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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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TANGLED LINES, THE/DICK CHENEY:
Split: 7"
I listen to hardcore so rarely that I’m often surprised how enjoyable it is in small doses. Both of these bands are excellent at ripping shit up, and both sides remind me of the Propaghandi/I Spy split 10” from a decade ago. Ten songs, political and personal lyrics. Cool stuff. –benke (Thrashbastard/Refuse)


SUSPICIONS:
Self-Titled: LP
Seattle power pop roolz! The full length from the Suspicions is finally here and it is even better than the single. Great power pop/bubblegum that is the best thing Rip Off has released since that first Kill A Watts LP. Fans of Bobbyteens, early Joe Jackson, Lipstick Records, or anything involving Travis Ramin (Total Babes, Fevers, Nikki Corvette, etc.): here is your new favorite band! –frame (Rip Off)


STRONGARM AND THE BULLIES:
You Had It Coming: CD
Not sure about this. It is dripping with man anger and rage but not in an accessible way for me. This album has a very metal influence with the skinhead vibe thing. The vocals are extremely deep—can’t imagine what it was like for this guy to go through puberty—similar to Danzig meets an angry drill sergeant. Along with the metal vibe, the album has moments of bass-infused blues-like-rock outs, with screeching guitar rock star solos over it, like in “That Kind of Courage” and “Gone.” The production of the album is good and the tempo is sped up and always going, but something about it just isn’t gelling with me. –jenny (Rebellion)


STOKOE:
The Experiment Has Been a Complete and Utter Failure: CD
Thanks for summing up my entire review in the album title. –jimmy (Rookie, no address)


STEEL TOE SOLUTION:
Eight Year War: CD
Well lookie here. A baldie in tattered bell-bottoms and tennis shoes. Don’t that just beat all? –jimmy (Headache)


SS KALIERT:
: 7"
From the promo sheet touting these dudes as “streetrock” and the nice silk-screened cover showcasing a bunch of dudes with mohawks, I was really rooting for something that sounded like Bombshell Rocks or even Rancid. I mean, my secret’s out: I actually like Rancid quite a bit, in spite of their genre-hopping, their posturing, their blossoming thug/gang mentality. It’s embarrassing, but it’s there, you know? I was thinking, “Yeah, SS Kaliert—the thinking man’s Rancid! I can get behind this shit!” Then I actually put the record on and instead of the anthemic gravel-buried-in-the-melody stuff I was hoping for, these guys kick out four surprisingly dense, tough songs with hardly a hint of melody or “singalongness” to be found. I mean, the lyrics are all super-positive and they’re obviously totally fired up on punk, but that undercurrent of jump-in-the-air pogo that I was looking for was lacking, and was replaced with something a lot more simple and, like I said, tough. So if you want some sharp-as-nails street stuff that you’ll be hard pressed to sing along with, grab it up. It’s not bad, and it’s definitely heartfelt. Just a little too rough around the edges for me. –keith (FNS)


SPONTANEOUS DISGUST:
C4 Suppository—A Love Sonnet in Plastique: Cassette
To be honest, I have no recollection of where I first heard of Spontaneous Disgust. My guess would be in some dingy downtown bar, knee deep in spent Sierra Nevada and Newcastle bottles and arguing the viability of punk rock as a direct challenge to the status quo with Yogi, Mike Guerrero, and some punter who thought the newest incarnation of the Misfits was relevant. Ultimately, I guess the particulars don’t really matter and are probably wholly fabricated by my somewhat addled mind. What is relevant is that one morning I woke up nursing a hangover and in dire need of a bowl of menudo to kill said hangover in its tracks and found this battered cassette with “Spontaneous Discgust” (sic) written on one side, wrapped in a strip of heavy sandpaper adorned with markered happy faces and mutilated stick figures and held together by a frayed blue rubber band. Although I had no recollection whatsoever as to where the tape came from, I assumed it probably came from a friend, as I found it stuffed unceremoniously into the inside pocket of my flight jacket. I plunked it into my tape player, pressed play, and sat for my first helping of the world’s only known crudo cure-all, and nearly had my head blown off of my shoulders when the music started. What was coming out of my stereo was not so much “music” as a complete assault on everything humankind holds sacred—a mélange of misery, frustration, and righteous anger wrapped around monster hooks and BIG beats. While it certainly contained all the requisites, it wasn’t easily classifiable as “punk” in the strictest sense—I mean how the hell can a band use a French horn in that way and still be called “punk”?—and any attempts to pigeonhole it in any of punk’s multiple sub-genres proved even more difficult. No, these guys were dealing in a whole new categorization and they were doing their damnedest to ensure they remained the ONLY residing in that neighborhood. The songs—“When I Think of You, I Know Why Mantises Kill Their Mates,” “Praise the Lord and Pass the Amniocentesis,” “Donner Dinner Party” and “The Mustard Gas Shuffle,” respectively—worked on a level I’d never heard a band, punk or otherwise, work on before, freely profaning every sense of decency imaginable without resorting to cheap shock tactics, all in the name of making a pointed statement about the hypocrisy of American culture and its glorification of violence as art. Needless to say, I was hooked. The tape lasted a grand total of seven listens before it inexplicably disintegrated, depositing a fine brown powder in my car stereo that I’m still scraping out these many years later. Years afterward, I learned that the tape’s short lifespan was intentional—part of the band’s desire to make their fans really WORK to hear them—and that it was only one of twenty-four that ever actually existed, but those seven listens were enough to hook me but good and ensure that I would remain a lifelong fan. Some thirty-eight releases later (eleven of which I’ve actually heard), they remain one of my favorite bands and C4 Suppository—A Love Sonnet in Plastique remains one of the greatest punk-oriented releases I’ve ever heard. Wanna copy? Good fucking luck finding one that works, kid. –jimmy (address lost in the mists of time)


SPIDER FRIENDS:
Self-Titled: CD
So this dinky and repetitive drum machine and synth beat is playing, and a dude’s whining over it, and you think that more drums or a guitar or a melody or something are going to kick in soon so the song can start. Joke’s on you! Track 2: steady drum machine and synth, dude whining, end of song. This formula gets a workout over eight tracks with a couple of deviations (once, an actual riff!) and some catchy Kraftwerk melodies, but it’s mostly like the disc has been shot up with Novocain. –Guest Contributor (www.myspace.com/spiderfriends)


SPERMBIRDS:
Something to Prove: CD
A reissue of what appears to be the lion’s share of the first couple of LPs and some bonus rarities from one of the best bands to come outta Germany’s mid-late ‘80s punk/hardcore scene. If the occasional misogynistic lyric (someone in the band apparently had a few issues with women and, unfortunately access to a pencil and pad) doesn’t get your undies in a bunch, you might just find yourself thrashing in wild abandon to some choice noise that sounds more like it originated in central California’s skate punk scene than the land of lederhosen—melodic (but not in the current pop punk sense), obnoxious and fast. Good stuff it remains. –jimmy (Boss Tuneage)


SPAIN COLORED ORANGE:
Hopelessly Incapable of Standing in the Way: CD
I’m sure that this would have some long, hyphenated description, like electro-retro-lounge-camp or something, but I’ll just file it under “no thanks.” –megan (Lucid)


SPACE CRETINS:
Rocket Roll: CD
Here’s another case of a band pulling a fast one on me. If I were to look at the disc, I would be willing to bet that this was going to be a straight up “dragstrip rock” record. It’s got the crazy drawing of a hot girl and an alien riding a rocket, it’s got a dude in the band photo that looks a lot like Billy Hopeless of the Black Halos and it’s called Rocket Roll. I don’t have to explain my shock and excitement when I popped the disc in and it sounded like The Crowd. What? That can’t be Decker… I’m telling you “Hong Kong Blow” has to be one of the best songs The Crowd never wrote. It starts to lean more towards the rock vibe as the disc progresses, but it still manages to sound somewhat fresh. A nice little surprise. –ty (www.spacecretins.com)


SOUTHERN CULTURE ON THE SKIDS:
Doublewide and Live: CD
If you dig live recordings and SCOTS, this one’s for you; it’s high energy and excellently produced, with an expertly selected song variety. Alas, live recordings have opposite the intended effect on me—I feel left out instead of included. Nothing against this album, it’s very well considered, just not my preference. However, they’re still making a lot of people gleeful, including me. –thiringer (Yep Roc)


SOUTHERN CULTURE ON THE SKIDS:
Double Wide Live: CD
For some strange reason, I remembered these kids doling out primarily instrumental music with a southern surf twang. While that is the case on two songs—“The Wet Spot” and “Meximelt,” respectively—the vast bulk of stuff here is more on the rockabilly/country/punk tip, with vocals. This shouldn’t be taken as an implication that what’s on here is bad, per se, but I gotta say I’m much more interested in the instrumentals in this case, as they are quite impressive, indeed. –jimmy (Yep Roc)


SOFAKINGDOM:
Corporation America: CD
Pretty formulaic hardcore that’s like salad at a big holiday meal. It doesn’t bother you that it’s there, but you wouldn’t miss it if it was never put in front of you. –megan (sofakingdommusic.com)


SODA POP KIDS, THE:
Write Home: CD
The first song, “Put on Your Tight Pants,” is so catchy and perfect that the first time through the CD, I experienced a let down with each subsequent song. It took a few listens, but the rest of the tunes grew on me, too, and now I can’t get this gooey glob of glam punk outta my CD player. “Chained with Your Love” and “Memory Lane” have those ‘50s “ooo-wah-ooo” backing vocals that I’m an absolute sucker for. Listening to this CD is like shooting cotton candy intravenously, chugging Swizzle Stix, and chasing it down with root beer spiked with cocaine. Cheers to the sugar high. –benke (Full Breach Kicks)


SLIDESHAKER:
In the Raw: CD
Good ‘60s mid-to-down tempo garage blues with a slight hint of psychedelia played by what appear to be Finns (Arttu Keski-Orvola, Jani Korhonen, and Heikki Savolainen). The unassailably rad vocals sound like they’re sung through a kazoo hooked up to a fuzz box. The guitar player understands that well placed, uncomplicated solos can be more satisfying than some hot dog axe man trying to achieve full blown Clapton-esque wankery. Only two of the three band members are credited with providing handclaps. If anyone has this on vinyl, send it my way. –benke (Bad Afro)


SIX STRING JETS, THE:
Self-Titled: 7"
Chock full of the most ancient rock’n’roll clichés, these young morons almost pull these songs off. “Savage Beat” has the line “King of the jungle I’m a wild eyed savage beast/I’m a hungry for love and baby you’re the feast.” So dumb it’s almost retarded. The lyrics are sung in exaggerated Alex Chilton fashion. I applaud their spirit, but I’m lukewarm to their execution. –benke (Wrecked ‘Em)


SINKIN’ SHIPS:
All Signs Are Wrong: CD
The first thing that hit me on this one was the voice. Damn, that is one hell of a set o’ pipes. Right off the bat I’m thinking Cinder Block or Theo from Lunachicks, not because of the gender similarities, but the sheer power. Love it! Musically, it’s also very Lunachicks-like and that’s never a bad thing in my book. In fact, this thing played in my car for quite awhile, which is always a good testament to a disc’s longevity. I also think that “Tits on Toast” is a damn fine song title. Search this one out. –ty (Wounded Paw)


SINALOA:
Life at These Speeds: 7"
They spell their name with a “5” instead of an “S” on the cover. This 7” sounded more pretentious each time I listened to it. Pee-yew! –benke (Waking)


SHOP FRONTS:
So Sick b/w Shop Fronts & Polish Hammer: 7"
…i thought their first 45 pretty much bit, to tell you the truth, but, although i am still gonna hold off on anointing these guys (and girl) the sorely needed saviors of punk rock, i have no problem in admitting this is a three-song sampling of highly increased keen-ness. The a-side sounds like a stripped-down, female-vocalized version of the Spaceshits “More Abuse,” but with more of a Red (not “Redd”) Cross (not “Kross”) style Robo-beat; the b-side causes my reptilian brain-stem to want to excavate the Manic Depressives’ “Out With The In Crowd” three-song 7” for a quick compare/contrast session. Catchy, crunchy, under-produced and primitive, i now officially “see great promise” in this band. Huz the fuck Zah. BEST SONG: “So Sick” BEST SONG TITLE: “Polish Hammer?” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: If “Polish Hammer” is in reference to Ivan Putski, another childhood wrestling hero of mine, Wikipedia says that he’s now a security guard in a high school in a suburb of Austin, Texas. Huh. –norb (Noma Beach)


SHONEN KNIFE:
Genki Shock!: CD
I was a huge Shonen Knife fan back in the early ‘80s. I have a decent collection of their releases that I have amassed through the years. Like having your favorite pair of underwear or brand of beer, that tends to change over time. I kind of fell off their map when they went on a U.S. major label. Nothing of their later material has the magic of the early material to my ears. The magic in their earlier music was they could barely play and recorded in cheap studios and the songs were bubblegum cute. The new material is not the same for me. It sounds like they are trying too hard to sound garage. They play the same formula as their later material and worse, they continue to sing in English. When they were singing mostly in Japanese and broken English, the music was great. I read that for this U.S. release, they re-recorded the songs in English. I much would have preferred the Japanese vocals. –don (Glue Factory)


SHIVS, THE:
They’re Here: CD
I love it when a local band does good. The Shivs are pretty much the top of the heap as far as hardcore bands go in Victoria, and this record is a good representation of them. Fast and heavy is the order of the day. A couple of Blind Marc’s favorite bands are FUs and the Stretch Marks, and you can tell. They tend to creep over to the metal side of things here and there, but for the most part, it’s stripped down early ‘80s hardcore thrash. Add the musings of a drunk blind guy who is obsessed with aliens, and you’ve got a fine batch of songs. Throw in a couple of my favorite older tunes “15 Pack” and “86’ed” and some cover art featuring some Jaks Team aliens and call this a full blown winner. –ty (No Front Teeth)


SCOTCH GREENS:
Professional: CD
On the case is a sticker, which says, “punk rock and American roots. When was the last time you heard originality?” With regards to the first part, when I think “punk rock and American roots,” I think of the Gun Club, The Blasters, Los Lobos and maybe The Knitters. As for the second part, outside of the occasional inclusion of a banjo, what I’m hearing, while not terrible by any stretch, ain’t exactly teeming with originality. –jimmy (www.scotchgreens.com)


SCARS OF TOMORROW:
The Beginning of: CD
Two early lineups of a band I’ve never heard of playing burp-metal with occasional flashes of melody. The results are—you guessed it—about as exciting as a fistful of downs with an Everclear chaser. –jimmy (Thorp)


SCARRED, THE:
No Solution: CD
Young mohawky goodness, pure and simple. The Scarred somehow look and sound the part of punk from days gone by without going down the rehash road. It’s refreshing. The songs have an urgency and lack of hope that has me on the edge of my seat. I guess they kind of remind me of Broken Bottles (but not quite as good). –ty (Punkcore)


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·INSANE
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·Razorcake Podcast #129


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