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Record Reviews

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COLONIX:
Self-titled: 7”
This totally kick-ass six-song 7” has a very 1990s feel. Colonix is from Seattle, but they’d fit in great on a Boston punk show circa 1996 with August Spies and The Unseen as openers. The vocalist has a higher-than-tenor-pitched range, adding to the snotty fun. When’s the next street punk revolution coming? It’s long overdue. Bands like this never stopped filling America’s basements, but there seems to be a recent renewed broader interest in street punk, with new bands like Colonix and Cerebral Ballzy putting out records left and right. The smell of beer and butt sweat can be a beautiful thing. –Art Ettinger (colonix77.blogspot.com)


CITIZEN USELESS:
The Presidents of the United Mistakes: CD
On the one hand, this is fairly generic punk/hardcore stuff. On the other, they’re pretty tight and do what they do well. In the end, however, nothing really registered much past background music. –Jimmy Alvarado (P.I.G.)


CAPTAIN NOWHERE:
Party Time, Inc: LP
Party Time, Inc. is obviously a tongue in cheek title, as any party with this as the soundtrack would be very unpleasant. This is deep, brooding music; music that you listen to when you can’t see straight and need to trance into another realm. You won’t lose yourself in the rhythms, but the noise will become white and you’ll see a bigger picture of something. Musically, take the boring parts of NoMeansNo mixed with psych-inspired garage rock like Thee Oh Sees and then you have Captain Nowhere. I guess a recording causing emotion isn’t all that bad, but I could never listen to this again. Four songs on neat looking vinyl, though. –Todd Taylor (Idiomism, no address)


BUGS, THE:
eHarmony Rejected Me: 7”
Holy crap, a new Bugs record! Right off the bat, I can’t help but notice that this 7” is an actual single—three songs opposed to the last one’s eleven. In other words, it’s over super fast! The good news is that we have three more hilarious tunes that sound somewhere between Too Tough to Die-era Ramones and early Queers. I need more songs! –Ty Stranglehold (myspace.com/surfinkirecords )


BUBONIC BEAR / HULK SMASH:
Split: Cassette
You take an old jaded straightedge guy, the kind you’d hear grumbling about days past and saying things like “Stay edge” and “Go veg,” but not really meaning them anymore. You cut him apart. You toss away all the gristly bits, everything but the frame and the spark. Then you take that spark and you plug it in. You make a cyborg straightedger, complete with cables dripping from the base of his skull and laser pointer fingers. You tell him to make some fucking music. What do you get? Hulk Smash. Bubonic Bear is a bit more meat and bone, yelling and drumming. Seems kind of boring after listening to the first half. –MP Johnson (srarecords.com)


BROWN SUGAR:
Get Fuckin’ Mugged: Flexi 7"

138.6pt 0pt 0pt" class="MsoNormal">The “mid tempo hardcore punk from upstate New York” tag I’ve heard thrown around for these guys doesn’t come close to doing this band justice. The first track is pretty straight Minor Threat worship, but the vibe of the recording is a lot more rock’n’roll. The other two songs on the record mix the intensity of the early 2000s Rochester hardcore stuff I was way into as a kid with a totally reckless, irreverent attitude. The breakdown/bass work at the end of “Mind Funk” is totally out of place but sounds perfect in context, like if I Object had been on Goner Records and was also into ‘60s psych rock. I’m not sure if I totally get the flexi format right now, as they’re sort of cost prohibitive and the sound quality suffers, but the head noise in this recording sounds like another member, so I’ll forgive them this time. Also, the (clear) plastic is silk screened on one side, and the ink is layered to create a two sided image, a creative idea that at least shows that the band/label took the time and effort to try and make the packaging unique instead of just a gimmicky format.

–Ian Wise (Feral Kid)


BRAIN F≠:
Sleep Rough: LP
Art-clutter via hardcore punk served in ten frantically paced dishes. Male and female vocals are your handrails as distortion and feedback are whipped around, inches away from your face. The sheer noise that’s being created makes this band sound twice as big and 3,000 miles away from the source. I’m absolutely positive it dominates live. Co-released by two of the best hardcore punk labels currently releasing records, you know it’s going to be good. Pick it up and get weird, ‘cause these songs makes the average punk band sound like music that a yuppie would listen to in order to help them fall asleep. –Daryl Gussin (Sorry State / Grave Mistake)


BLIND EYES, THE:
With a Bang: CD
Out of St. Louis, this trio’s second full length continues in the vein of ‘90s alternative. Porter’s crooning vocals over Buffalo Tom chords sound like flannel shirts and Doc Martens. Just to be clear, this is more easy listening than Nirvana or even Pearl Jam. With “Hermetically Sealed,” they veer into outright pop with a sunshiny sing-song harmony. Voted best album of the year in their home town, this is for those who wistfully think back on the original Beverly Hills 90210 and the rise of the Pumpkins. –Kristen K (Self-Released, blindeyesstl.blogspot.com, theblindeyes@gmail.com)


BIG DIGITS:
Know Tomorrow: LP
Weirdo electro hip hop, that’s pretty upbeat and catchy. It could come off as a bit hipster-y, but it’s more goofy than anything, which translates into it being fun. I feel like this is the kind of stuff Jessica Hopper would champion years ago in Punk Planet in the early ‘00s, if you replaced riot grrrls with dudes with facial hair (note “facial hair” and not “beards”) who just party all the time. –Joe Evans III (Anchor Brain)


BERTOS, THE:
San Diego: CDEP
Don’t quote me on the title. Mike from The Bertos handed this to me at AwesomeFest 5. The cover’s written in sharpie on burrito paper. There’s a lot to like about the Bertos; the fact that lead singer Mike’s almost bashful when they’re not playing just adds to it. They play songs about manual labor jobs and quickly and haphazardly moving out of an apartment. Real stuff that may sound small—”…and we dust and we mop…(ba bah bah) and we fold everything…(whoah oh oh)”—but, to me, just sound real and honest. They also have a subtle way of twisting things with a flick of the wrist—”…and the night falls… (ba bah bah) we’re out drinking (whoah oh oh) … and we are so afraid…” Think along the lines of J.Church, (another power trio) Hüsker Dü, and deconstructed and reassembled Tiltwheel guitar riffs. What that boils down to me is plenty of space to breathe inside of the songs. It’s like watching a set of lungs expand and contract over and over again. Seeing the blood pulsate. The esophagus swell, breath expel. The Bertos are a well-kept San Diego secret. Give ‘em a chance. I have the feeling they’ll surprise you. This gets better and bigger with each spin. –Todd Taylor (Self-released, no address)


BAD DADDIES:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Rudimentary, raw, oddly catchy punk ditties about apocalypse men, permanent eyesores, and wishing Roman Polanski would die. The A-side has six tracks, none of which break the one-minute mark, while the flip features their apparent magnum opus, “Not That Kind of Girlfriend,” which clocks in at a whopping two minutes twelve seconds. Dunno if it’d be compatible with all tastes, but it definitely ain’t without its charms –Jimmy Alvarado (Central District)


AWFUL TRUTH / DEAD BABIES:
Split: 7”
Awful Truth’s side of this record was entitled Ass and had a photograph of some dude’s bare ass taking up the entire cover. Dead Babies’ side was called Full of Seamen and had a zombie pregnant woman holding up a dead baby up, its gory entrails dripping and umbilical chord hanging from between her legs. Picture this and then imagine how blown away I was to find it was a great record! Just kidding. It’s just as crappy as you would think it’d be. That is, unless you thought that it would be as bad is it looked in an interesting or outstanding way. Nope. It was just bad, generic punk. Just like the thousand other seven-inch records in the used bin at the store where I’m going to sell this. –Craven (Shithole)


AVFART 33 / INSIDIOUS PROCESS:
Split: LP

138.6pt 0pt 0pt" class="MsoNormal">

 

You get two anarcho bands from Sweden on this record; both are led by women and make for a good match. The record itself comes packaged in a beautifully illustrated black and white sleeve with a cardboard inner sleeve containing the lyrics. The drawing is of a girl with a pet white tiger gazing up into a window from which a silhouette of another child looks back. What this has to do with the sounds on the record is up to the listener’s interpretation, for the sounds are far less serene. Avfart 33’s first song starts out with a pretty standard galloping d-beat intro. It didn’t really grab my attention until the vocals kicked in. The fast, belted-out, high-pitched vocals is what makes this band stand out. At the same time, the band picks up the pace for some speedy hardcore. The lyrics are not printed in English, but there are some translated song summaries. Most of the songs are about smashing the state, anti-sexism, stuff like that. Insidious Process play fast, pummeling d-beat with shrieking, demonic vocals. I think that Process is definitely the all-around better band, but they, too, benefit from a furious vocalist. A few more parts and time changes to their quick, thrashy crust make a big difference. The lyrics are radically political, but most are focused on the mental health side of things, like coping with the wear on your mind when trying to fight, resist, or live outside the system. –Craven (Aborted Society, abortedsociety@hotmail.com)


ART INSTITUTE:
Screaming over the Dull Roar: Cassette
I’ve listened to this live demo countless times since it showed up in my mailbox, but still don’t know how I feel about this band. Their sound is a fusion of early ‘80s post punk and new wave, which sounds—on the surface—like something I’d be into. Many of the songs on this though, felt almost mind-numbingly monotonous. Thankfully, flipping the tape over to Program Two offered some refreshing changes of pace, including faster tempos and more interesting riffs, as on the track “The New Math.” The closing track “Pills & Alcohol” was also quite good, featuring some of the best riffs and a healthy dose of guitar wankery. Ultimately, I think what made it difficult for me to like this as much as I might have was the terrible quality of the live recording. With a proper recording fleshing out this band’s sound more fully, I might be into it, but my feelings about this live recording are lukewarm at best. –Paul J. Comeau (artinstitute.bandcamp.com)


ARCHAGATHUS:
Canadian Horse: LP
Think of Agathocles and Doom mixed with Spazz. Mincecore madness that points out the absurd in “the scene”; dogs at shows, porn-grind, crusties, as well as things like monkeys and wolves. It’s pretty obvious from the cover art of someone on a horse with a saxophone where this band is coming from (“Mincecore Fabio”!?). Multi vocal growls and grunts over a din of guitar and choppy drumming. You know if this is your thing or not. Good for a listen or two. –Matt Average (To Live A Lie, tolivealie.com)


ANTHROT:
The Fucking Tape: Cassette
Eleven thrashing hardcore songs that switch between blast beats and brutal breakdowns. Caustic vocals, up-front guitars. The 9/11-related soundbites are the only thing clueing me in on the fact that this wasn’t recorded in the ‘90s. I would have preferred to hear this, instead of Jihad, on the flip of the Ottowa 12”. As they put it in the liner notes, “Download it for fucking free at bandcamp.” –CT Terry (Cop Grave)


APE!:
Tall Ships” b/w “And We Wait: 7"
Yikes. Mid-tempo stoner rock, quite possibly fronted by the dude from Soundgarden. Wailed vocals, wah-wah guitar, and a heavy rhythm section laying down some, like, seriously spliffariffic riffs that go right in line with the gruesome dayglo cover. Not remotely my thing, but they seem to be having a blast. –Keith Rosson (SRA)


ANGRIES, THE / HOORAY FOR EVERYTHING:
Split: 7"
The Angries: Pissed-as-shit lyrics/vocal delivery with a sorta jangly, Wipers-ish guitar sound that somehow manages to totally fit. Hooray For Everything: Little more conventional guitar with a vocalist who occasionally reminds me just the tiniest little bit of Penelope Houston. (And someone else I can’t quite put my finger on. It’ll come to me about five minutes after I turn this review in, I’m sure...) I should love this, but something just isn’t clicking. This is not a bad release in any way and you should definitely check it out. The songs are well-written, well played, and sung with conviction. I’m just not goin’ gaga for it or anything. This could change with repeated spins, but for now this doesn’t seem that essential –Ryan Horky (Self-released, angries.net)


AMBASSADOR GUN:
Self-titled: 7"
Atonal, abrasive metal, mostly mid-tempo with guttural vocals. I reckon I’m a bit outside the desired demographic, but I’m guessing the seventeen and angry crowd will totally eat this shit up. –Jimmy Alvarado (Minor Bird)


ALL EYES WEST:
Self-titled: CD
Modern corporate alt-rock sound, along the lines of bands like Foo Fighters. They ain’t bad at it, but it really ain’t my box o’ jacks. –Jimmy Alvarado (Jump Start)


ABYSSAL CREATURES:
Social Awkwardness: CD
This sounds like what would happen if Gene Defcon decided to explore his “dark” side. –Kurt Morris (abyssalcreatures.net)


25 RIFLES:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Hüsker-drone guitar chords, a gruff vocalist singing vague, personal lyrics, and an overall sound that reeks of the better parts of 1987. Dunno how a full-length would fare, but the four tracks here ain’t bad at all. –Jimmy Alvarado (Snappy Little Numbers)


WHITE WHALE:
Widow’s Peak” b/w “Rats in the Snow”: 7"
Great garage rock that brings to mind the more frantic side of Jay Reatard or maybe The Reds, with these weird, but short almost indie-rock breakdowns. Music that to my mind is perfectly suited for the two song single format. I’ve never heard this band, but after a few spins it’s clear I need to seek them out. –Chris Mason (Big Neck)


WEIRD TV:
“Sufrir” b/w “Sex”: 7"
Olympia, WA’s scene darlings making some waves with their vinyl debut following a well-received demo tape. On the musical tip, they wedge themselves somewhere between the classic sounds of the Avengers and the more modern ferocity of Gorilla Angreb and Screaming Females. The lyrics are in español and are riddled with hints at relationship unfulfillment as well as sexual frustration. I’m sure we can all relate with at least one of those subjects. I’m told this is a mere morsel of an appetizer to a full length feast that is currently in production. Get in on the ground floor, homes. –Juan Espinosa (Perennial)


WAX MUSEUMS:
Eye Times: LP

Good news, the Wax Museums are still a band, and they have a new full-length on Trouble In Mind. It’s not all that different from their debut, but, shit, it would be quite the feat to write another record that good. The songs are still oddball and jokey, but not nearly as clever. It doesn’t even matter though, ‘cause they still play some of the catchiest, bizarre, garagey punk rock worth a damn. Don’t expect their debut; just expect twistedly energetic songs from these Denton City miscreants.

–Daryl Gussin (Trouble In Mind, troubleinmindrecs@gmail.com)


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