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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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CREATURES OF THE GOLDEN DAWN:
Blood from a Stone: 7” EP
Sixties-inspired rock’n’roll that did zippo for me. –Jimmy Alvarado (Butterfly)


COURTESY CLERKS, THE:
Tales from the Vortex: CD
I knew there was going to be trouble as soon as I saw the absolutely horrible cover art. Felix Havoc once said that just because computers exist doesn’t mean you have to use them to design your artwork, and this is a prime example of why you shouldn’t. Oh, and the fact that such awful artwork accompanies a really bad exercise in commercially viable rock doesn’t do much to change my opinion. –Not Josh –Guest Contributor (www.thecourtesyclerks.com)


COUNTERATTACK:
State of Affairs: CD
This is a follow up to their 7”, previously released on Reality Clash Records. Straight from the nation’s capital, you get ten songs of slow to mid-paced oi that is comparable to tough Japanese and French oi bands, with a bit of the Templars mixed in as well. The topics of the songs are sometimes political, sometimes social. All the lyrics were pretty good and have meaning. This CD is not mind-blowing but it is good and we’ll see what these guys have to offer next. –Mike Beer –Guest Contributor (Reality Clash)


CONVERGE:
Unloved and Weeded Out: CD
When i get over to the used CD store in about fifteen minutes, that album title’s gonna be a self-fulfilling prophecy. WORST SONG: “Flowers and Razorwire” WORST SONG TITLE: “Undo” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Deathwish releases are available from all fine independent distributors and retailers worldwide. Send two dollars for stickers and a catalog filled with quality Deathwish merchandise. –Rev. Norb (Deathwish)


COBRA HIGH:
Sunset in the Eye of a Hurricane: CD
I feel guilty reviewing this, since I don’t like prog rock and I’m not crazy about keyboards. It also feels that I don’t “get it.” At the same time, I’m wanting to dust off some long forgotten Roxy Music LPs that haven’t seen the light of day since 1984. At certain points the vocals are so much like Bryan Ferry, but mixed with stoner rock and a love of ‘80s music. It’s so sincere they could probably turn me into a fan if I saw them live. –Wanda Spragg –Guest Contributor (Cold Crush)


CHEATS, THE:
Cheap Pills: CD
Man, these guys blew my “fat guy + dork = good” theory out of the water. Plus they had decent album art to back it up. They sing with that weird accent so that everything is fayest (fast) or sayed (said). They’re from Pittsburgh. They should just use their own accents and say shit like slippy and yinz, then at least they’d be funny. This sucks. –Megan Pants (Da’Core)


CHARGERS STREET GANG, THE:
Through the Windshield: CD
Recorded by Tim Kerr, this is sweet, large, ambitious Panorama Dome rock. The failure rate with bands incorporating the milestones in rock is high. It’s a steep slope, but I think The Chargers Street Gang have got the combination to the safe cracked: high voltage, powering Hoover Dam type hooks, soaring, swerving vocals, and a drummer who sounds like he has four arms. When the foot’s taken off the accelerator, it’s sweating grooves (and that’s a test most bands fail). Although everything on this album isn’t solid gold, I still like it plenty. I have a theory. Not only have they passed rigorous riffs and chops commando training, but their appreciation for big rock is a deep well and not just an affection to get all pouty and crank their butts out like a bunch of twenty-first century dandies (such as the Mooney Suzuki). I bet you this: They know the Ron Asheton and not James Williamson version of the Stooges was supreme. In the end, Through the Windshield is a tasteful, yet forceful bludgeoning that fans of AC/DC, The Clone Defects, The Baseball Furies, and anyone who likes hairy balls and punk abrasions on their rock would appreciate. They all share the same viral, itching disease. –Todd Taylor (Get Hip)


CHALET CHALET:
Self-titled: CD
The vocalist of this band is turning me on. I bet he’s a good kisser. And the recording is so raw and exciting. Almost a little Sonic Youth back in day, at times (esp. with noisy guitar). It’s fun and exciting and makes you want to jump up and down – not in a “oi pogoing” kind of way – but in a grabbing all your friends and screaming and hooting a lot like it’s the Beatles’ first US concert. I’m usually not to into the newer melodic punk rock and roll shit, but the rawness of the sound, the hot vocals, and quickness of everything (this four-song EP is totally like a whirlwind) that is going on around me gets me excited for the future of this band. If you like loud, quirky, energetic post-punk with a more unique-non Dischordian feel, then go buy this record. I hate most modern music, and this is one of those few bands that gives me hopes for the future of rock’n’roll/punk. Chalet Chalet is like the sped-up evil brothers of all those boring bands like the Strokes, The Vines, and all those other wasteful MTV 2 crap-fests of bands. They don’t give a fuck. Hot Hot Heat should stop trying to sound like Dexy’s Midnight Runners and try to sound like Chalet Chalet. –Sarah Shay (Walk In Cold)


CHAINSAW:
Just Need It: 7” EP
Some strong Japanese gallop-core here, loud as fuck and just a dash of metal in all the right places. –Jimmy Alvarado (Even Worse)


CHAINS, THE:
On Top of Things!: CD
Meticulously executed and profoundly anemic Nuggets-box-set ‘60s rehash from five Francophones (apparently Quebecois) (which would, i guess, make this Nuggets-box-set ‘60s rehash Vol. 2), who are to be commended for their impeccable playing and production and excoriated for their stunning and utter listlessness. I mean, this record is so sedate that it sounds like records that tried to sound like this back in the EIGHTIES sounded like, and that is about as far from a compliment as it gets (ladies and gentlemen – for those who couldn’t handle the sheer, animal passion of the Fuzztones – here’s the Chains!). At their best, the band evoke the clinical calculations of the Spongetones (minus the occasionally brilliant results); at their worst – a cover of Eddie Cochran’s “Nervous Breakdown” so tepid it makes the Brian Briggs version sound like the work of blood-crazed Neanderthal sex workers – they sound like the only band they could ever be capable of out-rocking at The Great North American Rock-Off might be the Shoes. As far as i can tell, the only thing The Chains might conceivably be considered “on top of” is a frickin’ road map. Just say “non!” BEST SONG: “Fortune Teller,” although this version is much too slow for my manly tastes, and wouldn’t anybody who would be into the song own several serviceable versions (Hollies, Dogs) already? BEST SONG TITLE: “Nervous Breakdown” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Bass player Frédéric Charest has the most accent marks in his name; guitarist Sébastien Hould and drummer Éric Boulanger are tied for second. –Rev. Norb (Get Hip)


CENTRO, EL:
Prohibido!: CD
Pennywise sucked the first time. –Not Josh –Guest Contributor (Finger)


CAT ON FORM:
Structure and Fear: CD
Sounds like an emo band trying to disguise itself as an art punk band, yet only managing to sound just as terrible despite the plethora of strummed open strings to give their sound an “edge.” –Jimmy Alvarado (Southern)


CARBONAS:
I’m Astray, Don’t Let On b/w Push Me: 7”
Heavy and dirty, but like a wet and sticky Jolly Ranger taken from the ground and put in your mouth, there’s some odd sweetness coming through the crunch. The singer’s voice is the clutch and transmission: it predicts the pace, the shifting speeds, and makes the listen mid-tempo and gutsy. All I can think of for a comparison would be Space Cookie re-doing AC/DC, fronted by a crooner instead of a punker, and that helps, oh, about twenty people out, so I’ll say straight ahead rock’n’roll with plenty of pleasing snarl. Thankfully, Carbonas leave out the parts where hair is shooken, feet are put on amps, and stands clear of noodling solos. Not bad. –Todd Taylor (Die Slaughterhouse, $3)


BUTT:
It’s Butt!: CDEP
Butt comes at you like a sonic attack, or so they say. I happen to agree. Best lyrics ever: “Somethin’ somethin’ ‘bout the pride we lack.” I want them to play my birthday party. –Megan Pants (Butt)


BUSINESS, THE:
Hardcore Hooligan: CD
I have a world of respect for The Business. Along with Cocksparrer, they pioneered street punk. You can’t compare The Business to other bands. They’re the hallmark. Nonetheless, nearly thirty years after The Business started off, you have to be a little hesitant about a new album by them. What can they do to stay interesting this many years into the game? Well, how about an album comprised solely of songs about football (or soccer, as we Americans call it)? That’s what Hardcore Hooligan is, and, for a closet soccer fanatic, it works for me. There’s a song about Gareth Southgate, the English national team player who missed the penalty kick that would’ve gotten England into the finals of the 1996 European Cup. There’s “Viva Bobby Moore,” a song about England’s all-time best player (I’ve watched films of Bobby Moore, and the guy was amazing; he’s the only player I’ve ever seen who could legitimately be compared to Pele). They sing the praises of Michael Owen, the most promising English soccer player since Bobby Moore (that’s my opinion, not everyone else’s, but you should’ve seen him against Argentina in the ‘98 World Cup, when he decided to take the game into his own hands, dribble past the entire defense, and score one of the all time greatest World Cup goals). They curse Argentinean national team player Diego Maradona in two separate songs, first with the basic, “Maradona, you’re shit,” and second with a re-recording of “Handball,” which starts out, “3000 miles is a long way to go/ to be beaten by a dwarf in Mexico.” Not only was Maradona one of the shiftiest players to ever make it to the national soccer stage, but, in 1986, he got away with smacking a ball into the goal with his hand, which effectively eliminated England from the Cup, so, yeah, he deserves two songs cursing him. I hated that fucker when he played. I’m not standing by The Business, though, when they sing about Maradona and Argentina beating England in that Cup and finishing up by singing, “Everyone knows the final score/ but who won the Falklands war.” The coolest thing about this version of “Handball” is that it was originally on their Welcome to the Real World album, which was a recorded right around the time when The Business’s popularity was waning fast and New Wave was picking up, so all the songs – which were written to be street punk songs – were recorded like someone was trying to make a Thompson Twins album. And every time I listen to Welcome to the Real World, I think that it would be one of punk’s greatest albums if they just re-recorded it to sound like The Business is supposed to sound. This version of “Handball” supports that theory. Beyond the direct attacks or songs of praise about professional athletes, there’s a bunch of songs on Hardcore Hooligan that are just about drinking and going to soccer games. It makes me wish that I could get together with the guys from The Business, go to a English First Division soccer game, drink beer, sing songs, and root like hell for whoever The Business root for. –Sean Carswell (BYO)


BRONX, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Attention all hipsters: Scandinavian punk rock’n’roll has hit Hollywood. Please head in an orderly fashion to your nearest trendy shirt shop on Melrose to buy your officially sanctioned Turbonegro T-shirts, and take all of your friends along with you. Anyone caught on the Strip not wearing the aforementioned officially sanctioned Turbonegro T-shirt will be considered, like, totally lame. –Jimmy Alvarado (White Drugs)


BROKEN BOTTLES:
Not Pretty: CDEP
I wonder about the future of the Broken Bottles. The way I see it, in ten years I may say, “Yeah, I saw those guys at the Doll Hut with Smogtown,” and people will be amazed and say that they read about that show in such-and-such book and hundreds of people will claim to have been there when, in reality, only about thirty people were. Either that, or I’ll say, “Man, Broken Bottles could’ve been the biggest OC punk band since Social Distortion, but they self-destructed,” and people will say, “Who?” One thing’s for sure, I’ve passed on Broken Bottles CDs and played Broken Bottles seven inches for dozens of people, and everyone has instantly become a fan. Not Pretty is a perfect introduction to them, too. It’s melodic and catchy and a little disturbed (they sing about killing cats and starring in a porn with Kelly Osbourne) and, if radio stations got their hands on “Gothic Chicks,” Broken Bottles would be an overnight sensation. Before that happens, pick up this awesome EP, and pick up their Radioactive San Onofre and Bloody Mary seven inches, while you’re at it. –Sean Carswell (Finger)


BROADZILLA:
Lady Luck: CD
They look like they raided Cherie Currie’s closet circa 1976 and sound like some lost L7 demo with EG Daily handling vocal duties. Yes, it’s that bad. –Jimmy Alvarado (Diamond Star)


BROADCAST:
Pendulum: CD EP
My friend Andrew calls Broadcast the band that Stereolab always wanted to be. I don’t mind Stereolab, but Broadcast has always held my heart. Stereolab was always the more French-pop sixties group when Broadcast was the evil, moody-as-fuck and romantically bitter sixties pop group. But, of course, it’s 2003, and not 1966. This is sort of a sneakpeak at their next full length – featuring one track, “Pendulum,” that will appear on it – this song opens this EP – a tripped-out psychedelic, raw electronic single, my favorite song. Vocalist Trish Kennans has a delicate and amazing voice that counteracts the harsh raw tones of their recordings. Their music is a soundtrack – it’s like a dream. This is the music that causes out of body experiences. “Small Song IV” is a rough and spacey vocal track that almost comes off more like an improv session. I just love the sound of their recordings. I keep using the term raw, but you can just hear a pin drop in the room. It’s great. Broadcast is also known for their moody instrumentals, which shines on the tripped-out “Violent Playground” (no, not a Nitzer Ebb cover), and “One Hour Empire.” These are the four tracks that truly standout, compared to the more unexciting vocal track “Still Feels Like Tears,” and the noisy, chaotic closer instrumental “Minus Two.” I am anxious to hear their upcoming full length. Their last LP, The Noise Made By People, from 2000 was one of my favorites of the year. –Sarah Shay (Warp)


BOUNCING SOULS, THE:
Anchors Aweigh: CD
There will be no fans lost by the Bouncing Souls. They follow the formula that has made them popular. The songs have that hint of familiarity that makes it easy to flow right into a new release. The only drawback is more on a musician’s note. It sounds like the drummer, in the recording, used the same snare drum that he would normally use for a show. It sounds like one of those really deep snares that people like to use because the sound projects in a live setting. In most cases, I noticed, in a studio setting the snare drum sounds like someone hitting a tin can or garbage can. That is the sound on the record and that’s my sore spot while I’m listening to this. –Donofthedead (Epitaph)


BOTCH:
An Anthology of Dead Ends: CD EP
Yay, metalcore. Oddly enough, I’ve been getting into shit like Converge lately so I suspect I should like this grinding, pulverizing, heavy-as-shit riffage more than I do. Maybe this just suffers in comparison to the new Weakerthans album. While I realize that a reviewer is supposed to be able to objectively evaluate the merits and downfalls of an album independent of anything else said reviewer may be reviewing or listening to, I long ago realized that reviewing a record is subjective as fuck and that I might love grindy shit one moment and wake up three days later wondering what I was thinking because there is no objective checklist to use for evaluating the artistic merits of a release. With all that gibberish out of the way, this is well done headbangist rock and on any other day, I probably would have turned it up to show all of my neighbors the error of their ways. –Puckett (Hydra Head)


BOILS, THE:
Pride and Persecution: CD
Okay, I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt about the Eagle and Iron Cross motif because I see Al Quint of Suburban Voice in a photo on the inside, otherwise I would be a bit concerned of dodginess. That said, this is good straight forward punk/ hardcore that is more energetic than fast, more raucous than loud, more cathartic than angry. Venting frustration can be a good time. –rich (TKO)


BOB HOOKS AND THE SWAMP RATS:
Disco Still Sucks: CD
A retrospective of an obscure ‘60s garage band. Although they hailed from Pittsburgh, these boys were apparently more sonically aligned with northwestern bands like the Wailers and the Sonics, even covering two songs by the latter and giving them a run for the money when it comes to wild, over-the-top rawk. Rather than being content to be a one-trick pony, though, these guys often switched things up by cranking out some sweet beat versions of obscure Stones and Kinks tracks, not to mention a disarmingly pretty cover of the Beatles’ “Here, There and Everywhere.” Good tuneage to be found throughout, although it’s worth the price of admission for the pounding version of “Louie Louie” alone. –Jimmy Alvarado (Get Hip)


BLIND SOCIETY:
Contrary to Popular Belief: CD
Imagine early MDC, with less of both the free jazz and the political influences, crossed with early Hogan’s Heroes and maybe a pinch of early Union 13. Good for what it is, which is essentially hyper-speed hardcore. –Jimmy Alvarado (Blackout)


BLACKTOP CADENCE, THE:
Chemistry for Changing Times: CD
Whereas Hot Water Music works on a volcanic structure of pressure blowing out hot lava, The Blacktop Cadence deals with cooling, slow-moving mantle. With two members of HWM – Chris on vocals and guitar, and George on drums – this effort from ’97 will be instantly recognizable to their fans: structured and sweeping melancholy.  And although The Blacktop Cadence is governed by a slow pace, measured steps, and almost whispered screams, it doesn’t fit into a neat, prefigured little musical box. (No emo here.) Nor is it merely sleepy. For me, it’s perfect hangover music. Man, those dudes (and lady) are talented. –Todd Taylor (No Idea)


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