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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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RAMONES:
Self-titled: CD
I’m actually surprised that no one here at the ’Cake didn’t take a second or two to review any of the Ramones re-issues that Rhino put out. Since the last eighteen months or so, Rhino has re-packaged the first eight LPs of Ramones studio fury, and I’ve felt like Howard Stern at a girly-girl lesbian convention ever since. The first four CDs hit the shelves in 2001 and the next four discs in 2002. Being thee unconditional fan of the brothers Ramone, I’m gonna take some time here to tell all you sacrilegious simps who haven’t picked this up yet (or any of the others) just what you’re missing out on. Besides all fourteen songs of the original LP re-mastered and roaring out of the stereo, you get early demos of some of this LP’s cuts and a coupla unreleased tracks that were on the All The Stuff & More Volume One re-issue. Also included is an early demo of “You Should Never Have Opened That Door,” later on their second release, Leave Home, and the 7” version of “Blitzkrieg Bop,” which has a wonderful live essence to Joey’s vocal track. The booklet with the disc, as with all the booklets included with these Ramones re-issues, contain pics, history of the album’s creation, and complete lyrics. In this particular booklet, there are some pics that make it amazing to believe that the same Ramones’ debut that hit the world some twenty-seven years ago is still wowing new fans today. Fuckin’-A, it does. Rhino even took the paper tracking labels from the original vinyl records and screened them right onto all these re-issue CDs themselves. Too fucking cool. If this record isn’t already in the “R” section of your vinyl collection, Rhino is giving you a second lease on life to get one of the best reasons to listen to one of the best things to happen to rock'n'roll.
–dale (Rhino)


RAMONES:
Pleasant Dreams: CD
The sixth Ramones LP, gloriously re-issued with an assload of demos to boot. Demo cuts include a 1981 version of “Touring” which was re-recorded for the 1992 LP, Mondo Bizarro and an alternate version of the Get Crazy soundtrack cut, “Chop Suey." There’s the demo version of “I Can’t Get You Outta My Mind," which was re-recorded for the 1989 Brain Drain LP later on. And then there’s the unreleased cuts: “Kicks to Try," “Sleeping Troubles," “Stares in This Town," and “I’m Not An answer." The disc tray even has the original LP cover artwork that was to be for the album. This is yet another classic Ramones slab that was easily overlooked. Just listen to “All’s Quiet on the Eastern Front," “You Didn’t Mean Anything to Me," or “She’s a Sensation," not to mention “We Want the Airwaves” and “The KKK Took My Baby Away." I’ll bet dollars to Homer Simpson’s donuts that the blood'll start pulsing rapidly through that jaded heart of yours. Play loud!
–dale (Rhino)


RAMONES:
End of the Century: CD
This is Rhino’s re-issue of the terribly underrated fifth Ramones LP, originally brought unto fans from one Phil Spector back in 1979. I defy anyone to listen to “This Ain’t Havana," “All The Way," “I Can’t Make It On Time," or “Let’s Go” and not feel the need to pogo. This is also the LP that brought such live-set staples like “Do You Remember Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio?” as well as “Rock ‘N’ Roll High School” and “Chinese Rock." The bonus cuts here are really happenin’ with demo versions of certain “Century” cuts, especially the bitchin’ version of “Danny Says." Also included is the unreleased “Please Don’t Leave” demo and the soundtrack version of “Rock ‘N’ Roll High School." Like crack, this record was always quite addictive, and now with this re-ish, I’m really hooked, and if you ain’t, that makes you a crack hooker. So there.
–dale (Rhino)


RAMONES:
Road to Ruin: CD
This is the Ramones' fourth LP in Rhino’s series of re-introducing America’s band to a new generation, as well as making old fans smile even more. This shine, shine, SHINES. Yeah, fuck, I know – this is the LP that includes “I Wanna Be Sedated.” But it’s also the LP that houses “Go Mental,” “Bad Brain,” “I Don’t Want You,” “She’s the One,” “I Just Want to Have Something to Do,” and possibly one of the most perfect Ramones songs ever laid down on a studio reel, “I’m Against It.” This is also the LP that showed the world that the Ramones were capable of handling ballad-type-crooners, like the near-perfect “Questioningly” and their cover of “Needles & Pins.” Bonus cuts here include producer Ed Stasium-recorded versions of “I Want You Around” and “Rock ‘N Roll High School.” The live five-song medley from the film, “Rock ‘N Roll High School” is here, too, as well as an unreleased demo, “Come Back, She Cried A.K.A. I Walk Out” and the demo, “Yea, Yea” from the All The Stuff & More Volume 2 reissue. God DAMN, I love this record. Share the love, people, share the love.
–dale (Rhino)


RAMONES:
Rocket to Russia: CD
Rhino did a fine-ass job on this re-issue of the Ramones third LP – not only on the music itself, but recreating the inner sleeve of the original LP in the booklet here with all the cool John Holmstrom (one of the co-founders of the original Punk zine of NYC) artwork. Bonus tracks here include the U.K. 7” b-side version of “It’s a Long Way Back to Germany,” which was later recorded with new drummer Marky on the Road to Ruin LP, as well as an early version of “Needles & Pins.” Single versions of “I Don’t Care” and “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker” are here, too, as well as the demo, “Slug,” which appeared earlier on the All The Stuff & More re-issues. Excellent job here. Need I tell you how much you want this? I thought not.
–dale (Rhino)


RAMONES:
Leave Home: CD
The second Ramones LP re-release from Rhino, including the original track #5 cut, “Carbona Not Glue” that was recalled off the shelves in 1977 due to trademark infringements. Now it’s back, remastered, and blissfully louder than ever, with bonus cuts “Babysitter” (which was used to replace the re-called “Carbona” in the U.K.) and a sixteen-song set of vintage Ramones blowing minds on 8/12/76 at the Roxy in Hollywood. The booklet, like the rest of these, is an interesting introspective on the history of Leave Home, complete with pics. Give that worn-out vinyl version some rest and test the limits of your CD player with this one. Your disc player will thank you for it.

–dale (Rhino)


RAMBO/CRUCIAL UNIT:
: Split 7"
Rambo: First track is a East Coast mosh fest that keeps the pit moving. The second and third tracks blasts off like a laser guided missile aimed at a strategic target, ready for destruction. Crucial Unit: More manic and intense than Rambo. The vocals are screamo and the beats fly by at lightning speed. You feel like you have to hold on for dear life. They definitely win the speed contest here. Both bands hail from Philadelphia. The theme of the split is bicycles. This was a great introduction to both of these bands for me.
–don (Ed Walters)


PUGET SOUND:
Self-titled: CD
I commend their successful efforts to stand out from the hardcore hordes by striving for their own “sound,” but I’ve got to admit I ain’t too impressed with that sound as a potential fan. Not to say they aren’t any good or anything, they just don’t get my juices flowing. Put another way, I respect ’em, I applaud ’em, but I just don’t dig ’em.
–jimmy (Rejected)


PUFFBALL:
Solid State (Eight Track): 10" EP
I know that I reviewed another Puffball release not too long ago and remember it being not half bad, kinda Hellacopters-ish, kinda Zeke-ish. This EP follows pretty much in the same vein, but I’m betting that the Backyard Babies would win in a street fight against these guys. Then again, Hollywood Hate would come barreling down that street, roaring violently over everyone, leaving both bands a flattened, bloodied afterbirth mess all over the pavement. Whaddya think about that, fuckers?
–dale (puffball@malarnet.com)


PRETTY GIRLS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
I thought I was going to hate this when I picked it up, I mean c’mon there’s guys smellin’ flowers on the back! I really like it in doses though. It’s pretty much straightforward Brit pop (even though they’re out of Sacramento.) Heavily reminiscent of Supergrass’ I Should Coco. Definitely worth a listen for fans of Pulp and Blur and such.
–megan (Trap Door)


PLANET FOR TEXAS, A:
Sprechen Sie Rock?: CD
This starts out mighty fine – a hopped-up Zeke/Motorhead singalong ditty about truckstop speed, with sweltering breakaparts and neat dynamics – along the lines of what The Reaction put out a couple months back. Pleasant and ferocious enough to warrant a smile. Then, song by song, the band takes bigger nibbles at a big chunk of dry bubblegum; No Use For A Name-reminiscent pop punk or like all Digger albums, except Powerbait. I understand it's a trick to put toughness and grit into Beach Boys-derived pop punk – the Badtown Boys do exceptionally it well – but A Planet For Texas just don't stick it. I don't necessarily hate it, but songs like "The Day I Almost Died" – where the narrator almost ended his "kick ass life" by choking on a fry while driving – come off as too clever and cute and ruin it for me. It's also a lame idea to have people go to your website for lyrics. That's what the fuckin' inside of the cover's for. Am I wrong?
–todd (Diaphragm)


PLAIN WHITE T'S:
Stop: CD
Another band putting an apostrophe where it doesn't belong. But I could forgive that if this wasn't such unabashed Bon Jovi weenie rock. I realize that Wattie from the Exploited was a grade A chucklefuck from day one and he has actually managed to become even more of a dim-witted mean cartoon character with each passing year, but after listening to the Plain White T's I want to lock myself in the basement, roll around in the litter box and crank nothing but Exploited discs for an entire week. Oh how I long for ugly naked rock covered with warts and zits and boils and carbunckles and un-wiped butt cracks. Calling this dreck "radio-friendly" is an understatement: this disc wants to tear its clothes off, jump on top of your radio, and hump the daylights out of it. Yuck.
–aphid (Fearless)


PIRANHAS:
Erotic Grit Movies: CD
GodDAMN, is this one glorious mess. Imagine the Flesh Eaters having being served a serious beat-down by the unholy tag team of a coked-out Pere Ubu and meth-addled Stooges and you ain’t even close. This is music to get ugly by, music that will encourage you to tear shit up and go hog wild, music that prolonged listening to might actually result in a lengthy prison stay. Don’t believe me? Just give a listen to “Isolation” and tell me you don’t feel like kicking the neighbor’s annoying fucking cat for a 75-yard field goal.
–jimmy (In The Red)


PIEDMONT CHARISMA:
Piedmont Charisma: CD
Sweet merciful Christ. Here’s the recipe: combine equal parts The Faint with annoying synth-poppers from the early 1980s – clone The Thompson Twins and Soft Cell to make sure the mix is right – then blend until smooth. Drink. Approximately fifteen minutes later, you will feel a pressure in your bowels and after rushing to the toilet to relieve yourself, you will find this record floating in the bowl. Do yourself a favor and flush without retrieving it.
–scott (Slave)


PETER & THE TEST TUBE BABIES:
Schwein Lake Live: CD
A reissue of the band’s second live album, recorded in Munich on their 1995 tour for the Supermodels album. Lotsa classic tracks here done all nice and purty and the band sounds great. Of note are particularly good versions of “Blown Out Again” and “Spirit of Keith Moon.”
–jimmy (Captain Oi)


PEGGIO PUNX:
Discography: 2 X CD
One of Italy’s finest gets the discography treatment. Disc one gives you all their recorded output and the second disc is chock full of live recordings. Right there in time with Raw Power and Cheetah Chrome Motherfuckers, these guys established themselves in the Italian punk scene circa early '80s. Upon hearing international bands during that time, you knew you were hearing something raw and special. The recordings are raw and could be have easily been recorded on a boombox. The drums always have that bongo drum sound. The production always has a muffled effect to it. The same applies to these recordings, but one thing that stands out is the uniqueness of the songs. The energy is genuine and it's music that is distinctive to its time and place. A history lesson for those who seek it. Back in the day, this would been hard to get here in the states. Luckily, someone was smart to repress this to give it life one more time. No need to keep the music isolated to the people who can afford Ebay prices.
–don (SOA)


PAVERS:
Return of the Island of No Return: CD
This schizoid little disc flip flops between these tasty bits that sound like a metal-fortified Hank Rollins-era Black Flag and these excruciating sections filled with ghastly swirling syrupy vocal harmonies that go on and on and makes me think of squirming in the dentist chair while having my teeth drilled into without any Novocain. But it all kind of made sense when I read the liner notes and saw that some guitar work was donated by one Gregg Ginn, whose musical tastes got moldy in the back of the fridge sometime back in the early ‘80s. This actually gets worse the more I listen to it.
–aphid (Boss Tuneage)


PATTERN, THE:
Real Feelness: CD
File under rock and roll, a la Strokes, Oranges Band, et. al. Not a la Stones, Stooges, etc. I just can’t get into this stuff. I think it’s probably because I’m a big dork and whenever I go to shows like this I always feel like a total punk dork, wearing my beat-up Converse shoes and dirty jeans in a sea of girls wearing lots of makeup and guys wearing expensive shoes. I’m sick of this stuff, big time. If this were a cereal, it’d be Product 19. Adult stuff.
–Maddy (Lookout)


ONELINEDRAWING:
Visitor: CD
Basic math for the promotionally impaired: promo CD - liner notes = coaster.
–scott (Jade Tree)


ONE RIVER:
A Breathing Will: 7"
With my first look on the band name, I figured they would be a '90s grunge Sub Pop band or modern day emo. But while doing some shopping at Some Strange Music, I was told that I would really like this. I gave it a shot. If I wasn’t told about this, I would have never had bought it. Once the needle dropped, I got slapped back to reality with a burst of thrash that made my eyes water. I need to sit down for this one! The music is so intense from these Japanese masters. Songs blow past my ears like a quick gust of wind that suddenly disappears. The vocals are passionate and screamed to the breaking point. The music encourages and compliments their assault. And all this comes with a well put together package which includes a fold out cover, sticker and even a printed record sleeve. A big thanks to Matt Average for the tip!
–don (Revive)


NO TREND:
Tritonian Nash-Vegas Polyester Complex: CD
Man, some really good reissues are coming down the pike lately. This is a reissue of No Trend’s second album, and it’s still a doozy. Another one of those bands that defy categorization, these guys fell along the same lines as Tragic Mulatto, Scratch Acid and early Butthole Surfers, meaning that a wide variety of musical cues are tapped and then destroyed with drug-tinged wild abandon. The added horn section on this album adds class to the ensuing chaos. If you like your punk completely off the wall and sure to leave you guessing from one moment to the next, you’d be a fool not to snatch this up. Play it often and play it loud.
–jimmy (Touch and Go)


NIGEL PEPPER COCK:
The New Way: CD
If you can take your eyes off the sexy sexy artwork and get the damn disc in the player, you’ll thrill to some supremely well-hewn synth-grind-meets-'80s-metal, righteous hardcore and an all-points Crass pisstake. The whole thing is pretty tongue-in-cheek and probably every song is a goof on something but I suspect some of the jokes are lost on me and I don’t even care; it’s good anyway.
–Cuss Baxter (Life Is Abuse)


NICOTINE:
Samurai Shot: CD
Here is a band that would be a perfect fit on the roster of Fat. Big production, great music and they are from Japan! Since Fat hasn’t put out anything by Hi-Standard in awhile, they would be a great signing. The music is a mixture of NOFX meets Bad Religion. A better example to those who might have heard of this band would be Sweden’s Venerea. Infectiously catchy songs that are played to perfection in the melodicore genre. You get twenty-five songs, which is a lot of songs from a band that doesn’t play thrash, fastcore, or power violence. A really good band that deserves the Warped Tour more than most.
–don (Asian Man)


NEW CREATURES, THE:
Penelope Flowers: CD
Apparently, this disc features the last recordings, done in the mid ‘80s and never before available, of a band of Rush t-shirt-wearing teens from Dayton, Ohio. And that's pretty much what it sounds like. Except that, even with the mouse-sized nuts Geddy Lee must have to get that elfin helium voice, Rush had, even at their most fanciful, more testicular might than these youngsters could ever dream of. I am all for desecrating the over-blown sanctity of the label "punk" but I have no idea why anyone would ever call this punk. It sounds like the warmed-over haggis of ‘70s progressive rock to me. I don't know: was Uriah Heep punk? Regardless – I don't know if I've ever heard a less interesting, less exciting collection of meandering tunes in my life. Unicorn Rock blows. Old Skull remains the undisputed king of Kiddie Punk.
–aphid (Smog Veil)


NEGATIVES, THE:
Self-titled: 7"
I’m not sure if the Negatives are from Orange County, or if they just sound like they are, but they play that drunken beach punk that fits in perfectly on a Hostage Records comps. They’d be a perfect band to play on a bill with Smogtown or the Smut Peddlers. They’ve learned good lessons from the Crowd, the Adolescents, and TSOL. And, if all this sounds good to you, this three-song seven inch is a good way to introduce yourself to the band. I recommend it.
–sean (Noma Beach)


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