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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE:
Spacegirl and Other Favorites: CD
This one's a bit different from other releases I've heard from these guys. There's still an abundance of the '60s psychedelic sensibilities that fuel their other work, but here they seem to be channeled through a heavy dose of Jesus and Mary Chain sparseness and that warped record quality that My Bloody Valentine permeated their Loveless album with. Still, this is some mighty fine, albeit unexpected, work. –jimmy (Bomp)


BOMBAST:
Buyin' the Farm: 7"EP
Hey, I like Motorhead and Spinal Tap, too. I'm just not rushing to listen to a band that mixes the two. (Except there's a girl doing some backup.) I don't think they're joking, which makes it sadder. –todd (Bad Reputation. It's always a fine idea to write addresses on the packaging somewhere.)


BLOWTOPS, THE:
Surgeon's Hands & Deep Six b/w New Orleans Death March: 7"
I thought "Surgeon's Hands" sounded like a bargain-basement Jesus Lizard fronted by the singer for Speedball Baby, that the Big Black cover sounded like a cross between the first Naked Raygun EP and "Metal Machine Music," and that "New Orleans Death March" sounded like the non-metal parts of "Iceman" by the Descendents. If there is a market for such a thing i am unaware of it. BEST SONG: "Surgeon's Hands" BEST SONG TITLE: "Surgeon's Hands" FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: This band hails from Buffalo, and the all-time best record ever released by a Buffalo-based band remains, to this day, the Goo Goo Dolls' Jed album. –norb (Reptilian)


BLOWCHUNKS:
Self-titled: 7"
Two raw, straightforward rock/punk jams from Germany that just as easily could've come from Scandinavia, if you catch my drift. "Baby's Got a Dick" is my pick as the better of the two tunes because it's faster. –jimmy (High School)


BETTY BLOWTORCH:
Last Call: CD
This CD is a collection of outtakes and demos and it was released as a tribute to the bass player, who died in a car crash, but mostly it sounds like a tribute to the Donnas. -Not Josh –Staff (Foodchain)


BAMBI MOLESTERS:
Play Out of Tune: CD
Starts off with a nice little surf ditty, then proceeds to come off as a college garage band with too many Cramps and Gun Club CDs in their collection, with half the talent to boot. –jimmy (Slusaj Najglasnije)


APERS, THE:
The Buzz Electric: CD
Rotterdam's finest (and who are you to say otherwise?) appear to be attempting to recast Screeching Weasel's Wiggle in their own 21st Century image (or perhaps merely for King & Country), and bearing in mind that the elapsed time between That and This is now in excess of a full decade, that's not the fool's quest one might initially dismiss it as. However, whilst Wiggle's greatest strength of substance was its more-or-less nuts-on depiction of twentysomething disillusionment 'n' survival and its greatest strength of structure was shaking up its own "Crying in My Beer" status quo at the two-thirds-thru mark with a pair of punk-and-nothing-but crankers (the Teenage Head cover and "Automatic Rejector"), The Buzz Electric, seemingly by its own admission, presents its own style AS the primary stuff of its substance (i.e., pop-punk for pop-punk's sake), and its sole stylistic shakeup two-thirds of the way in is a "Too Many Twinkies"/"I Can't Stop Farting" retardo-Queers type number, "Too Many Backpacks at the Show." I mean, essentially, the Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice is in place, but the whole concoction still seems a bit scant on the Element X? ? and like most native English speakers, i continue to maintain the possibly ridiculously naive viewpoint that European bands would be capable of creating a much more effective Rock'n'Roll Powerpuff? Girl if they sang at least portions of each song in their native tongue. They'd be number Ain with a bullet! BEST SONG: "Almost Summer" BEST SONG TITLE: "Too Many Backpacks at the Show" FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Since, in every other picture of Jerry Hormone i have, he's either kissing our bass player or grabbing my crotch with his pants around his knees, i was very enheartened to see him depicted in the company of females herein. –norb (Stardumb)


ANGELIC UPSTARTS:
Still from the Heart: CD
With album number five, the Upstarts took a stab at a more "commercial" sound and effectively zapped virtually of the all-important punk energy from their sound, ending up with an album that pretty much blows. Fortunately, Captain Oi has had the foresight to include a slew of demo versions of some of the album's songs, which are damn good and show how good an album this could've been had they just stuck to their guns. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


ALUMINUM BABE:
Self-titled: CDEP
Pretty unoriginal, slightly more powered-rock with cutesy female vocals - the oh-look-how-witty-I-is type (one song is called "Y-u-so-mean to me"). The guys dress with priest collars and one has so many big buttons that he looks like he'd be happier showing off his "flare" at Fiddlesticks. Oh yeah, and their label has a platinum hit and one of their main focuses is to get songs on commercials, soundtracks, and the like. –megan (Mother West)


ACTIVE INGREDIANTS:
Hymns of Holly Hardcore: CD
This is not the Active Ingredients from back in the day. However this "Active Ingrediants" has been around for a very long time. This is their third CD. These guys play some fast southern California hardcore that is done well. They have lots of melody and balls. Think of early NOFX mixed with Agnostic Front. This is a very worthy release. These guys skateboard and it's obvious in their music. In fact, one song on here entitled "The Gates of Hell" is a killer instrumental that would fit in perfectly on one of the early Skate Rock comps that Thrasher put out back in the day. Now, it should be noted Active Ingrediants are now a Christian hardcore band, meaning they are singing about God and religion. Keep in mind it that doesn't affect the balls-out attitude of the music. Nor does it make them a Pat Robertson evangelist type. In fact, these guys are all about God, but very against organized religion and the government in general. Some songs, such as "America," don't even address God, but are completely about the corrupt government that we have here in the USA. Then there is a song called "The Ministry," which deals with people making money off God and being into God for reasons of profit, and not for the word of God. "We are not down with imperialistic government propaganda or the judgmental attitudes or organized religion." This is a direct quote from their CD. So you know they are not the pushy, right wing religious types. If you like hardcore and don't mind lyrics about the Lord, definitely get this CD and check out this band if they come to your town. -Mike Beer –Guest Contributor (HHC)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Northwest Kicked in the Nuts: CD
A collection of bands from the northwestern United States (duh) that feature at least one female member, including the Die Jobs, Macho Borracho, Antiworld, Amazombies, Sado-Nation (!) and others. While the dominant genre is punk in a myriad of hues, there is the occasional metal tune. Nice concept. Not bad, not spectacular. –jimmy (Last Chance)


STALAG 13:
In Control: CD
Let me start by saying that most of the stuff I review for this magazine is sent to me by Sean and Todd. Every now and then I get something in my own mail from some press agent or someone who got my address from the magazine, and that is usually accompanied by an 8x10 glossy of some boring people trying to look cool, press clippings, and some over the top copywriting like about how well the band went over at Warped Tour and their potential and all that. Generally, the more of this stuff there is, the more the band sucks, and sometimes the more promo stuff I get means the less I ever hear about the band again. Then I will get a really good CD with one Xeroxed sheet explaining why I got it in the mail and it blows me away. (The one that trumped that had a post-it saying, “please review.”) My other comment is that if you send me a CD to review, send me the CD to review – the whole thing. Send me the CD, the artwork, the liner notes, and something that they all go in so I can keep them together. If you want me to endorse your product, let me know what the whole product is. This CD came to me with liner notes in a nice plastic thing that was more easily mailed than a jewel case. There was one sheet explaining that this is a re-released CD of a reformed band. The booklet had fliers that were not self-indulgent but framed the where and when of Stalag 13. The CD has really good music on it. Imagine, if you will, Minor Threat, Circle Jerks and MDC all forming a super group and having a really good producer oversee the album (though there are live tracks). Fuck yeah. –rich (Doctor Strange)


SICK56:
Recipe for Disaster: CD
Self-proclaimed “English Punk Rock,” meaning it sounds like yer average American “street punk” with an accent. –jimmy (JSNTGM)


RAZORS NEVER DIE:
Breadcrumbs to the Birds: CD
Saw the bald guy with the tattoos on the cover and thought this was some oi thang, but it’s pop punk with an Undertones cover tacked onto the end and two fast punker tunes in the middle. –jimmy (Razors Never Die)


NO RESPECT:
Confidence: CD
If an album starts off with horns, take it as a bad sign. In this case, it means bad ska punk. No way in hell will this ever make it onto a stereo in this home again. –jimmy (KOB)


MIDNIGHT EVILS:
Straight ‘Til Morning: CD
“Play some Skynard!!!” exclaims someone in the yankage plus intro to “Bad Machine.” They’ve got some heavy bass lines and the kind of drums that make you sweat while tapping along so furiously on your hips that you wake up with a giant bruise to pronounce your dorkiness. Fuck yeah is not even close to the expression of the pure enjoyment one will indulge in buying this record. It’s equal parts punk, blues, rock’rowwwllll. Midnight Evils draw heavily from the likes of Kiss, Radio Birdman, Nine Pound Hammer and Skynard. It’s like they all got in a big fight and lost and were forced to play together with magnificent results. Fans of true rock’n’roll, your time has come – get Midnight Evils before they’re gone. Rock out with your cock out. I hate that phrase but it somehow fits. –nam (Estrus)


FLYING FATAL GUILLOTINES:
Get Knifed: CD
I’m a dork. I thought the first song sounded like Red Hot Chili Peppers. What am I smoking? Get this album and let me know if I’ve been falling on the floor too much while drunk and puking. I also heard these guys had broken up. No, they didn’t. They took some time off and made some lineup changes but they are back and ready to bully you into the Guillo-team (how cute.) I loved their first album but this one is really trying on the nerves. Maybe I’m just an old fart that can’t understand what the kids are doing these days – like I give a fuck. –nam (Estrus)


EXPLODING HEARTS, THE:
Modern Kicks b/w Busy Signals: 7”
Both tracks are quality and are on blue marble vinyl. ‘60s rock complete with hand claps, tambourines, and dripping melodies. They’ll make you cream your jeans. –megan (Pelado)


TRENCHMOUTH:
More Motion: CD
Heard the name but have never actually heard ’em. Jeez, there’s some serious musicianship going on here. Got a veritable hodgepodge of disparate sounds from across the musical map coming out in one big jumble – jazz, funk, hardcore punk, noise, found sounds, dub, and loads more. Imagine Fugazi in a really bad mood and you aren’t all that far off. I’m mightily impressed and mightily bummed ’cause I’m under the impression that they’re no more. –jimmy (www.thickrecords.com)


TOY DOLLS:
Anniversary Anthems: CD
Captain Oi winds up their Toy Dolls reissue campaign with this, the band’s most recent release, originally released two years ago as the band celebrated their twenty-first anniversary. Like the album that preceded it, this is one of the better Toy Dolls albums, which is like sayin’ “It’s pretty good for Mozart….” As I’ve said before, a lousy Toy Doll record is still miles above some bands’ finest work, for even when they seem to be merely going through the motions, the Toy Dolls are still tighter than King Georgie’s grip on an oil-related money opportunity and up to their eyebrows in hooks. Included here are covers of “Livin’ La Vida Loca” and, speaking of Mozart, “Eine Kleine Nachmusik,” the latter of which adds fuel with to my love/hate feelings about Olga (in a nutshell, I love his guitar playing, and hate that I can’t play as well as he). Great listen here, of course, and I personally am looking forward to hearing what these guys come up with next. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


ONEWORDSOLUTION:
Portrait of a Decrepit Nation: CD
Pitch perfect hardcore with all the knobs set just the right way, all the right notes hit, and the band playing with perfect precision. Makes me pine for the sloppy glory of bands like the Fuck Ups. –jimmy (www.dedicatedwreckers.com)


GRAIN USA:
Catchy Like a Cold b/w Spread It Like a Virus: 7”
Despite myself, I’m diggin Grain USA’s super squeaky clean, I-can-kick-their-asses pop. “Catchy Like a Cold” has enough juice to keep it from sounding sterile and their bubblegum chops have enough snap to keep the song from sounding flaccid. “Spread It Like a Virus” is just as good. It’s an instrumental head bopper that could easily be used for a soundtrack of an invalid overcoming personal tragedy and embracing the magic of the human soul. –todd (www.disposablerevolution.com)


DEAD CELEBRITIES:
Cleanup on Aisle 3: CD
Jeez, I had such high hopes for this release, based almost entirely on the band name. What I expected was some pretty crudely executed, gloriously obnoxious punk rock. What was delivered sounded vaguely like Darlington with 1/9th the catchiness and none of the humor. What a waste of a perfectly decent punk band name. –jimmy (Fat Fish)


CURSIVE:
The Ugly Organ: CD
Since Saddle Creek can’t afford to send an actual copy with liner notes and the tray card, I can’t afford to spend any time on this advance copy. –scott (Saddle Creek)


A.R.E. WEAPONS:
Self-titled: CD
Dance club eletronica that sort of sounds like Nine Inch Nails with a rock-starred-out David Yow type singer. It has its moments, but overall there’s just too damn many fruity keyboards and honking horns and phat grooves for a piece of artless white trash like myself. –aphid (Rough Trade)


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