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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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CHANDLER TRAVIS PHILHARMONIC, THE:
Let’s Have a Pancake!: CD
This one was a bit of a surprise for me, ’cause I didn’t know what to expect. What I got was a nice mix of rock and various shades of jazz, with a hint of the Beatles, Stones and Caribbean rhythms thrown in as well. The songs themselves were fun and catchy, and served as a nice change of pace from the usual "noise" I listen to. –jimmy (Sonic Trout, Box 1544, Orleans, MA 02653)


CHAINSAW MEN:
Electric Juju: CD
Mid-tempo bar punk. The fact that the hooks are pretty darn catchy saves this from being chucked across the room. –jimmy (NKVD, PO Box 60369, San Diego, CA 92166)


CANNIBAL CORPSE:
Live Cannibalism: CD
The name of the CD says it all: 65 minutes of death and grind from this long-lived outfit. The sound quality is high and the performance is as good as it gets. Puts my fears to rest about Metal Blade being bought out by the religious right, a fear put into my head following a slew of Christian metal CDs they’ve put out lately. With song titles like "Fucked with a Knife," "Hammer Smashed Face," and "Meat Hook Sodomy," it’s a pretty safe assumption that Cannibal Corpse haven’t found Jesus. –jimmy (Metal Blade, 2828 Cochran St. PMB 302, Simi Valley, CA 93065-2793)


CANDY SNATCHERS:
Ugly on the Inside: 7" EP
You get three up-tempo ravers for your buck here, kids. While the title track is a scorcher, I preferred the tracks on the B-side, "Party Girl/Cocaine County," which just seemed a little more deranged. Good over-the-top stuff from a group with a singer who sounds like Jon Wahl from Clawhammer. –jimmy (Get Hip, PO Box 666, Canonsburg, PA 15317)


BUDDA-BANG!:
Sonic-Decayed: CD
A strange mix of sounds here, kids. Sometimes they sound a little like the Replacements, sometimes a little like Iggy Pop, and sometimes they just go off on a weird tangent all their own. It’s a mixed bag for me quality-wise and I find that the songs work better the more abstract and reefer-addled they get. Nevertheless, I don’t think this would be too bad an addition to the collections of the more sonically adventurous. –jimmy (Propulsion, PO Box 621, Rego Park, NY 11374)


BUNDLE OF HISS:
Sessions: 1986-1988: CD
This is a collection of two recording sessions by a proto-grunge band that featured members who went on to more well-known groups, such as Mudhoney and Tad, I believe. The most recent tracks have the requisite "spirit of Led Zeppelin channeled through the corpse of Flipper" sound, but the more interesting tracks (for me, at least) are the older ones, in which you can hear echoes of the Birthday Party or early Joy Division thrown into the big rock sound. While my loathing of most grunge I have never made a secret, I found myself enjoying this disc. Go figure. –jimmy (href=http://www.lovelessrecords.com target=_blank>http://www.lovelessrecords.com)


BRUISERS, THE:
In the Pit: Live and Rare: CD
I don’t usually go for the skinhead thang much anymore. To be honest, it takes a pretty strong band to make me pay attention to the stuff nowadays. This sure made me take notice. This is some solid American bald boy music with an obvious early Blitz influence, as evinced in their top-notch cover of "Nation on Fire." –jimmy (TKO, 4104 24th St. #103, San Francisco, CA 94114)


BREAKDOWN:
Battle Hymns for an Angry Planet: CD
Mosh metal (from New York, of course) that’s about as groundbreaking and exciting as the last Backstreet Boys record. Guest vocals on one song courtesy of Roger from Agnostic Front. –jimmy (Thorp, PO Box 2007 Upper Darby, PA 19082)


BRAILLE DRIVERS:
White Dwarfs and Red Giants: CD
Monstrous pop hooks, nice song structures and LOUD guitars from this power-punk outfit make this worth the green. Judging by the band and album name, I expected this to be either math rock, art damage or some combination thereof, so I’m pretty stoked. Recommended. –jimmy (Molecular Laboratories, PO Box 791, Frederick, MD 21705)


BOOKS LIE:
It’s a Weapon: CD
Self-described "NYC DIY hardcore," although they don’t share all that "New Yawk Crew" wanky metal poo-poo. There’s only one "fast" song, and they occasionally dip their toes in the dreaded emo cesspool. But there’s an undeniable intensity and power in their approach that makes them veer more towards the "damn good" end of the spectrum than the "not even giving free blow jobs would make us sound better" end of things. I’m impressed and I wholly recommend this. –jimmy (Satellite Transmissions, PO Box 4432, Boulder, CO 80306)


BLUE BALLS:
Stretch Marks: 7" EP
Raw, primal punk rock stomping that brings to mind fantasies of what the Fuck Ups would sound like if they threw their two cents into the punk’n’roll arena. "(Let’s Do) the Ball Gag," an S & M fantasy of sorts, is destined to piss off quite a few people, I’ll warrant. This is destined to be a classic, and seeing as there’s only 500 of ’em, you collector whores better act quick. –jimmy (Destroy All Music, 3818 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026)


BLOW BACK:
I Like Time: CD
Some potent, crazed mid-tempo Japanese hardcore courtesy of four of the ugliest fuckers I’ve seen in quite a while. The singer’s "throat cancer patient in training" vocals sometimes makes the whole thing sound like a punkier version of early Voivod. This is some great shit that just put a silver lining on my otherwise shitty day. –jimmy (HG Fact, 401 Hongo-M, 2-36-2 Yayoi-Cho, Nakano, Tokyo 164-0013, Japan)


BLONDE REDHEAD:
Melodie Citronique: CD
Gone is the obvious Sonic Youth influence and in its place is a quieter, subtler chaos. The songs are rife with haunting melodies that lull yet disquiet, kinda like sleeping with a feathered pillow on a bed of nails. Good stuff. –jimmy (Touch and Go, PO Box 25520, Chicago, IL 60625)


BLANK FIGHT, THE:
House Band Feud: 7" EP
Kinda poppy hardcore that’s neither annoying nor particularly interesting. It sometimes reminds me of OPIV without the ska. –jimmy (The Bland Fight, PO Box 484, Pensacola, FL 32501)


BITCHIN’ WHEELS:
Self-titled: CD
Hey, I didn’t know They Might be Giants were trying to cash in on punk rock, too. Their lyrics don’t seem to be as witty, and the members’ names are different, too. –jimmy (href=http://www.frigidisk.com target=_blank>http://www.frigidisk.com)


BIG JOHN BATES:
Voodoo Bar-B-Q: CD
Low intensity psychobilly that’s pretty good even if it doesn’t exactly set the barn on fire. Included is an adequate cover of "Too Drunk to Fuck." –jimmy (Devil Sauce, 3-1396 West 11th Avenue, Vancouver, BC Canada V6H 1K8)


BANKRUPT:
Listen: CD
Some frighteningly bad pop punk from Hungary. I’m gonna have nightmares for months following this ordeal. –jimmy (Sarkadi Balázs, Kendermag utca 1., Budapest, 1162 Hungary)


AVSKUM:
In the Spirit of Mass Destruction: CD
Swedish Discharge-influenced hardcore, and when I say influenced, I mean just that. So far as I can tell, these ain’t one of those Dis-clone groups. They’re pretty good, too. –jimmy (Prank, PO Box 410892, San Francisco, CA 94141-0892)


ATOMIC BITCHWAX:
II: CD
High falutin’ stoner rock in the vein of Deep Purple (or whatever band it was that did "Highway Star") and similar ilk. The band plays the stuff well and the songs are engaging enough to keep me from being completely bored to tears. –jimmy (Tee Pee, PO Box 20307, New York, NY 10009-9991)


ANGER:
State of NJ vs. Anger: CD
Some pretty strong, clean sounding hardcore with varying speeds that is sometimes a little reminiscent of the Fixtures. Some of the lyrics are a little questionable at best, especially "Bull Dyke," which should raise a few eyebrows over at the MRR compound. Musically, though, this is pretty solid. –jimmy (HOA, PO Box 442, Pompton Lakes, NJ 07442)


AMENDMENT EIGHTEEN:
All My Heroes Are Dead: CD
A late ‘80s So Cal straight edge sound that would’ve fit well on Nemesis a decade ago. I never really thought much of the straight edge stuff after the initial onslaught of bands from Boston and DC, and this band did zip for me as well. –jimmy (New Age, PO Box 5213, Huntington Beach, CA 92615)


ALLERGIC TO WHORES:
Simple Minds are Easy to Assemble: CD EP
These guys pick up where they left off with their seven-inch EP and let loose with 10 more tracks of their patented "Peni on Crank" sound. Fuck, they’ve even picked up their already frantic pace and infused their mordant songs with even more virulence. If I happen to forget to put this on my "Top Ten Hardcore Releases of 2000," feel free to kick me in the ass. Highly recommended. –jimmy (Firebrand, PO Box 126, Uniontown, OH, 44685)


ALIANS:
Rowne Prawa: CD
I believe the band is from Poland and they play ska, reggae, hardcore and any combination thereof. Included are Dead Kennedys, Clash, and Peter Tosh covers. Normally, this stuff ain’t my cup of tea anymore, but these guys are pretty darn good at it. –jimmy (href=mailto:arkumusic@clerk.com>arkumusic@clerk.com)


ALCHEMYSTS, THE:
Zero Zen: CD
More space rock from these guys. The tracks are considerably shorter and more rockin’ than the last outing I heard from ’em, which means that it’s more readily enjoyable for those of us who don’t like to think too much. I like it lots. –jimmy (Rubric, 12 W. 37th St. 5th Floor, NY, NY 10018)


AGE OF RUIN:
Black Sands of the Hourglass: CD
Dismal "hardcore" metal with a singer that can’t sing. –jimmy (href=mailto:ageofruin@darkmoonempire.com>ageofruin@darkmoonempire.com)


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