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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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SILENT DRIVE:
Love Is Worth It: CD
If I had heard this album four or five years ago, I might have enjoyed it because it would have been something more groundbreaking than it is now. As it is, at this time, these songs are all too typical – vaguely hardcore music which usually verges on metallic emo, youthful vocals which switch to screaming. There’s really nothing on this tremendously generic record that hasn’t been done – better – elsewhere. –scott (Equal Vision)


SICK FITS:
Mirror Creeps: 7”
More mid-tempo punk from these guys, very vaguely reminiscent of the Flesh Eaters without the poetic flair, although the proceedings here are not as interesting as their CD EP from a year or so ago. –jimmy (Big Neck)


SHIVS, THE:
Blind Drunk: CD
Pissed off gallop-core from a band I know nothing about. Song topics range from getting drunk to railing against Bush, religion, losing canes and, most poignantly, a psychiatrist whose writing of a prescription resulted in a person’s death. While they might not exactly break new ground, they do thrash things up pretty hard, which alone makes this worth repeated listenings. –jimmy (No address)


SEXY:
Por Vida: LP
I was a bit conflicted on this. My friend Rawl said it was great. My friend Josh said that one of them had to be physically removed from his house after spray painting their bathroom. I gave it a listen. It’s really fucking good. Spastic in the vein of Fleshies and The Bananas. My advice: Definitely pick up the album, but pat ‘em down before letting them in your pisser. –megan (Onion Flavored)


SEX, THE:
Statutory Rock: CD
This doesn’t do it for me. Just kind of unremarkable rock. –megan (Oh The Humanity)


SEWER TROUT:
From the Forgotten Memories of Punks Failed Hopes and Dreams Loom...: CD
1988 did pretty much suck as far as punk rock went – everybody kind of fucked off and was either into REM-like collegiate blandness or Guns’n’Roses-like bandana rock, and what passed for punk rock at that point was dreary, monotonous and self-important (not to mention being kind of a fuckhead magnet at that point as well). Thus, one of the leading problems facing the scientific community was “How can we make punk that doesn’t suck?” It was kind of an ongoing project that took several years to get right (and, in all fairness, it did also take several years to get it wrong as well). Sewer Trout – what with their dippy humor and harmonies and occasional sprigs of melody and Ian Woodcock-esque bass runs – were obviously something that, were i to have popped in a demo of theirs or something while delivering pizzas in my ‘74 AMC™ Matador, i would have doubtless concluded were on “my” side. That said, i can’t imagine too many more occasions left in my life when i’ll need to hear “President of the Anarchist Club” or “Vagina Envy” to really set the mood, let alone every recorded version thereof. Hey, are cassettes cool again yet? BEST SONG: “Garbage In, Garbage Out” BEST SONG TITLE: “TSOL Esidarap” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Coors™ still sucks. –norb (Sactoe Punk Archive)


SCRAWL, LE:
Eager to Please: CD
Every now and then you get a CD that just walks up, grabs you by the shirt and proceeds to slap you silly. This bizarre little ditty is one such record. This is like one big schizophrenic nightmare, a cookie monster vocalist backed by a hardcore band that every now and then feels the urge to fuck off into left field and delve into a little ska, metal, surf or lounge music for a few seconds, then goes back to thrashing things up. Somehow (don’t look at me, ‘cause I haven’t a clue why) it works. Not quite sure I can say I dig it, but it is one mind-spinningly interesting listen, that’s for sure. –jimmy (Life Is Abuse)


SCATTERBOX:
Infection III: CD
A couple of these guys are in Moral Crux. Moral Crux is a fucking great band, not only one of the forerunners of Screeching Weasel-ish pop punk but also capable of writing political lyrics that aren’t finger-pointy or blatantly obvious. Buy any Moral Crux record that you happen across. I’d recommend I Was a Teenage Teenager, but regardless of which one you get, you’ll be doing a lot better than this mid-’90s Fat Wreck Chords rehash. –Josh (Blackhouse)


ROACH MOTEL:
Worstest Hits: CD
Ah, at long last we can all breathe a sigh of relief. The RoachMotel CD is here, war with Iraq will soon end, and everyone man, woman, and child will be given a lollipop! For those out-of-the-loop (O.O.T.L.), this is George Tabb’s (really) old band. Songs like “My Dog’s into Anarchy” and “Brooke Shields Must Die.” This won’t blow you away or anything, but it’s just, I don’t know… is it punk to call songs like “Mom Likes Drugs” endearing? If this were a cereal, it’d be Honey Nut Cheerios. Cool! –Maddy (Destroy)


RIVERBOAT GAMBLERS, THE:
Something to Crow About: CD
Okay, this album was unleashed last year, but I gots to say something that needs to be said. Not in quite some time have I had my ass go into spastic, rock’n’roll-induced fits upon seeing a band for the first time like it did when I saw The Riverboat Gamblers this past May while Yvonne and I were out visiting my sister Julie (NYC’s resident kick-ass party rocker, and she drink’n’drives a pretty mean Schwinn Stingray alongside her main cohort, Tim, too). While out there for Joey Ramone’s Annual Birthday Bash, The Riverboat Gamblers happened to be playing that Friday a coupla days later. And under the strong recommendation of our own Retodd, we made our way out to The Knitting Factory to see what was one of the best sets I’ve seen in some time. To say you need to grab their records or see them is a severe understatement. Not to peg their sound, but it’s in the same ballpark of experiencing the beautiful, awesome power of The Who, The Candy Snatchers, and the MC5 simultaneously in a new and fucking brilliant way. To simply put it, I’m gonna quote Phast Phreddie Patterson for this CD review the same way he was quoted for his review of the Ramones’ self-titled debut back in ‘76: “Anyone who doesn’t like this record is an asshole.” Perfectly put, Mr. Patterson. –dale (Gearhead)


RIOTGUN/ BULLET TREATMENT:
Split: CD
Tribute release from these two So Cal punk bands. Riotgun do Motorhead and Bullet Treatment do the Ramones. Woohoo. –don (Basement)


RHYTHM OF BLACK LINES:
Human Hand Animal Band: CD
Gloomy art rock that, while normally I’d find quite interesting, for some reason just ain’t doin’ it for me. Maybe it’s all the Prozac I’ve been ingesting lately. –jimmy (GSL)


RESISTANCE 77:
Long Time Dead: CD
Eleven tracks of solid, melodic skin-punk here, as can be expected from this long running band. The songs are top notch, although I find myself taking exception to the politics behind some of the songs, namely “Terrorist.” While I can get behind the sentiment expressed in the lyrics, I would point out that there are many sides and viewpoints to every story and one person’s terrorist is another’s “defender of the free world.” –jimmy (Captain Oi)


REIGNING SOUND:
Too Much Guitar!: CD
...a friend of mine and i were discussing this album, and i told him i had only listened to it once because it was a two-good-song piece of overrated horseshit with an ugly cover by a pointless band with a lame-ass name, or other carefully selected words of that nature. After further review, i am quite unsure what manner of Grumpy Pills i was popping that day (GO Grumpy Pill Popper! GO Grumpy Pill Popper!), because, on follow-up inspection, this record’s sounds sound pretty unfeigningly reigning indeed (maybe i still hold some manner of unfounded begrudgement against all things Oblivian, since 1. I got my ex-girlfriend an Oblivians album for Christmas once and what good did it do me?, and 2. Somebody broke into my band’s van while i was watching them once [and stole my postage stamps! What for? To write home to Mother and inform her of her son’s burgeoning career as a window-smashing postage stamp thief?]). After more thorough inspection, i have herein identified compounds bearing the atomic signatures of the Sonics’ “He’s Waiting,” that Pebbles-type tune about love not being worth a dime, the Motors’ “Dancing the Night Away,” first-album Beatles, Swingin’ Neckbreakers beating Hank Ballard compositions into bloody pulp with a reanimated George Harrison’s fifty-foot boner, mid-sixties Rolling Stones (yeah, and you know how every now and again some jerk-off music twit opines that some song or another “sounds like the kind of thing the Stones used to write... when they were good!” when it sounds nothing like anything the Stones ever did, except maybe in this guy’s [mostly imaginary] mental rock history? Well “Drowning,” for ONCE, actually DOES sound like something the Stones used to write [minus brief detours into Byrds-ism and peculiar Joe Meek Teen Death-ism]), Byrds-ism, peculiar Joe Meek Teen Death-ism, the Standells, Incredible Shrinking Dickies-era Dickies (!!!) (well, okay, with different vocals) (it’s the last song, “Medication.” Go ahead. Knowledgeably refute my assertion!), and, the nuclear glue that keeps this volatile compound from melting down into a hunk of lead upon contact with Earth’s atmosphere, the voice: Total Mark Lindsay!!! I mean, i dunno how many Paul Revere & The Raiders fans we got in the house tonight, but if “Your Love Is a Fine Thing” ain’t just a nine-volt-battery-lickin’ update of “Alias Pink Puzz”/”Hard ‘n’ Heavy (With Marshmallow)”-era Raiders A-sides, well, then... boy, i dunno what then. I never had to carry out on my threats my before. Also contains a minor smattering of the more Blues Explosiony stuff, but the rest of the material is so buff i can’t fault anyone for throwing an occasional bone to the squares. BEST SONG: Right now i’m pretty whipped on “Your Love Is a Fine Thing,” but i think by next week i should be back into “I’ll Cry.” BEST SONG TITLE: “We Repel Each Other” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Annie had a baby, she can’t work no more. Wait, wrong band! –norb (In The Red)


REALLY RED:
Teaching You the Fear: CD
Where do we begin with this record? Driven by the claustrophobia that came from living in Texas in 1981 and the paranoia of living under the threat of nuclear war, Really Red released the most haunting, ethereal music that hardcore has ever seen. I’d put them in league with the Big Boys and Naked Raygun for their ability to apply a British post-punk influence to their music in the same way that government contractors put nuclear warheads on rockets. Instead of tiptoeing around icy guitars like Wire, they barreled through their songs full-force, with the result being chilling and menacing instead of artsy and detached. Lyrically, they were, hands-down, one of the best, most caustic political bands ever. While other bands of that time period were either accusatory (like MDC) or concerned with pushing people’s buttons (like the Feederz), what Really Red brought to the table was sheer focused rage, and it’s as vital today as it was over twenty years ago. Essential. “For what you are, I could spit in your eye…” –Josh (Empty)


RAKING BOMBS:
Self-titled: CD
Arty noise that was about as exciting as a macramé contest. –jimmy (rakingbombs@hotmail.com)


RAG MEN:
self-titled: CD
Tough-guy hardcore. One guy’s named “Bulldog.” –megan (Eulogy)


Q AND NOT U:
X-Polynation: CD EP
These funky songs don’t fall that far from the tree of The Rapture, Hot Hot Heat, Radio 4, etc. – or the rest of Q And Not U’s work for that matter – but damn if they aren’t some of the most enjoyable post-punk I’ve heard in a while. –scott (Dischord)


PRACTICE:
More Practice: 7”
This seven inch starts off with a Chip Hanna-style marching drum beat. It’s almost enough to make you think you’re listening to an old US Bombs record. Then the guitars kick in and you’re in for something completely different. I hear touches of the second Clash album, of Dillinger Four basslines, of punk rock that’s poppy without being Ramones influenced pop punk, of so many influences, really, that it makes the songs very original. Like the first Practice seven inch on Snuffy Smile, More Practice has three amazing songs that make me want ten more. –sean (Snuffy Smile)


PONYS, THE:
“Wicked City” b/w “Little Friends”: 7”
Simple, thick-guitared punk with a bit of Richard Hell in the vocals; could easily have come out of New York in the late ‘70s. It would have been a little too poppy to have hit the Killed by Death lists, but people would still be listening to it now. Solid. –Cuss Baxter (Big Neck)


PIRX THE PILOT:
Famous in 47 States: CD
Done right, an overblown, operatic voice in punk rock can be a mark of distinction. Tilt, the Dead Kennedys, Misfits, Fleshies all have or had folks who could belt it out. Unfortunately, that’s the main hurdle I have with Pirx the Pilot. The main singer, Ernst (who also runs New Disorder Records and is a really nice guy) is so high up in the mix, sounds like a less nasal Fred Schneider of the B-52’s, and the instruments almost always watershed around his vocals. Regrettably, his voice – the instrument that most often dominates the music – is my least favorite part of the band. If Erica took the mic more, or they did more change offs, like in “Patriotism” and “Cloud Factory,” the equation might change a little bit. The music, sans male vocals, reminds me of early ‘90s college rock like Love and Rockets with dashes of the Pixies, and scrapes of late period Bauhaus (they’re arty and a little doomy, and have a fixation on Fozzie the Bear dolls) but more straightforward punk, which is nice. So, it’s personal taste, which all hinges on liking a type of voice. Comes with two home-made videos, which is admirable. –todd (New Disorder)


PEACHFUZZ:
About a Bird: CD
Why am I stricken with the indie rock CDs? Why, god, why? This has one good song that sounds like The Muffs, and a lot of other songs that sound vaguely like early R.E.M. (The song “Easy Way Out” has almost the same intro as the R.E.M. song “We Walk” off Murmur.) Hey, I LIKE early R.E.M. AND the Muffs, but, somehow, this combination ended up sounding more like drippy crap. If this were a cereal, it’d be Cheerios. No fun! –Maddy (Dionysus)


PARIS TEXAS:
Like You Like an Arsonist: CD
Why, why, why do bands have to take cool film titles and make music so routine? Yes it’s a real town but why does everyone reference hip movies? Are you also listening …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead? Or even more confusing, the routine bands that are named after songs by utterly different and better bands. Texas Is The Reason? –mike (New Line)


PAINT LIKE PLANE:
Curse Chorus Curse: 7”
Screamy silly noise stuff. I know not such music, and I like not such music. (Whenever I listen to something arty, I usually feel like the lame kid in school who just cannot understand multiplication or, I dunno, direct objects. And, after asking about it and having it explained to him a dozen times, stops asking, and still doesn’t get it at all, but just feels dumb.) If this were a cereal, it’d be I-Don’t-Like-Noise-Music Chex. –Maddy (S-S)


OUTLIE:
Companions to Devils and Saints: CD
Remember those protective biohazard crime scene suits they wore when they hauled barrels of acid-washed human being chunks out of Jeffrey Dahmer’s apartment-cum-butcher shop? Well, as soon as I glanced at this disc I threw one of those on and made damn sure that all the snaps were snapped and all the zippers zipped. This thing is crawling with tell-tale signs that seem to point directly to the vile noxiousness known back in the day as “emotional punk” and now known as simply as a “cash cow.” Arsty artwork and angel statues and gawky song titles like “Anxieties of the Vain and Unknowing.” That, my friends, is the musical equivalent of a shoe box full of human penises. But as so few times happens, I can happily announce that my keen first-impression instruments steered me wrong on this one. Oh sure, every once in a while Outlie pirouettes dangerously close to the tough-but-snuggly world of emo, but all-in-all this has some punch to it. And more importantly, it is punch given unapologetically – without the immediate obligatory “okay, now we’re gonna show you that we’re sensitive, too” malarkey. This has the melodies of early Social Distortion mixed with the musical dynamics of Quicksand. Actually, it maybe reminds me most of the Lillingtons. And I like them. So I guess I can take this stupid suit off now. –aphid (Porterhouse)


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