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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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PAPER THE OPERATOR:
Solemn Boyz: CDEP
Some serious pop-smithing here, with enough sick hooks and inventive guitar playing to recall Sugar, Descendents, and Teenage Fanclub in one fell swoop. The lyrics are pretty much pilf, but the music is wicked impressive. –jimmy (www.viperbiterecords.com)


PACK A.D., THE:
Funeral Mixtape: CD
One of many things i will not miss when the 00’s wind to a close is the presumed extinction ((or, at bare minimum, long hibernation/remission)) of the once-in-vogue two-piece band—not because said units are not capable of producing decent music ((they are)), but simply because, as with pop punk bands in the 90’s, i am bound and convinced that there is absolutely NOTHING new that these bands can possibly do that will grab and hold my interest. That ship has sailed, and i don’t expect it back in the harbor ((“of ROCK!”)) for decades, if not centuries. I mean, the band is pretty decent—label-supplied comparisons of the vocalist to Janis Joplin are not egregiously far off the mark, and the guitars have a nice tone and a passable second White Stripes album kinda vibe ((i’ll stick my neck out here and claim that “De Stijl” was one of the better albums of the first half of this decade)), but i just can’t get into it. It’s sorta like once the elastic gets all stretched out on the waistband of your Fruit of the Loom® thermal longjohns, nothing you can do is gonna make that elastic all grippy and stretchy again, and the Pack A.D., through no real fault of their own, are that elastic waistband. This, of course, begs the question of whom my barndoor is; i’d like to imagine it’s Godhead Silo but that’s pure conjecture on my part. BEST SONG: “Blackout” BEST SONG TITLE: “Oh Be Joyful” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Almost listened to this in my car on the way to a funeral; feared karmic recompense; did not do so. –norb (Mint)


MUSLIMS:
Extinction b/w My Flash on You: 7"
Somewhat sparse ((a lesser man would say “minimalist”)) garage rock/pop that is nowhere near as bad as it could be, but nowhere near as great as the various other reviews on their one-sheet make it out to be, either. The label claims that the band has “hints of” the Velvet Underground and Modern Lovers, but, HA, what if they only really sound like what the Dogmatics would have sounded like if the Dogmatics hadn’t rocked? Huh? HUH? Didn’t think of that one, now did you??! Or what if they just sound like the Willowz, without the girl? NEEDLESS TO SAY, PANIC IN THE MARKETPLACE WOULD ENSUE!!! The Love cover on the b-side is pretty decent; problem is that i don’t really hear an A-side on either side. BEST SONG: “My Flash on You” i suppose BEST SONG TITLE: “My Flash on You” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The band’s name does not appear on the record sleeve proper; instead, it is affixed via a green, triangular sticker, with a slightly larger, but otherwise identical, black triangular sticker enclosed inside. Gawrsh! –norb (Sweet Tooth)


MOUTH SEWN SHUT / INSTANT ASSHOLE:
Split: 7” EP
Mouth Sewn Shut goes right up to that metal/hardcore edge and starts a fight. Is this a metal band with hard core chops or vice versa? I don’t have an answer, but it sure sounds great. Instant Asshole is trying to prove a point: cram every metal cliche into a hardcore format and let it rip. Point taken. While you’re drifting off to dreamland, heads are banging in Oakland. –Jim Ruland (Tankcrimes)


MOUNTAIN ANIMAL HOSPITAL:
Startled by Deer: CD
Whiny indie rock with electronic elements: a combination of two of my very least favorite styles of music. This sounds a lot like many early ‘00s Jade Tree releases that caused me to stop paying attention to that label unless there was Doctor Dan Yemin involvement. A lot of “interesting” time signatures that I cannot appreciate and bleeps and bloops galore. –frame (Loves In Heat)


MEZCAL BROS., THE:
“Brunette Baby” b/w “Nobody Else But You”: 7"
The Mezcal Brothers play traditional rockabilly that is a million times preferable to the awful sounds made by any current psychobilly band. That doesn’t mean these songs are up there with Joe South’s “I’m Snowed” or Jeff Daniel’s “Daddy-O-Rock,” but they make for good background music and have some nice guitar leads. It’s well played and executed, if not exactly memorable. –benke (Speed! Nebraska)


METAL TEETH:
Wild Eyes: 7"
Pretty good four songer from this Kalamazoo band. Anyone who is a fan of most of the Terminal Boredom type stuff like Human Eye, Intelligence, Terrible Twos, or Jay Reatard will find a whole lot to like here, which is to say there is sort of a root in garage punk, but there is a hell of a ruckus of noise built on top of that. The kids seem to be calling it weird punk and that is as good a description as any. This appears to be limited to 300 copies, so you best get on it. –frame (UFO Dictator)


MEGAZILLA:
Please Please Sorry Thank You: CD
This very polite-sounding titled album makes a hell of a racket. Megazilla are a combination of metal and AmRep-style heavy noise. The band is a two piece so I am already thinking Godheadsilo. The sounds are quite similar. Fans of this style would do well to check this band out. –frame (Australian Cattle God)


MEEMAW:
Glass Elevator: CD & 7”EP
Noisy pop that’s instantly memorable. More attitude than cute or fragile. Jangley guitars and big drums instead of lush sounds. Weird time changes, and the songs have a definite space in them, and yet it all makes sense. If you like Half Japanese, then you will like this. Everything about this is fun—and the sort of thing that will get played repeatedly—as well as something you can share with friends. One of the coolest bands I’ve heard this year. The CD has eight songs, and the vinyl EP has four of those eight. Two formats to suit your needs, I imagine. –Matt Average (Infinity Cat)


MATADORS:
Sweet Revenge: LP
The last three years have not been kind to Hooch. During that time, the Matadors’ principle singer/songwriter has learned that the music industry is more vicious than he ever would have guessed, and he was not born yesterday. Hooch has been stolen from, lied to, pissed on from great heights, and generally fucked over in a big way. At one point, the singer/ guitarist was so disillusioned that he almost hung his Fender Jazzmaster for good. The guitar was then stolen from him, but he pushed on, almost delirious with anger and sorrow. But, and despite having no permanent bass player, the Matadors finally managed to complete Sweet Revenge, their fifth full-length album. Fans will be grateful they did. For those who may be unfamiliar with the Matadors, they are the prime purveyors of horrorbilly, a genre that has become increasingly overrun by trendy and untalented hacks. The band rides primarily on Hooch’s golden pipes, and after listening to the Matadors, one may wonder if the vocalist really did make a pact with the devil. Seriously, the fucker can sing. Along with long-time drummer Jay Westman, Hooch brings the music to fans in a way that will make pretenders cry. After listening to the Matadors, there is nowhere to go but down. On Sweet Revenge, the Matadorsincorporate rock elements and even a banjo into the mix, but only those obsessed with rigid definitions will object. If you liked other Matadors albums, you’ll love this one. Early standouts on Sweet Revenge are “Drunk Driving” and “If You’re Gonna Bitch (I’m Gonna Drink)” and “Bush Party Handjob.” Throw away your Creepshow and Horrorpops LPs because this is the real deal. –Chris Walter –Guest Contributor (www.StumbleRecords.com)


LONG LIVE THE SMOKING GUN:
We Build Empires: cd
In Tucson, Arizona there is a cesspool of big rock from guys like Shark Pants and Swing Ding Amigos. This band is a more metalled-out two-piece that appreciates the drop D sound and Louder than Love-era Soundgarden. They mix it up fairly nicely, even though I occasionally get irked by a Ted Nugent-sounding guitar going swin-a-linna-swin. They do quote Kerouac in the liner notes and say “NoThanks” to Bank of America and MTV. If you like metal noodling and the aforementioned bands, you might appreciate this. –Buttertooth (1912)


MANSFIELDS:
Cramp Your Style: CD
Yet even more high-octane garage/glam. Again from Ohio. Then the Armpit of America tosses in a good measure of straight-up, jangling rockabilly, psychedelic surf, chorus-y punk and ‘50s melodies. Sounds like all-around party guys with a sloppy Johnny Thunders/Gotohells/Misfits thing going on. –thiringer (Gearhead)


LIVEFASTDIE:
Bandana Thrash Bloopers: 7"
Man, these songs are three years old! The title is Bandana Thrash Bloopers, so it’s not a complete surprise, but, damn, I want some new LFD records, not the leftover throwaways from their LP. In all fairness, the Wards cover, “Gonna Have Some Fun,” is killer and crunchy in that Spits meets Turbonegro LFD sound we all love. The other two songs must be the “bloopers.” Not essential, but worth it for “Gonna Have Some Fun.” –benke (Turborock)


DALI’S LLAMA:
Full on Dunes: CD
Here is another album full of top-notch stoner/desert rock from this great band. This is some of the best of this style in a decade! Unsurprisingly, people are taking notice, as this features guest spots from Scott Reeder of Kyuss as well as folks from Fatso Jetson and Throw Rag. Nine songs of heavy rock with perfect production, great vocals, and killer vibe. It is not likely to get better than this. Fans of Unida/Kyuss/Nebula/Fu Manchu: meet your new favorite band. –frame (Dali’s Llama)


CAUSE CO-MOTION!:
iT’S TiME!: CD
The strangely typeset caUSE co-MOTION! produce jangly, lo-fi indie pop that sounds like it was recorded a few feet away from the mic and delivered with significant gusto to compensate for the physical distance. Breezy and bright, it’s harmless fun that never gets any better or worse when the disc is finished spinning. This album straddles a complacent and inoffensive middle on the taste scale that makes either deriding it or championing it a difficult job to do. –Reyan Ali (Slumberland)


JOHN WILKES BOOTH:
Sic Semper Tyrannis: CD
Next to each member’s name is a list of what company made/provided their gear, and the picture on the disc itself is of a penny with “In Rock We Trust” written across the top. I think that says all you need to know. –jimmy (www.jwbooth.net)


DAMN LASER VAMPIRES:
Gotham Beggars Syndicate: CD
A raucous, bass-less trio in traditional bluesy garage fashion with a heaping tablespoon of revival ‘80s goth/electronica. Hammond thrown in for good measure. –thiringer (Devil’s Ruin)


DAS KAPITAL:
Punk House Heaven: 7"
This ratty band takes me back to house shows where the basement smells like rotten ass from all the stinky punks. A beer flies across the room as the band rips through a sloppy but entertaining set. Raw and unpretentious. Actually, this 7” seems to be devoted to the punk houses these guys have played/hung out around in IL and WI. The music isn’t top notch and the lyrics aren’t prolific, but this band is definitely having a good time doing it. And, hell, one of the Sass Dragons did some backing vocals. –Buttertooth (Let’s Pretend, myspace.com/letspretendrecords)


LIQUID LIMBS:
Orquid: CD
Loud alt-rock stuff with odd chords and poppy hooks that just sounds a wee bit too much 1998 and not enough 2008. –jimmy (www.soundstudyrecordings.com)


DEAD HOOKER’S BRIDGE CLUB:
The Hoo Dee Hoo: 7"
Begins with a twisted sock hop and ends with a fuzzed-out, old-school, mosh pit mess. Sounds like all the things you did the night before a Sunday morning coming down. Turntable speed changes between sides. –thiringer (newartschool.net)


LIVE ONES:
Dirtweed b/w Don’t Look Down: 7"
Got kind of a weird Danzig/Dio thing going on. Dirty and scowling, but drawn out. –thiringer (Slow Gold Zebra, no contact info)


DEAD ON A FRIDAY:
Hope It Was Worth It: CD
Okay, it’s only logical that some of the first punk that one might get exposed to is Fat Wreck/NOFX-style crap. Hence, it might be what your first band sounds like. But, what the hell? These pork-knobs look like they’re all at least in their late twenties. There could be a whole lot of reasons why these guys would be playing this style of music (lack of originality, arrested development, stabs at mainstream success), though none of them are good. –Craven (Stabsco, www.deadonafriday.com)


DEFEKTORS:
“No to the Nite” b/w “Torn to Pieces”: 7"
Reverby, repetitious dance punk that’s so catchy and full of rockin’ parts that there’s no need to get into the ugly details like: who calls something a double A-side 7”? If this is what hipsters are listening to these days, that ain’t too shabby. –Daryl Gussin (Hockey Dad)


DEATHCYCLE:
Prelude to Tyranny: CD
Decent bit of political hardcore with a smidge of metal in the guitars. At times, the music reminds me a wee bit too much of early Cro-Mags, but it ultimately does the job. –jimmy (Lifeline)


HUNX AND HIS PUNX:
You Don’t Like Rock ‘N’ Roll: 7"
Combine do wop harmonies, hand claps, and the sass of a teenage pop star. Blend until smooth and you’ve got the latest from this burgeoning pinup. Hunx continues his search for the next hottest man with ‘60s pop guitar chords and flirtatious lyrics that would make your mother blush. “Gimmie Gimmie Back Your Love” follows up on the B side and the cover can be scratched off to reveal Hunx in his birthday suit. What’s not to like? Recommended. –Kristen K (robshouserecords.com)


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