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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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TWISTED HAZARD:
Know War No Peace Know Death: CD
Hardcore with a poppy edge to it from these guys who, from the picture, look to be all of sixteen, tops. Having once been in a band that played 2 Live Crew covers just to piss people off, I can totally understand the gadfly intentions of “Kitchen Bitch,” but wildly misogynistic lyrics with no sense of irony or humor might not be the most effective tack of taking the piss out of people who take themselves too seriously. –jimmy (twisted_hazard@hotmail.com)


TREBLE DAMAGE:
Self-titled: CD
You know you’re in trouble when an independent release has a parental advisory tag on the cover. This is eleven tunes of ‘90s style hard rock/grunge with some “deep” lyrics featuring a member of Enuff Znuff and a fill-in Smashing Pumpkins drummer. –frame (Treble Damage)


TOUCHERS:
The Underwater Fascist: CD
This is surprisingly pleasant; it’s kinda country-ish, punkish alt-rock. That sounds like it should be horrible, doesn’t it? But no, only in a remote place like Bozeman, MT would you be able to find people who could do it legitimately and without irony. At times, it gets a little psychobilly and sometimes a bit Neil Young-ish, and as much as I wanna talk shit and hate this, it’s pretty good. I think the reason I can’t help but like it is because it’s so honest. The dudes in this band are playing exactly what they want to play, without giving a fuck what anyone else thinks, and really, what more can anyone expect out of a band besides honesty? –ben (Wantage USA)


TIME TO ESCAPE:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Minimal, to-the-point hardcore that brings to mind the early East Coast scene that inspired them. Cheese grater raw, these guys are, with strangely catchy tunes, and they’re plenty pissed to boot. –jimmy (Grave Mistake)


THIEVES AND ASSASSINS:
Martyr Brigade: CD
Melodic hardcore from Long Island that kinda reminds me of Drive-Thru Records bands from a while back (though while a little slick, this isn’t nearly as wussy). It’s okay, though I think these songs would be much better if they were half the length. –joe (Iron Pier)


TERROR POP:
Guerrilla Warfare: CD
I never listened to Terror Pop before, so when I was doing my meager bits of research that I do for reviews, I checked out their history, and discovered that it was quite extensive, and promptly felt sort of stupid for never having heard of them. That aside, this record is the bee’s fucking knees. The bop-o-meter went through the roof from the opening notes, and with only minor derailments stayed there for the half hour or so that this record played. This is Rancid and Sweatmaster put together in the teleporter for transport and emerging on the other end as some wildly deformed incarnation of each in the guise of one beast. –The Lord Kveldulfr (United Flesh, Terror Pop: www.terrorpop.se)


TELEPHONE:
Automatic: CD
What do you do when you’re no longer in the Dandy Warhols? You start a band called Telephone and spend a year making this album. Automatic is a twelve song album of sugary synthpop that has some quality hooks. However, it also annoyed me with its lack of anything substantially new to share, nor did it do an exceptional job of rehashing past synthpop acts in an successful manner. With neither of those to offer, what’s left? I listened to this over and over and over in an effort to “give it a chance,” for the sake of trying to think of what to write for this review. After all that, I just crapped this out instead. –kurt (Cobra)


SVARTENBRANDT:
Sista Dan’i Rampljuset: 7"
Grade A Swedish hardcore punk. It’s great to hear what these guys sounded like before their full-length- Från Andra Sidan Spåren…. They definitely had the rudiments down and then decided to spice up the mix with all of the amazing, bizarre vocal, backing vocal, and guitar work that they utilized on Från. Word is Från should be released on vinyl this fall and I can’t fucking wait. –Daryl Gussin (Arschkarte, a-karte-records@gmx.de)


SUZUKI SMITH:
Amber Alert: CD-R
Take the vocals of some sort of crossbreed of Matt Freeman from Rancid and Shawn Stern from Youth Brigade and put it over the music of mediocre early skate punk and you get Suzuki Smith. Somewhere, right now, JFA is spinning in their collective grave. –Bryan Static (www.suzukismith.net)


STRANGER, THE:
Prison Called Life: 7”
Garage rockabilly that reminds me a lot of Custom Made Scare, The Neckbones, and, on “Missing Link,” a little like Deadbolt. The B Side is a slightly rough-edged version of NickCave’s “Thirsty Dog” that I’m sure if I saw them play live, I’d be into, but as a recording, I wouldn’t put it on again. Overall, I give this a rating of “Meh.” –Steveo (Haunted Town)


STOOGES, THE:
The Weirdness: CD
First studio record from this reconstituted outfit, with Mike Watt anchoring the bass duties. Yes, there are a few songs where maybe Iggy should not have tried to reach for that high note. But, overall, the vocals are cool and the band really shreds it up. Producer Steve Albini wisely just lets the band play, without adding any slick reverb effects. I’m digging “My Idea of Fun,” “She Took My Money,” and “I’m Fried.” Seek out the vinyl version with four extra tracks. Add ‘em all to your MP3 doohickey and you got close to an hour of steamy Stoogy goodness! –koepenick (Virgin)


SLOW BURNING CAR:
Blowback: CD
The CD starts out “Fee Fi Fo Fum” and then launches into an aggressive punk/metal song. The singer’s voice sounded weak to me at first, but not too bad. It’s a little too shrill and high, though. The second song is nuevo psychedelic that sounds a little like one of their cited influences, the band Love with “la-la-la-la” choruses and even a sax solo. Not bad. The third song is folky acoustic guitar with a fast drumbeat, then launching into some more distorted guitar for the choruses. Pretty good, sounds kinda like Queens Of The Stone Age. Fourth song sucked. Clichéd modern hard rock/metal. Next song sounds like a power pop cliché. Not good. Next song starts as a light acoustic ballad and launches into slowly played power chords in a very conventional pop song structure. I’m starting to get bored. The next few songs are precisely played but nothing original sounding. Overall, not bad, but nothing that would compel me to play this again. –don (Trifonic Laboratories)


SLEEP WALKERS R.I.P.:
Self-titled: 7”
Music sounds like the soundtrack to a bad indie movie about “punks.” I think I’m picturing this because it’s background music to me. It’s like one of those filler bands you would book for a show to fill the gaps. They are good enough to have play at a show and hang out to, but they will most likely not be your favorite band on the bill. Not particularly catchy, but not particularly awful either. The singer is from The Triggers and if you like that band, chances are you’re going to have a liking for this one as well. The lyrics are about serious subjects and would have been much more rad if it was executed by a country band. For example, sing the following words in your head like it was sang by someone from the deep woods of the south, “watched my mom die sister cry brother go to the pen’ friends od’d and killed by drunks or shot themselves to death.” Good, right? –Guest Contributor (Dead Ideas)


SHOW ME ACTION:
We Know Hawks from Handsaws: CD
Slick, polished record from this Long Island five-piece. I tried to get into this, but it still ended up reminding me of Incubus or Puddle of Mud or something in that vein. Just not my cup of tea, boys. But I wish you well in your future endeavors. –koepenick (Demo)


RINGERS:
Detention Halls: CD
These dudes from Boston have no problem stepping directly into the vacant shoes left by Bent Outta Shape, and then boldly moving forward in them. They seem a pretty good fit, too. Just imagine if B.O.S. had evolved a couple more albums, essentially it’s what this new Ringers album sounds like. Wicked hooks that stay with you for days, the guts you hear in songs by Drunken Boat or One Reason, all glued together with these jangly, Springsteeny guitars that just make your ears throb, but you still want more. This is one of those records that you should listen to real loud on the way to the beach. –ben (1234 Go!)


RED VOICE CHOIR:
A Thousand Reflections: CD
Sort of dreamy, moody, and dark music that feels symphonic and dramatic. Vocals that can be compared a lot to Siousxie And The Banshees with a pained delivery. Every bit death rock and gothic, but is mature with a level of competent musicianship and a perceived long length of time taken to actually craft the songs. You can hear a complexity of layering and delivery that does not seem rushed to press. It may not be my primary cup o’ tea of genres, but I would most likely enjoy this band in a live setting. They’re a band that I can see making waves in the future. –don (Atakra)


POPE, THE:
Sports: CD
Sports is an obnoxious noise record that is surprisingly accessible at times. The album title and some of the song titles, such as “I Want a New Sport” and “The Power of Sports,” pay tribute to none other than Huey Louis. An over-usage of computer and synthesizer sounds overpower the sometimes-interesting frantic guitar work. It’s supposed to be a mess, and it’s a mess that gets old fast. –Art Ettinger (Wäntage USA)


POISON CONTROL:
The Violent Years: 7” EP
Four servings of punchy, mid-tempo hardcore. I kept expecting them to shift into overdrive at any second, but they never did, which made it all the better. Keep ’em guessing, you know? Good stuff. –jimmy (Deranged)


PLEBE, LA:
Hasta La Muerta: CD
La Plebe is a band I would normally fall over myself liking, but that just ain’t the case. While their lyrics aren’t too bad and touch upon things more relevant than “Beer beer I like beer,” and they’re quite good on their instruments, the post-Rancid feel of the tunes relegates their efforts back into the gray din of generic modern “street punk” bands, and the inclusion of horns gives it all a Voodoo Glow Skulls sheen that just ain’t helping matters much. Is subject matter more important than music? Dunno, but I do know that no matter what, I probably won’t remember this at all within three days, and that’s a real bummer. –jimmy (www.redscare.net)


PISSED JEANS:
Hope for Men: CD
Can I say that Pissed Jeans is one of the worst band names I’ve ever heard? Is that allowed? Their sound did nothing to win me over after that initial negative impression: thump thump thump thump scream scream scream. Yawn. –Guest Contributor (Sub Pop)


PHANTOM ROCKERS:
20 Years and Still Kicking: CD
Sorry, folks. Errors encountered: “No Disc in Drive” at home and “Check Disc” in the car. Includes Tombstone Records standards like “Rottin’ in My Coffin,” “Demon Lover” and “Psycho Sluts.” Two previously unreleased tracks on this thirty-three track double disc spanning 1988-2006. –thiringer (SOS)


PELLINORE:
Memento Mori/Hell Mouth: CD
Is this a new band with an ex member of Tear It Up? That was my first impression, how I thought this sounded like a Havoc records band, with a touch more metal to them. It’s a little bit of a grower, but I still enjoyed it. –joe (Strike 3)


PASTIES, THE / HAIL SEIZURES:
Punk as Folk: CD
What do you get when you mix banjo, fiddle, trumpet, and toy piano with punk energy and folk melodies, and have a sing-along with it at a picnic in the park? You’ll find yourself in the middle of a Pasties show, or that’s what their six tracks on this split CD make it sound like. The Hail Seizures were a little under-produced, but this split is still an excellent marriage of folk, punk, and, oh yeah, fun. –Guest Contributor (Nana Nana Boo Boo, www.myspace.com/nanananabooboorecords)


PAPERMOONS:
Self-titled: 7"
I can’t say that I’ve followed the Team Science label all that much, but this seems like a pretty unexpected release from them based on my limited knowledge. Jesus…anyway this Papermoons 7” would fit nicely in a playlist of Modest Mouse, Ugly Cassanova, and Iron & Wine type indie rock. Very pretty with interesting production and instrumentation. I would actually put this on my ipod… where music of this sort belongs. Comes on nice “Pirates Press” splattered vinyl, which I will complain about until it goes away. Seriously. It ceases to become special when every-damn-body does it. –Steveo (Team Science)


OUT OF TUNE:
Discontent Producers: CD
This was a bit of a surprise. Considering this band is from Finland, one would expect a wee bit more of a Discharge influence than there is, but they seem to have instead opted to up the metal quotient. Normally, that would be the kiss of death for these ears, but instead of hackneyed chugga-chugga riffs and forays into the cock rock borderlands, the metal manifests itself here in off-kilter rhythms and Marshalls that are more pummel than chugga. I’ll admit I was definitely put off by their mention that they’ve been compared to NOFX, and that’s certainly buried in there somewhere, but they manage to skirt falling into the dreaded cookie-cutter abyss and deliver something that I may not be crazy about, but I am respectfully intrigued by. Not bad, overall. –jimmy (www.out-of-tune.net)


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