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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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SAGGER:
Self-titled: 7"
I’ve liked most of the releases I’ve heard on Goodbye Boozy, but this is a clunker. It sounds like southern, ‘70s classic rock. Ugh. –benke (Goodbye Boozy)


RUTS:
Punk Singles Collection: CD
As the name implies, this is a collection of singles tracks courtesy of that other most excellent Limey band that sprinkled liberal doses of reggae into their punk rock. Virtually every classic tune imaginable this band recorded can be found here, from “In a Rut” to “Jah War” to the first Ruts DC single, “Different View/Formula Eyes.” Of particular note is that the versions of “Babylon’s Burning,” “Society,” and the aforementioned “Jah War” are all the singles versions making their CD debut here. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


RUM RUNNER:
Dead Men Are Heavier Than Broken Hearts: 7"
Sounds like Swingin’ Utters / Filthy Thieving Bastards channeled via The Pogues. Though a bit unimaginative, it is done very well, utilizing banjo, accordion, drums, and undistorted guitar in that wild chaotic way that characterizes Irish folk punk. I personally like the more punked-out songs I’ve heard this band do a bit better, however. The B-Side is a slightly more punk version of… hmm, a Pogues cover. –KO! (Longshot)


ROY:
Killed John Train: CD
Mr. Todd Taylor is a clever one. I pop this CD in the player and right there on the first song, the guy starts singing about Reno. That’s where I live! Unfortunately, “Reno, I’m Coming Home” contains a line within that states, “Empty halls with sparse applause yields another bad review.” Err… this does not bode well for Roy. There’s a great, phony album teaser at the end of Built To Spill’s CD, There’s Nothing Wrong with Love, where producer Phil Eck introduces songs that will appear on the next LP. The songs are miles apart from each other stylistically, much like the material on Killed John Train. Country-tinged indie-pop in the vein of Wilco and Neutral Milk Hotel followed by slow alterna-moodiness the recalls Idlewild and Guided By Voices with some early Silver Jews thrown in to allow things to get really quiet. As none of these descriptive terms contain the words “rock” or “roll” or the letter “n,” I didn’t care much for this. –benke (Lujo)


ROSE MELBERG:
Cast Away the Clouds: CD
I loved this album, but then in high school, I always had a strong fascination with the melancholy girls. You know the girls. Like Alice in your math class with the dark brown hair and red cheeks who you saw crying in the hallway last week after she broke up with Glenn. And it was, like, sad, you know? Because they weren’t just a high school couple. They seemed like, desperately in love. And so you sit there when you’re supposed to be doing that sheet of word problems and stare at Alice because she’s so pretty and her secondhand clothes are so much nicer than anything you’ve ever found at the Salvation Army and you kind of cry a bit when she gets up on stage at the school’s talent night and plays her green acoustic guitar and sings a song about Glenn and how much she loved him. I love Rose Melberg for the same reasons I loved girls like Alice in high school. Because she is talented, and gorgeous, and oh so sad. And since I’ll hopefully never be sad enough myself to write songs this great, I’ll listen to this album whenever I feel like hurting vicariously. –jennifer (Double Agent)


ROLLO TOMASI:
Work Slow Crush Foes: CD
Fairly intricate, mid-tempo rock. This is the kind of record that you get a little more and pick up something new every time you listen to it. It’s a little slow for me at times, but some of my less discriminating friends (by which I mean, “friends that aren’t anywhere near as snobby as me”) would probably enjoy this. –joe (Underground Communique)


ROCKET:
Girls with Candy Hearts: CD EP
No matter how much thrash, grindcore, hardcore, and crust I listen to and go see, I am a sucker for all-girl bands. Now add a few covers with a blast of bubblegum, and I’m like a catfish hooked with a designer lure. Starting off is a cover of The Professionals which was one of Steve Jones’ bands after the Sex Pistols. I vaguely remember the song, but I was never really into them. But this band turns it into a new song. Never heard the Nick Gilder song “Backstreet Noise” before. All I ever heard was “Hot Child in the City.” I would have never known it was a cover if I didn’t look at the liner notes. Their rendition of the Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” becoming “I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend” was an easy lyric change and enjoyable too. It didn’t feel sacrilegious. Their Iggy Pop cover of “Funtime” has the elements of quirkiness that a band like Fuzzbox in the ‘80s or Elastica in the ‘90s would have done. Their originals are great too. This one’s a keeper! Now if a copy of their previous release that I read about with the Redd Kross and Bay City Rollers covers comes my way, I will be one happy music junkie. –don (Teenacide)


ROCK N’ ROLL STORMTROOPERS:
On Fire: CD
This silly band from Germany wears their influences on their sleeves: Cock Sparrer, Slade, AC/DC, Ramones, Rose Tattoo. It’s an upbeat, fun record with catchy riffs and ridiculous lyrics. Sample line: “We are bulldozers on the loose / Roaring, steaming, pounding!” Despite the fact that the music utilizes every street punk guitar riff cliché in the book, the music frankly kicks serious ass. Plus all four guys are wearing Turbonegro-esque, Daisy Duke type shorts on the insert photo, in a background of pink lighning bolts. What could be better then a little furry man-leg action? –ayn (Full Breach)


ROBOCOP KRAUS, THE:
They Think They Are: CD
I wish they would have called themselves “The Robocop Klaus Nomi,” then they’d all be dead of AIDS right now and i wouldn’t have to listen to this CD any more. BEST SONG: “You Don’t Need a Doctor” BEST SONG TITLE: “Life Amazes Us Despite Our Miserable Future” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Actually, this record is often interesting in an I.R.S. Records circa 1980 way, but, i mean, if you name your band something like The Robocop Kraus and you put out an album on friggin’ Epitaph that sounds like the singer of Gang Of Four emoting over some kind of rinky-dink Stereo Total background music, you kinda set yourself up for whatever wise-ass crap the reviewer deigns to fling your way. –norb (Epitaph)


RIVERBOAT GAMBLERS, THE:
To the Confusion of Our Enemies: CD
I’m not gonna sit here on my ass and gush like Niagara Falls about how great it is having a band like The Riverboat Gamblers alive and kicking the last nine years. Anyone who’s heard them already knows that, right? Right. But I do wanna reiterate the two golden rules that matter when it comes to being in a band: 1) what your band does in the recording studio, and 2) what your band does live on a stage. That’s it. Everything else is just hot fucking air, and there’s quite a bit of shit bands out there to prove this point. It can restore faith to see a band that takes these two golden rules to heart and consistently delivers the goods. And with this record, the Gamblers are delivering it yet again, in fucking spades. There’s some heavier production this time around with Confusion, but don’t let that scare you—you’ll be nodding your head and muttering “Holy shit!” under your breath by the time you’re halfway done listening to the opening ass-stomper, “True Crime.” Other pummels to the kidneys in the same vein are “The Song We Used to Call ‘Wasting Time,’” “The Gamblers Try Their Hand at International Diplomacy,” “The Art of Getting Fucked,” and one of my faves, “Rent Is Due.” The rock’n’roll songwriting is shining brilliantly here, especially with the tracks “Biz Loves Sluts,” “Don’t Bury Me... I’m Still Not Dead,” “On Again off Again,” “Year of the Rooster,” and the would-make-Angus-Young-proud riffed gem, “Uh Oh!” I even hear glimmers of D-Generation on the cuts “The Curse of the Ivory Coast” and “Black Nothing of a Cat” (and for those of you groaning, fuck you—that’s a good thing). There’s even some brief acappella happening here about unicorns, courtesy of Throw Rag’s Capt. Sean Doe. Ex-Catheters (now Tall Birds) drummer Davey Brozowski must be given credit where credit’s due—he did a real fine job filling in on the drum stool for the recording of this record. Simply put, the RBG are as fantastic a band as they are good people, so it’s a no-brainer that you want this new record for your audio pleasure, Corky (yes genius, that’s right—Corky. As in TV’s Life Goes on). I hear the RBG are gonna be part of this summer’s Warped Tour again. Christ, I’d really hate to be in any of the bands having to follow their set. That shit could get really embarrassing. –dale (Volcom)


RICHARD CHEESE:
Best of: CD
Imagine Tony Bennett singing “Baby’s Got Back” and you’ll have a pretty clear understanding of what to expect from this. I have no doubt this disc of big band covers of Slipknot, Van Halen, Limp Bizkit, and Snoop Dogg tunes will grow old pretty damned quick, but right now it’s the funniest thing I’ve heard all week. –jimmy (Surfdog)


REVEREND BEAT MAN & THE CHURCH OF HERPES:
Your Favourite Position Is On Your Knees: CD
There’s a haunted cathedral somewhere that needs to have this music playing as parishioners make their way down the aisle to take unholy communion. Reverend Beat Man speaks his lyrics like Froggy from the Our Gang television series. The music consists of creaky organs and creepy industrial electro rhythms. “Home” is a fucking masterpiece. I’m renouncing my involvement with the Congregational House of Genital Warts and taking the membership class at the Church of Herpes. –benke (Voodoo Rhythm)


RED ALERT:
Blazin’ Through the Years: CD
A collection from a band smart enough to realize that their previous compilation on Captain Oi is still in print and most likely readily available most anywhere, and so have culled this “best of” from rarities and alternate sessions. Although “new” versions (more recent than the originals, but they’re still thirteen years old) of popular tunes like “In Britain” and “SPG” can be found here, the bulk of the songs, twenty in all, come from more recent fare, providing a nice bookend to the Captain Oi collection rather than just a rehash of the same old shit. If you’re a fan of their older stuff, pick this up and see what you’ve been missing. –jimmy (SOS)


RADIUM SCREEN, THE:
White Faces: CD
Post-Normal, mostly emotionless new wave stuff that starts off sounding like a funkier She Wants Revenge and ends up on a more breathy, ethereal note. –jimmy (LaLaLa)


RADIO BEATS:
Ready to Shake: CD
Hot fucking dawg!!! This is the kind of blown out, scumbag rock’n’roll that makes me want to do back flips. So lo-fi I’d bet a grand it was recorded under water with caveman clubs for drum sticks and dinosaur teeth for guitar picks. Songs about takin’ chicks home, takin’ chicks to the backseat of your car, and chicks givin’ it up, all played fast and dirty. Includes an Angry Samoans cover. Fuck yes. –benke (Big Neck)


PUSH TO TALK:
Self-titled: CD
I’m guessing these guys spend a lot of time at ‘80s dance clubs, but only actually dance when The Cure comes on in that so-sad-I-have-to-dance way. –megan (Doghouse)


PROZACS, THE:
Live at CBGB: CD
Like the title suggests, it is a live recording of The Prozacs from Massachusetts at CBGB’s. The first song, “Penguin Rock,” sounds like a carbon copy of Blink 182 and a tinge of annoying Avril Lavigne. They cover Screeching Weasel songs and they have songs about high school escapades such as prom, cleverly titled “Prom Night.” (Quick comment: from the CD photos they look a little too old to STILL be singing about prom and high school. Just a thought.) The Prozacs would fit nicely on the tiny side stage at Warped Tour or next to a suburban kid’s Blink 182 collection, because they sound exactly the same. Too bad. I liked their band name. I’ll just give the CD to my younger cousin who is still in that phase. –jenny (Cheapskate)


PROUDFLESH:
Self-titled: CD
I find it interesting that Sothira continues to lay the mess that is Indochina solely at the feet of the West, and says nothing about all the fun that was had there with no help from the West whatsoever. Shit, the Maoist Khmer Rouge alone had a ball in them killing fields in his native Cambodia. How many bodies lie under Choeung Ek and elsewhere again? Nearly two million? How many ethnic Vietnamese died by Cambodian hands during that period? How many Cambodians died by Vietnamese hands when the Vietnamese overthrew the Khmer in ‘78-79? Weren’t those governments Chinese- and Soviet-backed, respectively? I’m not getting all patriotic or anything, ‘cause I’m the last person who would do that, but it seems to me there’s enough blame to go around and that any group with a supposed anarchist background wouldn’t hesitate to point fingers in all the appropriate directions, and that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Seems a little hypocritical to be singing about My Lai and not utter a peep about Tuol Sleng, bro. Speaking of hypocrisy, how does a former anarcho-posterboy turned stockbroker justify singing antiwar tunes? That’s like a politician singing songs against his corporate overseer, ain’t it? Seeing as the market thrives on war, it would follow that anyone who works in the market profits, no matter how indirectly, from the misery and death of others, right? There’s a reason why them towers were singled out and it wasn’t just ‘cause they were tall. Singing songs decrying your chosen revenue source is kinda like biting the hand that pays for them bitchin’ motorcycles and posh living quarters. As for the music itself, imagine Crucifix reimagined as a Sunset Strip rock band, singing love songs to “My Lai My Love.” While I imagine their reliance on their old band’s name (and frankly, the Jimmy Crucifix lineup was easily the worst) will no doubt bring in the dough from non-discerning punter/punkers with Hot Topic-bought “Dehumanization” t-shirts, I think it’s safe to say that some musicians and their contributions are best left behind in the mists of the past. –jimmy (Wired Gnome)


PORCH MOB:
Can of Worms: CD
I thought I liked this until I realized it just kept putting me to sleep. I needed the sleep though. –megan (Self-released)


POPULATION REDUCTION:
At the Throats of Man Forever: CD
I am guilty of buying stuff for my personal collection and not making an effort to review it in this here mag. I saw PR back in early December of last year. They’re a two man grind, death, metal, punk margarita blender that truly impressed me. Straight-up guitar and drums with dueling vocals was a hoot. Also included in the mix was their great sense of humor. I was sold. I bought the tour 7” and the CD and for some reason (I think I ran out of money) I didn’t buy a shirt. Got to try and support the touring bands! Well, anyway. This is some damn good stuff if you like your cookie monster and rectum ripped screaming vocals. Drums that blast away with double bass drums with cymbals and drum heads pounded with power and precision. I witnessed it first hand and he was barefoot too. The guitars have the requisite chunk and heavy riffage. Nothing soft here. This is coming from two guys who were super nice and friendly when I met them and they morphed into this madness once on stage. –don (Tankcrimes)


POLES, THE:
As Above, So Below: CD EP
Boring, modern rock that didn’t even interest me enough to make want to listen to the whole thing twice. –don (Doubleplusgood)


POINTING FINGER:
Best Bruises Collection: CD
Bland, faceless youth crew hardcore stuff from either Brazil or Portugal, judging from the members’ names. –jimmy (Third Party)


PINK RAZORS:
Waiting to Wash Up: CD
I want to like this record more than I do, and I can’t put my finger on it. It’s got that fuzzy sweater on fire charm of Dead Things, the raygun happy zapping (but they’re really sad) of Screeching Weasel, the watertight, seamless quality of Funeral Oration—pop punk’s the score and they’re navigating adeptly through a maze on wheels of prior invention—but there’s something… something not there for me. And it’s not a, “Oh, the production blows,” or “That dude’s voice sound like a twelve-year-old girl’s,” or suckin’ “high school sweetheart left me, whoah, whoah” lyrics. Maybe it’s just that it’s fifteen songs that could easily be just one with fourteen short beaks, but that’d mean I’d have to rule out the Ramones, and I’m not about to do that. So, at this point, I’m gonna say pass, but it could easily turn into a thumbs up if that one thing clicks into place. Huh. Weird. –todd (Robotic Empire)


PHARMACY, THE:
Two Small Armies: 7"
The kids in the pop punk outfit the Pharmacy kind of come off as sweet, like unicorns with sparkly manes and tails. What’s closer to the truth is more like undead unicorns with razor sharp teeth feeding on the flesh of the living, spewing out Devo-ish and Starvations-inspired pop noise like showers of blood. Fans of their epic live shows can now feed off of three killer new songs and an impressive new version of “Two Small Armies.” Recommended for fans of good, catchy punk and shotgunning beers with your friends in the back of parking lots. –bree (Don’t Stop Believin’)


PHANTOM LIMBS:
Random Hymns: 12" EP
Noisy white vinyl 12” five-song 45 here. It sounds like industrial music to me, but I know this band is beloved in the garage gone art world. Fans of Lost Sounds, Butthole Surfers, and noisy grindcore will find a lot to like here. –frame (Hungry Eye)


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