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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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NEVER ENOUGH:
Dead Set on Destruction: CD
A discography CD for a band that been existence for only two years? If there is a demand for this to be re-released, who am I to judge? Well, here you have six tracks from an upcoming EP, a 7”, demo and live tracks of no-nonsense straight edge hardcore that doesn’t go overboard on the metal parts. My gripe is having the live tracks smack in the middle of the whole thing. I know chronologically it makes sense, but it does not stand up to the studio tracks, and that includes the demo. –don (Organized Crime)


NAVEL:
Depend: CD
For a not-very-famous band, I keep thinking that Leatherface must be huge in Gainesville and parts of Tokyo, because I’ve gotten so many albums from Gainesville’s No Idea records and Tokyo’s Snuffy Smile records that take so much from Leatherface that they should pay Frankie royalties. Not that I’m complaining. All rock bands and punk bands are just playing out variations on a theme. And when that theme comes from Leatherface’s madness and melody, it usually makes me happy. I don’t say this to pigeonhole Navel as a Leatherface cover band, but Leatherface is definitely the starting point. From there, they play with touches of 7 Seconds-like hardcore and Hüsker Dü sonic stylings. It all blends together pretty well. It’s not the best thing that Snuffy Smile has to offer, but it’s definitely worth the international postage. –sean (Snuffy Smile)


MUTANT:
Self-titled: 7”
I get really excited when I get a package from Canada that is addressed from Schizophrenic Records. I have been corresponding with Craig for probably close to ten years. He would probably know better. As I’m pushing closer to forty, my mind is short circuiting sometimes. In my hands is another gem that the crazy Canuck has decided to release. I look at the cover and see most of the song titles are in Japanese. So, a new band from Tokyo, Japan, huh. How bad could this be? Not bad at all! Knowing what this label likes to release, it’s going to be a punisher. A wail of a vocal and the thundering of some blast beats come blaring out of my speakers. It reminded me if Japanese bands Slang meets the Slight Slappers and Senseless Apocalypse to share DNA to create a new band. Not that this is all power violence. They come out with some straight but fast punk numbers. They mix up the tempos, but keep coming back with the blast beats to not let you forget that they are out to blow a new hole in you. I was playing this at 33 rpm because there are nine songs. I played it all the way through and didn’t really think too much about it. The music sounded fine but the vocals did sound a little weird. So I replayed it at 45 rpm and all I could say was whoa. I really almost wet myself because I had the volume up a little too loud. Songs were now blazing out at rapid succession. This band plays pretty damn fast and the vocals are shrieking. I felt exhausted after a few spins at the right speed. These guys need to tour now and bring this madness to the Western Hemisphere. –don (Schizophrenic)


MUNLY & THE LEE LEWIS HARLOTS:
Self-titled: CD & DVD
Much more sunken and skeletal in appearance than even Hank III yet manically alive, Munly (& the Lee Lewis Harlots) has been oft labeled simply "Gothic Country." Imagine the Rachels (the Quarterstick ones), the Handsome Family, Nick Cave, Bauhaus, and 16 Horsepower spending darkened hours passing around a bottle of XXX, telling languorous and remorseful spook tales before gesticulating frenetically and knocking over the lantern, thus burning down the barn. Whirls fantastically like a dervish and is as creepy and weepy as a poison sumac rash. –thiringer (Alternative Tentacles/Smooch)


MONKEY PAW:
Honkey Kong: CD
It reminded me of what System of a Down would sound like if they were not a metal band. –don (4 Alarm)


MISERY:
Next Time/Who’s the Fool…: CD
I have to admit that I didn’t have my hand in the cookie jar as much as I should have during the early to mid ‘90s. I have seen items from this band in the past but I tend to shy away from a lot of bands by the number of patches I see on the kids. So, I do not own a single item from this now legendary band until now. On the record label’s website I noticed that this band can be described as “forefathers of crust,” which baffles me. I thought the Amebix were one of the forefathers of the genre. That was like ten years prior. So in my opinion, the statement should have read “the forefathers of the second wave of crust.” I don’t want to sound like the bitter old guy because I really do like this. The sound is bottom-heavy, dirty, and metallic-tinged. It has many of the key ingredients that make my ears tingle: throat-shredding vocals of obvious disdain for injustices and topics of question of the time period. Many bands have come afterwards in this genre and have not quite pulled it off as well as this band. So chalk one up to a band that I would have continued to overlook if this CD had not come my way. –don (Profane Existence)


MILLION DOLLAR MARXISTS:
Stop b/w Parasite: 7" 45
I dunno, whenever i listen to this band all i can think of is that i bet they have tattoos on the insides of their forearms. Not that there's anything wrong with that. From the record's press release: "M$M came together with one simple goal: THE RE-INVENTION OF CANADIAN ROCK & ROLL." Uh, good luck with that. BEST SONG: "Stop," or maybe "Parasite" BEST SONG TITLE: "Stop," or maybe "Parasite" FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: "Stop," or maybe... oh, never mind. –norb (Blue Bus)


MILLENCOLIN:
Kingwood: CD
I wrote this off to the errors of a new band: overproduced, no real identity, and most of the songs sounding the same. Then I found out they’ve been together for over ten years. Yikes! Radio-friendly pop with an edge. –megan (Burning Heart)


MIDNIGHT TRAMP:
I'm Back + In Spite of Appearance b/w Higher & Higher: 7" 45
One: Don't be put off by the suck-ass name (may i suggest "Tridnight Mamp" as the front-runner for any potential rechristenings?), this stuff is decent as shit. Two: Sounds kinda like what one might imagine Moby Grape or the Flamin' Groovies might have sounded like had they taken things one level more bubblegum or Monkees-oid, or maybe it kinda sounds like what the Real Kids might have sounded like had they had a tendency towards more wide-open song structures in lieu of their usual conciseness. Three: The temporal interval containing the highest concentration of the band's influences likely starts with the first Beatles album on the left of the timeline and the Guess Who on the right, although the contemporary band i would feel most comfortable equating them to would be the Fevers. Feel free, at need, to consult me on other weighty matters. BEST SONG: "I'm Back" BEST SONG TITLE: "In Spite of Appearance" FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: This is the best Canadian band whose name begins with the letters “MI” right now. Also, i thought the font on the cover was Bastion, but now i'm not so sure. –norb (Zaxxon Virile Action)


LOVED ONES, THE:
Keep Your Heart: CD
Part of the new breed on Fat, this band is no newcomer. Featuring former members of Kid Dynamite and the Curse, this is no high school garage band. At the moment, this is a little too slick for me. The songs are catchy, well recorded, and have drive. This could be on a major label. The production is that good. I would probably have a different opinion if I had seen the band live first. –don (Fat)


LOVED ONES, THE:
Keep Your Heart: CD
Made up of former members of Kid Dynamite, Paint It Black, and The Curse, this is fairly different from the members’ former acts and instead is typical Fat Wreck Chords fare: well-produced, clean, poppy, catchy and for outsiders like me it’s reminiscent of other material on the label (Lawrence Arms) although huge fans of the genre will most likely disagree (hey, if you can find discrepancies between most pop punk acts, more power to you). This is the kind of stuff my neighbors in grad school listened to and thought they were all “punk” and “different” not realizing that this is really tame. But if you’re looking for a guilty pop punk indulgence with an East Coast flavor, The Loved Ones aren’t too bad. –kurt (Fat)


MIDNIGHT EVILS:
Breakin’ It Down: CD
The Midnight Evils are an about-to-derail, greasy freight train of rock’n’roll fueled by fried chicken, sex with dirty fingernails, three-string bass, and sincerity. They’re heavy, stomping, tilt their collective head to AC/DC, and, without posturing, make you believe that the fat, the ugly, the warty, and the unpopular will always have a leg up on making the most direct, no-bullshit rock around. Fans of Motörhead, The Dirtys, the B-Movie Rats, and Poison Idea would be hard pressed to be disappointed. Pass up that false-pouty silver spoon, treadmill, “too much about nothing” garage fluff that’s getting TV play and dig into some musical meat that’ll stick to your ribs. –todd (Estrus)


MASS SHIVERS:
Self-titled: CD
While it’s no doubt terribly satisfying to pull off this sort of jazzcore artfest, it’s not very fun to listen to. In fact, I listened to it twice and went angry both times, and long before the twenty-nine minutes were up. I liked it in the old days when people put their shit in toilets and it stayed there. –Cuss Baxter (Sickroom)


MALAJUBE:
Le Compte Complet: CD
Don’t know what it says, don’t know what it means (seems to be from Montreal and French Canadian therefore), but what it sounds like is Danny Elfman interpreting Queen’s Flash Gordon soundtrack. You know, lasers and stuff, but with a circus organ too. –Cuss Baxter (Dare to Care)


MAGNOLIA THUNDERPUSSY:
Starin’ Down the Sun: CD
Okay, I'm going out on a limb here, but I feel confident in saying this: THIS CD IS THE WORST PIECE OF SHIT I'VE EVER HEARD IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. Long, wanky "jams" that go nowhere. Fucking horrible singing. Lame art. This CD actually made me angry. If I had been riding in a car while listening to this, I'da thrown it out the window. Fuck this record. If you like it, please delete me from your friend list. –ben (Mar Vista)


MAGNOLIA THUNDERPUSSY:
Starin: CD

From the vaults of obscurity comes this unearthed treasure. Magnolia Thunderpussy were a bunch of L.A. teenagers that were tight with Black Flag and Flea back in the mid-1980s. SST label head Greg Ginn was interested in putting out a record by the group but for some reason it never happened. By 1986 the band was kaput. Bassist David Jones decided to “unleash the fury” from the vault in 2004. Split between eleven studio tracks and a live beach show the next day, Starin Down the Sun shows the band’s dexterity. Guitarist Chris Hundley alternates between jazzy passages and full-on shredding. Pat Palma’s drums are maniacal but precise at the same time. Bassist Jones holds all the songs together with some fluid bass lines throughout. Lead singer Dale Nixon’s vocals show a remarkable maturity at age seventeen. I bet you’re thinking you’ve heard this singer’s name before? Although the CD’s liner notes could choke an elephant with all the name-dropping quotes, there’s no mention of the “Dale Nixon factor.” Greg Ginn used this alias on Black Flag’s My War record after Chuck Dukowski bolted. This moniker has since been copped anytime an enterprising musician had wanted to guest on another musician’s record and had been told “no way” by the fat cats at a major label. Brian Baker and Dave Grohl have later borrowed this alias along the way. So there’s your punk cred history for Magnolia Thunderpussy. But the music is what’s important here, my friends. Some of the songs like, “Outside Inside,” explore some free-flowing jazz, while “Walls” offers up some Black Flag anger with some rage-filled vocals from Mr. Nixon. The title track reminds me of Angry Samoans without Metal Mike’s angst. Like a bizarre mash-up of All, The Minutemen, and Black Flag, Magnolia Thunderpussy is an important link from the LA scene. If you see David Jones on the streets—bow down and offer praise for the release of this cool-as-shit CD.

–koepenick (Mar Vista)


MAD SIN:
Young, Dumb, and Snotty: CD
Mad Sin? Is that seriously the best name you could come up with? I mean, I know you’re German, and I know you’re a psychobilly band, and that’s two strikes against the ol’ intelligence factor, but come on. Mad Sin? Like, somebody just showed up to practice and said, “We’ll call ourselves Mad Sin,” and everybody agreed that that was a good idea? And you’ve gone eighteen years without realizing how stupid it is? Jesus. Anyway, like I said, it’s a psychobilly band, so pretty much if you’ve heard one psychobilly song, you’ve heard this. –Josh (Cargo)


LOW BUDGETS, THE:
Aim Low, Get High: CD
This is indeed “low budget” rock, though not as lo-fi as the “budget rock” of the Mummies. This might be more like a Blue-Light-Special mix of the Spits and the Bodies. Not a bad mix, in my book, and especially endearing because they delight in skewering the wretchedly shallow corporate/consumerist values of the ovine American Mainstream and they do it with catchy, dorky panache. –aphid (Schuykill)


LOVED ONES, THE:
Self-titled: CDEP
Pop isn’t supposed to take itself seriously. When it does, it’s not fun anymore. This band kind of reminds me of something like Alkaline Trio musically but they just seem to be trying to hard to be angst-ridden poets. There is a time and a place to be deep and philosophical but this ain’t it. It gets dull real fast. –ty (Jade Tree)


LOTTIE COLLINS, THE:
Good Night for the Lottie Collins Funclub: CD
Fun, happy, shit-simple Japanese garage pop in the vein of… well, other fun, happy, shit-simple Japanese garage pop bands. It’s really sloppy and poorly recorded, but this kind of stuff usually gets by on charm anyway, and the Lottie Collins have plenty of that. And I hear they wear matching outfits! –Josh (www.icnet.ne.jp/~collins)


LAST RESORT, THE:
Resurrection: CD
With this, Last Resort wins the trophy for “old oi band that manages to still sound like an oi band.” This sounds like it could’ve easily come out in 1981, and that’s actually a good thing ’cause everything here is rife with requisite anger and rage, a crucial ingredient to this strain of oi that so many contemporary bands lack. Four new tunes start things off, followed by some reworkings of older tunes like “Violence on Our Minds” as well as some 4-Skins, Warzone, and Agnostic Front covers. All in all, a worthwhile listen, although more new original material would’ve been nice. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


LAST OF THE JUANITAS:
In the Dirt: CD
The after-effects of a frontal lobotomy performed on White Zombie playing dissonant dirge for the audience of one. –don (Wantage)


LAGWAGON:
Live in a Dive: CD
Here is a band on Fat that I have liked a song here and there for years but would not call myself a fan. So I find it hard to review this because I really don’t particularly enjoy this band at the moment. What I can comment on is that for a live recording, they really do a great job on the production of them. This series surpasses a lot of live recordings that I have heard through the years. I cringe when I have to listen to a live recording. Something always sounds bad on one of those. It’s really hard to translate what it feels and sounds like to actually be there. But this series is an example of how a band should be recorded live. Not everybody has the budget to do it this way, but this sounds better than a lot of bands’ studio recordings. See what you get when you pay attention to the quality? The real Lagwagon fans will eat this up. So why do I have to sell this with my shitty opinion? –don (Fat)


KRUNCHIES, THE:
In De Winkel: LP
The Krunchies are smack dab in the strangulated universe also inhabited by The Tyrades and The Orphans, where guitars buzz like saws in retards’ hands and limbs are plopping off, where drums sound like mines going off, where people sound like they’re hurting, and sentiments of failure are thickly painted with rollers (i.e. “Reaffirming My Hatred of Humanity through Failed Relationships”). What’s not to like? Get dirty and scream along. –todd (Criminal I.Q.)


KILLERS, THE:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Judging from the level of thrashy noise coming from this, I think it’s a safe assumption that this is not the band enjoying mucho airplay on America’s alt-rock stations. Be cool as fuck if it was, though. –jimmy (Hater of God)


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