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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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MEATMEN, THE:
Savage Sagas from the Meatmen: CD
The bad news is that I am not worthy to review this disc. The good news is that you’re not worthy to listen to it either, so I guess it’s a horse a piece. As is likely a matter of public record, I have been a fart-huffing devotee of this band’s sonic smut since the halcyon days of 1981, when Barry Henssler of the Necros dubbed me a copy of their first basement demo, sending my mind down into a blackened abyss of Beatle-snuffings and masturbation monologues whence it never returned. And, whilst their classic ‘80s sludge is always the penile-measuring yardstick by which all other MeatPlatters will be judged—particularly their primal Blud Sausage EP and their two higher-budget cock rock LPs later in the decade, War of the Superbikes and Rock ‘n’ Roll Juggernaut—this new zinger is clearly another choice entrant to the inner circles of Tesco’s Vee’s Parthenon of Filth. The lead-off track, “Men O’ Meat,” is a worthy 21stCentury successor to “Meatmen Stomp,” and “The Dwarves are the 2ndGreatest Band in the World,” underscores the fact that Tesco seems to have taken rap lessons from Vadge Moore in “Pissed Hot for Weed,” ((“The Ballad of Stinky Penis,” however, clearly indicates Tesco’s been co-writing with Lorne Greene, and “12 Soft,” might as well be an Alberto Y Los Trios Paranoias song, if they even sang about penises, which maybe they didn’t)). Epileptic classmates, talking John Brannon dolls, and the return of Shecky Spilkers—arts and culture is here for you, folks. Now get out of my way before I feel the urge to use “weenbag” in a sentence. BEST SONG: “The Ballad of Stinky Penis.” BEST SONG TITLE: “The Dwarves are the 2nd Greatest Band in the World.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Album looks a lot like Weird Tales of the Ramones, which itself looks a lot like some other stuff.  –Rev. Norb (Self Destructo)


MEATMEN, THE:
Savage Sagas from the Meatmen: CD
First new album from this band in almost forever (not counting the “covers” record from a couple years back) finds them in fighting shape and ready to destroy your brain! The first three songs bring the noise from the first note. “Dinosaur,” especially, is sure to be an anthem in their set from this day forward. Tesco is still very irritable, but he waxes nostalgic for the old days in “They Don’t Make ‘Em Anymore.” I love “12 Soft” and the proceedings wrap up with some hash metal on “Wizards of the Oblivion.” Savage, yes—but it rocks harder than day old Pop Rocks! –Sean Koepenick (Self Destructo)


MEA CULPA:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Heavy mid/late ‘80s feel to this, like it’s perched at the evolutionary crossroads where indie rock and emo split from punk. They rely more on strum than power chord bash to punctuate the pop elements and the overall feel is more laid back than taut. Nice noodly structures on some of the tunes, too. –Jimmy Alvarado (Mea Culpa)


MARTIN SAVAGE GANG:
“Hole in My Heart” b /w “Hold On”: 7”
Three-piece from Stockholm, not Memphis as I originally thought from the label. Rippinʼ garage rock with weirdo vocals, glorious key changes, and incredibly well-timed pauses. Cute lyrics perfect for a little bit of punk seduction: “There’s a hole in my heart and you fit right in.” Awwww! Now let’s go fuck in an alleyway.  –Alanna Why (Blahll!)


MARSHALL KEITH:
On: CD
Fourth solo record from the ex-Slickee Boys guitarist. The songwriting and arrangements seem to be brimming with confidence this time around. Keith handles almost all the instruments, with some assistance from drummer Brian Horrowitz (Date Bait) on a few of the songs. There’s quirky pop inside, with a Robyn Hitchcock influence felt rustling in the wind here and there. “Stuck without Glue,” “Super Human Strength,” and “Burnt Plane,” are some of my favorites on this platter. Why not take a chance on this? Your hat may be blown off your head by a thick blast of pink dust like the people on the back cover photo of this CD. You’re welcome. –Sean Koepenick (Gakki Internazionale)


MANGES, THE:
All Is Well: CD
Precisely what the Ramones would sound like if they were still putting out records today, and Italian. Manges have honed that ‘70s leather jacket and blue jeans brand of pop punk to the tee. Stripped down music with backing vocals, hand claps, and whoa-ohs to bob your head and tap your toes to. Most of the lyrics are more interesting and complex than songs from bands like the Riverdales and the Vibrators, though there are a few tracks that get repetitive real fast. “I Tried to Die Young” sticks out as my favorite song on the release. In it, they cover struggling with depression and keeping your head up even with the harsh shit life throws at you. That song includes lines like: “I took a razor to the wrist of reality / hell bent in my way to futility / I got a reason to believe that it won’t go on forever.” I’m a sucker for catchy rock and roll and the Manges are no exception. Even though many of the songs remind me of other bands I love dearly, they stay fresh and interesting. I think it’s their awesome accents, musically and vocally!  –Kayla Greet (Monster Zero / It’s Alive)


M SECTION:
M Section Vs the Immortal Jellyfish: CD
This four-piece band from Santa Rosa have an affinity for dressing up as luchadors and have released a twelve-track CD that absolutely shreds. Every moment in this album is concentrated intensity from all aspects. Reminiscent ofPunk in Drublic-era NOFX. They’re a lot more thrashy and gritty than their predecessor but not afraid to try different things and creatively experiment with their sound. These guys are closer to Propagandhi when they started to sound more metal. Most songs are an all-out assault on your ear drums with face-melting speed, but they also take time out for well-placed solos and break downs, but even those tempo changes are brief. The vocals are gruff and filled with a drunken-like rage likely to incite many a circle pit. Subject matters vary between politics and humor: from hating on bullshit squatter Occupy “protesters,” to Bigfoot’s dick, to the West Memphis Three, to their love of BLTs. Expect everything all at once and you’ll still be surprised. –Kayla Greet (Self-released)


LOWEST FORM, THE:
Negative Ecstasy: LP
The U.K. hasn’t been particularly productive with memorable hardcore bands as of late. Or so I thought: The Lowest Form storm the gates with the brutish force of British predecessors Voorhees while incorporating some of the pulverizing elements of good old American powerviolence. To the untrained ears, this would undoubtedly sound like a barrage of guitar feedback, venom-spewing vocals, and cacophonous drum bashing. To me, it sounds like the missing link between Cold Sweat and Hoax. Pure hearing-impairment satisfaction. –Juan Espinosa (Iron Lung)


LNG/SHT:
Hip Hop Para Punk Rockers: CDEP-R
Straight outta Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico comes this home-recorded disc of—you guessed it—hip-hop for punkers. The samples are from the likes of Fugazi and Leftover Crack. The beats are, ¿como es? Fairly phat and the flow is a dude rapping about what he knows in Spanish. In this case it’s the evils of the music industry, falling in love with a rich girl, and life as a freelance graphic artist. –Lisa Weiss (lng.sht@hotmail.com, facebook.com/lngsht)


LIVEFASTDIE:
Hit Stains: LP
Herein lies most, if not all, of the songs LiveFastDie recorded. They raged the Brooklyn scene 2005 through 2009-ish, and play the occasional reunion show these days. I never bought any of their releases during their initial active period, and I really don’t have a good reason for that. I lived in New Jersey during the first half of their existence, a scant twenty miles away, and even had a band at the time, but our paths never crossed. I’ll chalk it up to my dislike of music in general at that time and my band’s insularity. Also, for another unknown reason, I occasionally thought LFD were a New Jersey hardcore band. Nowadays, I can’t even think of what band I was thinking of… gah! Listening to this record now punches me in the neck with regret. No matter how much I hated music in 2006, I would have loved LFD. Short, stupid, and shit-fi has been a sound I’ve been subscribing to since, like, 1995. Missing out on this band during their heyday will always stand as one of my poorer life decisions. –Sal Lucci (Almost Ready)


LEXICON DEVILS:
Vegetative State: 7”
Fast ‘n’ furious hardcore from Italy by way of a Houston, Texas label. Just the right balance of clarity and aggression, with solid lyrics. Well done but certainly nothing that hasn’t been done before. “Boredom Product” hits home, though: “It’s a bad generation and I’m fully part of it, like a sick combination of apathy and rage.” I think that sums up a lot of us, unfortunately. We detest the ruling system but don’t do much about it. –Chad Williams (Agrowax)


KING SEXY:
Live Like a Dog in Sexycolor: Cassette
Apparently possessed of such a ruthless sexuality that it could not be unleashed upon the unsuspecting planet for four years, this is a recording of a band playing a show somewhere in Pennsylvania in 2010. Although this band is not terrible, the thing that grabbed my attention the most was the announcement at the end of the set that they had T-shirts for sale, and if you signed up for their email list, you got a free button. It would be hard to argue that this isn’t the exact type of thing for which cassettes are best suited. BEST SONG: “The Good HumorMan.” BEST SONG TITLE: “Startle the Opponent.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: T-shirts are available at the merch table, and if you sign up for the email list, you get a free button.  –Rev. Norb (Self-released)


JERRY’S PROJECT:
This Is No Bueno: CD-R
No Bueno indeed. There isn’t a lot of info to go off of, but all I can gather is that this band is Tijuana’s answer to NOFX. They sing in English. To quote the repeating line in the chorus of the song; “This can’t be good, this can’t be good, this can’t be good.” Yup. –Ty Stranglehold (Living Dead)


JACKHAMMERS, THE:
Self-titled: 7”
Garage punk from the Highlands of Scotland. Surprisingly, for the genre, the four tracks have a pretty good production to them although the drum is a tad weak for my liking. However, the vocals are much more in line with what I’d expected—i.e. quite scuzzy and mildly deranged. I’d put The Jackhammers down as a cross between Ramones, Dead Boys, and The Dwarves. –Rich Cocksedge (S’not)


INSECT SURFERS:
Infra Green: CD
What is there to explain? These dudes play surf music. It’s the same surf music that has existed for years. If you need to pretend that Dick Dale is still prime and making records, here you go. There is nothing particularly bad about this record, but I always viewed surf music as incidental music. The kind that plays in the background of beach scenes in crappy movies or on a commercial for a water park. I will admit that the record didn’t put me to sleep entirely. There were a few sections where they get weird and sound like Dinosaur Jr., but those aren’t all that plentiful. If you need a band to play high school surf prom, then check out Insect Surfers. If you don’t need a band for that, then I don’t know what to tell you. Grade: C. –Bryan Static (Marlin)


IMPULSE:
Chula Violence: 7”
Fourteen swift Infest-esque kicks to the gulliver with awesome stop on a dime twist and turns that would surely put a smile on the corpse of Vaccine. Piss and vinegar to spare in the lyrics department, which airs out contempt for jocks, fakes, druggies, and the religious sect. Recommended for misanthropes and No Comment fans. –Juan Espinosa (To Live A Lie)


HOTELS, THE:
Leslie: Cassette
There’s a strong feel of late nineties guitar alt-rock on this release from these Atlanta, GA locals, which normally might make me cringe. But, fortunately, there are two factors at play here that instead make this tape really good—the positively obnoxious guitar tone that buzzes along on every song and the totally non-nineties vocal styling. Toss those things together with some good hooks, songwriting, and some relish and you have yourselves a real wiener. –Garrett Barnwell (Muckman)


HOSPITAL JOB:
The Believer: CD
Sometimes I think that pop punk as a subgenre is limited by its very nature and, as such, I am usually not overwhelmed when I come in contact with it. That said, I am pleased as punch to hear that Hospital Job brings something a bit different to the party on The Believer. That something different would happen at about the middle of the CD when the band tosses aside the pop punk playbook and throws in some key/synths and/or sequencers on a couple of tracks. And you know what? Not only do they work, but those two songs (“The Scrivener” and “The Believer”) might be the best tracks on the disc. Well done, fellas. Thanks for not following the script. –Garrett Barnwell (It’s Alive/Insubordination)


HERZOG:
Boys: CD
These guys are neck deep in late ‘80s/early ‘90s college indie rock—soporific rhythms, loud guitars, slightly whiny vocal delivery and hooks for days. Sonically, they come off at times like some unholy reimagining of Dinosaur Jr. as a shoegaze band, a description that might sound a little worse than the end product. In truth, it’s quite catchy, well executed, and pretty danged good, all told, if maybe a couple of decades past the really big money. –Jimmy Alvarado (Exit Stencil)


HEADLINERS, THEE:
The Kids Are Awry: CD-R
The latest full length disc from this Portland, Oregon duo is a crazy mix of rockabilly and surf sounds creating a very interesting release. This record includes everything from the ‘50s era inspired “Bobby Lee” to “Not Buyin’ It” which is reminiscent of early White Stripes material. Each member takes their turn singing lead throughout the record but it’s the harmonies by Holly and J.T. that impresses me most. Their voices mesh beautifully on songs like “Mama Song” and “Laid So Bare”. The Kids Are Awry is a definite must have for all of you dirty rockabilly fans out there. –Brent Nimz (Self-released)


HEADLINERS, THEE:
The Kids Are Awry: CD-R
What starts with a promising Pine Hill Haints-esque shambolic trip to the Midnight Opry deteriorates quickly into a genre-hopping mess. The White Stripes have ruined two piece bands that don’t pay close enough attention to staying away from that oft-treaded territory. There are highlights, like the aforementioned “Leaving” as well as “Eyes on the Prize” and “With You,” dancing with bottle slide Cramps/Country Teasers chaos. However, the rest of the CD-R tracks melt into a WHITESTRIPES(ORWORSE)GHOSTSURFDOOWOPSCOTSWALTZ mess. –Matt Seward (Self-released)


HATED NOISE:
Hatred Is Purity: CD
The first eight tracks on the CD are the Hatred Is Purity tracks, nine and ten are bonus, and the last ten are from the band’s I Don’t Want to Be Like You 7”. The mix on the new stuff is a bit tinny for my old ears, but that did not take away from the snotty punk fury of the tuneage. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the back half of the CD a bit more, owing in part to the meatier sound. On the whole, Hated Noise play rip-you-apart punk / hardcore songs about hating authority, murder, hate, mob violence, and deviance—pretty standard fare for this genre and Zodiac Killer Records, but Hated Noise does it well, so it was worth my time. However, I did not need yet another anthem about splitting skulls with steel-toed boots. Other than that clunker, this is a worthwhile soundtrack to one’s beer-sodden, I-hate-society Saturday night mixers.  –The Lord Kveldulfr (Zodiac Killer)


GUILT PARTY:
Discography: 7”
Killer fast, lo-fi ‘80s HC shit out of Houston that made we want to break out the first Cause For Alarm EP and the Beasties’ Polly Wog Stew and drive around and enjoy the summer. I’m a big fan of discographies that are maybe ten minutes long, and guitars that are just a little bit distorted (think Human Mess?). If you’re me, you should get this. Side A is a little stronger, if only because the singer goes for a kind of Raw Nerve / San Diego screamo vox style on Side B, though I can’t really be mad about it. One of those unassuming records that you might not look twice at, but give it a couple looks. –Matt Werts (Agrowax)


GUERRILLA MONSOON / GAME DAY REGULARS:
Split: 7”
This is a four-track transatlantic split of gruff, anthemic punk rock. From the U.K. we have Guerrilla Monsoon with the U.S.A. offering up Game Day Regulars. It’s a well matched split without the bands sounding like exact copies of each other. Guerrilla Monsoon has the edge in terms of melody whereas Game Day Regulars tends towards a slightly rougher sound. All in all, this is a pretty decent release. –Rich Cocksedge (Paper + Plastick)


GREEN EXPRESS:
Gex: CD
Green Express is a metal / stoner band from Rio, who could be compared to the ghost of Layne Staley from Alice In Chains singing for Hatebreed, at times. Crisp production and extremely well executed, while being a little out of the realm of what I normally listen to. Heavy breakdowns with plenty of melodic, toned down verses. Imagine a heavier Queens Of The Stone Age. Gex is probably a hit in Brazil. –Steve Adamyk (Self-released)


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