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Record Reviews

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MONROES, THE:
: 7"
Pretty cool garage punk single. Reminds me a bit of the Prissteens, which is a very good thing. Fans of the Downbeat 5 and Thee Minks would dig this a whole lot. Straight forward and rockin’; a no frills single. Cool band from the Netherlands. –frame (High Maintenance)


MILKY WIMPSHAKE:
Heartshaped: LP
Beautifully packaged LP from this great indie/twee band. Silk-screened, three-color cover with rad, pink polka dots. Sixteen-page booklet with lyrics for 50/50 previously released and new tunes. I remember hearing and liking this band in the ‘90s, but I don’t remember them being this good. Amazingly strong twee pop for the K/Slampt crowd, reminiscent of the best of the Crabs, Tullycraft, and Go Sailor with a British feel. This is an extremely difficult style to play well, and there are tons of really bad bands who try. But when it is done right, it is killer and Milky Wimpshake nails it on every count. That is coming from someone who has loathed ninety plus percent of all indie rock I have ever heard. This fucker pops! –frame (Bitter Like The Bean)


MIGHTY GO GO PLAYERS:
: 10"
Noisy, arty garage punk with keyboards. This band is from France and features members of the Fatals. All you fans of garage gone art punk of the last five years: lunch is served. Funny how almost everyone I knew followed the Jay Reatard arc of how to go from rockin’ and snotty to dark and mopey in less than five moves. This band is as good as anyone else playing this stuff but I will happily keep playing my Ape City R & B, Lids, and Earaches records. Garage Punk - Art = Cool. –todd (Alien Snatch)


MEMBERS:
At the Chelsea Nightclub and 1980-The Choice is Yours: CD
The Members were one of those groups that kinda fell into the gray area between punk and what was called new wave, being a tad too gruff and “street” for the skinny tie crowd and too musically sophisticated to be easily lumped in with the great mohawked unwashed. Nonetheless, they managed some popularity, due in no small part to the fact that that had some really good tunes that drew from the same influences and were as diverse in sound as anything The Clash ever did—and yet sound only remotely like them. These reissues of their first two albums feature some of the group’s best work, from punk anthems like “Solitary Confinement,” “Sound of the Suburbs,” and “Muzak Machine” to reggae-spiked ditties like “Offshore Banking Business” (which the band played live in the movie Urgh, A Music War) and “Clean Men.” Of course, Captain Oi has added assorted singles tracks and alternate versions to each reissue, including a personal favorite, “GLC,” a punk raver that rivals your average oi tune and was featured on the Rock Against Racism comp many moons ago, and the simply marvy “Disco Oui Oui,” which is exactly what its title implies. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


MATCHBOOK ROMANCE:
Voices: CD
Matchbook Romance has always been one of those bands that I’ve always lumped into the emo-pop malaise that erupted a few years ago. Never heard them, didn’t care to hear them, and didn’t think they were capable of anything worth listening to. I still haven’t listened to their earlier works and still probably won’t, but Voices, their latest album on Epitaph, is without a doubt a really stunning piece of work. The eleven tracks are altogether as moody as a year in the Midwest, with dark overtones flushing out every negative image that might be tied into ones’ environment. The artwork really sets the tone, with an abundance of the color black and nefarious claymation imagery. The addition of strings, piano, and organ efficiently placed throughout the album—as well as incredibly strong vocals—show this to definitely be a maturing effort for the band. The strings, for example, could’ve just been thrown in as an attempt by the band to try and appear to be deep or creative, but instead, as on songs such as “Goody, Like Two Shoes” they delicately work their way into the root of the song. While catering to those fans of Alkaline Trio and My Chemical Romance, Matchbook Romance shows a progression towards its rock roots which helps supplant themselves into being a legitimate band and not just a flash in the pan. This may not be up the alley of the typical punk rock fan, but considering how much of the garbage came out of the emo scene a few years ago, this seems really promising, and especially for those of us who appreciate a little variety in our music. –kurt (Epitaph)


MARVEL:
Unleashed: CDEP
Bar rock doing what bar rock does best: shitty cover that I wouldn’t want to hear wasted, let alone sober. –megan (Black Juju, no address)


MARITIME:
We, the Vehicles: CD
Sometimes I can’t help but wonder what anyone else reviewing some of the stuff I get would say about it. Or perhaps the editors just send me this stuff because they know it’s more up my alley than say, something from some crust or ‘77 punk band. Looking at the type of bands we interview here (most of whom are very cool, by the way), I just wonder what some of these record labels are thinking sending their CDs to us. Maybe they’re hoping it gets to me since I’m probably the only person here who might cut it some slack. Maybe not. I don’t know. What I do know is that Maritime is the project of one half of Promise Ring and one member from The Dismemberment Plan. Based on that, one might expect sissy music. And one would be right. This is a light-hearted affair with soft, lisped vocals courtesy of Davey von Bohlen and gentle pop music usually accompanied by soothing guitars and the occasional keys. The drumming is consistently steady and the bass is almost non-existent, but in the end the songs are what they are: incredibly catchy and delightful to listen to. You may want to make fun of them at first, but after a few listens they actualize themselves as pleasant, honest works that are soothing and generous in their delivery. –kurt (Flameshovel)


MANGINA:
: 7"
Hilarious packaging: they’ve reprinted entries of a ton of shows they played; the majority of ‘em seem to end with someone getting pieces of glass in their back, someone getting attacked by a pit bull, or someone getting threatened with a gun. Grow ‘em wild in Alabama, they do. Also comes with a two-track CD-R that’s spray painted orange. I hate that I’ve reviewed something in the past two issues where I compare the vocalist to the dude from Contra, even though each band has musically and aesthetically sounded nothing like them, and here I am doing it again: this guy sounds a lot like the dude from Contra. Or maybe a slightly-less crazed Combat Wounded Veteran. The music follows suit: Combat Wounded Veteran simplified and slowed down just a tad. The vinyl’s white and someone wrote “Mangina” in brown marker over one side. I have no idea what they’re singing about, since they included three inserts and no lyrics, but one can only assume a song called “Rob Halford May Be Gay (But You’re a Fucking Faggot)” is either a spirited anthem regarding homosexuality, or it’s meant to piss people off. Either way, I was down with the DIY packaging but the actual music struck me as a bit dull. If their show excerpts are any indication, the live show’s where it’s at for this band anyway. –keith (Jeth-Row)


MAGGOTS, THE:
Nobody Loves the Hulk b/w Take it Off: 7"
The a-side is a lost ‘60s nugget that i’ve never actually heard, but have been aware of for quite some time because i’d seen the little text ads the band took out pimping the record in the Marvel Comics of the day. For whatever reason, i always assumed the song would be more of a novelty thing (a la the Merry Marvel Marching Society theme song) (face front!); it’s actually a lot more psychedelic/Electric Prunes-y than i imagined—lotsa minor chords and organ. The b-side is a Peter Gunn-styled frat-rocker, with “Take It Off” the sole concession to verbiage. I think the only abiding reason for you to get this record is if you’re a big comic book nerd and don’t (or, come to think of it, do) own the original, as the sleeve seems to faithfully emulate the Real Deal. Sheesh! BEST SONG: “Take It Off” BEST SONG TITLE: “Nobody Loves the Hulk!” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: On gamma-ray green vinyl, so you gotta wonder if the first one was one grey. –norb (Bootleg Booze)


MAD SIN:
Dead Moon’s Calling: CD
I’m EXTREMELY picky about the psychobilly stuff I listen to and, frankly, this ain’t something I’d listen to ever again. What’s on here sounds like your average modern day corporate punk band with a stand-up bass and lyrics trying desperately to be edgy but only end up sounding lame. –jimmy (Sailor’s Grave)


M.O.T.O.:
El Stop b/w She’s Gone: 7"
What do the Seeds, Dr. Demento, Roky Erickson, hoboes, and the Beach Boys have in common? How the fuck should I know, but I bet Paul Caporino does. How can songs be so instantly catchy, crackle-poppy, infinitely weird, yet singable and raw; like if the Beatles never made enough money to pay their mortgages, but just kept plugging away in near-obscurity and sung about their sex drives blatantly? How the fuck should I know, but Paul Caporino, the mastermind of this twenty plus year-long outfit, does. Almost too good. Well worth picking up. –todd (Baby Killer)


LUXURY PUSHERS:
Quitter’s Holiday: CD
This is coming from a few weird directions at once: ‘90s grunge pop, Boston-y sing-along street punk, and a little bit of Turbonegro’s purposely obvious hard rock like on their last record. Oh yeah, and Mike Ness’ scab-pickin’ lyrics about “[having] nothin’” and “Bruises to Prove It” and shit like that. Points added for titling a song and penning a chorus based on a line from Ned Flanders’ dad: “We’ve tried nothin’…and we’re all out of ideas!” and then immediately deducted for making it not funny. –Guest Contributor (Ready-Wear Ltd., www.luxurypushers.com)


LOVED ONES, THE:
Keep Your Heart: CD
Part of the new breed on Fat, this band is no newcomer. Featuring former members of Kid Dynamite and the Curse, this is no high school garage band. At the moment, this is a little too slick for me. The songs are catchy, well recorded, and have drive. This could be on a major label. The production is that good. I would probably have a different opinion if I had seen the band live first. –don (Fat)


LOVED ONES, THE:
Keep Your Heart: CD
Made up of former members of Kid Dynamite, Paint It Black, and The Curse, this is fairly different from the members’ former acts and instead is typical Fat Wreck Chords fare: well-produced, clean, poppy, catchy and for outsiders like me it’s reminiscent of other material on the label (Lawrence Arms) although huge fans of the genre will most likely disagree (hey, if you can find discrepancies between most pop punk acts, more power to you). This is the kind of stuff my neighbors in grad school listened to and thought they were all “punk” and “different” not realizing that this is really tame. But if you’re looking for a guilty pop punk indulgence with an East Coast flavor, The Loved Ones aren’t too bad. –kurt (Fat)


LOVE EQUALS DEATH:
Nightmerica: CD
Sometimes it might sound good to me, but I still might not like it. This record was recorded superbly, but I’m just not moved. It kind of flies all over the map. I swear one song reminded me of Billy Idol meets Chemical Romance. Other songs sounded like they were mid-period AFI, Good Riddance, a little Bad Religion and even a little Less Than Jake. They sound like well-accomplished musicians but haven’t really decided on a niche. The last song is an acoustic number that almost seems like they are reaching for the audience that put Rise Against’s Swing Life Away on the modern rock charts. I have to say that I’m going to pass. –don (Fat)


LOVE EQUALS DEATH:
Night Merica: CD
I think anyone starting a band like this needs to start asking themselves some real serious questions. Does the world need another AFI? How about another Fallout Boy? Well, if those two bands are on a list of your favorites, should you be allowed to play music? Your intentions couldn’t be any more obvious. Hurry up and get on to MTV and stop trying to push this shit sound to the underground. –Guest Contributor (Fat)


(LONE) WOLF & CUB:
May You Only See Sky: CDEP
Metal can get too serious at times: either with the costumes some bands wear or just the content of the lyrics. Here is a band that the music sounds serious and is tough as nails, but they have a sense of humor. Titles like “I Swear I’ve Been to This AutoZone Before” and “If I Were a Snake I’d Be a Belt Now.” That is funny to me. By looking at the titles alone, I thought this band was going to be pop punk or something else that would be silly. But what came through the speakers was some heavy shit: heavy Black Sabbath riffage mixed together with some up-tempo poundage. There are also points that remind me of Iron Maiden with the dual guitar attack. Add those ingredients with some black metal and the description might be close. Now bang thy head. –don (HeWhoCorrupts)


LETTERS IN BINARY:
Pretty in Perpendicular: CD
Methinks this hardcore band listens to a wee bit too much John Zorn. –jimmy (www.conspiratorsinsound.com)


LEMURIA/FRAME:
Split: 7"
Lemuria sounds eerily like Half Fiction-era Discount—the woman’s voice is dead-on. I have no idea if that’s what they were shooting for, but that’s what I’m hearing, right down to the slightly off pop structures and lilting vocal rhythms. It’s good stuff for sure. But then I flip the record and I’m totally confused. What the hell happened to Frame? I really thought they were onto something on their recent split 7” with Karate For Kids. On that record, they seemed poised right on ye olde precipice between “good pop punk” and “really good pop punk,” but their two songs on this record sound like a godawful mix of Amber Inn and, ugh, Promise Ring or something. It makes my skin crawl and sounds like a watered-down soundtrack for an art film, like if emo came in Budweiser cans. Guys, what happened? –keith (Salinas/Art Of The Underground)


LEFT FOR DEAD:
Live: LP
I’m not a real big fan of live records, but this one sounds real good. The band was originally around in the ‘90s, based out of the Toronto area. The group disbanded and went on to other bands like Ruination, Haymaker, Cursed, and Chokehold. They got back together in 2004 to do a benefit. Seeing the opportunity, the event was recorded. Since I have no history of ever hearing this band before, this was a good introduction. Guessing from the time period, this type of hardcore punk was not prevalent around the world. There was a big ska, pop punk, and emo boom going on at the time. So a band like this would most likely be short lived due to the small support group at the time. But I don’t know the reason on their breakup. I do know that this record shows that I really missed something. The band was one mean mother to reckon with. The songs are fast and heavy, with vocals screamed at damaging levels. If you have heard the output of the bands they went on to, you can hear what they carried with them. –don (Deranged)


LAWRENCE ARMS, THE:
Oh! Calcutta!: CD
Somehow, this is my first time hearing the Lawrence Arms. Their name was always bundled with Jawbreaker (as in “they sound like…”), and none of those bands that were supposed to sound like Jawbreaker ever really delivered. (You heard me.) So the Arms stayed under my radar and I can’t put Oh! Calcutta! in context with however many previous records they have. [Dramatic pause.] But this one is good! While Jawbreaker’s songs belied its members’ youth, the Arms still have a distinct feeling of “excited kids.” Even with most of the lyrics sticking to bummer territory, there’s an audible joy to be playing fast and yelling. WARNING: This next part of the review contains a SPOILER regarding the album’s SECRET TRACK. The Arms do country-rock, a catchy disillusionment/oh-yeah-that’s-why punk anthem that sounds as genuine as any other decent alt-country act. But those bands probably don’t write songs about punk rock or reference His Hero Is Gone in their lyrics. I’m seriously impressed. –Guest Contributor (Fat)


LAWRENCE ARMS, THE:
Oh! Calcutta!: CD
It’s been a good four years since I really listened to any output from this band. It was the Apathy & Exhaustion LP and I remember liking it enough to keep it. Doing a little research, since it seemed odd that I haven’t heard anything in four years, they did release something a couple of years ago. This band seems to have matured greatly. The songs and the tones coming from their instruments have a deeper emotion to them. The time that they have now been together has really made them into one cohesive unit. I’m not an Against Me! fan, but that is what it sounds like to me but mixed with a little Hot Water Music and adding a more melodic touch to the songs. The delivery is strong, and I can feel the conviction of the band. Looking at the liner notes, they recorded the songs on analog. I thought that the songs had stronger tone than what usually comes out of the studios that are recorded on the computer with ProTools. The bass tones are warmer and the highs are less harsh. Also, if you have recorded in analog, you know you have to be dead-on when recording. There is less room for error. So these guys were well rehearsed when they went in to record. It shows. They may not be one of the larger bands of the genre, but they are definitely one of the better ones. –don (Fat)


LAST VEGAS, THE:
Seal the Deal: CD
I’m hearing less “punk” and more Nugent-style rock-in-overdrive (minus the lame sex metaphors) here, which ain’t exactly a bad thing. Hell, I’m just pleased they ain’t another buncha Dolls clones. –jimmy (www.gethip.com)


LAFCADIO:
Sham Duvet: CD
This Indianapolis-based noise metal band delivers their nine-song debut with a schizophrenic energy reminiscent of Mr. Bungle mixed with Deftones, Faith No More (or anything Mike Patton’s had his hands in), Don Caballero, and your average noise band. There’s a definite prog edge to the music with vocals that range from hardcore screaming to singing and metal growling to spoken word. Of course, to add to its immensity, Sham Duvet is a concept album and the lyrics read just like the chapters to a book, laying out the tale of the protagonist, the aptly named Sham Duvet. As their website says, he “is a neurotic/prophetic figure with a messiah complex.” This whole thing wasn’t entirely up my alley but it’s got great production and is pulled off well and has a lot of intensity and quality musicianship. Fans of the genre would do well to check this out. –kurt (Joyful Noise)


LADIES, THE:
They Mean Us: CD
Sorry, Ladies. One of my most gigantic pet peeves is bands whose names make it sound like they are girls but—surprise—they’re dudes. So you can blame this crap review on that if you like, but honestly, your album just isn’t very good. All those weird, all-over-the-place tracks with seizure-inducing drums and whiny vocals just end up being really boring. Is your name supposed to be a joke? I get the feeling that it is. Maybe you think you seem kind of sensitive and wimpy and therefore you are lady-like. Really, most of the lady bands I listen to are way tougher than this. You guys? Ladies? You should be so lucky. –jennifer (Temporary Residence Limited)


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