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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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HIPBONE SLIME AND THE KNEE TREMBLERS:
Confidential: 7"
Two songs of stripped down rock’n’roll in the Billy Childish style. This little seven inch boasts some back-up vocals by punk rock’s answer to Nancy Sinatra, Holly Golightly. Veteran of the Milkshakes and the Masonics, Mickey Hampshire, lends his vocals and guitar. And the rest of the Childish cronies conspire to belt out two songs that could make Alan Freed dance in his coffin. –sean (Voodoo Rhythm)


HELLSTOMPER:
Fine… Forget It (1994-2004): CD
It’s southern rock that decided, fine, forget it, we suck. Their songs are about touring, alcohol, and being bad good ol’ boys. The rock’n’roll riffs and the country boy redneck style of vocals give meaning to NASCAR races: it just keeps going on and on and it doesn’t change. It’s Joe Dirt meets Puddle of Mudd. Dig a hole and bury it. –Guest Contributor (Steel Cage)


HELLBILLYS:
Blood Trilogy Vol. II: CD
The first thing I thought when the music came out of my speakers was a psychobilly version of H2O. Disagree? Tough. That is my opinion and you can call me a loser until the day I die. Psychobilly is so hit and miss, but this one will be a keeper. The songs have a stronger punk edge than the more traditional stuff that is common on the scene today. Faster is the key here and they sound like they go all out, not like the last Tiger Army release that made me drink more caffeine to stay awake. To go with all that, you get a Pushead cover, too! –don (Split Seven)


HEADWOUND:
Ginmill: CD
So-so, straight-ahead, hard-as-nails, shitty-luck punk. Nothing to begrudge them on, it’s just that I can’t pull one thing that makes them distinctive in any way, shape, or form. Includes a passable cover of John Denver’s “Leaving on a Jetplane." –todd (Haunted Town)


HATED PRINCIPLES:
MTA: 7"
Hated Principles were an early ‘80s LA punk band. They made their way onto some Mystic comps and released a pretty solid album, but they never really caught on. One of the former members of Hated Principles went on to become Donofthedead, Razorcake record reviewer. So, yeah, full disclosure: this is my buddy Don’s band’s seven inch. I’m always a little hesitant when a friend gives me his band’s record, because, if I don’t like it, I’m put in an uncomfortable situation. Luckily, I really like this seven inch. If I’m not mistaken, it’s two old Hated Principles songs re-recorded, and two newer songs. The songs explore the hardcore territory between Black Flag and Ill Repute, with a little Adolescents thrown in. There’s even a goofy, RKL-type song called “MTA” to wrap this record up. All four of these songs bring me back to a musical era that I love. It feels like a lost gem. I just think they should’ve been the Hated Principals. –sean (Gothic Gospel)


HATED PRINCIPLES:
MTA: 7" EP
Hated Principles have been around for awhile (starting in 1982 and they were on the We Got Power #3 comp.), popping up in strange places and at weird times. The last time I saw them, the singer Captain Anarchy was in a wheel chair with a broken leg and they were playing in something of an antiques/junk/collectibles store. The sides of the record are a split personality. The first two songs, “Punk’s Only a Word” and “Cops from Hell,” are straight ahead thrashers, reminiscent at different times, of MDC, Motörhead, and mid period DRI, where there are metally leads, but they’re kept—sorta—in check. The B-side’s “Blind Faith” and “M.T.A.” are death rock with pop overtones. Picture Christian Death lead by Lance Hahn of J Church singing. Both songs are actually quite catchy and pretty. Not a bad 7”. One of the members is Donofthedickies or something like that. –todd (Gothic Gospel)


HATED PRINCIPLES:
MTA: 7" EP
A certain Mr. Ofthedead plays bass in this band, and based on what I know of Don’s musical taste, it sounds like the kind of band that he would be in. The first song reminds me of mid-’80s crossover stuff, like Dealing with It by DRI, before crossover became full-blown metal. The second song, “Cops from Hell,” reigns the metal back in a little bit and sounds like Suicidal Tendencies, right down to the subject matter. The third song is completely out of left field and sounds like an awkward late ‘80s Ramones ballad. The fourth song brings it back into Suicidal territory with vocals bordering on falsetto. It’s better than every Suicidal Tendencies album that’s come out in the past twenty years, that’s for sure. –Josh (Gothic Gospel)


GREEN HORNET:
Backlash: 7"
Not to be confused with the Green Hornets, whom i believe were from England, the One True Hornet Of Greenitude first proffer a pounding slab of something-or-another called “High Heel Appeal,” which is not to be confused with “High Heel, Big Deal” (by the Spikes, was it?) which sounds like the kind of song that one hears when one walks into a show while one of the opening bands is playing their last song, and causes said observer to think that the band is not half bad, and perhaps they had erred in not catching more of the set, and this is followed by “Beat ‘em Up,” a keyboard-driven instrumental (with a brief Davie Allan & the Arrows fetish) that sounds like something the Waistcoats would have recorded at 45, but slowed down to 33 (or perhaps generic discotheque music from a 1967 B-movie or TV show), and is not to be confused with Muss ‘em Up Donovan, a pro-police brutality comic book cop from the late ‘30s. Side two starts with “Cheap Move,” another instrumental which is not, at any cost, to be confused with Cheap Trick, who covered the song “California Man” by The Move, and ends with “Teen-Age Trash,” which is not to be confused with “Teenage Treats” by the Wasps and has vocals. Not completely satisfying in and of itself, but potential-laden enough to pique one’s interest in future releases, or am i just confused? BEST SONG: “High Heel Appeal” BEST SONG TITLE: “Cheap Move,” because i like both those bands. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I am not so sure i am cool with there being no green on the record cover. –norb (Kuriosa)


GREAT REDNECK HOPE, THE:
Behold the Fuck Thunder: CD
While it’s more of the same as ‘Splosion!, more of the same from this band is simply fucking awesome. Sure, most of these songs are ridiculously short, but extending them would serve no purpose—much as early hardcore songs were extremely direct and frequently clocked in at the one-minute mark, TGRH simply gets the musical idea across and moves to the next song because there isn’t any practical reason to belabor the point. Again, TGRH’s wicked sense of humor is one of the focal points—song titles like “Let’s Fall in Love over AIM so We Can Fuck When We Meet at Cornerstone” do an outstanding job of revealing a skewed worldview while also neatly mocking pretty much everyone (with what seems to be more of a focus on religion this time out). Blistering technical riffs, throat-scorching screams—my girlfriend calls this sort of thing cat-fuck rock for a reason. –scott (Thinker Thought)


GBH:
Punk Junkies: CD
Okay, I’ll be the first to admit that this is not as bad as I thought it was eight years ago, when I first heard it and proclaimed it the biggest pile of, uh, aural misery I’d ever heard. I will also be the first to admit that I still don’t think it’s very good. The driving punk that made GBH so special had given way to mediocre heavy metal by this time this came out, and this is rife with fully realized chugga-chugga anthems sure to make the dirtheads pleased as punch but the punk rock punters perpetually perplexed. If you’re new to the GBH thang, stick to their early stuff, from Leather Bristles to City Baby’s Revenge and proceed with extreme caution from that point forward. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


FUE, THE:
The First EP: CDEP
Now having been a reviewer for two zines, it still amazes me what pieces of crap show up that do not fall under our coverage area. Case in point, this CD. We have all seen this before. A unknown band on the bill consisting of guys in their late ‘30s to early ‘40s. Crowd up by the front of the stage consists of family members and friends that look like they haven’t seen the dark side of 10:00 p.m. in over a decade. From the first chord to the last, you are bombarded by an array of boring rock songs that only they seem energized by. A release that would be in the quarter bin, no matter what decade. –don (Emerald City)


FUCKED UP:
Live: 12"
When I hear that there is a buzz on a band, a lot of times I look the other way. I can be a very selfish person and want to discover my own music. I have passed up many a good band because of their popularity. But I couldn’t hide from this one. I have bought most of their material for a friend in Finland but never had the inkling to take a sample. The only sample came off their appearance on the Toronto Omnibus comp. I liked what I had heard but could not get past my thick-headed ways and seek out more. By way of my brother, this was thrust upon me and I had to face this band head on. First off, I see that it was a live recording. Bias was building quickly and that was not on a positive note. But what the hey, it was on clear vinyl, one-sided, and was silk-screened on the record. The cover was also screened. The nerdiness inside was engorging from those points alone. The urge to put it away and never play it or to give it a spin was a tough choice. I gave in and pulled it out of its paper protection. First off, this sounds nothing like a live concert recording but a live recording in a studio on an audio eight track. Waves and waves of childhood memories flashed before my eyes. So raw. So pure. I was taken back in time to the birth of what some call hardcore. It was not a battle of who could play the fastest. It was every band playing what they thought was their interpretation of punk. I hate to use this analogy because so many people use this band like throw away toilet paper, but I have to reference this to the energy level of Black Flag. Also, I take elements of bands like Negative Approach, Offenders, and BGK to add to my description of what I hear. To record their stylings in a full-blown studio and dummying it down to sound more punk would have been a disservice. The in-studio live approach in audio is the perfect approach and medium to reproduce punk. To put this out on vinyl makes this even worthier. I have listened to this record more than five times and I have not grown tired. As things come full circle in terms of what comes around, this is a band that plays music that can stand the test of time. –don (Schizophrenic)


FUCK YOU UPS:
Black and Black and Black: CD
From the silhouetted, scoped rifles on the cover, to the title, to the band name, to the ominous riot cop with big teeth artwork on the insert, I was expecting anti-authority crust metal, something in line with what Profane Existence puts out. Not even close. Picture early Screeching Weasel: super snotty vocals that you’d swear were Ben’s at times, but they’re more political than mainly dealing with teenage fuckup-isms and fueled by less happy-sounding guitar work and you wouldn’t be too far off. Actually, it’s quite enjoyable, catchy, sneaky, and solid pop punk. –todd (File 13)


FRONTKICK:
Underground Stories: CD
I gotta be totally honest—I was wholly prepared to slam this right into the ground. I mean, it looks like some faux Hellcat release, with its punker pinup boy with zipper pants rockin’ a starred stereo on the front cover and black-and-white motif on the back. But then I put it on and, frankly, it’s not bad. Sure, it’s got that post-retro-oi/‘77 feel that seems to be all the rage, but there’s also a little more going on here. Listen closely, and you can almost hear a dash of After the Lights Go Out-era Channel 3 mooshed in there. It don’t ever reach light-speed in tempo like that band could when they were in the mood, but they’ve got at least a comparable amount of catchy hooks, and that makes all the difference. Also included is a faithful cover of the Clash’s “Career Opportunities,” which made me smile, ‘cause their Spanish accents render the word “jobs” into “yobs,” and there’s also a hidden track in Spanish that’s pretty good, too. I’m mightily impressed and this ‘un’s a keeper. –jimmy (Bronco Bullfrog)


FREE VERSE:
Generator: CD
This band has come a long way from their raw two-song CD I received back in ‘02. One song, “Mierda,” is re-recorded here. Back on that release, the band had a sound that reminded me of the early ‘80s death rock scene here in LA. Super Heroines meets 45 Grave mixed with some Rozz Williams/Rikk Agnew period Christian Death. On this new release, these aggressive women from Seattle have honed their chops and recorded in a better studio. The opening track, “No Crime, No Gain,” shows their power right off the bat. It’s an unusual blend of Kittie meets Lush trading metal riffing with some surf chord progressions. Track four, “Lost in Those Hours,” starts off deceivingly happy and bubble gum, but quickly turns ugly with some sludge and ends happy again. What a ride! From beginning to end, these three women play loosely around the formula of playing heavy—which is a good thing—but the other elements they bring to the table keep them from being predictable. –don (Buttermilk/Rodent Popsicle)


FREAK ACCIDENT, THE:
Self-Titled: CD
It’s the kind of record you pick up and think, “Wow, this sucks.” Then you listen to it more ‘cause you’re like, “Fuck, I paid umpteen bucks for the piece of shit,” and it grows on you like a fungus that makes you itch until you know all the words. Gabe Rock –Guest Contributor (Alternative Tentacles)


FRANTIC ATTAQUE:
Self-Titled: 7" EP
Trashy punk with hardcore frills here and there, kinda like the Gloryholes crossed with Street Trash, resulting in some rockin’ tunes. –jimmy (www.dieslaughterhausrecords.com)


FRAME:
The President's Neck is Missing: Cassette
The letter that came with it says, “I hope ya’ll review tapes, it seems to be the new fad not to review tapes,” which is funny because didn’t MRR quit reviewing tapes like fifteen years ago? And whether it’s new or old, I wouldn’t call not reviewing tapes a “fad”; call it a “necessity” maybe, on account of most tapes sound like ass, even if the songs themselves are good (which the four ones on here kind of are, in a slightly intricate but poppy punky way). It costs a dollar. –Cuss Baxter (Frame)


FORCED REALITY:
Unreleased and Under the Boot: CD
Musically, they run along post-Skrewdriver skinhead lines, and while lyrically they don’t seem to share that band’s political views on racial harmony, what they do have to say ain’t exactly brimming with wit or originality, tending to run along the hackneyed lines of drinking, fighting and crime. –jimmy (Thorp)


FLASHLIGHT ARCADE:
The Art of Blacking Out: CD
Youthful, dynamic emo, not that far away from Samiam (with just a few dashes of Thursday and Saves the Day thrown in for good measure). While this is well-done (i.e. the breakdowns all fall at the right time, the band starts and stops at the moments which this style dictates and the singer has the proper sound of yearning in his voice), well-produced (i.e. in a studio, not on a cassette recorder in a garage) and sounds as though it might go over swimmingly on the Warped Tour, this just isn’t my thing. –scott (On The Rise)


FLAPJACKS, THE:
Move to Mars: CD
...i think i was pretty much at the forefront of the anti-rockabilly counter-movement around 1981/82, when rockabilly was briefly adapted as the “it” music du jour by a number of trend-surfing suburban American teens; further, the whole “Renaissance Faire” aspect of things (as Todd Kellner of Trick Knee records once astutely pointed out) makes rockabilly an understandably easy target for showers of disdain from people who believe themselves to be enmeshed in a more worthy musical movement. True dat, bro, but, when all is said and done, it must be admitted that, despite all the amputations, rockabilly is an inherently GOOD music. The beat, the rhythms, the syncopations, the basslines—this stuff is the birthright of all Americans; anything you, as an American, perceive amiss with Rockabilly In General can and should be considered the result of mere operator error. That said, i’d likely stick around sucking Schlitz™ ‘til closing time with the Flapjacks were they to play at one of my local watering holes, but, given a good half-century of other rockabilly recordings clamoring for consumer attention, i am not so sure this one cracks the Top 1000 (if the Move to Mars theme was, in fact, an attempt to finish up the Holy Trinity started by Rocket to Russia and Saucer to Saturn, i withdraw that last allegation entirely). BEST SONG: “I Ain’t the One”—“Deep Purple-a-billy” is really a term that should get more use. BEST SONG TITLE: “Move to Mars” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I used to think that Bender’s classic line in the second episode of Futurama™ was “I’m starting my own amusement parkwith flapjacks! And hookers!”—not “with blackjack! And hookers!” Aw, forget the blackjack! –norb (Last Chance)


FKS/HE WHO CORRUPTS:
Split: 7"
A split 7” from a couple of Illinois grindcore/crust/noise/punk bands. Christ, I didn’t know bands like this even considered the 7” as a viable format. I got to say thank god they do ‘cuz this slab o’ wax hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks (back side of the head, never saw it coming) and twisted my zine reviewin’ realm all upside down and inside and out. I reckon these lads have some Arab on Radar records in the house and know what words like HydraHead and Relapse mean in the grand scope of mindfuck rock’n’roll. I’ve got to wipe that drool off my lip now as I ponder the age-old question: Should I have played that at 33 rpms or 45 rpms? Like a Butthole Surfers record, it worked both ways. –greg (Take It Back)


FIREBIRD BAND, THE:
City at Night: CD
Funny—I remember this band more as an angular, post-punk trio playing edgy music than a duo playing glitchy songs for coked-out electro-clash hipster fuckheads wrapped in blue cellophane. Since I didn’t like Braid in the first motherfucking place, I will simply acknowledge that, while I appreciated The Firebird Band’s first record, this one does exactly fuck all for me. –scott (Bifocal Media)


FIGHTING CHANCE:
Sacrifice and Struggle: CD
A self-proclaimed “working class street rock’n’roll” band from Baltimore, Maryland, Fighting Chance tap into early NYHC (Agnostic Front, Warzone, Cro-Mags) mixing in a good dose of metal (thick chords, quick, slinky leads) into the tough guy hardcore formula. They stick with the basic m.o. of the genre—rallying against the man, never giving in, and uniting the punks and skins—and they do it well. Nothing to complain about here except maybe the shitty production values which rivals that of Underdog’s first LP or Youth of Today’s We’re Not in This Alone. Another complaint (albeit a very small one) was the fact that my attention wasn’t held for one complete listen. But that’s because Fighting Chance had me jonesing to hear S.O.A. and one can never pass up an opportunity like that, now can they? –greg (Insurgence)


FIGHTING CHANCE:
Party Lies: 7"
I have been accused of being an asshole many of times through the years. I am human. Some people should never be behind a microphone. At least find a brand of music that fits your vocal style (if you have any). Also, there are so many effects, harmonizers and plug-ins that can enhance a voice. The singer is so monotone and dry, and it is barely in key. It sounds almost laughable. Reminds me of those terrible white power bands with the third grade lyrics and the remedial song structures. It just does not have any oomph! On a lot of this record, the drummer sounds like he goes off time. The guitar sounds like it’s being played out of a practice amp. The drums are also thin and the cymbals are the loudest sound in the mix. The bass is the only thing that sounds good. The only power I hear is the gravely delivery of the singer. Man, that was bad. At least they have a nice cover and were pressed on red colored vinyl. –don (Insurgence)


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·Punk Parenthood For The Sleep Deprived Part 3
·CONDORS, THE
·SHINOBU / ALBERT SQUARE, THE
·EAR DAMAGE
·CYNICS, THE
·Character Development Time
·TV EYE
·PAUL MICHEL
·BLACK CARROT


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