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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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SOUTHPAW:
Stand for Something: CD
Speaking of “standing for something,” here’s some insightful banter from Roger Miret of Agnostic Front gleaned from various live LPs: 1. “I love...I grew up on hardcore, punk and oi music and I fuckin’ love it. To me, that’s what this whole scene’s about; hardcore, punk and everybody out there united. This is a song I wrote about how much I hate another scene that’s invaded our scene. This goes out to everybody who I do not like, people that listen to rap and hip-hop. That shit is crap. That music is not for us, it has nothing to do with us. They do not like you, so don’t buy their records; because you know what? They won’t buy yours...Rap is nothing but fucking bullshit" (crowd cheers)2. “This is not a racist song, it’s the goddamn truth,” Ol’ Rog says before going into a song about how minorities (yes, he says “minorities”) should get off welfare and clean the sewers. 3. “We should all sing this song in unisonce.” 4. “Since we are an American band, I want everybody to say the Pledge of Allegiance with us.” Good Ol’ Agnostic Front, street warriors, brain warriors...Oh yeah, Southpaw! Southpaw is pretty much for fans of Agnostic Front and the like. And if you happen to be one of those fans; the reason why quote number three is funny is because unisonce isn’t a word. –Craven (Motherbox, www.myspace.com/motherboxrecords)


SOTATILA:
Eepee: 7” EP
I swear, the universe must bestow the consistently finest hardcore bands upon places like Sweden and Finland as some sorta payback for all that snow. This is yet another release destined to be deemed a classic in the fjordcore hall of fame that’s already stuffed to the rafters with simply amazing bands. This one falls squarely between more recent fare by region-mates like Rajoitus and older stuff by bands like Kaaos and, oddly, Brazil’s Olho Seco. I don’t care if you gotta trade an appendage or sell your soul to Soupy Sales, trust me when I say this needs to be up towards the top of your “must have” list. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.punkinfinland.net/kamanen)


STATIC RADIO NJ:
An Evening of Bad Decisions: CD
This falls into what I want to call Loved-Ones-core. The music is enjoyable enough while it’s playing, but there’s a sameness to the album that renders it unmemorable, much like the Loved One’s Keep Your Heart. The music itself is somewhere between the Loved Ones and the Explosion. As it is, this is a band I would be excited to see as an opener for some other bands I’m into but would be indifferent to if they were the headliner. If there are some more adventurous production or musical chances on their next album, I feel like Static Radio could really put out a record to be reckoned with. As a minor aside, this has some of the most boring cover art I can recall. It brings to mind an oversaturated photocopy of a piece of burlap. –Adrian (Black Numbers)


TEAM ROCKET:
Rocket Science: CD
Why is it that every band that’s big in Europe sucks in America? It’s like the fabled girlfriend from Niagara Falls. Fictitious. Sounds like Lenny Kravitz . If the bands asks, I listened to the whole record and never ejected it before the fourth song ended. –Dave Disorder (Fire Tone)


STRANDED:
Broken Bottles and the Way We Live: 7”EP
I hope these dudes don’t take this the wrong way. It’s not a slag. Stranded sound like they would totally fit on the late ‘90s Fat roster. Skate-friendly, crisply and expertly produced, melodic punk rock that falls somewhere between early Strung Out and early Pennywise. There’s a little bit more in the brains department, and it’s played tight as all hell, but—and to no fault of Stranded—it’s just not hitting me. I think I got more than my fill of this style of music several years, even back before it got Warped and CD-cutout-binned to death. –Todd Taylor (ADD)


STELLAR CORPSES:
Respect the Dead: CD
Why did I get such a huge pile of psychobilly (direct from the distributor, not Todd’s fault)? I can’t think of one instance where I have ever reviewed it favorably. Stellar Corpses are probably the prime example of everything I hate about psychobilly, so maybe according to psychobilly, they’re the best damn band out there. Huge posturing in the photos, terrible rhyme schemes and simple lyrics (which lead me to believe there’s not too much going on upstairs), and the typical horror theme (because they’re so fucking original). I did raise my expectations when I saw a song named “Cemetery Man” (a fantastic Italian horror movie from the mid-‘90s staring Rupert Everett). Come for the reference; leave for the music. –Megan Pants (Hairball8, www.hairball8.com)


STEINWAYS, THE:
Gorilla Marketing: CD
The Steinways are funny, for two reasons. The first is literally. Every time I see them, I’m usually cracking up by the end of their set. The other is when their first full-length came out a while back, it had some really great pop punk songs on it, in between a bunch of songs that were basically three chords, one quick lyric, and done in about five seconds. Since then, it felt like a bunch of people gave them shit, saying, “Yer songs are good! Keep writing songs longer than like, five seconds!” and so this time around, the quick songs are gone (they’re all at least a minute now), and it feels much more consistent. Musically speaking, it’s not too different, as they remain a band who’s clearly heavily influenced by all the classic Lookout!, Mutant Pop, and so forth trademark pop punk, but without just being another (insert-another-band-here)-core rip off. It helps that there’s a very Off With Their Heads-esque “I’m broke/hate my life right now” theme to a bunch of the songs, as well as the fact that they don’t take anything too seriously (including taking what would normally be some bands throwaway/“jokey” song like “Sweatpants,” and making it a legitimately fucking great song). In hindsight, it’s getting to the point where reading this will take longer than listening to the a-side, so I’ll just end with this: The “I’ve got a five dollar bill and a coupon for two/let’s go to Boston Market so I can show you how much I love you” line fucking kills me every time. Awesome. –Joe Evans III (Cold Feet)


STEADY STATE:
Self-titled: CD
When I do reviews, I usually disregard any one sheets until I’ve actually listened to it. I don’t want them to taint the experience, which is usually all they’re good for. So at first blush on this record I’m getting a fair amount of Chuck Ragan / HWM and Against Me! love. For the most part, it isn’t too overbearing or embarrassing; however, “You’ve Been Superseded” sounds a whole lot like AM!’s “How Low.” Other than that, I don’t really see any other dead rips on here. It’s half decent Florida-at-times-acoustic punk with a really decent recording. Revelations on the one sheet: the actual liner notes include that Heather Gabel did the art for this, they’re from St. Pete/Naples, and it was recorded at Crescendo. All of which explains a lot of what I’m hearing here. Anyway, it’s definitely decent but nothing I’m going around screaming about. Very nice work on the packaging though. –Steveo (FDO)


SOFAKINGDOM / CASKET LIFE:
Van Wars: 7”
The best thing about this is not the Iron Maiden cover, or any of the originals, but the writing on the inside of the sleeve. Someone wrote, “Chicken soup is for sissies,” and if that’s the best thing, that’s not so good. –Megan Pants (Stomping Ground)


SNAKE FLOWER 2:
Talk About It: 7”
One man, self-produced, psychedelic, shit-stomping garage rock from Oakland by way of Memphis. Massive amounts of reverb balance out the melodic riffs. Loaded with talent, Matthew Melton takes a forgiving genre and takes it to a whole other level. –Jim Ruland (Tic Tac Totally)


SOMETHING’S WRONG:
“Spring Again” b/w “Ghostbike” and “Mama Said”: 7”EP
Have you ever had a panic attack? Like you just can’t quite catch up to what’s happening, heart racing, and short of breath. Compared to the split Something’s Wrong did with The Shorebirds, the song on the A-side sounds like a panic attack. I’m not quite sure if I like it or not. It makes me very anxious for some reason. The two songs on the B-side sound more settled, breathing into a paper bag to stop the racing, and on top of their own music. If you’re a fan of gritty DIY punk with dual female/male vocals along a roughed-up Fifth Hour Hero, a gruffer God Equals Genocide, or a less hardcore Harum Scarum, Something Wrong should be on your “to find” list. Solid stuff. Can’t wait to hear more. –Todd Taylor (Other, fluis001@gmail.com)


SONIC NEGROES:
Honky Bastard Blues: CD
This isn’t really my thing for the most part, but it appears to be a perfect example of a common mistake bands make on their debut albums; they wear their influences on their sleeves and have trouble harnessing the originality that could potentially be shown. Sonic Negroes’ sound would best be compared to the Dictators with a Southern twang and pianos added in, mixed with a dash of Supersuckers and Stooges. The songs presented on this album all sound pretty much the same to me, so I’m not given much to write about here, but I’m sure anyone really into the aforementioned bands and stuff like the New York Dolls will enjoy this record to at least some extent. As far as I can tell, it’s just a rehashing. –Dave Dillon (Zodiac Killer)


SMARTBOMB:
Chaos and Lawlessness: 7”
A year ago, one of the first reviews I submitted to the good ol’ Razorcake was Smartbomb’s split with Prevail Within. I pretty much insulted them and compared their lyrics to the Casualties. I’m not sure what they did, but after this release I’m singing a different tune; specifically track five, “Standard Issue.” –Bryan Static (Mightier Than Sword/Slab-O-Wax/Think Fast)


SLOPPY SECONDS:
Endless Bummer: LP
It’s been ten long years waiting for a new Sloppy Seconds record. Ten years! Junk rock withdrawal is tough, but I got through it. I thought I’d put my past behind me but here I am a decade later with a slab of snot green vinyl in my hands. Looks like I’m hooked again! Anyone who knows the band will know what to expect. Ramones-influenced punk rock with topics such as booze, girls, horror movies, the Ramones, more girls, drugs… Yep not much has changed, and that’s the way it should be. I’ve always maintained that the thing that sets Sloppy Seconds apart from the others in their genre is the lyrics. Not so much the subjects (anyone can sing about tits and beer), but the timing and rhyme patterns that lock together in ways I’d never think of. Sheer brilliance! A note to the band: now that I’m fully addicted again, don’t you dare think of leaving me strung out for another ten years! –Ty Stranglehold (Kid Tested, www.kidtestedrecords.net)


SLICK 46:
I Don’t Wanna: CD
If this thing came out thirty years ago, these dudes would be, like, getting pissed in the pub and chasing birds alongside Blitz and the Business and shit. You know what I’m saying? You know what I’m getting at? Simple, occasionally catchy mid-tempo oi replete with gajillions of A-B rhyme schemes about hating life, getting wasted, and respecting the workingman. Alongside all those songs is the tune “Everything You Want,” which is specifically about the rampant consumerism of Christmastime. Thought that was interesting and one of the only topical, idea-specific songs on the album. Other than that, I feel that the forefathers of this genre have already tilled the hell out of this particular field and have generally done it with more verve and bite. –Keith Rosson (Longshot)


SLOOP JOHN SCRONGE BERRY AND THE ROGER’S BEATS:
Meet Sloop Scronge Berry: 7” EP
Arty school synthesizer pop. On clear vinyl. This is the record you put on at 2:00 AM to clear everyone out of the house and then the drugs come out because they want to stay and hear it again. And again. And again. Feels like: Binary spin cycle Japanese game show creamsicle smoothie. Think: Time is so little, time belongs to us. Never mind the nonsense, they’re just John Scronge Berry And The Roger’s Beats. –Jim Ruland (Replicator)


SLANG:
The Immortal Sin: CD
Holy punch in the balls! The first time I heard this band from Sapporo, Japan was on their Skilled Rhythm Kills CD; they ripped me a new one that took some time to heal. This release sounds even more punishing and shows growth as a band. Thick and heavy Discharge riffage with added metallic flair is the backbone of the powerful sound. The vocals are so gruff and forcefully screamed that you can imagine spit flying into your eyes. A dirty yet punchy bass guitar fills the sound with a thud of bottom end and adds to the force of the music. The drumming sounds like the skins are taking a severe beating and barely made it through the recording session. All together, anger amplified. As more bands from Japan have come over to the states to tour, this is one band I hope to see on our shores. –Donofthedead (Schizophrenic)


SKITKIDS:
Besöket Vid Krubban: 12” EP
Nothing makes me want to listen to Swedes playing ‘70s guitar rock riffage by way of heavy, dooming hardcore like full color gatefold covers. Luckily, the good people at Room 101 Records know the score and released the record in the appropriate packaging. Take the Annihilation Time guys off the California coast, stick ‘em in a Scandinavian town called Blentarp and you have the Skitkids’ most recent masterpiece. Some may consider it to be over the top, but that’s all part of fun. –Daryl Gussin (Room 101)


SKINTIGHT JAGUARS:
The Curse: CD
This is the re-release of the debut album from this London-based hard rock/punk band. This band effectively blends the sounds of the Ramones, Motörhead, and Turbonegro to create a fast paced rager of a debut. I wouldn’t say that this record makes me want to run out and buy all of the preceding singles and EPs that this band has released, but it is an undeniably loud and sleazy record that’s probably best played at the bar or on the highway. –Dave Disorder (Zodiac Killer)


SINKS:
Self-titled: 7”
Two-track recording of blistering, distorted, garage punk from Minneapolis that reeks of basement funk, beer-soaked clothes, and good times. The blank labels on the record and lack of lyric sheet keep me from extending this review beyond the obvious. If I was just going by the music, I’d say “yes,” but for all I know they could be singing about child pornography or endorsing the nazi party. It’s not like I can make out what they’re saying. Lyrics, dudes; gotta have em’ if you want to be understood. –Dave Disorder (Fashionable Idiots)


SILVER COCKS:
Holiday in Auschwitz: 7”
Mid-tempo stuff along the same lines as bands like the Hillside Stranglers from these Italian punkers. Not as good as some, better than others. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.myspace.com/zodiackillerrecords)


SICK FIX:
Self-titled: EP
Bleak as hell. Yet, so good. Sick Fix mix it up with a heavy and speedy combination. Thrashing away, then suddenly shifting down into a brooding tempo to further emphasize their disgust with drug addiction, rape, standards of beauty, and more. No mincing words, just straight to the point. Delivered with an honest rage. Like a kick in the gut. –Matt Average (Third Party, www.thirdxparty.com)


SHOT BAKER:
Take Control: CD
Taking their influences and putting them in a blender, the Baker boys come up with a smooth vanilla shake on their second full length. Heartfelt lyrics, tight riffage, and overall slick tuneage makes picking this one up a virtual no-brainer. “Falling Apart” and “All Paths Lead to Nowhere” are anthems, but each song will stay with you for awhile. “Lost Today”’s intro even reminds me of vintage Dag Nasty. Buy this. It is your destiny. –Sean Koepenick (Riot Fest)


SHORTCUTS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
This self-titled and self-released album comes charged with nine pop punk jams. This all-girl Midwest band sings about relationships, roller derby, and hitting people with chains without skipping a beat. While this band doesn’t bring anything new to the table, they provide a good representation of the pop punk genre. Mad props for putting the record out themselves, as opposed to waiting for a label or just putting it up online. –Rene Navarro (Self-released, www.myspace.com/theshortcutsband)


SHOPPING:
Cowards: LP
Kickass peppy punk with nasally singing and a nice rough edge to it all. A less polished version of the Peechees in some—not a bad thing—really driving pop punk with some math angles in there, which is great. You can pogo and feel like the band understands your depression from work and love, yet feel aggro enough that you are sweating it all out when emo is just not doing it for you. I liked a Shopping split 7” and thrilled that the whole album lives up to that. Recommended. LP has a CD with two extra songs. This record should solve all those annoying drives home from work. –Speedway Randy (Do The Math, dothemathrecords.com)


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