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Record Reviews

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NOFX:
Wolves in Wolves’ Clothing: CD
It seems like the boys have got there mojo workin’ on full tilt these days. This CD is so jam packed that they had to leave some recent songs like “There’s No Fun in Fundamentalism” for the B-sides pile. But all the hot topics are on display here, told with a healthy dose of sarcasm and contempt. Religion, politics, drugs and drinking are all song fodder. “Seeing Double at the Triple Rock” is a great example as Fat Mike sings— “Its 3 o’clock at The Triple Rock, another round of watching Paddy talk/it’s where you wanna get snowed in when you get snowed in.” Other tunes that had me spittin’ up my Cheerios are “Leaving Jesusland” and “Getting High on the Down Low.” But if you want to know what NOFX are about, just listen to “60 Percent”, which is their “Treatment Bound” — “We’re the self crowned kings of candor, sultans of slander/which mean we make more money/we’ve got better prescriptions/we own most of our own music/no one’s got their hands in our pockets/we don’t have management/we get to play loaded/and only 3 months a year.” What a fucking life. –koepenick (Fat Wreck)


NIGHTS LIKE THESE:
The Faithless: CD
Lots of yelling and a bunch of metal. Pretty much what I expect from Victory. –megan (Victory)


NEW MINORITY, THE:
What’s Left of Our Freedom: CD
I’m not really hearing the death rock influence they purport to have—I’m hearing more Mentally Ill and Saccharine Trust than Christian Death and 45 Grave—but what I am hearing is creative, intelligent, very fine punk/hardcore from a band that’s obviously got more brains and less desire to follow the herd than many others. Only gripe I have is the mix could’ve been a lot stronger—burying the guitars is never a good idea. Outside of that, here’s hoping these guys are planning to be around for the long haul. –jimmy (Valiant Death)


NEW LOU REEDS, THE:
Top Billin’: CD
The New Lou Reeds are a lot like Gay Dad or the Drugstore Cowboys—you’ve heard the name but not the music. I mean, I could go on and on about how stupid the New Lou Reeds’ name is. I’ll keep it down to one gripe: Why Lou Reed? Papa Reed has released two and a half good albums since leaving the Velvets. That’s pretty fucking pathetic. I mean, what other occupation would allow that kind of inconsistency? While at the post office, Charles Bukowski had to throw letters into their respective slots with something like ninety percent accuracy. Had Lou Reed chosen a career at a NYC post office branch, the sour fucker would’ve been canned on his first day. Fuck Lou Reed. This band should be called The New John Cales. Think about it. Vintage Violence is way better than anything Lou did after the Velvets. And I’ll stand by that, motherfucker. So you want to hear a review of this record? It’s okay. Fuck, not great, but not bad either. It’s got a Southern, Compulsive Gamblers touch. It has a singer with a vocal delivery reminiscent of David Thomas from Pere Ubu. And that’s about it. A fucking five out of ten: also known as supreme mediocrity. Unless The New Lou Reeds can pick up the fucking pace, all subsequent albums should be called Rock and Roll Heart or Growing Up In Public (AKA the Reed albums not worth pissing on). –ryan (Exit Stencil)


NECKTIES MAKE ME NERVOU:
Self-titled: 7”
One day, years ago, when I working a coffee job, a guy dressed very similarly to me—T-shirt, jeans, sneakers—came in and looked really jumpy. I didn’t ask. He just started talking as I handed him his cup. “I was at the Golden Donut Palace up the street. Two dudes in clown masks came in and held the place up with shotguns. They only took stuff from the men in ties and the rich-looking women. Left all the manual laborers alone.” That’s always stuck with me. If I ever lead a life of crime, neckties will somehow be used as a barometer. Neckties Make Me Nervous follow suit: it feels like they’re holding up rich “picked first in kickball” punk rockers at gunpoint with their stripped-down, gritty DIY punk that’s swollen with smarts and well-placed pride in being a societal fuck up, way past the time in life where it’s fashionable. Fans of Crimpshrine and Cleveland Bound Death Sentence take note. (Features a member of Pelvis Wesley, too.) Very satisfying. –todd (Geykido Comet)


MURDER DISCO X:
Ground Zero: Stuttgart: LP
Another band that has been around for more than ten years, and I hear them for the first time now. This band from Germany might have flown under my sights but is in focus now. Punk that plays a straight forward power brand of punk. Kind of gave me the feeling of listening to the first MDC record or hearing Negative Approach. But also has the sound ‘88 hardcore that came out of the East Coast. The power that comes thru the speakers is undeniable. Two covers of Terveet Kadet and Self Destruct might go unnoticed if you were not familiar because they made it their own. Each song has a variance to make it an easy listen from start to finish. I personally felt there were no fillers to be heard and I continued to flip the record over and over many times before I went to listen to something else. If they ever tour the West Coast, I am so there! –don (Profane Existence)


MOUSE THAT ROARED, THE:
Excommunicator: CD
What is the best way to describe this? BORING. I’m thinking Tom Waits meets Lou Reed. Two people I rather not listen to. –don (Greydawn)


MODERN MACHINES / IF I HAD A HI FI:
Hot Nuggets: CD
Yay! The best and by far the most ridiculous band in Milwaukee (Modern Machines) team up with If I Had A Hi Fi for a CD that is roughly comparable to Cinnamon Toast Crunch! Yes, it’s just that good! They cover each other’s songs, Mission of Burma, random other stuff, and it sounds so good! Modern Machines play music that sounds like a combination of Husker Du, Bruce Springsteen, and the Devil Dogs (yes, strange but true!), and If I Had A Hi Fi plays music that sounds like Milwaukee plus Mission of Burma! My one complaint? The cover of Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner (originally be Warren Zevon) better be a joke. –Maddy (Crustacean)


MODERN MACHINES / BLOTTO:
Head Hurt: Split 7” EP
Modern Machines: Yep. They’ve won me over. It’s like they’ve gotten the biggest-ever wad of Silly Putty, spread it over a large map of the best of Midwestern punk rock, pressed down firmly, spilled a space bag of wine spiked with crushed Adderall all over it, and, instead of copying everything backwards, have wadded that Putty into a high-bouncing, dirty ball of fun. My three favorite tracks by them. Blotto: You know what? Fuck Japan. Fuck those guys for taking everything we do and making it better. Fuck their computer chips and fuel efficient cars and vending machines with clean underpants and bands that shame ours by rediscovering what’s already discarded, yet finding how to turbocharge pop punk and made it entirely great and crunchy, like a fresh bowl of cereal (but with gasoline, instead of milk), once again. –todd (Snuffy Smiles!)


MITRA:
All Gods Kill: CD
The best way to describe this is mid ‘90s grunge meets early ‘90s metal, but it’s made in the year 2006. My buddy Arlen described it best when he said, ‘It’s like Metallica meets Neurosis, without the off chance that it will ever be catchy.” But even after that harsh statement he still said he liked it and that the production is really good and if you’re into metal you should probably get drunk and play it really loud. Plus the album art is cool. –Daryl Gussin (Idol)


MISSION OF BURMA:
The Obliterati: CD+DVD
I refuse to start this review by comparing this record to this band’s earlier work. Or even 2002’s On off on. That’s because you should already have all those releases on your shelf. If not, I may have to drive by your house and throw an empty beer can on your front lawn. This record is bold, brash, and even beautiful in some spots. Inventive guitar, muscularly fluid bass lines and powerful drumming again make up the definitive Burma sound. Since there is not a song on here I dislike, I will break it down for you by songwriter. That way, if you don’t have time to listen to this with your morning coffee, you can do a quick shuffle play before it totally sucks you in. Best Clint Conley song: “2wice.” Best Roger Miller song: “Careening With Conviction.” Best Peter Prescott song: “Period.” Lest we forget the uber-talented Bob Weston who weaves a tangled sonic web with the production knobs that you should lie back in and relax. Early runs include a bonus DVD of four songs from a 2004 show opening for The Pixies. They look amazed to be playing an arena gig. But catch them in a club if they play your dustbowl, this record live will blow your head clean off. –koepenick (Matador)


MISGUIDED, THE:
Home Town Zeros: CD
This album is very eclectic, in the way that all of their songs showcase a different style of music they like. Some songs sound like they love The Business (like “Anchors Up,” which reminds me of “Guinness Boys”), others like they love Rancid (like “Strange Ave.”), and Bad Religion (like in “Kid Mariposa”). “Anchors Up” is a catchy song about drinking and remembering lost friends. “Running Back” is a song about heartache and repeatedly running back to the wrong woman. And the title track, “Home Town Zeros,” is the band’s anthem as they spell their band’s name repeatedly throughout the song, and talk about leaving their hometown because the punks only like crust music, which is compounded by their carefree attitude to playing to sparse crowds. The song I actually like that stands out to me is “La Noche,” which is sung in Spanish and has a good level of intensity. If you like bands that are hoping to get onto Hellcat—think a variation of Left Alone—you might like them. –jenny (Baseline)


MISCHIEF BREW:
Songs From Under the Sink: LP
I usually have a quick disregard for one man shows or folk punk or the like, but I had the opportunity to see this one man show called Mischief Brew at my local DIY venue. He brought a crowd uncommon to the venue that was very noticeable when I had first arrived. So, I was skeptical of what was going to transpire. A gentleman plugged in an acoustic guitar into an amplifier and the small but energetic crowd rushed forward to the stage. Song after song, the crowd sang along. Many of the punks that frequent the venue to see crust shows were interspersed in the crowd and were singing too. That sight brought out excitement in me witnessing the moment. This bard was playing music that is described as “acoustic anarcho ballads with tricks galore” that the audience learned the lyrics and sang along. Knowing the lyrics showed that his ideology was soaked into the masses appreciating the performance. If all bands could have that honor, they would achieve the ultimate experience when playing live. It is like witnessing a new generation Shane MacGowan with a new bunch of admirers. –don (Fistolo)


MIGRA VIOLENTA:
Holocausto Capitalista: LP
Hailing out of Argentina, this band plays a symphonic soundtrack of pure venomous rage. The anger, speed and sound remind me of Los Crudos. The Spanish lyrics over a barrage of super fast thrash are the markers that makes me think that. From reading the translations, the lyrics are blunt and compassionate of the things that piss this band off. I believe environment plays a big roll in this. I’m not sure how the balance of wealth versus poverty is tipping the scale in Argentina. I would believe that poverty is the overall winner. Here in the states, we have a lot of privilege and wealth. In other countries where there is not an overabundance of material items and luxuries, I would believe that it fuels the rage in the creation of music. So I picture these punks who are shunned because, from what I remember, the country has a strong religious base, they are martyrs. On top of being poor, because of the lifestyle they chose, they saw with clear eyes the injustices of life when you do not conform. So the music is pissed, fast to express the anger, and feels real because it is coming from the heart. I hear a possibility that they might tour North America. I would love to witness the music firsthand. –don (Profane Existence)


MERCY KILLERS / ENEMY ROSE:
And to Become One: Split CD
Sometimes people start bands because they are good and care about the music they’re making. Other times, it appears to be a sweet showcase for them to show off their well-rehearsed scowls and poses in their perfect makeup and hair. But dudes, there’s this thing called the internet that you can do that on. Sure, you might not get as many friend requests, but for people like myself who have to listen to this drivel, please consider it. And the album title offends what little sensibility I have left. –megan (I Scream)


MEMBERS, THE:
Uprhythm, Downbeat: CD
This reissue of the band’s third and final album sees them veer away from the reggae-tinged punk of their early years and embrace the world-funk fusion sound popularized by bands like Talking Heads. The result is very ‘80s sounding, with lots of horns and at certain points actually sounding a bit like Oingo Boingo, with more than a passing interest in African rhythms. Although this might sound scary to most, the result is a surprisingly strong album, which actually shouldn’t be that much of a surprise considering how consistently good the Members had been on prior endeavors. This may not be “punk” to some, but it is quite a good listen nonetheless. Fans of ‘80s pop would be wise to note that two versions of the band’s American hit, “Working Girl” can be found here. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


MARK LIND:
Death or Jail: CD
I’m pretty sure this is the new Bryan Adams album. Pop, rock, roots, catchy, upbeat, and nasal –thiringer (Sailor’s Grave)


MANIKINS, THE:
Spend the Night Alone: 7”
Like fellow Swedes, Randy, these guys have the Back to the Future capability to seamlessly shuttle through the roots of rock’n’roll but never forget that it’s 2006. Take the “fully dressed on stage, but mentally fucking your girlfriend” capability of Chuck Berry, the “how dare you steal something from the U.S.A. and turbocharge it, you tricky bastard”ness of Japan’s Firestarter, and the “They’re probably got nominated for a Swedish Grammy” sound, and it’s difficult for me not to like. It’s like being playfully slapped by someone who just poured you a glass of champagne right after telling you a joke: bubbling, broken glass, chipped tooth fun. Limited to 500, white vinyl. –todd (Plastic Idol)


MALACHI CONSTANT:
Pride: CD
Ms. Tight Pants isn’t smart enough to understand art rock. Pass the Lucky C. please. If this were a cereal, it’d be something I can’t pronounce, like, um Hungarian Wheaties. –Maddy (Modern Radio)


MAJOR ACCIDENT:
Massacred Melodies: CD
Funny how the mind works sometimes. It’s been many a moon since last I heard these kids and totally remember them falling in the Slade-influenced camp of Oi bands. Well, imagine my surprise when what came blaring out of my speakers sounded more like early Peter And The Test Tube Babies instead. Not that that’s a bad thing, ’cause aggressive, prime-grade ‘80s U.K. punk is more than worth a listen; it’s just my memory of them sounded considerably more poppy than the reality. Go figure. What’s here is the bands debut album and tracks from a couple of singles as a bonus. Heartily recommended. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


MAGNET BLANKETS, THE:
Self-titled: CD-R
Here’s some fine catchy acoustic folk punk from North Dakota. The packaging consists of a Zip-Lock bag with the band’s name written on the front, and includes a fine hand written track listing sheet of yellow lined paper. I like it. Much like it’s packaging, the music is minimalist and charming, although poorly recorded. I could see these guys getting something released on Plan-It-X records someday. It’s got that kind of feeling. It gives me the warm fuzzies. –Guest Contributor (This Could Work)


LOOPOOL:
Stop the Revolution: CD
When I was a tiny eighteen year-older, I managed to find a copy of Throbbing Gristle’s “2nd Annual Report” in a little record store in St. Augustine, Florida on the way to Disney World with the family (I also had a fellow Disney World patron greet me with a “Flex your head!”, but I'll save that one for another time). The night we got back to West Virginia, I put on the TG record as I was going to bed and ended up having to get up and take it off after the light was out, it creeped me out so thoroughly. This here Loopool would likely do the same thing if I weren’t now all growed into a giant thirty-eight year-old. Built mostly on a foundation of swelling and ebbing feedbacks or synth tones or something, and then decorated with various crackly or echoey or boomy samples (even the one that sounds like a table tennis match manages to be vaguely unsettling, in context, especially when it gets interrupted by the one that sounds like machine gun fire), these ten tracks are like concise nightmare soundtracks. –Cuss Baxter (Sycophanticide)


LILLINGTONS, THE:
Technically Unsound: 3 x CD
How did I miss these young roughnecks from Wyoming in 1996? What the hell was I doing back then? Nothing worthwhile is the answer. But I have time to make up for my past sins. First stop, buying this kick ass box set. Three CDs that include the Shit Out Of Luck LP in its original form and a 2003 remix. The Nothing Cool split LP, the Lost My Marbles 7”, the previously unreleased Stupid World EP. Plus a ton of live material from The Jam Room in Columbia, SC. Wow—this is thick. “I Don’t Think She Cares,” “Smart Ass,” “Reform School,” “The Day I Went Away.” I could go but this issue would run out of paper. If you like punk with a pop edge like he Ramones, The Dickies, The Zeros and others in that vernacular, then you need this like a bowl of Cap’n Crunch in the morning. This is E-E-E-SENTIAL. You may go now. –koepenick (Clearview)


LEGEND OF DUTCH SAVAGE:
Dirt Fist Feet: CD
There are two types of music that Portland has in excess: pretentious indie rock / art bands and cookie cutter bar rock bands playing under the false impression they are playing some elevated form of rock’n’roll. It’s a little frustrating, trying to wade through the obscene amount of lackluster to horrible bands to actually find something you really want to see live. Unfortunately for these guys, they are included. I’m sorry, but they really bore the shit out of me. It’s really hard to take this seriously. I’m sure the guys are nice and everything, but I just can’t get into it. I need some level of originality and substance in music I enjoy. There is only so many times you can hear a solo in the same blues scale before you question the necessity of the same off beat solo in a majority of the songs. On the other hand, if you are into the Tight Bros From Way Back When and Fireballs Of Freedom, then you will probably be all over this. It’s just not for me. –Guest Contributor (Self-Released: www.legendofdutchsavage.com)


LEFT ALONE:
Dead American Radio: CD
Faux-anthemic punk fodder that is about as hollow and devoid of edge as your average Rancid album. Their attempts to ape that nouveau Social Distortion “edge” are especially embarrassing, and their ska is an affront to Jamaican music. –jimmy (Hellcat)


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