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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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KNUGEN FALLER:
Inte Som Ni: 7"
A female-fronted Swedish band here with a little power pop and a little punk to their sound, sorta like a less-intense Rip Off band cleaned up for public consumption. Can’t say it moved me in any way, but hearing someone sing, rather than scream, in Swedish was a novel change of pace. –jimmy (Wasted Sounds)


KILL THE HIPPIES:
Erectospective: 2xCD
Is there such a thing as mustache punk? Because these guys are mustache punk. As you may have guessed by the title, these two discs collecting almost all of the recordings by this Ohio band. Their sound is pretty much anything goes; they draw heavily from classic thorn-in-the-listener’s side bands like Devo, the Feederz, and the Crucifucks, with bits and pieces of bands like the Grumpies and Sockeye. For the most part it’s really good stuff, and it makes me wonder how they only managed a handful of singles and cassettes in this era where bands crap out full-lengths in less time than it takes for a human fetus to gestate. To be fair, though, you should already know whether or not you’d want to listen to songs with titles like “Jerked off by Strangers.” –Josh (Rock N Roll Purgatory)


KBH:
Blood Money: CD
I looked at the cover for this and thought, “Oh great, more shitty hardcore.” I mean, seriously. There’s a guy with his head blown open and the band’s logo has some crossed machineguns. When the first track started, something familiar kicked in. I know these guys somehow. It sure ain’t hardcore (read: metal), either. I got it! These guys were on the Hostage Records’ Collateral Damage comp. Rad! This disc kicks so much ass it’s ridiculous. The obvious comparison might be Misfits without all of the horror lyrics. The lead singer has a bit of a Danzig thing going on, but I think he sounds a little more like Jackson Phibes from Forbidden Dimension. That is a really good thing. I can’t believe how great this is. Made my month! –ty (www.kbhmafia.com)


KARATE FOR KIDS/FRAME:
Split: 7"
Karate for Kids reminds me a lot of the Tim Version, with their hoarse vocals, chaotic melodies, and songs that grab hold of you and don’t let go. Damn good stuff. With Frame, I keep thinking of the first Bent Outta Shape 12”. You know they’re onto something, and they’re really, really close, but they’re missing that certain X factor that pushes them from “really good” to “I cannot stop listening to this band.” Definitely a great first taste of both bands, though, and I can’t wait to hear more. –Josh (Salinas)


JOHNNY CASINO’S EASY ACTION:
We’ve Forgotten More Than You’ll Ever Know: CD
Swaggerin’, punky, soul-infused rock’n’roll here from a band that ain’t too bad at what they do. Dunno if I would classify this as mandatory listening, but it doesn’t exactly hurt the ol’ sound-holes. –jimmy (Steel Cage)


JERRA:
Play Like a Girl: CD
This release is all over the place. You get bubble gum pop, new wave, and you get some garage rock. The pop songs are the stuff that made me take notice. I think their focus should be there. The garage rock stuff sounds like so much stuff I have heard from other bands over the years. It wasn’t that rocking and not that interesting. Interesting is the cover of Danzig’s “Mother.” It is a tad bit slow and would be much improved and more powerful if they had played it faster. –don (Sugar Hooker)


JELLO BIAFRA WITH THE MELVINS:
Sieg Howdy!: CD
Some new tracks, some remixes of tunes from the last album and a couple of covers (including an updating of “California Über Alles” in honor of our current Hummer-driving Aryan caricature of a governor). Jello is just as topical, witty, cynical and pissed off as ever, and Buzz and the gang serve up what is easily the best music that Jello has fronted since, oh, 1984 or so. Speaking of the ‘80s, check out “Those Dumb Punk Kids (Will Buy Anything),” a swipe at both a certain band that once entertained some relevancy during that gilded age of punk and the hordes of modern-day consumerist “punks” who line up to pay top dollar to revel in nostalgia rather than look for and appreciate what’s going on right now. Worse than hippies, that lot is. –jimmy (Alternative Tentacles)


JASON SEARS AND MERCURY LEGION:
Self-Titled: CD
I’m kind of confused about this band. I guess there was a band called Mercury Legion who had recorded a bunch of tunes. For some reason or another they got some guy named Jason Sears as a new singer who wrote all new lyrics for them and here it is... Anyways, what matters is the music. I like this a lot. Really snotty hardcore punk rock that reminds me of early Guttermouth stuff. Sears is a good lyricist and the tunes benefit a lot from his writing. In fact, the only thing about this that I don’t dig is the blatant flag-waving patriotism. The cover art sports a cartoon of the band playing for a bunch of drunk and unruly soldiers in the desert somewhere and the song “American Pride” pretty much says it all. That said, I’m not going to let a difference in political opinion get in the way of me enjoying some of the other tunes on this. Good work. Another thing to note about this disc: there is an entire tribute to RKL on here. I’m not sure if it was released elsewhere, but here it is now. Lots of good bands, too. Hell of a bonus, in my opinion. –ty (Malt Soda)


INTELLIGENCE, THE:
Icky Baby: CD
As much as I like the bam-bam rock, what keeps punk interesting is the weirdness of the music. After hearing some of the Intelligence’s 7” singles I finally got to pick up their full-lengths and see them play live. I’ve heard the more undefinable or minimal bands called art punk or math rock, but that always made me think of that middle school pressure to not be smart if you want to be cool. Whatever you want to call it, the Intelligence are in the classic style of the Urinals, the Fall, the Residents, Butthole Surfers, or the Boredoms, with moody speeds and a contagious sound. It’s not that these bands sound alike, it’s that sometimes I don’t want one to four to be a straight line. It’s all catchy, biting, and even danceable. The heart of the Intelligence is Lars Finberg, also of the A-Frames and the Dipers, playing with various other members. Now the sound has expanded and sped up some with two of the Popular Shapes (Calvin on bass and Nicholas on guitar) joining the band, and Matthew Ford playing drums. Catchy jabs and spooky soundtracks, singable lyrics and ear-ringing guitars, this album layers the inventive minimalism with more fuzz and energy. The cherry on top: we saw them play a killer show with the Orphans and the Tyrades, and the guys are super cool people. –mike (In the Red)


INQUISITION:
Revolution...I Think It’s Called Inspiration: CD
Crusty punk politics of California’s Fifteen meshed with the unmistakable East Coast radical optimism of Anti Flag. I can’t believe I didn’t hear about this until the repress. How in the hell did I miss this gem the first time around? Highly recommended!!! –mrz (A-F)


IMMACULATE MACHINE:
One and Zeroes: CD
The first things that pop into my mind when anyone mentions Mint Records are Cub and Nardwuar. While this album does not surpass the “classic, moving into legend” status of the aforementioned Mint artists, it seems to be a nice representative of what the amazing Canadian label is up to in 2005: mellow post punk with keys (and done right, I may add). It’s beautiful music accompanied with dual male and female lead vocals of equal splendor and charm. The best line award goes to: “I’d rather be struck by lightning than never go outside in the storm.” That’s what I’m talking about. –mrz (Mint)


ILL REPUTE:
Live: CD
Y’know, I think it’s swell that someone has seen fit to release an Ill Repute live CD—considering their longevity and extensive catalog of tunes—but to call it a “full length” is just a tad disingenuous. Out of the eighteen songs on here, there are two versions of “Fill It Up,” two versions of “Greed,” two versions of “Sleepwalking II” and two versions of “In Society,” and four are covers of Ill Repute songs done by other bands. Granted, all are performed quite well, and the sound quality is pretty good, but c’mon, this is the best you could come up with for such a venerated band? You couldn’t come up with a full set? Same goes for the bonus video footage. These guys deserve much better. –jimmy (www.LTErecords.com)


EXCUSE/WHISKEY SUNDAY:
Split: 7"
Both of these bands would fit perfectly playing with Altaira, Tiltwheel, and the Dukes of Hillsborough. I Excuse will probably never stop being compared to Leatherface because you can’t ignore the influence, but that’s not a bad thing at all in my book. They’ve cut back from a four- to a three-piece, but they still have a full sound on these songs. Whiskey Sunday is good, and I know I’d love them live, but I’m just not wowed by them yet. Knowing my taste, some of my friends are pretty surprised by that, and maybe there is something to it that I just haven’t nailed down yet because I’m not just listening to the I Excuse side when I put this on. –megan (Snuffy Smile)


HORROR POPS:
Bring It On!: CD
I vaguely remember reviewing their last release and possibly not liking it. I could be wrong. I have reviewed so much stuff over the years, I can’t keep track of what I reviewed last issue. If I didn’t like the last one, I like this one. I know right away if I like a psychobilly release. If something sounds weird to me, like the way an acoustic bass is recorded, I over-focus on that and it drives me absolutely nuts. This one is recorded right and the bass doesn’t sound like someone is plucking at rubber bands. Right off the bat, I really dug the title song. Many of the tracks reminded of Siouxsie and the Banshees. I like that a lot of the songs veer away from the standard pychobilly mold, like the track “Me vs. You,” which is more of a straight-up rocker nuanced by the acoustic bass and the military drum roll style of the drummer. People outside of the psychobilly scene are really going to take notice of this one. –don (Hellcat)


HOOPLES, THE:
Live at Maguire’s Hill 16: CDEP
What the hell? I know that one of the great things about modern technology is that it has made DIY all the easier, but still… you could at least hand-paint some sort of art in your packaging rather than writing the band’s name and title on a burned CD with a magic marker… All that aside, for a live recording, it sounds pretty good (another neat improvement that technology has given us). The songs are sort of good and sort of not, though. At a technical level, there appears to be nothing wrong with them—mid-tempo punk’n’roll that isn’t flashy but relies on a common repertoire of riffs and hooks. The record did have my toes tapping at times, but overall the proper word to describe this record is “workmanlike.” –The Lord Kveldulfr (Burn These)


HOMO2:
Gaynesville, Florida: CD
I think if they played a living room dance party, I’d have a good time, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to see them. –megan (Homo Say What, no address given)


HOLY SHIT!:
What the Fuck?: 7"
This is easily the closest modern approximation to Deep Wound’s 7-incher I’ve heard to date. You get oodles of spastic, sloppy hardcore here, served up with flailing tempo changes and ADD-friendly song lengths. Mike Thrashead would piss his pants over this. –jimmy (Contaminated)


HEY WILLPOWER:
Dance: CDEP

Push aside your inhibitions and embrace the gold-sequined, guilty pleasure that is San Francisco’s latest derriere-shakin’ sensation, Hey Willpower. Imperial Teen’s Will Schwartz is seriously exploring his bootilicious side with this exuberant display of lip-glossed shimmy and soul. The band employ not one but two full-time dancers, which gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect from their live set. Thus far, Hey Willpower has readied Gravy Train!!!! and LeTigre fans with opening slots on their most recent tours, but now with this four song EP you can get down and enjoy the dance party at home.

–kat (Cochon, www.cochonrecords.com)


HELLSHOCK:
Warlord: 7"
Interesting how everything evolves in life. The ones who take elements from the past and try to create something of their own are the ones that are memorable. Take this band. From what I hear, they’re taking cues from Discharge, Amebix, Anti Sect, and Severed Head of State. Now that is off the tip of my tongue off the first listen. I’m sure others will have more bands to use as reference. I’ve heard the name of this band thrown around for a couple of years, but it’s hard to buy everything that everybody puts out. But a friend of mine said that this band has improved when he went out on tour with Selfish and Hellshock. I put the band on the shopping list. Fortunately, the cards were drawn in my favor and I had one for review. The format of the 7” is a good one because it gives the listener a taste to see if it is a flavor one might like. Also, it forces a band to bring out their best material at the moment. No filler. Right from the start, you can tell that the band has members who have been playing for awhile. Instead of the standard jump-right-into-the-chords deal, they play an almost rock opera interlude that is multi-layered and could be a song all its own. I really like the intro parts of their songs. I like the build up of the song and it adds a dark texture to the music. I like the creativity of playing slow first and building it up to pummel. The band does play a brand of crust, dis-core that is enhanced by the intro, but the metal edge with the guitar harmonies and the generous use of guitar solos takes the standard bar chord to another level. The songs are short and to the point. It’s not overdrawn and makes you get up to put the needle back on the record because you want to hear more. Judging from this two-track 7”, this band has the potential to leave a large mark in punk history. I can see their popularity reaching that of Tragedy or Disclose. –don (Profane Existence)


HELL BRIGADE:
Self-Titled: CD
Meathead thrashy stuff about drinking Colt 45 and the end of the world. I’ll pass. –megan (www.hellbrigade.net)


HAVE NOTS, THE:
Black b/w Jaded Americana: 7"
The Orange County I’m familiar with has been irreversibly shaped by Hostage Records. In real life, OC is a sterile, be-stucco’d subdivision-entangled suburban nightmare that, by some weird wrinkle of time and space, is capable of continually producing some of the best melodic and true punk done by absolute fuckups. Fuckups who usually have served jail time, have a drug habit they’re currently in or eternally getting over, or who take great pride in perfecting their assholeishness between tattoo sessions. Among all this, great music explodes? Yeah. Believe it. The Have Nots are no exception. What’s surprising is how effortless and unaffected they sound, like they’ve been sitting in a time capsule made by Posh Boy for the past twenty-so years. The pacing on these two songs is almost at ballad speed, but the power and energy is unmistakable, like the bridging and build-up parts to Adolescents songs, the telekinetic ease of Crowd-like pop, all highlighting the lyrics, which tell stories of a wasteland. In such a barren environment, and among all the mistakes, durable music like this grows like weeds. –todd (Hostage)


GUILTY HEARTS, THE:
Self-Titled: LP
The Guilty Hearts not only kick out the jams, they’re good people. I see them all the time. “When you guys putting out a record?” I’d ask them. “Soon,” front man Leon Pescado would answer. “Well, gimme one when you do!” I’d tell him. And he finally did. And it’s great. Fuck, I knew it’d be good. See, I never ask people for their records. My rationale being, “Fuck it, I don’t wanna give someone I know a bad review when they personally give me the fucking turkey for free.” If I buy the vinyl, or it’s sent to me, no mercy, I’ll rip the fucker to shreds. So I threw this bad boy on and it fucking ruled. The one part Gories, two parts Gun Club hybrid of the Guilty Hearts live show is replicated with Johnnie Walker Black potency on this debut. But then again, what did I expect from a band containing Hermann Senac, original member of Blood on the Saddle, on drums? On second guitar, the Guilty Hearts have the fucking Charles Bukowski of the L.A. punk scene, Edgar Rodriguez. When not falling down or asking for shots of whiskey, Edgar keeps the beat going like only a reformed bassist could. That leaves Leon Pescado (a.k.a. El Niño, a.k.a. El Pescado de Gato) on vocals and slide guitar. Leon’s a shit-hot guitar player; coming up with effortless chord progressions is as easy as a twelve-year-old buying booze in Germany for Pescado. See, I knew all this going into the record. I was really keeping an ear open for production. The Greg Cartwright records these boys listen to obsessively had its influence; The Guilty Hearts is gloriously lo-fi. Fans of In the Red Records don’t wanna sleep on this. Good job, dudes. –ryan (Voodoo Rhythm)


GUIGNOL/NANUCHKA:
Split: CDEP
Guignol: Two essentially klezmer-based tunes, the first with female vocals and the second with a clarinet taking the lead. Nanuchka: Two essentially alternative rock-based tunes, the first with female vocals and the second with a dude taking the lead. The Nanuchka tracks are quite good, but in situations like this, the klezmer is gonna win out every single time, hands down. –jimmy (www.fistolo.com)


GRUK:
While You Were Apathetic: 7"
Maybe it’s the frustration with society as a whole I’ve been feeling, but lately I’ve been listening to hardcore a lot more frequently than usual, so this is hitting the spot just right. Female-fronted Chico hardcore here that relies more on anger than speed to get their point across. Tempos rarely exceed gallop velocity, no metal is to be found in the guitars, and the lyrics are political without being too preachy. In all, this ain’t too bad. –jimmy (Gruk)


GRIFT, THE:
If Sorrow Could Avail: CD
I like that, in case you couldn’t figure out what kind of music it is, at the end of the first song, they go, “Hardcore!” Sounds like what I think Limp Biscuit would sound like, but with a little more meat. It’s a good thing they’re “working the grift day in and day out,” because I doubt they’re going anywhere with music. Then again, I don’t think it’s meant for me seeing how it’s for “those who are from the streets and those who work the grift and all those who live and breathe hardcore and punk.” See, I don’t even think I really know what it means to grift, and, though I do love me some hardcore and punk, I’m still breathing air. –megan (www.roacho13.net)


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