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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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TEN WORDS FOR SNOW/ HAIR SHIRT:
Split: 7"
This is an indie rock split 7”. Both bands are from Michigan, I think. TWFS has a big rock sound reminiscent of Cheap Trick with keyboards. Maybe some Superchunk or Pixies influence as well. It’s worth hearing. Hair Shirt is the flipside. The sound seems loosely inspired by bands like the Cure, Les Savy Fav, Pere Ubu, and the early Merge records style. Not amazing, but still good. I guess I’m a sucker for melodic, droning rock at times. –Buttertooth (Boyarm)


SUPERKOLLIDER:
Atomic Clock: CD
This is fucking horrible. Lame, uninspired nu-metal that would even put Limp Bizkit fans to sleep. Go right now and turn on MTV or Fuse or something and wait for the first “metal” video that you see. It sounds exactly like this shit. Yawn. –ben (www.superkollider.com)


STNNNG:
Dignified Sissy: CD
With hints of the Minutemen, this noisy art band doesn’t attract my attention with its take on the overdriven noise rock thing. –don (Modern Radio)


SNATCHED OF PINK:
Stag: CD
Take a Black Crowes 45 and play it 33 RPM and this is what you get. –don (MoRisen)


SLOPPY MEATEATERS:
Conditioned by the Laugh Track: CD
First off, I’d like to note that I do not need a band called Sloppy Meateaters telling me about the “web of possibilities” and how there is “no absolute reality.” This is what they have drum circles for. So, onward. From the band name and a look at the insert’s multiple band photos, I’d swear these kids weren’t out of high school. But said insert also notes that one of the dudes is twenty-five, so my theory’s blown. But listening to the record, you’d swear that these kids were still waiting for someone to ask them to Sadie Hawkins: they sound like that one band that every post-Nirvana high school had. The one that was made up of guys who were all insanely talented musicians, who rocked their high school talent show hard, guys who wore different colored socks as a way to set themselves apart and listened to Armenian polka 78s as much as they listened to Bad Religion. Conditioned by the Laugh Track is peppered throughout with that kind of inherent schizophrenia. You’ve got your very occasional “punky” moments, your “grunge” moments, your vaguely “indie” moments, and your ballads. Like I said, they essentially seem like a young and talented rock band that’s trying to encompass too much; their feet are walking down a lot of different sonic avenues here. The result is a record that has its occasional moments but carries no real urgency or coherency. –keith (Orange Peal)


SLOBOT VS. THE MINOTAUR:
Self-Titled: CD/DVD
This shit is weird. I listened to the CD first, and it was mostly just a bunch of ambient noise with an occasional minimalist bass riff thrown in here and there. I put in the DVD and it was much more enjoyable, and it featured all the music from the CD anyway. The DVD is a home movie production about a dude in a cardboard box mask who goes to a self storage lot and fights a dude in a minotaur mask. Think Kaiju Big Battel on a much lower budget. It wasn’t particularly moving or funny or anything, and I probably would have liked it more if I’d been more stoned. I wouldn’t go out of my way to get this if I were you, but if you happen to see it, it’s worth sitting through the whole twenty minute DVD, I guess. –ben (Uterine Fury)


SLEATER-KINNEY:
The Woods: CD
Sometimes I get a release and think I should really like a band from what I have read elsewhere. It crushes me when I listen and just don’t get it. I really thought I was going to like this. The drums come out way too bright. The vocal delivery sounds a little too artsy with wails of a heroin addict. The superfuzz to twangy sound of the guitars sound so done before. Too college radio for me. –don (Sub Pop)


SAD LIVES OF THE HOLLYWOOD LOVERS, THE:
Silencer: CDEP
Decent enough indie pop with liberal sprinkles of ‘80s Brit-pop, loud guitars, and gloominess to keep things interesting. –jimmy (Spinsgood)


READYMEN, THE:
Self-Titled: CD
Ska punk, with equal parts of both mixed into each song. –jimmy (Jumpstart)


POST, THE:
In the Event of Tomorrow: CD
All I could think of is, “Am I listening to the Cure or is this the Birthday Party?” I don’t know. –don (Jalisco)


PAUL MICHEL:
These Are All Beautiful Things: CD
Too beautiful, if you ask me. I like this record; it’s a quiet, singer-songwriter thing in the vein of Ryan Adams, but without the sensibility of desperation. The whole thing just sounds so nice, and I can’t decide how comfortable I am with that. I want to say it’s like Ryan Adams meets Peter, Paul and Mary, but that’s not quite right. Regardless, if you get into such stuff, I’m sure that this would be an exquisite addition to the collection, but for me it can only be background music for more introspective moments late in the night. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Magic Bullet)


PAMA INTERNATIONAL:
Float Like A Butterfly: CD
Former members of the Specials, Madness, the Paul Weller Band, and Special Beat get together to record—what else?—an album’s worth of ska, rocksteady, and dub. The results are, for the most part, entertaining, if not quite as memorable or incendiary as their former bands’ work, and a few of the tunes (“Man Bites Dog,” for instance) show a bit of the old spark still exists in there somewhere. –jimmy (Asian Man)


PAGES, THE:
Creatures of the Earth: CD
This sounds like a less rockin’ They Might Be Giants, which seems rather fitting as these cats are also from NY. My daughter got jiggy with it during the car ride! That’s always a plus. –mp (Unsound)


OXFORD SET, THE:
Self-Titled: CDEP
‘60s mod/garage that lacked a little vibrancy for my tastes. Not that the sound was mono, but it had a dullness that quite didn’t catch my ear. –don (The Oxford Set)


ODD CLOUDS:
Liquid Moon Ritual: CDEP
Sounds like improvisational noisemongering, with trombones, drums, congas, and a guy screaming somewhere in the background. If it’s done solely to annoy, it is blissfully successful. –jimmy (Casanova Temptations)


NATCHEZ SHAKERS, THE:
Shaker Hymns No.2: CD
A bland attempt at Irish folk from Alabama/Tennessee. It sounds as if they’re trying really hard to be like the Pogues, but coming across as a sub-par Flogging Molly. I’m not very impressed. –Guest Contributor (Arkam)


MINKS, THEE:
Are You Ready Now?: CD
If Joan Jett dug ‘60s trash rock enough to actually dabble in it, her efforts would no doubt sound like this. Good cover of DMZ’s “First Time,” too. –jimmy (Steel Cage)


MATTY POP CHART:
Good Old Water: CD
Mediocre acoustic punk stuff here. Nice group vocals, but the goods seem to end there. It’s almost like the bad outtakes from a Muppet soundtrack. –mrz (Plan-It-X)


MAJOR CONFLICT:
Sounds Like 1983: CD
Mixed bag—what we’ve got is one of those completist CDs that compiles a long-forgotten band’s limited vinyl output, along with various outtakes, unreleased tracks, and live stuff. Reminds me somewhat of the discs Grand Theft Audio was putting out a few years ago—finding fallen-by-the-wayside bands, long forgotten, and releasing stuff that had seen a limited-as-shit release run even back when it originally came out. So, Major Conflict was a NY hardcore band that was around for a short time in ‘82-’83; they apparently released one 7” and played a bunch of shows. They’ve got a few songs on here, like “Still Far Away” and “Stand by Your Guns,” that are just straight forward, honest, and catchy punk stuff that sounds eerily like early Sham 69 minus the accents, if you can believe that. Just really solid, melodic, and tough songs. Unfortunately, there’s only four or five songs like that. The rest of their studio stuff is taken up by their attempts at sounding like Agnostic Front, despite their less than stellar equipment and recordings, and the live stuff is pretty much ineffectual, either due to its poor sound quality or the band’s tendency for guitar wankery or slow, echo-filled dirges that go on for way too long. But for those people that were around then and want to meander back down memory lane for a bit, or those interested in checking out a page of New York punk history, grab this up. –keith (Mad At The World)


KASH:
Open: CD

I think after someone read my last review of this band, this was sent to me as some kind of sick joke. I tried to approach this with a different perspective but at the end all I could come up with to describe this release is a haiku:

Played this CD loudly

A pencil in my eardrum

Is less painful

I also do kids’ birthday parties for dirt cheap.

–koepenick (Sickroom)


INMEMORY:
In So Many Words: CD
Flashy, nu-emo rock that’s all the rage today with the kids. But, for me, tortured screams do not equal real emotion. Competent playing, but no song ever breaks out of that musical straightjacket. Bands like this are in rags like Alternative Press every month and that’s pretty much why I use most of that magazine for spare toilet paper. –koepenick (Doughmain)


HOLY MOUNTAIN, THE:
Entrails: CD
This band plays some serious hardcore shit. From the second the CD begins, it is unbelievably fast-paced beats and gritty, with snotty, screaming vocals. This band is not messing around. I am not a hardcore fan, so this is definitely not my CD, but any real fan of hardcore will enjoy this. Though, I do appreciate some of the album art: specifically the reconfiguration of the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe as a bird in her cloak with bullets lined as her glow. –jenny (No Idea)


HARRY BALZAGNA & THE TEENIE WEENIES:
Front Side Grind: 10"
...i had to look at this record for quite a while to dope out what the fuck they did with it, but, after some analysis, i was able to figure out that it is a one-sided clear vinyl record, with both the front AND back artwork silkscreened on the b-side. The design elements visible on the a-side were silkscreened first, backwards, on the b-side, then the b-side elements were printed on top of the a-side elements, right-side up—sooooo, when you look thru the clear vinyl of the a-side, you see the back of the b-side artwork, which is where the a-side artwork was printed (and, since you’ve got the record flipped around now, it’s miraculously unbackwards). The record is then gaily festooned with regular record labels, and displayed in an open-hole paper sleeve, with more art screened on said sleeve. Gawrsh, Mickey! First song is an instrumental thrasher, the type of thing bands started their sets off with in 1983/84 so’s their singer could work himself into a bozo lather on the side of the stage before making his grand appearance; second song is a “Gas Chamber”-y number (duly equipped with vocals); final song is what sounds like an eons-long Minutemen soundcheck, complete with horns, except that it lasts longer than all the songs on the first two Minutemen records put together. I think this is what realtors refer to as a “unique property.” BEST SONG: Uh... the first one? BEST SONG TITLE: If “Skate When You’re Lonely, Honk When You’re Horny,” the phrase screened across the back, is actually a song title, i’ll pick that one. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: This record transcends mere Fantastic Amazing Trivia Facts! But, that said, it does have the phrase “IT’S THE CENTER I CRAVE” inscribed in the run-off grooves. –norb (Snack Attack)


FLORENCE NIGHTINGALES, THE:
Self-Titled: 7"
This band is going for a death rock sound but comes off as sounding like early Vice Squad to me. It works, but tends to be a little too garage and repetitious for my liking. The packaging is the best part with the silk-screened covers and the swirly purple vinyl pressing. –don (Arkam, no address)


FLORENCE NIGHTENGALES, THE:
Self-Titled: 7"
There’s a lot of blood on the cover. I mean a lot. So I put this one on the turntable and was kind of expecting something with more guts. What I got was off-key female-fronted mid-tempo punk that was pretty repetitive, tinny, and not tough at all. If anyone knows the Voids, it sounded quite a bit like that band if they were on Quaaludes and their distortion pedals were set on two, rather than nine or ten. Nice marbled gray vinyl, four songs, virtually no contact information whatsoever. Like the Nightengales themselves, I just don’t have much else to say, I guess. –keith (Arkam)


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