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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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TRAPDOOR FUCKING EXIT:
Crooked Life/Straight World: CD
Imagine a Slip It In-era Henry Rollins conducting the Drive Like Jehu bullet train all the way from 1988 Chicago to 2006 Norway. That’s kinda what this sounds like. I especially like the “empty, but not thin” production. It’s a definite departure from the typical No Idea sound, and I mean that in a good way. The guitars are driving, relentless even, with just a tinge of natural distortion, while the drums keep it smooth and solid, evoking Hose Got Cable. My only complaint is that they put the strongest songs at the beginning and end, so it drags a bit in the middle. Other than that, these dudes from Norway have delivered an excellent album that deserves your attention. –ben (No Idea)


TRANZMITORS:
Bigger Houses, Broken Homes b/w Glamour Girls: 7"
Jesus fucking Christ, how does Gord of Deranged do it? I’m not blowing him here, but, crap, man, he can find and release the top ten percent of punk rock in its fullest spectrum, from full-on hardcore to power pop. The Tranzmitors remind me of the missile-top of the heap: Buzzcocks, Jam, Stiff Little Fingers, Exploding Hearts. Crystalline, yet raw-edged, explosive pop that stomps its boots while sweating uncontrollably. I haven’t been this moved by a band like this since The Gain or Smalltown, and that’s just from two songs. Excellent. –Todd Taylor (Deranged)


TRACTOR SEX FATALITY:
Black Magic, White Pussy: CD
What a fantastic, inspired title for a CD. The satisfied pleasure I experienced when my mother-in-law, a women’s studies professor, disparaged and scoffed at the name of this CD was a moment of pure, distilled joy. How uptight she must be to have a sincerely disdainful reaction to the word “pussy.” I guess it’s what you’d expect from a cunt! Now then, the music. Heavy, frightening, fucked up noise that powers over the underlying tunes without diminishing their resonance. Tennessee thunderstorm double bass and screeching, wild guitars make this sound like the soundtrack playing inside the head of your town’s resident, whacked-out, sleeps-in-the-park, crazy dude. I wasn’t prepared for, nor have I yet recovered from, the onsault (onslaught and assault combined!) of this ferocious CD. –Josh Benke (Big Neck)


TIME AGAN:
The Stories Are True: CD
This is the best Rancid record since Let’s Go. I’m still trying to figure out why they changed their name. It must explain it somewhere on the actual liner notes, but all Hellcat sends out are these shitty cardboard sleeves with no info. I’m also not too sure why they point out that track four features Tim Armstrong. I mean, they all do right? Seriously, you could butt this record up right in between Let’s Go and the Wolves one, and it would be seamless I tell you. Seamless! I, for one, am really happy that they decided to get back to what they do best. Forget all that reggae stuff or the wannabe Discharge stuff. This is how I like my Rancid…What?… It’s really not Rancid? Okay, well I guess I like Time Again better than Rancid. –Ty Stranglehold (Hellcat)


THOUGHT CRIME:
It’s All in Your Head: LP
Originally released on CD by Tribal War Records, PE gives this a proper vinyl release. Former members of the U.K.’s Suicidal Supermarket Trolleys and NY’s Distraught play a brand of mid-to late-’80s anarcho punk that is equal parts Discharge, Conflict, and Icons Of Filth. Hearing the English accent makes the songs more period and authentic and not some copycat sideshow that has appeared through the years when certain bands try to recreate the sound. To add even more, Steve Ignorant, formerly of Crass, appears on a few tracks. The songs charge ahead with fierceness and bile. The lyrics are statements of what angers them: gentrification, war, religion and other usual suspects, all delivered in rapid fashion. I saw the reformed Conflict a few years ago and they were a former shell of themselves. This band carries the flame that used to burn brightly for bands of the original movement. They are exciting and relevant to the current generation of punks who question. –Donofthedead (Profane Existence)


TERMINALS:
Takin’ Care of Brooks: 7" EP
Reminds me of Supercharger, barely more hi-fi, meaning it doesn’t quite sound like a boombox recording in a kitchen: fuzzy, muffy, sweaty, dirty white folks with soul blues. Before I actually heard the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, this is what I was hoping for: gristle bass, cigarette burns on the linoleum, grease splattering through the vocals, sizzle on the guitars, dirt in the drums. So immediate, I feel like I’m choking on the exhaust of their tour van with a bad catalytic converter as it idles outside. They’d fit in perfectly on a bill with The Original Three or The River City Tanlines. –Todd Taylor (Boom Chick)


TEEN CRUD COMBO:
Judgment Night Soundtrack Part 2: LP
Motörhead, but a wee bit retarded (in a good, punk way). Everything’s in the pocket. Riff-locked, blast-forward rock with plenty of swagger, switchblades in their pupils, and zero fat. Great rock is such an easy thing to almost instantly recognize; such a hard thing to play without being a parody, being tedious, or outright laughable; and for a Toronto band that ended about six years ago, its epitaph is this torch of an LP, keeping the rock’n’roll flame alive. Lemmy’d be proud that the Combo took care of business. Members went on to Ruination and Brutal Nights, which makes perfect sense. –Todd Taylor (Deranged)


TANGLED LINES, THE/DICK CHENEY:
Split: 7"
I listen to hardcore so rarely that I’m often surprised how enjoyable it is in small doses. Both of these bands are excellent at ripping shit up, and both sides remind me of the Propaghandi/I Spy split 10” from a decade ago. Ten songs, political and personal lyrics. Cool stuff. –Josh Benke (Thrashbastard/Refuse)


SUSPICIONS:
Self-Titled: LP
Seattle power pop roolz! The full length from the Suspicions is finally here and it is even better than the single. Great power pop/bubblegum that is the best thing Rip Off has released since that first Kill A Watts LP. Fans of Bobbyteens, early Joe Jackson, Lipstick Records, or anything involving Travis Ramin (Total Babes, Fevers, Nikki Corvette, etc.): here is your new favorite band! –Mike Frame (Rip Off)


STRONGARM AND THE BULLIES:
You Had It Coming: CD
Not sure about this. It is dripping with man anger and rage but not in an accessible way for me. This album has a very metal influence with the skinhead vibe thing. The vocals are extremely deep—can’t imagine what it was like for this guy to go through puberty—similar to Danzig meets an angry drill sergeant. Along with the metal vibe, the album has moments of bass-infused blues-like-rock outs, with screeching guitar rock star solos over it, like in “That Kind of Courage” and “Gone.” The production of the album is good and the tempo is sped up and always going, but something about it just isn’t gelling with me. –Jenny Moncayo (Rebellion)


STOKOE:
The Experiment Has Been a Complete and Utter Failure: CD
Thanks for summing up my entire review in the album title. –Jimmy Alvarado (Rookie, no address)


STEEL TOE SOLUTION:
Eight Year War: CD
Well lookie here. A baldie in tattered bell-bottoms and tennis shoes. Don’t that just beat all? –Jimmy Alvarado (Headache)


SS KALIERT:
: 7"
From the promo sheet touting these dudes as “streetrock” and the nice silk-screened cover showcasing a bunch of dudes with mohawks, I was really rooting for something that sounded like Bombshell Rocks or even Rancid. I mean, my secret’s out: I actually like Rancid quite a bit, in spite of their genre-hopping, their posturing, their blossoming thug/gang mentality. It’s embarrassing, but it’s there, you know? I was thinking, “Yeah, SS Kaliert—the thinking man’s Rancid! I can get behind this shit!” Then I actually put the record on and instead of the anthemic gravel-buried-in-the-melody stuff I was hoping for, these guys kick out four surprisingly dense, tough songs with hardly a hint of melody or “singalongness” to be found. I mean, the lyrics are all super-positive and they’re obviously totally fired up on punk, but that undercurrent of jump-in-the-air pogo that I was looking for was lacking, and was replaced with something a lot more simple and, like I said, tough. So if you want some sharp-as-nails street stuff that you’ll be hard pressed to sing along with, grab it up. It’s not bad, and it’s definitely heartfelt. Just a little too rough around the edges for me. –Keith Rosson (FNS)


SPONTANEOUS DISGUST:
C4 Suppository—A Love Sonnet in Plastique: Cassette
To be honest, I have no recollection of where I first heard of Spontaneous Disgust. My guess would be in some dingy downtown bar, knee deep in spent Sierra Nevada and Newcastle bottles and arguing the viability of punk rock as a direct challenge to the status quo with Yogi, Mike Guerrero, and some punter who thought the newest incarnation of the Misfits was relevant. Ultimately, I guess the particulars don’t really matter and are probably wholly fabricated by my somewhat addled mind. What is relevant is that one morning I woke up nursing a hangover and in dire need of a bowl of menudo to kill said hangover in its tracks and found this battered cassette with “Spontaneous Discgust” (sic) written on one side, wrapped in a strip of heavy sandpaper adorned with markered happy faces and mutilated stick figures and held together by a frayed blue rubber band. Although I had no recollection whatsoever as to where the tape came from, I assumed it probably came from a friend, as I found it stuffed unceremoniously into the inside pocket of my flight jacket. I plunked it into my tape player, pressed play, and sat for my first helping of the world’s only known crudo cure-all, and nearly had my head blown off of my shoulders when the music started. What was coming out of my stereo was not so much “music” as a complete assault on everything humankind holds sacred—a mélange of misery, frustration, and righteous anger wrapped around monster hooks and BIG beats. While it certainly contained all the requisites, it wasn’t easily classifiable as “punk” in the strictest sense—I mean how the hell can a band use a French horn in that way and still be called “punk”?—and any attempts to pigeonhole it in any of punk’s multiple sub-genres proved even more difficult. No, these guys were dealing in a whole new categorization and they were doing their damnedest to ensure they remained the ONLY residing in that neighborhood. The songs—“When I Think of You, I Know Why Mantises Kill Their Mates,” “Praise the Lord and Pass the Amniocentesis,” “Donner Dinner Party” and “The Mustard Gas Shuffle,” respectively—worked on a level I’d never heard a band, punk or otherwise, work on before, freely profaning every sense of decency imaginable without resorting to cheap shock tactics, all in the name of making a pointed statement about the hypocrisy of American culture and its glorification of violence as art. Needless to say, I was hooked. The tape lasted a grand total of seven listens before it inexplicably disintegrated, depositing a fine brown powder in my car stereo that I’m still scraping out these many years later. Years afterward, I learned that the tape’s short lifespan was intentional—part of the band’s desire to make their fans really WORK to hear them—and that it was only one of twenty-four that ever actually existed, but those seven listens were enough to hook me but good and ensure that I would remain a lifelong fan. Some thirty-eight releases later (eleven of which I’ve actually heard), they remain one of my favorite bands and C4 Suppository—A Love Sonnet in Plastique remains one of the greatest punk-oriented releases I’ve ever heard. Wanna copy? Good fucking luck finding one that works, kid. –Jimmy Alvarado (address lost in the mists of time)


SPIDER FRIENDS:
Self-Titled: CD
So this dinky and repetitive drum machine and synth beat is playing, and a dude’s whining over it, and you think that more drums or a guitar or a melody or something are going to kick in soon so the song can start. Joke’s on you! Track 2: steady drum machine and synth, dude whining, end of song. This formula gets a workout over eight tracks with a couple of deviations (once, an actual riff!) and some catchy Kraftwerk melodies, but it’s mostly like the disc has been shot up with Novocain. –Guest Contributor (www.myspace.com/spiderfriends)


SPERMBIRDS:
Something to Prove: CD
A reissue of what appears to be the lion’s share of the first couple of LPs and some bonus rarities from one of the best bands to come outta Germany’s mid-late ‘80s punk/hardcore scene. If the occasional misogynistic lyric (someone in the band apparently had a few issues with women and, unfortunately access to a pencil and pad) doesn’t get your undies in a bunch, you might just find yourself thrashing in wild abandon to some choice noise that sounds more like it originated in central California’s skate punk scene than the land of lederhosen—melodic (but not in the current pop punk sense), obnoxious and fast. Good stuff it remains. –Jimmy Alvarado (Boss Tuneage)


SPAIN COLORED ORANGE:
Hopelessly Incapable of Standing in the Way: CD
I’m sure that this would have some long, hyphenated description, like electro-retro-lounge-camp or something, but I’ll just file it under “no thanks.” –Megan Pants (Lucid)


SPACE CRETINS:
Rocket Roll: CD
Here’s another case of a band pulling a fast one on me. If I were to look at the disc, I would be willing to bet that this was going to be a straight up “dragstrip rock” record. It’s got the crazy drawing of a hot girl and an alien riding a rocket, it’s got a dude in the band photo that looks a lot like Billy Hopeless of the Black Halos and it’s called Rocket Roll. I don’t have to explain my shock and excitement when I popped the disc in and it sounded like The Crowd. What? That can’t be Decker… I’m telling you “Hong Kong Blow” has to be one of the best songs The Crowd never wrote. It starts to lean more towards the rock vibe as the disc progresses, but it still manages to sound somewhat fresh. A nice little surprise. –Ty Stranglehold (www.spacecretins.com)


SOUTHERN CULTURE ON THE SKIDS:
Doublewide and Live: CD
If you dig live recordings and SCOTS, this one’s for you; it’s high energy and excellently produced, with an expertly selected song variety. Alas, live recordings have opposite the intended effect on me—I feel left out instead of included. Nothing against this album, it’s very well considered, just not my preference. However, they’re still making a lot of people gleeful, including me. –Jessica Thiringer (Yep Roc)


SOUTHERN CULTURE ON THE SKIDS:
Double Wide Live: CD
For some strange reason, I remembered these kids doling out primarily instrumental music with a southern surf twang. While that is the case on two songs—“The Wet Spot” and “Meximelt,” respectively—the vast bulk of stuff here is more on the rockabilly/country/punk tip, with vocals. This shouldn’t be taken as an implication that what’s on here is bad, per se, but I gotta say I’m much more interested in the instrumentals in this case, as they are quite impressive, indeed. –Jimmy Alvarado (Yep Roc)


SOFAKINGDOM:
Corporation America: CD
Pretty formulaic hardcore that’s like salad at a big holiday meal. It doesn’t bother you that it’s there, but you wouldn’t miss it if it was never put in front of you. –Megan Pants (sofakingdommusic.com)


SODA POP KIDS, THE:
Write Home: CD
The first song, “Put on Your Tight Pants,” is so catchy and perfect that the first time through the CD, I experienced a let down with each subsequent song. It took a few listens, but the rest of the tunes grew on me, too, and now I can’t get this gooey glob of glam punk outta my CD player. “Chained with Your Love” and “Memory Lane” have those ‘50s “ooo-wah-ooo” backing vocals that I’m an absolute sucker for. Listening to this CD is like shooting cotton candy intravenously, chugging Swizzle Stix, and chasing it down with root beer spiked with cocaine. Cheers to the sugar high. –Josh Benke (Full Breach Kicks)


SLIDESHAKER:
In the Raw: CD
Good ‘60s mid-to-down tempo garage blues with a slight hint of psychedelia played by what appear to be Finns (Arttu Keski-Orvola, Jani Korhonen, and Heikki Savolainen). The unassailably rad vocals sound like they’re sung through a kazoo hooked up to a fuzz box. The guitar player understands that well placed, uncomplicated solos can be more satisfying than some hot dog axe man trying to achieve full blown Clapton-esque wankery. Only two of the three band members are credited with providing handclaps. If anyone has this on vinyl, send it my way. –Josh Benke (Bad Afro)


SIX STRING JETS, THE:
Self-Titled: 7"
Chock full of the most ancient rock’n’roll clichés, these young morons almost pull these songs off. “Savage Beat” has the line “King of the jungle I’m a wild eyed savage beast/I’m a hungry for love and baby you’re the feast.” So dumb it’s almost retarded. The lyrics are sung in exaggerated Alex Chilton fashion. I applaud their spirit, but I’m lukewarm to their execution. –Josh Benke (Wrecked ‘Em)


SINKIN’ SHIPS:
All Signs Are Wrong: CD
The first thing that hit me on this one was the voice. Damn, that is one hell of a set o’ pipes. Right off the bat I’m thinking Cinder Block or Theo from Lunachicks, not because of the gender similarities, but the sheer power. Love it! Musically, it’s also very Lunachicks-like and that’s never a bad thing in my book. In fact, this thing played in my car for quite awhile, which is always a good testament to a disc’s longevity. I also think that “Tits on Toast” is a damn fine song title. Search this one out. –Ty Stranglehold (Wounded Paw)


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