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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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MEASURE, THE [SA]:
Historical Fiction: 7”
Listening to music in specific formats has its own rewards. What’s great about following a band through a series of 7”s, when done well, is it’s like reading a book of short stories. Themes interconnect. There’s an overarching arc. You get the feel and tone and approach of a band. And that’s great, that’s artistry, that’s development; it’s not just an exercise in consumerism. It’s also a different sort of challenge for the band because the 7”s must stand on their own—several songs at a time—and give a true representation of the band, while being true to the texture to their body of work. These two songs, “Historical Fiction,” and a New Dress cover, are on the more quiet and introspective side of things, and they’re, well, just beautiful and show the range that The Measure [SA] is capable of. Pop punk is far too often a creative trap. This band shows that there’s still a lot to explore, and that’s why it’s so rewarding following them, step by step. –todd (Team Science / Kiss of Death)


MC CHRIS AND THE LEE MAJORS:
The New York University 8-Track Discography 10th Anniversary Edition: CD
So there’s this guy MC Chris. He’s a “nerdcore” rapper, which means he has lyrics about Star Wars, “wastin' MCs like they're gasoline in Hummers,” and his biggest fans wear shirts with the Mozilla Firefox logo. What many of said fans probably don’t realize is that he got started making music with the dudes from Dirt Bike Annie, and this is a collection of said music. It’s more punk influenced then his current output, and the whole thing is a pretty interesting piece of pop punk (specifically the New York City scene’s) history. –joe (Whoa Oh)


MARVELOUS DARLINGS:
I Don’t Wanna Go to the Party: 7”
Being slightly hesitant about checking this band out due to their featuring ex-members of one-time hardcore darlings No Warning, I was also slightly hesitant in admitting to myself and others that this new band—which sounds absolutely nothing like the Madball/Cro-Mags worship of No Warning—is actually pretty good. Ass-shaking, ‘70s-style pop punk with lots of Thunders-esque leads. The title track is the clear standout on this two-song single and the style change on the B-side makes the record seem a bit unbalanced, but it’s obvious that this band is onto something. The most questionable element here is a faux-Brit accent that seriously makes me cringe, but for a first release, this is pretty impressive. Regardless, along with the Tranzmitors, Statues, the Dangerloves, and a handful of others, Marvelous Darlings are part of an ever-growing, amazing, Canadian punk scene that hasn’t been this potent in years. –Dave Williams –Guest Contributor (Deranged)


MÄRVEL:
Thunderblood Heart: CD
…hmm, SURELY no potential lawsuits looming on the horizon with THAT moniker! Anyway, MÄRVEL are a Swedish super-hero trio who rock utilizing the standard Swedish Rock Algorithms set down by the Nomads and still in use today to hoodwink dopey Americans: 1) Overproduce a stripped-down sound ((the American mind cannot cope with this tactic, it’s, like, too hard for us to understand or something)); 2) Keep guitars turned up ((particularly baffling concept to Englishmen)); and 3) Always present the rock as ROCK, never as anything that might be construed as even vaguely sub-Rock. Basically, what this means is that the band sounds like Daniel Rey-era Ramones playing KISS songs, but all thwacked up in your face as if you were listening to the Hives or Nomads or something ((by the way, that new Hives album everybody likes sucks. I bought it because the cover was cool. Sue me.)). Now, while a loud, stripped-down sound is usually a good thing, as far as ROCK qua ROCK goes, i like my ROCK to have, like, a bunch of shit goin’ on in it. I mean, it’s ROCK! I want my Joe Perry to be douchebaggin’ off in one direction, and my Brad Whitford to be douchebaggin’ off in another direction, and my whomever-the-hell-Aerosmith’s-bass-player-was to be douchebaggin’ off in a third direction. I don’t want them goosestepping in unison like a bunch of Nazi collaborators ((COLLABORATORS! COLLABORATORS!))! I want my ROCK to have DEPTH. Alternately, i want my PUNK to have NO depth. The no-depth of PUNK crossed with the rock-ness of ROCK might make for a favorable first impression on humans, but i’m pretty sure the only Swedish band God listens to is the Nomads, and that’s only on comps. That said, i can’t help but wonder who’d be President right now if hairier numbers like “Girl, Where’s My Amulet?!” would have been released like forty years ago. Probably Baron Mordo, goddammit. BEST SONG: “Thunderblood Heart” BEST SONG TITLE: “Girl, Where’s My Amulet?!” FANASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I was told by Germans that the way the umlaut works is that you make your mouth into the shape of an “e” sound, then you say the vowel sound ((which won’t be “e”)) with your mouth still in the “e” shape. Regardless of whether or not this is actually correct, it should provide the applicant with hours of fun. –norb (Killer Cobra)


MARCHING ORDERS:
Dead End Street: CD
Snotty Australian oi punk that sounds pretty good to me. I’m almost 100 percent  positive that this type of music sounds so much better with an accent. The lyrics run the gamut of drinking and hooliganism to being on the “streets” and the working poor. Yes, nothing new to write home about, but the quality definitely makes up for it. I think you already know if you’ll enjoy this or not. –ty (Three Stars, myspace.com/threestarsrecords)


MANVILLE:
Gettin’ Freak Nasty: 7”
Everything about the band’s name, the title of their record and its esthetics are completely misleading about the sort of music that they actually play. The cover is a complete rip off of another 7”. Something makes me want to say Pennywise. The song titles include “Bun Battle,” “Baby Shit,” and “Taint, Maine.” The band’s name is “Manville” and, finally, the record is called Gettin’ Freak Nasty. It doesn’t take a genius to think 1+1+1+1 = bogus bro-punk. Well, unless the plant fucked up and pressed another band’s music here, Manville fooled the shit out of this sheep with its bro-wolf’s clothing. What you’re actually getting on here is really tight, aggressive, screamy, metallic punkish hardcore. Despite the heinous song titles and all that other crap, this is actually decent. –Steveo (Yosada)


MANS, THE:
JCBC: 7”EP
It’d be difficult to get more caveman-y on record, it’s hard to not make a Supercharger reference, and the recording is so hot that it physically makes me wince, like the record’s taunting me by cocking back its arm to throw a rock at my head. –todd (Boom Chick)


MANS, THE:
JC / BC b / w First Love / Too Close: 7” 45
I like the fact that bands have pretty much stopped recording in real recording studios. It never ceased to amaze me how much time and money could be spent on pointlessly neutering a guitar sound. I assure you, sir, these guitar sounds will knock up your prize filly in jig-time! The vocals are clipped and yelly, the chords are standard-issue garage-punk merchandise ((i.e., “You’re Gonna Miss Me” minus a chord or so)), and the drums go THUD-WHACK-THUD-WHACK-THUD-WHACK-THUD-WHACK. You were expecting maybe Paderewski? BEST SONG: “JC/BC” BEST SONG TITLE: “Too Close” i guess? FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Clocking in at a hefty nine letters, Boom Chick Records’ logo is the most verbose Monkees logo ripoff known to me. –norb (Boom Chick)


MANNEQUIN MEN:
“Private School” b/w “Sewers”: 7”
The A-side’s the gem. Total Iggy strut, but with a modern high kick of The Chargers Street Gang or the more epic We March songs, so you know you’re getting your ass handed to you in real time, not by a time capsule. Dirty, yet classy. Charismatic, but in an STD, and possibly crabs, sexdanger way. Wiggly, but in a slimy—not spastic—way. Very Detroit, bad drugs. Great single. –todd (Criminal IQ)


MANIFESTO JUKEBOX / A DEATH IN THE FAMILY:
Split: CD
Both of these bands feast on a heavy portion of Hot Water Music, Leatherface, Hüsker Dü, and Samiam in their musical diet and it permeates through the tracks provided on said aluminum slab. It’s been done, sometimes not very well. Death In The Family and Manifesto Jukebox do it well. –Dave Disorder (Poison City / Combat Rock)


MANGES, THE:
Go Down: CD
This band rocks! Totally influenced by early Ramones! Pop punk from Italy! They’re silly enough to cover Dee Dee King’s (Dee Dee Ramones’ rap side project) song “Emergency” and awesome enough to cover the Ramones’ “Now I Wanna Be a Good Boy.” It’s not like this is the most original stuff of all time, but sometimes you just want good, familiar yumminess. If this were a cereal, it’d be Fruit Loops! Yay! –Maddy (Fast Music)


LOVE SONGS:
Hot Buns (The Sequel to the Theme of the Sequel to Top Gun): 7”
I wish more bands were like Love Songs. I’m at a point if I go out to see a band, I want to see a show, and these guys deliver, full ‘80s heavy metal meets Hickey attack and all. The A-side claims to be the sequel to the theme of the sequel to Top Gun, and, well, it’s just that. Don’t be mad at me for not being able to expand on it more than that; be happy there’s a band that will actually sit down, think of, and execute an idea like that. The B-side is a more standard number, which I’m fairly sure isn’t sung by Craig Ums, but still great. Pick this up, as well as their underrated full lengths. –joe (Thrillhouse)


LOOKIES, THE / TRUCKSTOP LOVECHILD:
Split: 7”
The Lookies: too much guitar bullshit! Truckstop Lovechild: kinda boring. Not into it, what can I say? Kinda on the “rock” side of punk rock. If this were a cereal, it’d be Cheerios. Kinda bland. –Maddy (Zodiac)


LIGHTS OUT!:
Out! Out! Out!: 7”
Seven tracks of German poppy hardcore punk. They named themselves after an Angry Samoans’ song and it shows. Normally, I would cast something like this off, but there is something about it that is kind of endearing. It might be the three second dance sample placed seamlessly in the middle of a song, or those slightly off-kilter foreign language sensibilities (they call things plastic at least three different times in the ten minutes this runs), but this is kind of a fun spin. –Nick Toerner –Guest Contributor (Yo-Yo)


LICK LICK:
Self-titled: CD
First off, I’m going to ignore this band’s stupid name. Second, I’m going to ignore the psychedelic cover that focuses in on a drawing of a head of a raccoon. (At least I think that’s a raccoon.) Third, I’m going to ignore that a member of the band looks like a cross between Ben and Jerry of ice cream fame. Fourth, I’m going to ignore that the label they’re on is called “Australian Cattle God Records.” The music itself, however, is somewhat hard to ignore, as it’s pretty quirky and weird. The initial comparison that came to me was that it sounds a lot like Mr. Bungle with female and male vocals trading off. The female vocals says “we’re quirky” and the male vocals say “we’ve still got some rock sensibility,” but the last song is so horrendous (“lick lick on your way down to hell”) as is its title (“Team Thong”) that the slim chance this had of any profitability in my eyes was swept away. I’ll be honest; I’m amazed I even made it to the last song. –kurt (Australian Cattle God)


LIBERTINES US, THE:
Greatest Hits Volume One: CD
The “US” part of their name should give you a clue that this is not a cash grab to pay for some Brit’s drug court cases. It’s the ‘80s four-piece from Cincy’s triumphant return to stage and sound. Twenty-one killer songs that sound like Dumptruck, The Rain Parade, and ‘80s R.E.M. tossed around in a garbage bag by a wino. In some alternate universe, all these songs would be on the radio every day. But try “Reunion,” “Too Bad It’s Raining,” and “Firetruck” on for size. Everything else will fall into place. Jangle pop fans need this bad. –koepenick (Self-released)


LEMURIA:
Get Better: LP
Hot damn, what a band! After a coupla great singles and a fantastic side of a split LP, the debut full length from Buffalo’s finest is finally here. This band is such a perfect mixture of pop/punk and good indie that it blows my mind. When I say good indie, I am talking about Spinanes, Velocity Girl, Go Sailor, and The Lemonheads. Simple, basic, warm pop songs for a crisp autumn afternoon is what I am saying. The boy/girl trade-off vocals are to die for and the songs are just unbelievable. After seeing them live I was blown away and have been waiting impatiently for this LP to come out. Now that it is in my hands I can not stop playing it. It is very easy to keep flipping it over and over. Lemuria knock it out of the park here with huge hooks, great production, and real heart. Pop songwriting simply does not get any better than this. –frame (Asian Man)


LEMURIA:
Get Better: LP
Excellent pop punk from Buffalo, NY. This is their first release on Asian Man, and certainly something for them to be very proud of. Jawbreaker comparisons are undeniably overused, but this leans towards Jawbreaker’s slower songs with primarily female vocals and male backups. While this is, to my knowledge, the first full-length they have released, it follows an appearance on the NY vs. NJ Punk Rock Battle Royale CD, as well as several splits and a 7”. My personal favorites on this record are the first song “Pants” and the last song “Mechanical.” My copy came on beautiful white vinyl. –Dave Dillon –Guest Contributor (Asian Man)


LEFT ARM:
Dissatisoul: CD
I’ll admit that I stopped paying close attention while reviewing this. However, I justify this action by saying this band was actually enjoyable enough for me to lose myself in the flow of the music. I think that says something. For most of the disc, I forgot I was supposed to be reviewing this and thought it was part of my own collection. At most points, it’s some damn good garage punk. At less points, it’s decent garage punk. The good to decent ratio is about three to one, and I think that’s a pretty good average. –Bryan Static (Trouble In River City)


LAST RESORT, THE:
A Way of Life—Skinhead Anthems: CD
A digipak version of the first album the Captain released on his label, which in turn was a reissue of the band’s self-released first album from 1982, and a doozy it remains. Unlike the brash, over-the-top punk/proto-hardcore hybrid contemporaries like the Cockney Rejects, The Business, and the 4-Skins (whom singer Roi also briefly fronted), The Last Resort’s music rarely ratchets up past a slow-burning seethe. The songs are primal and the lyrics ain’t exactly Dostoevsky and often reinforce rather than belie the skinhead stereotype, but the conviction in the delivery and the ever-present anger bubbling just under the surface adds a sense of real menace to things. Despite any shortcomings, this is an undisputed classic of the genre, and the fact that—as per usual—a number of outtakes, demos, and compilation cuts have been tacked on make this reissue all the better. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


LAND ACTION:
Spanish Lisp: 7” EP
Shouty, gruff-and-tumble, breathless simple punk. Scrawled Xerox cover. Hand-written labels. Bone easy… with a keyboard tracking along. Makes sense, being that it’s one (some?) of the recently disbanded Trashies and Mike Napkin: Drummer for Many Great Bands. I like sand. I like dirt simple. I like Land Action. Sounds a little bit like the Tucson desert’s breezed up to the Pacific Northwest and gotten into some amps and minds. They don’t sound like they’re trying to be anything they’re not. Nice. –todd (Dirt Cult)


LAFCADIO:
Kibosh: CD
This album is seven songs that have cloned the Dillinger Escape Plan, vocals and all, with an occasionally slow and sludgy guitar part. (Insert witty one line summation here.) –kurt (Joyful Noise)


KURSK / DEFEATIST:
Split: 7”
This very silly, very technical grindcore split is hard to dislike due to the sheer hilarity it delivers. I don’t think it’s a joke record, but I also don’t think either band takes itself too seriously. There’s a lyric sheet included so that the crazed grind/crust growls can be followed. Defeatist is the more impressive of the two bands, with drum beats so insane that the drummer must have tendonitis or some other dire physical ramifications caused via his craft. It’s comforting to know that straight grind records are still coming out, untouched by the related sounds that followed. –Art Ettinger (Level Plane)


KING SEXY:
Like a Dog in Heat…: CD
Errr—not as weird as the press sheet wants it to be: “the guys your mom warned you about!!!” But then a closer look at the photoshopped back cover and the photo of King Sexy, aka Jeff Coleman, a drummer for the past twenty years who turned himself into a frontman guitarist and therefore is at least forty, playing alongside a local politician and a “regionally acclaimed bodybuilder,” and I realize I can’t understand the genius at play here. Songs are familiar to Circle Jerks in their “Wonderful” phase, or the Surf Punks—simple, fun, and not for serious critics, so don’t look too deep and just enjoy. –mike (Dammit Man)


KILLER DREAMER:
Rapid Armor: 7”EP
It’s always a treat when a good band starts really listening to themselves and getting their own distinct personalities. I don’t know if it’s unfair to say, but when Killer Dreamer started out, they sounded a lot like Toys That Kill—which is fine in my book—but the further away they get from that, the better they sound. (Because they sound like themselves, not an echo.) In one ear, I hear the Angry Samoans. In another, an action house party with zombies. In the third ear, a great amalgamation of what’s great about DIY punk rock, from Dick Army to Fleshies to Weird Lovemakers to Tulsa. Killer Dreamer seems to be saying, “Let’s kill this thing on our own.” And they do. –todd (Jonny Cat)


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