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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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IAMDISEASE:
Praznina: CD
Slovenian hardcore band IAMDISEASE unleashes a blast of noise in the vein of Catharsis or Cobra Noir. My taste in crust doesn’t stray far from d-beat, so I can’t entirely comment in true form, but it’s extremely well played and performed. A few great stoner riffs in the there, as well. If you’re a fan of the Converge style of HC, this may well be up your alley.  –Steve Adamyk (Moonlee)


JELLO BIAFRA AND THE NEW ORLEANS RAUNCH AND SOUL ALL-STARS:
Walk on Jindal’s Splinters: CD
Biafra and some friends wreck all your favorite Southern-tinged standards before what sounds like a live audience. Have always been fond of his “jam a finger in some fucker’s eye and let the fun begin” style of music-as-performance-art-as-political-action hellraising, but I gotta say, this one ain’t really doin’ it for me. Sure, he’s in fine vocal form and the band serves up the tunes with a nice bayou-punk sabor, but when all’s said and done, it feels like little more than documentation of a gig that would’ve been a helluva lot more fun actually being at than listening to later. Still, of you have a hankering to listen to ‘em hatchet away at “Land of a Thousand Dances” or Ernie K-Doe’s “Mother-In-Law,” this’ll suit ye swell.  –jimmy (Alternative Tentacles)


JINXES, THE:
Mosquitos: 7”
This violent aural pasting of one of nature’s most maligned and misunderstood creatures given here is so beyond reproach, so odious—nay, nefarious!—that one’s ears wither at its calls for the listener to join in the hate-fest. To add insult to injury, they’ve insidiously built this abomination on the two most evil chords in music’s history so that every time the record needle winds its way through the “song’s” minute-seventeen length, a direct passage is opened to sub-sub-basements of hell that allows for Asmodeus himself to venture forth, charge outrageous sums for lawn piping and Q-Tips on the unwitting listener’s Walmart account, dance the Pookie on the grave of Soupy Sales, slip GMO-laden mushrooms into the sandwiches of every vegan on the planet, and update his Facebook status before again being forced back home. And then there’s the matter of the B side, which, frankly, is gonna cost me a truckload of money and years in therapy to recover. There seriously needs to be some sort of amendment to the Constitution that prevents openly malicious releases like these from proliferating through polite society.  –jimmy (Manglor)


KHMER:
Nubes Que Anuncian Tormenta: LP
This is that style of music that I have a hard time explaining because I don’t follow too many of these types of bands. I hear metal. Badass Spanish metal sung in Spanish. The vocals are evil and aggressive over relentless, pummeling drums. There’s heavy guitar and bass played by guys who have long attention spans and are willing to go further to get more out of a riff. One thing that’s really cool is they give you the lyrics in three languages: Spanish, English, and what I’m guessing is Japanese. Great packaging on this record; the cover art is a really dark and abstract landscape and the vinyl is black and brown splatter. Fans of crust, Mexican punk bands, Rudimentary Peni, and Discharge should definitely check this band out.  –Ryan Nichols (Halo Of Flies)


KIM FOWLEY:
Let’s Get Blasted: Cassette
Backed by a band not reminiscent of Half Japanese in some vague manner, recently departed trash impresario Kim Fowley ((one might remember him from such films as I Managed the Runaways, I Sang “The Trip,” and Why Is There a Venus & The Razorblades Song on That Second Dead Boys Album Anyway?)) sprechgesangshis way thru a nutty collection of rants, manifestos, and put-ons, presumably as his final gift to Earth’s youth. You will do every fucking drug in the house and it won’t be enough. This is the kind of thing you play at parties when there aren’t any girls there. Just put your head back!You’re doing it right. BEST SONG: “Dumb Romance” BEST SONG TITLE: “21stCentury Youth” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The Kiss song “King of the Night Time World” was originally performed by Kim Fowley & The Hollywood Stars.  –norb (Burger)


KING AUTOMATIC:
Lorraine Exotica: CD
King Automatic is an ingenious one-man band from France who borrows from tons of musical styles to create catchy, beautiful poppy songs about pertinent topics like Lee Marvin and adopting lap dancers. Kitsch soundtrack-esque packaging can’t adequately prepare the listener for the extreme goofiness contained therein. It’s all so endearing, though. Lounge, salsa, rockabilly, punk, and many other forms are represented in this outlandish blend. Lorraine Exotica is exotic, that’s for sure, but it’s also captivating. It’s not for everyone, but it’s an interesting release nonetheless. Supposedly Lorraine Exotica is his fourth full-length, so there must already be a fanbase waiting for this ridiculousness to land.  –Art Ettinger (Voodoo Rhythm)


KING LOLLIPOP:
Woodland Whoopee Songs of Ol’ Callowhee!: LP
King Lollipop is the one-man band/alter ego of Shannon And The Clams singer and guitarist Cody Blanchard. Cody wrote, sang, played, and recorded all of the songs on this here record. Thirteen tunes of playful irreverence with Cody’s signature vocals and intricate guitar work, with stomp box percussion. The songs are nice, but I can’t but help compare it to how full and rich I imagine these would sound as proper Shannon And The Clams jams.  –Jeff Proctor (1-2-3-4-Go!)


LADYBANANA:
Wall of Cheese: Cassette
Crazy, lo-fi, reverb-drenched garage stuff. Swaggering and over in a flash. I feel about stuff like this the way my mom feels about rap: I just can’t tell one group from another. It all sounds like a hundred very similar bands all covering the same goddamn song. These French dudes have songs called “Robot Man” and “$hake the Ass.” Quite possible there isn’t a lady or a banana in the bunch.  –keith (Frantic City)


LAME, THE:
Shall Enter First: LP
On Shall Enter First,Torino, Italy’s The Lame channels the dark and stormy atmosphere of the Lost Sounds’ Memphis Is Dead album and then brilliantly laces it with the rockabilly swagger of The Cramps. Co-ed vocalists bring to mind the blues-inspired madness of Boss Hog, especially on the song “Down in the Valley.” Tim Kerr’s always amazing cover art, as well as a beautifully printed dust sleeve, deserve mention and help round out an already enjoyable record. Grazie, The Lame!  –Juan Espinosa (Alien Snatch)


LAST SONS OF KRYPTON:
Teenage Trash: LP
Last Sons Of Krypton was small town Wisconsin’s teenaged version of the infamous garage punkers The Rip Offs—the highly influential, unpretentious, raw, and snotty California punk band that spawned many imitators. Both bands existed in the early/mid ‘90s, and both put out one really great record and a handful of other releases. This LP collects songs from splits, their first demo, and a few unreleased tunes, totaling twenty tracks that fans of Supercharger, The Motards, Teengenerate, or the above-mentioned Rip Offs will certainly be really into. Much like most of the ‘90s garage scene, politically correctness isn’t a concern, and the hateful vitriol from that scene and era is very much present within the songs and packaging. This may ruffle some feathers, as it’s something that bands could get away with in the ‘90s without repercussion, but certainly could not do now.  –Mark Twistworthy (Certified PR)


LAST THROES, THE:
Get Me Wrong: LP
Punk rock, emphasis on the rock. Something like Hot Snakes or Drive Like Jehu. There’s some goddamn power behind these power chords. The hammer slamming down on the cover is a perfect metaphor for the workman quality of the record. The beats are pounding, smashing a framework into shape that propels the sonic qualities throughout the whole disc. It’s simple, it’s heavy, it’s the noise of industry filtered into a punk record. Grade: B+.  –Bryan Static (Money Fire)


LINE TRAPS:
Self-titled: LP
A mixed-gender garage punk band that can cram a dozen or so songs onto a one-sided LP can’t help but make me think of the Okmoniks, but this is much less party-oriented scuzz than that. By about the time “Static Shock” rolled in, I figured out that the no-frills garagey squall evoked the heady taste of Rip Off Records circa the Cryin’ Out Louds and Motards 45s, so then I got stoned and listened to it about three times in a row, just to see if I missed anything. Results inconclusive. Short, good songs, firing off one after the other to minimize downtime. That must have been one hell of a Kaizen event! I applaud their ruthless efficiency. BEST SONG: “Static Shock” BEST SONG TITLE: “In Print” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Concludes with an Angry Samoans cover but i’m not saying which song.  –norb (Screen Test)


LIPPIES, THE:
Self-titled: Cassette
The Lippies formed as a vehicle for front-person Tonia Broucek’s previously ukulele-driven, feminist singer-songwriting, and her insane vocal control and witty musings differentiate the capable Michigan four piece’s debut EP. Neither the promises of “pop punk,” nor the fun, childlike packaging of the cassette prepared me for “Drop Off,” an opening track rife with battle-cry vocals, aggressive riffs, and an epic, swelling breakdown. Lyrically, these six songs rest comfortably in riot grrrl territory, but, musically, they feel informed by a broader definition of punk. “302” has all of the cutesy bounce of Tsunami Bomb without going off message, while “Sidewalk Talk” pairs the bass and guitar lines of an early Fat Wreck band with lyrics indicting street harassment. The Lippies is bringing some welcome diversity to a reemerging genre. Plus, sandwich connoisseur Brendan Kelly likes them, and he doesn’t like anything!  –Kelley O’Death (Independent Fries)


LIPPIES, THE:
World Happiness Dance: 7”
“302”, the first song on this record, is so unbelievably awesome and bubblegum catchy. I wish I could quit playing it. It’s getting stuck in my head and I find myself singing it out loud: “I think you’re funny, I think you’re cute. I’d like to drink my brains, my brains out with you.” A man of my age gets some weird looks singing such dorkisms on elevators and such. The lead singer has a voice so completely unbelievably gorgeous and powerful she’s lucky to have a band that can carry her. Not to mention the songwriting—I’ve heard far too many bands with a great female vocalist where the songs or the rest of the band just fall flat around them. On the second side, “Give Him the Squirrel” is a little more cryptic, a song whose character is “feeling lost and lacking in direction” and forced into “information overload!” The songs ends with the shouted “my heart’s exploding and it’s splattering all over your face, your face, YOUR FACE...YOU SHOULD SEE YOUR FACE!” “Beat It into Me” doesn’t let up on the pop, but the lyrics take on a socio-political tone: “they beat it, they beat it, they beat it into us. We get it, we get it, we’ll never fit in. We figure out your equation to gain validation. Where lies accountability, in our vanishing communities?” The pairing of the lighthearted nature of the first side with the angst of side two works perfectly. Just found my summer jam.  –Craven Rock (Independent Fries)


M.O.R.A.:
Halveksunnan Aika: CDEP
Some Finns drown their hardcore in metal. Not bad, not stunning, not really my bag.  –jimmy (M.O.R.A.)


MAD PARADE:
The Fool: 7”
Over a career that spans across four decades, these San GabrielValley punk stalwarts have stuffed six full-lengths and numerous singles and EPs with consistently tasty tunes that meld the best of early U.K. punk with the melodic sensibilities of the best of early L.A. punk. This single, one of two Mad Parade singles Hostage released this year, adds no shame to their game: two monster tunes rife with the kind of hooks they seem to toss out with an ease that one can’t help but envy, served up with that kind of fist-pumping, bounce-off-the-walls abandon that’ll get even old fucks like me singing along in wild abandon. A double-hit slab o’ gold if ever there was one, and if that ain’t enough, they’ve included a download card that adds a bunch of unreleased, career-spanning demos to sweeten an already generous deal. As with most of Hostage’s catalogue, the pressing is muy limited, but best believe the search is well worth the effort.  –jimmy (Hostage)


MARVELOUS MARK:
Bite Me: 7”
Marvelous Mark is Mark Fosco, most recently involved in Marvelous Darlings with Fucked Up’s Ben Cook. This is fuzz-laden power pop which, on the first two tracks, resembles a languid coming together of Sloan, The Charlatans, and The Stone Roses—an odd combination, I grant you, but a winning one in this instance. The final track, “I’m Freaking Out,” steps things up a bit, racing along at a fair clip for its all-too-brief existence and is a great counterpoint to what proceeds it. The single comes and goes like a hit and run, but, in this case, I’m left desperately wanting more.  –Rich Cocksedge (Drunken Sailor)


MAU MAUS:
Fear No Evil: LP
Truth be told, snobby teenaged me never gave these cats a fair shake ‘cause (in said teenaged mind) they’d had the temerity to jack their name from one of L.A.’s more infamous bands. As a result, my previous experience with them is limited to an odd thrashy track heard here or there and little else. According to the sparse liner notes on this Czech pressing of their first studio full-length originally released 1985 on Rebellion Records, they decided to mix things up a bit adding slower tempos, poppy elements, and even some odd cover songs (Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” and the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” figure here) to their otherwise solid U.K. punk sound. Although I remain decidedly in the L.A. Mau Maus camp, I gotta admit I missed out on these cats the first time ‘round. Glad that this has given me the chance to rectify that previous short-sighted error in judgment.  –jimmy (PHR)


MDC:
Millions of Dead Cops – Millennium Edition: CD
Seeing as I’m fairly confident in the conceit that this is the linchpin album for this highly influential act—and if a potential listener has any interest in the hardcore punk genre they’re already in the process of wearing out their fifth or sixth copy of this—I’ll save the fawning and cooing about how fuggin’ great it is. Suffice to say it’s fast, it’s loud, and it’s pissed off. What I will fawn and coo over are the extras. In addition to the original full length, Beer City has tacked on the cuts from the Multi-Death Corporations EP; the Millions of Dead Children EP; the John Wayne Was A Nazi single released before the band conceded their original name, Stains, to the East Los Angeles powerhouse that had already been using said moniker; a 1983 live set from CBGB, the two tracks included on the Rat Music for Rat People Volume 2 compilation; and a gaggle of previously unreleased tracks, including two recorded during the session that resulted in the aforementioned Stains single. If this were 1985, you’d be pretty much caught up to their oeuvre up to that point with one purchase and waiting impatiently to throw your lunch money at the local record shop owner for their Smoke Signals LP. You’d probably have to wait a few years before you could play this in 1985, though, ‘cause unless you were rich, CD players weren’t quite yet a “thing” then. Thank Mahfü we live in the modern age!  –jimmy (Beer City)


MELTED:
Ziptripper: Cassette
Melted hasn’t reinvented the wheel, instead it has oiled and inflated the sucker with these six gnarled tunes. This is snot-fueled punk powered by attitude and angst. Although Angelenos have been inundated by this sound lately, Melted attacks like Audacity’s Power Drowning LP and regurgitate the melodic highlights of FIDLAR and Pangea. The lyrics are equal parts dumb and fatalistic: “I’m a dog and no one wants me / I’m a mess and I can’t get clean.” I hope Melted never “matures” and it keeps on assaulting my ears with sneering vocals and blown-out guitars.  –Sean Arenas (Lolipop)


MID RATS:
Vandalize You: CDEP
Nice bit of thrashy hardcore here with some choice stops, stutters, and breakdowns to add some variety. There are bits of melody tossed in here and there, and the production quality ain’t too shabby. The ‘80s are a definite inspiration here, and shades of Articles Of Faith can be heard in “Terror Tuesday.” Not bad.  –jimmy (Mid Rats)


MILE ME DEAF:
Eerie Bits of Future Trips: CD
A heady mix of noise pop, woozy shoegaze, Syd Barrettesque psychedelia, and artsy tape manipulation, all wrapped up nice and purty with an indie pop bow. This is getting a lot of air time around these parts.  –jimmy (Siluh)


MODERN ACTION / SWINGIN’ UTTERS:
Split: 7”
Modern Action: This tune leans a bit more towards the Bodies portion of its DNA—a solid bit of driving, pogo-inducing punk that leaves you wishing there were more served up here than one tune. Swingin’ Utters: Gotta say, these cats have never really turned my head, but this is a really good tune—straightforward, driving delivery along the lines of their split-mates here, with some weaving guitar leads wielded to good effect. Gotta say, I think this bad boy ends in a draw, which is a win/win for the listener.  –jimmy (Modern Action)


MOON BANDITS:
Property Damage: A Love Story: CD
A couple years back, I reviewed Moon Bandit’s last full-length release, Action Changes Thinking, and wrote, “This album is, in the most wonderful way, apocalyptic. The end is here. A new beginning is upon us.” Property Damage: A Love Story continues that vision only—if this is possible—in a much more poignant, time-sensitive way. Take, for example, the song “Joe.” It is easily my favorite track on the record and possibly the most personal to Tommy, banjo player and singer. It tells the story of a young man who starts an ACLU-influenced, students’ rights organization on his high school campus and is eventually the victim of physical abuse by the campus police officer. As the song says, the officer loses his job but the speaker’s life is ruined by resentment, anger, drugs, and alcohol as a result of the stress of the incident and the court hearings that follow. Tommy and Astrid, the dynamic duo behind Moon Bandits, would be the first to point out that, being white, they do not know the full extent of police oppression in the United States. But, in a year when there seems to be another example of police abuse in the news on a daily basis, songs like “Joe,” “It’s Gonna Roll,” and “We Ain’t Lazy” are important and need to be written, sung, screamed, sung along to, and taken into the streets, living rooms, venues, bars, city halls, churches, schools, public spaces, and occupied territories of the world.  –John Mule (Diet Pop)


MORKHIMMEL:
Ostri Cerne Kosy Zni: LP
This is a Czech band. Everything written on the record is in Czech. Maybe somewhere it says, in Czech, if I’m supposed to play this at 33 or 45. It doesn’t matter, really. The singer is two steps past Lemmy in the gravel and the music is brutal crust at either speed, sounding doomy at 33 and death metal-y at 45. The cover is ominous as fuck, featuring a bird with a scythe for a beak, and this record is a beast any way you spin it.  –Chris Terry (insanesociety.net)


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