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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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RANDY:
Cheater: CDEP
I can’t stand bands with good intentions but sound like they’re slowly putting a pole up the audience’s collective ass. Randy is not one of them. With the legions of Hives insta-fans, a quick way to test their grit is to ask ‘em about Randy, ‘cause anyone up on Swedish-fuckin’-rock will attest to this four-piece’s ability to slay some serious musical dragons. They go right to the rock’n’roll wellspring and hearken back Chuck Berry more than occasionally. I don’t want to parallel the Hives too much, but this EP is sorta confusing, like the Hives’s Hate To Say I Told You So three-song CDEP, which had two previously released tracks. Cheater contains an already released song off their last album, The Human Atom Bombs, two songs off their CD single, I Don’t Need Love, and the title song that’s also on the newest Epitaph comp – so there’s only two songs exclusive to this release. Song origins aside, Randy plays crisp, intentionally lo-fi recorded rock’n’roll that covers topics between straight-up social consciousness (they’ve had tracks on AK Press comps) to just having fun and hanging out. I like that they’re brash and not stodgy. I like the fact that they totally deny releasing a ska 7” that is long out of print. Randy’s songs are so good that when co-creator of this here magazine and I are listening to ‘em on his truck stereo after getting home, we’ll sit with the engine running until the song ends, then go about our business. It just wouldn’t be right to leave a song half played. I mean, shit, what do I have to do that’s so important to mess with the magic of rock’n’roll? Powerful good. –todd (G-7 Welcoming Committee)


PUT-ONS, THE:
self-titled: CD
So, every time I get a record from a So Cal label I haven’t heard of, I think, “This must be on some weird major label subsidiary.” I did some investigating and couldn’t find that information, but I did discover that the web-page for Manic Records has an ad and a link to everyone’s favorite store, Hot Topic. Apparently, they also do a magazine called Manic. I couldn’t read it online, but I did see plenty of photos of pro skater boys and girls in halter tops. Lame. Musically, this is pretty standard nineties type power pop. Nothing special here. Oh well. If this was a cereal, it’d be Unfrosted Mini-Wheats. Yawn. –Maddy (Manic)


RC5:
American Rock’n’Roll: CD
Punk rock and roll for the masses who can’t seem to get enough of this genre. Fans of Zeke, New Bomb Turks, and the like will find this in heavy rotation. The RC5 pay homage to the MC5 with their take of “American Ruse.” There’s even a song called “Candy Snatcher,” and rightfully so, because The Candy Snatchers are still the creepy kings of punk-influenced rock’n’roll, hands fucking down. –dale (Twenty Stone Blatt)


RETOX:
Last Call: CD
Snappy hardcore that’s pretty strong in the music department with, judging from the song titles, a lyrical obsession with beer and weed. They’re astute riff thieves, biting shit from everyone from Rush to the Bad Brains, and they get away with it for the most part. –jimmy (Malt Soda)


PUPILS, THE:
self-titled: CD
Mostly mellow two-man band. They sometimes sound like they’re on the verge of busting out and raising a righteous ruckus, but it just never seems to happen. In short, no big whoop. –jimmy (Dischord)


PRETTY GIRLS MAKE GRAVES:
Good Health: CD
I like this. It’s got that frenetic, about-to-pop-but-don’t-worry-everything’s-under-control feel of At the Drive-In. It’s complex but not confusing. They don’t forget to always propel their songs forward to keep the ass a-wigglin’ and the heads a-bobbin’. It’s also good because they don’t shy away from the occasional tantrum and use a synthesizer in a way that doesn’t suck scrote. The guitars scream down from far away mountains and tackle each other, like head-butting rams. Solid, exciting, repeated thuds. All the songs topple and spin and shoot around constantly like a perfect play on a really good pinball game (like Monster Mash). The female-fronted vocals add to the texture, watershed the harmonies, and then sprays them back out so the album seems to be dripping all around you like a fine mist when it’s on the stereo, permeating everything it touches. Exciting stuff. For what it’s worth, the bassist used to be in the Murder City Devils. Sounds nothing like ‘em. –todd (Lookout)


PORNSTORE JANITOR:
Porn Again: CD
Really good musical melding of the Dwarves and early Poison Idea, but their weak attempts and shock value are unnecessary and boring. Damn good thing they were smart enough not to include a lyric sheet. –jimmy (Scooch Pooch)


PRIESTS, THE:
Streetwalker: CD
Should I break it to them or should you? “The Makers already exist.” –nam (Garage Pop)


PITCH BLACK:
self-titled: CD
I was really hoping I was going to like this. I heard something about a guy from the Nerve Agents was in this band. I heard a few tracks by the latter band and thought it wasn’t half bad. This release rubs me in the wrong way. It’s like having your underwear stuck up your ass, soaking up the sweat while you are trying to run down the street. Not horrific, just not my cup of tea. I would say that it is a mixture of the current TSOL meets a non-psychobilly Tiger Army mixed with some AFI. –don (Revelation)


PIRHANAS:
self-titled: CD

This, apparently, is a re-release of their first album with tracks from a single and a radio ad tacked on for good measure. The music is crazed, chaotic trash rock that causes headaches in all the right ways.

–jimmy (On/On Switch)


OXYMORON:
Feed the Breed: CD
This is a lot happier music than you would expect to come from the surly looking guys in the pictures. That is, the three almost identical group shots. Nothing wrong with that, really, just not the most interesting design they could have come up with, and I am somewhat concerned that the members of this band cannot change the expressions on their faces. Very catchy sing along Oi/street punk, the songs are all set up so that I envision circle pits during verses and everyone singing along in a pile during shows. (Well, yeah, that’s what happened when I saw these guys.) Musically upbeat working class anthems with pissed off lyrics and a straight ahead rock and roll spine. –rich (GMM)


OXBOW:
An Evil Heat: CD
A record that starts with a couple of songs of Beefheart-fronts-EyeHateGod and then ambles off into kind of a noisy ambient wasteland of thematic jams and non-moshable pure weight. Seems like a great record to take drugs to, or to play and try to convince yourself you’re on drugs. I’m thinking of Robitussin, specifically, but I’m not trying to tell you what to do. I didn’t get any packaging, so I can’t say who’s in it, but those Neurosis fellows have done some pretty out-there shit lately and it’s on their label and I tell you it fits. Ought to be a soundtrack for something. –Cuss Baxter (Neurot)


O-TYPE:
Lugubrious: CD
Members of MX-80s creating ambient pieces with a somewhat rough edge. At times it fills the room, and others it’s almost inaudible. As a listener of ambient, I found this to be interesting, and the textures they create are interesting in how they play off one another. Something edgy can almost sound quiet coupled with something smooth. –Matt Average (Family Vineyard)


ONE TIME ANGELS:
…Tricks and Dreams: CDEP
This is a six song offering from a melodic rock band hailing from California. I’m pretty sure that this is Doug from Screw32 on vocals and guitar. I have no reference point for this, because it’s not the kind of music I ordinarily listen to. The tempos are midpaced but things pick up considerable in the second half. The songs are definitely well structured and the vocal hooks are smart and well placed. It might interest some people that Jesse Michaels sings backup vocals on this. The guitar work is also interesting. The fourth song, “Two Steps to the Edge,” really grabbed me, as it has a sort of mod-meets-XTC feel to it. I’ll definitely put this song on a mix tape this summer. I would definitely recommend this to fans of post-punk melodic rock. –Yemin –Guest Contributor (Lookout!)


OFFBEATS:
Dumb Looks Still Free: CD
A retrospective of an old Cleveland hardcore band that made the rounds during the years 1982-86. If you’re looking for comparisons, think Heart Attack covering Adrenaline OD. The later tracks are slower and poppier, but not in a painful way. Good listen overall. –jimmy (Smog Veil)


NUGGETS, THE:
Are the Alchemists of Music: CD
Neo-psych hippie pop. Includes a cover of the Beatles’ “Run for Your Life.” It bored the shit outta me. Next. –jimmy (Sounds of Subterrania)


NOFX:
45 or 46 Songs That Weren’t Good Enough to Go on Our Other Records: 2xCD
The title is self explanatory. Well, not exactly. Some of these songs were on their other records. –don (Fat)


NO USE FOR A NAME:
Hard Rock Bottom: CD
These guys have grown past me. I know that the better you get as an musician, the songs need to be more challenging. I seem to like it the first listen through, but quickly get bored afterwards. It’s real pleasing to the ears, but maybe a little to sanitary. I am a big fan of large, well produced recordings. My heart rate just does not go into spasms over this. Don’t get me wrong, the guitars are crunchy, bass precise, drums punchy, and vocals up-front without being overbearing. For me, good for an occasional listen. Their fans will disregard what I have to say. That is good anyway; it’s better to have your own opinions. –don ()


NO ALTERNATIVE:
Now or Never: CD
I thought this was a repress or bootleg of San Francisco’s No Alternative circa (I think) 1979. I open this up and see a picture of three kids representing the band. What the fuck! Don’t kids nowadays ever check to see if a band name has been used before? Shame on them! Has trying to be original just too hard? I guess so since the music is average melodicore. As punk as you get if you take the punk elements of Sum 41 mixed with Bracket. –don (Static)


NIXON YEARS, THE:
Everything You Asked for: CD
Another rock band speeds up the tempos and spits out inane lyrics and – viola! – Instant punk band. Next. –jimmy (EKG)


MOO-RAT FINGERS, THE:
Actung Duschbag: 7”
Two versions each of two ‘77-style scorchers that I don’t know what they’re about and I wonder why they didn’t just put four different songs on here but maybe they could only write two songs and with a name like Moo-Rat Fingers maybe they’re only seven years old and anyway it would work good in a jukebox because both songs rock and it wouldn’t matter if you accidentally played the wrong side or it would be good for a blind person, too. –Cuss Baxter (Big Neck)


MONOCHORDS:
Thinking of You: 7” EP
Kraut punk owing heavily to the English mod/punk sound of the late seventies with maybe a little SLF thrown in for good measure. Good stuff, but not exactly earth-shattering in the originality department. –jimmy (Fanboy)


MONEEN:
The Theory of Harmonial Value: CD
So, the other day I was riding my bike and my thoughts turned to the whole post-whatever, indie emo invasion. And I was thinking about how, yes, it is horrible, but HAS to end soon. And then I get CDs like this for review and I realize how overly optimistic I was being! Moneen sounds like every other band that sounds like post-indie, post-punk, emo college rock hell. Allow me to quote from the lyric sheet, “Awake, a dream of fate I cannot escape, now it’s too late. Time dies in straight lines.” I could go on. I refuse to waste anymore of my time describing this crap. (Please, Todd and Sean, have pity on me!) If this were a cereal, it’d be stale Special K. A grown-up cereal we can all agree to hate! –Maddy (Smallman)


MUSIC/NINJA::
8-song EP: 7”
Although I’m not convinced that the band themselves know if they should go for the minimalism and angularity of Wire (“My TV”), the stark moodiness of Joy Division (“Donny Donny”), or straight-ahead lo-fi, primarily atonal, Flipper-ish punk blasts (“A Cop, a Clown, and a Handgun” and “The Record Player and Me”), I’ll give them this – everything about them sounds icy, cold, and brittle. Too arty to be robots, they go well out of their way mute all harmonies and hooks. Just as I wouldn’t like watching a flash-frozen dog thrown out of a skyscraper every day, on occasion it’s interesting to see music shard, crash, and chunk apart instead of merely falling down, bouncing a couple times, and becoming completely pulverized. Definitely not for everyone. Hell, definitely not for me most of the time, but interesting nonetheless. –todd (Strandad Sjobuse)


MU330:
Live... Oh Yeah!: CD
If you loves these guys and they never have come to your town, take a couple of hits of LSD and put this disc on. It will make you feel like you are there. Enjoy! “I have never heard of them,” you say? Real quick answer, a group of guys who seem to have fun and who play ska. –don (Asian Man)


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