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Record Reviews

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JUICEBOXXX:
Thunder Jam #5 and #6: 7”

Electric drums, electric cymbal, electric piano, dare I say it in a punk zine but it’s pretty fun. Sounds like a party inside a bedroom.

–Speedway Randy (Vicious Pop, viciouspoprecords.com)


KILL CONRAD:
“Work & Class” b/w “D.B.D.S”: 7”
Hailing from Boston, it makes sense that Kill Conrad are reminiscent of later ‘80s East Coast punk, a little hardcore crust with the melody; it’s got the beat, got the tight energy that keeps you listening. Just recreating that sound without the trying too hard feeling is admirable. Two titles, two 7”s in one? Five cool songs. Plus, not enough bands write punk rock anthems about Peter North and David Schwimmer anymore. Put this on your mix tape and skate to the bowl. –Speedway Randy (Neutral Territory, neutralterritoryrecords.com)


JOSE PHINE:
Self-titled: Cassette
This is screamy. Heavier than screamo stuff, but with similar breakdowns and slow, melodic parts. I can’t understand what the singer is saying at all, despite the fact that most of the lyrics are in English. Much better recording than I was expecting, considering it’s a cassette. Assuming there are not tons of bands like this in Malaysia (although maybe there are—an investigative visit may be in order), I am excited that Jose Phine is playing this kind of stuff, but I couldn’t get too into it. The screaming just puts me off. It hogs all my attention and I can’t get around to the music. However, if full-on screaming is your bag (or if you can ignore it), maybe you should check it out. Comes in a plastic, blue-colored sleeve, with a small insert with lyrics and a few dark photos. –Jennifer Federico (Utarid Tapes, myspace.com/utaridkaset)


JONESIN’ / DUDE JAMS:
Split: 7”
Jonsesin’: It’s fun to think that if Sasquatch was a hobo who was in a punk band and then he lit himself on fire accidentally from falling asleep in bed while smoking. Oh yeah, and he was in a pissy mood and had a powerful backup band. One song about choking on bad geography, and on the slower second song, the fire turns to smoky-voiced anthems of breaking down. Dude Jams: Is a studio band of an ex-Grumpies dude, who’ll play out occasionally with a full band. The “music critic” in me struggles against the feeling of “This is too easy. I already know these songs,” but the dude in me really likes a song like “Shit Fit,” where it’s totally and simultaneously like and unlike The Knack: duct tape as wallpaper, self-loathing in dirty pop sensibility, and undeniable bounce and sing-along-ability. Fun. As an added bonus, played this as per the label’s instructions at thirty-three and it’s not-so-bad doom, so you get two records in one. –Todd Taylor (Muy Autentico / Dirt Cult)


JEFFREY NOVAK:
One of a Kind: 7”
Similar to his Memphis neighbor Jay Reatard, Novak has a furious and steady output of records, also moving from a more harsh noise to cleaner poppy work. I didn’t want to describe it as “growing” because Novak’s early fuzz sound as a one-man destruction crew is still great and accomplished. He is just doing a different type of music now. I never get hung up on someone not sounding exactly the same for fifty albums, provided what they are doing is good. As the OMB, Novak tore it up with the precision timing of vicious, noisy garage punk on a full-length and tons of 7”s in a short time, moving on to the three-piece Rat Traps, which slowed down to punk before hitting breakneck speed on their third 7”. Next came Cheap Time, which seems to be a band concurrent to his solo releases, both embracing a sort of post-Bowie and T. Rex sound—I’m sure I’m missing much better, more obscure references/influences. While Cheap Time is more poppy, the solo work on his recent full-length and this 7” is more slow and dreamy, some piano mixed in, with the pedals on but not distorted. It’s catchy, it’s sweet and melodic, and probably more popular in Brooklyn and Silverlake than the early, brutal stuff. All in all, Novak is someone to always listen to. –Speedway Randy (Sweet Rot)


JAIL:
There’s No Sky (Oh My My): LP
These jingle jangly indie rock tunes had me bobbing my head as soon as the needle hit the vinyl. It’s got nice a nice mix of organ and splashy drum cymbals to keep the tracks moving right along. This album has all that right touches of old school garage rock without sounding washed up by being too derivative. Damn fine LP here. –N.L. Dewart (Jail, myspace.com/jailjailjailjail)


IN THE HOLLOWS:
Self-titled: 7”
Solid Baltimore post-Fugazi hardcore, driving melodies with anger, melodic but snarly voice, lots of moody energy. Poetic lyrics that have issues with society. “Move Away” is kickass, nice and powerful. The other two songs are good but not as excitable to me, but this is obviously a band that can do cool things. –Speedway Randy (Mightier Than Sword, mtsrecords.com)


JFA:
To All Our Friends: CD
I remember seeing this band at Fenders in Long Beach circa 1986. Their drummer Bam Bam was zonked on acid that night, which resulted in a super-looooong, tripped out version of “The Day Walt Disney Died,” but he more than held up his own during warp factor nine versions of all their hits. A badass show that fits easily into one of the top two best shows I ever saw ‘em do (the other being a show they did with Bad Religion and L7 at a Mexican restaurant in Hollywood a couple of years later, where every band was at their peak and the place was on the verge of total mayhem for most of the night, a vibe that finally ended with someone stabbing someone else on the dance floor right in front of Yogi and me while we were tripping on acid. There was also the show they did with Die Kreuzen and Mighty Sphincter, but this little fan-geek is digressing). My clutch of friends fuggin’ worshipped this band not because we were skate rats (although a few were), but because they were masters of a unique brand of hardcore that was fast, furious, and chock full of disparate influences ranging from psychedelia to surf to funk. There was no way you could confuse JFA with any other band, a trait that is always a marker that the band you’re listening to is goddamned good at what they do. This live disc demonstrates that they remain masters of their domain. The tempos are slower than their ‘80s peak, but unlike other bands, what this translates into is that they play at around the speed of the original studio versions of the songs here, which, in turn, were pretty thrashin’ in their own right. The tracks here are culled from the crème de la crème of the band’s catalog—“Preppy,” “Beach Blanket Bongout,” “We Know You Suck,” “Charlie Brown”—as well as a couple from their last studio effort. Sound is faboo, delivery is properly spirited and Brian is in fine, um, howl. Gripes? Inclusion of the aforementioned “Walt Disney” and at least one of their legendary surf covers would’ve been nice, and though it has fourteen tracks, the disc is too goddamned short, which says a lot. Other than that, this is about as good as live hardcore albums, and bands, get. –Jimmy Alvarado (DC-Jam)


JONESES:
Criminal History: 2 x LP
What we have here is a reissue of the Joneses collection that originally came out on Sympathy For The Record Industry at the beginning of the decade. That collection went out of print rather quickly and became quite sought after. This is an excellent overview of this amazing band and this new version is available on vinyl for the first time. In addition, there are bonus demo tracks here that are quite awesome, unlike the usual throwaway bonus tracks. The Joneses are one of the greatest bands of all time and this is a fantastic introduction to the band for anyone who has yet to hear them. –Mike Frame (Full Breach, fullbreach77.com)


IDLE HANDS:
Postponed: LP
This record fucking rips. Ultra-melodic punk rock, like a sped-up Statues but with unmistakably European melodies, almost like slowed-down ‘90s Burning Heart skate punk at times. I don’t know if it’s a welcome comparison or not, but I even get a total Satanic Surfers vibe from some of these tracks and I am stoked. Don’t take that too literally, though—Idle Hands are straight-up ‘70s style sing-along punk from the Jam/Buzzcocks school, but there are elements at work here that avoid having the band too easily pigeonholed. Regardless, if you’re a fan of that post-power-pop, early Jam-influenced sound, I’m pretty damn confident this record’ll floor you. Pick up their debut EP while you’re at it; it’s a total slayer. –Dave Williams (Hardware)


HUSSY, THE / SLEEPING IN THE AVIARY:
Split: 7”
The Hussy: total garage trash. I accidentally played it on 33 instead of 45 and liked it better that way. Sleeping In The Aviary: Bad garage meets even worse indie rock. It’s amazing that someone actually paid to have this pile pressed on vinyl. Whoever gave these guys their first instruments made a huge mistake. –Ryan Horky (Science Of Sound, no address listed)


HUMANS, THE:
Pop!: 7” EP
The Humans aren’t reinventing the 12-bar blues here, but they’re using it to burst out some fierce garage rock. This is fun times with four songs. You gotta love the humorous sleeve art for this 7”, which has a comic of a woman popping her zit. Good times. –N.L. Dewart (The Humans)


HUB CITY STOMPERS:
Ska Ska Black Sheep: CD
Horrible cover art, a regrettable album title, and something immediately off-putting about the drum and guitar sound on the recording. I can’t say it got much better from there. Ska ranging from fast paced with slight metal influences to traditional rock steady and dub.  Nothing struck me as utterly horrible for the genre, but nothing above mediocre that I am drawn to listen to again. The lyrics offer no redemption and the chip-on-the-shoulder tone of the liner notes is likewise a turnoff. –Jake Shut –Guest Contributor (Stubborn, stubbornrecords.com )


HOMOSTUPIDS:
Self-titled: LP
This emerges somewhere between the Spits and the Tyrades, and those familiar with what’s lurking beneath those rocks—the dark digestion, the cool heat, the wiggling obscured from far above—may say, “That sounds incompatible.” The Spits and the Tyrades both employ the tactic of “Music as fight,” and the Homostupids take angular, bent wires of songs, like a hand-unwound coat hanger, and then they mercilessly beat the listener about the neck, shoulders, face, and delicates. It’s a type of garage rock that comes with its own set of weapons and this record’s an unrelenting, solid mass. Bathe it in blood and score it as another target hit by the ‘Stupids. –Todd Taylor (My Mind’s Eye)


HÖLLEY 750:
Death Machine: CDEP
The band’s name comes from a famed carburetor and they self-describe themselves as “trucker punk.” This six-song EP reminds me of a slower Limecell or Cocknoose, and it’s hard not to raise a hairy fist in the air as the songs plod on. Jamie Desoto’s growly vocals are notably expressive and there’s a dedicated “we mean it” vibe to it all that rises to the surface on every track. The song title “Guns and/or Knives” might be tongue-in-cheek, but the seedy lyrics are seriously awesome. –Art Ettinger (Zodiac Killer)


HOLDING ON TO SOUND:
Songs of Freedom: CD
At first, these guys struck me as being fairly Propaghandi-influenced, since this came off as kind of prog-y and political, but there’s touches of bands like Bridge And Tunnel, or The Exit. It’s pretty cool, though it runs kind of long at times, with songs coming in at over five minutes (which is cool if you’re like, Coltrane, but I get restless when it comes to punk). But, there is a song called “Kurt Russell,” which is pretty rad. –Joe Evans III (Geykido Comet)


HOLDING ON TO SOUND:
Self-titled: CD
This is bad reggae punk that sounds like it was made by really young kids in their first band. Were this the case, I’d cut them a break, but the dudes in the photos look a lot older than that, so no dice. The songs seem interminable even though they aren’t really that long, and the vocalist sometimes sings with fake patois. Skip this one. –Ryan Horky (No label listed)


HJERTESTOP:
Aarh Fuck...: EP
Okay, this is the domestic pressing of their EP that originally came out in 2005 on Kick N Punch, then Adult Crash. There’s a Young Wasteners and Incontrollados connection here, and this band is of the same style: old style punk from Denmark. If you like stuff like City-X, and the Razorblades, or even a semi recent band like No Hope For The Kids, then you need to get this. Hjertestop pull off the retro sound with ease. The songs are tuneful, catchy, and well structured and played. I think my favorite of this record is “Vi Er Overalt” with its hyper tempo and classic guitar sound. Then there’s the song that kicks off the flip, “Ind I Lejren” that’s pretty ripping as well. Hell, this whole record rips. They switch up the tempos, create some tension, and pace this thing properly throughout. More than a mere collection of songs, this is a solid EP. I heard these guys played the L.A. area not too long ago. Come back so I can see you guys. I’ll take you to Punky Reggae Party when the show is done! Hjertestop translates to “heart failure.” Whoa! –Matt Average (Fashionable Idiots, fashionableidiots.com)


HINDI GUNS, THE:
(Many Many) Miles Away b/w Loaded Gun: CD
I’m a little confused by these guys. I’ve reviewed ‘em a handful of times by now, and it’s pretty much always the same: kind of weird rock, usually two or four songs at a time (and one “Rarities” collection). The discs are always made out to look exactly like vinyl. There really isn’t any updated information on them, and can’t seem to tell if they play out live much or not. I just feel like there’s some sort of “agenda” here, but I don’t know what. WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO PULL, HINDI GUNS? –Joe Evans III (French Fan Club, no address)


HICKOIDS:
Waltz a-Cross-Dress Texas: CD
The Hickoids were one of those bands like the Dead Milkmen who straddled the fence between novelty band and punk band. It was clear from the tunes that they didn’t take themselves too seriously and yet, obviously, put some thought into what they were doing. The music on this reissue does nothing to sway that assessment, with tunes that poke fun at whatever’s nearest to them at the time with enough cowboy punker twang to satisfy any Lama-sportin’ Mohican looking to dive off the stage. “Queen of the BBQ” still brings a smile to my face. –Jimmy Alvarado (Saustex)


HERE COMES A BIG BLACK CLOUD!!:
“Black Mold” b/w “Psychic Violence”: 7”
Chaotic, skittering, in-the-red, energetic and organ-infested: I wouldn’t call it a mess because it sounds like they know what they’re doing. Also straddles the new and the old, so a mix between the Mummies (the garage elements) and The Peppermints (really worked-up zombies on LSD) wouldn’t be too far a field. Comes with 3D glasses, but the seahorse on the cover doesn’t pop out at me as much as I hoped it would. –Todd Taylor (Stankhouse, myspace.com/stankhouserecords)


HEATH DEADGER:
Self-titled: Cassette
Musically competent thrash punk played with precision and utter disdain for any vocal performance that contains even a hint of actual melody. Not something to throw on at your next BBQ. But “So Black Jesus Has Descended” has a nice beat and you can dance to it, so what the hell do I know? –Sean Koepenick (self-released)


HAWKS AND DOVES:
Hush Money/I’m on Fire: 7”
Acoustic-based single from an ex member of Planes Mistaken For Stars. Man, this really seems to be the gruff punk retirement plan. Alongside how many members of assorted beard punk related bands comes another single that is stripped down to basics. One thing about this style is that someone will live and die by their songwriting; there is no distortion or volume to drown things out. This record is not nearly up to the level of something like Drag The River or Tim Barry and covering Bruce Springsteen is never a good idea—particularly a popular song such as the one here. It just seems to be setting yourself up for disappointment. This is probably as good as most of this style, and fans of the stripped down ex-punker style will find a lot to like here, I suppose. –Mike Frame (No Idea)


HARLEQUIN KID:
Self-titled: Cassette
The insert for this release keeps the band’s story shrouded in mystery, other than that they like pictures of really old, beat-to-shit cars. But they actually look like fine young men from Appleton, WI online. This five-song EP starts off with the sludge rock of “Deer Slayer.” Side one ends with “Don’t Help Me Up,” which strikes me as dipping into the Killdozer pool, which I have no problem with at all. “Drown the Sun” blurs the crosshairs between Volcano Suns and Bastro. Promising debut slab, guys. Let’s see where next year’s extended play tape takes us. –Sean Koepenick (self-released)


HEX DISPENSERS:
Winchester Mystery House: CD
The Hex Dispensers are the magic bullet. What they pull off is so fraught with potential failure, that the fact that they are any better than passable is a cause for celebration. Let’s establish some early facts: the Hex Dispensers are great and they’ve made their best album yet. Let me explain some larger implications. Bands of Danzig ripper-off-er-ers are clowns. Here’s a fun thing to do. For every devil-locked spook who’s taking themselves a wee bit too seriously at their respective musical duties, I just imagine them with bright red noses, big-ass shoes, and oversized ties. For every skeleton-handed glove, I imagine bright pink polka dots. If you’re asking me to willingly suspend belief that the Misfits never existed and what you’re doing has one iota of a creative spark, I might as well have fun with it. But the Hex Dispensers, although they tread in the operatic darker lands of music’s psyche, they do it with an Edward Gorey precision and a Tales from the Crypt style of understanding of both blood spatters and the psychology of titillating terror. They’re both simultaneously paranoid and dance party of the apocalypse-sounding, filtered through the dark charcoal of years playing in small bars and backyards. The album ends with a kick-ass cover of Devo’s “Gates of Steel.” If you’re on a tight budget, and can only buy a couple of records this year, here’s one of my top recommendations. –Todd Taylor (Douchemaster)


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·SHORT, FAST AND LOUD! #5
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·ANCHOR, THE
·JOHN WESLEY COLEMAN III / FOLLOWED BY STATIC
·POPULATION REDUCTION


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