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Record Reviews

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RAT BYTE/CONCRETE FACELIFT:
Split: 7"
Concrete Facelift. Rat Byte. What a cool couple names for bands. Just hearing their names makes me want to drink a Pepsi and go skate. C.F. actually surprised me with the lyrical coolness. I feel the exact same way! With every one of their songs! If there was some sort of soundtrack to my life, I would want to have the song “It” play every morning as I wake up. They have a way of describing exactly how I feel about caffeine in a minute of skate thrashy hardcore. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing new here. You’ve heard this stuff before. Both bands play similar simple, fast, early ‘80s skate punk: JFA, early Suicidal Tendencies, and so on. I really like this split though. It’s good to see kids are still skating to good music. Or making good music to skate to, which is much more important. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Rat Byte has a song called Raditude. It is impossible to be any cooler in my book. –Guest Contributor (FNS / Party Time)


RADIUM SCREEN, THE:
White Faces: CD
Post-Normal, mostly emotionless new wave stuff that starts off sounding like a funkier She Wants Revenge and ends up on a more breathy, ethereal note. –Jimmy Alvarado (LaLaLa)


RADIO BEATS:
Ready to Shake: CD
Hot fucking dawg!!! This is the kind of blown out, scumbag rock’n’roll that makes me want to do back flips. So lo-fi I’d bet a grand it was recorded under water with caveman clubs for drum sticks and dinosaur teeth for guitar picks. Songs about takin’ chicks home, takin’ chicks to the backseat of your car, and chicks givin’ it up, all played fast and dirty. Includes an Angry Samoans cover. Fuck yes. –Josh Benke (Big Neck)


PUSH TO TALK:
Self-Titled: CD
I’m guessing these guys spend a lot of time at ‘80s dance clubs, but only actually dance when The Cure comes on in that so-sad-I-have-to-dance way. –Megan Pants (Doghouse)


PROZACS, THE:
Live at CBGB: CD
Like the title suggests, it is a live recording of The Prozacs from Massachusetts at CBGB’s. The first song, “Penguin Rock,” sounds like a carbon copy of Blink 182 and a tinge of annoying Avril Lavigne. They cover Screeching Weasel songs and they have songs about high school escapades such as prom, cleverly titled “Prom Night.” (Quick comment: from the CD photos they look a little too old to STILL be singing about prom and high school. Just a thought.) The Prozacs would fit nicely on the tiny side stage at Warped Tour or next to a suburban kid’s Blink 182 collection, because they sound exactly the same. Too bad. I liked their band name. I’ll just give the CD to my younger cousin who is still in that phase. –Jenny Moncayo (Cheapskate)


PROUDFLESH:
Self-Titled: CD
I find it interesting that Sothira continues to lay the mess that is Indochina solely at the feet of the West, and says nothing about all the fun that was had there with no help from the West whatsoever. Shit, the Maoist Khmer Rouge alone had a ball in them killing fields in his native Cambodia. How many bodies lie under Choeung Ek and elsewhere again? Nearly two million? How many ethnic Vietnamese died by Cambodian hands during that period? How many Cambodians died by Vietnamese hands when the Vietnamese overthrew the Khmer in ‘78-79? Weren’t those governments Chinese- and Soviet-backed, respectively? I’m not getting all patriotic or anything, ‘cause I’m the last person who would do that, but it seems to me there’s enough blame to go around and that any group with a supposed anarchist background wouldn’t hesitate to point fingers in all the appropriate directions, and that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Seems a little hypocritical to be singing about My Lai and not utter a peep about Tuol Sleng, bro. Speaking of hypocrisy, how does a former anarcho-posterboy turned stockbroker justify singing antiwar tunes? That’s like a politician singing songs against his corporate overseer, ain’t it? Seeing as the market thrives on war, it would follow that anyone who works in the market profits, no matter how indirectly, from the misery and death of others, right? There’s a reason why them towers were singled out and it wasn’t just ‘cause they were tall. Singing songs decrying your chosen revenue source is kinda like biting the hand that pays for them bitchin’ motorcycles and posh living quarters. As for the music itself, imagine Crucifix reimagined as a Sunset Strip rock band, singing love songs to “My Lai My Love.” While I imagine their reliance on their old band’s name (and frankly, the Jimmy Crucifix lineup was easily the worst) will no doubt bring in the dough from non-discerning punter/punkers with Hot Topic-bought “Dehumanization” t-shirts, I think it’s safe to say that some musicians and their contributions are best left behind in the mists of the past. –Jimmy Alvarado (Wired Gnome)


PORCH MOB:
Can of Worms: CD
I thought I liked this until I realized it just kept putting me to sleep. I needed the sleep though. –Megan Pants (Can of Worms, no address)


POPULATION REDUCTION:
At the Throats of Man Forever: CD
I am guilty of buying stuff for my personal collection and not making an effort to review it in this here mag. I saw PR back in early December of last year. They’re a two man grind, death, metal, punk margarita blender that truly impressed me. Straight-up guitar and drums with dueling vocals was a hoot. Also included in the mix was their great sense of humor. I was sold. I bought the tour 7” and the CD and for some reason (I think I ran out of money) I didn’t buy a shirt. Got to try and support the touring bands! Well, anyway. This is some damn good stuff if you like your cookie monster and rectum ripped screaming vocals. Drums that blast away with double bass drums with cymbals and drum heads pounded with power and precision. I witnessed it first hand and he was barefoot too. The guitars have the requisite chunk and heavy riffage. Nothing soft here. This is coming from two guys who were super nice and friendly when I met them and they morphed into this madness once on stage. –Donofthedead (Tankcrimes)


POLES, THE:
As Above, So Below: CDEP
Boring, modern rock that didn’t even interest me enough to make want to listen to the whole thing twice. –Donofthedead (Doubleplusgood)


POINTING FINGER:
Best Bruises Collection: CD
Bland, faceless youth crew hardcore stuff from either Brazil or Portugal, judging from the members’ names. –Jimmy Alvarado (Third Party)


PINK RAZORS:
Waiting to Wash Up: CD
I want to like this record more than I do, and I can’t put my finger on it. It’s got that fuzzy sweater on fire charm of Dead Things, the raygun happy zapping (but they’re really sad) of Screeching Weasel, the watertight, seamless quality of Funeral Oration—pop punk’s the score and they’re navigating adeptly through a maze on wheels of prior invention—but there’s something… something not there for me. And it’s not a, “Oh, the production blows,” or “That dude’s voice sound like a twelve-year-old girl’s,” or suckin’ “high school sweetheart left me, whoah, whoah” lyrics. Maybe it’s just that it’s fifteen songs that could easily be just one with fourteen short beaks, but that’d mean I’d have to rule out the Ramones, and I’m not about to do that. So, at this point, I’m gonna say pass, but it could easily turn into a thumbs up if that one thing clicks into place. Huh. Weird. –Todd Taylor (Robotic Empire)


PHARMACY, THE:
Two Small Armies: 7"
The kids in the pop punk outfit the Pharmacy kind of come off as sweet, like unicorns with sparkly manes and tails. What’s closer to the truth is more like undead unicorns with razor sharp teeth feeding on the flesh of the living, spewing out Devo-ish and Starvations-inspired pop noise like showers of blood. Fans of their epic live shows can now feed off of three killer new songs and an impressive new version of “Two Small Armies.” Recommended for fans of good, catchy punk and shotgunning beers with your friends in the back of parking lots. –bree (Don’t Stop Believin’)


PHANTOM LIMBS:
Random Hymns: 12" EP
Noisy white vinyl 12” five-song 45 here. It sounds like industrial music to me, but I know this band is beloved in the garage gone art world. Fans of Lost Sounds, Butthole Surfers, and noisy grindcore will find a lot to like here. –Mike Frame (Hungry Eye)


PENETRATION:
Moving Targets: CD
Having previously only heard their punk anthem “Don’t Dictate,” this album was a bit of a shock. Although contemporaries of the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and all the other heroes of the first wave of U.K. punk, most of the songs here are markedly mature and sophisticated in comparison to many of their peers, with interesting rhythms and arrangements married to well-written lyrics. While it shouldn’t scare off those who like their punk a little smarter than THUD-THUD-THUD-THUD (and yes, I have more than a passing affinity for that brand of punk as well, so stuff your whining missives excoriating my supposed dismissal of punk’s more primitive purveyors a second ago and direct your ire instead at our dickheaded President and criminal cohorts, you gobbing monkeys), those who need their noise to fit snugly into the accepted punk pigeonhole will be pleased as punch by the inclusion of the aforementioned “Don’t Dictate” and “Firing Squad” singles, both of which make a nice soundtrack to mad, mindless pogoin’. –Jimmy Alvarado (Captain Oi)


PAPER CHAMPIONS, THE:
End Transmission: CDEP
The Paper Champions wrote an EP loosely based on the disappearance of aviator Amelia Earhart and it’s all poppy emo punk. Wow. A lot of it really isn’t that bad and is actually pretty catchy. But still, it seems like it’s all too cliché nowadays and the one thing that makes it stand out (the Earhart angle) is a little too obscure for most people, I think, especially the fifteen year-old girls towards which this album will primarily appeal (and evidently to some degree, me too). Good start, though. –Kurt Morris (Reason Y)


ONE REASON:
Mountains: 7"
Three catchy poppy, kinda emoish songs from a place called Cleveland, Mississippi. When I wrote “emoish,” I didn’t mean it in a Mineral or Christie Front Drive kinda way. More of a later Discount mixed with Broadways kinda poppy emotional punk. Great, well-written songs. The first, “The End Never Mattered” is my favorite, and the most catchy of the three, but after a few listens, I ended up liking the entire 7” quite a bit. It has a Plan-It-X feel to it, and after further reading, I found they have a release on Plan-It-X South. –Guest Contributor (Salinas)


ONE DEAD THREE WOUNDED:
Paint the Town: CD
Screamo. There is a lot of yelling goin’ on. –Donofthedead (1x1)


OKAY PADDY:
The Cactus Has a Point: CD
Reaction to opening notes: what the hell is this smarmy mess? Reaction to entire record: surprisingly good/much better than expected/you dumbass, stop with the instant judgments. This really did surprise me because it’s not often that I come across a relatively mellow (THE word that springs to mind with every song) rock’n’roll record that I can’t get enough of. In a lot of ways this sounds to me, at least, like a subdued version of The Figgs, as if they were to make a record baked on a whole load of weed. It’s so easy to get bored with fast-paced fury at times, and this was a welcome change of pace for me. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Prison Jazz)


OFF WITH THEIR HEADS:
Hospitals: LP
This is reeaal close to being full-on awesome. It’s got that zippy, whirlwind, circular speed of Horrible Odds, that “I’ve got a mental owie, slide down your panties” feel—but recorded so much better—than the best four songs on Jawbreaker’s Dear You, and that rust shined into a luster pop punk of Rivethead (who Zack came from). But there’s something in the creases that doesn’t quite do it for me. The rock’s slabbed on there, but the joining material feels a little clumpy, bloated, and strained, like someone using a caulk gun for the first time sealing in a bathtub. Off With Their Heads’ musical bathtub doesn’t leak, it just ain’t as tight as it could be. That said, I find myself listening to this quite a bit, so it just may take some adjustment time. I heard they slay live, so I’ll patiently wait for round two. –Todd Taylor (Rock Bottom)


O PIONEERS!!! / SAW WHEEL:
Split: CD
O Pioneers!!! sound a lot like Against Me! and it doesn’t bug me because it seems to be coming from an honest place. Seriously, it’s not a passing blush; from the shouted/sung vocals, to the disco/drill sergeant drumming, to the shimmering guitar. They could almost be unused demo tracks, pre Axl Rose and that instant familiarity gives the band a nice—albeit odd—comfort. Saw Wheel plot nicely in the Rumbleseat, This Bike Is A Pipebomb, Plan-It-X universe: down-home, subdued, but fiery-eyed, calloused-hand, and real easy to listen to while you tap your toes along to the beat. –Todd Taylor (Team Science)


NUMBSKULLS, THE:
The Last… Vol. 1 of 3: CD
Aptly named band as the disc sent to me doesn’t play in my CD player. But being the curious lad that I am, I found them on the internet and bounce from their band web site to the group’s MySpace page where I got a peek at a few of their songs. So what did they sound like? Um, primitive four chord pub rock with some street punk leanings to it. Not great or original, but capable and probably enjoyable live when your liver is oozing Pabst Blue Ribbon. –greg (www.thenumbskulls.com, Worchester, MA)


NOFX:
You Will Lose the Faith b/w Last Night Was Really Fun: 7"
Tenth in the year-long monthly series, and it sounds like how a hangover feels. The A-side is an acoustic—Fat Mike and a guitar—song about Christians losing faith. Bummer and a so-so song at best. The B-side’s lyrically clever, and about blacking out while continuing to party (and fuck, and get in fights, and getting sharpied). Both songs are pretty stripped down, slower, and subdued. Not my favorite of the series by any stretch. –Todd Taylor (Fat)


NOFX:
Never Trust a Hippy: CDEP
Here it is, the new EP from Fat Mike and the gang featuring two songs off their forth coming full length, Wolves in Wolves Clothing, and four unreleased tunes. The first song is about drinking and partying with Paddy and the rest of Dillinger Four at the Triple Rock in Minnesota. I’ve never had the pleasure of drinking with these fine folks, but from what I’ve heard already, the lyrics to this song seem to fit the bill perfectly. The next song, “The Marxist Brothers,” is a sarcastic poke at Marxists of the new millennium with their hybrid cars, ebay shopping and podcasts... pretty funny, but I would have enjoyed it more if it was a new version of their classic Moron Brothers tune with new lyrics. The third song is a well done Germs cover. The next song, “You’re Wrong,” is a political song used as Fat Mike’s soap box minute, and it’s pretty horrible as it’s just Fat Mike strumming his guitar and trying to sing in tune. Great choice in signing Against Me! to Fat Wreck, but don’t try and record an Against Me! style song just because you like how they sound. I’m sorry but it just doesn’t work—especially when the song is two minutes long and spouts even more one-sided rhetoric than a Propaghandi album. The next two songs are more of what you come to expect from NOFX, but nothing special. Not sure how I liked this CD as I’d much rather be listening to The Decline or So Long and Thanks For All The Shoes. There’s something to be said when the new, unreleased Randy (the band) song “Beware,” available online right now for free which features Fat Mike (taking up half the lead and backing vocal duties), is better than all of the songs on this EP. –Mr. Z (Fat Wreck)


NOFX:
Never Trust a Hippy: CDEP
No matter how much shit people talk about NOFX, they are still here. From their early beginnings on rip-off label Mystic, to being an integral part of making Epitaph what it is today, and to creating a label that is run with precision and takes care of its bands from top to bottom. I read somewhere one of their records that was released on Epitaph went platinum. If you don’t know what that means, that is one million copies. The band gets to do something they love and not have to get a REAL job. I’m envious of that. I’m not the biggest fan, but I do like some of their stuff. In fact, the current stuff is the stuff I like. I thought The Decline was brilliant. The War on Errorism had some great songs on there too. So this release continues on their progression. The band has a signature sound that is undeniable. But with careful listening, I can always hear some things that sound new to their approach. Take for instance, “Seeing Double at the Triple Rock.” It sounds like Motörhead’s interpretation of a NOFX Song. All the other songs on this EP are consistent and easily listenable. Hats off to these guys for pushing forward all these years. –Donofthedead (Fat)


NEW THRILL PARADE:
Self-Titled: LP
This record has been getting a lot of poor (or at least confused) reviews lately and I really can’t understand why. Well, that’s a lie. I do understand how someone wouldn’t quite understand its genius after hearing it for the first time. It happened to me. It is like nothing I have ever heard before, but something I have always subconsciously yearned to hear. Like Nick Cave’s Birthday Party on crack. Slow and hypnotizing, dark and droning bass-heavy melodies accented by jarring crash symbols soon lead into a chaotic mess of screeching saxophone and guitar. Demanding gloomy deep vocals quickly turn shrieking and urgent. It’s like being able to witness the musical equivalent of a depressed clown’s journey drifting into the frosty arms of insanity and through the dark, creepy melodies and unpredictable breakdowns. You not only begin to understand why, but it begins to drag you down as well. This is original, and truly nothing short of amazing. Highly recommended. –Guest Contributor (17 Television / Mountain Landis)


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