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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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FREE DIAMONDS:
By the Sword: CD
This is what would happen if Danielson fronted the Blood Brothers and each mixed their musical ideas equally. It’s got the high-pitched vocals, acoustic guitar, keys, and backing female vocals (Danielson) but also has got kind of a spastic feel, with a quick pace and high-pitched vocals (Blood Brothers). There’s no song over three minutes, which means space for sixteen tracks. It’s a bit too much. Maybe I could’ve gotten into if I would’ve listened to it for days on end, but I don’t have the patience for it. –kurt (Deep Elm)


FLOBOTS:
Fight with Tools: CD
Flobots are one of those bands you really wanna get behind ’cause what they’re doin’ is a little off the beaten path, but you just can’t quite get yourself to commit to the decision. Their angle is to take two politically conscious rappers and pair them with a band heavy on the alt-rock vibe, yet stay clear of Rage Against the Machine-land. The results are mixed, mostly because while the rappers’ skills are fairly strong, they do occasionally come up with some quaint ideas, and their interaction with the band rarely gels enough that the whole thing sounds like a collaborative, cohesive thought. There’s definitely potential to be mined here, but thus far they’ve only managed to dust off the tops of the rocks. –jimmy (www.flobots.com)


FLYING OVER:
Self-titled: 7”EP
Hey, I think I found the French equivalent to The Stitches. It’s well-played, basic punk rock with sinus-infection snottiness and one monitor borrowed directly from the Sex Pistols. Not as spitfire jagged as The No Talents, nor as bouncy-catchy as The Hatepinks, but competent. –todd (Adrenalin Fix)


FLEUR FATALE, LA:
Night Generation: CD
The second song sounds kinda like a more hypnotic Badfinger, and the fourth song sounds a little like something off the final Move album. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the first song sounds sorta like Emerson, Lake & Palmer, but with sitars instead of Moogs, and the third song sounds like Yes or something, which is a big NO in my book. After that, the songs seem to alternate in a Good Psych ((i.e., the Cynics on lots of ecstasy)) / Bad Psych ((i.e. some echoey dude singing over a bunch of acoustic guitars)) format. Overall, if you’ve ever been stuck at somebody else’s house with fairly different musical tastes than yours and needed to make do with their record collection, and you just sorta played stuff without really being judgmental about it ((not due to any lack of inherent judgmentality on your part, but more due to the fact that you had already judged their record collection just by reading the names on the spines)) because, what the hell, they aren’t your records, you aren’t stuck with ‘em if they suck, so what the heck do you care, you just want to hear some music—THAT is the feeling this record instills in me: The colossal indifference of experiencing some non-kindred soul’s record collection. Party on. BEST SONG: “Night Generation” BEST SONG TITLE: “I Wanna Be Adored” FANASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: This CD package folds out into a big cross shape, with one of the four band member’s mug shots on each of the folded-out panels. And they be oggly. ALTERNATE FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: La Fleur Fatale is managed by Supercock Management. –norb (Killer Cobra)


FLATLINERS, THE:
The Great Awake: CD
I think I was predisposed to hate this. I figured that it was going to be another lame, emo “disco punk” think that everyone seems to be putting out en masse. It’s true; I judged it by its simplistic black and orange cover with ghetto blasters and butterflies on it. It’s angular font… I guess I’m an asshole. Musically, it starts out with those soaring guitars and galloping drums that you would expect from a band on Fat. “Oh great, eMo-FX” I said to myself, but it didn’t turn out half bad. In the end I can say that The Flatliners take some elements from great bands like Riverboat Gamblers and Dillinger Four and blend it up with a little more screaming and metal tinges a la Death By Stereo. I’m really trying hard to stay away from the “blending bands” comparisons, but in this case, that’s what I hear. It got better with each listen, but just not up to the level of the aforementioned bands. –ty (Fat)


FLASH BOYS:
Self-titled: CD
Relatively low-fi garage punk from Austin. Pretty standard stuff in most ways. The first half of the record was kinda crappy because it seemed like the band was out of time with each other a lot. The second half of the record was a substantial improvement, though, and I liked that part a whole bunch. So, there’s a familiar and comforting sound to the band, but it’s not anything terribly mesmerizing, and the quality is a bit inconsistent. Not bad, not great. If I sound somewhat wishy-washy, so be it. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Glamour ‘n’ Gloom)


FAMILY PET:
Ideas Are the Enemy: 7"
If you’re looking for music, you best look elsewhere. Side A has a bunch of non-descriptive noise. The B side, my favorite of the two, is blank. Wish I had five hundred bucks laying around just so I can waste it on a joke that’s not funny. –Dave Disorder (Foreign Frequency, No address)


EVERYTHING FALLS APART:
Tension: 7”EP
Kinda weird, having the same name as a relatively poppy Hüsker Dü song (on the album of the same name) when you’re a straight-ahead hardcore band. All considered, I’m glad they’re not called Warehouse Songs And Stories, but I think Land Speed Record would be a better truth-in-title-of-what-the-band-sounds like for the group. Well-played hardcore; they share similarities to a band like Damage Deposit. –todd (Art Of The Underground)


DUKES OF WINDSOR:
The Others: CD
The first half of this sounds to me like Devo meets the Marked Men, and the second half sounds like Devo meets the Killers or some such stuff. It’s remarkable how different in mood the two halves of the record are, and equally remarkable that this wasn’t a big turn-off for me. As bouncy as the first half is, the second half is dark and brooding; my guess is that this record sounds like an ecstasy trip: big, big fun followed by a long scrape through the valley of darkness. Loved it. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Dukes of Windsor: www.dukesofwindsor.com.au)


DROPKICK MURPHYS:
The Meanest of Times: CD
Great cover, great package, but the songs! Killer tunes: “Famous for Nothing,” “The State of Massachusetts,” and “Shattered” are the blast from the stairwells tracks. “(F)lannigan’s Ball” boasts some vocal help from a couple of The Pogues. Once again, this band delivers. Just saw them live on this tour and they bring the goods. So go see them and pick up this CD. You’ll get your money’s worth, pal! –koepenick (Born & Bred, No address)


DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS:
Los Dias de Junio: CD
The press one-sheet describes this as “a carefully constructed album with equal parts of minimalist swell and swirling tension of sound, providing each instrument in the texture plenty of space.” It goes on to say the band is “determined to make you calm and disturbed at the same time.” Well, I’ve got to say their determination has won out, ’cause I’m calmly certain that I am no fan of the emo-drenched art-rock crap they’re peddlin’ and I’m disturbed that it may somehow taint my CD player in such a way that my Adolescents CDs will sound like Piebald from this point forward or something. Wait.... Nope, Tony and the boys still sound as glorious as ever. –jimmy (www.moonleerecords.com)


DIRTY TACTICS:
Love Is Dead, Art Is War: CD
When I popped this in, the first thing that popped into my mind was “these guys sound a lot like One Man Army.” My brilliant observation was deflated a little bit when I looked at the press sheet and saw One Man Army already listed as an influence; therefore, beating me to the punch. I like OMA though, and Dirty Tactics proves themselves to be quite good, too. The singer has a voice that’s a lot more gravelly and nasally than Jack Dalrymple, but he makes it work even if it can get to the edge of being annoying at times. There’s nary a dud among the twelve tracks of melodic street punk on this CD. While this may not be changing the face of rock anytime soon, it is really enjoyable punk in the same vein as Swingin’ Utters, OMA, and Pistol Grip. –Adrian (Underground Cities, Underground_cities@yahoo.com)


DIGABLE CAT:
Letters from My Dreams: CD
It’s never a good thing when one puts on a disc and the first thought is “Eagles with a girl singer” (which is essentially the Stone Ponies, but they ain’t dishing up “Different Drum” and I’m digressing). By song three, I was wholly oblivious to what was going on with this disc and was instead wondering just how many countries there are on the planet whose names start with Q. By song five I was reaching for something else to listen to. –jimmy (www.digablecat.com)


DESARME:
Es Tu Error: CD
The metal gets a little thick sometimes on this, especially on the quasi-acoustic intros that pop up here and there, but these guys are essentially dealing out some decent thrash with some occasional straightforward punk nods. They also keep things diverse, which is always a good thing. –jimmy (solidaridad_distro@hotmail.com)


DEATH PARTY:
Dooom!: CD
Minimalist, solid thud punk stuff with some deathrock flourishes that sounds very much in line with early L.A. punk rock—a little Gears here, a little Dils there. Good stuff. –jimmy (hippiesinflames@hotmail.com)


DEAD KINGS:
Armed and Delicious: CD
Speedy glam punk that sounds a little like Jeff Dahl and a little like Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13. They are from North Carolina, so there may be an ex-Drag Queen in the band for all I know. Pretty fun listen, but I would have dug it more if they woulda let off the gas once in a while. –frame (Scatboy)


DANGEROUS SUMMER, THE:
If You Could Only Keep Me Alive: CDEP
From the artwork, to the sound, to the promo photos of the band, everything about this screams “Sign us, Epitaph!” –Bryan Static (Hopeless)


DANGERLOVES:
Lipsmart: 7”
“Lipsmart” is a nice bit of female-fronted power pop that manages to retain that genre’s conventions without sounding trite or dated. Though it ain’t quite as catchy, ditto for the flip. –jimmy (Fashionable Idiots)


DAMEZUMARI / FIRE TEAM CHARLIE:
: Split 12”
Kinda crusty at times, kinda alternatively art-rock-ish at times; an interesting sound, I suppose, but nothing on this really flipped the bop switch (this applies to both bands). It more or less functioned as background music while I was reading a book. Understand, it’s not that I think that this is a bad record. Rather, if this were a car, it would be one with a transmission that won’t let me get past second gear. But, at the same time, it’s one that I’ll keep around because someday the engine may spring to life when I least expect it. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Magister Ludi, www.damezumari.com, www.myspace.com/fireteamcharlie)


CRYSTAL ANTLERS:
Self-titled: 7”
Side A is a seven-minute original and I’ve never heard a band capture the sinister riffing of what I term, The Stooges “slow jams,” as well as Crystal Antlers. Manic feedback and all. Finally, someone cops the other side of The Stooges. More Funhouse than Raw Power. Vocally, it’s a lot screamier than Iggy, which is just fine by me. I think if you saw this live, your mind and your teeth would instantly shatter. Side B is a cover of “Parchman Farm,” which is unnecessary. Besides everyone knows it was done definitively by Poison 13. I think we can close the book on that standard. –Steveo (Majic Wallet, www.crystalantlers.org)


CRYPTOMANIACS, THE:
Garbage: 7”
A from-beyond-the-grave, four-song 7” from the Cryptomaniacs, who called it quits four days after this record arrived from the pressing plant. Three of the songs, “Good Enough for Garbage,” “Eyeballs,” and “Heart of Trash,” have a county fair haunted house feel; enough organ, fuzz, echo and specter-like singing to give a bit of a startle, but nothing contained therein to truly scare the ever-living shit outta ya. “Ha Alright” is the equivalent of Sesame Street’s “one of these kids is doing his own thing,” a charging, industrial beat frozen over with cold, prickly guitars. Good, not great, stuff. May the Cryptomaniacs rest in peace in that great trash heap in the sky. –benke (self-released)


CRAWLERS, THE:
Self-titled: 12” EP
Straight-forward, amped-up hardcore punk—in the vein of Bad Reaction or Hollywood Hate—that comes across as earnest, yet is mostly predictable in sound, tempo, and how they approach topics (religion bad, scene has problems, politics are fucked). Check, check, and check. The two brightest spots are the last songs on each side. It’s always a little problematic that my favorite song on a new record is a cover (The Cure’s “Fire in Cairo”). Yet, “Village of the Damned” dilates the band’s scope up a little bit, gives the song varied tempo, some time to breathe, and develop its own voice. And that gives me hope that The Crawlers will expand a bit in the future because they feel like a tight dot right now; easy to overlook. –todd (Blind Spot)


COLA FREAKS:
Self-titled: 7”EP
This has all the earmarks of me no-brainingly drooling over this—like somewhere between Gorilla Angreb and The Vicious (2000s Scandinavia semaphoring late ‘70s L.A. punk)—but I’m just kinda shruggin’ instead of soiling my whites and I don’t know why. Here’s my guess: it sounds too captured and too all right with being in captivity, probably because they made their own pen. After the fifth try, The Cola Freaks just didn’t rattle my cage. Sorry. –todd (Hjernespind)


COBRA SKULLS:
Sitting Army: CD
Intriguing debut from this Reno trio. Every song has either “cobra” or “skulls” in the title. Just to be sure you won’t forget their names, I guess. It’s not just standard punk fare here. “Charming the Cobra” has a cool dub vibe. “I’ll Always Be a Cobra Skull” sounds like Johnny Cash on meth. “Cobraacoustic” is a pleasing way to wrap things up. Solid debut, but I have to brush up on my Spanish for this burrito-stuffed treat. –koepenick (Red Scare)


BY THE END OF TONIGHT / O PIONEERS!!!:
Sweet Junk: 7” EP
By the End of Tonight: ...I will be wishing I’d gone with my gut instinct and stayed away from this record, like it was crawling with cooties. Emo-sounding noodling sans vocals doesn’t make it any more palatable. O Pioneers!!!: ...didn’t help matters one iota. –jimmy (www.teamsciencerecords.com)


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