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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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NEWTOWN NEUROTICS:
The Punk Collection: CD
For every band that hit the big time after the initial couple of waves of English punk, there were more than a few that, sadly, didn’t. Newtown Neurotics were one of them. An amazing band with hooks coming out of the woodwork and political conviction oozing from every song. These guys didn’t write mere songs; they wrote bonafied anthems meant to be shouted from the tops of the terraces to wake up a sleeping population oblivious to the world crumbling around it. Sonically, they were the stepchildren of the Ramones and first cousins to Stiff Little Fingers, whose Irish punk-cum-reggae mirrors the sounds here. Time has not been good to this fine band’s good name and it’s a safe bet that most newer punks (and a bunch of older ones as well) will have no clue as to how great this band was. Hopefully, this release will change that. An essential collection of tracks from an essential band. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


NEGATIVES, THE:
Wanna See What You Got: 7"
What the Negatives have going for them: wall of fucking sound. Speed and thick, thick smoking traction from the second the needle scratches the wax. What the Negatives have to contend with: the elements that they’re using for their sound – from the guitar tones to the nasality of the vocalist, to the drumming – are all previously patented, tested and approved OC punk, perhaps not in this exact way, but close enough. This is okay, but I’m yearning for a twist, a tweak, a push, a little bubble in the needle that’ll make me go, “Huh, that’s a little different than I expected. Jahoo, it’s addictive” and have it really fuck with me. They’re definitely not a clone band, definitely not a blatant rip off from a single source – like the Detours or the Smut Peddlers or the strings of TSOL – but I’m catching glimpses of where they can truly put that speed to greater use and want to see them peel out in a creation that’s more their own. That said, it’s not a bad single at all. –todd (Hostage)


NECK:
Necked: A Few Odds from the Oul’ Sods: CD
More traditional Irish music given a punk rock transfusion. The difference between this CD and the hundreds of others like it is that this one is actually good. Lotsa attitude, craftsmanship and fun infused in the music and that makes a world of difference. –jimmy (neck-neck@another.com)


NATCHEZ-SHAKERS, THE/THE PINE HALL HAINTS:
: Split CD
Two more bands that play rootsy, vaguely Irish-inflected skiffle punk that really add nothing new to the genre, which is rapidly becoming as populated and vapid as ska and emo. –jimmy (Arkam, no address)


MOTOCHRIST:
666-Pack: CD
If Evel Knievel were still recklessly careening his way through a bone-snappin’ array of death-defying stunts, he’d assuredly blast Motochrist as tolerably loud as possible to fuel his adrenaline before once again crashing his motorbike into the record books as the world’s most amazing daredevil adventurist. I love Evel Knievel, and, apparently, so do Motochrist (they wrote a song about him, “Evel,” and they also included his name within their list of thanks in the CD-insert booklet). So we’re already off to one helluva beer-guzzlin’ good start, and it just gets better from there! This is gut-pummeling, ass-blistering rock’n’roll fury that raucously races along at breakneck speeds with a so-fuckin’-what, devil-may-care attitude are somewhat similar to the Dwarves and the Supersuckers, only ten times ballsier. Motochrist possess all of the intensity and aggression of a fully-revved star-spangled Harley Davidson ready to take a fateful leap across the flaming gullies of Hades. They brazenly gun the ol’ rock’n’roll accelerator and wildly ride the savage sonic beast that invariably drives a man to the edge of crazed quixotic impetuousness. Hell yeh, this is beyond frenetically inspirational! I’m hooked like a trailer-trash tweaker addicted to home-made bathtub crank. Rock on, you almighty Motochrist motherfuckers! -Roger Moser, Jr. –Guest Contributor (RAFR)


MOMENT:
Songs for the Self-Destructive: CD
Minute by miserable monotonous minute, Moment irritate and annoy my much-abused ears to no end with their poppy crybaby emo banality. “Waaa-waaa-waaa. My pussy’s hurting. Waaa-waaa-waaa. I’m such a tortured lil’ suburban twit. Waaa-waaa-waaa. My soul’s lost in a swirl of caffeine-saturated confusion. Waaaaaaa!” Gawd, somebody obviously lopped off these whiney lil’ brats’ testicles. Yep, it’s neutered sonic sappiness for Generation Duh, and all I can do is sit back and pity the fools who consider audial drudgery like this to be a viable form of artistic expression. Complete utter uselessness! Now if you’ll please excuse me, I think I shall cover myself in a thick colorful coating of chunky Moment-induced vomit. Mmmmm, sweet! -Roger Moser, Jr. –Guest Contributor (Espo)


MILLENCOLIN:
The Melacholy Collection: CD
I’m going to quote the little sticker that was attached to the cover. “This CD includes the EPs ‘Use Your Nose’ & ‘Skauch,’ the B-sides of the singles and some ‘hard to get’ songs.” 22 songs spanning 47 minutes. I’ve always enjoyed these Swedes with their blend of melodicore and light use of ska. The lyrics are inventive and silly. On here also are some covers (!) of the Descendents, Sting, Dolly Parton, Desmond Dekker and a few I not sure who they were originally recorded by. If you already own one of their releases, add this to the collection. –don (Burning Heart)


MI6:
Lunchbox: CD
Generic. I’m not at the TV watching MTV and I still hear Blink 182, New Found Glory, or Good Charlotte. –don (Kung Fu)


METHADONES, THE:
Ill at Ease: CD
Man, I can’t fuckin’ believe how uncannily The Methadones aurally resemble Bad Religion before BR sold their souls to the major label big boys. This grandslam CD illustriously possesses all of the frenetic grandeur ofSuffer, No Control, Against the Grain, and Generator. The songs are intricately structured, tight, cohesive, and perfectly sculpted – melodious, yet drenched with intelligence, attitude, and disquieting inner rage. The vocalist has Greg Graffin’s indignant monotone down to a tee, precisely enunciating each syllable and spitting it out with obvious disdain for the world around him. The soaring starburst harmonies are thickly layered with abrupt strafings of sky-rocketing guitar leads, bone-shattering rhythm guitar crunch, bazooka-blast fieriness from the bass’s low-end roar, and explosive mortar-shell drum wallops. Gimme another beer. Fuck heroin. I’ve got The Methadones! -Roger Moser, Jr. –Guest Contributor (A-F)


MEDICATION TIME:
One Free Miracle Ticket: CD
Some pretty rockin’ metalcore here, kids. This sounds like one o’ those bands of yore who had their feet firmly planted in the hardcore scene, but secretly sportin’ a Metallica shirt underneath that spiked leather jacket with Discharge scrawled on the back. Good, good shit here that’s gonna reach maximum volume on the stereo when next my girlfriend takes off to run errands and leaves me alone to my own devices. Oh, and the cover of “Sex Dwarf” was priceless. –jimmy (Life is Abuse)


MANSFIELDS, THE:
Kill Your Radio: CD
The liner notes by Mutant Pop’s Tim Chandler refer to the Mansfields as “punkabilly,” which I guess pretty accurately describes this Colorado trio. I hear whispers of Social Distortion and Hank Williams in these seven songs. Actually, now that I listen to it again, I would say that the Social D influence is more than a whisper and is definitely in the forefront. The song structures are built around the same “3 chords and an attitude” that you’d expect from a Mutant Pop release, but the guitar leads definitely depart from the typical power chord attack of your typical punk rock band. This would probably be a lot of fun in a live setting. -Dan Yemin –Guest Contributor (Mutant Pop)


MALA VISTA:
Self-titled: CDEP-R
Holy cow, this is pretty darn good. Stay with me on this – it’s a cross between Really Red (they’re from Texas, too, were hardcore, came out in the ‘80s, and weren’t scared to put their very smartly organized politics on their sleeves and weren’t afraid to fuck with punk’s structures) and Finding the Rhythms-era Hot Water Music (for the gruff, dueling vocals, the essence of speed, and creative, stealthy bass lines.) With that out of the way, I really enjoy the rawness of Mala Vista. The CD plays like a new circular saw blade – biting right through the task at hand, showering the listener with some familiar debris, and just creatively ripping the shit out of their instruments from the word go, until the CD stops spinning. Five cool, believable, honest, anti-establishment screams from the bars, gutters, and store clerk stations of Longview, TX. –todd (Mala Vista)


LURKERS:
Wild Times Again/Non Stop Nitro Pop: CD
Two full albums circa the late ‘80s from this legendary band. While nowhere near as crucial as their early work, the albums here have a nice oi-pop feel to them that’s at least miles better than what’s come out of Stiff Little Fingers over the course of the last few years. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


LOS FEDERALES:
La Maldicion de Los Federales: CD

Los Federales are fast, raw, and noisy, but the more I listen to this album, the more impressed I am. I hear a lot of early eighties hardcore in it. Sometimes I can close my eyes and feel like it’s a remake of Not So Quiet on the Western Front, but then more elements rise to the surface – tinges of great Tucson garage bands like the Weird Lovemakers or the Fells. The songs become more complex and less derivative, and the music is something that could only exist here and now. The lyrics are all over the place, with intelligent songs about living in the global economy or being forced to grow up as nothing but a consumer, songs about “How Your Church Can Destroy Your Childhood in One Easy Lesson,” and songs that are just about waking up hungover. This is seems to be a purely DIY album, too, with lo-fi production values and straight-outta-your-printer packaging, but who cares about that. This is a great new band. I really like this album and I’m keeping my eyes open to see what these guys do in the future.

–sean (No Theme)


LO-LITE:
Comics: LP
Bluesy, primal noise, sorta like John Spencer covering the Gun Club after a PCP bender. Heavy, claustrophobic shit that’ll surely ruin the night of any alcoholic who refuses to leave after last call. –jimmy (702)


LOCUST, THE:
Flight of the Wounded Locust: CD
What a goober I am: I’ve lived in San Diego three years and I’ve never owned so much as one Locust song or seen them play. I’ve heard and liked them, I’m just too scared to do anything about it. But, what you (and I) get is: superpowerquirkviolence with loopy synthesizer swadge. It’s about 11 minutes, half new stuff and half old stuff (from Arab on Radar split; but these songs aren’t on the 7” version of Flight). I get the impression the kids down here don’t even like the Locust anymore because they got uppity or something, but I don’t know ‘em, so they’re fine by me. –Cuss Baxter (Gold Standard Laboratories)


LAZY AMERICAN WORKERS:
Another Half-Assed Job Well Done: CD
This Toledo four-piece play fast, which is a definite plus in my book. There are hints of Motorhead and the Dead Kennedys here, but not enough to save this from mediocrity. Also, my big pet peeve: They don’t include any lyrics. If this were 1985, I might be excited, but it’s not, and I’m not. Actually, I wish it were still 1985. Then we wouldn’t be inundated with all this horrible emo-rock all the time, and I would still have a good twelve years to go before becoming incurably jaded. –Dan Yemin –Guest Contributor (Biscuit Scrubbers)


KILL DEVIL HILLS:
36 Minute Struggle: CD
Some of the songs on this recording take me back in my memories to times and places that once I only barely realized were happening. And now the memories come back with such force that I don’t see how I could have overlooked them. Maybe I didn’t overlook them. Maybe I was just too drunk. This CD comes at me like a fist made of tangled, rusted wire that pops me in the jaw and when I come to the first thing I notice is that the weather has changed. What does that mean? Check it out for yourself. I really like the cover and back-cover artwork – scratchy, penciled, creepy looking little people with no arms and big blank eyes. This is also the first release on Honest In Secret Records out of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. I hope that this is just the beginning of much more to come. –bradley (Honest In Secret)


KENT 3, THE:
Spells: CD
This is a great album to listen to but a really tough one to review because I’m completely at a loss for buzzwords. There are no easy classifications for The Kent 3. That’s a good thing. When you listen to as much music as I do, and you find something that’s this original, you’d happily give up easy classifications for something this diverse. A few things are certain: 1. These guys have an awesome record collection. Every note and chord of this album proves that. They clearly still listen to Devo, especially “Working in the Coal Mine,” and they probably have everything that Sicko ever put out. 2. These guys face a lot of weird stares when they play a show. People must scream for them to bring out the punk rock, not realizing that these guys owe so much to so many varied punk misfits like the Bags and Mudhoney. 3. These guys must smoke a lot of pot. I know. We can smell our own. 4. I’m now going to sing the praises of one more obscure band that blows my mind and leaves me wondering why no one else is screaming for more of The Kent 3. Long live The Kent 3! And now, it’s time for the buzzwords: kind of an indie rock meets new wave then regresses to punk with country elements and art house noise without the pretension. See how meaningless that is? –sean (BurnBurnBurn)


JULIE’S HAIRCUT:
Stars Never Looked So Bright: CD
I think the name of the band and CD gives it all away. FUCKING CRAP! Jesus H. Christ. How did this get sent to Razorcake? What is the latest label for this kinda music – slow-alternative-prog-college-radio-pop? I just label it SHIT and carry on. Nothing remotely resembling punk here in any way shape or form. Sounds like any one of Smashing Pumpkins’ slower songs, but that would be an insult to the Smashing Pumkins (and I’m no fan). The only thing this bands needs is a good ass-whooping. –toby (GammaPop)


JUDGE DREAD:
Working Class ‘ero: CD
Hot on the heels of the re-release of his first album comes this, a re-release of his second as well. Like the first, this one is chock full of cool rudeboy/rasta beats and mucho lyrics that mean more than you think. A classic album with classic songs like “Mind the Doors” and “The Belle of Snodland Town,” which was also featured on one of the “oi!” comps years back. Even sweeter is the addition of numerous quality bonus tracks. Just as good as the first album and just as recommended. –jimmy (Captain Oi!)


JUDGE DREAD:
Dreadmania: CD

A re-release of the first album by skinhead/rudeboy hero Judge Dread. If you’ve never heard of him before, imagine that period in the late ‘60s when rock steady was losing popularity and “classic” reggae was starting to take over the airwaves. Now imagine a white, English guy peppering the tracks with double entendres that would make Lord Creator blush. If you have heard of him, here’s 15 reasons why he’s rightfully considered a legend. Highly recommended.

–jimmy (Captain Oi!)


JELLYROLL ROCKHEADS, THE:
Intense and Mild: 7"
Manic. These Japanese punks bar no holds and thrash for a good time. Songs flash by in less than a minute. Eleven songs are squeezed onto one tiny platter of fun. The lyrics are sung in English, the translation comes off skewed, but the themes are clear: smoke pot, get drunk, and rock out! They seem silly but the aggression is there; screamed vocals backed by wild abandon. They made their way into Cali but it was a week night and in OC. If I was fifteen years younger I would have gone! I, for sure, missed out on a good rockin’ time. There is a cover here that I recognized but can’t seem to put my finger on. The mind is deteriorating. My memory might be going, but I have something that is material here and it will outlive me any day! –don (625)


JACK PALANCE BAND:
Get This Shit Under Way: CD
Rockin’ fun. I was ready to toss this baby before it even played, but I always give everything a listen. Not that I always like what I get, but in the mystery meat pile is something to be discovered. Here is a band that is raw but is rocking in a fun way. Many might disagree, but I hear a mix of a good garage punk band at a bar mixed with Dead Lazlo’s Place and Dillinger 4. I hope Retodd does not become offended by using D4 as reference. A review is an opinion of one and this one is mine. Also, I don’t like to get Retodd mad. You wouldn’t be reading this if Retodd (and Sean too!) wasn’t around. I look forward to seeing if what comes about from these guys in the future. Chattanooga, TN is probably not that bad of a place with a band like this. –don (Attention Deficit Disorder)


IRON CROSS:
Live for Now: CD
These guys were one of my favorite bands when I was young, bald, and didn’t own a pair of pants without holes in ‘em. In my band’s practice space beneath my house, we would crank “New Breed” over and over, driving those less appreciative of Iron Cross’ grumbling fury bananas. Their name was scrawled on everything with a surface in that little room, from lyric notebook to ceiling to milk crate-turned-into-chair furniture. I loved this fucking band. For some reason, though, I always found myself being hassled by pigs whenever I wore one pair of torn up Levis with this band’s name scribbled on them. I remember being drunk at a party one particular night (which actually was a pretty common occurrence for me as a kid) and spending almost an hour trying to explain in slurred speech that a. being a Mexican kid from East LA, I was not a nazi; b. that the band was not a nazi band, just one with an unfortunate name; and c. that I was most certainly NOT drunk. This was way before the whole bald head=nazi dumbass thing, mind you. Anyway, at least two of the three responses were true, the most important here being that these guys weren’t a nazi band. Although reviled and misunderstood in their own scene and ignored by most outside it, they were nonetheless one of DC’s finest punk rock outfits, woefully under-appreciated in their time and damn near forgotten in the period between then and now. They also have the distinction of being one of the (of not thee) best “skinhead” bands ever to come outta the United States (a feat not too amazing in retrospect, considering the dismal quality and embarrassing track record of bald boy bands thus far produced in this country). Unlike other bands that feel some need to constantly flex some “working class” pose in thought and deed, these guys were the real deal, penning songs that dealt with actual events in their lives and scene. Submitted for your listening enjoyment are the songs from both their Skinhead Glory and Hated and Proud EPs, remixed versions of the tracks from the Flex Your Head comp, and assorted unreleased gems. And yes, after all the years that have passed by, these guys are still one of my favorite bands. Even if you are not one of today’s flock of shaven sheep, do yourself a favor and pick this puppy up. Punk rock rarely gets any better than this. –jimmy (GMM)


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