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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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CASH REGISTERS:
Context Demos: CD
Eighteen tracks of various hues of poppy punk, including the occasional reliance on the obligatory Ramones template, recorded on a four-track over an unspecified two-day period. Sound quality varies from one tune to the next, and things get more interesting when they ratchet up the tempos. On the whole, however, the songs are neither offensive to the senses nor particularly earwormy.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Million Dollar, no address listed)


CAT JELLY:
Self-titled: CD
This six-song EP could use some work. The songwriting is basic and the music is painfully simple. It’s hard to tell if the band is trying to be experimental or if they’re just beginners. The liner notes inside the CD read like a high school year book signing, but it’s hard for me to tell what’s ironic or sincere these days. More than likely, Cat Jelly is giving their best go at Romeo Void-esque trash punk. Honestly, it’s not worth a listen, but they have potential. However, if their album cover featuring cartoon cats pulling out their own guts juxtaposed on top of photographs of pizza is any indication of talent, they at least have promising futures in a marketing department.  –Nicole Madden (Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert!)


CCR HEADCLEANER:
Cokesmoker: 12”EP
Cokesmokersounds like music by high people, for high people. There are a lot of ambient, post-apocalyptic noises going on that don’t make you feel very safe. If you enjoy feelings of anxiety, displacement, and paranoia, you should put this record in your ears or in you pipe.  –Ryan Nichols (Stale Heat, no address listed)


CELA NR 3:
Stilonka: LP
I might be getting the information wrong on this record (all text on the record is in Polish and I’m doing research on sites translated, often clumsily, into English), but from what I can gather Cela Nr 3 were mid-‘80s punks from Poland. Starting out under the name Memory Loss, they were detained after a scuffle on a train ride and named themselves after their jail cell, possibly in an attempt to hide their identities. Stilonka—a collection of demo recordings from 1985—is a catchy, dark, odd, affecting mix of buzzing minimalist punk and driving post-punk melancholy, influenced by the Ramones and early British punks but filtered through harsh, thin guitars and Eastern Bloc amps and what I can only imagine were grey skies and cool, boxy cars. When I was listening, I kept picturing an alternate Rock ‘N RollHigh School starring Iceage but still set at the end of the ‘70s. Or maybe a cross between Rock N’ Roll High School and Over the Edge? The soundtrack’s already done, we just need the film. –Matt Werts (Pasazer, pasazer.pl)


CEMETERY:
Self-titled: LP
Death rock/goth-inspired punk rock which potentially could join the ranks of current stalwarts such as Catholic Spit, Rakta, and Anasazi but isn’t quite there yet. Perhaps it was a wee bit ambitious to press these songs to wax as they all come from demos: demos that could use some kinks worked out. If and when things improve, I can see the ghost of Rozz Williams giving Cemetery his approval.  –Juan Espinosa (Mass Media, massmediarecords.com)


CHACHI ON ACID:
You Communicate a Sense of Harmony to Others: CD
Let’s recap: Chachi On Acid is a legendary band from Southern Ontario that you’ve probably never heard of. They’ve been kicking their snotty, punk anthems out for almost twenty years now, I imagine. This here disc is the digital version of their first record (?), recorded in 1998. This whole thing reeks of punk in Canada many years back. It’s a real time capsule, and it’s great—don’t forget that part. I mean, provided you have a sense of humor.  –Steve Adamyk (BHJ, chachionacid.bandcamp.com)


CHICKEN CHAIN:
Birth of the Googus: 12”LP
Ridiculously good. Creepy thrash sludge hardcore punk out of Baltimore. Sounds like early ‘80s Urinals, with a bit of sped-up Flipper, and a whole lotta Lumpy And The Dumpers. It’s not meant to be taken seriously, so get your head out of your ass, embrace that shit-eating grin, and thrash. Disgusting hilarious zine insert that will both gross you the fuck out and tickle your funny bone (the dirty one).  –Camylle Reynolds (Snot Releases)


CHOKECHERRY:
The Future Was a Long Time Ago: LP
Imagine for a moment that folk punk in 2015 does not mainly consist of angry boys filming themselves playing tone-deaf Pat The Bunny covers on guitars made out of coffee cans. I want to call what Chokecherry does folk punk, because that’s what it is, but I don’t want to give anyone the wrong idea. It’s more like if This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb could—just barely—get away with playing an actual non-punk barn dance. It can come off as a little affected at times, but that tends to come with the (cactus-studded, tumbleweed-blown) territory. If you like some wistful fiddle and twangy Hank Williams yelping with your pop punk, this could be for you.  –Indiana Laub (Self-released, chokecherrympls@gmail.com, chokecherrympls.com)


CITY SAINTS:
Go and Die: CD
It is pretty impressive that this band started in 2012 and already has two full length CDs as well as this twelve-song “non-album cuts” compilation. Those are some hard-working, blue collar skinheads. The music is pretty “cut and paste” oi punk. There are lots of singalongs and an acoustic Cock Sparrer cover thrown in… All in all, it’s enjoyable but doesn’t have that “crack a beer and hit the streets with my friends” feeling that I get from a lot of these bands.  –Ty Stranglehold (Spirit Of The Streets)


CJ RAMONE:
Understand Me?: 7” EP
With all original Ramones dead, CJ has successfully carried The Ramones’ sound steadily, and vividly, through Side A. The sound coming through to me is pop perfection, crisp, raw, and only brings feelings of nostalgia; intense, true, and pure happiness washes over me. I can’t help but play this over and over again, wishing it would never end. Side B is Black Flag’s infamous Rise Above, originally written by Greg Ginn, sung by both CJ and former Black Flag member, Dez Cadena. One of the absolute best, if not the best, covers of any Black Flag song I’ve ever heard (though I’m sure having a former member helps). This is an absolutely perfect 7” and stays true to the Ramones’ name.  –Genevieve Armstrong (Fat Wreck Chords, fatwreck.com, mailbag@fatwreck.com)


CLASSHOLE:
Self-titled: LP
Cool anti-cop artwork houses this debut LP from this dynamite hardcore band from New Orleans. Tempos range from mid to fast, with lyrics covering personal topics more than overt political ones, despite the nifty packaging. Don’t worry, though. There’s at least one blistering anti-pig track included. Only five hundred of these were pressed and will surely be gone soon, so definitely seek it out while you can. Influences range from early hardcore to later powerviolence, with not a single dud song to speak of. Plus, how can you not love a band named Classhole? Highly recommended.  –Art Ettinger (Terror Cult, classhole.bandcamp.com)


COLTRANES, THE:
The Cat of Nine Tails: 7”
If you can get past (or embrace) the Dr. Frank-N-Furter-sings-Poison-Idea vibe of opener “This Is a Whole New Look for Me,” then you might become infected by the deranged, fuck-all ragers that dwell inside this red vinyl. Tonally, I’m reminded of NASA Space Universe and Rainbow Person. “Distant” is a diarrhea of mid tempo buttrock sutured with jangly hardcore, however, Walt Cassidy howls sympathetically, “I will live on vacant sands / Where I hope to feel weight again.” Later, during “Seven Shades of Shit,” he shouts cryptically over spastic crashes and furious chord changes: “It’s to be loved / To believe or it’s not to be loved.” The Coltranes are almost heartfelt and always unpredictable, while Archie Fitzgerald’s artwork depicts colorful, masturbating aliens; this juxtaposition of puerility and memorable sonic freak-scapes ensures that these heathens conjure titillating tunes. Is this the sound of postmodernity or not giving a fuck? Is there a difference? –Sean Arenas (SPHC, whydotheylive@yahoo.com)


COMA COMA:
New American Dream: CD
Do you ever listen to a new band, and they remind you a bit of another band, but that other band’s name remains on the tip of your tongue for days? That drives me completely bonkers! But after listening to this album again, I got it. Anyone remember a band called The Buck Pets? Well, I do and there are traces of that here. But this Rhode Island trio twists and turns their sound like a piece of supple Play-Doh until it starts to look like a hard-luck replica of Mr. Bill. You will pick up on the influences on your own. But they come up with an instantly identifiable sound. Expertly played with songs that will become lodged into your frontal lobe with the greatest of ease. You need this.  –Sean Koepenick (75 Or Less, 75orLess@gmail.com)


CONNECTIONS:
5 Imaginary Boys: 7” EP
Laidback indie rockage falling somewhere between the mid/late-‘80s and the early ‘90s in sound. Songs are relatively short ‘n’ tight arrangement-wise. Can almost hear any of the tunes here burning up the college airwaves.  –Jimmy Alvarado (HoZac, hozacrecords.com)


DAMN BROADS:
Guilty as Charged: CD
Up the fucking punx! This female three-piece from Torrington, CT brings it for sure. I read somewhere that these three got together with the aide of a Craigslist posting. Man, Damn Broads hit the jackpot when they found each other. The album art really hits the nail on the head as well, thanks to bass player, Michelle. Fast and precise, grab some B’s—braces, bullet belts, and brews—and hold on tight. These chicks totally rip. Rock hard, party harder, grab a pal under each arm, and get ready for the gang vocals. Oi!Oi!Oi!  –Jackie Rusted (Vicious Mistress, viciousmistressrecords.bandcamp.com)


DAVIDIANS:
Night Terrors: 7”
A heady mix of oddball hardcore—I’m hearing bits of Die Kreuzen and Saccharine Trust in there—and the fringier, noisier side of post-punk, resulting in two tunes that are alternately arty and aggressive. I know there are ties to Double Negative and Safe Words, and there are definitely traces of those bands in evidence here, but they keep the thrashin’ and the overt gloomin’ more or less at bay, opting instead for an off-kilter, restrained-yet-still-noisy assault likely to appeal to both camps. Good, good stuff.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Sorry State, sorrystaterecords.com))


DEAD GHOSTS / SKEPTICS:
Split: 7”
Here we have a split record with a full-on, ‘60s fuzzed-out garage rock feel. Both bands have got it down. Not my usual go-to genre but it made my ear holes feel good, and that’s good enough for me.  –Ty Stranglehold (Frantic City, franticcity.free.fr)


DEZERTER:
Ile Procent Duszy?: LP
Originally released in 1994. I vaguely remember this coming out, as Dezerter were on my radar due to my association with Maximum Rocknroll, who released some Dezerter material stateside. Unlike a lot of stuff that was being passed off as punk from that time period, Dezerter were definitely punk, not emo, not “pop punk,” not crust, not jock metal. Punk. They didn’t sound like anyone else, either, in an era where bands were formed to sound as much like other bands as possible (think of all the Born Against, Nation Of Ulysses, NOFX, and Fugazi clone bands from the time; check your local cut out bin for proof). The songs are mainly mid-tempo, often catchy, and they experiment with reggae in the song “Ostatnia Dub.” They vary the tempos and moods, making for an interesting listen the whole way through. This was the work of a band that spent time thinking about their music and how they wanted to present it. My favorite track on here is “Dezerter.” The tempo is more aggressive, varied, and it’s a more powerful song as a result. Plus, it stands head and shoulder above the rest due to how much variation they have in the song. It’s more raw and primal. “Underz w Polityke (Strike the Politics)” is a tense cooker as well. The steady beat with the snarled vocals over the top is a winner.  –Matt Average (Pasazer, pasazer.pl)


DIET CIG:
Over Easy: EP
A pop rock band that sounds like strawberry Pop Rocks taste. The vocalist has the sweetest, saddest sound to all of her high and low pitches that it makes this EP insanely addictive. Every track is great and the lyrics are deep cut and meaningful. (“Let’s have a slumber party tonight in jail.”) It’s this type of slightly out-of-tune innocence that implants gray clouds with sunshine. I’ve been sick for two weeks and I’ve had this on repeat for so long that when it’s not on, I still hear it. –Monique Greig  –Guest Contributor (Father/Daughter, Daughter@fatherdaughterrecords.com)


DIVERS:
Hello Hello: CD
Ten tracks of Hold Steady meets Gaslight Anthem type of stuff from this Portland band. This style lives and dies in the songwriting and vocals, both of which are just okay here. I am not a big fan of most of the bands they seem to be copping from for the same reason. Things get vaguely goth/post-punk in places, which at least gives the band a little personality. Most of this just falls into the new style indie stuff which is neither good nor bad, just kinda there.  –Mike Frame (Party Damage, partydamagerecords.com)


DOGHOUSE SWINE:
Fearless: CD

Dirty, bluesy punk’n’roll. No bueno. Ridiculously cheesy songwriting with all of those old street punk hooks that got boring the second time you heard them. “Melody” that barely shifts notes: verse to chorus to verse then, inevitably, an incredibly predictable guitar solo. The musicianship isn’t bad, but I’m completely uninterested in listening to a weaker, less intense version of Zeke. Grade: D. 

–Bryan Static (Manta Ray)


DOMESTICS:
Routine and Ritual: CD
A doozy of a full length from the band that impressed with their G.D.P. EP a few issues back. Same drill here—well above-average U.K. hardcore with intelligent, topical lyrics delivered with righteous ferocity in lengths shorter than many other bands’ song intros. They get the blood pumping from go and don’t let up until they decide you’ve had enough, and by then all you wanna do is start the pummeling all over again, bleedin’ ears be damned.  –Jimmy Alvarado (TNS, tnsrecords.co.uk)


DRUNK-DIAL:
Self-titled: 7”
Oakland-based, Bay Area-sounding, pop punk that’s heavily influenced by American Steel and Jawbreaker. Like American Steel, they’re gritty enough so I can appreciate them for the rock they bring, in spite of my general hatred of pop punk. As someone who is experiencing depression more often than not, I’m critical of the self-pitying and defeatist lyrics in Drunk-Dial’s songs. It’s not to say I don’t, at times, relate or think an artist should repress how they feel. I just have more respect for fighting upstream against that flow of thought—even if it’s in your own head—rather than giving into it... to be an arrow and a longing for Superman. Whatever... this was a good record.  –Craven Rock (Fuck Your Life, fylrecords@yahoo.com)


DWARVES, THE:
Gentleman Blag: 7” EP
The Dwarves have supplied me with centuries of glee; their best seven-inchers, however, tend to be ASide showcases for Blag’s deceptively excellent pop chops—Anybody Out There and Everybodies Girl (sic) coming immediately to mind. This four-song EP ((two unreleased, two from The Dwarves Invented Rock & Roll)) lacks that sort of “hit single” mentality, and is just basically four ragers—all decent, nothing exceptional—and therefore tastes like a vaguely unsatisfying random slice of a Dwarves album. Aw, what the hell, we all know the “best seven-incher” is the thing between Blag’s legs on the back cover! BEST SONG: “Kings of the World” BEST SONG TITLE: “Gentleman Blag” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: No matter how you slice it, it comes up penis.  –Rev. Norb (Fat, fatwreck.com)


DYING ELK HERD, THE:
For Real This Time: CD
Passable power pop with some lengthy, well-crafted lyrics. The problem rests mostly in how the saccharine vocals are so up front in the mix, and the guitars are just a little too clean; it just seems to rob the band of any power they may otherwise have had. It’s just all so cute. And while many of the lyrics do tackle overconsumption, dissatisfaction, and restlessness with some clarity, “Don’t Let the Riverbeast Get You” has to be one of the corniest songs I’ve ever heard. Maybe the Groovie Ghoulies or the Fiendz are a good starting point here, but, ultimately, these guys are just way too cute-sounding and lacking in venom to really make any kind of lasting impact.  –Keith Rosson (Dying Elk Herd)


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