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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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MURDERS, THE:
Gone and Forgotten: CD
Male and female gutter punk vocals, a la Cause. Poppy, sloppy adolescent punk about smoking, drinking, girls and… that’s about it, sung with a raw scream and dreamy off-tune tones. Catchy and fun like a summer day, but just as forgettable. “Gloria” and “Perfect Drinking Problem” are the best and most relatable tunes with fairly clever lyrics. Reminds me of Sweet Baby James (the band, not the song). I gave up looking for them online after my search kept turning up a new wave duo from Idaho. The label site was useless as well. –thiringer (Eugene)


MUGSHOTS:
House of the Weirdos: CD
Don’t believe the “horrorpunk” genre label, but do believe the inferences to the Damned and Eddie Murphy film soundtracks. Heavily Euro, synth-goth, prog rock and dark wave, I can’t take another minute. Okay, I cave—I’ll believe the horror bit. I just got the creeps. And a wave of nausea. –thiringer (Lombroso)


MONROES, THE:
Self-titled: 7"
Pretty cool garage punk single. Reminds me a bit of the Prissteens, which is a very good thing. Fans of the Downbeat 5 and Thee Minks would dig this a whole lot. Straight forward and rockin’; a no frills single. Cool band from the Netherlands. –frame (High Maintenance)


MILKY WIMPSHAKE:
Heartshaped: LP
Beautifully packaged LP from this great indie/twee band. Silk-screened, three-color cover with rad, pink polka dots. Sixteen-page booklet with lyrics for 50/50 previously released and new tunes. I remember hearing and liking this band in the ‘90s, but I don’t remember them being this good. Amazingly strong twee pop for the K/Slampt crowd, reminiscent of the best of the Crabs, Tullycraft, and Go Sailor with a British feel. This is an extremely difficult style to play well, and there are tons of really bad bands who try. But when it is done right, it is killer and Milky Wimpshake nails it on every count. That is coming from someone who has loathed ninety plus percent of all indie rock I have ever heard. This fucker pops! –frame (Bitter Like The Bean)


MIGHTY GO GO PLAYERS:
Self-titled: 10"
Noisy, arty garage punk with keyboards. This band is from France and features members of the Fatals. All you fans of garage gone art punk of the last five years: lunch is served. Funny how almost everyone I knew followed the Jay Reatard arc of how to go from rockin’ and snotty to dark and mopey in less than five moves. This band is as good as anyone else playing this stuff but I will happily keep playing my Ape City R & B, Lids, and Earaches records. Garage Punk - Art = Cool. –frame (Alien Snatch)


MEMBERS:
At the Chelsea Nightclub & 1980-The Choice is Yours: CD
The Members were one of those groups that kinda fell into the gray area between punk and what was called new wave, being a tad too gruff and “street” for the skinny tie crowd and too musically sophisticated to be easily lumped in with the great mohawked unwashed. Nonetheless, they managed some popularity, due in no small part to the fact that that had some really good tunes that drew from the same influences and were as diverse in sound as anything The Clash ever did—and yet sound only remotely like them. These reissues of their first two albums feature some of the group’s best work, from punk anthems like “Solitary Confinement,” “Sound of the Suburbs,” and “Muzak Machine” to reggae-spiked ditties like “Offshore Banking Business” (which the band played live in the movie Urgh, A Music War) and “Clean Men.” Of course, Captain Oi has added assorted singles tracks and alternate versions to each reissue, including a personal favorite, “GLC,” a punk raver that rivals your average oi tune and was featured on the Rock Against Racism comp many moons ago, and the simply marvy “Disco Oui Oui,” which is exactly what its title implies. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


MATCHBOOK ROMANCE:
Voices: CD
Matchbook Romance has always been one of those bands that I’ve always lumped into the emo-pop malaise that erupted a few years ago. Never heard them, didn’t care to hear them, and didn’t think they were capable of anything worth listening to. I still haven’t listened to their earlier works and still probably won’t, but Voices, their latest album on Epitaph, is without a doubt a really stunning piece of work. The eleven tracks are altogether as moody as a year in the Midwest, with dark overtones flushing out every negative image that might be tied into ones’ environment. The artwork really sets the tone, with an abundance of the color black and nefarious claymation imagery. The addition of strings, piano, and organ efficiently placed throughout the album—as well as incredibly strong vocals—show this to definitely be a maturing effort for the band. The strings, for example, could’ve just been thrown in as an attempt by the band to try and appear to be deep or creative, but instead, as on songs such as “Goody, Like Two Shoes” they delicately work their way into the root of the song. While catering to those fans of Alkaline Trio and My Chemical Romance, Matchbook Romance shows a progression towards its rock roots which helps supplant themselves into being a legitimate band and not just a flash in the pan. This may not be up the alley of the typical punk rock fan, but considering how much of the garbage came out of the emo scene a few years ago, this seems really promising, and especially for those of us who appreciate a little variety in our music. –kurt (Epitaph)


WRISTER:
Chuckle Chuckle Motherfucker: CD
Okay, despite their oh-so-humorous “We’re making the best music to ever grace the planet” line at the end of the credits on this thing, they are definitely on to something here. There’s the same kinda opus-coupled-with-a-faceplant exoskeleton that bands like Dan Padilla and The Broadways have crafted and the blood and guts quality of early, mid-tempo Hot Water Music. Wrister’s managed to create an atmospheric, melancholy-as-shit punk record here; lots of ringing chords, gravel-in-the-throat vocal interplay and just a ton of these individually soaring, awesome moments. It’s not a perfect record (the lack of lyrics is the biggest bummer here), but there are a plethora of moments on Chuckle that make me wish it would start raining again so I could go walk around and listen to this thing. –keith (Alaska)


WITCH HUNT:
Blood Red States: LP
So I did buy this before the band came through on tour. Heard from people I respect that this was going to be a good release, and, of course, the fact that there was a sort of special pressing, I had to jump. It was not what I was expecting. For some reason, I thought this band was going to be more in the metal/crust vein. In turn, this band plays more of an anarcho punk breed of music. But not to pigeonhole the band, the music is more adventurous and intricate. Without resorting to just playing fast to produce energy, they weave in more sonic energy with the layers of sound they produce. The songs are mid tempo but are atmospheric with the interweaving of guitars. With the addition of having two female vocalists and a male vocalist, the singers add another level to the mix. Kind of makes me think of what the next Harum Scarum record might sound like, or if Detestation kept going. I have heard Tragedy references elsewhere and I would also add to that. The power of the music is in the song writing. After listening to this LP, I was really excited to see them live. Me and a couple of hundred can attest to have enjoyed their set. –don (Profane Existence)


WEIRDO / BEGEIRDO:
Live in L.A. & Goleta: CDEP
Three tracks in about twenty-two minutes, terribly adorable lo-fi noise jams performed entirely on shoeboxes, rubber bands and overdriven teakettles, augmented by the howling and yowling of the entire all-ages populations of Pasadena and Goleta, respectively. While it may be short on riffs (just one for the entire twelve-minute first track) and tuneability, it’s long on youthful exuberance, feedback, and girls. Short on supply though; only one hundred made. –Cuss Baxter (Sycophanticide)


WAX & WANE:
Winter: CD
Mixing many instruments including piano, guitar, violin and bells among others, this four piece Baltimore-based band plays, self proclaimed, neo indie folk music. This is for a lazy Sunday afternoon when it’s cloudy outside. Those indie music fans of the Elephant Six Collective will surely gobble this re-release up. Mix up Bob Dylan, some Mogwai, Yo La Tengo duel male/female vocals and you have a vague picture of what this band’s sound leans towards. Merge records could easily pick this up and re-re-release it. –Buttertooth (Valiant Death)


VOICST:
11-11: CD
Alt-pop. No more, no less. –jimmy (www.voicst.com)


VOETSEK:
A Match Made in Hell: CD
Need some thrash? If you haven’t sampled the magic of Voetsek, this might satisfy the palette. Even better would be to go see them live. Every time I have seen them, I always leave knowing I had a good time. This a package chock full of stuff. Forty-two tracks they handpicked from fourteen different releases. Compilations, splits, 7”s, LPs, and an unreleased track. So much stuff to listen to, but it goes by so quickly. Only a couple of songs here top the two minute mark and they are barely over that mark. Straight ahead thrash with hints of crossover. To the point and no bullshit. –don (Six Weeks)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Unsound: CD+DVD
Epitaph’s Punk-O-Rama series has now become Unsound, and has an expanded musical format. As the label on the case boasts, it now includes emo, screamo, hardcore, punk, and hip-hop. Most of the songs are aggressive but still radio friendly and fit the standard that one might hear on your average alternative radio station. I didn’t like those songs. The ones that I did like are the out-and-out hardcore such as Converge, the tunes by Bouncing Souls and Bad Religion, and the hip-hop stuff from Dangerdoom, Sage Francis and From First to Last’s “Atticus” remix of “The Latest Plage.” While I did not find that a great deal of this record got my blood rolling the way that I would like (the “alternative” sounding songs were remarkably sterile), I also feel that records such of this are either long overdue or too few in number. Punk need not be, nor should it be, about rock’n’roll alone, and the mixing of genres herein is welcome. While I do not like all of the songs, and even outright loathe some of them, as a whole this record works simply as a result of the blessed variety of music. It has a DVD, too, but I didn’t watch it ‘cause it was live stuff mostly from the bands that I didn’t like so much. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Epitaph)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
To Live and Die in Tampa Bay: CD
What happens when you take one part metal, one part Tiltwheel, and one part beer? You get bands like The Dukes Of Hillsborough and The Tim Version, of course! This is a comp of Tampa Bay bands. Lots of No Idea-ish punk rock. My favorite? Vagina Sore Jr.! Seriously! And, despite the ridiculous name, they’re not a joke band. Gruff vocals, mid-tempo, lotsa breakdowns. You know the drill. Decent stuff. If this were a cereal, it’d be a sample pack with Rice Krispies, Kix, and the occasional Apple Jacks. Pretty good! –Maddy (A.D.D.)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Summer Sounds: Four Reasons for the Season Vol. 1: CD
Ack! I doth grow tired of generic pop punk bands, even those who attempt to pay homage to The King (Brian Wilson) by writing songs about hanging out at the beach. The Blurbs, The Prozacs, Regal Beagle, and The Lebowskis all sound like they’ve been trapped in a closet with the Queer’s Move Back Home. Regal Beagle’s singer has even perfected his vocal stylings to be virtually indistinguishable from Joe King in your local sing-off! Anyway, not only is Move Back Home a sub-par Queers album, any band that tries to sound like the Queers ends up sounding like crap. Somehow Joe King himself has, more or less, avoided this fate. How he did it ranks up there with the Shroud of Turin and the sexual orientation of Darby Crash in the list of Greatest Mysteries of All Time! If this were a cereal, it’d be regular Cheerios. It all sounds the same! –Maddy (Cabana 1)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Punk Rock! 20 Classic Punk Bands from the World of Mystic Records: CD
A collection of assorted rarities from the Mystic Records vaults, courtesy of a label that appears to have either reissued or will reissue “vintage” releases from Gene Autry, Hall and Oates, and Rich Little, among others. For those not familiar with the particulars, Mystic was an infamous label in the 1980s notable for putting out seminal recordings by bands like Dr. Know, Ill Repute, NOFX, RKL, the Mentors, Vox Pop, Scared Straight (who later morphed into Ten Foot Pole, and then Pulley), Doggy Style (a member or two of which are responsible for Kottonmouth Kings) and Powertrip, among others, as well as later releases by Agression, The Faction, Sado Nation, and Government Issue. The label is best remembered by most who were active in the ‘80s punk scene for unleashing an avalanche of poorly recorded 7”s and compilations of some of the most horrifically generic hardcore imaginable in an apparent “whatever sticks” marketing approach. It is also remembered for controversy over its alleged (non)payment practices to a number of bands for their efforts, a debate that rages to this day in some circles. Tracks here represent some of the Mystic catalog’s better moments, with tracks from many of the aforementioned bands, as well as Mystic-exclusive tracks from Suicidal Tendencies, Flower Leperds, White Flag, JFA, Aryan Disgrace and others. Dunno whether any of said bands will receive any royalties for their inclusion here, but it’s nice to hear some of these tracks again after many a moon. –jimmy (www.VareseVintage.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Punk for Life Volumes Too through III: CD
For what is essentially a by-the-book punk comp, there’s a nice bit of diversity in sounds here from parrot-core (The Virus) to straight-ahead hardcore (Common Enemy) to full-on singalong stuff (NFI). You get forty tracks total from nearly as many bands, including those mentioned above, Catholic Altered Boys, Cut-Offs, Exit Only, Void Control, Mental Pain, Corrupted Youth and others. Of particular note are two tracks by the always-swell Minor Disturbance, who sound so much like prime Zero Boys it’s kinda scary. Overall, this is definitely worth a listen. –jimmy (Run and Hide)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Nie Ma Zagrozenia Jest Dezerter: 2 x CD
Since my Polish is about as good as my Hmong, it took me a while to figure out this was a two-CD tribute to Polish punk legends Dezerter, featuring a buncha their countrymen offering various covers of their tunes. The first disc is chock full of more or less “traditional” punk covers, most of which are quite impressive. The second disc, however, is where the fun begins, with punk, electronica, folk, ska/reggae and a bunch of other styles being explored and a large percentage of the experimentation surprisingly works. You get fifty bands in all, and the whole thing is quite a nice listen overall. –jimmy (www.pasazer.pl)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Music To Make Your Ears Hurt: CD
From the people who brought you GG Allin, here’s a stellar collection of down and dirty scum rock from the likes of WMFO, Cherry Bombs, Bloody & The Transfusions and more. It is a bit too long (24 tracks, over 72 minutes), but that’s often the case with compilations. You get the idea that all these tracks were recorded in one marathon session, fueled by a truckload of PBR and an endless supply of pepperoni pizza. What could be better than that? –brian (Black and Blue)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Illegitimate Spawn—The Fuzztones Tribute Album: CD
We all know the Fuzztones are popular the world over, but they’re also popular across many genres, as demonstrated on this forty-two song double disc from Germany. Bands from Western Europe, the U.K., and North and South America pitch in to show just how influential the Fuzztones have been. It’s rock, it’s roll, it’s psychedelic, it’s goth, it’s garage, it’s country, it’s stoned, and then some. A giving gem for musically open-minded, deeply devoted Fuzztones fans. Probably confusing for the rest of us. –thiringer (Sin)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Hopelessly Devoted to You Vol. 6: 2 x CD
This is the sixth installment for Hopeless records. I honestly don’t know how Hopeless went so far downhill. They used to put out some pretty amazing bands and now, every new band they release sucks ass. Bands like Amber Pacific, All Time Low, and Ever We Fall stink it up REALLY bad. I thought of why I hate malls and swoop haircuts as I listened to the first CD of the new bands’ newest sucky songs. The horrible pop punk even goes acoustic for a few tracks! The only thing that saves this release and makes it possibly sought after is the second CD. Disc two is full of previous Hopeless records releases. 88 Fingers Louie, Against All Authority, Dillinger Four, The Queers, Fifteen, The Weakerthans, and Samiam all contribute songs. This disc saved Hopeless from putting out total bullshit and also saved face for it to have a decent reputation, at least for their back catalog. The DVD features two songs by The Weakerthans, which was entertaining as well. If you are in need of a couple of Dillinger Four songs, Weakerthans songs, or “Stolen Life” by Fifteen, snag this for a couple of bucks. If not, steer clear of the new Hopeless bands, they are horrible. –Buttertooth (Hopeless/Subcity)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Go Cat Go—A Tribute to Stray Cats: CD
Fifteen outstanding Stray Cats covers that are honestly a tribute to the golden boys of the first rockabilly revival. Tight, cohesive, well produced and well selected, this CD includes cuts from some of today’s favorite psychobilly bands: the Phenomenauts (“Cry Baby”), Os Catalepticos (“Bring it Back Again”), Rezurex (“Runaway Boys”), Hellbillys (“Blast Off”) and the Astounding Roy Gorbisons (“Let’s Go Faster”). Others include (but not limited to) the Stonecutters, Shark Soup, Batmobile, Koffin Kats, Thee Merry Widows and the Phantom Rockers. Caveat: there’s a Reel Big Fish song, on which I have no comment. –thiringer (Baseline)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Funhouse Comp Thing: CD
Thirty-two friggin’ bands! Almost all of which have played the Funhouse. If you are unfamiliar with the Pacific NW, The Funhouse is in Seattle. It’s this punk club with a really stupid looking clown hanging above the door (I’m not sure what’s up with Seattle and stupid looking clowns, but this is only one of three clubs I can think of whom display clowns above their establishments). I wouldn’t hold it against them, though. They consistently have really great shows going on there. I’ve only been there once, but it was a good time. Much like this comp, actually. Some of the tracks worth mentioning are from bands such as The Trashies, Old Haunts, Blank Its, Steaming Wolf Penis, Armitage Shanks, The Cripples, Girl Trouble, and The Gropers. I could easily name off a majority of the bands on here (mostly all lo-fi garage punk) whom I enjoyed, but I am not going to. That would take away the surprise when you see this monster of a comp. It’s also a good taste of music coming from the NW right now. Like a little round plastic time capsule that you can hear over and over again. –Guest Contributor (MyFatAss)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Forever Free - A Sublime Tribute: CD
Even with well-known bands like No Use For A Name, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Guttermouth, Ozomatli, and The Skeletones, this comp of Sublime covers do nothing for me. It was like counting lint in my butt hairs. –don (Baseline)


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