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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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ALL IS SUFFERING:
The Past: CD
Potent death metal/grind that is well executed, but ultimately sounds like any other band doing the same thing.
–jimmy (Crucial Blast)


ABSENTEES, THE:
Secret Weapons: CD-R
One day, many eons from now, when a new, greater species has risen to take man’s place as caretaker of the planet and war, disease, and pet rocks are no longer even a bad memory, a copy of this disc will be found buried under the rubble of a McDonald’s sign. After much study, one of these greater beings will figure out how to make this disc work. He will play it and the truth will then be known as to why mankind destroyed itself: a species that could come up with music this bad was obviously too stupid to survive.
–jimmy (No address)


ABSENTEES, THE:
Illegal Listening Device: 1979-2000: CD
These guys were originally known as The Absentee Concept back in their official 1978 beginnings, and soon after changed to The Absentees quickly after a line-up change. What Artifix Records has done here with this disc is gather up every imaginable recording (and then some) from these Long Beach, Californians and chronologically slap ‘em onto one convenient CD. Most of you southlanders probably remember their first single, “Tryin’ to Mess With Me,” on that limited edition of the Killed By Death full-length back from 1993, I believe. A very well put together comp of one of the more obscure So. Cal bands, featuring cuts from the early ‘80s on, as well as a live version of The Stooges “Cock in My Pocket” from 1979. Fans of early Damned, old L.A. punk rock and the like will find a spot for this in their CD collection. Here’s to tracking down more bands who seemingly slipped through the cracks and are now getting their music to the masses. Good job, here, Greg. Keep ‘em coming.
–dale (Artfix)


ABILENE:
Two Guns, Twin Arrows: CD
What can I say about emo and art rock that hasn't already been said? It's as interesting as a 5000 level accounting course and as tasty as furniture polish. Hasn't this all gone on long enough? Haven't we given it a fair chance? Can't we take their amplifiers away from them now? Please?
–aphid (Polk)


999:
Biggest Tour in Sport/Biggest Prize in Sport: CD
A re-release of a live EP and an album, their third, I believe, on one disc. The live tracks are well executed and the production is crystal clear. The album, while kinda lackluster in execution (which, to be honest, is my biggest gripe with damn near all of their later albums), has some pretty well written songs. If you’re a fan, I imagine this won’t change your opinion. If you’re new to the band, I suggest you start with their first two albums before adding this to your collection.
–jimmy (Captain Oi)


6-MINUTE HEARTSTOP, THE:
321 Odds: CDEP
I’m sooo emotional, I want to be just like Fugazi and At the Drive-In.
–don (Rise)


5¢ DEPOSIT:
We Have Your Daughter: CD-R
Pop punk, of course, is everywhere these days. Every crayon-eating shmub who grew up listening to Green Day and the Offspring on MTV figures "pop punk" is the perfect bridge between street cred and Life Styles of the Rich and Famous. This might be one such band. But I hope 5¢ Deposit doesn't wind up on MTV Cribs anytime soon, cuz then I'll have to eat several crows for admitting that I don't hate this disc....but I can definitely see it happening. This is fairly generic stuff, but it's energetic with just a bit of snarl and could reasonably be compared to something like the Descendents on a bad day. And while I don't heap that kind of feint praise on just anyone, I still can't shake the image of Carson Daly interviewing these guys with a throng of pubescent girls squealing in the background. I didn't get any photos with this CD, but I hope for the band's sake that these guys are ugly and fat and have body odor problems. But I doubt it. TRL here they come.
–aphid (Radical)


5¢ DEPOSIT:
We Have Your Daughter!: CD
I picture how I would buy this album. I go to see a bigger band at a club and these guys are opening. Being the type of guy who likes to dance and have fun at shows, I maybe watch close for a few songs and get into it during the faster stuff. I buy the CD, only to remember that live music is almost always faster and crazier than its recorded counterpart. I listen to this once, then a second time just to make sure. It then lives on my shelf, which is to say I don't pull it out to listen to it, but I don't get rid of it either. Invariably, my cousin or the little sister of a girl I am dating starts getting into punk via TRL bands, and so I make her a tape of this to show that there are better bands than Sum 41, but I also don't want to scare the kid off at first. In terms of my actual listening experience with this, I put it on, nit picked the hell out of the first few songs because it is in league with, if not better than the sophomoric pop punk I see too much of. I then get distracted and find myself enjoying it as background music. I don't know if that's a compliment because I enjoyed it or an insult because it was background music, but that's where I stand. To put it another way – pop punk that would stand out at the Warped tour and be held in regard at a frat kegger.
–rich (Radical)


PISTOL FOR A PAYCHECK:
At the Pinnacle: CDR
Mediocre rock band. Sometimes I really wish there was more to say about music. If this were a cereal, it’d be Total. Yawn. –Maddy (Endless Vertigo Music)


CYNICS, THE:
Living is the Best Revenge: CD
Screamy, Sonics-influenced garage rock with the all-important all-school garage instrument: the maracas! Of course, it seems like I can always take my garage rock crazier than it’s given to me (with notable exceptions of the Sonics, the Brentwoods, and a few others). This comes closer to meeting my ever-difficult spazz quotient than ninety percent of the garage crap that’s being released today. If this were a cereal, it’d be Apple Jacks. Fear not! It doesn’t taste like apples/sound like crappy hipster garage! (Even though the guys in the band look totally square!) Shake! –Maddy (Get Hip)


NAKATOMI PLAZA:
Private Property: CD
I was so excited to get a CD from Brooklyn, with the first song called “Meanwhile in Greenpoint.” (I live in Greenpoint, a super Polish part of Brooklyn.) I was hoping to hear lots of songs about ridiculous Greenpoint people, buildings, stories. (Yes, I am a sucker for the specific song — see my Radon record collection!). Anyway, this isn’t that. Nakatomi Plaza play mid-tempo punk rock with lots of breakdowns with personal/political lyrics. Okay, but sort of over-done at this point. Still, if they wrote a song about the four drunk guys who hang out in McGolerick Park, I’d listen! If this were a cereal, it’d be generic Cheerios. Let’s hear something new! –Maddy (Immigrant Sun)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Mob Action Against the State, Collected Speeches from the Bay Area Anarchist Boo: double CD
I’ve never gotten that into all the spoken/non-music CDs AK Press puts out, but I’m gonna start! This CD features twenty short speeches (most are under ten minutes), given at the, duh, Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair. The CD gets started a little slow, with a fairly pointless, rambling commentary by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, but then things get rolling real fast! The speeches by Christian Parenti (on capitalism) and Craig O’Hara (who talked about his job as a census worker — particularly of interest to me, as a former census employee myself!) were especially great. There are also speeches by Jello Biafra, Barry Pateman, Roxanne Dunbar Oritz, and more! Best of all, these double CD gave me the chance to think through my own beliefs about anarchism and capitalism. Of course, I didn’t agree with everyone — which is great. If you’re planning a long car ride soon, pick this up! I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. And, of course, if this were a cereal, it’d be Cracklin’ Oat Bran. A smart cereal that actually tastes good. Punk! –Maddy (AK Press/Alternative Tent)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Uterine Fury Records Fall 2002 Catalog Comp: CD
This is the most innovative recycling of crap to make a CD case in some time! (Trust me, that’s a compliment!) Uterine Fury took an old floppy disk and used the shell to hold the CD. Note to punks everywhere: if you come across a ton of old floppy disks in a dumpster, you have landed on a gold mine! Sadly, the actual music did not interest me. Bands include Natur’es Incubator (sic), rayas-X, and The Zenith Slobot. The music I would describe as electronic, experimental, kinda metal something or other. There! If this were a cereal, it’d be something unidentifiable you found in a dumpster behind a goth club, but it would be in a super cool box! Kill me! –Maddy (Uterine Fury)


AFFLICTIONS, THE:
The Peotone: CDEP
Hey, I’m punk enough to know that the saxophone does not an unpunk record make! (See X-Ray Spex!) And a farfisa is, of course, many garage bands’ delight! But these instruments have combined here to produce something that is only okay. A lot of the songs sound the same. Sorta that slowish garagey feel. I wish everything was a little faster and had a little more energy. Come on! More craziness! I can take it! If this were a cereal, it’d be regular Cheerios. Could someone pass me the sugar, puh-lease? –Maddy (Captain Spazz)


ZERO TOLERANCE TASK FORCE:
Punk Rockery: CD
Bad, bad, bad punk rock from a band that, after thirteen years, has not been able to come up with a single song worth a second listen. Never thought I’d ever hear a band that would make the first Meat Puppets album listenable, and then this came along. –jimmy (Zero Tolerance Task Force)


WHITE FLAG:
T is for 20: LP
Ever like a band a lot, but just never get around to buying anything by them? White Flag has always been such a band for me. With the exception of a copy of S Is for Space I bought twenty years or so ago and assorted comp tracks and, despite liking nearly everything I’ve heard from them, I’ve never owned anything else. Why? Haven’t a clue. Their ability to meld punk aggro with a good dose of humor and a wicked knack for pop hooks is in abundance here on this, a “best of” album spanning twenty years’ worth of releases. According to the liner notes, this vinyl version is mostly comprised of the their “pop punk” tunes, while a CD version is more comprehensive. Although the lack of vinyl trickery in evidence on their first two albums (groove breaks in the middle of the first album force you to manually pick up the needle and move it to the next track; an extra groove on the second album results in a “third” side) was a bit of a disappointment, there ain’t a bad track to be found here and warrants no less than the highest of recommendations. Thanks for the second White Flag release in my collection. I promise to pay closer attention from here on in. –jimmy (Soundflat)


SONNY VINCENT:
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: CD
Sonny recruits a veritable who’s who of punk rock musicians (members of Black Flag, the Weirdos, the Zeros, the Heartbreakers, MC5, the Damned, the Muffs, Offspring, and tons more) to play on what is, one or two songs aside, a fairly pedestrian early New York punk rock record. In short, great idea, yawn results. –jimmy (Acetate)


VILLIANS, LOS:
No Estas Solo: 7"
The A-side is an up-tempo thrasher with sung vocals and a harmonica fill (!) or two thrown in for good measure. Good song overall. Ditto for the flipside, only it doesn’t have the harmonica, is mostly in Spanish, and Alfredo gets to bang on the congas a bit during the slower spots. More focused and catchier, this is a marked improvement from their first album. –jimmy (Split Seven)


VILENTLY ILL/MR. CALIFORNIA AND THE STATE POLICE:
Split: 7"
Vilently Ill: Well, that was a waste of two minutes of my life. Mister CA: …and that was a waste of another two. Jeez, it wouldn’t have been so painful if at least one of the bands were remotely funny. –jimmy (Proud to Be Idiot)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Rock-N-Roll-A-Go-Go Vol. 7: CD
Antiseen, Pulpit Red, Nova Express, and the Nutrajets contribute two songs each to this, which means you get eight tracks of punk-infused rock‘n’roll. –jimmy (Devil Doll)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
A Fistful of Rock ‘n’ Roll Vol. 10: CD
Twenty-five bands (including Speedealer, Groovie Ghoulies, Bulemics and others) give you twenty-five tracks of stoner metal, Detroit-inspired Swede rawk, garage punk, and everything in between. Some tracks are pretty good, but on the whole I’m so burned out on the niche that I find it damn hard to even feign interest anymore. Cosmic Ballroom’s “You’re the Man” did get my toes tappin’, though. –jimmy (Devil Doll)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Rocked ‘n’ Loaded: 2X CD
A pretty rockin’ comp here with all kindsa normally disparate sounds filling up the track list, from ‘60s horror surf to rockabilly to psychobilly to skinhead punk to Detroit-by-way-of-Sweden rock‘n’roll. Fifty-two tracks spread across two discs here, featuring music by The Templars, Nekromantix, Demented Are Go, Coffin Bangers, Hellvis, Hudson Falcons, The Cenobites and a truckload of others. A mighty fine, surprisingly consistent listen here. –jimmy (Rock ‘n’ Roll Purgatory)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Sick Kicks for Shock Rockers: 7"
A nice sampling of what’s been going on towards the LA/OC border, featuring the Liberats, 40 Oz. Rescue, The Assailants, Deterrance, Psychotic Reaction, and Clit 45. The order of the day on this is hardcore and all six bands plant their feet firmly in that pigeonhole. While this ain’t exactly Flex Your Head or anything, it is a nice sampler of some of the things you can find just under the surface of LA’s pop punk wasteland. –jimmy (Violent Reaction)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Mechanized Death – A Tribute to the Accüsed: 2X 7”
A comp with sixteen bands, none of which I’ve ever heard of prior to this comp, crank out sixteen Accüsed covers. The results are adequate for the most part, but it would’ve been nicer to hear what they have to say and judge them on their own merits rather than how well they interpret the work of a long dead band. There’s worse things on which you could blow your money, although, as I hate most tribute records, I’ll be damned if I can think of one. –jimmy (Transparent)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Loved by Few, Hated by Most: 7"
Ahh, now that’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout…. Ten bands bring to the table thirteen tracks of blistering hardcore from at least three different continents. This is sure to melt the paint off the walls and make the neighbor’s lawn die if played too loud. Guilty parties include Milkman, Bury the Living, Crispus Attucks, Dandare, Brezhnev, The Blurters, AVO, Something in the Water, Anger In Motion, and Jesus & the Gospelfuckers. –jimmy (Kangaroo)


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