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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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URINAL MINTS/ DESTRUKTERS:
Split: 7”
Two bands going the lowbrow, sleaze-oaf route, trying to do to your ears what a group of streaking skunk apes does to an Episcopalian picnic. The U-mints come across as a serviceable rawk outfit along the lines of Nashville Pussy and the Hellacopters, while the Destrukters play a punchier brand of early ‘80s-type hardcore. Both bands are lyrically fixated on peckers and sluts and all things related to the various plumbing systems of the human body; nothing all too new or exciting or clever or offensive, but still likeable nonetheless. Just be sure to turn down the dimmer switch on your brain before listening. –aphid (Plinko)


TRAUMA:
Self-titled: CD
Bad hardcore from a bunch of high school kids who’ve already broken up. I was going to say that there’s too much blank space between each song, but the fact is that those extended moments of silence are actually the most enjoyable part of this CD. The mix is muddled, with the guitars buried beneath the cymbal-heavy drum kit and the vocalist trying to swallow the microphone while growling incomprehensible lyrics to songs with titles like “Bed of Snakes” and “Suck My Dick.” One of the worst things I’ve heard in years. –brian (Eye Respect In The Dog End)


TOM BEAULIEU:
As the Artist Waits: CD
Sounds like Royal Trux without: Jennifer, Neil, drugs, or charming lo-fi weirdness. Kinda like Neil Young, too. –Cuss Baxter (Donkulus Digital)


THREATS, THE:
God Is Not with Us Today: CD
Although not as musically incendiary as their earliest efforts, these guys keep the tempos frantic and trade in chaos for strong hooks and loud geetars; the result of which is a fairly solid album, something of a rarity for many of their peers. The lyrics tend to be politically ambiguous on larger issues, but they don’t hesitate to speak their mind on more personal issues, especially detractors. After all’s said ’n’ done, it wasn’t’ too bad. –jimmy (Dr. Strange)


TARD:
Dining with the Lepers: CD
Poppy punk stuff that too often annoyingly reminds me of faux-anthemic bands like The Living End. –jimmy (www.5corerecords.com)


TALL BIRDS:
Internalize: 7”
Modern psych rock (meaning loud rather than fuzzed guitars) from a band that is essentially the Catheters with one different member. –jimmy (Sub Pop)


TAKE ONE FOR THE TEAM:
Spaghetti Western: 7” EP
A joke band that cranks out some listen-worthy tunes. What a novel idea. Short and painless. –jimmy (Sir Punkly)


SUNSHINE WILL:
The Escapist: CD
Attention span destroyer. –Cuss Baxter (label?)


STIFF DONUT:
I Did It All for the Cookie: CD
I think these guys are supposed to be playing metal, and it could very well be the shitty stereo I’m listening to his through, but it sounds like bad art rock with staggeringly dumb lyrics. –jimmy (Stiff Donut)


STEEL TIGERS OF DEATH:
Cockpuncher: CDEP
Cockpuncher? I don’t know about that, but these four marvelous and exciting tracks take a sound like Rocket from the Crypt and devolve it a little bit in the direction of the Youth Brigade. Wait, the last track isn’t exciting. –Cuss Baxter (Self-released)


SPEAKERFIRE:
Audio Alchemy: CDEP
The title to this record says a bunch: an attempt to wrest gold from a base of rock’n’roll tin or copper. It reminds me a lot of Quicksand—hard-driving thump rock with an arty edge to it. However, such a sound can easily border on the banal, and this is no exception. About a third of the tunes are truly interesting, about a third are kind of dull and repetitious, and the other third are half good/ half not. So, musically, I give it a hesitant thumbs up. The lyrics have some neat imagery, but for the most part, strike me as kinda contrived and too overtly poetic, as if there’s too much effort to create weird originality in the words. Final report: not bad, but this record is simply lacking that something extra at this point. All the parts are there for a good record, but it just doesn’t add up that way right now. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Piermont)


SPARTA PHILHARMONIC, THE:
Paper-Maché Mountains: CD
Two brothers from New Jersey played every instrument they could lay hands on, threw in some found sounds and video game noises, played parts of the recordings backward, and came up with this CD, which is kind of like a loverboy: starts out gentle, soon becomes hot and heavy and thrilling, then, after a while, gets boring, samey, and irritating. Eventually, he spends hours playing with himself and you don’t even listen to anything he says anymore. Nothing like Loverboy, however. –Cuss Baxter (www.myspace.com/spartaphilharmonic)


SORE THUMBS, THE:
5 & Dime: 7”
Two more tracks (well, I guess one, since “Heartbreaks & Razorblades” was on their full-length) from The Sore Thumbs, who were on my consideration list for my Top Ten of 2006. They remind me a lot of the Beltones, but a poppier, more youthful, and less jaded version. I am a little disappointed with a two-song 7” when only one of the songs is a new one though. I just want more. –megan (Noma Beach)


SOL INVICTUS:
Sol Veritas Lux: CD
I don’t know too much about Sol Invictus but I do know that it’s fucking weird that Razorcake got a copy of this for review. This isn’t bad by any stretch, but I’d describe this as an acoustic-based Joy Division, for those of you who don’t keep track of English weirdoes like Death In June or Current ‘93. One of these dudes used to be in Death In June, too, if that tells you anything. This here is one of those records/bands that is sort of pointless to review. Chances are, I’m not going to say anything that makes someone who doesn’t know who they are buy the record and anyone who does know who they are pre-ordered it forever ago. –Steveo (Tursa/ Strange Fortune, www.tursa.com, www.strangefortune.com)


SOCIAL TREASON:
Self-titled: CD-R
This band is chunky metal/ hardcore from Huntsville, AL. Every song is about two minutes or less and they recorded the whole thing in five hours. You can tell that in the quality, too. The sound is kind of muffled, but if you dig ‘80s hardcore and think there needs to be more in 2007, never fear. Oh yeah, they released this on tape, too! If all these pissed-off kids could just get organized, maybe this country could have the revolution we all want. –Buttertooth (socialtreason@hotmail.com)


SMASH POINTS:
Self-titled: CD
Pretty standard oi/ street punk stuff. It’s far from bad, but there’s nothing really jumping out at me. I think that the problem may lie in the mix on the record. The vocals seem to blend in with the music a bit much to the point where it’s all a little muddy. The girl on the cover is really pretty, though. –ty (Step-1)


SLAPSTICKS:
Rollin’ the Dice: CD
Quasi-MC5 slash ’n’ bash big-sound rawk that’s all the rage on corporate, non-indie “indie” radio stations. Yawn. –jimmy (www.nicotinerecords.com)


SHORT SHARP SHOCK:
SSS, Self-titled: CD, 7” EP
These guys live in that spot right smack in the middle of SOD, Slayer, and Metallica-land and manage to evoke the long gone memory of time when no one could touch those three. While never achieving such lofty heights, the full-length is nonetheless a solid enough piece of work, neither professing to be anything other than a metal record nor drowning the listener in tales of dragons or Satan. Musically, the three tunes on side one of the EP are easily the most spot-on impersonation of early SOD I’ve heard in a while. Unfortunately, the lyrics possess none of the edgy desire to piss off as many people as possible. Flip sounds like just another ‘80s speed metal tune, sans speed. Comes complete with an “Adventures in Thrash with SSS” comic insert so’s you can yuck it up whilst banging thy head. –jimmy (Dead and Gone)


SHOEMAKERS, THE:
Turn Me On: LP
Amazingly, my old band wound up playing in Rosswein, East Germany once…and, although we played with a bunch of bands that night, The Shoemakers were not among them (unless i got drunk and forgot something). I mean…what are the odds that you travel halfway around the world, play in some not-exactly-on-the-map burg like Rosswein, and NOT manage to hook up with the local punk kingpins? The mind boggles. In any event, The Shoemakers can be perhaps semi-adequately described as a broke-ass East German street punk version of 999, which perhaps i don’t mean in the nicest way, but i do mean in the, oh, i dunno, second nicest way or something. This record is completely adequate for many applications! BEST SONG: “No Money” BEST SONG TITLE: “F.U.C.K.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Neither “No Money” nor “I Don’t Care” are the songs of identical nomenclature from the first Boys album; 2. I gave the girlfriend of one of The Shoemakers my cool light-up watch from Wal-Mart™, because she was taking money at the door and adored it greatly. –norb (Wanda)


SHINOBU:
Westward, Ho!: CD
I was really impressed a year or two ago when I heard Colossal’s Welcome the Problems; I thought it marked a big change in the type of stuff Asian Man was releasing and made me hopeful that the once stereotypical ska label might be able to stretch and expand their roster. So when I saw Shinobu’s bio and the references to Weakerthans, Pavement, and Sebadoh, I thought that Asian Man had done it again. I guess not. Shinobu seems to be a band not living up to their full potential. Most of their songs just tread water as the singer tells a story that didn’t seem to interest me enough to even want to read the lyrics in the booklet. In a number of the songs, the vocals were just annoying; out of tune or either really flat. It seemed it was hard for a happy medium to be found for the band. And in some regards, like many of Sebadoh’s albums, some of the songs on Westward, Ho! come across as jovial wankery, the musical version of an incomplete sentence; or if it is complete, it’s using the wrong adjective or verb. In the end, it just doesn’t add up and makes for not only a disappointing listen, but a fairly annoying one at that. –kurt (Asian Man)


SHEGLANK’D SHOULDERS:
Endless Grind: CD
I’ve been blessed with some amazing skate rock this time around. First of all, you need to watch the classic Powell Peralta video The Search for Animal Chin in order to understand the band’s name. Now that’s taken care of, it’s time to rock out. Sheglank’d Shoulders are a skate rock band in the purest form. Yes, every song on Endless Grind is about skating and its many facets. From the amazing ups of “Skateboard Hooligans” (the first skateboard oi song I’ve ever heard) and “Paradise Is an Empty Skatepark,” to the tragic lows of “Flatspot Hell,” and “Too Twanked to Skate,” these boys rip it up. Anything on this disc would fit in on Thrasher Magazine’s hallowed Skate Rock compilation series. Calgary has a rich heritage in skate rock and I’m happy to report that Sheglank’d Shoulders are representing nicely. Now shut up and skate! –ty (Handsome Dan, www.handsomedanrecords.com)


SHAT:
Cuntree: CD
Upon completion of this release I felt as if I walked into an inside joke that leaves only the band in a state of furious, madcap laughter. This record has managed to place in the top slot for my own “Most Infantile Record I Have Listened To” list in my own head. This consists in entirety of punk-cum-metal-idiotic-odes to pussy, boobs, bodily fluids, and sex. Shat features an ex-Dillinger Escape Plan member and underground porn star, Jeff Wood, on bass. This album is terrible but it should be noted that the band is highly enthusiastic about the material and lyrics. This release sets a somewhat high standard for low brow humor. The lyrics reach a point of being so intrinsically dumb that they reach a level of almost being avant garde: “Eating a girl out is the most brilliant thing.” They were also clever enough to sequence the sixty-nine songs so that they would fit into sixty-nine minutes in length. The all-knowing genius squad over at Buddyhead (who actually spent money on this) tagged this fact as a selling point, enough to provide this information for the discriminating listener as a sticker on the cover. Perhaps such marketing antics are necessary when the songs cling so tightly to gimmicky nothingness. The winner of Buddyhead’s top tax write off of 2006 is Shat’s Cuntree! –Chris Prorock –Guest Contributor (Buddyhead)


SERLINGTONS, THE:
Root Beer Fueled Rock N Roll: CD-R
Ramonesy pop punk, with liner note dedications to, um, Joey, Johnny, and Dee Dee Ramone. Hey, at least they didn’t thank C.J. Sadly, nothing interesting here. Although they did manage to design their CDR to look like a record. If this were a cereal, it’d be generic corn flakes. Give me something new! –Maddy (Idiot, xidiotrecordsx.com)


SCREAMING FEMALES:
Arm Over Arm: 7”
I tried to get into this, but just couldn’t. Kinda slow, jagged punk rock with really bad cover art. Not my thing, but hey. If this were a cereal, it’d be regular corn flakes. Not for me! –Maddy (Self-released)


RUINED, THE:
Here Lies: CD
I’ve always been a sucker for the whole “horror” thing in music and film, and I’m especially appreciative of the fact that they don’t ape anything Danzig’s been involved in. I also like the fact that they’re not afraid to drop in a comment or two about current affairs. Their rock-heavy take on the modern-punk thang, however, really ain’t my cup o’ lemons. –jimmy (Rowdy Farrago)


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