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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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FLAKES, THE:
Straight Jacket: 7”
Out of Sweden, Cheap Trick in one hand, Elvis Costello in the other, The Flakes play guitar-driven power pop with an organ. It’s a no brainer to enjoy because it’s pulled off with natural finesse, warm ease, and true-aim hooks. To place them amongst their contemporaries, they also have a ton in common with another Swedish band, Psychotic Youth, where the melodies almost sound telepathic and bubble over with oodles of enthusiasm. It’s something I imagine Rodney Bingenheimer losing his shit over in the early ‘80s that would stand the test of time today. I’d place this right at peak top of this hard-to-conquer genre. –Todd Taylor (Evergreen Terrace)


FIYA:
Make Joy, Make Strength: CD
Intensely personal, emo-tinged hardcore with enough of a spiritual undercurrent to have me grabbing for the “thank you” list to see if the late JC was at the top of the list. Not that I’ve got anything against Jesus or anything, but unless the person singing has dreadlocks, is wearing a feathered headdress or is named Mahalia, spirituality in my tuneage makes my patented “dogma-meter” go haywire. A cursory run through reveals not even so much as a Jesus, Maria or Jose on the list, which means nothing, I know, but at least they ain’t goin’ the Stryper route or anything. “But are they any good?” you ask. Well, the fact that the dreaded word “emo” was invoked earlier in this very review should tell you that, Jesus or no Jesus, this has about as much chance of being played in this house again as a water buffalo has of crawling unscathed out of my large intestine. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.deadtankdistro.com)


FIRESTARTER:
Livin’ on the Heat: CD
Here’s the rumor and I think it’s true. When Japan’s Teengenerate, arguably one of the best garage, trash bands ever to grace our planet, finished Get Action! for Crypt in ‘94, it was too clean, too poppy. They were told to re-record it in its all lo-fi, scratchy sock, ripped jean, tight shirt deviant glory. Years passed. Members splintered off, then got back together. This time, they kept the initial recording direction. Melodies and harmonies reign supreme. Livin’ on the Heat is a genuinely stellar power pop album of the highest magnitude. This proves two things. These dudes are no one-trick ponies and they’re in it for the right reasons. Why start all over again with a new name when the fanbase is there? Because the music itself is important. Good is good, no matter what the style. Fifi, Fink, Sammy, and Jimbo’ve gotta protect the rock, you know what I mean? Don’t let the kindergarten hymn book-looking cover, the dubious name of the band, or the fifteen dollars you’ll have to spend since it’s currently only available on import sway you. Think of all the time it’s going to be spinning in your player. Brilliance for pennies on the dollar. Definitely in my top twenty for the year. It may even rise higher. It’s one of those albums that reveals itself slowly. –Todd Taylor (Mangrove, in the US, get it via Nice and Neat)


FICTION, THE/BIRTHDAY BOYS:
Split: 7”
The Fiction: This is emotional hardcore without emotion. Oh wait, is screaming an emotion? Birthday Boys: It’s a song about Michael Jordan. C’mon now, what year is this? You know what is a good basketball song? That Red Hot Chili Pepper’s song off of Uplift Mofo Party Plan. And no, I’m not kidding. You know the one. “LA Lakers/fast break makers/kings on the court/shake’n’bake all takers.” –Megan Pants (McCarthyism)


FEELERS, THE:
Fuhrer’s New Miniskirt b/w Special/Next Boy: 7”
Great, raw 1980-style lo-fi punk that makes me think of the Zero Boys, but that’s probably because the Feelers are from Ohio, and I haven’t heard the Zero Boys in a really long time. –Cuss Baxter (Death by Noise)


FALLOUT, THE:
Turning Revolution Into Money: CD
This band has the speed and energy of good ‘80s punk. They do have a hint of oi to them but I don’t think they can be classified as such. The oi shows up in just the right spots, keeping the energy going and making me want to jump around my apartment like the dork I am. Check ‘em out. Very cool. –Toby Tober (Longshot)


FAGHAGS, THE:
Self-titled: CDEP
I’m sure these fine So. Cal. folks were doing dog wheelies inside that big Mickey Mouse head-shaped flowerbed at Di$neyland before giving the finger to their Anaheim home and shoving off to Long Beach, God bless ‘em. Creepy, sleazy, stumbling rockin’ and rollin’ spinning ‘round on this EP, the same way that first Humpers LP, My Machine made you feel, but with more of a Darby Crash kick in the pants. From what I’m gathering, the Faghags seem to be a side-gig for members of Lisafer, Throttle, Whiskey Dick, and the Lipstick Pickups. That said, if you’re moving your ass to go see these bands, you need to get that ass moving some more and go buy the ‘Hags a round at their next show. Better yet, make it a double. –Designated Dale (Booking/Info: (714) 222-9240)


EXTINCTION OF MANKIND:
The Nightmare Seconds...: LP
I read that this is the second full-length from this band. I thought they had put out more records since their first LP because of all the patches I see on the kids. I think the first LP was Baptised in Shit that Skuld out of Germany put out. I have that record and I believe it came out in 1995 or 1996. That is an eight or nine year gap between full lengths. Hiatus? Break-up? Looking at the lineups of the two records, the only remaining members are Ste on vocals and Ginny on bass. I haven’t listened to previous record in sometime. The new record is absolutely incredible. I don’t know if they have reformed, but they sound like they have continued to write and get stronger. It’s only fitting that this band does a cover of “Arise” by Amebix. A mighty damn good one to boot. It’s crust that is heavy on the metallic guitars and is a natural progression of what Amebix started—music that is dark and has the power of a bulldozer. This record should become one that many will refer to as a classic in the future. –Donofthedead (Profane Existence)


EXPLOITED, THE:
Horror Epics: CD
This album marks the point when Wattie and I parted ways, he going on to be exploited by New York metal labels, and I to my next band of choice. There’s still quite a bit of the old fire to be found on this album, with the anti-authoritarian/anti-war slant to the lyrics and hardcore overdrive still intact, and the vast majority of the songs are mighty swell, but something felt like they were on the cusp of change, and listening to this nearly twenty years after my first listen, I still get that feeling. It’s there, buried somewhere in the electronic-sounding drums. They were losing focus and, after listening recently to their most recent effort, it seems that Wattie has, in the ensuing years, chosen to tilt at vague windmills rather than resort to pointed attacks at those in power as he did in days of yore. Damn shame, ‘cause when they were at the top of their game, as evidenced here on thrashers like “Maggie” and “Don’t Forget the Chaos,” and on the title tack, an interesting foray into the world of post-punk, few could touch ‘em. With so much of the current generation of parrot punks mired in style, a misguided glorification of poverty and bland, safe and pointless sloganeering, one of their heroes illustrating how to use their moment on stage to lob bombs at the power structure instead of wasting it on singing odes to beer and screaming “fuck you” would be essential. Sadly, it looks like it ain’t gonna come from the current incarnation of this band. –Jimmy Alvarado (Captain Oi)


EXIT CONDITION:
1988-1994: CD
For your buck, you get to listen to what was once a pretty good English hardcore unit slide down the slippery slope into ‘80s/’90s alt-pop facelessness. A sad tale it is. –Jimmy Alvarado (Boss Tuneage)


ESCAPED, THE:
Rose City Hardcore: CD
Thuggish hardcore with the subtlety of a slab of concrete falling fifteen stories. Sorry, but I prefer my ‘core to be just a smidge wittier. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.blackoutrecords.com)


ESCAPED, THE:
Rose City Hardcore: CD
I’ve heard of New York City Hardcore, D.C. Hardcore, and even Mid-West Hardcore, but Rose City Hard Core? Cute. Good to see the Northwest represent. Standard old-fashioned kick-in-your-teeth hardcore from a Portland punk band, The Escaped. The dual-singer approach was original, but unfortunately the songs were uninspiring. At least give me a decent mosh, for christ’s sake! –Jason K –Guest Contributor (Blackout)


DRAGONS:
Rocknroll Kamikaze: CD
Raucous, rough and tumble punk rock’n’roll on this reissue from San Diego’s answer to Radio Birdman. Originally released on Junk back in 2001 but lost in the shuffle of lost distribution deals and planes crashing into buildings, this melding of Thunders damage, Birdman hooks and AC/DC swagger gets a second shot at legendary status, with five additional tracks tacked onto the end to sweeten the deal. Having not been all that impressed with the Sin Salvation album, I could never quite figure what all the buzz was about, but this swell little piece of plastic succinctly puts it all in perspective. No matter your musical predilections, there’s no denying this is a good album, one worthy of much attention, and I suggest you give it some. –Jimmy Alvarado (Gearhead)


DOOR-KEYS, THE:
Greenwood Park Mall: CD
Rhino recently reissued pretty much every album X ever recorded with bonus tracks at $11.99 list. That’s not to say that this record is bad, but you really should listen to Wild Gift or Under the Big Black Sun before picking this up so you know where it comes from. –Puckett (Plan-It-X)


DOGHART TRIO:
Sarcazo Politikal: CD
An entire album of this is just not acceptable! The main instrument? Harmonica. The singing style? More said than sung. The lyrics? Sorta political. Joke check? Not sure. But the last song, “Punk Rock Taught Me How to Sew,” is hilarious, and is definitely a joke. And it includes people shouting, “Cross-stitch! Needlepoint!” Punk rock! If this were a cereal, the last song would be Quisp. Silly! But the rest would be Urkel O’s—more annoying than funny. –Maddy (self-released?)


DISRESPECT:
Self-titled: 7”
Featuring veterans from the Minneapolis punk scene, Destroy and Misery, is this male/female led band. Instead of the anarcho crust that is prevalent of bands on this label, this band plays more to the tradition of early ‘80s British punk. It’s a mixture of the Destructors, Abrasive Wheels, and Blitz. While the band captures many of the elements of the sound, it just seems to me that they are playing a tad too fast. Some of the vocals sound off time or rushed. By slowing it down and focusing more on the groove, the vocals would roll of easier and more natural. As the band gets more cohesive from time together, they could be one that will be turning heads in the future. –Donofthedead (Profane Existence)


DIRTY FINGERS, THE:
Rock & Roll Ain’t Easy b/w Still Want It & Wake Up Dead: 7
If Rock & Roll is a tattoo parlor (wait! Am i saying that there is a chance that it’s not??), the Dirty Fingers are flash. Hey, at least they’re workin’! BEST SONG: “Wake Up Dead” BEST SONG TITLE: n/a FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Crazy Stevie Baise plays bass on this record, and i wouldn’t’ve guessed that in a billion years had i not peeked at the back cover. –Rev. Norb (Riff Raff)


DIRECT CONTROL:
Self-titled: 7”
Man, what I wouldn’t give to see these guys on a double bill with Out Cold. Balls-on hardcore here with lyrics touching upon familiar subjects: corrupt politicians, drug abuse (the smokin’ “Hardcore for Heroin”) and life in a shitty town. The next time someone asks me why I insist on subjecting myself to bad music month after month, I’m gonna pop this on the turntable to illustrate how sweet it is when a really good record comes along, ‘cause although it may not be wholly original in concept, this one is nonetheless a stunner. –Jimmy Alvarado (Kangaroo)


DINAH CANCER AND THE GRAVEROBBERS:
Self-titled: CDEP
Yep, it’s that Dinah Cancer, all right, and she’s giving 45 Grave fans far and wide a second chance to get their respective undead jollies with this latest band of hers. Included on this four-song disc are 2004 remakes of “Dream Hits,” “Evil,” “Riboflavin…” and “Procession.” Although Dinah is the only member of the band who originally haunted the stages here in L.A. with 45 Grave, her band of cohorts here do a damn good job here. Those included are past/present members of: guitarist Daniel De Leon (Calavera/Lobo Negro), bassist Lisa Pifer (Snap-Her, Lisafer, Faghags), and drummer Hal Satan (Penis Flytrap). Word has it that besides this being the second offering of 45 Grave, the band has full intentions of letting their originals come into being in the near future. Keep your ear to the headstone, boys and ghouls. –Designated Dale (www.dinahcancer.com)


DIGBY:
Falling Up: CD
Words cannot describe how much this record sucks. I happen to believe that Del Amitri wrote a few catchy songs; not necessarily anything to write home about, but catchy. This band apparently worshipped at the Altar of the Glaswegians. It’s so utterly generic that both the tray card and liner notes are white with little adornment; during the interminable solos, I kept expecting to hear someone sincerely say, “Dude, sweet licks!” This might well play in Peoria to office workers who still want to feel cool and support live music and bar bands even though the last record they bought was by Michelle Branch. My ears must be fucking bleeding by now. –Puckett (Toucan Cove)


DIE HUNNS:
Long Legs: CD
This is Duane Peters’ latest incarnation. If you ask me, not a good idea. He teamed up with Corey Parks, the ex-Nashville Pussy bassist (who I have a lot of respect for for being able to play the bass with such enormous boobs). They both share a lot of the vocals early on on some watered down rock’n’roll songs. Duane tries to save a lot of it with his unmistakable vocals, but it just doesn’t fly. US Bombs and The Hunns, it’s not. Things do start to pick up near the end of the CD when Duane takes over the vocals and the music seems to sway back into more of a punk vein. But it’s too little, too late. There is also a video that comes with it if you can stomach Mr. Peters with makeup on, Marilyn Manson style. –Toby Tober (Disaster)


DETONATIONS:
Static Vision: CD
Sounds to me as if somebody imported Seduce or Danzig or The Cult or some other bullshit late ‘80s music into Adobe® Photoshop™ as a tiff file, then, from the drop-down “Filters” menu, selected and applied the “Garage” filter a couple of times. To reside in whatever city this band hails from is now certainly a source of great dishonor. BEST SONG: Well, i thought they did a half-decent cover of T. Rex’s “The Slider.” Oh, wait, we’re still talking about Seduce, aren’t we? BEST SONG TITLE: “Speakereater” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Science has now uncovered a direct correspondence between usage of the Aarco font and inability to distinguish between the correct contexts for the words “your” and “you’re.” –Rev. Norb (Alive)


DESTROYED, THE:
Outta Control: CD
Being old does not make something good. Originating with a stylistic form does not mean that something cannot be criticized. Releasing an album of material that hasn’t progressed in twenty-five years isn’t something to be praised; rather, it’s a decision which should be questioned. If music doesn’t advance in twenty-five years, if it doesn’t change, then don’t give us more of the same. –Puckett (The Destroyed)


DEREK LYN PLASTIC:
Invisible Skin: 7”

Todd has a conversation with himself.

 

 

T1: It’s one-man new wave band?

 

 

T2: Yes. It says it was written, performed, and produced by one dude.

 

 

T1: Is it any good?

 

 

T2: Better than that.

 

 

T1: It smacks of novelty.

 

 

T2: Sure it does.

 

 

T1: It doesn’t look like a new wave record.

 

 

T2: Nope, it sure doesn’t. Skulls aren’t heavily incorporated into new wave. Not as much as stripes.

 

 

T1: Does he wear a skinny tie, at least?

 

 

T2: There’s no picture of him. Just of someone passed out on the cover, but I don’t think it’s a picture of him.

 

 

T1: What’s so good about it?

 

 

T2: It’s surprising, when new wave doesn’t have that many surprises. It’s like ska. The mode’s set. It really depends on how well the songs are written. For christ sake, “Hardcore Addicts” sounds like Ministry minced with New Town Animals, but it’s really good. Demented, even.

 

 

T1: Get out.

 

 

T2: No, it’s like he found a new gateway through the trapped universe of new wave. It’s still catchy, the keyboards are still there, but the guitars and drums are turned up and hit hard. Nothing wrong with that.

 

 

T1: From the Northwest, at least?

 

 

T2: Atlanta of all places. Damn, it’s manic stuff. Mind if I flip it over again?

 

 

T1: Not at all.

 

 

T2: Folks who dig Dirtnap’ll lap this shit up. Left field surprise of the issue for me.

 

 

–Todd Taylor (Derek Lyn Plastic)


DEMONS, THE:
Demonology: CD
Stockholm rock’n’roll band that has compiled a bunch of songs that apparently weren’t available before. There are a few rockin’ songs on here, but what stood out are some annoyingly repetitive choruses with very cheesy lyrics. For example, “Demons gonna punch you out,” “You’re just a fucking asshole,” and “Kiss me where the sun don’t shine,” repeated over and over. The whole CD isn’t like this, but it’s enough to bug me. To top it off, they do a terrible cover of the Misfits “She.” This is one of those CDs you just rip the good songs off of and sell back for something better. –Toby Tober (Gearhead)


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