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Record Reviews

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FOUR DEADLY QUESTIONS/ANSWER LIES, THE:
Split: CD
Four Deadly Questions: already amongst the handful of my favorite New York City punk bands (well, I mean, there are a lot of punk bands there). I almost want to say they sound like if Toys That Kill were both angrier and weirder. The Answer Lies: I’d been meaning to check them out as it is, so I was happy when I realized they were the other half of this split. I was also happy to hear the thrashy, straight up punk rock that is their half. I pronounce this split a “W”, for winner. –joe (GC)


FAKE PROBLEMS:
Spurs and Spokes/Bull>Matador: CD
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that this is four new songs, and four old rerecorded ones. I saw this band for the first time over the summer and bought a CD, but was a little bummed upon listening, because I really didn’t think it sounded like them live; this changes that. Fairly Against Me!ish alt-country, with some strong indie rock overtones to it too. It gets a bit arty at times, but all in all this band seems to be improving with every release. –joe (Sabot)


DEFECT DEFECT:
Demo, Yeah, I’m A Terrorist b/w Little Ways: Tape, 7”
Holy shit; new favorite band. Quick synopsis, think if Black Flag kicked out Henry, and brought in Milo. Even still, I think that’s kind of not doing them justice. Kinda weird, with a perfect balance of being really pissed off, alongside hopeful optimism. I’m also going to point out that on the 7”, there’s four different covers, one for each member. I’m way psyched that there’s still good, serious punk bands, that still love fun. This is awesome. –joe (Clarence Thomas)


DAN PADILLA:
Self-titled: CD
There’s a part of me that wants to say that this is what the Replacements would sound like as a basement/party punk band, but another says that’s just taking an easy way out. There’s going to be inevitable Tiltwheel references made, but I think that’s fitting considering it’s some of the same dudes. There’s notable differences though, as Dan Padilla’s got a bit more soul to it (I know it’s been said before by other people, but it’s true), with an occasional touch of country twang, but it’s still rockin’ through and through. My only complaint is that this is a great summer night record, and here I got it in the middle of winter. –joe (ADD)


COPYRIGHTS, THE:
Button Smasher: 7” EP
I can’t help but wonder if I got this because I’m into pop punk, or because I do all my reviews while playing Super Smash Brothers. Anyway, this is a really good, Ramones style pop punk record, with tons of sing along choruses. You could easily take any song from this, and seamlessly put it on a Lookout! Records comp, from when they still had bands like Squirtgun, The Lillingtons, and Moral Crux. If you like pop punk at all, you’ll like this. –joe (It’s Alive)


CAPTAIN CHAOS:
This Is Cake: CD
I’m pretty sure this is the dude(s) that run Plan-It-X, and that this is a concept album, the concept being that it was written/recorded as a birthday present to a friend of theirs. Like a lot of the PIX stuff, this is all fairly lo-fi, acoustic stuff, some of which gets pretty silly at times, and some of which takes more than one listen to get used to. Now, this may not be flawless, but for what it is (a simple folk punk record, done entirely in about three days, while the dude was apparently sick), it’s still really good. I’ll add that if someone called me up and told me “Hey, Captain Chaos is playing at the Laundromat in our cruddy town tonight,” I’d eagerly head over. –joe (Crafty)


BULLYS, THE:
BQE Overdrive: CD
Ehhh; a combination of street punk/hardcore riffs, mixed with “we’re badass, we totally don’t care what you think” attitudes. I pretty much made up my mind by “Pop Is For Fags.” Yeah, you don’t care what people think, I get it. I guess that makes two of us. –joe (The Bullys)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Oi! The Album: CD
Ah, yes, good to see you again, old friend…. Much turntable-time has this record gotten from me over the past twenty-odd years, and with good reason: it’s a great fuckin’ record. Unlike so many of the more recent forays into the oi/“streetpunk,” this, the very first of the lot released way back in 1980, is blessed with a track list that is consistently great, if not downright awe-inspiring. A couple of clunkers aside (hello Postmen and Barney & The Rubbles), the bands represented reads like a who’s who of the original “oi” wave—Cockney Rejects (whose “Oi Oi Oi” here gave the style its name), Peter And The Test Tube Babies, 4 Skins, Exploited, Terrible Twins (a collaboration between The Cockney Rejects’ Mick Geggus and Kidz Next Door bassist Grant Fleming), Angelic Upstarts, Cocksparrer (whose blues workout “Sunday Stripper” remains one of the collection’s brightest moments), Max Splodge, and Slaughter & The Dogs—and the songs they contribute are all anthems of the genre. Many a noggin, this once included, has been shaved to this bad boy, and no doubt that will remain the case for some time to come. Glad to see this is available with its original track list intact, and much thanks to the Captain for the format upgrade. Now I can give my vinyl copy a much-deserved rest. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


SIX SIX CRUSH:
S/T: CDEP
There used to be a low-down sleaze-fuck band here in the Twin Cities called the Coffin Cheaters, and they were to the local “scene” what halfwit serial killer Otis Toole would be to the Pope’s funeral, especially if he had his pants down and was pleasuring himself in one of the pews. They were loud and unscrubbed and they were one of my favorite bands to go listen to. Then came a parting of ways and the band split up and I was left standing there wondering where I would get my next fix of crushing scumpunk. Fortunately for me, Six Six Crush has arisen from the ashes of the burned down outhouse that was the Coffin Cheaters. And SSC, like all good children, carry on the parent’s perversions; the perversions in this case being a tendency to pound listeners over the heads with a concrete toilet plunger—albeit without the Mentors-esque lyrics the Coffin Cheaters were known for. I don’t know who I like better, the Coffin Cheaters or Six Six Crush, but that’s sorta like arguing about whose trouser pike was bigger, Rasputin or Uncle Milty. This band is the snarling offspring of one evil motherfucker of a band and I for one am glad that this pissed-in gene pool will continue to kick and claw its way up (or down) the evolutionary ladder, one way or another. Fans of the Midnight Evils might want to check these guys out. I can’t wait for the full length. –aphid (six_six_crush@hotmail.com)


SICK OF IT ALL:
Outtakes for the Outcast: CD
A collection of fifteen mostly previously unreleased, B-side and import-only tracks recorded from 1994-2000, with the exception of "Just Look Around," recorded in 1992. Includes covers of Sham 69's "Borstal Breakout," the Misfits "All Hell Breaks Loose," Hüsker Dü's "Target," and more. I must admit that hardcore is not my forte, but I do enjoy some pretty raw shit on occasion. However, this album is aimed straight down the middle and therefore fairly humdrum. –thiringer (Fat)


SHONEN KNIFE:
Pretty Little Baka Guy: CD

Sugar-sweet, barely competent pop tunes sure to send even the casual listener into hypoglycemic shock is Shonen Knife’s territory, one they have never strayed from in nearly twenty years. In the annals of punk history, only Shonen Knife has managed to get away with not only writing some of the most innocent sounding, syrupy pop songs ever put to tape, but also straight-up ripping off their heroes (“Devil House,” for example, is a total bite of the Buzzcocks’ “What Do I Get”) and have you think it was the greatest, most original stuff you’ve ever heard. I wore out my cassette copy of the Gasatanka version of this album years ago, so it’s a treat getting this on disc. Seem to remember the tape having more live tracks than this does, though. No matter. Shonen Knife is an acquired taste, no doubt, but those with just such a sweet tooth would find this more than satisfies.

–jimmy (Oglio)


SHONEN KNIFE:
712: CD

Man, I used to be a total Shonen Knife geek! These three girls from Japan were an obsession for me. I loved their handcrafted matching outfits, the songs about their favorite bands and especially all the songs about food! I saw them the first time when they came to Los Angeles to play. They flew here without their bass player Michie because she couldn’t get off work and they had to teach another woman how to play bass in two weeks. If I remember correctly, she barely could do it so the guys in Redd Kross and White Flag helped out. The second time they came to L.A. to play was the same day as the release date of Metallica’s black album. I went after the show to Tower Records who were selling the new CD after midnight. Whole different experience all together at that show. The first time was at a place that was like a school auditorium/gym. Seeing them at a club like the Roxy was great because of the good sound system and acoustics. I thought I was seeing a different band. When this CD was originally released, this was the period when I was tapering off my obsession even though I have the original release both on vinyl and CD. My favorites are the Burning Farm cassette (I heard it was re-released on CD in the ‘90s) and the Pretty Little Baka Guy LP. Any lover of cutesy, simplistic bubblegum garage pop can not deny this band’s appeal. I can’t believe it took so long to have this reissued.

–don (Oglio)


SHOCK NAGASAKI/STRAITJACKET:
Split: 7”

Shock Nagasaki: Big oi influence, lots o’ reverb for that anthemic sound, and chant-friendly choruses. They’re catchy, but a little more manipulative than’s comfortable. Bet they get a lot of fist pumping from the crowd when they play. Straitjacket: similar to their record mates, in that they’re obviously into the English punk thang and are just as catchy, but they also have a nugget of early OC hardcore buried in there as well, which makes things just a tad more interesting on their side.

–jimmy (TKO)


SHAI HALUD:
A Comprehensive Retrospective or: How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Release Ba: CD

Two awful singers, mediocre riffs, and four songs at the end of the guitarist’s practice tapes? Complete tommyrot. This is sixty-five minutes of my life that I will never, ever get back. I would rather watch golf all afternoon than listen to this CD again. To add insult to injury, Revelation Records neglected to include a jewel case so I can’t even use it as a coaster for my vodka tonic. Bastards.

–koepenick (Revelation)


SEX ROBOTS / THE MEGA HURTS:
Split: 7”

The Sex Robots boil down and sieve the gelatinous spirit of Elvis Costello into a contemporary musical Jell-o mold that’s just as good as Sweden’s The Flakes and Psychotic Youth. They’ve nailed the swinging, crisp, forlorn quality of “everything may be fucked, but we’re still dancing” vibe that most bands attempt, and fail, when approaching power pop. Cool stuff. The Mega Hurts: Come close to nailing it. They’re a sloppy, charming, three women, one dude band, but they’re not as catchy as the Pinkz or Bitch School, not as vocally powerful as The Beautys, but they’ve definitely got a stripped-down, acid sweetness Headcoatees potential that, admittedly, got better and better with each spin. Not bad at all.

–todd (Roadhouse Tunes)


VARIOUS:
Oi! The Album: CD
Ah, yes, good to see you again, old friend…. Much turntable-time has this record gotten from me over the past twenty-odd years, and with good reason: it’s a great fuckin’ record. Unlike so many of the more recent forays into the oi/“streetpunk,” this, the very first of the lot released way back in 1980, is blessed with a track list that is consistently great, if not downright awe-inspiring. A couple of clunkers aside (hello Postmen and Barney & The Rubbles), the bands represented reads like a who’s who of the original “oi” wave—Cockney Rejects (whose “Oi Oi Oi” here gave the style its name), Peter And The Test Tube Babies, 4 Skins, Exploited, Terrible Twins (a collaboration between The Cockney Rejects’ Mick Geggus and Kidz Next Door bassist Grant Fleming), Angelic Upstarts, Cocksparrer (whose blues workout “Sunday Stripper” remains one of the collection’s brightest moments), Max Splodge, and Slaughter & The Dogs—and the songs they contribute are all anthems of the genre. Many a noggin, this once included, has been shaved to this bad boy, and no doubt that will remain the case for some time to come. Glad to see this is available with its original track list intact, and much thanks to the Captain for the format upgrade. Now I can give my vinyl copy a much-deserved rest. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
No One Gets Out Alive: CD
Of the seventeen tracks here, only one, Crucial Change’s “Shutdown,” evoked any sort of positive response. The rest—courtesy of First Offense, Skin Disorder, Reason To Fight, Strong Island Boot Boys, and the embarrassingly monikered The Offenders (even the most cursory research should’ve told ‘em a well respected ‘80s hardcore band went by that name)—ranges from uninspired “streetpunk” to just plain terrible skinhead-macho-posturing-set-to-music. Ultimately, when I hear this kinda stuff, I’m hard pressed to decide what’s worse: sellout overground crap-band abominations like SUM41 and Bowling For Soup, or the hordes of woefully unimaginative bands professing to keep the faith. A conundrum, it is. –jimmy (www.unitedfrontrecords.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Mal de Ojo: CD
Two bands from Chicago, two from Puerto Rico. No Slogan: Nice hardcore with a hint of singalongisms thrown in and a smoking cover of the Bhopal Stiffs’ “Too Many Things” thrown in for good measure. Tropiezo: Angry, thrashy stuff that ain’t too fast and don’t need any metal to give it “power.” Intifada: When they slow it down, they’re quite good, but the hyper-tempoed approach doesn’t really work well for them. Man, I haven’t heard drums that sloppy in years! Juventud Crasa: They may eschew the velocity of their album mates, and they may have a bit more melody in their tunes, but they sacrifice none of the power in their output. In all, a solid comp, something of a rarity these days, which makes this all the better. –jimmy (www.southkorerecords.com)


TOTIMOSHI:
Ladrón: CD
After listening to this, I’ve come to the realization that I gotta be in the mood for these guys. When I am, their brand of sludged-out rock hits the spot, with enough thud punched into the tuneage to get me to reach for the volume and turn it up. When I’m not, they’re kinda like dealing with an abscessed tooth while hung over. Fortunately for me, I was in the mood for ’em this time ’round. –jimmy (Crucial Blast)


SLAUGHTER AND THE DOGS:
Do It Dog Style: CD
I’ll admit it; I’m a total ignorant snob when it comes to this band’s recorded output. I’ve heard precious little of their recorded work outside of the stuff on this, their debut album, but what I have heard, especially the recent recordings by the reformed lineup, can’t hold a candle to this. Another band coming out of the initial U.K. punk wave, these guys took earlier glam influences (check the Dolls cover), punched up the raunch factor by ten and just let fly some of the era’s best tunes: “Boston Babies,” “Where Have All the Bootboys Gone,” “You’re A Bore,” and loads more, most of which made their way onto this release. Other honest-to-goodness classics, like “Cranked Up Really High,” have been tacked onto the end of this, making it a true must have for anyone with even a passing interest in England’s first wave. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


RATOS DE PORAO:
Homem Inimigo Do Homem: CD
You gotta love a band that rolls with the punches. These guys started out as a hardcore group, veered into speedmetal-landia, found their way back to hardcore then decided on a happy middle-ground, and not only totally killed at all phases of their existence, but, at twenty plus years and going strong, are currently one of the longest-running hardcore bands on the planet. Despite being on par with Methuselah in punk years, Brazil’s Ratos de Porao still deal in some seriously heavy, mean muhfuggin’ racket that is neither for the faint of heart or those who cherish their hearing. For the rest of us, however, fewer ways exist that are more blissful when blowing one’s eardrums to shit. –jimmy (Alternative Tentacles)


RACIN’ FOR PINKS:
More Songs About Corpses: CD
Hardcore with an occasional nod toward the less abrasive rock/punk pigeonhole. They’re loud ’n’ rambunctious, but something I can’t quite place seems to be missing from either the songs or the performance, resulting in a product that was neither lousy nor memorable. –jimmy (www.racinforpinks.com)


ONE NIGHT BAND:
Way Back Home: CD
Canadian ska of the traditional variety is what you get here. It’s clear they know what to do with a horn section, but on the whole they’re not really all that memorable. –jimmy (Stomp)


NIXON YEARS, THE:
Reversing the Panopticon: CD
No question these guys can play their instruments, and they don’t hesitate to demonstrate their abilities often here. I like their willingness to branch out from stagnant hardcore structures and take a few risks, and what I hear of the lyrics gives the impression that they are working with more than a rudimentary grasp of politics (first two words uttered on the disc are “Operation Phoenix,” and just look up “Panopticon”), but the recording is so compressed that the music not only lacks power, the bass often sounds like a weakly blown trombone. –jimmy (EKG)


LUCIKA:
Unnerving Depth of Black: CD
These guys mete out some heavy, gloomy sludge rock here, with lotsa sampled bits at the beginnings of their tunes and a singer who sounds like he’s gonna cough up his spleen at any moment. The sound is good ’n’ loud and, while metallic, the tunes have a decent enough groove to them, but the abrupt endings of some of the songs was a bit annoying. Sometimes, like with some of the Urinals’ stuff, that kind of gimmick works, but here it sounds like whatever idea they were running on at the time just sputtered out, so they stopped right where they were and went on to the next thing on the list. –jimmy (Stolen Ghost)


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