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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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GUNNAR HANSEN:
Village Idiot: 7”
If you name your band after the genius actor who played Leatherface in Texas Chainsaw Massacre and was in the disturbing movie Murder-Set-Pieces, you better live up to the name. These Canadians do that and then some. Fast gruff ‘80s hardcore. Great lyrics, especially the song “Fuck Your Feelings.” Kind of what you would picture playing in the background if Gunnar Hansen really was running after you with a chainsaw. (If Goblin was unavailable for the soundtrack of course.) –Guest Contributor (Audio Fellatio)


GOSSIP, THE:
Listen Up!: CDEP
The Human League’s Dare! is one of my all-time favorite records. People look at me with askance when I tell them that; a non-verbal expression stating, “My pal actually likes that god awful new wave band!” I understand why they do, especially considering my fixation on Lou Reed, Peter Laughner, Gene Clark, Jeffrey Lee Pierce, and other assorted doomed artists. What people are missing is the Human League’s charm: the band writes great songs about, um, celebrating life. Personally, Dare! is a godsend, a reprieve from all that unhealthy nihilism, bad times, and disaffection. The Gossips’ Listen Up! is a lot like Dare!. It’s an artistically rich record that knows how to have fun. I mean, take the band’s cover of Aaliyah’s “Are U That Somebody.” Unlike The Saints or The Undertones taking the piss out of an oldie, The Gossip are one hundred percent sincere about the song; there’s no doubt singer Beth Ditto truly love Aaliyah. Jesus, I can’t tell you how refreshing that is; to have the fucking brass to cover such a stupid song. And let’s face it: rock’n’roll was built on stupid songs; examples: “Great Balls of Fire,” “Tutti Frutti,” and “Hound Dog.” People today, people like you and me: esoteric music fans with little to no life, forget that. We’re so caught up in saying no, in second guessing, we forget to say yes and to occasionally celebrate things banal and juvenile. I miss rock‘n’roll’s naiveté, which is why bands like The Reigning Sound, The Gories, and The Human League remain so endearing. The Gossip are helping bring that back too. It’s not an escapism; just a celebration of the joys of being alive. And really, is that so wrong? –ryan (Kill Rock Stars)


GOONS OF DOOM:
The Story of Dead Barbie and Ghost: CD
Indie rock stuff with enough diversity, humor and edge to keep things interesting, but not quite enough je ne sais quoi to warrant the repeat button being activated. Some of the stuff here, like “Fingered,” wasn’t too shabby, but on the whole it could’ve used a wee bit more of something. –jimmy (Volcom Entertainment)


GOOD RIDDANCE:
My Republic: CD
It’s the law of diminishing returns. If you define your sound so perfectly, and, like Good Riddance’s heroes Bad Religion, have finished defining the scope of their music, all that’s left is variation on a theme. The land’s bought. The security system’s installed. The house is decorated. All that’s left is painting the rooms a different color, installing prettier floors. The happy news is that this is a good Good Riddance record: insightful lyrics, expert playing, pitch-perfect production. It’s political pop punk that’s not a shame to listen to. The bad news is that if you’ve picked up one of Good Riddance’s last several albums, you’ve, essentially, already got this one. Also, if I forget what I’m listening to when making some toast, I could swear part of this album was Bad Religion’s The Gray Race. –todd (Fat)


GOOD RIDDANCE:
My Republic: CD
After their brief hiatus, the band is back to form with the return of Sean Sellers on drums. This is the mid period unit which is my personal favorite and I believe is when they found their identity. They also return to the Blasting Room to record where they get the best sound out of the band. As I grew out of bands from the past, GR are a band I do not tire of. They have enough aggression to have a bite. There is melody that they can be listened to often. They write good songs that are memorable and are easily identifiable as music of their own. On this release, there is a certain comfort level that they didn’t have to sell me on their music. They seem to know their own formula and continue on growing without making drastic changes to their sound. So as I listen for the first time, I feel like the songs are familiar. That familiarity will make me continue to listen to this release. There are a few bands that I continue to buy anything they release. GR is a band I will continue to collect because I am a fan. –don (Fat)


GIANT HAYSTACKS / ARMEDALITE RIFLES:
Split: 7” EP
Giant Haystacks: Think Three Way Tie (for Last)-era Minutemen, sprinkled with Nomeansno. The initial knife-point blurts of their early work has been redirected to mid-paced, heart-felt, believable punk funk. That said; it didn’t initially grab me as hard as the earlier material, but I have a feeling this’ll grow on me. Armedalite Rifles: Reminds me of political and introspective, rough-hewn punk (pop and otherwise) of the ‘90s (Strawman, bits of Swiz, traces of Jawbreaker, the two songs of Fifteen that I can listen to until the self-righteousness chokes me). I rarely say this because I’m no sucker for fidelity, but their songs sound too hot, and I think these guys would totally benefit from clearer recording so their intricacies aren’t lost. –todd (FDH)


GANON:
In the Dead of Sleep: CDEP
I can’t think of the last record I heard that I hated this much. In fact, I can barely imagine a record I’d hate more than this. Here are some things it has: calculated emotional manipulation via “pretty” vs. “brutal” parts, unintelligible hemorrhoid vocals, and titles like “The Calm of Unlight” (“unlight” being, I suspect, what you and I call “dark”). Here are some things it doesn’t have: joy, enthusiasm, actual rock music, or engaging riffs. Furthermore, from what I can tell (which is not much since I left the home video game market shortly after the introduction of the groundbreaking Atari 5200) they’re named after a character from a Nintendo game, which either proves that they do have a sense of humor or that they don’t. I do kind of like the cover art though: picture of a birdie. –Cuss Baxter (Acerbic Noise Development, LLC)


GANGLION:
Of the Deep: CD
I’m a little tongue tied on this one. I really feel I’m at a loss for words. Vocals that could be easily black metal in the screamy, anguished variety. Guitars that are not distorted but yet more bright and clean to give it, as best as I can describe, a jangley sound? Is that even a word? A bass player that seems to be in another room kind of free form jamming, yet hears enough of the band to be able to play along. Drums that are the binder here which seem mighty chaotic but is all well calculated. Rudimentary Peni goes black metal? Very interesting, but have to be in the right mood to listen to it. –don (Ganglion: www.ganglionmpls.com)


FUCKING MACHINES:
Stole My Quarter: 7”EP
If Scared of Chaka looked more towards early ‘80s hardcore instead of fucking up the Sonics (in great ways), you’d get something akin to the Fucking Machines. Chargey, yelly, spazzy, dual-vocals, “we just lit all those fireworks in a van on the highway? You’re hair’s on fire,” punk rock. “Dudeicice”’s the gem track. –todd (Last Drag)


FUCKED UP:
Hidden World: CD
Truly great bands will make you eat your words and you’ll smile with every bite. They’ll challenge your fundamental musical beliefs. Fucked Up is one of those bands. Last week, if you would have told me that I’d be defending a band with a nine and half minute song, I’d of said, “Fuck you and all the Asia records ever made.” But, somehow, Fucked Up has been able to take that hallowed two-minutes-and-out energy, and blow it apart. It’s like whomever first discovered America: it got expanded and exploited way beyond anyone’s wildest expectations. Grand Canyon in scope, Hidden World spans seventy-something minutes, sweeping and filling every section with an awe that gets infinitely larger. I got this same feeling—nowhere near the sound—from Turbonegro’s Apocalypse Dudes and Dillinger Four’s Midwestern Songs of the Americas. All these musical notes lying on the ground, seemingly scattered and broken up by subgenre, pigeonholed by the lazy hacking of sounds, trampled by careless or not-as-talented-as-they-thought musicians? These notes, they all belong together. They all fit. Somehow. And for—for all intents and purposes to the world at large—Fucked Up is “just” a hardcore band. Good lord, what ambition. There’s about ninety-nine levels to this record and I’m gonna keep listening deeper and deeper. –todd (Jade Tree)


FROM THE GROUND UP:
Words Can’t Explain: CD
It’s sincere, positive hardcore stuff—sounds a lot like Reserve 34’s Rain City Games or a less metallic Label The Traitor. Lots of thumpa-thumpa-thumpa drums, walking, melodic guitar lines and hoarse, shouted vocals about, like, personal relationships. Like I said, I’ve no doubt they absolutely mean what they’re crowing about, and they’re proficient at what they’re doing, but it’s certainly not something that slaps me over the head, throws me in the trunk and takes me somewhere, know what I mean? –keith (Round Two)


FROM FIRST TO LAST:
Heroine: CD
I tried to keep an open mind with this one. I mean Mr. Brett put it out. It’s got slick packaging—all black CD no less. But as I delved deeper and deeper into the dark recesses of this abyss, I realized that all hope is lost. If you like Evanescence or Korn for breakfast, then you may like this one. But if nu-metal angst is not up your alley, then this may be one to steer clear of. Oh, and Wes Borland played bass on this record. I knew I smelled Limp Bizkit taint on this one. “And We All Have A Hell” is song number four on this CD. Mine was having to listen to this more than once. Careful with that pitchfork! –koepenick (Epitaph)


FORCED MARCH:
Take Immediate Action: CD
So my buddy Jeff and I have had this running joke for years now. I was listening to some Bad Religion album or another and, you know, digging it, right? I’ll confess, sure. But Jeff hated ‘em, still does. His argument’s strictly remained the same over the years: “All their songs sound exactly the same.” And so has my response: “Yeah, but it’s a good song, dude.” That said, I’ve heard people refer to these guys as similar to Infest or bands of that ilk—and I guess I could go with that; there’s a decent amount of slow/fast thrash parts, and the guy bellows his way relentlessly through these thirteen songs. But as someone who admittedly digs Bad Religion much more than he’ll probably ever dig Infest, I’ll have to pull a Jeff on this one. It all just sounds the same to me. In one ear and out the other, you know? The fury’s there, all the checklisted topics are tackled, the solos are in the right place. But there’s the sinking feeling that I’ve heard it before and wasn’t that floored the first time around. So take it for what it is—if you’re looking for some dark, brooding hardcore with a minor dash of metallic noodling tossed in there, you’ll be loving this. I mean, I don’t want to bag on these guys too hard, it’s just that I’d rather pull out No Control or Suffer—that’s the kind of repetition that works for me –keith (Forced March)


FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC:
Human: CDEP
Droning, non-melodic noise with a singer who couldn’t carry a tune if it was double strapped to his back with a Transformers backpack. This Baltimore band churns up five songs that really don’t do anything for me. “I Give In” and “I Give Up” are two of the more imaginative song titles on this release. “I Got Out” should be the next one since I had to get out of ear range. Ugh. –koepenick (Reptilian)


FLEXX BRONCO:
Volume 1: CDEP
Flat out roadhouse rock’n’roll abounds on this six-track, self-released CD. Very vaguely David Lee Roth’s Van Halen meets Tenderloin? There just might be something there. –thiringer (self-released)


FLESHIES:
Scrape the Walls: CD
Fleshies have gotten into my “happy rock place.” After seeing them, their records sound better because I can project the songs into my mind and see them play. Their previous, The Sicilian, I didn’t give much salt to besides, “Yeah, it’s good,” a couple years back, but it never seemed to leave the truck. It’s not often that a weird band provides great real-life-soundtrack music and continues to get better with each listen. Scrape the Walls is great. It’s the Fleshies. They’re growing. AC/DC rides lightning bolts to the Cows and they make pop music that could be on a parallel universe’s Mork and Mindy. Even though I was given the CD, I happily bought the vinyl. That’s how much I believe in it. So, leave with this: great record. My gripe: I understand you own the label Jello, but another guest appearance? I’m no stoner, but if I was, I’d be annoyed at the helium frog taking vocal duties—not as an intro, not as an outro—but smack dab in the middle of the album for a full song. It’s jarring. And, as a rabid music collector as Jello is, he should know great albums are based on this: continuity. You’re groovin’. Your bong’s hot. You’re chillin’ to Johnny going ape shit then slithering into your sweater, then wham-o. The Sugar Smacks spokesfrog does a Sparks cover. Waaa? I have a feeling that many of the dudes involved with this record are smart, so I propose this retroactive solution: on LP, make it one of those hidden tracks where you have to lift the needle to get to it. That’s fun. You chose the annoyance. Or, for CD, find a way to have that track play every 66th time it’s played. That’d absolutely creep people out and they’d have to wait 66 more times until it played again, long after they’ve tried—and failed—to convince their friends that it’s really on there. –todd (Alternative Tentacles)


FLATLINERS:
Let It Go: 7”
Despite the rad Mike Bukowski cover, and for whatever inappropriate reason, I’d already written these guys off as some ham-handed hardcore straight edge act before I’d even heard them. They would, I imagined, simultaneously sing about unity and being stabbed in the back, double-crossed, etc. The usual straight edge fare, right? This is the obvious danger of presumption, because I was one ill-prepared mofo when I actually played this record and lightning started flying around the room. Thing is, I didn’t even care when the roof flew off, the cat went flying out the window and every piece of glass in the place shattered. What I mean is, this shit is so goddamn good it’s ridiculous, and within the first fifteen seconds of “See It Through,” my preconceived notions and every bone in my body had simultaneously evaporated. Musically, they’re taking the melodic-but-venomous approach that bands like Death Is Not Glamorous and Fingerprint have utilized so well, coupled that with stop-on-a-pinhead precision, anthemic vocals, furious and weaving guitar interplay, all of it. It’s just a mean production all around. These cats are just so spot-on, and there’s a relentless catchiness to the whole endeavor, my only complaints are that these are the band’s last recorded songs and that it was over way, way too quickly. This one’s a keeper. –keith (Slab-O-Wax)


FLASCHEN:
Treat Me Bad: 7” EP
Both tracks here remind me immediately of Sid Vicious doing “Roadrunner” mixed with a little Mummies and Supercharger. That sounds like something I’d instantly jump for, but here, I just don’t feel any energy. The recording is super fuzzy, so maybe it’s getting lost in there. I’ll bet that they’re pretty amazing live, but, as this came from the Netherlands, I don’t see a chance to experience that coming any time soon. Here’s to hoping. –megan (High School Refuse)


FISH KARMA:
The Theory of Intelligent Design: CD
Bob Dylan and Doc Dart from the Crucifucks have a bastard love child with a wicked sense of humor and a need to piss off god and the powers that be. Add a metal backing band and you’ve pretty much got this record. Seeing how incredibly obtuse they are, “Fifty Caliber Christ” is no doubt destined to become the national anthem for the religious right. –jimmy (Alternative Tentacles)


FIRST PUNIC WAR, THE:
Unicorn: 7”
One time I was at a party and some guy’s ex-girlfriend came up and grabbed him by the nuts real hard, screamed some shrilly incoherent nonsense before shoving him away and storming off. He sort of twitched against the wall on the floor in the fetal position, but he felt much better a few hours and beers later. First Punic War sort of makes me think of that. A pretty, naked unicorn girl on the front and the tiny white vinyl 7” that crams all this nightmare cycle of irate noises, often unrecognizable racket, in this strangled noise guitar…it catches you off guard and leaves you empathetically hurting, but it’s kind of entertaining too. –Guest Contributor (First Punic War)


FIND THEM TO FIGHT THEM:
Self-titled: CD
I got a tip for you: if you don’t really have any songs, and you can’t really sing, just play really, really fast and try to sound like Cookie Monster. If you’re not sure what I mean, check out this CD. –brian (Up Yours, Luv!!)


FALLOPIAN:
Dammit, Eat Your Pudding!: CD
I normally love all-girl bands. But this one didn’t get me excited. Straight up garage punk with silly lyrics. Not breaking any new ground, but they seem to be having fun. –don (Avebury)


ERGS!, THE:
Jazz Is Like the New Coke b/w Out There: 7”
The Ergs! are the new Descendents, which is weird to say because the Descendents are still around and still really good. But, with the Descendents’ pacing of four to five years between releases, one needs faster drips from the percolator. The Ergs! continue in rapid succession: that naïve-yet-razored wantonness of love, the bubbling instrumentation that masks darker sentiments, the almost-instant sing-a-long-ability, and undeniable underdog charm with Hüsker Dü-like teeth. They aren’t crying into flowers on pop punk’s grave. They’re etching their own new monuments in vinyl, a song at a time. –todd (Art of the Underground)


ENVIRONMENTAL YOUTH CRUNCH:
Wet Stuff Dries and Other Tidbits: CD
If you ever wanted a less folky This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb writing songs exclusively about wetland preservation, singing frogs, and “female fish growing dicks” (seriously!), this is the band for you. If you’re into taking Cleveland Bound Death Sentence’s genius song “Rumbleseats and Running Boards” and turning it into a slow song about environmental destruction, this is the band for you. If you’re Maddy Tight Pants, you really want to like some of this stuff, but you end up listening to the Marked Men instead. If this were a cereal, it’d be something “natural,” and instead of some super cool laser sugar ring in the bottom of the box, there’d be a CD of spoken word environmental speeches. –Maddy (Grateful)


ENSAM:
Self-titled: 7"
Licensed from Fight Records out of Finland, a U.S. label releases a band from Finland that might turn a few heads. Take two members of Riistetyt, one from Kaaos, and a former Brazilian that used to be in Neurose Urbana & Desastre to create a band that is influenced by Swedish Hardcore. That made me look twice. Female-led and with a power unit of experience, this band undoubtedly made me pay attention. A sampling of four songs that I hope is a precursor of what is to come of this unit. The hardcore songs are fierce and memorable. I was intrigued the most by the slower number entitled “O Eterno.” The song has a brooding quality and from the translated lyrics of living in a long winter of depression that seems fitting. Now that I have been sold, I want more. –don (Bro-core)


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·REEL BIG FISH
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·FAVORS, THE
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·Webcomic Wednesdays #166
·RIFLES, THE
·SCARS OF TOMORROW


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