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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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ALLERGIC TO WHORES:
Life Through Death’s Eyes: CD
This venerable hardcore unit unleashes nine more high velocity assaults on the unsuspecting. As in efforts past, things are heavy and intense throughout, even when they slow it down a notch, and remain so without relying on cliched metal breakdowns. They remain one of my faves of the newer crop of hardcore groups. –jimmy (Rodent Popsicle)


ALLEGED GUNMEN, THE:
Audio Invasion: 7"
I’m all for The Clash. I stand by London Calling. The Alleged Gunmen make up two brand new could-be Clash songs by rearranging many distinctive pieces of from multiple songs on London Calling and filling in the particulars with their own rubber cement, so everything sounds pretty much aligned. It’s good, but it’s strange how absolutely reminiscent the song “Audio Invasion” is to very particular parts of Clash songs. Not only does it have the caw, caw, caw bird sound as the song “London Calling,” there’s some zigger fish (Mick Jones calls it a cheese grater in the song itself) and keyboard danglings that seem to come almost directly from “Revolution Rock.” Couple that to the similarity of the intent of the lyrics: “this here music smash up the nation/ this here music cause a sensation” vs. “audio invasion across the nation/ it’s a Gunman revolution,” and a huge thought bubble with a question mark pops over my head. I like it, but how close to one’s heroes does a band have to set up their microphones? –todd (Kapow)


ADD-C/GIANT BAGS OF WEED:
Split: 7”
I picked this 7” up because the name ADD(insert lightening bolt)C cracked me up. A couple of spins showed me that these guys are more than just a silly name. Giant Bags of Weed play catchy songs that would fall into the pits of pop punk if it wasn’t so sloppy and dirty. As it stands, their lack of polish save them. All four songs are upbeat and a little angry and a lot of fun to listen to. God, I love a crappy four-track recording. ADD-C come through with a lot of trash and fuzz, too, but they’re less poppy. It’s pretty heartfelt punk rock, not unlike The Thumbs (and, if you know what a fan of The Thumbs I am, you know what a big compliment this is). I was expecting something silly and half-ass, and this record actually impressed the shit out of me. –sean (Half-Day)


SUBHUMANS, THE:
Death Was Too Kind: LP
I think it was sometime in 1986 when a guy named Kevin (who was dating my aunt) decided to steer my music taste for the better. I was already starting to get into punk rock and had the Sex Pistols and Dead Kennedys. “That’s good,” he said, “but here’s something better.” The record he lent me had a stark white cover with four dark figures wearing trench coats and goggles. All it said on it was The Subhumans. When I put it on the turntable, I was blasted with four songs that blew all my perceptions of punk rock out of the water. I played it over and over again. My new battle cry was “We don’t care what you say… fuck you!” It was a record that truly changed my life. Now a mere thirty years since it was first released, the good folks at Alternative Tentacles have brought forth a reissue that everyone should own. Not only that, but they have included the tracks from both the Death to the Sickoids” and Firing Squad singles, as well as a couple of unreleased gems! I’m in Canuck punk heaven! I don’t have to play the beat-to-shit version that I swiped from Kevin all those years ago! Here is proof positive that Bob Rock actually produced something worthwhile once! Get this now! –ty (Alternative Tentacles)


STUPID PARTY:
Self-titled: mini-LP
It’s like Hickey didn’t have the stoner rock inclination and then decided to cover the Melvins at their grungiest. And then realized that they didn’t really want to. And then did it anyway. With hella fuzz. And done by some dudes from Hunchback. Pretty good stuff. –Vincent Battilana (Freedom School)


STUPID PARTY:
Self-titled: LP
DIY house show punk via wall-of-sound, Melvins-inspired guitar savagery. Heavy, strange, and distorted as fuck. I wouldn’t expect anything less from a band that has the people behind Shellshag and Hunchback totally stoked. And I would say I’m pretty stoked now, too. –Daryl Gussin (Freedom School)


STRUNG OUT:
Prototypes and Painkillers: CD
Here’s my thing with Strung Out: I really love the song “Jackie-O” but everything else I’ve ever heard by them is so slick it usually blasts right by me. This compilation of B-sides and hard-to-find tracks pretty much just reinforces that. Most of the stuff on here just washes right past me, except for a couple of stray tracks. I think one of the best is “Just Like Me.” There’s also “Sinner or Coward?” and “Season of the Witch,” which both stick out because they sound a lot more like old AFI than the Strung Out I’m used to. What really confirms my original theory of Strung Out is that my favorite track on is a different version of “Jackie-O” called “Jacqueline.” I do have to say though that it is nice to have all these odds and ends from throughout the band’s career collected in one spot. If this had been a single comprised of “Just Like Me” and “Jacqueline,” I would think this was one of the greatest things I’ve heard this year. –Adrian (Fat)


STREET EATERS / WHITE NIGHT:
Split: 7”
What a match up! These bands sound nothing like each other. Street Eaters play arty, minimal punk with a bass that’s soaked in distortion, drums, and John and Megan’s amazing voices. White Night’s songs seem a little snottier than what was on their Burger Records’ tape, but these songs still fly the pop punk flag from atop a pile of dethroned royalty’s mangled dreams. I put this split up there with last year’s Canadian Rifle/American Cheeseburger split: awesome bands working on the same DIY wavelength can never go wrong together. It doesn’t matter how different they sound. –Daryl Gussin (Repulsion)


STREET EATERS / WHITE NIGHT:
: Split 7”EP
White Night: Anaheim. Post Pterodacdudes dudes. It’s like those close-up diagrams of, say, a hair follicle versus looking down at your own arm and looking at all the hair on it at once. Up close, White Night are chock full of tiny pop influences, but growing out of dirty, charming, lo-fi DIY punk rock. Like if FYP had influenced the Beach Boys (instead of visa versa). But on a quick glance from pretty far away, you could just easily say, “Neat band.” Both would be right. Street Eaters: John Geek (Fleshies, Triclops!) and Megan March (Neverending Party) join up as a bass and drums duo. Their songs have a Wire-y space, sparseness, and tremble that has some overlap to Northern California contemporaries Surrender. Broken and asphalty songs with broad-leafed weeds growing through them, even during a Devo cover. Nice. –todd (Repulsion)


STRANGEBOYS:
Woe Is You And Me b/w Baby Please Don’t Go: 7”
Kickin’ garage rock with a hint of blues and very strangely recorded vocals. Places to listen to this include: hole in the wall bar, 1940s deep south America, or the crossroads while waiting to sell your soul to Beelzebub. –Bryan Static (In The Red)


STORMSTRIKE:
Make Total Destroy: CD
Had to take the disc out and make sure I put the right one into the player ‘cause, based on the cover and band name, I was expecting some sorta Scandinavian-inspired crusty/anarchy stuff. What’s coming outta the speakers, however, sounds more like late-‘70s Flesh Eaters outtakes, though the singer here sounds a tad more reserved than Chris D. did during that band’s heyday. With its “grind the pick into oblivion” guitar attack and occasional bluesy swagger, this sounds like it comes outta left field, which is never ever a bad thing. –jimmy (no address)


STIFF DONUT:
Once You Go Chocolate You Never Go Back and Like Cake on a Plate: CDs
Quasi-snarky song titles totally wasted on uninspired and uninteresting lyrics and music that sounds like it was made on toy keyboards. In the end, it’s another case of all the right tools in the wrong hands. –jimmy (Stiff Donut)


STEREOTYPERIDER:
Songs in the Keys of F and U: CD
I like how the matchbook style packaging looks, even if it leaves lint all over the CD and is kind of a pain to use. As for the music on that CD, it’s just flaccid for the most part. It’s mostly upbeat indie rock (verging on old school emo/post-hardcore at times), but it lacks either the serious hooks or the kind of experimentalism that makes one really sit up and take notice. The song “Useless Point,” though, is pretty great and sounds like something Weezer would have come up with when they still wrote good songs. –Adrian (Suburban Home)


STATE LOTTERY, THE:
Cities We’re Not From: LP
I’m pretty sure this record was already reviewed in Razorcake, or that it was in somebody’s Top 5 or something, which means that it was well-liked. It’s quite possible that sometimes people do Top 5’s of things they don’t like, but if I recall correctly, that was not the case with this State Lottery record. I’m glad about that, because I fear my review will not do the record justice, just because it’s not really my thing. It’s kind of a rock’n’roll-y, folk-y record, and I think it’s well done. It just didn’t turn my crank. I liked the first song on the first side pretty well, and the first song on the second side, and throughout the LP none of the songs dismayed me or anything like that, but one issue I had was with the singer’s voice—at first I didn’t like it at all (too frail sounding), then I thought, “It’s growing on me”, then I decided no, I don’t really care for it…and so on. Overall, it would have been great if it packed more of a punch, because I think they’re a good band and they have a lot of nice lyrics (a favorite being: “We’ve declared endless war armed with the infantile concept of good vs. bad. What is this, kindergarten class?”). I enjoyed when Rachel Parsons lent a hand with the vocals and there were some nice horn and harmonica parts. Additional points for the gorgeous painting on the cover. Fans of Americana style music should give it a listen. –Jennifer Federico (Salinas)


STAND OUT RIOT:
Carnival Militia: CD
Just when I let start to let my guard down, in sneaks some ska punk piffle and I’m right back to loathing Operation Ivy, a band I once liked twenty-odd years ago, for unleashing this scourge upon us. A POX ON YOU, LONG DEFUNCT BERKELEY PICK-IT-UPPERS! MAY YOU SPEND ETERNITY UNABLE TO HIDE FROM WAYNENEWTON COVERS OF YOUR SONGS! –jimmy (www.tnsrecords.co.uk)


STABBINGS:
Fornication Against Thee: CD
Can’t say I was impressed past the “interesting” point with their punky minimalist tunes, but I did find “The Final Lash” particularly noteworthy in a “Russell Mael meets early Saccharine Trust” kind of way. On the whole, though, it wasn’t bad, just not too memorable. –jimmy (www.sycophanticide.com)


STAAGS:
Adult Brigade: 7” EP
Another time warp band whose sound takes you back to the wild, sloppy days of the early ‘80s, and I don’t mean that as an insult. They occasionally bring to mind bands like Bad Posture. Not bad. –jimmy (dhrrecords@gmail.com)


SPORES, THE:
News, Weather and Spores: CD
Dunno a damn thing about these guys other than they hail(ed) from Vancouver and, based on the dates given for the material here, were active 1984–88. The music here showcases a band that sought to stretch punk’s parameters a bit by throwing in bits of country twang, standard rock, and other elements into the tuneage, and they weren’t afraid to use humor to address more conventional punk topics like animal exploitation, media manipulation, and the like. Also included are a couple of low budget videos the band shot that are very much of their time. –jimmy (Sudden Death)


SPECK MOUNTAIN:
Some Sweet Relief : CD
Ugh, lord. I’m unsure of who the right reviewer for this would be, but it sure ain’t me. Really, really boring songs that meander forever and remind me of the worst that 120 Minutes used to throw at us. You know, the crap that you’d patiently wade through so that you could see some Superchunk or MTX videos. I mean, stuff like OnDemand and Tivo weren’t invented yet, and if you had the Internet, your connection was too slow to do much with it. So you had to hear crap like this sometimes. Luckily, now you don’t, unless you’re unlucky enough to be reviewing it or you happen to enjoy really slow, long songs that don’t go anywhere. If you do, this is for you! –Ryan Horky (Carrot Top)


SPACE CRETINS:
Direct from the Superfreak Highway: CD
This is more solid punk rock’n’roll from this Seattle band. I think I remember calling them a cross between the Groovie Ghoulies and Lee Harvey Oswald Band in the review of their last record and that is still the case here. There are eleven more songs of good solid Ramones/Dickies fun punk with a little more bite. Pretty damn good and fun band with another solid record. –frame (Killing Pig, http://paulblow.tripod.com/kpig.html)


SOVIET:
Self-titled: CD
Cover looks like something Berlin rejected back when they were on top of the charts. Music is über-lightweight pop with new wave undertones. The sum total sounds like the soundtrack to some early ‘80s low budget teen sex comedy bomb; all fluff and precious little to sink your teeth into. –jimmy (Sounds Red, no address)


SOLID PONY:
Collar to Cuff: CD
Mellow, woozy, jangly pop stuff. Singer’s a shoe-in to replace one of the dudes in Peter, Paul, and Mary if ever if he decided to pursue such a gig –jimmy (Bakery Outlet)


SNEAKY PINKS, THE:
Loner with a Boner b/w We’re the Punkles: 7”
One of the members of The Sneaky Pinks is the mysterious Nobunny and the format for the music is similar. Crappy drum machines programmed over lo-fi recordings. It is really great music, and especially worthwhile if you love the Nobunny record. The people behind these bands have interested me in drum machines effectively for the first time since the second EPMD album. The Sneaky Pinks first single contained a psudo-classic called “I Can’t Wait.” “Loner With a Boner” should enjoy the same status. This 7” appears to be a posthumous release: the only information included on the sleeve indicates that these two songs were once released as a cassette single. That makes it all the better for me. –Billups Allen (Bachelor)


SLICK 46:
I Don’t Wanna: CD
What we have here is some street punk of the Aussie variety. Mid-tempo rockers that are pretty much the definition of tough! Seriously, I can imagine the singer sitting around and crunching pint glasses after he’s drained each one. Another refreshing thing about these guys is that they’re not flying the patriotism and working class pride trappings that so many bands of the genre get caught up in. Sure, there’s some ranting about the rich and poor, but it’s done in almost a poetic way. Also, I’m trying to figure out if it’s the music or my rampant alcoholism that’s making me sweat for beers when I’m listening… I’ll pin it on Slick 46 for now. Good stuff! –ty (Longshot)


SKULL COLLECTOR:
…Oh Men of Mildewed Minds…: Cassette
Well, I was really enjoying this band’s brand of dark, crusty hardcore for the one time this tape played. Shortly after the music finished, the tape jammed in my car’s tape player and had to be pried out with a butter knife and a pair of needle nose pliers. On top of breaking the tape player, the radio doesn’t even work now! Hey Skull Collector, how the hell am I supposed to listen to news radio on the way to work? –Daryl Gussin (Lung Oven, no address)


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