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· 5:#331 with Mike Faloon and Todd Taylor

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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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Surreal Folk Blues Gospel Trash Vol. 1: CD
Reverend Beat Man delivers twelve swampy blues and Neanderthal folk cuts in his unmistakable, inimitable, buzzing-electric-carving-knife vocal style, and you can hear the charm, joy, and pain ooze out like chuck through a meat grinder. “I’m Happy” details the warm, fuzzy feeling of falling in love, having children, and growing old together, gracing the listener with the line “Growing up with you is so beautiful and gay…beautiful and gay” delivered in a soft growl. The effect is raucously hilarious. “Jesus Christ Twist” is a twisted Cramps rocker that urges one to “Take a hammer and some nails/Nail your partner to a cross.” Fucking brilliant. Slower tracks like “No Hope” offer laments about lost love, but don’t work quite as well as the other songs. “The
Beat Man Way
” is a fantastic story told over jazzy bass, drums, and piano. The liner notes indicate that these tunes were recorded between 2005 and 2007, and that the Reverend played guitar, banjo, drums, “strange bamboo thing,” and cello, a regular jack of all trades. “I don’t give a fuck! Just wanna go the Beat Man way.” Words to live by. –Josh Benke (Voodoo Rhythm)

Demo: Cassette
I’m not sure what it is that actually attracts me to this release. It’s on a tape, so it’s not easy for me to play; its lyrics are so tiny I have no idea what’s going; and it’s not anything entirely new, but it draws me in. The music is lo-fi punk rock that reminds me of the Avengers, but that’s probably a horrible comparison (screw it; it’s the best I could think of). Fetch the bone saw, this gets one and a half thumbs up. –Bryan Static (Self-released)

Demo: CD-R
Thrashy punk rock from Dayton, Ohio. Evil thrash growl vocal here! Pop punk singing part there! Blast beat here! If they played a really tight live show, I bet they’d rule. In fact, even this CD kinda rules, especially the more poppy stuff! It kinda confuses me because one second I’ll be thinking, “This fucking rules,” and the next second I’ll be thinking, “I don’t like growly vocals!” If this were a cereal, it’d be a mixture of Trix and Total. Worth checking out! –Maddy (Self-released)

Tower of White Tigers: CD
The Pyongyang Metro sound like an even more rocking version of their town’s better-known melodic punk heroes, Dillinger Four. The hard-edged vocals keep it from falling into simple pop punk categorization, with all of the songs rushing ahead at breakneck speed for melodic punk. Pyongyang Metro is made up of former or current members of esteemed bands like Off With Their Heads and Rivethead. The songs all have witty titles and highbrow lyrics, with “New Hindi Ringtones Now Available,” “Nobel Laureate,” and “Escape Helper” being good examples. It’s not quite great enough to make me long for a trip to the Midwest, but it comes damn close. –Art Ettinger (Arsenic)

: CD
Hardcore noise explosion with vocals that are more throat than cuts. Not really my thing. Has the look and sound of a Prank Records release. So I’m sure there’s some people who read this zine that are going to like this CD. Just not me. –Dave Disorder (Auxiliary)

Hell Is Invisible…Heaven Is Her/e: CD
What do you get when elderly post-punk effluvia mix with the mannequin throbbings of an arthouse rave party? I’ll tell you what you get: you get what you have here; industrial psychedelic hermaphro-core perfumed by the skid marks left in Andy Warhol’s Factory-era bloomers. And the she-man behind the curtain in this case is a Quentin Crisp-type coxcomb with a head dangerously full of sorcery and Geritol and funny spellings: none other than Genesis P-Orridge, of COUM Transmissions, Throbbing Gristle, and TOPY infamy. Now, while I respect and admire many of Genesis’ magickal subversions and outrages from the past, Hell Is Invisible… has the somewhat turgid wobble of artsy self indulgence to my ears. Sorcerers—of the old school stripe, anyway—are naturally prone to doing things in a manner devilishly florid and over-wrought, and should granted some leniency. But not at my expense. Hell may be invisible, but as this record proves, it’s not inaudible. Which is not to say that this whole CD sucks, by any means. There are bits and pieces here and there that evoke things like Syd Barrett and Public Image and that I like. And Mr./Ms. P-Orridge’s spiritual lineage—which includes such crooked luminaries as William Burroughs, Aleister Crowley, Brion Gysin, and Austin O. Spare—makes Hell Is Invisible… at the very least deserving of a good round of listenings, if not outright adoration. After all, how else are all the boll weevils of chaos that Genesis has planted here ever going to get to burrow into your brain and do The Great Work? But even with its dark charms, this CD is, for me, a pimpled fuck-belly full of noize and noodles. The sort of concoction that sits in your gut like a lawn bag full of rotting wigs and inspires notions of a good shit and then a nice nap. But note: Chaos Magick nerds, Boyd Rice enthusiasts, and high-minded Situationists may feel otherwise. –aphid (Cargo)

Lottery of Recognition: CD
Well, it is nice to see the influences on the press sheet be spot-on for a change. It mentions Drive Like Jehu, Failure, Barkmarket, and Jesus Lizard—and that is exactly what you get here. I would also add in some Avail and Fugazi influences in the vocal department. Being that they are from Portland, OR, I might also throw in a comparison to locals Thirty3, who put out a pretty damn good full length a few years back. Fans of ‘90s Dischord or Touch And Go can’t go wrong with this disc. Also highly recommended for the Hot Water Music/Leatherface/No Idea crowd; if you love those gruff vocals, this is for you. –Mike Frame (Exigent)

Woodfin Confidential: Split 12”
Princess Thunderstorm: Given better recording capabilities, they really cleaned out the sound from last year’s 7” and are bringing out the full-blown metal. The guitars completely outweigh everything else on the record, but at least it’s still got those great pissed-off vocals that range from sung to a vicious yell. And the lyrics are still totally weird and punk. Electric Damn: This band is just tripped-out rock. There are lots of instrumental parts that involve massive amounts of harmonizing guitar solos. Headbangin’, mindblowing, hesher shit that borders on cock rock, if you don’t consider them the same thing. This makes me need to go listen to the Siege LP. –Daryl Gussin (Family Night)

Take It Easy: CD
This CD has secret glue, and I don’t know what it is. First couple of listens, eh. Reminded me of The Staggers: a band that could easily switch from campfire to barroom without losing power, who (I’m totally guessing), respect the Misfits as much as Johnny Cash equally. But then I kept going back to the record. It tells stories. It has beats I tap along to. I saw them live a couple of times, and Dan, the lead singer, is a big dude who makes his acoustic guitar look like a ukulele and he sings his goddamn heart out. What more are we asking for in music? Nothing. Take It Easy is like a pair of work pants. At first, it seemed a little stiff and off-the-pile, yet gets smoothed out and more comfortable with more usage. Recommended. –Todd Taylor (ADD)

Take It Easy: CD
What is so damn attractive about misery? It seems like the only things that end up mattering to me, whether music or books (or, shit, even people some days) are all pretty miserable and self-deprecating. PBT and the F’n As are no exception. I can’t help but group them in with Off With Their Heads, not necessarily in sound (though Ryan OWTH shows up here too), but definitely in feel. The lyrics come off like they’re meant to be listened to in a dark room somewhere with only a bottle of whiskey as your company. But, the way it all comes together musically, sounds more like you should be throwing your arms around your friends in a packed and sweaty basement than anything the lyrics would have you believe. Maybe surrounding myself with all this misery will be the death of me some day, but I can’t think of a much better soundtrack to go to than Pretty Boy Thorson. –Megan Pants (ADD)

Live Aids Free Tibet: 7”
I put this record on all excited because of the Aztec-inspired artwork. I thought, “Ooh, neato, Aztecs!” The music started playing and my second thought was, “Ick, make it stop!” It’s fast, loud, obnoxious, with lack of any kind of organization or rhythm. The song “Aztec Pride” just pisses me off because it’s five minutes long! Five minutes of complete bullshit. Are you kidding me with this? I got totally bitchfucked with this one. Not my idea of good stuff. I’m throwing this crap into the TijuanaRiver where it belongs. –Corinne –Guest Contributor (Yosada)

Ghost Dance: CD

Let’s not forget the context. With this recent influx of bands that, when described, “folk” and “punk” come up in the same sentence, the Haints have been hard at work and play for years. It’s this seasoned, large-brush approach that illustrates how big a force the Haints have become musically and how broad-scoped Ghost Dance really is. It’s like walking into your favorite roadside restaurant during a long drive. Generous portions. Diverse, but down home menu. Expertly spiced, simple food. Well-worn linoleum, but sparkling clean. Wonderful, personal service, no forced grins or minimum amounts of flare enforced. Ghost Dance is, thankfully, long. Twenty songs gives them time to set the stage, fill your head, and take you to their home, which is as much a time as a place. It’s a collection of original pieces, a Riverboat Gamblers cover, and traditionals revisited. And then it struck me, something that’s been staring me in the face for some time. The Haints are to the South what the Pogues are to Ireland. Not only do they have a deep respect of what came before—and their musicianship is as impeccable as it is diverse (mandolin, washtub bass, banjos, and bodhran)—but they tap into that originating spirit so much, they can’t help themselves from reshuffling the deck and lighting small fires under themselves so they don’t get asphyxiated by the past. This record’s like watching a fire all night. Crackles and blazes giving away to smoldering and smoking, and the next morning, its memory is still being carried around in your clothes. Fantastic.

–Todd Taylor (K)

Skateboarding Down Merlins Hill with Penny Harry: CD
This is kind of a split disc where you have the “Old Guard” and the “Young Upstarts.” In this case, both bands are from Wales. Picture Frame Seduction kicks it off. They’ve been around since the ‘80s and you can tell in their UK82 “charged hair and bullet belt” style. In 2008 it’s still sounding good. True Sounds Of The Revolution are the teenage band here, but they definitely sound more experienced that that. Though they have the same style as PFS, there is a slightly more youthful urgency to their songs. They’re more raw. Both bands here are worth checking out. –Ty Stranglehold (Cult Jam)

Abominable: 7”EP
I swear I’m not a violent guy. But do you ever get the feeling when listening to a band that you could beat all of their songs up just for fun? That the songs are like cotton candy being made right in front of you with every spin of the record? The curious thing about The Pharmacy is that I want to treat their songs like a younger sibling; protect their actions a little, even though I don’t quite understand their curious ways. If you can imagine the non-sweater-vest-preachy bits to The Weakerthans mixed in with the light-but-tricky pop of XTC, or a contender for the soundtrack to The Royal Tenenbaums, you’d get a feeling of The Pharmacy. Not what I normally listen to, but they’re pleasant, and I can’t deny that my head bopped along to their songs. –Todd Taylor (Tic Tac Totally)

Danger’s Gone: 7”
I think I first heard the Pegs on the Tower 13 compilation. As with most of the stuff on that comp, I liked them a lot. It seems I still do. There is a heavy beach vibe running through this that brings the likes of Smogtown to mind, but at the same time, it lays down a little more rock’n’roll, which makes me think of The Humpers. It’s a combination that works. –Ty Stranglehold (Slab-O-Wax)

New Lexicon: CD
Paint It Black were one of my favorite bands in college (not that I stopped liking them, more of one of those “I’m in love with a different band/girl every week” kind of deals). I liked that the first record was essentially a “lets just do this” kind of a hardcore record. I liked that Paradise started to branch out into some more melodic territory. This one takes the best of both worlds (I started listening thinking “Man, this sounds way more brutal,” and then “No, this is way poppier”), but now there’s some interesting electronic/hip-hop/noise stuff going on as well (though to be honest, it’s mostly transitional between the songs). It’s “let’s see where we can take this” and not “let’s rehash the last record again.” I like it. Seriously though, get me one of those record release 7”s. –Joe Evans III (Jade Tree)

New Lexicon: CD
New Lexicon is Paint it Black’s third edition of the textbook on how to make modern hardcore punk. There are a few revisions made, and a few more twists added; such as some spacey effects and more attention to melody (most notably the last track with Jeff from Naked Raygun singing backups). For the most part though, you know what you’re getting with Paint It Black: fast songs, a distinct lack of “mosh parts,” and lyrics ranging proudly from the political to the socio-political. If you’re into that sort of stuff, you’ll probably enjoy what is easily their best record yet. –Nick Toerner –Guest Contributor (Jade Tree)

New Lexicon: CD
I was fortunate enough to get tickets to the first night of Paint It Black’s weekend-long record release festival just hours before it sold out. As I stepped into the crowded basement of Philadelphia’s FirstUnitarianChurch, I was given a free copy of the new record a month before its release date, as promised on the fliers. I had some time to kill before the first band of the night was ready to play, so I stepped out to my car to give it a quick listen. I got so sucked in that I missed the first half of the opener’s set (Amateur Hour, respectively). Philadelphia’s hardcore act Paint It Black has shown tons of progression between their debut CVA and their sophomore release Paradise, and New Lexicon is no different. I believe that “dark” is the only word I can use to describe this one. Dan Yemin’s (Lifetime, Kid Dynamite) lyrics are angrier than ever and the guitar parts tore me to pieces. There is plenty of credit due to the production as well. There are some parts in between most of the fifteen songs involving either drums or feedback that are noisy without being annoying, and create a strange vibe for the record. It’s only January, but I have no doubt in my mind that this will be one of my favorite hardcore records of 2008. –Dave Dillon –Guest Contributor (Jade Tree)

New Lexicon: CD
For some reason, the cover of this record reminds me of a The Life And Times cover. But no way in hell is any of the music the same. Loud, abrasive, brutal music from this outfit. Favorite song titles include: “Missionary Position,” “White Kids Dying of Hunger,” and “Check Yr Math.” I’ll take a wild stab here and state for the record that if you liked Swiz, you may like this CD. Hey, they’re on the same label—weird! –Sean Koepenick (Jade Tree)

Test Recording: CD
YES! Skate rock is alive and well and poised to take its crown back from the Mountain Dew slurping fuckstix who have plagued the genre with their “Ex-treme Brah!” attitude. Over-Vert is the real deal: spastic hardcore odes to skating and the quest to thrash. The recording is sloppy as hell, but as the title suggests, this would be a test recording. I would love to get my hands on the finished product. The spray-bombed OV on the disc is pretty damn punk too. I want more! –Ty Stranglehold (Over-Vert, myspace.com/oververt)

Pierce the Empire with a Sound: CD
This is the new project from a former member of Frodus. It’s the semi-lightweight, dark alt-indie stuff that seems to be somewhat popular nowadays (or at least was a couple years back). It drones, it makes pretty noises, it makes ugly noises, it samples, it distorts, it screams every now and then, but it fails to excite. –Will Kwiatkowski –Guest Contributor (Lujo)

Perfect Evolution: 7”
Thanks you OFR for writing a conceptual 7” about the nothingness that is our life, and on top of that, orchestrating it with your own brand of jangly, melodic punk. And while I truly love the directness of older songs in regards to their topics, the vastness that they seem to be discussing in this 7” is much more lofty yet still applicable. It is hard for this band to do anything I don’t like. Its realist outlook on life and its authentic take on punk rock have always been great. –Daryl Gussin (Thrillhouse)

Split: 7”
When I was a kid, I went through a stage where I’d wear a tie with a sweatshirt and sing the soundtrack to Godspell. I hope some kid out there is doing the same nowadays, but their clued-in parents have been following the anti-cult stylings of Onion Flavored Rings. For such Parasites-sounding poppiness that’s coming out of the speakers, there are some bleak, existential, what’s-the-point? we-all-become-dust lyrics that pervade their two songs. (“Like a raindrop/ All alone I’m falling.”) The Onion Flavored Rings have been a slow grow for me, but I’m warming up to them due to that dynamic. Gives ‘em a little depth. The Future Virgins: I hope that this doesn’t sound creepy, but if I’m sure that the world’s gonna end at a specific time, I’m going to crank the Future Virgins and shoot myself in the head in the middle of one of their songs. Might as well die happy, screaming along with the endorphins pumping: the perfect blend of ache and joyousness, of The Bananas and rat-tumored, bring-more-beer Chattanooga, of experience gained by royally fucking up in the long run for all the right reasons. The cover art has me scratching my head, though. –Todd Taylor (1234 Go!)

Self-titled: CD
Whenever I see a whale on the cover art for a record, I automatically wonder how hippy-dippy the record will be. And is it just me, or do prog rock bands put an inordinate amount of whales on their record covers? I’m not claiming that O.S.S.F.L. are a prog rock band, but their brand of rock’n’roll is a whole lot more complex than this three-chord simpleton can properly describe (and it’s not hippy-dippy). So, out of laziness or stupidity, I turn to the Mighty Onesheet: “angular-yet-driving guitar lines, tangling…catchy-yet-sophisticated songs” with “jazzy, rapid-fire drums and an explosively propulsive bass line.” That sums up the tunes, and in the end I liked how it all came together. Imagine eating a really tasty cheeseburger in a five-star restaurant: simple, solid food with a wonderfully complex and ornate presentation. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Civil Defense League, www.civildefenseleague.ne)

Split: 7”
Two songs a piece from two of the Midwest’s finest pop punk bands. OWTH starts it off with “Die Slow,” a song that many people have said is one of the worst songs ever done by this band, but they’re all crazy. All of them. This is definitely one of my favorite Off With Their Heads tracks. They wrap up their side of the split with a cover of Warren Zevon’s “Splendid Isolation” that isn’t too shabby at all. Dear Landlord (a newer band comprised of ex-members of Rivethead and current members of The Copyrights) plays what sounds like an even better—if you can imagine it—continuation of Rivethead without all of the forty-five second songs. Strong group vocals singing and depressing choruses are the order of the day, and you’ll find yourself singing along to sickness in no time. Both songs, “Hi Fives” and “Crashing,” are fantastic. I can’t wait until a release date for a full length is announced. –Dave Dillon –Guest Contributor (No Idea)

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