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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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FIRST PUNIC WAR, THE:
Candle: 7"
Seven songs on a 7”! All acoustic guitar makes it hard to stomach, though. This is a guy from Canada who lives in Des Moines, Iowa now. Iowa can bore you fast, so he made this record. He says his friends compare him to Neil Young and I can see some of the resemblance. Maybe a little Wayne from the Flaming Lips as well. But this doesn’t help the fact that he’s only playing acoustic. Get a band and it might fly. –Buttertooth (Carthage Vs Rome)


EYES TO SPACE:
Self-Titled: CD
Warning: This CD contains flat vocals and forgettable lyrics, drowning in mediocre music that sounds a lot like an Offspring/Mr. Mister mash-up. What a waste of an awesome band name! –kat (Solarium, no address available)


END OF THE WORLD, THE:
Self-Titled: CD
This band is probably on Myspace because there are a million other bands just like them. Whining vocals which are at times raspy and wave hello in between chinging guitar riffs. Catchy enough to be mainstream and but not enough for me to admit I like it. The EP piques my interest in seeing what they might do next. Hopefully it will have more energy. Gabe Rock –Guest Contributor (Risk of the Rook, no address)


END OF THE UNIVERSE:
You're the Disease: CD
Screamy, chaotic, metallic hardcore. You know the drill. There are a million bands around these days that sound like this. So many, in fact, that it’s hard to stand out with any kind of originality within the genre. Some of these bands can stick out because they are relentlessly fast (Discordance Axis) or super heavy (Akimbo) or have really good vocals (Daughters) or are really mathy (Dysrhythmia). The End of the Universe aren’t particularly memorable. They’re good at what they do, but unfortunately it’s not quite enough. This isn’t a bad record, it’s just not anything special. Really nice cover art, though. –ben (Chainsaw Safety)


DIMBULB:
Trip Hammers: CD
Skronky rock, heavy on the rock. I wanna say they sound vaguely Cows-like, only with less emphasis on the weird and more on the rockin’ out. Sounds pretty good at excessive volumes, which is always a good thing. –jimmy (Anti-Music)


DEXTER DANGER:
Hellafornia: CD
Dexter Danger sound strangely like a lot of bands that were coming out in the late ‘80s when punkers discovered the mid-tempo beat and that elusive fourth cord. I really like the music on this (reminds me of bands like the Stench), but lyrically I find it kind of annoying—there’s a juvenile sensibility to the lyrics, but not in the sense of juvenile fun, destruction, and alienation. Rather, it’s juvenile I’m-seventeen-and-already-oversentimental-because-I-have-poetic-sensibilities claptrap. BUT, this record does have some teeth, and stands up pretty well on its own and there are some lyrical gems (“I’m desperately waiting for karma to tackle you”—sweet!). –The Lord Kveldulfr (Orange Peal)


DENUNZIO:
Continuous Vaudeville: CD
College rock stuff that’s nice enough but not quite world-rocking. –jimmy (Spider Fight)


DELAY:
Jumpstart My Heart: CD
As I put this on, I hoped and prayed that their handle was some kind of piss-take on Tom DeLay’s name and that they were gonna be humorous in a cool and subversive way. Nope. Lame, collegy emo pop is the order of the day here. I found, though, that if you have sharp enough scissors to cut into the disc, it makes for a pretty good ninja star. –jimmy (www.midwestrock.org)


DEATH BY STEREO:
Death for Life: CD
Hardcore going neer, neer, neer, neer. They must have a fan base because they’ve been around for a while and won’t seem to go away. The album has some metal influence, but it’s more surf influenced than anything else. The track “Forget Regret” is almost worth listening to but, like many of Death By Stereo’s songs, the chorus and harmony make you think that going to the dentist would be better than listening to this album. But they must be doing something right ‘cause they’re on Epitaph. Gabe Rock –Guest Contributor (Epitaph)


DEADLINE:
Getting Serious: CD
This is straight up fast-tempo, polished yet not sloppy female-fronted melodic punk from the UK. Not bad, but not too terribly wonderful either. Good music, but the major turn-off was that the singer sounds a bit like that god-awful Agent M from Tsunami Bomb, and we all know how annoying that gal has become! –mrz (I Used To Fuck People Like You In Prison)


DEAD IDOLS, THE:
Standby for Action: CD
I have to admit I cringe when I see a name like Dead Idols. I mean, there’s so many Dead bands and there’s so many Idol (or Idle) bands as well. And then, when they’re put together, I can’t help but think I’m dealing with a bunch of pompadoured pretty boys who know more about how to get the perfect cuff on their jeans than how to service anything on their classic car. It’s actually pretty straight-ahead rock’n’roll, but it crosses the line into pretty stock bar rock a bit too much for my liking. –megan (Teen Addict)


COURTESY BLUSH:
Sweet Modern Fairy Tales: CD
A little too much of the At the Drive-In/Mars Volta worship for me. –don (no address)


COOTERS, THE:
Punk Metal: CD
Something a little different from the PE collective this time around. Based on the title, you should be able to guess what this is going to sound like. It’s more metal than punk, though. These guys play a Motörhead-meets-Biohazard, headbanging, lighters-in-the-air, air-guitar-solo-playing fanfare. Excellent production throughout; you can hear everything. The drums are punchy and the guitars crunch like eating granola. The bass gives you the lows that thumps on your chest when you have the volume up. If these guys were playing at the bar after I had my tenth round, they would have me pissing in my pants while I rocked to the beat. –don (Profane Existence)


CALIFORNIA REDEMPTION:
This Time It's for Money: CD
I’m not faulting their sincerity, but the end result of said sincerity sounds like some pretty ham-handed and stiff hardcore-meets-Epitaph stuff with not a whole lot of variances between the songs. Yeah, they’re positive, sure, they’re not dumb, and I believe that they believe what they’re singing about, but that in itself isn’t gonna carry you the whole way to the car, guys. Way I figure it, these kids are probably pretty hot shit in their respective scene and manage to pack local shows, but for me the music rings as fairly generic and rehashed, and the vocals are way too clear and, well, unworried to be put that high in the mix. It’s decent, thoughtful stuff, but it’s also really lacking that extra push that’s gonna ensure it burns itself into most people’s synapses. –keith (L.T.E. Records)


BRUTALLY FRANK:
She'll Bleed: 7"
The band and label names are just begging to be made fun of, but I’m nothing if not a professional. I think these guys were shooting for a Mummies sort of trash rock thing, but they blew it. The end result is dismal, uninspired swamp-boogie that would have been best left on the studio shelves. –keith (Wee Rock)


BOLD:
The Search: CD
Another band that passed under the radar and was never noticed by me. This is the recorded works from 1985 to 1989. It includes the bands former incarnation, Crippled Youth, who I vaguely remember hearing about. Very similar to the youth crew bands of ‘88 like Youth Of Today or Gorilla Biscuits. Because of their east coast location, I also hear a tinge of Murphy’s Law in there, too. The gem tracks for me are the Crippled Youth ones. The youthful energy and snottiness makes these tracks stand out. The rawness and the simplicity of the musicianship takes me back to my childhood. –don (Revelation)


BEST PALS/ THE SMIRK:
Split: 7"
Smirk is shooting for a summery, mid-paced rock’n’roll approach. This undercurrent is in the songs of, like, “Good Times Abound.” Unfortunately, there are two inserts in the record (one of them being a page-long Best Pals thank-you list) but there’s no lyrics to be found anywhere. This either means the bands figure they’re decipherable, hence rendering a lyric sheet moot, or the lyrics aren’t worth reading. Either way, the Best Pals vocalist drives the need for a lyric sheet home since he literally sounds like he just got his wisdom teeth pulled and his mouth is still packed with gauze. The only thing you can make out is the chorus: “We like snacks. I’m having a snack attack.” I’m not sure, but I’d assume Mike Millett, Broken Rekids honcho, is in one of these bands. So, kiddies, what happens when well-respected record label guys are in short-lived bands that probably played a few house parties and recorded a few songs? Said record label guys have the means and inspiration to put out records like this, records which maybe fifty kids in the Bay Area will be into because they were at the shows. Records which, meanwhile, the rest of us flip past in our record boxes, abjectly trying to remember what it even sounds like. –keith (Broken Rekids)


BASEBALL FURIES:
All-American Psycho: CD
It’s no secret that I love this band, so naturally I think it’s pretty great that their first couple of records have been reissued, as they’re pretty much the best straight-ahead garage punk band out there. The early stuff is a wee bit more formative, and you have to dig beneath a little bit more noise to find the hooks, so if you’ve never heard the Furies, start with their first LP, Greater Than Ever. If that tire iron to the face suits you well, you’ll want to get this, too. Damn fine. –Josh (Big Neck)


BADAMPS, THE:
Molotov Milkshake: CD
Peachfuzz punk so offensively inoffensive that they make that band that did that “Stacey’s mom’s got it going on” song seem like Slayer. This is almost like a candy-coated Chixdiggit, if Chixdiggit shaved their legs and lost their sense of humor. You will find no “Henry Rollins Is No Fun” type gems on this disc. This is the musical equivalent of Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip and thus, is not for me. Milkshake: yes. Molotov: hardly. –aphid (Black Market)


BAD VIBES, THE:
All the Right Ways to do You Wrong: CD
If it’s true that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Antiseen should be relieved to know that that isn’t a cancerous polyp up their collective ass, it’s the I’ll-lick-you-clean head of the Bad Vibes. I picture these guys dressing up like Jeff Clayton and video taping each other doing backyard wrestling dives off their parent’s garage onto brown, stained mattresses and hooting like apes. I can’t help but wonder what dear Saint GG would think if he were still here in his stinking flesh, what with all these Confederacy of Scum type bands peeing in his wading pool. But who gives a fuck? Rock’n’roll, from Led Zeppelin to American Idol, is all about flagrantly ripping off all the stuff that’s been done before and pretending that you somehow gave it a new twist. And just how many twists can you give to three chords? This GG meets Jethro Bodine-on-steroids stuff seems to be everywhere these days, but so what. Face it: there’s nothing new under the sun. And as rotten leftovers go, Bad Vibes is good shit. –aphid (Steel Cage)


ATTIC TED:
(Cont.): 7"
Most of Texas is a wasteland. Austin is the one, open-minded, leftist city. Texas hates Austin. This band typifies Austin. Ever since the Butthole Surfers spawned, this city has oozed bizarre sounds. Attic Ted plays swampy blues—but add electronic noises and a trumpet—and wear weird paper cutout masks. Throw in some polka and cowboy hats. Fuck, where’s the acid? This 7” isn’t great but it gets a B for being so goddamned weird. –Buttertooth (Pecan Crazy)


AT THE DRIVE-IN:
This Station Is Non-Operational: CD/DVD
I’m surprised that Retodd didn’t keep this for himself since he has more history with the band. Me, I have the first and the last CD. Nothing in the middle. Haven’t listened to either in awhile. So this anthology is a wake up call. I forget sometimes how good a band is because I can’t keep up with the new music I get and I neglect what I have in the collection. The demise of the band while about to break through and then splintering into both Mars Volta and Sparta makes you forget quickly. I really didn’t get into either band. The chemistry was not the same. This validates my theory. Eighteen tracks from various full lengths—rare and unreleased. This plays through effortlessly. A bonus DVD is included with a bunch of videos and stuff to entertain an egghead for a short period. I don’t know if this an attempt to sell more back catalog, but for me, this well worth the price for a new fan who missed them the first time around. –don (Fearless)


APPLIED COMMUNICATIONS:
Uhhh Sort of: CD
There are bands that are so bad that they’re good. That’s Sockeye for me. I think they’re fucking terrible. I hated them for years. But, even though (or possibly because) they’re so awful, I think they’re awesome. I highly doubt Applied Communications will ever get there, and I bet that’s not even what they’re trying for. They’re more in the vein of sucking so much that they go from bad to good to just plain suck again. –megan (Discos Mariscos)


AMATEUR PARTY:
Sounds and Halls to House Them: CD
Pretty generic, mediocre rock that’s pretty inoffensive, but pushed over the line for the worse with crappy vocals. –megan (Cheap Art)


ALTA MAY:
Self-Titled: 7"
For some people, grunge rock lives on, it seems. These are heavy songs in the key of D. The vocals long to be Kurt Cobain and the guitar solos are weak. Not my cup o’ whiskey. Cock rock will never die. Fuck, they even put trumpets on the B side. Grunge meets the Bosstones. What will the fucking world come to? –Buttertooth (Floatation)


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