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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Not So Quiet on the Coldfront: CD
Label sampler with something like 23 bands (28 songs) of whom precisely four do not sound exactly like all the rest: Vindictives, Wesley Willis (good one about mullets), Marshall Artist (75% Fastbacks), and Broken (ex-Pist). The balance of the thing is smelly, emotive pop slush. –Cuss Baxter (Coldfront, PO Box 8345, Berkeley, CA 94707; www.coldfrontrecords.com)


KOSHER:
Self Control: CD
It's funny, but every time I listen to this album, I end up singing a Descendents' song in my head. It's usually "Bikeage" because some parts of Kosher's "Brand New Enemy" sound so similar. Kosher seems to borrow a lot from the Descendents. The singer sounds a lot like Milo. They both have that happy melody with angry vocals. Kosher plays their instruments well and the songs are pretty well-constructed (though they probably could've taken a lesson from the Descendents' brevity and cut off a few of their songs before they repeat the same line eight times. Sorry. I have a short attention span). It's actually not a bad album and I could see these guys doing real well if they got themselves on a bigger label and opened for a bigger band. If that happens, I'm gonna go to the show and stand in front and scream "Play 'Suburban Home'" until they do it –sean (Kosher, 311 Ming St., Warrensburg, MO 64093)


IOWASKA:
Vine of Souls: CD
Post-Crass anarcho-hippie-feminist-pacifist-gutter-punk-metal. The hypnotic quality of many of the songs was interesting, but the whole thing got boring pretty quick. I know, I know, the point is the message and the music's merely the vehicle, right? Fuck you. It's gotta rock, too, or no one will give a toss about what you're sayin'. I agreed with some of the points made in the band's lyrics, but even if every word uttered bled every emotion, every view, every thought I ever had in my life yet was unable to formulate on my own, I still would have a hard time paying attention if the music just droned uninterestingly on and on like it does here. Really loved the art in the lyric book, though. –jimmy (Alternative Tentacles, PO Box 419091, SF, CA 94141-9092)


INSTANT AGONY:
Out of the Eighties: CD
Four singles and a demo, spanning the years 1981-84 in all, from another English band I've never heard of before. They're pretty speedy as far as English bands at the time go, landing in sound somewhere between early Exploited and the Partisans, and they're apparently still together. It'd be nice to see if they've been able to maintain this much edge and aggression after all these years. Barry, if you're reading this, the original singles were released on Half Man Half Biscuit records. Neat. Good stuff. –jimmy (Captain Oi!, PO Box 501, High Wycomb, Bucks HP10 8QA, England; www.captainoi.com)


DEROZER:
Mondo Perfetto: CD
blastin' a mindblowin' montage of mayhemic melodicore magnificence! The impressively flashy musicianship is a blistering blitzkrieg barrage of steady, precise, and relentlessly furious instrumental mastery: fiery staccato eruptions of frenzied guitar wizardry, thunderous godlike bass rumblings threateningly looming larger than the big ol' bouncy balls of King Kong on a rapturous pussy-seekin' rampage, thick brick-bashin' chunks of deliriously hard-driven drumming madness, and smooth but somewhat gravelly spit-spewin' vocals dramatically drenched in emotion, energy, and everlasting elation. And I'll be delightedly damned, even though the lyrics are sung entirely in Italian, the resiliently sapid songs contained herein are universally appealing and aurally all-encompassing... indeed, they're immensely engaging enough to traverse the seven seas, cross the seven continents, and cozily find a home deep within your inner ears. After just one life-altering listen to this distinctly dynamic disc, I euphorically felt compelled to rocket to the moon and back again while loudly lauding the soul-stirring sounds of Derozer... it's that damn good, folks! –Roger Moser Jr. (KOB, Via N. Mazza 65/B, 37129 Verona, Italy; kob@bbk.org)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Many Miles Away: CD
Do you hate - if you are a male with a hairy anus - that you get a lot dingleberries after repetitive ass wipes if you shit more than once day? It's pretty amazing what collects down there when you rub the soap between your cheeks. Chunks and chunks of foreign matter. My tangent consists of shit and this release is shit. A bunch of shitty bands doing shitty covers of the Police. I don't get it and I rather concentrate on my butt. Another free jewel case. –don (Solarmanite, 113 Pavonia Ave #421, Jersey City, NJ 07310-1756)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Internationally Yours Vol. 1 and Vol 2.: 7" EPs
Two swell old-style DIY comps, the real, help-out-your-friends, fuck-the-money kind of DIY. These could as easily have come out in '83 & '84 as '99 & '00 like they did. Vol. 1 has four bands, including the Netherlands' Antidote, and the mood is sort of uptempo punk. Left me unprepared for the extra asshole Vol. 2 tore me. Seven bands here (two from the first volume, but they got better! And faster!), over 71% balls-out thrash from some of the best bands you may never have heard of (Goddamn Ditchdiggers, the Stillborns, Unfortunate Sons, Aaargh, Planet Trash, and the rest). –Cuss Baxter (Ditchdiggin Records, 106 Horaney St., Longview, TX 75601; www.angelfire.com/tx2/ditchdiggin)


TRACY + THE PLASTICS:
Muscler's Guide to Videonics: CD
Rodney Bingenheimer would love this. Minimalist new wave with female vocals that sounds like it was recorded with a very old synthesizer. It's not exactly earthshaking, but I do find myself going back to it again and again. –jimmy (Chainsaw, PO Box 1151, Olympia, WA 98507-1151)


ROBERT BELFOUR:
What's Wrong With You: CD
On this here inspirationally soul-stirrin' CD, Robert Belfour spiritually moves my ears with a folksy rural array of acoustic sharecroppin' shotgun-shack blues that perfectly captures the aural essence of the Deep South's rustic mystique. In a dead-end era of blandly contrived watered-down hippie blues drivel (via the uninspiring ilk of Eric Clap-out, Stevie Rank Vaughan, and Kenny Wank Shepherd), it's a pleasurable delight indeed to be musically stimulated by an authentic well-structured display of moanin'-and-groanin' northern-Mississippi hill-country blues. Mr. Belfour's vocals adeptly alternate between hogcallin' backwoods-twang wails and mannishly mumbled scat caterwaulings of moonshine-drenched madness... his earthy cottonpatch'n'porchswing guitar pickin' is intricate, hypnotic, and skillfully free-flowin'. I'm beyond awed! I could easily sit here, drink beer, and listen to this all day long... ah hell, I think I'll do just that. –Roger Moser Jr. (Fat Possum, PO Box 1923, Oxford, MS 38655; www.fatpossum.com)


ROTTERS, THE:
Pull It and Yell: CD
The Rotters are an old LA punk band who scored it big (well, a relative, flash-in-the-pan, late-seventies punk big) with the song "Sit on My Face Stevie Nicks." When people finished laughing over the title, they realized that the Rotters couldn't sing or play, and the Rotters drifted back into obscurity. Now, record collectors are selling their grandmothers for those early singles. Luckily, you can hear the music (though I don't know if it's the exact mastering and I know it's not worth any more than the ten bucks you paid for it) on this Dionysus re-issue, which is cool for those of us who like raunchy late-seventies punk that's completely derivative of the Sex Pistols, but don't want to scour ebay for the mint condition 45 with a misspelled producer's name on the sleeve that costs so much you wouldn't dare spin it. The songs were recorded in '78 and '79, and this album includes all their hits, plus eleven more songs. It's complete trash. I love it. –sean (Dionysus, PO Box 1975, Burbank, CA 91507; wwwdionysusrecords.com)


REDRUM/ NEGATIVE STEP:
Split 7: EP
Redrum: Thrash, side one. Sounds like they totally stripped out the innards of Minor Threat's songs, built a new machine that grinds louder, is less anthemic, and runs at a higher RPM. Not a new wheel, but not a flat tire neither. Points go to the lyric, "there's no laws that make me comfortable, no amount of police that make me feel safe." Negative Step: Thrash, side two. I don't get the Negative Step graphics. On the inside, the grim reaper's going after a guy with a mohawk, and on the cover, he's got the head of a guy with liberty spikes in his hands. The reaper's wearing a baseball cap with "Dekalb" embroidered on it. (A possible reference to a release of thrashmasters Charles Bronson?) They've got the early "in an empty tin can while standing in a metal bath tub" feel of the recording, at least - but not the unhinging power - of Bronson. Yet, they endeared me with the ditty "Skate Free." Skating's fun. The songs give me a headache. That is not a complaint. –Aaron J. Poehler (Satan's Pimp, PO Box 13141, Reno, NV 89507)


PUPPY VS. DYSLEXIA:
Let's Foam: CD
This is acid-drenched punkrock wackiness at its most frenzied, fucked-up, spastic, noisy, and bizarre... it's a crazed crossbred cacophony of the Butthole Surfers, Dead Milkmen, Circle Jerks, Germs, and The Paper Tulips all anally plundering each other and then voraciously splooging into the open wax-encrusted ears of society's most undesirable malcontents (yep, soused-silly social rejects like you and me!). The zapped-out zaniness of such wildly warped song titles as "Bunni Prays for Death," "I Wanna Do Cocaine," "Soundtrack to Bloody Carpet #3," "Emilio's Crankin the Rock," "Ded Man Don't Eat Fuk," "Hula Man," "Oh Shit! I Thought You Were That Other Dog Person," "Yr Boring When Yr In Love," "Old Man with the Electric Toolbelt," "Bucky's on His Back," and "Blackout Gonorrhea Madness" descriptively add even more of a sick and twisted element to the maniacal audial lunacy contained herein. P.V.D. are loud, sloppy, disjointed, and musically chaotic... a frenetically enjoyable listen, indeed! Now I just wanna be strapped into a straightjacket and tossed into a padded cell where these madly demented ditties are constantly played 24/7... –Roger Moser Jr. (Puppy Vs. Dyslexia, 812 W. 3rd St., Bloomington, IN 47404)


PITS, THE:
Introducing My New High: 7" EP
I used to hate the French, but I think I hate the English even more now. I take that back. I hate English people who sing in English complete with that repulsive snotty snarl that makes one think that they're not even English in the first place but a bunch of poseurs that listen to too many Sex Pistols and The Clash's "Best of..." records while fucking donkeys in the middle of a cow field in Butte, Montana. –nam (Rapid Pulse, PO Box 5075, Milford, CT 06460)


ODD NUMBERS:
The Trials and Tribulations of: CD
Social Distortion turns into a Jam cover band. Includes a "secret" bonus cover of the Clash's "Julie's Been Working for the Drug Squad" that wasn't too painful. I remember seeing this band in Berkeley once years ago and thinking they were much better than this. Oh well. –jimmy (Coldfront, PO Box 8345, Berkeley, CA 94707; www.coldfrontrecords.com)


KING DJANGO:
Reason: CD
Strike one: There's already a Latin ska band called King Chango, who already have a few releases and tons of comp tracks. Strike two: King Chango's sound is not that giant a leap from what's on here. So much for your search for originality, huh? Strike three: On their worst day, they're 200 times better than you on your best. You're out, biter. –jimmy (Hellcat, 2798 Sunset Blvd., LA, CA 90026)


KAITO:
You've Seen Us...: CD
Art damaged pop. Enough noise is pumped into it to make it abrasive, yet it still retains enough pop sensibility to make it hummable. Should go over well with the more adventurous KROQ crowd. –jimmy (Devil in the Woods, PO Box 579168, Modesto, CA 95357)


INSANE'N THE BRAIN:
Mizubukurentamashii: 7" EP
Nice, colorful packaging that opens up in all directions in a cross shape with lyrics and pictures on the inside. Musically, this is a little hard to get the mind around.... For the most part, it's grindy Japanese hardcore, but there's an almost emo undercurrent that causes the songs to lurch and stop, switch volume and tempo. This ain't bad, but it's gonna take some gettin' used to. No wonder the bassist looks painfully constipated. –jimmy (Answer, Hase Bld No. 2 B1, 5-49, Osu 3 Naka-Ku Nagoya City, Aichi 660, Japan )


HIVES, THE:
A.k.a. I-D-I-O-T: CDEP
Straight-up, tits-first, no-brakes, all cash, no flash Swedish garage rock that ranks right with the highest of the lowest and dragstrips right through all six songs without hesitation. Fantastic. Frenetic. Wonderfucked. Goes right into the collection next to the New Bomb Turks, Scared of Chaka, Motards, Teengenerate, and Loudmouths. (If you're strapped for cash, go for the "Barely Legal" CD. All these songs are on there, too.) –todd (Gearhead, PO Box 421219, SF, CA 94124; www.gearheadmagazine.com)


GORE GORE GIRLS:
Strange Girls: CD
It's a lethargically uneventful, overcast Sunday afternoon, and my throbbing body is sluggishly suffering the stomach-churning consequences of the most hellishly harrowing hangover I do believe I've ever achingly experienced. Ah, but a soul-soothing miraculous cure for such a fuzzy-visioned, mind-spinnin' malady has just rambunctiously reared its pretty lil' head: beer (lots of it!) and the gorgeously rockin' Gore Gore Girls! This ferocious ear-plunderin' trio of cacophonously crazed, slinky-cool kittycats wildly wail with cranked-to-the-max super-distorted garagerock psycho-sizzle mayhem that jubilantly tickles my brew-soaked senses silly! They're the female audial embodiment of the early Kinks, The Sonics, The Stooges, early Pretenders, The Damned (during the "Neat Neat Neat" era), Electric Frankenstein, and even a bit of Dwarves (their "Horror Stories" release); but the Gore Gore Girls are such a divinely enigmatic bundle of aural originality unto themselves that any overly flattering comparisons to the aforementioned inspirationally roarin' rock'n'roll luminaries aren't even necessary! The demonically hedonistic naughty-girl vocals, riproarin' ear-killin' guitar riffs, blister-poppin' blood-pumpin' bass rumblings, and bombastic end-of-the-world drum boomings say it all and then some! Whooooo-doggy, I'm head-over-heels in love with the Gore Gore Girls... I'm foamin'-at-the-mouth and moonstruck... I wanna be their big bad red-hot daddy and their subservient lil' groveling' groupie boy (whichever is most preferred, needed, and deviantly desired!) for the ruinous remainder of my sin-fuelled life! So where should I apply?! –Roger Moser Jr. (Get Hip Recordings, PO Box 666, Canonsburg, PA 15317; http://www.gethip.com)


DIRT BIKE ANNIE:
Superscope: 7"
I hate it when people try to define punk rock because whatever definition they come up with will leave Dirt Bike Annie out. And I like Dirt Bike Annie. And I like to think that I only like punk rock. So I'm gonna make up a new term for them. They play poppy-as-hell-but-Sean-still-likes-it punk. I know the term's not catchy and won't stick, but the songs on this seven inch are catchy as hell and get stuck in my head and make me sing happy, poppy songs. And yes, when no one's around, I try to hit the high notes that Jeannie sings. I don't care. This seven inch has four DBA songs that I've never heard. They rock in a happy way. I'm still a fan. –sean (Break-Up!, PO Box 15372, Columbus, OH 43215)


DEVIL IS ELECTRIC, THE:
Self-titled: 7" EP
Ever wonder what Fifteen sounded like with a lady at the helm, but didn't suck quite as bad as Fifteen? TDIE's "Important Public Announcement" preach punk where the music is secondary to the message, hamstringing the notes being played to the point of merely being a frame. Not so butt wiggling. Too harsh? Nah. Discount had fantastic music, a golden social conscious, and rocked like the dickens. You gotta bring the rock. Otherwise, write a pamphlet. –todd (Plan-It-X, 5810 W. Willis Rd., Georgetown, IN 47122-9117; http://go.to/planitx)


DEAD MOON:
Trash and Burn: CD
I've heard glimpses and snatches of Dead Moon for awhile. They've been around for twenty years, if not more. The lead singer's voice makes me nervous. He's high pitched, and it makes me physically cringe. But, let me make this clear - this is a physiological response to Fred Cole's voice - like there's too much timbre in the recording or maybe it's just the right octave to make my skin get all crawly. I like the music behind him a bunch. Most simply, it's catchy, lo-fi, mono-recorded rock'n'roll, without any sort of effects at all, like the Rolling Stones before they started acting like gods and began playing like wanking Xeroxes of their former selves. There's a nice and simple honesty to Dead Moon's songs. I just wish the vocals didn't do what they do to me. –todd (Empty, PO Box 12034, Seattle, WA 98102; www.emptyRecords.com)


BROKEN BONES:
Without Conscience: CD
Well, they still sound like Discharge at their most metal, but they seem to be more obsessed with guns and other forms of more "personal" violence than with nuclear war. Some of this is pretty good, some ain't so hot. Still, it pretty much blows anything Bad Religion has done lately right out of the water. –jimmy (High Speed, PO Box 20, Prince Street Station, NY, NY 10012)


ZERO ZERO:
AM Gold: CD
There's a chap at Razorcake by the name of Todd. He's the fella whom I contact about reviews, interviews, advice, random funny stories, and the occasional personal life rant. Basically, a working pal. He also happens to be the guy who sends me these platters to review. Anyhow, I'm thinking at this point in our friendship, he knows my musical tastes well. He's been on the money so many times. Cut to Act II: Receipt of a CD by the band called Zero Zero. While reading their bio, that beautiful word pops up at me: Farfisa. My brain does a big "woo hoo." Ya see, it's like this... If your band is using a Farfisa organ in your recordings, most likely, you'll forever be in my good graces. Unless, of course, you use it to record this poo. Zero Zero is sometimes techno-ska (?!), sometimes monotonous bleeps and blips pretending to be The Fantastic Plastic Machine. Like a wolf in sheep's clothing - for a mere moment or two you think you might want to pet it and go "Aww, how cute," but seconds later you're running for your life, or in this case, the stop button. Sneaky. I still like Todd, though. -Kat Jetson –kat (Jade Tree, 2310 Kennwynn Rd., Wilmington, DE 19810; jadetree.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Dance to the Revolution: CD
Ska punk. There's one or two attempts at "street punk" but, mostly, it's ska punk. Why won't it fucking die, at least for a decade or two, so I can at least listen to it again without suffering from a case of acute projectile vomiting?! –jimmy (Mad Butcher, Bergfeldstr.3, 34289 Zierenberg, Germany)


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