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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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ASTRID LINDGREN:
Polsluchaj Jak Mam Dzis Malo Do Powiedzenia: LP
Well-played modern emo that takes a lot from hardcore song structures. Thereís a lot of late Ď90s in their sound (the singer reminds me a lot of the singer from Insted and all the bands who ripped him off), but they really do hold their own. Think that, with a more angular version of Champion or Lifetime as the background. Maybe I just donít know enough the style to do a review that doesnít just compare them to a bunch of hardcore bands. Good release in all, but unfortunately relatively hard to track down in the states. –Ian Wise (Pasazer, pasazer.pl)


ASTA KASK:
Med Is I Magen: LP
Vital reissue by Prank of one of the most important Scandinavian punk records. Originally released in 1985, the first full-length by this Swedish band was a big hit and become something of a collectorís item in later years. Iím pretty sure this is the only reissue of this record and itís about time (thanks Ken). Taking cues from early Swede bands like Ebba GrŲn or Problems but speeding things up some, they actually remind me of the Toxic Reasons or Germanyís Upright Citizens, but all Swedish. As with all Prank records, the vinyl is thick as a brick and sounds tremendous (I bet it sounds better than the original). A real slice of history. Mandatory. –Tim Brooks (Prank, prankrecords.com))


APA STATE MENTAL:
Apa Valley: CD
Hints of both garage rock and Wire influences here, which translates into taking a riff, adding some haiku-length lyrics, and riding the wave for anywhere from thirty seconds to two minutes. Catchy, groovy stuff with enough diversity in the sounds they pilfer to keep it from getting boring. –Jimmy Alvarado (Apa State Mental, apastatemental@gmail.com)


ANCIENT SHORES:
CYNARAE: LP
Sweet baby boy. Alright, Iíll start by saying that AncientShores are super cool. Great, heavy hardcore reminiscent of Cursed (Colohan even does vox on a track here) that Iím sure gets the room moving for both young kids and old heshers alike. Great stuff thatís a huge step up from their earlier work. Now, onto Cynarae. Fuuuck me. This band completely destroys me. Their self-titled 12Ē was one of my favorites of last year, and somehow this is even better. Expanding on the Bremen worship of the 12Ē and thus defining a more uniquely Cynarae sound, these songs are heavy and melodic, chaotic and calculated, and absolutely furious. Itís nothing new that A389ís got the best stable of heavy bands around, and Cynarae might be right at the top of that heap. Good grief. –Dave Williams (A389)


A PAGE OF PUNK:
WEREWOLVES ON MOTORCYCLES:
A Page Of Punk blast through twelve (?) songs on their respective side in a such a violent and poppy manor itís pleasantly baffling. Non-stop ďfuck youĒs morph into covers of well known songs and then there are possibly songs that arenít even listed on the back cover. And when itís over, you have to come to terms with the fact that they just fit a full-length record onto one side of a 7Ē. File under referential-punk, subcategory genius. Werewolves On Motorcyclesí brand of shouty, bar punkíníroll might have a different impact when itís on its own, but compared to APOPís high-speed conciseness, the songs feel a little long. But who knows, maybe A Page Of Punk just put the final bullet in my attention span. –Daryl Gussin (Drunken Sailor / Speedowax / Carnage Club / Pie ní Mosh / Yeah)


87íS, THE:
Self-titled: CD-R
I canít front: When I first dropped this into my CD player the first thing that came to my mind was ďWTF?Ē but in a good way. First of all, I was blown away by the sheer power Mary commands in her vocal delivery. I would imagine that in a live setting she wouldnít even need a PA. Further, she uses her voice like an instrument in places, which is rather cool. The music itself is a pretty bitchiní blend of garage, surf, and pop. The disc hasnít left my CD player, which is generally a sign that this is some pretty tasty stuff. I eagerly await a full-length release and look forward to catching the band live as well. I am hedging my bets that playing live is where the band truly shines. –Garrett Barnwell (Self-released)


42 FORD PREFECT:
Self-titled: LP
Wow, by my reckoning, this is the first time Iíve run into glow-in-the-dark vinyl. The band member trading cards were also a nice touch. Musically, this bounces between Northern California vats punk and Midwestern hardcore with, as Donny Osmond would say, ďa little bit rockínírollĒ veined through thrashy beats, brittle guitars, and raw production. They seem to be enjoying themselves and it comes across on wax. –Jimmy Alvarado (Volume Bomb, volumebombrecords.wordpress.com)


YOUTHBITCH:
Donít Fuck This Up!: LP
Poppy, punky stuff that has bit of early NYC punk and some power pop. Sort of sugary, to the point where too much might make you sick. Itís okay, but this isnít something Iíll go back to and listen to later. But Iím pretty certain there are hordes of folks out there who would lose their shit over this stuff. Itís all a matter of taste. –Matt Average (Jonny Cat, facebook.com/pages/JonnyCat-Records)


THOSE CROSSTOWN RIVALS:
Kentucky Gentlemen: LP
They call themselves a buncha rednecks making punk rock and that sums it up pretty well. Theyíre far from being a band like Nine Pound Hammer or Hammerlock and are as good as those bands are at the style. –Mike Frame (Self-released, thosecrosstownrivals.bandcamp.com/album/kentucky-gentlemen)


SLUGZ:
Empty Space: 7" EP
Something about the coveróa fuzzy pic of someoneís face, the title, and the bandís nameósaid ďI sound like early 1980s punk,Ē and I guess thereís a bit of that in there, but it ainít exactly a moldy throwback. Things are kept at an even mid-tempo with chord changes a bit more complex than the usual box pattern variants, the lyrics are shouted from beginning to end, and the band attacks full force. Not quite was I was expecting, but what theyíre serving up is nonetheless quite tasty. –Jimmy Alvarado (Cowabunga)


SLENDER LORIS:
Live at Doors Pub: CD
Quirky, screamy, mathy emo (in that early Ď90s sense of the word) that certainly brings to mind the Ebullition classics and has me wondering where I lost my 400 Years LP. Slender Loris certainly plays with the passion and intensity of their forebears, coupled with an early At the Drive-In and/or later Fugazi delivery at times. Pretty cool stuff that is likely easy to fall in love with in a live setting, which Iím sure the Slender Loris folks are well aware of (hence the live releases). –Dave Williams (Self-released, slenderloris.bandcamp.com)


ROB THE BANK:
Spoken Codes: LP
Rob The Bank are grown folks playing punky rockíníroll with four-on-the-floor glam drums, crooned female vocals, and no shortage of catchiness. The back story is that they were a popular Dayton band in the late Ď90s who put out an LP then went on hiatus for a decade while its members played in Guided By Voices and The Breeders. It sounds like they havenít missed a stride. These fifteen songs are sweet and fiery like cayenne chocolate, and Iíd happily go see them played in a shitty dive. –CT Terry (radgirlfriendrecords.com)


REDBUSH:
Wonder Nugget: 7"
I dunno. Well-played, well-recorded rock songs that donít really move me at all. There are Ď90s elements but they arenít overwhelming. I watched some Youtube videos and it seems like theyíre a little more rockiní live. There are occasional Nomeansno elements and I like that at least. –Ryan Horky (One Legged Pup, no address listed)


RATIONAL ANIMALS:
Cross Eyed Delights: EP
Caught these guys last summer in Long Beach and thought they were pretty good. Iím told their LP is the record to get, but they were out of that, so I picked up the singles. This was available as a tour edition, and I donít know if that was pressed just to have something to sell and this version came later? But, really, the most important question is if this is any good. The title track is definitely along the lines of later Black Flag material, but with more of a loose rock style. Itís the guitar that makes this song stand out. Imagine a more melodic side to Greg Ginn in parts, and itís what really carries this song through, especially towards the end. Almost like later Die Kreuzen. I think thatís a good thing; you might feel otherwise. The B side, ďWay after MidnightĒ is a throwaway jam type song that just drags on to nowhere. Get this for the title track. –Matt Average (Katorga Works, katorgaworks@gmail.com)


PINSCH, THE:
Inside Jokes for Outside People: CDEP
Catchy Ď50s surf-influenced poppy punk with female vocals and keyboards. Itís just five songs in thirteen minutes, so itís a pretty quick listen. The vocals are solid but the music is pretty basic and nothing excited me, although I will give the band credit for at least getting my toe tapping. Any band that can get some movement out of me beside hitting the stop and eject buttons on the CD player should be commended, but not necessarily recommended. –Kurt Morris (Ramo, ramorecords@gmail.com)


PEG LEG LOVE:
United by Death: CD
Cramps-styled surf/death rock. To put it more appropriately, itís graveyard rock. Halloween music, if you will. Deep, post-punk vocals over reverby guitars and minor chord progressions. Granted, there are people out there who live life every day like itís Halloween, but for the majority of the population Iíd say this disc is only serviceable every once in a while. This isnít a bad thing. Having a niche that this disc occupies grants it a better re-listen when the time is correct. –Bryan Static (Death, no address)


OUTER MINDS:
Behind the Mirror: LP
Heavy psychedelic vibe goiní on here, with Velvets and maybe some Beach Boys (!) mixed in with the Byrds, Love, and the usual lot. They get the sound down pat, staying true to the template but adding enough punk oomph to keep it from sounding like some stagnant museum-quality circle jerk. File next to the Lastís ďShe Donít Know Why Iím HereĒ single. –Jimmy Alvarado (Resurrection, getresurrected.com)


OPEN SEX, THEE:
Self-titled: LP
The little one shit sheet that accompanied this record made a lot of lofty comparisons that are not true. Allusions to Rocket From The Tombs, Can, John Lydon, etc. Theyíre all bands and people I can get behind. They tend to have me putting the record on immediately. However, the reality is Thee Open Sex are just another boring indie rock band with a sound thatís accessible and non-challenging. Youíve heard this shit a million times before, and will hear it for time eternal. Doesnít mean itís a good thing, or something that needs to continue. Blehhhh... –Matt Average (Magnetic South, magneticsouthrecordings.org)


OLD LINES:
Self-titled: LP
Pummeling, raw, vicious hardcore from ex-Pulling Teeth and Ruiner folks, so you should have some idea of what youíre in for. Low, fast, hyper-aggressive hardcore with the occasional non-derivative breakdown and even flashes of gloomy melody. Hell, I might dig this more than both PT and Ruiner, and thatís saying plenty. Get this shit. –Dave Williams (Self-released, oldlines.bandcamp.com)


OCIO:
Guilty Beat: CD
A bluesy, slinky, kinda alt-rock thang here that really didnít leave much of a lasting impression one way or another after a number of listens. ĖJimmy Alvarado –Jimmy Alvarado (Ocio, ociorock.com)


NOT ON TOUR:
All This Time: LP
Is it wrong to judge a record for sounding too clean? Too polished? I wonder about this a lot. Thereís a certain point where itís hard to accept something that sounds so fiercely played yet gives itself away to being pristine and vacuum sealed onto a record. Not On Tour deliver a serving of melodic hardcore and pop punk on this digestible LP. The musicianship of the band is without doubt; each member pulls their weight in directions that showed how much they added to the bandís sound. The major drawback of this record is its overly slick production, backed by music that feels like itís more raw than the delivery. Not a bad album, but one that has its problems. ĖBryan Static –Bryan Static (Diner Junkie, dinerjunkie.com)


NONES:
Shake Your Brain: 7"
The title track is the most accessible of the three, with a swaggering beat, loud guitars, and a good hook. The other two, however, start off ďnormalĒ then quickly veer off into darker realms, with squawking sax in tow. ĖJimmy Alvarado –Jimmy Alvarado (HoZac, hozacrecords.com)


MIGHTY FINE, THE:
In Revival: LP
Twelve songs on transparent red vinyl. The songs are mid-tempo and feature a good, full sound. Lots of group vocals, heavy drums, a good amount of guitar leads, and a bass that stands on its own. Strong and genuine vocals bring you lyrics about heartbreak, confusion, and the uncertainty of life. Side B has a few more laidback tunes, but that doesnít mean at all that they are inferior to the other ones. Worth looking into. ĖNighthawk –Nighthawk (Solidarity / La Escalera)


MDC / S÷M HI N÷ISE / RAW POWER / NAKED AGGRESSION:
Split: 7"
This record has slipped through the cracks in my review pile a few times now. Sorry about that. A four-way split with some fairly notable bands. MDC (acoustic) kicks things off with a strange, jazzy number that I kind of dig. SŲm-Hi NŲise is some pretty run-of-the-mill hardcore with very Muppet-like vocals. Both Raw Power and Naked Aggression do what they do well. It is a pretty solid record, but I donít see myself going out of my way to listen to it again. ĖTy Stranglehold –Ty Stranglehold (Tupatutupa, info@tupatutupa.org, tupatutupa.org)


ANTILECTUAL:
Future History: CDEP-R
Antilectual is a melodic, political punk from the Netherlands with high production valuesÖ and a string section and piano from time to time. It kind of reminds me of a less heavy Propagandhi mixed with Dave Matthews or something like that. I like what theyíre singing about, but Iím not enjoying the music. –Ty Stranglehold (Antilectual, info@antilectual.com, antilectual.com)


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