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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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STREET DOGS:
Savin Hill: CD
I get a unsolicited email from a publicity person asking if I want to do a show review in LA for the Street Dogs. I’m thinking, who the hell are the Street Dogs? I fire back a reply saying I don’t do show reviews of bands I have never heard before. I also ask if he could send me a promo so I can hear them first before I decide. I missed the show but I did receive the CD. The feature here is the original singer of the Dropkick Murphys, Mike McColgan. This is his first band he’s led since the day he left the Dropkick Murphys five years earlier. Similar to the Dropkicks, this new band adds some Bouncing Souls melody and some AC/DC crunch in the guitars producing a straight ahead experience. Songs are very anthemic and the choruses have the bad habit at times of getting stuck in your head. With a lot of touring and exposure, I couldn’t see a problem with this band getting popular. There’s some damn good stuff here. –don (Crosscheck)


STREET DOGS:
Savin Hill: CD
Fifteen tracks of solid street punk songs. These songs have a lot of changes and variety and were well done. I don’t know if I want to call it street punk or oi. Either way, it’s good stuff, and if you like The Dropkick Murphys you will like this. No, there are no traditional Irish songs on here, but this CD has spirit, well played songs, is well recorded and produced, and these guys are definitely down with the working class. They hail from Boston and you can tell it by their sound. If you’re into oi or street punk, get this CD. It’s a winner. –Guest Contributor (Crosscheck)


STONEAGE HEARTS, THE:
Suzie b/w Shoot My Mouth Off & The Bitter Thoughts of Little Jane: 7"
Nuggetsy garage punque from Down Under; “Suzie” is a compelling enough a-side – sounding not unlike a cross between what i just said it sounded like and something that might’ve been rendered by one of those second-tier Limey mod bands circa 79/80 (meaning the Purple Hearts or the Chords [the “first tier” consisting of primarily The Jam and not much else]) – that, the first time i heard it (on WUSB’s excellent “Tuesday Night Rock & Roll Dance Party” show), struck me as worthy enough that i found it necessary to jot down band name and song title and do a Google search in order to track it down. Like most of the records i own by Australian bands, the music sounds markedly more solid and together than one would expect it would be were it rendered by American counterparts of the same ilk; also, like most of the songs on the records i own by Australian bands, the song seems like it’s lacking like one crucial little Song Thingie – one errant additional scrap of modest genius – that, were it present, would likely put the tune over the top (i.e., have me hopping around like Kangaroo Jack™ or similar comedic marsupial local color). I mean, there is a long and storied history of bands from the Antipodes rocking at a High Rock Level, but there’s also an almost-as-long history of said bands very rarely contending for a World Heavyweight Title, simply because they lack a metaphorical bell here and a metaphorical whistle there – metaphorical bells and whistles that their Northern Hemispherical contemporaries would have implemented out of necessity merely to survive their inability to rock so staunchly as their Southern Hemispherical cousins. Or something. “Shoot My Mouth Off” is a 6/8 time neo-ballad that doesn’t fare quite as well; “The Bitter Thoughts Of Little Jane” is a cover one might recall as being on the Nuggets Vol. 2 box set and originally recorded by Timon (presumably right before his million-selling reunion concert in the park with Pumbaa). BEST SONG: “Suzie” BEST SONG TITLE: “The Bitter Thoughts of Little Jane” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The back cover song titles are in a font called “Gilligan’s Island,” for obvious reasons. –norb (Butterfly)


STICKS AND STONES:
The Strife and Times: 2X CD

The discography of a Jersey punk band that came from the same scene as the Bouncing Souls and Lifetime. The liner notes are phenomenal and the lyrics are really good, but their brand of post-hardcore melodic rock just doesn’t move me much. These are obviously some intelligent, talented guys at work here, but it just ain’t my cup of tea.

–jimmy (Chunksaah)


STARLITS, THE:
self-titled: CD
Four CD players in the house (five if you count the DVD, which I also tried) and not a one will play this three-track thinger from Florida. Three girls, one boy, two guitars, leather jackets. Sleeve photo looks like three high-school kids and one of the kids’ really hot mom. They should get in touch with whoever burned the CDs for em and spit on his face or something. –Cuss Baxter (Peephole)


STAKEOUT, THE:
On the Run: CD
Pretty rippin’ hardcore out of Finland here. It’s a little different from most of the other Finnish hardcore bands I’ve heard, mostly because it’s not all crusty and Cookie Monstery. It sounds like a better recorded, not-quite-as-annihilating DS-13, and the only song that sucks is the one that’s all slow and metal, including space echo vocals. –Josh (Deranged)


STAGGERS, THE:
One Heartbeat Away From Hell: CD
Seeing as some of the especially thick out there have yet to grasp the concept, let me repeat it one more time: There was only one Misfits, and they broke up in 1983, the minute Glenn “The Ego” Danzig decided to throw in the towel. They were a helluva good band and no one since has come close, and it is highly unlikely that anyone ever will. Love ‘em and appreciate the fine tunes they managed to leave behind, but for chrissakes, let ‘em die already and quit pissing on their legacy. To the Staggers’ credit, they’re a little more conscious of Glenn’s country influence than the average band of punters, but that doesn’t mean they suck any less. –jimmy (Haunted Town)


SPRËADEAGLE:
self-titled: CD
Nominally punky headbanger drug dealer rock that should appeal to those who always felt the Candy Snatchers were cheating because they did have the one good song, and i’d feel a lot worse about raining on the whole parade of ENERGY and VOLUME if the last noise this disc emitted was something other than the heavy metal kissin’ cousin of the “Hotel California” lead that it is. Would be an all right purchase value if it came with a free pizza and a blowjob, but this does not appear the case (at least with my review copy). BEST SONG: “Flyin’ High” WORST SONG TITLE: 13-way tie between “Ready to Bleed” “Bad Motherfucker” “Now Could Be Never” “8 Ball” “Roadwarrior” “Fury” “Flyin’ High” “Blackout” “Just That Easy” “Blood, Coke & Sodomy” “Don’t Leave Anything” “Full Time Loser” and “Dead of Night.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The Rock and Roll Over album flat depicted on the cover behind the girl with the big boobs and plentiful tattoos is hung in such a fashion that Peter Criss’ head is at the top. I’m not sure what that means. Possibly “Paul Is Dead.” –norb (Nerve)


SPITS, THE:
self-titled: CD
Apparently these guys are going the Peter Gabriel route by putting out a bunch of self-titled albums on different labels. As for the music, imagine the Ramones with an abundance of tongue-in-cheek idiocy and a thrift store keyboard. This album, their third, isn’t as immediately catchy as the last one (the one with the retard in the wheelchair on the cover), but when it comes to the Spits, who really has time to split hairs? –Josh (Dirtnap)


SPIDERS, THE:
Glitzkrieg: CD
“Shitzkrieg,” more likely. Rotten thru and thru with the marginally camouflaged ick of Rock Orthodoxy. Is there even one good band in Austin? BEST SONG: i actually like “The Invasion” quite a bit; then again, i like that Lenny Kravitz song they play over the PA at basketball games as well. BEST SONG TITLE: “Alive with Pleasure” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: On the insert photograph, drummer Gary First is actually second from the left. –norb (Acetate)


SPEEDEALER:
Burned Alive: CD
Gotta admit that I’ve pretty much loathed everything I’ve ever heard from this label, but I also gotta admit that this is one motherfucker of a live album from one motherfucker of a band. You get seventeen tracks of high-energy, skull-crushing rock’n’roll spanning their entire career, recorded on Fourth of July 2003 at CBGB. For the uninitiated, imagine Negative Approach had they been more influenced by Ted Nugent, who had in turn been more influenced by Slayer. This is some seriously brutal, seriously good shit that’ll be worth the price of all the aspirin you’re gonna be ingesting by the time the last song ends. –jimmy (Radical)


SOILED DOVES:
Soiled Life: CD
The collages in the booklet were neato. I pinned it to the wall next to the disc, which got embedded there when I chucked it across the room in disgust. –jimmy (GSL)


SMOGTOWN:
Tales of Gross Pollution: CD
You know what? Fuck Smogtown. Do they not know how fucking hard it is to simply FIND a favorite band these days, let alone flat-out adore every release said favorite band manages to release? This has been the case for notoriously picky-ass me, who has not gone more than a few days without listening to something by them since having Beach City Butchers blasted into my ears while taking a trip in the Retoddmobile not long after its release. I even became a “Smog City Waver,” the first time I’ve EVER come close to belonging to anything even remotely resembling a fan club (thanks Todd, by the way). Smogtown was the ultimate statement of “real” Southern California at the turn of the millenium, a final “fuck you” to the limp joke that the ‘90s turned out to be and a rousing “where’s the fucking party, asshole?” welcome to the zero years we currently find ourselves in, a reaffirmation to those of us who’ve been around longer than Green Day has existed that the good shit was still alive and kicking and still not making radio waves. With two albums, a 10-inch and a slew of singles and comp tracks, these guys are responsible for ramming some truly crucial “we just don’t give a fuck” punk rock noise up the ass of an American punk underground that had apparently forgotten that it was supposed to be a threat to the cultural mainstream and not a breeding ground to tomorrow’s boy band heroes. And now they’ve fucked off and broken up. Yeah, they were kind enough to toss us this helping of early demos on their way out the fuckin’ door, and it is some righteous shit, but it just ain’t the same knowing that, aside from a rumored final album due from TKO, this is all there’s gonna be. They’re history now, the fucking bastards, and we are all the worse off for it. In emulation of Money’s sign-off on their obit a couple of issues back, I remain… –jimmy (Disaster)


SMOGTOWN:
Tales of Gross Pollution: CD
Yes! I love Smogtown! A Southern California retro explosion! The sort of thing that would not be out of place on the Beach Blvd. compilation (for the record, the greatest comp of all time!). And that’s saying a lot! Totally crazed beach punk ‘80s new wave hardcore insanity! This CD puts together nineteen early recordings – great stuff! But if you haven’t heard ‘em yet, buy this AND their album DomesticViolenceLand. If you don’t like it, you must not like punk! And if you do like ‘em, it’s time to put a gun to your head, ‘cause they just broke up! This is Corn Pops! –Maddy (Disaster)


SLANDERIN, THE:
A Rhumba of Rattlesnakes, a Murder of Crows: CD
This is one very fucking cool CD. The Slanderin don’t do anything unique by any means. Their lyrics are horror themed like The Misfits, their music is mostly rockabilly like Reverend Horton Heat (even got the stand up bass) and the vocals seem a lot like Lemmy is singing a lot of them (my friend Darby gave me an even better description: TSOL meets Dick Dale meets The Misfits). Their songs vary a bit from surf guitar to straight up rockabilly to even a waltz (which is one of the best songs on the CD). If you are a fan of this type of music, you will no doubt enjoy The Slanderin. I have worn out this CD already and am looking forward to their next one. –toby (Split 7)


SHUDDER TO THINK:
Curses, Spells, Voodoo, Mooses: CD
A reissue of this long-running DC band’s first album, long out of print and making its debut on CD. Originally released in 1988 on Sammich, this is very much a product of the time and place from which it came, in that it is intelligent pop with punk influences coming from the same primordial soup that spawned emo (a term I use in reference to the post-DC hardcore sound and not the insipid drivel that goes by that name these days), creative and inspired in both delivery and structure. Also includes the band’s first 7” and an unreleased track. –jimmy (Dischord)


SHARP KNIFE/QUEER WÜLF:
Split: LP
Both of these bands are fucking great. They both have bits and pieces of Fleshies and the Thumbs coupled with a fine tradition of bands that might not be revolutionizing rock and roll or anything, but will sure as hell rock your living room like their lives depend on it. Both of them play catchy, scruffy, sweat-drenched punk rock, which is just the way this reviewer likes it. This is the perfect excuse for buying a record player. –Josh (This Here)


SHARK PANTS:
Porno Snakehead: CD
I saw Shark Pants play in Torrance last year. They were sandwiched between two of my favorite bands: the Knockout Pills and Toys That Kill. Much to my surprise, Shark Pants stole the show. No disrespect to the Knockout Pills and Toys That Kill; they were both awesome, but I expected them to be awesome. I didn’t expect anything out of Shark Pants and they blew me away. It was a solid wall of sound that carried with it all of what I love about punk rock from Tucson: the noisy insanity of The Blacks, the trashy humor of the Weird Lovemakers, sneaky melodies like the Knockout Pills. Beyond all of this, Shark Pants seemed to simultaneously explode and keep shit tight as hell. That night in Torrance still ranks among my all-time favorite shows. I think of it so fondly that any Shark Pants album would have a tough act to follow. For me to fully endorse Porno Snakehead, Shark Pants would have to take all the energy and rock from their live show and capture it into plastic. That’s a pretty tough thing to ask of any band. Still, at first, it seemed as if Shark Pants were equal to the task. The first four songs explode out of the speakers like free beer and 2 AM promises. I thought we had a classic in the making. Then, “Later Alligator” takes its turn as the fifth song on the album, and, through some inexplicable force of nature, someone in Shark Pants starts screaming like Robert Plant “Baby, baby, baby (keep repeating).” And it bummed me out so much that I almost couldn’t listen to the next song. In fact, I get so mad every time I hear those baby, baby, babies that I can’t seem to enjoy the last four songs, though they do have all the rock I’d hoped for. In fact, this album is about seven baby, baby, babies from being perfect. But seven baby, baby, babies is a lot, especially when they’re right in the goddamn middle of everything, goddamn it. I think I’m just gonna burn the first four songs and the last four songs onto a CD of my own and start telling people that I have the elusive Shark Pants demo and that it’s way better than Porno Snakehead. –sean (Recess)


SGT. 6 ASSAULT:
self-titled: 7"
Two short blasts, of lean, mean punk rock, the first being an original clocking in at 1:12 and the second a cover of Slaughter and the Dogs’ “The Bitch” that ain’t much longer. Good stuff. –jimmy (Rapid Pulse)


SGT 6 ASSAULT:
self-titled: 7"
“True drug-addled, hate-inspired, precision punk rock in the form of one minute tunes.” That’s what their label says about this record and even though the tunes were a little over one minute, that’s a good description for this. It’s a two-song punk rock single with all the trimmings. If you like fast and furious punk, here you go. Don’t mind that the band has long since split. The music will still remain the same: fast and rockin’. Well done and put out by Rapid Pulse, who are known for mainly doing 7”s of their favorite bands –Guest Contributor (Rapid Pulse)


SELECTER:
Real to Reel: CD
A mixed bag here. When they stick to the ska-oriented originals, one can still hear the creative spark that made them such hot shit back during the height of the original two-tone thang. Their covers of reggae standards like “Stepping Razor” and “Armagideon Time,” however, pale in comparison to the originals and come off here as nothing more than space fillers and time killers. Maybe I was expecting more than I should have, but when we’re talking about a band with as strong a rep as the Selecter has, it’s kind of hard not to. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


SCRAPS AND HEART ATTACKS:
Still Sick: CD
Pissed-off hardcore with that big Marshall sound. Surprisingly stronger than expected. –jimmy (Triple Crown)


SCOTCHGREENS:
O.C.6.16.02: CD
Live country/roots-punk like Flogging Molly tearing a jig with the Supersuckers. Pretty good sound. Perhaps you will dance your own dance. –Cuss Baxter (Accident Prone)


RUNNAMUCKS:
Of a Different Breed: CD
Here’s the facts: this band who I am only vaguely familiar with fucking rocks (and thrashes) like a slightly better recorded Jerry’s Kids, who happen to be one of my all-time favorite hardcore bands. There’s werewolves on the cover, and I was too lazy to check the lyrics, but it’s highly possible that there are some werewolf songs as well. That’s just icing on the cake, though. When bands rip it up as much these guys, they don’t even need werewolf songs to rope me in. –Josh (Six Weeks)


ROCKET FROM THE TOMBS:
Rocket Redux: promo CD
Produced and recorded by Richard Lloyd of Television! Need I say more? Hey, even The Stooges got back together, so why not RFTT? If there was a Cleveland band responsible for spawning one worthy act after another (Pere Ubu and The Dead Boys), RTFF should take the credit, but they can’t hold a candle to glory of The Dead Boys. No sir. I know I’m getting a lot of flack for this because all you record collector types are immediately going to poo poo what I just said. Well, fuck you. I think The Pagans rule, anyways. –nam (Smog Veil)


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