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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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RENO DIVORCE:
Naysayers and Yesmen: CD
Hot damn whooooo-weee, these sonically smokin’ sultans of sin rotundly crank-out a sizzlin’ skillet full of slicked-back ducktail punkrock rowdiness! Reno Divorce are the savage young bastard sons of Social Distortion, and they meticulously, yet energetically, create the boxcar-ridin’, prisonbound sounds of Mike Ness and crew during SD’s hootin’-and-hollerin’ hellraisin’ heyday. This is robust, ballsy, and brash rock’n’roll swagger at its coolest and most bad-ass. It’s undeniably the everlasting aural epitome of hotrods, big-boobed gals, tattoos, whiskey, and boisterous streetscruff unruliness. It oozes sin and sweat and cheap sex – sordid backalley debauchery beneath the pale glow of an old hunchbacked streetlamp, bloody-knuckled bottle-smashin’ brawls in a smoke-enshrouded poolhall, and booze-soaked bums drunkenly stumbling through an endless maze of neon-lit, vomit-slicked streets. Hell yeh, the explosive sonic fury of Reno Divorce brings out the devil in me and makes me wanna drink and fuck and get downright dirty and nasty! If I were dictator for just one day, this would be a mandatory disc to be played loudly in each and every home, business, institutional learning facility, penitentiary, and church across the nation. Amen, motherfucker! -Roger Moser, Jr. –Guest Contributor (Reno Divorce)


REMOTE CONTROL YETI:
Lurkers & Creepers: CD
Surprisingly tame sample-heavy riff rock here. Maybe I was expecting more from them because of the label this is on, but this just wasn’t as daring as it could’ve been and they simply failed to move me, man. –jimmy (Bureau of Dissonant Culture)


REFRIGERATOR:
Comedy Minus One: CD
CD listening, Rule #1: if it has keyboards and it ain’t the Dickies or the Screamers, be very suspicious. Rule #2: if all of the band members are in clown makeup and one is holding an accordion, chuck the disc off the nearest bridge and run. Whatever you do, don’t listen to it. –jimmy (Shrimper)


REDS, THE:
It’s About Time: CD
Greg can now sit back and let the dough just roll right in. He’s finally found the missing link between the Rip Offs and Loli and the Chones. Classic stuff, to say the least, especially the unlisted cover of the Urinals’ “I’m A Bug.” –jimmy (Rip Off)


RED PLANET:
Let’s Degenerate: CD
Lately I’ve been seeing the Red Planet seven-inch in record stores everywhere, and it looked pretty cool, but I’ve been broke, so no new records for me. This CD looks almost as cool. As far as the actual music is concerned (but, come on, who really cares about that, anyways? It's all about the cover art, clothes, and groupies, right?) this is some pretty great power pop/rock. I could definitely see them touring with the Figgs, or opening for a 20/20 reunion show. Catchy, catchy, catchy…with a few stupid lyrics, but what band doesn’t have those? Definitely worth checking out if power pop is your thing. I’m gonna havta go buy that seven-inch now, too! This is Honey Nut Cheerios – pretty damn good, and nothing that I could imagine anyone not liking at least a little bit! –Maddy (Gearhead)


RECKLESS BASTARDS:
Self-titled: CD
Good, solid and trashy punk rock a la the Oblivions and the like. “I Used To Be a Loser” is one of the better punk songs I’ve heard this year (2001, that is). Surprised no label yet is all over this band like ugly on a gorilla. –jimmy (Reckless Bastards)


REAGAN SS/JOHN BROWN’S ARMY:
: Split 7"
Reagan SS: Holy hardcore in a handbasket. It’s definitely not a throwback band, and the mode isn’t silky and mellow, but boy how do I like it. They’re fronted by super abrasive, early JFA’y, blurry-yet-decipherable, urgent and harmed vocals. The instruments play both like a severe pipe wrench beating, but aren’t just that blunt – they’ve got that tricky, satisfying interplay that’s in some greats of yore and today, like Minor Threat and Out Cold. What Barry White’s baritone is to making love, Reagan SS is to down and dirty hardcore fucking. Sometimes you just gotta stab it. And they do. My favorite track (of seven – on one side of a 7”, folks) is “Taste the Rich” flavor, which makes me want to go to Reagan’s place today and kick him in the head when he’s raking leaves, and say, “That’s for the deregulation of the airlines, you fuck.” Then tie him down and lob jelly beans down his throat. But I digress. John Brown’s Army – featuring Nate Wilson from the sorely missed Charles Bronson – I’m sorry to say this; you’re okay, but when put across the vinyl from Reagan SS, aren’t going to get a lot of play. Sorta goat-throaty, pretty common, mid-tempo hardcore. –todd (Gloom)


RAZZELS, THE:
Throttle: CD
If I were a wayward just-shy-of-bankruptcy bettin’ man, I’d resolutely gamble my very last dime on the prospect of Buffalo, New Yawk becomin’ the next glimmerin’ goldmine of a musical mecca just as Detroit, Austin, Athens, Chapel Hill, and Seattle once were. Thus far, the scenic Niagara Falls region of upstate New York has spawned the smokin’ sonic insanity of The Irving Klaws, the Treebirds, and Doombuggy. And now we have the riproarin’ powerpop wrath of The Razzels! It’s a well-structured whirlwind of over-amped melody-laden bounciness thickly layered with a snotty snarling edge, a whiplash avalanche of spastic auditory giddiness – poppy, punky, and pleasurably perfect – and some of the liveliest, most upbeat sounds to ever vigorously shake my ears! Long after repeatedly blastin’ this addictive disc at the loudest decibel levels possible, I’m still euphorically tappin’ my toes, bobbin’ my head, and twistin’ my backside silly like an American Bandstand dancer possessed. It’s that damn catchy, folks! Absolutely enthralling! -Roger Moser, Jr. –Guest Contributor (Get Hip)


RANDY:
You Can: CD
There’s something strangely refreshing about a Randy CD in the sense that they sing all of their songs about anarchist revolution, striving for economic equality, breaking the chains of big business, etc., but instead of slamming it into your head with a wall of sound and anger, they burrow a groove into your brain and let the ideas settle into the grooves. It’s a nice change of pace for someone like me, who spends so much time listening to walls of sound and anger. This is the second album to come through the Razorcake mailbox in the past few months, so I’m assuming that either this or Randy’s Human Atom Bombs (on Burning Heart Records) is a reissue because there’s a subtle departure between the sound of the two. Whereas Human Atom Bombs is heavy with the fifties rock’n’roll, You Can’t Keep a Good Band Down carries on more of an early-Clash tradition and filters in weird Queen snippets. Those snippets are kept to a minimum, though, and when you listen to the album as a whole, it’s easy to move beyond them. And even if this album isn’t as cohesive as Human Atom Bombs, Randy makes singing about a revolution so much fun. –sean (G7 Welcoming Committee)


QUEERS, THE:
Live in West Hollywood: CD
It’s the infamously insolent Queers, so this decadent lil’ disc is, of course, crampacked with the ultimate in sonic snottiness and balls-out brattiness. It’s lewd, loud, live, and as sick, twisted, fucked-up, and belligerent as it gets! This is exactly the kind of brain-damaged audial wickedness that the Ramones brashly blasted outta their first couple of albums, except The Queers are definitely more demented, dirty-minded, and deviantly uncivilized. Their frenzied spine-snappin’ songs taunt my senses silly, terrify my ears somethin’ fierce, and agitate my soused old soul as if there ain’t gonna be no tomorrow! All of their crazed, hyperactive should-be hits are frenetically tossed throughout this monstrously powerful release, including “We’d Have Arrived Doing Heroin,” “This Place Sucks,” “I Want Cunt,” “No Tit,” “Blabbermouth,” “Noodlebrain,” “Granola Head,” “Fuck You,” “I’m Not a Mongo Anymore” (my personal perverse fave!), “I Hate Everything,” “Teenage Bonehead,” “I Only Drink Bud,” “Ursula Finally Has Tits,” “I Like Young Girls,” “Fuck the World,” and a heapin’ handful of covers, too (Tommy James & The Shondells, Angry Samoans, Mr. T Experience, Ramones, etc.). Hell yeh, this is true authentic punkrock rambunctiousness just like the Ramones meant it to be! I ain’t no gawddamn homo, but, man, I do love them Queers... -Roger Moser, Jr. –Guest Contributor (Hopeless)


PLUGZ, THE:
Move b/w Mindless Contentment, Let Go: 7"
Hell yeah. The band that often got mistaken for being from East LA because they were Mexican and played LA all the time (they were from Hollywood), The Plugz were part of the very first wave of Southern California punk rock – full of desperation, sharp pain, and great songwriting. Fuck, it’s just such good music that’s the obvious bridge between straight-ahead, no bullshit Chuck Berry rock’n’roll and where early Los Lobos launched from, soaked in the same type of infectious swagger and rockabilly dance that The Gears and The Zeros would embrace and tackle in tandem to The Plugz. So, when Xene says X were the first and only band in the world to operate in a void by plugging the patchchords of punk, rockabilly, and poetry together, you may hold this seven inch aloft and say, “Nay. History is here, in these grooves, pressed in 1978. Although you may control the museums, this piece of vinyl contradicts thee.” This is another “fanclub release” (with the matrix number scratched off from the acetate, no less), but I don’t think this 7” has been available for years and years besides on eBay, so it’s well worth the hunt. Hell yeah. –todd (it’s a bootleg, smartypants)


PLANESMISTAKENFORSTARS:
Fuck with Fire: CD
Part Die Kreuzen, part Sonic Youth, this has just enough emocore tinge to be annoying and just enough edge to keep it from being flung out the nearest window. While not exactly my cup o’ tea, I reckon I respect them for at least putting some balls into what they’re doin’. –jimmy (No Idea)


PIRANHAS:
Self-titled: 7"
Loud, FUCKED UP punk rock with keyboards to add to the din, making the whole thing sound like Richard Hell jamming with Le Shok. If this doesn’t make your neighbors circulate a petition demanding your immediate eviction, you need to move on your own, ‘cause people like that are way too jaded to be living next to, man. This rocks. –jimmy (Rock’n’Roll Blitzkrieg)


PIPEDOWN:
Enemies of Progress: CD
Thought provoking. I like it when a band does some research and instigates people to seek additional knowledge. Opening up the insert, I see that they have a sizeable list of websites and books that they recommend. I think too many punks don’t read. Old geezers like me who don’t go out as much tend to read more to get stimulated. The lyrics here are not too preachy but do ask people to look and question what this society has become compliant to. Me, I have a lot of anger towards this generic, conformist society we live in. I live for anger-based music that questions. This fits into my cup of tea perfectly. But followers of my writing might be saying that you don’t always listen to hardcore. That is true because my emotions go all over the place, including my musical tastes. But one thing for sure is I listen to punk rock and all its sub-genres 80% of the time. Before popping this in, I thought I was going to get another mediocre melodicore release. Boy, I was wrong. The singer reminds me of the singer from Sick of it All and the music is a blend of Good Riddance meets Sick of it All. Serious as a family death. Nothing excites me more when I can truly tell that a band is serious and not into it for the money and fame. The music and lyrics are well thought out and truly make them standout. I am impressed and this is going straight into the car for ongoing listens. If it means anything to you, this is on Anti Flag’s personal label. –don (A-F)


PINKZ, THE:
Something About You b/w Be Mine: 7"
Fuck, this is great girl-strewn power garage pop in the firing range of Buck and early Muffs. Nice, bubblegummy thick choruses, catchy lyrics, fuzzed out guitars, and production that’s not too slick and not blown out (so it sounds human and fun without being clinical). It’s the stuff that Josie and the Pussycats wished they could have pulled off, if they had daggers hidden in their Converse and smoked a lot of weed. The Pinkz are kind of like a sweater on fire from a bunch of firecrackers. At first it’s soothing – “Yeah, I like that familiar beat,” snap-snap-snap, then they’re exciting on their own as they toss out these two incendiary little nuggets of songs that make me get up and flail around like a flaming tard. Way cool single. Me play lots. –todd (Gearhead)


PINBACK:
Blue Screen Life: CD
Wimpy college pap... er, pop. To the shitcan with thee! –jimmy (Ace Fu)


PAUL E. ESTER & THE CRUEL SHOES:
Eyeliner: 7" EP
Band with really great name (um…) does one dead horse of a cover (“Train Kept a Rollin”) (made famous by Aerosmith!) and two pretty swell US-'77-style punk rockers whereon one guitar sounds just like on “Ca Plane Pour Moi” and the other guitar plays leads that sound like the guy on the early GG stuff, and the singer’s snot level is near optimum. Why they thought the cover would improve the package I won’t even try to guess. –Cuss Baxter (Rapid Pulse)


PATTERN, THE:
Immediately: CDEP
This band has been making quite a ruckus (and a name) for themselves in the Bay Area the in the last year with a legacy of amazing seven inches and a bunch of loud, high action live shows. The Pattern deliver their audience a pounding with a wall of huge rock guitars, a hard hitting drummer, and frontman Chris’ (formerly of the Peechee’s) brand of singing that sounds pent up and sweetly disinterested. His sharply tongued lyrics and the well-played, nasty guitar riffs make for a great repeated listen. I found their band out of place when compared to the bulk of bands caught up in the current “rock revival.” All too often, that sound has become cliched and saccharine, whereas The Pattern spew fire and brimstone into their music. –Nathan Grumdahl –Guest Contributor (Lookout!)


PARK:
No Signal: CD
A delightful melding of emo and pop punk, (jeepers! My two fave punk subgenres!) that resulted in my putting my head through a wall repeatedly and detonating firecrackers in my ears in an attempt to quiet the fucking caterwaul emanating from my speakers. Instead of executing convicted murderers, they should force them to listen to this all the way through. –jimmy (Boiled Music on Lobster)


PAINTBOX:
Cry of the Sheeps: CDEP
Diverse energy. If you have been following my reviews, you should know that Paintbox and HG Fact are my favorites. I love this Japanese band and label from Japan. I check the website every month to see what might be coming out. Right on top of the new releases available for overseas consumption is a new Paintbox EP! I pull $10 out of my wallet and write out an order and mail it away. I get a page from my wife and I call her back. She alerts me that a package came from Japan two weeks later. Woohoo! That night I rush home and put on my latest acquisition on the stereo. Starting off is the title track – has anyone heard a sheep cry before? It starts off melodic with the harsh vocals over hard-edged music with trumpets, metallic riffing, and a section with dogs barking in tempo. What a masterpiece! That was only the first track! Track two, titled “Big Ant,” is a rager in the Japcore sense. Straight forward and angry. The third track is even faster! Don’t know what the song is called since it’s titled in Japanese. Pure unadulterated power. Not feeling short changed, there is a hidden track where they show some humor. You get a chipmunk reggae song to top things off. In a short period of time, they have put out three EPs and two full lengths. What are you waiting for? –don (HG Fact)


OUT COLD:
Will Attack If Provoked: CD
I’ll make this as short as their CD. Out Cold have picked up the torch that Negative Approach extinguished when they broke up. No small feat. No short time in coming, they’ve apparently been around for years and years. But, get this: they springboard beyond the shadow cast by NA. They’re more brutal, heavier, faster and angrier than any other band that I’ve heard in a long, long time. And behind the thrall are some fast-locking, oddly melodic instrument interplays that separates them from pure thrash, blurcore, any semblance of pop, and puts them in a very rare league indeed: straight-ahead, non-reflexive hardcore. By the strength of this CD and a tape Jimmy Alvarado made me, I’m in the process of ordering their entire back catalog. They lay waste to all that metally, grab-yo’-nuts play acting, and all that “weren’t the early ‘80s great?-core” that’s been replaying a little bit too close to history as of late, and get down to brazen business. Fourteen songs, nineteen minutes and five seconds long. –todd (Acme)


ORDURES IONIQUES, LES:
Se Soulagent!: CD
Street ambience. French speaking, street punk band from... Canada! Did you think France? I did, until I saw in tiny (I mean tiny) print in the insert. What do I have here? One singer with a mohican and the full charged gear, another female singer – a femme fatale with a good voice – and rounding off the band is the bassist, drummer and guitarist. Tough, working class lads, I presume. Musically, they are very melodic with a stripped down sound that falls within the parameter of what is currently defined as street punk. You could easily place this amongst bands from France in the early ‘80s and wouldn’t know the difference. Sing-a-long choruses with the dual vocals make for a toe tapping good time. Lyrically, I have no clue, since it is all sung in French. I personally took Spanish in high school. I didn’t think I would use French much in a predominantly Latino environment. If they are singing about ignorant shit, I’m going to be pissed. I won’t research it any further so as not to spoil my enjoyment. –don (Combat Rock)


NUMBERS, THE:
2: 7"
In my little mind, there’s two Numbers. The Numbers I can’t get enough of who play scorchers like “Downtown Girls” and “Me, My Enemy, and I” and The Numbers who play “Mechanics of Wealth,” who I wish would end their songs sooner. The faster they go, the better I like ‘em, because when they lose their inertia, I always start to think about – of all fucking things – Pink Floyd and I don’t really like any band that makes me think of huge, pink, pig balloons, when all I want to think about it whiskey, music that pins my ears back, and not dropping off a balcony before the headlining band starts playing. I’m a simple guy with simple tastes. When The Numbers rage, they’re near the top of the OC’s beach invasion – complete throats of snot, with so much bad attitude to break off and spear the audience with, and helping create the sound that will come help to define how punk’s going to be referred to in the next twenty years. But then they slow down more and more and I find myself heading for the bar. I’ll give ‘em the benefit of the doubt and wait ‘em out. Two excellent songs on here, one not so good. –todd (Hostage)


NO REDEEMING SOCIAL VALUE:
40 Oz. of Hardcore: CD
East Coast hardcore that falls somewhere between S.O.D. and Bodies in Panic. While the obligatory metal flavor is present, it isn’t as crippling to these guys as others. Not bad at all. –jimmy (Triple Crown)


NIGEL PEPPER COCK:
Fresh White Reeboks Kickin’ Your Ass: 7" EP
Stupid cover (buffed, nude hippie dude, covered with extra strip of photo fuzzed out in all the appropriate places with a sticker that says “Rick Says: You must be 18 or over to look at my dick!” Naked dude=Great way to alienate your core male adolescent audience), dull lyrics, and monster, MONSTER riffage.  –jimmy (Life is Abuse)


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