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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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MORMONS, THE:
Statement of No Statement: CD
I have no idea what happened to this album. If I remember correctly, it was supposed to come out on Destroy All Records. Then, when they went on indefinite hiatus, Kapow picked it up. Then, I didn’t hear much until I got this and now it’s on Nickel & Dime. Any way that it comes finds me happy, though. Spastic, but not sloppy, and definitely danceable. If these boys come knocking at your door, stop hiding, and welcome their gospel in. –megan (Nickel & Dime)


MODERN MACHINES:
Taco Blessing: 12" EP
The good and bad news: an excellent Hüsker Dü album. –todd (Recess)


MODERN MACHINES:
Taco Blessing: 12" EP
I love house shows. I love ‘em a whole lot more than “real” shows at rock venues. So it would stand to reason that I would like this band, who share a similar stance on this issue. And I do like them. If I had to describe this record by referencing other bands, I’d say that it sounds like a group of kids who grew up on Screeching Weasel and then discovered Hüsker Dü and then decided to put the two together. In other words, it’s melodic punk done well, and there’s times when you’d totally swear that Bob Mould is the singer for this band. If I (for some unknown reason) had to describe this band by comparing them to a smell, I’d say that they’re a carpet that’s soaked up a lot of spilled beer. It’s not mind-blowing or anything, but if you like fun and you like records, you could probably get into this band. –Josh (Recess)


MISMO:
...And to the Republic: CD
Politically conscious heavy metal. Wait, let me check that again, ’cause I’m not sure I believe what my ears are telling me…. Yup, that’s what it is. Am I on Candid Camera or something? –jimmy (www.mismoband.com)


MIRACLE MEN, THE:
Don't Hide Your Love: 7"
For those of you who harbored secret grievances that the Nuggets Vol. II box set was exactly four songs from the Netherlands too short, i believe this balances the karmic ledger nicely. ALL HAIL THE BAND’S STUNNING ADEQUACY! BEST SONG: The one that sounds like “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine,” but isn’t. BEST SONG TITLE: Here, you pick one if you think this gig is so goddamn easy: “Don’t Hide Your Love” “Let Me Love You” “The Magic’s Gone” “Can’t Go On”—see what i mean? FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: In mono. –norb (Kuriosa)


MINUS THE BEAR:
Menos el Oso: CD
I’m not saying that this is for hippies. I’m just saying that it’s a safe bet that people who wear patchwork-flared corduroys would be into them. –megan (Suicide Squeeze)


MINKS, THEE:
Are You Ready Now?: CD
Tough girl garage punk here from some Philly women who seem like they may actually be bad asses, not just playing them on stage. Simple and straight forward garage punk from start to finish. The single was damn good, but this full length is fantastic! Fans of Downbeat 5, The Winks, and Hot Damn should be all over this. This band makes such great use of the trio format; the songs sound great and full. Apparently, one of them plays with Mondo Topless from time to time. Steel Cage has a knack for putting out the best pure garage punk, like Thee Minks and the Earaches, that is the best shit happening right now. There is no best song on this disc, they are all smokin’! Now go check out their awesome Pink N Black website. –frame (Steel Cage)


MINIWATT:
I Can't Stand Waiting for It: CDEP
This seven-song disc is the third release from these Providence, RI noise maestros and I can’t believe these guys aren’t on Touch and Go yet. Like some freak show concoction of Bastro, Rapeman, and Volcano Suns. Pretty intense. Danny Esten’s drums threaten to peel your skin at any moment. Michael Esten’s vocals and guitar are lethal and scary all at once. Matt Jackson’s bass is EQ’ed so high it may cause the faint hearted to lapse into convulsions. Yes! Yes! We need more—bring us more. –koepenick (Arbeid)


MEOWS, THE:
At the Top of the Bottom: CD
Wow. The best record that I’ve heard this year. Pure rock‘n’roll with strong elements of the garage. This is one of those rarities in which a band is able to take a classic format—the three chord tune with lots of vocal harmony—and make it sound fresh and inventive at all times. Strong hints of very early Aerosmith and the legends of the late '50s, but at no point does this record sound rehashed. While the Meows may be happily doffing their caps to such predecessors, they’ve come up with something that is completely their own. –The Lord Kveldulfr (No Tomorrow)


MENEGUAR:
I Was Born at Night: CDEP
This is by far my favorite review this month. Driving, angular, indie post-rock. Thick bass and jagged guitars that soar at times. From NYC, this four-piece remind me of Gang of Four, At the Drive-In, the Fall, early Interpol—and therefore Joy Division—and Dinosaur Jr. One string guitar solos are where it’s at. This EP is worth a listen. –Buttertooth (Magicbullet)


MATTY POP CHART:
Good Old Water: CD
I want to back everything that comes from Plan-It-X, but I just can’t on this one. I’m hoping it’s somebody’s cousin they just couldn’t say no to releasing. It’s kind of like They Might Be Giants meets Kermit the Frog’s little nephew Robin on vocals. And maybe if this were twenty years ago and I was in the fifth grade when TMBG were among my top ten bands at the time, I’d be into this. But, things have changed and though I tried pretty hard, I just couldn’t get into Matty Pop Chart now. Then again, I also don’t see myself choreographing a Tiffany song at recess happening again any time soon either. But buy things from Plan-It-X. They’re one of my favorite labels out there. –megan (Plan-It-X)


MASTERS OF THE OBVIOUS:
Raw Power: CD
So stupid it’s genius! They’ve been around forever and they have more songs about penises than anyone else I can think of. This is about all I can say for M.O.T.O.: these are songs that will either have you singing along before the song is even over, or they’re going to annoy the living shit out of you. I think they’re hysterical, and although I don’t think this album is as good as Kill M.O.T.O., it’s worth getting. The title of the record is genius, too; fucking amazed no one thought of that one first… –Josh (Criminal IQ)


MANIKIN:
Still: CD
I’m not the world’s biggest post punk fan. Mostly, it’s due to the fact that the punk part is largely left out as “youthful garbage” for some sort of “expansion” or “maturity” or “development” that results with me being bored stiff. I always hesitate with bands that toe that “we love Gang Of Four and Wire” line and then go and mope around like people looking for lost buttons from their sweaters on stage. Luckily, Manikin remembers that the art of throwing musical rocks can still be worthwhile, even if it’s played more proficiently and with a little less nihilism. The droning voice anchors. The drums concretize a solid foundation with the bass, and the guitar volleys and paints. There’s definite force, momentum, and direction. The end result is; basically, if you like any bit of Joy Division, then chances are you’ll dig Manikin. Sophistication doesn’t necessarily have to equal musical safety and boredom. I won’t be listening to this everyday, but it’s a solid and interesting changeup from my usual. –todd (Super Secret)


MANIC HISPANIC:
Grupo Sexo: CD
More of the same gay cholo lovin’/border sneakin’/gangsta ribbin’ one expects from these guys, all set to some of punk’s classic tunes. While I remain impressed by their ability to take repeated trips to this well and still come up with impressive results, I can’t help but wish they would focus less on standard Mexican stereotypes and more on defiant contradictions to said stereotypes. –jimmy (BYO)


MAKERS, THE:
Everybody Rise: CD
Started off with some interesting MC5ing, then quickly veered off into boring rock land. –jimmy (Kill Rock Stars)


MAKERS, THE:
Everybody Rise: CD
A good record. The Makers maintain their mod-infused rock’n’roll but they’ve injected a bit of glam and psychedelics into the mix. They need to be careful lest they turn supremely wussified like the Lemonheads did; they seem to be bordering on wanting to skip barefoot through the park. There are moments that sound like those really cheesy Rolling Stones songs from the late ‘70s, but this record rocks well enough and often enough for me to gladly affix my stamp of approval. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Kill Rock Stars)


MAJOR CONFLICT:
Sounds Like 1983: CD
One of NYHC’s “lost” bands, which apparently rose from the ashes of the mighty Urban Waste, gets some overdue attention via this disc, a collection of tracks from a 7”, a demo and assorted live tracks. While nowhere near as maniacally out of control as Urban Waste sounded, these guys burn quite nicely in an oi-influenced sort of way, and I can see why they were revered back when they were active. –jimmy (Mad at the World)


LURKERS, THE:
26 Years: CD
A new studio album with a few re-recorded old tunes smattered throughout the track list. Their longevity and still-obvious love for punk isn’t something to be laughed at or shrugged off, but it’s also not something to be held up to candlelight and lauded as sacred. What I mean is, if you listened to this album and it wasn’t the Lurkers, would it still carry the same weight? Would you still be as forgiving of its shortcomings? Simple fact is, I was still shitting my diapers and eating newspaper when this band formed and there’s certainly something to be said for the fact that they’re still pushing forward. And the album isn’t nearly as bad as some of the reformed cash cow records that bands of yesteryear have been putting out recently. That said, it’s also nothing spectacular. Hit and miss: the record’s mildly hooky, the production sounds good, the cover’s sinfully ugly and reminiscent of old Sloppy Seconds records, and minus a few choruses here and there, the majority of the record is ultimately pretty forgettable. So it’s a mixed bag here, which leads me to say that 26 Years will probably appeal to completists only. –keith (S.O.S.)


LOZENGE:
Undone: CD
Experimental noise rock with more than a smidge of free jazz mixed in. Sounds like Flipper with Ornette Coleman aspirations. I found the pretty painting of monstrous sea bunnies attacking a ship to be very inspirational, too. –jimmy (Sickroom)


LAWRENCE ARMS, THE:
Cocktails and Dreams: CD
It’s always nice to get something for review that you would’ve bought anyway. This is a collection of singles, stuff from splits, comp tracks, and a handful of unreleased or re-recorded songs. They put out two full-lengths on Asian Man before jumping to Fat. I think their Fat debut, Apathy and Exhaustion, is easily their most consistent and solid record—some of the songs on there will probably wind up on my mixtapes for years to come. One of the greatest assets this band has is the ability to write the most acerbic, haunting, and self-loathing lyrics ever, and then follow them up with some of the most hilarious (but still self-deprecating) liner notes I’ve ever read. Couple this with the fact that it’s pop punk, but top-notch, catchy-as-shit pop punk. The vocals are shared ala Dillinger Four between the guy that sings clean and the guy that sings snotty—at their worst, they’re a decent band. At their best, they’re frickin anthemic. Yeah, they’re self-absorbed, but they’re good enough songwriters that the songs have the ability to stay with the listener for days at a stretch. About the best compliment I can think of for a band of this nature: even without headphones, this shit plays in my head when I walk down the street. Cocktails and Dreams is a nice addition to an already pretty solid discography. –keith (Asian Man)


LARKIN:
Reckoning: CD
Once upon a time, kiddies, there was a band called the Pogues, who were led by a guy who once had part of his ear bit off by a girlfriend and liked his whiskey more than a man should. The Pogues had this neat idea: instead of playing straightforward punk stuff like all the other kids, why not invest in a fiddle and some penny whistles and take a stab at punking up traditional Irish music? The idea went over like gangbusters, and the Pogues became very famous, indeed. Sadly, after some twenty-odd years passed, every titmouse and would-be Irishman on the planet latched onto the very thing that was so fresh and interesting back when the Pogues first did it and effectively took all the fun out of it by running it into the friggin’ ground. Here is yet another band to do just that instead of actually taking a moment to sit and seriously think of something new and inventive of their own. Are they any good, you ask? When things are this uncreative, it really doesn’t matter much. Buy a Pogues album if you need to hear stuff like this and leave it at that. –jimmy (Know)


LAHAR:
Provide and Conquer: CD
Angry chugga-chugga metal dudes scream and thrash about to show how upset they are. I bet a good hug would turn them frowns upside down, and then they could progress to bad glam like all chugga-chugga metal dudes do. –jimmy (Spook City)


LABEL THE TRAITOR:
The Battle of the Common: CD
Oh man, with song titles like “Burned at the Stake,” “Let the Demons Go,” and “The Horns of the Shepherd,” I was so ready to hate this. I was preparing myself for an album full of whiplash-inducing metal that read like a D&D manual and was rife with shitty solos and falsettos. Thankfully, I was way, way off the mark. Instead, Label the Traitor managed to give us an album full of furious hardcore that plays all the requisite sonic tricks but throws a few more in the blender as well. Most importantly, they’re not dumb. Un-fucking-believeable! Musically, the stuff’s pretty good, but what really sets this band head and shoulders above their peers is the fact that while the lyrics intelligently cover topics like the dangers of blind patriotism, drug addiction, hipsterism, apathy, work as identity, etc., they addend these with thoughtful liner notes. End result is, in a genre that’s chock full of thick-neck assholes espousing the joys of street-thuggery and thinly veiled gang mentalities, it’s nice to hear from a group of guys who actually take the time to step beyond idiotic “watch your back” sloganeering. If you’re into the current crop of straight-up hardcore, stuff that’s totally void of any emo undertones, pick this one up—these guys impressed the hell out of me with this one. –keith (Five Point)


KNIFEFIGHT:
Self-Titled: CD
Bummer, dude. These guys bounce between multi-vocalled screamo, straight-up hardcore numbers, and instrumental keyboard-driven space rock jams a la fuckin’ Cave In or something. It’s actually really, really good stuff for the most part, until you hit the packaging. Unfortunately, everything then becomes colored by the fact that there are multiple lyrical references to fire, “God above,” and being reborn, and in the thank you list they give props to both God and their “church homes.” I won’t even get started about that ugly hotbed debate of the creeping influx of Christianity in the hardcore scene, but if you’re like me and tend to veer far, far away from bands who make mention of their religious beliefs in their music, take a step back from this one. And for every schlub who says something to the effect of, “Dude, if the music’s good, what’s the big deal?” let me note that that’s just as stupid and beside-the-point as listening to bands like Contra and Rambo just “for the music.” Their lyrical content, barbed and political, is what constitutes much of those bands’ identities. And the same thing goes for Knifefight: fact is, if you sing about “someone rising out of the darkness” while you reference God and church in your liner notes, it’s gonna get noted one way or the other. For me, it’s just something I can’t look past. –keith (Arkam)


KILLER’S KISS:
Self-Titled: CD
At first this album made me think that I don’t have evolved enough taste in music to enjoy the organs and indie rock vibe, but lo and behold, the angst present on this album fits my mood perfectly on a Sunday evening while I dread going to work tomorrow. The music is quite eclectic. The first songs like “Mama’s Nightgown” and “Creepy Tejas Moon” are comparable to a less upbeat Hives, with dark piano and organ like the Murder City Devils and some raging vocals similar to Refused. To my surprise there are also some more upbeat songs like “Backslider,” which has a Rolling Stones meets New York Dolls kind of vibe. The eclectic sounds still persistent as there is harmonica on “Neither,” distorted vocals on “Lerved,” and a Cramps-like number with “Shine It.” Perhaps it is my somber mood but this album surpassed my expectations of another lame indie band (since I lump them all together at times) and I actually enjoyed the listen. –jenny (Hook or Crook)


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