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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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TOY DOLLS:
Fat Bob: CD
Album number seven gets the reissue treatment and those of us who wrote these guys off a long time ago get a second chance to vindicate themselves, sing along to classics like “Bitten by a Bed Bug,” “The Sphinx Stinks” and “Back in 79” and once again marvel at Olga’s formidable fretwork. Tacked on for good measure are both sides of the “Turtle Crazy” single.
–jimmy (Captain Oi)


TOY DOLLS:
Absurd-Ditties: CD
This is this long-running band’s eighth album and the fifth in Captain Oi’s Toy Dolls’ reissue campaign. As with virtually all of its predecessors, there tunes are classic, the playing impeccable and the humor level in the red. The highlight of the disc is easily their take on “Dueling Banjos,” here renamed “Drooling Banjos” and featuring Olga’s nimble fingers.
–jimmy (Captain Oi)


TOXIC NARCOTIC:
We: CD
Do this: take a sock (like a thick sock, not one of those thin dress ones), fill it with chestnuts (also walnuts would be okay), soak it in adrenaline, duct tape it to the ceiling fan, put the fan on the high speed (generally done by pulling the chain), then stand on a chair so the sock hits your face when it goes around. Toxic Narcotic is a better Poison Idea than Poison Idea was most of the time.
–Cuss Baxter (Go Kart)


TORG:
Hot Yogurt Enema: CD
From the letter attached to the CD: "we do understand that not everyone will like our music but are hoping that if you don't like it you could at least make the review as funny as possible so that we could still post it on our website." I mean, WHAT the FUCK am i supposed to do NOW??? All i really know is that before i listened to this, i looked at the cover and thought "hmm...this graphic design evokes the look of the Meet the Beatles album cover." Fifty minutes later, when the lumbering punk/rock/metal/bodily function assault had ceased, i looked at the cover again – two flabby bruisers in Sloppy Seconds' weight class, the first holding microphones both fore and aft to the second gentleman, ostensibly to capture the sonic rapture of his dual-ended gas passing – and my first thought was that i wished it was a three-hundred-pound chick on there instead, so they could add a third mic and go for the fart/belch/queefe trifecta (i guess it's sorta like i heard San Diego described – you lose forty IQ points just stepping off the plane). The one legitimately brilliant song in this showcase of suavity is "Not Quite a Love Song (Clam Slop)," which sounds, almost unbelievably, like El Duce fronting the Jimi Hendrix Experience. I'll put this on at a party at least once before i die, but if it gets taken off ten seconds into song #2, i won't throw the first punch, especially not when i still can't figure out whether they're the Rancid Vat or the Horshacks of the new millennium. BEST SONG TITLE: "Burping up Barf" BEST SONG: "Based on a True Story" or "Not Quite a Love Song (Clam Slop) AMAZING FANTASTIC TRIVIA FACT: The singer's name is "G.G. Duce," but, unconscionably, no member's name is "Peter Torg."
–norb (Clambake)


TOMMY AND THE TERRORS:
On the Run: 7" EP
I have a lot of respect for these guys. They drove through a bad snow storm to play a Grange Hall in Maine to an audience of about four. And they played like the place was full. This 7” is right on par. They play tight and clean, not really messing around. Just straight up good ol’ punk with a little rock influence. A nice taste if you haven’t heard them yet, or a good addition if you have.
–megan (TKO)


TO SEE YOU BROKEN:
A Thief, a Poet, an Enemy: CD
Seven Year Bitch goes metal.
–jimmy (Excursion)


TIGER ARMY:
Early Years EP: CDEP
Six songs to tide people until their next release. This contains four old songs that were recorded before the release of their two full lengths and two alternate tracks of previously released material. Psychobilly for those not in the know. These songs are rawer than their latest, but as enjoyable as the rest.
–don (Hellcat)


THROWBACKS, THE:
Throwbacks, Everyday b/w PSA, Enemy: 7"
Fast, friendly, fuck-you street punk from beer drinkin' boys who are quite proud of the fact that they get their hair cut real close to the scalp. Sounds to me a bit like if GG fronted the Ramones and the Ramones knew five or six chords instead of three. Good stuff. I bet they slay live.
–aphid (Dim; www.dimrecords.de)


THIRTY-TWO FRAMES:
Self-titled: CD
Jay Palumbo’s past in Elliott (particularly the elegiac False Cathedrals) wouldn’t have led me to believe that he’d be involved with a straight-forward hardcore record, but here it is, sounding equal parts young Ian MacKaye, Reach The Sky, Unitas and Endpoint (among other musical reference points). This is a punk record in the sense that it wonders how people get so anesthetized, so dull and bland. It’s not explicitly political in the sense that it shouts “Fuck Bush” at every turn, but rather in the sense that it challenges received ideas (religion in “Saints Stolen,” consumer culture in “Affluenza”) and offers suggestions about what questions to ask to begin finding the answers. This disc also includes a rather rockin’ reinterpretation of Tom Petty’s “I Need to Know.”
–scott (Revelation)


TEN GRAND:
The Comprehensive List of Everyone Who Has Ever Done Anything Wrong to Us: CD
It’s really too bad that brilliant (or at least marginally clever) song titles don’t make a good record. If I were to judge this record based on song titles like “Never Let Your Girlfriend Go Camping with That Guy She Met in Pottery Class… Trust Me” or “It’s Not a Party Unless You’re Doing It with Someone Else in the Bathroom,” I’d swear it was the greatest thing since Paul Westerberg … or at least Type O Negative. If, on the other hand, I were to judge this by the title (which is the single most off-putting title I’ve been exposed to in years, solely because it makes this band sound like they didn’t take enough beatings over the years), I’d conclude that it was music made by people who really needed to put down their instruments (permanent, like) and get a hug. And I’d be right on the first part. Probably right on the second. And I would have also been right on the third because I would have put this thing back on the shelf and left it to rot at the record store. If you really can’t get enough of bad college rock bands playing dissonant, disjointed, fragmented, angular music to accompany vocals that sound like cats fucking, then you might find this appealing. If, on the other hand, you realize that this whole thing has been done to death and that chaotic screamo shit really isn’t that interesting, you’re probably better off skipping to the next review. Which is exactly what I’m doing.
–scott (Sickroom)


TEMPLARS:
The Return of Jacques de Molay: CD
A reissue of this long-running band’s first album. It was recorded in a garage, so there’s a definite demo quality to the tracks. While not my favorite Templars album, there are a few standout tracks to be found and the seeds of their trademark sound are apparent.
–jimmy (GMM)


TEMPLARS:
Phase II: CD
Ahh, that’s more like it. A resissue of the band’s second album here. Great songs on here, all done nice and purty with that jangly-guitar sound that has since become one of their trademarks. If you’re into the bald boy rock thang, this is easily one of the last decade’s bright spots in a pigeonhole that has been otherwise mighty scarce on quality music in recent years. Recommended.
–jimmy (GMM)


SYSTRAL:
Black Smoker: CD
Now that’s what I’m talking about. Ugly as shit, Earache Records styled metal that reminds me of Entombed, Napalm Death, and Carcass. On top of ugly, the music is fierce. I love that cookie monster vocal shit. The lyrics are completely unintelligible. Can’t be offended if I don’t understand what the hell is being sung. But they sure do sound mean. The guitar riffs are heavy and the drums are bashed to the tenth degree. Even though I can’t listen to this style of music on a regular basis, I do grit my teeth and snarl every time I do pull this stuff out. Maybe I will grow my hair long again?
–don (Chrome Saint Magnus)


SWITCHBLADE KITTENS:
Hey Punk! Try Heroine(s): CD
I don’t think there are enough all-girl or girl-fronted bands that suit my taste, so I’m always on the lookout for new ones that won’t disappoint me. I was pretty happy to come across the Switchblade Kittens’ new six-song CD. What’s interesting about this band is that there are no guitarists. There are three bass players, one drummer, and a female vocalist. In no way does this impede their sound, though. In fact, knowing this and listening to the music, you can’t help but feel a little impressed at the way the band pulls it off. The songs are fun and catchy and maybe more pop than punk, but they still rock. The first time I listened through the six songs, it occurred to me that the experience was kind of like when you’re watching a bad movie made for a teen audience, but the soundtrack has enjoyable songs with cool female vocals. Turns out that “All Cheerleaders Die” (the second one on the CD and my favorite one to bop along with) is the theme song for a horror flick of the same name. I do have one complaint. It is never a good idea to cover any sappy theme song from any sappy movie, particularly the embarrassing, awful Titanic. And Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” still sucks ass no matter who tries to give it a twist. That’s okay, though. I still want to hear more from the Kittens.
–felizon (Switchblade Kittens)


SWEET JAP/DAS BOOT:
: Split 7"
When Flipside entered into the multi-year publishing hiatus that they’re currently wallowing in, I was left with a bunch of releases from the Flipside, no-one-wants-to-review-this pile. I didn’t even listen to most of the stuff. I just stuck it in a shoe box to await a less discriminating time in my life. A few months ago, I finally went through the box to see if I was missing out on any gems, and I found this seven-inch. The cover is really vague and arty, and it took me a while to figure out which bands were on it, but I figured out that Sweet JAP was one of the bands. I knew that name because, if I’m not mistaken, the singer of this band is the guy who did the intro to the newest D4 album. I’d heard good things about them, so I figured I should give this record a spin. I was blown away. It’s like finding a fifty dollar bill in the pocket of a jacket that you haven’t worn for years. Sweet JAP play tight and trashy rock’n’roll that’s reminiscent of the early Replacements in its catchy rawness and reminiscent of Teengenerate in its ability to make your stereo sound like it’s in the middle of a speaker-blowing orgasm. The Das Boot side is good, too. It’s also trashy rock’n’roll, but more in the vein of the New Bomb Turks at their best. As you can probably tell, though, it’s the Sweet JAP side that’s got me going nuts. So, yeah, this release is a couple of years old but what the hell? A gem is a gem. Check it out.
–sean (Nice & Neat)


SUPERCHARGER:
Singles Party 1992-1993: CD
This is six Supercharger 7”s conveniently packaged together. Anyone who’s tried to get any of the single releases knows how impossible (or expensive) it is, so this was my first time hearing a some of the stuff on here. Funny fact about this is that the masters were long gone by the time they put this together, so Greg Lowery taped them directly from his record player. My favorite Supercharger song, “Don’t Mess Me Up,” is here, along with songs they apparently weren’t all that happy with in retrospect – the Rezillos cover. A great album to pick up while you hang on to the hope of finding the originals.
–megan (Rip Off)


STRAWBERRY GIRL:
Illuminated Communications: CD-R
Assorted noisescapes and industrial-type rhythms occupy the majority of the tracks here. Most of it is engaging and there is an obvious purpose to what they’re doing, meaning it’s not just noise for noise sake, but the proceedings would probably benefit from either some quality visual stimuli or some really good acid.
–todd (Enterruption)


STRAWBERRY GIRL:
Cassette Cacophony Collection II: CD
More noise collections culled from limited edition cassettes. This set drops all pretense and is almost completely comprised of static patterns and other found noises. Highlight here is a series of tracks made up of nothing more than sheets of white noise that are supposed to serve as a “soundtrack” for porn star Savannah’s film escapades. Should make watching porno flicks considerably more interesting, indeed.
–jimmy (Enterruption)


STRAWBERRY GIRL:
Cassette Cacophony Collection I: CD-R
A collection of tracks that previously appeared on limited run cassettes. What you get for our buck are tape loops, static patterns, “found” music, bits of dialogue from various sources and the like. Perhaps I just wasn’t in the mood to appreciate this fully, ’cause it was an interesting listen, but eventually it became more like background noise than anything else, kinda like leaving the television on while you do something else with your life.
–jimmy (Enterruption)


STOOL SAMPLE/THE SCHITZ:
Baptism in Jism: Split 7"
Stool Sample is pretty much a crusty metal punk band that sings about the most offensive things they can. They are local and I must say that I enjoy going to see their show when they play. The three songs on here, though, aren’t anything to shake a stick at. Pretty straightforward without their usual gross out novelty. Being a big fan of toilet humor, I was disappointed. Then there are The Schitz. They are a good version of Stool Sample that doesn’t need the bathroom motif to put out good music. They are musically what I wish Stool Sample was. Fast, slightly metal, snotty punk. They also have three songs, which makes this 7 “ a thrifty deal.
–toby (Stool Sample/The Schitz)


STITCHES, THE:
Twelve Imaginary Inches: CD
The Stitches had me 50-50 until I saw them several years back at a Shakedown. They bruised, shouted, and creepered through a beer-glass-to-the-head set in Vegas. The crowd was rabid, seething for more. The Stitches' set time was up, but they didn't stop playing. Lohrman's mic was cut. Without vocals, he picked up a little red plastic cup and shouted through it like an itty bitty megaphone as the band ripped through another. The crowd sang along so loudly and shot so much energy back at the band that during the last chorus, the mic was flicked back on and – while not necessarily a love fest – it was a real rock'n'roll moment where the audience became the fifth member of the band. Everything was blasted in temporary alcoholic bliss. In the years following, The Stitches have alternately impressed and bored the fuck out of me live, depending if they're fighting one another, depending if they can stand up. Coke variables, emotional stability, that sort of thing. This album is as close to the perfect live set the Stitches are capable of, then laying it to tape and making sure the drummer keeps time. It's just short of having Johnny kicking you straight in the chest if you're standing too close. My favorite full length release by them. Check the little box by name. I'm a believer.
–todd (TKO)


STITCHES, THE:
Automatic: 7"
Fuckups of the highest order rarely can play worth a shit. The Stitches, against all reason, keep getting better. Most miscreants of this caliber just become class-A drug users and lose the ability to play (not to mention losing their apartments and all touches to sanity), but The Stitches somehow get better and better. Hell if I know how. They should be dead by their own hands by now. Perhaps they've got special organs in their bodies? Perhaps the phrase, "What won't kill me can only make me stronger" applies to them in this scientific equation: "snorting so much cocaine off a hooker's ass (I've seen the pictures) that would kill a baby rhino = the superhuman ability to steal a classic punk riff and make it sound like you came up with it." The weapons they use are blunt. The music's simple as slapping a homeless person. Yet, it's perfect. No moves wasted. No dumb arty shit. Is this a classic punk slab that nods to but doesn't bow down and suck 1977's dick? Yeah, I'm beginning to think so.
–todd (Vinyl Dog)


STILLWELL:
Don’t Face a Problem... Burn It: CD
I thought it was the band from Almost Famous, but it’s the band from “Almost AmRep 1990" doing a disjointed-music-and-lyrics, Chicago thing that’s interesting for the short period between when it starts and when it becomes clear there’s just too much of it (so much, in fact, that many of the measures have five beats instead of four. Humans have two legs and so can’t dance properly in 5/4 time).
–Cuss Baxter (ForgeAgain/Hewhocorrupts, Inc.)


STEVE VON TILL:
If I Should Fall to the Field: CD
Don’t think even the most stalwart of tweakers would be able to make it through this album without nodding off. Painfully mellow in all the wrong ways.
–jimmy (Neurot)


STEREOTYPERIDER:
Same Chords. Same Songs. Same Six Strings: CD
I’m in a state of personal disagreement. The music presented before me is a unique blend of melody, interesting chord progressions, and inter-personal lyrics. What I don’t feel is the energy. I can’t define the non-interest besides that. Oh well...
–don (Suburban Home)


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