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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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UNIT F:
Security: CD
Effective, if wildly derivative, OC punk rock, with more than a few “borrowed” riffs and hella attitude. While joining the Warped Tour is often the kiss of death as far as I’m concerned, there are worse things one could be listening to than this, like the latest from any of the Warped Tour’s headliners. –jimmy (www.fingerrecords.com)


U.S. ROUGHNECKS:
Twenty Bucks and Two Black Eyes: CD
I’ll admit that when I saw this was on Hellcat, my underwear bunched up on me a little bit. But when I looked at the back cover and saw all the skeletons, I got my hopes up. I thought maybe it would end up being some decent, Misfits-y schlock punk; something obviously derivative, but certainly listenable—like Bobby Steele’s Undead. Was I off! The skeletons on the back cover are the only thing Misfits-y about these guys. No one’s hairdo in this band is anything close to a devilock. These are loud ‘n’ proud skinheads who play weightlifting street punk with a singer who sounds like a pro wrassler in a cranky mood. They prefer to call themselves “short haired rock-n-roll.” I’m sure these guys would probably beat me into jelly with baseball bats if they ever saw those old pictures of me with Robert Plant hair, but I like them anyway. Like so many bands from this particular subgenre, this is meaty and menacing and just plain hard not to like, in spite of it’s cartoony, pitbull-like earnestness. –aphid (Hellcat)


TYCKER DU?:
Close to It b/w No Leaves Yet: 5"
Man, five-inch records are so fuckin dumb: it takes six tries to get the goddamn needle on there without a rejection or dropping it on the mat, and then you get, at best, two minutes playtime before you gotta go through the whole thing again. And so, Tycker Du, you get one listen, you and your Hüsker-copped logo. Sounds more like Articles of Faith than Hüsker Dü , but in olden times the two had more in common than they would later, including Reflex Records, here echoed in the somewhat mysterious placement of the anagram Ferlex on the label, but not in such a way as to suggest, exactly, that that’s the name of the label, and since there’s no label or address listed, I guess it’ll remain a mystery. –Cuss Baxter (no label)


TRIO:
Don’t Forget b/w Fight: 7"
From the Japanese label that brought us Teengenerate’s Live at the Shelter and an early Firestarter 7” comes a more straight-ahead rock’n’roll outfit that sounds like New York City by the way of some big city in Japan—dashes of the Dictators and shakes of the Devil Dogs are all over this. It’s pretty good, definitely well played, but it’s a little too close to standard bar rock and repetitive for me to say that I’ll play it much in the future. –todd (Target Earth)


TRAILERPARK TORNADOS:
Don’t Mind the Maggots: 7" EP
For some reason, Buffalo’s proving to be one of the epicenters of disintegration for hard working, no luck punk bands. The Trailerpark Tornados sound like if Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmeister and two of his clones were thrown out of a van and run over by a retard bus then forced to go through an entire set before receiving any medical attention. It’s bloody, bruised, pained rock, void of catchy choruses, one hell of a roughed up recording, and full of “life fucking sucks”-isms. The outsider’s outsiders. Hey, it’s loads better than a bunch of rock star pricks whose songs are as interesting as reading the ingredients in hair gel, that’s for damn sure. –todd (Big Neck)


TOTAL CHAOS:
Punk Invasion: CD
To this day, malignant rumors swirl about the punk community that Total Chaos is nothing more than a pre-fab street punk band cooked up in the mid-’90s by the Epitaph execs for the sole purpose of pumping a little badly needed crust and snarl into their otherwise “safe” label roster. There was even a rumor that Rob Chaos was, in reality, Nikki Sixx’s little brother—and judging by the photos, you had to wonder; under all the spiky, colored hair and studded leather there was what appeared to be a “pretty boy” of sorts. And just how likely is it, the rumor continued, that a Rob Lowe-type is going to chuck it all for the gutter punk life of squatting and sporting around-the-clock b.o.? More likely that our Rob Lowe/Chaos character would wind up in some cheeseball hair metal band where his chiseled good looks and nice package can be more appropriately worshipped. Well, I don’t have any insider poop on the true identity of Mr. Chaos, but what is certain is that, whether his dissent is manufactured or not, he is indeed in a hair punk band and they have managed to put out several albums worth of boldly cliché and cartoony street punk in the Exploited/Discharge/GBH tradition. And happily, some of it has actually been pretty good. Their latest, Punk Invasion (which apparently is a re-release of the same record that originally came out in ‘01 on Reject) is a pretty typical T.C. release with mostly revved up hardcore street punk and some slower, less snarly, dumb punk anthems. As good as this is in spots, it’s equally bad in other spots (see Dumb Punk Anthems), so I’d still steer people towards their older, more consistent stuff like Pledge of Defiance and Patriotic Shock. But on the other hand, I’d definitely recommend this one over the one they did after Patriotic Shock with “Wilma Wifebeater” or whatever her name was. I guess I just miss the old line-up; I miss Ronald McMurder because he had a funny name and an even funnier haircut and I miss Joe Bastard, just because I think every punk band should have a fat guy. Now we have characters like “Todd Trash” and “Sean Smash” and it’s just not the same. All in all, Punk Invasion has a bit of a punk-by-numbers stink to it, but for the most part, it manages to rock dumbly, despite all the glammy gutter punk posturing. –aphid (SOS)


TIM VERSION, THE:
Prohibition Starts Tomorrow: CD
Don’t let these bastards sneak up on you. They’ll break into your house, take all your records, and stash them in an undisclosed location, or at least it will feel that way because once this record makes its way onto your turntable, it’s not coming off for a long-ass time. This is one of the few punk rock records that make me ask myself, “There’s whiskey in the hutch, how come I’m not drinking it?” which is not necessarily a good thing when I have to be at work in an hour and I’m looking for something, anything to take the edge off. I got news for you: the Tim Version ain’t it. If anything, they make the edge edgier. What else is punk rock good for? –Jim Ruland (ADD)


THIS SCARES ME:
Self-titled: single-sided 7” EP
Somewhere between The Locust and Guyana Punch Line, This Scares Me plates up a share of screaming powerviolence that’d give a soccer mom diarrhea in just one dose. There’s absolutely no letup in the bludgeoning. The lyrics read like how a Hieronymus Bosch painting looks—grotesque piles of dark deeds populated by a world of insanity and blackened hearts, all washed in blood. The packaging is phenomenal. A ribcage opens up to internal organs. According to their website, they broke up. –todd (Tsunami)


SWINGIN’ UTTERS:
Live in a Dive: CD
I don’t need to explain what this band sounds like, do I? These guys have been around for a while. My question is, why they are not as big as Rancid, Dropkick Murphys or, say, Flogging Molly? They came up around the same time period. I don’t think they have to open for anyone anymore. But I guess because their videos aren’t really on MTV and their counterparts’ channels. But I would figure their popularity is at the level of the Casualties. Another release on the Live in the Dive series, a series that shows with such great recording production, you almost forget that it’s a live set. So if you like the Utters, this is another one to add to the collection. –don (Fat)


SUNDAY DRUNKS:
On the Prowl: CD
When bluesy punk is done right it can be a beautiful thing, and these guys most definitely do it right, managing to reference the Stooges, the Dolls, the Heartbreakers and the first Damned album without sounding either dated or like worshippin’ geek clones. They stomp and swagger with the best of ‘em, crank out one blues-encrusted tune after another, and leave you wantin’ more. Good stuff. –jimmy (Dead Beat)


SUICIDE MILKSHAKE:
No Set Destination: CD
Hey, every lovelorn, one hit wonder from the ‘80s called. They want their song back. No bonus points for taking the music for one song and trying to pawn it off as four different ones by rearranging the clichéd lyrics. –megan (Submerge UK)


STUNT DOUBLES:
Next Generation: CD
This seems like a two band split, except that the two bands are both the same band. The first nine tracks are straight-ahead street punk, with not more than one melody between them. The words change from tune to tune, but not much else. On the final four tracks, they add a trumpet and a trombone, and become a fairly interesting ska band. My hope is that ska is the direction they are going in, because they really don’t cut it as a street punk band. My only other problem with this release is that there are three, count ‘em, three instrumentals. There’s just no reason for that on a punk record. –brian (info@stuntdoublesrocks.com)


STRUNG UP:
Society Rot in Hell: LP
Holy shit, fuck and goddamn if this ain’t one sweet motherfuckin’ release. Fifteen tracks of flying fingers, stop/go tempos and attitude up the wazoo, all wrapped up in the accoutrements of a Bay Area hardcore band. In their tunes one can hear a mishmash of influences, from Bad Posture (who they cover here), Verbal Abuse, Negative Approach and a host of others, all blended perfectly and spat back out like a finely crafted margarita. If you have even a passing interest in hardcore and believe that there ain’t been anything good that’s come out of that scene in more than a decade, I suggest you get a hold of this by any means necessary, ‘cause it’ll give you that curb job you so desperately need, smart guy. –jimmy (Blazing Guns/Kangaroo)


STREET TRASH:
Self-titled: 7"
I reviewed a twelve-inch by these guys a couple of issues back and thought it was just ginchy, so picking this outta the piles was a given. Couldn’t figure out why all the songs sounded so friggin’ familiar, though, until I pulled the twelve-inch off the rack and realized it was the exact same record on a different format. Ah, well, I may be an idiot, but this still rocks somethin’ fierce. –jimmy (Kangaroo)


STRAY BULLETS:
The Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune: CD
Yet another ska/punk band to bore you to tears. We’re about due for yet another ska revival, aren’t we? I bet you’re all just as excited about the thought as I. Don’t worry, ‘cause like Jim Jones, I’ve got some special Kool-Aid for the bands. –jimmy (Fork in Hand)


STANLEY ROSS/LOVE STORY IN BLOOD RED:
Split: 7"
Stanley Ross: It sounds like the singer for that Brit-pop band, Pulp, singing a Cat Stevens song. Like a British Cat Stevens. Was Cat Stevens British? I don’t know. This is everything I should hate—I swear it’s got that corner of a dimly-lit coffee shop with an acoustic guitar feel to it—but I actually like it. LSIBR: Okay, so we had Brit-pop singing folk, but on this I swear it’s like Lou Reed singing Blur. This one is not the sexy. –megan (Nodak)


STALKERS:
Sun’s Coming Up b/w I Couldn’t Wait to Get Home: 7"
This band and record appear to bear at least superficial resemblance to the Crowd’s A World Apart album, but, in the cold hard reality of my piercing critical gaze, i have decided that they’re more like ultra-early Misfits (just after “Cough/Cool”) playing Sweet Baby songs. Both tunes are fairly strong, and, at my advanced age, that’s what i like to see in a new band. I hereby declare myself in wait for the band’s next record, before i throw the raw meat to the masses. We have all been warned. BEST SONG: “Sun’s Coming Up” BEST SONG TITLE: “I Couldn’t Wait to Get Home” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: That lead singer dude sure looks a fucking scary lot like my buddy’s ex-girlfriend. GO HOME. TANIA, YOU’RE DRUNK. –norb (Dollar Record)


STAGGERS, THE:
One Heartbeat Away From Hell: CD
Sturdy but samey-sounding hardcore-cum-punkabilly, complete with Brian Setzer sideburns, hollow body guitars and a Hank Williams cover. Antiseen Lite? Molly Hatchet gone punk? Meat Loaf fronting Molly Hatchet doing Antiseen covers? Fuck if I know. Though it had its moments, it never quite cinched me into that skull-popping headlock that I like to find myself in when I listen to this kind of music. And the milquetoast version of “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron” didn’t help matters. –aphid (Haunted Town)


SOVIETTES, THE:
Alright b/w Plus One: 7"
Add two more feathers into the Soviettes’ cap. Flawless, urgent, fun punk rock with vocals that rotate easily through all four members like hot oil pumping through a big, powerful engine. If you’ve ever entertained liking a completely modern Go Go’s-style of verve, insufferable hooks, hard-working sweat, contagious melodies, and smarts, The Soviettes are a sure-fire bet. Hell yeah, it’s great. They’re the musical equivalent to having a cotton candy machine in your house. –todd (Dirtnap)


SOUTH BAY BESSIE:
It:
Run-of-the-mill pop punk. Not especially noteworthy, not horrible. Well, except for the horrifically lame cover illustration, which totally fucking blows. –scott (Acutest)


SONIC LOVE AFFAIR:
Self-titled: 2 X 7”
This is broken up into the two sides of the band’s personality, I guess, with the first disc showcasing a more fuzzed-out psychedelic influence and the second leaning more toward a Detroit rock bent. There’s one original and one cover on each slab o’ wax and all are done quite well. Dunno if they can pull off a full-length, but this ain’t too bad. –jimmy (Dollar Record)


SOLIDARITY PACT, THE:
Concrete Don: CD
They seem to mean well. The DIY press release insert is a rambling, stream of consciousness rant about how we’re all one big family, and we need to stick together and scream together, so that we can rise up together. Very uplifting. But the music is dark and throbbing, with hardcore screaming vocals and thunderous drums. Not exactly my thing, but well done. –brian (Solidarity Pact)


SNUKY TATE:
Who Cares?: 7"
Another bootleg, this one featuring a couple of Mutants lending their respective talents to Mr. Tate. The guitar has a really cool, early Saints sound to it, hollow-sounding but really raw and fuzzed out at the same time. It’s pretty unmemorable. I never would have guessed that the demand for this record was so great that a bootleg would be necessary. –Josh (no label)


SLOW JETS:
Remain in Ether: CD
There’s really not much for me to care about here—at times it sounds like Sonic Youth channeling Dick Dale, at others it’s as if Pavement really was The Fall. In the grand tradition of reviewers who really have nothing of merit to say about an artistic work besides dropping the names of seminal bands and trying to show off their musical knowledge (come on motherfucker, whip it out and get a ruler—we’ll see who’s bigger), I will offer that fans of indie rock might find this appealing. However, it doesn’t really do shit for me. –scott (Morphius)


SLEEPING DOGS:
Beware: CD
A reissue of a Crass-related band’s recorded output. Sludgy rhythms, monotone vocals, anarchist lyrics—this is what Flipper would’ve sounded like if they had been from England and had Penny Rimbaud on drums. –jimmy (Broken Rekids)


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