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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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POSSESSED BY PAUL JAMES:
Cold and Blind: CD
Some pretty damn good Texas blues and folk stuff on the Swiss label of Lightning Beat Man. Not as blown-out as most of the Voodoo Rhythm output and, in my opinion, this is a good thing. Some bluesy stuff and a real folk feel on some tunes; there is some really pretty stuff in places on this disc. At times, there are even a few tunes that wouldn’t be out of place on one of the Roky Erickson acoustic records. That is about the highest praise I can give. Just a great collection of tunes sung with heart and soul. Check this great songwriter out. –frame (Voodoo Rhythm)


PULL OUT AN EYE:
Self-titled: CD
These kids from Belarus kick up one helluva ruckus on this, their debut CD. Musically, they fall into the Siege/Deep Wound school of ultra-thrash and the lyrics address socio-political concerns, though given the speed in which everything is delivered, they could be singing in Esperanto about how they think argyle socks are nifty and none would be the wiser. –jimmy (doomjunky@gmail.com)


PHARMACY, THE:
Abominable: 7”
Indie rocked-out pop in the same form that Zolof The Rock n’ Roll Destroyer once took on. Female vocals, keyboards in the mix, and lots of sugary pop sounds. There’s no going halfway on this one. It’s either totally your thing or you’re going to hate it. –Dave Disorder (Tic Tac Totally, tictactotally.com)


PESTS, THE:
Misdirection: LP
Seventies style power pop from the Twenty-first Century. Meaning, today, the here and now. Listening to this, I get mental pictures of Sunset Blvd. from thirty years ago, girls in short shorts, feathered hair, and Sixteen magazine. “Can’t Keep Myself Straight,” which opens this, is the choice cut. Good tempo and drive. “Leaving Home” is a nice little burner with a quick bouncy rhythm. Solid listen. –Matt Average (Static Impulse, www.staticimpulserecords.com)


PERIOD THREE:
: 7"
I think the last time I saw these guys play, someone got stabbed with a broken bottle. Despite that, when I hear them, all I think of is fun and yay! (and all of the sudden my inner Ms. Tight Pants comes out, apparently). Everything about them sounds very Milwuakee, like it would fit right in with a bunch of sweaty kids in a basement. It has the feel of the happy, bounciness of Danny’s Modern Machines’ songs and some drops from the same pond of pop that the Chinese Telephones drink from. Damn good time here; I just hope they’re still together. –megan (DNH)


PENETRATORS:
Bad Woman: CD
Not sure if this is the new record they talked about in their interview a while back or just a quick collection of covers while they ready the new record. There are redone versions of “Teenage Lifestyle,” “Gotta Have Her,” and other Penetrators classics. Pretty strong takes of the songs I have heard many times in their original versions. The rest of the record is mostly made up of covers of ‘60s chestnuts like “Talk Talk” and “Dirty Water.” I am not really a fan of recorded cover songs, but these are done fairly well. Hope to hear more from the Penetrators soon and maybe we will see them out here on the West coast at some point. –frame (Slovenly)


PAZAHORA / KAH-ROE-SHI:
Split: EP
Obviously a ton of bands out there have been inspired by His Hero Is Gone / Tragedy / From Ashes Rise. The majority of these clone bands sound so lifeless in the end, taking it safe and going through the expected motions. Pazahora sound similar to From Ashes Rise, and Kah-Roe-Shi sounds like HHIG. Neither band does anything to make them standout. –Matt Average (Diseased, www.diseasedrecords.com / Epidemic, epidemic_distro@hotmail.com)


PAINTED BIRD:
Selected Songs from: 7"
Mostly instrumental with a strong Dischord influence (especially in the bass lines). Short enough to catch my interest and inventive enough to keep that interest piqued. Good stuff. –megan (RFC)


OFF WITH THEIR HEADS:
From the Bottom: LP
It’s not often that I identify with lyrics the way that I do with Ryan Young’s. Obviously, identifying with lyrical content is what this whole thing is about, that, as a community, we share certain common goals and interests and we can all pile into a dank room and yell a bunch of stuff that gets our hearts a’racing. It doesn’t happen as easily with more specifically personal lyrics, for me anyway, but on the rare occasion that it does, it’s something else. Ryan has a way of conveying this pleading despair coupled with the Strummer-coined “hope in a sea of hopelessness” that hits me in a way only the songs of Damien Moyal and an incredibly small handful of others has before. This shit just knocks me out. Thematically, and musically, From the Bottom doesn’t stray too far from Hospitals or the pile of 7”s OWTH have churned out in past two years, but I wouldn’t have them change a thing. Devastating and inspiring—just unbelievable. This might be my favorite band on earth. –Dave Williams (No Idea)


OCB:
Self-titled: 7” EP
So far as I’m able to glean via the internet, this is a three-man punk band hailing from Greece. The songs are tight ’n’ fast, though less “hardcore” than zippy punk stuff. –jimmy (www.blindbastard.com)


NO GOAL:
Vital: 7"
‘80s youth crew straight edge that has one damn good song and four mediocre ones. I may not be impressed with the music, but I think it takes talent for them to give out a lyric sheet and still confuse me as to what they’re saying. –Bryan Static (Third Party)


NITAD:
Min Tankar: CD-R
A three-song “promo” copy of a free 7” record that comes with some sort of discography CD that ain’t here. First two tunes have that early ‘80s Southern California proto-hardcore sound that seems to be all the rage right now, while the third utilizes the patented four-chord “insta-punk song” pattern made famous in songs like “Caste System” by the Necros. –jimmy (www.krnm.se)


NIGHTSTICK JUSTICE:
Claustrophobic: 7”EP
Wire brush. Powdered bleach. Scrub, scrub, scrub the concrete. Hose it off. Stain still there? Grit teeth. Repeat. When the stains you’re dealing with are government control, general complacency, assholeishness, realizing that the world sucks in the long term and there’s little you can do to change it, the wire brush and powdered bleach of straight-ahead old-fashioned hardcore is as good an antidote as any. The stains’ll always be there and new ones will find their ways into you life; sometimes it’s just fighting them—even if they’re stronger and more persistent than you—is all that matters. In a Negative Approach, SSD, Void way, I mean. Not bad, Nightstick Justice. Not bad. –todd (Grave Mistake)


NIGHTSNAKE:
Hooked on Southern Speed: CD
Chances are you are already interested or couldn’t care less about this disc just from the band name and album title. Eleven songs of Nashville Pussy/Zeke/Candy Snatchers-style speedy garage punk with titles like “Goin’ to Jail” and “Truckin’ Fer Jesus.” The band appears to be from the Fort Collins, CO or Laramie, WY area and the production sounds great because it was recorded at the Blasting Room. Fans of this style will wanna be all over this because Nightsnake do it as well as anybody else going. –frame (Zodiac Killer, www.myspace.com/zodiackillerrecords)


NASTY INTENTIONS:
Straight Outta Tompkins: Cassette
Harkens back to the days of Mutant Pop, scouring the discount bins looking for 7”s by bands I’d at least heard of and a time when those wacky things called cassette tapes were the preferred format for putting something out quickly and cheaply. Not that Nasty Intentions sounds like a Mutant Pop band by any stretch, just that they’re using a template that that label kind of ran into the ground years back—punk with melodic leanings. Not hammer-heavy Epitaph bro-rock or beards-and-gravel Hot Water Music melody-clones either; the singer can sing and hit notes decently, so he does. That’s it. The lyrics are still smart, the energy’s still high, the music’s still punchy, but I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t melodic. It’s also refreshing to hear fairly simple punk played straightforwardly—and if there’re crazy tech parts at work here, I’m not really hearing it—without dumbing itself down. Claims to feature at least one ex-member of The Assistant, but don’t let that color your opinion; the two bands are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Available for a dollar and a SASE. –keith (Nasty Intentions)


Naked Raygun:
Basement Screams and Throb Throb: LP
Naked Raygun is one of those bands that anyone who claims to have even a fleeting appreciation for music, let alone punk, should be well versed with. Their recorded output is consistently good and, on a few occasions, they managed to pen some truly breathtaking songs. Don’t believe me? Give a listen to “Treason” and tell me you don’t find yourself reaching to crank the volume to maximum two seconds into its Morse code/alarm intro. Unfortunately for you, that song ain’t among those here, but take heart, ’cause there are still quite a few gems to be found here. Basement Screams, the band’s debut, is the more experimental of the two, which makes sense, considering two of the members also did time in Big Black. Tempering the artiness, however, are heavy dollops of the U.K. punk and the U.S. hardcore that also served well their fellow Chicagoans The Effigies, resulting in a marriage of throbbing bass lines and static-pattern guitars to catchy pop hooks, and “whoa-oh” singalong bits. In addition to the six songs on the original EP, you get here five additional demo tracks from 1982-83, some of which differ from those on the 1999 CD reissue. By the time they got to recording Throb Throb, the band’s primary songwriter, SantiagoDurango, had left the band to devote his time to Big Black, leaving the rest of the members to come up with the tunes, which they did with amazing results. Starting of with the straightforward hardcore of “Rat Patrol,” they strip-mine and expand on all the ideas they’d touched upon on Basement Screams, delving into chanty punk with odd lyrics (“Metastasis,” which they also contributed to the second Flipside Vinyl Fanzine compilation); jazz-steeped tunes with odder lyrics (“Got all hepped up on too much speed/and danced ’til my prostate fell out....”); abrasive sludge (“Roller Queen,” “No Sex”); social commentary (“I Don’t Know,” “Only in America,” the latter featuring saxophone); and a bit more hardcore (“Stupid”). Although it’s infinitely cool to have the band’s first two records out on actual vinyl again, the real treat is that are quite a few albums that followed these, each one rife with great tunes, making for a legacy they will hopefully expand upon now that they’re supposedly back together. If you’re new to Naked Raygun, this is as good a place as any to start and if you’re an old fan, this’ll remind you why you loved ’em in the first place. Either way, these two discs are must-haves, no matter how you slice it. –jimmy (Haunted Town)


MR. PLOW:
Apocalypse Plow: CD
My theory of how this record got made: One drunken Warped Tour night, members of Fishbone, Suicidal Tendencies, Gwar, and SNFU got into a really heavy game of Old Maid with the dudes from Blink-182, Fall Out Boy, and Bowling For Soup. Bored of the usual monetary stakes, someone chugged back half bottle of Jagermeister sitting on the table and said “Hey, how about we bet our reputations? Losers have to make an album with this dude I know, Mr. Plow. He sings really silly tunes like ‘Handjobs for the Homeless’ and ‘I Like Your Tits,’ none of which are particularly good as far as songs go.” Bets were made, cards were dealt, and from the sound of things, the dudes from Fishbone, Suicidal Tendencies, Gwar, and SNFU lost in a big way. –jimmy (www.myspace.com/mrplow)


MOTORAMA:
Psychotronic Is the Beat!: CD
Two Italian girls demonstrate they can easily smash, bash, and trash with the best of ’em. Although the order of the day is loud ’n’ raunchy, there’s enough diversity here to keep you on yer toes. –jimmy (Deadbeat)


MOTHERFUCKERS, THE:
I Wanna Be a Cop… So I Can Fuck You up!!: 7”
Here is a new slab of no-holds-barred punk rock out of Calgary. These guys come fast and angry and really make me want to smash things. I can’t tell what is more disturbing: the cover drawing of the singer getting a cavity search by a cop or the B-side label drawing of said soiled rubber glove! The six tracks on this seven inch make a good soundtrack to any riot or skate session. –ty (Handsome Dan)


MONROES, THE:
Drillin’ Daylight: 7” EP
As soon as I dropped the needle on this EP I felt like I was back in my college radio station’s library, frantically pouring through the stacks during my two-to-four overnight shift searching for bands that sounded like fIREHOSE, Uncle Tupelo, Hüsker Dü, Moving Targets, even Soul Asylum (before they rocketed downhill). Guess you could say the Monroes induced a flannel rock flashback. They would have fit in perfectly with those bands—fast and punchy, but melodic and twangy sometimes, too. A really good EP. –Mike Faloon (Speed! Nebraska)


MONGREL:
Fear, Lies, & Propaganda: CD
It’s 4/4 hardcore punk with a non-ironic cheese metal flourish. It reminds me of when some of those U.K.-‘82-type bands like The Exploited or GBH started sneaking more and more cock rock into their sound as the ‘80s progressed. I just fired up my time machine and went back to the mid-‘90s to ask high school me what he thought, and he said he’d ask his mom to sew a Mongrel patch onto his hoodie if and only if they played an all ages show in town for no more than five bucks, and they found a label that didn’t make them put explicit lyrics warning stickers on their albums like a bunch of herbs. –CT Terry (Locomotive)


MOMENT, THE:
We Are the Plague: CD
Seems like after the first half of their second album The Moment woke up from a nap and started to make it fucking happen. In fact, “Hello Tiny One, You Are the Future” is a good song; track five to be exact. But it was too little too late for me—keyboards and screaming done in that way that seemed to be really popular, or it was five years ago. Definitely influences from Cursive and other bands that sound like that. Fuck! Sorry, guys. I tried. This is my third time listening to the album and I still hate it. But I will say, for a two piece they force a lot of power into their music. The art of the CD is interesting. And the vocals have me curious about who sings what, so they probably have a good live show. But how the fuck would I know? I’m listening to a CD. –Gabe Rock (Cesspool Projects)


MOB 47:
Dom Luger Igen: CDEP
Holy fuggin’ christ! After a good hundred years of being away, Mob 47 return to the fray sounding as fresh and lethal as they did when they first came onto the scene sometime in the early eighties (first recording in 1983, EP in 1984, etc., etc.). Eight ragers that hit hard as all hell, and then some, with a dirty edge and rumbling low end. Equally fast, catchy, and memorable. All the way through. A solid listen that demands repeated listening with the volume on eleven. –Matt Average (Communichaos Media)


MISS AUTOPSY:
The Hill: CD
Mellow music about as interesting as watching pigeons shit. And yes, Mr. Smartypants, as a matter of fact I did actually compare the two. –jimmy (www.lensrecords.com)


MENTHOLS:
848: 7”
The Menthols want to play your party. “848” is a rambler, plodding along in a good way, reminiscent of The Spits’ dickaround stuff. “Hey Hey Hey” is more garagey, rough on the vocals, mild on the rock. Doesn’t blow you away but pretty easy to hum along to. –mike (Florida’s Dying)


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