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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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B.A. BARACUS:
Self-titled: CD
Ten songs of pretty damn good hard rock/garage punk from Columbus, OH. Much better than most bands that play this style since they know when to let off the gas and let the songs groove a little. I was a little skeptical when I first saw the name, but it seems like they are actually T fans and not just trying to be “ironic” or “funny.” Fans of Bad Wizard, Hellacopters, New Bomb Turks, Spitfires, and Electric Frankenstein are gonna wanna be all over this. –frame (Sonic Swirl)


AVATARS, THE:
Never a Good Time: CD
I see three women and two guys on a cover and start to think bubblegum for some reason. Well, I was wrong. This gang has some rocking toughness going for them. It’s a mixture of early KISS and the Runaways meeting the first Pretenders record sound. Songs that are catchy but have grit and make you wanna rock out. I was so ready to dismiss, but was given a good slap in the face and was made to pay attention. –don (No Fun)


ARCHIE BRONSON OUTFIT:
Derdang Derdang: CD
Sounds like the desire to be recorded at Toe Rag Studios crossed with the desire to make the first PiL album, but not to the point of actually recording it at Toe Rag Studios nor including a “Fodderstompf” analogue. Initial repulsion followed by moderate interest and above average workplace use. I think if i was watching this band and standing next to Billy Childish, I would peek to see if he clapped before i followed suit. BEST SONG: “Jab Jab” BEST SONG TITLE: “Dart For My Sweetheart” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: First line of “Cherry Lips”: Lovely finger tips upon my lips, I don’t think I’ll get get get it.” First line of “How I Sang Dang”: Healthy finger tips upon my lips, I don’t think I can get over it.” OOO-kay… –norb (Domino)


ANTIDOTE:
Another Dose: CD
It’s a sad day when kids from the Netherlands who probably weren’t alive when Wattie started ye olde Exploited. Barmy Army are making records with a flare his old ass wishes he still had. Neither band is that cerebral, but when you’re looking for jams about “Sex and Violence” or another dumbed down “fuck homophobia” anthem, you’re not really looking for heavy thinkers. As a great man once said, “Thinkin’ ain’t drinkin’,” and you’ve got a 40oz of Olde E that you definitely want to chug down before it gets warm. –Steveo (Rodent Popsicle)


AN EXTRA DAY FOR RIOTS:
Discography: CD
Homemade recording from a teenage band out of Sarasota, FL. They’re gone now but they’ve put this out to document their time in the scene. The guitar has an early ‘80s hardcore influence, which is surprising considering the average age of the band members was seventeen back in 2003. “Glory Days” tells a funny story about a has-been musician. “Just The Lucky” is the best song on here. Some of the background vocals could have been a little bit more in key, but so what? Hope these guys last longer than Squirrel Bait and produce more punk rock. –koepenick (stnorth@mail.usf.edu)


AMOEBA MEN, THE:
...Let the Infection Set In: CD
If anybody lost a whole bunch of delay, I think I found most of it. And while it’s the least bluntly brutal thing I’ve heard from C.N.P., it’s still plenty fucked up, what with the rampant and aforementioned echo, dissonant guitar and off-kilter timings, woozy synth swells and so forth. Too bad these guys weren’t around when I lived in Richmond; you couldn’t dance to the noise rock we had then. –Cuss Baxter (C.N.P.)


ALTERNATIVE ACTION/MARCHING ORDERS:
Split: 7”
Alternative Action: Pretty straight-forward street punk. However, it gets a little poppy by the second song, and that’s all fine and good with me. Marching Orders: First impression: the vocals are very reminiscent of the Subhumans U.K., and, musically, it’s not far behind. My second impression is that even disregarding that, these guys sound way British. Overall: I wish I’d gotten the picture disc version of this, but oh well. I imagine I’d enjoy seeing either band live—barring it doesn’t get me a kick to the side of the head. –joe (Iron Pier)


ALL TIME LOW:
Put up or Shut up: CD
All Time Low remind me of Pig-Pen, you know, the character from Peanuts who always had the dust cloud around him. Well, on one occasion, Pig-Pen decides it’s time to clean up his act (to gain the approval of the snobby Violet). But, Pig-Pen’s known for his dirt. It’s a part of him. By cleaning himself up (though he gets dirty again quickly—it’s in his nature), he becomes something that he’s not, and by changing just a few of those surface details, the entire person was changed. With bands like All Time Low: they’re like punk, but cleaned up. All the elements that make punk what it is—be it in the sound, in the politics, or in the fun—seem to be rinsed clean here. There’s still enough lingering elements to make it feel familiar, but something is definitely not right. While this was playing, I couldn’t help but imagine videos filled with panning cameras, wide legged-stances made more ridiculous by their too-tight pants, and eyes rolled upwards in the now standard (thanks Billie Joe) pop punk eyes. I like my punk like the Peanuts Gang liked Pig-Pen: dirty, not because that’s how he should be, but because that’s the only way he can be. –megan (Hopeless)


AGAINST ME!:
Americans Abroad!!! Against Me!!! Live in London!!!: CD
Against Me! tears it up for appreciative Britons, proving that some things are universal. The lyrics of the new song “Americans Abroad” self-consciously ponders their identity as conquerors overseas, but the distinctly American bravado of the bass line almost gives them away. Hear Tom address the crowd with the utmost courtesy. Take note of James’s lusty accompanying vocals, which are so much more distinctly his own live. Most importantly, prime that fist and get ready for the next time they come to town. –susan (Fat )


24 REASONS WHY:
Start it All Again: CD
No matter how close you come to ripping your vocal chords trying to sound like the tough chick singer you obviously want to be, no one’s gonna buy it when you sing (in a change of tone, cutesy voice) about thinking and dreaming of the things you see in someone’s eyes. Some of this is catchy, but it just comes off a bit disingenuous. –megan (www.myspace.com/24reasonswhy)


AGAINST ME!:
Americans Abroad!!! Against Me!!! Live in London!!!: CD
So, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that this is a live recording. Right? Up front and center stage, I will confess that I am no authority on this band. I’m one of those people who can casually listen to them here and there, but I do not go out of my way to listen to them or own anything by them. Just not my thing. I respect what they do—maybe not their major label signing. I think with their sound, they are not as destined as, say, AFI and even Rise Against, who have a lot more crossover appeal to the masses. But, I do want to rant about Pat Graham. Who? He is the photographer for the booklet of the CD. It’s basically a photo zine of AM! or a coffee table book for gnomes. His photography reminds me a lot of Razorcake’s Dan Monick by taking pictures of things in an environment where others around you won’t normally notice or even find interesting. Also, a lot of photographers have jumped on the blurring of images bandwagon when it comes to live band shots. There is too much of it out there, and I’m not moved by a lot of them, but Pat does it well. He adds additional feeling to pictures that otherwise might come off as bland. All the photos are printed in black and white; I love that. I think it best represents punk rock music and really captures the emotion better than color. So, I may have not been excited about the music. But they have enough fans out there. Kudos to them for using the photographs they chose for this release. –don (Fat)


3 PILL MORNING:
Life Dynamic EP: CDEP
Somewhere between 311, Alanis Morrisette, Limp Biscuit, and the action montage of a romantic movie from the ‘80s is a small, safe haven where these guys draw all of their influence. Terrible. –megan (www.3pillmorning.com)


LOWCLOUDCOVER:
…I Took a Second Too Long: CD
Here’s my bet: these folks love, love, love later Fugazi (or a band influenced by them) and the Cure. Nothing wrong with that, but I kept on waiting for the zag to zig. It’s like a solitary path through high weeds: no matter how many twist and turns, the path’s really obvious because it’s already been hacked out. The result is, unfortunately, a boring record. My other bet: these are some very earnest folks making this music, so there’s no need to cudgel them. Here’s my advice: find the zag, something far away. Something that may not fit at first, then make it your own. Zag to Articles of Faith, The Big Boys, Otis Redding, The Minutemen, Motörhead… something, because at the end of the day, I already own a much more satisfying version of this record, and it’s called Red Medicine. –todd (Breathing Room)


LORRAINAS, THE:
Fast Kitties: CD
Why do women think they have to fit themselves into this crap? “She took the anger in her heart and took it out on her hair;” “Take me home and rip my clothes off;” and “You can’t find love in a peroxide bottle.” Like hi! I totally have no substance! I’m embarrassed for them. –megan (www.thelorrainas.com)


LET IT DIE:
Stick to Your Guns: CD
I picked this up and looked at the cover and groaned. “Oh this looks like it's gonna be some lame jock-metal hardcore.” But I put it on anyway because I had to, and then I was pleasantly surprised by the first song. "Oh cool, it's not so much straightedge-type jock metal. It's more like one of those clean-cut, nice-smelling, watered-down Tragedy rip off bands. This will be much more tolerable.” Unfortunately, that was just the first song. Within about four more tracks, the songs got less and less aggro and more like a football player trying to take my lunch money. By the end of it, I was ready to get a note excusing me from gym class. At least this band picked a fitting name. –ben (Spook City)


KNUCKLEHEAD:
Cosmetic Youth: 7”
This slab o’ vinyl is GREAT, GREAT, GREAT! Side A sounds a bit like the Business, minus the oi and add some more rockin’. Side B reminds me of something the 101’ers could have done. Not only is the music amazing, but the band gets an A+ on lyrics. If you love 7”s as much as I do, please, please go pick this up. You will thank me for it. I’ve cast my vote for the BEST 7” OF 2004, for sure! –mrz (Longshot Music)


KILLING CALIFORNIA/THE NEEDLES:
Split: CD
Killing California: Dirty rock’n’roll like the bars you like to drink in. The Needles: Two notches better and more melodic, but still in the rock vein of things. –don (Major Amerikan Label)


KILL YOUR IDOLS:
From Companionship to Competition: CD
I was really anticipating that I was really going to like this one. I’m not completely disappointed, but I did put this on a higher pedestal. First off, the production was a bit off in my book. The vocals are really dry and pulled a hair back in the mix. The guitars are a bit too clean and could have used a deeper sound. The bass sounds good but is a little too forward in the mix. The drums are the only thing that is mixed in the right place. I can hear the structure of the music being powerful but the mix destroys what could be amazing. I would have liked maybe a little more variety in the chord structures too. Maybe they are leaning too heavily on reliving that ‘88 sound played by guys from the ‘90s. The hardcore is competent but at times sounds generic. Too much repetition and too much paint-by-numbers. The lyrics also rubbed me a little wrong. It was a bit elitist in nature, like na na na na na, I’m better than you. It’s a problem in modern day hardcore which shows that sometimes it can lack originality. The macho attitude is what many of us old crabs ran away from when we got into punk. The music is just rubbing me the wrong way like athlete’s foot with scabs. Music for the toughest guy in the mosh pit. –don (Side One Dummy)


KEVIN K:
Mr. Bones: CD
If you look like a forty-something junkie, it might not be the best idea to put a picture of yourself on the cover of something you’re trying to sell. Or to have a song called “Crackhouse,” where they actually spell out, “C-R-A-C-K-H-O-U-S-E.” Also, in “Crackhouse,” they refer to a girl who always likes to party and always has a syringe. Now, I’m no cracker-ass crackhead, but I always thought crack was smoked. Please, just stop. –megan (Realkat, no address given)


KERMIT:
Shoot Yourself in the Foot: CD
This is pretty good. Straight-forward, simple punk rock that at times reminds me of Scared of Chaka, but with El Duce or somebody singing. Honestly, that's the only part of this record I wasn't really stoked on: the vocals. They're just a little too goofy Meatmen-style for me. The lyrics aren't bad; I've always had a special place in my heart for bands that sing about smoking cigarettes. It's not a bad record at all, and I bet these guys would be fun to hang out with. –ben (Poorest Quality)


KERMIT’S FINGER:
Shoot Yourself in the Foot: CD
Been a long while since I heard something from these guys, but it seems they're still peddlin' their wares in the guise of hardcore with intelligently stupid lyrics. Sandwiched in between love songs to nicotine, praises for Pedro Martinez, and odes to beer drinkin' are sly attacks on American consumer mentality, the current denizens of the White House, asshole cops, and history's perception of George Washington. If you're lookin' for high-tech musical noodling and big tough metal dudes with tattoos and no hair that take themselves way too seriously, look elsewhere. If you're look for some straight-ahead hardcore that doesn't fit into some sub-pigeonhole with a name a butcher might use in everyday conversation and that doesn't mind consciously veering toward the dumb on occasion, look no further. Me, I still fuckin' dig 'em. –jimmy (www.kermitsfinger.net)


KERBLOKI:
Poisonous Plants: CD
Pleasant enough hip hop that flows quite nicely but doesn’t appear all that deep. –jimmy (Lucid)


KASH:
Beauty Is Everywhere/KASH: CD

Pure unadulterated garbage. Fake posturing, songs that go nowhere, and the worst Smiths cover I’ve every heard in my life. I’m still in shock that Steve Albini recorded this complete train wreck of a release. This has nothing to do with the fact that most of the songs are sung in Italian—KASH is completely bankrupt of any actual talent. Only purchase if having your wisdom teeth pulled with no drugs is your idea of a good time, ‘cos this feels pretty much the same.

–koepenick (Sickroom)


KADDISFLY:
Buy Our Intention; We’ll Buy You a Unicorn: CD
Christian rock without the distraction of a deity, which is surprising due to their God-awfulness. –megan (Hopeless)


JELLO BIAFRA WITH THE MELVINS:
Never Breathe What You Can’t See: CD
As far as I’m concerned, this CD blows all of Jello’s spoken word albums, Lard, Jello with DOA, Jello with Mojo Nixon, and the No WTO Combo OUT OF THE FUCKING WATER. This is the best Jello material since the Bedtime for Democracy LP was released. My goodness, if “Islamic Bomb” isn’t the song of the year, I don’t know what is. The Melvins rock out eight tunes of punk/metal mayhem like it’s no one’s business and Jello gets right to the point of his annoyances with the world. Oh yeah, and it looks like gang vocals include the talents of Jesse Luscious, Johnny Fleshies, Wendy-O-Matik, and John the Baker among others. Great artwork, great music, and great lyrics: what more could you want from a perfect record? –mrz (Alternative Tentacles)


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