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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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SHINING, THE:
The Word is Fiction: 7" EP
Warp-speed thrash from the Netherlands here. There’s just a tinge of metal in the guitars, but it fits in quite nicely with the overall sound. –jimmy (Pick-Up)


SELF-EVIDENT:
Self-titled: CD
I’m not entirely sure of what to make of this. It goes back and forth from almost mellow indie pop, to fairly rockin’. At first I wanted to say it was like some late ‘90s indie rock, though the singer’s voice sounds like the guy from Motion City Soundtrack. –joe (DPG)


SCOTT MARROW:
For All the Time You Spend Losing…You Better Enjoy Your Failure: CD
Experimental indie pop that reminded me a little of Wolf Parade. By no means bad, but I didn’t really get into it. Sarah Shay –Guest Contributor (Whiteroom)


SADDAM’S ANGELS:
We’re Saddam’s Angels and You Suck: CD
One original and three covers—Black Flag, Skrewdriver and the Canadian Subhumans, respectively—recorded live in San Francisco, apparently intended as an attempt to bunch up the underwear of the PC-punk brigade. While such an act is akin to shooting whales in a glass of water, and it would’ve been nice to hear more original tunes, this was still a hoot. –jimmy (www.maltsoda.com)


SABOTEURS:
Self-titled: 7"
Lo-fi art/proto punk with multi vocalists of both the genders. Not very fast, yet surely fast enough to still rock. Sadly whatever this was recorded on doesn’t seem to have had the capacity to capture the entirety of this band, which leaves me grieving what I don’t get to hear. Whatever, that’s just the price of DIY sometimes, and this 7” is still really good anyways. –Daryl Gussin (Commodity Fetish)


RITUAL:
Wolves: CD
Living proof that even German “hardcore” metal bites the weenie. –jimmy (www.stillliferecords.com)


REJOUISSANCE:
EP II: CDEP
Listening to this brought up an interesting conundrum: Is it worse that a band’s record sounds like an Everlast solo album, or that I know what an Everlast solo album sounds like? Tough call. –jimmy (www.timetooperate.com)


RAY GRADYS, THE:
We Don’t Need Your Labels: CD
Straight-ahead homemade punk in the vein of Quincy Punx—songs about how religion and big business suck and cops and Nazis are appropriate targets for gunfire. I’m kind of ambivalent about this; it’s good and sloppy, though not exceptional musically, and still pretty compelling at a visceral level. But over time this really grew on me; at first it sounded like it was only straight ahead hardcore, but there are a lot of catchy hooks that took me time to find because they got lost in the attitude of the record. Now I’d love to hear what comes from these guys in the future. However, lyrically I got tired of this kind of stuff years ago, so I felt like the Ray Gradys were leading me down a path that I’ve trod before despite their wondrous low-fi and promise for the future. –The Lord Kveldulfr (www.raygradys.8m.com)


PROTESTANT:
As Dead As We Look: CD
I initially thought these kids were shootin’ for inclusion in the Eyehategod wing of post-Black Flag/post-Black Sabbath sludge rock, but after the second song or so it became clearer they were more interested in being a part of the post-Slayer modern “hardcore” crowd. All told, they’re better than some, but nothing that really blows the skirt up. –jimmy (Halo of Flies)


PERMANENT:
sink/swim: CD
Thrash metal/punk with a lil’ bit of emo thrown in. Not bad, but not memorable either. –Jason Donnerparty (6131)


PEDESTRIANS:
Self-titled: LP
Mid-tempo punk that sounds quite aware of their ‘80s predecessors, but manage to eke out their own personality within. Singer sounds a helluva lot like Damaged-era Henry Rollins. Good stuff overall. –jimmy (A Wrench in the Gears)


PATSYS, THE:
Both Sides Never: CD
We’ve all been there before: you see a great live band, buy their record, and it’s a notch below your expectations. It happened with me and the Patsys. Instantly loved ‘em live, but the record I had to think about. I liked it but something was missing. I had to wonder if it was me or the beer I drank at the show or perhaps a change in the band’s line up. Both Sides Never washes that all away. This is the Patsys that bowled me over, the punked up R&B band whose sound lies between the Detroit Cobras and the Wiretaps. From the first cut through the last (a well-turned Stevie Wonder cover) there’s plenty of snarl, plenty of sweetness, and best of all, that spark missing from their last disc. Both Sides Never will be in steady rotation this summer. Mike Faloon –Guest Contributor (www.thepatsys.com)


ONEWORDSOLUTION:
Impasse As A Failsafe: CD
By all rights I should love this band. They’re fast, tight and wear their politics on their sleeve. Truth is, though, they bug the shit out of me. The whys and wherefores are pretty simple: they’re too goddamned perfect. Every note is in the right place, every pitch is perfect, and not a fuck up can be found anywhere. If ProTooling the fuck out of a record effectively zaps it of all that makes it worthwhile, ProTooling the fuck out of a hardcore record is the kiss of death. These guys have clocked in another album that sounds wholly devoid of any of the passion, anger, frustration or excitement one should feel when playing it, let alone performing it. Ultimately, for all its bluster and flashy drum rolls and screaming guitars and color-by-numbers hardcore song templates, this is about as dangerous and threatening to the social order as Hello Kitty, or Seals and Crofts. –jimmy (www.fingerrecords.com)


ON NO NOT STEREO:
Self-titled: CDEP
Adding screams to singing vocals does not a good album make. And starting an album with an instrumental isn’t usually a good idea either. Sure, lots of bands do it, but unless you’re building a legendary concept album, I’d steer clear of it. A number of the songs on here are appealing and have some ample hooks, but when the screamy vocals back up the pure, poppy punk vocals it just sounds ridiculous. The last song starts with the lyrics, “You think you’re really cool / can you come out and play?” No. I’m afraid I can’t. –kurt (www.takeoverrock.com)


NO COMPROMISE:
Pull the Plug: CDEP
This started out sounding like APB for a minute, and then it quickly veered into AOR slickness land. “Live It Up Now” held my interest until the change-up. Other than that, it reminded me of Incubus or Nickelback. Please pour Drano in my veins instead. Ugh! –koepenick (Self-released, address?)


NIGHT CANOPY:
Of Honey and Country: CD
I was afraid of this. More folky, female fronted, mid-tempo songs. I have nothing left to say about folky, female fronted, mid-tempo songs. If that is the kind of thing you like, then you will like this. It is well done, smartly written, and well-recorded. However, if you are reading this punk rock magazine because you like punk rock music, you would do better to give this a miss. –jennifer (Go Midnight)


MALASSIS:
Birds Like Bricks: CD
If the Hobbits in Lord of the Rings created and/or listened to rock music and Led Zeppelin wasn’t around, Malassis is the kind of thing they’d be into. Rock with acoustic guitar and the occasional flute (looks like Jethro Tull might have some competition), I can’t help but think that this music seems, well, exceptionally fruity (for lack of a better term). In much the same way that everyone thinks the Hobbits seem way too fraternal and cheery, Birds Like Bricks comes across much the same way. It’s good music, even catchy to a large degree, but I can’t help but see an alternate version of the world when I’m in high school, reading Lord of the Rings in my bedroom, smoking pot and Led Zeppelin doesn’t exist. I put on Malassis instead and feel like I can maybe understand the Hobbits a little better now. –kurt (www.malassis.com)


MAKE OR BREAK / HAUNTED LIFE:
Split: CD
Both bands on this split would easily fit in with several late-‘80s/early-‘90s youth crew bands. Also, has reference points to bands like Kid Dynamite and Strike Anywhere. It's not groundbreaking, but if you like that kind of HC punk, this is pretty solid, even though some of the lyrics kind of make me snicker, "I got to skate or die, I got to live my fuckin life." Man, the more I drink the funnier it gets. –Dave Disorder (Anchorless, www.anchorlessrecorrds.com / Significant, www.significant-records.com)


MAGRUDERGRIND:
Rehashed: CD
This pretty much sounds like any other grindy hardcore band out there clinging to a template that appears to have pretty much run its course. This does, however make for great fun when you blast it as you pull up at a stoplight next to a car full of old people. The elderly dig loud, fast shit with a guy screaming like his colostomy bag has popped. –jimmy (Six Weeks)


MAGIC CITY / THE PATSYS:
Split: 7"
Pretty solid party rock n roll, but I wanted something more essential. Poppy guitars and nice singing nonetheless, enough to get you into the time machine set strictly for 1964. Wait, when did the first Kinks album come out? –mike (umbrellarecords@hotmail.com)


M.F. LUNCH AND THE LITTLE COTTON WOOLIES:
Self-titled: CD
A man and his acoustic guitar (occasionally joined by a friend or two) sing about insects with human hands. –jimmy (www.myspace.com/mflunch)


LYIN’ BITCH & THE RESTRAINING ORDERS:
Can’t Cum Within A Hundred Feet of Your Love: CD
They appear to be hell-bent on reviving the spirit of GG Allin and El Duce, but they have neither the audacity of the former nor the sly wit of the latter. As a result, this sounds like generic hardcore with vocals provided by a potty-mouthed wrestler who’s had his noggin smashed into the turnbuckle a few too many times. –jimmy (Fivecore)


LOVE KILLS THEORY, THE:
Happy Suicide Jim: CD
Few things are more annoying than a rock band trying so very hard to be “quirky.” Ninety-nine percent of the time they fail miserably and this easily falls within that majority. –jimmy (Xemu)


LORDS OF LIGHT:
Energy: LP
I just don’t get it. These guys have either a) tricked me into thinking that I’m totally stupid or b) have put out the most trying, difficult, annoying record I’ve heard in years. And I’m still not sure which one it is. You know Moss Icon, I think it’s on the B-side of the It Disappears 12”, where there’s just that one long live song? Where the singer starts out by thanking the audience for inviting the band out for spaghetti dinner and square dancing and then says that he’d like to show them some of the sights and sounds of their (Moss Icon’s) planet? You know? And the song goes on for a long time and by the end of it, at least after a couple listens, you’ve got this sneaking suspicion that the entire fucking band is just making shit up as they go along? But it’s still really good? That, yeah, they’re obviously a bunch of fucking weirdos but there’s enough emotion and energy being kicked out that the song’s actually pretty kickass? Well, Lords Of Light’s Energy LP is right up there in the weirdness level, and they also seem to be making shit up as they go, but I’m just not getting the same sense of “Holy shit,” that I’m hearing a band really pull something off. It just falls flat, like they’re just trying a bit too hard to be quirky and odd. I mean, sorry, maybe I’m just not getting it, but the vocalist does this strange David Yow/Jon Spencer yowling thing and sings with a country accent here and there, whispers way too often during the quiet, sparse parts of the songs (of which there are many), the lyrics talk about everything from AC/DC to the love of the universe, and the music itself just sort of meanders and plods along with no real momentum—these quiet, math-rock parts that don’t really go anywhere until they blow up into these three-piece grindcore parts that seem kind of wimpy. It’s just a weird fucking record. The little one-sheet thing says they’re going for a blending of powerviolence, progrock and AC/DC, and I just don’t get it at all. At first I thought it was a record put out by a bunch of hipsters meant to totally pull a fast one on “the kids”, but now I just think it’s either an album that is a) so many light years ahead of my paltry cerebral/spiritual cognitive-abilities that I will always be confused by it or b) just super, super cruddy. And like I said, I honestly yet to decide which one’s correct. –keith (Life Is Abuse)


LIBERTINES US, THE:
Reunion: CD
These are the original Libertines from the 1980’s, Cincinnati, Ohio to be exact. I guess we couldn’t expect Pete Doherty and the gang to do a Goggle search before they named their outfit, eh? Great power pop jangle-think Murmur era R.E.M. with less mumbling on the vocals. An undiscovered band waiting to be embraced by the masses. Look for a new anthology this summer. This seven song release is a tease I say! My copy did come with a cool B+W photo from a gig in 1985 though. –koepenick (www.myspace.com/thelibetinesus)


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