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Record Reviews

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SEMI FOUR:
Self-titled: 7”
 If Blotto! was a little less instantaneously catchy, they’d be pretty close to Semi Four. Japanese pop punk that definitely grew on me with time. I swear they’re singing “Rumspringa” (the time in the Amish tradition where young adults can experience life outside of their community to decide whether to spend their life as part of the church or as part of mainstream society) at one point. Good stuff. –megan (Anti-New Waves)


SAFES, THE:
Well Well Well: CD
My friend Rick wants to like power pop. He digs the guitar hooks and appreciates the melodies. He can deal with the occasional skinny tie. He hates the lyrics, though. He can't sing along to tales of broken hearts. He's not chasing nineteen. I think he's wrong about power pop. I tell him to ignore the meaning of the words and focus on the sounds—that's where the fun is. Rick is going to love the Safes' Well Well Well. It's got the hooks and melodies and the lyrics are personal without being pandering. "Everybody in the world but me/ Is on the inside of the joke apparently...the rules I need they hide" (“Everybody in the World”). A skosh cynical, sure, but perfectly counter balanced by the glass-is-half-full "Cool Sounds" ("Cool sounds are here again"). Rick's going to ask who the Safes sound like. He won't believe me when I say the Beatles, the Clash, and the Replacements. Phrases like "power pop hooks with punk rock conviction" won't seal the deal either, but they'll pique his curiosity and Well Well Well will do the rest. One of the best records of the year. 10.0pt; mso-fareast-font-family: Times; mso-ansi-language: EN-US; mso-fareast-language: EN-US; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA">–Mike Faloon –Guest Contributor (O'Brothers)


S.S.S.P!:
Skinheads Still Scare People: 7”
Oi meets hardcore with good results. It’s tough and really well played. I’d like to hear more. –ty (Koi!)


ROTTEN FUX:
Self-titled: 7"
First thing I thought when the needle dropped on this was: Disorder. Also, Chaos UK comes to mind. It’s got that blown out, almost tuneless noise-not-music sound and raw, lo-fi production that you are unmistakably listening to a punk record. This could have been easily been a U.K. ‘82 recording unearthed. Instead, here is a debut release from the Bay area that sounds like they can party with the best of them and play like they just don’t care. –don (Six Weeks)


RIPPERS, THE:
Nomelêc’s Revenge!: CD
This is heavy in a good way. Somehow it takes me back to a time in the mid ‘90s where reckless drinking and insanity was the order of the day (nowadays the drunkenness is still regular, but way more controlled). I’m thinking of Quicksand and Zeke in Spain together to run with the bulls. I like this. –ty (Rock On)


REDUCERS S.F.:
Raise Your Hackles: CD
I’ve been digging Reducers S.F. ever since the late ‘90s or so. They never seem to change, but there is nothing wrong with that because they are great. Well played, well recorded singalong punk rock that has been the backbone of TKO for many a year. It’s great to hear a band you love continue to bring it time after time. Classic. –ty (TKO)


RED LIMO:
Soulful Attack: 7”
I’m torn on how to review this record. Red Limo know how to write a memorable chorus filled with “c’mons,” “sha-la-la-la-las,” and “they call me sugars,” but the verses that lead up to the catchy parts are abysmal. And the bridges these guys attempt to construct are rickety and in need of serious retrofitting. Musically and aesthetically, I think Red Limo is aiming for that slutty, 1970s androgyny that Big Star had back in the day and the Time Flys currently champion, with a touch of glam thrown in. But, it’s hard to tell because the recording is so muddy. They’ve got some good songs in them if they keep working at it. –benke (MOTM)


RAW POWER:
Reptile House: CD/DVD
Wow! I reviewed this for Flipside Magazine back in 1998. The label even included most of the review on the promo sheet. Here I am reviewing it again, but this time it’s for the remastered version with an additional DVD. Not having listened to this disc for a number of years, it still is one of the band’s better releases, up there with my favorites: You Are the Victim LP, Screams from the Gutter LP, Wop Hour 7", and Mine to Kill LP. This band from Italy started in 1981 and has continued on to this day. I saw the band come through L.A. on tour last year and they continue to put on an amazing show. I had the same excitement seeing them as I had when I saw the back in `84. They’re one of the few bands from the original crossover movement that continue to matter. The bonus DVD is lengthy. So far, I have only had a chance to flip around it and there is a lot to see. A cool tour documentary, video, and live footage from 1983-2000. Still one of my favorite bands. –don (Westworld)


RATCHETS, THE:
Glory Bound: CD
This is fully Clashilicious… And I really don’t mean that in a bad way. There is no problem with a band wearing their influences on their sleeves as long as they can bring the good, which The Ratchets surely do. I guess the short form description would be heartfelt punky rock, with some reggae overtones. Let’s just say that if you dig The Clash or Stiff Little Fingers, chances are that you’re going to be bobbing your head to The Ratchets. My only real complaint here is the aforementioned reggae overtones. I’m just not into it and the songs that lean really heavily into that territory are the ones that get skipped. Other than that minor slip, this has already seen a lot of plays here at home, and in the print shop. –ty (Pirate’s Press)


QUEST FOR FIRE/ THE KIND OF JAZZ MUSIC THAT KILLS:
Split: 7”
I think the two cities to pay attention to right now are Las Cruces, New Mexico and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Splits like this just reinforce my appreciation of the Milwaukee scene. There’s such a diversity in sound that, instead of being splintered into separate, distinct communities, still manages to share the same basements at shows, which I’ve always liked because you go to see a hardcore band and come away with a new favorite crust band, or go to see a pop punk band, and find yourself nodding along to some thrash band. Neither of these bands is something I would usually seek out, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like getting a taste every now and again of what I’m missing out on. QFF: Two songs: one comes in under a minute, the other at almost four minutes. There’s a whole lot of screaming and it alternates between brutal and heavy. TKOJMTK: Normally if told that you had this type of music (hell if I know, noise? A slower screamo? Again, not what I usually listen to) with a violin and a saxamaphone, I’d probably be one of the first to be turned off. I’m a fan of trying to incorporate nontraditional instruments; I just think it usually comes off as “Hey! Look at us! We’ve got a tuba! Aren’t we the clever ones?” Here, it feels like they’ve actually used them as instruments instead of attention grabbers, and it works. –megan (Dry Rot/ Repulsion)


QUEERWULF:
Preaching to the Choir: LP
Remember Pigpen, from the Peanuts cartoons? Remember how he always had a little cloud of dirt around him, and he was cool with it? Now imagine if Pigpen was a city. That city would be Chattanooga, TN, the home of one of the best punk scenes in the whole world. Queerwulf is a product of this punk scene, and this record perfectly captures everything that is awesome about their scene and the people in it. But what does it sound like, you ask? It sounds like one of those nights when you make Mad Dog popsicles and huff roach spray, then get a tattoo of a middle finger going up a cop’s butt. It sounds like a barfbag party in the back seat of a dumpster. It sounds like fucking Chattanooga. I can’t really put it into words, you gotta go there yourself; and once you’ve puked naked in the Antarctica basement and passed out in the front yard, maybe you’ll know what it sounds like. Or you could just buy the record so Buddha can have enough money for a six-pack of Beast. Yeah, you should buy this record, it’s fucking great. –ben (25th Hour)


PONYTAIL:
Kamehameha: CD
When you’re dubbed as an art school quartet and your name is Ponytail, there’s a good chance you will measure high on the suckability scale. This is the musical equivalent of someone taking a dolphin, stuffing it in a tank two sizes too small for its proportions, and then beating the aquatic mammal to a slow death with a crash cymbal. –Dave Disorder (Creative Capitalism)


PIZZASAURUS REX:
Traveling Today on Yesterday’s Maps…: CD
Six piece Kansas City/ St. Louis outfit that gives us a nine song slab of refined sonic outbursts melded with gritty interludes. Yes, there’s The ‘Mats influence here. But I also detect early Buffalo Tom and even some Big Wheel. Songs that stick out like a broken rib: “Touch,” “Drown,” and “Puerto Rico.” With three guitarists, the playing is surprisingly restrained—there’s no Lynyrd Skynyrd meanderings here. They stretch out their song formats on the closing seven-minute-plus “Kick out The Bags.” I have no idea about the “Heartland” music scene at all, but I’m stoked I got this chunk of bone tossed in my direction. –koepenick (Self-released)


PISSED JEANS:
Don’t Need Smoke to Make Myself Disappear: 7”
A-side is a dose of the heavy, minimalist “Flipper after some musical lessons” sludge this label made its first million off of two decades ago, while the B-side takes on more up-tempo rock-meets-hardcore vibe. To be honest, I didn’t really expect much from this, so I’m kinda flabbergasted that it exceeded what low expectations I did have. –jimmy (Sub Pop)


PARASITES, THE:
Retro-Pop Remasters: CD
All hail the most-forgotten, underrated pop punk band of all time! The band that, unlike, say, The Connie Dungs (sorry!), deserve to be included in the best bands of all time, alongside the Beach Boys, the Clash, the Ramones, et. al! The band that defined my first serious (and very pop punk) relationship! The band that I almost went to see in California except I took too much ecstasy, and instead of having sex and going to the show, ended up being examined by paramedics in a sleazy motel room! The band that I subsequently listened to while crying myself to sleep in self-pity after breaking up with aforementioned boyfriend! This CD is all remasters, by the master of pop punk, Mass Giorgini! Dave Parasite is the king of over-the-top lyrics (“Now I really know what it feels like...to die!”) My only complaint is that none of the seven-inches made the cut. But, hey, I’m a dork that way. If this were a cereal, it’d be Lucky Charms. Seriously! –Maddy (Go Kart)


OROKU:
Living Through the End Time: CD
Noisy, speedy metal stuff rife with guttural roars and pain-filled lyrics like, “Decay, rotting, eroding mind filled with piercing pain/ Trusting no one/ Remember the past/ Scars run deep/ Repeat the cycle again.” –jimmy (Inimical)


ONLY CRIME:
Virulence: CD
Here’s another recent punk rock super group, which features members of Good Riddance (who I was kinda into in high school), Bane (who I wasn’t really into much in high school), and Descendents (who I was way into in high school). As you can imagine, this sounds like a culmination of all the members’ previous bands mixed together, and I’ll say that it’s best moments are like if later era Black Flag got into a fight with later era ALL songs and completely beat the shit out of them (but did so in the best possible way), leaving you with something that keeps a great balance between catchy, frantic pop punk—that is still a bit pissed off and unsettling—yet keeps a decent groove, and, frankly, is just a bit fucked up (again; in the best possible way). I’m glad this got sent my way. –joe (Fat)


OBSESSORS, THE:
Double Scoop: CD
Total Devo-influenced punk rock with cool girl and boy vocals! With keyboards! I have no idea, but I hope their live shows feature lasers. New wave silliness, with lyrics about zombies, toxic waste, kleptomaniacs, and presidential stutters (seriously!). If this were a cereal, it’d be Cocoa Krispies. Take regular Rice Krispies (sort of political, serious lyrics), then add tons of chocolate and sugar! Yum! –Maddy (Braindart)


NOTHINGTON:
One for the Road: 7”EP
First listen: Man, I love me some Leatherface. Put the burlap over the bunny, smash it with a hammer, then sing with that shoved down your esophagus. Second listen: Whiskey Sunday or Saint Catherines? Third listen: Although I love Frankie Stubbs of Leatherface, and Davey Tiltwheel, who did the cover art for Dog Disco, I think people largely discount that record because that cover thows ‘em. Fourth listen: Like Leatherface, there’s something to be said about giving the songs some mileage. Let ‘em pour into you like dots in the highway, so they’re this collective blur that condense a long trip into an eye blink. Nothington show their depth slowly. Fifth listen: Hey, this is really good stuff on its own: earnest, hard-earned, and honest. A keeper. –todd (Left Off The Dial)


NORTH LINCOLN/ THE GIBBONS:
Split: 7”
Two bands from Michigan both doing a good job at the “Jawbreaker-Leatherface thing.” This is another high quality product from Salinas Records, which has a tendency to release high quality products. Don’t you love it when you get a crazy hunch and it ends up being true? Like, you’re sitting there, looking at a 7” with a fish on the cover. And both the bands and the label are all from Michigan. And you ask yourself, “I wonder if that’s the state fish on the cover?” And then it turns out that Michigan’s state fish is the Brook Trout, and the fish pictured is a Brook Trout as well. And then it’s just like, “Goddamn, this record sure is cool.” I love it when that kind of stuff happens. –Daryl Gussin (Salinas)


NOMEANSNO:
All Roads Lead to Ausfahrt: CD
For such a small city, Victoria, B.C. has provided plenty to punk rock. For the scum punks, there’s the Dayglo Abortions, for the hardcore kids, there’s the Neos, for the tepid mainstream popsters there’s, uh… Nelly Furtado… And for everyone else there’s Nomeansno. It’s been six years since the last time the Brothers Wright (and Tom Holliston) put out a record (the dark and depressing One) and after many rumors of the band calling it quits, we have a new one. And what a disc it is. All Roads Lead to Ausfahrt has done something quite remarkable in that it takes the many different sides of Nomeansno and balances them. Where as One was packed with the loooong, dirgy epics, this one seems to focus on the quirky, almost poppy side of the band. It’s almost as if their alter egos, The Hanson Brothers, snuck into the studio and laid some tracks down for Rob Wright to lay his twisted vocals over. There is some straight-up hardcore representation here that would fit in with their output on records such as Wrong and Sex Mad and had the overall power of Worldhood of the World (As Such). The lyrics have taken a turn for the twisted that I don’t think I’ve heard since 0+2=1. It’s a little less evil genius and a little more creepy brilliance, like that guy at work who no one likes to talk to because he makes the hairs on your neck stand up, except everything thing he says makes sense in a weird way. Some new water is charted here as well, as we hear the boys taking on some folk and gospel (NMN style) with fantastic results. All of this and still the best rhythm section EVER (go ahead; try to argue me on that one). To bring it down to one of those crappy review analogies that I’m so fond of: Nomeansno still sound like Devo and The Minutemen playing Battleship in Black Flag’s jamspace with Miles Davis and Dee Dee Ramone coaching. –ty (AntAcid, www.antacidaudio.com)


NO RESPECT:
Excuse My Smile: CD
Thanks to a roommate that I had in the late ‘90s, ska of (almost) any kind is ruined for me. There will be times that I can kind of enjoy it, but there always seems to be an underlying uneasiness to it. I guess the same goes for German ska as well, as I just couldn’t get into this. It all sounds good and is well played (reminding me of the Planet Smashers from time to time), but in the end I am left with that creepy ska feeling that I get. –ty (Mad Butcher)


NIPPLES, THE:
Weekend Toys: CD
Punk rockers singing songs about Garbage Pail Kids with (presumably) fake British accents! (The rockers, not Mucus Marcus.) If I heard one song, I’d think it’s pretty good stuff, but twenty-two songs later, I’m kinda bored and am beginning to feel struck by the condition previously known as Nobody’s-Induced-Fatigue (NIF), for which the only known cure is massive amounts of Cherry Coke and Little Debbie’s Star Crunches. For shame! If this were a cereal, it’d be Super Golden Crisp. Good in small doses! –Maddy (Basement)


NEW MODEL ARMY:
BD3: CDEP
This was packaged in a white envelope with only a sticker identifying the label responsible. No song titles, info, nuthin’. With some searching I managed to glean that this is a one-off release with eight tracks of odds ’n’ sods, including remixes, live recordings, and an unreleased ditty or two from a notable U.K. band that deserves a bit better treatment. –jimmy (Devil Doll)


NEW FLESH, THE:
Vessel: CD
Well, here’s a Jim Dandy of a chaotic gonkathon: ripping, noisy destructo-nuggets from Hammerhead to Pissed Jeans and back again, breakin shoehorns and smashin...um...lamps and stuff, I guess. Hotter than a burning styrofoam cup full of Velveeta in the back of a car with the windows rolled up in July in Death Valley. –Cuss Baxter (Heart Break Beat)


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·MISSING MONUMENTS
·WEEGS, THE
·VOIDS
·HERE CIVILIZATION CEASED
·SOMETHING FIERCE
·FLANK, THE
·DEVO
·WILD, THE / RUN, FOREVER
·INCONTROLLADOS


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