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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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VARIOUS ARTISTS:
The Kamikaze Broadcast Volume 1: CD
No Front Teeth Records have put out a compilation with thirty songs featuring bands such as Die Hunns, Hook And The Daggers, The Black Halos, Retching Red, and Hit By A Semi. The CD insert is relatively simple as it has all the bands listed with their websites. Nothing fancy. The comp is good; definitely worth a couple bucks. Some stand out tracks are “Truth” by Die Hunns, “Suicide King” by The Nazi Dogs, “North Side Story” by Street Brats, and “I Want Some Drugs” by Kevin K And The Real Kool Kats. –jenny (No Front Teeth)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Tales from the Australian Underground, Vol. 2: 1977-1990: 2 x CD
It is my understanding that volume one of this series spanned the 1976-1989 period. From this i infer that this volume has the best song they could find from 1990, plus the stuff they had lying around from 1977-1989 that wasn’t good enough to make it into Volume 1. Huh. It starts strongly enough, with the original, four-minute-plus version of Radio Birdman’s “New Race,” the Saints’ “Know Your Product,” some blatant theft of the Vibrators’ “Baby Baby” by some teenagers who had their manager play the instruments on their records, and “More Suicides Please” by the Thought Criminals, whom i was previously unfamiliar with. Things go rapidly south after that (no small feat for the only continent other than Antarctica that’s completely south of the Equator), descending into completely irredeemable Missing Persons-isms at the beginning of the eighties, and muddling into similarly nowhere college rock doldrums thereafter. Nothing of value emerges in the last nine-tenths of this collection by any band you’ve never heard of, and the contributions by those you have (Lime Spiders, Hoodoo Gurus, Feedtime, Happy Hate Me Nots) are nowhere near enough to stop the product as a whole from circling the drain (CLOCKWISE, s’il vous plait). One supposes this might be a handy item to have around if you’re doing your Master’s Thesis on Australian popular music of the eighties, it’s due tomorrow, and you can’t find Volume 1 anywhere; in all other cases, i suspect the opposite is true. BEST SONG: Radio Birdman, “New Race” BEST SONG TITLE: The Thought Criminals, “More Suicides Please” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: If you would like to experience great frustration, grab a handful of Australian currency and try organizing the bills into a nice, tidy stack. –norb (Feel Presents)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Tales from the Australian Underground, Vol.1: 1976-1989: CD
If the bulk of your “Australian Rock” experience is limited to “name” bands like AC/DC, Rose Tattoo, or Midnight Oil, the scope and breadth of what came off of that oft-neglected continent might prove to be a bit mind-blowing. To school you on high points of the Australian rock underground comes this stunner of a compilation, showcasing tracks from assorted singles released during the period identified in the title. That means you get seminal tracks from the legendary (The Saints, Radio Birdman, X, Birthday Party), the well-regarded (Died Pretty, Hard-Ons, The New Christs, Celibate Rifles), assorted Killed by Death faves (Psycho Surgeons, The Scientists, The Victims) and a bevy of obscure groups (God, Wet Taxis, Pel Mel, Sunnyboys, Thug, Makers of the Dead Travel Fast, Do Re Mi and a buncha others), all presenting a wide variety of punk and post-punk noise for your listening pleasure, and all of them nothing short of fuggin’ cool. There’s something for nearly everyone’s taste on display here—from the grungy proto-punk of The Saints to the trash/thrash of the Psycho Surgeons to the new-wavy pop of the Triffids to Died Pretty’s gloom-rock to the Motorhead-meets-Descendents musings of the criminally overlooked Hard-Ons—and those with broad tastes will truly appreciate the bounty before them. Truly indispensable, this is. –jimmy (Feel Presents)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Ostry Dyzur Vol. 2: CD
I know the following things about this. It’s from Poland and the cover illustration has an American Indian, a punk puking on an interviewers microphone, a guy who looks like Venom from Spider-Man strangling a skinhead, and a girl with dreads and no shirt on involved in some sort of pit. There’s some weird shit going on in Poland. Because there’s no booklet and very little info on the sleeve, I’m assuming this is a comp of punk from Poland but the first track leads off with some smooth rhumba number that towards the end almost turns in to a ska song. After that though we’re off and running. Some songs in English, some not, some okay…some very not. One thing is for sure though, I approve of the use of accordion on a lot of these songs. The accordion is a tragically under utilized instrument in punk. Thank god for Eastern Europe. –Steveo (Pasazer)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Keep the Fuzz off My Buzz: CD+DVD
Four bands went on tour in 2004, the DVD is the documentary of said tour and the CD is a repress of an LP comp all four bands were featured on from yester year. A real strange pairing of bands if you ask me though. The music ranges from punk rock to experimental electronica to straight out country tunes. Such a strange and diverse project was more entertaining than I had bargained for, actually, so it was more treat than trick this time around. –mrz (Sickroom)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
If It Ain’t Cheap, It Ain’t Punk: CD
It’s a thirty song sampler of (I think) every band on Plan-It-X Records. Most of these songs have already been released, but that’s not the point. This is intended as an introduction to newcomers as to what P-I-X Records is all about. Chris Clavin, the guy who runs the label, really confounds me, because half of these bands are some of my favorite bands in the world, the most honest, true-spirited punk rock bands in the whole world today. The other half of this CD, I just don’t get. Is somebody else hearing something I’m not? It’s really weird how for every awesome band on this comp (This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb, Sexy, Carrie Nations, The Bananas, Shotwell, One Reason, etc.) there’s an equally horrible band (Antsy Pants, Ghost Mice, Dave Dean’s Musical Forklift, Matty Popchart, Rosa, Paul Baribeau) and I can’t help but wonder what compels Chris to put out these bands. Still, if you’re new to the Plan-It-X sound, get this and you won’t be anymore. –ben (Plan-It-X)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Connecticut Fun: CD
Reissue of the hardcore comp that came out in ’85, which was a few years before I started listening to anything remotely like this. The only band featured here to ever get some decent recognition outside of New England is Youth Of Today, which is a shame because there are some really strong tracks on here: Contraband’s “Red Lights over St V’s” and both tracks by Bad Attitude (it’s a little disheartening how applicable “Holy War”—about war with Iran and Iraq—still is today). There are some songs that are mixed with a bit too much metal guitar noodling, and a few with tons of reverb on the vocals, but you have to consider the musical climate at the time it was originally recorded. And, for that, it’s one hell of a time capsule for a scene rarely heard about. –megan (Incas)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
CD Sampler # 1: CD
Like most compilations, this sampler is a bit uneven. But, any comp that includes The Dimestore Haloes’ “Hot Pink Stereo” is automatically guaranteed a good review from me. Plus, you get The Soda Pop Kids, Kevin K, The Joneses (I love “Tits and Champagne” almost as much as tits and beer), The Urgencies, The Electric Kisses, and tons more. Full Breach Kicks is one of the best labels going these days, and this is a real fine introduction to their recent catalog. I could have done without The Street Brats and the Rock’n’Roll Stormtroopers, but that’s just me. –brian (Full Breach Kicks)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Alternate Endings: CD
This comp is mostly a showcase of bands on the label, The End Records, and from what I gather, it’s not a terribly good record label. Most of this stuff is run-of-the-mill metal, with a few mature-sounding pop songs and a little bit of ambient noise type stuff. The only tracks that grabbed my attention were Sleepytime Gorilla Museum’s crazy experimental sounds and Impaled Nazarene’s relentlessness. It’s a well put-together comp with super fancy packaging, but the music is nothing to write home about. –ben (theendrecords.com)


VANNA:
The Search Party Never Came: CD
This is fucking horrible. Go turn on MTV2 or Fuse or whatever. I guarantee you that whatever’s on right now sounds exactly like this. The promo sheet says it’s “metalcore” but it sounds like shitty emo to me. You know, the kind of emo where the guy sings in a death metal voice sometimes. Music like this is the bane of all real punks’ existence. If you’re a douchebag, I would say to get this, but you probably already have it. –ben (Epitaph)


UNCLE SCRATCH’S GOSPEL REVIVAL:
North of Hell: CD
A welcome successor to the two-man band void left by the demise of the Flat Duo Jets and following in the footsteps of Unknown Hinson, Uncle Scratch’s Gospel Revival is as good as you’ve heard they are. Distorted, noisy, and lighthearted stand-out titles indicative of the duo’s toe-tapping and relaxed attitude and musicianship include “Johnny, Jesus & Me,” “Devil’s Chrysler,” and “I Can’t Bang You on a Sunday.” Enjoyably satisfying. –thiringer (Rock N Roll Purgatory)


UNCLE SCRATCH’S GOSPEL REVIVAL:
North of Hell: CD
A bizarro gospel two piece consisting of Brother Ant and Brother Ed, who share guitar, vocal, drum and other assorted instrumental duties. The vocals are sung through a megaphone and there’s a palpable redneck vibe. I’ll bet if you saw these guys walking down the street, they’d both be chewin’ on a piece of straw. USGR is at their best when tackling country tinged spirituals like “Johnny, Jesus & Me,” “You’ve Got a Friend” and “Lord Took my Hand.” They come off like a couple of aww-shucks charmers. Not so appealing are the psychobilly stylings of “Gates of Hell.” If the picture in the liner notes is any indication of their live show, they must be a hoot to witness. A true and pleasant surprise. –benke (Rock N Roll Purgatory)


TURPENTINE BROTHERS:
Get Your Mind off Me: 7”
Blues and soul used to heartbeat around the highways of America one road house, chapel, and boozing ken at a time. It’s a different war of culture now; against the stucco footprints of chain store giants. In between the toes, a jangly fungus is proving resistant to the merciless stomps and flattening. Surely, The Turpentine Brothers owe the Reigning Sound several quarters in their tip jar, but this is far from a straight-up rip. They hold steady on their own with organ-alive, harmonic-piping, gasoline-soaked, rag-on-the-mouth music that stands proudly by itself. Great stuff. –todd (Alien Snatch)


TURN ME ON DEAD MAN:
Technicolour Mother: CD
I guess Alternative Tentacles sold enough Zolar X CDs to get them into the glam business full time, but this thing is a pretty mixed bag (of drugs): sweet bottom-heavy stoner riffs share real estate with interstellar suck jams, the whole thing a jumble of influences from Sabbath, T Rex, Bowie, Beatles, Smashing Pumpkins to...shit, who knows (not me), maybe even the Grateful Dead. Apparently it should be important to know that Tim Green from Nation Of Ulysses produced it, but I’m not sure why. Further disinterest is generated by front/main-man Mykill Ziggy’s terrible name. I’ll leave the Mykill part for you to fuss with; I just can’t stop thinking about the Ziggy from the “funny” pages. –Cuss Baxter (Alternative Tentacles)


TOXIC HOLOCAUST:
Evil Never Dies: CD
Do you like eighties speed metal? You will love TH. Imagine hearing bands like Kreator, Destruction, Hellhammer, Bathory, or the first Slayer LP. That is the same vibe as here. But one thing is different here. This a one man show: Joel Grind takes his love of speed metal and plays all the instruments on recordings. On tour, he brings a band along to be able to play his music to the masses. This year when he toured the states, he brought along the New York band Bludwulf. I hear for his tour next year he is bringing along Japan’s Abigail to open and back up his madness. My introduction to TH is his latest, being the Hell on Earth CD. This is a re-release of the Evil Never Dies LP and bonus tracks from the Death Master EP and a comp track from the Outbreak of Evil EP. Straight up speed metal here. Growling vocals, bright distorted guitars, simple bass lines, and single bass drumming. Three beers in, headbanging is a simple fact without over analyzing the musicianship. Devil horns in the air type of stuff. If I have piqued your interest, buy everything by this guy. –don (Gloom)


TOTAL CHAOS:
Freedom Kills: CD
Politically charged punk rock from this Cali four-piece. I’m getting the impression from the inside cover art that they don’t like George Bush? Maybe it was the Nazi uniform that tipped me off. No love songs here. With titles like “Rome Will Fall”, “Schools of America” and “One Way System Lies” I think you get the idea. But if you like your hardcore with some oi in the mix, this may be up your alley. –koepenick (SOS)


TOMMY GUN & THE BULLETTS:
Something New: 7”
Side A is the title track and blasts off into a hybrid of Ramones worship shot gunned through acts like the Mr. T Experience, Riverdales etc., etc., spit out by a singer who is a cross between Joe Strummer and Mike Ness. On paper it sounds like it’s a formula for failure but on record it comes across right nice; there’s no crisp, sheen production to piss me off and a decent amount of fuzz. Side B offers up two more tracks of the same with “Put Me Back.” Here, they inject some street punk leanings here with Peter & The Test Tube Babies coming to mind first. “Stand Up” finishes off the 7” in all its snotty glory. –greg (Radio)


THOR:
Devestation of Musculation: CD
You know what? If you don’t have a drummer, then you don’t have a band, and, therefore, you shouldn’t record an album. Yeah, I know John Mikl Thor is real old-school and I’ve seen Rock N Roll Nightmare and all that, but that doesn’t change the fact that this album is tired, uninspired metal, recorded with a shitty-sounding drum machine. It sounds like a demo that some kid made in his bedroom, except this kid has gotta be well into his fifties by now. Jesus Christ. –ben (Smog Veil)


THIS IS MY FIST!:
A History of Rats: CD
This is the first and apparently only full length from TIMF! The sweetness that could be heard in Annie’s voice on earlier releases has been replaced with whiskey and gravel. This bothered me at first because it was such a stark difference from the songs on the 7” and compilations. Her voice grew on me the more I listened; these songs and their subjects should be heard through whiskey and gravel. As a group they beat the shit out of their instruments to my grinning satisfaction. When the realization that I will probably never get to see them again sinks in, my pint glass won’t just hold beer but also my tears. Last time I saw them live we were really drunk and singing along and Annie asked, “Who yells ‘hooray’ anymore?” When listening to TIMF!, this guy right here. –Guest Contributor (No Idea)


THIRD STRING:
Lockjaw: CD
The cover led me to think I was gonna wind up rolling in the detritus of some chunka-chunka tough-guy riffage, or possibly even some doom-laden metal, but the six songs on here sound strikingly like mid-‘90s Epitaph stuff—groups like Pulley, 98 Mute, etc. Plenty of vocal harmonies, relentless drums, speed and melody. Six songs, topics covering skating, girls, vague spiritual dissatisfaction. Had this come out ten or twelve years ago I would’ve probably been all over it; unfortunately, I think my passion for this genre dissipated about the time Face To Face released Big Choice. There’s just a little too much saccharine here for me. –keith (www.3rdstring.net)


THAT’S HIM! THAT’S THE GUY!:
Help Me, I’m on Fire: CDEP
If Procol Harum started an acoustic new folk band and let the star of a children’s programming show be the singer, you’d have TH!TTG!, and you’d have me reaching for the stop button…now. –megan (Jumberlack)


THAT WAS THEN:
Troublemakers: CD
Would an ‘80s Victory Records comparison be accurate? Quite possibly. The cover’s got a bunch of people clutching each other in the pit, everyone’s either groping one another or, like, possibly so lit up in this incredible moment of kinship that they all just had to sing the next chorus together. Thank God the camera was there to capture such a candid moment. Given the cover and the title of the record, I was mentally steeling myself for some thickneck, tough guy brocore (Brocore: Subgenre of “hardcore” punk rock, with a lyrical focus on: friendship, crews, never giving up, getting back at those who have stabbed one in the back, staying true to something, watching one another’s back—presumably so it won’t get stabbed—etc., etc.). Thankfully, That Was Then steer way clear of that whole shtick by actually being pretty positive, or at least avoiding a lot of macho posturing, something that I totally associate with music like this. There’s isn’t a single threat to “get” somebody on this record, a breath of fresh air in a genre that oftentimes relies a fuck of a lot on antagonism and gang mentality. That Was Then pull out the expected stops here: tempo changes, group vocals, muted guitar riffs, fast breakdowns, all of it. It’s not the freshest or most groundbreaking record to come out, musically speaking, but they certainly know what they’re doing, and they get some points for not taking the easy road lyrically—shit, they’re tackling the death of a parent, the need to not marginalize women in hardcore, and pulling Malcolm X sound bites in the last song. It’s not the kind of music that moves me that often, but these guys deserve credit for tackling topics that don’t often get discussed, and doing it in a way that’s smart as hell and inclusive. Nice work, guys. –keith (Armada In Flames)


TERRIBLY EMPTY POCKETS:
Get Wet: LP
I’m not going to lie, I’m confused. Really, really confused. After listening to this at 33 RPM, I read that it’s supposed to be played at 45, and honestly, I’m not positive which one is right. Musically, this started out like R.E.M. trying to play ska, so I think I’m allowed to say this whole record is really weird, total music nerd core stuff (and I have friends who argue over Coltraine records). The best thing I can think of to say about this is that I imagine a perfect show for this band would be outside at some street fair, in some arty beach town. –joe (www.columbusdiscountrecords.com)


TERMINALS:
Takin’ Care of Brooks: 7”
Drums, vox, guitar player, Brooks, must be a handful. There’s a picture on the back of the record sleeve in which he looks so hammered, you can’t tell if he’s hugging his band mates, or holding himself up with them. He recorded two of the songs on this 7”, so getting drunk must not be his only “skill.” The B-side contains two originals that bear resemblance to the Oblivians and Jewws. The Terminals don’t quite achieve the greatness of those bands, but few do. The A-side is a cover of the Mods “Ritual” sung by vox, guitar, keys and drums player, Liz. A nice enough record, but lacking the testicle rattling oomph that would make me recommend it. –benke (Boom Chick)


TEENAGE HARLETS:
Up the Fixx: CD
Fairly pedestrian garage rock that doesn’t really add much to the genre. Might be high time to find another musical pigeonhole to run into the ground, kids. –jimmy (Springman)


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