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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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DEAD KENNEDYS:
Give Me Convenience Or Give Me Death: LP
Can’t say much about the Dead Kennedys that hasn’t said before. The packaging sure as hell is nice (LP-size, glossy, many-paged booklet), and it’s nice to be replacing my warped, fucked-up cassette with the weak little cover that I cut the UPC out of to get a free Alternative Tentacles catalog back in 1987. Convenience was basically a singles collection – it’s got a lot of the hits that people associate with the Dead Kennedys, like “California über Alles,” “Holiday in Cambodia,” and “Too Drunk to Fuck” – with several more songs and tidbits to sweeten the deal for a long play. (The spoken word piece, “Kinky Sex Makes the World Go ‘Round” still annoys me, yet I still know all the words.) Looking back, what amazes me is that when I first listened to this I couldn’t believe how fast it was. Now it sounds mid-paced to what full-on thrash and hardcore has evolved into. I also can’t get over how surfy, inventive, and balanced the songs are. This LP’s something that gets pulled out on regular occasion and played. It definitely holds its own. –todd (Manifesto)


DAN MELCHIOR’S BROKE REVUE:
Bitterness, Spite, Rage, and Scorn: CD
The Broke Revue’s Billy Childish meets Led Zeppelin garage blues does not ever fail for me, and Mister Melchior’s special croon just pushes it on over the fence every time. Why is it, for some of the best records, there’s nothing to say? –Cuss Baxter (In The Red)


COMMON ENEMY:
Outsiders: CD
Uh, is this a joke? If not, this is some of the worst skate punk I’ve heard in decades. You get lackluster delivery of lackluster songs coupled with lyrics that would be laughed off of a Mystic Records comp. The whole thing reminds me of the Sonic Youth/Sin 34/Redd Kross joint joke band, Anarchy 6. Only at least some of that band’s songs were actually worth the time it took to listen to them, which isn’t the case here. –jimmy (www.commonenemy2000.com)


BRASSKNUCKLE BOYS:
American Bastard: CD
A friend of mine burned a copy of this CD for me a long time ago. I’ve been listening to this steadily for about a year and a half. Recently, though, Haunted Town sent us a real copy of the CD, with artwork and lyrics and everything, so I figured I’d review this late. It’s tight, fast street punk with solid anthems. It’s not totally original, but, where other bands only dabble with this sound, the Brassknuckle Boys have mastered it. The frustration and desperation is palpable in these songs. It’s real, and you can tell. For some reason, when I still only had the burn of this CD, I just assumed that at least one of these Brassknuckle Boys had spent some time in the pen, and sure enough, reading through the liner notes, one of them has. I don’t point this out to suggest that bands are cooler if one of their members has done time; I just mean that their lives seem to funnel into their songs. They also do a great cover of the old Johnny Cash song “Sunday Morning Coming Down.” (And yes, I know that Kris Kristofferson wrote and recorded it, too, but in my mind, it’ll always be a Johnny Cash song.) All in all, this is a solid album. Highly recommended. –sean (Haunted Town)


CHEATER SLICKS:
Yer Last Record: CD
Rootsy rock that sounds like Nick Cave fronting early Stones; musically, not terribly dissimilar from the Soledad Brothers. –Cuss Baxter (In The Red)


AMAZOMBIES:
Bitches and Stitches: CD
Female-fronted pop punk with lots of call and response. She has a good voice and they’re really pretty tight. I wasn’t blown away by this, but it isn’t bad. –megan (Go-Kart)


A.18:
Foreverafternothing: CD
Death-obsessed crap-core. –megan (Victory)


HENRY FIAT’S OPEN SORE:
Idiotia Hyperactiva: CD
The cover is four guys in suits with Mummies-esque masks, one with a whip. My first thought? Lame. Then I found out they were from Sweden and my opinion changed. Why? Hell if I know. I don’t have some sort of Swedish music fetish. It was just okay for Swedes to have masks. This album was recorded in ’98, but we get it in the states now courtesy of Cold Front’s Sin City Series. They’re full of energy, heavily guitar driven, and are catchy without being poppy or anthemic. It just has that balls-out rock that gets me goin’ every time. I hear some early Dwarves and Turbonegro influences in there. I don’t know what they’re saying half of the time, but I sing right along anyway. This is some damn good listening right here. –megan (Coldfront)


ERGS, THE:
The Ben Kweller EP: CD
This is the cutest record I’ve heard in long time, and I like it. It’s so sweet, but it’s done so well. It’s poppy and they sing about not getting the girl, about having to kill the girl’s boyfriend, about having a pool party to look at the girl they like. The only negative thing I have to say is about the last track. There’s thirty seconds of feedback, the one minute song, a hidden track of a Randy Newman parody, then a NKOTB parody (the “girl, you’re wicked awesome” song.) It’s just too much for me. Cut all that crap out and I love the album. –megan (Fongul)


COUNTERFIT:
Super Amusement Machine for Your Exciting Heart: CD
If you like Jimmy Eat World, you’ll like this. I swear I won’t judge you. –megan (Negative Progression)


HIGH BEAMS:
Hallucination: CD
Safe, bland, teethless pop punk pap that isn’t even remotely worth commenting on. Make this hallucination stop. –aphid (Dead Beat)


5¢ DEPOSIT:
We Have Your Daughter: CD-R
Pop punk, of course, is everywhere these days. Every crayon-eating shmub who grew up listening to Green Day and the Offspring on MTV figures “pop punk” is the perfect bridge between street cred and Life Styles of the Rich and Famous. This might be one such band. But I hope 5¢ Deposit doesn’t wind up on MTV Cribs anytime soon, cuz then I’ll have to eat several crows for admitting that I don’t hate this disc....but I can definitely see it happening. This is fairly generic stuff, but it’s energetic with just a bit of snarl and could reasonably be compared to something like the Descendents on a bad day. And while I don’t heap that kind of feint praise on just anyone, I still can’t shake the image of Carson Daly interviewing these guys with a throng of pubescent girls squealing in the background. I didn’t get any photos with this CD, but I hope for the band’s sake that these guys are ugly and fat and have body odor problems. But I doubt it. TRL here they come. –aphid (Radical)


MR. AIRPLANE MAN:
Moanin’: CD
...this two-piece band OH MY GOD, A TWO-PIECE BAND!!! IN THIS DAY AND AGE!!! STOP THE PRESSES!!! ALERT THE MEDIA!!! GRAB THE KIDS AND PHONE THE NEIGHBORS!!! SLAP ME SILLY AND SHOOT THE HORSE!!! A TWO-PIECE BAND!!! A TWO-PIECE BAND!!! A TWO-PIECE BAND, I SAY!!! ...er, yes, where was i...right. Okay. This two-piece band on Sympathy For The Record Industry OH MY GOD, A TWO-PIECE BAND ON SYMPATHY!!! GREAT DAY IN THE MORNING!!! GREAT CAESAR'S GHOST!!! HOLY FOR CRYIN' OUT LOUD, FOLKS!!! A TWO-PIECE BAND ON SYMPATHY!!! A TWO-PIECE BAND ON SYMPATHY!!! I'VE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT BEFORE IN ALL MY YEARS ON THE FORCE!!! A TWO-PIECE BAND ON SYMPATHY!!! WHO AMONG US SAW THIS COMING??? OUR WORLD WILL BE FOREVER CHANGED!!! A TWO-PIECE BAND ON SYMPATHY!!! A TWO-PIECE BAND ON SYMPATHY!!! (helicopter noises: WUPPAWUPPAWUPPAWUPPA...) ANNOUNCER: We break into this regularly scheduled record review for a special eye-in-the-sky report on rumors of a two-piece band having been signed to Sympathy For The Record Industry. In the Razorcake news chopper now hovering above Ghetto Recorders in Detroit, here's special eye-in-the-sky correspondent Ernie Harwell. Ernie? ERNIE HARWELL: Well-a... i-a haven't seen-a panic and chaos-a like this-a since Phil-a Garner was-a skipper, and these reports-a of a two-piece band-a having recorded here-a, as-a fantastic-a as they sound-a, are turning out-a to be absolutely true-a (WUPPAWUPPAWUPPAWUPPA) ...we're going down now-a for a closer look-a. ANNOUNCER: You be careful, Ernie. All right, we're going back to regular programming at this time, bulletins immediately as events warrant. (short burst of static)...well, anyway, like i was saying, NOT ONLY is this a two-piece band (A TWO-PIECE BAND!!! OH MY GOD!!!), BUT IT IS ALSO a two-piece band composed of two GIRLS FROM BOSTON, that is to say, TWO FORCES CAPABLE OF THE GREATEST EVILS KNOWN TO MANKIND UNITED AS ONE! A two-piece band AND Boston girls!!! Sheesh! No wonder Ernie Harwell's got his grundies in a bundle! Anyway, these Women In Rock play levee blues in the time-honored "Mississippi Alpha Delta Pi" style (it's a sorority joke. i even remember some of the songs. Ply me with alcohol and i'll even sing a few); every song kinda sounds like "Smokestack Lightning," but none of them are. In a few spots – primarily the covers (Howlin' Wolf, et al) – the (admittedly great, or at least as-far-as-i-can-tell great) open tuned blues gee-tar riffs coupled with the wholly unexpected physiological sonic inversion whammy that occurs when Black Dude vocals are replaced with White Chick vocals completely tips the ethereal soul mojo of the source material on its head, and flings it back in the other direction, no worse for wear, just different. On the originals, things just kinda meander to far less effect... all of which, of course, brings up an interesting point: Since the covers they do work a lot better than the originals (i don't know why, i don't care to speculate, and i'm not really qualified to write about the blues anyway), and since the arena they operate in has never really put much of a premium on originality anyway, why not invert the traditional indie-output balance and have like 75% covers and a handful of top-flight originals? (i'd actually like to see these ladies do an entire album full of Howlin' Wolf covers... 'course, some of the lines and titles might have to be modified to accommodate the gender switch, so, based on prior dealings with girls from Boston, there'd be lines like "When de nail polish fill de air/there'll be Hello Kitty? everywhere" from "Neither-Of-Us-Has-a-Wang Dang Doodle," "I eats mo' yogurt than any girl seen" from "(Hey! Get Away from There, You Would-Be) Back Door Man," "I did not SAY I was a millionaire... I said I have CHARGED more than a millionaire" from "Going Down Rarely," and, of course, the self-explanatory "I Asked for (Bottled) Water") (and NO, it's NOT that i'm not giving them a chance because they're GIRLS, it's that i'm not giving them a chance because they're a TWO-PIECE BAND ON SYMPATHY! What the fuck is so wrong with THAT?) Actually, the really scary thing about this record is that if i'm not really paying attention to it it kinda sounds like Jefferson Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow album. Eek. BEST SONG TITLE: "Commit a Crime" BEST SONG: "Moanin'" AMAZING FANTASTIC TRIVIA FACT: They're a two-piece band on Sympathy!!! –norb (Sympathy )


MR. AIRPLANE MAN:
Moanin’: CD
Low fi dirty blues stuff, kinda like Demolition Doll Rods only more bluesy. Margaret Garrett is an inspired guitar player and an apt singer while drummer Tara McManus fills things out nicely. The best songs are the ones that sound like lost ‘60s Nuggets: “Very Bad Feeling,” “Wonderin’” and the cover of the Eccentrics “Podunk Holler.” Another Jim Diamond engineered, minimalist blues/rock band from Detroit that doesn’t sound like the White Stripes. Makes you think, huh? –Bob Cantu (Sympathy)


MISSING 23RD, THE:
The Powers That Be: CD
Decent enough Cali hardcore from a band that’s been around awhile. Song subjects run the gamut of the expected topics (racism, jocks, etc.). Sounds good ’n’ all on the whole, but the recording is too “clean” for these ears, meaning I like my hardcore blessed with a sound less sanitized and a hell of a lot scruffier around the edges. –jimmy (Sessions)


MIRRORMEN, THE:
Breaking Class: CD
These guys are touted by their label as the “saviours of English hardcore.” If so, the limeys on the other side of the pond are in some deep doo-doo, ’cause all I’m hearin’ here is more up-tempo metal disguised as hardcore. If this is what “saved” English hardcore is supposed to sound like, maybe it should be left to die. –jimmy (Malt Soda)


MILLION DOLLAR MARXISTS:
self-titled: CD
Six really good songs of something like if the Hellacopters did “Search and Destroy” (which I’d be surprised if they haven’t). If it was full-length, it’d be a sure classic. –Cuss Baxter (Million Dollar Marxists)


MILEMARKER:
Satanic Versus: CD
With a title like Satanic Versus, I was expecting some heavy-ass devil, metal shit. I just got the shit part. Keyboard shit that is equal parts Chili Peppers, Killing Joke and some emo overtones. –don (Jade Tree)


MARKY RAMONE AND THE SPEEDKINGS:
Legends Bleed: CD
The Speedkings roped in one Marky Ramone to fill the drum seat in their band and record this disc with ‘em. As usual, brother Marky’s teflon-coated wrists from hell accompany this release just fine. Heavy Ramones influences abound, but I emphasize the word “heavy” – lots of ballsy, low-end tromp for yer buck here. Song topics range from a rock’n’roll asshole, girls, cars and girls, road rage, hot UPS girls, propositioning married girls in heat, sex phone girls, girl’s beaver on one’s mind, and even a song about telling fuckers to quit looking at someone’s missing weenie hair (which has a very catchy chorus, by the way, guys). Included are four live Ramones cuts the Speedkings pulled out live at a New Years Eve show in Germany. This disc is proof that one of the greatest punk drummers still standing can still crush it out, and the Speedkings show just that. –dale (www.thirstyear.com)


MAN WILL DESTROY HIMSELF:
Consume… Be Silent… Die: CD
Picked this outta the pile ’cause I’d heard it was Reed from COC’s return to the punk rock fold. What you get for your buck is a song that sounds like it was created from a template based on Minor Threat’s “It Follows,” a song that sounds like it was ripped off from Discharge, and a bunch of other tracks that sound more like a bunch of metal dudes trying to pass themselves off as punks rather than the real thing. Wholly unimpressive. Excuse me while I go toss this in the shitcan and put on Limpwrist. –jimmy (www.mwdh.net)


MAN WILL DESTROY HIMSELF:
Consume... Be Silent… Die: CD
The music is about as subtle as the band’s name and CD title. This is the sort of band that I would assume are all smart guys that have stupid fans. They have a message, but also mosh parts, and you can guess what is more appealing to some. A good diversity of styles and influences – I keep hearing little things that remind me of SOMETHING, but I can’t quite put my finger on half of them. So far, I hear traces of Bad Brains circa I Against I, Circle Jerks circa Wonderful, some Agnostic Front and assorted bits of the better things Rollins has done. Hey, it’s like a best-of late ‘80s punk/hardcore! Every member is credited with vocals, which explains the variety of styles. None of them exactly SING, but they all do more than just scream. The odd thing about this CD is that you can tell it is really well produced – like it has a cleanness to it, and it just seems louder than most CDs. –rich (Extremely Baked)


MADCAP:
East to West: CD
This sophomore effort from LA’s Madcap shows great improvement in musicianship, writing ,and production values since their debut, Stand Your Ground. I guess spending all of their summer playing the Warped Tour has benefited them well. I know many of you have seen or heard of these guys before. So no explanation for you. I personally haven’t seen them live and my only other contact with this band is their last record. This album has a mixture of the Beltones, One Man Army, and the Bouncing Souls. Melodic and pleasing to those who don’t like it too noisy. –don (Side One Dummy)


LYING IN STATES:
The Bewildered Nerd: CD
Emo caca poo poo mierda. –jimmy (Harmless)


LUDICRA:
Hollow Psalms: CD
Ludicra takes a black metal stance toward a preoccupation with melody but leaves enough regular metal and grind tacked on to keep the proceedings in full swing. Better than average for the genre. –Cuss Baxter (Life Is Abuse)


LEECHES, THE:
Suck: CD
Well, luckily for them they don’t “suck,” but their brand of art-punk ain’t exactly engaging, either –jimmy (www.theleeches.com)


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