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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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GHB:
Self-titled: 7”
So GHB, not to be confused with GBH, stands for the Get High Boys. Admittedly I was very dubious (doobie us?) about them and kinda judging them on the name alone. Plus, I always let out an audible sigh when I find a 7” record that requires an adapter to play. Turns out I like the music more than I initially thought. Though there’s no lyrics and minimal information about GHB, many of the verses have discernable words. The recording is real fuzzy and garagey. Sonically, they’re a bit like a much slower New Bomb Turks or a less spooky version of The Mummies, sans keyboard. Vocally, they remind me of Jay Reatard. These boys, high or not, have some good tunes. I just wish the recording was clearer. I love a little grit in my music but it takes away some of the listenability. I bet they’re a great band to see live.  –Kayla Greet (Die Slaughterhaus)


GAMES:
Little Elise: 7”
The title track pilfers the initial vocal line of the Beach Boys’ “California Girls” and transplants it into a power pop gem that sounds like it’s just been plucked outta 1978. “About Me” follows along the same power pop lines as the flip with a nice lead guitar hook running throughout.  –jimmy (HoZac, hozacrecords.com)


FREAK VIBE:
Prostration: Cassette
The black and white photo of a skintight jeaned leg/boot firmly standing on a chain link with a razor blade conveniently lying nearby instantly brought on fantasies of a hardcore punk band melding oi with cold wave post punk. Such was not the case. Freak Vibe’s tunes owe much more to the goth-punk stylings of early Birthday Party or even the Cramps’ reckless attitude sans the rockabilly. Captivating and brilliant musicianship performed with unchained ferocity and fronted by a howling, menacing figure. Papa bear like. Send more.  –Juan Espinosa (Casino Trash, casinotrashrecords@gmail.com, psychedtodie@gmail.com)


FLAREUP / GIRL:
Split: Cassette
FlareUp is from Indonesia and Girl is from Minneapolis. Both offer four songs each of intense hardcore which fans of powerviolence and similar hardcore will enjoy. The tracks by both bands on this tape are killer, but the duplication of this tape sounds so horrible and lo-fi that I am convinced something went wrong with the duplication process, or something has gone horribly wrong with my tape deck. It’s a great split release, regardless, and worth checking out.  –Mark Twistworthy (Nog, nogblogofficial.blogspot.com)


FISTULA:
Northern Aggression: 12”
How fucking heavy can one band be? I really shouldn’t be too surprised by such a feat but rarely does anyone encapsulate everything endearing about pulverizing bands such as Dystopia, Buzzoven, and Corrupted in one sitting. Infusing a bit of crust and grindcore influence makes this record harder to categorize, so let’s just say that if you’re more inclined to partake in the ugly side of music then Fistula are waiting for you with open arms.  –Juan Espinosa (Patac, patacrecords.com)


EL JIMMY:
De Puta Madre: CDEP-R
Top notch Leatherface-esque guitar playing with hella-crappy vocals that do not synchronize. Dude should use this as a demo and find a band to join. So if you are in the Madrid area, hit this guy up. The incoherent, handwritten letter (in English) that accompanied this CD-R says that he gets paid $1,500 an hour, I think. Confusing.  –Lisa Weiss (Jimbo)


DFL:
Earn Your Scars: CD
Ultra metallic hardcore from this five-piece band. Two singers would lead you to believe that there may be some variety in the vocal department. Not the case. The vocals are screamed on each song from end to end. Even though the playing is competent, there’s nothing here for my ears to latch on to when it’s all wrapped up.  –koepenick (Schizophrenic, schizo666.com)


DEVIANTS, THE:
Have Left the Planet: CD
Depending on who you ask, The Deviants are either U.K. proto-punk legends led by eccentric writer/author Mick Farren, or just another band you’ve never heard of. This CD collects demos, live, and studio outtakes from the Deviants, and while this is far from being essential, it’s definitely interesting. The majority of the tracks were recorded with longtime Deviants members including guitarist/bassist Andy Colquhoin and former Motörhead drummer Phil Taylor who lay down the background for Farren to recite his weird poetry-songs over the top. At times, this brings to mind the music of Frank Zappa, of which I am not a fan. This is the type of release where I know it’s historically relevant and important to some, but, unfortunately, it’s not necessarily accessible and/or very listenable to me.  –Mark Twistworthy (Gonzo Multimedia, gonzomultimedia.com)


DECADES/FAILURES:
002: Cassette
Wonderfully atmospheric and gloomy and… and… well, uh, and almost exactly like Joy Division. I mean, there’s scant elements of other bands (Spectres, Cat Party, and even a little Bauhaus come to mind) as well as a song or two that mayyyybe come across like the soundtrack to an ominous montage in one of the Terminatormovies or something, but mostly, 002just sounds eerily like Joy Division. I like it, and the band’s damn convincing, but yeah, take note: they sound like a slightly modernized version of Ian and the gang. Take it or leave it.  –keith (Dead Tank)


DEATHWISH:
Six Bullet Roulette: 7”
This record is every bit as heavy as its very Pushead-inspired cover art would have you believe. I wouldn’t exactly call it metal, or punk… I don’t know (and besides, when it boils down to it, what do those descriptions even mean anymore?) Let’s just say that it makes me think of Poison Idea or Motörhead and that can’t be a bad thing.  –ty (Profane Existence)


COTILLION:
Self-titled: Cassette
In the first year after I discovered where DIY was in my town, I went to every show I heard about at the two local punk houses I knew. Whatever was on was what I got into—and, given the particular time and place, what was on was bleak, dirty, larynx-shredding hardcore, often with a gloomy inclination toward metal or chaotic screamo. Thus was laid the groundwork for my taste in punk. This demo could easily have been something I picked up for two bucks at some shadowy merch table in that formative year. The vocals are a harsh and indecipherable bark, less communicative than textural. The music is equally aggressive, but the band breaks up the onslaught with some scattered moments of moody guitar. Even the production is familiar in the best way. That tape warble, that silver-Sharpied title, the way the volume plummets three seconds into each song… man. Shit like this was everything back then. Thumbs up for keeping it going.  –Indiana Laub (Self-released, cotillionhc@gmail.com, cotillionhc.bandcamp.com)


CLASS OF 86:
Future on Fire: 12” LP
Minneapolis melodic thrash punk. Grab some bros and some brews and they’ll meet you at the Rock Rock Rock. Solid release. The album art alone—a handful of beautiful pencil drawings by Nic Skrade—is enough of a reason to buy this record.  –Jackie Rusted (Self-released, classof86@gmail.com)


CAVES:
Betterment: Cassette
Second full-length album from U.K.-based trio, Caves delivers some real nice pop punk. There’s even a tambourine at one point!  –Bianca (Dead Broke, deadbrokerecords.com)


CASTRO:
The River Need: CD
I honestly do not know what to make of this. It starts off with a speedy punk rock blast that I peg as Gits-ish, then gets into a ‘00s spacey rocker, followed by a ‘90s alternative rock radio type tune, gets truly weird with a big-chorus glam rock oddity, and then into a straight-up Soundgarden-type riff. This band clearly has good players and a talented, dynamic singer, but they just don’t have an identity. That’s not to say a band shouldn’t experiment and have a wide range of influences, but they need to come together into a cohesive sound for a band and album to work. The most compelling song, placed near the end of the record—the title track—is one evoking a Dag Nasty/Embrace sort of feeling, a song where just about everything clicks to create a song worth repeat listens.  –Chad Williams (Boss Tuneage, bosstuneage.com, / Kong Tiki, kongtiki.com, info@kongtiki.com)


CAFFIENDS:
Self-titled: LP
Oh, sweet, sweet pop punk makes my heart go a-pitter patter. Caffiends, an Orlando four piece, doesn’t give one fuck, let alone two. Throw in a healthy handful of lovesick and lonely laments, and you have this totally perfect record! This is my new drunken basement show dream! So totally awesome—love, love love!  –Jackie Rusted (Brassneck, brassneckrecords.bigcartel.com / JollyRonnie Records, jollyronnierecords.com / Swamp Cabbage, swampcabbagerecords.com)


BROOD, THE:
Defective: 7”
Heavy hardcore grind band with dual male and female vocals, much like Antischism. The Brood plays music that is musically in the same vain as anarcho punk with more introspective, non-political lyrics. Mainly, there are male vocals with a sprinkling of backup female vocals—and on some songs they refrain each other. They meld really well together, each and every song. The gruff, aggressive male vocals are present and enunciated so you can still make out the words. (Though if your ear isn’t tuned well enough for that, they included a lyric sheet (thank you!) that you can follow along with.) It blows my mind when bands spring the cash to press records but don’t include any info about themselves or the content of their lyrics. Track four, “Sleepwalking,” has the best balance of the two vocalists and my favorite line in the release: “You’ve lived inside your head too long / you’ll fucking die there, too far gone.” It’s a great “get off your ass and do something” record. Way to be motivating while also shredding.  –Kayla Greet (Self-released)


BROKEN THINGS:
Four Songs: CD-R
Excellent packaging, musicianship, and lyrics on this record. The only thing that it lacks are the melodies. Early efforts are often tricky. It’s hard to tell if a band is trying to put their best foot forward or if it’s clearing out its back catalog of songs, saving the choice cuts for the LP. Clearly inspired by late ‘80s/early ‘90s college and alternative rock, Broken Things’ songs sound like the filler songs on a better band’s record. I feel conflicted as a critic, as this record and this band’s heart seems to be in completely right place, but the music just does nothing. I truly hope that this isn’t this band’s lasting legacy, and they continue to grow. But this one is pretty forgettable, unfortunately. Grade: C-.  –Bryan Static (Self-released, no address listed)


BREAKOUT:
True Crime: 7” EP
This record is a gem, pure and simple. How a band manages to make me think of so many different artists on only five songs is quite a feat. It starts with a rhythmic and gritty post-punk / UK82 blend on the opening track “True Crime,” a song that seems to cut out far too soon. The next three tracks display more notable nods towards that UK82 sound with “All’s Quiet” having a verses that are reminiscent of Red Alert’s “In Britain” whilst on “No Sooner Said Than Done” and “Fill Your Boots,” the vocals could easily be Carl from Blitz. The record ends with “Retaliate,” a track that brings things a bit more up to date by having the quality of an early Fucked Up track, complete with vocals that match those of the behemothic Damian Abraham. Throughout the single, the bass booms with an air of menace, whilst the guitar sounds switches back and forth from razor sharp to almost clean, lacking any effects, helping create quite an expansive sound. It’s a sound that causes my body to shift, twirl, and shake each time I listen to it; such is the inherent sense of movement emanating from the songs. Breakout does a damn good job of making the UK82 sound—which, on reflection, has not stood the test of time for many of those original bands—come across as fresh, vibrant, and intriguing.  –Rich Cocksedge (Grave Mistake, gravemistakerecords@gmail.com, gravemistakerecords.blogspot.co.uk)


BODY FUTURES:
Brand New Silhouettes: LP
Body Futures, at their best play, straight forward power pop with strong female vocals. Cheap Trick with Chrissie Hynde. At their worst, Body Futures play frazzled, over-complicated rock that is less memorable than No Doubt. Brand New Silhouettes starts out strong, but takes an all too soon turn to forgettable late ‘90s radio fodder. If it was a record full of “Hooks and Eyes,” I’d be a fan. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to take a hard pass.  –Matt Seward (Latest Flame, latestflame.com)


BLOWFLY:
Black in the Sack: LP
I have plenty of friends who adore Blowfly—credited by many as the first dirty rapper, if not the first rapper ever—who, in real life, is seventy-five-year-old musician Clarence Reid, releaser of records since the Kennedy administration. If you find infinite entertainment value in hearing a dirty old black dude singing X-rated parodies of songs like “Back in Black” ((the title track)) and “Another Rainy Night in Georgia” ((sung as “another spermy night in Georgia”)), by all means, feast at this copious pile of macaroni and cheese soul. I personally find Blowfly kind of fun to play in the van on the way to an out of town gig once in a while, but that’s about the extent of my appreciation. The comedic enhancements ((credited as “perverted prologues”)) by Tesco Vee are pretty ace, though. BEST SONG: “Spermy Night (Slight Return).” BEST SONG TITLE: “Spermy Night (Slight Return).” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Thanks list includes a “Gary Gilmore.”  –norb (Patac, patacrecords.com)


BLACK ROSE BAND:
Road Kill from the Lost Bayou, Boogie Woogie Wasteland: 2 x Cassette
King Louie Bankston of the MissingMonuments and countless other projects submits a double cassette of two projects under the Black Rose Band moniker: the first cassette consists of an as-of-yet-to-be-released full length and the second a batch of home recorded unreleased gems. The first tape,Road Kill from the Lost Bayou, is highly reminiscent of the Missing Monuments with the same type of bayou stomping swagger accented by southern rock style guitar leads. Boogie Woogie Wasteland, however, is much more up my alley with a much stronger affinity for power pop while reminding us that they are a tied and true southern band. Both sessions deserve proper vinyl treatment but gun-to-my-head-pick-a-favorite, I’d argue that BoogieWoogie Wasteland is the set of songs that would most likely turn more than a few heads even though it’s already been decided by King Louie that Road Kill… is the next slated for proper release. For fans of Gentleman Jesse, soul food, heartache, and blackout binge drinking.  –Juan Espinosa (Death Rattle / Sympathy For The Hardware Industry, no address listed)


BETTER OFF DAMNED:
Endless Fight: CD
Anyone into this counterculture’s music is familiar with the assumption from those not into punk that all of the bands sound the same. Of course, it’s possible to listen to a very broad range of music, even if it all can at least in some capacity be described as “punk.” It’s interesting how seldom truly mainline, simple, generic punk records arrive. It’s tempting to dismiss such releases as trite, but often these seemingly barebones records actually have a lot going for them. That’s the case with this EP from a young band from St. Louis called Better Off Damned. It’s clear that these guys listen to a lot of classic punk and hardcore, with the end result coming off a lot like the better streetpunk bands of the ‘90s, like The Unseen, only with a bit more of an early hardcore influence akin to Group Sex era Circle Jerks. No snide comments here. I genuinely enjoyed Endless Fight, which is a stick- to- your- roots kind of release. We’re better off with Better Off Damned.  –Art Ettinger (Self-released, betteroffdamned.bandcamp.com)


BEN DISASTER:
Another Word: 7”
Nothing pleases me more than reviewing Canadian releases. Ben Disaster hails from Edmonton and falls into the realm of pop punk that leans towards noise pop, if that makes any sense. Loud and angular, yet catchy. Come Alive is probably my top track on this three-song single. Mastered by Warm Soda’s Matthew Melton, to boot.  –Steve Adamyk (Crude City, bendisaster.bandcamp.com)


BAUS:
Idol Minds: LP
Baus, pronounced “Boss,” out of Oakland offers up their first LP. It’s really hard to conform Baus’s sound to any one genre; they are a unique hybrid of noise, no-wave, post-punk, and funk. It’s got a quirky funk groove that really gets the hips moving without being clichéd in the least. A foundation of bass bounces in and out of step with funk-influenced drums is layered atop of odd and anxious post-punk guitar. The melodies of bass and guitar wander different paths, cross, join, rip apart, and bounce along. Mike’s shrill and uneasy vocals add to their unconventional charm, punctuated by some pretty rad shrieks from Sierra. It’s not too often that you find a band that sounds this unique. They’re an oddity. Cool, limited edition screen printed jackets and grape swirl vinyl. Don’t hesitate to pick this up.  –Camylle Reynolds (Self-released, baus.bandcamp.com)


BATTERED CITIZENS:
Police Brutality: LP
Mind Cure Records is not only an amazing Pittsburgh record store, but it’s also a record label dedicated to preserving its town’s music, both past and present. Those of us who were into punk and hardcore in the late ‘80s remember how underground things were in those awkward years between the hardcore era and the ‘90s resurgence. This demo is absolutely fantastic, with influences from every subgenre that existed up to that point in time. Classic ‘80s hardcore, NYHC, oi, crossover thrash, and other styles, along with distinctive vocals, lend a lot of flair to Battered Citizens. Included are a download card with the full demo along with two live sets, and a very cool foldout poster with fascinating liner notes and images. Members of Battered Citizens went on to be in other notable bands including Killer Oof Sheep, Submachine, Timebomb, Caustic Christ, Truth & Rites, and Cultivator. That these songs stand the test of time makes it no surprise that the members of Battered Citizens remain active in the scene.  –Art Ettinger (Mind Cure)


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