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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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MISSLES / JUPITER SHIFTER:
Missiles vs. Jupiter Shifter: Split 10”
The Missiles start off strong with a couple of punked up, AC/DC-crossed-with-Thee Machine Gun Elephant (minus that bands’ guitar virtuosity) sounding tunes. Singer, Takaichi, has a great, Land of the Rising Sun, Bon Scott snarl. “Guitar Yokosuka Thunder” really takes off once it gets to the chorus, and “Three Code Sensor” is memorable for the vocals, which are what I imagine a Japanese guy sounds like when he throws up. The last two songs venture, Icarus-like, a little too close to the brightly burning sun of Nashville Pussy and whichever ‘80s hair band it was that covered “Once Bitten, Twice Shy,” babe. Jupiter Shifter plays standard punk rock, with emphasis on the “rawk.” “Wing Store” starts off with a variation on the Spy Hunter riff and shifts into a slightly slower version of a Stallions song. Not bad. The guitar is way too up front in the mix of the subsequent two songs and you can’t really hear the vocals or the drums. The cymbals, however, seem to be crashing continuously. Not good. –benke (Wood Shampoo)


MISS DERRINGER:
Lullabies: CD
Sympathy For The Record Industry is of those labels that has such consistent quality in their releases I’m pretty much on board with whatever new stuff they put out. Miss Derringer, thankfully, is no exception to that rule. This album has plenty of the dark, lovelorn, garage rock that I’ve come to expect from Sympathy releases. Vocalist Liz McGrath has a sassy, heart wrenching voice that rivals her lovely label-mate Holly Golightly. With titles like “Dead Men Weigh More Than Broken Hearts” and “Pennies on His Eyes” this album manages to craft its own darkness into spooky, perfect retro rock songs. Highly recommended for those nights when you may be drowning your sorrows. –jennifer (Sympathy For The Record Industry)


MISLED CITIZEN:
Hate and Chaos: CD
Unlike a lot of bands like this, I don’t doubt Misled Citizen’s sincerity, and I think they could have been contemporaries of the So-Cal bands from the early ‘80s that they are clearly influenced by. Social D on one side and Youth Brigade on the other—they’ve each formed a wall of death and are headed straight for each other. Afterwards, they’re all going skating together. Not to say these cats are on the same level as those guys, but they would have definitely played a lot of shows together and would have fit in nicely on Someone Got Their Head Kicked In. –Steveo (www.funeralrecords.net)


MINCH / BREATHILIZOR:
Split: 7”
Minch: Noisecore with the fascination of using a washing machine as instruments. I believe they beat on the side of a washing machine for drums. Almost tribal with all the banging and screaming going on. Somewhere in the mix is a blown out guitar amongst the sheer madness of what sounds like two people singing completely different songs. Fourteen tracks. Breathilizor: Play a more traditional metal that has a raw garage sound on the first track. Song about a space plague that needs to be cured. The second track is more of a bluesy rock number that kind of reminded me of later period Black Flag. The topic has to do something with Pacman. Interesting to say the least. Neither band plays anything remotely pretty, so some dementia is required. –don (My Cheap Ass Life)


MILLION DOLLAR MARXISTS:
Do You Wanna Evolve?: 7”
Highly reminiscent of late ‘90s band All Systems Go, with a touch of the Knockout Pills thrown in (I ain’t got internet at my apartment, so who knows, MDM might be older than both of those bands), the title track has the fantastic line, “Do you wanna walk?/No, I wanna crawl,” repeated throughout the chorus. They get all sophisticated with their guitar solos, incorporating a wah-wah pedal (?!?!) and whipping off lots of notes. There’s enough of a pop sensibility and the songs are played at a decent enough clip to keep me interested. –benke (Seeing Eye)


MICHAEL JORDAN TOUCHDOWN PASS:
Cash, Money, Etc.: CD
Gotta say, when I saw the crayoned cover, noticed that MJTP was one of those projects where one guy sings and plays all the instruments, and noted that it was co-released on Plan-It-X, I was steeling myself for some shitty folk singer blathering away about anarchism in only the basest and most idealistic, simplistic way. Yet again, that’s what I get for judging stuff prematurely, because what I’m hearing is a younger, ragged (though some might say more vulnerable or honest) version of the Weakerthans. I mean, on songs like “Sedan-Sized Truck” and “Ill-Planned, Feeling III,” this kid is an absolute dead-ringer for Weakerthans crooner John Samson, even at times using his exact same sense of meter and alliteration. And that’s a good thing: this guy’s onto something—he’s borrowing heavily at times but there’s too much passion and focused intent here to call it stealing, you know? Acoustic guitar, keyboards, minimal percussion, layered vocals—the songs are deceptively simple, but there’s some incredibly catchy moments on here and the lyrics somehow come across as both cynical and joyous, and all-around razor-smart. Is it punk? Depends on how you look at it, I guess. Is it sincere, memorable, and just pretty much awesome? Yeah, there’s definitely that. –keith (Plan-It-X)


MERCY KILLERS:
Bloodlove: CD
So, I read a bio on this band and I’m kind of turned off without actually hearing them. Former members of Lars Frederiksen’s Bastards and Exene Cervenka’s Original Sinners and, if I remember what I read, a member of the Transplants. It doesn’t exactly excite me with my current tastes. But, this band collectively makes music that I actually do like. They play a brand of music that has strong hints of street punk that also has the ambient leaning of death rock. But to add some more descriptions, they also remind me of One Man Army meets more of the melodic Killing Joke stuff. I really like that they are not over-polished like My Chemical Romance, a band with the look but not the sound. This band has the sound but not the look. Looking at the band photos, they could be any generic melodicore band on the Warped Tour. But music is what it’s all about. It’s funny when I’m so ready to dismiss a release before listening: that there are a few bands out of thousands that can make me take notice. –don (Hellcat)


MATCHES, THE:
Decomposer: CD
I’m sure Epitaph will send someone over to my house to smash a baseball bat through my car windshield, but this will be the second time I will have to send a new record by this label down the toilet. Too many producers’ hands in the till make this an uneven sounding affair. Plus the lyrics are truly horrible. And from the liner notes it seems that their manager co-writes the majority of the tunes. Reminds me of when that creepy doctor was writing a lot of Brian Wilson’s songs a few years back. These results are similar. I’ll be waiting for something new that does not sound like The Fall Out Killers Boys. –koepenick (Epitaph)


MARK OF CAIN, THE:
The Unclaimed Prize: CD
This is a reissue of an obscure (well, obscure to me, at least) Australian band’s second album, originally released in 1991 and subsequently reissued repeatedly over the ensuing years by a number of different labels. Taking cues from some of post-punk noise rock’s heaviest hitters—a little Killing Joke here, a little Big Black there, a smidge of Foetus’ more rambunctious moments, and maybe just a dash of Birthday Party for color—and yet managing to avoid sounding like a trite rehash of all the above, they take the sum of these parts, dress ’em up nice and purty with loud guitars, driving beats and attitude up the wazoo and just let fly some savage, pounding, and strangely catchy tuneage. Seeing as they’re still out and about making a racket, one would assume that catching ’em live (as well as investing in a few of their releases) would not be a bad idea. –jimmy (Feel Presents)


MARK OF CAIN, THE:
Battlesick: CD
Originally released in 1989 in Australia and at one point was licensed to Henry Rollins’s 2.13.61 label, this Australian band’s debut sees the light of day again. A mixture of the Birthday Party meets Joy Division with a hint of Killing Joke thrown in is what I picture. Sound tempting? –don (Feel Presents)


MANIFESTO JUKEBOX:
Strain: CD
What happened? The last record I heard from this band I really liked. But this, this is some tired-ass jangly post-punk with real sassy vocals. Oh god how I despise sassy vocals. I guess you can forgive a little because these guys are from Scandinavia and maybe they don’t get that certain enunciations of English come across sounding sassy, but still, what happened? You know how you’ll hear a song sometimes and it just sounds like a bunch of intros and transitions and fills with no actual song? Every song on this record sounds like that. Sorry to give this a bad review cause I know these dudes are cool guys and stuff, but hey, sometimes the truth hurts. –ben (Combat Rock)


MAJOR ACCIDENT:
A Clockwork Legion: CD
Album number two saw a shortening of their name to “Accident” (as evidenced by the cover art), the infusion of more melody into their sound, and considerably more sophistication in the actual writing of the songs is apparent. Funny, but as I listen to this I can’t help but see how reliant on some stereotypical “oi” template so many of the new breed bands are. These guys were obviously influenced by the whole “street punk” thing as much as anybody else, but you’d be hard pressed to find a tune about getting pissed, fighting and blindly waving a flag, let alone a whole album dedicated to those subjects. This isn’t some wistful “things were so much better than” comment, mind you, just an observation that maybe a broadening of horizons and little more thought being put into what’s being done now might not be such a bad idea. This? It still fuckin’ rocks, of course. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


LOWER CLASS BRATS:
The New Seditionaries: CD
Musically, this is a progression from their previous albums. The music has a tad more rock’n’roll-ness to it and the album seems to be a musical maturation for the band. However, the lyrics seem very surface level and one dimensional. The lyrics and sentiment expressed seem pigeonholed in a teenager mentality—not that teenage sensibilities are bad, but it seems like most of the lyrics are trivial. The song, “New Seditionaries” literally says this one goes out “to all the prostitutes/ standing outside the bar/ this one goes out to the dykes/ you know we love the girls.” It just sounds trivial and silly. It actually made me laugh. A few songs seem to touch on genuine subject matter like “I’m a Mess,” which details the feeling of being lost and hopeless in life. An unexpected track is “Lip Music” which is an acoustic number that features piano. It’s very catchy and for some reason I can picture Duane Peters dancing his jig to it. Singer, Bone’s vocals are still raspy and low, and there are several sing along type songs. What really stands out for this album is the artwork on the CD insert. I like the way it’s laid out and the way each song has a different theme to show the lyrics. The album has its ups and downs, strikes and gutters. –jenny (TKO)


LOSER LIFE:
Things Will Never Change: 7”
First off, I learned a new word thanks to this record: torsion. Good word, that one. What’s it mean? Look it up, you lazy bastards. That’s what dictionaries are for. Anyway, the music these guys mete out is of the mid-tempo hardcore variety peppered with subtle sprigs of melody, not unlike maybe early Hüsker Dü when they’re not shooting for full-on pop but ain’t going the über-thrash route, either. Results aren’t too bad, although maybe the A side goes on a teensy bit longer than it should. Decent slab o’ wax overall. Thanks for the addition to my vocabulary, too. –jimmy (Going Underground)


LOS CREEPERS:
City Streets: CD
Loctite glue strong street punk, worthy of the long-deserved and recent attention being lavished on the band by Tim Armstrong. –thiringer (Smelvis)


LOOK BACK AND LAUGH:
Street Terrorism: 7” EP
Tight, angry political hardcore with oodles of hooks. Fuckin’ sweet –jimmy (Deranged)


LIVE FAST DIE / VCR:
Split: 7”
Live Fast Die: Sometimes the layers of mud, snot, really off production, and fuzzy sweater pellets in the throat put masking tape all over the songs, and it’s difficult to figure out if all of those layers of masking tape are concealing fantastic bombs that could splatter my eardrums, or merely turds wrapped like a mummy. It’s hard to tell. (And I’ve heard and reviewed this band before.) Sorta sounds Ramones with Motörhead’s guitarist and then like the Spits. Don’t hold me to it, ‘cause it’s hard to hear. VCR: Had the Velvet Underground festered in underground obscurity in, say, Dayton, Ohio, instead of being liked in New York, and only rabid obscurists held their only 7” aloft like a chalice, my two cents is that they’d sound like VCR. The late ‘70s have folded into the mid ‘00s like a Mad Magazine back cover: the elements are the same, but when creased over the past three decades, it somehow sounds a little new and good-funny again. Nice. On a interweb note, if you type Dagger Man into a search, you get a website of a dude selling Nazi knives. –todd (Daggerman, no address provided: www.myspace.com/daggermanrecords)


LIFETIME:
Somewhere in the Swamps of New Jersey: 2 x CD
I lie to myself about Lifetime. I think I adore them, or that I treasure them. But, in reality, I like them. Granted, they’ve got songs that are amazing, but I’m starting to think of them as that: a band with some great songs rather than a great band. Maybe it’s because they’ll never do it for me the way Kid Dynamite does, and I don’t have the ability to separate the two in my mind. Here, Jade Tree’s collected two discs-worth of material that has mostly already been released. The exceptions are unreleased versions of songs that have already been released. Forty-five tracks in all, but only twenty-six songs—lots of repetition. And, sadly, the strongest track on this is not an original but the unreleased remix of their cover of Billy Bragg’s “New England.” That song actually does make it worth it for me (but I doubt I’d buy it for the one track alone). –megan (Jade Tree)


LIBYAN HIT SQUAD:
Death Metal in Jerusalem: CD
Well, the listener can only surmise what a bunch of dudes from Orlando, Florida have to say about Libyan death squads, death metal in Jerusalem or anything else, as there’s nothing included here besides an uninformative, ego-stroking one-sheet and a business card. What I mean is, there’s no lyrics, right? You can make out little vocal blips on the radar every once in a while: “She’s an evil bitch,” “I was a straight edge punk,” “I laugh at your theory and your moral values,” etc. But that’s about it. So from a purely sonic standpoint, I’d have to say that these guys are coming across as a third-tier Black Flag. There’s a few bright moments where it sounds remarkably like Ginn and Dukowski dueling it out in the practice space, and the way they’ve structured the songs, with lots of short, repetitive vocal sections, makes parts of this sound remarkably like a band souping up to do a My War-era Black Flag set for Halloween or something. I was over it pretty quickly. –keith (Bony Orbit)


LIBRARIANS:
Alright Easy Candy Stranger: CD
Four piece Morgantown, West Virginia rockers offer up their first full length for the people. Innovative guitar patterns glide each song down some unknown road. Drums and bass provide a taunt backbeat. The vocals remind me of Peter Murphy with a little more inflection. “Wax Teeth” and “Spend All The Cash” are getting continual play on this one. Forget the over-hyped bands written about on magazines you don’t read anymore. Librarians deliver the goods. So check them out and don’t plan to return them—no matter what the fee! (After you buy it of course!) –koepenick (Postfact)


LA CACAHOUETTE:
Cocaine Unicorn b/w Help Is Automatic: 7”
“It’s not a unicorn; it’s a horse, with a sword in its head.” I make that reference on account that this is a decent bit of indie rock, that I could easily see being used on some prime time hit if they were just a tad more “mainstream” (read as “hipster”). –joe (www.allthingsordinary.com)


KEVIN K:
Polish Blood: CD
There, that’s more like it, this is the good glam punk! Starting out in Aunt Helen in 1978 in Buffalo and on through the Lone Cowboys, Road Vultures, and a ton of solo releases, Kevin K never lets me down. So many releases from all over the world...This one is from Poland. Seems to be kind of a collection of tunes from previous releases re-packaged for a Polish release. Twenty songs and not a stinker in the bunch. Kevin K is consistent with his great Ramones meets Thunders sound and I can never get enough of it. –frame (Pasazer)


KEVIN CAHOON AND GHETTO COWBOY:
Doll: CD
Name, artwork, album title...all signs point to glam pop. The first song sounds like that Coyote Shivers tune from the end of the movie Empire Records. In fact, the whole album comes off like a ‘90s alterna soundtrack; a few good songs but mostly watered down, slick and dull. I had high hopes for this one and I am usually a sucker for the style of music that Kevin Cahoon seems to be shooting for. This one just falls a little flat. A little more Lee Harvey Oswald Band and a little less Shirley Manson and this band could really be on to something. Hopefully next time they will bust out their Jayne County records for inspiration before they go in to record. –frame (Sh-K-Boom)


JONESES, THE:
Tits and Champagne: LP
I was just talking to my girlfriend Mor about this: The Joneses were a good band, but hardly groundbreaking. I mean, if it were the mid ‘80s and they were playing the Whisky (the Whisky was still a decent venue in the ‘80s), I’d go; but it’s not like missing, say, The Gun Club or something—a band that—along with X to a lesser extent—really had something cerebral to say and innovative music to get across. And I think The Joneses might agree with me. I’ll explain: The Joneses were a trashy band, hopped up on booze and heroin—L.A.’s answer to The Heartbreakers. They fucked a lot of women, had a good time, played their Les Pauls down around their ankles, and then broke up. I think some of them might be in jail right now—at least that’s what I’ve heard. This record, which came out in 1989, must have been something of a godsend to rock fans, considering nothing was happening in ‘89. And, yeah, it’s still a nice piece of vinyl, by a bunch of guys who could have been Johnny Thunders stunt doubles. The only problem I have with The Joneses is that the lifestyle they exuded—the Peter Laughner, Lou Reed, Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Johnny Thunders bit—is currently killing some of my friends who buy that shit hook, line, and sinker. Bummer. –ryan (Full Breach Kicks)


JOHNS, THE:
In Tune: 7” EP
A-side sounds like a cross between any Ramones song C.J. ever sung and “Fight For Your Right” by the Beastie Boys, the latter only tangentially. The first half of the B-side sounds like Orange County’s ten-years-too-late answer to the Humpers, who were, for the record, a great band (at least some of the time). Second half of the B-side has a little guitar that reminds me of later Vandals, but, other than that, i’m stumped. You could play me this record, show me the cover, show me pictures of the band, and tell me they were from any year from 1983 or so til the present and i would believe you. BEST SONG: “Wanna Die” BEST SONG TITLE: “Wanna Die” i guess FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The record came with a CD-R of the songs—a practice which, square as it may seem, i strongly endorse. –norb (Anko)


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·SICKS, THE
·VELVET UNDERGROUND, THE
·CERTAIN RATIO, A
·HEMENDEX
·TIMMY’S ORGANISM
·RUDE PRAVO
·HYSTERESE
·NOT LIKE YOU #5
·Iggy Pop: Lust for Life: DVD


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