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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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PRIDESWALLOWER:
Lifeswallower: CD
Reminds me quite a bit of a slowed down piss-take of the Men’s Recovery Project Normal Man 7”, just not as dynamic and way too mired in feedback to make it terribly effective. It’s also kind of like, I don’t know, if one of the guys from Born Against and one of the guys from Tractor Sex Fatality met in a hillbilly bar, wanted to start a band that channeled Jon Spencer but decided to simply butt-funnel shots of snake venom instead, got wasted, decided to start the band anyway and asked Luke from Science Of Yabra to sing for em. It’s okay stuff, if somewhat repetitive. I mean, I bet they’re pretty crazed live, and probably manage to throw out some pretty good sonic bricks in a basement show, but it’s just falling a little flat and monotonous when it comes to ye olde compact disc listening. –keith (Auxillary)


POISON CONTROL:
The Violent Years: 7”
Guttural, fierce hardcore always has its place, but doesn’t always leave its mark. The first three songs of this 7”, for example, are great hardcore songs, but don’t really have any chance of staying in rotation of my listening. That’s why it’s all about the transition from the third to fourth—and final—song of this record. Halfway through the B-side, the music does a 180 and turns from an all-out attack of fist-pumping punk to a genuine introspective of someone who suffers from social anxiety, while maintaining the energy and fury of the first three songs but raising the intensity to an almost frightening level. One of the top 5 B-sides of 2007, and definitely one of the most intense songs as well. If you were at the Fest this year, that dude who sang those SSD songs with Witches With Dicks is the lead singer of this band. –Daryl Gussin (Deranged)


PLEASURE KILLS, THE:
Self-titled: 7”
I guess retro-power pop is the flavor du jour. These kids are quite proficient at it, which is a definite plus, with either tune here conceivably being a minor hit back when power pop wasn’t retro. –jimmy (Polypore)


PLASTIC IDOLS:
Singles, Demos and Live: CD
The chorus of “I.U.D.,” the lead-off track on this retrospective of one of Houston’s more notable punk bands, has haunted my for years since the supremely cool Scott Pellet (head honcho over at the Big Boys’ tribute site www.soundonsound.org) put it on a comp cassette of old Texas punk rock he’d made. The problem is I know it’s lifted from another song, one that has been on the tip of my tongue for years but just refuses to make itself known. No matter, I guess. What’s important here is that this is chock full of some very nice, very quirky (and let’s be honest, it would really be quirky if it weren’t quirky, considering where these kids were from) Texas punk. Songs about the aforementioned contraceptive device, the advantages of being uncircumcised, Siamese love, and yellow stains are the order of the day, and the music is a nice example of that sweet spot in punk’s history where attitude was more important than adhering to some rigid template. Nice history lesson here, one definitely worthy of attention. –jimmy (hotboxreview@hotmail.com)


PLAGUE:
Thumper: CD
Personally knew nothing about these guys prior to listening to this, which was bit surprising to me, considering how tuned into the hardcore thing I was when they were out raising a racket, and it’s my loss. Formed out of the ashes of the Defnics (whose “51 percent” is a staple for the Killed by Death types), Plague meted out some crushing warp-speed thrash during their decade of activity. Mining the area between Negative Approach and early DRI, they managed a number of EPs and an album before calling it quits in 1992. The tracks from those releases are all here, giving a whole new crop of hardcore fans the opportunity to revel in their glory. –jimmy (Plague Music)


PINK REASON:
Throw It Away: 7”
Either a Joy Division-y mood vibe with Lou Reed slide guitars (33 speed) or a higher pitched singing moody acoustic-y guitar lots of effects on the voices (45 speed). Pretty catchy and dreamerific either way. I honestly can’t tell and Criminal IQ always has cool, freaky, unexplainable bands. By the end of their three songs I feel in the territory of the Residents. Did I mention keyboards? –mike (Criminal IQ)


PHOTOS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
If the press one-sheet that came with this is any indication, these guys fancied themselves the U.K. answer to Blondie, which I reckon is not too far off the mark, if that’s the only reference they had available at the time. For my money, though, they sounded like the Brit counterpart to East L.A.’s The Brat, who in their prime were contemporaries of the Photos when they originally released this album. Both bands were much more streamlined, tighter, faster, and to the point in their pop, with more of the punk engine (the band’s core is the remnants of cult punk darlings Satan’s Rats) that got them going in evidence than Blondie had by that time. Although the pop can get a wee bit sticky-sweet in some places here, they’re really something when they put it in overdrive and just rock. –jimmy (www.cherryred.co.uk)


PAWBOX:
Self-titled: CDEP
Modern rock, radio friendly, I want to be on MTV, battle of the bands winner kind of band. –don (www.myspace.com/pawbox)


PATROL WAGON:
Self-titled: CD
Why the hell haven’t I made a trip to Carbondale yet? There seems to be a loose sound forming around the town, sort of a mixing of those associated with the almost ready to fall apart sound of Tucson, the fun and sloppiness of the Bay, and a not quite nasty dirtiness that I can’t quite put my finger on that might just be all their own, if not shared with Asheville. Patrol Wagon (I’m not sure if they’re from there, but it was recorded at Lost Cross) fits that, but there’s a desperation that comes through in the speed and the vocals that sets them apart from just plain ol’ fun (which there is absolutely nothing wrong with). Another sweet release from Let’s Pretend. –megan (Let’s Pretend)


OUT WITH A BANG!:
Love My life: 7”
I remember thinking Out With A Bang’s I’m Against It EP was something pretty special. There was a certain amount of wit that made the trashy, crude punk rock stand out from every other dumb 7” on the planet. That wit seems to be missing from this 7”, and I don’t know if it’s me or the record, but I do know that anti-PC songs are just as stupid as pro-PC songs, if not more stupid. You thought they were wasting your time; well thanks for wasting mine. –Daryl Gussin (Fashionable Idiots)


OSMANTIKOS:
Keep Fighting Oppressive Conditions: 7”
Malaysian punks who probably deserve to have their patches on crust punk buttflaps all over this country. Take note: fans of Havoc Records or Urban Guerilla Zine would probably eat this shit up. They’re lyrically utilizing some fairly spotty English—is it ethnocentric of me to even consider suggesting bands sing in their native language, maybe with English translations?—but they include some really heartfelt, sincere, DIY-lovin’ song explanations, which makes up for it. As far as the music, I was going to mention stuff like Discharge, Dischange, Disorder, etc. Or the relentlessness of that there kick drum, or the Swamp-Thing-getting-shivved-under-the-bed vocals, or maybe the really nice guitar work and pick slides on “Backway System.” I was going to. Instead, I’ll just mention that the three weird aliens/rats on the cover that apparently constitute likenesses of the band members are wearing Makiladoras, From Ashes Rise, and Extinction Of Mankind T-shirts, respectively. That should give you an idea. –keith (Bacon Towne)


ORCHESTRA OF MUNITIONS:
Self-titled: CD-EP
If you and your friends were sitting around air-guitarring made-up awesome metal riffs and then BOOM it turned into a hardcore band, it would sound like this. Play it while gathering the courage to kick a cop in the dick. –CT Terry –Guest Contributor (www.sointenserecords.com)


ORANGE:
Escape from L.A.: CD
I hate press releases! This one uses the phrase “brash swagger,” which made me think of a drunk pirate, but I doubt that was the intention of the mighty machines that are Epitaph Records! This is, to my ears, a poor man’s Rancid with an even worse fake British accent! Having said that, maybe I should disclose that I like the first Rancid LP, and kind of like the next two. But this, well... I know Rancid, and this sir, is no Rancid! If this were a cereal, it’d be generic Cheerios. It’s hard to hate ‘em, but I wouldn’t put this in my CD player if I had a Honey Nut Cheerios band’s CD available! –Maddy (Hellcat/Epitaph)


ONES, THE:
Self-titled: CD
This was on and off for me. The opening track “Yeah, You Make It,” is so catchy in that ‘70s pop kind of way that gets me so easily. Other tracks seem to fall a bit flat and into boring territory. When it’s good, I want to hear more, when it’s not, I barely know it’s there. –megan (Wax Vaccine)


OFF WITH THEIR HEADS:
All Things Move Toward Their End: CD
This CD is mostly compiled of songs that were previously released. It’s worth getting though because if you are like me and have an MP3 player, you will want these songs on it so you can be just a little happier driving to work while listening to it. Besides that, OWTH is awesome. I know the word “awesome” is overused lately and the meaning of it is starting to give, but here is how you use it: OWTH is awesome. If you don’t know about them yet, you are probably homeless or home schooled or something because they have like a billion releases out this year. Apparently, they’re into doing splits. The lyrics are usually dark and fun at the same time. There is something for everyone in at least one of their songs: poppy, punk, hard, loud, and self pitying. I can’t count the amount of times I have been frustrated about something and dug through my CD book to find OWTH to sing along with just to feel better quickly. I haven’t quite figured out the medicinal properties of the music, but it seems to be effective. Turns my frown upside down every time. Good music, original sounds, lyrics that keep interest, and a CD booklet that is one of the better ones I have seen lately with tidbits about the songs (I like that sort of thing). You can’t go wrong. I almost gave my copy to Josh Mosh but changed my mind when I realized I wanted to listen to it in the house for just a while longer before it got chewed up in his van. –Corinne –Guest Contributor (No Idea)


OFF WITH THEIR HEADS:
All Things Move Toward Their End: CD
I’m going to try get this out of the way first because I tend to drone on and on about some esoteric and self indulgent bullshit before getting to what the record/band actually sounds like. Which is usually why people read reviews in the first place. Not that I give a shit, but I thought I’d shake it up a bit. If you have depression and anxiety issues, and not in the “aren’t I so deep and introspective” way but in the “There are several times a year, if not every day, that I truly wish I was dead” way, Ryan Young has written a prodigious amount of lyrics dealing with the subject that you may appreciate. I have a fair amount of said issues myself and I usually don’t like to surround myself with music that deals with them. Being depressed usually isn’t helped by listening to downer music. I can relate but I also want to see a light somewhere or at the very least get up and get moving. I can’t think of another band that combines lyrics as truly emotionally dark with music that actually makes you want to get up and jump up and down. All this without eyeliner or a stitch of clothing from Dogpile. It’s comforting to know that there are other people out there dealing with the same shit but still raising themselves up to get through it and try to have a good time when they can. This record is a compilation of most of their songs from their beginning to somewhere in early 2007 or late 2006 and you know what? I’m glad I didn’t put this record out. It would annoy the piss out of me to put out a compilation that is supposed to be all-inclusive of their singles and what not up until early this year and have it not be all-inclusive! They’ve left out their first 7” from what I have dubbed “The Murder City Years” called Fine Tuning the Bender. Which is a mystery to me because it’s not bad or all that different from the To Hell With This... 7”, which they did include. “What the fuck?!,” I say. At any rate, this thing is laid out in pretty much reverse release order, as far as I can tell. Starting with their split with J Church and working backwards. The material goes essentially from great to not too shabby at all. There’s also a previously unreleased song called “Sadie” from a few years back that I really didn’t like at first but actually grew on me. Believe it or not, but these assholes already have enough material for another compilation like this (and, as of this writing, it isn’t even the end of 2007) and they’ve got a brand new full length coming out next year on No Idea. Hardest working bum outs in the industry!... and probably one of the best U.S. bands of the last few years. –Steveo (No Idea)


NUCLEAR DEATH TERROR:
Self-titled: CD
Metallic crust from Denmark who used to be former tenants of the forcibly evicted squat Ungdonshuset in Copenhagen. In dark times, music to feed the anger and depression is a necessity. Images of a bleak apocalypse are portrayed in the artwork and are the mood set by the music. Guttural vocals play against the thrashing tones of the bottom-heavy riffs. The delivery of the music is direct and played with conviction. Taking the architecture created by Discharge and adding elements of bands like Doom, Bolt Thrower, and Extreme Noise Terror, the band delivers a sound of dirty aggression. Comparisons can also be made to modern bands like Hellshock and Sanctum, who are also torch bearers of the latest wave of crust. I hope there is a tour in the works to come to the states. I definitely want to witness this band’s music live. –don (Fight For Your Mind)


NOFX:
They’ve Actually Gotten Worse Live: CD
Second live record from the band, compiled from a batch of shows in their hometown of San Francisco in January 2007. No repeats from their last live record, so we get clever songs against religion (“You’re Wrong”), government (“Murder the Government”), and bad vegetables (“Green Corn”). “I, Melvin” is the tune I’ll be coming back to on this bad boy. If you like the band, you need this just for the onstage banter. NOFX is really obsessed with bras, apparently. If you don’t like Fat Mike, then I don’t think we have anything more to talk about. –koepenick (Fat Wreck)


NITE NITE:
Self-titled: CD-R
I’m not sure what you would call this. I don’t know if it’s a demo or an EP. It comes in a stenciled sleeve and only contains three songs on a CDR painted black. The only information enclosed is a pretentious write-up by somebody in a Nashville alternative weekly and a business card from their manager. But anyway, this is pretty good stuff nonetheless. Kind of quiet stuff with a woman singing in a weird, kind of spooky, kind of sexy way over a pulsing kind of new wave style beat. It gives off a mood that’s both calming and unnerving at the same time. It creates an atmosphere that brings you right in and then it’s over, because it's only three songs long. I’ll be hoping for more from these folks. –Craven (myspace.com/niteniteband)


NICE BOYS, THE:
“Very Mary” b/w “Wake Up Girl”: 45
Liked but did not love the Nice Boys’ album; it seemed to veer into “cool hair rock boys” territory a bit too much for my stoic tastes. I find myself much more intrigued by this 45; the A-side is a sharp, sweet slabbette ((too intentionally un-massive to be rightly called a “slab”)) of US bubblegum, vintage ‘69-‘70 ((i.e., when even bands as marginally “real” as the Monkees or Ohio Express were deemed more trouble than they were worth, and were replaced by cartoon characters or chimpanzees)), satisfactorily melding Archiean song structure with Evolution Revolution-esque drive ((although failing to display much of the chops or polish of either)). The references to “second base” seem mind-blowingly innocuous, which might cause a greater man to ponder whether or not second base is the new first base. Perhaps that hypothesis needs to be field tested extensively? Well, you know me, anything for science. The B-side is marginally more “psychedelic,” veering more towards a Redd Kross direction, which is actually quite fine with me as long as the target date is as close to 1990 as you can get it. Both sides come equipped with some kinda crackly old calliope music at the end. Easy on the bong sauce, Jack. BEST SONG: “Very Mary” BEST SONG TITLE: “Very Mary” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I ordinarily hate the font “Hobo,” but it looks okay here. –norb (Green Noise)


NARROWS, THE:
Benjamin: CD
If you play punk or rock’n’roll, it’s gonna be pretty damn hard to break any new ground. But lucky for you, if you can rock hard enough, you’re completely forgiven. But should you so choose to play arty, post-hardcore, which is also hard to break new ground in, you’re probably just going to be another boring, arty, post-hardcore band like The Narrows and pull off a halfway decent song or two at best. –Craven (Wantage, USA)


NANCY:
The Fear of Missing Out: CD
Unless you have a strong desire to listen to standard pop punk/whatever it’s called nowadays, you don’t need to fear missing out on anything. –kurt (Sex Cells)


MYSTECHS:
Escape from Planet Love: CD
Glimpsing at the cover art, a fella might reasonably hope for the contents within to contain some modestly unexpected merger of the Minds, Lords of Acid, and Manplanet ((to say nothing of mid-80’s Aussie college rockers Painters & Dockers, whose 1985 Love Planet album was far superior both musically and graphically)). Unfortunately, the contents contain nothing of the sort, instead subjecting me to a substantial barrage of white dork funk/hip-hop with “wacky” lyrics, albeit a well-played and recorded version of same. Never cared much for funk, Zappa, nor Ween, thus i would feel few pangs of remorse were i to re-gift this item to someone who might actually enjoy it, like Jenny Jones. BEST SONG: These guys don’t seem like bad folks, but there is honestly not one song on this disc i like at all. BEST SONG TITLE: “Quasimojo” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Not only is “Orgasmatron” not the Motörhead song of the same name, but “Astroglide” is not the Mocean Worker song of the same name, either. You fuckers didn’t think i knew Mocean Worker, did you? No. No you did not. Ha. I’m down. I’m so down. Ha. –norb (Omega Point)


MIDDLE CLASS TRASH:
Self-titled: CD
This band hails from Paducah, Kentucky, where I spent a few days while researching my master’s thesis on people who reenact the French and Indian War (seriously!). If I had known that there was a good band there, maybe I could have hung out with people other than middle-aged men with 1760s era replica muskets! Anyway! Middle Class Trash rules! Awesome mid-tempo punk rock with influences apparently including everything from the Adolescents to the Ramones to DRI! Non-stupid political lyrics! I know I like something when I immediately want to see the band in a crowded basement show while slightly drunk and dance-y! On a serious note, it’s amazing that the punk scene continues to produce awesome bands from the most random locations! If this were a cereal, it’d be Fruit Loops! –Maddy (thetrash@hotmail.com)


MEASURE [SA], THE:
Historical Fiction: CD
This rules! Think a (lyrically) depressed Discount with male and female vocals. Catchy mid-tempo punk rock that appears ideally suited for your local basement! Unlike most of what I get for review, I’ll actually listen to this again! If this were a cereal, it’d be Golden Grahams. There have been times in my life when I’ve forgotten about Golden Grahams/Discount, but then I always kick myself and prepare the cereal bowl in anticipation of my forgotten treat! To re-commence speaking English: This is awesome and you need to buy it! –Maddy (Team Science)


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