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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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J CHURCH:
Palestine: CD
I first heard J Church around the time of Prophylaxis and Quetzalcoatl; I kept up with the band for several albums and then we parted ways because the songs didn’t seem to mean as much to me anymore. They were catchy but I just lost my appreciation for the band somewhere along the way. As far as Palestine goes, it reminds me of what could have happened if Bob Mould had reverted to music reminiscent New Day Rising or Flip Your Wig for his first solo effort. The songs have hooks and they’re relatively catchy, but the effort just seems like more of the same. If you’re a J Church fan, you will likely already own this. If you aren’t, there’s no reason to start here (try The Precession of Simulacra as a different entry point).  –scott (Honey Bear)


INVENTING EDWARD:
We’ve Met An Impasse (By Midnight We’ll Be Naked): CD
I’ve been struggling with this album for several months now. It sounds like college rock from the 1980s and 1990s updated for a new decade which has no use for it, blending emo, art rock, perhaps a touch of prog…you get the drift. There’s a fair degree of impressive musicianship here (particularly the drumming and the soaring vocals), but these noodly guitars drive me batshit. It’s almost all notes – played slowly. As such, this is pretty much incapable of rocking by any definition, no matter how loose, of that word. Despite listening to this thing at least a dozen times, I still have absolutely no reaction to it. However my gut feeling is that most readers of this magazine (and by most I mean all but one or two) will have no use for it at all.  –scott (Substandard)


IN MEDIAS RES:
The Adequate Seven Inch: 7"
Four inspired songs searching for the Dischord sound but not getting there, especially with the awkward drum solo and the keyboard outro.  –mike (2 Keys)


HOT CROSS:
Cryonics: CD
This blend of screamo hardcore is dissonant and angular with a slight metallic influence. It also makes me search for something which grabs my ears because there’s nothing that accomplishes that here.  –scott (Level Plane)


HONOR SYSTEM, THE:
Rise and Run: CD
A mixture of college rock and emo that turned me off like smelling my own diarrhea.  –don (Grey Flight)


HOLY MOUNTAIN:
Your Face In Decline: 7"
Loud, disjointed rhythms to keep things interesting, one pissed off singer... this is some pretty good hardcore.  –jimmy (No Idea)


HITCHHIKERS, THE:
Demo: CD
Ex-Bleeder/Humper Mitch Cartwright has been out and about with this new band of his for some time now and I gotta admit, it’s actually pretty fucking cool to see him fronting his band, The Hitchhikers. Included in the fold is Steve “Stingy Brim” Spills (ex-Neurotones) and Eric (also an ex-Bleeder) on guitars. Pimp-slapping the kit is Marty (ex-He’s Dead Jim) and ya got Mitch pulling vocal duties while workin’ the bass gitter. How do they sound? Think of The Humpers showing The Supersuckers how it’s done, and with this demo, there’s some really cruisin’ rock and roll that thuds the back of yer ribcage, leaving a faint, sickening feeling in the pit of the stomach, unlike getting kicked in the nerts. Yep, it’s that good, fuckface, so save yourself the drunken, fist-swinging arguments amongst you and your dumbass friends and visit their website. As of now, their full-length has yet to come out, but logging onto their site will give you a chance to hear these tunes for yourself. Your animal porn site’s not going anywhere, so what’s your excuse? Just do it, you sick fuck.  –dale (www.thehitchhikers.com)


HIDE YOUR DAUGHTERS:
Twisted and Distorted Gender Relations 101: CD
Canadian noise rock for rolling around on the floor in broken glass and cigarette ashes after your girlfriend fucks your best friend. It’s got a very AmRep kinda feel, and lord knows we don’t find enough bands like that around these days. Would fit nicely on a triple bill between sets by the Cutthroats 9 and Shallow, North Dakota. No need to beat your head against the wall, folks, just turn on Hide Your Daughters and let ‘em do it for you.  –greg (No List)


HERSCHELL GORDON LEWIS & THE AMAZING PINK HOLES:
The South Shall Rise Again b/w Moonshine Mountain: CD-Single
Over the course of the years, i have finally come to accept the legitimacy of the hillbilly thing/thang as one of rock & roll’s legitimate and most direct ancestors (therefore, by implication, one of punk rock’s many great-grandparents as well), but, that said and Mr. Lewis’ snappy Bob Eubanks’ style voice notwithstanding (Herschell Gordon Lewis... Herschell Gordon Lewis... wasn’t he that back Minnesota traded away all those draft picks to Dallas for in the ‘80s?), i find neither of these songs so charming that i would feel justified in proclaiming this disc a legitimate hum-dum-dinger from Dingersville. Assuming few of us here are legitimate connoisseurs of the genre, my recommendation is to keep your two-dollar bill in your pocket and point your Hot Rod Ford™ in an alternate direction. BEST SONG: “Moonshine Mountain” BEST SONG TITLE: I dunno, wasn’t this the kind of question that Kirk used to blow up the androids in “I, Mudd?” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Holy fuck, he DOES know Bob Sablack!!!  –norb (Smog Veil)


HEROS & ZEROS:
Wake-Up Call: CD
Interesting band from Holland whose singer sounds like Degz from Oi Polloi backed by a German street punk band with horns. The songs are straightforward and come off basic in sound. The guitars, bass, and drums are bland. What catches my attention is the strong vocal delivery and the accenting of the songs with the horns. Otherwise, I would have pulled this off the player at the first song.  –don (Mad Butcher)


HENRY FIAT’S OPEN SORE:
The Parallel Universe of...: CD
There’s something wonderfully intrusive about HFOS. Most bands that pretend to be dangerous just don’t have that intangible it. These guys do. Whenever I try to describe them I almost always – no, wait, always – wind up painting a picture similar to that of a toppled over short bus spilling out with whooping hebephrenics wearing their underpants on their heads and running naked into a Lutheran pot-luck picnic and smearing themselves with potato salad and defecating on bibles, etc, etc. Good, sturdy, dangerous fun. And the amazing thing is that this lovable quality comes across on record. Overall, Parallel Universe has a slightly less sociopathic Ramones-ish flavor to it than the full-on criminal lunacy of Idiotia Hyperactiva or Adulterer-Oriented Rock, but the unusually bent teeth of genuine twistedness are still sticking out of the mangy gums of this thing and even at low volume they still will chomp a Gary Coleman-sized divot out of your Lutheran ass.  –aphid (Coldfront)


HELLBLOCK 6:
Burnin’ Doom: CD
Dude, drawings of severed fingers are cool. Satan rocks. How come your singer doesn’t squeal like he got a nut ripped from his body by a demonic rottweiller, like King Diamond does? That’s, like, a total bummer, man.  –jimmy (World Eater)


HARUM SCARUM:
The Last Light: LP
It’s been awhile since I listened to their last LP, Suppose We Try. That was a great record! That was enough for me to send out some cash when I got an email about a new release. I thought they had broken up since I hadn’t really heard anything about the band in a while. I had read that the band members were playing in other bands and doing other things. Just like the last record, this record is amazing. This recording has a straightforward sound that is moody and sad while maintaining a feeling of anxiety. The music is adventurous and creates a dark atmosphere. Lyrics of despair and anger connect the ambience of the dirge. More personal insight of the injustices of the world are pinpointed. I love that this sounds so progressive yet the music still propels forward with a sense of urgency. It sounds that the time away was well spent to create a record that is uniquely theirs while staying away from the formula that is followed by so many other bands. Musically challenging and thought-provoking. There are two things on my wish list from this band: I hope they come down to LA and grace us with their presence, and I also hope more recordings are coming down the pipeline.  –don (Partners in Crime)


GREAT REDNECK HOPE, THE:
‘Splosion!: CD
First of all, this disc has some of the best song titles I’ve ever seen. Honestly, how the fuck can you overlook songs with titles like “They Say The People Elect The Government They Deserve, But I Don’t Remember Knife-Raping Any Retarded Nuns”? Sure, it falls along the lines of more chaotic hardcore like Men’s Recovery Project, The Locust, The Blood Brothers, Melt-Banana and even some death metal at times, but the more I listen to this, the more it grows on me. Sure, maybe they’re trying to be extreme, but isn’t that a better option than, as so many other bands seem to strive for, sucking? At least this elicits some reaction other than boredom. And, quite honestly, it’s really pretty fucking good.  –scott (Thinker Thought)


ISKRA:
Self-titled: LP

If screaming is what you want, this puppy is your dream come true. An extreme black metal experience that veers into the grindcore and powerviolence realms, all done with intricate guitar playing that is heavy on the riffing and squeezes enough notes in one song that equals the note count on ten regular punk songs. The vocals are carried out by what I assume are the main singer and the person doing back ups. Man, do these boys scream. They scream so hard, I am getting a sore throat. Too bad the vocals overplay the lyrics and thank whoever you pray to that there is a lyric sheet. The lyrics are thought provoking, intelligent, and backed up with additional information to prove their point. Not easy on the ears but it does connect to the emotion of rage.

–don (Profane Existence)


INSOMNIACS, THE:
Switched On!: CD

Either I’m not in the mood for this right now, or this disc of ‘60s-influenced pop is about as exciting as an Association hit, meaning I’ve heard junkies nod off harder than this rocks.

–jimmy (Estrus)


IMPULSE MANSLAUGHTER:
Live at WFMU: CD

Can’t say that I remember much from this band in the past. Here is what I can pick out of this peanut-sized brain of mine. I remember them being a mid-’80s crossover band. Didn’t buy anything specifically by this band and I think they had stuff pressed by Nuclear Blast in Germany. I remember them on the Complete Death II comp., but I haven’t listened to that record in over fifteen years. That is about it. Well, Mike from Beer City was obviously a fan since he compiled tracks from a live radio show, LPs, EPs, a split and a comp. That’s love right there. Another release that is not only an economical way of getting this band’s music but is an easy way to get a taste before you start collecting the actual releases. This reminds me that I still haven’t bought a copy of DRI’s Dealing With It that Beer City re-released.

–don (Beer City)


ILLNESSES, THE:
Self-titled: 7”

This might be what the Tyrades or The Orphans might sound like if they were mediocre. Nothing wrong with this, it just feels held back.

–megan (Pop Quiz)


I WALK THE LINE:
Badlands: CD

A band with a Johnny Cash name and a Bruce Springsteen album title. Cool! Unfortunately, record-critic-at-large Nate correctly deduced it when he said that this band’s song structure goes as follows: Start with a clear, good intro, then pause, and start a new, boring song. Seriously! This also could best be described as a poppier Murder City Devils, and I think they are from Finland. Facts! But in the end, all that matters is what kind of cereal it is, and it’s definitely Mueslix. Heavy, complicated, with promise, but when you get right down to it, there’s only so much of it you can take before you want to eat something else! Extended metaphors are go!

–Maddy (Combat Rock/Boss Tuneage)


ZODIAC KILLERS:
Society’s Offenders: CD
If you’ve heard the Zodiac Killers before, you know what to expect here. Short, deceptively simple rock and roll that never fails to draw blood. Apparently, there’s a video on here, but I couldn’t get my computer to play it. I guess it’s because I’m a loser and should just drink my life away because I am as dumb as a box of rocks and don’t really deserve to see it. –Josh (Rip Off)


YETI:
Volume Obliteration Transcendence: CD
Hey Rob Zombie, you should totally get these guys to play on the soundtrack for your next super-good horror movie that I’ll totally go see. Ummm four tracks, almost an hour of play time. –megan (Life Is Abuse)


X-GIRL:
Endangered Species: CD
Synth and guitar driven, sometimes moody, Japanese pop from three girls dressed like they just walked out of an episode of some animé show. It’s interesting, but that don’t mean it’s particularly good. –jimmy (Alternative Tentacles)


WHERE EAGLES DARE:
To Come from Nowhere: CD
I remember reviewing their CD a year ago. I pulled it out to hear what they sounded like. They had a straight-forward hardcore/straight edge sound that was energetic and fierce. I pop this in the player and hear a lot of change and progression. The hardcore/straight edge is still here, but they must have been playing a lot of Mars Volta or At the Drive In while in their touring van. The breakdowns that were mosh in the past became more emotive. Also, due to better musicianship, the music has more metal elements. So the emo-screamo is more prevalent, added with the youth crew backgrounds. Still burly and their shows are probably a bad place to be if you suffer from some body ailments.  –don (New Day Rising)


WILDHEARTS, THE:
Riff after Riff: CD
First off, this is the third-worst kick drum sound i’ve ever heard on record (behind only that of NOFX and the worst-there-ever-could-be Me First & The Gimme Gimmes). Second off, my Advance Nu-Metal Warning System™ emits horrifying blasts of dire static at periodic intervals when i experience this product. Third off, with a name this gay and graphics this lame (or is it “a name this lame and graphics this gay?” I forget exactly whom i intend to offend here), i do not blame myself whatsoever for not having Clue One whom this band was, even though they’ve apparently been putting out records since 1993. Fourth off, this record kicks ass, so go the fuck figure. I mean, i’m running the key algorithms thru my brain as we speak: If Cheap Trick, who were compelled to palliate their Anglophiliac leanings (e.g. The Move, The Beatles, The Who) with liberal doses of Midwestern Arena Clod Rock for yokel-pleasing purposes, were, in fact, Anglos who were compelled to palliate their more melodic aspects with liberal doses of the rube-rock of their time and place (Nu-Metal last time i checked), would not Cheap Trick’s One On One album, then, sound much like Riff After Riff? Best answer i can come up with is “yup.” One second they’ll be playing these BUGGACHUGGACHUG! DUGGACHUGGABUGG! guitar parts, with the singer sounding like Chad Price of All trying to hork up a football, next second the guy’s singing like Robin Zander, the sun is out, and everybody’s drinking free wine coolers. Damnedest thing. And it actually works, that’s the nutty part. Rocks about as hard as a Joan Jett album (on average); my math says that logically this should be the kind of record that almost everyone likes – insuring that there’s about a 99.9% probability that it turns out to be the kind of record almost everyone hates. ROCK THAT LAKE OF PISS ACE FREHLEY ALIVE I STYLE, MOTHERFUCKER!!! BEST SONG: “Return to Zero” BEST SONG TITLE: “Stormy in the North, Karma in the South” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: He’s gonna get HIGH, he’s gonna get LOW, he’s gonna get HIGH and return to zero. I guarantee it!  –norb (Gearhead)


WHAT THE KIDS WANT:
Loud Quiet Loud: CD
Female-fronted pop punk in the vein of the Sissies, which only makes sense since the singer/guitar player was in the Sissies. Good stuff, well worth the five bucks. –megan (Smack Dab in the Middle)


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