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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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RINGERS:
Curses: CD
This sounds so much like a late-’80s Gilman Street band—specifically Crimpshrine—it ain’t funny. A look at their contact info reveals they’re from Massachusetts. Go figure. –jimmy (www.1234gorecords.com)


RICHARD HELL:
Spurts: The Richard Hell Story: CD
Known to many as a late ‘70s poet/writer punk, Richard Hell was a founding member in a handful of NYC-based bands. Included in this CD retrospect are some of his more-known outfits, like the Neon Boys, Television, the Heartbreakers, and the Voidoids. There’s key stuff aboard on this release like the coupla Neon Boys cuts, including a “preliminary version” of “Love Comes in Spurts.” There are handfuls of Voidoids material, one of the coolest being their 7” Radar single, “The Kid with the Replaceable Head.” (This was covered years later by the Humpers, documented on a near-impossible-to-find live boot 7”, and yes, Billy, I still got mine!) There’s even a live version of The Heartbreakers doing “Chinese Rocks” that’s pretty cool, even if it’s as raw as they come. The booklet included with the disc contains play-by-play explanations for each track by Hell himself, as well as old and new pics and full production/origin credits. This collection is the perfect way for anyone who’s not familiar with Hell to take a full look at what he’s done in the studio all these years. Malcolm Mclaren continues to owe Hell an assload of money for taking his torn and tattered look and incorporating it into a profitable industry in the late ‘70s. Yeah, I said it—so what? Put that in your diamond-encrusted pipe and smoke it, Johnny Lydon. –dale (Rhino)


RENO DIVORCE:
Naysayers and Yesmen / Laugh Now Cry Later: CD
I always find it humorous when bands that look really tough on their album art come off sounding like something my parents might’ve listened to back in the ‘50s or ‘60s, but with a slight punk edge to the music. So they speed up the music a bit and have some tattoos, long hair, and smoke on stage; they still play what is for all practical purposes pop music. Don’t get me wrong, Reno Divorce is a tight three-piece act with a healthy rockabilly influence (and an extra helping of the word “fuck” in their lyrics), but based on their looks and their band name I guess I expected something a little harder and devious. Instead, I just keep picturing my parents being “dangerous” and listening to this in order to prove to me that they’re finally cool. –kurt (Street Anthem)


REIGNING SOUND:
I’ll Cry b/w Your Love: 7"
Okay, here, I’ll admit my ignorance. My relationship with the Rolling Stones started all backwards in the ‘80s and their disco era and it’s taken many a punk cover of their songs for me to reel back from deep-seeded revulsion. It doesn’t help matters any that they get cartoon ants in commercials to play along to their songs to sell soda pop. However, by slowly going back to where the Stones started, I can finally see why people go ga ga over ‘em. What in the fuck does this have to do with the Reigning Sound? Quite simply, there’s a bit more than a passing blush with this 7” and “Under My Thumb”-era Stones (when I first heard that song, I though it was a Social Distortion original. Fuck, I was thirteen.). And if this had been, say, the first Rolling Stones tracks I’d ever heard, I’d be floored. Reigning Sound have a rich, lush, done-all-the-thinking-for-you songs that pull in a cavalcade of instruments while none of it sounds excessive. Wholly pleased. Big, finger-snapping, catchy stuff that makes me want to flip this sonofabitch over and over. –todd (Slovenly)


REIGN OF BOMBS/EARTH DIED SCREAMING:
Split: 7"
Reign of Bombs: There’s less reliance on Discharge here, resulting in longer song lengths, especially in the lyrics of the first song, and more metallic guitars while managing to maintain sufficient edge. Earth Died Screaming: Wow, I was expecting hardcore, but I wasn’t expecting to be whopped upside the head with a brick. Loud, gallop-speed Swedish hardcore with screaming fetus vocals, sorta like “Fuck Authority” Raw Power with more fuzz pumped in and less metal. Good stuff from both bands. –jimmy (www.reignofbombs.tk)


REIGN OF BOMBS/ASSEMBLY LINE CRUCIFIXION:
Split: 7"
Reign of Bombs: Swedish hardcore, heavy on the requisite Discharge influence, which, in this case, means metallic guitars and haiku lyrics. Assembly Line Crucifixion: More Swedish hardcore with less Discharge in the mix and vocals that give Martin Sorrondeguy a run for his money. –jimmy (www.reignofbombs.tk)


RED INVASION:
I’m Not Too Young to Die: CD
Decent enough ‘77-inspired Stitches punk that, while lyrically is about as substantive as a bag of unsalted, unbuttered popcorn, wasn’t a bad listen on the whole. –jimmy (www.peladorecords.com)


REBEL SPELL, THE:
Days of Rage: CD
What starts out sounding like Crashdog meets Dropkick Murphys meets AFI, plays out via sing-along, dirty punk with a solid political backbone and pop edge. The ten songs here clock in at just less than thirty minutes. Seemingly every song contains a fast, short, punk guitar solo and pretty straight-forward structure. Lyrics are included, as are explanations for each song including one about how Ronald Reagan was behind John Lennon’s assassination since Lennon was such a powerful proponent of peace. A nice booklet layout and a video of live clips are included. Nothing here blows me out of the water, but this is fun, energetic, and definitely reminiscent of the better aspects of old Avail and AFI. –kurt (www.clandestinecollective.com)


REBEL SPELL, THE:
Days of Rage: CD
Here we have the follow up to this Vancouver quartet’s amazing debut. It’s one of those rare instances that a band actually manages to surpass themselves. Hard, melodic, angry, and political, Rebel Spell manage to get their message across in a manner that is not only listenable, but downright addicting! Seriously, this didn’t leave my car for quite some time. I’m not sure if they’ve made the trip south of the border yet, but I know they are on tour eternally so if you can, do yourself a favor and check them out. –ty (www.therebelspell.com)


REATARDS, THE:
Plastic Surgery: 7"
There is simply no slowing down for this band. Back photo of Jay shoving his mic into the speaker says it all. They even pull off a Persuaders cover and equal it in muck. But don’t get me wrong, this is a well-produced slab. First place on race day. –mike (Shattered Records, www.shatteredrecords.net)


REAL MCKENZIES, THE:
10,000 Shots: CD
I guess Fat shut down the Honest Don’s division. These guys are now on the main imprint. With a few releases under their belt, it is fitting to be on the primary label. If you haven’t heard these crazy westside Canucks (Vancouver, B.C.) before, you are missing out. This band of drunkards has a love of their Scottish heritage, and has a bagpipe player to boot. I haven’t seen the band live, but from the pictures I have seen, they perform live in kilts and don the accessories to play the part. The music is a blend of Celtic folk music and mid-tempo punk. The magic of their music is that you can genuinely feel that they are having fun doing what they’re doing. If they are not having fun, they are drunk off their arses and can fake it. It’s music to do a fancy jig to or you can grab a bunch of drunken friends and try to get a square dance going without spilling your drinks. If bands like Flogging Molly or the Pogues are on your playlist, this one will slip in without notice. –don (Fat)


REAL LOSERS, THE:
Music for Funsters: CD
Kids weaned on the teats of the Saints by way of the Reatards, kin to the Kill-a-Watts. It’s that easy-to-fuck-up, difficult to distill mix of glass, dirt, and bubblegum. Glass: clearly, there are songs inside and they jounce by like a Ferris wheel off its axis, rolling through a state fair. And it ain’t just retard noise or shit just scattering away. Dirt: trashy, middle-fi, broken-instrument, “one string left and we’ll still play” basement punk. Bubblegum: toes be a tappin’, heads be a noddin’, beers be a-drunken, Devo be covered. Shit like this is direct, but it sure ain’t done this well that often, especially for fifteen songs. Great stuff. –todd (Trick Knee)


RCADE INFERNO:
This Gent’s a Scoundrel: CD
The first time I heard Rcade Inferno was at a house party where Jeff Ott played acoustic. Let me clarify that: I went to my friends’ barbeque and Jeff Ott also happened to be playing in the living room during the time I was there. (On a side note, it ended up being pretty fun as the crowd wouldn’t let him play his typical acoustic stuff, only Fifteen songs, and seeing my friends so happy and yelling offensive/funny stuff like “White power!” anytime he tried to get serious, made it a good time.) Before all of this, I was standing in the backyard when my friend J. came out and said I had to hear this band. I went inside and there were two guys with acoustic guitars yelling in the middle of the living room. And it was awesome. Then they met two guys in Anaheim (one who looks a lot like Bill S. Preston and makes the most intense faces ever when he plays) and two days later, played a Fourth of July barbecue in San Pedro (with the impressive line-up of Grabass Charlestons, the Soviettes, Tiltwheel, Toys That Kill, and Killer Dreamer) and were again awesome. I don’t know if it’s in the recording of this, but the energy and rawness that I really like when I saw them just isn’t on this CD, with the exception of the opening track. It alternates between guttural and slightly nasal vocals more than I remember, but I still like it. –megan (ADD)


RASPUTINA:
Radical Recital: CD
Boring art-adult contemporary with vocals in the style of Tori Amos, but with Bjork singing out of key. Unless they’re using a dictionary I haven’t come across which defines “radical” as a whole bunch of bullshit, I think we have a difference of definition. –megan (Filthy Bonnet, www.rasputina.com)


RAMRODS, THE:
Gimme Some Action: CD
The best that I can figure, the Ramrods were evidently a Detroit band from the 1970s who sounded a hell of a lot like Iggy and the Stooges and even played covers of some of their songs as well as ones from the Beatles and the Who. For some reason, someone thought it would be a good idea to release this album of their music (including the covers) over twenty-five years later. I have never heard of the Ramrods. Why anyone thought this would be a good idea is beyond me. The audacity to sound a lot like the Stooges on your original stuff (except not quite as punk) and then cover them seems pretty incredulous. Recommended only for music fans stuck in 1970s Detroit. –kurt (Young Soul Rebels)


RABID GRANNIES:
My Brain Is Rotten: 7"
Hyper-speed Swedish hardcore not as reliant on Discharge as many of their fellow countrymen, with lyrics about skateboarding, degenerating, and playing really fast. If speed is your thing, this’ll do the trick. –jimmy (Wasted Sounds)


QUINTRON & MISS PUSSYCAT:
Swamp Tech: CD
I’m not the biggest advocate for technological advancements that make it relatively easy for people to create and disseminate their art. I think that a lot of the people who would have given up after multiple rejections are now putting it out themselves. Quintron & Miss Pussycat are one of the reasons that I’m happy it exists. This is something that would probably not make its way to me through friends or chance exposure. Two people recorded dancey songs onto a two-track, then ran it through once more to add additional vocals, and there you go. It’s funny and it’s fun, and it’s sure to find its way to my next dance party. –megan (www.quintronandmisspussycat.com)


PULSES, THE:
Gather Round and Destroy All Our Records: CD
A little art punk is mixed with a little college rock and slathered on top of a punk rock. Although it ain’t quite as immediately tasty as the confections Dirtnap usually serves up, it definitely has some substance to it and, thus, leaves a more lasting impression than one would expect. –jimmy (Dirtnap)


PUBLIC ACCESS:
Fleeced: CDEP
When this first came on the stereo I thought: awesome. Angry, modernized Born Against style hardcore. I was so into it. And then it changed. My trembling finger rose slowly to the speakers. There it was. The ska. Suddenly, I was assaulted by ghastly saxophones and Sublime-esque ska. Why this inexplicable shift, I’ve no idea. But it’s a bad idea. Please, for the love of god, fire the saxophone player, kick the eternal upstroke out of the guitar player, and just play the hardcore. There is great potential in that. But with the ska, oh no. No, no, no. –KO! (www.pocketfulofchangerecords.com)


POPULATION REDUCTION:
At the Throats of Man Forever: 7"
The music on here is ruling. Great riffs and drumming, with excellent production. Unfortunately, the vocals are just too low and guttural for my taste. Fans of early Napalm Death and other early death metal/grind will love this! First three hundred are on green/black splatter vinyl for the scum. If you love those low vocals, this is gonna be about as good as you will find. –frame (Tankcrimes)


PNEMONIAS, THE:
Self-Titled: 7"
Very Ramonesy, but done really well. The thing that confuses me is that, although they appear to be in their late twenties, they’re singing about being rejected at the high school dance. Maybe they do things differently in France, or maybe they need to let something go. –megan (High School Reject)


PLAN R:
Self-Titled: 7"
Although I’m sure it’s not their intention, Plan R kind of reminds me of Dick Army. Cheap, simple knockoffs of early Black Flag played for fun and without any real curveballs (except for the singer’s curvy balls, but that’s another story…). I don’t know if it’ll remain in heavy rotation for a long time, but I think I can safely say that it’s one of the top five or six bands that this Colin guy has ever been in. –Josh (Blind Spot)


PINDRIVERS, THE:
Headbanger Gangsta Youth Vol. IV: 7"
Mid-fi, jump and shag, poor punks huffing blues from Italy. Their swagger’s what’s convincing. Hips be a-shakin’. These guys would fit in perfectly in a Budget Rock Showcase, opening for Oblivians (who they cover), Mummies (who they channel), and the Rip Offs (who the dude on their cover looks like). Sprinkle on the dirty-yet-sharp rust flakes of modern banner holders, like Vee Dee and the River City Tanlines, and it’s definitely a strong showing from a band who used to be called the Pin Pals. Limited to 300. –todd (Goodbye Boozy)


PHARMACY, THE:
B.F.F.: CD
Spook rock with synth that would fit nicely on a bill wedged between the Starvations and the Lost Sounds, and that would be a show I wouldn’t want to miss. –megan (Don’t Stop Believin)


PAPER BULLETS:
Self-Titled: CD
This has a bit of a familiar feel to it. Fuzzed-out, sorta-punk stuff that I’m finding a little bit like early Sonic Youth and a lot like Eastern Canadian fuzz poppers Eric’s Trip. Refreshing and fun. –ty (Ear Flaw)


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