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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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UK SUBS / NATIONAL RAZOR F.D.I.C.:
Gruesome Twosome, Vol. 1: CD
O.K. You all know who the UK Subs are. Harper and Garrat are both present for this current lineup. These Brits have a classic pedigree, but I’ve got to say that I’m not a fan of their current output. A couple of these songs aren’t bad, but there are poppy elements that annoy me. Also, I could do without the reggae. The Clash and the Bad Brains could pull it off in their respective heydays, but those were different bands and different times. Here it just sounds silly. I’ve never heard National Razor before, but to me it sounds like pretty typical street punk of the poppy variety. They remind me of a less interesting, less sophisticated Swingin’ Utters. Sorry guys, not memorable for me. –Dan Yemin (Morphius )


TURBO A.C.’S, THE:
Nova!: 7”
Well tie me up, gag me, and beat the livin’ snot outta me; if this isn’t the most sonically ferocious 7-incher to ever hit my turntable, then I don’t know diddley-squat, hot damn! The Turbo A.C.’s are one of those musically insane bands who frenetically pour every ounce of sweat, vigor, and energy into creating blazing, bad-ass bombardments of pure, unrefined rock’n’roll meanness. The title track is a raging, surf-influenced stomper about the sensuously curvaceous fur-clad goddess Nova in the original “Planet of the Apes” movie. The flip cut, “Total Damage,” is a belligerent, balls-out blaster that sounds a lot like The Supersuckers if Dick Dale were their guitarist. Sure as shit, the Turbo boys raucously combine the liveliest elements of surf, punk, garage, and straight-out savage rock’n’roll fury, and they effortlessly make it an incendiary sound all their own. –Roger Moser Jr. (Fanboy)


TOMMY AND THE TERRORS:
self-titled: 7”
Pissed-off street punk that will have you barking along in no time with cuts like “What About Me?” and “Outbound.” I’m imagining that Tommy and the Terrors tend to stir it up live at their shows from the sounds of this lil’ slab of tuneage. Until then, I can only crank this monster up on the stereo and knock people down my stairs who don’t find this appealing and/or coming up those same stairs to complain. –dale (Rodent Popsicle)


TOM WAITS:
Blood Money: CD
When I listen to Tom Waits albums, often find myself making up little movies in my head. For this one, my little cerebral cinema presents a melodrama about a gritty 1920s New York neighborhood, where there’re equal parts danger and beauty awaiting the unsuspecting. Of course by the end of the disc, all the characters in my cranial cinematic masterpiece have been eaten by giant pigeons with clown makeup on and the heroes have all checked into Betty Ford’s clinic some fifty or sixty years before it even exists, and I blame this wholly weird turn of events on the music itself. Fans of Bone Machine and similar albums will be glad to know that Waits is no less eclectic and psychotic on this latest effort, alternating vocally between gruff woofing, wheezy bar crooner and sometimes nearly achieving a “normal” quality to his woefully abused pipes. They will also be glad to know that this is a solid album, where the wild eclecticism accentuates rather than distracts the listener and draws him into worlds not often visited by the normal, or at least remotely sane. My next project is to rent a copy of City of Lost Children, turn the sound down and see how well this fits as a soundtrack. So recommended it ain’t funny. –jimmy (Anti-/Epitaph)


TOM WAITS:
Alice: CD
According to what I can find about this and the other new Waits album, this is the first official recording of an opera Waits co-wrote in the early nineties with his wife and frequent collaborator Kathleen Brennan. As can be expected, the music and thematic elements vary from the blues to jazz to carnival shouts, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes absurd and sometimes outright bizarre, yet still managing to hang onto a common thread that keeps the proceedings from falling apart. While it’s always nice to hear Waits’ inimitable howl, Alice is also easily one of his best albums ever and should easily satisfy the recent convert and long-time follower alike. Highly recommended. –jimmy (Anti-/Epitaph)


TIGERBEAT:
self-titled: 7”
Moody garage rock that did fuckall for this listener. –jimmy (Fanboy)


TEAM EMU:
self-titled: CD
Please excuse me while I partake in a brief “Beavis and Butthead” (remember them?!) moment: “THIS SUCKS!!! Heh-HehHeh-Heh." Seriously, folks, this is a full-fledged teeth-gnashing auditory nightmare that’s as predictable and uneventful as Dipshit Dubya Bush’s ongoing routine of blatant, unflinching stupidity. If the “Peanuts” cartoon gang formed a punk band, they’d assuredly sound like Team Emu; a sonically unsalvageable disaster; sloppy, poppy punk piss-swill; The Dickies, Dead Milkmen, and Violent Femmes thoroughly doused in a bucket of fetid rhinoceros puke. I’d rather shit razor blades than listen to one more minute of this moronic musical mediocrity! Todd, shame on you for sending such nauseating audio sludge to me; I thought we were friends, man, so why, why, why must you inflict this kind of monotonous ear-mangling misery upon me? One more slip up like this, and I damn well will not bequeath you my well-worn socks and underwear when I drunkenly kick the proverbial bucket. Gosh almighty, the nerve of some people. HaHaHeeHeeHo! –Roger Moser Jr. (Team Emu)


STRYCHNINE:
Hate Finger: 7” EP
It sounds as if the savagely spirited boys in Strychnine consist on a steady diet of razor blades, rocket fuel, and all-out attitude-driven anger. They chaotically churn out a wildly careening atomic bomb’s roar of snotty and insolent punkrock fierceness that’s as ugly, sweaty, and venomous as it gets. Imagine a high-voltage crossbred cacophony of Fear, Minor Threat, and The Minutemen rambunctiously blastin’ two tit-twistin‘ originals and a skull-crackin’ cover of X’s “We’re Desperate.” Lawless, loud, and unmistakably brutal; that’s the unrelenting auditory outrage of Strychnine. –Roger Moser Jr. (TKO)


STILLBORN:
self-titled: 7”
Anarcho-hardcore noise with male/female vocals. It ain’t bad, but I’ve heard soooooo many other bands do the same thing for soooooo long that all the novelty has worn off. –jimmy (New Audio Terror)


STEPSISTER/STREETWALKING CHEETAHS:
Keep It in the Family: 7”
Cheetahs: “Mama Train” is a balls-out rocker that had my head bobbin’ nice, and the same goes for “Future Lost.” Stepsister: Same thing here. Both bands deliver some solid rock/punk that gets them toes a-tappin’. A keeper. –jimmy (Smog Veil)


STEP SISTER:
Autopilot Stuck on Get Down: CD
If ya like your music meaty, ballsy, and ferociously smokin’, then this here gut-pummeling platter of heavy, thundering rock’n’roll fury is all you’ll ever need to thoroughly rattle your cage! Step Sister raucously carry on the monstrously maniacal tradition of AC/DC, Circle Jerks, and Motorhead while loudly crankin’ a skull-splittin’ roar of over-amped powerchord-driven madness, meanness, and nastiness. This is a raging sonic squall that’s ten times more intimidating than Lemmy’s snarling leer and damn near as ugly as the numerous tumor-like warts that adorn his pock-marked, weather-beaten face! It’s an unholy, cacophonously rockin’ auditory storm that boisterously sings the perverse praises of booze, wild women, barroom-brawlin’ brashness, and other sinfully debauched aspects of rock’n’roll’s sordid party life. If Step Sister were a drug, I’d be gluttonously overdosing on ‘em right about now. They’re unbelievably powerful and downright invincible; as raucously wrathful as it gets! –Roger Moser Jr. (Smog Veil)


SMALLSTONE:
self-titled: CD
Smallstone precisely create a sugary-sweet swell of richly textured pop-rock splendor that’s undeniably dazzling and melodiously inspiring. It’s an aural rainbow-ride of sunshine-swirl sonic magnificence bursting with billowy blasts of jingle-jangle guitar strummings and sparkling, searing, narcotic-induced leads. The divinely angelic halo-dream vocals are jubilantly complemented by heavenly acid-drenched harmonies, frolicking ocean-tide bass runs, tribal mantra-like peyote-stomp drumming, and deliciously flavorful clouds of carnival-crazed organ-pipin’ grandeur. Far-fuckin’-out, man! Who needs The Beatles when the colorful, crushed-velvet musical majesty of Smallstone so delicately serenades our sensory receptors? An absolute mind-bending, starry-eyed auditory delight! –Roger Moser Jr. (Bomp)


SLIM CESSNA’S AUTO CLUB:
Always Say Please and Thank You: CD
This particular down-home dandy of a disc drunkenly sparkles with a knee-slappin’ wallop of pure cryin’-in-your-beer country twang. It’s rodeo-ropin’, cowhide-brandin’, poker-playin’, whiskey-saturated outlaw music that vigorously rattles my old noggin somethin’ fierce! Indeed, these backwoods rebel-rousin’ hellions sure know how to throw one helluva hootin’-and-hollerin’ hoe-down and inspirationally spirited shindig. The yodeling-in-the-lonesome-sunset vocals are an aurally intoxicating home-brewed mishmash of Michael Stipe, Jello Biafra, Hank Williams, a redneck Peter Murphy, an inbred Beck, and Jed Clampett thoroughly drenched on a jug of lethal white lightning hooch. The rural roar of blazin’ banjo, hyperactive accordion, dribble-drop drums, get-up-and-go skee-daddle guitar, low-end finger-pop bass, and butt-blisterin’ bit of percussive Native American ghost-dance tribalism crossbred with raucous holy-rollin’ revivalism is just what my achin’ ears ordered, gawddamn! Yup, I’ll be playin’ this here buckin’ bronco of a recording ‘til the dogs ain’t a-howlin’ no more. –Roger Moser Jr. (Alternative Tentacles)


SLIKMIG:
Jesus Online: CD
Wizo comes to mind because these guys, I think, are from Germany. They play melodicore mixed with some ska at points. I wish they would have sung in their native language instead of English. I probably would have liked it more. –don (Slaughter Productions)


SKIN YARD:
Start at the Top: CD
I must sheepishly confess: I’ve read a fair amount of articles during the past several years about Skin Yard, but until now, I’ve never actually heard them. ‘Tis a pity, too, ‘cause Skin Yard effervescently radiate a mind-swirling array of goth-tinged ‘80s-style auditory atmospherics that’s awe-inspiring, incandescent, and otherworldly. But it’s also funky, psychedelic, and slightly industrialized! I’m unbelievably hearing a widely varying range of musical madness that sonically conjures rapid metamorphic images of PIL, The Cure, Siouxsie & The Banshees, David Bowie, Black Sabbath, Butthole Surfers, The Smiths, Talking Heads, Jane’s Addiction, Ministry, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Monster Magnet, Nine Inch Nails, Cream, Helios Creed, and Bad Brains… whew! By the way, for those of you who are the slightest bit interested, this particular disc is a “collection of singles, rarities + outtakes,” and it contains a clenched fistful of outlandish originals and three cacophonously creative covers (The Damned’s “Machine Gun Etiquette,” Ace Frehley’s “Snowblind,” and The Beatles’ “Bulldog”). I now sit here steadily shakin’ my head in utter disbelief. This is beyond amazing ten times over and then some! I’m unabashedly hooked. –Roger Moser Jr. (C/Z)


SKARFACE:
Best & Next: CD
Half a greatest hits package that either has been re-mixed or re-recorded and half new songs. These French bad asses know how to play that two-tone ska. They mix the ska with a working class attitude that crosses genres of fans. I am assuming that they have been around since the early nineties. They are still together after that horrible period when there was a large influx of ska bands during the mid to late nineties. The good ones always come to the surface after the imposters drown. Fun! –don (Mad Butcher)


SILKWORM:
Italian Platinum: CD
Indie rock that just ain’t doin’ it for me. –jimmy (Touch and Go)


SCARS OF TOMORROW:
All Things Change: CD
Booyah! Death metal played like it is a rock opera. Cookie monster vocals over crunching guitars that have almost a ballad feeling to it. The riffs are very eighties in the progressive kind of way. Double bass drums pounding into your chest to emphasize the tribal beat. Pounding yet beautiful and energetic in a spastic way. –don (Thorp)


SATANIC SURFERS:
Unconsciously Confined: CD
Dude, what the fuck?!? With a name like Satanic Surfers, the last thing you’d expect is lame, emo-infused popcore. Ugh, now I feel all dirty. Another week’s worth of showers with a steel brush. Thanks, guys. –jimmy (Bad Taste)


RODDY RADIATION:
Skabilly Rebel – The Roddy Radiation Anthology:: CD
For all you musical archaeologists out there, ya probably already know Roddy Radiation as an artistically creative principal component (vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter) of the two-tone ska band The Specials. But, hot-diggedy hell, I can damn well assure you that this ain’t none of that fruity, horn-blaring ska shit! The sonic, skull-rattling liveliness contained herein is pure boot-scootin’ rockabilly rebelliousness (with a sometimes heavy hint of jaunty ska rhythms, especially towards the end of the disc) that sounds as if it were crazily recorded in a backwoods chicken shack studio in 1956. Indeed, my ears appreciatively hear the vibrant, ball-bustin’ influences of Sun-era Elvis, Eddie Cochran, Buddy Holly, “Ain’t Love Grand”-era X, and even a rollickin’ swirl of Johnny Rivers-style swagger. Apparently rootin’ tootin’ Roddy fronted three different bands in the early ‘80s (The Bonediggers, The Tearjerkers, and The Raiders), and this here devilishly divine disc is a magnificently well-maintained compilation of their various recorded output. It’s rural auditory bravado at its hell-raisin’, honky-tonkin’ best; a raucously spectacular collection that’ll have ya squealin’ like a pig in no time at all! –Roger Moser Jr. (Fiend Music)


RITCHIE WHITES, THE:
Snitches Get Stitches: video-enhanced CD
The Ritchie Whites (from Austin) make me goddamn proud to be a native Texan! They brashly blast an overwhelming roar of psychotic, Bowery-style rock’n’roll trashiness that aurally epitomizes cheap sex, dangerous drugs, and nasty anti-social lawlessness that’s running rampant and wild in the inner city streets of an overcrowded metropolitan nightmare near you. This is lean and mean junkie rock for all of the nocturnal gutter creatures who inhabit the decaying concrete jungles of downtown warzone central where “normal” people wouldn’t even be caught dead in the daylight; a sick’n’sordid soundtrack for pimps, prostitutes, winos, addicts, beggars, thieves, petty criminals, homeless lunatics, and other assorted night-crawlin’ deviants who thrive in an urban world of pestilence, empty promises, disease, decadence, and self-induced misery. Like The Stooges, New York Dolls, and Dead Boys before them, The Ritchie Whites sonically capture the vomit-soaked sleazy essence of the vile and villainous rock’n’roll lifestyle at its most hedonistic, heartbreaking, and hellish. It doesn’t get any more brutally honest than this. –Roger Moser Jr. (TKO)


RC5:
American Rock’n’Roll: CD
Punk rock and roll for the masses who can’t seem to get enough of this genre. Fans of Zeke, New Bomb Turks, and the like will find this in heavy rotation. The RC5 pay homage to the MC5 with their take of “American Ruse.” There’s even a song called “Candy Snatcher,” and rightfully so, because The Candy Snatchers are still the creepy kings of punk-influenced rock’n’roll, hands fucking down. –dale (Twenty Stone Blatt)


PUT-ONS, THE:
self-titled: CD
So, every time I get a record from a So Cal label I haven’t heard of, I think, “This must be on some weird major label subsidiary.” I did some investigating and couldn’t find that information, but I did discover that the web-page for Manic Records has an ad and a link to everyone’s favorite store, Hot Topic. Apparently, they also do a magazine called Manic. I couldn’t read it online, but I did see plenty of photos of pro skater boys and girls in halter tops. Lame. Musically, this is pretty standard nineties type power pop. Nothing special here. Oh well. If this was a cereal, it’d be Unfrosted Mini-Wheats. Yawn. –Maddy (Manic)


PUPILS, THE:
self-titled: CD
Mostly mellow two-man band. They sometimes sound like they’re on the verge of busting out and raising a righteous ruckus, but it just never seems to happen. In short, no big whoop. –jimmy (Dischord)


PITCH BLACK:
self-titled: CD
I was really hoping I was going to like this. I heard something about a guy from the Nerve Agents was in this band. I heard a few tracks by the latter band and thought it wasn’t half bad. This release rubs me in the wrong way. It’s like having your underwear stuck up your ass, soaking up the sweat while you are trying to run down the street. Not horrific, just not my cup of tea. I would say that it is a mixture of the current TSOL meets a non-psychobilly Tiger Army mixed with some AFI. –don (Revelation)


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