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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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ATOMIC BUTTER BABES:
Manatease: EP
I am a big fan of short songs, but come on. Five of the eight songs on this album are under a minute long. And sadly, they don’t leave me wanting more. Repetitive lyrics, unintelligible vocals, and a terrible recording all blend together to make this sound like something that got made in the basement by some drunken goof offs. Oh yeah, and one of the band members is apparently named Captain Penis. –jennifer (Useless State, www.myspace.com/atomicbutterbabes)


ASTPAI:
Corruption Concealed Under Deceptive Slogans: CD
When a band says they’re out to repair the sullied name of some musical genre or another, in this case “melodic hardcore,” nine times outta ten they only manage to exacerbate the problem. This is no exception. Starting out like new metal “hardcore” bands like Converge, then suddenly popping in some sorta pop hook or quasi-emo noodling, the songs never gel. The lyrics sound very heartfelt and “punk,” but they’re squandered on music that just don’t quite work. –jimmy (Jumpstart)


ASHAMED, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Thrashy hardcore with metal tinges and a rockabilly undertow. –jimmy (www.unrepentantrecords.com)


ANTI-NOWHERE LEAGUE:
The Punk Rock Anthology: 2X CD
A nice career overview, warts ’n’ all, of this bands lengthy career. Their classics, like “I Hate People” and “We Are the League,” sound just as gloriously virulent as they did when they first hit the streets, the mid-late ‘80s “rock” period is as bad as one would expect, and their return to form is more than welcome. Two discs, the lion’s share fine listening and, best of all, one can hear the original version of “So What,” a song rife with so much piss and vinegar that not even Metallica’s attempts at covering it can diminish its sheer nastiness. A great look at the music of a great band. –jimmy (www.cherryred.co.uk)


ANTIDOTE:
No Communication: CD
Now I’m not sure that if it’s just because I saw that it was on Rodent Popsicle, or it was the cover art of punk choking out a business type and injecting him with a big ol’ syringe, but I was expecting this to be a lot more, uh “crusty” than it is. In reality, Antidote is straight-up hardcore punk rock with a cool melodic streak going though it. Not melodic like “woah-eh-oh” and all that. Melodic in that he’s not screaming unintelligibly over tuneless screech. This is really good stuff. Part way though, I finally placed what it reminded me of: early Funeral Oration. Oddly, I hadn’t noticed that Antidote was also from Holland at that point. Must be something in the water over there. –ty (Rodent Popsicle)


ANTIDOTE:
No Communication: CD
Another solid release from these guys, with potent hooks, gallop beats, and lyrics, while not cribbed from an MDC record, are topical enough to sound like they’re aware there are some serious things afoot to think about. It’s especially nice that they decided to sing a bunch of the tunes in Dutch. –jimmy (Rodent Popsicle)


ANGRY 4 LIFE:
Some Songs We Recorded 2004-2006: CD
I’m gonna give this CD the thumbs up. It has that speedy and melodic skate punk feel that I like. Just like their name, these guys also have a lot of lyrics about being angry at life, which is fine by me (although these guys really seem too hung up on drinking away their pain, as they mention it in around five of the songs). When I was looking these guys up, I also learned a new genre of punk which I never heard of, which is trall punk. I guess you discover something new everyday. The stand out track to me is “The Sky Is Falling.” There’s a catchy violin line in that song that just really throws it over the top for me. The rest of the album is good, but I wish more of it was more memorable and would stick with me as much as that one song. –Adrian (Co-release: Hungry Ghosts, Infected, Jerk Off, Lokos, Tic Tac Totally, Vinehell, White Trash Taco)


ANDROID HERO:
Untitled: CD
Well-calculated yet frenetic dance punk with a nice thundering sound. This comparison might be way off the intended mark, but it reminds me of a faster version of the angriest work of Hella (with the addition of vocals). Don’t sand off the rough edges, let the music get grimier, and this stuff could be really good. –Guest Contributor (Self-released, no address)


AIRFIX KITS:
Demo: CD-R
I never got to see Giant Haystacks, but I saw Airfix Kits’ first show at the Knockout in San Francisco and it’s obvious that these two guys have this music so ingrained in their lives that there’s no end in sight. Allan and Alan have the ability to constrict themselves around a song, taking their time and methodically squeezing the vibrant, flavorful juices out of it until you’re soaking head to toe in something you’re not sure you really understand other than the fact that it’s fucking good. Early Wire meets Minutemen but played by three guys who know how to make something their own. I can’t wait for more from this band. –Daryl Gussin (Self-released, www.myspace.com/airfixkits)


AGGRAVATION, THE:
Runaway: 7” EP
This French band plays garage-y, angular punk rock that’s high in the energy levels. It was decent awhile ago, but, at this point, I think this is what I was expecting to hear the first time I listened to Wire back in high school. –joe (Jojo)


26 BEERS:
Self-titled: CD
When I imagine great crusty hardcore punk in my head, it usually ends up sounding something like 26 Beers. It’s fast and hard but not overdone, with driving drums and definite riffage. Vocal misfires often turn crusty bands unlistenable, but the opposite is true here; the gruff-and-glassy vocal attack is perfect, and fits the music like a puzzle piece. This is phenomenal. –Will Kwiatkowski –Guest Contributor (Rodent Popsicle)


86 MENTALITY:
Final Exit: CD
More on the oi side of things than hardcore these days, but it sounds good either way. I like the bellowing vocal style, which gives this that edge needed to be convincing. The songs cruise at a mid-tempo pace and the guitar has that blazing sound that has a slow-burning effect. Songs like “Degenerate” and “Out Of Control” are the definite standouts, requiring repeated listens before moving on to the next track. There’s also a live seven-song set tacked on at the end of this. –M.Avrg –Guest Contributor (Deranged)


26 BEERS:
Self-titled: CD
Mainly because of the vocals, it’s something that would fit between Filth and Nine Shocks Terror some of the time. It’s metal of the epic variety with some hardcore influence most of the time. –Vincent Battilana (Rodent Popsicle)


INTELLIGENCE, THE:
Boredom and Terror: CD
Arty, lo-fi synth noise with programmed drums, unleashed from the mind of the A-Frames’ drummer. The whole thing has the vibe of a tape you might make in your bedroom and give to all your friends for a laugh. Interesting racket here, but I doubt it would get a second listen. –jimmy (Omnibus)


INSTANT AGONY:
Not My Religion: 7
These lads hail from the UK and this is on Punk Core records. So what you’re getting this time is a three-song 7” that reminds me a lot of GBH’s early-to-mid period records. Not a bad release at all. If you’re a fan of Punk Core, definitely get this ‘cause you won’t be disappointed. –Guest Contributor (Punk Core)


INDEPENDENTS, THE:
Full Moon Arise: CD

Misfits clone band #3,428,137. This one incorporates ska into the opening track.

–jimmy (Fast Music)


HUNTINGTONS:
self-titled: CD
What we have here, folks, is middle of the road pop punk music that owes its existence to The Ramones first and foremost. Besides that, didn’t The Queers already do this? The Mr. T. Experience? These bands are a dime a dozen these days. Can you hear that change clanging in my pocket? Probably not since I cut a hole in it and let ‘em all spill out all over the ground. I’ve got no use for music like this, maybe you do. Feel free to pick up that dime on the ground. –greg (Fastmusic)


HUKEDICHT:
United Horror of Rock N’ Roll: CD
It’s sitting at the tip of my tongue of what band this reminds me of. It just eludes me like a job I actually enjoy. Well, I can tell you one thing: this is some kick ass garage punk from Switzerland. They bang with conviction while they carry out playing some fine melodies. They also speed things up at points to make you feel like you are flying down the road ignoring all caution. I thought this was going to be another horror rock band mimicking the Misfits. Putting them up against the modern day Misfits, these guys would embarrass them into quitting music. They have the knack of writing a catchy tune. Included in the packaging is a thin piece of steel to make having this package sent to you cost more in postage. That is sure nice of them! –don (Earforce)


HORROR POPS:
Hell Yeah: CD
This sucks in ways I can’t even begin to get into. Suffice it to say that this is the psychobilly equivalent of the kiddie-punk swill you hear on the radio, with a dash of ska thrown in to make it all the more accessible. About as threatening and edgy as a No Doubt record. –jimmy (Hellcat)


HIGH TONE SON OF A BITCH:
Better You Than Me: CD-EP
This is quite possibly the worst metal album since Heavy Metal Thunder by Saxon. –Josh (Unknown Controller)


HEARTBREAK ENGINES:
Good Drinks, Good Butts, Good Fellows: CD
Rockabilly for guys who strike a chord with CD titles that may be interpreted as a calling to being homosexual but too macho to believe it or people who really dig Tiger Army and the Nekromantix. –don (I Used to Fuck People like You in Prison)


HALLOMASS:
self-titled: CD-EP
Taking into account the band name, the face paint, and a song title lifted from a horror novel, this screamed “Misfits clone,” but they weren’t, surprisingly. Their vaguely poppy garage demo of punk-cum-college sound falls flatter than one would hope, but they nevertheless get an A+ for not blindly worshipping at the altar of Danzig. –jimmy (OBZ)


GRABBIES, THE:
I Wanna Be Blind: 7
Punk as Hate from Italy via San Francisco that’s full of relentless dumb-brute energy that chases its own tail around and around in the most beautifully idiotic way. Sort of a lo-fi version of the Rocking Dildos. Shlocky, fast ‘tard punk with racing guitars and an indecipherable vocalist who sounds like a tiny, infuriated Popeye impaled on a fondue fork, all on lovely dead-fingernail grey vinyl. I think I love this band. –aphid (Proud to be Idiot)


GONER:
How Good We Had It: CD
First off, since this band has the same name as what I would consider one of the better record labels to commit music to vinyl, they had big shoes to fill before I even heard what they sounded like. Also, if you are going to call anything Goner, be convincing! Instead, I feel that the singer got dumped by his college girlfriend and started a band. It’s too wimpy for me, but I like music that makes me question if my speakers are blown or if my needle needs to be replaced. –Guest Contributor (Bifocal Media)


GITS, THE:
Enter the Conquering Chicken: CD
Wow, this takes me back. Although the Gits were one of those bands I never got around to listening to back when they were originally making the rounds, I do remember them being the big cheese in the scene, as well as the shockwave that hit when their singer, Mia, was murdered a decade ago. Listening to this now, I can’t help but wonder where they might have ended up had her life not ended so abruptly ‘cause they were quite proficient at what they did. Although songs like “New Fast One” and “Sign of the Crab” show an ability to punk things up with ease, there’s also a bar band undercurrent to the proceedings as well, sorta like a grungier Big Brother and the Holding Company. Tacked onto this reissue are some additional live tracks showing they could pull off live the quality of work they put into their studio recordings. Poignant, but a good listen if you’re in the mood for something a little different. –jimmy (Broken Rekids)


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