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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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ANTI MANIAX:
As Long as People Think: CD
Have you noticed if a band is from another country, they still sound American? That is one drawback to America’s influence on the international punk community. All our bands go over there to tour, but how much of the other countries’ bands come here? I hear in some countries, the local bands can’t even get gigs unless an American band picks them to open up. That is sad. Here is a band from Austria that sounds like an American band. They play to the formula of what’s popular with the Warped Tour kid set. They play melodicore laced with some ska leanings. The vocalist at times sounds like Ian from the Minor Threat period. The songs range from Against All Authority to NOFX in sound. Nothing thrilling, but competent in their delivery. –don (Household Name)


ANCHOR/ BREAKDANCE VIETNAM:
Split: CD
Anchor: A lot of guitar wanking in a Helmet-meets-death metal sort of way. The band sounds like it’s just going through the motions. Emotionless metal hardcore. Also a really bad hair metal cover of Skid Row’s "Youth Gone Wild." Breakdance Vietnam: Man, this CD went from bad to worse. Average, generic, mid-tempo melodicore. I need to find something to entertain me. I guess I will go pop that zit on my chin. –don (Triple Crown)


TEMPLARS:
Return of Jacques de Molay: CD
Can’t keep up with all the punk releases that have come out in the last fifteen years. Here is another re-release from another band that I knew was around but never followed. This was originally recorded between 1993-1994. It started out as their second demo, titled 1993. Then some of the tracks were released on Dim Records out of Germany as the original Return of Jacques de Molay. A cassette copy was released in Poland by Carry on Oi! Records. Now it resurfaces with additional tracks from the EP titled Two in One. Most of the tracks were recorded in a garage, but does not come off sounding too thin. I think when this was mastered, the sound was thickened to the maximum. The guitars are still a little thin, but the bass sound is slightly punchy but full to balance things out. You hear the potential, and the songwriting is entertaining to this reviewer. Their mastery of the street punk genre is evident in these recordings and bring to mind the original recordings of the UK oi scene in the early ‘80s. Not professional, but raw and genuine in their approach. I guess I need to see how they sound now and see how much they have progressed. –don (GMM)


ELECTRIC FRANKENSTEIN:
Listen Up, Baby!: CD
I had read somewhere that this was a re-issue with added tracks. Originally, this was just an EP that Man’s Ruin had put out a few years back. I see that they have become more popular and the demand was there to bring this back from the grave. If you are a rock head, this should be in your bag of goodies. One of the pioneers of the current wave of rock and roll punk. On this release they have the sound and energy that makes me like a band like Motorhead. The vocals are throaty and the guitars are fuzzy. If you hate guitar solos, go to the next review. The songs are generally mid-tempo but rock you out of your seat. Stuff like this that is played so well talks to the little hesher inside of me. –don (TKO)


SUBINCISION:
Self-titled and Jingo: CD
The first and latest third albums were in my box for review. Me, being the lazy me, shall review both on one review. The self-titled release has been re-issued. I have no clue when it initially came out or what label it was originally on. But I do see in my collection that they were on the Substandard comp titled Here We Are Nowhere and on the Geykido Comet comp that I reviewed in this issue, titled You Call This Music?! Volume II. This band hails from the East Bay and sound like it. I can picture them on stage right now at Gilman St. Musically, on the first release, they are all over the place, playing punk, pop, street and everything in between. Jingo carries on what they have created and they have added more elements and instruments to the mix. Sounds that I hear in the songs are Tom Waits, the Pogues, and the Swingin’ Utters. I don’t know if it’s just me, but the singer sounds like Casey Royer from DI. Out of the two, I would take Jingo. The band has progressed in musicianship and writing skills and is the more enjoyable of the two. –don (Substandard)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Lookout! Freakout, Episode 3: CD
I found this sampler of current Lookout! and Panic Button bands to be boring. Sounds like a promo disc that is being sent to college radio programmers to have their bands put on rotation or some major label's attempt to tell the masses what is going to be the next big thing. –don (Lookout!)


RIVER CITY REBELS:
No Good, No Time, No Pride: CD
Street punk with horns. –don (Victory)


TRAVOLTAS:
Endless Summer: CD
This has hit album written all over it. Now only if a major will pick these guys up and get them major radio airplay so they can film their MTV/TRL hit video. The mall punks are ready for another band! –don (Fastmusic)


UNSEEN, THE:
Complete Singles Collection 1994-2000: CD
Leaders of the new school of US bands like the Casualties, Global Threat, and the Virus that sport the spiked hair, leather, and studs ethics of UK punk bands from the past. Since their uprising in popularity and current release on BYO Records, this is a cool supplement to their fans. A compilation of tracks from 7”s, splits, comps, and outtakes, this gives the new fans an easy opportunity to listen to their earlier material without much effort. I don’t need to hype what is already is hyped. The kids have figured it out by themselves that this is a band they want to support. I saw firsthand when they came through town last year. The kids were very supportive and I lost count how many of their t-shirts, patches, and buttons I saw that night. –don (Punk Core)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
You Call This Music?! Volume II: CD
Hefty size comp with thirty-five bands and thirty-five tracks. Many of the tracks are unreleased, which is a good thing. Highlights for me were tracks provided by Toys That Kill (former F.Y.P. makes the latter band an afterthought), Jag Offs (fast and furious, female-led screaming punk), Nazi from Mars (sounds like the Netherlands version of early Shonen Knife), Intro5pect (punk with a drum machine!), Kill the Scientist (reminded me of early Butthole Surfers with the sampling and rage), Spazz (power-violence kings!), Chris Dodge/ Dave Witte (crazy power-violence mixed with jazz-noise breaks and additional noise), The Voids (authentic sounding, old school punk flavor), Pornshot (bubble gum silliness), Lipstick Pickups (trashy, sloppy garage punk fun) and Four Letter Words (ten seconds of actual music in a twenty-three second track). A few downers for me on this comp were the underwater sounding track by As I, the Backside track for the use of the word God (and aren’t they that Christian band from Sweden that P.O.D. signed to their label? I could be wrong; if I am, I’m kinda sorry...) and the track by ESL where the singer sounds like he is straining so hard, not hitting the notes, and not breathing. A good comp of bands from different genres which is not painful listening through from start to finish. Kind of like having a jukebox in the back of the bar mixing it up with what people want to hear. –don (Geykido Comet)


RAISED FIST:
Dedication: CD
Ever wonder what it would feel like, being that lone sock tumbling around in the dryer at the laundromat? This is what the soundtrack would sound like. From the opening drum roll, the music accelerates at a rapid pace, feeling like you are about to be run over by a Mack truck. The vocalist has the skills to compete with Spike from DRI. He is pretty phonetic for the sheer speed he has to sing to. The guitar is tuned down a tad and expels the metal at a high tempo force that it is played. The drummer bangs with the best of them and can stop on a dime and move into machine gun mode. The bass thuds like feet stuck in mud to effectively add the character of heaviness to their music. The lyrics are personal observations of question but written with thought and insight. Metalcore that beats you the way you like to be beaten. One of the heaviest releases I have heard this year. If you are familiar with this band, I personally believe this is ten times better than their Fuel album. Did I mention they are from Sweden? –don (Burning Heart)


EAST ARCADIA:
We Only See from Where We Stand: CD
Imagine Milo from the Descendents singing for Good Riddance. –don (Geykido Comet)


GOIN’ PLACES:
Girl Songwriting 101: CD
These guys sounds like the Queers to me. More so when Joe Queer sings on a track. Fans of the Queers, Screeching Weasel or the Groovie Ghoulies will definitely appreciate this band from NY. If you like music on the cheery side of things, this acts like a mood elevator. I liked it when I was happy but could not listen to it when I was pissed. –don (Coldfront)


G-WHIZ:
The Pop Punk Singles Collection 1989-2002: CD
A stripped down Big Drill Car. –don (Boss Tuneage)


PRESSURE POINT:
To Be Continued...: CD
Every time something new comes my way from these talented street punks from Sacramento, I am amazed by their progression. The songs on this new release are catchy and upbeat. The production really brings out the melody without sacrificing their energy. The bass player is fucking amazing on this one. You have to hear him ripping on "Face in the Mirror." Take the shining elements of the Dropkick Murphys and the Beltones and mix that into a large beer vat of lager. This is the end result that would be produced and shared with a good crowd of misfits. I need to get off my fat ass and try to see them the next time they come through. I’ll shine my boots and hold my beer mug up high. –don (GMM)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Go Kart vs. the Corporate Giant 3: CD
You know what’s hard? It’s hard to write reviews of comps. Do I want to go through the trouble of naming every single band and describing them? Too lengthy. Hell, this comp has twenty-six bands and thirty tracks. I guess I will go to my formula and name the bands that caught my interest. This release is part of their bargain priced label samplers. What makes this one step up from many that are on the market is that it features many unreleased tracks. My theory is this should be standard since it makes the comp unique from the actual releases by the bands featured. What happens when you only like one track and you go out to buy the album? The comp becomes useless. Well, okie dokie, let’s see what excites or interests me. Capture the Flag: Pennywise meets ‘80s metal. Daycare Swindlers: Has an Angry Samoans meets Circle Jerks feel to me. Toxic Narcotic: Every time I hear them, they impress me more with their hardcore attack. I Farm: Dual vocal assault punctuates the power of their music. Manda and the Marbles: "Seduction" is the perfect intro to this female-led powerpop sensation. GBH: More melodic than their past efforts. Varukers: Band that has been around longer than some and sounds better than others. Old age have not slowed these punks down. INDK: Make me think Against All Authority. Sick on the Bus: The new school of UK punk. I can’t believe these guys are not more popular. Brothers of Conquest: I have hazy images of a Deep Purple sticker on a six-foot bong. Anti-Flag: Easy to consume, politically charged and always a good listen. Icons of Filth: Still not as good as they were in 1985. Lunachicks: I may not own everything but these women can’t put out anything bad from what I’ve heard. 46 Short: Is this Ron from Final Conflict’s new band? Star Strangled Bastards: Good dual-vocal, old school, early ‘80s sounding punk. A good variety offered here; should find a happy listener in all of us. –don (Go Kart)


HOLDING ON/ COALITION:
Split: 7"
Holding On: Hailing from Minneapolis, modern day hardcore meets straight edge that is equal parts aggression and power. Lyrics of personal insight that makes them pissed. Coalition: Kiss mentioned the city in Detroit Rock City. The White Stripes, these guys are not. Metallic hardcore that is as beefy as the largest sausage in the deli. Lyrics that sounds like they are in the defensive of scene attacks. Great introduction to two bands I personally have never heard of. Great packaging, good music. –don (Martyr)


DISTRACTION, THE:
Calling All Radios: LP
Not really my cup of tea, so I’m not going to profess that I’m going to give this the most informative review. What I hear is what I’ve been hearing a lot of coming out of Sweden. But what I can’t seem to get out of my head is they sound like the Hives to me. Also maybe a mixture of ‘60s garage and maybe a little bit of the Stitches. Also the vocals have that early Iggy Pop snottiness to it. The music is definitely not lame. Musically, they come off at times having a surf sound, maybe a little new wave, too — maybe because they originate from Orange County. But the songs are strong without coming off sounding like a school of French poodles. I feel like I need to get a bowl cut and put on a skinny tie and pogo around the dance floor like a spastic fish. Definitely fun and has caught my attention. I know others within our zine empire would appreciate this more. But I always welcome the introduction to new music any time. How did they get on a German label? –don (Radio Blast)


JABARA:
Why We Wish: 12"
Originally released on CD by HG Fact in Japan, this is released here for the masses to hear the manic rage of this band. If you are familiar with the label, not all their releases are available outside of Japan. I’m not sure if this was one of them. It also sounds better on vinyl. It has a heartier feel to the music. Japan’s hardcore is unique in their passion for the recording and the energy you feel in their music. It does not feel faked and you feel the compassion they spew forth. This is my second exposure to this band. My prior experience was a split flexi that they did with a band called Messed Up. Here, they blaze forward in a ball of fire with their mixture of Japcore, metal, and pulverizing punk blasts. Without compromising the power, there is always an underlying hint of melody in the music. I never researched the history of this band and its members. From what I hear in the music, they seem to be seasoned veterans of the punk scene. The musicianship is top notch and the songs are well crafted. From start to finish, you can’t help focusing on the madness that flies out your speakers like a windstorm. If you are familiar with bands like Gauze, Paintbox, or Forward, you will be quite pleased with this band. –don (Prank)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Killed by Finnish Hardcore: LP
This is Volume 4 of the Killed by Hardcore series that compiles international hardcore from 1981 to 1985. As you can see, this edition focuses on Finland. Not much of this stuff came to the States during that time period. Besides my brother, reading about it in MRR, and appearing on a few comps, it was hard to be introduced to the music. Also, like many punk releases, it was limited in pressing. Many of the big bands are represented here, like Appendix, Terveet Kadet, Riistetyt, Bastards, Kaaos, Lama, Appendix, Tampere SS, Aparat, Varaus and Rattus. Many other bands are also represented here. In total, thirty bands and thirty tracks. Now that is some documentation! If you haven’t heard Finnish punk before, it has a unique sound to it. Heavily UK influenced by the impending hardcore of the era, like Discharge and Chaos UK. But the environment and culture of the people took that influence and put their own identity to it. As always, a very informational insert is provided, listing what records the recordings came from. Also, in the liner notes it says that they are contributing 200 copies of this release to Toinen Vaihtoehto zine (the MRR of Finland) to distribute to the bands and to sell the leftovers to fund the zine. I thought that was pretty noble since this was a bootleg. I have a friend who works for that zine and he said the zine received no copies. I hope by the time this review hits the stands, they didn’t back out of what they said in writing. These comps are usually in limited pressing, so if you run across a copy, buy it without hesitation. A great series of comps that are a good history lesson and outperforms the previous series, which was the Killed by Death series. You can also watch eBay prices skyrocket for records that are featured on these comps. Even before this volume, old Finnish punk records are reaching all time highs in prices. So why blow all your money for the original when what is important is the music? –don (Redrum)


EDGEWISE:
Complete Discography: CD
Who are they? Did they break up? How many releases did they put out? Were they or are they popular? Did they tour? Who was or is in the band? What are the lyrics? No thank you list? So many questions and no info on the packaging. For a discography, I would at least expect a lot of info provided to inform those like me not in the know. All that is written is this is a compilation of two recording sessions and they do S.O.A and Smiths covers. Okay, I’m going in totally blind. The music is East Coast metalcore that might be current or not. I would say they have that Strife mixed with Biohazard sound going for them. The production is on the polished end. The guitars are recorded clean with just enough compression to make it punch. The drummer sounds like he had lessons and took total advantage of the instructions. The vocals are clear, yet not sung. Almost rapping at times, which makes me believe the East Coast connection. Maybe I’m stingy, but I just want more than the music and a photo. –don (Thorp)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
The United States of American Oi! Volume 2: CD
I personally do not purchase that much oi. I guess that I believe that scene was primarily based out of the UK during the early ‘80s. Or Europe in general. The term came from there and grew amongst their own network. Also the environment and economics of the society at the time period fueled it even further. It just sounds funny that bands in the US are considered oi. But I do get stuff for review and never shy away from it. Well, GMM has put out a scorcher of a release. Not a bad track in the bunch. Bands like Niblick Hedbane, Oxblood, Anti Heros, Headwound and the Templars, to name a few, who contribute tracks of boot stomping, rocking fun. Time to shine the boots, cut the hair off, dry clean the flight jacket, press the white T and strap on the suspenders for a night of fun. –don (GMM)


RIOT99:
Last Train to Nowhere: CD
I’m always curious: when a singer sings with an English accent, is he actually English? This band hails from Toronto, Canada and plays the rough and tumble blast of street punk. They play to the formula of the early UK oi and punk scene to perfection. On track four, "What Are They Fighting For?", the singer sounds like a dead-on Degsy from Oi Polloi. Good musicianship and good songs makes for a good listen. –don (Longshot)


YOUNG AND THE USELESS, THE:
Self-titled: CDEP
Thorp Records has been putting out some interesting things as of late. I thought I was going to get another generic pop punk band before I put this on. Boy, was I wrong. The guitars came crunching out of the speakers and the vocals screamed with bloody eye passion. The drummer throws down some double kick to accentuate the music. The songs maintain melody but delve heavily into the metal vein. Dillinger Escape Plan comes to mind. A sheer progressive metalcore attack to the aural senses. A good introduction that will keep me interested in what might be achieved down the road. –don (Thorp)


MIDRIFFS:
Self-titled: CD
Average, garage-bred punk rock that has pop overtones. –don (Midriffs)


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