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· 1:Punk Parenthood for the Sleep Deprived
· 2:#330 with Craven Rock
· 3:#329 with Daryl Gussin
· 4:One Punk’s Guide to Poetry
· 5:#331 with Mike Faloon and Todd Taylor


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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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BROONIES, THE:
In Love Again: CD-R
Dude, okay, this one is kinda disjointed, as it’s a bit shocking going from a track that is reminiscent of the shambolic, heartfelt punk on Sexy’s Por Vida to a song that sounds like an amateur take on John Fahey’s guitar-picking with vocals. Anyhow, everything on here is pretty fine, thanks in no small part to the stellar guitar tone. Of the ten tracks here, most fall on the punk side of the spectrum, and all are sounding awesome. I think this one shoulda been pared down to an EP for consistency’s sake, but that’s an easily surmountable issue. What’s next, fellas?  –Vincent Battilana (Self-released, no address listed)


BREATHING LIGHT, THE:
Self-titled: CD-R
It would be easy to dismiss the Breathing Light’s effort as lacking structure, amateurish, and musically scattered. All these attributes initially came to mind as I was trying to process the few listenable moments. Hope was seemingly lost until I noticed the following words printed on the back of the CD jacket: “Recorded in classrooms and basements, DIY or fuck off!” That fills me with mountains of hope that soon they’ll sort out their New York no-wave, goth, indie, and punk influences and meld it into something more palatable.  –Juan Espinosa (Slash Em Up Collective, theonenother@gmail.)


BLACKWÜLF:
Mind Traveler: LP
Some seriously heavy-handed rock comes out of Mind Traveler. Not the faintest whiff of punk emanates from this album. Which, I’m sure in all fairness, is exactly what Blackwülf sets out to do. ‘80s-style heavy metal with tinges of ‘90s grunge, all gloomy and doomy. I’m sure their label sent this out to whomever. This is just not my thing. I can tell you this is well produced and the cover art is a fucking ‘80s vintage-rock-T-shirt-wet-dream-come-true, but if it’s punk you seek, this ain’t it.  –Camylle Reynolds (Self-released, wulf@blackwulfusa.com)


BLACK BLACK, THE:
“One Blunt Death Party” b/w “You’re a Danger”: 7”
In case the name didn’t give it away, The Black Black stands firmly on the gothier end of arty post-punk. Heavily distorted bass grooves tie both these tracks together, working particularly well in the dancey break of “You’re a Danger.” The drawling, Pixies-style stage whispers tend to come off a little dated, as far as vocals go, but there’s no denying these guys are pulling off the cool-moody-Brooklyn-kids aesthetic. The artwork and packaging is slick, featuring some great line drawings of ghoulish babes and cheap beer cans. Pretty accurately summarizes the tone of the whole record, come to think of it.  –Indiana Laub (Money Fire, moneyfirerecords.com)


BIALA GORACZKA:
Nieposluszenstwo: LP
Originally released as a cassette tape back in those carefree days of 2000, this is Biala Goraczka’s second album. Stylistically they lean towards punk rock circa 1990s, with hyper tempos, stadium choruses, multiple vocalists, manic delivery, and a Clash-style reggae number thrown in—though a nice change of pace—falls flat. The opening riff to “Dosyc Juz” sounds like the theme to Night Rider. “Strup” is a standout that has some weird tempo changes—from fast to these mid-tempo parts—and one occurring change has this strange style that conjures ideas of confusion and being lost. Nothing earth shattering on here, but worth a couple spins just the same.  –Matt Average (Pasazer, pasazer.pl)


BETTY MACHETE & THE ANGRY COUGARS:
“Rats” b/w “Mexico”: : 7”
This is some dirty punk rock in the tradition of The Bags and The Plasmatics. Betty’s nasty, sneering vocals are the focal point here as she howls and spits through the A-side. “Mexico” offers a little breathing room with a few seconds of sultry riffing before the buzzsaw guitar kicks off again. Besides some unexpected but cool piano flair in “Mexico,” both songs stick for the most part to a tried and true formula: fast, raw, and confrontational. If it ain’t broke, right? I have to admit that I’m more into the packaging than the music—freebies include an old-school fan club mail order ad and a tip sheet for rat eradication courtesy of Columbus Public Health.  –Indiana Laub (Dull-Fi)


BELLICOSE MINDS, THE:
The Buzz or Howl Sessions: 10”
I dunno, man. When the death rock thing started popping up everywhere again, I was excited for little while, but like any subgenre resurgence, it quickly became oversaturated and far too few bands were really nailing it. And honestly, to me, The Bellicose Minds simply aren’t one of the few standouts. They’re totally fine. Chorus-y guitars, spooky synths, goth-y vocals… there’s just not much new or exciting going on here.  –Dave Williams (A389)


BAUS:
Idol Minds: Cassette
Baus, pronounced “Boss,” out of Oakland offers up their first release. It’s really hard to conform their sound to any one genre. They are a unique hybrid of noise, no-wave, post-punk, and funk. It’s got a quirky funk groove that really gets the hips moving without being cliché in the least. A foundation of bass bounces in step with funk-influenced drums. That’s layered atop with odd and anxious post-punk guitar and shrill and uneasy vocals from Mike. It’s punctuated by some pretty rad shrieks from Sierra. It’s not too often you find a band that sounds this unique; an oddity of sorts. Don’t hesitate to pick this up.  –Camylle Reynolds (Self-released, BausBand510@gmail.com)


BAT COUNTRY:
Love’s the Only Engine of Survival: CD
On a late Seattle morning in May 2012, a man suffering from depression walked into a café and took out a gun. Killing five and wounding others, Joe Albanese, Bat Country’s upright bass player, was one of the victims sitting at that café. Distraught after his death, the band decided to call it quits but wanted to put out an album in Joe’s memory. This, their debut and swan song, serves as a eulogy to a man active in the Arizona punk scene and neocabaret stage. Despite their homebase of Seattle, a southern gothic aura radiates from this nine-piece ensemble. The album title swiped from Leonard Cohen’s “The Future,” which they cover, adds to the NickCave & the Bad Seeds murky mystique of coffins, faeries, and ramblin’ countrymen. Accordion, clarinet, and Joe’s upright bass lend pomp and swing like Amanda Palmer’s Dresden Dolls, while piano threads of Rasputina can be eked out as a parlor lilt fades into the ether. Fit for a steampunk, cabaret variety show.  –Kristen K. (Self-released)


BARE MINIMUM, THE:
Hit after Hit: CD
Four-piece Toronto punk outfit lets loose here with their first full-length. “Destroy the Human Race” and “Nerd at the Punk Show” are two of my favorites on this platter. Give this one a few spins and it will definitely grow on you like a tick that takes a chunk of flesh without asking first. Plus, you know these dudes are classy since they used Roman numerals for the track numbers.  –Sean Koepenick (Self-released, thebareminimumband@gmail.com)


BAG: THEORY:
Tap Dancing in a Mine Field: CD-R
Remember that band that your aging “I used to be a punk rocker, then I grew up” co-worker plays in? You know, the one he keeps bugging you to “come check out” even when you politely decline his offer of free tickets. Bag: Theory is that band and they’re the prog-jazz-freeform-avant-garde clusterfuck that you cringingly envisioned. These sorts of bands are the reason noise cancelling headphones were invented.  –Juan Espinosa (Homeless Publishing, paperbagtheory.com)


AVERAGE TIMES:
Self-titled: CD
Canadian punks Average Times remind me of my attitude as a teen, nothing is the matter but I’m really worked up about it. These are head-bobbing songs about high school excess and having a good time late into the summer night. Musically, it’s solid but most of the lyrics get lost in the heavy reverb; this might cover-up for bad vocals, but, come on, don’t be shy. I want to be able to sing along but instead I’m only able to tap my toes to the beat. Overall, not bad. It seems like everyone is partying in Ottawa.  –Ashley (Hosehead, hoseheadrecords.com / P.Trash, ptrashrecords.com)


ATLANTIC THRILLS:
Self-titled: LP
I try to come at new releases—be it music, literature, film, or television—with low expectations. If something is good, I can appreciate it that much more. If something is so-so, then I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time. I really liked Atlantic Thrills’ Day at the Beach 7” from last year and was really looking forward to a full-length, but when I got this record, I gotta say I was disappointed. The psychedelic-ish cover isn’t necessary and the tunes just didn’t hit me like that first 7”. They’re derivative and middle-of-the road at best. Atlantic Thrills’ take on ‘60s rock’n’roll is seen through a Black Lips prism, which is different than say viewing ‘60s rock’n’roll through the same prism the Black Lips do (see “Acid Rain.”) And it seems that every song is the same—”we like to get high.” That’s all well and good, but it’s like hanging out with that one friend who doesn’t talk about anything else but getting high, which gets old quick.  –Sal Lucci (Almost Ready)


ASOUND, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Sludge with affected, Josh Homme-y vocals. Even at a crawl, the drums can’t keep up.  –Chris Terry (tsugurirecords.blogspot.com)


ARROYO DEATHMATCH:
Through the Fear of It: CD
Besides a ukulele, drums, and three vocalists, this band is comprised of a flute, a washboard, and an instrument they created (a bejota) that kind of looks like a banjo but doesn’t sound exactly like it. They describe themselves as anarcho punk folk and belong to a music collective. Do I really need to spell this out for you?  –Kurt Morris (Goathead, goathead.record.collective@gmail.com)


AM/FM’S, THE:
Self-titled: 7”
Mid-tempo Ramones revivalism at its most lovably predictable: catchy choruses (“baby” / “maybe” / “crazy” rhymes sprinkled throughout), power pop progressions, and swaggering rock’n’roll leads. “Damn Right (It’s a Saturday Night)” is a solid, if familiar, opener that details how Saturday night makes these guys feel—you guessed it—all right. On this night they are also going to have a good time. Damn right. This is very much along the lines of what plenty of fellow nostalgics like The Mandates are doing. Nothing new here, but that’s not what the AM/FM’s seem to be going for.  –Indiana Laub (Radio Guru, theamfms@gmail.com)


AGAINST THE GRAIN:
Motor City Speed Rock: 10”
I will give this band credit for something: everything from the title of this record to the artwork gives an idea of exactly what they sound like. I was expecting a combination of Zeke-style speed and Hellacopters-style Scandi rock riffing. That is precisely what Against the Grain offer up. It is basically the style that labels like White Jazz and even Sub Pop were flooding the market with at the turn of the century: garage punk played at hardcore tempos. This band is as good as most but I have been burned out on this style for a decade and a half and am not likely to come back around. Fans of Gluecifer, Peepshows, Adam West, Puffball, and Roadsaw will want to be all over this Detroit band.  –Mike Frame (Self Destructo)


ADIOS MAFIA:
Hot-Blooded American Awesome: CD
Nope. I feel “Nick Marvelous” likes the sound of his own voice. Every moment of every song, no matter how inane or repetitive, is compressed full of lyrics delivered in that over-done Blag Jesus style. This CD would fit easily next to a Drink Fight Fuck compilation you never listen to (or are secretly ashamed of still owning).  –Matt Seward (287, adiosmafia.bandcamp.com)


AARON POEHLER & RYAN TULLY-DOYLE:
Dietrich: CD
Well, I hesitated when I got this in my pile. Cover art smells indie so I didn’t bite at first. Organic, contained, sunny wash with a hollowed facade of a building and electric organ—just bones, some broken. The music is so much stranger, deeper than the cover could ever allude to. I’m constantly learning this lesson. Aaron Poehler has such a deeply disturbing and stirring voice. The kind that enters your ears and finds its way deep into your gut. Analogies like early Bowie, David Byrne, and Ian Curtis come to mind. And really, musically, it’s a mix of ‘70s Bowie to ‘80s Dead Kennedys, to new wave Talking Heads—at times early ‘90s pop punk—to electronic and ambient post-punk. All over the fucking place. This whole album was a journey, one that I wasn’t expecting to take. It’s weird, in the most sincere way.  –Camylle Reynolds (Self-released, apoehler@gmail.com)


ZATOPEKS:
About Bloody Time: CD/LP
Zatopeks surprised me. From the cover art and the band name, I expected their sound to be as moody as the cigarette-smoking, coffee-drinking woman on the back cover. Instead, I was greeted by a polished sound and meticulously crafted hooks that were just as well researched as the lyrics, which are dense with history—complete with footnote citations on the insert. “Mechanised” taught me more Russian references than any world history course in my five years in college. “Acetate,” a duet that verges on sentimental without crossing the line into sappy, is a break from the momentum of the other songs, though I think I would have preferred it being a female solo. Their songs are content-rich but are catchy enough to be digested easily.  –Ashley (Monster Zero, themonstzeromash@gmail.com, monsterzero.nl / It’s Alive, info@itsaliverecords.com, itsaliverecords.com)


YOUNG AND IN THE WAY / WITHDRAWAL:
Split: 7”
Young And In The Way does the heavily black metal-infused hardcore thing better than anyone else, and it’s no surprise that Deathwish snatched YAITW up for its upcoming LP. Just blazing, venomous, dissonant-yet-melodic black metal-core that reminds me of both Catharsis and Spread The Disease at times. Withdrawal delivers more straightforward Ringworm/Integrity-influenced hardcore that isn’t quite as refreshing or impressive as YAITW’s side, but is still furious, pummeling, and well executed enough to keep me psyched throughout. Great split.  –Dave Williams (A389)


YES MISTRESS!:
Drunk Again: 7”
Generic, obnoxious, and annoying. Stereotypical “hard” rock mixed with punk tempo changes. Lyrical gems such as, “You want motivation but there’s none to be had / Go outside and ask some money from dad” and “Layin’ in bed like a girl on her rag.” Rag? What are you, twelve? Sadly, the members of Yes Mistress! are actually old enough to know (and do) better. Avoid.  –Alanna Why (Ken Rock, ken-rock.com, kensplastic@hotmail.com)


WORRIERS:
Cruel Optimist: 8-song LP
“Worriers” and “warriors” are homophones. When I say ‘em out loud, they sound similar. On record, Lauren Denitzio’s exploration of her vulnerabilities is what makes her songs so strong, what makes the Worriers so compelling. She’s got a wonderful voice and it runs the gamut on this record from exuberant and strident, to romantic, to questioning, to angry, to resolute. That’s a broad range for a voice to convey. It shows the complexity of not merely bumping through life, but living it. As a collection of songs, there’s a sea change afoot, as happens with age and an inspected life. Some people around Lauren are giving up and giving in. Their ideals are being swapped like fashion accessories of conspicuous consumption. Instead of flat-out blame, Lauren digs deeper into herself. At the end, we must find ourselves. We are our own captains. We are our own ship. Take care of yourself. That’s not a bad headspace for a record to put the careful listener into. It’s, at its essence, a thoughtful pop punk record. Also features Rachel of Bridge And Tunnel, Mikey “Million Bands” Yannich, and Tim Burke! of The Measure [SA]. Beautiful, emotionally smart music.  –Todd Taylor (Don Giovanni, dongiovannirecords.com / worriers.bandcamp.com / laurendenitzio.com)


WONDERFUL THING:
Intimate Dream: CD
With cheesy cover art and cheesier guitar solos, I initially classified this one as simple yet harmless dadcore. Then I got to a track called “Space Girl”: “Now it’s time to take a taste / Of the slags from outer space.” Seconds later, a middle-aged man crooned off-key: “I don’t care if you’re a dyke, girl.” What the hell?! Then, he goes on to sing about how this girl should “get off of her knees” because he doesn’t want to “taste her disease.” Every other song is just about an old man longing for love. Where did this patriarchal, heteronormative crap come from? I knew it was shit the moment I looked at it, but I didn’t know it was sexist shit too. This makes me mad and sad at the same time. Ugh.  –Alanna Why (Self-released)


WILD EMOTIONS:
“Hey Everybody” b/w “Wild Emotions”: 7”
Wild Emotions are an all-girl band with a lo-fi, keyboard-punk sound. The song on the A-side, “Hey Everybody,” would be a perfect track to spin at a Halloween party. It’s a fun, simple song you could easily pogo to in your ironic costume. The B-side song is called, well, “Wild Emotions.” This song is a bit more chaotic than the other. The vocals are blurry and it has a drunk-speed tempo. All in all, this is a fun little party record.  –Ryan Nichols (Blahhll!, blahrecords.com)


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