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Record Reviews

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SOME GIRLS:
The DNA Will Have It: CDEP
Seven songs in a little over six minutes. Comes with a video that shows the band playing, paint being thrown against a wall, and dudes making out. The juxtaposition of the music (a la Combat Wounded Veteran, the Locust, Reversal of Man, etc.) and the album art (super-bright colors, rainbows, a winged bunny with its guts falling out) is brilliant. Charged, frantic hardcore that's maybe a little too cute and smart for its own good, but I dig it. Karen from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs screeches along with the boys on one song. The typo in the album title is theirs, not mine. –keith (Three One G)


SOME GIRLS:
The DNA Will Have It’s Say: CDEP

(Super-Extended Rock Critic Codeine Trance Mix)

I haven’t figured out everything I need to say about this record yet; I usually have an album or two that I struggle with every year and this time, it’s because these six minutes are simply too fucking dense to parse on even the twentieth or thirtieth listen. Perhaps it’s because these sounds are the aural embodiment of how I’m feeling lately; next Monday, I’m heading in for my second operation in less than a month to try to fix some serious health problems. The ferocious, grisly sounds on this EP mirror the recent horror of my body—spitting hemorrhaged blood into the sink, looking at MRIs of cranial bone erosion, coughing up unidentifiable masses of solid organic matter that are the shape and size of the first two knuckles of my little finger. My body, at the moment, exists somewhere between the abject and the Kristevan sense of the other; this EP falls along similar lines, both alienated and alienating, ostracized and ostracizing. It is the other side of pop music, the deformed thalidomide twin revealing (and revering) the ugliness which is glossed over by production values and marketing strategies. To understand what it sounds like, imagine running an industrial meatgrinder at full power until it starts to smoke and rattle, until it breaks down completely—and fill it with anguished yelps and screams. It sounds like warfare—the sound of machine guns and dying soldiers caught in concertina wire. It is openly hostile and abrasive; it is guitar-driven and grinding. It is musical dermabrasion for boring ideas expressed in dull ways by uninteresting people and in a decade in which some punk bands have essentially become collaborators, the musical equivalent of the Vichy French (and still more seem to aspire to that capitulation), Some Girls defiantly throw potato mashers whilst engaged in door-to-door partisan combat. This is, effectively, musical terrorism in any sense that matters. It is also the only logical response to contemporary music—the proper reaction to blandness is a sprint to an extreme, to seek out new terrain and leave the old world behind and the new ground unmapped. Let others follow at their own risk; whether they also find the way is irrelevant because they will find something new regardless. In many ways, Some Girls occupies similar music space as other seditious musical minds like Albert Ayler, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Archie Shepp, and Ornette Coleman—not in the musical style, but the approach, in the sense that something more is going on or could be happening and that ignoring what is known and staring into the abyss may reveal exactly what that is while teetering on the edge of chaos. These songs spill over with dizzyingly complex musical ideas; like a reservoir well past capacity. Rather than explore an idea or two, Some Girls throws a mass of concepts into a blender and liquefies them beyond recognition, transforming them into a corrosive substance which will eat through steel and concrete, and then plays the result faster than I ever thought humanly possible. The lyrics aren’t what I expect from grindcore or hardcore; they’re simply too literary, using near-rhymes and alliteration to craft images and borrow ideas from both prose and poetry. There is also humor here, although it’s hanging from a gallows as Wes spits out lines like "Yea, well, fate is fucking romantic if you can get off on failure." Like most of the albums that I love, this EP requires just a little more engagement and commitment; it is not easy to absorb and it is not catchy in any traditional way (we aren’t really talking about verse-chorus construction here). This record requires that you dedicate yourself to it a bit, that you put aside what you think you know about music and engage it on its own terms—it draws you onto its own ground for the fight, which is a dangerous place for you to be and an immediate disadvantage. However, you will learn from the beating this record dishes out, even though it’s only six minutes long, and is not for the faint of heart or for people who have weak stomachs. You will learn, you will expand your musical horizons, and you will grow. (Side note: While it’s true that other bands have created similar records—Napalm Death, Universal Order Of Armageddon, The Locust, et. al., just to name a few—Some Girls happens to do it exceedingly well. ‘Nuff said. For now.)

–scott (Three One G)


SNUFF:
Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other: 2 x CD
Where do I start with Snuff? Well, I was led to them in ’94 when told that they shared members with Leatherface. That was enough for me so I went out and got Demmamussabebonk… And then all the other records as fast as I could. Yep, Snuff is one of those bands that can wrench just about any emotion out of me but in the end leave me wanting more and more. Disc one covers the “hits” quite well. Well-rounded and a good listen. Disc two is the gravy for fans. It’s got all that Snuff craziness that we know and love (live antics, wacky covers and just plain good songs) and more. Highly recommended. The whole package is a great way for someone to get into the band, but I would really suggest getting all of the records NOW! –ty (Fat)


SNUFF:
Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other: 2 x CD
I was first introduced to Snuff via the Abbey Raid 1: Fuck EMI comp LP that came out, I believe, in the late ‘80s. On what label? I don’t know and I’m looking at the record right now. They play the Tommy James and the Shondells song “I Think We’re Alone Now.” I thought it was brilliant. Most of the stuff that was coming out of the UK that I was listening to was more crossover metal or thrash. To hear a band play with so much melody, but still had the rawness of punk fascinated me. When I saw a copy of their first 7" Not Listening, I bought it without thinking twice. I’m not good at being a completist when it comes to record collecting, but I have about fifteen different Snuff releases, including some of the offshoots like Guns and Wankers and a Dogpiss CD. They are on my all-time favorite list of bands. They are outside of the cookie cutter of bands and are a band that stands the test of time. You can listen to one of their early releases and listen to a current one and they both are incredibly enjoyable. So disc one is a good sampling for a greatest hits. Enjoyable from start to finish. Not a stinker in the bunch. Disc two is a real treat. It has so many tracks that I have not heard before: B-sides of singles I don’t own, unreleased tracks and bonus tracks from records that I never knew existed. But to make things go full circle, the first track is “I Think We’re Alone Now.” Even though it is referenced that it was on the Lie to Me comp, I know this has been on a number of comps through the years. But hearing a cover of Macy Gray’s “I Try” made me grin like a monkey with a banana. I’m not real big on greatest hits packages, but this one was done right and is quite enjoyable. Now if they would only come back to the states again to tour. –don (Fat)


SNAKEBITE:
Every Bad Idea Is a Good Idea: 7"
“RRRAAAWWWR!!” is how this record starts off. Fast, pissed-off, good ol' New Jersey hardcore. I love this kinda shit. It makes me feel like I felt when I saw Tear It Up in 2002. Ah, the good ol' days. It's got a cool Winston Smith-looking collage artwork, good, angry lyrics, and blistering production. There used to be a shitload of bands like this, but it kinda seems like the thrashcore fad is dying out. Good for Snakebite, ‘cause they're too good to get lumped in as just another generic thrash band. They're better than that, and this record is the fucking proof. This is music to punch out windows to. –ben (Don Giovanni)


SLOW POISONERS:
Melodrama: CD
The Slow Poisoners are campy but their delivery of this shtick-y art-rock is deadpan, theatrical, and strangely, it works. It is melodrama—I feel like I should have worn my ostrich-feathered hat and paid for a dim candlelit dinner of Cornish game hen with bread pudding and a tinkling glass of sherry while the actors pantomime behind the sheet stretched across the stage. This sensation plus the Mystery!-esque song titles ("Act Two: Nefarious Deeds," "He Who Gets Slapped") and player-piano ditties leaves the impression that this is solely a performance theatre duo who would change direction with the Grand Perseverance of the Most Northerly Wind. Why invest long-term in such unpredictable behavior? –thiringer (Roctopus!, no address)


SLOPPY MEATEATERS:
Conditioned by the Laugh Track: CD
Music marketed for the Hot Topic set that gives me the same sinking feeling when I see bands like Simple Plan or Good Charlotte marketed as punk. –don (Orange Peel)


SLEDGEHAMMER:
Your Arsonist: CD
Way too much metal, way too little originality, and way too unimaginative to warrant a second listen. If I wanna hear aggressive music involving metal of any kind, I’ll put on Einstürzende Neubauten’s first album. –jimmy (Martyr)


SLANDERIN:
A Rumba of Rattlesnakes, A Murder of Crows: CD
This band is very popular—but heavily formulaic and predictable. Nearly redeeming quality: the lead singer (Chrisian Slander) has that instantly panty-creaming, come-here-dirty-whore gravelly voice, just like Demented Are Go. That just sends me every time. But not enough to keep listening to this album. Tangent: One thing that bothers me about psycho is that a lot of singers think they have to sing forcefully like this to be psycho—but there are scant few who can actually pull it off. So please, sing within your range and don't force it. It's unnatural for most of you. –thiringer (Split 7)


SKIT SYSTEM:
Enkel Resa Till Rännstenen: LP
A reissue of a record the band released in 2001, this is a fine example of modern Scandinavian hardcore at its heaviest. These guys take the requisite Discharge influence and just fucking run with it in a direction that just pummels the senses like until all that’s left of you when you’re done is a quivering blob of flesh colored Jell-O. Recommended. –jimmy (Havoc)


SKATE KORPSE:
Self-titled: 7”
The music here is really interesting, with more of a layered post-punk feel than the rather generic hardcore band name would lead you to expect. The problem is that with the music come vocals that are grating and somehow just don’t quite fit with what the band is playing. –jimmy (DSK)


SICK BEES:
The Marina Album: CD
Arty skronk pop that manages to muster enough weirdness to remain interesting for the sixteen-minute duration of this release, but is not dazzling enough to elicit a “wow” upon its completion. –jimmy (Up)


SHOP FRONTS:
Self-titled: 7”
Decent punk rock with enough thud to make it interesting, but not enough oomph to make it crucial. Compared to some of the other amazing releases this label is responsible for, this was a bit of a letdown. Not that the band sucked or anything, but I was just expecting outright amazing considering the source. –jimmy (Rapid Pulse)


SHIVER:
Last Rides of the Midway: CD
An excellent recording of a wholly unremarkable pop punk band. Kudos to Billy Stevenson and Jason Livermore for their ability to make even the mundane sound good. –jimmy (Da Core)


SHITGIVEITS, THE:
Vicious Circles and American Dreams: CD
Mediocre hardcore/crusty punk. So-so recording. But I can't be a hater, because I've probably made demos that sounded exactly like this. –mrz (Loud and in Your Face)


SHITGIVEITS, THE:
Next Time They Want to Beat up a Punk: CD
I’m not sure how many apes are attempting to sing here, but none of them can sing for sour apples. What a collection of homely voices. But if you can get past the earthworm-lousy voices there’s some solid blue collar hardcore here along with some throwaway metal interludes. With a good snot polish and some pruning of the “sour apples” these guys could be the next Murderers. And that would be a good thing in my book. –aphid (In Your Face/Shitgiveits)


SHITGIVEITS, THE:
Let’s Get Shitfaced: CDEP
It’s hard to place exactly what these guys have been influenced by. It definitely reminds me of a mixture of early Grimple with the bass lines and hints of pop. I can also tell these guys like the Meatmen because of the over-the-top lyrics and early ‘80s hardcore style. The recording is shitty, but it’s hardcore, so it works. A few songs are sung and a few screamed. There are a few songs where they throw in some blast beats. This is a decent hardcore record that brings the early ‘80s and early ‘90s styles together nicely. This looks like a bootleg of some early stuff, because there are notes saying this was recorded in ‘94 and ‘96. I wouldn’t call it groundbreaking, but I’m pretty into it. –Guest Contributor (In Your Face)


SHITGIVEITS, THE:
Freedom from Reality: CD
Competent hardcore that falls into the “meat and potatoes” category—a staple of any diet, but nothing too exotic or overtly interesting. –jimmy (In Your Face)


SHATTERED FAITH:
Bootleg: CD
Okay, gripes first: 1) What is this insistence in using the version of “Right Is Right” with the guitar intro cut off? If the original master wasn’t available with the intro intact, why not find a pristine copy of the second Rodney on the Roq comp and use that instead? Most perplexing of all, who decided starting off the disc with that song was a good idea? 2) Why are the Life Is… comp tracks absent and replaced with the vastly inferior Volume 2 versions? Goblin did a fine job singing on them, and one of ’em, “The Omen,” isn’t represented here at all. 3) Given the number of rarities that didn’t make it on here, why the inclusion of so much stuff readily available on the CD GTA put out a couple of years ago? Seems like such a waste, you know? Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let me say that any collection highlighting Shattered Faith’s “golden era” is friggin’ mandatory listening. Although much is missing here, the fact that the inclusion of all the tracks from The Future Looks Bright comp, “Discontent” from the Who Cares comp, and one of the two tracks from the Destroy L.A. comp make this an invaluable addition to the collection of any self-respecting punker. Bitching aside, I’m stoked as hell to hear these songs again. –jimmy (Finger)


SHARK SOUP:
Self-titled: CDEP
Psychobilly from Germany with one part stand up bass, one part guitar, and one part drums to create a trio; more fun than the Stray Cats and in league with Tiger Army. I’m grateful that this was released in the EP format instead of a full length. With songs not clocking in more than three minutes, this is an easy and enjoyable listen. –don (Shark Soup)


SHAKIN’ NASTIES/ THE HATE PINKS:
Split: 7”
Shakin’ Nasties: They’ve got a nice balance between the modern beach punk sound (a la Hostage Records), mixing snideness with sharpness, and splint it with the best trappings of new wave: tight transitions, great interludes, and spot-on songwriting. They made me think of a stylish suicide. Everything’s well ordered, but feels fatalistic. Hatepinks: French version of the Briefs, which isn’t bad at all. They’ve got the snot, sarcasm, and the bounce in spades, and with catchy song titles like “Kissing Cops with My Ass,” they’re fun to hum to when you’re getting groceries. Not essential, but fun nonetheless. The packaging is great. Clear insert over a full-color cover gives it a ton of dimension, and it’s on thick vaseline-clear vinyl. –todd (Relax-O-Matic Vibrator)


SHAI HULUD:
A Comprehensive Retrospective: CD
Demo, live, and warehouse recordings of a band who has become one of the biggest names in hardcore. Compiled by original member Matt Fox, this is one more to add to your collection if you’re a fan of this stuff. Otherwise, it’s a complete waste of time. –mrz (Revelation)


SEX WITH GIRLS:
Self-titled: CD-R
I am fairly certain that if I had heard this band before moving to the Pacific Northwest, that I would have strongly reconsidered my decision to live in Portland. It is disappointing to see that a city so full of amazing music can slip something like this into the scene and have the hipsters just eat it up. Instruments are played not to create any sort of melody, but to sound as rudimentary and off rhythm as possible. Tape noise or electronic drums are thrown in to distract you from how boring the music sounds. I admit to almost enjoying two tracks, but only because they had a similar feeling of a Dead Milkmen spoken song. Then the lyrics made me cringe out of embarrassment for anyone who would find this mildly entertaining. The saddest aspect of this release isn’t in itself, but the fact that there are more than a handful of these “artsy” and “hip” fashion bands in Portland, and the local papers can’t write enough praise. I am entirely grateful for the amazing bands here now like the Clorox Girls, Observers, Flip Tops, Dead Moon, and the list goes on. If it wasn’t for them, I would have already moved far away. –Guest Contributor (jamessqueaky@yahoo.com)


SEEMLESS:
Self-titled: CD
Like the dude sings, “Something’s really got to change.” Like, for example, the record I’m listening to which is currently this erroneously labeled Creed or Collective Soul—like there’s a difference, honestly—CD. –scott (Equal Vision)


SCRUBS, THE:
Return to the Basement: CD
Painfully plain Midwest-mall emo punk watered down for the most suburban of appetites. Nice guys finish last. –thiringer (Nice Guy)


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