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House Band Feud: LP
Blank Fight was a band that featured Aaron Cometbus and Rymodee (from TBIAPB fame). The only thing I had heard of this band was “This Bike + This Guitar” because of the CD version of the Down in Front comp. That number was a Cometbus-styled scrappy pop punk bit with something of proto-folk punk coloring it in. I recalled liking the song and wishing that I hadn’t missed out on this album when it was on CD at the time, but it has been a few years since I had heard it. I was expecting not to give two shits about it and want to take it off half way through the first side. Much to my surprise, I enjoyed the hell out of this. The whole LP strayed not far (if at all) from the sound of the song on the DiF comp but never got tiring. A definite surprise and another nice reissue from Silver Sprocket. –Vincent Battilana (Silver Sprocket)

Happy Accidents: CD
Vocals-in-a-can and heavy on the guitar. Nothing bad, but I kept forgetting I was listening to anything. –megan (Empty)

Johnny’s Tongue b/w I’m OK: 7”
Raw as an itchy rash. Simple as retard math. As catchy and blinding as syphilis in the 18th century. Much like the Ka-Knives, the charm of spazz, duct tape as lifestyle choice and fix-all, and the sound of a singer singing though a face mask and a snorkel overcomes the need for fidelity. Whereas Metallica uses lasers and NASA scientists to make what they call music, the Blank Its use a small box of blunt crayons. I like what they’re doodling. If this 7” was first grader art, I’d happily magnet it to the fridge. Fans of the Spits, The Gories, and Supercharger are already hard wired to liking this. –todd (Band Its; blankits@netscape.net)

“Windows Are Dirty” b/w “Divorce”: 7”
The Blank Its deliver two filthy, bouncing pop songs that are dirtier than drinking the last swig of a beer into which someone has deposited their cigarette butt. “Windows Are Dirty” starts off with a massive beat and swirling guitar riff that gets into you like a parasite worming its way through your intestines. The vocals are snotty and gorgeously distorted. “Divorce” comes bounding off the B-side like a deranged ex-boyfriend hell bent on keeping the closest of tabs on his former sweetheart. It’s menacingly catchy and sounds as dangerous as unprotected sex with someone you met at the local dirt bag meat market. I was not a fan of their first 7” and wondered what sort of deranged narcotics those who reviewed it favorably were on. Clearly, it was me who needed a large dose of snortable, powdered Blank Its to elicit the appropriate high. –benke (Sweet Rot)

Self-titled: LP
Blank Pages is the new-ish band from Andreas Robbes, vocalist from my favorite (now-defunct) gang of German rascals, Idle Hands. Andi’s vocal style and melodic sense is rather unique, so parallels between Blank Pages and Idle Hands are inevitable. However, musically, there are plenty of differences to set them apart. Blank Pages takes a cleaner approach tone-wise, but there’s also an overarching darkness that wasn’t always present in IH. The musicianship is tight and vicious (members also spend/spent time in Modern Pets, Dramamine, and Lies Feed The Machine), and the hooks are instantly memorable. A great record from terrific guys and released on the always-terrific Hardware Records. Solid. –Dave Williams (Hardware)

Self-titled: LP
Whoah, this is kind of a dream record. Part Masshysteri, part Wreck Of The Zephyr, beautiful art, and heavy packaging. The guitar leads push this record from start to finish, but the vocal melodies etch themselves into your psyche. I recently heard Wreck Of The Zephyr described as equal parts Mission Of Burma and Billy Bragg, and add Masshysteri’s Euro-svart-ness and hopefully I’ve described something you know you need in your life. Because this is a fantastic record. –Daryl Gussin (Hardware)

Self-titled: LP
Musically, this ain’t bad. It sounds like a European take on the Pacific Northwest’s downer punk. Unfortunately, despite the competent musicianship, the songs all seem to blend together, leaving me without a single track that popped out. Even worse are the lyrics. While I’m not thrilled with the human race and enjoy my share of bummer songs (hell, albums), I prefer my negative outlooks and despondency to be accompanied by a dose of catharsis. Here, however, the no-hope vibe seems like emo grade self-indulgent, focusing on the inability to form relationships with others because people are fake and shitty and you’re too depressed to move. There comes a point where it may be worthwhile to look at the problem inside of that. Mighta been able to roll with a 7” single’s worth of material, but an LP was too much.  –Vincent Battilana (Dirt Cult)

No Reception: 7”
Two doses of potent minor chord garage pop in the vein of Sonic Avenues, with a bit less propulsion and more Wipers. Cover art is gorgeous.  –jimmy (Dirt Cult)

Self-titled: 7” EP
Debut release by The Blank Postcards, which came out back in 2012. It doesn’t appear the band has been terribly active since then, but difficult to tell merely via the internet. Two instrumental surf cuts that sandwich a garage stomper on each side. “I’m Covered in Mess” sounds strikingly similar to Tyvek. I’m into it. This band should do more, since they seemingly have some talent.  –Steve Adamyk (Laptop Smashing Party, no address listed)

White Hell, White Corpse b/w White Race-White Waste: 7”EP
I think they’re going with a theme: white people suck. There it is, in the lyrics: “the whole white race is a fucking disgrace.” I say, “Your postulate is perhaps incorrect. What about Al Quint, editor awesome of Suburban Voice?” (They thank him in the notes.) I don’t think he’s ever done anything bad in his life (I may be wrong. Please let it not be so, Al.) and the skin he was born in just happened to be white. Hmmm. I’m gonna have to disagree with the band’s thesis. (Assholes come in all shapes, sizes, ages, and colors.) What I don’t disagree with is that the band completely rips in a Dead Nation, Cut the Shit! sorta of way: chunky hardcore with plenty of traction and acceleration with no heed of the finish line. –todd (Third Party)

Self-Titled: 7"
Being that I a.) drink, and very much like drinking and b.) am not really in the mood to go and kill pimps (as “Choice or Coercion” suggests the listener consider), I have to hand it to Blank Stare for nailing a.) some really impressive crew shouts b.) ratcheting tight-as-hell breakdowns c.) pounding out hardcore powerchords that scream like pterodactyls dragging chains all over the place and d.) seem to be thinking a bit outside of the box (“a cross is a cross, no matter which way you turn it.”). Tight, cranked, and occasionally sneaky hardcore in the best sense of the words. Fans of leave-’em-bloody-and-smiling music, like Vitamin X, Negative Approach, and Spasm 151 would do well to pick this self-released 7” up. –todd (Blank Stare)

Suicide Violence Cowards: 7"
Raging and pissed Kangaroo Records-style hardcore here. Fans of Bury The Living, Milkman, Dead Stop, and Spazm 151 are going to want to be all over this. –frame (Refuse)

The Art of Day Drinking: CDEP
A two-man band playing skronky noise rock stuff, with lotsa rhythmic variations and the occasional nod to more jazzy influences to keep things interesting. As with most two-man bands, it sounds a little incomplete and flat to these ears without someone flailing away on a bass. Totally admit it’s a personal preference, one that others may not share, and personal preferences aside, they do what they do quite well and are definitely worth a look-see. –jimmy (theblanktheband.com)

Self-titled: CD-R
M for Misfits, I assume, since they sound best when they’re sounding like the Misfits and, frankly, not too good when they’re not. I bet they’re tremendous fun at house parties. –Cuss Baxter (OBZ)

Self-titled: CD-R
This is a four-song, nine-minute EP. This could have been more fun if they had made it into a 7” with some cool artwork instead of burning it onto a CD. Of course, that’s assuming this would’ve been worth even putting out. The second track, “We’re History,” is great. Its got a good hook and a quick beat. The other three tracks were unexciting and insignificant. Make more songs like “We’re History,” drop the other shit, and you’ll be heading down the right path. –kurt (myspace.com/blanketofm)

Self-titled: CD-R

Generic punk that doesn’t even bother to label their CD-R. I take them even less seriously than they take themselves

–Craven (no info)

Self-titled: CD-R
This reminds me a lot of SNFU, both musically and lyrically. Throw in a little Misfits as well. Subject matter is pretty much light, referencing Christmas poems (“Small Town”), monsters, and sci-fi novels. The music is mid tempo, poppy, and just kind of there. If they pick up the pace and put more urgency into their playing, they could be a much better band. –Matt Average (cusser56@yahoo.com)

Make Me Drool, My Own Worst Enemy b/w C.H.U.D.: 7”EP
Ever watch cooking shows when you’re really hungry? Even the raw ingredients in their little bowls make you realize how famished you are. Los Blankitos are little bowls of quality ingredients, but when they’re put together, the promise of the recipe, although tasty, doesn’t seem to live up to its full potential. My culinary advice? More Jewws spice! More Spaceshits heat! More Shemps slurping! More Stupor Stars cumin! It’s just with music that’s aligning itself with a crazy-eyed, human-brained octopus battling spaceships on the cover, the music didn’t quite deliver what the packaging promised. (It was a lot more laid back.) –todd (Discos Chango)

Double Distortion Burger: CD
In the vein of Los Angeles nightclub cock rock, this record delivers the goods but with only half the cocks. It’s high-octane rock’n’roll with heavy slatherings of rawk, but one can still sense the ghost of Gene Vincent lurking somewhere behind all the power chords. Not, perhaps, one for the ages, but if records are like lovers, this is that wild girl you went out with for two weeks and smile about for the rest of your life. –Guest Contributor (Steel Cage)

Nuclear Empire of Apocalypse: LP
Death/black metal from Italy, this record is a tight piece of petrol. Thankfully, they saved the ambient interlude tracks for the sons of Odin and focused on keeping the pummel coming. The blasts are time-perfect, the recording is roomy and dank, and the title of the album couldn’t be cooler. No regrets here. –Andrew Flanagan  –Guest Contributor (Nuclear War Now!, www.nwnprod.com)

Exposed/Time to Die: 7" EP
My first impression was that there was a lot of Midwestern hardcore influence here. After repeated listens, though, I’m leaning a bit more towards a mid-’80s Southern California foundation with a bit of that Midwestern brute force brought in through the windows. Gruff vocals, gallop tempos, muscley delivery, this’ll definitely rattle your cage –jimmy (Dry Heave, dryheaverecords.limitedrun.com)

self-titled: CD-EP
Blasting Agents are an ugly, mean, and nasty group of midwestern auditory terrorists who are as frenetically out-of-control as a blinding apocalyptic windstorm. Their menacing musical misbehavior is a barroom-brawlin’, 18-wheelin’ cacophony of balls-out rock’n’roll brazenness that’s equal parts punk, metal, and rockabilly. It’s trashy, twisted, and turbulent; the manly, swaggering sound of hard-drinking working-class pugnaciousness; the 21st Century’s robust and brash answer to the Minutemen. Hell yeh, this lively lil’ platter of unadulterated aural attitude packs all of the relentless stinging power of a swift uppercut to the jaw; so put up your dukes, kiddies, and prepare to get hit hard! –Roger Moser Jr. (Blasting Agents)

Theme for a Dying World: CD
Blastmat attempts an early ‘80s hardcore sound. Think: The Adolescents and Minor Threat. Not bad, and pretty catchy at times. But I was disappointed because when I glanced at the song titles, I saw “Taliban Fight Song,” which had incredible potential. Sadly, the song was not the hilarious joke I expected it to be, but was just a funny title. Oh well. There’s a mediocre AC/DC cover (“Dog Eat Dog”) on this as well. If this were a cereal, it’d be a slightly stale box of Kix. Kix = early ‘80s hardcore, stale because Blastmat’s nowhere near as good as, say, the Dils or the Germs. But then again, what is? –Maddy (Blastmat)

A punk band striving for that 1984 feel. Trouble is, the metal touch to the guitars makes it feel more like 1986 than ‘84. Liked the live tracks better than the studio tracks. –jimmy (www.blasmat.freeservers.com)

Broke Life, Working Class: CD
I was an immediate fan of Blastmat’s music. Featuring members of Forced Reality, their songs included plenty of aggressive but catchy riffs, with plenty of parts to make you want to bedroom mosh or circle pit around your living room couch. Some sweet guitar leads and a solid rhythm section completed the musical package. Blastmat have a strong NYHC vibe that I was very into. (Their singer even sounds a tad like Sick Of It All’s Lou Koller at times.) With the album title I thought I had a good idea what Blastmat’s lyrics were going to be about before I even listened to them. While working class pride and the struggle to survive are themes I can easily get down with, I found the nationalist tones of some of Blastmat’s lyrics a bit problematic. I’m no Berkman or Bakunin, but calling out that, “I’m an American, born and raised,” in the track “Yup,” and saying “America gives too much charity, it’s time to take it back,” at the end of the track “Uprising” to make your point, doesn’t reflect working class solidarity as I understand it. I hope that Blastmat will develop a more pluralist understanding of working class pride (might I suggest reading What Is Anarchism? by Alexander Berkman, or Anarcho-Syndicalismby Rudolf Rocker), but, overall, I ended up with some mixed feelings about this.  –Paul J. Comeau (United Riot, reitano@sbcglobal.net, unitedriotrecords.com)

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