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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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BIONIC:
Self-titled: LP

The vinyl on this record is fucking amazing. It's about as thick as like four regular LPs all Krazy Glued together, like a bright blue (with radiating white bowling ball streaky things!) poker chip blown up to like 8x or something. I actually can't put the fucking thing down, i spin it on my finger, twirl it around, just sorta heft it – it's funner to play WITH the record than actually play it, although immediately after the unreasonably brilliant opening track, "C'mon C'mon," i was thinking things like "I HAVE SEEN THE FUTURE OF STONER ROCK AND IT HATH COME IN THE FORM OF A GIGANTIC BLUE POKER CHIP!" and other pimply hyperbole. I mean, during the first song, i was, no shit, beginning to entertain notions of getting the TV/UPC/eyeball-headed brain-stomached tentacle-appendaged alien life form depicted on the cover tattooed on my back, so great was my blown-awayment! I shit you not: One would swear it was the Figgs playing grunge. In point of fact, i was, for a time, so SURE that it actually WAS the Figgs playing grunge, as some sort of prank side-project (just as the Hanson Bros. occasionally masquerade as some other trivial band, just to show they can do it), that i scoured every inch of the packaging for some tell-tale fingerprints to indict Gent and Donnelly with, only to find that if you hold side A so the label name reads left-to-right, "Boss Tuneage" is at the top and the song titles read down-to-up, but if you hold side B so the label name reads left-to-right, "Boss Tuneage" is at the bottom and the song titles read up-to-down (if you can figure out how that's my smoking gun, i'm all ears, Watson). In any event, by song two, my enthusiasm (and surety of Figgs-involvement) was beginning to dampen slightly, and i thought that perhaps i'd merely have a contest whereby OTHER people would get the alien tattooed on their back, and send me Polaroids™, and win a prize or something, and by track three or four i had lost interest entirely, never to return. I mean, dude, it's GRUNGE (unless they don't call grunge "grunge" any more [for all i know, they call it "hardcore." nothing can surprise me where that term is involved these days after i heard it applied to fucking Snapcase, who are about as hardcore as... oh, i don't know, Bionic i guess], in which case i guess it's whatever they say it is), and has anyone besides me ever noticed that grunge bands (or current contemporary variant thereof, God save us all) never "quote" (used here in the newfangled postmodern sense of "knowingly evoking stylistic similarities to") anything other than those things that, by their mere inclusion in the genre, they are PRE-SUPPOSED TO QUOTE MERELY BY DINT OF THEIR VERY EXISTENCE? I mean, think about it (if you want). BEST SONG: "C'mon C'mon"  BEST SONG TITLE "Peavey Youth"  FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT (apart from the fact that they spelled "Peavey" correctly): Track #6 is, in fact, called "Six." It's genius in our time! (or is it merely the Circle Jerks fifth album??)

 

–norb (Boss Tuneage)


BOMB POPS, THE :
Everything Looks Like Her: 7”

A-side: Potent rock’n’roll with maybe a dash of the '60s thrown in for good measure. B-side: more of the same. The production could’ve been a little rawer, but it’s still pretty snappy as is.

 

–jimmy (Rapid Pulse)


BAND OF FELONS:
Drown My Sorrows, Drink My Dreams: CDEP

Anthemic, profanity-sprinkled street punk/hardcore that kind of sounds like a cross between the Bump ‘n Uglies and Sick Of It All. And judging by the title and the dumpy barroom photos, I’d say they have a pro-alcohol abuse agenda. What’s not to like? Five songs and a whopping eleven minutes and thirteen seconds of strong, no-bullshit rock'n'roll. Unlike some of the other discs I’ve reviewed this time around, I will not be burying this one in my backyard.

 

–aphid (Go For Broke)


BAD VIBES:
THE: Hate Your Everything: CD

Sweet mid-tempo hardcore that gets the blood pumping and the aggro a-buildin’. Best of all, no whiny emo lyrics. Dang good listenin’.

 

–jimmy (Steel Cage)


BAD ASTRONAUT:
Houston: We Have a Drinking Problem: CD

Late at night, I pop this into to the CD player after a hard day at work and the night before my surgery. I get overwhelmed with a time warp of deja vu. I feel like I am listening to the lost track of Sgt. Peppers or am listening to an obscure Alice Cooper track?  Maybe I’m listening to an experimental Tom Petty track?  Maybe Bowie?  Track two is equally as confusing. I am back to reality after the start of track three. A No Use for a Name meets Husker Du mood. The more I listen, I hear elements of R.E.M.College radio is the best description. I am confused...

 

–don (Honest Don’s)


BAD ASTRONAUT:
Houston, We Have a Drinking Problem: CD

Bad Astronaut make bad Foo Fighter music. Jeez, with a name like that, you’d expect at least one robot voice.

 

–jimmy (Honest Don’s)


AVAIL:
Front Porch Stories: CD

I have to be honest here. This is the first Avail release that I actually possess. I passed on them for the sheer fact that they had recorded for Lookout. The label rubbed me wrong and because of the popularity. I passed on them. The last Fat release was put out in a transitional phase in which I had stopped writing for one zine and started writing for this one. I did not receive a copy and, in fact, was too cheap to purchase it. I did see them twice in the last two years and was impressed by their live set. Their live show is so impressive and energetic that I try my best to see them every time they come to town. They are a nice bunch of guys to boot. I was excited when I saw that I actually had one of their releases in my inbox at Razorcake HQ. I hate to slam this, but I am disappointed. The recording is thin and is not representative of what I have experienced live. I guess this release might be their experimental period recording. I had hoped for more. But who am I to judge?  I did want more.

 

–don (Fat)


ATOMSMASHERS:
Alright: 7”

Primal punk rock with simple lyrics, simple riffs, and all the fixin’s the average punk band needs. No big whoop, but not without his harms, either.

 

–jimmy (Rip Off, no address)


AT WAR WITH SHADOWS:
Healing Is Not an Option: CD

Sounds like black metal, but reads like emo. Don’t know whether to head bang or weep uncontrollably into my Slayer lunchbox. Oh, the loneliness of being e-vile!

 

–jimmy (Hater of God)


AT WAR WITH SHADOWS:
Healing Is Not an Option: 7” EP

Why is it so cool to act pissed off all the time? Folks play and sing like they’re trying to beat the whole world back into prehistory. Maybe if some bands who can’t find anything to sing about besides misery and agony and cutting their own throats would actually go and do the deed, it would free up some gear for the band down the block who have a couple good monkey songs.

 

–Cuss Baxter (Hater of God)


ASS END OFFEND/ THE ANTI DIFRANCOS:
: Split 7"

Ass End Offend: Out of their three songs, "Cross the Fence," is the standout solely by the fact it doesn't sound like a tired reconstruction of Corrosion of Conformity, pre-Crossover. That song is my favorite of the split and actually has some nice breakdowns and vocal dynamics. Anti DiFrancos: Barring a song about respecting your parents and an up-front hate for a certain hairy armpitted righteous babe, The Anti DiFrancos are a very standard, almost featureless punk band who seemed to have taken Jello Biafra's spoken word to heart. (I.e. "the nation's elite bolster our alienation to perpetuate wage slave subjugation.") I'm sure they're very earnest but this musical ground – especially the instrumentation – has been trampled so many times, and like a patch of grass under the same treatment, it doesn't seem like anything new's growing out of it. My suggestion for both bands? Get more Feederz and Zero Boys and cut down on the Conflict and GBH in your diet; something to throw in and monkey wrench the mix.

 

–todd (Poisoned Candy)


ARCADE INFERNO:
The “Dante” EP: CDEP

It doesn’t look that good, but by god it’s punchier than a waxed weasel! Five tracks of high-energy '77-via-now head-bobbing delight in the realm of Naked Raygun getting the Rip Off treatment. Too bad it’s so fuckin’ short.

–Cuss Baxter (www.arcadeinferno.com)


AN AUTOMOTIVE:
Self-titled: CD

Let’s run down the checklist. Let’s see: cloying, sensitive lyrics, arty cover artwork, brooding indy/college nerd music and a band name that makes Jimmy Eat World seem cool. According to my calculations, that puts this cute little rump cupcake squarely in the middle of the musical cess pool popularly known as emo. Listening to this makes me want to pull my own legs off and beat myself into a quiet, blissful coma where bands like An Automotive don’t exist. This emo thing is getting out of hand. It might be time to reach for the Bat Phone and get someone in here to clean up this mess. Where’s Tesco Vee when we need him? –Aphid Peewit (Six Gun Lover)

 

 

–aphid (Six Gun Lover)


AMERICAN PIG:
Feed ’Em Before You Kill ’Em: CD

Punk rock with, sometimes, more country than is good for it. When they keep the tempo up, they can muster a good hardcore song, but when they start going for that modern Social Distortion sounds, watch out! In short, nice try, but no thanks.

–jimmy (American Pig)


AMERICAN LIBERATION ARMY:
Your Kids Need AK47s: CD

Crudely recorded punk/ska that would’ve been just peachy if they’d ditched the ska altogether and came up with more memorable punk songs. –Jimmy Alvarado (No address)

 

 

–jimmy (No address)


ALMOST THERE/ SAVING FACE:
: Split 7"

Almost There: hyper-melodic pop punk that has more than a slight cribbing of Face To Face's Don't Turn Away LP. Their second song, despite it being chock full of naiveté, and the questionable ballad-like break down, ain't too bad because the instruments make a trampoline, twining together in a strong balance, allowing the song to bounce and soar in parts. Saving Face: There was this band called My Pal Trigger that, early on, was fucking great. Then something happened. Their later stuff blew goats. Saving Face – with their male and female swapping vocals, clear and jumpy instruments, and cool melodies falls between the suckass MPT and the really great MPT. They had me singing along until they went into a really bad rap. D'oh. Mediocre result for both bands. –Todd (High Fidelity)

 

 

–todd (High Fidelity)


ADICTS:
Twenty-Seven: CD

One of the great things about reissues is that you get a second chance to give a listen to something you totally (and wrongfully) ignored that you shouldn’t have back when it originally came out. Case in point: this album. By 1992, when this came out, I was pretty much ignoring most of what the “old” bands were coming up with, mainly because so much of what they were coming up with sucked ass. ’Tis a pity, too, ’cause, had I not been such a fucking snob, I would’ve stapled this bad boy to my stereo to insure that nothing else would be played. Giving up on the pop road to fame, punk’s favorite droogs went back to doing what they do best, namely writing some great punk rock tunes. There ain’t a bad one in the lot (well, actually, “Give Me More” is a little too “rock” for my taste, but that’s the only one I can muster a gripe about), some of ’em whip by at a breakneck pace by Adicts standards, and damn near all of ’em are prime “classics” material. Fuck, I feel really stupid for missing out the first time round. Thanks for the second chance to redeem myself. –Jimmy Alvarado (Captain Oi)

 

 

–jimmy (Captain Oi)


4 AM FATALITY:
The Aggro-vated: 7” EP
Gruff hardcore with a little metal and songs about how much Las Vegas sucks (and whose town doesn’t?), how much religion sucks, how much parents suck and how much alcoholism sucks (but not alcohol itself, thank you very much). Yeah, but it’s on colored vinyl and so worth every penny. –Cuss Baxter (Villain)


Z/28:
Wrecks from the Highway: CD
I picked up this CD just because it was from Scotland, and I was curious about what was going on over there. I kept it because it was a competent rockabilly CD, and I don’t have much rockabilly. It’s a good album to listen to when I’ve been listening to punk and hardcore for a while and I need a change up after all the fastballs. The guys in Z/28 play their instruments well and pull off a rockabilly sound that could just as well come from a front porch in the hills of Arkansas as from Scotland. I can’t say that it rises above the rest of the greaser pile. It’s just a good change of pace. –sean (JSNTGM)


WIRE:
Send: CD
I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this. Seeing as the odds have been stacked against old punk bands releasing anything interesting, and that Wire has been all over the musical map over the last three decades, one must approach a new Wire album with some trepidation. Lo and behold, it’s pretty interesting. There’s a high “art” quotient to the music, but things are still very noisy, and strangely eclectic, sometimes touching upon their Pink Flag days, other times sounding vaguely like Coil, and then going off on a tangent you’d expect from a contemporary band like Trans Am. Some will probably blow this off as sounding like shit because none of the tunes qualify as a sequel to “12XU,” but this bad boy is gonna get a lotta spins around this boy’s house. Nice to know that at least some of the geezers still get what the whole thing was about. –jimmy (www.pinkflag.com)


WILLOWZ, THE:
That Willowz Feelin: CD single
The amazing thing about this being the first release on the legendary/infamous Posh Boy Records in frickin' ages is that you'd swear – you’d fucking SWEAR! – that Robbie Fields marched these guys into some cryogenic chamber at gunpoint twenty years ago (hey, from what i've heard of the guy, i wouldn't put it past him) and put 'em on ice for two decades, just to unleash them when the world least expected it (sort of like how when you're a kid, you always try to stash a snowball in the freezer in March, figuring in the middle of July you're gonna come out and blast the neighbor kid with it – except your Mom always throws the snowball away by mid-April). I mean, if somebody told you this was recorded in 1979 or 1980 – or on the "good" side of the one Rodney on the ROQ album you never got around to buying – there would be no overt cause for doubt on your part. It's on Rodney On The ROQ Volume Four! It's on Posh Hits Volume Two! Virtually every stylistic idiosyncrasy i associate with classic Posh Boy – the robo-twist beat (kick, snare-snare, kick, snare!) of the Red Cross EP, the nasal vocals and somewhat cleanish guitars of the Simpletones, occasionally the lyrical meter of The Crowd, etc., etc. – all twisted up in some manner of latter-day Franken-Posh French Braid O' Vintage '79/'80 LA Punk-Pop that screams out for the classic peach-colored label and the generic purple/yellow/green/red "PARTY!" die-cut 12" jackets ca. 1980! I listen to this too long and start thinking i'm late for Drivers' Ed or something! B-side, such as it is, sounds like a mildly more contemporary reworking of the central thesis to the Real Kids' "Up Is Up," but maybe if the lead vocalist was in one of the earlier Rip Off Records bands and his original impetus to start singing was Kepi of the Groovie Ghoulies. It grieves me to say this, but here goes: Posh Boy 1, 21st Century 0. BEST SONG: "That Willowz Feelin'" BEST SONG TITLE: "Think Again" FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Songs are published by Covina High Music, for added stimulation! –norb (Posh Boy)


WHITE FLAG:
R Is For Rocket, U Is For Unreleased: CD
A kinda odds ’n’ sods type deal here, purportedly containing their “first” album, R is for Rocket, along with some outtakes, live tracks and a video for the computer geeks. Many of the songs here are demo quality versions of songs that appeared on S Is for Space, and “Hoppity Hooper” and “Question of Intelligence” appeared on BCT’s Eat Me cassette comp and the first Flipside comp, respectively. The real meat of this, though, is the live show, recorded at a graduation party back in 1982, identified as the band’s first gig. Some of the live banter appeared between songs on S Is For Space, but this is the first time to my knowledge that full tracks have been available. More recent fans might take note that this sounds nothing like their poppier stuff. As for the rest of you, I hear they’re planning to reissue S Is For Space, so consider this the appetizer platter. –jimmy (Artifix)


WHERE EAGLES DARE:
In a Thousand Words or Less: CDEP
A self-proclaimed hardcore band out of Arizona takes you on a fun-filled ride of your life with a soundtrack of seven songs to make your ear drums bleed. I feel an `88 straight edge sound ringing in my ears. Energetic and fast makes for a rocking good time. –don (Endwell)


VOIDS, THE:
Kill a Generation: CD
They recently opened for the Subhumans at a show I attended recently here in LA, but I missed their set trying to deal with guest list issues. I knew I had their CD at home for review but hadn’t listened to it. It’s a female-led band that reminded me of Sin 34 and a little bit of Beki Bondage from Vice Squad. Unfortunately, this band from Whittier, CA sounded like early ‘80s So Cal due to the bad recording production. The guitars were thin and the drums sound like tin cans. The bones were there but the meat was thin. Lyrically, they hold their own. It didn’t sound like remedial English and thought was put forth. They cover Ill Repute’s Strike Back, which was a tad slow but wasn’t half bad. Pretty good. Hope to hear this band once they record in a better studio. –don (Destroy All Records)


VIC BONDI/ ARTICLES OF FAITH:
Fortunate Son: CDEP
When Vic Bondi wrote for Hit List, he sure the fuck didn’t take a liking to a lot of punk being made in the present tense. From the sounds of “Hardball” and his cover of John Fogerty’s “Fortunate Son,” I guess that means he really just missed bands that sounded like Helmet mixed in with high piles of donkey poo. Articles of Faith I won’t shit talk about. “Buy This War” and “American Dreams” sound as vital today, perhaps more so, than when they were released in the early ‘80s. Give thanks that Articles of Faith’s stuff was kept in print by Bitzcore, then compiled in Complete Vols. 1 and 2 on AT (these two songs are on those LPs) and see why they were truly one of the lesser-known hardcore greats that were creative, bombastic, smart-as-fuck, hyperspeed, and dead-eyed. Skip this hinky EP and get the collections for the real meat. –todd (Alternative Tentacles)


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