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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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GOLDSTARS, THE:
Purple Girlfriend: CD
Neutered bar rock played by the numbers. Sounds like the bands that play on stages at the casinos downtown, rehashing ‘70s rock with crummy, extended guitar solos, dopey, cliched lyrics (“You got a fire, little baby, and I ain’t gonna put you out,” “I ain’t scared of a girl who knows how to rock’n’roll” and “I got a girl who’s always late”) and uncommitted jungle calls. Makes Steve Miller sound like the Milkshakes. –benke (Pravda)


GOLDBLADE:
Strictly Hardcore: CD
A lot of people I know think these guys are the bee’s knees, and I will freely admit they aren’t without their charms—“Living Outside the Capital” and “16 Tons,” to name a couple, ain’t too shabby—but like U.S. Bombs, I can’t really see what all the fuss is about. For the most part, they sound like a Sham knockoff, albeit a serviceable one, without the politics and righteous anger, and I’m still too fueled by that anger to be impressed by what feels like a watered-down re-creation, no matter how deep the roots of those responsible run. It could be I’m totally obtuse and just not seeing the obvious, but frankly I just don’t get it and can think of so many more bands worth the hoopla. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


GOLDBLADE:
Punk Rockers in the Dance Hall: CD
Compilation of some the choice cuts from their last three records. I hear The Clash, some RFTC, and even some Dammed bubbling underneath. It looks like this Manchester band takes no prisoners with their music. Their “AC/DC” is a nice tribute to Angus and the boys—but not quite as good as Down By Law’s ode to the band. “Uranus” and “Black Elvis” stood out for me on this one. I’d like to see these guys live someday—I bet they smoke it. –koepenick (SOS)


GILBERT SWITZER / THE HOLD:
State of Nature: Split 7”
It’s always refreshing—when during the tedious chore of laboring through shitty music to review—to be slapped upside the head unceremoniously and without notice. And that’s exactly what Nova Scotia’s Gilbert Switzer did. This band is a three-piece comprised of a singer, guitar player, and two-piece stand-up drummer who dishes out deranged and deconstructed punk rock. Think Flipper, early Butthole Surfers, the Birthday Party and Crime all tossed into a rocks glass and filled with absinthe. This is art punk of the highest degree, and I love it. The Hold didn’t—ahem—hold up as well having to follow Gilbert Switzer but nonetheless ran their crusty gutter punk like a Fiat Spider stuck in third gear. Nicely packaged to boot! –greg (Divorce)


GIANT HAYSTACKS:
A Rebirth of Our City: 7”
If Allan, the singer and guitarist of Giant Haystacks, gained a hundred pounds and learned to dance like a gleeful rhinoceros ballerina in homage to D. Boon, the transformation to the Minutemen would be complete. I jest, but Giant Haystacks have taken the honor roll of peppy, spry, smart, and insightful songs that the Minutemen are getting their long-deserved due for, and then have internalized what made them so powerful in the first place. It’s not all about short-burst, slippery string work, but about the concerns of their world—this time gentrification—while not taking a condescending tone. They also fully understand that the angularity must bend back on durable ligaments, that songs work best when built on dance molecules, and are soaked in platelets of real blood. What this means: the Wayback Machine is gathering dust in the garage, the Giant Haystacks have lit their own torch, and these three songs are great. –todd (Pizza Pizza)


GHETTO WAYS:
Hidden Charms b/w M-O-V, I’m Movin’ On and Tanny Girls, Winks and Blue Eyeshadow: 7” EP, 7”
Sweet, dirty, alluring, and simple punk rock’s like putting a plastic model together. Almost anyone in a civilized country can go to the store, buy the kit, and huff in the garage rock fumes. But you, savvy music listener, know the difference is in how the parts are slid together, that there’s such a thing as magic dirt, that if time is taken by the band to cut themselves from the attachments of the mold—when still being obvious in what they’re making—you can listen to something special. The more Ghetto Ways songs I’m exposed to, the bigger their spectrum: parts Tina Turner, part Josie Cotton, part ‘60s soul and part non-arena ‘70s rock; the music floor’s shifting beneath them, but not in a confusing way. Fueled by Jenna’s raspy howl, lean and close guitar playing, Shane’s trouble-brining bass, and Henry’s in-the-pocket drumming all make the Ghetto Ways much more than a snapped-together, dime-a-dozen attempt at rock’n’roll. Fans of the BellRays and Miss Alex White take notice. –todd (Hidden Charms: Alien Snatch. Winks: Wicked Singles/Savage)


GERSCH, THE:
Self-titled: CD
This sounds a lot like Acid King. Slow, heavy stoner rock with Fleetwood Mac sounding vocals. When I first heard Acid King, almost ten years ago, I thought it was kinda lame, third generation jumping-on-the-stoner-rock bandwagon same old shit. At this point, hearing something like this is on par with hearing muzak in the grocery store. It sounds so much like everything else, so uninspired, that you just tune it out. Maybe if you’ve never heard anything crazier than Black Sabbath’s Paranoid you might like this, otherwise just avoid it. It sounds like everything else you’ve heard a million times before. –ben (Tortuga)


GENERATORS, THE:
The Winter of Discontent: CD
The opening track, “Walking Away,” sounds like a late-period Agent Orange outtake. The bulk of the remainder dances on the pop line in the sand Doug’s been straddling since the Schleprock days, although the songs here have an almost “epic” feel to them, and are sometimes vaguely reminiscent of Bad Religion’s slower efforts. The last two songs are a bit of a departure from the rest—one sports an almost country twang and the other is reminiscent of Mary Hopkin’s “Those Were the Days”—and show these guys aren’t afraid to stretch a little, although both probably would’ve hit the mark more accurately with stronger arrangements. All in all, worth blasting in the stereo. –jimmy (Sailor’s Grave)


GEARGRINDER:
Demo 6-06: CD-R
Although “sloppy, spastic thrash” is an apt description of what this Minneapolis band does, they’re actually more accomplished than that description would lead one to believe. They are, indeed, speedy in their delivery often, but they also throw in different time signatures to keep you on yer toes. The lyrics are pretty danged good too, coming off as almost literary in some places. Not bad at all. –jimmy (no address)


G.B.H.:
Punk Junkies: CD
A re-release from these grievous limey bastards that has been out-of-print since 1996, Punk Junkies finally sees the light in the States a decade later. While it’s no City Baby or City Baby’s Revenge, it still packs enough crunch and punch to appeal to both crusty punks and headbangers. –greg (SOS)


EVA BRAUN:
Self-titled: CD
They’re just kids, so maybe I should cut them some slack. Nah! What would be the point of that? Certainly, there’s some serious musicianship here, but I need songs. They talk about being “rooted in contemporary hardcore and post-hardcore,” but I’m afraid I hear more ancient prog rock, with a bunch of unintelligible screaming thrown in for no apparent reason. I don’t like anything about this record. –brian (Self-released)


FUCKED UP:
Dangerous Fumes: 7”
The power of satire is in not only knowledge—but a greater understanding—and then a confounding of initial expectations. It’s relatively easy to fuck with people and negate them. (i.e. war bad, religion bad, fuck toddlers, go fuck yourself.) It’s a magician trick to criticize the very people who will seek out your record. Let’s back up. Fucked Up. The band’s name alone would prevent ninety-eight percent of the bands in the world from playing a second show. Who’d book ‘em beyond a backyard? And one of the remaining two percent of people predisposed to liking a band called Fucked Up have A.D.D. Anything over a minute really tests their music boundaries. So, at the beginning of this—with longer songs (for hardcore) and a restrictive name, we’re at one percent. And that’s just when Fucked Ups’ in the blocks, ready to sprint. Here we are at Dangerous Fumes, which casually whips out two epics, the reproduction of a painting of naked young boys on the inside of the cover, and a Lolita-style narrative in “Teenage Problems.” All this, in lesser hands, would be clumsy and so transparently “offensive” as to be easy to dismiss. However, this Toronto foursome isn’t mashing every taboo button on the console blindly. They’ve calculated it out. The sum total? Challenging and victorious hardcore that questions the very roots from which it was borne. It’s the undiluted spirit of Black Flag and Poison Idea and it’s happening right now. Welcome to that one percent that rules, defines, and shapes what’s to come. – –todd (Deranged)


FOUR DEADLY QUESTIONS/THE ANSWER LIES:
Split: CD
Four Deadly Questions: Trashy punk with lo-fi vocals that doesn’t cling to none of the now-annoying ‘60s clichés. It’s loud and raw in all the ways it should be. Felt kinda cool ‘cause I didn’t need any Feckweed to figure out where the title of the first song came from. The Answer Lies: Great hardcore that may not be as fast as some, but manages to sound just spastic enough to get the blood pumpin’. –jimmy (Geykido Comet)


FIX, THE:
At the Speed of Twisted Thought: CD
Yep, you read that right, kids, we’re talking about thee Fix here, legendary, long-gone Michigan hardcore band whose 45s fetch a pretty penny from those who play fast ’n’ loose with their fundage. Collected here for those of us, not blessed with huge stashes of disposable income are the band’s two EPs, their track from the Process of Elimination comp, assorted outtakes and a live set from 1981 that sounds like it came straight off the board. Like the Big Boys releases T&G put out last decade, there is also much to read about the band, courtesy of Tesco Vee, Byron Coley, Tim Tinooka (I still have a couple of copies of Ripper fanzine kicking around here somewhere), Thurston Moore and others. For those not in the know, this is not complex, intricate-runs-through-scales-type hardcore made by kids who’ve spent way too much time honing their “craft.” We’re talking guttural, virtually tuneless, blunt force trauma thug-rock from a band that was playing hardcore before it had a name, and these tunes still deliver the goods. It amazes me that, some twenty years of development later, so much of what passes for hardcore anymore (and yes, I know there are exceptions, so don’t inundate me with lists of said exceptions) can’t hold a candle to bands like this. They needed no warp factor nine tempos, state-of-the-art production, or even good gear to beat you upside the head with a song. Gather ‘round and hold on tight as I set the stereo volume for “annihilate,” ’cause this is literally going to blow your fucking minds…. –jimmy (Touch & Go)


FINAL CONFLICT:
No Peace on Earth, No Rest in Hell: CD
Even if the music is looser and not as manic as their ‘80s incarnation, and Ron’s vocals are missed, the latest effort from this venerable L.A. hardcore group is a strong one, with topical lyrics that aren’t afraid to direct its ire at specific people and subjects rather than deal in hollow generalities. Nice to hear the snippet of the Germs off “Rodney on the Roq,” that was tacked onto the end, too. –jimmy (SOS)


FIGHT LIKE HELL:
Rabid as Wolves: CD
Sinister, brooding, and intense. That’s just in the first five minutes of this release. Colorado four- piece evokes the spirit of Suicidal Tendencies (“How Will I Laugh” era) and 24-7 Spyz with the metal two prong cattle brand of Accept’s barnburners. “Walk Alone” and “Money Matters” are the stand-out tunes on this one. Ouch—I think I just got whiplash. Are there free Vicodin samples in the CD sleeve? Dammit! –koepenick (Spook City)


FEELERS, THE:
Self-titled: 7”
The Feelers answer the question of, “What happens when a garage punk band is shredded against Negative Approach’s cheese grater, but the Oblivians’ desperate, rickety shack is still jumping in the background?” It’s a broken arm that you can snap your fingers along to. It’s like a chainsaw with a blade that’s teethed with sweet, sweet gumdrops or jackhammers lubricated, not with oil, but maple syrup. The result it fully interlocking parts between two things that aren’t necessarily supposed to go together, and that makes it all the more memorable. Improves on repeated listens, and is much better than the Willy Wonka-ness of the comparisons in this review. Great, fun punk rock. Remember that? Recorded by Alicja Trout (issue #29s cover lady), and she captures them in full stride, fully fanged, broadly smiling. Excellent. –todd (Contaminated)


FAST PRODUCT:
Tall Coin: CD
Hit or miss pop with some interesting play between guitar and Farfisa and guitar, and some bouncy bashers, but also a couple bland duds and a mostly-bland lady voice singing to the duds and the bashers. –Dud Basher –Staff (Semiotic Idiot)


EXTRA DAY FOR RIOTS:
Discography: CD-R
This CD-R comes with a pretty succinct but in-depth band history. It seems that they broke up during recording because the band didn’t think the lead vocals were good enough to record (I wish more bands would follow that lead). So, after some time, the singer decides to ignore that and release it himself. Bad mistake. The band was right; the vocals are terrible. Then again, this seems kind of like the pot calling the kettle black: the music (though they describe themselves as sounding like D4), is super-basic and repetitive. One uninspired pop punk song played nine times. –megan (Self-released)


EVIL ARMY:
Self-titled: CD
You know how sometimes you’ll bust out Kill ‘Em All and listen to it and think, “God, Metallica used to be so awesome, I wish there was a band like that around today”? Well, look no further. Evil Army takes all the best parts of Mustaine-era Metallica, Dealing With It- era D.R.I., and a dash of Cryptic Slaughter. It’s a wicked good time; no cheesy dive-bomb comedy routines like Municipal Waste or anything, just straight-ahead thrash from a bunch of Tennessee good ol’ boys. Get This!! –ben (Get Revenge)


ENTROPY:
Gross National Product: 7”
This definitely fits right into the Smogtown, Smut Peddlers, Crowd, early Hunns galaxy. It’s got those buzzy-hummy guitars, the New Beach Invasion (West Hollywood Chapter) broken bottles and vials in the sand disease, snot rag vocals, and that “Ooh, we’re fucked, but it’s sunny outside” vibe. What sets them a bit apart is the superfuzz psychedelia at the edges (don’t worry, there’s no “jammin’”), but there’s that early Mudhoney ballsiness and sickness that gives them an extra punch, where they coulda just been spinning their tires. To up the ante, it comes in a gorgeous silk-screened cover, with the spider for the hole, and all the little details that make you say, “God damn, vinyl’s awesome. This shit’s worth protecting.” Gorgeous little package, both in sound and sight. –todd (Bad Idea Music)


END OF ALL:
Same Shit but Different: CD
Yet another metal band passing itself off as hardcore. Ugh. –jimmy (Crimes Against Humanity)


EMERGENCY, THE:
Can You Dig It?: CD
Sounds like a cross between UXA and the BellRays. Unfortunately, as my grandfather used to say, “we shoot every fifth cross between UXA and the BellRays…and the fourth one just left.” Median song length is approximately four and a half minutes, so i’ll have plenty of time to reload. BEST SONG: “Girl You Should Have Known” BEST SONG TITLE: “Can You Dig It?” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: “Can You Dig It?” is not the Monkees song of the same name. –norb (Blue Disguise)


ELPHABA:
Any Land But This: CD
When I put this CD on, my roommate offered her immediate assessment. : “It’s very yelly.” This album is indeed full of yelling. Not catchy, melodic yelling really. Just yelling. The songs are fairly complex, with grating, clangy guitars high in the mix. I think if you like DC punk or weird angular “post-hardcore” bands like Q And Not U, then this will probably excite you. Me, : not so much. –thiringer (Rome Plow Records)


ELECTRIC SHADOWS:
Break The Rules b/w She’s All You Got: 7”
This NYC trio appears to be led by some manner of extra-terrestrial expat from one or another of the ümlaut planets, and are approximately 1.5 levels of Hair more glam than Some Action (i’m not exactly sure of the factor. I’d need to see their hair better). I am quite thankful that this record didn’t come with a press sheet of any sort, because the band’s mission statement is almost certainly something on the order of “we want to cross the pop hooks of the Raspberries with the swagger of the New York Dolls and Heartbreakers, served up in a hot tub full of T. Rex and Kiss with three quarters of a jigger of Aerosmith and Suzi Quatro as a drain stopper” or similar act of genius. I mean, fuckin-A, ya feel like blowing your (or their) brains out before you’ve even taken the record out of the sleeve. BUT, that said, the record does sound reasonably like the aforementioned concoction, and both the songs are kinda good. By the way, the Font Police would like to see you in Room 101 at your earliest convenience. Bring your own rat. BEST SONG: “Break The Rules” BEST SONG TITLE: “She’s All You Got” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: No offense to the dead or the living, but i saw Nikki Sudden, and he sucked. –norb (Douchemaster)


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