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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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PARTLY CLOUDY:
Arm Your Weapons: CD
I can see these guys being signed to Nitro Records or Hopeless Records and opening up for Pearl Jam. Oh, and they have lyrics like: “Words are cheap and so am I.” –mrz (Self-released, partlycloudyrocks.com)


PANDAMONIUM:
Self-titled: 7”
The first thing you’ll notice when you pick this one up is the cover, which features the angriest fucking panda you will ever see in your life standing tall on top of a mound of charred corpses. With its fangs bared, it aims its blowtorch at any body that shows signs of life, sucking in the scent of burning flesh with pride. Like the panda on the cover, the music on this record is relentless. It’s frantic hardcore that knows that if it doesn’t keep moving, it very may well become another addition to that pile of bodies. In other words, this is the stuff that keeps the pit alive. (By the way, the cover art is by Bill Hauser, who did a couple covers for my zine, Freak Tension, back in the day and, as far as I’m concerned, is at the top of the heap of hardcore cover/poster artists at the moment. Check it.) –mp (One Percent)


ONLY FUMES & CORPSES:
Read What’s in Between: CDEP
Modern hardcore from the west of Ireland. Short, punchy songs with huge hooks and blistering riffs. They’ve got the epic intro that makes you launch your beer twelve feet in the air down cold. The vocals are belted out by someone named “Momme” who never lets up and seldom slows down the songs. Slot them between Trail of Dead and The Refused without the theatrics. –Jim Ruland (www.myspace.com/onlyfumesandcorpses)


ONE CHOICE WIN:
Never Suspend Disbelief: CD
I like ‘80s style youth crew hardcore for the most part, and I wanted to like this album more than I did. Bands like Youth Of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, New Mexican Disaster Squad, and Kid Dynamite have a way of really inspiring the ol’ hardcore pride in me. Musically, One Choice Win is pretty on the mark, and lyrically they touch all the bases about thinking for yourself, keeping dreams alive, etc… The problem with the band is that the vocalist keeps coming off as whiny and annoying rather than inspiring. Being a bad singer in this type of band is almost a feat considering how so many great hardcore singers like Civ and Kevin Seconds are technically really limited, but great none the less. Minus the vocals, this has some potential, but, until then, I think Deny Everything from Germany and NMDS might be the best bands currently playing this brand of punk. –Adrian (Jump Start)


OAKS, THE:
Demo: CDEP
The Oaks do heavy metal the way Queens Of The Stone Age do rock: they take a tired format and twist into something remarkable. The Oaks are slick, strange, and a hell of a lot of fun to listen to. It’s hard to believe that three instruments can make so much a spectacular racket. If I hadn’t seen them with my own eyes, I’m not sure I would have believed it. (This is an extremely polished demo.) The last track, “Deerhead,” has anthem written all over it. The only question is: anthem to what? Drunken hunting? Taxidermy? Whatever, keep this band in your sights.  –Jim Ruland (www.myspace.com/oaksmusic)


O PIONEERS!!! / THE MEASURE [SA]:
: Split 7”
Cohesion in split records: Who needs it? On the OP!!! side, you’ve got a cover featuring a cartoon of a cheeky muscleman in a leopard-print Speedo posing with a “gator dawg” in hand and a tiny mutt taking a leak on his foot. Uh… okay. The band’s lone contribution to the disc is a harmoniously jangly confessional delivered with Chuck Ragan-esque gravelly vocals, cloaked in the awesomely raw production of an early-‘90s emo record. Mildly catchy, but it doesn’t cut through you as it should. Flip the green parcel over and you’ll find a stately portrait of the late Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (with newsprint for skin) questioning your soul. The Measure [sa] offer two tracks of plucky pop punk with a sweet slow dance interlude wedged in the middle. Again, there’s some good moments (like the nostalgic bridge in the third track), but nothing particularly memorable as a whole. Together, this tag team of young bands produces a fun yet artistically uncoordinated and largely ineffective teaser of how great their music could be. –Reyan  –Guest Contributor (Kiss of Death)


NINE POUND HAMMER:
Sex, Drugs, & Bill Monroe: CD
The pre-Nashville Pussy spin-off you knew and didn’t love in the 1990s is back with their second comeback album in recent years. I went into this one with a bad attitude, but it’s actually a way above average cowpunk album that I found myself bobbing to like a fool. Nine Pound Hammer is no Hellstomper and this still pales in comparison to Nashville Pussy, but fans could do a lot worse than checking out this saucy CD.  –Art Ettinger (Acetate)


MUGWUMPS, THE:
Banana Brain: LP
I am trying really hard to preserve my partisan leanings! I do not want to speak ill of my fellow pop punkers in the year 2008! This is decent pop punk, but no Lucky Charms here! I liked their last 7” better. Totally Queers-influenced pop punk, as evidenced by the not-so-subtle reference (intentional?) to Joe King’s Munki Brain record! Photos of the band on the record indicate a T-shirt-based preference for Teenage Bottlerocket and the Riverdales, which makes me wonder... are we at the beginning of a surge of bands influenced by the Bottlerocket gang? Are we going to have to start saying, “Well, they’re influenced by Teenage Bottlerocket, who are influenced by the Riverdales, who descended from Screeching Weasel, who were influenced by the Ramones?” When did pop punk get so complicated?! If this were a cereal, it’d be Kix. Nothing new here, but not bad, either.  –Maddy (Bachelor)


MOUTHBREATHER:
Self-titled: 7”
Now this is cool: clear emerald green vinyl in a matching green tri-fold cover. Since this was recorded with Chris Owens (Lords, Coliseum), I was a little disappointed this only had two songs. The first track is new from this Richmond, Virginia, hardcore outfit followed up by the rerecorded “Forgainst the Kids” with its power chord riff and group vocals. Recommended. –Kristen K  –Guest Contributor (Kiss of Death/Tick Tock)


MOHORAM ATTA:
Desolate, Motherfuckers: 7”
Four songs of crusty hardcore punk. Super dark, super heavy with multiple vocalists and three guitarists! Fans of From Ashes Rise, His Hero Is Gone, and all-out raging will not be disappointed by this, unless they’re a total snob and like to complain about everything, but even then they might have a hard time with this 7”.  –Daryl Gussin (Unholy Thrash)


MOB, THE:
May Inspire Revolutionary Acts: CD
I was excited to get this as I had no idea this CD was released! I love the Mob! But then I played the CD and was so disappointed by the sound quality that I couldn’t bring myself to listen to every song all the way through. These songs should have stayed where they were in the dustbin, as they do no justice to the band. –mrz (Overground)


NEW BRUISES / STOLEN BIKES RIDE FASTER:
Split: 7”
I thought that the first New Bruises LP, Transmit! Transmit!, was a decent outing peppered with some really good tracks (“Homo-Erectus-Americanus” still finds its way onto mixes I make a few years after I’ve heard it). That said, they’ve released a few 7”s since then, including this one, and they now strike me as a band that’s entirely coming into their own. With vocals somewhere between singing and screaming and toe-tappable bursts of guitar hooks laid over an on-point rhythm section, it all merges to form some serious rock. Interestingly, it’s rock that eschews much of the gruff-vocalled beard-blasts that seems so synonymous with the Tampa/Gainesville area right now. I mean, I really like a lot of that stuff, but the bullets New Bruises are firing are from a different gun entirely, and that’s refreshing. Stolen Bikes Ride Faster is from Italy and seem to be a pretty good record-mate; musically they’re pretty similar, though they seem to be more relentless and unwilling to take the song down a notch for some instrumental interplay. The only bummer about Stolen Bikes (and this is the first time I’ve heard ‘em, so I don’t know if it’s a studio thing that they do all the time or what) but either the vocalist double-tracked his stuff or they turned the reverb way up in the mix; the end result is that he sounds A) somewhat operatic and B) totally independent of the band. It’s a little distracting. As a whole, though, the record’s pretty good; two tracks each by two bands that seem to be slogging their way towards sloughing off their influences and finding themselves in a house that they’re building themselves. Nice attack.  –keith (Kiss Of Death)


MOJOMATICS, THE:
“Down My Spine” b/w “The Diamond Jack”: 7”
Two-man-band from Venice, Italy, whose vocals sound like the lead singer from Randy (which is odd, due to Randy being from Sweden and both bands singing in English). My favorite Mojomatics song—“Nothing about Nothing”—crystallized my fandom for these guys a couple years back. That Alien Snatch 7” was a raucous mix of cracked-apart Beatles melodies that were linked to Hasil Adkins jittering that still shakes my bones. Since then, the Mojomatics have taken off the crazy hat and have dived into the world of Lennon/McCartney/Brian Wilson head first with straight-ahead, big-sounding, expertly produced, beautiful songs. Tell me if this makes sense. If I hadn’t heard their earlier stuff, I wouldn’t give this much of a chance, but since I know where it’s coming from, I like it. I can sit back and let the prettiness wash over me like a sunset. (Since the label that’s releasing this is named after a Beach Boys album, that’ll give you more of a sonic idea where this is coming from.)  –todd (Wild Honey, myspace.com/wildhoneyrec)


MISS GEORGIA PEACH:
You Blow My Mind: 7”
Ramo Records is a collective of musicians, namely Blaine Cartwright and Ruyter Suys from Nashville Pussy, and Miss Georgia Peach is one of their side projects. I tend to like my alt country on the dark side with deranged old men and secret offspring buried in hollers. Miss Georgia Peach is the opposite of that. It’s supposed to be sticky sweet, but it comes off saccharine. –Jim Ruland (www.ramorecords.com)


MILO’S SYNDICATE:
Pull Me Through: CD
Sounds like Paint It Black if Paint It Black tried to replace Dan Yemin as singer with some guy who’s doing a half-assed Dan Yemin impression.  –Bryan Static (myspace.com/milossyndicate)


MILO’S SYNDICATE:
Pull Me Through: CD
Sounds like middling X-hand-derived East Coast hardcore that, outside of the singer occasionally singing rather than yelling, really doesn’t stray to far from the template musically. The titles hint at something a little more substantive than the norm, but musically this wasn’t all that memorable.  –jimmy (www.galaxypark.com)


METH TEETH:
Meth Teeth: 7”
Sweet rotisseried baby! This is a dark and deeply disturbing record. It opens with “Bus Rides,” a frenetic onslaught reminiscent of The Tyrades. “Unemployment Forever” is more subdued but poleaxes you with its darkness. The song is punctuated by an open bass note that resonates out of the void and stabs you in the brain. It’s a hellish sound, like a cow on the slaughterhouse floor. It makes you remember why warriors blew into conch shells or beat on goat skin drums before an attack: it makes the enemy shit their pants and wish they were dead. The second side is a bit mellower, a cross between Morphine without the jazz syncopation and Bryan Ferry all looped out on Oxycontin. Get this record if you dare, but do yourself a favor and search for them through their label or pictures of seriously fucked up teeth are going to pop up in your search engine. Unnerving.  –Jim Ruland (Sweet Rot)


MELTDOWNS, THE:
No Authority, Direction, or Control: CD
Though they really don’t sound much like them, these guys remind me a lot of the sorely missed Minutemen—it’s obvious from the first couple of notes that they love their jazz and their funk. Their rhythm section is taut and tense, and they ain’t apprehensive in the least to use their lyrics to convey something a bit more substantive than, “Babe, I’m gonna leave you....” It’s also obvious that they know how to pen a catchy tune, even if they sometimes go on a wee bit too long for my hardcore-bludgeoned senses to wrap my mind around. On the whole, this is thinkin’ man’s rock, and since lord knows there ain’t enough of that around these days to fill a bell jar, it’s most welcome.  –jimmy (www.themeltdowns.com)


MEASURE [SA], THE / BLOTTO:
Split: 7”
If you’ve read and listened half-assedly to Razorcake over the past couple of years, just the listing of this 7” should prompt you to seek this little slab of gold out, regardless of what I make up right after this sentence. The Measure [SA]: The lead song, “No Regerts” (intentionally misspelled), is the shot: self-doubt, scene-doubt, and life-doubt becomes a swelling anti-anthem. It’s one of those smile/cry songs where the protagonist is on the “cynical and jaded?” vs. “lifetime devotee-on-my-own-terms” fulcrum points in life. I hear celebration… You could call ‘em pop punk and it wouldn’t be wrong, but it wouldn’t be right, either, because that wipes out their biggest weapon: heart. Blotto: Man, if I was smart, I’d know who the Frankie Stubbs of Japan was, what Japanese town would be the Minneapolis basement equivalent, and I could totally make a “this type of sushi is from the best part of this fish; it’s delicious” reference to explain how Blotto’s songs fuckin’ rule by how they don’t wank, aren’t fatty, and cut through the international dateline like a sharp knife. But I’m not so smart. I’m just glad that Blotto’s on board.  –todd (Snuffy Smiles)


MASSHYSTERI:
Self-titled: 7”
As I imagine everyone on the planet was, I was completely bummed out when I heard that The Vicious had called it a day. Their final Igen 7” had been in constant rotation since it came out and their other records rarely made it back onto the shelf. After pacing around my apartment, heartbrokenly singing “Dead Town” to myself for what seemed like an eternity (but was actually more like twenty minutes), I received the word that there was indeed a new post-Vicious band in the works and that they’d taken their name from The Vicious’ finest song. When I finally heard the Masshysteri 7”, it was as if my old friends had never gone away and that they’d been listening to a ton of Gorilla Angreb in their brief absence. If you liked The Vicious, which I know you did, you will like this. It’s like, the best. –Dave Williams  –Guest Contributor (Feral Ward, www.feralward.com)


MANIKIN:
M Theory: 7”EP
Icy, dark, brooding, Orwellian, minimal, and existential: doesn’t sound like a good time, does it? But Manikin somehow make all that danceable, terse, and interesting with a guitar that sounds like a blade being sharpened. Taking cues from Wire and Gang Of Four—and in league with The Fuses and The Lost Sounds (RIP)—this three-songer is a like an ice cube slowly pulled down the length of your spine, a great episode of The Twilight Zone, and a hint of the Tijuana Brass (cyborg division) all colliding together on a frozen patch of musical highway, giving the songs a distinctive, jagged, blood-in-your-mouth tang.  –todd (Super Secret)


MALA SANGRE:
Ride the Wind…: 7”
I can sum this up as what a kid in with an Amebix back patch on his jacket would go to if he was looking for a metal record. My interest in this style is pretty limited to a few bands, but this is an example of something that I have no trouble passing over. The lyrics and guitar riffs aren’t too much different from those heard on the records of bands that came before Mala Sangre (“Bad Blood,” translated), and ultimately leave something to be desired. If you think that this is your thing, then you may want to check it out for yourself, but as far as my tastes go, I can’t find a reason to put this on again. –Dave Dillon  –Guest Contributor (Threat To Existence)


MAKEOUTS, THE:
Worst Band Ever: 7”
The Makeouts produce lo-fi pop punk that wears its standard issue “heart imagery” and amateur style on the sleeve of its ratty Ramones shirt. Yet, even with the short and sweet nature that the 7” demands, the music can become pretty pedestrian awfully fast. The band devises one decent hook and then runs it through a dozen rounds of repetition without adding any other ingredient to it. It doesn’t help that the playing comes off as pretty slack, which, in turn, guarantees that those initially cool hooks have nowhere to go. The muddy, clattering guitars and clanging drums would probably make this fun material for intoxicated dancing in a live setting, but in recorded form, it’s only almost passable. –Reyan  –Guest Contributor (Bachelor)


MAHARAJAS, THE:
In Pure Spite: CD
I don’t often hear good old-style garagey rock’n’roll coming out of Sweden, but The Maharajas have got it going on and then some. I guess I would liken this to the Oblivians meets the Woggles. As far as how they engage in the genre, this is pretty much straightforward and standard in all the positive senses of such words. You know what you’re getting into with this one, but it does not disappoint at all. Infectious grooves but light and springy with an occasional touch of heaviness, like a pineapple upside down cake. There really isn’t much to say about this in the end since, musically, it’s rather familiar, but it’s a welcome offering of such stylings. Good stuff, men.  –The Lord Kveldulfr (Low Impact)


LUXURY PUSHERS:
Welcome to the Party, Traitor: CD
Glammed-up, hard-rockin’ punk from Ohio, the musical breadbasket of America. Revivalist New York, 1970s-era punk replete with yowling sneers, a crashing rhythm section, and reverb-heavy guitars. –thiringer (Zodiac Killer)


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