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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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DIRGES, THE:
When Laughing Got You Killed: CD
I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is the best Irish-American folk punk band I’ve heard since the Tossers. One of the things that put me off about this album during the first few listens—and that I’ve now come to see as a strength—is its diversity. Bands that draw on the Irish music have a rich vein of material to borrow from: mournful ballads, frenetic reels, and the madly poetic drinking songs. The Pogues set the standard, and with it, some well-defined parameters. The Dirges will have none of that. The Dirges’ approach to Irish music is to integrate into a larger sphere: folk, roots rock, and punk. The result is a richly textured album that continues to surprise after many, many listens. An extremely impressive debut.  –Jim Ruland (Self-released, www.myspace.com/thedirges)


DIGITAL LEATHER:
Sorcerer: CD
My parents only bought Greatest Hits records of bands. When I was growing up, I thought Seals and Crofts, Chicago, and Waylon Jennings only had one record each, and it was amaaazing. Finally I have a Greatest Hits to give to my kids. A-side equals (some of) the best DL songs from years of tons of albums from him. B-Side equals other best songs live, recorded quite well at Gonerfest. Math says an incredible record I’ll be playing heavily. DL often feels like ‘80s new wave electronic vibes and Bowie dramatic voiced lyrics about robots and club assholes (“Hey there Mr. Happy / what you smiling about / did you sell out to the lie / that you’re really important”), but with real darkness. The garage punk spirit makes DL rough and lovable a la The Screamers and other bands that made minimalism genius—DL’s cover of The Urinals “Hologram” is the best version of it since the original, catching all the raw modern desperation. If the studio side doesn’t have enough noise for you, the live side is vicious. My parents had plaid pants and ELO. I have black and Digital Leather.  –mike (Goner)


DIALS, THE:
Amoeba Amore: CD
This is a supremely enjoyable pop punk with great girl group vocals and keyboards. Think the Soviettes with a little more power pop in their veins, or the Epoxies with less sci-fi. Songs like “Antonio,” “Amoeba Amore,” and “Joe Lies” are really fun upbeat numbers. A few of the songs, like “Aim and Shoot” and “Sharp Teeth,” are moodier and darker in tone. This isn’t a bad spot in the record, since every song is supremely listenable. There’s also a cover of Foreigner’s “Urgent” which, by all means, should suck but instead deconstructs the song so it sounds like an awesome lost B-52’s and Devo collaboration. Check this stuff out. 
–Adrian (No Fun)


DEMONICS:
Hot Rod Pussy: CD
This band is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine that appeals to my puerile inner horror kid. With its obsession with fast cars, fast women, and monster movie ephemera, they manage to mine the same influences as the Queers and Sloppy Seconds and come up with something similar to both bands, but not so much to sound like another cheap rehash.  –jimmy (www.aliensnatch.com)


DEMENTED ARE GO:
Live and Rockin’: CD
I remember Gator from the long-gone Bea Pickles playing these guys for me on the way to a scooter rally both our bands were playing and wondering how that singer managed to do that with his voice. Seriously, it sounds part Tuvan throat singing, part tracheotomy side effect, and it fits the band’s variation on the psychobilly template just fine. This is a reissue of a live album originally on Link Records, featuring the band tearing through songs with such charming titles as “Human Slug,” “Pervy in the Park,” “Sick Spasmoid” and “Anal Wonderland.” The performances are spirited, the tempo revved up, the sound great, and the band in very fine form. Can’t ask for much more than that, I reckon.  –jimmy (www.cherryred.co.uk)


DEAD RINGERS:
It Sounds Loud…: 7"
Out of four songs, I can’t say that there’s one that I would put on again. Yawnsville, late ‘70s New York punk influenced band. All go, no slow…and no hooks. Reminds me of the Marvelous Darlings 7” I just reviewed, except they had the decency to keep it to two songs. Maybe this would go over a little better in a smaller dose.  –Steveo (Gimme Danger, www.myspace.com/deadringerssf)


DEAD MECHANICAL:
A Great Lie: 7"
Why the hell isn’t Dead Mechanical full-length on vinyl yet? There, now that I got that out of my system—this 7” is fucking great. Melodic punk that’s a little soft around the edges. Like if the Monikers started as a Gin Blossoms cover band. Anybody who’s done their fair share of Jawbreaker praise, but recognizes the band as one more stone in the foundation of contemporary punk rock and not the end all of everything righteous, will most certainly get a kick out of this record.  –Daryl Gussin (Sex Cells)


DEAD CITY DREGS:
Landmine: CDEP
St. Louis four-piece that lists Rancid as a major influence. Thank the sweet lord I’m not hearing that on this one. Beer-fueled guitar rock is a better starting point. Scratchy vocals and mass back-ups on the choruses keep the wheels turning. “Black Days” and “So Long” are winners on this short but sweet chaser. 
–koepenick (BTTP, no address)


DAYLIGHT ROBBERY:
Self-titled: 7"
I usually like to refrain from being completely obvious in my comparisons, as if my life of intense music nerdery dictates that comparing the male-female vocals of Daylight Robbery to, say, John Doe and Exene Cervenka, is a total cop-out. Nerdy pride aside, the fact of the matter is that this band truly sounds like a slightly less rock’n’roll version of X, and they also happen to totally rule. This definitely does not sound like a debut release. These are tight, well-crafted songs steeped in the sound of early ‘80s Los Angeles post punk ala the aforementioned X and Fire of Love-era Gun Club. It’s actually somewhat surprising that this band is from Chicago and not L.A. Really cool, moody-yet-upbeat stuff. –Dave Williams (Residue)


DANIEL JAMES GANG, THE:
In This City: CD-R
As much as I love the Chinese Telephones songs themselves, there’s something to be said about seeing them live, and watching Daniel James go wild with his guitar. He can say he’s “not that good” all he wants, but he’s got his own thing going on, and he pulls it off, and well. This solo band of his is definitely more in that vein, I want to say “like Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, and such,” but ultimately I have to come clean and say “the stuff I wrote off up until a while ago (still do to an extent) because it’s not punk.” But yeah, it’s very classic/garage/power pop influenced stuff that’s pretty cool, and I think “No Reason to Stay” is my favorite song on it. –joe (Self-released)


DEAD BETTIES, THE:
Destination I Do: 7”
Kind of bummed this one had no label or address. I really wanted the fellas in The Dead Betties to enjoy my perspective of their record. Simple overview here. Condensed version, if you will. Dude sounds like a lady. Guitars are a wankin’. Un-rhythmic white dudes are a wailin’. The only logical conclusion, somebody get a search party together. Operation: find these guys’ balls. 
–Dave Disorder (Self-released, no address)


CRIME DESIRE:
: CD
Despite the cheesy lyrics—c’mon, you guys seriously have a song called “The Vampire’s Spell?” Seriously? And songs about “Satan’s bride” and “Satanic hordes against Christ?”—this CD collection of various releases actually kind of rules. At least the first half of it does. Comprised of their newest full-length, an EP, and then an LP from 2005—in reverse chronological order—the first sixteen songs vaguely smoke in the same dark, menacing way that Born Dead Icons do; heavy on the doom but still with enough melody and rocking undercurrents to keep the listener interested. It’s when you get to the last LP that things go south really quickly; the music’s much more thrash-based—which in this case translates to more boring—and the singer goes from using what sounds like some pretty unique double-tracked vocals to just straight out high-pitched screeching. Really high-pitched. The difference between the EP and the ending LP is substantial, and not in a positive way. This is a band that’s definitely gotten better with age.  –keith (Life’s A Rape)


DALETH / BLUSHIFT:
Split: CD-R
On one hand, nice work on recycling the packaging of old dollar-bin records for this release, especially with the awesome green on gray silk-screened cover, though I was a bit disappointed to just find a CD-R inside. As far as the music itself goes, Daleth’s got a riff-heavy thing going on, somewhat like dark stoner rock ala Sword or The Fucking Wrath, though with a bit more speed thrown in there and a recording that’s pretty more ragged than those bands. Still, not bad, especially considering it’s one dude doing everything himself and he laid the drum tracks down first without having any idea what the rest of the music would sound like. Blueshift is one woman hammering it out on a violin—the resulting cacophony is loud and abrasive enough to peel skin. All told, there are some interesting ideas at play here, sonically and visually, but it’s still a bit too cerebral for my tastes.  –keith (For Documentation Only)


CYCLONES:
We’re Livin’ like Weasels: CD
I’ve probably heard “I Need Lunch” covered no less than a hundred times (best/most fun award goes to Big Meat Hammer from Portland, ME). Absolute worst goes to these guys right here. Slow where it should be fast. Whiny where there should be aggression. Just all wrong. The rest of the album sounds sort of like a sped up auction caller leading a dosie-do jamboree.  –megan (www. myspace.com/thecyclones)


CREVECOEUR:
II: CD
Mellow, mostly acoustic soundtrack music. They play their instruments well, but outside of spicing up the drive to work a bit, this wasn’t particularly crucial listening. –jimmy (www.denovali.com)


CRETEENS:
K-Way Bleu: 7"
Hot damn. Edgy, biting, dirty punk songs with all the catch of power pop hooks inside the dirt. The vocals and bass sound like they were recorded in my car trunk on the freeway, the guitar sounds like the scraping of my brakes, if my car could play chords. Drums? Potholes. Maybe if Supercharger was a Teengenerate cover band, you could get something this melodic out of the gutter.  –mike (Boom Chick)


CRETEENS, THE / STRAIGHT ARROWS:
Split: 7”
Man, The Creteens don’t quit. Edgy, biting, dirty punk songs with all the catch of power pop hooks inside the dirt. The water in France has been amazing the past few years with Creteens, The Fatals, Les Hulks, etc.—rough, screaming, no-frills knockout punk with real catchiness you remember from ‘60s garage. I’ve really liked all the Creteens singles equally, as their website says, “being this consistently dumb is pretty fuckin hard.” With the bar set high from side A, I was surprised to really like side B of the Straight Arrows from Australia, the first stuff I’ve heard from them. They fit the Creteens mold as well without being a retread. The first song sounds like it was recorded not just in a bedroom but with the band under the mattress, going at it like they thought no one would ever care. The second song sounds like “Louie Louie” reworked. A great split that would make The Mummies proud.  –mike (Resistance A Go Go, myspace.com/resistanceagogo)


CRAPPY DRACULA:
My Ass: 7"
Twelve-year-old dudes with acne who lock themselves in their bedroom while playing video games online might think Crappy Dracula are wicked funny. Me, not so much. How many songs about a fat guy rolling down a hill does a dude have to hear in his lifetime before he doesn’t find it hilarious anymore? The answer is one. One time. If I wanna laugh at something stupid, I’ll put on Weekend at Bernies. –Dave Disorder (Crappy Dracula)


CRAPPY DRACULA / SONOROUS GALE:
Split: 7" EP
Both bands here sound like their tracks were taken from some long-lost ‘80s cassette compilation of obscure bands that never really did much more past contributing tunes to cassette compilations. Neither band is bad, per se, so much as not really managing to put across something with much lasting impact outside of, in the case of Sonorous Gale’s contribution, a vaguely Hole-like feel. Could totally be the recording quality, but this just ain’t workin’ for me. –jimmy (Crappy Dracula World Headquarters)


CORPUS DEI:
Self-titled: 10”
I’m not exactly sure what genre I should determine this is. I’m guessing it’s a bit of doom, sludge, hardcore, and metal. One thing for sure is that the music is mean, dirty, and vile. Its mixture of tempo changes makes it feel like a combination of panic attacks and emotional depression. Dirty, bottom-heavy Sabbath riffs bring forth the sense of evil. Blasting fast parts charge at your face like a windstorm. Vocals are yelled and shrieked to emphasize the overall madness. I started out in a decent mood but soon got very agitated listening to this. Pretty good result, I say. –don (Feral Kid)


COPYRIGHTS, THE / METHADONES:
Split: CD
Splits are always a dicey proposition. Sometimes you just can’t help it, and one side blows big ape chunks. Not so with this baby. Meths are back to a lean, mean four piece and the results on the first six tunes on this speak for themselves. Top notch songwriting, cool leads from Byrne, and the rhythm section is rock solid. “Under the Skyline” will be encouraging some drunken sing-alongs, and that’s a good thing. The Copyrights hold up their end of the deal on their side. “Keep Me in the Dark” has a chorus that will remain lodged in your veins like a good sugar rush from a Slurpee. They even tackle a cover by The Primitive Radio Gods. Intriguing. Impressive gentlemen, most impressive. –koepenick (Transparent, no address)


CRAWLERS, THE:
I Hate Michael Vick: 7"
Ah, fuck yea! The hidden gem of my bimonthly Razorcake package. This Portland, OR punk rock band serves up three fast songs that are clearly influenced by ‘80s hardcore, but rise above the gazillion bands aping Black Flag these days. To compare them to a band that‘s currently got a bit of a buzz around them, I’d say that The Crawlers have a Cloak/Dagger sound to them, a sound that’s rooted in classic hardcore but brings in elements of stuff like Toys That Kill. Ignore all of my name dropping nonsense if you want, but the point is that this is fast and catchy as shit. I’ll be picking up their full length ASAP.  –Dave Dillon (Blind Spot)


COPYRIGHTS, THE / METHADONES, THE:
Split: CD
Two superhero camps have joined forces to beat the crap out of stale-ass pop punk villains! The Methadones start off the album with the secret power pop-packed formula they’ve perfected over the years. They always manage to take me to this warm and fuzzy place that smells of depression and alcohol and root beer-flavored lollipops with their brand of punk rock, and I welcome the feeling in with open arms. The Copyrights side of the split wins hands down. Their songs include fantastic lyrics that tug and pull at every emotional string, from happiness to devastation, and even round the set off with a cover that kills all the other songs on the record while managing not to sound like the original tune. Now that’s fucking talent. –mrz (myspace.com/transparentrecords)


CONCRETE FACELIFT / MOTHER SPEED:
Split: 7"
Mother Speed: think skateboards and forty ounce beers. Fun but sloppy, skinned knees and hurt feelings included. Concrete Facelift: awesome name by the way—more like skateboards and trucker speed.  –Dave Disorder (Party Time)


COMA LILLIES, THE:
Memento Mori: CDEP
According to a note inside, the disc was recorded “for the first two tracks. The rest are goodies for you.” Ironically, the first two tracks are the weakest here, sounding like instrumental bits written for the soundtrack to a movie that doesn’t sound too interesting. Get the singer from Fate’s Warning on board to drop some vocals about gremlins eating his spleen and satanic donuts over all that intricate, occasionally jazzy bombast that comprises the rest of what’s here, though, and you’ve got yourself one wicked interesting metal band.  –jimmy (www.denovali.com)


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·Webcomic Wednesdays #95
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