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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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UK SUBS:
Flood of Lies: CD
Re-issue of their fifth album with original cover art. Musically this is different from the sound the UK Subs are known for, but then again, Nicky Garrat had left by this point. What’s here sounds influenced by darker, gothy stuff like Bauhaus and Rudimentary Peni. Mid-tempos, longer song lengths, and expansive rhythms. Definitely not their best moment, as there are times when the songs waiver, such as “DB’s”, “Soldiers of Fortune”, and “Revenge of the Jelly Devils.” But still an interesting album just the same. –Matt Average (Captain Oi!)


U.S. BOMBS:
Put Strength In The Final Blow: CD
Even though this particular barrage of U.S. Bombs audial hostility is a couple of years old, it assuredly still warrants the undivided attention of anyone seeking the ultimate in punkrock unruliness. The vocals are caustic, cutting, and aggressively confrontational... the mayhem-inspiring musicianship is frenzied, fever-pitched, and wildly flailing all over the fuckin’ place... the socio-political lyrics are sarcastic, articulate, and grab-ya-by-the-throat thought-provoking. Yeh, pure blood-curdling punkrock chaos! I’ve deliriously listened to these ballsy blistering tunes for several hours now while feverishly slamdancin’ with my towerin’-and-boomin’ stereo speakers... sure I’m a bloody, sweaty, mangled mess, but I’m more than ready for another unrelenting round of the U.S. Bombs and their ferocious sonic sedition. When I drunkenly stumble off this miserable mortal coil, I want the insurgent sounds of Put Strength In The Final Blow to be loudly played at my funeral... it’ll surely raise me from the dead! –Roger Moser Jr. (Alive)


TUSK/ HE WHO CORRUPTS:
split: 7” EP
Tusk are an interesting mixture of modern hardcore and grind. The choppy pace and vocals bring to mind bands like Three Studies For A Crucifixion, and then the guitars and the mince drumming have that grind thing a goin’ on. “Depraved Perspective” is a cool song. He Who Corrupts, which features folk from Kungfu Rick, is stripped down power violence. Dry and raspy vocals over a field of brush guitars and the Swedish Chef (Muppets reference) drumming. “Young Boy Attacked by Bees” has some weird shit going on in the music. Which is cool. –Matt Average ($3 ppd. to Ryan c/o He Who Corrupts)


TUFFIES, THE:
You Go Girl!... And Don’t Come Back: CD
The Tuffies consist of the same satirically twisted trio as Bangers And Mash (both groups, by the way, include the multi-talented P. Edwin Letcher, editor-in-chief of Garage And Beat! magazine, on guitar and vocal duties!)... but the robust sonic sassiness barbarically blastin’ from this demented ear-shreddin’ disc is psychotic fuzz-drenched garage madness at its most awe-inspiring! It’s primitive “Nuggets”-style snottiness (circa 1966-’68) that’s all-at-once dazzling, intoxicating, and overwhelmingly pleasing to all six senses! Hell yeh, I hear an ear-inflaming influence of The Yardbirds, The Sonics, The Count Five, The Seeds, and even The Cramps crazedly contained throughout these noggin-thumpin’ numbers! The Tuffies raucously rock to the core, motherfuckers! I rowdily recommend this with the utmost of frenzied fervency... –Roger Moser Jr. (British Cooking)


TRUST FUND BABIES:
Up to No Good: 7”
With the luck of the draw I drew a few releases that I might not have been suited to review in a favorable tone. The style was similar at least in two (see Shifters review) of the three releases that I listened to. The two mentioned were also repressed. Good for the label that has the demand to do it. Zines are a tricky issue when you have a label. What old jaded fuck am I going to get to review my releases? In the case of Radio Records, they got me. I have seen and heard and purchased many a release over my 20 years being involved in this type of music by bands that sounded the same as what I have heard from this label. Even with a healthy beer buzz going, this sat on the turntable for only one listen. I started, as usual, on side two and was not even interested in listening to the first side. It probably won’t see the light of day again because I’m not excited to hear it again. The two adjectives I’m going to use for this band and the two others I have listened to from this label is “average” and “generic.” Excite me people, kick me in the groin with your aggression. Don’t rehash something and not add some identity and creativity to it. Everything has not been formulated and used using the three chord formula. If you are bummed on this review, so what? It got the bad roll of the dice and landed before me so that it can excite me or bring my beer buzz down. Bitch and complain is what you read. I’m not going to apologize because it’s my opinion and my opinion only. If you rebut my comments, feel free and write to this here zine to express your opinion. –don (Radio)


THREE YEARS DOWN:
Sneakin’ In: 7"
Side one is the aforementioned tribute to Kiss (see other review). Side two is an adequate cover of AC/DC’s “Live Wire.” –jimmy (702)


THRALL:
Hung Like God: CD
I’ll give ‘em credit for being original. But this is just bad. Hard rock with an experimental side that goes nowhere. –Matt Average (Reptilian)


TED LEO/PHARMACISTS:
The Tyranny of Distance: CD
At best it recants the energy of The Wedding Present or Television, but overall this album is lackluster intelli-wimp-rock. The singer has an annoying tendency to yodel his way through the high notes. There are some shining displays of highly texturized guitar work here but damned, why are they so reserved about rocking? What’s the fucking point then? When did self conscious wanking override the raw power of guitar feedback and feral grunts? Why neuter your music when there should be asshole bullshit neutering instead? Let the people rock without all this introspective exegesis. –nam (Lookout)


SUPERKOLLIDER:
Self-titled: CD
Post-Helmet metalcore. I couldn’t even make it all the way through a single song without wanting to throw the stereo out the window. I really, really tried. –jimmy (Wonderdrug)


STUNTMEN:
Small Time: CD
Got a copy of their EP on Junk to review back when I was writin’ for that other mag a couple o’ years ago and fell completely in love with it, so this is a welcome addition to the collection. Straight up, no bullshit, driving punk rock‘n’roll here. The best comparison I can seem to muster is Cheap Trick with more bite. Sue me if you buy this and don’t agree. –jimmy (Steel Cage)


STRYCHNINE:
Born Too Loose: CD
Rocking punk rock a la Dwarves or Zeke (not quite that rocking, though), busting a formulaic but enjoyable move. Covers include Poison Idea, KISS, the Sonics (“Strychnine,” what else?), and something by Willie Nelson and Charlie Daniels that I’d never heard before and it’s all about drinking. Drinking liquor, I mean. –Cuss Baxter (Industrial Strength)


STRETCH ARMSTRONG:
A Revolution Transmission: CD
Modern metallic moshcore that alternates between a full-throttle assault and mellow melodicism. It ain’t exactly my cup o’ tea, but it wasn’t as painful as some of the other crap I’ve heard lately. Fuck, at least the singer sounds pissed off about something. –jimmy (Solid State)


START, THE:
Shakedown!: CD
Complete crap. I usually don’t review the dreck Geffen sends me, but when the press kit describes the title track as a “punk rock anthem for our time” and it is anything but, I get pissed. The Start has less edge then most car commercials, and less appeal than a Berlin cover band. Maybe if they work really, really hard and catch a few breaks they’ll land a guest appearance as the house band on a 90210 reunion show and go away forever. –jim (Geffen)


SPACE COSSACKS, THE / THE HYPNOMEN:
Split: 7” EP
The Space Cossacks: their name sums it up. Imagine ‘60s surf being played in that space station the Ruskies made that’s currently in an ever-deteriorating orbit. Somber, yet uplifting in a desperate future, we’ve got some kickass vodka sort of way. Great mood music - not background music. The Hypnomen: More snapping drums than your average surf band and more frenetic than the other side. Kind of like if Starsky and Hutch had a beach episode and they’re following a suspected bank robber and the scene gets progressively more and more frenetic. Bubbling builds on suspense with a swelling climax that ends in a PG-rated, bloodless beatdown and freeze-frame extended smiles. Cool fucking 7”. Nice change of pace. –todd (MuSick)


SLIKMIG:
Jesus Online: CD
A German pop punk band that sucks like all the rest. –jimmy (Mad Butcher)


SLIGHT SLAPPERS:
A Selfish World Called Freedom: CD
Definitely better than their split with Short Hate Temper a while back. This has all the energy and intensity you imagined. Full throttle hardcore that doesn’t know when to quit. They charge into each song with a fury that’s unreal! It’s great, and there are some catchy moments to all this, which is even better. Helps the songs to stick in your head! –Matt Average (HG Fact)


SLACKERS, THE:
Wasted Days: LP
Let me start out by saying that I hate ska. True, there was a time waaaaaay back when that I needed at least a daily dose of the Specials, Selecter, Desmond Dekker, Toots and the Maytals, Skatalites and a host of others, but that love affair came to a screeching halt after the late, great Operation Ivy unwittingly unleashed the last generation of ska punk knockoff bands all looking to “pick it up” and cash it in on at least one KROQ hit. These days, rude boys/girls, parkas, Vespas, checkerboard patterns, crombies, Fred Perry shirts and moonstomping make me want to violently expel this morning’s breakfast from my stomach. That said, let me now say that this is one great album. It leans more toward the “traditional” side of things instead of the hyped up, three-chord, ska-tinged wonder punk of late, relying more on reggae, soul and rocksteady than ska. I’m a little thrown, because I unexpectedly found a diamond buried under all the crap. This will hold a sacred spot in my closet next to the last Hepcat LP. –jimmy (Hellcat)


SKALARIAK:
Klub Ska: CD
Spanish ska notable only because some of the songs are sung in Basque. –jimmy (Mad Butcher)


SHIFTERS, THE:
Mix it Up: 7”
I guess this warranted a second pressing. A punk band that has melody and rawness with a lead singer that has hints of Billie Joe from Green Day. Average. –don (Radio)


SCREWS, THE:
Shake Your Monkey: CD
Considering where this comes from, I thought that it might be the old OC punk band of the same name, but Todd says it ain’t, and seeing as he’s more in a position to know, I believe him. Some sloppy music here (that’s meant as a compliment) that alternates between blues, ‘60s pop and minimalist trash rock. Kinda cool in the same way that the first Gun Club record was cool. –jimmy (In the Red)


ROVO:
Imago: CD
Techno experimentation that has an almost jazzy quality to it, courtesy of at least one of the guys in the Boredoms. It’s not exactly something that makes me want to jump off the walls, but it is interesting to hear someone try to create something new out of a genre that stagnated as soon as it came into prominence. –jimmy (Sony)


RICHMOND SLUTS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
This is ballsy cranked-to-the-max garagerock swagger at its most volatile, potent, and explosively uncontrollable! The Richmond Sluts cacophonously combine the most raucously loud and energetically frenzied elements of The Sonics, The Stooges, New York Dolls, The Saints, and The Heartbreakers and then crazedly kick out the jams like a destructively catastrophic full-force hurricane. The taunting attitude-drenched vocals (snottily similar to “Raw Power”-era Iggy Pop!), the over-amped psycho-distorted guitars, the savage rockin’-and-rollin’ piano pummellings, the swirlin’ out-of-control maddaddy organ riffings, and the lively skull-fracturing interplay between the bass and drums all make this a frenetically intense listening experience. Motherfuckin’ yeh, my ears are irreversibly addicted to the concussive sonic fury of The Richmond Sluts! –Roger Moser Jr. (Disaster)


REFUSED:
Self-titled: CDEP
I’ll try to explain the difference between real punk and its MTV equivalence. That while both types have screaming vocals, you can hear the anger in a good punk song scream, while Korn or whatnot just go through motions. Another example is that while many Bush songs sound like Nirvana, you can tell Kurt was actually feeling something at the time that made his voice sound like that, while the Bush guy is going through the motions. That being said, this is decent. Another situation where I am not so much into what I am hearing right now as I would be hearing it live. I can be critical and cynical when I have the time to think about this, but I bet I would merely bob my head to this if they played for me. Kind of an intro to screamo for the “extreme music” sect. Also, if you put fancy computer stuff on your CD, do it in a way that most computers can actually use it. I have a fancy pants Mac at work, fully tricked out, and couldn’t see the pictures. Maybe it’s a Mac thing, but that would bear mentioning when you tell me to “put this CD in your computer.” I could see the videos at least. I liked the part when the singer fixes his mod hairdo. –rich (Burning Heart)


QUASI:
The Sword of God: CD
Someone from Sleater-Kinney was in this band. Big deal. Yawn. –jimmy (Touch and Go)


PAVERS:
Beautiful: CD
He may have been All’s second singer, but his voice is pretty goddamned flat here and the band sure ain’t All. –jimmy (Boss Tuneage)


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