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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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VARIOUS ARTISTS:
We Still Keep on Running with D.O.A.: CD
This is an interesting covers comp that features six Japanese bands playing D.O.A. songs. Another interesting fact is D.O.A. contributing two songs. I like the concept and that should be done more often by others who do tribute comps. My favorite track is Smash You Face’s cover of “America Is Beautiful,” but the tracks by Constricted, Total Fury, Wagplaty, First Alert, Go, and D.O.A. are no small chump change. You can feel the love in the air when the bands contributed to this. With so many bad comps coming out these days, it’s good to see that some sneak through the cracks and turn out to be good. –don (Mangrove)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Streets of Philadelphia II: CD
Emo, screamo, college rock, metal-tinged “hardcore,” radio friendly pop punk, all of it primed for overground mass consumption and all of it sounding just as plastic and fake as one would expect. More succinctly, utter crap. –jimmy (Wonka Vision)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Skannibal Party 2: CD
This is the sophomore release of a new grouping of international ska bands. No ska-punk here. Just two tone and traditional that reaches back to its Jamaican origins. With this type of ska, I never seem to tire of it. Like reggae, ska can be a mellow ride to a peaceful place. It has twenty-one bands with twenty-one tracks that let you sample, like appetizers, what you may personally like. I’ve got my groove on! If you want some, go get you some. –don (Mad Butcher)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
RadioDick 3-Sided LP Series: CD
The American Plague, Windfall, and Vanguard: pretty unremarkable stuff here – except for Windfall. That chick has got just about one of the worst voices I’ve ever heard. I sing better than she does and I suck. –megan (Pal-Tone)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Northwest Kicked in the Nuts: CD
A collection of bands from the northwestern United States (duh) that feature at least one female member, including the Die Jobs, Macho Borracho, Antiworld, Amazombies, Sado-Nation (!) and others. While the dominant genre is punk in a myriad of hues, there is the occasional metal tune. Nice concept. Not bad, not spectacular. –jimmy (Last Chance)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Cool Grrrls Kick Ass!: CD
Sixteen tracks, three good, an alright ratio. Manda and the Marbles, Riff Randells, and The Waulkees from Italy all gave great tracks. The rest just plain suck. –megan (CoolGrrrls.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
ClePunk.comp: CD
The Dexter Chumley Attack! As far as I can tell, one of the few sound reasons to live in Cleveland in this day and age, but what a reason! From their two brisk tracks here alone, I’m fixing to pack up and go, and while I’m there I might check out Allergic to Whores, which I think would round out the whole of Clevo’s full-throttle thrash scene. Other styles represented by the twenty-four bands here include streetpunk, ska, all kinds of poppy punk, and a few heavier acts like Disengage and Los Fiascos. As scene comps go, not bad, but records this diverse generally leave me limp. But the Dexter Chumley Attack! Gracious! And, oh yeah, I seriously hope God kills me before I ever have to hear the red hot chili poop of the Kirkendahl Voyd again. –Cuss Baxter (Smog Veil)


VANILLA MUFFINS:
Sugar Oi Will Win: CD
A reissue of their first album here. You can hear the foundations of greatness already starting to bubble up from the bottom of the cup and see that the seeds of what would become “Sugar Oi” were already sown and starting to sprout. IF you’ve no clue as to who these guys are, just imagine the bastard child of the Undertones, Slade, Stiff Little Fingers and the Bay City Rollers growing up with an affinity for oi music and you get the picture. The proceedings are rife with good hooks and should please even the most discerning music connoisseur. –jimmy (Haunted Town)


VANILLA MUFFINS:
All Give Some – Some Give All: CD EP
A new EP with four tracks from this Swiss powerhouse, one of which is a reworking of their classic “My Angel,” and another co-written by skinhead legend Frankie Flame. As can be expected, there’s a truckload of pop sensibility evident and not a bad tune to be found anywhere. Thumbs up. –jimmy (Haunted Town)


UWHARRIA:
Fury in the Foothills: CD
Remember crossover? This reminds me when we were in the crossover period. It was the late ‘80s and punk bands were playing speed metal and speed metal bands were putting punk in their music – one big happy, violent and drunken family. This band reminds me of the period. –don (Slave)


U.S. BOMBS:
Covert Action: CD
Not too long ago, I saw Duane Peters and the US Bombs play a show, and I fell in love with Duane even more. That man knows how to dance. And the Bombs know how to rock. The Bombs were in fine form with Back at the Laundromat, and their follow-up tracks in Covert Action are tight. The Bombs have their sound down, but they’re still trying new stuff. I especially enjoyed Kerry Martinez’s contribution, “Faith of Marie,” an instrumental that really showcased Martinez’s often-overlooked talent. Man, I hope I see these guys live again soon. I wanna dance with Duane. Preferably to “Faith of Marie.” –felizon (Hellcat)


U.S. BOMBS:
Art Kills b/w Framed: 7"
I like and respect TKO Records, but my main complaint about them is that they will often release a seven inch or EP with stuff that’s all previously released. Here we have two singles off of the new US Bombs album. They’re both good songs, but, for a few dollars more, you could buy the album and get eleven more songs. And, if you really want to support TKO, pick up the new album by The Boils. They’re fucking awesome. –sean (TKO)


UNPERSONS:
Self-titled: CD
Nice and noisy stuff dancing the fine line between hardcore and pain-metal. On the whole this is pretty good listenin’, but the songs do go on a bit long in places. –jimmy (Fish Fur)


UNKNOWN, THE:
Radio Lied to Me: CD
Picture Poison (not Look What the Cat Dragged In, either) mix it with Weird Al. Take out the humor. Pure ass. –megan (Tuneage)


UNDEAD:
First, Worst and Cursed: CD
A retrospective of a band that started their reign of terror in Los Angeles back in the late ‘70s and went on to greater fame after a move to San Francisco. As can be expected, the sound is rooted in Dolls/Thunders/Ramones country. On the whole, the proceedings are well worth a listen and, although most Bobby Steele fans will probably groan when they realize this is not the band with ties to the Misfits, I suggest they give it a shot, ’cause it really is pretty good. If the bands you like just HAFTA have some kinda tie to hardcore, guitarist Joe Dirt also played in the legendary Fuck Ups, and you can’t get any more hardcore than them. –jimmy (Dionysus)


TRIGGERS, THE:
Shoot Your Mouth Off: CD
I don’t know what is with Dirtnap. I get a comp and I don’t really like it, but then almost every album to cross my ears I go nuts for. The Triggers go balls-out from the get-go. Tons of energy. The female vocals remind me of The Brat. It’s loud and loose, yet wound tightly together at the same time. One of the best albums this time around. –megan (Dirtnap)


TRENCHMOUTH:
More Motion: CD
Heard the name but have never actually heard ’em. Jeez, there’s some serious musicianship going on here. Got a veritable hodgepodge of disparate sounds from across the musical map coming out in one big jumble – jazz, funk, hardcore punk, noise, found sounds, dub, and loads more. Imagine Fugazi in a really bad mood and you aren’t all that far off. I’m mightily impressed and mightily bummed ’cause I’m under the impression that they’re no more. –jimmy (www.thickrecords.com)


TRAVOLTAS:
Endless Summer: CD
Okay, one of my favorite bands is Against Me!, who write about touring a lot. But they write about it on a conceptual level, not a descriptive one. Hell, even I am writing a book on touring, but it will be a how-to guide with specific anecdotes. But the first song on this album is such a by-the-numbers tour song it irks me. Do you form a band to write songs about being in the band you formed to write songs about being in a band? Sorry, just a pet peeve. I was listening to this CD in my car with two people. One thought these guys were Blink 182. The other thought they were Weezer. Personally, I think they remind me of Groovie Ghoulies, but the latter seem a lot sillier and artsier than these guys and in any case, I don’t know how many people know the Ghoulies enough to make the comparison worthwhile. But the Ghoulies’ concept seems more a product of the band’s evolution while this sounds more pre-determined. Actually, the more I think about it, these guys remind me more of the Beach Boys than anything. Maybe they’re a bit harder, what with the advance of time and all, but still, yeah, a rocking Beach Boys. By now it sounds like I probably didn’t like this CD, but I kinda did. It’s a fun album, the way that pizza is usually good and parties are usually fun, but having finished this review, I am not too sure it will be back on my radar again unless I wind up running into the band. –rich (Fast Music)


TRANSISTOR TRANSISTOR:
Self-titled: CD
Weird, crazy music that would be very close to noise if the production values weren’t so high. Energetic, scary, dischordian stuff but it has a good beat and I can dance to it. Somewhere a bunch of scruffy kids are flagellating with fingers pointed skyward and smiles painted on their faces. –rich (Level Plane)


TOY DOLLS:
Anniversary Anthems: CD
Captain Oi winds up their Toy Dolls reissue campaign with this, the band’s most recent release, originally released two years ago as the band celebrated their twenty-first anniversary. Like the album that preceded it, this is one of the better Toy Dolls albums, which is like sayin’ “It’s pretty good for Mozart….” As I’ve said before, a lousy Toy Doll record is still miles above some bands’ finest work, for even when they seem to be merely going through the motions, the Toy Dolls are still tighter than King Georgie’s grip on an oil-related money opportunity and up to their eyebrows in hooks. Included here are covers of “Livin’ La Vida Loca” and, speaking of Mozart, “Eine Kleine Nachmusik,” the latter of which adds fuel with to my love/hate feelings about Olga (in a nutshell, I love his guitar playing, and hate that I can’t play as well as he). Great listen here, of course, and I personally am looking forward to hearing what these guys come up with next. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


TOTAL CHAOS:
Punk Invasion: CD

1) This album has covers of Twisted Sister and the Exploited. Take those two bands and make them one. Keep in mind how old they are by now. Keep in mind you can still listen to those songs as originally recorded.

2) "This record is dedicated to the true punks of the world, those who stand against conformity... and raise their middle finger to authority." Funny thing about guys who very clearly put a lot of work into making sure that they look like all so many other punk bands from the last twenty years. Funny thing also about raising a middle finger to authority. It just pisses off authority. Then authority keeps oppressing you. Why not either get rid of authority through political action or set aside your own lifestyle without much inclusion of authority?

3) Every time I see the Total Chaos logo with the circle A of anarchy, I secretly wish one day to interview the band and ask them a lot of questions about Emma Goldman and the differences between Anarco Syndicalism and Primitivism.

4) There are no lyrics in the inset, but MAN are there a lot of photos with people who spend a lot of time on their hair.

5) Looking punk is really important because it defies the classist conventions of late 1970s British society. If any old Brits come to California, MAN are they going to be pissed.

6) I opened for Total Chaos once. Long story. One of the members had just dyed his hair and it ran all down his face. Wow, even when I was a teenage postcard punk, even I knew the importance of proper rinsing. And some kids came and heckled EVERY act.

7) Yes, I am focusing more on what they look like than the music on this CD. This seems in keeping with the attitude of the band.

8) Most of the high school aged punk bands I have seen in my life could come up with a better cover concept than this has – a poorly drawn skull with septum piercing (through the bone, I guess) and Discharge hairdo, holding a globe with continents that almost look like those of Earth.

9) Where are the punks invading?

10) Just when I was about to give a nod to this CD being filled with not entirely bad music that the kids can at least get a catharsis out of, on comes the bad Rancid rip off mid-tempo song that shows why punk vocalists are often called vocalists and not singers.

11) I would give a nod to the audio collage track about the death of Brian Deneke, whose killer got away with it since it was a "clean cut" kid in a fight against a punk. But it was pretty uninformative and half-assed, and having been in Amarillo lately, even the punks there want to kind of move on.

12) "Hey guys, see how popular the Dropkick Murphys are? Let’s rip them off too, and have a bagpipe and everything."

13) Wasn't there already song called “Jock O-Rama”? I get it when multiple bands use a title like "Betrayed" or something, or when obscure bands use something not realizing another obscure band did as well, but I am pretty sure that these guys know who the Dead Kennedys are.

14) Why is it so hard to send a reviewer a real CD, not just the CD and inset? Having to unstaple stuff is annoying, and lose contents are easier to lose, and I just plain think it's funny that they put a hole in the UPC.

15) The last track is called "We Are the Future." Apparently the future is a bunch of aging guys who hold on to the image of the past and the mindset of their adolescence.

16) TotalChaos.com butt flaps. Need I say more? –rich (Reject)


TOSSERS, THE:
Purgatory: CD
Since they conjure images of Dante from the title, it does seem like this band is on the ascension to something better (B- Pogues-inspired rock), but right now they’re on the hillside next to heaven and have fallen short by of their goal by not paying enough penance (sounding way too like Flogging Molly). Where’s the reckless abandon? Where’s the teeth flying out like a kick-in Chicklets dispenser? I was asked to drink a fucking ton before reviewing this. Done. Verdict: give me Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash. That’s brick throwing time. This is fine for what it is – an imitation that’s yet to improve on the template – but no better. –todd (Thick)


TONE:
Ambient Metals: CD
Tone: by the hatful. Ambient: yes. Metal: no. I got a little excited when I saw that Geordie Grindle from DC’s Teen Idles was in it but that turned out to mean nothing. As the title sort of implies, it’s a sub-Sonic Youth exercise in rhythmic instrumental drone that’s thoughtful, unintrusive, and mild without being wimpy. –Cuss Baxter (Dischord)


TIMVERSION, THE/BAGGAGE:
Split: 7"
The Timversion: how do I accurately describe to you how amazing The Timversion are? Do I talk about how their sound is in line with some of my favorite bands like Tiltwheel, Super Chinchilla Rescue Mission, and Panthro UK United 13? Do you even know those bands? Do I talk about how, amidst the noise and chaos of their songs, there are a really cool, Replacements style melodies? Or do I just say, “Forget about everything else I’ve recommended to you and buy something by The Timversion first”? Baggage: maybe it’s enough for me to just say that – in light of all my praise of The Timversion – I’m still happy to flip this record and hear the Baggage side. Baggage are in line with other bands on the Snuffy Smile label in the sense that they take a solid Leatherface influence and blend it with a fuzzy, Japanese rock’n’roll sound and end up blowing my mind. My only complaint about this seven inch is that it’s so tough to get ahold of Snuffy Smile stuff in the US. If anyone knows of a US distro for these guys, please let me know. –sean (Snuffy Smile)


THIS IS MY FIST!:
I Don’t Want to Startle You But They Are Going to Kill Most of Us: 7” EP
The title of this 7” is reminiscent of the great book on the Rwandan genocide by Philip Gourvitch, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families. If you haven’t read it and still think the holocaust is the onlymass slaughter this century, I can’t suggest it highly enough. The singer, Annie’s (ex-Ambition Mission and Mushuganas), voice is startlingly clear and distinct, much like how Allison from Discount could belt it out. It’s both tender and barbed and can get nice and growly. From the name of the band, I was expecting some knuckleheaded floor-punching schmubs. Thankfully, it’s more of a nice warning, much like This Bike Is a Pipebomb’s name and intent is. Also, thankfully, it’s a power trio that takes transposed cues from Jawbreaker (sensible time changes to keep the tide flowing), crunchier, less pop Tilt (nice and buzzy), and if it was ever bottled like a musical fragrance, it’s got that East Bay Sound that’s hard to describe but is instantly recognizable. I like it lots. It’s very realized for a band’s first seven inch. Thumbs up. –todd (Left of the Dial)


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·DILLINGER FOUR
·BEAUTY PILL
·KITTY & THE MANGES
·RAW NERVES
·Dirty Marquee, Self-titled 7''
·F BOMBERS
·Outlaw Efforts
·Merry Pineapplemas! Deck the halls with bananas!
·BROKEN


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