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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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DESTRUCTORS:
Exercise the Demons of Youth and Punk Singles Collection: CD
The Destructors dealt in rudimentary, quick-paced 1-2-1-2 punk, not unlike so many other bands coming from the U.K. during the late ‘70s/early ‘80s. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and as evidenced by Exercise the Demons of Youth, their debut, they were quite proficient at knocking out a solid eighteen tunes of the stuff (some of which, including “Northern Ripper” and “Breakdown,” were previously recorded and released under the name The Blanks back in 1978 or so), delivering some solid tracks rife with social commentary and serial killer stories. It serves as a nice time capsule of that period in U.K. punk when things were still quite simple, passionate, and open to anyone with enough conviction and balls to get up on a stage and rant a bit while a tight band thrashed away behind ‘em. The singles collection starts off in the same vein, with their early singles charting similar territory as Exercise, but somewhere around the middle of the disc things start to change—more interesting drumming patterns emerge here, a little more guitar experimentation there, maybe a few more slower tempos and just when you think they might have “matured” in sound, WHACK, another thrasher. Gotta love that. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


DESTROYED, THE:
Russian Roulette: CDEP
I’m not from the East Coast, so it took me a while to figure out what was really going on here. It also took a few listens to get it. Bostonians may remember. ‘77 to ‘79, there was a band called The Destroyed. They played with The Dead Boys and The Ramones, among others. The drummer (Bert Switzer) and guitar/vocalist (J.D. Jackson) reformed and recorded this EP last year, after almost thirty years. My first reaction after listening was to laugh. I feel a little bad about it though, because when I get older, I only hope I am as cool as these guys. The drums and guitars are so out of sync at times it makes me wonder if they were listening to each other when they recorded it. After a few listens, the style sank in a little bit. Switzer mostly plays a series of drum rolls, and sloppily accents different changes in songs. Rarely will he play a steady beat. I say this not in suggesting he isn’t proficient at his instrument, but because he is not a typical “punk” drummer. There is a two minute, fifty-second drum solo at the end of the CD that Max Weinberg couldn’t touch on his best night. It’s that his style is more like a constant drum solo with an attempt to sync some guitar and vocals over the top. Jackson plays simple melodies that remind me a lot of the late ‘70s Cleveland scene (Rocket From The Tombs or Pagans). The combo, as strange as it seems, somehow reminds me of The Urinals with a jazz drummer. At other times, it’s just super sloppy ‘77 punk. If you can get over their inability to play in tempo with each other, some of the songs are actually pretty good. I’m still pretty torn on a final opinion. Is the world ready for such a crossover? –Guest Contributor (www.thedestroyed.com)


DESOLATE VOID:
Self-Medicated Psychotherapy: CD
Essentially stoner metal with growly vocals. This is pretty good for what it is, but that’s about as far as I’m willing to commit. –jimmy (Crimes Against Humanity)


DEEMED USELESS:
Self-titled: CD-R
What are the odds of all of the songs on a pop punk demo breaking the three-minute mark? Seriously, one is a mind-crushing 4:49. That would be “Sweetheart,” which spends a full thirty-five seconds showing off Deemed Useless’ harmonizing skills acapella. No surprise then that the “punk” part of the equation goes in quotation marks, because this is total pop, and not the good kind. The singer sounds a lot like Milo Aukerman on “Donkey Show,” but after that it’s all harmonies and emotional choruses and a friggin’ POWER BALLAD. Also, the lead guitarist is clearly a frustrated metal shredder stuck in an emo-pop gig. –Guest Contributor (www.myspace.com/deemeduseless.inc)


DEAD BROTHERS, THE:
Wunderkammer: CD
Killer, atmospheric, mutant, NOLA jazz that would have served perfectly as the backwoods soundtrack to one of Jim Jarmusch’s old movies. There’s also a nod to the feel of the Paris neighborhood, Montmartre, in the music. You can almost hear the romantic sounds of glasses clinking absinthe in the background. The Dead Brothers have hillbilly hearts, ringmasters’ senses of circus spectacle, foreign language skills, and an unusual array of instruments (trombone, tuba, accordion, lap steel, kalimba, tabla…huh?) that elicit the urge to drink in a seedy French dive bar bathed in red light and prostitutes. –benke (Voodoo Rhythm)


DARLINGTON:
Sex: CD
Amiable pop punk in all its non-threatening, post-Queers glory. I’m starting to think these guys were only good for one inspired album, and this ain’t it. –jimmy (Fastmusic)


DARK SKIES:
Self-titled: CD
Post-MC5 rock/punk that sounds like the BellRays with Kerry from Love Canal on vocals. –jimmy (Empty)


DAN:
Dan-Thology: 2 x CD
Here I am thinking, “What horrible pop punk band could this be?” Also, “How could they have sixty-four songs on a double CD and justify a discography?” The name of the band does not imply what is in store. With dread, I put disc one in the player and start reading the CD booklet. Strange. I learn this band was around from 1983–1988 in the U.K. I was around then. Maybe I was too drunk to notice, and I was listening to a lot of thrash, crossover, and speed metal at the time. But I know if I had heard it, I would be all over this band. From the liner notes, the band had gigged around with anarcho bands at the time like Conflict, Anti Sect, and Amebix but really was more melodic than their contemporaries. They sound to me a heavier Rezillos meets a more melodic and musically more interesting Vice Squad. There are hints of sounding like Crass too, but with more fun. The female vocals are the ringer here for me. With the constant cycle of members entering and leaving, they have a huge list of people who were in the band. I almost put this back so someone else could have reviewed it. That would have been a big mistake. –don (Boss Tuneage)


DACTYL:
Self-titled: CDEP
Some nice enough noise rock here—good n’ atonal with enough structure to keep it from turning into a noisy, pointless mess. –jimmy (www.dactyldactyl.com)


CYNICS, THE:
Buick Mackane b/w Born to Lose: 7"
I swear to God, The Slider is the most overrated T. Rex album ever (actually, every T. Rex album is pretty much the most overrated T. Rex album ever, except for the ones that are collections of like singles or whatever—i’ve probably got something like fifteen T. Rex albums and i can’t think of one that i ever get a solid hankerin’ to sit down and listen to all the way thru, other than Bolan Boogie or similar anthology [Electric Warrior included]). The Slider sleeve strikes me as something that was already parodied within the last ten years (exact data escapes me at the moment), and was “Buick Mackane” the T. Rex song Guns-N-Roses saw fit to desecrate on their The Spaghetti Incident album? I never liked that song much to begin with; i like it even less now that i realize it’s Kind Of Metal. The b-side is a totally rippin’ Heartbreakers cover; ordinarily i’d bitch about the lack of imagination evinced by yet another Heartbreakers cover (as if i’m one to talk), but it nicely cleans up the mess left by the a-side, so i guess it’s fifty-fifty all around. BEST SONG: …where i come from, it’s “Born to Lose” BEST SONG TITLE: …where you come from it’s “Born…gay!” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Record comes with a sheet of ten pre-printed jukebox tabs, with “Buick Mackane” misspelled ten different times. –norb (Get Hip)


CUDDLE MACHINES:
Self-titled: CD
This reminds me of Nation Of Ulysses without all the bullshit pseudo speak back story. It’s bass driven, angular guitar, herky jerky punk rock. Not bad at all. Hope to hear more from these guys in the future. –greg (Cuddle Machines)


CRYSTAL SKULLS:
Outgoing Behavior: CD
You know, when you hear the band name Crystal Skulls, the thought process goes something like this: Crystal Skulls = Mexican artifact = Aztecs = some seriously cool drumming, and maybe even a conch solo if yer lucky. At no point does “simpy, wimpy alt-pop” enter into the thought process. –jimmy (Suicide Squeeze)


CRYBABY MACARTHUR:
Self-titled: 7" EP
Brooklyn DIY punk in the vein of Allergic To Bullshit and Crimpshrine. Sometimes—like this one—it’s simply fun to hear an earnest, yet rough, band finding their musical legs and peeling into the core of their artistic voices. No, it’s not the best thing I’ve heard this month, and they’re a little derivative, but they’re dripping with the juice of possibility. Heart goes a long way with me, and you can do much worse than somewhat disjointed songs about drinking, love gone bad, making bad decisions, bicycle rides, and coffee, sprinkled in with flashes of something greater, like when someone in the band sings, “you might be tough, but you’ll never be free” or they hit such melancholic harmonies. Keep an eye on ‘em. –todd (Self-released)


COWBOY MOUTH:
Voodoo Shoppe: CD
Adult indie pop. Can it be done? All the time… and with predictable results. However, as natives of the Big Easy, the band is allocating a portion of CD sales to assist Katrina-displaced Orleans residents. –thiringer (Eleven Thirty)


COP ON FIRE/VISION OF WAR:
Split: LP
I love gatefold covers. They make a record feel more important in your hand. Like it was made that way to better protect what is inside. Also, there is more area for artwork and such: more to look at while you are taking a listen. This one is no exception. The artwork is intricate but simple by being only black and white. The inside artwork on this release would have been a rad poster to put up on the wall. The artist, who I can’t find a name of on this release, has created an artwork that can be described as Pushead-like. Cop On Fire hail from Spain and shows that punk has been established and cross infected the entire world. They play a brand of modern day d-beat mixed with some crust influences. Visions Of War hail from Belgium and blast out five tracks of punishing crust. More metallic on their tracks and they feature dual male vocals. A great offering from two bands from separate countries. This is co-released with five different labels out of Europe. So if there is an interest, I can’t see this release disappearing anytime soon. –don (Profane Existence)


COOTERS, THE:
Chaos or Bust: CD
You know how when you’re riding a Greyhound, especially if it’s a really long trip, your standards will lower because you’re so bored, and you’ll talk to pretty much anyone who looks even slightly punk? Like, some dude with a brohawk and a pudding ring gets on the bus, and maybe he has a crimson ghost patch on his jacket or something, so you let him sit next to you in hopes that maybe he’ll offer some interesting conversation, but he actually just talks your ear off about his job as a cable installer, and how if he can just come up with a down payment he can get his own bucket truck and start getting hired on as an independent contractor and not have to deal with his dickhead regional manger anymore; and on every other weekend when his kid doesn’t come to visit, he and his two cousins have a punk rock band, they do a few covers like “Ace of Spades” and a couple Misfits tunes and a Discharge song, but they write their own songs too, they write about how the government’s fucked up and how working sucks and how relationships suck, but they got a couple fun songs too, like—get this—they have a song about Waffle House! Man, that’s crazy, who writes a song about Waffle House? Dude, those guys are nuts. Well anyway, this CD sounds like that guy’s band. –ben (Profane Existence)


COMPULSIONS:
Laughter from Below: CD
Unsigned, the Compulsions put out like Mick Jagger on this sincere Stones-inspired six-song EP of roadhouse style rock. A rotating line up of musicians from the Patti Smith Group, Howlin’ Wolf Band, the Pissers, and more, belt out honest rock’n’roots, southern rock and down-home blues on both the up tempo and the melancholy tunes. Toss in a little New York Dolls, Joan Jett, and even some ‘70s-style reggae for good measure. The dearth of available information leads me to believe that I may eat my words later, but for now, this is very comfortable and homey. –thiringer (thecompulsionsnyc.com)


CLOCKCLEANER:
Nevermind: CD
Noise rock in the fine tradition of bands like Jesus Lizard and the Cows, with a moment or two of straight-ahead punk rockin’, such as on “NSA.” Not bad. –jimmy (Reptilian)


CLIT 45:
2, 4, 6, 8… We’re the Kids You Love to Hate: CD
Musically this ain’t so bad—kinda derivative but well executed post-U.K. hardcore fodder —but lyrically there’s zippo to write home about, with hollow rebellion against an undefined enemy being the order of the day. Ultimately, there’s precious little here to differentiate them from thousands of other parrot punk bands screaming about not surrendering, fighting back and getting drunk, safe as any heavy metal band and about as original and creative. Considering the label, I was kinda hoping for something as inspiring, or at the very least as literate as a Youth Brigade album. Sad to say that isn’t the case. –jimmy (BYO)


CHURCH, THE:
Uninvited, Like the Clouds: CD
There’s a pretty standard plot that some TV drama series follow. And one storyline where the female lead, confused and scared (usually following a breakup) finds herself alone, wet from the rain and finds solace in a coffee shop or bar. On the stage, a dimly lit band plays melancholy music and she connects with the dark, but sensitive singer (who she’ll usually leave to go back to the dude she was with before). This would be the band on stage. –megan (www.thechurchband.com)


CHURCH OF THE SATURDAY SAINTS:
Longboarder: 7"
This shit sounds like Gainesville by way of California. It’s wonderful gritty and down to earth punk rock. I loved this EP from start to finish and apparently it was all recorded in one take. Bravo. One thing though: I really don’t get the name of the EP and I really think they deserve a much better band name. If I would have seen this in the record store, I would not have bought it, passed it up, in fact, because of a name like that. Sounds like the name of a horrible copycat Swedish death metal or super annoying Screeching Weasel rip-off band. –mrz (Vinehell)


CHOKECHERRY:
Pigs Eye and the Many-Headed Hydra: CD
Political country-punk stuffs. The songs are upbeat in a “She’ll be coming round the mountain...” way and the lyrics are anti-system and pro-common man. Not bad. The kids at Plan-It-X would really like this, me thinks. –mrz (Spiderland)


CHAOTIC ALLIANCE:
A New Breed of Terror: CD
When they get all their ducks in a row, these guys sometimes sound like old L.A. anarcho-punks Iconoclast without the nuclear war fixation, but most times they sound like a nondescript backyard hardcore band. A little more creativity in trying to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack and a little less reliance on metal trappings and they might be a band to reckon with. –jimmy (Charged)


CHAMBERMAIDS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
I think they just invented a new crossover genre: alternative adult contemporary. Hoo-fucking-ray. –megan (Modern Radio)


CAPTAIN CHAOS:
Self-titled: CD
All the songs on this CD are true stories and the liner notes tell us: “none of them are about God.” All right! I’m all for the secular folk-punk. The greatest thing about this CD, which is the solo project of a nice young man named Chris who usually plays in Operation Cliff Clavin, is that it is not meant to be taken seriously. And that makes it almost lethally charming. This guy wrote a whole bunch of super sweet, catchy, funny songs for a girl he likes and then got his friend, also named Chris, to put them out on a record label where one hundred percent of the profits go to a cause of the band’s choice (in this case Midwest Pages to Prisoners). Oh yeah, and the record label is in existence because Chris’s dad died and left him money and he wanted to do something to make his dad proud. So, basically, if you don’t like this album, you must be pure evil and probably eat tiny puppies on toast for breakfast. –jennifer (The Scientist and the Duke)


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