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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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HUMAN TANGA:
A Ritual Sacrifice for the Big Nothing: CD
What the hell is this? The CD cover is a horrid cut and paste job that looks like an Urban Outfitters ad. The music is mid-tempo, heavy rock with lousy drum production and these irritating low-pitched, goofy vocals that seriously sound like the dude from Gwar. I don't understand why anyone in the world would like this. Even the band sounds bored. –ben (Nicotine)


HUMAN EYE, THE:
Self-titled: CD
I don’t even fucking know what this is. At least one Clone Defect is in this band, and it sort of sounds like there’s a backbone made up of that really art-damaged garage stuff that’s been making the rounds (Clone Defects, Lost Sounds, Functional Blackouts), but it’s so completely off the deep end that I don’t even know what to say. And I grew up with stuff like the Butthole Surfers and the Cows, so for me to be this stunned by noise is really saying something. At times, like “Age,” they do some cool shit, but for the most part, this doesn’t have enough hooks to appeal to most people and it doesn’t have enough parts where somebody yells out, “cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt,” to appeal to a Butthole Surfers fan. Probably a great record to put on and clear out a crowded room, though. –Josh (In the Red)


HORDE, THE:
Join or Die: CD
The recent couple of years of hardcore have raised the waterline. The landscape’s been reshaped, expanded, and redefined, like a river backed up by a dam. Bands like Fucked Up, Career Suicide, Out Cold, Cut the Shit, DS-13, Tragedy, From Ashes Rise, and La Faction, I believe, have dealt out hands that equal the best from the early ‘80s. The Horde are good, not great. Take early Sick of It All, a less frenetic Force, and, especially, Death By Stereo’s first record, and they’re in that camp. Borderline metallic, tough guy/positive force hardcore that’s not shameful, not without merit, but not entirely memorable or distinct in its own right. –todd (1-2-3-4 Go!)


HOMBRINUS DUDES/ LOADED FOR BEAR:
Split: 7”

I’m really not a fan of that crazy, wall o’ death growly (grind? crust? who cares?) stuff, so I guess this might be a short review. My first tip off is the Hombrinus Dudes’ logo. It’s all barbed and all over the place and you can’t really read it. I find that in most of my experience, bands with logos like that play tunes that I don’t like. Yep, I was right.

Loaded for Bear were already ahead in my books since I could read who they were. They also had funnier song titles (“The Jack Lord Fan Club” and “Machine Powered Orgasms”). They had more song structure and less growl, but at the end of the day, I’m still not a fan. –ty (no address)


HOLOGRAMS, THE:
Night of 1000 Ex-Boyfriends: CD
I loved thrash, death metal, grindcore and the like but I do have a soft spot for all-girl bands! So the mighty Retodd put this puppy in my inbox at Razorcake HQ. After so many years, he knows his contributors well. I’m guessing that this a L.A. based band featuring two Japanese and two Caucasian (one who looks like a young Britney Spears on bass) players. They crank out some great bubblegum pop melodies with a new wave bent. They also add a snottiness and energy of punk’s early years to their songs. Dual vocal duties are handled with dreamy, yet strong, conviction. They lure you in with sweetness and punch you back with a fierce attack. The music has the charm of seeing so many great garage bands that are rarely witnessed by the masses. I hope I have a chance to check them out live someday. –don (Teenacide)


HOGNOSE:
El Sombrero: CD
This started out promising. The first song was kind of a combination of the straight for the throat rock of Nashville Pussy mixed with the pop hook and vocal style of O from Fluf. Interesting for sure, it too bad that everything dissolved into the most boring of stoner rock as soon as the second track started. Too bad indeed. –ty (Arclight)


HITCHHIKERS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Mitch Cartwright, former bass slinger for those sorely-missed nudniks The Humpers, has been rumbling on with his Hitchhikers the last four years with a hell of an impressive band that he’s now playing bass and singing for. Steve “Spills” Swailes, who you might’ve seen in the Neurotones, as well as various line-ups of The Gears and The Controllers, is also along for the ride on lead guitar. Musically, it’d be easy to compare the ‘Hikers to The Humpers, ‘cause the influence is there, but this particular group of nudniks are doing just fine. Key jingle-jangles here are “The New Son,” “Strychnine,” “Life of Crime,” and the song that will get your drunken, chain-smoking grandma up and shaking her ass, “Neckbone Stomp.” Catch ‘em out at their next gig, if given the chance (and keep your booze away from Spills). –dale (Hitchhikers, www.thehitchhikers.com)


HBLOOCK101:
Human Flotsam: CD
From what I gather, this is a collection of EPs from an Australian band that has been around for a while. They serve up some prime-grade punk rock here, with politically oriented lyrics that don’t come off as preachy in the least and some catchy, straight-ahead punk riffage. There are a few covers on here, all of which, with the exception of “The Harder They Come,” (don’t fuck with Jimmy Cliff, boyos) are quite nearly as good as the originals. Most impressive is that they describe themselves as playing “’77-influenced punk rock,” yet, even though they cover the Heartbreakers, they sound nothing like the Thunders-worshipping lemmings that glom onto that description like junked-out moths to a flaming kilo of black tar. Definitely worth a listen. –jimmy (Mad Butcher)


HATEBEAK/CANINUS:
Split: 7”
Hatebeak: Grindcore courtesy of two guys, a drum machine, and a parrot vocalist. Yes, a parrot. Sounds exactly like you’d expect. Caninus: Grindcore with vocals comprised of dogs barking and what sounds like someone slurping the last strawful of an unknown drink from the bottom of a very large glass. –jimmy (Reptilian)


HAMMER BROS:
II: 7”
Boston straight edge hardcore, heavy on the metal. Good for what it is, but ain’t my bag of worms. –jimmy (www.str8ntrue.com)


HAIL SOCIAL:
Self-titled: CD
Some nice indie pop with splashes of new wave and post-punk to keep things interesting. Wouldn’t be surprised a bit if they became darlings in the underground. –jimmy (Polyvinyl)


GUNPOWDER:
Circle A Ranch: CD
This self-released album is not, as their website claims, "a musical juggernaut of apocalyptic proportions bringing musical ecstasy, chaos, and joy..." I only feel crippling nausea as I recoil in horror. It is neither counterpart of "Dick Dale meets Nick Cave." They even wrote an unfunny comedic ditty about receiving a parking ticket in Los Angeles. They queerily whine, "Well, I'm from Oakland and they wouldn't do that there." Ppfffttt. Girl talk. Don't take your guns to town, boys, don't take your guns to town. In fact, lay them down forever and rejoin your hippie friends—keep erroneously thinking, "It's Americans with guns who shoot people dead." –thiringer (Gunpowder, www.gunpowderband.com)


GUN SHYS, THE:
Self-titled: CDEP
Sounds like—and kinda looks like—that Code Blue album, minus the one good song. Either that, or any of the really bad songs on that misleadingly awesome-looking Reds 10" on A&M from 1979. My Fuckhead-O-Meter has been emitting a steady and vociferous blare since initial contact with this item. Heed it. Heed it! BEST SONG: "Whisper/Touch," if we're still talking about that Code Blue album BEST SONG TITLE: "Madly in Action" FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: This is the kind of band that friends every single person they possibly can on MySpace. –norb (Aeronaut)


GUITAR GANGSTERS:
Let ’Em Have It: CD
As has become expected from these guys, this is poppy UK punk of the first order from a band that fits nicely between Cocksparrer at their most anthemic and the Undertones at their poppiest. The cover of the Four Seasons’ “Can’t Take My Eyes off of You” was quite good, but the cover of Dennis Brown’s “Money in My Pocket” was even better. Few bands mining this territory seem to get it right. This is one of those few. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


GUAPO:
Black Oni: CD
Guapo is a very difficult band to get a handle on—this disc ranges from the sort of pseudo-free-jazz, math-rock skronk that Touch & Go might have released around 1994 or 1995 (which puts it squarely in the “couldn’t care less” column of my record quality evaluation matrix), then turns around and sounds like part of Glenn Branca’s “Symphony No. 6” (moving it back over into the “this really isn’t that bad” column) until they shift into some vaguely spooky Halloween music which might have been an outtake from a Joan of Arc or Euphone album (placing it right back in the “forget it, I was right the first time” section). It’s not that Guapo is boring, it’s merely that the music isn’t interesting in the same or even a similar vein for a long enough time to settle into appreciating it and that the stylistic changes are so abrupt and so drastic that there’s really no guarantee that, even if you enjoy part of it, you’ll like all of it. While they may appeal to some people with short attention spans and a yen for musical diversity, I can spend my time trainspotting samples in mash-ups and boots to solve that problem for me (and I’d rather listen to Stevie Wonder singing over Clash instrumentals any day of the week than put more time into this). –scott (Ipecac)


GUAPO:
Black Oni: CD
A weird, symphonic installation of five parts (or tracks) that combines the bastardization of free form jazz, noise, and aural textures. It is, in effect, a challenge in patience and tolerance. Over forty minutes of jamming. –don (Ipecac)


GRAVY TRAIN!!!!:
Are You Wigglin’?: CD
Oakland’s raunch and roll here-ho’s, Gravy Train!!!!, lay down another disc of nasty and naughty party tunes with their second full-length release, Are You Wigglin’? Previous efforts gave us pop/rap sing-alongs about bouncing titties, turning people gay and hamburgers that fuck (don’t ask). More of the same with Are You Wigglin’?, but this half-boy/half-girl foursome toned it down just enough to make this release more fun/less shock. But not so much that you won’t be smirking when you’re shaking your ass to the sweet sounds of “Pussy Sauce.” Providing that you still weren’t sold, all this goodness is smothered in bitchin’ organs and totally catchy guitar riffs. –kat (Kill Rock Stars)


GRAVES BROTHERS DELUXE, THE:
Light: CD
For some weird reason this reminds me of listening to Screamin’ Jay Hawkins if he played in a rock project. But sometimes it gets weirder maybe due to a member participating in the Residents. A little too weird for my weird meter. –don (Good Forks)


GRAVES BROTHERS DELUXE, THE:
Light: CD
A cornucopia of sounds emanating from this—Waits-inspired weirdness, a little punk, some (in the words of a Mr. Retodd) “squeaky balloon” free jazz noodling. Interesting listen. –jimmy (Good Forks)


GORT:
The Arrival: CDEP
From one-fourth of El Monte’s mid-‘90s noise mongers Cascius Clay—specifically their guitarist Frank—comes another blast of aural agony sure to curdle your milk and cause your lawn to die. As with his previous musical endeavors with the Naggs, Spread Ego, and the aforementioned Cascius Clay, sludgy rhythms and liberal doses of noise-for-noise’s-sake are slathered on a heaping pile of post-Melvins/Eyehategod heaviness, with maybe a nod in the direction of early Sonic Youth for good measure. While I admit to being an admirer of his previous endeavors, I also freely admit that I think this collaborative effort with drummer Brad Baker is his best, most consistent effort to date. That’s a mighty nice Circle One shirt yer wearing in the pic, too, Frank. Tell Mike I’m jealous. –jimmy (gortmusic@hotmail.com)


GOLDEN YEARS, THE:
A Boys Words: CD-R
This CD reminds me of “Why do you love me? Why do you need me? Always and forever... We met in a chatroom, now our love can fully bloom... Sure the world wide web is great, but you, you make me salivate... I love technology, but not as much as you, you see... But I STILL love technology... Always and forever.” The singing voice, not the lyrical content, of course. –mrz (Invisible Hand)


GOLDBLADE:
Rebel Songs: CD
This is much, much better than the previous album I heard from these guys, with a more “traditional” approach to the songs, some of which are plenty catchy. The lyrics, while at times a little too cryptic than are good for ’em, address governmental lies, plastic society, and war. Ultimately, though, I just can’t seem to get into ’em as much as I would like. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


GLOW, THE:
The Ghosts Are Out: CD
Fairly solid, yet also fairly pedestrian indie rock, heavy on the organ. While not exactly the Replacements in their prime, it does have its merits, especially when they pick up the pace a bit. –jimmy (Bankshot)


GIMMIES, THE:
Phonic Souls: CD
Full-tilt, trashy ruckus’n’roll along the same lines as Thee Machine Gun Elephant or Teengenerate with a smidge of Stones mixed in. Nice cover of Radio Birdman’s “New Race.” A curt review, I know, but it’s damned hard to type when yer rockin’ the fugg out. –jimmy (Dionysus)


GIANT HAYSTACKS:
Self-titled: 7”
With the non-distorto guitars and sung/spoken lyrics, these guys sound like they were weaned on the same 100 Flowers/Gang of Four concoction that bands like the Minutemen were, only they decided to take it in a more alt-pop direction. –jimmy (Giant Haystacks)


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