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Four from `84: 7”
The only thing I really remember of this band is their great track, “Attack,” from the first Flipside comp. I don’t recall what the You Are an E.P. 12” sounds like anymore. It’s been a couple of decades since I last heard it, and I think my brother has it. I think it was still basically hardcore. I’m guessing this recording session would fall right after those two releases. It sounds like the period when a lot of punk bands either went metal or rock. F went the rock route. This release has that early glam-meets-rock sound: a mixture of Iggy Pop meets Redd Kross, a loose expression of having fun, being obnoxious, and not caring if you like it or not. A band that didn’t float in my radar back then, but it is an interesting thing to be unearthed for people to hear. –don (Burrito)

Sick of It All: 7”
Now here’s a great fuckin’ band! The A side song “Sick of It All” is a smash hit. Whatta great tune; one of those songs where you might get to the B side someday, after listening to it a hundred times. The F Bombers would probably be best described as poppy street punk. Think Ducky Boys and Reducers SF… actually, the more I listen to them I think the best comparison might be Off With Their Heads. Alright, the B side tune is a keeper, too. Excellent song. This single is a must own for any melodic punk fan. One of the best bands of the last five years. –frame (Jailhouse, dave@jailhouserecords.com)

Pledge Allegiance: LP
Did I just exit a time machine? This is a ‘90s Hellcat release, right? I’ll just take a look at the back sleeve and… huh, 2011. Now that my time travel hypothesis has been disproved, I’m forced to assume that these guys fucking love the street punk from that era. They play the style fairly confidently. If you need something reminiscent of early Tilt or the Distillers, this isn’t a bad choice. –Bryan Static (Sixty Nine Apple/Jailhouse, jailhouserecords.com)

Mi Bouncy: CD
I don’t know who MaryLou is, but, damn, she pissed somebody off. This is angry, brash, and crude ponk rawk in the dirty-glitter Los Angeles tradition. This is the kind of band you could take home to mother if your mother was Exene Cervenka in the early ‘00s.  –Lisa Weiss (Breaking Balls, fumarylou.la)

El Diablo Dinner Theatre: CD
A melding of college rock, punk and maybe a dash of emo, resulting in a CD that’s as boring as that description sounds. –jimmy (Groundswell)

Self-titled: 7" EP
I feel like a fuck hole for making it to the second song.
–megan (F-Hole)

Won't Bleed Me/Failed Society: CD
F-Minus has never been a band that I have ever said, "I love this shit!" I always felt they were just okay, but never have moved me to go out and buy their stuff. But hey, that's just me. I know they already have a fan base. So I guess that warrants a reissue of two 7"s with two additional covers on one CD. It's early '80s punk that I would have been more excited hearing in 1984 than 2005. I give them props on their Negative Approach and Agnostic Front covers. They are done really well and fits them nicely. –don (Alternative Tentacles)

Wake Up Screaming: CD
F-Minus play fast, aggressive hardcore with just enough hooks to keep it from being a wall of noise. They alternate male and female vocals and it works especially well because neither of them can sing, but both of them sound really good. With Wake Up Screaming, they’ve lost their bass player/other female vocalist from earlier records, which is a shame. I like the way she sings. Still, this album rips through fifteen songs with enough power and pogo to keep me smiling. –sean (Hellcat)

Suburban Blight: CD
Holy shit! Just the CD I have been waiting for. 20 fast, loud, angry, balls-out hardcore punk tracks in only 24 minutes. None of which surpass the two minute mark. F-Minus is the best thing to come in the mail in a while. The last CD that did this to me was Asshole Parade’s Student Ghetto Violence. Their sound kinda reminded me of them too with some female vocals thrown in. Two guys (drum and guitar) and two girls (bass and guitar) all share vocals from song to song. All four of them churn out great, pissed off, gut-wrenching vocals equally as well. No pussies in the bunch (no pun intended). These songs, are as the title implies, about suburbia and the disdain these great musicians, singers and songwriters feel about the living among these minions of sheep and their silly façade. All around a tight, fast-as-fuck fury. This is the best antidote for their glass house world, shattering it to bits. The CD has already racked up a shitload of frequent flyer miles on my CD player. It wakes me up in the morning as I get up to head outside the city for work to face these robots on a daily basis giving me relief that I am not alone in the anger I feel. Thanks to bands like this, I am not going postal. Instead, I am the maniac at 5:30am driving too fast down the highway, windows down, radio blasting, pounding the steering wheel and dashboard while shaking my head back and forth on my way to be the consummate professional that I am. (Hey, at least I’m not doing my make up, reading the paper, talking on a cell phone, drinking and eating or the many other things the others around me are all doing aside from actually paying attention to the road.) Do yourself a favor. Get this CD, put it in, roll the windows down, turn it up to 11 and drive real fast. Preferably in a cookie cutter subdivision full of soccer moms and kids playing in the streets. Faster, faster, faster! –toby (Hellcat)

Baby Jesus, Sliced Up in the Manger: split CD
If you haven heard of F-Minus yet and like your punk hard and fucking fast, check them out. Crusty hardcore punk with gut-wrenching male and female vocals. They have five songs here lasting about five and a half minutes. Kind of a teaser, but well worth it. The Crack Rock Steady Seven sound is equally hard at times, but not as focused as F-Minus. The music is inconsistent, which can make it a hard listen. One minute it’s hard as fuck, the next it’s poppy ska. There are also too many samples of extraneous crap between their songs. It gives me the same feeling I remember when I heard Leftover Crack’s Mediocre Generation album. They’re a good band with some potential, but some tastes don’t taste great together. –toby (Hellbent)

Fearing Lost Apocalyptic Knowledge: LP
I was expecting epic power metal or Norwegian death metal from the cover of this LP. Ended up with fast, fairly standard thrash. The band is from Pittsburgh and play blown-out thrash for fans of Mob 47, Anti Cimex, and the like. Limited edition of 300 copies, so move fast if this is your style.  –frame (Hashshashinrecords@gmail.com)

Useless and Modern: CD
Holy crap, what rock did these guys crawl out from under? Everything I can find about these guys point to a little Northern California hellhole known as Sacramento as being their home, but, based solely on the sound of this, you’d swear they was a bunch of Limeys. Featuring former members of a group known as Los Huevos, F.M. Knives have recorded THE quintessential album of 1977 England, the greatest album the Buzzcocks never recorded, provided they had borrowed the Damned’s equipment and nicked the best riffs that the Undertones and the Boys could muster. Yet this doesn’t sound dated in the least. While obviously taking their cues from punk rock’s past, there seems to be an informed sensibility and energy at work here that keeps this from sounding rehashed and tired and instead as timeless, vigorous and crucial as the best of any of their apparent influences. Don’t believe me? I dare any doubters to compare classic ravers like the Undertones’ “Male Model,” the Boys’ “Sick On You” and the Buzzcocks’ “I Don’t Mind” to the tracks “DOA,” “Summer Holiday” and the title track and tell me that the latter don’t hold their own. Pick up twenty copies or so (to ensure you have a spare when you wear the previous one out) and tell ’em it came with the highest of recommendations. –jimmy (Moo-La-La)

You Don’t Know What Human Is: LP
It’s not every day a hardcore band from Macedonia pops up. These guys play some decent Y2K thrash. I think two or three song seven inches would be more effective. As an LP, everything here starts to sound the same, and there’s not a whole lot of “oomph” to keep you interested the whole way through. The vocals have zero character. Just shout, shout, shout, with no real sense of emotion. This record isn’t horrible. It’s just okay. –Matt Average (Third Party, www.thirdxparty.com)

Punk Rock: LP
I didn’t know this record was such a commodity! I knew it had to be good because both The Raunch Hands and The Exploding Hearts covered F.U.2 (“Mean Evil Child” and “Sniffin’ Glue,” respectively.) Originally released in 1977 then bootlegged to hell, finally seeing a legit rerelease thanks to 1-2-3-4 Go! Updated liner notes dispel rumors that F.U.2 was a joke band done up on a drunken whim. F.U.2 was made up of members of The Downliners Sect, who had some extra songs that didn’t quite match their typical R&B/beat style. Not quite pub rock and not quite raw punk. Maybe a combo of both, filtered through competent musicians? Worth your time. –Sal Lucci (1-2-3-4 Go!)

Self-titled: CD
The debut full length from Indianapolis' triphop outfit - f.u.z.z. reminds me heavily of Tricky, actually. Okay stuff - sometimes a little overly dramatic/trying too hard. They, for sure, pull on the tricky-side of hip hop. female vocals, with the occasional male rap. Her vocals are schizophrenic - at times, delicate, Ella Fitzgerald wails, and then brutal spoken word. The beats are fairly tight, nice, and impressive. The first few tracks didn't do much for me - mediocre samples and not-so-interesting beats. "Swan Dive," the fourth track, is a good one - with intense, dramatic raps, about how rough life can be. Yowza. A little to long, but, the music adds to the enjoyment. The chorus is a tad sloppy, but it's an overall intense tune. But the rest of the record is much more interesting - despite the shakiness of the lyrics at times - they don't keep me, and sometimes seem a bit cheesy. F.u.z.z. does make me want to drive long distances at extremely fast speeds in small sports cars, or just smoke some pot and stare at the ceiling of my bedroom. Hmm. –Miss Sarah A. Stierc (Anechoic, 22-55 Crescent St. #00, Long Island City, NY 11105; http://www.anechoicrecordings.com )

It’s a VAN’s World: CD-R
In a perfect world, bands like U2 and Metallica would sell as many albums as Cleveland Bound Death Sentence and there would be fewer Jack Johnson rip-offs and more Fabio Van Messes. This is not the greatest music ever made, and probably not even the best thing I’ve heard today. It is what it is, which is bare-bones folk music, performed with an English accent (he’s Italian), and it is not bad at all. I’m sure the locals all love Fabio Van Mess, and I can guarantee you that’s more than enough for him. Music for enjoyment’s sake. –Will Kwiatkowski –Guest Contributor (No Flags, www.noflagsrecords.com)

I'm a Mess: CDEP
When bands have line-up changes, they have a harder time proving their worth to longtime fans. Well, Fab-D lost singer Laura Litter and bassist Mr. Nancy. I’m not sure if the new bassist/lead vocalist Lynda Mess is in fact old guitarist Lynda Mandolyn. The only remaining member from the Fat Wreck/Pink & Black period is Sally Gess on drums who now goes by the title of Sally Disaster. Cinder Block from Tilt fame was supposed to be the new singer but they parted ways prior to this recording. So in this new incarnation, they seem, to me, to have taken a few steps back in their song writing. They play a more remedial punk styling than what was originally released on their last two full lengths. The song “Dead End” has parts that reminded me of Elastica. The cover of Joe Jackson’s “Got the Time” was pretty good but I still like Anthrax’s cover better. I think the band has a lot to recover from because they set the bar high when they wrote “Red Blister” off the Put Out or Get Out CD. That is still one of my all-time favorite songs. –don (Rodent Popsicle)

Panty Raid!: CD
Holy friggin’ cow! I've been waiting a long time for this. To show you how long, I have had a copy of their last CD in my changer in my car since I reviewed it for Issue 1. And I have to tell you, many a CD has gone through that changer in that time. I just can’t get myself to replace it with something else. The song "Red Blister" from that release is one of my all-time favorite songs, and I still haven’t grown tired of it. I saw them live once when they were touring with Propagandhi, Avail, and J Church. The place was empty when they had to open the show. For the few who were present at the time, we were rocked out of our shoes when they performed. I've been hooked since. To give you a little history of their discography, their first release was Pretty Killers, followed by Put Out or Get Out which is the release that won’t leave my car. Panty Raid! shows that they continue to progress as musicians and writers. The production on this one is more polished than their previous. The songs are tighter and faster. The vocals beautifully mesh together to create wonderful harmonies that make it appealing to people who like the music of groups like the Go Go’s or the Graces. The difference is that these Bay Area women rock harder and have the tough appearance to stand up to any attack. They should be on tour with the Briefs by the time you read this. You have to see them live to appreciate how good they are and what you are missing. Now let’s see how long this one stays in the car! –don (Pink and Black)

Put Out Or Get Out!: CDR
Man! Retodd knows my preferences and what I might enjoy. After a long layoff on the review front, he picks a winner for the first thing he sends me. This is the pre‑release for this band's release on the Fat Wreck subsidiary Pink and Black. This is the label's second signing, joining the Dance Hall Crashers on the roster. What a great choice! If you like or love DHC, you will love this band. This has been a regular play in my CD changer in the car now for weeks. I can't get over the great harmonies over great melodies. At the same time, the band packs a punch. I have no idea what the songs are titled or what the band members look like, all I know is that track five is my favorite. The intro reminded me of The Cure and bolts forward with a mid tempo punk riff and goes into an almost dream-like chorus of beautiful harmony. The moods on that song jerk back and forth from regret to pure anger. An absolute gem! I can't wait 'til the actual release comes out to see the lyric sheet and see if all my curiosities can be answered. It reminded me of the Teen Idols (not the DC band, Teen Idles) mixed with the great elements of all the female-led punk bands from the past. –don (Pink & Black)

Shit Surf: Cassette
Super nice packaging—full color J-card, download code, and spray painted vinyl patch— for what turns out to be a messy five-song cassette of reverb-heavy surf songs. Songs titles like “Bloody Beach Blanket” and “SurfinKillCity” fail to convince. Sorry, guys. –Keith Rosson –keith (Viking On Campus, vikingoncampusrecords.bigcartel.com)

Ashen Remains of Midwestern Flames: LP
Intense hardcore that often veers on the edge of becoming total noise. Hey, do the guys in Corrosion of Conformity know you’ve co-opted their skull logo? –jimmy (Fascade Burned Black, PO Box 13087, Chesapeake, VA 23325)

Ignorant Assholes: 7” EP
By-the-numbers, vaguely metallic hardcore with a pissed off singer who seems to have some issues with women. I find it interesting that they claim in one song to see right through “racist nazi pig[s],” and then parenthetically title a song “Whoriental” four songs later. I guess if it’s in her “nature to be such a whore,” a little hypocrisy never hurt, eh? Methinks the title they chose is a tad more fitting than they intended. –jimmy (Rat Town)

Fractures: 7"
Oh, hell yeah. These guys play great old school-sounding skate punk with a thrashy influence, but the mid-tempo pacing and warm, lo-fi analog recording make this slab of wax sound like an authentic ‘80s gem unearthed twenty-five years too late. The monotonous vocals and the start and stops in “Bleeding Eyes” take more than a couple cues from the legendary Koro with the poppier backbeat of the Wipers, and the darker “No Hope” is rooted firmly in early Southern California hardcore like TSOL. For all the comparisons you can put in place, though, the songs have an earnestness that keeps this record engaging. –Ian Wise (headcountrecords.com)

Self-titled: Cassette
I’ve had this sitting here for the last two review cycles. I’m really sorry, guys! I had a hard time finding a tape player that worked in my house, then I would forget for a while... I’m really kinda mystified about this whole tape resurgence these days. I grew up in the cassette heyday, and I switched to CDs for quite sometime before skipping back to vinyl again. It’s kind of cool I guess... Anyways, back to the review. These guys tricked me. The cover has some crazy ‘60s “trippin’ at the Filmore” kind of typeface and a lot of ‘80s bright, glowing colors. The first song opened with a kind of late ‘80s/early ‘90s indie rock/jangly punk kind of thing happening. I was kind of liking it and before I knew what happen, it fell apart and exploded into some fierce hardcore punk rock. Fine skate rock that I’d play with my Gang Green, JFA, and Sheglank’d Shoulders on a skate session mix. Nice work, you rippers! –ty (Tankcrimes)

Laugh Now… Laugh Later: CD
Solid return from this recently reactivated band. Danny Thompson is a new recruit on drums and Chad Yaro returns on lead guitar after a long hiatus. The songwriting duties are handled by bassist Scott Shifflet and frontman/guitarist Trever Keith. Eleven songs that slide into this band’s esteemed back catalog with ease. How many bands do you go see live and end up singing along to almost all the songs? I can count them on one hand probably, but I thank these guys for coming back again to help us through these dark days. Now if I could only convince them to cover Mötley Crüe one more time, the world would be a better place. –sean (Antagonist)

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