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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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ESTROGEN HIGHS:
Luxury Is God: 7”
A healthy smatter smoosh of psych, Manchester, and mid-‘90s up in here. My friends said “this is fun” and “cool.” I would tend to agree, and add that they’ll probably hopefully just get more out there. –Andrew Flanagan (self-released, myspace.com/estrogenhighs)


END OF ALL:
Places: EP
Back in the fray with another sonic bomb blast of Scandinavian hardcore mixed with some metal for extra abrasiveness. Certainly a bit heavier than on their crushing Art of Decadence CD from last year. Cross Tragedy with Skitsystem here. Crushing and driving, yet there’s a tuneful undercurrent that helps set them apart from the hordes doing this sound. The best tracks of the three are on the B side: “On That Hill” and the standout “The Camp.” If you have yet to check these guys out, here’s a good entrance point. Comes on marble gray vinyl. –Matt Average (Halo Of Flies, halooffliesrecords.com)


EMPTY VESSEL:
Self-titled: 7" EP
It’s easy to dismiss these guys as just another thrash band at first blush, what with the haiku lyrics, ADD-worthy song lengths and hyperdrive beats, but there’s a lot more going on in the ten songs showcased here. Buried not so deep in the mire are some interesting ideas, odd song structures, and musical nods to hardcore predecessors who similarly thought outside the box, like Flipper and Rudimentary Peni. Definitely worth a listen, and seeing as there appears to be only 200 copies available, you might wanna hurry. –jimmy (Blind Spot)


ECOLI:
Judas Cradle: 7”EP
Rotted teeth, heinous medical experiments without anesthetic, inside-the-mind-of-a-pedophile hardcore. The lyrics read like Cannibal Corpse (think along the lines of “Edible Autopsy”), and they squish in all possible body fluids for lube, ultimate ick, and deformation. Explores mental, physical, and societal illnesses, all from a first person perspective. It’s sorta like zombie-shuffling into a filthy, disease-ridden supermarket filled with randomly exploding body parts. –todd (Stress Domain)


DWYERS, THE:
Gas Station Masturbation: CD
Kinda mixed feelings on this one. On one hand, they have some hook-laden, vaguely oi-influenced tunes that they deliver with no shortage of energy. On the other, they recycle chord progressions from one song to the next, which possibly indicates a shortage of ideas. –jimmy (Airiston, no address)


DUN2DEF:
Riot Torn City: CD
These guys are kind of like if Cock Sparrer had a fetal alcohol syndrome child with any number of Fat Wreck bands, and would beat the living shit out of you because they’re English “punx.” Are those toms supposed to sound like a block of wood? –Andrew Flanagan (Rowdy Farrago)


DUEL:
Childish Behavior: 2 x CD
Have you ever gone to a restaurant and gotten a serving of food that was ridiculously huge? At first you thought it was great. You were clearly getting your money’s worth of chana masala or whatever. You took a bite and smiled. Good food and a lot of it. Then a funny thing happened. As you shoveled in one bite after the next, your mouth stopped caring. The Duel’s Childish Behavior is not food. It’s music. However, there’s a lot of it. The first song, “Solitary Confinement,” is great: straightforward U.K. punk’n’roll. Leather jackets, cool sunglasses, and miniskirts. As I pushed through these two discs though, my ears stopped caring. One song started to blend into the next. Like you would do with food, I stuffed this CD into the fridge so I could enjoy the leftovers later. Unfortunately, I forgot about it and ate some cereal instead. –mp (FFruk, ffruk.com)


DUDE JAMES / TOO MANY DAVES:
Split: 7”
This split brings it! It’s got the whole, “A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down” feel to it. All songs here are the gritty punk pop numbers akin to what’s coming out of ADD Records now, a la Turkish Techno and The Anchor. But underneath all the sweaty, dirty, stubble face anthems is that injection of sugarcoated pop that makes these bands so good. You can’t go wrong with any of the tunes here but Dude Jams’ “Anthemagic” defiantly rears its head to the top with lyrics: “…my mind’s on my magic. And my magic’s on my mind…” It’s just silly, hard-hitting goodness. –mp (ADD)


DR KNOW:
Killing for God: LP
My memory’s shit, but wasn’t this originally released ten years ago under a different title, what the first song on this currently is: “Father Son and Holy Shit”? Am I just dis-remembering it? Did I have a bootleg and not know it? My bands-long-screwed-over-by-Mystic-Records-on-multiple-releases recollections aren’t the best. It’s straight-ahead, Nardcore-proud, holding hands with metal punk by a band that has a funny past. Its vocalist is an ex-child star (he helped the Incredible Hulk land a plane in one episode), ex-temporary Dead Kennedys singer, who’s now a Jak. The band has a song on SouthParkepisode, and is resurging again after a couple of hiatuses. Fits in easily with the reformed Circle One, and the record’s peppered with well-chosen covers of Motörhead, Flipper, and the Dayglos. –todd (Unrest)


DOBERMAN CULT / FREDAG DEN 13:E:
Split: EP
Second installment of the “Fuck Your Scene, Kid” series on Kranium. I like how the bands chosen to share the splits are not of the exact same style, which makes for a more interesting listen, since it doesn’t get monotonous, and also how the various styles play against one another. Fredag Den 13:e (Friday the 13th) are d-beat influenced, but there’s also some Tragedy in there as well: heavy, wall of distortion, and tuneful all at once. Doberman Cult, though from Sweden, sound heavily influenced by U.S. East Coast hardcore bands of the ‘80s. Sort of like Sick Of It All mixed with Minor Threat for the speed and intensity. “Turn Your Cheek No More” is a short and fast ripper that makes this main reason I would recommend picking this up. It stars off full on and ends in seconds. So f’n good! More songs like this and these guys could be deadly. As with most Kranium releases, the pressing is small and limited. Only 500 pressed, hand numbered, and this one is on red vinyl. –Matt Average (Kranium, krnm.se)


READ, THE:
“Party Lines” b/w “Yr Garbage”: 7”
Dancy, Gang Of Four-y kind of punk here, the kind that sounds better in a basement than on a stage. Not the type of thing that I normally go for, but the music is quick and effective, and the lyrics are the same: Two songs about living in what most people consider the “ghetto” part of a city, and making it your own. A worthwhile single. –Nick Toerner (Phratry)


REACHAROUNDS:
Rocks Off: 7” EP
Trashy, no-frills punk rock, plus Stones and Teenage Queers covers. Don’t normally like two-member bands, but they do what they do well. –jimmy (Certified PR, no address)


RAW NERVES:
Murderers Among Us: 7” EP
Anti-war themes meet thrashy tunes, both of which show much intelligence and thought beneath the crash-bang, making this one of those above average examples of the genre. –jimmy (poisonedcandy.com)


RANDOM CUTS:
Rat Capacity, Sleep, Make Damage : 7"'s
Postpunk meets no wave somewhere in the middle and the results are pretty good. Not some mere retro act, Random Cuts use the past as a foundation and build something of their own on the ruins. Catchy rhythms, despite being minimal, set everything in motion, with guitars that are discordant without being obnoxious or forced. The first single, “Rat Capacity,” is the most subdued of the three. The second single, with the A-side, “Sleep,” is the dance party hit. More sonic, and the vocals are more direct and in your face, so to speak. However, the most interesting song of this whole set is the B-side of “Make Damage,” which is “PigeonPark,” where Mildred Smith takes the vocal duties. The pace is lurking, the vocals have a withdrawn quality, and the repeating of “There’s a weirdo on the corner” puts things in a very different light. I recommend getting all three singles at once. Doing so, you can listen to the progression of music on each one. The first is more bare bones, and the other two start to fill in the open spaces without losing any of the edge. Seriously good stuff. –Matt Average (Nominal)


RAD COMPANY / SOK:
Split: 7”
Yay! Sok play fast, catchy punk rock, ideally suited for one of those basement show experiences where you walk away thinking, “Yes! This is why I love punk rock!” I really can’t imagine anyone not liking them! As for Rad Company, I want to like them more than I do, but I just can’t get behind super growly vocals! So, when they drop the growly parts and are just super fast, catchy, and crazy, I think this band is awesome, but then they come back again, and I change my mind. My brain hurts! But I never tire of lyrics about low wage jobs, like Rad Company’s “Worker’s Constipation” (“Born, live to work, die!”) –Maddy (Team Human)


PTERADON / THE NEW TRUST:
Split: 7”
When I was a kid, there were these index card-sized collectible cards that came on glossy, heavy card stock and had pictures of different animals with a bunch of facts about them. This record sleeve reminds me of those cards: bright, glossy pictures on heavy card stock with pictures of a turtle on the Pteradon side, some birds on the New Trust side, and a dog on the inner sleeve. Anyway, what you have here with these two bands are a bunch of songs that we would have probably called emo ten years ago. Think of Promise Ring or Knapsack and you’re on the right track. Pteradon does theirs with raspy, Jeff Ott-esque vocals, a flirting trumpet, and some keyboard bleeps and bloops mixed in with some hardcore breakdowns to give it a little weight. The New Trust seems to have picked up where No Knife sadly left off. If you ever find yourself feeling nostalgic for the days when the bands on Big Wheel Recreation ruled the pages of Punk Planet, then this might be the release for you. –Jeff Proctor (Silver Sprocket, springmanrecords.com)


PSYCHO 78:
Courting Disaster: CD
As soon as I start thinking I can review music just by looking at the cover art, a band like Psycho 78 comes along. First of all, they’re called Psycho 78, which made me think they’re in the horror business. The image of a corpse hand reaching out from the grave that adorns the cover cemented my impression that I was about to have my ears inundated with another Danzig wannabe. I braced myself. When the snotty bounce of “Status Quo” came from my speakers, I breathed a sigh of relief. Yeah, there are songs about PCP-injected rats and zombie proms, but most of the tunes fall firmly in the realm of goofball non-horror fun. My favorite is “San Francisco”: “People sleeping on the street/the coffee here just can’t be beat.” –mp (Bomb Blast)


PSYCHED TO DIE:
Year One: CD
Hot rod punk rock that burns its bridges and never looks back. If you like Angry Samoans, The Adolescents, and Circle Jerks you will love this platter. But PTD bring their own style to the proceedings. Yes, this is Mikey from The Ergs here, but he’s not singing about Miles Davis on this bad boy. Two EPs and their first demo complied for a wall-to-wall faceblast. “Permanent Solution” equals buy Year One. Tomorrow. –koepenick (Dirtnap)


POSSIBLE FATHERS:
New Dad in Town: Cassette
This is great! Garage punk that was recorded (I think) on a boombox. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and there are some good fucking songs. Sloppy and dirty and all the things that made mud fun when you were a kid. – –Bryan Static (Super Sick Tape, no address)


POPSTERS, THE:
Our Bites Bring You Back: CD
Pop punk from Italy that is all too familiar. Reminds me of some of The Ergs songs but without the love and girl themes. I think there is also something in there reminiscent of The Queers, too. I can’t quite place my finger on it, but this band is worth checking out. –Corinne (Cheapskate)


POP TARDS:
Hot Cum on a Cold Child: CD
From the little sticker on the front: “The Saint Louis six-piece craft an in-your-face approach that reconciles noise with pop once and for all. ThinkBeach Boys meets Stockhausen with shimmery, soaring vocals.” Well, if Stockhausen wrote meandering noise pieces (and I guess some would argue much of his stuff was just that) for an ensemble comprised of barely proficient fourth graders, I can see the connection. The Beach Boys, however, are nowhere in evidence as far as I am able to determine. Based on the shock tactic title and phallic parental advisory sticker, methinks the whole thing is a bit of a piss-take. Hope the Lou Bega and Soundgarden fans they recommend it to on the aforementioned sticker actually pick up a copy, ‘cause that would indeed be funny. –jimmy (Waste, no address)


PATTERN, THE:
Wet Circuit City: 7"
‘60s garage rock that has a mix of psychedelic mixed in. Reminded me of some of the soundtrack music that you would hear on some B movies from the late ‘60s to the early ‘70s. I like some of this stuff, but this did nothing for me. –don (Alternative Tentacles)


NO WTO COMBO, THE:
Live from the Battle in Seattle: CD
I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Jello Biafra. Even when I find myself vehemently disagreeing with him on some subject or another, I never lose sight of the fact that in four minutes the man gives you more to think about that is in some way pertinent to your life than anything you could learn in four years of college. Then he’d usually drive home his point by knocking you on your ass with some highly charged punk rock. Well, many a moon has passed since I’ve seen or heard Jello grace a stage with a band behind him (a 1985 DK show at the Olympic being the last time, I think), so this disc was of particular note for me. As the title suggests, this is a live show recorded in Seattle during the hoopla surrounding the WTO meeting in December 1999. Jello, backed by a sort of super-group featuring Soundgarden and Nirvana members, barrels through “Let’s Lynch the Landlord,” “Full Metal Jackoff” and two new numbers, as well as one of his patented rants against the World Trade Organization. The nostalgia aspect of hearing the man perform live music again aside, the new songs aren’t too shabby (blowing the more recent Lard crap off the map) and his commentary on the WTO is insightful and should hopefully inspire others to at least look into what he’s talking about. Mandatory listening, to say the least. –jimmy (Alternative Tentacles)


NIKKI SUDDEN:
The Last Bandit - The Best Of Nikki Sudden: 2XCD
Nikki Sudden is the unspoken top contender in an ear-comforting class of musical majesty that's equal parts tavern rock'n'roll, '60s-style jukebox pop, mid-‘80s jangle-rock, and rootsy rural downhome charm. Although his shimmering aural effervescence is incomparable in its sheer shining brilliance, his audial artistry can be rightfully compared to the American heartland exuberance of Tom Petty, the pained hollow-hearted honesty of "Walls and Bridges"-era John Lennon, and the frenzied Crazy Horse folksiness of Neil Young (if ol' Neil were more of a brew-drenched Sunset Strip scene-shaker and less of a whiney tofu-munchin' hippy). At times, a swirling maelstrom of guitar-saturated psychedelia frenetically lurches forth and inspires my senses to spin around and around and then loopity-loop right back again. And I do declare, the upbeat urban vibe of "Countess" sounds uncannily like a long-lost outtake from The Rolling Stones' "Some Girls" sessions (but then "Captain Kennedy" is the sonic siamese-twin equivalent of Paul McCartney's "Let Me Roll It", and "Behind The Lines" is raucously reminiscent of Marc Bolan (T. Rex) in all of his baddest boogie-boy bravado). And Disc 2 is an acoustic resurrection of Johnny Thunders brashly payin' semi-reverential homage to a younger more rebellious Bobby Dylan. Wow, Mr. Sudden is certainly skilled at crafting well-structured musical magnificence and then polishing it to sparkling perfection. Like my favorite frothy fermented beverage, this delectable disc is good to the last drop! –Guest Contributor (Alive/Total Energy)


NIKKI SUDDEN :
The Last Bandit: 2XCD
So Nikki’s finally gotten to the point in his career where a “best-of,” or more appropriately, “an introduction to”-type compilation is de rigeur, a necessity concentrating some peaks down into one convenient package for those too cheap and lazy to go out and buy every rare single and import CD they can find, like, well, me.  I’ve always enjoyed whatever of  Nikki’s work has floated my way, from the first time I heard his version of Neil Young’s “Captain Kennedy” on the Bridge tribute album (one of the only tribute albums that rewarded more than one listen), to his more recent album with the Jacobites that’s spent a good amount of time in the player - oh fine, I’ll get up and find out the title… it’s “God Save Us Poor Sinners.” Happy now?   Bomp also sent along a comp of Nikki’s first band, Swell Maps, which I haven’t had time to really get into yet, to be honest, seeing as it’s not up the same Keith Richards meets Alex Chilton alley as Nikki’s solo work, but it sounded okay - intriguing indie-noise from the early eighties, which is always an area worthy of investigation for me.  Regardless of the Swell Maps disc, Nikki’s “The Last Bandit” comp’s pretty damn solid until the end, where it sort of peters out a bit - I assume these tracks are included due to their rarity and not their overarching quality - but the bonus solo acoustic disc makes up for it with seven sparse but haunting cuts.  But what the kids really want to know, Nikki… is where the hell did you find that priceless gold-lamé suit you’re wearing on the cover?  That’s picture’s fucking worth the cost of the album right there.  I totally want that suit. –Guest Contributor (Alive/Total Energy)


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