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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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TILT:
Been Where? Did What?: CD
Backward progression. Most punk bands start off raunchy and loose and progress to play more of a rock thing as they become more talented as musicians. Tilt, on the other hand, started playing more of a rock thing at first and progressed to their trademark punk sound. This is an out-takes, demos and comp tracks release. As a fan, I had a hard time listening to this at first. It was painful. I was actually shocked at the earlier material that I haven’t heard before. Once it got more to recently recorded material half way through the CD, I got comfortable. Familiarity came to me and now I was ready to enjoy. The energy level that I was in tune with came forth. Oh joy, three covers also! Two TV show theme songs and an X cover! The covers geek in me got stuck right in the middle of this release as I re-listened to the covers. Tilt fans and collectors will buy this regardless of what I have to say. If you are interested and never purchased a Tilt release before, I say buy Collect ‘em All or Viewers Like You before buying this. Those two are their more trademark records and is their best representation to date. For those who have no clue, this is a female led punk band that has aggression and melody. –don (Fat)


THRALL:
Hung Like God: CD
Thrall insanely blast a caterwauling metal-tinged mindfuck of intricate noise-rock rage that had me feverishly clawing at the inner demons who continuously ravage my pitiful worthless soul. This is a dark and demented soundtrack for a futuristic nuclear holocaust; a disturbing psychopathic swirl of blistering sonic savagery; a teeth-gnashing, eye-crossing display of deranged musical madness. The nine nefarious tunes contained herein possess twice the anger, twice the energy, and three times the passion of anything ever recorded by Killdozer, the Jesus Lizard, and The Cows (three well-known bands somewhat comparable to the almighty Thrall). Holy shit, my eyes and ears are melting like gelatinous candlewax slowly oozing across the scorched surface of my face. I’m profusely sweating. Drool’s thickly dripping from the creased corners of my mouth. Somebody please sedate me and restrain my violently convulsing future cadaver in a straightjacket. Thrall have obviously invaded my bloodstream and conquered my soul. All hope is lost. I’m doomed beyond redemption, but, damn, it feels good! -Roger Moser, Jr. –Guest Contributor (Reptilian)


TARANTULA HAWK:
Self-titled: CD
Death metal jam rock. Next.
–jimmy (Life is Abuse)


SUPERSLEUTH:
Thirty-One Months: CD
In the annals of suckdom, this will definitely make it into the “Faboo Fifty.” Not only are they trying desperately to relive the glory days of the whole straight edge trip with what sounds like a grand total of two records to reference, they also cover Minor Threat’s “Bottled Violence” and leave exactly one note intact. The result of their efforts over the course of 13 songs is that they sound like a weak, 12th-rate Uniform Choice cover band (who they also cover, incidentally), who, in turn, at their best were no more than a weak, 12th-rate Minor Threat cover band. Next time, append the band name with “a lame tribute to a scene we know nothing about.” –jimmy (www.failedexperimentrecords.com)


SUPER CHINCHILLA RESCUE MISSION:
Self-titled: CDEP
Oops. Forgot to review this four-song CD last issue due to me be all excited about them being on our cover and all. Speaking of covers, don’t let the CD’s art sway you – the front is a poorly backlit Godzilla puppet with boxing gloves and not very engaging at all. In the microgrooves of the CD itself, that’s where the magic is. Stretch pop ‘til it screams, bend hardcore ‘til it becomes melodic without losing speed, throw up a deep mesh of intertwining walls of guitar, bass, and drum sounds (like cyclone fences surrounding brick walls, laced with strings of dynamite – heavy, yet loose and fun) and have Seth yell and scream some dark yet bright poetic lyrics that are drenched in sweat, whisky, and barely concealable desperation, and you’ve got one fuckin’ great band. Every time I listen to this on the headphones, I keep on cranking the volume higher with each song. And my ears ring for the next half hour. Fantastic. This band is one huge reason I continue to thrive off music. –todd (Attention Deficit Disorder)


STRONG COME ONS:
Trailer Sessions: 7" EP
Lo-fi trash punk. Try as I may, I just can’t think of anything else to say about it, which means that I wasn’t too impressed, I guess. Maybe that’s why the little beaver on the back is flipping me off. –jimmy (pleasureunitrecords@hotmail.com)


STITCHES, THE:
Four More Songs from the Stitches: 12" EP
OC’s favorite fuckups, who half the time can’t figure what type of line to do (pool line, coke line, guitar line), break their too-long vinyl silence with four as-close-to-perfect cuts of mid-tempo punk as you can get. Iggy, Pistols, Clash – are all broken and mashed and chipped and pock marked – then wrung out like a bar towel and distilled. The result is that they dish out instantly catchy songs (“hey, I know that riff… sorta”) but you don’t get any the wank or fluf or solos that usually runs in tandem with hedonism. I was skating at a park when Mike, the singer, showed up. He slapped on a helmet and skated the hell out of the place. He was obvious – tattoos, older, distinctive, slashy style. I was standing next to a couple of fat-panted, suburban-doughy kids, who looked at one another and said, “Dude, that guy rips. What the hell was that move? And his pants are so tight.” That pretty much sums up the Stitches. The packaging on this 12” is immaculate. Faux Japanese printing with corner promo thing on one side, full color sleeve with tons of great photos, and lookie, my vinyl’s white. –todd (Kapow)


STAGE POTTLES:
I’ll Live My Life!: CD
Run-of-the-mill skinhead music from Germany. Although they seem to have their hearts in the right place, ain’t big whoop to be found here. –jimmy (Mad Butcher)


STAGE BOTTLES/SCRAPY:
The Riot EP: CD EP
Stage Bottles: Don’t quite know what it is with them, but their brand of skinhead rock bores the hell outta me. There’s nothing specifically wrong with them, per se, they just fail to impress. Sorry. Scrapy: A little better than their partners in crime here, but their songs are way too fucking long. –jimmy (Mad Butcher)


SPITTING TEETH:
Legacy of Cruciality: EP
I’m generally pretty happy about the bandana thrash revival. It’s super to hear bands like What Happens Next? and Life’s Halt tear it up old style, but this record begs the question: how soon ‘til it’s played as fuck? The music part’s mostly fine (though they’re playing a little fast to squeeze much power out of a couple of the numbers) but, out of eight songs, TWO are about straightedge, and the embarrassingly-titled “Million Man Mosh” is about circlepitting. I mean, if they’re joking, I gotta say it’s been done. And if they’re serious – well, it just goes to show you don’t have to be drunk to be dumb. –Cuss Baxter ($4 ppd;1-2-3-4 GO!!! Records)


SMUT PEDDLERS:
Ism: CD
What’s this? A Smut Peddlers song about multinational corporations (“Playstation Generation”)? What the hell happened? Where’s all the songs about getting high? The Smut Peddlers have fucking nailed it. That’s what. Not only has the lyrical telescope been opened up beyond being a fuck-up (although the theme isn’t totally discarded, it’s just more of a starting point instead of an end destination), all of the songs on Ism can be laid next to one another like an audio series of Polaroids that go from urban California landscape shots, to shots from space, to shots at the tips of needles and the lives the swirl into them, to surf spots during a storm, to abandoned pools, to abandoned lives. The result is a crisp, unflinching, distinct string of songs that stand out by themselves, yet fit into a definite larger framework. Songs go from highly personal (“I can’t tell the difference between trying and greed”) to reviling against gentrification (“It’s a natural result of a bureaucratic cult who is fucking with the balance of power”) to just fun – “Dogtown Boys Vs. The Taliban.” Hand-in-hand with the vast improvement of the lyrics is that the Smut Peddlers play like a band now. They’re all in tight synch –Julia’s and Gish’s drums and bass provide an almost-unbreakable, rattling cage and spine to all the songs, Roger’s razorwire guitar never chokes or flails or wanks – it just seems to sneer – and John’s carnival barker/ monster truck announcer voice takes breaths and wraps itself in and out of the songs instead of just talking along. Fantastic. One warning, if you listen to this too much, you’ll be humming and toe tapping “It was an Inglewood heroin morning” when you’re pushing your shopping cart with a smile on your face. Fuckin’ catchy. –todd (Ransom)


SKULLS, THE:
Life Ain: 7"
Hands-down, this some of the most gorgeous packaging I’ve ever seen with a 7”. Ever. It comes in a converted envelope that’s been screen printed with three different inks, it comes with a button, and it comes with a 33 pg., glossy booklet – complete with rare-as-hell pictures from a gamut of late ‘70s LA photographers, and text by Billy Bones himself that covers any and all things you’d ever comprehend asking about The Skulls (including guest lists from the Mabuhay Gardens and their What? Records contract). For a 7”, for crying out loud. As much as the songs that are on the wax – which are fantastic slabs of pure LA ‘77 punk rock with snotty, spastic colon vocals; hollow-bodied, slashing guitars; drums as heavy hitting as domestic violence; energy that makes production values almost irrelevant; and skewed and angled and wrangled pop. The song “Life Ain’t So Pretty” had never been recorded before this 7” – and it comes with a glitch in the vinyl, punk. This is pure testament that the presentation of music is, in and of itself, an overlooked art form. And in this instance, when the music is so good to start out with, a great 7” is like taking a bit of an art museum home with you and letting it spin around on a needle. How fucking cool is that? Very, very highly recommended. –todd (Headline)


SIGN OFFS:
#1: 7" EP
I’m not gonna bullshit you. I don’t usually like the stuff of Pelado. Most of what I’ve heard falls into one of two categories: bland, nondescript rock/punk or bland, nondescript oi/street punk. That said, this is some danged fine rock/punk (yeah, I know...) with a pretty good groove going for it. The lyrics are pretty inane, but it’s catchy nonetheless. Side two makes pretty good use of the main riff for “Pipeline.” Not too shabby. –jimmy (Pelado)


SHRINKS, THE:
Nowhere to Live: 7" EP
A picture perfect marriage of Hostage neo-beachcore and the Rip Off redux of ‘60s slop/ ‘70s punk rock. Four songs here, not a bad one in the lot and all coming to you with enough velocity to put a foot clear through your ass. –jimmy (Rapid Pulse)


SHODS, THE:
Stop Crying: CD
This disc is living, breathing proof that life sucks big time. I reviewed an album by these guys a couple of years ago and was so completely taken by their Jam-y approach to rock’n’roll that I’ve pretty much wore the vinyl down to nothing. Naturally, I was more than a little excited to see this smiling up at me from the “review me” pile. The verdict? Life sucks pretty hard, boyo. Gone are the great hooks bristling with tense energy and in their place are bad ‘70s/ ‘80s rock trappings. Only one song, 13 tracks in, has any semblance of that old spark. Fuck, I wish I still drank heavily, ‘cause this wouldn’t be so painful. I hope they at least got paid well to suck this hard. –jimmy (Acme)


SHAKIRA:
Laundry Service: CD
Assimilation. For those not in the know, she is the Colombian equivalent of Alanis Morrisette. I sneaked into the record store to pick this up. It was right near the front and I grabbed a copy and made a mad dash to pay for it. I covered up my punk rock t-shirt and walked quietly up to the counter to pay. I had my credit card out so that the transaction would happen quickly. Everything seemed to be going fine until the slightly hip store clerk had to engage me in conversation. The store clerk asked, “Did you see her at Tower Records in Hollywood today?” Mortified, I stuttered, “No, this is a closet pleasure for me.” Now I was pissed, all I wanted to do was buy and leave. I didn’t need a friend. The clerk responded with, “This release is not too good if you like her earlier releases.” In my mind I’m thinking, “Why the fuck are you taking to me?” I composed myself and said, “I heard a track on an internet radio station and I liked it.” The clerk handed me my credit card slip to sign, I signed it and I was out of there. I got in my car and proceeded to put the CD into the stereo. I started the car and started driving down the street. I am really hesitant about this release. This is supposed to be Shakira’s breakthrough crossover record to the masses. She normally sings in her native tongue of Spanish, but she wants to make it in the USA. She enlists Emilio Estefan (Gloria’s husband) as executive producer. Bad move number one. I pull over to sample what is in store for me. First song is a dance number mixed with a tango theme and does not have the energy of her previous release. Me being me, I fast forward towards the tracks that are sung in Spanish. Familiarity comforts me and her trademark octave changes are prevalent. Spanish is a more romantic sounding language to me. There are two tracks that are repeated here that are in both languages. The Spanish versions sound to me more flowing. Many of the English lyrics sound confused and jumbled. I have a hard time interpreting the thoughts she is trying to put forth. Also confusing is all the different styles of music that are represented here. I guess she is trying to please everybody at once and hope something would stick. My mind scattered, I switch CDs and listen to the latest Crispus Attucks CD to get my hardcore rage in balance. –don (Epic)


SHADOW REICHENSTEIN:
Self-titled: CD
Surfy, circusy goth rock with a (man) singer who’s a cross between Wendy O. Williams and the lady from Christian Death. –Cuss Baxter (www.shadowreichenstein.com)


SEROTONIN:
Universal Time Constant: CD
I commend the energy of Serotonin captured on this CD. Their kinetic drumming and hard strumming are struggling out from underneath a net of mushing sounds recorded here. The problem is that every song on Universal Time Constant is that it is like the content of ten songs put into a pot and slow cooked until they fit into the measure of one. Their push and pull between hard-driving, post-hardcore spazz and quiet deconstructed art rock is so changing and unrepetitive it is migraine inducing. Some might call it dynamic, but I found myself screaming for a road map back to the hook of the song. The problem of the clean, jangly breakdown is that if it is overused, it will be the death of your music. The rocking parts of this outfit are there but they are lost when they refuse to throw down their fucked up time signatures and overwritten parts. –Nathan Grumdahl –Guest Contributor (Bifocal Media)


SENTIMENTALS, THE:
Self-titled: double 7" EP
This is a catchy, enjoyable, street punk band. No surprises here, but that’s O.K., since I don’t really like surprises much anyway. The recording is really rough, but in this case that’s an asset instead of a liability. I’ll definitely listen to this again. Eight songs in all here. There’s also a rendition of the traditional “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.” -Dan Yemin –Guest Contributor (Head Line)


SEASON TO RISK:
The Shattering: CD
These Kansas City stalwarts come out swinging with heavy, stop and start rock, accompanied by vocals that sound like they were screamed through a megaphone. It reminds me a lot of Jesus Lizard. The rhythm section is pounding and precise, and the guitar is doing a lot of noisy, discordant stuff over the top of it. The vocals pick up little bits of melody along the way, and the instrumentation gets almost ethereal at points. This is mostly due to the guitars and light use of synthesizer, as the bass and drums stay pounding all the way through. I can’t tell you much about the lyrics, because they’re nowhere to be found. This was produced by Bill Stevenson (Descendents, ALL, Black Flag) and Jason Livermore at Stevenson’s Colorado studio, the Blasting Room. This didn’t really grab me or blow me away, but it’s well executed and has its moments of ferocity that made it interesting. –Dan Yemin –Guest Contributor (Owned & Operated)


SATURDAY SUPERCADE:
Everyone Is a Target: CD
Generic. I’m not at the TV watching MTV and I still hear Blink 182, New Found Glory, or Good Charlotte. –don (Liberation)


ROCKET 69/DION BLADE & THE NEW KINGS OF ROCK:
: Split 7"
Rocket 69: The phrase “Iggy humped Kiss” is on their side of the cover. That pretty much sums it up nicely. Huge sound, huge riffs, huge tracks. Dion Blade: Take the aforementioned phrase, add “while being sodomized by Motorhead” and you get the picture. A darn good single. –jimmy (Rockin’ House)


ROCK*A*TEENS, THE:
Noon Under the Trees: CDEP
Noon Under the Treesis a finely constructed EP from this North Carolina band. The layout is like that of a faded, old, yellow paged diary or novella from the past. The songs are a melancholy ride through mini portraits of friends and lovers and the lazy afternoons wasted in their company. The sounds captured are soft and gorgeous. Their reverbed-up guitars, fuzzy keyboards, and cushy drums are the real meat and hook bringing me back for repeated listens. Not to say the singing isn’t well spoken and dreamy, because it is. These southern gentlemen would fit nicely on a bill with the Starlight Mints, the Flaming Lips, and Superchunk. –Nathan Grumdahl –Guest Contributor (Moodswing)


RIP OFFS:
Got a Record: CD
The Rip Offs were one of those bands that I’d been hearing about for a long time, but had never heard. Their records and seven inches were all out of print and pretty hard to find, but finally, earlier this year, Jimmy Alvarado made me a tape of all of the Rip Offs stuff. The first time I listened to them, I knew I’d been missing out for all these years. The Rip Offs have a really raw sound, kind of like Teengenerate or the Motards. Songs that would be straight ahead rock’n’roll if they weren’t so fucked up and crazy. I listened to the tape a bunch of times, thinking about how cool it would be if someone reissued these songs. Well, I guess former Rip Offs bassist Greg Lowery read that thought bubble of mine because he reissued Got a Record (the only Rip Offs full length). The songs still sound like they were recorded in someone’s garage or practice space (which, according to the liner notes, they pretty much were), but the songs are still great. If you aren’t one of the lucky few who picked up this album when it first came out, here’s your chance. I highly recommend it. –sean (Rip Off)


REVILLOS:
Rev Up: CD
Hooray! The Revillos! For those who don’t know (and can’t guess) the Revillos are the Rezillos with a “v” instead of a “z.” They covered a lot of Rezillos tunes, and also wrote new, ridiculous, dancey, keyboard, girl-groupy new wave. I am no huge fan of keyboard-based new wave bands, but the Revillos are an exception to the rule! This CD is a re-release of their Rev Up LP (which I spent way too much on in a record store in Paris two years ago – if only I had known!) plus five bonus tracks. And the bonus tracks are good, too! Of course, the “Rev Up” song, “Yeah Yeah,” is the coolest. (Later parodied by Boris the Sprinkler as “Yeah Yeah No” – punk trivia, all right!). This is a good record for a Halloween party, dance party, or sleepover party! Yay for cool reissues! Do yourself a favor, and buy this – but if you don’t have that Rezillos double CD yet, you better buy that first! (The Rezillos are one of the Top Five Bands Of All Time! How many bands are in my Top Five? Uh, more than five. I’m a dork. I can’t keep lists. But the Rezillos are really one of the greatest bands ever – so get that, get this, get, uh, I dunno, a weird yellow vinyl skirt so you can look cool like ‘em, too! This is Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Yum! –Maddy (Captain Oi)


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·TURN ME ON DEADMAN
·A Supplement to Liz O's Article on Tribute Bands
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