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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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ANTIDOTE:
Another Dose: CD
Not to be confused with the old NY hardcore band, this Antidote, who hail from Holland, specializes in straightforward, no bullshit European hardcore with lyrics focused on punk politics, squatting, and homophobia, among other things. Their unpretentious, balls-out delivery is a breath of fresh air that lifts ’em above the pack of parrot punks and rehash rebels. Good stuff. –jimmy (Rodent Popsicle)


ANGRY ANGLES:
Apparent Transparent: 7”
I think Mario at Plastic Idol and I are on a very similar page when it comes to music. I have yet to hear any of his releases and not be taken with them. Angry Angles are no exception. My only mistake was not ordering it soon enough, and the first pressing sold out in two days. Luckily for me, Mario reissued it (this time on yellow vinyl and with different colors on the cover). For some reason, I always remember this having keyboards (which it doesn’t). Two originals and a Wire cover on the b-side. –megan (Plastic Idol)


ALMIGHTY DO ME A FAVOR:
Self-titled: CD
When you strip down something that’s already naked, you get to bones, blood, and muscle. Bradley Williams’s one man band does just that. Absent are the gizmos of the future, the idle distractions of the present. Present is Alabama dirt, clothing with holes, hearts that seek mending, a world that never makes complete sense, and brains that never feel quite right. It’s the stuff of Leadbelly and early Bob Log III—where simplicity shouldn’t be mistaken for ease and a bare soul of easy-to-understand poetics is the driving force. Great stuff. –todd (Kapow)


ALBATROSS, AN:
Blessphemy (Of the Peace-Beast Feastgiver and the Bear Warp Kumite): CD
Between the unrelenting and relentless shrieking of the mouth man and the restless nomadic hand-toes of the piano man, your ears are in for something akin to the most irritating carnival ever—one featuring stuff like: the Biting Zoo, the Eczema Wheel, Eardrum Tattoos, the Portable Toilet where when a guy hits the round circle outside with a baseball you get dumped in the Turd Soup, everyone there is four years old, and vegan corn dogs. That, or some fucked up version of the “Flash Gordon” soundtrack. They call it the “Revolutionary Politics of Dance” (and a bunch of even more pretentious shit on the PR sheet), but I’m calling it “Spastic Art Rock”. I will say that there’s more actual rock on this one than on the other one I heard, but unfortunately it comes in tiny chunks only every few minutes or so, so no real momentum ever develops. –Cuss Baxter (Ace Fu)


AKIAKANE:
Samurai Punk Rock Girls: CD
Attention: Dichotomy alert! Super silly, fun, fast music played by a group of Japanese girls with super serious lyrics about the bombing of Hiroshima and World War II. My body wants to dance, but my brain wants to think! Oh, the horror! This is Kix (serious!) with a bunch of Froot Loops thrown on top! –Maddy (Asian Man/Einstein)


AFI:
Decemberunderground: CD
To have this sent for review directly to me is sort of strange. I could understand when they were on Nitro that I would receive stuff. That was a small label that fitted the scope of this here rag. But to be on some large database for a band that needs no support anymore from the little guy and is covered by all the major magazines. I’m shocked that I got this CD. In fact, I didn’t receive the previous major label release. But I did get contacted by some big publicity company for the last album to do a live review and they overnighted me the tickets. I hope it’s thanks for supporting the band early on. I am not a hater of the band. I am still a fan. I went out to the store and bought the CD on the day it was released. I like it and listen to it often. But I do feel I don’t have to actually review it. AFI has their fan base and that base will influence new listeners. They already have been introduced and put in the work to be where they are today. Also, MTV is going to be more influential in recruiting new fans than what I write here. –don (Interscope)


ADVERSARY WORKERS, THE:
Glenndonia: 7”
Fugazi-influenced political punk from St. Louis! IWW logos and disjointed guitars! This sounds like something all my friends liked in college, but I never got into. Maybe it’s because I didn’t discover Rites of Spring until two years ago. In other words, maybe it’s because I’m an idiot. If this were a cereal, it’d be Honey Nut Oh’s. Everyone else I know seems to like ‘em but me! –Maddy (NoWire)


ACTS OF SEDITION:
Self-titled: 7”EP
Honestly, this is pretty much a wet dream in a plastic sleeve. I first saw Acts of Sedition in a basement in Milwaukee (which was strange as both the band and I are from California). They played with Period 3, Typhoid Mary, Get Rad, and Chinese Telephones. Three bands of hardcore/trash followed by two pop punk. Such a strange mixture, and it was one of the most amazing shows I’ve been to. Acts of Sedition blew me away, and almost (literally) knocked me over (Al Blotto focuses and just starts swinging his bass as he plays, low and FAST). As for this record, this is a perfect encapsulation of that show. Fast, furious, brutal. It sounds like they’re in control of a madness raging around them, created by them, encouraged by them, but still separated from them. Lyrically, spot-fucking-on. And, just to win me over a little more, they follow each song with a brief, pertinent quote (which to me says volumes more than other bands who write introductory paragraphs to each song). Oh, but I’m not done gushing yet. The vinyl is half translucent green and opaque yellow. Seriously, I’m stunned. Limited to 500. –megan (Spacement)


ACKERMANS, THE:
Nobody Knows Us Better Than: LP
Swedish power pop! That’s like saying East Bay pop punk! Or Czechoslovakian polka punk! This is pretty decent stuff, in the Hives vein. Nothing to wet your pants about, but if you love all this stuff, you’ll definitely need to get this. Me, I suffer from Yum Yums Dented Head Syndrome (YYDHS). Every time I hear Swedish power pop I expect it to be as good as the mighty Yum Yums, and when it’s not I bash my head against the wall. If this were a cereal, it’d be Alpha Bits. –Maddy (Alien Snatch)


ACCELERATORS, THE:
Nowhere Near Funny: 7”
Put Lynrd Skynrd, Zeke, Dwarves, neck tattoos, and Loud Pipes all in a blender. It’s amped-up, attitude-heavy bar rock about bad behavior, being a rat, and laments that “the Giant Ethiopian” boxer, Jack Johnson, who pasted almost every Great White Hope that came before him resulted in “the day that blackness ruled the world”. (It’s strange that there’s no mention of Jess Willard, the boxer who eventually beat Johnson in twenty-six rounds of a scheduled forty-five round bout in Havana. Perhaps I expect too much of lyrics.) Ends with an okay cover of the Dead Kennedy’s “Police Truck.” Way too standard for my tastes. –todd (Let’s Pretend)


ABI YOYOS:
MILL VALLEY: CD
Abi Yoyos sound like the Fleshies mixed with This Bike Is A Pipebomb if TBIAP was from the East Bay: dirty, often weird in the right places, DIY punk. They’re still oscillating between focus and forgetting there may be an audience bigger than them as a band. It’s one thing to describe the process of knitting a sweater—“Oh, my that’s quite tedious, my friend”—quite another to hand a just-knit sweater to a friend: “Wow, you put all that hard work in for me when I was away? How nice.” So, for over half of the record: brilliant. The other less-than-half: chain-yanking. Here’s what came to mind while listening to Mill Valley: who here bets that Miles Davis could really control his farts and play a solo? My hand’s up. –todd (Big Raccoon)


MARVEL:
Unleashed: CD EP
Bar rock doing what bar rock does best: shitty cover that I wouldn’t want to hear wasted, let alone sober. –megan (Black Juju)


MARITIME:
We, the Vehicles: CD
Sometimes I can’t help but wonder what anyone else reviewing some of the stuff I get would say about it. Or perhaps the editors just send me this stuff because they know it’s more up my alley than say, something from some crust or ‘77 punk band. Looking at the type of bands we interview here (most of whom are very cool, by the way), I just wonder what some of these record labels are thinking sending their CDs to us. Maybe they’re hoping it gets to me since I’m probably the only person here who might cut it some slack. Maybe not. I don’t know. What I do know is that Maritime is the project of one half of Promise Ring and one member from The Dismemberment Plan. Based on that, one might expect sissy music. And one would be right. This is a light-hearted affair with soft, lisped vocals courtesy of Davey von Bohlen and gentle pop music usually accompanied by soothing guitars and the occasional keys. The drumming is consistently steady and the bass is almost non-existent, but in the end the songs are what they are: incredibly catchy and delightful to listen to. You may want to make fun of them at first, but after a few listens they actualize themselves as pleasant, honest works that are soothing and generous in their delivery. –kurt (Flameshovel)


MANGINA:
Self-titled: 7"
Hilarious packaging: they’ve reprinted entries of a ton of shows they played; the majority of ‘em seem to end with someone getting pieces of glass in their back, someone getting attacked by a pit bull, or someone getting threatened with a gun. Grow ‘em wild in Alabama, they do. Also comes with a two-track CD-R that’s spray painted orange. I hate that I’ve reviewed something in the past two issues where I compare the vocalist to the dude from Contra, even though each band has musically and aesthetically sounded nothing like them, and here I am doing it again: this guy sounds a lot like the dude from Contra. Or maybe a slightly-less crazed Combat Wounded Veteran. The music follows suit: Combat Wounded Veteran simplified and slowed down just a tad. The vinyl’s white and someone wrote “Mangina” in brown marker over one side. I have no idea what they’re singing about, since they included three inserts and no lyrics, but one can only assume a song called “Rob Halford May Be Gay (But You’re a Fucking Faggot)” is either a spirited anthem regarding homosexuality, or it’s meant to piss people off. Either way, I was down with the DIY packaging but the actual music struck me as a bit dull. If their show excerpts are any indication, the live show’s where it’s at for this band anyway. –keith (Jeth-Row)


MAGGOTS, THE:
“Nobody Loves the Hulk” b/w “Take it Off”: 7"
The a-side is a lost ‘60s nugget that i’ve never actually heard, but have been aware of for quite some time because i’d seen the little text ads the band took out pimping the record in the Marvel Comics of the day. For whatever reason, i always assumed the song would be more of a novelty thing (a la the Merry Marvel Marching Society theme song) (face front!); it’s actually a lot more psychedelic/Electric Prunes-y than i imagined—lotsa minor chords and organ. The b-side is a Peter Gunn-styled frat-rocker, with “Take It Off” the sole concession to verbiage. I think the only abiding reason for you to get this record is if you’re a big comic book nerd and don’t (or, come to think of it, do) own the original, as the sleeve seems to faithfully emulate the Real Deal. Sheesh! BEST SONG: “Take It Off” BEST SONG TITLE: “Nobody Loves the Hulk!” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: On gamma-ray green vinyl, so you gotta wonder if the first one was one grey. –norb (Bootleg Booze)


MAD SIN:
Dead Moon’s Calling: CD
I’m EXTREMELY picky about the psychobilly stuff I listen to and, frankly, this ain’t something I’d listen to ever again. What’s on here sounds like your average modern day corporate punk band with a stand-up bass and lyrics trying desperately to be edgy but only end up sounding lame. –jimmy (Sailor’s Grave)


M.O.T.O.:
El Stop b/w She’s Gone Nuts: 7"
What do the Seeds, Dr. Demento, Roky Erickson, hoboes, and the Beach Boys have in common? How the fuck should I know, but I bet Paul Caporino does. How can songs be so instantly catchy, crackle-poppy, infinitely weird, yet singable and raw; like if the Beatles never made enough money to pay their mortgages, but just kept plugging away in near-obscurity and sung about their sex drives blatantly? How the fuck should I know, but Paul Caporino, the mastermind of this twenty plus year-long outfit, does. Almost too good. Well worth picking up. –todd (Baby Killer)


LUXURY PUSHERS:
Quitter’s Holiday: CD
This is coming from a few weird directions at once: ‘90s grunge pop, Boston-y sing-along street punk, and a little bit of Turbonegro’s purposely obvious hard rock like on their last record. Oh yeah, and Mike Ness’ scab-pickin’ lyrics about “[having] nothin’” and “Bruises to Prove It” and shit like that. Points added for titling a song and penning a chorus based on a line from Ned Flanders’ dad: “We’ve tried nothin’…and we’re all out of ideas!” and then immediately deducted for making it not funny. –Guest Contributor (Ready-Wear Ltd.)


NOFX:
Arming the Proletariat with Potato Guns b/w I Am Going to Hell for This One: 7”
Since this is #2 of the series, I’m developing a couple of new theories. I think the backs of all the records are going to be some sort of puzzle, that when all twelve are put together, it’ll look like a big poster. There’s also a running joke about a punk, a rabbi, and a Republican forming in the matrix area of the vinyl. The a-side is El Jefe’s horn front and center, and there are no lyrics. The band just does a round robin telling jokes. It fades off into applause. Ehh. The b-side’s much better, talks shit about the current state of fear-driven Christianity, and correctly uses the word “hauteur.” The vinyl, so far, looks pukey and diarrhea-y and matches the shade of color on the back of the record jackets. I’ll keep you posted with developments. –todd (Fat)


NOFX:
Insulted by Germans… Again b/w Fanmail: 7”
Having some discretionary income at their disposal, NOFX is releasing a 7” every month for a year as a sort of fans-only release (I think) decorated with artwork submitted by their fans. It’s that sort of forward-thinking dumbassery that NOFX’s famous for, and the 7” that kicks it all off ain’t too shabby. Clear, snotty and whiney punk that makes most critics cringe, the suburbs squeal with glee, and chain wallets jangle the world over. Me, I like ‘em, ignoring the average dickery of their typical fan. The b-side’s a Dickies cover. –todd (Fat)


NO-FI SOUL REBELLION:
Lambs to the Slaughter: CDEP
Man, it really took four months to record this? They must not have worked very hard. This is two people, dicking around on a four-track (or this late in the game they probably have Pro Tools or that "garage band" thing on their computer). There's an ironic R&B song, a couple of "rock" songs, keyboards, drum machines, whatever. It doesn't fall too far off the map from stuff like Gravy Train or the Hawnay Troof. I'm never one to take things too seriously, but this is just a little too goofy for me. It's not bad, it's even kinda cute, but I don't think I'm ever gonna listen to it again. –ben (Wantage USA)


NOCTURNE FOR A DYING PLANET:
Self-titled: CD
Pretty solid ambient noise from former members of Goat Shanty and Divorce (no, I never heard of ‘em either, but I like the names). I could live without the depressive piano number (and the somber mantle—why not call it Goat Divorce?), but overall they got the shit lined up just about right. –Cuss Baxter (Nocturne for a Dying Planet)


NO LESS:
Le$$on$ 93-98: CD
Anytime a band mixes things up musically, they usually create an audio document that is not easily palatable to the senses. Following the demise of Plutocracy, these bay area misfits took the formula of mixing genres a step further. Taking punk, metal, grindcore, and adding samples and noise, they redefined the shape of making noise. I believe this a discography of sorts since I’m not familiar with the band. What I do know is this is manic like a pounding headache. The slow parts are really slow and the fast parts hit record speeds. The lyrics were simplistic but the music is the key here. They found their magic and had a uniqueness that cannot be denied. As irritating as this can be when not paying attention, upon further inspection, something should grab you if you are open-minded. –don (Push Down and Turn)


NIGHTBREED:
Immortality through Ashes: CDEP
Sounds like a toned-down version of Unsane. Sounds like a belligerent drunk popping valium (synesthesia rules!). Slower, infectious songs that have a malicious droning quality that nonetheless fails to get dull. The possible negative result of this, though, is that the songs tend to bleed together and sound the same. That really didn’t bother me, however, and became less of a problem the more that I listened to it. The six songs wound up working as a whole, much in the same dark, brooding fashion of the movements of a Chopin opus for a cello quartet. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Tragic End)


NEW YORK REL-X, THE:
Sold Out of Love: CD
This female-fronted New York punk band has released an album full of heartbreak and anger. This sentiment is even captured in the cover art, which is an illustration of a big-busted woman covered in blood, tears, and red lipstick. The music is not extremely memorable or special. There are no guitar riffs or choruses that you just can’t get out of your head or fall in love with. Really, it is just standard guitar, bass, and drum that goes in one ear and out the other without any emotional or knee jerk response. But, they have harmonized back up vocals, and lead vocals that are not just screaming in your ear, but singing with attempts at melody. Let me put it this way, I would not go to a show just to see them, but if they were playing in a lineup I wouldn’t gouge my eyes out for having to sit through their set. Consequently, the album is decent and worth a free listen, nevertheless it is not taking a spot among my regular listening rotation of bands such as The Briefs, The Clash, and The Dead Boys. –jenny (TKO)


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