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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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LAST CHORDZ, THE:
Self-titled: CD
I find it quite amusing when bands list the more famous bands they’ve shared bills with on their press sheets, as if playing with Battalion of Saints or the Briefs somehow means you’re a better band. In this case, these guys really don’t need to feel all that insecure, ’cause although what they peddle – ‘70s/‘80s punk with liberal doses of early Posh Boy thug pop – ain’t exactly mind-bogglingly original, they are quite proficient in their execution, and their songs are catchy enough to allow them some room to stand solidly on their own feet. Half the songs on here sound like they could’ve been Channel 3 outtakes circa “Fear of Life.” Truth be told, I’m digging it a little more with each listen. –jimmy (www.thelastchordz.com)


KNUT:
Alter: CD
Remixes of flat he-metal band Knut by folks such as KK Null, Asmus Tietchens, JK Broadrick (Godflesh), Mick Harris (Napalm Death), and Dalek take something ugly and turn it (mostly) into something...well, ugly, but more interesting (mostly). Minute samples transform into seething drones that obscure the formerly overbearing gruntvox, or single guitar chunks repeat on end, dumbing the whole thing down to a primal level (not that Knut isn't dumb enough already; they just pretend they aren’t, and ther’'s your problem, ma’am). Otherwise, a few tracks are more beat-oriented and fruitier than a homosexual pomegranate, but the majority smash Knut’s lunky head into concrete chunks and then throws them for stepping stones into flowing sewers of ambient noise. –Cuss Baxter (Hydra Head)


KNEE PAD:
The Black Line: CD
Looks like: Milkmen. Sounds like: contemporary radio metal with some Soundgarden and a little Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chili Peppers thrown in. Pretty goddamn intriguing, huh? Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go pour myself another pint of dinner. –Cuss Baxter (Knee Pad)


KITTY AND THE KOWALSKIS:
Chinese Democracy: CD
Kitty And The Kowalskis apparently love The Ramones. They even dedicate the album to them and have songs called, “Oh Dee Dee” and “Joey’s Song.” It’s too bad that they are nowhere near as fun or interesting. The first few songs are easy enough to get through; sugary but tight pop punk sung by a follower of Deborah Harry, but it’s all the bullshit high school lyrics whining about boys that start to make the rest of the record unlistenable. –bree (Amp)


KINGS OF NUTHIN’:
Over the Counter Culture: CD
Like the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Hi-Fi & the Roadburners. Looks good on the platter, but I’m afraid that dish has already been served. –thiringer (Sailor’s Grave)


KILLED BY THE BULL:
The Princess Rides the Bull into Holy Hell: CD
This is the stuff that I hate reviewing. It’s not bad, but it’s not all that great either. It’s just unmemorable in every way. I guess it sounds like it could find its way onto The Alternative had it come out about fifteen or so years ago, but when it came on, my roommate and I would both look at each other and shrug, knowing that neither of us had ever heard it before. –megan (Koi)


JOSHUA GAGNE:
Self-titled: CD
A guy with a guitar. The type of stuff that you here sensitive hippies get all gooey over. Gagne is making what appears to be a sincere attempt at sensitivity and perceptivity, but he relies too much on hackneyed imagery in this pursuit. And he talks through a bunch of the songs, and not in an entertaining fashion. Near the end of the record he has some songs that are a bit more innovative both musically and lyrically, and these songs certainly work much, much better, but I had to slog through too much crap to get there. I could imagine him playing on a street corner and tossing a quarter in his can merely out of pity. There is potential in this guy, but he’s got a long way to go. –The Lord Kveldulfr (no label: www.myspace.com/joshuagagne)


JOSH PLEMON AND THE LONESOME DRIFTERS/ THE ACCELERATORS:
Split: 7”
What we have here is a country version of the Clash’s Bankrobber done by Josh Plemon And The Lonesome Drifters. It has a western gallop feel to it and is done well. The original is still better—interesting interpretation though. The Accelerators’s song is forgettable old school garage punk. This won’t be getting too many spins on my record player. –Buttertooth (self-released)


JOE JACK TALCUM:
Home Recordings 1984-’97: CD
The strangest thing about getting this in the mail is that I’d been listening to The Dead Milkmen’s Big Lizard in My Backyard almost nonstop for four days after not even looking at it for years. (I’d only listened to the CD once since I bought it years after never getting my commercial cassette back from a friend in high school. Attn Joey Costa, I still remember…) Joe Jack Talcum was the singer and guitar player for The Dead Milkmen, who were probably my first favorite punk band when I was in the fifth grade (and have maintained a pretty special place in my heart since). These recordings stray pretty far from what was done with The Dead Milkmen (with the possible exception of some of the tracks recorded between ’84 and ’87). I can see a lot of fans not really getting into this, but it suits me just fine. A lot mellower (as it is just him, mostly with an acoustic guitar) than I’d expected, but it’s turned into some nice down-time reading music for me. It was nice to see another side to it all. –megan (Valient Death)


JEFF:
Castle Storm: CD
A lot of times a two people rock combo don’t gonna cut it—no question, Mark—but here’s a time where it’s cut it with righteous and fearsome serrations. In addition: charm and style. Wit, too? Probably, but they sent no lyrics sheet. Brothers J(ake) and J(amin) Orrall from a bunch of other bands (including Be Your Own PET who, no, I’ve never heard, but I bet they’re good with a name like that) play mostly guitar and drum at around eighteen and twenty years of ages and channel all that short-lived energy and lack of buzz-killing bass player (unless there is one) into a thoroughly nice heap of rock'n'roll tunes (with also moments of fantastically pleasant keyboard fingering for space-outting or breath-catching, as on the fourteen-minute “Track 13”). There’s moments of fraternity with other duos the White Stripes and the Immortal Lee County Killers I, but even more moments of confident crashy unclicheed (s)punk(y) rock with even fewer moments of playful Sonic Youthy squall, and drums almost all the time. On top of all that, the production is GREAT; everything can be heard and the guitar sounds like a gorilla with an electric punching machine. Except when it’s not supposed to. –Cuss Baxter (Infinity Cat)


JDJ BAND:
Cruel Way: CD
JD Jackson, formerly of the Boston band The Destroyed, presents us with this solo recording, accompanied only by his own guitar and the drumming of a fifteen year-old girl named Misty. I’m just not sure why. It’s boring, with long monotonous guitar solos and JD’s gravelly vocals muttered with just a hint of melody. I can’t think of anything positive to say about this one. –brian (RPG)


JANEZ DETD:
Like Cold Rain Kills a Summer Day: CD
The sticker on the CD case says that this record won the MTV Europe award for best album, and that it’s “for fans of Matchbook Romance and Fall Out Boy.” So. Now you know what to expect, but I’ll tell you more anyway. Very radio friendly. Quick-paced Top 40 “punk,” and it has those annoying bellow-scream backing vocals the likes of all those radio bands whose names I don’t even bother to learn. There a few songs that are quite entertaining, but overall it sounds like so much other crap that makes a zillion dollars. Too clichéd and too slick for the likes of me at this point in time. –The Lord Kveldulfr (I Scream: www.iscreamrecords.com)


JACK SAINTS, THE:
Rock and Roll Saved Our Lives…But Now It’s Trying to Kill Us!: CD
First off-great sound bites in between songs. I won’t name ‘em since I’m sure none of ‘em are cleared, but who cares? Hard driving Detroit-style rock from San Fran? Go figure. I think it’s against the law to have song titles like “Cockblocked” and “Generation Gangbang” and suck. I really do. These guys are well within their rights and if you like raw punk with a bit of melody, this may save you too. Did I just hear someone rock a banjo solo in “Last House on the Left?” That’s insane! –koepenick (Scarey)


INSURGENT KID:
Paranoia: CD
Like a good knife; from the first couple of notes, you can see it’s stainless, it’s perfectly balanced, and it cuts effortlessly. Umea Sweden’s Insurgent Kid have some members of the dearly missed DS-13, play like they’re fueled by early Black Flag’s actual sweat, and make you realize: fuck, I know what’s coming—short, anxious, sharp lunges. But in the right hands it’s, once again, samurai-level, tension-filled, slashing hardcore and I’m a sucker for it. Thanks. –todd (Wasted Sounds)


INSUICIETY:
Believe and Die: CD
When someone said that there is a song for every emotion, they were right. As soon as the music drizzled out the speakers, I had images of being extremely stoned or picturing the end of the night drinking when you are the last one standing. Surreal and depressing. Seven song release from this female-led band out of Germany in the doom or sludgecore vein barely tracing the edge of playing too slow. Vocals that have a pained and despaired delivery adds to the depressing sounds it is accompanying. The musicianship is top-notch with interesting guitar riffings and well thought out drumming that keeps things interesting. The bass seems to be a little buried in the mix and could be pulled forward a little bit to add a stronger bottom tone. But bits and pieces do jump out reminding me that it is there. From this introduction, I will be keeping my ears to the ground to see what comes out of this outfit in the future. –don (Crimes Against Humanity)


INSTRUMENTAL QUARTER:
Traffic Jam: CD
Very interesting instrumentals, featuring violin along with guitars, drums and keyboards. Sometimes ethereal and contemplative; sometimes driving and energetic. More jazz than anything else, but certainly not the way Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong played it. Probably not for everyone, but I liked it. If you’re looking for something different, Traffic Jam could be just what the doctor ordered. –brian (Sickroom)


IN DEFENCE:
Twin Cities Crew: 7”EP
Does the word “charming” get my ass beat for describing a youth crew record? If you dig 7 Seconds’ Skins, Brains and Guts or Gorilla Biscuits’ self-titled album—tight musicianship, searing guitars, shout outs to bands they like, and thumbs down to smoking and drinking—this’ll be right up your alley. And, although I’ve never I felt it necessary to grab a music-instructed ethos by the ears to rally against the world—even twenty years ago when I first heard Minor Threat—In Defence, well, they play really well, pack a metal-less hardcore punch, and sound like they’re having fun, so who am I to begrudge ‘em? Fronted by Ben Crew of Sweet J.A.P. and The Divebomb Honey. –todd (Give Praise)


HOWITZER:
Police State: CD
Tough guy hardcore in the vein of Agnostic Front meets Sick Of It All. Lyrics that wouldn’t get you a grade of C in creative writing class. –don (Hazard Hill)


HOWITZER:
Police State: CD
Second release from these hardcore thrash rockers. If Udo from Accept got on the wrong tour bus one morning, and ended up playing with D.R.I. that night, then you may get a clue about this band’s sound. Loud, heavy and angry—this record packs a punch. Songs like “Inciting a Riot” and “Police State” should probably not be played at your next family BBQ. Not for the weak, but I think this band has some great chops. This record proves they have the will to live up to their potential. –koepenick (Hazard Hill)


HOMOSTUPIDS:
The Glow: 7” EP
Deranged, spitty, and lo-fi, they bring to mind a meaner Reatards or a garage-damaged Negative Approach. (Or, if this helps you: The Dirtys.) Broken knife, dirty needle, rusty chains, in-the-basement punk rock. Comes in a simple white paper sleeve with a picture that looks like a Vietnam veteran-era tattoo of a skull with a lightning bolt through it. Well done. –todd (My Mind’s Eye)


HOMEMADE KNIVES:
No One Doubts the Darkness: CD
Art school dinner party music. I highly doubt that this dinner party would have a theme. Foucault would be discussed incorrectly alongside existentialism. Lots of skirts with fall boots would be sported. A turtleneck or two would complete the scene. The appetizers would probably involve crackers and no more than one person involved would get laid that night. –megan (Triple Stamp)


HELLBILLYS:
Torture Garden: CD
A reissue of one of my earliest and favorite psychobilly memories, 1995’s Torture Garden is just as good as I remember it. Rumbling, thundering, gory goodies that feel like a neck being crisply snapped from behind. A good, strong thrust of timeless classics like “Bondage A Go Go,” “Bucket ‘O Blood,” “Useless Man,” “Nitro Ghouls,” and Elvis’ “GI Blues.” Originally on Ransom Note. –thiringer (Nickel and Dime: www.nickelanddimerecords.com)


HELLA:
Acoustics: CDEP
To each his own I guess. If listening to two people jam is cool for you, this might be your thing. Listening to one person drumming while another is whacking off on the guitar, is not mine. –don (5rc)


HEARTATTACKS, THE:
Hangin’ on, Waste My Time b/w Rejected at the High School Dance: 7”

Go ahead. Mark up the magazine. Draw a line from one column to the next and match them up. Any combination will help you understand where Sweden’s The Heartattacks are coming from and you’ll see that you really can’t lose with any of the possibilities.

Little Richard                                      Devil Dogs

Jerry Lee Lewis                                   Saints

Pre-marital sex                                    Leg Hounds

Unprotected sex (pre ‘70s)                 Teengenerate

Puking on yourself                              The Jewws

Projectile vomiting on others              Ramones

–todd (High School Reject)


HARPOON GUNS:
: 12"EP
I pulled the grievous boner of failing to review a Harpoon Guns 7" that came sometime last year so perhaps I can make up for it by gushing a little extra over this (though I will say up front that it’s got one of the lamest covers I’ve ever seen—I would not ever buy this record based on the way it looks. I don’t think anyone would, not even a dork, a dink, or a pudwack). Outside, and inside, that, however, things are peach-dandy. Despite the fact that these kids weren’t even born then, they manage to swim really close to mountains of almost-generic hardcore that was all the rage circa 1984—all that fantastic teenage piss and vinegar that overflowed from Mystic compilations and no doubt lived and died in 2200 towns and cities across this sickening planet. Appropriately, the EP was recorded by Craigums whose own backward-looking band What Happens Next? actually goes maybe too far (and suffers from too-good production) to really rouse me after a couple listens. Harpoon Guns are still actual teenagers (I think) and so manage to make actual teenager hardcore that’s both dumb and exciting (“she’ll spread her legs for you/she’ll spread her legs for me/she’s got 20 cases of VD”). –Cuss Baxter (Square Wave)


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