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Self-titled: CD
College-radio friendly pop from the Gin Blossoms/Wallflowers school, without the overly slick production. Singer/songwriter Owen Briggs is a bit too sincere, and the songs are fairly typical English major stuff. Still, not bad if you’re a fan of this sort of thing. –brian (Fastmusic)

Complete Punk Recordings 1977-78: CD
A collection of assorted singles, demo, and live tracks of an obscure Canadian band apparently active during the years indicated in the title. Musically, they sound like the long lost link between the Dictators and early-‘70s Stones, which is definitely not a bad thing. On the whole, they had the tunes, the verve, and the nerve, so it’s a shame they didn’t manage to crank out more than this. Kudos to Joey and the Sudden Death crew for givin’ ‘em a second shot at infamy –jimmy (Sudden Death)

Mathlete: CDEP
At some points they’re trying to be a punk band, at other points they’re trying to be a complicated post-hardcore band, and still at other points it seems they want to be post-rock. Think of it like a man coming up to you and quoting Bill Hicks, Shakespeare, and Nietzsche in a random, disjointed fashion. Despite the fact that the latter would amuse me, its musical counterpart leaves much to be desired. –Bryan Static (Remedy, no address)

The Scene: CD
Nausea-inducing post-Nirvana college pop. Maybe it’s a good thing that Cobain is dead, ’cause hearing what he wrought woulda killed him. –jimmy (Self-Starter)

Hymns of Holly Hardcore: CD
This is not the Active Ingredients from back in the day. However this "Active Ingrediants" has been around for a very long time. This is their third CD. These guys play some fast southern California hardcore that is done well. They have lots of melody and balls. Think of early NOFX mixed with Agnostic Front. This is a very worthy release. These guys skateboard and it's obvious in their music. In fact, one song on here entitled "The Gates of Hell" is a killer instrumental that would fit in perfectly on one of the early Skate Rock comps that Thrasher put out back in the day. Now, it should be noted Active Ingrediants are now a Christian hardcore band, meaning they are singing about God and religion. Keep in mind it that doesn't affect the balls-out attitude of the music. Nor does it make them a Pat Robertson evangelist type. In fact, these guys are all about God, but very against organized religion and the government in general. Some songs, such as "America," don't even address God, but are completely about the corrupt government that we have here in the USA. Then there is a song called "The Ministry," which deals with people making money off God and being into God for reasons of profit, and not for the word of God. "We are not down with imperialistic government propaganda or the judgmental attitudes or organized religion." This is a direct quote from their CD. So you know they are not the pushy, right wing religious types. If you like hardcore and don't mind lyrics about the Lord, definitely get this CD and check out this band if they come to your town. -Mike Beer –Guest Contributor (HHC)

Split: 7”
The Active Minds side of this single is pretty raging hardcore with melodic vocals. This band has been around forever, with their first single released in 1987. Pretty solid stuff for a band this far along; rages pretty good. The Thisclose side of the single is mining similar terrain, but is a little thrashier, and they do a Discharge cover.  –Mike Frame (SPHC, sphcrecords.bandcamp.com)

Beavers Were Once the Size of Bears: CDEP
Singing out of tune about why you don’t deserve to have cereal is a sure way to avoid getting laid, which is probably the void this EP was made to fill in the first place. Too bad the title is so good. –megan (www.activesac.com)

Arrows: LP

The first full length from this trio out of Kansas City continues wending on the path of shoegazer dreamrock. More structurally complex than their previous effort, AAA manages to create space with reverberating, echoing down tempo tones reminding me of Sigur Ros and Mogwai meets Radiohead’s OK Computer. “Murder” and “Hello Tornado” take a dismal turn hitting deeper chords and showcasing Scott Bennett’s velvety vocals that rival Trent Reznor. Destined to be in the festival circuit, keep an eye on these guys. If you dig the aforementioned bands, be ahead of the learning curve and pick this up.

–Kristen K (Mylene Sheath)

Self-titled: 7”EP
Honestly, this is pretty much a wet dream in a plastic sleeve. I first saw Acts of Sedition in a basement in Milwaukee (which was strange as both the band and I are from California). They played with Period 3, Typhoid Mary, Get Rad, and Chinese Telephones. Three bands of hardcore/trash followed by two pop punk. Such a strange mixture, and it was one of the most amazing shows I’ve been to. Acts of Sedition blew me away, and almost (literally) knocked me over (Al Blotto focuses and just starts swinging his bass as he plays, low and FAST). As for this record, this is a perfect encapsulation of that show. Fast, furious, brutal. It sounds like they’re in control of a madness raging around them, created by them, encouraged by them, but still separated from them. Lyrically, spot-fucking-on. And, just to win me over a little more, they follow each song with a brief, pertinent quote (which to me says volumes more than other bands who write introductory paragraphs to each song). Oh, but I’m not done gushing yet. The vinyl is half translucent green and opaque yellow. Seriously, I’m stunned. Limited to 500. –megan (Spacement)

Crown Victoria: 7”
If the cover leaves a little to be desired (a watercolor of a smoking cop car resting in some bushes, Dukes of Hazzard-style), they generally make up for it with what’s captured in the grooves. Admittedly, it’s hardcore (and yes, I’ve lately found myself bored to tears by 95 percent of the hardcore that comes my way these days), but there are interesting little sections, creative dips and curves in this road they’re paving that sets them apart from the thousands of other bands that’re just following the verse-chorus-verse-breakdown-chorus formula. Couple that with the whipsmart lyrics and spot-on politics that are stitched up and down the sides of this thing, and you could do much worse than Crown Victoria. –keith (Bloodtown)

Split: 7” EP
Wow, Acts Of Sedition rip! They’re definitely influenced by bands like Tragedy, but are certainly no clone band. While Acts Of Sedition are heavy and can hit hard with a good riff, they’re also wise enough to write songs that are tuneful and dynamic in movement. Perhaps it’s the Bay Area influence as well? Either way, two really good songs on here. On the other side, we have Sadville... Erm.... A bit of a joykill after Acts Of Sedition. They dip their toe in black metal musically, but lack the sinister darkness and ferocity. In the end, it’s an overindulgent mess. –Matt Average (Inkblot)

Split: 12"
When you get this 12”, be warned: due to an error at the pressing plant, the record labels were placed on the wrong sides of the record. So take note of whether you’re listening to Oakland-based Acts Of Sedition or Reno-based Bafabegiya. Acts Of Sedition sounds like warehouse DIY, dark and heavy punk in the vein of Logical Nonesense, with the rockin’ guitars and occasional crazy speed of Zeke. Bafabegiya reminds me of hardcore punk from Belgium or Holland, where they infuse political sing-along punk with growling vocals atop metal guitars and song structures. Pretty solid release. –mrz (Spacement)

The Sky Is Full of Ghosts: CD
Hey, this guy gets two points for trying to make this look like an actual CD rather than just some shitty, tossed-together demo. Unfortunately, the back patting kind of has to stop there. Actual Birds is one dude and a four-track, with the occasional buddy helping him out vocally or instrumentally. At its best it occasionally sounds like an older and fatigued Soophie Nun Squad when they decide to go a capella. But mostly it sounds like some nasally voiced dude singing folk songs in someone’s basement with too much reverb in the mike. –keith (C.T.E.C.)

Leon: Cassette
Really spazzy garage rock that massages your cortex with the subtlety of a velvet sledgehammer. Safety warning—don’t listen to Side 2’s “Zodiac Letters” until you have had at least ten bong hits. –koepenick (Telephone Explosion)

Tunneln I Ljusets Slut: CD
This is some great d-beat from Sweden. I don’t really listen to a lot of crust/d-beat because it usually gets really boring after the initial energy rush of the first song (I’m looking at you, Discharge’s Never Again), but this gets it right. Like Tragedy, these guys know how to throw in just a little bit of a frantic or desperate-feeling melodic edge to keep the 1,000 mile-per-hour drums and bloody murder screams fresh. There’s actually some damn sweet dynamics with the guitar playing. Gasp, there’s even some acoustic strumming on here! I also like how the bass has that distorted but not inaudible tone that I love so. There are several spoken interludes thrown in, but since there’s no lyric sheet and everything is in Swedish anyway, I have no idea what they’re talking about. I’d like to assume that some of the topics that are being covered in the interludes and songs include filing tax returns, dealing with post office clerks, and running out of toilet paper while on the can. This isn’t happy music by any means, but it ranks near the top of my list of music to usher in the apocalypse with. –Adrian (Prank)

He Had It Coming and The Second Coming : 7” EP
A couple o’ reissues here: He Had It Coming was originally released in 2005 and The Second Coming apparently first saw the light of day in 2011. The music is of the grind/powerviolence extreme of the hardcore genre, with blurring beats, screaming fetus vocals, and smart, sarcastic lyrics that address wider concerns about religion and the dumbing down of America via short blasts about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Jersey Shore, and dead sitcom characters. Both are on colored vinyl. –jimmy (To Live A Lie)

Discography 03-13: Picture Disc: LP
I’m a rock’n’roll fan and, by default, an AC/DC fan. So whatever the contents of this record, the copycat/ripoff band name and logo are a real putoff. And that’s probably the point. Powerviolence like this has a very specific audience, one that probably thinks the real AC/DC sucks big balls. But even as a fan of D.R.I., C.O.C., S.O.D., and T.N.T., this collection of riff raff is still noise (pollution) to me. And while there’s no beating around the bush musically, I gotta give it up for the concept of using shit like Lebowski and Casino as lyric fodder, though the execution just doesn’t flick my switch. Regardless, since this is a singles collection, you already know if this is gonna fire your guns or not. Buyer beware though, side two is some seriously ruff stuff with badly recorded live songs and demos, though at twenty-three songs itself, side one contains more than enough decently recorded studio cuts to get fully kicked in the teeth. Man, if I could have been a fly on the wall for that band name discussion...  –Chad Williams (To Live A Lie, tolivealie.com, info@tolivealie.com)

Split: 10"
Wow, a one-sided three-way split of powerviolence on a 10”. Interesting. First up is ACxDC who picked just about the most terrible name and I’ll tell you why: a few years ago I was at Headline records here in L.A. flipping through the record racks when I overheard Jean-Luc talking to a kid about punk music. The girl told him she was into “AC/DC,” much to Jean’s surprise. He excitedly explained to her how AC/DC essentially aped Rose Tattoo, a band she had clearly not heard of prior. You can imagine the face she made when Jean played a Rose Tattoo CD for her as well as his subsequent head scratching: I’m all for silly and or clever band names but not when they confuse the shit out of people like this. Musically, however, they ain’t too bad if you like pterodactyl screams and endless blast beats. Kids here locally seem to go apeshit for them but they’ve yet to convince me to buy any of their records or ball point pens. Magnum Force come through with more of a death/grindcore approach much like Insect Warfare and Hatred Surge; works for me. Sex Prisoner appropriately close out this split upping the ante on just exactly why the words “power” and “violence” should be reserved only for a band of this caliber. They just completely fucking destroy! Crossed Out smoking sherm with Mellow Harsher in a Tucson alleyway. Check out the cool etching on the flip side as you’re getting your ass handed to you. –Juan Espinosa (To Live A Lie)

Dark, melodic, fevered crust stuff somewhere between Protestant and the awesome-but-unfortunately-named Chicken’s Call. And I love the urgent, morose cello in “Katastrofy.” It brings to mind Saké or Submission Hold. And I don’t understand Czech, but there’s no denying that as a physical artifact, TMA is pretty much a textbook example of beauty and care: chipboard gatefold, glossy black-on-black artwork, foldout poster, patch, and download code. Fans of the dark and menacing should eat this stuff up like—I don’t know—the souls of the unrepentant or something. Not my preferred genre, but holy smokes these guys are good at it.  –Keith Rosson (Adactive)

Hair Gimmicks of Apathy: CDEP
Formerly of Rubber Molding, Finchler delivers his latest acoustic project of six new tracks. Showcasing his different facets, each song differs from its predecessor. With “Elvis Thermometer” and “Freaky Painting,” Adam’s brand of quirky narrative is both laugh-out-loud and introspective, reminding me of They Might Be Giants. “I Love the Woods” veers off into a wistful lap steel solo while the intimate acoustic strumming of “President Coolidge” sounds like it could have been recorded in his bedroom. Where some singer/song writers fall into repetitive song structures and maudlin lyrics, Adam deftly avoids these pitfalls. And I love the album title! Recommended. –Kristen K (Self-released, adamfinchler@gmail.com)

Shiv Shiv Shake: CD
Six spoken-word tracks—and by spoken word, I really mean poetry slam entries in the making—backed with guitar textures much like those sonic backdrops that you can find on old Bill Hicks records. These stream-of-consciousness pieces ramble on about landlords and bakeries, death and Sam Cooke records; Gnade checks Jawbreaker’s “The Boat Dreams from the Hill,” Golden Hill punks, and a laundry list of band houses heading into downtown San Diego. Unless you’ve lived where he’s talking about (and I lived at 26th and A when it was a ghetto with SDPD helicopters flying over all night, every night, not a gentrifying yuppie enclave with skyrocketing property values and constantly increasing rents), these pieces probably won’t speak to you much. The most impressive aspect of this release is that Gnade apparently constructed it himself. The liner notes, such as they are, were pretty obviously assembled and cut by hand. While this doesn’t much move me to listen to it more than a couple of times, I can at least tip my hat to how it was made. –scott (Impacto)

Remember when Van Morrison pooped out that utterly bizarre, nearly unlistenable Contractual Obligation session for Bang Records? The one with cuts like “Ring Worm,” “Want a Danish,” and “The Big Royalty Check”? Yeah, Adam Healton & The Situation’s album, III, is a lot like that. With nonsensical lyrics, out of tune guitars, antiquated synths, and schizo samples, each ear-grating track is certainly memorable, albeit difficult to digest. Adam Healton specializes in a far-out, lo-fi style a la Ariel Pink, and ups the creativity ante with each proceeding song. Love it or hate it, III is an album that’s unlike any other.  –Simone Carter (Pure Fucking Gold, pfgrecords@gmail.com, pfgrecords.bandcamp.com)

Four Track Mind: Cassette
An hour of light, pretty, depressing, and magical songs from a very talented songwriter, Four Track Mind is a bold collection of twenty-one songs by lo-fi recording genius Adam Mowery. An unsung hero of underground pop, Mowery does his own thing and does it well. His lyrics are haunting and morose, yet stimulating. They’d sound ridiculous recorded in a bland hi-fi setting and are a rare set of tunes that honestly work best on the cassette format that they’re presented on here. You’ll have a one-track, Mowery music-hunting mind after aurally ingesting this tape. –Art Ettinger (Hamburger)

God’s Gift to Women: CD
In the ROCK vein of Zeke, The Hellacopters, or The Candy Snatchers, but what makes me love a band like The Candy Snatchers is that Larry May can sing and has more personality in his big toe than entire bands of this genre. I have heard quite a bit of Adam West over the years and the vocals have always held me back. Try as I might, this one thing keeps me from being a fan. –Wanda Sprag –Guest Contributor (I Used To Fuck People Like You In Prison)

Right On! : CD
Testes, testes, one, two, three. This CD has more conejos than a stag Mexican bachelor party tour bus! Yikes, I love machismo punk if it’s done right, i.e. The Dwarves, GG Allin, The Knack, etc. but Adam West leaves quite a large amount to be left desired. It’s inane 3 chords are played over and over again with seriously corny guitar yanks (note: use cock rock sparingly). The lyrics spew evolutionary arrested development, like Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, if he was defrosted and told to write rock songs. I’d probably liken this record to a man who buys a Porsche – small wee wee, small brain. My livid self has grown tired of this crap, I want to get up, drink some cheapass Steel Reserve malt beverage and shave then perhaps get in a fight with someone much smaller than me. Try, try again boys. ` –nam (The Telegraph Company)

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