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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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CAUSTIC CHRIST:
Lycanthropy: LP
I think this is the bands second full length. They also have a few 7”s and splits out there. Their new release seems to have slowed down a tad compared to their past releases. But the power is not lost and they are not playing super slow by any means. They tread more in the Black Flag meets Blast sound of punk rock this time around in my opinion. They try new things as they continue to develop their sound, playing with a sound that is equally thick as it is powerful. Guitars are driving with a strong thrust of controlled distortion, the bass is full-bodied and punchy, drums are loud and forceful, and vocals require no lyric sheet because they are phonetically shouted and are easily understood. This release continues on the fact that this band is one of the many premier bands here in America. If you haven’t noticed them before, maybe you should now. –don (Havoc)


DODSDOMD:
Seven Deadly Sins: 7”
So there are three different pressing of this. One in English, the other in Swedish and the final a combination of both as a 2 x 7”. Would like to get the Swedish version to hear the difference in how the songs sound in different languages. The combo I would like to get just to be a record nerd. This is a theme record featuring a song of each deadly sin. Not being religious, I didn’t know what that would be but I learn based by the song titles. I still don’t care about religion. I do care about music. Any fan that is a fan of d-beat or dis-core would love this. The band also adds slight tinges of metal to add a punch. Sweden produces a great deal of bands in this genre and this continues on the tradition. A multi-vocal attack with charged guitars and bass with the drum beat that are keys to this style. Absolutely pummeling as one song ends and another starts. –don (Havoc)


FREEZE, THE:
Guilty Face: 7”
Craig / Schizophrenic seems to have a huge Freeze fetish right now. First he puts out the I Hate Tourists 7”, now this and will have an upcoming live LP in the future. Looking at the Flex book for research, this second EP was originally released in 1984 on Modern Method Records. Then re-released as a 10” with the Boston Not LA comp tracks and a track from the Land of the Lost LP around 1991. This current version is the same as the original press with two unreleased tracks recorded at the same time as the tracks that were on the Boston Not LA comp but not used. Included are liner notes by lead singer Cliff Hanger and use of the original artwork. These recordings show how they put their mark in the history of punk when they began using speed to define their power. One of the main players that were a part of the Boston scene, they continue on to this day. A major puzzle piece to the birth of American hardcore. A perfect release to go along with Dr. Strange re-release of Land of the Lost / Rabid Reaction on CD a few years ago. –don (Schizophrenic)


GITOGITO HUSTELR:
Love & Roll: CD
Like Shonen Knife or the 5, 6, 7, 8’s before them, this is possibly another girl group from Japan that will create a buzz here in the States. A cross between power pop and punk and roll, these girls seem to know how to put their rock on—but not angry with gritted teeth stuff, but let’s all dance together and have a fun time. They go all the way with self made matching outfits. Live, they must be fantastic. Judging by their recording, this isn’t the last time I will be hearing about them. –don (Gearhead)


BAD ASTRONAUT:
Twelve Small Steps, One Giant Disappointment: CD
Emotionally, this record is a sad one. It is melodic, but it carries a very dark tone. Reading that longtime collaborator to the side project, Derrick Plourde, committed suicide while in the middle of recording explains the mood. So, reading on, Joey Cape (Lagwagon), carries on the project in memory. Not something I would listen to on the regular, but I can see that something special came out of this. As much as I kinda like their previous releases, this final recording is strong. It gave me the feeling of listening to emotions brought up by R.E.M. You choose. –don (Fat)


ENTROPY:
Gross National Product: 7”
I can’t believe I’m holding this in my hands. Their debut record was supposed to be out, if I remember correctly, around 1984-85. I had a conversation with the lead singer, David Hinnebusch, outside of Fenders Ballroom in Long Beach right before an Adolescents show. Based on that conversation, it didn’t seem like it was something happening anytime soon. He looked like he was loosing the battle between drugs and the band. Not too long after, he fell out of the scene. I saw them recently and was surprised that they had reformed and were performing again. It was definitely a blast from the past for me to see them onstage. I have to admit that I did have a copy of their demo from back then, but have no recollection of what they sounded like. But when I first played the title track, my wife, sitting next to me, started to sing the song. I was in shock when I heard her voice come out of nowhere. I couldn’t even remember the song and here is my wife singing along. So obviously this song was most likely on the demo. She was also part of the westside of L.A.’s punk scene in the early ‘80s and saw them numerous times and, I am told, hung out with the band a bunch of times. Coming from that time period, the songs have what we term now a beach punk sound that was so prominent in those times. For some reason, I thought they were more thrash. But you have to realize that they were real fast for the time. So that is where that thought must have come from. I’m not sure if all the songs came from their early incarnation, but if they did, they have stood the test of time. Three songs that have a good combination of snottiness and anger. Being the first release on Julia Smut’s new label might have been a gamble, but it should pay off because the songs are great. –don (Bad Idea Music)


CITIZEN FISH / LEFTOVER CRACK:
Split: 7”
Citizen Fish: It seems a long time since I heard a new Citizen Fish song. For some reason, I don’t remember them having so much horn in their songs. Their track has both a trombone and trumpet. It really brightens up the sound. As usual, they produce and provide a good song that is both fun and thought provoking. I knew there would be nothing to be worried about. Leftover Crack: After listening to the CF track, this just came off as average ‘90s ska punk, but that is just my opinion. Based on the amount of LC shirts and patches I see on the younger generation punks, this band is doing okay. –don (Fat)


MINKS, THEE:
Plaything: 7”
Two trashy garage numbers and a Ramones cover from this Female duo with a male drummer. The songs are a tad bit slow. With a boost in tempo, I think these songs would breathe a new life. This release did nothing for me—I would be more inclined to enjoy them live instead of sitting at home. –don (Steel Cage)


FAKE PROBLEMS:
Spurs & Spokes: 7” AND Spurs and Spokes/Bull>Matador: CDEP
It’s strange that I would get both of these in my in-box at HQ. It’s kind of basically the same thing but the CD has a few re-recorded songs from their debut release. First band I thought of when the music came pouring out of my speakers was Against Me!, but with more emphasis on a country sound mixed with a hint of The Strokes. Not my choice of beer if I was shopping at the market, but it might be someone else’s. –don (Sabot)


GRUK:
Razor: 7”
Six boombox-quality thrashers by this female led band from Chico, CA. The recording has such a live quality that when the actual live song came, on it didn’t really phase me. Vocals that are screamed, guitar that sounds thin and twangy, bass that is a bit flat, and drums that that could easily be mistaken as trash cans. Instruments sounding slightly out of tune, but the DIY quality makes it appealing. This reminds me of the first wave of American thrash in the ‘80s. A lot of what was coming out was not perfect, but the energy cut right through. If they keep it together, I should see them in a venue near me sometime soon. I can picture this band being so much better live. –don (Gruk)


L.S.D.:
Discography: LP
It amazes me how some people can get a lot done and there are other people who get nothing done. It seems more of the latter. Craig / Schizophrenic Records is one who does a lot. Here, he unearths a discography-worth of material from a band only hardcore record nerds might even have the knowledge of. Mid- ‘80s Japanese band who came from the same time period as G.I.S.M., The Execute, Laughing Nose, and many others. During that time period, it was kind of hard to get punk records from Japan. I got a few by chance, including the Great Punk Hits comp that featured a L.S.D. track. It has been a long while since I have pulled out the comp, but I recognized the song immediately. Being of Japanese heritage, I was obsessed with hearing punk bands from Japan. What I got my hands on, I listened to repeatedly. Around that time, each country seemed to have their unique sound. Sweden, didn’t sound like Germany. Well, this collects their first release, which was a flexi; their first 7”, Jast Last; the track from Great Punk Hits; a studio demo of the song “Jast Last”; and a live show from 1984. I’ve only heard about and seen pictures of their first two releases. Hearing the actual songs, these guys were a fierce bunch. The music is abrasive and powerful. Mid-tempo but well performed. Being from a technologically advanced country, many of the recordings I have heard from that time period seemed to always have good production. This is no exception. The vocals, even though screamed, are audible and mixed right where they need to be. The guitars sounds have that almost metal feel due to it being the cusp of the crossover period. Drums and bass are the rhythm that ties everything together. To actually hear the music is satisfying. Would I love to own the originals? Of course. But seeing how an original G.I.S.M. record goes for sometimes $300+ on eBay these days, these originals are probably going to cost more than my left nut to purchase. A re-issue does me just fine. L.S.D., which I never knew, stood for Lustmord, Snatch, and Death’ein Bodie. That was kind of a typical bad translation you would see from Japan, but it meant something to them. But then again, Japanese to English never translates well as a whole. –don (Schizophrenic)


HEROINES, THE:
Hurts So Good: CD
A few things came to mind when I popped this in the player. A band I reviewed a few issues ago, Bang! Bang!, the second Soviettes record, and a non-psychobilly version of the Horror Pops. A lot of pop punk energy with a dominating rock force in the songs. Like a touch of AC/DC to punch things up. This band from Germany has a good formula that catches this listener’s attention right off the bat. I could see this band’s popularity rise if they can continue and broaden their exposure. –don (Wolverine)


BARRY, TIM:
Rivanna Junction: CD
I can’t do any justice for this release. I am not a fan of solo acoustic performances. If the name sounds familiar, Tim is the lead singer of Avail. This solo project seems sincere and introspective. But it’s a tough sell on a guy who loves the sound of distorted guitars majority of the time. I might be wrong, but I would believe fans of Against Me! would have a connection to these songs. –don (Suburban Home)


CRIPPLE BASTARDS:
Your Lies in Check: CD
I can’t believe it’s been three years since this band hit these shores. That was a highlight in my grindcore history. Right off the plane from Italy and absolutely owned when they blistered through their set on their first date of that tour. I missed the original first release and actually many of them. But I know my brother owns most or all of them, so it’s not far from reach to hear them. A welcome re-release of their very first record that has not seen the light of day for the past ten years. I don’t know what the original pressing would go for on eBay, but I’m not that obsessive anymore. I don’t have the need to own every original pressing known to man. Before me is the music. Music that is currently one of my preferred choice at the moment. I guess my inner anger needs feeding. This is food for my scarred soul. Sixty-nine songs of pure hate in fourty-nine minutes. Grindcore of vile screams, guttural bellows and a lot of yelling. Music that is short, fast and to the point. Slow parts that are heavy and dirgey, showing no signs of fun. It’s no wonder that these maniacs from Italy have a large underground following and have continued on for over ten years. Not everybody can do grindcore. It’s not an easy genre to like. But done right, it seems like the right soundtrack for those sour moods. This is that good and the live experience is even better. If your idea of grindcore is a band like Cannibal Corpse. Forget that. To me, this seems so much more real and alive. –don (Crimes Against Humanity)


ME FIRST AND THE GIMME GIMMES:
Love Their Country: CD
I loved all their concepts thus far, but country? Hate it! Well not all of it. But it is right up there with emo. It was a tough listen at the beginning. But hearing the cover of John Denver’s “Annie’s Song” reminded me of elementary school. Next was a Dolly Parton cover! “Jolene!” Heck yeah! Love that song! Great job on that one. I put that one right up there with the version that was done by Strawberry Switchblade. Cool stuff! So now I’m way more attentive. I was ready to dismiss this but I found the hook that stuck. No matter how much I might not like something before a listen, give me a good cover and I am converted. Not one of my favorite releases by the super group. But there are two definite songs that I like and one I’m on the fence on. The Hank Williams cover done like it was a cross between Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphy’s making it Irish is interesting. –don (Fat)


SWITCHBLADE KITTENS:
The Weird Sisters: CD
Songs about Harry Potter, three basses and no guitar, and cutesy pop songs with a new wave hook. The geek in me says sold! My wife cringes next to me while I listen begging me to turn it off. But something about it is just too bubblegum for me to take it off. It’s like listening to the Go Go’s meets Shonen Knife. I’m not sold on the claim that this is three basses. I have to see it live to really believe it. Promo sheet promotes that they are straight edge. A new genre? New wave straight edge? More power to them. –don (Switchblade Kitten)


STUCK LUCKY:
Hate the Light of Day: CD
First thing that comes to mind is the Voodoo Glow Skulls. Vocals are snottier than the aforementioned but similar in sound. If they were around in the ‘90’s surge of ska punk, they would be major label. But since that surge died off, a new brand of misfits are coming out of the woodwork throwin’ some horn. Pretty enjoyable. I would like to see how they progress and see if they build an identity of their own. –don (Stuck Lucky)


COMMUNIQUE:
Walk Into the Light: CDEP
New wave with keyboards from ex-American Steel members. I don’t listen to the radio at all lately, but it sounds like someone current that has a MTV song out right now. –don (Sabot)


MONEYBROTHER:
They’re Building Walls around Us: CDEP
All I can think is this is a cross between hearing the Squeeze and Joe Strummer. –don (Sabot)


JELLO BIAFRA:
In the Grip of Official Treason: 3 x CD
This is a lot of Jello. There’s a lot of great information on this three-CD set, but be prepared to get your listen on. One of the most important political commentators around today. –Daryl Gussin (Alternative Tentacles / AK Press)


TRICLOPS!:
Cafeteria Brutalia: CD
I picked this CD up because I knew it had John Geek of Fleshies doing vocals. I had no idea what it was going to sound like and was really surprised to discover how similar it was to Fleshies. I guess the problem with having as much style as John Geek is when you try to do something else, your voice is extremely recognizable and hard to separate from other projects. Triclops!’s songs don’t sound completely like Fleshies’: they’re a lot longer, they have some pretty sweet noise effects going on, and they’re less, I don’t know…what do you call it? Punk? One song is partially sung in neo-Melanesian Creole, which appears to be a language spoken in New Guinea, and another song is about the Salton Sea, so that’s pretty cool. If you’re a fan of Fleshies and are curious as to what they would sound like if they were a little more “out there,” then pick this up. –Daryl Gussin (Sickroom)


YUKON:
Gough b/w Flushed: 7”
The most interesting thing about this record is that one side is supposed to be played at 33 1/3, and the other side is supposed to be played at 45. And then if that wasn’t confusing enough, neither side is labeled. Good one guys, you really scored some of those coveted “mysterious” points. Other than that whole dealy, I didn’t really care for it. It wasn’t really focused enough for my tastes. If you like the arty-yet-guitary bands that are on Jade Tree or Dischord this might be right up your alley. But that’s a really hard thing to say because when dealing with bands that are constantly trying to break some kind of pre-assigned mold, who knows what specific thing people like about them. I sure as hell don’t. –Daryl Gussin (Human Conduct)


DIVISION DAY:
Beartrap Island: CD
God damn Eric Carle-esque artwork suckered me into picking this one out of the stack. I knew it would be soft, but I thought it might be fun-soft. Not crappy indie rock soft. Oh yeah, and someone told me they’re named after an Elliot Smith song, isn’t that interesting. Yeah, I didn’t think so either. –Daryl Gussin (Division Day)


RELIGIOUS AS FUCK:
Self-titled: 7”
Short, angry, blasts of well-constructed hardcore punk with members of other prominent Gainesville punk bands. Dude, it’s dedicated to Pig Champion, and I don’t mean like on the liner notes they mention him, I mean like, it’s really dedicated to Pig Champion, it says it on the B side of the record. Why didn’t all you other dicks who released records do that? –Daryl Gussin (Religious As Fuck)


BLACK SS / HOW WE ARE:
Split: 7”
Fuck yeah, this is what a split 7” is supposed to be. Two equally kick-ass bands both rippin’ through a couple tracks each. The album art is really good; both sides feature well composed live photos from the respective bands. No matter how hard I searched this record I couldn’t find one trace a pretension, just true as fuck hardcore from upstate New York. How can I complain about a release that has the lines, “Eugenics would have bred out worthless scum like you / You’re not the master race, you’re mongrels too.” Hohoho, ouch. –Daryl Gussin (Stop Whining, Start Winning)


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