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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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SOVIETTES, THE/ THE HAVENOT’S:
Split 7” : EP
Yes, the Soviettes are on the cover. Yes, there’s a long interview in this issue, and man, I couldn’t be happier. Their two offerings are as great as anything that they’ve released. With the crazy powerful and assured triple vocals on “30 Min or Less,” how every instrument not only locks into another, but propels the entire mission, I think, “So, this is what the Go Go’s would have sounded with a dude drummer if Our Lips Are Sealed didn’t get such a thoroughly poppy mix. Rad.” Quite possibly one of the world’s funnest riots on wax. Confetti and defiance. The Havenot’s: They’d be perfect on a bill with Water Closet or The Urchin. They’ve got that mid-paced, “They’re Japanese. Are they speaking English? Yes. They’re really saying ‘the Boys are back to street’” thing down. It’s crunchy and Japanese-clean, but their proficiency doesn’t overshadow some cool songwriting flourishes and finger snapping dynamics that wouldn’t leave fans of the Replacements cold. Good job, great split.  –todd (Nice and Neat)


SOLEA:
Even Stranger: CD EP
Ex-members of … Knapsack … Texas Is The Reason … and Samiam … gather … to make five songs. So why does this sound like such a shitty rip-off of Sunday’s Best? Fuck Solea. If any of this sounds remotely interesting, check out The Jealous Sound.  –scott (3 Mileage)


SNOT ROCKETS, THE:
Bankrupt: CD
A competent, but mostly unmemorable, punk rock band that deserves a rousing “hell yeah!” for the diatribe on the illegality of American currency that comprises the center of the CD’s booklet.  –jimmy (www.thesnotrockets.com)


SLOW SLUSHY BOYS, LES:
Slush Puppy: 7”
A couple of instrumentals heavy on ‘60s kitsch. Both songs on this would’ve been big hits with Cissy and her friends had Family Affair been a reality show.  –jimmy (Butterfly)


SLICK SHOES:
Far from Nowhere: CD
The way the punk music scene is today, it’s fragmented in sub-scenes that don’t interrelate. I remember back in my glory days, I would meet new friends at every show. I go to shows now and I’m just the non-fashionable old guy. Over this rant, I say that I will probably never really cross paths with this band. They are already on the Warped tour and I see MTV following behind. Just as there are demographics in everything else, I see this band falling into the 14-18 demographic: aural cheesy pleasure disguised as rebellion for the younger set. Color in the numbers punk rock to some fame and fortune. This is a band that can lure the youth into the darker, serious side of punk. Because there is always the small few who want more rebellion and more thought for their entertainment. Those people will crossover and continue the more underground movement of the punk scene. So, I believe both sides have a purpose. But being on the darker side, this music sounds so homogenized that I feel lactose intolerant and I feel a wet shit coming down the tubes.  –don (Side One Dummy)


SLEAZIES, THE:
Gonna Operate on Myself: 7”
Gotta hand it to Rapid Pulse, they sure know how to pick ‘em. Snuck a peek at the lyric sheet before putting this on the turntable and cringed at the silliness of the lyrics. Soon as the needle hit the groove, however, all my fears regarding what I was about to endure dissipated. Both tracks here are sweet sounding punk with more than just a nod toward the band’s ‘70s predecessors, particularly the Gears. Okay, I’m hooked and awaiting my next fix, preferably a full-length.  –jimmy (Rapid Pulse)


SKALINERS, THE:
Belly Dance: CD
Ska band from Germany that is good musically, but the singer’s tone rubs me like red fire ants between my toes. Maybe if they sang in German instead of English it would be much better to these ears.  –don (Mad Butcher)


SIXTH CHAMBER, THE:
Molded Truths: CD
The only progeny I know to have sprung from the Christian Death camp (Sevan Kand is the son of later members Gitane Demone and Valor Kand) teams up with Urinals/100 Flowers member Kjel Johansen, and Rahne Pistor, who may or may not be the guy who was in one of the more recent incarnations of the Undead. The resulting music comes off as a weird hybrid of early death rock (before it became “goth” and subsequently lost all credibility) and no wave, making for some interesting tuneage, indeed. Much respect to these guys for opting to stand out from the rest of the pack.  –jimmy (Novokkane Noise)


SILK FLOWERS:
Not Worth Mentioning: 7”
Sort of like how members of Hot Water Music let their country music influence shine through as Rumbleseat, members of the Starvations are moonlighting as Silk Flowers. Some of the same ingredients are there: the wailing vocals, the lyrics full of despair, and the fact the songs aren’t grossly exaggerated caricatures. The music, however, is a different story. The Gun Club/Birthday Party influence has been filtered out, leaving a bare-boned, acoustic country sound that is no less haunting than the music of the Starvations. Fantastic. –Not Josh  –Guest Contributor (Postneo Music, no address)


SIGNAL TO TRUST:
Folklore: CD
This band is from Minnesota and features x-members of The Misfires, Sicbay and The Hidden Chord. First things first. I adore the sleeve art. It’s very poppish and looks like something Jet Set would be releasing instead. It’s got a bizarre ‘60s feel to it with bright colors and deer versus wolves, but fuck, man, the inner artwork is this mess of grids with the lyrics scrawled over them. It makes me dizzy. That is not good. Musically, it’s just like the Faraquet (R.I.P.) b-sides or something. Tight, tasty and enjoyable, but listening to it makes me want to listen to Faraquet and not Signal To Trust. Big whammy.  –Sarah Shay (Modern Radio)


SICKIDS:
Now and Then: CD
A now and then overview (hence the title) of an ‘80s band from Philly that have apparently decided to give it another go two decades later. Tempos here range from mid-speed to sludgy and there’s a HEAVY Cramps influence throughout.  –jimmy (Steel Cage)


SHOCKS, THE:
More Cuts for You in Zero 2: CD
A German punk rock band up to its eyeballs in Killed By Death worship. Features that twangy, non-distorted guitar sound that gets the trash-punkers’ trousers all sticky.  –jimmy (Dirty Faces)


SHOCKER, THE:
Up Your Ass Tray: CDEP
Former L7 member, Jennifer Finch, groups up some people and creates a new band. It’s very much in the same vein of L7 and musically has elements of punk and Joan Jett. I remember young Jennifer and L7 opening up for my punk band that was headlined by St. Vitus in a shitty Hollywood club on a Wednesday or Thursday night. They played a rocking set for a band that was new. We went through our set. It had songs, at the time, that were almost ten years old mixed with current ones. They were right out front and rocked out to our set. We had a singer people hated, so it was great seeing people enjoy what we were doing. We made no money that night. But I do remember L7 enjoying our music. On this disc, I drew close to the cover song. The band covers the Juice Newton (Fuck you, Dale. It’s not Kim Carnes!) hit “Angel of the Morning.” It takes a certain voice to carry that song and the band backs it up. Other songs that I dug were “Smoke Rings,” “Break in Two,” “Your Problem Now,” and “Bad Brain Good Head.” Rocking punk’n’roll that should be burning though the club scene soon after their stint on the Warped Tour.  –don (Little Pusher)


SHEMPS, THE/ TO HELL AND BACK:
Split : 7”
The Shemps: Like a fawn getting its legs, stumbling out of the placental sac, and then learning how to wield a chainsaw, The Shemps started out in the world as mild mannered and have quickly evolved into a ripping unit. Parts pop, parts life of the party, part solid rock’n’roll mystery, I’d put them in league with The Stupor Stars. Nothing’s missing, and Artie’s vocal snot ratchets the proceedings up a couple notches. Plus, if you put “Suzie Werner played guitar on this recording, got arrested on tour, and quit the band a month later as a condition of her parole. Good luck Suzie!” in your liner notes, you know you’re dealing with a band that tests the edge of the blade. To Hell and Back: With ex-members of Devoid of Faith and John Brown’s Army, I was expecting more, uhhh, hardcore than a slowed down Zeke. I fall on the side of the pyramid that got their ass kicked while heavy metal got played on swung-open monster truck stereos in the parking lot in high school and those scars still haven’t healed, no matter how progressive. I’ve just recently embraced Motorhead and AC/DC as part of my rehabilitative therapy, but this it too much of a step. Sorry. Go Shemps!  –todd (Gloom)


SCUMBAG ROADS:
Bad Girl Attraction: 10”
...one of the things that i find wholly unsatisfying regarding the majority of European punk rock (especially the stuff that might be seen as having descended in some way, shape or form from the Ramones, regardless of how nth-generation the bloodlines run) is that once The Punk Rock has made its initial mutation – has staked out its defining deviance from the norm, or what have you – it very rarely mutates further. Once a band sounds like what it sounds like, it sounds like that forever, or until they “progress,” which is different from mutation. Bands will be FAST and LOUD and PUNK, yet an entire set can pass by without the band ever finding some virgin cubic millimeter of your brain that hasn’t yet been trampled by rock ‘n’ roll – some tiny cluster of heretofore unused synapses, ripe for the pickin’ – and jabbing their own little pushpin in there, marking their turf forever and ever, or until you forget. I just never feel like a lot of the bands establish much of an identity above and beyond the identity they’ve established merely as a precondition to their existing; like, once the initial sonic character of the music is there, everything else could just be plotted out by some manner of punk rock algorithm. Of course, i freely admit that there may well be things in the music that i’m not picking up on, but i’m gonna give myself the benefit of the doubt and write that off as idle speculation right now. That said, about two-twelfths of this record is genius – and, of course, those twelfths would also be the two stupidest songs, “Deadly Potion” and “Dirt.” The other ten-twelfths blaze along in a quite pleasant punk rock fireball, with the blaring guitar assault upon my eardrums feeling as nice as the hot water in the shower does when i’ve finally coaxed myself out of bed in the morning. However, sorta like the shower, the feeling only lasts ‘til the towel. Rocks hard, but debatably non-essential. BEST SONG: I already told you this, it’s either “Dirt” or “Deadly Potion.” Now, since you made me repeat myself, i will tell you the BEST LYRIC: “I grab my giant noodle/pissing on the whole kaboodle” BEST SONG TITLE: Well, “Smash It Up,” “Dirt,” “I Don’t Like You” and “Yeah Yeah” are all pretty good... too bad they’re already taken. I guess i vote for “Bad Girl Attraction,” contingent on it being some sort of pun on “Bad Guy Reaction.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Guitar player Andi Scum was (is?) in the Returners. The Wag!!! The Wag!!! THHHHEEEE WAAGGGGGGGG!!!  –norb (Swindlebra)


SCARLET LETTER, THE:
Scattered, Smothered and Covered: The Collected Letters: CD
A weird melding of metal, emo and hyperspeed hardcore here. I appreciate the effort to fuck with boundaries a bit and search for something new in the resulting mess, but the end product here didn’t really do much for me.  –jimmy (Hater of God)


RUDE PRAVO:
Non Mi Pento: CD
The cover of Non Mi Pento has a cartoon of them all causing some mischief. The thing that got me was that it looked like they were some bastard super group made up of Moby, someone who’s a cross between Mike Watt and Shawn Stern, Rosie O’Donnell, a cross between John Lennon and Joey Ramone, and a long-lost Blues Brother. It’s really pretty good, though. I hear lots of Business and some Stiff Little Fingers in there. They’re Italian and sing in Italian, which brings me to a realization I had when I was listening to this. I’ve given this quite a few listens, but this would probably never make it into my heavy rotation. With music as catchy as theirs and lyrics encouraging sing-alongs, I want to do just that – sing along. With my Italian limited to, “Oh il mio dio, io l’embarrased un pesce.” I don’t see it happening any time soon. So, when I get the urge to hear something that they could definitely do, I won’t reach for them, but a band I can actually sing with as I bounce around and piss off my downstairs neighbors. People who aren’t as afflicted as I should pick this up.  –megan (KOB)


WORLD BURNS TO DEATH:
Human Dogs… Tossed to the Dogs of War: 7"
WBTD charges out tooth-chipping, frantic, and complexly played political hardcore that has Russian writing all over it (although it's sung in English). The band is oddly – yet refreshingly – historically political. One song references Kursk, calling it "Scheissekrieg" (shit war). Fuck it. Might as get some WWII history from punk. It doesn't seem to fit into many school books nowadays. (The Battle of Kursk, between the Germans and Russians, engaged more than four million soldiers, thirteen thousand armored vehicles, and eleven thousand aircraft. Lemmy of Motorhead's been quoted as saying it was his favorite tank battle because it was the biggest.) There are more than a couple of Crass elements that WBTD employs – from the vivid brutality of war cover art, to the layering of vocals (one singing, one talking), to the cacophony that makes you think the band's going to melt down like a faulty nuclear reactor at any time – but they definitely don't sound like a clone band living off of past glories from battles fought. It sounds like war anew.
–todd (Prank)


WOOLWORTHY:
Recycler: CD
Big guitar post-emo pop crap. Makes me fantasize that Buffalo Bill, the serial killer in Silence of the Lambs, was a real person and had a thing for shitty emo-related bandmember-meat.
–jimmy (Boss Tuneage)


VINDICTIVES, THE:
Nuttin’ for Christmas b/w Jingle Bells: 7"
Here’s a funny little punk rock Christmas record from the Vindictives. It’s thick with irony and Joey’s snotty vocals. They do a really funny take on “Nuttin’ for Christmas” that expands beyond the basic childhood mischief of the first couple of verses and into lines like “turned his brother on to crack/fucked his sister in the ass/somebody snitched on me.” There’s more, but I don’t want to spoil all the jokes. The “Jingle Bells” side isn’t quite as funny because there’s only so much you can do with that song. In the whole catalog of Vindictives stuff, this is far from their best. I highly recommend The Many Moods of the Vindictives and Party Time for Assholes. If you don’t have those two albums, buy them first. If you do have them and you want more Vindictives, this isn’t a bad record.
–sean (Stardumb)


VENAL I.V.:
Self-titled: CDEP
A two-man hardcore band with anarchist leanings. Sounds about as good as one would figure a two-man anarchist band would sound. Not surprised, not impressed, not amused.
–jimmy (Venal I.V.)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
You Call This Music?!?, Vol. II: CD
Thirty-five of your favorite bands make a ruckus. Features Operation Cliff Clavin, ESL, Pornshot, Toys That Kill, Four Letter Words, Nazis from Mars and oodles of others. Personally, the highlight of the whole disc was the outtro.
–jimmy (Geykido Comet)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
You Call This Music?!?, Vol. II: CD
Finally a disc that offers up some seething straight up punk with blood on its boots, piss in its gut and hate in its veins. This has a nice helping of bands with snotty female vocals, something I'm rather fond of myself. For whatever it's worth, my favorites are the Jag Offs, Backside, Pillbox Terror and the Voids. A little bit of something for everyone, including a handful of duds, but all with a nice chippy attitude. I think this would make a decent party CD.
–aphid (Geykido Comet)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
We Don’t Need Society: CD
Another tribute album, this one for DRI, and I have to admit that, while I liken the tribute album phenomenon to walking up and kicking a musician square in the nuts for all his hard work, this one wasn’t as bad as expected. Some choice covers of songs spanning the bulk of DRI’s career are provided courtesy of Ratos de Porao, Electric Frankenstein (a smoking cover of “Plastique,” believe it or not), Hollywood Hate, Retox, Capitalist Casualties and more. As it’s a tribute album, I refuse to recommend buying this under any circumstances, but I’m not above suggesting that you find someone that was dumb enough to buy it and ask ’em to tape it for you.
–jimmy (Malt Soda)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Two Turds and a Golfball: CD
I picked this up outta the review pile because the Grand Pricks, whose “High Kicks to Your Dicks” is one of thee punkest albums of the last five years. I regretted that decision when I saw it was a compilation of bands playing the same song, one that shares the same name as the compilation itself, and then was pleasantly surprised when I put this puppy on. WILDLY diverse in sound, from grind to hardcore to rap metal to straight punk to country to industrial noise and beyond. The fact that virtually none of the lyrics match from one version to the next leads me to believe that this is more a case of bands performing songs with the same name rather than covering the same tune. Either way, this was some pretty entertaining listening. Pick it up. Need more impetus? There’re exclusive Anal Cunt and Dahmer tracks on here, you discerning punkers, you.
–jimmy (Hollow Bunny)


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