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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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MEHKAGO N.T:
Self-titled: 12” EP
A band with a logo written in black letter is usually a good sign you’re in for something heavy. That certainly applies here. Mehkago N.T. crank out some filthy and dark hardcore. The guitar has a thick buzzing sound, but the bass, oh man! Great sound! Sounds like the strings are loose with that rattley and vibrating sound. The style is mid paced but they throw in some tempo changes here and there to pick things up when called for. “Programmed but Innocent” is the standout track. The longer duration allows for the tension to build and resolve at the end. Nice sample at the end there! –Matt Average (Makeshift Origami / S.O.Y. / Vinyl Rites)


MEHKAGO N.T.:
Human Extinction EP: 7”
I recently played the B-side of this record at a show in between bands and I think people’s reaction is a pretty good summation of the music that is contained in these grooves. Let’s just say there was a lot of slow, repetitive head movement and fist clenching. This band is heavy and hardcore and punk rock. If this isn’t the best band in Miami, I would love to hear what is. –Daryl Gussin (S.O.Y./Vinyl Rites/Abort The World)


ME FIRST AND THE GIMME GIMMES:
Have another Ball: CD
The Gimmes have been around for eleven years? Really? An “unearthed A-sides album”? Unbelievable. It’s hard to spooge over a covers record by a punk super group band—there’s no cache in that. There are wars to consider and Presidents to loathe and inflation and recession; serious business. But fuck me if I haven’t listened to the Gimmes consistently over the last decade. There are four reasons for it. 1.) Spike can sing. The dude’s got a set of pipes. 2.) Drums and guitars mixed high into songs that didn’t have much of them the first go around always makes me smile. 3.) Reclamation time. You won’t find me popping on any John Denver or the Hair soundtrack any time soon, but I’ll sing along to the Gimmes’ “Country Roads” and “Sodomy” without reservation or irony. 4.) Gateway music. Throwing a “mixed” (read: not-exclusively-punk) party? The Gimmes fit the bill. People already know most of the words and the compositions, and that gets rumps shaking. Rumor is that some of the Gimmes’ versions of these songs are played in Japanese airports. Diplomacy is comfort, my friends, and that’s why I endorse the decade-plus joke of the Gimmes to this day. –todd (Fat, www.fatwreck.com)


ME FIRST AND THE GIMME GIMMES:
Have another Ball: CD
Are they really up to their seventh full length? Tenth anniversary of their debut? Damn! I’m getting old and time is flying. I remember buying the Have a Ball LP on a visit to San Francisco the year it came out. We heard it on the radio up there and immediately I went looking for it. I’m a covers geek if it is done well. They do it well. Interesting fact I learned is that these songs are from the same session as the debut and the debut was supposed to be a double LP, but they nixed it. So these songs were shelved and I think some made it out of the vault to be on some singles. The singles are a whole different ball game that I haven’t participated that much in. So cover songs are the focus and these fine chaps are the best at making any song into a pop punk classic. After the first listen, my wife asked to borrow the CD. I don’t think I’m getting it back anytime soon. –don (Fat)


McKENZIE-BRUCE:
Berner Street: CD
This is the greatest prog metal Jack the Ripper concept album in history. True, it’s the only entry in that genre. (Spinal Tap’s Derek Smalls spoke of Saucy Jack but never made it). And, true, it’s an awful album—really, one of the worst the cut-out bins have ever coughed up—but neither of these factors should diminish Berner Street’s place in history. The storyline is foggy, at best, the arrangements are like a train jumping tracks, and the solos, dear god, the solos, they’re everywhere. Guitarist Tony McKenzie is all over his fretboard—the opening song has three distinct solos, fifty seconds each—but I don’t think he has any control over when he solos. They’re more like seizures. And there’s more. Perhaps up to $10,000. Berner Street is also a contest. Solve the band’s mystery and you could win a lot of money. I’ve listened to this Plan 9 From Outer Space-like fiasco a bunch of times and I have yet to figure out what the central question is, never mind solving said question, but like the aforementioned Ed Wood flick, I come back for more, fascinated by the litany of misguided thinking. I doubt I’ll ever solve the mystery, so here’s the “official entry number” that came with my copy: POFO4C624712C. Good luck. –Mike Faloon (Big Dan)


MASS BEER:
The Young The Filthy...: CDR
Every town’s got a group of aggressively non-PC guys who have a hilarious, thrashing, wild band. The guys who get the cops called at the cool parties. I was always friends with those guys, and I think Mass Beer is Cincinnati’s branch of this cult, because hearing this makes me want to get blind on fortified wine, then crash a party and microwave a turd for forty-five minutes. –CT Terry (myspace.com/massbeer)


MARVELOUS DARLINGS:
The Swords, The Streets: 7”
It always takes me a little by surprise when a band can pull off grit-laden glam rock without the joke being on them. I’m always on the lookout for stuff that’s sick with hooks, is rock’n’roll, and is cocky, but it isn’t driven by a transparent cockholeishness. The Marvelous Darlings channel some Sweet and some Slade through fellow Canadians, The Black Halos, filter (if you ever come across The Violent Years, I suggest giving it a listen), into a couple of high-strutting platform boots, assless chaps and suspenders (in sound; there’s not photo of the band in the 7”) what-the-fuck-you-looking-at, I’ll-kill-you-in-mid-solo songs. Nice. –todd (EP)


MARVELOUS DARLINGS:
The Swords, The Streets: 7”
In certain ways this reminds me of D Generation. Modern and arguably not-douchey takes on late ‘70s Thunders, a touch of glam but with the speed and sensibility of punk to keep it short. This is the second 7” of theirs that I’ve heard, and I’m not really sold. I mean, the songs are okay, but they’re nothing to howl about. I believe that someone involved with Fucked Up is in this band and it leads me to believe that that is the reason this band has more legs than it probably should with the output that I’ve heard. I’ll reserve final judgment until I see them live. Maybe that sells it. –Steveo (Wallride)


MANIKINS:
Crocodiles: LP
Great record here from this excellent Swedish band. A strong mix of garage punk, power pop, and good ol’ 1977 style punk give this LP a great sound. There is just a little something extra here that makes this band stand out from the crowd. Far from just another Euro blown-out garage record, The Manikins have real songwriting ability. I cannot recommend this LP enough for fans of punk rock to sing along to. –frame (Full Breach Kicks, www.fullbreach77.com)


MALCOLM BAULD:
Covered in Dust: CD
Singer-songwriter folk stuff. The songwriting isn’t bad; it borders on cornball sometimes. The music is comparable David Gray’s earlier stuff or maybe Tim Barry: really clean and slick. Reminds me of what they play on those public radio stations that cater to the middle class intellectuals: pretty, nice music for people who like things pretty and nice. –Craven (Art of the Underground)


MAKEOUT PARTY, THEE:
Play Pretend: CD
I mean this in the literal sense. These dudes look one hundred percent gay for each other. And man-on-man time is fine by me. Run it up a pole, have the train chug through a mountain tunnel. I don’t care. It’s just that the packaging—which I’m assuming is an elaborate inside joke—betrays what’s inside. (They’re holding hands in a human chain on a mountain; then they’re all stuffed inside a tea cup ride at Disneyland, cuddled up and laughing.) The music is what the Beach Boys would have sounded like if they started up in the 2000s and their debut was Pet Sounds… and I don’t mention that lightly. There are true bits of genius in this record; they’re not afraid to steer into strange pop areas and come out smelling good. They nail the yellow sunshine-on-top / weird, cracked, pus-green corrupt underbelly of Anaheim (and suburbias in general) effortlessly. (Also for fans of early Redd Kross and the lighter side of The Muffs.) The music’s pretty great… but the packaging… oh, the packaging. –todd (Teenacide / Recess)


MACC LADS, THE:
Two Original LPs: CD
Double disc set of this Peter And The Test Tube Babies-style punk rock band who sings about beer, sex, and food. Oi lovers rejoice. –mrz (Anagram)


MACC LADS, THE:
The Beer Necessities/Alehouse Rock: CD
A two-fer CD set of this band’s last two albums, both of which are chock full of songs celebrating the joys of blowjobs, beer, sex, premature ejaculation, and all sortsa other topics that make for interesting dinner conversation. These guys have never really quite been my can o’ worms, but if you love ’em, you need this. –jimmy (Cherry Red)


MACC LADS, THE:
Live at Leeds (The Who?)/From Beer to Eternity: CD
So I have a bit of a soft spot for mind numbingly juvenile punk rock. I guess it goes without saying that I like The Macc Lads. Fun and stupid, yet rocking. This is a reissue of two LPs, the first of which is the live record. Never been a huge fan of live records, but this one sounds good and the banter is hilarious. The second disc is the From Beer to Eternity record, which has some good stuff on it, but never measured up to the likes of Beer & Sex & Chips n Gravy. It looks like Cherry Red is reissuing all of their stuff in a double disc, two LP format. Worth grabbing unless you’re overly sensitive. –ty (Cherry Red)


MAC BLACKOUT:
Self-titled: CD
A collection of demos by one of the brains behind the Functional Blackouts and Daily Void. Basically, what you’re getting here is a man and his synthesizer making much noise, the value of which depends on how you feel about a man and his synthesizer making much noise. This’ll no doubt be indispensable for fans of either band, but I’m guessing the unwashed masses would probably be no worse for wear if they never heard it. –jimmy (Deadbeat)


LUGER 39:
Self-titled: 12” EP
Wasting no time in getting down in the thick of it. Fuggin’ awesome like you cannot imagine. Four blasts of hardcore that’re desperate and angry. “Need A Fix” kicks it off, ripping everything open, whatever everything you want everything to be. Everything that follows is a near blur of nervous fury. “Love to Hate” loosens up the composition with a bit with a taunting rhythm and clanging guitar at the beginning. Then it’s all over in a smoldering mess. Give it a few listens and enjoy the stoke. –Matt Average (Coalition, www.coalition-records.com)


LOSER X:
Underground Idiots: 7”
I feel like I’m blaspheming in church—kicking out an oops-poop in a pew or something—but I’ve got to be honest and say it sounds like Snuffy Smiles broke their winning streak with this one. While the label is renowned for putting out some of the best heart-on-your-sleeve raggedy-edge pop punk on the planet, they’ve chosen a fairly dull hardcore band to do a record with here. Eight songs, heavy references to Minor Threat—lyrically and otherwise. One of those records where all the pieces should fit together to form a juggernaut, but something got lost along the way. The atonal vocals and terrible cover art don’t help. Damn. –keith (Snuffy Smiles)


LIVING WRECKS, THE:
Cheap Heat: CD
Gang vocals are like writing a novel and italicizing all the text you think is clever and insightful. Anyway, the music reminded me of nothing, which can sometimes mean they were so original I have nothing to compare them to, but, in actuality, means they were so generic I couldn’t narrow it down. –Bryan Static (Zodiac Killer)


LET’S DANCE:
Summer Breeze: 7”EP
The packaging is flabbergastingly exorbitant. Poker chip-thick, clear vinyl with red and blue translucent blobs inside. 3D cover art. 3D, glossy record sleeve, poster, and record labels, folded-up, looks-like-a-newspaper insert, a pair of monogrammed 3D glasses, and a sticker. Fuckin’ hell. How do you not lose money on this if you charge less than ten dollars? The music, unfortunately, doesn’t live up the packaging. It’s standard pub rock / street punk—half-hearted chants, an ehh snotty snarl, predictable guitars, and a basic drummer. The singer adopts an English accent when they cover the Sex Pistols’ “Bodies.” Gimme Beltones. Gimme Wednesday Night Heroes. Gimme the first couple of U.S. Bombs records. Gimme the Bodies. Gimme GC5. Let’s Dance just lacks any sort of spark for them to live up to the bands on their T-shirts. Sorry. –todd (Longshot)


LET DOWN:
Self-titled: LP
Rippin’ hardcore punk from ze’ East Coast that recalls Tear It Up, Cut The Shit, and the Rites. It’s fast and speedy, but not blinding thrash. The energy is manic with a frantic vocalist growling and yelling about being confused and persecuted by various stations of authority. Not to mention swipes at drugs, religion, and the usual suspects. Angsty angsty! The A-side collects their Sacrifice Me and Crossed Off EPs, while the B-side is a demo from 2004 and 2005. While the whole record is strong, I find the demo material has a higher energy level, and there’s more urgency and a slight sense of recklessness that’s not entirely there on the more polished recordings. You may like the A-side better. I don’t know. It’s all good. We all have our preferences, pal! –Matt Average (Coalition, www.coalition-records.com)


LEAF FAT:
Rock Paper Scissors: CD
Fall Out Boy meets LinkinPark if both of those groups had studied Alice In Chains and Ricky Martin. Uck. –The Lord Kveldulfr (CPZ)


LASH OUTS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
These guys straddle some sorta line between Green Day quasi-obnoxious kiddie punk and modern quasi-power pop. Though they ain’t very edgy, the songs are catchy enough that I can hear at least three potential radio hits in the ranks. –jimmy (www.myspace.com/zodiackillerrecords)


LANDS ON FIRE:
Self-titled: CD
My experience with this record: I make the twenty minute walk to the drugstore and listen to this. From the name/cover art, I’m guessing it’s going to be some form of metal. Track one starts, and there’s like a little flamenco intro. Does this mean it’s going to quick turn into some sort of crazy black and/or death metal? The metal sounding part comes, but it’s kind of standard, nothing too crazy. As it goes on, it sounds like one of those “big/scenester” type bands that looks like a modern hair metal band, but more listenable. But there’s something else that’s weird; the subtle upstrokes, the occasional flamenco part. Is there a joke here? Is this band secretly mocking all of these MTV17 hipster bands? I mean, the music isn’t terrible, and there’re some lines about over consumption, so it’s not just “Wah wah” tripe. Seriously, I hope there’s somewhat of a non-serious element to it, because I did laugh.  –joe (Cold Feet)


KILL THE FALL:
The Waiting Process: CD
A former Allergic To Whores dude takes the hardcore template in which he so blissfully basked in while in that aforementioned band and tosses in a heaping helping of stoner rock (which is essentially Sabbath-inspired metal smooshed with hardcore anyway, right?) to add a little heft to his already heavy endeavors. The songs are just what you’d expect: heavy, sludgy, and surprisingly catchy. Yeah, I’m diggin’ this.  –jimmy (Tragic End)


KELLY ALVAREZ:
Hesher Boyfriend: CD Single
With “Hesher Boyfriend,” we’re given a nice slice of unadulterated rock’n’roll that makes me feel like listening to my Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack. Why? Very catchy, simple rhythms, background explosions, and a cute little mini drama that sucks you in. I hope we’ll be seeing a full length from Kelly Alvarez soon, but until then we can still hear her guitars and vocals with San Diego’s great Wild Weekend. –Rene Navarro (www.teenacidrecords.com)


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