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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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BILLY JOE WINGHEAD:
Dark Ride: CD
If Chuck Berry suffered severe brain damage ((i mean, more so than usual)) and decided to become Nine Pound Hammer, then decided ((via split-personality band vote)) to channel the spirit of GG Allin in sort of a Darin Rafaelli role, then wiped his ass with a Bible ((and, since he’s Chuck Berry, videotaped that part of it)), the result may, in fact, yield similar results to that of Billy Joe Winghead. I know not what flags Winghead Nation swears fealty to, but the album’s leadoff track, “Your Friend Jesus,” is such an exhilarating, blasphemous stomp that i am virtually certain all other flags, galaxy-wide, are now little but smoldering ash and flaming urine stains. Later in the album, the band finds God and cuts a straight-up Four Seasons cover. One way or the other, Jesus wept. BEST SONG: “Your Friend Jesus” BEST SONG TITLE: I’d hate to say “Shitpipe Minnie,” but they’re just that kinda band. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: If you buy four McDonald’s® Filet-O-Fish™ sandwiches during lent, it comes up to $6.66. –norb (Zodiac Killer)


BILLY JOE WING HEAD:
Dark Ride: CD
The more or less straight-ahead cover of “Science Fiction Double Feature” at the end stands out like a sore thumb after the thirteen tracks of drugged-out, amped-up, Theremin-wielding, bluesy psychosis that preceded it. This is a fairly minor criticism, though, ‘cause, truth be told, they had me on their side at the first tune, with its chorus of “Your friend Jesus ain’t no motherfuckin’ friend of mine….take your little book and hit the motherfuckin’ highway.” And yes, dear friends, the Theremin was definitely abused during the course of this recording. –jimmy (Zodiac Killer)


BELUGA:
“Pet” b/w “Cowboy Boots”: 7”
The drums at the beginning of the song about wanting to be a grandmother sounded kind of like the beginning to “My Sharona” by the Knack, but after that it pretty much just sounded like what i imagine Bikini Kill rehearsal tapes sounded like before they wrote “Rebel Girl.” Sounds kind of like they’d be the first band on a four-band bill where none of the bands truly suck, but fan defection never exactly comes up as an item of concern for bands two thru four. BEST SONG: “Cowboy Boots” BEST SONG TITLE: “Pet” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Recorded live in one take in their practice space. Huh, whoulda thought? –norb (Beluga)


BEHIND THE WAGON:
The Bottle, God…and the Ones Who Really Love You in the End: CD
Okay first off, the album name is way too long to not have a punch line. Secondly, the second song on the album, titled…I don’t f’in know, (I can’t read it! I’ll get to that in a second) is too cheesy for my tastes. One of the lines is, “I’m one in a million, I’m the last of a breed.” Well sir, I have to tell you, you’re not one in a million. I know because I already listen to Lucero. Thirdly, the album artwork sucks. It’s totally stupid that they went to all the effort to get photos taken of them being all serious and artistic in some location that has nothing to do with music, but they then put black type on a dark grey and black background. Now, this isn’t rocket science folks. If you do put black on black, I won’t be able to read what you’re printing. Are you pickin’ up what I’m layin’ down? Also, track five is way too long. That shit needs to be cut down because it’s long and it wouldn’t be boring if it wasn’t five minutes and twenty-five fucking seconds long. Okay, now that I told you what’s wrong with this album, I’ll tell you what’s right. If you like that country juke box kinda joint with rock songs that are a little country and a little bit southern soul, then you might be into this album. These dudes put on a fun show and know how to party, so go check ‘em out. –Dan Glen Fury –Guest Contributor (Gettin’ Rad)


BEE HAT CH:
Brood: CD

This is well-produced noise music. It borders on trance and dance at times. It’s one of those CDs that can be listened to in one foul succession without one ever being able to recognize a transition from one song to the next. I was disappointed when I realized Bee Hat Ch’s first song, “Edison Medicine,” was not a Tesla cover song. My father would have been happy to get a copy. –N.L. Dewart

–Guest Contributor (Lens)


BEARSUIT:
OH:IO: CD
Crazy, energetic, hectic, and shouty indie pop with “wacky” synth and “unexpected” brass. I bet you five cents they wear “crazy” costumes onstage. I’m not saying it’s bad—it just seems a little par for the course at this point. If you like music that sounds like it’s actively trying to implode, then this may be your ironic thrift store mug of tea. –Sarah Shay (Happy Happy Birthday To Me)


AURYN / BOSQUE:
Split: 7”
Auryn: Dark, apocalyptic crust that is nowhere near happy or painting a pretty picture. At times, the music is brooding and desolate. At other times, it’s charging forth with utter rage at blast beat speed. Bosque: A perfect pairing with Auryn, being similar in mood but use more of a d-beat backing when playing fast and incorporating a doom style sound on their slow parts. A good introduction piece to two bands I personally never heard before. Hats off for the packaging, beautifully silkscreened on a chipboard cover. –don (Square of Opposition)


ASSEMBLE HEAD IN SUNBURST SOUND:
When Sweet Sleep Returned : CD
This sounds like some lost gem from the late-‘60s/ early-‘70s era of rock with the psychedelic elements and a countrified undercurrent. The production values are perfect for this style, not clean and overdone. Just right. These guys have paid close attention to the era and pulled it off in modern times. The music has a blessed-out quality, and the length calls for introspection as the guitars go off in some cosmic soloing with space rock sound effects pushing it forward. “Two Birds” is the standout track. They take off into a jam that just keeps moving and never tires. For the most part, this entire album is a laid back affair. However, they pick up the pace a little bit with “Clive and the Lyre,” that has a swinging riff that comes in and out, while never losing the driving tempo as they switch over to the final track, “End Under Down,” where the guitar comes in with an almost bomber-like sound, then washes into a psyched-out haze. If you want to know what summers are like in California, I can’t think of a better album than this to capture that feel. –Matt Average (Tee Pee, www.teepeerecords.com)


ANDREW JACKSON JIHAD / COBRA SKULLS :
Split: 7”
The Mitch Clem artwork on this is great; front and back equally rad. I’m glad that instead of lyrics they had each band explain why they chose to cover the song. The first time I heard this record, I thought Andrew Jackson Jihad had actually written “Two Headed Boy,” since I’d heard them play it live. It definitely feels theirs. They have made me commit to buying that Neutral Milk Hotel album, and to filing it with my Andrew Jackson Jihad stuff, for personal reasons now public. The Cobra Skulls, whom I’m new to, cover “Subterranean Homesick Blues” by Bob Dylan. It sounds the way I assume any rock outfit would sound if they covered that song and didn’t really change anything but the musicians. –Rene Navarro (Suburban Home)


97-SHIKI:
Self-titled: Cassette
Quirky. That’s the only word I could come up with in describing this band’s sound. But I hope you’re not thinking about bands like System Of A Down or Primus. No, this is the good kind of quirky. The musicianship is keen. Very tight. But nothing too flashy either. Imagine if Botch or Daughters laid off the heaviness and instead took up a strict diet of Jesus Lizard. Pro quality cassette and packaging, to boot. Great stuff. –Juan Espinosa (Revulsion, revulsionrecords.blogspot.com)


AGAINST EMPIRE / AUKTION:
Split: 7”
Against Empire: More of a live feel and a bit cleaner sound from what I have heard in the past from these SoCal punks. The included songs are more in the d-beat vein and I like that they are a bit faster and have more of a rocking feel to them than we have heard in the past. Previously, they incorporated crust and black metal elements. This has a more direct, slap-in-the-face appeal for me. Knowing them, I’m proud that they keep progressing and growing with each release. Auktion: From Sweden. Unfortunately broke up recently. I had heard they were going to come to the states to tour. I was hoping the singer would have finally gotten me my shirt he had promised to buy for me a few years ago and never came through. Two tight d-beat numbers of their own that blast through in maximum efficiency. They too add a rock feel to their sound, not swaying to metal. –don (Threat To Existence)


97-SHIKI:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Five songs of frantic, choppy art punk from Chicago. The spazzing is held together by an almost funky bass, and right when things feel like they’re about to fly off the handle, they throw in a shout-along or a clutch guitar part to ground you again. Considering that this band proves over and over how they can stop on a dime, the resulting songs are catchier than they have any right to be. I’ve seen this band live a couple of times, and they are even tighter and more powerful in person. If you’re into any of the following bands, there’s something on this little puddle of plastic that you will enjoy: The Ex, The Minutemen, Fugazi, Ornette Coleman, Gang Of Four. –CT Terry (hewhocorruptsinc.com, staticstation.com)


29TH STREET DISCIPLES:
Self-titled: CD
Street punky, but not in some sort of lame re-hashed fashion that’s so easy to replicate but so hard to pull off with satisfaction. This record was quite enjoyable for me. It’s tough and aggressive but musical, as if around 1966 John Lennon hadn’t forgot what a hard-nosed punk he had been only a few years earlier. Yes, this is one of those “make me want to bellow” records but the difference is that there’s a musical edge to the 29th Street Disciples that isn’t often found in rock’n’roll of this genre. While they’re riding that razor’s edge between clichéd and classic sound, in the process they inject some unexpected hooks and melodies that create a fresh version of a sound long familiar. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Zodiac Killer)


ZOMBIE SHARKS:
Return of the Captain Chainsaw: CD
Russian hardcore/punk owing more than a nod to early-to-mid period Queers. Normally their influence would be tantamount to a scarlet letter, but there’s something strangely endearing about them to make this fun to listen to. Maybe it’s the demo quality of the recording, their stilted English, or even the conviction of their playing, but something is definitely catching, which is more than I can say for most bands these days. –jimmy (www.zombiesharks.narod.ru))


ZODIAC MINDWARP AND THE LOVE REACTION:
I Am Rock: CD
Yeah, and I am the world’s tallest bacon tree. –Cuss Baxter (Cosmosodomistic)


WISEGUY:
Burning the Tracks: CD
Dirty rock’n’roll that makes me feel soiled and dragged through the ‘70s. –don (Stardumb)


WIRE:
Send: CD
Let’s get things started by saying: If you don’t own anything by Wire, get yourself to a record store and buy Pink Flag post-haste! And do not be tricked into buying most other Wire releases, unless you are, like, dude, totally into synthesizers and electronica. You have been warned. Surprisingly, this Wire CD does not stink! It even sounds a little bit like old school Wire at times, although not as good. In the end, this is Apple Toast Crunch – a lesser version of a great original cereal. –Maddy (Cargo)


WHISKEY REBELS:
Self-titled: CD
These guys are a shitload of fun. Not only to listen to, but to see live. The lead singer is easily over three hundred pounds and makes me jealous ‘cause he has way more energy than my ass does. They remind me of a speedy GC5, in a way, with more oi. Whatever it is, I can’t stop banging my hands on something, jumping around and stomping my feet. Well, at least for a few seconds, ‘till I get winded. What is that fatman’s secret? –toby (GMM)


WHISKEY REBELS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Oh, geez. Oi!/street punk with a big-time Motorhead influence. I really hate this shit and I don’t care to elaborate. –Not Josh –Guest Contributor (GMM)


WEDNESDAY NIGHT HEROES, THE:
Superiority Complex: CD
One of the biggest obstacles facing oi and street punk is you’ve got to contend with the rich, tight history of bands that came before. Cocksparrer, Blitz, Abrasive Wheels, The Partisans, 999, Angelic Upstarts, Peter and the Test Tube Babies, Stiff Little Fingers and a handful of powerhouses left, literally, little room for improvement. But, there are ways to break the pub rock hammerlock. You may disagree, but Rancid and the Dropkick Murphys did it in the beginning. The US Bombs continue to do it. How? Understand the past, incorporate it like endless pints of beer into the bloodstream, then start a new riot to call your own. And you know what? The Wednesday Night Heroes, like The Boils and The Beltones, pull it off. While reminiscent of other bands, I find that a lion’s share of these songs don’t have me reaching for other well-played albums with ring-wear on the jackets. More than holds its own. –todd (Longshot)


WASTED:
Can’t Wash off the Stains: CDEP
Wasted is the name of a band that plays in the background while I try to decide which version of “Wasted” is better. The Circle Jerks’ version is faster so I declare them the winner, but by the time I come to that conclusion, this CD is (mercifully) over and I can’t really remember what Wasted the band sounds like. But they use a stencil font on their artwork so I’ll say Rancid-esque bar rock, but I think the singer sounded like Mike Ness with some kind of European accent. I’m not too fond of Rancid, bar rock, or European accents, so I’ll pass. –Not Josh –Guest Contributor (Boss Tuneage)


VIIMEINEN KOLONNA:
Aistien Juhlaa: CD
I get things the hard way sometimes. I got this from a trade buddy in Finland even though it was released here. So it gets made here in the States, travels all the way to Finland and returns back to the States to me. It’s probably a good thing, since I might not have purchased it by myself. I’m sure my trade buddy is friends with this band since it seems the band is based in the same city, Helsinki. What do I hear? The intro track sounds like a crust, ‘80s metal riffage thing that I hope doesn’t continue for the whole disc. I think it was just a scare tactic. The second track and after, they blaze through a fast paced hardcore beating that follows lyrically in style towards Discharge. Contents of lyrics? No idea. It’s in Finnish and I’m not a citizen. But the music makes up for the lack of understanding. The production has that early ‘80s UK feel. It’s raw, with enough bite to make you want to kick your own teeth into a curb. Crust is a good description. The guitar buzzes in a raunchy way with its fast-paced almost metal tinges. The drums and bass keep pace but do not stray from the formula. Three notes, a lot of anger and it equals a recipe for an aggressive time. –don (Hardcore Holocaust)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Senza Tregua: LP
All bow down and give Chris BCT his propers. Along with MRR’s Welcome to 1984 and Pushead’s Cleanse the Bacteria comps, his Bad Compilation (later Borderless Countries) tape compilations were responsible for making international hardcore supergroups like Mob 47, Raw Power, Kaaos and others friggin’ household names. As far as I can recollect, he was putting his tapes out before MRR and Pushead jumped on the bandwagon. This disc here is a vinyl version of BCT tape #16, an all Italian Hardcore showcase featuring Wardogs, I Refuse It, Statto di Polizia, Putrid Fever, Traumatic, Juggernaut and the legendary Cheetah Chrome Motherfuckers. As can be expected, the sounds are wildly spastic, insanely varied and ridiculously crucial for anyone who takes their hardcore seriously. The sound has been cleaned up all nice and purty to facilitate even louder cranking of the stereo, and the CD version, which is slated for release later this year, is supposed to include the tracks that weren’t able to fit on this slab of wax. Includes artwork by Winston “Jello Biafra is a friend of mine” Smith, a booklet with pics, lyrics and info, limited run of 1,000, and highly recommended. –jimmy (Enterruption)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Reason to Believe Benefit Comp: CD
This is a comp put together by the folks at Reason to Believe magazine. In case you are not familiar, they are a hardcore mag out of the UK. The mag is free. In order to help keep it that way, they made this comp. All the proceeds will go to keeping the mag free. Now onto the comp. What can I say but it was really good. It features bands such as Brezhnev, Coche Bomba , Crispus Attucks, Dumbstruck, Endstand, E-150, HHH, Imbalance, Manifesto Jukebox, NNY, Seein Red, Sin Dios, Stand and Unkind. All the bands are from Europe except Crispus Attucks, who are from the USA. As you can tell from the band list, there are better known bands on this comp along with some unknowns as well. (At least unknown to this Yank.) The great thing about this comp is that there was not a dud on it. All the bands were really good. So definitely get this comp. It’s a great comp and helps a great magazine to keep publishing. –Mike Beer –Guest Contributor (Flat Earth)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Nardcore: CD
The thief, Doug Moody, resurfaces, goes back into his vaults and is making another go at profiting from the punk scene once again. Doug Moody was the label owner of Mystic Records who actually introduced and released a lot of punk during the ‘80s. He was one greasy motherfucker. I don’t think he paid anyone. I know I never received a penny for three compilation appearances. I only received one copy of each record my band was on. He practically would put out any band that would give him demos or have them record in his shitty studio. My theory is he wanted the volume to have constant income coming in. He created other labels under the banner and even asked me once if I would be interested in starting a label with him. Well, a backlash occurs when too much product is on the shelves. People eventually don’t buy it. During the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, you couldn’t give away his stuff. But a new generation of punks cycled in, collecting punk records began to go out of control and the records eventually disappeared. Ebay came to fruition, and prices went through the roof. Now there is a market again for Mystic releases. Doug Moody must have been monitoring Ebay to see what his releases are going for these days. Now all of a sudden, reissues have been appearing quietly on store shelves around the country. I was having a discussion with one of my friends in Canada about the subject and we were talking about the possibility of Nardcore being reissued since it’s one of the releases I never purchased or received. The very next day, we both receive an email update from a mailorder/distro that we both purchase from. The Nardcore comp is available on CD! What a weird coincidence. I figure, fuck it!, I need to get a copy. I hate to give that old fuck my money. But I have to look at the bigger picture. If I buy it from my local record store, Headline Records, that store profits and stays in business. Even though the label is not supporting the scene, the store is. If you just happened to not know, Nardcore = Oxnard Hardcore. Oxnard is a city in VenturaCounty, located in Southern California. I pop the plastic disc into the player and the first song by Ill Repute becomes familiar. I don’t think I listened to the original comp in fifteen years. Three tracks that sound better to me now than back then. Scared Straight, which became Ten Foot Pole and later the singer started Pulley, has two tracks which sound better to me than their 7" on the same label. The R.K.L. tracks are by far the best on the whole comp. The two tracks by Agression are good, but are not recorded as well as songs on the Don’t be Mistaken LP and the Someone Got Their Head Kicked In comp. The two tracks by Stalag 13 do not appear on the Dr. Strange reissue of In Control. The comp is rounded out with tracks by Rat Pack, Habeas Corpus, False Confessions (who the singer and I used to get mistaken for each other), The Rotters, Dr. Know and A.F.U. A release that is a great document of the era, even though a ripoff is putting it back out again. –don (Doug Moody Productions)


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