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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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SPUNKS, THE:
Yellow Fever Blues: CD
I’m glad I gave this one a second chance. When a first listen didn’t blow my mind as thoroughly as the press release promised it would (coupled with a feeling of “Look, I’m not going to wet myself just ‘cuz this band is 2/3s Japanese”), I was ready to write it off completely. I don’t know, maybe I was just feeling extra crabby and judgmental that day, but subsequent listens reveal good, solid punk-paced rock’n’roll that fits them perfectly in with the Gearhead Records stable of bands. It’s no surprise that The Spunks consider Gito Gito Hustler to be their sister band. And would it be far too Captain Obvious to mention that Guitar Wolf is immediately brought to mind? Perhaps so, but I did anyway. –susan (Gearhead)


WILLIS 45:
Mutiny: CD

Dear Aaron,

Received you CD for review. Damned relieved to hear some good, energetic punk rock. Immediately liked your gritty vocals (“BWWUUUGH!!!”) and a visit to your myspace page confirms my suspicion (from the lack of collaborators listed on your CD) that you are a one-man band. (Backup vocals too? Nice). I have to tell you that the sound gets a bit muddled in places (“Trouble”), but considering the fact that you play each instrument with speed and flair—and that you do it all yourself—I’m still impressed. If you do someday expand into a full-fledged band, I hope you retain your position as bass-player and singer (the freshest aspects of your music) and that the rest of the band can keep up with your frenetic energy.

Yours truly,

–susan (WILLIS 45)


QUIT YOUR DAYJOB:
Open Up, Coconut!: CD
A complete surprise. Trippy electronic beats combined with guitar and drums, along the lines of We Are Wolves except much bouncier and totally tongue-in-cheek. Zany vocals and self-explanatory song title/lyrics (“Sperms are Germs”; “Look! A Dollar”) are driven by ultra-modern, ‘80s tinged techno (“Vlado Video”) that doesn’t make you want to dance, as much as do the robot from the waist up and the slam pit from the waist down. Back in the day, I’d been known to frequent late-night dance parties in dark warehouses, so I can appreciate a good 303 (used to most amusing effect here on the rockabilly flavored “Pigs From Hell”), as well as the dichotomous pleasure of Quit Your Dayjob’s brand of “wild electro punk surf” music. Sometimes it’s funny to see that you’re not the only one with weird (bad?) musical tastes. I daresay I like it. –susan (Bad Taste)


RODEO CARBURETTOR, THE:
: CD
I love Japan. I love rock. I like Guitar Wolf. Why don’t I like this? –mike (Denko Secca, www.denkosecca.com)


BAMBOO KIDS:
Feel Like Hell: CD
Everyone tells me I should be a big Devil Dog fan, but I’m not. If you are, buy this. Its really that simple. –mike (Empty)


LOCAL OAFS:
Too Dumb To Reason, Too Fucked Up To Dream: LP
Awwwwwww its been so damn long that I got a record that blasts so fast and furious that you get a whoppin’ twenty-eight songs on one chunk of vinyl. This is fun punk, snappy, stabby guitars and drums, singing about what really matters with songs “I Really Don’t Know and I Really Don’t Care,” “I’m a P to the I Ending Up With the G” and “Nature Boy Strut,” about the professional wrestler Ric Flair. It’s not even sloppy, really, because you’d have to be shooting for high quality in order to slouch. No, this is raw for raw’s sake and the Oafs picked their name good. Band has two of The Manikins, probably pushing the stuff too fucked up for that band. A split release between P.Trash Records, Wasted Sounds, and Cage Match Federation. For the snot-nose in all of us. –mike (P. Trash)


SPITS, THE:
2006 European Tour: LP
You know The Spits, right? One of their songs plays every time you crack open a PBR. Spits next stop: Rock Hall of Fame, fuckers. Live albums seem more for Frampton and Kiss, so doesn’t it make sense that The Spits would follow those two? Spits already got stage dancers (fat guys) and explosions (bottle rockets) so a live album had to be coming. Live albums have a band’s best songs (all the Spits songs are good) and the band is playing their best since they’re on tour (at one point, they ask Sean if he remembers “Remote Control” at all, the song they’ve been playing since 1995). I love all the Spits stuff so it’s easy to like this, a quick collection of their sour gum punk from live shows and a six-song stint on WMFU. Also includes three live KBD cover songs from The Kids, Black Easter and Crap Detectors, for that “this is still a new album” feel, like when Kiss had that fourth side of Alive II. Recording is pretty darn good for live (bar) sound, and the WMFU recording is great! –Fast, tight, clean. I think this is already out of print, unless you find a Spit. –mike (P. Trash )


KITTY & THE MANGES:
Joey’s Song: 7”
Kitty from the Kowalskis joins the Manges for a bubblegum single. Great stuff, girl singing, bip-boppity band behind her, hand claps, makes you happy. Sort of by the numbers pop punk but its fun and dancey, and doesn’t that mean goals accomplished? This is what I want from a 45, a cool addition to the jukebox. –mike (It’s Alive)


COCOCOMA:
6 1/4 – 125: 7”

A trio from Chicago that clobber it up good. Sing-along garage, a cool grubby sound that makes you wanna party with their chops. Throw in some organ with the guitar and drums to make people clap along in a smiling way rather than new wave sneer. I bet this is the band that gets the crowd going into overdrive, fists in the air, yelling “aaaaaoooo-ooooh”.

–mike (Goner )


LOS RAW GOSPELS/THE PLUTONES:
Split: 7”
At first I got that vibe of–is this on the right speed? Yep, in full 45 glory, two great scummy, twangy guitar bands. The Gospels may or may not be a side band of art fuzz Black Time–either way they share that band’s knack for quirky cool riffs and forceful enthusiasm over precision. But the Gospels are more B-movie than art film. The sludgy start is just a five second intro, and then they are off to the dirt track jumps. The Plutones come from the universe of The Fatals and Kung Fu Escalator but are more of a medium pace twang. Also kickass swamp rock. Melt this single down and you’ll get moonshine. –mike (P. Trash )


BLACK TIME:
Message from Control Tower: 7”
More plucky than a nine-legged chicken. Probably recorded with one microphone and track and fuck if that ain’t the right way to do it, W.C. Handy style. Side A’s “Human Pinball” and “Public Information Film” are snappy garage harmonies with some of Mick Collins’ blood in them, dancing muddy rock. Side B is a little less, two quick grooves rather than songs, but catchy. You might think they practice while drunk but try so hard it works in the end. Recommended. –mike (Rehab Records, rehab-records.com)


BLACK TIME:
Fever: 7”
You had me at “mono.” The Black Time’s sound cannot exist unless coming out of a vinyl groove. However there is gonna be a few missteps with the tour de forces. Both versions of “Fever” feel incomplete, sluggish instead of the Time’s usual blasting power. But then the other two songs here, which add up to less time than either Fever, are great. “Secret” is a stabby spy thing, “Consumers” is a fuck you, we know we can’t play, but we sound good up here! Now that I think about the title and the vibe, this 45 is a piece of fever, hot, delirious and confusing, but fun. God that’s cheesy, but I swear it works. –mike (trakMARX, trakmarx.com)


BLACK TIME:
Dance Party: 7”
I finally saw a clean (and –gasp-color) photo of Black Time. Am I mad they look presentable, two nice punk lads and a striped-shirt lady, enjoying a summer day, even smiling? Yes. I know you three are on your way to see Godard’s Vivre sa Vie in a shitty old movie theater and will walk out afterwards doing the dance by Anna Karina from the café jukebox scene. But just scowl or look sick once in a while, or my tough rock image of you is all gone. This single is actually a little by the dirty garage punk numbers for me, compared to their other 45s. But still recommended. Karina would dance to it at the house party. –mike (Bancroft Records, smashintransistors.homestead.com)


JAY REATARD:
Blood Visions: CD
In a past review I said The Reatards are rock’n’roll, and here ya go again: contagious songs, fast guitars, voice blown since the first show and equipment duck taped together after last show. This album is just Jay, which might make you think its even more loner basement rock with buckets for drums. It is definitely rock but faaaar more clean. Even on the poppy punk end, although too speedy for the radio. Where some of the Reatards songs are great, angry outbursts that work together or on mix tapes, this album seems really tight, it is solid from start to finish and needs to stay together. Blood Visions is similar to his kinder, gentler “Hammer I Miss You” single but this full-length blows that away. The 7” had good sounds but this is more structured, or maybe practiced before recorded. Add the occasional keyboards and Jay is Gary Numan on meth and beer. You will drive fast and yell along “It’s so easy, when your friends are dead….” But so will your girlfriend. –mike (In the Red)


DEAD MOON:
Self-titled: CD
Out of the entire Razorcake crew, I am probably the least informed on Dead Moon. This I know: highly respected, long and hard working band, with roots from their early bands in the 1960s, who sells their records on their own label made on the same disc-cutter that created “Louie, Louie.” Knowing that their music has lasted through many bands through two decades and as Dead Moon over two more decades, gives me some insight into the songs here, hand picked by singer-guitarist Fred Cole as a greatest hits or a survey of the band. It’s a great place to start, loaded with a whopping fifty songs. The Moon seems to come from the blues end of rock, harvested from the porch still. This double CD hits lots of references from ‘60s blues and pop, ‘70s fuzz and mood, ‘80s dirt—wait, maybe everyone else was influenced by Dead Moon…. Now its clear. –mike (Sub Pop)


TROUBLEMAKE:
Staying Afloat in Florida: CD
Wow–7 Secondsish, fast happy voiced punk, poppy but too quick for radio, really great homegrown rock from a tiny town. A snappy six songs in seven minutes. First song called “No Talent, So What?”, lasts fourty-three seconds, but I think there is talent here, as in DIY don’t care what the rules are, I like what I sound like, “talent.” He wrote songs and then begged some guys to record the guitar parts for him. He stole DVD cases out of Blockbuster dumpsters coz CD cases are expensive. Pencil made covers, lyric sheet is on paper he found in his Mom’s house after she moved, and has enough commentary on it that its basically a cool one page zine. And the music is cool. I hope this kid is like twelve years old and blaming society. He is the winner of all losers! Love it. –mike ($1.50ppd, Sam, 4303 11th Ave E, Bradenton, FL, 34208)


HEARTACHES, THE:
Too Cool for School: CD
Rock’n’roll with Vinnie Barbarino singing. Pretty cool, straight forward rockin’, na na na ner na na na NA na na na ner ner NA gonna dance gonna dance gonna dance tonite. Devil Dogs, a little Makers, a sped up Love cover. Almost too produced for me but if any of these songs came on the jukebox I’d be happy. The sticker on the front warning me that I will be punished if I trade or sell the CD loses some of the fun, though. –mike (Swami)


MISS 45:
: CD
“High-heeled bitches, all I see. They’re not for me.” What? But if you are influenced by the New York Dolls, aren’t they exactly what you need? –mike (No Talent Records, notalentrec.com)


HOMOSTUPIDS:
The Glow: 7”
Oh hell. You keep thinking it can’t get scummier. The gutter has a bottom. Then filthy, smelly humans like Jeffrey Novak or The Fatals come along. And now Homostupid is taking music to Neanderthal levels. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t dicking around or making noise, this is screaming and fast gnarly Black Flagy guitar, fukkin controlled chaos and proud of it - you can even tell all the songs apart. I just saw a Nova episode showing that man and caveman lived alongside each other as very different species. This is us and Homostupid. Fucking hunting the same animals but cavemen were much more successful in the forests, in tight spaces. Scary spaces. Big ass forehead, yeah, but smart, man, smart. Homostupid is the next fukked up thing. –mike (My Mind’s Eye Records, mymindseyerecords.com)


LADIES NIGHT/NO FEELING:
Split: 7”
Ladies Night’s “Nazi Tomb” tumbles through the first side, garagey and ill-mannered, pretty lovable. Sounds good in October. No Feeling is a new band from the Ladies Night singer with two members of Vancougar, with two songs here. On the dirty garage side too, and I dig it. Their second song, “Holes,” is great, one of those wobbly, going-down-the-drain beats that makes you feel like you’re not alone. –mike (Seeing Eye Records, seeingeyerecords.com)


SCREAMPLAY:
Don’t Tell Me: 7”
Hollywood rock girl screams and hits a keyboard. Its not new wave or edgy, its someone trying to get popular by “not caring” and playing bad. No one else cares either. The drummer looks exactly like Alex Van Halen, for what its worth. –mike (Lady Kinky Karrot Records, ladykinkykarrot@yahoo.com)


MURDER BY GUITAR:
Rock Bottom: 7”
Two-thirds of The Locomotions come together to make MBG; Loco Lopez (also of Sons of Cyrus) and Martin Savage (also of The Blacks and Dixie Buzzards). And this feels like a logical extension, continuing in the power pop direction of The Locomotions, but a little slower and controlled, maybe even more ‘70s radio friendly. The title track is great, popping guitars to get you moving into full head-nod. I guess the name of the band refers to too much nodding, snap your head! Side B is capable, “I’ll Be Gone” not memorable but the last song “Wrong Side of Town” confirms this band is gonna make a cool full-length in the future. Press kit says Real Kids backing up Roky Erickson on Teenage Head songs, that’s a pretty big expectation but I can’t entirely deny it. Turn up the radio. –mike (Alien Snatch Records, www.aliensnatch.com)


HAUNTED GEORGE:
Bone Hauler: CD
There is a void left by The Cramps (yes, they still play, but for how long?!?) and Hasil Adkins that’s impossible to fill, at least by genuine new blood. Thank the Lord for Haunted George. Steve Pallow from the Necessary Evils and the Beguiled plays one-boogieman-band rock with wobbly vocals and killer guitar—his fuzz pedal seeps into your brain, turning you into a human amp, drafted into his zombiarmy, conquering the world with ghoul tactics and body slams. Moody, contagious songs you will hum for days. Get this on vinyl or never survive the desert. –mike (Dead Beat Records, www.dead-beat-records.com)


DESTRUCTION UNIT:
Death to the Old Flesh: CD
Killer deathsynth from Ryan Wong’s Unit, a rad adopted cousin between members of The Reatards and The Lost Sounds. The songwriting is shared between Ryan and A-Unit (Alicja from the Sounds and River City Tanlines) and it comes across with more mood and slower than previous D Unit stuff, which is not better or worse, it still rules. J-Unit (Jay Reatard) fills out the band and writing. The harshest keyboard punk, but with a lot of hooks in the brutality. Might be more accessible than the first D-Unit CD, but after getting hit by a wrecking ball, everything's a flower garden, huh? –mike (Empty)


CRETEENS, THE:
4-Track Blues: 7”
Raw vocals and dirt guitar, coarse but pretty damn catchy. But I love 4-track 45s and taking long walks through landfills. An Oblivian-Motard baby? Yeah, I could say that because there is a great Oblivians cover on this. But hell, the other songs are called “Contaminated” and “I’m Not Going 2 Tell U How Much I Think About U.” So what do you think they sound like? And they're the teen cretins, get it?? Recommended for your love blisters. –mike (Contaminated Records, www.contaminatedrecords.com)


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