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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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KIDNAPPERS, THE:
Self-titled: 7" EP
I have yet to meet a Zaxxon Virile Action release I haven’t dug, and this is no exception. The A-side, “Spanish Girls,” has this great “Inflammable”-era SLF meets the mods thing goin’ for it that just makes it immediate crucial listening. The other two tunes on this are more in the garage-informed punk vein you expect from bands on this label, which are no less good, but up against some tough competition when put up against that stunner on the other side. Let’s pray to the god of rock’n’roll that these kids manage to squeeze out an LP before inevitably throwing in the towel, as all good bands do. –jimmy (www.zaxxonvirileaction.com)


KICKZ, THE:
“One Day” b/w “Don’t Ask Why”: 7"
I saw these seventeen-year-olds in Austin and something didn’t sit quite right with me. I have a lot of quirks when it comes to see a band play live, and if there’s not a good reason for a band member to not have shoes on (like a broken foot), no matter what comes out of the speakers, I think to myself, “Hippie, put some shoes on” unless I’m thoroughly convinced otherwise (as I was with Dan Yemin of Kid Dynamite). Without the visual hurdles to retard me, I’m digging the single. Gone is the wanking and noodling of kids learning to play their instruments better but not knowing when to stop. (Steve Diggle rules. Stevie Vai sucks.) “One Day” is full of youthful enthusiasm, tried and true melodies from the first wave of melodic English punk (Stiff Little Fingers wouldn’t be too far off), and a sharpshooter of a recording. The b-side is a toe-tapping Replacements cover. Reigned in, I like these guys quite a bit. –todd (Mortville)


KAAOS:
Ristiinnaulittu Kaaos: LP
I don’t know if it’s all that snow or what, but the Scandinavians have got the market cornered in the western hemisphere when it comes to consistently amazing hardcore releases. Twenty-plus years and, as evidenced by bands like Krigshot and Rajoitus, most countries still can’t come close to matching the chaotic bliss that comes outta the frostbitten European north. Don’t believe me? Pop this puppy, a reissue of a classic from 1984, onto the turntable, crank up the volume and prepare to have your ears gouged by some of the best noise ever associated with the word “punk.” This record is rife with fjordcore fury, as punishing as it was two decades ago and, as if the original tracks weren’t enough, three additional tracks have been tacked on to up the ante. Give this bad boy a place of reverence in your collection, sandwiched between tattered Terveet Kadet, Rattus, and Riisteyt releases, and just wish you were in a band that friggin’ good. –jimmy (Havoc)


JUCIFER:
War Bird: CD
Dirgy stoner rock with pretty female vocals. Different, but not exactly something I’d rush to play again. –jimmy (Velocette)


KA-KNIVES, THE:
“Weasel” b/w “Dear Dad”: 7"
In the spirit of Supercharger and the Oblivians, the equation’s as predictable as it is effective. Take low-fi, kick some dirt on it, record it through a boom box (or whatever sounds like one), and kick it in the nads a couple more times, so you don’t know if it’s limping or staggering. If you did it right, it’s the audio equivalent to duct-taped instruments, fractured cymbals, and microphones with cracked cords. Here are two covers: one by Joe and the Furies, and one by Chuck Berry. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like it. On drums and vocals is Matt of the dearly missed Jewws (of which the Ka-Knives are a reasonable outreach from) and Junior Varsity (which this is pretty far afield from). –todd (Lance Rock)


JOHN HOLMES:
Everything Went Blacker: CD
New York thug metal bites, even if the band in question hails from England. Press material says they’ve toured with Poison Idea and it’s too bad they learned nothing from the experience. Look kids, you wanna up the brutality level? Forget all this thick-necked metal crap and take these three words to heart: PICK YOUR KING. With that template you can’t go wrong and you’re guaranteed to put the fear of god into anyone that crosses your path.  –jimmy (Household Name)


JOE COFFEE:
Bright as the Stars We’re Under: CD
Not too interesting metal/rock with a gruff singer. –jimmy (Street Anthem)


JESUS AND THE DEVIL:
Destructive Music Resists the Oncoming Light: CD
Reminiscent of early ‘90s indie rock and the sound is different compared to most bands out now, but that doesn’t make this unique. It falls back on being too rhythmic with the guitar work, something that very few bands can really get away with. I would rather listen to Sebadoh. –Wanda Sprag –Guest Contributor (Fudge Sickill)


JERRY SPIDER GANG:
Exile on Mainstream: CD
Like every other punk rock aficionado stuck to this planet in the year 2004, I’m up to the cut of my jib with Hellacopters-styled poonk rawk bands, what with all their sideburns and greasy t-shirts and their Lemmy Kilmister school-boy crushes. Not to mention their unabashed arena rock bravado that seems, from at least one angle, to fly stupidly straight into the face of conventional punk rock decorum. And let’s be honest: we’ve paid dearly for what probably began as a nordically honest fusion of some of the best aspects of metal and punk. Vapid party-line-toting bands like Gluecifer and the Retardos now seem like mere mediocrities compared to MTV darlings now arriving on the scene, such as Jet and the Strokes. But despite all this baggage I’m carrying around with me regarding these Hella-copy cats, Jerry Spider Gang somehow manages to not invoke my utter contempt. Sure, they’re at least six or seven years late, but what the fuck? They don’t sound like they’re faking it and, though they sometimes come perilously close, they don’t strangle each song to death with never-ending xmas light strings of wah-pedal guitar solos. Plus, it’s pretty catchy. I’ll probably be sick of it by next week, but for now I think it’s pretty good. –aphid (Lollipop)


JET BOYS, THE:
Jet Patrol!!: CD
It’s hard not to compare Japanese rock and roll bands to Teengenerate, the band that pretty much set the standard that has yet to be touched. The Jet Boys aren’t nearly as trashy, but the sound is there. They also have a bit more of a hard rock-type of sound, not in a Van Halen way, but more like Bloodbrothers by the Dictators kind of way. It’s somewhere between the classic rock-isms of Electric Eel Shock and the fuzzed-out trash rock of Guitar Wolf, and that’s a good sign that it’s pretty rippin’. Not for the weak of heart. –Josh (Pictus, no address written in English)


JET BOYS, THE:
“Shit My Pants” b/w “Gonna Bite You,” “Burn Out”: 7"
The Jet Boys remind me how simple my tastes really are and how much little it takes for me to like punk rock if it’s well done. These three burners stab as fast as Blood, Guts, and Pussy-era Dwarves and the Jet Boys are comparable to the Japanese punk rock band that’s hard not to mention if there’s garage, speed, and not sucking put into the same sentence: Teengenerate. This seven inch is simple as a pencil in the eye, sharp as prison concertina wire, and as fast as premature ejaculation (but, you know, not embarrassing). Cool. –todd (Black Lung)


JEFFIE GENETIC AND HIS CLONES:
Need a Wave: CD
Jeff from the New Town Animals playing all the instruments, making all the moves, having all the fun. A good album all the way through, straight-shootin’ early ‘80s black-and-white new wavey rock. But the lyrics are fun, as the title track questions the difference between the army and kids looking for today’s new wave to follow, “Scooter Queen” about a guy who’s girlfriend scooted into a bus and now he watches Quadrophenia all day, and the obligatory lobotomy song.  –mike (Dirtnap)


HOW DARE YOU:
Comfort Road: CDEP
These guys sound like an extremely watered down version of Love Me Destroyer. The songcraft is very bro-ha (meaning the band devoted ninety-nine percent of the lyrical content to specific people and situations that relate only to themselves and their bros.) I’m not the band’s bro or hoe, so, sorry, I missed out when, “In ‘95 we had our first band, wailing on Stratocasters” as the lyrics to the song “Hecker” plaintively state. While bro-ha tunes are fine for family and high school reunions, they leave the rest of us in the dark. The album pulled out all the stops, literally, into a screeching halt by ending with the emo song, “No Remains.” This is a ballad-y tune musically arranged to include a piano. But what else was I supposed to expect from a band that describes themselves (on their MySpace page) as, “Four guys beaten down by humidity in the heart of Disneyworld.”? –N.L. Dewart –Guest Contributor (Fail Safe)


HI RED CENTER:
Assemble: CD
It seems like every time I get a batch of CDs to review there is always one album with which I don’t know what to do. This time around it would be Hi Red Center’s Assemble. I am familiar with their label, Joyful Noise, and Hi Red Center sounds akin to some of the other material on there: kind of quirky and odd, but retaining something almost endearing within that weirdness. In that sense, they are very similar to Deerhoof but without the tiny Japanese voice. The range of instruments (vibraphone, keys, clarinet, trumpet, and bassoon as well as guitar and bass) is welcome and gives Hi Red Center some solid artistic ground to state their claim for being slightly unique. The vocals are male with some good harmonies, but after repeated listens and mulling over the nine tracks, I can’t help but think of those cute Japanese vocals of Deerhoof instead. It hits me how much this reminds me of the West Coast quartet except different vocals and Hi Red Center isn’t quite as spastic. Thus it comes down to this comparison of West Coast and East Coast (Hi Red Center is from NYC) quirkiness. While I respect their attempt at artistry, the interest in listening to bands like this on a frequent basis might require pretty tight jeans and a better haircut on my part. –kurt (Joyful Noise)


HEXTALLS, THE:
Call It a Comeback: CD
Their drummer’s name is Nikki Stixx. Does anyone else besides me think that is fucking hilarious? But that’s not the only thing that will make you laugh on this record. Sit down and read the lyrics sheet like you’re cramming for a final exam. Eat a coffee sandwich if you have to. Once you have them down, sing along and try not to spit out your beer at the same time. Trust me—it’s fun! “On The Third Day, Axl Rose” has the super catchy chorus of “Scott Weiland is an asshole.” I just wish the bonus tracks had the lyrics listed. No worries though, “Martin Lawrence” will quickly become your new favorite song. I promise. –koepenick (Self-released)


HERE COMES A BIG BLACK CLOUD:
Pompeii: LP
The record opens with a bunch of strange sounds, screeches, and then an ominous organ cuts in, making way for some dirty, bizarre, garage rock that sounds as if it was recorded in a subterranean recording studio. Scratch that… a subterranean recording studio that has been set on fire. The cover art features what appears to be satanic Teletubby—and the liner notes seem to be written by either a very hateful fan or, possibly, a jaded member of the band. This genre usually isn’t even my thing, but I was honestly blown away by this weird slab of plastic. –Evan Katz (Recorded)


HELLHOLE:
Self-titled: EP
Whoa!! This is a great record! Hellhole cranks out some mid to fast hardcore that has a lot of low end and hits hard. I like how the bass sounds on “Under Control.” It has this menacing sound with a pace to match. The song erupts into a slightly faster tempo but the presence of that bass remains. They maintain their power by never going full tilt thrash. Instead, they write songs that are memorable, structured solidly, and with breakdowns and time changes to keep things moving. The vocalist has a bellow that allows the words to come through loud and clear, which also allows for the tone of the song to come through, instead of the usual straight screaming we get too often these days. Great dual guitar sound on here as well. Solid record the whole way through. This band could very well be a force to reckon with as of right now. Clear vinyl, if that’s your thing. –Matt Average (Off The Books)


HEARTBEEPS:
Self-titled: EP
A couple of ex-TV Killers dudes have a new band, which is along the same lines as the former, though this new outfit may be a little more edgy. “Boring Life with No Guitar” is a hyper song that possesses all the traits of a good punk song: attitude, style, and frantic pacing. “Losin’ Control” is a mid-tempo breather, then they close out with cover of Love’s “My Flash on You.” Pretty good stuff, no doubt. There’s only 500 pressed, so don’t delay. –Matt Average (Frantic City / Heartbeeps)


HEAD HOME:
Outside My Window: 12”EP
Daryl said that I would probably like this because it’s shoe gaze. Well, he was right on both counts. It’s shoe gaze and I like it. It’s shoe gaze that is more concerned with rocking and melody than experimental soundscapes. In fact, you aren’t going to find anything you might think of when you hear “experimental soundscapes” on here. Don’t get me wrong, there is a big, atmospheric sound on here quite frequently, but it’s free from any bullshit. It’s kinda reminiscent of Swervedriver’s Ejector Seat Reservation. The little catalog that accompanies this 12” makes a comparison of the Head Home to Dinosaur Jr., and I’d be hard pressed to say that it’s a bad comparison. The guitars are big and rockin’ and aren’t afraid of pop and melody; the vocals are smooth yet slightly distorted and meld perfectly into the rhythm. This is good stuff! –Vincent Battilana (Wallride)


HANNA HIRSCH:
Tala Svart: CD
The Sugarcubes, apparently, started out as a punk band. This was way before Björk became a venture capitalist. What does this have to do with Stockholm, Sweden’s Hanna Hirsch? Hanna Hirsch is bridled to a similar undeniable pop sensibility—like a river of silver—pulsing in the heartbeat of these undeniably contemporary punk songs. The recording sounds icy; shatteringly icy, like it was done in a vacuum, in space. It’s that infinity that gives the entire record a stretched-out, palpable desperation. Bladerunner android vocals, stainless steel-sounding synthesizers, organic, thudding drums, and glistening, serrated, barbed-wire-of-the-future guitars crash and crunch together. Even when they slow down and get quiet, it’s tense and pretty as all hell. Excellent. Well worth a long hunt. –todd (Diskret Förlag, www.diskretforlag.com)


GUYSTORM, THE:
Self-titled: 7”
The Guystorm will get political on you, winking and drinking. This is a dancey, chunky bass-y, not entirely unserious, guitar dueling-y, and solid debut record. The recording itself is all self-released pop and squeal, all punk tinniness and crackle. That’s a good thing. If this were the new—so, right here, I tried to think of a band that would sound better with glossed production and couldn’t. So there’s that bias. Anyways, considering these guys have been together a little over a year, and that this is their first record (and it’s actually good), they seem likely to earn their place in the completely imagined “New Golden Age” of Minneapolis. Oh, also: raucous punk anthems. YES. –Andrew Flanagan (Self-released)


GUILTY FACES:
Nightmares: 7"
Straight forward early to mid-’80s L.A./O.C.-style punk. I was hearing a bit of D.I. and even some Wasted Youth. Songs are short and to the point. The vocals are, at times, maybe too snotty for their own good and might have carried the songs better if they were a little less stylized. Still, this does pack a nice, nostalgic punch if you dig on that sound. –Evan Katz (Room 101)


GUILT, THE:
Self-titled: Tape
Ripping hardcore that’s unbelievably solid and tight for a demo. It comes out of D.C., which comes across in its sound, but it’s not overly obvious. It reminds me of Fucked Up at times, too. The lyrics are mostly about emotions, like guilt and depression, which seems kind of cheesy at this point in my life. Nonetheless, they are spat out with a great amount of passion. That I can get behind. –Craven (Self-released)


GUILT LUST:
Self-titled: LP
Beefy hardcore punk with bilious vocals, slowed down a bit for added hard rock swagger. If Pig Champion’s passing left a hole in your heart, this record will make you feel the darkness all over again. The eight songs go by fast. By the time I was done making my sandwich, side A was done. I had to pause my eating during side B to fully take in their left-field hardcore cover of “A House Is Not a Hotel” by Love. They made it fit on their record without compromising the menace of the original. There’s nothing trendy or bullshitty about this record. I get the idea that these guys are doing it for the love of it and don’t give a damn if no one watches. –CT Terry (Fun With Smack)


GOTHIEFS, THE:
Hongkong Rocks / Limited Applied: 7”
I’ve always had nothin’ but respect for bands that completely thumb their noses at the established theology of audio recording ((which should not be confused with bands who fail to observe those same conventions owing to sheer ineptness))—after all, what has obeying standard audio conventions ever gotten us other than a lifetime of fear, pain, and shame? In any event, few combos thumb more proboscis at established audio convention than the Gothiefs ((although I am a bit concerned over whether it is GO or GOTH which they thieve)); one assumes that the lights in the control room of whatever hapless studio in which they deigned to record were nothing but a mass of solid red squares, and every femtosecond of silence ((i.e., time when there’s no pounding going on)) is conveniently filled with feedback squeals. Kinda reminds me of the sonic qualities of a few of those older Guitar Wolf records, but more punk-ish and less UFO Rock-ish. I believe my attention has been duly gotten. Good day to you. BEST SONG: “Hongkong Rocks” BEST SONG TITLE “Hongkong Rocks” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: “Gothiefs” is an anagram for “Hoe Gifts,” “Heist Fog,” “Fie Ghost” and “Fetish Go,” among others. –norb (High School Refuse)


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·CLEAN-CUTS, THE


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