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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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REPORTS:
Bill Wyman Metal Detector: 7”
Reports bring that kickass jangly power pop sound that I really dig. The first song on the disk is a bit more post-punk and chilly, but they loosen up on the second song. Either way, I really enjoyed both tracks and could recommend this to any fans of Big Dipper or even the Wedding Present. Their record label even has a bunch of other cool-sounding bands that I’ve never heard of. Worth checking out. –Evan Katz (Ride The Snake, ridethesnakerecords.com)


REMISSION:
Absolute Power: 7”
Holy shit! It’s a new Remission record. Remission was the first hardcore band I ever saw play. Seeing them was pretty crucial to my entry into the punk scene. I stumbled onto the show by accident. Walking to school one day, I saw a Xeroxed flyer on the side of a building. With the Wisconsin snow coming down on me, I stared at that flyer. I stared at it for a long time, stunned at what I had found. Up until that point, my exposure to live music had been limited to whatever was happening at the university. Sure, Superchunk and Alligator Gun were fine, but I listened to the Misfits and the Dead Kennedys. I read MRR. The thought had never crossed my mind that there were legit punk shows happening in Eau Claire. Not until I saw that flyer. That flyer blew my mind. A week or so later, when the date of the show rolled around, Remission blew my mind even more. Now here I am, thirteen years later, still listening to hardcore. Remission still blow my mind. –mp (Profane Existence)


RAMPANT BAND:
Breakthrough/Breakdown: CD
Pretty standard alternative radio rock. It’s not that bad, but most of the songs are so long (there’s only one under three minutes, one over eight) that I had trouble paying attention after a little bit. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I demand everything be all short, but if you’re going to go this route, take the Superchunk route and have really strong, catchy riffs that you play the hell out of. –joe (Self-released, myspace.com/431038819)


QUINTRON:
Too Thirsty 4 Love: CD
A split release on both Rhinestone Records and Goner Records, it is one grooving slab of organ-drenched New Orleans swamp boogie. Ms. Pussycat and Mr. Quintron split deranged vocal duties like partners in a debauched black disco church choir backed by a sinister, sexy drum machine. I can’t say much more than go out and purchase this record as soon as your next paycheck arrives. –benke (Goner /Rhinestone)


PROZACS, THE:
Playing the Chords We Love: CD
Pretty straightforward, by-the-books pop punk for the most part. Some of the songs sounded like The Unlovables for dudes. I probably would have really dug this in high school, and I swear that’s not meant as an insult. –Sarah Shay (Cheapskate)


PROTESTANT:
Antagonist: 7”
Beautiful and scorching three-song EP here. It’s got all the requisite elements: stunning chipboard/silkscreen packaging (complete with booklet), top-notch, thematic graphics, bleak as hell lyrics (but with song/band explanations that are tinged with hope) and some of the meanest, darkest epic-style hardcore since that jaw-dropping Fighting Dogs LP came out a few years ago. Think Havoc-era From Ashes Rise and you’re off to a pretty good start. When it’s done well (and Protestant most definitely do it well), this shit makes me want to punch walls with a shit-eating smile on my face. If you’re looking for dark and brooding hardcore, Antagonist is your golden ticket. –keith (Halo Of Flies)


PRETTY WHORES:
Teens of USA: CD
Admittedly, upon looking at this and seeing the name, I assumed I’d hate it (judging from the name and packaging, figuring it was some Warped Tour “I hate my girlfriend, ergo all girls” emo/punk pop). But after listening to it, it kind of sounds like a pop punk band trying to sound like The Hives. It’s not bad, though if they tried to sound like Henry Fiat’s Open Sore, then they’d really be on to something. –joe (Self-released, myspace.com/prettywhores)


P.O.S.:
Never Better: CD
I have always had a soft spot for the Twin Cities music scene. To me, one of the most endearing defining features of the last decade of Minnesota’s DIY music community is the unprecedented synergy between the punk rock and hip hop musicians and fans in that metro area. Unlike many other cities, no one bats an eye when Dillinger Four and Atmosphere play shows together. No single figure in the Twin Cites scene is a finer bridge between the two musical subcultures than P.O.S. Never Better is P.O.S.’s third album and it is a strong, if fairly similar, follow-up to 2006’s Audition album, which raised his musical profile and introduced P.O.S. to multitudes of new fans. There are a couple radio-friendly, head-bobbing funk tracks like “Low Light Low Life” and “Goodbye” that are quite successful. However, the majority of the album is more challenging and discordant, borrowing an air of tension clearly influenced by hardcore punk and an experimental edge typical of the envelope-pushing hip hop artists on Anticon Records. For the most part it works quite well, although some editing or refinement could have been applied to the last one third of the fifteen-song release, as it begins to sag towards the end. Overall, though, it’s a very exciting release by a young and upcoming musical artist doing the Midwest proud. –Jake Shut –Guest Contributor (Rhymesayers)


POISON IVVY, THE:
Out for a Kill: CD
The fourth LP from this Swiss trio with an across-the-ages sound similar to the U.K.’s Four Letter Word, GBH, and Guitar Gangsters. Well-coordinated, bottom-heavy rhythm section, metal guitar, and raspy, shouted choral vocals move at a decent clip. Catchy and sing-along at times; repetitive at others. Early in their fifteen-plus year career, they oddly added a second V in ivy. –thiringer (Colibri/Crazy Love, colibri-records.ch, crazyloverecords.de)


PLEXI 3:
Timebox: 7”
Peppy, happy guy/girl vocals but not girly, not emo: pretty straight rockin’. It’s pop punk that’s radio friendly, and it feels fun, but this record is kind of reserved, no explosions. I like my pop faster and more harmonic, but really interested in what the band does next. –mike (Full Breach Kicks)


PIST, THE:
Input Equals Output, Album Two: LP
Formerly best known ((to me)) for being on the early ‘90s “Punk USA” comp and thusly having their name spelled with an exclamation point in lieu of the letter “I”, The Pist were a troop of above-average mosh-pit maulers from the East Coast who were good enough to sound like they might have legitimately sprung from the Great Street Punk Uterus in 1983 or ‘84 or something, yet not transcendent enough that they cause me to wax particularly nostalgic for the musical emissions of that era. I mean, it’s not like the chord progressions, attitudes and sentiments expressed in this odds-and-ends collection are likely something you’ve never heard before; but, then again, it’s generally a given with fans and practitioners of this kinda music ((what do you even call this stuff anymore? “Hardcore?” “Street Punk?” “Punk/Hardcore?” “Moo Goo Gai Pan??”)) that whether or not you’ve heard it all before is not a particularly valued criterion ((in an embarrassing case of mistaken identity, i really thought i had heard “Creature in My Closet” before, and that it was a Freeze cover)). The longer this record played, the longer it reminded me of… well… pretty much EVERYTHING else along these lines, which is when it hit me: StreetPunkic QuadDecameter™. That’s right, i said it and i meant it: StreetPunkic QuadDecameter™!The reason bands of this ilk tend to sound similar is due to an unusual propensity for fourteen-syllable lines. STREETPUNKIC QUADDECAMETER™ I TELL YOU!!! Bear witness: “Small town lives, small town lies, you don’t fit in their small town minds”, “Shadows dance across my walls as I strain my eyes to see”, “It lurks inside of everyone though most may hide it well”, “You struggle just to make it but there are no guarantees”, “You gave your mind and body, no, you put it up for sale”, “We set our limitations, we can break them just the same”, “No idols to be worshipped, no commandments command me”—come ON, man, i cracked the code of the punk/hardcore molecule!!!Coming up next on PBS: “Iambic Pentameter: Is it Rad?” BEST SONG: “Bubblegum Bullshit,” although i love bubblegum BEST SONG TITLE: “Bubblegum Bullshit” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: This is the first record i’ve ever owned that was a single album with a side C and a side D. –norb (Havoc)


PEYOTES, LOS:
Cavernicola: CD
Their Myspace page says they’re from Argentina, so I’m not sure why the CD says “Garage-A-Go-Go-Tex-Mex,” but it doesn’t really change the fact that what they’re dishin’ out is loud, fuzzed ‘60s garage slop, right down to two Sonics covers. I’ve definitely heard better, but they ain’t all that bad on the whole, and I liked the fact they sound like they’re totally into what they’re doing. –jimmy (No Fun)


PEAR OF THE WEST:
Passed Out the Wasted: CD
A self-described incomplete discography from this female-led band from Japan. The songs span from the years 2000-2008. Not sure if they broke up or not. But one thing for sure is they have that early pop punk sound from the late ‘90s to early ‘00s of bands like Discount, Co-Ed, and Servo. In fact, I see in the liner notes that they did a split with the latter. Songs are sung in English with a heavy Japanese accent, which give them a unique feel. You can hear the growth of the band from their humble beginnings: Raw but poppy at first, then you can hear the evolution with the musicianship and production. I don’t listen to much pop punk lately, but the later material is infectious and undeniably fun. –don (Snuffy Smiles)


PATROL:
Zirconium: CD
Patrol’s follow-up to their 2006 debut (and one of my favorite albums of that year), Destinations, has finally arrived. Destinations holds a special place in my heart, as it was an album that I listened to almost constantly for the first few months when I moved to Seattle back in 2006. Patrol is also from Seattle, and seeing them live that summer made me appreciate the album all that much more. Thus, Zirconium had its work cut out for it in order to impress me. While the debut had some songs stretching into the five- or six-minute mark, this album finds almost all of its eight songs over the six-minute mark, with the first track clocking in at ten minutes (a ballsy move that works) and another track coming in at eleven minutes. Thankfully, Patrol’s songs fit naturally into their time frame. In other words, there are not three or four minutes of noise (with the exception of the somewhat creepy-sounding but wonderfully named track “Skullfuckin’ Sufjan Stevens”) within a song. The length of the songs and the fact that the album starts out with a ten-minute track obviously shows that Patrol has no interest in commercial appeal and just wants to rock. Hard. And that they do. I can definitely hear growth with Patrol’s sound from their debut. It’s clear there is a prog influence on the band (is that Tool I hear?) but some of lead singer/guitarist Doug Lorig’s math rock background (his past bands include RoadsideMonument) comes through, too. Like Tool, Patrol has a melodic angle and beyond that, some of the guitars also are reminiscent of Isis, although I probably am only saying that because I’ve been listening to so much of the new Isis album. However, both Patrol albums and the first four Isis albums were both recorded by Matt Bayles (Pearl Jam, Mastodon, Minus The Bear) so there is that common connection. The lyrics are tough to crack, but there are a few catchy lyrics, even if they don’t make total sense. Lorig’s unambiguous, sung vocals are easy to follow and pair well with the music. Zirconium is good and definitely worth picking up if you enjoyed Patrol’s first album, or any of the bands I mentioned as influences. Is it better than Destinations? No. But I’m more than happy to give it time to convince me otherwise. –kurt (Stiff Slack, myspace.com/stiffslackrecords)


PANTYHOSE:
Pantyhose Pantyhose Pantyhose: Cassette
After three tracks, this galloping rush of lo-fi garage makes me want more. Pantyhose’s demo sounds like it was written and recorded in under two hours (this is a compliment) using partially broken instruments retrieved from the recesses of a pawn shop. In a good way, the adolescent silliness reminds me of this awful band that a friend from high school was briefly in (however, Pantyhose’s line of “I ask [my record store] to play my favorite selection / but I only really want his erection” trumps all of the dreck they drew up). This brisk and unrefined material was made for ten minute-long impromptu sets at Midwestern dives. According to their MySpace, they haven’t done anything lately, so let me proclaim a formal plea: Pantyhose, please make more material. –Reyan Ali (Self-released, myspace.com/pantyhoseband)


PANT HOOTS, THE:
Take off Your Hat: CD
The world being what it is, it’s hard being a lo-fi one man band with pleasantly off, Hooverville, vaudevillian, Pynchon-describing-the-West lyrics and not get a Bob Log III comparison. The Hoot Pants is slightly less horny than BLIII. Hoot Pants is sorta like using a photocopier to alter the same image again and again. Blow it up to the dots, cut it out, paste it at strange angles; grit becomes art, “mistakes” are part of the process. The familiar—guitar, bass drum, tambourine-on-a-stick—is staring back at you in a strange, floating duct tape eyeball way. My only nitpick is that I wish the vocals were up a bit more, since the lyrics really shine. But, hey, I really like the bike horn toots. –todd (Earwig Acres)


OMENS, THE:
Send Black Flowers: CD
The Standells hire a ‘roid-raged Mike Tyson to deliver repeated knockout blows to the nards while they do some serious ear-pummelin’ via grade-A punked up fuzz rock. It’s not often I verbalize my approval whilst a disc is on, but I gotta admit I had the window down and was screamin’ “fuck yeah!” pretty much throughout its initial spin. Pretty nifty when that happens. –jimmy (Hipsville, hipsville-records.com)


OKIE DOKIE:
“Badhammer” b/w “Power”: 7”
This one-sided 7” contains two buzzin’ songs of stream-of-thought lyrics and rapid firepower musicianship. When they perform live, the fact that they use a drum machine is kind of distracting, but on record I can’t tell the difference. Mikey’s demented delivery and head-scratching lyrics heighten how odd this band really is. I saw them play along with a strobe light one time and even though I felt like I was gonna vomit multiple times, it was great. –Daryl Gussin (Goodbye Boozy)


O PIONEERS!!!:
Neon Creeps: CD
O Pioneers!!! hold so much promise. With its sharp typography-heavy cover, the endearing Neon Creeps is racked with ruminations about depression, fuck-ups, and could-have-beens. Admirably, a voice soaked in Hot Water Music spills therapeutic doses of piss and vinegar but there’s too much easily revealed here. Creeps is weighed down by a forced sense of forthrightness. The guitars do give off warm tints of early ‘90s indie/pop punk (one track’s intro recalls a Jawbreaker B-side) but the material here is lacking the overwhelming kick that it should have. The song structures come arranged with a sense of uncertainty. By editing their material for a sense of evenness and holding a few words back, O Pioneers!!! could be crafting something so bold that it brings them to mind rather than their archetypes. –Reyan Ali (Asian Man)


NUESTRA SANGRE:
Violenta Nominus: CD
The last time I was in Tecate, Mexico, I went into a liquor store and there were all kinds of punk rock posters taped up on the wall. I communicated (very poorly) with the kid behind the counter and he handed me this CD. It’s full-on hardcore, goat-ripping Mexican metalcore. A couple months ago I heard that Jesus Isordia, a guitar player for Nuestra Sangre, was shot and killed in Tijuana in the violence that’s swallowed up the borderlands. Fucking sad. –Jim Ruland (Cafeina, myspace.com/cafeinariotradiorecords)


NTARES:
Gentlemen, Start Your Engines: CD
Noisy, trashy, high-speed Italians. Think of a poppier Zeke. –thiringer (Zodiac Killer)


NORTH LINCOLN:
Midwestern Blood: CD
Another power trio, this one is actually still very much active. I went back to see if maybe Snakes and Arrows Live was in the bottom of my box to make a rocking trifecta—but to no avail. Three dudes from Michigan who all play in other bands, but make magic when this baby starts wailing. Their practice space actually looks like a bomb shelter. I’ve seen homeless people that have nicer lean-to’s then this, but I digress. The grit must seep into their songwriting, since it’s certainly raw and sincere at the same time. “All This Time” threatens to buckle under its own weight—which is a good thing. “Weight of The World” is another killer song on this one. Get this CD. It won’t leave your “go-to” rack. –koepenick (No Idea)


NOISE ATTACK / INOCULATORS:
Split: 7”
Noise Attack are dirty, trashy, noisy (apropos!) punk rock; nothing terribly flashy and solid all the way around. Nothing disappointing in their two songs, except maybe that I’d like a couple more tunes to strike an appropriate balance with the four songs by the Inoculators on the b-side. The Inoculators stuff was a bit of a disappointment for me, however. Based on the Dropped Their Brains LP, I expected something that had a greater variety of sounds than this does. Their tunes on this split were in the vein of the punk-driven tunes on the LP, rather than the ska-oriented stuff. It was more one-dimensional than what I expected, but do not take that wholly as a negative; what they’ve put on this record is certainly strong. –The Lord Kveldulfr (inoculators.com, myspace.com/noiseattack)


NOFX:
Coaster: CD
We’ve all listened to NOFX. You’ve heard one album, you’ve heard them all in terms of format. There’s usually a horn solo track supplied by El Hefe, a political song, and plenty of humor: “I Am An Alcoholic,” “We Call It America,” and “First Call” respectively. They’ve been making music for nearly twenty-six years now and Coaster proves that NOFX still has their humor. In “Creeping out Sara,” Fat Mike sings about his chance meeting with Sara, the reported other lesbian twin, of pop group Tegan and Sara. Needless to say, their conversation includes “threesomes” and “fourgies.” And no, the humor doesn’t stop there, as even the CD title Coaster is a gimmick stab at using their CD as a coaster and the vinyl version they appropriately titled Frisbee. But, on the vinyl the track, “Sara” is substituted for “Tegan” and the lyrics change appropriately. But, hey, they are twins and as the lyrics go, “That’s when I realized it was Sara, or maybe it was Tegan.” If only I could sell my dick and fart jokes to the record store… I guess Fat Mike and company get to have the last laugh once again. –N.L. Dewart –Guest Contributor (Fat)


NEPTUNE’S FOLLY:
Self-titled: LP
Full of ear wormy tunes and textures, I haven’t been able to get these melodies out of my skull. This debut record is stuffed to the gills with steady punk the likes of Fugazi, spliced with the slick hardcore progressions of G.B.H. My only disappointment here is the foggy sound quality. Still, Neptune shines through as some of the best hardcore/garage punk I’ve heard this year. Recommended. –Kristen K (Milk & Chocolate)


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