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Spokenest: We Move 12"EP

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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CHEAP TIME:
Self-titled: CD
I like Cheap Time. That’s something a lot of motherfuckers thought I wouldn’t say—like I constitutionally couldn’t stomach the whole genre of power pop. I DON’T NEED ALEX CHILTON’S “LIKE FLIES ON SHERBET” OR REED’S BERLIN TO MAKE ME FEEL LIKE A WINNER! Nevertheless, there’s something to that claim—that I hate power pop. And it has to do with the completely vapid bands celebrating the style in the last five years… like when everyone was making the transition from post punk to power pop overnight. Joy Division records traded in for Nick Lowe buttons and The Boys T-shirts. It felt insincere—like Reagan denying rumors that he hated the working poor—and ill-fitting—like Mike Dukakis posing in a tank. So where does Cheap Time fit in? In the small minority of bands/people with a genuine interest in power pop as a means of communicating some sort of idea—not an end in itself (playing an abused genre) but as a means to an end—a contribution to songwriting with the added joys of power pop. Cheap Time’s got great lyrics; the opener has this great play on words about being late… I can’t understand half the lyrics, but the gist is great. The guitar work on the record varies at times—like really ‘81 The Cars kind of shit and then controlled noise—similar to the joys of Wire’s second and third record. And there’s just this really sophomoric reliance on Roxy Music’s self-titled record. But, I mean, it’s not like Cheap Time borrows equitably from Ferry and Eno’s masterpiece—a little from “2HB,” a line from “Would You Believe?” The kids straight rip-off the breaks of “VirginiaPlain” relentlessly—not to mention a strong reliance on Graham Simpson’s (wherever the fuck you are, glam rock Pete Best) bass work on the song. It’s unbelievably endearing and really quite funny—I fucking started laughing outloud when I heard it! This debut record proves that Cheap Time is loaded with promise… another strong outing from In the Red (after a hiccup or two)—a record label that refuses to give into the vast sea of mediocre music. (Be on the lookout for an upcoming Black Time record. As bona fide as Namella J. Kim.) –Ryan Leach (In the Red, www.intheredrecords.com)


CHEAP THRILLS:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Some decent enough KBD-style punk stuff with some wicked static-guitar fuzz. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.savage.se)


CELESTE:
Nihiliste(s): CD
These Frenchies sure know how to bash things up. If you like your metal slow, sludgy, and painful in an Unsane sorta way, this is one to keep an eye out for. The guitar textures add a bit of sophistication to all the wham-bam, but their reliance on the same downtuned root note and rhythms repeated from one song to the next causes things to sound like one long song in short order and what charms they do have can’t save ’em from getting a bit boring. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.denovali.com)


CELEBRITY AUTOPSY:
Fast American Rock ’n’ Roll: CD
Save for some nice Motörhead channeling on “Love Blizzard,” these guys are pretty much a hard rock band with louder-than-usual guitars and at least one singer who ain’t quite strong, or charismatic, enough to pull this off. Nice riffage in spots, but it ultimately just don’t quite make it out the gate. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.ihatepunkrock.net)


CHRONICITY:
Self-titled: EP
At first listen, these guys reminded me of the Fall. Then as the songs progressed, they started to remind me of Red Monkey. Humorless post punk with political intent, though they offer nothing unique or interesting enough to warrant more than a passing nod. –Matt Average (Obscurist Press)


CHORDS, THE:
The Mod Singles Collection: CD
A nice bit of post-Jam mod pop from a group that were actually contemporaries of said Jam and were also connected at one point to one Jimmy Pursey, who produced a single or two here. Jangly, but loud, guitars, catchy hooks, and the requisite energy make this worth a number of spins at the very least, and the detailed liner notes and inclusion of a few heretofore unreleased tracks make this mandatory for the band’s fans. Good stuff. –Jimmy Alvarado (Captain Oi)


CHILDHOOD FRIENDS:
Key Party: CD
Synthy, dark stuff that at once evokes Cocteau Twins and a billion shoegazer bands, then goes off on a tangent that evokes something entirely different. Catchy, varied, and well executed, the music is great. The problem, however, is the vocals, which, with a more aggressive band, would probably work just swell but here come off more like a banshee reeling from a bad root canal. Again, not a bad thing normally, just kinda mismatched with the other parts. A little more understated and I would’ve been all over this. –Jimmy Alvarado (childhoodfriends@gmail.com)


CHILD BITE:
Exquisite Luxury: CD EP
This was an odd little bit of fun. Apparently a remix of their first album, it sounds in spots like Pere Ubu being dragged across a dancefloor by someone not particularly interested in dancing. Noisy and just plain weird in all the right ways, boyo. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.subprawl.com)


CHESTY MALONE AND THE SLICE ’EM UPS:
Now We’re Gonna See What Disaster Means: CD
These guys are essentially a trashy metal band with a singer from the post-Plasmatics school of rock and a slathering of biker-punk chutzpah. Lyrically, however, they seem to have cribbed notes from many a splatter flick, resulting in music that sounds like kin to Los Angeles’ long-gone, much-missed Haunted Garage, minus the rat traps on the eyes, brain-in-a-jar, and copious amounts of blood. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.chestymalone.com)


CARBONAS, THE:
Blackout Waiting to Happen: 7”EP
A re-issue of the 2004 debut, and if you missed it (as I did), what a great introduction to the band. At times, reminiscent of The Feelers, where the lines between garage (the sound) and hardcore (the energy) are blurred and the best of both are balled up in a jagged, crackling, stupendous firecracker. (Think Oblivians meet Negative Approach meets something that blows up in a chunky splatter.) At other times, reminiscent of The Reatards: chaotic snot with a clandestine pop sensibility. I also just got their latest LP on Goner, and that’s making me think that seeking out their entire catalog would be far from a waste of time. Addictive. –Todd Taylor (Douchemaster)


CAT PARTY:
“Jigsaw Thoughts” b/w “Entitled”: 7”
Bummed rock. But still rock. (At one time, known as Mope Rock.) Just bummed in a Marc Almond, slower Sisters Of Mercy, Cure way, but done by folks who’ve been put through the punk grist mill. That means the guitar’s a bit more interested in weaving instead of blasting, the lyrics can be decoded on the first couple of listens, and the whole enterprise is atmospheric in a low-cloud, grey-day way, but languidly catchy and well constructed. For fans of Manikin and The Fuses, too. Good job. –Todd Taylor (Rich Bitch)


CARNAL KNOWLEDGE:
Demo: Cassette
Daryl told me that Hey Girl! has some connection to this band. After moments of grueling research on the world wide web (of time wasting), I do believe that the bassist from HG! is in CK (which is also an all-female band) doing the same thing. While Hey Girl! was messy pop punk, this is angry hardcore punk. The lyrics range from personal to political and a mixture of the two. Not bad overall, but it could use a little more umph. I’m hoping that this is only because it’s a demo. –Vince (Self-released)


BUM KON:
Drunken Sex Sucks: CD
Some monstrous thrash here from the pride of Colorado’s early punk scene. While their original Drunken Sex Sucks 7” release had only a handful of tunes, they actually recorded a full-length’s worth of music, all of which finally see the light of day here. If you dig yer hardcore fast and flailing in the mold of Deep Wound or even early Agnostic Front, you’re gonna pee yourself with glee by song two of this twenty-five track behemoth. Fuggin’ mandatory, this is. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.smoochrecords.com)


BOYS CLUB:
2-D World: 7"
Yay! This record could have come out in the heyday of the Flakes, the Fevers, and other bands that start with F! And the guy who produced it, Brian Hermosillo, was in the Fevers, the Retardos (SuperTeem is go!), and even the long-forgotten Donny Denim! I mean, it’s hard for me to even be objective about this! Which is fine, because I DON’T have to be objective about this! Oh, um. What does it sound like? A fair question, indeed! It sounds like one cup Rip Offs, two teaspoons Flakes, and four tablespoons Fevers! In other words, garage punk of the best variety! It’s more in the straightforward Rip Offs camp, and less in the crazy buri buri Brentwoods camp, but now I’m splitting hairs! If this were a cereal, it’d be Donkey Kong, Jr. cereal! Yes, the successor to Donkey Kong Crunch! Like Froot Loops, but more ridiculous! Yum! –Maddy (Bachelor)


BLANK ITS:
“Windows Are Dirty” b/w “Divorce”: 7”
The Blank Its deliver two filthy, bouncing pop songs that are dirtier than drinking the last swig of a beer into which someone has deposited their cigarette butt. “Windows Are Dirty” starts off with a massive beat and swirling guitar riff that gets into you like a parasite worming its way through your intestines. The vocals are snotty and gorgeously distorted. “Divorce” comes bounding off the B-side like a deranged ex-boyfriend hell bent on keeping the closest of tabs on his former sweetheart. It’s menacingly catchy and sounds as dangerous as unprotected sex with someone you met at the local dirt bag meat market. I was not a fan of their first 7” and wondered what sort of deranged narcotics those who reviewed it favorably were on. Clearly, it was me who needed a large dose of snortable, powdered Blank Its to elicit the appropriate high. –Josh Benke (Sweet Rot)


BRIMSTONE HOWL:
Tunnel of Love: 7"
Both sides recall the psych-roots explorations, but not the immediate catchiness, of the Dream Syndicate. Wanted to like it, didn’t hate it, but in the end wasn’t too enthused by it. –Jimmy Alvarado (Boomchick, no address)


BROKEDOWNS, THE:
Six Songs: CDEP
I wish I personally knew the guys in the Brokedowns so I could say, “Hey bro, don’t break my heart in 2008 like Witches With Dicks did in 2007. Fucking stay together.” Heavier and bolder with less harmony but more girth than WWD, The Brokedowns rock that melodic aggression (see: Midwestern Songs… [duh]) that can have you nodding your head to the verses and then, as soon as the chorus comes, pump the fist. Six Songs isn’t enough. More please. –Daryl Gussin (Cassette Deck)


BROADCAST ZERO:
Yesterday, You Could Change the World: CD
This ’un straddles the fence a bit between catchy political punk rock and playing-to-a-template chanty punk rock. They really don’t add anything unique music-wise, but the fact that they try to address more than the stereotypical trappings of punk of this ilk is commendable. –Jimmy Alvarado (Rebel Time)


BIRUSHANAH:
Akai Yami: CD
I don’t quite know what to make of it. Intro track sounds like traditional Japanese music from centuries ago or for a soundtrack for a period movie. Track two starts off with a bass guitar playing traditional music once again, and then momentum moves forward with additional Japanese-sounding instruments adding to the mix. Five minutes down the line and the mood changes. The guitars and drumming come in and the essence of doom is unleashed. Repetitive rhythms and what sounds like people banging on metal creates a sound of mayhem. Not sure what the lyrics might be conveying, but there is a sense of despair and pain. A hair over twenty minutes, and I feel like I went through a mediaeval battle scene. Track three, the final track, which clocks in over seventeen minutes, closes this aural experiment with a doom/sludge track that has more metal elements and can be compared to a faster version of the band Corrupted. If you want to push your musical boundaries and appreciate bands from Japan, this release should meet the challenge. –Donofthedead (Level Plane)


BIRTHDAY SUITS / THE BLIND SHAKE:
Split: 7”
We’ve all got bands, record labels, and/or eras that we think are overlooked by the rest of the world. A big one for me is the poppy side of the late ‘80s/early ‘90s Seattle scene. Bands like Pure Joy, Flop, and the Fastbacks who borrowed from pop as much as they did hard rock and punk. The Birthday Suits, featuring Matthew and Hideo formerly of Sweet JAP, could run with that crowd. “Winter Coat” is heavy, catchy, and kind of funny. Not as fast as Sweet JAP, but just as good. Great song. The Blind Shake serve up the Mudhoney side of that Seattle coin: dissonant guitars, big floor tom action, snare drum lurching on the one and three. –Mike Faloon (Learning Curve)


BATMOBILE:
The Clarendon Ballroom Blitz: CD
Reader’s Digest version of the story: There once was a ratty U.K. pub/dive called the Klubfoot that became the spiritual home of psychobilly. Many a legend and would-be legend graced the stage there, and many of their sets were put to tape. Sadly, those tapes got lost over the years. But take heart—they were found and are now being baked and transferred. This is the first of the batch, a heretofore unreleased early set in its entirety by a band now well entrenched in the “legends” camp. The sound is absolutely pristine, the performance is spirited, and the songs themselves are a hoot. Put it on, turn it up, close yer eyes, and pretend you’re there on the dance floor wrecking it up with the best of ’em. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.cherryred.co.uk)


BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME:
Third Time’s A Charm: CD
Mainstream pop punk in 2008 is a much different machine than it was in the mid ‘90s. Today, Green Day’s shtick is more political than it is introspective, Blink 182 no longer exist, The Offspring exist solely in the valiant pursuit of making their next record worse than their last (succeeding considerably so far), and the rest of the decade’s ephemera barely cling to relevance by the edge of their fingernails. Face it, BLNT, there’s not much of a market for the most lyrically bland and sonically uninspired backwash to not make the Y2K cutoff when it’s ten years too late. If you’re in it for the big money, you’re much better off trying to turn “emo.” –Reyan Ali (World, info@betterlucknexttime.org)


BEEHATCH:
Self-titled: CD
Moody, atmospheric, and very cinematic, most of this works within the confines of electronic music, but the disco beats are kept in check and the experimentation remains at the forefront throughout, resulting in an Aphex Twin vs. Tangerine Dream vibe that actually works. Good stuff, if you have the time to sit and take it in. –Jimmy Alvarado (Lens)


BIG SHANKS:
Big Feelin’: 7"
Considering the third-rate record sleeve, I had no expectations for this record. Put it on… not bad. Black Flag-inspired ferocity captured on a pristine version of an Electric Eels-style production. This is sort of what Black Time is doing right now, only not as good… less dynamics and nowhere near as erudite as (Black Time’s) Lemmy Caution—who probably uses Rocket From The Tombs acetates as dust pans to clean his house. Big Shanks revel in that amateurish stuff, but ineptitude as an affected style is hard to make interesting. I mean, only Duchamp elected great readymades. –Ryan Leach (Boom Chick, www.boomchickrecords.com)


BAD DUDES:
Eat Drugs: CD
The bad dudes responsible for Miracle Chosuke resume their aural terror with a new band that expands on their prior Devo-punk explorations by adding a little Kraftwerk into the mix. Though a good hunk of what’s here are instrumentals, they keep things nice and diverse and often veer off into unexpected territory. Nice ’n’ interesting. –Jimmy Alvarado (Retard Disco)


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