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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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CHOKING VICTIM:
Crack Rock Steady/Squatta’s Paradise: split CD
Operation Ivy did that whole ska punk thing way back when, and it sucked. Bands for some reason feel they must do the same, and it still sucks. –Matt Average (Tent City)


CHICKENHAWKS:
Live as Hell: 7” EP
Just as the title implies, it’s the Chickenhawks, live as hell. Five tracks of sludgy, atonal rock‘n’roll, just as it should be. Sound quality is great, as is the performance. For all you collector whores, it’s on yellow vinyl. Snatch ‘em up while you can. –jimmy (Steel Cage)


BRIEFS, THE:
C’mon Squash Me Like a Bug: 7”
“Squash Me...” is a piece of punk rock fine art, like a musically accomplished, more pop savvy Deadbeats. Side two is a snooty little ditty that, while not as all-out bitchin’ as the other side, is still worthy of your short attention spans. I guess since grunge has come ‘n’ gone, Sub Pop is trying to find some way to reconnect itself with its roots. More power to ‘em. –jimmy (Sub Pop)


BEAT HAPPENING:
Crashing Through: Box Set Sampler CD
I hadn’t even heard of the Beat Happening until last year (How could someone so involved and interested in the North West music scene not heard of Beat Happening? Hopefully that won’t decrease my credibility at all). This stuff is great. This was the beginning of a great thing that continues to this day. Good music and good people playing what they believe in for others interested in the same. Simple, rhythmic and melodic with a deeper meaning than the sound. I am looking forward to the entire box set release. It shall be a musical experience! –Harmonee (K)


BANGERS AND MASH:
As Primitive As Can Be: CD
Prime ‘60s slop delivered to your eardrums by three mock-topped maniacs with their tongues planted firmly in cheek. The sound’s a little cleaner than most records by bands peddling this style these days, but don’t let that deter you from picking this up, ‘cause the songs are great and funny as hell. I do suggest that you work a little more on your English accent, though, Edwin. –jimmy (British Cooking)


59 TIMES THE PAIN:
Calling the Public: CD
Once I popped this thing in my player, I had a assumption that it was going to sound different than what came out of the speakers. I remember them being more hardcore. I have other stuff from this band but I don’t listen to it that often. I knew it was good enough to keep though. Without referencing all the previous material that I own, I will start from scratch. This band from Sweden play a ‘77 style of punk that reminded me of parts of the Clash mixed with the Cockney Rejects. As they age they are displaying their heritage on their shoulders. Well recorded and definitely powerful even though the songs are different than what I remembered. As in most cases, they too are a great Swedish band that sounds great and puts out a great product. I’ll raise a beer to this. –don (Epitaph/Burning Heart)


YOUNG CANADIANS:
Joyride on the Western Front: CD
A recording of this long-dead Canadian band’s live contribution to the second “Western Front” festival, which occurred more than 20 years ago. The sound quality is a little raw but good, and the band starts off a little shaky but gets progressively better as the set goes on. Yes, “Hawaii” is on here. –jimmy (White Noise)


WORLD B:
Self-titled: CD
I picked this up for a few bucks when I saw them play in Pittsburgh. The cover art is badly xeroxed - I picked this up expecting mediocre sound quality of decent but unimpressive punk rock. Boy was I wrong. This is amazing! For one thing, they get that the first song is the intro to the CD - and sets a tone. “Construction Parasite” starts with ethereal vocals and light music before exploding into a loud, fast, and brutal diatribe against corporate rule of America killing mom and pop stores. Amy’s vocals remind me a bit of Amy from Nausea, but in parts she actually sings, like with what your mom would call a good voice. There are lots of catchy sing-along parts for a rough sounding band, which makes for a good mix of styles throughout this CD. Lyrics are about alienation, domestic abuse, bitterness - some standard punk subjects but slightly more poetic than most I hear. Another highlight for me is “Sex Vs. Love” with the opening line “Yeah, I know you want my body baby, but do you want my mind?” My complaints on this are 1.) Put some contact info on your CD, silly. 2.) Have the lyrics in the order of the songs (lots of bands don’t do this, and it always annoys me). –rich (Frog Star, no contact info)


VERY METAL:
Life’s Too Short: CD
The music - not the vocalist - make me think if Motorhead were a streetpunk band. Although the band’s name is taken from the back of Vivian’s (the punk guy with four stars nailed to his forehead) jacket on the British comedy, The Young Ones, the hints of double bass drums and the really short guitar solos show that they’re flirting with dirty metal. Not cockrock nor buttrock metal. DRI and SOD-fashioned crossover metal swirled in chunks with a band like The Business. Then coat it with some later GBH for good measure and you’ve got charged hair, charging guitars, frequent trips to the gutter, frequent flights and clashes with the cops, and lyrical exploration of being a fucked-up punk. Although they’re extremely proficient and their sound is full, and granted, not many bands are doing this nowadays, after listening this to ten times, I’d still have a hard time pulling them out of a lineup. –todd (Beer City)


TIGER ARMY:
Power of Moonlite: CD
I liked the first release a lot even though I was misinformed on a lot of information. Since it was for another zine, I won’t go into details. The second release is so much better! Nick 13 (singer/guitarist) establishes a permanent line-up of Geoff Kresge (ex-AFI) on stand-up bass and London May (Son of Sam, Samhain, Danzig) on drums. He also recruits Lars Fredericksen and Matt Freeman (Rancid) and Davey Havok (AFI) to guest on this release. Thanks to Hellcat for the extra CD Rom that contained the “Electronic Press Kit” that gave me all this information. But by the time I got this release in my hands, the 3D glasses were gone. I missed out on the 3D interview/movie. Now with a solid standing, this time around Nick 13 and his bandmates put out a classic psychobilly release. Psychobilly is the base here but there are elements of punk, country, and rock that bleeds from their backgrounds. With the added elements, each song sounds unique and keeps the attention of the listener. I normally don’t like psychobilly but Tiger Army has made me a fan. –don (Hellcat)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Warped Tour 2001: CD
I will probably never go to one of thee festivals unless I get backstage access. I can’t seem to handle the crowds anymore. I can’t find fun standing in the sun all day, either. Since I don’t know what I’m missing, at least I have this CD. Many unreleased tracks by Anti-Flag, AFI, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Swingin’ Utters and others. Previously released tracks by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, the Bouncing Souls, and others. Also you get a track by Sum 41! Your little sister will be jealous! 26 bands, 26 tracks and no sunscreen needed. –don (Side One Dummy)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
The Centre of the Universe, Book II: CD
My attention often aimlessly wanders like a lil’ kid separated from his mommy, panic-stricken, and lost in the overwhelming maze-like confusion of a well-stocked supermarket. Boy, almost half of this CD has caused my meandering attention to become even more unfocused, listless, and receptively comatose than usual. Someday I churn out a predictable rollercoaster ride of mathematically precise redundancy, and Tanger sound uncannily like an emo Rollins Band fueled on Flintstone vitamins instead of steroids. Wretch Like Me briefly bring about a bit of energetically creative frenzy with their blazin’ punkrock abruptness. Armchair Martian sound more like a grungey armchair quarterback slumped over in a slow-motion fit of uncontrollable snoring. Bad Astronaut are indeed bad, as in pathetic, unoriginal, and sonically stinkier than freshly produced doodee nuggets (sounds like a valium-wrecked Soul Asylum down for the count). Janis Figure frenetically wail, roar, thunder, and blaze with crazed barroom-brawlin’ rock’n’roll swagger. Season To Risk absolutely took the most abhorrent of risks by relentlessly insulting my ears with their screamed angst-ridden theatrics that left me yawning with sleepy-eyed indifference (but, what the fuck! Their song “Spazzer” is an unrepentant ball-bustin’ blaster, and I’m moronically mesmerized silly by its sheer energetic ferocity). Pavers voraciously blasted the everlasting snot outta my flared nostrils with their fast-as-fuck sonic fieriness (I just gotta get my greasy lil’ fingertips on anything and everything by these musical ripsnorters!). I can’t even begin to categorize Shiner, so I won’t (oh hell, they’re a punkrock Swervedriver, if that tells ya anything... not too bad at all!). All are all-fuckin’-mighty as usual (either you’re familiar with their snotty sing-songy punkrock giddiness, or you’re not... and if you aren’t, well, that’s just your tough shit... you’d better dig a perfectly round hole in the ground and stick your head in it, ‘cause life’s already obviously passed you by!). Oh well, at least half of this disc grabbed my attention by the balls and ferociously shook my senses like no other... –Roger Moser Jr. (Owned & Operated)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Terror Firmer Soundtrack: CD
Soundtrack for the movie brought to you from the people of Troma Films who also brought you the Toxic Avenger and Surf Nazis Must Die. Diverse comp with the likes of the Lunachicks, Less than Jake, Sick of it All, Gwar, All, Toilet Boys, Vision of Disorder, Entombed and others. Pretty good as a comp by itself. Pretty interesting to see how this falls into the film. Off to the video store I go! –don (Go Kart)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
South Philly Street Fight: 7”
A complimentary 7-incher that came with issue 19 of Carbon 14 magazine. Limecell: The more I hear these guys, the more I find myself truly digging their brand of beefy, pissed off hardcore. Another winning track here. Serial Killers: One smoking track from a long-gone band that I’d completely forgotten about. Thanks for the refresher. Bad Vibes: They do a Cocknoose cover, short, to the point and way over the top. The Cosmic Commander’s Intergalactic Rockestra: Straight up boogie punk that’s long on attitude and blissfully short on temper. Who wins the street fight? A tie, as all good comps should be. –jimmy (Steel Cage)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Sympathetic Sounds of Detroit: CD
Jack White, producer and male lead in the much talked about blues-rock duo The White Stripes, brings us another great CD from the bowels of his home town and recording studio in Detroit, Michigan. Now, here’s what separates Jack White from the rest of those music guys with studios. Each of the songs on this compilation was recorded in the same place, using the same microphones and the same amplifiers. Each band brought in their own element of sound and creativity which was in turn shared on a separate level with all the other musicians involved. A concept album, per se, yet masterfully executed into this intense CD of sound and vision. Each song makes my heart beat faster. This CD is an example that there is still some musical blood pumping through the veins of this country. –Harmonee (Sympathy for the Record Industry)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Skannibal Party: CD
I’m really glad that the big wave of ska punk is over. I just could not take it anymore. I figured the land of generic ska bands have been blown off the planet, and like the roaches, only the strong remain. It’s been a couple of years now and bravely I picked this to review. Could I take it? Do I need to drink more beer? Were the sound of horns and guitars skanking need me to go on Prozac? I feel okay as this plays. My new kitten hasn’t come into the oom to shit on the floor. I actually enjoy this a lot. Two tone ska has always found a special place in my heart. This is an international comp featuring 21 bands and 21 songs. The only band I recognized on this comp was Bim Skala Bim. All the tracks were superb on this comp and will probably be a regular listen when I need to mellow things out. I love it when I get surprised. –don (Mad Butcher)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Punk O Rama 2001 Vol. 6: CD
Bouncing Souls, NOFX, Pulley, Raised Fist, Osker, Downset, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Guttermouth, Deviates, who gives a flyin’ fuck? I picked this up (and no, I didn’t pay for it) solely for the Descendents track, which is technically unreleased, but in actuality an alternate take of a song that appeared on All’s “Mass Nerder,” with Milo singing instead. It seems a little slower than the other version, but it still packs a solid punch. Jeez, I wish they’d put another album out already. Also of note is Pennywise’s cover of X’s “We’re Desperate” with Exene on guest vocals, which would be pretty good if she wasn’t such a pathetic joke anymore. Considering the fact that she makes her green these days ridin’ on X’s former glory and waxing poetic to anyone who’ll listen about how important she thinks she was/is to punk rock gives the song covered here a whole new meaning. –jimmy (Epitaph)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Plea for Peace Take Action: CD
A comp benefiting a suicide hotline, featuring TSOL, Hot Water Music, Alkaline Trio, Atom and his Package, Swingin’ Utters, Dillinger Escape Plan, AFI, Shai Hulud, Suicide Machines, Boy Sets Fire and a bevy of others. If you like ‘em, buy it. –jimmy (Sub City)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Old Skars And Upstarts 2001: CD
By far, this is one of the most amazingly spectacular punkrock comps to ever belligerently blast outta my stereo speakers! It’s a full-fledged sonic whirlwind of mayhem, anarchy, chaos, disorder, insurrection, socio-political upheaval, and all-out tumultuous rioting in the streets... it’s the clamorous sound of dissent, insurgency, and boisterous lawlessness... it’s a loud, lively, and unrelenting assaultive affront to mainstream musical mediocrity (an abrasively scornful and big ol’ emphatically shouted “Fuck You!” to corporate radio sterility). Hell yeh, the raucously roarin’ roster of contributin’ bands on this here brainbashin’ disc includes such noisy notables as Duane Peters And The Hunns, The Stitches, The Crowd, The Distillers, Darlington, Throwrag, U.S. Bombs, The Richmond Sluts, The Pushers, The Vigilantes, Smogtown, and many many more! After another listen and one final beer, I shall reverently drop to my brew-knockered knees, bow before Mr. Duane Peters, Disaster Records, and certain precious individuals at Bomp HQ (hi, Betsy!), and then fervently thank them all from the bottom of my alcohol-saturated liver for such an ear-pleasin’ release. Damn, this is the ultimate collection of punkrock rebellion ever compiled! –Roger Moser Jr. (Disaster)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Monster Party 2000: CD
A mostly surf-oriented comp with a “monster” theme running throughout, featuring the talents of Satan’s Pilgrims, Los Straitjackets, Bleed, the Space Cossacks, the Boss Martians, and others. The surf stuff works best here, so much so that the “louder” sounds of Electric Frankenstein and Cobrajets seem woefully out of place and are annoying at best. Still, there’s enough hot tunes here to make it worth the green. –jimmy (MuSick)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Critical Pedagogy: CD
It’s gotta be getting harder for kids to rebel these days, especially if their teacher is in a punk band. The theme of this comp is teachers in punk bands. Teaching seems an obvious and logical extension of punk, considering it’s a more direct way to effect the world in a positive way, and work against the system. Each submission is accompanied by why a certain band member teaches, and their experiences in the education system. Overall, it’s pretty interesting. And now, the music, which I’ll critique using the grading system. Those bands getting A’s are Countdown to Putsch, Seein Red, Power Ball, and Sid Vishnu. Bands getting B’s are MDC (the vocals are totally different these days!), The Dread, John Holmes, and Hers Never Existed. Those who gets C’s are Abstain, and Cluster Bomb Unit. All others see me after class so we can arrange a parent/reviewer meeting. –Matt Average (Six Weeks)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Combat Rock-The 100 Punk Rock Compilation Vol 2: CD
I always thought I liked oi and street punk pretty well, but either I was mistaken or this comp just don’t cut it. It’s a retrospective of the recent half of this French label’s output, with bands from France, Germany, England, Canada and the US (Lower Class Brats). The only one on here that does much for me is Trotskids, whose two ditties have enough zip to get the old pogo muscles twitching. I’d trade the rest for three or four good Anti Heros or Blanks 77 songs. –Cuss Baxter (Combat Rock)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Combat Rock - The 100 Punk Rock Compilation: CD
Well, the title doesn’t lie.... This is punk rock all right, including some relatively heavy hitters (Red Alert, Major Accident) and some I’ve never heard of (Heyoka, PKRK). As can be expected, some of this is pretty good, and some ain’t too hot. Still, Zabriskie Point’s “Little Sid” alone makes this worth the price of admission. –jimmy (Combat Rock)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Bits & Pieces: CD
This is a Theologian Records sampler jammed pack with their roster of stuff they have put out through the years. They have established themselves through the years as a solid label. They keep the So Cal feeling alive. I also like to think of them as the minor league team for Epitaph, since a few of their bands have been pulled up to the big show from their label. Pennywise is a prime example. Bands that you might have heard about on this comp are Pennywise (of course!?), FYP, Deviates, Cheater, 98 Mute, Fishsticks (who remind me of JFA) and others. Comps are tough call nowadays but this gives you a good idea if you would like it or not. –don (Theologian)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
America in Decline: CD
Vinyl gets the digital treatment, and ages gracefully. The comp itself is split in two. One half being Athena, where the bands are mixed between hardcore to pop punk, and the other part is called Jeff, where the bands are full-on white knuckled madness, hardcore to grind. All in all, a pretty good mix of styles. My favorites come from Gringo, Fuckface, KPF, Rash Of Beatings, Pretentious Assholes, Bad Genes, Brother Inferior, and Benumb, to name but a few. –Matt Average (Six Weeks)


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