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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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MONSTERS FROM MARS!:
Surfing Through a Creepy Castle: 7” EP
This is a gem of an EP, a perfect blend of traditional surf (reminiscent of the Phantom Surfers) and post-punk sci-fi surf (think Man...Or Astroman?). And that's just the originals. On the flipside, where the covers take over, the band again shows how well they can play both sides of the fence, taking on Britney Spear's "Toxic"(one of the most remarkable reclamation projects to ever grace my turntable) and Joe Meek's "Telstar." Bonus points for not naming themselves "The Martians," thus implying that even on their native Mars these guys and gal are on the outskirts of society. –Mike Faloon –Guest Contributor (Tic Tac Totally)


MONSTER SQUAD:
Self-titled: 7”
Wolfman may, indeed, have nards, but Monster Squad seems to be lacking. Listening to them feels like standing in front of a growling dog that you know just won’t bite. They have angry anthems, but I could never get a clear idea what they were actually angry about. Monosyllabic rhyming punctuated by the music makes it all come off feeling a bit too meatheady for me. –Megan Pants (Glue Rot)


MONEYBROTHER:
They’re Building Walls around Us: CD
My initial reaction was of anger. How could Jordan Kleeman do this to me? We’re supposed to use our labels for good not evil. Scandinavian funk/ soul/ pop, on its face, is evil. Pure evil. Then something happens on listen two and three. Firstly, you realize that you put it in for a second and third time. What the fuck is that about? Secondly, you imagine that if you went to a disco you’d hope that this was the sort of thing that would be playing. This you could shake a little something to with out having to know the hustle. –Steveo (Sabot )


MODERAT LIKVIDATION:
Köttahuve: 7”
Swedish hardcore from ‘83, pulled from the dustbin of history and polished up via Havoc Records. Archetypical hardcore stuff from the time period and locale, but since the lyrics are in Swedish, I have no idea whether they’re pro- or anti-gay when they have a song called “Anti Fag” or if they’re pro- or anti-fascist when they sing, “Skinhead, Seig Heil” over and over in the title track. Still, since it’s on Havoc, we’ll just assume everything’s on the up and up. Even with the remastering job, the vocals still sound like they were recorded in the deepest recesses of the Batcave, but I imagine that fans of the band couldn’t give a shit, considering the fact that this thing’s probably been out of print for twenty years or more. –Keith Rosson (Havoc)


MITRA:
All Gods Kill: CD
When the drummer’s moniker is Harden, you know it will be heavy. This wicked concoction does not disappoint: punishing riffs, ear-splitting vocals, and fast-as-shit song tempos. I think I will put this on at my next neighborhood block party…when I have run out of beer and want everyone to leave. Excellent! –Sean Koepenick (Idol)


MISHAPS:
Self-titled: 7”
Mid-tempo rockin’ punk with clean guitar and organ on the A side. Junk Records style rawkin’ on the flip. Fans of the “Fistful Of Rock N Roll” compilation series will dig this. –Mike Frame (Wall Ride)


MISGUIDED:
Fuggets 1981-84: CD
A fun thing about this New York proto-hardcore band’s “retrospective” CD is that you can track their progression not just by year but also by song length: while most of the earlier tracks barely break the minute mark, song lengths double and often triple as you work through the disc, culminating in the four-minute-plus live version of “I Can See You.” The music similarly progresses in proportion to the longer running times, with short, simple, guttural blasts a la The Fix giving way to more complex, almost poppy tunes creeping in by the time the band threw in the towel in 1984, a development made all the more interesting considering how many of them big city hardcore bands opted for the metal path to artistic bliss. In all, the assorted demos, live tracks, and EP cuts are well worth a listen and serve as a nice reminder of a time when all of this punk stuff was new, raw, and not overrun by career musicians slumming until a record deal is dropped in their laps. –Jimmy Alvarado (Mad at the World)


MIDNIGHT BOMBERS:
Evil Streets: CD
Although I ain’t all that impressed with the lyrical quality, which at best can be described as serviceable, musically this ain’t too shabby. They’ve got that ‘80s West Coast punk undertow not unlike Texas Thieves, with enough cool little guitar fills pumped into their delivery to keep one’s interest. Add to that a pretty solid cover of Agression’s “It Could Happen” and a shout-out to the mighty Dave Haro and we’re talking something worth a listen. –Jimmy Alvarado (Wondertaker)


MEASURE [SA], THE:
Union Pool b/w Unreleased, Another Protest Singer: 7”
Can you bottle exuberance? Just sheer joy? Can it be dabbed behind your ear like a perfume? It sure as hell can be captured on vinyl and The Measure’s got its number: über-earnest, let’s-get-this-shit-right, dual vocals DIY punk that’s disregarding paint-by-numberisms. And it makes me giddy—actually smiling when hearing these songs come on—that bands, in this relative dearth left in the wake of mid-‘90s pop punk aren’t only jumping into retreads of fun, but are taking the exposed wires of the best of that decade and plugging them directly into their instruments, hearts, and minds, while pedaling down new avenues into the 2000s. Like a supercharged Discount? Like watching otters magically frolic and play instruments? Like the best basement show, glasses fogged, windows steamed? Contagious? Yes, yes, and yes. –Todd Taylor (Idiot Box Industries, c/o The Measure, themeasuresa@hotmail.com)


MAASTER GAIDEN:
Like It Never Happened: CD
Prepared as I was to hate this CD based solely on the band name (a reference to an old Nintendo game, perhaps?), it proved impossible. The songs on Like It Never Happened capture the frustration, anger, and disappointment of being a young, awkward punk whose girl left him, who can’t fit in, whose doctor says it’s time to be medicated. Maaster Gaiden takes the shit that this monkey called life flings at them and celebrates it, using it to fuel songs that lead to wild, flailing, liberating catharsis. They’ve taken their Scared of Chaka and Marked Men records, chewed them up, swallowed them, regurgitated the best bits, and spit them out as something their own. God-fucking-damn, is this good! When they come through my town, I’ll be standing in the front row, singing every word, smiling, and going ape shit. –Josh Benke (Big Action)


LUNCH WITH BEARDO:
Surrealistic Picnic: CD
There’s a saying people say about how writing about music is like shitting about taxidermy, which is true, but it’s no problem with this record because: it ain’t music. You’d think it would be from the pictures, where somebody who is probably the “band” has guitars and stuff, but they just use ‘em for making swirly, echoey sounds that add up to some nice, relaxing noise (cup of Sleepytime optional [but pleasant!]). –Cuss Baxter (FDH)


LOUSY BREAK:
Self-titled: 7”
It’s so good to see that Headache Records is still around. And this is a standard, if not perfect, Headache release: straight-ahead, low-fi punk injected with doses of humor and obnoxiousness. How much more punk can you get with lines like, “I like cat in my Chinese food”? Makes me laugh, might make some gag, and it’s written into a good musical hook. Overall, this isn’t an earth-shattering record, but it rocks purty good. Oh, forgot—it’s a picture disc. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Headache)


LOGJAM:
Stumped!: CD
Sounds like a cross between Sheik Yerbouti-era Frank Zappa and the Mentors; or maybe NoMeansNo meets redneck jokes with Harry Nilsson medleys tossed into the mix to further befuddle taxonomy-ification. This is so well-executed as to be puzzling, and you’ll probably feel just awful when you cut the disc into the shape of a throwing star and hunt the horse from that Poco album cover with it (but you’ll do it nonetheless). More log than jam, one supposes. BEST SONG: “Last of the Summer Wine,” unless you want me to count “Nilsson Medley Schmedley” BEST SONG TITLE: “Nilsson Medley Schmedley (Clean Version)” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: This is the first record i’ve seen in like twenty years where the copyright date was printed in Roman numerals. –Rev. Norb (Logclam)


LO MODA:
Gospel Storefront: CD
Gospel Storefront manages to resuscitate a fresh take on psychedelic rock with viola hooks, slow handclaps, and the mantra-lyrics. Deadpan vocals spew, “New York is eating its tail” and “your beat is too complicated” out of front man Peter Quinn. It sounds like a disfigured, mutant Jonathan Richman is being backed by pretty girls singing backup and pounding their instruments in perfect, simple rhythms. It isn’t party music and it isn’t fun, but the malevolent, dry delivery of Gospel Storefront is pretty amazing. –bree (Creative Capitalism)


LILITH VELKOR:
Kalisti: CD
Once you get past the hideous cover art (two things: 1. If you’re drawing a picture that’s going to be Xeroxed, don’t use a pencil or a ballpoint, and 2. A naked lady’s milk duds only point toward her feet if she’s standing up. If she’s being crucified upside down, they’ll point toward her head. They’re filled with bird seed and silicone, not helium. Most times, anyway.) you get something roundabout old U.K. Subhumans or Disorder, bristling with trebly monotony and razory guitars and stuff, though, weirdly, one song sounds like Marginal Man. Lyrics are largely misspelled, which is just as well since the handwriting is largely illegible. Seeing as they live about a mile from my usual grocery store, I intended to write this review in my car in front of their house, but there wasn’t any parking so I went and bought bagels instead. –Cuss Baxter (Self-released)


LIGHT YOURSELF ON FIRE:
Self-titled: CD
This Tampa, FL band features the singer for Reversal Of Man and the bassist for Scrog and Omega Man. Apparently; these guys are playing shows with death metal bands like Deicide and Darkest Hour. Musically, that tonal whine the metal guitar player does irritates the piss out of me. The bass is in drop D throughout and the vocals sound like the cookie monster. –Buttertooth (Kiss of Death)


LARKIN:
Alexandra: CDEP
Celtic or Irish music is not a particular genre that I follow closely. But their debut release, The Curse of Our Fathers, was something that I took notice of and found it to be a good alternative to what I normally listen to. I see they released a second full length titled Reckoning. So this is their third release, which features six original songs in the style of traditional Irish folk. There’s something about songs like these that seem, to me, to be a combination of fun and depression. It’s like a drunken stupor: being in another state of mind with a bit of escapism. For fans of the Pogues or Flogging Molly who want to find something a little below the radar. –Donofthedead (Know)


KILLERS AND CLOWNS:
Radio Dead Ones: 12” 45
Frickin’ ROARING Berlin street punk featuring a vocalist who must almost surely leave post-performance microphones dauntingly covered in meaty chunks of lung. I mean, this makes something like “Out of Control” by the Angelic Upstarts sound like the Dead Milkmen by comparison. Even the acoustic number has got the guy raging his fricking esophagus out, the dude is doing to his throat what those guys from Jackass do to their bodies. Frickin’ enervating. ENERVATING, I SAY!!! BEST SONG: “Eastside of the City” BEST SONG TITLE: “Hate to Go out (Acoustic Version)” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Album artwork is a swipe of the ‘90s “Black Market Clash” cover art—oddly, not the original 1980 version. –Rev. Norb (Wanda)


KA-NIVES, THE:
Get Duped: LP
Me like oog music. Me no like think rock. Me no like Volvo commercial rock. Me like Fred Flinstone’s car. Me like furry underwear on go go dancers and ribs so big they tip over the car at the drive-in. Me like Supercharger, Gories, King Kahn and BBQ. Me like music that when it’s swiped with something sharp, it bleeds instead of asks for a credit card number. Me like music that’s raw and booger-eatin’ and has an exhaust leak that gives me a carbon monoxide high. (Me too dumb to die.) Do The Mummies have boogers? If they did, the Ka-Nives would eat those Mummie boogers from all of their noses and steal the Mummies songs in the process, using the uneaten boogers as sheet music. This album’s all covers, and I won’t lie; if they would have said, “All originals, chump,” I’d of believed ‘em, except for “Nervous Breakdown”—no, not that Rise Against song from Lords of Dogtown… or Black Flag… before that—which is great oog music, too. LP limited to 300. Comes with booklet with nice pictures, so no have to read much. –Todd Taylor (Lance Rock)


JOLTS, THE:
Jinx: CDEP
Total garage punk, as evidenced by singing, “I got stabbed in the eye to-n-eyeaaaght,” instead of “tonight!” Yes, it IS a difference, and a significant one appreciated only by the kind of people who spend time trying to figure out whether 20/20 or The Beat could be considered the epitome of power pop. (Jury’s still out on that one, as I continue to lose brain cells thinking about it.) If this were a local band, I’d buy them beer and candy...and even go to their shows! This is Fruit Loops! Yum! –Maddy (self-released)


JERK ALERT:
Self-titled: CD
To say Jerk Alert sounds like a musical bowel movement would be unfair, since bowel movements can be pretty darn enjoyable. You’re sitting there on your porcelain throne, maybe reading Razorcake, if you will, and you’re eradicating waste in a bliss-like state. Jerk Alert is more like the waste that’s left ever at the end of your doo doo symphony. It’s the part you don’t want to savor. You might take a peek to see what’s there but, inevitably, you just want to flush that load of stink as fast as possible. –Dave Disorder (Eradicator)


INTELLECTUALS, THE:
Invisible Is the Best: CD
Trying to intellectualize what the Intellectuals do would be insulting to the intellect. It ain’t chaos theory, though it is splendidly chaotic; it ain’t quantum physics, though listening to ‘em will make you want to get physical with the opposite sex. What it IS is a stroll through the rock’n’roll section of the id, beer-drenched, wild-eyed, libidinous, making out with the gorgeous girl next to you while checking out the other gorgeous girl standing behind her. Great guy/ girl vocal exchanges, a la the Lids, pluckily sinister organ sounds like Cococoma and the Juvinals, and a fuzzed-out guitar that sounds like the amp is seconds away from blowing up. I gotta find me a shirt that says “Italians do it better!” –Josh Benke (Dead Beat)


HICKOIDS:
Corn Demon: CD
Texas has always been one of the hotspots for punk’s most eccentric bands, including the Big Boys, Dicks, Kamikaze Refrigerators, DRI, MDC, Poison 13, and the Hickoids, an ‘80s “cowpunk” band that managed to embody both those terms without sacrificing anything from either genre. The first fifteen tracks here, from their We’re in It for the Corn album, sounds like the twangy cousin of Texas’ most extreme musical proponents it is—Scratch Acid set loose on the Sons of the Pioneers’ repertoire, or the Butthole Surfers up to their eyeballs in psychedelic slide guitar ’n’ chicken-pickin’. The remainder of the disc, the tracks from their Hard Corn EP, is a wee bit more subdued sonically, but their lyrical subject matter and cover song selection remained just as off-kilter. Were they the greatest punk band ever? Maybe, maybe not. They were, however, a pretty fun listen, and sometimes that’s more important. –Jimmy Alvarado (Saustex)


HIBACHI STRANGLERS, THE:
Our City Doesn’t Stink All the Time: 7”
Yeah, yeah, give the record titled Our City Doesn’t Stink All The Time to the guy from New Jersey. Don’t think I don’t see the joke here. Anyway, loud, fuzzed-out psyche/ garage rock. I want to say reminds me a little of The Carbonas (or at least makes them come to mind for some reason), but not nearly as straight forward, and a lot noisier most of the time. I like this. Good stuff. –Joe Evans III (Self-released)


HEROES & VILLIANS:
Play Themes from the Dark Pink Circus: CD
I think they shortened their name from The Heroes and Villains Chain. –Cuss Baxter (X!)


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