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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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BRIEFS, THE:
Sex Objects: CD
...something about this record Golden Shower of Hits... Golden Shower of Hits... can’t exactly put my finger on Golden Shower of Hits... Golden Shower of Hits... “Orange Alert,” presumably a cautionary tale about their last Golden Shower of Hits... Golden Shower of Hits... and, while i can certainly appreciate the unbridled craftsmanship it takes to introduce the lead to a song called “Halfsize Girl” with the impassioned reminder to “keep it short!” you’ve eventually got to admit that Golden Shower of Hits... Golden Shower of Hits...so like aren’t songs like “Destroy the USA” and “No More Presidents” just the aging punkly equivalent of those old tribute/spoof ‘50s type numbers decaying rockers in the ‘70s and ‘80s used to occasionally include on their albums (i’m thinking that “Wham-a-lama-lama-lama rock and roll is king” song by ELO here but that’s probably not a very good Golden Shower of Hits... Golden Shower of Hits... songs are actually the Briefs’ equivalent of “Old Time Rock & Roll???” CAN THIS BE HAPPENING??? Now, granted i Golden Shower of Hits... Golden Shower of Hits...but overreacting or not, i can’t help but Golden Shower of Hits... Golden Shower of Hits...you know? On the brighter side Golden Shower of Hits... Golden Shower of Hits... almost Seussian lyrics like “I picked it up, it weighed almost an ounce / on the top was a name that I couldn’t pronounce,” “Mystery Pill” is the exact type of midtempo, easily comprehensible number college DJs (at least used to) wet their Golden Shower of Hits... Golden Shower of Hits... with some authority that “Sally I Can’t Go to the Beach” is the best song with the word “Beach” in the title of the last fifteen years, and the best song with the name “Sally” in the title ever! That’s right! Fuck you, Wilson Pickett! Fuck you, Sir Mack Rice! Fuck you, Dick! Fuck you, Jane! Fuck you, Spot! The Briefs are coming to Golden Shower of Hits... Golden Shower of Hits... which is what the Toy Dolls started relying too much on during their long, protracted decline as well, so really i woulda saved my “Clash City Rockers” larceny for Golden Shower of Hits... Golden Shower of Hits... with “Lifestyles of the Truly Lazy,” which is just stupid. Hey, Ronald Reagan died within four days of me hearing the song “No More Presidents,” too bad you guys weren’t a band twenty years ago. BEST SONG: “Sally I Can’t Go to the Beach,” but i will also accept “Mystery Pill” as an alternate lifestyle BEST SONG TITLE: “Killed By Ants,” because who in this post-Adam universe even bothers to recall the punk/ant connection so viably established by Eater in 1978? FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: This record cover is red, yellow, gray and black and therefore does not coordinate with any of my outfits. Please do not tape it to me. –norb (BYO)


BRAT ATTACK, THE:
Destruction Sound System: CD
The first song, “Infighting and Bickering,” excited me with its dual female/male vocals and melodic pop sound that reminded me of the now defunct UK band Servo. I was hoping for more! But no, the male vocals are dominant here. Where did that great female voice go? Two tracks of average punk rock. Track four is “Enemy” and the female vocals come back! The vocals are soft and enduring and go into Brody and Courtney country during the chorus. Tracks five through eight: male dude again. Yawn. Track nine, the dual vocals are back! You go, girl! Track ten is dude again. Skip. Track eleven has too much dude and not enough female vocals. Track twelve: dude. Track thirteen: dude. Track fourteen: dude’s track up front, female vocals buried. Track fifteen comes back with dude singing the verses and female vocals in the chorus. Track sixteen closes off with a rock ballad of sorts but dude is only a background singer. So I’m not sure who dude is. On the CD there is Ben and Dave who are listed as vocalists. They need to step back and just play guitars. No more singing. The female vocals, I think, are handled by Seana but there is a picture of a Meaghan on the back that says vocals, too. Put them up front on vocal duties and this band would be much improved in my book. Sounds like I’m a dude hater, huh? –don (Steel Capped)


BOXCAR SATAN:
Upstanding and Indigent: CD
Singer sounds like Captain Beefheart and sings a million words in every song. Sometimes the band sounds like the Jesus Lizard, sometimes more like Beefheart’s band, sometimes like Mule or the Cows. If you like that stuff, you’ll get the picture. “I got back with a new tattoo of you kissing my ass.” Wholesome weirdness. –Cuss Baxter (Dogfingers)


BOOKS LIE:
Hall of Fame of Fire (Plus Singles and B-sides): CD
When I was in college several years ago, almost all the punks there were exclusively into grindcore, noise, thrash, emo, etc. What was a decent, harmony-loving punk who wasn’t given to public emotional breakdowns to do? Well, when in Rome… I ended up going to a fair amount of shows I would’ve never gone to otherwise, and one of those shows was Books Lie. I actually ended up seeing them a few times, and, out of all “those” bands, they were the only ones I actually thought were all right. This CD is both a new album and lots of singles and b-sides. Hardcore with some metal influence, definitely a Heartattack kind of thing! I’d be lying if I said I listen to it all the time, but the fact that I listen to it at all, given my musical tastes, must be worth something! If this were a cereal, it’d be Heartattack Ohs! Oh, subculture! –Maddy (Level-Plane)


BOMBSTRIKE/LEGION 666:
Split: 7”
Bombstrike: Swedish D-Beat that carries on the tradition of a country that produces great punk bands. The vocals are harsh and in a yelled fashion. The guitars are important when you play this type of punk. They have to be very heavy with a lot of distortion. They fill that requirement. The bass is also distorted and that is a plus. It makes the sound bottom heavy. The drums are more than competent and they drive home that bass heavy sound. Legion 666: D-Beat crust with a down and dirty metal sound by way of Canada. If you haven’t bought their great split LP with Brazil’s Sick Terror, you are missing out. Their first song starts out with a wicked metal intro and goes into D-Beat glory. Also included is a Crude SS cover! Two songs each and worth the effort of seeking out and purchasing. –don (Schizophrenic)


BOBBY BARE JR’S YOUNG CRIMINALS’ STARVATION LEAGUE:
From the End of Your Leash: CD
Seems to me like an orchestral alt-country Flaming Lips. I probably got that wrong, but who cares? Bobby Bare Sr? Mister Peanut? Hotdog Teade? Hotdog Teade! –Cuss Baxter (Bloodshot)


BLUEBIRD:
Falling Back to Earth: CD EP
This is mostly comprised of outtakes from a session that resulted in another release, Hot Blooded. You get loud, heavy alt-rock for your buck, pretty good for what it is, but ain’t exactly my preferred bag o’ worms. –jimmy (Dim Mak)


BLOCKO / MINORITY BLUES BAND:
Split: 7”
Blocko: Blocko tread that ever-thin ice that behemoths Leatherface and Hot Water Music have been skating on and carving their own distinctive designs in for years. The good news is that Blocko brings a lot of their own to the table. The guitars swell, siren, and are played urgently, the singer doesn’t strain too hard nor get lazy, and there’s a Jam-like sensibility (and “down at the tubeway station at midnight” feel) hiding right beneath the concrete that makes them very enjoyable to listen to. Their second song, “Black Coffee,” is a cover by a pop band I’ve never heard of, All Saints. It sounds weird on paper, but Die Toten Hosen covered the same song, and, for some reason, it works well with the punk rock treatment. Minority Blues Band: Deep in the vein of Hüsker-Dü-loving DIY Japanese punk, I can’t say anything bad about ‘em. Catchy hooks, lots of similarities to Japanese brethren like The Urchin, for their immediately catchy energy and crazily precise playing, and Florida’s Tim Version for layer upon layer of sounds to wrap your brain around. Super solid, no-fashion, no-pretense punk. Oh, and the best Japanese to English translation? “Without you, nuts go wrong.” Sweet split. Thumbs up. –todd (Snuffy Smile)


BLANK ITS:
Johnny’s Tongue b/w I’m OK: 7”
Raw as an itchy rash. Simple as retard math. As catchy and blinding as syphilis in the 18th century. Much like the Ka-Knives, the charm of spazz, duct tape as lifestyle choice and fix-all, and the sound of a singer singing though a face mask and a snorkel overcomes the need for fidelity. Whereas Metallica uses lasers and NASA scientists to make what they call music, the Blank Its use a small box of blunt crayons. I like what they’re doodling. If this 7” was first grader art, I’d happily magnet it to the fridge. Fans of the Spits, The Gories, and Supercharger are already hard wired to liking this. –todd (Band Its; blankits@netscape.net)


BLACKOUTS, THE:
Living in Blue: CD
Peppy produced rock but I expected more from the band name. Indistinguishable from every other college radio band. –mike (Lucid)


BLACK LIPS:
We Did Not Know the Forest Spirit Made the Flowers Grow: CD
Trashy slop more rooted in the ‘60s definition of the word “punk” than the modern connotation that word is saddled with. The music sounds authentic to the times it’s trying to evoke, the singer sounds drunk and the rest of the guys sound like they’re having a ball bashing their instruments in wild abandon. –jimmy (Bomp)


BLACK EYES:
Cough: CD
Sounds like a high school marching band on a wicked PCP wigout – all honking saxes, spastic drums, screaming and blowing whistles. Two cats yell their jazz poetry at each other over the wailing and gnashing of their artrock noise ensemble like some kind of terrible soundtrack to some kind of terrible movie about something terrible. But probably not as terrible as I make it out to be. –Cuss Baxter (Dischord)


BIRDS MAY BITE:
If Startled: CD
This CD rules for approximately six seconds. For those six seconds, it is a warm, breathy rush of melodic indie pop from 1993. It reminds me of the Godrays, Velocity Girl, Fudge – every last one of the bands that focused on using guitar tones to create an atmosphere, yet still tried to shape the form of that atmosphere via hooks. At the end of that six seconds, the vocals kick in and the entire thing falls apart. It promptly downshifts from promising indie pop into bland, lilting, headache-inducing guitar rock. At about twenty-three seconds in, there was a brief flash of potential with a riff which sounded like it came from a Longshot song, but then the organs came in and the CD came out. –scott (Egg White Thought)


BILL PARKER AND HIS MOTHERSCRATCHERS:
United We Stand: CD
Fake country music about Jesus and about drinking and about as clever and interesting as fingernail dirt. –Cuss Baxter (Wrecked-Em)


BELVEDERE:
Fast Forward Eats the Tape: CD
It never ceases to amaze me how this corporate punk crap has managed to take the hyper-speed thrash beat, which used to pump a brother up and make him aggro, and make it about as slow and boring as a John Denver record. –jimmy (www.unionlabelgroup.com)


BEAUTY PILL:
You Are Right to Be Afraid: CDEP
Lilting, melodic, edgy indie rock. The title cut is the only one that really strays from that model and it’s also the only song that stands out. It’s not that this EP is bad; it’s just generic. There’s nothing here to tear apart, nor is there much here to laud. It’s just a competently played musical release. –scott (Dischord)


BADNADS, THE:
Japanese Bloodbath: 7”
Brutus-style hardcore with a thick, reddish neck and a fetish for old school wrasslin heels like Bruiser Brody and Abdullah the Butcher. Basic no-frills ECW-core that fans of the Bump N’ Uglies and/or Antiseen might enjoy, though I think both those bands do a better job of it. And while I’m on the subject, why is it that all these wrasslin bands kiss the boots of all the same wrestlers? Sure Mick Foley was great back in his hardcore heyday, but I’d like to see some bands lionize some of the more thickly body-haired kookballs like George the Animal Steele and Mad Dog Vachon. Just to spice things up a bit. –aphid (Scarey)


BAD RELIGION:
The Empire Strikes First: CD
I have been listening to this for over a month and a half. That is pretty good since I have so many CDs and records that I haven’t listened to sitting next to the stereo. I get so excited about every release that they put out. I have been a fan since they began in 1980 and continued to purchase every release since then, except that I still do not own a copy of the first 7”. I still listen to Into the Unknown, even though they tried to destroy many of the copies and made it one of the most collectable of their releases. If you liked The Process of Belief, I think this album is much better. As many longtime fans cite Suffer as their ultimate record, I think this is on par or surpasses that record. Being on a major label for a time, the band has learned how to take advantage of a studio. To me, the additional production values add to the power of the songs. Brooks Wakerman, already having an album under his belt with the band, shows that he is starting to get comfortable and at home. The drumming on the song “Sinister Rouge” is incredible and on the album throughout. I almost forgot that he had played for Suicidal Tendencies for a time. Greg Graffin can always be counted on to write lyrics that aren’t at a sixth grade reading level. His reuniting with Brett Gurewitz as writing partner shows that they need each other to bounce ideas off of to get songs put together. They do benefit from having punk hall of famers Greg Hetson and Brian Baker to back things up and provide input. I can’t forget Jay Bentley, who has been there from the beginning, minus a record or two. All I can say that is if you are a new fan or a longtime fan, this doesn’t disappoint. Now I have to go out and get an actual copy since I got a CD-R with no cover. –don (Epitaph)


AVOID ONE THING:
Chopstick Bridge: CD
I think I remember hearing that this is a side project of someone from the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. It kind of has a later period Hüsker Dü meets Sugar sound added with the obvious sound of the Bosstones and a little current day Dropkick Murphys going for it. I was not easily excited by this but who knows? If I got a few more listens in, I could be a converted man. –don (Side One Dummy)


AUTUMN PICTURE:
Fait Maison: CD
This makes Pedro The Lion sound like tough-guy hardcore. Seriously. –scott (Hill Billy Stew)


ATOMSMASHERS/DeLOREANS:
Split: 7”
Atomsmashers deliver some manner of rabid thermonuclear attack concealed within the guise of a Trojan Zero Boys cover (“Hightime”) (good, i was getting sick of “Civilization’s Dying”) and a marginally original original. DeLoreans play in the traditional Italian punk rock style: Almost completely unmemorable, but with no visible defects. Maybe a trunk full of blow is no longer part of the standard DeLorean accessory package? BEST SONG: Atomsmashers, “Hightime” BEST SIDE OF THE COVER: DeLoreans. Monkeys serving band members pizza whilst they peruse New Warriors comic books surrounded by radiating wedges of magenta and black is a very underutilized theme for record covers these days. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: From the Atomsmashers liner notes: “Many thanks to no one especially if come from Wisconsin.” Uhhh... you’re welcome? –norb (Rockin’ Bones)


ATOM SMASHERS:
Drop the Bomb: CD
I have a friend named Adam Smasher, and he’s way cooler than this CD! Adam Smasher once drove all the way to Brooklyn from Wisconsin just to see his favorite band, The Onion Flavored Rings, but then he got so drunk that he passed out at the show before they even played. THAT, my friends, is punk! This CD, on the another hand, is nowhere near as cool as that. Pretty standard garage, of the sort that you’d expect from Rip Off these days. Not horrible, not amazing. You know, like most garage punk! If this were a cereal, it’d be regular Chex. Take it or leave it. –Maddy (Rip Off)


ARTIMUS PYLE:
Fucked from Birth: CD
Holy shit! I haven’t listened to this band in a few years since their Civil Dead LP, but I was fortunate enough to see them live recently. What I remember from the past was laid to waste very moment they started to perform. As loud as they were live, they are loud on this CD. Brutal, bass-heavy power riffage. The amplifiers sound like they are on maximum overdrive. They do not rely heavily on the powerviolence sound but incorporate more of a dirge of feedback and atonal noise to create the sound of pure pain. Like Kylesa and Dystopia, they take noise and anger to another level. It’s an aural rampage that jerks you from fast to slow without sacrificing the energy. If music can be used to describe a migraine headache, this would be it. –don (Prank)


ARMY OF PONCH:
Army of Ponch Vs. the Curse: CD EP
In an election year, we’re all looking for wedge issues in the culture war. We all need them to make sure that we only associate with people who are exactly like us and won’t challenge us to change ourselves, our minds, or our opinions. Fuck, even I need one to ensure that I’m doing my part to divide while claiming to unify, and I think I finally got it with this release. I’ve concluded that I simply don’t get Army Of Ponch. I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. Screamed vocals, disjointed and slightly chaotic music, chunky riffs that stay crispy even in milk – I think I need more melodies with this, that what’s really missing is a sense of harmony. It’s not that this is bad – I’ve just finally realized after a few separate attempts over the time span of about a year that this really isn’t my thing. –scott (Sabot)


APERS, THE:
The Wild and Savage Apers: Singles and Outtakes 1997-2002: CD
Wow. A European Queers. This band has all the key elements of a total Queers rip-off band, right down to the Joe King-esque vocals. At first, I thought, “This stinks! It’s not original at all!” And then I thought, “Wait a minute! Why can’t we clone the Queers so that Europe and the States can each have one? Punk!” The Apers aren’t anywhere near as good as the Queers, though, but still, their existence prevents free trade from leading to a takeover of the rest of the world by American pop punk bands! The Apers are really a DIY local organic alternative to Lookout Records! Go Europe! If this were a cereal, it’d be European Union Ohs! Am I making sense? No! –Maddy (Stardumb)


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