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Record Reviews

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P.J. BONNEMAN:
Jeg Kendte Dem Ikke: 7” EP
Armed with the switchblade knife he holds on the record sleeve, and, I’m assuming, an enormous bottle of Gammel Dansk, P.J. Bonneman slashes through three great-sounding home recordings on this debut, solo, 33 rpm 7” EP. “Fri Kaerlighed” is a lively piece of aggressive, lo-fi, Rezillos power pop sung in Danglish. I’m not exactly sure what the song is about—I don’t understand Danish and there’s not a whole lot of English to be heard—but I definitely hear a “fuckin’ hippy” in there towards the end of the song and that’s a sentiment that everyone should be able to get behind. “Hey Ronni” is the musical equivalent of taking a stroll through the countryside with your sweetheart on a Sunday afternoon. Clad in a leather jacket and shod with black Chuck Taylors, of course. The melody could have easily been written by King Louie for the Exploding Hearts and the lazy guitar riff will linger in your head long after the song is over. This tune could brighten the day of even the most stoic, hard-assed Scandinavian. While the A-side will appeal to popsters, the flip side is ass-kickingly TOUGH!”Jeg Kendte Dem Ikke” has an unrelenting beat and lyrics that are snarled more than sung. Bonneman has a real knack for writing a tune and moves between genres effortlessly. –benke (Spild Af Vinyl, www.spildafvinyl.dk)


P.K. 14, THE:
City Weather Sailing: CD
The P.K.14 is a very progressive-sounding band from China that sings exclusively in Chinese. (So I have no idea what any of these songs are about. Not that that really matters to me.) The press release says they sound Like Television or the Talking Heads, but I don’t hear it. (It reminds me of Radiohead, but maybe that’s the only boring, slow, “progressive” band I know of. Don’t take my word for it.) Just seems like a bunch of boring Chinese guys who are creative and can play their instruments very well. This does not, however, make them an interesting band. It might be an effective insomnia cure, though. –Ryan Horky (Tenzenmen, tenzenmen.com)


P.L.F.:
Devious Persecution and Wholesale Slaughter: CD
“I barely listen to grindcore at all anymore, but when I do I listen to P.L.F.” (Referencing that beer commercial.) But yeah, I think the majority of grind these days is pure crap. However, P.L.F. stand head and shoulders, miles ahead of the pack. They don’t come close to reinventing the wheel, but what they do is bring some much needed intensity to the genre that hearkens back to the glory days of this kind of music. Like when Earache was putting out records you would actually be excited about. Their music is sonic, with a huge wall of sound, and dual vocals, one low, and one sort of “vomity.” I prefer the low vocals, as it blends in better with the heaviness, while the vomity vocals are sort of like hearing some sand blasting at four in the morning. Then they do things like incorporate a Motörhead-style rhythm amongst all the pummeling riffs, such as in the title track, then there are the riffs that are relentless, such as “Port of Chicago Disaster.” There’s a reason why these guys have a following.  –Matt Average (Six Weeks, sixweeksrecords.com)


P.O.S.:
Never Better: CD
I have always had a soft spot for the Twin Cities music scene. To me, one of the most endearing defining features of the last decade of Minnesota’s DIY music community is the unprecedented synergy between the punk rock and hip hop musicians and fans in that metro area. Unlike many other cities, no one bats an eye when Dillinger Four and Atmosphere play shows together. No single figure in the Twin Cites scene is a finer bridge between the two musical subcultures than P.O.S. Never Better is P.O.S.’s third album and it is a strong, if fairly similar, follow-up to 2006’s Audition album, which raised his musical profile and introduced P.O.S. to multitudes of new fans. There are a couple radio-friendly, head-bobbing funk tracks like “Low Light Low Life” and “Goodbye” that are quite successful. However, the majority of the album is more challenging and discordant, borrowing an air of tension clearly influenced by hardcore punk and an experimental edge typical of the envelope-pushing hip hop artists on Anticon Records. For the most part it works quite well, although some editing or refinement could have been applied to the last one third of the fifteen-song release, as it begins to sag towards the end. Overall, though, it’s a very exciting release by a young and upcoming musical artist doing the Midwest proud. –Jake Shut –Guest Contributor (Rhymesayers)


P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S.:
Gotta Get away from You: 7”
The A-side is a nice bit of driving punk/hardcore, not too fast or slow with a nice riff. B-side’s faster and not quite as interesting. –jimmy (Tombstone)


P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S.:
Make It Through the Night: CD
I remember hearing a seven-inch by these cats a while back and kind of being on the fence about ‘em, but this is one heavy duty release here. Things rarely go past mid-tempo, but the delivery is so ratcheted up that even solidly punk covers, like the Cortina’s “Fascist Dictator,” are hurled with such a roar that it sounds more like a hardcore ditty than an aping of the original. Not big on muffled chords, dynamics, or subtlety, this lot, and that’s just fine ‘cause the conviction that comes across makes the hearing damage worth the trouble. And then they finish up with a (mostly) faithful cover of Crow’s (by way of Black Sabbath) “Evil Woman.” Great stuff. –jimmy (P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S.)


P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S.:
Hit and Run: 7”
I’m not a sophisticated music aficionado. I like what I like, and sometimes what I like is kind of stupid. For example, one thing that always turns me on is when a song starts with a perfectly timed guttural shout. Not a long shout, just a staccato “Uh!”—like the singer got punched in the gut right when the recording started. The first track on this record, a great, high energy, Humpers-lovin’ rocker, starts with a solid “Uh!” But it doesn’t end there! The singer drops a couple more well-placed “Uh!”s throughout. It’s pretty marvelous. Now if there was a proper whistle in there somewhere, I’d be all set.  –mp (Doomtown Sounds)


P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S. / MODERN PETS:
: Split: 7”
Modern Pets have a couple records out and are quite good at the beach punk/Hostage Records kind of thing. Think Stitches running headlong into the Briefs or many of the releases on the Modern Action label. P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S. are a Portland band, featuring Kelly from Pierced Arrows/Resist on bass and Bradley from the Weaklings on vocals. Good, solid punk rock and a solid version of “Remedy” by Rose Tattoo. –frame (Doomtown)


P.S. ELIOT:
Living in Squalor: 7" EP
About four seconds into this record I got that rush of adrenaline that comes from hearing something that truly excites me. Upbeat, rocking music with scrappy female vocals. Yeah! And it just got better from there. These folks write songs like real pros, but resist the temptation to sand off the rough edges that make their whole sound passionate and engaging. This release proves this band is versatile without being uncentered. “Acid Flashbacks” starts off mellow and works itself into an amazing rage, whereas “Dark” starts off with high energy and sails along at a steady pace. I like all five songs on this EP and a full length can’t come quickly enough. Totally my kind of thing. Yours too. –jennifer (Freedom School)


P.S. ELIOT:
Living in Squalor: 7" EP
This is the first I heard from this band, but I see that they have a full-length on Salinas. The five tracks on here have me convinced that I need to pick that up sooner or later. Awesome female-fronted, mid-tempo indie rock that is like a way better Simpatico-era Velocity Girl. If this is the result of the band living in squalor, well, sorry to say that I think they shouldn’t look to migrate anytime soon. And, in case you were wondering (or simply waiting for a T.S. Eliot reference), the way this record ends is not in a whimper. –Vincent Battilana (Freedom School)


P.S. ELIOT:
Sadie: LP
I must say that I was stoked to see this in my box of review materials, as I found P.S. Eliot’s Living in Squalor 7” to be rather splendid. While Sadie is good, it is a departure from LiS. This LP is a good record, but I was looking forward to an LP’s worth of their angsty alternapunk that I heard on the Freedom School 7”. The LP’s tempo is comparatively slower. A few songs have power pop-sounding guitar slowed down to the pace of coffeehouse indie rock (I don’t mean that to be pejorative in this case). While nothing on here sounds like it is the victim of restraint, the overall feel of Sadie is subdued. This will be getting more spins on my turntable in the future, but not as much as the Squalor EP. –Vincent Battilana (Salinas)


PAA KII:
Self-titled: CD
It’s gotta be a drag sometimes to come from an area synonymous for a type of music. Pää Kii hails from Finland, an area long known for some world-class thrash bands, but that ain’t the kinda hash they’re dishin’ up here. Instead, you get a choice meal of catchy punk with a little bit o’ garage here and a dash o’ Spits-styled thud-punk there. I know the “if it ain’t loud, fast, and Discharge-derived, it ain’t shit” crowd are gonna howl with disapproval, but this is nonetheless some mighty fine ruckus makin’. –jimmy (Stupido)


PACER:
No. 1: 10"
Melodic hardcore anthems done tight ‘n’ punchy with lots of dynamic changes and group choruses, plus a little ’77 snot for flavor. There’s an air of nostalgia as they sing about friendships passed, but the music’s so energetic that you know more good times are ahead. Do you ever get mad at a record because you want to sing along but don’t know the words yet? I just did. From London. Seven songs. Awesome bass fills. –CT Terry (Chunksaah, chunksaah.com)


PACIFICS, THE:
Play Favourites: 7” EP
A self-described ((or, more correctly, liner-note-described)) “beat” group from Dublin’s fair city, one’d expect this bunch to sound more or less like a different flavor of the Kaisers, which, i suppose, they do—though the playing and the sonic frequencies and the repertoire and the what-not are more evocative of either a more-solid Statics or Thee Headcoats minus Billy Childish, for whatever that’s worth. I’m not against any of this, nor am I opposed to an EP consisting of entirely cover songs, but the songs they chose to record ((“You Can’t Judge a Book By Its Cover” by Bo Diddley, “Lucille” by Little Richard, “Baby It’s You” by the Beatles and “I’m Talking about You” by Chuck Berry)) are just so common and basic that there isn’t a lot to whole-hog excite me here. It’s kinda like if someone released an EP of 70’s punk covers, and it wasn’t anything more imaginative than “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “God Save the Queen,” “New Rose” and “Teenage Kicks.” I’m gonna need to see what else these guys got under the hood before they challenge my Atlantics album to a battle of the bands. BEST SONG: They’re really all kinda ‘bout the same, but I’ve always liked “Baby It’s You” so I’m going to make that surely-unpopular choice. BEST SONG TITLE: “Lucille” because of all the L’s. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Band misspells “its” as “it’s” in the title of “You Can’t Judge a Book By Its Cover,” but correctly spells “it’s” as “it’s” in “Baby It’s You.” –norb (Bachelor)


PACK:
Self-titled: LP
Ugly Pop proves there are still lost punk albums worth getting excited about with the release of a self-titled album by Germany’s Pack. Led by prog-seasoned guitarist Joerg Evers, Pack released a full-length and one single in the late ‘70s. Their best-known song “Come On” appears on Bloodstains across Germany. Now the band’s full-length gets the full Ugly Pop reissue business with loads of liner notes and photos. Pack plays grinding, overdriven ‘60s chords on the canvas of minimal punk drumming. Evers is noticeably older than his ‘78 contemporaries in live shots, but his anger comes through as if punk had been waiting for him. “We Better Get Ready” starts the album with a vicious, three-chord rager. “Nobody Can Tell Us” has a singalong quality urging you to “do what you really want.” The opening riff has a ratchety, party drum riff with a Teenage Shutdown sensibility. Evers embraced the back to the front attitude displayed by the bands of the time. Natural anger and an aptitude for nuanced intervals drive the album. It’s a record aging punks will certainly take notice of. The songs retain that magic level of pissed felt in the British albums of the time. –Billups Allen (Ugly Pop, uglypop.com)


PACK A.D., THE:
Funeral Mixtape: CD
One of many things i will not miss when the 00’s wind to a close is the presumed extinction ((or, at bare minimum, long hibernation/remission)) of the once-in-vogue two-piece band—not because said units are not capable of producing decent music ((they are)), but simply because, as with pop punk bands in the 90’s, i am bound and convinced that there is absolutely NOTHING new that these bands can possibly do that will grab and hold my interest. That ship has sailed, and i don’t expect it back in the harbor ((“of ROCK!”)) for decades, if not centuries. I mean, the band is pretty decent—label-supplied comparisons of the vocalist to Janis Joplin are not egregiously far off the mark, and the guitars have a nice tone and a passable second White Stripes album kinda vibe ((i’ll stick my neck out here and claim that “De Stijl” was one of the better albums of the first half of this decade)), but i just can’t get into it. It’s sorta like once the elastic gets all stretched out on the waistband of your Fruit of the Loom® thermal longjohns, nothing you can do is gonna make that elastic all grippy and stretchy again, and the Pack A.D., through no real fault of their own, are that elastic waistband. This, of course, begs the question of whom my barndoor is; i’d like to imagine it’s Godhead Silo but that’s pure conjecture on my part. BEST SONG: “Blackout” BEST SONG TITLE: “Oh Be Joyful” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Almost listened to this in my car on the way to a funeral; feared karmic recompense; did not do so. –norb (Mint)


PACK A.D., THE:
We Kill Computers: CD
Duo from Vancouver. White Stripes meets Portishead meets delta blues meets DIY trash rock? The blues/trash influence is front and center, but the record as a whole is fairly eclectic. One song is hauntingly beautiful and had me spellbound until I looked at the lyrics and realized that it was a lame bit about being understood by all animals. At that point I became scared that the hippy-gremlins would invade my stereo, but the rockin’ nature of the rest of the record kept those fuckers at bay. Good stuff. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Mint)


PACK/S.O.L.:
Split: LP
Pack: Screaming Euro hardcore from Switzerland, I believe, all rude and crusty and angry, as it should be. S.O.L.: More of the same, this time from a band who hails from Germany. On the whole, I gotta say, this was just the kinda noise necessary to break up the monotony. –jimmy (rinderherz@gmx.net)


PAGAN PISS:
Alone: Cassette
Relentless, scratchy-voiced hardcore that gathers momentum with each song. I imagine them playing a basement show and turning the audience into a giant, sweaty ball that rolls upstairs and crushes the neighborhood. Seven songs, woman singer, from Grand Rapids. –Chris Terry (letsgodosomecrimes.com)


PAGANS:
What’s This Shit? 1977/1979: LP
Now this is a Record Store Day release I can really get into! Time for commentary: I love the concept of record stores country-wide getting some respect (in the form of life supporting sales) but RSD ain’t nothing but big biz malarkey. Maybe some of you share my opinion, maybe not. The faux-cool “limited” releases, the overpriced reissuing of “classic” rock albums… isn’t this what the cool kids-only club of underground rock is supposed to be against? Time for record review: side one is a fiery live performance from 1979 with surprisingly decent fidelity, especially considering the sounds on some of their official releases. Side two has a few versions of “Six and Change” recorded on the same random October 1977 afternoon. These recordings get better as they progress, and according to notes on the back cover, the third version is what made it to record. My only complaint is that I wish there were more pics/liners, but I think everything that can be said about The Pagans is in the liner notes on all their Crypt Records releases. I won’t pretend to have all the Pagans ephemera out there, nor do I necessarily want it all, but I’m really amazed that these recordings have gone this long unreleased. What’s this shit, indeed! –Sal Lucci (Thermionic)


PAGE OF PUNK, A:
Fool’s Punk Line: LP
Last year I was floored when A Page Of Punk put twelve songs on one side of a 7”. Well, they’re back with a full-length! A forty-nine song LP! You really gotta be in the right mood (slightly drunk?) for their brand of blasting, over-the-top punk bursts that start and finish with rapid nail-gun precision. Rarely breaking the minute mark, but not without their tempo changes, this isn’t blurrcore, this is punk. Concise and explosive. I love how playful it sounds while still having pisssssed off lyrics. I’ve also heard some wild tales of their live shows, which sound like as much of a spectacle as a forty-nine song LP. In the end, they’re doing such a good job with such a ridiculous premise, you can’t help but love it. Crack a beer or six, strap yourself in, and never forget the lyrics to the song “Keep Rockin’ Fuck Off!” which read as such: “Keep rockin’ / Keep rockin’ / Fuck off!!!”  –Daryl Gussin (Drunken Sailor)


PAGE OF PUNK, A / WEREWOLVES ON MOTORCYCLES:
Japan Tour: 7”
A Page Of Punk starts off with a couple songs of shout-along thrash, then slows it down for some anthemic punk on the final few (Yes, they contributed seven songs to this record). There are gang vocals everywhere, and the music is punchy and clear. It’s impossible not to smile at this, especially “No War No Cry.” From Japan, Werewolves On Motorcycles are from the English town Stoke-on-Trent, which I Googled, and got these recent headlines: “£1 houses: the starting price to bring hope back to Stoke-on-Trent’s streets” and “Is Stoke-on-Trent home to the nation’s worst view?” along with a piece on “badger culling.” Their sound is darker and angrier, with songs about cops and masturbation.  –Chris Terry (Drunken Sailor)


PAGEGRIPPER:
Self-titled: 7”
My first impression of this 7”was one in which I considered all five tracks to be fairly indistinguishable from each other, all offered up with an intense jackhammer delivery. Oh was I wrong. Subsequent listens were like peeling an onion with the discovery of previously unheard layers which added a new depth to the songs, allowing me to discover the nuances hidden within the bluster. I actually think that comparing Pagegripper to Kid Dynamite would not be too far off the mark.  –Rich Cocksedge (Sex Sheet)


PAGENINETYNINE:
Document#8: CD

This is some of the best hardcore I’ve heard in quite some time. It’s driven with such force, but it takes control of that drive, fully in charge the entire time. It feels natural to go into a breakdown after the balls-out rock that precedes it. And the breakdowns? Damn, they’re heavy. It’s recorded so that it comes together as a band, not individuals, not one overpowering another. It’s dense and filled with so much going on in every track. On my second listen I began wondering how many tracks they had to record to get that complexity. Then I looked at the liner notes. There are eight members. Eight! They have two vocalists, a drummer, two bass players and (count ‘em) THREE guitars! That helped explain things. The packaging is amazing as well: black gatefold with the graphics and text pressed into it. The booklet inside is glossy and filled with these great illustrations. They provide lyrics, thankfully. I’m not so great at deciphering them. They’re on a brief hiatus from shows now, just getting back from touring Europe, but I know I’ll be looking to see them the next time out.

–megan (Robotic Empire)


PAGERIPPER:
The Shit Talker Demo: CD-R
What a bummer: a three song CD-R with only three tracks and a b/w photocopied cover, to boot! Fortunately for these guys though, these songs kind of rip. Their sound has that Midwest thing going on, slightly reminiscent of maybe Dillinger Four or the Lawrence Arms but not in a redundant way. I was stoked the band thought enough of their lyrics to include a lyric sheet, as they are surprisingly intelligent and well written. I would love to hear a full-length release from these chaps. Put them on your radar. You won’t be sorry! –Garrett Barnwell (pageripper.bandcamp.com)


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