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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Neighbour Annoyer: LP
This is one o’ them post-Killed By Death boots that seem to be popping up outta the floor boards these days. This one has tracks mostly from the UK and mostly by bands I’ve never heard before. Much more diverse in sound than others of this ilk, this features the Pink Section, Scabs, Toys, Puncture, Vital Disorder, Visitors and others. If you find it, snatch it up. –jimmy (Address? Yeah, right)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Maximum Wage: CD
A pretty diverse sampling of underground sounds from groups channeling their energies into punk, art damage, dream pop and beyond. While some of the avenues explored here seem to just miss the mark, there are some stunners, courtesy of Simpler Machines, Mistle Thrush, Irish Crème vs. E-Rex, Brazen Hussies, and the always swell Buzzkill. –jimmy (Bureau of Dissonant Culture)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Fire on the Brain Volume 1: CD
Assorted black metal shards courtesy of Gorguts, Behemoth, Internal Bleeding, Macabre, Jungle Rot, Withered Earth, and others. As can be expected, some of this is pretty terrible, but there are some pretty smokin’ tracks to be found here as well, most notably Angelcorpse’s “Wolflust.” If you can get past all the ye olde satanic silliness and the fact that the singers sound like pro-wrestlers backed by failed free-form jazz guitarists, you might actually find yourself enjoying some of this. –jimmy (olympicrecordings.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Bomb Threat: CD
Whooo-weee! Squeal like a piggy, boy! What we have here is a killer-dealer crazed cacophony from the Carolinas, and it’s cram-packed to the gills with a comprehensive representation of every possible genre of punkrock madness, mayhem, and manic inertia, whether it’s old school, pop, hardcore, scum, melodicore, ‘77-style street scruffiness, noise, a bit of bowery brattiness, new wave, or just a bare minimum of emo (and thank sweet Jeeezus for that!). Each and every ear-blastin’ ditty is fever-pitched and vigorously delivered with the utmost of passion, zeal, and liveliness. All 31 bands contained herein crank the tuneage to the max and enthusiastically give it no less than 110%. While repeatedly assaulting my audial senses with an explosive hefty dosage of Bomb Threat, I just could not sit still no matter how hard I tried. This is a solid, well-structured comp full of wild frenetic fury and the ultimate in energetic musical brashness. I fervently recommend it as much as I advocate sex, beer, rock’n’roll, and other sinful forms of depraved debauchery. It’s that damn deliciously addictive, folks! –Roger Moser Jr. (Suicide Watch)


UNITAS:
Porch Life: CD
This is robust, powerful, ballsy rock’n’roll thunder – heavy on the rock and even heavier on the thunder! It’s downhome whiskey-soaked punkrock of the rootin’-tootin’ rural variety. I say “punkrock,” ‘cause it possesses more attitude, vibrancy, originality, and passion than any of the spikey-haired suburban twits out there in Mallworld who pass themselves off as the epitome of today’s justifiably enraged youth (pppuuuuleeeaze, ya fake lil’ scrubfaced fuckers! Find another trend-of-the-moment to whorishly leech upon, go back to the bland ‘burbs where ya belong, do as your told, finish high school, go to college, and then become a corporate suit-and-tie swine-shit just like your daddy!). Anyway, back to the music: I drunkenly detect a diverse and colorful array of influences on this here barnstormer of a release, includin’ the likes of AC/DC, The Minutemen, Husker Du, early Replacements, and even a bit of ol’ hippyman Neil Young (the vocals are an incredible mishmash of Lee Ving, Bob Mould, what’s-his-name from The Offspring, and, oddly enough, an occasional Eddie Vedder-style warble). Utterly amazing, really! Unitas proficiently, yet energetically, create a truly authentic sound of rock’n’roll rebellion and pure unrelenting goodtime rowdiness (with a couple of slower, laid-back tracks tossed in for good measure). It’s so damn good to be alive, intoxicated, and well on a brisk autumn day like this while Unitas loudly caterwaul outta the ol’ hi-fi unit. –Roger Moser Jr. (No Idea)


U.S. CHAOS / STATCH AND THE RAPES:
We Are Your Enemy: Split 7”
US Chaos: “Blame It on Sam” was recorded in ‘83, lost, refound almost twenty years later, and finally pressed. It stands up as catchy as, say, The Vibrators in a very bad, very cynical mood. It’s poppy in a mid-tempo, swaggering way, and the song’s basically about fucking shit up, not taking personal responsibility, and blaming the powers that be. Oddly soothing. Statch and the Rapes win the “Most Offensive Band Name Title” for the year and I wish the band was as aurally off-putting to back it up. They’re pretty tame and in a strange way remind me of a PG version of the Anti-Heros, where the songs are half spoken, half yelled, the lyrics are real easy to follow, and the instrumentation ain’t bad, but unlike the Anti-Heros, they don’t seem to have a lot of teeth and snarl to back up the barking. Not poo, but my pants aren’t on fire, either. –todd (Punkrockrecords)


TOXIC NARCOTIC / A GLOBAL THREAT:
Split: 7”
Both bands rampageously roar through a down’n’dirty duo of crusty punk ditties that’re brutal, barbaric, and absolutely blistering! It’s hardcore audial decimation at its most enraged and apocalyptic in a ruthless and violent maelstrom of sonic criminality! Well, holy fuckin’ crocodile shit, my ears are now profusely bleeding like the pubescent flesh-slashed victims of Freddie Krueger’s diabolical murderous massacres. I’ve been mangled, butchered, and mutilated by the two tune-destroying terrors known as Toxic Narcotic and A Global Threat. I doubt I’ll ever fully recover from this catastrophically traumatic aural experience, but I assure you, it was worth every blood-curdling second! –Roger Moser Jr. (Rodent Popsicle)


TOSHACK HIGHWAY:
Everyday, Rock’n’Roll is Saving My Life: CD
Boring, blasé, bullshit pop. –jimmy (Space Baby)


TILT:
Been Where? Did What?: CD
I’ve always had a sort of love/hate relationship with Tilt. Sometimes I love ‘em, sometimes (like when they put their last album out) I think that they were put on this earth solely to make my life that much worse. Delusions of grandeur, I know. But I digress. When the band hit the mark, they make the words pop and punk actually compliment instead of repel one another. This is one of those moments. This collection of rare, comp, demo and unreleased tracks by this long-running Bay Area band serves not only as a look back at where they’ve been, but also as a good starting point for those not yet familiar with them. Good stuff that actually marks the second non-Me First and the Gimme Gimme-related release from Fat I own that I can actually say I truly like. –jimmy (Fat)


THRALL:
Hung Like God: CD
Thrall insanely blast a caterwauling metal-tinged mindfuck of intricate noise-rock rage that had me feverishly clawing at the inner demons who continuously ravage my pitiful worthless soul. This is a dark and demented soundtrack for a futuristic nuclear holocaust; a disturbing psychopathic swirl of blistering sonic savagery; a teeth-gnashing, eye-crossing display of deranged musical madness. The nine nefarious tunes contained herein possess twice the anger, twice the energy, and three times the passion of anything ever recorded by Killdozer, the Jesus Lizard, and The Cows (three well-known bands somewhat comparable to the almighty Thrall). Holy shit, my eyes and ears are melting like gelatinous candlewax slowly oozing across the scorched surface of my face. I’m profusely sweating. Drool’s thickly dripping from the creased corners of my mouth. Somebody please sedate me and restrain my violently convulsing future cadaver in a straightjacket. Thrall have obviously invaded my bloodstream and conquered my soul. All hope is lost. I’m doomed beyond redemption, but, damn, it feels good! –Roger Moser Jr. (Reptilian)


TARANTULA HAWK:
Self-titled: CD
Death metal jam rock. Next. –jimmy (Life is Abuse)


STRONG COME ONS:
Trailer Sessions: 7” EP
Lo-fi trash punk. Try as I may, I just can’t think of anything else to say about it, which means that I wasn’t too impressed, I guess. Maybe that’s why the little beaver on the back is flipping me off. –jimmy (pleasureunitrecords@hotmail.com)


STAGE BOTTLES:
I’ll Live My Life!: CD
Run-of-the-mill skinhead music from Germany. Although they seem to have their hearts in the right place, ain’t big whoop to be found here. –jimmy (Mad Butcher)


STAGE BOTTLES/SCRAPY:
The Riot EP: CD EP
Stage Bottles: Don’t quite know what it is with them, but their brand of skinhead rock bores the hell outta me. There’s nothing specifically wrong with them, per se, they just fail to impress. Sorry. Scrapy: A little better than their partners in crime here, but their songs are way too fucking long. –jimmy (Mad Butcher)


SIGN OFFS:
#1: 7” EP
I’m not gonna bullshit you. I don’t usually like the stuff of Pelado. Most of what I’ve heard falls into one of two categories: bland, nondescript rock/punk or bland, nondescript oi/street punk. That said, this is some danged fine rock/punk (yeah, I know...) with a pretty good groove going for it. The lyrics are pretty inane, but it’s catchy nonetheless. Side two makes pretty good use of the main riff for “Pipeline.” Not too shabby. –jimmy (Pelado)


SHAKIRA:
Laundry Service: CD
Assimilation. For those not in the know, she is the Colombian equivalent of Alanis Morrisette. I sneaked into the record store to pick this up. It was right near the front and I grabbed a copy and made a mad dash to pay for it. I covered up my punk rock t-shirt and walked quietly up to the counter to pay. I had my credit card out so that the transaction would happen quickly. Everything seemed to be going fine until the slightly hip store clerk had to engage me in conversation. The store clerk asked, “Did you see her at Tower Records in Hollywood today?” Mortified, I stuttered, “No, this is a closet pleasure for me.” Now I was pissed, all I wanted to do was buy and leave. I didn’t need a friend. The clerk responded with, “This release is not too good if you like her earlier releases.” In my mind I’m thinking, “Why the fuck are you taking to me?” I composed myself and said, “I heard a track on an internet radio station and I liked it.” The clerk handed me my credit card slip to sign, I signed it and I was out of there. I got in my car and proceeded to put the CD into the stereo. I started the car and started driving down the street. I am really hesitant about this release. This is supposed to be Shakira’s breakthrough crossover record to the masses. She normally sings in her native tongue of Spanish, but she wants to make it in the USA. She enlists Emilio Estefan (Gloria’s husband) as executive producer. Bad move number one. I pull over to sample what is in store for me. First song is a dance number mixed with a tango theme and does not have the energy of her previous release. Me being me, I fast forward towards the tracks that are sung in Spanish. Familiarity comforts me and her trademark octave changes are prevalent. Spanish is a more romantic sounding language to me. There are two tracks that are repeated here that are in both languages. The Spanish versions sound to me more flowing. Many of the English lyrics sound confused and jumbled. I have a hard time interpreting the thoughts she is trying to put forth. Also confusing is all the different styles of music that are represented here. I guess she is trying to please everybody at once and hope something would stick. My mind scattered, I switch CDs and listen to the latest Crispus Attucks CD to get my hardcore rage in balance. –don (Epic)


SHADOW REICHENSTEIN:
Self-titled: CD
Surfy, circusy goth rock with a (man) singer who’s a cross between Wendy O. Williams and the lady from Christian Death. –Cuss Baxter (www.shadowreichenstein.com)


REMOTE CONTROL YETI:
Lurkers & Creepers: CD
Surprisingly tame sample-heavy riff rock here. Maybe I was expecting more from them because of the label this is on, but this just wasn’t as daring as it could’ve been and they simply failed to move me, man. –jimmy (Bureau of Dissonant Culture)


REFRIGERATOR:
Comedy Minus One: CD
CD listening, Rule #1: if it has keyboards and it ain’t the Dickies or the Screamers, be very suspicious. Rule #2: if all of the band members are in clown makeup and one is holding an accordion, chuck the disc off the nearest bridge and run. Whatever you do, don’t listen to it. –jimmy (Shrimper)


RED PLANET:
Let’s Degenerate: CD
Lately I’ve been seeing the Red Planet seven-inch in record stores everywhere, and it looked pretty cool, but I’ve been broke, so no new records for me. This CD looks almost as cool. As far as the actual music is concerned (but, come on, who really cares about that, anyways? It’s all about the cover art, clothes, and groupies, right?) this is some pretty great power pop/rock. I could definitely see them touring with the Figgs, or opening for a 20/20 reunion show. Catchy, catchy, catchy…with a few stupid lyrics, but what band doesn’t have those? Definitely worth checking out if power pop is your thing. I’m gonna havta go buy that seven-inch now, too! This is Honey Nut Cheerios – pretty damn good, and nothing that I could imagine anyone not liking at least a little bit! –Maddy (Gearhead)


RANDY:
You Can’t Keep a Good Band Down: CD
There’s something strangely refreshing about a Randy CD in the sense that they sing all of their songs about anarchist revolution, striving for economic equality, breaking the chains of big business, etc., but instead of slamming it into your head with a wall of sound and anger, they burrow a groove into your brain and let the ideas settle into the grooves. It’s a nice change of pace for someone like me, who spends so much time listening to walls of sound and anger. This is the second album to come through the Razorcake mailbox in the past few months, so I’m assuming that either this or Randy’s Human Atom Bombs (on Burning Heart Records) is a reissue because there’s a subtle departure between the sound of the two. Whereas Human Atom Bombs is heavy with the fifties rock’n’roll, You Can’t Keep a Good Band Down carries on more of an early-Clash tradition and filters in weird Queen snippets. Those snippets are kept to a minimum, though, and when you listen to the album as a whole, it’s easy to move beyond them. And even if this album isn’t as cohesive as Human Atom Bombs, Randy makes singing about a revolution so much fun. –sean (G7 Welcoming Committee)


PLANESMISTAKENFORSTARS:
Fuck with Fire: CD
Part Die Kreuzen, part Sonic Youth, this has just enough emocore tinge to be annoying and just enough edge to keep it from being flung out the nearest window. While not exactly my cup o’ tea, I reckon I respect them for at least putting some balls into what they’re doin’. –jimmy (No Idea)


PIRANHAS:
Self-titled: 7”
Loud, FUCKED UP punk rock with keyboards to add to the din, making the whole thing sound like Richard Hell jamming with Le Shok. If this doesn’t make your neighbors circulate a petition demanding your immediate eviction, you need to move on your own, ‘cause people like that are way too jaded to be living next to, man. This rocks. –jimmy (Rock’n’Roll Blitzkrieg)


PAUL E. ESTER & THE CRUEL SHOES:
Eyeliner: 7” EP
Band with really great name (um…) does one dead horse of a cover (“Train Kept a Rollin”) (made famous by Aerosmith!) and two pretty swell US-’77-style punk rockers whereon one guitar sounds just like on “Ca Plane Pour Moi” and the other guitar plays leads that sound like the guy on the early GG stuff, and the singer’s snot level is near optimum. Why they thought the cover would improve the package I won’t even try to guess. –Cuss Baxter (Rapid Pulse)


PATTERN, THE:
Immediately: CD EP
This band has been making quite a ruckus (and a name) for themselves in the Bay Area the in the last year with a legacy of amazing seven inches and a bunch of loud, high action live shows. The Pattern deliver their audience a pounding with a wall of huge rock guitars, a hard hitting drummer, and frontman Chris’ (formerly of the Peechee’s) brand of singing that sounds pent up and sweetly disinterested. His sharply tongued lyrics and the well-played, nasty guitar riffs make for a great repeated listen. I found their band out of place when compared to the bulk of bands caught up in the current “rock revival.” All too often, that sound has become cliched and saccharine, whereas The Pattern spew fire and brimstone into their music. –Nathan Grumdahl (Lookout!)


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