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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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A FRAMES:
2: LP
Lyrics about math and atoms and electricity and alienation and what-not (sample song titles: “Nuclear” “Ionic” “Electricity” “Abstract”) (sample verse: “She’s a spasm/Protoplasm”) intoned in a droll monotone over calmly spastic riffs that lead one to believe that the guitar player’s mother was frightened by that Crucifucks song about the canisters whilst she was with child, backed by basslines that seem appropriately disjointed enough to match the guitar, yet deep ‘n’ shake-a-robo-booty rhythmic enough to lock in perfectly with the hard-hittin’ drums – meaning that while the geeks spaz out to the sonic and lyrical occurrences occupying the higher frequency ranges, the stoned art fop two feet away might very well be simultaneously locked in some manner of rhapsodic groove coma down at the lower end. Not a bad gig, really – sort of like if Gary Numan kicked Steve Albini out of Shellac or something. And, right when one begins to feel the feeling that the entire record is one big drone-smash statement after another, the band serves up a brilliant slice of comparative goofiness in “Search & Rescue,” which is almost Supernova-esque in its merry naivete (though not to the extent where the A Frames instruct everyone to string together all their belts because they lost their snorkels and their fins) (but TO the extent that i decide the band has more in common with the Epoxies than the Gang of Four) (thank fucking God). One thing i fully expected from this record that never materialized was at least one song where the singer purported to either be an artificial intelligence or an alien – no one said anything of the sort, and, as a result, i’ve been furtively looking over my shoulder ever since. BEST SONG: “Search and Rescue” BEST SONG TITLE: ah, i won’t give ‘em the satisfaction... but i will state, for the record, that if “Togetherness” is not a direct musical ripoff of “Apathy” by Suburban Mutilation, i will eat my own shit. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Recorded (quite well) by Chris Woodhouse of the FM Knives, which i didn’t know until yesterday, despite the fact that i was in the same building as both Chris and the A Frames on two separate occasions this year. –norb (S-S)


ZS:
Karate Bump: CDEP
You know that cell phone commercial where the little kid dressed up like a chicken goes, “Honk honk! I’m a goose!”? I don’t know what the Zs are dressed up as, but they go, “Honk! Honk! I’m a pretentious jazzbo and I have just realized a composition based on the natural arhythm of my own farts over the course of one Earth day! Three compositions, actually! Listen to me fart and call me a genius!” –Cuss Baxter (Planaria)


WRETCHED ONES:
Less Is More: CD
Angry skin-style punk by these veterans of the genre. It’s a style of music that can easily get repetitive and dull, but The Wretched Ones do it right and keep it loud, angry, and fun. Eighteen tracks with seven hidden ones. Lots of angst for your buck. –toby (TKO)


WATERPROOF BLONDE:
The Morning after the Night Before: CD
I, for some unknown reason, picked up every pink album this time through, this being one of the pinkest. Pretty formulaic, female-fronted stuff. Quiet. Rock. Quiet. They say they’re influenced by The Strokes. –megan (Crash Avenue, no address given)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
We Ain't Housewife Material: CD
I guess being a bunch of chicks is a good enough excuse to throw together a comp, and it's a decent enough record, i guess, but i don't really hear anything here that makes me want to sit all these ladies down in a row and perform untold hours of cunnilingus upon each and every one of them in succession or anything. Wait a minute. Yes i do. Never mind. BEST SONG: Elvis McMan, "Slow Children" HOTTEST BAND: The three female members of Japan's The Soap are so UNGODLY hot that if you told me i had my choice of doing all four members or nothing, i'd go for the quadruple band-pork in a New York Nanosecond. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I can't get The Soap's website to load in my browser, which is deeply frustrating but is also relieving me of the unsightly chore of Windexing my monitor every five minutes. Also, once Boris The Sprinkler's drummer, Ron, lost his Mensen t-shirt somewhere or another and it was a big deal of some sort. –norb (Dionysus)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
SOFLA, So Good, So What: CD
It's nice to see more and more good music coming out of Florida these days. This compilation has some great bands that have been around for a while like Against All Authority, Runnamucks, and The Crumbs, but there are a handful of new ones worth checking out as well. Standouts on this twenty-one band compilation, aside from the aforementioned bands, are AC Cobra, The Skanks, The Hangovers, The Knumbskullz, Hopesick, Stay Hit, and The Getback. The music ranges from ska to hardcore with many genres in between. Not a bad listen for five bucks. –toby (SOFLA)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
L.A.’s Rising Scene 2004, Volume 1: CD
Low-budget recordings of indie rockers from L.A. I’ve never heard of any of them. So-so, nothing to write home about. –Heela –Guest Contributor (Intravenous)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
It’s a Team Mint Xmas Vol. 2!: CD
As a rule, I just don’t like Christmas songs. They saturate the radio, television commercials, and cell phones, and by the day after Thanksgiving I’m begging for any other holiday than the one that gives us N’ Sync, Céline Dion, and Rod Stewart crooning the classics. Even when the fabulous Man… or Astroman? covered “Frosty the Snowman,” I was bored. At least with It’s a Team Mint Xmas you get a chunk of creativity with thirteen of the fourteen songs here being originals. But still, the cover of “Do They Know It’s Christmas” by Mint-Aid is just a bit too predictable; right down to the hokey Band-Aid name rip-off. I dunno, I guess I just think it’s kind of a waste of time and talent. Think of your favorite band. Now imagine them doing a Christmas song. Now imagine listening to that song in July. Yeah, my point exactly. –kat (Mint)


VACANCY, THE:
Heart Attack: CD
I could be completely wrong here but this band reminds me of the Foo Fighters, Urge Overkill, Helmet, or Jimmy Eat World. But I couldn’t sit through a full song. –don (A-F)


TWENTY2:
Unstable: CDEP
The cover artwork on this reminded me of the artist who used to graphics for Santa Cruz Skateboards back in the ‘80s. Well in that theme, this sounds like another band for the Warped Tour set. Watching the bonus videos, it looks like they have already played one even though they don’t mention it. Melodicore for the newbies. –don (New School)


TURPENTINE BROTHERS:
We Don’t Care About Your Good Times: CD
This would be The Animals meets the Doors, if Eric Burdon hadn’t been one hell of a rockin’ little man and Ray Manzarek never did anything interesting on keyboards. Non-offensive, but not that interesting either. –megan (Alive)


TROUBLEMAN:
The Last Show: CD
In addition to the music, all good rock‘n’roll records include the following topics: drinking, fighting, cheap floozies, and rock‘n’roll. Thus The Last Show may officially be dubbed a good rock‘n’roll record. These eleven tracks re-induce my juvenile rock fantasies (drinking, fighting, and chasing cheap floozies in a fog of Blatz and Jim Beam), and make me think of the Black Crowes meet the Joneses: knife-edge tunes with a twangy, Southern mentality lurking in the background, and just the right amount of sloppy drunkenness to provide an air of authenticity and credibility to go with the all-around fun and mayhem. Good stuff. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Offbeat Productions)


TICONDEROGA:
Self-titled: CD

, Atmospheric rock from this three-piece from Raleigh, North Carolina. Hard to tell who plays what since they all switch off on instruments—one dude even plays a contrabass,which I’m sure sounds pretty wild. With this outfit, it feels like the mood is key. “A Welt” and “Arrowhead” are especially rocking tracks. For some reason, one track brought up creepy images of Jeffrey Dahmer, but I can move past that..The For Carnation and Slint come to mind at some points on this disc, but Ticonderoga actually mines their own sound on this debut. Ticonderoga sometimes sounds quiet and sad at the same moment. Sometimes that’s just in one chorus.

–koepenick (Fifty Four Forty Or Fight)


THIS IS MY FIST!:
I Don’t Want to Startle You but They Are Going to Kill Most of Us: 7”
I have a feeling that the members of This Is My Fist have no idea how good they are. It’s one of those things where they probably couldn’t be as good if they did. TIMF bring a raw, sentimental take to a slightly folk-influenced sounding, fast-paced punk outfit. The lyrics are heartfelt and sung like it might just be their last chance to get the words out. This is better than finding twenty bucks in your pocket when you thought you were broke. –megan (Left off the Dial)


THERE IS A WORLD:
Superfluous Noise: CD
I really appreciated the fact that they obviously put some thought into their lyrics, which often feels like it's becoming a dying art, and the fact they didn't attach those lyrics to some lame derivative of emo was especially nice. The bulk of their mid-tempo hardcore sound, however, didn't really move me all that much. Kept expecting them to lay the rage on thick, but they never quite delivered. Maybe next time. –jimmy (www.thereisaworld.tk)


SWEETBACKS, THE:
Self-titled: CD

First off, the cover—trying to look like you really like Bread or Steam or whoever that

 

 

band was that posed in a sauna is NOT cool. Also, one of the guys in the back seems be enjoying himself at little too much in this shot—if you know what I mean. Being the unbiased critic that I am, I soldiered on, hoping this music would save it. Alas, this was not the case. Not horrible, but nothing really great that I haven’t heard from a thousand garage bands in the last couple years. Stop trying to ape The Hives—they ain’t doing nothing The Chocolate Watchband didn’t do thirty-five years ago. –koepenick (Nicotine)


STUBBY’S CRACK CO:
Cuz Hell on Earth Ain’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be: CD
There are some occasional flashes of very arty-punk brilliance, but for the most part, this plays like the soundtrack to a hillbilly hangover. –jimmy (Spenard Core, no address)


STRYCHNINE:
Born in a Bar: CD
The name of the album says it all! Street punk with a metal-type growly singer. Oh, they’re from EastBay. So if you love all the typical TKO stuff or if YOU TOO were born in a bar (like a bad CHiPs episode), you’ll want this CD –mrz (TKO)


STRIKEFORCE DIABLO:
The Albatross and the Architect: CD
Wily, inventive guitar rock that will get under your skin like a Southern preacher’s homemade snake oil mixed with whiskey and downed in one gulp. “Plastic Astronaut” bumps and grinds like a game of rollerball, while “Between the Two” has some musical breakdowns that for some reason remind me of Tony Iommi, which kicks ass in my book! “Akimbo” is the best song on this one for me—“These walls have ears/whose ears have walls so paper thin/and our fading El Camino is home again” sings Drew Demaio over Kevin Scott’s pummeling backbeat. The glue in this trio is bassist Matt Sweeting’s propulsive bass lines—check out “Fear humongous” if you don’t believe me. You would be a “sad humongus” if you don’t buy this and keep it hidden in your cookie jar. –koepenick (No Idea)


STRIKEFORCE DIABLO:
The Albatross and the Architect: CD
Not usually my cup of tea, but this post punk band has elements that intrigue me. The bass sounds that emit out of the speakers are strong and stable with amazing tones. The drums are more than competent and add a thundering back beat. The guitars are pulled back a little to keep things forceful. The guitar sound has that hint of old blues meets southern rock flavor to it when he is not going into that dreamy, tonal sound. The singer reminds me of the singer from Rise Against for some reason. That is the first thing that struck me. I have to say that I was definitely interested and was not willing to throw the thing against the wall at first listen. –don (No Idea)


STREET BRATS:
You'll Never Walk Alone: 7"
The song on side one fucking sucks. I think they were going for an Exploding Hearts-type thing, but it comes across as very awkward glam rock-influenced Clash, and it sounds like a truck commercial. Things get a bit brighter on the other side: two songs that sound a lot less contrived and almost remind me of Japan's Practice. The girl in the lower right picture on the cover is Ugly. (No, that's her name. It says so on the back.) –ben (Full Breach Kicks; www.fullbreach77.com)


WEIGHT, THE:
Are Men: CD
I get a lot of folk punk from Razorcake, and The Weight’s album cover made me think I was in for more of the same. The Weight, however, are another beast altogether. They’re essentially just a country band, pedal steel and all. There’s a blend of Southern rock, Americana, and the gentlest of indie rock influences at work here, sort of like if members of The Old 97s, Fleet Foxes, and the E Street Band all formed a Skynyrd cover band. –Sarah Shay (The Colonel)


ZIP GUNS, THE:
Dirty Pictures: 7”
A zip gun is an improvised firearm. One of the dangerous things about zip guns is they can blow up in your face, which is kinda what happens when you drop the needle on Dirty Pictures. It’s got the energy and raucousness of garage punk but the sound is a helluva lot slicker. Three original songs and a nice cover of the Lurkers “I’m on Heat” all on a limited edition pink splatter vinyl. Nice. –Jim Ruland (Meaty Beaty)


ZENO TORNADO AND THE BONEY GOOGLE BROTHERS:
Rambling Man: CD
While still firmly rooted in the bluegrass and country/western they explored in prior releases, this one seems a bit more slick and “modern,” for lack of a better word. The problem is that whatever scrappiness they may have had prior is kinda lost here, resulting in something that sounds like a release by one of those bands you see playing the “western” part of an amusement park that sounds pretty good in that context, but sounds like the musical equivalent of Cheez-Whiz anywhere else. And trust me, the lyrics only reinforce that impression. –jimmy (www.voodoorhythm.com)


YOUTH OF TOGAY:
The Dongs We Bury: 7”
I was never too much a fan of Pansy Division but I definitely had a ball with the homocore scene. Yeah, I know it’s called queer core but that joke wouldn’t have worked if I called it that. Youth of Togay is light hearted “eat fuck” hilarious and awesome. I have to ask myself that if they weren’t singing about “sucking more dicks than Mandy Moore” or “if it makes me gay to suck a dick” would this hardcore music have the same appeal? You know what, dick, probably not. But that is only because everyone knows hardcore sucks. But it’s fun and it’s not boring music. Two things missing from the hardcore scene. So let your girlfriend stick her finger in your ass and listen to this record at the same time. Both are bad-ass. No poon intended. I just wish instead of orange vinyl, the 7” was on rainbow. Up the cocks. –Gabe Rock (FNS)


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