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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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HEXTALLS, THE:
Call It a Career: CD

I guess you could call playing in a suck-ass cookie cutter pop punk band a “career,” but how about if I just call the resulting music a pile of shit? It seems more accurate.

 

–jimmy (Shredder)


HELLNATION:
Dynamite up Your Ass: CD

Another twenty-one tracks of über-thrash to provide your head with the equivalent of pouring Liquid Draino into your ear and shaking briskly. Some wild shit not for the faint of heart.

–jimmy (Sound Pollution)


GREGOR SAMSA:
Self-titled: CD EP

Quiet, mellow stuff, kinda like Pink Floyd for the smooth jazz crowd. A quiet walk on the beach at sunset, walking the dog just after dinner….Zzzzzzzzzzzz.

 

–jimmy (Iodine)


GREAT CLEARING OFF, THE:
Within This Inch, We Are Free: 7"

Although not crud, it's extremely predictable. The drummer stays in the pocket. And although it's fun to reduce and reuse, tell your guitarists it's not so compelling to recycle the same riffs over and over. The singer sounds like he's gurgling tacks or screaming traffic directions. The lyrics – although with their hearts in the right place – are banal, vague, and self-fulfilling prophesies. (i.e. "We cannot trade compliance for the brass rings that they sell." And "I know there's an enemy. I know I'm not fucking wrong.") You mean to say there's bad people out there? You mean they want us to buy what they sell? You mean they're not doing it for the good of humanity but for profit? Really? Really? I've never heard of that. Yeah, I'm making fun of you because the lyrical bar's been raised since MDC.

 

–todd (Cheap Art)


GRAFTON:
Self-titled: 7”

Stoner riff rock'n'roll. Sorry, but this hippie shit just ain’t my bag.

 

–jimmy (Derailleur)


GOLDEN BATS:
Too Flash For the Neighborhood: CD

Total rock and roll style goin' on here. (Think: lots of sunglasses, leopard print, and styled hair.) I was expecting a total Thunders rip-off band, but the Golden Bats are a lot more poppy and pretty slow. Guy vocals with some backing girl vocals. Sometimes pretty catchy. Nothing super-great, but nothing super-bad, either.

 

–Maddy (Dr. Wu)


GLORYHOLES:
Knock You Up: CD

Building on the beauty that is their “This Is All There Is” 7", this full-length release gives us the two tracks from that single and adds thirteen more slices of primal punk, long on attitude and up to its eyeballs in psychosis. Seems like Seattle’s bands are trying to make up for the post-Nirvana grunge embarrassment associated with their fair city by cranking out some kick ass punk rock, as fans of the Briefs, Spits, these guys and the recently reformed Fartz can attest. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up.

 

–jimmy (Empty)


GBH:
Ha Ha: CD

Sounds like a demo. All the songs so far are the same speed as "Catch 23," too. In short, nothing to write home about, although the title "Sado Methodist" made me giggle.

 

–jimmy (Go Kart)


GAMITS, THE:
Come Get Some: CDEP
This band is kinda popular in my home burg, i think, but i don't think i ever cared enough to go see 'em, and, for whatever reason, i was thinking that i heard that they were a ska-ish outfit, "but good" (if there's an emoticon for eyeball-rolling, it goes here), and that's the platform from which i approached my first known contact with the band. As this is, apparently, a reissue of their first 7" plus bonus tracks, i spent a fairly sizable chunk of time trying to figure out how a band that sounded so Fat-like (i think? i don't speak from a position of great knowledge on the genre) (thankfully) and snot-slick got the ska bug, until i eventually realized that i think i was thinking of the Gadjits, not the Gamits, which more or less rendered all my observations inert, and i don't really feel compelled to listen to this again whilst not dwelling on how they effected a transformation to ska which, in fact, was not effected (i think...unless i am NOT confusing them with the Gadjits? Oy vey...), so all i can say is that if i was a fan of this band's later recordings, which i am not, i imagine i would be a fan of this too. Worth keeping around for their killer fucking cover of "There's
A Place" by the Beatles though, which would have been even killerer had i not heard the Dickies do it a couple o' years ago. The bonus tracks are from practice sessions, and sound slicker than my band's real records. Do these people just emerge from the womb smothered in a perpetually-regenerating afterbirth of liquid Teflon? or what? WORST SONG TITLE: "Song About a Song"  BEST SONG: "There's a Place"  FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: That first Beatles album is really good. You should get it today.

 

–norb (Not Bad)


FUCK YOU UPS:
Hope You Appreciate It, Fucker!: CD

Where do I begin? This band plays some crappy, repetitive, bare bones punk rock. On top of it, they have completely idiotic lyrics. Fuck this pointless shit.

 

–todd (Formula 13)


FREE BEER:
The Only Beer That Matters: CD

At long last, a friggin’ album-length release from the mighty Free Beer. It's the album that never quite managed to come out back when they were actually together, and it’s a doozy. All the classics are here, from “My Money or My Car” to “Premature Enlistment” to “I Hate Sobriety,” as well as a couple of live cuts, and all of ’em sound just as good as ever. I’ve personally been hoping someone would do something like this for this band for a while now and I’m not disappointed in the least with the results. Recommended.

 

–jimmy (Alternative Tentacles)


FOUNDATION:
Homecoming: 7"

I didn't know what, exactly, to think of when Rob of Ann Berretta wrote some acoustic, folky songs and had Alison Mosshart (formerly of Discount, now half of The Kills) sing on a track. I'll probably get my ass beat by my special lady friend, but I like it in a "I'll listen to it when I'm really sad and lonely" type of way. It's poignant and seems honest like a lot of modern porch punk – like Rumbleseat, pre-electric Against Me!, and the slower song section of This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb. Allison sure can sing. That said, I know it's supposed to be folky, but even by comparison, the Kingston Trio could be considered thrash next to this. It's almost too sleepy, too sedate. But it sure is pretty.

 

–todd (1-2-3-4 Go!)


FLESHIES/ FEDERATION X:
: Split 7"

I think of some bands as portals. I loathe Led Zeppelin, but, you know what? If you took out the stratospheric chipmunk vocalist, forefronted the drums, axed the solos, and cranked up the dirty, there's something respectable in there. Portal? On their full length, Fleshies had a song called, "Led Fuckin' Zepplin, Man." I liked how Fleshies pulled it off. I recognized some of the riffs that Bonham and Co. put together. (I worked a job that played a "get the Led out" segment – an hour of it every fuckin' day.) And it just may be that Fleshies are cracking my ear up a bit because, although they operate from a wide base of operations, musically, from operatic falsettos to '70s arena rock, to some grade-A non-ass punk classics, I find myself buckling up for their ride and enjoying the aural scenery. This time out, they pen one of the best song titles I've heard this side of a D4 album, "I Just Took the Most Punk Rock Shit of My Life." I can't recommend Fleshies high enough. They're sneaky, like a bum who really knows how to box. Federation X: They live up to their cracking, electrified blues boogie on four-stringed guitars reputation. It's very jammy – like when Zen Guerilla spools out – but with a nice, serrated edge and I can't say that I'm complaining.

 

–todd (Molasses Manifesto)


FLESHIES / PCP ROADBLOCK / KOJAK / HORTUS:
: 4-way Split 7"

Fleshies: It sounds like they can pull polar opposites together and connect 'em with a little pocket of personal lightning. I may be the only one hearing this, but I hear the clang of both early Jam in the guitar and the exhilarating feeling of finding something really good in a dumpster. So incredibly catchy, like cooties or tetanus. PCP Roadblock: They sound just like their name, literally – like a crazy dude standing in your way in the middle of the road, babbling about how his socks are snakes. He won't get out of the way and all you want is a hot dog. Comes with intermittent screams. Kojak: I like. They're noisy and yelly and remind me of a more lysergic 400 Blows – under all that bluster and fuzz, you can hear some tricked up melodies. It looks like the drummer's got a microphone medical taped to his mouth so he can sing while pounding. Hortus: Throat goat, death metal vocals over a Joy Division-like synthesizer. Hmm. It's one of those things that sounds like it flies much better live, like the Imperial Butt Wizards. Bring on the roman candles and the teddy bear entrails.

 

–todd (Wet Tail)


FIFTH HOUR TURN / GUNMOLL:
: Split CD

Both bands are so close. There are real crisp glimpses of originality and musicianship. Fifth Hour Turn, at their best, are reminiscent of the top of what Discount released. Swelling, sweltering guitars, crisp and interlocking bass and drums, and lady singer who can belt it like a lash and sounds like her heart's exploding. When the guy sings, it veers really close to Hot Water Music territory. It's a little more gruff and tumble, which isn't bad, per se, but I'd like an eking of a sound more distinctly their own. At worse, the songs get too repetitive. They rut in their hooks a little too long, the lyrics repeat a little too much, and I start looking in my collection for Half Fiction or Fuel for the Hate Game. Gunmoll's a strange bunch. Half of the songs on here are my favorite – bar none – by them.  "Forget Me Not" plays along like a burlap noose that the lead singer's swinging from, while the guitars play, graze, and blaze. They play like the world's on fire around them. Yet, the other half, like "Point," are almost hard to get through, thinking that the Leatherface ballad xeroxing machine is set a little too closely to their coffee maker. Both bands are so close.

 

–todd (No Idea)


FORCA MACABRA:
Nos Tumulos Abertos: CD

Finnish thrash men pay homage to their love of Brazilian HC. The song writing style and lyrics in Brazilian Portuguese. That is a great accomplishment since the Finnish language and Portuguese are very different. I have a friend that I trade with in Finland. He is the one who sent this to me, and he informs me that bands from Brazil play Finland more than they play the US because of its popularity there. Amazing. By looking at the insert, this recording includes demos from 1991-1993 and tracks from a 12" put out in 1994. The music is controlled mayhem. The recordings are thin at points but do not take away from the power. It has that early to mid-'80s international sound. The vocals are screamed with urgency and the music washes about, following behind. This may not be the first release I would recommend to someone new to this band, but the others that I own are ass kickers to the tenth degree.

–don (Angry)


FIELDS OF FIRE:
Kill the Flock: CD

Some pretty strong stuff here, reminiscent of early to mid-L.A. hardcore. Lyrics aren’t too painful and there’s enough conviction in their delivery as to make it believable. Impressive. If they manage to stay on course, they may become a personal fave.

–jimmy (Bockhorn)


FEVERS, THE :
Gaan Daar Waar de Meisjes Zijn: CD

The Gravedigger V decide to form a power pop band based on the sound forged by the Stones in the early '60s. Hey, that’s what it sounds like to me.

 

–jimmy (Alien Snatch)


EVEN WORSE:
You've Ruined Everything: CD

I'd put NYC's Even Worse right in league with San Francisco's The Avengers and East LA's The Brat. Female-fronted, early, genuine American punk with a fire under its ass. It's funny because the only single I had of theirs was nothing like this – it was a lot more serious and thoughtfully attempted to deconstruct punk rock, had Thurston Moore (later to go to Sonic Youth) playing guitar, and although pretty darn good, I enjoy the brash enthusiasm, snotty bounce, and female singing on this retrospective. Even Worse flexes their muscles through twenty-six songs, including their anthem, "We Suck," and pounds through both a Weirdos cover, ("Solitary Confinement") and a Black Flag cover ("Nervous Breakdown"). Keep in mind, these bands were contemporaries, along with others, like Kraut and Adrenaline OD. It just goes to show how much more level the playing field was twenty years ago, and how excited bands were to realize that others, such as themselves, had come to the same aural conclusions at approximately the same time. The cornerstone to keeping Even Worse's legacy alive – and providing excellent, comprehensive liner notes – is their drummer, Jack Rabid, who continues to publish The Big Takeover zine twenty odd years down the road. This CD is split in half – the first is the never-released, "lost" studio LP followed by a healthy set at Max's Kansas City in August, 1981. What a pleasant surprise. This'll get a lot of spins. Someone should release it on vinyl.

 

–todd (www.bigtakeover.com)


ENEMIES, THE :
Seize the Day: CD

I keep hearing all these latent grunge-isms creeping into various punk rock formats. What the fuck is up with that??? I mean, this is DEFINITELY supposed to be "street punk," or whatever the fuck that which was called "street punk" twenty-four months ago is now known as, but i swear to fucking GOD i hear ample grunge contamination herein. Boy, call me crabby, but all i hear here (note: that was a particularly clever reference to a Hollies album title) is Mountain Dew® commercial music waiting to happen, likely snuck under the radar screen by presumed connection to the marginalized! For the cry-yi! This band is at their best – AT THEIR BEST – when they merely kinda sound like Rancid knockoffs, at their worst when spouting dumb-as-death-metal gibberish like "last rights, my settlement, bestows its empty threats on all, but no one's here," and at their most disturbing when they LEGITIMATELY seem to be trying to rip off "Longview" on "East 14th." Lyrics include exciting subject matter such as "broken dreams." Why has no one thought of this before? I honestly hope that, for whatever lunatic reason, somebody at Lookout really felt passionate about this band, because all i'm hearing is a band who got signed on the off chance that they might become the next big thing, and it'd be kinda sad if that label wound up being run like a mutual fund or something. WORST SONG TITLE: "Last Rights"  BEST SONG: "Moving On"  FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I can't remember what the UK equivalent to "Hear! Here!" was, but if i was forced to guess i'd say the third one.

 

–norb (Lookout!)


END ON END:
Why Evolve When We Can Go Sideways: CD

Individually, inside the songs themselves, there's a lot going on. It's some very intricate, tightly constructed, thoughtful emotional hardcore that breaks down, filigrees (sometimes piano, sometimes violin), collects itself like a bomb that builds itself from the inside, and explodes open. The screaming and shouts come across as genuine, not shrill. End on End has definitely expanded from its early recordings and made a mold they can call more their own. And I can sit down and listen to a couple songs and get really energized, but then a weird thing happens. It's tough to get through the entire album. If I don't listen to it closely and deliberately, track by track, the album begins to sound the same. I can't figure this out, and I've listened to it over ten times, getting the same result. Huh.

 

–todd (Substandard)


EPOXIES:
Synthesized: 7"

Good lord, these guys keep on getting better and their LP is fantastic. (This 7" sounds a couple notches fuller, too.) They just seem so sure and strong in what they do, and your ass must be shot full of novocaine and your brain full of Vicodin if your butt doesn't wiggle along to the beat. Their power comes from each instrument fitting and everything's played with force, not merely tinkered with by a member enamored with the sound of a bleep. I sure see more people adopting new wave, but I've yet to hear one of the new crop that seems to have been born into it with such assurance. And it's so much better than an Adam Ant throwback because there's guitar snarl and a pounding drummer that's not programmed like a Casio. "Synthesized" is a perfect capsule of The Epoxies: tight songs, super sexy vocals, and limber guitar lines. A fuckin' rockin' cover of Alice Cooper's "Clones" rounds out the b-side.

 

–todd (Dirtnap)


ELECTRIC EYE:
Muscle: 7” EP

High-energy rock’n’roll like the Swedes are into these days. Pretty loud, pretty over the top, pretty good.

 

–jimmy (Vinyl Warning)


EL GUAPO STUNTTEAM:
Year of the Panther: LP

Heavy, high-voltage rock’n’roll sure to leave your mom deaf and your neighbor pissed. As sweet and sincere as a solid blow to the testes.

 

–jimmy (Sounds of Subterrania)


ED GEIN:
Self-titled: CD

Grindcore with all of the genre’s strengths and weaknesses painfully apparent.

–jimmy (Hanging Like A Hex)


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