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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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FREEZE, THE:
Undercover: CDEP
New stuff from The Freeze? Bring it on! A furious blast of in-your-face punk. Covers of The Dead Boys, Nervous Eaters, and The Germs. All played with polish and precision by Cape Cod’s finest. One original rounds out the set. Yes, this one is short. But you still need it. I guarantee it.  –koepenick (bhjrecords.com, bhjrecords@gmail.com)


FREEZE, THE:
Universal Punishment: CDEP
From the vaults comes this rare record from the band, given the re-issue makeover. First half is a great sounding radio session from 1988, recorded in Boston. Second half is virtually all the same songs (minus one) given the live treatment. The vintage of the live songs is not documented. But it’s a cool idea and there is no drop-off in quality from end to end. I wonder who did the cover art, since it rules. –koepenick (bhjrecords.com, bhjrecords@gmail.com)


FUCKED UP:
Year of the Dragon: 12”EP
The first song is the right amount of gritty with a nice combination of guitar riffs and the bass having enough space to stand out before throwing it all in a Fucked Up blender. Serve iced and prepare for brain freeze. The second song’s ironically titled “Disorder,” but is exactly two minutes long and just a tad bit too simple and cookie cutter for me to get that into, but I can’t resist bobbing along to a well-played punk track. Then you flip the record and everything just goes wrong. It’s a different RPM so I’m already annoyed and is seventeen minutes long—further annoyed as I realize it’s just a bunch of dumb noise. Imagine if Pink Floyd songs never got to the good part and they just kept fucking around forever. This reminds me of how and why Fucked Up let me down by selling out and making crappy albums. You might want this, but probably not, if you already have Hidden World.  –Rene Navarro (Tankcrimes)


FUNS, THE:
Self-titled: 7”EP
This is hot-boxing shit, my friends. With their stoney lo-fi psych garage sound, the A-side features “Concrete,” which is anything but. These dudes remind me of White Fang slow jams and Memories. Definitely something that Burger Records might put out.  –Camylle Reynolds (Maximum Pelt)


GAGGERS, THE:
Sharp Lies: 7”
Very average NYC/U.K. ‘77-style music featuring an incredibly uninteresting vocalist with a two-note range. Who does this appeal to? GG Allin fans and the like? For all I know, this band is at the top of some kinda heap, but it’s one that I’ll be avoiding.  –Dave Williams (Damaged Goods)


GASCHAMBER:
Kairos Will Erase: Cassette
First of all, I’ve got to say this packaging is gorgeous. Hand screened image of a bird, on cardstock that’s been origami-ed around this cassette case. The sounds inside though, are absolutely eerie and terrifying for ninety percent of the release. Gas Chamber is super creepy, yet makes tranquil and atmospheric noise collages. It emits a feeling of wandering around the woods near the water with faint reminders of a highway in the distance. A few minutes in sounds of wind, chills, creaking wood, and rippling water creep in. Then gradually sounds of shouting come in like a residual memory of domestic violence hidden in nature. In their insert they describe the release as “a gash into their home life.” Ambient, yet frightening and sorrowful. Sporadically, they crash into instruments with a full band that sounds like Nux Vomica. This record could easily be the soundtrack to a Silent Hill game; this stuff gets right under your skin. I listened to this as autumn weather slowly crept in and it gave me chills. –Kayla Greet (Peterwalkee, peterwalkeerecords.com)


GBH:
Dover Showplace 1983: CD
A live recording of twelve tunes culled from the band’s most fruitful period, namely the early 1980s, before they and punk in general decided metal was not the devil after all. Sound quality is of the variety one used to find in the best tape-trader fare, meaning it’s either from a really fuggin’ clear audience recording or a really raw board recording. Tacked on at the end are demos of “Drugs Party in 526” and “Vietnamese Blues,” which, like this whole endeavor, will likely be of interest to completists and über-fans who have to have everything a band puts out, and few others. –jimmy (Cleopatra)


GERBIA:
Lâche L’école: LP
About ten years ago I clamored loudly and repeatedly for French-speaking folks to give up the crackpot quest of singing en anglais, as French was a perfectly serviceable rock language and they couldn’t sound any stupider singing in French than they already did singing in English. I stand by said clamor to this day, although I never banked on the fact that a full album of Francophonia would send me scuttling off to Google® Translate quite the way it does ((for the record, the album title apparently means “Loose School,” and the band name is either Lithuanian for “respect,” or the name of a mythical kingdom peopled by large members of the rodent family)) ((also, for what it’s worth, the band are hardy Quebecois fur trappers, not silly French kniggits)). That largely irrelevant linguistic note aside, this record sounds kinda like what hardcore records started sounding like thirty years or so ago—where, instead of trying to compress itself into a violent new pocket dimension of anger and energy, things started stretching out, with longer songs, and an emphasis on musicianship and getting a good recording. This, to me, was a pretty dopey way to go, since the whole hardcore paradigm was created by and for people who didn’t really give a shit about musicianship or getting a good recording in the first place. Oh well, toute m’énarve! BEST SONG: “Tirez le messenger.” BEST SONG TITLE: “Médiocrité sans frontiers.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Although I’m all for Francophones singing in French, this business with the space between the end of the word and the colon and the not capitalizing all the words in the song titles has really got to go. –norb (Corps et records)


GET HUMAN:
Garden Leave: CD
Bright poppy punk from England, with big choruses and lots of dynamic changes. Just found out that Garden Leave is a form of severance when you get laid off, but paid for a couple weeks. Anyway, this CD has four well-crafted songs, furthering my Snuff Theory, which states that there’s something endearingly quirky and possibly superior about English pop punk.  –Chris Terry (gethuman.bandcamp.com)


GHOST KNIFE:
Garrote Guarantee: 7”
The Ghost Knife is one of the coolest and weirdest freshwater fish in the world, and apparently it is also one of the year’s better efforts in power pop punk. This band features members of J Church, Riverboat Gamblers, High Tension Wires, and so on—everyone punk already knows this by now, but I’ve been ignoring the hype because, honestly, I don’t know; people make mistakes. Now I know that Garrote Guarantee offers a little bit of everything (within the scope of the aforementioned power pop punk sphere). “R.C. Cola” kicks off into an irresistible chorus reminiscent of Alkaline Trio at their most gleefully poppy, and closer “I Know I Know” finishes off with equal firepower. In between, the band ventures into some swaggery garage rock and dancey indie pop, and pulls all of it off. Just weird enough to stay exciting, but infectious enough to win over devotees from nearly any scene. This is stellar.  –Indiana Laub (Twistworthy, twistworthyrecords@gmail.com, twistworthy.com)


GLASS HITS / ACCORDION CRIMES:
Split EP: 7”
Glass Hits play monotonous post-hardcore that is too lacking in anything interesting. “Action Potential” is the same riff for two minutes straight and the monotone vocals do not vary between the two songs. But, at the very least, it’s polite. “Dying on the Vine” ends by thanking you for listening. You’re welcome. There is no realm in which I could mistake Accordion Crimes for “Jackson Pollock.” Atonal, disjointed, dissonant, and repetitive. As stated repeatedly in the lyrics, “new technique” is desperately necessary. The screen-printed, woodblock cover art is gorgeous though.  –Ashley (Snappy Little Numbers, snappylittlenumbers.blogspot.com, snappylittlenumbers.ent@gmail.com)


GLASSES:
Homage: Cassette
Tape from Huntington, NY pop punkers featuring six emo-esque anthems that all sound the same. While that is not always a bad thing, these odes to shitty neighbors and nostalgia start off strong (the first line i s “Time sure flies when you’re young and jerkin’ off”) before quickly growing tired. Should’ve cut the fat and just released a 7” with “Ginger Ale” and “Disenchanted.”  –Alanna Why (Self-released, glassespunk.bandcamp.com)


GODSTOMPER / TERLARANG:
Split: LP
The Bay Area’s longest-running powerviolence duo Godstomper add another drop to the proverbial bucket of seemingly endless releases that date back to the early ‘90s. Evidently not much has changed with these guys since then. There’s very little transition from the Saturday Morning Powerviolence EP to the Heavy Metal Vomit Party LP to this record. They still sound like a boombox with a cassette of Napalm Death’s Scumthrown into a tumbling laundry dryer. Terlarang from Malaysia’s offerings are more varied in style, alternating between spastic grindcore and straight-forward thrash. ACXDC fans would probably foam at the mouth over Terlarang’s side of the split.  –Juan Espinosa (Suburban White Trash / Grind Father / Riotous Outburst / Nuclear Alcoholocaust / Beat The Meat / Dog Down / Active Rebellion / Distrozione / No Bread / Placenta)


GOING TO HELL:
Lick Your Wounds: 7”
The world needs opening bands. Somebody needs to take the stage an hour after doors open and play to the handful of dorks who showed up early as they grab their drinks and wander around awkwardly wondering when their friends are going to show up. And, shit, the band might as well have fun with it. No need to reinvent the wheel. Just play some generic punk rock, but play it with energy. Going To Hell is sure to get the crowd nodding their heads as they start working their way through the evening’s ration of beer money. –mp (goingtohell.bandcamp.com)


GOLDEN PELICANS:
Self-titled: 12” EP
Loud and brash punk rock that puts heavy emphasis on the rock and the roll. “New Jersey” is an absolute killer, with how it instantly gets down to business with a relentless tempo. It’s catchier than hell. The vocalist growls and yowls like a mad dog, and it’s one of those songs you have to listen to immediately again. The whole damn record is a monster: “White on a Friday Night,” “Chad & Stacie,” “Hard to Swallow,” fuck, the whole damn record. The energy is high, the attitude is unapologetic, and the guitars are loud and noisy. I’ve heard some really good records lately, and this one is definitely in my top ten of this year.  –Matt Average (Total Punk, floridasdying.com)


GOLDEN PELICANS:
Self-titled: LP
This might be the most satisfying record, from start to finish, that I’ve bought in a long time. It’s mastered loud as fuck (and I swear it gets louder somewhere on the second side). I could be confusing this with the feeling I had eating the best burrito I’ve had in a long time while I was listening to this album. As a matter of fact, this album is the perfect length to eat a giant-ass, messy burrito to. I was able to finish said burrito and wash my hands just in time for the last song to finish. What perfect timing! Was some kind of science or hoodoo involved? I don’t know! I do know that Golden Pelicans are as good on record as they are live. They have a song about escaping New Jersey. It must have been written for me, because I escaped New Jersey! Actually, I talked to singer King G once and he said it’s about his ex-wife. Good enough! Also, there’s a song called “Pissing in a Puddle of Puke,” which has gotta be the best song title ever, or at least since the last time I made that proclamation. If I have to complain about something, and I do, it’s that all the songs on this record aren’t called “Pissing in a Puddle of Puke.”  –Sal Lucci (Total Punk)


GOTOBEDS, THE:
Poor People are Revolting: LP
This is the sound of tinkering. Songs being played by those who have dug deep into the vaults and emerged knowing that there’s more to the tired routines that get played out again and again. It’s a hard one to pin down. Feeling very familiar, yet equally unruly and unconventional. Undertones of straight-forwardness, buried by squirmy guitars. Two of these people were in Kim Phuc and there are similarities in approach. You can be artful and creative without losing the aggression and impulsiveness of punk and hardcore. The Gotobeds effectively expand the sound without over-extending it. The meat is still there, and it’s ready to eat. Are you a pathological smart-ass who daydreams of weirdo punk records that take the genre and wring it out like a pair of wet undies? Pick this up.  –Daryl Gussin (12XU)


GRADE ONE:
The Porcelain Doll Collection: CD
The Porcelain Doll Collection consists of four songs. Imagine the more recent Brody Dalle style vocals set to alternative ‘90s power chord music while you’re shopping for something black at Hot Topic. The lyrics have a lot of girl power themes laced with plenty of “F” bombs (Don’t worry, there is a Parental Advisory label on the front). If you’re a female catholic school dropout, this EP will probably make you feel less alone. –Ryan Nichols (Self-released, no address listed)


GRAND COLLAPSE:
Far from the Callous Ground: LP
I didn’t quite know what to expect from this, a band featuring the progeny of one of the more respected U.K. punk bands of the early ‘80s on vocals and who cite Propagandhi as a major influence. Lo and behold, this translates into astute U.K. hardcore with its abundant metal influence wielded as a potent augmentation to their sound. Echoes of Slayer’s, um, mellower moments come to the fore when they ratchet the tempos down, and the soothing sounds of Broken Bones’ “metalcore” approach when they don’t. Shit’s tight, pissed, and comes off sincere, making this a definite winner. –jimmy (1859, 1859records.bandcamp.com)


GREAT DISMAL SWAMIS, THE:
Phantom Tollbooth: 7”
As far as garage punk stuff goes, this is as close to “up my alley” as it gets. Great minor melodies, often reminiscent of The Hex Dispensers, with a Dead Boys-esque snottiness and a production style that hearkens the heyday of Gearhead Records. I’ll definitely be checking out more from these cats. Great stuff.  –Dave Williams (RZO, rzorex.bandcamp.)


GREAT SABATINI, THE:
Dog Years: LP
The record cover of the month award goes to The Great Sabatini. There’s a photograph of what looks like a Sesame Street reject, the poor loner who smoked some pot and was completely disowned by everyone. This poor character had to move to Ghetto Street and lives a hard life. So that brings us to the actual music. This record is heavy as hell. I think these guys could be human versions of the cover star; this is metal with brains, heart, and experience. I have a hard time describing this type of metal and hardcore hybrid music. But the part of me that loves bands like Tomahawk, Mastodon, and Queens Of The Stone Age is completely amped on this record. –Ryan Nichols (Solar Flare, solarflarerds@gmail.com)


GUERRILLA MONSOON:
Big City Plans: 10” EP
To coincide with a trip across the Atlantic to play at The Fest, the U.K.’s Guerrilla Monsoon offered up a 10” featuring eight tracks—half new and half versions of older songs. All carry on in the same vein as the band’s recent split with Game Day Regulars, with an upbeat tempo providing the backbone to quite a perky set of songs. The majority of hooks are supplied by some well-placed guitar leads, whilst the vocal performances from within the band are suitably melodic although with a gruff quality. However, for me the main impetus behind these songs comes from the drums—it’s a highly technical delivery, making good use of the full kit—and, unusually, that’s what I look forward to hearing the most on each play. The closest I can come to a comparison would be The Movielife, from its Has a Gambling Problem EP era which saw the band take a poppier approach to that previously favored, and one much in line with Guerrilla Monsoon’s buoyant style. –Rich Cocksedge (Paper + Plastick, paperandplastick.com / Beach Community, lovefrombeachcommubnity@gmail.com, lovefrombeachcommunity.com)


GUN CLUB:
Destroy the Country and Moonlight Motel: CD
From what I’m able to glean, these are “official” releases of a couple of bootlegs originally making the scene in 1984-85. Included are tracks culled from four different performances—the earliest from April 1983 and the latest from October 1984—in three countries, two of which are taken from appearances on a Dutch television program and on The Tube television program in the U.K. Bootlegs are often a total crapshoot in terms of the quality of both sound and performance, but in this case both are actually better than expected. The band is caught both during and immediately after the lineup that produced their celebrated Las Vegas Story album, resulting in markedly different takes on the band’s sound and even certain songs that overlap—one may sound more laid back and experimental, the other louder, driving, and more “punky.” Sound-wise, we’re talking stuff that sounds like it’s either straight off the board or pulled from a television recording within the first few generations so that it isn’t the usual sonic mess one ends up with on bootlegs. Add on some brief but comprehensive liner notes and you have yourselves a party, kids. Fans are gonna eat this up, and rightly so, but for the rest of the punters, this will likely either be the gateway into a band they’d never heard or the perplexing, ramshackle ramblings of a band that played by their own set of rules. Being a fan of discerning tastes, I’m pleasantly surprised at how good these are. –jimmy (Cleopatra)


GUN CLUB:
Destroy the Country: LP
Destroy the Country is a legitimate reissue of a hard-to-find Gun Club live bootleg, originally released in 1984. The album’s recording quality is on the good side—not amazing, but likely clean enough for even the most casual Gun Club fan. Destroy the Country pulls tracks from an Italian Las Vegas Story tour show (November 26, 1983); it comes on green vinyl and Gun Club aficionado Gene Temesy provides some quality liner notes. The set list is understandably heavy on Las Vegas Story songs, although “Brother and Sister”—a standoutMiami track—and “Sex Beat” and “For the Love of Ivy” also appear. The Gun Club played a good set that night and this Las Vegas Story lineup (Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Kid Congo, Pat Bag, and Terry Graham) remains highly regarded by Gun Club fans for good reason. I go through waves with the Gun Club. I either regard them as one of the best groups of their era or simply the best group of their era. I’m currently leaning toward the latter and I’m not fighting it.  –ryan (Cleopatra, cleorecs.com)


GUTTERS, THE:
Self-titled: LP
Billy Childish apparently spread his seed in Portland where the two young ragamuffins recycled dad’s empties to purchase drums, guitar, and an amp. Garage trash to annoy dogs and your significant other. It might even kill your lawn and will definitely stain your carpet. Grammatically incorrect Brit-articulation buried under a Gonerfest patron’s sex dream of distorted energy. What has two thumbs and woke up in a garbage can because of The Gutters? THIS GUY.  –Matt Seward (Gutt, thegutters.bigcartel.com)


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·BLACKLIST
·VIZA-NOIR
·SCREAMERS, THE
·VACATION
·MERCY KILLING, THE
·SENIOR DISCOUNT
·TIME FLYS, THE
·SCRUBS, THE
·Top 5s From Issue #53


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