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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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LEFTOVERS, THE:
Steppin: 7” EP
The Rally Records website offers a testimonial, written by Larry Livermore, that raves about the Leftovers live act, complete with references to the MC5 and the Who. The good news: we’re spared clumsy Sun Ra covers and dopey rock opera. The bad news: we’re also left without the “holy shit!” explosiveness that I believe Mr. Livermore was referring to. What did make it to wax on Steppin’ on My Heart is mostly garden variety pop punk, the sort of “my girl hurt me” Ramones-core that once flooded the Lookout offices. It’s not awful– I’ve come to like the title track—but it hardly merits breaking the glass on your emergency supply of kneepads. –Mike Faloon –Guest Contributor (Rally)


KING BLUES, THE:
Under the Fog: CD
There is something so inherently tacky about an Anglo chap shouting his political incantations in a bogus Jamaican accent. Clearly, if this bloke were to try and lift some verbal cues from Lee “Scratch” Perry and perhaps the backing band tried to sound more like The Upsetters, I would dig this release more. The songs range from roots reggae that dabbles at times with some Billy Bragg-esque type folk instrumentation and ska-heavy hip hop. The songs are performed well enough and the production has a modern feel to it. The group chooses to sing about leftist politics and, at times, can sound naïvely juvenile. Thus is the case when they tackle the maelstrom of international arms in the song “Duck and Cover.” Lyrics include “Where did I leave those weapons of mass destruction? Did I leave them in the car? Did they fall in back of the sofa?” It is important to note that they did not print the lyrics to this song in the album jacket. Perhaps they are onto something…. –Chris Prorock –Guest Contributor (Household)


KILLING CALIFORNIA:
Ropeless Romantics: CD
It’s another case of “book by the cover.” For some reason, I was expecting Killing California to be in the vein of Alkaline Trio or the like. I’m not really sure why I had this in my head, but that’s what I was picturing in my mind as I popped the disc in the player. I was way off. In reality, the band has a lot more in common with the likes of Agnostic Front than Alkaline Trio. This is really heavy, mid to up-tempo punk stuff. The vocals are gruff but listenable. There’s some Death By Stereo in there too, which isn’t a bad thing. It’s circle pit time. –ty (Breaklight)


KEG KILLERS:
Self-titled: CD
What do you get if you combine the pop hooks of the likes of Ramones or Teenage Head with the downright sickness of Dwarves or The Mentors? It’s all right here on this CD. You just can’t help but to bob your head to the beat of these mid-tempo punk blasts while getting a laugh at words ranging from alien women (“Space Bitch”) to the dodgy past of the newest addition to the Catholic Church (“Nazi Pope”). The influences are worn on their sleeves with pride. Booze, drugs, horror, and science fiction all blend together to create the world of the Keg Killers. The band just keeps getting better with each release. –ty (www.100percentwild.com)


JUDDER AND THE JACK RABBITS:
Self-titled: CDEP
Judder and the Jack Rabbits are a psychobilly outfit from Norwich, England, and this CDEP represents their first demo. The included “Brief History” claims that they play “Demented Are Go type psychobilly mixed with the kind of hardcore punk bands like the Nerve Agents would play.” That pretty much sums it up. Since this is a demo, it’s woefully (and perhaps understandingly) underproduced, and I think that’s where my reservations with the record arise, but not with the band. I think that this demo shows some real promise from these guys, but what I’ve got in my hands is not that compelling. It sounds like a basement recording made after three days of no sleep—a bit sloppy and lacking the production value that would accurately represent a band that gets good response from their live act. –The Lord Kveldulfr (www.myspace.com/judderandthejackrabbits)


JETT BLACK:
Dead Town: CD
Imagine going to a club to see a band and the place is completely spotless, not a speck of dust anywhere. You head to the bathroom and it’s as sterile and antiseptic as an operating room. The bar is polished so that you can see your reflection in it and every time you pick up your drink the bartender is there to wipe up the ring of moisture your beer bottle left. The place is so clean that it lacks character. That’s how I’d describe the production of Jett Black’s Dead Town. It’s like there was a button in the studio marked “removes all excitement, energy, and soul,” and the band pointed to it and said, “Let’s push THAT one!” Technically, they play leads without missing a note, stylistically, they lean heavily towards “rawk,” which the do well. But, I’ll be damned if I have to hear any more of it. They sing songs about drinkin’ whiskey and screwin’ women, but the only one who gets fucked here is the listener. –benke (Fivecore)


JERK ALERT:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Would-be quirky punk stuff with wiggly vocals. –jimmy (Eradicator)


INSURGENCE, THE:
Lost: 7”
Hey, another Seattle band. There’s a lot of ‘em this time around. The Insurgence really remind me of some of the bands on Hostage Records. I’m hearing some Broken Bottles, The Pegs, The Drips. I guess, ultimately, it would be a SoCal sound of the Social Distortion variety, but taking on a life of its own. The last song on this three-track record switches gears into a full-blown hardcore assault that sounded really good. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more from this band. –ty (Floatation)


HOODS UP 495:
Dropin’ Many Putins: CD
I really want to like these guys, and I really, really tried. Politically, their hearts are in the right place and their skills as rappers are not terrible, which is sayin’ a lot considering we’re talking about Russian nationals here. Their efforts to mix punk and hip hop, however, manage to suck out what is compelling about both of those genres, leaving what is essentially ho-hum music that really doesn’t move past the “background music” category, provided that there is absolutely nothing else to play in the background in its stead. Sorry, but it just ain’t cuttin’ it, especially when you misspell “Droppin’” on your cover. –jimmy (daddydamage@gmail.com)


HOME AND GARDEN:
History and Geography: CD
Home and Garden’s History and Geography is an obscure gem; this underappreciated early ‘80s Cleveland-based act deserved more. Probably best known for having Pere Ubu’s Dub Housing rhythm section, Home and Garden imploded just after its inception (apparently lasting only three shows). Obviously, the rhythm section is fucking amazing; this is probably Maimone and Kraus at their most primal. Vocalist/ lyricist Jeff Morrison is surprisingly poetic (I mean this band’s from Cleveland. Two strong lyricists—David Thomas and Peter Laughner—coming from a town best known for steel production and flammable rivers boggles the mind. Three seems impossible.) Anyway, yeah, Morrison spits out these brilliant existentialist, dada-influenced lines fans of LiLiput, Jean Paul-Sartre, and Pere Ubu will love. The Roxy Music influence is charming—Eno synth pervades (or should I say Allen Ravenstine?)—and Morrison sounds like a less melodramatic Bryan Ferry. Easily as rewarding as Savage Republic and 100 Flowers at their best, History and Geography is one of the few records I wholeheartedly endorse. Stuff it up your ass, Christgau. LEACH CONSUMER GUIDE RATING: A+ –ryan (Exit Stencil, exitstencilrecordings.com)


HOLLYWOOD BLONDES, THE:
Fifteen Minutes of Lame: CDEP
Pretty straight forward Ramones-core pop punk. I can’t say this is the most original stuff I’ve heard, but it’s not bad, and they win points for the song “Tina Is a Headcase.” The only other point I’d mention is that for stuff like this, I’d rather hear more than six songs over the course of fifteen minutes. –joe (Self-released)


HELL ON EARTH:
Early Years - Hell Never Let’s Go! Pt. 1: 7"
Fifteen song demo from a black metal band recorded on a 4-track that sounds more like it was from a boombox. –don (Trigger on the Dutendoo)


HEAD:
No Hugging No Learning: LP
Finally! Nearly ten years after their first full length and six years since the last single, Head, from Seattle, are back. Strong as ever with their Angry Samoans-meets-Ramones madness. Great songs, totally dum and stoopid in the best way. Comes with huge poster that will look great on your wall. Keep your eyes peeled for a single on Goner Records this year. An all time favorite of mine, glad to seem them still kicking ass. –frame (Evil Clown)


HATEPINKS, LES:
Tête Malade/Sick in the Head: CD
These nine songs sound pretty much exactly like the forty-one songs on the Hatepinks CD i reviewed last issue, except the titles are a little cleverer and the music not quite as right-the-fuck-on as before. Other than that, everything sounds and looks exactly as it has done in the past. Is there anyone else on this staff who is allowed to review records by this band??? BEST SONG: “My City Is Sick Of Pizza” BEST SONG TITLE: Either that or “Should I Kill Myself Or Go Jogging?” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Innersleeve words of wisdom: “Vraiment déteste les kids.” True dat, bro. –norb (TKO)


GROVER KENT:
Running Out of Ramones: CD
When I first saw this in the mail, my first thought was that these are the type of dudes who could play power chords and give the Ramones all handjobs simultaneously. This is still probably true, but it’s okay because all seven songs are just super fucking fun. Of course, it gives its propers to the Ramones by the second song (and album’s namesake) chock full of “sniffing glue” and well-timed handclapping. The song, “Old Man Conroy” tells the disturbing tale of an aging punk rocker who “would rather get a good night’s sleep/than sit through three more bands” and can’t wear Chucks ‘cause he hurt his feet. The pop genius of “Killing Time at the Book Depository” is my favorite song on the album, even though I was disappointed it wasn’t about assassination. And not to mention that with the median song length is less than two minutes, there is minimal boredom; it’s too catchy and fast to skip tracks. –bree (Self-released, groverkent@hotmail.com)


GRAVESIDE ROCKERS, THE:
Hymns of Iniquity: CD
Psychobilly bands are filtering out of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties like the Lost Boys, usually hitting the mark, and the Graveside Rockers are no exception. But the tight musicianship and dark camaraderie are undermined by fictional lycan and fallen angels roaming the night, blood-stained ground, and a singer who unwittingly sounds a little like Biafra. –thiringer (Self-released)


GIANT ROBOTS, THE:
Too Young to Know Better…Too Hard to Care!: CD
The organ player drips with sexuality, the bass player’s mini dress leaves just enough to the imagination, and, apparently, there are a couple of guys in the band that I must’ve overlooked in the album artwork. The Giant Robots are a good-lookin’ foursome from Lausanne, Switzerland with the musical chops to make you forget…okay, you’re not going to forget how pretty they are, but they’re not getting by on looks alone. Too Young to Know Better… will make you think you’ve time warped back to Paris, circa 1966, and are attending an all-night, garage-pop party. The songs on the CD are conveniently labeled with a title and the style in which they are played. Track one, for instance, is called “Come on Back” and is played in the style of “garage jerk.” I don’t know what “feudecamp hip” is, but “Share My Love with You” is one of the standout tracks. The perfect soundtrack to your next ‘60s dance party. –benke (Voodoo Rhythm, www.voodoorhythm.com)


GHOULTOWN:
Bury Them Deep: CD
Oh, cute; it’s a scary cowboy-themed psychobilly band. The promo photos are the best part of this. They’re all wearing dusty leather vests and animal teeth necklaces and Rob Zombie cowboy hats and stuff, but also with eye makeup and Myspace hair. Poor guys: real cowboys would kick their asses, and real Hot Topic mall punks would laugh at them for dressing like their redneck uncle. Musically, it’s kinda rockabilly-inspired hard rock, rather nondescript, with songs about banditos and stagecoaches and train robberies and tombstones. The whole thing is so contrived, I bet in three years they’ll be playing stoner rock or pop punk. –ben (Zoviet)


GHOSTLIMB:
Self-titled: CD

Driving, relentless hardcore that has no problem getting just a little tech with their guitars. Musicianship and production quality are all top notch, and they get a good number of style points on the impeccable medieval theme of the album art, but the font style is kind of at the expense of being able to read the lyrics. But, then again, my eyes aren’t so good, and sometimes I like to pretend I don’t even know how to read.

–Daryl Gussin (Gunslap, jason@graforlock.com)


FENWICK:
Totally OK: CD
Hailing from the hometown of Jack Kerouac, Fenwick are a three-piece punk rock band. They don’t do anything fancy, preferring to keep it simple and straight forward. That’s the good news. The not so good news is that, largely because of the singer’s lack of range, every song tends to sound exactly the same. If it was a single, I’d probably say it’s a pretty good, Muffs-style, aggressive melodic punk. As an eleven song full-length, it’s repetitive and boring. –brian (My Little Rock Star, www.mylittlerockstar.com)


EYES SET TO KILL:
When Silence Is Broken the Night Is Torn: CD
Male screamo vocals matched with female vocals reminiscent of Evanescene over metal riffage. –don (Self-released? No address)


EVICTION PARTY:
Self-titled: Cassette
Twelve nice tracks from Halifax, NS; real nice ones. Rough around the edges poppy punk with a swell amount of jangle on the guitars and a few ca. 1966 Beatles-sounding licks, dual-gendered singing, and well-written songs for what sound like pretty young kids. Lyrics seem a little on the emo side, but not for emo’s sake, just cause that’s what they’re thinking about, kinda like before “emo” was a bad word. –Cuss Baxter (www.myspace.com/disvictionparty)


EVERYTHING FALLS APART:
Escape: 7”
You know how you slop something together because you need to eat, but don’t really care what it is? How, while you’re eating, you sometimes forget what you’re even eating because it’s just that unremarkable? That’s how EFA is for me. Decent enough hardcore that does the trick well enough, but I just end up forgetting that I’m even listening to anything. –megan (Self-released)


ELLEGARDEN:
Riot on the Grill: CD
Unfuckingbelievable. This band has sold like 700,000 copies of this record in Japan and it sounds like they could do the same here. Somewhere between a perfect synthesis of Blink 192 and like New Found Glory or some such nonsense. I totally did not expect this music to come out of these people, given the nature of what most Japanese punk I’ve come across sounds like. And the cover of this thing—which is a delightful full color gatefold cardboard deal; the Japanese really know paper. Some lyrics in English, some in Japanese. Not terrible if you like that sort of over-the-top, radio-ready emotional pop punk. Which, for the most part, is terrible altogether…but this isn’t that bad. –Steveo (Denko Secca, www.denkosecca.com)


DREADFUL CHILDREN:
Dot to Dot…: CD
Punk? Oi? New wave? Pop? I can’t really get into putting a label on this, but I can tell you that it is pretty damn cool. It’s not hard to tell that Dreadful Children hail from the same area and are friends with The Briefs. The two bands do have a similar sound, but there is something distinguishing here. The guitars are a little more garagey and there is a little less snot in the vocals. I found myself liking this more and more with each song that went by (“Hopefully” is one of the best songs I’ve heard all month!). I’d really like to see them play live now. Just a small hop over the border, boys! –ty (Street Anthem)


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