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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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DISAPPEARED, THE:
A Realization of Hope: 7”
Lyrically earnest, DIY-to-the-bone-proclaiming, basement-proud punk rock. I’m down with that. But, musically, the band owes a lot to Pennywise and other no-longer-in-the-basement bands like Dillinger Escape Plan, where I get the feeling that some of the dudes secretly want to just display their proficiency and let the vocalist say whatever he wants. (Could be wrong. Just a guess.) I’m glad there isn’t a list of their equipment manufacturers or sponsors, on the record. But here’s the thing that bugs me. They’re reacting and commenting on the binary. There’s no good reason to react to eyeliner in a song (even if it’s in defense of younger punks not knowing better). Dude, eyeliner’s a trend. You sing about reacting to that trend, which, in turn, limits the life of your song, and dates it in a bad way because fashion will be tutus or muumuus or whatever in a year or so. So, instead of a band making something of their own (memorable songs with a distinct personality that have a shelf life), it’s a reaction to something that’s best shrugged off. Seems like a quibble, but it illustrates a big difference in head space and approach. –todd (I Hate Punk Rock)


DIRTY MONEY:
No Escaping This: CD
The one sheet for this record indicates that the band includes current members of Frightener and likens their sound to that of No Warning, Breakdown, Cro-Mags, etc. This is a decent explanation of what’s going on herein. For me, that kind of sound always takes a bit of getting used to when the diamond-tipped laser first reads the disc since that initial punch in the gut is always painful and surprising, but I’m glad that I stuck around with this, as I usually am with such stuff. Dirty Money are heavy and crushing, but there is a good rock’n’roll groove running through much of this that kept me licking my chops, like my dog does for the scent of blood. The CD is comprised of their new four-song 7” and their 2006 demo of three tunes. If you like this type of sound, it’s worth it. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Dead And Gone)


DIRTY CHINESE THIEVES:
Jesus Hates: 7” EP
With the lack of an address, the stenciled cover, the hand-markered labels, and the limited press (this one says 14/25), I thought for one hot minute this was some sorta Spontaneous Disgust side project; but judging solely by the sound, it ain’t. Simple punk rock, heavy on the rock here. That ain’t terrible, but I’m willing to bet it comes across much better live. –jimmy (no address)


DICKIES, THE:
Idjit Savant/ Dogs from the Hare That Bit Us: CD
This CD compiles the Dickies output that was originally released on Triple X Records. This mid-period Dickies has its moments, but never really compares with the manic fervor and joyousness of their early releases. Idjit Savant has a few standout tracks, including “Golden Boys,” “Pretty Ballerina,” and “I’m on Crack,” but nothing that really grabs one by the (metaphorical) balls and doesn’t let go. A few of the slower songs, like “House of Raoul” and “Song of the Dawn,” sound bizarrely out of place. On the cover album, Dogs…, the only songs that just didn’t buzz by me are “Solitary Confinement” and “Nobody but Me.” These are the only two covers that live up to the Dickies’ covers of old, with the rest of the songs not really standing out in any noticeable way. A good summation is this compilation is that it’s about 50 percent “this is pretty good/alright,” 45 percent  “meh,” and 5 percent  “what the hell is this?” –Adrian (Captain Oi)


DESTRUCTORS 666:
Sachen Lassen Mit Fremden Machten: CD
Destructors are a U.K. band that has been around since the ‘80s, or at least their name has sans the 666. The bass player, being the only original member still in the group, has taken over the vocal duties. Back in the day, the original unit shared the stage with the likes of UK Subs and the Damned. The resurgent line up has released mass amounts of material as of late, and the subject matter seems to revolve around science fiction. They like space ships. So if you like mid tempo punk tunes about space ships, asteroids, ray guns, and the movie Plan 9, you’ve found your flagship. I am by no means cool, but I think I my personality would have to reflect that of Comic Book Guy to appreciate this CD. Worst space ship band ever! –Dave Disorder (Rowdy Farrago, myspace.com/thedestructorsuk)


DESPISED, THE:
One Punch: 7”
Hotlanta’s own Despised recorded a three-song souvenir of their last tour in the Land of the Rising Sun as well as including three new tracks on the flip of fiery hardcore bliss for even the most discriminating, looking-down-the-nose fuck. Judging from the gatefold on this single, it looks as though the Japanese have really seemed to take a shine to these guys, now only if they could only get a States/ West Coast tour happening (what the fuck, Shayne?). I’ve done nothing but give these Georgians major thumbs up since I’ve caught their first few singles some ten years ago, and I’ll continue to do nothing BUT. This isn’t that pull-up-your-goddamned-sagging-pants, nü-metal, craptacular OzFest “hardcore.” And it sure as shit ain’t that mesh-trucker-cap-pulled-to-the-side-of-your-head-with-an-H2O-hoodie-on-in-90-degree-heat “hardcore,” either. No, FUCK alla that. This is “get in, or get the fuck out” hardcore. The real deal. This is The Despised. –dale (VIP)


DER TODESKING:
Birdbrain: CD
Frayed at the seams, this is some ‘80s hardcore worship that sounds like it’s just barely keeping itself from falling apart. There’s a strange vocal blend going on, too: I’m hearing both Martin from Career Suicide and Ryan from the Manholes, which is one fuck of a weird, snotty combo, I assure ye. There’s also a surprising amount of Greg Ginn channeling in the guitars, which offsets the fact that the songs themselves last just a tad longer than they need to. Not sure who the dude’s yelling at in the first song, “The Doombird Cometh,” when he screeches, “Wave your white flag, you pussies!” because virtually no information’s included, least of all lyrics. Still, one gets the feeling that these guys would tear up your basement like dervishes if you gave ‘em a shot at it. –keith (Der Todesking)


DEM NASSTY HABITS:
Self-titled: 7”
If you’re hearing this music, you are one of three places: a fucked up junkie warehouse with a practice space, some shit hole where you can smell the urinal from your seat at the bar, or working next to this girl who I used to work with and her GG/Mentors tape has just finished and this is the next thing to come on. Super lo-fi, what I call “Three F’s” punk. The three F’s are of course “fucking,” “fighting,” and... um… “finding and then doing drugs.” Tolerable moments are the Fear and Supercharger covers. –Steveo (Die Slaughterhouse)


DEFEATIST:
Thanatonic State: 7”
I am amazed that there are actually people who listen to grindcore. None of the songs are catchy, the lyrics aren’t coherent, and you can’t even sing along. What’s the appeal? If you’ve heard one grindcore band, you’ve heard them all. However, if you have never heard grindcore, this 7” might be mind blowing to you. –Bryan Static (Level Plane/Enucleation)


DEATH TO OUR ENEMIES:
: CD
Cobain-esque grunge rock band. Could have easily been one of the many that moved to Seattle in the ‘90s looking for that golden ticket to over-indulgent rock stardom. Excellent use of the cow bell in track two. –Dave Disorder (Learning Curve)


DEATH IN CUSTODY:
Infected with Rage: CD
Some good ol’ meat‘n’potatoes hardcore steeped in influence from Negative Approach and the like. Lyrics and the vocals contain the requisite anger, the beats are consistently frantic, and what metal there is in them Marshall stacks is kept to a bare chugga minimum. –jimmy (Insurgence)


DEADCATS, THE:
Feline 500: CD
The whole psychobilly thing is a bit of a mystery to me. I like the tunes for the most part, but hate all the trapping and attitudes that go along with it. Well, I’m not here to review an entire genre here, so let’s talk about the music. The Deadcats have been at it for years and I suppose that I might have a bit of a bias towards them since they do hail from my part of the world. The fact remains that they were out there doing this long before every Tom, Dick, and Douchebag had a pompadour and creepers. This record is right up there with the rest of their work. Catchy, creepy, and easy to move your feet to, they manage to refrain from the over the top howling of newer contemporaries such as Tiger Army or Nekromantix. Throwing in a cover of the Young Canadians’ legendary “Hawaii” can’t hurt either. –ty (Flying Saucer)


DEAD END KIDS / JABS, THE:
Split: 7”
No Front Teeth is a special kind of record label. They are taking all the best of what’s happening today in punk, oi, and skate rock and putting out there. There are well known bands being thrown in with virtual unknowns and it all works. Europe and North America are equally represented, too, which brings us to this split single. Florida’s Dead End Kids and The Jabs from London. The Kids are first up with three tracks that bounce all over the place and refuse to get pigeonholed. It’s the best stuff I’ve ever heard by them. The Jabs bring the catchy singalongs that aren’t really like oi, but have those infectious choruses. I wound up getting “Somalian Ketchup” stuck in my head forever. Could it be possible The Jabs might be a new favorite here in the Stranglehome? I think so. –ty (No Front Teeth)


DAS KAPITAL:
Died True: CD
Das Kapital is not a metal band; just bear with me on this one. Last spring, my friend Troy started trying to get me into metal. It’s not that I don’t like metal, I just have a really hard time getting into anything that: a) is longer than about a minute and a half, or b) doesn’t have immediate hooks. Troy played the same side of an Iron Maiden album for weeks in a row until I was asking him to burn me a copy. I kind of feel the same about Das Kapital. I’ve seen them live a few times now and always liked them (and, in full disclosure, I’m quite fond of two people in the band), but when I first got the album, it didn’t grab me instantly. The hooks weren’t immediate and most songs are over two minutes, but, I put it on at work, and sometimes I get quite lazy and just hit repeat over and over. Before the end of my shift, I had “Lions in Winter” stuck in my head. The next day, I brought it to work again and had “A Drunken Wager” following me the whole way home. Then I started playing it at least once a day. Weeks later, it’s secured a place in my recent heavy rotation. –megan (Johann’s Face)


DARTZ!:
This Is My Ship: CD
There is never a point in this record where you say to yourself how good it is or how awful it is. The music is at a stand still, wedged between boring and original, not leaning towards either one. I’m not impressed, yet not annoyed. Strange. It seems like it’s almost boppy dance type music, but it’s not consistent enough to dance to. It’s also not bad enough for me to make fun of it. I keep giving it chances over and over and every time, I’m just not having that good of time listening to it. I’m waiting for it to be over, and it shouldn’t be like that. The insert says fans of Franz Ferdinand would be into this. No wonder I can’t relate to it. –Corinne –Guest Contributor (Deep Elm)


DARLINGTON:
Live Dallas 2007: CD
Live records are dust collectors. They sit on our record shelves and get passed over for their studio counterparts. Deservedly so, most live records capture lazy bands trying to make easy money. The exceptions—Live at Budakan and, well, let’s assume for the sake of argument that there exists another worthy live record (Don’t bring up It’s Alive. I refuse to believe anyone prefers that to Leave Home or Rocket to Russia)—offer something we didn’t get in the studio, whether it’s new songs, new arrangements, or good stage banter. No dice here. Live Dallas 2007 captures the instruments and the vocals but not the show. It’s taken from the mixing board so there are no audience sounds, which eliminates the possibility of interaction. The performances feel more like a band rehearsal than a show. Yeah, it’s mildly amusing to hear the band critique the lack of backing vocals on “My Corolla,” but it also adds to the complacent, punch-the-clock feel. At one point Darlington, who, like Sting, Cher, and Topol, uses a single-name moniker, says, “I was dangerously close to overrocking.” A live record should capture a night when the band wasn’t pacing itself. –Mike Faloon (Darlingtomusic.com)


DARK AGES:
Demo: CD-R
Thrashy, bold hardcore that can bring the breakdowns without coming off like total d-bags. While not as proficient as righteous bands like Government Warning and Career Suicide, comparisons are not unwarranted. The hand-stamped, hand-screened paper CD cases receive high DIY marks as well. Luckily for all us CD-loathing goons, and anyone who didn’t get a copy of the demo, these songs are gonna get pressed by Get Revenge Records. –Daryl Gussin (Big Brown Shark)


DAN PADILLA / THE TIM VERSION / HIDDEN SPOTS / TILTWHEEL:
Split: 7”
Short version. Buy this. It’s damn-near perfect. Long version: Dan Padilla: Their song is about J. Wang’s grannie getting shoved in a closet during a home invasion and the weapons stolen from her husband are used to kill a family of four, point blank, several miles away. It’s about Mamie testifying against them by solely their voices. Chilling… and a very cathartic to sing along to when less devastating things are happening in everyday life. Quite possibly my favorite Padilla song so far. The Tim Version: Pound out a living, breathing ballad about looking at the scars of living; not necessarily with regret or pride, just taking stock of it all. The Tim Version, like all the bands on this split, make me wish there was another category besides “punk” to place this in because it doesn’t quite do them justice, and “great music,” seems too vague. Imperfect lexicons: what’re you gonna do? Hidden Spots: Ever drank a beer, swallowed someone else’s cigarette butt, spat it out, shrugged it off, and rationalized that much worse could have happened on that day? Chattanooga’s gentlemen sound like they’ve been handed a lot of beers with butts, but their answer to that is to make party songs about all means of defiance: church, state, and personal. How can dirty sound so catchy? Mike Pack’s been answering question for years since The Jack Palance Band. Tiltwheel: It’s a blast from the vault; Leatherface in full effect, and wonderfully so: snaking guitars, bright tones, gravel throat. It’s a song about alcohol(ism), from the inside out. It’s not party-hooray, yet still uplifting. Funny, how all four bands can give tragedy some sunshine in the form of lasting music. –todd (ADD)


DAN MELCHOIR UND DAS MENACE:
“Madame Nhu” b/w “So Real”: 7”
Taking out the sextant and plotting the charts by the stars, Dan Melchoir works in the same territories as Billy Childish. Amateur-by-design zeal defined by its simplicity (and very often, its oddity). Prolific-by-nature. Art-as-life first with the strands of painter, musician, and writer all balled up together and inseparable. Here are two stripped-down, subdued tracks that take their time, but are worth following through the trellised garden of a unique mind who gets placed far too often in the “garage” cubby hole, which is a disservice because he’s much more than that. Nice. –todd (Plastic Idol, www.plasticidorlrecords.com)


DAILY VOID, THE:
Self-titled: CD
While it appears the Functional Blackouts are no more, these former members have taken up the mantle and unleashed eleven tracks of sheer brilliance. Peppered with liberal doses of trash, noisy art punk, and hardcore, this is not for the weak-minded or sonically staid, which translates to if you like it loud and have half a brain, you already own a copy. –jimmy (Deadbeat)


DAILY VOID, THE:
Self-titled: 7” EP
What I find most intriguing about these cats is that they manage to appeal to punk rock, art damage, and the noise rock fiend in me all at the same time. They’re stuff is at once weird, abrasive, and strangely rocking, which is no mean feat. Three tunes, none of which are on the CD, all of which are worth the searchin’. –jimmy (Boom Chick, no address)


DAILY VOID, THE:
Mass Communication Culture: 7”
Sick, sick, sick. Unfortunately the Functional Blackouts are no more, but, lucky for us, three of them are in the Daily Void now, continuing their sick punk vibe. Great three song single, all non-LP tracks. The Daily Void feel extremely vital for this era, the zero years: undefinable synthetic weirdness that fills the black inside. “Mind controooOoooOoooOool.” –mike (Boom Chick)


CUNTIFIERS:
Never Coming Out: CD
Greg Pettix, the lead singer of both the dearly departed Weird Lovemakers and Knockout Pills, takes the vocal duties of another band that harnesses much of the anxiety-ridden carburetion of Scared Of Chaka. Hardcore? Garage? Both. Neither. Fans of his previous bands won’t be disappointed. There’s the big record collection feel to the music—from The Animals to The Zombies to carnival rides to salsa—and a great movie monster meets historical figure meets sexual situation slant to the lyrics (everything from C.H.U.D. to Descartes to an apache lighting his farts and killing Custer’s family to refrains of “my dick’s on fire”). Greg even put a hand-written note stating that there’s a “rock opera”—that could easily fit on a 7”—in the middle of it all. (It comes across like a PBS special on the old West, riddled with LSD, with a “golden age” porn director narrating the action.) I love Greg’s voice. It’s intrusive. You can’t put this CD on and have it bubble in the background because even when it’s quiet, it cuts. Greg’s screechy, itchy, adolescent-fascination-in-a-grown-man’s bellow cuts through any idle conversation and the band goes full throttle through all twenty-three tracks. Not one song ever gets much over a minute and a half. Yay to that. Understandably, I have a feeling a lot of people will be turned off by the name… but I’m definitely standing by the music because, frankly, this is awesome. –todd (Self-released)


CROWD, THE:
Letter Bomb: CD
This brings back memories. This record was my first exposure to The Crowd when it was released by Flipside. Twelve years later, it’s still catchy, still cool. Also includes the rare EP Dig Yourself. –Jim Ruland (TKO)


CRIMINAL INTENT:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Wow, this looks and sounds like it just stepped out of a time machine back from 1985/86. The cover art looks a lot like Walsby had a hand in it (but apparently he didn’t), and the music sounds like a thrashy cross between the Stupids and early Beyond Possession. Not bad, although a bit disorienting. –jimmy (www.myspace.com/cipunks902)


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