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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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SUPER CHINCHILLA RESCUE MISSION / BOTTLE DIRT:
Split : 7”
Super Chinchilla Rescue Mission: I swear by these guys. They’re another new-ish band that hasn’t written a bad song yet and continues to improve. If the name throws you, don’t let it. The band doesn’t dress in matching Chinchilla suits with capes while occupying their time saving cats from trees. As a matter of fact, they’re gimmickless. If you enjoy the tightly-revved inner smolder of Leatherface, the heat blast of Panthro UK United 13, the earnest, evocative lyrics of Tiltwheel, or just enjoy stripped-of-artifice punk rock that’s as satisfying to yell along to as read along with, I recommend this without reservation. It’s top notch it-ain’t-all-been-done-before punk rock. Just straight ahead, densely played, amazingly well written tunes, from lyrics, to guitars intertwining, to drum and bass interlock. These two songs are as good a reason as any to buy a turntable. Bottle Dirt: It is truly strange to hear a Japanese band sound like they’re from Midwest. Stranger yet is the vocalist seems to be borrowing directly from the Replacements’ Paul Westerberg’s throat while the rest of the band rifles through and punches early ‘Mats subject matter straight in the arm. (i.e.: “We are still drinking though our bodybags are ready.”) The good news is that they don’t do a complete carbon copy, pen in some mighty catchy hooks of their own, and deliver two excellent songs. –todd (Snuffy Smile)


SUGAR SKULLS:
The Waking Hour: CD
Every time I hear the first (title) track, I want to say it sounds exactly like (LA’s) X, but as the rest of the business flows past me, I have to eat that thought (it’s okay; it tastes like Lucky Charms). Boy singer and girl singer weave a harmonic cat’s cradle over bouncy-but-not-frantic instrumentation – instrumentation which often includes a small horn section that lends texture rather than asserting itself as horn section per se. There’s at least one cussword if that’s your criteria, but mostly it’s just a charming, sometimes pretty, mid tempo listening pleasure. –Cuss Baxter (BAK)


STYLEX:
Wonder Program: CD
Some pretty good synth-heavy spazz rock here. At their heaviest, they’re slightly reminiscent of Phantom Limbs on Prozac, which is to say they’re less gloomy and not as intense. Not too shabby, considering I expected this to suck big time. –jimmy (Friction)


STOMPEDE:
self-titled: 7”
Japanese HC + Pushead artwork + colored vinyl = collectible ebay bait. This band from Tokyo, Japan features commissioned Pushead artwork over red vinyl with blue and white splatters. Five tracks of intensely sweet Japcore. I see people sweating, salivating already. Many of you collector nerds out there might recognize this band. They were featured on Pushead’s Bacteria Sour comps series Volume 2 (both versions) and Volume 3. Those comps were so hard to get just because Pushead’s name was on it. I did manage to get the two versions of Volume 2 for myself at a reasonable price. They were also on the No Borders comp that Suburban Home put out awhile back. By chance you do come across a copy, pick it up quick! First track, titled “Jo Anny Ta,” blazes so fast you feel like a diesel truck almost ran you over. Lyrics are assumedly sung in English which is badly translated from Japanese. I always love that. Musically, they are heavy in every conceivable way. For those who love Japcore, you know what to expect. I need to get off the computer so I can scream into the speakers. –don (Badman)


STILLBORN:
self-titled: 7"
Anarcho-hardcore noise with male/female vocals. It ain’t bad, but I’ve heard soooooo many other bands do the same thing for soooooo long that all the novelty has worn off. –jimmy (New Audio Terror)


STEPSISTER/STREETWALKING CHEETAHS:
Keep It in the Family: 7”
Cheetahs: “Mama Train” is a balls-out rocker that had my head bobbin’ nice, and the same goes for “Future Lost.” Stepsister: Same thing here. Both bands deliver some solid rock/punk that gets them toes a-tappin’. A keeper. –jimmy (Smog Veil)


SPONTANEOUS DISGUST:
Emo Love Fest: 7”
God, these guys just keep cranking them hits out! Like a breath of fresh air on a hot, smoggy summer weekday, Spontaneous Disgust come along and do away with all the depression I find I suffer from after a long day’s review session. While I find no clunker on this woefully too short “concept record,” I will admit that I found “The Punk Rock Air Supply,” “I Promise to Wring Your Neck,” “Weepy Boy Band Cannon Fodder,” and “Sometimes I Wish Someone Would Hit Me Repeatedly In the Head with a Hammer So I Could Relate to Piebald” to be the most satisfying tracks here, skillfully blending rockin’ tuneage with acerbic wit to produce some of the most satisfying punk-related music in easily two decades. If you’re already a fan, consider this mandatory. If you’ve never heard them, get your head out of yer ass already. Either way, snatch this up if you spot it, ‘cause there’s supposedly a grand total of 127 copies out there and I guarantee the ebay thieves are gonna be making a killing offa this in just a few months time. –jimmy (address illegible)


SOLEDAD BROTHERS, THE:
Steal Your Soul and Dare Your Spirit To Move: CD
You don’t learn the blues, you have to live the blues to play the blues. I mean, learn all your lessons the hard way early on so you wise up on fools trying to come up on you; eat, sleep, and shit in places you never thought you would, learn to cry on cue, love your lover, leave your lover, kill your lover for leaving you, beg for money, have sex for shelter, drink your sorrows, fight your way out of a bar, eat your weight in humble pie, then pick up a guitar and let it all out. Yeah that’s a lot like this record. If you liked the first Soledad release, it just keeps getting better with this latest offering. It sways with more rock’n’roll and (good, old) country with a heavy nod to seventies gospel/country-tinged Rolling Stones. The Brothers (key lyricist Johnnie Walker and drums virtuosity Ben Swank) have added the organ, guitar, and sax accompaniment of Oliver Henry, making the Soledad more concentric with their new sound and direction. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re a fan of the previous debut record of packed, solid white meat albacore blues, then you’re gonna be a bigger fan than ever before with this here new record. The oggity boogity keeps in step with their rendition of Mississippi Fred McDowwel’s “Break ‘Em Down” and a curious revision of “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone.” Oh yeah, break it on down, sit on that porch, sweat your toxins out, and pray for death or rain… or both – just listen to this record, damn it. –nam (Estrus)


SOLEDAD BROTHERS:
Steal Your Soul and Dare Your Spirit to Move: CD
Wanda snapped this up as soon as it got in the house. Whenever I’d go in her office to get a rubber glove or some upholstery tacks I’d hear a snatch of it and go, “nice Stones riff” or “I didn’t know we had any Thorogood.” Finally, I got it back and found it to be a heapin hot bowl of soul-funchin electric blues that ranges in intensity from sub-Gun Club through Doo Rag and on out to Immortal Lee County. If you were taping it for car listening, there’s not one song you would leave off. –Cuss Baxter (Estrus)


SONGS FOR EMMA:
Red Lies and Black Rhymes: CD
Have to give them credit for not being histrionic. There’s nothing bad about this CD, per se, other than the music is far too restrained. This is a tad disturbing to me, since I’m so predisposed to like these guys. Here are the reasons I thought I’d like them more than I do. 1.) They’re named after Emma Goldman, the lady who said, “If you can’t bowl while doing it, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” Or something of that essence. Just fill in what you really like to do. 2.) The vocalist and lyricist, Tommy Strange, and the drummer, Dian Glaub, are both from Strawman (RIP), who I liked quite a bit. Tommy sounds a lot like Leatherface’s Frankie Stubbs – like he flosses with burlap and huffs smoke directly from a factory chimney. 3.) The lyrics are pretty darn good. They’re compassionate, well crafted and well thought out. They read like stand-alone poems that don’t suck. The trouble I have is that the music seems secondary to the lyrics. The lyrics are delivered so deadpan and so up front, that the music itself sounds constrained, cobbled, and labored when they kick in. It’s readily apparent in “Voice of Barcelona,” which starts out feisty and rollicking, then downshifts and chugs to match the mid-pace vocal pattern. There are so few places in the songs with true breathing room or ignition. As a matter of fact, my favorite snatches on this CD are the beginnings of songs and the bridges between choruses when guitarist Mike Millet is allowed to zing around, but my overall ear for Red Lies and Black Rhymes is that it’s running with the parking brake on, that it intentionally keeps all the tempos in first or second gear, and all screams and whispers muted. Revolution to dance to? Give me something new to shake my ass to like the GC5, Strike Anywhere, or Dillinger Four. –todd (Broken Rekids)


SPAZZ:
Sweatin’ 3: Skatin’, Satan & Katon: CD
They’ve stretched their back catalog to three volumes?!?!? Jeezus... Maybe this is the final installment. Who knows. Okay, if you missed out when these records were originally available, here’s your chance to catch up, or catch on. Sixty-seven cuts taken from nineteen records of various sizes. Power-violence legends influenced from power-violence originators like Man Is The Bastard and Crossed Out. One of the few good bands from the past decade. –Matt Average (Slap A Ham)


SPITFIRES, THE:
Three: CD
Okay. I don’t ask for a lot. I think that the requirements for being called “punk” are not as difficult as many make them out to be. And I think that if a band gets interviewed on MTV of their own volition, they are not a punk band. Does this mean Green Day isn’t a punk band anymore? Yes. Does this mean that Spitfires aren’t a punk band? Yes. Come on, haven’t you heard “MTV Get off the Air”? Send this to Spin or something, dude. Oh, and while I am it, fuck press kits. This is General Mills test marketing or something. I don’t know. Who needs it? –Maddy (Longshot/Scratch)


SLIKMIG:
Jesus Online: CD
Wizo comes to mind because these guys, I think, are from Germany. They play melodicore mixed with some ska at points. I wish they would have sung in their native language instead of English. I probably would have liked it more. –don (Slaughter Productions)


SKARFACE:
Best & Next: CD
Half a greatest hits package that either has been re-mixed or re-recorded and half new songs. These French bad asses know how to play that two-tone ska. They mix the ska with a working class attitude that crosses genres of fans. I am assuming that they have been around since the early nineties. They are still together after that horrible period when there was a large influx of ska bands during the mid to late nineties. The good ones always come to the surface after the imposters drown. Fun! –don (Mad Butcher)


SHRINKS, THE:
My Minds Gone: 7"
Essentially this is the Trust Fund Babies with Mundo (ex- Workin’ Stiffs) on the geetar. Killed By Death style punk on a hell bent search for a good time. Tightly wound, but loose just the same. Like a high strung paranoid crashing after a weekend of white crosses. There’s an extra unlisted track with a different vocalist as well. –Matt Average (Radio)


SHRINKS, THE:
My Minds Gone: 7”
Super hot set of four Rip Off-styled mongolisms. All method, no message – there’s something to be said for purity of vision, and it’s “fuck, yeah!" –Cuss Baxter (Radio)


SHOOTER MCGAVIN:
Saving the Day: 7”
These cats reminded me a tiny bit of that one and only outfit known as The Other, yet come nowhere close. In fact, no other band has. Skip this and go track down The Other’s CD. Trust me on this. Depending on your sex, you’ll either be pitching a tent or getting wet as a mop upon hearing The Other. Sorry, Shooter Mcgavin guys, this just don’t do the above mentioned for me. –dale (jizzysheets@yahoo.co.uk)


SILKWORM:
Italian Platinum: CD
Indie rock that just ain’t doin’ it for me. –jimmy (Touch and Go)


SEX SEX SEX:
Like Crows on the Slaughterhouse Fence: CD
The Misfits decide to play Swedish punk’n’roll and let a four-year-old write their lyrics. Throw away the lyric sheet and rock out. –jimmy (NDN)


SCARS OF TOMORROW:
All Things Change: CD
Booyah! Death metal played like it is a rock opera. Cookie monster vocals over crunching guitars that have almost a ballad feeling to it. The riffs are very eighties in the progressive kind of way. Double bass drums pounding into your chest to emphasize the tribal beat. Pounding yet beautiful and energetic in a spastic way. –don (Thorp)


SATANIC SURFERS:
Unconsciously Confined: CD
Dude, what the fuck?!? With a name like Satanic Surfers, the last thing you’d expect is lame, emo-infused popcore. Ugh, now I feel all dirty. Another week’s worth of showers with a steel brush. Thanks, guys. –jimmy (Bad Taste)


RUNNER:
The Goods: CD
I suspect Runner are a good garage band that recorded an album when they were drunk and nobody was looking. –rich (Sick Room)


RITCHIE WHITES, THE:
Snitches Get Stitches: CD
Rock’n’roll in punk clothing. Not very thrilling. Sorry. –jimmy (TKO)


RIFFS, THE:
Dead End Dreams: CD
I can’t believe how quickly I warmed to this record and how good some of these songs are. It’s a weird blend of hooky guitars and I’m-so-fucked-up-let-me-get-thru-this-song lyrics from Portland of all places. They aren’t the most original songs, and it’s not the most original sound. But it’s the first time I’ve heard this style of music with this style of singing. And it works. I like it a lot, and I bet you will, too. –jim (TKO)


RICHMOND SLUTS, THE:
Sweet Something b/w Sad City: 7”
Mid-tempo classic rock/punk that’s dancey and prances around. Sorta like where the Dead Boys mixed darkness and blood into slower songs like “Ain’t It Fun,” these guys do with light and smoke, fluffed up with an organ and shaker eggs. On a seemingly completely irrelevant note, their shaggy bowl, mousse-erect haircuts scare me, but they do parallel the music – meticulously fucked up (messy/clean), and highly stylized. Not a total Rolling Stones wannabe, either, but Mick Jagger’s and Keith Richards’ soundprints are all over this, too. Pretty good. –todd (Disaster)


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