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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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MODERN MACHINES:
Thwap!: CD
So, just two days ago, I was jumping up (and down!) in a crowded punk house next to a freeway in New York City, rockin’ out to the sweet sounds of the Modern Machines on tour! Straight out Compton, uh, Milwaukee, my friends (Disclosure! Disclosure!) rock the Hüsker Dü way, with drunken abandon! Get this CD if you like… punk rock, basement shows, dancing around like a moron ‘cause you drank too much Blatz! Also, you need to track down their demo tapes – much crazier, faster, and, ack!, dare I say it, better! Still, this is Fruit Loops! Yum! –Maddy (New Disorder)


MINDS, THE:
Rip Out Your Eyes b/w Dead, “Blockout: 7"
If the Mummies clacked late seventies punk square in the jaw, instead of going back into the vaults of the ‘50s and ‘60s, that’d be the starting block for The Minds. Organ used sorta like a bat is prominent in the mix. Synchronized screaming interludes. All instruments wielded like weapons, but instead of committing some felony offence, these Portland, Oregonians slice, dice, and tumor up some nicely wrecked garage punk. The Minds fit perfectly right next to Smogtown, The Epoxies, and folks who like the new wave but aren’t slaves to its charms and still know how to rock the fuck out. Recommended. –todd (Alien Snatch)


ME FIRST AND THE GIMME GIMMES:
Stevie: 7"
The score’s simple. A punk supergroup plucks up a mailroom shipper, who can really fuckin’ croon, out from a karaoke bar, and they continue to play long after the joke was supposed to get stale. Eventually, they get to tow a bar along with them on the Warped Tour with Heather of the Teen Idols being their personal bartender. Three albums down and countless 7”s on multiple independent labels, it’s still really quite astonishing how good they are. I can’t say I’ve ever voluntarily listened to Stevie Wonder (they do “I Just Called to Say I Love You” and “Isn’t She Lovely”) or seventy percent of what they cover, but their albums are great for family visits and long drives in mixed company (read people who like top forty or contemporary country). As always, thumbs up. The message in the matrix acetate is pretty funny too, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise. –todd (No Idea)


MEXICAN BLACKBIRDS:
Just to Spite You: CD
Solid, straight-ahead punk rock, long on ‘tude and short on extraneous bullshit. Ladies and gentlemen, meet my favorite band of the month. Highly recommended. –jimmy (Dirtnap)


MATCHBOOK ROMANCE:
Stories and Alibis: CD
Broke my own “Jimmy will stay away from the Epitaph mystery meat piles” rule just for kicks and got bit in the ass by this disc of wimpy emo/pop punk. When, oh when will I learn to trust my better judgement? –jimmy (Epitaph)


MANIFESTO JUKEBOX:
Self-titled: CDEP
Re-release of MJ’s first 7” with bonus tracks that were on a split with I Excuse. This was the record that got the buzz going on this Finnish band. They released their first full length, Desire, on numerous labels in Europe and last year stateside released Remedy on BYO. If you like that post punk sound of Fugazi meets Hot Water Music, this band is for you. Any of their releases, including this one, is strong on musicianship and energy. It was good hearing these songs again since I had filed away their 7” a long time ago. –don (Boss Tuneage)


MANIFESTO JUKEBOX/I EXCUSE:
Split: EP
A Finnish band and a Japanese band who both kind of remind me of the best of Hüsker Dü, with the thick ringy guitars and the kind of proto-emo lyrics and fuzz and energy. Two songs each on red vinyl, it’s a reissue of a 2001 issue on Snuffy Smile. Snuffy Smile’s a cooler name than Combat Rock. –Cuss Baxter (Combat Rock Industry)


MANDRAGORA:
Full Bloom: CDEP

A mixture of ‘60s garage rock and psychedelia, like later period Redd Kross but with a darker sound. I wonder: if it was recorded in mono, would it sound cooler?

–don (Mandragora)


MALEFACTION:
Where There Is Power There Is Always Resistance: CD
Metal core that goes black sometimes, grinds a lot, never smiles, protests the standard protestibles, is from Canada, offers a list of resources for staying informed on the protestibles, and thinks doing a Death Sentence cover gives them license to program a “bonus track” at the end of two minutes of silence. –Cuss Baxter (G7 Welcoming Committee)


MAGIC BOX:
Bliss of a Madman: CD
Another moody, sonically expansive instrumental release from this label. Although it’s very pretty, this would better serve as a soundtrack for a film, or at the very least a yuppie sex session, rather than a casual listen. –jimmy (Pascal)


MAGGOTS, THE:
Do the Maggot!: CD
If you are a fan of ‘60s garage punk, you need to check out the bands on Sweden’s Low Impact Records. I have heard great bands from that label, like The Strollers, Sewergrooves and The Skreppers. This band is no exception. I received a 7” of this band for review awhile back and I definitely decided it was a keeper. I feel the same way about this release. It has that garage sound with snotty energy of punk but rock is the focus here. The thing that makes this even more special is that it sounds like it was recorded in the ‘60s. It would fool many on first listen if this was on a record playing with the pops and ticks in the background. I don’t know how big they are in Sweden, but I would think they would be popular here. The music is dead on and very easily consumed in these ears. Rock on, my brother and sisters! –don (Low Impact)


LOVEHOPEANDFEAR:
Roseep: CD
Admitting once again that I don’t know anything about hardcore, but I do know what I like. When asked if I know what I’m looking for all I can say is, “I’ll know it when I see it” and this is a little too clean for as scary as it’s supposed to sound. The vocals are over the top, in the “he needs a lozenge” hardcore way, but the music is just a bit too standard metal to make it all gel for me.
–Guest Contributor (State of Grace)


LONGBALL TO NO-ONE:
The Little Boy Picked up a Rock…: CD
Japan’s Longball to No-One have made a real leap. Shit-tons of diaper-butted, can-you-spare-a-hug emo bands claim excellent bands as influences – like Drive Like Jehu, Rites of Spring, and Jawbox. However, when I put on said emo bands’ records, all I usually hear is a long, extended whine and the sound of money getting siphoned out of a trust fund. But, with Longball to No-One, I hear the updating of Jehu and Rites I’ve been waiting for, nigh since this emo thingy started crying its eyes out. LTN are dynamically experimental and are not afraid to shift tempo and show a softer belly, but when they roll over, the music’s full of bristles and teeth and rocks the fuck out. Which puts us right at the doorstep of unadulterated emocore in the purest, best sense of the word. Give the album a bit to grow on you and it’ll reward you. –todd (Snuffy Smile)


LOCUST, THE:
Plague Soundscapes: CD
The name of the game for the Locust is compression. They use, basically, the same instruments as the Rick Wakeman band: keyboard, guitar, distortion pedals, drum. Instead of attempts dethroning the “wizard of the keyboard” and making epic length songs about mythical beasts prancing through enchanted forests, the Locust turn the sock inside out, cut song length down to pretty much zip, and wad it into a little, radioactive ball. Then they file the songs under titles like “Your Mantel Disguised as a Psychic Sasquatch.” And they’re pretty fuckin’ awesome at pulling it off. It’s often silly (“it’s time for the eyeball crotch to have a looksee”), but their tongues are firmly planted deep inside their powerviolence-inclined cheeks. Pretty sweet, and pretty much guaranteed to clear the room of people who can’t handle a little noise. Plague Soundscapes is like Cliff’s Notes for people with ADD. –todd (Anti/Epitaph)


LIPSTICK PICKUPS:
Better than You/Make Your Bed: 7"
If three chords of trashy, garage punk with female vocals give you an aural orgasm, this is your new booty for your shake! It’s got two songs that blow by so fast, you jones for another fix. I keep having to get up to put the needle back on the record. Listening to this over and over, I feel soiled from the dirtiness of the songs. –don (Kapow)


LEVELING, THE:
Self-titled: CD
I haven’t heard anything that sounded this much like early DRI in a really long time: eleven tracks in twelve minutes, led by Chad from Brother Inferior, also available on a 7” (with less tracks?), from Oklahoma, political and societal lyrics that go beyond the clichés, and, oh yeah, the last track (perhaps this is the bonus one) has the gallopy feel of old (old? maybe all) Iron Maiden. Look for the one with skulls on the cover. –Cuss Baxter (Angry, Young, and Poor)


LEG HOUNDS, THE:
self-titled: LP
I ordered a bunch of stuff from Demolition Derby (which, if you’re looking for European releases, you should definitely check out) and they were nice enough to throw this in as well. The Leg Hounds are such a solid band. Everything I’ve heard is consistently good. No frills, just rock’n’roll. The LP is recorded in mono, which works so well for them. I can’t figure that out. On their CDs they have both mono and stereo recordings, but I always think the mono just sounds right. Another great release from a band that has a pretty predominant place in my collection. –megan (Demolition Derby)


LAWRENCE ARMS, THE:
The Greatest Story Ever Told: CD
According to the press sheet, this band sounds like Jawbreaker and Crimpshrine. I’d say that’s a decent comparison, if outrageously ambitious. Throw in some Alkaline Trio and early 90’s wuss rock heroes the Posies and there you have it. Not exactly an ass whooping or anything, but pretty okay stuff nonetheless. Cool artwork, too. –Not Josh –Guest Contributor (Fat)


KNUCKLEHEAD:
Voice Among Us: CD
Still another North American oi band with the obligatory Irish inflections added to the sound to provide them with some sort of pseudo-European street cred. Included is an earlier album that ain’t all that much more interesting. –jimmy (www.ghetto-rock.com)


KNIFE FIGHT:
Self-titled: 7”
Hardcore’s like an elbow to the face: it’s a reasonably simple formula, and pretty much anyone should be able to do it with some degree of success. But every once in a while, something comes along like a whirlwind, and by the time you realize that you’re dealing with professionals your nose is smashed beyond recognition and the front of your shirt is drenched in blood. That’s what this 7” is like. Not only does it thrash at a thousand miles an hour, it’s catchy as shit and it rocks like a motherfucker. Eleven songs, no metal. –Not Josh –Guest Contributor (My War)


KING PRAWN:
Get the Thirst: CD
The UK’s answer to Sublime, a decade too late and with a larger band personnel. –jimmy (Golf)


KID DYNAMITE:
Cheap Shots, Youth Anthems: 2 X CD

I can’t overstate how much I liked Kid Dynamite when they were around and how much I still miss them. They took the instrumentation of Minor Threat, Gorilla Biscuits, The Circle Jerks, and Bad Brains, the smart brains of Articles of Faith and Born Against, sucked out all the good stuff, and made melodic hardcore a contemporary force between 1997 and 2000. They were one band who looked at an already ridiculously high bar and raised it on themselves while reclaiming hardcore from bald, floor-punching metallers. Then they broke up at the release party for their second record, when the singer, Jason, wanted to go and make movies. This retrospective package is smartly put together. Track selection and order both make great sense (like all the covers are lumped together, as are the demo outtakes). The liner notes are fantastic. With every song, there are anecdotes about song writing, troubles and triumphs in the studio (“Dave and I had to do the hand clapping tracks numerous times. It sucked.”), the general mood, sound secrets (what’s that noise at the end of “Rise Above”?), stories on how the band became to be (Thomas of Strike Anywhere tried out as a vocalist), and the occasional car wreck. Besides the fact you don’t have to track down a small slew of compilations for all of KD’s songs, there’s an original, unreleased song on here, started in 1998 and finished in 2003: “The Unheard Chorus.” Plus, there’s demo versions of five other songs, which is worth the price of admission itself. To round it out, there’s live radio show off the soundboard. The DJ’s a tool but the playing’s great. The DVD that accompanies is a short affair: three camcordered songs, and preview for the KD documentary. Wholly worth picking up.

–todd (Jade Tree)


KICK, THE:
Rumors, Rumors: CDEP
If I wanted to listen to the Goo Goo Dolls, I would go buy their CD or borrow it from my wife. –don (Dim Sum)


KARST:
Receive the Void: CDEP
Two of songs: “Lambs of God,” “Circle of Ground” (bonus of third [lacking of title], best of three). Victoria of Damad. Damad of Savannah (Savannah of Georgia): vocals of monster, vocals of muppet. Metal of doom, overtones of black. End of review. –Cuss Baxter (Hater of God)


HYPNOMEN, THE:
Altamont Boogaloo b/w Shake: 7” 45
NOTE: All my 7” reviews were done with the lights out this issue. WHAT I THOUGHT IN THE DARK: OH MY FUCKING GAWD IT’S AN INSTRUMENTAL COVER OF “LATIN SHAKE” BY LT. GARCIA’S MAGIC MUSIC BOX!!! IT’S FANTASTIC!!! IT’S AMAZING!!! IT’S FANTASTICALLY AMAZING!!! IT’S GENIUS IN OUR TIME!!! IT’S TIME IN OUR GENIUS!!! YOU’VE GOT YOUR CHOCOLATE IN MY PEANUT BUTTER!!! WELL YOU’VE GOT YOUR PEANUT BUTTER IN MY CHOCOLATE!!! (WHO IS THIS, CHESTNUT STATION? NAH, COULDN’T BE, THEY’D CRAP IT UP WITH VOCALS OR SOMETHING) THIS IS TRANS-STUPENDOUS!!! IT’S FAB!!! IT’S GEAR!!! IT’S MUNCH-O’S™!!! IT’S GOT ME THINKING IN ALL CAPS JUST LIKE LYDIA LUNCH!!! WHY HAS NO ONE THOUGHT OF THIS BEFORE??? I AM SAVED!!! SAAAAAAAAAVED!!! WHAT I THOUGHT WHEN THE LIGHTS CAME ON: HEEEEYYYY..! THIS isn’t an instrumental cover of “Latin Shake” by Lt. Garcia’s Magic Music Box! It’s a cover of REGULAR “Shake” by the Shadows of Knight! How could i be so misguided??? HOW I COULD, IN FACT, BE SO MISGUIDED: As you doubtless recall, “Shake” (key phrase: “got her eye on the drummer and the GIT-tar man”) was recorded by the Shadows of Knight during their stint on Buddah Records, the quintessential sixties bubblegum label. Being exactly That Kind Of Label, one of Buddah’s umpteen studio assemblages quickly followed up the initial “Shake” with a faux Latino takeoff/spinoff/knockoff that is, in fact, the aforementioned “Latin Shake” by the aforementioned Lt. Garcia’s Magic Music Box – essentially the same song, but with marginally more ethnocentric instrumentation, and dopey new lyrics about some guy named Jose. Many of the Hypnomen’s instrumental embellishments to original recipe “Shake” (shakers, percussion, et al) parallel those added in “Latin Shake,” so, all things being equal in the absence of lyrics, the instrumental “Shake” of the Hypnomen is actually quite “Latin Shake”-esque in form! Amazing, hey? BEST SONG: “Shake” BEST SONG TITLE: “Shake” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Both “Shake” and “Latin Shake” were co-authored by Joey Levine, who sang lead on the original “Latin Shake,” as well as the Ohio Express’ “Yummy Yummy Yummy” “Chewy Chewy” and “Down at Lulu’s,” the Reunion Band’s “Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)” and the original version of the oft-covered “Quick Joey Small.” He also co-wrote “I Enjoy (Being a Boy)” by the Banana Splits (later covered by the Queers, as well as REM, oops, that was redundant). Levine also sang lead to original recipe “Shake” over the existing Shadows of Knight backing tracks, releasing same under the “Kasenetz Katz Super Circus” name. Thank you for asking. –norb (Gearhead)


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