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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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ACES & EIGHTS:
A Different Animal…: CD
Hailing from Boise, Aces & Eights continue pumping out their fast, hard brand of punk. I recall them having more of an oi/streetpunk feel on earlier releases, whereas now they’re definitely incorporating some cock rock influences into their material. I wish they’d leave the lead guitar lines at the door because, otherwise, there’s a lot to dig on. The vocals have a kind of metal feel, but not overly so. I don’t know that A Different Animal… is the best place for newcomers to start, but Aces & Eights’ existing fans will be into it for sure. There’s a very aggressive “in the bar” shade to the recording that allows it to feel loud even when played at low volume. You can practically smell spilt PBR upon popping this CD in. –Art Ettinger (Downtown Academy)


ABORTTI 13:
Viimeinen Veriloyly: EP
This record is unbelievably great! Abortti 13 has done something far too many old bands can not pull off to save their lives. These songs were written back in 1983 and recorded in 2009, and sound like they were recorded in 1983. Huh?! How did they do it? And they did it in one take. This is pure Scandinavian hardcore punk rock! Which translates to, “This is a record you must get!” Raw, speedy, catchy, and they have soul. The sort of record you hear and it makes you feel alive. Not one bad song in the fourteen on here. If you like bands like Riistetyt, Terveet Kadet, and Kaaos, then you need to get this, and also seek out their split EP with Pyhakoulu. –Matt Average (Killer, kilrec@luukku.com)


AMELIA / PHERAMONES:
Split: Cassette
Amelia: This sounds like it could be pretty all right stuff; however, it’s recorded horribly, rendering it near unlistenable. The vocals are too loud while everything else is rather quiet and barely discernable. There are mainly female vocals with some male vocals. The hand-written note that came with it said that they are “’90s alternative.” I’ll buy that. Hope things work out better with the recording next time around. Pheramones: Well, it’s male-fronted poppy indie. Kinda playful, kinda heartfelt. I wouldn’t mind hearing it while sitting at a coffee shop, but it doesn’t really do too much for me. –Vincent Battilana (In The Pocket)


YEAR FUTURE:
self-titled: CD-EP
I never thought I’d hear a band that simultaneously reminded me of Drive Like Jehu, Deadbolt, and some of the more ambient Man or Astroman stuff, and I definitely didn’t expect to hear some guy yellin’ nonsensical lyrics over it. They could use a good werewolf song or two, and some snazzy artwork wouldn’t hurt, either. –Josh (GSL)


Y:
Sooo...Intense: 7"
This is so dumb that it’s awesome. If you don’t like this, you’re no fun. Highly recommended. Smoke weed and drop out of school. –Josh (Soooooo Intense)


WORMWOOD/TEEN CTHULHU:
split: 7"
First, it’s a picture disk. Second, I listened to Wormwood first and couldn’t figure out if it’s 45 or 33 rpm. Third, I listened to Teen Cthulhu and it’s 45 and they play dense metal that’s occasionally a little gothic for my taste. Fourth, I listened to Wormwood again and they play gothic metal that’s occasionally dense enough for my taste. –Cuss Baxter (Accident Prone)


WINKS:
self-titled: 7"
When the band won’t even put down their beers to get their picture taken for the cover of their seven inch, it means that they’re either 1) alcoholics, 2) tough broads, or 3) trying to look like alcoholic, tough broads. Ignoring the fact that I’ve been reading about one of the members of The Winks in Snakepit for the past year and judging solely by the music, I’m gonna guess tough broads. They have a trashy, rock’n’roll sound to them, kinda like the Dirty Sweets or Loli and the Chones, though they sound a little younger and a little more hollow than Loli and the Chones. Still, these are four pretty rockin’ songs, full of Lone Star and attitude. –sean (Super Secret)


WILLOWZ, THE:
Willowz with a Z Live: CD
The band’s initial flash-frozen 1981-in-twenty-aught-three Posh Boy single lathered me up pretty right and proper; this follow-up live CD (recorded on the air at KUCI in Irvine CA, if that means anything to you [means nothin’ ta me]) is essentially a push: I win because it is, indeed, more Willowz material for me to ponder, muse upon, and vivisect; I lose because a live-at-the-radio-station CD is not what i want. What i WANT is a five-or-six-song studio 12” that i can compare, contrast, lump in and otherwise quarantine with my Stepmothers, T.S.O.L., Red Cross and MAYBE China White five-or-six song studio 12”s – preferably in a die-cut jacket that’s in homage to those red, yellow, green and purple generic Posh Boy 12” dealies of twenty-some years ago. GO BACK AND BRING ME WHAT I WANT OR I WILL CEASE THINKING DEEPLY ABOUT YOUR BAND. Thank you. BEST SONG: Still “That Willowz Feelin’” BEST SONG TITLE: Well, since the song called “Revolution” is neither the Beatles nor Toxic Reasons song of the same name, i’ll go with “Equation No. 6” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Recorded in stereo. –norb (Art Monkey)


WILLOWZ, THE:
self-titled: CD
No info whatsoever, except that it’s on Posh Boy, and as far as I can tell it could as easily be from 1982 as 2002: old style pop punk a la Redd Kross and that bunch, or the less manic stuff on some of those Mystic comps; bouncy and fuzzy, with backup singing (and some pretty extreme separation on the stereo end of things). The singer kind of reminds me of Jeffrey Lee Pierce. Very pleasant. –Cuss Baxter (Posh Boy)


WHEN SPARKS FLY:
We Who Are About to Die: CDEP
If I lived close to these guys and were friends with them, I would probably be all over this. Since I don’t, all I hear is over-produced melodic punk that has hints of Godsmack. –don (Nice Guy)


WESTERN ADDICTION:
Remember to Dismember: 7"
Good, but not superlative, hardcore. It’s tight and well-played, but it stays at a constant tempo through all four songs and it’s not very fast. It’s good enough that I’d listen to what they come out with next, but only if it has part changes, and not just blast beats and circle pit parts, either. –Josh (Fat)


WESLEY WILLIS & THE DRAGNEWS:
Greatest Hits, Vol. 3: CD
It’s the end of the Old West. It’s the end of the old Gunsmoke. It’s the end of the old Western World. It’s the end of the gang gunfire. It’s the End of the Western (x4). It’s the end of the Good Old Days. It’s the end of the Olden Days. It’s the end of the Civil War. It’s the end of the Battle Days. It’s the End of the Western (x4). It’s the end of World War I. It’s the end of World War II. It’s the end of the horse carriage. It’s the end of the chuck wagon. It’s the end of the Western (x4). Rock over London. Rock on Chicago. Federal Express. It’s the world on time. Easily the best record i reviewed this issue. The rest o’ you oughtta be ashamed of yourselves. BEST SONG: “It’s the End of the Western” is legitimately amazing. “Make My Joyplane Crash and Burn” “Suck a Pitbull’s Dick” and “Love God” are similarly vunderbar. It’s actually all pretty good. BEST SONG TITLE: “My Keyboard Got Damaged.” Possibly “Gingerbread Knocked Me Out.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I am well aware of the fact that if most people own a certain critical mass of Wesley CDs, their drive to enlarge their collection, especially in these troubled financial times, drops off sharply, for completely understandable reasons (i.e., each and every song being a variant on the same man-and-keyboard theme, charming though it may be). Let the record show that there is enough variety in the recordings culled for this album that that particular ultra-mega-minimalist pitfall is short-circuited, and the naysayer might do well to say “aye” here – especially in light of the priceless bonus video clips of the late Mr. Willis at Taco John’s™ Corporate HQ attempting to get a songwriting gig, et al. That is to say that, you, sir, can’t shoot his harmony music down. Rock and roll will never die! Somewhere in the great hereafter, Drackulla is still screaming. –norb (Alternative Tentacles)


VON ZIPPERS, THE:
The Crime is Now: CD
Modern Canadian garage rock is so upbeat and infectious; take The Hanson Brothers, Chixdiggit, The Riff Randells, and of course, The Von Zippers. They’ve been at the party circuit of garage for quite a number of years. Their live shows never disappoint. I saw them once stoned out of my gourd at Bar Deluxe where the singer, ironically wearing a crash helmet, crashed into the front row in the most hilariously accidental way possible. I hope they still wear the Nazi helmets. So here’s their latest effort brimming with party antics, catchy beats, and gosh darnit, some social awareness (“Blue Suit Blues”). Don’t get your hankies out – they still rock the party in your pants and everyone is cumming. –nam (Estrus)


VIVISECTORS, THE:
Self-Titled: CD-R
I have a natural soft spot for the surf music idiom, so I can’t totally eviscerate the Vivisectors. I still occasionally play old Surfaris and Ventures records and somewhere in the ‘90s I even bought a used copy of a Bomboras disc – even though I was aware of an egregious Bomboras/Marilyn Manson love connection. So though this is somewhat anemic, cable-access-level nu-surf, I still don’t mind it. It’s inoffensive, backyard bar-b-q-friendly music that pretty much everyone – and I mean everyone – would be more or less okay with. But, truth be told, I think the grizzled Dick Dale, even without his Del Tones, would stomp the Vivisectors’ scrawny guts to make jam for his high-fiber toast in the morning. –aphid (Vivisectors)


VISISON:
Detonate: CD
Funny, I seem to remember these guys sounding more hardcore than this. A new release from an old band that’s very melodic in all the worst ways. –jimmy (Chunksaah)


VINDICTIVES, THE:
Curious Oddities and the Bare Essentials: CD
In the mid-nineties, The Vindictives released a ton of seven inches and were on half of the compilations that half of the pop punk labels put out. Most of these seven inches were collected into one CD called The Many Moods of the Vindictives. That collection is still one of my all-time favorites. I’ve had it for about eight years or so, and I still dig it out of the CD shelves and give it a spin and sing along to every song and wish like hell that there was more Vindictives. Of course, they also released Party Time for Assholes, an album of all covers, and that’s a pretty cool CD in its own right. Then, there was another album. I’m going to pretend that I don’t remember the title, but I do remember the title because, when I sold it back, I made a mental note to never buy that album again. But, really, what I wanted was more from the Vindictives’ glory days. And now I have it. Curious Oddities gathers eight songs from the time when the Vindictives were at their best, and it’s got all the tales of demons in your head and psychotherapy gone awry that you’d expect from these guys, and they make it fun to sing along to. These eight songs alone make Curious Oddities worth picking up. On top of that, this collection has two Sex Pistols covers (“Seventeen” and “No Feelings”) that make me wonder why I never figured out on my own what a perfect match the Vindictives and the Sex Pistols are. There’s also a funny cover of “Two Ton Tessie,” a demented cover of “Nuttin’ for Christmas,” and a cover of “Jingle Bells” that’s at the end, so it’s no problem to skip it. I have to say, I’m pretty stoked to have this new collection. –sean (Teat Productions)


VEXERS:
Gangster Ballads and the Death Sex Set: CD
Quirky, female-fronted college rock. –jimmy (Ace Fu)


VATICANS:
self-titled: 7"
This latest musical endeavor sees Shane White and his latest gaggle of cohorts delving into the world of distortionless power pop territory, moving him ever closer to fulfilling his lifelong dream of having a band as cool as the Raspberries and as well regarded as Paul Collins. As can be expected, the songs are strong, although I imagine the inherent wimpiness of the sound is gonna put a lot of trash punker noses out of shape, which alone makes this worth every penny. A couple of interesting facts: to my reckoning, this is the first band Shane’s played bass in since the first lineup of the Chainsaw Blues back in 1988, and included here is a drawing of the band, his first “published” artwork since his contributions to the booklet for 1985’s Flex Your Mom cassette comp. –jimmy (TheVaticans@sbcglobal.net)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Where the Bad Boys Rock: 2X CD
You get psychobilly, rock/punk, ‘60s slop, straight ahead rock and Texas Terri for your buck. There’re thirty-four tracks in all from the likes of the Frankenstein Drag Queens, Damnation, American Heartbreak, Duane Peters, Trash Can Darlings and oodles of others. This would be the perfect soundtrack to a raucous party of people who’ve just made it back from the Dolls convention. –jimmy (People Like You)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Tower 13: LP
I didn’t think it was possible, but the boys at Hostage have actually managed to outdo themselves. After releasing two near-perfect comps, they manage to raise the bar even further with this, quite possibly the most consistently good compilation of Southern California punk in decades. You get all killer and no filler here, with the bands (The Drips, The Fakes, Smogtown, Broken Bottles, The Pegs, The Main, The Decline, Ciril, Smut Peddlers, The Crowd, D-Cup, The Revlons, Discontent, The Negatives, Thee Indigents and Cell Block 5, respectively) mining not only the post-Posh Boy/OC sound this label is known for, but also dabbling in hardcore (the Crowd, of all bands, turn in an uncharacteristically thrashy tune here) and punk’n’roll territory on occasion as well. All you nay-sayers and Chicken Littles crying out that punk is dead need to pick up a copy of this, as this is living proof that “real” Southern California punk rock is alive and doing fine in 2003, thank you very much. –jimmy (Hostage)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
The Sound of San Francisco: CD
It would seem the scope of that title would be pretty hard to live up to, and they don’t: what’s here is almost entirely composed of various shades of ‘80s rehash (and not the hardcore kind), including several (!) takes on the Cult, certainly one of the worst hard rock bands ever. The Naggs do a couple good Runaways/Motley Crue rockers; Two Gallants have a rootsy, Poguesy sound; The Flakes are on a pretty inspired garage tip; and Young Trade turn in the single non-retro/derivative track, a bassy dancepunk one. The rest of the bunch rolls around in the crud I had to listen to in high school and, man, they can keep it. –Cuss Baxter (Alive)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Six Steps to A Better You: CD
Nazis From Mars: A punk band from the Netherlands who use a drum machine instead of an actual drummer. Very minimalist in approach, some new wave trappings here and there, but they are a hoot to listen to and “Don’t Do It” should be a radio hit. Peelander-Z: Self-described “Japanese kung fu action punk” and I really don’t think I can come up with a more apt description, other than that they are one good band. Lipstick Pickups: Trashy punk rock with nasal female vocals. I hear a smidge of Dangerhouse buried in there somewhere. Bobot Adrenaline: While I can appreciate the diversity of influences and creative spark inherent in their tunes, their brand of anthemic, poppy punk failed to move me much. Not a bad band by any stretch, it just boils down to a difference in taste. Zero Content: Four short soundscapes with someone yelling on top. The (No) Apologies Project: Arty, jazzy no wave-type stuff. Overall assessment: Even though I wasn’t enthused by every band on this comp, I really appreciated the diversity of bands presented and, in turn, their individual attempts to come up with something a little different from what is passed off as punk these days. –jimmy (Geykido Comet)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Six Steps to a Better You: Cd
I have grown to hate modern day comps lately. They just seem to be slapped together like a cheap sandwich. A few do come along that I think have what I’m looking for. First, it has to have a band or two that I recognize. Second, I hope it has new songs by the band that I recognize. Third, I hope I get introduced to a new band. So I can say that this comp meets some of my criteria. It has the crazy Japanese freakboys Peelander Z. But those tracks are excerpts from their P-Bone Steak CD. The lovely ladies and dude who are the Lipstick Pickups contribute one unreleased song and the tracks that were on the great split 7” with the Bikini Bumps. Here’s what I got for new. Nazi from Mars played a updated brand of electronic new wave that made me want to be Dieter. Bobot Adrenaline did nothing for me. They might do something for you if you like pop rock with some punk. Zero Content did less for me. A barrage of samples from a couple of people who have too much time on their hands and a good knowledge of Pro Tools or a similar program. The (No) Apologies Project sounds exactly like their band name implies, a project. It sounds like, “Hey let’s get together and jam! We’ll record what comes out of it!.” Half I liked and half I didn’t. Not bad for what I have listened to lately. –don (Geykido Comet)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
New York City Rock ‘n’ Roll: CD
A veritable cornucopia of achingly bad cock rock, Dolls worship and embarrassing post-Kiss attempts at shock rock that, at best, results in peals of laughter for all the wrong reasons. There are, literally, thousands of bands doing this shtick so much better than what is compiled here that one is only left to wonder why this aural embarrassment was even released. –jimmy (Radical)


Various Artists:
Midwest Rules – You’re Weak We’re Strong: CD
This is the second Midwest Rules disc that I’ve had the good fortune to come across and this will be the second time I gush about this quality collection of tunes played by pallid, corn-fed punks from the heartland. It starts out strong with a song from the Daggers, which is very Germs-y with all the drunken aplomb of a shitfaced Darby Crash, and then goes into a ripping tune by the Phenoms which is very Candy Snatchers-esque. The remainder of the disc is rounded out with catchy, crunchy slabs of Midwest anger by heavyweights like Bump n Uglies, Gotards, Mashers (sounding like New Bomb Turks back before they decided that saxophones sound nice in punk songs) and Nine Pound Hammer (and when did they get back together? I gotta start paying closer attention to this shit). There are a couple soft spots that I could poke at over and over, but fuck it. This is a strong collection of no-bullshit punk rock. My only complaints would be as follows: how about getting some females in the mix here, boys? Aside from Jenn Cuervo of the Almighty Hangovers, this disc is pretty much a boy’s only club. Despite all the frigid bovine women you coastal people might see on TV wearing cheesehats and horns in the stands of Packers/Vikings games, we do have plenty of butt-kicking female punk bands in this area that would fit nicely into the next Midwest Rules. And speaking of that, I think a geography lesson may be in order here. I mean, what exactly do you consider to be “Midwest”? I like Nine Pound Hammer but are they “Midwest”? That’s down-home chicken-fried southern punk in my book. And while I’m at it: did something happen here that I don’t know about? Did Minnesota secede from the rest of the Midwest while I was off somewhere on a drunken bender? Volume 1 had zero bands from Minnesota and Vol. 2 has zero bands from Minnesota. Not to be a shameless homer, but I live in a town that has as landscape “garnishes” statues of various Peanuts characters dotting our streets. That alone is enough to breed white-hot punk rock discontent. We’re seething here and our punk bands reflect that. So before you Haunted Town folks start slapping together Vol. 3, go listen to the No Hold Back: Twin Cities Hardcorepunkrockandroll comp and get a few of those bands to pitch in a song or two next time around. –aphid (Haunted Town)


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