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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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LEBENDEN TOTEN:
Near Dark: LP
Noise! Noise! Noise! Lebenden Toten deliver in full on this 12” rager. Ten blasts of chaotic near white noise and distortion that sounds like all hell has broken loose. Think of a noisier and more urgent Disorder. This gives all the lo-fi bands a run for their money, without a doubt. The title track is perhaps the slowest of the ten blasts on here. Just about everything else is an exercise in speed and how fast one can go without losing total control. Amid all the chaos, there’s a definite message to the songs. Essentially, you can be in control of your life if you want to. However, the powers that be are adept at distracting you and misinforming you, so the trick is to wake up, realize all this, and do something about it. One of the more exciting U.S. hardcore/noisecore bands these days. –Matt Average (Wicked Witch)


LADIES, THE:
Self-titled: EP
Remember when the Dwarves used to be good? Seriously, they used to be a great band. No, I’m not lit. Listen to Blood, Guts & Pussy, then you’ll agree. Well, The Ladies sound like the Dwarves used to sound. Punk rock that’s short, stupid, offensive, and ripping! It’s all the things that make a punk band worth a shit, and there aren’t many out there these days. “Trashed” is about what you think, and is over before you can sit down. The B side is a tad bit longer, since it has two songs: “She Just Don’t Care” and “Can’t Come In.” Hearkens back to the days when punk was a dirty word, and made the straights a bit uneasy. Some things should have never changed... –Matt Average (Cowabunga)


KUNG FU MONKEYS, THE:
Half-Baked: CDR
Here’s another entry in my ongoing series of “Why am I reviewing this?” reviews—not because it’s bad. It’s actually a nifty little collection of demos and rarities from a great pop/surf rock band that, all in all, are fairly legendary in New York City. But, this is limited to twenty copies, most of which were sold at a recent benefit. I’m pretty sure there’s one or two copies left, though! You owe it to yourself to check this band out anyway, and if you can somehow get one of these too, then even better. –joe (myspace.com/kungfumonkeys)


KRUM BUMS:
Same Old Story: CD
I’ll be the first to admit that these Texas anarcho-punks aren’t the most original outfit on the block, but damn if their records don’t rip it up. Great guitar work, furious vocals, and epic song structure. They combine the grandiosity of English metal punk with the urgency of American crossover acts of the late ‘80s. –Jim Ruland (TKO)


KAMALAS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
First two songs were nice bits of meat ‘n’ potatoes punk that weren’t shabby at all, while the remaining tracks belie a Ramones/Queers pop punk bent that isn’t as painful as others falling into that sort of description have been over the past decade. I’d be interested to hear what they end up sounding like in, oh, five years. –jimmy (Too Nice)


KALASHNIKOV:
The Best of K: CD
Here are three things that are rarely mixed together with any sort of success: Enya, playful and artful circuses (like Cirque de soleil; largely due to what sounds like a pipe organ), and international hardcore. Kalashnikov, thankfully, also avoids the obvious shortfallings of pretentiousness, preciousness, predictability, and being pedantic, instead delivering moving, bouncy, gritty, eerie, fun, and utterly unique music. This CD is a collection of this Italian collective’s five previous works from 2000 to the present, and it’s a joint release between a Japanese label and distributor. Great stuff. –todd (SP)


KALASHNIKOV:
Angoscia-Rock: 7"
First off, some kudos are in order to whoever is responsible for the gorgeous packaging. In addition to red vinyl, you get what amounts to a book instead of the standard record cover, with what appears to be some sorta story, though I can’t be certain since my Italian comprehension skills are pretty much nil. Kudos are also due to those responsible for the music here, a surprisingly fresh mix of metallic hardcore and synth-driven new wave that is much, much better than that description might imply. Gotta love it when a band thinks outside of the box, and these kids do so in spades. –jimmy (kalashni.net)


JUICE TYME:
Self-titled: 7"
Man, these guys know how to pack sludgy hardcore efficiently onto one colored vinyl 7”, as they have eight drum-sputtering tunes here. The music never takes a break, with every track segued by some random noise feedback. Lyrically, I guess their song “I’m So Hardcore” is their anthem as it’s the only easily decipherable chorus. That song also includes the line, “I’m so hardcore I carry around a switchblade knife.” –N.L. Dewart (Headcount, Force Field)


JONESIN / DUDE JAMS:
Split: 7"
Dirt Cult Records knew this was one of the most anticipated 2009 releases among the underground pop punk circles, so they went ahead and pressed these on their patented yummy orange Tic Tac vinyl! If I didn’t love these songs so much, I’d take a goddamn bite out of this flat Tic Tac right fucking now! Jonesin: ‘90s Minnesota pop punk meets ‘90s EastBay punk rock. Dude Jams: The Queers invented the flux capacitor and then hijacked some plutonium from some terrorists and installed both into a DeLorean and went back to the future, y’all! –mrz (Dirt Cult)


JOLLY:
Forty Six Minutes Twelve Seconds of Music: CD
In case the overly precious and ridiculously pretentious title wasn’t enough to tip you off, this music takes itself very seriously. There are very few styles of music that I have absolutely no patience for, the top style being prog rock or progressive music in any sense. This disc is P-R-O-G to the hilt. Therefore, it is like kryptonite to my ears. Progressive music is the embodiment of everything I dislike about music. Gimme simple and stoopid any day. The band’s record label has the following to say: “Embedded throughout the album are various forms of brain wave stimulation known as Binaural Tones. These tones are scientifically proven to enrich feelings of happiness, focus, creativity, and relaxation through inaudible changes in audio frequencies.” Bleeeaaaccchhh. –frame (Galileo/ProgRock)


JOEY CORMAN:
Cheap Therapy: CD
This acoustic style sounds like it needs some drums and a bass. When done correctly, I love acoustic style more than anything, so it’s not that I don’t appreciate it because it’s not electric. I listened to this while waiting for it to kick in, but it never did. I hate it when that happens. This is some coffee shop, bullshit hippie, self-appreciation shit. The guitar riffs are dependent on the voice. I hate when people write songs that are going to depend on their voice, especially when the voice isn’t so great to begin with and they don’t include lyrics, so I can’t even tell what it is that was so important for them to write a song about. That sort of thing should remain in a coffee shop, because that’s the most likely place where people care about what you are saying and don’t give a shit about the music. It has no place for “mass” distribution. Most of the bands I listen to have bad singers, but the great music makes the bad singer sound like an angel. Joey Corman, my friend, does not sound like an angel. I’m going to have to pass on this one. –Corinne (OBZ)


JEREMY NAIL AND THE INCIDENTS:
Self-titled: CDEP
Call me Tim Yohannan, but this is not punk! This is one of those very serious singer/songwriter endeavors, or at least that’s how I interpreted it. Three songs with lyrics like, “All I hear inside my head/ is a forgotten child’s cry.” I’m guessing they’re going for some sort of late-period Paul Westerberg meets Tom Petty thing. Yikes. If this were a cereal, it’d be Kashi. Stop taking yourself so seriously! You’re a cereal! –Maddy (Self-released)


JABBERS, THE:
American Standard: CD
Finally, Wimpy Rutherford has found a new band that can rival his work with The Queers. Only scene veterans who rocked with GG Allin would be up to the task. This is balls-out, maximum wattage punk rock to be played at loud volumes to scare your neighbors. Don’t look for discussions on today’s economy here. Do I really need to go over the lyrics with titles like “Cock Magnet” and ‘Motorpussy”? Please—you know the drill. Can’t wait for the next one! –koepenick (Steel Cage)


J.J. AND THE REAL JERKS:
Back in Business b/w Seersucker Suit: CDEP
Sounds reminiscent of the earlier punk bands like Johnny Thunders and The Stooges, albeit a tad bit faster than that. Not bad, not great, and a decent song with a saxophone in it. –Bryan Static (Self-released)


ISOTOPES:
Heatseeker: 7"EP
Four doses of pop punk from a band with an apparent love for baseball metaphors. –jimmy (643)


INSUBORDINATES:
1968 b/w Rendezvous: 7"
I really wanted to like this one. The cover is hand-screened and looks really cool. The 7” itself has a great looking label and a big hole. It reminds me of when I worked at a record store and would discover some dusty, long-neglected 45 with a weird name and cool artwork. I’d throw it on the turntable and cross my fingers, hoping I’d unearthed some long-lost gem. It didn’t usually go that way, of course. This record was no different. The A side is basic, snarly garage punk. It’s okay; nothing at all special. The B side is a surf instrumental. I wouldn’t recommend this unless you’re really into that sort of thing. –Ryan Horky (Feral Kid/Crotch Rot)


INSOUCIANT:
Fall: CD
This foursome from New Jersey is giving off heavy vibes of a lighter version of Rainer Maria. That’s partially because of the contrasting male/female vocals, but it’s also due to using catchy phrases throughout their ten-song album. I can imagine Anna O’Sullivan prancing around on stage like Caithlin DeMarris, contrasting her delicate voice with the harsher, but not overwhelming, male vocals. The band almost comes across with a folk sound at some points, but it’s always mixed in with a good amount of indie sensibilities and style. Some of the songs kind of flew under the radar, but tracks like “Atlas” and “Walk Away” are standouts. It’d be interesting to hear the band give over to their manic energy perhaps a bit more if they can retain some of their harmonies and melodies. As it stands right now, too many of the songs are a bit too mellow for my tastes. Although, the use of the xylophone/vibraphone is always welcome. I hope Insouciant keeps on working to grow and develop their sound. I like what I’m hearing here. –kurt (NotRock)


INFECTED:
Awake in Our Own Graves: 7"
I really like this record. It’s got a good helping of that Tiltwheel/Dillinger Four kind of raspy vocals and attention to detail kind of songwriting, but there’s something else going on that keeps it from sounding too much like those two bands. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I knows what I like. More, please! –ty (A.D.D.)


INDIGENTS, THEE:
No Cerveza—No Trabajo: CD
Considering the style they’re putting down—Stitches-style modern beach punk—and that I remember hearing other stuff from them before and liking it, I should be all over this, but it’s just not working for me. The only thing I can blame it on is the production, which is in dire need of that Hostage Records punch. The songs are definitely there, there ain’t enough heft to give ‘em that much-needed wallop. Ah, well. –jimmy (No Front Teeth)


IN DEFENCE:
Into the Sewer: CD
There is no goddamn reason why hardcore should not have guitar solos. There’s also no reason for solos to last more than twenty seconds. That’s all it should take for them to ooze into your brain through the cracks that the rest of the music has put in your skull. In Defence knows this, and they prove it on this album’s first song, “Lessons in Headbanging.” In fact, In Defence knows all about making hardcore. They’ve got the guidebook memorized, but they’re not afraid to deviate from it by crossing the border into metal once in a while. They’ve also got the energy to make every song sound fresh, whether they’re ranting about crazy sewer-dwelling poop stealers or singing the praises of pizza. In Defence loves pizza. This will probably end up in my top 10 of 2009. –mp (Learning Curve)


IFIHADAHIFI:
Fame by Proxy: CD
Another band here that sounds like they’re looking for some sorta intersection between noise and pop. They’ve got the slashy, discordant guitar-as-percussive-instrument thing going, and sometimes they go for full-on racket mongering, but at the same time it sounds like they’re swinging for the fences to come up with the definitive no wave-cum-terrace-chant anthem, if that makes any sense. Can’t say they’re all that successful, but they do kick up some serious sonic dust when they get going and they definitely get propers for trying to think outside the box. –jimmy (Latest Flame)


IDOL LIPS:
Love Hurts: 7"
Here’s another high-energy, late-‘70s influenced pop punk EP. The sheer predictability of the choruses is enough to illustrate my point. Take the track “We’re Desperate” and guess what the lyrics to the chorus are… “desperate, desperate, desperate. We’re desperate.” Don’t get me wrong, these three tracks pack the fun. I’d say this 7” would fit nicely between The Briefs and The Stitches with all of the Idol Lips’ blues influenced guitar riffage they have going on. –N.L. Dewart (No Front Teeth)


HYDEOUTS, THE:
Creeps at Night: 7" EP
Immediately, this yellow vinyl EP had my head bumping and toes thumping to some good ole’ rock’n’roll anthems. These four songs have a comic Halloween death plot vibe to them. I closed my eyes and could picture the Addams Family getting down to this music. Side B hits a little grittier than Side A, with tracks “The Creeps at Night” and “The Points.” Both songs include self-indulgent guitar solos, the type that seem to poke fun at self-indulgent guitar solos. What Rob Zombie does for the metal heads, The Hydeouts do for good old fashion rock’n’rollers, and I love it. –N.L. Dewart (Creepy Anthem)


HUMMINGBIRD OF DEATH:
Show Us the Meaning of Haste: LP
Like landscape painting and wine tastings, I guess I can respect the artfulness of Hummingbird Of Death without necessarily enjoying what they do. Sometimes they’re throwing out spastic, million miles an hour grindcore and sometimes they slow it down to a slow, gripping hardcore pace with a nice, doomy spritzer. They’ve got the requisite two-singer attack (one deep, growly guy and one deeper and growlier guy) and some topical lyrics, especially for the genre. Weird tattoo flash-inspired cover. Like I said, not my bag, but they’re most certainly tackling these songs with precision—the band’s tight as hell. Fans of the Six Weeks and Sound Pollution rosters could do much worse than checking these guys out. –keith (Cowabunga)


HUMMINGBIRD OF DEATH:
Show Us the Meaning of Haste: CD
I saw this amazing band play in SoCal sometime last year and I was truly impressed. Made me buy a record of theirs right on the spot. They are what is currently termed fastcore, but I find that limiting. These guys from Boise know how to play it fast, hard, and tight. When they need to slow it down, they play it dirty with the best of them, as shown in their closing song “Panocide,” which clocks in at 11:18. The rest of this twenty-two track beast doesn’t even come close to the three minute mark, with the majority at a minute and a half. How many adjectives can I use to describe this? Raging? Blazing? Fierce? Bomblast-ic? Faster than urine coming out after a forty-ounce? What I do know is, if speed in your music is your thing, this should quench the palate. –don (To Live A Lie)


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