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Spokenest: We Move 12"EP

Record Reviews

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QUASI:
The Sword of God: CD
Someone from Sleater-Kinney was in this band. Big deal. Yawn. –Jimmy Alvarado (Touch and Go)


PURE RUBBISH:
Self-titled: CDEP
Good, honest Texas rawk from a group of guys young enough to get tossed outta the local honky tonks. The band’s overall vibe reminds me of early AC/DC, with the cover of “Let There Be Rock” especially driving the point home. The remaining three originals hold their own quite well, as there’s not a dog in the bunch. So until their full-length comes out next spring, you’ve got this little puppy to crank up in your minitruck. Good stuff from this Houston outfit. –tim (Divine Recordings/Priority)


PSYCHOTIC REACTION:
Red Alert: 7"EP
The first track is weird. It starts off sounding like one of those '80s English post-punk bands, then BOOM - thrash part, and then it alternates between the two for the remainder of the song. The same goes for the first track on side two. The other two tracks are a cover of the Subs’ “Warhead” and a song that sounds like it just climbed out of a time machine that just came back from a Los Angeles hardcore gig circa 1985. Weird, but pretty fucking good. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.psychoticreaction.com)


PRICKS, THE:
Self-titled: 12"EP
Before American, before Def Jam, before the Beasties or Slayer, before all that, Rick Rubin was strummin’ away in a combo called the Pricks. F’n hell, Rubin even produced this record, which sounds live with the hollow-sounding vocals and drums. The NY sound of the time owed a lot to Richard Hell and Junkie Thunders, and the Pricks wore those influences proudly on their sleeve. There’s even a bit of the No Wave thing goin’ on in the funkified “Whole Lotta Love” (t’aint the Led Zep song, bro!) –Matt Average (None)


PLEASURE FOREVER:
Self-titled: CD
Pleasure Forever offer for their debut full length a first-hand listen to a world steeped in lives gone wrong and scenes of sinister occult. Like Nick Cave’s often violently demented lyrics, the songs on this record are equal parts urban tragedy and circus sideshow morality play. Instrumentally they offer a simple piano, guitar, and drum three piece, but with each player’s wide range of quietly atmospheric jazz to grinding rock, Pleasure Forever manages to defy categorization. I think within that quality lies their greatest power over the listener. Often on this record they musically turn on a dime. They hold the listener suspended over the railing with one thick forearm, only to pull them back onto solid footing with a smirk. I left this record feeling a fondness for their bitterly dark mood and the almost vaudevillian originality of their sound. –Guest Contributor (GSL)


PIRX THE PILOT:
Self-titled: CDEP
As I listen to this, I think about what later Government Issue would’ve sounded like if they’d stuck to the thrash beats and stopped taking the anti-depressants. No, I didn’t think it was all that pretty a thought, either. –Jimmy Alvarado (New Disorder)


PINKOS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Political punk that goes far beyond the empty slogans parroted by many. Instead, the Pinkos present their ideas with an informed background, and it shows in the lyrics as they read like stories and conversations. Think of the Dead Kennedys in this aspect. Musically they keep it simple with only two instruments: guitar and drums. They’re catchy, solid, and interesting, as they stay away from the usual stimulus. As you may have gathered, the Pinkos are not your typical punk band. Which works in their favor, and yours, all the more. Have a listen. –Matt Average (Empty)


PHANTOM LIMBS:
Applied Ignorance: CD
Wild, psychotic, goth merry-go-round calliope punk. I realize that doesn’t sound like a particularly attractive description, but I dare anyone one of you reading this to listen to this and honestly tell me that it doesn’t sound just like that. It rocks in ways not heard too often since the Screamers called it a day 20 years ago, to boot. If I had the feria, I’d buy and mail copies to every punker in the US who has ever even entertained the idea of starting a band. See, this is how original, creative and flat-out good things can get with a little imagination and a desire not to sound like everyone else. Beyond recommended. –Jimmy Alvarado (Alternative Tentacles)


PERFECT DAZE:
Five Year Search: CD
Think back to the radio friendly sound of The Replacements or early Soul Asylum. Guitar driven rock that is catchy as hell without being sappy or cheesy. Pretty damn good stuff (though nothing original like the liner notes allude to). Then as now, this sort of thing was a nice relief from what was happening out there on the radio waves. This disc collects all the recorded output from this English outfit from the late ‘80s. And while it does sound dated, it ages well. “Bubble gum” is the catchiest of the bunch, and sure to hook most listeners quick, but the emotion of “Death By Smiling” can not be denied. –Matt Average (Boss Tuneage)


PAVERS:
Beautiful: CD
He may have been All’s second singer, but his voice is pretty goddamned flat here and the band sure ain’t All. –Jimmy Alvarado (Boss Tuneage)


PARTISANS:
So Neat: CDEP
This sounds like old English punk rock, which makes perfect sense considering that that is exactly what the band is. While the sound is not as desperation-fueled as I would’ve liked, this is nowhere near as terrible as the more recent efforts of some of their contemporaries, and that is a definite relief. –Jimmy Alvarado (TKO)


PANICS, THE:
1980-1981: I Wanna Kill My Mom: CD
I’ve spent well over ten years living in Bloomington, Indiana over the course of my life, and honestly, at this point I feel I’ve gotten as much out that town as there is to get. Despite having the basis for what could be a decent creative environment for music, it’s hard for me to avoid an assessment of Bloomington’s music scene as basically one huge exercise in squandered potential. The few good bands that got going tended to die out quickly from lack of support; the long-lived bands were cursed with lack of vision or spineless commercial careerism or terminal media drought; and then, of course, there’s the fact that the town is and always has been choking on its collegiate hick love for cover bands. Okay, you don’t know whether I’m telling the truth or pushing my own agenda or what, maybe you have your own opinion and you disagree with me, whatever. Makes no difference to me. Just take this simple test: think of a town, say Chapel Hill, NC, or Austin, TX, or Athens, GA (which is very, very similar to Bloomington in many ways). Being the kind of person you are, reading this sort of thing, you probably can think of at least three or four nationally-recognized bands from Chapel Hill, or Austin, or Athens. Now think Bloomington. What springs to mind? That’s right, John Cougar Mellencamp. If you’re well-read in terms of music "literature," maybe the Gizmos. Oh, and David Lee Roth was born in Bloomington, but moved away almost immediately. That’s about it, and all those things happened well over twenty years ago. Of course, there are always a few bright spots amidst the waste, the main two being Virginia’s Scraping (the various bands of Phil Traicoff, and a review for another day), and the bands formed by the partnership John Barge and Ian Brewer: The Panics and the Walking Ruins. I personally witnessed the Walking Ruins blow other bands out the doors of various clubs around Bloomington more times than I can remember – they were real punk rock, unleavened by hyphenated bastardization (i.e. ska-, folk-, whatever-punk): the last true unknown unspoiled punk band. Frankly, they could have stood to be a little more spoiled in their time – I don’t know how many times I’d be reading about some supposedly great new punk band in Maximum Rocknroll and then when I’d check them out I’d think ‘Geez, the Walking Ruins could crush these guys without even trying.’ So, from my perspective, The Panics were essentially the proto-Walking Ruins, and The Panics’ newish CD 1980-1981: I Wanna Kill My Mom!!! is merely the first chapter in a long and tangled tale – but an essential chapter, and one that’s been almost wholly unavailable for far too long. The Panics’ sole Gulcher 45 (recorded August 1980) is augmented with a surprisingly clear-sounding live show recorded about a week after the single, plus a couple of post-Panics cuts and four songs from the one-shot night in 2000 that featured a reunited Panics playing with a reunited lineup of the Gizmos. Barge’s detailed and informative liner notes puts the story in perspective, and there’s even a Quicktime movie included on the disc for you computer-savvy punx. It’s a great snapshot of a time when the idea of punk was clearer, or maybe it just seemed that way. There weren’t ten million punk bands yet, there certainly weren’t ten million punk records yet, and no one thought it was a way to have a career in music. If you’re the kind of person who bought, say, the book collections Search & Destroy or Punk magazine, or the Germs CD anthology, or Clint Heylin’s book From The Velvets to the Voidoids, you really need to add this CD to your collection. Otherwise, frankly, you’re missing a relatively important chapter in punk rock history, and you wouldn’t want that, would you? –Guest Contributor (Gulcher)


OWLS:
Self-titled: CD
Poppy in the way of Braid and Dismemberment Plan. Guitar driven in the sense that the six strings dominate with swirling and fluid sounds over solid percussion and slightly scratchy vocals. It took me a couple listens to enjoy the finer qualities of the music. But once you start to latch on it’s pleasant. “I Want the Blindingly Cute to Confide in Me” is the cut. The guitar that bubbles around the singer proclaiming “There are secrets, there are secrets” is the ingredient to send the song over. This is the kind of music you play on a hot Sunday afternoon while in the throes of mid summer in deep contemplation. –Matt Average (Jade Tree)


OROBOROS:
Self-titled: CD
They’re touting themselves as some neo-tribal melding of world music, electronic and “organic” instrumentation, but this sounds like yer average post-Cocteau goth rock. Not that they’re bad or anything. They’re really good at what they’re doing and I like this a lot. I just don’t get how they’re all that different. Maybe it’s one o’ those things where you gotta go see ‘em. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.crosswinds.net/~oroboros33/)


OOZZIES:
Nation Out of Hand: CD
The Oozzies aggressively unleash a barbaric blast of “old school” hardcore unruliness... they’re defiant, unmanageable, and full of rage-fuelled insolence... they’re a mad-as-hell havoc-wreaking collective of musical malcontents chaotically creating a full-force flurry of insurgent anti-social sounds. This is the sort of nonconformist sonic chaos that frenetically inspired me to run rampant and free through the garbage-strewn streets of my hellhole hometown when I was a belligerent lil’ teen-aged hooligan... an angst-ridden era when I would carelessly careen across the pavement on my skateboard, recklessly rocket down the sunbaked sidewalks (all the while furiously flailing like a crazed maniac possessed!), and then daredevilishly bunnyhop the curb and wildly glide along its treacherous rugged surface as if my very life depended upon it (fists tightly clenched, teeth fitfully grittin’, and an impenetrable level of concentration so thick a chainsaw could cut through it)... damn, one precariously misplaced movement, and it’s all over in mere freezeframed seconds... SPLAT! Flesh and asphalt abruptly meet. Profusely sweating, bleeding, and cussin’ a meanstreak, I recover my dishevelled senses and quickly inspect my battered, bruised, and torn physique... yep, everything appears to be intact and still workin’. The youthful propensity for perseverance is pumpin’ strong, so it’s time for yet another futile attempt to conquer that damned perilous curb. Alley-oop! Ah, thanks for the memories, Oozzies... –Guest Contributor (Industrial Strength)


ONE TIME ANGELS:
Sound of a Restless City: CD
Post-Husker punky pop that was pleasant enough to stay on the player for its duration. –Jimmy Alvarado (Adeline)


NOVADRIVER:
Void: CD
This is heavy on the Hawkwind tip, maybe with a little touch of mid-'70s Sabbath thrown in for good measure. Dude, pass the bong, stoner rock lives! –Jimmy Alvarado (Small Stone)


NOTA:
Live At The Crystal Pistol: LP
On a personal level, NOTA are the most important band ever. Growing up in Oklahoma, where these guys hailed from, it proved that you could be in a punk and accomplish something, despite the rednecks and religious assholes that surrounded you. These guys were my piece of sanity in that fucked up time. They made it easier to deal with getting beer gutted assholes in Camaros throwing shit at you and calling you “faggot” as they sped by, or when the jocks would death threat you over the phone. And the classic, “Get a hair cut!” despite having a shaven head. Anyway, this is the vinyl edition of the long out of print classic tape from 1983, not to mention some stuff that never saw the light of day outside of live shows, such as “Carolina,” Apathy,” and “Dumb Shit.” As well as “Nightstick Justice” and “Riot Kids,” which are taken from a practice recording. The recording quality is pretty damn good and captures their raw and urgent attack well. A seamless blending of hardcore punk with street punk and the ‘77 sound, not to mention political and social commentary as well as personal vision. Nearly 20 years later and this band still strikes a chord within. –Matt Average (Prank)


NO SIDE:
Comp: 95-98: 7"
5 song reissue of (duh) comp tracks, solid golf-club-meets-forehead thrash with no fruity trimmings. Includes the delightful “Peckerhead Kill Kill." –Cuss Baxter (Acme)


NO ONE’S VICTIM:
Just Another Young Punk Band: 7"
I usually like to start on the second side of any release that has two sides. It gives me a good impression of what a band sounds like on the average. You figure that most bands will put their strongest song as the first track. My theory being that it is your only chance to catch the listener’s attention. These guys started off well with their cover of Infa Riot’s “Emergency.” It was true to the original and was not a disgrace. The second track on side two was a bit formulaic, new decade street punk with the over used “Oi, Oi...” Hearing Americans chant “Oi” has not grasped me as being genuine. It is a English working class anthem and slang that doesn’t belong being sung by Americans who don’t go through the same struggles because our culture is different. Also, it doesn’t sound right without the Cockney accent. Now off to side one. It’s time to talk a little shit. I am experienced at it since I shit everyday like clock work and have been doing it for more than 30 years. If I don’t take a shit at least once during the day, I know my body is fucked up. Based on the title and the title of the first track, there is a contradiction already in place. The title of the song is “77.” If they are truly just another young punk band or at least 24 years of age they were born around the year of the title. So how can they sing about it? Are they really old enough to have experienced it? Plagiarize what others have wrote? Second track, “Working Class Hero.” Based on their age, who are their heroes. Mom and Dad? Their relatives or friends’ parents? I don’t know if their intentions are right. It just doesn’t come off as original or sincere to me. I say go back to the garage and create something new that will excite the rest of us, but don’t come and try to recreate a sound that you really can’t understand because you haven’t lived it. To end this, they aren’t half bad. –Donofthedead (Radio)


NIKKI & THE CORVETTES:
Self-titled: CD
Nikki and her curvaceously spectacular Corvettes playfully (but passionately!) belt-out a dizzying dose of crunchy power-pop cheerfulness... it’s fun, frolicking, and full of youthful zeal for life! The giddy virginal schoolgirl vocals and shimmering upbeat instrumentation sound incredibly like The Shirelles, The Shangri-Las, the original animated Josie & The Pussycats, Blondie, and Fuzzbox all lightheartedly bashin’ skulls with The Beach Boys, Ramones, Buzzcocks, The Knack, and The Romantics... hell yeh, it’s joyously sweet summertime rock’n’roll exhilaration about boys, cars, cruisin’, and flirtatious puppylove crushes. Although all of these tunefully titillating tracks date from the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, they’re as exuberantly relevant today as they were 20 years ago. This is the most fun my ears have ever had, by golly gosh! –Guest Contributor (Bomp!)


NEIGHBORS, THE:
Negative Reaction: CD
Gawd damn! The Neighbors kick up a bad ass racket that hits hard and heavy like Felix Trinidad! Lickety split tempos, heavy guitars, and ragin’ vocals combine like Wonder Twins to shape up a bulldozer with one ton pick axes attached for extra measure. These guys are pretty much godhead. –Matt Average (Six Weeks)


NEGATIVE STEP/REDRUM:
Split: 7"
Redrum: Remarkably strong hardcore here, despite the hackneyed band name. Five tracks of blistering power, completely devoid of any metal, from one kick-ass band. Negative Step: They sound like the missing link in Negative Approach’s career between their first EP and the Tied Down LP. The sound quality is a little muffled, but their songs are cool. –Jimmy Alvarado (Satan's Pimp)


NAILGUN:
Black Amphetamine Dissonance: CD
Low budget metallic hardcore that did zilch for me. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.angelfire.com/indie/nailgun)


MUTANTS:
Fun Terminal: CD
This is one o’ those bands that was pretty popular on the west coast back when they were active, but only seem to be remembered these days by collectors. They were from San Francisco, dressed really weird for their equally weird sets, trashed many a stage from the Gay Bay to Lost Angeles, were friends of the DKs and did not play hardcore. Au contraire, they sound poppy in a quirky, punky kinda way, somewhere between the B-52s and the Police’s edgier moments. I remember taping many of their songs off of long dead radio shows and I always liked that arty new wave sound they had. Presented here is their only album, an EP, a demo and live tracks from a couple o’ comps, including their tracks from “Live from the Deaf Club.” It’s kinda sad hearing this stuff after so many years because this style was a pretty damn good listen when played right and it’s rare that one hears it anymore. I imagine that most will say that this sounds dated, doesn’t hold up well, blah blah blah, but for me it brought back memories of days when one could see Black Flag, the Go Gos, the Suburban Lawns and Los Lobos on the same bill; a time when punk rock was still more a concept than a set of marginalized pigeonholes that one should force themselves into and never deviate. –Jimmy Alvarado (White Noise)


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