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Record Reviews

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MONSTER SQUAD:
Fire the Faith: CD
Here is the problem I face with so many of the bands that I end up reviewing: I really love the music and can’t stand the vocals. This new Monster Squad disc is a prime example. The music is stellar: hard-driving rhythmic hardcore punk with lots of substance. My enjoyment is quickly shattered by the lead singer shredding his throat over it. The gang vocal choruses come in and sound amazing, then the screaming starts again. Here’s the thing; I don’t need someone to be a great singer, or even a singer at all (anyone who’s heard me knows it to be true), but the “grrrrrrrrrr” just doesn’t belong with the music here. I really, really want to get into this, but I’m at an impasse. –ty (Punkcore)


MONIKERS / BANNER PILOT:
Split: 7"
Monikers: Kinda Jawbreaker-y and Lawrence Arms-ish mid tempo, obscuro pop punk. Oh, and on repeated listens, I thought the vocals sounded somewhat like The Connie Dungs, just less like a black metal dude trying to do pop punk. I liked it. Banner Pilot: They sound a little poppier here than on the EP, and ultimately more like their own band. And that’s a good thing. It’s like Fred Sanford—straight up! –joe (Kiss Of Death)


MODERN MACHINES / THE MEASURE [SA]:
Split: 7"
Since Amy Adoyzie broke the ice on this in issue #39, yeah, the Modern Machines are hit or miss. It’s almost like they’re too enveloped by what they love and there’s some ADD going on where they can’t decide Hüsker Dü, Replacements, or themselves from song to song, record to record. These two cuts seem more intimate, stripped-down, and a bit less of a band and more a solo project, but I might just reading too much into it. Not as blown away as I was with their Snuffy Smile split, the one with the Star Wars references, which I liked considerably. The Measure: I’m a centered dude. I think I’m comfortable saying that I love The Measure. It’s totally a platonic love of admiration. Everything’s right in place, from the oscillation between Lauren’s and Mike’s voices, to the band’s sweeping sweetness, to me eating a big bag of shit by admitting that I actually like their cover of a Bob Dylan song. (Still waiting for someone to send me a non-ass CD of his songs because I’m still denying that lingerie-shilling Yoda has it in him.) –todd (Salinas)


MISS ALEX WHITE AND THE RED ORCHESTRA:
Space and Time: CD
GODDAMN! GODDAMN! Maybe people will get Miss Alex White this go around! Who knows, though—when’s the last time an influential rock critic wrote an inspirational review? (Are there any influential critics anymore?) Ah, anyway, White has augmented her band with the addition of bassist Eric Wilamowski (who also doubles up on tenor sax). All of the great Jonathan Richman-inspired lyrics (“I Dig History”) and minimalism found on White’s debut (which went criminally ignored a couple years back) can be found on Space and Time; the record has a much more subdued production, which I don’t think is a good thing (you gotta tip your fucking hat to Jim Diamond), but the material is really fucking strong. I like this record ‘cause Alex really covers the gamut of everything I like about music: Stooges’ piano, Stooges’ high school marching band trained saxophone, ‘60s psychedelia (think hints of Surrealistic Pillow which is, in fact, an amazing album)… noisy, abrasive, and other adjectives cops use to fill up tickets for teenagers. This is a great album and great albums are seldom made these days, proving that In The Red is without a doubt the best label going right now. I’d have chucked this record reviewing racket into the wind years ago if it weren’t for them (which would have been an exceptionally good thing—damn you, Larry Hardy). –ryan (In The Red)


MICHAEL YONKERS / LITTLE CLAW:
Split: 7"33
Mr. Yonkers is a sexagenarian rocker who has been fucking with sonic nutziness since birth, delivering two echoey, reverby, slabs that sound like a meat tenderizer going apeshit in a reverb coil factory ((if there is actually no such thing as a “reverb coil,” i regret the error)). The female-fronted Little Claw play the type of squeaky drone that clears venues quickly and effectively until the next band comes on. Excellent for misleading wayward Fire Marshals! BEST SONG: Michael Yonkers, “The Drain” BEST SONG TITLE: Michael Yonkers, “I Think” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Michael Yonkers’ 1968 album, “Microminiature Love,” was recorded in one hour. –norb (X!)


METHADONES, THE:
This Won't Hurt...: CD
I’ll be honest, as much as i liked last year’s Power Pop Riot LP ((and i liked it a lot)), the previous non-power-pop-cover Methadones never really connected with me—it always sounded like a cross between Bad Religion and Dillinger 4 or something, i dunno. I am unaware of what exact twists and turns the band’s creative toilet snake bent itself through over the course of the last few years, but, suddenly, i am confronted with the wholly unexpected finding that the Methadones are actually fucking RELEVANT to my life inasmuch as they are singing about the type of shit that people who listened to Screeching Weasel or the Riverdales ten or fifteen years ago would actually care about now that they are ten or fifteen years older. Who fucking knew that it was within pop-punk’s molecular structure to mature along with its audience and practitioners? Even more unexpectedly, what were the odds that Vapid would turn out to be the smart one of the bunch? Weird world, man. Thanks for this, i dig it. Now put out another fucking cover album, dorks! BEST SONG: “Street in My Hometown” if i’m feeling nice, “Poor Little Rich Girl” if i’m not so inclined. BEST SONG TITLE: “Where Did You Hide the Sun,” although, now that i think about it, that’s kind of emo. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Actually, if Vapid is just now realizing that the traffic in Chicago sucks, he might not be the warmest tater in the microwave after all… –norb (Red Scare)


MESS MESS MESS:
Could You Bet: LP
Italian street punk band that sounds very U.K. ‘82 to me. In fact, since the band sings in English, I would never guess that they were even Italian without looking at the liner notes. I would have guessed that they were from Britain. Had a hard time while listening to this genre after the ‘90s when this style was so prevalent and popular. Stepping away from it makes it more palatable. This three-piece of two males and one female play this type of music well. I’ve heard many a bad street punk band through the years and this one definitely stands out; kind of like listening to the Exploited meets A Global Threat, but with more melody and added moments of poppiness. If I could still fit my bondage pants, had hair to spike up, and could find my leather jacket in my garage, I would get geared up to check out this band live if they ever came close to the house. That would be a scary sight. –don (No Flags)


MERCURY LOUNGE, THE / THE DAUNTLESS ELITE:
Split: 7"
Boy, I think I’m supposed to like this, but it’s just not clicking. Both bands are English and play swelling melodic punk, the likes of North Lincoln, Small Brown Bike, and early period Hot Water Music. Mercury Lounge: add some metallic guitars into the equation, and they remind me of Strung Out and second-tier Fat stuff from the late ‘90s. It seems heartfelt, but sounds too closely tied to a metronome and a click track for me to hear juice bursting when it gets squeezed. The Dauntless Elite: have a great name, have songs with many parts—one with a very long title—and seem very earnest, too, but I’m just getting bored listening to the record. It feels too labored. I’m convinced they’re convinced, but I’m just not interested. Comes in a heavy gauge plastic sleeve. –todd (Yo-Yo)


MEMPHIS BEATLES:
Elvis Meets the Beatles (Soundtrack): 10"
I love the Beatles, can tolerate Elvis, and have a higher tolerance for kitsch than your average Razorcake reviewer, all of which gives me a good chance to dig Elvis Meets the Beatles, the soundtrack to the short film of the same name. The liner notes claim that the record “outdoes the Rutles with an original score performed by all four Memphis Beatles.” I trust that the Memphis Beatles, whoever they may be, did, in fact, record this 10” but assure you that they pale compared to the Rutles (or the Kaisers or the Neatbeats or any other decent Beatle clones you care to mention). They did provide competent instrumental tracks that worked well enough to make me curious about the movie, though. Mike Faloon –Guest Contributor (Lady Kinky Karrot)


MANGES, THE:
Go Down: LP
My first introduction to this Italian band was the split they had with the Queers, which in itself was pretty awesome because the bands complimented each other very well. This, I believe, has already been released on CD…but you know you want it on vinyl instead. That’s why you stalled this long without picking it up. So do it. It’s pop punk goodness, and as if you needed any more push than the band itself to pick this up, Phillip Hill (Teen Idols, The Queers, Screeching Weasel, Even In Blackouts) produced this album who then mastered it with the help of legendary pop punk producer hero Mass Giorgini. ‘Tis good. –mrz (It’s Alive)


MAKEOUT PARTY, THEE:
2EX2LOVEU b/w Hedberg Boogie: 7"
Slow-burn, bright-sun Beach Boys by way of Redd Kross mellowosity supported by shimmering tambourines lapping at the quieter bass lines and guitar angles of the Velvet Underground. Very California ‘60s. I like this more than I thought I would, due to really enjoying the sparkle of their first 7”, and this, the accompanying fade. “Hedberg Boogie” has a nice quiet-epic quality to it… you know, for heavy petting. –todd (Burger / Yellow Sun)


MAKEOUT PARTY, THEE:
2EX2LOVEU b/w Hedberg Boogie: 7"
Slow-burn, bright-sun Beach Boys by way of Redd Kross mellowosity supported by shimmering tambourines lapping at the quieter bass lines and guitar angles of the Velvet Underground. Very California ‘60s. I like this more than I thought I would, due to really enjoying the sparkle of their first 7”, and this, the accompanying fade. “Hedberg Boogie” has a nice quiet-epic quality to it… you know, for heavy petting. –todd (Burger / Yellow Sun)


M.O.T.O.:
Self-Titled: 7"
Some people who are retarded have incredible strength. I don’t know if the mastermind behind M.O.T.O., Paul Caporino, collects checks from the state, but I do know this: you try being this stupid and so fucking catchy for over twenty years and see how it pans out for you. For M.O.T.O., it’s four more songs of brilliant stupidity, complete with drum machine, fuzzed-out, in-the-red-voiced cracked pop; songs that stick to your brain like hot bubblegum on a summer sidewalk that’ll have you muttering the most inane stuff when waiting in line at the grocery store. Yeah, real nice. –todd (Boom Chick)


LOVER:
Self-titled: CD
Lover is the new project from Rich Reatard. Damn good power pop from a dude who’s not riding the rival train (he’s a Reatard, dude). Fans of the Buzzcocks take heed! –ryan (Empty)


LOGAN LYNN:
From Pillar to Post: CD

If the subtitle “Selections from Fall ’07 Release” on this promo copy means there’s more of this planned for the actual release, maybe someone might wanna rethink that decision. What’s here is essentially a man and his computer/synthesizer/whatever, virtually bereft of anything really compelling to keep the most dedicated listener keyed in past, say, song two.

 

–jimmy (Devious Planet)


LEFTY LOOSIE:
100 Miles an Hour!!: LP

Previously, Lefty Loosie bridged the gap between The Soviettes and Pinhead Gunpowder (I don’t know if there was much of a gap to begin with, but they still bridged it). Now, this LP lives up to its title; while the heartfelt lyrics are still there, the rock is amped up to full speed, kinda like if Bent Outta Shape chugged a bunch of Buzz Cola and admitted they owned records that weren’t by The Replacements. This record is as perfect for a warm summer night as it is for drinking beers after a breakup.

–joe (Repulsion)


LARKSMEN, THE:
Self-Titled: LP
Eric John Leslie has a pleasant, mannered voice and it works well against a quiet backdrop, like the mostly acoustic “She’s So Lonely.” (His voice sounds like it would have been at home on Shimmy Disc in the early ‘90s, with the likes of Dogbowl or the Bottlecaps.) But the Larksmen are a garage band, a pretty good one at that, and they need more grit out front. (Note: The Music Machine’s Sean Bonniwell guests on two tracks.) Mike Faloon –Guest Contributor (Skylark Music)


LA PIOVRA:
Risacca b/w Danni Collaterali: 7"
Jaw-dropping, high energy, punk rock’n’roll in the same vein as Dean Dirg and Henry Fiat’s Open Sore, only it’s Italian and they’ve probably been listening to those two aforementioned bands for a good coupla years thinking of ways to top them. A couple weeks ago I saw La Piovra play in a packed Milwaukee basement and it was the musical equivalent to having a shotgun full of spaghetti blasted in my face. We American bastards didn’t even know what hit us. –Daryl Gussin (Punks Before Profit)


LA FRACTION:
La Vie Revée: LP
I remember, first getting into punk rock, that, for me, the lyrics would carry a band much further than the music itself. It was a big reason for initially getting into the Dead Kennedys and Bad Religion. I wanted to side with the smarties; get lines to crib, arguments to adopt. As time’s gone on, if the music’s not there, my interest isn’t held. I’d rather sit down and read books on politics; think about it hard and long than follow along with it lyrically if the music’s ehh. Point? La Fraction’s a French hardcore band, singing solely in French (but provide us only-English-speaking dolts translations), and I can’t seem to listen to this LP enough. It’s not that lyrics have become irrelevant—far from it—but it’s surprising how much I pay attention to the music when I’m not trying to decipher the lyrics. (It’s sort of like watching a movie on mute. It’s surprising how much your eyes are directed by sound.) And, La Fraction’s music’s great. Think along the line of Funeral Oration or El Banda with different singers. Oh, it’s hardcore, no doubt about it, and it’s finely tuned. Paradoxically, they’re as tight, smooth, and mechanically proficient as fresh ball bearings while remaining as organic, fluid, and powerful as a waterfall. Great stuff. –todd (Feral Ward)


KING LOUIE AND THE LOOSE DIAMONDS:
Memphis Treet: CD
Tagged on the back as “power pop” and “Memphis grease,” this is some real jukebox rock. King Louie wears his heart on his sleeve, and his sleeve is a denim jacket, because he is the real deal. Two of the diamonds are Harlan T Bobo and Jack Oblivian, upping the rock purism here. So get to the bar at 7, make them play this CD, kick back with the locals, argue about dogs’ rights, and maybe find a new friend at closing time. –mike (Goner)


JONNY MANAK AND THE DEPRESSIVES:
Rebound Town: CD
NorCal take on the garage punk sound the Pacific Northwest made world famous in the ‘90s. Good because it sticks to the peppy, time-tested Fumes-like formula. Bad because that’s so last century. –thiringer (Reach Around)


JONESES:
Keeping Up with: CD
Reissue of this classic album, appearing here on CD for the very first time. A great lost-in-time slice of glampunk goodness! Just predating the GNR explosion, the Joneses were Sunset Strip glam rock before it got watered down and stupid. The focus is on songs and killer sound; the look is there but much cooler. A killer cover of Aerosmith’s greatest song “Chip Away the Stone” is included and it is a raging take. Great liner notes by Jeff Drake in the booklet. Just a great, great album for fans of rock’n’roll. Watch for more Joneses stuff coming from Full Breach Kicks. –frame (Full Breach Kicks)


JOHNNY MANAK & THE DEPRESSIVES:
Rebound Town: CD
Adequate but not overwhelming punk/rock/roll that is currently reminding me of a street level version of the shorter/punker/better songs off of the Ramones Pleasant Dreams LP, except for the guitar leads, which remind me of End of the Century, and “It’s OK That You Miss Her,” which reminds me of that whole “Taxman”/”Start!” thing. “Gimmie Rock and Roll” is weak. That’s all i got. BEST SONG: “Every Night’s a Friday” BEST SONG TITLE: “She Said Yeah” if you’re Larry Williams; “Young Girls” if you’re Motörhead. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Johnny Manak played all the instruments on this album. I salute his self-sufficiency! –norb (Reach Around)


JOHN SCHOOLEY AND HIS ONE MAN BAND:
One Man against the World: CD
Turn it up. TURN IT FUCKING UP. Turn it up. TURN IT FUCKING UP I SAY!!! TURN IT FUCKING UP!!! TURN IT FUCKING UP!!! The first song kind of reminded me of the music to “Beginning of the End” off of the second Eddie & The Hot Rods album. I guess the last one did, too. Did i mention to turn it up? Do so. Seriously. Seriously. Up. Seriously up. No shit. BEST SONG: “One Man Against the World, Part II” BEST SONG TITLE: “Screwdriver,” ‘cause i’m AN-TI-SO-CIAL! Uh, never mind. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Worth purchasing for the liner notes alone, although you can’t really turn those up. –norb (Voodoo Rhythm)


JOE SHITHEAD KEITHLEY:
Band of Rebels: CD
On the Sudden Death website, Joe Shithead writes that he’s surprised to be running his own record label. That is certainly a cool accomplishment, but pales compared to the fact that nearly thirty years after coming on the scene with D.O.A., the guy still goes by Shithead. Cooler still, he received funding for this record not just from the Canadian government but from the Canadian Heritage fund. Joe Shithead is officially recognized as, and financially supported as, part of Canada’s heritage, and he did so punk moniker in check (the sole alteration over the years being “Joey” to “Joe”). That’s power. Band of Rebels is as feisty as its captain but not as impressive. It boasts a wide range of styles—rock, ska, and punk—and it doesn’t shy away from the issues. I can’t imagine a Beltway bureaucrat writing checks for songs such as “Wake Me Up for the Revolution” or “Bust Me Loose” and its “Legalize It” sentiments. Historically significant and worthy of admiration but probably not that appealing outside the ranks of the D.O.A. completists. Mike Faloon –Guest Contributor (Sudden Death)


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