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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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REVERSE:
Glance Sideways (The Complete Reverse): CD
Question: What’s worse than wanting to become a famous musician and failing? Answer: Wanting to become a famous musician, failing, and then releasing a complete discography documenting that failure. Welcome to the logic behind this CD. Fun fact: Reverse used to be called Reverse Jam, according to one of the most boring band histories ever included in a lackluster post-band-break-up discography. Not so fun fact: they sound like a crappy alternative band. Seeking more information, I consulted a photo collage of reviews included on that piece of paper behind the CD. (Question: What is that called? Answer: Who cares?) Point being, you’re not really supposed to/expected to look more closely at it. That’s the only explanation I can think of for including the following newspaper article from 1995. The article’s headline, “Looking to Reverse the trend,” is both upbeat and stupid. But on a much, much closer glance, you can read about how music writer Steve Tilley thought that Reverse was about to make its big break, and about how the guitarist told him, “We want worldwide fame, seriously, to become as big as possible, as far as it is possible for us to go.” If this were a cereal, it’d be one of those cases of individual-sample-sized cereal boxes containing Temptations French Vanilla Cereal and other failed ventures. –Maddy (Damaged Goods/SP, info@sp-records.com)


RENEGADES OF PUNK, THE:
Self-titled: 7" EP
Clean channel guitars and female vocals over quality hardcore. The lyrics vacillate between English and Portuguese, and occasionally they bring to mind similar bands like the Regulations. Sad to say, though, no Soulsonic Force covers here. –Jimmy Alvarado (thrashxbastard@yahoo.de)


REHASHER:
High Speed Access to My Brain: CD
Highly melodic fast punk that sort of reminds me of MXPX, minus the religious overtones (right guys—you don’t play “Amazing Grace” live, do ya?). Aggressive playing, tight vocals, and lean songwriting make this an enjoyable synapse jolt to your lower cerebral cortex or somewhere in that vicinity. “No Eye in Team” and “Lose My Limits” will be getting replays on this one. Two other reasons why you should check this out. One: they cover a Nerves song here. Two: this band is Mikey Erg approved. I know I could have put that sentence at the beginning and that would be all you need. –Sean Koepenick (Paper & Plastick)


REAL MCKENZIES, THE:
Shine Not Burn: CD
Well, it’s a live, acoustic Real McKenzies record. The band throws out Celtic/punk amalgams that are generally pretty successful, if limited as hell in their scope (i.e., they mostly do songs about drinking and revved-up covers of Scottish classics). I’ve heard a grand total of two other albums by this band, both of which I prefer over Shine Not Burn. With a few exceptions, I’m just not a big fan of live albums. The sound quality’s fine here, if a little thin, the performances are raucous and inspired, and audience and performers alike seem to be having a blast. But it’s still a live record of already released songs. Everything I’ve heard about this band points to their live show, but I’ll still take 10,000 Shots over this one, hands down. –Keith Rosson (Fat)


RAINBOW PERSON:
Demo: Cassette
When a band names themselves after the final United Mutation recording, you know they’re not going for anything straight-forward. Rainbow Person is strange, pummeling, disgusting noise with shouted and sometimes barked vocals. Tampering with the chaos of Born Against and Siege’s audible assault, Rainbow Person has created a sound that’s completely inaccessible and instantly magnetizing. These songs will not forgive you. –Daryl Gussin (Self-released, rainbowperson@usa.com)


RAG RAGE:
Good, Wholesome, and Sexy: LP + CD-R
Go get this now. Seriously. These three females from Ohio bring Region Rock-influenced punk. The first thing that came to mind was Los Canadians because of the fact that Buddha was on guitar with Ivy on vocals. The vocals remind me of Ivy (currently of Black Rainbow) at times and of Annie Saunders (This Is My Fist) at others. Not a bummer track to be found on the record. The layout is even killer. The cover is recycled; they painted over some old covers that they got from No Idea and glued their graphics on. They even opted for a lyric booklet over a lyric sheet! Not only does the record have a nice layout to accompany this awesome LP, it also comes with a CD-R that includes the album and demos—they even include a sticker and patch. This is for sure one of the best albums to come out this year. The eleven dollars (postage paid) that you’re going to pay for this will be well spent. –Vincent Battilana (Self-released, bikeamusprime@hotmail.com)


QUEST FOR FIRE:
Self-titled: LP
Metallic hardcore punk with grindcore style vocals. Quest For Fire could easily fit on a bill with Eat The Living. The songs are well played, but not bogged down in showing off what they can do on the fret boards. Instead, everything is aimed at putting together some blazing music (nice reference towards the band name, huh?). The songs and vocals are tight, with a solid punch, and they thrash it out here and there, but it’s more in the mid-tempo range. Heavy without being slow. It’s more about rocking out than going by in a blur. –Matt Average (HS!BF, hsbfrecords.com)


RATIONS:
For Victory: cd
I remember back in the early ‘90s when the term “emo” was not the province of pasty crybabies with angular hair and smeared mascara. Band names like Rites Of Spring and Leatherface defined it for me. Pure expression. Nothing held back. Although this disc was recorded in 2010, it feels to me like the bands I heard when I first moved to Victoria. Render Useless, Hudson Mack, Gus, Benchwarmer... I could keep listing rad bands that you’ve probably never heard but Rations really bring out the same feeling that I got in that amazing time and place. Raw and melodic, this disc forced me to feel something! It made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. That only happens with my favorite bands. One last analogy since I can’t seem to stop myself. Davey Tiltwheel writing songs for Hickey. Best disc this month, hands down! –Ty Stranglehold (86’d)


REAL MCKENZIES, THE:
Shine Not Burn: CD
I hope that you like the Real McKenzies a whole lot, because what you are going to get here is a whole lot of Real McKenzies. Twenty one songs of Celtic punk (recorded live) clocking in at an hour on this thing. Not my cup of tea, but I recognize it’s good for what it is and you certainly get a lot of bang for your buck here. –Jeff Proctor (Fat)


RATIONS:
For Victory: cd
Indie punk stuff with the hooky chord progressions and requisite shouted, over-the-top vocals. –Jimmy Alvarado (86’d)


PROBES, THE:
You Know You Want It: CD
Boring, experimental garage-meets-grunge rock, or something like that. If this were a cereal, it’d be Honey Graham Oh’s—a somewhat random combination of various bland and somewhat un-tasty ingredients. –Maddy (Rankoutsider, info@rankoutsiderrecords.com)


PREGNANT:
Self-titled: LP
This band is from Brooklyn and sound like they are equally into early Sub Pop and various John Reis projects. There are hints of DC emo and some heavy Mudhoney/Nirvana in parts as well. Pregnant seem like a band that could have had a Sub Pop singles club single in 1990, or—come to think of it—2010, the way things have been going. –Mike Frame (Burn Books, burnbooks@burnbooks.org)


PSYCHO:
2010: 7" EP
For those unfamiliar with ’em, Psycho are one of the longest in the tooth of Massachusetts’ clusters of hardcore bands, well into their third decade of ripping shit up and occasionally raising eyebrows. Most of the tunes here don’t reach the warp-factor-five levels these guys reached at the turn of the ‘80s, but they nonetheless thrash things up quite nicely on this saw blade-shaped (yes, you read that correctly) record, turning in three originals and a GG Allin cover. Good to see they’re still out raising a ruckus. –Jimmy Alvarado (Psycho)


POTENTIAL JOHNS:
Can I Really Not Go with You: 7”
The title track is a brooding piece of minor-chord pop that grinds its hooks into your noggin. The flip, “Past Due,” is also on the slower side, but, again, they just slather on the hooks before launching into the same moody, interconnected guitar playing they used to such great effect on “Only Time” on a prior EP. Given this band’s pedigree, it’s damned hard not to throw in Marked Men comparisons, but while there are definite overlaps in some areas, they do manage to eke out their own unique patch of terra and are quickly finding a soft spot of their own in my blackened little ticker. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dirtnap)


POP ATAK!:
Self-titled: CD-R demo
One should stop playing music when they no longer find it fun. Life can throw awful curveballs. Sometime along the line, Davey, Ross, and Bob stopped playing together as Tiltwheel. Davey kept his musical flag fluttering. They’re also all men of honor. So, years and years later, when Ross and Bob wanted to start playing again, Davey, who’s in a guesstimated five bands already, welcomed his friends to start anew. Since there was already a fully functional Tiltwheel humming along, they formed Pop Atak! This demo’s a good etching. A little more fidelity and fullness, a little more snapping together, and we’ll have some polished-up prime cuts. I’m more than patient and confident that a proper release will blow me away. More than anything, I’m just glad they’re all playing and hanging out again. –Todd Taylor (Self-released)


PITY FUCKS, THE:
Self-titled: 12” 45 RPM
The cover art has two paper lunch bags drawn on to look like a guy and a girl post-coitus, with a matchbook that has “Some Skank” and a phone number written on it in one corner and a condom wrapper in the other corner. Given the union of the cover art and band name, I was totally expecting something totally sophomoric with an urge to beat dead horses. While the lyrical content of this record may fit nicely into the pigeonhole I made out for the record, I was too busy enjoying the garage rock on this slab of wax to pay a lick of attention to the lyrics. Six originals and two covers (Oblivians and R. Stevie Moore), all solid. –Vincent Battilana (Felony Fidelity, joe@felonyfidelity.com)


PLIMSOULS, THE:
Live! Beg, Borrow & Steal: CD
Another review of another ex-Nerves member’s record? Maybe there is a solar eclipse coming up. What next, a new Jack Lee solo record will show up on my doorstep? Not very likely. But it’s cool to have this live show available to the world. It’s an incredible-sounding live set from this band at the peak of their powers: October 31st, 1981 at the Whisky A Go Go. Too bad I was not there, but you can hear the band tear apart the Sunset Strip on your own. All the hits are here, a few covers, and The Fleshtones help out on a few songs. “Now” is my current favorite song by this band. But they all kick ass and you need to have this if you like great guitar rock with a pop edge. Plus the CD is worth buying for the pictures alone. Where do I get suspenders like that, guys? –Sean Koepenick (Alive)


PINE AWAY:
Self-titled: Cassette
Tapes don’t sound that good. I use to lug a big boombox and a box full of tapes to my dishwashing job, and let me tell you, I don’t miss it. (I’m not some modern technology guy either—I mostly listen to records. I don’t own an ipod. But seriously, this cassette tape nostalgia that’s seemingly sweeping America (If the things I get for review are any indication) is beyond me.) That being said, this isn’t terrible. It’s at least listenable. There are some decent turns of phrase and the instruments interact well. Just put it out on an LP like the good lord intended, okay? –Ryan Horky (Self-released, pineaway.bandcamp.com)


PHOTOBOOTH:
“Pretty Baby” b/w “Kill the Weekend”/”Boston Strangler”: 7"
Pop, pop, pop! This is some retro-sounding rock‘n’roll with lovelorn lyrics, sing-along-able choruses, and straight-ahead music to back it all up. I did a lot of happy bopping up and down as I listened to these three tracks. The record jacket features a bunch of girls in photobooth pictures, so originally I thought this was an all-girl band. It is not. But for me to get over that kind of disappointment, you know this has to have something going for it. Thumbs up all the way. –Jennifer Whiteford (Raw Deluxe)


PERSONAL AND THE PIZZAS:
Raw Pie: LP
There is a law of diminishing returns when it comes to gimmick bands. Both in the sense that with each new joke band and with the longer the band exists, the less valuable the joke becomes. Of course there are always outliers and Personal And The Pizzas is an outlier. Their shtick is clever and original: three greased-up and leather-clad lunkheads from Hoboken, NJ with a particularly fierce hankering for the Ramones and, of course, pizza. It certainly helps that the band has a keen sense of humor (a sense of humor about themselves, specifically, and of punk rock, generally) and that the music is treated well and is quite fantastic, showing real admiration for bubblegum pop and proto-punk songs about cars and girls (and for four of the songs here, pizza) that the MC5, Dictators, and Ramones perfected. I find that with their nudge and wink they themselves display greater authenticity with that which they lovingly lampoon than the generations of punk rockers who so fiercely try to re-create and live within the narrow confines of what Personal And The Pizzas smirk at on Raw Pie. –Jeff Proctor (1-2-3-4 Go!)


PERSONAL AND THE PIZZAS:
Raw Pie: LP
Here’s the CD/LP version of the cassette released a few months ago, a compilation of their singles. The cover has been changed (doubtful that Iggy Pop knew his likeness—munching a slice—was used on the tape, or even some of their 7”s.) The Pizzas throw Stooges riffery on top of Ramones rhythms and sing in New Jersey-like accents. Plenty of songs about pizza, as you would expect (“7.99 for Love,” “I Don’t Wanna Be No Personal Pizza.”) As a native New Jerseyan, I questioned these West coasters using Guido shtick, but their fan club has a Hoboken address, so maybe they really are from the Motherland. I’m glad this record finally came out. I have most of the 7”s, but not the tape (my tape deck broke long ago and I don’t see the need to replace it.) I don’t understand the cassette resurgence the world of rock‘n’roll seems to be experiencing; smacks of hipster douche-ism to me (what, vinyl isn’t exclusionary enough?). –Guest Contributor (1-2-3-4 Go!)


PERRY H. MATTHEWS:
Self-titled: CD
I don’t like it when a band’s name can be mistaken for an individual’s name—it presents confusion into my record-filing system, which is the only thing in my life that is consistently orderly, stable, and reliable. It also fucks with my grammar, and I have a vested interest in such things. I may be showing my age through such unnecessary griping, and if that means I’m becoming a curmudgeon, so be it. Now then, this is a pretty good record. The sound is hard to define. I mean, it’s rockin’ and all, but not in the style of normal 4/4 tempo’d rock‘n’roll doodlings. This has more starts and stops, more changes in rhythm and melody, more off-kilter fillers than standard rock. All in all, it has an early- to mid-‘90s middle America sound (the band is from Omaha, after all) mixed with tantalizing bits of the arty and the experimental. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but now I can say that I like this record—Perry H. Matthews is one of those bands that you have to break in like a new pair of sneakers, but once broken in they feel real nice. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Doom Town)


PAULIE THINK:
Feel This: CD
To compare Paulie to Eminem would be too easy, especially when you hear his slightly nasal voice. Nevertheless, similarities to Slim Shady end there. Paulie intends to make people think. Don’t let his vocal shenanigans and skits fool you. With this new album he aims to teach with his faculty of MCs about everything from pinball to war to crack and black holes. His lyrical prowess is best displayed in “Takin’ out U $uckas,” as he spews a stream of rhymes with unwavering accuracy. The production is also impressive, with a fresh supply of loops, synths, and effects with a sinister lean like that of Immortal Technique. “Catch Me If Ya Can” shows off some turntablism and fades out with an awesome police siren scratch. If your idea of punk music isn’t restricted to a four piece band, or even if it is, Paulie and company will add another spin on resistance and DIY culture. –Kristen K (DIY Bandits, diybandits.com)


PAUL CARY:
Ghost of a Man: LP
I thought that this was going to be some indie singer-songwriter deal from the calming green cover and the artist’s name and album title. I was somewhat surprised to find that Paul Cary is a three-piece lo-fi bluesy garage rock band. The title of the record is appropriate, given its ghostly sound. Not really my speed, but interesting and decent. –Vincent Battilana (Stank House, stankhouserecords.com)


PAUL COLLINS:
King of Power Pop!: CD
New solo record from the ex-Nerves member. Capitalizing on the strength of his last record, Collins kicks it into high gear here. “Do You Wanna Love Me?” with Wally from The Romantics on harmonica burns hard. But “Losing Your Cool and “Off the Hook” also rival any of The Beat’s early releases. “The Letter” is a cool nod to Alex Chilton and the title track is a nice homage to power pop and its members. Rock on with your Rickenbacker, Paul! –Sean Koepenick (Alive)


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