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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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LOVE BOAT:
Imaginary Beatings of Love: CD
I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I was disappointed with the Clorox Girls’ last record, J´aime Les Filles. I’m totally fine with punk bands discovering pop, but when it’s a complete divorce from their previous efforts into a lighter pair of loafers, it makes me feel like a musical orphan. Love Boat, like Thee Makeout Party and Mojomatics—although they don’t sound too much alike on the surface—take that jangly, gutsy pop that’s a cross between the Beach Boys and the Beatles and jump into this quickly aging millennium, never forgetting the importance of keeping the contemporary crunch and tackle in their songs. Imaginary Beatings of Love is bright, crisp, and very listenable. –todd (Alien Snatch, www.aliensnatch.com)


LOOK MEXICO:
Gasp Asp: 7”
Let me just start out by saying that the artwork by Joshua Mikel and Jerrod Landon Parker is fucking amazing. I spent a lot of time staring at the creepy monsters on the cover. The music, unfortunately, is really easy to ignore. I’ve had to play this a lot. It’s so easy to tune out, maybe because it sounds like a lot of bad songs being played on the radio. –Rene Navarro (Tiny Engines, info@tinyengines.net)


LOLLIGAGS, THE:
Out of Perversity Join Hands: CDEP
This seven-song EP from Athens, Georgia’s The Lolligags is pure synth pop joy reminiscent of Ladytron, or a band I reviewed a few issues back, UV Protection. Female vocals lead the way and are layered throughout the album with danceable beats backing them up. The music isn’t overly cheery; it retains a dark, thick side to it (I can hear Depeche Mode and Joy Division similarities at times) but that doesn’t mean this wouldn’t get you shakin’ your ass. Still, it would be cool to hear them explore some more of that darker synth sound that would piss off the kids on the dance floor. –kurt (HHBTM)


LIBYANS:
Self-titled: 12” EP
This band released one of my favorite 7”s of 2008. The Welcome to the Neighborhood EP fucked my shit up, and this 12” is just as seeped in punchy, old school riffs and hardened, unremorseful melodies. Though this record was written in the middle of a line-up change, the songs are consistently pissed, and the difference is hardly noticeable. I think it’s pretty safe to say The Libyans are not only one of the best female-fronted hardcore punk bands around today, but also put together some of the best packaging. Spray paint on translucent paper in front of a full color cover is wicked awesome. –Daryl Gussin (Upstate Chamber of Commerce)


LET’S GROW:
Disease of Modern Times: 12”
People have been punching each other in the face since the beginning of time, and it’s still effective and shocking when it happens. That’s how I feel about this type of hardcore. There are scads of bands in Infest and Youth Of Today shirts playing fast and pissed off, but it tends to work. Case in point, I don’t feel like this 12” is bringing anything new to the game, but it will leave you full of adrenaline and bloody your nose. –CT Terry (Know)


LET’S DANCE / AVENUE ROSE:
SPLIT: 7”
Split 7”s are supposed to have different bands, but I had never gotten one that had a different RPM on each side. Let’s Dance seemed a bit formulaic with some high energy guitars and strong choruses. They’re two pop punk songs, both about girls. The first track, “Crazy,” was the strongest of the two, off their Outta Time record, so maybe that album rules. The second band, Avenue, Rose wasn’t very exciting and eventually led me to simply stop flipping the record. –Rene Navarro (Longshot Music)


LE FACE:
Isolation: LP
Whoa—dessssssperate. Amazing minimal punk so anxious that it’s energetic way past its simplicity. Coming from outside L.A., Le Face describes themselves as “neo-dada noise.” This could be The Urinals with Charlie Feathers added on as front man. Contagious rhythms, jittery vocals pushing and pulling it forward. You can hear despondent ‘80s sensibilities in songs like “Isolation,” “Manic Depression,” and “Tylenol Killer”—spooky, sharp edges. This is as good as anything else coming out of this city of a thousand small towns. When I was in ninth grade and saw Suburbia on VHS, I was transfixed and saved from my own suburbs. Who were these outcast kids in L.A.? When they walked in to the kid’s bedroom and The Germs’ “No God” was screeching from the record player, I had to find it. Got the same feeling when I started this record. “Who are these guys?” If you order the LP direct from the label you can also buy a (limited to 350) bonus 7” with three new songs (two non-LP and one alternate version) that were produced by The Screamers’ Paul Roessler. –mike (Dead Beat)


LARSONS, THE:
Fictitious Disorder: CD-R
Straight-forward, late ‘70s/early ‘80s style punk, with lyrics about zombies and horror movies and such. The most obvious influence is the Angry Samoans, as the last of these five songs is a cover of “Lights Out.” The fact that this was recorded on a four-track and fairly lo-fi only helps, though I feel it starts to lose energy towards the end, and I like it a little more when the songs are really short, like roughly around the minute mark. Otherwise, this is pretty neat. –joe (Hands Of Fate)


KNIFE PARTY:
Just Like You, Only Better: CD

Look, kind folks at Razorcake, I’m not really into hearing any more bands with that basic ‘77-’80s punk sound. I mean, this might make me seem like a dick, but, really, I’ve got this area pretty well covered and there’s not much more...wait...this rocks! This totally kicks ass! This guy’s voice, so spastic. Those riffs, so punchy. You just can’t argue with good rock’n’roll. Just like you, only better? Indeed. Indeed.

–Craven (Superbob)


KING KHAN & BBQ SHOW:
Animal Party: 7”
Two long and jammy songs from this consistently bad ass duo. And as much as I loved What’s for Dinner?, it didn’t come with a coloring book containing pictures of oddly human-looking animals. And, sure, I’m probably never gonna color this coloring book, but you can guarantee that this single is getting a decent amount of spins on my turntable. –Daryl Gussin (Fat Possum)


KING GENERATOR:
Self-titled: 12” EP
I try to stay away from using words like “brutal” to describe music these days. However, I have to make an exception for this record. King Generator (members are Jamie Thomson (Shank, The Process), Dave Witte (Discordance Axis, Melt Banana, Municipal Waste), and Mike Hill (Tombs, Anodyne)) certainly crank out brutal hardcore that is blistering at times and slow and anguished at others. “Out Of Time” sounds like the sky is collapsing and everything is bursting in slow motion. “My One Regret” is the slower of the songs; the sort of song you listen to and stew in your hate and alienation. This is seven songs of ugliness and despair. Embrace the darkness. –Matt Average (Tank Crimes)


KILEGO VERT:
Journey to the Deepest Part of the Ocean: CD
This is a four-song (well, actually three plus a bonus track. Hey dudes, no one cares if it’s a bonus track. Just say it’s got four tracks), forty minute CD that was a welcome change. Unlike much of the things I review, it didn’t totally suck. It’s also very epic sounding and isn’t about pop riffs and simplicity. No, Kilego Vert have bigger ideas than that. Think Isis meets butt rock or Pink Floyd with extensive guitar solos. Think of half-spoken, half-sung vocals with samples from some movie or TV show or random dudes being played behind the music. At first I thought I would really dig this album, but after a few listens it just seemed too dramatic and big for me. I started having bad flashbacks to weak prog CDs I’ve been forced to listen to. As with so many bands, there are interesting ideas here. Hopefully, Kilego Vert will continue to explore and refine their sound. –kurt (Zodiac Killer)


KEVIN RHEAULT:
Disarray: 7”
“Alone on Friday night, so much wrong, so much life, lit up like the Fourth of July” and “You got nothing to despise… so come on!” I must have got those lyrics wrong, but I hate bar rock too much to listen again and find out. –mike (Bampf!)


KENTUCKY KNIFE FIGHT:
The Wolf Crept, the Children Slept: CD
KKF exhumes the shriveled-up corpse of ‘70s punk, cuts it open, and stuffs it full of swaggering rockabilly rhythm. For good measure, it throws in a touch of honky tonk. The lyrics skim through the vulgar lives of shady men driving to places they shouldn’t go, hanging out with the wrong women, drinking too much, and then going back and doing it all again. All that and a killer piano solo. –mp (Self-released)


JUVENTUD CRASA / MENOSVALIDOS:
Split: CD

Very solid split album featuring two female-fronted punk rock bands from Latin America. Juventud Crasa hail from Puerto Rico and are the more experimental of the two. They play passionate punk rock with a strong rock en Español influence. The songs move and switch up styles, but carry a consistent emotion that ties them all together. Menosvalidos from Mexico are definitely the more straightforward of the two, but they make up for it in spades with aggression and spitfire. Male and female vocalists switch duties throughout the very tight and short tracks. I can’t read the lyrics in the booklet, but I’m guessing that they’re political in nature. Highly recommended. –Evan Katz

–Guest Contributor (Southkore)


JUVENTUD CRASA / MENOSVALIDOS:
Split: CD
Both sing in a language that might be Spanish or an “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Spanish” Spanish brand substitute. Both bands use male/female dual vocals. Both bands play in a style not unlike later ‘80s hardcore (you know, when it started dicking around with metal and caught all those weird STDs). Now here are the differences: Juventud Crasa is entirely forgettable. Menosvalidos’ last three songs almost make the disc worth it, but it seems that these efforts are wasted and they should just put out a 7” instead. Also, isn’t there a rule where splits are supposed to be two not entirely similar bands? This felt like I was eating two pieces of bread disguised as a sandwich. –Bryan Static (Valle Miseria/Southkore/Rocanrolperu/Discos de Hoy/Cabeza e Vacas)


JOHNNY VOMIT:
Extreme Championship Drinking: CD
Not for the politically correct crowd, this Chicago punk band still may put a smile on your face with songs like “Boozehound” and “Beer Bong Barf Bag!” A cool mix of punk and metal, these guys are pros, having been in the biz for twenty years now. So you know the chops presented here are tasty. Kudos on the bonus tracks too—any band that covers Gang Green and Girlschool on the same CD is top banana in my book. –koepenick (NGS)


JAPANTHER:
Tut Tut Now Shake Ya Butt: CD
I’m a relative newcomer to Japanther, having only discovered them last summer when I saw them live at Fuck Yeah Fest, where I was totally fascinated by them. After hearing their Skuffed My Huffy album, I think it might be a modern classic. This album is good, but very odd. First and foremost, there are nine tracks, not counting the intro and outro, of which two are spoken word pieces by Penny Rimbaud from Crass that are around ten minutes each. I think that it’s cool that they put the tracks on here, since it shows the band taking chances and doing something different. Penny Rimbaud is also one of those people like Ian Mackaye, Mike Watt, or Dick Lucas who has so much credibility that he could probably put out a ballroom dance video and it would still somehow be more punk than anything most people could ever hope to achieve. However, the spoken word pieces being in the middle of the CD seriously fuck with the flow of this album, especially since the rest of the songs on this album combined are shorter than the two tracks. That said, “Um Like Your Smile Is Totally Ruling Me,” “Bumpin Rap Tapes,” “The Dirge,” and “Radical Businessman” are some of the catchiest things I’ve heard come out of 2008. Except for “Radical Businessman,” these songs are also oddly sweet. Pick this up. Just be ready to skip a couple of tracks. –Adrian (Wantage USA)


JACUZZI BOYS:
I Fought a Crocodile b/w Blowin’ Kisses: 7”
The first thing that catches your eye about this disc is the garish cover featuring three hairy and flabby men in their tighty whities locked in epic combat with a crocodile. An abstract and vaguely eerie forest looms behind them. Trippy shit. The A side is some catchy garage rock fun, but does get a bit repetitive. I was much more into the B side, which had a haunted, almost Gun Club quality to it. The band’s Myspace page says that this is out of print. –Evan Katz –Guest Contributor (Rob’s House)


IMPULSE INTERNATIONAL, THE:
Hollywood Underground: 7”
These guys have been prolific this past year. These two songs have more of a U.K. ‘77 punk sound than the other records. Still power pop, but there are strains of the Undertones, the Flys, and bands like that coming through. “Hollywood Underground” is the punkier and more upbeat number of this single. I like how the organ comes in toward the end. “Gotta Run Home” is my favorite of the two cuts. The chorus is slightly melancholic. Maybe it’s the way they sing “ho-o-o-ome” or something and how the song winds down later on. A summertime sort of record. A full-length LP is in the cards for these gentlemen and I can’t wait to hear it. But, for now, get this and play it, play it, play it. –Matt Average (Killer)


IMPULSE INTERNATIONAL, THE:
Hollywood Underground: 7”
I don’t know what the schedule was, and if they recorded a ton of songs and went the multiple 7”s instead of a full length route, but they seem to be coming out with new records all the time for three dudes who don’t live in the same state, which isn’t a bad thing. This is more of what they’ve put out so far, edgy power pop, with a touch of some late ‘70s bands like The Jam, Undertones, maybe even a little Vibrators. –joe (Killer)


I MADE THIS MISTAKE:
It’s Okay: LP
Is emo folk a genre or did I just make that up? This kinda sounds like Against Me, sorta sounds like it could be on Plan-it X (in a Ghost Mice, not Future Virgins, kind of way). Sadly, it didn’t pass the jump-up-and-down-like-a-crazy-person test. If this were a cereal, it’d be Apple Crisp. Not horrible, just not my thing, but I’m sure there are a lot of Apple Crisp fans out there, so, who knows? –Maddy (Anti-Creative/The Cottage/Covert Coercion)


HUNCHES:
Exit Dreams: CD
Exit Dreams is a bittersweet record: The Hunches are now defunct. Too much Peter Laughner living was the culprit here; The Hunches partied and fucked shit up like Phoenix’s Consumers. And that’s too bad because The Hunches were great. Traditional Hunches trash is found on Exit Dreams, not to mention some excellent Flowers of Romance (that’s PIL) style drumming and strong narrative on “From this Window.” In The Red Records comes through again, probably why all the indie-giant labels are pillaging Larry Hardy’s roster (LAME). Consumer Guide Rating: A+. –ryan (In The Red)


TANGLEFOOT / ILL-EGO:
Split: 7”
A 45 split between the acoustic alter egos of Milemarker members Timothy Remis and Al Burian. Remis is Tanglefoot and he does two country songs: one acapella, one with guitar and banjo. It sounds nice, but the second song gets repetitive and the lyrics start to reek of an indie guy trying to “capture the quiet desperation of the common man.” Burian is Ill-Ego, which I initially misread as “Lil’ Ego,” and hoped for a hip hop parody. I was wrong. His wordy song twists and meanders like an anxious Robyn Hitchcock, glued together by proto-metal riffs, and there’s even a breakdown in the psychological sense of the word. It sounds like early Black Sabbath, if Ozzy was really and truly flipping out. The screenprinted cover features two cartoon animals arguing about the point of doing a record. –CT Terry (I Love Drugs)


STRANGER KIDS:
Demo: CD-R
Stranger Kids is made up of three dudes from Inglewood. This demo was recorded two years ago, so I don’t know if it’s a proper reflection of their current output (if they’re still outputting). This is definitely a demo, but it ain’t too bad—especially if you can put the recording quality, or lack thereof, aside. It’s kind of Toys That Kill/F.Y.P. derivative in a melodic, less intense way. I’m interested in hearing what they’re doing now, but not enough to find out for myself. –Vincent Battilana (Self-released)


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