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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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TIGHT BROS:
Self-titled: LP
Tight Bros are not from way back when, they are from now. If the Ramones were a ‘59 Cadillac then Tight Bros are a fucking Tesla. (Yeah, I don’t know shit about cars.) Tight Bros have produced one of the finest pop punk products on the market in this here first half of the 2010s. The speed is relentless. Starting out at a double-time speed that most pogo-ers would strain a muscle and only relenting when you find yourself at the one or two songs that require head banging instead. As a three-piece they sound so full. The intricacies of the vocals weaving in and out is complex without seeming heady and pretentious. This is the kind of record that makes me confused why everyone in the world doesn’t listen to pop punk. It follows the pop rulebook, makes it dirty and noisy with complex, but accessible, melodies. It’s a hard spot on the musical landscape to find, but the Tight Bros. have a great home here. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been a champion of this band for a long time. I remember actually paying for MP3s of this record because the vinyl wasn’t available yet. The excitement on my face when I saw this disc was obvious. If you’ve been wondering where all the good pop punk is lately, it’s here. It’s the Tight Bros. And you’re a fool for not seeing it. (I am also going to use my once yearly “Go buy this fucking now” power by saying you have to buy Good Shade’s self-titled LP. (Which shares a member or two.) I’m not super educated.) Grade (for this and Good Shade’s LP, why not?): A.  –Bryan Static (Let’s Pretend / Rad Girlfriend)


TIMMY’S ORGANISM:
Singles Collection & Unreleased Tracks: 2 x LP
Freaked-out undulations, bedroom psychedelia, and sonic demons are unleashed on this twenty-three song collection. Tim Lampinen (“Timmy Vulgar”), of Clone Defects and Human Eye, rants and raves like a man possessed by a kaleidoscopic wah pedal; with each stomp the insanity is intravenously ramped to eleven. The songs range from cacophonous rackets (“Waste Time”) to playful instrumentals (“Building the Friend-Ship Part II”) and rock’n’roll parodies (“I’m a Nice Guy Now”). Some tunes are genuinely moving and heart-wrenching such as “Sadness Walks” and “Vacuum Up My Shattered Heart,” which sound like Daniel Johnston tripped out on LSD. Your enjoyment of Timmy’s Organism depends on whether you find early Flaming Lips to be indulgent, art rock nonsense or tame experiments in pop. If you fit into the latter group, Timmy’s Organism is here to concuss your brain with madness waves. I imagine, live, Timmy must induce spontaneous combustion.  –Sean Arenas (HoZac, hozacrecords.com)


TONYA HARDON:
Manana Couch: CD
Well, nothing like a timely band name to pique interest, I always say. Sounds like third-fourth album UK Subs to my ears, which is fine, although I’m not sure why the last two songs ((of a mere five)) are 4:53 and 5:38 long; overstaying their welcome doesn’t exactly play to this band’s strengths. Oh well, break a leg! BEST SONG: “Ho Ho’s & Med’s” BEST SONG TITLE: It would have been the previously-mentioned song had they punctuated it correctly. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: If the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan incident was a human, it would now be old enough to drink in all fifty states. –norb (self-released)


TRTRKMMR:
Avec La Souillure Nous Entrons Au Règne De La Terreur: LP
This LP is the solo black noise recording project of ex-Otesanek singer, Brad Dumville. Recorded in Wisconsin during the fall and winter months of 2010 through 2014. I’m pretty sure the title translates to “with the idea of defilement we enter the realm of terror”—because that’s what it says on the cover of the beautifully printed and laid out eighteen-page, 5.5” x 8.5” insert. The music and sound captured is as bleak as smoke-filled skies on snow-worn landscapes. Anguished and barren. Percussion is supplied by fractured vinyl records. The atmosphere is consuming. Doomed indeed. This release also features a stamped image of a wolf’s head which has been inked in human blood. Hand numbered out of 500 –Daryl Gussin (Iron Lung)


TV STATIC:
Beware of the Moon: CD
TV Static really has the heart and soul of Ramones with the brashness of Offspring. It’s an unapologetic approach; they are not trying to reinvent punk or push boundaries. In fact, I’ve seen them live and they are pretty flawless. They are doing exactly what they want to do and doing it well. Beware of the Moonis high-energy Ramones-style punk with a bit of pop.  –Camylle Reynolds (Self-released, tvstatic.bandcamp)


TWO HOUSES:
Disappointer: 7”EP
Self-described as “triumphant sad bastard music,” Two Houses has perfected the contemporary Chicago punk sound. Reminiscent of The Broadways or early Lawrence Arms, these four songs perfectly capture big city living for punk kids in their mid-twenties. Do yourself a favor, though. Give this EP a whirl and then catch their live show. It’s brilliant. –Nicole Madden (Rad Girlfriend, radgirlfriendrecords.storenvy.com / Let’s Pretend, letspretendrecords.com)


UK SUBS:
Yellow Leader: CD
The Subs are just one letter away from completing their twenty-six albums of the alphabet! If medals were given for commitment to the cause, Charlie Harper would have the Purple Heart. How many punk rockers do you know who are still knocking out records at the age of seventy? Seventy. That’s right. I’m a huge fan of the late ‘70s Subs with hits like “Stranglehold” and “Warhead.” How does the twenty-sixth album fare? Not half bad, actually, and still a head and shoulders above most of the swill that passes for punk these days. No wheel reinventing, just got some uptempo ‘77-style punk. Mandatory? No. Worthy? Yes.  –Tim Brooks (Captain Oi)


UPRISING, THE:
Screaming from the Inside: 7”
So these are considered long slept on tracks from the band’s 1986 demo re-released on a seven-inch. It’s fast old school British hardcore that owes a lot to bands like Subhumans and T.S.O.L. It’s a good, honest hardcore record that I wish came with a lyric sheet, or if not, something to define it a little more, because right now all I hear is another hardcore band to remind of how rigid and unadventurous hardcore could be in that era, yet it’s done well. I feel bad judging so harshly what’s essentially a good record, a classic record to some, but it takes a lot of effort to find something memorable in it and leaves me feeling like a poser for not keeping my interest. It’s hard to tell whether it’s dated or if I just have all I need of this sort of old school hardcore. –Craven Rock (Not Like You, notlikeyourecords.com)


URINALS:
Next Year at Marienbad: CD
I bought the third ((and best)) Urinals 7”, with “Sex” and “Go Away Girl” ((fairly logical couplet, that)), when it came out circa 1980 or ‘81, its crazy fucking thunderous raw basement smashing was a revelation—an absolute overload of VOLUME and POUNDING and the types of acoustical traits that drive “real” sound engineers to the bughouse. The next song I heard was “She’s a Drone,” off the Life Is Ugly So Why Not Kill Yourself compilation, which kept the minimalist frenzy going, but sounded like it was being tapped out on Quaker Oats® containers, thus was still cool, but in a much different manner. They then changed their name to 100 Flowers, got artier, and lost my interest, although I did like their early song “Salmonella” okay. They apparently put out an album as the Urinals in 2003 which I managed to ignore entirely, which brings us up to the immediate now. I think this record is pretty cool—it doesn’t sound like a basement full of metal garbage cans being kicked around by pelicans, or some homeless nut banging on oatmeal containers—it all sounds pretty “normal,” give or take—but all the songs are good, reasonably memorable, and generally to the point. The range of bands of which I am reminded during the course of this album ranges from the somewhat logical ((Gun Club, Guided By Voices)) to the unexpected ((Reducers, They Might Be Giants, Jason and the fricking Scorchers??)), but it’s all sort of knit together logically, in one big happy urinal. This album will not save your soul, but it will add a fresh urinal cake to the pee-sodden porcelain of your existence! BEST SONG: “Close Our Eyes” BEST SONG TITLE: “This Song Is a Virus” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Gleert & Simka appear courtesy of Finn-a-Fon Diskq!  –norb (Happy Squid, happysquid.com)


UV GLAZE:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Dissonant noise rock not unlike Jesus Lizard sans any artsy pretentions. Music to rhythmically pummel your face with a frozen sea bass.  –jimmy (Bachelor)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Columbusblood: LP
I had no idea this was a compilation at first, so I was pretty confused. Originally, I thought Columbusblood was a band that couldn’t chose one musical style. Once that was figured out, I realized that this is a comp featuring all the current bands playing rock and roll in Columbus, OH. There is something for everyone on here, from psychedelic, to punk rock, to rock’n’roll, to lo-fi garage. This record is great all the way through, but, for me, some of the standouts are—Mr. Tiger, who have a poppy but dirty rock vibe that reminds me of something that would go well on Swami Records. Psychic Wheels carry the dark, trashy, psychedelic torch a la the Cramps and Tav Falco. Drift Mouth round things off nicely with more of a Columbus, TX sound or a band from Joshua Tree playing desert music under the stars. This record, as a whole, is well worth checking out. It’s nice to see scenes coming together like this. It needs to happen more. Nice work, Columbus.  –Ryan Nichols (Break-Up!, dullcomputer@core.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
25 Years Stoned: 7”
Vague Perception, the curator of this compilation, is a veteran American punk band that doesn’t waste any time getting to the point. Their tune (along with “I Am Providence” by The Usual Suspects) are the best tracks on this short player. Other bands include The Enthusiastics, Vagora, and Tony Jones & The Cretin 3.  –Steve Adamyk (Vague, no address listed)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
D-Sides: LP
I was a huge fan of the label compilation boom of the late ‘90s early ‘00s. It was such a great way (pre internet) to hear a bunch of bands you might never had heard otherwise. One of my favorites was the Punch Drunk series on TKO Records. Among the amazing bands on there was my introduction to The Bodies. What a band! I couldn’t get enough. Well, here we are many years later and the guys from The Bodies have a killer label of their own and a compilation. My love of Modern Action records is no secret, so how could I not go apeshit for a comp of rare, unreleased, and demo tracks from bands like Modern Action, The Bodies, Smogtown, Stitches, Sharp Objects, Modern Pets, Botox Rats and more? Sure, some of the recording quality might be rough (the Stitches track was recorded on a beat up ghetto blaster in 1993), but it’s all great! I go well out of my way to pick up anything on Modern Action and you should too.  –ty (Modern Action)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
No Future - A Tribute Album: CD
Titles can be deceiving. This is not just a tribute to The Sex Pistols. The Clash and The Damned are also represented. I feel like I already have semi-decent tributes to the first two in my collection. An all-Damned focus would have stood out a bit more, but what do I know? I will give you my picks from each section, just to be fair. The Bolsheviks take on “Holidays in the Sun” is out of the ordinary. “Washington Bullets” is handled well by Atilla The Stockbroker. Finally, Robb Johnson does a warm and fuzzy take on “Thanks for the Night.” If you don’t already have twenty-five tribute records, then seek this out.  –koepenick (Released Emotions)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Windian Subscription Series 3: 6 x 7”
A singles collection from the Windian record label featuring six 7”s each of which is a two-song offering by bands the Seeers, DD Owen, Platinum Boys, Church Bats, War Party, and John Wesley Coleman III. The bands featured are predominantly of the garage rock variety and its subsidiaries (lo-fi, power pop, punk, experimental, etc.). Musically, it’s just your standard fare of garage acts and nothing really stands out too much, which is a shame because as far as the packaging goes, it certainly doesn’t get much better than this: a candy box housing all six records, artwork and lyrics booklet, download code, and a custom made Windian records 45 spacer.  –Juan Espinosa (Windian, windianrecords.com)


VATICAN DAGGER:
Self-titled: 7”
New Orleans punk is something I dig more and more, the more I listen to it. Vatican Dagger’s guitars are very Gary Wrong-ish, mostly because Gary Wrong is in the band. The riff of “Not to Be” is a hypnotic groove that veers into some chaos, kept in control by the drum pummel. “The Mess” is a more straight-forward punker. Both tunes have a thick enough guitar sound and good low end. Total Punk scores again!  –Sal Lucci (Total Punk)


VIOLENT ARREST:
Life Inside The Western Bloc / Distorted View: CD
I’ve reviewed this lot before and probably said the same thing, while the “ex members of…” tag is tired and irritating for current bands, I can’t help it with these old timers. Ripcord has been one of my favorite bands for nearly thirty years. My belief is that they are one of the lynchpins of modern hardcore… that’s just me, though. Violent Arrest featured three quarters of Ripcord and didn’t sound a million miles away, in part due to Steve “Baz” Ballam’s distinct Boston via Bristol guitar riffs. The Distorted View is the last record with that lineup before vocalist Steve departed. That LP is a continuation of what went before: no-frills hardcore in the mold of Negative FX or Last Rites. They do a Mau Maus cover, which makes perfect sense, as VA sounds like that old UK82 band sped up. The tracks from their split with Endless Grinning Skulls are among the very best they ever did. Fitting swan song for one of hardcore’s best vocalists. The Western Bloc LP is the first with new singer Welly, another U.K. punk institution who continues to do one of the best fanzines in the world, Artcore (which I started reading about the same time I heard Ripcord). Welly was also the main man in the late, great Four Letter Word. Instead of just sliding into the band unnoticed, Welly’s thumbprint is all over this release. The band has slowed down a touch and the lyrics are longer and more overtly social/political. Maybe add the Freeze and Agnostic Front to the list of influences? Same name, different band. Better? No. Different? Yes. I love both incarnations of the band and am silently praying they come to the USA to melt faces. Good to see the old guard can still smash it.  –Tim Brooks (Boss Tuneage)


VLASTA POPIĆ:
Kvadrat: LP/CD
With repetitive bass lines, scratchy guitar, and syncopated drumming, there are enough nods in the direction of Shellac and Fugazi to justify the inclusion of those two bands on any promo sheet for this Croatian band. The combined female/male vocals, however, allows Vlasta Popić to make its own mark rather than be considered as some kind of carbon copy of those musical powerhouses. There are curve balls in the form of “Slijepa naša (mržnja),” an explosive burst of melodic punk, and “Maštanje,” a more measured and straightforward track both catching me unawares but equally not seeming out of place. –Rich Cocksedge (Moonlee, moonless@moonlessrecords.com, moonleerecords.com)


VOIGHT-KAMPFF:
Last House on the Right: 7”
Two tracks of gloomy-gothy wave-pop. While the title track is the brighter, pop-friendly of the two tracks, for my money it’s the flip, “Little Dyings,” that’s the pick to click here, with its minimal drum machine-anchored instrumentation and darker feel. Nice single.  –jimmy (Deranged)


VULTURE LOCUST:
Command Presence: CD-R
I’m not sure if it’s a bad thing when a band sounds note for note like I expect them to. Certainly, someone out there has to like it and be able to tell all the songs apart. I sure can’t. For those who have a hard time attaching themselves to a song without any melody, there isn’t much here for you. But if you just sort of want to bang your head rhythmically until you get a concussion, this is pretty okay. Grade: C+.  –Bryan Static (Self-released)


WAR ON WOMEN:
Self-titled: LP
War On Women’s in-your-face, empowered attitude and visceral aural assault is a breath of fresh air when suffocated by the ignorant, sexist, hate-filled poison that floods the internet message boards and Youtube comment sections. “Is the wage gap not big enough to get your ego through?” spits Shawna Potter, taking to task workplace inequalities and willfully blind men. On “Second Wave Goodbye,” she pinpoints another target and unleashes a scathing barrage: “You’re a relic of the second wave, and we’ve waved goodbye.” Although Potter may seem divisive, she repairs the bridge: “Hey! We’re all, we’re all women.” There are a lot of exposed nerves (read: no minced words) as sexual assault, abortion, and chauvinists in ally clothing are not handled delicately. War On Women want to dig into your shoulders and jolt you awake, proof that punk can still shock in the right ways. Although the lyrics are clearly center stage, the music is an engaging mixture of Propagandhi’s metallic chug, Neighborhood Brats’ swagger, and Feral Future’s pensive poetics. Highly recommended.  –Sean Arenas (Bridge Nine, bridge9.com)


WAR ON WOMEN:
Self-titled: LP/CD
I’d rather not have women’s right being a cause because, to me, they are inalienable rights that shouldn’t need discussion or argument. However, we live in an unjust society and this serves only to fire up War On Women, a band ready to take on all and sundry to raise awareness to the discrimination suffered by so many and, in doing so, providing the perfect soundtrack to the fight. This album kicks and screams from start to finish but the most poignant line is delivered in “Say It” with, “Say it! Say it! I was raped,” being both empowering and chilling in equal measure. This is what punk rock should be about—if listening to this doesn’t make your blood boil then you’re most likely dead.  –Rich Cocksedge (Bridge Nine, info@bridge9.com, bridge9.com)


WASTOIDS:
Dangerous Spaces: EP
Sloppy, lo-fi hardcore from the Arctic wastelands of Canada. Refreshingly raw like some lost ‘82 gem from the Touch And Go or Discord catalog. Think Necros meets Teen Idles or SOA. Banging.  –Tim Brooks (High Anxiety, via noidearecords.com)


WET DRAG:
Self-titled: 7”
Some folks from Uzi Rash, Grass Widow, and The Trashies playing noisy, arty punk. It’s dirty and raw with shrill guitars over vague dystopian lyrics. A good record, but it fails to really stand out in my memory or call me back to it.  –Craven Rock (Wacky Wacko, wackywacko.com)


WHAT-A-NIGHTS:
Self-titled: LP
What-A-Nights are a Japanese melodic punk band that contains ex-members of Minority Blues Band and I Excuse. Musically, they are seemingly influenced by the best of the ‘90s U.K. melodic punk bands—Leatherface, Snuff, and Hooten 3 Car come to mind. This was originally self-released by the band on CD, but now, thanks to a handful of great labels, it’s now on vinyl and available domestically. Great and highly recommended!  –Aaron Zonka (Rad Girlfriend, radgirlfriendrecords.com)


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