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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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DRUNKEN BOAT:
Made in Oregon: CD
I have yet to see these kids, so I’m trying to be content with the releases, and this one definitely helps. To my knowledge, this is their first full-length. I hear elements of Bent Outta Shape and Snuggle, but they mostly remind me of the first time I saw Rcade Inferno when they had just started touring as a two-piece in San Diego. Completely stripped down to just two guitars (though Drunken Boat has a full lineup), it was two guys in the middle of the living room, half standing, half dancing, and singing like it was like their last chance to ever sing again. It’s that passion that really sells me on bands like Drunken Boat. They make me want to care—not necessarily about any sort of cause or anything…hell, it could just be caring about having the best fucking time right then and there, but I’m truly caring about it at that moment. And for getting this crotchety, apathetic fuck to care, they’ve got to be good. –Denise (1-2-3-4 Go)


DOUG MACDONALD:
Kick the Birthday Boy: CD
Doug MacDonald is one hell of a songwriter. The music on this CD is hard to categorize, but I’d say it comes down somewhere in the neighborhood of psychedelic country rock—a little bit Donovan, but less hippy-ish. MacDonald has a really unique singing style that I like a lot until he switches to this weird falsetto that just pierces the old ear drums. Still, this is a very good CD, unlike anything else you’re likely to hear any time soon, by a very talented singer and songwriter. –brian (Doug MacDonald)


DIVIDER:
At Twilight: CD
You’ve got six songs here full of blastbeats, throat-rending vocals, and some heavy and intricate hardcore-meets-metal riffage. Their lyrics are whipcrack smart, the production’s excellent, and there’s enough variety in their eye-gouging and throat-punching that the six songs go by pretty fast. I’m thinking Curl Up And Die, I’m thinking Killing The Dream and maybe some Madeline Ferguson too. Would probably please both straight-up metalheads and fans of the five mile an hour punch in the face that Drowningman dishes out. One of those deals where it definitely wasn’t cringeworthy by any means, but also wasn’t a sonic version of an ice-cold Pabst on a hot summer day. Still, if I saw ’em in a basement somewhere, I’d probably go right up front and stay there for the whole set. –keith (Shock Value)


DISCREET DOLL BAND, THE:
Back in Business: 7”
I really don’t like glam that much. It can be done well, but overall, the genre doesn’t set well with me. Given that, the things that I look for if it’s something I have to listen to is the quality of the recording. It is fun live, but if you are going to bring it home with you, the recording has to sound full, loud, and well produced. It’s not punk. You can’t get away with a shitty recording, because it isn’t meant to sound that way. It’s a pretentious form of music, and the recording has to show that. Musically, the songs have to hold their own. They have to be able to keep my attention. Unfortunately, this 7” doesn’t have anything I am looking for. It sounds like shit, the songs are boring, and even the artwork is lame. This 7” is just pointless. –Guest Contributor (Rich Bitch)


DISCHARGE:
Beginning of the End: CDEP
I admit it, I saw this incarnation of Discharge a couple of years ago. It was entertaining but it wasn’t the Discharge I saw in 1982. Just like seeing the Misfits with Danzig singing and seeing them again with just Jerry Only. But that was not entertaining. Three out of the four original members continue on without original singer Cal. Replacement singer Rat from the Varukers makes this sound like... the Varukers. Enjoyable on its own, but is hard to put it with the legacy that is Discharge. –don (Thunk)


DISASTER STRIKES:
Liberty Toast: CD
Boston’s got a lot of hardcore history, and Disaster Strikes aims to claim a piece of it. With ardently political lyrics and blistering guitars (and a special guest appearance by Jello Biafra), they declare their general dissatisfaction with most of the world we live in, but especially the current political regime in Washington. As much as I agree with the band’s politics, this isn’t what I’m looking for in a rock band. I don’t need to be preached to, and if I wanted to hear political commentary I’d switch to NPR. On the other hand, if you’re into hardcore influenced social commentary, then Disaster Strikes have got a something they want to say to you. –brian (Alternative Tentacles)


DIGGER & THE PUSSYCATS:
Live at World Cup 2006: 7”
Kinda boring punk rock ‘n’ roll, heavier on the rock than the punk. If this were a cereal, it’d be Corn Flakes. Standard, nothing too exciting here. –Maddy (P.Trash)


DESTRUCTORS666:
06/06/06: CD-Single
Two mid-tempo punk tracks from the latest incarnation of a band around since 1977. Not as thrashy as stuff from the recently reissued “Exercise the Demons of Youth,” but they burn at a nice rate nonetheless. –jimmy (Rowdy Farrago)


DEMENTED ARE GO:
Hellbilly Storm: CD
Hooray. Yippie. Huzzah. Yawn. This album from the debatable progenitors of psychobilly is one of the better psychobilly comeback endeavors; their musicianship has been honed and perfected but their voices sound just a tad tired. Demented Are Go is still doing the mutant zombie demon gore thing, but there are a few exciting treats that are just so good I’m almost in favor of this album. Although the lyrics are still about getting drunk, gore, skating and the bourgeois, some of the music is just so damn catchy. Now if there were just a little more. –thiringer (Hepcat)


DEGENERICS, THE:
The Final Chapter: 7” EP

The funny thing about this is that I’d picked this up, kind of forgotten about it, and my friend Joe sent me some of their earlier stuff, which then reminded me that I had yet to listen to this. I’m guessing by the title that this might be their last release, but I’m hoping I’m wrong (or that they may be following the lead of Friday the 13th IV: The Final Chapter). Hardcore that makes the term seem not as tainted as it has been lately. They are definitely aware of their history: taking some of the best elements of lower Northeast hardcore from the ‘80s, while maintaining a contemporary sound. Definitely hope to hear more from them.

–megan (Don Giovanni)


DEFCON 4:
File Under Fuck: CD
From a city that’s famous for not being L.A., Defcon 4 does their best EyeHateGod impression, what with the screaming and the fast-slow and the between-song TV samples. Sadly, they rarely hit the mark, probably in part due to the fact that they’re from a part of the country that produces more streetpunk in one minute than New Orleans has produced since 1964. Not that Defcon 4 is streetpunk, but I get the feeling their northern roots keep them from being able to sink into the southern miasma that powers EHG. Nice finger paintings, though. –Cuss Baxter (Black Box)


DEEMED USELESS:
The Poe Man’s EP: CD-R
I just don’t get what’s going on here. It’s all over the place. There’s no track listing (it was just a CD-R in a slip case), so I don’t know song titles, but there were a few that I liked individually, but as a whole, I need more cohesion. Some decent stuff, some I’m not that into. My advice would be to try and work on things as a whole rather than parts. I’m not saying you have to have every song be the same (though it’s obviously worked well for Bad Religion), but just some direction would be nice. –megan (no address given)


DEADFALL:
Keep Telling Yourself It’s Okay: 7"
I saw these guys twice last week with Municipal Waste! Both bands were so good. The contrast of styles made them a good touring pair. Deadfall, if you are not of the know, play straight up fast punk rock. I wanted to use the term hardcore, but that term has been tainted of late with a genre and fan base I would much rather not be associated with at this time. In your face and not afraid to confront, these guys play with heart and enjoyment. More times than not, it shows when a band is not into it. The four times I have seen this band, they gave it their all. It also comes across in their recorded works. A band that is not afraid to thrash and have a good time. Taking influence from many of the greats from the ‘80s and not sounding like a retro rip-off. They are one of the Bay Area’s highlights at the moment and close enough that they come down more than once a year. –don (Tank Crimes)


DEAD TO ME:
Cuban Ballerina: CD
I popped this in and I hear my wife, Leslie, ask from the other side of the room, “Who is that? It sounds like One Man Army.” I tell her who it is and proceed to learn that this band features, not one, but two former members of One Man Army. So hey, she was fuckin’ right. They also feature a member from Western Addiction. Punk bands are so incestuous. Instructions were blurted from the other side of the room for demands of a copy. I have to obey. She is my wife for Christ’s sake. I could have married someone who only listened to Top 40 and berated me for being a child still listening to punk. With the pedigree of the band, you should have no problem figuring out what this band sounds like. In fact, they could have easily labeled this a One Man Army record and no one would have blinked an eye. Melodic but not paint by numbers. Songs that are catchy and infectious. They have a new fan in my wife. –don (FAT)


DEAD TO ME:
Cuban Ballerina: CD
Featuring Jack of One Man Army—and his way of threading neo street punk anthems into the flagwork of classics that Sham 69 could have written—there’s no doubt the songs are catchy as hell. (It also doesn’t hurt to have retired rollerblade champion Chicken on bass.) But there’s this almost subliminal quality to the record that makes it slide by too easily for me. I know nothing of modern recording practices, but the tones of the instruments—not the pacing, or the singing—make the record seem covered in Teflon. Zwoop. Right through. Claws seem trimmed. Thorns seem pruned. The setting’s alluring, but it’s a painting of a rose bush instead of running naked and stumbling through a rose garden. The noticeable exceptions are the songs, like “Special Professional,” with dramatic pacing shifts that chip at that sonic barricade. So, more Streets of San Francisco Swingin’ Utters, smell of exhaust, and the spitting out of asphalt after a faceplant, and I do believe Dead To Me will find me a full-on fan. –todd (Fat)


DEAD TO ME:
Cuban Ballerina: CD
Dead To Me is my new favorite band. Co-fronted by ex-One Man Army singer, Jack, I was hopeful but my usual pessimistic self when I heard about Dead To Me. Suspicious but happy that Jack was making music again, because I loved OMA and was bummed when they broke up. However, all suspicions were laid to rest after my first listen. I was smitten. I fell in love with the record immediately. And that hasn’t happened to me in awhile. I put it in my stereo where it remained for a solid month (literally). Just on basic visceral response I was hooked. Co-frontmen Chicken (also of Western Addiction) and Jack do an amazing job sharing vocals. Chicken has a more gritty sound which meshes sinfully with Jack’s harmonic high notes. They compliment each other in a way I never imagined. The more I listened to the record the more I fell in love with it. The lyrics are impeccable, unique, genuine, and honest. The first song, “Don’t Lie” instantly grabs you and despite the upbeat feel the lyrics are about real and raw things like war and American imperialism. A lot of the lyrics were also written by Chicken while he was going through rehab. “By the Throat,” “Still Heartbeat,” “Visiting Day” and “Special Professional” are amazing tracks. Even non-OMA fans will like this—really it’s not a copycat version of OMA, it’s unique and truly infectious. I’m a fan. –jenny (FAT)


DEAD HOOKERS’ BRIDGE CLUB:
The Hoo Dee Hoo: 7”
It was sweet of Jack Switchblade to include a handwritten note addressed to Razorcake, simply stating, “We are the Dead Hookers’ Bridge Club and we play rock and roll music. This record is good to listen to.” I agree. It’s a weird mix of campy, swampy, fifties falsetto; fuzzed out average rock; and coked-out, pubbed-up, bash-your-head with a heavy glass mug punk. Not a bad hand. –thiringer (New Art School)


DAYS OFF:
Jamming the Scene: CDEP
Groove-oriented punk here, not unlike Nomeansno without the flashy technical prowess. Diverse, creative and pretty original in approach, which means this ain’t bad at all if you like yer punk bands to color outside the lines. –jimmy (www.makeorbreakrecords.com)


CUT UPS, THE:
Paris Streets in Ruins: CD
Lots of catchy hooks and vague anti-establishment sentiments. It reminds me of when I first discovered punk rock and had a backpack full of patches of random opening bands I had seen that that I would be psyched on ‘til the end of the school year. Not a bad listen, but it doesn’t really grab me. I guess I’ll pass it along to my high school little brother, who will probably dig it. –Guest Contributor (All Gone)


CURIUM:
Nowever: CD
If I understand this correctly, what it is is a bunch of different peoplemouths (some in various states of robotic manipulation) reading e. e. cummings’s poems, set to mild and minimal electro-musical accompaniment by whatever or whoever Curium is. Sounds a lot like that Laurie Anderson chestnut “O Superman” except instead of being weird and political it’s just weird and poetical. Nice background music to absorb your inattention, with just enough texture to catch your ear occasionally but not intrude on your serious pursuits like shoe-burying, ant-smelling or standing around. What are you, a dog? –Cuss Baxter (Dynamophone)


CROW:
Bloody Tear: LP
I am not one of the fortunate to have any of Crow’s recorded works that were produced in Japan. But I do have some that I picked when I was fortunate to see them live on their west coast tour. They made me a new asshole after seeing them live. They were so good, I couldn’t close my mouth long enough to stop drooling. So having this record in hand is a real treat. There was no way in hell that this was going to suck. Something about Japanese bands that make them appealing to me is the professionalism. They seem to be well rehearsed to the point of playing to near perfection even though they can consume a lot of alcohol. I saw Crow, Paintbox, and Forward now over the last few years and they partied hard and played harder. I believe the proper term to describe this certain style of punk out of Japan is Burning Spirits. Mid tempo to fast with elements of rock and metal with the sheer force of punk. Yelled vocals over metallic riffs, power chords and with no fear of throwing in a guitar solo. An equal blend of punk and metal without being too much of either. Not a song on the whole thing I can say I do not like. Only distraction is having to get up when a side ends to flip the record over to hear more music. A band that has now been around for sometime and hopefully will grace us on these shores again. –don (Prank)


CONGA FURY:
Dear Friends: CD
Whoa! Need to put on the brakes here. Raging thrash with female vocals that are blown out and manically screamed. These Japanese thrashers have made a name for themselves internationally in the last few years. Their latest is another notch in their belt. The power of their music feels so punishing to the ears. Sheer speed that feels like you are racing down the road out of control with no brakes or ability to steer. I missed them when they toured the west coast a while ago. That was my loss. What they can create on a recording must be amazing live. I would probably lose bladder control with the likelihood of the getting hurt by the audience enjoying the mayhem. Twenty-five songs are included and should satisfy the taste buds of most fans of Japanese punk. –don (Six Weeks)


COME ‘N GO, THE:
2: CD
Ah, man, almost. Musically, The Come N’ Go have it. Vocally, they’re lost at fucking sea. I mean, the singer can’t sing. I’m not talking in a Jeffrey Lee Pierce or Lou Reed kinda way, but in a bona fide there’s-nothing-going-on-in-the-vocal-department way. The band’s smart; they cover The Oblivians. The vocals are just as flat as a four-day-old opened can of Coca-Cola. I don’t believe it. They need soul, man. The music has soul. Someone needs to light a fire under the singer’s ass and get him up to par. Take him to Memphis, fatten his ass up on chicken and lard, and see if you can get some bass and swagger in that voice of his. My advice: phone up Alex Chilton and see if he can pencil the vocalist in. It worked wonders for Steve Wynn. Only don’t bring booze: Alex is on the wagon. –ryan (Voodoo Rhythm)


CODE OF HONOR:
Complete Studio Recordings 1982-1984: CD
I remember buying the What Are We Gonna Do? 7” and thinking how cool it is that they have a guy doing a handplant on the cover. Skate punk! On their split 12” with Sick Pleasure, they had a picture of three skate boards and a guitar. I was in, even though I never bought the split because friends had it. But they played music that spoke to me. Lyrics that were very intelligent and at the time music that was very angry. Listening to it now after twenty-some years, the songs still feel like they have stood the test of time. They didn’t break any speed records but they did have a snottiness to their sound like a lot of the bands of that era. Very California sounding. The unreleased track “What’s it Gonna Be?” that was recorded at the same time and not included on the 7” is a great song that has been unearthed. Listening to their final album, Beware the Savage Jaw, I still feel the same as I did when I first heard it. It shows them growing and experimenting with the music. But a lot of the punk sound seemed to have disappeared while they tried other things. All in all, this like a lot of other discographies, are essential if you are into the history of punk. Also, it’s great to get to hear the music again without paying collector prices. –don (Subterranean)


COCKSPARRER:
The Decca Yea: CD
Collected here are recordings, fifteen in all, the band made during their short stint at Decca Records circa ‘77/‘78, whereupon they were summarily dropped when their initial singles failed to make a big splash. Listening to this, it becomes painfully obvious what a bunch of ninnies the Decca people were for having neither faith nor patience in the band’s ability to really shine. There are some real winners on here, including many that are now considered anthems (“Runnin’ Riot”), classics (“Sunday Stripper”) and staples of the band’s set nearly three decades later (“Teenage Heart”), and many others that are just as good, which would explain why so much of this has found its way onto assorted comps over the years. Although less “punk” and more “pub” than later work, much of what is on here is strong enough to make anyone not stone deaf pay attention and illustrates that much of what makes the band so special was in evidence even early on. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


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