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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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GUMBABIES, THE:
Another Ragged Army: CDEP
Have I ever mentioned that I have a thing for German bands? I’m not sure what it is, but chances are that if it’s from Deutschland I’m gonna like it. Spermbirds, Wizo, But Alive… Love ‘em all. Well, it looks like I’m adding another one to my list. The Gumbabies are not only German (but sing in English), but the singer sounds like Duane Peters! Wooooo, as if there could be anything better than a German US Bombs (DE Bombs?). –ty (Caustic Rock)


GRAVES AT SEA/ASUNDER:
Split: CD
If you have any depressive mood or suicidal feelings on the horizon, and this should be passed. Graves At Sea take a super bongload and recreate the Sabbath lick with sheer despair. Heavy riffs that sludge along but bite hard attack your aural senses, like smoking too much pot and over-focusing on every aspect of a song. If I was stoned, this would creep me out with the witchcraft screeching vocals mixed with the growl of doom. They unleash two songs that clock over twenty minutes. Asunder is another story. I saw them last summer, and that was an out of body experience. They played in the dark by candlelight and played barely four songs in less than an hour. The room was maybe 20’x20’ and, due to the season and no air conditioning, it was blistering hot and humid. Their brand of super slow, sludgecore, or whatever you call this type of music, was a strange episode. With the environment and their music, they made me feel like I was hallucinating and experiencing something unique that I have not felt before. I was exhausted and dehydrated after their set and I was completely sober and drinking water the whole time. Strange. Here, they expose to the world an eighteen-minute-plus montage of pure, thick molasses. The sounds that come out of the speakers coat the room with charred smoke and make it almost inhabitable. If this sounds appealing, these are two bands that can take the happiness out of any room. –don (Life is Abuse)


GRABASS CHARLESTONS:
When the Funk Hits the Fan: 7" EP
In my mind, the Grabass Charelstons have reached the level of Rocket From The Crypt, Tiltwheel, or Fugazi. I’m willing to follow ‘em to places I probably wouldn’t go by myself and I find myself being constantly rewarded by the journey. Ragin’ full-on punk, this isn’t, but how can one discount heart-felt, original music made by solid gold dudes? Grabass fights and fights; they know the score often before lacing up, gets their asses handed to them on occasion, and they dust off, and come back with secret hooks and crooked smiles. It’s this scrappy, for-the-music quality that makes me, less and less, able to critique their songs and just let them soak in, note by note—like every other song they’ve ever written, it seems—and let them reveal themselves on their own time, play by play. It’s been several years since I was first exposed to them on their split LP with Billy Reese Peters, and since I haven’t tired of listening to them yet, I doubt I ever will, and that’s a monolith of a recommendation. This batch of four (one’s a Guided By Voices cover) is full of destructive feelings—somehow making suicide not seem so bad and dark—brightly played. –todd (Barracuda Sound)


GORILLA ANGREB:
Beder Tider: 12" EP
I know I’m repeating a little, but here goes. Imagine that X, instead of playing the punk rock retirement plan via the House of Blues circuit, actually stuck their neck out to write some new songs (what has it been? Twenty years?). Instead of laurels to be rested upon, a Danish punk band, chock full of ex-hardcore players (from Amdi Petersens Armé and No Hope For The Kids), has relit the torch that X now holds above their heads like a soft, low-watt light bulb halo. Gorilla Angreb is using that initial flame—the one set by “We’re Desperate” and “Electrify Me” (The Plugz, who you should really check out if you haven’t already). Instead of lighting votive candles respectfully memorializing the past, Gorilla Angreb has lit a funeral pyre. It’s this crackling, aching, dancing flame in the new century, this kick in the snacks that makes Gorilla Angreb exciting. If you’re a fan of catchy, whip-cracking punk rock, stripped down to dueling male and female voices and hit-hard instruments, this is the way to go. And it’s on my favorite format: wide-grooved 45 rpm 12” EP. Find. –todd (Kick’n’Punch)


GOLDEN GODS, THE:
The Thorny Crown of Rock and Roll: CD
Was gonna totally blow this off as ‘70s-worshipping cock-rock—and don’t get me wrong, that’s EXACTLY what it is—but I’ll be damned if they ain’t damned good at what they do. These guys channel bands like Foghat, Foreigner, Deep Purple, and oodles of other groups whose names alone would cause most to visibly wince and manage to somehow make it not seem like a bad thing. Interesting cover of Carole King’s “I Felt the Earth Move,” too. If I was cruising in an El Camino with Randall “Pink” Floyd, this would no doubt be cranking on the quadraphonic 8-track system. –jimmy (www.thegoldengods.com)


GHOST MICE:
Europe: CD
I’m a sucker for concept albums (here the concept is their trip to Europe—hence the album title—and is divided geographically). I’m also a sucker for extras (and when I switched this from my headphones to my laptop, I found out just how many extras there were. It’s a lot). And, I’m also a sucker for Ghost Mice who give me the impression of a bunch of honest, not-so-young kids who like to play folk. So, as you can probably guess, I’m a bit of a sucker for this album. –megan (Plan-it-x)


FUNERAL DRESS:
Come on Follow: CD
I thoroughly enjoyed this CD. The songs are good—they have good rhythms, good riffs, and catchy choruses you can sing along to. The vocals go from the raw and gritty, deep, oi growl to a higher-pitched, accented, weasel-like sound similar to Stiff Little Fingers and Cock Sparrer. It kind of makes me think of a lot of testosterone, perhaps an overload of testosterone, but hey, I still like it despite my female make-up. I imagine lots of drunken dudes singing arm and arm with drinks in hand and a tinge of homoeroticism. This Belgian band put out a fun record. I dig it. –jenny (Step 1 Music)


FUMESTONES:
Now at the…Minibar!!: 7" EP
…copyright lawyers are apparently not working much overtime in Espana, as the title track’s melody swipes heavily from Elvis’ “Burning Love,” whilst “Pamplona” borrows brazenly from some semi-famous ‘60s punk nugget which i can hum but not readily identify. Nice ‘60s garage with plenty of Farfisa; the best song (“Minibar”) is also the most Smugglers-ish, so perhaps that might be written down somewhere if the band is taking notes right now. If this band was playing at the local swillery, i’d almost certainly stay ‘til the end; this record seems okay in the context of a souvenir from the live show, but if there is a compelling reason to purchase it over others of its ilk i remain unaware of it. BEST SONG: “Minibar” BEST OR AT LEAST MOST INTERESTING SONG TITLE: “A Blind’s Nun Thoughts” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: One photo of the dude on the back clearly shows a New York Yankees logo halfway Photoshopped out. Dudes, this is no time for half-measures! –norb (Kuriosa)


FT (THE SHADOW GOVERNMENT):
Guns of August: CD
Electronic skronk with an interest in politics, it appears. –jimmy (Address completely illegible, which is what happens when you use avocado green text on a split pea soup green background)


FREEZE, THE:
I Hate Tourists: 7"
I have never seen the actual 7” before. But here is an official repress right in my hands. I had to take a look at the Flex book for a little information; the cover is a correct reproduction. Inside is a new, updated cover for this pressing. It was originally released in 1980 and was before they became the powerhouse of a hardcore band out of the Boston scene. Start with the This is Boston, Not LA comp if you are looking for something heavier. The first track, “Don’t Forget Me Tommy,” is a new wave track that is pretty good with its almost cheap Casio keyboard sound. “I Hate Tourists” is garagey, three-chord punk with barely any distortion that defined the early sound of punk. I believe this is a one-time pressing. So go out and hear some history without paying collector nerd prices. –don (Schizophrenic)


FRAMED, THE:
Countless Ways of Self-Destruction: CD
For me, ten years too late. This melodicore, sometimes street punk, sounding band is a dime a dozen these days. So formulaic to their approach, that I probably will never remember what this band sounded like. –don (Reality Clash)


FOUND DEAD IN TRUNK:
Ugly Very Ugly: CD-R
This six-song demo is no frills, mid-tempo punk with a low budget recording. Slower, sloppier Circle Jerks or Strychnine sound. They do a cover of Black Flag’s “Wasted.” –KO! (demo, self release, kgrave2000@hotmail.com)


FEVERS, THE:
Don’t Tell Me it’s Wrong b/w He’s in Town: 7"
Rockin’ poppy rock/punk fusion. Side A rocks the way a Phil Spector song might, and side B is a slower song of the same. The cool little insert is a sheet of perforated labels made especially for juke box selection menus. Gotta admit... even though I don’t own a juke box, that’s a pretty clever and unique insert all the same! –mrz (Get Hip)


FELLOW PROJECT:
Where’s the Wire: 10”
Folk punk with a political bent. Fans of This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb and the Plan-It-X crowd will wanna be all over this. Earnest lyrics, solid playing, and heartfelt spirit here, but the tunes don’t really grab me. All you bike punks are gonna love it though. –frame (Make Or Break)


FASCIST FASCIST:
Self-Titled: CDEP
Assembled as a supergroup of sorts, from bands I’ve never heard before. If it helps: The Homosexuals, Attica 9, Universal Order Of Armageddon, The Uniform, Double Dagger. All I can say is that this EP is great! Eight hardcore songs sending me back to when I first heard Dag Nasty and Born Against! The music is mostly straight forward hardcore with some cool break downs. The best part is the vocals. The only way to explain would be to have you picture (or hear) Dave Smalley as a girl, minus the melodies he sometimes busted into. It’s a refreshing change to the trend of girl singers in hardcore bands who need to scream and sound tough, or try and sound like Allison Wolfe (Bratmobile). There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of that, but when every other band I hear tries to have a certain sound, it’s so great to hear something as cool as this. And the lyrics friggin’ rule! Songs about self hatred and hating parties. Not taking themselves too serious, preachy or pretentious, but through sarcasm and humor, throwing out their message. This is a great EP. –Guest Contributor (Reptilian)


EXENE CERVENKA AND THE ORIGINAL SINNERS:
Sev7en: CD
Everything we love about Exene—strong, clear, and all over the map. The incredibly flexible band skillfully mixes up rockabilly, glam, blues, surf, twang, and more, supporting and complementing Exene’s signature vocal eccentricities. New lineup includes Sinners Jason Edge (guitar) and St. Louis’ 7 Shot Screamers’: Chris Powers (bass), Dan Sabella (guitar) and Kevin O’Conner (drums). Toe tapping, heart warming, and highly enjoyable. –thiringer (Nitro)


ERIC BLOWTORCH AND THE INFLAMMABLES/DAN FLYNN AND THE INFLAMMABLES:
Joyful Noise b/w White Hen Pantry: 7"
The A-side claims the “dirtiest, nastiest drum sound you’ve ever heard.” Don’t worry, it ain’t. Reggae funk backed with a jazzy instrumental. I think they’re called The Inflammables because they never catch fire. –benke (Bopaganda!)


EMERGENCY BROADCAST SYSTEM:
Self-titled: CDEP
This is quite a nice little package, but it’s one of those records that really kind of defy accurate classification. I guess I would say that it sounds like modern radio mixed with post-punk sensibility like Joy Division. And it also kinda reminds me of bands that I’ve been hearing out of Kansas City over the last ten years or so—melodic and powerful, but defying the possibility of being pigeon-holed due to inventive composition that borders on the experimental at times. Sorry if this one escapes my verbal skills. I like it, anyway. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Coastal Ghost)


ELECTRIC 6:
Señor Smoke: CD
Big, beefy, and highly synthesized, this Detroit sextet is reminiscent of Rocket From The Crypt in some strange universal twist. A hit in the U.K., where this album was first released, the self-dubbed disco-punk description is somewhat telling—nonsensical lyrics, a spinal column of power keyboards (Tait Nucleus), porno bass (John R. Dequindre, Frank Lloyd Bonaventure), cock rock guitars (The Colonel, Johnny Nashinal), and silver-tongued, masculine vocals (Dick Valentine). This oddly balanced mix of dance, garage, and what-have-you is simultaneously repulsive and magnetic. –thiringer (Metropolis)


EIGHTYFOUR:
Self-titled: CD
What a bummer. This looked like it was gonna suck, judging by the shitty artwork, but the first song was awesome, like a grittier, younger Avail; I was stoked. But it quickly went downhill into generic emo-hardcore, and by the fourth song I was bored outta my skull. Oh well. Better luck next time, fellas. –ben (New Regard Media)


DUB TRIO:
New Heavy: CD
Sometimes this is dub meets Portishead. Other times, it gets a bit more rock with some chugga chugga thrown in for good measure. Interesting at times, but not my thing even when they throw Mike Patton in. –megan (ROIR)


DRIP, THE/HEDGECREEP:
Split: 7"
The Drip plays standard, generic sounding punk—one song about pills, one about wanting to fuck a girl named Annette. The Hedgecreep side was so boring my record player shut itself off. –benke (Wrecked ‘Em)


DRINKERS PURGATORY:
Self-Titled: CD
These Anaheim natives would be a real nice addition to Recess, Plan-it-X, or No Idea for sure. And look, the liner notes say “Produced and stuff by Davey Tilt.” Very nice! And I have to say, this full length is much better than the 7” released a year or two ago, which is good. Let’s hope their recordings keep up this trend and just keep getting better and better. Rumor has it Rawl from Killer Dreamer has now started playing drums with these kids live. I have yet to see that, but I bet it’s a wild ride. –mrz (No address. myspace.com/drinkerspurgatory)


DRINKERS PURGATORY:
Self-titled: CD
The music, kinda post-Leatherface punk, is pretty strong, but that singer is in danger of crossing the threshold into Doc Dart annoying vocal-land. –jimmy (Small Pool, no address)


DRINKER’S PURGATORY:
Self-titled: CD
This record is a perfect example of why punk rock is better now, in 2006, than it ever has been. People that whine that punk reached its peak in 1977 or 1985 or 1992 or whatever bullshit year they stopped paying attention need to shut the fuck up, because Drinker’s Purgatory are the personification of punk rock. Have you ever had one of those nights when you can’t decide if you wanna drink a 40 with your friends under a bridge or hold your girlfriend’s hair outta the toilet while she’s puking but you can’t make up your mind so you just huff spray paint and go swimming instead? This record is the soundtrack to nights like that. It’s an awesome album and I give it the highest recommendation possible! –ben (Small Pool Records, no address!)


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·PROOF I EXIST
·MUCH WORSE
·TRENCHCOAT ARMY


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