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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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PINK RAZORS:
Scene Suicide: CDEP
Oh yeah. Fuck yeah! This band is from Richmond, VA, where I grew up. This record almost makes me wish I still lived there. It totally reminds me of the glory days of Avail, but doesn't really sound too much like them. It's more like Dillinger Four or Tired of You-era Scared of Chaka. It's fucking excellent. Great lyrics: my favorite is the song "Dear Jurisprudence," about the shitty urban sprawl that's been fucking up Richmond the past few years (hey guys, you're not alone, that shit is happening everywhere). Great production and I'm really stoked to see this on Robotic Empire. It's nice when a label doesn't just stick to one kind of music ‘cause this thing is awesome and I think I might glue my CD player shut with this in it. I cannot possibly give this record a higher recommendation. Just go fucking get it now! –ben (Robotic Empire)


PINK LINCOLNS:
Background Check: CD
Things started off well enough with this disc and then—yugh—all of the sudden there was the theme song from the odious Friends TV show, sitting there like a finger in my chili. Thankfully, my music critic superpowers kicked in and I was able to overcome my initial revulsion and continue listening with a more receptive attitude. And it paid off, as it usually does. The PLs’ snotty deconstruction of that particular putrid butt-brownie of a song turned out to be funny and deeply satisfying, as did the rest of the CD. This is one heaping helping of the Pink Lincolns. Thirty-two tracks of previously unreleased songs, demos, alternate mixes and covers, which are all over the map, ranging from X-Ray Spex, 999, Flipper and Wire to Elton John and Flock of Seagulls. And they get extra-credit huckleberry points from me for a faithful rendition of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs’ “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.” The incestuous blending of punk and hillbilly always produces such wonderfully deformed offspring, in my humble opinion, because they are, underneath it all, both “folk” music. As good as the covers are on this disc (and the Black Flag covers in particular are extra good), the originals are even better. I think my favorite song of them all is a scathing anti-celebrity paean called “Fuck Madonna.” Anyone who attacks celebrities and bad TV shows like a retarded pitbull—and, at the same time, manages to snot-rock it out as much as the Pink Lincolns do—wins me over everytime. –aphid (Hazzard)


PICTURE FRAME SEDUCTION:
Sex War: CD
Picture Frame Seduction are a UK punk/oi band from the ‘80s. The album Sex War contains eleven new songs and nine bonus live tracks recorded at the UK Punk All-Dayer. The music is fast and hard, with quick drum beats and bass riffs that scream savage skill. “UK 82” is a catchy song that plucks at your musical bone with a fierce bass intro that leads into a classic skinhead sing-along circle pit song. Many songs discuss politics, with a heavy focus on the war and current U.S. politics, with song titles such as “Blair Bush Project” and a lot of album art of Bush and war. At times, the lyrics are elementary and not incredibly impressive like in the song, “Spit or Swallow” with lyrics like “Who should they follow/Spit or swallow” repeated multiple times in a long song. The live portion of the CD displays the band’s ferocious playing speed and ability to start a circle pit. Fans of UK punk, especially the Exploited and GBH, will most likely embrace this CD with open arms. –jenny (Cult Jam)


PICTURE FRAME SEDUCTION:
Sex War: CD
I guess I’m not down with UK Punk ’82. I mean, I never got drunk with them, so I’m not among the ones they thank. They up the punk by writing songs about stuff like war and crap, then write about sex. In the same song. I know, I was floored, too. –megan (Cult Jam)


PEGS, THE:
E.P…. Period the End: CDEP
One can come up with a host of reasons why Hostage Records should be given a full wall of their own in the punk rock hall of fame, not the least of which being that they have introduced some seriously good bands to the punk rock world. The Pegs, featured on Hostage’s Tower 13 comp, is just such a band. Here they dish up seven tunes of beach punk thuggery, catchy as hell, and solid like a thwack to the jaw. If Smogtown, the Numbers, or any of their contemporaries make your rump shake, then these guys will more than do the trick for ye. –jimmy (Pop Scar)


PEELANDER-Z:
Dancing Friendly: CD
Peelander-Z are back on their own Eat Rice Records after a stint on a posh label and their sound and songs are better than ever! There’s even a song from a certain Miss Peelander-Pink this time! If you missed them at last year’s SXSW Festival… or even this year… never fear! They tour the U.S. practically every year! The live show is amazingly funny and amazingly good! J-PUNK LIVES IN NYC! AND THIS CD IS LIVING PROOF! –mrz (Eat Rice; www.peelander-z.com)


PAINT IT BLACK:
Paradise: CD
I really hate getting review material that is only the CD. No lyrics to reference, no pictures to look at, just a disc with a track list on it. Don’t most of the labels know that we are record and music collecting geeks? The music better be good. Luckily for me, it is. One of the current hardcore bands of the moment that’s going for the championship belt. Paint It Black play fast, direct, and to the point music that catches you out of breath with its intensity. They sing songs about things I have no real clue of (since I don’t have the lyric sheet to reference), but I do know the title. But I really am a person who gets caught up with the music more than a person who analyzes lyrics. I have to feel the music before I can pay attention. Read many good things on the net about this release. So, with so many voices praising this release, it seems that I am on the right side of the fence on this one. –don (Jade Tree)


OUT COLD:
Goodbye Cruel World: CD
I still stand by that the previous record: Will Attack If Provoked is an unheralded hardcore gem—one of the top ten of the last decade. Although far from a bad album, Goodbye Cruel World doesn’t quite measure up to the power, intensity, and hidden chord melodicism (where it seemed that the faster they belted it out, the catchier it got, which is still a mystery) of its predecessor, it’s still satisfying. Barked vocals, believably bleak lyrics, stark guitars, and conviction make it heads and shoulders above whatever screamo dog and pony show is being peddled to impressionable kids for the next five minutes. I just don’t feel the chills with this record and I wish I did. –todd (Acme)


OSCARS:
Death to America: 7” EP
Arty, slow to mid-tempo punk rock with echoes of the Urinals, the Wipers, and some long-lost early hardcore band I can’t quite put my finger on. Not bad. –jimmy (www.oscarsindustries.com)


ONE REASON:
Defiance, Ohio: 7”
If you’ve ever listened to This Bike Is a Pipebomb and wished that the woman would sing more, then I have a record for you. One Reason take the right parts from American folk and country (and I mean real country, not the pop country that’s everywhere these days) and fuses them into punk rock seamlessly, much in the way This Bike Is a Pipebomb does. And, of course, it’s primarily bold, female vocals. I reviewed their full-length positively about a year ago, and that CD got a lot of turns in my stereo. I think this seven inch is even better. The songs are tighter, the vocals sound more confident, and there’s a good deal of variation between the four songs. I’m keeping my eye on this band. –sean (One Reason)


OFFENDERS, THE:
I Hate Myself/Bad Times: 7”
I have had a copy of this 7” for so long and haven’t listened to it in years. I forgot what the songs sounded like. It’s interesting and great that this 7” and the second LP Endless Struggle get re-issued. Also, a complete discography is in the works: all in one and no Ebay prices! This Austin, Texas band was a great band but was overshadowed by bands like the Dicks, Big Boys, NOTA, Stains (MDC), and DRI. But they were an important band of the time period. This 7” was originally released in 1984 on Rabid Cat Records. Both tracks on this reminded me of why I loved this band so much. It’s potent and angry hardcore that still stands the test of time. I would compare them to BGK, even though I remember reading they were considered too American for the Europeans. Pressing comparison time: cover art has been completely changed so you can tell the difference from the two pressings. The new pressing is made with a heavier gram vinyl and the grooves are cut wider. With modern mastering, this version actually sounds better and louder on the new release. I can’t wait for the discography CD! –don (Kangaroo)


OFFENDERS, THE:
Endless Struggle: LP
This is a re-issue of The Offenders’ second album. It originally came out in 1985 and it sounds like it. I mean that in all the best ways. The Offenders have that unbridled anger and frustration that made ‘80s hardcore great. The guitar and bass on this album are incredible, seemingly all over the place but the songs sound tight as hell. If you don’t have this album, but you’re a fan of bands like N.O.T.A., Negative Approach, and Poison Idea, pick up this re-issue before they’re all sold out and you’re back to hunting on eBay. –sean (Kangaroo)


OBSERVERS, THE:
Walk Alone: 7”
Amazing. I’ve yet to hear a misstep from this band. Their music is hard to describe, in that they don’t really sound like anybody else. You can pick out bits and pieces of their influences, but it would really be a disservice to say, “They sound like such and such band.” Driving, intense, brooding, and wholly unique. This recording is a bit more raw than on their full-length, but I actually prefer it that way. The rawness suits them well and I think it makes them sound more cohesive, whereas the LP sounds a little isolated. Regardless, the Observers are one of the best bands going right now and these are three more reasons to own a record player. –Josh (Jonny Cat)


OBSERVERS, THE:
Walk Alone b/w The Void, Slipping Away: 7”
For all you pining for the “good old days,” and that there’s nothing out there that’s going to dethrone the past, that they wish they could go into the wayback machine to 1977 or 1982 or whatever, you can experience that type of glory in 2005 with The Observers. They tour like motherfuckers, don’t sound quite like any other band out there, are explosive both on record and live, and you can get in on the ground floor of their musical holocaust (but in a good way, you know), right here, right now. (Just saw them. There were thirty people there, going nuts.) Don’t miss out by staring at a big, sponsored-by-corporations stages and make dildoey, ignorant statements like, “There’s no good punk anymore.” You’ll be kicking yourself in a couple years if you don’t even give The Observers a chance. Here are three more excellent songs by a band that deserves any and all the success coming their way. –todd (Jonny Cat)


OFF WITH THEIR HEADS:
Hospitals: LP
This is reeaal close to being full-on awesome. It’s got that zippy, whirlwind, circular speed of Horrible Odds, that “I’ve got a mental owie, slide down your panties” feel—but recorded so much better—than the best four songs on Jawbreaker’s Dear You, and that rust shined into a luster pop punk of Rivethead (who Zack came from). But there’s something in the creases that doesn’t quite do it for me. The rock’s slabbed on there, but the joining material feels a little clumpy, bloated, and strained, like someone using a caulk gun for the first time sealing in a bathtub. Off With Their Heads’ musical bathtub doesn’t leak, it just ain’t as tight as it could be. That said, I find myself listening to this quite a bit, so it just may take some adjustment time. I heard they slay live, so I’ll patiently wait for round two. –todd (Rock Bottom)


O PIONEERS!!! / SAW WHEEL:
Split: CD
O Pioneers!!! sound a lot like Against Me! and it doesn’t bug me because it seems to be coming from an honest place. Seriously, it’s not a passing blush; from the shouted/sung vocals, to the disco/drill sergeant drumming, to the shimmering guitar. They could almost be unused demo tracks, pre Axl Rose and that instant familiarity gives the band a nice—albeit odd—comfort. Saw Wheel plot nicely in the Rumbleseat, This Bike Is A Pipebomb, Plan-It-X universe: down-home, subdued, but fiery-eyed, calloused-hand, and real easy to listen to while you tap your toes along to the beat. –todd (Team Science)


NUMBSKULLS, THE:
The Last… Vol. 1 of 3: CD
Aptly named band as the disc sent to me doesn’t play in my CD player. But being the curious lad that I am, I found them on the internet and bounce from their band web site to the group’s MySpace page where I got a peek at a few of their songs. So what did they sound like? Um, primitive four chord pub rock with some street punk leanings to it. Not great or original, but capable and probably enjoyable live when your liver is oozing Pabst Blue Ribbon. –greg (Self-released)


NOFX:
You Will Lose the Faith b/w Last Night Was Really Fun: 7"
Tenth in the year-long monthly series, and it sounds like how a hangover feels. The A-side is an acoustic—Fat Mike and a guitar—song about Christians losing faith. Bummer and a so-so song at best. The B-side’s lyrically clever, and about blacking out while continuing to party (and fuck, and get in fights, and getting sharpied). Both songs are pretty stripped down, slower, and subdued. Not my favorite of the series by any stretch. –todd (Fat)


NOFX:
Never Trust a Hippy: CD EP
Here it is, the new EP from Fat Mike and the gang featuring two songs off their forth coming full length, Wolves in Wolves Clothing, and four unreleased tunes. The first song is about drinking and partying with Paddy and the rest of Dillinger Four at the Triple Rock in Minnesota. I’ve never had the pleasure of drinking with these fine folks, but from what I’ve heard already, the lyrics to this song seem to fit the bill perfectly. The next song, “The Marxist Brothers,” is a sarcastic poke at Marxists of the new millennium with their hybrid cars, ebay shopping and podcasts... pretty funny, but I would have enjoyed it more if it was a new version of their classic Moron Brothers tune with new lyrics. The third song is a well done Germs cover. The next song, “You’re Wrong,” is a political song used as Fat Mike’s soap box minute, and it’s pretty horrible as it’s just Fat Mike strumming his guitar and trying to sing in tune. Great choice in signing Against Me! to Fat Wreck, but don’t try and record an Against Me! style song just because you like how they sound. I’m sorry but it just doesn’t work—especially when the song is two minutes long and spouts even more one-sided rhetoric than a Propaghandi album. The next two songs are more of what you come to expect from NOFX, but nothing special. Not sure how I liked this CD as I’d much rather be listening to The Decline or So Long and Thanks For All The Shoes. There’s something to be said when the new, unreleased Randy (the band) song “Beware,” available online right now for free which features Fat Mike (taking up half the lead and backing vocal duties), is better than all of the songs on this EP. –mrz (Fat)


NOFX:
Never Trust a Hippy: CD EP
No matter how much shit people talk about NOFX, they are still here. From their early beginnings on rip-off label Mystic, to being an integral part of making Epitaph what it is today, and to creating a label that is run with precision and takes care of its bands from top to bottom. I read somewhere one of their records that was released on Epitaph went platinum. If you don’t know what that means, that is one million copies. The band gets to do something they love and not have to get a REAL job. I’m envious of that. I’m not the biggest fan, but I do like some of their stuff. In fact, the current stuff is the stuff I like. I thought The Decline was brilliant. The War on Errorism had some great songs on there too. So this release continues on their progression. The band has a signature sound that is undeniable. But with careful listening, I can always hear some things that sound new to their approach. Take for instance, “Seeing Double at the Triple Rock.” It sounds like Motörhead’s interpretation of a NOFX Song. All the other songs on this EP are consistent and easily listenable. Hats off to these guys for pushing forward all these years. –don (Fat)


NEW MEXICAN DISASTER SQUAD:
Don’t Believe: CD
These guys have been around for a while but I haven’t actually heard them until this. Luckily, this is just what I’m looking for right now: modern punk/hardcore that’s fast, angry, with a touch of melody, and everything so loud that even the vocals are distorted. If you’re a fan of bands like Strike Anywhere and Paint It Black, you’re going to like this too. It’s the same sound, and this band’s on the same level too. This isn’t anything new, but is still really good. –joe (Jade Tree)


NEW FANGS:
Bayonets: CD
This album had me on the fence the first time through. The singer’s voice is nondescript; I couldn’t place where I thought I’d heard the sound before. I was confused. My confusion became clarity upon further listens. Prickly guitars, staccato minor chord picking, and a bomb ass rhythm section that bolts everything into place. “We Are the Collapse” has a keyboard part that kicks you in the back of the head when you least expect it. Dischord could have easily put this out in the early ‘90s. There’s a whole lot to like about this release, but the tension between the rhythm section and the guitars lifts Bayonets from the “above average” category to “highly listenable.” –benke (Chain Letter)


NAYSAYERS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
The problem with this is that it’s so rock’n’roll that it seems contrived. It’s not that I don’t like this stuff. It’s not bad. It’s just that if I’m going to delve into some RAWK I’m going to thrown on some AC/DC, Electric Frankenstein, or B Movie Rats before I put this on. –ty (Self-released)


NAMES FOR GRAVES:
Version 2.1: 7"

Above average SXE Hardcore from Cleveland, in the vein of Champion, Carry On, Mouthpiece, and Chain Of Strength. Would be right at home in the Bridge Nine catalog.

Lyrics are not the cliché “unity crew” or “my friend stabbed me in the back” sort of thing, which makes this extra special. Pretty damn good, powerful. Prohibitionist hardcore at its finest. –ayn (Refuse)


MURDER DISCO X:
Ground Zero Stuttgart: CD
Loud, angry and political hardcore courtesy of this German band. Nice Terveet Kadet cover, too. –jimmy (Profane Existence)


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