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CHARGERS STREET GANG, THE:
Holy the Bob Apocalypse: CD
Gawddamn almighty hell yeh, this is a roarin’ gargantuan skullfucker of a disc! It’s an abrasive eardrum-bursting overload of thunderous garage-rock fury rampageously enshrouded in an abundant array of feedback, distortion, aggression, attitude, and all-out turbulent ballsiness. Such maniacally mayhemic musicianship! Such rage-ridden, attitude-driven vocals! Such full-force in-your-face aural brashness! Such fun, such fun, such fun! Mine ears have heard the glory of the coming of Satan, and it sounds uncannily like The Sonics, MC5, Mudhoney, New Bomb Turks, and Rocket From The Crypt openin’ a big ol’ wallopin’ can of whup-ass on Godzilla, King Kong, and Ghidora all at once – so there ya have the crazed unrelenting cacophony of The Chargers Street Gang! If your ears are enfeebled and weak, get your decrepit sorry ass outta the way. There’s a new Gang in town, and they don’t take too kindly to aurally unreceptive lowlifes like you. Waaaaahooo, rock’n’roll, motherfuckers!!! -Roger Moser, Jr. –Guest Contributor (Get Hip)


JULIA SETS PRESENT:
An Alternative to Extinction: CDEP
It looks like a CDEP until you look at the running time—then it seems more like an album (two songs go on for 37 minutes and 14 seconds). Drawing from influences like Red House Painters (fitting, since Mark Kozelek was a Midwesterner before he lived in the Bay Area) and shoegazers like Slowdive as well as hints of mid-’80s college rock, these five songs are actually quite a pleasant surprise. Instead of being the useless emo shit that I typically get to review, this is an unexpected and well-done throwback to a more innocent time when indie bands merely hoped to get their single played on the local college station and didn’t look much beyond that. –scott (Julia Sets Present)


CHAOTIC DISCHORD:
Now! That: CD
Never paid any attention to these guys because: most generic band name ever (I always got them confused with Chronic Disorder); but it dawns on me: maybe it’s on purpose. This reissue (I guess) starts with a giddy spoken intro and then flails right off into Mob 47 territory (both in intensity and vocal clarity). Good, good stuff. The live portion is righteously noisy and goofy and I think this is one special (lo fi) slab. –Cuss Baxter (Punk Core)


JERK APPEAL:
36 Cents b/w New City & I Don’t Think So: 7"
Fair-to-middlin’ early effort by a Montreal band that might wax, wane, mutate or destruct utterly prior to emitting a full-length. The toolbox of the Dropkick Murphys and/or Rancid is, apparently, open and available to them—which is fine—however, in numerous spots on this 45, it seemed to me as if the band were manufacturing their would-be bombastic street anthems out of more or less nothing but non-load-bearing structural elements. Like, you know, where’s the fucking BEEF, jack? Everything can be rocking along mightily one second, and, the next, one gets the distinct impression that nothing dwells beneath the surface of these songs—like a well-crafted piñata that somehow didn’t get packed with anywhere near as many SweeTarts™ as would be right and just. I mean, they have the outer form of the music they wish to play down cold (dig those air-raid-siren Clash guitars on “36 Cents”), but, in other spots, the singer howls “IIIIII DAUUUUNNNNN’T THAAAANNNNNKK SOOOOOOO!!!” in his dorky fake British accent (which, BTW, i have no problem with) like sixty-four (or something) times in a row, like he REALLY thinks he just invented either a.) a cure for cancer, or b.) the best Rock Hook since “NOooooo FUUUUU-CHAH! NOoooo FUUUU-CHAH! NOooooo FUUU-CHAH FO’ YOUUUUUU!!!” ... it’s like, dude, get over yourself—”I Don’t Think So” is NOT a rock masterpiece—so plan your assaults on Planet Earth with this in mind. At this early stage in their career, i am reserving judgment on Jerk Appeal—the one X-Factor on their side being that this band contains an ex-member of the Radicts. The Radicts were one of those bands that even i, as a guy who maybe kinda might occasionally slide into Music-Snob-ism, could appreciate—i mean, you’d hear like the first ten seconds of a song and be like “oh, fuck, i listened to this music when i was sixteen, who needs it?”—but then you’d keep listening and be like, “fuck, these guys know their shit, totally!” The Radicts were probably the best American band, ever (unless we’re counting like Rancid and the Dropkick Murphys), to be able to handle those sort of English street punk clichés and use ‘em and spit ‘em back out as damn fine tunes—i mean, it was just something they could do, perhaps without even thinking about it. I hereby “suggest” that the guy from the Radicts take over the band, and everybody else listen to what the fuck he says. Unless there is some manner of French-English language barrier, in which case let the best Esperanton win! BEST SONG: “36 Cents” BEST SONG TITLE: “I Don’t Think So,” which is not that great of a song title FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I already said it: That one guy was in the Radicts. That’s all ya get! –norb (Sonik’s Chicken Shrimp)


CENTIMETERS:
Help Is On the Way: CD
Side one: Gloomy pop, sorta like Christian Death covering the Velvet Underground. It started to remind me of early Pink Floyd at the end. Side two was more of the same. Interesting, but not big whoop. –jimmy (Space Baby)


BURNOUTS, THE:
Close to Break Evil: CD
Sloppy rock’n’roll with a guitarist who seems more interested in grazing chords than actually playing them. –jimmy (www.badafro.dk)


BROTHER BRICK:
The Same: 7"
I was a little put off by the pic of the band. I see three dudes in flannel and long hair and I automatically think “hippie grunge shit.” Yeah, I’m a bigot. Fuck you. Luckily, my fears were unfounded. Straight-up Detroit r’n’r here. Both songs are blessed with solid riffage and the title track even lifts a piece of Sabbath’s “Fairies Wear Boots” and puts it to good use. –jimmy (Rockin' House)


BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE:
Braveryrepititionandnoise: CD
Mostly mellow, ‘60s-influenced rock that owes more than a little of its sound to the late, great Love and just a dash of the psychedelic incarnation of the Stones. Really good shit that makes me wish I still smoked dope. –jimmy (www.bomp.com)


BRANDNEW:
Your Favorite Weapon: CD
Mass appeal. Can you say MTV? I want to direct the video. I will dress them in the latest skate wear – brand logos that are jumping out of the screen so that they can get extra money from their clothing sponsors. Oh, I can’t forget the studded belts and the chain wallets. I would go to the local punk record store and place all over their instruments punk stickers of every punk band that ever existed. That would give them credibility. Make sure their haircuts are spikey and shiny and at least one member would have a florescent color dyed in right before the shoot. They would have to look like they are individuals. I would have them lip syncing live at an outdoor arena with a high school aged group as an audience fueled on cheap keg beer. Making sure the crowd is going to look energetic, I would yell, “More blood, more beer!” Nothing promotes attention more than underage drinking and free beer mixed together. While shooting the performance, I would yell, “Jump!” every ten seconds at the band to “show” their energy. At one point, I would instruct the singer to take his shirt off so he can show off his fake tattoos, stage prop piercings and the top of his boxers to attract a larger female audience. Oops, I must be blending together a Blink 182 video with a Good Charlotte video. Fuck it. It will still work. –don (Triple Crown)


BODIES, THE:
Firepower Is Our Business: CDEP
The Bodies are as catchy as they sound mean. They’re working class. And, thankfully, they don’t oi it up, since they’re from America. They just look like regular dudes – jeans and t-shirts. And they rock out. And they drink a lot when they play, which is endearing. What’s disarming is that Abe’s voice could easily be on a pop punk album. It’s very smooth, very easy to listen to, and he does this thing called enunciation instead of gargling marbles in a Cockney-affected accent. It’s refreshing. The band plays flawless, powerful punk rock, and although they’re from the bombing range around San Francisco, they sound like the very best of true Orange County punk. Slicing wire guitars, punished drums, bubbling bass melodies, and a solo-less experience. And although I essentially disagree with their supporting of the death penalty (but take their point that scumbags should get their due) and don’t quite share wanting to wave the flag with them, I can’t but help cranking the stereo and singing along. The music’s just too good to dismiss on small points of political disagreement, especially since the times I’ve seen them play, they’ve been really nice guys. (I think most of these songs were previously released on both Vulture Rock and Radio, sans the last track, but I’ve been known to fuck up.) –todd (TKO)


BOBBY SOX:
Scavenger of Death b/w Hate in the : 7"
This is a “fanclub release” (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) of a super-obscuro, collectors-go-crazy-for ‘79 Dallas band. It’s wonderfully shitty. The production’s pretty much ass and the drum sounds just a little better than a sponge getting thwocked. Yet, despite the audial limitations, the band mined similar fields as the Necros at one-half speed (a little metally, a little gruff) while tweaking one of Devo’s nipples (creative repetition and drone), so it’s nice and deranged and completely out of left field – which I pretty much figure how they were regarded as, now as well as then: a small band of aliens in the middle of big, fucking prairie that most people would want to shoot and a small band of people who love the hell out of ‘em, just for trying and making their lives a wee more interesting. –todd (www.stickmenwithrayguns.com)


BLOODHAG:
Necrotic Bibliophila: CD
In a quick nutshell, Bloodhag, in all seriousness, are a black or death or scary metal band of geeks that sing exclusively songs about science fiction authors, replete with almost impossible-to-decipher, unholy vocals and chonka chonka riffage that comes out of the sky like lightning. I like them a bunch, perhaps because they sound so tough and their music could pound Korn into the soft earth, and they’re saying, essentially, “read science fiction, you dink.” It’s a definite plus there’s a lyrics sheet, that you have to read. And reading and literacy is their mission in life. Like thick glasses on a human skull, they coalesce the tenets of NorthWest EduCore (slogan – “Reading is… fuuuuck you”), along with proper library etiquette, and they get down to the business at hand: making your ears bleed and your mind expand. Standouts include the lyrics in “Octavia E. Butler” – “Don’t make Octavia write for a hundred years before you treat Black women as good as guys with pointed ears”; in “William Gibson,” the lyrics – “Dystopian vision forged with typewriter ribbon”; and the male falsetto voice in “Kenneth Robeson.” Skullastically sounding like pissed-off, peed-on mutants with extra arms (for extra thrashing), Bloodhag continue to discover new ways of re-interpreting the phrase, “Get lit.” Yeah, it’s recommended… like a reading list. –todd (Rock and Roleplay)


BLOCKO:
Self-titled: 7" EP
This has a sort of indie rock feel to the music, but with a more driving, punk-style beat. There is a strong Dinosaur Jr. influence, with maybe a touch of that DC supergroup Three thrown in. It’s also a one-sided 7” which you’ll either think is really cute, or a waste of space. Kudos on the DIY effort, but maybe next time, include some lyrics, O.K.? –Dan Yemin –Guest Contributor (Boss Tunage)


BLACK WIDOWS, THE:
Aricknaphobia: CD
It’s some kind of secret mystery group that wears panty hose on their faces and plays instrumental surf with a goodly handful of organ and goes in two speeds: exciting fast and pleasant slow. I can’t believe the name Black Widows ain’t been used before, but it seems to be working for these guys. –Cuss Baxter (Vital Gesture)


BLACK CAT MUSIC:
Hands in the Estuary, Torso in the Lake: CD
Pull the curtains to shut out the sunlight, enter Black Cat Music. This band is the sound of chains swinging in a basement. Like the Murder City Devils, their souls are steeped in a dark and sinister underworld. Their music shares elements of that Seattle band, too, although it is a little more methodical and dynamically sparse. Their sound is an odd one. At times, when within one song they veer close to territory of Led Zepplin, old Nation of Ulysses, and goth at the same time. The singing is somewhat atonal and grating, but only becomes unbearable when the tempo of the songs slow way down. It is an interesting record and but hard to recommended except to those attracted to the darker side of things. –Nathan Grumdahl –Guest Contributor (Lookout!)


BHOPAL STIFFS:
(1985-1989): CD
Before Larry Damore became the front man for the amazing-but-not-nearly-prolific-enough Pegboy, he was in a hardcore band called the Bhopal Stiffs. The Bhopal Stiffs wrote a ton of songs, put out a seven inch and an EP, recorded a demo, slid some songs on a few comps, recorded a live show and recorded themselves on the radio, and now all of that (28 songs, total) is available on this CD. I’ve got to admit that I’d never heard of the Bhopal Stiffs before this CD came out. I almost tossed it into the review pile, but then Todd pointed out that Larry was the singer, so I had to check it out. I was hooked. It’s definitely some good hardcore/punk. What’s interesting about this album, too, is that, because they include everything that the Bhopal Stiffs recorded and because the tracks go pretty much in chronological order, you can see how the band started off owing a lot to Minor Threat, but then gradually became more melodic and developed their own sound. The latter songs on the album almost sound like a lost Pegboy album, which is really cool. The recording quality varies, and, as with most reissues of ten-year-old material, some of the songs sound kind of dated. Hardcore has grown a lot since these songs were recorded. Still, these songs needed to be reissued and I’m glad I own this album. –sean (Harmless)


BELTONES:
Cheap Trinkets: CD
You know it’s a good day when you’re listening to a two-year-old album by a band, thinking that they really need to release something new, and that very day, their new album arrives in the review pile. That’s what happened to me with this new Beltones. And believe me, I’m not disappointed. Cheap Trinkets brings back most of my favorite elements from the Beltones first CD – growling vocals, angry, heartbreaking songs, the sense that you’re so far gone that one more drink couldn’t hurt – but a new element has been added. While the Beltones’ sound still has its core in early Stiff Little Fingers, they’ve added a rockabilly edge to the songs. Which isn’t to say that they’ve gone rockabilly. They haven’t. They’ve just added that little bit more of a roll to their songs. The lyrics have changed somewhat, too. On their first CD, On Deaf Ears, the lyrics were jarringly personal – songs about the singer’s mother dying, songs about old friends going off in different directions, songs about being so mixed up and angry inside that you have to start drinking to keep from killing people. On this album, the lyrics have gotten less personal. There are a lot more songs about women. Still, they carry that Beltones’ edge, singing about getting in a fight that a cop breaks up (“could you take your foot off my neck for a second so I can peel my face off the ground”), or singing about losing a girlfriend (“the good lord stole her away from me. I swear I’ll settle the score with that rotten motherfucker”). Even when they try a love song, it comes across like a nudge from a chainsaw (“I know a lot of things like this are better left unsaid, but your kisses taste better than a kick in the head”). I’ll be honest. I can’t get enough of this album right now. I’m listening to it every day and have to keep myself from listening to it more than that. And I can’t wait to see them live again, especially now that they know enough songs to play for longer than twenty minutes. –sean (TKO)


BE:
The Stupid Dream: CD
College pop that was really pretty good at the outset but got boring quickly. Hearing just the slightest touch of ELO in the first song or two, I was pretty excited, too. –jimmy (www.besongs.com)


ATOMBOMBPOCKETKNIFE:
God Save the ABPK: CD
Some potent, post-Sonic Youth noise pop. The songs are well executed and hard, yet they retain enough of a poppy edge to keep them annoyingly planted on your internal playlist. Especially liked the feedback solo on “Gamma Rays Forever.” –jimmy (Southern)


ASUNDER/LIKE FLIES ON FLESH:
Split: CD
Both bands play prosaic death metal songs that, like the Energizer bunny, just go on and on and on and on... –jimmy (Life is Abuse)


ANTISEEN:
Hell: CD
Okay, great band. Mediocre CD littered with bad ideas. All cover songs here. Cover songs aren’t necessarily a bad thing but you have to be careful what you cover. For instance, if you are a redneck rock’n’roll band, a Curtis Mayfield cover might not sound too good… and it doesn’t. Neither does a Bob Dylan cover or a Sun Ra cover. There are many bad ideas here but there are some good ones, too. A Hank Williams Sr. cover is a good idea if you are that kinda band. So is a Roy Orbison cover. Now, if you are standing next to the CD controller where you have easy access to the skip button, then it doesn’t sound too bad at all. So, bottom line is, if you are a diehard AntiSeen fan, pick this up. Otherwise, find any one of their other albums. –toby (Steel Cage)


AMBITIOUS CAREER WOMEN:
3 song: CD
Complicated Seattle nerd rock so chock-full of dynamics that it’s a regular science fair, as judged by No Means No (if they had anger). –Cuss Baxter (www.ambitiouscareerwoman.com)


AMBITION MISSION:
Self-titled: CD
Hardcore punk that’s big and blustery in a Dillinger 4 kinda way, but just ain’t impressing me in the same way that band does. Their cover of “Amerikan in Me” was relatively painless. On the whole not sucky, just not particularly memorable. Maybe next time. –jimmy (Government Music)


AMAZOMBIES:
Shipwrecked: CDEP
These are three ladies from Seattle who sometimes sound like Joan Jett and other times like the Ramones. There are five songs on here with what I think is their best track saved for last – “At the Bar.” The cover photograph is of a pre-twentieth century sailboat. It looks like a pirate ship to me. Is this a pirate ship? I’m not sure. Are these young ladies really pirates? Amazonian zombie pirates? I like it. –bradley (www.amazombies.com)


ALTA MAY:
We As In Us: CD
When I lived in Shitport, Louisiana, I torturously sweated and toiled in a vending warehouse where the hours were long and the labor grueling. The easy-going custodian who half-heartedly cleaned and maintained the premises was a mildly retarded black woman named Alta May (not a very common name at all, I might add). And this was during the early to mid-‘90s when grunge loudly reared its monstrously huge head and reigned supreme in the carcass-strewn dinosaur-rock kingdom of FM-radio stagnancy. Now here’s where the irony of the situation kicks in, folks: this gruff’n’gritty trio of tune-blasters, who are aptly named Alta May, feverishly flail through a grungey maelstrom of sonic skull-crushers that brings to mind the flannel-enshrouded era of Seattle’s sullen sounds which were buried deep in richly textured strains of heroin, decadence, darkness, and death. I assuredly do not intend that to be construed as a negatively toned statement, ‘cause Alta May grandly radiate a mesmerizing glimmer of audial energy that equals, and sometimes surpasses, the best of what Nirvana, Mudhoney, Alice In Chains, Green River, Tad, Love Battery, and countless others had to offer back when grunge was king and the predictable rapmetal moronity of today was nothin’ more than a speck of laundry lint in some major-label rep’s coin pocket. Ah, yes indeed, those were the days... or were they really?!? -Roger Moser, Jr. –Guest Contributor (Glazed)


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