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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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TIJUANA KNIFE FIGHT:
Saturday Night Apocalypse: 12” EP
Long Beach punk rock/rock and roll outfit, sonically following in the footsteps of the Hot Snakes, where the whole of the sound is made up of its band members listening to equal amounts of Fugazi or Sonic Youth and Motörhead or Motley Crüe. Alternating successfully between intricate and subtle guitar work, experimentation with non-traditional sounds created by Theremin and organ, as well as pummeling, explosive thrashing of their instruments and wailing vocals, Tijuana Knife Fight happily genre hop throughout the various punk and rock playgrounds to create an enjoyable, thoroughly listenable record that sticks with you after repeated listens. As well, the artwork is clever, with a design replicating an old, beat-up LP you might find for a quarter at the swap meet. And as an added bonus, they throw in a CD version of the recording. Only complaint is that this 12” EP is one-sided, leaving the whole other side empty. Why not fill up both sides, gentlemen? –Jeff (Self-released, www.myspace.com/tijuanaknifefight)


DISPUTE, LA:
Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair: CD
Lotsa surprises here, starting with the fact that the songs are pretty complex in structure. Lotsa stops and starts, quietsies and noisies, and apparently very little interest in the standard verse-chorus-verse pop structure. The stumper, though, are the lyrics. Having been a singer before, I can’t get my mind around just how the fuck this dude can be able to remember all those damned lines, spread out over thirteen songs here, in a live setting without some sorta cheat sheet, or having friends strategically placed in the front row with the lyrics scrawled on their foreheads. It’d be worth checking out a gig just to see how he pulls it off. –jimmy (www.nosleeprecs.com)


DILLINGER FOUR:
Songs about Girlfriends & Bubblegum: 7”
You know you’re getting old when you try to Google a show you went to and Google comes back with a fuck you. Todd dragged me out to see this band he was interviewing at a club near the old Al’s Bar. The opening act was a noise/punk band from Japan called No People that would later unofficially hook up with the folks at Recess Records. I forgot all that when Dillinger Four hit the stage. And Todd? It was pretty much all over for him. He should just go ahead and take the jeans he jizzed that night and send them to the Minneapolis Punk Rock Hall of Fame. I’m fairly certain Todd sent this record to me to make sure I remembered that night and I do. Goddam, goddam, goddam I do. –Jim Ruland (Mutant Pop)


STAJNAS LOBOS:
Brain Waves Searching Heart Beats: CD
This Swedish band finds the middle ground between making you want to dance around like a nut and making you want to smash dishes over your head. It’s maliciously catchy and sweetly violent. –mp (Lupa, www.stajnaslobos.com)


SORRY ABOUT YOUR COUCH:
Greeen!: CD
Most of the time, these kids sound like they’re channeling some long gone late-‘80s Bay Area band with an occasional hankerin’ for some o’ dat reggae music, and the demo quality of the recording adds to the vibe. –jimmy (www.myspace.com/sorryaboutyourcouch)


SOFT TARGETS:
Must Be Destroyed: CD
Fairly run-of-the-mill college rock stuff. –jimmy (www.roostercow.com)


SNOWSTORM:
Self-titled: 7"
When I saw the beautiful layout and white vinyl of this 7”, I was pleading for it to be great; hoping I’d lucked into a great-looking and great-sounding record. Sadly, Snowstorm couldn’t be less up my alley. This record is an infinite number of city blocks away from my alley, in fact. It’s just blown out, grinding drums over fuzzed-out, buried bass riffs. Guaranteed, there are some noise and/or grindcore fans who’d be all over this, but as a fan of songs, songs as complete representations of a thought or a feeling, songs as an expression of passion or emotion, this is entirely unappealing and unsatisfying. Blah. –Dave Williams (Malleable)


RESEARCH TURTLES:
Time Machine: CDEP
Wait, your band is called Research Turtles? Wow. Anyway, when I used to run my own online zine back in the day, this is the type of thing we’d get frequently: a cardboard sleeve with color art on both sides that usually made no sense. And the band would include members you’d never heard of and was often either self-released or put out by a label you’d never heard of. But the music—oh yes, the music. It often sounded like something you might hear at a local bar or your run-of-the-mill college town nightclub: entirely forgettable with plenty of generic rock and roll influences. (In the case of Research Turtles, it includes Franz Ferdinand, The Strokes, Nirvana, Cake, The Killers and Silverchair. Silverchair?! Fucking Silverchair?!) Their MySpace page says that until summer of 2008 they had been a cover band but finally started to write their own material (and suddenly it all starts to make sense). Their influences tell what their sound is like, which means it’s very generic and uninteresting. But hey, they just started this non-cover band thing. Keep at it, boys. –kurt (myspace.com/researchturtles)


REFUSE RESIST:
Mind Yourself: CD
Sincere, heartfelt Boston hardcore that’s not bad. Vocals are comparable to Choke from Slapshot. However, it fails to differentiate itself, lyrically or sound-wise, from countless others that play that style. Not enough to hold me or probably anybody who’s not completely rabid for that genre or a part of their scene. –Craven (Rodent Popsicle)


RAZORBLADE:
Music for Maniacs: CD
With the vocals on this disc as proof, I think it’s safe to say the rumors are true: Cookie Monster is, indeed, a skinhead. –jimmy (www.rebellionrecords.nl)


ROCKFORD MULES:
From Devil’s Spit to Angel Tears: CD
Fuzzed-out, heavy rock with a metal twinge. The cadence of Morphine and the darkness of 16 Horsepower mashed up with some electrified Delta blues. Induces cravings for amphetamine-loaded late-night drives to the middle of nowhere. They also tossed in some mellower tracks to cope with the inevitable crash and burn. Caveat: the undoing may be that the vocals are overly post-grunge/hard rock. –thiringer (Self-released, no contact info)


ROLL THE TANKS:
Suffer City: CD
If I drank tea, this wouldn’t be in my cup. Radio friendly indie meets a major label Against Me! –don (Intelligent Noise, intelligentnoise.com)


ROCKIN’ BONES:
Broke: 7"
Grecian punk rock. The Broke side is fun and upbeat but the
Hard Way to Learn side is pensive and downbeat. Their huge affectation for Social Distortion is apparent; there are small hints of it laced through both tracks.
–thiringer (Blind Bastard)


ROLL THE TANKS:
Suffer City: CD
My first reaction is to say that these guys remind me of those nouveau quasi-garage bands like The Hives and International Noise Conspiracy, but it’s been so fuggin’ long since I heard any of those bands, so I’m not quite sure of the accuracy of that assessment. Singer’s delivery is hellafied dramatic and the songs are catchy at worst. –jimmy (www.intelligentnoise.com)


ROMANTIC ROBOTS:
Self-titled: 7"
Short-run, self-released and hand-numbered 7” from this Italian three-piece of amorous robots. Five short, trashy, sloppy punk tunes similar to early Queers numbers (think Wimpy’s songs). Or, imagine an even more primitive version of the Dictators that’s heavy on the Handsome Dick and light on the Andy Shernoff. Nice here in 7” format; not sure if I could stomach an entire full length, however. –Jeff (Self-released, www.myspace.com/romanticrobots)


RUNS, THE:
Piss and Shit: EP
This is the 7” you roll your eyes at in the record store, the one that’s got four price stickers in the upper right hand corner from the price slowly but surely decreasing. The artwork is bad and the lyrics are bad. I’m not against silly drawings of people shitting and puking, I’m not against repetitive “fuck you”s. I am against a band that has nothing to offer but stale clichés and maybe setting the bar a tad bit lower. –Rene Navarro (Criminal I.Q.)


SAETA:
Else another Light Might Go Out: CD
I fully lay the blame at the feet of Spontaneous Disgust, but when I see a disc indicating cellos are part of the instrumentation, I expect some wild shenanigans to be afoot. Unfortunately, these kids are not of the same mind, preferring instead to mine soporific, mellow gloom. While the songs are well crafted, it lacks any heft to make it anything more than post-goth parlor music. –jimmy (www.saetamusic.com)


SANCTIONS:
Home Sweet Home: CD
Not to be confused with the Sanctions (post Satanic Malfunctions) from the late eighties, early nineties. This Sanctions is from Tennessee, and are smitten with the sound of Tragedy and From Ashes Rise. So many bands have cloned these two aforementioned bands so much this style is loosing its impact. If you keep repeating the same stimulus over and over, it will eventually go by unnoticed. While Sanctions do have the ability to write songs that are sonic, they should focus a bit more on being original. Otherwise, they’re just another drop in the sea of Tragedy clone bands. –Matt Average (Meat Cube Label/Anti-Corporate Music Inc, www.icfyrecords.com)


SARAH BLACKWOOD:
Way Back Home: CD
A departure from her pop psychobilly princess vocals with the Creepshow. Sweet and heartfelt indie-folk-country vocals accompanied with an acoustic guitar on some songs, a simple country band on others. Closer to the Avett Brothers or Two Gallants than new school psycho punk. –thiringer (stomprecords.com)


SHAKING HANDS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
If there’s a CD that I wanted to like this month it’s this one. Decent, passionate, social, political, and personal lyrics and they’re obviously into it. It’s that melodic sort of hardcore. But it’s a bit too clean and accessible for my tastes. My roommate said it sounded like H2O and that’s probably fair. –Craven (A.D.D)


SERVICE INDUSTRY, THE:
Keep the Babies Warm: CD
The quasi-Pink Floyd cover makes promises the faceless alt-rock inside can’t keep. –jimmy (www.sauspop.com)


SCOTT MORGAN & MISS GEORGIA PEACH:
Self-titled: 7"
Scott Morgan, an icon at the forefront of the sonic assailment of ‘60s Detroit garage and contemporary of the Stooges, MC5, etc., teams up with Miss Georgia Peach, a soulful, husky-voiced redhead. Noisy garage trash with bluesy, ‘60s R&B vocals like the Detroit Cobras, the Hard Lessons and their ilk, including the West Coast incarnation of such classic sounds, the Bell-Rays. –thiringer (ramorecords.com)


PUBBLICO OLTRAGGIO / MESS MESS MESS:
Split: CD
Two Italian bands punk bands here. Pubblico Oltraggio: Fairly by-the-book, polka-beat punk stuff with the occasional nod towards reggae thrown in to break up the monotony. Their lyrics are a little more substantive than their American parrot punk contemporaries, but, on the whole, they don’t leave too lasting an impression. Mess Mess Mess: They work along the same lines as their discmates here, but somehow manage to come up with songs that are a wee bit catchier. In all, neither band sucks, per se, ’cause, truth be told, they’re not bad at what they do, but if you’re looking for something wholly original or unique, yer gonna be hard pressed to find it here. –jimmy (No Flags, no address)


PROCLAMATION, THE:
Self-titled: CD-R
Fairly mellow, lo-fi indie punk with a touch of horns (without it actually being ska). Did/are you going to college (not a knock)? Are you a Plan-It-X type dude? Then this is probably what you’d want to listen to in the days before graduation as you worry about the future and curse yourself over every minor mistake you’ve made over the past few years. –joe (Let’s Pretend)


PRETTY & NICE:
Get Young: CD
Joe Jackson and ELO knock back a bag of that legendary rockstar coke and head out to see Devo play their latest musical endeavor, “The Video Game Pop Aria.” Put another way, odd, off-kilter pop that sound like someone took some prime hooks and fed them into a very stressed out Atari computer. It’s a fuggin’ shame that “Tora Tora” hasn’t yet been identified as the massive hit it should be. –jimmy (Hardly Art)


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