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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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OUTCASTS:
Self Conscious Over You: CD
Funny thing it is, reading about music. At the risk of quoting Forrest Gump, you never can tell what you’re gonna get when you actually give what you’ve been reading about a listen. After reading about these guys and their exploits in the fine book It Makes You Wanna Spit, I imagined rambunctious, “take no shit” punk rock. What is actually on this, their debut album, is more akin to the Irish pop punk made famous by fellow Ulster punks the Undertones than, say, the Cockney Rejects. Now don’t get me wrong, I ain’t gripin’ about what’s on here, ‘cause the tunes are wicked good, but I just find it interesting when a band’s musical output doesn’t quite match up with their image. Closest comparison I can come up with regarding what I’m getting at is TSOL, who had a reputation in some circles of being rather violent jocks, yet when you hear a song like “Weathered Statues,” you can’t help but scratch your head in wonder. Then I get to this album’s bonus tracks, particularly “Frustration” and “I Don’t Wanna Be No Adult,” and they perfectly embody what I expected them to sound like, all mean and pissed off ‘n’ such. Ahh, fuck it, don’t mind me and my neuroses. It’s a damn good album, plus it’s got the singles versions of “Love is for Sops” and “Just Another Teenage Rebel,” which makes it just the bee’s knees. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


OSCARS, THE:
American Idol: CD
Low-res cover art worried me, but sure enough this is the same band that released a rad Memphis homegrown 5-song EP on Contaminated Records. This one is on Bootleg Records and just as basement-created. Recorded at Tronic Graveyard by Jay and Alicja and, sure enough, sounds like a descendent of the Reatards/Oblivians/etc, with some creepy inbreeding resulting in noise and moderate speed. Then I finally recognized it: these are all those weird songs on Thrasher’s skate rock comps I could never find the whole albums for. Not really, just a metaphor. –mike (Bootleg, www.oscarsindustries.com)


ORGANZ/O’DEATH, MY CHILD:
DRGZ! DRGZ! DRGZ!: split 12”
Hand printed covers are nice. Noisy rock bands are nice. “Thrashy hardcore” Organz have three bass players and fuck up eight songs so great (greatly?) you won’t care that there’s no regular guitar. In fact, you’ll wish some other bands would get rid of their regular guitars. O’Death keeps the fi kind of low, also lowers the volume, and goes the spooky route with piano and reverbed samples over electrobeats. Just one crappy song on the whole record, and it’s only one second long, so just ignore it. –Cuss Baxter (Calls and Correspondence/Robot Winter/Nail in the Coffin)


OPPRESSED LOGIC:
Ones That Control: CD
Reminds me of Mystic Records bands like R.K.L., Don’t know, and Scared Straight minus the double bass drums. On first listen, it didn’t really move me. Something in it took me back to the mid-’80s and the local LA scene. Bands like these were a dime a dozen back in the day but they’re probably considered old school today. If this band was local and I had seen them many times live, I would probably have a different perspective. But as a newcomer, I was not blown away. The almost out of tune sound of the guitars mixed with the double bass drumming on this rubbed me wrong. –don (Blazing Guns)


OH, BEAST!:
Makin It in the Scene: CD
Hints of NoMeansNo, Blonde Redhead, swirly conceptual maybe-punk rock, not as successful as those two big bands though. Everyone in their hometown probably loves them but don’t stay the whole show. –mike (Perverted Son)


ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW:
Nights. Not. End.: CD
The first few second of this starts off pretty rock’n’roll, followed by the perfectly placed, growling, “Yeah!” A few more hot licks, then the sissiest dang voice starts to croon. Continue to end of CD. I cried because I was laughing so hard the first time I heard it. I played that intro five times before struggling through the rest of it. –megan (www.oddsagainsttomorrow.com)


OBSOLETES:
Is This Progress?: CD
Yes! Wisconsin does it again! You’d think having two AMAZING bands (The Modern Machines, Fury of a Thousand Zeuses) in one state would be enough, but we here in the DairyState constantly surpass all projections for punk rock greatness! The Obsoletes feature two former members of the amazing and under-appreciated pop punk band Yesterday’s Kids. This time around, it’s way more pop, way more influenced by classic country and the Replacements (the album includes an obscure ‘Mats cover), and it’s so damn good! These are just great songs, period. I can’t stop listening to it. My only slight criticism? Slowed down vocals on “Little Gurl.” So strange, and so bad! But, minor complaints aside, this is, at least, Honey Nut Chex: simple and amazing. And, who knows? After a few more dozen listens, it may even become Corn Pops! –Maddy (145 Records)


OBSERVERS, THE:
Lead Pill: 7” EP
Eighties-tinged punk rock with smart lyrics and some well-placed cynicism. The line “So I sold my soul just to save some face in front of the fashion police/Life is so much better now that I’ve found beige,” from “Normally Normal,” was brilliant. –jimmy (Super Secret)


NORTHERN LIBERTIES:
Erode + Disappear: CD
Sub-Naked Raygun oi prog with some kind of weird effects on the guitar and vocals that make it sound like it’s playing through a wooden beer can. That, plus the relentless pish, pish, pish of the hi-hat and the singer’s droning tone add up to one famously monotonous mundanity. –Cuss Baxter (Worldeater)


NO MEANS NO:
The People’s Choice: CD
Another band I’ve always loved but have never broken down and actually bought anything by (I have no credible excuse. I suck and I know it.) get the “best of” treatment here. For the uninitiated, this is one of Canada’s treasures, a hardcore band for the musically literate, meaning that while they can thrash it up with the best of ‘em, they do it with an amazing level of technical precision and songwriting complexity. By no means should this be taken to mean that they are a one trick pony, for in addition to the aforementioned moments of angry brilliance, the listener also gets for his buck smart pop and art damaged noise to serve up as the featured music at the next summer barbecue. All their best tunes are represented, from “Sex Mad,” to “Theresa, Give Me that Knife” to “The Day Everything Became Nothing” to “Dad,” so interested parties who would like to dip their toes rather than throwing caution to the wind and jumping right in are recommended to wade around in this for a spell. In short, this is most definitely worthy of your “must buy” list. –jimmy (AntAcidAudio)


NIGHT TERRORS:
The Hit/(I Have) Night Terrors: 7”
As a spazz, I can tell you that I actually experience real life night terrors on a regular basis and I can also tell you that these Wisconsin boys are way less scary than actual night terrors. But I don’t think that they’re really trying to scare anyone. Except maybe people who like to bath and use deodorant and foo-foo stuff like that. This is a little less manic than Teengenerate or Sweet J.A.P. and a little more garagey than yer typical Confederacy of Scum. band. A nice blend though. I would like to hear more. Mungy armpit hair fun. –aphid (Goodbye Boozy)


NEW MEXICANS, THE:
Chicken Head Talking Diamonds: CD
Some high precision noise rock from this Seattle-by-way-of-Arizona/Kentucky/South Carolina outfit. Song titles like “I’m Going to Go Put on My Cape and Go Jack Off to Some Beat Happening CDs,” “Shit Hard, Clown Shoes” and “Lesbian Llamas Are the Fruit of Gnomes” pretty much let you know where they’re coming from. Good, noisy stuff. –jimmy (Under the Needle)


NEW BLACK:
Self-titled: CD
A twangy guitar, an organ like the ones they had in the ‘60s, and a girl yelling the same words over and over and over again. But then a spunky, bisex-vox number with shades of Berlin or something scoots out and breaks the tension. It’s a short trip from charm to chore and New Black makes it several times. –Cuss Baxter (Thick)


NEUROSIS:
The Eye of Every Storm: CD
Long has it been since last I heard these guys, so long, in fact, that I’d completely forgotten what they sounded like. Thanks to this, it’s all coming back to me: sludgy, loud, looooooooooong noise rock that strangely fits right in to what’s making the rounds these days. Not my bag, which is probably why I forgot what they sounded like, but you gotta respect ‘em for sticking it out this long. –jimmy (www.neurosis.com)


MY SO-CALLED BAND:
Weapons of Mass Distortion: CDEP
Full disclosure: Chris Peigler, who plays in My So-Called Band, does live reviews and columns on razorcake.com. Weapons of Mass Distortion is the most straightforward and no-nonsense My So Called Band release I’ve heard. As a trio, the songs are more direct and shorn of the occasional meandering parts. If long-term enthusiasm, a fully tested arsenal of ethics, and living in a town (Charlotte, NC) with little to no appreciation for honest, DIY punk rock could be distilled into songs, My So Called-Band nails it. What works the most for this band is a greater understanding of punk rock in general while dipping into wells deeper than any one genre could provide. It’s like they’ve cribbed notes from the play lists of past greats as diverse as DOA to Naked Raygun to the MC5 – like a skeleton – but it’s all joined by a workmanlike ethos – the muscle – that keeps it from being merely a musically cut and paste affair. Separate parts, yet joined, and it’s a good listen. –todd (Suicide Watch)


MUGGERS, THE:
self-titled: CD

Whoa! You skins and punks better hold onto your fucking boots because the Muggers are coming to kick your ass! This is some brutal fucking street punk for you. They start out with a song about John Walker Lindh, the American who was helping Al Queda. It’s called “Turn-Coat-Kid” and it’s got some lyrics. “I know what you did/John Walker Lindh/I know what you did/John Walker Lindh.” Then they burn into “Standing Back.” It’s about getting pissed off and killing some guy, then getting thrown in jail, which sucks. This one also has lyrics, “This must be a dream/Could be sitting at home like a king on his throne/ Nursing a black eye.” Yeah. This is sarcasm if you didn’t catch it. Megan wearing Bruce Roehrs’ Pants.

 

 

–megan (Radio)


MOUSEROCKET:
Self-titled: CD
Alicja Trout is one busy lady. Not only does she play in the Lost Sounds, the Fitts, and Destruction Unit, she’s the guitarist and main vocalist in Mouserocket. And much like John Reis (Rocket From the Crypt, Drive Like Jehu, The Swamis), being so busy and so involved (she runs Contaminated Records and distro out of Memphis, too) it doesn’t show at the kneecaps that she’s stretching herself too thin because none of the bands she’s involved in are slouchy. Mouserocket isn’t as synth-driven as the Lost Sounds, art damaged as Destruction Unit, or wrecked garage as the Fitts. Delicate is a good way to put it. The songs are more eerie, sad, and organic. Overall, this CD reminds me of the best of Bongwater, minus the more irritating fuck-your-ear noise bits and tracks that you swear they didn’t know the record button was pressed. So, all in all, it sounds otherworldly, yet it lends its hand out to the listener in a very accessible way, which doesn’t happen very often. It’s experimental but well realized with firm strokes. On first listen, my favorite track was the cover of the Damned’s “Alone Again Or,” but as I got more familiar with the musical scenery I like the album as a whole, from start to finish. The more I listened to it, the more I thought of it almost as an audio accompaniment to a darkly themed children’s book. Mouserocket would be perfect for a Where the Wild ThingsAre or a Series of Unfortunate Events movie, and that’s not a slight in the least. –todd (Empty)


MORONICS:
Style Your Hair the Way the Moronics Like It: LP
Look, just ‘cause your record was recorded with a hand-held tape recorder packed in a cardboard box stuffed with flame retardant and dumped in the deep end of a swimming pool, it doesn’t mean it’s going to sound any better. –jimmy (Rockin’ Bones)


MORNING SHAKES, THE:
XXX-plode with the Sounds of Sex, Booze and Sin!: LP
...i’m not sure if it’s a testament to this defunct ‘90s outfit’s latent greatness or more of an indictment of today’s vendors of the Stinky Garage Molecule that a band which sounded “good” but not overly raveworthy six-seven years ago now comes off as substantially above average (“SUBSTANTIALLY ABOVE AVERAGE!” My devotion knows no bounds!) in most regards. Singles tracks, album tracks, the ever-popular “lost tracks” and some keen covers by a band who never met a New Bomb Turks song recorded in Billy Childish’s bedroom they didn’t like – i just hope when i die somebody can cobble together a package this useful out of my spare parts. BEST SONG: i got to go with the Dicks cover here, but if they would have thought to medley “Thunderbird ESQ” into “Stealing People’s Mail” i would say that. BEST SONG TITLE: “Devious Means,” outside authorship be hanged! FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: This is one of two Rockin’ Bones releases reviewed this month which sports a Zero Boys cover. Indianapolis: New Centre of the Universe! –norb (Rockin’ Bones)


MONSTERS, THE:
Youth Against Nature: CD
Wacked-out garage punk from a Swiss three-man band featuring Swiss one-man band Lightning Beat-Man. That, and a wide-eyed, cough-syruped, fuzz-addled blast down some weird highway from snow-blind northern Europe to a smoky roadhouse outside New Orleans in a car full of psychopaths on concrete tires. –Cuss Baxter (Voodoo Rhythm)


MODERN MACHINES:
Thwap!: LP
The first time I listened to this record, I thought it was just okay. Not great, not bad. I would’ve passed on it, but Maddy Tight Pants really loves the Modern Machines, and since I tend to agree with Maddy’s musical tastes most of the time, I figured that I’d give this record another chance. I took it home and, over the past two months, I’ve listened to it dozens of times. After all of these repeated listens, the songs started to separate in my head. I could better recognize the subtleties of the parts. I could pick out parts where the Replacements influence crept in. “Run It” has some nice echoes of the Big Boys. The heavy Hüsker Dü influence is just about everywhere, and that’s not a bad thing. I could hear where they were trying to branch out in different directions. And, in the end, I’ve decided that this album is great. And it’s bad. And it’s just okay. By that, I mean that four or five songs off of this album would make a great EP. Alternately, a few of these songs should’ve stayed in the practice room a bit longer before they were recorded. And the record is just okay when they have a song like “Radio Tower” which is going along great, then does a quick tempo change and launches into a part where the singer says he’s gonna fly, and I stop paying attention. I think that the Modern Machines have a good starting point. I think they’ll get better. For the time being, though, I’d rather listen to The Crowd song they’re named after than listen to this record. –sean (Onion Flavored)


MISTAKE, THE:
Fuck Everything Up: CD
One of those chonka-chonka metal bands that plays their guitars nipple-high so that they can get the right chonka-chonka sound. According to the lyrics, they’re going to take back the scene from all you poseurs out there. Watch out, poseurs! –Josh (Prime Directive)


MIDNIGHT CREEPS/CAPO REGIME:
Split: CD
Midnight Creeps: Annoying metal/punk that was decidedly not my cup o’ poison. Capo Regime: Hardcore that wasn’t much better. –jimmy (Rodent Popsicle)


MARVELS, THE:
Cheat to Win: CD
I forgot how much Staffy’s vocals sound like the Black Halos until I put them on back-to-back the other day. A few line-up changes since the last recording, but no worse for the wear. Michelle adds a nice contrast with female vocals, and she plays a pretty mean bass. This recording captures their rawness much better than the last release. Anthemic, rock’n’roll with a snotty edge. I haven’t seen them in about two years, and they still top my list of live bands. Well worth checking out. –megan (Abbey Lounge)


MARKED MEN, THE:
On the Outside: CD
What is it that makes the Marked Men so great at what they do? Is it those bass lines that pop like an adolescent (read: pre-Guns N Roses) Tommy Stinson? Is it the way they took the bright, hooky guitars from the best late ‘70s power pop bands, axed the commercial rock tendencies, and then duct-taped them onto ninety-second punk rock songs? Is it the creative drumming that somehow never goes into Neil Peart territory? I don’t know. All I know is that they somehow found an untapped musical vein somewhere between Scared of Chaka and the FM Knives, only they’re better than both of those bands. And if you think that’s blasphemy, I’ll go one better and say that they’re the American Teengenerate. –Josh (Dirtnap)


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