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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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BROKEN BONES:
F.O.A.D.: CD
Another reissue of this band’s material (following the reissue of Dem Bones last issue). The studio tracks are a tad metallic and muddy, but are miles above much of the other “crossover” stuff that was making the rounds in the mid-‘80s, and the live stuff here is quite spirited. Tracks from the Never Say Die 12” and a compilation version of “Death Is Imminent” are also tacked on here for good measure. If you dig your hardcore tinged with metal, you can do no wrong visiting one of the original sources. –jimmy (Beer City)


BRIEFS, THE:
Steal Yer Heart: CD
My two Briefs experiences are as follows: in 2002 (I think), I saw them opening for The Dammed. I dug them, but I guess I was too hammered to remember to get a CD. Summer 2005: Warped Tour—I did not see them live but I did see them give a teenager a free mohawk with his $25 Briefs purchase. I’m sure his mother was thrilled when he got home. I fantasized about getting my own but the flack at work would be torture. My anecdotes should give you a clue that this band of ruffians are punk rock extraordinaire. This record does not falter. Snotty, pissed-off vocals, funny song titles, and oil burning guitar solos. All you need for the holidays. “Lint Fabrik” sounds like a Dee Dee Ramone outtake. “I Can’t Work” will be the new slacker anthem for the kids—bank on it! “Normal Jerks” channels the Buzzcocks with class. No songs over four minutes so don’t expect any Yes-like solos. Just pure debauchery and good times. Viva Le Briefs! –koepenick (BYO)


BRIEFS, THE:
Steal Yer Heart: CD
I love The Briefs. I’ve been waiting a long time for this to come out (well, since the last one, anyways). What can I say? Well, for starters it doesn’t grab you from the first note like Sex Objects did. I mean, everything sounds great but something is off. It took a few listens to figure out what was up. It’s mature. What the fuck is the deal with that?! Sure, they’ve still got the goofy lyrical content (“Genital General,” for instance), but the overall feel of the record is one of having been around the block a time or two. A great record, to be sure, but just not childish enough to be a Briefs record. –ty (BYO)


YOUNG CANADIANS:
No Escape: CD
The Young Canadians were one of the early groups to make a bit of a splash in the fledgling Canadian punk scene. Their best known track, “Hawaii,” has been booted a number of times, but as evidenced by this collection, was not their sole output. Joey Shithead’s record label has seen fit to collect the band’s three EPs, their track from the Vancouver Complication comp (when they were still known as the K-Tels), and a slew of unreleased live tracks for public consumption, a move which, frankly, absolves him of nearly all of DOA’s missteps (sorry, but that band’s whole “metal” period still ain’t quite wiped clean). Musically, these boys leaned toward the poppier end of the spectrum, preferring cynicism and edgy, finely crafted rock to screaming and playing a thousand miles per hour. The studio tracks are, of course, excellent, and the live tracks—ten additional tracks that are wholly different tunes from the studio tracks that precede them—are just as friggin’ good. Nice to see another band get some well-deserved attention. –jimmy (Sudden Death)


XYILE / BRAND BLAND / PATTERN OF ANALYSIS:
Split: 3” CD
Three-way-split noise CD on this little 3” disc. Xyile are industrial noise on their two songs. Brand Bland are pretty cool punky noise in a Screamers meets X Ray Spex kind of way. I definitely dug their four songs the most on this disc by far. Pattern Of Analysis are kinda grindcore and kinda noise with super guttural death metal vocals. –frame (Frank Ross)


WILL TO LIVE:
Tested and True: CD
Some pretty decent Pantera/Lamb Of God style aggro metal from this Texas band. The first song was not good and had me thinking I was in for some boring, slow, floorpunch crap. But once they step on the gas they really nail it. This is better than most of the stuff on the Century Media or Roadrunner roster but not something I am gonna reach over my Shadows Fall records to pull off the shelf. –frame (Spook City)


WHISKEY & CO.:
Leaving the Nightlife: CD
Bear with me on this one. If Natalie Merchant and that one chick from the Dixie Chicks mixed their voices and sang over more traditional country with a hint of the alt. instead of the opposite, you’d have Whiskey & Co. And it’s good. It’s so good. She sings so easily, which is a nice reprise from all the over-the-top forced virtuosos that seem to be gaining popularity lately. The music compliments her voice (or maybe it’s the other way around) perfectly with nothing sounding forced. The songs seem to come from an earlier time: the naturalness of them makes each feel like each is tied to a memory from years back. Songs of heartbreak, songs of drinking, songs that you’d sing with friends after the bars have closed and you’re trying to make that last twelve pack carry through another hour. –megan (No Idea)


WE MARCH:
The Madness Ends Here: CD
We March are a little harder to pin down than your average punk band. Sure, they plunder early American hardcore with the same deftness as bands like The Regulations, and they can no doubt lay waste to a crowd with the best of ’em (these guys on a double bill with the aforementioned Regulations would be one dangerous place to find oneself, indeed), but if you listen a bit closer, you can hear little bits of other styles mooshed into the batter as well—a teensy bit of MC5 here, a weensy bit of the Germs there, a tweensy smidge of the Voidoids, and maybe even some of the Cows’ chaos clinging to the edge of the bowl—giving you much more to marvel at. None of this means jack diddly if your sole intention is to use this disc to blast holes through the wall via your home stereo—and trust me, this CD will indeed be one fucking sweet addition to your permanent playlist—but if you’re feeling the urge to pick apart its layers while torturing the neighborhood, you might be surprised by what you hear buried under all that racket. Recommended? You bet your ass it is, kiddo. –jimmy (nonprophetltd@hotmail.com)


VULTURES, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Adequate musicianship and a decent, though obvious, selection of cover tunes (Misfits, Sonics, the Shondells), but this is somehow still about as grating and devoid of purpose as Pat Boone covering Slayer’s “Altar of Sacrifice.” –jimmy (www.bigmuddyrecords.com)


VICIOUS, THE:
Suicidal Generation: 7”
Simple, catchy, straightforward punk rock –jimmy (Wasted Sounds)


VEX:
New Words for an Old Revolution: 7”
Two demos dating back to 1983-84 finally from this old Houston punk band get a proper release. First side is kinda plodding with politically oriented lyrics, but the second side is much tighter and catchier with pretty much the same lyrical content. Not bad. –jimmy (Hotbox)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
The Ugly Truth About Blackpool, Volume One: CD
Twenty-seven songs covering 1977-2005 in Blackpool, England. Starting with 1977 Skrewdriver and going up through Sick 56 in 2005. The Skrewdriver song is good, but I will still reach for Cocksparrer any day for great listening and no sketch factor. Zyklon B, Male Models, Tunnel Vision, and Syntax all turn in decent post punk tunes and the songs seem to go on up with early ‘80s street punk/oi from Antisocial, Fits, and Take Lindy Surfing. All types of punk are represented here over the years but my fave tunes were by Shrink with their power pop sound and Razor Dog with their pop punk sound from 2004. –frame (JSNTGM)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Strata—A Young Person’s Guide to Experimental Music: CD
The songs on this sampler range from pretty cool to pretty out there. HEY!!! Bizzart, and the experimental hip-hop kid who opened up for Buck when they played their last show on Cinco De Mayo 2005 in Long Beach, is on here! NICE. –mrz (Sounds Are Active, no address)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Rather See You Dead: 7”
Original issue of a comp, which initially saw the light of day about a decade ago. It features three of Houston’s earliest and most celebrated punk bands—Really Red, The Hates, and Legionnaires Disease—cranking out four tunes that I’m figuring aren’t available elsewhere (well, the Hates track is exclusive, at the very least) and date no later than 1979. Do I really need to tell you that this, in all its orange vinyl glory, is one smoking slab of punk rock history screaming to be played at maximum volume? I didn’t think so. –jimmy (Hotbox)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Pirates Press Box Set: 6 x 7”
Hey, the shit’s gonna blow up no matter what I say. With a lineup that consists of The Generators, Bouncing Souls, Street Brats, Lucky Stiffs, The Skels, Riverboat Gamblers, The Ratchets, Black Romeos, The Pervz, The Explosion, The Sore Thumbs, and Armed Suspects, and everything being packaged in tattoo-flash styled sleeves and each record having totally different, totally wacky colored vinyl, this box set is, I imagine, gonna be moving some units. Like most comps, it’s a little spotty in some places (the Bouncing Souls, for example, contribute one not-so-good song and one song from their first BYO LP that came out about twelve years ago, and the Skels’ Dropkick Murphys-styled drunk punk has become a little tiresome to me over the past few years) but the majority of these bands have definitely got some electricity walking up their backbones. Riverboat Gamblers fucking smoke with two songs that sound like the Humpers on a meth binge, The Ratchets’ songs could’ve come from a long-lost Stiff Little Fingers session and both The Armed Suspects and The Generators brands of ‘77-style punk had me singing along by the first chorus. Generally, I think the whole tattoo-culture appropriation in punk over the past few years has become pretty played out and boring, but some of the vinyl here does looks pretty amazing. And sonically speaking, there are some fucking flat-out stunners on here. Quite a few of these splits have gotten and will continue to get some pretty consistent playing time around these parts. –keith (Pirate Press)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
If It Ain’t Cheap, It Ain’t Punk: CD
A wildly diverse comp here, with punk, country, and points between making appearances over the course of its fifty-eight-minute running time, courtesy of a community of bands including This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb, The Sissies, Ghost Mice, Shotwell, and a host of others. Although I profess I ain’t much of a fan of a large swath of what’s on here—what can I say, it just ain’t my bag—I do respect the DIY attitude and camaraderie of their efforts, which are infinitely more “punk” than the work of many others claiming that title these days. –jimmy (Plan-It X)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Diggy Diggy Dead!: 2 x CD
There’s some good stuff here by some relatively known names—a couple of live Dicks tracks, and some tunes by the Dead Bros., The Deadites, Derita Sisters, Reverend Beat-Man, and the Vectors to name a few—and there’s a lot of ground covered over the course of two discs—from Austin punk to Japanese ‘60s slop to Polish hardcore—but the dearth of band information is more than a little exasperating. I mean, are the Dicks tracks of recent vintage? Is Dennis Most’s cover of “Psychotic Reaction” a new recording? Who are all these Texas bands on here and are they even together anymore? Call me anal retentive, but I like to know a little about what I’m listening to. –jimmy (www.rubblerecords.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Brainsick Volume 1: CD
Four way metal/screamo comp featuring A Nightmare And A Cataclysm, And Bullets Fall, Codes of Silence, and Deep 13. The Agent Orange cover song was cool. But I think Donofthedead might have liked this more than I did. –mrz (Eugene)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Auto Glamour Sound: CD
Few things are sweeter than being introduced to something you missed the first time around. What was originally a double-seven-inch comp of Ohio art punk bands gets reissued on CD with a healthy chunk of additional tracks, for a total of twenty-three cuts, from Teddy And The Frat Girls, Qi-zz, Dementia Precox, 11,000 Switches, Spiritual Californians, Cointelpro, BPA, and Lopez Sophisticates. The music ranges from the funky to the truly odd, and virtually all of it holds up surprisingly well given the fact that it’s over two decades old. Fans of “classic” bands like the Fried Abortions and more recent bands like Old Time Relijun will find much here worth their while. This’ll find itself in a place of honor in the ol’ record collection, right next to the Urinals, Savage Republic, and Keats Rides a Harley. –jimmy (Shake It)


VAGINA SORE JR:
Self-titled: 7-song 7” EP
Two parts Clairmel, and one part Russ of the Tim Version (who moves to bass and sings occasionally), it’s melodic, mid-paced, working class, duct-taped Converse, fashionless Florida punk to a tee, which fans of the two aforementioned bands will like with ease. Add in a deep admiration for the Replacements and Radon, and you’ve got a 7” that gets a lot of plays. It’s not so flashy as it is satisfying and reaffirming. Song topics include being the band on a bill that no one came to see, moments of clarity during drunken brawls in the middle of the street (while taking an uppercut to the chin after unlocking a sleeper hold), and mourning the loss of a dog that was taunted by, then bit, a kid: “they docked my pay for the shot to end his life… why did you have to kill my dog?” Recommended. –todd (Sooooo Intense / ADD)


URGENCIES, THE:
Desolation Chic: CD
Ummm…you cover the Plimsouls. The Plimsouls. C’mon now, this isn’t karaoke night –megan (Bubble Empire)


UNDER PRESSURE:
Self-titled: CD
Solid, mid-tempo hardcore spare on metal riffage, which is a definite plus. –jimmy (Primitive Air Raid)


TUFF LUVS:
Heartburn: 7”
Raw, mid-tempo, hooky—these guys have the whole Killed by Death thing pretty much sussed out. Would’ve sworn it was some punk obscurity from the late ‘70s Midwest if I hadn’t read the press sheet. –jimmy (www.newaartschool.net)


TRAINWRECK RIDERS:
Where the Neon Turns to Wood: CD
I saw these guys play a few days after New Years in San Pedro: finger picking guitar, country-sounding, then heavy, not simple songs, but simple-sounding parts pulled together for a flavorful mix. It’s actually pretty complex stuff, but it still has a homemade, sort of basic feel to it. I think it could be said that this is the type of music that might be made by someone with a busy life in the city; about their attempts at reconciling things within themselves and reaching out to the edge of the city, with all the complex angles of city life meeting with some notion or feeling of a more simple life on the outskirts. I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say if you like This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb or The Two Gallants, you’ll be into this. –dandy (www.trainwreckriders.com)


TOWERS OF HANOI:
Black Feathers: CD
Mid-tempo punk, with Swiz-y guitars and some pretty atrocious female vocals. Not atrocious because they’re female, but atrocious in that the vocals relentlessly dominate the recording. I think if this lady would just chill out a little and let the band play without howling over every note, I’d like this a lot more. She has a voice kinda like the woman from Life, But How To Live It. The notes are almost on, but not quite. Musically, I like this. It’s a good band, they just need to sit down and have a talk with their singer. –ben (Barracuda Sound)


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