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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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BLAG DAHLIA:
Nina …And Other Delights: CD
A spoken word outing from Blag The Ripper this time around. This disc consists of Blag reading the column that he writes on a radio show, some improv pieces, and some chapters from his new novel Nina. While I find most of what Dahlia does funny, the reading of the columns left me wanting a little more. The best parts here are the readings from his book in all their deranged glory. I would surely pick up a copy of an audio book if he was reading it. –ty (Greedy)


BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA:
Diamond Cutter: CD
Loud rock/ metal with song titles like “End of the World Sex Party,” “Slave to Your Rock and Roll,” and “Drunk as Fuck.” Although it was well executed and the band was tight, it ultimately never registered past background music. –jimmy (No List)


BIG SUR:
Und Die Scheibe Andert Sich Immer: CD
This group is comprised of members from the Mars Volta and Air. Thus, there must be boundless indie street cred (okay, more like “Indie Street-Team Cred”) surrounding these guys. Chances are you have already read about this (Will the real Pitchfork and Buddyhead readers please stand up?) and choose whether this tickles your fancy. Perhaps you are an avid Razorcake devotee and ignore such digital riff raff. When it comes down to it, this record sounds quite smooth and fluid. Big Sur experiments with playing some funky grooves and the guest appearance from Money Mark (of Beastie Boys fame) on keyboards fits quite well. At times, the songs sound minimal enough to be described as somewhat nondescript. This music is mostly reminiscent of the material that is played during the sex scene of a rarely watched HBO miniseries. There are some pop sensibilities that are apparent, but, in essence, this does not really command my attention. This is perhaps worth a download if you are fans of their main bands. –Chris Prorock –Guest Contributor (GSL)


BENARD:
Self-titled: CD
Apparently, these guys played Fest V, but unfortunately, I missed this year’s festivities. They compare themselves to At The Drive In and Twelve Hour Turn and I hear slight resemblances. The vocals are especially reminiscent of Cedric from ATDI at times. Musically, I think this is good stuff, albeit not completely original. Jagged, yet melodic at times, with confusing song titles like, “I Wish I Were a Penguin.” If you dig post hardcore that leans towards the ever-dreaded emo but doesn’t cross the line, check this band out! –Buttertooth (Alaska)


BARBARELLATONES, THE:
Invasion of the Surf Zombies: CD
Nineteen long, drawn-out surf tunes peppered with creaking doors, horror screams, and nasal, sneering vocals. Granted, they’ve been around a long time and their musicianship is top-notch, but I’m weary of dreary monster surf parties, surf zombies, Mothra, bat queens, space kitties, the wicked wahine, and tranni (SIC) troglodytes. –thiringer (Self-released)


B.Y.O.W.:
Bring Your Own Weapon: CD
The beat up guy on the front cover and the taped-up fists on the back lead me to believe that this was going to be another tough-guy, meathead hardcore band… and I was right. When I first put this on, I was kind of liking it. Tight and raw, everything sounded good until I caught some of the lyrics. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I am far from the PC police and have written some pretty off-color lyrics in my day, but I’ve never seen so many unresolved issues crammed into a bunch of songs as this. Scanning the lyrics, I found out that the guy was obviously ditched by his girl and he lashes out accordingly in a good portion of the disc. We also find out that his family life was shitty and his parents medicated him and he’s still supposed to be on meds, but chooses not to (bad call). He also wants to bomb the Middle East and bad drivers (Well, I kind of agree on the drivers part). This could have been good. –ty (Malt Soda)


ATMA, THE:
On My Artichoke: CD
They claim to be very arty, are obviously qualified to slang geetars, and I’ll concede they occasionally tread on some diverse musical territory, but on the whole they don’t sound particularly unique from most of the other thousand alternative rock bands that have slugged it out in the L.A. club trenches over the past decade or so. –jimmy (The ATMA)


ARMEDALITE RIFLES:
Self-titled: CD
It’s nice when you get something you just didn’t expect. Armedalite Rifles are punk rock with somewhat of a minimalist sound. Don’t confuse that with lo-fi; it’s not. It is just very stripped down and to the point. Said point is the current state of our society (corporations, Bush, and all the other crap ruining our lives). Lyrically, I’m reminded a bit of Stiff Little Fingers mixed with a touch of Fifteen. I was also pleasantly surprised to get a little Minutemen styling thrown into the mix, too. I’ll be watching for more from these guys. –ty (no address)


APPLICATORS, THE:
My Weapon: CD
Female pop in the vein of Manda And The Marbles, but with a bit more edge. They throw out tons of hooks, but I’m just not biting. –megan (Hair Ball 8)


ANXIETY ATTACK:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Mid-tempo hardcore from a tight band with a screamy vocalist. Not bad. –jimmy (Big Brown Shark)


ALEXIS GIDEON:
Welcome Song: CD
For years now I have had a severe distaste for Gene Defcon, the always-a-child artist of mindlessly strange obscure short songs, usually accented with Casio play sounds. I have destroyed multiple Gene Defcon CDs, spread my message of distaste for Gene Defcon to friends, and forced people to listen to his music just to prove that he is indeed one of the worst artists ever to exist. Quite frankly, Come Party with Me 2000 is the type of thing I hope I never have to listen to again, but God knows I’ll get dragged into it at some point in order to win an argument about the worst album ever. Alexis Gideon reminds me of Gene Defcon if Gene tried to do more rapping and had more of a Ween influence. Upon hearing the Casio-backed track, “Casio Elation,” I seriously wanted to punch my computer monitor. This isn’t as bad as Gene Defcon, but hell if it doesn’t piss me off nearly as much for it’s (amongst other things) a complete waste of so many peoples’ time (including my own) and waste of natural resources to make this garbage. –kurt (Sickroom)


ACCELERATORS, THE:
Haven’t You Heard: CD
Not to be confused with The Accelerators, whose 1979 Itty Bitty Baby EP is considered a West Coast punk classic, or The Accelerators, whose 1984 Public Enemy No. 1 EP is considered an East Coast classic, these Accelerators play loud punk pumped up with more than a little rawk and atonal vocals. Can’t say I’m all that impressed with it, but I’ve definitely heard worse. –jimmy (Bitchin’ Riffage)


ALERT! ALERT!:
First Aid: 7”
This is some serious skate thrash! I had to go back and check to see when this was recorded. The sheet says 2005, but I’d swear it was ‘85 judging by the style, content, and recording quality. Five songs of all-out skate rock as it was meant to be. The fast parts are really fast and the breakdowns have a groove. Throw in some tag team vocals and we’ve got ourselves a winner. “To all the kids who still skate for fun!” Indeed! –ty (Cassette Kill)


7 SHOT SCREAMERS:
In Wonderland: CD
Crisp, clean psycho-punkabilly with a sharp, jumpy, up-tempo beat that feels as carefree as an after-hours party. They don’t have to concentrate on what they’re playing, it’s completely second nature, and they just concentrate on delivering a rockin’ good time. –thiringer (Big Muddy, bigmuddyrecords.org)


CROOK$:
City of Rats: 7"
Eureka punks who sound like the Randumbs without the bite or, as evidenced by the lyrics to “Stalker Bitch,” the wit. Purty yellow vinyl, though. –jimmy (Noma Beach)


CROOK$::
City of Rats: 7"
The three songs on the first side exhibit at least a moderately praiseworthy ability to sonically transport the listener back to the not-quite-thrash-but-still-fast stuff of the first half of the ‘80s, including (for better or for worse) the little Black Sabbath-y intro and interludes in “12 oz. Curls” (which itself contains the surely immortal line “All you can think is drive real quick, ‘cause waiting at your house is a drunk horny chick”), on accounta, around 1984 or so, when everyone was playing what we then called “hardcore” (which would now, after twenty years of gross misinformation and such, be called, pfft, “endoplasmic reticulum” or something), everybody was actually secretly sick of playing hardcore, but there was no capacity to write/perform or even appreciate non-hardcore in The Scene, thus bands would satisfy their forbidden desires to play That Which Was Not Hardcore by writing these doofy metal or rock or electric folk or what-have-you intros to their songs. Didn’t really work all that well, because about twenty-four months later they all flipped their lids and started wearing paisley shirts and playing acoustic guitars, but i spose the thought was there. On the b-side, “Stalker Bitch” will hardly make anyone forget “Bummer Bitch” by Freestone, and “2069 A Sexy Odyssey” is just stupid. I mean, the Space Amazons are raining out of the sky for “an orgy of interstellar love,” but yet “they don’t want the women, they only want the men”??? BO-RIIIIING!!! If the Revolution doesn’t include hot ‘n’ heavy Space Amazon/Earthgirl action, i ain’t revolving. BEST SONG: “City of Rats” BEST SONG TITLE: “City of Rats” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Band’s lyricist manages to first use “there” instead of “their” (“with there business suits and business shoes”), then, in the very next line, manages to actually use “their” correctly, twice (“with their power ties wrapped around their busy throats”), then, in the same song, manages to use “their” instead of “they’re” (“Who are they? Their not like you.”). Dude, i thought California made English its official language? –norb (Noma Beach)


CRIMSON SWEET:
Boulevard b/w Blood Transfusion & Waste You, Taste You:: 7"
...the review copy of this record came with a one-sheet containing a Punk Planet reviewer’s quote claiming that one of their past records was “one of the best rock records since Cheap Trick’s Live at Budokan,” which is the kind of thing that makes me wonder if the party responsible had actually heard either one before writing the review. I dunno. A-side sounds like Kim Shattuck’s little sister wearing Joan Jett’s adopted Vietnamese war orphan daughter’s pants, which is okay, i guess, except they’re singing about a “boulevard,” which almost always is a sure-fire major-label-wannabe gross-out indicator, in my book. “Blood Transfusion” is the kind of decadent plod that, more skillfully rendered, made me not like the first X album until i was too old to fight anymore, and “Waste You, Taste You” is pretty decent i suppose. The band’s all right, i guess, but anybody popping a boner in their presence would be well advised to lay off the Viagra™-and-green-M&M™-puree enemas for a while. BEST SONG: “Waste You, Taste You” BEST SONG TITLE: “Waste You, Taste You” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: 7-inch 33 rpm records are the lamest permutation of the vinyl format ever invented. –norb (Shake It)


CRIME:
San Francisco’s STILL Doomed: CD
If you’ve never heard of Crime, let alone own anything by ‘em, then, quite frankly, you really need to reassess your involvement with this punk rock thang. Next thing you know, you’re gonna be telling all yer friends about how cool and “punk” Hatebreed’s latest snoozefest of a record is. Anyway, this is a reissue of a collection of studio recordings circa ‘76-’79 from one of SF’s greatest bands, period. All the biggie hits are here— “Frustration,” “Murder by Guitar,” “San Francisco’s Doomed,” plus alternate takes of “Hotwire My Heart” and “Baby You’re So Repulsive.” The stuff here is a little more refined sounding than some other stuff I’ve heard with their name on it, but it is still clearly Crime, which means that some choice primitive rock’n’roll can be heard here. Liner notes by the one and only Mike Lucas. –jimmy (Swami)


CONVERGE:
You Fail Me: CD
This disc starts out with the icy “First Light” that is kind of spooky. “Last Light” even reminds me of early Swiz for about half a verse and half a chorus. Then this record makes a left turn at the screamo exit and never gets off the off ramp. I can understand wanting to branch out, but why Epitaph thinks this is good I’ll never know. If you like Cave In or Korn or if you’re looking for something to make your ears bleed, pick this up. You Fail Me has absolutely no redeeming social value whatsoever. I’ll be using this as a beer coaster and putting the latest Motörhead back on the stereo to get some good metal on. –koepenick (Epitaph)


CONTRIBUTION:
What Is Your?:: CD
They’ve got all these big names they’re supposed to sound like listed on their press material, but all I’m hearing is weak music and painfully bad vocals. –jimmy (Goldenrod)


CODETTA:
Fake the Golden Age: CD
They were arty, they were punky, they were noisy and, somewhere around the middle of the proceedings, they lost my interest. –jimmy (Surreal)


CODESEVEN:
Dancing Echoes/Dead Sounds: CD
Since I’m a betting man, I’ll wager that this will be a huge hit at some point (it’s as accessible and commercially viable as Coheed And Cambria), but honestly, what the fuck is it? I can’t tell if it’s a fucked-up hybrid of shoegazing and heavy metal or a cross-eyed emo variant. Shuffling drumbeats, electronic layers, synthesizer washes, breathy vocals—when you add it up, it sounds like an updated version of the Dream Academy, A Flock Of Seagulls or Tears For Fears (circa Songs From the Big Chair) with better gear. Not really being familiar with Codeseven’s prior releases (although I could swear I’ve seen them live at some point), I won’t comment on the oft-reported change from heavier music to this lightweight, airy new romantic rock—I will merely note that the best parts of this album remind me of records that I’d rather be listening to. –scott (Equal Vision)


CLASSICAL ASS:
After Lunch We Kill Tony: CD
Some really good, arty punk along the lines of Ex-Models or even Le Shok. Songs are short on pretentiousness, meaning they can make a mean racket without boring you to death in the process. –jimmy (Diaphragm)


CIRIL:
12 Tales: LP
I have to admit that I have seen this band a couple of times and I had a hard time paying attention. Their sets tended to be a little long for my liking. Not knowing any of their material didn’t help matters. A studio recording is a different matter entirely. The intro, I’m guessing, sung by the infamous Gitane Demone, is probably the best track to this man’s ears. It reminded me of a death rock mixture of 45 Grave and the Super Heroines. The remainder of the tracks were more in the vein of early Rudimentary Peni, mixed with the entire We Got Power series of comps that were released on Mystic and a dash of the first Nihilistics LP. A major plus is that these songs are short and not overdrawn. I enjoyed it from the moment I dropped the needle until it ended. Another release that I received this time around that is a one-sided release with the added bonus of being on splattered purple vinyl. –don (Know)


CHANNING COPE:
Sugar in Our Blood: CDEP
New age in a Jefferson Airplane kind of way. As boring as boring gets. –don (North Park)


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