaping that the lead vocals sound like Bjork. Coincidence or not, it adds a little quirkiness to their indie, Silversun Pickups punk sound. Positive No is sweet but not syrupy, with simplistic but catchy melodies. Pleasant tunes for these tired ears. Just buy a damn tape player already.  –Camylle Reynolds (Negative Fun)


PRESENTS FOR SALLY:
Colours & Changes: CD
Very accurate ‘90s shoegaze dream pop that pairs well with cooler temperatures and falling leaves and insert-favorite-autumn-thing-here. Too much of a copycat band for me to really get down with them, but they’ve got charm. “We Fought Lucifer (And Won)” and “Sleep Tight” could easily soundtrack your “College Dorm, 1993”-themed Halloween party.  –Matt Werts (Saint Marie, saintmarierecords.com / Blackcat, blackcat-records.co.uk)


PRETTY HURTS:
Make Graves: 12”EP
This raw, one-sided, six-song 12” wants to claim early District of Columbia emo as its main influence, but it has more of a Steve Albini, Chicago vibe. Fast, lo-fi goodness explodes off of the vinyl. They’re from Berlin, but sing in English like many European bands. No one’s making graves for Pretty Hurts yet. This is inspirational, vital stuff for sure. –Art Ettinger (Rockstar)


PURE JUNK:
Self-titled: 7”
Who the fuck is this?And since when does the internet know nothing about something? I fucking love that. A band that doesn’t give a fuck about social media presence. Just drops a scorching record out into the world and leaves you wondering what the fuck just happened. Even the label’s website offers zero information, not even how to buy the record! In a world where even the crustiest of bands is selling themselves online, there’s an old school-inspired punk band doing the exact opposite. I’m seriously tempted to follow the band’s lead and not say anything at all about the music, but I have to, it’s that fucking good. But I’ll keep it simple and to the point: this is ripping Black Flag-inspired hardcore punk rock. Ballsy, wild, guitar-driven madness, a singer that fucking means it, and some good old fashioned New York shit-talking (don’t smile Los Angeles, they nail you, too). If this turns out to be the goddamn Foo Fighters doing their best “punk” impression, then I fucking quit. But if the blurry photos are to be believed, these are four normal punk dudes hammering their way up my 2015 top ten list. Fuck yes! –Chad Williams (Dead Celebrity, dead-celebrity.com, purejunkpunk@gmail.com)


RADIOACTIVITY:
Silent Kill: LP
Is it possible that one song can make the purchasing of an entire album worth the trouble and the green? If the song is this album’s closer “Pretty Girl,” fuckin’ A-plus it can. The tune is a fine melding of punk and up-tempo power pop with an insistent guitar lead that is the perfect je ne sais quoithat pulls the proceedings out of the “damned good” pile and firmly entrenches it into the “sweet holy Mahfü, that song is easily the best song I’ll hear for years to come,” one so good that you’re almost pissed off when it abruptly ends three minutes after it began. The rest of the album? Fuggin’ aces, friends. The tunes have a darker sheen to the hooks—slyer and grittier in tone than their debut—while at the same time enjoying a cleaner-sounding production, but the hooks are nonetheless still there, and in abundance. One can’t help but ponder the fairness of a cluster of musicians being responsible for so many jaw-dropping good bands, but one also can’t help but hope their winning streak goes on for some time to come. Recommended? Oooohyeah, this most definitely is. –jimmy (Dirtnap)


RAT’S REST:
Permanent Catastrophe: 7”
Wowza! I am not sure the last time I heard something so potent. This is so good; I think it was intended for another reviewer’s inbox! What you have here are four tracks of mid- to fast-tempo punk rock that subtly suggests an ‘80s feel without simply aping the period. Vocals, guitars, and the whole shebang emphatically hearken to perhaps a batch of songs from some unknown, unreleased Bob Mould demo cassette. I could wax on, but why? Just take my word for it, this puppy is a keeper and you should find it at any cost. –Garrett Barnwell (ETT, erstetheketontraeger.bandcamp.com)


RAYDIOS, THE:
“Brand New Kid” b/w “My Way Back Home”: 7”
Scathing rock’n’roll riffs and gang vocals. Garage punk done with the razor-sharp precision I have come to expect from some hard-rocking Japanese kids. Fink, formerly of Teengenerate, and the boys bring it on this two song tease. Dig it! –Jackie Rusted (Slovenly, slovenly.com / Mangrove Label, recordshopbase.com)


RAW PONY:
Self-titled: 7”
Q: What do you get when you combine the nervy, brash horsepower of The Stooges with the discordant, guttural vocals of X? A: Raw Pony. The rhythm section in this7” bounds like drunken, dancing elephants, almost entirely trampling unabashedly jangly guitar riffs underfoot. Two singers take turns as ringleaders, expertly toeing a tightrope of unfiltered aggression and wholesome “oohs” and “aahs.” And while they’re not the most acrobatic of musicians, they don’t attempt any trick they can’t land. This is Raw Pony. They are who they are, and who they are is punk as fuck. –Simone Carter  –Guest Contributor (Heel Turn, heelturnrecords@gmail.com, heelturnrecords.com)


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