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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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JOE LALLY:
Nothing Is Underrated: CD
Remember when you first heard Fugazi’s Red Medicine and got to “Fell, Destroyed” and thought to yourself, “This doesn’t sound like Ian or Guy. Who’s the guest vocalist?” And you looked at the liner notes to see that it was bassist Joe Lally. Wow. Like me, you’d probably never heard him sing, but he was pretty good. Well, a solo Joe Lally album is pretty similar to that song in many regards. It’s as if the rest of Fugazi said, “Hey Joe, we’re really busy with some other shit. Can you write and arrange all the music for the next album and write the lyrics and we’ll play whatever you decide to set up? This other shit we’re involved with has just got to get done.” “I don’t know guys. That seems like you’re asking for a lot.” “Um, well, how about we’ll let you sing all the songs.” “I’m in!” That may seem like an exaggeration, but it’s not too far from the truth. The music (it’s not like he went R&B or reggae) sounds very similar to Fugazi’s mellower stuff on the last few albums. Ian and Guy even play guitar on a number of songs. What’s wrong, Brendan? You too busy for the pseudo-reunion? –kurt (Dischord)


JOE JITSU:
The Perfect Life: CD
Road to Ruin-style mid/slow tempo pop punk. Most of the songs have a Dear You-sounding guitar tone, and a few are more jangly, but I preferred the former over the later. It’s a little repetitive at times, so while I don’t imagine myself listening to it constantly, it’s good for the kind of day that’s mostly cloudy and gloomy, with that little bit of sun shinning through. –joe (Top Five)


JEANIE & THE TITS:
Slut Fame: 7”
In seventh grade we were dicking around in the schoolyard and playing soccer. Except we didn’t have a ball so we were using a crumbled-up ball of paper. The bell rang and we had to get one more kick in. I went for the ball of paper. So did a girl. I hit the paper. She smashed my shin. Literally. I flipped over and fell down. Cracked my shin, broke my leg. She ran away to class and I hobbled in numbing pain to the nurse and into a cast for weeks. Like to think she grew up to sing in a punk band. –mike (www.floridasdying.com)


JAILBIRDS, THE:
Going to Stab the Killer Gang: LP
Ugh. Another group aping that mid ‘60s Sonics/’76 Adverts hybrid. File under “B” for boring. –ryan (www.rudosandrubes.com)


J CHURCH / SOUND ON SOUND:
Split: 7”
J Church: Awesome. Awesome to the max. Their side has a cover of “Where Eagles Dare” with Ben Snakepit on vocals. Sound On Sound: This is the band’s first release, and I must say I’m impressed. They aren’t entirely dissimilar to J Church, but they seem to have a more, how you say, progressive sound to them. They do a cover of “Old Chunk of Coal.” Also, and I cannot stress this enough, R.I.P. Lance Hahn. –Bryan Static (Underground Communique)


ISABELLAS:
Partner, Don’t You Pull No Guns: CD
It takes a lot of balls to put out a press release for your band comparing your vocalist to P.J. Harvey. Especially when the vocalist sounds very little like P.J. Harvey. That said, this band isn’t bad. The songs are relatively catchy, with sparse arrangements and poppy guitar and bass lines. If this band was from my town, I’d probably really enjoy seeing them in dive bars and basements. Unfortunately, the CD is really just mediocre. –jennifer (Feacs)


INFANTRY ROCKERS:
Boombala: CD
Given the press sheet, I was totally expecting to be wowed by a mélange of reggae, cumbia, ragga, meringue, and some African riddims. Well, they got reggae and its myriad progeny up the wazoo, but the cumbia and such don’t really make an overt appearance here. Don’t get me wrong, this stuff is really good, and it especially sounds good at excessive volumes, but I was expecting a wee bit more of a mix of styles. –jimmy (Near and Far)


IMPULSE, THE / BOY GIRL:
Split: 7”
The Impulse: “Get Ready to Go!” is a great song from Dirt Bike Adam’s new band. The cover art will hook the mod crowd—vivid colors and double-headed arrows zig-zagging this way and that—but rockers will be pleased too. We can all get along with the Impulse. Boy Girl: did I mention that Adam from Dirt Bike Annie has a new band? –Mike Faloon (the-impulse.com)


i:
Get to Know Your Own Fluids: CD
Some parts of this record are truly inventive, interesting, and on the verge of genius mind-blowing, and some parts of the record just blow. I know that part of the reason for this is that I’m foisting low-fi rock’n’roll expectations on a record that is not intended to live up to such motivations, but if I’m bored or annoyed regardless of what I want a record to be, then in the end I’ve been bored and annoyed. But when this record works, it works well, especially the stuff on it that’s heavily influenced by Middle Eastern sounds. Those songs captivated me, but when it gets away from that I got dulled out right quick. does have sincerity and rock’n’roll desperation, but in the end it’s one of those records that I wanted to like a whole lot more than I actually did. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Sling Slang)


HOT TODDIES, THE:
Smell the Mitten: CD
I recently quit eating sugar which is no fun at all, but it allows me to get through my days without headaches and dizziness. What, I wondered, will fill the sugary void? Enter The Hot Toddies. I love all-girl bands. I love harmonies. I love 1950’s style drum beats and shoop-shoopy background vocals. And so it logically follows that I love The Hot Toddies. These girls play clever retro-pop with a punk sensibility. Their debut album is so sweet I almost don’t crave ice cream anymore. And a lot of their songs are about sex, which cuts the cuteness in a very enticing way. There are also songs about nerdy things like HTML and photosynthesis, so frankly, I don’t see how this could get much better. I even put the song “Motorscooter” on a mixed CD for my mom’s kindergarten class to dance to. –jennifer (Asian Man)


HOLLYWOOD:
Girl?: 7”
It’s not necessary for a label to have similar bands—but it helps when you pick up a record without knowing the band, and it helps that all the bands on Big Neck are pretty great rock’n’roll. Big Neck has releases from The Blowtops, The Mistreaters, and the Baseball Furies: rough and tumble rock. So now you should know if you are gonna be into Hollywood or not. –mike (Big Neck)


HOGAN BEACH:
Bleed Sadness: CD
Ack. I just couldn’t get into this. The vocals are pretty boring and slow and (and I know this makes me look like an idiot) the songs have too many words. Who thinks that punks have attention spans for this stuff? If this were a cereal, it’d be non-frosted Mini Wheats. Soggy! –Maddy (Self-released)


HELLHAAK:
Self-titled: CD-R
Punk metal mix that is fairly entertaining. But all the vocals are in German. There is a U.S. translation in the booklet. But trying to follow along felt too much like homework. I got a brain freeze and gave up. Nice effort guys, but if The Scorpions learned to sing in English, maybe you should give it some thought. –koepenick (Self-released)


HELL ON HEELS:
Dogs, Records & Wine: CD
I’m not sure where Hell On Heels has been all my life, but wow, I’m sure glad this CD ended up in my review pile. This is the kind of album I would actually go out and purchase of my own accord. These ladies know how to write a great rock’n’roll song and, thankfully, they also kick ass when it comes to playing those rock’n’roll songs. The guitar and vocals are particular highlights, but I also love the fact that there’s a keyboard player who knows how to add to the songs without once making me think of The Doors. Checking out the liner notes made me love them even more because, number one: these girls are seriously foxy, and number two: some of the proceeds from the album are going to the animal rights charity Last Chance For Animals. These ladies like their dogs just as much as their records and wine. –jennifer (Dionysus)


HEAR THE SIRENS:
Anywhere but Home: 7” EP
Warped Tour punk rock with all its whoas in all the right places. –jimmy (Silly Girl)


HARAM:
Drescher: CD
A melansquallic post-hardcore wall-of-sound concept record about the Super Mario-style rescue of “The Nanny” herself, Fran Drescher. Haram, from Virginia’s D.C. suburbs, come with the tuneful, shouty vocals and Jehugazi guitar hooks that I’d want to listen to on one of those roadtrips where the drive is so fun that the destination winds up being boring. Eat at Anita’s! –CT Terry –Guest Contributor (Lovitt)


GRAYCEON:
Self-titled: CD
I’ll be up front about this. I don’t like twenty minute songs. I also don’t like twelve minute songs. And, come to think of it, I don’t generally appreciate eight minute songs, either. These ADD predilections cancel out three of the four tracks on this EP. I’m also not a big fan of the metal genre. My friend Lesley says that there are a lot of metal bands out there who have more in common with classical music that with what we’ve come to think of as metal. This is that sort of band. Adept players writing ambitious music but it is so not my kind of thing, I barely feel qualified to write this review. –jennifer (www.vendlus.com)


GORDON GANO’S ARMY:
Self-titled: CD-R
The first time I remember wanting to go to a show was when Violent Femmes were playing at the University of Maine about an hour from my house. I was in fourth or fifth grade and my mom absolutely refused to let my brother and I go to a college without supervision and she wouldn’t take us because she absolutely detested Gordon Gano’s vocals. They were the only band banned from the car when she was driving. After all those years of battles, I feel a kinship with Gordon Gano’s Army. They sound nothing like the Femmes though. The guitar meanders between Dead Milkmen and some of the more typical Plan-it-x fare, which the vocals fit well with. The lyrics are sometimes nothing more than “Ba ba da da,” which is actually a good thing to me. Overall, it comes together to feel like the perfect band to play to a living room full of dancing, smiling friends. One song took its lyrics from A. A. Milne (Winnie-the-Pooh and When We Were Very Young to name a couple), whom I adore. I can’t think of an album more seemingly made simply for the purpose of winning me over. Originally recorded in one day in 2005, I’m so happy this was re-released so it could find a way into my heavy winter rotation to lift the winter blues. –megan (At The Library)


GOODNIGHT LOVING:
Crooked Lake: CD
Pretty capable country-fied pop music, reminiscent of something one might hear in a redneck bar. The singer said in an interview that the best way for the listener to approach the band is “probably getting stoned and listening to it by themselves.” I’ve never been stoned and really don’t want to, but if I would, I sure as hell wouldn’t start with a band like this (Phil Collins, duh). –kurt (Dusty Medical)


GET RAD / PROTESTANT:
Split: 7”
Yikes. Why did I get this for review? Maybe it was the silly cartoon drawings on the cover! How deceptive! This is metal-ly, trashy hardcore with total dude vocals! In other words... argh! The closest I ever got to this brand of punk was when I lived with someone who liked Neurosis. Ack! If this were a cereal, it’d be Wheaties. Tough! –Maddy (Barbarian)


GET BACK UP:
Weathering the Storm: CD
The music is pretty heavy, but it’s hard to get into the spirit of the music when the vocals are all but unintelligible. When even the backing vocals are incoherent, you’ve got problems. –koepenick (Organized Crime)


GEORGE LEWIS JR.:
Hold Me: CD
George Lewis Jr. of the crazy artsy speed punk band Mad Man Films slows things down with this R&B solo album with a punk edge. I found it irritating and would rather listen to a straight R&B record any day. –Art Ettinger (Make or Break)


GAGFACTORS:
Self-titled: 7”
First off, the fabric record sleeve is really nifty. First time I’ve run into such a thing, frankly. The music is Marshall-heavy punk with more than a passing fascination with old power pop, right down to the A-side cover of The Records’ “Starry Eyes.” Limited to 100 copies, and I dunno if it’s part of the packaging, but this copy also came with a mini-CD with an additional nine tunes, which itself is apparently limited to 500 copies. –jimmy (www.thegagfactors.com)


FULL OF FANCY:
Sweet Baby Jesus: CD
It’s fitting that the cover art is full of gummy bears; at the core, this is super sugary, ultra fun, catchy pop. But then, there’s a strange, distinctive aftertaste, that leaves you unsure of what it is, just that it’s GOOD. In this case, it stems from a distinct mid-’90s alternative rock influence that becomes a little more noticeable with every listen. Think a stripped-down version of The Soviettes putting out a record on Sub Pop in its heyday. Think jelly beans dipped in fudge. Think one of the best first full lengths of the year. Think highly recommended. –joe (Whoa Oh)


FRUSTRATION:
Self-titled: EP
I thought Frustration might be another side project of NoMeansNo, sounding similar but updated. Pretty good stuff. But its members from Anteenagers MC, Operations, and No Talents, cool bands on their own. So consider the crowd. –mike (www.bornbadrecords.com)


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