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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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HOMICIDE / MC HOMELESS:
Split: LP
Homicide: This is officially the first Indonesian hip hop I’ve ever heard. Both the music and the political leanings owe a little to their interest in punk rock. Not bad. MC Homeless: There’s more than a little punk influence here as well—even gives propers to Poison Idea for “kicking ass”—but the sound on this Ohioan’s side is more laid back and “traditional” hip hop, for lack of a better description. The beats are a wee bit sluggish, but on the whole he’s not too bad a rapper, and of course having guests like Riddlore doesn’t exactly hurt. –jimmy (wwwdiseasedrecords.com)


HOLY CURSE, THE:
Feed the Dogs: CD
This French band has been rocking for fifteen years—unfortunately it’s cock rock. –mike (Turborock, turborockrecords@wanadoo.fr)


HENRY FIAT’S OPEN SORE:
Mondo Blotto: LP
This new release is still spastic and all over the place, yet Henry Fiat’s Open Sore seem to have developed their weirdness to a degree that can only be measured in comparison to bands like Devo or Turbonegro. At times, this record definitely reminds me of both bands, and only until I realized that did I even consider how hard of a thing that must be to pull off. From the second track, “The Knuckledraggin Neanderthal in Me,” which has a Loverboy being covered by Devo, being covered by HFOS feel to it. All the way to the ending spoken word part of the last track “Mondo Blotto,” which cannot play without escaping Apocalypse Dudes comparisons, does this album dance around, throwing drunken slugs and bear hugs of European sensibility dosed with party-hard strength and a look no ways before you cross the road rock’n’roll vengeance.  –Daryl Gussin (Alien Snatch)


HELLMOUTH:
Demo `08: CD
The first thing that comes to mind when I started listening to this was that the band sounds like eighty percent Sick Of It All, ten percent Blast, and ten percent Pantera. I could see this band doing very well in the hardcore scene. The music, I would say, fits well in that genre. For a demo, this easily could have been released as a legit release. The production is top notch and evenly mixed. Everything is where it needs to be. I was surprised that the former singer of the Suicide Machines could belt it out like he does here. I’m curious to see what comes out after this. If their demo sounds this good, I can only imagine what their debut might sound like.  –don (www.myspace.com/666hellmouth)


HIPBONE SLIM AND THE KNEE TREMBLERS:
The Sheik Said Shake: CD
If Thee Headcoats were the answer to the early Kinks, then Hipbone Slim and his merry cohorts (which include Headcoat Bruce Brand on drums) are the answer to the early Yardbirds. Although there’s lotsa rockabilly and country tossed in for good measure, they mine a lot of the same bluesy garage rock as the band that kick started the careers of Messrs. Clapton, Beck and Page, making sure to add both seriously good musicianship and just the right amount of punk rock attitude to give it all some edge. There is so much Bo Diddley, Buddy Holly, John Lee Hooker, Hank Williams, and Carl Perkins being mined it almost feels like they could market this as a crash course in the history of rock’n’roll in one easy disc and find little argument. Good, good stuff.  –jimmy (www.voodoorhythm.com)


HOLD, THE:
Need: 12” EP
This whole punk scene and all the hyped bands is a truly weird thing; not in some important, bestow some grants for sociological research way, but more in a bitter, analytical musing late night conversation level of study. So-called punks are shitting themselves silly over the latest KBD clone, or some band aping the Blitz, but with ten minute jams because they’re somehow pushing the envelope in the minds of a counter culture content to suck up whatever poop is dished to them, all in the name of punk. Well, fuckos, here’s a band that is deserving of one of those wide-eyed “Have you heard...” moments music dinks, such as I, have with my music dink pals. The Hold play quick bursts of hardcore punk that’s loose and erratic without being a complete mess. A bit of legit belligerence in the execution, but none of the affected snot-nosed shit that goes for pennies on the dollar these days. More disturbed and unhinged, really. A steady diet of early L.A. punk mixed up with, say, Born Against, and you’re somewhat there. I can dig it!  –Matt Average (MonoRhetorik, monorhetorik@gmail.com)


HELLHOLE:
Uppers / Downers: 7”
My apologies gents, but you drew the short stick with me here. I’ll admit that this is competently played and for those more into the style than I, this might be passable. Fans of by-the-numbers monkey beat hardcore with a capital HARD (think ‘80s, New York and pissed) will be pleased with the a-side. Dudes into the extended dirges will be stoked with the b-side. I will say that I like that this is on Don Giovanni because I would not have expected this from them after some of the other records they’ve put out. –Steveo (Don Giovanni)


HEATHERS:
Here Not There: CD
Like an Irish Tegan And Sara fronting Even In Blackouts. I like all three of those things a lot, and I sure as hell like this record. It’s just dual vocals and acoustic guitar (with cello on a few tracks), but the sound is somehow bigger than that. Sisters Louise and Ellie MacNamara fucking wail on this eleven-song CD, released jointly by Florida’s Plan-It X and Dublin’s Hide Away Records. The songs are short and sweet bursts of two-part harmony, sass, and brilliance. Oh, and there’s a dinosaur on the cover. D’you ever feel like someone created a record just for you? Damn, I was so absorbed I just missed my bus stop.  –Guest Contributor (Plan-It X/Hide Away)


HEATHERS, THE:
Lose It: Demo CDEP
I can’t tell if The Heathers are quickly on their way to becoming something totally awesome, like The Carrie Nations, or something that started out fucking great then ended in a big shrug, like Kosher, or something like Hot Carl that took a long fucking time to develop and exceeded all expectations, years later as The Chinese Telephones. Because The Heathers have that effortless, elastic quality that stretches through three decades of rock’n’roll, DIY punk, early English punk, and are able to kaleidoscope through snatches of the Wipers, Apocalypse Hoboken, The Embarrassment, and weird ‘80s guitar flashes, like the catchiest of The Church. Here’s to hoping they chose the right paths in the long run. A complete surprise. Stoked. –todd (Self-released)


HEAD ON COLLISION:
Ritual Sacrifice: CD
Speed metal owing much from predecessors like Sodom, Kreator and, yes, Slayer. If that sounds appealing, you could easily do much worse than this.  –jimmy (Beer City)


GUANA BATZ:
Electra Glide in Blue: CD
In addition to the obvious cycle reference, Electra Glide in Blue is a cult movie starring a pre-Baretta Robert Blake as a highway patrolman working the back roads or Arizona or someplace like that. As the lyrics to the title song here—easily the closest to the Cramps I think I’ve ever heard an English psychobilly band get—imply, these guys have seen the flick, which earns them some additional cool points right off the bat. The rest of this reissue (of their third? Fourth?) is a surprisingly solid bit of work that’s a more modern update of the rockabilly sound than psychobilly, which is a long-winded way of saying the Billy Fury and Buddy Holly influences are much clearer in their sound here than it would be in, say, Demented Are Go’s repertoire. All told, it’s a dang good listen, even if this type of stuff normally ain’t yer bag.  –jimmy (www.cherryred.co.uk)


GSD:
Right or Wrong: CD-R
The sound on this leads me to believe it was recorded “live in the studio” at a college radio station, which is pretty fitting, ’cause they sound like one of those punk bands you’d hear live on a college radio station some odd Tuesday afternoon. While their mid-tempo racket-makin’ ain’t particularly bad, it’s just that it’s not particularly memorable, either. It could totally be the recording, but either the band or the mix needed a bit more punch. –jimmy (imanlamb@yahoo.com)


GROUCHO MARXISTS:
Manifesto: CD
Poppy, sloppy shit that sticks to the roof of your mouth. Kind of annoying and kind of fun at the same time. By the end of the record, you need to go to the dentist because your head hurts and you realize that stomaching the Groucho Marxists is painful but worth the trouble. They do share some similarities to The Ergs! Guitar solos and basslines that walk up and down the walls that have your eyes searching for an invisible bouncing ball you will never find, which may be one of the reasons I actually made it through the entire record. I keep expecting Groucho Marxists to grow on me like pubic hair, but it hasn’t happened yet. The New Jersey bunch leaves me wanting more with a little hope that their lyrics will improve and their next effort will be so catchy it will give me herpes forever, again. And I don’t care who you are, songs about giving or receiving oral sex are almost always never amusing. Unless it’s about pubic hair or sexually transmitted diseases or it ends really, really badly like somebody farts or pees.  –Gabe Rock (Wrapped In Plastic, no address)


HAMMERLOCK:
Barefoot & Pregnant: CD
This enhanced re-release of the now classic 2000 album by San Francisco Confederacy of Scum band Hammerlock includes three bonus tracks and a hilarious music video. The Bay Area may seem like an unlikely place for this un-PC, country punk band to emerge from, but Hammerlock has stood the test of time and this album is even better than I’d remembered. Barefoot & Pregnant brings back memories of when C.O.S. bands like Hellstomper, Cocknoose, and Limecell were churning out release after release in rapid-fire succession. Of all of the C.O.S. bands, none embraced hick humor more than Hammerlock. You can almost smell mud and manure from the CD player as this motherfucker spins. –Art Ettinger (Steel Cage)


HANNA HIRSCH / YOUNG FIT MALES:
Split: 7" EP
Young Fit Males: Oh, Sweden, land of fancy packaging and a currency that is whipping the American dollar into peso-like proportions. As America’s empire quickly returns to the dust of broken promises on the fault lines of colonialism-style hubris, Sweden’s been busy backing their cultural arts and thus come the dividends. There’s some connection between Young Fit Males, Fy Fan, and Svartenbrandt, but I’m not sure what it is. What I do know is that these folks play spot-on melodic hardcore. Not the assy stuff; muscular music that could be reinterpreted as either folk or power pop in other hands; just nice, meaty charges-ahead with Wipers-like guitar. Hanna Hirsch: If the band goes on the life cycle of The Vicious, right when I get my level of enthusiasm to reach “apeshit,” they’ll probably break up…. Dunno if they have, but their two songs commandeer the bouncy ball goodness of Knugen Faller: one foot in good 1977, one cable plugged into the not-too-distant future; connecting the icy space of early Wire to the on-the-spotness of Gorilla Angreb through the switchboard of “man, this is good. I’m sure it’s going to be a sonofabitch to find.”  –todd (Self-released)


GROSS URGE:
Cat Killer: Cassette
Plodding basslines and doddering drumbeats—possibly played simultaneously by the same guy—while what sounds like an eleven-year-old kid yelps inanities over the top of it. Does contain the immortal line, “I don’t like to skate ‘cause it hurts when I fall.” Limited to fifty.  –keith (Baby Carrots)


GRAVE MAKER:
Bury Me at Sea: CD
Well-executed modern hardcore that adds some straight-ahead rock influences. They definitely don’t break the mold here. But what they do, they do well. “Cast Away” and “It’s Raining Again,” in my opinion, are the strongest of the album.  –Matt Average (Think Fast!)


GOLDEN ERROR:
Self-titled: 12” EP
Ehhhh... Something about this just reeks of bullshit. Sounds like the Tyrades, which, fine, whatever. The sassy attitude and swagger seems forced. As though it’s what expected, so you gotta deliver. The songs are hyper and erratic with a punk flair, but still... It’s just ehhhhh... –Matt Average (Shandi)


GOLDBLADE:
Mutiny: CD
Lyrically, this is a bit better with more pointed salvos at the power structure than I remember previous discs being, but ultimately their take on punk seems more driven by adhering to a template than really pushing forward from the starting gate, which leaves their efforts sounding a bit hollow and thin on righteous anger about what they’re going on about. Gotta say, though, I’ve gone from dismissal with extreme prejudice to a grudging respect for ’em, which means either I’m slowly softening through repeated exposure, or they’re getting a wee bit better with each release.  –jimmy (Captain Oi)


GLASS AND ASHES:
Self-titled: LP
I’m not sure what the final verdict was on this band staying together or splitting up, but if they do split, this is a damn fine high note to go out on. I guess I should give another listen to the first album because I remember it being, well, nothing special. There was nothing to grab on to for me at the time. This album is different. There’s a fair amount of the chaos and noise that I remember from the first record but it’s broken up by these pissed melodic moments that I do not remember them having before. I feel like I tend to drift out a little when I listen to this but just as the record is about to fade in to the background, it kicks you in the shins with these gruff vocaled jams that are a little more pissed than a lot of their contemporaries on ole No Idea but just as catchy. They’re definitely a sight to see live as well. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to do that again. Plus, Mike looks a lot like Judge Reinhold and that comforts me for some reason. –Steveo (No Idea)


GIRLS, THE:
Yes No Yes No Yes No: CD
Call me old fashioned, but I miss Devo and I didn’t mind Max Headroom. I understand Devo’s still around, but given that their last studio record Smooth Noodle Maps (not so good) came out eighteen years ago, I think there’s room in this world for some heavy-duty Devo worship on the ground level (as opposed to the Disney level, where Devo 2.0 was Devo-endorsed kids re-recording Devo songs). I’ve always liked the icy, more evil Devo, too. I mean, Devo pretty much strip mined and devoured any chance that future synthesizer and male-fronted electronics punks could follow in their Energy Domes without being compared to them… And with that said, The Girls more than carry their weight in Yes No Yes No Yes No. Your individual waves of remembrance and urges to reach for Freedom of Choice may vary. Not bad at all. Funny, the last time I saw The Girls, I don’t even remember seeing a synthesizer. Maybe they got one of The Epoxies’ ones at a yard sale. (Damn you for breaking up, Epoxies.)  –todd (Dirtnap)


GIRLS OF THE GRAVITRON:
Self-titled: 7"
Three songs of shapeshifting lo-fi, acoustic-based indie pop from Tennessee. White noise and dubby sounds blanket the songs that sometimes sound too slow, sometimes too fast. Once you get past the general mindfuck, some of this is quite catchy, especially “When I’m Dead.” Though not simpering and twee, this band would be at home on K Records in the ‘90s. Will someone please tell them that if they bring over the jug wine, I’ll provide the two-miles-under-the-earth’s-crust-molten-magma diggity dank nugs, and we can get hazy together?  –CT Terry (Boom Chick)


GHUNDI:
3196: EP
At first I thought, “This isn’t so bad. It sort of sounds like the Dead Milkmen,” but then the second song came on and sounded like a pit bull fucking a screaming baby’s face so I turned it off. Upon my next sitting of the CD, I was quite pleased to not hate it. Half the songs were good, half the songs were not so good. But it was good enough to push me towards further investigation of the band’s album content. But because trying to read their lyrics is like looking at the clues and squares to a jigsaw puzzle—fuck it, DIY. So I looked up Ghundi online because I could have sworn “Drop the Dead Junkie” was a cover, but I guess it’s not. Instead, I came across them on Youtube and was excited to see that the four-piece is from Ireland, yet disappointed to discover they are not high school kids.  –Gabe Rock (Fake Your Own Death)


GHOST BUFFALO:
The Magician: CD
Fairly strong indie pop from members of Planes Mistaken For Stars. The production is way too slick but the songs are pretty good. Sounds like a band that might have been on a bill with Velocity Girl or some Slumberland band in the mid ‘90s. At times, this record even veers into Creation or Slampt territory, although with slick rather than four-track recording. Good vocals and good instrumentation. I just wish it had a little more grit in the sound. Seems like the type of thing that might grow on a person after multiple listens. –frame (Suburban Home)


GET BENT:
Demo 2008: CD-R
Okay, I totally concede that these guys are pretty danged good at the whole Leatherface via Hot Water Music thang. The songs are well-structured and catchy enough, they play with enough spirit so as not to sound like they’re going through the motions, and the post-Dü noodly guitar bits would make Stubbs proud. Sometimes, however, it just comes down to personal preferences and this just ain’t enough my ball of earwax to go completely gaga over it.  –jimmy (Get Bent)


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