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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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PEZZ:
With Everything We Got: CD
Take a hearty dollop of pent-up youthful aggression, add an emotional swirl of spiritual conviction, and then top it all off with a durable display of spunky and punky indie rock freneticism; there ya have the colorfully eclectic sonic stirrings of Pezz. It’s a diverse and exuberant flurry of spectacular skin-tingling sounds that caused me to fitfully bounce my head around and around while excitedly tapping my toes to the consistently up-tempo rhythms. Some of the songs are as fast, furious, and frantic as a whirling out-of-control, full-force roar of unstoppable tornadic activity; others are mellow, melancholic, and deeply profound. “Broke in Two” is raucously reminiscent of Social Distortion’s early bravado-laden output, but “Voices in the Wilderness” is a spirited burst of pure reggae splendor that'd make Bob Marley enthusiastically toss his natty dreadlocked mane from side-to-side while proudly grinning ear to ear. Indeed, this indescribably life-altering disc is as musically disparate as it gets! Pezz sure know how to thoroughly coat a man’s soul in everlasting fuzziness, by golly gosh. –Roger Moser Jr. (Soul Is Cheap)


O-TYPE:
Lugubrious: CD
Members of MX-80s creating ambient pieces with a somewhat rough edge. At times it fills the room, and others it’s almost inaudible. As a listener of ambient, I found this to be interesting, and the textures they create are interesting in how they play off one another. Something edgy can almost sound quiet coupled with something smooth. –Matt Average (Family Vineyard)


NIXON YEARS, THE:
Everything You Asked for:: CD
Another rock band speeds up the tempos and spits out inane lyrics and – viola! – Instant punk band. Next. –jimmy (EKG)


MONOCHORDS:
Thinking of You: 7” EP
Kraut punk owing heavily to the English mod/punk sound of the late seventies with maybe a little SLF thrown in for good measure. Good stuff, but not exactly earth-shattering in the originality department. –jimmy (Fanboy)


MOCK ORANGE:
The Record Play: CD
Mock Orange effortlessly unleash an auditory assault of frenetic high-energy indie rock melodiously mixed with emotionally fever-pitched sonic smoothness. It’s sometimes as harmoniously mellow as shimmering specks of spring-fresh sunlight gracefully sashaying across the tranquil, comforting waters of a mountainside brook and, at other times, as aurally raging as a volcanic eruption of catastrophic proportions. Overall, this is a refreshing swirl of musical splendor that caresses, cleanses, and rejuvenates one’s spirit while intensely touching the quiet, introspective depths of the soul. Indeed, The Record Play is a passionately moving sonic marvel that’s had a positive, everlasting effect on my ears, and I can guarantee it will continue to do so. –Roger Moser Jr. (Lobster)


MIDNIGHT THUNDER EXPRESS:
self-titled: CD
Some very unabashed Thunders worship here. Sounds like every song could’ve made the LAMF final cut. For what they are, this ain’t too shabby. –jimmy (Empty)


MERMA, LA:
Saludos al Tirano: CD
Kinda weird listen here: Mexican punk rock with shades of spaghetti western music that, for some bizarre reason, reminds me of the Pogues even though they sound nothing like them. Although it was a good listen, I’ve definitely got to get more sleep. –jimmy (Cochebomba)


MDC:
Now More Than Ever: CD
I may be wrong, but I think a version of this CD was released a couple years back but it was extremely hard to get, they didn’t include “Missile Destroyed Civilization,” and the packaging was half as good. MDC are one of the undisputed progenitors of PC punk/hardcore. Looking back, they seem a little blunt – “Corporate Deathburger,” “Henry Kissmtassinger,” and their name – going mostly by Millions of Dead Cops and sometimes Millions of Damn Christians. But, it was this blunt force trauma that worked and was needed right out of the gate when Reagan was still in the White House. Absolutely to their credit, MDC were one of the first punk bands to devote almost their entire career to what may seem old hat right now but was ground breaking at the time: discussing immigrant rights, vegetarianism, the abuses of the CIA, police brutality, and the degradation of the environment, to name a few. Quite a few of the songs musically hold up, regardless if you don’t remember Kissinger being Nixon’s Secretary of State who openly proclaimed “The illegal we can do right now; the unconstitutional will take a little longer.” I think a lot of people gloss over the fact that some of the slower, acoustic, and country-tinged songs like “Skinhead” and “Chicken Squawk” are just as good, if not better from a point of view that the straight-ahead hardcore blasts, which tended to get the drums trapped at the same tempo. A welcome re-issue. –todd (Beer City)


MC5:
Human Being Lawnmower: CD
Studio outtakes and assorted live tracks from this essential group. If you’ve heard ‘em before, you know what to expect and this sure delivers. If you happen to be one of the five people on the planet who hasn’t heard anything by these guys, you really should get out more often. –jimmy (Total Energy)


MC5:
Human Being Lawnmower: CD
Whether you love ‘em, hate ‘em, or remain inexplicably indifferent to their raucous recorded output, ya gotta appreciate the fact that the motherfuckin’ MC5 profoundly altered the sporadically changing face of rock’n’roll during the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. These irreverent, long-haired Motor City madmen took the bare, basic core of Chuck Berry-style rock’n’roll riffage, dunked it into a huge, boiling cauldron of nuclear energy, politicized it, and then furiously flung it in every conceivable direction with euphoric anticipation of ruffling authoritarian America’s straight-laced, star-spangled feathers. This frenetically charged disc is a must-have collection of oddities, outtakes, rarities, and other assorted sonic craziness that spans the entire thread of MC5’s brief, but inspirationally riveting, career. It’s bluesy, belligerent, loud, intimidating, and downright insurgent; an aural revolution fought with articulate lyrics, electric guitars, and the ugly thundering spirit of rock’n’roll. I say the politically-correct do-gooder punk bands and sniveling, limp-wristed social activist sheep of today ain’t got nothin’ on the MC5. Yep, it’s high time to open your ears and receptively embrace some spirit-rousing sounds from the past, kiddies; you just might learn a thing or two about authentic, true-hearted political protest. I double-dog dare ya, punk! –Roger Moser Jr. (Total Energy)


MATCHEADS:
Farewell Live…August, 1982: CD
A soundboard recording of a performance by a long-forgotten band at San Francisco’s On Broadway. Sound is naturally pretty good and the performance quality is okay, but I still don’t find myself all that impressed. I guess I had to be there. –jimmy (dcgarcia_96826@yahoo.com)


MATCHEADS:
Backtracks 1980-1982: CD
This is a disc of what I assume are garage demo recordings of this band, apparently made famous by an appearance on a Killed By Death comp. Not quite sure why they were included on one of those comps, as the songs on this disc are pretty much middle-of-the-road garage rock in sound and not particularly interesting to boot. –jimmy (dcgarcia_96826@yahoo.com)


LEFT WITH NOTHING:
Wishing in Reverse: 7”
What the kids call hardcore these days is nothing like what we old geezers called hardcore back in our days. Hardcore in the modern age is very (and I mean VERY) metal. The down strumming of the guitars. Double bass pedaling of the drums. The extreme baritone screaming. Man, my head started banging the instant the needle dropped down on this puppy. The riffing was heavy the way I like it. I love hearing double bass drums. That adds to the heaviness factor. This Tacoma, Washington band is very metal. They reminded me of many death metal bands I have heard through the years mixed with the band Strife. Anger management compressed into tiny little grooves for your enjoyment. Features former members from Trial, if that means anything to you. –don (Excursion)


KID WITH MAN HEAD:
Cassius Coleman: CD
There’s a picture of Gary Coleman superimposed as Muhammad Ali on the cover. Wasn’t a knockout to me. For some reason they reminded me of the Lemonheads. –don (Boss Tuneage)


JOHN SPARROW, THE:
self-titled: CDEP
These guys in The John Sparrow have got to have some ‘Mats, Big Drill Car, All Systems Go!, or Scrimmage Heroes lying around their stereos. Don’t get the wrong idea, it’s somewhat leaning in that direction, but the rwb (rock w/ balls) fails to come through on this here CD. Pretty decent recording, but I like to get my feet lifted off the ground when something’s trying to kick my ass through the speakers. I’ll be interested hearing a follow-up to this CDEP. And a free drink to the band member wearing the chimp mask on the inner sleeve (I’ll show you later, Tony). That’s just great. Why is it great? Because I said it’s fucking funny, that’s why. –dale (Johanns Face)


JAN:
Fire of Love: 7”
Billy Childish with more overdrive pumped into the guitar sound. I dunno, but I was expecting a little more considering the single is named after a Gun Club album. C’est la vie, I guess. –jimmy (Fanboy)


INTERNATIONAL NOISE CONSPIRACY, THE:
The First Conspiracy: CD
I think that by now a lot of people know what these guys sound like. This is political, dance-oriented and garage influenced music, offered up to us by ex-members of such Swedish luminaries as Refused and the Doughnuts. This is (I believe) their first offering, and by now they have two more records that have been released by Epitaph. They’ve also been through the US on tour at least twice, and I’ve enjoyed them live. This bunch of songs is catchy, and the lyrics are definitely oriented towards a socialist perspective, focusing on resistance against unequal distribution of power and resources. I pretty much agree with their political agenda, and I like the simplicity of the production here. A lot of people say that this band reminds them of the Make-Up, and I definitely recognize the influence. This is not a bad thing in this case, though. They’ve subsequently made more exciting records than this, but this one is a good place to start, especially if you like seeing a band progress in a relatively short period of time. Recommended. –Dan Yemin (G7 Welcoming Committee)


HISSYFITS, THE:
Wish You Were Here…: 7”
Three cuts that call to mind the sound of The Bangles, minus the polished candy glaze. Pretty cool tunes on this seven incher, but it’s not really my bottle of Diet Pepsi. I will say this, though – any band that uses an LP title in their lyrics (End of the Century) like the Hissyfits did is a-o-fuckin’-k with me. And if you have to ask who’s LP that is, your skull must be filled to the eardrums with feces, you shithead. –dale (www.hissyfits.com)


HELLRIDE:
Troublemaker: CD
Scandinavian heavy metal with a punk edge. Now there’s something original. –jimmy (Scooch Pooch)


GHOULTOWN:
Give ‘Em More Rope: CD
Hot damn Hades, these musical spaghetti-western scoundrels possess all of the ferocity and fury of a Texas-sized tornado relentlessly tearing across the sun-baked sands that eternally blanket a vast hellish stretch of Old West desert country. With such descriptively evil titles as “Fistful of Demons,” “Dirty Sanchez,” “Hang Me High,” “Man with No Name,” “Bloodshot,” “Bandito Sunrise,” and “To the Gallows,” Ghoultown’s 19th Century electric outlaw songs vividly conjure “wild west” images of tumbleweeds, tequila, vigilante-style lynchings, and soot-covered ghost-demon cattle-rustlers blazin’ down the unending dusty trail that leads straight to Hell. Yippy-tie-yie-yay, this is rootin’-tootin’ goth-tinged Texabilly debauchery at its darkest, drunkest, and most decadent; the kind of bone-rattlin’ sonic scariness that’d incite two lone gunslingers to square-off in the deserted streets of Tombstone at high noon. Their menacing, whiskey-parched eyes fearlessly squinting in the unrelenting glare of the scorching summer sun above and their gnarled, callused fingers nervously twitching within a hair’s breadth grasp of the triggers of their trusty ol’ six-shooters; the imminent stench of death lingers in the air. Aw shucks, I’m gonna now sit back and guzzle yet another mug of beer, attempt to smoke a Clint Eastwood-style cigar, and fervently listen to this here deviant lil’ disc until I’ve fully paid my dues to the devil. Ghoultown has branded my hide, tanned my backside, and left me for dead. Boy, do I ever like the rough stuff, gawddamn! –Roger Moser Jr. (Angry Planet)


GBH:
No Need to Panic: CD
By the time this one came out, I, and most of those I hung out with at the time, had pretty much written off GBH as yet another once-good band who’d sold their soul to rock’n’roll and stopped payin’ attention to ‘em (to be honest, today is the most GBH I’ve heard in one sitting in more than a decade). Damn shame I didn’t stick around for one more album, ‘cause this one is actually better than its predecessor. The metal is kept pretty much in check, the songs are pretty good and the tempos sometimes reach the speed of their Sick Boy days. Excuse me while I eat another heaping mouthful of crow. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


FASTIDIOS, LOS:
Guardo Avanti: CD
Well, hell’s bells, my ears have done melted and slid right down the sides of my face! Los Fastidios frenetically crank out a skull-hammering wallop of anti-fascist skinhead street punk that’s all-at-once confrontational, politically charged, and energetically raging. The vocals are gruffly spit forth in a slurred and emotional barrage of European dialect (Italian, I think… or maybe French. Damn, I dunno, I only speak Texan!). The brutal in-your-face instrumentation is roaring and wrathful, yet catchy and upbeat as all get-up. The lyrics (printed in three different languages) are a fervent, open call-to-arms for punk unity, spirited beer-fuelled good times with friends (hey, I can certainly relate to that!), animal liberation, and aggressively rousing revolt in the streets. There’s also a couple of robustly outspoken rants against half-wit racist knuckleheads, the US government’s greed-fed capitalistic policy, and the authoritarian abuse of power by corrupt cops everywhere. All in all, this is one heck of an oi-inspired punkrock release, and it should definitely be loudly blasted throughout the vast, cluttered expanses of America’s sprawling suburban wasteland. Fuck authority, hell yeh! –Roger Moser Jr. (KOB and Mad Butcher)


EMBROOKS, THE:
Our New Day: CD
Never have I heard a group so sonically similar to The Who during their hooliganistic mid-‘60s heyday than The Embrooks and their cacophonous kaleidoscope of wailing musical savagery! The over-amped, demento-distorted guitar-crunch roars with such jangle-rumble ferocity, my ears are now permanently damaged with a ravaging case of Pete Townsend-syndrome (more commonly known as tinnitus); the molten, flesh-meltin’ leads and swirling, skin-scorchin’ solos are all-at-once ballsy, bluesy, slithering, and psychedelic. Lois, the explosive demolition-detonatin’ drummer, is the female equivalent of Keith Moon; only she’s more barbaric, brutal, and raucously rampaging with her percussive barrel-poundin’ prowess. The bass is a low-end auditory freight train cram-packed with technically proficient storms of seismic sound. Pristinely smooth nasal-wheeze vocals discordantly soar throughout this thunderous onslaught of garage rock rowdiness. Yep, it’s a magnificently colossal assortment of structurally perfect noise-blastin’ splendor in the vibrant vein of The Kinks, The Yardbirds, Love, and the cream of the “Nuggets” crop. “Our New Day” is damn well on its merry lil’ way of becoming one of the most aurally blistering faves of my lifetime. Robustly recommended! –Roger Moser Jr. (Bomp/Voxx)


DUKES OF HILLSBOROUGH, THE:
Undefeated at Russian Roulette: CD
If there’s a musical category called emo-grunge, this bilious stomach-churning auditory disaster would certainly be categorized as such! It’s the most god-awful odoriferous aural fart that’s ever repulsed my ears to the brink of all-out vomit-inducing repugnance; an insipid, bowel-stirring onslaught of sonically distressing diarrhea that relentlessly squirts nothin’ but uninspired stagnancy. Goodbye, Dookies Of Hillsborough; the dark and dank toilet ravine beckons. Flush… aaaahhh. –Roger Moser Jr. (Attention Deficit Disorder)


DRAGSTRIP 77:
Sin City Hotrods: 5-song CDEP
Dragstrip 77 have perfectly captured the hallowed sanctified sounds of Sun Studio, circa 1954-1958, but these mad daddy musical hellhounds expertly add a nuclearized atomic blast of frenzied energy, insurmountable leather-clad sonic swagger, and big, bulgin’ bucketloads of bad-ass bullets-ablazin’ bravado to the mix, and my ears couldn’t be any more sinfully titillated than they are now! Imagine a psycho-crazed amphetamine-addled gang of Gene Vincent clones voraciously stompin’ the unholy hell outta the devil himself in the infernal everlasting afterlife. Imagine a debauched by-gone era of pomade-drenched ducktails, garbage-strewn big-city alleyways, authentic curvaceously spectacular pin-up seductresses, 3-D Godzilla madness, James Dean, drive-in movies, and violent blood-splashed street race rumbles in the suburban corridors of a sprawlin’ 1950s frontier. Well, there ya go! I’m open-mouthed and awestruck by this musically mesmerizing masterpiece! There’s a new sonically smokin’ sheriff in town, and it’s Dragstrip 77. –Roger Moser Jr. (Dionysus and Rollin’ Rock)


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