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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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SHAKEDOWNS, THE:
Self-Titled: CD
Take a little Hives, thrown in some Northwestern nouveau-punk and add an Endino production and you get this. –jimmy (Morphius)


SERMON, THE:
Volume: CD
Stop me if you’ve heard this one in the last twenty years or so, but i think the hottest rockin’ album of the month is on... Alternative Tentacles? Straight-up garage a la the Makers or Cynics (minus the fixation on the tambourine as an instrument of male pleasure), with the operative difference being that they actually print the lyrics—and they’re not about how the singer’s penis is actually that of a large, fearsome, stylish wolf or anything of that nature, either. Wacky! What can i say? A garage album that would not sound at all out of place taped on the back of the same cassette as you have your Knockout Pills album taped on the front of. What i find most amusing is how the songs with outright sociopolitical content—“No Beast So Fierce,” “Luzerne County,” “Hand to Hand”—are smirkfully reminiscent of the two-“worship”-songs-minimum that i understand performers are required to commit to before obtaining gigs at Christian coffeehouses. All the same, i can’t say as i saw this ‘un coming. Keen. BEST SONG: “Tender Sin,” but i also really like the psychedelic “Surprise,” although it kind of pissed me off that i spent so much time trying to figure out who originally did it before i saw that it was written by the drummer. BEST SONG TITLE: “491”—what can i say? Prime numbers command respect! FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: If the song “Exterminator” is, as it appears, to be about the William S. Burroughs book of the same name, my understanding is that it should end with an exclamation point. –norb (Alternative Tentacles)


SCURVY DOGS:
It’s All Gonna End: CD
These San Francisco punks have a sound that I would say fits in perfectly with the music that was being hosted in the now-defunct Burnt Ramen and Mission Records, but may not fit in with what I see booked at Gilman. I’m not a local of the Bay Area by any means, but from my personal experiences the past couple of decades and first-hand accounts from friends, this is my perception. A fast punk sound that has dirty almost gutter punk edge to it that reminded me of the Battalion of Saints. Screamed vocals over fast guitar parts that are played precisely but can fall apart at any moment. The drummer sounds as if he had one too many speedballs and bangs away trying to release all the built up adrenaline. If this is how they sound in a studio, imagine how they will sound live. Brutal. –don (Rodent Popsicle)


SCRAGS, THE:
A Three Act Trash’n’roll Show in Mono: Demo CD
The title of this demo pretty much says it all. It’s three trash’n’roll songs that sound like they were recorded in someone’s basement. The Scrags tread the same ground as The Humpers or The Loud Pipes. It’s beer soaked rock’n’roll. On one hand, it’ll get a punk rocker’s foot tapping, but on the other hand, if The Scrags played the bar in a bowling alley, the greasers there would probably dig it. Not totally original, but well done. –sean (www.thescrags.com)


SATAN’S PILGRIMS:
Plymouth Rock: CD
I’ve had a soft spot for surf music ever since I became fascinated with both Agent Orange and JFA, so this collection, an apparent “best of” set from a Northwestern group who were contemporaries, but apart from, the grunge scene that took over that area of the country in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, was a nice bit of listening for me. It’s all surf instrumentals—thirty tracks worth—and they’re mighty fine tunes at that. I’d heard the name before, but had never bothered to investigate, so this was a nice, welcome surprise. Cool take on the Godfather theme, too. –jimmy (MuSick)


RUMBLESEAT:
Discography: CD
A few years ago, at the height of my appreciation for all things Hot Water Music, a friend of mine taped a few Rumbleseat songs for me, telling me that it was a country side project of Chuck and Chris from Hot Water Music. It started off with the song “Picker,” and I wasn’t too impressed. The tape continued with “Saturn in Crosshairs” and it made me very glad that I kept listening. I feel the same way about this CD. The upbeat songs, whether they’re about getting drunk or being “crazier than a shithouse rat,” are pretty hokey, like Hee Haw but not as funny. I’d rather listen to a whole album of the slow burners like “Trestles.” It’s full of everything that’s been missing from the recent Hot Water Music material, and it’s amazing. In the end, even though there are songs I don’t like, I wore out my Rumbleseat tape and I’m glad I have a replacement for it. –Josh (No Idea)


ROSETTA WEST:
X Descendant: CD
“Savage and psychedelic blues” which, while occasionally psychedelic, is practically never savage and bears more resemblance to Creedence Clearwater Revival than to either X or the Descendents. I suspect the psychedelic part comes from ingestion of that kind of LSD that makes every little guitar doodle seems really fuckin’ awesome, not to mention the worst version ever of “Shakin’ All Over.” Bayou doodlerock. –Cuss Baxter (Alive)


REPERCUSSION:
And the Winner Is...: CD
“Waiting in the alley with bats in our hands / Standing by the exit ready to smash your face in / Blood–stained brass knuckles taped for fit / Once we start this beatdown, we won’t quit...” Those lyrics alone sums up what I think of this band. East Coast jock hardcore. –don (Spook City)


RED FLAG 77:
Stop the World: CD
Some mighty fine Limey punk rock here that sometimes sounds like a weird crossbreed of the Hard-Ons, Leatherface, and some old oi band I can’t quite place, especially on “Time Has Been Called,” and they manage to do justice to the Clash’s “What’s My Name,” a feat considerably more difficult than one would guess. Some work was put into making this, and it shows. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


REATARDS, THE:
Bedroom Disasters: CD
The Reatards are a band that has gained a lot of notoriety since they broke up, as they have gone on to turn underground music on its ear in bands like the Lost Sounds and Destruction Unit, but this collection of their early stuff is proof that they should be remembered on their own merits and not just as a footnote. Wait a second. What am I doing? Am I trying to analyze the Reatards? Forget that. Here’s what you need to know: it’s a forty-minute mess of wild, unhinged Memphis slop made by kids who probably weren’t old enough to drive. The sound quality is better than you might expect considering that most of it was recorded in a bedroom onto a cassette tape that has spent a few years in a dusty shoebox. It’s worth getting just for the song “Teenage Hate.” –Josh (Empty)


REATARDS, THE:
Bedroom Disasters: CD
High expectations: legendary teenage band with only two full-length albums, members all in other great bands now, release a compilation of singles and “lost” songs from cassette tapes found in dusty boxes. Expectations met. This is rock and roll. –mike (Empty)


REACTORS, LOS:
Dead in the Suburbs: CD
After decades of releases featuring bands aping the “Killed by Death” sound, Rip Off finally hits pay dirt by managing to secure some of the real thing. This is the recorded works of a late ‘70s/early ‘80s punk band from Oklahoma, of all places, who at the time of their existence managed only a few singles. Those are included here, along with a live set to round things off. In all, some great tunes here and kudos are due to Lowery for making ‘em available again. –jimmy (Rip Off)


RANCID VAT:
We Hate You All the Way from Texas: CD
These white trash motherfuckers hate me all the way from Texas. But I hate Texas, so everything kind of evens out. The music has a thrashy, power-chorded barbecue flavor. In fact, yes, I am going to compare them to barbecue sauce: sometimes you love it, sometimes you hate it. They say they’ve been around since ‘81, and you would think they would have perfected a Ramones cover over that time, but instead they butcher it with just enough reverb on the vocals to fuck it up, although they make up for it with track six, “I’ll Never Make It Out of This World Alive.” All in all, this album isn’t all that bad. Gabe Rock –Guest Contributor (Steel Cage)


RAJBOT:
Self-Titled: 7"
Barely irritating experimental hip-hop on marbled vinyl. The ones without the raps are better. –Cuss Baxter (Sedition)


Q AND NOT U:
Book of Flags b/w X-Polynation: 7"
Spaz post-punk dancecore from this trio from DC. Musically off-kilter and angular with almost chant-like vocals. The “Dischord Sound” is slightly evident but not overbearing. This was released in September of ‘03 and recorded at Inner Ear with Ian himself. Very dynamic and quirky. You think you can’t dance to punk? Well, ya fucking can. Definitely worth picking up. –Buttertooth (Dischord)


PONIES, THE:
Self-Titled: 7"
Dunno if it’s all that desert heat or the fact that they live so close to a big hole in the ground, but Arizona cranks out some mighty interesting bands. Noisy, silly, and weird in all the right ways, these kids are. –jimmy (Knifechase)


PINEY GIR:
Peakahokahoo: CD
Twee synth-pop which sounds like little more than incidental music for early Nintendo games. –scott (Greyday)


PIDGEON:
From Gutter with Love: CD
Discordant, disjoined noise. These songs try to have an expansive sweep, but wind up sounding like a mess of screamed and crooned vocals, mismatched instrumentation, and misguided attempts at swooning shoegaze—it’s a bit like combining the worst excesses of early 1990s indie bands with none of the melodies or artistic conceits that made any of them interesting. Rapidly shifting between styles really doesn’t make the music more dynamic or engaging—it just makes this album a stylistic, inconsistent, and incoherent mess. –scott (Absolutely Kosher)


PAX CECILIA, THE:
Nouveau: CD
This is an odd musical of sorts that entails three acts. The music is super mellow in a symphonic way and changes direction at times to a more metallic emo sound. Closest thing I can think that this might sound like is Jethro Tull. –don (The Pax Cecilia)


PAUL IS DEAD:
Let the Losers Slug It Out: CD
Noise pop sure to wet the panties of Sonic Youth, shoegazer and college rock fans alike. –jimmy (Five Sister)


ORGAN, THE:
Grab That Gun: CD
Female fronted gloom pop not too derivative to be quickly dismissed, but also not so consistently enthralling to elicit a heartfelt “wow” when it was over. –jimmy (Mint)


ONE INCH PUNCH, THE:
Horsehead Nebula: CD
Violin + screeching + Zeppelin + jazz + outerspace + algebraic calculus + metal + “becoming unwound” = eclectocrap: I get bored and keep wandering out of the room, forgetting what I’m supposed to be doing. Martian doodlerock. –Cuss Baxter (Collective)


OFF WITH THEIR HEADS:
Fine-tuning the Bender: 7" EP
The A side, “I Hope You All Die,” sounds like Bob Mould’s vocals over a sea shanty with “I scream, you shout” dual vocals, accompanied by a dirgey organ, which puts it in the same punk minefield as latter day Murder City Devils. The B side and title track starts off the same, then steps on the Crimpshrine accelerator, switches on the J-Church rhythm section, and muffler sparks behind it. After the breakdown, some violin or high string comes in, and it doesn’t bend at the waist and suck emo boobie. Not a bad debut 7”. I like Minneapolis. –todd (Redemption)


NOVI SPLIT:
Keep Moving: CD
This sounds so much like Bright Eyes that I kept expecting Conor Oberst to jump out of my CD player and ask if I, like, had a hairbrush anywhere, dude. I don’t mean that to sound dismissive because this is well done, lo-fi indie pop, but it’s so similar as to be almost identical to music you might expect to find on Saddle Creek. –scott (Sunset Alliance)


NOODLE MUFFIN:
Regime Change: CD
I dunno, at this late date, listening to over an hour’s worth of anti-Bush snippets, sound bytes, loops and dance remixes titled Regime Change is a little too much like listening to a whole CD of Dewey Defeats Truman, and i’m Dewey. Alas. BEST SONG: “Bush in 200 Words or Less” BEST SONG TITLE: “Kiss My Ashcroft” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: John Kerry gave a “porchside chat” in the yard of a neighbor’s house literally a block away from mine this summer, and i sat on the porch eating Taco Bell™ and drinking a 40 while i watched the people streaming by, because i had no idea what was going on. –norb (Noodle Muffin)


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