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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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CRUMBS, THE:
Self-titled: LP
The first two Crumbs albums sound like they’re pretty much just trying to rip off the Saints. Which is okay. The Saints were a great band and the Crumbs were picking up where the Saints left off. It worked. The singers had similar voices and the rhythm guitar just powered both bands. With this Crumbs album, though, they seem to have taken that sound an expanded it in a strange direction. It sounds like the Crumbs spent the past year and a half hanging out in the backwoods somewhere, listening to old rock’n’roll radio stations. There’s a lot of Sun studio guitar sounds, a bit of country twang, and even some touches of Ritchie Valens-style ballads. It works in some places and doesn’t work in some place. I get the feeling, at times, like the band really wants to rock, like the drummer wants to pick up the pace, like the singer wants to scream, but for some reason, they’re holding back. Then, on songs like “Out of Range,” they don’t hold back and I see what a good band they really can be. On the whole, I really do enjoy this album, and I appreciate that they’re growing as a band. I just prefer the times when they rock out. –sean (Recess)


CROWD, THE:
Goes Wild: CD
It’s a damn shame that these guys have never gotten their due. They’ve been slogging it out for 20+ years, creating some tasty punk rock along the way, and a good chunk of the punk population has probably never heard of them. Hopefully this release will change that. What I’m listening to right now is a “rough mix” of this soon-to-be-released gem and, let me tell you, this has got some mighty fine tuneage on it. The songs are tight, taut and packed with hooks. If this don’t set the world on fire and earn them their rightful place as the punk rock demigods they are, I’m gonna… well, I’m gonna be very upset. –jimmy (The Crowd)


CROSSED OUT:
1900-1993: CD
A discography for one o’ them influential “power violence” bands. Like so many of the bands currently catering to this particular musical niche, the songs are intriguing for four or five songs, then start to blend into one another and eventually become one long, boring drone. In small doses, though, this was pretty good. –jimmy (Slap A Ham)


COCKROACH:
Stay Angry: 7"EP
Spastic hyper-core with a singer who sounds plenty pissed. I’m feelin’ it, gee. –jimmy (Acme)


CAVE IN:
Jupiter: CD
Utter poo. I should have known it with the planet picture and the graphic of a satellite on the cover. I couldn’t even get through the first track. –don (Hydrahead)


BUNCHOFUCKINGOOFS:
Barrage of Battery and Brutality: CD
Primal, metal-tinged hardcore similar in sound to fellow Canadians, Dayglo Abortions. I hear a dash of the Mentors in their sound as well, although I’m not quite sure if that’s intentional. Not bad. –jimmy (www.godrecords.com)


BREAKDOWN:
Battle Hymns For An Angry Planet: CD
Ok, I was given a stack of CDs for a fellow reviewer and myself to review. On my drive to work I threw in each one, gave it a 10 second scan of each song and came up with two out of ten that I could actually review. Now... Breakdown is not a band whose album I would go looking for, nor would I actually buy it. It’s one of those CDs I would borrow indefinitely from someone. I need a reason to listen to this band, i.e. bad day at work, fight with the ol’ man, etc... This band has playing ability, and they probably have something to say, but I can’t find the booklet to read the lyrics. The best thing about this band is the unmistakable late eighties/ early nineties sound they have. Think Billy Milano-ish vocals, the SOD/ MOD “moshing” interludes that flow right into a double time chorus that stops, fades, then whips you right back into the mosh pit. I hear a little Slayer action in the guitar leads, and those big shouting back up vocals, usually consisting of the words like, “WAR,” “HATE,” or “KILL.” If you were a Fender’s Ballroom local and remember the “cross over” era fondly, you’ll probably like this too. –julia (I Scream Records)


BORIS THE SPRINKLER:
...Is Gay!: CD
If you’ve heard ’em before, you already know what to expect: pop punk gems with sly, intelligently stuuupid lyrics. Norb has always reminded me of Tesco Vee, albeit sans Tesco’s preoccupations with his penis, Abba and homosexuals (which isn’t to say that Norb doesn’t often touch upon [no pun intended] these subjects [cf. any one of his columns in Hit List or MRR (the latter [that’s “latter,” not “ladder”] of which no longer carries his columns [which is their loss, I guess])]), and this particular opinion of mine is further bolstered by the fact that the opening track, “Motherfucker Are You Ready to Rock?” sounds like a Meatmen outtake. –jimmy (Go Kart)


BOMBSHELL ROCKS:
Cityrats and Alleycats: CD
You ever have to go to a wedding or something and have to wear a suit and the closest thing to dress shoes you have are Docs? It’s happened to me a couple of times. I polish up my Docs and put on my suit and look down at my feet and it’s weird. The shoes look good. Almost new even though I’ve been wearing them for years. And they’re cool shoes. No doubt about that. So maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m just so used to being scuffed and worn that polishing anything bothers me. Anyway, that’s how I feel about the Bombshell Rocks—they’re like polished Docs. Musically, they’re immaculate. The songs are well textured, everyone is perfectly in beat, the singer is in key and has just the right amount of gruff in his voice—like an early Mike Ness—and they have a perfect blend of influences. I hear a little Cocksparrer (from when they were good), a little Business (see Cocksparrer), a little Social Distortion, and a lot of Stiff Little Fingers. All great bands. And I’m not saying this album is contrived. Not at all. I like it a lot. It’s just like polished Docs, if that makes any sense. –sean (Burning Heart Records)


BLUE COLLAR SPECIAL:
Had Enough...: 7"
Almost did not want to listen to this. Nothing in the packaging made me want to put this on. A pleasant surprise on my part. This band has elements of street punk mixed with early Face to Face. The recording is a little thin, but the song writing truly jumps out. I would like to hear how they sound down the road with a little better recording. –don (Destroy All Records)


BLUE BALLS, THE:
Stretch Marks: turquoise-blue vinyl 7”
The Blue Balls belligerently bust my balls, boy! They rock and roar with raw primitive blastings of raging bowerypunk fury and a concussive dose of "old school" attitude on this here trio of tit-twistin' tunes, I shit you not! It's sonically sick audial dementia at its ballbustin' best, and I'm thunderously thrilled that my ears have made the aggravated (as in assault!) acquaintance of these unruly rockers who aggressively give Electric Frankenstein a rambunctious run for the money. Nastier, scarier, and more unholy than anything I've ever heard! –Guest Contributor (Destroy All Records)


BLOW UP, THE:
Dead Stars: 7"
Raunchy, thrashy rock’n’roll mixed with a punk attitude with a heavy attention to the rock part. –don (Empty)


BLOODHAG:
8-Song Demo: CDEP
I can understand nary a syllable of a single song on this short, sweet piece of ear candy, but DAMN if it don’t get my blood pumpin’. The songs are musically to-the-point shards of molten punk-hewn metal that prove that you don’t need to be fast as hell or bicep-advantaged to sound like hard muthas. Being the proud owner of some of their other releases, I can’t wait for this to be properly released so I can find out exactly which of my favorite sci-fi writers are taking the lyrical center stage this time around. –jimmy (Bloodhag)


BILLYCLUB:
FUVM: CDEP
Fuckin'-A, Billyclub rampageously clobbered my ears with a fullthrottle unruly attack of ragin' punkrock profanity that's all-at-once decadent, defiant, and morally corrupt! Hell yeah, just what the devil ordered! This is insurgent audial anarchy at its decibel-blastin' best that'll kick the complacent asses of crybaby PC prettyboy "punk" poseurs everywhere (causin' them to fearfully shudder and girlishly whimper like the lil' tree-huggin' expresso-sippin' pansies they uninspiringly are!). Billyclub proudly wave the red and black anarchic banner of pure punkrock nonconformity while sonically layin' waste to everything socially acceptable that's unwittingly caught in their wake... in the process, they indelibly inspire a snarlin'-and-leerin' legion of mohawked mutant insurrectionists to pogo 'til their hearts plop outta their rectums. Damn, I've been aurally assaulted, and my six senses will never be the same... –Guest Contributor (Hello Records)


BIG IN JAPAN:
Destroy the New Rock: CDR
Whenever I listen to Elvis Costello, I think about how cool those songs would be if the guitars were louder and the songs were faster. If they rocked, basically. Because he does have a great voice and he does write great songs (remember that Elvis Costello was one of the original punkers [at least according to the “Understanding Music: Punk and Reggae” documentary at the library]). I just grow old waiting to get through them. Finally, though, Zac Damon from Zoinks and a couple of the guys from the Gain have gotten together to show the world what Elvis Costello should’ve been. Big In Japan take on those early eighties pop sensibilities and Damon almost steals Costello’s vocals and tempo changes, but there’s a real edge to the lyrics. “Destroy the New Rock” is a catchy snarl. It’s a bunch of songs that could be three-and-a-half minute radio hits if they hadn’t been condensed to two-minute punk songs and if the lyrics weren’t about killing your boyfriend or ragging your worthless life. I like this a lot. And, for the record, they don’t cover any Elvis Costello songs on this album. –sean (Honest Dons)


BANTAM ROOSTER:
Fuck All Y: CD
I guess the title says it all. Actually they're reaching out to the NWA/Eazy-E fans in all of us. The angriest duo in garage rock today enter the ring without any pity for album number – oh who's counting when all of them do the same "cathartic" trick for those mentally jaded by life, love and the pursuit of happiness. Tom Potter still screams and yelps like a teenaged buttfuck. "This Time" has a great "wall of sound" Spector-ish vibe which mutates into a churning, burning, full throttle classic Rooster tune, “Shitlist + 1” (damn, you gotta give 'em credit for inventive song titles). This is Bantam Rooster at its best – unleashed, unabashed, ripped off, pissed off – all the emotional rollercoasters of a Spanish soap opera wrapped into the three minute blues punk song. That ladies and gentlemen, is the beauty of Bantam Rooster and if you don't understand it, you can take your spoonfed, wide-eyed, spoiled rotten, luxury lifestyle, candy ass to the curb – so I can kick the shit out of it. -Namella "Take No Prisoners!" –Guest Contributor (Sympathy For the Record Industry)


BAD FORM, THE:
Self-titled: 7"EP
Sloppy, occasionally fast hardcore from these Jersey guys. I had to check where they were from, ’cause they sound like they coulda come outta San Francisco’s vats scene circa 1981/82. They got that raw hardcore sound popular in them parts, say like Capitol Punishment, early Condemned to Death or Sick Pleasure. The singer sometimes reminds me of the guy who fronted Long Beach’s Crewd, too. Good stuff here, even if it sent me on a weird nostalgic head-trip. –jimmy (The Bad Form)


ATTRITION:
The Hand That Feeds: The Remixes: CD
I guess even manic-depressives need tunes to disco dance their troubles away. –jimmy (Invisible)


ATOM AND HIS PACKAGE:
A New Thing in a New Town: 8-track cassette
You read it right. 8-fucking-track. I happen to own an eight track player.  Bless Goodwill and their Dollar Days. It happens to be rigged directly through the stereo and set as Phono #2, for glorious instances just as these. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the fidelity of this eight track is really poor. I’m casting no stones, looking no horses (gift or otherwise) in the mouth, it’s just that after hours (literally) fiddling with all the adjustments I could think of (including trips to the 99 cent store for some speaker wire alchemy), I can barely make out the songs. Either I get this weird, low-cycle bass hum that sounds like a giant hydroelectric generator through ear muffs, or it’s so tinny I fear glass shattering. Just to show you how far I went to try to get this to work, and be as scientific as possible, I popped in my “control group” 8-track, The Best of Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians’ “The Sweetest Music This Side of Heaven.” It sounds great. Lush strings, and tons of verve on the “I’m Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover” medley. Pop in Atom again, and, unfortunately, not much of anything that be construed beyond an industrial noise band’s wet dream with a wee bit of Atom in the distance. For completists. FYI, it’s a live recording from March of ‘00, and from what I can tell, all the material has been previously released. On the weird side, I just realized that I’m credited for the photo on it (which I didn’t take), but not credited for a source photo on his new album, “Redefining Music,” (which I did take). No hard feelings, just my type of luck. –todd (www.atomandhispackage.com)


ANTI-FLAG:
Underground Network: CD
Musically, this Anti-Flag is melodic hardcore in the vein of Good Riddance or the newest Propaghandi. It’s fast and powerful with enough melody to make it catchy. Lyrically, this is an intensely political album. Usually I’m pretty one-sided about political punk. Basically, if I agree with the politics, I tend to like the band. If I don’t agree with the politics or it’s completely dry and preachy (like Fifteen) I don’t like the band. Anti-Flag add some new figures to this equation. Not only do I like the music and agree with the politics, but it’s incredibly well done. Not only do they sing songs about US “practice” bombing (with real bombs) in Vieques, Puerto Rico, but they include text alongside the lyrics from former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark informing you of what exactly is going on in Vieques. Along those lines, Anti-Flag back up their other songs with bits and pieces from magazines like the Progressive and writers like Noam Chomsky. Howard Zinn even wrote a piece on the US invasion of Panama in ’89 specifically for these liner notes. Wow. This brings political punk to a whole new level. It’s like Z Magazine put to punk. And then, just when politics threaten to become overwhelming, Anti-Flag throws in the cool, funny, and distinctly non-political song “Spaz’s House Destruction Party.” Do yourself a favor and check this out. –sean (Fat Wreck Chords)


POINTBLANK:
Self-titled: CDEP
You know what I love? I’ll tell you what I love. I love good thrash music. I usually can’t take too much of it (whoever invented discographies has the musical stamina of a god), but an EP or 7” is usually the perfect dose. Pointblank is good. They play fast hardcore that would fit on 625 or Havoc, and they sound pretty original. They still definitely keep that punk tip, too...minimal metal here. Fast, hard, stressed vocals, basic progressions, etc. Keeps up with the greats, fo’ sure. –Will Kwiatkowski (myspace.com/bloodshotmind)


PLEXI 3:
Tides of Change : CD
This twelve-song album feels like a flailing morph between Matthew Sweet and the old Denver band Dressy Bessy. It sounds like the music lessons paid off and these guys and gal, as they figured out how to writes songs. But all the fuzzed guitar tones and psychedelic album art isn’t going to make the music any good. I’m assuming Plexi 3 is trying to ride the indie wave of The New Pornographers flag with co-ed vocals and layered instrumentation, but they fall short on delivering the punch. –N.L. Dewart (Certified PR)


PINK SEXIES, THE:
Self-titled: 12"
Label says: “Pink Sexies first 7-song EP originally released in 2001, re-released on pink vinyl with one never released song from The Rock N Roll Moustache Ride sessions in 2003. Limited numbered edition of 150 wreckords.” I say, praise them for reintroducing this to the public. Feels reminiscent of old Black Randy ‘70s punk: soooo desperate, strained vocals, and popping punk hooks. It’s great. But it’s better than just fitting into an old punk sound. They feel like they came upon their anxiety naturally, blowing out frustration with the band. The post-it note says “Knoxville, TN” and that sounds like a great place to feel trapped in, needing to blast out. Cool wreckord you should check out. –mike (Wrecked 'Em)


PINHEAD GUNPOWDER:
Self-titled: 7"
Has it seriously been almost a decade since this band put anything out? Nicely done opaque 45 RPM vinyl that belts out two gemy gems from this prolific side project of Cometbus and that other dude. You know, that one guy. –mrz (Recess)


PINE HILL HAINTS, THE:
Self-titled: LP
With always-accelerating technology comes a sadness. It’s not a “kids these days don’t know shit” lament. It’s a true sadness that a mode of listening to music is largely considered a niche mentality, an outmoded way of enjoyment in an accelerated society. It’s a grey day, I open up the windows, feel the chilled air, put on a Haints record, let it wash over me, and let it soak in. It fills the air, fills the room. I get a cup of coffee, put my feet up, watch branches sway. I’m not shuffling through the songs. I’m not skipping tracks. I’m not looking at lighted bars representing the pulse of sound. I’m not itching for what’s next, but what’s developing in front of me. Try to push back some of the ache. Try to clear out a little bit of my brain. I’m listening to an album; trusting the talented Haints to take me on a journey. I’m on their time. I’m in their vehicle of conveyance and I don’t want to parse it down to milliseconds or favorites. I want the full thirty or forty minutes, the sequence, the sound broken only when the record’s flipped over. The Haints are a traditional band: wash tub bass, banjo, mandolin, washboard, saw, play-while-standing drums. They mix originals, covers, and traditionals, removing sentimentality and replacing it with respect and DIY energy. Here’s the thing; I listened to this record on CD several times and it sounded like tin foil around leftovers. The vinyl record sounds like food grilling on a barbecue. –todd (K)


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