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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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EASY LOVERS, THE:
Get a Job: LP
Clichéd-as-hell late ‘70s punk. This is the sort of band you see opening shows, and you find yourself looking at the clock wondering when this shit is going to end. You can flip the record over mid way through and it sounds pretty much the same where you left off on the other side. Riffs you’ve heard a billion times already, and despite the amount of growling vocals about “killing my baby tonight” and a massive dose of “whoa-oh” choruses, this stuff is dull, dull, dull.  –Matt Average (Easy Lovers)


ELEPHANT RIFLE:
Ivory: LP
This record opens up with a dark instrumental piece and goes straight into ripping your face off. To me, Elephant Rifle plays art music—call it punk or whatever-core—it’s smart and never boring, like Wire or Devo. “Frank, Black” takes a different direction than some of the other songs. It’s a bit quieter with a sort of Black Sabbath style party riff that goes into a spacey solo. “Gold Standard” and “Dogs, Wolves, Wolverines” are short, no-bullshit, pummeling rippers. There’s a new creepier, chaotic version of “Rasputin” on here. You have to see this band live; you have to. The song title award goes to “Bone Voyage.”  –Ryan Nichols (Humanterrorist)


ELMERHASSEL:
Entertainment Value Part 2: CD
Yet another tremendous U.K. retrospective from Aston at Boss Tuneage, this time heading into more introspective territory. Elmerhassel was one of the U.K. bands that took influence from later DC hardcore bands like Ignition and Embrace and fused it with the almost indie pop of Mega City Four and the Senseless Things. The band went on to influence many U.K. bands like Blocko and K Line with that definitive U.K. pop punk style. As with so much of this stuff, it’s all time and place, difficult for me to get a measure of how crucial this is to the casual listener. To me, it’s London in the summer working at my first “real” job, all-night raves, E’s, and sunny Sundays listening to bands like this. If you fuck with No Idea bands, then this might be up your alley. If you were around in the early- to mid-’90s in the U.K., I’m sure you already have this! Crackin’.  –Tim Brooks (Boss Tuneage)


ELMERHASSEL:
Entertainment Value: Discography Part 1: CD
This is the first part of a discography of this English outfit’s work (I forget what city; sorry, gents!), spanning the early- to mid-’90s. It sure sounds it, too. Elmerhassel plays melodic punk that was becoming “the” sound at that time in a lot of niches, including my own. (I didn’t realize that the bands I was seeing live when I was in college had such an “international” sound.) Listening to this, I’m reminded of various early-’90s Milwaukee bands like New Detective Squad, Compound Red, and even a little bit of Alligator Gun. Looking at this record objectively, I can’t really attest to how good it is—I like this subgenre, and Elmerhassel is quite good at it—but part of my appreciation for this record admittedly stems from some tendrils of nostalgia. I’m old.  –The Lord Kveldulfr (Boss Tunage)


ELMERHASSEL:
Self Analysis: CD
I have to admit that I missed out on Elmerhassel during its existence in the first half of the 1990s. I was aware of them but never managed to see or hear the band. However, thanks to a two-part discography I’m now able to easily catch up on a plethora of tunes that I’d love to have seen performed live twenty years ago. This is the second CD, featuring the John Wark album and a slew of additional tracks, including some remarkably good demos from the band’s earliest days. This is guitar music which intermittently sounds like The Doughboys, Ted Leo, and 3 amongst others—there’s a decent cover of “Swann Street” by the latter included here—giving some hints as to where the band’s influences were coming from. I just need a time machine now to head back to catch the band live.  –Rich Cocksedge (Boss Tuneage)


ENDLESS COLUMN:
Summer: 7”
Attention Red Dons and Daylight Robbery fans/fiends! In case you were unaware, Endless Column features the unique and exquisite vocal and guitar stylings of both David Wolf and Doug Burns. The sound is reminiscent of their other projects, but with a more light-hearted approach. There’s some bounce and some straight ‘60s rock-inspired riffing. It definitely stands on its own. These tracks will have you wishing summer would never end, before it even began.  –Daryl Gussin (Twin Toe, twintoerecords@gmail.com / Taken By Surprise)


EX’S WITH BENEFITS:
Bad Hotel: CD
Full length album from what appears to be a Seattle-based band with the drummer of early grunge band Green River. There are a lot of side project-style moves to be found here—solid playing, strong vocals, and a mix of styles. Unfortunately, the lack of energy and cohesive songs that is often evident in this type of band is on display as well. Kind of a mix of post-punk, straight rock, and just a little punk style over twelve songs. One tends to get a lot of this type of thing for review over the years. It’s not bad, but not something that will ever get played again.  –frame (Self-released)


EXACERBACION:
Desastre Humano: 7”
I was playing this record, thinking about how absolutely guttural it is. Then, when I dropped the needle on the second side, I realized I was playing it at 33 and it’s actually a 45. I switched speeds and, you know what, it’s still really fucking guttural. It’s raw grindcore with the kind of vocals that seem to come all the way up from the singer’s bowels and all the other instruments are just tossed into a garbage bag and swung around like some sort of makeshift music maul. I think I broke some bones.  –mp (Pan Del Muerte)


FASHION WEEK:
Pret-A-Porter: LP
This record came with a short background on the band that honestly threw me off. Either these guys are funny or they’ve actually been around since 1987. As far as the record goes, Fashion Week is a three-piece from New York. It has a post-hardcore, post-metal sound mixed with some alternative ‘90s rock. There’s a heavy Converge, ISIS thing going on with the music mixed with some melodic vocals. I think the bass player and the guitar player switch off on vocals duties, otherwise someone has some serious range. At times it reminds me of what Mastodon does vocally. They do a good job of giving the songs more dimension by constantly changing tempos, breaking the songs down into melodic instrumental parts, and playing straight-up heavy riffs to keep you from standing there with your arms crossed.  –Ryan Nichols (Solar Flare)


FAT HEAVEN:
Self–titled: 7”
This is a four-song single from a NYC band that is shameless in copping Misfits backing vocals in the opening tune. The other three tunes keep up the whoa ohs and sound a bit like early Alkaline Trio in places. This is an okay single of melodic punk, if you don’t have enough of that in your life at the moment.  –frame (Chisel)


FLOOD DAMAGE:
Instructions for the Assembly of God(s): CD
The kind of industrial music I enjoy the most is the kind that, when I close my eyes, makes me feel like I’m a cyborg, fresh out of a mech-shop, just repaired by a goggle-wearing, smirking mechano-doctor whose agile hands are caked in equal quantities of grease and blood. I wander a wasteland of scrap metal and sparks, where a random bullet is just as likely to come my way as a drop of rain. Flood Damage takes me there, manipulating mechanical soundscapes that move through triumphant, fist-pumping anthems to carnal, hip-swaying tunes to wire-melting, synapse-smashing stompers. With diverse and refreshing, yet respectfully retro, takes on industrial, this CD opens a window to the sort of world that I want to spend a lot of time in.  –mp (Self-released)


FOXES FAUX:
Fox Tails: CD
Foxes Faux plays fast, folk punk from England. The lyrics dabble in politics, but there’s a very commercial, almost mainstream-seeking vibe to this album. Most, if not all, of the songs are instantly singalong-able, with the band reaching its best when it’s at its fastest. In the end, there’s nothing faux about Foxes Faux, so those into speedy folk music will enjoy the hell out of Fox Tails.  –Art Ettinger (Self-released)


GALANOS:
Vacation Cannons: CD
Galanos’s online bio uses the words “loss,” “madness,” “grief,” “darkness,” and “catharsis” all within the same paragraph. To say that Galanos is riding the black goth wave to Sad-town would be putting it mildly. However, if you have a soft spot for NickCave elocution and the rolling bass lines of the Bunnymen or Simon Gallup, Galanos is going to be right up your alley because they execute incredibly well. Wouldn’t have been surprised to see this on Sacred Bones. Recommended for lonely winter night, snowed-in and painting your fingernails black.  –Matt Seward (Pyrrhic Victory)


GAY KISS:
Preservation Measures: LP
Gay Kiss straight rips. Preservation Measures switches back and forth from a deep, dark void to full-out mayhem, building to a maniacal, frenzied froth that whips and thrashes to just fucking falling apart into a million sick little pieces. Build that shit up just to tear it down. Hardcore bands GAG and Inservibles come to mind. Fucking bonkers.  –Camylle Reynolds (Sorry State)


GOOD RIDDANCE:
Peace in Our Time: CD
First new record from these Santa Cruz punkers in nine years. But no rust on these spokes as they spin here at full speed. I’m digging “Teachable Moments” and “Running on Fumes.” But, to be honest, there are no clunkers in the batch. This one rocks, and other than the slight misstep of using the same title as an album from an ‘80s Scottish band (also a great record, but I digress), you need this in your stash.  –koepenick (Fat)


GOOD RIDDANCE:
Peace in Our Time: LP
Peace in Our Time is Good Riddance’s first album in nine years and it doesn’t sound like they have lost—or ever plan on losing—a single step. This album is full of fast and tough but thoughtful, wonderfully written pop punk jams. They come one after another with little time to catch your breathe in between. The guitars, drums, and harmonies build a raging wave of sound behind Russ Rankin’s lyrics, sung from the whole of his body, guts, bones, and clenched fists. Well done, GR.  –John Mule (Fat)


GRAND PANTRYMEN:
The Two or Three Moods of the…: LP
Sloppy blues punk. Kind of sounds like listening to a Dead Milkmen record in some ways. There’s a drunken half-rhythmic delivery to the vocals in that sense. Weird digressions, but they’re weaved through the musical narrative well enough that they’re a welcome change. Loosey, goosey, but fun in a “let’s try anything” kind of way. A nice variety in a tight package. Keep up the good work. Grade: B+.  –Bryan Static (Laptop Smashing Party)


GREAT CYNICS:
I Feel Weird: LP/CD
It’s easy for me sitting here in the U.K. to marvel at the number of quality bands that exist on this sceptered isle, especially with so many being located within easy reach. Many of these bands deserve a wider audience and Great Cynics is one of them. The trio’s third album represents new heights of excellence, continuing on the sharp upward curve which began five years ago. Out of the eleven cheerfully melodic tracks—which sit somewhere between indie and punk—there are at least five solid hits, if one wanted to mine the album for singles. Vocalists Giles Bidder and Iona Cairns work equally well apart as they do in unison and their voices represent much of what makes this record stand out for me (although it’s Cairns’ who wins me over the most, especially on the rip roaring “North Street”).  –Rich Cocksedge (Specialist Subject)


G-WHIZ:
…Hook: LP
G-Whiz is an anomaly. What I mean by that is, it should be a band that is much more well known than it actually is, as it was pumping out catchy-as-fuck, completely solid pop punk records in the very early ‘90s, including splits with Crimpshine, The Lonely Trojans, and a bunch of other releases. This is a re-mastered reissue of one of those releases—their second full length that was only ever released on CD originally, back in 1994. Musically, G-Whiz took its cues from the same songbook as bands like ALL, Big Drill Car, and the Chemical People—catchy, guitar-driven, mid-paced pop punk, often with personal, introspective lyrics. My original copy of this on CD has been long lost, so this vinyl re-issue was a very nice and welcomed surprise. Recommended.  –Mark Twistworthy (Fair Warning)


HARDCORE CRAYONS:
Zozzled: CD
Hardcore Crayons is not a hardcore band, per se. That’s not to say the tunes aren’t punk, though. This is some pretty wild, instrumental and “free-thinking” music. It’s all over the goddamn place. From free jazz to mid-period Bad Brains, The Cows, or Faith No More. Some real nineties shit. Insanely well recorded and performed. Would be a great movie soundtrack.  –Steve Adamyk (Double Plus Good)


HATE MY DAY JOBS, THE:
Mouth on Fire: CD
Some days you just need to make up new subgenres for bands. I am going to call The Hate My Day Jobs purveyors of “riff-pop.” Oh, I am not saying that this is a new or groundbreaking sound. It’s not. I just wanted to call it something different to mix it up a bit. I am enjoying this disc a lot. These guys and girls are making me bounce in my seat while I’m writing this. I would be interested to hear more and see them play live. I wish the band name rolled off the tongue a little easier, but that is just being nitpicky.  –ty (thehatemyjobs.com)


HATES, THE:
People’s Temple: CD
I’m like a broken record when it comes to Texas punk rock. I love, love, love it! That said, I had never heard Houston’s The Hates until right now. Since there is absolutely no information on the disc, I had to hit the internet. It seems that it could have been Houston’s first punk band in 1978? The website does not mention this disc anywhere, so I went and put my detective hat on and got to work. The best I can figure out is that these are updated recordings of songs from their early singles. This is so good! The Hates sounds like a much better Youth Brigade (L.A.) with a helping of The Bodies in there for good measure. Of course these guys were around before that, so there you go. Apparently, they are still playing today, and that makes me happy because I think I found another classic Texas punk band to set my nerve endings on fire!  –ty (thehates.com)


HELL CITY KINGS:
“One Night Stand Ego” b/w “Two Grams All for Me”: 7”
I feel like going the “blank-city-noun” route for a band name is kinda weak, and done to death. That being said, these dudes are from Houston, TX. I’ve been to Houston. I spent the time it takes to ride the bus all the way across town, sprint to the nearest interstate onramp, and catch a ride the hell outta there. I totally dig cat-fist-fish cover art by Rae Ahn, and time-lapse comic insert by Jason Karns. Super cool stuff. As for the music, think Turbonegro-style, testosterone-driven rock’n’roll, and they do it very well.  –Jackie Rusted (Artificial Head)


HUNGRY TIGER:
Self-titled: LP
Hell yeah! This is good. Hungry Tiger is two men and two women who play hard-driving, sharp-as-a-switchblade punk rock out of Portland, Oregon. Their Bandcamp page claims that a “hungry tiger” is one who longs for an obese child to eat, but refuses to eat it based on principle. On a more personal note, doctors have been telling me that I am fifty pounds overweight since I was a freshman in high school, and this record has certainly consumed me. (Zing!) Seriously though, this shit rocks. Another point scored for the independent Northwest.  –John Mule (Sex Sheet)


HYSTERESE:
Self-titled: LP
You could have fooled me if you told me that Germany’s Hysterese hailed from either the rust belt or whatever catacombs in Canada the members of Crusades worship Satan in. Amazingly catchy punk with dark undertones and irresistible dude/lady vocals. There’s no need for breakneck speed or unnecessary guitar solos when your songwriting is on point, which is what Hysterese has effortlessly accomplished on one hell of a full length.  –Juan Espinosa (Dirt Cult)


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