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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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SCRAWL, LE:
Too Short to Ignore: CD
Grindcore can get monotonous at times. Like any genre, someone comes along and makes things interesting. Imagine eating a handful of gummy bears, down it with a large cup of coffee, followed with two chili dogs, a cobb salad, popcorn and warm beer. Go to any carnival or amusement park and go on any ride that spins. When you go into full g-force spins, projectile vomit toward the center of the ride and for a split second what appears in the middle is physically what this German band plays musically. To give music references, I would say, take your typical grindcore with cookie monster vocals, add some acid jazz, some ska and love for R&B and it still doesn’t describe it. Most grindcore has an evil, angry tone to the music. This band reverses the formula to make the music sound almost happy. I could picture the band with their keyboard player and horn section on stage smiling while playing their material. Surreal. Another reference Matt Average gave me about this band was “along the lines of No Less or Plutocracy, but darker.” This is supposed to be a complete discography of released, demo and live tracks from 1990 - 1999. Sixty-six tracks in total. I first heard of this band from my brother. The band was a on comp titled Rotten Fake! with Agathocles and Seven Minutes of Nausea. The tracks were cover songs of De La Soul, The Exploited, Terrorizer, Chic and the Mission Impossible theme song. I was hooked but never ran across any of their releases. I noticed my friend’s distro had the discography in stock, so, I snapped it right up. I can’t wait for more to come my way! Truly twisted! –don (Life Is Abuse)


SCOTCH GREENS, THE / THE IRISH BROTHERS:
Split: 7"
The Scotch Greens: A porch riot, replete with devastating banjo. Yep. Banjo. A band has to be great for me not think they’re using that little, round-butt guitar ironically, and the Scotch Greens do just that. My ears hear ultra-confident, believable punk/bluegrass music displaying hummable songs that make me want to slap my knee with one hand and drink from a passed jug with the other. And not in a hokey, Hee Haw way, either. Good times. The Irish Brothers: Modern honky-tonk by way of Reverend Horton Heat with a half a jigger of Throw Rag strangeness clacked on the side of its skull. Ain’t gonna give you a wedgie for putting it on the jukebox, but would never put it on myself. Kudos to the Scotch Greens. –todd (Split Seven)


SCORE ONE FOR THE FAT KID:
Plan B Is for Suckers: CD
They must’ve thought that recording this would make womyn-types think that they’re these sensitive guys, so that they could get otherwise unattainable lovin’. Good lord I hope that’s why they did it. –megan (Losing Blueprint)


RUBBER CITY REBELS:
Pierce My Brain: CD
Smog Veil is known for serving up high quality rock and roll. This release is no exception to the rule. You get twelve tracks of great music that is definitely punk rock. Influence from the Sex Pistols, Ramones and other great legendary punk bands can be heard in this CD. Don’t get me wrong, it’s only an influence. The music is still very original. There is even an original tribute to song for Stiv from The Dead Boys, entitled “Dead Boy.” To put this baby to bed, I say: Good band, good production, good packaging, good label. If you’re a fan of punk rock plain and simple… GET THIS! –Mike Beer –Guest Contributor (Smog Veil)


SAVIORS, THE:
Ruby Gloom b/w Recipe for Disaster: 7"
The singer is a boy but looks like a girl, the first side sounds like later Replacements or the Lemonheads or something lame and late-‘80s like that, and the second side revs it up a tiny bit, like a lawnmower at a stock car race. A little tiny bit. –Cuss Baxter (Rapid Pulse)


RUFIO:
1985: CD
If this outfit beefed up the rock and cut out the friggin’ boom-tap-boom-tap monkey beats, they might end up bein’ a cool support slot for a band like All, but I don’t see it happening any time soon. That’s a damn shame. –dale (Nitro)


RUDE PRAVO:
Non Mu Pento: CD
Italian street punk that is musically reminiscent of mid-period DOA coupled with lyrics that, even the sometimes stilted English translations provided in the booklet, are quite good, tackling the Vatican, WTO protests, rock stars and the “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality, to name a few. A nice surprise here. –jimmy (KOB)


RED SATYRS:
Self-titled: 7"
I’m got a soft spot for non-Fonzie rock that has rockabilly twinges made by guys who don’t look like they’re modeled after Bowser from Sha Na Na. The Red Satyrs have a similar power to The Starvations and Throw Rag. The music’s swampy, twisted, and owes a bit to the Cramps. It reverbs and gets surfy wet at the edges, but at the core is undeniably fine songwriting that doesn’t rely on obvious bar-beaten-to-death chops or blurring speed. It lets the darkness, blood, and semen seep in, and before you know it, you’re the host and the infection’s spread. –todd (THD)


ROLLING BLACKOUTS:
Add Vice: 7"
Trash punk with a singer who sounds like he’s on the verge of losing control, which is a definite plus. A double bill with these guys and the Gloryholes would be a dangerous event, indeed. Recommended. –jimmy (Kapow)


RAW POWER:
You Are the Victim: CD
This is Raw Power’s debut, originally released in 1983 and pretty hard to come by. I think it’s the first time on CD. Personally, it’s my favorite period of Raw Power. Couple it with Screams from the Gutter, and you’ve got yourself some grade-A hardcore listening. These Italians were and are (they’re still active and touring) part of the international hardcore scene, very much in line with, but not copying, MDC, Minor Threat, DOA, and Black Flag. This early on, their metal influences were slight-to-occasional soloing and what you have is archetypal, pissed-off, full-force, raw and perfect hardcore that bands, twenty years after, have still yet to top. Raw Power emerged at a time when hardcore was so far off the radar screen and its fans were so rabid and dedicated, that their influence was truly worldwide and soaked up in the States with relish. They had tracks on the influential BCT tapes, MRR’s Welcome to 1984 comp, and the Rat Music for Rat People comp. As a bonus, there’s live video footage, a slew of demos, interviews, poster art, and photos. If you didn’t want to spend the clink on getting the original vinyl, fear scratching it if you already own it, or want a well-packaged glimpse at some important punk roots, this is a great way to do it. –todd (Soulforce)


RANDY:
Welfare Problems: CD
Damn, they’ve come a long way from No Carrots for the Rehabilitated ten years ago. I was worried that Sweden’s Randy would mellow off the socialist politics and full-tilt scronking off the last burner, The Human Atom Bombs. No worries there. Randy retain their uncanny ability to make what sounds like songs made in the ‘50s, gleefully scorch them on a Sonics ‘60s burner, bounce them up with ‘70s Ramones punk, harden them with a dash of ‘80s hardcore, slash and dash in some keyboards, and mix it all together in a soulful way that seems downright fun and natural. They’re also a band that’s always greater than the sum of its parts. It’s hard not to dance when they’re pointing out some serious problems to governmental structures. Thumbs up to a considerably underrated band that I’m amazed isn’t much larger. –todd (Epitaph)


RADIO REELERS:
Rockin’ Sound: LP
The Radio Reelers are a new band that has Hector from the Weird Lovemakers in it. A couple of the other guys in Radio Reelers were also in kinda big, Bay-area punk bands, but I forgot which ones. It doesn’t matter. What matters is the music. These guys play unapologetic rock’n’roll in the same vein as the Rip-Offs, only cleaner. The songs are simple, three chord beasts, amped up to get your toes tapping. The lyrics don’t really go beyond the basic “S-H-A-K-E-I-T, Shake it,” or “You can’t be my baby if you don’t wanna rock’n’roll” or “I got it in for you (repeat 7X).” Not the deepest stuff in the world, and the more I listen to it, the more shallow it seems. But, I gotta admit, it’ll get me shaking my ass. And, for whatever reason, this record has been getting a lot of spins around my turntable lately. Some days, a simple song is all you need. –sean (Radio Blast)


RACHEL GORDON:
The Coming of Spring: LP
...i was on the verge of refusing to review this for moral reasons (i.e., the only connection to anything vaguely "punk" here was a cover of "Hearts Will Be Broken" off the second Records record, which is really overemphasizing the "vaguely" aspect of things), but, on closer inspection, i was forced to cede Ms. Gordon the album-opening "Where Are You Tonight," an appropriately bouncy pop-rocker that would have fit in just fine in the Girli-Pop mini-revolution of '83/'84 (Nena, Tracy Ullman, Bangles... that's all i can think of... i guess that's why the revolution was so mini) and written by her bass player, Hector from the Zeros (which i'm only giving her as many Punk Points for as i gave Rank & File for the Kinman Brothers [i think that was around 0.5, and there were two of them]). Everything after that not only came perilously close to not out-rocking Josie Cotton, but also came perilously close to not out-rocking Olivia Newton-John. Xanadu-core at its finest! BEST SONG: "Where Are You Tonight" BEST SONG TITLE: "Fun at Your House" FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I already used up the Fantastic Amazing Trivia Fact about the bass player being in the Zeros, so the runner-up Fantastic Amazing Trivia Fact is that she does a serviceable cover of Badfinger's McCartney-penned "Come and Get It," and appropriately changes the gender... so now it goes "will you walk away/from a fool and her money? (FOOL AND HER MONEY!)" which is kind of cute the first time you hear it. –norb (Sounds of Subterrania)


PUNKINARI/ LUMPEN:
Skins & Punx New Generation Vol. 3: CD
Lumpen: Staggeringly un-engaging skinhead punk. Punkinari: A little better than their disc mates here, but not much. Kinda reminds me of those bands that would make it onto ‘80s hardcore comps to give ’em an “international” flavor, but ultimately ended up being the tracks that got skipped over once the listening started. If this is the “new generation” of Italian punk, they’re in some deep doo doo over there. –jimmy (KOB)


PSEUDO HEROS:
Prison of Small Perception: CD
The Pseudo Heros churn out some pretty decent fare here, some of it calling to mind a heavily-peppered nod to Hüsker Dü, and that sits well with yours truly. Not to say the whole nineteen cuts here sound like the above mentioned, ‘cause they don’t. The ‘Heros have also landed over half a dozen familiar faces of punk’s past to collaborate here on some songs. Just who all did they work with, you ask? Here’s a few to wet yourself over, fanfuck: Dave Smalley (Dag Nasty, Down By Law), John Stabb (Gov. Issue), Jerry A. (Poison Idea), and Lee Dorian (Napalm Death), to name a few. You want to know the rest? Buy the fucking CD, cocko. As far as straight-up ‘Heros cuts here, my faves are “I Know What You Need” and their take on B.O.C.’s “Burnin’ for You.” Don’t be a lying fuck and say you have no idea who B.O.C. are, ‘cause I see you singing along, you Soft White Underbelly bitch of a liar. Got you. –dale (Go-Kart)


PROZACS:
Thanks for Nothing: CD
Super-poppy punk, complete with handclaps and whoa-oh-oh-ohs. Decent for that kind of stuff, just not my style. I bet they’d claim Queers, Screeching Weasel, and Ramones as strong influences. Give me a few drinks, throw me in front of a stage they were on, and I bet I’d have a good time. This CD just doesn’t do it for me though. –megan (Irresponsible)


PRIZEFIGHT:
Self-titled: CD
I want so badly to be wrong about bands, I can taste it. As soon as I saw the junior high art-project cover and the song titles that look like titles of really dripsy poems penned by Maya Angelou, I felt that sick feeling like when you find a butt hair on your toothbrush. This thing just screamed “emo” and I hadn’t even taken the CD out of the jewel case yet. But I hoped to be proven wrong. And lo and fucking behold, the first song “Happy Fun Ball” ripped out from the speakers and brought out full-blown visions of Slip-era Quicksand in my head and I got excited. The second song dipped a bit, but still sounded like a mix of Quicksand and late ‘90s Integrity. Maybe this will finally be the band to make me wrong, I thought. But no. If this CD would have been only one song long – even two – I would’ve given this an embarrassingly glowing review. But you fooled me. By song three I felt stupid and hopelessly right. I wasn’t wrong again. Fuck. Why do they continue to torture me? –aphid (Loud + Clear)


PERVERTS, THE:
In Yer Ear: CDEP
There are bands that I don’t really care for that I wish no harm. The Perverts are one such band. They’re just boring. They play bar rock with a reverby guitar and a ‘50s pop lean. Mostly, it sounds like these guys are doing chores. Not even the line, “I wanna fuck your mom but I don’t want to be your dad,” can save it. Pass. –todd (No Address)


PEPPERMINTS, THE:
Sweet Tooth Abortion: CD
Like a rusty hanger through your earhole, The Peppermints scrape up some good damage. The lady who sings on this sounds like she’s being stabbed in a B-movie all the way through it, which I think is pretty awesome. Think of the Cows without the horns, humping to the most interesting drumming of the Screamers and then corner it while rubbing Fleshies in its face and sniffing some soiled underpants. It’s where art meets fuck meets shit feedback fest. It’s a wild ride, not so good for traffic unless you’re looking for a fight, but great for clearing out a room. Made by, I suspect, people who know how to handle their drugs. Oddly endearing. Suggested. –todd (Pandacide)


PANTHERS:
Let’s Get Serious: CD
Arty noise rock not unlike a less technically proficient Barkmarket. –jimmy (Dim Mak)


PAINT IT BLACK:
CVA: CD
Although the salt is still is on my cheeks from crying about Kid Dynamite’s demise, Dr. Dan Yemin and skin punisher Mr. Dave Wagenschutz have resurrected a leaner, meaner, tougher unit, this time with Dan taking the lead vocal duties. Gone are the tuned melodies. In their place: chiseled and pissed-off songs reminiscent but not reflexive to Minor Threat, Gorilla Biscuits, and Youth of Today, seamlessly updated to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with The Panic and American Nightmare. The spine and conviction to this whole thing, I believe, is what makes it stand out. Both Dan and Dave have been around for quite a while. They are well past the time it’s acceptable to be complete burnouts with hands out for a paycheck or a windbag curmudgeons saying today’s youth don’t get it. Yet, their chops continue to be refined to harder blows and the lyrics continue to explore new realms instead of reclining into a comfy chair of complacency. –todd (Jade Tree)


OTHERWISE:
Dark Adapted Eye: CD
I was so stoked when I got this because it looks all deathy and boss and shit with David Carson-esque typography and a photograph of some slimy tentacled thing on the cover (probably just an octopus, but it looked bad-ass). I figured I was getting the second coming of Chuck Schuldiner or something – I mean, the fucking album title is Dark Adapted Eye, right? It has to be some fucked up King Diamond / Mercyful Fate / Dimmu Borgir / Deicide shit, right? It sounds evil, it looks evil, it’s gonna be fucking evil! I popped it in at work to ward off the blandness of the fluorescent lights and settled in and prepared to be rocked. The drumbeats started off a little slow, but I figured that even the most grindy album in existence can be deceptive – deception is evil, right? Deception is cool. And then the album proper started and I wanted to cry. All those hopes. All that build-up. For another shitty fucking whimpering sniveling emo band. As a result of this miserable experience, I have come to one unshakable conclusion: Firefly Records sucks rancid ass. –scott (Firefly)


OSCARS, THE:
Blow Yourself Up: CDEP
The Oscars remind me of the Spits, minus the keyboards, and in the waaay, waaay back of the room, an odd, early Sonic Youth guitar. Fungus retard punk rock that takes the duct tape off the Ramones’ shoes and uses it as a plug for the holes in their blowup dolls. The Oscars are so patently bad for so many reasons, it has to be intentional, and they’re actually pretty fuckin’ good. Almost no-fi, but worth keeping an ear out for. –todd (oscars666@hotmail)


ORPHANS, THE:
Chinatown: 7"
Two tracks of trashy rock’n’roll that sound like they just got back from a time trip to mid-‘90s San Francisco. Both tracks are plenty rockin’, but my preference is for “Moscow Massage,” the peppier of the two. –jimmy (Kapow)


ORPHANS, THE:
Chinatown b/w Moscow Massage: 7"
Two blood-stained cuts from the best punk band in LA currently without a label. Take the early desperation, delusion, and stripped rawness of Dangerhouse (Eyes, Bags, Weirdos, Dils) and titty twist it, so it bruises up nice, purple, and immediate. With Jenny at the vocal helm, it’s even parts of chopping you into little bits and stolen, smearing kisses. These two songs measure up to their loopdey-loop live show, which I highly recommend. The packaging is immaculate – bloody fingerprints on the dust sleeve, a red bloop on clear vinyl, and great graphics on the cover. A keeper. –todd (Kapow)


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