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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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TRAKES, THE:
Circa 3172: CD
Decent enough punk band who would do well to ditch their occasional tendency to veer into Queers-aping-the-Ramones territory and just allow themselves to just kick out the punk rock jams instead. Much more impressive to do your own thang than merely copy your influences. –jimmy (Amp)


TOMMY & THE TERRORS:
13 the Hard Way: CD
Thirteen songs of the street punk influence. Lots of sing-along parts and choruses. Even a hardcore song or two as well. Most of the lyrics dealt with life and the passing of time and events. It's on Rodent Popsicle, so you know its good. (Bill doesn't put out crap.) Now go out and buy it. You won't be sorry. -Mike Beer –Guest Contributor (Rodent Popsicle)


THUMBS UP!:
Building an Army: 7"
You've got your New England hardcore sound here, done well. I fully endorse the music. I'm not completely sold on the vocals. They're not awful by any means. I think that they'd probably be fine live, and maybe they'll grow on me, but for now they're the only down point of the record for me. Best song is "Where Did the Fire Go?" which for some reason makes me think of "Manipulation" by the Big Boys, but it's tons faster. –megan (Rodent Popsicle)


STARING BACK:
On: CD
Think of a genetically modified hybrid of MxPx and Samiam and you're getting close. The music is more Samiam (partly Billy, partly Clumsy) - ringing, meaty, thick guitar riffs. The vox are more MxPx but aren't even close to half as annoying. Keep in mind that the music is also lightly cross-pollinated with MxPx and Forbidden Beat drumming. I can't help but think that this would absolutely rule if the vocals didn't sound so pure and youthful (i.e. if a bleach-gargling, chain-smoking, whiskey-drinking punk was belting them out, I'd have no reservations about this disc) but, despite all of the potential here (and there's a pretty fair bit - think about Thursday's artistic and intellectually interesting version of commercially successful emo and you're on the right track), it just needs some more balls. These guys claim to like In Flames and I can hear slight bits of that band here? until the singing starts. –scott (Lobster)


STANDING 69'S, THE:
Short Dress: CD-R
This is well-recorded, mid-tempo garage rock that is actually pretty okay. It's nothing special or anything, but the lack of a discernable Motorhead influence puts this head and shoulders above most of the other "garage rock" that I reviewed this time around and I kind of enjoyed it. -Not Josh –Staff (The Standing 69's)


SPITALFIELD:
The Cloak & Dagger Club: CDEP
Oh sure, it starts off nice - all ringing guitars that portend nothing but Grade-A rock'n'roll in a big fucking way - but like most of the mercifully short dates I've had here, it takes a screeching turn for the worse after a few seconds - literally. After about twenty seconds of guitar work which raised my hopes, it dropped into an underwhelming impersonation of, alternately, The Get Up Kids (only this time with distortion) and Avril Lavigne. I'll cop to owning GUK albums and I'll also cop to throwing this unoriginal piece of shit into the sell pile. Before I moved to central Illinois, I had the impression that it was a hotbed of indie activity; that - since Polyvinyl was so damn close, since Chicago produced some of the greatest bands to ever rock the face of the Earth (Pegboy, Naked Raygun and The Arrivals to name only a few) - the scene would rule. After some serious disabusing (I actually considered filing assault charges when my erroneous ideas were so brutally kicked to the curb), I've realized that this place is a hotbed of bandwagons. I don't care if these guys just recorded for Victory - they still sound like every other shitty emo band with rockist tendencies and stadium show dreams. They still make Night Ranger and Poison seem to have the humanist insight and attention to poignant detail exhibited by Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits. And with that in mind, is it any wonder that I've been listening to Leadbelly and Lonnie Johnson? –scott (Sinister)


SOVIETTES, THE/VALENTINES, THE:
Split: LP
LPs are really the best format for splits. This split in particular is great because it shows the contrast between a really good pop-punk band and a somewhat mediocre one. The Valentines, for the first three songs, bored the crap out of me. Musically, they sounded like a cross between NOFX and Screeching Weasel without the driving tempo of the former and the hooks of the latter. Lyrically, their attempts at poetry were laughable at best. Song four, however, had a mighty hook, AND a driving tempo, AND the drummer broke out of the usual horse-gallop thing, and just when the bad poetry starts to annoy, they throw in the hook that got my attention in the first place and then the song is over. The potential is there, just not in the first three songs. Or the fifth one, for that matter. The Soviettes are another story entirely: hooky guitars, killer female vocals, and non-ass lyrics all the way through. The best comparison that I can think of would a poppier version of Bitchin'. These six songs are better than the ones on their more recent 7". Buy this on vinyl and you'll never have to listen to the Valentines. -Not Josh –Staff (Pop Riot)


SOCIALS, THE:
Narrow Minded Entertainment for a Close Minded America: CD
Female-fronted minimalist punk reminiscent of a less catchy Urinals. –jimmy (Stay Real)


SKEPTICS, THE:
Right from the Heart: CDR
Millencolin's demo that they scrapped to re-write and re-record. –don (The Skeptics)


SINGAPORE SLING:
The Curse Of: CD
Post Jesus and Mary Chain/Velvets alterna-rock, but nowhere near as jarringly abrasive as those two bands could be. Not bad, I guess, but so many bands have been down this road before 'em with better results. –jimmy (www.stinkyrecords.com)


SICK LIPSTICK:
Sting Sting Sting: CD
Atonal no-wavy skronk with a singer who sounds like she repeated the third grade four times too many. Don't know what it is about this particular subgenre that I find so fascinating, but this is the third disc I've listened to this reviewing cycle and it's the third one I've found a really cool listen. Probably because I know that my repeated spins of this stuff is sure to drive my wife crazy. See, you GOTTA do shit like that every now and then to keep your significant other on her toes. –jimmy (Tiger Style)


SHUTDOWN 66:
Welcome to Dumpsville: CD
How do I not notice that there's a guy holding maracas on the cover of the CD when I pick it up? Fuckin maracas! That said, I do not like this. Sounds pretty much like every other hipster '70s rock/garage-ish/trashy facade/yelling type thing going around now, but with worse vocals. –megan (Get Hip)


SHEMPS, THE:
On 45: 7"
With a name like The Shemps, it must be another crappy pop punk band with ten CDRs on Mutant Pop, right? Wrong! Surprise! Surprise! The Shemps are a garage punk band and they rock! Great jump-up-and-down music - catchy, with a nod to The Jam and the Rip Offs, and here we go! This is Cracklin' Oat Bran! The name makes it sound awful, but it's so fucking good! –Maddy (Week end)


SCRAPY:
Local Pub/Skank N' Roll: CDEP
Quick taster from these street punks/skins who infuse ska into their music. This is one large band to tour around with. Almost like a gang, they are ten deep. They take elements of street punk, oi, ska and '50s rock'n'roll to make their songs enjoyable like a good pint of your favorite ale. These are tracks from their full length titled Saturday Night. From what I've heard off this release, further investigation needs to be instigated. –don (Mad Butcher)


SCARIES, THE:
Souvenir: CD
Why in the fuck did I get a Good Charlotte (or Sum 41 or New Found Glory or Simple Plan or whatever shitty fucking pop punk band this is) CD? This CD will pay for approximately half of a beer or shot and I'll probably need the whiskey to get the taste out of my mouth. –scott (Law Of Inertia)


RUFIO:
1985: CD
If this outfit beefed up the rock and cut out the friggin' boom-tap-boom-tap monkey beats, they might end up bein' a cool support slot for a band like All, but I don't see it happening any time soon. That's a damn shame. –dale (Nitro)


RACHEL GORDON:
The Coming of Spring: LP
...i was on the verge of refusing to review this for moral reasons (i.e., the only connection to anything vaguely "punk" here was a cover of "Hearts Will Be Broken" off the second Records record, which is really overemphasizing the "vaguely" aspect of things), but, on closer inspection, i was forced to cede Ms. Gordon the album-opening "Where Are You Tonight," an appropriately bouncy pop-rocker that would have fit in just fine in the Girli-Pop mini-revolution of '83/'84 (Nena, Tracy Ullman, Bangles... that's all i can think of... i guess that's why the revolution was so mini) and written by her bass player, Hector from the Zeros (which i'm only giving her as many Punk Points for as i gave Rank & File for the Kinman Brothers [i think that was around 0.5, and there were two of them]). Everything after that not only came perilously close to not out-rocking Josie Cotton, but also came perilously close to not out-rocking Olivia Newton-John. Xanadu-core at its finest! BEST SONG: "Where Are You Tonight" BEST SONG TITLE: "Fun at Your House" FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I already used up the Fantastic Amazing Trivia Fact about the bass player being in the Zeros, so the runner-up Fantastic Amazing Trivia Fact is that she does a serviceable cover of Badfinger's McCartney-penned "Come and Get It," and appropriately changes the gender... so now it goes "will you walk away/from a fool and her money? (FOOL AND HER MONEY!)" which is kind of cute the first time you hear it. –norb (Sounds of Subterrania)


PUNKINARI/ LUMPEN:
Skins & Punx New Generation Vol. 3: CD
Lumpen: Staggeringly un-engaging skinhead punk. Punkinari: A little better than their disc mates here, but not much. Kinda reminds me of those bands that would make it onto '80s hardcore comps to give 'em an "international" flavor, but ultimately ended up being the tracks that got skipped over once the listening started. If this is the "new generation" of Italian punk, they're in some deep doo doo over there. –jimmy (KOB)


PROZACS:
Thanks for Nothing: CD
Super-poppy punk, complete with handclaps and whoa-oh-oh-ohs. Decent for that kind of stuff, just not my style. I bet they'd claim Queers, Screeching Weasel, and Ramones as strong influences. Give me a few drinks, throw me in front of a stage they were on, and I bet I'd have a good time. This CD just doesn't do it for me though. –megan (Irresponsible)


PERVERTS, THE:
In Yer Ear: CDEP
There are bands that I don't really care for that I wish no harm. The Perverts are one such band. They're just boring. They play bar rock with a reverby guitar and a '50s pop lean. Mostly, it sounds like these guys are doing chores. Not even the line, "I wanna fuck your mom but I don't want to be your dad," can save it. Pass. –todd (No address)


PANTHERS:
Let's Get Serious: CD
Arty noise rock not unlike a less technically proficient Barkmarket. –jimmy (Dim Mak)


OTHERWISE:
Dark Adapted Eye: CD
I was so stoked when I got this because it looks all deathy and boss and shit with David Carson-esque typography and a photograph of some slimy tentacled thing on the cover (probably just an octopus, but it looked bad-ass). I figured I was getting the second coming of Chuck Schuldiner or something - I mean, the fucking album title is Dark Adapted Eye, right? It has to be some fucked up King Diamond / Mercyful Fate / Dimmu Borgir / Deicide shit, right? It sounds evil, it looks evil, it's gonna be fucking evil! I popped it in at work to ward off the blandness of the fluorescent lights and settled in and prepared to be rocked. The drumbeats started off a little slow, but I figured that even the most grindy album in existence can be deceptive - deception is evil, right? Deception is cool. And then the album proper started and I wanted to cry. All those hopes. All that build-up. For another shitty fucking whimpering sniveling emo band. As a result of this miserable experience, I have come to one unshakable conclusion: Firefly Records sucks rancid ass. –scott (Firefly)


OSCARS, THE:
Blow Yourself Up: CDEP
The Oscars remind me of the Spits, minus the keyboards, and in the waaay, waaay back of the room, an odd, early Sonic Youth guitar. Fungus retard punk rock that takes the duct tape off the Ramones' shoes and uses it as a plug for the holes in their blowup dolls. The Oscars are so patently bad for so many reasons, it has to be intentional, and they're actually pretty fuckin' good. Almost no-fi, but worth keeping an ear out for. –todd (oscars666@hotmail)


ORPHANS, THE:
Chinatown: 7"
Two tracks of trashy rock'n'roll that sound like they just got back from a time trip to mid-'90s San Francisco. Both tracks are plenty rockin', but my preference is for "Moscow Massage," the peppier of the two. –jimmy (www.kapow.com)


OCTOBER ALLIED:
Self-titled: CD
"You know that punk was dead/before the pistols fired a shot/I'm from the Eddie Cochran stock/and I just want to rock." Where to start? Okay, so if punk's dead why would you send this to us, a punk magazine? As for being of the Eddie Cochran stock? Well let's see? Eddie Cochran is one of my all-time favorites. Somehow, I doubt that you ever will be. Another thing, the song that the lyric is from is nothing like Eddie, more of a bastardized (with good reason) Chuck Berry. Finally, if you want to rock, by all means, start at any time, just do so far out of earshot from me. Thanks. –megan (www.octoberallied.com)


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