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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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MENZINGERS:
Hold on Dodge: 7"
At first, I swore I’d seen this band play a few songs live once, thinking it was some alright, technical “scenester” by way of mid-era Propaghandi stuff that I wasn’t into. So, I put on the record, and it’s nothing like that. First impression was, “Oh, this has a bit of twang to it, not unlike The Sidekicks.” Then, as it plays on, I thought, “This is like a more punk Weakerthans.” And I did enjoy it! –joe (Red Scare)


MEATMEN, THE:
Cover the Earth: CD
Well the title pretty much sums it up. Whether good or bad or you wanted to hear it or not, The Meatmen pack this album with cover songs from Abba to Motörhead. This is one of those rare situations that’d I suggest getting a CD only for its cover. The cartoon on the front shows four guys (who I am assuming are The Meatmen) jacking off and actually jizzing on the earth, covering it with their sperm. There are few gems out of the twenty-four tracks—with nothing that will blow your mind. But, with covers raging from GG Allin to Blue Oyster Cult, there’s just a little something for everyone. –N.L. Dewart (The Meatmen)


MAX LEVINE ENSEMBLE, THE:
OK Smarty Pants: CD
Listening to this album is like taking a musical field trip lead by some bi-polar, schizophrenic, fourteen-year-old songwriting genius. The music is scribbly, scratchy pop punk that is octane-fueled with lots of noise and dynamics. Underneath a wall of onslaughting voices are some spastic melodies that perfectly frame the personal reveries. All the tracks feel like they have typical pop structures but they never play out quite as expected. It’s a crazy ride, but if you haven’t heard The Max Levine Ensemble getting this record is a trip worth taking. –N.L. Dewart (No Breaks)


MASATO TANAKA / POCKET GALLOWS:
Ordinary of the Mass: Split LP
Masato Tanaka: Crunchy guitars and sludgy/grindy hardcore stuff with more than a smattering of odd keyboards. Pocket Gallows: First tune is a noisy bit of metallic skronk; second track is a much quieter—and oddly more unsetting—piece with keyboards and drums. Last tune goes back to the sludge. –jimmy (Square of Opposition)


MARVELOUS DARLINGS:
The Swords, the Streets: 7"
Catchy, tough, and tuneful, Marvelous Darlings plays guitar-driven rock and roll that musically recalls the rage of the Dead Boys with the sentimentality hiding behind leather jackets of the Real Kids. The two tracks here are better than whatever it is you are listening to right now, that’s a fact. –Jeff Proctor (Wall Ride)


MARVELOUS DARLINGS:
Shoot the Piano Player b/w I Want My Brand: 7"
Denim, glitter, platforms, and leather of the mind. That’s what the Marvelous Darlings sound like. Oh, plus strutting, pouting, and ‘tude. Ask any first-gen L.A. punk rocker what they were listening to pre-’77, and they were all about Cooper, Bowie, Sweet, T.Rex. It’s about power, taste, and shit from a different cosmos. The Marvelous Darlings—masterminded by Ben Cook—bleed figurative chest hair, sequins, male lip gloss, and gun powder. I’m thinking, considering all their output, that they’re standing toe-to-toe with The Lee Harvey Oswald Band: powerpop with glitterglam, wham-bam ma’am tendencies done right. –todd (Taken By Surprise)


MARSHMALLOW COAST:
Phreak Phantasy: CD
This is an album from a dude who used to play with Of Montreal, but he has been doing MarshmallowCoast solo and with others for more than a decade. I used to work for a music distributor that distributed MarshmallowCoast’s album on Orange Twin Records, entitled Ride the Lightning. That one didn’t sell too much. I have a feeling this won’t either. During the time I worked at that job, I spent a lot of time playing Grand Theft Auto: ViceCity, which is supposed to take place in the 1980s. Anytime you steal a car and drive it around, you can listen to various ‘80s radio stations, each specializing in a specific genre. I’m pretty sure this would’ve fit in perfectly with the generic new wave/dance/synthpop station, Wave 103. There were a few decent songs on that station from bands like Blondie, The Psychedelic Furs, and Kim Wilde, but with such sub-par lyrics (“Naked chicks here I am / Don’t regret it for the rest of your life”) and too much of that “I smoke a lot of pot with the rest of the members of the Elephant Six Collective” vibe, I doubt this would have fit in entirely on that station. This would have been more enjoyable if they could have gotten Kirk Van Houten from The Simpsons to sing some of these songs (“Hangin’ on a Cloud”). It would’ve been just about as good. Unfortunately, I would still have had to respond just like when he proposed to Luann and say, “Eww, no!” –kurt (HHBTM)


MARCH OF ANGER:
Self-titled: CDEP
If I were to believe the bio that came with this, I would be listening to a record by a band that is unequaled and unparalleled by any band in the history of punk or metal. In reality, I believe that Ministry did a much better job of this a long time ago. –ty (myspace.com/marchofanger)


MAPES, THE:
Self-titled: CD
From some of the most realistic vomiting sounds I’ve heard captured on CD to songs about telling your girlfriend to inflict a self-induced abortion, this just might be one album that would make Charles Manson blush. I swear to God I wasn’t listening to these songs in the car by myself (the only way I’d suggest listening to this album) and laughing, despite my precarious traffic situation. Okay, I actually did laugh…and it was so wrong. This is one funny but wrong album. –N.L. Dewart (Recess Japan, Underground Government)


MAPES, THE:
Self-titled: CD
These songs fly the Recess flag proudly. Snotty, poppy, drunky punk. Be warned: If you choose to blast this really loud around little kids, teachers, or your girlfriend, you might be decapitated. –mrz (Recess Japan)


MANIKIN:
Stop the Sirens: LP
Dark and noisy postpunk that reminds me of the era when bands like Bauhaus, the Cure, PiL, and the sort were in their prime. When I tell you these guys are influenced by bands like Joy Division and early PiL, I don’t want you thinking they’re some glorified cover band. Manikin are definitely influenced by the aforementioned bands, but are still very much a band with their own sound. The rhythm section is metronomic without being robotic. Sounds to me like the bass leads and the guitar follows by bringing atmosphere and color to the songs. The vocalist sounds like he’s singing through a bullhorn. Usually this effect grates my nerves, but here it works. I must confess that I don’t really care for their cover of The Cure’s “Grinding Halt,” especially since their originals are much stronger. Just listen to “First React” and “Rule the World,” “Sirens,” “Perfect Picture,” hell, all the originals on this album, and you’ll see what I mean. Easily their best record yet. I saw Manikin back in October of 2006 at Beerland in Austin, and all I could think was they really need to tour, and, for sure, come out here to California. Only 300 made, so you better get on it. –Matt Average (Super Secret)


MAGRUDERGRIND:
Self-titled: CD
I have to admit I was surprised how good this was. Live, they are awesome, but the bits and pieces I have heard of their recorded output did not leave a lasting impression. This one slams you with an aural blast that is hard to ignore. The production values on this remind me of the latest Trap Them or Rotten Sound records that I got recently. You would never guess this band plays minus a bass player, based on this recording and live. The music is full, deep, and crisp with stop-on-a-dime pauses and full-bore speed. When they slow things down, they make the mood ugly, but still maintain their intensity. Switching back and forth from grindcore and thrash, the music is dizzying. As an added bonus, they mix it up on some tracks with hip hop beats and samples to expand their sound outside of the box. I’m really happy that this created a new hole from the beating I got. –don (Willowtip)


MAD BROTHER WARD:
Hated By All: CD
This disc collects thirteen songs from two 7” singles released in the 1990s. TPOS Records and Baloney Shrapnel released the singles, and the band features at least one member of Antiseen in the lineup. Given all of this, you probably have a good idea of what this sounds like: Full-on Confederacy Of Scum-style punk with “hate the world” and “hate punk rock”-type lyrics. There is an additional bonus track here produced by Jeff Clayton of Antiseen as well. You can see where this is going. Fans of CoS will be all over this, as the singles were limited and have been out of print for years. –frame (Zodiac Killer)


LOVE CITY:
Self-titled: 7"EP
You’ve got some rocking, old school reverb-washed pop tunes here. The organ makes the four songs on this EP stand out from all the rehash garage rock music today. The tune, “The Other Side” kicks hard with bashing riffage interplay from both the assaulting guitar and organ. LoveCity has taken an old, psychedelic-influenced rock sound and made it their own with this 7”. –N.L. Dewart (Certified PR)


LOVE BELOW:
Demo : CD
This music is frantic and out of breath, as if the band recorded it while running up and down a flight of steps, stopping only to vomit or tune the guitar. I get the feeling that if you tried to stop them, you would get an elbow to the teeth. But is there really any point to releasing demos anymore? –mp (myspace.com/thelovebelowhc)


LOS STEAKS:
Orange Fish: 7"
These boys are from Spain. I don’t know how to put this delicately and positively. This band doesn’t suck. They put out a record that is tolerable and kinda good. Yet, I couldn’t warm up to it enough to remember what one song sounds like. I know I didn’t mind it, but it’s just not memorable…such a shame because every time I listened to it, I liked it a little more. –Corinne (Milk & Chocolate )


LOGIC PROBLEM:
No Center: 7"EP
When I was a kid, I had a tendency to put any inanimate object that would fit into a workbench-mounted vice. Stuff that wouldn’t split with the screw-drive compression of the vice’s teeth, I’d use a hack saw on. Logic Problem reminds me of golf balls in a vice. A hard, dimpled exterior that looks almost identical from every angle, but when it’s crunched, then slit open, it exposes a concentric, thin layer of softer membranes surrounding an even tighter ball wrapped in rubber band-y sinew. When the ball inside was completely extracted from the exoskeletal shell, it had an almost delicate, unpredictable bounce. Add that experience to Negative Approach, and since Logic Problem are from the Carolinas, a dash of early Corrosion Of Conformity, and there you have it. Hardcore by design. Hardcore by execution. Well done. –todd (Grave Mistake)


LOBLAWS, THE/SCI FI NIGHTMARES, THE:
Split: 7"
The Loblaws: One of the latest bands to release something on Mutant Pop, which probably gives you a good idea of what to expect. Never heard them before, but their side has a slower, poppier Queers vibe to it, which isn’t bad. It just didn’t hook me and it felt like it dragged a little. The Sci Fi Nightmares: Ironically, they sound like the older, more straight-forward, harder edge pop punk, Ramones-influenced Queers. Again, dragged on, but not as much, and it did have some much-needed energy –joe (Killer)


LOBLAWS / THE SCI-FI NIGHMARES:
Split: 7"
Loblaws: Hook-Ups shirt, chainball necklace, Everclear poster, mint skateboard, cherry Chapstick, and blueballs. On The Sci-Fi Nightmares’ side, the first song is either about some girl who either turned him down or is infected with AIDS. The rest is flatlined pop punk. –Andrew Flanagan (Killer)


LITANY FOR THE WHALE:
Dolores: LP
Are they metal? Or are they hardcore? Who knows? Who cares? Litany For The Whale skirt the area between the two genres with varied results. They’re heavy, with a definite ‘90s hardcore feel. So, there is a bit of lightness throughout. When they’re bashing away and going for speed, they’re more interesting. When they go into some introspective musical interlude, introduction, jam, whatever, then the whole thing comes to a screeching halt and boredom for this listener starts sitting in. I give them credit for branching out and experimenting. However, it sounds like they’re trying too hard. After a while I just stopped caring and let my mind wander elsewhere. Blahhh.... Comes on white marble vinyl, if you’re inclined. –Matt Average (Molsook/The Perpetual Motion Machine)


LITANY FOR THE WHALE:
Dolores: CD
If I said this CD was released by two Richmond labels and had cover art by Chris Taylor of Pg. 99, what kind of music would you guess was on it? Experimental, chaotic hardcore? Ding, ding, ding! You’re right! Seven tracks—some of found sounds and ambient instrumentals—with a definite debt to the Northern Virginia scene of the early 2000s (Majority Rule, City Of Caterpillar, the aforementioned Pg. 99). This is an engaging listen, but it’s not offering anything new. –CT Terry (Molsook)


LET’S DANCE:
Selt-titled: 7"
Ambulance sirens kick off this record for what seems like forever and is maybe an interesting novelty at first, but quickly wears off, especially since it goes on for like the first minute of the first song. The build-up is worth it, though, for those of you who are fans of ‘77 style pop punk a la the Briefs. The little bit of Thunders soloing on “X-Ray Eyes” is still a bit too much, but they again make up for it with some bouncy organ on “Out on Top,” which is easily the record’s standout track. “Outta Time” closes it with a brief blast of punk goodness. –Jeff Proctor (Meaty Beaty)


LET’S DANCE:
Calling All Cars: 7"EP
Early Ill Repute follows the same muse that made the North Beach Alliance bands all those millions. –jimmy (No Front Teeth)


LET’S DANCE / AVENUE ROSE:
Split: 7"
Like Rocket from the Crypt’s The State of Art Is on Fire, the two sides are played at different speeds. Both bands play pop punk, though more in the Exploding Hearts vein of things than the Jawbreaker/Fifteen school that seems to have taken over in recent years. Let’s Dance gets the 45 RPM side, which is sneering, snotty, and veers towards garage rock territory. I thought I liked it until I flipped it over to the Avenue Rose side (33 RPM), whose side is definitely cleaner and more polished, but is ultimately more memorable, despite ill-advised sappy breakdowns on the second track, “In Motion.” There’s nothing particularly mind blowing here, but it is still an enjoyable listen and indicative of nice things to come from both bands. The seven inch comes on white and yellow vinyl. –Jeff Proctor (Provincial State)


LET ME OUT:
I Think I Can…: CD
I think it might be mostly because the Swedish accents on the vocals are really similar, but in my mind I keep thinking of this as the angry, more hardcore Millencollin. This is clean, fast hardcore that’s totally down with gang vocals and is really about keeping it posi. I think they actually mention PMA several times. Pretty good, but recorded a little too slick at times. It’s a decent record but it tends to blow by too easily. If it was a bit rougher around the edges it might leave a little more lasting sonic impact. If you have any gaps in Swedish posi-core that need filling though, I’m sure this will be just the ticket. –Adrian (Warbird Entertainment)


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