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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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KAKISTOCRACY / NUX VOMICA:
Split: 7"
Two of the best names in state-side melodic crust come together for one epic battle of a split 7”. I’d like to think that this 7” was so crushing on both sides that there could be no survivors because in typical crust fashion everyone would be annihilated, but I’m going to have to go with Nux Vomica as the victors. Both bands definitely put their all into it, but the charging tempo changes and fierce back up vocals throughout their side of the 7” assured them a small, yet influential, lead to triumph.  –Daryl Gussin (Humdinger/To Live A Lie)


JUVENESCENT BEAT:
A Man Could Get Shot Around Here for Asking Questions Like That: CD
Tough band to get a handle on. At times they remind me of a fuller To The Ground-era Shivering, other times the vocal/guitar interplay have a total Old Growth feel to ‘em, especially on the second song. It’s definitely some solid stuff, even at five tracks, though the scribbled, pixilated cover (done in MS Paint?) would lead most listeners to believe that they’re about to be privy to some downright suckiness. Ultimately, yeah, I’d have to go with the Old Growth comparison, if you consider the fact that Juvenescent Beat seems to eschew much of the melancholic qualities I associate with that band. Damn fine attack, but some lyrics would’ve been nice, and that cover art has seriously gotta go. –keith (self-released, no address)


JUNIOR ACHIEVER:
All the Little Letdowns: CD
If, when you see a guy with greasy, messy matted-down hair that probably takes a half hour of daily mirror time to maintain, you think to yourself, “Wow, give me some of that! Let me enter your world, Mr. Hipster Doofus,” then you might like this cutesy radio pop. But you should also know that all four guys have beards. The more facial hair, the higher the “suck” rating. You know this to be true. That’s why you’ve skipped over the Allman Brothers section at the record store.  –Mike Faloon (Engineer, www.engineerrecors.com)


JUANITA Y LOS FEOS:
Self-titled: CD
This is a really fun band from Madrid, Spain. The lyrics are in Spanish so not everyone can sing along, but you’ll definitely be dancing to the beat. The strong bass lines and fluid use of keyboards really make this album jump. It’s so good that these twelve tracks leave me thirsting for more, more, more! They take surf punk and make it their own by the dosage of great snotty grrrl vocals and then spitting the mix right in your face. If Bikini Kill met the Creepy Creeps in a dark alley to record the soundtrack for an El Santo fight scene, it would sound like this. –Rene Navarro (Dead Beat)


JR. JUGGERNAUT:
Ghost Poison: CD
Alt.country with a definite rock core. There’s more guitar noodling and distortion than you’d hear on your average alt.country CD, with the solo on “Early Morning Blackout” almost delving into metal territory. Pretty straightforward stuff, for the most part. –Sarah  –Guest Contributor (Suburban Home)


JONESES:
Criminals & Tits and Champagne: CD
Goddamn, I love them Joneses! Full Breach Kicks does all glam and punk fans a favor by compiling these two rare 12” singles onto a shiny compact disc. The first time on disc for both and they also happen to work quite well as an album together. Twelve tunes fulla Thunders style hooks and snotty punk rock’n’roll vocal delivery. Occasionally veering into rockabilly and even garage, the Joneses are a great mix of everything that makes rock’n’roll great. Both of these killer records are also available on vinyl. –frame (Full Breach Kicks, www.fullbreach77.com)


JOLTS, THE:
Haute Voltage: CD
Picked this up ’cause I thought it might be something new (or at least a “best of” or something) from the old mod band The Jolts, but this is a modern band from Vancouver. They call themselves “punk,” and I ain’t gonna argue with them on that point, but what I’m hearing musically draws just as much from the “rock” end of the spectrum as it does the “punk.” The songs are loud, tight, and very catchy, which means they weren’t painful to listen to and I’m betting they’re even better live.  –jimmy (www.hautevoltagerecordss.com)


JOHNSON FAMILY, THE:
No Forwarding Address: CD
An English trio’s stab at bluegrass/rockabilly. The music ain’t too bad, but the vocals are a bit out of place, sounding a bit too Cockney instead of country for this to work. –jimmy (www.cherryred.co.uk)


JOHNNY BODACIOUS & THE BAD ATTITUDES:
From Here to Outer Space: CD
I really had no idea what to expect upon seeing this for the first time, but upon listening it kind of made me think of what it would sound like if Delay were more into metal than Green Day, in that it’s fairly youthful and energetic sounding, with a touch more technical(-ish) parts in the songs. (I actually would’ve said “later-era Propaghandi” instead of metal, but the songs don’t strike me as being political, at least not to any “The public transit systems are a racist bullshit institution” levels [yeah, that’s about as best I can do there.]) It plays a little weird since it’s apparently a collection of some old stuff and new stuff, but it’s not bad, and I’d be interested in hearing more down the line. –joe (Cassette Deck)


JOHN WALSH:
Self-titled: CD-R EP
I swear Nick from Razorcake did not put me up to this, but two Jon Weiner reviews in one issue? Ridiculous! More straight ahead hardcore; think “TV Party” on happy pills. Apparently John Walsh is high on life, and so are these dudes. Every song ends with an exclamation point, so you know they really mean it. Really! When you see them live, make sure you get the art of the high-five down or they will laugh at you.  –koepenick (No label)


JEAN MILLS SOCIETY TORCH:
Start Tomorrow: EP
Straight-forward thrash in the vein of bands like Tear It Up and Life’s Halt. Fast and faster is what you get. Good stuff from start to end. Not much else to say but turn it up and kick some shit in the room over. –Matt Average (Firestarter)


JAY REATARD:
Singles 06-07: CD/DVD
In The Red’s great comp of Jay’s solo singles—recording after he started playing under just his own name, recording all instruments himself (except for one Alix Brown solo). He first beat a guitar and some pails into a broken 4-track at age fifteen and has now come full circle. Reatards and Lost Sounds fans are split on his solo stuff, which is a lot more mild at times, even acoustic. I love all his stuff. The bands are different from each other—if I want to hear the fuzzzzzz, I can still put a Reatards album on. If you see him live today, the fury is still there. The singles are less furious and more nasal than his Blood Visions album, but are as good. Most of this feels like it could have been for his Wire-style band Angry Angles had they not broke up. As kind as the pop punk parts are, they are still spirited by the fifteen-year-old in his room singing about being a fashion victim. “All Over Again” starts out plucky and sweet but gets dark. “I Know a Place” has some moody piano and woooooo-oooo alongside the powering guitars and drums, but then it gets dark too. “I guess we both got what we asked for…” Each project is different but you can never separate Jay from his music. He is not getting stale in one spot nor turning to a boring imitation of himself. Keeps rock and roll fucking interesting. The DVD is three live performances and an interview that’s short and okay. The performances don’t catch any bloodletting or fights, but the music is incredible; much more hyper and loud than the recordings. Only downer is a lot of songs are repeated over the three. Still, this is a must.  –mike (In The Red)


JEFF THE BROTHERHOOD:
The Boys R Back in Town: LP
Jeff The Brotherhood aren’t easily categorized, which is certainly a good thing. I guess you could say they’re a jam band, since the songs have a feel. They’ll hit on a riff and the song takes off. But there’s also a lot of searching in between than can be tedious. Fear not, this is not some gland stroke prog stuff. Irreverent for sure. They tip towards psychedelia on the first couple tracks. The rest of the songs are a mixed bag with varying results. The instrumental keyboard-driven song is pretty good. Other than that, it’s a crap shoot.  –Matt Average (Infinity Cat)


JASON WEBLEY:
The Cost of Living: CD
I was listening to this in the car, analyzing it, wracking my brain to come up with a review as I wait for my wife to get out of work. I’m thinking it sounds like a low rent Tom Waits in a Leonard Cohen-type way, but nah, that’s not quite it. Next I’m thinking the use of dynamics and rhythm....No, no, no, that ain’t it, either. My wife gets in the car, and says, “What is this cheesy music you’re listening to? It sounds like the love theme from Rocky,” and in two seconds and sixteen words, she cuts through all the pretense I’d been trying to lay down and hits the nail right on the head. –jimmy (11)


JAMMY DODGERS, THE:
Skive Off: CD
Okay, so it’s not on Plan-It-X, but the nod is so obvious that it may as well be—features Chris from Op: Cliff Clavin and Plan-It-X and the woman that I believe is in Punkin Pie. So you’ve got a good idea of what you’re getting here: topical but damn close to preachy and often cloyingly positive lyrics delivered above frayed and frantic punk. Like Clavin’s other bands, I find that while the sincerity is heartfelt, it’s also just a hair shy of being totally over-the-top corny. The fact that the female vocalist sounds like a cartoon character and that each person in the band lists their “likes” (the drummer likes tea, painting, games, secrets, and dancing) doesn’t do much to alleviate that. Also contains Transmissions #2, nineteen spoken word tracks done audio zine-style, in which Dakota Floyd loses for complaining about how no one in his scene supports his lofty punk endeavors, and Boogdish wins for performing a play written by second graders—complete with British unicorns, robots with broken flamethrowers, and ice cream parties—that’s absolutely fucking hilarious.  –keith (Rock-It)


JACUZZI BOYS:
Ghost Ghost: 7”
With the recent psych-garage boom (read: Black Lips) I would expect this band to be at the top of everyone’s lists. Great songs, ghostly vocals, plucky surf guitar, simple beats, wandering and moody but with solid riffs that should make any dot-covered girl and beanpole guy weep over. I haven’t revisited much psych stuff, but this is easy to keep replaying. “Age of the Giant Jellyfish” is a must, if you tend to wake up after dark. 
–mike (Florida’s Dying)


INSTÄNGD:
Konkret Och Brutal EP: 7"
Definitely more accessible than last year’s release on Sorry State Records, Instängd is still bringing the raw, noisy hardcore Swedish punk without fail. Sure, if you don’t know Swedish, you might not know what they’re hollering about. But I’m pretty positive they’re pissed off about that same things that make everyone plug in and make a whole lot of racket. –Daryl Gussin (Adult Crash)


IMPERIAL LEATHER:
Do You Know Where Your Children Are?: CD
I was excited to see a follow-up to this band’s excellent debut LP Something Out of Nothing. That record was a favorite and saw a lot of playtime at the home and in the car. I was also very fortunate to see them live when they came through on tour in the states a couple of years ago. Live and on record, they are an enjoyable experience. Think late ‘70s to early 80s American punk rock sound mixed with U.K. ‘82 that stresses the rock edge and still maintains a modern edge. This Swedish wonder team’s members played in many former and current bands. If you are curious, it a good assignment for you to do some research and see if they have played in a band you recognize. On this sophomore effort, the band goes for more of a raw and live-sounding production to record their brand of straight up, no bullshit punk. The melody is still there but there is no sugar coating the angry sound. What I really like this time around is that the guitars have a raunchier sound. It gives the new songs a sassiness and two fingers in the air attitude to them. I am really glad that this wasn’t a stinker because it sucks to be disappointed.  –don (Profane Existence)


IDOL LIPS:
Too Much for the City: CD
Despite the utter lack of originality in evidence here, right down to song titles like “Messed Up” and “Smell of Female,” these kids do manage to deliver tunes that almost make up for it by being catchy and energetically delivered. Would’ve probably been fuggin’ indispensable if they’d stuck to singing in Italian, but as it stands they prove they’re more than capable of handling their biz.  –jimmy (www.myspace.com/zodiackillerrecords)


HUNCHBACK:
Pray for Scars: LP
I wasn’t immediately taken in by this very noisy NJ band when I first heard them via a two-song 7”, but this full-length has my interested piqued. The songs vary stylistically, but are ultra noisy and complex. There’s a folk punk undercurrent to counterbalance the experimental noise, but this is still on the less accessible side of punk. The dual female and male vocals are pretty on some of the tracks, and downright eerie on others. Judging by the entertaining interview they did with Joe Evans III in Razorcake #42, Hunchback definitely has a sense of humor about how fucking absurd they are. Despite being a vinyl snob, I don’t have a turntable in my car like Elvis did. So I appreciate the fact that this LP follows the much appreciated trend of LPs coming with full CD versions as well. I still don’t “get” Hunchback, but I think that’s part of the point. It’s rough being a punk simpleton sometimes.  –Art Ettinger (Don Giovanni)


HYSTERICS / NO PLACE FOR A HERO:
Lessons in Sharing: 7”
Hysterics: ummm...screaming and a whole lot of “ahhhhhhhhhs”? NPFAH: Fucking awful. I used to think anyone (read: an-y-one, as in, every single person who has every been in a bar, probably wasted when Journey comes on) could pull off Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” but these guys even manage to ruin that. And, one of the singers even has moments that sound like the original singer of The Because (one of the best bands out of Japan) and it still can’t work with even that. Blech.  –megan (Flammable)


HOSTAGES:
Legend in My Head, Failure to the World: 7"
The early 2000s saw some interesting trends emerge within the hardcore scene. Bands like Panic and American Nightmare made it fashionable to do away with typical hardcore sloganeering in favor of Morrissey and Ian Curtis-inspired personal gut spilling. This eventually led to the birth of the Makeoutclub online community where the ever-saddening avatars of sensitive hardcore kids worldwide could be found alongside their favorite bum-out quotes and song lyrics. Some anthropological experts (well, me) insist that it was this community of sad sacks that eventually led to the tight-panted, swept-black-hair, Hanoi Rocks version of “hardcore” that thrives today in whichever online –Space or –Book is currently driving the kids wild. To whoever’s interested, Hostages are keeping that flame alive, pretty much verbatim.  –Dave Williams (Burnbridges)


HOUSE THAT GLORIA VANDERBILT, THE:
Heavy like a Feather: CD
Todd (Pott of Apocalypse Hoboken, Tongues, and The House That Gloria Vanderbilt) handed this to me and everyone else standing around one night after Tongues played. I was surprised that I liked it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not all that skeptical, and I love the hell out of some Apocalypse Hoboken, but I’d seen them once before with high expectations that just weren’t met. But then, the more that I listened to it, the more it made sense: what truly bothered me during the set was gone while listening to the CD, allowing me to enjoy the rest. The female singer/guitar player was what killed it for me live. Everything about her (and this is all presumption since I’ve never seen her with the exception of those several minutes on stage) seemed so forced. Her demeanor (Bangles’ eyes, pouts, and movements) all seemed to have been decided after some time in front of a mirror. And, that made it painful to watch. Take that out and you’ve got something pretty darn interesting here. Todd has the shut-eyed, close-fisted drunken Tom Waits cross between a croon and wail down, which is then paired with the dank and dirge of the Starvations and the dirty rock of RFTC . It’s quite a thing to hear, if not necessarily to see.  –megan (self-released: www.myspace.com/thehousethatgloriavanderbilt)


HULK OUT / ALL THOSE OPPOSED / THIRD DEATH:
Split: LP
One-sided three-way split with an etching on the b-side. All the bands fall pretty firmly under the flipped-bill-and-skateboards thrash umbrella; and after repeated listens, there just wasn’t much to separate these boys from the umpteen million other bands doing this stuff.  –keith (Tor Johnson)


HOMOSTUPIDS:
Cat Music: 7"
I can’t get enough of bands that somehow rip total noise and amp destruction—yet creep a song inside it. The Homostupids can keep it simple but interesting, punishing with a catch. They are basically hardcore with the screaming and pushing the feedback thunder, but I’ve never been bored with their songs. You’d think they were half-assed with the scribbled covers (look across the 45s, their name is always slapped on by hand but not copied and pasted) but it’s just something to hold the music in. With two of the three songs close to two minutes each, this is epic, even with a moment of a horn section playing one of their older tracks, “Sixths.” They always add in weird shit that makes sense to them. Get it now. –mike (Fashionable Idiots)


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