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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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GRABASS CHARLESTONS, THE:
The Greatest Story Ever Hula’d: CD
Sweat-dripping, whisky-drowned, dirty Florida punk at its finest. First off, the split these guys did with Billy Reese Peters, pick it up. Ever since I reviewed it, it’s just gotten better and it’s now firmly lodged as one of the top twenty releases of 2002. I’ll be completely honest, on first listen to this I wasn’t hooked. The vocals are a tad slower and the instruments aren’t as instantly dazzling and frenetic. Also, this full-length seems sadder, more morose. (Apparent evidence is the song title “Suicide at $8 an Hour” and the supporting documentation is the lyrics sheet.) Then the netting takes hold – little flashes, little hooks, little dips and wanes. Some horns on one song. Then, around the fifteenth time I popped this on, I didn’t hold it up to the expectation of their split, but held it up to itself. Now, I hate to use words like “songwriting maturity,” because that’s usually for dildos, but these songs are denser, richer, and a slightly bit more of an acquired taste. They look at wreckage (their own ashes) more than bombast (like going after their boss man). So, let’s compare. Like Tiltwheel, the tones are bright and happy, but the sentiment is dark, ultra-articulate and sad. (“We’ll be making a better resource sleeping six feet underground” and “I had the weirdest dream/ Where I went a whole day with a spear in my chest/ I kept waiting to die.”) Like Leatherface, the guitars weave in tight, then splay apart and shimmer. It’s like you’re immersed in their songs, filled with metaphoric life preservers and harpoons. Like Dillinger Four, no instrument takes the easy way out. Pure propulsion and fireworks. Like the Beltones, Will is drumming, but he’s also singing, and it’s catchy hard-drinking, working class without-the-cliché punk rock. Ultimately – and the final testament – is that The Grabass Charlestons are a band that others will start being compared to. A top of 2003 for me, no doubt. –todd (No Idea)


GLOBAL THREAT, A:
What the Fuck Will Change?: CDEP
A street punk band having this as their album title when the CD cover and half the inset is filled with pictures showing off their many fashionable belts and mohawks makes me think of the old Corrosion of Conformity song off Eye for an Eye – “Rebellion’s not the clothes you wear or the way you spike your hair… nothing’s gonna change because you’re music’s fast, nothing’s gonna change while you’re sitting on your ass.” What is in A Global Threat’s favor is that it is hard to sit on your ass while listening to this CD. Surely, it might be nice if they seemed a bit less concerned with what they look like (not so much that they are that overly dressed so much as they have SO many posed band photos.) This is loud, fast and angry, but musically adept and fairly diverse from song to song. Not diverse the way Alice Donut would have a fast punk song next to a folk sounding song, but diverse in that songs don’t all sound alike – most of them have fast circle pit parts and oi-infused sing along parts, but with that framework, they go all over the place. Lyrically, well, I didn’t learn any new political information from this CD, but the words are far more than filler so the vocalist has something to do between “fuck the systems.” This would probably have been my favorite CD if it came out when I was an angst-ridden teen, and it can be used to wean totalchaos.com fans off the idea that street punk has to be one dimensional. –rich (Punk Core)


GLOBAL THREAT, A:
Earache/Pass the Time: CDEP
A quick one this time around from one of the new American bands that play the early UK punk style. Like the Casualties and the Virus, this band, I feel, is the best of the genre today. The songs strike you with the jagged edge of a blunt knife. While many bands that currently play this style of music sound like bad reproductions of bands past, A Global Threat keep it fresh and powerful. –don (Rodent Popsicle)


GEE STRINGS, THE:
Bad Reputation: 7"
I’ve often sat and pontificated: What would have happened if Penelope Houston of the Avengers didn’t become a big, German adult contemporary pixie after her divorce from punk rock, and instead secretly was in a German band that fucking ripped it in relative obscurity? Weirder things have happened. If we didn’t have stuff like history, facts, and figures, you can just lay back and imagine The Gee Strings picking up where the Avengers dissolved. I can bask in that quite nicely. The b-side, “Dullish,” is the gem. No flabby skin, no reek of cashing in, just perfect punk. The cover of the tune that Joan Jett made famous, “Bad Reputation,” ain’t too shabby, either. –todd (Stereodrive! c/o Green Hell)


F-MINUS:
Wake Up Screaming: CD
F-Minus play fast, aggressive hardcore with just enough hooks to keep it from being a wall of noise. They alternate male and female vocals and it works especially well because neither of them can sing, but both of them sound really good. With Wake Up Screaming, they’ve lost their bass player/other female vocalist from earlier records, which is a shame. I like the way she sings. Still, this album rips through fifteen songs with enough power and pogo to keep me smiling. –sean (Hellcat)


FM KNIVES:
Useless and Modern: LP
This album isn't exactly new, but here's my two cents on it anyway: What Amdi Petersen's Arme is to hardcore punk, the FM Knives are to '77 punk. Unlike a band like the Briefs who sound like a modern update to that sound, this band sounds like one of the bands that pioneered that sound. And they're good. Real good. Also, on a purely historical note that will interest everyone, this album was recorded on my seventeenth birthday. –Josh (Broken Rekids)


FLESHIES:
The Sicilian: CD
Me gusta. About ten seconds after Johnny Polymoniker knocked my glasses clean off my face (but right into my hands, thanks) with his swinging microphone, Dan Monick said, “These guys are like the Cows and Iron Maiden.” Dan Monick takes a lot of pictures for this magazine. He’s insightful. I try to keep my glasses on my face. Then that got me to thinking. Perhaps, for future reviews of Fleshies, I could just mix a great AmRep’y noise band with a heavy metal band that had at least five good songs and that’d be the review. Slug and Judas Priest. Kinda works. Take weirdness, give it focus, heaviness, and catchiness. Mix in one or two no-interference, fuck-yeah punk gems (like “Rosa”). Kerplow! Fleshies! Only it’s better. What works so well in their favor is that their albums and EPs (get the futbol one) neither ever get too stupid-trippy nor wank-a-thonic. Although I do suggest this record, I do have complaints. Are the lyrics written on fuckin’ microfiche for the CD? C’mon, Alternative Tentacles, give ‘em a couple more pages so I don’t have to be reading, what, two point font. Secondly, whomever put the athletic sock over Johnny’s microphone for this recording should stop doing that in the future. He sounds muted. Complaints aside, as it stands, Fleshies are a delicious cross of Melt Banana and Motley Crue. See? It sorta works. Sorta. Go see ‘em live with glasses firmly strapped. –todd (Alternative Tentacles)


FLASH EXPRESS, THE:
Ride the Flash Express b/w Feel These Blues: 7"
Hmm. I’m not so big on the neo-funk urban faux-gospel explosion. I’d rather tap the headwaters of James Brown instead of the runoff tributaries. I remember not liking the Make Up for the same reason. The singer’s voice sounds like a poodle with its nuts getting flicked with a rubber band. I remember not liking the Mooney Suzuki, too. So much posturing and butt jutting and pouting for effect, it’s kinda like walking into a room of people you’re not sexually attracted to masturbating and they’re calling you out for not taking it in the eye or clapping at the end of it. Fill the experience in with a bunch of “Hey now!”s “Yeow!”s and “Feel it!”s as the guitars get wanky and get flaily. Sorry. Headline’s a great record store. You should go there when you’re in LA. –todd (Headline)


FILTHY VAGRANTS:
Watching Them Burn: CD
Barely competent Rancid punk. Nice pic of a guy giving the finger to the White House. Dude, punk rock. –jimmy (Ninety-Six)


FEVERS, THE:
Gaan Daar Waar de Meisjes Zijn: LP
The Fevers take titan missile-sized cues from The Heartbreakers. But it’s mid-paced, clean, clever, with poking hints of snarl instead of stabbing away at darkness full force. It’s all well and fine, but this is just one of those records that makes me reach for the original wellspring – vinyl crackles, ring wear on the cover art and all – instead of this scrubbed-behind-the ears, smiling update. Although I wish them no harm and don’t think they suck, I just wish this was faster and dirtier and more their own gig. Danger’s traded in for driver’s side air bags, it seems. On the plus side, it’s on royally thick vinyl. –todd (Alien Snatch)


FATAL FLYING GUILLOTEENS:
Get Knifed: CD
I’ve heard a lot of good things about these guys. They’re frenetic, loud, fast and really good. It took a little while for this to grow on me, but the more I listen, the more I like it. –megan (Estrus)


EYES OF AUTUMN:
Hello: CD
As difficult as it may be to believe, and I realize that this allegation will sound utterly preposterous, this is emo and, much to my surprise, these dissonant, unfocused, fuzzed-out songs featuring quavering, tremulous vocal stylings (which aren’t quite ululation) have made my life immeasurably worse for having heard them. Fuck this. I’m going back to listening to The Blood Brothers. –scott (54 40 Or Fight)


EXPLODING HEARTS, THE:
Guitar Romantic: CD
I love this. Throw Thee Headcoats, early Elvis Costello, Teenage Head, and the Dead Boys in a blender, this is what you get. More pop than edge, but you get a snarl here and there. So damn catchy you’re bound to annoy everyone by gushing over them (at least I do.) –megan (Dirtnap)


EVIL BEAVER:
Lick It: CD
Would’ve been great a decade ago on a bill with 7 Year Bitch and them other proto-riot grrrl bands, although the sludgy quality of their songs might be more bummer inducing than inspiring. I’ve heard worse, but I ain’t exactly doing cartwheels over this or anything. –jimmy (Johann’s Face)


ENDS, THE:
Teenage Detox: 7"
Newer bands that I really start to dig remind me simultaneously of so many different bands. It’s almost like looking through fifty slides in the projector at once. The Ends are that type of band, except the final effect is something clear, fun, and realized, not a muddied mess or dick-to-back-of-throat worship of undeniably great bands that came before. It’s also strange that bands I really like seem to go through small metamorphoses in my ears. On the twentieth spin, I’ll start hearing something completely different than what I heard on the first. The proof is in the infection. I keep reaching for this 7”. At times, it reminds me of a supercharged Stitches with a smokier vocalist. Other times, when they cover Eater’s “Room for One,” they play it so forcefully that it comes across like they ripped the song’s clothing completely off. Other influences that seep in sound like they’d be at odds with one another, but aren’t: The tunefulness of the Saints, the inspired recklessness of Scared of Chaka, and ’77 UK punk by way of early Texas hardcore. It’s much better than good. Trust me on this one. –todd (Super Secret)


EDISON ROCKET TRAIN:
Yes! Yes!! Yes!!!: CD
Think Wesley Willis done by people with no creative ability. –megan (Steel Cage)


DRUNK HORSE:
Adult Situations: CD
This is like all the bad Rolling Stones songs with Jimi Hendrix singing (think circa puddle of vomit, not “Star Spangled Banner”). Funny cover art, though. –megan (Tee Pee)


DREXEL, OHIO:
Self-titled: CD
The little sticker on the front of this disc refers to Drexel, Ohio as "one of America's most unique acts." I don't know about that. It is a quirky package that defies easy categorization. Soundwise, it's like what you might hear at any smoky lounge at some Holiday Inn somewhere in rural America: cheesy keyboards and schmaltzy vocals with lyrics that you either think are "funny" or "really stupid." But I don't know if it's really all that unique. I know several people who do the cheeseball lounge lizard shtick – like Minneapolis' own Mike Suade – and do a funnier send-up of it. I think the best these guys can hope for is a spot on an upcoming Dr. Demento collection of "wacky" songs. Humor, of course, is a very subjective thing, so I'm sure that there are people out there who'd think this is a real kick in the pants. I'm just not one of them. –aphid (Donger)


DOWNWAY/BELVEDERE:
Split: CD
Downway: Boring. I remember them being better. The songs are too long for me and seem to drag on too long to keep me interested. Belvedere: Heavy on the Pennywise riffing. You wouldn’t be able to guess this band was from Canada when the sound is so So Cal. –don (Sessions/Union)


DOA:
Win the Battle: CD
Hoo, doggy, where does one begin with this? Yes, this is the same DOA that’s been slugging it out in some shape or another since the ‘70s and no, this is by no means their finest hour. Most of the songs sound forced and short on inspiration – which is amazing considering the myriad of shit going on in the world these last couple years from which to draw at least an idea or two for a song – although the level of enthusiasm of those performing is strangely high. They cover themselves (a ill-conceived blues rendition of “Fuck You”) and ZZ Top (eschewing a more fitting cover of that band’s “Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers” for a stab at “La Grange”) this time around, neither really adding much to their legacy. Of thirteen songs, the one that comes closest to sounding like a quality DOA tune is “Return to LumberjackCity,” which is shows flashes of the swagger and self-assurance that makes their best work so damn listenable. Still, one song does not a great record make and, while I have nothing but love for Joey Shithead and Randy Rampage, maybe it’s time to send the old warhorse back to the showers for a spell, at least until a vein of steady inspiration can be tapped, ’cause this stuff ain’t doing nothing but tarnishing the good name and reputation of one of the best bands in the history of punk rock. –jimmy (Sudden Death)


DISORDER:
We’re Still Here: CD
Who would have thunk it? I’m holding a new Disorder CD in 2003. Not since the 1984 Under the Scalple Blade LP have I heard a thing by this band. I knew they had other releases after that LP, but I never acquired them. The only remaining member from the 1984 LP is Taf, the bassist, who now sings, too. They are now a three piece being rounded out by Yaga on guitar and Adey Anarchy on drums. I think they used to fly under the banner of “Noise not Music” when they first started out like Chaos UK – straight forward UK punk that was purposely ugly to the ears. The formula hasn’t strayed too far. The monotone buzzing sound is there. However, with the mutation of punk through the years, it’s not as extreme now as it was then. I guess I have become desensitized. But familiarity is a good tool for easy acceptance. The songs are sloppy like a good drunken night. The speed varies to keep you on your toes. If you enjoy a good dose of “two fingers in the air” UK punk rock, you will not be disappointed. Recorded in Japan, you would think the production might be over the top, but the recording studio sounds like it did some research and recorded the band as they should sound. –don (HG Fact)


DISASTER, THE:
Black and White and Red All Over: CD
High marks to the design of this CD. The CD itself is on of those clear on the outside, shiny in the middle dealies, silk-screened with bloody fingerprints over a skull. For a CD, it looks pretty fuckin’ cool. The music: it falls on this side of good. Not fantastic, not cheek-spreading ass. Just right under the surface, there’s quite a bit going on. It’s chunky, it’s catchy, it’s fast, and in slight traces it reminds me of Kid Dynamite with a shoutier vocalist. What could improve it? The tempos are almost exactly the same all the way through and the instruments aren’t given time to breathe or get a memorable hook. Not talking shit, but a half hour after I listen to this, I can’t remember a song. The entire album tends to blend into one long song and sounds like a whirring machine. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for them but can’t say I’ll listen to this too much. –todd (Alone / Endwell)


DIRTY POWER:
Self-titled: CD
Metal. Don't give me any more records like this to review. BEST SONG: I liked one of the guitar solos. I forget which song it's in. BEST SONG TITLE: "Lady Danzig" does have a certain Gary Puckett & The Union Gap-esque charm to it, but "Symptom of the Unitard" is funnier. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: If producing records which have no intrinsic value whatsoever other than the fact they are quite loud is a sport, Jack Endino is Cal Ripken, Jr. Somebody retire this guy's jersey, QUICK! –norb (Dead Teenager)


DIRTBOMBS, THE:
Australian Sing-a-Long with the Dirtbomb Singers: 7"
Mick Collins plays one crude guitar and records on one crude machine and still destroys every pimply dork with a bowl cut prancing around on MTV. The Dirtbombs do a stellar cover of "By My Side" by the Elois and then a not-so-stellar cover of "I Started a Joke" by the Bee Gees, but hey, the Bee Gees suck way more than Mick Collins rules. –Josh (Zerox, no address given)


DIRT BIKE ANNIE:
It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Single: CD
It took me some time to figure out why I wasn’t too stoked on this Dirt Bike Annie singles collection. I like DBA, and Dirtnap Records hasn’t let me down yet. But, whenever I scanned through my review pile for something to listen to, my fingers would linger over this collection, then drift over to some other CD to play. Finally, I sat down to see what it is about this collection. I listened to the whole hour or so of songs on the CD, rocked along with really cool DBA songs from “My Girl Left Me for a Chick” to “TV Addict Sex Maniac” to “Roommates” and enjoyed all the original DBA songs. But I kept wanting to skip over the covers of “Holiday Road,” “Are You Ready for the Summer,” “Knock on Wood,” and songs like that. Finally, I figured it out. The problem is this: not only should no one ever cover songs like Patty Smyth’s “The Warrior” ever again (I don’t care how ironic it is), but Dirt Bike Annie should completely avoid covers. Their original songs are good and fun, but even when they cover cool songs like “Debaser” and do a competent job of it, their cover isn’t nearly as cool as the original song or as their original songs. And the real pisser about this collection is that one out of every four songs is a cover. When you combine that with all the dopey sound bites – like the Dirt Bike Annie cheer – it seriously hinders your enjoyment of this album. If they had taken out all the goofy sound bites and all the covers, they still would’ve had a solid forty-five minutes of great stuff on here. But therein lies the tragedy of this: three quarters of it is great, fun, rocking DBA songs, and one quarter of it has you racing to skip songs. –sean (Dirtnap)


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