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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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F U MARYLOU:
Mi Bouncy: CD
I don’t know who MaryLou is, but, damn, she pissed somebody off. This is angry, brash, and crude ponk rawk in the dirty-glitter Los Angeles tradition. This is the kind of band you could take home to mother if your mother was Exene Cervenka in the early ‘00s.  –Lisa Weiss (Breaking Balls, fumarylou.la)


FALL FROM GRACE, THE:
The Colours of Change: CD
Not to be confused with the Seattle band Fall From Grace, this three piece from Copenhagen, Denmark has one guy singing and another guy screaming. (Or maybe it’s the same guy? The CD doesn’t list who does what.) When the screaming guy screams, it sounds like Tim from Rise Against and when he sings it can be reminiscent of Jonah from Far. I’m old enough to remember there being a lot of this singing/screaming melodic hardcore/punk stuff going on in the early to mid 2000s. The Colours of Change has song titles like, “If Only These Walls Would Sleep,” “Funeral for an Enemy,” and “Retribution Revolution,” which, while unique, are also the type of song titles that seem to accompany this kind of music. These types of bands want to be slightly poetic with their titles to go along with their oh-so-emotional sound; they never are direct with their song titles, and rarely do they ever use just one word. The exception for this on The Colours of Change is that the album is bookended with the songs “Introvert” and “Extrovert.” Just like the rest of this album, it’s incredibly clever and creative. Uh, not really.  –kurt (Schizophrenic)


FATE VS FREE WILLY:
Every Human Was a Child: 7” EP
Despite the horrible name, this may be a band you might want to check out. Severely art damaged (or is it “deranged”?) minimal no wave punk and further beyond type of racket. Instruments are distorted, soaked to the bone in reverb and blown way the hell, out to where they are unrecognizable. Plus the vocals are buried just deep enough to where you really have to listen to make out what they’re saying, which in turn forces you to listen even closer to the music. Sneaky fucks. The rhythms are simple, repetitive, and catchy, pounding their way deep into your cranium. “Locked In” is my favorite, and all four of these songs are really good. But it’s “Locked In” that really makes me stop what I’m doing and listen. It’s the switching back and forth of the vocals, as well as the grinding distortion of the bass (I think that’s what it is). My only complaint about this record is that is only four songs. I want more. And I’m feeling lazy, and don’t want to have to keep getting up over and over to flip the record over and over.  –Matt Average (If Society)


FERAL TRASH:
Trashfiction: LP
Take that Vicious/Masshysteri stealthy, too cool sleekness and mix it with The Creeps’ creepiness. Having vocals from all three members gives these songs some serious depth. This is music to listen to at the bottom of a well. I slept on Fear Of Lipstick (one of those guys is in this band) ‘cause of the name, but I will not make the same mistake with Feral Trash. If you’re a fan of dark, melodic punk from Umeå and/or Ottawa, check out this record.  –Daryl Gussin (Mammoth Cave / Dirt Cult)


FINNEGAN’S HELL:
Drunk, Sick and Blue: CD
This is pretty legit-sounding Irish/Celtic punk from Sweden, which seems like an odd mix to me. The band is made up of a bunch of a group of Swedish punk and hard rock musicians that discovered Irish folk music. They all have the musical chops. These songs are all done very authentically with a punk twist, including some traditional Irish folk songs. If you’re a fan of Flogging Molly and The Pogues and think they would sound great together, then you’ll likely be into this too.  –Mark Twistworthy (Heptown)


FLYING FADERS:
No Sweat: LP
FACT: This is a surf rock record. OPINION: The songs with vocals are better than the songs without vocals. FACT: There is a cover of the Kids in the Hall theme song on the CD bonus tracks. OPINION: This record is still pretty good when they’re doing instrumental songs. QUESTION: What the hell is a flying fader? Clearly this record has a lot to teach us, but only if you really, really like surf rock. Maybe their next record will have more songs with vocals, then it will be super cool. Grade: B.  –Bryan Static (Wallride)


FORWARD:
Against Their Insanity: 12”
Twenty years or so, a handful of records and no signs of slowing down, this 12” takes this Japanese band to a new level of bulldozer-like intensity. The last few records had the band heading into an almost melodic territory; this one is straight-up hardcore attack. I’m sure any of you with even the slightest interest in Japanese hardcore will have heard of this lot: ex members of Deathside, Systematic Death, and Insane Youth. The sound of being beaten around the face and neck with a blunt instrument.  –Tim Brooks (540)


FRAU:
Punk Is My Boyfriend: 7”
Shrieking, angular discordance with enough riot grrrl sass that someone with a more eclectic record collection than mine might call it danceable—in a ghoulish art student party sort of way. Two out of three songs don’t break the one-minute mark, and the third wavers on the brink of collapse the whole way there. Crass never really meant much to me (so sue me), but weird punks looking for a chaotic modern offshoot of Penis Envy will probably get a kick out of this.  –Indiana Laub (Static Shock)


FROZEN TEENS:
Self-titled: 7”single
Two contrasting songs. “Oakland” is a loud and kind of thrashy rocking number that moves quick and forceful with a dirty guitar sound and somewhat belligerent vocals. The main riff hammers and the change-ups bash through. Though it’s “Footsteps” that I keep going back to. The guitar at the beginning brings to mind Pinback. Clean, dark, and just right. The songs bounce back and forth from quiet and introspective to loud and frustrated. The way they switch, and all the bits and pieces that come in during the changes to propel the song forward, are perfect. The way they tie it all up at the end is pret’near godhead. So nice!  –Matt Average (Starcleaner)


FULL SUN:
Itch: LP
Decided to give this one a spin on a lazy sunny weekday, one that needed a little jumpstart. It’s a well-rounded LP. Songs range from dreamy, fuzzed-out lo-fi to straight power pop. The standout song “Itch,” from which the title of this LP gets its name, is definitely worthy of such attention. Full Sun comes up with some pretty solid hooks, which can be a rarity. “The Storm,” “SweetCity,” and “Fortified” are great examples. Think Stone Roses mixed with the ever-stoned Memories and Ween. Reminds me of the all that lo-fi buzz coming out of Burger Records right now. –Camylle Reynolds (Let’s Pretend)


GIVE:
Electric Flower Circus: LP
The full-length debut from one of the most charismatic and interesting new hardcore bands in recent memory, Electric Flower Circus expands upon Give’s earlier output (a slew of singles and EPs, most of which were collected on 2013’s Singles Going Confetti) of “Revolution Summer”-influenced hardcore that hearkens that era’s penchant for emotional, dramatic punk rock while incorporating elements from hardcore’s more adventurous trailblazers (think Into Another, American Standard, Supertouch, Burn) and heavier, funk-tinged-metal ala The End of Silence-period Rollins Band. Give’s unique, rather accessible approach coupled with its somewhat cultish, flowery shtick has made the band a hot little ticket for some time now and this killer LP will only serve to broaden the “flowerhead” fanbase. Great stuff.  –Dave Williams (Moonflower)


GLUE:
Self-titled: EP
Great, great, great record! Chunky hardcore with a thick and dense wall of noise and a vocalist who sounds like he’s frothing at the mouth. “Opportunist” opens with a thundering roll before everyone else—coming in and laying waste with a back and forth tempo. By far the best of these four ragers, though, is “Backwards Society,” that moves at a mid tempo, laying out who’s really the one who’s fucked up, and, “You’re the freak, not me.” You better recognize!  –Matt Average (Katorga Works / Video Disease)


GO BETTY GO:
Reboot: CD
They sing so sweetly. They kick so much ass. They don’t have two “Go”s in their name for nothing. There is a Spanish cover of Elastica’s “Stutter.” The rock is powerful with these ones, but it is kind of generic and wouldn’t be out of place on any remaining “alt-rock” station. It’s just a little too polished for me.  –Lisa Weiss (Self-released)


GOOCHI BOIZ, THEE:
Fast Food for the Teenage Soul/Oops: LP
You will need to get past the name, but Thee Goochi Boiz are alright. Standard garage turkey songs with a few K Records-style softer moments (“Why You Gotta Be Mean to Me”), which ups their charm quotient considerably. It’s not full twee, but there’s a suggestion of other emotions besides “party time.” Maybe because it’s on Windian, I trust it more? Fast Food for the Teenage Soul (the more recent of the two cassettes re-issued on this LP) is stronger, though Oops is pleasantly high school in a lunch table with friends way. It’s ridiculous, but ridiculous is a good thing to be, mostly.  –Matt Werts (Windian)


GRISWALDS, THE:
Beyond the Television Scream: CD
So the three dudes on the front are in leather jackets, t-shirts, sneakers, and one has a baseball cap on his coconut. Hmmm... might they sound like the Queers? Upon consultation, they do in fact sound just like that. They even have an homage of sorts in their “High School Psychopath Pt. 3,” which is introduced on record by none other than Joe Queer himself. So, what you see on the cover is what you get, and the Griswalds don’t disappoint in that regard, even if musically they don’t have quite the intriguing hooks that the Queers do/did. Yet I will always want this band to be named the Clark W. Griswolds.  –The Lord Kveldulfr (Monster Zero)


GUN CLUB:
Fire of Love: LP
The one that started it all. Gun Club’s 1981 debut LP Fire of Love is back courtesy of Porterhouse Records, re-mastered for maximum of immortality. With both Tito Larriva (Plugz) and Chris D. (Flesh Eaters) helming the production, Fire of Love is a sauntering, cyclonic escapade of twanged-out perfection. Anyone familiar with this band knows how essential this record is. But to the uninitiated, if you like X and The Cramps and wanna dig a little deeper into seedy L.A. punk rock history: check out this band, and start with this record. Undeniable classic.  –Daryl Gussin (Porterhouse)


HARD ACTION:
Dead Dogs: 7”
Bring on the rock, and I mean that in the best possible way. Hard Action is a Scandinavian rock band, which I got from the record cover alone before I heard the tunes. Thank god bands like this still exist. Seriously. I grew up in the nineties, for fuck sakes. The Hellacopters Payin’ the Dues changed my world. It’s a shame this genre has largely fizzled out. Well, apparently not, considering this ripping single on Svart Records. Two blasters along the lines of The Peepshows meets Zeke. Oh, and in typical Euro fashion, impeccable packaging on this single: pocket sleeve with shrink wrap and all. A perfect product for a debut release.  –Steve Adamyk (Svart)


HARES, THE:
Smoking in Bed: CD
Picked this up outta the piles after seein’ a tune titled “Alvarado Sun.” Yep, never let it be said I’m not easily swayed. Was a little wary when I noticed the horn section—such things too often scream “bad ska”—so I was a bit surprised by what came out of the speakers. What yer getting here is a wild mix of punk, rock’n’roll and deep south jump blues. Think Top Jimmy And The Rhythm Pigs on a five-day meth bender burning a New Orleans juke joint to the ground and you’re on the right track. Shit’s tight, fun, appropriately over the top, and I’m certain their live sets are off the chain.  –jimmy (Saustex)


HARLAN T BOBO:
Too Much Love: CD
Harlan T. Bobo mixes the vocal inflections of Andrew Bird and the tone of Tom Waits. Too Much Love opens strong with “Only Love,” which is just the right amount of melancholy. Reminiscent of “Back in the Crowd,” the song sounds as if Tom Waits were singing me a bedtime lullaby. After the first two songs I was excited, expecting a texturally rich and unique experience. Instead, I was met with a mishmash of genres and loose ends. Harlan never pushes his singing into realms that are exciting or interesting. Rather, he relies on the same vocal inflections that are too well within his comfort zone. Also, he overuses spoken word portions, which emphasizes a lack of lyrical prowess and ranges from dull to creepy—I would not recommend listening to “Stop” alone in the dark. With the exception of few standout songs that leave me with hope for a stronger LP the next time around, Too Much Love left me feeling meh.  –Ashley (Goner)


HASSLER:
Fed Worked and Watered: LP
Guttural, John Brannon-esque vocals backed by fist-pumping hardcore punk in the vein of Out Cold. It’s thick as steak, and just as juicy. Frustration and anger are pretty common themes for punk songs, but I particularly appreciate their track “Snowbound” which is a blunt attack on people who complain about Toronto’s weather, “Shut it up / Suck it up / If you don’t like it / Move.” If you need something to warm you up, Hassler is white hot. Features members of Brutal Knights and Reprobates.  –Daryl Gussin (Deranged)


HELLBASTARD:
Sons of Bitches: 12” EP
I’m sorry, Hellbastard, but this is bullshit. I could maybe look past the fact that you used twelve inches of vinyl for four songs, but you listed six on the sleeve. Sorry, “Wolfsong” is just the sound of wolves howling. That doesn’t count as a song. Neither does the throwaway reggae track, “Throw the Petrol Bomb.” To make matters worse, I’ve heard the four songs before. Three of them are on the split with Dresden. One is a rerecording of an old track. Don’t get me wrong, these songs are killer, and I said as much in my review of the Dresden split (seriously dudes, those guitar solos!). But why did you release them again, making it look like there’s twice as much stuff when there really isn’t? I think your fans should just buy the Dresden split. More metal for their dollars.  –mp (Patac)


HOBO BASTARD:
Strange Wang: LP
Who are these guys? Are they someone’s favorite band somewhere? Is this cover supposed to be a tribute to the bad Photoshopped graphic design of twenty or twenty-five years ago, or is it on the level? Do they think they sound like the Ergs? Does the singer not know he keeps missing notes regularly, or is that his thing? Wouldn’t a good working definition of “good production” on a punk album be “it sounds good but it doesn’t sound like anyone spent a lot of time or money trying to make it sound good?” Where do these songs end and begin? Wouldn’t a lyric sheet have been a good idea? What happened to choruses? Are any of these song titles even in the song lyrics? Why do people write songs in time signatures where the top number is a multiple of three and the bottom number is a power of two? How many tempo changes can a record have before it stops holding any hope of a claim to being rock’n’roll? Oh! I kind of like this line in “Four Chords of Fucking Shit” that goes “I hope when my song is gone no one remembers.”Challenge accepted!BEST SONG: “Four Chords of Fucking Shit” BEST SONG TITLE: “Stoner Jam in BonerLand” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The message “I am the walrus, coo coo cachoo” (sic) is etched into the run-off grooves of both sides.  –norb (Boomchock!)


HOLLOW MOUNTAIN:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Potent, pithy garagy punk/rock. The lyrics flirt dangerously close with the hippie-dippy border, but the tunes here are strong and likely come across even better in a live setting.  –jimmy (Hollow Mountain)


HOT MAYONNAISE:
Bathroom Tapes, Vol. 1: Cassette
This is a very appropriate band name. Gross, sloppy, definitely needs cleaning up. Basement punk served messy. Grade: B.  –Bryan Static (Self-released)


HOUSE OF LIGHTNING:
Lightworker: LP
House Of Lightning is one of those bands that defy categorization. Certainly heavy, with a ton of low end that makes the room vibrate. You can feel every bass note moving across a wooden floor. There’s a thick guitar sound with razor-sharp distortion, but these guys are far from typical of metal, or hard rock, or whatever. House Of Lightning consists of members from Cavity, Floor, and Dove, and those bands weren’t typical either. Maybe it’s the vocals? Usually, for modern heavy bands, you have a singer who screams and yells, or growls and grunts in low tones. Here, the vocalists actually sing! Think of Om, but not in the chanting or prayer-like way the vocals from Om are delivered. There are also aspects of this that remind me of late ‘80s DC bands like Kingface and late period Scream. Complex song structures that change tempo on a dime, sometimes soaring, sometimes an intense workout. It’s as though they’ve run free jazz through a doom metal filter. Like I said, this is a band not easily pinned down. At the end of the day, it’s the music that counts, and not the niche. Something to listen to, give yourself over to, and zone out.  –Matt Average (Fair Warning)


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