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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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CUPS, THE:
BYO OB/GYN: CD
Cliche “punk” sounds with nothing special to shine through. No musician in this band is talented in definition by any means. The songs sound like they were constructed by someone’s dad who said he would make a punk band as a way to connect with his teenager kids.  –Corinne (Juvenile Hall/Rawker)


CREEPSHOW:
Run for Your Life: CD
New school Canadian pop psychobilly in the vein of Tiger Army and Horror Pops. Strong, clear, and coy female vocals backed by catchy, well-executed big beats and backing harmonies. The scratchy, ‘50s harmony throwback at the beginning of “Take My Hand” provides a nice departure from the demanding power pop and overt, requisite horror movie, zombie, devil, blood and hell themes (although the song is completely dripping with demon kitsch).  –thiringer (stomprecords.com)


COST OF LIVING, THE:
Self-titled demo #1: CD-R
Hailing from the U.K., these guys play a hybrid between street punk and more melodic, punchy stuff. I appreciate the effort, but it’s not killing me. Not bad, just a bit un-stand-out-ish. The whole EP is only seven minutes long! I wish they would have stuck to the double time stuff more, but, fuck, then the EP would have been about four minutes long!  –Buttertooth (Self-released)


CHILD BITES:
Fantastic Gusts of Blood: CD
Art damaged punk pop something or other with a vocalist who sounds like David Thomas (Pere Ubu). Child Bite are definitely blazing their own trail. There are some influences of Midwestern art punk, but this band is heading somewhere else with all of it. Herky jerky rhythms from minimal drumming and a bass that makes its presence know without being overbearing. The addition of trumpets, flutes, and the sort are used properly, and not as a novelty. “Jewels Rules” is the best of the bunch, employing a saxophone for that extra bit of goodness to something already great. Keep it up, and I’ll keep listening.  –Matt Average (Suburban Sprawl Music, www.suburbansprawlmusic.com)


CHEAP GIRLS :
Find Me a Drink Home: CD
There was a serious buzz about this band at The Fest. I didn’t watch them play and no blame can be placed on me—with how many rad bands were there—but I wish I had the time because from what I have heard from this CD, they are unique. I give approbation to the distinctive voice behind this album that gets me into a calm good mood every time I listen to it. The medium-paced vocals with the faster speed of the instruments make for a drawing combo. Punk can get so convoluted and artists sometimes forget to let the music breath, but no such mistakes here. Great tracks on this album are “Her and Cigarettes,” and “Parking Lot.” I hope you listen to them soon so we can talk about how we both like those songs next time we hang out.  –Corinne (Bermuda Mohawk, Shoelacebooking@hotmail.com)


CATALOGS, THE:
Scrunchy b/w Zombie Girl: 7”
Apparently, this was in the works as far back as a decade ago and didn’t come out until now. I wasn’t way into the Mutant Pop/that pop punk scene back then, so it’s all new to me. This seems like pretty straight forward stuff though, mid-tempo Ramones-core with some Buddy Holly leads thrown in. I’m fascinated that this band is from Hawaii, but other than that, it’s nothing that holds my attention for too long.  –joe (Mutant Pop)


CANADIAN INVASION:
Three Cheers for the Invisible Hand: CD
When I envision the Canadian invasion, it is a drunken jihad of epic proportions. I’m talking massive amounts of really strong beer, toques, hockey sticks and Mackinaw jackets. A ragtag army of inherently friendly people staggering towards the 49th parallel in a drunken haze. It’s not a stereotype, I’ve lived it. The soundtrack to the impending Canuck apocalypse (Canuckalypse?) would be something like “War On 45” by DOA or “Proud to be a Canadian” by Dayglo Abortions… Nowhere in my mind’s ear would I ever think that a Canadian invasion would sound like an ultra-polished, watered-down R.E.M. clone. Death to false Canucks!  –ty (www.canadianinvasion.org)


BURIAL CHAMBER TRIO:
Wvrm: 10”
Some live-recorded drone from a member of SunO))), Atilla of Mayhem, and Oren Ambarchi. The main event here is the gorgeously putrescent packaging; 180g picture disc of decaying worms, clear-plastic skull and fly inserts, gold-leaf lettering…those Southern Lord folks are a bunch of aesthetes, to be sure. This record would be worth the purchase if you had a 12” sub in your chest and some tweeters on your shoulder blades. See them live in a Czech outhouse or leave it alone. –Andrew Flanagan  –Guest Contributor (Southern Lord, www.southernlord.com)


BRIDGE AND TUNNEL:
East/West: CD
They sound like Hot Water Music if there happened to be a couple girls in the band who chipped in on vocals. That may be enough for a lot of people, but, for me, a beardy guy epically proclaiming vagaries about struggle against epic guitars is just so much Pabsty sound and fury which ultimately signifies nothing. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t particularly excite me either like. On the other hand, have you ever heard the Toy Dolls “Olga… I Cannot?” Now there is a fucking anthem about heartbreak.  –Adrian (No Idea)


BLASPHEMOPHAGER:
Nuclear Empire of Apocalypse: LP
Death/black metal from Italy, this record is a tight piece of petrol. Thankfully, they saved the ambient interlude tracks for the sons of Odin and focused on keeping the pummel coming. The blasts are time-perfect, the recording is roomy and dank, and the title of the album couldn’t be cooler. No regrets here. –Andrew Flanagan  –Guest Contributor (Nuclear War Now!, www.nwnprod.com)


BLACKLIST ROYALS:
Six Strings: 7”
Full disclosure: The Fest alumni. Limited edition 7” with free download card that gets you extra tunes, if you want them. Good at what they do—poppy, chorus-y, pogo-ing punk. Kind of Rancid sans ska element, plus sick boy element.  –thiringer (driveonrecords.net)


BENEFITS OF, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Safe, homogenized, poppy punk stuff that sounds about as threatening to the status quo as a Jonas Bros. record.  –jimmy (www.thebenefitsof.com)


AURA:
Ghost Paper Puts You in the Booth: CD
Mostly instrumental stuff that alternates between skronky metal and mellow passages, with little bits of noise thrown in here and there.  –jimmy (www.myspace.com/aurarocks)


ART OF WALKING, THE:
Self-titled: CD
This is one of those instances when one can’t help but wonder if the person responsible for sending the discs out has ever bothered to look at a single issue of any of the mags he sent them to. Mostly mellow stuff that sounds like Stephen Bishop trying vainly to be Tom Waits. Nice musicianship, snoozy tunes.  –jimmy (www.theartofwalking.com)


ANOTHER SATURDAY NIGHT:
Giants of Love: 7”
If a band from the ‘60s took a time machine to the ‘80s, they would not sound dissimilar to these guys. The title track has a definite ‘60s garage rock feel, reminding me of The Moguls using the pop rock vocals of Foreigner and Journey. I prefer the B side, “Sidewalkin’,” for its Rolling Stones jangle and swagger. Think “Brown Sugar.”  –Kristen K (Slow Gold Zebra)


ALDERMAN SWINDELL:
Loved Me Back: 7”
Italian-pressed single from this U.K. act, coming on with a very British sound. Hints of acoustic guitar, piano, and pop hooks make for an interesting style. There are hints of everything, from the Kinks to Scott Walker and all manner of anglophile obsession to be had on this single. I would recommend this for fans of everything from Swell Maps to power pop or britpop. Pretty good stuff; would like to hear more.  –frame (Rijapov, myspace.com/rijapovrecords)


ABLACH:
Self-titled: 7”
Ablach means “Mangled Carcass” in English and “Will Never Be Played Again” in my house.  –Jim Ruland (Problem?, www.myspace.com/problemrecordsuk)


YOUR PEST BAND / THE MISCASTS:
Split: 7”
How is it that Japanese bands are able to take the refuse of American punk rock and turn into something better than the first iteration? Your Pest Band should move to Oakland and perform as Rancid until someone stops them. I love the imagination/foresight of whoever thought it was a good idea to include the lyrics ‘cause “Dead men cross their arms with serious faces/I know their true colors” is a great, great line in any language. The Miscasts sound like a Florida band only drunker, yet their lyrics make more sense. Huh.  –Jim Ruland (Snuffy Smiles)


YOUNG, THE:
Self-titled: 7” EP
I don’t care how old the members of the Young happen to be. They could be in the thirties or forties for all I care. What is undeniable, no matter their ages, is that they have produced a phenomenal debut EP that transcends musical subgenres, delivering raw, honest emotions set to crackling hardcore, emo (the old kind, not the dog shit that clogs up popular radio today), and garage punk. “Get Out of My Face” is right up in the listener’s (face), a vitriolic lyrical and musical spasm that sits somewhere between the Carbonas and Marked Men on the punk rock musical spectrum. “Hurt Each Other” recalls mid-‘80s Dischord bands like Embrace and Rites Of Spring with its desperate, heart-wrenching vocal delivery. Early Jawbreaker and Promise Ring are especially evident on “Erase You,” and “Nobody Cares” leaves rubber marks on the blacktop as it screeches at you like a souped-up muscle car. Austin, TX is lucky to have these bucks-of-early-chronological-age sleeping in its gutters.  –benke (Super Secret)


WOODBOX GANG:
Drunk as Dragons: CD
Alternative Tentacles brings you some bizarre Americana music that will appeal to everyone from Mojo Nixon fans to alt country followers. There does not seem to be any electricity involved. This is made strictly with mandolin, dobro, fiddle, and drums. Just a string band with some percussion and, lyrically, along the lines of Tom Waits or Johnny Dowd. If you are a fan of this type of stuff, you will be hard put to find any better than this.  –frame (Alternative Tentacles)


WOLVES AND THIEVES / BASTARDS OF YOUNG:
Split: 12” LP
Goddam this is a great record. Old skooly street punk on both sides but I think Bastards Of Young get the nod on this one. While both have that Foamers-without-the-horn-section sound the Bastards have the old punk/new folk vibe I’ve been grooving on lately. Highly recommended. Even the Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassidy cover art is super geigh.  –Jim Ruland (Swagger City, www. myspace.com/swaggercityrecords)


WILD ZEROS:
Homesick: 7” EP
Self-proclaimed “Loud Punk from Bordeaux,” these guys remind me the most of the Mullens, who were from Dallas, which i believe is one county over from Bordeaux. Nice mix o’ 70’s Ramones-isms, organ-driven 60’s garage-isms, and contemporary ruckus-isms. Not to mention DMZ cover-isms! If this would have come out on Get Hip, it would be among the rawest records on the label; if it would have come out on Dionysus, the other records would shit themselves in terror. BEST SONG: “Homesick” BEST SONG TITLE: “Something To Do” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Recorded on my former guitarist’s 43rd birthday!  –norb (Frantic City)


WHO CALLS SO LOUD:
Self-titled: 2 x 10”
Before commenting on the music, first let me take a moment to comment on the album artwork and the physical records themselves. Let me say that I am officially enamored with this album’s presentation. Double gatefold sleeves, with coloring, cartooning and scripting reminiscent of Shel Silverstein’s artwork in The Giving Tree (one of the finest children’s books ever, I might add), give way to two striking 10” discs inside. The first is a lovely green and black marble record, and the second is colored in yellow and black marbling. I must say that before listening to the album, I got the feeling that if the same effort was spent in creating the music as was dedicated to putting together such remarkable album artwork and visually appealing records themselves, I would be in for something special. Musically, this release does not disappoint. What we have here are eight big, powerful, mega-epic emotional hardcore jams, in the vein of bands like Yaphet Kotto or Mohinder. Screaming and sincere vocals with personal, poetic lyrics that are accompanied by heavy and bombastic playing so tight it sounds as if it’s ready to burst open and spill all over the place. This sounds like they would have fit in perfectly ten years ago on Ebullition or Gravity. Very well done all around, this would be a nice pick-up for those of you who haven’t traded in all of your hardcore albums for pop punk records yet.  –Jeff (Adagio 830)


WHITE LUNG:
Self-Titled: 7” EP
Neo post punk with a U.K. influence and some strains of no wave seeping in at points, though never entirely taking over. The drums have a big sound and primal beat with the guitars dark and slightly creepy. Three solid songs of this stuff. They sound minimal at points then layered at others. A good mix of all that makes this music interesting.  –Matt Average (Deranged)


WEIGHT, THE:
Are Men: LP
The first full length by The Weight is called Ten Mile Grace and came out on Sabot productions a few years back. It is, very likely, one of my five most listened to records of all time. Perfect production, astonishingly good songs and amazing lyrics. This record is the complete package. Needless to say, I had very high expectations for this new LP. After being bummed on the name and the artwork of the record, I was concerned that the move to Brooklyn had done this band in. I am not a big fan of titles that seem to be irony laden and I am not a fan of indie rock/hipster style artwork. However, one spin of the LP and I realized that I had nothing to worry about. This record is a C-L-A-S-S-I-C! The Weight made a second record that doesn’t surpass the first, but meets it head on. Goddamn, what a songwriter this gentleman is, to say nothing of the perfect voice and fantastic production. Joseph Plunkett is someone that can hold his own with Steve Earle, Uncle Tupelo, Drive by Truckers and, possibly, even Lucinda Williams—that is a tall order. Are Men has blazed its way to the top of my year end list and I will be playing this amazing record for years to come.  –frame (Colonel, myspace.com/thecolonelrecords)


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