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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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VAGIANTS:
Short and Hard: CD
Canada’s answer to the BellRays, only with less soul and more AC/DC in the mix. –jimmy (http://thevagiants.tripod.com)


SUSAN & THE SURFTONES:
The Originals: CD
Surf music, as the band name implies. It’s really good. Buy it. Now. –jimmy (www.susanandthesurftones.com)


SKINLESS:
4-song: 7” EP
My exposure to speed metal, ever since the ‘80s crossover debacle, has been limited. I hated DRI and COC becoming hair shakers and riffing out, but I didn’t mind Slayer’s stuff up until God Hates Us All. Go figure. Imagine Slayer circa Rein in Blood with a goat getting his nuts hammered by a circus mallet, a goblin doing the backup screams, and some slight rhyming going on. Ultimately, I don’t know what’s scarier – Skinless’ claim of “never ending pain” or their business acumen to release a demo as a 7” with “a twenty second exposition of the finest moments” on their upcoming album. Anywho, the die cut cover looks fuckin’ cool. Looks like an H.R. Geiger throwing star. –Aaron J. Poehler (Hater of God)


SELF DEFENSE:
Shooting Punk Terror: 7”
Packaging can make or break an unknown band in regards to impulse purchase. This band sold me by the effort put in by its label. It’s a nice silk screened cover with a silk screened band that wraps it. It’s on yellow with white swirled colored vinyl and has a large glossy insert. In this case though, I was influenced by the package and a good reference from a friend. Musically, as I see the trend, punk bands are slowing it down a tiny notch and playing more of an ‘80s style of hardcore, this band included. The first band that popped into my head was the Nihilistics and adding their own touch of fury. Raw, fast, and agitated punk that makes you grit your teeth while you go along for the ride. –don (Uncle Slam)


ROSEMARY’S BILLYGOAT:
Evilution: CD
Cartoonish, theatrical Satan rock in the vein of Gwar or Marilyn Manson, only without as catchy of a gimmick. –jimmy (Porterhouse)


REPLICATOR:
Untitled: CDEP
All hail Replicator! A simply packaged CD with nothing but a big black “R” to separate you from this holy disc. I could make a ton of comparisons to the likes of Shellac (all hail as well!), The Jesus Lizard, even Helmet, but melding perfectly placed samples, toys and keyboard bits, and the urge to hail the devil – and you have Replicator. No, they aren’t Satanic, unfortunately, but they take on a slightly evil, and in a geeky way, a trashy form of evil political masterminding sneaky devilishness. The first track, “Validation Complex,” is a blasting rock instrumental - quick drum beats, all that tasty off-time “math rock” shit we geeky-rock fans love to eat up. Next comes the aptly titled “Bawkbakawk Bawkbagone.” Drummer Chris Bolig’s strong and oh-so manly “I’m in control here” beats work perfect with vocalist/guitarist Conan Neutron’s (yes, Neutron) blood curdling and oh so passionate wails and fuzzy guitar. By the end of the song I’m already playing air drums. That is a good sign. This fab droning keyboard slips itself in when you least expect it, adding to the evilness. Spooky! At times it has the feel of “The Billiard Player” by Shellac, until this evil fucking metal breakdown comes in. This is when you hail. “CAP Vehicle Retirement Application” automatically gives the feel of viva-la-revolution. Prof. Ben Adrian’s (engineered/mixed the record, too, at his Feedback Loop studio) finger-pointing bass leads most of the song. Conan better watch out that he doesn’t break a capillary with his screeching “We ain’t talkin’ labor…” We finally end with “Epoch,” an earth-shaking track lead in by kick-ass distorted guitar and one loud-as-hell, kickass bass line; a monumental end that will have school children knocking over their desks and burning their homework. Replicator asks, “How can you sleep?” Fuck sleep! All hail the Bay Area’s three-piece monster rock gods, Replicator! –Miss Sarah A. Stierc (Replicator)


RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS:
By the Way: CD
Even though I bought this on sale, I wasted ten bucks. –don (Warner Brothers)


RAPTURE, THE:
Out of the Races and onto the Tracks: CDEP
The Rapture went from The Cure to Gang of Four. It’s a quick twenty minutes chock full of death disco and noisy pop songs. The shrill vocals have stuck. They lost a member, gained a member, and continue on as a three piece (minus keyboards) with a raw guitar, throbbing uber-manly bass lines, and clean, mesmerizing drums. The title track will have crazy kids dancing crazy dances all over. On to track two. In “Modern Romance,” the bass line pulls you in, suddenly breaks, and sloppy guitars all lead to an at-times dragging, yet still surprising tune. “Caravan” and “The Jam” are the most painful. They leave me staring off at the walls and waiting for something exciting. I love some good noise, but these two are the songs I’d groan and moan about if they played them live. Boohoo. “The Pop Song” shows the ‘60s psych influence - and if the vocals don’t cut glass, diamonds might not do the trick. Despite my lack of attention or interest in “Caravan” and “The Jam” the final track, “Confrontation” is a favorite. Four minutes of one killer fucking bass line and a lot of moaning and groaning. Reminds me a bit of the last track on the Liars full length, This Dust Makes That Mud. If you’re not nodding your head up and down in submissiveness by the end of this song, then you must be deaf. –Miss Sarah A. Stierc (Sub Pop)


PETER AND THE TEST TUBE BABIES:
Loud Blaring Punk Rock: CD
Loud Blaring Punk Rock: CDTheir third album sees PTTB taking a step backward from the complexity of “Mating Sounds of South American Frogs” and instead nicking another band’s set and adding some of their oldies, all in an apparent attempt to ride the wave of good press surrounding them at the time by keeping the releases coming. The results are for the most part good, with some classic tracks that live up to the album’s title and only a few clunkers. Although it was recorded later, the stuff here is more akin to Banned from the Pubs than The Jinx, so if you’re looking for their more poppy stuff, you’re better off picking up the next in the series of reissues, Soberphobia. For those of you who don’t give a toss about dynamics and hooks and just want some good, old-fashioned punk rock, you couldn’t ask for more –jimmy (Captain Oi)


ONELINEDRAWING:
Visitor: CD
Lonely guy with a guitar and no friends unless he needs something –don (Jade Tree)


MAN WILL DESTROY HIMSELF:
Consume…Be Silent…Die: CD
Figured from the packaging that I would get a good dose of politically charged hardcore when I picked this up. I got shitty metal instead. Ahh, well, whattayagonnadoo? –jimmy (www.mwdh.net)


KEEPSAKE:
Black Dress in a B Movie: CD
This gives me the ugly feelings I have when listening to emo. I think I am listening to emo because tension builds in my forehead. Bile is moving up my esophagus. Acid is turning in my stomach. My chest tightens. Why am I abusing myself? –don (Fearless)


GUTS, THE:
The Sensitive Side of: CD
Another band makes a weak attempt at making something new out of territory long ago strip-mined by the Ramones. Should’ve known that nothing good can come of a band with a Green Day shirt wearer within its ranks. –jimmy (www.thegutsrock.com)


CZOLGOSZ:
Self-titled: 7”
The heart is in the right place, but this didn’t move me. Musically speaking, they come off as average with a production that is a little too clean for this reviewer to come off as striking. The lyrics are well thought out and above average with their anarcho/political views, but that didn’t keep me compelled and intrigued enough for a second listen. –don (Rodent Popsicle)


CYNICS, THE:
Doin' Me In b/w Last Day: 7"
I think the (were they once '"thee" ?) Cynics have been doing this sort of hard- but not razor-edged '60s garage rock for like twenty years by now. Apparently they still are. –Cuss Baxter (Get Hip)


CIRCLE JERKS:
Wild in the Streets: CD
Ahh, technology. My computer doesn’t recognize the audio tracks on the CD and to play the videos, you need to install some dubious software (supported by a company that’s not listed on the CD’s exterior packaging) directly from it, instead of it booting automatically. No matter, that shit’s just icing for this re-issue (originally on IRS’s Faulty Products imprint). If you see any Circle Jerks albums you don’t presently own and Lucky or Chuck Biscuits are playing the drums, consider it a green light for some fun. After their departures, you’re on your own. I can’t rightly endorse Wonderful, but Wild in the Streets, in tandem with Group Sex (I remember the cassette version with the entire album twice on one side and the other side blank so you could ruin the music industry with some old-fashioned home taping) and Golden Shower of Hits are pretty much at the apex of the second wave of Southern California punk rock. Short as hell, fast as fuck, funny as hell. It dabbles equally in politics, partying as hard as humanly possible, and pranks. What’s not to like? –todd (Porterhouse)


BUSINESS, THE:
Welcome to the Real World: CD
Another Business re-release here. I don’t quite remember where this one fits in the release order, but I seem to remember first seeing it quite a while back. The songs are typical Business, meaning that even the weaker tracks here are miles above what most other bands are able to muster. My only complaint is that I’m not too fond of the production, which is kinda thin, but that’s pretty much par for the course with the early Business stuff, and the songs are good enough to overcome the handicap. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


ADICTS:
Fifth Overture: CD
Egads! A re-issue of the Adicts fifth album, and it appears that the ‘80s hit the boys mighty hard. Synths, that ‘80s pop band mix, a decidedly tamer sound…. this is pretty scary. As a pop record, it ain’t too shabby, but as a punk-related release, this is pretty danged bad. Jeez, I had no memory of this sounding this tame. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


78 RPM:
Pulsator: CD
Kinda perplexing…. Here’s one o’ them bands playing up the “old school” thing, with ties, weird sunglasses, keyboards, and Paul Collins covers, but something’s definitely missing that I can’t quite put my finger on. Their songs are well crafted and their cover of “Walking Out on Love” is easily the highlight of this disc, but it’s just rubbing me the wrong way. Maybe it’s the lack of conviction in their delivery. Maybe it’s the overly clean sound. Maybe it’s because of the general air of professionalism so thick around this release. Either way, this just doesn’t quite cut the mustard for me. –jimmy (Shrunken Head)


WORM QUARTET:
Stupid Video Game Music: CD
Punkers with an extensive Dr. Demento collection are a very scary thing indeed. Song titles like “I Wanna Poop in Diane Sawyer’s Mailbox” and “Thermometer of Doom” say all that needs to be said. Highly recommended. –jimmy (www.wormquartet.com)


WOLF BRIGADE:
Progression/Regression: LP
Broken Bones-styled hardcore with all the metal trappings associated with that band intact, all on a nice looking picture disc. For what it is, it ain’t bad. –jimmy (Farewell)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Power of Ten: EP
A piece of the current Northwest hardcore scene is captured here. All bases covered from the more metallic side like Himsa, Left With Nothing, Contingent, to the more traditional sound of Spitting Teeth, and on to bands like Stay Gold, The Entropy Project, To See You Broken, The November Group, Screwjack, and Positively Negative, who are carving their own niches in hardcore. All in all, a pretty good comp. –Matt Average (1-2-3-4 Go!!!)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
No One Left to Blame: Twenty American Punk Unknowns ‘76-’82: LP
Yet another one of those Killed by Death-ish comps. This time around, the best stuff here is from (surprise!) my hometown of Milwaukee! The Prosecutors do a great, chaotic song not too far from the Replacements in sound! All right! There’s also Antler Joe and the Accidents with “Dogshit,” one of the more ridiculous songs I’ve heard lately. The rest of this album is pretty much take it or leave it, unless you’re a record collector. LOTS of bands that sound like either the Sex Pistols or the New York Dolls. LOTS of bands with fake British accents. If this were a cereal, it’d be one of those variety packs with lots of mediocre cereals from long ago that, sadly, the cereal execs were correct in discontinuing. Wow. Metaphor overload. –Maddy (not listed)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Greeting: CD
Sampler from the Lobster Records roster. Represented here are Staring Back, Yellowcard, Mock Orange, Buck Wild, Park, Whippersnapper, Yellowcard, Joystick and Jargon. Kinda like the minor league team for Fat or Epitaph. Give it a chance and see if you like any of the bands if you are into melodicore. –don (Lobster)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
BRYCCHouse Benefit Compilation: CD
A benefit for a youth cultural center located in Kentucky, this is a pretty decent outing as far as benefit comps go. While I’m not enthused by the ska and emo entries, the sounds are pretty widely varied, from the above mentioned styles to acoustic to hardcore to art damage and so on, and the quality of the tracks is consistently high. Featured artists include Chumbawamba, IN DK, Kung Fu Rick, Noam Chomsky, A National Acrobat, Truce, and others. Not a bad listen. –jimmy (BRYCCHouse)


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