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For Better for Worse: 7”
When this band was described to me by a friend of mine, I felt it was pretty much the opposite of something I’d want to listen to. Seriously, how many fiddle, stand up bass, and banjo bands are out there these days? Well, I begrudgingly went, saw them play, and was an instant convert. This is just great twang music that is played really well. The countrified Screeching Weasel cover on the flipside is pretty damn fine, too! –ty (Fat)

Woke up Swinging: 7”
Paging Kangaroo Records, there is a band you need to snap up for an album immediately! Right out of the gate I am hearing some serious Negative Approach/Out Cold vibes from this band and that is usually the only thing I wanna hear where hardcore punk is concerned. Hailing from Vancouver B.C., where they know a thing or two about killer hardcore, Old Man Strength drop four mid-tempo, pissed-off HC killers on this single. “Conversations with a Jackass” is my pick to click here, but all four songs are great, pissed-off, basic hardcore. Cannot wait to hear a full length from this band.  –frame (Pankratium, oldmanstrength1.bandcamp.com)

Catharsis in Crisis: CD
These guys make Wesley Willis sound like Asia –koepenick (K)

Backed in a Corner: CD
The opening track on this disc is amazing! It’s so good, in fact, that I felt that the rest of the disc couldn’t live up to its awesomeness. It’s not that the rest is bad by any means—it’s standard pop punk stuff—but, damn, that first song stuck with me for awhile. It would have been great to have that song on a 7”. –ty (When’s Lunch)

Here We Go Again: CD
These two bands play equally sterile pop punk. As I reach the end of the album, I’m trying to recall a single song I just heard, and I can’t. Just a bunch of chirping with too-clean production. The songwriting is strictly by-the-book. Sometimes bands just get lost in their attempt to achieve perfection.  –mp (Eccentric Pop, eccentricpop.com)

Suggestion to whoever wrote the one sheet: don’t name drop Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes when the band you’re pumping is pretty much a straight-ahead modern punk band with screamed-rasped vocals, heavy tuning, and weight. Whereas John Reis, Gar Wood, and Co. made songs in which the notes could be made into maps of different, freaky, and badass worlds, Olde Ghost’s music is more or less a straight line with a couple of small swerves and pebbles being kicked up. Like End On End, perhaps, or the less interesting God Hates Computers tracks? Nice chipboard packaging and it came with a CDEP, too. –todd (7”EP)

Use Your Illusion 3 ‘N’ 4: LP
Way above average post hardcore punk with an emphasis on the hardcore. This kind of feat is seldom achieved, but I can see this tickling the taste buds of folks who enjoy Born Against, Planes Mistaken For Stars, and Samiam alike. The Guns N’ Roses and Nirvana artwork parodies are fun, but if I were the kind of person who truly judges a book by its cover, then I may not have been quick to pick this gem up solely based on those qualities. –Juan Espinosa (Handstand)

If We Ever Get Out of This Alive: EP
Life can be circular with attitudes and fashions coming back around once the original purveyors have long since given up and the “kids” reinvent the wheel. Seems that we are in a ‘90s throwback era, which for any of us who lived through it, seems like a dreadful idea. Olde Ghost from Seattle is digging back into that hazy post straight edge era just before everyone went emo. I’m not knocking it, ‘cause I’m sure this lot are a bulldozer live. Off kilter Flag-esque riffs mixed with Swiz or maybe shit like Struggle and some of the mid period Revelation Records stuff. I take comfort in the known, the familiar, but while this checks all the “hardcore” boxes, it barely got my heart rate up and after the record disappeared back in its sleeve, I knew it would never see the light of day again. –Tim Brooks –Guest Contributor (facebook.com/OldeGhost)

We’re in This Shit Together: LP
This is a very limited (250 copies only) LP edition of a popular 2010 Swedish street punk CD. A quality blend of early Euro oi and faster U.S.-based oi/street sounds, there’s nothing not to like about this LP. My favorite song is “Spirit of ‘95,” a non-sarcastic, honest nostalgic trip down memory lane for a time that the band members actually experienced. It’s pressed on cool purple vinyl and packaged in a sleeve featuring a montage of photos of Oldfashioned Ideas and their peeps. The photos help to prove the time-honored truism that European punks and skins are better-looking than their stateside counterparts. I love my friends, but we are fucking ugly compared to this crew. –Art Ettinger (Switchlight, switchlight-records.com)

Promises Mean Nothing: CD
I’m so fucking sick of fake nostalgia. Pictures of shit from the forties on a skinhead album. Shock me, shock me, shock me. Lyrically, this is so off it’s occasionally painful, and I’m not even getting into the missing space in the name. Or am I? I am. If you want your logo to consist of an O and an I, think of a fucking name that only has an O and an I. Anti-racist skins who claim “blues belong in sheds” and “country only draws in rats.” Genius lyricists, indeed. Musically, it’s second-rate street punk without the aggression or mandatory chant required to be oi! –Rene Navarro (Switchlight)

Promises Mean Nothing: CD
In just three years, Sweden’s Oldfashioned Ideas have made quite a dent on the worldwide streetpunk scene. This is their second full length album and it doesn’t disappoint. Reminiscent of Montreal’s Ripcordz, but with more of an oi influence, fashion punks everywhere will dig this release. And as was the case with their first album, there’s a photo collage on the insert to remind U.S. punks how much uglier we are than our European analogs. Singer Per has a solid, emotive tone to his style that sets these guys apart from the competition. Not that there’s a competition. Although I’d rather watch a streetpunk competition than any of the presently existing organized competitive events that this world has to offer. –Art Ettinger (Switchlight)

Don’t Believe a Word They Say: CD
Oldfashsioned Ideas is old fashioned oi! Take it or leave it. They are not breaking new ground here and I’m sure they don’t care. I’m sure that The Last Resort’s Roi Pearce and The Business’s Mickey Fitz would be proud to add this one to the family of albums that follow the simple ethos of “plug in and let’s go” instrumentation and guttural barroom vocals that make up the streetpunk genre. It is loud, proud, and punk to the core.  –John Mule (Contra)

Another Side to Every Story: CD
Oldfashioned Ideas (OI – get it?) are a pretty standard fare oi/street punk band. It’s not that they’re bad or anything, there just isn’t much here that is memorable to me. When it comes down to it, the most striking thing is their strange band name. I guess when I think of old fashioned ideas, I automatically think of ideas that are outdated or not with the times… I dunno. Weird. –Ty Stranglehold (Contra)

Holemole: LP w/CD
First off, it’s pronounced “O-lay Mole-ay” and the album title is pronounced “Hole-ay Mole-ay”. Kind of stupid, I know, but, thankfully, the music makes up for it. Their sound is a mix of Hot Water Music and Red Animal War (especially on the vocals). It includes members of Burial Year and the Ghost and was recorded by one of the dudes from American Steel. The LP (in your choice of white or clear red) comes with the CD. The first track, “Gatekeeper,” isn’t necessarily the best song to start out with, as the singing vocals just sound silly after the fierce yelling with which it contrasts. And “Treble Hook” has a really annoying guitar part that it keeps coming back to. But beyond those two weaker tracks, there’s a good intensity and passion that comes from this band, the kind where you can tell they’re excited to be doing what they’re doing and believe in it. It’s been hard to figure the lyrics out. They require some thinking and I get a feel here and there about where they stand on things. From what I can tell, they like to question the traditional order of authority and the traditional order of things, and as someone who has been doing that a lot in my life lately, I can totally get behind that. –kurt (Underground Communique)

Touch ‘Em All, Joe: CD
When punk broke into the mainstream in the ‘90s and ‘00s, it sometimes felt like there was a giant factory somewhere churning out carbon copied bands of the hot sound of the moment. Toronto, Ontario’s Omaha sounds like a band manufactured in the same factory. The riffs are clean and polished, without a hint of grit. The vocals are equally clean-sounding, with just a hint of angst. While some people might be into this kind of sound, I found this record to be a tad homogenous. Without looking at the tracklisting or the number counter on the CD player, it was difficult for me to distinguish one song from another. I think that if Omaha get a bit more varied in their sound they’d have potential, but this release just couldn’t hold my attention.  –Paul J. Comeau (Morning Wood, info@morningwoodrecords.com, omahapunk.bandcamp.com)

Gotta admit, I was never much of an At the Drive-In fan, but this wasn’t too bad a listen. This is a collection of primarily instrumental music Rodriguez-Lopez has put together for an unfinished film project he’s been working on. On its own, the music is a hodge-podge of space rock-styled jams, samples, static patterns, synth noodling and the like layered over one another. Perfect listening for your next brownie and tea party, if you catch my drift. –jimmy (GSL)

The Sound and the Fury: CD
They gallop, they trot, they will all-around rock your face off... and may make ya wanna pick it up, to boot. Pure, unashamed, straight from it. I’ve seen these guys be called surf punk, but this isn’t that regurgitated ‘60s-hollow-bodied-reverberated-bullshit. They’re a flat-out rollicking good time. It may be cold and dreary in Seattle, their hometown, but these dudes will warm yer heart... and goose yer throttle. Don’t miss out on this!  –Jackie Rusted (Self-released, omegamoo.com)

Hammer Down: CD
You know when you end up having to go to Guitar Center to get some strings or something and there’s always some dumbass subnormal redneck working there and he won’t put down the Dime Slime that he’s been shredding on long enough to help you with what you need? This band is made up of five dudes like that. Completely retarded (and not in a good way) heavy rock that sounds like third-rate Pantera. I know Todd only gave me this to review because the first song is called “Skull Bong.” Cool song titles aside, this thing is a ridiculous waste of everyone’s time. –ben (Omegalord)

Destroy The ESP: CD
Denver, a bubbling musical hot spot long before theme park Elitch’s moved and the squatter-infested train station was turned into the center of civic pride, spews out the Omens’ sneering, stripped-down garage punk the way it all started. I feel as good as when I first heard the Oblivians. Requires Russ Meyer-busted go-go dancers, not included. –thiringer (Hipsville Int’l)

Make It Last: 7”
Synthesizer—check. Fuzz—check. High pitched singing—check. Not enough flying saucers, though. –mike (Hipsville)

Send Black Flowers: CD
The Standells hire a ‘roid-raged Mike Tyson to deliver repeated knockout blows to the nards while they do some serious ear-pummelin’ via grade-A punked up fuzz rock. It’s not often I verbalize my approval whilst a disc is on, but I gotta admit I had the window down and was screamin’ “fuck yeah!” pretty much throughout its initial spin. Pretty nifty when that happens. –jimmy (Hipsville, hipsville-records.com)

Self-titled: CDEP
Adding screams to singing vocals does not a good album make. And starting an album with an instrumental isn’t usually a good idea either. Sure, lots of bands do it, but unless you’re building a legendary concept album, I’d steer clear of it. A number of the songs on here are appealing and have some ample hooks, but when the screamy vocals back up the pure, poppy punk vocals it just sounds ridiculous. The last song starts with the lyrics, “You think you’re really cool / can you come out and play?” No. I’m afraid I can’t. –kurt (www.takeoverrock.com)

Take Cover: CD
Is Longshot Records the new TKO? Who knows, but I do know that they consistently release great records by bands rocking the whole Beltones/Bodies vibe. You can add On The Brink to the list of good ones. The songs here are rockin’ and very catchy. I find my head uncontrollably bobbing up and down and my hand unconsciously reaching for another beer. They have a lot in common with fellow Edmontonians Wednesday Night Heroes but with perhaps a little more Ripcordz in their sound. Edmonton has had a long and storied punk rock history and On The Brink are adding another page. –ty (Longshot)

Take Cover: CD
This reminds me of bands that I used to see at the Warped Tour back when it was worth going to. (I suppose everyone has a different definition of this, but for me that would have been up to about ‘98-’99.) On The Brink has a sound reminiscent of older Fat Wreck Chords releases: They’re anthemic, crunchy, and vaguely political. If you’re into that sort of stuff, this is pretty solid. –Ryan Horky (Longshot, longshotmusic.com)

Take Cover: CD
Take Cover is loaded with standard, at-the-speed-of-NOFX pop punk. This trio plays well, is recorded well, seems to have their act together, and there is nothing wrong with this band at all, but there is just nothing going on here for me. Every song on the album moves at the same pace. All the playing is so competent to the point where nothing stands out. This is dictionary-entry, hardcore-style pop punk album with songs titles like “Corruption,” “My Truth,” “Something to Lose,” “Damned from the Start.” There are bass breaks, vocal alone breaks, snare starts, melodic guitar runs, alternating singing (they all have good voices). Everything from the book is represented here. Not my thing, but they play well. –Billups Allen (Longshot)

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