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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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OBSCENE GESTURE / VARANT MAJARIAN:
In: Clubbing Seals for Fun and Profit: Split CD
It's funny what little, seemingly inconsequential things can tip the scales in a reviewer's mind when assessing the virtues of a new recording. When I first saw the band logos - both of that "scary" lettering ilk, like they were doodled on a notebook cover by some death metal miscreant in detention one day - along with the cover illustration of some smiling little punks beating harp seals over the heads with baseball bats, the Laughable Retard alarms went off in my head. But then I noticed that the little drawings all over this thing are kind of cute in a "Maddy-esque" way and that they even included a funny little board game called the "Punk Point Game" and that sort of reminded of something Crucial Youth would've done back in the day. There's obviously a sense of humor at work here and that almost always makes me less prone to attacking a band with a bag full of dull, rusty adjectives. Obscene Gesture come across like a poor man's Chain of Strength with quasi-religious lyrics, plus they thank "God" in the credits, so I don't think the sense of humor is theirs. It seems to be an outgrowth of the good times vitriol of Varant Majarian. Sure, it's humor that would probably appeal to that miscreant kid doodling in detention, but hell, it's a sense of humor nonetheless. Plus their singer sounds like a cross between Darby Crash and Jello Biafra, and you gotta like that. Two hardcore bands that don't sound like they're trying to sound like each other. Not bad stuff. Give yourselves a few extra punk points, boys. –aphid (Chicken Head)


(NO) APOLOGIES PROJECT, THE:
Deconstruct the Dancefloor: CD
Occasionally when you're in a band, one of the members comes up with an incredibly stupid idea to incorporate rap into said band's repertoire. Occasionally, the member who volunteers such an idea deserves a serious beat down from his bandmates, 'cause adding rap to the sound will only result in public humiliation from your so-called friends and some embarrassed head-shaking as soon as the album hits the stands and all them bong hits that facilitated such thought processes in the first place wear off. This is one such instance. Hope whoever in the band came up with the idea was left a bloody mess, 'cause, frankly, this is one pretty bad listen. Fuck, I'm not even in the band and I'm pretty embarrassed for 'em. –jimmy (Coptercrash)


NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS:
Nocturama: CD
So, here's a guy and his band, of relatively large renown and with a reputation for a certain amount of noise and excitement, and he's singing in his sweetest croon, with mostly pianos for accompaniment, about sunsets and meadows and boats and gardens and it's all very deep and poetic and I have never wanted so badly to go to sleep in all my days. –Cuss Baxter (Mute)


MYLES OF DESTRUCTION:
Running Only Makes the Fire Worse: CD
Drums, bass, screams, and a violin. Some things are better as concepts than as realities. I'm not sure if this is one of them. It's really dark. Metal drums and throaty screams against the violin is quite a contrast. There's a haunting feel to it. Four of the nine tracks are instrumental, which has a very different feel than the vocal tracks for me. Interesting and unique to say the least. I can't figure out if I like it or not, but I do keep listening, trying to find where fits in for me. –megan (Myles of Destruction)


MOURNINGSIDE:
Some Secrets Are Better Left?: CD
East Coast metal-tinged hardcore with obvious cues taken from the mid-to-late '80s New York hardcore scene. In short, not my cup of tea at all. –jimmy (Rodent Popsicle)


MOTION CITY SOUNDTRACK:
I Am the Movie: CD
I'm completely buffaloed. Lots of minuses to overcome. 1.) Unrestricted Moog used in a non-new wave type way. 2.) Anthropomorphism as a lyrical crutch. Emo does this a lot, for some reason - gives inanimate objects human feeling. "Sand is said to be sad." Please, make some sort of sense. Sand gets wet. It gets dry. It doesn't fucking cry. 3.) Unrestricted sicky sweet backup vocals. 4.) The lead vocalist sounds like he could be in, say, a "new, extreme" Partridge Family. 5.) Name dropping the television show Will and Grace is a good idea, how? Hello, eject button, my trusted friend. –todd (Epitaph)


MOFOS:
Supercharged on Alcohol: CD
Link Wray meets the Ventures for the mother of all surf jams in the ninth circle of hell. This is some good shit that could make the worst movie imaginable that much cooler if they included the Mofos on the soundtrack. –jimmy (www.hellbeachrecords.com)


MICO DE NOCHE:
Stereo Test Record: CD-R
From the looks of this artwork, I was expecting some kind of Throbbing Gristle-type noise. Unfortunately, I was not that lucky (lucky?). I got three songs that sound like White Zombie or something. I can barely contain my enthusiasm. On a personal note, this exited my CD player and was quickly followed by Los Crudos. -Not Josh –Staff (www.micodenoche.com)


MESSERSCHMITT:
Shake That Thing: CD
Croatian band listens to one too many Stones albums. Band puts out a record that starts off with their attempt at "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and includes covers of songs made popular by Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hooker and others. A resounding "eh" can be heard from the masses. Should've figured when I saw they were covering Nugent's "Scream Dream" that the proceedings would be pretty painful. –jimmy (Slusaj Najglasnije)


LOCK AND KEY:
No Fate: CDEP
This walks that fine line between the mellowness associated with emo-tinged rock and just plain boring. For my taste, it steps over that line far too many times. –megan (Irresponsible)


LIMECELL:
It's Gonna Get Ugly: CD
Yet another release from this Confederacy of Scum-related band. As can be expected, the sound is rock'n'roll filtered through a hardcore band and fronted by a singer who's listened to more than his share of old English oi records. Slower than other stuff I've heard from them, but there's still a thrasher or two to be found. –jimmy (TKO)


LEYTON BUZZARDS:
The Punk Collection: CD
Some top notch tunes from almost forgotten first-wave English punk band that featured future members of the New Romantics. The sound is kinda Clashy in places, kinda proto-oi in others and sometimes I hear an ever-so-slight dash of early Police in there now and again, although that last bit may well be totally inside my head. Included are the classic "19 & Mad" single and assorted tracks from various releases throughout their brief existence. On the whole, this serves as a nice reminder of how good punk outside the "first division" of English bands could sometimes be. Recommended. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


LAST MISSION:
Self-titled: CD
Seven songs that remind me of So Cal hardcore/punk. Fast parts but with melody. Lots of hooks and tempo changes. Meaningful lyrics. Well done for this genre. If this is your thing, definitely get this. -Mike Beer –Guest Contributor (Last Mission)


LAGWAGON:
Blaze: CD
Lagwagon fans should rejoice that they have come forth with another full length for their consumption. Five years in the making, the sixth album has seen the light of day. I'm not a fan, but they do not repulse me. They seem to continue their formula which they have been using for many years. The songs are extremely melodic with bursts of fast punk energy. Every release that I've heard shows they continue in a positive direction in growth and songcraft. It shows here on this release. Fans will continue to love them and I think they will continue to pick up more along the way. Now it's time to pass it on to my wife. She likes them. –don (Fat)


LAGUARDIA:
Self-titled: CD
Just when I thought navel-gazing, no self-esteem indie pop couldn't get worse, it did. This is the sound of whining set to something that might be called music by assholes who wear tight sweaters and beat their chests in time with off-tempo drumbeats. To say that this insipid pop is utterly forgettable would mean that I remember having actually listened to it at some point. –scott (Minimalist)


KNUCKLEHEAD:
Little Boots: CD
About five or six years ago, I got a Knucklehead 7" to review for Flipside. I loved that 7". I taped it and some other new seven-inchers that I'd gotten at the time (Dillinger Four's More Songs about Girlfriends and Bubblegum, the Chubbies, and Boris the Sprinkler). I listened to that tape all the time, and never heard about Knucklehead again after it. I knew they were from Canada and on Far Out Records, which went belly-up shortly after that. I just figured that Knucklehead had vanished. Then, I saw this in the recent review pile and snatched it up. On my first listen, I was surprised to hear two of the four songs from that long ago 7". I looked closer and saw that this was a re-release of their first album (which had originally been released by Far Out). Man, I wish I'd found this album five years ago. A lot of the territory Knucklehead cover here has been covered and overdone since this album was originally released. I'm kinda tired of anthemic street punk and anything that shows a Rancid influence, and that's pretty much what this Knucklehead album is, but damn it, these guys still do it well. It's fun to sing along with. There's a lot of hooks. And, really, they've gone beyond being about their influences and forged their own sound. It's good stuff. If I'd reviewed it when it originally came out, though, I'd've been going nuts. –sean (Longshot)


K-LINE:
Lessons Learned But Ignored: CD-EP
Judging by the cover photo depicting the drummer wearing a DS-13 shirt, I thought this would be some blistering thrash band, but it turned out to be a totally decent melodic hardcore band. Not a great melodic hardcore band, but decent. These ears hear neato guitar lines and no horse gallop drums, but also epic song lengths (all five songs are over 2:30) and an entire band that really wants to put the pedal to the floor and explode all over the place but holds back for some reason. If these guys shaved off the fat and picked up the pace a ton, they would be really good, but as it stands they just aren't doing anything for me. -Not Josh –Staff (Does Everyone Stare?)


LAST IN FIRST OUT:
Self-titled: CD
The first song was promising, pretty basic New England hardcore, just not fully committing to it. From there it just goes downhill. Pretty sappy stuff that borders on that one song that Queen had that was the love song in Highlander. C'mon, don't pretend you don't know that one. –megan (www.lastinfirstout.net)


KIDS NEAR WATER:
Hey Zeus!: CD
The press release said the full title is actually Hey Zeus! We Suck Emo Ass! It's pretty fucking accurate. –scott (Firefly)


KAOTICNE DUSE:
Zauvijek: CD
Croatian rock'n'roll. Makes me long for the days when Poison ruled the rock'n'roll scene, which ain't sayin' much, considering I always thought listening to Poison was tantamount to having an appendage chewed off by a toothless goat. –jimmy (Slusaj Najglasnije)


JFA/FACTION:
Split: 7"
JFA: three great, old JFA songs ("I Want," "Tent Peg," and "Cokes & Snickers") that were recorded live in Chicago probably recently, and they show that, almost twenty years after their first release, JFA is still as fast as any hardcore band out there today, and they're still an amazing band. Faction: this is about right - one faction song is about as long as three JFA. The Faction side sounds a little more dated now than JFA, but both bands are skaterock legends, and four songs from them are still worth picking up. –sean (Spontaneous Combustion)


JESUS AND THE DEVIL/TWIN WRECKS THE MEMORY:
Split: 7"
Jesus: College rock type stuff short of volume and long on pretense. Twin Wrecks: More of the same. Expected a higher noise quotient. Kinda bummed. –jimmy (Fudge Sickill)


JED WHITEY/RETARDOS:
Split: 7"
Jed: AC/DC with a weak-ass singer. Retardos: AC/DC with a Norwegian singer. Nice artwork of three-eyed goats on the cover. Scrap the disc and frame the cover. –jimmy (Out of the Loop)


JACKSON:
Self-titled: CDEP
God, I should really hate this, but I don't, and I can't rightly explain it. Maybe it's because Chris Shiflett has a Grammy for Fighting Foo, got visited by the Secret Service for wearing a Not My President t-shirt, was in No Use For A Name and 22 Jacks, plays in the Me First And The Gimme Gimmes and he's still not a dick. That probably has something to do with it. Jackson makes clean, light, starry-eyed pop that's easy to digest, has a bunch of undeniable hooks, doesn't make me cringe, and is a good compromise if I have to put on something that doesn't have a lot of swearing or loud guitars. –todd (Magnificent; <www.jackson-music.com>)


IPANEMA:
Je Suis un Baseball Bat Vs. Skull: 7"
Sped-up stoner rock on a wicked thick slab of vinyl. –megan (Boss Tuneage)


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