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· 1:Off With Their Heads Top Shelf Interview Podcast
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· 3:Trials and Tribulations of a Misguided Adult
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Record Reviews

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AMEAÇA CIGANA:
Self-titled: CD
Metal-tinged gallop-core from Brazil. Based on my rudimentary grasp of Portuguese, the lyrics seem to address the political and the personal. Not bad, not stunning. –Jimmy Alvarado (SMD, portalsmd.br)


AMEBIX:
No Sanctuary: The Spiderleg Recordings: CD
U.K. anarchopunks who have been around a long, long time. This record is a remastering of the band’s first three EPs from the early ‘80s that have been moldering in some basement for the last quarter century. I’m not an aficionado of this genre, but I do like such stylings, and, for the most part, I liked this record. It appeals to the sense of malevolent self-righteousness deep inside o’ me and makes me want to break shit. But, there was nothing truly earth-shattering on this record for me. Not that it sounds like another pasty, one-legged entrant in the anarchopunk footrace, it’s just that the record never made me sit up and take notice. It was great background music while I was reading a novel about World War I. But what the hell is with all that warbling on track six? It sounds kind of like the painy strains of a moose being dragged by the nuts from a snowmobile. Very odd, that one. All in all, this held my attention reasonably well, but there were a few misses for me on it. That’s only a personal reaction, though; if you like Amebix, I’m sure this will be a welcome package. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Alternative Tentacles)


AMEBIX:
Redux: 12” EP
Here are three old Amebix songs updated, and believe me, these versions are in some ways better than the old recordings. They’re definitely more metal here than they were on the superb Monolith, and the recording is more full and dynamic. I had always thought the old stuff sounded a little flat. On this 12” everything sounds alive. I was skeptical at first, but as soon as “Winter” begins—with the high-pitched drone and the guitars feedback and the bass brings it all together—all doubts were immediately dispelled. The sound is even darker than before and there’s more of a goth feel. “Chain Reaction” really stands out with the church bells, the cold overdubs, and the vocals are stronger as well. There’s more tension, the drumming is more intense and puts more power into these songs. “Arise” has always been a crusher, and the refreshed version is just as vital. Twenty some years later, the music and lyrics are still relevant. On the packaging front, this comes with a large embroidered patch and a download card that has a live version of “Progress.” –Matt Average (Profane Existence, profaneexistence.org)


AMEBIX:
Knights of the Black Sun: 12”
I think my pal the Reverend Paul Putrid put it best: “Who knew the trajectories of the Amebix and Killing Joke would cross to the point where you can’t tell one from the other?” While maybe a bit more “rock” than even Jaz and the boys might dare to venture, the tune hear nonetheless bears traces of the same Killing Joke stamp as much of their other recent output. Not to say it’s a bad thing, especially when one considers that stamp could be found to varying degrees from the beginning, but it is interesting to note that the more they’ve progressed, the more that influence has become prominent. Also interesting is that this twelve-inch slab of wax has, count ‘em, one track on it, with an etching gracing the other side. Sure, it’s a good song, and the etching’s purty ‘n’ all, but a bit of a burn when one factors in the cost per song ratio, not to mention it’s a bit of a waste of a petroleum-based product, no? –Jimmy Alvarado (Profane Existence)


AMELIA / PHERAMONES:
Split: Cassette
Amelia: This sounds like it could be pretty all right stuff; however, it’s recorded horribly, rendering it near unlistenable. The vocals are too loud while everything else is rather quiet and barely discernable. There are mainly female vocals with some male vocals. The hand-written note that came with it said that they are “’90s alternative.” I’ll buy that. Hope things work out better with the recording next time around. Pheramones: Well, it’s male-fronted poppy indie. Kinda playful, kinda heartfelt. I wouldn’t mind hearing it while sitting at a coffee shop, but it doesn’t really do too much for me. –Vincent Battilana (In The Pocket)


AMEN AND THE HELL YEAHS / THE MANIX and AMEN AND THE HELL YEAHS:
Split CDEP and Shitstorm: CD and CDEP
Amen And The Hell Yeahs: These dudes drove from 1,895 miles one way, from Minneapolis, MN, to Riverside, CA, to play one show: Awesome Fest II. They didn’t make a tour of it. They just wanted to play. Simple as that. When I asked them what they did for work, they said that they worked for an asshole wine distributor and they’d have to cannonball it back home the next day. They were young dudes, very sincere, and totally down. The music follows. It’s simple, sloppy, direct, and fun. Nothing mind erasing, but real solid and full of promise. The Manix: Do you think it’s possible to channel the crowd’s reaction to a great, past band? The Manix don’t sound much like “Kids Don’t Follow”-era Replacements, but I can totally imagine someone in The Manix being in the audience, and soaking in all of that drunken, catchy, alcho-poetry, going home, and starting a band of their own (twenty years later; a bad analogy, I know), and forming with a band that just wanted to continue to harness that feeling. Good stuff, both bands. –Todd Taylor (Heart Of The Lakes)


AMENDMENT EIGHTEEN:
All My Heroes Are Dead: CD
A late ‘80s So Cal straight edge sound that would’ve fit well on Nemesis a decade ago. I never really thought much of the straight edge stuff after the initial onslaught of bands from Boston and DC, and this band did zip for me as well. –Jimmy Alvarado (New Age, PO Box 5213, Huntington Beach, CA 92615)


AMERICA IS WAITING:
In the Lines: CDEP
If I kept listening to emo, I would stop having to take sleeping pills.  –Donofthedead (Die Die Diemond)


AMERICAN ANALOG SET, THE:
Through the : CD
The first song sounds a little like Pink Floyd's "Cirrus Minor," which is cool 'cause I've always had a soft spot for early Floyd. Wait a minute, damn near EVERY SONG ON THIS sounds like that song. It's all very pretty and all, but I got bored silly quick, and the lethargy that this instilled upon me made it hard for me to muster enough energy to even take it out of the player. Then again, maybe that was their plan all along.... –Jimmy Alvarado (Emperor Jones)


AMERICAN BLACK LUNG, THE:
Sudden Departure of Vultures: CD
Singer sounds like Mike Muir around the time of Suicidal’s first record. The rest of the band sounds like your average rock band. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.uprisingrecords.com)


AMERICAN CHEESEBURGER:
: Demo Tape
Yes, yes, yes, yes, this is the shit! This is the kind sugar papa likes. The dudes that used to be in Athens, Georgia’s No! have started a new band, American Cheeseburger, and boy is it fucking perfect. Fast-as-shit melodic-ish hardcore that reminds me of Spazz or Charles Bronson without all the blast beats, with super pissed-off vocals but also with a sense of humor! Nothing makes me happier than a band that doesn’t take themselves super-seriously all the time. I mean, there are some topical songs and issues addressed, but for the most part it’s all just rad fun. Come on, how can you not love lyrics like: “Playing Super Ghouls and Ghosts/Eat tofu and texas toast”? This shit is rad. If you run a record label, you should put out this band’s record! –ben (Demo)


AMERICAN CHEESEBURGER:
Self-titled: 7”
Decent thrash to get you through your day. The mama bear in me wants to make a pot of tea with honey and lemon for the singer, though. –Megan Pants (Tsunami)


AMERICAN CHEESEBURGER:
Modern Advice EP: 7”
Seething, reject thrash that’s more about removing the skin from the listener’s face with the lead singer’s ear-piercing screeching than guitar solos or fancy musicianship. The most noticeable thing about this record is definitely the lead singer’s voice. The music’s anger level is probably around medium-high, while the singer’s is somewhere this imaginary anger index doesn’t even reach. Go figure. Laugh out loud song title: “If Your Face Was Georgia, My Fist Would Be Home by Now.” I think I might not actually understand it, but it’s still funny. –Daryl Gussin (Rock Bottom)


AMERICAN CHEESEBURGER / BUKKAKE BOYS:
Split: EP
What do one of my favorite eats and a very taboo sexual act have to do with one another? Not much other than that combining the two bands named after them makes for some of the best hardcore (music, that is) in recent memory. I first picked up American Cheeseburger’s split with Canadian Rifle as per the highest recommendation from Daryl “no metal!” Gussin. When I first heard their side of that split, I thought to myself: “The Repos.” Not having listened to anything else of theirs until now, I figured I would dig their side of this record. I was wrong. I don’t dig it. I fucking love it! What’s it sound like? Like Poison Idea’s Pick Your King cassette with Cobra Commander taking over on vocals while a totally zonked out Greg Ginn wanders in and tries to play along to it. You think I’m kidding? I’ve come across Bukkake Boys’ EPs on several occasions and like the moron that me be, I did nothing but flip past them in the record bins. No longer shall I ignore the Boys and their silly name. Anyone who worships at the church of Jan’s Room is all right by me. I can spot Jon Kortland’s artwork a mile away and it’s what has led me to believe that I will not likely come across a better split for the remainder of the year. An absolute must own. –Juan Espinosa (Vinyl Rites)


AMERICAN CHEESEBURGER / RELIGIOUS AS FUCK:
Split: LP
American Cheeseburger: Spastic thrash with wild tempo changes popping up all over the place and a singer that’s gotta spend his waking hours perpetually sucking on throat lozenges. A whole different kind of spastic thrash with wild tempo changes popping up all over the place, RAF seem to have a wee bit more metal-by-way-of-Negative-Approach buried in there somewhere, and the guitarist often opts to let chords ring rather than strumming wildly at them. Pretty good pairing. –Jimmy Alvarado (No Idea)


AMERICAN DRAFT:
Hawk: CD
The Fucking Champs are back and they’re called American Draft. Wow. This shit is amazing and totally righteous. Perhaps it’s just because I’ve been listening to Crack the Skye lately, but American Draft remind me of Mastodon, as far as the metal guitars and how tight they are. However, American Draft is entirely instrumental save for one song, “Dragon,” and, frankly, the screamy vocals don’t seem to fit in with the music. Comprised of members from Volta Do Mar (another instrumental, albeit much different band), the sound is very reminiscent of the Champs, too, but does enough to stand on its own. It isn’t all brutalizing, as the track “Wind” shows an electronic and acoustic side to the band, but soon thereafter American Draft is back to kicking ass and taking names. I didn’t know what to expect, based on the cover photo of a hawk perched on the hand of an elderly man with a white beard, but this rocked pretty hard. If you belong to a gym, when you’re there and no one is looking, switch the music on the sound system from the shitty pop radio they’re playing to this and watch everyone get super strong in no time. –Kurt Morris (Coachhouse Collective, coachhousecollective.com)


AMERICAN HABITS:
Empty Pockets: CD
It’s clear from first blush that the cats responsible for this release have been around the ol’ punk rock block. The tricky thing with older punkers playing in a modern setting is that oftentimes things get a bit too caught up in pining and/or attempting to recreate the “good ol’ days,” but these guys manage to keep the mothball stench of nostalgia at bay and deliver some strong tunes with lyrical content teetering toward more personal subject matter without coming off like a confessional session transcript, addressing not fitting in, lost love, being broke, and the like. They hail from Northern California, but there’s a definite mid-’80s Southern California feel to the tunes—catchy riffs, the vaguest wisp of oi influence, and tempos that rarely ratchet up past a solid gallop. All told, some solid work here. –Jimmy Alvarado (americanhabit@yahoo.com)


AMERICAN HEARTBREAK / LIBERTINE:
Split: CD
I don’t know why I grabbed this to review. I’m not into the rock’n’roll stuff too much. This reinforced my belief that I should have put this back. My interest dropped so fast that I couldn’t tell the difference between the two bands. I learned my lesson. –Donofthedead (Coldfront)


AMERICAN HEIST:
Self-titled: LP
The American Heist from Houston is my kind of band. They’re definitely firmly planted in their punk-as-fuck roots, but they also aren’t afraid to borrow from folk music traditions. They remind me a lot of Hudson Falcons, but with slightly harsher vocals. From the maroon vinyl and super cool bank robbery cover art on down, this LP is a labor of love. There’s no heist going on here, as these guys are doing all of us a favor by putting out a record. You can line up seven of your average dwarf oi bands and six would be called “dopey.” The last band standing is called The American Heist. –Art Ettinger (Cutthroat, myspace.com/cutthroatrecs)


AMERICAN HERITAGE:
Sedentary: LP
The one record I got this month that I literally know nothing about. I thought they were European, but it turns out they’re from here. I don’t mean the U.S., I mean Chicago. I live here. How have I not heard of this? And they have three full lengths. What? They sound like early Mastodon in that most of the riffs are pretty technical but are played with a consistency that sounds like the guitarist moves in triplet time constantly and just sort of moves his left hand around. Does that make sense? I mean he sounds bored. I don’t really mean that in a bad way, it’s sort of a mark of a good metal guitarist. I don’t really see super punk dudes getting into this, but those with a lot of crossover taste will appreciate this and the RIYLs all come from the bands name-checked as “guest musician” creds on this record (Mastodon, Nachmystium, Black Cobra). –Ian Wise (Solar Flare, solarflarerds@gmail.com)


AMERICAN LIBERATION ARMY:
Your Kids Need AK47s: CD

Crudely recorded punk/ska that would’ve been just peachy if they’d ditched the ska altogether and came up with more memorable punk songs. –Jimmy Alvarado (No address)

 

 

–Jimmy Alvarado (No address)


AMERICAN LIES:
Listen, That’s Disco: 1-sided 12” EP
My geography’s not the best. Neither is my sense of time. The East Bay late ‘80s/early ‘90s has shifted to the Inland Empire (2009-201?). I don’t think anyone’s gonna deny that without the early Lookout and Fat catalogs shipping into chain stores in the dryer and hotter parts of Southern California that American Lies wouldn’t exist in its present state. American Lies is less beef jerky and more fruit leather. Sure, you can reduce all the ingredients to their original fruit components: Crimpshrine, Pinhead Gunpowder, Fifteen, NOFX, Sludgeworth. The good news with fruit leather is that all those musical notes are still pliable, flexible, shapeable, provide some nutrition. It’s not over-salted, dry, brittle relying on artificial preservation. American Lies are also playing with tangible excitement. The B-side is a bitchin’ silkscreen. Not for fans of disco. For fans who wish there was a record that bridged Today’s Empires… Tomorrow’s Ashes and Fallow. –Todd Taylor (americanliesband@gmail.com, Way Out West / Muy Autentico / Mouse House)


AMERICAN LIES:
Listen, That’s Disco!: 12” EP
This record has six songs on it and they’re all really good. The songs are also all on side one. Side two has no songs on it, but it does have a sweet image of two dudes who look like they’re out of Saturday Night Fever, disco dancing with Stormtrooper helmets on. The track listing is also there, on top of grooveless vinyl. Everyone in this band is talented as hell. The songs are all very catchy, and they pretty much draw you inside of them. Listening to this, I feel like I’m in the same room with the band. Honest and real lyrics are sung through strong vocals that make it easy to understand where the songwriter is coming from. Songs about questioning your existence and growing old, but not wanting to let go of your youth. Good stuff. –Nighthawk (Autentico Records, americanlies.bandcamp.com)


AMERICAN MEMORIES:
Dreadful Night: Cassette
It’s that mid-tempo, brooding, pretty-to-frantic-back-to-pretty screamo stuff that kind of faded from the collective radar ten or so years ago. It’s a genre that I still like, at least when it’s done well—and yeah, it’s done well here. Think Amanda Woodward, Todos Caeran, or Book Of Caves. Made up of two guys; there are only five songs here, and, unfortunately, no lyrics included. I was hoping these were epic, world-weary tunes about humanity’s unchecked desire for its own ruination, or maybe a treatise on Mandeville’s 1714 essay An Enquiry into the Origin of Moral Virtue, or something lofty like that. I mean, hey, it’s screamo! You kinda gotta write about obtuse shit like that, right? But the singer thanks “all the girls who made him bummed out” in the liner notes so that he had something to write songs about. Meaning these are probably just break-up tunes. Still, nice tape.  –Keith Rosson (Lost State)


AMERICAN PIG:
Feed ’Em Before You Kill ’Em: CD

Punk rock with, sometimes, more country than is good for it. When they keep the tempo up, they can muster a good hardcore song, but when they start going for that modern Social Distortion sounds, watch out! In short, nice try, but no thanks.

–Jimmy Alvarado (American Pig)


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