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Record Reviews

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PETS, THE:
Sticky Situations b/w Never Ask for Help: 7”
An ex FM-Knives guy and two other dudes step into the power pop arena and the results have flashes of the fantastic—of Cheap Trick, of The Gain, of Top Ten—but their cheerleader’s kicks aren’t as high, nor are their chops as Bruce Lee, throat-collapsing as any of the four aforementioned bands at their best. Humble suggestion: cut the lengths, cut the repetition, slightly higher voltage battery in the guitars. There’s a good seed in there. –Todd Taylor (Sweet Rot)


PESD:
Politikarepoizonekurvae: LP
Truly interesting release that reminds me of Ministry and KMFDM. Featuring members from two legendary punk bands out of Poland, the guitarist from Post Regiment and the singer from Tragedia. Industrial drum beats with gloomy synths and keyboard sounds that create moody layered waves of tension. They also throw a lot of fast punk parts into the mix to bring in the aggressive factor. Vocals are delivered in a yelled fashion and sound like both artists participate in the barrage of verbiage. Lyrics that I believe are in the Polish language and translated for the dumb American for convenience. This is exciting to hear this type of sound coming from a couple of punks. It shows that instead of playing by the rules of genres, they want to also explore the possibilities of what can be made. The end product is a masterful and intriguing mixture of guitars and electronics that is nowhere close to being horrible techno dance music. This release should peak the interest of those who sometimes want something different from the norm. –Donofthedead (Prank)


PELIGRO SOCIAL:
No Religion: CD
Political punk with a rock/punk feel to it that conjures up memories of Argentina’s Dos Minutos, who were woefully underrated, in my opinion. This will be played very loud, very often. –Jimmy Alvarado (Tankcrimes)


PELIGRO SOCIAL:
No Religion: CD
Hearing this for the first time right before I am actually going to see them live. I really like what I’m hearing. Kind of reminds me of Union 13 with an ode to The Business. They also have a SoCal beach sound that reminds me a little of bands like The Adolescents or The Crowd, but the main structure of the music is Spanish-sung street punk with tons of melody and a good dose of a rockin’ kick. Coming from the Bay Area, that is not the sound I would expect. But what do I know? What I do know is that they went to a decent studio with an engineer who got the most out of them. The production is not full blown clean, but warm and bold. Everything is in the right place and nothing in the mix sounds flat. The vocal interplay is a highlight. The vocals sound genuine and has a slight imperfection in its delivery making it believable. Can’t wait to see how it goes tonight seeing it face to face. There is a split 7” out there with Born/Dead. I have to check it out and see the difference in recordings. –Donofthedead (Tankcrimes)


PANIC DISORDER:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Some folks are of the opinion that Naked Raygun was where it’s at (which I don’t disagree with), but that Pegboy was too workmanlike (which I disagree with). I think that Pegboy riveted and cleaned their songs down: steely punk expanses of tough-powered pop, where Naked Raygun was adept at getting weirder and more abstract without losing focus. I like ‘em both. Panic Disorder take Pegboy’s precision then smear vomit on it. The straight-ahead, no bullshit power’s still evident. It sounds like they’re falling apart, hurtling towards a brick wall, the brakes don’t work, and all they’re concerned about is that last beer that’s rolling away from them under the seat. That’s a sound I like plenty. –Todd Taylor (Dry Rot)


PAJO:
1968: CD
The mag must be on some huge mailing list. They get a lot of questionable stuff that does not even remotely come close to the scope of what we cover. Like this thing. It sounds like a folk record with a guy on acoustic guitar and soft singing. Aren’t there any folk zines out there like there were in the ‘60s? –Donofthedead (Drag City)


OUR LOST CAUSE:
What Will Follow: CDEP-R
One more shitty Anti-Flag wanna-be band gets thrown into the machine. Complete with horrible, clichéd lyrics about apathy and ignorance, and typical cookie-cutter sound that could be at least fifty bands you can check out at your local Hot Topic listening station. –Guest Contributor (Celebrity Pets)


ON TRIAL:
Forever: CD
I hate the band Live. I think this band likes them. Screaming Trees had cooler guitar riffs while laying on the wah pedals. I can’t take the way my stomach turns when I hear the Eddie Vedder/Creed hunyh-huhs. These guys aren’t as bad as it gets, but are leaning towards a stoner rock version of that same hated musical beast. –Buttertooth (Bad Afro)


OI POLLOI:
Pigs for Slaughter: CD
A compilation from the two decade running anarcho punk band. It compiles tracks from various sources which is a good start for someone getting into the band. Twenty-three tracks in all, and many on out of print releases. People who have been into the band for awhile, like me, will like the convenience of having a lot of the songs on one disc or for ease to download onto their evil iPod. If this is the introduction, there are many releases out there and a lot of repeats. While it’s still available, the band self-released Ar Ceol, Ar Canan, Ar a Mach5 on CD this year. It continues on the legacy of this great band. All the songs on the new release are sung in Gaelic which is the native language of Scotland. So here is a good start point, and I have given you an end to shoot for. –Donofthedead (Step-1)


OBSCENE, THE:
Death Rides a Pale Whore: CD
These frisky Floridians swagger from solid post-Dead Boys punk to balls-out (but mildly less streamlined) Dwarves/Zeke speedcore to mildly synthy deathrock and mildly deathy surf rock, shedding scabby hints of Gang Green, The Cramps, Bang Gang, and the Hudson Falcons along the way. Dumb and mean, but fun and dumb. –Cuss Baxter (Teenage Antichrist)


O PIONEERS!!!:
Black Mambas: CD
I’ll openly admit it: I’m a huge fan of Against Me!; I’ve spent a good deal of time listening to their records. I’d wager to bet that O Pioneers!!! have me licked, though. I mean, they have to have really, really studied AM! or their brains are on the almost exact same wavelength, with the following exceptions: Eric’s vocals are more burlappy and don’t hold the notes as long or as strong as Tom’s. AM! has figured out the backup vocals to an almost Shangri-Las type of effectiveness. OP!!! are still working the dirt through the carburetor. AM! have this preternatural sense of pacing, of knowing when to dip, curl, howl, and sprint. OP!!! have a couple of speeds: mid-paced and slightly faster than mid-paced. So, here’s my two cents: if you’re currently way pissed at AM! and are revoking their membership card from your clubhouse, heck, you’ve got a band that scratches a very similar itch. I look forward to seeing how OP!!! develop themselves. As it stands, super nice dudes, but they’re in the musical shadows of whom they admire. –Todd Taylor (Team Science)


NOFX:
Wolves in Wolves’ Clothing: CD
Oh no! I must admit that, despite the dangerously-high percentage of baggy pants found on this band’s fan base, I’ve been a huge fan since I was fifteen and spent most of my time telling dumb jokes and drawing even dumber pictures. (Some things don’t change.) But this time around they’ve fucked with the Midwest, and I CANNOT let this stand! Lyrics like, “We call the heartland, not very smartland,” and then some ramblings about how everyone in the mighty Midwest hates gay people and immigrants. Untrue, says I, from my hometown of Milwaukee (first city to elect a socialist mayor)! In the name of all things cheese-based, I must give this album, despite its referencing of the Triple Rock and Paddy (D4), two thumbs down! Goddamn west coast! This is Special K. Yuck! –Maddy (Fat Wreck Chords)


NOFX:
Wolves in Wolves’ Clothing: CD
It seems like the boys have got there mojo workin’ on full tilt these days. This CD is so jam packed that they had to leave some recent songs like “There’s No Fun in Fundamentalism” for the B-sides pile. But all the hot topics are on display here, told with a healthy dose of sarcasm and contempt. Religion, politics, drugs and drinking are all song fodder. “Seeing Double at the Triple Rock” is a great example as Fat Mike sings— “Its 3 o’clock at The Triple Rock, another round of watching Paddy talk/it’s where you wanna get snowed in when you get snowed in.” Other tunes that had me spittin’ up my Cheerios are “Leaving Jesusland” and “Getting High on the Down Low.” But if you want to know what NOFX are about, just listen to “60 Percent”, which is their “Treatment Bound” — “We’re the self crowned kings of candor, sultans of slander/which mean we make more money/we’ve got better prescriptions/we own most of our own music/no one’s got their hands in our pockets/we don’t have management/we get to play loaded/and only 3 months a year.” What a fucking life. –Sean Koepenick (Fat Wreck)


NOFX:
Wolves in Wolves’ Clothing: CD
It seems like the boys have got there mojo workin’ on full tilt these days. This CD is so jam packed that they had to leave some recent songs like “There’s No Fun in Fundamentalism” for the B-sides pile. But all the hot topics are on display here, told with a healthy dose of sarcasm and contempt. Religion, politics, drugs and drinking are all song fodder. “Seeing Double at the Triple Rock” is a great example as Fat Mike sings— “Its 3 o’clock at The Triple Rock, another round of watching Paddy talk/it’s where you wanna get snowed in when you get snowed in.” Other tunes that had me spittin’ up my Cheerios are “Leaving Jesusland” and “Getting High on the Down Low.” But if you want to know what NOFX are about, just listen to “60 Percent”, which is their “Treatment Bound” — “We’re the self crowned kings of candor, sultans of slander/which mean we make more money/we’ve got better prescriptions/we own most of our own music/no one’s got their hands in our pockets/we don’t have management/we get to play loaded/and only 3 months a year.” What a fucking life. –Sean Koepenick (Fat Wreck)


NIGHTS LIKE THESE:
The Faithless: CD
Lots of yelling and a bunch of metal. Pretty much what I expect from Victory. –Megan Pants (Victory)


NEW MINORITY, THE:
What’s Left of Our Freedom: CD
I’m not really hearing the death rock influence they purport to have—I’m hearing more Mentally Ill and Saccharine Trust than Christian Death and 45 Grave—but what I am hearing is creative, intelligent, very fine punk/hardcore from a band that’s obviously got more brains and less desire to follow the herd than many others. Only gripe I have is the mix could’ve been a lot stronger—burying the guitars is never a good idea. Outside of that, here’s hoping these guys are planning to be around for the long haul. –Jimmy Alvarado (Valiant Death)


NEW LOU REEDS, THE:
Top Billin’: CD
The New Lou Reeds are a lot like Gay Dad or the Drugstore Cowboys—you’ve heard the name but not the music. I mean, I could go on and on about how stupid the New Lou Reeds’ name is. I’ll keep it down to one gripe: Why Lou Reed? Papa Reed has released two and a half good albums since leaving the Velvets. That’s pretty fucking pathetic. I mean, what other occupation would allow that kind of inconsistency? While at the post office, Charles Bukowski had to throw letters into their respective slots with something like ninety percent accuracy. Had Lou Reed chosen a career at a NYC post office branch, the sour fucker would’ve been canned on his first day. Fuck Lou Reed. This band should be called The New John Cales. Think about it. Vintage Violence is way better than anything Lou did after the Velvets. And I’ll stand by that, motherfucker. So you want to hear a review of this record? It’s okay. Fuck, not great, but not bad either. It’s got a Southern, Compulsive Gamblers touch. It has a singer with a vocal delivery reminiscent of David Thomas from Pere Ubu. And that’s about it. A fucking five out of ten: also known as supreme mediocrity. Unless The New Lou Reeds can pick up the fucking pace, all subsequent albums should be called Rock and Roll Heart or Growing Up In Public (AKA the Reed albums not worth pissing on). –Ryan Leach (Exit Stencil)


NECKTIES MAKE ME NERVOU:
Self-titled: 7”
One day, years ago, when I working a coffee job, a guy dressed very similarly to me—T-shirt, jeans, sneakers—came in and looked really jumpy. I didn’t ask. He just started talking as I handed him his cup. “I was at the Golden Donut Palace up the street. Two dudes in clown masks came in and held the place up with shotguns. They only took stuff from the men in ties and the rich-looking women. Left all the manual laborers alone.” That’s always stuck with me. If I ever lead a life of crime, neckties will somehow be used as a barometer. Neckties Make Me Nervous follow suit: it feels like they’re holding up rich “picked first in kickball” punk rockers at gunpoint with their stripped-down, gritty DIY punk that’s swollen with smarts and well-placed pride in being a societal fuck up, way past the time in life where it’s fashionable. Fans of Crimpshrine and Cleveland Bound Death Sentence take note. (Features a member of Pelvis Wesley, too.) Very satisfying. –Todd Taylor (Geykido Comet)


MURDER DISCO X:
Ground Zero: Stuttgart: LP
Another band that has been around for more than ten years, and I hear them for the first time now. This band from Germany might have flown under my sights but is in focus now. Punk that plays a straight forward power brand of punk. Kind of gave me the feeling of listening to the first MDC record or hearing Negative Approach. But also has the sound ‘88 hardcore that came out of the East Coast. The power that comes thru the speakers is undeniable. Two covers of Terveet Kadet and Self Destruct might go unnoticed if you were not familiar because they made it their own. Each song has a variance to make it an easy listen from start to finish. I personally felt there were no fillers to be heard and I continued to flip the record over and over many times before I went to listen to something else. If they ever tour the West Coast, I am so there! –Donofthedead (Profane Existence)


MOUSE THAT ROARED, THE:
Excommunicator: CD
What is the best way to describe this? BORING. I’m thinking Tom Waits meets Lou Reed. Two people I rather not listen to. –Donofthedead (Greydawn)


MODERN MACHINES / IF I HAD A HI FI:
Hot Nuggets: CD
Yay! The best and by far the most ridiculous band in Milwaukee (Modern Machines) team up with If I Had A Hi Fi for a CD that is roughly comparable to Cinnamon Toast Crunch! Yes, it’s just that good! They cover each other’s songs, Mission of Burma, random other stuff, and it sounds so good! Modern Machines play music that sounds like a combination of Husker Du, Bruce Springsteen, and the Devil Dogs (yes, strange but true!), and If I Had A Hi Fi plays music that sounds like Milwaukee plus Mission of Burma! My one complaint? The cover of Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner (originally be Warren Zevon) better be a joke. –Maddy (Crustacean)


MODERN MACHINES / BLOTTO:
Head Hurt: Split 7” EP
Modern Machines: Yep. They’ve won me over. It’s like they’ve gotten the biggest-ever wad of Silly Putty, spread it over a large map of the best of Midwestern punk rock, pressed down firmly, spilled a space bag of wine spiked with crushed Adderall all over it, and, instead of copying everything backwards, have wadded that Putty into a high-bouncing, dirty ball of fun. My three favorite tracks by them. Blotto: You know what? Fuck Japan. Fuck those guys for taking everything we do and making it better. Fuck their computer chips and fuel efficient cars and vending machines with clean underpants and bands that shame ours by rediscovering what’s already discarded, yet finding how to turbocharge pop punk and made it entirely great and crunchy, like a fresh bowl of cereal (but with gasoline, instead of milk), once again. –Todd Taylor (Snuffy Smiles!)


MITRA:
All Gods Kill: CD
The best way to describe this is mid ‘90s grunge meets early ‘90s metal, but it’s made in the year 2006. My buddy Arlen described it best when he said, ‘It’s like Metallica meets Neurosis, without the off chance that it will ever be catchy.” But even after that harsh statement he still said he liked it and that the production is really good and if you’re into metal you should probably get drunk and play it really loud. Plus the album art is cool. –Daryl Gussin (Idol)


MISSION OF BURMA:
The Obliterati: CD+DVD
I refuse to start this review by comparing this record to this band’s earlier work. Or even 2002’s On off on. That’s because you should already have all those releases on your shelf. If not, I may have to drive by your house and throw an empty beer can on your front lawn. This record is bold, brash, and even beautiful in some spots. Inventive guitar, muscularly fluid bass lines and powerful drumming again make up the definitive Burma sound. Since there is not a song on here I dislike, I will break it down for you by songwriter. That way, if you don’t have time to listen to this with your morning coffee, you can do a quick shuffle play before it totally sucks you in. Best Clint Conley song: “2wice.” Best Roger Miller song: “Careening With Conviction.” Best Peter Prescott song: “Period.” Lest we forget the uber-talented Bob Weston who weaves a tangled sonic web with the production knobs that you should lie back in and relax. Early runs include a bonus DVD of four songs from a 2004 show opening for The Pixies. They look amazed to be playing an arena gig. But catch them in a club if they play your dustbowl, this record live will blow your head clean off. –Sean Koepenick (Matador)


MISGUIDED, THE:
Home Town Zeros: CD
This album is very eclectic, in the way that all of their songs showcase a different style of music they like. Some songs sound like they love The Business (like “Anchors Up,” which reminds me of “Guinness Boys”), others like they love Rancid (like “Strange Ave.”), and Bad Religion (like in “Kid Mariposa”). “Anchors Up” is a catchy song about drinking and remembering lost friends. “Running Back” is a song about heartache and repeatedly running back to the wrong woman. And the title track, “Home Town Zeros,” is the band’s anthem as they spell their band’s name repeatedly throughout the song, and talk about leaving their hometown because the punks only like crust music, which is compounded by their carefree attitude to playing to sparse crowds. The song I actually like that stands out to me is “La Noche,” which is sung in Spanish and has a good level of intensity. If you like bands that are hoping to get onto Hellcat—think a variation of Left Alone—you might like them. –Jenny Moncayo (Baseline)


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