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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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NAMES FOR GRAVES:
Version 2.1: 7"
Don’t bore us. Get to the chorus. Once the ridiculously long intro/first song is over, this record ain’t half bad. The second tune is a great Instead-style rager; good fast hardcore. Things get a little too hyperspeed on the flip but still not bad. Apparently there are ex-Good Clean Fun folks here. Cleveland band on a Polish label. –frame (Refuse)


MUTANT PRESS:
Idiots Rule & Music for Elevators: CD
The intriguing thing about these two releases wasn’t so much the music itself but the marked difference in styles from one album to the next. While Idiots Rule runs along an “early Pere Ubu in a rockin’ mood while Dave Thomas is off gettin’ a beer” kinda vibe, Music for Elevators has a pronounced hip hop/electronic vibe around the drums and bass. The reason for this seems to be more about membership than aesthetic—the former was recorded by a three-piece, while it appears the latter features only one member as the responsible party. All told, the latter proved to be the more interesting of the two, if for no other reason than the lack of additional musical input seems to have required some creativity to keep it from sounding like a one-man band. All told, though, while neither fell into the must-have column, they weren’t too bad a listen, either. –jimmy (www.mutantpress.com)


MISHAPS, THE:
Rock and Roll: 7"/CD
Baltimore’s The Mishaps blend a risky mix of garage, classic rock, and dance music into a unique sound that is surprisingly unpretentious and fun. The keyboards are kept low enough in the mix to fit in, and the classic rock riffs are used sparingly. This 7” comes with a bonus CD that includes both of the songs from the 7” as well as two additional tracks. The bonus songs on the CD are as good as the two highlighted on the 7” and would make for a worthy 7” in their own right. There’s a huge MC5 influence throughout, making The Mishaps as playfully retro as they are original. Art Ettinger –Guest Contributor (Wall Ride)


MIDTOWN DICKENS:
Oh Yell!: CD
What would happen if the Coon Creek Girls, the Aaron or Dezurik Sisters, or even Patsy Montana had released a record on a formative K Records? Well, you’d get the appropriately college town, Appalachian indie-folk sound of the multi-instrumented, cutie-pie voiced, shorthaired, makeup-less, thrift-store clad, female duo Midtown Dickens. –thiringer (307 Knox, 307knoxrecords.com)


MIDDLE CLASS TRASH:
Self-Titled: CD
This was bit of a surprise. They firmly fit into the modern punk/hardcore camp, but they manage to keep themselves interesting by keeping most of their songs in middle-gear and embellishing them with interesting chord arrangements and the odd unconventional rhythm instead of relying solely on blasting forward as fast as possible. Great stuff here, and they’ll no doubt achieve “seriously fuggin’ good” status in short order. On a side note, if the band don’t work out, the singer has a definite future in a DRI cover band, as he sounds enough like the lead singer of that band that I had to check and make sure his name wasn’t Kurt. –jimmy (thetrash@hotmail.com)


M.O.T.O.:
Turn Your Head and Cough: LP
Reason Todd Taylor has a well-deserved spot in my “Hallowed Halls of People Who Are Infinitely Cool” number #1,697: He introduced me to the charms of M.O.T.O., way back when we was both writing for Flipside. To paraphrase Renee Zellweger, they had me at “Dick About It,” the very first song Todd played, and that initial spin has resulted in “Dance Dance Dance to the Radio” being one of my all-time songs with only two chords in it. Dunno where this album fits into their pantheon (by the demo-quality sound of it, I’m guessin’ pretty early on), but it has all the things that makes their stuff so cool—strong hooks, smart aleck pop music references, and a lack of self-importance that cuts low the posturing and vaults up the rockin’. You want pop punk like the Queers, or Blink 182 or whoever else is the big shit this week? Fuck that. These guys are much, much better. –jimmy (ladykinkykarrot@yahoo.com)


LEGENDARY SHACK-SHAKERS, TH’:
Swampblood: CD
Swampblood, the “third and final installment of our Tentshow Trilogy series,” is a cacophony of traditional Southern musical genres. True to form, TLSS distills music like whiskey, deeply layering notes of twanging jaw harp, harmonica, choral harmonies, and Confederate drum cadences. An amber, balanced, high-proof concoction of all things Southern: aged from the wasted moonshine days of yore. –thiringer (Yep Roc, www.yeproc.com)


LA CRISI:
The Crisis: CD
Edgy, swaggering punk from Italy, fronted by tour manager extraordinaire and all-around charming dude Mayo, here strutting his hardcore stuff. Songs build up at a blistering pace, but also take time to rock out, making for a wild, breakneck ride. “Capolinea” is my favorite here, but I just wish I knew what those Italian lyrics are saying. Good listening in any language, still. –susan (Hurry Up!, www.hurryuprecs.com)


KICKSTART:
Self-Titled: CD
I might describe this as grown up pop punk. The sound is similar but it seems to have a little more depth to it. Sounds like a band that would have been on a bill with Pink Lincolns, The Crumbs, or the Gotohells down in Florida a few years back. –frame (Serious Business)


JUANITA Y LOS FEOS:
Self-Titled: CD-R EP
Minimalist, arty punk stuff from España. Although I imagine the amateurish, primal quality of their delivery might turn off the more snooty kids, I think it lends considerable charm to what they’re doing. –jimmy (juanitaylosfeos@gmail.com)


JOYFUL SOUNDS:
Demo: CD
If you’re able to get past the fact that the lyrics sheet contains a drawing of two asses farting lightning, you get some good old fashioned ’80s styled hardcore. Despite the fact that their first song talks about moving on and doing new things, these guys show some promise. If they could get their songwriting a little tighter and show a little more variation, these guys could be a force to be reckoned with in the future. Bryan Static –Guest Contributor (Brain Constipation, www.brainconstipation.com)


JAY REATARD:
In the Dark: 7"
I’m speeding on a freeway to his other work, while, here, it’s driving the speed limit on the right side of the street for a change. It’s really good and fun, just not up to the high bar set by the Blood Visions album. I imagine this is going to be the comment of the year for him, as that LP is on everyone’s “best of the year” lists. But, like his 7” that came out before that album, Hammer I Miss You, at first I feel like it’s a lesser extra throwaway, but as time goes on, I like the songs more and more. Lighter than Blood Visions, which is moody, fast, and powerful without being fuzzy. Here, you’ve got the mood in full force. But seeing as how his band Angry Angles is supposedly finished, I’m wondering if In the Dark is basically his parts of the song they might have played, here without harmony vocals, keyboards and harder drums. Still cool. Backside is folk versions of two songs off Blood Visions, if that wasn’t enough. –mike ((Squoodge, www.squoodge.de))


JAY REATARD:
I Know a Place/Don’t Let Him Come Back: 7"
Another solid outing for Jay…this 7” sounds a lot like Reatard’s debut, Blood Visions; good songwriting, the Adverts, and early Wire are clear influences. Jay has really hit his stride with this smart, ’78-style punk rock… done with enough erudition and irreverence for convention to make it appealing. Bottom line: The kid is innovative, not a plagiarist. Those riding the punk nostalgia wagon—drop the Boys’ covers and pickup on what Jay’s putting down. –ryan (Goner, www.goner-records.com)


HUNT, THE:
One Thousand Nights: 7"
I’m a little confused here. The cover has no title or band logo on it. The photo is of a gentleman in Indian garb and makeup holding a spear. But on his right arm looks, it looks like he has a tattoo of the skull from Discharge’s The Price of Silence 7”. The back cover reminded me like something I saw on a The Lords of the New Church record; something about the layout and the use of spears as images. Musically, the band plays an early brand of death rock that is multi-layered. The drumming is very tribal and aural while it holds the backbeat without the use of an added drum machine. The bass guitar adds to the emotion and the bottom end to keep things tied together. The guitarist is the one stealing the show here, playing notes on the guitar to accent the rhythm of the song or to standout completely away from what the underlying song may be. Sounding very bright and reverby, the music would be lost without it. The vocals sounded very Robert Smith/Cure to me, but that’s not a bad thing since it works well here. Not half bad. –don (Monster Squad, www.monstersquadnyc.com)


HOLLYWOOD GODS:
Self-Titled: CD
More of the same-ol’ same-ol’ poppy punk stuff, although in this case they’re more reminiscent of a tamer Operation Ivy (without the ska, thank god) than a tamer Blink-182. –jimmy (hollywoodgods@hotmail.com)


HIGH COURT, THE:
Puppet: CD
It’s amazing what you can do in recording studios these days: apparently now there are knobs you can turn to make you sound like My Chemical Romance and Fallout Boy (turned up to about seven and ten, respectively, here). –joe (I Surrender)


GRAVE BLANKETS:
Your Injured Ways b/w You’ll Know Everything, Something You Say: 7"
Grave Blankets are a slow to mid-tempo garage horror punk band with dual male/female vocals from Columbus. Their influences range from Gun Club to The Mummies. What helps this single not fall flat is the terrific lo-fi recording that isn’t riddled with the intentionally distorted, overly produced fuzz added to so many similar releases in recent years. I’m not crazy about any of the three songs included here, but this record shows enough potential to pique my interest in checking out future releases from the band. Art Ettinger –Guest Contributor (self-released, graveblanketsmusic@gmail.com)


GORT:
Unravel: 7"
Side one is a nice bit of sludgy noise rock. Flip is a nice cover of Devo’s “Smart Patrol/ Mr. DNA” with a rendition “Blockhead” just before “Mr. DNA” kicks in. You sure there’s only two of you in this band and you ain’t slipping in any uncredited adjunct members, Frank? Seems to be a lotta racket-making for only a couple of people. –jimmy (www.flotationrecords.com)


FUTURE KINGS OF NOWHERE, THE:
Self-Titled: CD
This sounds a lot like the new acoustic punk style that the kids love in the wake of Against Me! Instead of neck-bearded punkers though, this has members of Southern Culture On The Skids and other NC bands. Sounds like a cross between Against Me! and the first Violent Femmes record. –frame (307 Knox, www.307knoxrecords.com)


FEMURS, LOS:
Modern Mexico: CD
Before you roll your eyes when I tell you this is a two-man band, lemme just point out that they veer less towards White Stripes-land and more toward the semi-acoustic skiffle-punk of bands like Brent’s TV. The songs are strong and hooky, well executed, and a fun listen, which I’ll admit was a bit of a surprise for me, too. –jimmy (thefemurs@hotmail.com)


FAR FROM FINISHED:
Living in the Fallout: CD
There is so much going on here it’s hard to comprehend the final product. So Mark Lind from The Ducky Boys and his own solo career is the bass player, they toured with The Dropkick Murphys amongst some other fairly decent names, and the ingredients are here for a decent Boston punk band. But it’s so fucking polished I can barely stand it. It almost sounds like Sugarcult moved to New England. There’s potential here but they sanded all the character off it in the studio. What’s really weird is they insist on being labeled “hardcore,” which absolutely nothing about this record is. –Steveo (Think Fast!, www.thinkfastrecords.com)


EASTERLINGS:
Demo: CD-R
This band’s name sounded pretty Jesus to me, and, goddamn, the font used to spell it out on the cover looked like bible font. So, I’m thinking I might have me an awesome Christian hardcore band to slam the shit out of and poke fun at their faith. But I was burned by the whole book by its cover cliché, so no conservative Christian punks to belittle. Bummer... The music is more like Saves The Day meets Face To Face. In other words, boring. –Dave Disorder (Self-released, myspace.com/easterlings)


DRZHIVEGAS:
Get Down: CD
No matter how much synth they pump in to give this a “new wave” edge, it still sounds like bad ‘80s Strip rock. –jimmy (www.drzhivegas.com)


D-RAIL:
The Circus: CD
Mid-tempo riff rock, that, although well written and well played, just couldn’t keep me interested. It just kind of all blends together. –ty (OD Inc., odinc@Canada.com)


DOA:
Triump of the Ignoroids: 7" EP
A limited reissue of a live EP that showcases this band at their fiercest, recorded live at the Body Shop, 1978. You get the original four tunes for your buck, plus a bonus studio cut from 1986 called “Utopia” that sounds like it has Wimpy Roy on vocals. –jimmy (ladykinkykarrot@yahoo.com)


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