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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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SLATER:
Self-titled: CD
Sensitive rock. Oh, and they sing through a bullhorn filter just like STP. AC Slater would be disappointed. –megan (Fork in Hand)


SKY SAXON & THE SEEDS:
Red Planet: CD
...i am really not a Seedsologist—i’ll cop to owning a copy of Web of Sound and, of course, familiarity with the hits (“Pushing Too Hard,” “No Escape,” etc.), but that’s pretty much it—so i surely hope i didn’t wind up getting assigned this record in the hopes that i had this vast wealth of information that i could just strew hither ‘n’ yon. I mean, i respect them ‘60s punk bands, and i even respect the ‘60s drug culture, and i especially respect a full-time cartoon nut like Sky Saxon, because, quite frankly, That Is What I Want To Be When I Grow Up—but, ultimately, although i was drooling and wearing a diaper for much of the portion of the ‘60s i was alive in, i was able to form some pretty strong opinions regarding the Popular Music Of The Time: Painted in broad strokes, my feeling always was “Bubblegum Good, Psychedelic Bad.” And, of course, i realize that these are the thoughts of an infant—but, then again, so what? I’m pretty sure i had a better-formed idea of what was “cool” or “uncool” at age three or four than most dopes i meet in the street will ever have in their entire adult lives. But, of course, i also realize that my utopian dream at age four (owning a jukebox and a lot of quarters so i could dance with my cousins all night to “Yummy Yummy Yummy” and “Bang-Shang-A-Lang”) doesn’t really work in a world where you have to beat people in the head just to be allowed to survive, so, uhhh... what’s my point? My point, i guess, is that i cannot be reasonably expected to be overly excited about a new Seeds album. Were this a new Ohio Express or Archies or Lancelot Link & The Evolution Revolution or Banana Splits record, i’d be fucking pissing my pants (note: i have been toilet trained in the interim). I am, as regards the late ‘60s, somewhat of a counter-revolutionary, and i maintain my right to this position by the fact that i actually remember a fair amount of data about the four years and four months i existed in that decade, so there. ANYWAY. About The Seeds, yes? How does this brain-purge involve The Seeds? Well, see, the thing about The Seeds is that they’ve obviously got the one foot in That Which Man Would Call The ‘60s Punk, which is advantageous and good. On the other hand—or, more correctly, foot—they’ve also got one foot in That Which Might Be Psychedelic, which can occasionally be problematic. Now, “psychedelic” music, to me, is great, in theory. If you have, say, The Byrds giving you this occasional lush sonic tapestry to enjoy, that’s cool. If you have, say, the Bees giving you total brain-rot like “Voices Green and Purple,” that’s cool too. However, you take a case like the Jefferson Airplane, on the other hand, and... well... generally not my bag, in a big way. By dint of relatively crude instrumentation and production (blast that Farfisa and yell! Fuck yes!), The Seeds sidestep an immediate chuck into The Pit Of Psychedelic Hell—but, yet, i can’t help but be edgy, feeling the band is eternally treading seductively on the periphery of a genre i do not and will not approve of. Realistically, anyone like three years older or younger than myself would probably have a totally different opinion on these matters, but that is pure speculation on my part. Very nice silkscreened cover art. I take back half those things i just said about your mothers! BEST SONG: “Let Her Sting” BEST SONG TITLE: “Let Her Sting,” although that seems grossly unfair FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The Seeds’ keyboard player is now the guy from the Finks/Bomboras/etc... and the new bass player used to be in Decry?!??!??!??!?!?!!! –norb (Rogue)


SKARP:
Bury Your Dead: CD
The lyrics read like defiant hardcore, but the music sounds like bad scowl-metal. Ah, well. –jimmy (www.inimical.com)


SK8 OR DIE:
Not in My Skatepark: CD
Barely competent hardcore with a love of skateboarding and a hatred of rollerbladers as its overarching theme. It was funny and witty in its simplicity, and I doubt I’ll ever listen to it again. –jimmy (Hill Billy Stew)


SINCE BY MAN:
We Sing the Body Electric: CD
Yet another soulless tonsil shredder fronting a band of moderately interesting hard-rockers. Not worth your time. –brian (Revelation)


SIGNAL LOST:
Children of the Wasteland: CD
Something different from Prank Records this time around. A label that specializes more in the thrash variety, they diversify with this one. This is a female-led band that is more Vice Squad than the Distillers. Moody and atmospheric like the band Proletariat, or dissonant at times like early Sonic Youth. I find a lot of what I hear this band doing to be similar to the latest Harum Scarum LP by reaching out past the cookie cutter parameters of punk and trying to achieve the anger of the genre without having to play a million miles a minute. Dark and gloomy songs that are well done. –don (Prank)


SEGER LIBERATION ARMY:
2 + 2 = ? b/w East Side Story: 7"
I suppose the fact that I was never a big Bob Seger fan explains the fact that I JUST DON’T GET WHY THIS BAND EXISTS. Adequate garage rock. –Cuss Baxter (Big Neck)


SEDACED:
Self-titled: CDEP
Melodic post punk out of the UK that sounds like Leatherface meets Hot Water Music. –don (Newest Industry)


SCATTER THE ASHES:
Devout/The Modern Hymn: CD
Modern rock that is being funneled through a punk label. If your vibe is atmospheric and moody, this is for you. I think you emo cats would probably dig this also. –don (Epitaph)


SCARLET LETTER, THE:
How is Your Heart?: CD
Sincere, well-intentioned hardcore. Sadly, heart only takes a band so far; memorable music needs to carry the music for the remainder of the journey and that’s where this stumbles. It’s not bad, but it isn’t memorable. Besides, I’ve had an issue with the idea of writing an essay about what a song means that’s longer than the song is for some time now. –scott (Black Matter)


SBV/FEELIN’ FINE!:
Split: 7"
SBV (no indication for what it stands) from SD (stands for San Diego) play very very fast most of the time, especially on the Ripcord cover, and the singer has a high youthcrew voice. I can’t even figure out what speed the Feelin’ Fine! side goes on, but they both sound great! At both speeds, they’re heavier and scarier than SBV, and they get five songs, two more than SBV. They’re from Fresno, but they sound like some of the radder Japanese thrashgrinders of today. Who’s feeling fine now? Me! –Cuss Baxter (Retarded)


SAFES, THE:
Boogie Woogie Rumble: CDEP
Sounds like a quarter-century-younger version of the Angelic Upstarts all cracked up on those energy drinks so popular with our nation’s youth singing Undertones songs that aren’t about girls, except for “Mental Wheelchair,” which kind of sounds like it could have come from somewhere in the middle of the second side of the Adolescents first album. If this record gets you on the floor, watch out for your brisket! BEST SONG: “Mind Meltdown” BEST SONG TITLE: “Mind Meltdown” i guess FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: 75% of this band appear to be brethren. –norb (Pro-Vel)


SAD STATE OF AFFAIRS:
Self-titled: CD
Modern day hardcore with youth crew background vocals and metal guitar riffs. Are you tough enough? –don (Spook City)


RUM RUNNER:
Association: CD
Pogues meets The Business. If you are longing for more of early Dropkick Murphys when they were at their best, this might be what you are looking for. –toby (Longshot)


ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT:
Circa Now! + 4: CD
This album was originally my introduction to RFTC back in the early ‘90s, and it’s the standard that I’ve held all of their later albums up to. As far as I’m concerned, RFTC didn’t release anything as good as Circa Now! until last year’s Live from Camp X-Ray. I don’t know if it’s just sentimental on my part, or if this album is really as great as I think it is. I will say this, though: I taped this off of a friend in 1993. When the tape wore out, I bought the CD. That CD was stolen from me sometime around ’96, and a year later, I bought a new copy. So this reissue is the fourth time I’ve gone out of my way to obtain a copy of this album. It has been in my car, in my wife’s car, or in heavy rotation at home for the majority of the last twelve years. I can’t think of many other albums that I can say that about. Originally, Interscope released this album, and there’s an interesting story all about how RFTC got signed and recorded this in L.A. during the L.A. riots in 1992, and how John Reis got the rights back and re-released it himself (it’s all in the liner notes, I’m not gonna rehash it here). Press releases aside, though, this is one of my all-time favorites and it’s essential listening. There are four extra songs on this re-issue. They’re really good songs, but I can understand why they didn’t make the original cut. They just don’t have the same intensity and feel of the rest of the album. They’d fit better with RFTC’s Scream Dracula Scream (which is a pretty good album, too). –sean (Swami)


RIPCORDZ:
Are Go!: CD
Mistook this band for the legendary hardcore band Ripcord, so imagine my surprise when I plopped it on and some vaguely poppy punk rock came outta the speakers. They ain’t all that bad at what they do, and they have supposedly garnered some modicum of popularity over the long stretch of time they’ve been in existence, but frankly, I’ve definitely heard much better from others strip-mining the same plot of land. –jimmy (www.unionlabelgroup.com)


RHINO 39:
Xerox & No Compromise b/w Prolixin Stomp: 7"
A completely obscure LA band gets the bootleg treatment here. Legend has it that Black Flag’s first real gig was opening up for this band, which makes sense, since the two songs on the A-side mine the same kind of proto-hardcore sound as Black Flag did on Nervous Breakdown. It also brings to mind other bands from that time period like the Adolescents, the Cheifs, and the Stepmothers: full of nervous energy and sloppy melodies. The B-side is very, very similar to “Tiger Beat Twist” by the Simpletones, with the happy, bouncing beat and the fact that both songs are about dances, like punk rock versions of “Do the Locomotion” or something. Pretty good, but not exactly something that everyone needs to own. –Josh (Dangerhouse)


RF7:
Addictions & Heartache: CD
Getting old not only sucks, it’s also just plain weird, which is cool: For instance, the interval between this album’s release and the release of RF7 ‘87—the last RF7 album i recall myself being in possession of, although i’m not so sure there wasn’t another one after that—doesn’t seem any more longer and ridiculous than the interval between RF7 ‘87 and the Fortunate Son 45 was, even though we’re talking about one interval of like four years and another one of like seventeen years. Further, although i will state without fear or favor that RF7 were never a big favorite of mine (lots of my friends liked ‘em though) back in The Day, they don’t sound a goddamn measurable micron worse twenty-two years later—at least not to these punk-ravaged eardrums. We still gotz the two-guitar-punk-rock-plus-occasional-dark-surface-rock-and-or-metal-isms attack of the Way Back When, we still gotz unsung L.A. punk hero Felix Alanis’ feces-sweet Lemmy-burgers on the vocal grill... hell, i can’t honestly say that i’ve played this back to back with “Fall In,” but, i mean, honestly, this certainly seems like it’s within the ballpark of their best material. The title track (with a Screeching Weaselish riff and everything!) is, in all likelihood, my favorite RF7 song of all time (not including “Fortunate Son,” which is cheating as it’s my favorite CCR tune) Y’all whom dunno who RF7 be, y’all go to some night classes or somethin’ and straighten up your conception of the punk rock framework. This man’s name is MR. Felix, and he’s got more SiCK TEENs than you. BEST SONG: “Addictions & Heartache” BEST SONG TITLE: “Where Have All The Quaaludes Gone?” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Unless reality shifted in the last two decades and i don’t remember what the fuck was going on, Felix Alanis’ Smoke 7 label released the first album by the band then known as Red Cross, Born Innocent. –norb (Puke ‘n’ Vomit)


REVENGE IS:
Self-titled: CDEP
Holy. Fucking. Shit. They did not just introduce a guitar solo on the record by saying the guitarist’s name, did they? You must be fucking kidding me. And that’s just the first song. Generic, unmemorable, hopefully quickly forgotten rock’n’roll. If a cutout bin still exists somewhere, this disc will find its way there. –scott (Morphius)


RESTARTS, THE:
System Error: CD
When we had the big wave of street punk a few years ago, it always sounded weird to me when the bands were from the states. When I think of oi/ Brit punk, I think of working class Brits with accents. Hearing an American sing the same style or fake an English accent always rubbed me the wrong way. They had to have real good songs to make me listen to any song more than once. But here is a band from the UK and they sound genuine. On top of that, they play solid and the songs are catchy as hell. It just sounds right. The songs sound like they are actually sung by a punk you meet at the pub. The band has slight hints of influences from bands of the past but has a freshness of today. The lyrics are well thought out. This band has actually taken the time to think beyond the pint glass. Ultimately, The Restarts play a good batch of songs that are melodic and have great sing along parts. It’s a great listen. Cheers! –don (Havoc)


RESTARTS, THE:
System Error: CD
Mid-tempo English punk rock with all the requisite sing-along parts and defiance that has become a bit of a stereotype these days. So what’s so special about these guys, then? They sound sincere about what they are singing about, the songs are well-written and catchy as hell, and that, my dear friends, makes all the difference. If this was released twenty years ago, you’d gleefully be paying through the nose for a copy. –jimmy (Havoc)


RESILIENCE:
Sound of Strength: CD
Not particularly exciting oi-inpired punk rock with simplistic, yet defiant, lyrics. The best thing I can muster about it is that there wasn’t a “getting drunk with the boys/we’ve got something to say/let’s fight” tune to be found. –jimmy (SOS)


REPLICATOR:
You Are Under Surveillance: CD
Reminds me of Jeff Pezzati fronting Girls Against Boys or some other bass-driven D.C. post-core unit. Yes, there are sound clips, odd effects, etc. It’s reminiscent of Rage Against the Machine in that respect… but only in the number of gadgets Tom Morello would fuck around with to make a noise. This is really pretty boring because there just isn’t much to say before it’s all said and done. –scott (Substandard)


REDLINERS, THE:
Just Tonight b/w Fakes: 7"
The A-side, “Just Tonight” almost sounds like the Yardbirds. It’s a type of blues pop that wouldn’t be out of place in a jukebox and I wouldn’t be bummed if it was played when I was playing pool. Let’s just hope that one of these guys doesn’t get electrocuted at home while playing his guitar like the Yardbirds’ guitarist Keith Relf. The B-side has what the cover proclaims. Grunge pop: dirty, loping guitars and grit-infected vocals. I liked the A-side better. –todd (Dee Minus)


RED PLANET:
You Know How It Goes: CD
Pop in an ‘80s/Cars vein. It was good, but after hearing the Adventures of Jet’s Coping with Insignificance album, all others making moves in this direction seem pale in comparison. These guys are good, but they just don’t come close. –jimmy (Gearhead)


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