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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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MARKY RAMONE AND THE SPEEDKINGS:
Legends Bleed: CD
The Speedkings roped in one Marky Ramone to fill the drum seat in their band and record this disc with ‘em. As usual, brother Marky’s teflon-coated wrists from hell accompany this release just fine. Heavy Ramones influences abound, but I emphasize the word “heavy" – lots of ballsy, low-end tromp for yer buck here. Song topics range from a rock'n'roll asshole, girls, cars and girls, road rage, hot UPS girls, propositioning married girls in heat, sex phone girls, girl’s beaver on one’s mind, and even a song about telling fuckers to quit looking at someone’s missing weenie hair (which has a very catchy chorus, by the way, guys). Included are four live Ramones cuts the Speedkings pulled out live at a New Years Eve show in Germany. This disc is proof that one of the greatest punk drummers still standing can still crush it out, and the Speedkings show just that.
–dale (www.thirstyear.com)


MANDA AND THE MARBLES:
More Seduction: CD
Some swell pop here, sick with hooks and overdriven guitars, the result sounding not unlike a ballsier Go-Go’s. I’m not that big on pop anymore, but I actually enjoyed this a hell of a lot.
–jimmy (Go Kart)


MAN WILL DESTROY HIMSELF:
Consume... Be Silent... Die: CD
Picked this outta the pile ’cause I’d heard it was Reed from COC’s return to the punk rock fold. What you get for your buck is a song that sounds like it was created from a template based on Minor Threat’s “It Follows,” a song that sounds like it was ripped off from Discharge, and a bunch of other tracks that sound more like a bunch of metal dudes trying to pass themselves off as punks rather than the real thing. Wholly unimpressive. Excuse me while I go toss this in the shitcan and put on Limpwrist.
–jimmy (www.mwdh.net)


MAN WILL DESTROY HIMSELF:
Consume... Be Silent... Die: CD
The music is about as subtle as the band's name and CD title. This is the sort of band that I would assume are all smart guys that have stupid fans. They have a message, but also mosh parts, and you can guess what is more appealing to some. A good diversity of styles and influences – I keep hearing little things that remind me of SOMETHING, but I can't quite put my finger on half of them. So far, I hear traces of Bad Brains circa I Against I, Circle Jerks circa Wonderful, some Agnostic Front and assorted bits of the better things Rollins has done. Hey, it's like a best-of late '80s punk/hardcore! Every member is credited with vocals, which explains the variety of styles. None of them exactly SING, but they all do more than just scream. The odd thing about this CD is that you can tell it is really well produced – like it has a cleanness to it, and it just seems louder than most CDs.
–rich (Extremely Baked)


MAN WILL DESTROY HIMSELF:
Consume... Be Silent... Die: CDEP
Blender time. Get some aged whiskey, some later period Black Flag records, the first Corrosion of Conformity LP Eye for an Eye, and some old school East Coast records to top it off with some bile. Hit the “on” switch and let it roar. Had to throw in the COC reference since Reed plays drums in this band and does some vocal duties. His influences has to permeate this project. Also you can hear the love of Black Flag here. Seven songs to give you an alternative to the more rock stuff of COC that they have been putting out lately.
–don (Man Will Destroy Himself)


MAGNETIC IV:
Tarantula!: 7" with glow-in-the-dark sleeve and fridge magnet
This caught me off guard in a good way. It's surfy (ala Ventures) female-fronted breathy-to-screaming garage punk (think somewhere between the Loudmouths and Sado Nation). I like the watery, warbley feel that the guitar gives it, teetering the songs like a mildewing shack on the edge of the ocean, about to crash onto the rocks below. But, overall, it didn't completely light my ears on fire. I think it's because the songs lock into grooves too soon and the band doesn't know if they should be brazen fire breathers (as the urgent vocals suggest) or new traditionalists (as the straight ahead reverb insists) and the overall impact lessens when parts of their songs repeat. To their credit, they hotfoot through a cover of The Sonics' "Strychnine," almost on par with The Cramps' take on the classic. Pretty cool, and I'll look forward to more releases, but this isn't essential.
–todd (Tear It Up)


MADCAP:
East to West: CD
This sophomore effort from LA’s Madcap shows great improvement in musicianship, writing ,and production values since their debut, Stand Your Ground. I guess spending all of their summer playing the Warped Tour has benefited them well. I know many of you have seen or heard of these guys before. So no explanation for you. I personally haven’t seen them live and my only other contact with this band is their last record. This album has a mixture of the Beltones, One Man Army, and the Bouncing Souls. Melodic and pleasing to those who don’t like it too noisy.
–don (Side One Dummy)


MACHINE GUN ELEPHANT, THEE:
Rodeo Tandem Beat Specter: CD
Something about them Japanese. Like the Mad 3, these guys can take influences from three decades – the '50s, '60s, and '70s, put them in a time warp/blender, and come up with some super satisfying 2002 rock'n'roll. It's heavy on grooves and establishing a big atmosphere, but it doesn't sound overblown and dumbnutty because the chords and chops come from unexpected places, yet fit in perfectly, and the vocals don't sound like someone's nuts are in a vice. If you're looking for Link Wray meets Mott the Hoople meets the Controllers, all sung in Japanese, this is a good way to open the brain a little without missing out on the rock. It's also a pretty darn good to play for the parents because it's motivated and jumpy but there's no swearing (in English at least).
–todd (Alive/Bomp)


LYING IN STATES:
The Bewildered Nerd: CD
Emo caca poo poo mierda.
–jimmy (Harmless)


LUDICRA:
Hollow Psalms: CD
Ludicra takes a black metal stance toward a preoccupation with melody but leaves enough regular metal and grind tacked on to keep the proceedings in full swing. Better than average for the genre.
–Cuss Baxter (Life is Abuse)


LOT SIX, THE:
Animals: CD
Noisy stuff that sometimes veers into Barkmarket country, sometimes dips its toes in the Nirvana pool, and sometimes just gives it the ol’ college try. I like and greatly appreciate the diversity of sounds. Ain’t exactly my cup of tea, but I do respect ’em for bein’ a little off the beaten path.
–jimmy (Espo)


LOST SOUNDS, THE:
Rat: CD
The last Lost Sounds, Black Wave, had me super confused. There were parts I truly liked, but, man alive, if I'd space out for a bit, I'd glance back over at the stereo and feel that someone had stuffed a sea urchin and some tight underwear on me and thrust me into a prog-rock desert party whence I got a body-wide, nasty sunburn. It got me downright confused. But, Rat's Brains & Microchips rectifies that by chopping down the song length, stripping the trippiness, and comes blazing out confidently. Instead of gingerly picking influences off the ground like garments at an over-stocked Goodwill, you get full tackles of a bunch of diverse shit. Especially when Alicja takes the vocal helm, there's Siouxie and the Banshees but with rusty blades and Converse instead of fake eyelashes feel. There's a real nice balance between ethereal – led by the synthesizer and cello – and the deranged and garagey (albeit intergalactic garagey) that makes me think of both Servotron and Man or AstroMan, but they're definitely taking cues from a deep, dark, swirling well of their own. The result is the record I was hoping for the last time around. I can't seem to take this off my stereo. Flat-out fantastic.
–todd (Empty)


LIPSTICK PICKUPS/BIKINI BUMPS:
: Split 7"
The Lipstick Pickups play great poppy rock and roll (with a clear Bobbyteens/ Nikki & the Corvettes influence!), with cool girl vocals. The Bikini Bumps play good old-fashioned poppy rock and roll. If striped t-shirts, tight pants, and skinny ties are yer thing, you know what I mean, you’ll eat this up! If this were a cereal, it’d be Fruit Loops! Punk!
–Maddy (Geykido Comet/Erectords)


LIPSTICK PICKUPS/BIKINI BUMPS:
: Split 7"
Lipstick Pickups start off on side one and you feel the snot shooting out from the noses of their dual female vocal attack. The music is a garage-soaked rock'n'roll fun time. I flip the platter of vinyl to listen to the Bikini Bumps. They play a raw, early '80s OC surf style of punk that is snotty and edgy. The stripped down recording does them justice. Two unknowns (at least to me) put out a great sample of their music, which is worthy of your hard earned dollars.
–don (Geykido Comet)


LEFT WITH NOTHING:
Good Things Come to Those Who Wait: CD
You dudes need some Prozac. Oh, and metal disguised as hardcore bites the weenie.
–jimmy (Excursion)


LEECHES, THE:
Suck: CD
Well, luckily for them they don't "suck," but their brand of art-punk ain't exactly engaging, either.
–jimmy (www.theleeches.com)


LAST IN LINE:
Self-titled: 7" EP
One of the best hardcore bands out of Mass. They’re right up there with Out Cold, Cops’n’Robbers, and A Poor Excuse. Fast, hard, and right on the mark. They make me homesick for east coast shows.
–megan (Gloom)


LANDSPEEDRECORD:
Good Housekeeping: CD
Arty college rock/emo. Not only did I not like it for what it was, I disliked it for what it wasn’t. There wasn’t one ridiculously fast song on here, and with a name like Landspeedrecord, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect such things. They also failed to provide a single tip on how to more effectively maintain a certain level of cleanliness at the crib. What a letdown. Distributed by Dischord, as if that really makes a difference. –Jimmy Alvarado (Ambiguous City)
–jimmy (Ambiguous City)


SAHARA HOT NIGHTS:
Jennie Bomb: CD
Being from Sweden, this all girl outfit has benefited from having a Hives connection. It's interesting how other countries absorb American culture. There's a definite Suzy Quatro influence here but also quite a bit of '80s arena pop/metal. The songs basically rock and have the kind of themes you'd expect to find on a Runaways record (or the earliest Donnas record, for that matter) such as "Alright Alright (Here's My Fist Where's the Fight?)." More of a garage influence may have made this more palatable. –Bob Cantu
–Guest Contributor (Jetset)


REIGNING SOUND:
Time Bomb High School: CD
This band definitely has a British Invasion influence. There's a little bit of Beatles, Animals and Them in the structure of songs like "Stormy Weather," "Straight Shooter," and "Brown Paper Sack." "I Don't Believe" sounds a bit like the Troggs. Everything sounds catchy and familiar in an oldies station sort of way. With more production and a little polish they could sound like Bruce Springsteen. Let's hope that doesn't happen. –Bob Cantu
–Guest Contributor (In The Red)


RADIO VAGO:
Black & White Photo Enterprise: Vinyl and CD EP
With two singles available on independent labels and a long out-of-print D.I.Y. recording, Black & White stands as Radio Vago's first CD release for national consumption. The five songs included are re-mixed and re-mastered from the band's self-released, self-titled CD. The guitar volume, vocals, and over-all sound quality is a definite improvement. With a sound that is difficult to categorize, Radio Vago's music seems to reflect a bevy of diverse influences such as Patti Smith, Iggy, Joy Division, Gang Of Four and the Screamers without ever sounding recycled. The CD's stand out track is a song about enforced gender rolls entitled "My New Suit" – a fast paced number on which every member's contribution shines, from the loopy keyboard intro, to the winding chorus that builds, to singer Adrienne Pearson's impassioned cry "Every Sunday, my mommy tries to help me and she makes me put on my stupid dress." This EP is a worthy prelude of greater things to come. –Bob Cantu
–Guest Contributor (Buddyhead)


MR. AIRPLANE MAN:
Moanin: CD
Low fi dirty blues stuff, kinda like Demolition Doll Rods only more bluesy. Margaret Garrett is an inspired guitar player and an apt singer while drummer Tara McManus fills things out nicely. The best songs are the ones that sound like lost '60s Nuggets: "Very Bad Feeling," "Wonderin'" and the cover of the Eccentrics "Podunk Holler." Another Jim Diamond engineered, minimalist blues/rock band from Detroit that doesn't sound like the White Stripes. Makes you think, huh? –Bob Cantu
–Guest Contributor (Sympathy)


KILLS, THE:
Black Rooster: 7" EP
The mysterious VV and Hotel come off like a cross between Mecca Normal and Royal Trux but the result is way more satisfying than anything either of those minimalist bands on this debut EP. Mostly 'cause the Kills don't sound minimalist at all. The potential of every song is deftly realized. "Cats Claw" starts out like a lost Mick Taylor-era Rolling Stones track and then kicks it up a notch with some seriously fuzzed out guitar and "Black Rooster" sounds like ZZ Top on meth amphetamines. Side two gives us "Wait," a sing-songy blues number and "Dropout Boogie" re-envisions the Kinks "You Really Got Me" riff as an angry blues number. They don't sound like the White Stripes. –Bob Cantu
–Guest Contributor (Dim Mak)


KENNEDY:
Self-titled: CD
Mop topped singer/bass player Kennedy carries on the work begun in the now-defunct Body English. There's a bit of an English Invasion influence here and the whole thing plays out almost like a Quadrophenia-style concept album. (Kennedy claims it isn't, but...) The first track, "Wake Up Motherfucker," introduces us to a horny, shiftless protagonist with a maxed out credit card and a rapidly depleting trust fund. In "Turkey Pot Pie," he sets out for New Orleans with "a bottle of port and an ounce of weed" and an eye out for your girlfriend. He rationalizes his reckless ways in "If Tomorrow Never Comes," and, declaring that "the universe is a maze and it's got me by the brains," indulges in all manner of excess, getting "hopped on goofballs and dreams" and later, engaging in bizarre sex acts in "Cold Pussy." He winds up, as many a reckless youth has, mixing it up with Silver Lake hipsters at the Fold in "The Scott Sterling Extreme Sports Challenge" before hitting rock bottom in "Cocaine Junkie O.D." and "Goatfuck." He reaches an epiphany in "I Love Me" and becomes re-programmed in "Utilitarian Cafeteria." Well, that's how I saw it, anyway. –Bob Cantu
–Guest Contributor (Sea Level)


JOHN BROWN’S ARMY:
Who Fucked the Culture Up?: CD
Fast, tight hardcore with decent lyrical content. Ain’t too fond of the gruff-guy vocal style, but the music made up for it.
–jimmy (Gloom)


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