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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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DOCTOR X:
Blue in the Water: 7”
Side one: Mid-fi (as opposed to lo-fi) punk rock’n’roll with a fair amount of drive and a desire to kick some life into the standard 12-bar blues riff. Side two: yer standard mid-tempo garage rocker. –jimmy (Fanboy)


CUB COUNTRY:
High Uinta High: CD
Indie rockers playing “country music” reeks of bullshit. –Matt Average (Jade Tree)


CONVICTION:
Kill It: CD
Are you straight edge? Do you only listen to bands that are straight edge? Well here is a band for you. I’m assuming this is a side project band because it says that it features members of Earth Crisis, Turmoil, Despair, The Promise, and Starkweather. East Coast hardcore/metal that leans heavily on the metal side. I know the kids are calling this hardcore, but in my day this was metal. I just wish this was a little faster. –don (Thorp)


CHERRY THIRTEEN:
Guilty As Sin: CD
I am going to be as honest as I fucking can be here. Now, as I listened to this, I thought to myself, “Shit, man, two words – Electric Frankenstein.” Well, it’s no wonder. I come to find out on the disc insert that Steve Miller is fronting this band, and if it’s the same Steve Miller that sings/sang with EF, my instinct was right. By the way, the above band comparisons aren’t a compliment. Fuck me for having an opinion. –dale (Twenty Stone Blatt)


CHE CHAPTER 127:
Profit Prophet: CD
Leftist heavy metal. It was bound to happen sooner or later. –jimmy (G7 Welcoming Committee)


CAUGHT RED HANDED:
self-titled: CD
Yup, I can see Sideonedummy banging on their door any day now. Squeaky-clean sounding hardcore that is thankfully spare on the pop element, but something about ‘em just ain’t sittin’ right with me. –jimmy (caughtredhanded.net)


BUSINESS, THE:
Hell 2 Pay: CDEP
This little record has a bit of everything: very metal Guy Ritchie-esque gangster rock, a blokey other-side-of-the-tracks sing-a-long about the streets, and a cover of X’s “Do Anything You Wanna Do” (with a bleedin’ clap track). Although the lyrics aren’t as arresting as the rest of the package, their musicianship and live performances continue to make The Business a great band. –jimmy (TKO)


BODIES, THE:
Addicted to You: LP
I was excited about getting this, because I know that some of my Razorcake cohorts love this band. I hate to say this, but I was really disappointed. For some reason, I expected these guys to sound tougher. While I wouldn’t call this pop punk, it’s definitely too poppy for my tastes. The singer’s voice doesn’t have a hint of rasp in it, which is usually the element that can save a band like this for me. The music never strives for more than the basic three-chords-and-an-attitude vibe, except there’s no attitude. This isn’t horrible, but it just lacks power and spark. To make matters worse, there is no lyric sheet and no information about the band or label. –Dan Yemin (Radio)


BLOWBACK:
Track III: CD
What this reminds me of is MDC meets the early eighties East LA band, Crankshaft. The singer sounds like Dave Dictor to me. The lyrics are in the same vein as MDC. Interesting. –don (String Break)


BLOODY HOLLIES, THE:
Got It Where It Counts!: CD
Faster and harder than average rockabilly. Or rockabilly inspired punk. Or maybe just really great rock and roll that makes me think of rockabilly but makes me want to circle dance. I am so tempted to make the pun that they HAVE got it where it counts. Dammit, I think I just did. –rich (Garage Po)


BLASTING AGENTS:
self-titled: CD-EP
Blasting Agents are an ugly, mean, and nasty group of midwestern auditory terrorists who are as frenetically out-of-control as a blinding apocalyptic windstorm. Their menacing musical misbehavior is a barroom-brawlin’, 18-wheelin’ cacophony of balls-out rock’n’roll brazenness that’s equal parts punk, metal, and rockabilly. It’s trashy, twisted, and turbulent; the manly, swaggering sound of hard-drinking working-class pugnaciousness; the 21st Century’s robust and brash answer to the Minutemen. Hell yeh, this lively lil’ platter of unadulterated aural attitude packs all of the relentless stinging power of a swift uppercut to the jaw; so put up your dukes, kiddies, and prepare to get hit hard! –Roger Moser Jr. (Blasting Agents)


BLACK LIPS:
3-song EP: 7”
Perfectly okay lo-fi, mid-tempo (read: pretty slow) homage material that touches on the porches claimed by Link Wray and Hasil Adkins, only nowhere as good. Sorta deranged (read: not that deranged) and rambly. Although they’ve got the countrified/ electric hillbilly distortion down, the deep hooks just don’t set in. The voice doesn’t contain the haunt, menace, or pathological liar/ saint quality to make this unique while the instruments plod down heavily trodden blues paths. Nothing to make fun of. Nothing to praise. I almost forget what they sounded like, seconds after the needle lifted up. –todd (Die Slaughterhaus)


BARSE 77:
Negative Reaction: CD
Minimalist Britpunk with song titles like “My Bird Got Hit by a Car,” “I’m on the Dole,” and “Fuck Ugly Pig.” By song three it became increasingly difficult to identify one song from the next. –jimmy (Barse 77)


APPARATUS ENGINE / LAST PLACE:
Camaraderie: split CD
Apparatus Engine skillfully churn out immaculately structured indie-rock/emo emissions dipped deep into a huge vat of scalding emotional kineticism. Their songs are intricate, richly textured musical collages of poignant and riveting divinity that profoundly stir the loftiest of feelings within a person’s soul. The instrumentation is complex and proficiently constructed. The vocals convey passion and spirited zeal with a Geddy Lee-like nasal flow. Last Place careen forward with a ferocious outburst of heart-wrenching sonic nervousness that floored me flat on my face within mere minutes. This, too, could probably be appropriately categorized as emo-tinged indie-rock effervescence, but certainly not the “my pussy is severely hurting” variety. Last Place fitfully rant, rave, and rage like Tool being repeatedly dunked into a red-hot cauldron of boiling, fury-inducing water. The vocalist sporadically screams with such temperamental fierceness, it peeled the flesh straight off my bones. The volatile and leering instrumentation rapidly punctured my eardrums until I damn near bled to death. Yes indeedy, kiddies, this is one helluva diverse and colorful release, so I suggest ya dip into the college savings funds that your parents have been eagerly stashing away for you, and buy this noggin-thumpin’ disc at any and all costs. –Roger Moser Jr. (Apparatus Engine and Last Place)


ANGELIC UPSTARTS:
Sons of Spartacus: CD
Uhh…. no. As much as I may have liked this band in the past, this just doesn’t quite cut the mustard. While this is by no means an embarrassing record for these guys, as there are some songs here that are really quite good, there’s more than a little fat (about half the tracks) that could’ve been trimmed (starting with the ballads – they sound like Alarm outtakes, guys) and this would’ve been a mighty fine addition to their discography. Included is a song called “Anti-Nazi,” which I guess Mensi’s hopin’ will clear up any lingering misconceptions stemming from interviews he did more than two decades ago. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE, THE:
Bravery Repetition and Noise: CD
This is British-style garage-pop that strongly tugs at the heart while melodiously overwhelming the ears with an intricate and calmative swirl of well-versed aural poetry. It’s as if the insane magical minstrel, Syd Barrett, were all-at-once fronting Her Satanically Majestic Rolling Stones, The Small Faces, Mazzy Star, The Cure (circa Boys Don’t Cry), The Velvet Underground, an acoustic T. Rex, and, especially, The Kinks during their post-British Invasion Well-Respected/Preservation Society era. When perfectly formulated songs like these effervescently introduce themselves to my ears, I bow my head in reverent recognition of such mesmerizing sonic splendor and then listen intently for hours on end as the blissful, solitary strains of otherworldly musical astuteness soothes the inner sanctums of my soul. Such is the everlasting, life-altering power of The Brian Jonestown Massacre! Bravery Repetition and Noise is some of the sweetest, most sparkling aural originality ever created for the benefit of mankind. –Roger Moser Jr. (Bomp)


GBH:
City Baby Attacked by Rats: CD
GBH is one of those second-wave British punk bands that seems to have had a lot of influence on current hardcore music. It’s hard to tell how much influence, though. Sometimes I wonder if bands like the Exploited and GBH are more popular now for their music or for their cool t-shirts and patches. So I don’t really want to get into a history lesson and debate the band’s place in punk rock history. What I’m more concerned with is how this, their first full-length album, measures up today. Because I know that the Exploited and Crass were awesome, but I just can’t get myself to listen to them anymore. So what about GBH? Well, listening to this re-issue of City Baby Attacked by Rats twenty years after its first release, I’m glad to find that it still holds up. Sure, there are a few too many wanking, metal guitar riffs, and sometimes the singer gets too close to belting out a Ronnie James Dio-style scream. But the songs are still fast as hell and the drummer keeps a tight control on the tempo of the songs. And if you have a heartbeat, this’ll make you want to pogo. So, yeah, it’s still good. With all the great hardcore that came out last year, though, I can think of about three dozen CDs I’d spend my money on before buying this twenty-year-old album. But since I got this one for free, I’m all for it. –sean (Captain Oi)


NO-NO’S, THE:
Let Your Shadow Out: CD
Decent enough ‘60s-tinged pop. It gets a little too mellow at times, but isn’t particularly annoying or anything. –jimmy (Animal World)


RIFFS, THE:
Such a Bore: 7”
If ya want my twelve beers’ worth, I fervently proclaim The Riffs one of the trashiest, most bad-ass punkrock bands to savagely blast an ear-wrecking array of insolent sonic snottiness in many moons. They aggressively spit and spew forth a flesh-scorching assault of brazen street-scruff rock’n’roll belligerence that frenetically epitomizes COOL. It’s the perfect musical mishmash of mayhem, wild manic energy, and all-out alley-swaggering attitude: drunken razor-slashed vocals, menacing Steve Jones-style rhythm guitar crunch with violent and fiery Johnny Thunders-like leads, and a decadent urban squall of subway train bass rumblings and skull-rattling jackhammer drum beatings. Ladies and gentlemen, I now present the undeniably greatest rock’n’roll band in all of the world: The Riffs! Do yourself a favor and pick up this spastic piece of plastic today, or forever live a life of complete uninspired mediocrity… –Roger Moser Jr. (TKO)


WARLOCKS:
Rise and Fall: CD
The dreamy, trippy, and surrealistically mesmerizing sounds of the Warlocks are assuredly not of this world! This is trance-inducing, distortion-laden galactic harmonics created thousands of light-years from earth in a musically superior universe where nomadic interplanetary guitar warriors reign supreme. Imagine Spacemen 3, Hawkwind, and, most specifically, Interstellar Overdrive-era Pink Floyd sonically swirling out-of-control in an unexplored cosmos and telepathically projecting radiant beams of auditory energy to each other. They suddenly vanish into the vast and mysterious black hole, but not before releasing an extra-terrestrial pod (containing the Warlocks) which stealthily enters the earth’s atmosphere. Fellow earthlings, please be advised: we have just been invaded by the most fantastic mind-altering expulsions of hypnotic space-rock imagery to ever aurally traverse our solar system. So I say unto you: surrender your ears to the Warlocks at once! –Roger Moser Jr. (Bomp)


VELVET UNDERGROUND, THE:
Bootleg Series Volume 1: The Quine Tapes: 3X CD
Culled from shows performed on the West Coast in 1969, these three discs comprise nearly four hours of live performances and almost all of it sucks. Lou Reed appears to have left his hard hipster sensibilities in New York and embraced the mood of the time and place, for the shows recorded in San Francisco have a folky, singer-song writer aspect that is beyond lame. Unless your idea of fun is listening to three 30-minute versions of “Sister Ray,” you better run, run, run, run, run like hell away from this one. –jim (Universal)


YOBS, THE:
Worst of the Yobs: CD
Some of you more astute readers might have guessed that the Yobs are, in fact, the Boys. The Boys temporarily called themselves the Yobs and released not one, but two Christmas albums and several Christmas 45s. Why they bothered to do this, I do not know. I am a huge fan of the Boys, especially the first two albums (both re-released by Captain Oi – check ‘em out!) and they are a punk, power pop, Buzzcocks-y, rock’n’roll explosion! This CD is a re-recording of some of their old Christmas songs plus one new song, “Who Had All the Christmas Cake.” The songs are definitely Boys-esque and somewhat rockin’ but nowhere near as great as regular Boys material. If the Boys/Yobs are still able to rock, why don’t they record some non-holiday-themed rock and roll? If this were a cereal, it’d be Holiday Cheerios. –Maddy (Captain Oi)


WINEPRESS:
Complete Recordings: CD
What’s up with all these discographies lately? Here is a band that is putting out theirs. This includes two 7”s, tracks off a split 7” and a comp track. This band existed from 1992–1994. They were a Chicago-area based band and looking at the picture they were really young when they were around. The insert states that the guitarist was thirteen when the band first formed. I wasn’t listening to that much pop punk during that period so I never have heard of them. At least someone believed in the band enough to release this. –don (Harmless)


WILLARD GRANT CONSPIRACY/TELEFUNK:
In the Fistank: CD
Leonard Cohen bringin’ da funk. –jimmy (Konkurrent)


WASHBURN, JOHN:
Stumbling Still Warm: CD
Sub-Tom Petty singer-songwriter stuff. Nothing too special – for this kind of music you’ve got to have a real knack for words and I just don’t hear that here. Poor choices and cliches abound, such as the endlessly repeated chorus of “Fool for You”: “She’s a Fool for You/ And you don’t love her like I do.” Hear that sung ten times or so and you’re done with it forever. (Also, why capitalize the song titles where they appear in the lyrics?) Far too ephemeral, no real substance audible on this album, only the semblance of thought and lots of following in the footsteps of others who have done this exact same thing many, many times and far, far better. –Aaron J. Poehler (Wayward)


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