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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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ATHRENODY:
Crazed Development: CD
I did not know that this band had existed for a short period of time back in the early ‘90s. It’s amazing that they went into the studio to record an album’s worth of material before the break up. Vocals were not recorded for the session until 2005. This band featured the singer from Exhumed and leans towards the early grind meets death metal sounds, taking hints from Napalm Death, Terrorizer, and sounds like the current Japanese band 324. If I would have heard this in their heyday, I would have been all over this. Songs that average in the two minute range—not relying on pure speed—this band uses a bit of dirty power chords with short bursts of blast beats. Kind of a muddy sludge feel but you can feel the power of the music. The vocals are deep but not full-on cookie monster. I like that it has a sort of demo feel to it but with better production; not over-the-top but dirty enough to keep the madness in check. Great that this has seen the light of day. Co-released with 625 and De Rok. –don (To Live a Lie)


ARRIVALS, THE:
Marvels of Industry: CD
Top ten of 2007. There can’t be ten other records that eclipse it. No fucking way. The Arrivals have been flirting with making this LP for a long, long time and they hit the bull’s-eye. (And their first two LPs didn’t slouch in the slightest. See cover of Razorcake #12.) You see, in a different time and place, they’d just be known as a well-loved, hard-rocking band. Their talent and passion is obvious. But in this modern world where people want their music to come through robotic filters and PR firms, to fit into a microgenre that’ll be praised then reproached in the span of a year, they’re an anomaly: a band who can just as easily play blues and blaze through covers of “Hot for Teacher,” but have chosen the strongest voice—their own. With Marvels of Industry, both Isaac and Little Dave’s voices seem more strident, the words blooming and booming from their throats, distinct and electric. I still contend that Ronnie’s one of the best drummers I’ve ever seen; he’s like a gorilla who both mauls and protects his kit; I swear he’s got an extra arm tucked away somewhere. And with the addition of Paddy Costello of the perpetually “we’re recording soon” Dillinger Four on bass, I think the Arrivals have written and performed America’s next national anthem in fourteen verses. Well, for me at least. Wow. –todd (Recess)


ARRIVALS, THE:
Marvels of Industry: CD
I have such high expectations for this Chicago band, so I was a little nervous about hearing the new songs for the first time. I was not disappointed, not even a little. The first track on this album, titled “I’m Sorry for Saying I’m Sorry,” is one of those songs that gets crammed into your head when you’re at work and you have to very sneakily listen to it from your mp3 player while you act like you are not listening to one of the best rock songs out this year. If you have the chance to see them play any of the songs from this album live, you need to skip whatever it is you are doing to go see them. They not only made a great album, but they know how to execute a stupendous show that will leave you with all those honey-dipped little feelings you hope for when you go out on a school night. I feel nothing but glory from this album. Nice job, gentlemen. C. Marie –Guest Contributor (Recess)


ARRIVALS, THE:
Marvels of Industry: CD
I’ll be honest; I’d hear friends of mine talk about how much they love The Arrivals, but then I’d watch them at The Fest, and I just couldn’t get into it. Down the line, I even heard a few more random songs, thought they were pretty good. So I decide to really sit down with this record, and I get it now. These are melancholy anthems, not poppy songs about milkshakes—a record to help you take solace after overcoming daily struggles (making me realize why seeing them for the first time at a show like The Fest may leave you a little bummed). Plus, it kind of made me feel like a pirate. –joe (Recess)


ANSWER LIES, THE / TULSA:
Split: 7"
Is that a tostada on a rampage? How would a tostada trim its mustache? The cover leaves us with many unanswered questions. The Answer Lies: Imagine that the Swing Ding Amigos listened to metal, sounded less Hendrix’y, and rolled around in a fine layer of dust and dirt, just like Pigpen. Zingy, tightly-wrapped, riding-bikes-is-rad punk. Not bad at all. Tulsa: It’d be “precious” if it didn’t seem so gut-right. You could make an argument that this wouldn’t considered “punk” if you just root canalled the music right out of context (it’s sorta folky, sorta indie, but anxious and asking all the right questions) and put it under the cold light of consumerism. But solely approaching the music like that would be missing the entire point of bands like Tulsa: it’s all about heart, DIY trust, and great songs, much like Hot New Mexicans, This Bike Is a Pipebomb, and Almighty Do Me A Favor. Yep, real good. –todd (Repulsion / Dirt Cult)


ANGLEWORM:
…Ruin Your $cene: CD
Here’s a tip: do your album cover by hand. Computer-generated covers just look like shit. Their lyrics most likely came from the diary of a thirteen-year-old while their music (Leftöver Crack-esque ska) shows hints of originality in spots. The low point of the disc is the pseudo instrumental track. Though punk rock isn’t always about being in key, bands usually pick up the speed when they aren’t pitch perfect. These guys, however, choose to be slow and out of tune. Shame on them. Bryan Static –Guest Contributor (Triumph Of Life)


AGGRAVATION, THE:
The Aggravation: LP
Most of The Aggravation is simple, snotty garage punk. It doesn’t quite scale the gloriously ridiculous heights of Loli and the Chones—I think The Aggravation might actually be opposed to “Violence” and having “No Girls” about, whereas I thought Loli and company were always goofing on whatever topic they tackled—but it’s good. I also like the two tunes that break from the pattern and mix in a bit of Wire-like ambition, especially “Olivier.” I wonder where these gents are headed next. Mike Faloon –Guest Contributor (Relax-o-Matic Vibrator)


AGAINST EMPIRE / ISKRA:
Bring the War Home: CD
Against Empire: The lyrics read like an anarchist band, but the music sounds like poor man’s thrash metal. Iskra: The lyrics were strong, and I totally empathize with their championing of the first nations’ cause. Their music, however—part metal, part Conflict-inspired noise punk—was pretty much a chore to listen to two minutes into the first song, and it didn’t get any better. –jimmy (Rodent Popsicle)


ADJUDGEMENT:
Human Fallout: CD
Sometimes I enjoy reading the press sheets that come with CDs. In the worlds these sheets create, each band is on the cutting edge of true awesomeness and humankind’s last hope for a good listen. The one included with this is no different. In it, one sees the words “genius,” “unique,” “superbly rocking,” “masterpiece of hardcore,” and “incredible” tossed around like mad. Sure, the band in question sounds no different than any other modern “hardcore” (metal) band that thinks down-tuned guitars and thrashy beats equals power—although to their credit they do attempt to address socially relevant issues, however poorly. Sticking to their native German to get their point across would’ve no doubt done wonders, but still, it’s nice to have the sheet. That way I can escape the mediocrity coming from my speakers by pretending it’s talking about another band, one that really is unique, incredible, and superbly rocking. Sure would’ve much rather have heard that band than this one. –jimmy (Engineer)


WINTER SOUNDS:
Porcelain Empire: CD
By all rights, I should hate this like crazy. It’s overblown, sappy-sounding, exceedingly poppy indie rock stuff, but for some reason—maybe it’s the cold medicine I’ve been downing like kamikazes—it gels together quite nicely. In the midst of all the grandeur is some nice funnin’ with dynamics, solid vocal harmonies and some good songwriting, the result being something like a cross between the bluster of The Killers and the humility of Teenage Fanclub. Surprisingly better than I expected. –jimmy (Live Wire)


WE THE PEOPLE:
Time to Operate: 7" EP
Seem to remember previously reviewing something else by ’em and not being all that impressed (but given the amount of stuff I wade through, please excuse me if I’m mistaken in that assessment) but these guys have an interesting sound going here. Although decidedly punk, the overall feel is they’re aiming for some gray area between rock, hardcore and oi. The song structures are well thought out and have interesting little bits, the tempos often vary within a given song, and the singer sounds like he just stepped out of an early Boston hardcore band. Very interesting, indeed. –jimmy (Stop Whining Start Winning)


SUITE 666:
Pretty Corpses: CDEP
I amuse myself sometimes. I will look at certain releases and think right off the bat I’m going to dislike it. I thought the same thing here. But the first track, “Personal Safety of Midget,” starts with a bass line that reminded me of a cross of the intro to the Circle Jerks’ “Trapped” and Black Flag’s intro to “Six Pack.” Then the band blast forward with a punk meets death rock attack that reminded me of the Super Heroines because of the dual female vocals. Whoa! I’m wrong again. Then the other tracks veered into cowpunk, straight forward punk and pop punk territories. Not sure if this is their debut. But from what I have heard so far, I like what I hear. –don (Suite 666)


PEACHFUZZ:
Catch Your Snap: CD
Decent laid-back power pop (i.e. way more Big Star than 999), but nothing that makes me want to throw off my clothes and jump on a trampoline—the standard reviewing benchmark. I think I am regressing. The older I get, the faster I want my music to be! By the time I'm in a nursing home, I'll just be listening to speed metal. For shame! I'm also creeped out by the cover art—a drawing of a naked woman with the fish head. Yikes! If this were a cereal, it'd be a defective box of Apple Jacks with the sugar mysteriously missing. Calling Encyclopedia Brown! –Maddy (Teenacide)


NEUTRAL BOY:
Weapon of Mass Seduction: CD
This band appears to be somewhat smart, very angry, obnoxiously loud, and probably have really, really dirty floors at their house. Actually, the back cover displays a rather clean environment, so what the hell do I know. In any event, I’m glad they could work out all their emotional issues they have with their friends on my time. Glad to help! BEST SONG: “She Swears” BEST SONG TITLE: “Dick to Cry on” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Recorded “on purpose.” –norb (Music Abuse)


MAD JUANA:
Acoustic Voodoo: CD
This band contains one of the dudes from Hanoi Rocks (the one who replaced a dead New York Doll) and about seven other people. It’s got a “world music” feel to it—the kind of stuff Joe Strummer was doing after the demons of the Clash left him. The difference between Joe Strummer and Mad Juana: oodles of erudition with the former, cerebral bankruptcy with the latter. Even worse: Acoustic Voodoo contains a cover of “Venus in Furs,” which in Soviet Russia would’ve gotten these numbskulls thrown in the Gulag. (NOTE: Don’t ever cover a Velvets song unless you’re Peter Laughner. Additionally, NEVER cover a DRIFTERS SONG: BEN E. KING and CLYDE McPHATTER CAN NEVER BE TOPPED, MOTHERFUCKER; SO JUST DON’T DO IT! THAT INCLUDES YOU, JERRY LEE although your version of “SAVE THE LAST DANCE FOR ME” is pretty good—just not DRIFTERS’ QUALITY.) –ryan (Azra)


LOSER LIFE:
I Have Ghosts and I Have Ghosts: CD
On first listen this seems like a kinda loose, sloppy hardcore band and that’s about it. Some interesting little things are going on underneath all the noise, however. The lyrics are nothing to write home about and more than a passing nod to Conflict is apparent in the dynamics and delivery, but there’s also some Hüsker-type guitar noodling buried layered in there as well, adding an interesting dimension to what their doing. Can’t really say the end result was mind-blowing per se, but they did make me pay attention the whole way through. –jimmy (Magic Bullet)


KOBAYASHI:
Neuanstrich: LP
Never heard of this band before. But with so many bands around the world, that is highly likely. I really didn’t find much on this band when I did a quick search but I did learn that this is their second release. At first glance, I really didn’t think I would like this record. I thought this would be a street punk record from Germany. Boy was I wrong on that assumption. The band is definitely German. I can’t put my finger on what band or bands they remind me of at the moment. But that is a good thing since I can’t instantly write them off as another band that easily sounds like another. Instantly I can say that they play melodic driven punk that is emotionally layered and varied. Mid tempo beats that have force and songs that have been written with a lot of thought put in. Vocals are delivered with a passion and with conviction. Without understanding the language, I can definitely feel that the songs are sung with passion and sincerity. Guitars are a tad on the clean side but lightly distorted they create the right aural power to bring forth the music. Drums and bass tie in the rhythms to solidify the music. An enjoyable listen all the way through. A large group of labels banded together to put this out. Co-released by Alerta Antifascista, Soroll, Tofu Guerilla, Acclaim Collective, Synalgie, and Behind the Scenes. That shows a lot of faith that this release should see the light of day. –don (Alerta Antifascista)


KING AUTOMATIC:
I Walk My Murderous Intentions Home: CD
I buy demented, bluesy, squawky-harmonica bashing records from time to time, and, generally, I tend to enjoy them the first couple times I play them, then rarely spin them ever again. With the one-man-though-likely-not-all-recorded-at-once skronky majesty of King Automatic, these songs sound like demi-classics of the subgenre that one already knows and loves after the second or third time around, and I can’t figure out if that’s a good thing, or it just means that I’ll be sick of and done with the record that much sooner. OH, THE PAIN OF UNCERTAINTY!!! BEST SONG: “Artschool Girl” BEST SONG TITLE: “I Walk My Murderous Intentions Home” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: He’ll give you space cake, you cunt. –norb (Voodoo Rhythm)


HAUNTED LIFE:
The Declaration: CD
Fast ’n’ furious, cookie cutter bro-core stuff with all the requisite shout-alongs and shit like that. The fact that they sounded a little like a sped up Cro-Mags made ’em interesting for about nine seconds, tops. –jimmy (Get Outta Town)


GREAT ST. LOUIS, THE:
Forever Now: CD
Muscular up-tempo punk rock akin to Avail or American Steel (maybe Dropkick Murphys meets early Jawbox?). Bands like that are always hit or miss for me, but this one grew on me with every play. Catchy and melodic with gruff vocals that mean business, I for one did not feel that this record was stale or derivative in any way. I may be pigeonholing the style of music that The Great St. Louis play, but they do it very well, sounding fresh and vibrant every step of the way. Solid stuff. –The Lord Kveldulfr (JSNTGM)


GHENGIS CON JOB:
To Hell In Black: CD
So here’s the picture on this CD: Big, tough looking guys with a lot of tattoos, bandanas, and facial hair drinking beer. The cover has a skull wearing a cowboy hat with a pentagram on it above two six-shooters skull and crossbones style. There is a picture of a tattooed woman tied up and gagged, wearing just underwear, in the trunk in the car. On the other side is just the rope in the trunk of the car. Did she escape? What’s the deal? So this CD is metal. I’m not much into metal; in fact I’d say it accounts for less than one percent of what I listen to. I can’t really relate to the satanic redneck theme of this record and the music, although not bad (I’ve listened to enough metal in my life to at least know good and bad) isn’t anything new. Somebody might like this, maybe Pantera fans? But it’s not my taste. –Jason Donnerparty (High Fidelity)


GEE STRINGS, THE:
A Bunch of Bugs: CD
There is nothing subtle about The Gee Strings. For instance, there is a song on this album called “Let’s Make Up and Screw”. Straight ahead, aggressive, catchy punk rock with lady vocals. I liked it while I was listening to it, but forgot it as soon as I turned it off. –jennifer (Dead Beat)


FIVE-O:
Get Down!: CD
Five-O really hate the police. I’d even wager that they hate the police even more than The Dicks and N.W.A. put together. Yep, they’re really passionate about their hatred for the police alright. The only problem is that you’d never guess from their sound. It definitely looks right. Lots of pictures of police brutality from over the decades, lots of angry lyrics and slogans plastered everywhere… One question though. Why is the singer so goddamn happy? Seriously, the guy sounds like he’s singing about taking is Grandma out for ice cream and a walk in the park, while the lyrics are spouting rhetoric about smashing the police state and our rights being removed. It just doesn’t synch up. On another note, the music is incredibly cheesy which doesn’t help to get the point across. I’ve got to say that I’ve never heard of annoying someone into seeing your point of view. –ty (Citizen Target)


DRUNK DRIVERS:
Model Citizen: CD
Smart-guy rock of the ilk you’d hear from a band playing one o’ them college town bars where the kids get shitfaced, whoop a lot and never really pay much attention to the band playing on any given night. –jimmy (Crustacean)


DEADLINE:
More to It: CD
My feelings about Deadline have varied from album to album, usually with them averaging out at being better than average. This reissue of their first album, however, is a bit of a doozy. The tunes are loud and up to the eyebrows in hooks, and Liz’s vocals sound like a low-intensity Poly Styrene. Though I wasn’t too hip on the ska-tinged second tune here, the bulk of this is solid as a titanium wall and the non-ska cover of the Specials’ “Do Nothing” was easily one of the highlights. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


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