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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Histeria 2: LP
Martin Sorrondeguy serves up a second volume of punishingly good international hardcore that’s surprisingly varied in sound, courtesy of Tomorrow, I Quit, Amdi Petersen’s Arme, Conga Fury, Fuerza-X, Punch in the Face, Vitamin X, Scholastic Deth, Bruce Banner, Disidencia and Regress. Along with its predecessor and Suburban Voice’s No Sleep for Hardcore, this is easily one of the best international hardcore comps thus far in the new millennium. Included is a tabloid-sized publication with lyrics/info and full-size posters of each band. Sooo recommended it ain’t funny. –jimmy (Lengua Armada)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Best of Various: CD
Art rock, screaming hardcore, acoustic mellowness, and flat-out noise are given equal time on this varied comp. Most of the tracks sound like they come from assorted demos, as no doubt they did, and there’s also a “college radio” feel to the sequencing, but nothing here can be construed as terrible, and some tracks are mighty fine, indeed. Featured bands include +DOG+, Bratface, Illicit, Post Natal Abortion, the Shills, and Due Process. –jimmy (www.loveearthmusic.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Bay Area Invasion: CD
Isn’t the purpose of a regional scene compilation supposed to make you want to go check out that scene? Excepting a couple of Bar Feeders songs, this makes me never want to go to San Francisco unless I’m deaf. –Josh (Depth Charge)


VAGIANTS, THE:
Short and Hard: CD
Female-led rock band that makes you feel like you are sitting in a biker bar that is a smoke filled room, drinking too much whiskey and throwing up on the sawdust covered floors. –don (Sin Klub)


USS HORSEWHIP:
Vs. The Kids: CD
Loud rock/punk with a singer who sounds plenty pissed off, which makes sense seeing as they call Bellingham home. I’ve been there and I feel your pain, kids. –jimmy (The Brass Rocket Recording Conglomerate)


URINALS:
What is Real and What is Not: CD
This is nowhere nears as manic as their earlier efforts, but that twisted pop sensibility is still readily apparent and the songwriting is still consistently strong and challenging. Songs like “Theme from ‘Sex Taxi,’” “Baby Demons” and “Typical Tzar” stand up rather well to their classic material, while “Jumbo” and “In Praise of Fucked Up Girl” betray a Southwestern roots rock influence not previously apparent. While some bands should refrain from having another go at it, the Urinals prove to be an exception to that rule. –jimmy (Warning Label)


URINALS, THE:
What Is Real and What Is Not: CD
Okay, maybe i AM a hapless churl whose mental, emotional and social growth permanently stalled at age 16, and maybe i DO live in the past, and maybe i DIDN’T “get it” the right way back in The Day since the only Urinals songs i was familiar with for quite some time were “Sex,” “Go Away Girl,” “She’s a Drone,” and “Salmonella,” but i am kind of going to have to state here for the record that i do not recognize this as a bona fide Urinals release, but, instead, consider this a continuation of the 100 Flowers project the Urinals magically turned themselves into way back when. I mean, i’m from Wisconsin, explain this s-l-o-w-l-y to me: In 1982, you guys were too un-punk and artsy and textured and brilliant and so on to be constrained to the “self-imposed aesthetic definition” of the Urinals, so you had to be 100 Flowers instead – but now, hmm, hey, shucky-darn, THAT OL’ URINAL AIN’T LOOKIN’ SO BAD NOW, IS IT??? Dude, sorry to point this out in front of God and everyone, but IT’S A TOTAL FRIGGIN’ SCAM, MAN! You guys were either A. Fibbin’ poseur scoundrels when you changed your name to “100 Flowers” owing to your self-professed outgrowing of Urinalism 20 years ago, or B. Fibbin’ poseur scoundrels when you released a reunion (or whatever this is) album as The Urinals when the music is not so Urinals-specific that it is unquestionably better represented as being Urinals music than 100 Flowers music. It doesn’t matter which one you choose, either A or B is certainly true, and if EITHER A OR B is true – and either A or B is – then you guys have put paid/laid waste to the HIGHFALUTIN’ ARTEESTIC INTEGRITY upon which your collective pedestal is grounded (anybody waiting for a “well, you can take the Urinal out of the boy, but you can’t take the boy out of the urinal” crack should be advised that i’ve been making that joke for over 20 years now). Of course, had the band merely regurgitated fifteen different permutations of “Sex” and “Go Away Girl,” i’d more than likely be happier than a pig in shit (add in a bonus track of that 45’s b-side – a slowly descending allotment of calibration tones seemingly good for no other purposes than to tune one’s smoke alarm to – and i’m yours to keep!), so adjust for my myopia accordingly (the album is actually more or less like a lot of those records SST was putting out right around the time the Urinals became 100 Flowers – too pointlessly artsy to be of much real lasting benefit, but leaving enough of a breadcrumb trail no one stayed hopelessly lost forever). All i know is that in THIS overgrown 16-year-old’s brain, a urinal is always gonna be a place you throw a cigarette butt into, not a reference to Duchamp. BEST SONG: “I Make Love to Every Woman on the Freeway” or “Typical Tzar” BEST SONG TITLE: “I Make Love to Every Woman on the Freeway” or “Typical Tzar” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Thanks list includes Joseph Pope of Angst, who, as a buyer for Systematic in the ‘80s, purchased $350 of Suburban Mutilation albums from me i was never paid for. –todd (Warning Label)


UNION 13:
Symptoms of Humanity: CD
Hey! They’re on Disaster now? What happened to Epitaph? I hope they didn’t get dropped because they were focusing on the bigger bands. Oh, well... This is a good record that could have been better. The songs are pretty kick ass since they seem to have added a more metal element to their sound from what I remember from the past. What is lacking is the electric guitar sounds tinny and thin. The bass is pulled up to front too much and kind of sounds like rubber bands. The vocals, acoustic guitar and drums are the only thing I wouldn’t touch. Well, maybe the drums... I would have preferred the kick drum to be a little boomier and louder. Now you are probably thinking, what a fucking snob! If you read this far, I guess you care enough about my opinion. So move on or live with it. Anyhoo, I always liked their songs that are sung in Spanish even though I don’t understand the language. For some reason, it better expresses their aggression and I see how it connects with the Latinos in their audience. From the outside it looks like they are connected as one. That’s the part of the show I most enjoy. The energy level is high. So, production pet peeves aside, they always put out something I like and this is no different. But next time, I hope this review might cross their paths without them getting all bent out of shape, and I also hope they put out a truly ball-busting record. –don (Disaster)


UNDER A DYING SUN:
Supernova: CD
Konane Cramer croons his delicate little heart out while the rest of the outfit goes through: punchy, pretty, quirky, jangly, fugazy, groovy, and chunky. Maybe some other ones, too, but I quit keeping score after “A Different Kind of Pretty.” –Cuss Baxter (Substandard)


U.S. BOMBS:
Put Strength in the Final Blow: CD
More mid-tempo, vaguely Sex Pistols-without-the-wall-of-guitar-sound punk from the U.S. Bombs. To this day, I sorta expect USB to be more manic and am always temporarily thrown off by their slightly laid-back approach. It’s just that the mystique of Duane Peters looms so large and dementedly over the band. He’s like the skatepunk’s version of GG Allin, a man who – as legend has it – has never hesitated to serve up his keloid-scarred body to further injury and manglement. So, because of Mr. Peters’ infamous exploits in the many styles of self-abuse, I continually find U.S. Bombs to be not as reckless as I think they would be with a maniac like that at the wheel. U.S. Bombs is like the cafeteria meatloaf of punk rock; sometimes tasty, sometimes full of stuff you don’t ever want to know about, nothing I’d ever want to make a strict diet of. –aphid (Disaster)


TWIN HATERS:
self-titled: CD
Can you say... the second coming of Helmet! –don (Failed Experiment)


TRASH CAN SCHOOL:
Big Bang Radiation Blues: CD
For those unacquainted with TrashCanSchool, they were an ‘80s/’90s band with members hailing from the four corners of Los AngelesCounty. While most decidedly punk in intent, they weren’t afraid to pummel listeners with a three-guitar attack and some wailin’ sax. Collected here are two live performances circa 1991/’92 from Gilman Streetand the Whisky. You get straight-off-the-board sound quality of popular tunes like “Silver Surfer,” “Satan’s Favorite Groupie” and “Everything Must Go,” as well as solid thrashings of Patti Smith’s “Horses” and Blue Oyster Cult’s “Godzilla.” Long has it been since I heard anything from this legendary group of malcontents and this is a welcome respite from the glut of color-by-numbers punk that is flooding the market. –jimmy (Jinx)


TRAPDOOR FUCKING EXIT:
Devil’s Egg: CD-EP
No Idea Records has come a long way since Big Pants Waste Precious Fabric and the Mutley Chix. This band is pretty noisy and dynamic and stuff, and while it’s not exactly my cup of tea, it’s good. The only comparison I can think of would be Refused, but that’s not very good since Refused sucks pretty hard and these guys don’t. There’s also kind of a Drive Like Jehu feel to this, which would explain why it caught my ear. So if Drive Like Jehu meets a non-shit Refused sounds like your idea of a swingin’ party, go for it. You couldn’t get it from nicer folks. –Josh (No Idea)


TOTIMOSHI:
Monolí: CD
I remember thinking these guys were the bee’s knees a while back, but this release just ain’t movin’ me like it should. There’s just a little too much arena rock in the mix for my tastes. Maybe they’ve progressed, or maybe I have, but either way, we just ain’t connecting like we used to. –jimmy (Dark Reign)


TOASTERS, THE:
In Retrospect : CD
Here’s a little known fact to me. Can you believe this band has been around since 1981? I sure as hell can’t. These ska kings have been busting out the two-tone for 2 decades! So it is pretty fitting that they go into retrospective mode and put out a greatest hits without calling it that. With the ups and downs of ska, it’s good to hear that someone has survived the trends. For that alone, you should go out and get this. For a bonus, you get some good skanking to listen to. –don (Stomp)


TIM VERSION, THE:
Prohibition Starts Tomorrow: CD
Uh oh! I have to confess, I am a prejudiced individual! I had heard the name Tim Version bandied about, and immediately thought, “That is one of the worst band names I’ve ever heard. This band must be awful.” For those of you lacking the Wisconsin-bred encyclopedic knowledge of all things punk, I will fill you in on a punk rock fact: The Tim Version is, no doubt, a reference to the “Tim Version” of the best Replacements song ever “Can’t Hardly Wait,” from the outtakes of the Tim album. One of my favorite songs, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, a good thing does not a good band name make! Take, uh, the Cheetos, for example. Got it? No! That’s okay because this band, who I am going to refer to from this point onward as the Tim Versions, which is at least a little better by way of being more stupid, rocks! It’s the kind of melodic hardcore you’ve come to know and love in the tradition of Dillinger Four or Avail. (Plus they have D4esque (New word alert! New word alert!) song titles, like “No More Star Tattoos” and “National ‘Quit Your Job’ Day.”) Sure, they’re not as good as D4, and at times they are a tad generic, but when you’re a little drunk, that doesn’t really matter. Besides, to be as good as D4 these guys would have to be Lucky Charms, and right now they’re simply holdin’ steady as Fruit Loops. –Maddy (A.D.D.)


TIM VERSION, THE:
Prohibition Starts Tomorrow: CD
This band broke the long-standing, previously foolproof “You Can’t Rock in Flip-Flops” rule. You may be saying nay to such blasphemy, but believe me, even when they’re wearing flip-flops, they rock like motherfuckers. The Tim Version is the perfect antidote to hipster crap like Le Tigre. They might not ever be popular, hell, they might not even play to more than fifty people, but I get the feeling that they wouldn’t have it any other way. And not only are they Dudes Gone Wild during the live rock, but the lead singer knows a whole lot about lasers, and that’s pretty awesome. –Josh (A.D.D.)


THOSE UNKNOWN:
self-titled: CD
Formulaic “street punk” that stands stubbornly in the middle of the road like a retard caught in traffic. Actually, some of it’s not bad, but overall, snoozingly familiar sounding. –aphid (TKO)


THERE WERE WIRES:
Somnambulists: CD
I thought a somnambulist was a magician who makes people go to sleep, and I was all, “It don’t get no perfecter than that,” on account of how this CD kind of makes me go to sleep but I looked it up and a somnambulist is a sleepwalker. Rats. Heavy math on a Neurosis overdose. Rats. –Cuss Baxter (Iodine)


TALES FROM THE BIRDBATH:
The Eggs CD: CD
This band is a side project of Ean from Sicko and his wife Reba, who plays drums for the Cripples (I think). I really liked Sicko, but I was a little disappointed with this CD. There’s a couple of really nifty songs that sound like some long-lost ‘60s guitar pop band, but overall, it cuts too close to open mike night at the coffee shop. Sorry. –Josh (Tales From The Birdbath)


SUPAGROUP:
self-titled: CD
It’s been said that there hasn’t been an original chord progression since 1969, so most of what I listen to isn’t exactly what you could call new. Being unoriginal is expected, but lifting lyrics from The Who’s “Substitute” is unforgivable. –Guest Contributor (Foodchain)


SUNSHINE:
Necromance: CD
A weird hybrid of taut art punk and epic new wave, kinda like a pissy Gary Numan who’s had more than his daily allotment of coffee. A nice change of pace and definitely off the beaten path, which can only be viewed as a good thing. –jimmy (GSL)


STRESSFACE:
Give ‘Em Enough Stressface: cassette
This one’s a doozy. Not only is it limited to 100 copies with inserts hand-stuffed by someone who pretended to be in the band to get into a show for free and may or may not have been me, but these guys are all about bringing the sleeveless shirt look back to punk rock. Right on. What does it sound like? Well, it features ex-members of Bombshell, if that gives you any clue. As an added bonus, these dudes rock the bullet belts harder than Venom, and the drummer can apply eyeliner better than most girls I know. –Josh (No Idea)


STREETWALKIN’ CHEETAHS, THE:
Maximum Overdrive: CD
...it’s kinda weird, you spend more or less your whole life embedded in punk rock and you come to realize that the bands you’ve been in and the bands your friends have been in, in the cold hard light of further analysis, pretty much get by primarily on imagination and charm. I mean, sure, there’s some talent (usually) at work, but, ultimately, for myself and most of my acquaintances, the brain is willing but the flesh simply cannot muster the horses to pull off anything legitimately resembling planet-splitting rock’n’roll. And then, on the other hand, you got the Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs, who have more Mad Rock Skillz than most of us will ever shake a twig at, and they will ALSO never pull off anything legitimately resembling planet-splitting rock ‘n’ roll, simply for wont of that crucial little dollop of imagination and charm the Rock Gods saw fit not to administer. I mean, all the horsepower in the world goin’ for ‘em, and here sits the planet, completely unsplit (unsplut?). To illustrate my point, compare the Cheetahs’ “Little Tokyo” with “Chinatown” by legit rock-rock-rock-rock-rock’n’roll planet splitters the Devil Dogs: “Little Tokyo” is recorded better, played by better musicians, and performed by a much tighter band – yet, compared to “Chinatown,” “Little Tokyo” comes off as merely immature and crude, and, ultimately, way less rockin’ as a result. I don’t even think anyone’s to blame – that’s just the way things shake out. Apart from that and a smattering of real dogs (“Peppermint” and “Fuck No” flat-out blow, and “All I Want” is so puss-puss it makes “For Paul’s Sake” sound like “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” by comparison), this disc – the band’s first studio album + outtakes + 45s – rocks just fine. Cleaned my electric toothbrush, too! BEST SONG: “Turn Me Down” BEST SONG TITLE: All the good song titles are covers, except “Built for Speed,” which isn’t the Stray Cats song FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: My old band played with this band in East Germany. Since, owing to a prior gig falling thru, they were added at the last minute, they were essentially playing for beer, merch sales, and a couple bowls of potato soup. Needless to say, since it took 45 years of blood, tears, toil and sweat to get the Communists OUT of there, i didn’t jeopardize all of that PROGRESS by offering to split our dough with them. –norb (Alive)


STREETWALKIN’ CHEETAHS, THE:
Greeting from Gainesville: CD
A mixture of MC5, the Ramones and the New York Dolls is the painting that I would draw to make you, the reader, see what I’m hearing. –don (XXX)


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