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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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MAD BROTHER WARD:
Hated By All: CD
This disc collects thirteen songs from two 7” singles released in the 1990s. TPOS Records and Baloney Shrapnel released the singles, and the band features at least one member of Antiseen in the lineup. Given all of this, you probably have a good idea of what this sounds like: Full-on Confederacy Of Scum-style punk with “hate the world” and “hate punk rock”-type lyrics. There is an additional bonus track here produced by Jeff Clayton of Antiseen as well. You can see where this is going. Fans of CoS will be all over this, as the singles were limited and have been out of print for years. –Mike Frame (Zodiac Killer)


LOVE CITY:
Self-titled: 7"EP
You’ve got some rocking, old school reverb-washed pop tunes here. The organ makes the four songs on this EP stand out from all the rehash garage rock music today. The tune, “The Other Side” kicks hard with bashing riffage interplay from both the assaulting guitar and organ. LoveCity has taken an old, psychedelic-influenced rock sound and made it their own with this 7”. –N.L. Dewart (Certified PR)


LOVE BELOW:
Demo : CD
This music is frantic and out of breath, as if the band recorded it while running up and down a flight of steps, stopping only to vomit or tune the guitar. I get the feeling that if you tried to stop them, you would get an elbow to the teeth. But is there really any point to releasing demos anymore? –MP Johnson (myspace.com/thelovebelowhc)


LOS STEAKS:
Orange Fish: 7"
These boys are from Spain. I don’t know how to put this delicately and positively. This band doesn’t suck. They put out a record that is tolerable and kinda good. Yet, I couldn’t warm up to it enough to remember what one song sounds like. I know I didn’t mind it, but it’s just not memorable…such a shame because every time I listened to it, I liked it a little more. –Corinne (Milk & Chocolate )


LOGIC PROBLEM:
No Center: 7"EP
When I was a kid, I had a tendency to put any inanimate object that would fit into a workbench-mounted vice. Stuff that wouldn’t split with the screw-drive compression of the vice’s teeth, I’d use a hack saw on. Logic Problem reminds me of golf balls in a vice. A hard, dimpled exterior that looks almost identical from every angle, but when it’s crunched, then slit open, it exposes a concentric, thin layer of softer membranes surrounding an even tighter ball wrapped in rubber band-y sinew. When the ball inside was completely extracted from the exoskeletal shell, it had an almost delicate, unpredictable bounce. Add that experience to Negative Approach, and since Logic Problem are from the Carolinas, a dash of early Corrosion Of Conformity, and there you have it. Hardcore by design. Hardcore by execution. Well done. –Todd Taylor (Grave Mistake)


LOBLAWS, THE/SCI FI NIGHTMARES, THE:
Split: 7"
The Loblaws: One of the latest bands to release something on Mutant Pop, which probably gives you a good idea of what to expect. Never heard them before, but their side has a slower, poppier Queers vibe to it, which isn’t bad. It just didn’t hook me and it felt like it dragged a little. The Sci Fi Nightmares: Ironically, they sound like the older, more straight-forward, harder edge pop punk, Ramones-influenced Queers. Again, dragged on, but not as much, and it did have some much-needed energy –Joe Evans III (Killer)


LOBLAWS / THE SCI-FI NIGHMARES:
Split: 7"
Loblaws: Hook-Ups shirt, chainball necklace, Everclear poster, mint skateboard, cherry Chapstick, and blueballs. On The Sci-Fi Nightmares’ side, the first song is either about some girl who either turned him down or is infected with AIDS. The rest is flatlined pop punk. –Andrew Flanagan (Killer)


LITANY FOR THE WHALE:
Dolores: LP
Are they metal? Or are they hardcore? Who knows? Who cares? Litany For The Whale skirt the area between the two genres with varied results. They’re heavy, with a definite ‘90s hardcore feel. So, there is a bit of lightness throughout. When they’re bashing away and going for speed, they’re more interesting. When they go into some introspective musical interlude, introduction, jam, whatever, then the whole thing comes to a screeching halt and boredom for this listener starts sitting in. I give them credit for branching out and experimenting. However, it sounds like they’re trying too hard. After a while I just stopped caring and let my mind wander elsewhere. Blahhh.... Comes on white marble vinyl, if you’re inclined. –Matt Average (Molsook/The Perpetual Motion Machine)


LITANY FOR THE WHALE:
Dolores: CD
If I said this CD was released by two Richmond labels and had cover art by Chris Taylor of Pg. 99, what kind of music would you guess was on it? Experimental, chaotic hardcore? Ding, ding, ding! You’re right! Seven tracks—some of found sounds and ambient instrumentals—with a definite debt to the Northern Virginia scene of the early 2000s (Majority Rule, City Of Caterpillar, the aforementioned Pg. 99). This is an engaging listen, but it’s not offering anything new. –CT Terry (Molsook)


LET’S DANCE:
Selt-titled: 7"
Ambulance sirens kick off this record for what seems like forever and is maybe an interesting novelty at first, but quickly wears off, especially since it goes on for like the first minute of the first song. The build-up is worth it, though, for those of you who are fans of ‘77 style pop punk a la the Briefs. The little bit of Thunders soloing on “X-Ray Eyes” is still a bit too much, but they again make up for it with some bouncy organ on “Out on Top,” which is easily the record’s standout track. “Outta Time” closes it with a brief blast of punk goodness. –Jeff Proctor (Meaty Beaty)


LET’S DANCE:
Calling All Cars: 7"EP
Early Ill Repute follows the same muse that made the North Beach Alliance bands all those millions. –Jimmy Alvarado (No Front Teeth)


LET’S DANCE / AVENUE ROSE:
Split: 7"
Like Rocket from the Crypt’s The State of Art Is on Fire, the two sides are played at different speeds. Both bands play pop punk, though more in the Exploding Hearts vein of things than the Jawbreaker/Fifteen school that seems to have taken over in recent years. Let’s Dance gets the 45 RPM side, which is sneering, snotty, and veers towards garage rock territory. I thought I liked it until I flipped it over to the Avenue Rose side (33 RPM), whose side is definitely cleaner and more polished, but is ultimately more memorable, despite ill-advised sappy breakdowns on the second track, “In Motion.” There’s nothing particularly mind blowing here, but it is still an enjoyable listen and indicative of nice things to come from both bands. The seven inch comes on white and yellow vinyl. –Jeff Proctor (Provincial State)


LET ME OUT:
I Think I Can…: CD
I think it might be mostly because the Swedish accents on the vocals are really similar, but in my mind I keep thinking of this as the angry, more hardcore Millencollin. This is clean, fast hardcore that’s totally down with gang vocals and is really about keeping it posi. I think they actually mention PMA several times. Pretty good, but recorded a little too slick at times. It’s a decent record but it tends to blow by too easily. If it was a bit rougher around the edges it might leave a little more lasting sonic impact. If you have any gaps in Swedish posi-core that need filling though, I’m sure this will be just the ticket. –Adrian (Warbird Entertainment)


LEBENDEN TOTEN:
Near Dark: LP
Noise! Noise! Noise! Lebenden Toten deliver in full on this 12” rager. Ten blasts of chaotic near white noise and distortion that sounds like all hell has broken loose. Think of a noisier and more urgent Disorder. This gives all the lo-fi bands a run for their money, without a doubt. The title track is perhaps the slowest of the ten blasts on here. Just about everything else is an exercise in speed and how fast one can go without losing total control. Amid all the chaos, there’s a definite message to the songs. Essentially, you can be in control of your life if you want to. However, the powers that be are adept at distracting you and misinforming you, so the trick is to wake up, realize all this, and do something about it. One of the more exciting U.S. hardcore/noisecore bands these days. –Matt Average (Wicked Witch)


LADIES, THE:
Self-titled: EP
Remember when the Dwarves used to be good? Seriously, they used to be a great band. No, I’m not lit. Listen to Blood, Guts & Pussy, then you’ll agree. Well, The Ladies sound like the Dwarves used to sound. Punk rock that’s short, stupid, offensive, and ripping! It’s all the things that make a punk band worth a shit, and there aren’t many out there these days. “Trashed” is about what you think, and is over before you can sit down. The B side is a tad bit longer, since it has two songs: “She Just Don’t Care” and “Can’t Come In.” Hearkens back to the days when punk was a dirty word, and made the straights a bit uneasy. Some things should have never changed... –Matt Average (Cowabunga)


KUNG FU MONKEYS, THE:
Half-Baked: CDR
Here’s another entry in my ongoing series of “Why am I reviewing this?” reviews—not because it’s bad. It’s actually a nifty little collection of demos and rarities from a great pop/surf rock band that, all in all, are fairly legendary in New York City. But, this is limited to twenty copies, most of which were sold at a recent benefit. I’m pretty sure there’s one or two copies left, though! You owe it to yourself to check this band out anyway, and if you can somehow get one of these too, then even better. –Joe Evans III (myspace.com/kungfumonkeys)


KRUM BUMS:
Same Old Story: CD
I’ll be the first to admit that these Texas anarcho-punks aren’t the most original outfit on the block, but damn if their records don’t rip it up. Great guitar work, furious vocals, and epic song structure. They combine the grandiosity of English metal punk with the urgency of American crossover acts of the late ‘80s. –Jim Ruland (TKO)


KAMALAS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
First two songs were nice bits of meat ‘n’ potatoes punk that weren’t shabby at all, while the remaining tracks belie a Ramones/Queers pop punk bent that isn’t as painful as others falling into that sort of description have been over the past decade. I’d be interested to hear what they end up sounding like in, oh, five years. –Jimmy Alvarado (Too Nice)


KALASHNIKOV:
The Best of K: CD
Here are three things that are rarely mixed together with any sort of success: Enya, playful and artful circuses (like Cirque de soleil; largely due to what sounds like a pipe organ), and international hardcore. Kalashnikov, thankfully, also avoids the obvious shortfallings of pretentiousness, preciousness, predictability, and being pedantic, instead delivering moving, bouncy, gritty, eerie, fun, and utterly unique music. This CD is a collection of this Italian collective’s five previous works from 2000 to the present, and it’s a joint release between a Japanese label and distributor. Great stuff. –Todd Taylor (SP)


KALASHNIKOV:
Angoscia-Rock: 7"
First off, some kudos are in order to whoever is responsible for the gorgeous packaging. In addition to red vinyl, you get what amounts to a book instead of the standard record cover, with what appears to be some sorta story, though I can’t be certain since my Italian comprehension skills are pretty much nil. Kudos are also due to those responsible for the music here, a surprisingly fresh mix of metallic hardcore and synth-driven new wave that is much, much better than that description might imply. Gotta love it when a band thinks outside of the box, and these kids do so in spades. –Jimmy Alvarado (kalashni.net)


JUICE TYME:
Self-titled: 7"
Man, these guys know how to pack sludgy hardcore efficiently onto one colored vinyl 7”, as they have eight drum-sputtering tunes here. The music never takes a break, with every track segued by some random noise feedback. Lyrically, I guess their song “I’m So Hardcore” is their anthem as it’s the only easily decipherable chorus. That song also includes the line, “I’m so hardcore I carry around a switchblade knife.” –N.L. Dewart (Headcount, Force Field)


JONESIN / DUDE JAMS:
Split: 7"
Dirt Cult Records knew this was one of the most anticipated 2009 releases among the underground pop punk circles, so they went ahead and pressed these on their patented yummy orange Tic Tac vinyl! If I didn’t love these songs so much, I’d take a goddamn bite out of this flat Tic Tac right fucking now! Jonesin: ‘90s Minnesota pop punk meets ‘90s EastBay punk rock. Dude Jams: The Queers invented the flux capacitor and then hijacked some plutonium from some terrorists and installed both into a DeLorean and went back to the future, y’all! –Mr. Z (Dirt Cult)


JOLLY:
Forty Six Minutes Twelve Seconds of Music: CD
In case the overly precious and ridiculously pretentious title wasn’t enough to tip you off, this music takes itself very seriously. There are very few styles of music that I have absolutely no patience for, the top style being prog rock or progressive music in any sense. This disc is P-R-O-G to the hilt. Therefore, it is like kryptonite to my ears. Progressive music is the embodiment of everything I dislike about music. Gimme simple and stoopid any day. The band’s record label has the following to say: “Embedded throughout the album are various forms of brain wave stimulation known as Binaural Tones. These tones are scientifically proven to enrich feelings of happiness, focus, creativity, and relaxation through inaudible changes in audio frequencies.” Bleeeaaaccchhh. –Mike Frame (Galileo/ProgRock)


JOEY CORMAN:
Cheap Therapy: CD
This acoustic style sounds like it needs some drums and a bass. When done correctly, I love acoustic style more than anything, so it’s not that I don’t appreciate it because it’s not electric. I listened to this while waiting for it to kick in, but it never did. I hate it when that happens. This is some coffee shop, bullshit hippie, self-appreciation shit. The guitar riffs are dependent on the voice. I hate when people write songs that are going to depend on their voice, especially when the voice isn’t so great to begin with and they don’t include lyrics, so I can’t even tell what it is that was so important for them to write a song about. That sort of thing should remain in a coffee shop, because that’s the most likely place where people care about what you are saying and don’t give a shit about the music. It has no place for “mass” distribution. Most of the bands I listen to have bad singers, but the great music makes the bad singer sound like an angel. Joey Corman, my friend, does not sound like an angel. I’m going to have to pass on this one. –Corinne (OBZ)


JEREMY NAIL AND THE INCIDENTS:
Self-titled: CDEP
Call me Tim Yohannan, but this is not punk! This is one of those very serious singer/songwriter endeavors, or at least that’s how I interpreted it. Three songs with lyrics like, “All I hear inside my head/ is a forgotten child’s cry.” I’m guessing they’re going for some sort of late-period Paul Westerberg meets Tom Petty thing. Yikes. If this were a cereal, it’d be Kashi. Stop taking yourself so seriously! You’re a cereal! –Maddy (Self-released)


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