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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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JOHN BARRETT’S BASS DRUM OF DEATH:
Self-titled: 7”
With what little information I’m working with, I think that this is a one man band along the lines of Bob Log III. The difference here is that this record is way more bluesy and John Barrett seems to sing a lot more than screech into a motorcycle helmet/telephone receiver type of thing. The result is a couple of good songs that I could definitely see myself tipping some drinks to. –ty (Fat Possum)


JERK WARD:
Too Young to Thrash: LP
Jerk Ward was a hardcore band that formed in Victoria BC, Canada in 1982. They came up in a scene alongside the likes of The Neos, Nomeansno, and Dayglo Abortions, and although they may not have gained the notoriety of their luminaries, they easily stood alongside them as one of the best bands in Victoria. Not bad for a thirteen-year-old and a couple of fourteen-year-olds! As most hardcore bands of the era, Jerk Ward was all but finished by 1985, having recorded a cassette (Flesh & Bones) and several demos. This record compiles these songs and presents them for the first time on vinyl. Spastic and angry, yet soaked with humor, the songs do stand the test of time and then some. This is truly a gem of a bygone era that is well worth picking up from both a historical standpoint as well as an unbelievably rockin’ one. –ty (Supreme Echo)


INTERNATIONAL ESPIONAGE!:
Transmissions: CD
The packaging of this CD is really involved. The cover is hand screened and numbered and meant to resemble a spy dossier of some sort. The CD comes with a document with blacked out lines, an ID card, and a telegram, all of which appear to attempt to create some sort of Get Smart,good spy/bad spy back story. But it is mostly gibberish. There is no discernable narrative in all these extras and none of it says much about the band. The music contains fairly competent, staccato type pop punk riffs with a dance style keyboard endlessly riffing in the background, which seems to be what the kids like these days. I was ready to give it the benefit of the doubt until I foolishly consulted the internet and discovered that this band likens themselves to The Clash, The Cars, Devo, The B-52’s, XTC, The Cure, and The Tubeway Army. I don’t hear any of that here, particularly with regards to Devo. It is a dangerous comparison; there exists a tendency for high concept bands to liken themselves to other high concept bands. And anyone who can compare this band to XTC is cheating pretty heavily. Along with their CD, their website makes available disguises you can purchase and choose to be on the good guys’ side or the bad guys’ side. I am also turned off because they wear ski masks. Ski masks worked for the Rip Offs because it caused you to imagine there might be something in those masks you are afraid to be exposed to. Here, there is no perceivable danger. –Billups Allen (Noise To Infinity, myspace.com/noisetoinfinityrecords)


INSURGENTS, THE:
Never Surrender: 7” EP
Mid-tempo meat and potatoes hardcore here that tempers the dearth of anything unique about what they’re doing with enough energy and enthusiasm to keep ’em from sinking into the morass of millions mining the same patch of dirt. –jimmy (Basement)


INSOMNIO:
Happy Loneliness: 12”EP
This Spanish band comes off like if Motörhead were more concerned with their own personal condition (their fears, their happiness, their happy loneliness) and less about playing cards and bombin’ shit, though much less metal and heavily influenced by tortured, moody, ‘80s punk. No matter how punk this 12”EP is, Pin’s vocal delivery and the reverb it’s drenched in is Lemmy-fied with precision. This record was released in the States by No Way Records. –Daryl Gussin (Trabuc/The Pression)


INSOMNIAXE:
No Sleep: CD
Insomniaxe have a fairly standard psychobilly sound, but it doesn’t really come off as pedantic or run-of-the-mill. It gets close at times, mind you, but, overall, I thought that this was a decent outing on their part. I think the reason that I’m not quite astounded by this is because I want Insomniaxe to be tighter; on several of the tunes when they kick things into overdrive and the Fest of the Slapping of the Doghouse Bass begins, it’s as if they need a few seconds to figure out what tempo they want to be playing. But once they get a bit further into the tune, then everything is fine. I guess I just want a better sense of consistency. Given a bit of time, though, I think Insomniaxe could really be something—they’ve got the chops, but they need to carve the roast more precisely. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Zodiac Killer)


INDERIVIUM:
The Empty Injection: CD
By the looks of the front of the CD, I was expecting some form of metal—be it black, heavy, death, or whatever. It’s the way the band name (no idea what Inderivium means, by the way) is written and the colors used. I guess I was right, and I see from a search on the web that they’re considered “new metal.” I wouldn’t say there’s actually anything terribly new about it, but it wasn’t a bad CD. The vocals surprised me: there’s quite a bit of actual singing going on. There aren’t any lyrics included, but the singer is pretty easy to understand. Every once in awhile, when he sang some higher parts, it recalled for me The Mars Volta (although aside from that tiny comparison, nothing else did). In the second song the vocals got a little screamier, but it still seemed to me pretty “nice.” Nothing too dangerous happening. I can see it getting played on the radio. There’s a lot of double bass and some guitar solos—in one of the songs the solo had vocals over it, which would appeal to those of us not into such displays of showmanship. The fourth song had some talking in it that reminded me of “One” by Metallica. They seem to be a pretty solid band but it wasn’t very compelling for me. I prefer my metal thrashier, dirtier, and generally more crossover. However, for those who like the sound of metal but don’t care to get too crazy, this may be the match for you. –Jennifer Federico (10 Foot Reach)


HUNCHES:
Exit Dreams: CD
Gotta hand it to the In The Red folks; they sure know how to pick ‘em. These kids are mining the gray area between hardcore, art-noise, and ‘60s trash and sprinkling a woozy sensibility all over their efforts. One’s opinion of said efforts depends on one’s taste for such things, but few would be able to argue against the fact that they make one fucker of a racket. –jimmy (In The Red)


HUL:
Den Danske Ungdom…: LP
This record reminded me a lot of fellow Danish bands Amdi Petersens Armé and No Hope For The Kids, which I was comfortable with because both those bands are great. Then I found out that Hul contained members of Amdi Petersens Armé, NHFTK, and the Young Wasteners before they played in any of those other bands. While harnessing the power that would be in full effect in later bands, Hul is still punk-as-nails, but spazzy and noisier, not to mention more youthful sounding, hence the title which translates to “The Danish Youth.” If you’re a fan of any of the Danish bands mentioned above (which, of course, you are, right?), this is a piece of the puzzle that’s definitely worth listening to. –Daryl Gussin (Hjernespind)


HOW WE ARE:
To Teach a Hundred and One: LP
Easily one of the lamest band names ever. These guys remind me of bands like Undertow and Turning Point. Mid-tempo straight-edge style hardcore with a lot of break downs, heavy riffing, gang choruses, and the whole nine. The vocalist sounds like he’s being strangled at points. I imagine he’s wrecking his throat in the recording booth. They definitely bring nothing new to the table, and even though I’m not a huge fan of this, it’s obvious they believe in what they’re doing. If you like this type of music, then you may dig this. Comes with a huge booklet as well. –Matt Average (Stop Whining Start Winning / Secret Jams, www.swx2records.com, secretjams@gmail.com)


IN THE RED:
Volume 2: CD
This here is some very slick, alterna-rock from an ex-member of Gunmoll. This is no Gainesville gruff punk and would not sound out of place between Stone Temple Pilots and Foo Fighters on the radio. There is kind of a dated element to the recording overall, but the songs are pretty good. Pretty surprising, coming from the background of Hot Water Music and Leatherface’s, sound but I would imagine that fans of the parties involved will dig it no matter what. –frame (Suburban Home)


HOSTAGE CALM:
Demo: 7”
Pretty good Silent Majority or Kid Dynamite-style melodic hardcore. There seem to be a pile of bands doing this right now, so it’s not exactly a mindblow, but these dudes do it rather well. –Dave Williams (Headcount, headcountrecords.com)


HORNY VAMPYRE:
Self-titled: 10”
This sounds like it was made for kindergarteners on ecstasy. Casio sounds + drum machine dance beats + two annoying vocalists = Horny Vampyre. Borrowing from Dr. Zoidberg, “The music is bad, and you should feel bad.” –Vincent Battilana (Hidden Apparatus)


HOMBRINUS DUDES:
Politi-Kill: CD
I’m more of a let’s go-see-a-grind-band than let’s-go-listen-to-grind kind of guy. But I do buy it from time to time and do listen to it on occasion. Here is band I definitely would check out at a show. Two-man band. I dig that. They play fast. Check. But wait, their lyrics are thought provoking and political. Big plus. Reminiscent of early Napalm Death and Terrorizer. Cool in my book. A thinking man’s grindcore puts this band a level above the imitators. –don (Punks Before Profits)


HINDI GODS:
Rarities: CD
Slinky, sun-damaged, mostly female-fronted rock music featuring Border Radio director Kurt Voss amongst the band members. –jimmy (Stinging Pig, no address)


HIFI SCIENCE:
HiFi Generation: CD-EP
More on the punk end of the pop punk/melodic punk genre. This band could benefit from some back-up vocals! Still, not bad. If this were a cereal, it’d be Honey Bunches of Oats. Crunchy (non-pop) texture with pieces of sugary junk (read: pop music) stuck on it! Please increase the sugary junk to crunchy stuff ratio! –Maddy (self-released?, www.hifisilence.com)


HANGOUTS, THE:
Turn Up the Bird: CDEP
In theory, not entirely unlike X. In execution, not entirely unlike the Soviettes. In apprehension, how like a god. (That’s a little Shakespeare humor for you English majors out there.) My only problem with this is the production on the vocals. There’s a slight twang that makes it hard to swallow for me. If these songs were rerecorded during a different session, this would probably be a great EP. In summary, good band, good songs, bad recording. –Bryan Static (Sinkhole Texas)


YOUTH GONE MAD:
Self-titled: CD
The cover of this CD screams, “Featuring Dee Dee Ramone,” and claims to be “Dee Dee Ramone’s last musical will and testament.” After listening to it, I have the following reaction: Never, ever do a lot of drugs over a long period of time. This includes a few new Dee Dee songs and a cover of “Blitzkrieg Bop” that proves that, like pizza, certain songs, no matter how badly executed, will still be sort of alright. Note to people who collect bad Dee Dee stuff: none of this is bad enough to be funny. If anything, it’s just a little sad. If this were a cereal, it’d be S’mores. Why revive something that could never be as good as it once was? (And, by the way, what’s up with changing the name to Smorz?) –Maddy (Trend is Dead!)


YE OLDE BUTTFUCK:
How to Get to Heaven from Chattanooga, Tennessee: 7"
That must be a trick question. Chattanooga, Tennessee is Heaven. I grew up around there and I greatly admire that city’s beer-soaked contributions to punk rock, as well as that train that goes up the side of Lookout Mountain. That said, this was kind of a letdown for me. Perhaps my memory of their beer-soaked punk rock is a bit fuzzy due to me being soaked in beer at more than one Jack Palance Band show, but I don’t know. I didn’t really get excited when I listened to this record and I can’t put my finger on why that is. This label put out the Stun Guns LP that you should definitely check out. Also, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: don’t play Rolling Stones songs unless you are Devo.  –Josh (Shut Up)


X-POSSIBLES:
Blood Everywhere: CD
Solid female-fronted punk rock reminiscent of the old LA band Red Scare. Like that band, the poppier mid-tempo stuff here is good, but when they thrash things up, watch out, boyo. This is gonna garner much airplay come summertime. –jimmy (www.x-possibles.com)


ZERO DOWN:
Pound for Pound: CD
The hardcore-style boxing photo on the cover fooled me, like it may end up fooling a lot of people. I think this is what it would sound like if the Stone Temple Pilots and their record company’s marketing department got together and figured out a way of making the band even more bland than they already are. Sorry, but pound for pound, Zero Down is what the practitioners of the sweet science call “a tomato can.” –aphid (Zero Down)


WORM QUARTET:
Faster Than a Speeding Mullet: CD
To (mis)quote the ever-quotable Spinal Tap, there’s a fine line between genius and stupidity, and Worm Quartet straddle both sides of that line with ease. They (actually “he,” I guess) write catchy, synth-driven tunes about shit so silly that it makes the Dickies seem like perennial scowlers Discharge. As proof to back such a serious allegation, I submit the following song titles: “(I Wanna Wipe) A Booger On Dan (Rather),” “Let’s Make Fun of the Amish,” “Wookie Weenie,” “Eskimo Pie Is Not Pie and Contains Very Little Eskimo,” and “Ode to Ziplock the African Albino Claw-Footed Water Frog,” quite possibly the most poignant love song to a lost pet since Manilow’s “Mandy.” I am pleased to report that Worm Quartet remain both at the top of their game and a personal favorite.  –jimmy (Worm Quartet)


WORLD BURNS TO DEATH:
The Sucking of the Missile Cock: CD
Some straight-up peace punk/pacifist hardcore here that sounds like the bastard child of Crucifix and some fjord-pining thrash unit circa 1984. The lyric sheet was a pleasant surprise, with obvious effort being put into explanations for each song. Included here are tracks from an LP, two 7-inchers and a couple unreleased tunes. Hope they’re still slugging it out, ‘cause they’re pretty darn good.  –jimmy (Hardcore Holocaust)


WHITE LIARS, THE:
Pharmacia: CD
This had the look of radio pop punk, but the sound of crap rock with echoey/reverby vocals. Woo hoo! –megan (24 Carrot)


WE INVENTED TORNADOES:
self-titled: CD
I only care about which ex-members of which bands got together because I didn’t like any of their previous groups (Guzzard, King Can, etc.). This power trio extends their streak, a dubious accomplishment at best. It’s more boring guitar rock, which not only sounds dated now but sucked when it was in vogue the first time. In this case, the old adage of dancing with the one who brought you doesn’t hold true; this record is some of the best evidence yet presented for ditching your date in favor of someone better at the hoedown.  –scott (Learning Curve)


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