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Record Reviews

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PLUS ONES/TRAVOLTAS:
Split: CDEP
Plus Ones: The songs aren’t as immediately catchy as their first disc, but are pleasant enough as pop goes. The third song, “You’ve Been Had,” was by far the best. Travoltas: Yet another post-Queers pop punk band to fill up space on the music racks. They’re good at what they do, but there’s already literally millions of others already strip mining this plot on the punk rock landscape. Give it a rest, already. –Jimmy Alvarado (Asian Man)


PINHEAD CIRCUS:
Self-titled: CDEP
Kick ass! I can’t get enough of these guys. I about tripped over my belly getting to the CD player when this came in the mail. They keep getting better and better every time I hear them. Great songwriting as usual. They started out fairly poppy with their earlier albums but seem to get a little angrier with each release. Seems like they are mixing their pop punk now with a small touch of hardcore. Fucking awesome. Only five songs here at a length of about nine minutes. Just enough to tease me and get me excited for more to come. –Toby Tober (Not Bad)


PILLOW OF WRONGNESS:
Music from Little Pink: CD
Adequate, yet uneventful poppy rock music. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.pillowofwrongness.com)


PENETRATION:
Coming up for Air: CD
With a name like Captain Oi, I was excited to hear something in the Oi or skinhead genre. I’m embarrassed to play this in my apartment by myself. This is apparently a reissue of an album put out in 1979. It is very dated for certain. It sounds like the bad radio pop of the time with female vocals along the lines of Cyndi Lauper or Pat Benatar. Nothing at all punk about this. Gay is the only adjective that comes to mind. I’m now scared that the fifty-something lesbian who lives beneath me with the shaved head and the braless boobs that almost hang down out the bottom of her white see-through t-shirts will now think less of me for not playing the usual “fuck you” punk rock that is always coming from my apartment. –Toby Tober (Captain Oi)


PCP ROADBLOCK:
Sporting Goods World War III: CD
Mid-tempo to dirge speed noisecore. If you really wanna get outta that long lease on your apartment, you can’t go wrong with this puppy blasting through your speakers. –Jimmy Alvarado (Wet Tail)


OZOMATLI:
Embrace the Chaos: CD
Here is a band that I love listening to when I need a punk rock break. My wife and I love to go see them every chance we get. We dance (or try at least...) and always have a good time when we go see them. I missed the Santa Monica Pier show recently and heard that it was a great show. My friends told me that the you could feel the pier flexing from all the people dancing and jumping up and down. I did catch them two weeks later at the John Anson Ford Theater and had a great time with my wife for a great date. I love going to their shows because you see people from all walks of life and from all age groups. It is there for all to enjoy. This is their second full length following a self-titled release and a self-released EP. They are one of my favorite bands of the moment and they are infectious with their blend of Latin and hip hop. They’re always fun and the musicianship is impeccable. They were sort of inactive for about a year and when they played the Democratic Convention with Rage Against the Machine and got shut down, they got re-energized and wanted to continue on their quest. The music is not their only focus. If you go to their website, (www.ozomatli.com), you will see that they are activists also. Jimmy Alvarado tells me they used to play community centers benefits before they got more popular. I respect that and even though they are on a major, they play great music and try to educate those who are open to being educated. I know I like this. I hope you will too. –Donofthedead (Interscope)


OZMA:
Rock and Roll Part Three: CD
Do you have a little geek in you? I do. I may have gotten contact lens to replace my coke bottle thick glasses. I can now afford clothes that match. But nothing can erase the torture of what I endured as the smart kid in elementary school. Skateboarding, punk rock, and drugs all changed that. This gets passed on to the wife who has a great love for Weezer and that is what this sounds like to me. For all those who had to endure putting tape on your glasses to keep them together, unite! –Donofthedead (Kung Fu)


ONE MAN SHOW LIVE:
It Don: 7" EP
Full-on attitudinal, low-fi trash, reminiscent of early Makers, Mummies, and Drags, that actually begs the audience to try to come and beat the shit out of them. When Joey Valentine sings, “I’ve been down so long/ your kicks feel like kisses,” I actually believe him. They play like a fully revving, non-smog-passing, clattering GTO in a closed garage: noxious, potentially lethal, and inherently cool. One Man Show Live test the theory that a band with a modicum of talent and eight fists of fuck you can launch out of a garage and burn it down in the process. They emerge victorious. I like this 7” a lot. They make their spite sound genuine and like a lot of fun. –Todd Taylor (Call and Response)


NUKE:
Your Romeo: CDEP
Yawn, yawn, yawn. This is meaningless pop-punk mundanity. It’s a bigtime sonic snooze-fest from start to finish. The vocals are flatter than a dried-up old strip of dirt in Death Valley, and the instrumentation is as cohesive as my next upcoming bout of strained flatulence. I’d rather drink my own piss than listen to a moment more of this moronic melody-mush mediocrity. Hell, at least my brew-saturated wee-wee has substance! –Guest Contributor (Mutant Pop)


NO USE FOR A NAME:
Live in a Dive: CD
I’m not ashamed to admit that I like No Use For A Name. I always have (well, ever since I first heard their song, “Death Doesn’t Care,” on a local college-radio station sometime in the early ‘90s when I lived in Shitport, Louisiana). I fervently feel that NUFAN musically combine some of the better audial elements of Bad Religion, Green Day, NOFX, and Pennywise while molding it all into precise, well-polished pop-punk sculptures of sound. On this loud’n’live release, they energetically immerse the ears in a free-flowing flurry of melodious magnificence. Twenty spectacular tracks of prime frenetic tuneage, including a killer-cool cover of The Misfits’ “Martian” and a raucously stellar rendition of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song.” And, hell yeh, the CD-insert booklet contains an amusing and graphically striking comic about the band’s fictional (mis)adventures on the road! As usual, NUFAN have created a topnotch package of structurally perfect ditties that cause the ol’ baby-blues to well-up and mist with joy. –Guest Contributor (Fat Wreck Chords)


NO USE FOR A NAME:
Live in a Dive: CD
I love most bands on Fat, but this is not one of them. Recorded in various clubs in California, you get one of the most professional live recordings I’ve heard. Included for your viewing pleasure on computer is three songs of video and interview footage and a cool comic book. A must-have for fans or a good introduction point for those not in the know. My wife has been cranking this in her car, if that is any consolation. –Donofthedead (Fat Wreck Chords)


NAVEL:
1994 - 1999: CD
Discography CD from this dreamy, pop punk band from Japan. Didn’t know that they had broken up or can confirm if they really did based on this release. I have heard Navel in the past. I have the split with Skimmer and the Hello Nippon and Killed by Crackle comps that they have appeared on. Many might relate to the reference of Hi Standard to conceptualize this band since both originate from Japan. Both have very thick Japanese accents and play melodic punk. I will re-use the adjective “dreamy” again when I have to describe the music they play. They do tread in a more hardcore vein in some tracks, but many tread in a pure pop vein. The musicianship is absolutely dead on and puts a smile on my down face. What is included here is their full length, Uneasy, and a variety of tracks off splits and comps. Worth its weight in recycled rabbit dung and can fertilize a good time. –Donofthedead (Snuffy Smile)


MOURNINGSIDE:
...From Two Graves Back: CD
Horror-laced lyrics mixed with street punk from this Boston band. Reminded me of Agnostic Front. The vocals not being in key at times drove me crazy. The music was there but the vocals bugged me. Not high on my attention radar at the moment but can be better embraced by others. –Donofthedead (Rodent Popsicle)


MOURNINGSIDE:
...From Two Graves Back!: CD
A poor man’s rehash of the Misfits “horrorcore” shtick. Spontaneous Disgust, who decidedly aren’t a Misfits rehash, could easily beat these guys in a thumb-wrestling match. Fuck, there’d be no competition. –Jimmy Alvarado (Rodent Popsicle)


MOTHER SUPERIOR:
Self-titled: CD
Hmmm, what a strange and putrid change of pace this is. Mother Superior listlessly sound like one of those uninspired soundtrack-ready bar bands that androgynously strut their stuff in lame-o movies like Road House or the latest Sylvester Stallone flick. It’s equal parts Hollywood hardrock, Sunset Boulevard-style power-rock, and biliously anthemic arena-rock (think Kiss, Grand Funk Railroad, Boston, early Ted Nugent, Bad Company, Soundgarden, and the sound of severe intestinal gastro-disorders). Pallid, lackluster, watered-down, and weak. I’ve drank Gerber Baby apple-juice stronger than this shit! –Guest Contributor (Triple X)


MINORITY BLUES BAND/J CHURCH:
Split: 7"
The pairing is good here. The music styles seem to match. Minority Blues Band: J Church like in delivery but more poppy. A dreamy, fantasy-like sound is delivered through my speakers on the first track. The second track is more punk in its delivery and punches forward with intensity. J Church: What happened to these guys? They used to put out a releases like every other month it seemed like. They play a Subhumans cover and Cringer (former band of [singer/guitarist] Lance’s, if you didn’t know) cover recorded live at a radio station. These guys have been around long enough for me to not have to describe them. –Donofthedead (Snuffy Smile)


MILEMARKER:
Anesthetic: CD
This CD made me reflect on the 8-track. It had its good and bad points, but I liked the 8-track for one big reason. It helped kill prog rock. Think about it. A track only had x-minutes per, then it had to click over to the next track, no matter where the song was. It was great for punk. All the songs fit. “Anarchy in the UK” was released on the format. The coolest thing is that bands like ELO and Hawkwind took it on the chin. You couldn’t put a 30-minute wankfest on the format. It’d chonk over mid wank, destroying the groove, man. For that, I applaud the now deleted format. My point? Milemarker are good, but would benefit by making their songs a lot a bit shorter (three songs of the seven songs clock in over seven minutes, one at 8:27. For the love of all that’s holy, my medication only lasts five minutes). The good: pretend Enya was in a new wave band, backed by the soundtrack to the movie Tron and Jawbox. It’s pretty fruity, but it’s still swelling, enjoyable, and I bet you could get nailed with this on the hi-fi. The irritating: the lyrics are folded inside the back jewel case (I swear I wasn’t dismantling it for the case). The funny: the line, “these plastic molded seats had to be cast from someone’s perfect ass.” Mixed bag. If it was half the time, I’d probably enjoy it ten times more. –Todd Taylor (Jade Tree)


MIGHTY GORDINIS, THE:
Kiss My Wheels: LP
It’s a pillowfight between ‘70s punk and ‘60s loungesurf; no clear winner, but who wins a pillowfight? The two styles rarely meet in one song, but they do manage to enhance each other, making this (probably) a swell party record. Stupid lyrics (“next stop Pussyville/ I really really can’t sit still/next stop Pussytown/I really really can’t sit down”) in French accents complete the fun pack. –Cuss Baxter (Demolition Derby)


MANIFESTO JUKEBOX:
Desire: CD
This is extremely upbeat and raucously brash (yet somewhat frenetically melodic at times) punkrock thunder-roar fury. It’s thick, chunky, richly textured audial liveliness that’s uncannily similar to a turbulent topsy-turvy rollercoaster ride during a full-force brain-rattling hailstorm. Imagine an over-amped distortion-heavy whirlwind cacophony of Husker Du, Bad Religion, Leatherface, Hot Water Music, and Social Distortion dipped headfirst into an enraged lava-spewing volcano. Now drop the entire nuclear arsenal of the former Soviet Union into the fiery volcanic mix, and then run for cover. As the sparks ballistically fly all over the fuckin’ place, be sure and listen to the deafening clamor of creation’s final hurrah. That’s the blunt, abrupt, and relentlessly loud sound of Manifesto Jukebox blastin’ a new asshole through the earth’s core, buddy boy! Yep, my ears are now appreciatively witnessing some of the most monstrous and moving tuneage ever put to platter. I’m frozen stiff in a paralyzing fit of utterly speechless awe thanks to this sonically conflagrant CD! –Guest Contributor (Manifesto Jukebox)


MALA VISTA:
Demo: CDR
Mala Vista are one of those belligerently loud bands who have “old school” tattooed all over their tattered and torn hearts. A fiery raging passion for punkrock chaotically courses its way through their veins and violently roars outta their mouths and fingertips like a pack of rabid flesh-eating hellhounds unleashed upon the unsuspecting occupants of mainstream society’s everyday blandness. Mala Vista are primitive, primal, raw, rowdy, and anti-everything conventional. Their confrontational anarchic attitude is of the “we’re gonna riot in the streets and fuck things up” variant, and the mayhemic musical miscreance contained herein only reinforces the ballsy brazenness behind their insurgent rock’n’roll demeanor. I shit you not, kiddies, this is as aurally intimidating as the end of the world! Who needs Black Flag when there’s Mala Vista to lay waste to all of the inane corporate-produced drivel constantly polluting the public accessible airwaves this day and age?! Yep, the Vista boys are a sonically furious force not to be fucked with. –Guest Contributor (Mala Vista)


MAD DADDYS:
The Age of Asparagus: CD
Motherfuckin’ howdy-hooooo, this is a brawny, ballsy brain-rattler of a disc from beginning to end and back again! It’s pure rootin’-tootin’, rockin’ barroom burliness at its most decadent, debauched, and devilishly divine; all-at-once wicked, savage, and downright irreverent! Yeh buddy, the Mad Daddys aurally resemble an atomic-powered Big Bopper (electrically jolted back to life like Frankenstein’s monster!) ferociously frontin’ an untamed tribe of rampagin’ demonic heathen-child musicians. Or at the very least, they’re the flesh-and-blood embodiment of 100 tons of prime undiluted musical manliness! Damnit, why don’t more bands of this cacophonously crazed caliber exist?! I dunno, but I do know this much: the Mad Daddys have enthusiastically put the rock back into the roll! Thanks, fellas! And thank you, R.A.F.R., for releasin’ such aural rowdiness. And, most of all, thanks Ma for torturously givin’ birth to me so that my ears could one day have the supreme privilege of jubilantly listenin’ to this CD. Amen, and fuck the world! –Guest Contributor (R.A.F.R.)


LEWD, THE:
Self-titled: 7" EP
Yeah, that San Francisco Lewd, who first released the Kill Yourself 7" single in 1979 on Scratched Records. “Dressed in Black” is mid-tempo and drags along. “Roughouse” picks up the tempo, and is OK. The standout track is “Mobile Home,” a Turbonegro cover. It exhibits the Lewd I remember the most fondly – dirty, snotty, driven, barely able to play, but as catchy and debilitating as tetanus. Maybe if they listened more to Norway’s denim demons before they lay the tracks for their next album, they’ll have more snap and drive. That said, the physical vinyl looks delicious. Split milky white/ cherry Jolly Rancher. Yum. –Todd Taylor (702)


LAST BURNING EMBERS:
Distress Call: 3-song CDEP
Super-smart, borderline mathy rock, ala Jawbox. As a matter of fact, Last Burning Embers Jawboxian trappings are so complete, that it sounds like a hybrid cross between the albums Grippe and For Your Own Special Sweetheart – in song speed and spread, lead vocalist timbre (David Burokas’ voice signature is so close to Jay Robbins’, it’s disarming), and volume (hushed but loud, if that makes sense). I happen to like Jawbox. I also happen to know that Jawbox has broken up and will never make another song, so this is pretty good. On a related note, if you’ve ever wondered what Jack Rabid of The Big Takeover magazine sounds like as a drummer, wonder no longer. He definitely holds his own. Pleasant overall. –Todd Taylor (Last Burning Embers)


LA MANCHA:
Choose Your Own Adventure: CD
Mostly mellow, mostly instrumental art rock. The majority of it is pretty, but the songs go on for way too long (many of them 10+ minutes) and get boring rather quickly. –Jimmy Alvarado (Sit-N-Spin)


KLASSE KRIMINALE:
Stai vivendo o stai sopravivendo? (Are You Living Or Just Surviving?): CD
Italian skinhead-sounding band. Not bad, however, everything is sung in Italian so I can’t really appreciate what they are saying. If you speak Italian and like skinhead style music, check this out. They sound pretty solid musically. Nothing new, though. I just wish I understood them. (I am not positive this is Italian. It’s just a guess.[It ain’t English]) –Toby Tober (Mad Butcher)


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