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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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I EXCUSE:
Burn the Empty to Ash: CD
As if you needed one, here’s another reason to go to Japan. I Excuse plays fantastic rough-and-tumble melodic punk, quite a bit like the Thumbs, especially vocally. That’s great in itself, but what really lights this disc on fire is the white-fucking-hot, razor sharp guitar work straight out of the Leatherface songbook. Hear that, Thumbs? Put out a record and go on tour before this band steals your thunder. –Not Josh –Guest Contributor (Newest Industry)


I.R.D.:
Aldrig Kopt – Aldrig Sald: 7” EP
Word is that some of the dudes in Millincollin are in this Swedish band, but I.R.D. sound much more crusty than a squeaky clean skate pop punk band. Instrumentally, they’re very much a hardcore band playing Motorhead, which put them in league with Born Dead Icons, but they’re not as good. There’s galloping and pounding drums, constantly sawing guitars, the occasional solo, and a polyp-y lead singer. It’s half in Swedish and half in English. The English half is a tad slower and more distinctively metal. Decent. –todd (Combat Rock Industry)


IN THE WAKE OF THE PLAGUE:
Self-titled: 7" EP
Ripping, balls-to-the-wall hardcore up to its eyeballs in Discharge influence, yet managing not to come off as yet another clone of that band. Impressive noise. –jimmy (In the Wake of the Plague)


I EXCUSE:
…Is Dead: CD
I’ve yet to complain if a band takes Leatherface as their template and lets their own passion fill in the gaps with bits of Hüsker Dü, Chicago-style punk (via Naked Raygun), and element X. What Japan’s I Excuse immediately lack in a sound of their own they more than make up in current vitality and how much this feels like a fresh batch of tunes that are still blooming instead of a dated re-run. Gargling broken glass vocals, guitar and bass that are more tightly woven and wider in breadth than an illegal dragline fishing net, a record that places the drums up in the mix, and articulate pleas for peace from the only country that ever got a nuclear bomb dropped on it are all indications that this is getting a big thumbs up. –todd (Snuffy Smile)


INHUMAN:
The New Nightmare: CD
This is what the kids call hardcore these days. Well, maybe, they might not call this hardcore. But they might! Me, I know my metal and I can not be swayed. This is metal: East Coast hardcore with the down tuned bass and guitars and the heavy riffing. The drummer busts a lot of double bass action through the songs. Only thing missing is the guitar solos. But that would be dating myself. The singer reminds me of the singer from Strife. Pretty fuckin’ heavy, dude! –don (A-F)


JOYKILLER, THE:
Ready, Sexed, Go!: CD
This is an anthology of Jack Grisham’s last band before he reunited TSOL. I personally liked the self-titled first album. Ron Emory played guitar on that record and he added that TSOL/Beneath the Shadows feel. I had lost interest when I heard the second record: Static. Ron Emery was not playing. I also thought at the time that they sounded too Cathedral of Tears / Tender Fury to me. (Jack’s bands after TSOL.) I saw those bands a bunch of times but I was too punk rock and ignorant back then to enjoy it. Their last release was Three. I didn’t even listen to that one. Hearing this band again is more enjoyable now and coming in with unbiased ears makes this interesting. The band experiments with more varieties of music and has developed a poppy, melodic expression over time. If you want punk, buy their first release or stay within the first nine tracks. If your mind is open, give the disc a full spin. –don (Epitaph)


JOLENES, THE:
Rinse and Repeat: CD
Cutesy girly pop. Hand me a barf bag quick. –jimmy (Last Chance)


IPANEMA:
Je Suis un Baseball Bat vs. Skull: CDS
I know that it’s cheaper to make a CD instead of a vinyl 7”, but it sure seems like a waste putting out a two-song CD. I know, at least for the consumer, it would be cheaper to buy a 7” than a CDEP in most cases. If I had to pay like $10 for this, I would be pissed. Looking at the packaging, it doesn’t give me a clue that this is only basically a single. The songs are about average in the melodic pop punk vein that has elements of Hot Water Music meets Strung Out. –don (Boss Tuneage)


JOYKILLER, THE:
Ready, Sexed, Go: CD

Funny thing, drinking is. Seeing as I dug the last TSOL album, Todd gave me this ‘cause I’d told him I’d never heard any of Jack’s post-TSOL/Cathedral of Tears bands. As soon as I pressed play, though, I found myself thoroughly perplexed at my ability to sing along with damn near every track on this. Then it hit me: not only had I heard Joykiller before, I’d actually owned a couple of their cassettes, lost long ago and subsequently shrouded in the drunken haze that other people would probably identify as the 1990s. DOH! Sorry for unwittingly fibbing to you, homie, but you know how it is…. Anyway, this is an anthology of tracks culled from their three albums, plus a few unreleased tracks originally slated for release under the names “The Go” and “Gentleman Jack.” While the songs are just as swell as they were when originally released, it’s especially nice to hear the band’s progression from “good punk band” to “good punk band with some startlingly solid songwriting skills,” all in the space of one 80-minute disc, and the new tracks are just as swell as the older, more familiar tunes they accompany here. It’s also interesting to hear what is arguably the bridge from vintage TSOL to the current TSOL. Kinda helps to make a little more sense of that “comeback” album of theirs, Disappear, which took a little digging to find that old magic, ‘cause listening to this shows step-by-step what they piled onto that classic sound, thus making it easier to excavate it from their more recent work . But, in a sudden glut of overanalyzing, I digress. This is one fine album, buy many copies to make sure you always have one on hand and I thank both Epitaph and Todd for helping me to recapture some seriously lost memories.

–jimmy (Epitaph)


HYBRID MUTANTS:
Escape Velocity: CD
For those of you with insufficient science backgrounds, “escape velocity” is technically defined as “distance d between sofa and CD player divided by the time t it takes the listener N to get up, walk over, and hit the stop and eject buttons” – in my case, that’s nine feet eight inches divided by approximately three seconds, or 3.2667 ft./sec. Fascinating. Seriously, though, it cannot bode well for those who fret about the continued viability of organically constructed guitar/bass/drum music when packaging and songtitles (“Cassi-O” “Apollo-1: Fire in the Hole”) make listener N, prior to the actual listening, wonder if he’s been assigned some kinda techno thingus to review, and, after listening, cause listener N to lament that fact that he, in fact, was not. BEST SONG: “Sunsets & Cigarettes,” i guess BEST SONG TITLE: “Cassi-O” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Graphics attributed to one “Heineken Skywalker.” Okay, that rules. –norb (LEM)


HOSPITALS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Finally! Someone jammed Doo Rag’s blues rock plug into Pussy Galore’s noise socket and it lights shit up like one of those fireworks accidents where everything blows up at once on the ground and the guy’s arm flies off and you’re sitting in the stands with a Bomb Pop in your mouth and everyone starts screaming and the guy behind you kicks your neck. The riff on “Friends” alone just beats me to death every time, and it only goes for like twenty seconds and it makes me feel the way I imagine it would have felt to have heard Led Zep or AC/DC for the first time when they were fresh, or, for that matter, the way I did feel when I first heard Black Flag (which, incidentally, I keep reading references to in others’ Hospitals reviews and I don’t hear it, musically, but the punch is there) or, unavoidably, Pussy Galore. Raw (I mean seriously raw), almost sub-rock, bashing gets hurled in all directions by two guys with a few drums and a guitar (and at least one Suicide record, whose “Rock and Roll is Killing My Life” is here) and if ever a record deserved the mantle “in the red”, this is it. –Cuss Baxter (In The Red)


HOLY GHOST REVIVAL:
Hot Love in a Berlin Bombshelter: 7”
Sorry, Jethro Tull was never my style. They should’ve sent this to High Times instead. –megan (Burn Burn Burn)


HENRY FIAT’S OPEN SORE:
I Was a Teenage Pretty Boy: 7”
What in god’s name has come over me? I get a new HFOS recording and I start to pant and squirm and quake like a pubescent girl front row at a Justin Timberlame concert. I can feel my journalistic dignity wriggling down my legs and flying away from me like a pair of love-soaked underpants sailing stage-ward. I gotta get a grip on myself. But hot damn – these demento-shaman satan grooves have real honest-to-goodness demon blood pouring out of them and splattering everything in sight with a happy dangerous idiocy. Woof. Step right up and get yours. This here HFOS band blasts you in the face like a baseball bat covered with snot. And you will ask for more. –aphid (Ken Rock)


HELLA:
Dilute: 2 X CD
Two full disks of free-form jam rock. I just don’t get that shit. Maybe I don’t have the right drugs. I hope I never get a hold of any. –megan (Sickroom)


GOLDBLADE:
Strictly Hardcore: CD
This is supposed some hot-shit punk band from the UK, but all I’m hearing is crap rock music with miserable lyrics. I’m willing to bet they’re embarrassed by the whole exercise in ten years time, ‘cause this puppy sucks pretty hardcore. –jimmy (www.thickrecords.com)


GG ALLIN AND ANTISEEN:
Murder Junkies: CD
A reissue of an album released a decade ago that sounds like a weekend jam session for Antiseen with GG ranting along. Better than some of the other GG-related releases out there, but still nothing to write home about. –jimmy (TKO)


GET GET GO/ARCHEOPTERYX:
Split: CD
Get Get Go: Two guys, manning guitar, drums and no bass, turn in seven tracks of skronky noise that sometimes veers into screamo territory. Archeopteryx: Pretty much the same formula as the aforementioned band. Both groups make a helluva racket with oodles of changes in tempo and dynamics, yet fail to impress much. –jimmy (Pandacide)


GENUINE:
Bury the Hatchet: CD
Complete discography of another band I never heard of before. It’s not surprising that I have never heard of them. The graphics on the cover has the XXX. That tells me right of the bat that this is straight edge. Upon reading the liner notes, this is a project band surrounding a guy named Aaron Edge. Some songs, he does strictly by himself. With others, he recruits his friends to help him when needed. Those friends are from the bands Botch, Himsa, and Trial and Champion. I’m a kook here. I haven’t really heard those bands either. What I can tell you is this sounds like modern day hardcore. Very metal mixed with that ‘88 stra –don (State of Grace)


GUARDIA NEGRA:
Adrenalina!: CD
Don’t know exactly where they hail from, but they are a self-proclaimed anarcho-communist “redskin” band who play rudimentary punk and sing in French and Spanish about petrol bombs and waging war on the bourgeoisie. Hey, man, whatever floats yer boat. –jimmy (Cochebomba)


HEATSEEKERS, THE:
In Praise of…: CD
Not essential, but far from disposable garage punk that owes a lot to the New Bomb Turks, both in the high-stepping instruments and the clear, jets-in-the-stratosphere vocals of either Ryan or Owen (they both sing). There’s no denying that they’re catchy, have much-better-than-average songwriting skills, know what works in the Cramps catalog, and can play well. But I don’t hear that extra spark. Take someone along the lines of the Beltones (who used to live nearby, if I’m not mistaken), a band that took a very similar, tightly clustered set of cues and mixed up the mix just enough to stake their own claim. I’m willing to give the Heatseekers some leeway and hear their next release because parts of songs really get moving, but taken as a whole, it sits right in the middle. On related news, the drummer, Chuck Loose, makes some graphically arresting cool gig posters. You can check them out on the internet. –todd (OHEV; www.ohevrecords.com)


HAVOC, THE:
Our Rebellion Has Just Begun: CD
Lacking oxymorons in your life? How about a new crusty punk disc courtesy of a Jesus-punk band decked out in all the finest in stereotypical anarcho-poseur accoutrements and parrot-color dye jobs? Normally, my first instinct would be to dismiss them for the bad joke they are, but I’m really working hard on being a little more understanding, so I can really empathize with these guys and their plight. Hell, if I called Whittier home, I’d probably be just as lacking in original thought and sucking on the tit of religion with the same zeal. Just to keep them on their toes and feeling “punk,” feel free to drive through Uptown and pelt ‘em with crackers and communion wafers. –jimmy (Punk Core)


GUNMOLL/ ANNALISE:
Split: 7"
Gunmoll have always been a notch from complete adoration from me. Full-on, gutted vocals, instrumentation that would make sense in almost any Leatherface song, and plenty of punch. “Fantasy”’s a pretty rockin’ song. But in “In My Place,” there isn’t that extra “holy shit” element that splinters them off from bands they’re similar to, like Hot Water Music, and, to a lesser degree, Radon. Said in another way, they’re second tier. Annalise are okay. UK pop punk that crib notes from early Jam and have more than a passing blush to the Connie Dungs, but the end result is more pedestrian and a lot more bland. The vinyl’s thick as a poker chip, has cool orange bloops in clear vinyl, and the packaging is immaculate. –todd (Boss Tuneage)


HAROLD RAY:
Live in Concert: CD
Some high-octane, high-quality soul from Mr. Ray and his cohorts, not unlike the Sonics in their prime covering James Brown. Although I probably would’ve preferred studio work to a live recording, the sound quality here and energy level of this live performance make for an entertaining listen. –jimmy (Alternative Tentacles)


GENERATORS, THE:
Excess Betrayal… and Our Dearly Departed: CD
A bit of a musical departure here for these guys. The songs on this latest release are considerably more mature musically and lyrically introspective than previous efforts, sometimes venturing into mainstream rock territory instead of relying on the oi-inspired brand of rock/punk they usually rely on. There’s an interesting progression going on here that might piss off some fans, but nonetheless shows that the boys are putting some work into their craft rather than relying on the same-old same-old. –jimmy (I Used to Fuck People Like You In Prison)


GACY SOUNDTRACK:
: CD
As can be expected from the musical score of one of the more recent entries in the booming serial killer series of biopics, the music is, naturally, moody and creepy sounding (what were you expecting, circus music?!?). If film scores ain’t your bag, let me add that this would also make for some primo mood music for your next Halloween haunted house. Two thumbs up for this on that tip alone. –jimmy (Pascal)


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